GO GO GATO: one week away and counting…

My debut novel GO GO GATO is scheduled for release in one week, on August 1st, and I wanted to say a quick word about marketing/self-promotion.

And the word is this: tough.

It’s tough when you are an introvert and you want to be writer.  I mean, you want people to read your work, and you think your writing is good and people might be entertained by it, but at the same time, you do not want to annoy/pester/piss them off by constantly posting things on Twitter and FB or emailing them asking for favors like writing reviews on Amazon, Goodreads, and everywhere else. But alas, that’s part of the gig these days, which, really, I don’t mind doing because I love books so much.  In fact, the only reason I write at all is because I want to toss in my dash of spice to the great big wonderful stew known as Literature. (Did you see what I did there, with the metaphor thingie? How could you not want to read my book?!?)

Anyway, with that said, I would like to pre-thank any and all who have pre-ordered my book. No kidding, it means a lot to me, and I hope you enjoy reading it half as much as I enjoyed banging my head on the desk writing it (seriously, I did/do/will continue to do that. I have issues. Enough said.) I would also like to ask a small favor: after you read my book, if you would post an honest review on Amazon and Goodreads, I would be forever grateful. The review need not be lengthy. Even three or four sentences is a big help, especially if you actually liked the darn thing. Indie and Small Press authors like myself rely on reviews and word of mouth to gain a wider audience, so again, I say thanks in advance.

One more thing: I’m trying out a bit of a catchphrase/motto regarding marketing and my book.  Here it is: If you like it, tell a friend. If you hate it, tell an enemy. (Come on, I’m funny, right? Read my book!)

http://www.amazon.com/Gato-Eli-Sharpe-Mystery-Book-ebook/dp/B00M179URO/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1406297416&sr=8-1&keywords=go+go+gato

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Book Review of THE SETUP MAN by T. T. Monday

Okay, so Johnny Adcock, a relief pitcher for the San Jose Bay Dogs and part-time private investigator, is a bit of a jerk.

And he is a millionaire with what amounts to two incredibly cool part-time jobs that pay more in a month than I make in a decade.

And he has a whip-smart and sexy girlfriend who is a venture capitalist and requires nothing more from Johnny than casual sex and witty banter.

And he travels all over the country, playing the greatest sport known to man and staying in plush hotels, and when he isn’t facing his one batter per game–note: that’s what a “set up man” in the bullpen does–he’s chasing down high-end prostitutes and fighting off Mexican gangsters and setting up stings.

Not a bad life, if you can get it.

Yeah, I’m jealous, for Johnny Adcock has the top two jobs on my All-Time Dream Jobs List: Major League ballplayer and private investigator.

In THE SETUP MAN, Adcock is asked by his teammate Frankie Herrera to look into a “problem with his wife.” Pretty standard stuff, until Adcock discovers Herrera’s wife has starred in a porn film, and apparently, someone is attempting to blackmail Herrera with it. As soon as Herrera enlists Adcock’s help, Herrera dies in a car crash. . .and there’s a woman in the car with him: a young prostitute.  From there, Adcock gets drawn into a ring of murder, high-end hookers, Mexican drug cartels, and blackmail. And it’s all fun.

Bottom line, this is a page turner, and even if you don’t know about or like baseball, you’ll get sucked into the narrative because of the sarcastic lead character, good dialogue, and fast-paced plot. Highly recommended.

http://www.amazon.com/The-Setup-Man-A-Novel/dp/0385538456

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Review of DON’T DARE A DAME by M. Ruth Myers

On M. Ruth Myers’ website, the author claims her books have “strong women–small guns–smart dialogue.”  And Don’t Dare a Dame, the third book in the Maggie Sullivan detective series, makes good on those claims.  And then some.

