5-Stars for “Finding Billy Battles – Book II” by Ronald E. Yates


I learned so much from this well-written and meticulously researched book. I’m not usually that much of a fan of historical fiction, but in this case it was a welcome educational experience. As Billy’s journeys take him to Saigon, the Philippines, and even turn-of-the-20th-century Germany, this story is richly imbued with cultural and historical facts I previously did not know. This included something as simple as where white pepper comes from, but most especially the dark history of colonialism. I had heard of the Spanish-American War, but had no idea it was fought in the Philippines, much less why.

I have grown up simply accepting the fact that the British, French, and Spanish did a considerable amount of exploring, which also constituted conquests for more land and resources. This is apparent by the languages spoken in diverse parts of the world, far from where they originated. Getting a glimpse into the climate and attitudes of the 19th century, especially how indigenous people were trampled and exploited, brought up multiple considerations that had previously been entirely off my radar.

While colonialism’s defenders note that it brings a higher standard of living to these areas, it is also at a high price to the cultural norms and freedom of those unfortunate enough to live in such a place. Insights into Saigon in the late 1800s provided a new understanding into the Vietnam War and guerilla warfare. While in some cases, America has helped defend these countries, in others it has been just as guilty as the European conquests. Ironically, American is the prime example of a country that rebelled successfully against colonialism, yet then went on to force it on others, for example Native Americans. We are no better than anyone else and it’s easy for me to understand why other countries hate us.

The best part of this story is that all these fascinating details were woven into the plot of a story with believable characters caught up in this historical drama, from the Old West, to pre-WWI Europe, and overseas in the Far East.  I recommend it highly to anyone who enjoys a meaty, well-researched read that serves up more than an interesting story. History buffs will love it. While it is the second book in a trilogy, I thoroughly enjoyed it and had no trouble following it without the benefit of reading the first.

Pick up your copy on Amazon here.

Review of “The Wake (and What Jeremiah did Next) by Colm Herron


This story is nothing short of brilliant. If you have any connection to Ireland, you’ll recognize the intimate depiction of its people and culture. If you don’t, you’ll get a crash course. The saying that fiction is best for depicting truth definitely applies. In this case, it’s like being fully immersed, perhaps even like being baptized in Irish whiskey, through the eyes of the main character, Jeremiah.

The book is so loaded with truth I hardly know where to start. It starts out at a wake, an event that is typically associated with Irish culture. If you’ve never been to one like myself, this will give you a glimpse of what they’re all about. If you’ve ever lived in a small town, it will make even more sense. Here you have someone who has passed away and has no relatives, so a neighbor holds the wake because it’s the thing to do. The conversations during this event reveal a boatload. It’s more of a social event where refreshments are served than a time to remember the deceased, who was not particularly liked. Jeremiah, whose mother is the hostess, is stuck attending and, to make it more tolerable, has a bit too much to drink. Well, okay, maybe more than a bit. This results in some absolutely hilarious situations that had me laughing ’til I cried, but I won’t give away because I hate spoilers.

So what did Jeremiah do next? Well, he got on with his life. A rather weird, somewhat dysfunctional, crazy one that wasn’t particularly unexpected for a young man in his twenties discovering life in that time and place. As is the case with most that age and gender, he’s obsessed with sex. He’s in love with a woman who’s not only bisexual, but a rebel. This is where all the social issues regarding the Catholics and Protestants come into play. After all, it’s the 60s when protesting was in vogue. So, Jeremiah hooks up with Aisling and her partner, Frances, whom he describes as “Stalin in drag.” The adventures they encounter, including in the bedroom (which are tastefully done, considering it’s a menage a trois) take off from there, and provide a glimpse into the religion-related issues and what the protests are all about.

I consider this story a literary masterpiece. I could hardly put it down, which was exacerbated by the fact it doesn’t have chapter breaks. It reads partly like a journal and partly like following Jeremiah around, perhaps as his guardian angel sees him. Few books have the ability this one has to draw you into a world so effectively. It’s like a very personal trip to the Emerald Isle.

As a bonus, and to assist those who may not “get” what this book is all about, the author includes some discussion questions at the end which would be particularly helpful for book clubs or even English teachers. All great literature is unique and stands out from everything else and this is in that category. You’ll either love it or hate it. I loved it.

Pick up your copy on Amazon here.

Review of “Stealing Time” by K.J. Waters


I have three fairly basic criteria that will earn a book an instant 5-star review: It makes me laugh, it makes me cry, and it keeps me up past my bedtime. As you have probably guessed, “Stealing Time” definitely hit the mark.

I also have tremendous respect for an author who takes nine years to bring a book to completion. Now, of course, this is really bad news if you have to wait that long for the next episode, which hopefully won’t be the case! But IMHO, there’s a certain richness that a novel achieves with time versus those that are kicked out in a few weeks. No offense to those who do so, of course, I’m probably just jealous, because I’m another one who takes a while to finish up a book. Sometimes much longer than nine years, but that’s another story. What I’m getting at is the quality of the characters, imagery and plot details show when a book, like a fine wine, has aged a bit, giving the author time to rethink, embellish and perfect their story. Yeah. Like a fine wine.

