Book Review: The Eighth Sister by Robert Dugoni

Eighth sister

 

 

 

A pulse-pounding thriller of espionage, spy games, and treachery by the New York Times bestselling author of the Tracy Crosswhite Series.

 

Former CIA case officer Charles Jenkins is a man at a crossroads: in his early sixties, he has a family, a new baby on the way, and a security consulting business on the brink of bankruptcy. Then his former bureau chief shows up at his house with a risky new assignment: travel undercover to Moscow and locate a Russian agent believed to be killing members of a clandestine US spy cell known as the seven sisters.

Desperate for money, Jenkins agrees to the mission and heads to the Russian capital. But when he finds the mastermind agent behind the assassinations—the so-called eighth sister—she is not who or what he was led to believe. Then again, neither is anyone else in this deadly game of cat and mouse.

Pursued by a dogged Russian intelligence officer, Jenkins executes a daring escape across the Black Sea, only to find himself abandoned by the agency he serves. With his family and freedom at risk, Jenkins is in the fight of his life—against his own country.

 

Amazon | Goodreads | Audible

 

 

 

Popcorn image entertainment.jpeg

 

 

Get out the popcorn this one is awesome!

 

 

It’s been a while since I lost sleep reading a book, but I kid you not, The Eighth Sister is a pageturner in every sense of the word. It gripped me right from the beginning and wouldn’t let go until the final word. Spy games, counterintelligence, dilemma, betrayal, legal drama—it has it all. Former CIA case officer Charles Jenkins left the agency under unpleasant circumstances while working in Mexico city. Now much later, an old colleague pays him a visit when his security consulting firm is struggling due to financial distress. He is presented with a mission to locate a Russian agent linked with a U.S spy cell—The seven sisters—located in the highest levels of the Russian government. I can’t say too much more you’ll just have to read it. What an epic story! I sure hope Robert Dugoni continues this storyline with future books because there’s definitely room for it.

 

 

 

Awesome block letters dark background.jpeg

 

 

 

“[Dugoni] has outdone himself here, serving up a double-barrelled blast of action mixed with espionage in what’s perhaps his most unputdownable thriller yet…Treason, moles, and plenty of misdirection…Robert Dugoni’s The Eighth Sister is a high-stakes game between spies, and he doesn’t take his foot off the gas pedal for a second.”—The Real Book Spy

 

“Exhilarating…A tightly written, flawlessly executed espionage novel that takes the reader on a refreshingly unique, white-knuckle journey through the byzantine world of modern intelligence.” —Steven Konkoly, USA Today bestselling author

 

 

 

Number 5, stars and laurels isolated on white background. 3D illustration

 

 

 

 

Robert Dugoni image

 

 

Robert Dugoni is the New York Times, #1 Amazon, and #1 Wall Street Journal Bestselling Author of the Tracy Crosswhite series: My Sister’s Grave, Her Last Breath, In the Clearing, The Trapped Girl and Close to Home, as well as the short prequels The Academy and Third Watch. The police procedural featuring Seattle Homicide Detective Tracy Crosswhite has kept Dugoni in the Amazon top 10 for more than three years and sold more than 4 million copies. He is also the author of the critically acclaimed The Extraordinary Life of Sam Hell, released April 2018. Dugoni’s first series featured attorney David Sloane and CIA agent Charles Jenkins.

He is the winner of the Nancy Pearl Award for fiction, a two-time nominee for the Harper Lee Award for Legal Fiction, A two-time nominee for the Mystery Writer’s of America Edgar Award and a two-time nominee for the International Thriller of the year. His non-fiction expose, The Cyanide Canary, was a 2004 Best Book of the Year. He is published in more than 30 countries and two dozen languages.

You can sign up for his newsletter at:
http://www.robertdugoni.com and message him on facebook, twitter and instagram

 

 

 

 

RED Hotel: A Q&A with Gary Grossman and Ed Fuller

CORRECT RED HOTEL Cover

 

 

 

BOOK RELEASE DAY – RED Hotel by Gary Grossman & Ed Fuller

 

 

 

 

 

A Q&A WITH THE AUTHORS

 

ED FULLER:

What was the primary motivation for writing a thriller before you met Gary Grossman? 

Growing up, I loved the James Bond books and movies. The adventure and the characters were exciting.  Then, over my 40 years with Marriott, I experienced a number of global crises situations that felt like they could have even come from Bond.  Along the way – a long way – 22 years as President of International for Marriott, I learned through kidnappings, evacuations, dealing with drug cartels, and foreign governments that crisis management was absolutely critical.  Since retiring from Marriott I decided to combine my realities with my early fantasies. RED HOTEL was born.

 

 

Gun barrel

 

 

 

ED FULLER:

What was your experience writing fiction versus non-fiction?

While I was still working with Marriott, I wrote a book “You Can’t Lead with your Feet on the Desk.” It was a business book that reflected my experiences and philosophies.  It was published by Wiley in the US, China, and Japan.  The reason I sought partnership with Gary Grossman was based on my lack of experience as a fiction writer.  So the way it works is I contribute stories and strategy and Gary applies the glue, creativity, and through-line that binds our stories, characters, and the overall international plot.

 

 

GARY GROSSMAN:

After meeting Ed Fuller what potential did you see in his story concept?

