The Dana Hargrove Novels: Author Video

Thanks to talented filmmaker Blake Horn for producing a short video, filmed in my home, about my inspiration for the novels featuring prosecutor Dana Hargrove.

Blake Horn at work.


Click the link below to watch the video on YouTube:

The Dana Hargrove Novels

The fourth standalone Dana Hargrove novel, Deep Zero, will be here soon!

Lenin’s Harem: Book review, conversation with William Burton McCormick, and reflections on my Latvian heritage

For this installment of Fiction Favorites & Awesome Authors, I welcome William Burton McCormick to VBlog. McCormick writes suspenseful historical fiction of considerable depth and intelligence in beautiful prose. His works should be on your “To Read” list!

I was first introduced to Bill McCormick’s fiction when we shared the pages of EQMM’s August 2016 issue, which included my story, “Journal Entry, Franklin DeWitt,” about a Soviet ballerina who defected during the Cold War. McCormick’s story, “Voices in the Cistern,” takes us back to ancient times, 50 A.D., where a war is raging in the city of Chersonesus between the Romans and the Scythians. The setting for this edge-of-your-seat tale of thievery and murder is a most unusual place, inside a great, underground cistern containing the city’s water supply. I loved the voice and pace of this story and was impressed by the author’s handling of my favorite theme in fiction: moral dilemma. In my legal thrillers, prosecutor Dana Hargrove is often faced with impossible choices between her personal life and professional ethics. You won’t want to miss the moral dilemma McCormick poses at the end of “Voices in the Cistern”—it’s a real whopper!

McCormick chooses historical settings for his fiction, and his work is meticulously researched. He holds a degree in ancient studies from Brown University, an MA in novel writing from the University of Manchester, and has lived abroad for many years, experiencing firsthand the countries and cultures in his fiction. Here lies another reason I was compelled to read more of his work. A personal reason. McCormick has lived in Latvia for several years and has studied Latvian history extensively.

My late father, Gunārs Ķēmanis, was a Latvian WWII refugee. He lived in a displaced persons camp in Germany from 1944 to 1949 and emigrated to the United States, where he met and married my mother and became a successful engineer. His gratitude to the U.S. was manifested by his complete Americanization; he did not speak Latvian at home, and did not observe Latvian traditions or holidays. In retrospect, I believe this was a coping mechanism for wartime trauma—even after Latvia regained its independence in 1990, my father did not want to visit because of lasting bitterness over the Soviet occupation. Our family name was Americanized, removing the diacritical marks and changing the spoken emphasis from the first syllable to the middle syllable, and my surname did not take on the feminine declension. (In Latvia, it would be written this way: Ķēmane). Conversations with my father and late aunt gave me secondhand knowledge of the Latvian wartime experience, some of which is woven into the stories “My Latvian Aunt” and “Stolen Afternoon” in my collection Dust of the Universe. I’ve also included a second-generation Latvian in my upcoming novel, the fourth Dana Hargrove legal mystery.

McCormick’s short story “Blue Amber,” set in 1910, and his novel Lenin’s Harem, spanning 1905-1941, are works incorporating Latvian history and characters. “Blue Amber” was a Derringer Award finalist in the category of long story. Here, the author pits the protagonist, a Latvian political prisoner, against impossible odds, likely death in either of two ways: at the hand of his Russian captors or in an escape attempt through the frigid waters of the Baltic Sea. This compelling and suspenseful tale kept me turning the pages.