As a time travel story, this one is outstanding. The mechanism that transfers the heroine, Ronnie, back in time is in the realm of science fiction, i.e., credible, but not belabored. Thus, this is not true science fiction fodder, but more in the realm for those who love historical fiction since the majority of the story takes place in 18th Century England with some flashbacks (or would it be flashforwards?) to Florida enduring Hurricane Charley, back in 2004, which precipitated the transfer.

The research for this period of time was incredible. The reader is truly transferred back in time to a world so different than ours it feels like another planet. If you don’t think the world has made any progress in the past two hundred fifty years, you definitely need to read this book. While today’s world definitely has its problems and fundamental human nature doesn’t change, it’s incredible to get a glimpse of what England was like back in 1752. Wow. I, for one, am reminded how lucky I am to be living in this century. There are plenty of undercover lessons here, too, with regard to superstitious and unreasonable beliefs that drive a culture, in this case the ridiculous view of what qualified a woman as a witch and how she was subsequently tried and treated. Chilling and horrifying are the first words that come to mind.

The imagery and action was absolutely breathtaking, especially the last fourth of the book, at which point I just sucked it up regardless of the late hour and finished. Since this is the first book in a trilogy, I knew everything wouldn’t be solved, but it did provide a satisfying ending, though there were certainly plenty of unanswered questions to drive the reader’s hunger for the next volume. I highly recommend this well-written story to anyone who loves a thriller, historical fiction or romanticizes the past. Believe me when I say we have come much farther than you may think.

You can pick up your copy on Amazon here.


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Review of “An Extended Journey” by Paul Sherman


This exceptionally well-written and flawlessly edited story has everything a good time travel story demands. Note, however, that it’s more fantasy than science fiction since the means of delivery to the past is in the realms of the paranormal. Thus, don’t expect some exotic high tech means to remove the characters from the present time. This detail, indeed, is but a moot point given the tremendous message of this meticulously researched historical novel, but I wanted to throw it out there just in case you’re expecting sci-fi.

More often than not, time travel stories have more of a philosophical theme as they tread the line between fantasy, history and “what if” speculations. I recommend this story to those interested in American History, particularly the period around the Revolutionary War. The author’s research is apparent in the convincing details that take the reader back to another but not necessarily simpler time.

This story features David Dearns and his family which comprises his wife, Monica, and two young daughters, Jane and Katelyn, who are unexpectedly transported from modern times back to Colonial Williamsburg in 1781. The transition is great, given they’re visiting that location in modern times and thus surrounded by numerous individuals dressed in period costumes and buildings that date back to the time of the American Revolution, which is in progress. You can sense their confusion, particularly when they suddenly realize not only where but when they are.

This event was not simply coincidence, however, but clearly a matter of being chosen to accomplish a specific mission at the behest of a mysterious black woman they know only as Aunt Harriet. Their task is to intervene with Thomas Jefferson in a manner that convinces him to end slavery as part of the yet-to-be-written American Constitution. Since I want to avoid spoilers, that’s all I’ll say about plot details so future readers can fully enjoy the story as it unfolds.

There were some areas where the story seemed to drag, but it was so well-written that the slow pace was forgivable. It also served a purpose in establishing the time, place and mood of the times as this 21st Century family gradually acclimates to life in the late 1700s. If you’re a history buff, you’re likely to thoroughly enjoy it. A bit more culture shock would have added to the realism and perhaps picked up the pace in those pages capturing the details of life at that time. The plot action definitely accelerated toward the middle and took off from there with well-sustained suspense.

Historical details were plentiful and expertly integrated. The matter of changing history and the various paradoxes introduced by the family’s presence were addressed in a clever and sometimes unexpected manner, such as the premature albeit inadvertent introduction of modern technology. There were numerous places where I laughed out loud at some of the main character’s witticisms and sarcastic thoughts though his propensity for profanity was a bit troubling and could turn off certain potential readers. Many religious folks have a keen interest in American History and are often more forgiving of an expletive here and there, which is all too common today, than profanity. It wasn’t excessive by any means, and was mainly in the first part of the book, but would have earned a few cringes from various folks I know who would otherwise love the story.

Matters of free choice were suitably addressed and demonstrated the “butterfly effect”, i.e., where one small event institutes major change. On a personal as well as collective level, I’m sure all of us could point to various decisions that could have been made in a more constructive manner given 20:20 hindsight. The decisions of those who run countries certainly affect thousands and even millions and the consequences of bad ones splash on all concerned, many of whom suffer far more than the perpetrator.

