Author Interview | Anthony P. Jones

Somedays ago I read a book named Red States by Anthony P. Jones. I enjoyed this book so much that I decided to interview the author behind this entertaining read. Like the book, his answers to my questions were interesting as well. Let me introduce you guys to Anthony first and then I will let you read his mini spun answers. 😀 Final Book Cover - Red States

Tony was born in a small rural town Kenbridge, Virginia. He studied biology at Xavier University of Louisiana, medicine at Meharry Medical College and creative writing at the University of Virginia. He has spent twenty-five years in corporate America, fifteen as an Associate Vice president with Morgan Stanley. Tony has written for twenty-four years and has published two novels, Operation Smokeout- Allen Publishing and D8 With F8- Self/Brown Bag Books. He has a collection of seven additional completed novels as well as two screenplays.


Questions regarding Red States:

  1. What made you choose the title “Red States” for your book?

The story is taking place during an election year, when there is talk about Red and Blue states.  The antagonist, Zhang Ju wants to make the US all Red States, China Red.

2. The government and mafia conspiracy and them trying to one up each other was something that I most enjoyed about the book. What  level of interest did you have in the topic before writing the book?

I have always had an interest in politics, though, my taste has soured with the division we’ve seen over the past twenty years.  With regard to conspiracy, I once told someone that I choose topics that make the average person say, “No fricking way” and makes the government say, “Humm.”  When my first novel, “Operation Smokeout” came out, the Detroit Free Press questioned the plausibility— the book landed me a six-month stint on the NSA’s watch list, I had to meet with the NAS and it generated twelve calls from intelligence sources.  Ten to twelve things I wrote came true— the book was a creation of my imagination.

3. There’s a good balance between action and description, neither one of the sides over power the other, which I really appreciate. How difficult was it to find the balance?

This is an interesting question.  For me, the characters tell me where to take the book.  I am simply telling the story “they” tell me to write.  If it comes out balanced, it’s due to the story my characters tell me to write.

4. Were there alternate endings you considered?

When I begin writing a book, I generally know the beginning and where I expect it to end.  As I get into the thick of things, the ending may vary a bit, I simply follow where the story leads me.

5. Which character from the book did you find the easiest to write about?

Wow, this is a tough one.  I believe there are elements of the writer’s personality in each of his characters.  Cole is sarcastic and uses off-beat humor to deal with difficult situations— much like yours truly.  Zasha is strong, compassionate and on task, much like people I appreciate.  Zhang is ruthless, driven and is focused on the task at hand, while disregarding any potential pitfalls to achieve what he wants— I recognize this guy too.  As a writer, you have to have an appreciation, if not love for all of your characters.  You have to be able to get in the head of each of them.  Learning their complexities is something that comes as you write.  Easiest?  Cole and Zasha because they represent the Yin and Yang.  IN Martial Arts, we learn to seek balance, Cole and Zasha represent this balance.

6. What got left out in the final draft?

In this book, nothing got left out.  This story plays out as it was written.  The changes happened internally.  I wrote this book fourteen years ago, I did have to update technology to reflect things that have changed during that time.


These questions and Anthony’s answers gave me more insight about the book that I enjoyed reading. So, I asked him questions about being an author.

  1. Are you a plotter or pantster?

My stories are plot driven.  Thrillers should never be planned, they are free-flowing and what happens in one seen dictate where the story goes.  If you use an outline writing a thriller, your readers will know that you are trying to force the story.  Thrillers should be free flowing, the characters will tell you where to take the story.

2. What’s more important for you: characters or plot?

For me, plot drives the story, but the characters tell you where the plot has to go.

3. How long on an average does it take you to write a book?

Every book is different.  I put a lot of research into my stories.  My first book took about five years and the last one I wrote took only a month and a half.  Every story unfolds in its own timeline.

4. Is there a certain type of scene that’s harder for you to write about than others?

Sex scenes are the most difficult!  Sex is different in everyone’s minds— too graphic, not graphic enough, just enough to get the point across.

5. Which other genre would you want to try your hands on?

Thrillers are my stronghold.  I have dabbled with drama and even a religious based screenplay, but I always come back to thrillers.  Other genres cause you to think in different ways, I could do that, but I like the natural fit, I’m good at home.


