Monday, December 17, 2012

Giveaway and Book Review of Forgive Me Alex

Giveaway and Book Review of Forgive Me Alex
Sponsored by Innovative Book Tours

Welcome to Books, Books, and More Books.  I am pleased to share my review of this book with you.  Thank you for visiting and please come again.

Blurb : 

Tony Hooper stands in shadow across the street, one amongst many in the crowd of curiosity-hounds gathered to watch a monster's release. Seventeen years after Mitchell Norton, the devil, terrorized Algonquin, Illinois on a spree of kidnapping, torture and murder, the authorities release the butcher from psychiatric prison.

Tony longs to charge across the street to destroy Norton--no remorse--as if stepping on a cockroach. Only sheer force of will prevents his doing so.

The devil walks the world again. What shall Tony do about it? Aye, what indeed.

After all, this is what Tony does. It's who he is. The devil himself long ago made Tony into this hunter of monsters. What a sweet twist of fate this is, that he may still, finally, administer justice.

Will FBI Special Agent Linda Monroe stop him? She owes him her life, so how can she possibly put an end to his?

Tony Hooper and Mitchell Norton battle for supremacy, with law enforcement always a step away, in this story of justice and vengeance, evil and redemption, fear and courage, love and loss.

About the Author:
I write fiction, long and short. My writings cross over many genres and focus on diverse subjects, ranging from the mysteries of the human mind, with its fragile psychological and emotional states, to the everyday joy and anguish of life on Earth.

I've been an avid reader my entire life, and started writing at the age of 12. I love a good story, of course, a compelling plot and satisfying conclusion. Yet as a reader, I've always been drawn to great characters. The characters bring me back to an author time and time again. This shows in my writing, where I attempt to create authentic, complex, real characters you can come to love, and in whose company you feel at home. Or maybe you'll despise a character and want to stick a fork in his eye. Hey, bad guys are fun too!

I did my tour in the real world, serving in the U.S. Air Force, then working as everything from a forklift operator to a bartender in my youth, before settling in as Business Services and Project Manager for a large manufacturing and distribution concern. Now, at long last (Man! Why did I wait so long?), I'm putting pedal to the metal in pursuit of the author's life.

After many years as a Freelance Editor, with several clients published or aspiring to be so, I co-founded Evolved Publishing, where I wear hats as Publisher, Executive Editor, and Author. As an author, I started with a few short stories, and released my debut novel, a psychological thriller called "Forgive Me, Alex," in December 2011. The sequel, "The Devil's Bane," is under way and due Spring 2013.


