Book Review: Red Dragon – Hannibal Lector #1

Red Dragon

 

 

THE NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

Feed your fears with this terrifying classic that introduced cannibalistic serial killer Hannibal Lecter.

FBI agent Will Graham once risked his sanity to capture Hannibal Lecter, an ingenious killer like no other. Now, he’s following the bloodstained pattern of the Tooth Fairy, a madman who’s already wiped out two families.

To find him, Graham has to understand him. To understand him, Graham has only one place left to go: the mind of Dr. Lecter.

 

Amazon | Goodreads

 

 

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I’ve seen the Silence of the Lambs long time ago, but hadn’t read the book, or even heard of the first one. The Red Dragon introduces one of literature’s most chilling characters in Hannibal Lector. Talk about a compelling character! Famed, yet retired and battered FBI profiler Will Graham is tasked to solve the murders of two families. The serial killer named the “Tooth Fairy” by authorities is on the loose but the killer himself identifies with the Red Dragon. You’ll have to read the book (or watch the movie–I did both) to find out what that means. Will Graham, the Tooth Fairy, and Hannibal Lecter cross paths in more ways than one in this blockbuster thriller. For a book that has Hannibal Lecter in it I found the Tooth Fairy to be a worthy opponent with a unique M.O. backstory and personality. What a beginning to a great series!

 

 

 

 

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Blog Tour: Truth or Dead by T.J. Brearton

 

BLOG TOUR BANNER - TRUTH OR DEAD

 

 

 

 

How far would you go to protect your kids?

 

 

 

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About Tom Lange

Tom Lange is like a Wild West cowboy who’s been dropped into the modern world. He has to deal with his impulsiveness and anger in ways men never had to reckon with before. If he wants to keep a relationship, he has to open up. If he wants to keep his job, he has to face his past.

Tom isn’t a West Point graduate or a former special ops. He’s a kid from the streets; he grew up in some of the tougher neighborhoods just outside of New York City as a foster kid with his brother Nick. He applies what he learned growing up –how people survive, how they take advantage– to his investigations for the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

Truth or Dead takes Tom into a world he knows well – the world of gambling and drugs, run by notorious gangster Mario Palumbo. Tom must help protect the life of a woman Palumbo seems to have targeted, though no one can figure out quite why… Heather Moss, it seems, has a past to face, too… 

 

 

 

 

gambling chips and aces

 

 

 

TRUTH OR DEAD by T.J. Brearton

How far would you go to protect your kids?

On her drive to work, Heather Moss gets a phone call which will turn her life upside-down. If she doesn’t do what the caller wants, they will kill her two little girls.

An inmate dies in the county jail. He was a witness who could have brought down notorious criminal Mario Palumbo.

Special Agent Tom Lange is trying to get his life back together after losing his brother Nick. And he thinks Palumbo was responsible for Nick’s death.

Tom desperately wants the evidence to point to Palumbo, but it doesn’t all add up.

Can Tom protect Heather and bring down crime boss Palumbo? He faces a choice between the truth and getting the result he wants.

Set in Florida, this atmospheric thriller will keep you turning the pages till the tension-packed conclusion.

 

 

 

TJ Brearton Author photo png

 

 

J. BREARTON

Brearton’s fiction first appeared in Third Rail, an underground magazine in New York City. His short stories have been published with The Rusty Nail MagazineOrange Quarterly, Enhance Magazine, Nonsense Society, and Atticus Review, with non-fiction appearing in The Lake Champlain Weekly and Adirondack Almanack. A previous novel, “Rehabilitation,” was published independently in 2009. He attended the New York Film Academy and has worked in film, broadcast television, and freelance journalism. He lives in the Adirondacks with his wife and two children.

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Steve Regan Undercover Cop Series by Stephen Bentley

Who the F am I

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Crime Fiction About An Undercover Cop By a Former Undercover Cop

‘Crime Fiction About An Undercover Cop By a Former Undercover Cop’ is roughly how the blurb goes on the Amazon listing for my latest book ‘Who The F*ck Am I?’

The title may be a tad controversial to some, but it is part of the very fabric of an infiltrator. Identity confusion among undercover agents is a medically recognised condition.

It is Book One in a trilogy featuring Steve Regan, a fictional British undercover cop. The action takes place mainly in the United Kingdom but also takes the reader to Miami and Boston in the United States.

The book is available from October 31, 2017 in both Kindle and paperback through Amazon. It will also be available in other eBook formats through Smashwords and at most other online book stores.

The blurb also makes the claim, “This surely has to be a first! Crime fiction about an undercover cop written by a former undercover cop!

 

 

 

 

Undercover

 

 

 

From author, Stephen Bentley, comes a fictional undercover cop, Steve Regan, following on the success of his true crime undercover cop memoir ‘Undercover: Operation Julie – The Inside Story.’

