I just finished reading the novel The Mystery of the Weeping Friar, written by DJ Parks-a husband and wife team also know as Doug Parker and Jan Parker. I had the pleasure of interviewing the pleasant couple and write an honest review. All answers are in their own words.
About the Authors
Copied from the back of the book – Doug and Jan Parker (Writing under the pen name DJ Park) enjoy outdoor activities, cooking, and music. They live in southwest Colorado.
The Synopsis of The Mystery of the Weeping Friar
All is not as it appears in the art world of New Mexico – mystery surrounds the art dealers, the buyers and even the pieces of art themselves, especially the legendary religious figurine known as the Weeping Friar. In this sequel to GoneAwary Colorado Bureau of Investigation agent David Harroswen and his wife Althia “Tee” get swept up in the mysteries while visiting Tee’s sister. As more and more deadly chaos erupts
The Mystery of the Weeping Friar is an engaging thriller that will have you enjoying the creativity and beauty of the art world while being horrified by the murder and mayhem surrounding it. This is a story not just about the sinister people who will do anything to get what they want, but also the dedicated law enforcement officers who are trying to put an end to their crimes.
Before reading this book I had no idea what a Santo was and love it when a book teaches me something. Straight away the reader is pulled into the story with the dumping of a female body and the mystery and investigation begin.
Along with a murder, the story unfolds to reveal corruption in the art world along with drugs, theft, and infidelity and caught in the middle is the church and the precious Santo. The ending provided an unexpected surprise – I love it when I am unable to predict the outcome of a novel
Overall I enjoyed this book very much. It was well written, especially the detective’s dialogue and how they pursued their case. It showed in the authors writing that they had a background in law enforcement. In the story, the detectives asked all the right questions and followed everything by the book.
At times I found it a little drawn out and I had a hard time keeping up with all the characters and their role in the story but the unpredicted ending made up for that.
COVER DESIGN 5 STARS – Loved the cover, the design and the colors used. At first, I had no idea what part of the book this scene represented from reading the blurb but now it makes sense and works well.
CHARACTERIZATION 4 STARS – There are a lot of characters in the story and as mentioned before I had a hard time keeping track of them all. The detectives were excellent and well written.
STORY & PLOT 4 STARS The story had a great beginning drawing the reader in straight away. A murder mystery with many twists, plots, and a few surprises. Overall a good read.
OVERALL RATING 4 STARS
Interview and Review DJ Park Author – The Mystery of the Weeping Friar
How long have you been writing and why do you enjoy it?
We began writing for fun about 15 years ago. Our first enjoyment is in collaborating on the story. We spend a great deal of time working on scenarios and dialogue. Jan builds the characters; Doug does the wordsmithing. We share every moment of the writing. It’s very much a team effort and we really enjoy working together.
Second, as the story progresses we get to know our characters in new ways. They become friends (well, some do! Others…not so fast!). For example, there is a character in our next novel who evolves during the story in ways we didn’t imagine when we first constructed her.
Other than writing what else do you like to do?
We love the outdoors and are blessed to live in a region that affords us many opportunities for hiking, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. We share a love of cooking and without bragging, cook some pretty fair meals! We often spend our evenings watching mysteries, classic and contemporary. And we enjoy listening to music: classical, jazz and classic rock-and-roll.
What inspired you to write “The Mystery of the Weeping Friar”?
Jan read an article in the Denver Post which spoke about the New Mexican folk art tradition and the significance of carved figurines of saints, called Santos. The article revealed how important this art form was to the creators’ beliefs. We wanted to write about the power of belief and the power of myth, so we began talking about building a story around the search for a legendary Santos; our idea evolved into a murder mystery, using the same principal characters as our first novel. We love Santa Fe and chose it for the setting.
Who, as an author, inspires you and why?
Mark Twain is Doug’s favorite author. Twain was a great storyteller; his characters were drawn from his own life. He put them into comic, often ridiculous situations to see how they coped. They were ordinary folks caught up in extraordinary circumstances.