Gary Grossman – Initially, I wondered what would I have in common professionally with the former President of Marriott International.  After all, I was a thriller writer, he was a global executive with the responsibility over thousands of peoples’ lives and careers. I worked in fiction.  He worked in reality. But then we met and in the first thirty seconds I realized Ed was as much in the anti-terrorism business as the hotel business. He extracted his teams in Cairo and Tripoli during the fall of Mubarak and Gaddafi.  Company hotels were bombed. He dealt with drug cartels, kidnappings, and high-level officials in foreign governments around the world. Then I asked Ed who he had on speed dial. He told me. Dramatically. And I realized we could work together and create a wonderful plot fictionalizing Ed’s real life experiences.  

 

 

CLAP-THRILLER

 

 

GARY GROSSMAN:

How did you co-create Dan Reilly?

Dan does real life things, but in a fictional world.  Where Ed didn’t carry a gun, we gave one to Dan for a key scene.  But there’s so much of Ed in Dan. Key was focusing on Ed Fuller’s creation of the color code threat assessment levels he implemented at Marriott that we adapted for RED HOTEL.  So, as you meet Dan Reilly in print, you’ll understand a great deal about Ed Fuller’s remarkable career.

 

 

GARY GROSSMAN:

Tell us more about him and what makes him your protagonist?

Dan Reilly has contacts in the international intelligence community, just as Ed does.  For the sake of RED HOTEL, that pits him against a master assassin in the employ of the president of the Russian Federation.   The background for the entire plot deals with the president and his desire to rebuild the old Soviet bloc on Russia’s western front.   Fiction for RED HOTEL, but a real and present danger for NATO and the West.

 

 

 

Word Nato

 

 

 

GARY GROSSMAN:

What kind of terrorists is he dealing with?

Spoiler alert.  The terrorists are actually agents of Russia.  But that’s for Dan Reilly and his team to figure out.  So right now, consider yourself head of the protagonist.  But there are more surprises in RED HOTEL to discover.

 

 

GARY GROSSMAN:

What are the stakes if they’re aren’t stopped?

The clock is ticking for Russia to make a dramatic and bold move.  To expand Russia’s existing borders into western Europe. So throughout RED HOTEL, all the Russian president needs is the right provocation.  That’s when and where Dan Reilly must step in.

 

 

 

Time running out image.jpeg

 

 

 

GARY GROSSMAN:

Describe how you came up with the title, Red Hotel.

The RED in RED HOTEL refers to the highest threat level in the color code system created by Ed Fuller at Marriott and Dan Reilly in the thriller.  RED means the property looks and feels more protected, and in Ed’s experience, the more visible the defenses against terrorists, the more likely bad guys are to move on.

 

 

GARY GROSSMAN:

What’s next for you?

Ed and I are nearly finished with the first draft of the sequel to RED HOTEL.  It picks right up from where the first book leaves off. So, stay tuned and thanks for deep diving into RED HOTEL.  We hope you’ll enjoy it.

# # #

 

Ed Fuller Color Image

 

 

ED FULLER is a hospitality industry leader, educator, and author of the international Top 20 bestselling business book, You Can’t Lead with Your Feet on the Desk, published by Wiley. He is president of the Irvine, California-based Laguna Strategic Advisors, a global consortium that provides business consulting services to corporations and governments. Fuller is a director of the Federal Bureau of Investigators National Academy Associates Foundation (FBINAA). He has served as a Board Executive of several Charity Boards and Three University Boards. His 40-year career with Marriott included serving as CMO and several regional operational positions which was capped by his role as president and managing director of Marriott International for 22 years. As worldwide chief, he directed and administered corporate expansion of 555 hotels in 73 countries and $8 billion in sales. During that time, he oversaw the creation of Marriott International’s Global Security Strategy. Fuller served as a captain in the U.S. Army and was decorated with a Bronze Star and Army Commendation medals.

 

 

Gary Grossman book photo_uprez

 

 

Gary Grossman is a multiple Emmy Award winning television producer and author of the bestselling international political thrillers Executive Actions, Executive Treason, Executive Command, Executive Force, and Old Earth. He has also written two highly regarded non-fiction books on TV history. Grossman has been published by Dell/Delacorte, Byron Preiss Publishing, Diversion Books, Harlequin, Arlington House, and CBS/Popular Library. He has produced for NBC News, served as a columnist for the Boston Herald American, written for the Boston Globe and the New York Times. Grossman is Contributing Editor to Media Ethics Magazine and has produced more than 10,000 television programs for 40 networks. He’s a member of ITW, the International Thriller Writers Association and the Military Writers Society of America.

 

 

RED Hotel

REDHotel.com

 

 

 

 

 

Blog Tour Blast: The Scent of Death by Simon Beckett

Scent of Death book image

 

 

It has been a good summer for forensics expert Dr David Hunter. His relationship is going well and he’s in demand again as a police consultant. His life seems to be on an even keel.

But not for long. The call comes from an old associate: a body has been found, and she’d like Hunter to take a look . . .

St Jude’s Hospital now stands empty. Slowly rotting and silently awaiting demolition, the vast, oppressive building’s only visitors have been society’s outcasts, addicts and dealers. And it’s here that the partially mummified corpse has been discovered. Hunter is not sure how long the body has been hidden in the hospital’s cavernous loft, but he’s seen enough to know it’s a young woman. And that she was pregnant.

