LT: The Voynich Gambit follows Special Police Officer Blalock as he is put to the test when D.C.’s most infamous artifact dealers set their sights on a mysterious treasure. What was your inspiration for this novel and how did it develop as you wrote?
Quintin Peterson: The Folger Shakespeare Library was the inspiration for The Voynich Gambit, like its prequel, Guarding Shakespeare. I worked there as a special police officer with its Department of Safety and Security following my retirement from the Metropolitan Police Department of Washington, DC on April 23, 2010. (http://tinyurl.com/jppths4)
LT: The novel is set in modern day D.C., where you describe polished skyscrapers, historic landmarks, and endless traffic. Why did you choose this as the setting for you book?
Quintin Peterson: I wanted to write a noir mystery thriller using the Folger Shakespeare Library as the backdrop. The Folger Library is located in my hometown, Washington, DC. (http://www.folger.edu/)
LT: Lieutenant Norman Blalock works at the Folger Shakespeare Library as a security guard protecting its treasures for over two decades. What themes did you want to capture as you developed Norman’s character throughout the novel?
Quintin Peterson: I just wanted to write an entertaining and enlightening good old fashioned heist story. I had the same goal for the first in the Norman Blalock Mystery Series, Guarding Shakespeare, and I have the same goal for the third installment, The Shakespeare Redemption.
LT: What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
Quintin Peterson: Right now I am working on the second installment of my Private Eye Luther Kane Series, The Last Goodbye. Afterward, I will working on The Shakespeare Redemption. Like all of my books, The Last Goodbye will be available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, Indie Bound, et al.
Special Police Officer Lt. Norman Blalock, who has been guarding the treasures of the Folger Shakespeare Library for 25 years, has been coerced into a plot to heist from the Folger Museum “the most mysterious book in the world,” the Voynich Manuscript, on loan from Yale University. Under threat of suffering the consequences of their involvement in the botched plot to heist another priceless artifact from the Folger underground bank vault several months earlier, Blalock and his partner-in-crime Kavitha Netram are once again under the thumb of nefarious businessman Rupert Whyte, and have no choice but to play along.
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Ham McCalister and Drew Thornton, Nevada’s most accomplished private detectives, are on the hunt again. And this time it’s personal…
Shots ring out and two find their mark, just under the arch that declares Reno “The Biggest Little City In The World.” A crime, an assassination that the press will dub “The Biggest Little Crime In The World.”
That very day Ham McCalister had walked his dearest friend and business partner, Drew Thornton, down the aisle to wed her rock superstar betrothed, Russ Porter, one of the frontmen of the legendary band Truckee River. In that happy moment, what neither he nor Drew could have foreseen was the sudden tragedy that would greet them on the streets of Reno, mere minutes after the wedding bells chimed. For there, under that iconic arch, Russ Porter falls victim to an assassin’s bullet, along with an unknown second casualty.
While Russ is tended to at Reno’s finest medical center, by the state’s finest physicians, Ham and Drew race to uncover the who and the why behind the unspeakable evil unleashed in the aftermath of the wedding of Drew’s dreams. And then exact a revenge that she will personally inflict.
What they find, what they don’t’ expect, what they finally uncover, is The Biggest Little Conspiracy In The World.
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Dead Men Walking follows Nate as he is fighting for his marriage and career while getting involved in a case involving a mysterious man, a bullet and a whole range of unanswered questions. How did you decide on the direction for this second book in the series?
Book One, The Tenth Nail, ended with several unresolved issues and questions. Book Two felt as if I was writing an additional chapter to the first book. Nate is a strong but flawed man. Just as his strength is a result of his efforts, his weaknesses are the totals of his flaws. He finds himself where he is forced to ask for help in order to survive in the world he has created from himself. Some of that sought for help has to come from people he has wronged. Mystery man and the killing involved Nate in a case that for all practical purposes was unsolvable. I felt the case assigned Nate had to be as complicated as the killing of the girl in book one. It had to be part of the stressors that pushed Nate to the brink.
Dead Men Walking begins with an intricately described murder scene. What was your inspiration for this crime and murder scene?
