April 10, 2016

Mallory's Iowa with Steven Brayton

How many mystery stories are set in Iowa? Not very many. New York, Chicago, Miami, Houston, Los Angeles and even Cabot Cove, get their fair share. Iowa?

Well, there are a few, including mine, entitled Alpha. I mention my book partly for blatant self promotion, but to point out that in my book I visit real places in Iowa, specifically in the Des Moines metropolitan area. Many of the places are fictionalized, but many aren't. Let's review some:
The Des Moines River. My private eye, Mallory Petersen, spies a bad guy making a narcotics transaction on this river. Later, she tosses another bad guy off a bridge into the river.

Glendale Cemetery. Granted, not a tourist spot, but Mallory's plan to capture the bad guys has its start amongst the tombstones.

Greenbelt Park. Mallory encounters the two big baddies and barely escapes with her life.
Walnut Creek. You guessed it, another bad guy goes for a dunk.

The Des Moines rail yard. I was scolded by a railroad official for trespassing. I plead not guilty as there were no signs stating no admittance. Under the East 30th Street bridge is where the climax of Alpha takes place.

The Botanical Center. Mallory takes a needed break in an indoor nature garden.
Prospect Park. Mallory flees from a gang.

The Val-Air Ballroom. An historic venue where Mallory crashes a party while chasing a lost woman.

Other locales include Walnut Woods State Park and the Des Moines Police Department.
In another Mallory Petersen mystery which is in the process of being republished, I visit other areas of Des Moines, including the Meredith Company, a video store on Merle Hay Road, a trucking company on Maine Street, and she travels to two other Iowa towns, Oskaloosa and Davenport, where she sees action in other actual locales.

That's how I write my books, using real places. Future stories will see Mallory in dire straits near the Dale Maffit Reservoir, trying to solve a theft at Prairie Meadows casino, in a chase at the Des Moines International Airport, running into a rhino at the Blank Park Zoo, and going for a ride at Adventureland Amusement Park.

So, if you visit Des Moines, take a few days to see the town. You might run into me doing research on future stories. Certainly, you'll travel along the same avenues and streets and parkways as Mallory.
I’m offering a random drawing of those who comment for a free copy of Iowa Original Writers Anthology featuring stories from the Davenport Writes team, including a Mallory Petersen short story.

I'm a Fifth Degree Black Belt instructor in the American Taekwondo Association. I started martial arts training in 1991, earned my black belt in 1993, and gained my instructor certification in 1995.

In 1996, I opened up my first taekwondo club in Grinnell, Iowa. In 2003, I assumed ownership of the club in Oskaloosa, Iowa. 

I've been employed in various fields: radio broadcaster and sales, printing, warehouse/trucking, and hospitality. 

I'm a reader; a writer; an instructor; a graphic designer; a lover of books, movies, wine, women, music, fine food, good humor, sunny summer days spent hiking or fishing; and I'm a catnip drug dealer to my thirteen pound cat, Thomas. 

If you wish to contact me regarding my books, speaking engagements, to request a book review, or just to chat contact me here http://www.stephenbrayton.com/index.html
(info provided by author) 


  1. These sound like great stories. I would love to win a copy! Marion

  2. Having spent a decade one year in Iowa City, my wife and I swore to never return. And, except for traveling through, we have kept that oath. Obviously, of we had driven down route 80 to Des Moines we might have felt differently. That said, I found Iowa a place of great mystery. How, for example, could people live there when there were places like New York and California, Florida and my native New England? Another mystery or at least a question: what did people sing when they gathered around the player piano at the local old folks' home? I got the heck out of Dodge before getting to know that. It was 1969 and the future beckoned as we hit out for New York and never looked back. Too bad in a way though; I miss watching the corn grow.

  3. Being from Iowa, Louisiana, it is always nice to find out more about the state after which my hometown is named after.

    Thanks for sharing.
    Good luck and God's blessings

  4. Stephen, it was nice to meet you here and learn something about your state and your books. I like to use real places in my books, too. I think it is more authentic to have walked the walk and soaked up the true atmosphere of the towns and the people then to do book or online research. Then the "voice" of the writing rings true. Good luck with your books. PS I liked your "blatant promotion" style!

    Linda Swift

  5. You life and experiences seem as many and varied as the places where you set your plot scenes. I don't know much about Iowa but I am sure it is just as awesome as any other place in this country. Am also sure it has its own characteristics and glorious history.

  6. I've been to Iowa, but I must say I am not familiar with it. So, perhaps I need to read one of your mysteries to learn more about the state - and Des Moines. Nice post, Steven.

  7. Being a fellow Iowan I would love to read your books. I think it would be awesome to see Des Moines in a book and to be able to know some of the places... Way COOL! I would love to win :)


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