Great Interview with Lilja Sigurdardóttir Author of Snare

 

 

 

Snare

 

 

SNARE

 

Book blurb

After a messy divorce, attractive young mother Sonia is struggling to provide for herself and keep custody of her son. With her back to the wall, she resorts to smuggling cocaine into Iceland, and finds herself caught up in a ruthless criminal world. As she desperately looks for a way out of trouble, she must pit her wits against her nemesis, Bragi, a customs officer, whose years of experience frustrate her new and evermore daring strategies. Things become even more complicated when Sonia embarks on a relationship with a woman, Agla. Once a high-level bank executive, Agla is currently being prosecuted in the aftermath of the Icelandic financial crash. Set in a Reykjavík still covered in the dust of the Eyjafjallajökull volcanic eruption, and with a dark, fast-paced and chilling plot and intriguing characters, Snare is an outstandingly original and sexy Nordic crime thriller, from one of the most exciting new names in crime fiction.

 

 

 

 

Excellence from Iceland

 

 

 

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Lilja Sigurdardóttir – Author of Snare

 

 

Lilja profile

 

 

 
What’s it like living in Iceland? 



It’s great living in Iceland! Except for the weather of course. It´s a rather big volcanic and geographically new Island with very few people on it. The whole Icelandic nation is only 330 thousand people. But we host over a million tourists each year so it is lively and fun. Every town in Iceland is close to nature so outdoorsy people love it there. I don’t consider myself outdoorsy but I still enjoy the occasional walk out in nature. We have a rather strong welfare system in line with the other Nordic countries and a mixed economy so people have a good living standard and are generally healthy with a long life expectancy. That’s why it seems odd that Nordic writers write so much crime fiction as the Nordic countries have a very low crime rate and Iceland especially so.

 

 

Can you share some pictures with us?

 

 

 

Iceland 2

 

 

 

Herðubreið mountain

 

 

 

Iceland 1

 

 

 

Living room scene

 

 

Garden

 

 

 

 
Is your creative process as an author and playwright different?



Yes and no. For me it always starts out with the characters. A character starts living in my head and then I have to imagine a setting for her or him and their drive and there I have the plot. This is the initial process whether I am writing a play or novel. But then when the writing process really starts the novel is easier to write because it gives more freedom, but the play has to reveal everything through the dialogue. With a novel you’re on your own right to the end, but when writing a play the final goal is production where you’ll work with a theatre group to help with polishing.

 

 

 

Process Definition Magnified Showing Result From Actions Or Functions

 

 

 

 
What was your response when your play Big Babies won play of the year?

I was very happy of course! It was great and I was grateful for the recognition. In hindsight a big red-carpet moment like this seems unreal but I have such warm memories of the theatre company that produced the play that they will live inside my heart forever. A written stageplay is one thing but it’s the theatre artists that make it alive.

 

 

 

Red Carpet Festival Glamour Scene

 

 

 

 
Why did you choose Noir to tell your story?



The Noir genre has a strong element of storytelling so that is why it is so good for me, because I see myself as a storyteller. I believe that with crime-fiction or Noir the reader has very specific expectations and the success of a story depends largely on how the writer fulfills those expectations. The reader expects to be entertained, to experience tension or a thrill and to be told a story.

 

 

 

story type

 

 

 

 
How did you get into crime writing?



In part it was a coincidence. I have always loved writing and liked crime-fiction, but then one day I saw an ad from an Icelandic publisher for a competition called: “the New Dan Brown”. So that was it. My fate was sealed. Since I have written five published novels and my writing career has really taken off.

 

 

 

Crime

 

 

 
Who is Sonia?



Sonia is a young attractive mother that experiences a collapse of her whole world when her husband walks in on her in bed with another woman. The divorce that follows and the custody battle, all taking place in the same dramatic months as the Icelandic financial crash result in her being in a desperate situation. In her desperation she resorts to smuggling drugs and thereby she has entered a world of drugs and crime that she wouldn’t have expected herself to be in just a few months before.

 

 
Does your story bear a theme for struggling single mothers?



Well, I don’t know. The theme I started out with was an exploration of what people do when they feel cornered. When ordinary people find them selves in extraordinary situations they can do things they would never have imagined themselves doing. Sonia, the single mother in the story is one of those people and she does everything she can to regain custody of her son.

 

 

 

 

Survival Endurance Resilience Attitude road signs arrows directi

 

 

 

 
What is Sonia a victim of?



First and foremost she is a victim of herself. Snare is the first of the Reykjavík Noir Trilogy and in the coming two books she will come to terms with her own part in creating her fate. But the drug business is international, and even in a small country like Iceland it has quite an impact. The people who have ensnared Sonia are not the nicest types. With all the violence, threats and coercion Sonia feels like a victim. At first.

 

 

 

Woman undergo authority power

 

 

 

 

What role does the financial crisis play in the series?

