Doing Max Vinyl

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Welcome Annie Ogden, the strong-willed but understated heroine in Doing Max Vinyl. For a review of the book, keep reading!

You obviously enjoyed the thrill of chasing down your brother-in-law’s phone collection. Did having a purpose again help you adjust to ‘real life’ after coming back from your third tour of Iraq?

You can say that again! I couldn’t believe what those guys did in the restaurant where my sister works. They walked right into the kitchen and started beating up one of the busboys. All I could think was, what if my sister Alison had been there? And then they stole Todd’s entire cell phone collection. He’s weird about those phones – I mean, they’re ugly, dusty old things and he insists on keeping them in the living room on these big shelves he built. But when those thugs stole them, I decided enough was enough. And what a feeling that was – I felt free again, liberated. I felt like I wasn’t just wasting my time. I felt like I had a purpose. You know, in the military they always give you your mission. You always know what your purpose is. A big part of the difficulty of coming back is you’ve gotten out of the habit of figuring out what your purpose is. So you don’t really know what it is anymore.

Why did you ask to hold onto the GPS in the first place (before you’d even heard about the attack on your sister’s colleague)?

I just like devices. You know, in the military we handled a lot of different kinds of devices, like our night vision equipment for example. In that moment, I just wanted to hold the GPS in my hand a little longer. Just between you and me, I also don’t always trust Alison not to lose stuff.

I guess you’d have to see it to believe it, but didn’t the bad guy’s eyebrow bolt make you think twice before tangling with him?

Definitely. It told me he had a screw loose LOL. No really, there are guys you don’t ever want to tangle with, just because they’re so big and strong and also, well, stupid. A guy like that could really hurt you, partly because he doesn’t value human life like you and I do. But to me a facial feature like that doesn’t make me decide not to tangle with him. It makes me more careful about how I’m going to go about it without getting my own neck broken. Not so easy when you’re my size.

What was going through your head when you were trapped under a nearby car having opened the thieves’ trunk?

I was totally relaxed and cool, I was in a zone. It’s partly the adrenaline, you know. It gives you better vision, better senses all around, and your reaction times improve. So I liked my chances against these idiots when I was hiding under that car. It’s true I wasn’t expecting them to come back quite that fast. I guess I was a little lucky they didn’t see me. I have a lucky streak, you know.

Looking back, would you describe going to work for Max Vinyl as a bold, crazy move?

You could call it that. Certainly the pre-war Annie would never have done something like that, back when I was a third grade teacher with my mousy personality. The army changed me. Being overseas and seeing people get blown up at close range – that does change you. With me, I think it made me realize life is too short to put up with people like Max Vinyl, once you’ve figured out what they’re up to. Each and every one of us has a duty to do something about it, when there’s a con man in our midst – or a thief, or a pedophile. Way too often people just look away. They don’t want to deal with it. They want to let someone else confront the bad guy. In Iraq we learned we have to do it, and we learned how to fight. We learned not to be afraid to fight for what we believed in. That was a good thing.

Bob Olson seemed to grow on you. What was it about him that made you go the extra mile to help him?

Bob represented stability for me, looking back now. He was a little older, he was a hard worker, a straight shooter. He was a guy I could lean on. Bob also had a softer, artistic side, with his singing and playing the guitar. He had a beautiful voice. And I was charmed by his knowledge of the history of old Chicago and his love of nature. He was a very special guy who was just the friend I needed at that stage.

Have you seen much of Bob Olsen since that night out on the lake?

No, and please don’t ask me why. It’s still a little painful when I think of it.

You certainly gave the baddies a good seeing to in their apartment. Did your military training come in handy there? Great lasagna moment by the way!

I’m glad you liked it. One thing we did learn in the military was to use whatever you have on hand in a situation like that. You don’t always have a gun, and if you have one it’s not always smart to use it. You have to use your brain if you want to counter brute strength. But again, I got a little lucky that Ike didn’t turn around faster. Just think what he would’ve done to me if I’d missed and hit him on the shoulder or something! God, it gives me nightmares sometimes.

