Uncle and Ants
A Silicon Valley Mystery Book 1
by Marc Jedel
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Mysterious attacks. Mischievous nieces. Can a clueless uncle catch a tech-savvy killer … and be home before bedtime?
When a freak accident hospitalizes Marty Golden’s sister and condemns him to babysitter duty, he thinks it’s just another case of hardwired bad luck in Silicon Valley. Until a suspicious murder suggests the mishap was no mere coincidence. Something must be done.
Too bad this quirky, fashion-backward uncle isn’t exactly hero material.
Convinced his sister is in mortal danger, this amateur sleuth follows clues to an oddball array of suspects. Armed with nothing but an eye for detail and powers of self-delusion, Marty tangles with gangsters, a cantankerous school secretary, and a perplexing woman he can’t help but fall for. Glitches in his investigation seem like a piece of cake compared to dinner-prep and bedtime stories with his two precocious, pre-teen nieces.
Can Marty catch the culprit, save his sister, and get his life back in order before he gets unplugged?
Uncle and Ants is the first novel in a refreshingly modern mystery series set in Silicon Valley. If you like clever humor, sassy side characters, and average Joes facing extraordinary circumstances, then you’ll love this twisty mystery.
Buy Uncle and Ants to login to a fresh, funny mystery today!
I realized I hadn’t updated my own, college-aged kids, Amanda and Eli, on their Aunt Laney’s status in the hospital.
GROUP TEXT TO AMANDA, ELI
MARTY: Girls at my place. Laney will be fine soon. Ice cream truck driver ok but truck totaled
AMANDA: Glad she’ll be ok
ELI: Yea. Good that both will be ok. Truck got what it deserved.
AMANDA: You used to like ice cream trucks :) Best prank ever! #EPIC
ELI: Childhood trauma
AMANDA: Never saw you run so fast
ELI: Thought truck had finally stopped at our stop sign and I could catch it
MARTY: She really got you
ELI: Who knew I had such an evil sibling
AMANDA: *insert evil laugh here*
Amanda had burned Eli with an impressive prank in middle school. Every day that summer, the ice cream truck raced past the house after lunch with the loud, iconic music creating an almost Doppler-like effect as the truck roared past. Ten years old at the time, Eli desired nothing more than to have the experience of buying an ice cream cone from the truck all by himself. He’d rush out the door, cash in hand, whenever he heard the truck, but never managed to flag the guy down. The driver must have used his truck to practice for Nascar.
One July weekend afternoon, Amanda found the ice cream truck music online, then set her speaker in the hallway outside the bathroom door while Eli showered. She hit play just as the shower turned off. He raced out the front door with his towel barely hanging on, only to discover no truck in sight and his sister’s riotous laughter thundering from the doorway. She’d pulled a world-class prank on him. Eli got over it, but not the disappointment of his futile endeavors to score an over-priced, freezer-burned Drumstick.
Although his mother and I would never have let him, Eli would have succeeded if he’d stood in the middle of the street waiting as the truck raced toward him. The truck’s automatic emergency braking system would have stopped it without hitting him … Like Laney’s car should have stopped on its own without hitting the truck.
How could Laney have broadsided a truck? Today’s cars all have automatic braking with advanced radar systems, not like the early versions when I grew up. And, for that matter, didn’t delivery drones also have autonomous controls to steer them away from collisions? Laney’s accident was starting not to feel very accidental.
I scrambled to locate Sergeant Jackson’s card and call him. It went straight to voicemail. I left him a rambling message asking him to check out what went wrong with the drone’s collision prevention system. I also suggested the ice cream truck driver could be a possible suspect, although this only made sense if Laney was part of a bizarre conspiracy/thriller movie. In the real world, ice cream trucks didn’t target people or have problems driving. Unless they were on a Rocky Road. Heh heh.
Chutes and Ladder
A Silicon Valley Mystery Book 2
Can super-agent (in his own mind) Uncle Marty solve not one, but two mysteries without becoming a victim himself? Will he ever be forgiven for bringing Buddy, the Labrador, into his sister’s house?
All your favorite characters from Uncle and Ants are back in a crazy, new adventure. Plus, introducing a new member of Marty’s family!
Marc Jedel writes humorous murder mysteries. In his high-tech marketing roles, he's also written fiction. These are just called emails, ads, and marketing collateral.
