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He’s afraid of losing his girlfriend. But maybe he should be more concerned about the dead body she’s crying over?
Marty Golden can barely string a voicemail message together, let alone keep up with his new love. This quirky uncle’s hectic Silicon Valley lifestyle needs a reboot when a youth league soccer game becomes a murder scene. And nothing can stop him from donning his amateur sleuth uniform when he discovers his sweetheart used to have quite a thing for the dead guy …
With a not-so-helpful paw from Buddy the Labrador, he does his best to sniff out a long list of possible suspects. But between gossipy soccer moms and the costume-clad members of a Renaissance Faire, Marty’s theories fall harder than a jousted knight.
Can Marty solve the case before the trail and his new flame grow cold?
Serf and Turf is the third book in the zany, Silicon Valley cozy mystery series. If you like laugh-out-loud comedy, dorky sleuths, and a festival of old-world fun, then you’ll love Marc Jedel’s humorous murder mystery.
Author Interview with Marc Jedel
Q: Tell us about your novel and series.
Marc: Serf and Turf is the third book in the Silicon Valley Mystery series, but can be read standalone. Marty Golden is not your typical, cozy mystery protagonist. As a male sleuth who doesn’t own a bakery, bookstore, or bed & breakfast, or live by the beach, he stands out from the crowd of cozy protagonists. Marty does bumble his way through the investigations, armed with nothing but an eye for detail and powers of self-delusion.
In Serf and Turf, Marty discovers a dead body earlier on a Sunday morning than he wished he was awake. When his girlfriend insists he help figure out how her ex-boyfriend died, Marty gets sucked in to a strange investigation with gossipy soccer moms and the costume-clad cast from a Renaissance Faire. But, he’s up for the challenge. After all, he’d like to be her knight in shining armor too.
Q: Where do you get your ideas for your stories?
Marc: I tend to pay attention to the strange stories in the newspaper, especially about unusual deaths or bizarre situations. This became a lot more socially acceptable once I become a published mystery author. Almost like a puzzle, I enjoy trying to merge together multiple situations into a coherent plot and trick the reader while the clues are right there on the page.
Q: Is there a theme in your story?
Marc: In a rare moment of introspection, I decided that the book should be about more than just humor wrapped in a mystery. You might say they’re about a search for a good family life, friends and happiness. However, Marty typically doesn’t realize this is what he wants out of life, so he tries hard to return to the quiet, lonely and peaceful life that he had before his sister and nieces moved to town.
Marty frequently mentions advice and etiquette lessons that his parents gave him when he was young. He’s often dismayed that their lessons didn’t cover the unusual predicaments that he finds himself in.
Q: How do you create your characters and do you have a favorite?
Marc: I’m obviously partial to the protagonist, Marty, since the novel is told in first person and I spend a lot of time in his head. Or is it that he spends a lot of time in my head? My friends and family believe this fashion-backward, self-absorbed software engineer is not exactly a huge stretch of the imagination for me to write. But it’s fiction. I mean, I’m not a software engineer.
I do enjoy writing Marty’s nieces, especially young Megan. They’re loosely based on my own nieces and kids, exaggerated and merged with other kids that I’ve known. Perhaps my favorite side character is Mrs. Quarles, the school secretary. Marty struggles mightily to deal with her, and I always laugh as I’m writing her scenes. I’d love to hear from your readers which characters or scenes they like best.
Q: How do you bring to life the place you are writing about?
Marc: I’ve lived a long time in Silicon Valley, working in high-tech marketing roles. A lot of interesting characters work in big high-tech companies. While I haven’t based any character directly off someone I’veknown, let’s just say that certain people influenced some of my characters more than others—especially the nuttier or more villainous ones.
If Silicon Valley is portrayed in fiction, it tends to be a very one-sided and biased view. In my novels, I wanted to highlight more of the diversity and unusual personalities that I’ve encountered.
Q: How do you do research for your books?
Marc: I’ve found that writing has made me more willing to talk to strangers in different situations and more observant and patient in lines and crowded situations, as I’m looking for material. I’m normally more of an introvert. Who’d have thought that the normally solitary occupation of being an author would make me more socially outgoing?
Most of my detailed mystery research is done via the internet. I’m hopeful that no law enforcement agencies are watching my searches and wondering what I may be up to. Not to be paranoid or anything, but I’ll use this space to remind them: “Marc Jedel is a fiction writer of humorous murder mysteries. Fiction!”
Q: Anything else you’d like to tell readers about the book?
Marc: I’ll quote two early reviewers: “I couldn’t stop laughing.” and “I love this crazy series!”
Serf and Turf, book 3 in the Silicon Valley Mystery series, can be read standalone. All the books in the series are free to Kindle Unlimited readers. Buy them on Amazon at: amazon.com/gp/product/B07PHNT7XM and watch for the audiobooks of the whole series from Recorded Books coming later this year.For more about my books or me, please visit www.marcjedel.com.
About the Author
For most of my life, I’ve been inventing stories. Some, especially when I was young, involved my sister as the villain. As my sister’s brother for her entire life, I’m highly qualified to tell the tale of this evolving, quirky sibling relationship.
My writing skills were honed in years of marketing leadership positions in Silicon Valley. While my high tech marketing roles involved crafting plenty of fiction, we called these marketing collateral, emails and ads.
The publication of my first novel, Uncle and Ants, gave me permission to claim “author” as my job. And achieving Amazon Best Seller status gave me even better adjectives to use in front of “author.” This has led to way more interesting discussions than answering “marketing.”
My family would tell you that Marty’s character isn’t much of a stretch of the imagination for me, but I’m comfortable with that situation.
Like Marty, I live in Silicon Valley and can’t believe that otherwise normal people would willingly jump out of an airplane and call it fun. Unlike Marty, I have a wonderful wife and a neurotic but sweet, small dog, who is often the first to weigh in on the humor in my writing.
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