Steve Regan, undercover detective, is tempted by the riches of drug smuggling so he can be free of debt, police bureaucracy, and help a loved one. He wonders whether he can go ‘rogue’ and cross the line.

Regan gets involved in one deal with a Miami-based drug lord. But is everyone who they say they are?

Short, fast-paced, high-impact entertainment, from an author who knows  how to suck you into a story.”

This novella was inspired by two gangsters I met in real life while undercover. I harboured thoughts about them for many years and felt obliged to deal with those thoughts in this fictional work. I believe I can safely say that is a first!

 

 

 

 

 

Gangster cartoon

 

 

 

 

 

 

As the author and a former undercover cop, I do not profess to know with certainty if my claim about it being a “first” is fact. I mean the claim: This surely has to be a first! Crime fiction about an undercover cop written by a former undercover cop!

I could argue, in line with another former profession of mine (lawyer), that it isn’t a claim at all – merely a hypothesis. Pedants may argue there ought to be a question mark following “has to be first.” Possibly, they are correct.

But in any event, whether claim or hypothesis, it intrigues me. So, a challenge to all readers of this blog post – tell me if I am right or wrong about it being the first fictional work about an undercover cop written by a former undercover cop. At least I ask you to leave a comment letting us know your thoughts.

There is a reward for the best comment left – one free copy of the book featured here and a free copy of my bestselling memoir ‘Undercover: Operation Julie – The Inside Story.’

Please note there can only be one winner and the prizes will be provided in any eBook format of the winner’s choice.

The winner will be judged by the author on the basis of the insight provided by the commentator, the originality of the comment, and any tendency to humour gains extra marks 

 

 

 

 

Stephen Bentley

 

 

Notes For The Blog Owner

Stephen Bentley BIO

Former UK Detective Sergeant, undercover cop, barrister (trial counsel). Now a writer, author, and blogs at HuffPost UK.

Author of ‘Undercover: Operation Julie – The Inside Story’ – an Amazon UK bestselling book about his undercover days on one of the world’s largest drug busts.

Lives in the Philippines, enjoys the beaches and a cold beer and follows “his team”, Liverpool Football Club from afar.

Amazon link: Who The F*uck Am I?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blog Tour: Brass in Pocket by Stephen Puleston

Brass in Pocket cover

 

 

 

Brass in Pocket: Inspector Drake #1 by Stephen Puleston

It is the middle of the night …The road is deserted …A killer is waiting …

Two traffic officers are killed on an isolated mountain pass in North Wales. Inspector Drake is called to the scene and quickly discovers a message left by the killer – traffic cones in the shape of a No 4.

The killer starts sending the Wales Police Service lyrics from famous rock songs. Are they messages or is there some hidden meaning in them?

Does it all mean more killings are likely? When a politician is killed Drake has his answer. And then the killer sends more song lyrics. Now Drake has to face the possibility of more deaths but with numbers dominating the case Drake has to face his own rituals and obsessions.

Finally, when the killer threatens Drake and his family he faces his greatest challenge in finding the killer before he strikes again.

 

 

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Inspector Drake

Detective Ian Drake is an inspector in the Wales Police Service and is based in the northern division headquarters near Colwyn Bay on the coast. North Wales is a large area that stretches from the coast to the border with England. It is an area rich in history and great scenery.

 

 

Wales

 

 

 

Book 0.5: The Devils Kitchen (a prequel novella)

Book 1: Brass in Pocket

Book 2: Worse than Dead

Book 3: Against the Tide

Book 4: Dead on your Feet

Book 5: March 2018

Amazon Goodreads

 

 

I know good crime fiction when I see it and Brass in Pocket certainly is. Stephen Puleston’s writing has a certain realism that can only be explained by experience. After reading so many books you begin to recognize the author’s craft and things that make them unique.

The story is one thing; but how the story is altogether different from one person to the next. I consider this a kind of “brand” of storytelling which is almost synonymous with voice. I really like how Puleston tells his story.

 

 

 

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Did you think north Wales was a safe place?

Full of castles and glorious scenery?

Then think again.

 

 

 

BLOG TOUR BANNER - BRASS IN POCKET

 

 

 

 

 

Stephen Puelston

 

 

AUTHOR BIO:

I write mysteries and thrillers.

I have published the first novel in a series featuring Inspector Drake based in North Wales and also the first in a series with Inspector John Marco based in Cardiff. The first Drake mystery is called BRASS IN POCKET and the second WORSE THAN DEAD. The third, AGAINST THE TIDE and the fourth, DEAD ON YOUR FEET.

Before turning to crime fiction I had written three other unpublished novels and you can read about my writing and about Wales, one of the most beautiful countries in the world, on my website http://www.stephenpuleston.co.uk/

I was brought up on the Isle of Anglesey, off the North Wales coast and went to school in Holyhead. After a degree in Theology from London University I decided to train as a lawyer and returned to work in the practice run by my father on Anglesey. For many years I worked as a lawyer in a small practice representing clients in the criminal courts and doing divorce work all of which has given me valuable raw material for my novels.

