Search

John M. Wills

Books and blog

Category

novel

Science Makes a Great Mystery

Today I visit with J.L. Greger a fellow novelist and member of the Public Safety Writers Association. I’m sure you’ll find her new novel intriguing. Enjoy!reduced flu

Do you realize how many mystery and thriller writers have science backgrounds? Consider Arthur Conan Doyle (physician), Agatha Christie (apothecaries’ assistant during World War I) Michael Crichton (physician by training), Kathy Reichs (forensic anthropologist), and Robin Cook ( physician). Thus, it’s not surprising as a retired biology professor from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, I write mystery/suspense novels with tidbits of science.

Scientists, especially physicians, write mysteries and thrillers for several reasons: 1. Science is a way to add intriguing bits of reality to fiction. 2. Nothing is scarier than a disease which resists known medical treatments. 3. Finding a cure for a new disease or making a vaccine against a new virus is an example of problem solving. That’s pretty similar to solving a fictional mystery but with higher consequences. 4. The stress of medical emergencies bring out the best and worst in real or fictional characters.

Let me tell you how science is integral to the plot of my new thriller: In The Flu Is Coming, a new type of flu — the Philippine flu — kills nearly half of the residents in an upscale, gated community in less than a week. Those who survive become virtual prisoners in their homes when a quarantine is imposed. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recruits Sara Almquist, a resident of the community and a scientist, to apply her skills as an epidemiologist to find ways to limit the spread of the epidemic. As she pries into her neighbors’ lives, she finds promising scientific clues. Unfortunately, she also learns too much about several of them and violence ensues when they try to escape the quarantine.

The flu I describe in my thriller could happen.

CDC and the World Health Organization are constantly watching for emerging flu viruses, fearing one will emerge with the virulence of the virus that caused the flu pandemic of 1918. Did you know: One-third of the world’s population was infected with that virus and 50 million died worldwide?

All it would take for another flu pandemic are small mutations in avian or swine flu viruses (not previously occurring in humans) that allowed them to be transmitted among humans. In The Flu Is Coming, those mutations occurred in the Philippines. While scientist like, my heroine Sara Almquist, struggle to find clues that will allow the development of effective vaccines and antivirals, the flu spreads rapidly. Scary but real?

Of course, Sara gets involved in a lot more than science in The Flu Is Coming when she learns too much about the criminal activities of a couple of her neighbors. So, fans of police procedurals won’t be disappointed. They’ll get a snap shot of the problems faced by law enforcement agents during a quarantine.
Why don’t you read The Flu Is Coming and learn a little thrilling science?

Thumbnail of the new novel: In The Flu Is Coming, epidemiologist Sara Almquist is trying to stop two killers: the Philippine flu, which is rapidly wiping out everyone in a walled community in New Mexico, and a drug kingpin determined to break out of the quarantined enclave.

The paperback version of The Flu Is Coming is available at: https://www.amazon.com/Flu-Coming-Science-Traveler/dp/0578423251. The Kindle version at: https://www.amazon.com/Flu-Coming-Science-Traveler-Book-ebook/dp/B07KX3J37W

Bio: J.L. Greger is a scientist and research administrator turned novelist. She likes to include tidbits of science in her award-winning thriller/mystery novels: Murder: A Way to Lose, Riddled with Clues, and others. To learn more, visit http://www.jlgreger.com.

Snow Angel by Jackie Taylor Zortman

My fellow author and good friend, Jackie, has just released her new novel. You won’t want to miss another Max Richards mystery because it guarantees to hold your attention and have you fully invested in the story.

Here’s a preview:

Snow Angel Cover on AmazonWhen homicide detective, Max Richards, and his sister suddenly inherit their mother’s estate, they find an old wooden box on a shelf in her bedroom closet.  It reveals a secret she kept carefully hidden and connects them to an abandoned Victorian house in Snowflake, Colorado where Max and his wife already own a remote cabin.

During Christmas they fly to Snowflake to investigate the empty and abandoned old house.  Following their tire tracks in the snow, the new city police chief is introduced into their lives and quickly becomes an important part of their tight knit circle of friends.

After the holidays, Max returns to the city emotionally restless. He retires from his thirty year homicide job, pulls up roots and moves permanently to Snowflake where he quickly becomes part of the small police force. Unexpected twists and turns take control of their lives and changes things in ways they never dreamed.

Find out what was in that box that had such power and what paths it led Max, Sami and his sister, Willow, to follow.

About Jackie

Jackie Taylor Zortman is the author of a non-fiction book “We Are Different Now”, first Jackie by Amyplace award winning fiction novel “Footprints in the Frost” and award winning novel “Snow Angel”. “Footprints in the Frost introduced homicide detective Max Richards and explored his life on and off the job. “Snow Angel” continues his story.