As physicist Michio Kaku and various others have noted, parallel dimensions are a possibility included in quantum theory. Some have even speculated that every possible outcome of every decision ever made is represented somewhere, which I frankly don’t buy into. Nonetheless, starting a new track as a solution to time travel stories, e.g., Spielberg’s “Back to the Future” trilogy, works here for the sake of reader satisfaction. I’m not a big fan of historical novels, but the author’s strong writing skills kept me immersed in the story. More often than not, I find my inner editor slipping out while reading which, to his credit, did not occur. Such exceptional writing alone makes this book worth reading.

You can pick up your copy at Amazon here.

An Outstanding & Thought-Provoking Time-Travel Tome


While the premise of going back in time to alter history isn’t new, the author’s skill in its presentation coupled with his unique insights will satisfy science fiction and history buffs as well as anyone with an eclectic taste for literature. Indeed, this story possesses the makings of a classic. It’s highly intelligent, flawlessly edited, and I love the author’s straight-forward yet ethereal style which flows with the essence of timelessness that you’d expect in a book that involves time travel. His skillful writing combined with the fact his name is a pseudonym leaves the impression that he may, indeed, be a time traveler himself. The title is perfect, a thought-provoking glimpse of the nature of time and how far it could be stretched were it breached or controlled, the scope of its content undoubtedly epic.

As this tale begins, time travel has already been achieved and a multi-disciplined committee of academics privy to the technology directs its use to keep humanity’s history on the proper track. Three previous attempts didn’t work out as hoped, but the problems have supposedly been solved by scientist, Lawrence Henry, a.k.a. Hank, whose breakthrough discovery removes the troublesome paradoxes. Thus, Hank and his fiancée, Frances Newton, set out to establish humanity in a New Historical Age.

Those with whom they interact see them only as a very tall, mysterious gentlemen and a red-headed woman who serendipitously slip into their respective eras at historically important times. Each fable is independent and captures a nexus where a decision made by an individual, some famous historical figures, others not, takes the world in a new direction. These included encounters with Thomas Jefferson, Albert Einstein, King Henry VIII, Marcellus and Archimedes. As a reader I was immersed in the flavor of the moment and felt as if I was observing a profound moment in history unfold.

Events prior to those in recorded history were touched on as well, such as the invention of writing and numbers, the wheel, the transition to an agrarian society and even a new look at man’s best friend. The episodes operate on multiple levels which will satisfy casual readers as well as history lovers or those with philosophical tendencies. Each carefully selected situation demonstrated the author’s thorough understanding of history, was well researched, and included some little known facts packaged as a tremendously enjoyable story stylishly written. I haven’t read the preceding volumes in the Elastic Limit series, but this one stood well on its own while nonetheless leaving me with the desire to read the previous volumes, which this one ties together.

Pick up your copy on Amazon here.

Rhoda D’Ettore Blog Tour


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Coming this Summer…..


No One Is Safe While…


A Novel by Rhoda D’Ettore

After surviving a car accident that killed her father, three-year-old Jennifer begins having nightmares. It’s soon obvious she suffers from something more dreadful than the accident when she provides clues to a murder committed 3,000 miles away—and two decades before she was born.

Jennifer’s nightmares set off a chain reaction that prompts the infamous Zodiac Killer to emerge from dormancy and terrorize San Francisco for a second time.

Visit Rhoda D’Ettore’s Website


Goin’ Postal & The Creek

Rhoda D’Ettore began her writing career by publishing humorous tales about working at the United States Postal Service. Fifteen years of dealing with bombs, anthrax, and human body parts in the mail made for an interesting read. Her co-workers laughed so hard at the nostalgia, they encouraged her to publish the writings. Since then, D’Ettore has fascinated readers with plot twists mixed with sarcastic humor.

D’Ettore knew postal workers would buy her story, yet she also wanted to show them she could write interesting, serious work with shocking twists. In Goin’ Postal & The Creek, the reader gets two very different stories in one book. The first containing the hysterical tales of postal worker life. The second story is a historical fiction that spans 200 years with a slightly supernatural twist. Topics include war, love, romance, death, Prohibition, the Great Depression, and how families survive such events.

Newborn Nazi

Newborn Nazi tackles the issues of right and wrong as well as self sacrifice when fourteen-year-old Edmund is forced into the Hitler Youth in 1935. His older siblings vow to destroy Nazi Germany, and the family gets swept up in espionage and the Underground Movement. When Edmund becomes an adult and joins the feared SS, his sister’s secret endeavors to save Jews in her home endangers lives—including her own. This suspense thriller is sure to keep you guessing.

Newborn Nazi is based on Rhoda D’Ettore true family history. There was an Edmund who was forced into the Hitler Youth, and his sister did help Jews escape. D’Ettore found the story so riveting, she took the plot of the story and added murder and espionage to create this intense thriller.

Tower of Tears: The McClusky Series 1

In Tower of Tears: The McClusky Series, we find Jane traveling to America from Ireland with her three-year-old son. Expecting to find a better way of life, Jane finds nothing but intimidation, betrayal, violence, and heartache. This family saga includes blackmail, murder, mystery, and a touch of romance.

