TOM TURNER: A few of my friends– women for the most part– thought that the word ‘Nasty’ in the title smacked of cheesy, prurient no-tell-motel sex. I stuck with it anyway. Mainly because I had the title long before I wrote the first word of the novel. Just liked it.
The nastiness I write about actually refers to my bad guys.
HALLIE: More than one?
TOM: A billionaire with a thing for young girls. He’s gotten to where he is by being ruthless, predatory and over-the-top depraved. An ex-bartender who hatches a nefarious plan to defraud and deceive the second richest man in Palm Beach, an old dude half-way down the Alzheimers highway. A Mutt n’ Jeff combo of vicious hitters — one a former Fulbright scholar, the other a guy whose lips move as he reads comics books.
Nasty guys indeed… but I think you’re gonna like ’em!
HALLIE: And who are they up against?
TOM: Detective Charlie Crawford of the Palm Beach Police Department, and the big question is does he have enough left in the tank to take down these guys? Sure, he was a big-time, gold shield up in NewYork. But that was before he burned out and washed up on a Key West beach, listening to stoned-out beach bums in lame Hawaiian shirts ooh-and-ah pretty average sunsets and ‘dude’ each other to death.
HALLIE: Love that idea: ‘dude each other to death.’
How did you research your cops?
TOM: Well, for one thing I did a lot of ride-alongs. But nothing of a criminal nature ever seemed to happen. It was pretty disappointing. No break-ins, no petty larcenies, nothing. The cops actually apologized to me. They were greatly relieved one night when the dispatcher reported a suspicious man sleeping on the beach. Five cop cars showed up. Turned out he was just sleeping off a long night at a local gin mill called Ta-boo.
HALLIE: And what about Palm Beach? A good place for nastiness?
TOM: As for my knowledge of Palm Beach… I did a long stint there renovating houses. I was thrown into a mix of shifty-eyed developers, promise-you-the-moon real estate brokers and lawyers who all bore a certain resemblance to Breaking Bad’s Saul Goodman. It was an eye-opening period and many of those characters wandered into Palm Beach Nasty.
I saved a few others for Palm Beach Poison, which is next in the series. Like the deadly Russian duo and their poisonous snakes. Talk about nasty.
HALLIE: In case you’re wondering, Tom got a very nice review in Publishers Weekly which called his brand of nastiness plenty entertaining.
My question: What it is in the water in that part of Florida that breeds so many twisted tales? (To quote Carl Hiassen: “The Florida in my novels is not as seedy as the real Florida. It’s hard to stay ahead of the curve. Every time I write a scene that I think is the sickest thing I have ever dreamed up, it is surpassed by something that happens in real life.”)