As the remains are removed for closer examination, a floor collapses revealing a previously sealed off part of a ward. Bricked up inside this hidden chamber are three beds. Two of them are occupied . . .
What other grisly secrets will St Jude’s reveal? The local community is alarmed and the police need answers. For David Hunter, what began as a challenging if straightforward case is about to become a twisted nightmare threatening him and those around him.

Featuring his trademark authentic forensics, claustrophobic sense of place and nerve-shredding tension, Simon Beckett’s new thriller will leave you gasping.

 

 

Scent of Death blog tour banner

 

 

 

Enjoy the Tour with these beautiful book blogs

 

2/18 – @Karen55555 – Go Buy The Book Blog

 

2/19 – @sephine – Live to Read. Read to Live Blog

 

2/20 – @clairsharpe – Always Need More Books

 

2/21 – @annebonnybook – Anne Bonny Book Reviews

 

2/22 – @rae_reads1 – Rae Reads

 

2/23 – @kaishajayneh –  The Writing Gamet

 

2/24 – @Lizzy11268 – Liz Loves Books

 

2/25 – @polesofie – Romantics, Rebels, and Reviews

 

2/26 – @ClaireKreads – A Knight’s Reads

 

2/27 – @AmandaDuncan12 – My Bookish Blogspot

 

2/28 – @dmmaguire391 – Donna’s Book Blog

 

3/1 – @JoannaLouisePar – Over the Rainbow Book Blog

 

3/2 – @Agi_mybookshelf – On My bookshelf

 

3/3 – @Shazsbookblog – Shaz’s Book Blog

 

3/4 – @vinsbookcase – Vincent’s Bookcase

 

 

 

Simon Beckett image

 

 

After an MA in English, Simon Beckett spent several years as a property repairer before a stint teaching in Spain. Back in the UK, he played percussion in several bands. He has been a freelance journalist since 1992, writing for The Times, The Independent on Sunday Review, The Daily Telegraph, The Observer and other major British publications. In 2002, as part of an article on the National Forensic Academy, he visited the Body Farm in Tennessee. This last commission was the inspiration behind the internationally bestselling The Chemistry of Death, which was shortlisted for the CWA’s Duncan Lawrie Dagger and has been translated into 21 languages. Simon Beckett is married and lives in Sheffield. The author of six novels, his second David Hunter thriller, Written in Bone, is published as a Bantam paperback in April 2008.

 

simonbeckett.com | Amazon | Goodreads

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Book Review: Darknet by Matthew Mather

Darknet

 

 

 

A prophetic and frighteningly realistic novel set in present-day New York, Darknet is the story of one man’s odyssey to overcome a global menace pushing the world toward oblivion, and his incredible gamble to risk everything to save his family.

Jake O’Connell left a life of crime and swore he’d never return, but his new life as a stock broker in New York is ripped away when his childhood friend Sean Womack is murdered. Thousands of miles away in Hong Kong, data scientist Jin Huang finds a list of wealthy dead people in a massive banking conspiracy. Problem is, some of the people don’t stay dead. As Jin begins her investigation, she’s petrified to discover her own name on the growing list of dead-but-alive…

On the run, they race across continents to uncover a dark secret spreading like a cancer into the world. Why was Sean killed, and how is the list of wealthy dead connected? Are some of them really coming back to life? But all this becomes irrelevant when Jake’s wife and daughter are attacked…

 

Amazon | Goodreads | B&N | Audible

 

 

 

A terrifying new breed of predator evolves…
A dark secret determined to stay hidden…

 

 

 

 

 

A GLOBAL CORPORATION HIDES A DARK SECRET… 

A TERRIFYING NEW ADVANCE IN TECHNOLOGY… 

WILL BE REVEALED. 

 

 

 

 

 

Book Review

 

An absolutely thrilling book. No one writes a story quite like Matthew Mather does. Creepy, believable, and all too realistic. Not sure what took me so long read this one–but I was HOOKED from the beginning and gripped by suspense throughout the book. Sensational. The ability of Mather to capture a horrific cyber situation will send chills down your spine. A financial nightmare, cyber crimes, darknet assassins, mafia, Wall street players, FBI–expertly wrapped in a well written techno-thriller is absolutely genius.

 

 

 

Stars 5 with businessman.jpeg

 

 

 

 

 

Matthew Mather image

 

 

Matthew is the million-copy bestselling author of CyberStorm and Darknet, and the hit series Nomad and Atopia Chronicles. He started out his career working at the McGill Center for Intelligent Machines, going on to become one of the world’s leading members of the cybersecurity community. In between he’s worked in a variety of start-ups,everything from computational nanotechnology to electronic health records to weather prediction systems. He spends his time between Montreal and Charlotte, NC.

 

matthewmather.com

 

 

 

Excellence image dial.jpeg

 

 

 

 

 

William L. Myers Jr. Discusses the Killer’s Alibi

A Killers Alibi image

 

 

For attorney Mick McFarland, the evidence is damning. And so are the family secrets in this twisty legal thriller from the Amazon Charts bestselling author of A Criminal Defense.

When crime lord Jimmy Nunzio is caught, knife in hand, over the body of his daughter’s lover and his own archenemy, he turns to Mick McFarland to take up his defense. Usually the courtroom puppeteer, McFarland quickly finds himself at the end of Nunzio’s strings. Struggling to find grounds for a not-guilty verdict on behalf of a well-known killer, Mick is hamstrung by Nunzio’s refusal to tell him what really happened.

