Review of “The Contract Between Heaven and Earth” by Gwen Plano and John Howell

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I really enjoyed the original premise of this fast-moving thriller. I must admit that it is the first book in quite a while that I stayed up into the wee-hours of the night to finish. The characters were well-developed and engaging. I also appreciated the fact that it was nicely edited, thus lacking any typos or other issues that tripped up my engagement with the characters and plot.

It was truly cross-genre, not only of two, i.e. thriller and romance, but also a paranormal/spiritual element as well, all of which were nicely intertwined in a non-contrived manner. I have only two criticisms, one of which is I would have liked to have seen a bit more plot complexity for something that supposedly had the potential to destroy the world. Exactly who, how, and why were never satisfactorily revealed. My other criticism is that there was at least one major loose end dangling at the end, which was another thing that I found slightly disappointing.

These are minor issues with what is otherwise a well-written story and I hope that perhaps the authors plan to deal with them in the sequel. As with all reviews, this one is subjective. I’m a detail-oriented person who loves a meatier plot (think Tom Clancy) and saw so many ways this could have been a more expansive story. However, for those who like a straight-line, predictable plot, it’s a smooth, enjoyable read.

Pick up your copy on Amazon here.

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Choose “The Alternative” Day 5 Blog Tour!

BOOK COVER

Choose “THE ALTERNATIVE” Blog Tour DAY 5.

Welcome today! Thanks to my marvelous host …

Thank you for joining me here on my New Release Blog Tour.

Book Blurb

There are those that cling unreservedly to the lifeboat that believing in Karma hands them so willingly.

They work, they live, and they function in a world that allows them the option of unreservedly trusting that Karma has no deadline.

Until they are handed the spark that ignites them into becoming the instrument of Karma itself.

There are others who have had all they once held to be truths, everything they once stood for and took pride in, torn apart and ripped from them by the hand of a cruel fate.

Then, of course, there are those who believed in nothing and no one, to begin with …

These are their stories.

The stories of people both good and bad, who made the choice to exact “The Alternative.”

Today I want to give you a brief look at “Isolation Can be Deadly”

An Excerpt.

Chapter 5. Isolation can be deadly.

The woman’s body language screamed stress. One long-fingered hand toyed with the ends of her honey-colored hair; she clenched and unclenched her fingers, totally unaware of the tangled mess she was weaving.

Her right hand showed white knuckles as it gripped the telephone.

Her voice, however, was controlled and ice cold.

“Yes, yes I can hear you just fine. Yes, I am going to place another advertisement. Not that it’s any business of yours, daddy dear. Do you think me a complete idiot?” She paused to listen to his reply.

“Why didn’t they stay? You, of all people, have a damn nerve asking me that. Why would they stay?” Sam hissed out the words. “You didn’t!”

Sam shifted the phone to her other ear, taking a deep breath before she continued, “I don’t want to hear it. I am thirty years old, not thirteen! You have no right to play the concerned father. You forfeited that right when you walked out on mother and me to be with that, that, slut! Even that stupid bitch could only stand you for six months. You are a pathetic, useless, excuse for a man!” Sam slammed the phone down.

She braced herself against the edge of the kitchen sink, feeling the bile rise in her throat. “Shit! Why do I let him get to me like that?”

“Shit!”

Two large Rottweilers came charging into the room, responding to Sam’s raised and angry voice. Their hackles were up and they searched the room with their eyes ablaze, seeking any perceived threat to their mistress.

“Easy, my boys, easy.” Sam hunkered down, soothing the agitated animals.

“Good boys. Momma’s fine … sit.” The two dogs dropped to their haunches immediately, and Sam rewarded them for their loyalty with a loving hug.

She made herself a fresh coffee and took out the writing pad to reword yet another advertisement for the city papers.

WANTED: Male Ranch-Hand, Jack-of-all-trades. Must be good with horses. Property located in Far North Queensland. Must be able to tolerate isolation. Applicants must be fit and healthy. Doctor’s certificate required. Generous wage, plus all meals. Large bonus after three months continuous employment. Written applications only. Single males only. No family ties. Successful applicants will need to travel to North Queensland for the interview process. The employer will recompense reasonable expenses incurred. Apply, Sam Mannix c/o Post Office, Shady Creek: North Queensland. Australia.