Set during the Depression Era in Dayton, Ohio, Don’t Dare a Dame starts off in classic P.I. form with Maggie Sullivan taking a seemingly dead-end case. The Vanhorn Sisters, two sweet spinsters, one of them blind, hire Maggie to look into the disappearance of their father, who vanished some quarter of century ago during the Great Flood of 1913.  The investigation immediately turns deadly when the Vanhorn’s stepfather–and Maggie’s chief suspect–commits suicide, and then she gets hauled before the Chief of Police for asking too many questions. From there, the pot really begins to boil as Maggie discovers that the Vanhorn sisters’ suspicions are justified: their father was, indeed, murdered; the only question is: who is the killer?  But before Maggie can identify the killer and bring justice to the Vanhorn’s, her P.I. license, her livelihood, and her life will be put at risk.

Myers definitely makes good on the “strong women” in this novel, especially the protagonist Maggie Sullivan.  Tough and pretty with a smart mouth and a strong moral compass, Sullivan is a “dame” a reader can root for.  This is the passage in chapter one that really sold me on this character when Sullivan takes a bully down:

I hated to persuade him, but Neal seemed like one of those guys who needed taking down a peg or two. I gave him a quick little kitten jab in the snoot. Not enough to break it, just enough to start blood gushing down to his chin and get his attention. . .’Don’t drip on the rug on your way out,’ I said.

Now that’s my kind of detective, but if you remain unconvinced of her toughness, here’s a great exchange between Sullivan and one of her operatives after she’s caught a beating herself:

“Holy smokes, Sis! Someone roughed you up bad.”

“Yeah, but I shot him,” I said to allay his dismay. ..

“Was it Cy Warren’s mugs did it?”

“Nah,” I lied. “Some girls have a fan club. The one they started for me is people lining up to break my nose.”

But it’s not only Sullivan’s toughness and sharp tongue that make this an enjoyable read. It’s also the setting. The descriptions of the area, the secondary characters and how they act, speak, and think, and the police procedural aspects of the novel: all of these elements are authentic and highly readable. And when you add those elements with a formidable lead character and a page-turning plot, it all adds up to a great mystery.

Maggie Sullivan is in the running for my favorite new P.I. series, and I’ve already downloaded Tough Cookie to my Kindle. Don’t Dare a Dame, which was recently named a finalist for the Shamus Award for Best Indie P.I. novel,has everything working for it. Go buy it. You will not be sorry.

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http://www.amazon.com/Dont-Dare-Maggie-Sullivan-mysteries-ebook/dp/B00GJQEGO0/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1404217688&sr=8-1&keywords=don%27t+dare+a+dame

 

 

Review of THE SPARTAK TRIGGER by Bryce Allen

I love the voice in this novel, which is an addictive cross between Chuck Palahniuk and Mikey Spillane with a bit of spy-fi a la Ian Fleming thrown in for good measure. What this book does (and does well) is follow the classic structure of a detective/spy novel, plot twists and tough guy dialogue included, while simultaneously poking fun at those storied genres. There are insider jokes/familiar troupes on practically every page, and the author’s influences literally pop up and say, “Hello.” Usually, a writer will deliver jokes deadpan and only acknowledge his/her influences via author interview, but Allen calls attention to his in the actual narrative, which makes the book all the more comical and enjoyable. Too, this level of self-commentary adds a layer of depth to the narrative, making THE SPARTAK TRIGGER both a novel and, in its own way, criticism. . .and entertaining criticism at that.

But all English major stuff aside, this book does the most important thing a novel should do: it makes you want to turn pages; it draws you into its world and makes you want to stay there. Bottom line, that is my most fundamental requirement for fiction, and based on that, I highly recommend reading this one.

http://www.amazon.com/Spartak-Trigger-Bryce-Allen-ebook/dp/B00J27G8PI/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1403983764&sr=8-1&keywords=the+spartak+trigger

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Book Review: DOVE SEASON by Johnny Shaw

In my mind, this novel can be broken down into two parts, and both of them are satisfying, but for different reasons.  Part One is about Jimmy Veeder, a good guy drifter with a sense of humor, who returns to the Imperial Valley in California to visit his dying father, Big Jack Veeder.  The highlights of this section are Shaw’s descriptions of Imperial Valley and Mexico, which is right on the border nearby.  Here is one of my favorite sections from the beginning of chapter six:

All the fun stuff is in Mexico. . . Hell, you can buy Cuban cigars. You can go to a bullfight, a dog fight, or a cock fight if that’s your pleasure. What is fun and illegal in the U.S., Mexico gladly offers in a semi-legal, slightly dangerous way. If the law looks the other way, then is it really illegal?

