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Book Blitz and Author Interview: ‘Jagdlied: a Chamber Novel’ by Dolly Gray Landon

Title: Jagdlied: a Chamber Novel

For Narrator, Musicians, Pantomimists, Dancers & Culinary Artists

Text by: Dolly Gray Landon

Music by: Gary Lloyd Noland

Graphic by: Lon Gaylord Dylan

Publisher: Gary L Noland

Genre: Literary fiction / Erotica / Thriller / Humorous

 

About the Book:

This musically and graphically enriched chamber novel is an over-the-top black and blue comic extravaganza about the conspiratorial undoing of a teenage entitlement princess. The story throbs throughout with an undercurrent of apocalyptic motifs related to the extinction of art, fall of empire, and coming of the Antichrist. It is an epic farce that reads like an erotically supercharged psychological suspense thriller. The narrative takes the reader/audient on a veritable boomerang roller-coaster ride (with multiple inversions) through a reputational strip-and-whiptease of the novel’s malignantly artful (albeit ingenuously doe-eyed) protagonist: a wealthy young heiress and socialite who boasts an exclusive claim to her progenitors’ munificent estate. Her inheritance comprises an immense fortune amassed through shareholder investments in the world’s largest employment recruiter: the multi-national temp agency behemoth known as the Pleasant Peasant Corporation.

The character-driven narrative of Jagdlied explores themes of jilted love, misinterpreted motives, paranoid ideations, bombastic egos, ghoulish envy, smoldering jealousy, unconscionable revenge ploys, extravagant public humiliations, ruthless power games, insatiable greed, pernicious corruption, feigned moral outrage from all sides, and even (Heaven forfend!) coldblooded murder—all the type of stuff pre-calculated to magnetize your run-of-the-thrill-seeking bookworms and bibliophiles.

A rich repository of tongue-in-cheek nonce words, malapropisms, neologisms, archaisms, spoonerisms, slanguage, and whole swaths of unintelligible nonsense, the text of Jagdlied is also replete with irreverently lurid, salacious, and scatologic elements, which serve to set it in motion as a formidable contender for the distinctive cachet of being regarded (by cultivated aesthetes of omnifarious persuasions) as a momentously serious dirty book. It is targeted towards percipient readers and audients in possession of a well-seasoned sick and—dare it be said—cruel batch of funny bones inflected with a gallows-cum-smoking-room bent.

Whilst the plot of this story (grotesquely absurd as it will undoubtedly be esteemed) embraces reflexively cringeworthy sadomasochistic motifs, its author would hesitate to instyle it as porn, yet he would not be wholly disinclined to characterize it as a farcical parody thereof. And whilst at the same time its author is admittedly predisposed to eschew ascribing labels of any kind to this opus (especially seeing as what he has concocted is so rarefied in its formal structure that it cannot be facilely pigeonholed), it may not be altogether off the mark to view it as a form of literary neurotica (if, indeed, there is such a genre) as opposed to the more boilerplate literotica—or what in sex nazi circles is dysphemistically adverted to (in no uncertain squirms) as “filth.”

Whilst the text of Jagdlied may be read in silence as a novel in the traditional sense, it is ultimately written for the purpose of being recited by a skilled elocutionist to the accompaniment of extemporized music by ad hoc variable ensembles in relatively brief, self-contained or—depending on how one looks at it—semi self-contained episodes with the aid of a do-it-yourself improvisation kit provided in its appendix. This “kit” is likenable to a Baroque-style table of ornaments, albeit comprehending specific sets of chance operations for each and every participant involved in renditions of individual fascicles of this work. Aside from entailing a professional narrator and musical extemporizers, the score discretionarily calls for pantomime actors, dancers (hence choreographers), set designers, culinary artists, and even members of the audience itself.

 

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Five star review from Literary Titan

www.literarytitan.com/2018/07/30/jagdlied-a-chamber-novel-for-narrator-musicians-pantomimists-dancers-culinary-artists

 

Purchase Links:

Amazon – UK / US

 

Author Interview:

 

1: Tell us a little about yourself and what got you in to writing?

As a composer, I have been interested for many years in writing texts that can be narrated to extemporized music.  I especially enjoy performing the texts at the piano with other musicians. What got me started writing (you ask)…? That would probably best be discussed in a private room with a disorders analyst. J

2: Do you have a favourite time and place where you write?