In truth, most crimes, especially murders, are not complicated. Most victims know their killers and in a high percentage of time are on a first name basis. Most of us really have to know a person well to hate them enough to kill them. I wanted the opening crime, the murder, to be as tough to figure out as I could make it. I hoped to detail a killing, done in broad daylight, in public view and witnessed, that yielded no easy to find clues and little evidence. I hoped to create a feeling in the reader that they, along with Nate, had to work to solve the killing. I hoped the reader would feel as if they walked along beside the big detective as he tried to solve the killing.
Between Nate dealing with his old demons, family problems, and exploring a mysterious case, we get to dig more into Nate’s character. Was there anything that surprised you about his character while you were writing all this?
Nate takes pride in being an uncomplicated man. He has always been resistant to self-examination and some of that, I think, is that he is afraid of what he’ll find if he was to risk looking beneath the superficial layer. Throughout writing the book, I felt Nate and I were in synch. There was really nothing he did that surprised me. The same cannot be said for Clare. Clare is more cerebral than her husband and she is more willing to work through mistakes than Nate. In truth, I thought she would make other choices than she did for most of the book. In fact, an original storyline was made up of different choices I expected from her. Clare, like Nate, faces challenges and is forced to make life altering decisions. She caught me off guard with some of hers.
Where does book three in the Nate & Clare series take Nate and when will it be available?
Currently, I am working on the second book of the Jack and Terri Series and as readers know, Jack and Nate become acquainted in The Tenth Nail. It is Nate’s effort to repay Jack that is a strong undercurrent of Dead Men Walking. Book three for Nate and Clare, “Dance With the Devils”, will force Nate and Jack into a closer working relationship and slightly uncomfortable friendship. The book is planned for publication in the winter of 2017.
There was no doubt the man was dead. A bullet through the head will do that. But, who was dead? The man had no identification, no known address, no Social Security information could be found, and the fingerprint search came up empty.
Detective Nate Burns, Albuquerque Police Department knew two things. The man was dead and he was blood type was O+. The most common type of blood in the country.
Dead Men Walking is a fast paced police drama that tells the story of Detective Nate Burns, a man haunted by his past. That haunting has suddenly appeared in the present.
His Captain wants him fired.
A friend is calling in a favor.
A convict wants to make a bargain
His wife is thinking of divorce.
It’s a good thing he’s serving a suspension. He’ll find time to work all this out.
Dead Men Walking is the follow up to the award winning first Nate and Clare novel, The Tenth Nail. The story continues with Nate being assigned to a most difficult case. At the same time, he is trying to salvage his marriage, and since his wife, Clare, has returned to college, he must make sure he is not late picking up his daughter from her summer reading class.
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FBI PROFILER SEAN KRUGER IS BACK AND ON THE TRAIL OF A VICIOUS SERIAL KILLER!
Over the Indian Ocean a Malaysia Airline jumbo jet drops from radar. Three hundred twenty-seven souls disappear with it; a woman in Rockford, Illinois is brutally murdered. Unrelated news events? Retired FBI agent Sean Kruger doesn’t think so. He suspects it’s the work of serial killer Randolph Bishop.
Now a college professor, Kruger has tried to live with the mistake he made while investigating Bishop six years earlier. It looks as though the only man to elude him, in his twenty-five year tenure with the FBI, has returned to seek vengeance on those who forced the man to flee the country. With his family in danger, Kruger comes out of retirement to find Bishop’s trail. A trail that leads Sean to question his own humanity.
Randolph Bishop joins the ranks of fictional serial killers such as Hannibal Lecter, Patrick Bateman and Anton Chigurh in this tale of revenge and justice. The Impostor’s Trail will keep you turning pages late into the night.
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Charlotte is a woman of mysterious origins who is seeking revenge on the one who locked her away. How did you decide what the starting point was for you in Charlotte’s Soul?
In truth I was working on another story, dealing with a healer in a magical realm when my mind drifted off. The stories of the witch hunts in Salem came up. I’d seen many documentaries concerning that time period, thus I began to wonder. What would a true witch do. Could I write an interesting story? I considered starting points in that time period but nothing clicked for me. It wasn’t until I considered modern times that I felt a connection. Still, something was missing. I began asking what if? What if? That’s when Charlotte began to come alive. As for a starting point, I like to start off with my characters having to deal with situations that reveals something about the person.
