I'm going to be sharing a book event with Michael Lister on Sunday, 2-4 p.m. at the Bay County Public Library. We'll be discussing our latest projects and doing some reading, and there will be books to sign and sell if you're interested in that sort of thing. Here's a column I did about Michael's new novel:
Soldier reups for second noir adventure
PANAMA CITY — Private eye Jimmy “Soldier” Riley seems dead set on discovering what lies beyond that final farewell in local author Michael Lister’s latest novel.
“The Big Beyond” is a sequel to Lister’s “The Big Goodbye,” which introduced Riley, a hardnosed detective living and working in 1940s Panama City. Rich in historical details, the story is gritty and tragic, as good noir tends to be.
“Beyond” picks up immediately after the events of “Goodbye,” with Riley recovering from injuries both physical and emotional. It hits the ground running, too, as Riley is almost immediately kidnapped and horribly tortured. It seems the trouble he stirred up in his previous outing had much deeper roots than he suspected.
Riley hovers near death, but can’t let go while he still has a score to settle and more than a few injustices to square — all while searching wartime Panama City for a dangerous serial killer who combines art and murder.
“I love Panama City, and I’ve enjoyed writing about the way it was in the 1940s far more than I ever would’ve imagined,” Lister said. “So much was going on here at the time, and it’s just such an interesting and cool era. And this time I got to explore what was happening to Japanese-Americans and what was going on in the art scene at the time. I foresee coming back to Soldier and his friends over and over again.”
A Wewahitchka native, Lister has had 12 novels, three short-story collections and three nonfiction books published. The John Jordan mysteries, also known as Lister’s “Blood Series,” are the author’s most popular and most acclaimed works, with kudos from “Publisher’s Weekly” and “Ellery Queen Magazine,” among others.
“The Big Beyond” will be followed by a third Soldier Riley adventure to complete an initial trilogy; Lister said Riley has other stories still to tell. He’s currently offering a Soldier short story prequel in ebook format and is hard at work on the third book in the series.
“I’ve always loved both film noir and the classic hardboiled detective genre,” Lister said. “ ‘The Big Beyond’ has given me another opportunity to explore and pay homage to them both.”
CityArts Cooperative will step back in time for a ’40s Night release party celebrating the era and the release of the new novel at 6 p.m. today. The public is invited to come in costume or as you are, and enjoy live 1940s music, a costume contest, book signing and reading, film noir, dancing and much more.
Then, from 2-4 p.m. Sunday, Lister will discuss “The Big Beyond,” writing, North Florida and many other topics with this writer in a dual interview format: We will interview each other about recent and upcoming projects, read from our latest work and sign books.
’40s NIGHT PARTY
When: 6-10 p.m. Friday, April 5
Where: CityArts Cooperative, 318 Luverne Ave., Panama City
What: Step back in time and experience Panama City in the 1940s with friends and fans of Jimmy “Soldier” Riley, the private eye protagonist of the new novel from Michael Lister, “The Big Beyond.” Come in costume or as you are. Featuring live ’40s music, games, prizes, book signing and reading, and film noir.
BEYOND ‘THE BIG BEYOND’
When: 2-4 p.m., Sunday, April 7
Where: Bay County Public Library, 898 W. 11th St., Panama City
What: Presentation by Michael Lister with Tony Simmons, discussing writing approaches and more; with books available for signing and purchase
Hope to see you there.