I function best early in the day but often continue well into the night. I am either at my screen or at the piano, depending on what creative activities I am involved in.

3: Where do your ideas come from?

The ideas, if there are any, emerge out of the creative process itself. I usually have to improvise at the piano or write something down in order to generate new material. My experience as a composer has had a profound impact upon my prose writing. Ideas are a dime a dozen. It is the skill, motivation, and stick-to-itiveness to develop them into polished, refined, and finished works of art that separates the sheep from the goats. I’ve encountered a lot of highly intelligent people with excellent ideas who are too effete and unmotivated to bring them to fruition, as if they imagined, somehow, that their ideas, in and of themselves, are tantamount to the end products. I once had a brief conversation with a well-known music theorist who said, “I could bang out a fugue everyday if I wanted to, but what would be the point?” Perhaps it was true, and if so, he was depriving the world of hundreds, perhaps even thousands, of fugues (whether they’d be good or not is anybody’s guess). Of course, there’s a difference between boasting one can do something and actually doing it. I can’t imagine this particular theorist will be eulogized for the thousands of fugues he “could” have written. I suppose I’m articulating the old one-percent-genius-99-percent-perspiration adage, so please excuse me if I’m beating a dead horse.

4: Do you have a plan in your head of where the story is going before you start writing or do you let it carry you along as you go?

To give an example: I began work on my chamber novel Jagdlied in 1991 with no intention other than to sketch out a salacious five- or six-page short story as a brief diversion from other more ambitious musical projects. It grew into a twenty-page story, at which point I decided to set it aside as a “completed” work, even going so far as to affix an opus number to it in my otherwise (mostly) musical oeuvre. I moved on to other projects. When I returned to the story about eleven years later, I was dissatisfied with what I had written. I felt the characterizations were flat and the use of language too bland and conventional to suit my tastes, so I performed some deeper edits and revisions on it until the piece transmogrified into a much more vivid novella of approximately 60 pages. A literary agent contacted me who was interested in promoting it but I didn’t take him up on it, as I didn’t feel it was ready to be released into the world. Only semi-satisfied with what I had written, I set the text aside for another eight-or-so years and, upon returning to it, assumed it might need some minor edits. Little did I realize then that I would be embarking upon the creation of a 230,000-word magnum opus containing 290 graphic scores, an elaborate system by which musicians could extemporize against the text while it’s being narrated, and over 100 YouTube links to performances of my compositions to lend further musical weight to the novel proper. To answer your question: I almost never know in advance exactly how a piece (whether literary or musical) will turn out. It happens, as you suggest, organically while it is being created. I learn more and more about the characters of a novel as the situations and dialogues are interpolated into its structure. My own life experiences inform the transmutation of a work’s gestalt. There are, as you know, many creative people who meticulously plan their works in advance of committing them to paper. That has never been my modus operandi.

5: What genre are your books and what drew you to that genre?

I would like to believe that I have invented my own genre—the “chamber novel,” namely: a literary text that is the focal point, or thread, of a piece that holds all the other noise encompassing it (i.e., the music, choreography, pantomimicry, audience participation, etc.) together into a cohesive whole, wherewithout there would be naught but chaos and confusion. To answer your question more specifically, my writings may be classifiable as literary fiction. Whilst the texts are, indeed, influenced by many fiction genres, it is impossible to pigeonhole them into any single specific genre. I would like, however, to view these texts as a form of musical expression.

6: What dream cast would you like to see playing the characters in your latest book?

I have been out of touch with films and television for many years. However, a more apropos question might be what dream cast of performing musicians I would envision for the realization of my chamber novel. In a perfect world I would enlist piano improvisers on a par with Robert Levin, Gabriela Montero McElroy, Frederic Rzewski, Uri Caine, or Marc-André Hamelin (among others) to perform musical commentaries to the text in real time while it’s being narrated. Will Self, Steven Pinker, John Oliver, or Seth MacFarlane would make, I believe, excellent elocutionists. Of course, any well-trained actor who knows and understands the text and can recite it with fluency and depth would be more than welcome to perform it. I’m not certain that this would be the right sort of book for a Hollywood film, as it doesn’t fit the mold. I could, however, imagine a serious director like Lars von Trier or Terry Zwigoff producing a film based on my text. I would entrust them to choose the actors.

