Happy Monday, friends!
We at Diversity Between the Pages hope you had a great weekend! I (Toni) am kicking off the week with an interview with Cortez Law. Cortez has stopped by to talk about his latest novel, Serial Rites.
Let’s get started!
About the Book
The Blurb: “Atlanta Homicide Sergeant Malcolm Hobbs’ strength: Acute intuition into human nature. His weakness: Loss of faith in God. Despite his immense ability, he’s on the edge and contemplates quitting. The mystery of Hobbs is his sanity. Will his spirit and soul unite in time to resolve his trauma or will they divide too late to stop him from experiencing the peace of God as they rage a live or die war?
In the psychological thriller, SERIAL RITES, a prequel to KREMLIN TIDE (2014) and COLD LICK (2015), Hobbs’ detective skills encounter one of the most compelling cases in his career, but there’s a big problem. A precarious Hobbs isn’t at full strength and he’s breaking in a new Detective to his team in former Columbus, Ohio hotshot, Shepard Cush.
When Hobbs and his elite team of investigators nicknamed, The X-Men, discover the catalyst to the murders, they must decipher the puzzling schematic from the cold heart of a psychopath known as, The Profiler.
Atlanta’s confidence in the high-profile detectives is on trial against this meticulous and motivated predator with a macabre M.O. The question is will The Profiler’s blood-lustful vision satisfy him enough not to include The X-Men themselves?”
Toni: Thank you so much for joining us at Diversity Between the Pages to talk about your novel, Serial Rites. Tell us about the X-Men detectives.
Cortez: Thank you for having me, Toni. The X-Men Homicide Squad includes:
- Sergeant Malcolm X. Hobbs: His faith and psyche are in shambles when his spirit, soul, and body wage a life or death war despite a stellar career.
- Detective Orlando Queen: He struggles to let go of a prior love in Selena and disapproves of her current man, Ernest Brown.
- Detective Pepper Love: Her relationship with Malcolm and Selena will be sorely tested. This may get ugly.
- Detective Selena Monet: She’s intricately tied into this case and that could cost her very dearly.
- Detective Shepard Cush: A funny and bold new hire, he fights for respect amidst professional and personal pressures.
The detectives reflect African-American and gender diversity by design. Also, some characters live Christian lives and some others don’t just like real life.
Toni: Definitely an interesting and diverse cast of characters. Malcolm Hobbs is the lead detective. How is his faith (or lack thereof) integral to the plot?
Cortez: Yeah, Malcolm’s faith takes a serious journey into darkness, the catalyst of which I won’t disclose (please read the book). The reader might not have experienced the same situation, but will still be able to identify with him. The world can be a cruel and unjust place for all of us in different ways. I hope the reader will sympathize and empathize with Malcolm, but also take heart in that the human spirit is resilient. With God, all things are possible to them that believe. But it’s also important as Malcolm struggles to learn that God will put spiritual bumpers in our paths to steer us back on course.
In addition, another story track runs parallel to Malcolm’s for contrast and can lead to greater introspection for the reader as well.
We all have daily choices to make that affect our destinies.
Toni: This is a psychological thriller. Who are the authors who influenced you in this area?
Cortez: I think more films than books influenced Serial Rites. After watching The Silence of the Lambs movie, I wanted to write a story like that one day and that film came out in 1991! It was based on a Thomas Harris novel as was the film adaptation, Red Dragon. Jeffery Deaver’s novel-to-film adaptation, The Bone Collector, with Denzel Washington was another film that planted those psychological thriller roots in me. The big screen story Se7en also played a part.
Toni: What a list of movies! What kind of research did you have to do for this novel?
Cortez: I read several books on criminal psychology/motivations. I read books and articles and watched documentaries on real-life killers like Ted Bundy, Jeffery Dahmer, John Wayne Gacy, the BTK serial murderer Dennis Rader, the Green River Killer, Gary Ridgway and others.
Toni: Sounds like you did your research. When did you first know you wanted to be a writer?
Cortez: I was always creative as a child through drawings, mock football games with plastic soldiers and animals. The writing began with a sports writer position on a junior high school newspaper for a couple of years. But in college, I took a copywriting class and had to create a couple of commercials for real-life small businesses as part of the course. Later in college, I took a screenwriting class and that was it. From that point on whether film, TV, or books, I continued to write. I tend to write with the TV on for background noise though I believe I’ve rewritten books with jazz instrumentals doing their thing as I did.
Toni: I’m a big music listener when writing. Who is your favorite X-Men (Marvel style)?
Cortez: Interesting question, Toni. I always loved Spider-Man. Thanks to the movies, Iron Man, Wolverine and Black Panther challenge ol’ Spidey.
Toni: Oh, I can’t wait to see Black Panther! Last but not least, what’s next for you on your writing journey?
Cortez: Serial Rites marketing, the next X-Men Homicide Squad story and the sequel to the science fiction/thriller, S.Y.P.H.E.N. Thanks for taking the time, Toni!
Toni: You’re very welcome! Praying you success on your writing journey.
About the Author
Cortez Law III is the author of five independently published books. The romance novel, My Brother’s Keeper (2001), the Atlanta X-Men Homicide Squad suspense/mystery/thriller novels Kremlin Tide (2014), Cold Lick (2015) and Serial Rites (2017) and the science fiction/thriller, S.Y.P.H.E.N. (2015). He resides in the Metro Atlanta, Georgia area. Visit him online at www.cortezlaw.net.