Kawika has just lost his wife of many years to cancer. He looks to live through the gut-wrenching pain and move on with life. But little does he know that he’d soon be running to preserve his own life. It all begins with the murder of a financial expert on the Hawaiian island where he stays. The unfortunate victim appears to have died in the strangest of ways. Joe Adams, the lead detective investigating the case then opts to bring in a Hawaiian anthropology expert to make sense of the ritualistic elements littering the crime scene. Kawika – a professor of Hawaiian anthropology – takes up the task and begins to uncover shocking truths alongside the detective. They find evidence suggesting that the murderer would kill again and Kawika and his relations are among his potential victims. But who is the mysterious killer and why is he on a mission to take out the descendants of the members of an ancient Hawaiian cult?
Luigi N. Spring does something special with Sorcerer’s Prayer. It’s a gripping Hawaiian tale dripping with suspense. A real page-turner that had me channelling my inner Sherlock Holmes in an attempt to solve the story’s mysteries. Written in an immersive style, Luigi was able to pull me into the story. On more than one occasion, I found myself muttering warnings to characters who were about to meet their doom.
Luigi sets the stage of the story on the captivating Islands of Hawaii. This allows him to weave thrilling bits of the Hawaiian culture into his tale and this adds so much color to the story. From the society’s history to the people’s language and practices, Luigi gives us a good descriptions of Hawaiian culture without appearing to take me through a history lesson.
Apart from making the cultural details of his setting fun, Luigi also includes them smartly. He sprinkles these facts in a way that they wouldn’t distract you from the book’s plot and themes. He ensures that his thoughts on the human mind, retribution, inclusion and love aren’t drowned out by the noise of too many details. This also allows the personalities of his characters to shine through. Kawika was particularly fascinating – a typical example of a seemingly weak protagonist who ends up rising to the occasion.
The author is a fan of mystery thrillers and claims to have been inspired by the works of Dan Brown and James Rollins. There’s no doubt he chose good models and didn’t do too badly with this book. If you have enjoyed the works of Luigi’s mentors, his style isn’t a far cry from theirs.
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The Literary Titan Book Awards are awarded to books that have astounded and amazed us with unique writing styles, vivid worlds, complex characters, and original ideas. These books deserve extraordinary praise and we are proud to acknowledge the hard work, dedication, and imagination of these talented authors.
Gold Award Winners
Silver Award Winners
Those Who Watch From Afar by Zack Hacker
The Art of Losing by Nooshin Mohajerin
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In a fictional city, a black couple is coming back from a fair when they are mistakenly stopped by a police officer, unfortunately, it ends with a murder. What follows is the complex dichotomy inside the police department, the obstacles that a mother and recent widow has to endure for justice, and the length to which the parties that seek to benefit from this tragedy will go.
A Betrayal in Black by Mark M. Bello is a story that doesn’t shy away from the harsh reality that black people in America face and how they have to adapt in order to survive.
A Betrayal in Black opens up in a lighthearted way and then transitions to a much darker and cruder story. Throughout the story I felt that the author had a clear understanding of law and police affairs.
When it comes to the technical parts of the story, Bello does a great job of immersing the reader into the world of law and order, with details that show the deep knowledge he has over legal prosecutions and police internal affairs. However, while this is immersing, it sometimes gets tedious and almost didactic, for example, when describing what a grand jury is, it almost feels like you are reading a law school book. But this is a minor flaw in an otherwise engaging story. The dialogue was interesting, and could even be funny at times.
A remarkable thing about this book is how it details every single aspect that goes into a case, from the murder itself to the conviction, all throughout detailing the victims grieving and the lawyers seeking justice. A particularly moving chapter is when the wife of the victim is speaking with their mother and they are retelling a story of how racism has evolved in this country, and, as angry as she may be, she can’t show it, because she is a woman of color.
This book was written in 2019, but the murder it describes is all too recent. The different ways black people have to think to present themselves to white people in order to be considered “equals” and not be dismissed as rude, is all too familiar. The themes in this book come at a crucial time, where stories like these are needed to paint a more vivid picture of the struggles minorities face in America. A Betrayal in Black is a must read.
