What if crying out for help made you a target?
Within hours of arriving in Montego Bay, Eddie Barrow and his friend Corey Stephenson witness a gruesome murder outside a bar. When the victim’s sister reaches out for help, they learn of machinations to conceal foreign corporate corruption and a series of horrific sex crimes. However, Barrow and Stephenson’s commitment to solving the case is put to the test once they find themselves in the crosshairs of a ruthless criminal network—one that extends beyond the shores of Jamaica.
11 Questions with Russell Brooks.
How did you do research for your book?
I read several news articles to research the subject matter of Jam Run—especially the character and situation that were inspired by the murder of Dwayne Jones. He was a trans teenager who attended a dance party outside Montego Bay dressed as a woman. I read about other events that also inspired the story’s plot.
Further research involved consulting with experts, including locals in Jamaica, gun and martial arts experts, a Jamaican lawyer, a psychologist, and even an inventor who appeared on the TV show Shark Tank.
Your book is set in Montego Bay and its surrounding areas. Have you ever been there?
Yes. I visited Montego Bay in January 2023 and spent two weeks visiting the locations in Jam Run.
Which was the hardest character to write? The easiest?
Chevelle was the most challenging character to write. She’s a high-functioning autistic person who was raped when she was twelve and had a son. My knowledge of autism was limited before I created the character, so it was essential to consult with Nordia Sweeney—a Jamaican specializing in teaching intellectually disabled students—to make Chevelle realistic. Since Chevelle was also a rape victim, I had to approach that content very carefully to avoid offending readers who are either rape survivors or who know or work with them.
The protagonists, Eddie Barrow and Corey Stephenson were the easiest characters to write because I already wrote about them in Chill Run, the first book in the series. As an author, I learn more about the characters I write about as I progress with a manuscript.
How are you similar to or different from your lead character?
The only similarities between Eddie Barrow and myself are that we’re both authors born and raised in Montreal and whose parents are from Barbados.
In your book you make a reference to the murder of Dwayne Jones…how did you come up with this idea? What made you write a book about…Dwayne?
I read about Dwayne Jones’s murder while working on The Demeter Code. I was disturbed to read he was killed for dressing up as a woman while attending a straight party. What was worst was the way he was killed. The poor guy was stabbed, shot, and run over by a vehicle. That’s beyond hatred. It’s pure evil. And it says a lot about the killer(s). What also bothered me was the fact there were over 300 people at the party, yet nobody claimed to have seen anything—even though the incident began in the parking lot. The details of the murder were so disturbing I couldn’t ignore or forget. Full disclosure, Chill Run was initially written as a standalone. However, Dwayne Jones’s murder inspired me to write a sequel that deals with hatred, crimes, and injustices against the LGBTQ+ community because, in my opinion, these issues aren’t addressed in the Caribbean community often enough. Fortunately, some countries in the Caribbean have abolished laws that discriminate against the LGBTQ+ community. Others still keep these laws active, which I believe is unfortunate.
There are many crime thriller books out there about rape and hate crimes. What makes yours different?
What makes Jam Run different from other novels in the genre is that 98% of the characters are Afro-Caribbean and inspired by events that mostly took place in Jamaica. What’s also unique is that Eddie Barrow is a young Black man of Barbadian descent born in Montreal, Quebec. We usually see crime-solving characters who are white and who are either detectives or former military. Sometimes we see Black characters who are tough and intimidating. Luther—played by Idris Elba—comes to mind.
Eddie is the opposite. He’s not a detective. He’s an author with no fighting skills, nor does he fit the tough guy image we’re used to. He’s the guy next door and one of the least intimidating people you can imagine.
But most importantly, we often read about stories of the genre with Caribbean settings. Still, the Caribbean culture is absent because they aren’t written by authors who are either West Indian or of West Indian descent. I wrote and researched Jam Run in a way that would not stereotype Jamaica or the Caribbean. This is why having the Jamaican characters speak as the average Jamaican living in Jamaica would speak—whether in Patois, broken English or English with local expressions was important. For instance, there’s a scene where Eddie, Corey, and a secondary character are trying to escape a burning house. Their acquaintance tells them they can exit through the washroom. Eddie’s puzzled until Corey yells that their acquaintance was referring to the laundry room.
What is your next project?
My next project will be the fourth Ridley Fox/Nita Parris thriller.
What is the last great book you’ve read?
Die Trying by Lee Child.
What were the biggest rewards and challenges with writing your book?
One of the challenges for me was raising funds to publish and market Jam Run. The story and subject required weeks of research due to the sensitivity of the content. While working on my first book, I read that the average person won’t be my only audience. There will be industry professionals such as police officers, martial artists, lawyers, and doctors who’ll read my books. But in this instance, I knew that I had to be extra careful so as not to offend rape survivors or those who know or have worked with these victims to be sure that the wrong message is not interpreted by either a sentence of dialogue or the way I describe a scene. The biggest reward as of today was that for the first time, I visited Jamaica and went to the locations that took place in the story. I also had a chance to experience Jamaica, meet the locals, and have one of the best times of my life.
Which authors inspired you to write?
John Grisham, Vince Flynn, and Joseph Finder.
If there is one thing you want readers to remember about you, what would it be?
I want them to remember me as the author that kept them up late at night that they woke up late for work.
You can purchase Jam Run at Amazon.
About the Author
Russell Brooks is an Amazon bestselling author of several thrillers—Pandora’s Succession, Unsavory Delicacies, Chill Run, and The Demeter Code. If you enjoy heart-pounding thrillers with conspiracies, martial arts, sex, betrayal, and revenge, then you don’t need to look any further and
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© 2014-2023- Ronovan Hester Copyright reserved. The author asserts his moral and legal rights over this work.