My Man Walter by J.S. Cook
Cover Artist Catt Ford
Release Day February 6, 2016
Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have J.S. Scott here today to share a little bit about her latest novel, My Man Walter. Welcome, J.S., to Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words. Why a butler?
An Inside Look At ‘My Man Walter’ by J.S. Cook
In 1981, the idea of becoming a butler was about as reasonable as deciding to set up housekeeping on the moon. Having a butler was no longer in fashion; more and more, the wealthy and titled of society were dispensing with personal servants in favor of contract firms. It became more practical to call Molly Maid when someone vomited a gallon of pinot gris onto your white Aubusson during a dinner party. Becoming a butler—that is to say, devoting your life to domestic service and cleaning up other people’s messes—was no longer seen as a viable occupation. The art of being a butler was on the verge of being lost.
That same year Ivor Spencer opened a school for “butler administrators and personal assistants” in London, offering proper training to those who aspired to the position of major-domo in some noble or wealthy household. This signaled a renaissance in household management and ushered in an era of respect for the butler’s profession. To be a butler meant one was a respected household manager, the overseer, the one who got things running and kept them that way. It took a great deal of skill and astonishing powers of organization, especially if the household was a large one, with many family members, and other household staff, for whom the butler would be responsible.
In my novel My Man Walter, New York Times reporter Walter Godfrey is in trouble with the mafia. He needs somewhere to hide until the nasty repercussions of his newspaper exposés blow over. Enter NYPD detective Brian Schrade. Like Walter, Schrade has been fighting the mafia’s various incursions into virgin territory with a growing sense of unease. Unlike Walter, Schrade doesn’t have a price on his head, but he does have Alec Pratt, police informant extraordinaire and, in a strange twist of circumstances, Walter’s personal bodyguard. Schrade decides to stash Walter away, where the mob can’t get at him: the palatial Long Island mansion of billionaire inventor Chase Gordon. Walter will pretend to be the new under-butler, taking over some of the duties from Chase’s caustic English butler, Juliet Lavish. Juliet doesn’t take to Walter right away. In fact, she thinks he’s little better than an annoyance, and she wants him gone. Walter can’t cook, doesn’t know one end of a vacuum cleaner from the other, and is all thumbs when it comes to handling delicate heirloom china.
Walter initially thinks he’ll put his time to good use by writing a series of newspaper articles about Chase, “a shallow, facile playboy who only cared where his next thrill was coming from.” Once he meets Chase, however, his opinion does a complete 180-degree turn:
He was about Walter’s own age, dark-haired and dark-eyed, handsome…. God, he was handsome. He wore his hair combed straight back over his head, the better to showcase his large brown eyes with their thick lashes. His chin was faintly stubbled with perhaps a day’s worth of beard, but it didn’t look messy, not on him. His face was lean, with high cheekbones and a certain suppleness around the mouth; Walter had seen his face in so many photographs, splashed on the front pages of newspapers and all over social media, but no photograph did him justice. He was beautiful. He was more beautiful in person than any man had a right to be.
Chase’s loneliness touches something in Walter, and before long the two become close. When Walter realizes he may be falling for Chase, however, he hesitates. Having lost his partner during the 9-11 attacks, Walter is reluctant to allow anyone into his heart—until Chase is kidnapped on a routine trip to Honduras, and held for ransom. Unable to do anything but wait by the phone, Walter draws on the strength of the people around him, hoping against hope that Chase will come back to him alive.
Billionaire inventor Chase Gordon has just turned forty—and everything in his ordered little world is going to hell in an Hermès bag. His acerbic English butler Juliet Lavish has decided to retire. The humanitarian church founded by his late parents has suddenly gone broke—in the middle of the jungle—in Honduras. Lastly, NYPD detective Brian Schrade wants to use Chase’s palatial mansion to hide Walter Godfrey, a newspaper reporter who might know something about a recent rash of mob-related business deals. Part of the deal is the conniving, misanthropic Alec Pratt, son of a local newspaper mogul and unapologetic police informant who just might have a teensy weensy crush on Brian Schrade.
But Walter isn’t safe, not at Chase’s residence or anywhere else. His too-frequent forays into the city—against Brian Schrade’s advice—make him a target, and his strong attraction to Chase Gordon is setting him up for some serious heartbreak. When Chase goes to Honduras to investigate the state of his family’s failing fortunes, he adds another trouble to the long list: he’s been set up for kidnapping.
About the Author
J.S. Cook was born in a tiny fishing village on the seacoast of Newfoundland. Her love of writing manifested itself early when her mother, impressed with the quality of a school assignment she’d written, sent it to the editor of the local paper – who published it. Since then she has written novels, short stories, novellas, plays, radio scripts and some really, really bad poetry. She has worked as a housekeeper, nanny, secretary, publisher, parliamentary editor and a university lecturer, although this last convinced her never to step foot inside a classroom again. She holds a B.A. (Honors) and an M.A. in English Language and Literature, and a B.Ed in post-secondary education. She loves walking and once spent six hours walking the streets of Dublin, Ireland. She maintains she wasn’t lost, just “looking around”. She makes her home in St. John’s, Newfoundland, with her husband of 27 years and her spoiled rotten ‘dogter’, Lola, who always gets her own way.
You can find her at:
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