Wired by the FBI

Today it is my pleasure to welcome author Glenn Painter and Wired by the FBI, his suspense/thriller based on a true story.

Author’s description:

Christian Romano lives his life as a con-artist, burglar, drug dealer, and a ladies’ man, using his good looks to con wealthy women out of jewels and money. When he is arrested and jailed in one of the most violent jails in the U.S. (Cook County in Chicago), a steamy affair begins with a nympho female jail guard. When he loses control of the romance, Christian must end the affair by reporting her to Internal Affairs. It turns out that she is already under suspicion for supplying drugs to various gang members inside the jail. He has to decide if he is “”rogue”” enough to help set her up for arrest. Meanwhile, the FBI wants to recruit Christian to gather information against a sadist ex-cop, Scott Mason, who has been arrested for murder. The risk? Christian must wear a wire and testify. The reward? Witness protection for Christian and his girlfriend and a modification of his prison sentence. Will Christian risk his life for a chance at freedom? Will the female sheriff “”get even”” with him? Or will his life end at the hands of the jail’s drug lords or a lunatic former cop?

My Review:

In Wired by the FBI the Author Glenn Painter has written a captivating tale taking the reader into the mind and heart of a notorious criminal. Christian Romano is just bad enough you can’t like him, but he has enough compassion and sense of moral code that you can’t hate him either. You end up watching the story of his life with an obsessed fascination, unsure of what constitutes justice or a happy ending.

What I enjoyed:

Glenn Painter does an excellent job of channeling the thoughts and feelings of a man most of us would be hard-pressed to understand. At its best, this tale provides those little details that make Christian human. His sorrow at his brother dying of aids. His love of Chicago. His bold willingness to take down a sadist, and his inability to comprehend cruelty for cruelty’s sake. Even his honesty about his own opportunism and his inability to resist seduction no matter how much he loves his current flame has something endearing about it. You don’t want to see the system squash him like a bug, because the author makes it clear how human he is.

What I struggled with:

Occasionally, the book seemed as if it was name dropping notorious criminals. Sometimes I got tired of the depressing descriptions of life in jail, and got frustrated with the main characters penchant for finding new trouble, or getting himself back into old trouble. I found the second half of the book more difficult than the first.

As the novel concluded, I realized the biggest problem it faced is that even though it is written like a work of fiction, the author is not writing a suspense thriller. He is giving a slightly fictionalized first person account of a real person’s life. He can’t bend reality into a story arc with redemption and a happy ending. Or with a hero’s tragic demise. Or with a bad guy getting his just desserts. Christian’s reality is far more complex than what we expect from fiction, and Glenn Painter is stuck with how it really happened. It isn’t particularly pretty.

To me, the books’ ending isn’t satisfying and at first I was baffled by why the author would invest so much time and energy into telling this story. Then I read his biography (which appears below) and it made more sense.

“He is an advocate for incarcerated individuals who have had their rights violated.”

Indeed, this is a story of such an individual. By the end of the book the reader knows the many ways a sometimes corrupt and often heartless system abused this man for its own often inconsistent ends. Sometimes, by his own admission, he got treated better than he deserved. More often, his freedom and his life were no more than a tool for law enforcement to use. Justice, fairness and even simple honesty were seldom part of the equation.

Every part of Christian Romano’s life may not be fun to read about, but I agree with the author that such stories need to be told.

About the Author:

Glenn Painter is single and lives in Central Florida.  He became interested in writing at an early age but did not make it his career until 2014 when he published his first book, Beyond the Sentence.

Glenn has written this story from the notes by the man who actually lived it.  However, extensive research was also require in order to make the story factual.

Glenn has also founded a company, ‘Prisoner Civil Right Services.’  He is an advocate for incarcerated individuals who have had their rights violated.  He is in constant contact with these individuals, their families and the council.  Most of his stories are inspired by ‘factual events’ that have happened to these individuals.  This makes his stories both fiction and non-fiction.

