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The Face on the Other Side (Thomas O’Shea Mysteries)
by John Carenen


About the Book

The Face on the Other Side (Thomas O’Shea Mysteries)
3rd in Series
FPS (February 10, 2018)
Paperback: 340 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1945338946

He’d promised Sheriff Payne that he wouldn’t take any more matters into his own hands. So, when on a leisurely morning drive, SEAL-trained Thomas O’Shea sees two girls attacking a boy on a sidewalk, he opts not to intervene. When the boy is later murdered in the local hospital, though, all promises are off. What seems at the start to be a simple case of gang activity turns out to be far more. Even O’Shea, who has seen more than his share of evil, could not have guessed what is about to transpire…

Interview with the Author

What initially got you interested in writing?


My interest in writing began in high school, where I took a creative writing course under Brad Steiger, who has by now authored or co-authored over 150 books. He was inspiring, and that was that. We are still in steady contact. I am indebted to him for his encouragement.


What genres do you write in?


I don’t think my work fits any specific genre – there’s a bit of several in each of my  novels. They have mystery, thriller, suspense, and even literary aspects. A bit of dark humor, too. So I guess I’m all in for genres, or maybe an author searching for a genre.


What drew you to writing these specific genres?


Probably an omnivore’s hunger for all kinds of writing drew me to various genres, as such. That began with Steinbeck, Faulkner, and Hemingway in high school. Later, it was Stephen King, Robert B. Parker, others. So many different styles were intriguing to me.


How did you break into the field?


My first sale was a First Person Award from Reader’s Digest when I was in college. I just sat down one day and wrote about one of my childhood experiences. The result was “Shagger!” a story about stealing a baseball from my hometown’s minor league team. I was turned down by Sports Illustrated, had a hissy fit, threw the manuscript in the closet. Career over! Later, my wife said, “John, why don’t you try Reader’s Digest?” So I benefitted from having a discerning and loving wife.


What do you want readers to take away from reading your works?


Tough question. I guess I’d say that I’d like them to take away a sense of fun. That might sound weird since there’s crime and blood and crazy people in my novels, but the protagonist, Thomas O’Shea, is also a wisecracking tough guy who’s pretty soft on the inside. He has fun with life and I’d like for my readers to simply enjoy the story before them.


What do you find most rewarding about writing?


I love creating something interesting, colorful, and vivid out of my imagination. What fun!


What do you find most challenging about writing?


I guess sitting down and writing nearly every day can be challenging. I love it, but it’s an approach-avoidance thing. I look for ways to avoid sitting down to create, but when I get to it, I’m usually just fine.


What advice would you give to people wanting to enter the field?


Run away! Run away! Seriously, I would defer to Stephen King on this one. That is, read more and write more. Read Strunk & White’s Elements of Style and Stephen King’s On Writing, and do it right now. Also, speak from your heart and mind and don’t try to imitate someone else.


What types of books do you enjoy reading?


I like to read all kinds of books. I’m a big fan of the late Robert B. Parker and some of the best classics in American literature – Twain, Hemingway, Flannery O’Connor. But right now I’m enjoying very much the work of Joe Badal, William Kent Krueger, Warren Moore III, Sheri Reynolds, Ron Rash, and David Morrell. Up and coming authors I enjoy are David Burnsworth, Wendy Tyson, Linda Lovely, Susan Boyer, Sandra Crawford, and Bob Strother. Lots and lots of fine writers “out there.”


Is there anything else besides writing you think people would find interesting about you?


Nope. Seriously, people might think it’s interesting that I write lyrics to country music that I keep strictly to myself, I aspire to play left field for the Boston Red Sox, and I’d like to act in a movie based on one of my novels. I’d be a bad guy because I’m big and ugly.


What are the best ways to connect with you, or find out more about your work?


I have a web page, I tweet, and I blog. They are available as follows:






About the Author

John Carenen, a native of Clinton, Iowa, graduated with an M.F.A. in Fiction Writing from the prestigious University of Iowa Writers Workshop and has been writing ever since. His work has appeared numerous times in Reader’s Digest (including a First Person Award), McCall’s, Dynamic Years, and other periodicals. He has been a featured columnist in newspapers in Morganton, North Carolina and Clinton, South Carolina. His fiction has appeared in regional literary magazines. A novel, Son-up, Son-down, was published by the National Institute of Mental Health. He is happily married to (long-suffering) Elisabeth, and they have two grown daughters, Caitlin and Rowe. When he isn’t writing, he thinks about getting in shape, cheers for the Iowa Hawkeyes and Boston Red Sox, and takes frequent naps. He has traveled extensively, having visited 43 states and 23 countries. He is a USAF veteran, having served in the Philippines and Massachusetts. A retired an English professor at Newberry College in Newberry, South Carolina, he is hard at work on another novel.

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1 Comment

  1. Kay Garrett

    Thank you for the interview with author John Carenen and the information about his book “The Face on the Other Side”.

    I’d love the opportunity to read this book!

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