Jan likes Carolyn Hart. Hart’s writing takes the reader on a journey; she doesn’t just tell a story, she invites the reader to share the ride. Her characters draw the reader in such a way it’s easy to ‘see’ them. Her storylines keep the reader interested from start to finish and there are never any dull moments.
Name five of your favorite books and authors. Explain why these are your favorites.
Doug-The Lord of the Rings (J.R.R. Tolkien), The Complete Sherlock Holmes (Arthur Conan Doyle), Skinwalkers (Tony Hillerman), Twentieth Maine (John J. Pullen), Letters and Papers from Prison (Dietrich Bonhoeffer).
Tolkien built Rings in a fantasy world but one which parallels our own. His characters were real if flawed in the same ways as real people. So many fantasies depict larger-than-life characters. They may be interesting but it’s hard to connect with them.
Conan Doyle was the first writer to emphasize the importance of deduction in solving the crime, as well as understanding applying a critical eye to crime scenes. Holmes was the first detective to mentally insert himself inside a crime to understand how it was committed. Doyle’s lessons still resonate with police officers today (or should).
Hillerman found his voice in the myths and culture of the Navajo people. He gave their stories context in a world which had mostly ignored native peoples and their lives up to that point. His portrayal of the Navajo mind is amazing.
Pullen made history vibrant; it was poignant, funny, sad and tragic all at the same time. His depiction of the struggles of volunteer soldiers thrust into a bloody conflict framed the Civil War in new, very personal ways.
Bonhoeffer’s papers reflect an intensity of emotion and dedication that are rare. His letters were written to family and friends. They depicted every good and bad moment of his life in prison and the strength of his hope, even though he knew he would meet a horrible end.
Jan-The Lord of the Rings (J.R.R. Tolkien). To Kill a Mockingbird (Harper Lee), Haunting of Hill House (Shirley Jackson), The Caine Mutiny (Herman Wouk), The Complete C.S Lewis.
In each of these Jan is drawn to the people, their experiences and what she learns from them.
Harper Lee wrote about a world which might be foreign to many of us but in fact, parallels today’s society.
Shirley Jackson wrote a terrific psychological thriller which is a classic. The scenes where the ghost is trying to enter the bedroom are so well written it’s easy to break into a sweat. That’s writing at its finest!
Wouk’s story offered everything a reader would want: drama, horror and humor, desperate men fighting boredom and fatigue. All of us can relate to them.
C.S. Lewis wrote of his own life and thoughts and demonstrated there are often parallels between fictional characters and real people.
Each of Jan’s favorites has their strengths as writers, but for her, these stories are about the people, how they move through a tale and are moved by the story. Jan enjoys that most of all. They represent the way we move through life.
What advice do you have for aspiring writers?
No matter what your interest or genre, enjoy writing. Don’t take yourself too seriously. If you love writing (as we do) make it fun. Your stories will reflect how much you enjoy their telling.
Are you currently working on anything now?
We are just finishing our third mystery, “Murder Has Company”. It’s set in our region in a small southwest Colorado community. The main characters from our previous books (CBI agent David Harrowsen and his actress wife Tee) are at it again, this time involved in a 10-year-old murder case. Its main themes are forgiveness and tolerance, and the way tragedy touches more people than the just principals involved.
The story isn’t just another police procedural about police work; it demonstrates how important citizen-police cooperation is to solving a crime. There are determined professionals working the case, alongside driven amateurs who aren’t involved in vicarious thrills but want to see justice done for the victims and all those affected by the murder, including themselves. It’s not all dark: there are some very funny moments.
What genre do you normally write in?
Other than Amazon where can readers purchase your book?
Barnes and Noble as well as Dorrance Publishing. We really encourage readers to support their local booksellers and order through them.
Do you have social media sources where readers can find out about you?
