Monday, August 17, 2015


Perfect at Midnight is pleased to present our interview with author Ruth Bainbridge. We love her mystery series and were curious to know more about her. We hope readers will be introduced to a wonderful new resource for fast-paced crime!  This woman can write! You can find reviews for the first three parts of The Curt Savage Mysteries posted below!
Favorite color: Yellow
Favorite food: Pizza
Favorite author: In mystery? Martha Grimes
Favorite movie: Rear Window
Favorite place to write: In my office. Well, I call it that, anyway
Guilty pleasure: Coffee and chocolate. If you’ve read my novels, this is not a surprise
Cats or Dogs: Cats, dogs, just about anything furry with four legs. I’m an animal lover
Coffee or Tea: Coffee. Strong, hot, and loaded with sugar
Your best advice: Be kind
1.  Why do you write?
I feel compelled to. There’s always been something inside, prompting me to go in that direction. I think my love of reading nurtured it along. While other little girls were reading Nancy Drew, I was headlong into Agatha Christie. I admired the way Ms. Christie wrote so much that it wasn’t long before I tried writing my own little stories. Fortunately, nobody laughed, so I kept on going and here I am today—an unrepentant author of mysteries.
2.  Why mysteries? What’s a nice girl like you doing in crime?
Hmmmm …. I suspect it has to do with me loving to solve puzzles. I don’t like loose ends and know that for every question, there’s a perfect answer that would explain everything away. I’m also an observer. While everybody else is talking, I’m looking around, seeing things that perhaps others miss. I notice the hidden things people do and think they get away with. And while I watch, I listen. I’m continually amazed at people making up these convoluted explanations to cover up secrets. Often the truth would serve them so much better than spinning a web of deceit, but I suppose it’s the psychology of not being caught that fascinates me. Combine all these together, stir, and you’ve got my reason for getting into crime—and loving it.
3.  What makes a good mystery?
Logically it has to be the crime itself. After all, a large percentage of murder mysteries start off with the victim being murdered, so it can’t be our connection to the victim. We learn about them, and their friends and family, after the fact. So I would say a crime, followed by an intriguing set of circumstances, a ton of suspects that all have a very good reason for doing in the hapless victim, a few red herrings, and loads of suspense.   
4.  I read in your bio that you have pets. Could you tell us a little about the four-legged, furry members of your family?
Yes, I have one very bad-tempered cat named Twister. He’s a tuxedo and a rescue, and even though he doles out bites and hisses in exchange for cuddles or saying something so audacious as “Good morning”, I love him dearly and would never consider parting with him. Not even for a nice gentle, fluffy cat that would behave.
5. What is your style of writing? Are you a plotter or do you fly by the seat of your pants?
I’m a seat of the pantser, but I’d hardly call what I do flying. It’s more like plodding along. However, I feel as long as I put something on the page that approximates writing, I’m one step further along than I was before I penned whatever it is I scribbled down. I also have a horrible habit of not taking notes of any of the character’s personal information. Since my memory is not that wonderful, I can be heard crying as I plow through the manuscript to try to find out just what color eyes someone has or how tall they are. I’m sure my neighbors get the wrong idea about this, but the weeping is just me … foraging for data.
6. Do you think it’s important for authors to read? If so, what’s your reading list look like these days?  
Dear Lord, yes! It’s imperative authors read. I have so many books loaded on my kindle that it’s ridiculous. I’m a member of several book promotion sites, and I can’t resist these deals. At the moment, I have Martha Grimes, Joyce Carol Oates, and Toby Neal waiting to be savored.
7.  Do you have a writing ritual?  
Is this where we discuss the acquiring and sprinkling of unicorn’s blood? If it is, I substitute ketchup because I would never think of harming a unicorn—not even to have my books break into the Top Ten.