Pages: 272 | ASIN: B0827D7LGX
Tags: author, Betrayal In Black, black literature, book, book review, bookblogger, civil rights, crime fiction, discrimination, drama, ebook, fantasy, fiction, goodreads, kindle, kobo, law, legal thriller, literature, Mark N. Bello, mystery, nook, novel, read, reader, reading, story, suspense, thriller, writer, writing
Eve of Destruction finds Eve transported back to Virginia and must stop Nyx by seeking a weapon that will help in the battle. What were some sources that shaped this novels development?
In Eve of the Hunters book two we find Eve turning her back on her duties and running away. Eve of Destruction she finds herself and the others transported back to Virginia by an unknown force. One of the factors about the book is that evil wins when good people do nothing. She is being forced to confront her fears and her duties. Innocent people are dying and the seals of hell are being opened because she refuses to step up and face Nyx. Another source is a new character that is being introduced in this book. The development of this character shaped the way I was allowed to write the scenes in this book. In fact, the monsters and the way people reacted to them and my characters shaped the novel.
What were some challenges you set for yourself as a writer with this book?
One of the challenges was to stay true to the characters at all times and to see from their POV how they would each react in a scene. People react differently so I had to make sure that I made Black act a certain way than Rowan would if they saw a zombie. No two people are going to react to situations the same way so that was the challenge. The monsters were a challenge in making sure they were there for a reason, not just popping them up. They had to be created for a reason. Cause and effect. Even though it is a fantasy novel it still needs to be believable and make sense to the reader. Another challenge was to make sure people believed this was happening in the 1700s. To create scenes when I can’t “see” these places myself is a challenge unto itself. I needed to paint a picture and hope the reader could see the places I created.
What were the morals you were trying to capture while creating your characters?
That it doesn’t matter what color we are, what station we are born into, how much money we have… in the end when the big bad comes he won’t care what color we are just that we are to be eradicated. The whole human race.
That you don’t have to be “born” into a family to have people love you and be willing to die for you. That people from diverse backgrounds can come together and forget their differences and end up respecting and caring for one another.
Courage, friendship, love, trust, hope is all the morals in all my characters. This book is about the dark side of humans, but it also about humans at their best and how we can fight back the hordes of hell to save our planet.
Can you tell us more about what’s in store for Eve and the direction of the next book?
Eve of the Battle is the last book of the series and it takes Eve on a journey of self discovery and healing emotionally from what Randall Cambridge did to her. She learns how to be a leader and what it takes to really be a Santorian female. She has a lot still to endure and battles that will be fought with loss and consequences to every decision she makes. The last book is about losing her fear and becoming what she was meant to be… a hero.
Devil Days in Deadwood follows Violet, mother/demon executioner, who must risk her life to save her aunt. What was the inspiration for the setup to this entertaining novel?
Throughout the first 10 books in the Deadwood Mystery series, we travel along with Violet Parker as she grows from being a newcomer, both in town and as a real estate agent, who knows nothing about her family history as “Executioners,” to her finding out she comes from a long line of killers. Eventually she realizes there is no escape from doing what she was born to do—kill supernatural troublemakers. Until now, through books one through ten, Violet has fumbled and stumbled with her duties, both as a real estate agent and as an executioner. But, at this point in the series, she has accepted her role and is now going forth with help from those around her. Inspiration wise, I’ve had a fun time building Violet’s character and skills through the first part of the series. Readers came along for the ride, cheering Violet on as she faltered, fell, got up again and began to see more and more successes. Now that we’ve rounded the first bend in the series along with Violet, we are able to watch her face foes that would have been the death of her back in the beginning. For those readers who have read the previous ten books, this eleventh in the series is doubly exciting.
Violet is a riveting character that I had fun following. What were some driving ideals behind her character motivations?
