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The Type Of People I Write About
There are many reasons a person will pick up a book. They’re looking for something, it could be anything. So let me give some idea of what you’ll find when you open a book of mine. But first let me tell you what you won’t find. None of my characters are innocent. They are not finding love for the first time. They are not stunning symbols of ideal beauty or intelligence. They may be jaded or naïve but they are not brand new. None of my characters are capable of turning into bats, wolves or anything requiring a special uniform, especially a cape. They can’t leap over tall things, least of all buildings. They don’t wear masks or have faithful Indian companions. They don’t dress like they’re in Sherwood Forest and they don’t have a shapely fairy with dragon-fly wings who can sprinkle them with pixy dust and make their dreams come true. No ruby slippers, no magic Lamps. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with characters like that or people who write about them, it just that I don’t.
What you will find are people, ordinary average people who find themselves in extra-ordinary circumstances. People who have gotten themselves into a position that’s completely new to them and they have to figure out how to get out of it. If they don’t find a way the consequences will be severe and most likely fatal.
There’s a spiritual song called The Lonesome Valley. It says, `Nobody can go there for you’. While that’s true, there are many people willing to help them find the path to it, if they’re not careful. My characters can’t buy their way out, they can’t wish their way out. They can’t hope for the best, they can’t pretend it isn’t happening. They can’t say it’s all someone else’s fault. It’s their time in life to face the facts.
E.M. Forster said the only way to end a work of fiction in a satisfying way is with death or marriage. Both satisfactorily signal the end of the adventure. My writing never ends with all the questions neatly answered. Some of the conclusion is left to the reader to ponder. Some readers think this isn’t the way books should be but some books are, mine for example.
Whenever I’m faced with the prompt to say something about myself I’m stumped. Maybe it’s because when I read how other people have responded to that, with dates of birth, schools attended, jobs held, marriages tried, children raised, accomplishments they’re proud of, I’m a little to a lot bored by it. Resumes and vita sheets-I don’t know. I always thought the only difference between a resume and a prison record was who’s doing the writing, who’s the record keeper.
I was born in New York City. From a national perspective it’s a world class place, full of everything anyone could ever want. From someone who grew up there it was the biggest small town in the world. Most New Yorkers live in enclaves of a few thousand people and spend most of their lives in a limited geographical area. My years there were spent in Washington Heights-some trips downtown, once to Jersey, to a camp, sponsored by the church for poor kids, but mostly within the confines of a square mile or two. I failed to graduate from George Washington High School because I failed to attend most of the time. By the authority vested in the City of New York I was transferred from GWHS P.S. 192 to P.S. 614. The 600 schools were special. To put it simply, you went on Monday and came home in June. I’d probably still be there but, about this time, the transit authority built the second level of the George Washington Bridge through my bedroom, forcing us to relocate, relieving the city of its responsibility toward my education.
One night, some friends and me were sitting around bored, playing cards, in a furnished room, on 48th and Palisades, over the 300 Club, in Union City New Jersey. We were mostly jobless, older teenagers. I don’t remember how the subject came up but we were talking about military service. Henry said he liked the Air Force, they had cool raincoats. I said the Army was three years and that was better than the four years the air Force demanded so it was the better deal. We cut the cards for it. I drew a queen. We enlisted the next day, on the buddy plan, Henry and me. He got pneumonia the first week of basic training and that was the last I saw of him.
Through no fault of my own I served in the peace time army. I got my GED in the service. I earned the GI bill for my time. All in all I got the better of the deal. It paid all the way through to a master’s degree in education. My undergraduate advisor told me I was the brightest undergraduate he’d ever met. My son’s mother said I was the dumbest bastard she’d ever met. A hand full of one, a handful of the other. Neither held the ring of truth or the aroma, for that matter, I wanted from either relationship. I was probably somewhere in the middle. I was a counselor/instructor at the University of Minnesota. I worked with federal grants to help underprivileged students access higher education. I did that until the university and federal government decided educating the underprivileged was no longer something worth doing.
