Dark Times follows Natascha as she’s caught up in a deadly plot orchestrated by dangerous mastermind criminals. What was the inspiration for the setup to this thrilling story?
I wanted to create a plot that has its roots in many corners of the world. A plot created by mastermind criminals, who all have their own different agendas work together towards their greater common goal. I also wanted to show that normal people like you and I can stand up against injustice, even on a global scale, and that anything is possible as long as you believe in yourself.
Natascha is an intriguing and well developed character. What were some ideas that you wanted to explore with her character?
Natascha is just an “average” person. It is easy to identify with her character: a loving wife, mother of a child, working two jobs to make enough money, for example, at one point she is even worrying about the cost for new tires for her car. She is not a trained killing machine without feelings and unlimited access to weapons and money. She is very emotional and draws her strength from the love for her family, but she also knows that she has to rely on herself in order to survive. She is struggling emotionally from all the horrible things she had experienced before and is not immune to PTSD. All those attributes make her a more “likeable” character, and people find it easy to identify with her.
What draws you to the action adventure genre and makes it easy for you to write in this space?
I am a fan of the action adventure genre, but I find many stories belong more in the world of Fiction. I can not identify with a “one man army” with unlimited access to different resources, such as weapons, intelligence and money who does not suffer emotionally after a mission. My personal background and experience allows me to create realistic characters.
Dark Times is a novel in your EuroSec Corporation series. What can readers expect in the other book in your series, Thin Ice?
THIN ICE was actually the first book in the series, published in 2012. In THIN ICE, we meet Natascha for the first time and learn how she and Nick came together on board a research vessel in the North West Passage, where they are being framed as terrorists in a plot orchestrated by greedy politicians and mercenaries.
Relieved for no longer being framed as one of the world’s most wanted terrorists, Natascha has only one wish – to live a normal life with her former bodyguard Nick and their daughter, but her daily routine as part time Marine Biologist for the London aquarium and secretary for an elite security company takes a lethal turn when she takes part in another scientific expedition.
This time, her discoveries do not only lead her into a flooded mine underneath a century old abbey, but also to a decades old secret the clerics don’t want unravelled.
Just when Natascha thinks she is a step ahead of her enemies, she realises that the abbey’s secret is only a small piece in a puzzle orchestrated by criminal masterminds – and that her past has caught up with her.
Determined, Nick and his friends from EuroSec follow her trail from London to the Aegean Sea back to Monaco and the Mediterranean Sea. To rescue Natascha, they have to solve the puzzle fast, or dark times will be ahead of them.
Not Dead starts with the abduction of a little girl but slowly builds into something more ominous. How did this idea for the novel start and change while writing?
The doll on the cover exists. It’s sold as a prop for Halloween houses. Several years ago, the picture of the doll standing in a decrepit, ramshackle room was the subject for a short story contest. Intrigued by the image, I entered the contest. While the doll was designed to frighten, I wanted a different twist. That’s how NOT DEAD got started. The original story was 500 words, and the title was Not Dead, Not Dead. I won third place. And, that’s all it took to get me hooked on writing.
I have always wanted to go back to that first story and turn it into a full-length novel. With the foundation of the plot in place, it was perfect for the expansion of the characters, location, and the dolls.
I felt that the mystery and intrigue was built exceptionally well in this novel. What were some goals you set for yourself as a writer for this book?
I enjoy creating a plot with twists and turns that keep the reader guessing, right up to the last page.
This novel highlights how difficult it can be to lose someone. What were some themes you wanted to explore in this novel?
I’m not certain there were any themes. It’s more my law enforcement experience and knowledge that add realism to my plots and characters. As a cop, children were the best and worst of my experiences.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
NOT DEAD is a deviation from my FBI Tracker novels. For the next book, I am back with the Tracker team in high gear as they deal with espionage and murder. I don’t have a title yet as my titles are inspired by a phrase or idea in the plot. So far, inspiration hasn’t struck, and the file is still titled—no name. My goal is to have it ready to publish by late spring/2020.
A small-town Texas cop who is haunted by his past.
A reporter who risks it all, even her life.
A kidnapping that crosses into an unearthly realm.
Focused on the abduction of four-year-old Mandy Norton, Chad Bishop, Meridian’s Police Chief, ignores the twinges of foreboding triggered by an eerie fog that shrouds his town. What he can’t ignore is the editor of the Tribune.
When Ashley Logan becomes embroiled in the search, nothing stops the hard-hitting, investigative reporter, including Chad’s threats to throw her in jail. She’s Mandy’s aunt.