 
It’s the backdrop to the whole story. I’m interested in those moments in history when there’s huge changes to society. For Iceland the financial crash had devastating consequences. Many people lost their homes and all their savings and had to start anew. There was a lot of anger and desperation; and in Snare we see characters that are struggling with the consequences of this, although it’s in a very different way for each one of them.

 

 

 

Empty pockets

 

 

 
What’s next for you after the Reykjavik trilogy?

 
I am currently starting on writing a new series that leans more into the political thriller. I hope it will do as good as the Reykjavík Noir Trilogy.

 

 

THANKS!

 

 

Connect with Lilja

 

Lilja profile

 

 

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Amazon

 

 

 

 

Benjamin Thomas

@thewritingtrain

www.mysterythrillerweek.com

 

 

 

MTW Blog Cover Image by Eva

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Author Mary Angela Introduces Passport to Murder

 

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Death never takes a holiday, but it certainly can take away one. Will Professor Prather find out who killed her Parisian plans before the end of spring break?

 

 

 

 

© Julie Prairie Photography 2016

 

 

About the Author

Mary Angela is the author of the Professor Prather academic mystery series, which has been called “enjoyable” and “clever” by Publishers Weekly. She is also an educator and has taught English and humanities at South Dakota’s public and private universities for over ten years. When Mary isn’t writing or teaching, she enjoys reading, traveling, and spending time with her family. For more information about Mary or the series, go to MaryAngelaBooks.com.

 

 

Book Blurb

Passport to Murder (Professor Prather Mystery #2)

 

Start with an unlucky number. Throw in a romantic location. Include a dashing Frenchman and an uncompromising professor. And you have all the ingredients for a passport to murder.

This semester, it seems that Professor Prather’s dreams are about to come true. Ever since she was a young girl, she’s imagined going to France, and her French colleague, André Duman, has finally made that trip possible. Over spring break, she and André are to lead a group of students and faculty to Paris to explore the City of Light. But before she can utter her first bonjour, a professor dies, and they are stuck in Minneapolis. She returns to Copper Bluff with an unstamped passport and a mystery to solve.
When André becomes the prime suspect, Emmeline puts her research skills to good use, determined to find out who really killed the professor and spoiled their spring break plans. With thirteen travelers assembled, the possibilities are varied and villainous. Luckily, her dear friend and sidekick, Lenny Jenkins, is close by. Together, they will sort through the conflicting clues even if it costs them time, trouble, or tenure.

 

 

 

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  1. What was your process for creating English professor Emmeline Prather?

I knew I wanted to set my series in a small college town in South Dakota, so I imagined a young professor relocating to the area. The landscape had to be a draw for my protagonist because the pay is definitely not. I like that she’s an outsider looking in. It heightens her awareness of the region.

 

 

 

 

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  1. What do you like about an amateur sleuth versus a professional one? 

I like that an amateur sleuth is not paid to solve crimes. It’s not her job, so she doesn’t have any police experience to help her. The amateur sleuth allows me, as a reader and a writer, to become intimately involved. I like to imagine what I would do in the same circumstances.

 

  1. What are some characteristics of Emmeline that help her solve crimes?

She is an excellent researcher, which helps her dig up information. She also has a degree in French literature, so she’s great at analyzing stories. Combined, these characteristics make her a tough sleuth to beat!

 

 

 

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  1. You affectionately call her “Em.” Describe your relationship to the protagonist. 

Em is so much fun, and I do think of her as Em as I’m writing. I enjoy writing her because she can be incredibly passionate when it comes to education, students, and crimes. Sometimes I get a chuckle out of her antics.

 

  1. What are the dynamics like between Emmeline and her sidekick Lenny Jenkins? 

There is a strong dynamic between Em and Lenny; they balance each other nicely. Em can take herself too seriously, and Lenny—doesn’t. They both challenge each other to see the world from another viewpoint, which is incredibly advantageous for crime fighting.

 

 

 

Fighting crime word cloud concept on grey background

 

 

 

  1. Describe some challenges writing Passport to Murder. 

Moving a group of thirteen characters was hard. I had to talk to the airport police in Minnesota and South Dakota. I also had to read about police procedures and what can and can’t be done when police investigate a suspicious death.

 

 

 

Distracted businessman distracted

 

 

 

  1. What did you learn while researching this book? 

I learned that the FBI has jurisdiction involving any crime committed in the air. I thought that was pretty interesting! I also learned that a plane can’t land on a full tank of gas.

 

 

 

Seriously, Just Ahead Green Road Sign Over Dramatic Sky, Clouds and Sunburst.

 

 

 

  1. Is it challenging writing a mystery? 

Yes, it is challenging, but that’s exactly what I like about the mystery genre. It works both sides of my brain. I spend lots of time making my characters and settings interesting, but I also spend an ample amount of time creating a clever and believable plot. All loose ends have to be tied up by the end of the novel. It takes great attention to detail.

