Joyce Yarrow – author of the Jo Epstein mystery series

Joyce Yarrow
Mystery/suspense writer of the Jo Epstein series
Private investigator and performance poet, Jo Epstein, untangles a web of money-laundering, kidnapping and murder that extends from New York City to a hurricane-torn island in the Caribbean. Ann Romeo of MurerInk describes this first book in the Jo Epstein series as follows: “Chock full of terrific NY details, wonderful characters and clever turns of phrase, Joyce Yarrow’s ASK THE DEAD is a masterful debut and a must for fans of Sue Grafton and the Big Apple.”


 
The Last Matryoshka is a thrilling mystery that explores the age-old relationship between justice and revenge while delving into the complexities of family relationships forged in vastly different cultures.
Joyce Yarrow brings back Jo Epstein, New York City private investigator and performance poet, in the sequel to Ask the Dead. Roped into helping her socially inept, émigré stepfather Nikolai escape the clutches of a blackmailer, Jo must enter a world where criminals enforce a nineteenth-century code of honor, threats arrive inside not-so-traditional Matryoshka (nesting) dolls, and fashion models adorn themselves with lewd prison tattoos. And even as she helps Nikolai—who claims to have been framed—to evade the police, Jo can’t help wondering if her client is as innocent as he claims.

From Vladimir Central Prison to the brooding Russian forest, from Moscow Criminal Police headquarters to the monasteries of Suzdal, Jo Epstein investigates the world of the vory—a criminal subculture as brutal as it is romanticized—while racing against the clock to solve crimes committed on two continents.
The Last Matryoshka is a thrilling mystery that explores the age-old relationship between justice and revenge while delving into the complexities of family relationships forged in vastly different cultures.

Joyce Yarrow was born in the SE Bronx, escaped to Manhattan as a teenager and now lives in Seattle with her husband and son. Along the way to becoming a full-time author, Joyce has worked as a screenwriter, singer-songwriter, multimedia performance artist and most recently, a member of the world music vocal ensemble, Abráce.
Joyce is a Pushcart nominee, whose stories and poems have been widely published. Her first book, Ask the Dead (Martin Brown 2005) was selected by The Poisoned Penas as a Recommended First Novel and hailed as “Bronx noir”. Her latest book, The Last Matryoshka, takes place in Brooklyn and Moscow and will be published by Five Star Mysteries in Nov 2010.

Ms. Yarrow considers the setting of her books to be characters in their own right and teaches workshops on “The Place of Place in Mystery Writing.”
Click below for the interview:

What age group is you book geared towards?
Adults.

http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=wiswor0a-21&o=1&p=8&l=bpl&asins=1594148872&fc1=000000&IS2=1&lt1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifrInto which genre would you say your book falls?
Mystery/suspense

Tell us a little about your book?
THE LAST MATRYOSHKA is the second book in the Jo Epstein series, following ASK THE DEAD. Jo is a performance poet who works as a private investigator out of Scandal’s lounge in New York City.

Roped into helping her socially inept, émigré stepfather Nikolai escape the clutches of a blackmailer, Jo must enter a world where criminals enforce a nineteenth-century code of honor, threats arrive inside not-so-traditional Matryoshka (nesting) dolls, and fashion models adorn themselves with lewd prison tattoos. And even as she helps Nikolai—who claims to have been framed—to evade the police, Jo can’t help wondering if her client is as innocent as he claims.

From Vladimir Central Prison to the brooding Russian forest, from Moscow Criminal Police headquarters to the monasteries of Suzdal, Jo Epstein investigates the world of the vory—a criminal subculture as brutal as it is romanticized—while racing against the clock to solve crimes committed on two continents.

What is your favourite scene in your book? Can we have a snippet?
Some of my favorite scenes from THE LAST MATRYOSHKA are told from the antagonist’s point of view. Here is a sample:

PART ONE
New York City, The Present

Feydor surveyed his work. The body was positioned en situ, exactly as it had fallen. He pressed the button for the sixth floor, and the aging elevator jolted, then climbed slowly upward, passing four floors before coming to a stop. Holding the door open with one hand, he reached back with the other to push the button for the second floor and then stepped out. He checked his shoes for blood before climbing the wide stairs leading to the roof. Behind him he could hear the cables creak, as the elevator descended with its unholy burden. Outside, the air smelled of smog mixed with rain. He leaned back on the heavy metal door that had swung shut behind him. Taking his first deep breath since his work began, he peeled off the rubber gloves, freeing his hands to unbutton the blood-spattered shirt and exchange it for the one he‘d brought from home. Then, fearful that some insomniac might spot his profile against the skyline, he ran in a low crouch toward the edge of the roof.

At last his design was in motion and it was a thing of beauty, not at all like what they had done. He had been merciful and quick. He was far above their level. There was no getting around the fact that he‘d sacrificed a life, but he had chosen carefully, not at random like Raskolnikov or out of sadism like Stalin. Some might even say the victim had chosen him.

He found the ladder and climbed over the parapet wall, stepping as lightly and silently as he could on the metal rungs as he descended backward, his heart rate increasing as he passed each window overlooking the fire escape, his eyes averted from any light shining within.

Excerpt from THE LAST MATRYOSHKA, © 2010 Joyce Yarrow

http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=wiswor0a-21&o=1&p=8&l=bpl&asins=0976540916&fc1=000000&IS2=1&lt1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifrHave your characters or writing been inspired by friends/ family or by real-life experiences?
The core idea for THE LAST MATRYOSHKA came to me while visiting my mother in Brooklyn. I listened to her neighbors chattering in Russian in the elevator and admired the Russian fashionistas shopping in high heels on Kings Highway. The mystery writer in me got to wondering: what if a Russian émigré’s past in Russia caught up with him and created havoc in his new life. I started with that premise and never looked back.

Can you sum the book up in one sentence?
In this fast-paced, suspenseful novel, performance poet and private investigator Jo Epstein uses her New York street smarts to outmaneuver a master Russian criminal on his own turf.

Who is your favourite character in your book and why?
I would have to say Jo Epstein. Her character combines the insight and sensitivity of the poet with the tough smarts of a tenacious private investigator at the top of her form.

Which comes first for you – characters or plot?
For me it is always the character who comes first, because it is from knowing each character’s core needs and reactions to conflict that the plot evolves.

Who is your publisher and where are your books available? Are there e-books and hard copies available?
ASK THE DEAD is published by Martin Brown and Ampichellis Ebooks and is available on Amazon as both a trade paperback and an ebook at http://amzn.to/dfYQbE It is also available for the Nook on Barnes & Noble at http://draft.blogger.com/goog_532781583

THE LAST MATRYOSHKA is published by Five Star/Cengage and is available in hardcover at http://amzn.to/945LF6

Contacts:
http://www.joyceyarrow.com/
http://joyceyarrow.blogspot.com/
Twitter: @joyceyarrow

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3 thoughts on “Joyce Yarrow – author of the Jo Epstein mystery series

  1. Joyce, I just picked up your book and can hardly wait to start reading! Loved your first book Ask The Dead. Your writing is so evocative and this newest book looks to be even more enthralling than the last. What fun to read in this interview how a Russian neighborhood in Brooklyn pulled at your imagination! Thank you for sharing!

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