On the other side of the law, Mick’s wife, Piper, is working to free Darlene Dowd, a young woman sentenced to life in prison for her sexually abusive father’s violent death. But the jury that convicted Darlene heard only part of the truth, and Piper will do anything to reveal the rest and prove Darlene’s innocence.

As Mick finds himself in the middle of a mob war, Piper delves deeper into Darlene’s past. Both will discover dark secrets that link these fathers and daughters–some that protect, some that destroy, and some that can’t stay hidden forever. No matter the risk.

 

Amazon | Goodreads | B&N | Audible

 

 

 

 

Got an alibit image dark background.jpeg

 

 

 

William L. Myers Jr. discusses the third installment of the Philadelphia Legal series, A Killer’s Alibi.

 

 

*What kind of person is attorney Mick McFarland that made him your protagonist?

            In crafting Mick, I set out to build a character who is basically a good guy, who wants right to prevail over wrong, but who, in the pursuit of right, will do whatever is necessary, including things that are wrong. As an attorney, Mick is a thinker, a planner, and very Machiavellian. He enjoys the “game” and excels at it.

 

 

*What can you tell us about the kind of case Mick is undertaking?

            Mick is in an interesting situation. His client is Philly crime lord Jimmy Nunzio—a man used to calling the shots. A Machiavellian manipulator. A man like Mick himself in many ways. What this means for Mick is that he isn’t the alpha dog as he is with most of his clients, and he finds himself having to dance with Jimmy Nunzio, for control of the case.

 

 

 

Lawyer with justice sign in background.jpeg

 

 

 

*What is your method of creating characters and how do you bring out their flaws?

            I create characters by outlining them only in very general terms and then placing them into the story—putting them under stress–and watching how their flaws appear. I remember reading once that stress and conflict reveal character; you only find out core character by putting someone to the test. So, I make sure that my protagonists, and my antagonists, too, are under real threat.

 

 

 

*Tell us about Mick’s wife, Piper.

            Piper’s evolution is an interesting one. When I wrote, “A Criminal Defense,” the first book in “The Philadelphia Legal Series,” I started out with the plan simply to make a two-dimensional “wife” character for the main protagonist, Mick. But whenever I wrote Piper into a scene, she asked for more, she told me “I have more to contribute here.” By the end of the book, Piper was a fully-formed character with her own agenda, secrets and fears. In “A Killer’s Alibi,” Piper plays an even more important role—as a driving force behind one of the two main plot lines. She really comes into her own. (And, spoiler alert, in the fourth book, which I’m finishing now (in which Mick is imprisoned on charges or murder), Piper becomes THE driving force in Mick’s defense team.

 

 

 

Lawyer woman image.jpeg

 

 

 

 

*Is the innocence project she’s involved with commonplace in law firms today? Would her official position be an investigative attorney?

            Most law firms which do innocence project work do so under the auspices of, for example, the Pennsylvania Innocence Project. Larger law firms do have pro bono practices and some have attorneys devoted solely to pro bono work.

 

 

 

*What can you tell us about the kind of case Piper is taking?

            Piper is leading the charge on behalf of Darlene Dowd, a young woman who was convicted of killing her sexually abusive father fifteen years earlier. Piper learns there is exculpatory evidence the jury never heard and she has to go on a hunting expedition to find the woman who has that evidence. But the woman has secrets of her own, and has been in hiding for years. It takes all of Piper’s will and resourcefulness to win the woman over and see that Darlene gets a fair hearing in court. But nothing is black and white in my books and Piper has to pay a price.

 

 

 

lawyer files image with glasses.jpeg

 

 

 

 

*Now for one of my favorite questions. What is justice?

            Justice is like pornography: difficult to define but you know it when you see it.  When something happens to a character (good or bad) and it feels right to you, that’s justice.  The character, of course, may disagree with you— fictional characters, like real people, believe they are good guys, whether they are or aren’t. Along these lines, a word to the wise: if someday you find yourself standing before St. Peter, the one thing you should never say is I want what’s coming to me.

 

 

 

Justice lady statue at sunrise image.jpeg

 

 

 

 

William L. Myers Jr image

 

 

William L. Myers, Jr. is the No. 6 best-selling author for Amazon Kindle in 2017 for his debut novel, A Criminal Defense. That was the first in what has become the Philadelphia Legal Series. The third book in that series, A Killers Alibi debuts February 19, 2019.
A Killer’s Alibi has had rave early reviews including New York Times Bestselling author, Bill Lasher—

“William Myers’ riveting new novel is not just a crackerjack legal thriller, it is a wrenching portrayal of a whole range of farther-daughter relations, showing how they can damage, how they can nourish, how they go dangerously off track. A story not to be missed.”

Born in 1958 into a blue-collar family, Mr. Myers inherited a work-ethic that propelled him through college and into the Ivy League at The University of Pennsylvania School of Law. From there, Mr. Myers started his legal career in a Philadelphia-based mega defense firm. After ten years defending corporate America, he realized his heart wasn’t in it. So, with his career on the fast track to success–he gave it all up and started his own firm. It was time to start fighting for the common guy.

That was twenty-five years ago and since then, he has focused on representing railroad employees and other honest, hard-working people who have been injured by others. He has represented thousands of clients in his tenure and has become a highly-regarded litigation attorney up and down the Eastern Seaboard.