While writing Tower of Tears, D’Ettore gave her mother one chapter at a time for feedback. D’Ettore was undecided who the murderer in the book would eventually be, so she wrote the story with five characters hating and threatening the murder victim. Halfway through the book, D’Ettore’s mother shouted, “I know who killed him…. it was ####”. D’Ettore then finished the book with a different character as the murderer. When her mother read the final draft of the book, she replied, “That’s not who the murder is. I told you who is was.” D’Ettore then said, “I wrote the book, so I know who the murderer should be. Thanks.”

10 Shades of Blush: The Softer Side of Kink

10 Shades of Blush: The Softer Side of Kink is a collection of naughty fantasies of ordinary women. Teachers, mothers, and professionals submitted their wants and desires for kinky fun. All the tales are told as if the women are speaking directly to their partners. The audiobook of this has been called “Two hours of phone sex for $7”.

Rhoda D’Ettore works are available as ebook, paperback, and audiobooks

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Review of “Newborn Nazi” by Rhoda D’Ettore: A suspense-filled view of Nazi Germany


Sometimes I found this book as difficult to pick up as it was to put down. I do most of my reading at night after I go to bed and the opening chapters were so intense that I could barely get through them. The suspense and tension were incredible as the author transports you to Germany during the Third Reich. I remember being told many years ago that ethical dilemmas make excellent stories and that is certainly the case here. As Hitler’s regime assumed power, the brutality employed to demand compliance placed many good, law-abiding citizens in a very precarious position. This story chronicles how one particular family dealt with these challenges, how some had no choice but to obey while others stuck to their beliefs and morals regardless of consequences.

This incredible book took me through the entire spectrum of emotions.  I felt their fear, determination, frustration, heartbreak and strength. It’s loaded with surprises that sometimes left me gasping, yet they rang true and were not contrived. The main character, Hedwig, is a strong, determined woman who refuses to compromise her standards. All of the characters are compelling, their motivation convincing. The relationships between them are often complex yet entirely believable, especially given the precarious wartime setting. The fact the author drew the premise for this story from her own family history makes it all the more intense and unforgettable. Those of us who have lived a relatively peaceful life have no idea what much of the world faces on a day to day basis. This book had additional meaning to me because I have a dear friend who was born in Berlin in 1943 and grew up playing on post-war rubble, wondering where the next meal was coming from.

If you enjoy suspense, mystery and intrigue in an historical setting that takes you back to another place and time this book is for you. The fact I found some parts emotionally difficult is testimony to the author’s ability to draw the reader into the story. This is indeed a novel that will stay with you, leaving you a slightly different person by the time you finish, as if you, too, were part of the horror of Nazi Germany. As they say, those who fail to learn from history are destined to repeat it. Witnessing the hard choices ordinary citizens were faced with provides a much needed reminder that freedom is not something to be taken for granted.

(Be sure to see my Interview with author, Rhoda D’Ettore in the “Interviews” section.)


Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Newborn-Nazi-Rhoda-DEttore-ebook/dp/B00NGC8GXM/

Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/newborn-nazi-rhoda-dettore/1120331304

Interview with Author Rhoda D’Ettore

rhodaI have rarely encountered a book that was so intense that it was literally stressful to read but that was the case with Rhoda’s “Newborn Nazi” (posting of review to follow). Her ability to build suspense and create vivid characters is incredible. It’s even more interesting that much of her inspiration comes from real-life stories.

MF: Your family history has served as considerable inspiration for your novels. Did you do your own genealogical research or was it handed down to you?

RD: I did use ancestry.com for a considerable amount of research. On that site, I was able to find distant cousins from around the world who were able to provide me with research that had already been compiled. It was an amazing journey. With regards to Newborn Nazi, that story was based on a story that was verbally passed down. However, I do have certain memorabilia which provides proof that it is true.

MF: If you did your own research, did you have any interesting or perhaps even paranormal experiences while doing so?

RD: I was not expecting some of the things I did find. In the 1890s, one of my ancestors was in the newspaper for drunk driving of a horse and buggy. During World War I, my German ancestor (naturalized as an American citizen) had a bar fight in which he said this country was going to “hell in a hand basket”. I was able to find an FBI file on him for “Violation of the Espionage Act” because he spoke against American interests. I think one of the funniest things was to find that in the 1820s, members of my family worked for the postal industry. I currently have about six family members who either work for, or retired from the USPS. My brother’s response was, “Great. In 150 years, our family didn’t advance at all!”

As far as paranormal, I have experienced such occurrences, but none that involved my genealogical research. I have incorporated my family’s paranormal experience into a book entitled “The Creek: Where Stories of the Past Come Alive”. I am also working on a book currently entitled Zodiac Lives which is a paranormal thriller.

MF: Did you grow up with these stories being told by grandparents or at family gatherings?

RD: My German grandmother did indeed raise me with stories of interesting tales. Specifically the story that inspired Newborn Nazi.

