Larry Karaszewski

Jake Johnson on 'Digging for Fire' and batting sixth

Jake Johnson on 'Digging for Fire' and batting sixth

This story begins with a rusty gun, a license plate and a bone of unknown origin.

A few years ago, a half dozen blocks from the hip Silver Lake wine-tasting shop where Jake Johnson is enjoying a glass of Pinot Noir, he and his wife dug up the makings of a mystery novel in the backyard of their rented house.

His neighbors weren't surprised and the police weren't concerned. So he called a bunch of buddies and went digging.

The experience "freaked him out" for a long time, he said with wide-eyed intensity, perched against the bar in a loose-fitting Sriracha T-shirt.

"What happens to someone who thinks there's a dead body in their backyard?"...