 

 

Amazon | Goodreads | Twitter | Website

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

An Interview with Scott Bell Author of the Abel Yeager Thrillers

Yeagers Getaway image

 

 

Abel Yeager has settled into a life of domestic bliss with his lovely wife, Charlotte. He’s left the violence and bloodshed behind to concentrate on being a good father and husband. For their long-delayed honeymoon, Abel and Charlie take a Hawaiian cruise. They’re looking forward to hiking volcanoes and sightseeing, once they meet up with Victor “Por Que” Ruiz and his new love, Dr. Alexandra Lopez.

Their idyllic vacation explodes in violence when a group of Hawaiian separatists, incited by a foreign power, rip through the islands, leaving blood and destruction in their wake. When Charlie is caught up with a group of hostages held by the terrorists as human shields, Abel is forced back into warrior mode.

The Hawaiians are supported by a few dozen foreign special forces soldiers, modern gear, and plenty of munitions. Abel has the help of three septuagenarian Vietnam veteran Marines and his pal Victor. Outnumbered and outgunned, Abel will stop at nothing to rescue his wife.

 

Amazon | Goodreads

 

 

 

Scott Bell image

 

 

*How do you introduce your story to readers in the first chapter?

The beginning of a novel involves three aspects: A character, in a setting, with a problem. (Credit to Monalisa Foster, who came up with the easy definition.) A character means someone with whom the reader can identify. (It doesn’t mean an entire backstory infodump.) A setting is an identifiable place, usually created with minimal brushstrokes, though sometimes more. A problem can be anything from a ticking bomb to a hangnail, and it is rarely the main story problem, though it can be.  I never want to drop an unknown actor into a blank screen and hope the reader will engage–even when starting with an action scene, that’s a recipe for a weak opener.

 

 

Endless Road under a dramatic sky

 

 

 

*What comes first before you write a book? An idea, character, specific crime?

Characters are always first. They may not be fully fleshed out, and I may not have everyone’s foibles identified, but I have a general idea of who’s who in the zoo. Next comes the “what if”. What if a truck driving Marine veteran unknowingly picks up a load of cartel cash, which is diverted for delivery to a bookstore? And what if the bookstore is run by a spunky woman who carries a big pistol for protection? What might happen to these two folks if they were jammed together?

 

 

*How do you navigate writing a story without an outline?

Rewrites. Lots of rewrites. Diving into any store without an outline sometimes means I write myself into a corner, but I can’t write to outline. A story is too organic for me to follow a cookbook. Things change. Ideas occur. Characters may go sideways on me. Writing to an outline would be more efficient, but I would get bored and quit.

 

 

The Internet Navigator

 

 

 

*How do you create your characters?

I look for stereotypes, then I try to twist them up a little. Or I take real life people and exaggerate something in their nature I like, or dislike. The Male Main Character in my Sam Cable mystery series is a big guy with a Boy Scout complex, not always the brightest guy in the room, but a stalwart, straightforward, action-oriented kind of guy, and I juxtapose him with my FMC who’s a small woman with a high IQ and a smartass view of the world. I like to take these different dynamics and throw them in the blender and see what happens.

 

*What’s your experience like writing in first person?

It’s limiting in a lot of ways.  Everyone starts out with 1st person, as it seems natural to tell a story from the “I” perspective, then you quickly realize you’re limited to only the things your POV can sense. I switch POVs from first to third in some novels, which I find helps me jump out of the track and tell a broader, richer story. “They” say don’t do this, but hey. Sue me.

 

 

Point of view through object.jpeg

 

 

 

*Who is Abel Yeager?

At the DNA-level, Abel is modeled on my paternal grandfather, an uneducated man who was brilliant with mechanical devices and worked with his hands. He was also rumored to have the “hardest fists in the county.” Abel is a sheepdog among the sheep. A protector and a warrior who is fiercely protective of his friends, and bad news to his enemies.

 

 

*Do your books have any thematic elements?

I’m big on the Average Joe theme. None of my characters are James Bond or Jack Reacher types, and they all struggle with day-to-day things like paying the bills. Typically you’ll find my Everyman and Everywoman people thrown into combustible situations and forced to do their best. They make mistakes. They struggle to do the right thing. Sometimes they have to grow to reach their potential.

 

 

Challenge quote image.jpeg

 

 

 

*Name three of the hardest aspects of writing.

1.) The middle. Beginnings are easy, endings are fun. Bridging the gap from the endorphin rush of a good beginning to the pulse-pounding climax takes discipline and work ethic.

 

2.) Plotting. Writing organically (not by outline) can mean scrapping whole sections of a novel. Figuring out how to get my character out of the corner I just wrote him into and keep the plot on track can be a challenge.

 

3.) Waiting. If you trad publish like me, there’s a cycle of waiting that happens with every book and every short story. Query, wait, submit, wait, lather, rinse, repeat.

 

And, just for fun…

 

4.) Reviews. Getting reviews, querying bloggers for reviews, reading reviews and not responding to, or slitting your wrists over, the bad ones…the whole review process is a pain. I typically get good reviews, and I stay in the 4-plus range on average for both Goodreads and Amazon, and yet a single bad review can rub a blister on my ass for days at a time.

 

 

 

Scott Bell image

 

 

Scott Bell writes because that way he can daydream and claim it on his taxes. A Certified Fraud Examiner and professional Suburban Man, Scott has a wife, two grown kids, and at least one cat sleeping on his keyboard. (The cat, not the wife and kids. They have their own keyboards to sleep on.)