As the mystery of Mandy’s disappearance deepens, unnerving details emerge. Chad refuses to believe they’re connected to his past until the case turns deadly. He’s forced to face the terror that haunts him. It’s waiting in the shadowy depths of the unearthly fog.
This time, it could cost Chad more than his sanity.
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Tags: anita dickason, author, author interview, book, book review, bookblogger, crime, ebook, fantasy, fiction, goodreads, horror, kindle, kobo, literature, mystery, nook, not dead, novel, paranormal, read, reader, reading, story, supernatural, suspense, thriller, writer, writing
In Dark Times Michael Gerhartz explores the delicate yet sadly relevant organ trade problem. In this fascinating novel readers get a glance into the complicated and cruel organ trade business. The narrative is constantly changing its perspective, from the lucky recipient to the doomed donor while following the incredible adventures of the engrossing main character, Natascha.
Michael Gerhartz creates a globe-trotting and energetic crime drama that is full of unexpected twists and deadlt turns. I felt that there was a focus on painting the bigger picture while discounting the details. The overall plot was engaging and stimulating, but at times I felt like the characters were acting against their own principles because a certain act was required to propel the plot. While Natascha was a stand out character to me, she was so well constructed that other characters felt underdeveloped in comparison. The personality that is exhibited by the characters is exceptional and authentic but I wanted to see more of it. This story reminds me of Pulp Fiction, where many smaller plots and character stories all interweave to make one complex story. Although this keeps the tension high and kept me flipping pages, it could be hard to follow at times. I enjoyed the way in which the author portrays security companies and the human face he gives to people working in Masad.
I can confidently say that I had a great time reading Dark Times by Michael gerhartz. The story is perfect for readers who like to follow clues to solve intriguing mysteries. Dark Times reminds me of Tom Clany’s Jack Ryan where agents embark on clandestine and deadly missions to overcome a terror menacing the world. Perfect for readers who embrace a bit of romance in their action adventure stories.
Pages: 738 | ASIN: B07MTQ9YWC
The Wrath of Leviathan is the second book in the BetterWorld Trilogy. In this book, the T.C. Weber artistically creates characters that are both enchanting and entertaining. The reader follows through the trials and tribulations of characters who, despite the evil of the world, fight to make things right. One is taken through insane and sometimes creepy locations that require the characters to be intelligent, keen on their surroundings and witty to survive. The Wrath of Leviathan covers various themes that are relevant in the real world. Political wars, state prisoners, cyber-crime, government relations, family and freedom are some of the major themes in the book. The pros and cons of technology unfold in the story as we follow characters who use their power to manipulate situations.
The reader experiences the turmoil and chaos created by individuals whose greed only gets crushed by people who have a conscience. Waylee Freid is in custody for acts the U.S government considers crimes. The good lady is charged with conspiracy, fraud, theft, assault, trespassing, and cyber crimes among many other offenses. I like how the author developed Waylee. Even with the alleged crimes, Waylee came out as a character whose aggression was necessary for her survival. Waylee was imprisoned in Sao Paolo, Brazil by the U.S government, something that bothered her sister Kiyoko. I liked Kiyoko as a character because of how passionate she was about the causes she cared about. Miranda Rossi’s character was too real, I could not picture her in any other role other than the Sao Paulo Bureau Chief, Department for Human Rights and Social Affairs. She understood her job and tried to be courteous every time.
The Wrath of Leviathan is packed with blustering adventure. Kiyoko and her squad were my favorite. Their dedication to fighting evil, and exposing and destroying MediaCorp’s plan to take over the world made the group easy to empathize with and root for. MediaCorp is almost the cliched villainous corporation with dangerous intentions and malign motivations. The yin and yang between MediaCorp and Kiyoko’s team is starkly drawn and I appreciated how easily it was to align with these characters.
I was thoroughly entertained following this inviting tale that engagingly handles trade agreements among countries, political affiliations, government operations, the lives of activists and hackers, and rebellion. T.C. Weber makes every piece of the story exhilarating as he pits well developed characters against well developed gambits. One constant thing throughout the book was the continuous action that was smartly placed to keep the story moving. Every new chapter unveils something new about the characters and a new twist to the story. I recommend The Wrath of Leviathan to readers who enjoy thrillers, cyberpunk science fiction and adventure books.