After all these serious questions, I had to ask some fun questions as well. What better way to get to know a person than to ask them weird questions?

  1. Do you have any scars? What are they from?

Scars?  My back looks like a runaway slave’s.  The wrong relationships, trying to help people, who only wanted to use you, trying to be a good person in a world that doesn’t give a damn… and through it all, my daily goal is to make at least one person smile a day!  I may not be able to effect the world, but I won’t let the world bring me down!

2. What do you want your tombstone to say?

Shoot your best shot— there is no way to stop me!

3. Characters often find them in situations that they aren’t sure they can get themselves out of. When was the last time you found yourself in a situation that was hard to get out of and what did you do?

Five years ago, divorcing an attorney after twenty years of marriage.  I am going to win!  Not because I’m entitled, or deserve it more than anyone else, but simply because I refuse to give up!

4. Share a fun fact with us before signing off.

When this book becomes a hit, some will say that I’m an overnight success.  They’re right, 9,132 overnights!


This is one of those cases where you can truly see how much of himself an author as put in a book. I wish all the very best to Anthony and his book Red States and also all his future endeavors.

If you guys enjoyed this interview and would like to check the book out and support Anthony then go get the book.

Buy this book: Red States (Amazon)

Watch my review on the book-

Book review | 8: The Game is On by Swapnil Khamkar

8: The Game is On

 

Title: 8: The Game is On
Author: Swapnil Khamkar
Genre: Fiction, Historical fiction, Mystery- Thriller
Publisher: Srishti Publications

Publishing date: 10th December, 2017
Pages: 160

My Rating: 2.5/5 stars

 

*Book received from the author/publisher in exchange for an honest review*


Synopsis:

History holds a lot in its pages. But till when can truth be hidden?
Neel is a cop investigating the mysterious death of a famous film director. In the middle of a divorce case with his wife Avantika and amidst thoughts of resigning from his job, will he be able to find the culprit?
A five-hundred-year old sunken ship belonging to Vasco da Gama is discovered off the coast in Oman. It is well known that the ship sank with thousands of artefacts in it. Out of them, eight artefacts are missing in specific. Do they have some connection with the film director’s death?
Neel tries to unearth the truth behind the missing artefacts to find clues to questions nobody else can answer. Join Neel as he tries to find the truth behind 8! 1 ship; 2 deaths; 3 cops; 400 murders; 500 years; 60 days; 7 countries; 8 artefacts – Let the adventure begin!


My Take:

8! 1 ship; 2 deaths; 3 cops; 400 murders; 500 years; 60 days; 7 countries; 8 artefacts – Let the adventure begin!

This line was what sold me to the book. There’s so much scope in that one line. When I picked it up, I braced myself for a thrilling ride but the book wasn’t that.

The author was in great touch with the baseline of the story, the history part was well researched and smartly inserted in the story. Although the book could have done wonders only following this story line, I don’t know why Neel and Avantika’s stupid marital problems were added. In 1/3rd of the book, it turned from a decent thriller to a crappy romance story. Being cops them acting this way was so unwarranted, even after being in the same profession if this is how they react to situations and if this is what almost fails their marriage then God help their relationship.

Because of their story being introduced, the main story took a back seat. Where 3-4 pages were needed to find the first artifact, the last was found in a paragraph of 3 lines. Also, Raghu, their senior, sends Avantika with Neel and Jay (sidekick) to help their relationship. Excuse me? This is an international issue where you already have an incompetent officer (Neel) and you add his love interest, who by the way does nothing for the case, she either keeps making coffee or keeps romancing Neel in a real cringy way.

Neel was tried to be portrayed as this naturally talented officer who is really good at his job but the way he is written, he instead comes across as a really mean and arrogant person, who is incompetent but tries to hide it by talking people down and taking credit for their work.

The first story of the director is left hanging in order to pursue the artifacts storyline then that is forgotten because of Neel and Avantika (if you could not figure out, they frustrated me because they took a lot away from a story that could otherwise have been really good) and then we are again introduced to the first story line as a conclusion after rushing through the second one.

