In The Assassin’s Trail, we follow Sean Kruger as he is now hunting down an assassin. What surprised me most about this book is how accessible it is. Many books of this genre get bogged down in jargon. What was the direction you wanted to take this novel that may have been different from the first novel in the series?
First and foremost, I want the reader to enjoy the ride. My primary goal, as I complete more books in the series, is to NOT repeat the same story in each book. I want the same characters facing different challenges. I will not name names, but so many popular authors repeat the same premise in each book, locations change, minor characters change, but the overall story arc is the same. I am determined not to follow this path.
The first book in the series is a ‘get to know you’ story. We meet the main characters and why they are who they are. The second book develops the relationship of Kruger and JR Diminski. JR is an equal partner in Assassin’s, he is critical to the flow of this story and future books.
Kruger’s marriage to Stephanie, an event which happens outside the narrative, is a critical part of how he starts viewing his world. He no longer has only himself to worry about, he has her. I believe this helps the reader relate to the character. Most of us struggle to balance work-home life. Kruger is no different than the rest of us, the only difference is his work is just a little more intense.
Again we’re following FBI agent Sean Kruger. While he might complain about his job he is excellent at it and his reputation precedes him. What themes did you try to capture while developing his character?
A reluctant warrior. Kruger is portrayed as a man who sacrificed watching his son grow because of what he felt was a higher calling. Now in his early fifties, he finds the sacrifice he made was an illusion, benefiting no one but others. I am not sure the word disillusioned is correct, but it is the closest I can come. I think a lot of us look back on our careers and ask the question, “If only I had…?” Kruger is given a second chance to answer this question.
He knows what he does is important, he just does not know if it was worth what he sacrificed. The underlying story is a metamorphosis of a career oriented individual into a man who cherishes family above all else. Stephanie joins him in this change, also realizing what she sacrificed.
What were some books or authors that you felt severed as inspiration for you?
Several come to mind. Frederick Forsythe for instance. I don’t pretend to write as well as he does, but I like the way his books are character driven with intricate plots. John Sandford and Michael Connelly are two others. Sandford inspired the concept of an ongoing series with a consistent title and a common protagonist. His Prey series follows the career of Lucas Davenport over the course of, currently, twenty-seven novels. Like Davenport, Kruger is a loner and not above stretching the rules to make sure an investigation moves forward. I do not anticipate the Trail series lasting twenty-seven novels, but you never know.
Michael Connelly’s Harry Bosch character influenced Kruger’s dogged determination and sense of duty. While the above authors helped influence the Kruger character, I have strived to make him human and subject to all the emotions we all feel.
A lot of authors use protagonists who are superhuman and can keep on going after being shot or have a broken limb. You won’t see this with Kruger. While he does get wounded, like in book two and three, it has an effect on him.
Where will book 3 in the Sean Kruger series take readers and when will it be available?
The third novel in the series is titled The Impostor’s Trail. It features the return of a serial killer first introduced in my short story, The Forgotten Brother Affair. This is the first time I have expanded a short story into a full-length novel. It was a lot of fun weaving the novel around the events of the original story. Part one of the novel is the short story, part two occurs six years later when the killer returns to the United States after fleeing the country. I won’t give away any more of the plot, but my beta reader indicated she felt it is the strongest of my three novels. The Impostor’s Trail will be released July 25, 2017, as an eBook and paperback. It will be produced as an Audible.com book sometime in the fall of 2017.
FBI SPECIAL AGENT SEAN KRUGER IS BACK! The brutal assassination of two men has Homicide Detective Ryan Clark fearing the worst. A serial killer is on the loose in the Washington, DC area. Without hesitation, he calls an old friend at the FBI. FBI profiler Special Agent Sean Kruger is hesitant to become involved with another long and tedious investigation. He is in the twilight of his career and tired of the travel, bureaucracy, and politics of his job. He and longtime girlfriend, Stephanie, decide to marry and do something different with their lives. He wants no part of Clark’s serial killer investigation. But when the assassin strikes close to home, it becomes personal. With the help of JR Diminski, the computer genius from The Fugitive’s Trail, he identifies a suspect. When the attempted arrest goes horribly wrong, Kruger is suspended for disobeying a direct order from the Director of the FBI. Now outside the protection of the agency, he must decide to either walk away after twenty-five years with the agency or put his new marriage and life in danger as he continues to pursue the assassin. An assassin whose ultimate goal is an attack in the center of the United States. An attack that could result in more civilian casualties than 9/11.