******************

There are things that can kill you in the Jungles of far flung North East Australia.

BUT … Which of them is the most deadly?

Is it the beautiful Samantha Mannix … The Owner of Euphoria Homestead?girlwithhorse

Or perhaps it’s her newly hired Ranch-Hand Ben Edwards!

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Or was it something else entirely?

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Buckle in, stay alert and hang on … it’s one HELL of a ride.

I look forward to hearing your thoughts.


Again my sincere thanks to my host, and to the great crew at 4 Wills Publishing for organizing my blog tour!


“The Alternative” NOW Available Amazon.com


Author Bio:

Suzanne Burke resides with her daughter and grandson in a small country town located hundreds- of miles to the west of her previous home in Sydney Australia.

Suzanne had long wanted to write, life interrupted and she didn’t begin her journey into the world of writing until she was in her early fifties.

Suzanne has written her memoirs under the author name of Stacey Danson, both her non-fiction books have ranked in the top 100 paid in Kindle on Amazon. “Empty Chairs” and “Faint Echoes of Laughter” continue to earn wonderful reviews.

Suzanne writes her powerful Thrillers “Acts Beyond Redemption” and “Acts of Betrayal” and her Paranormal anthology “Mind-Shaft” as S. Burke.

Connect with Suzanne

Amazon Author Page

On TWITTER.

On Facebook.

My Blog

This tour sponsored by 4WillsPublishing.wordpress.com

New Thriller in Elle Klass’ “Ruthless Storm Trilogy” Just Released!

The Mind boggling conclusion to the Ruthless Storm Trilogy. Release date October 14, 2016.

My characters are fictional but crime, murders and serial killers are real. No crime is victimless. Buy In the Midst of the Storm during October and every cent Elle receives will be donated to victimsofcrime.org to help real victims.

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The thrilling conclusion is filled with suspense! Here’s an excerpt:

The cold air chilling her to the bone, she walked swiftly towards her apartment. Her mind cloudy from too many beers. A trail

through the woods surrounding her apartment complex opened up to her left. If she stayed the course of the street-lit sidewalk, it’d take her longer to get home than if she took the path through the woods that led almost directly to her door. Her body shivering, she decided to take the chance and cut through the woods. Really, it was just a small chunk of trees with a well-worn path that most people used for walking their dogs.

Halfway through the shortcut, she heard voices talking. She slowed her pace and listened but assumed it was a couple walking their dog.

“What the hell are you doing?!” yelled a male voice.

She jumped and on instinct plastered herself against a large tree and scanned the area. Hoping she was fully camouflaged by the thick trunk. She peeked her head around it and spotted two young men. One had jeans sagging past his buttocks and a red jacket. The other wore all black and he held a glinting silver object. Her mind flashed back to the shining object and black eyes that chased her within her nightmares. She breathed deeply, trying to stay calm, and considered her options. The last time she’d run through woods didn’t fare well for her and she ended up in a coma for a week.

Running was out of the question. Going forward was out of the question. She felt the cool metal of the pendant against her chest and remembered its soothing qualities. Taking a deep breath, she

crouched, using the trees for cover and squat-walked towards the next tree. She couldn’t avoid the piles of leaves littering the ground, but hoped her steps were gentle enough the guys would consider them an animal.



The voices moved closer to her and she went into near panic mode. Breathe, breathe. They’re probably just smoking pot and mean no harm, she soothed herself, but the feeling in her gut sent shivers of horror flying through her body. Bad memories resurfaced and she saw his face, the monster, Evan’s face. She closed her eyes, attempting to gather her courage.

Leaves rustled beneath their pounding footsteps, growing closer with each one. No longer able to control her fear, she took her chances and ran.

“Who’s there?” called one of the men, as Eilida sprinted through the woods. Not watching where she was going, she ran smack into broad shoulders and a rock hard abdomen. Waves of horror shuddered throughout her body.

Listen to the In the Midst of the Storm Soundtrack!

It’s sexy!

