Rik Stone & How “Birth of an Assassin Evolved” #Crime #AmReading #TBR


How my Story Evolved

Nearly all stories have a general platform from which to launch into exclusivity. I wanted to write something that I felt hadn’t been done or at least something different to what I’ve read. Of course, there’s no such thing as a tale that hasn’t been told. All you can hope for is that you might create a unique twist. Mine was a simple enough idea. I would present a set of non-western characters. How is that different? Well, in the novels I’ve trawled my way through over the years I’ve found that even in the most exotic of settings there is an American or European hero to sort out the mess. If you read Birth of an Assassin you’ll see that needn’t be the case.

But what stage could I use for my story and what genre? Being a thriller addict the genre went without saying, but what about setting? Well, I have an uncle by marriage whose parents fled anti-Semitism under late 19th century czarism. My uncle passed on little odds and ends relating to the hardships Jewish people had at that time and I thought there might be a story waiting to be told.

I researched the period and there were lots of events that could easily be weaved into a single fictitious account. I’ll give a couple of examples to explain what I mean:

In the second half of the 19th century, a Jewish boy was conscripted into the army to fight on one of the many battlefronts against The Ottoman Empire. The boy was killed and tsarist police operating in The Pale, a barren stretch of land where the Jewish population was forced to live, came to the house of the boy. They didn’t tell the parents he’d been killed in action. No, they said he was a deserter, and that the family was left responsible for his crime. The parents were fined several hundred roubles. Their belongings were sold for 40 roubles, leaving the family with a debt of, yes several hundred roubles. This became ritual; they rebuilt and their belongings were taken and sold as payment towards the fine.

In the early 1900’s a Russian child was murdered. The Jewish population was blamed and a series of state supported pogroms followed, ending in Kishinev in 1903 where the worst of the persecutions took place. Later, it turned out the child’s family had been responsible for the murder – and police had covered it up.

I could go on, there were a multitude of travesty’s over many years. Enough to say, I collected the makings of a story, but looking into that period, I saw no believable way that anyone Jewish could possibly come out on top, so I worked my way through Russian history looking for a home for my plot. It wasn’t until reaching post war Soviet Russia that I found a window. That isn’t to say my hero wins out in Birth of an Assassin, but I needed a place where he at least had a chance. Unfortunately I had to take my protagonist’s religion away, but his burning ambition to be a part of the Red Army wouldn’t have worked with it.

So, I had someone to represent the Jewish population. Now, I needed a core of anti-Semitism: along came Otto to provide the conduit for my story.

If you read Birth of an Assassin you can be forgiven for not seeing my analogy. When all’s said and done it’s simply an adventure thriller with goodies and baddies. And if I were to itemise now what happens in the book against its past equivalent I would be giving you a series of spoilers.

Birth of an Assassin

Set against the backdrop of Soviet, post-war Russia, Birth of an Assassin follows the transformation of Jez Kornfeld from wide-eyed recruit to avenging outlaw. Amidst a murky underworld of flesh-trafficking, prostitution and institutionalized corruption, the elite Jewish soldier is thrown into a world where nothing is what it seems, nobody can be trusted, and everything can be violently torn from him.

Buy Now @ AmazonB&NKobo & Waterstones

Genre – Thriller, Crime, Suspense

Rating – R

More details about the author

Connect with Rik Stone on Facebook & Twitter

Website http://rik-stone.simdif.com


Night’s Favour by Richard Parry @TactualRain #UrbanFantasy #Thriller


Val felt like he’d been hit by a car.

Curling over the bowl, he retched again, hands shaking.  He didn’t remember waking up; he didn’t remember getting home, or what might have happened after his tenth beer last night.  He hoped it was only a night — he had a big meeting with the boss this morning.

It wouldn’t be the first time he’d lost days of time down the bottom of a bottle.

“Get your shit together, Val.”  He spat into the bowl, bracing himself on the edge of the porcelain.  Standing up shakily, he felt the nausea rise and curled back over, retching again.  He failed to get his tie out of the way this time, and it came back out of the bowl covered in —

How in God’s name was he wearing a tie?  He didn’t even have any pants.

He tried standing again, this time managing to get to his feet.  Holding himself up on the walls of the toilet, he controlled the shuddering, awful urge to throw up.  He spat into the bowl again then hit the flush button.

Slowly — and quietly — he made his way out of the toilet and into the bathroom.  He caught a glimpse of stubble in the mirror on the wall and felt confident it was only a night gone.  Maybe if he could just get in to the office before nine — God, what time is it now? — it’d be ok.

He pulled back the mirror, his fleshy reflection pushed aside as he exposed a collection of white bottles set against a backdrop of tired cardboard boxes, tubes of expired ointment, and half-empty boxes of Band-Aids.  The bulk box of store-brand acetaminophen came away disturbingly light — I bought that just last week — and he tossed the empty hundred box to the ground, hand trembling towards the Pentazine.  Expensive gold, he dry-swallowed four of the tabs.  Motion sickness be damned; the drug would take the edge off wanting to throw up his feet.  He chased it with some ibuprofen, a generic brand in a white box of fifty.