In this passage, Shaw comically sums up the moral and legal ambiguity of Mexico and what role America and Americans play in that ambiguity; pretty much throughout Part One, he manages to skillfully provide commentary on the complex relationship between the two countries, but without being preachy, long-winded, and, most importantly, without sacrificing the narrative thread. Another aspect of Part One I enjoyed was the relationships between Jimmy (the son) and Jack (the father).  Even in a crime novel, death bed scenes, especially death bed scenes between parent and child, could very easily come across as trite or just plain boring to read. But these aren’t.  Big Jack, a veteran and a farmer, is kind of the strong-silent type, but he has a wonderful sense of humor, especially about death.  Here’s Big Jack on death, from chapter three:

Dying is a bitch when you don’t believe in God. But I ain’t going to start now just because I’m scared. I’m afraid, and the only way I know how to kill fear is distraction. I want to die happy. I want to die laughing.  . .Let’s not let this get dark and sad and morose. Leave the crying to the women.

Throughout Part One, there are funny exchanges like this between Jimmy and Jack, the best of which happens when Jack asks his son to find him a prostitute, which, in a way, serves as the transition from Part One to Part Two.

Part Two of the novel is the crime element of this particular crime novel, and this is when the narrative really picks up speed.  Jimmy and his friend Bobby head into Mexico to locate Yolanda, a prostitute that Big Jack has a mysterious relationship with.  I never like to talk specifics about plot, but I can say this journey into Mexico brings death, kidnapping, and gangsters into the mix, which is always fun. I especially enjoy the character Tomas Morales, a stone-cold businessman who Jimmy used to look after when Tomas was a little kid. Morales is into all manner of illegal activity, but he assists Jimmy in finding Yolanda.  In this section of the novel, the reader really gets to know Jimmy, and the misadventures he gets into with Bobby are great fun.  As is their dialogue.  Here’s Bobby’s response when Jimmy asks him to go to Mexico and help Jimmy locate a hooker for Big Jack:

Your dad is fucking awesome. I am so in on this. Beats the shit out of bringing flowers. Jack wants a piece, let’s tear him off some chonch.

That made me laugh.  I also enjoyed the relationship Jimmy has with Angie, his ex-girlfriend who works at Big Jack’s hospice center. Tough as nails and every bit as funny as Bobby, Angie keeps Jimmy, a slacker by nature, focused and centered, and it is always fun to read.

Bottom line, this is an excellent book with a funny yet flawed main character and a fascinating setting.  The Mexico/US border is always fertile ground for great stories, and Johnny Shaw has certainly added a great new one.  I’ve already downloaded PLASTER CITY, which is another book in the Jimmy Veeder series. I give DOVE SEASON my highest recommendation.

http://www.amazon.com/Dove-Season-Jimmy-Veeder-Fiasco-ebook/dp/B004FPZ272/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1403267409&sr=8-1&keywords=dove+season

dove season

Interview with Bryce Allen, author of THE SPARTAK TRIGGER

Why do you write?

ALLEN: I’ve never really thought about it to be honest, it’s kind of just something that I’ve always done in one form or another. In high school/college/my mid-20s I played in various bands and wrote songs but when that came to an end I began writing fiction as a creative outlet. It took a few years to get published but I definitely feel like I needed that time to improve my skills and develop stylistically.

When do you write?

