I’m proud to announce The Lovers’ Tango has won the Gold Award in Popular Fiction for this year’s IPPA Benjamin Franklin Award. The award was announced last evening in Salt Lake City. It’s quite an honor. It’s wonderful when your own hard work and effort is recognized by others in the field–writers, librarians, bookstore owners, reviewers, designers, publicity managers, and editors.
I’m thrilled to announce that my new novel, Love Gone Mad, has officially launched and can be purchased online at amazon.com, barnesandnoble.com and bookstores in your neighborhood. It’s available in soft cover and also as an eBook.
One thing that a writer needs to do, if he’s to keep publishing his work, is to sell his books. So what follows is a great review from Library Journal. I’m hoping this will encourage you to go to your local library and suggest that they purchase a copy. Of course, you’ll also want one for yourself!
Rubinstein, Mark. Love Gone Mad.
Thunder Lake. Sept. 2013. 352p.
ISBN 9780985626860. pap. $12.99.
Divorced heart surgeon Adrian Douglas is living a comfortable but lonely life after leaving his job at Yale two years ago to work at Eastport General. Everything changes after a chance cafeteria encounter with attractive RN Megan Haggarty. Adrian is instantly smitten and begins a seemingly idyllic relationship with Megan, but he soon learns that even the most perfect woman can have some secrets. One of Megan’s biggest secrets is ex-husband Conrad Wilson, a hulk of a man who takes possessiveness to a whole new level. Anonymous threats and vandalism against the couple soon escalate to life-threatening encounters, and Conrad is the prime suspect. As Adrian and Megan’s relationship grows, the rage in Conrad intensifies, with all of his negative energy channeled toward them. VERDICT Rubinstein’s second foray into the fiction arena (after Mad Dog House) is an intense thriller that promises readers surprising twists, heart-pounding suspense, and a bird’s-eye view into both the mind of a madman and a dizzyingly realistic account of how it feels to be stalked as prey.—Mary Todd Chesnut, Northern Kentucky Univ. Lib., Highland Heights
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Okay, this is a Norwegian mystery…one of the many Scandinavian novels flooding the market since the success of the Millenium trilogy.
The premise is interesting: A 17 year old boy with a deprived homelife sets about playing malicious pranks on people in and around his village. Some of them have dreadful consequences. Kids can be really vicious, for sure.
The novel’s problem is simple: there is very little suspense or tension. Much of it is written from the POV of the boy and you know his motivation and his objective. After a while, the only question is whether or not his pranks will escalate to something more serious.
I found the writing to be simplistic and naive, and have trouble understanding Marilyn Stasio’s good review in the NY Times. There was little to sustain my interest, and I think this novel proves the old saying that sometimes, less is more.
There is far more tension (at least for me) when the true culprit is unknown or unknowable, which is not the case here. This novel suffers from what is often called these days TMI (too much information). Two stars.
Heloise runs a prostitution ring in suburban Baltimore. She comes from a deprived background with a verbally abusive father and a passive mother. Having escaped her beginnings, she has, by virtue of grit, brains and determination, made herself into a sophisticated woman who has a young son and who lives quite well. Unfortunately, her son’s father is in prison and is Heloise’s former pimp and ringmaster. He doesn’t know Heloise is the mother of his child.
Heloise (formerly known as Helen) leads an intricately mapped double life, not only because she’s in the business she’s in, but because she visits Val (the father of her son) in prison, and still pays him a substantial percentage of her earnings, because she must. He has connections on the outside, and peril awaits Heloise if she should meander from her incredibly successful business model, some of which she’s garnered from her former work for Val, and from businesses like Amazon and eBay.
Heloise is quite clever, is self- educated, (intelligent beyond her formal education) knows the ropes, and can read people very well. When a madame in another county is discovered dead (murdered) things become dangerous for Heloise, and the life she has so painstakingly constructed comes under threat of exposure. Or worse: she’s afraid that she may become a target as well. At 37, she must cope with a threat to her life and to the secrets she holds–from Val, from her son (who thinks his father died before he was even born) and secrets she holds from the entire community.
Heloise’s situation becomes more tenuous when another prostitute (and former worker for Val) is found dead. Heloise must decide what (if anything) to do, especially when a former employee attempts to blackmail her. The tension mounts and Heloise’s dilemma reaches frightening proportions.
The story, told in a hip, contemporary style, moves toward a harrowing conclusion and the reader comes to the conclusion that this is not so much a story about prostitution as it is about a bright, self-sufficient woman who rises above her humble and degrading origins and is a master at finding creative solutions to seemingly insoluble problems. Heloise is a true entrepreneur and at heart, a person with a conscience and a soul. Four and a half stars.
Given the spate of school shootings over the past few years, you would assume a novel about a gunman taking children hostage at a school in a small town would be as suspenseful as it is timely. Unfortunately, I found the suspense lacking and the tension watered down by the novel’s construction which was skillfully done, but slowed the novel’s narrative drive.
The story is told through the eyes of five narrators, all experiencing the horror and processing it in different ways. They are a mother of two student hostages, their grandfather, a teacher (also held hostage), a police officer,and the mother’s 13 year old daughter who is in the school when the gunman appears.
The different perspectives offered by each narrator (either in the first person or third person, in the present or past tense) are interesting, though the first part of the novel can be a bit confusing until the reader sorts them out. Once things fall into place, the story should flow to a furious and compelling conclusion. But the author delves into far too many cul de sacs about each narrator, and bogs down the story’s natural flow, which waters down the tension.
Some people would call this a “thriller” because of the subject matter. I think it’s more a portrait of a small town, and the dynamics of people involved in a terrifying situation, but the read itself is neither terrifying nor thrilling.
While character development in a novel is very important, it should not feel to the reader like some sticky adhesive holding back the story. After all, when you get down to it, the story is what counts. Three and a half stars.