The novel is filled with subtle yet powerful descriptions of voodoo and witchcraft. What research did you undertake to ensure you got all the details right?
From early on as a child Witchcraft has been talked-about, written about and made in to tv shows. In my mind they all held the same theme, the ability to alter reality by understanding nature is a force which can be tapped. Thus using this knowledge I built up Charlotte’s abilities. Voodoo on the other hand has not been a part of my world, yet I’d heard stories about it. Being unsure of any true facts, I began searching the Internet to understand it’s origins. The more sites I came across the more I learned voodoo is not a bunch of hocus-pocus, it’s a respected religion in many cultures.
I found that Charlotte was a balance between femininity, passion and a strong will. What obstacles did you feel were important in the story for Charlotte’s character development?
To develop Charlotte, I considered how she must feel being a 17th century woman thrust into our society. To give her balance to cope, I paired her off with detective Matt Huston, a modern man with his own demons. I felt with the two butting heads, she would have a foundation to build a life in our time period.
Will Charlotte’s Soul be part of a series? If so, where does the next story go? If not, where do you imagine it could go?
I did leave room to write another story with her and in fact, I’ve the making for a beginning to book 2. Presently however, she has been delegated to remain on hold as another story has caught my interest. In time I’m hopeful she’ll get dusted off and put back in action.
Charlotte Goodfield, a witch imprisoned since the 17th century, escapes in modern times and enlists the help of a New York City detective and an ATF agent to find her half-brother. He stole the magic amulet that holds half her soul—and she wants it back. Charlotte wades through NYC’s underbelly, searching for answers and discovering other horrors.
While her amulet has been with her brother, that half of her soul became drenched in evil; contacting it strengthens her magic but doing so raises a daemon within her that doesn’t care about playing by the rules.
Bad men are fair game. And she’s met a lot of bad men.
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Your heart will be racing as you read the latest in the Sean Kruger series The Imposter’s Trail by J.C. Fields. Our beloved Special Agent with the FBI is supposed to be living out his golden years with his new wife and child while teaching the next generation at university. However, if there’s one thing Kruger can’t escape it’s his own skill. When a culprit Kruger feels responsible for losing six years ago pops back up on the radar, our favorite agent can’t help but be pulled into the chase for this deranged murderer. What begins as a chase for an escaped serial killer evolves into a terrorist plot that only Fields could concoct. Will Kruger make it out of this one alive? Or will this finally be the end of Special Agent Sean Kruger?
Fields does a great job with his descriptions as usual. It is easy for the reader to picture either characters or settings in their mind. It is easy to get inside the mind of our protagonist, but we can also get inside the mind of our insidious imposter. Fields spares nothing in mapping out the thought process of this murder and what drives them to do what they have done. The story itself is gripping as we follow Kruger on his hunt while taking blows along the way. This installment hits closer to home than ever for our agent, and we read on with anticipation as to how he will react when all that is sacred to him is threatened. The action is well paced without being over the top or unbelievable. Even the relationships between all the characters are realistic. This is hard to do when you have a continuing series and when you have a cast of characters that can be as large as the one in this story.
A large cast can be a blessing or a curse, depending on who you ask. Having to keep all of the characters traits in line while remembering what importance they play in the story can be a detriment to some writers. Fields has done this before, however, and it’s easy to see that there are no characters created purely for convenience. Even those who do not last more than a paragraph are supplied with a backstory and meaning, even if it is only brief. This is a good tactic to take as it makes each person in the story meaningful to the reader.
When you’re looking for a novel about subterfuge, action and gripping human emotion, anything by J.C. Fields is a good choice. We are not let down with The Imposter’s Trail as we follow Kruger on his quest for personal redemption while he puts his life on the line to correct a mistake he made years ago. It’s not necessary to read the other books in the series which is a benefit for those who might be picking up this book without knowledge of the previous installments. Readers will still feel engaged and knowledgeable enough about the world and its inhabitants without feeling overwhelmed or clueless. The only real question we are left with is: what will happen to Special Agent Sean Kruger after this?