McCormick’s novel Lenin’s Harem vividly portrays the traumatic events spanning the years from the first Russian Revolution in 1905 through WWI, and the Latvian declaration of independence in 1918 through the first Soviet occupation of Latvia at the beginning of WWII. The story is told from the point of view of Wiktor Rooks, a Baltic-German from a wealthy aristocratic family. The action starts with a Latvian uprising against the landowners when Wiktor is a young boy. His family loses the estate. Wiktor becomes a career soldier and ultimately joins the Red Latvian Riflemen, nicknamed “Lenin’s Harem.” As the novel progresses, Wiktor finds more distance from his aristocratic roots, loses his prejudices as he forms personal relationships with Latvians in his regiment, and falls in love with a Latvian woman, Kaiva, who believes in communism. The novel contains impressive insights into relationships that are fraught with conflicting societal and political tensions. One of my favorite scenes is the dinner party where Wiktor introduces his fiancée Kaiva to the family. All is going reasonably well, the family almost accepts her, when a family member mentions that he has petitioned the League of Nations for the return of the family’s land, “illegally seized” by the Latvian government. Idealistic Kaiva innocently professes puzzlement: “Your life seems more than comfortable. Why do you need more?” She observes that their land, which once supported a single family, now supports several Latvian families: “It’s simply a better use of the land.” Who could argue with that? Well, the insult is ultimately tempered somewhat when Kaiva is asked to consider how she felt when she was thrown from her home and became a refugee, causing her to admit that the loss of home is traumatic, no matter what the reason.

If you enjoy historical fiction, tales of war and revolution, political intrigue, psychological suspense, action, family saga, or any of the above, you’ll find it all in Lenin’s Harem, along with a tender love story, all packaged in beautiful prose.

And now, I’ll let Bill McCormick tell us what went into the creation of this superb novel.

Welcome to VBlog, Bill! I find it fascinating that you have chosen to live abroad for years at a time to write historical fiction about the countries you are experiencing firsthand. What led you to make such a dramatic life choice, and what led you to choose Latvia, in particular?

I have always wanted to travel, and I have always wanted a creative occupation. I’m sure those aren’t unusual traits in a writer. Merging them was always a long-term goal for how I wanted to live my life.

Bill at the monument to the Red Latvian Riflemen

As for my interest in Latvia, I was living in Alexandria, Virginia at the time and working on an outline for a sort of generic spy thriller I had dreamed up. In researching a setting for this story, I went to the Latvian Museum in Rockville, Maryland, and bought several books on Latvian history. I was moved about what I learned. I had little knowledge of the cruel events that occurred there. Because of the World Wars, Russian Revolution, Russian Civil War, Holocaust, Soviet deportations to the Gulag, and the exodus of the Baltic-Germans, Latvia lost more than a quarter of its population during the first half of the twentieth century. And I found tragic irony in the story of the Red Latvian Riflemen, who rescued the Bolsheviks time-and-time again and were key in the formation of the Red Army, only to be murdered by Stalin in his purges. After reading this, I ripped up my plan for a spy thriller and decided to write a serious historical novel. At the time, there was little information available on the internet on this era in Latvian history, and what was available was usually in Russian with a decidedly Soviet perspective. So, with a detour through Manchester, England to learn the writing craft, I moved to Latvia. I did not want to depend on third or fourth-hand sources. I wanted total immersion to see the places, the culture, and do the research myself. I arrived in Rīga, knowing no one, without a job, apartment, or command of the language, but determined to write a book that would illustrate to the English-speaking world what happened in Latvia in the twentieth century. I worked with historians, museums, archivists, and interviewed survivors and family members of some of the later events. It quickly went from a novel to a very personal experience. I have since lived in Russia, Estonia and Ukraine, but Latvia, and Rīga in particular, is still the place I think of as home outside of the United States.

I was surprised by the reception the novel received from the Latvian community. I spoke about the book and the history behind it at the Latvian Embassy to the United States in January of 2013. The Latvian Museum, where it all started for me, was kind enough to host a book event. Zvaigzne ABC, Latvia’s largest publisher, published a Latvian-language edition which did quite well, and the book was included in the permanent library of the Latvian War Museum in Rīga. As a foreigner, writing about the history of another nation, I continue to be amazed at the book’s acceptance. It’s still the thing I’m most proud of in my career.

