BOOK TOUR: Deaf Row by Rom Franscell #Thriler #CrimeFiction @ronfranscell

Deaf Row

by Ron Franscell

Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Crime Fiction

Retired from a big-city homicide beat to a small Colorado mountain town, ex-detective Woodrow “Mountain” Bell yearns only to fade away. He’s failed in so many ways as a father, a husband, friend, and cop that it might be too late for a meaningful life. When he stumbles across a long-forgotten, unsolved child murder, his first impulse is to let it lie … but he can’t. He’s drawn into the macabre mystery when he realizes the killer might still be near. Without help from ambivalent local cops, Bell must overcome the obstacles of time, age, and a lack of police resources by calling upon the unique skills of the end-of-the-road codgers he meets for coffee every morning—a club of old guys who call themselves Deaf Row. Soon, this mottled crew finds itself on a collision course with a serial butcher.

|DEAF ROW is more than a tense mystery novel, more than an unnerving psychological thriller drawn from Ron Franscell’s career as a bestselling true-crime writer and journalist. It is also a novel of men pushing back against time and death, trying not to disappear entirely. DEAF ROW is a moving, occasionally humorous, portrait of flawed people caught in a web of pain and regret. And although you might think you know where this ghastly case is headed, the climax will blindside you.

What made you switch from true crime to crime fiction?

My true crimes are the product of old-school research and investigation. I’m an old-fashioned reporter who believes in first-hand, up-close sensory experiences that tell me everything I want to tell a reader. I write narrative nonfiction, in which I tell utterly true stories with some tools from a novelist’s toolbox—foreshadowing, character development, setting details, etc.—a reading experience that relies heavily on the tiniest details of what I can see, hear, taste, smell, and feel. I can only get that from having my boots on the ground in the places where it happened, talking to people who might have lived it. That richness has set my true-crime apart from more formulaic books.

Then along comes Covid. Suddenly, in a spasm of global lockdown, I can’t book a hotel room, dine out in a restaurant, find a motel room, enter courthouse or libraries … and I certainly can’t talk face-to-face with the few hundred people I typically interview for my kind of richly reported true-crime book.

So in early 2020 I locked myself in my office alone with 40 years of experience, stories, and ghosts of telling true crime stories, and I breathed life into those old farts of Deaf Row.

Which is harder: True crime or crime fiction?

In my career, I’ve written a literary novel, a few mysteries, a road-trip memoir, and more than a dozen true-crime books. I’ve also written maybe a thousand newspaper articles, three screenplays, countless blogs, and a couple poems. What I’ve learned is that each genre has its own unique conventions. Think of it this way: A news anchorwoman, a songwriter, a poet, and a film director are all storytellers. They might all have a special affection for language, but what about being an anchorwoman naturally makes her a poet? What about being a filmmaker makes him a natural songwriter? Really, nothing.

So, it is with writing true crime and crime fiction. The leap might not seem as great between two thematically related literary pursuits, but the realms of nonfiction and fiction are separate universes.

In some ways, the true-crime writer has an easier job. He needn’t imagine a plot, characters, setting, a message, or anything else except maybe the structure of his story. But on the other hand, the mystery writer isn’t constrained by what ACTUALLY happened and can solve plot predicaments by simply imagining a solution.

Another interesting difference comes when you tell the reader up front “This is a true story” or “I made this up.” Fiction readers give an author a wide berth; they suspend their disbelief and allow the storyteller some leeway between what is likely and what is possible. The nonfiction writer tells you on the front cover “This is a true story” so readers don’t suspend their disbelief, they don’t give permission to be elegantly gaslighted, and they are quick to declare the author to be a lying charlatan and throw the book across the room. It’s why we can love a movie about blue people in a different universe, but be angry with a TV weatherman.

So even though I’ve written both true crime and crime fiction, I can’t declare one easier than the other. To me, they’re as different as writing a history book or a song. They’re both hard.

If a beginning writer asked me which genre she should pick, I’d say it doesn’t matter. I advise that she become an ardent student of the form, to learn everything she can about how it’s done, then the rest is easy. You just sit down at your word processor and let the blood ooze from your forehead.

Do your characters talk to you?

I’ve heard a lot of writers say they carry on conversations with their characters. Somebody studied this recently: 63% of authors said they heard their characters speak while writing, and 61% swore their characters were capable of acting independently and some said they actually carried on dialogue with these imaginary beings. When I hear a fellow writer say stuff like that, I usually take a subtle step backward. Hearing voices in your head is a symptom of schizophrenia and I just don’t want to take any chances.

BUT … I must think and behave on my characters’ behalf. Think about it this way: We all imagine hearing the voices of other people when we think about how an argument might have gone differently, or how someone we know is likely to respond to the news we’re about to give them. That’s just our normal thought process.

My imaginary characters live the life I give them and no more. I am sometimes surprised by what my subconscious produces, but I’m not possessed or surrounded or dependent on my characters. I don’t feel their physical presence or smell them or touch them or hear them. There’s no doubt in my mind who’s in charge.

