If you live in the proper part of the world, you might want to check out a fascinating new book on your bookstore's shelves as we speak: Un Témoin Qui A Du Chien. I haven't a clue what that means, but I certainly do hope you pick up a copy and let me know what you think of the book.
I wrote it.
My old pal Aaron Tucker, about whom I started writing just as the millennium was changing, never entirely goes away. After three books in his series--the last one published in the U.S. in 2005--I bid Aaron a reluctant good-bye. I figured he'd run his course; the books were well-received, but the publisher was very (very, very, very) small and distribution was more a concept than a reality. Not that many people read the Aaron books, is what I'm saying.
But Aaron himself refuses to go gentle into that good night. Last year, Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine published an Aaron prequel short story, The Gun Also Rises, which was not only my first contribution to a favorite publication of mine (and my first short story ever), but also the first work of mine to win an actual award (click here for that one), of which I am probably too proud.
I figured that was it for Aaron, unless I decide to write another short story and someone wants to publish it, but there are no such plans right now. I have been devoting my attention elsewhere, and hope to have some news to share on a few fronts relatively soon.
Aaron, however, had other plans. Or, more specifically, Alice Monéger did.
Alice, a lovely editor from France, had contacted Bruce Bortz (one of the original DEAD GUYs and my publisher at Bancroft Press back when I was wet behind the publishing ears) a number of years ago with some interest in publishing the third Aaron book, AS DOG IS MY WITNESS, in French. The book actually was translated by Claire Breton, an equally lovely translator, at the time, and was all set to go to press when...
...the publishing company went out of business.
So much for that. I once again put Aaron in the back of my mind, looked forward to another series that didn't exactly set the world on fire, and then one that sort of has, and didn't exactly forget, but didn't really think about conquering Paris again.
Until last November. One day, my hardworking agent (you might know him) emailed to say he'd received an interesting query from some French editor asking about DOG. Sure enough,Alice had been slaving away at another publishing company in France, Éditions de Masque, and hadn't forgotten about Aaron (he has a way with the ladies, apparently, which would no doubt shock him to his core). And she was interested in resurrecting our venture.
I am proud to say that Un Témoin Qui A Du Chien, by Jeffrey Cohen (there's no way to make that sound French) is a Masque De L'Année choice (that's sort of "Book of the Year," says Alice, meaning it's the book they publish once a year by an author nobody's ever heard of) from Éditions de Masque, and if it's not currently occupying bookshelf space near the Seine, it will be very soon.
Claire's translation is intact, and Alice, whom I actually met once at the Museum of Natural History in New York, is being extremely gracious. I would have completely forgotten about the whole thing and maybe never visited Aaron again, but Alice is more tenacious and very nice.
So if you're walking down the Champs Elysees and notice a rack of books featuring a dalmatian wearing sunglasses, why not take a look? I'd like very much to tell you that the book is funny, suspenseful, warm and endearing, but I don't really know if it is.
I can't read it. It's in French.