Left for Death follows a seasoned detective on his last case that turns out to be connected to a child trafficking with connections to the police department. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?
I wanted to create a story that was dark and emotional. I’ve read many cozy light-hearted Murder She Wrote kind of mysteries, but that’s not my writing style. I wanted it to be something that would hit the reader hard and make them wince a bit. Some reviewers have stated they felt the story was a bit too dark, and too much like real life, but that’s exactly what I was aiming for.
Detective John Sandes is an intriguing character. What were some driving ideals behind his character’s development?
He is loosely based on my late father Joseph D’Aquisto Sr. who died in 2002. Much of his back story is similar minus his career as a police detective. Both of their personal experiences with family members draw certain parallels. He had always talked about moving to Seattle when he was alive. That never happened for him. Funny enough, it was actually me who ended up living in the Pacific Northwest for several years in Vancouver, B.C. and spending lots of time in Seattle as well.
I kind of created this character using my father as a base. As I write a follow-up to Left For Death, I have to remind myself that John Sandes is not my father, and there are differences between the two. Sometimes I think to myself “Would my father really do something like this?”, well maybe not, but that’s okay because this character isn’t actually my father. I’m become more accepting of the fact that the characters are splitting a bit. The character of John Sandes will become more of his own in future books.
What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?
I think child trafficking is a huge problem today, and has been for a very long time. It was important for me to look at a serious crime. I didn’t want a reader to pick up my story to read about something petty.
Another theme that was important to me was family issues. I think many people assume that people have relatively normal upbringings. One of the most important lessons is not assuming everyone has similar upbringings and home-life situations
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
I am working on a sequel to this book. John Sandes will once again be the main character. It takes place a few years after.
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Left for Death: A Noir Detective Novella by Joseph D’Aquisto is a compelling crime fiction novella told from the perspective of Detective John Sandes. He details the riveting series of events that lead up to a gruesome crime, which happens right before he retired from the Seattle Police Department. It all started when he’d found a dead body at a crime scene and discovered a shocking connection to a little girl’s disappearance from a year ago. What soon followed was a tangled web of deception that led to a child trafficking ring and police corruption in his own department.
D’Aquisto knows how to tell a gripping crime tale with fast-paced action and lots of drama that colors every page. The events of the story are rich with intricate details of real-life ripped-from-the-headlines stories, like an episode from the television show Law & Order.
What I enjoyed about this crime mystery is that we get to learn about Detective Sandes’ life as well. He’s a veteran that reflects on his past mistakes while grappling with his physical and mental health. This makes Sandes both grounded and relatable, but still a very intriguing character.
The novella creates some vivid imagery of the locations and setting for the story which really brings to life Seattle and New York City and allows the characters to inhabit these spaces and makes the scene a part of the story rather than just the background. The story is very detailed as well, giving readers a great visual of the crime scene, the evidence, and the wild goose chase we’re taken on that goes in some unexpected directions, all the while relying on the skills of Detective Sandes to reveal the mystery to the reader.
While I enjoyed the mystery at the heart of this story, and the methodical unraveling of that mystery, I felt that the momentum of the story is sometimes slowed by a wealth of backstory and various moments where we’re told things rather than shown things. John Sandes is an interesting character and I think getting more of the story from his point of view would have been fascinating.
Left for Death is a gripping crime novel which summons the best elements of the noir genre that puts a stirring character in the midst of an enthralling mystery with thought-provoking repercussions.
Pages: 165 | ASIN: B093LLWTBJ
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Seattle Police Detective John Sandes is involved in one of the toughest cases in his career. What starts out to be a routine homicide case turns out to be much more. He constantly struggles with past mistakes in his personal life and that drives him to solve this case. At sixty-five, fighting physical health problems and emotional distress from his past, he knows his career days are numbered.
Sandes receives a missing person report for Leo Johnson. He finds Johnson dead in the bathtub from a gunshot wound to the head. While investigating the scene, Sandes discovers a photo of an eleven-year-old girl on Johnson’s bed. Sandes’ investigation finds him butting heads with a child sex trafficking ring. Sandes knows it is his very last case and that he must do whatever it takes to solve it before his retirement which is soon approaching.
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