Betting on Love scores an honourable mention from the Rainbow Awards!

Betting on Love 300 DPII’m delighted to find out that my book Betting on Love has scored an honourable mention from the Rainbow Awards. Keep your fingers crossed for the announcement of the winners on Dec 8th :)

Overall a very well-written story, with strong, authentic characters and a very delicate, soft touch of coming-of-age plot under the romance. I enjoyed this book quite a lot and would recommend it to an interested reader. The book gets off an awkward start that doesn’t really feel like a start, or even as if the story is starting in the middle. But the plot that develops from this start is done very well. It’s strongly character-driven and takes some unexpected – therefore good – twists and turns, which happily are always in-character for the character triggering that twist. Plus, subplots. While at the surface, this might look like a romance, underneath runs a very fine and delicate coming-of-age/growing-up plot. Sometimes it’s a little too delicate, but it’s there. Very nice. Full points here for clever use of setting. There were two settings/props that played a very strong part in the story: a farm and the other character’s motorcycle. Both settings/props were used very well, featured strongly, and even stood symbolic of the character, their personal development, and of the development of their love story. That was done very elegantly and very well. Like the coming-of-age plot, the character development sometimes was a little … too hidden. Yet both main characters developed; they grew, they grew up. Plus additional character development of side characters. Again somewhat hidden but very noticeable in their words and actions. Very smoothly flowing – so smoothly that you aren’t even aware of time passing or your progress through the book, until something startles you out of it. (At least, that’s what happened to me). Now, it’s a somewhat difficult style that I am not sure many readers will enjoy. Mostly beccause the author doesn’t give a lot of insight into the characters heads and emotions and into their development. And it’s true, occasionally the author could have done with a little more showing instead of presenting the reader with facts. However, it is obvious from the text that this is the author’s personal style, and I know other authors who don’t bother explaining a lot. They present the reader with their story and let the reader draw their own conclusions. And while I enjoy the insights into characters’ minds and emotions a lot, I am also aware that this particular style is a lot harder to pull of successfully. So, kudos to the author.

Pre-order Midnight at the Orpheus!

MidnightAtTheOrpheusComing in December 2015, from Bold Strokes Books.

Pre-order the book here! (or on Amazon or Chapters/Indigo, below)

Chicago, the Roaring Twenties.

Cecilia Mills is new to town and struggling to survive. Her world is turned upside down when she falls for gangster Franky Greco’s moll Nell Prescott. Working at The Orpheus dance hall thanks to Nell, she becomes known as CeeCee and rubs elbows with gangsters and the city’s elite, and she and Nell hide their affair from Greco.

Patrick Sheridan is fresh out of prison, bent on revenge, with Greco in the crosshairs. He gets a job as CeeCee’s bodyguard, and despite her infatuation with Nell, love blossoms between CeeCee and Sheridan. When Sheridan sees his chance, thanks to a disillusioned cop seeking his own revenge, he must choose where his loyalties lie as CeeCee and Nell are caught in the middle.

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Paperback:

ISBN-13: 978-1626396074

Book review, excerpt & giveaway! The White Leopard, by Laurent Guillaume

white-leopardLaurent Guillaume
on Tour
November 2-21
with

White Leopard

(hard-boiled African noir)
Release date: November 19, 2015
at Le French Book
238 pages
ISBN: 978-1939474506
Website | Goodreads

 

SYNOPSIS

Everything is possible and nothing is certain in Bamako. A man torn between two continents finds himself in a dangerous confrontation between tradition and corruption. Solo is a former cop who ran away from a dark past in France to start his life over again in Bamako, Mali, as a PI. An ordinary case turns out to be not so ordinary. The drug mule gets her throat slit. The French lawyer is too beautiful and too well-informed. The cocaine is too plentiful. This is hard-boiled noir with a modern twist set in West Africa.

REVIEW

The White Leopard is definitely noir. The PI set on a case by a woman, and continuing on it to avenge a friend… it’s like The Maltese Falcon, except there’s no falcon, and I have a feeling that Sam Spade might take awhile to get up to speed in this modern world, where it’s drugs people are after, not mysterious and legendary falcons.

