“I couldn’t put it down! Those words are some of the most satisfying comments an author can receive. Nothing pleases me more than a note from someone grumbling about staying up late to finish one of my books.
It’s music to my ears.
There are lots of ways to earn those precious words. Writing a fast-paced novel is one of them. It is certainly my goal every time I start a new book.
My latest, THE DECEPTION, was no different. I knew I would be writing Hawk Maddox’s story. Hawk had been on my mind since he first appeared in a previous novel, BEYOND DANGER. I knew what he was like–strong, determined, tough as boot leather, and at six-foot-four, two-hundred-twenty pounds, a total beefcake hunk.
He was also a bounty hunter, which made him an interesting character with an interesting job. I always try to find the hero’s perfect match and Kate Gallagher was just right for Hawk. Tall, blonde, and curvy, she loved country music and drinking tequila at the Sagebrush Saloon.
But that was her secret side. She also owned her own business consulting firm so she was smart and hard-working.
I like to read books that draw me in and won’t let go, books I can’t wait to pick up again to find out what’s going to happen next.
There are lots of ways to do it. Pairing down description makes the story move faster–or as Elmore Leonard once said, “I try to leave out the parts people skip.”
A Hollywood movie trick is to jump right into the scene. Leave out the, “Hello, how are you?” “I’m fine, how are you?” and just start talking.
I try to use hooks at the beginning and end of chapter, though some authors end a chapter in the middle of the action to keep you turning the pages.
I’ve found I do a lot of characterization by showing how the hero, heroine, and sub characters react in a situation, rather than telling about their past. For instance, I don’t mention what the heroine did in high school unless it’s important to how she’ll solve the problem she’s facing.
These are a few of my techniques, though every author has his own style and there is nothing wrong with any of them as long as they work.
In THE DECEPTION, Kate Gallagher is devastated when she learns her sister has been murdered. Determined to find Chrissy’s killer, Kate hires lethal bounty hunter, Hawk Maddox. Working together, they follow a trail of clues that lead them deep into the city’s underbelly. Though Hawk warns Kate of the danger, nothing he says can convince Kate to walk away.
I hope you’ll watch for THE DECEPTION and that you find it a fast-paced, high-action page-turner. Until next time, all best wishes and happy reading, Kat
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Bestselling author Kat Martin, a graduate of the University of California at Santa Barbara, currently resides in Missoula, Montana with Western-author husband, L. J. Martin. More than seventeen million copies of Kat’s books are in print, and she has been published in twenty foreign countries. Fifteen of her recent novels have taken top-ten spots on the New York Times Bestseller List, and her novel, BEYOND REASON, was recently optioned for a feature film. Kat’s next hardcover, THE DECEPTION, a Romantic Thriller, will be released on September 10th.
PUBLISHERS WEEKLY REVIEW – THE DECEPTION
Martin revs the power from page one of this fast-paced romantic thriller, the second novel in her Maximum Security series (after The Conspiracy). After Kate Gallagher’s runaway younger sister, Chrissy, is murdered, she’s determined to find the killer, no matter what it takes. Bounty hunter Jason “Hawk” Maddox, a former Marine, doesn’t do relationships, but he’s quite willing to dance with Kate and start nudging her toward his bed; then she blurts out that her sister was killed. When Kate hires Hawk’s employer, Maximum Security, to investigate the murder, Martin immediately begins leading her well-drawn characters through a high-octane plot with hair-raising twists and turns, skillfully dragging red herrings everywhere. A subplot about a terrified, trafficked 13-year-old crackles with undeniable energy, as does the hot romance between Kate and Hawk. Even Martin’s most despicable characters (especially pedophile Denny Rayburg) are complex, adding to readers’ emotional investment. Fans of romantic suspense won’t be able to put this book down until the final page is turned, and Martin is likely to recruit thriller readers as well as romance fans with this snappy story. Agent: Alexandra Machinist, ICM. (Sept.)
When missing turns to murdered, one woman’s search for answers will take her to a place she never wanted to go…
After searching for her sister for two long years, Kate Gallagher is devastated when she’s called to the morgue to identify Chrissy’s body, the runaway teen the victim of a brutal attack. Guilt and grief send Kate into a tailspin. She failed Chrissy once…she won’t do it again. Even if finding her sister’s killer means following a lethal bounty hunter into the heart of darkness, placing both their lives in danger.
Working at Maximum Security has taken Jason Maddox down some dangerous paths, but never for a client he’s so drawn to, or for a case so monstrous. As clues lead them deeper into the city’s underbelly, connections to human trafficking draw them closer and closer to peril, but even Jase’s warnings can’t convince Kate to walk away. As the deadly operation puts a target on their backs, they’ll have to decide what matters most: the truth…or their lives.
