Book: Jack of All Trades by DH Smithcategories: Book, a Little Romance, Builder Sleuth, Crime Series, Character LED, Crime Mystery
DH Smithabout this book: Jack Bell, a builder, is repairing a summer house for a millionaire couple who are at loggerheads. He fires him, she takes him back on. Becoming too involved in their back and forth, he falls for her secretary. When there's a murder using his tools as weapon, Jack is prime suspect.
This is the first of the Jack of All Trades series, of which there are ten so far. Jack is an unusual main character in a crime series. Here's how he came about. Back in 2013, I decided that I would write a crime series. I didn't want a cop as main character. There are too many of those, and I am not altogether comfortable with the police. Nor a private eye, who seem to spend much of their time following errant spouses. So that left a main character whose job would take them to various places where murder might happen.
I did my research at the local library, looking for non-cop/non private eye sleuths. Charlaine Harris has a cleaner, Lily Bard, in Shakespeare, Arkansas, and Aurora Teagarden, a librarian in Lawrenceton, Georgia. She helps her mother out from time to time in her real estate business too. Realtor sleuths is almost a sub-genre in the US. I came up with a builder, which gives lots of possibilities for settings. In the series Jack works in a number of houses, in a park, in a cemetery, in a school and in a hotel.
It was not as easy, as I first imagined, having a builder main character. I am not one myself, so I've had to research roofing work, bricklaying, making a soundproof internal wall, and laying a parking area. Jack has to be believable as a builder. He must tender for work, collect materials, and chase up payment, as well as do the work. With all its problem solving, building has its logic, so a builder sleuth is not as off-beam as it first appears.
Jack is divorced, and has a daughter Mia who is ten years old in first book. There's friction with his ex, and he's on the lookout for romance which makes useful subplots. Besides which, no person is simply their job. I have given him the hobby, astronomy, which has him out with his telescope on cold nights.
My aim is to tell a good story with characters that hold the reader. I keep the plot on the move with family and money problems, romance and, of course, murder.
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