I still live and work in North Wales where the Inspector Drake novels are set.

 

Connect with Stephen Puleston

Website | Twitter | Facebook 

Blog Tour: Deadly Lies by Chris Collett

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DEADLY LIES by CHRIS COLLETT

Discover a new detective in a tough city. DI Tom Mariner thinks he’s seen it all, but now he faces an investigation which will push him to his limits.

Journalist Eddie Barham is found dead in his home. A syringe in his arm and a note by his side reading, ‘No More.’

Open and shut case of suicide? Not for DI Mariner. Hours before, he saw Barham picking up a prostitute in a bar. Mariner discovers Barham’s younger brother, Jamie, hiding in a cupboard under the stairs.

Jamie must have witnessed his brother’s death, but his severe autism makes communication almost impossible. Mariner is determined to connect with Jamie and get to the truth. And is the journalist’s death related to his investigation of a local crime kingpin?

What other dark secrets does Jamie hold the key to and can Mariner keep his relationship professional with Barham’s attractive sister, Anna?

In a nail-biting conclusion Mariner races against time to prevent more lives being lost.

Perfect for fans of Peter James, Ian Rankin and Peter Robinson. This is the first book in the DI MARINER SERIES, more books coming soon!

 

 

Silhouette of writer

 

THE SETTING
Birmingham is a city of stark contrasts with a rich cultural and historical heritage. Playing a key role in the industrial revolution, it helped shape the nation’s manufacturing industry

But with its many green spaces, Birmingham also borders on the beautiful countryside of Worcestershire and Warwickshire, is just a few miles from Stratford on Avon and a short drive from the wild country of mid-Wales.

Birmingham’s population is large and ethnically diverse, and while urban regeneration has forged a modern and culturally vibrant city, the decaying remnants of the industrial past and 1960s concrete jungle give it a unique and gritty character; the dark underbelly policed by DI Tom Mariner and his team.

 

 

 

Green Road Sign -  Birmingham, England

 

 

THE DETECTIVES

Detective Inspector Tom Mariner is, on the surface, an average dedicated policeman, but his experiences as a younger man have given him an insight into life on the dark side, and a clear sense of right and wrong. Mariner has little interest in material things. He lives in a modest canal-side cottage, enjoys the occasional (real) beer and game of dominoes and drives an old car. He is most at home in the outdoors, with an OS map and a compass, and in times of crisis, will take off and walk for miles in any weather.

Police Constable Tony Knox has recently transferred to the West Midlands force and finds himself back in uniform following an undisclosed transgression. A scouser with the gift of the gab, and an irrepressible ladies’ man, Knox is initially wary of the inscrutable DI Mariner, but, when a need arises, is grateful for his unquestioning support and the lack of curiosity about his personal life.

PRAISE FOR MARINER
I really couldn’t put it down’ Raw Edge Magazine 

‘Collett is a wonderful writer, subtle, clever, strong on atmosphere and character. This is a fitting follow-up to her debut and reassures the crime fan that the police procedural is in safe hands. More, please’ Yorkshire Post

 

 

Chris Collett really knows how to reel you into a good story. From the first page, it simply flows effortlessly until you’re lost within a world of Deadly Lies. I’ve been enjoying reading a few detective mysteries based in England recently. It’s like a breath of fresh air, new blood, and new characters to keep me satisfied.

This has everything you’d want in a book. A gripping mystery, developed characters in the midst of a well written plot ready for consumption. I’m definitely gamed for more of Collett’s work.

 

My rating

 

Four golden stars isolated on white background

 

 

 

Connect with Chris Collett

Twitter | Website | Linkedin

 

 

Chris Collett

 

Chris Collett grew up in a Norfolk seaside town where she worked in a boarding house (now defunct) a local bakery (closed down) and a crisp factory (razed to the ground). Graduating in Liverpool, Chris has since taught children and adults with varying degrees of learning disability, including autism. She is now a university lecturer, with two grown up children, and lives in Birmingham; DI Tom Mariner’s ‘patch’. She has published short stories, teaches creative and crime writing and is a manuscript assessor for the Crime Writers Association.

The first five DI Tom Mariner books will be released in revised editions by Joffe Books in 2017/2018.

Find out more at http://www.chriscollettcrime.co.uk

Amazon | Goodreads

 

 

Thank you!

 

 

Benjamin Thomas

@thewritingtrain

http://www.thewrtingtrain.com

Writing Combat, After Combat by John Mangan

 

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Writing Combat, After Combat

 

Like many young men I was raised on a steady diet of thrillers and military action novels. After devouring hundreds of books, ranging from Tom Clancy’s techno wizardry, to Robert Ludlum’s classics, and The Outrider series by Richard Harding, I figured that I had combat figured out. After all, I’d read thousands of action scenes that described in excruciating detail every conceivable combat move, gunshot, reload, judo chop, wound and scream. I’d lived through numerous dogfights, firefights, fistfights, bombings and ambushes. I’d sighted down my rifle, pulled the
4.5 lb match grade trigger, felt the recoil, and watched as my 62 grain, boat tailed hollow point bullet impacted a target, center of mass, at 3200 FPS. I was ready.