He wanted to make all the bad in her life disappear and he wanted her. The vibes bouncing off Eilida suggested she desired him just as much. Setting his plate on the table, he turned to face her and cupped her face in his hand. Then he brought his lips to hers. His sexual hunger matched by hers.
When they released the kiss, she set her plate beside his and brought her body closer to his, melting in his arms. Their mouths met again as their hands explored the other’s assets. His hand lingering on her perky breasts as he lifted her shirt and drew his tongue closer to them for a taste…

Review of “His Revenge” by John W. Howell

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This fast-moving, well-written and nicely edited thriller keeps you turning the pages as you wonder how hero, John Cannon, is going to get out of his current dilemma. In the first book in this trilogy (My GRL), Cannon foiled a sophisticated group of terrorist’s insidious plan. Needless to say, they’re out for revenge and manage to capture him after which they force him to be part of another devious plot aimed at destroying the economic viability of the west. The suspense is well-sustained, dialog gripping, and characters convincing. The action level was breathtaking. Having not read “My GRL” it was nonetheless relatively easy to follow what had transpired previously. Descriptions of Cannon’s recovery from injuries sustained in the previous book were extremely well done.

However, there were various gaps typical of a serial where the author doesn’t remind a previous reader (or enlighten a new one) with regard to details such as what the characters look like. For example, while it was implied in this volume that the terrorists were of the Middle Eastern variety, their names were not indicative of that heritage. Rather, they had names that suggested European or even American origin. There was also no physical description with regard to their appearance, so they were a faceless enigma. This left me scratching my head throughout the story, wondering “Who exactly are these people?”

I can definitely understand this tendency myself since I’ve written a serial. In the author’s mind it’s one, continuous story and easy to forget to include details that seem redundant, yet they’re essential. I’ve covered some of the things I’ve learned in previous blogs for serial writers such as this one and its follow-up. I’m sure my readers can find similar oversights in my books, so I mention this in all humility.

The motivation for their heinous acts was touched on, but not demonstrated in their personal behavior. While I would expect lethal passion resulting from intense anger, hatred, and a visceral need for revenge, the antagonists behaved more like corporate executives out to annihilate a competitor to keep their stockholders satisfied. They were definitely cold-hearted, but the expected fury at Cannon’s previous actions didn’t come through.

Maybe this was covered in the first book, but evoking the emotional drive behind their acts could have added considerable intensity and additional suspense. If the bad guys were true terrorists, you’d expect that pissing them off further would result in chopping Cannon’s (or a loved one’s) head off on YouTube, but that type of potential didn’t come through. Emotional connection is what really grabs a reader. They need to love the hero and hate the antagonist, or at least fear him/her. This is what makes a story real and comprises a gripping tale.

I hate to get on the soapbox again, but I find it helpful to to assess a book during the content editing process using the acronym IDEAS where I stands for Imagery; D stands for Dialog; E stands for Emotion; A stands for Action and S stands for Suspense. Depending on the genre, a certain balance is required of these elements. Action and dialog often come easily for thriller writers, so going back to include the others is often required. Of course you don’t want to slow the story down, so it needs to be done with finesse, not long, drawn-out descriptions that cause the reader’s eyes to glaze over.

While in this story the terrorists used the fate of loved ones to drive their captives’ cooperation, it seemed that the good guys may have gotten around it a bit too easily, if these terrorists were as smart or well-connected as implied. Especially if the antagonists had as much clout and the ability to infiltrate so many organizations to effect Cannon’s capture, which was not explained, either. Including such things increases a story’s credibility.

Perhaps this was covered in the first book, which would make it required reading to fully appreciate this one. The author has an excellent writing style with a talent for developing a fast moving story with convincing dialog and viable characters. By filling in some of these gaps, kicking up the emotional drive a notch, and a bit more imagery, Howell could easily approach the level of Tom Clancy or John Grisham. I see tremendous potential in his writing that could go from great to outstanding with a bit more attention to detail, though many readers may not care and simply enjoy the fast action. I, personally, like to know the how and wherefore, which is what can drive a great story up a notch to the best seller list.

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

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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.

CONNECT WITH THE AUTHOR VIA SOCIAL MEDIA

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Website: http://www.kjwaters.com

“The History of Things to Come”: A Thriller Packed with Suspense and Intrigue

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This contemporary thriller follows in the footsteps of “The DaVinci Code” but in this case the mystery and intrigue surround the works of Isaac Newton, particularly those that go beyond the scientific prowess with which most of us are most familiar. His interests also included alchemy, religion, and various sacred relics, which allegedly possessed mystical powers.