Pages: 280 | ASIN: B073V7V6FQ
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Dead Men Walking, written by Kwen D Griffeth, follows Detective Nate Burns as he deals with the ramifications of a previous case that led him to fight for his job whilst he is suspended from the force. Meanwhile, Nate’s personal life is on the rocks as Clare, his wife, reveals that she is unhappy with their marriage and the anger that surrounds Nate on a daily basis. Between fighting for his marriage and career, Nate finds himself involved in a case involving a mysterious man, a bullet and a whole range of unanswered questions. Will Nate be able to save his relationship, his job and still solve one of the most complicated cases he has encountered?
Dead Men Walking begins with a intricately described murder scene that will leave nothing to the imagination. The reader will be walked through the exploding bullet, the impact and finally the target. You are given the impression that these details are important and the vivid imagery will be one that doesn’t leave your mind for some time.
Dead Men Walking is the second novel in the series and in this book we are shown a side of Nate that is normally hidden away. Nate starts to get in touch with his emotions as his love for his family and wife are brought to the surface. Old wounds will be exposed and history will be revisited in an attempt to heal the turmoil surrounding Nate. Dead Men Walking once again shows us that men and women in the police force are people too, who feel and experience the tragedies they encounter daily in order to protect our families. At times the story line was quite emotive and made you consider the impact of what everyday people are experiencing in order to keep us safe.
Between Nate dealing with his old demons and family problems, he is exploring a case of a mysterious man who has basically been labelled as a “well dressed homeless man” with no identity. The case is quickly slipping into being closed with the force running low with murder investigators but Nate is determined to find out more details. This launches the story into a whodunit style police investigation and the reader will be kept on the edge of their seat as clues to the puzzle are uncovered.
The story line is smooth, the writing vivid and the characters complex. Griffeth has a beautiful way of describing a scene and every intricate detail without drawing away from the plot line or boring the reader. Never been inside a police station or seen how their operations work? Dead Men Walking will take you through the inside, allowing you to visualize the physical attributes of a police station as well as the mental and emotional parts of those who serve. You will also be treated to the other side, where criminals in jail show their softer side as they desperately want to help their family.
I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys a crime story mixed with a dash of romance and adventure.
Pages: 350 | ASIN: B071FLPQZ8
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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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With an intriguingly unique title, Gravity Games, “A Nathan Sherlock Foodie Thriller,” by John Matsui certainly piques readers’ interests right from the start. The crossover of foodie and thriller novel is not one that is commonly found on bookshelves, and Matsui cooks up a plot that is decidedly more interesting than any book reviewer’s lukewarm cooking puns. The novel follows the title character, Nathan Sherlock, and his sidekick, Bonnie Nakagowa, as they venture through an international conspiracy full of modern-day super-humans and, of course, a few supervillains.
Gravity Games starts off at a quick pace with a plotline that immediately pulls readers in. Nathan Sherlock, famously known around the world as “Nate the Nose” for his otherworldly sense of smell that renders him capable of creating literally orgasmic food and wine pairings, also dabbles in crime-solving. Thanks to his heightened sense of smell, Nate can conveniently detect the smell of murder, as well as other useful emotions, like fear, lying, and attraction. The novel seems to relish the fun and lightheartedness of being a foodie thriller novel: the last name Sherlock, the food puns, and the clichéd beautiful FBI agent. But the superficial fun can only sustain readers for so long, and unfortunately most of Matsui’s novel falls somewhat short of expectations.
Matsui’s thriller deserves a well-earned four stars for creating a completely unique plot and fascinating set of characters. The international mystery that dabbles in physics, finance, and genetics is certainly full of enough intrigue to keep readers motivated, and Matsui also weaves in modern issues like the Occupy Movement, sex trafficking, and the energy sector to keep the thriller somewhat grounded in reality. That perhaps, though, is Matsui’s downfall: by creating so many captivating characters and throwing in a myriad of plot twists, it is hard to follow the novel’s true focus. There are several competing story lines, and each is mesmerizing but feels squeezed for time in Matsui’s concise thriller. Matsui also packs his fast-paced novel full of one-of-a-kind characters, from mad scientists to vicious oil tycoons to mysterious ladies of the night. But apart from Nathan and Bonnie, most of the characters lack the development that their interesting backstories deserve, and it feels as if Matsui could have dedicated entire other novels to some of his supporting stars.