 

 

 

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  1. Do you outline your novels? 

No, I don’t, but I do create a timeline and plot some events before writing them.

 

  1. Imagine yourself as Professor Emmeline.  Given the criminal circumstances, would you make the same choices as her? Why or why not?

That’s a tough one! I think I would. I might try to reveal the murderer in a less obvious way, but if I thought I could solve the crime, I would have to try, especially if it benefited my campus or friend.

 

 

 

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  1. Have you ever been to France? 

Yes, I have been to France and loved my time there. I would like to go back and spend the summer in a little French village. That’s my hobby: looking at vacation rentals in wine country. Maybe some day!

 

 

 

France-2308162_960_720

 

 

 

  1. What’s next for you?

I’m writing book three in the series, A Very Merry Murder. It’s a holiday mystery, so I’ve been spending most of my days dreaming about baking sugar cookies and eating fudge. Not a good omen for the impending holidays!

 

 

 

Connect with Mary Angela

 

© Julie Prairie Photography 2016

 

 

Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Amazon | Maryangelabooks.com

 

 

 

Thanks for ridin the train folks! Come back and see us. Peace out.

 

 

Peace out1273075_960_720

 

 

 

 

Benjamin Thomas

@thewritingtrain

www.mysterythrillerweek.com

 

 

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Author Interview with Kathleen Doler

Kathleen doler

 

 

Please welcome Kathleen Doler! She’s the skilled author of THE HOOK, a readers favorite book award winner, and NIEA finalist. She’s also an adventure sports addict with extensive experience in journalism, writing and editing copy all over the globe.

 

 

 

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1. How does it feel to write your first book?

It’s an outstanding feeling of accomplishment. Sometimes I pick up THE HOOK and read a couple of passages, and it’s almost surreal…I think to myself, “Wow, I actually wrote this!” Of course, my next thought, is stop patting yourself on the back and move on. Put some words on paper, you sloth.

 

 

 

 

sloth

 

 

 

 

2. How does fiction writing compare with adventure sports?

Sitting in my desk chair isn’t very active. But it does enable me to analyze my adventure sports addiction and what drives my fascination with dangerous sports. And when I’m writing about one of those sports it’s like dreaming about surfing or diving (which I often do); I get the same rush.

 

 

Pretty traveler woman with backpack

 

 

 

3. Do you channel a sense of adventure into your writing?

Absolutely. THE HOOK includes surfing, windsurfing, scuba diving, sailing, stand-up paddling and travel. Adventure sports are an important component and backdrop of the story, even though it’s a literary and suspense novel, and that’s intentional. Very few novels feature women athletes. Very few authors write for active and adventuresome women. “Wild” by Cheryl Strayed was a huge hit, but where are the novels that would appeal to “Wild’s” millions of readers? I believe THE HOOK is one, and I want to write more of them.

 

 

 

 

“You fail only if you stop writing.” Ray Bradbury

 

 

 

 

4. Who is Dana and what motivates her?

Dana is a professionally successful journalist and a hard-core athlete, who’s tough but damaged by her traumatic childhood. She has trouble with relationships, and she has little time for them. Additionally, she isn’t willing to play the traditional dating game. She’s very independent, and yet she’s also lonely. Intensely loyal to her brother and her close friends, she’s on her guard with everyone else.

 

 

 

Motivation Concept - Red Target.

 

 

 

 

5. What’s the bond like between Dana and her brother Shane?

Their bond is almost like twins — each one can feel, to a degree, what’s going on with the other one. Their chaotic childhood also binds them. But as much as Dana loves Shane, she sees him for who he is. He’s an addict and he’s mentally ill, just like their mother. He’ll never be truly stable.

 

 

 

“A brother is a friend given by Nature.”-Jean Baptiste Legouve

 

 

 

 

6. If Shane were your brother how would you help him?

Like Dana I would struggle to help him and yet not enable him. And with a brother like Shane, you must keep his struggles and dramas from eating your life. You step in when you have to…but sometimes when he’s at least semi-stable you stay away…though then you’re wracked with guilt.

 

 

 

 

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7. What kind of journalism is Dana involved with?

Dana is a business journalist for a large newspaper. She writes about economics. Because of continuing sexism in the business world, she goes up against the men in her job and her interviews. But she’s used to that because she’s forced to compete with men in the surf for waves. And she’s close to her brother and has many male friends, which helps her understand businessmen, their behavior and motivations.

 

 

 

Journalism

 

 

 

8. How do you relate to Dana personally?

I’m a lifelong adventure sports addict, and I’m a journalist. And because of that many of my closest friends are men. I also came from a very troubled family…part of the novel comes from my story. I know what it’s like to deal with a mentally ill and addicted sibling. You end up doing things others only watch on TV.

