January 1, 2011

Guest Author and Review Vincent Zandri

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I was thinking, now that I have a full year of blogging and reviewing under my belt, how do I want to start off my 2nd year.  If you have followed my blog, you know I have been a big James Patterson fan, even to the point of saying he was my overall # 1 male author.  However, in 2010, I was introduced to a new author, read 3 of his books and have to tell you that he picked up speed and sprinted to the finish line.  On Thursday, I announced that I had found a new # 1 male author.   The timing couldn't have been better !!  I just finished reading his 4th novel and planned on it being my first review of 2011.  What a way to start the New Year?  Right?  But then I had an idea!!  How perfect would it be, not only to have my first review be of one of his books, but if he would be the first author that I hosted for a visit in 2011!!!!  An invitation went out and he graciously accepted.  So please help me welcome my Number 1 (and hopefully you will also become a fan) author, Vincent Zandri.

    Vincent Zandri is an award-winning, bestselling novelist, essayist and freelance photojournalist. His novel As Catch Can (Delacorte) was touted in two pre-publication articles by Publishers Weekly and was called "Brilliant" upon its publication by The New York Post. The Boston Herald attributed it as “The most arresting first crime novel to break into print this season.” Translated into several languages including Japanese, Russian, French and the Dutch, Zandri’s work has also been sought out by numerous major movie producers, including Heyday Productions and DreamWorks. Other novels include Moonlight Falls (R.J.Buckley), Godchild (Bantam/Dell), and Permanence (NPI). His newest thriller, The Remains (Stone House) will be published in July, 2010 in E-Book and in November, as a Trade Paperback. Forthcoming novels include The Concrete Pearl (Stone Gate), a new detective series starring the brassy but beautiful construction business owner, Ava "Spike" Harrision, and the re-publication of the classic, As Catch Can (Stone Gate).
    An adventurer and freelance photojournalist, Zandri has been the author of the blogs, Dangerous Dispatches and Embedded in Africa for Russia Today TV (RT). He also writes for other global publications, including Culture 11, Globalia and Globalspec. Zandri’s nonfiction has appeared in New York Newsday, Hudson Valley Magazine, Game and Fish Magazine and others, while his essays and short fiction have been featured in many journals including Fugue, Maryland Review and Orange Coast Magazine.
    He holds an M.F.A. in Writing from Vermont College and is a 2010 International Thriller Writer’s Awards panel judge. Zandri currently divides his time between New York and Europe. He is the drummer for the Albany-based punk band to Blisterz.

GUEST POST
2011 Resolutions and Dissolutions!

By Vincent Zandri
2011 is not only going to be the year I establish some serious new goals for myself. More importantly, it will also be the year I dissolve or, give several things up (I gave up smoking 5 years ago and have stuck to it!). Things that not only have become terrific time wasters, but that are unhealthy or are leading me in directions I no longer want to go.

For instance, I’m no longer going to “obsessively” check on my Amazon rankings. I’ve actually started on this, checking my numbers only once or twice a day instead of every hour on the hour. In 2010 my books The Remains and The Innocent became Number 1 Amazon Hot New Bestselling Releases in Hard-Boiled and Psychological Suspense fiction, as well as Amazon Bestsellers in Hard-Boiled Mysteries, and it caused the junky in me to jones for those stellar Amazon rankings. When the rankings got better, I felt high. When the rankings slacked off, I felt depressed and irritable. Not good! Then I found out that the numbers really don’t mean anything. That it’s a matter of how well you sell over time. And anyway, shouldn’t a writer be concerned primarily about writing, and secondarily about rankings?

Second thing I’m dissolving, or changing, if you will: My blog postings at The Vincent Zandri Vox (also my Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin contributions) will no longer be about me, myself, and I. They will include guest blogs from other authors, reviews of other books, and commentary on relevant issues that affect the drastically changing literary world we live in.

So why the shedding; why the changes?

Exactly one year ago a small publisher, RJBuckley published Moonlight Falls, my first novel in more than five years. My career up to that point had been at a standstill, even after having received a major six-figure advance in 1999 from Delacorte in a two book deal. That said, given a new opportunity to make good, I wanted to give myself one full year of guerilla marketing focusing entirely on myself and my work. And it worked! So well in fact, I ended up signing a whole bunch of new contracts with StoneHouse Ink. And when that went well, the publisher actually created a brand new imprint for me and several of their “darker” authors called StoneGate Ink.

But one year of advertising entirely about oneself is enough. Time to shed what could become a dangerous if not narcissistic habit and start paying attention to some other great and upcoming authors out there who will sooner than later, be sharing the same literary platform. Who are some of those authors? Bri Clark, Aaron Patterson, Les Edgerton, just to name a few, but of course, I could go on and on. The point here is that Indie publishing is taking the world by storm and while not all of the authors I mentioned are published only by Indie presses, 2011 will be the year many of them make their mark, and I plan on featuring many of them in the “Vox.” No doubt some of their books will be reviewed here as well.

It’s a positive move to make New Years resolutions. So long as you stick to them. For instance, I want to eat better, climb the ancient pyramids, publish more journalism features, be a better father, a better partner, a better man.

But it’s also a good thing to make dissolutions so long as the shedding process makes you free and therefore, the over all breathing process easier. As difficult as it may seem, I plan on letting go of old friendships and relationships that no longer work or are pulling me down in negative ways. Doesn’t mean I don’t care, or in some cases, love these people. It’s just that I can no longer assume the awesome responsibility of trying fix something that for now anyway, seems irreparably broken. What was Einstein’s definition of insanity? Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. I want to limit my intake of sweets, red meats, and beer, at least during the week. I want to allow myself the luxury of being bored sometimes, so that I have time to think. I want to toss a whole bunch of stuff out or give it all away, including old clothes, papers, magazines, useless junk, and clutter. I want to live a simpler, freer existence. Finally, I want to give up some of my cash to charities close to my heart. The Boston Children’s Hospital for one.

