Monday, May 2, 2016

Chicago Jazz is Now Available

On May 4, 2016, Chicago Jazz will go live as an ebook. This is the second in what I hope will be a long and exciting series featuring Detective Anthony (Tony) Alfano and his sergeant, McDunnah. These noir novels take place in Chicago during the 1933/1934 era of the Chicago Century of Progress World’s Fair. I will try through these quasi-police procedurals to give you the fear, hopelessness, ennui, and desperation that most faced three years into the Great Depression. Prohibition damaged America immeasurably through the twenties and into the early nineteen thirties, it ended at the end of 1933. The effects stayed for decades. For America and the world these were trying times. FDR was just elected and Hitler seized the government of Germany.

The Century of Progress World’s Fair was a successful attempt by the business interests of Chicago (and the immediate region) to put on a show highlighting the accomplishments and hope for the future of the world in industry, the arts, and culture. Intended to run for only the summer of 1933, it was so successful that they reopened (and expanded) the fair for one more year in 1934. Tens of thousands of Chicagoans and people new to the city were employed by the fair; even more were employed servicing the visitors at restaurants, hotels, and transportation (and an unknown number offering “other” services as well). The federal government even lowered the liquor restrictions so that the fair could serve beer and wine. For me, the opportunities and story lines are endless for a series starring Tony Alfano.

In 1933, the notorious age of the Mafia, gangs, the Mob, the Outfit – pick your favorite, was almost over. Capone went to federal prison in 1932. The twenties roared, illegal boozed flowed, and the new medium, movies, caught it all—especially the gangster movies. The world had a much different view of Chicago than its own residents. It was hoped that the fair would help to turn that infamous image around.

But the city was corrupt and politically in chaos. Anton Cermak, its mayor at the start of 1933 and leader of a tough political machine, would not last through February. He would die by an assassin’s bullet in Florida. A bullet intended for the newly elected president, Franklin Delano Roosevelt. The new mayor, Edward Kelly, placed there by statewide shenanigans run by the Irish political machine that rose to fill the vacuum, changed Chicago politics for the rest of the century and into the next.

The Savoia-Marchetti S-55 Seaplane - 
24 flew to Chicago and landed on Lake Michigan

This is where Tony Alfano finds himself, maybe the last honest cop in Chicago, desperate to hold onto his job, an Italian in a police force that seems to be Irish to the heart, and alone. Some days even he wonders what the hell he is doing.

Video of Italo Balbo's fight to America and Chicago - Summer 1933

Chicago Jazz starts two weeks after the conclusion the Chicago Swing, the first book in the Alfano series. The city is waiting for the most exciting event, so far, for the fair; the arrival of Benito Mussolini’s squadron of seaplanes. Commanded by Italo Balbo, these 24 seaplanes would fly from Italy, to Iceland, then Nova Scotia, and to Chicago. At each step reinforcing Mussolini’s fascist image and Italy’s credentials as the leading aircraft designer in the world. But an assassin and saboteurs lurk in the hot summer streets of Chicago, a serial killer who seems to only target Italians. The saboteurs, all Italians, are men who desperately want to stop Balbo and his planes. The mayor demands only one thing of Alfano – find them and stop them.

Chicago Jazz is available for pre-order through 4-3-16 and immediate delivery thereafter. Only Kindle ebooks are currently available, the paperback version will be available in late August.

More Later . . . . . . . .

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Updates and a New Chicago Book

Hello all,

Sorry that I haven't been as frequent as I have in the past. Lots of family things, business things, and writing things have priority these days. But here at least is an update.

I have a new book in pre-sale at Amazon (Click here). It is the second in the Tony Alfano Series. I just enjoy writing this series, my hope is to have one out once a year, as well as a new Sharon O'Mara Chronicle, and maybe two other series I'm writing. More on those in a later post - one may even have a New York publishing connection - we will see.

Here's a blurb from the new Alfano story:


In Chicago, during the hot summer of 1933, Detective Tony Alfano is stunned by the violent and seemingly senseless death of a young Italian woman. Her body, discovered in the pit of a construction site, bears the marks of obscene torture and cruelty. As the weeks pass and the Chicago World’s Fair excitedly anticipates the celebrated arrival of Mussolini’s aerial armada of twenty-four flying boats, more murdered and brutalized bodies are discovered. Are the victims connected to this spectacular event or is this the work of a deranged psychopath? Alfano and his sergeant have only days to find the answer - and the killer - before Mussolini’s fascist air fleet arrives from Italy and lands on the waters of Lake Michigan. Will Alfano find and stop the murderer before they can kill again? Or, will the Century of Progress World’s Fair be forced to close due to fear, international politicians, and Chicago politics? Everything is on Alfano’s shoulders.

We also ran this week a promotional program on three sites, Freebooksy, Booksends, and The Book Machine. Far and away we had more free downloads via the Freebooksy site. I recommend it to my readers as both a good source for indie books as well as where to market your books. The price worked out to about to 4 cents a download - pretty good exposure for the buck. Sure BookBub is the big elephant in the room but it takes months to pierce their review process. While the download numbers are huge, the cost is also high - but on a per unit basis lower than Freebooksy. All a matter of budgets.

We did a book club last week - great fun and very interested O'Mara fans. A few had read the series and love the characters, not much more can be said or appreciated by an author. These are wonderful places to meet readers, talk writing (many think it's like conjuring and magic), and often get a delicious meal. I take them whenever I get a chance. Thank you Gail.

I do not have to tell you the world of publishing is getting stranger and stranger, so many opportunities and directions out there right now. But more on that in a later post.

More Later . . . . . . . . .

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Book Review - Pegasus Down

After finishing this incredibly fast paced, action packed, thrill ride (literally) I came away with one question: Can you actually fly a Boeing 727 jet two hundred feet above the ground at over one hundred and fifty miles an hour in a thunderstorm, blind, with the only directions given by somebody in an AWACs plane a couple hundred miles away? Donlay certainly made me believe that you could. Philip Donlay’s books are to flying like Zane Grey’s stories are to big game fishing. To do it right you have to know how it’s done. An important and critical point of a Donlay thriller is that the technology does not get in the way of the story. Not easy to do with Gulfstream jets, helicopters, and commercial jets as characters seemingly in their own right. While, at times, a little (ok, a lot) of over the top action, Pegasus Down is one more reason why we read Philip Donlay’s Donovan Nash stories. This is a jet fueled international escapade with rough, tough bad guys that seldom allow the niceties of civilization get in the way of their evil ambitions.