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Douglas Wells’, debut novel, The Secrets of all Secrets begins with a mysterious stranger, who issues a fateful quest. The reader follows Zane, a graduate school and seminary drop-out, who receives a USB from the stranger. The USB contains a message that promises the Secret of All Secrets and he is pressed to go find out how far the rabbit hole goes. He soon meets a waitress at a diner, named Dali, who received a similar USB. They initially butt heads, but they soon come together to figure out the mystery. They are dogged at every step by four conflicted government agents, who pursue them to the very end.
Wells combines smart, informed prose with fun, engaging dialogue to create an interesting story that hails the modern quest narrative, but also the old-fashioned road narrative calling to mind Jack Kerouac and others of that generation. There are plenty of moments where Zane calls back to his graduate school education with references to Pascal and Tolstoy, which do become a bit pandering to a point, but soon get lost in the action that ensues.
Zane and Dali are both enthralling characters, where Wells’ skill shines through and even shows up among the government agents who serve as the bulk of antagonism in the novel. The decent character portrayal also smoothes over the often-sparse description and scene setting that would normally keep the reader engaged, but the characters are able to do this on their own. The ideological lines that all the characters have seem to be commentary on our day to day lives, from government drones to Zane’s cynicism.
The setting of Northern Florida was an interesting choice and provides a unique setting rich in regional idiosyncrasies as well as clashing rural and coastal tendencies. Zane and Dali adventures are increasingly crazy and fit in with this setting choice. They venture into an armadillo festival, nudist resort and even find a presumed dead 60’s rocker. All of this combines to be a sort of satire of American politics and greed.
All in all, The Secrets of all Secrets will keep the reader’s attention until the very end with its light-hearted prose and topical social commentary. Wells blends the ironic with wry humor and never misses a point to push the absurdity of his tale a little farther, as if encouraging the reader to do the same.
Pages: 224 | ASIN: B07147R17F
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Sins of the Father is a non stop adventure novel following two detectives as they hunt down a dangerous drug kingpin who seeks revenge. What was the inspiration to the setup to this exciting novel?
This is actually the third installment in the Larkin and Colt series. As I was preparing to write the first book I established, just for myself, extensive backstories for the main characters, including their years as undercover ‘contractors’ for the government. Among the stories I created was the takedown of a notorious and supposedly untouchable drug kingpin. After I finished my second book, I found myself wondering what the possible long-term repercussions might be of some of Larkin and Colt’s past actions. The opening scene of a gang of assassins breaking into Larkin’s house popped into my head almost fully formed. From there, it was pretty much off to the races.
My favorite character was DEA Agent Scott Bowman, whose dry humor kept me smiling throughout. What themes did you want to capture while developing your characters?
I wanted to create a character who was dedicated to his job and trying to do the right thing, but who had been doing it for so long that he knows that achieving any kind of long-term solution is pretty much impossible. He’s a realist, and he knows that he’s pretty much rolling a rock up a hill, but he still refuses to give up hope. When he’s approached by Larkin, he sees a chance to maybe do a little bit of good, despite his knowledge that the good guys don’t always win, and the bad guys are incredibly hard to stop.
Sins of the Father is a genre-crossing novel with elements of a adventure, thriller, and action as well. Did you start writing with this in mind, or did this happen organically as you were writing?
I try to write the story I’d want to read. I don’t outline, but I pretty much have the whole plot worked out in my mind before I start. I have the major story points, but not necessarily all the fine details. I sort of let the characters tell me what happens next and where they want to go, as long as we’re always moving toward the outcome I have in mind. I try to let the story and the characters’ actions flow naturally, at the same time hoping to surprise the reader.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
I’m currently working on a sequel to my science fiction adventure Pegasus, which is not a Larkin and Colt book. It’s entitled Intrepid, and where Pegasus was about a trip to the moon and back, this time they’re going to Mars. When they arrive, things go horribly wrong, and the crew has to figure out how to get their crippled ship back home before their air and food run out. It’s sort of Apollo 13 meets The Martian. It should be out sometime in the fall.