The novel also was well-received in the English-speaking world. Former Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid of Nevada, sent me a note saying he enjoyed Lenin’s Harem so much he read it twice. Gregg Popovich, head coach of the San Antonio Spurs, liked it enough to send me a bottle of wine. Good word from all quarters.

Lenin’s Harem spans the years from 1905 through 1941. During this period, like many in its history, Latvia was a pawn in an endless struggle for control by Germany and Russia. The protagonist of the novel is Wiktor Rooks, a Baltic-German who grew up in a wealthy family that owned land in present-day Latvia, worked by Latvian servants. What led to your decision to tell this story from the point of view of a Baltic-German rather than a Latvian or a Russian?

When writing Lenin’s Harem, I was aware that my readership would likely be unfamiliar with Latvian history, culture and their way of life in the early twentieth century. By creating a protagonist who is an outsider to that society, it allowed me more naturally to explain things to the audience within the narrative. As I too was an outsider, Wiktor’s discoveries and observations could to some degree mirror my own. Or contrast my own in interesting ways. And, of course, as a wealthy Baltic-German, the character is right in the middle of all the conflicts of nation, ethnicity, and class, as society radically changes during the upheavals of the era.

The characters are tugged in many directions by conflicting forces: social, nationalist, political, ethnic, familial. There’s also just plain survival at work, the need to adapt to the current regime. Rooks is Baltic-German, yet he ends up fighting for the Russians and falling in love with a Latvian woman, Kaiva, who believes in communism. For a modern-day reader from a stable country like the United States, it may be difficult to imagine why a Baltic-German would end up fighting for the Russians. Can you comment on some of these conflicts?

Historically many Baltic-Germans living within the Russian Empire were officers in the Tsar’s army. The first sons of aristocratic families managed the estates, but the second and later sons needed something to do. It was common for this class to end up as professional soldiers. But, during the World Wars, of course, this meant fighting other Germans. So, here we have an interesting conflict for Wiktor, one that creates mistrust with both the Russians and the Latvians. And then when the Bolshevik Revolution occurs, with its intrinsic class warfare, Wiktor’s aristocratic past puts him in even greater peril. There was a lot I could do with such a character. Wiktor begins the novel with the racist and classist views common to wealthy landowners of the time. But as the novel progresses, those prejudices fall away as he meets new people and experiences tragedy and triumph in the company of other economic and ethnic groups, particularly the Latvian soldiers he learns to survive with. By the middle of the novel his love for the revolutionary Kaiva is plausible. His character arc happens in logical steps, taking Wiktor into worlds he could never have imagined at the beginning of Lenin’s Harem. I think this is what makes him a compelling character.

The novel takes us through the beginning of World War II, during the Soviet occupation and the so-called “Night of Terror,” June 14, 1941, when the Soviets deported thousands of Latvians. In the ending scenes, the Soviets are retreating again, on the eve of a new period of German occupation, 1941-1944, and the future of the protagonists is left to the imagination. I love the ending of the book, the combination of hope and self-determination threatened by a grim reality. Are you planning a sequel to let us know how Wiktor and Kaiva fared? What is your current project?

 I have very rough drafts of two more novels that extend the story through days of the Forest Brothers who resisted the Soviet occupation in the Kurzeme and Latgale regions of Latvia until the early 1950s. I hope to revise those at some point. There is more to tell of Kaiva and Wiktor, but for now, the ambiguous nature of their fate gives Lenin’s Harem an appropriately uncertain ending for what were definitely uncertain times.

I am currently finishing a modern thriller set predominantly in Latvia called KGB Banker, co-written with John Christmas. John is a very brave man, a whistleblower against the Russian mob in Latvia and elsewhere. Many of his experiences have inspired our story of a Latvian-American banker who takes a job in Rīga, only to find himself embroiled in murder and an international conspiracy to destroy the Western economy and re-establish the borders of the Soviet Union. High octane stuff.