She has written and had published numerous articles and short stores for various publications for the last 26 years.  She is a Charter Member of the Public Safety Writers Association and the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers. A contributing author to the anthologies “Felons, Flames & Ambulance Rides”, “American Blue”, “The Centennial Book of the National Society of Daughters of the Union” and “Recipes by the Book, Oak Tree Authors Cook”.  She also writes poetry, genealogy and history. She has won 10 writing awards in the last four years.

She lives in a bustling quaint tourist town high in the beautiful mountains of Colorado with her husband and Siamese cat. When the deep snows of winter blanket the terrain surrounding her home, it becomes the perfect spot in which to write.

Learn more about Jackie and her books at Jackie’s Mountain Memos – www.jtzortman.wordpress.com.

Great New Author

It’s always exciting to discover an author who has the ability to capture your attention immediately and then hold it through 400 pages. That’s exactly what happened when I began reading Shot To Pieces by Michael O’Keefe. I initially balked at the length of the story, thinking it might bog down simply because of its page count. I was wrong. O’Keefe turns out to be a terrific writer who has penned a fantastic murder mystery/thriller.

A1Oen5HN44L._UX250_O’Keefe’s protagonist, NYPD Detective Paddy Durr, is a multi-faceted individual. In a sense, he’s a throwback to the days when cops did what needed to be done and damn the bosses and political correctness. His gruff aggressive nature turns some people off, but no one can question Paddy’s heart or his ability to get the job done.

Paddy has a myriad of problems in his life that complicate his world. From his relationship with his wife, to the bureaucracy of big city policing and interference from politicians, his daily journey is a minefield that threatens to explode with the smallest misstep. He has no tolerance for any colleagues that don’t give their all or who take shortcuts. When Paddy is on a case, be assured he won’t rest until he solves it. His total attention to his job, while being a positive attribute professionally, means his private life is practically nonexistent.

Complicating matters is Paddy’s inability to forgive himself for past transgressions. He so desperately wants to please his estranged wife that he convinces himself the only solution is to let her go. Since she has always been the love of his life, he’s wracked with guilt and self-recrimination. He sees no possibility of reconciliation, thus he lives day to day with the proverbial dark cloud hanging over his head.shot to pieces

It’s easy to see that O’Keefe is a tough street-smart cop. Shot To Pieces reads like non-fiction. The characters, settings, and situations jump off the page. The author has a gift for storytelling—allowing the reader to visualize every character, from the punk on the street to the mayor of New York. The scenes and locations are beautifully written so that readers almost feel like they’re watching the action unfold as he writes.

Not only does O’Keefe do a masterful job in describing the murder investigation, but in describing several scenes with his wife I had to reach for a tissue. This tough ex-cop has a romantic side to him that puts him right up there with romance novel writers. To be able to go from describing a brutal murder to developing a tender love scene with a spouse is a remarkable gift. Such talent!

Based on Michael O’Keefe’s debut novel, I predict much success for this writer. It’s hard to imagine that his work can get much better, but I have to believe that we’ll be hearing many good things about him in the future. Well done, Michael!

 

Meet author David Coppage

Today I’m hosting David Coppage, author of They Paid Me For This?: Stories From Over Three Decades in Law Enforcement.

Tell us about your new book, David.

My book is a memoir of my more than thirty years in law enforcement, including five years as a local police officer in Montgomery, AL, followed by 28 years at the Federal level- 16 as a special agent with the U.S. Customs Service. Customs became ICE and then Homeland Security Investigations after the creation of the DHS following 9/11. I concluded with 12 years as a U.S. Federal Air Marshal before retiring in 2014.

91hhlneriwlThe book is a compilation of stories documenting many of the things I saw during my career, including casework, arrests and seizures, as well as a behind the scenes look at three law enforcement agencies for which I worked. Most people who have not served in law enforcement positions have a view of the job developed through watching movies and cop shows on TV. They Paid Me For This? is my attempt to give the reader a realistic look at what it’s like to be a cop and/or federal agent in the world of law enforcement, absent the dramatization and lack of realism found in most Hollywood depictions.

David, what prompted you to write your story?

My initial motivation in writing this book was to leave a written legacy of my career for my children (and future grandchildren) about what I dedicated my entire adult life to by way of vocation. Having no training whatsoever in the art of writing, I consulted years of daily journals I kept throughout my career (and thankfully saved) to recount the many individual stories that make up the crux of the book. Besides the specific stories, my book allowed me the opportunity to share my personal feelings about policing, and how for me it was never simply about doing a job. For me, my career in law enforcement was a true calling, doing what I had a passion for and doing what I believe God had put me on this earth to do.

How did you become published?

I consulted with and used the services of Booklogix, a self-publishing firm, to self-publish my memoir They Paid Me For This?: Stories From Over Three Decades in Law Enforcement.

