Sleuth Fest 2016 is being held in February here in Deerfield Beach, Florida. This is Mystery Writers of America’s premier conference. It’s a wonderful opportunity to meet and greet other authors in the crime fiction/mystery writer league. Seminars are held to provide attendants ways to hone craft skills. There is also time given to pitch your completed, unpublished manuscript to agents. The list of offerings:
* Agent Appointments to pitch your finished work
* Critiques of your 10 page manuscript submission
* Forensic track with current forensic techniques and hands-on forensic workshops
* Social events to mingle with agents, editors and your favorite authors
* Auction to purchase critiques of your work by bestselling authors
* Sessions on the craft of writing
* Sessions on marketing and promoting your work
* Practice your Pitch sessions with experienced authors
You’re not promised a one:one with an agent as the 10 minute time slots fill up fast and I’d be coming in kind of late to the party. Yet, the introverted part of me that cringes at the thought of physically putting myself into a social situation like this also feels it would be grand experience. Do I dare?
Anybody want to meet me there and hold my hand? I’ll pay your plane fair. I’m serious.
I want to go and give it a try, but my social anxiety cripples me.
I am a serious boat person and love crime fiction so this book had me intrigued from the start. John J. Cannon is an average Joe, an attorney, trying to escape the stress of the Courtroom and office, when he heads to the Texas coast and buys a yacht from a broker who is not entirely on the up and up with him. She ends up dead. Poor John, absorbed with minutia and afflicted with OCD, gets sucked into the middle of a criminal catastrophe. There is one dilemma after another placed in front of him.
This is only the second book I have read that is written in present tense, so it took some adjustment. It is also written in first person, which I felt allowed me to get really close to the protagonist. He’s an endearing fellow who tries to make all that’s going wrong right, trying to save both his boat and innocent people from a group of terrorists. There is subtle humor tucked into every chapter. The story takes us through some crazy situations that John never expected he would have to face and is ill equipped to handle alone.
Enter Ned, the Chief of Police, and Jason, who incidentally becomes a sailing companion. Teased by action throughout the book, the intensity at the climax had me biting my nails. Howell does an excellent job creating characters and scenarios we can care about. You can’t help but become invested in the outcomes. The suspense is also as thrilling as one would expect. I would be remiss not to mention both the line and copy editing could have been tighter before publication. That issue aside, it is a most enjoyable debut crime novel. I look forward to future works by this author.
Today I received a hard copy of one of the best books I have read in twenty years, autographed by the author, Patrick O’Bryon. “Corridor of Darkness” is a book I highly recommend. I am most pleased to have this book in paperbound version. It is a historical thriller set in what becomes Nazi Germany. Patrick is an Indie author and owner of Brantome Press. His book is most professionally done.
I first read it on digital copy, and knew right away that I wanted a paper copy. It is a moving story filled with characters that you will remember forever. The writing style is phenomenal, and one I would like to study. I loved the vivid imagery of pre-war Germany, the manner in which the character personalities developed depth and evolved over the course of the passages. The pace changes were perfect reflections of a languid aristocratic existence to one of excitement and adventure, fighting to survive in the most perilous of circumstances.
It is a comprehensive, yet intimate, book covering the life of an American reporter, Ryan Lemmon, who becomes a spy, his lusts and loves, youthful adventures as a student in Germany, his personal experiences in discovering the atrocities of the Nazi regime, the darkness and power of the regime, and the dangerous mission to bring both meaningful people and information out of the country. There are twists and turns throughout the book, that shock you with the unexpected. It is blended with colorful history, as the horror of the Holocaust begins to emerge. In the final chapters, you sit on the edge of your seat in suspense, unable to put the book down, turning quickly through the pages in a race to see what is about to happen next. This is a book that everyone should read at least once. I have already read it twice.
According to the U.S. census, 70% of all Americans can trace their roots back to Germany. Most of these people came to this country long before the Holocaust, settling in places as far south as Florida and as far west as California. The eastern seaboard was inhabited primarily by those with German/Dutch heritage for a full century. Much of the heart of the country became home to those who settled and farmed here. Click on images to enlarge.
My children’s great-grandparents on their father’s side were all German. Great Grandma Schultz, who lived to be 104 years, had parents who came to this country in the late 1800s. Her father built Victorian houses in Detroit. The Strodthoffs came as individuals in their early twenties on board separate boats that docked at Ellis Island. Great Grandpa Strodthoff , a painter, said he went to the docks with his Uncle and they saw the two sisters, Great Grandma and her sister, and he picked out the one that had the widest hips in hopes of having a wife who could easily bear children. They had immigrated in 1921, and kept their thick accents into their eighties.
Partick’s words in “Corridor of Darkness” brought back the stories that I recalled from my children’s immediate ancestors, and those relatives whom we visited with in 1985 that had remained in Germany. The relatives had shared some horrific tales and there was envy by many who resented not having been prepared or allowed to leave that country before and during WW II. Several of the old timers had unwittingly surrendered their souls to Nazi service to prevent perishing in a world that they did not fully understand. Others had Jewish friends who disappeared in the night, never to be heard from again. Many assisted those in need.
My daughter, in college, had opportunity, also, to do a study abroad that took her to visit some of these cousins again, and the younger ones all spoke fluent English and had no recollections of their Great Grandparent’s nightmares. At least, they weren’t spoken about.
I applaud Patrick O’Bryon’s literary work and look forward to his next novel, “Beacon of Vengeance”.
Thank you, Patrick! I will read it again and again, so I don’t expect it to remain in this pristine condition. It will most likely become quite dog-eared as I pass it around. I want my grown children to read it.
Read the stellar reviews and get your copy here today!