One of the key characters in KGB Banker is a Latvian journalist named Santa Ezeriņa. Santa is a popular character of mine, having appeared in Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine, Over My Dead Body, and the story “Matricide & Ice Cream” which is about to be published in the United Kingdom in the CWA Anthology of Short Stories: Mystery Tour by Orenda Books. People are always trying to kill poor Santa but can never quite do it. She’s a damn tough heroine. I’m looking forward to having Santa in her first full-length novel.

After KGB Banker is finished, former U.S. Senator Harry Reid and I are planning to write a true crime western set in our mutual home state of Nevada. That ought to keep me busy through 2020 or so.

We look forward to your next novel, Bill! Thank you for this insight into your work and Latvian history.

 NOW, dear reader, where can you get Lenin’s Harem and short stories by William Burton McCormick? Click the links! Lenin’s Harem (ebook) (hardcover)Ļeņina harems (ebook in Latvian) (print book in Latvian)Blue Amber (ebook); August 2016 issue of EQMM; upcoming CWA Anthology of Short Stories: Mystery TourSanta Ezeriņa story “Hagiophobia” in AHMM.

Legal Eagles: Attorneys Writing Fiction (2)

Re-blogging here an entry from the Kirkus blog by editor Myra Forsberg, entitled “Legal Eagles”!

“Through the ages, the works of playwrights, novelists, and filmmakers, from Shakespeare to Steven Spielberg, have gleefully skewered lawyers. In Spielberg’s Jurassic Park, the first movie in the popular franchise, a discerning dinosaur chomps on a particularly sleazy attorney, delighting fans worldwide. But depictions of heroic lawyers also remain plentiful, particularly on TV, in classic series (Perry Mason) and more recent fare (The Good Wife).

Forsaken Oath“Kirkus recently reviewed three legal thrillers that focus on resourceful attorneys pursuing justice. In V.S. Kemanis’ Forsaken Oath, Manhattan prosecutor Dana Hargrove finds herself embroiled in three cases, including the murder of a fashion designer. In this page-turner, she must uncover the truth and save her career. “The author manages to compellingly depict many distinct areas of the justice system, from the cops on the street to the lawyers on both sides of the courtroom,” our reviewer writes. Jerri Blair’s Black and White, set in 1979,follows Florida public defender J.T. Lockman, who takes the case of an African-American accused of murdering a white car dealer. J.T. believes a Ku Klux Klansman committed the crime but must gather the evidence to prove it. Our critic calls the novel an “energetic tale that’s rife with drama and mystery.” A sinister figure kidnaps teenage girls in Brian Clary’s Amicus Curiae: the daughter of Texas attorney Michelle “Mickey” Grant disappears and the police soon arrest Willie Lee Flynn for one abductee’s murder. Although he’s convicted, Mickey harbors doubts and files an amicus curiae brief, seeking to retry Flynn and discover her daughter’s whereabouts. Our reviewer says, “Fans of crime dramas will find Clary’s suspenseful yarn a welcome addition to the genre.”


Stay tuned for the third installment of Legal Eagles! I’m currently reading a great legal thriller by attorney Manuel Ramos, soon to be reviewed.

Reflections on the 75th Anniversary of Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine

On a dismal, drizzly afternoon in Manhattan, an array of editors, authors, artists, and crime fiction aficionados jammed a large meeting room at the Butler Library to celebrate the 75th Anniversary of Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine.  Appropriate to the occasion were several surprise visits from beyond the grave (an eerie, other-worldly screeching from the HVAC system), and a chilling reading by Joyce Carol Oates from her story “Big Momma,” a creepy tale from The Doll-Master and Other Tales of Terror.  Shivers!

In a publishing environment where magazines and journals of short fiction easily come and go, EQMM can be proud of its longevity. The secret (or mystery) of this success was one of the topics explored during the afternoon of panel discussions by notable authors and editors.  Some shared fascinating personal experiences about working with the founders of the magazine, the cousins Frederic Dannay and Manfred B. Lee, who collaborated as Ellery Queen. The distinguished panelists included Otto Penzler (proprietor of The Mysterious Bookshop and founder of The Mysterious Press), Sarah Weinman (author, editor, and expert on women crime fiction writers), Jeffrey Marks (biographer of Anthony Boucher, at work on a biography of Dannay and Lee), Russell Atwood (ftomrobertsormer managing editor of EQMM), and award-winning authors Jonathan Santlofer, Joseph Goodrich, Josh Pachter, and Charles Ardai.