 

9. What’s the coastal town Half Moon Bay like?

It’s a foggy tourist town, a farm and fishing town and a telecommuter hub for Silicon Valley. In winter, huge surf hits at Mavericks, a HMB pro surfing contest site. In the first chapter, I describe Half Moon Bay this way: “On the drive, I note the changes to Half Moon Bay, more chain restaurants, more traffic. I miss how it used to be, a community of ruddy complexions and calloused hands, fishing and farming. Now it’s an outlying burb for Silicon Valley engineers, with their computers and their pallor, too many hours lit only by screens of code.”

 

10. What’s next for you?

I’m working on two projects. One is a nonfiction book about adventure sports and travel. It’s based on my adventures and will include previous writing I’ve done for a variety of publications, as well as new essays. I’m also working on my next novel. It will be a murder mystery, but will of course include adventure sports. And I’m still writing business articles (which help pay the bills), including executive biographies, company profiles and other assignments.

 

 

 

 

 

The Hook

 

 

Amazon | Goodreads

 

 

CONNECT WITH KATHLEEN

 

Kathleen Doler

Author of THE HOOK

Journalist, Adventure Sports Addict

kathleendoler@sbcglobal.net

www.kathleendoler.com

www.facebook.com/kathleendolerauthor

Twitter: @kathleendoler

 

 

 

Enjoy Mysteries or Thrillers? Sign up for Mystery Thriller Week as a reader, reviewer, blogger or author. Join us for 11 days of literary feasting!

 

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Check out my new site at AudioSpy.org for Audiobook reviews, news and podcasts!

 

Don’t be a stranger…

 

 

 

Benjamin Thomas

@thewritingtrain

http://www.thewritingtrain.com

 

Talking Mysteries with Author Margot Kinberg

 

Margot Kinberg

 

 

 

Margot Kinberg is a mystery author and Associate Professor. Born and raised in Pennsylvania, Kinberg graduated from Indiana University of Pennsylvania, then moved to Philadelphia, which Kinberg still considers home.

 

 

 

*Who influenced you to read books?

 
My sister had a real influence on my love of books. She read to me when I was very young, and then taught me how to read when I was in preschool. And there were a lot of books in my home, too, as I was growing up. I was also fortunate to have helpful, friendly librarians in the schools I attended (our public library, too). All of them encouraged me to read, and talked to me about books. As you can see, I was truly lucky to have a lot of support for reading.

 

 

 

So Many Books, So Little Time.

 

 

 

*What are the benefits of supporting literacy?

 
Research supports a number of benefits for literacy. First, there are cognitive benefits. Reading and writing promote critical thinking skills, perseverance skills, creative skills, and communication skills. Literacy also gives children access to information that they wouldn’t otherwise have. There are also major advantages in terms of academic prospects. And there’s the worldwide economic divide between people who are literate and those who aren’t. Being able to read and write makes it far more likely that a child will find meaningful work and more economic security.

 

 
The fact is, though, that millions of people, even in wealthy countries, don’t have access to literacy. Poverty, politics, war, remote living, and other realities mean that literacy is out of reach for a lot of people. For this reason, I think it’s important to carefully choose and then support groups that provide books, literacy education, and other literacy resources for those who don’t have them.

 

 

 

 

Literacy - 3d rendered metallic typeset

 

 

 

 

 

*What impresses you the most about Agatha Christie?

 
Ah, you’ve found out I’m a Christie fan! Well, that’s no big surprise… Many things impress me about Christie’s writing. For one thing, she was prolific; she wrote for fifty years. And she tried several different formats, too: novels, short stories, plays, and radio scripts, to name a few. I respect that willingness to venture into different territory. I also am impressed with her willingness to bend, or even break, the ‘rules’ of writing in service of a good story. The Murder of Roger Ackroyd is just one example, but it’s perhaps the best known one.

For all that, though, Christie worked very hard at writing, and understood the need to keep at it. If she broke some rules, it was only after she knew what they were, and when it’s important to follow them. To me, it’s a bit like music. You can’t understand and use dissonance in a musical piece if you aren’t thoroughly familiar with how melody and harmony work.

 

 

 

 

“Work harder than you think you did yesterday.”

 

 

 

 

*Who was the first mystery novelist you were addicted and why?

 
The first mystery novelist I read was Arthur Conan Doyle. I started with his stories when I was a child, and never looked back. I think it was the intellectual puzzles that really appealed to me. I also liked learning about what life was like in Victorian London. At the same time, like many other children, I read Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys. I loved trying to find the solution before the ‘star’ of the book did.

 

 

 

Arthur Conan Doyle

 

 

 

 

*What do you teach as an associate professor?