In his family, Marc was born first — a fact his sister never lets him forget, no matter what milestone age she hits. For most of Marc’s life, he’s been inventing stories. Some, especially when he was young, involved his sister as the villain. As his sister’s brother for her entire life, he feels highly qualified to tell tales of the evolving, quirky sibling relationship in the Silicon Valley Mystery series.
Family and friends would tell you that the protagonist in his stories, Marty Golden, isn't much of a stretch of the imagination for Marc, but he proudly resembles that remark.
Like Marty, Marc lives in San Jose, the heart of Silicon Valley, where he writes within earshot of the doppler effect of the local ice cream truck. Unlike Marty, Marc has a wonderful wife and a neurotic but sweet, small dog, who much prefers the walks resulting from writer’s block than his writing.
Visit his website, marcjedel.com, for free chapters of upcoming novels, news and more.
Guest Post by Marc Jedel, Author of Uncle and Ants: A Silicon Valley Mystery (Book 1)
How I Write (aka Where my books hang out before they come to me)
People always ask me how I get the ideas for my books. I’m always interested in understanding how other authors find their ideas. Some authors seem to swim in an endless supply of plots and characters, effortlessly plucking out one plot twist or character arc after another until they’ve burned through their keyboard. Those are the lucky authors.
So how does it work for me?
Research. That’s a fancy term for my process. I start by collecting funny anecdotes, interesting people or snatches of overheard conversations. As I go about daily life, I capture notes on my phone. Over the last few years, I’ve noticed that I pay much more attention to my surroundings than I ever did. I also have become more willing to approach strangers and ask them questions. Who’d have expected that the solitary life of a writer would make me more social?
Plot. At some point, I start adding plot ideas. My extensive research into writing clearly highlighted the importance of having a plot. All those other successful authors must be on to something. I try to come up with ideas for problems to throw at Marty (my protagonist). Sometimes ideas hit me on how he’s going to solve the case through his powers of self-delusion, attention to detail, and the inability to leave a coherent voicemail message.
Characters. Once I developed the concept for a few of my regular characters, I find myself wondering how one of them would react to a specific situation or whether I can make life more difficult for them during the course of the book. Having Uncle and Ants take place over the course of just one week was a deliberate approach to force myself to increase the pace and make the characters act and react more often.
Jokes, Dad Jokes, Puns, and Lyrics as Humor. These make me laugh as I’m writing the book. My humor is spontaneous. Sometimes that spontaneity happened months ago and I wrote it down and sometimes it strikes as I’m writing. Typically, the use, or misuse, of parts of music lyrics as dialogue hits me on the spot. Same for most of the puns. Fortunately for the readers, my editor is awesome and she removes the humor attempts that don’t make it across the finish line.
Outline. Some writers are ‘pantsers’. This means they fly by the seat of their pants, writing without a detailed plan. Not that they wear pants. Some authors probably do wear pants when they write. That’s kind of a personal question best unasked during an author’s tour.
I outline. I admit to it. If I didn’t, I’d still be trying to figure out how Uncle and Ants would end, or who gets killed. Creating an outline with each scene on one line of a spreadsheet helps me to look at holes, try to spread out when different side characters show up, and make sure the action keeps moving forward at a good clip. Then I go through all my notes and put most of the notes into the relevant scene so I can include all the right amount of humor as well as balance humor vs tension. Once that’s done, there are no more excuses. It’s time for the next stage.
Write and Edit. This part sounds simple — write, edit, repeat. Eventually magic makes it good.
My book, Uncle and Ants: A Silicon Valley Mystery, is a humorous murder mystery. Silicon Valley is not your typical cozy mystery locale and Marty Golden doesn’t fit the normal profile of a mystery protagonist. Despite finding himself thrust into challenging situations, Marty isn’t exactly hero material. He has a wonderful combination of wit, irreverent humor and sarcasm mixed in with nerdy insecurities, absent-mindedness, and fumbling but effective amateur sleuthing skills. With an active, inner voice and not a lot of advanced planning, he throws himself into solving problems.
Now’s a great time to read Uncle and Ants (available on Amazon and free via Kindle Unlimited) because Chutes and Ladder, book 2 in the Silicon Valley Mystery series, will be released soon. Read the first chapter of either book free, learn more about the author or books, and find out about special offers at www.marcjedel.com.
Follow the tour HERE for exclusive excerpts, guest posts and a giveaway!
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