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The Sirens of Suspense




B-Rad Parks is the only author to have won the Shamus, Nero and Lefty Awards. He received the Shamus (for best first private eye novel) and the Nero (for best American mystery) for his debut, FACES OF THE GONE, the first book in history to take both awards. He has won two Leftys (for best humorous mystery) for his third and fourth books, THE GIRL NEXT DOOR and THE GOOD COP. In addition THE GOOD COP won the Shamus Award for best hardcover novel, making Parks the only former best first winner to go on and win best hardcover. Parks is a graduate of Dartmouth College and spent a dozen years as a reporter for The Washington Post and The Newark, N.J., Star-Ledger. He is a full-time novelist who lives in Virginia with his wife and two children.


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I am so thrilled Chantelle asked me to come onto her blog today, not because I’m trying to flog my latest book (it’s called THE FRAUD, and it released six days before GO SET A WATCHMAN, which proves I’m better than Harper Lee); or because I hope to drum up interest in my visit to the Poisoned Pen on Saturday (Finally! A chance to demonstrate my Tuvan Throat Singing https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DY1pcEtHI_w for a live audience!); but, rather, because it gives me a platform to reveal the most important, most interesting, most compelling thing about me.

And that, of course, is my crusade against parsnips.

For those unfamiliar with it, the parsnip is a root vegetable. It is biennial, which raises immediate concerns. Why is it so slothful? What, exactly, is it up to during that year off? (I think we can all agree idle vegetables are the devil’s workshop).

The parsnip is sometimes confused with its better-known cousin, the carrot. Though, please, be wary of what I call The Parsnip-Carrot Zombie Trap, wherein the devious parsnip attempts to worm its way into people’s natural affinity for the noble carrot, until eventually the parsnip subjugates and enslaves the goodwill generated by the carrot. The evidence of this phenomenon is empirical: whereas the carrot is a rich, vivid orange, the parsnip is colorless and wan. Like a zombie.

(Italics mine. Shiver of fear, also mine).

There are people who believe parsnips are tubers, which is not true. But I find it intriguing that the word tuber is but two letters away from—and rhymes with—the word tumor. That sort of linguistic kinship is not a coincidence.

Neither is this: if you throw a finely sliced parsnip into a bowl of water, it might cling to the side of the bowl; in essence, floating. You know what else floats in water? Witches.

Then there is the parsnip’s menacing physical form. I don’t think I need to convince anyone of the havoc that can be created by an object shaped like a phallus.

It is also time someone takes on the pervasive lies that are spread by what I call the Parsnips Pushers, who are really just lobbyists bought and paid for by the Parsnip-Industrial Complex, which spends its shadowy millions spreading the misinformation that this infernal root is somehow “healthy.”

In fact, parsnips are the Pop Tarts of the vegetable world. Actually, they’re worse. A 100-calorie serving of sliced parsnips has six grams of sugar. Six grams! Six, of course, rounds up to ten. And ten grams per 100 calories is more than Pop Tarts. And people wonder why there’s a childhood obesity epidemic.

Also, unlike carrots, parsnips have no Vitamin A. You know what that means? If you ate a diet consisting of nothing but parsnips, you would eventually go blind. That’s right: Parsnips cause blindness.

But that’s not all. Parsnips are also directly responsible for income inequality in this country. I learned this when I Googled the word “parsnip” and the second thing that popped up was... wait for it... a recipe from MarthaStewart.com. Do I really have to spell out the rest for you? Martha Stewart went to jail for insider trading; and insider trading is one of the ways the One Percent sticks it to the rest of us.

That’s parsnips for you.

Finally—and I hate to “go there,” but I feel I have no choice—parsnips are native to Eurasia.

So is Stalin.

I just don’t know how I can make it any more plain for you people. Parsnips are the root of all evil.





WHAT VEGETABLE DO YOU HAVE IT OUT FOR? Tell us or leave a comment for B-Rad on the blog below or on our Facebook page and you’ll be entered to win a copy of THE FRAUD! (US entrants only, please.)



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