I have always enjoyed reading about heroes and heroines that I can relate to on different levels. Violet is a mother trying to protect her two kids. At the start of the series, she is like many single moms I’ve known—struggling financially, trying to raise her kids without a strong father figure, and wishing she had someone in her life to offer companionship, emotional support, and love. From the beginning, I wanted to create a heroine who was not only relatable, but funny, too. Violet handles her fears, frustrations, and worries with humor. I’ve always turned to humor in tough times, so it felt natural to write about a heroine who does the same. My goal with Violet was to give readers someone with whom they could laugh and cringe. Someone they could identify with on some level. A heroine who would refuse to give up, keep pushing onward and upward. In the end, I think Violet is a fun character because she doesn’t quit when the going gets tough, even though she sometimes would rather hide under her bed than go forth and conquer.
I enjoyed the dynamic between Executioner and devils throughout the story. How has this changed as your series progressed?
Initially, Violet’s reaction to supernatural beings included a lot of fear and fumbling. While many of her skills as an Executioner are innate, she is always learning about what else she is able to do both physically and mentally. Of course in the beginning, she struggled to accept what she was becoming and wanted more than anything to go back to her everyday life struggles rather than deal with the frightening creatures and adventures in front of her. By this eleventh book, though, she has more confidence in her abilities and a better understanding of what she can accomplish on her own, as well as with the help of her crew of friends and family. I’ve enjoyed watching Violet’s confidence and skills grow through the series. There have been a lot of laughs in the process that have made her journey even more fun.
This is book eleven in your Deadwood Humorous Mystery Book series. What can readers expect in book twelve?
There will be more laughs, more chills, and more fast-action page-turning fun. Violet has accepted what she is and what she needs to do to fulfill her role in her family line and protect those she loves. I have book 12 plotted and the first chapter written. I’m putting it aside to work with my husband, Sam Lucky, on book 3 of our Deadwood Undertaker series (which is the prequel series to the Deadwood Mystery series), but I will return to finish book 12 this fall for release in late 2020 or early 2021.
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Wolf Slayer is a thrilling blend of dystopian science-fiction, adventure, and political intrigue. What served as the inspiration behind the idea for this book?
The current political turmoil in the US is disturbing. Democracy is threatened globally by fascist oligarchs and autocrats. I believe most people are good, and would do something about it if they had the chance. My tale gives such a person that opportunity. I also wanted to show how bad things can get if we do not change our ways, and how humanity can tough it out and survive, like it has done throughout our history. The book is also the lead-in to a series of books where more threats will emerge, and where more everyday hero’s are given the chance to shine, like Matt Adams.
Matt Adams is an intriguing and well developed character. What were some driving ideals behind his character development?
I was thinking of the hero Winston Smith in Orwell’s 1984. Matt is caught up in an oppressive political system. He comes to recognize it as evil, and he feels shame for the people he has killed while fighting for his country. His country mistreats him as a veteran, but in the midst of a terrible economic depression, gives him a dangerous job spying on a rebel organization. The organization opens his eyes further, and gives him the chance to really make a difference. Matt grows further as he escapes and flees to his native wilderness of Quebec. He meets the woman of his dreams, and the political system changed by his actions lets them live in peace. So, unlike Winston Smith, Matt fights Big Brother (a.k.a. Uncle Ernie), and Matt wins.
The story takes place in a dystopian future. What were some themes you wanted to focus on when creating this future world?
Climate change and over-population will destroy our world if unchecked. The 1% wealthy run our world, and always seem to win. They will always fight wars over turf, accelerating the end of civilization. But ultimately, the skilled hunter-gathers in remote regions will be the survivors. And with a bit of forethought and investment, we can arm the survivors with a cache of knowledge to re-build a better world.
This is the first book in the Master Defiance series. What can readers expect in book two?
Book Two will be titled ‘Martian Hermitage’. Earth continues to decline, and natural calamities wipe out the last vestiges of civilization. The people in Moon Base are stranded, but they have been secretly preparing for an exodus… to Mars. Mars is a dry, sterile, hostile place, but it has more life-giving resources than the Moon for tough, ingenious people. But Mars is not as it seems. It has been visited before, by a noble race fleeing an evil alien race. And so, the ‘Masters’ are introduced to the series, and more hero’s will be needed…
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Demon Heart follows a a cop in Osaka who must hide the fact that she’s a demon hybrid while stopping a fanatic from acquiring an ancient artifact. What was the inspiration behind the idea for this suspenseful novel?