7: Do you read much and if so who are your favourite authors?

I have loved reading since I was young but was never formally trained in English Literature. My academic training is in Music. The writers I most admire are not necessarily the ones whose books I most enjoy reading. I feel great admiration for Will Self, who can be difficult at times. I think Alexander Theroux is, arguably, one of the best living American writers, notwithstanding that, for unfathomable reasons, his works have failed to find a place into the literary canon. David Hirson is a brilliant playwright, but has only written two plays I know of. Of course, one would be hard-pressed not to admire David Foster Wallace, whose career trajectory skyrocketed after his suicide. I could jabber on and on about writers who have moved and influenced me in various ways…

8: What book/s are you reading at present?

My reading habits are less organized than when I was younger. I dip into dozens of books at a time, with the intention of eventually reading everything (unless they are intolerably turgid, dull, or badly written). At the moment I am reading “Cult X” by Fuminori Nakamura, “My Favorite Thing is Monsters” by Emil Ferris, “Walking to Hollywood” by Will Self, “King Leopold’s Ghost” by Adam Hochschild, “The Bone Clocks” by David Mitchell, “The Plot Against America” by Phillip Roth (to name a few).

9: What is your favourite book and why?

That’s a difficult question. It’s a relatively rare book that knocks my socks off, although it has happened on occasion. Many of the following works may seem like obvious clichés, as one would necessarily assume they are universally acknowledged: Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels, Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment, Orwell’s 1984 (and a lot of his lesser known fiction & essays), John Kennedy Toole’s Confederacy of Dunces (which I read over thirty years ago and which, upon re-reading it years later, disappointed me somewhat, as the writing itself was not quite as sharp and incisive as I had remembered it, which is not to disparage the writer’s talent in any way), virtually everything by Kafka, some works by Kobo Abe, Kazuo Ishiguro, Stanislaw Lem, and many others. One novel that bowled me over and convinced me, upon reading it, that it was one of the greatest novels in the English language, was Alexander Theroux’s Darconville’s Cat (an opinion shared by Anthony Burgess). Theroux’s more recent (2007) novel Laura Warholic (a 700+ page tome) is also intoxicatingly subversive but not as well known as Darconville’s Cat, probably on account of its being sloppily edited in a few places, which doesn’t diminish the fact that there is quotable material in virtually every paragraph of the text. I love David Hirson’s play La Bête, which was panned by the critics on its initial release in 1991 but later received loud critical acclaim when it was revived internationally some twenty years later. As a composer, I am partial to Christopher Miller’s Sudden Noises from Inanimate Objects. His other books aren’t bad either.

10: What advice would you give for someone thinking about becoming a writer?

I am not one to offer advice but to solicit it.  “Blind leading the blind,” etc.

11: What are the best Social Media Sites for people to find out about you and your work?

You can go to my Twitter account, where I occasionally post performances of my music and text pieces (in particular, fascicles from my chamber novel Jagdlied): @species7th

Also, you can visit the Dolly Gray Landon Page I set up in Facebook, which is brand new: www.facebook.com/chambernovel.Jagdlied

I will be posting things there as well. Of course, my regular Facebook page is open to the public (as far as I am aware). I post my Youtube videos there on occasion: www.facebook.com/gnoland1

 

For information on the availability for purchase of the six released CDs of my musical compositions, go to: www.northpacificmusic.com

 

If you’d like to listen to one of my pieces (Grande Rag Brillante for piano) on the spot, check it out here:

About the Author:

I suppose I should make it known, to dispel any confusion that might arise, that I have chosen to employ as pen names two anagrams of my real name. I go by my actual name—Gary Lloyd Noland—as the composer, Lon Gaylord Dylan as the illustrator of graphic scores, and Dolly Gray Landon as the author of the text of Jagdlied. I do this in part because American culture has a peculiar incapacity to accept a creative artist wearing more than one hat.

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Book Blitz and Author Interview: ‘The Poetic Murderer’ by Christoph Burmeister

Title: The Poetic Murderer

Author: Christoph Burmeister

Genre: Crime / Thriller / Mystery

 

 

About the Book:

A MYSTERY OF FOLLOWING YOUR DREAMS

“Fear will learn to fear you!”