 
Then I was in combat, and what I realized within the first 30 seconds was that all those books had gotten it wrong. Phenomenally, epically wrong. Contrary to what I’d read, the experience of combat wasn’t just a linear series of physical events; instead, it was an enormously personal, tidal wave of primordial impulses and scalding, mind blanking fear. My  favorite authors hadn’t only missed the mark, they’d been shooting in the wrong damn direction.

 

 

aim

 

 
In retrospect, trying to understand combat by reading a thriller is like trying to understand sex by reading a medical textbook. Yes, you will arrive at a detailed understanding of what goes where, and who does what to whom, but ultimately, you won’t see the human side of the game. This is what separates pornography from explicit romance; One depicts a series of discreet physical acts, the other communicates a subjective human experience. Perhaps that’s the crux of the issue; one depicts, the other communicates. Like love, grief, or joy, combat is a complex emotional phenomenon that leaves a deep and wrenching impact upon the people who experience it.

 
So what was combat like? Imagine that you are on a rafting trip with your friends, thoroughly enjoying the adventure as you explore a new stretch of river. Suddenly, you enter whitewater and the raft begins bucking and spinning. You are tossed about and spray drenches you, but you find it exhilarating because your team responds as a well trained unit, working together, guiding the raft successfully through the chaos. You are going to make it. You are in control. Right up to the moment that you aren’t…

 

 

 

combat

 

 
With a heave the raft overturns and you are thrown into the river. You and your team are now being swept along by the power of events far beyond your control, smashing into each other and off of rocks, rolling through rapids and tumbling off of falls. Your actions become base and instinctual, you reach for your comrades, hold your breath, stroke for the surface, and try to guild yourself around obstacles both seen and unseen. But you intuitively know that the best of your efforts are merely token gestures and that you are being carried along by a force more powerful than any single man caught up in it. This force has a will of its own and your attempts to influence it are more illusion than anything else. You will be released at the time of its choosing, not yours. For me, that was combat; being immersed in a force that was terrifyingly intimate, unknowable and beyond any measure of control.

 
So how did that experience guide the creation of Into a Dark Frontier? First and foremost, I think readers have grown numb to elaborate scenes describing combat in excruciating detail. In today’s world of hyper violent entertainment, the firing of a gun has become routine, the spattering of blood trite, the death of a human meaningless. That doesn’t mean that an artist should shy away from depicting violence, for it is part of the human experience. But how do you do it in a way that stirs your audience, leaves a lasting impression and advances the story? Strangely enough, I think that the poets of old did it best.

 

 
While eulogizing World War I in his epic poem, “The Second Coming”, W.B. Yeats didn’t even mention the horrors of trench warfare, instead, he said that a “blood dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere the ceremony of innocence is drowned,” and “what rough beast, its time come round at last, slouches toward Bethlehem to be born?” In one short poem the entire terrible spirit of 1914-1918 is laid bare before you. By omitting physical details, Yeats swept away the clutter and unearthed the soul of the event, not only of the war itself, but what it meant for the future of humanity.

 
But a poet’s verse doesn’t always have to span continents and nations; Tennyson spoke of “men that strove with gods.”

 
Sir Walter Scott described, “The stern joy that warriors feel in foemen worthy of their steel.”

 
And who could forget Henry V’s blood curdling speech to the people of Harfleur?
(Edited for brevity)

 

 
The gates of mercy shall be all shut up
And the fleshed soldier, rough and hard of heart
In liberty of bloody hand shall range
With conscience wide as hell mowing like grass
Your fresh fair virgins and your flow’ring infants
While your pure maidens fall into the hand
Of hot and forcing violation.

 
O’erblows the filthy and contagious clouds
Of heady murder, spoil and villainy.
If not, why, in a moment look to see
The blind and bloody soldier with foul hand
Defile the locks of your shrill-shrieking daughters,
Your fathers taken by their silver beards

 

And their most reverend heads dashed to the walls,
Your naked infants spitted on pikes
While the mad mothers with their howls confused
Do break the clouds, as did the wives of Jewry
At Herods bloody-hunting slaughtermen

 

 
Just look at those incredible words! Foul hands, slaughtermen, shrill-shrieking, and heady murder. Not only is the poet allowed to paint with a more vivid palette, they are also given the freedom to strip away irrelevant physical details until they find not only the humanity of an event, but its enduring meaning as well. I think that combat, like love, is too complex and forceful to be restrained by the rules of prose. That is why lovers turn to music and poetry to express themselves. Perhaps warriors can as well.

