Tuesday, April 26, 2011

New Books: THE MICK CALLAHAN NOVELS by Harry Shannon

by Harry Shannon
$4.99 Kindle


Like many of us, I grew up loving books by Donald Hamilton, Richard Prather, and the great John D. MacDonald. I’ve always wanted to be an author but kept postponing any serious attempt. But then the character of a failed young media superstar named Mick Callahan captured my imagination just as I turned fifty, months after the birth of my first and only child. I felt compelled to write my first real novel.

Mick Callahan is a decent guy when he’s sober; athletic and exceedingly bright, but he is also very troubled. He’s my Jungian shadow, I suppose--someone who pushed the boundaries of his life even further than I did back in my wayward youth. Like me, Callahan grew up in Nevada , is a recovering alcoholic, a psychologist and a former entertainer. Like me, he managed to trash a promising career in the entertainment business, but in his case, by punching someone on live television. Unlike me, he’s also a Navy seal washout whose abusive stepfather made him fight other kids for money.

I first pictured the poor guy on the comeback trail, hunched over the decrepit console of a funky radio station in the middle of the desert, desperately trying to hold his own as guest host of a call-in program designed for UFO junkies, black helicopter paranoiacs and those who have been anally probed. To make the experience even more excruciating, it seemed appropriate to have Callahan also hail from that desolate area, a town called Dry Wells, Nevada. This way, the poor guy returns home not in triumph, but in disgrace. That concept became the first novel, “Memorial Day."

The second book grew out of reading an article about the “Burning Man” festival, which began in California but ended up in Nevada . I’ll admit I was initially fascinated by the wildness of it, although time and common sense have tamed it down since I’d first heard of it. In this book, I had some old enemies lure Mick there to take their revenge.

“One of the Wicked,” the third Callahan, is set half in Los Angeles and half in Nevada at a mythical new casino in the Valley of Fire. It takes Mick into more of a thriller status than the first two books, a trend I continue into the fourth novel, “Running Cold,” which is due in June.

Naturally, Callahan’s fiery temper is always a big part of any story. However, he is also a trained therapist, so Mick uses a variety of actual therapeutic techniques to probe for clues. The guy knows how to back people into a corner and play them like a piano, so the dialogue is loads of fun to write. My own background as a counselor comes in handy.

In honor of the June release of “Running Cold” the first three Mick Callahan novels “Memorial Day,” “Eye of the Burning Man” and “One of the Wicked” are now in one inexpensive Kindle book, simply entitled The Mick Callahan Novels.

And you get all this for only $4.99! Hope you’ll take a few minutes to check it out one of these days. I know Mick would appreciate that.

Harry Shannon

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