His works include the mystery/thrillers Yeager’s Law, Yeager’s Mission, and April’s Fool, along with the forthcoming Yeager’s Getaway and May Day. He has a Science Fiction novel out called Working Stiffs, and his short stories have appeared in numerous anthologies and online publications.

 

 

Mysteries, thrillers, authors, readers, true crime. Bring your voice. Make some noise in this year’s MYSTERY THRILLER WEEK May 13-24 2019.  #MTW2019 Spread the word.  Sign up to participate:  Participate in MTW 2019

 

 

MTW 2019 Facebook Event Cover

 

 

 

 

 

 

Book Review: Out of the Dark by Gregg Hurwitz

Out of the dark orphan x

“A shocking stunner in every way. The perfect thriller.” ―Robert Crais

When darkness closes in―he’s your last, best hope. Evan Smoak returns in Gregg Hurwitz’s #1 international bestselling Orphan X series.

“Prepare to get Smoaked.” – Benjamin Thomas

Fire And Bullet

When darkness closes in―he’s your last, best hope. Evan Smoak returns in Gregg Hurwitz’s #1 international bestselling Orphan X series.

Taken from a group home at age twelve, Evan Smoak was raised and trained as part of the Orphan Program, an off-the-books operation designed to create deniable intelligence assets―i.e. assassins. Evan was Orphan X. He broke with the Program, using everything he learned to disappear and reinvent himself as the Nowhere Man, a man who helps the truly desperate when no one else can. But now Evan’s past in the Orphan Program is reaching out to him.

Someone at the very highest level of government has been trying to eliminate every trace of the Orphan Program by killing all the remaining Orphans and their trainers. After Evan’s mentor and the only father he ever knew was killed, he decided to strike back. His target is the man who started the program and who is now the most heavily guarded person in the world: the President of the United States.

But President Bennett knows that Orphan X is after him and, using weapons of his own, he’s decided to counter-attack. Bennett activates the one man who has the skills and experience to track down and take out Orphan X―the first recruit of the program, Orphan A.

With Evan devoting all his skills, resources, and intelligence to find a way through the layers of security that surround the President, suddenly he also has to protect himself against the deadliest of opponents. It’s Orphan vs. Orphan with the future of the country―even the world―on the line.

Amazon | Audible | iBooks | B&N | Goodreads

Review - 3d rendered headline

 

Orphan X is one of my favorite characters and series! 

This really should be a movie franchise. It’s that good. Going up against the President of the United States; not to mention a criminal organization, Orphan X has the odds stacked pretty high in this one. Under extreme pressure, lethal circumstances with dire consequences, you really get to see who Evan Smoak is. He shines under these kind of “pressure cooker” type situations. Gregg Hurwitz has mastered the character revelation of Orphan X.

In each book you get to see more about the infamous Orphan program the President is trying so hard to eradicate. In Out of the Dark we meet Orphan A, the program’s very first highly trained asset.  I was also pleased to see the return of Orphan V, a.ka. Candy McClure, make a return appearance. 

Can’t wait to where Hurwitz takes the rest of this series! 





Gregg Hurwitz is the critically acclaimed, New York Times and internationally bestselling author of 20 novels, including OUT OF THE DARK (2019). His novels have been shortlisted for numerous literary awards, graced top ten lists, and have been published in 30 languages.

He is also a New York Times Bestselling comic book writer, having penned stories for Marvel (Wolverine, Punisher) and DC (Batman, Penguin). Additionally, he’s written screenplays for or sold spec scripts to many of the major studios, and written, developed, and produced television for various networks. Gregg resides in Los Angeles.

GreggHurwitz.net

John David Bethel Discusses His Writing Process With No Immaculate Conceptions

No Immaculae Conceptions image

 

 

One month after his college graduation, Dean Eaton is writing speeches for presumptive presidential candidate, U.S. Senator Peter Dottier. Two months later, he is being pursued by a psychopath.

Dean Eaton is determined to make his own way after college. He wants to break away from the life paved for him by his parents. His first step is a week or so camping to clear his head and rejuvenate his spirit. What begins well ends with him witnessing the assassination of an undercover FBI agent. This brings Eaton into the orbit of Special Agent Steven Blanchard who convinces Dean to join him to bring down the deadly arms dealer who had the agent murdered. This partnership calls for Eaton to be placed on the staff of Senator Peter Dottier in order to track down a contact of the murdered FBI agent who, according to Blanchard, is a member of the senator’s staff.

As he struggles to learn and fit in to the confusing and often devious world of politics and public policy, Dean finds a mentor in his landlord, Ambassador Belmont Towbin, a respected eminence grise in Washington.

Throughout his learning process, Dean is also dealing with the dangers of his role identifying the contact. It soon becomes obvious that all is not as Blanchard has represented. Not even close. As Dean’s suspicions grow, Reisa Winston, Blanchard’s partner, reveals that he is the contact, and things go south from there.

No Immaculate Conceptions is a novel of politics and a study of the deadly ambitions of significant players in Washington who often use their power and positions for personal ends.

 

Amazon | B&N | Website | Goodreads

 

 

 

welcome word in wood type

 

 

 

Meet author John David Bethel a writer of fiction and non-fiction. He has been published in popular consumer magazines and respected political journals. He is the author of Evil Town, a novel of political intrigue, and Blood Moon, a psychological crime thriller inspired by a true story of kidnapping, torture, extortion and murder.