Especially fun was the slide show of several EQMM covers from different eras of the magazine, along with interior black-and-white illustrations of the stories. Janet Salter Rosenberg, the daughter of cover designer George Salter, gave insight into her father’s creations. Artists Laurie Harden and Tom Roberts discussed their respective works and their appreciation of the artistic freedom EQMM affords them in bringing their visions of the stories to life. Here is an evocative cover by Roberts from the July 2011 issue. The cover for the very first issue, and a clever story about it by Arthur Vidro, can be found on the EQMM blog, Something is Going to Happen, posted on August 31.

The symposium was capped by our trip up to the sixth floor, enticed by the promise of a glass of wine and (the real inducement) an exhibit of EQMM artifacts displayed in a small alcove of the rare book and manuscript library. Of particular interest to me were the yellowing pages of manuscripts, typed out on an old Remington or some such, with Dannay’s edits marked in pencil. Those of you who know of my life as an editor will guess at my delight in seeing Dannay’s flourishes and variances of the universal copyediting symbols and his spot-on word choices!  The exhibit is on display through December 23.

Why has EQMM endured?  The panelists and current editor Janet Hutchings agreed on a few key ingredients: a commitment to quality and a wide variety of stories of different styles within the mystery genre.  Wait a minute:  I’m going to ban that word “genre”!  It’s thrown around far too often and stirs up preconceptions that limit a reader’s horizons.  As an author who resists a pigeonhole for her own work, I would do the same for EQMM, unless you take the most expansive view of the term “mystery” as an essential element of compelling writing.  As stated on EQMM’s website, when founders Dannay and Lee were “deciding how to orieeqmmallnationsnt their new magazine, there could not have been any question that its outlook would be global. Both men had cosmopolitan tastes and a knowledge of world literature. It has become part of EQMM lore that Dannay, who soon took over the editing of the magazine, aimed to prove, in its pages, that every great writer in history had written at least one story that could be considered a mystery.”

Jeffrey Marks notes in his essay in the September/October issue that EQMM has published such literary luminaries as William Faulkner, Jorge Luis Borges, Mark Twain, and E.M. Forster, as well as several Pulitzer winners.  This year, in the May issue, we were treated to a reprint of Borges’ iconic story exploring alternate realities, “The Garden of Forking Paths,” which was originally published in EQMM in 1948.

Another masterpiece, Stanley Ellin’s “The Specialty of the House,” is reprinted in the current issue. Beyond these prize reprints, the range of writing that appears monthly in EQMM’s pages includes something for everyone, whether light or dark, police procedural or private eye, cozy or locked room. My taste runs to stories of psychological suspense and intellectual challenge, and I can always find them here. Janet Hutchings has maintained Dannay and Lee’s expansive vision for the magazine and the tradition of high quality. I’m grateful that my own writing, which bears absolutely no resemblance to Agatha Christie’s, has been printed in two issues of EQMM eqmm_sept-oct2013and its e-book anthology, The Crooked Road Volume 3.  I’m also fortunate to have been welcomed into this community of amazing authors. As one of the panelists noted, mystery and crime writers are a really nice bunch of people because we’ve transferred every bit of aggression and nastiness to our fictional characters!

*     *     *

Slightly off-topic, on the subject of anniversaries, I note here that October 26 marks a milestone for me.  A year ago, the print editions of my first two novels, Thursday’s List and Homicide Chart, were released.  To help celebrate, I’m running giveaways for signed copies of the two novels on Goodreads.  Be sure to enter for a chance to win!

New Short Story!

