The Run Begins by J. Frank James

The Run Begins

I hadn’t heard of the Lou Malloy series of books by J. Frank James until I was approached by Book Publicity Services introducing The Run Begins, the prequel to the other books, to see if I would be interested in reading it and giving an honest review. Having read The Run Begins I had questions for J. Frank James which he kindly agreed to answer.

The Run Begins

Only 52 pages in length, The Run Begins reveals how Malloy came to live the life of adventure and crime that has spanned 7 books so far.

In this peek into the past, Lou Malloy is 18 years old and ready to take on the world. While his family is readying themselves for a big move to Florida, Lou decides that Florida is not where his fate lies and hops on the nearest boxcar to seek his fortune elsewhere.  When he finds that this is not as easy as it seems, fellow traveler Henry Lowe offers him the deal of a lifetime.  Help him rob a casino in Georgia and get a payoff of $15 million.  Lou happily joins in on the scheme and seals his fate forever…. AND THE RUN BEGINS.

You can find all J Frank James’ books in the Lou Malloy series here in the US and here in the UK.

An Interview with J.Frank James

Hi Jim. Thank you so much for agreeing to answer some questions on my blog about your writing  

Firstly, please could you tell me a little about yourself?

I have been writing as a writer of fiction since 2013 and before that I was published as a member in the law review of my law school and before that I was a photographer and reporter for the Gainesville Sun while going to school at the University of Flroida where I graduated with a degree in Journalism as well as in Advertising. There after I went to law shool and received a Juris Doctor degree. In addition to writing my books I also do all of my own covers since I am a sold artist.

I know you write under the name J.Frank James in honour of your father who was killed in WW2. How do you think he would feel about your success as an author?

To tell you the truth I don’t think about it much. I sort of take as it comes and leave it to the reader if I am successful or not.

When did you first realise you were going to be a writer?

When I was in college and worked at both the Florida Alligator as well as the Gainesville Sun, I liked the freedom to express an my thoughts and write a story.

How do you go about researching detail and ensuring your books are realistic – do you use your law doctorate much?

Yes, as I write a book I find it interesting to research the ideas as they come into my head.

Which aspects of your writing do you find easiest and most difficult?

Writing a book for me is the easy part. I like to project myself into the book. It is sort of stepping into a room and looking around at everything that is inside. The hard art me to handling the marketing. That is the hard part because it takes a lot of time, time that I often do not have since I am still working in my consulting practice.

What are your writing routines and where do you do most of your writing?

I usually like to write at night or early in the morning when it is quiet. I have a office in my home where I tend to write as well as a house on the coast of Georgia where I spend a lot of time.

When you’re not writing, what do you like to read?

Westerns. I like it when the bad guys die.

Do you have other interests that give you ideas for writing?

For ten years my wife and I travelled a lot. Probably over six continents and probably 30 to 40 counties. Also, I liked to sail and I owned a power boat that I spent a lot of time in the Bahamas. I pull a lot of ideas from those experiences and also my years as a lawyer have been beneficial.

Please could you outline the differences and challenges of writing a crime series in your Lou Malloy books and a detective series in your Indigo Marsh book?

First off, the Lou Malloy series of books are more in the area of crime/adventure. As an agent of Homeland Security Lou comes in contact with a lot of evil people. Having spent fifteen years in prison himself, he’s seen the way of crime. That said, he is not devoted to getting rid of bad people and while he is doing it he makes a lot of money. So he isn’t just in it for the public service angle.

Indigo Marsh is more of a Sam Spade type of character. He is involved so much with solving crime as untangling one when it has occurred. He’s his own man, as is Lou Malloy, but they have different personalities and goals. Lou Malloy is motivated by money. Indigo Marsh is motivated by results. He also likes to solve a problem as opposed to eliminating it.

What made you decide to write a prequel, The Run Begins, to what is already a successful series, The Lou Malloy books?

I wrote The Run Begins to get the reader an insight into where Lou Malloy got his start. I also wanted the reader to know that Low was not like he was because he was from a bad home life. Lou Malloy is just a rough type of personality and I wanted to give the reader a look at that so they could better understand Lou Malloy as a character.

The Run Begins has a very striking cover. I know you are an artist as well as a writer so I wondered if it was one of your paintings and what you were hoping to convey (without spoiling the plot please!)?

The painting that I used for the cover is called ‘School’s Out’. Since I wanted to give the cover a sense of motion I thought the dolphns swimming across the cover would do that.

If you could chose to be a character from  the Lou Malloy series of books, who would you be and why?

Blue. He’s his own man and a really bad dude. I think I will build a book around his character soon.

If  a Lou Malloy book became a film, who would you like to play Lou?

Jeffrey Donovan

If you had 15 words to persuade a reader that The Run Begins should be their next read, what would you say?

A reader that wants to know why Lou Malloy is the way he is should read The Run Begins before going to Dead Money Run.

Thank you so much, Jim, for your time in answering my questions.

My Review of The Run Begins

This is a quick and pacy read with lots of action to tempt the reader into reading the first book in the Lou Malloy series, Dead Money Run. Action is rapid and sometimes violent. Lou’s character is well developed in a few pages as a young man who is constrained by his police officer father and who desires more from life.

Although this is an explanatory prequel, I felt that I probably would have gained more from The Run Begins had I read some of the other books in the series first. Much of the action takes place through dialogue with not quite enough detail for me to get a good feel for the quality of future books in the series. The Run Begins seemed more like a play script than prose to me at times and felt a little disjointed.

However, I liked the almost humorous endings to the chapters with their snappy and witty short sentences that really enticed me into the next part of the story. I also thoroughly enjoyed the closeness of family between Lou, his brother Sam and sister Susan which gave me more insight into Lou’s character too.

I think fans of the Lou Malloy books will find The Run Begins essential reading and it also works effectively as a stand alone read.

J. Frank James

J Frank James

Frank James has a passion for writing, and he certainly has the knowledge and experience to write realistic crime thrillers, thanks to his extensive background in law. Jim attended law school, where he was a member of the law review. He even went on to pass the state bar and started his own law practice that specialized in complex litigation. Jim’s experience in law helps lend credibility to his crime fiction books. He has also traveled extensively and gains inspiration for his crime thrillers from his travels. From observing other cultures and gaining new experiences, Jim is able to infuse new life into his books and develop believable characters that readers can identify with.

Frank James writes crime thriller novels that are gripping and suspenseful. In 2013, he began publishing The Lou Malloy Crime Series, which is expected to span 20 books. The series follows Lou Malloy, a hardened criminal who did 15 years in prison for the theft of $15 million, and his partner Hilary Kelly, a private investigator. The titles include The Run Begins, Dead Money Run, Only Two Cats, Blue Cat in Paradise, Rainbow Games, Two Birds To Kill, Last Flamingo, and Finders, Keepers. J. Frank James creates all of his own book covers. To learn more, go to J. Frank James Books

You can find J. Frank James on Twitter, Goodreads, and Facebook.

Dead Money Run

Dead Money Run is the first book in The Lou Malloy Crime Series.

Dead Money Run

Lou Malloy learns of his sister’s death right before he is released from prison, having served 15 years for the theft of $15 million from an Indian casino. He wants two things: to keep the $15 million, which no one has been able to find, and to track down and punish whoever killed his sister.

Lou Malloy teams up with Hilary Kelly, a private investigator. In no time, Lou has found the hidden $15 million, recovered guns and ammunition hidden with the money, and murdered two low-level mobsters and fed them to the crocodiles.

As the body count rises, the story grows more complex and his sister’s death becomes more mysterious.

Buy Dead Money Run here in the UK and here in the US.


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