Any ritual of mine starts with having a cup of coffee by my side. Add in a small sampling of peanut M&M’s or peanut butter cups, and we’re in business. Generally, I have to be near an open window (yes, even in the winter, the window is slightly open), and my beloved Twister needs to be somewhere nearby. Sometimes he’s flung across the table and sometimes he’s lounging on his kitty condo. Most often, he’s stretched across the windowsill, enjoying the slight breeze that’s usually rolling in. I tend to turn off all radios, TVs and such, and have things as quiet as possible before I begin. Once I do, I tend to like to write in chapters, but don’t beat myself up too badly if I only manage a page or two.   
8.  Do you find writing dialogue difficult? If not, what’s the secret of writing good dialogue?  
I adore writing dialogue. I think the secret is to understand that people involved in a conversation are not always going to speak perfect English. It doesn’t mean you have to go overboard, but it does mean that you shouldn’t have everyone speaking the same way. There’s an individual rhythm and pacing and it’s wonderful when authors can differentiate between characters in this way. It makes the character come to life even more vigorously than only relying on a description.
As for the secret, I believe it boils down to developing a love of listening in on other people’s conversations. Once you listen to how discussions really go down, you get a sense of how friends sometimes finish each other’s sentences and how sometimes things are left out off an explanation. The participants often only hint or refer to things that happened in the past. In mystery, this is a great device to use for keeping explosive information hidden for a little while longer. Another element is to always keep in mind that humans are very imperfect creatures. Instilling that into your character’s conversations can only infuse them with a humbleness that others can relate to and appreciate.
9.  What would you like readers to take away from reading a Ruth Bainbridge book?  
Lots of things. For one, I want them to be entertained and lose themselves in the story. Escape is a very important part of why we read so I would hope my works deliver that. Next, I want them to be surprised. Being predictable is nice in some circumstances, but not when it comes to writing mysteries. So I would like my readers to be delighted by not being able to anticipate what happens next. Lastly, I would hope they would feel an emotional bond or sympathy for the main characters. That’s my hope, anyway.
10.   What’s your next project? Do you have anything in the works?
Yes, I have several things. I’m almost finished with my first Alex Trout Mystery. It’s called MURDER MOST FOWL and should be out by next spring. Secondly, I’m working on the first book of a new series called DEADSPEAK. It’s a standalone series that has a strong theme of the paranormal running throughout its pages. There is a third surprise that I’m planning, but I refuse to say anything about it until it’s finished, edited, and published. This third work is not only different, it’s a major departure from anything I’ve previously attempted. I hope I’m up to the task of making it an absolutely take-your-breath-away, thrilling adventure.

Ruth Bainbridge
I was born in the idyllic, sleepy town of Ithaca, NY, and have been a lover of mysteries for my entire life. Ever since I was a child, I've consumed detective stories at regular intervals, becoming enamored with all the superstars of crime. I loved matching wits (and still do) with Hercule Poirot, Miss Marple, Thomas Pitt, Lord Peter Wimsey, Richard Jury and Edward X Delaney. In fact, I was so inspired by their brilliance that I began trying to emulate my writing idol's achievements by composing my own short stories. However, life interfered with my plans of becoming the next hopeful to try a life of crime--on paper at least. I devoted myself to my marriage and the raising of four delicious, sometimes obedient children. But the empty nest syndrome happened and gave me the impetus to return to my first love--murder.
The Curt Savage Mysteries are the first series I have out. I am feverishly working on Murder Most Fowl, an Alex Trout Mystery, and Deadspeak, a paranormal detective series. To keep up with all that's happening, I'd love you to join my newsletter.
This Mystery-Thriller Has It All!
Savage Summer by Ruth Bainbridge is one of the best debut novels I’ve ever read, it combines wit, humor, intricate plotting, suspense, and a cast full of likeable characters that you won’t soon forget.   
