Generous praise for “Joey’s Place”

I was fortunate to take John Truby‘s Story Structure Class many years ago. That good fortune was multiplied when I spent several months at his writers’ studio working with him on the film story breakdowns used as examples for his screenwriting software, which later became “Blockbuster.” A best-selling author, John teaches standing-room only classes around the world and has served as a consultant on over 1,000 film scripts.

Recently, I was flattered to learn that John had commented on “Joey’s Place” on his website (John updates this page regularly, so I’ve copied his comments below):

“Another big thumbs up for John Nelson’s detective novel, Joey’s Place. Nelson took the Anatomy of Story Masterclass so many years ago it was just called the Story Structure Class. He really knows his stuff. The story takes place in Las Vegas, 1970, the turning point when the city’s casinos went from mob control to corporate control. This allows Nelson to make the rare and difficult combination of detective story and historical drama. We not only get a terrific plot, we see the machinations play out within the making of a modern American city. Impressive stuff, and more proof that … (more)

He still gets excited.

Two stiff young deputies bracketed the open doorway of a room on the first floor. Two older deputies caressing cigarettes leaned against the columns supporting the second story and blew smoke at the stars. All four jumped when Parkins almost put the unmarked sedan’s bumper into one of the columns, tortured the transmission into Park, threw open his door, and rushed into the room, holding up his badge like it was the Olympic torch. Slack-jawed, the deputies just watched him pass.

Fortuna reached over the front seat, turned off the ignition, and said to Ben, “He still gets excited.”


Anchored to the bottom…

The dead woman’s skirt billowed like a parachute as she slowly rotated in the current from the pool filter. Her hair drifted around her head like sea-grass. Jill’s hair wasn’t that color or that long. That should have made him feel better, but it didn’t. There was a dead woman anchored to the bottom of the swimming pool.

Like visiting an old friend…

Near the end of LANDMARK KILL, I finally come back to a familiar place. It’s seven years before the events in my book, JOEY’S PLACE, and the town faces total ruin. It just doesn’t know it.

“… Joey’s Place was unique for another reason. It was a private club with only one member, its co-owner, Joey Ross. “Cool Joey.” Everyone who walked through the front door was his personal guest. If you didn’t know Joey Ross, you didn’t get in. You didn’t get in to enjoy those private bungalows in back. You didn’t get in to relax by the spring-fed swimming pool surrounded by cool green lawns, palms and olive trees. You didn’t get in to gamble at its intimate, no-limit casino.

Movie stars, politicians, entertainers, millionaires, star athletes. Make a scene and you’d be shown the door and your card would be pulled, even if your name was Rockefeller, Garbo or Rainier. A slow night was when there was only an archduke or an Oscar winner in the house.

Ben walked past on the hot Strip sidewalk. Valet parking was full. And not because there was no self-parking. It was full because there was no off-season at Joey’s Place. The back entrance … (more)

A little Friday history…

… that has nothing to do with Las Vegas (except perhaps in the case of Nevada’s long-time, lone Representative in the U.S. House, Dem. Walter Baring, who referred to himself as a “Jeffersonian States’ Rights Democrat”).

I have recently enjoyed receiving daily emails from containing interesting excerpts from a variety of books. Today’s email had an excerpt from Joseph J. Ellis’s “American Sphinx: The Character of Thomas Jefferson,” and described how our third president rarely spoke in public, preferring to use the written word.

Here is Jefferson requesting that James Madison carefully review the president’s first annual address to Congress: ‘Will you give this enclosed a revisal, not only as to matter, but diction. Where strictness of grammar does not weaken expression, it should be attended to in complaisance to the purists of New England. But where by small grammatical negligences the energy of an idea is condensed, or a word stands for a sentence, I hold grammatical rigor in contempt.’ …