The climax was really anticlimactic, it seemed more of the TV series CID style. There were a lot of editing mistakes as well and then I looked at the name of the publishing company. I don’t know why but all the books that I have read from this publishing company are riddled with mistakes.

The idea and research that went behind it is really great, which is why I would love to read more from the author. You can see that he really has a great vision, this being his debut novel I feel the pressure to add romance to make it sell-able actually backfired.


Why would I pick it up?

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For a quick dose of history and a short read.

Buy this book-

Amazon

 

Book Review | Red States by Anthony P. Jones

Red States Book Cover

Title: Red States
Author: Anthony P. Jones
Genre: Fiction, Action, Thriller
Publisher: Brown Bag Books LLC

Publishing date: 12th December, 2018
Pages: 325

My Rating: 4.5/5 stars

*e-Manuscript received from the author/publisher in exchange for an honest review*


Synopsis:

Final Book Cover - Red States

A Triad Boss, who has grown board with the day-to-day activities of building his criminal empire decides to launch an initiative that will make him the best-known person in the world— he plans to overthrow the United States government.

As the largest “Snake Header” in China, his plan involves planting people in the US and providing them with citizenship paperwork, then having them vote in hand selected candidates, who will gradually assume power.

Two CIA agents are sent to China to investigate the Snake Headers, who dump more illegal immigrants in the US than any other country. They stumble on the Triad Boss’ plan, which involves underworld figures from Russia and Mexico. After learning of a meeting bringing together the underworld figures, the CIA agents rally a group of commandos to take the group down all at once.

Things go terribly wrong and the Triad Boss escapes with his delegation. Spared by the failed attempt to arrest them, the Triad Boss falls back to a secondary plan— he has fireworks destined for the Fourth of July celebration in the US filled with Abrin, a poison seventy-five times more potent than Rison.

Abrin is lethal in any form and the dust particles falling from the unsuspecting fireworks will wipe out seventy five percent of the exposed people. Wind carrying the Abrin will continue to spread the effect to water supplies, particulate that will be inhaled or simply reach any mucous membrane spreading death.

Learning about the Abrin at the last moment, the CIA agents implore the President to stop all fireworks displays in the US. They work to find the Triad Boss in order to prevent any secondary attacks. They are unable to prevent all the fireworks displays. The President sets up triage units to treat the affected, while the CIA agents round up the delegation one-by-one.


My Take:

Red States is a thrilling, action packed story. The way this story is written is sure to hold a reader’s attention. The balance of information and action is the thing that makes this book a page turner. There’s no information dump even though there is a lot of information in this book, it is smartly sprinkled in between the action scenes, not making any one part of the book over bearing.

The characters all have their own quirks and are really interesting to read about, even the side characters have their back stories described, in parts they get the front seat and we see their emotions play out. With this big of an operation, there are sure to be casualties but the one with one of the agents driving out to take a closer look at what was going on when he wasn’t supposed to and then getting caught and brutally beat up had me at the edge of my seat asking why did he go, he didn’t have to, why did he die… His partner didn’t know him well but because he was her partner, her getting emotional and wanting revenge yet keeping her cool and working by orders had me moved.

This book makes you go through a lot of emotions, if you can feel for the side characters too then the book definitely is well written.

The concept of the storyline was very interesting. It was easy to read and understand. Even if you are not into political or action stuff this can still be a very enjoyable read because it doesn’t use jargon, the way of explaining how things work is really simple. Straight forward language and easy flow of the book breaks the complex structures into an entertaining read.

The pace is perfect, neither too fast nor too slow. Considering it is an action story, I thought it would be fast paced but because of the amount of information about border crossing and Abrin and CIA and gangs the pace that it goes in is more suitable to the story. No scene goes on for too long, they keep moving on from one segment of the story to another. The characters and their personalities lacked a bit of intensity but it some how played out well for the story.

The end isn’t your perfect puppies and rainbows either, like the team comes in and saves the day. They do save the day but not without minor casualties and that gives it a more real touch than if everything was left completely unscathed.

All in all, I will definitely recommend giving this book a try.


Why would I pick it up?