So begins the latest exciting episode in the adventures of David Larkin and his partner Samantha Colt.
Eight years ago, Larkin and Colt were part of a team that terminated notorious drug kingpin Francisco Salazar. Now Salazar’s son Ramon has grown up, taken over the family business and sworn his revenge upon them. Their only option is to follow the trail of drugs and bodies backwards, from Virginia to Miami to South America, to stop young Ramon before they become his latest victims.
Sins of the Father is loaded with the exciting action, wry humor and memorable characters that fans of Larkin and Colt have come to expect.
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The Fugitive’s Trail centers on the skills of Special FBI Agent Sean Kruger as he must track down a fugitive that apparently doesn’t exist. What was the inspiration for the setup to this exciting novel?
Dropping off the grid and disappearing has always intrigued me. How would someone do it? What skills set would a person need to accomplish such a feat? So the book started with a basic, what if.
The character of Sean Kruger was conceived in 2006 when I was involved with an online writing blog. The original character was just, Kruger. A scallywag, a nefarious individual with no moral scruples. During the blog, he became Sean Kruger. My laptop hard drive is littered with discarded stories about him. Gradually, over the years, as I developed the character, he evolved from a pirate to a person of moral integrity. And finally an FBI Agent, the character we find in the Trail series.
As the concept of a story concerning dropping off the grid started to grow, I decided it was a great venue for introducing the reincarnated version of Sean Kruger. One thing led to another and The Fugitive’s Trail was born.
JR Diminski appeared in an early draft of the story, originally conceived as a throw-away character. The more I wrote more about him, the more intriguing he became. I know it sounds weird, but as you write, some characters become more important to the story. Such was JR’s future. He is now as important to the Trail series as Kruger. After a comment by my oldest son, I am planning a standalone novel with him as the main protagonist.
Sean Kruger is an FBI agent and I felt that the daily interactions of the agency was well handled. Did you do a lot of research to maintain accuracy of the subject?
A lot of research, reading and a chance encounter with an FBI agent on a plane bound for California.
I have more experience with corporate bureaucracies than I care to discuss and the FBI is a huge bureaucracy. Looking back on my business background, it was easy to extrapolate how a huge entity like the FBI would function.
The Fugitive’s Trail is a genre-crossing novel with elements of a crime, drama, and suspense as well. Did you start writing with this in mind, or did this happen organically as you were writing?
A passion for reading was a gift from my mother. Authors like, Michael Connelly, Robert Crais, Daniel Silva, David Baldacci, James Rollins, Lee Child, Frederick Forsyth, Craig Johnson, Ben Coes, and numerous Indie Authors were consumed before I started The Fugitive’s Trail. The adage of ‘write what you enjoy’ is how I approach novels. As you can see from the books I read, my influences include various genres.
I don’t outline, but I know where I want to start and I have a general idea of where I want to finish. The exciting part of the journey is the middle. So, to answer your question, it happens organically.
I have zero qualms about cutting wholesale sections of a manuscript if it stops working. The Fugitive’s Trail took five years to write. But during those years, I learned a lot from numerous starts and stops encountered along the path. The original manuscript is nothing like the final book.
A good editor is essential to a good novel. I was lucky, I found a good editor. It also helps to have an active critique group.
This is the first book in the Sean Kruger series. Where will book two take Sean Kruger?
Book two of the series will find Kruger pursuing homegrown terrorist. A third novel, planned for a summer 2017 release, will feature Kruger confronting the return of a serial killer introduced in my short story titled “The Forgotten Brother Affair.” This story is available for free on my website.
The original plan was to write a trilogy, but a fourth novel, with Sean Kruger as the protagonist, has over 40,000 words in a first draft. I am not sure about the title at this stage, I haven’t decided if it will be a “Trail” book or not.
I am striving to write distinctly different books with each installment. So many authors write the same book over and over and after a while it gets boring. My goal is to keep from going down this path. If I do, the Trail series will conclude.
