Thursday, November 9, 2023

The Stuff That Dreams Are Made Of

 Today is the official re-branding re-launch of the second Nick Forte novel, The Stuff That Dreams Are Made Of. (The most astute of you may have noticed the new cover a day or so ago. I’m a one-man operation focused more on writing than production. This is how things work in my world.) The book began as a critical look at the memorabilia industry and ended up as homage to Dashiell Hammett’s classic The Maltese Falcon.


Russell Arbuthnot isn’t just a ham, he’s the whole pig. Forte – along with everyone else -  figures the bodyguard assignment Arbuthnot hired him for is a publicity stunt to perk up flagging ticket sales for a one-man show about to go under. When the actor actually does turn up dead, Forte faces the kind of publicity he can do without and decides, when a bodyguard’s client is killed, he's supposed to do something about it. It doesn't make any difference what he thought of him. He was your client and you're supposed to do something about it.


Sonny Ng, Jan Rusiewicz, Tony and Joey are all back from A Small Sacrifice, as are, of course, Goose and Nick’s daughter, Caroline. Forte also encounters Arbuthnot’s beautiful but damaged manager, a high-priced escort, and the IRA.


I probably enjoyed writing this book as much or more than any of them. Trying to tread the line between paying homage to Hammett’s masterpiece and ripping him off was a challenge, and few comments have ever pleased me more than Peter Rozovsky’s in his late, lamented blog “Detectives Beyond Borders:”


“It's a kind of authorial magic that The Stuff That Dreams Are Made Of works as a tribute and as a story, and that neither aspect interferes in the least with the other… I can imagine this book finding its way into a class on writing crime fiction as an example of how to pay tribute to one's predecessors while at the same time writing a story that can stand on its own. It's an impressive accomplishment.”


That’s the kind of validation anyone can appreciate.


The only thing new about this “re-issue” is the cover and a little of the accompanying material in the Amazon listing; the book itself is unchanged. This might not seem like something that requires an announcement, but it is part of the lead-up to the March release of Volume 6, Off the Books. The changes are small, but they will give all the Forte novels the same look as well as bringing them a little closer to the Penns River branding, which I wanted to do because both series occupy their own corners of the same universe.


The Stuff That Dreams Are Made of is available in both paperback and for Kindle through Amazon, and only Amazon. With all due respect to other platforms, their business models leave little room for me, which leaves little room in  my model for them. I hope that will change someday, but I’m not holding my breath.

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