MF: If you did your own research, was it to find story ideas or did it work the other way, that what you found inspired you to capture and develop it?

RD: I had always loved history, and because of it, I have always had an interest in my own past. Once I started writing seriously, I realized that some of those stories of the past did indeed make for good plots. Of course, I have embellished upon them. Although my family did house Jews and others to help them escape from Nazi Germany, they were not involved in any sort of spy network. But the truth is an awesome basis for a story.

MF: When you extrapolate what you know about a certain family do you ever feel as if you’re channeling as opposed to creating what occurred?

RD: I would not say “channeling” but I have certainly considered that my deceased sister has influenced me. I can hear in my head her saying things like, “You go, lil’ sis! That book is awesome”. I have even used her picture on a couple book covers and written a free short story about her, Thrice Dead. If you want to read about how many times a person can die, read that one!

MF: You certainly have a very lively genetic background which includes ancestors from Germany, Italy and Ireland. Did you notice any culture clashes growing up or did they meld together and create their own unique cultural environment? Was there any particular factor (e.g. religion) which bound them together?

RD: All three ethnicities were Catholic, and growing up that way provides some awesome material as well. I have often joked that the Irish would get drunk, the Italians would then start fights with the drunken Irish, and the Germans would sit back singing polkas and laughing at the other two for not being able to hold their alcohol. I know that sounds really stereotypical, but it made for some fun times. I miss those days. My German grandmother used to love a party… and the family joke was “It’s Tuesday night and someone sneezed. Be at Mom Mom’s house at 7pm.” Be sure to check out the “Short & Silly” posts on my blog for my Strip Club Grannies story. Then you will get an idea of how much fun I had as a kid!

MF: Do you identify with one nationality more than the others? If so, which one and why?

RD: Physically, I am the typical blue eyed blonde, big framed German woman. I didn’t really fit in physically with the rest of the Italians or Irish, that is for sure. My mother is a very strong lady who has the Italian temper. So I am a mix of the Italian temper with the German brawn— that is a dangerous combination! But I never got into any trouble because of it.

MF: What are your thoughts on the statement “Those who fail to learn from history are destined to repeat it?”

RD: Unfortunately, most people find history boring. Or in their own lives, they refuse to learn from the mistakes of others and insist on making their own mistakes. However, people need to open their eyes.

Some of the societal issues in Newborn Nazi involve giving up our freedoms for safety or economic improvements. It discusses conformity without question. As the American society evolves, we are giving up more of our personal freedoms and even thoughts. We live in a world now where if you are not politically correct, then you are evil. A racist might be a stupid bigot, but it is still his right to believe the way he does. And I have the right to believe he is a moron. But when you limit people’s right to think the way you do, then the horrors of the past are not only possible, but probable. We live in a society where a Lieutenant in the US Army died in Afghanistan after serving to protect the rights of the American people, but his wife had to fight for over a year to be able to place a Wiccan symbol on his headstone. What hypocrisy! He can die to provide freedoms, but not be entitled to those same freedoms? Only by learning from the past can we ensure our freedoms in the future.

MF: What is your favorite part of the writing process?

RD: The best part of writing is talking to people who have read and enjoyed my work. Reading the reviews is one of the most incredible feelings I have ever had. I have a friend who stopped talking to me for a month because I killed her favorite character, but she failed to realize what a huge compliment that was. She felt so connected to that character—someone I invented— that she yelled and got mad. What an incredible feeling that is for an author! To know I can use words on paper to stir people into such strong emotions!

MF: What are you currently working on and when do you hope to release it?

RD: I have three books I am currently working on:

Liam’s Longing: The McClusky Series Book 2 – This is a continuation of my historical fiction, Tower of Tears, which centers on an Irish family who immigrates to Philadelphia in 1820. The first book involved murder, betrayal, blackmail as well as a little romance. I will continue upon those themes while incorporating historical events into the series such as the Potato Famine, the Civil War, and the Industrial Revolution.

Zodiac Lives – This is a paranormal thriller where a child begins having nightmares and tells her mother of incidents and people from her former life. When her mother researches her daughter’s claims, she not only begins to believe in reincarnation, but she soon finds that she and her daughter are now targets for the Zodiac Killer of the 1960s. A serial killer who was never caught, he emerges from hiding to protect his identity.

I hope to have both of these out by January or February. Newborn Nazi’s audiobook is currently in production, and scheduled for release in January.

I also am working on “Mob Kids: Growin’ Up Philly Style” which is a novel that delves into what it was like to grow up in the families of the South Philadelphia Italian mob. No release date is schedule yet.