Curt Savage is our wounded hero. With his fiancée murdered, he’s struggling to get his life back together—all so he can track down the as yet unknown psycho that killed the love of his life. It’s at the start of this journey that Fate lends a hand. It’s in the form of new buddy Michelle “Mike” O’Brien. She’s one of the most engaging and complex characters I’ve had the pleasure to meet. And she appears at just the right time because it’s not long before Curt accepts his first case. Enlisted by his feisty neighbor Marge Danvers to solve the mystery of who poisoned her adorable dog Mooch, Mike is right there to help, as is Wolfie, an old friend from Curt’s police force days. Curt, Mike, Marge and Wolfie comprise the formidable and exceeding entertaining team that serve as the heart and soul of this novel. Game on!  
What happens next is a juggling act that had me holding my breath. It’s Fifty Shades of Ominous as the simple case of doggie felony quickly turns into something much more sinister. Out of the blue, an anonymous caller dubbed “Dr. Shadows” feeds Curt clues, but while the unknown tipster professes to know something about Ruth’s murder, can someone disguising his voice with a synthesizer be trusted? It’s what Curt is determined to find out, and when he dives down that rabbit hole, replete with tunnels leading to the other side of the moon, we go right along with him. Before he knows it, Curt is pulled into the maelstrom of a conspiracy that reaches into the depths of depravity.
The dialogue is wonderfully written as are the action scenes. There wasn’t a false note in the book that kept me on the edge of my seat. And I agree that Savage Summer is reminiscent of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. It really is a woven tapestry. I commend the author for her attention to detail and cleverness at inventing a story I totally and completely lost myself in. And the twists? They don’t stop coming until the very last page. Loved the stay at The Abyssinian, but that’s all I’m going to say although I really want to say more! Like a little something about the car ride … phone call … WHA’?!!! Talk about the rug being pulled out from under me! The cliffhanger that I never saw coming had me hungering for more!
If you’ve ever had a midnight craving where you’re not quite sure what you want, this is it! This is especially true if you love mystery-thrillers, spine-tingling suspense and a whole lot more. So give into the temptation. Read Savage Summer. The Curt Savage Mysteries are addictive, but I’m not going to fight this particular urge. It’s too much fun. It’s why I’ve already downloaded Savage Fall, the second in the series. I so can’t wait to find out what happens next! A big squee and five stars! 

SAVAGE FALL Series Rocks!!!
SAVAGE FALL is the second in THE CURT SAVAGE MYSTERY SERIES. If you love noir, action, sarcasm, and coffee combined into one intriguing witch’s brew, this one’s for you. In fact, you’ll need plenty of caffeine to keep up with this very fast-paced thriller.
The story picks up right where SAVAGE SUMMER lets off. Curt Savage leaves California and heads home. He no sooner lands, then Marge, his cranky next-door neighbor, gets him embroiled in a case involving a philandering husband. At least that’s what Bebe Clauson alleges. She’s sure her husband Nigel is cheating with a woman named Mildred, but needs to find out for sure before she kicks him to the curb. I kept hearing Destiny’s Child singing: “To the left, to the left” throughout!
I gotta say that Savage is at his sarcastic best in this suspense-thriller. While the name Mildred triggers a whole series of parries and thrusts, the investigation really begins with a visit to the Twisted Cherry Motel. The scene is hilarious, and his confrontation with desk clerk Jerry is classic. It contains some of the best one-liners ever. Lines such as, “There are a few rules in investigations, and one is to never cringe at the person’s appearance that you’re about to pump for info.”
Of course, Savage continues to discover more about his murdered fiancée, and what he finds is uber disturbing. The anonymous caller Dr. Shadows is there every step of the way, taunting Savage as he feeds him more clues. Then there’s the introduction of a new love interest. Will Ms. Victoria Marshall be enough to heal Savage’s broken heart? I don’t know, but Ms. Marshmallow is off to a good start. The abduction of Amy Weissman is not forgotten, and let me tell you that the answers uncovered are shocking. Then there’s this unexpected twist that had me shouting. I’m sure my neighbors were wondering what was going on, but I never saw it coming and it’s just one of the many surprises you’ll encounter.
