Part-time assassin, full-time dad

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CJ West is the author of the Marking Time series, the Randy Black series, and numerous standalones and short stories
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Dressed To Kill

The rumors of my death have been greatly exaggerated. Truth is I’ve been very busy working through some issues at home and haven’t been able to write for quite some time.

It’s time to get back to work and I’m starting with a live murder mystery show at the Proctor Mansion Inn. If you’ve never been, the mansion is the perfect place for a murder mystery show. The building was built in 1861. The woodwork is amazing and every room seems to have two entrances (and exits) so it’s perfect for characters to slink around and do their evil business.

Our story this time is a fashion show. We have eight lovely ladies and one hunky guy modeling three lines of clothing for our buyer. When things don’t go as planned, it will be up to the audience to figure out what happened and claim the prize for Super Sleuth.

Our shows are more like a game than a sit-down show. Action takes place in multiple rooms simultaneously, just like it would in real life. The characters don’t stop for set changes, and the guests can interact with the actors anytime because the show is written with the guests included as part of the action.



Last year’s cast

We have 6 actors returning from the show last year. In addition we have a clothing line by Erin Kaufman, owner of Paxton 1345, Jewelry from The Snobby Starfish, and we are very fortunate to have author Gina Fava and Actor Graham King, who has been in several films and television shows.

The thing that sets my shows apart from others is that we kill our victim within the bounds of the show. We do it every time. And we almost never get caught. Sometimes a guest is two feet from the murder victim and still comes away unsure how the person died or who the killer was.

Yes, we are very sneaky.

Think you can outsmart us? Check us out:

September 13, 2014  6:30 pm
Proctor Mansion Inn, 36 Common Street, Wrentham, MA
Cash bar
Rooms are available
Tickets $40 per person


The Power of Thanks

Many of you know I’m in the process of moving. Today I was digging through old files and office supplies and I discovered two letters from twenty years ago. Both were from company presidents. One was a single sentence. The other a paragraph.

The letters thanked me for a computer project I did a very long time ago. A friend of mine and I worked the morning in Boston, flew to New Jersey, worked all night, and stayed up the next morning to make sure everything went smoothly with the computer network we had just installed.

Most people would say working 25 hours straight and then flying home is above and beyond the call. Some people might be annoyed by a task like this, but I never saw these challenges that way. I wanted to help people and one of the biggest motivators for me was that people appreciated what I did. My work made their lives better and so working hard for them felt good.

When I read the letters twenty years later, I don’t groan at the thought of staying up all night to do the work. I remember how happy everyone was to have their problems fixed.

Remember that the next time you consider sending a thank you email. Those words might inspire someone to do something great.







I’m Going To Kill Someone. Can You Catch Me?

Right now I’m preparing an interactive Murder Mystery show to be held at the Proctor Mansion Inn in Wrentham, MA. I love visiting the mansion. It’s 150 years old with high ceilings, intricate molding and woodwork, and rooms that all seem to have two ways in and out. The layout allows the actors to appear and disappear almost at will.

I discovered my love for these shows accidentally when I was invited to take part in one about five years ago. That first show featured a narrator and clues hidden all around the building. What I discovered is that people really enjoy watching the actors in action, but a scripted show feels a little too stiff.

What I eventually came up with is a show that is entirely ad-libbed. The actors have a general script to follow, but none of the dialog is scripted. The actors know their roles and what they are trying to accomplish during the show, but how it is done is completely up to them. The fluidity of this format really seems to draw the crowd in. They can interrupt a scene and become part of it and there is no consequence to the actors. They can’t lose their place, because they haven’t memorized lines. Everyone is reacting to the situation, guests and actors alike.

My favorite part of the shows is the high I get when we kill someone in a room full of people and no one in the audience sees the deed. I love it when guests have that frustrated, someone-died-three-feet-from-me-and-I-didn’t-see-it look on their face. Believe it or not, I have repeatedly killed (or planned the murder of) someone in rooms full of 200 people and I’ve never been caught in the act. One of my favorites was when we killed a woman at a round banquet table. One of the guests was seated at that same table (facing the other way) when the murder occurred. She couldn’t believe the murder victim was dead at her own table when she turned around.

Think you can do better than she did? Come try to catch me in the act.

My next show will be:
September 14th 6:30 pm
Proctor Mansion Inn, 36 Common Street, Wrentham, MA
Cash bar
Rooms are available
Tickets $45.00
(877) 384-1861


Welcome Home!

Welcome to my new website.

I’ve had the same old clunky design since 2010 and it was time I finally ditched the webpages I coded by hand and moved up to something a little sleeker. This page also gives me a home for my blog, so the old one will be coming down shortly.

I hope you find it easier to navigate this new slimmed down page.

If you are missing some of the features of the old page, let me know and I’ll get them added in.

Two things that will come back soon: signed books and Cat Bagger stickers.

I’m just not sure where to put those yet.

Take a look around, let me know what you think of the new design.