Today is the fifth day in the Murder We Write Tour and I get to grill a former FBI agent and looking forward to testing my questioning prowess. Adam Kingston from MEMORY OF A MURDER by Earl Staggs has agreed to talk to me, Mitch Malone. I’m not sure he is aware of my credentials. Usually you can’t pull anything over on FBI agents…well there is one that seems to best me but that is another book. We are here to find out the inside line on a bunch of deaths. Agent Kingston, may I call you Adam? Tell me about your career in the FBI?
Adam: I was with the bureau for ten years and very happy with the job. The resources and procedures are phenomenal. Then I had a near-fatal auto accident. The doctors didn’t think I would make it. Miraculously, I did, but I didn’t go back to the FBI.
A near-fatal accident huh? Did that keep you from returning, sort of a forced retirement? You look pretty fit, I bet you have some mental problems? That’s normal, isn’t it? Lost your edge?
Adam: You know, Mitch when I agreed to this interview I didn’t know who you were or what direction this would take. Now you appear to be one of those tabloid writers looking for scandal or sensationalism. Sorry to disappoint you. Let’s see if we can get through this without any furniture being broken.
To answer your question, I haven’t lost my edge, and I have no mental problems. Not in the sense you’re implying. A strange thing did happen, however. After my recovery from the accident, I began to get strange images when I’d touch something. The doctors said it was psychic phenomena, and it wasn’t unusual after a traumatic experience like the one I’d had. They tested and probed me for two years before I decided I’d had enough of that. I told them to leave me alone, and I accepted it for what it was. Now, I use the gift, if you want to call it that, to help law enforcement agencies solve cases. Oddly enough, I work mostly for my previous employer, the FBI.
No offense but my sources tell me you have been a bit off, shall we say. Some even say you hear voices. That is never a good sign, especially if that someone carries a gun. Are you crazy?
Adam: Am I. . .? Really, Mitch, you need to work on your people skills if you intend to do more interviewing. I’m not crazy and I don’t hear voices. I just happen to get images when I visit a crime scene or touch something related to a crime. Sometimes the images provide clues, sometimes not. It’s not an exact science. In the end, it always comes down to old-fashioned police work. But that’s only when I‘m working. When I’m not working, I’m as normal as anyone.
Okay, no more personal questions. Tell me about the case you are investigating. You can’t be working as a private investigator. Homeless men usually don’t have a lot of cash reserves. Why are you doing this?
Adam: You must be referring to the case I take on in MEMORY OF A MURDER. Believe me, I was as surprised as you when a homeless man showed up at my door to hire me. Turned out, he’s from a well-to-do family and money is not a problem. His problem and the reason he lives as he does is that he has no memory of the day a young woman was killed. He knows he was there when it happened and thinks he may have had something to do with it. Not knowing has tormented him for sixteen years and he wants to know the truth, even if it means he killed her himself. Immediately after I meet with him, someone tries to kill him and then more bodies begin to show up. It turns out to be a complicated and difficult case. It appears someone doesn’t want the truth to come out.
Thank you for joining me today. Hope there are no hard feelings. I’m just doing my job as a crime beat reporter. To read more about Adam and his mental adventures, check out the first chapter at http://earlwstaggs.wordpress.com
Adam: Thank you, Mitch. I guess we got through it okay. Seriously, though, about this interviewing thing, I hope you have a day job. Thanks also for giving readers my website address. If they’d like to visit me there, they can:
. . .read Chapter One of my Mystery novel, MEMORY OF A MURDER
. . .read a short story called “The Day I Almost Became a Great Writer.” Some say it’s the funniest story I’ve ever written.
. . .read “White Hats and Happy Trails,” a story about the day I spent with my boyhood idol, Roy Rogers. There’s even a picture of my wife and me with Roy to prove it’s all true.
. . .check out SHORT STORIES OF EARL STAGGS, a collection of 16 of my published tales of mystery, ranging from hardboiled to humorous. Available in print and ebook form.
Before you go, however, please leave a comment below and you may win as free book.
At the end of the tour, I’ll draw two names from those who left comments. The first name drawn will receive a signed print copy of MEMORY OF A MURDER, a mystery novel with a long list of Five Star Reviews. The second name drawn will receive their choice of a signed print copy or an ebook of SHORT STORIES OF EARL STAGGS, a collection of 16 tales of mystery from hardboiled to humorous.
Mystery author Earl Staggs recently received his second Derringer Award for Best Short Story of the Year. His novel MEMORY OF A MURDER earned a long list of Five Star reviews. SHORT STORIES OF EARL STAGGS, a collection of 16 Mystery tales, is available in print and ebook. He served as Managing Editor of Futures Mystery Magazine and as President of the Short Mystery Fiction Society. He’s a contributing blog member of Murderous Musings and Make Mine Mystery and a frequent speaker at conferences.