During this same period I worked in public relations photography for the music industry, photographing their artists when they came to town for concerts. I also did studio photography as well as teach photography for Metropolitan State University. I taught training classes for state employees in utilizing media to improve agency communication. I had five one-man shows of my Photographs at the universities and private galleries.
I have since worked as a Public Guardian and a private detective. There is a block of time in this later period that I refer to as The Lost Years. You’ll have to wait to hear about that.
Some days I am happy and some days I am sad, some days I feel good and some days I don’t. I dropped out of high school because I didn’t see the connection between tin exports from Bolivia, solving for X and teachers who didn’t seem to understand the limits of their responsibilities, but, more likely it was because I didn’t understand the limitlessness of my own.
So. Now I’ve said something about myself.
on Jan. 16, 2012 :
Tyler is truly a "soft boiled detective". I hate to compare him to Barney Fife but he comes mighty close. As a struggling writer Tyler decides that he needs to improve his biographical sketch that appears in his book. So he becomes a detective. It seems easy enough and it does add to his aura as an author.
At a book signing he is approached by a lady who needs his services. He accepts the case of returning her daughter who has not been returned from a visit with her father. Tyler and the friends he enlists to help him come up with an elaborate plan to kidnap the child back only to find out that the client has been lying to Tyler and he must work to undo what he has done.
It is an interesting read and gives one the idea that one needs to be careful with what he claims to be. A little detective work into the background of the client would have sufficed to save everyone a lot of trouble. Very good.
(reviewed 80 days after purchase)
on Dec. 31, 2011 :
I found this long novella to be a fun read. As others have stated, the storyline flow is confusing due to abrupt scene changes between paragraphs. The story would have flowed much better if these changes were defined by some sort of physical break like starting a new chapter.
It is true that the characters could have been developed more but that was not important to me. I cared only about Tyler and Angel as I see their relationship as a "to be continued" basis for more stories.
I give this a rating of 3.5 stars for significant formatting problems. I enjoyed the story and hope there are more to come.
(reviewed 65 days after purchase)
on Dec. 30, 2011 :
Friday, December 30, 2011Review: Tyler Palewhite: Soft-Boiled Detective by Joseph valentinetti
I liked it but is not a book I will reread again. The characters took awhile for me to care about them.
Tyler is a salesman who is always toward the bottom in sales. Tyler is always making excuses why that is. Plus he is always asking his friend to cover for him. Tyler wants to be a writer in fact he wrote one detective book and sent it off to lots of publishers. No short stories or articles just the one novel. It keeps on comming back rejected.
Tyler gets the idea to fake being a real detective to help sell his book. He then uses sales training to sell himself. He makes business cards,stationary and advertises. He starts getting a few cases that he does find the people by using computers. Then he gets cases that he bumbles through and with his friends gets over his head in trouble.
The ending was okay but I wanted a little bit more from it.
I was given this book from the author in exchange of honest review from librarythings.
(reviewed 63 days after purchase)
on Dec. 05, 2011 :
Just finished reading Tyler Palewhite, softboiled detective.
Wow, the ending was pretty intense! I liked this book, I felt Tyler was a sympathetic character who grew throughout the story, and would be interested in reading his further adventures. As an author myself, I could sympathize with Tyler's efforts to get his novel published and the falsehood he resorted to, to get what he knew to be a good novel out of the slush pile. The rocky transitions could be easily solved by double spacing between scene changes
(reviewed 22 days after purchase)
on Dec. 03, 2011 :
3.5 STARS - I won this book on Library Thing, along with the author's other short (short) story, Naming the Moon. This story was a big improvement over Naming the Moon in terms of style and substance. I took a half star off because I think the characters could have been developed so much more, the story fleshed out a little better, and also because the e-book formatting was a little off-kilter sometimes (no breaks in the writing for scene changes can be a bit disorienting when you're in the flow of reading and there's an abrupt shift). But this was still a good read - the author has talent that I expect he will be able to develop more fully in the years to come.