 
I’ve taught a number of different courses. Mostly, though, I teach in my university’s education program. Most of my students are working towards their master’s degrees in education. The classes I teach focus mostly on culture, language, and their impact on teaching and learning. I would love to teach writing and literature classes, but that hasn’t happened yet. I hope it will some time.

 

 

 

*You began writing fiction in 2007. How did you reach this point?

 
I’ve actually been writing since I was about eleven. That’s when I wrote my first short story. Over the years, I did mostly academic/non-fiction writing, especially when I was working on my doctoral degree. But I still wrote the occasional flash fiction piece, and a few short stories. Then, I decided to start writing novels, mostly at the encouragement of my family. That part of my writing career started with a dinner-table conversation. I told a work-related story, and my husband and daughter said I ought to write a mystery novel about it. And so I did. And I couldn’t be happier that they encouraged me; I love writing.

 

 

 

 

Writer

 

 

 

 

*What do you appreciate about crime fiction?

 
The diversity of the genre. Today’s crime fiction takes place all over the world, and features so many different sorts of plots and protagonists that it’s impossible to get bored. It’s diverse in other ways, too. Crime fiction can be fun and light, or the bleakest noir. It can be comic, tragic, and everything in between. There are long novels, short stories, and more. I could go on, but I think I’ve made my point. It really is a genre that offers something for just about every taste. And there are mystery stories written at all reading levels, too, from beginning readers to the most accomplished adult readers. What more could you want?

 

 

 

 

fiction, 3D rendering, blue street sign

 

 

 

 

*What makes a great mystery?

 
Everyone’s got a different response to that question, I think. People have different tastes, and look for different things in their books. But for me, a great mystery starts with well-defined characters. They don’t have to be sympathetic, but they do have to catch the reader’s interest. If you don’t care what happens to the characters, then why bother reading?

 
Great mysteries also need to be believable. It’s hard to be drawn into a story if you can’t imagine that it could really happen. Of course, fiction is fiction, so there’s always a bit of suspension of disbelief. But in real life, murders aren’t generally solved in just a few days, as they are on plenty of TV dramas. In real life, there aren’t that many credible motives for taking another person’s life. And in real life, police, attorneys, and other
professionals in the justice system do things in certain ways. The best crime fiction reflects that reality.

 

 

 

 

*What are your top pet peeves as a reader?

 
One thing that really bothers me as a reader is lack of careful editing. Skillful editing can tighten up a plot, so that the book moves along at a solid pace. It can also pinpoint inaccuracies, inconsistencies, and other problems, so that they can be corrected. And, of course, thorough editing calls attention to spelling and grammar issues, so that they can be fixed, too. When a book hasn’t been carefully edited, it leaves the impression
that the author didn’t care enough to make sure the book was well written. That may very well not be true, but that’s how it seems.

 
In a similar way, I dislike too many stretches of credibility. Everyone’s different about this, but I prefer to keep my disbelief close by. So, I get pulled out of a story rather quickly if something too unlikely happens. That includes too many coincidences, characters doing things they wouldn’t be able/allowed to do, and glaring inaccuracies.

 
I have to admit, too, that I’m not much of a one for extreme, brutal violence or other extreme explicitness in my crime fiction. Gratuitousness doesn’t serve a story. And adding something in just for ‘shock value’ takes away from the plot, in my opinion.

 

 

 

 

*What’s the hardest part about writing?

 
For me, the hardest part about writing is the perseverance it requires. Writing first drafts, revising, editing, and so on all take time. They don’t happen overnight, and it takes persistence to do those things. And then there’s the process of querying and sending manuscripts out to agents and publishers. Any writer can tell you that rejection happens a lot more often than acceptance, and it takes perseverance to keep going even after the fifth, or sixth, or tenth ‘no.’ Writing also takes a physical toll, and there are plenty of times when it’s tempting not to sit down in that chair and get to it. It takes determination to write when you’re least in the mood to do it.

 

 

 

 

Distracted businessman distracted

 

 

 

 

 

*Your favorite books of 2017?

 
That’s a difficult question to answer, because the year’s only a little past half over. There are lots more good books to be released. But here are a few 2017 releases that I’m especially excited about:

 
The Story of Classic Crime in 100 Books – Martin Edwards
The Dry – Jane Harper
Greenlight – Kalpana Swaminathan
Magpie Murders – Anthony Horowitz

 
There are also several other new entries in series I like – far too many to list here. I think 2017 is going to be a fine year for crime fiction.

 

 

 

 

 

recommended vintage orange seal isolated on white

 

 

 

 

 

*What are you currently working on?

 
Thanks for asking. I’m currently working on a few things. I’m finishing the revisions for my next Joel Williams novel, which will hopefully come out in the early spring of 2018. I’m also working on two standalones. One of them follows the story of one of the characters in my second Williams novel, B-Very Flat. The other is an expansion of a very short story I wrote a couple of years ago. We’ll see how these projects go, but I’m hoping they’ll turn out well.

