Book Review/Author Interview for Key Lime Squeeze by author Ron Adams
review by Aaron Paul Lazar
Title: Key Lime Squeeze
Author: Ron Adams
Publisher: Viking Adult (May 2, 2011)
Genre: Mystery, 282 pages
Publisher: Charles River Press
ISBN number: 978-1936185290
Price: $14.95 (Paperback)
Publisher website address: www.charlesriverpress.com
Author’s personal website: www.ronaldwadams.com
I just finished reading Ron Adam’s second crime mystery, Key Lime Squeeze. Don’t you love that title? It’s evocative of the tropics and a romping good caper, all rolled into one. Not only is the title catchy, but the book is a smooth ride filled with snappy dialogue and great action.
Ron’s writing is easy to follow and the pages fly past, with no hiccups and no stuttering passages. I love his Joe Banks character, a good guy with incredible guts and a tendency to push up against the rules until they bend or sometimes break.
In contrast to Banks is Solomon, a strong dark character who scares the hell out of you in the beginning, but whose character arc practically endears him to you in the end. Nicely done, Ron!
One of the aspects of this book that hooked me was the relationship between Joe and his wife, Paula, and the few scenes with his two adorable children. I’m a sucker for family, and Ron had me caring (and seriously worried) about this family in just a few scenes.
I thought it would be fun to ask Ron some questions about this book, having freshly read it.
Ron, tell us about this series, including your first book, LAKE EFFECT, which I’m about to buy because I want to know more about Joe Banks. Does it matter in what order they are read?
RWA: Thanks for the kind words, Aaron. I truly appreciate it when another writer recognizes my work, especially one with the body of work that you have. I am writing the series to be somewhat in order, and you’ll notice things like the kids getting older and such, but each of the stories are meant to stand alone. That way the readers can jump in and not feel lost.
Can you share a short synopsis from each book for our readers?
RWA: Sure. Lake Effect is a story about our hero, Joe Banks, being pulled into the investigation of a carjacking that ends in the murder of two small children in the icy water of Lake Erie. Being a family man himself, he is committed to finding out the who, what, and why. What he uncovers is a family buried in a blizzard of lies, deceit and greed. It is the first of the series, so of course the setting is western New York in winter.
Key Lime Squeeze follows Buffalo P.I. Joe Banks as he answers a plea from a mob princess to locate her runaway husband, insurance executive, Robert Boothby. Saddled with the crime family's enforcer for a traveling companion, Banks tracks Boothby to the Florida Keys, and soon learns he is not the only one interested in locating the missing Insurance mogul. Allies become enemies in a cat and mouse game of murder and deceit as Banks discovers who to trust, and who's in on the squeeze.
My favorite scenes were in the Key West vicinity. I particularly enjoyed the descriptions of the area, the food, etc. I’ve never been to that part of America, and wondered how often you get to visit that area?
RWA: Truth be told it is one of my favorite locales in the United States. It is so unique, with a very special feel and rhythm to it. My wife and I have been down a couple times before our kids came along, and hope to get back again sometime soon.
I don’t want to introduce any plot spoilers here, so let me see how I can ask this question without being to specific. Referring to Janet, Boothby’s online lover: you presented a sticky situation with grace and no judgment. I admired that. Did you intend to set a good example of non-judgmental behavior here for readers, to help them understand and avoid prejudice? It was well done.
RWA: Janet was a character that when I first started was supposed to be more of a caricature, and a source of comic relief. But as I let the story develop, I let her develop more of her own humanity, and used the character as a way to show more of the makeup of Banks and Boothby. The readers can judge for themselves whether they like her or not, but I appreciate the compliment. I didn’t set out to make the situation an object lesson, but I’m happy to hear that’s what you came away with.
You’ve lived in Buffalo for over a quarter century, right? Tell me, without getting into trouble with any bad guys, is there really an element of, er, big crime there?
RWA: On advice of counsel, I have to say that all characters depicted in this novel are fictional creations… Okay, seriously, Buffalo has always had a history of an organized crime element, like any other city of our size. Do I know specifically that there are people like the Cantolinos? No. Am I sure there is nobody in Buffalo like the Cantolinos? No.
Do you plan to take Joe anywhere exotic in the future, or will the next book be set in Buffalo? I’ll enjoy it either way. Even though I’ve lived two hours southeast of Buffalo for 28 years, I’ve never really seen the area for more than a quick drive through (or around), and it’s interesting to get your take on it!
RWA: I came to Buffalo and western New York in 1978 for school, as a freshman at Daemen College. It wasn’t exactly love at first sight, but the more I got around, the more I came to love about this area. The greatest thing about the area is the people – the finest anywhere. This is where I met my wife, and where we finally settled right on the shores of Lake Erie. It has the perfect blend of four seasons, gets less snow the most of the rest of the state, and is an absolutely passionate sports town. The architecture is beautiful in much of the area, the restaurants are amazing, and do I need to mention the Anchor Bar for wings? There is a lot more going on here than people realize, and I could take over the rest of the interview extolling the virtues of my end of the Empire State.
Tell us what’s next!
RWA: Charles River Press is going to re-release LAKE EFFECT in e-book version sometime this fall and the papberback sometime in the spring of 2012. I am putting the finishing touches on my WIP for a third Joe Banks novel, CROSSING MIDNIGHT. I expect that will be out in the fall of 2012. I have another Joe Banks novel outlined after that, and I have promised my daughter I would seriously work on a story for her. And there’s this blogsite I’ve become involved in, maybe you’ve heard of it?
Thanks for your answers, Ron. And although of course we sadly miss our former MB4'er Sonya Bateman, we're delighted you've joined Murder by 4. I'm sure our readers are thrilled, as well! Can't wait for Crossing Midnight to be released.
Aaron Paul Lazar writes to soothe his soul. The author of LeGarde Mysteries, Moore Mysteries, and Tall Pines Mysteries enjoys the Genesee Valley countryside in upstate New York, where his characters embrace life, play with their dogs and grandkids, grow sumptuous gardens, and chase bad guys. Visit his websites at www.legardemysteries.com and www.mooremysteries.com and watch for his upcoming releases, FIRESONG, TERROR COMES KNOCKING, and FOR THE BIRDS, coming in 2011.