 

 

John David Bethel image

 

 

Did you outline this book or was it more intuitive?

I don’t work from an outline.  I begin with a kernel of an idea and build on that foundation.  In the case of No Immaculate Conceptions that kernel was the main character’s camping trip during which he discovers a wounded, and soon to be dead, federal agent.  From there it’s off to Washington, where – one month after his college graduation – Dean Eaton is writing speeches for presumptive presidential candidate, U.S. Senator Peter Dottier.  Two months later, he is being pursued by a psychopath.

 

*Is your writing approach to every book the same?

Yes, and in the case of No Immaculate Conceptions, I set Dean down in Washington with Senator Dottier in order to track down a contact of the murdered FBI agent who, according to Dean’s FBI handler, is a member of the senator’s staff.

 

Washington DC National Mall, including Washington Monument and Thomas Jefferson Memorial with mirror reflections on water

 

 

*Where did the kernel of the idea for No Immaculate Conceptions begin?

From a daydream.  I was wondering how I would react in a situation where outside forces put my life in danger and I hadn’t a clue what they wanted.  That evolved into the initial plot-line for the novel whereby Dean is wandering around a lovely, pristine environment and realizes he is being followed, and then shot at.  This brings him into the orbit of FBI Special Agent Steven Blanchard who convinces Dean to join him to bring down the deadly arms dealer who had the agent murdered.

 

*Who is Dean Eaton and what motivates him?

Eaton is a child of privilege who has had all the advantages of life and wants to find his own way.  This has created in him not only a drive toward independence, but also the willingness to take chances, go out on a limb to gain new experiences.  In the novel, he goes so far out on that limb there is a high likelihood it will break off.

 

 

3D rendering of a compass with a Motivation icon.

 

 

 

*How do you create characters for your books?

There are authors who create back stories for their characters to understand how they will react as the plot advances.  My technique is to place the characters in the action and let that dictate the development of their personalities. It fits with the intuitive way I develop my novels.

 

*Name some struggles you had writing this book.  

Fortunately, I’ve not had struggles with writing any of my novels.  It sounds overly simplistic but I begin at the beginning and stop at the end.  The editing process often takes a good bit longer than does writing the original draft.  

 

 

 

Hiker on peak with tall mountain in background

 

 

*No Immaculate Conceptions is lengthy book. Had you been writing this for a while, or did it just flow naturally?  

Once the kernel of the plot line was on paper (on the screen), things advanced naturally and fairly swiftly.  

There is the advice given to all writers to “write what you know.”  I know politics and I write about it. Perhaps that is one of the reasons I find the going easy when I put it all down.  I mine my experiences in Washington as a speechwriter and communications strategist – adding drama – and it all seems to work out.  

 

 

*Describe your mindset when you begin to write.

My wife tells me I go into a zone and it takes some prodding to get back into the present.  A “fugue state” perhaps describes it best.

 

 

*What kind of advice would you give to new writers?

Write because you enjoy the creative process, and believe in yourself.   

I’m often asked why I write and my answer is because I have to.  The urge to create has to be satisfied…as presumptuous as that sounds.

 

 

John David Bethel image

 

 

Mr. Bethel spent 35 years in politics and government. He served in the Senior Executive Service as a political appointee where he was Senior Adviser/Director of Speechwriting for the Secretary of Commerce; directed speechwriting offices for other Cabinet officials, serving as Chief Speechwriter to the Secretary of Education; and lead speechwriter in the Department of Transportation’s Office of Policy and International Affairs. He also served as press secretary/speechwriter to members of U.S. Congress.

Mr. Bethel works as a media consultant for a number of prominent communications management firms. He writes speeches, opinion editorials and Congressional testimony for CEOs of the nation’s largest corporations, including the Hilton Hotels Corporation, and Royal Caribbean Lines. His op-ed pieces have appeared in The Washington Post and other prominent newspapers around the country.

David Bethel graduated with Phi Beta Kappa honors from Tulane University and lives in Miami, Florida.

 

David Bethel is a writer of fiction and non-fiction.  He is the author of Evil Town and Blood Moon. www.johndavidbethel.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

Book Review: Livia Lone by Barry Eisler

Livia Lone book image

 

 

Seattle PD sex-crimes detective Livia Lone knows the monsters she hunts. Sold by her Thai parents along with her little sister, Nason; marooned in America; abused by the men who trafficked them…the only thing that kept Livia alive as a teenager was her determination to find Nason.

Livia has never stopped looking. And she copes with her failure to protect her sister by doing everything she can to put predators in prison.

Or, when that fails, by putting them in the ground.

But when a fresh lead offers new hope of finding Nason and the men who trafficked them both, Livia will have to go beyond just being a cop. Beyond even being a vigilante. She’ll have to relive the horrors of the past. Take on one of the most powerful men in the US government. And uncover a conspiracy of almost unimaginable evil.

In every way, it’s an unfair fight. But Livia has two advantages: her unending love for Nason—

And a lifelong lust for vengeance.

 

Amazon | B&N | Goodreads

 

 

Book Review - 3d rendered headline

 

 

HOLY GUACAMOLE. THAT. WAS. EPIC. 

This book is largely the making of Livia Lone, and how–what she has become.  I had many emotions while reading this. Anger, laughter, sadness, hope, fear. It has it all. Not many writers can invoke such a wide range of emotions in the same book. Especially with me. I almost cried, which is really saying something. There’s only been a handful of writers who actually made me cry. This was sooo close.