This year I’ve gotten an early head start on making some necessary life changes. And I already feel much better about myself and the world. I hope you can do the same.

Vincent Zandri Books to be released in 2011:

-GODCHILD (PART II of the Jack Marconi Series) by StoneGate Ink (previously published by Bantam/Dell)

-Special Kindle/E-Book Edition THE REMAINS/SWEET DREAMS by Vincent Zandri and Aaron Patterson, by StoneHouse Ink. (The Two Amazon Bestsellers combined in one edition)

-Special Kindle/E-Book Edition THE INNOCENT/GODCHILD, by StoneGate Ink (The Two Part Series Collected into one edition)

-THE CONCRETE PEARL (Part I of the new Spike Harrison Series), by StoneGate Ink.

-Also, two new Digital Shorts and possibly the Part II in the Dick Moonlight series!


My Review

                                      The Innocent by Vincent Zandri
Published by StoneGate Ink
ISBN-13: 2940011815430
ISBN: 0011815434
An EBook edition, was purchased by me, for my personal reading enjoyment.
  Synopsis (borrowed from Amazon):   Getting caught is simply not an option.
  It's been a year since Jack Marconi's wife was killed. Ever since, he's been slipping up at his job as warden at an upstate New York prison. It makes him the perfect patsy when a cop-killer breaks out--with the help of someone on the inside. Throwing himself into the hunt for the fleeing con, Jack doesn't see what's coming.
  Suddenly the walls are closing in. And in the next twenty-four hours, Jack will defy direct orders, tamper with evidence, kidnap the con's girlfriend--and run from the law with a .45 hidden beneath his sports coat. Because Jack Marconi, keeper of laws, men, secrets, and memories, has been set up--by a conspiracy that has turned everyone he ever trusted into an enemy. And everything he ever believed in into the worst kind of lie.
  My Thoughts and Opinion:  It is ironic that today, the first of the year, that I am reviewing the first book that started it all. Even though this version has been rewritten, the original was Mr. Zandri's first. I became hooked by this author when I read his other books, Moonlight Falls, The Remains, and the digital short, Pathological. Reading The Innocent, for me was like watching a toddler start to walk. Amazing!!!!

   What did I think of The Innocent? A heart pounding read!!! Non stop suspense!!!. Zandri is a genius when it comes to writing. He grabs you from the first few pages and doesn't let go until the last word!! Masterful writing, whereas, he incorporates the present day plot and then transports the reader to another page turning subplot of the past and back to the present making it a page turning, can't put down read!!! Due to one continuous spoiler, that I do not want to give away, the story line had this reader fleeing and breathless with the main character, Keeper Marconi. Phenomenal!!! Chilling!!! The only negative I am finding with Vin Zandri's books is this, when I finish reading one, I want more!! Vincent Zandri and The Innocent are a Grand Slam!!!!!!
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11 comments:

(Diane) Bibliophile By the Sea said...

Cheryl...thanks for bringing this new author to my attention. I'll have to try his first book at some point this year.

Congrats for being smoke-free 5 years. My daughter was finally able to quit, after several fails, 1.5 years ago.

Happy New Year.

Kaye said...

This sounds like a really intriguing book and I'm impressed an author can take the place of Patterson in your estimation. Moonlight Falls got a lot of good reviews and I have that one on the wish list. Great guest post btw. I like his ideas of living a simpler life and donating to the Children's hospital in Boston. They do wonderful things there!

Misha said...

I first saw Vincent Zandri's books on Goodreads and ever since then, I have been intrigued ! The book sounds like a thrilling read. Thanks a lot for the review!

Hott Books - Gina said...

Terrific review! Way to start the new year!

Vincent Zandri said...

Hey thanks for the comments. Yup, giving up smoking was one major positives in my life. I run and train with weights every day and can you imagine destroying all that with cigs???? I'm in much better health now....Enables me to write more books. Thanks for having me CMASH!!!!
happy New Year all!
Vincent

Marce said...

Oh great great great Cheryl. Honestly I am so happy you bought VincentZ to my attention last year. I have Innocent and I need to get Moonlight Falls, the others I agree amazing.

I love to read his posts, thanks for having him.

Happy New Year Vincent

dollycas aka Lori said...

Cheryl,
This is the same way that I felt when I found John Betcher I will be checking out Vincent's books asap. If you haven't read The 19th Element by Betcher you should check it out.

Vincent,
I am so glad you posted here today. I will be running to read The Innocent as soon as it gets here. Your novels sound right up my alley and my husband will love them too!!!

dollycas aka Lori said...

Is The Innocent only available for kindle? Is Catch Can, the same story available in print?

Julie P said...

Nice review, Cheryl! Maybe you should list this review on The Three Rs Challenge page?

Vincent Zandri said...

Hey there...The Innocent is available in all ebook formats, including kindle..."catch" is an earlier version, but I never suggest anyone purchasing it since I get zero royalties from it;)...The Innocent will be out in trade paper in the spring!!!! :) The Remains is in trade paper and so is Moonlight Falls!!!

Bri Clark said...

Cheryl,

I really loved what you wrote about the toddler walking...great metaphor. I am a Vincent Zandri follower myself and loved all this books. You may want to check out True Stories another one of his digital shorts. I think that it was partially based on true events.

Vincent,

I think all your resolutions and goals are awesome. You are doing great. Thanks for the kind words and enthusiasm.

Bri