Pages: 288 | ASIN: B07GJVHMQS
Duty and Betrayal: The SS Brotherhood and the NASA Connection by Toby Oliver is a smart novel that takes place in the early 1960s, following various members of the intelligence communities of the United States and Great Britain. After the end of World War II, the Western powers sought to capture/recruit former Third Reich scientists to advance their own technologies, essentially beginning the Cold War. One of these men, Bernard Zimmerman, has caught the attention of Spencer Hall of MI5 for a very personal reason. Jack Stein of the CIA is brought in to help, and the two get to work. Is the SS still active, even after World War II? Will Spencer be able to act logically and safely in his quest to uncover these men? Then, of course, there’s Joyce and all of the emotions connected to Spencer’s past relationship with her making things even more thrilling.
I really appreciated the dialogue in this novel, which was consistently sharp and nimble. With any historical fiction novel that focuses on intelligence and spying, there is quite a bit of dialogue. Oliver does well to make the dialogue both interesting and logical. The characters are well crafted that each line they speak and each choice they make, I found myself thinking, ‘Yes, of course that’s what he would do.’ It’s so well-written, I would believe the author if he told me that all of these events actually happened.
If there is any weak point in the story, I felt it would be in the first couple of chapters which are heavy on some of the characters’ back stories, but almost all of the information provided in these areas is relevant and useful in understanding who these characters are, making this a very minor issue.
This book reads exactly the way an old school spy movie would play out. No big flashes from explosions or high-tech gadgetry like we get from these stories now. Just operatives using their investigative and deductive logic skills to investigate, interrogate, and do what they can to capture the individuals they need.
This is an exceptionally well written book that is persistently entertaining and compelling.
Pages: 212 | ASIN: B01N1JLYRC
The Haunting of Smock Hill by Steve Zimcosky is a short but fast-paced thriller about the peculiar ongoings in the town of Smock, Pennsylvania. Ed Zielinski our protagonist is from Smock Hill. He is informed that The Dark Energy has returned for the first time since 1961. The Dark Energy is allegedly a daunting black cloud with red eyes and massive arms that shows up to stare at miners a few moments before their death. Having enlisted a paranormal investigator, Ed visits the town, and, with the help of a few friends, finds out that a deeper and more nefarious plot is at play. Their investigation is met with various complications, from Russian meddling to movie production crews. The story takes plenty of wild turns and ends on a climactic but satisfying note.
Although the plot is a simplistic mystery story, Scooby-Doo style, it is written in a gripping and engaging manner. I polished it off in one sitting, which is probably what it is intended for. The story is realistic and logical, and easy to follow. I felt that the characters were two-dimensional, with some having more depth than others, but this is in service of delivering a quick and satisfying story.
The book is also interspersed with a lot of spooky pictures and illustrations, which can make this a pretty fun read for children. Smock Hill is great for a weekend or holiday read, when you need an engaging story to brighten up your day without signing up for a hefty literary commitment.
Pages: 90 | ASIN: B081BG5YH9
Mike Slavin has written a roller-coaster of a novel in Kill Crime. The story goes from 0 to 100 when Jeff Case, an oil company businessman from Texas, finally catches a pedophile that he’d been chasing ever since his niece had been victimized. Jeff finds himself getting closer to becoming a vigilante, as criminals hurt his friends and the people he loves. The choices only get tougher, and the villains he chases only get more dangerous. Will he survive?
Kill Crime is an exceptionally thrilling novel. The book starts with the main character catching a man about to molest a young child, I thought this was pretty extreme for the first 30 pages, but things only escalate for Jeff Case. This acceleration, and the realism with which it happens, is where Slavin’s writing excels. He makes Jeff’s decisions seem probable and reasonable through his amazing descriptions of grief, pain and anger.
There are many times in the book when I felt angry alongside Jeff, almost to the point of being blinded by it. Some will want him to exact his revenge and go for the kill, but maybe some will be begging him to move on. It’s a thrilling read from cover to cover because of this struggle that the reader faces with the main character, and it will keep the pages turning. If the internal conflict doesn’t entice readers, then the action sequences certainly will. The tense, violent moments are written excellently and play out like some of the best big screen movies.
If there is one weakness in the story, it’s that some of the elements border on cliché, such as Case jamming out to “Danger Zone” on his way home from work. However, Slavin only flirts with this line and never seriously crosses it, which he manages by keeping the story believable and emotionally raw.
The language that Slavin utilizes is fantastic. His writing is never boring, and the sentences he composes are fluid and natural, which makes for a smooth read. He may have gone a little overboard with the text breaks, but it doesn’t hamper the writing. I’ll definitely be looking forward to the next installment. This is especially true, thanks to the couple of nice little hints at where the Jeff Case story might be heading in the sequel.
