It’s only two weeks until the release of Micah Reed #7, SHOCK COLLAR!! Let’s celebrate by talking about Micah for a bit…
A reader sent me an email, asking me which of my Micah Reed books was my favorite. I’ve been chewing on this for several days, feeling like Sophie having to make that choice.
It hasn’t been easy. I love all of them, for different reasons. So, I’m going to cheat, and out of the seven that have been published so far*, I’ll tell you my top three, and why they are my favorites:
This is the fourth book in the series, but it’s the first in my heart (barf, right?). And why? Hard to say. It might be because it’s the first book I’ve written that I’ve ever set in my native Oklahoma.
It might be because it finally answered many of the long-running questions the fans had asked for the first three books of the series… how did Michael McBriar become Micah Reed? Who was his best friend that died? How did he escape the Sinaloa?
But, I think the main reason it’s my favorite is that it was the hardest book to write. Micah’s story is essentially a classic story of redemption… that is, a good person who did wrong, and then gets a chance to redeem himself. The redemption has been happening slowly, over the course of several books. When you see him in SNITCH, he’s at the lowest point in his life. He works for ruthless drug dealers and is occasionally ruthless himself. He’s drunk all the time, full of self-pity and misery. He doesn’t have a solid grasp on the difference between right and wrong. But, even with all that, I had to find a way to make him the hero of the story. Making a bad person likable is an enormous task, and I took great care to make Micah compelling, while still not being a “good guy.”
I’m quite proud of the way it came out.
While technically the second Micah Reed book I ever wrote, it’s the first in the series. I originally planned this book many years ago, before I’d ever conceived of Micah Reed. I plotted it out, but it didn’t work somehow. There was no magic to the story. Then, much later, I devised Micah, and inserted him into this outline, making some minor changes. Now, the story worked. I was excited about it.
The dynamic between Micah and his sister provided me all sorts of insights into who Micah was as a person. She knew Micah in all phases of his life… the young kid with so much potential, the drunk throwing his life away, and then the ruthless employee of a drug cartel. And Micah has to prove to her he’s changed.
And while it may not be as pulse-poundingly, edge-of-your-seat exciting as SNITCH or CATCH AND RELEASE, I think it has the best villains I’ve ever created. Lilah, Eagle, and Cyrus still sometimes haunt my nightmares.
I love this one for much of the same reason I love SNITCH. Half the book is set in Micah’s past, between his time in the cartel and him moving to Denver and getting sober. It shows a younger (but somehow more bitter) Micah, dealing with how he survived prison and met the man who would become his WitSec handler, Gavin Belmont. Not only was it a puzzle to write this version of Micah, but I’ve never been to prison, so writing a book that takes place inside the prison walls proved to be a unique challenge. I think the result is a more complex and compelling portrait of Micah. The more we learn about him, the more we understand him.
And then, half of the book takes place three years after Micah went to prison. We also get to see a completely different person. Now sober, now not so bitter, now helping people. It’s a wonderful contrast to the person in the other part of the book, and the two stories intertwine and provide layers so that one narrative thread helps you understand the other. It’s a complex book, but I’m quite proud of how it came out.
* THE HONORABLE MENTION: While I can’t count this book among the favorites because it’s not published yet, I can’t wait for you guys to see the Micah Reed novel PAPER TIGER. Like Snitch, it’s mostly set in Oklahoma, and details how Micah got his legendary shoebox from Stillwater, OK, to Denver, CO. It’s a wild ride and I’m excited to unleash it on the world in 2018!