I Didn’t Know The Killer

Debbie Burke Author Interview

Death by Saxophone follows a radiology tech with a love for jazz who becomes embroiled in the unthinkable when a smooth jazz musician is found bobbing in the Verrazano Narrows. What were some sources that informed the development of this novel?

Well, I come from that area and know the vibe there, between the small restaurants and clubs with back rooms and spending time on the boardwalk and the handball courts. I grew up with all that. As far as music, I first came upon “bone records” as a thing from an article on the NPR website that I read around 2020 and I was fascinated by the whole idea. The Cold War and the fact that American music was forbidden in Russia (which was why bone records, also called “X-ray records,” were created) sparked the kernel of the idea for the book.

I enjoyed the mystery in this story. Did you plan it before writing or did it develop organically while writing?

Thank you! I planned the main arc but “organic” is a great way to describe how it unfolded. I didn’t know the killer till pretty deep into the process!

What were obstacles that you felt were important to developing Becka Rifkin’s character?

Traveling to Russia knowing it could become a real problem; political issues are brewing in 2016 that involve relations between the US and Russia, but Becka is determined to go there and see the bone records for herself. Plus, of course, her love interest. She can’t get this guy off her mind after all these years (they met when she was a teenager and he moved back home to St. Petersburg, Russia). When they reunite, she falls for him hard and becomes conflicted about going home but even more concerned about the secrets he doesn’t share. And there are plenty of those!

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

I’m working on Volume 3 of my nonfiction series Tasty Jazz Jams for Our Times. It’s a book filled with interviews of contemporary jazz musicians and will be out later this year. My amazing designer created another beautiful cover, and I can’t wait to show it off!

As far as my next novel, it’s another murder mystery; a coming together of the classical music world and the jazz world after a new symphony by a famous composer is accidentally discovered, and somebody, somewhere, is more than willing to kill for it. The musical score has a hidden meaning written into it that, once revealed, puts the main character, a middle-aged cellist, in harm’s way. Like all my main characters, she’s tough, smart and believe me, flawed.

It will probably be out in 2024.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

If Jerry Zolotov gets one more bouquet of black roses with a threatening note, he’s gonna hang up his sequined jumpsuit and throw his sax into the Atlantic Ocean, just minutes from his home in Manhattan Beach, Brooklyn. Adored by fans for decades and with several platinum albums, the smooth jazz musician has just purchased a once-in-a-lifetime piece of history, the Holy Grail of jazz contraband: a Russian “bone record” produced on discarded X-rays during the Cold War and sold on the black market. The record has a very special provenance—and, as it turns out, a very dangerous one.

Meanwhile, in the nearby neighborhood of Little Odessa, radiology tech Becka Rifkin is dying to reconnect with an old flame who moved back to Russia. Then he happens to mention a newly discovered bone record that just became available. Unable to turn down the chance to own this very rare collectible, Becka books her flight.

When Jerry Z is found bobbing in the Verrazano Narrows, Becka becomes embroiled in the unthinkable.

About Literary Titan

The Literary Titan is an organization of professional editors, writers, and professors that have a passion for the written word. We review fiction and non-fiction books in many different genres, as well as conduct author interviews, and recognize talented authors with our Literary Book Award. We are privileged to work with so many creative authors around the globe.

Posted on January 3, 2023, in Interviews and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.


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