Author Jassy Mackenzie has recently gotten some good publicity. Her book Stolen Lives (Soho Crime) was reviewed in Crimespree Magazine, which called the novel “action packed and a bit violent, and extremely well plotted…In a monthly meal of mysteries, this is a main course and shouldn’t be missed.” Stolen Lives is the exciting follow-up to Mackenzie’s acclaimed debut, Random Violence, again following PI Jade de Jong through Johannesburg as a straightforward bodyguard job turns out to be a lot more complicated than she first thought.
Mackenzie was also recently featured in an article on WOW! Women on Writing, in which she and several other female authors (including Cara Black, who wrote Murder in Passy, also from Soho Crime) talk about their rules of mystery writing. Among other things, Mackenzie discusses the importance of developing a story’s setting by including social issues unique to that particular place instead of just “the ugly underbelly and all the pretty little areas where the tourists like to go.” Her own characters are shaped by the dangerous environment of Johannesburg—for instance, everyone owns a gun out of necessity. Mackenzie also suggests that a good mystery starts with a hook right off the bat: “While there doesn’t have to be a body sprawled on the floor, there must be something to get your pulse racing.”