Debut Author John McMahon, An Interview

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I’m sure William Kent Krueger will be kind to debut author John McMahon when he interviews him at The Poisoned Pen on Monday, March 18 at 7 PM. McMahon will discuss his first police procedural, The Good Detective. Krueger will sign Desolation Mountain. Copies of books by both authors can be ordered through the Web Store. https://store.poisonedpen.com

This interview isn’t quite as kind.

John McMahon is the debut author of “The Good Detective,” a fast-paced new thriller that 

introduces Detective P.T. Marsh.

Detective Marsh is a hardened police detective barely getting by—and drinking hard—in Mason Falls, Georgia. Not too long ago, Marsh was a rising star on the police force. But the shocking deaths of his wife and son have left him a shell of his former self. He’s reckless and adrift, though still an ace detective with a passion for justice.


In lieu of me interviewing John McMahon, I asked his main character, Detective P.T. Marsh to step in and do the honors.


McMahon and Marsh sit down at a place called Moonie’s Roadhouse in Flowery Branch, Georgia. It’s home to neither of them, a favorite of McMahon’s and a good hour from home for Detective Marsh.  The good news – they both enjoy brisket and pulled pork.


The food is brought out. A basket of pork with slaw. Sweet barbecue sauce atop brisket. A couple sides of cream corn and Brunswick stew, along with a plate of sliced turkey.

(Author) John McMahon – I hope you’re hungry.


(Detective) P.T. Mash – I’ve been on a case for 72 hours. I’m that odd mix of hungry and exhausted. 
The two men dig in.
P.T. Marsh – So I’m supposed to interview you?  That’s how this works?
McMahon – I’m an open book. 
A beat.
McMahon – Sorry, I couldn’t help the pun, go ahead.


Marsh – You start “The Good Detective” with me being woken up in my truck by some three-hundred-pound bouncer outside of a strip bar. Why start there? It’s not flattering, falling asleep like that.
McMahon – Horace Ordell. He was on shift that night at The Landing Patch. And you were screaming in your sleep, P.T. You were scaring Horace.
Marsh –  He wasn’t scared of me. He’d tried to extort me.
McMahon – He did threaten you.  What was the expression you said about Horace?
Marsh –  If brains were leather, he wouldn’t have enough to saddle a june bug.
McMahon – Exactly. And then you drive off because you remembered you promised one of the club’s dancers that you’d help her out by teaching her boyfriend a lesson.
Marsh – Just a healthy talking to. The boyfriend was a Neo-Nazi. Maybe one hit to the nose. A shot to the ribs. His friends will hardly notice the scars.
McMahon – Except when your partner Remy picks you up the next morning to head to your latest murder scene, it’s the boyfriend’s house you arrive at.
Marsh – And I get that feeling. That bad feeling.
McMahon  – I think I know why. There’s a boy who’s been murdered in a very strange way. And initial accounts say the Neo-Nazi may have done it.  
Marsh – Yeah, I don’t want to talk about the case.  
McMahon –  How does it feel to know you might have killed your prime suspect?
Marsh – We don’t comment on active investigations. Especially to writers.
McMahon – Your prints are all over the boyfriend’s house.
Marsh – This food is suddenly not to my liking.  And I thought I was the one asking questions. 
McMahon – So ask me a question.
Marsh – What would I possibly want to know about a soft writer like you?
McMahon laughs.

McMahon – People are getting nervous in Mason Falls. There’s secrets.
Marsh – No secrets from me.
McMahon – Your past…
P.T. Marsh gets up.  Shakes his head.
Marsh – You don’t know me. 
Detective Marsh walks out and McMahon takes the untouched food from P.T.’s side of the table – slides it over to his.


“The Good Detective” drops in stores March 19th.  It has been selected as an OKRA Fresh Pick by SIBA, the Southern Independent Bookseller’s Alliance.


John McMahon will be on tour, looking for great barbecue places in South Carolina, Phoenix, Houston, San Diego, and L.A. (while also going to those towns’ best independent bookstores for Q&A and Signing).  Find out more about the tour at JohnMcMahonBooks.com