Website:  http://www.rhodadettore.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/rhodadettore
Twitter: https://twitter.com/RhodaDEttore


Newborn Nazi (ebook, paperback, soon on audiobook)

Tower of Tears: The McClusky Series Book 1 (ebook, paperback, audiobook)

Goin’ Postal & The Creek (Where Stories of the Past Come Alive) (ebook, paperback, audiobook)

10 Shades of Blush: The Softer Side of Kink (ebook & audiobook)

Amazon buy links:

Barnes & Noble buy links:

Smashwords buy links:

THE TRIAD: An Action-Packed Slice of Pre-WWII History

TheTriadCover1 copy

The period leading up to the USA’s involvement in WWII is often overshadowed by the war itself and its explosive ending. Wars don’t suddenly erupt, however, but evolve gradually as various events transpire that lead in that direction. This exciting story is based on covert plans by the Axis powers to weaken USA leadership by assassinating key individuals and thus lessen the chance of US involvement which would hinder their likelihood of success. Their assassination squad dubbed “The Triad” has targeted Harry Truman, Dwight Eisenhower and Franklin Roosevelt. Aware of the threat, the FBI brings in Alvin Karpis, a mobster stashed away for the long-haul on Alcatraz, to assist in return for his parole. He insists on some cronies enjoying a similar benefit, which is agreed upon, and the chase begins.

Author John Reinhard Dizon’s action-packed story illustrates the connections mobsters maintain and their ability to orchestrate elaborate plans. Its fast pace never lets up, assuring a breathless dash from coast to coast as Karpis et al accomplish their mission, leaving you wondering at the conclusion just how sane Karpis really was given the fine line between genius and insanity.




Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/johnreinharddizonUSA

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/John-Reinhard-Dizon/e/B00DU9JNUQ/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/JohnRDizon

Will “Triad” take John Reinhard Dizon to the Best Seller List?


  1. Rumor has it that your current work is an historical piece that addresses the pre-WW II era. It seems as if this time period is often eclipsed by WWII such that most of us are mostly unaware of the events leading up to it. Does your novel fill in some of the blanks?

What the novel does is try to help readers understand the mindset. Just as Millennials have great-grandparents who remember WWII, teens in the pre-WWII era had great-grandparents who saw the Civil War. Radio was like the Internet back then, it was a phenomenon. There’s an episode in the novel that reflects how people thought we were being invaded by aliens when The War of the Worlds was broadcast. People were extremely vulnerable to propaganda, which is how the dictators took over most of Eurasia. Governments played on that, and it is remarkable how easily people gave up their civil liberties in exchange for having their leaders tell them everything was all right.

  1. Historical fiction is typically populated by a mix of fictitious characters intermingled with historical figures. Are your characters purely fictitious or based on actual people?

It’s a mix, which is something I try to do as much as possible. I use the actual people to help readers understand the historical figures, while creating characters to help bring them into perspective. Chess Power is based on someone I know. He lived through the Pendergast Era, and I turned him into an FBI agent trying to earn a paycheck while serving his country. Alvin Karpis is my favorite gangster, and I thought I could do more to bring him to life in this novel than writing a biography about him. Some of the protagonists are entirely tongue-in-cheek, like Cat the Bounty Hunter. Alternately, J. Edgar Hoover and Heinrich Himmler are who they are, they create their own stereotype that no one can change.

  1. Historical fiction has a sub-genre, speculative history, which examines what could have happened had past events played out in a different way, for example, if Hitler had won WWII. Is there anything of that nature in Triad?

Not really. In my opinion, authors who do that are dead in the water. You’re asking for too much of a suspension of disbelief. What this novel is doing is asking, suppose we got from Point A to Point B by taking this route? All roads lead to Rome, but some take paths you wouldn’t imagine. In this novel, we have gangsters helping thwart assassins trying to murder some of our great leaders. In reality, Lucky Luciano made a deal with the Government to put Mafia associates at the waterfront in NYC on alert to catch Nazi saboteurs. After the war, the US Army recruited hundreds of Nazi war criminals to help win the Cold War. Many say the ends justify the means, and this novel calls that into question.

One thing I’d like to point out is that most publishers and agents loathe postmodernist literature. It breaks all of their traditional industry rules. It takes your head out of The Box and tosses it into the street. It took over eighteen months for me to find an indie publisher for The Bat, one of my first works which was also a postmodernist novel. It is unique among art forms in that it brings the reader out of the audience and sits him alongside the author. Anyone who’s read Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut can relate. You realize you’re being jerked around, and you ask, what’s this guy doing? Where is he going with this? It’s actually a classical concept, the deus ex machina, but postmodernists like myself take it places you’ve never seen before.

  1. What particular event or situation inherent to that historical period, if any, inspired you to set a novel at that time?

Again, it was all about Karpis. I find it amazing that he is the least known of all the 1930s gangsters, though by far the most successful. He is probably the only man in history to have personally known Al Capone, Bonnie and Clyde, and Charles Manson. He was a criminal genius, though surrounded by Ozark hillbillies whose IQs ranged in the eighties. This is what provides us the angle where his partners suspect his mind is controlled by either the Government or aliens. It also supports the storyline that technology is changing the world faster than people can absorb it, and Karpis becomes their lifeline in helping them cope. He is also the only one smart enough to figure out what the Nazis are up to.