For now, I have a few more Kruger stories up my sleeve.
In the lobby of a prestigious Wall Street investment firm, one man is dead and another seriously injured. The man accused of the crime now a fugitive.
When the Director of the FBI personally orders Special Agent Sean Kruger to New York City to find the fugitive, Kruger questions the reason. Told to shut up and do his job, he starts looking into the case. What he finds is troubling. Eye-witness accounts seem contrived with little variance between individual testimonies. The more he hears, the more he feels someone is manipulating the story.
As the investigation unfolds, he discovers the only information known about the fugitive is a HR file from a former employer. Public records of the man do not exist.
The fugitive is a ghost. A ghost who has disappeared.
When Kruger unearths information the investment firm lied about the incident in the lobby, he learns there is a possibility the fugitive was defending himself. He also discovers another individual is searching for the fugitive. An individual who has no interest in allowing the truth to be discovered.
When the cat and mouse game turns lethal, Kruger must use all of his skills and experience to find the truth, protect the fugitive, and ultimately stay alive.
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Suspense, intrigue and subterfuge. An agent chasing a fugitive who knows more than is healthy for him. What begins as a cat-and-mouse game evolves into a spectacle that is sure to entertain all readers. The Fugitive’s Trail by J.C. Fields appears to be the first book in a series centering on the skills of Special FBI Agent Sean Kruger. His son now off to college we meet Kruger as he sells his home and moves into a condo where he hopes to just relax and quietly move about his business. Relaxation is not so easily found for our agent. No sooner does Kruger make a romantic connection with his attractive neighbor than he is pulled into a man-hunt. Will Kruger catch this so-called fugitive and bring him to justice? Or is the thought of justice much more subjective than previously thought?
For a debut novel this is a fantastic piece of work. Any reader can tell that a lot of time and effort went into crafting this adventure. Fields has done his research in this area of crime fiction and it all feels quite realistic. Understanding how major organizations like the FBI, CIA or even the local police department work can be a daunting task for a new writer. Fields is clearly comfortable with this topic and has either studied or done enough research to become so. What’s unsettling with this genre is the matter of how loose-lipped certain agents can be when they are in the comfort of their home with their significant other.
Fields does a great job describing the scenery, particular points of interest and characters in general. The main characters in this particular book have their back stories fleshed out under the pretense of first-dates. Instead of feeling forced, this is a natural stage for such information to be shared. A clever trick indeed.
If there are any drawbacks it would be when Fields describes the race of a character. Using such phrases as ‘the black guy’, ‘the white guy’, or the ‘girl of Asian descent’ seems rather bland in comparison to how he describes other aspects of the book. Opportunities to describe a characters skin tone with more grace are missed here and it grates hard to read such a stereotypical and flat profile. Other parts of the character are described with more elegance which is what makes this particular aspect stand out.
If you are looking for an adventurous crime-drama where the elements of surprise and intrigue hide around the corner then The Fugitive’s Trail by J.C. Fields is a must-read. Quick-paced with easy to digest chapters and interesting characters you can’t go wrong by adding this to your collection. Besides, aren’t you curious to see just what happens when Kruger does catch the fugitive? The delectable twist shouldn’t be missed.
Pages: 307 | ASIN: B00WS00FW8
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This collective memoir recounts the history of Sergio Tinoco, a migrant worker born in the USA accidentally, and his life as he maneuvers the complicated world of privileges and adventures. The storytelling is light and intuitive, offering a beautiful insight to the world of a maturing American trapped within a completely different frame-of-mind within his grandparents, who had raised him. As the years progress through Tinoco’s smooth narrative you see how his growth manifests in impressive ways as he joins the army and continues his life as a strong individual and proud American.
A tough beginning gives Sergio a critical and unique insight to the world that is clearly delivered through the narrative of the story, which is a tale about the author’s own beginnings and his growth into an adult. He was born into an immigrant family, having to be raised by his grandparents who were located in the US instead of his biological mother who was stuck in Mexico.