 

 

“I think that combat, like love, is too complex and forceful to be restrained by the rules of prose.”

 

 
So who describes combat best in these modern times? My favorites are Cormac McCarthy, Charles Frazier, Anthony Loyd and James Salter. They are masters of lyrical prose, telling a sharp and detailed story that swerves into poetry at times and then back again before you even have time to hear the rumble strips. The beauty of their words are a counterpoint to the horrors they describe and I find myself drawn to their stories again and again.

 

 

 

excellent

 

 

 
Having said all this, am I satisfied with the action scenes in my novel Into a Dark Frontier? No, I am not. There’s a sentence here and there that I am proud of, maybe even a paragraph or two. I have a long way to go, but I’m confident that I’ll get there someday, and that’s what keeps me writing.

 

 

 

Into a Dark Frontier

 

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Have a reply for John? Tell us in the comments.

 

 

John Mangan
Author of Into a Dark Frontier
www.JohnManganBooks.com

 

 

 

 

In the News: Law & Vengeance by Mike Papantonio

words News

 

 

Mike Papantonio is back with his second novel with Law and Vengeance and is sure to be a winner. So don’t miss out on this legal thriller!

 

Law and Vengeance

 

 

From the Author

Mike Papantonio, a leading trial lawyer and the television host of America’s Lawyer, has delivered his new action-packed legal thriller. This time his leading character is a beautiful, determined woman who built her career as a criminal trial lawyer by believing she could play by the rules and still achieve justice for her clients. But the gruesome murder of her law partner and former lover has turned her world upside down―and suddenly she’s on a playing field where there are no rules.

When Gina Romano learns America’s largest weapons manufacturer has her in its crosshairs, she realizes this time the pursuit of justice is not enough.

In her own two-pronged attack against her enemies, her strategy is to win both in the courtroom and, when necessary, outside of it.

Based on a real case, Mike Papantonio delivers the goods in his carefully drawn, likeable characters and a smart, well-told adventure.

 

 

Law and Vengeance: Introducing Gina Romano

 

 

 

 

Don’t miss this Eye opening Television Interview with Mike Papantonio.

 

 

 

Mike Papantonio is a senior partner of Levin Papantonio, one of the largest plaintiffs’ law firms in America, that has handled thousands of cases throughout the nation involving pharmaceutical drug litigation, Florida tobacco litigation, litigation for asbestos-related health damage, securities fraud actions, and other mass tort cases. “Pap” has received dozens of multimillion dollar verdicts on behalf of victims of corporate corruption.

Papantonio is one of the youngest attorneys to have been inducted into the Trial Lawyer Hall of Fame. In 2012 Papantonio became President of the National Trial Lawyers Association, one of the largest trial lawyer organizations in America. For his trial work on behalf of consumers, Papantonio has received some of the most prestigious awards reserved by the Public Justice Foundation, The American Association for Justice, and the National Trial Lawyers Association.

Papantonio is an author of four motivational books for lawyers. He is also co-author of Air America: The Playbook, a New York Times Political Best Seller.

Papantonio is the host of the nationally syndicated radio show “Ring of Fire” along with Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., and Sam Seder. Papantonio has conducted hundreds of recorded interviews with guests, including Dan Rather, Helen Thomas, Howard Zinn, Arianna Huffington, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Bernie Sanders, David Crosby, Merle Haggard, Morgan Spurlock, John Edwards, Bill Moyers, Rickie Lee Jones, Alanis Morissette, Pete Seeger, Jackson Browne, Chuck D from Public Enemy, Henry Rollins, Ted Sorensen, and Elizabeth Kucinich. His role on “Ring of Fire” is featured in the movie, “Jesus Camp,” which was nominated for the 2007 Academy Award for Documentary Feature.

Papantonio is also a political commentator who frequently appears on MSNBC, Free Speech TV, RT America Network, and Fox News.

Papantonio is married and has one daughter. He is an avid scuba diver and often dives on the Emerald Coast.

 

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OTHER RESOURCES

 

Book Review: Law and Disorder

 

Law and Disorder

 

 

 

Special Feature from the Crime Division by Robert K. Tanenbaum

So You Want to Write a Legal Thriller

Readers, bloggers, authors, sign up for Mystery Thriller Week:  #MTW_2018

 

 

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Benjamin Thomas

@MTW_2018

The Writing Train

AudioSpy.org

 

 

Into the Dark Frontier with Author John Mangan

Into a Dark Frontier

 

 

Only 0.99 on Amazon!