Journal Entry, Franklin DeWitt Aug 2016

I’m proud to be a contributor to the August 2016 issue of Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine. This is an important year for EQMM, celebrating 75 years as the preeminent mystery magazine. In this ever-changing world of publishing, EQMM’s longevity is a significant accomplishment, undoubtedly due to the quality of the magazine and the enduring appeal of mystery fiction.

The mystery field covers many genres, including cozy, police procedural, noir, historical, legal thriller, hard boiled, locked room, psychological, and private eye, to name a few. Every issue of EQMM includes a wide range of writing styles and genres, so there’s always something in the magazine to interest virtually every taste.

Here is the description of my story on EQMM’s website: “Enter the world of Cold War era professional ballet dancing in V.S. Kemanis’s moving classical whodunit Journal Entry, Franklin DeWitt.” You will also find suspenseful stories in this issue by authors Joseph Goodrich, William Burton McCormick, Scott Mackay, Dave Zeltserman, Jonathan Moore, and others.

This issue is also dedicated to EQMM’s past editors Eleanor Regis Sullivan and Frederic Dannay (who was half of the Ellery Queen writing team with his cousin Manfred B. Lee). The articles about these editors give fascinating anecdotes and insights into the history of the magazine.

All in all, a great issue. Pick up a copy and enjoy!

Q & A with Mystery Sequels

Answering questions from reviewers and bloggers is a great opportunity for me to reflect on why I write and how I feel about my characters. Here is a link to my interview with Marika from Mystery Sequels, a site for “Everything Crime with a Sequel: Crime Fiction, Mystery & Suspense, Thrillers.” I always enjoy her down-to-earth reviews and recommendations for great mystery reads. And in the midst of answering her questions, I came to realize how I’ve grown attached to my protagonist, Dana Hargrove!

Countdown to April 30, when Forsaken Oath is released to the world! Mystery Sequels gives it 5 Stars. Forsaken Oath “really shines”!

Legal Eagles: Attorneys Writing Fiction

We all know that lawyers write some of the best fiction. Okay, so I happen to be a lawyer who writes fiction—but I’m not biased. Really. I have proof!

Here are three fantastic reads by my fellow/fella colleagues at the bar. We’ve all had our days in and out of court tackling tough cases, flaky witnesses, annoying adversaries, and exacting judges. We’ve experienced the thrill of investigative discovery, the tedium of preparation, the surprises and heartbreaks that arise in the midst of trial. Truth is often stranger than fiction, and the criminal courtroom provides fertile ground for moral dilemma and human drama, a launching pad for the imagination of the novelist.

The writing styles and plotlines in these novels differ greatly, but each author touches on a common underlying theme: the life story behind the face might not be what you expect. Each novel features a character who may just end up surprising you. I will attempt to avoid spoilers and give you merely an enticing flavor of each.

A Good Killing, by Allison Leotta a-good-killing-small

Leotta is a former sex crimes prosecutor for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in D.C. A Good Killing features her fictional sex crimes prosecutor, Anna Curtis. In an unexpected twist, family loyalties cause Anna to switch hats for the first time in her career as she takes up the defense of her sister Jody, who finds herself in big trouble with the law, indicted for murder. The victim is a revered high school coach, Owen Fowler.

The storyline will hit home with any woman who can think back to high school days and find, in memory, a teacher, coach, or counselor who was popular, maybe even the subject of a young girl’s dreams, only to realize later, with the maturity of adulthood, that the perception was dangerously skewed. Coach Fowler is just such a character, a man with a nasty secret. Other secrets abound in this novel, as Jody does her utmost to keep Anna in the dark—not a good thing for an attorney representing her sister in the trial of her life. Tensions between the personal and the professional always draw me in, especially when the conflict implicates the ethical obligations of an attorney.

Another interesting aspect of A Good Killing is its structure, written from two points of view in alternating chapters. We hear Jody’s voice, speaking to Anna in first person, alternating with Anna’s point of view, written in third person. The technique is effective in building suspense, as the two tales ultimately merge in a satisfying conclusion.