As a physicist myself, Newton is one of my favorite people, further enhanced by the fact we were both born on Christmas Day, albeit 305 years apart. Well, okay, that’s not entirely accurate since the calendars changed during that time, placing his birthday on January 4. That’s relevant to me, too, since I’m not only a physicist but also a professional astrologer, which Newton was as well, though of course the history books tend to leave out that little detail. Perhaps the author will include that particular angle in a future volume, which could introduce some interesting prophetic angles. There’s plenty of fodder to explore between science, religion and astrology, which I plan to pursue at some point myself. Thus, I was excited to find this book that promised to delve into areas in which I have a strong personal interest; I was not disappointed.

Of course anything that might wield considerable power is going to attract bad guys who want it for all the wrong reasons; think Indiana Jones and “Raiders of the Lost Ark”. In this case, however, rather than Hitler and the Nazis, it’s a single, powerful entity known only as the Drakon, who sends a variety of henchmen to obtain any and all of Newton’s writings and artifacts, which places anyone in possession of such items in mortal danger.

The main character, Vincent Blake, is an experienced detective whose specialty is tracking down stolen art and other antiquities, so he’s quickly pulled into the case as those who get close to anything Newtonian are dropping like flies. Many of Newton’s books and notebooks have already been acquired by The Vatican, which have been studied in detail by Brother Nathan Vittori, Chief Librarian at the Vatican Observatory, as well as his friend, Dr. Carla Sabatini, a former research student. Brother Nathan discovers a fascinating notebook of Newton’s in the archives that contains a considerable amount of new information and the plot thickens.

This story is richly detailed which brings it to life through various historical tidbits, well-developed characters and an intriguing plot that includes a plethora of interesting individuals including a mysterious homeless woman named Mary. In some respects it moves too fast since it’s so detailed that some can easily be missed as you plunge forward reading to find out who’ll survive and how it will end. Thus, it’s one that I would probably read again at some point to savor those elements I blew past initially. The ending was reasonably satisfying, yet left enough unanswered questions to carry over into future volumes.

The writing style is strong and engaging, my only criticism related to awkward viewpoint transitions. Nicely edited otherwise, I’m surprised that no one suggested section breaks to cue the reader when the point of view shifted, often abruptly and in the middle of a scene which was enough of a distraction to pull you out of the story action until you got oriented again. Nonetheless, it was a great read that I enjoyed tremendously and I definitely look forward to any sequels.

You can pick up a copy on Amazon here.

Rhoda D’Ettore Blog Tour

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Buy Rhoda D’Ettore’s books on Amazon

Coming this Summer…..


ZODIACJUNE

No One Is Safe While…

ZODIAC LIVES

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


BOOKSQUAD

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

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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.)

BUY LINKS:

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

Review of Elle Klass’ “Eye of the Storm: Eilida’s Tragedy”

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A deranged serial killer, a violent thunderstorm, a neighbor inadvertently witnessing the gruesome scene. Seen by the perpetrator as she peeks through the backdoor, she tumbles down the side of a mountain trying to escape, sustaining a concussion and near-fatal injuries. Who is she? And what is the bizarre connection that links her with Sunshine, an ordinary young woman working as a receptionist at the local paper? This psychological paranormal thriller, reminiscent of the “Twilight Zone,” is a chilling tale with mystery and intrigue saturating every page. Told through the viewpoint of two different individuals, just when you think you have an inkling what the link between them might be another surprise comes out of nowhere, drawing you deeper and deeper into this bizarre tale.

Vivid imagery, strong characters and an intricate plot make this a story mystery fans won’t be able to put down. If you love a good murder mystery with paranormal overtones you’re sure to enjoy wading through the author’s cryptic miasma of clues trying to determine how everything ties together from the first page all the way until the heart-stopping climax.

AMAZON LINK

http://www.amazon.com/Eye-Storm-Eilidas-Tragedy-Ruthless-ebook/dp/B00OC2H712/
CONNECT WITH ELLE:

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

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  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.

http://www.amazon.com/dp/1500878642

The_Triad_Cover_for_Kindle

SYNOPSIS

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

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OTHER TITLES

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/