 

 

Editorial Reviews

 

“John Mangan’s Into a Dark Frontier is cut from same cloth as the best of Vince Flynn and Brad Thor, a story written with authority and military authenticity. It’s a harsh look at a continent-wide battlefield, waged not only for land but also for the heart of freedom. Timely and exciting.” ―James RollinsNew York Times best-selling author

“John Mangan’s Into a Dark Frontier is a powerful, realistic, and daringly unique international thriller. Its near-future plotline is as brilliantly crafted as it is dark and foreboding, and the action scenes are visceral and utterly thrilling. Tormented but able Slade Crawford is a perfect anti-hero to root for, and Into a Dark Frontier is a surefire winner of a debut.” ―Mark Greaney, #1 New York Times best-selling author

“A riveting imagined what-if so real you wonder if it might even be possible. Tense, intelligent, harsh, and surprising, this thrill ride is drum tight in its execution.” ―Steve BerryNew York Times best-selling author

Into a Dark Frontier is an international thriller of rare depth and complexity that would make the likes of John Le Carre and Robert Ludlum proud. But John Mangan goes both of them one better by injecting into the mix a loner hero with a gunfighter mentality fit for taming continents as well as frontiers, with Africa subbing for the Old West. A vision splendidly realized and tale wondrously executed.” ―Jon LandUSA Today bestselling author

“Mangan’s debut reads like he couldn’t get the words out and onto the page fast enough, which translates into a…blazingly fast and fun action thriller.” ―Publishers Weekly

“John Mangan’s Into a Dark Frontier plunges the reader into the chaos of an African continent where anarchy reigns. A near-futuristic scenario, one that could really emerge. Expect an overdose of action and danger that careens off the scales.” ―Robert K. TanenbaumNew York Times best-selling author

“Its relentless opening chase sets the tone for Into a Dark Frontier, a winner for fans of techno-action novels. After eight deployments as a combat rescue pilot, its author knows what he’s writing about and does so with speed and insider details.” ―David MorrellNew York Timesbest-selling author

Into a Dark Frontier is a hell of a debut novel with a terrifying plot and relentless action that made sure the only time I wasn’t turning pages was when I was looking over my shoulder.” ―Joshua Hood, author of Clear by Fire and Warning Order

 

 

 

LET THE GAMES BEGIN…

 

 

What made you venture into writing?

Initially, it was simply a love of story telling, but as my novel
developed it was the feeling that came from creating complex
characters and the environment that drives them. I think that the only
way to create an authentic story is to study yourself, your
relationships, and the human condition in general. People are what
drive a good story, and so you have to become an observer of
people. The pleasure of writing doesn’t just occur while sitting behind
a keyboard, it also comes from watching the world around you,
grabbing little tidbits of dialogue, vignettes, or interesting human
interactions.

 

 

 

 

storytelling word in wood type

 

 

 

Do you have any favorite books or authors that influenced you
early on?

As a boy I loved the Jack London stories where life has been
distilled down to its most base, uncivilized components, where a
man’s fate is decided by fire, food and fang. In Jack’s world, that’s
where you find out who you are.
My novel starts off with our protagonist living squarely in the
modern world, surrounded by gadgets, technology and civilized
mores. But by the ending he has descended into a world that has
more in common with the bronze age than any other, a place where
the day is won by the strength of a man’s will and his willingness to
harness medieval savagery. Perhaps Mr. London would approve…

 

 

How long did it take you to finish Into the Dark Frontier?

The creation of the story wasn’t linear, with a precise beginning
and ending. Imagine dozens of seeds scattered across a garden, and
over several years the sprouting seedlings are gradually bound
together, trimmed away, uprooted and replanted until 6 years later
they have been woven into some semblance of a story. Then spend 4
more years pitching that mess to agents, re-writing, editing and
eventually hacking out 60K words. So to answer your question, it was
about 10 years.

 

 

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Describe some challenges writing your first book.

One of the biggest problems was settling on a point-of- view.
Initially, I chose Third Person Omniscient and the narrator rotated
between the intertwined, converging stories of the Hero, the Sidekick,
and the Villain. This seems to be the most popular format in modern
thrillers but I couldn’t get it to work. The story always kept collapsing
back down to Slade and the peripheral stories always became
lackluster and fell apart. Eventually I realized that this was because
the story belonged to Slade and Slade alone, it was about his
journey. I started over and confined the narrator to Slade’s head and
his immediate surroundings, so the reader lives the story entirely
through his eyes. The advantage of this technique is that it makes it
very easy to generate a sense of mystery and spring surprises on the reader.

The downside of this technique is that it leaves a lot of unfilled
space in the story line, and readers will begin to fill that blank space
with their own preconceived ideas. Overcoming those preconceived
ideas can be extremely difficult, and if not overcome, can lead a
reader to misinterpret what the author is trying to communicate.
For example, IADF devotes only a few paragraphs of backstory
to illustrate Slade’s time in prison and subsequent decision to jump
parole. Recently, a professional review of IADF came out and they
mentioned how Slade had busted out of a “black-site” prison.
It sounds interesting, but unfortunately there was no black-site
and no thrilling jailbreak. The reviewer had filled in details that didn’t
actually exist. It’s only after you have feedback from a broad
audience that you can begin to see where you left holes for readers
to fall through. Actually, feedback like that is priceless, it shows how
much I have to learning about crafting a story.