We have a Facebook page, DJ Park, where we post regular updates about our work. Look for www.facebook.com/DJParkWriting. Our website is now up and running, DJ Park Mysteries. Go to: www.crimecreative/author/dj9791. We’ve been told we should open a Twitter account but haven’t as of yet.
Anything else you’d like to say?
Everyone tells writers “Write what you know.” The trick is deciding what that means. We come from a law enforcement background and understand that world intimately. Jan has a background in theater as well, so she knows how to build a character and think as a character would think. And she has a feel for building tension in a scene. Most of our characters are based on people we encountered not only in law enforcement but many other places. We love mysteries so for us it’s a natural progression.
There are writers who may not have the sort of experience we do but have a great interest in a topic, such as fantasy or horror. Explore your interests and write about them. The more you write about a topic, the more fascinating it will become.
One final thought: remember why you write. We hope to sell our books and make money writing. We don’t aspire to be authors like John Gresham or James Patterson. We are who we are and believe our writing is very good. However, what’s important for us is that people enjoy the stories, are entertained and interested. When someone tells us “I really enjoyed your book.” it makes us feel all the work has been worthwhile. This isn’t about sales: it’s about sharing entertaining stories with friends.
Thank you, Doug and Jan for allowing me to interview you, It has been a pleasure and thanks to you both for the great read. I look forward to the next one
65 thoughts on “Interview and Review DJ Park Author – The Mystery of the Weeping Friar”
I love that the story is about art in New Mexico. I live in New Mexico and we do have some great art.
I’ve never been to New Mexico, but I hear it is beautiful and yes I’ve heard of the art there. A book you can certainly relate to 🙂
The Mystery of the Weeping Friar looks like a great book to read. Your review made me curious to read it! Inspiring interview!
Thank you! It was a pleasure to interview them
New Mexico is actually on my list of places to visit, so it would be interesting to check out a book with the setting there. You’ve taught me something new today as well, because I had no idea what a santo was either!
A place I would love to visit too. I hope you are able to check out the book
I don’t think I have ever read a book written by two authors, and I find it very intriguing as each of them must have their own perspective over the characters. And this is what creates complexity.
True it does provide more for the book – as the saying goes – two heads are better than one 🙂
This sounds like such an interesting book – it is always nice to hear more about the author behind a book. Lovely interview.
Thanks. I agree with you. It adds to the book and gives the reader a personal connection.
It really does, love the sound of this book as well – I may just have to treat myself.
I had not heard about the book or the authors. I am intrigued. Thanks for the review.
You’re welcome. Glad you enjoyed it.
What a lovely interview! It is always great to find out more about who is behind the text. I had never heard of these authors before nor read any of their books. No book is ever perfect but the most important is that you enjoyed reading it overall.
Exactly. I think many readers enjoy learning about the author of the book they are reading. I know I do. Which is why I like doing the authors corner on my site. It gives my readers a chance to read about some of the writers and their work of course. 🙂
I think it’s neat that this book is written by two people. It takes a lot of talent to work together on something like this.
It certainly does and you have to agree on everything together. It does take talent, you are right.
This sounds like a great book all around, so cool you got to interview the authors too. Adding it to my must-read list!
Thank you! When I read a book I always read the “about author” page. I love learning about the people behind the book. Interviewing the couple was a pleasure.
I’m with you – any time a book can teach me about something, it gets extra points. One of the foundations of novel writing is creating a unique but relatable “place.” Sounds like this one did that well.
It did very well 🙂 as you can see from my review 🙂
You did a great review of the book and you have peaked my curiosity. I’ve heard about the art in New Mexico and would love to visit there and I would love to read the book.
Thank you. I’m glad you enjoyed the review. Hope you pick up a copy of the book
I enjoy reading thrillers. SOunds like a really interesting book. I will add this to my to read list.
Wonderful to hear. I hope you enjoy it.
Sounds like a very exciting book with all types of mystery and intrigue built in. I have to admit I don’t know much about the art in New Mexico though.
