The Journey of Writing "Third and Long": A Deep Dive into the Locations

I am currently finishing Third and Long the tenth John Keegan mystery and the third in the retro series that goes back to 1999. These books are about murder and investigation, but they rely on characters and the places where they live and visit.

My mystery series relies a lot on location. Usually, New York City takes center stage but I try to incorporate the surrounding areas as well. As a native Long Islander, I’ve always been drawn to the unique charm and character of various places in and around New York. While I'm somewhat familiar with these locations, I also undertook a considerable amount of research to ensure authenticity and vividness in the settings. Here’s a look into some of the key locations that breathe life into the story.

Long Island: The Heart and Soul

Long Island isn’t just a backdrop in "Third and Long"; it’s a character in its own right. Growing up here, I’ve experienced the contrasts between the serene suburban neighborhoods and the bustling, sometimes gritty city life. For instance, the quiet streets of Montauk offer a sense of serenity that stands in stark contrast to the high-stakes investigations John Keegan navigates. Montauk, with its beaches and small-town feel, becomes a place of refuge but also a critical location for uncovering secrets. The Rough Riders condominium complex, with its weathered buildings and views of the ocean, provides a tangible connection to the past and the present .

New York City: The Urban Jungle

New York City, with its relentless energy and diversity, provides a dynamic canvas for the novel. Central Park at dawn, for instance, is depicted as almost sacred, offering a brief truce before the city's chaos awakens. This serene moment is shattered by the intrusion of crime, creating a powerful juxtaposition that heightens the tension of the narrative. Each neighborhood in the city has its own story and vibe, from the affluent Upper East Side to the gritty corners of Greenpoint, Brooklyn. Greenpoint, with its industrial areas and Polish heritage, becomes a focal point in the investigation. The neighborhood's blend of old and new, of warehouses and emerging arts scenes, adds depth to the story .

Iconic Locales

Places like The Lobster Roll in Amagansett, which is often mistaken as part of Montauk, bring a slice of local color to the novel. This legendary spot, known for its casual yet iconic presence, offers a backdrop for critical conversations and character development. Similarly, P.J. Clarke’s in Manhattan serves as a nostalgic touchstone, a place where history and present-day intersect. These locales are more than mere settings; they are integral to the storytelling, offering authenticity and a sense of place that grounds the narrative in reality. Even the venerable Midtown South Precinct, center stage in every Keegan story, serves as an iconic location for the series.

Research and Authenticity

While my personal experiences provide a foundation, I also delve deep into research to add layers of authenticity to the settings. Understanding the layout and security measures of various neighborhoods, or the unique characteristics of a Montauk beach house, ensures that the narrative is grounded in reality. This research often involves not just reading but looking at pictures and even talking to people to get a sense of what a place means to them. I've been to most of the locations I write about but I need more than my perspective, and I find pictures as a way to convey someone else's.

Bridging Reality with Fiction

In "Third and Long," the settings are not just passive backdrops but active elements that influence the characters and plot. Whether it’s the somber quiet of a Long Island suburb or the relentless hustle of New York City, each location adds depth and context to the story. As John Keegan navigates these spaces, they shape his experiences, decisions, and the overall arc of the narrative.

Writing "Third and Long" has been a journey through familiar streets and uncharted territories alike. By blending personal experience with thorough research, I aim to create a vivid and authentic world that readers can step into and explore. I hope that as you read the novel, you’ll feel the pulse of these locations and understand how they shape the lives and stories of the characters within


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