 

 

 

The 3d guy got over the challenge

 

 

 

 

 

What did you enjoy most?

When the characters began to say and do things that surprised
me, or they took the story in an unexpected direction. Once that
happened I began to feel like it was their world and I was just a visitor
to it. After that I wasn’t creating the characters or their story, I was
just a novice painter struggling to draw them properly and my
greatest responsibility was to make sure they weren’t
misrepresented.

 

 

What motivates Slade Crawford?

Slade is a tragic character torn by competing and irreconcilable
instincts. First and foremost he is a wolf, with a wolf’s passion for the
kill. But he also has a sense of duty to his country, family and those
that depend upon him. Unfortunately, his killer instincts compel him to
return to the fight again and again, leading him to forsake the very
people that he claims he is protecting. Fighting is what he does best,
but a wife and child don’t need a fighter, they need a husband and
dad. So, he fails them, bigly.
Slade is also entering the autumn of his life and has begun to
look back on, and examine his failures. His doubts concerning his
own morality, and his need for atonement become central to the
story. In order to explore this side of his character I surrounded Slade
with a supporting cast chosen for their varying moral codes, ranging
from devoutly moral, to ambivalent, to amoral and then downright evil.
Watching Slade interact with these different people was one of the
most rewarding aspects of writing the book. I painted this facet of the
story with a very light brush as I did not want to come off as preachy.
If I was successful then I think that an attentive reader will experience
something a bit deeper than a straight action novel.

 

 

What was it like crafting a character like Slade?

It became extremely personal, as Slade is an amalgamation of
myself and several people that I know. Slade’s internal struggles are
not fiction, they come from the life stories of people that I care about.
The central tragedy that haunts Slade was taken from the real

experience of a soldier that I befriended a few years ago. I asked him
if I could use his story and he eventually gave me permission. I was
hesitant to use it, but in the end I was hoping that if my buddy could
externalize the tragedy, see it happen to somebody else, then
perhaps he could gain a healthier perspective on it.
So to answer your question, it was not easy, I felt like Slade’s
actions and responses had to be true to the real people that he
represents.

 

 

Lead us into your decision to choose Africa as a setting. 

I wanted to create a modern story in the tradition of the classic
Westerns, and a Western requires two things: #1, a lawless land that
nobody controls, and #2, a place that settlers (pioneers) would
actually want to emigrate to.
There’s lots of places in the Middle East that fit the bill for
characteristic #1, but I can’t picture anybody packing up and
emigrating to Yemen. Conversely, Africa has the right combination of
political volatility, simmering violence, fertile lands and untapped
resources in which I could create a believable story.

 

 

 

Africa map with African typography made of patchwork fabric text

 

 

 

Have you ever been there?

No, it’s one of the few places I haven’t been yet. For research I
read extensively about the Victorian explorers of the 1800’s and their
exploits in Africa. Much of the story’s sense of wilderness is based

upon what they experienced. I also spent a good bit of time doing the
ol’ Google Earth research expedition.

Describe your experience writing about action scenes versus
being out in the field.

I found that actual combat is far different from how it is depicted in
most thriller novels. Modern combat scenes are typically very detailed
and they portray combat as a series of discreet, separate events that
the subject is aware of and in control of; “He turned 45 degrees to his
left, raised the glock 9mm, aligned the sights on his targets center of
mass then squeezed trigger until…”
This technique builds a picture of what is happening, but it’s like
trying to understand sex by reading a medical textbook. Yes, you’ll
end up understanding what goes where, but you will be completely
clueless as to the human side of the experience.
The authors that I tried to emulate, and who best describe the
fear, confusion and altered-state reality of combat are James Salter,
Cormac McCarthy, James Frazier and Anthony Loyd.

 

 

Will this be a standalone or part of a series?

It’s set up to be a series. I’ve got the second book plotted out
but I am waiting on reader reactions to the first book before I make
some big decisions. I can reveal that Book 2 will focus on the
character Elizabeth and her response to what happened in Book 1,
but how I will tell her story is still in doubt. I don’t know if I’ll keep my

narrator confined to Slade’s head, share time inside Elizabeth’s head,
or shift over to her entirely. To be honest I’m terrified of trying to
represent what’s going on in her head, I’m pretty sure I’ll make a hash
of it and end up getting loads of female hate mail. We’ll see…

 

 

 

 

 

Into a Dark Frontier

 

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Mystery Thriller Week begins Feb. 12-22, 2018. Sign up HERE.

 

Don’t miss the 3rd MTW 2018 Brainstorming session this Saturday 9/9/17 11am-12pm EST. Click HERE  to attend.