 

 

Thanks again for hosting me, Benjamin!

 

 

 

CONNECT WITH MARGOT KINBERG!

Amazon | Goodreads | Website

 

How to Write A Mystery With Rebecca Cantrell And J.F.Penn

IT’S TELEVISION TUESDAY!!

 

 

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How to Write A Mystery With Rebecca Cantrell And J.F.Penn

 

 

 

 

 

What are your favorite elements of mystery? Thrillers? Tell me in the comments!!

Benjamin Thomas

@thewritingtrain

http://www.mysterythrillerweek.com

Book Review: Hidden Order A Thriller by Brad Thor

Hidden Order Brad Thor

 

 

Scot Harvath book #12

 

Goodreads

 

The most secretive organization in America operates without accountability to the American people. Hiding in the shadows, pretending to be part of the United States Government, its power is beyond measure. Control of this organization has just been lost and the future of the nation has been thrust into peril.

When the five candidates being considered to head this mysterious agency suddenly go missing, covert counter-terrorism operative, Scot Harvath is summoned to Washington and set loose on the most dangerous chase ever to play out on American soil. But as the candidates begin turning up murdered, the chase becomes an all-too-public spectacle with every indicator suggesting that the plot has its roots in a shadowy American cabal founded in the 1700’s.

With the United States on the verge of collapse, Harvath must untangle a web of conspiracy centuries in the making and head off the greatest threat America has ever seen.

 

 

My Rating

 

Four golden stars isolated on white background

 

 

 

Brad has a way of making each thriller compelling and full of intrigue every time. Scot Harvath is one of my favorite operatives of the spy thriller literary world. When the nation is in a bind who wouldn’t send in Harvath? No brainer right?

While this isn’t my favorite thriller of the series, it still packs a quite a punch in the entertainment department. In the midst of the *save the nations* plot, there’s the dynamic relationship between Harvath and a unique Boston homocide detective. She’s bold, brilliant, determined and won’t take no for an answer. Just the right gal for a lone ranger like Harvath.

I’m plugging right along in this series to the next book, Act of War. 

 

 

 

Act of War Brad Thor

 

 

I’m seriously trying to catch up before the newest title, Use of Force, is released June 27, 2017. After Act of War, I’ll have to finish Code of Conduct and Foreign Agent, then will be caught up.

 

 

 

Who is your favorite spy thriller writer?

  • Vince Flynn?

  • Tom Clancy?

  • David Baldacci?

  • Lee Child?

  • Daniel Silva?

  • Sean Black?

  • Other?

Tell me in the comments!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

spy eye

 

 

 

 

 

Thanks for ridin’ the Train!! Come again and don’t be a stranger!!

Benjamin Thomas

@thewritingtrain

http://www.mysterythrillerweek.com

Book Review: Davenport House Book 1

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Goodreads Description

Davenport House is the first book in a family saga following the wealthy Davenports and their servants in 1915 America.

Mary Davenport is a 22-year-old idealist who worries that the world in the Progressive Era is leaving her behind. She lives isolated in the Pennsylvania countryside with her affluent and secretive family. When her father dies suddenly, Mary becomes pained with grief and increasingly suspicious of those around her.

A humble servant girl has the chance of a lifetime to become a lady’s companion. Costly dresses, exquisite rooms, and fine dinners are pleasant distractions from what is really happening in the house.

 

 

 

My thoughts

 

 

thoughts

 

 

 

 

Page Turner!

This book was a delight to read! It quickly became a page turner as I got used to the characters and sought for answers.

 

Mystery

I really loved that this was a historical mystery set in the progressive era.  Mary’s father died, or was he murdered? The Family saga begins at this point sending poor Mary on a wild goose chase. Very entertaining!

 

Characters

Loved every character. Family drama and secrets made it even more intriguing. I found myself sucked into the story through Mary’s experience, her servant girl and the household. Marie Silk does a great job this. This was a strong point throughout the book. Character interaction and dialogue was superb.

 

 

Can’t wait to finish the second book!

 

 

 

 

 

 

premium-quality-100

 

 

 

 

Marie Silk

Goodreads | Website | Amazon

 

 

 

Benjamin Thomas

@thewritingtrain

http://www.mysterythrillerweek.com

 

 

 

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Audiobook Review: Portraits of the Dead

Skeleton X-Ray - DJ 3

 

 

 

AUDIO FORENSICS EDITION

 

Portraits of the Dead by John Nicholl

 

 

 

potraits-of-the-dead-audiobook-1

 

 

Written by: John Nicholl

Narrated by: Jake Urry

Length: 8 hrs and 14 mins

Unabridged Audiobook

Release Date: 10-18-16

Publisher: John Nicholl

 

 

 

 GOODREADS DESCRIPTION

Emma didn’t know how long he hid, silent and unmoving, in the large Victorian wardrobe to the side of her single bed. She didn’t know how long he peered, salivating and drooling, between the two heavy dark oak doors, and watched, mesmerised, as she slowly drifted into fitful sleep. She didn’t know what time he pushed the doors open and crept towards her in the drab grey darkness of the night.