 

Barry Eisler takes an innocent young Thai girl, masters her worldview, and then puts you on the front row in the world of sex trafficking. Livia Lone is such a powerful character with an amazing story. She was robbed of her family, country, security, and the one thing she lived for–her sister, Nason. Strong character arc. Five stars. Enough said.

 

 

5 Five Stars Rating Quality Review Best Service Business Internet Marketing Concept

 

 

LIVIA LONE SERIES

 

Livia Lone

The Night Trade

The Killer Collective

 

 

Barry Eisler image

 

Barry Eisler spent three years in a covert position with the CIA’s Directorate of Operations, then worked as a technology lawyer and startup executive in Silicon Valley and Japan, earning his black belt at the Kodokan International Judo Center along the way. Eisler’s bestselling thrillers have won the Barry Award and the Gumshoe Award for Best Thriller of the Year, have been included in numerous “Best Of” lists, and have been translated into nearly twenty languages. Eisler lives in the San Francisco Bay Area and, when he’s not writing novels, blogs about torture, civil liberties, and the rule of law.
–from the author’s website

 

Amazon | Goodreads | Website

 

 

 

 

Book Review: The Innocent by Taylor Stevens

the innocent amazon image

 

 

Vanessa Michael Munroe #2

 

Vanessa Michael Munroe—the fearless heroine of the New York Times bestseller The Informationist—returns in a gripping new thriller.

Eight years ago, five-year old Hannah was spirited out of school and into the closed world of a cult known as The Chosen. Ever since, followers of its leader have hidden the child and shielded her abductor. Now, childhood survivors of The Chosen who have escaped to make a life for themselves on the outside know here to find Hannah and turn to Vanessa Michael Munroe for help. Munroe reluctantly takes the job, and travels to Buenos Aires to infiltrate the cult and save the girl. Inducted in to a world unlike anything she has faced before, Munroe must navigate unpredictable members and their dangerous cohorts, the impatient survivors who hired her, and the struggle against her own increasingly violent nature so she can rescue the child before the window of opportunity closes and Hannah is lost forever.

Now with an excerpt from the latest Vanessa Michael Munroe novel, The Catch

 

Amazon | Goodreads | Audible

 

 

Beautiful girl, a student, reading a book in a coffee shop, enjoying her time alone

 

 

Taylor Stevens has mastered the voice of sensational protagonist Vanessa Michael Munroe, but in this second installment of the series, it isn’t just her story.  The story also is that of close confidant, Miles Bradford, Logan, and an innocent kidnapped girl named Hannah.

The story is told through point of view characters Munroe and Bradford. Throughout the story you get a “beneath the hood” intrinsic view of each one, what motivates them, critical backstory, and how they understand each other. So basically it’s a revelation of character on many fronts, which should be a given in any book, but especially so in this one.

Taylor Stevens takes you deep into character with a stylistic prose that places you right on the scene. I found myself lost within this story–and that’s exactly where I want to be.

 

 

 

Customer review give a five star

 

 

 

 

Vanessa Michael Munroe Series

The Informantionist

The Innocent

The Doll

The Vessel

The Catch

The Mask

 

Also…Check out Liar’s Paradox released December 18, 2018.

 

 

liar's paradox

 

 

Liars’ Paradox is hands-down the best thriller I’ve read this year. Original, cunning, smart, riveting and relentless; with complex characters, pitch-perfect pacing, and high tension from page one to the end that begs for a movie treatment. Taylor Stevens has catapulted herself to the top of my favorite authors, right up there with Lisa Gardner and Lee Child.”
—Allison BrennanNew York Times Bestselling Author of the Max Revere novels

Liars’ Paradox is pulse-pounding thriller in the vein of Nelson DeMille’s The Charm School. Taylor Stevens weaves a web of betrayal and intrigue that kept me flipping pages, blew me away, and left me hungry for her next release!”
—Mark Greaney, #1 New York Times Bestselling Author of Mission Critical

 

 

A master of international intrigue, New York Times bestselling author Taylor Stevens introduces a pair of wild cards into the global spy game—a brother and sister who were raised to deceive—and trained to kill . . .

They live in the shadows, Jack and Jill, feuding twins who can never stop running. From earliest memory they’ve been taught to hide, to hunt, to survive. Their prowess is outdone only by Clare, who has always been mentor first and mother second. She trained them in the art of espionage, tested their skills in weaponry, surveillance, and sabotage, and sharpened their minds with nerve-wracking psychological games. As they grew older they came to question her motives, her methods—and her sanity . . .

Now twenty-six years old, the twins are trying to lead normal lives. But when Clare’s off-the-grid safehouse explodes and she goes missing, they’re forced to believe the unthinkable: Their mother’s paranoid delusions have been real all along. To find her, they’ll need to set aside their differences; to survive, they’ll have to draw on every skill she’s trained them to use. A twisted trail leads from the CIA, to the KGB, to an underground network of global assassins where hunters become the hunted. Everyone, it seems, wants them dead—and, for one of the twins, it’s a threat that’s frighteningly familiar and dangerously close to home . . .

Filled with explosive action, suspense, and powerful human drama, Liars’ Paradox is world-class intrigue at its finest.

 

Amazon | Goodreads | Kobo | Google Play Books | Audible | B&N

 

 

taylor stevens image

 

Website | Podcast | Facebook | Twitter