Pages: 358 | ASIN: B07WQNQWXR
You have to know that when an author drops hints about a genetics lab, a mysterious event with test animals, and dead bodies with medical inconsistencies within the first 20 pages of a book that you are in for some bombshell twists and turns and The Mendelian Protocol delivers. One of the things I liked about this book, which is something I have found in common with other books I really like, is that it introduces you to a new field of knowledge while it explores the plot. I personally love learning more about niche topics (like highly specialized jobs, rare psychiatric disorders, and remote locations I would probably never hear about) while following along during a mystery. I feel like it makes a story unique and it is one of the things I love from authors like Dan Brown and Steve Berry. The same can be said for what Raymond Finkle does in The Mendelian Protocol.
The story starts out quick with no time wasted and you are immediately introduced to a small group of characters that pique your interest with a bit of backstory, but not the type of backstory that so many authors rely on these days which are tired and predictable. My favorite character was the female medical examiner who unwittingly found herself in the uncomfortable position of becoming a forensic expert overnight. Her whole situation keeps edging up being completely unrealistic, but Finkel continues to pull it back in to where you can say “okay… I guess that could happen” and you can keep on enjoying the story. This is no easy task when dealing in genetic mutation and medical horrors.
One thing I noticed that this book has in common with others that I have favorited is that often times really good mysteries have little oddities introduced by the author which niggle at the reader making them wonder why such a detail would be important. It makes you stop and remember the detail, want to know why it was important, and keep turning the pages to find out.). I read A LOT of mysteries and thrillers and I am not often impressed by an author the first time I read them unless it is a NY Times top ten that I grab in the airport or something. Finkle actually delivered on my first run with his stories. If you are a fan of Steve Berry or Michael Creighton you will thoroughly enjoy this book!
Pages: 226 | ASIN: B01MQ3MRR7
Pale Face & The Raven follows Luke and Anthony as they try to solve a series of grisly murders while wresting with their own demons. What was the inspiration for the setup to this provocative story?
It was an idea that came to me while I was at work actually. I don’t want to spoil the way the plot unfolds for anyone who hasn’t read it yet but the whole story within a story concept really appealed to me, as did the introduction of the mythical/religious concept set against the backdrop of a character (Tony Richards) who really doesn’t know where he came from or where his life is headed. I really wanted to develop a set of characters that could interact and build their stories together, start them off on an almost cosy footing and then see how they reacted to difficult scenarios and how they dealt with each other. I hope I achieved that.
I liked Luke’s character and thought he was an interesting character. What were some ideas that you based this character on?
Luke Raven himself is a character that I really liked and whilst he isn’t based on anyone in particular you could argue that he really is a mash up of a number of Detective Inspectors that appear in both popular fiction and on TV. He seems unable to stay on the straight and narrow and makes poor errors of judgement that get him into more and more scrapes. He’s also someone who is really sceptical of the supernatural but for whom other-wordly things occur almost on a daily basis and I enjoyed exploring how much that irritates him and yet how often he has to confront his conflicted beliefs. He also has a dark past and that is something I would really like to explore further in the future.
The murder mystery fueling this story was intriguing and well developed. What were some themes you wanted to capture in this case?
I wanted the supernatural element. That was number one. I’m a big fan of authors such as Stephen King and Dean Koontz and I also wanted an element of Dan Brown in there. Then I wanted the killer’s identity and the finale to be almost impossible to predict. I love the idea of using sleight of hand techniques in a story without over doing it or becoming crass. The ultimate aim is to keep the reader guessing right up to the epilogue. I wanted a strong, domineering patriarchal character that orchestrated events. And then I wanted to mix the first and third person perspectives as much as possible so that you were never really sure what point of view you were reading the story from. It can get complicated but hopefully I didn’t over do it.
What is the next book that you are writing and when will it be ready?
Well, firstly Pale Face and the Raven is due out in audio book format by the middle of December. I’m working with a really talented narrator, Bryan Gilmore, and I’m really excited to get that finished and out there. My next book is a collection of five short stories entitled ‘The Maidens of Fey and other Dark Matter’. I’m just putting the finishing touches to it now and my aim is to have it available on Amazon prior to Christmas. I’m really excited about it – the title story ‘The Maidens of Fey’ is a real love letter to Cornwall where I have holidayed with both my parents and my wife and children many times over the years, but it’s also a story of murder and betrayal as well as containing many mystical and fantastical themes. There’s also a story about a children’s entertainer named ‘Mister Trick’ who is really a combination of many of the entertainment acts that I witnessed as a child at children’s parties and that were the source of many nightmares and sleepless nights. After that I’m already planning the next installment of ‘The Raven’ and I’m looking forward to seeing where the next story will take me.