He started up a good lather to get rid of the stubble.  It was then he noticed that his left arm’s shirt sleeve was missing, ripped off by the looks of it.  The shirt wasn’t in great shape overall; it had that creaseless arrogance that only came with being rained on.  The sleeve was missing from the elbow down, give or take, the frayed end of a blue thread trailing to wrist level.  He’d been lying in a pool of good Merlot unless he missed his guess, the sleeve and side of the shirt a gentle pink.  The thought of Merlot almost made him heave the pills back up, so he stripped off the shirt and let it drop to the floor alongside the empty box.  If he just left all that crap there Baitan would sort it out later.

His belly wasn’t an admirable sight, the booze and the desk job leaving their toll, the flab hanging out over his underwear.  John kept nagging him like an old woman, saying he needed to get back to the gym, do some exercise.  There was time for that later — it was important to get more drugs, and maybe shave, if he was going to get to work today.

Focus, Val.


Valentine’s an ordinary guy with ordinary problems. His boss is an asshole. He’s an alcoholic. And he’s getting that middle age spread just a bit too early. One night — the one night he can’t remember — changes everything. What happened at the popular downtown bar, The Elephant Blues? Why is Biomne, the largest pharmaceutical company in the world, so interested in him — and the virus he carries? How is he getting stronger, faster, and more fit? And what’s the connection between Valentine and the criminally insane Russian, Volk?

Buy Now @ Amazon

Genre – Action, Thriller, Urban Fantasy

Rating – R16

More details about the author

 Connect with Richard Parry on Facebook & Twitter

Website http://www.rage.net.nz

The King of Sunday Morning by J.B. McCauley @MccauleyJay #ReviewShare


The King of Sunday MorningThe King of Sunday Morning by J.B. McCauley

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Some books are good and then others WOW you like never before, this book falls in the latter category. McCauley’s writing style was able to capture every emotion from each character and left you feeling the same things they were feeling.

With every page turn, you inched closer to the conclusion, never giving up hope that Tray’s life would take a turn for the better. Despite his weaknesses, Tray is a gripping personality likened to Nicholas Cage / John Travolta in Face Off.

McCauley offers detailed settings, descriptions of what is happening to the point of being harrowing and yet moving. I could hardly put this book down as the plot and strong characters came to life. I especially liked the dialogue and the snarky tone that some of the characters had like, “when you are Colombian you lose a lot of your family.”

Despite getting a sometimes violent look at the darker side of humanity, this book took me in from the very first page. I highly recommend this book with as many stars as I can give it and I’ll be looking out for more books by McCauley.

Disclosure – As a Quality Reads Book Club member, I received a free copy of this book from the author via Orangeberry Book Tours in exchange for my honest review.

View all my reviews

J B McCauley – Booksigning Tips to Sell That Book @MccauleyJay


Booksigning Tips to Sell That Book

Authors by their very nature are generally shy, retiring and hide behind the covers of their books and words. They may communicate well on the written page but to put yourself out there in front of group of strangers and sell yourself. Now that is a different matter entirely. So I can give some sales pitches that help in a book signing.

Never just turn up expecting to just sign books. Make sure the venue has a microphone and that you are well practised in engaging an audience. When people turn up to a book signing they want to hear you what you think. For some this needs a prompt. For me, I can talk underwater with a mouthful of marbles. It is not an issue. For others this is not the case. So here are some scenarios that may work for you.

  • If you are not comfortable stalking a podium or a stage get a stool or stand behind a lectern
  • If you cannot talk off the cuff don’t read from notes as it becomes stilted. Engage someone to interview you and practise with them. That way it can feel like an intimate audience with someone with other people looking on rather than a speech.
  • If you are the type that can talk unaided don’t be afraid to plant some people in the crowd to ask some well-crafted questions. It works for politicians in the town hall meetings so why not for you? It is not cheating. It is just filling space whilst audience members work up their own questions.
  • Employ a spruiker.
  • If you are going to have a Q & A sessions make sure you are well prepared. Most questions will be standard. Very rarely will you get something that will stump you but make sure your responses are fluid and understandable.
  • Put on a show and provide some free beverages/food. People can’t resist a freebie and once you’ve got them on the hook all you have to do is land them.
  • Once people buy it very often starts a feeding frenzy so stay on track on and make sure you don’t run out of books.

King of Sunday Morning

The King of Sunday Morning is a geezer. Not in the traditional sense of the word as in old man. This geezer is a face, a wannabe, a top notch bloke. He is the greatest DJ that never was. He should have been. Could have been. Would have been. Now becoming a has-been.

Tray McCarthy was born into privilege but with the genetic coding of London’s violent East End. Having broken the underworld’s sacred honour code, it is only his family’s gangland connections that save him. But in return for his life, he must deny that which he has ever known or ever will be and runs to Australia where he is forced to live an inconsequential life.

But trouble never strays far from Tray McCarthy and eventually his past and present collide to put everyone he has ever loved in danger. He must now make a stand and fight against those that are set to destroy him and play their game according to his rules.

Set against the subterfuge and violence of the international drugs trade, The King of Sunday Morning is the tale of what can go wrong when you make bad decisions. Tray McCarthy has made some of the worst. He must now save those he holds dear but in the process gets trapped deeper and deeper into a world where he doesn’t belong.

“I want three pump-action shotguns, about twelve sticks of dynamite and a blowtorch”


Buy Now @ Amazon

Genre – Thriller, Action, Suspense, Gangster, Crime, Music

Rating – PG-18

More details about the author and the book

Connect with J.B. McCauley on Facebook & Twitter