Generous praise for “Joey’s Place”

I was fortunate enough to take John Truby‘s Story Structure Class several years ago. That good fortune was multiplied when I spent time 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. It was a remarkable learning experience.

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 the well-written, self-published novel is the way of the future for most writers.”

Kind words. Thanks, John!

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 was his only option. Dressed like he was, without a car, he’d never get through the front door. He might not even get close to it.”

A compliment left on the fan page…

This comment on the JOEY’S PLACE Facebook fan page really resonated, reminding me of a major reason I wrote the book…

JP_CoverPage_313x231I turned 22 in 1970. I grew up in Las Vegas but at that time I was two years into my thirty year career as a broadcaster. I bought my first house on Scenic Way that was near Lorenzi Park. I also got married that year. I read “Joey’s Place” this past (Labor Day) weekend. It was fun to be 22 again. I was able to go back to a home that no longer exists. The Vegas I used to know. Even now, as I write this, I can still see myself turning off the Strip to Convention Center Drive. The rotunda in front of me… the Landmark to the left, Channel 8 Drive to the right. Yes, I enjoyed the book. It was fun to be 22 again. … Most of my reading is non fiction. In fact the last fiction I read was a re-read of “Moby Dick.” I also have every Sherlock Holmes story by Doyle. I was interested in “Joey’s Place” because of the city and time it took place in. I wanted my butt kicked down Memory Lane and by God I got my money’s worth. For sure I’m waiting for “Landmark Kill.” The Sky Bar on those rare foggy mornings also hold pleasant times for me as I left Channel 8 at 7:45 AM and nursed a cognac there till the fog burned off and Lake Mead could be seen. … You can be proud of “Joey’s Place.” It’s a fun read.

Monsoon season…

The desert thunderstorms rumbling through Southern Nevada these past few days remind me of the first paragraph in the chapter where we meet Det. Heber Parkins in Joey’s Place…

imageFanning himself with his straw Stetson Panama, he looked down at the body in the shallow flood ravine. The summer monsoons were late or it would have been in Lake Mead by now. At least this time it wasn’t a woman. 

An enjoyable afternoon at a book club…

bookmatesphoto1969-Strip-Frontier-DesertInn-looking-southI had a terrific time on July 2 discussing “Joey’s Place” and a Las Vegas that no longer exists with a local book club. One highlight was an amazing casino chip and matchbook collection brought to the meeting by one attendee.

But my biggest thrill was when an elderly man wearing a USAF cap approached me following the event and said that he’d been stationed at Nellis from 1955 to 1959 and my slideshow and remarks brought back many good memories of events and locales that he’d forgotten.