  1. Writing an historical novel involves a significant amount of research. Do you have any particular method for gathering the information you need?

German society and culture has also been another area of expertise for me. I try to write about subjects I know a lot about. People have no idea how closely America is tied with Germany. If not for a few votes, our national language would have been German. People in Texas can tell you how many cities and towns have German names. It was an act of God that Roosevelt and Hitler dragged us into WWII. After the war, we helped rebuild Germany into the economic power it is today. Hitler envisioned a world ruled by the Third Reich and the USA. When the Germans declared war against us, it was an ultimate betrayal. I think the novel takes a lot of that into account.

  1. Do you generally travel or vacation at locations used as settings for your novels, use past experience, or simply research them from home? Has a particular location ever inspired a novel in and of itself?

Living in Kansas City really helped me channel the Gangster Era of the Thirties. I’m a short driving distance from Union Station where the Kansas City Massacre occurred. UMKC is a short distance from the neighborhoods where the Karpis-Barker Gang used to recruit their gang members. Alvin Karpis had a luxury apartment at the Plaza where I hang out all the time. It’s not much different from my life in South Brooklyn where I grew up. My parents knew lots of associates from the Colombo Mob, which is where I got the background for my crime novel, The Break. I clearly remember Crazy Joe Gallo, who took on Joseph Colombo in a war that changed the face of the New York Mafia. It’s safe to say that I’ve a lifetime of experiences that inspires lots of these novels.

  1. When you mention the “Five Families in NYC” do they include Rockefeller, Carnegie, and J. P. Morgan or are they purely fictitious?

I love it! That’s the five Mafia families who controlled the underworld of the 20th century. There was the Gambino Family, the Genovese Family, the Colombo Family, the Bonanno Family and the Lucchese Family. In the timeframe of the novel, Albert “the Mad Hatter” Anastasia was the boss of his family after killing the Don, Vincent Mangano. Anastasia was then murdered by Carlo Gambino, whose son-in-law and heir Paul Castellano was knocked off by John Gotti. The FBI’s annihilation of the Gotti Mob heralded the demise of the New York Mafia. That makes your question perfectly logical. There’s almost nothing left of the Mafia in comparison to what it was in the last century. Top guys who get elected Godfather are thinking, “Oh, please, not me!” They usually wind up doing life in Federal penitentiaries.

  1. They say that those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it. Is there something to be learned from this period of history that’s relevant to today?

It’s all about civil rights, and how governments manipulate them to ensure their power and authority. When you deny criminals their rights, it then becomes a question of how you define a criminal. The FBI shredded the Constitution to win the War or Crime in the Thirties. They next used their authority to eradicate enemies of the State, much like the Nazis and the Communists did. It wasn’t until the McCarthy Era did we realize we had gone too far. Islam caused us to repeat history with the Patriot Act after 9/11. There are always those who will feel that law enforcement keeps us safe, while others will feel that they will be taken next.

  1. The intermingling of the FBI, mafia, politics and “Big Money” typically result in considerable corruption. Do you think things of that nature have gotten better or worse since the pre-WWII era?

Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. The Great Depression nearly destroyed the middle class, which is what spawned the Gangster Era of the Thirties. We’ve been seeing the steady erosion of the middle class since the end of the 20th century, and it’s resulted in the War on Drugs and our current Gangsta Culture. Desperate people turn to crime as a last resort, and when governments crack down and rich people refuse to share the wealth, history will repeat itself again and again.

  1. I sounds as if this novel has a plethora of subplots as well as something for everyone, e. history, intrigue, conspiracy, a touch or romance and perhaps a touch of the occult which broadens its appeal to just about every reader. Such broad appeal is often the stuff of New York Times Best Sellers. Do you think this might be the one?

Hitting the best-seller list is like hitting lightning in a bottle. The odds are phenomenal, but it happens. I personally think pigeons will be shitting on my statue in cities across America long after I’m dead. If there’s any justice in the world, maybe this’ll be The One. There’s also great unknowns like Elle Klass, Pamela Winn, Chris Birdy, Susanne Leist and Marcha Fox who also deserve their day in the sun. We’re all starving indie authors who are writing great novels and just waiting for our day to come.




The Triad is a postmodernist historical fiction novel centering on the pre-WWII United States of America and its difficulties in maintaining its neutrality in a world on the brink of war. Amidst rumors of a conspiracy by the Axis powers to diminish America’s capacity to engage in hostilities, the FBI is called into action. Special Agent Chess Power is empowered by Deputy Director Melvin Purvis to put together a plan to thwart the efforts of a mysterious team known as the Triad. Powers heads out to Alcatraz Island and enlists the aid of criminal genius Alvin Karpis in return for his parole. Karpis agrees on condition that his partners, Fred and Doc Barker, and Harry Campbell are included in the deal. Power agrees, and the game of cat-and-mouse soon begins.