Have you written anything else; are there future projects on the horizon?

Following the completion of my memoir, I wrote my first novel, Barbaric Justice, a political thriller set in Washington, D.C. Murder, conspiracy and intrigue directly impact the race for the presidency, as a secret cabal of former military heroes take it upon themselves to act as judge, jury, and executioner, attempting to cure the ills inflicted on their great country by those inside and outside of government trying to turn America into a socialist utopia. The Gavin Literary Agency (Mary Ellen Gavin, literary agent) is representing the Barbaric Justice manuscript, soliciting various publishing houses in an attempt to get the manuscript published. I’m presently writing the sequel to Barbaric Justice, a novel that will be entitled Barbaric Retribution.51wsqdzz0l-_ux250_

What about your personal life, David?

I live in Senoia, GA (home of The Walking Dead) with my wife, Melissa, and our two grown children, Casey and Kyle. When not working on writing projects, I work as a real estate agent with Keller Williams Atlanta Partners in Newnan, GA.

Thanks for a wonderful look into your world of writing–all of your books sound quite interesting. More importantly, thank you for your years of service as a law enforcement professional. Enjoy your retirement, David.

 

 

 

 

 

Bronx Justice: An NYPD Novel

Today I’m hosting Bob Martin, former NYPD captain, who has a new novel called, Bronx Justice. Bob, tell us about your book.

Sure, John. The book is based on a case I worked as a captain with the Bronx Homicide bronx-justiceSquad in 1990. We had a black drug gang, The Crew, team up with some white “wanna be”  wise-guys, The Cowboys.Rival drug dealers were targeted. The Cowboys, dressed as plainclothes cops, would arrest, read, kidnap the victim, and turn them over to The Crew. Ransom demands were made. If paid, the dealers were set free. If not, a bullet in the head and another body dropped on a Bronx street. The year 1990 saw a record 2,605 homicides, with the Bronx alone recording over 600 murders. With some great detective work, the case was solved and all were convicted in federal court. Years later, as I continued to share this story, people kept telling me, “This would make for a great book.” I agreed, and after sixteen years of starts and stops I finally wrote the story.

Bob, tell us how you got started writing.

My writing journey began with a story I did about legendary Queens Homicide Lieutenant, Dan Kelly. He had been doing homicide work in Queens for over thirty years when I became his boss in 1989. I was pursuing my college degree at the time and taking a course called, NYPD History. I interviewed Dan for a term paper. My teacher, an ex cop thought the piece was good enough to get published, and in 1991 it appeared in The Badge magazine. I have had numerous articles published in various newspapers and magazines. In 1999 my “The Joint Terrorist Task Force-A Concept That Works,” appeared in the FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin. Most are personality pieces, law enforcement, terrorism or sports stories. My first writing paycheck came from a story I did for New York Newsday, “A Team and a Family,” published in 2008. Sticking to the concept of “write what you know,” it was a story about the NYPD football team. I was a charter member, played for a dozen years and founded the team’s alumni association, so I was on very familiar ground. Most recently I’ve had three law enforcement related Op-Eds published in the New York Post. My next project will be to publish a series of NYPD short stories. This will happen after I take a much needed break, after finally seeing Bronx Justice published.

Bob Martin NYPD.

2016-11-11-09-43-33Served with the NYPD for 32 years in a wide variety of commands that included the fabled Tactical Patrol Force (TPF), the Street Crime Unit, Mounted Unit, the 72nd, 69th, 6th Precincts, Queens and Bronx Detectives, and finally as the CO of the Special Investigations Division. Martin was a charter member and played for a dozen years with the NYPD’s Finest Football Team. He served for twelve years on the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) “ Committee on Terrorism” and traveled extensively, in this country and abroad, speaking on the subject. He retired as a Deputy Inspector in 2000 and began writing. His stories have been published in numerous magazines and newspapers. Bronx Justice, based on an actual case, is his first novel. He plans to continue his writing career.

 “There are no crime stories quite as good as a New York crime story. With Bronx    Justice, Bob Martin adds another good read to that list.”

Bill Bratton,former NYPD Police Commissioner

 

 

 

 

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑

Elan Mudrow

Smidgens

Kristen Lamb

Author, Blogger, Social Media Jedi

My Site

Just another WordPress.com site

Romance University

Books and blog

WRITERS HELPING WRITERS®

Home of The Bookshelf Muse

The Write Practice

The Online Writing Workbook

Goins, Writer

On Writing, Ideas, and Making a Difference

Jane Friedman

Helping authors and publishers make smart decisions in the digital age

danwalshbooks.com

Books and blog

Blood-Red Pencil

Books and blog

The WordPress.com Blog

The latest news on WordPress.com and the WordPress community.