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  • Writer's pictureJohn Clarkson

What's Happening with James Beck #3?

After readers finish one of my new James Beck books, many of them want to know if there is another book planned. Or, even better, they encourage me to keep writing more sequels.

So – for those of you who are curious about the next sequel – here’s what’s happening with Book #3.

Naturally, the work on Book #3 has been shaped by Books #1 and #2: AMONG THIEVES and BRONX REQUIEM.  I want each book to be its own type of story, and add another dimension to James Beck and his tightknit crew.

Among Thieves

The first Beck book, AMONG THIEVES, introduced the characters, the broad themes, the milieu, the setting, etc. – all revealed through action as much as possible.  I do not like a lot of exposition, particularly in thrillers.  In terms of story type, AMONG THIEVES is a survival against overwhelming odds story.

As the title suggests, Book #1 exists in an insular milieu, among thieves.  Beck’s guys are outsiders, ex-cons, living in their own world.  The various enemies they face inhabit their own insular worlds: finance, war criminals, arms dealers, a secret government agency, and law enforcement. AMONG THIEVES does not take place in normal, civilized circles.

Bronx Requiem

With BRONX REQUIEM, I wanted to bring Beck and his men more out into society.  I also wanted to fill-in a bit of Beck’s background.  In terms of story type, at its core BRONX REQUIEM is a murder mystery.  And, although I’m not sure everyone gets this, while AMONG THIEVES was ultra-masculine, BRONX REQUIEM is much more feminine.  Women characters are more present.  Not surprising since the novel evolved out of outrage against sexual exploitation of women and girls.

With BOOK #3 (I’ve got a title, but I’m not revealing it just yet) I’m going to continue broadening the scope of the series. Themes will include guilt, family, loyalty, how sins of the past affect actions in the present, as well as the overall theme of all good crime thrillers: justice.  

Of the three novels in the series, BOOK #3 will have Beck acting more on his own, partly to protect his crew from repercussions that threaten them because of a decision Beck makes early in the story.  In term of story type, BOOK #3 will be a serial killer story.

As for my progress, I’m three-quarters through with what I consider the penultimate draft before it goes to the editor.  After this draft, I will have the story worked out completely.

There will be one more draft when I try to polish everything and get it ready to submit to the publisher.  After that, (in case you’re interested) there will be at least two drafts based on the story edit, then a review of the copy-edited manuscript, and finally a review of the typeset manuscript.  Lot more work to be done, but not much of the core creative will change.

I don’t know if that’s a satisfactory update on “what’s happening with Book #3”.  I can tell you it’s much more than I ever discuss or reveal about a work in progress.  I never say much at all to anybody about anything.  For instance, the first time my wife knew I was writing a novel is when I told her I’d signed a contract with the publisher.  The first thing she saw was the printed hardcopy.  This isn’t because I’m secretive or superstitious.  It’s because I believe talking about a book I’m working on is dangerous.  I believe if you talk about a story, your subconscious thinks you’ve already written the story and it stops working on it.  

Other than that, all I’ll say is that, yes, there will be a Book #4.  I have a rough idea of what kicks off the story, nothing more.  Check back in a year or so.  

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