Detective Inspector Gravel finds himself floundering when a local nineteen-year-old university student is abducted and imprisoned by a sadistic serial killer, who has already tortured and killed at least five young women.

The greater the evil, the more deadly the game… How far would you go to save your life?

 

 

 

Hear Me Out….

 

 

Deaf man

 

 

This is one of my top audiobooks of the year so far. No one captures the twisted mind of serial killers quite like John Nicholl does. He puts you into the demented point of view of the killer throughout the story, which I think has certain benefits. You feel like you are literally there within the story seeing through the eyes of the killer. If you consider it, this is truly a remarkable skill to pull off effectively.

Another POV character was the victim, Emma, a young college student with a bright future ahead of her. In the midst of all of the dark things she endures by a sliver of hope. These kind of stories are always about hope, survival and justice.

It also brings you into the POV of the two primary detectives working the case. Clive Rankin and DI Gravel. We also get to see their quirks and personalities which I found very entertaining.

The only thing I didn’t like was the ending, but I can’t say more otherwise there’d be a huge spoiler.

 

 

 

AUDIO FORENSICS

 

 

listen to music (+clipping path, xxl)

 

 

 

Narrator Performance: 10/10

Of course you should know that I’m a Jake Urry fan by now. He does an phenomenal job of drawing you into the story. He does it so well you don’t even notice he’s narrating at all. I just felt ‘in the moment’. What else can you ask for?

 

Story Connection: 10/10

Like I’ve said before, Urry connects very well to the characters and story as a whole. You can tell when someone is just reading text without much emotional attachment.  This is important to me as a listener. This is difference between experienced narrators and other ones. If your connection to the story is impeded by the voice or skill of the narrator that’s never good. Since they have to act as the medium this is pretty critical. The book could be a classic, but if the narration is not gelling I can’t finish the book.

 

Voice Switch over: 10/10

This is another ninja-like quality that narrators possess. I’m still not sure how they manage to do it the entire story! It’s utterly amazing. I also relate this to the narrators ability to connect with story/characters. Jake Urry does it so well his voices totally sound like different people. Their idiosyncrasies, intonation, dialect, and gender are excellent. The switching back and forth in the midst of dialogue between characters was flawless. This made it more believable and drew me more into the story.

 

Sound quality: 10/10

Definitely professional. It would show if the sound quality was poor. Not the case here.

 

Emotional Resonance: 10/10

I was really drawn into the story at every turn. Emotionally invested to everything that was happening. Whether it was being repulsed by the killer, sorrow for the victim, or hope for the detectives. I was bummed when one of the characters died! Was surprised and a bit disappointed honestly. Not sure if Nicholl is penning another in the series, but I definitely  want more!

 

Overall:  10/10

Listen to it! Author John Nicholl is a very skilled writer. You won’t be disappointed!

 

 

 

recommended vintage orange seal isolated on white

 

 

 

 

 

John Nicholl: Amazon | Audible | Goodreads | Website

 

Jake Urry:  Audible | Website | Twitter

 

 

 

Got Audiobooks?

 

 

 

 

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Benjamin Thomas

@thewritingtrain

http://www.mysterythrillerweek.com

 

 

 

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Book Review: Winter of Wolves by Marc Rainer

winter-of-wolves

 

 

A Winter of Wolves (Jeff Trask Crime Drama #4)

 

Goodreads Description

 

Federal prosecutor Jeff Trask is summoned to a murder scene. A Park Police officer has been brutally murdered at the Lincoln Memorial. As Trask and a team of local and federal investigators try to find the killer, more police officers are murdered. While attending the funeral for one of these victims, Trask and his team find themselves in a firefight with a cell of radical Islamic terrorists. Disqualified because of his involvement at the scene at Arlington National Cemetery, Trask is reassigned to Washington D.C.’s Joint Terrorism Task Force, where he discovers that the firefight at Arlington was only part of a bigger and much more sinister plot to bomb that threatens the entire eastern seaboard.

 

 

 

My Rating

 

 

 

Awesome Gold Vintage Label

 

 

 

 

My Impressions…

 

I was immediately drawn into this story from the beginning with a heinous crime committed against the ambassador of San Salvador. From there, every line, jot and tittle unravels layer upon layer until you reach the end. the level of detail is not only remarkable, but entertaining and relevant to the storyline.

