Blog Tour: Motor City Shakedown by Jonathan Watkins

Posted 30 September, 2015 | Mary @ TheBookSwarm | Blog Tour, Giveaway | 4 Comments


The Book Swarm is pleased to welcome mystery author Jonathan Watkins to the blog today as part of his Motor City Shakedown (Oct. 5, 2015; Carina Press) tour around the blogosphere. Featuring a couple of lawyers with some issues (alcoholism and panic attacks — neither which is very conducive to high-powered lawyering), this story runs these two ragged as they land smack in the middle of drug traffickers and corrupt cops. Watkins was nice enough to write a guest post for us, taking on the challenge of narrowing down the books, movies and TV shows that inspire him. And, hey, check out the giveaway at the end of the post!

Books, movies and/or TV shows that inspire author Jonathan Watkins

I am an admitted pop culture and entertainment junkie, so compiling anything close to an exhaustive list of books, movies, and TV shows that have inspired me would keep me busy into the next year.

In the interest of brevity, I offer here the various inspirations that specifically helped to influence my writing Motor City Shakedown. Darren and Izzy did not spring from my brow fully formed, after all, and I think its good form to acknowledge other writers and performers who unknowingly nudged me along in the creative process. Here goes!


  • The Spenser novels of Robert B. Parker. If you’re a Spenser fan, then you already know that one of the central relationships in those stories is the one shared by Spenser and Susan Silverman. I was always taken with the mutual respect and admiration those two characters showed each other. It was a smart, loving, and intelligent partnership between two radically different people. I think it definitely informs the way I approach Darren and Izzy.
  • Elmore Leonard. If you pick up just about any of his books and open it to a random page, you’ll be confronted with the best dialogue in fiction. Nobody wrote people talking to each other like Leonard did. I strive in vain to get somewhere in the same ballpark, because that’s the best you can hope for if you’re comparing yourself to him.


  • Romancing the Stone, The Princes Bride, The African Queen, Ladyhawke, The Thomas Crowne Affair, and a host of others that all have one thing in common: a great mixture of adventure and romance. I think the best stories always have both. That’s what I wanted to write with the Bright & Fletcher series; compelling adventures that force two people to work together who, in time, fall in love and continue adventuring as a team. I’m a sucker for just about any movie that offers that basic premise.
  • Moonlighting. Do people remember that funny, zany show from the mid-80’s? It launched Bruce Willis’ career and for a couple seasons it managed a perfect combination of sexual tension between the two leads and a “mystery of the week” plot. Admittedly, once the main characters consummated their love, the show took a nosedive and died an ignominious death. Still, I have very fond memories of the smart, quippy exchanges between David Addison and Maddie Hayes. That fondness, I hope, can be seen in the nudging, teasing way that Darren and Izzy have fun with each other in my books.

I’m sure there are plenty more I could add to the ledger of inspirations, but this is a pretty good representation of the sorts of stories that have served as solid building blocks for what I set out to create with the Bright & Fletcher Mysteries: two lead characters falling in love, crackling banter, and enough danger abounding to keep them both on their toes when they aren’t in the sack. Thanks for the chance to let me share some of the things that helped bring Darren and Izzy to life!

Motor City Shakedown_LRMotor City Shakedown by Jonathan Watkins

Mystery; Kindle edition, 222 pages; published: October 5, 2015 by Carina Press; source: publisher
Goodreads | Amazon | B&N

Darren Fletcher, once the rising star of Detroit’s criminal justice system, has fallen far. All the way to an office in a smoky dive bar on the wrong side of the city. But a single phone call could be the key to climbing out of his downward spiral: a police brutality victim needs his help, and the family’s willing to pay. Big-time.

Issabella Bright’s daily panic attacks aren’t entirely due to her decision to forgo a flashy firm and go out on her own, but that’s a large part of it. She never thought she’d resort to ambulance chasing, until the story about a SWAT raid gone wrong proves too intriguing to ignore—it’s the perfect chance to prove she made the right decision.

But Issabella’s not the only one after the job.

Darren’s connections are enough to get past the cops stonewalling them both at the hospital, but only a judge’s order makes Issabella even consider teaming up with the disheveled attorney and his weird—and weirdly effective—methods. But as the case deepens and it becomes clear the Detroit PD is concealing a much bigger conspiracy, Darren and his methods may be all that keep her alive.

JWatkinsAbout Jonathan Watkins:
Website | Twitter | Goodreads

Jonathan Watkins lives and works in Ann Arbor, Michigan. He earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Art and Children’s Literature from Eastern Michigan University and his Juris Doctorate from Thomas M. Cooley Law School. A life-long fan of detective fiction, Jonathan is the author of the Bright and Fletcher mystery series. He lives in Ann Arbor with his wife, who is too good for him. They are blessed with two kind-hearted sons.

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