Detective 00 Hansen is an enigmatic dreamer in the streets of Copenhagen, riding a fast antelope, and living a slow life (not to the delight of his wife).

In The Poetic Murderer, Hansen and Don Cindy’s first mystery, the duo are informed by Denmark’s Queen Marmalade II and Prince Sandwich about an unimaginable murder at the supermarket. The body is marked by violence and the murder weapon an unhygienic rainbow trout.

The police are baffled by the mysterious poem at the crime scene. But when Detective 00 Hansen applies his left elbow to the problem he uncovers a tragic tale of unrequited love and deadly lust… Will he stop the poetic murderer on the quest of a dream and fulfilment of his own destiny?

P.S. An unaesthetic fear of the unknown haunts us, namely the unforeseen. A fear that shapes our lives. No human can unlearn to fear; we all have to learn how to deal with it. By picking up this novel, the reader travels a new route and sparks enthusiasm to live a freer life.

What people are saying:

“… My transformation is profoundly obvious!”
–Anne Mone

“… Everybody must read this book!”
–Jessica Bananas

“I am just amazed with the positive energy I’m radiating now.”
–Miss Behave

“All my fears have been spirited away.”
–Brian D’Amage

“Chapeau! Great entertainment & much laughter.”
–Petra Panini

 

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Purchase Links:

Amazon – UK / US

Author Interview:

1: Tell us a little about yourself and what got you in to writing?

When I was a kid I fell in love with the sound of words. I would play with rhymes and alliterations and sort of bend their proper spellings just for fun. I also found it always very pleasant to twist reality in ways that would appeal to my imagination. However, I couldn’t see for myself that writing may be a path for me. Instead, I studied economics and worked as a treasury manager, although deep inside I always knew that this wasn’t what I really wanted to do in life. One day, I looked into the mirror and could not quite recognize myself. I quit my job. 2015 — Creative Writing at Cambridge University. It’s been such a joy to me sharing and feeling connected to people through writing, for which I decided to write a book.

2: Do you have a favourite time and place where you write?

Not really. I like to keep it fresh and switch places, whenever I have the feeling to sit in a museum and the imagination grows stale.

3: Where do your ideas come from?

I like to write about immediate perceptions in a fantastic way. For instance, I saw a woman wearing high heels, who couldn’t wear them, walking like a T-Rex in marshlands.

4: Do you have a plan in your head of where the story is going before you start writing or do you let it carry you along as you go?

The novel grows organically, like life itself.

5: What genre are your books and what drew you to that genre?

My debut novel fits into the genre Humorous Detective Fiction. My state of mind in those days drew me to that genre.

6: What dream cast would you like to see playing the characters in your latest book?

Hmm… Jim Carrie as bumbling detective and Anthony Hopkins in the role of the villain.

7: Do you read much and if so who are your favourite authors?

I do like to read extensively. Although things change, I am reading all the works of James Joyce, Hunter S. Thompson, and Dylan Thomas.

8: What book/s are you reading at present?

Currently, I am reading Great Shark Hunt by Hunter S. Thompson.

9: What is your favourite book and why?

The Little Prince, because it is based on the boundless imagination of children.

10: What advice would you give for someone thinking about becoming a writer?

Develop your own style. Finding your own style is everything. Let me put it that way: you’re not Andy Warhol, because you hang gay at the wall so, you’ve to figure out what you want to say and how you’re going to say it… read and write until the words are pouring out of you like wine from a bottle.

11: What are the best Social Media Sites for people to find out about you and your work?  

Facebook: www.facebook.com/detective00

Instagram: www.instagram.com/cb_writer

 

About the Author:

 

Christoph Burmeister was born on the 16 April 1987 in Bad Oldesloe on the river Trave. That’s why he originally wanted to become a clown.

On school days he dreamed wholeheartedly. University was no hindrance to him; it was his hobby. He would carefully fashion his appearance as an eager student.

After graduation, the money bell rang, and he started working for a shipping company as a treasury manager. One day he took a glimpse into the mirror and did not recognise himself, so he left home and moved to Copenhagen.

All of a sudden: Hygge!

2015—Creative Writing at the University of Cambridge, then Improv theatre. Now his first novel: The Poetic Murderer.