In terms of style, there are multiple storylines going on, and I LOVE complex. Not many authors even attempt this feat because of the difficulty involved, but there’s an amazing clarity adhered to in SAVAGE FALL. Nothing gets tangled, lost or dropped. The paranormal that’s sprinkled in makes it all the more intriguing.  Let me just state that I was in detective heaven whilst reading this!
You know, there was another mystery I went bonkers over. Its name is THE OUTSIDER by Emily Organ. Now SAVAGE FALL and the entire CURT SAVAGE MYSTERY SERIES are dramatically different than Ms. Organ’s work. While THE OUTSIDER is classic English mystery, THE CURT SAVAGE MYSTERIES are pure noir. However, both do have one thing in common and that is playing on the sense of paranoia on how well we know our neighbors. The English have always gotten this aspect of what makes murders so frightening right. It’s why writers such as Agatha Christie, Ruth Rendell, and Caroline Graham are so popular. In films, Alfred Hitchcock had this element as an underpinning for most of his works. And it seems that Ms. Bainbridge also has discovered this key ingredient and uses it to her advantage in creating little masterpieces that keep us on the edge of our seats.
I’d also like give kudos to Ms. Bainbridge for the juggling act she performs in brilliantly weaving comedy into such heartfelt tragedy—and without missing a beat. The veering from one extreme to the other only enhances either the frivolity or terror of a scene and adds depth by toying with our emotions. It’s so difficult to do, but with deft hand, she manages to execute it superbly.
I highly recommend this book and series. It’s got everything a detective lover could ask for … and more! Just buy it!
Great job, Ms. Bainbridge!  I can’t wait to start SAVAGE WINTER. As for SAVAGE FALL, I’m giving this awesome entry in the series 5.0 stars because mysteries don’t get better than this!
SAVAGE WINTER superstar Crayton Lowell has died. While police ruled his overdose accidental, his sister Dakota suspects foul play. Curt Savage is hired to discover the truth, and with billions of dollars at stake, there’s a lot riding on the outcome of his investigation. Savage digs in, peering behind the glitz and glamour of the music biz. What he finds is the scummy underbelly where deals are struck and lives are ruined. Along the way, we learn all the tricks and meet all the tricksters who offer Savage this advice: “The Devil lives here … and what he manufactures is an illusion … covered by lies.”
This is SAVAGE WINTER, the third in the Curt Savage Mysteries and the best one yet. Exciting, suspenseful, intriguing, this book is cleverly-written and entertaining. I was completely blown away by the plot and characters. It’s totally original and unlike anything I’ve read before. This series has me hooked!
The City of Angels is the perfect backdrop for this tale of greed and wanton desire. The locale gives Savage the opportunity to reconnect with Sophia, and things quickly heat up. The scenes with her are smokin’ hot with just the right amount of sizzle. The Amy Weissman investigation is still on Savage’s mind, and the twists in that case are mindboggling! That’s all I’m gonna say! Oh, except you will never guess what happens! Never! Our favorite conspiracy theorist Blanchard is on the hand offering his brand of crazy as more clues about Ruth Warwick’s murder emerge. What Savage finds is disturbing, but not as disturbing as a warning from Dr. Shadows. “You’re trusting the wrong person again, and it’s going to cost you dearly.”
Truth? Fact? Fantasy? It’s up to Savage to find out. The writing is taut and the action doesn’t stop. This story doesn’t twist as much as writhe, so be prepared to hang on for dear life. The characters introduced are complex and so believable that I found myself wanting to hug a few—and slap many others. There’s so much packed into these pages, but the storyline … it speeds to a climax that will knock your socks off! I did not see that coming … did not!
My recommendation is to download this series ... and we’re talking immediately. If you love mysteries, treat yourself to this suspense-filled thriller!!! Five stars to this superb outing from Ruth Bainbridge! Lord, this woman can write! 


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