Matsui writes in clever and well-written turns of the tongue, keeping a quick stride to accompany Nate and Bonnie on their adventures. Gravity Games weaves an unbelievable, eye-popping series of events into one cohesive tale that culminates in a delicious finale, leaving readers drooling for the second installment of the Nate Sherlock Foodie Thriller Series. Part of the joy in reading about super-humans and fantastic events is simply how unrealistically fun they are, and Matsui embraces that. Though readers may be craving Aunt Lucy’s famous cabbage rolls by the end, readers will be craving a more thorough and in-depth novel by Matsui even more.
Pages: 266 | ASIN: B01755YLN4
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The Last Train revolves around Michiko Suzuki and the team of detectives that are investigating the train murders. What was the inspiration to the setup to this thrilling novel?
For quite a few years I was writing about jazz every week, so I was always going to Roppongi and Shinjuku and Shibuya, nightlife parts of the city. I’d see the hostesses who work in all the clubs there, and they would often be in the jazz clubs. They were almost always strikingly attractive, but underneath that seemed some sadness. Whatever one thinks of their work, the women seemed smart. What impressed me most, though, was the great personal dignity with which they carried themselves. So, I started wondering what kind of life those women lived, and what if they turned the tables. What if one of those people-savvy women took things into her own hands to do things men usually do? And what was this odd dynamic between men and women that seemed so unfair to women, but then again, was something else, too. Many Japanese women might not even say Japanese society is unfair exactly, perhaps because Tokyo is home to a vibrant urban culture where women are incredibly free to do what they want and live how they like. But, what would that freedom turn into if taken to an extreme? Michiko is that extreme. The men struggle to catch up.
Michiko is the daughter of a factory owner whose mother died when she was young. Her character continues to get deeper as the story progresses. What did you use as a starting point for the character and what was your guidance as you built the character?
I think the way Michiko grew as a character was based on my observation of women, and men, in Tokyo, but all kinds of women, not just hostesses. There’s a lot of people TO observe in Tokyo, for one thing, but I like to talk and interact with people as much as I can. Michiko is a “typical” character in that her experience parallels the shift in Japan from a manufacturing society, which is where Michiko grew up, to an information and service society, which is how she makes money. I wondered how that shift affected women? Is it easier for women to adapt to economic changes than men, or harder? Michiko is working class in origin, growing up above a factory, but she turns herself into something else altogether through her own efforts. She’s tough and resilient, which is how I see most Japanese women, and yet still very feminine in traditional ways. She has no hesitation to compete in a man’s world, and to do it on her own terms. Like many characters, once she was created, everything followed from that.
The novel takes place in Tokyo. Why did you choose a train station in Japan as the setting to your novel?
Trains are one of the things I love most about Tokyo, but they are also these huge masses of steel shooting through a very densely populated city. Just as America is built around the car, Tokyo is built around trains. Suicides on the train lines, sadly, happen all too often.
I came upon the clean-up after a suicide one time years ago, and the image stayed with me.
Like every other commuter, I have been stuck waiting on a train or a platform when a suicide shuts down the entire train system. It’s so shocking because usually everything runs on time. So, I guess, if you transplant the American car chase to Tokyo, it becomes a train chase, or a chase on a train. I also like that as a setting because trains and train stations are great levelers. Everyone takes the train, together, equally. I also love trains and train stations because I can completely indulge in people-watching. It’s startling how many people you see in a day. Still, it’s never so lonely as in a crowd, and there’s always a crowd in Tokyo.
What is the next story that you are working on and when will it be available?
The next novel is called Japan Hand and Detective Hiroshi is again in the lead, together with Sakaguchi. They investigate the death of a long-time Japan specialist who helped negotiate the complicated relations between Japan and America, including the US military bases in Japan. That novel should be out by December of this year or early 2018. The next one after that is called Thai Girl in Tokyo and will be out in spring of 2018. I’ve finished writing those both, so they’re now being edited and polished.
Pages: 348 | ASIN: B071DPXP7M
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