Christoph likes Jazz and his simplistic life-style resonates with mystery and beauty. His right hand is the instrument of his daily writing practise.

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Book Blitz: ‘Wild Wyoming Nights’ by Joanne Rock

Title: Wild Wyoming Nights
Series: The McNeill Magnates #8
Author: Joanne Rock
Publisher: Harlequin Desire
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: August 7, 2018

 

Blurb

“You’ll stay with me.”

She can’t resist the rich rancher!

Emma Layton is working in Wyoming to get away from her abusive ex. But when wealthy  ranch owner Carson McNeill learns of her plight, he insists she stay with him for protection. Emma agrees—even knowing this cowboy may prove irresistible…. Proximity soon leads to passion, night after night. But when Carson learns her secret connection to his family, this ride gets a whole lot wilder!

 

Purchase Links
AMAZON US / UK / CA / AU
B&N / KOBO / iBOOKS
GOOGLE PLAY

 

Excerpt

“Wow.” She glanced over at her silent driver, wondering if he’d grown immune to the beauty. “I’ve never seen stars like this.”

Maybe some of her wonder seeped through his frustration, because he slowed the vehicle, then stopped altogether, the engine rumbling at idle in the creeping night. They sat on a hilltop with meadows rolling out into the distance on one side, and a shadow of rocky cliffs and trees on the other. He snapped off the headlights to give them a better view and turned off the ignition. The engine ticked for a few moments and then went silent.

“It’s amazing how much the lights of a city detract from the night sky.” Carson tipped his head back, too, his hands resting on his sprawled, denim-covered knees.

The right one hovered close to her leg, radiating a warmth she could feel. Or maybe it was the electric current of attraction that made her skin tingle that way beneath her leggings. She had been on a few dates since breaking things off with Austin but nothing serious. She definitely hadn’t experienced the sizzling awareness she got from being around Carson. What a shame for her body to finally wake up again around a man she needed to impress with her professionalism.

“It’s funny,” she said, needing to break the intimate thread of silence between them, “because I always think I live in a quieter area of Los Angeles.” She tried not to think about his knee next to hers. His hand close to her leg. But memories of the way he’d touched her earlier—shifting her thigh on the horse—sent a fresh surge of heat through her.

“Even in Cheyenne, you can’t see the stars the way you can out here. There aren’t many perks to ranching, but the night sky is definitely one of them.”

Straightening in her seat, she peered over at him. The breeze turned cooler.

“You don’t like your work?” She was curious about him, this man who allowed a film production company onto his property but couldn’t really relinquish control. “After seeing you on horseback today, I guess I just assumed you were born in a saddle.”

He’d ridden beside her briefly before setting her loose to try the track on her own.

“Almost.” She thought she heard a hint of a smile in his voice. Or was that wishful thinking? “But I never imagined myself overseeing cattle at my age. Ranching is fine for my twin brother, but I thought I’d be riding rodeo into my thirties.”

She hadn’t known about the twin brother. Or the rodeo past. Still, she could relate to what he was saying. She felt him shift beside her, turning toward her. A gust of wind blew through her hair, flicking strands against her cheek.

“I never thought I’d be recreating sword fights or high-speed chases, either. But sometimes life takes surprising turns.”

“I’ll bet it’s an interesting story how you got here, Emma Layton.” Her name on his lips felt as intimate as a caress to a woman who hadn’t been touched by a man in a long, long time.

The rush of heat through her veins shouldn’t have caught her off guard—she’d been feeling it all day around him. She’d run four miles to try to escape it. Even so, the magnetic force that seemed to pull her toward him was like nothing she’d ever experienced. Her shoulders shifted fractionally closer. Her knee brushed his.

She drew in a sharp breath at the contact, ripples of pleasure radiating out from the point where she touched him. She forgot what they were talking about. Couldn’t think of words to say even if she remembered. There was only the moment and the man. The endless starry sky enveloping them like a dream.

Maybe that was why she found herself leaning even closer—it all felt surreal. Like a time out from the worry and stress of her real life, where everything was suddenly simpler. Where kissing Carson McNeill seemed like the only thing that mattered.

Her hand landed on his chest. Warm. Strong. Inviting.