(reviewed 36 days after purchase)
on Dec. 02, 2011 :
This was a quick and fun read, however there were several problems. Perhaps it was the e-book formatting but is was quite jolting to jump from scene to scene with no text breaks.
The character of Tyler had potential but seemed to have immediate pity parties when his own inexperience and incompetence failed him. Only then would he proceed.
The fate of some characters was left hanging and altogether the story did not flow well. And is it just me or are any other readers tired of reading about writers as characters in books?
(reviewed 34 days after purchase)
on Nov. 27, 2011 :
I didn't finish this book. I had been expecting something along the lines of a tongue-in-cheek mockery of a noir detective story. Instead to me the story resembled (the book version of) one of those artsy films about the minutiae of some poor sad bloke's daily life. Unfortunately, books and films like that aren't really to my taste so this story will have to be enjoyed by someone else.
(reviewed 31 days after purchase)
on Nov. 17, 2011 :
I had a lot of trouble with this one. The story seemed rather thrown together and not all that well plotted out. There was no transition from section to section. One second the characters are in a bar talking then in the next sentence the main character is leaning over a cubicle wall at work? That makes it very confusing to set your mind’s eye to what’s going on in the story. I’m a very visual person so I like to imagine what everything looks like as the story goes on and that is very difficult to do with this book. Not to mention that the story itself is rather boring, I feel like I’ve read or seen this same story a hundred times.
This book is centered on a computer salesman that wishes desperately to become an author. He has written a book about a P.I. and when he realizes that no publishers want it, he decides to become a P.I. himself to help sell the book as if it’s based on actual stories from his job. (The thought that you can just jump into being a P.I. is a bit ridiculous, let alone the fact that he reads books about it and feels he knows what he’s doing? If he really did then he would know there’s licensing and actual detective work to do, and wouldn’t have ended up in the mess he was in.) Anyways, the story proceeds by him meeting a woman and trying to help her get her daughter back, when everything goes wrong.
I was glad this book was short and I really had to struggle through it. The ending didn’t really complete the story but left it off as if there should be another chapter.
(reviewed 20 days after purchase)
on Nov. 01, 2011 :
this was a book from Member Giveaway. I have to say, this was not, for me, a great book. It was short at least but probably should have been a little longer. It sometimes changed focus from one scene to a different location or group of people between one paragraph and the next without a word or notice to say that it had so i'd be confused at first thinking what just happened and where am I and who are these people and where did they come from before i realized we're now in a new place, sometimes even a new day.
It's about a salesman who isn't all that good at his job. He wants to be a writer and has penned a book about a Private Investigator but can't seem to get anyone to publish it until he pretends to be a detective in real life. He decides to take on a case so he can at least pretend and, flushed with the success of that case though only solved by his somewhat bumbling methods, he takes on another when asked by a beautiful woman with whom he instantly falls in love. She's not what she seems and her story isn't either. You can tell that straight away but he can't. He gets in over his head quickly and is snarled in a murder and kidnapping debacle.
I found the plot predictable, the writing too. The shift in focus was sometimes abrupt and distracting. There were chapter breaks, why not do it for those focus shifts, too?
I later realized that it was sort of like watching something on tv or in a movie but there, you have the visual and you can tell that you've changed a scene. On screen, things don't feel as rushed or abrupt but when you are reading it, it doesn't work very well. You need something to indicate the shift in focus, whether a short sentence, a new chapter or even little dots or graphics between those two paragraphs that give you more of a sense of separation.
The other thing that felt out of place were two sex scenes. The scenes themselves probably weren't out of place, but I don't think they needed to be quite so graphic. They didn't seem to match the tone of rest of the book so stumbling into these almost felt gratuitous.
The book has potential and probably would work well as a screenplay since it's written sort of like that but without the direction notes. The characters are a bit stereotype, the bumbling writer/salesman/detective, the faithful coworker who secretly loves him, the beautiful villain, her violent yet sometimes gentle co-hort, (a bit inconsistent, that). I think this was supposed to be a comic farce but the drawbacks took away from that element. It wasn't bad, but it could have been better.
(reviewed 4 days after purchase)