Wednesday, January 11, 2012

First Reviews Are In for Toulouse 4 Death

There is nothing waited for and feared by an author than the first reviews. Like Broadway plays, they set the initial height of the bar, if low the expectations are for better, too high and only future disappointments wait. But if it’s a good, middle-of-the-road, with an optimistic air, review, then “the future is so bright that I’ll have to wear shades.”

Well, Readers Favorite posted the following:
"Toulouse 4 Death" by Gregory Randall is the third in the series of mysteries featuring resilient Sharon O’Mara, insurance investigator and ex-military police officer. As usual she gets help along the way from friend and detective Kevin Bryan. In this exciting, historically based story, the action centres on valuable artwork stolen by the Nazis from their Jewish owners shortly before the Second World War. Three American soldiers help themselves to a few pictures, including a stunning piece by Toulouse-Lautrec, and stash them away in a secret hiding place. One of them, Alain Dumont, believing both his comrades to be dead, returns to France after the war and collects the treasures. Now, approaching death, he wants to return the paintings to their rightful owners and asks Sharon to accomplish this for him. However, there are some powerful people who don’t want that to happen.

This is a fast-paced, contemporary thriller with an authentic, well-researched plot that is full of twists and turns, yet remains plausible. There is an interesting cast of characters, all rounded and unique. Sharon is a driving force throughout the book and a catalyst for the exhilarating action. The author is a great storyteller and has a gift with language. For example, when Dumont refers to his memory loss, he says his thoughts “run away like small children and hide”. Beautiful.

And this remark from a friend:
I couldn’t put it down, I loved it. The characters and the story, it made my vacation. I even finished it at the airport as I was heading home.”

For those of you in the know, I call these O’Mara Chronicles, “Flyers.” Books just long enough to read half on the way to Chicago and half on the way back, say 4 to 6 hours. We all start a book on vacation, how many do we finish? “I’ll get back to it,” we say promising ourselves. Yet there it sits, with its thick brothers and sisters, continually reminding us of our truancy (The Kindle-Nook crowd are spared this, theirs are hidden in aluminum and plastic covers, the digital age allows us to now hide our shortcomings).

I am now into the fourth Sharon O’Mara Chronicle. So far she has accumulated almost 200,000 words telling of her adventures, friends, and enemies (a sizable book in its own right). Every day, as I begin to slam keys and the space bar, I wonder what she will next whisper in my ear. What adventure will she foist on me? What untold memory will she allow me to share? What dark secret will she hint at?

This redhead, unlike the other one in my life, drives me to distraction. She’s bitchy, opinionated, the mouth of a soldier, carries a gun, smart, drinks a little too much scotch, drive a Jaguar, smokes Marlboros, and looks great in a black dress. Obviously she’s the girl every father dreads that his son will bring home.

The new book is underway, and like Toulouse 4 Death, I am setting the schedule now, no title yet but there is a strong and timely Bay Area backstory.

So here we go:
         February 1, 2012                20,000 words
         April 1, 2012                      40,000 words
         June 1, 2012                       60,000 words
         August 1, 2012                   Completed manuscript
         August                                Editing
         September 15, 2012            eBook
         October 15, 2012                Paperback

I beat last year’s schedule for Toulouse 4 Death while also publishing Elk River. And even though I have the sequel to Elk River in development, Sharon will continue to whisper in my ear.

More Later . . . .

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