ALLEN: Typically I’ll write at night but if I have a free day on the weekend I’ll brew a pot of coffee and pound on the keyboard all morning and into the early afternoon. I’ve tried writing during my lunch break at work but that tends to be unproductive.

Where do you write?

ALLEN: I’ll mainly write in my apartment on the sofa with a good CD playing. Sometimes I’ll throw on a DVD of a film I’ve seen a million times, just so there’s some white noise in the background. If I have to do any research for a story I’ll usually go to a café or library – for whatever reason I’m more productive on that front in public venues.

What do you write?

ALLEN: My undergrad degree was in history so I definitely got my fill of nonfiction/essay writing in college so now I write fiction pretty well exclusively… I’ve always enjoyed dark humour and action-packed stories so those elements will definitely always be present in my writing, with varying degrees of volume. In my first novel I tried to fuse transgressive meta-fiction with spy-fi so in the future I’m sure I’ll try fusing similarly divisive styles somehow.

How do you write?

ALLEN: I typically leave a LOT of blank spots to be filled in later. I was the same way writing essays back in school – I’d write a sentence that served as a placeholder for what that idea would be and then move on to something else. I’ve tried creating outlines and such for bigger projects but those usually go out the window – I think it’s better for writing to have an organic/natural flair so I definitely try not to overplan what I’m working on at any given time.

Tell me about your previous books and where they can be found.

ALLEN: My debut novel THE SPARTAK TRIGGER is currently available through Necro Publications/Bedlam Press:http://necropublications.myshopify.com/products/the-spartak-trigger. As I alluded to earlier, it’s an attempt at fusing Ian Fleming with Chuck Palahniuk and Charles Bukowski. It’s a short book with a LOT happening and several recurring gags/themes throughout… It’s definitely not something everyone will like but I wanted to write something I would enjoy myself, so from that standpoint I’m pleased with how it turned out.

Tell me what you’re currently working on.

ALLEN: Right now I’m working on an alternate history novel that takes the basic framework of Quebec’s FLQ Crisis and places/reimagines it in the American South. I did a lot of research on the FLQ back in school so it’s nice to be able to incorporate my history degree into something creative.

Tell me something funny.

ALLEN: I used to play bass in a Poison tribute band. I wish that was a joke.

 

Buy THE SPARTAK TRIGGER here: http://necropublications.myshopify.com/products/the-spartak-trigger

Follow Bryce on Twitter @Bryce_E_Allen

Read an excerpt from THE SPARTAK TRIGGER here: https://www.smashwords.com/extreader/read/419919/3/the-spartak-trigger

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A SUNDAY IN ALPHABET LAND, my latest novel

I am 33,000 words into my new crime novel A SUNDAY IN ALPHABET LAND, and I am sneaking up on what I think will make for a killer ending. Similar to my Eli Sharpe books, this one features a “problem-solver” (a.k.a. detective) named the Rook, who is trying very hard to clean up Alphabet Land, a neighborhood that has gone to the dogs since the nuclear plant was decommissioned nine years prior.  Set in a fictitious town in South Carolina, Alphabet Land is blue-collar all the way, a neighborhood that has relied on the plant for employment for the past forty years, and when the novel begins, Alphabet Land is awash in drugs, violence, and crime, all of it controlled by a man named Luke Bump (a.k.a. villain).

This novel takes place during one Sunday, and it is action-packed, gritty, and totally noir.  It has guns and fights and cool, but scary settings where all the action takes place. I’m hoping to have this book finished within the next couple of weeks, and then I plan to submit it to agents before the summer is out. Hopefully, someone will be interested in it.

In the meantime, be on the lookout for the first book in the Eli Sharpe series entitled GO GO GATO. It’ll be released on August 1st. Click on the link below to pre-order.

http://www.amazon.com/Go-Gato-Max-Everhart/dp/1603819118/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1395937767&sr=8-2&keywords=go+go+gato

Or enter my Goodreads giveaway and win a signed copy.

https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/88620-go-go-gato

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