Glenn says that writing is very challenging, and you must love the trials and tribulations that come with it.  He believes that patience, perseverance and determination are required essentials to see a book through to being published.  The journey is just as important as the destination.

Find Glenn Painter on Goodreads or on Twitter. 

Check out this new trailer for Wired by the FBI.

Visit Glenn Painter on his website, or on his Amazon author page.

Wired by the FBI will be on sale during this tour. The eBook will be $2.99 everywhere and the print copy will be discounted 40% on Amazon.

Buy Wired by the FBI on Amazon.

Buy Wired by the FBI at Barnes & Nobel.

Yes, there are TWO giveaways!

The author will be awarding a $50 Amazon/BN gift card to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

Enter here to win.

Also, the author will be awarding an additional $100 Amazon gift card to a randomly drawn commenter. Please scroll to the bottom of this post to comment. If you don’t see a place to “add your thoughts” then click on the number of comments listed at the end of all the tags to add your own comment and be eligible for this prize.

This post is part of a tour sponsored by Goddess Fish. Check out all the other tour stops. If you drop by each of these and comment, you will greatly increase your chances of winning.

A Letter from the Author

Hello Readers!

Welcome to my 15-week book tour which starts on April 14th and concludes on July 30th. This tour was planned before the onset of this terrible covid-19 virus which has invaded our world.  I want to extend my deepest sympathy to everyone, especially those who have lost loved ones.

A donation from me will be going out immediately to the charity I have listed below and I will also be donating 25% of any royalties from the book which is featured on this tour, to the covid-19 Response Fund.  This fund gives support to preparedness, containment, response and recovery activities. The 25% of royalties will be donated when I receive the final notification of number of books sold. I am also encouraging all authors to make some sort of donation to help with the recovery efforts.  WE ARE ALL IN THIS FIGHT TOGETHER!

We all are wondering what the long-term impact this covid-19 virus will be to our communities and our livelihoods, Every American, as well as the companies that have worked very hard for every author have been affected, but I have faith that we will recover from this terrible pandemic if we all stick together and we all do our part – no matter how small.

I will also be donating, (over and above what Goddess/Fish is offering):

$100 Amazon Gift certificate to one randomly drawn commentator

 $100 Amazon gift certificate to one randomly drawn host.

These drawings will be done via Rafflecopter that will be created by Goddess/Fish Promotions at the end of the tour.  To all of my fellow-authors – please don’t forget our marketing representatives, book agents, reviewers,commentator’s, hosts, etc..who are probably working from home and trying to help us.

I will be posting all pertinent information on my web site www.gapainter.com once the tour is over.  The Gift Certificates will be mailed immediately after the tour is completed and the 25% will be posted once I receive royalties resulting in the sale of all electronic and print versions of WIRED By The FBI.

I wish that I could do more, however, with every-one’s support, WE WILL BEAT THIS TERRIBLE SETBACK.

Thank you, god bless all of you and the United States of America.

Glenn Painter

 

 

 

R.I.P in Reykjavik

Today it is my pleasure to welcome author A.R. Kennedy and her cozy mystery novel, R.I.P in Reykjavik.

Author’s description:

Traveling with your family can be murder.

One wedding party + one estranged mother = another vacation that goes array for Naomi.

Naomi is off on another international vacation. She thinks traveling with her mother will be the most difficult part of her trip until she meets the rest of the tour group—a wedding party. It only gets worse when she finds the groom dead. Everyone’s a suspect on her Icelandic tour of this stunning country.

My Review

In R.I.P in Reykjavik, A.R. Kennedy has taken her idea of combining arm chair travel and cozy crime stories up a notch. This is a witty, fun and easy-to-read amateur sleuth novel that will once again have you turning the pages to cheer on its rookie crime solver. This time around, you’ll be enjoying the beauty and charm of Iceland while you do it.

Naomi acts more grown-up in this novel, and her previous amateur sleuthing in Africa has made her more competent at solving murders, too. It makes her a more likable sleuth. As a bonus, the reader gets new details about her dysfunctional family and I think this knowledge makes the whole series more appealing.