She splayed her fingers wider, wanting to feel more of him. Then she tipped her face up to his. She was close enough to see him well despite the darkness. His eyes locked on hers for an instant—like two stars close up.

And then his lips claimed hers.

 

 

 

Author Bio

Four-time RITA nominee Joanne Rock has never met a romance sub-genre she didn’t like. The author of over eighty books enjoys writing a wide range of stories, most recently focusing on sexy contemporaries and small town family sagas. An optimist by nature and perpetual seeker of silver linings, Joanne finds romance fits her life outlook perfectly–love is worth fighting for. A frequent speaker at regional and national writing conferences she enjoys giving back to the writing community that nurtured and inspired her early career. She has a Masters degree in Literature from the University of Louisville but credits her fiction writing skills to her intensive study with friend and fellow author Catherine Mann. When she’s not writing, Joanne enjoys travel, especially to see her favorite sports teams play with her former sports editor husband and three athletic-minded sons.

 
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Book Blitz: ‘The Venom Protocols’ by John Murray McKay

Title: The Venom Protocols

Author: John Murray McKay

Publisher: KCEditions

Genre: Crime / Thriller / Suspense

 

 

About the Book:

“You should have left me alone.”

Charlotte Corday was once called the most dangerous woman on the planet by the FBI until she retired. But it’s not so easy to remain retired when the past is determined to drag her back into the hell she wanted to leave behind her.

To uncover the origins of the mysterious Valkyrie program, Charlotte fights through her own dark past, dredged up by those determined to keep her out of retirement… or out of the business permanently… and to find solace in her own razor blade filled mind.

Her own words—her own warning—will come to haunt them.

They should have listened.

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Purchase Links:

Amazon – UK / US

 

Excerpt

They kept coming after us, whistling and shouting as they went. It was like time stopped and everything around me grew quiet. I could sense the brick as it left the man’s hand, feel the texture of the rough red grain as it flew through the air. In slow motion I pushed Peter to the side, feeling him fall away as I turned and felt the brick strike my chest. Chest thumping, blood dripping down my breasts, dress torn as I lay on the dirty pavement sucking in deep swathes of breath. I could not hear Richard’s terrified screams or the laughter of the men, just the torrent of blood in my veins racing faster and faster.

And then it stopped.

About the Author:

Well you’ve found my profile page, thus you’ve already qualified for an attaboy award (a pat on the head and a chuck on the shoulder).

Now comes the part where I tell you about myself (I’ll wait for you to get some popcorn and get comfy).

I am a 20 something writer out of South Africa (Howzit my lanies, ons klap dit stukkend hier!), I am a professional cat herder, with other words a teacher. My favourite authors are Clive Cussler and Terry Pratchett and I am a Marvel comics addict! My inspiration for writing starter with the Johnny Castaway screensaver which I took as inspiration for my first novel “Man on an island.”. I have moved onto the horror/ Sci fi fields now and I can proudly say I am a serial writer and I love doing it!

I love writing about people and strong female characters like Quentin does in his movies.

Something interesting about me? I am wanted for various unstated crimes by the Tunisian Sock Merchant Mafia

Social Media Links:

Facebook: www.facebook.com/NDaysSeries

Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/author/show/7480193.John_Murray_McKay

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Book Blitz: ‘Manual for Murder’ by Gonçalo JN Dias

Title: Manual for Murder

Author: Gonçalo JN Dias

Genre: Murder & Mayhem / True Crime / Thriller / Suspense

 

About the Book:

Marina, a 38-year-old accountant in a crumbling relationship, falls in love with a charming colleague who is married with a son. The two begin a torrid relationship. One commits a murder.

Oscar, a homicide detective, is assigned to the case. He is a man dedicated to his work and to his family, and he likes to joke about and mock the typical American police series.

 

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Purchase Links:

Amazon – UK / US

From 26th to 28th of July you will be able to download this book for free directly from the author’s official blog, in any digital format.

