Menlo Park resident Nick Taylor has always been a baseball fan, so when he decided to deviate from writing historical fiction and turn to crime (so to speak!), he chose a baseball pitcher who moonlights as a private detective as his main character. The result is the recently published, The Setup Man: A Novel, written under the pen name T. T. Monday.
“A lot of crime writers use different names for different series,” he said. “And I’ve always liked authors’ names with double initials — A. A. Milne, R. R. Martin, Z.Z. Packer.”
Nick grew up in Southern California rooting for the Dodgers, but he’s switched allegiance since moving to the Bay Area in 2007. “The Dodgers went down the toilet — ownership became so evil [under McCourt],” he said. “At the same time, the Giants become lovable. I’m also an As fan. Basically, I like baseball.”
After writing two historical novels, he decided to take a shot at crime fiction. “I was looking for a larger audience, writing something with broader appeal,” he said. “I love interaction with readers and wanted to put myself in a position to do that more.
“Plus, a baseball pitcher who’s also a private investigator is a delicious premise!”
Nick, who teaches English at San Jose State, said he does much of his writing at the Menlo Park Library. “My office became a bedroom when our twins were born 10 months ago,” explained the author, who also has an 11-year-old daughter. “I like the library because it’s not too comfortable, and there are different places to sit. I don’t have as many options at my house.”
Local readers have told Nick that The Setup Man: A Novel is a good read because a portion of the action takes place in the Bay Area. “I imagined an expansion franchise playing in a beautiful new stadium in downtown San Jose,” said Nick. “My San Jose friends like that, in particular. There’s also a murder that happens on Hwy 92.”
The publication of Nick’s book comes at a near perfect time for baseball fans. After an opening series in Australia last week and “opening night” yesterday, today is Major League baseball’s traditional Opening Day. For fans wanting to get a feel of what it’s like for a pitcher to also be a private detective, Nick will be doing a reading from his book at Books Inc on Castro St. in Mountain View tomorrow (April 1) at 7:00 pm.
Photo by Scott R. Kline