One of my favorite things about her writing is the ongoing humor. Enough sly wit was scattered throughout the story to keep me smiling, but I was laughing out loud near the end as Naomi made a video for her sister of the coming and goings in the hotel hallway. It’s worth reading the book just for that scene.

Deep twists and unexpected turns regarding the murder aren’t Kennedy’s MO, but once again we get an adequately complex cast of suspects, and a satisfying ending. I’ll take that any day.

I recommend this book to anyone who likes cozy mysteries, amateur sleuth novels or travel.

Check out my review of the author’s previous book Sleuth on Safari.

The teaser at the end of R.I.P in Reykjavik says Naomi’s next adventure will be in Australia. I’m looking forward to it!

About the Author

A R Kennedy lives in Long Beach, New York, with her two pups. She works hard to put food on the floor for them. As her favorite T-shirt says, ‘I work so my dog can have a better life’. She’s an avid traveler. But don’t worry. While she’s away, her parents dote on their grand-puppies even more than she does. Her writing is a combination of her love of travel, animals, and the journey we all take to find ourselves.

Find her on Goodreads, Facebook, Instagram, Bookbub or on Twitter. 

Buy R.I.P in Reykjavik on Amazon or find it at Books2read.

Yes, there is a giveaway.

A. R. Kennedy will be awarding a $25 Amazon/BN gift certificate to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

Enter here to win.

This post is part of a tour sponsored by Goddess Fish. Check out all the other tour stops. If you drop by each of these and comment, you will greatly increase your chances of winning.

A Personal Note

I’ve haven’t yet had the good fortune to travel to Iceland, but I did get to research it for my novel Flickers of Fortune. My hero Ariel, also a tourist, did many of the same things Naomi did, including visiting the Blue Lagoon and eating at the Lava restaurant. It was extra fun for me to read these scenes!

 My Favorite Excerpt

We stopped for lunch at a local restaurant. As I sat down at one of the long benches, my cell phone rang. Charlotte’s face appeared on the screen. I ran outside to answer it.

“So I heard you had a late night,” Charlotte said.

“Not the time.” I looked over my shoulder to make sure no one had followed me out. “The police think it might not be an accident.”

Charlotte audibly sighed. “Is that why it was a long night? You were with the police?”

“No, one of Ösp’s friends is a police officer.”

“You mean Thor.”

“Please don’t encourage Mother. His name is Ösp. I don’t want her nickname to stick.”

“Her nickname? I called him that,” she corrected me. “He looks like Thor.”

I looked over my shoulder at the restaurant’s entrance. “Looks like? How do you know what he looks like? Did you cyberstalk him? Check the hotel’s website for the staff’s pictures?”

“No. Mom texted me pictures.”

Horrified, I asked, “And how did she get them?”

“She followed you to the lobby.”

“Nice.”

“Give her a break. She was excited. It was like seeing you on your first date.”

“I’ve been on dates before.” I glanced over my shoulder again for any of the suspects.

“But Mom didn’t see that. She didn’t see the first dates, the proms. That was all Dad.”

“Would you like it if Dad followed you out on a date?”

“I don’t think Dad cares about those things.”

She was probably right.

“Anyway, this police officer I met last night said the autopsy must have shown something because they hadn’t closed the case yet.”

“So you turned your date into a fact-finding mission?”

“It was a happy coincidence.” I thought I heard the door open behind me. I turned to see no one. It must have been the wind.

“Why do you keep looking behind you?” Charlotte asked.

“Just making sure none of the suspects can hear me.”

“Suspects? You’ve turned your traveling companions into suspects?” She paused before adding, “Again?”

I ignored her. “Hurry up, Charlotte. Someone is going to come out looking for me soon.”

“Fine. If he drowned, I bet they’d say it was an accident. They’d find water in his lungs if he drowned. Maybe the autopsy didn’t find water in his lungs. That doesn’t rule out a cardiac event. That may be hard to prove. Most likely they are waiting for the toxicology results. That’s going to take a few days.”

