As an author, one of the inevitable questions you face from readers is, ‘When is your next book coming out?’

While it is a welcome question, because it indicates interest in your work, it places a burden on you to continue to look forward and generate new material.  That being said, sometimes you have to take a pause and look backward.

In 2012, when I wrote my debut novel, Perfect Pawn, I was a neophyte author. As I have told many of you, the book was written for my wife and I had never given any thought to publishing it, but that all changed in 2013. Over the course of the last several years, I have written and published eleven books and two novellas.

Like anyone who continues in their tradecraft, I would like to believe that my writing style has improved with each new release. This past summer, I had some critical reviews that caused me to take a break and revisit my past work. I’d like to say that the criticism was unwarranted, but it wasn’t.

There is a school of thought among many writers that you don’t re-write novels. Authors live to tell stories, but they also want the reader to enjoy the experience. As I re-read my book, I had to face the harsh reality that I had failed in certain areas.

American writer and Nobel Prize laureate William Faulkner famously said, ‘in writing you must kill all your darlings.’

With that acceptance, I sat down and took a long hard look at Perfect Pawn and decided to do my best to smooth the edges.

I started out with the idea of being a surgeon, using a scalpel to dissect specific areas, but I ended up chopping away at the book like Jason Voorhees’ machete at summer camp. It was brutal, but it was necessary.

I did my utmost to protect the integrity of the story, while culling out unnecessary parts and streamlining the rest. In the end, I believe the book is tighter than it originally was. It might not please every literary critic, most books don’t, but I believe that the majority will enjoy it much more than the original.  

To mark the 6th anniversary of the original release date, and s my way of saying thanks for your continued support, I am making the revised edition of Perfect Pawn available for FREE on Amazon Kindle from Friday, October 18, 2019, 12:00 AM (PDT) through Sunday, October 20, 2019, 11:59 PM (PDT).

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Amazon Rankings – Where Do I Stand?

With the release of my latest novel: GLASS CASTLE, I headed over to my Amazon page and discovered something that I thought was very interesting. So I thought I would share it with you.

On every book page, there is a ranking system for books in a particular genre. I was looking over the listings for Perfect Pawn.

While every author wants to be in the top 100, my genre of mystery is a very tough nut to crack. I’ve been there a few times, with several of my books, but it is very hard to maintain. But last night I saw something that I really hadn’t considered before and it got me to thinking.

Perfect Pawn is listed as being #41,544 in the Kindle Store. The number fluctuates, up and down, but it is usually within that ball park.


Now, that might seem like a high number, until you consider that there are over 3.4 million books in the Kindle Store.

So what does it mean? Well, when you break down the math, it means that my book ranks in the top 2% of kindle books sold on Amazon. Considering the competition I face, I would say that is something to brag about.

If you are looking to sink your teeth into a great police procedural / mystery series, and would like to find out the order in which to read them, you can find the chronological listing HERE.

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Throwback Thursday - Behind the Scenes (NYPD Intelligence)

Readers of my books know that I reference a lot of different places and agencies. Many of them are part of the backstory for my characters, so I thought I would start something new called: Throwback Thursday.

From time to time I will present you with a brief history of one of the units or locations I write about, to help you get a better understanding of the character’s story.  Today’s Throwback Thursday post pertains to something near and dear to my heart: NYPD intelligence.

In Perfect Pawn, readers are introduced to retired NYPD Detective James Maguire. For a period of time he was assigned to the NYPD’s Intelligence Division (now known as the Intelligence Bureau). What many do not know is that the command’s roots can be traced back to Lieutenant Giuseppe ‘Joe’ Petrosino and the Italian Squad. Lt. Petrosino was instrumental in pursuing the organized crime group known as the ‘Black Hand.’ Petrosino was killed while investigating the group in Palermo, Sicily.

It would be nearly fifty more years till the Intelligence Division would be tasked with providing dignitary protection, but in an ironic twist, during his infiltration of an Italian anarchist group, Petrosino uncovered a plot to assassinate then President William McKinley. Petrosino alerted the Secret Service, but the President ignored the warning, even after then Vice-President Theodore Roosevelt, who had been an NYPD Commissioner, vouched for Petrosino and his abilities. As warned, the group followed through and McKinley was assassinated during his visit to the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo on September 6, 1901.

