>Meet Joe Florez – the first writer who has accepted my invitation to post about his new book. Remember, if you are an upcoming crime writer or want to share other crime-related news, you can also send me a note.
by Joe Florez
My new noir mystery, WHAT EVER HAPPENED TO JERRY PICCO?, is set on the west coast of the US. You might describe it as ‘Boogie Nights meets Farewell My Lovely’, although that’s probably unfair to both of those works! The narrative takes place mainly in the present, but carries distinct echoes of another time, less than half a century ago, but a time already mythical in our hearts and minds.
When I first read Tom Wolfe’s THE ELECTRIC KOOL-AID ACID TEST, I immediately I got interested in the hippie generation. I was fascinated in particular with La Honda, the place in the Californian woods where Ken Kesey and the Merry Pranksters set up their commune/base camp in the early ’60s.
There is a little bit of me, and of many people, I guess, that wants to have a taste of the idealism of this period, however unsustainable, contradictory and downright self-indulgent it might have been. And this is the backdrop to my humorous noir mystery. It’s about a commune, deep in the woods of North California, just some guys who want to recreate a bit of la Honda for themselves.
The book, I hope, is also something of a homage to the Pranksters, a mixture of innocence and daft, indecent pleasure. The main character is a midget porn star, and the PI who goes in search of him is a thuggish ex-Berkeley professor who lost his job for dangling his boss out of a fifth-story window. All this wrapped up in a plot based on Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. I think Ken might have liked it.