I looked at the restaurant door and wished I could run in for my backpack, so I could take notes. “And what would that show?”

“Whatever was in his system. Maybe drugs, poisons.”

“I forgot to ask. If it was poison, how long before he died would he have to be poisoned?”

“Depends on the poison. Probably an hour or two, I guess.”

“Could you get a poison through TSA?”

“In something in a bottle with less than three ounces, sure. Could have been a powder. They could have bought it locally too. Rat poison and antifreeze has been used in a lot human deaths.”

“Can you think of anything specific I should look for?”

“You should look who’s coming up behind you,” she said before hanging up.

Love, Lies, and Bad Guys

Today it is my pleasure to welcome author Bill Blodgett and his Romantic Suspense novel, Love, Lies, and Bad Guys.

Author’s description:

When US Marshal Jay Stonewalker sees a possible terrorist comment in a chatroom frequented by anti-government radicals suggesting a nuclear threat to New York City, specifically the Waldorf Astoria Hotel, he can’t get it out of his mind. Against his boss’s orders he heads off to NYC to investigate on his own time. While there he follows a suspicious character into a secluded recess of the New York Subway system and foils what he believes is the terrorist event.  In a shoot-out with his suspect he’s wounded and calls the NYC PD for backup.  When he sees NYPD Detective KC Daviau and other uniformed officers slipping into the darkness from the subway platform he’s relieved, but to his surprise he’s met with resistance and disrespect by Detective Daviau.

Against his objections, KC takes custody of the evidence and leaves the scene. When Jay asks an officer if she is always that way he’s told that, “Since her parents died, she’s been… let’s say… a little cold.”   When they are assigned to work the case together,  KC’s icy exterior soon begins to melt away as they begin to fall for each other, but KC has to hold back. She has a dark secret and knows he can’t ever know her truths because if he did he would hate her just as she hates herself for what she’s about to do.

A Special Guest Post from Author Bill Blodgett:

Love, Lies and Bad Guys involves a terrorist plot so I asked Bill Blodgett if he was apprehensive when he did the research to write about terrorist threats. Here is is fascinating answer:

At first I wasn’t. It seemed like researching any other book. I found out about the Native Americans, who were labeled Downwinders because they were exposed to nuclear fallout that was carried downwind after the tests of the atomic bombs in the 1940’s through the early 1960’s in Nevada. Many Downwinders developed various kinds of cancer due to the exposure. Then I contacted several leaders in the Native American community and asked for their input and they were very willing to share what information they had, especially after I told them my wife was part Native American. It was all very natural and a great learning experience.

Then I researched nuclear power plants near New York City, and it was again very natural. It’s then the research began to get serious. I researched the subway system of NYC looking for easy points of access. Then I looked into dirty bombs and what they were made from and how to make them. After that I researched how Homeland Security and other agencies monitored for possible terrorists. I had to create a world that would be believable to the reader, whether they were techno savvy or not. That led to the dark web and dark web browsers that would hide these would be terrorist’s identity and location. Then, of course, the research demanded that I look into Virtual Private Networks, VPN’s. VPN’s also hide your identity by masking where you are logged in from.

They say that curiosity killed the cat and I was beginning to be concerned that I was on that slippery slope, but I felt I needed to continue.  I guessed the searches I was conduction on Google contained certain words that would be flagged by law enforcement and I was just waiting for Homeland Security to be at my doorstep any day! In a way it was kind of scary, even though I knew I wasn’t doing anything illegal, but I would have to explain and they’d probably seize my computer, freeze my bank accounts and put me on the “No Fly” list until the matter got settled in maybe five to ten years!!

I downloaded TOR, the most popular dark web browser, but didn’t bother to purchase a VPN from any of the popular venders that can be found online these days. The TOR browser is a dark web search engine much like Google, but it hides your identity and location by jumping for one “node” or location to another all around the world. This was all new to me. Interesting, but a little weird.

