My Good Deed for the Decade

Was on the computer and the phone all morning going back and forth with my agent, publisher, PR guys, print media people, event planner, my Social Media Guru and other assorted lunatics, when finally I decided to go out for a run before my head exploded.

By mile four I finally started to settle down.

The Social Media guy especially had me going. He’s blowing Facebook ads that do exactly what all the reviewers have been doing from day one, pairing my name with my great hero and role model, “Robert B. Parker.”


“By this time next week, over 100 million pairs of eyeballs will be checking out ‘James Phoenix, THE NEXT ROBERT B. PARKER,’ 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.”

Got me to thinkin.

Anyway, I finally finished up my run, got my head at least halfway straight and was doing my cool down walk, when a woman even more past it than I am, walking her dog, went down in the snow.

Had to be in her 80’s at least.

She wasn’t hurt, but there was no way she was going to get up on her own.

I handed her her cane and her dog’s leash, then gently lifted her and carried her to dry pavement...She was giggling all the way.

There’s a lesson there. If my lovely bride ever recovers her eyesight and gives me the old heave-ho, I’ll head right for the home where the chicks still appreciate a guy me.

Take note, young fellas...”Always have a back up plan.”

All in a days work,

James Phoenix

My name, James Phoenix, is constantly being paired with my great hero and role model, the late, Robert B. Parker and his Spencer & Hawk Mystery series.

We see this is 99% of our rave reviews and of course we’re constantly getting feed back from our readers saying the exact same thing.

Why? Because, just like Parker, or for that matter, Parker’s great hero and role model, the late Raymond Chandler, best known to us for his long running Philip Marlowe mystery series, my Fenway Burke Mystery series is what they call dialogue driven with minimal flowery description.

With the dialog driven writing style we get to know the characters by what they say, and that’s how the story unfolds as well. If it’s done properly, it’s almost as if you’re watching a stage play or movie rather than reading a book and this formula makes for a very quick fun read.

With my work and the two giants of the genre who came before me, both Chandler and Parker, you’re into the story by page two and the action doesn’t let up until you turn the very last page.

What the reviewers are saying and they happen to be absolutely right is:

“As Chandler was to Parker, so Parker is to Phoenix. James Phoenix is #3 in the succession.”

Our novels are not thought provoking. None of us have any great point or moral we’re trying to get across. They are nothing but pure entertainments, books that you read when you don’t want to think, when you really need a break, as everyone does.

And now for the spooky part...My given name is James Brown, but I couldn’t very well use that as a pen name because I felt it should be reserved exclusively for the other “Hardest Working Man In Show Business, the Godfather of Soul, the Late, Great, James Brown.”

I had a number of reverses in my career as so selected Phoenix Brown as my nom de plume, doing the Phoenix rising from the ashes thing.

But somewhere along the line, someone suggested I go with James Phoenix instead as I was used to people calling me Jim. Made sense, I switched over.

Now the die is cast, I have a three-book contract on the Fenway Burke Mystery Series and a spin off series in the works as well, all under the name of James Phoenix.

A couple of weeks ago I was on my hero, Robert B. Parker’s Facebook page and made one very startling discovery...Turns out the B stands for B-R-O-W-N!

But it gets better...Parker’s long-term agent was Helen Brann.

Brann is a derivation of Braun, which is of course German for B-R-O-W-N.

And my mother’s name, if you can handle it, was Helen.

Told you it was spooky.

Had I known this in advance, there’s no way I ever would have switched over to James Phoenix...I would forever have been known as Phoenix Brown.

Oh well, a rose by any other name...

James Phoenix

Monday February 4th:
I did lunch at Soma in Beverly and formally signed with my new Social Media guy, Christopher Castro. This is long over due for me, but dinosaurs tend to move a little slower than the rest of the world.
You have to understand, when I was a kid, we didn’t have a refrigerator, we had an “ice box.”...NO JOKE.
“Frame Up,” the very first novel in the “Fenway Burke Mystery Series” is getting nothing but rave reviews. Amazon’s # 1 Hall of Fame Reviewer, Harriet Klausner set the tone with our very first review off an advanced copy in late August. Here’s her take on “Frame Up” here:http://ow.ly/hGern

We’ve had twenty-four odd reviews in since that time, every single one of which saying the exact same thing...”James Phoenix is THE NEXT ROBERT B. PARKER.”

“Sons of Spade,” a big mystery site in the Netherlands, also gave “Frame Up” FIVE STARS, did my very first full length author interview and in late December selected “Frame Up” as the BEST DEBUT NOVEL OF THE YEAR. 

A couple of weeks later, “Black Mask Magazine” came to the very same conclusions, naming “Frame Up” the BEST of the YEAR.

Cool stuff, huh? I mean really, I came to the world of letters from completely out of the blue. Go to my site,www.jamesphoenixnovels.com and click on to “The Story Behind the Story” and it will jump right out at you, exactly what I had to go though to get to this point, thousands upon thousands of pages written, over 508 rejection letters, all kinds of false turns, set backs and disappointments, a project I first thought would take one to maybe two years to finally take off taking more than fourteen and on and on and on.

It’s an extremely dramatic story and falls clearly under the heading of “The Triumph of the Little Man,” but even now we’re still not out of the woods altogether.

The reviews universally have been raves...The reader reactions ditto...Just as Robert B. Parker, who has been called The Dean of the Mystery Genre,” followed in the footsteps of his great hero, Raymond Chandler, so I, James Phoenix, am following in the footsteps of my great hero, Robert B...To date we’ll heard back from 310 ribald Parker fans.

After having read my work, they were asked just two questions:

Is the work of James Phoenix on a par with his great hero, Robert B. Parker?
Would you buy it?

We have yet to get a single NO answer on either question...It’s 310 to 0 in favor.

So how come we’re still not out of the woods?

Very simple...To date “James Phoenix” is the best kept secret in the Mystery Genre.

The one and only thing separating us from an enormous success is E-X-P-O-S-U-R-E.

And that is where my new pal, Chris Castro fits in...You can expect more and more rave reviews...And thanks to Chris, one hell of a lot more about my favorite author.

All things are possible,
James Phoenix