Any advice for young or beginning writers?

Beware of anyone who offers magic beans. There are no magic beans. Anybody who says he knows the secret that will make you a bestselling author is probably trying to sell you a book. The tricks are no tricks at all: Practice. Stay organized. Keep files. Practice some more. Study people. Take clear notes. Write down every pertinent thought. Practice more. Don’t get overwhelmed. You’ll know when you know enough. Once you have all the ingredients, you’ll know it’s time to start. And practice.

What’s your next book?

I haven’t retired from true crime but my next manuscript is a sequel to DEAF ROW. In fact, it’s a fiction closely based on a real-life crime. I’ve done a lot of research into the facts of that case, which is one of the funner parts of my true-crime writing. But I’ve also enjoyed getting to know Woodrow Bell and the boys of Deaf Row a lot better. So, I’ve been able to blend some of the best of both the real and imaginary worlds. It’s its own kind of challenge.

Do you see writing as a potential career?

LOL. I’m still practicing.

A veteran journalist, Ron Franscell is the New York Times bestselling author of 18 books, including international bestsellers “The Darkest Night” and Edgar-nominated true crime “Morgue: A Life in Death.” His newest, “ShadowMan: An Elusive Psycho Killer and the Birth of FBI Profiling,” was released in March by Berkley/Penguin-Random House.

His atmospheric and muscular writing—hailed by Ann Rule, Vincent Bugliosi, William Least-Heat Moon, and others—has established him as one of the most provocative American voices in narrative nonfiction.

Ron’s first book, “Angel Fire,” was a USA Today bestselling literary novel listed by the San Francisco Chronicle among the 100 Best Novels of the 20th Century West. His later success grew from blending techniques of fiction-writing with his daily journalism. The result was dramatic, detailed, and utterly true storytelling.

Ron has established himself as a plucky reporter, too. As a senior writer at the Denver Post, he covered the evolution of the American West but shortly after 9/11, he was dispatched by the Post to cover the Middle East during the first months of the War on Terror. In 2004, he covered devastating Hurricane Rita from inside the storm.

His book reviews and essays have been widely published in many of America’s biggest and best newspapers, such as the Washington Post, Chicago Sun-Times, San Francisco Chronicle, San Jose Mercury-News, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel and others. He has been a guest on CNN, Fox News, NPR, the Today Show, ABC News, and he appears regularly on crime documentaries at Investigation Discovery, Oxygen, History Channel, Reelz, and A&E.

He lives in northern New Mexico.

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RELEASE BLITZ: Sister! by Thomas A Burns, Jr. #CrimeFiction @RABTBookTours @3Mdetective

A Natalie McMasters Mystery, Book 7


Crime Fiction

Date to be Published: Dec 5, 2022

Publisher: Tekrighter, LLC


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What do you do when you find out your twin sister is a stone-cold killer?
Love her anyway!

Twentysomething detective Natalie McMasters comes face-to-face with the
awesome power of money and privilege in her latest adventure. After she
finds out that she has a twin sister who’s committed a heinous crime,
her son Eduardo falls into the clutches of a perverted billionaire who plays
with peoples lives for sport. Getting into his futuristic walled estate is a
piece of cake, but getting out again is another matter entirely. While her
friends and fam battle endless frustrations trying to convince the cops and
the courts that Nattie and Eduardo are in deadly danger, she plays a risky
game with a malignant narcissist, his venomous consort, and some unexpected
houseguests, fighting for the souls of her sister and her son. How can she
ever succeed against such impossible odds? The twisted ending packs a punch
you won’t soon forget!

Sister! is the perfect read for fans of Karin Slaughter, Ruth Ware and Mary

About the Author

 Thomas A. Burns Jr. writes the Natalie McMasters Mysteries from the small
town of Wendell, North Carolina, where he lives with his wife and son, four
cats and a Cardigan Welsh Corgi. He was born and grew up in New Jersey,
attended Xavier High School in Manhattan, earned B.S degrees in Zoology and
Microbiology at Michigan State University and a M.S. in Microbiology at
North Carolina State University. As a kid, Tom started reading boys’
mystery series with the Hardy Boys, Ken Holt and Rick Brant, then graduated
to the classic stories by authors such as A. Conan Doyle, Dorothy Sayers,
John Dickson Carr, Erle Stanley Gardner and Rex Stout, to name a few. Tom
has written fiction as a hobby all of his life, beginning with Man from
U.N.C.L.E. stories in marble-backed copybooks in grade school. He built a
career as technical, science and medical writer and editor for nearly thirty
years in industry and government. Now that he’s a full-time novelist,
he’s excited to publish his own mystery series, as well as writing
stories about his second most favorite detective, Sherlock Holmes.
Tom’s Holmes story, The Camberwell Poisoner, appeared in the
March–June issue of The Strand Magazine in 2021. The sixth book in the
Natalie McMasters Mysteries, Killers!, was released in September, 2021, and
won the Silver Falchion award for best action/adventure book of 2021 at the
Killer Nashville International Writers’ Conference. Tom has also
written a Lovecraftian horror novel, The Legacy of the Unborn, under the pen
name of Silas K. Henderson
a sequel to H.P. Lovecrafts masterpiece At the Mountains of Madness. In addition to publishing the
seventh Natalie McMasters Mystery, Sister!, he is currently working on a
book of Sherlock Holmes stories.