So after researching the use of TOR I went online and searched for random things and the lists of providers was immense and most were selling something illegal, from drugs to chat rooms about any subject you could ever dream of. At that point I figured that maybe I was in a gray area of legality and consorting with questionable characters from around the world. Yes, I was just lurking in those chatrooms, but I was still there! I knew I had enough knowledge about the Dark Web to write about it so I uninstalled TOR. Then I began to write Love, Lies, and Bad Guys!

Bill Blodgett tells us a little about himself:

I still live in the community where I met and married my lovely wife, Janice. Actually, she lived around the corner from me and we both ignored each other until our teen years when the hormone thing kicked in and we suddenly realized that the cute little girl skipping rope and that goofy boy riding a bike had both grown up.

We are the proud parents of April and Lindsay; both of whom are now married. April married Darren and they have two beautiful boys, Brian and Owen. Lindsay married Tim and they have two beautiful children: Kailyn and Evan.

I enjoy hiking, kayaking, camping with my family, golfing, making candles, and restoring my antique European sports car, a 1972 MGB.

They say to write from what you know, so I do. I write of love, life and relationships. In addition to the romantic plot we all expect from a Romance novel all of my books deal with a real-world issue as a sub-plot  that we all have had to deal in some manner in life, but not in a preachy way.  I find that including this sort of theme helps me identify with my characters on a personal level. My hope is that the reader will also feel that connection with my characters.

I have four other published novels. Dead Or A Lie and Saint’s Sword are vampire Romances. Unrequited is a contemporary novel with romantic elements and received 4 stars from Romantic Times Book Review magazine. The Last Prejudice is a family saga that deals with the issues a family must address when a family member comes out.

I have been a member of the RWA and the Central New York Romance Writers since 2004 and have held various posts in my local group. By day I am a construction inspector for an engineering company.

Find the Bill Blodgett on Facebook, or on Twitter. 

Visit him on his website,or email him at bill@billblodgett.com.

 Buy Love, Lies, and Bad Guys on Amazon.

 Buy Love, Lies, and Bad Guys at Barnes and Noble

Yes, there is a giveaway.

Bill Blodgett will be awarding a $20 Amazon or Barnes and Noble gift certificate to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

Enter here to win.

This post is part of a tour sponsored by Goddess Fish. Check out all the other tour stops. If you drop by each of these and comment, you will greatly increase your chances of winning.

My Favorite Excerpt:

“I was surprised to see you had body art.”

“It isn’t body art. It is my belief. I guess that’s why I don’t show them.  It’s personal. They are of my Goddess, Mother Earth and the symbol of our tribe, the mighty eagle. The Mother Earth Tree Goddess demonstrates the circle of life. Where all things on land, air and water are connected. They are all one. If one element is removed, the tree will wither and die. We believe that it is the same for people. We must be as one or we will all eventually suffer. The Eagle is our symbol for bravery, something that is essential to take on such a derêp.” He saw her puzzled look and continued before she could speak. “Derêp is our word for job or chore. The Eagle is dedicated to protecting our tribe, which is a very difficult job. I use his image to remind myself each day that my task is difficult and not to falter.  If you were just another chick, maybe I’d say they were body art, but I want to share that part of me with you.”

“So…” she teased. “How many other chicks have admired your body art?”

He laughed lightly with maybe a hint of a gallows laugh, “Not as many as you might guess.”

A Personal Note:

My own novel, One of One, involves a terrorist plot to blow up a plane. Like Author Bill Blodgett, I wanted to have my facts correct and my plot realistic. I went after the information I needed the same way we all do; I searched for it on the internet. Somewhere in the middle of seeking facts about explosives and the sturdiness of aircraft it occurred to me I could be attracting attention. The last thing I wanted was to find myself on a no fly list for the rest of my life. (I do love to travel …)

I was fascinated to learn Bill Blodgett went through much of the same process, and also found himself in places on the web which gave him pause. I thank him for being a good sport and providing such a thorough and interesting answer to my question!