One aspect that is heavily played into in the beginning of the story is the itching desire to escape your hometown, your family, and reach a greater place. Most kids and teenagers feel this way, I believe, despite what kind of upbringing they had. It’s inspiring to read how that path opens up for a young soldier with such a rich background.
Fear and ambition is a common element in the history of Sergio, and the way he writes really draws readers in and lets them experience the emotions he feels during the twists and turns of his life. There are not many other characters aside from the storyteller, just brief occurrences of names and influences as years pass by in a beautiful trail of words and imagery. The narrative is quite similar to how our real lives unfold, full of minor characters and events that help mold and craft us into the people we stand as today. The same is true for Sergio, and the story is patriotic and full of struggles and achievements that you can share in while reading.
Every few pages readers are treated with an image of the author, sometimes accompanied by other family members and friends, or just of an action he has told us about. It’s a great way to connect with his audience and it really helped me get a picture of the life he lived and how it affected him.
Since I didn’t have an upbringing or lifestyle even remotely close to what Sergio’s environment, it was very interesting to read about, and I enjoyed the opportunity to learn about things foreign to me. The writing was thought-provoking, and I enjoyed the little instances of humor that were thrown in. Seeing the evolution of Sergio and his mindset over the years as he thinks back was a really enjoyable read, and I loved the way he painted vivid images and made me understand how his mind worked. A truly beautiful story.
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In this thrilling investigative tale, writers G. J. Rayner and E. M. Rayner create a realistic fictional world that revolves around crimes within a Mexican drug cartel. The story revolves around a private security company called OMICRON that works closely with American government, Secret Services specifically. The company gets involved with crime happening in Texas when the CEO Mike Cabott promises to help his old friend from school out by solving his wife’s mysterious murder. Through many twists and sudden developments, undercover agents work the case from many angles to get to the bottom of the drug cartel ring.
Undercover agents Mark Lockabee and Carlos Zepeda look into the suspicious murder of a successful Mexican business women under the order of a private security company. Originally taken on as a favor to a friend, as the depth of the cartels crimes develop, the CEO Mike Cabott realizes they’ve stumbled onto an important project.
Most of the story is comprised of undercover investigation, the operation control at headquarters, and the work that OMICRON conducts to try and sabotage and eliminate the drug cartel lead by El Jefe. The dynamic between the group leader Hans Brock and the other agents is really interesting to watch play out, too. They all do their best to work together as a well-oiled machine, but different issues arise that create problems within the workforce.
As the investigation heightens dangerous situations abound punctuated by explosions, leaving rarely a dull moment. The OMICRON team spies on the drug cartel and works it from different angles which treats readers with a dual view of the story. Intense action and perplexing mysteries keep you turning pages.
When Rita Malone, another special agent for OMICRON comes to replace one of the best on the scene, things really take a turn in the story. Her character provides startling action, and the dynamic between her and Carlos is really fun to read. I was rooting for her the whole time and she gives the story the needed presence of a strong, kick-ass female character to liven it up.
This book was really exciting to read. I loved that they added shock value in the first pages of the book. The writers really allowed the plot to take it’s time unfolding but kept things going in a fast enough pace that I never grew bored with the story. The characters were all unique and humorous, and I loved that the company’s mainframe computer CLEO even had some personality thrown in.
This is another action packed novel from the Rayner writing team that you shouldn’t miss.
Pages: 264 | ASIN: B071YJ5MDL
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Taurus, Taurus, Taurus, is a genre-crossing novel with elements of a action, thriller, and suspense as well. Did you start writing with this in mind, or did this happen organically as you were writing?
When I started to write this novel, I knew how it was going to start and I had a vague idea of the end, but the body of the novel just flowed from my finger tips.
The supporting characters in this novel, I felt, were intriguing and well developed. Who was your favorite character to write for?
I must say the character of Joe Garner, who is my alter ego. It is also the undercover name I used on the street as a Drug Enforcement Special Agent.
There is a lot of military references in this book along with some science to get the genetics down. Did you do a lot of research to maintain accuracy of the subject?
I spent several hours doing research on not only the correctness of the military side, but also much reading on Genetic Modification and making sure my facts were correct on subjects such as the number of beef cattle in the world (over one billion). Google Maps was a great help in maintaining the accuracy of geographic locations, like the street names in the city of Osh and other places.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be published?