 

 

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About the author:

Lt. Col. John Mangan is a decorated combat rescue pilot, novelist and coffeehouse poet. He is a graduate of the United States Air Force Academy, was an instructor at the Survival Escape Resistance & Evasion (SERE) school, and is currently an HH-60G, Pave Hawk instructor pilot. He has deployed to the Middle East eight times and has commanded the 33rd Expeditionary Rescue Squadron in Kandahar, Afghanistan. His actions in combat have been documented in the books Not a Good Day to DieNone Braver, and Zero Six Bravo. He has flown combat missions with PJs, SEALs, Delta, Rangers, and the SAS. John has been awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross with Valor twice, The Air Medal twelve times, and the 2009 Cheney Award.

 

 

 

 

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Introducing Ted Galdi and An American Cage

 

An American Cage

 

 

 

 

Expected Publication date: October 16th 2017

 

An American Cage

 

Goodreads

First Chapter Preview

 

 

interview-1714370_960_720

 

 

TED GALDI

 

 

Ted Galdi

 

 

 

Ted Galdi broke out with his debut novel, Elixir a bestseller and winner of Reader Views Reviewers Choice Award and Silver Medal in the Readers’ Favorite Book Awards. His second novel An American Cageis due this Fall.

 

 

 

 

 

How long have you been writing?

 

Ever since I was a little kid, doing stories in crayon. “Professionally” since 2014, with the publication of Elixir, my debut.

 

 

 

Elixir

 

 

 

Are you a plotter, panster, or a little of both?

 

A little of both. I won’t start chapter one until I have an outline. I make sure not to go into too much detail on this initial outline though. In my opinion, your idea of plot can’t be fully baked until you really know your characters, and the only way to really know your characters is to start writing. Needless to say, my outline evolves as I get through the first draft.

 

 

This is your second book. Compare your experience between the two.

 

I learned a lot along the way with my first, Elixir. That isn’t to say I didn’t learn a lot with An American Cage, but with your first everything is so new that you don’t even have a sense of your “rhythm.” You know, your way of approaching it all…conceptualizing, outlining, writing, self-editing, etc. AfterElixir, I knew what worked for me and what didn’t, and approached An American Cage through that lens. There was a lot less rewriting and deleted scenes the second time around, which saved me a headache or two.

 

 

Name at least three things that influenced you to become a writer.

 

Like I mentioned above, I’ve been doing this in some form since I was a little kid. I really enjoy it. Nothing was needed to “push me” toward me. You asked for at least three things here and I technically gave you zero. #QuestionFail

 

 

Do you write up character arc for your characters?

 

I think the character arc is one of the most interesting elements in fiction. Danny, the protagonist in An American Cage, definitely changes through the book. The entire story takes place over a twenty-four-hour period, which was a lot of fun to write, but presented a bit of a challenge in terms of arcs. Getting across a major change that happens in just a day was tricky.

 

 

Who is Danny Marsh and what does he want?

 

Danny Marsh is a twenty-four-year-old graphic designer who never committed a crime in his life. Then an incident of bad luck throws him into one of Texas’s toughest prisons. He wants to get out, get to Mexico, and start afresh with a new name and new identity.

 

 

What motivates him?

 

He’s an upper-middle-class kid with no crime experience. Obviously, he doesn’t fit in very well at a maximum-security penitentiary. Being inside psychologically tears at him. Not to mention, he’s had a few horrific run-ins with other inmates. He feels he won’t be able to survive there much longer, either mentally, physically, or both. Escape is the only answer for him.

 

 

What is your creative process for characters?

 

Like I’m sure most other authors do, I start the character-creation process with my protagonist. I start the book-creation process, however, with my theme. I’ll have a solid idea of the book’s theme before I begin with the characters. It’s critical for the protagonist’s arc to mesh with this theme. The supporting characters I consider “forces” that push the protagonist in directions relevant to the theme. Once I have a general idea of the main arc and the supporting forces at play, I then try to think about these characters as people. I do a lot of this off of feel. It’s not really a formal process. However, like I said before, it isn’t until I actually start writing, giving characters a voice and having them interact with each other, that I believe I really “know” them.

 

 

Tell us a few things about the setting for American Cage.

 

The whole book takes place in Texas. It opens in East Texas, then works its way west across the state. The cities in it are a mix of the real and fictional. It was important for me to make sure the setting felt authentic, so in cases where a town is fictional, I tried to give it the spirit of its region. I grew up in a New York City suburb and have been living in Southern California the last seven years. I’ve been to Texas a few times, but am no resident. I put a nice amount of time into setting research so I wouldn’t screw anything up.

 

 

What are some things you learned during your research?

 

Austin has kickass bars. That’s one of the Texas cities I have personally been to. Barhopping is a very high-end form of literary research in case you didn’t know.

 

 

What’s next?

 

I’m on a first draft of another thriller. I’d be happy to come back and talk about it when it’s ready.

 

Sincerely,

Ted Galdi

ted@tedgaldi.com

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