                It is announced that Karpis and his gang escape during transport to a military base for medical observation, and the criminals are considered fugitives though the FBI dragnet is non-existent. Karpis returns to one of his main hideouts in Kansas City where he reestablishes contact with his Mafia connections. During that time he learns of activity by the Triad in the Missouri area and immediately begins working on leads provided by both the FBI and the Mafia. He discovers a plot to assassinate Vice President Harry Truman, and moves in to thwart the Triad near Truman’s home in Independence.

                Karpis’ FBI and Mafia informants next lead him to Philadelphia where the Triad agents have been sighted. During this time, one of Karpis’ gun molls, Carole Robbins, finds out where the gang is hiding out and rejoins her long-lost lover. She provides a romantic comedy angle to the action-packed story as the laser-focused Karpis is repeatedly distracted by her antics. She also becomes his weak spot as the Triad learns of her existence and seeks to use her against Karpis. Yet the lovely girl is not without her own devices, and she remains one step ahead of the Triad as they fail to abduct her time and again.                                                                  

                In Philadelphia, both the FBI and the Mob learn of the Triad’s plan to murder Army General Dwight Eisenhower as he and his wife are looking at property in the Gettysburg area of York County. Once again Karpis is able to use his criminal genius to determine the Triad’s course of action and uncover their sniper nest near the hallowed battlefield area. 

                In the climactic episode, Karpis learns of the Triad relocating to the New York City area in time for a Presidential speech by Franklin D. Roosevelt scheduled at Madison Square Garden. Unknown to Karpis, one of the Triad members is connected to the Sicilian Mafia, and they have made arrangements with the Five Families in NYC to coordinate the assassination. The Karpis-Barker Gang manage to save the day in stopping the Triad and bringing the killers to justice.

        The postmodernist techniques are evident with the use of non-linear narrative, metafictional technique, elliptical structure and classical irony. Of particular note are the dream sequences in which Karpis seems to be transported through time to modern-day Harlem where the gang’s bank robbery is pre-empted by a botched attempt by a street posse. Upon waking, he finds himself in the ‘dream house’ on the Plaza in Kansas City where he begins to suspect Freddie Barker of being a spectre. There is also a sequence where J. Edgar Hoover meets with Heinrich Himmler at an INTERPOL convention where they discuss objectives in destroying world Communism and eliminating crime in the USA and Germany. These are but a couple of scenes that may define this work as a postmodern classic.

                This is a rollicking action/adventure tale with plenty of thrills, chills and tension-breaking comedic episodes that make The Triad a barn-burner that readers will long remember.


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Tiara: http://www.amazon.com/Tiara-10th-Anniversary-John-Dizon-ebook/dp/B00IPS7R64/

The Kingdom: http://www.amazon.com/Kingdom-John-Dizon-ebook/dp/B00L2LLCY4/

Generations: http://www.amazon.com/Generations-John-Reinhard-Dizon-ebook/dp/B00K5DQYSY/

Generations II: http://www.amazon.com/Generations-II-John-Dizon-ebook/dp/B00JG56C2U/

Transplant: http://www.amazon.com/Transplant-John-Reinhard-Dizon-ebook/dp/B00JQRH1J6/

Destroyer: http://www.amazon.com/Destroyer-Abaddon-John-Reinhard-Dizon-ebook/dp/B00FDWB7KC/

Nightcrawler: http://www.amazon.com/Nightcrawler-John-Reinhard-Dizon-ebook/dp/B00I0K9QEI/

Nightcrawler 2: http://www.amazon.com/Nightcrawler-II-Tryzub-John-Dizon-ebook/dp/B00L8653CU/

Wolf Man: http://www.amazon.com/Wolf-Man-John-Reinhard-Dizon-ebook/dp/B00H4HWDAC/

Vampir: http://www.amazon.com/Vampir-John-Dizon-ebook/dp/B00IPPI7FC/

King of the Hoboes: http://www.amazon.com/King-Hoboes-John-Dizon-ebook/dp/B00HXQ4YKQ/

The Break: http://www.amazon.com/Break-John-Dizon-ebook/dp/B00IPPI3ME/

Strange Tales: http://www.amazon.com/Strange-Tales-John-Dizon-ebook/dp/B00JAHX8OO/

Hezbollah: http://www.amazon.com/Hezbollah-John-Dizon-ebook/dp/B00IZMV4D2/

The Fury: http://www.amazon.com/Fury-John-Reinhard-Dizon-ebook/dp/B00FK3UTE4/

The Test: http://www.amazon.com/Test-John-Reinhard-Dizon-ebook/dp/B00IVB9EA2/

Stxeamtown: http://www.amazon.com/Stxeamtown-John-Reinhard-Dizon-ebook/dp/B00GSTZK5W/

The Standard I: http://www.amazon.com/The-Standard-John-Reinhard-Dizon-ebook/dp/B00E1TL5LO/

The Standard II (The Citadel): http://www.amazon.com/Standard-II-Citadel-John-Dizon-ebook/dp/B00KP2B40I/