THE DECEPTION, by Kat Martin
After her meltdown at the bar, which still embarrassed her, Kate spent the following week hounding the Dallas Police Department.
Chrissy’s case had been assigned to a homicide detective named Roger Benson, an older guy with thinning brown hair and a bad attitude. She’d done a little digging, found out he had previously worked in the sex crimes division, an unabashed misogynist who acted as if he believed all women were whores and was completely the wrong person to be handling cases in that department–which was probably why he now worked in homicide.
She tried to give him the benefit of the doubt, figuring the crimes he had worked had changed him into the man he had become. Or maybe he had always been like that. Either way, Kate didn’t like him.
“Your sister was using the name Tina Galen,” he told her when she appeared in his office demanding answers for the fourth day in a row. “She was a heroin addict and a known prostitute.”
Her heart squeezed, though the police had already told her those things. “She was murdered, Detective. Her killer needs to face justice.”
“I’m sorry for your loss, Ms. Gallagher. We’re doing everything we can to locate the person who killed her, but in circumstances like these, the odds of finding him aren’t good.”
“The killer must have left evidence. Fingerprints or DNA. Something.”
“We’re working on it. We believe Tina hooked up with a john who liked rough sex. That night, he got carried away, beat her worse than he meant to, and killed her. If that’s the case, he may have assaulted women before.”
“So you’ll be able to find him.”
“Like I said, we’re working on it. You need to let us do our job, Ms. Gallagher. Coming down here every day and badgering us isn’t going to help. Now if you don’t mind, I’ve got things I need to do. Your sister’s case isn’t the only one on my desk.”
She glanced over at the stack of files on the detective’s desk and bit back a sharp retort. “Yes, I can see that.” And clearly, arguing with Benson wasn’t going to get her anywhere.
As she left the police station, it occurred to her there was a good chance nothing she said or did was going to get the answers she was determined to get in regard to Chrissy’s death.
She needed someone to help her. A detective who worked directly for her and strictly on her sister’s murder case.
At twenty-nine, she was the owner of Gallagher and Company Consulting, an up-and-coming management consulting firm. And though there were only two other analysts in the office so far, plus a receptionist who acted as her personal assistant, she had built a solid reputation during the time she’d been working in Dallas, and the company was making money.
She could afford to hire a private investigator.
Arriving in the lobby of the five-story building on North Akard near McKinney where the office was located, she waved at one of the security guards, a big guy named Clay, as she passed.
Kate’s stomach tightened. Clay didn’t have the thick dark hair and gorgeous blue eyes of the man she had nearly had sex with in the parking lot of the Sagebrush Saloon, but he was almost as tall, with the same rock-solid body. Every time she saw Clay, who was older and not nearly as good-looking, she thought of Jason “Hawk” Maddox and felt a combination of embarrassment and a ridiculous rush of heat.
Dear God, she had never been more turned on in her life. When he’d hauled her out on the dance floor and pulled her into his big, powerful arms, it occurred to her for the first time, she might really go through with the hookup she had only imagined.
Maddox really knew how to dance. And he could he kiss. She could have kissed him for hours.
Thank God, she had come to her senses before it was too late. She didn’t do hookups, especially with hot, muscle-jocks in jeans and scuffed boots. She didn’t have sex with strangers.
But after she’d left the morgue, she had gone a little crazy. Crying hadn’t done a lick of good and eventually she had managed to pull herself together, but the terrible feelings of guilt and failure would not go away.
It didn’t matter that she and Chrissy, an accidental baby eleven years younger, had never been close, that by the time Chrissy was in high school, Kate had moved from the small Texas town of Rockdale to Dallas.
She was working full time for Bain Consulting as a junior member of one of their teams when Chrissy began having problems with drugs and alcohol, and behaving promiscuously with boys. Kate had gone back to Rockdale to talk to her but it hadn’t done any good. A few months later, her sister had run away from home, and though the police had done everything in their power to find her, Kate had never seen her again.
Not until the police had called with the terrible news of her murder and Kate had gone to the morgue.
How she’d wound up half drunk at the Sagebrush Saloon still wasn’t completely clear. She’d just been desperate to get the image of Chrissy’s battered and bludgeoned body out of her head, and for a while in the backseat with Jason, it had actually worked.
It was impossible to think of anything but those big hands on her breasts and the thick ridge beneath the fly of his jeans. God, she had never known that kind of want before.
CONTEST LINKS Monthly Contest: https://www.katmartin.com/monthly-contest/