The distinct effect of this book, as well as the others in the Jeff Trask Crime drama, bear a particular flavor. Marc Rainer a former Federal prosecutor has a working knowledge of law enforcement personnel at every level. Including intelligence, FBI, CIA, investigators, counterterrorism, Washington D.C, U.S. Attorney relations, and Police forces. It’s like the old Prego commercial theme “It’s all in there”.

Having said all of that, the book carried a unique ‘flavor’ to it unlike others I’ve read. It has more realism within it’s pages but not a boring kind of realism. It was still fascinating and kept me turning the pages!

The author really does an excellent job portraying a sense of family among the main characters. They really appreciate one another, play offer each others strength, and truly work as a team. The heroism of Jeff Trask was more balanced within the team approach, which I believe,  had a nice impact.

Winter of Wolves had all the necessary ingredients  for an entertaining read, including humor. You won’t be disappointed!

 

 

 

 

recommended vintage orange seal isolated on white

 

 

 

 

Marc Rainer

Goodreads | Website | Amazon

 

 

 

Benjamin Thomas

@thewritingtrain

http://www.thewritingtrain.com

 

 

 

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Book Review: Law & Disorder Review by Mike Papantonio

law-and-disorder

 

 

The Author

 

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

Goodreads Description

 

In the tradition of John Grisham, from radio talk show host and “America’s lawyer” Mike Papantonio, comes Law and Disorder, a highly suspenseful legal thriller in which a Florida attorney finds the system working against him.

Brash, brilliant, handsome Nicholas Deketomis has built a highly successful career as a lawyer protecting the rights of the innocent while winning multibillion dollar lawsuits from the powers that be. “Deke” may have come from the wrong side of the tracks but he’s built a wonderful life for his close-knit family. His wife, Terry, and two children live in a beautiful house in a seaside community along the Florida Panhandle.

But their comfortable life is endangered. In the midst of a highly contentious multimillion dollar lawsuit against a powerful pharmaceutical company, as well as publicly advocating for a liberal Florida State Senate candidate, this time Deke may have riled the wrong powerbrokers. Scheming against him are a local Bible-thumping preacher, an ambitious district attorney, and two malicious brothers running one of the country’s biggest oil corporations. A vile conspiracy is hatched to bring down Deketomis: Setting him up and attempting to convict him on a bogus murder charge would solve many of their problems.

Deke’s in the trial of his life, which quickly becomes a media circus. But this good man will not go down without a bruising fight—especially when he finds his family threatened. And just as it seems that his enemies may have him cornered, he finds help from the unlikeliest source.

 

 

 

MY THOUGHTS…

 

 

 

my-thoughts

 

 

First impressions

Lawyer Nicholas Deketomis is a big time Florida lawyer who’s hell bent on stopping a mammoth pharmaceutical company from profiting from a dangerous drug on the market. While he’s building his case against this behemoth, there’s another case he feels compelled to take. Of course, his life, career and family are put into danger in the process.

The book is very well written. The book largely reflects on the experience of the author who captures perfectly the greed of big corporations in crime. I never realized how politically motivated things can get behind the scenes.

 

At the heart of the story…

“Deke” the lawyer is of course at the heart of the story. He was well written, confident, driven, workaholic, and determined for justice. But that was part of the problem for me. He was a little too ‘perfect’ in my opinion. I think he was painted a little bit too heroic for my taste. He didn’t seem that vulnerable or flawed. Maybe that wasn’t even it. Bottom line, I couldn’t relate to him that much. That me feel more distant and less resonant with him.

 

Other thoughts

This really was a well written story with sprawling plot lines and believable characters. For a legal thriller it did give me a different feel comparatively speaking. The legal cases were focused on bringing down big corporations with deep pockets and resources at their disposal. The subtle political motivations hidden the big companies was an interesting viewpoint to see. Mike Papantonio’s writing is crystal clear and has an excellent use of language throughout the book.

 

Conclusions

We can have a well written book after it’s been polished a billion times over. Who doesn’t want that? But will our characters be memorable? Or will they resonate deeply with your readers? It depends. Some certainly will while others won’t. It’s a very subjective experience that doesn’t necessarily reflect on the skill of the writer.

Reading this was also a healthy broadening experience. I have to give it to Mike, it’s a pretty unique brand of legal thriller. None of the other legal thrillers I’ve read bear this kind of flavor. You like apples? I like apples. There’s over 300 different kinds of apple trees out there. Eating one kind of apple will eventually get boring. Red delicious is my favorite. Jonathon Golds, Gala, and Granny Smith apples are nice too. Books can be like this. It’s great to have different kinds of thrillers from all kinds of authors. That’s what I love about writing. Everyone is so unique!

I’ll definitely read another book written by Mike Papantonio. Why? Because only he is qualified to write a unique kind of story.

 

 

Law and Disorder:  Amazon | Goodreads | Audible

 

 

 

 

Benjamin Thomas

@thewritingtrain

http://www.mysterythrillerweek.com

 

 

 

 

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