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BOOK TOUR — Entanglement: Quantum and Otherwise by John K. Danenbarger #crimefiction @danenbargertw

Entanglement: Quantum and Otherwise

By John K Danenbarger

Genre: Literary Crime Fiction

About the Book

They look like the perfect family. 

But every family has its secrets.

Can we ever know the people we love?

Imagine flipping through old family albums. The faces are familiar; their true stories lost to time—half-forgotten family anecdotes woven together by generations of proud aunts and kindly grandmothers conceal more than they reveal.

“Entanglement” explores the blank spaces in our family trees.

The lives of eight souls intertwine in a sprawling family history. The family story is a legacy of addiction, kidnapping, crime, and murders unresolved and unforgiven.

Enjoy this epic achievement in the experimental tradition of David Mitchell and Ian McEwan, with the darkly exotic undertones of books like Mexican Gothic and The Cutting Season.


Glacial ice. Layered. Thick. Forming after the bewildering storm in her head and creeping up her spine. The courier’s delivery from Joe Tink lies like a white patch of snow on her desk. Being alone in her office, she doesn’t have to explain to anyone why she is waiting for it to melt. But it doesn’t. Finally, with curiosity spreading like hoar-frost, she feels forced to open this unwarranted denunciatory thing in front of her. To decide if she should leave.

Your father is dead.

That’s it? She’s vexed. Almost angry. What’s with this couriered letter? He could just as easily have called her from Bangor. Always had. They were close, weren’t they? Closer than normal.

Besides, she had long hoped her father would kill himself.

But Joe wrote more. Pages and pages.

This late-September afternoon, in some sort of unfamiliar circuitous telepathy, Geena has been thinking about Joe—Pickled Tink Joe—more than usual. She was reminded of him earlier by two different women in her Kansas City office asking Geena about the fall season back in New England, presuming that she knew all about New England and its leaves.

You know, Geena, how beautiful it must be!

With Geena’s children out of the nest and her ex a near-forgotten fugitive from marriage, she had moved to a smaller apartment in Prairie Village, west of Kansas City, to live alone, but rarely feeling alone. Her two boys, or more probably their spouses, dependably call about visiting her with the grandchildren during holidays, and neighbors in the building complex drop in daily to see if she needs anything.

While early on in younger years if she had lived there in Prairie Village—if she would have had time to think—she might have found this neighborly spontaneity a bothersome lack of privacy. Now, in her fifties, she loves this place and the midwestern populace who go nowhere. No New Englander had ever seemed as outgoing and optimistic as these Kansas busybodies. And, although Geena found that the religious tethering of the Bible Belt could be a nuisance, she has several local social friends who are comfortably unbridled and who distract Geena from her shrouded pathos, often recruiting her into playing bridge on Sunday afternoons and in occasional local tournaments.

Geena would never tell any one of these people, or anyone else for that matter, how she had grown up seeing the fall season as death-and-dying. Invariably depressing. Kansas is nosy neighbors, but still, New England is the epitome of fall presenting itself in all its dispiriting glory. In New England she had thought she smelled the dying in the rotting leaves, and she had heard death’s unambiguous footsteps in Maine’s ice and snow, inwardly cringing with the sound of each bone-crushing footfall in the long, dark winters.

Or maybe not. Maybe the winters are not the reason at all. Maine reminds her, in overkill, of the past, the shivers of buried darkness, ruining sleep. Anguish, grief, agony. Words that mean nothing compared to the reality.

Thus, many years ago, when offered a full-time position after temping in Kansas City during college, she decided to continue living in Kansas, away from New England. Geena is running her own construction consulting business, her towering height underscoring her authoritative presence, both for her few employees and for her clients. She has made sure her office staff have only seen her as a stoic engineer, a just but distant boss. Thus, the arrival of Joe’s letter forces her to leave the office as if struck by a sudden illness, which is, in fact, substantially true. She has escaped—not remembering the drive home—to hide her soul in the bedroom corner with her mother’s memories, in the few things she has kept: the cushioned chair—a maudlin carver chair she would never have bought—and the dorm-room lamp, as stringent as its droll Ikea name, that her mother bought Geena years ago.

Lost in the bedroom corner to scrutinize this bewildering letter, she doesn’t remember having ever screamed before, but at the end of this letter, she has screamed. Now crying quietly, the soft reverberations of her emotional outburst, Geena feels a punishing sensation sweeping harshly over her with the intensity of a squalid wind, a punishment for all things hidden inside her.

About the Author

John was a merchant marine captain, sailing the New England coast (including round-trips to Bermuda), and now writes literary crime fiction. He spends much of his creative time in Italy with his wife.