There were three important factors that contributed to the creation of this novel. The first was the exposure to the Japanese animation and cinema after my immigration to the United States in 1987. I am a great fan of the movies of Akira Kurosawa and also a great fan of Japanese anime, which is very beautifully made and with great attention to detail and emotional realism. My second inspiration came from the exposure to the Japanese customs and traditions as well as a unique way of thinking. Japan is the most technologically advanced country in the world and yet it is deeply rooted in old traditions. I admire their hard work, their designs and their great emphasis on personal honor and respect of people and nature. The third reason for the creation of this book was my strong and enduring friendship with my beautiful Japanese female friend, a young lady whom I met in college. My main character Naoko Kitamura is partly based on her character and her looks, and she is very beautiful!
Naoko Kitamura’s lineage and background were immensely interesting. How did you develop her background and what were some aspects that were important for you to focus on?
In my character design of Naoko Kitamura I made a reference to the formula followed by the writers and artists of Japanese manga and American graphic novels. This formula is simple. If you are an extraordinary person, it’s very hard for you to live an ordinary life. This is true of all superheroes, and Naoko Kitamura can be definitely classified as one. In developing her background and human-demonic lineage, I wanted to present her as a unique creature of both worlds, material and spiritual, a being of darkness and light blessed and cursed with immense powers and capability for great destruction. At the same time, I wanted her to take responsibility for everything she does. Since Naoko is Japanese, she does receive guidance and wisdom from her demonic ancestral memory and her mother, who is herself a demon hybrid. I wanted to present my protagonist as a strong, intelligent and independent woman and yet vulnerable both emotionally and physically, even if she can recover from almost any injury.
Osaka Japan is beautifully detailed in this story. What kind of research did you undertake to ensure things were accurate?
It is very important for every writer to get things right, especially if he or she is writing about another culture and people that represent that culture. A full year of intense and fascinating research went into creation of this novel. I wanted to understand not only how the modern japan works but to understand the intricacies of the Japanese mindset, their philosophy, history and their attitude toward life and death. I explored everything from food to movies to Japanese novels as well as interviews of my Japanese friends and study of books about Japan written by both academics and travelers, as well as fiction writers who studied Japanese culture and shared their findings with the world. Working on research for this novel was a great fun and a labor of love. I often try to place myself in my protagonist’s shoes and visualize their thoughts and actions to achieve the best literary as well as cinematic effect.
Do you have more stories planned that include Naoko?
Yes, I do have more stories planned for my demon hybrid protagonist Naoko Kitamura. Demon Heart is the first novel of the trilogy, which I plan to gradually introduce to our readers in the near future. Sometimes it is hard to determine whether or not the story would have a continuation. To make the series featuring a single main protagonist required a large amount of material to work with. I ended the Demon Heart novel with a scene that would hint on Naoko’s continuing adventures and a new life and a new identity that she would have to assume after making a heroic sacrifice to save her city from destruction. In the following novels, Naoko Kitamura will once again rise to defend her country and people she loves not just on the national but international scale. To my readers I would like to stay tuned for the more upcoming adventures of Naoko. One thing I would like to add is that she will return!
Eve of Darkness really puts the ‘dark’ in dark fantasy. Was this intentional or did this just happen organically while writing?
It was intentional. I wanted to take a time when we were at our cruelest to one another. Slavery, piracy, stations, disease, etc. I wanted to show that and then throw in a hell hound, demons, the walking dead, shapeshifters, and then some magic and see what would happen.
Eve of Darkness is really brought to life by Wesley Bruff’s narration. What was the collaboration like to convert your book to audio?
I was so very blessed to have found Wesley Bruff. Not only is he a talented narrator but he also just seems to “know” the characters and seems to understand what I want. He would do a character’s voice and then send it for me to review and it was so mind blowing how dead on point he was. He is AWESOME! He brought my book to life and made it seem real for me and the listener.
Do you see storytelling from a different perspective now that you’ve had your story read aloud?
Yes, now that I can listen I see how different it is then sitting down and creating that world.
Just hearing how the characters interact help me a lot more when I am writing.
Which of your other books do you plan to have in audiobook format?
Wesley Bruff is set to start on book two soon.
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