Following Petrosino’s own assignation, by the Black Hand in 1909, Acting Detective Sergeant Charles Corrao took over the Italian Squad. At that time the city was dealing with a string of attacks with explosives, as the Black Hand had now begun to use bombs as a means of extortion.  On one occasion Corrao grabbed a bomb from Black Hand member Giovanni Rizzo’s hand and defused it while the man fled. After a subsequent chase, and an exchange of gunfire between the two, Rizzo was captured.  For his actions, Charles Corrao was awarded the newly adopted NYPD Medal of Honor and the Rhinelander Medal for Valor on May 18, 1912. The NYPD’s Bomb Squad has its foundation in these early bomb investigations.

As the years progressed, the role of the Intelligence Bureau would adapt and expand. What started with investigating Italian organized crime (the Black Hand Squad) soon included communist activities (the Red Hand Squad). The Red Squad then became known as the Bureau of Special Services and Investigations (BOSSI), which was focused on domestic groups like the Black Panther Party, Weather Underground and the Students for a Democratic Society. Along the way, they picked up the dignitary protection assignment. In the early 70’s BOSSI was reorganized and retitled the Intelligence Division. Following the September 11th Terror Attacks it was expanded to a global unit and renamed the Intelligence Bureau.

My time in the Intelligence Division was an incredible part of my career with the NYPD, so it is only fair that it also plays a pivotal part in the character of Maguire. I’ve stood next to presidents, the Pope, and more foreign and domestic dignitaries than I can count. I’ve ridden in motorcades and I’ve watched them with a birds-eye-view from helicopters. It is simultaneously exhilarating and nerve-wracking. One of the things you learn quickly is to never be complacent.

One story that drove that point home rather quickly occurred back around 1995/6. The Israeli Prime Minister, Shimon Peres, was traveling in his motorcade. At the time, because of the elevated threat risk, the Israeli PM got what amounted to a Vice-Presidential level motorcade package.

At the last minute we got word that a decision had been made to take the secondary route, which involved the Belt Parkway.  I was assigned to huntsman, the helicopter which provides aerial surveillance along the motorcade route, and things were going along quiet well; at least until the thought occurred to me that traffic was really, really light coming from the opposite direction…… Anyone who has spent 15 minutes in New York City can tell you that traffic is never light.

I instructed the motorcade to slow down and told the pilot to head forward to see what was causing the delay. My initial thought was a motor vehicle accident, which would bring the motorcade to a halt unless we got a lane cleared. My fears were surpassed when I gazed out the front window of the helo and saw that the Mill Basin drawbridge was in the upright position as a large vessel lazily made its way in from the Atlantic Ocean.


This resulted in an immediate frenzy of colorful communication between me and my USSS counterpart, as we tried to get the motorcade to come to an almost screeching halt. I will never forget the sight of the motorcycle officers, from the Highway Patrol, racing up to the drawbridge to get them to drop it back down in place.  How we managed to unscrew that one in time, remains a mystery, but we did. The motorcade never stopped moving and I don’t remember ever using the Belt Parkway for as long as I was in the Division.

In Chapter Five of Perfect Pawn I provide the reader a glimpse into the world of presidential protection. For many, it is the closest they will ever get to being inside the bubble. It was from this period of time in my career that I drew on inspiration for not only the role of Maguire, but his friend, Rich Stargold, who is a composite of some of the people I worked with in the Secret Service.

Someone once asked me if I missed it and my answer is: Yes, every single day.

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72 Poplar Street, Brooklyn, NY (Former home of the Intelligence Division) - Author Photo

72 Poplar Street, Brooklyn, NY (Former home of the Intelligence Division) - Author Photo

My 2018 Christmas Gift To You

When you give the gift of reading, you give the gift of wonder.

Growing up, I always had a book nearby. Whether it was science fiction by Frank Herbert or a police procedural by Joe Wambaugh, I enjoyed the experience of being immersed in another world. It is one of the reasons I enjoy writing.

This Christmas, I am making my debut novel, Perfect Pawn, available on the Amazon Kindle e-Book platform for only $.99.

Starting December 24th, 2018 (8 a.m. PST) and running through December 31st, 2018 (12 a.m. PST) you can dive head first into the world of James Maguire, a former U.S. Navy SEAL and retired NYPD detective.

This page turning literary roller-coaster ride will take you from the concrete jungle of New York City to the idyllic mountains of upstate New York and beyond.

This Christmas, give yourself a gift that the only regret you’ll have is why you didn’t read it sooner.

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