Direct link: www.gjnd-books.blogspot.com.es

 

Excerpt

From Marina, a 38-year-old accountant in a crumbling relationship, falls in love with a charming colleague (Andre):

“Looking back, I can identify several reasons why I fell in love with Andre, and they are largely related to defects that I projected onto Julio to justify my behaviour. His sense of humour was one reason. Andre was funny, with his dark humour, refined and clever, but he could also be melancholy, quiet and needy. He was comfortable talking about his faults, his defeats, failures and fears. Julio’s sense of humour was more conservative. He was also funny, but he couldn’t laugh at himself. He held himself in high regard, thought that he was intellectually superior to most people, and had an opinion about every topic. He loved to argue and never took the blame for anything. I would be lying if I said that physical factors had no bearing on my choice. During our thirteen years together, Julio had gained over three stone. When we met, he was a handsome young man, almost 5’9” tall and weighing 12 1/2 stone, and with lovely, curly light brown hair. Thirteen years later, he weighed nearly 16 stone. He was practically bald, but refused to accept it by preserving half a dozen hairs in an absurd attempt to hide the fact. He knew that he was becoming fat, but did nothing to get in shape; he constantly made plans but never put them into practice. Andre was no Greek god, but he was clearly more attractive. Every Sunday morning he played squash with friends from university. He had a small belly, but his body was firm, and he was happy to use creams and perfumes. Julio was a true gentleman when he made love; he always asked permission, and if I said that I wasn’t in the mood, he understood and never insisted. He liked to talk during the act, to ask me if everything was good, if I wanted to change position. At the end, he wanted me to approve of his performance. Andre never asked permission; he won the right to make love through his insistence, confidence and determination. He never spoke during the act, nor asked for an assessment. He knew that he satisfied me.

However, out of all the reasons I could find to justify my actions, what really made me want to be with Andre was hope: the fantasy of being with someone who understood me, who didn’t criticize me, who saw the world through the same eyes; it was the belief that Andre would banish all my ghosts, my doubts and anxieties, and that I would once again dream, fly, have projects and ambitions, wake up in the morning with a lust for life. What I saw in Andre was hope, so much hope.”

 

From Oscar, a homicide detective, who is assigned to the case (second chapter):

” The autopsy results came on Monday. There were no signs of violence or rape. The victim had been injected with bleach or a similar cleaner and then, already unconscious, had died in the fire with her hands cuffed to car’s armrest, so that she couldn’t flee and survive. Pretty macabre and sick. Neither on her body nor on the remains of her burnt clothes did we find any fibre from anyone we could use as evidence. Which led to another question: if she had been killed for money, why hadn’t the killer withdrawn any more? Or stolen her laptop or her wedding ring?

There were several questions to ask Sofia’s relatives, principally Andre, so we waited until the funeral that Wednesday, and then, on the followings days, we called in different relatives to give statements. The funeral was held at the Limiar Cemetery, fairly close to the deceased’s house. It was full of people, relatives, friends, colleagues, acquaintances, and the curious. I watched Andre carefully, looking for some abnormal reaction or odd closeness, but I detected nothing.”

About the Author:

The life of this character is full of contradictory information and rumours. Both his date of birth and home town are uncertain. Some say he hails from a suburban ghetto in Lisbon (Portugal); while others claim that he was born in eastern Russia, in the city ofVladivostok, sometime in the ‘60s.

According to gossips, he worked for the Reagan Administration in the early ‘80s, and helped to weaken the Soviet economy, although others say that he worked for the KGB as a spy in the western world.

At the end of the ‘80s, he was spotted in Seattle, working as a grunge music producer under the pseudonym of Johnny Blanco.

His location was mystery for over a decade until, at the beginning of the century, he emerged as an executive in the burka trade between the mountains of Pakistan and Afghanistan with the name of Mustafa Blanco. Clashes between the Taliban and US troops forced him to vanish again for a while.

Nowadays, there are some rumours that he became a hermit and lives in the woods of a small town, No Name, Colorado, United States, spending his time reading and writing; others, however, claim that he resides in Tennessee as a country music singer, with the name Marcogekson Blanco.

What is certain is that he wrote two books. The first one, The Good Dictator, was a real failure; although it was translated into several languages, it only sold two copies.  The second one, Manual for a Murder, was said to incite violence and killing, and has been banned in several countries, including Tuvalu and Kyrgyzstan.

Social Media Links:

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Twitter: @GoncaloJNDias

Blog: www.gjnd-books.blogspot.com

Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/author/show/15193649.Gon_alo_J_Nunes_Dias

Amazon author: www.amazon.com/Gon%C3%A7alo-J.-Nunes-Dias/e/B01A77NFNO

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