Blog Tour/Playlist/Giveaway: Don’t Get Caught by Kurt Dinan

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SYNOPSIS:Don't Get Caught

10:00 tonight at the water tower. Tell no one. -Chaos Club

When Max receives a mysterious invite from the untraceable, epic prank-pulling Chaos Club, he has to ask: why him? After all, he’s Mr. 2.5 GPA, Mr. No Social Life. He’s Just Max. And his favorite heist movies have taught him this situation calls for Rule #4: Be suspicious. But it’s also his one shot to leave Just Max in the dust…

Yeah, not so much. Max and four fellow students-who also received invites-are standing on the newly defaced water tower when campus security “catches” them. Definitely a setup. And this time, Max has had enough. It’s time for Rule #7: Always get payback.

Let the prank war begin.


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I have to have music playing when I write because it drowns out any distractions, and I’m an easily distractible guy.  I’ve found the better I can link a character or a scene to the perfect song, the easier it is for me to write.  A lot of the characters in DON’T GET CAUGHT have theme songs that I listened to repeatedly to get into those characters’ heads.  Other times, I found a song that’s energy or attitude fit a scene and I’d write to that.  Below is a list of ten songs that represent that characters, scenes, and overall vibe of DON’T GET CAUGHT.

“I Wanna Get Better” by Bleachers

I love this song.  It’s an 80’s song at heart, and really, DON’T GET CAUGHT is a novel version of an 80’s movie at heart.  The real story behind this song is heartbreaking (you can read it online), but I used the overall theme of wanting to change yourself when it came to Max Cobb, who as the novel begins, feels like Just-Max, an easy forgotten, average kid who wants something more.  He soon gets his chance when he falls victim to a prank by the Chaos Club, and decides to get revenge.

“Kool Thing” by Sonic Youth

Kate Malone’s the most skeptical and smartest member of the Water Tower 5.  I based her on Kim Gordon, formerly of Sonic Youth, a true rock and roll badass who’s smart, tough, and has that don’t mess with me look. When I wrote Malone’s scenes, I listened to this song a lot, especially those opening 35 seconds which are all attitude.

“Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap” by AC/DC

Of all member of the Water Tower 5, Dave Wheeler’s the one with little to no conscience.  Early on he says, “Destruction for a good cause?  I’m in.”  But really, Wheeler doesn’t need a good cause–he’s fine with destruction for it’s own sake, too.  This song, all about the willingness to do terrible things for money, will probably playing a constant loop in Wheeler’s office if he ever decides to go professional with his skills.

“Girls! Girls! Girls!” By Liz Phair

Ellie Wick’s the girl-next-door, and a preacher’s kid to boot, but underneath it all she’s the perfect grifter, a manipulator who’s able to play any role to get what she wants.  She’s definitely more happy-go-lucky than this song, but I think Ellie would definitely agree with the lyric here of, “I take full advantage of everyone I see. I get away, almost everyday, with what the girls call murder.”

“Unsatisfied” by The Replacements

Tim Adleta, the star athlete with a domineering father, was the hardest for me to pick a song for.  He’s the most introspective member of the Water Tower 5, and spends much of the novel as a quiet presence.  When he does talk, there’s a sadness there, at least one I hear in my head.  He wants to be more than seen as just the jock, but it’s a role his father will not let him out of.  This song by The Replacements, one of the greatest bands ever, is perfect foranyone who’s ever wanted more from life, but doesn’t know how to get it.

“A Little Less Conversation A Little More Action” by Elvis (the JXL Radio Edit Remix)

If you’ve seen Ocean’s 11 (and if you haven’t, you must right now!), you know this music is used in some of the heist scenes.  When I would write some of the prank scenes, this was the song playing in my head.  There’s a montage scene near the end of the novel when they’re preparing for their epic final prank and this song fits there perfectly if someone were to ever make DON’T GET CAUGHT into a movie.

“Centerfold” by J. Geils Band

Easily my favorite 80’s song.  I used it as the centerpiece of a scene in which Malone is embarrassed during a pep rally by her nemesis.

“The Falls” by Hudson Bell

Sometimes there are those perfect moments in your life when it’s just you and someone you really like, and it feels as if the rest of the world doesn’t exist.  When I wrote the scene in which Max and Ellie go to the radar dish and stare up at the sky and talk, this is the song that I listened to.

“Slow Drip” by Superchunk

Mac McCaughan of Superchunk was kind enough to let me use a lyric from this song in the novel.  At one point Wheeler wears a shirt with “I broke my back in a trust fall” on it, which I’ve always found really funny, and is right on with Wheeler’s sense of humor. If you don’t have Superchunk in your life, you’re missing out.

“Thunderstruck” by AC/DC

Yeah, another AC/DC song.  I mostly write in the early morning, and need a lot of energetic music to keep me moving.  I wanted the novel to read fast with very little fat, and no band does that better than AC/DC.  This song has the attitude and energy I hope the novel has, and in my weird author brain it works as a good soundtrack for of all the pranks in the novel.

“Don’t You (Forget About Me)” by Simple Minds

This song will forever be linked to the closing credits of The Breakfast Club, and I’ve always said DON’T GET CAUGHT is a combination of TBC and Ocean’s 11. One of the great questions at the end of TBC is what will happen to all of these kids when they return to school on Monday.  Will they be friends?  Will they ignore each other?  This goes unanswered, but you get the impression they all hope they’re forever linked and don’t deny that connection.  I think the end of DON’T GET CAUGHT has a little bit of that ambiguity, but you secretly hope they continue their friendship.


Kurt Dinan is a high school English teacher living in Cincinnati. His debut novel, DON’T GET CAUGHT, will be released in April of 2016. He is represented by Kerry Sparks of LGR.


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One response to “Blog Tour/Playlist/Giveaway: Don’t Get Caught by Kurt Dinan”

  1. danielle hammelef says:

    I’ve never heard of Superchunk before, but I love their sound! Great dance music–I just want to move when they play this song. Thanks for introducing me to them! Can’t wait to read this book!