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For the interesting story line and a laid back read. 🙂

Buy this book

Red States

Watch my review –

Read an interview with the author (Anthony P. Jones) here

Book Review | Velvet by Sacha Lanvin

Velvet

Title: Velvet
Author: Sacha Lanvin
Genre: Mystery, Thriller
Publisher: Self Published

Publishing date:
Pages: 73

My Rating: 3.5/5 stars

 

*eBook received from the author/publisher in exchange for an honest review*


Synopsis:

Young women are being murdered in France, and it’s up to the talented Commissaire Laurent Lefevre to put a stop to the increasing violence.

In a fast-paced game of cat and mouse the respected Lefevre must match wits against serial killer Lucas Ivan whose nefarious acts terrify the countryside.
While battling his own demons, Lefevre manages to hunt down the cunning Ivan and deliver him to the justice system. Satisfied that the reign of terror is over, the hero retreats from public life to rest and mourn his own painful losses.

But he hasn’t heard the last from Lucas Ivan.

During a deadly freak accident on Christmas Eve the killer escapes from prison, and the exhausted Lefevre must find the courage and strength to try and end Ivan’s bloody career once and for all.


My Take:

I love mystery/thrillers so there was no reason I was going to pass this one up. Although this follows one of the classic storylines of a retired or on vacation famous detective solving the case, this book sure has a lot more going for it. 😀

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The best thing about the book was the actual mystery, the actual case and how everything fell into place. Even though it was obvious to me who the killer was since the person was introduced, which was almost at the beginning; (not going to give that away, read the book 😛 ) the “why” was what kept me hooked in.

In just 73 pages the author managed to put in layer upon layer of twists while also letting the characters have their own stories. I would have loved for this to have been a full fledged novel rather than a novella because after I put it down, I was left wanting for more.

At first I thought that the story would somehow revolve around the Commissaire Laurent Lefevre and the serial killer Lucas Evans because the synopsis talks about them majorly but they are just the beginning tone of the book. I feel that the synopsis doesn’t do justice to the story because the story is much more than that and focuses on entirely a different case. The synopsis seems to be about a complete different book because the story the summary revolves around is not the focus of the book, actually nothing is mentioned about the actual story.

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I do believe that more pages would have done wonders for this book. The author had a different (in a good way) story line, an unique way of murders, interesting and strong characters, nice element of mystery but lacked in plot development. If there were more pages the book could have teased the reader about the killer without giving the killer away. The coincidence or whatever it was that helped seemed a little too obvious.

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The investigation itself wrapped very fast towards the end so it seemed rushed. Many things were unanswered.

For eg-The killer murders one of the victims in the bathroom and the door was locked from the inside and there were on other exits in the bathroom. The victim’s daughter was home. How did the killer get in and how did he get out of the bathroom, why didn’t the victim make any noise? Nothing is answered.

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First murder

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Second murder

It started out being detailed with the first murder and then the amount of details kept decreasing, eventually some of the murders were just mentioned in passing as the book neared the end, the amount

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One of the murders in the end.

of details given in the first murder was leading me to believe this was going to be the only murder, some time was spent even on the victims family, the second murder followed close suite with the details but then there were no detailed descriptions of the other ones. I do believe that the book started out as a novel hence the good amount of details in the beginning but somewhere in the process the author decided to turn it into a novella and cut back on details hence cutting out the actual strength of the story.

The motive of the murder is the only answer you get but you are left with tons of investigative questions. The wrap up should have included how the killer got access to all the victims.

The writing style is good, I liked how the details were worked into the sentence rather than describing the props and then mentioning the scenes.

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Screenshot_2018-09-18-09-14-18-1The book requires a bit more editing, there were a few spelling mistakes and grammatical errors. Like: pause for pulse, what is if something had happened for what is something happened, we for we do to, grief for grieve, swarms for swam, etc.

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The story has something very good going for it, few extra pages, a little proofreading, a little plot development, and a lot of answering can make it a 5 star.


Why would I pick it up?

Image result for detective reading gif cartoonFor a good mystery book that is a quick read.