My next novel, Operation Pinata, is about drug cartels in Mexico, something I am more familiar with than GMO. It is currently in its 6th or 7th editing, by myself and my co-author and editor.
Dr. Gambil, a Genetic Modification scientist, worked for ABBA, a US beef company with world-wide operations, owned by Livingston Tec, a large conglomerate. His goal was to improve the quality of beef cattle. In 1989, angry at government interference, he destroyed the ABBA lab and was thought to have died in the explosion. Eleven years later, in 2000, he sends an e-mail to ABBA demanding a ransom of fifty million dollars or he will destroy their world-wide operation. The threat is not taken seriously, until the ABBA ranch in Argentina is attacked. ABBA hires OMICRON, an international security company, to interrogate the lone surviving attacker, who reveals Dr. Gambil has trained and sent out four teams to destroy the breeding stock on ABBA ranches throughout the world. Our protagonist, Joe Garner, an intelligence analyst, has quit his US government job over an ethics question and is hired by OMICRON. Seven years before, he had done a tour in the Marines in Kyrgyzstan, and was almost killed in a terrorist attack. Because he is fluent in Turkic, he is sent to Argentina to interrogate the Islamic survivor. Dr Gamble has fled to Kyrgyzstan, where he has developed a serum, which, when injected into breeding bulls will deteriorate the quality of their sperm. Joe also learns Dr. Gambil is related to the terrorist who led the attack on him seven years ago and the ransom money will be used to support the Islamic terrorists from Uzbekistan. OMICRON is hired to stop the attacks. After they intercepted the attack in Kansas and the ABBA ranch In Kenya is decimated, they must find Dr. Gambil and stop his mad plan. As they track Dr. Gambil to Kyrgyzstan, there is one question: Do they terminate or rehabilitate him? Joe Garner also learns that the terrorist that wounded him is behind the plot and his need for revenge grows. The story culminates with explosive action in the mountains of Kyrgyzstan.
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Sold Above Market is an excellent introduction to the necessity of having a good real estate agent when you’re ready for the home-buying process. The book details not only why you need a real estate agent, but why you need a real estate agent that works for you. Geoff Grist walks you through every detail you need to know about real estate agents and how they work.
The book explains how real estate agents are compensated and how they work. For someone trying to buy a home, this information is really valuable because it provides insight on which kind of real estate agent will work for them. Should you work with an independent agent or with a team? Should you work with a local agent (or agency) or one outside of the area? There are pros and cons to working with both types. These kind of minor details are things that homeowners overlook in the chaos of the real estate process. Sold Above Market repeatedly points out (and I’m glad that the book does) that real estate agents are not all the same.
Another helpful area of the book is the author’s breakdown of “real estate agent speak” with a distinction between what a good agent will say and what an average agent will say. This section really highlights the insider knowledge this book provides. Working with a real estate agent involves working with the forms, but it also means working with a different language. When an agent tells you “We don’t have any more buyers”, this books tells you whether that’s a good sign or a not-so-good sign.
The book did come with two surprises that don’t really take away from the book, but are worth mentioning. The book is written for the Australian market (although not exclusively), yet I had no trouble understanding it from an American perspective. The second is that the book featured no website or online resources in the book itself, which is kind of odd for a book in 2015.
The rest of the book covers the process that you should walk through when choosing an agent. The book focuses first on the need to break down what you want to achieve in buying and selling a house. Then you can find the agent or agency that will help you reach that goal or goals. The book then provides details on the paperwork, meetings, and questions you need to ask before and during the home-buying process. Along the way, Sold Above Market provides details; like the downsides of multi-listing or going with the first agent that knocks on your door.
The book was an excellent introduction to the field of real estate from a seller’s (or even a buyer’s) perspective. Often when we are ready to buy or sell, we have a bunch of things going on (both good and bad) and need some help in figuring out what to do. This book’s comprehensive approach and jargon-free language are essential to helping you in a time like that. If you’re in any part of the home-buying process, make sure to take this book with you!
Pages: 192 | ISBN: 0994256035