What to expect from “The Devil’s Wind: A Spider John Mystery”

Thinking about nabbing my second historical mystery set in deadly pirate waters? “The Devil’s Wind,” can be pre-ordered now and hits stores and e-readers on Sept. 11. Here are a few things about the book I’d like readers to know as the release date approaches:

1. If you have not read the first Spider John book, “The Bloody Black Flag,” don’t worry. I am writing a serial character, but you do not have to read the books in order and you won’t be lost if you start with the second book.

2. If you did read the first book, don’t worry. The new book is not a rehash. It features Spider John, of course, and my reluctant pirate is still trying to find his way out of the dangerous trade and back to wife and child, but the plot and tone of this book are quite different. You still get pirates and murder, but Spider has to do a bit more traditional sleuthing this time around. I also think the story moves along faster in “The Devil’s Wind.”

3. Readers of “The Bloody Black Flag” seem to like Hob, the young fellow who dreams of pirate glory even as Spider tries to set him on a different course. Those readers will be happy to learn that Hob features in “The Devil’s Wind” and gets to do more swashbuckling this time around. He also has developed an eye for the ladies in this book, and that means trouble.

4. Odin, another character from “The Bloody Black Flag,” is back, too. I really like this crusty son of a bitch with his tall tales and devil-may-care attitude. This time out, his pirate past catches up to him, and we see him frozen with fear.

5. I mentioned earlier that Hob has become something of a ladies’ man. One of the women who turns his head in “The Devil’s Wind” is Abigail Brentwood, the captain’s daughter. Sweet and beautiful, she finds several of the men aboard Redemption paying her attention, although she does not encourage it. Another woman Hob can’t ignore is a red-headed passenger who hides a gun beneath her skirt and whispers in the dark of murder and violence.

6. Those women turn Spider’s head, too; he wants to get home to Em, but … home is far away.

7. The body count in this one is lower, but there still is plenty of swordplay, gunplay and bloodshed.

8. In the first book, real pirates from history are mentioned but do not figure in the plot. Their exploits and legend are part of the background. This time, real-life pirates figure in the story.

9. I have been asked how many future Spider John books are in the offing. I am writing a non-pirate novel for now, but I have begun research and outlining for a third Spider book, tentatively called “A Bottle of Souls.” That one will be set mostly on land, a big change from the first two. Spider will find himself on a personal quest that has him trying to solve serial murders while dodging pirates who want to kill him and lawmen who want to hang him. It ought to be fun.

I also have figured out most of the plot for a fourth Spider John book, tentatively titled “Pieces of Eight,” but I have a decent idea for another Spider book that I may need to squeeze in between “A Bottle of Souls” and “Pieces of Eight.” So we shall see.

So …

Any questions regarding Spider or “The Devil’s Wind” or anything? Ask below. If I can answer without spoilers, I will do so.

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