Solo, the PI, has cunning and guts, and is startlingly cool under pressure. Yet he’s human, like everyone else in this drama, and he has his weaknesses. Beautiful women, girls without protectors, his friend and houseman, and a kid needing a job. Like most PIs, he’s troubled, and running from (or just plain avoiding) a troubled past. He’s also quick-witted, reminding me somewhat of Henry Kane’s hero, Pete Chambers (just minus New York).

Bringing noir to an African setting instead of a more typical US metropolis got me interested quickly, and Guillaume’s compelling writing kept me reading. I am so glad Le French Book had this one translated. I hope they’ll translate more from M. Guillaume in the near future, because I think I’ve found another favourite author.

EXCERPT

PROLOGUE

LYON, FRANCE, THE PAST

There she is, a metal monster with a tricked-out engine, lying motionless in a chop shop outside the city. She’d been souped up with heavy side panels and a supercharged engine. Perfect for trafficking. It’s stinking hot out, but they really should have closed the door of the garage.

Big mistake.

Sweating’s better than bleeding.
I check my watch. I don’t have much time before the others show up, lights flashing, sirens blaring, and all that crap. I lift the latch and push the gate open. It hardly squeaks. I stay off the gravel driveway and walk through the overgrown yard to avoid being spotted. The makeshift shop looks like it was once a house. Bodies of abandoned cars are rotting away all around it. Waste oil and battery acid are seeping from their guts, making holes in the weeds. The men are there. They’re busy taking apart the front of the car. The crushed radiator and bumper have already been ripped off.

It’s the watchdog that spots me—a rottweiler mutt with a big muscular chest. His black and wild coat’s full of scars, some of them still fresh, no doubt from being forced to fight in basements of the neighboring projects.

Chained to the rusty body of a Renault 11, he leaps up on all fours, baring a steel-jaw trap and yellow fangs.

He gives a muffled growl. From deep inside.

Slowly, I walk closer, bringing my finger to my lips.

“Shush!” I whisper. How pathetic. The dog turns his huge snout toward his masters. When they don’t react, the animal starts barking. The men raise their heads. I freeze. They look at each other and come out of the garage, glancing around. No surprise, considering what they’re working on. Eddie, the giant, wipes his huge grease covered mitts on a rag. Steve, the weakling, approaches the animal, who’s barking louder now and foaming at the mouth. He leaps toward me with crazed eyes. The dog’s chain looks ready to break. The skeleton of the car rises each time the animal jumps.

“Who’s the black asshole?” Steve asks.

“Can’t you see he’s a pig? Fuck!” Eddie shouts.

“I know he’s a cop. Why’s he alone?”

The animal has gone quiet. With a half-smile, Steve starts unfastening the chain that holds him back.

“Go on, Panzer. It’s lunch time.”

I’m not scared. I know what I have to do. I open my jacket and slip my hand on my weapon. The freed watchdog rushes toward me. The two brothers howl with laughter, cheering the attack.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

white leopard - Laurent_Guillaume©reservedLaurent Guillaume
is a multiple-award-winning French writer
and former police officer.
In law enforcement,
he worked anti-gang, narcotics,
financial crimes,
and served in Mali as advisor to the local police.
He is now a full-time writer.

ABOUT THE TRANSLATOR

Sophie Weiner is a freelance translator and book publishing assistant from Baltimore, Maryland. After earning degrees in French from Bucknell University and New York University, Sophie went on to complete a master’s in literary translation from the Sorbonne, where she focused her thesis on translating wordplay in works by Oulipo authors. She has translated and written for web-based companies dedicated to art, cinema, and fashion as well as for nonprofit organizations. Growing up with Babar, Madeline, and The Little Prince, Sophie was bitten by the Francophile bug at an early age, and is fortunate enough to have lived in Paris, Lille, and the Loire Valley.

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Global giveaway open internationally:
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for more chances to win

Visit each blogger on the tour:
tweeting about the giveaway everyday
of the Tour will give you 5 extra entries each time!
[just follow the directions on the entry-form]

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