Review | Passenger 19 by Ward Larsen

Passenger 19 (Jammer Davis, #3)

Title: Passenger 19
Series: Jammer Davis (Book 3)
Author: Ward Larsen
Genre: Mystery & Thrillers
Publisher: Oceanview Publishing

Publishing date: 5th January, 2016
Pages: 368

My Rating: 4/5 stars

 

*e-ARC received from the author/publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*


Synopsis:

Jammer Davis has spent most of his life investigating aircraft accidents. When a small regional jet disappears over the jungles of Colombia, it is a tragedy like dozens of others he has seen…but for one terrible detail—his young daughter, who was enroute to a semester abroad in South America, is listed on the passenger manifest.

A distraught Davis rushes to Bogotá and bulls his way into the inquiry. When the wreckage is located, it becomes clear the crash was unsurvivable. As the investigation gains momentum, the facts go astray. Two pilots had been shot before the crash, along with one passenger. The possibility of a hijacking looms large as the search begins to focus on two passengers who boarded the plane, yet their remains cannot be found.

Davis uncovers an even more sinister plot behind the entire disaster—one that goes to the highest levels of the United States government. But how could it possibly involve his daughter?


My Take:

This was a tension filled and full of suspense ride, I was on the edge of my seat and the near end kept me pumped up for the ending. ❤

The only problem I seem to have with this book is that I don’t think in real life, Jammer would have been sent to investigate a crash site where one of the casualties is his daughter, what about the emotional side overriding the rational side of the mind. You can make some serious mistakes when emotional. Jammer slightly curves from making said stupid mistakes.

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I loved the knowledge I got from the book. I have never read anything about investigating aircraft accidents and this book was a really good introduction for me in the subject. 😀 😀

The book was fast-paced which added to the thrill of the story. In the start it was a bit slow but as the story progressed the pace picked up and it became more action packed and unputdownable.

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Even after having so much going on I loved how well the characters were written. I really appreciate when the characters aren’t neglected while making the thriller more thrilling.

I wanted to read it one sitting but it was late at night and apparently I fell asleep. The first thing I did in the morning after I woke up was finish reading this book and I sure was rewarded. 🙂

In a nutshell it is a very informative, interesting, thrilling and fast paced read.


Why would I pick it up?

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For the thrilling read. 😀

Review | The Guardian Stones by Eric Reed

The Guardian Stones

 

Title: The Guardian Stones
Author: Eric Reed
Genre: Mystery & Thrillers
Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press

Publishing date: 5th January, 2016
Pages: 260

My Rating: 2/5 stars

 

*e-copy received from the author/publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*


Synopsis:

941 Britain: Children are vanishing from the village. Is it the powers of an ancient stone circle at work, or a modern predator? In mid-1941, children evacuated to the remote Shropshire village of Noddweir to escape the Blitz begin to vanish. It was not uncommon for city children faced with rural rigors to run away. But when retired American professor Edwin Carpenter, pursuing his study of standing stones, visits the village and discovers bloody clothing in the forest, it is clear there is a more sinister explanation. The village constable is away on military duty so the investigation falls to his daughter Grace. Some villagers see the hand of German infiltrators bent on terror. The superstitious, mindful of the prehistoric stone circle gazing down on Noddweir, are convinced malevolent supernatural powers are at work. And Edwin, determined to help Grace find whatever predator is in play, runs into widespread resentment over America’s refusal to enter the war. This atmospheric mystery will appeal to readers of Rennie Airth, Maureen Jennings, and both Ann Cleeves and Ann Granger.


My Take:

The premise of this book is very interesting. I liked the historical aspect of the book and the setting was interesting. The descriptive parts were well written. 😀

The main characters are likable, the supporting characters are well thought out too. All part of the plan. 😉 What I didn’t like about the character introductions was the attention to details. I kept getting confused about how old a certain character was and that kept me from fully paying attention.

The mystery isn’t much of a mystery, it’s still there but not as much as I would have liked. It had a horror aspect and can be categorized into horror. Some scenes had this chilling air leading to the end and those were the interesting reading bits. 😉 🙂

This was an okay read for me. It wasn’t gripping enough to hold my attention, my attention kept wandering from the book. I put down the book many times and picked it back up because I still wanted to know how it ended. It was a good thing that it keeps you intrigued for the end so that you can’t put it down. 😛


Why would I pick it up?

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For an interest evoking read. 😀