Me neither LOL but this book is a good place to start to learn more.
THis sounds like a great book! I love that the authors started out wanting to explore a deeper topic, the power of myth & the significance of the Santos. I’m sure that adds extra dimension to the story.
The topic matter is certainly different from most with some added twists. I have to agree.
I’ve never heard of that book before, but it seems really intriguing. It is always nice to get inside the mind of the author to some extent as well. There are so many intricate parts to writing a book and so much of ourselves is reflected in the story.
So true, it makes the story more interesting when you know the background of it.
I love when I find a decently good book. I also love when I can talk to the author about said book. You don’t get to do that everyday. I will be putting this book on my “to-read” list.
I agree. I hope you enjoy it when you get around to reading it.
Wonderful hearing from the author. Will have to find the book now.
You can buy it here on this page by clicking on the image of the book 🙂
It’s always nice to hear the author perspective on the book they’ve written or are in the process of writing. I’ve never heard of this one, but it looks like a fun storyline. Thanks!
You’re welcome. I love to hear how the idea of a story originated.
This sounds great. I have been so stuck into children’s fiction and young adult fiction lately (I have been teaching for too long and now mum-ing) and have sadly let my own personal reading slow down. You’ve motivated me to pick this up for some me time! Thanks
We can sometimes forget our own needs. Happy to hear, I’ve inspired you 🙂
This sounds like a really good book. I actually love Twain’s adventurous stories and I’m learning Spanish currently, so to immerse myself in this type of story sounds unexpectedly pleasant. Thanks for the review 🙂
Your welcome. Good luck with your Spanish lessons. That’s great!
This sounds like a great book. I love finding new authors, I’m looking forward to checking this one out.
I hope you enjoy it if you pick one up
Love a good mystery and being unable to predict things. So this sounds fantastic! It was cool to learn the writers come from law enforcement background so they are more aware of how a detective may behave and work. Great review!
Thank you! Yes their knowledge in law enforcement really showed in their writing
It was great reading the interview and find out more about the author, and your review of the book at the same time. I am always looking out for good books to read so this will be on my list of books to get.
Thank you. I hope you enjoy it.
How fun to interview authors! Loved reading this!
Thanks! I enjoyed it immensely.
how much fun to get to do an interview with an author. Writing a book is on my personal ‘bucket list’ so I think it’s fascinating to read about authors and how they came to write what they do and what their books are about.
I agree, it adds so much more to the story and when you’ve written your book, I’d be happy to interview you. 🙂
Never heard of this book but now I am going to give it a read. New Mexico is really a place I love, so much charm.
What a great review. I used to read books all of the time but have not done so in years.
This was a great post, I liked that you got the chance to interview the author and I really enjoyed when they advised aspiring authors to keep it fun.
Thank you. Glad you enjoyed it. yes, they did give some good advice to aspiring authors.
What a great and thorough book review! I really like that you broke down different aspects with a 5 star rating system! It really helps me decide whether this book is something I’d be interested in reading! Definitely going to check this out 🙂 Thanks!
Thank you. Glad you like my five-star system. I do this because many times I may enjoy the book but the cover disappointed me or the cover was great but the story was not. There are many parts of a book to consider when reviewing them and this method pinpoints the most important ones.
We just went to New Mexico and took the art tour. I so need to read this book now. I just love your reviews:)
Thank you. A place I would love to visit soon. I’m sure you would enjoy this book since you can relate.
This is my first time to have heard about this book. From your review I think I would try to read this book since I love mystery and crime related stories. Hopefully I’ll be satisfied with the ending too.
I’m sure you will like it
Sounds like a good – your ratings are pretty high so glad you enjoyed it 🙂
It deserves the ratings, I enjoyed it very much
You rated this book 5-stars means this book is awesome! I will add this to my reading list for this weekend. Congrats for your interview!
I enjoyed the book immensely with just a few issues for me, which I mentioned. Overall rating was 4 stars 🙂