This is the fourth novel in the Anna Curtis series, but each is a standalone. The fifth is soon to be released. Click here for Allison’s website

The Life We Bury, by Allen Eskens  life-we-bury-small

Eskens is a criminal defense attorney with previous experience on the other side of the courtroom as a prosecutor. His debut novel, The Life We Bury, cannot be pigeonholed. It has characteristics of literary fiction, mystery, and legal thriller. Protagonist Joe Talbert is a college student turned boy sleuth when he undertakes a writing assignment for English class and interviews an unlikely subject for a biographical essay—war hero and convicted murderer Carl Iverson.

This novel draws you in from the start with engaging, unique characters and vivid writing that makes use of all the senses. You can smell the unique odors of the nursing home Hillview Manor, see the “old woman wearing a crooked wig,” and feel the ambience of an archive room, where the “essence” of “millions of souls packed away on microfilm” waits to be “felt, tasted, and inhaled again.” In one of my favorite scenes, you can hear the pro forma litany between judge and attorney during a bail hearing, likened to “a Catholic funeral mass.” The suspenseful and entertaining conclusion of The Life We Bury takes Joe Talbert through harrowing twists and turns that may test the bounds of plausibility—but you’ll be so immersed and on the edge of your seat that the ordeal becomes all too real.

Eskens has published a second novel, and the third is on the way. Click here for Allen’s website

A Conflict of Interest, by Adam Mitzner  conflict-of-interest-small

Mitzner is a partner in the commercial litigation department of a New York City law firm. His expertise in securities litigation finds its way into his debut novel, A Conflict of Interest. Of the three novels under review here, Mitzner’s contains the most courtroom drama and litigation strategy—all of the kind of stuff that fascinates lawyers and law buffs alike!

In this novel, protagonist Alex Miller is a white collar defense attorney representing client Michael Ohlig in a securities fraud prosecution. Mid-trial, Alex learns a secret about Ohlig—a very serious transgression—that profoundly affects Alex’s personal view of his client. Trying not to let his animosity stand in the way of providing a brilliant defense, Alex must also grapple with a client who constantly battles him over issues of trial strategy, right down to the crucial question of whether Ohlig should take the stand in his own defense. The stress level hits a high note as the author depicts, in detail, the high stakes environment, pressure, and politics of a big law firm, and the toll that the environment takes on the lawyer’s home life.

If you want a fast-paced courtroom thriller, A Conflict of Interest is for you. Mitzner has also published two other novels, and a third will be released in April. Click here for Adam’s website

A common lament among mystery/suspense/thriller writers is the lack of time to enjoy the many fine novels of our contemporaries, as we struggle to find every spare minute for our own writing. I’m currently on a break between the third and fourth Dana Hargrove novels and have a bit of time to write a few short stories and to read a few extra novels. Prediction: another installment of Legal Eagles will make its way to this blog! Reading another good one now…


Forsaken Oath Now in Preview/Pre-Order!

Once again, Dana Hargrove is caught at the intersection of family and career—a career that happens to involve criminal suspects, judges, attorneys, and officers of the law!  The thematic core to these novels picks up the internal conflict familiar to any career woman with a family: the incessant tug between the professional and the personal.  In my career, both in and out of the courtroom, I have felt that tug keenly.  Over the past few years, in writing these novels, I’ve become very attached to Dana, her family, her colleagues, and her adversaries, and that is my wish for you, the reader.  Pick them up in any order.  Each novel is a standalone, as I take Dana through various stages of her career and life, with several years in between each storyVSKPaperbacks - Copy: Thursday’s List (1988), Homicide Chart (1994), and Forsaken Oath (2001).

Already, in a curl of my mind, I’m starting to envision Dana’s life in 2008…


For the e-book, pre-order here on Amazon.

Release date for both paperback and e-book is April 30!

If you are a reviewer or blogger and would like to receive an ARC, please send me a message through my contact page!