How did you convince your buddies at the Navy base to help you with the very appropriate ‘dousing’ of justice?

That was easy. Friend of a friend, you know. Everybody thinks in the military everyone plays by the rules. If everybody played by the rules and filled out all the forms you’re supposed to fill out, you’d never get anything done. You’d be waiting three weeks just to get some staples for your stapler. When they heard over there what Max Vinyl had been doing in Lake Michigan, practically right under their nose, they actually took it kind of personally. They owned the operation from that moment on.

In the end, do you think Max got his just deserts?

Definitely, and it all worked out for the best. But I’d better not say any more, in case not everyone here knows what we’re talking about.

I’ve heard that you now have a private investigator’s license. How is that working out for you? I assume you have no plans to go back to teaching?

You heard right, and no, I will never, ever go back to teaching kids. That was such a horrible job. They walked all over me, I swear. Anyway, getting a P.I. license seemed like a logical thing to do for a person like me with military experience, shooting experience, good eyesight, and time on her hands. You wouldn’t believe what my first case was. It involved my best friend, Candace, and we got to go to Italy. I learned a little Italian in the army, so that was fun, but it was also a hard trip, in some ways. Italy is beautiful, and the people are beautiful, but it was a very hard journey of self-discovery for me, going there. Also, by the way, for Candace. But you can read all about it in Zombie Candy, if you want to.

Hey, thanks for the interview, Simon. I really enjoyed meeting you.

Thanks, Annie. Let’s catch up again soon.

If you would like to follow Annie Ogden’s exploits in “Doing Max Vinyl” or the sequel, “Zombie Candy”, you can read the first 10% of the books for FREE via the “Look Inside” feature or BUY NOW on Amazon.

 

Doing Max Vinyl Review

The plot
Max Vinyl’s life is looking good until his girlfriend, Tris, finds out the truth about his dodgy recycling business. Annie Ogden, a war veteran, is struggling to re-discover her purpose in life when Max’s thugs threaten her sister. Unable to stand by and do nothing, Annie gets dragged into Max’s corrupt business where she teams up with another of Max’s victims, Bob. With Tris, Annie and Bob on his case, Max’s world spins out of control and he struggles to hang on during the roller-coaster ride that follows.

The heroine
Annie Ogden will stop at nothing to see justice prevail. She brushes aside her own internal struggles and relies on her iron will and self-sufficiency to take on Max Vinyl and his cronies. She is strong but understated and completely believable as a character – you will be rooting for her all the way.

The cast of supporting characters
The cast of colorful supporting characters is the real strength of this book. They are superbly written and all are interesting and complex. They are described in such a way that you can not only picture them clearly as you’re reading, but you also remember them long after you finish the book. You feel for them all – even the bad guys, despite your best efforts not to.

Max has no conscience and is barely aware of his flaws. He thinks he is the victim and you almost end up believing him as his life goes into free fall. Ike and Tranny, Max’s bumbling thugs, are hilarious to follow on their journey, whilst Tris and her antics are priceless. Bob is an odd chap, but is so endearing you can see why Annie wants to help him.

The ‘could not put it down’ parts
Max’s run in with ten dozen red roses. Ouch!

Annie taking on Ike and Tranny in their apartment. Who knew a pyrex dish and a frying pan could make such a mess. And the table leg stunt was just hilarious.

The craziest part
The whole book is packed with pretty crazy parts, but the wet and wild finale was quite a picture to imagine.

Where I was left wanting more
What happened between Annie and Bob? Annie’s not saying – very intriguing.

Why it was good
The characters were fantastic and their interrelationships were a key part of the book. You had to keep reading to see what happened to them. Good guys or bad guys, you could connect with them and feel their plight.

As there are so many characters to keep up with, it does take a while to get into all of their stories, but then you are hooked to find out how all the threads come together.

The plot was unique with laugh out loud action. There is a lot going on but it never gets confusing. The environmental message is handled subtly but will make you think twice when choosing your recycler.

Overall it is a really fun read with depth and entertaining characters.

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