Author Links: GoodReads | Facebook
A series of brutal murders … a mysterious scripture handed down through generations by an ancient race … and a cult leader hellbent on vengeance and redemption. D.I. Luke Raven’s chequered career as a police officer is on the brink of ruin after a series of ill-judged decisions and one too many drunken altercations. As a consequence, his personal life lies in tatters.
Anthony Richards, a young, aspiring author has a deeply troubled past, a fractious and volatile relationship with his mother and a family history cloaked in secrets, violence and lies. The lives of these two men become intrinsically and eternally intertwined when a girl is found on Westhampton Common, her throat slit, her naked, cold and lifeless body drained of blood. What follows is a dark, disturbing and unpredictable journey sparked by the discovery of an ancient manuscript and tales of unspeakable horrors.
Bodies are piling up in Westhampton. The elusive, pale faced killer is on a murderous rampage.
This time it’s personal and Raven must risk it all to stop him… at whatever cost.
Spectre is the thrilling conclusion to your Kirk Ingram saga. Do you feel like you accomplished everything you wanted to with this series?
I know I said ‘thrilling conclusion’ in the synopsis that appears on the back of the book, but I wonder if we’ve seen the last of Kirk Ingram. That said, I feel extremely satisfied with what I’ve accomplished with Spectre, and how it augments the previous two books in the series. For example, in book #1, Haunted, I gave Ingram frequent nightmares, which is stereotypical of a protagonist with a troubled past. But then in Spectre, I used that element and exploded it into an entire book by positing the question: What if Ingram’s nightmares aren’t what they seem? The Kirk Ingram stories stand alone, but readers will appreciate the elements in Spectre that tie them into a trilogy.
How do you think the story, and your writing, has changed throughout the series?
A good aspect of self-publishing platforms is the hassle-free option to update previous books. I have the advantage that my reader base isn’t (yet) in the thousands and millions, so why not make an improvement? When book #2 – Diablo – released, I reviewed Haunted and spruced up the tone of the book, even thrashing sections I saw no point in this time around. I’ve certainly matured as an author. One simple way to see that is the ratings on Goodreads have improved with each book. My plots have always been complex and I’m finding new ways to keep that complexity interesting to the readers. Another constant in my writing nowadays is I always want to educate my readers. Even if my stories are fiction, I set them against the backdrop of contemporary events and locations, so that my readers learn something besides the entertainment value.
This book is exceptionally well written and wastes no time getting to the action. What were some goals you set for yourself in this book?
Thank you for the compliment. Key locales for the book were inspired by a vacation in Italy. I wanted to feature the imposing Christian and Roman edifices. Next, I wanted Ingram to have closure. In Haunted he lost his family; I wanted him to get over his guilt, to live his life to the fullest. I’ve always been interested in history, and Spectre gave me the opportunity to tell a story that converges from two different timelines. And finally, I wanted to write a paranormal story, but one that stands apart from the usual. And I believe, I’ve done that.
What is the next project you’re working on and when will it be available?
Next up, is book #3 in the Luc Fortesque series, Trigger Point. It will be available fall 2020.
More than 2000 years ago, the deeds and words of a Jewish carpenter seeded an ideology that inexorably spread across the known world. Who was he, really? Conspiracies, doubts, faith abound.
300 years later, Constantine marched victoriously into Rome. In a move befitting a shrewd politician, Emperor Constantine sought to legalise the radical religion proclaimed by the hitherto persecuted Christian sect with the ulterior motive of crowning himself godhead of a united empire.
But what if there existed others, who possessed the same powers as the Christ, and threatened the emperor’s new religion, and upset his ambitions?
June 2017: A remote abbey in the Italian Alps is attacked by an ethereal force. Every one of the abbey’s gifted residents is murdered, save for its newest resident, Jovanni Rossi.
A passenger jetliner makes an emergency landing at Rome’s Fiumicino Airport with seven casualties aboard. The perpetrator: former FBI agent, Kirk Ingram.
Seeking answers, Jovanni Rossi and Kirk Ingram must team up and face an incredible reality-altering truth.
Pursued by a vengeful father, a relentless contract killer and a sadistic gangster, the pair find themselves embroiled in a grander conflict between good and evil…
And they are the only people who stand against a dark force arising out of medieval times to consume the Earth!