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A novel by
Lane Diamond

PART 1 – Justice Served, Justice Denied

Chapter 1 – June 6, 1995: Tony Hooper

"...that is the soul, and whether you are a soldier, a scholar, a cook, or an apprentice in a factory, your life and your work will eventually teach you that it exists. The difference between your flesh and the animate power within, which can feel, understand, and love, in that very descending order, will be clear to you in ten thousand ways, ten thousand times over." – Mark Helprin, A Soldier of the Great War
I never expected to be a killer.
Who does?
I don't hate myself. Not really. It's not as if I don't recognize the face in the mirror every morning; I just don't always recognize the man to whom it belongs.
Mitchell Norton, the man responsible for making me who I am, will skip out of his final court hearing today—a mere formality according to the news. They're set to release him from the psychiatric prison after seventeen years, the thought of which has spun my mind into a whirlwind of memories I've long struggled to bury.
I killed my first man in 1975, at the age of fifteen.
Norton's actions three years later would push me deeper into my transformation, and aim me toward this place. The life I now lead. The me who isn't me.
Some things I've lost forever. Other things... well, other things I'd like to lose, but can't.
The memory refuses to drift into the eternal ether. If only I could erase the sound and the image, press a button and—poof—it's gone. Yet it forever haunts me, the first of far too many ghosts....
August 16, 1975
The distinctive crushing of metal assaulted our Saturday afternoon, as Alex and I watched television and waited for Mom to return from the store. I jumped from the chair and looked out the living room window, but couldn't see enough of the street. I darted into the kitchen for a better angle.
Dear God, no!
I yelled to Alex while bolting to the back door. "Stay put, Hoopster! You hear me? Do not come outside!"
Mom was back. Almost. Our Chevy Bel Air sat right in front of our house, crushed into an impossibly condensed version of itself. A half-ton pick-up truck, its front end curled forward in a crescent moon, loomed over the windshield of our car.
I ran through the glass and the debris to the twisted wreckage, tripping over a chunk of something unknown. I fell to my knees and banged my head against the side of the car.
Shit! Oh God. Mom!
I snapped up and peered through the envelope-sized gap where the driver-side window had once been. The back of Mom's head sagged at a bizarre angle, barely visible above the crushed compartment.
"Mom, are you okay? Mom!"
I pulled my head back, reached through the gap with my left hand, and walked my fingers along the wreckage to reach her. I found her wet, sticky hair, and stretched out... farther... farther. Unable to turn her face toward me, I moved my fingers from her chin and up the far side of her face, and—
I snatched my hand back and bolted upright.
I stared at my left hand even as I used my right one to wipe away the blood and the gray matter. Everything began to spin and close in. My chest hammered with every breath, as though God had reached down and clutched the air from the world. I leaned against the car, and my hands painted two red streaks down the metal as my legs folded beneath me.
I collapsed against the jagged wreck in a dark heap—blank—and vanished for untold moments.
Life resumed when a man fell from the pick-up truck, coughed and spat on the street. He looked at me, inched forward on his hands and knees, and vomited. It took him a moment to recover, but he....
What in hell is he doing?
The rotten sonuvabitch laughed and whooped it up, as though he'd perpetrated some ingenious practical joke. His bloodshot eyes looked as if they would burst at any moment. He spewed a garbled, incoherent mush that I struggled to translate.
"Shit! I think I fucked up my truck, buddy. Can you give a fella a hand?"
He faded in and out as my last image of Mom—what was left of her—overpowered me. Everything grayed again, but as the spinning stopped and my breath returned, the full tragedy came into focus. The wicked bastard who'd crushed my mom... was drunk.
My legs had deserted me, turned to dust. I could only look around in a daze at our neighbors, who'd emerged from their houses to investigate. What should I—
The asshole's staccato bursts of drunken laughter again pulled me back. The very air I breathed stifled me—gas, oil, burnt rubber and a vague metallic tinge, all mingled with the sour contents of the killer's stomach poured onto the street. I raised my hands, bathed in crimson and wafting copper, before my face.
A disembodied voice spoke from the void—my voice. "Where did the blood come from? Did I cut myself?"
"What's that, buddy?" The murderous drunk laughed again. "Shit! You think you got it bad? Look at my fucking truck!"
I floated still, adrift in an endless gray ocean of broken thought, struggling to make sense of the fluid that drenched my hands.
It's... it's.... Oh, God, it's Mom's blood and brains.
The maddening, driveling voice, like a spear in my gut, stabbed me again. "For Christ's sake, kid, stop fucking around and give me a hand, will you!"
Rage burned a red sheath over my eyes.
I stood and marched to the killer, who looked up with drunken eyes that meant nothing to me. They were evil. I focused instead on his neck, called up all that I'd learned in Master Komura's martial arts classes over the previous ten years, and struck.
Though strong for a fifteen-year-old, my success rested on the fragile physiology of that small patch of neck. To crush his trachea required more precision than strength.
The slobbering murderer collapsed, clutched his ruined throat, and gasped for air that would not come. His eyes blazed in one final, sobering realization. They pleaded for mercy and begged an answer to the simplest question: Why?
It didn't matter. Nothing mattered.
Yet I had to make sure he understood. "You rotten fuck! Did you think you could murder my mom and get away with it?"
I shook under a roiling tremor, an earthquake of anger. I should have been crying for Mom. Why wasn't I crying? Never had such fury engulfed me. I wanted to pummel him, again and again and again and again, as he lay helpless on the street.
"What do you think now, you murdering sonuvabitch? Still feel like laughing it up? How about another drink, you miserable—"
His empty eyes, free of remorse or guilt, unburdened in death, stared back at me.
I'd meted out justice—simple, swift, final.
Now I needed to... to.... I shook off the cobwebs as my neighbors gaped in stunned silence, turned to the right, and—
Oh God. Oh God.
My little brother, Alex, knelt at the edge of our driveway with a face painted in tears, confusion and terror. Just seven years old, he wept alone on the worst of all possible days. My feet were as tree stumps sprouting from the bottoms of my legs, as I shuffled over and crouched before him. All the while, his gaze shifted between Mom's car and me, and he blinked through the tears no dam could contain.
He choked and sputtered, "I... want my... mommy. Where's Mommy? I... I... I want my mommy!"
I could barely whisper, "Me too. I want her too."
I wrapped my arms around him, and he hugged my neck as though he would fall to his death if he let go. Together we unleashed a tsunami of sorrow.
Another thought arrived through the haze: I killed a man. I'd thought nothing of it; I'd merely reacted. After witnessing the devastation of that horrible wreckage, the destruction of flesh and bone and tender love, I didn't even care. Yet wrapped in my arms was someone for whom I cared deeply, someone who needed me more than ever.
I stared at my bloodstained hands and clenched my fists to still the shaking.
Oh shit! I killed a man.
It occurred to me that jail would likely be my next stop. Where would my little brother be then? What would be left of his family, his life? He'd witnessed—
Oh God. Hoopster watched me kill a man.
I clutched him to my chest. "Forgive me, Alex. I'm sorry."
Return to June 6, 1995
Frozen forever in time at the age of thirty-six, Mom had given us light and wisdom, warmth and love, a path to guide our way. Who would be our rock now?
My childhood ended with her. What choice did I have? Was I ready?
It hardly mattered.
Law enforcement took rather a cursory glance at me, given both my young age and the circumstances of the event. A state-appointed psychiatrist determined that, in that moment of anguish, and in accordance with strict legal definitions, I was simply insane. Temporary insanity? Sure. Why not?
The psychiatrist thought so, and that was good enough for the judge. They declared me healthy and normal, and sent me home.
Ah yes, home.
Dad floundered and withdrew from Alex and me over the next few months. Our first holiday season without Mom, regrettably, left an indelible scar. The elephant, as they say, was not in the room; only its ghost remained. Mom's absence nearly suffocated us.
Alex's vacant brown eyes and perpetual frown, his continuous soft sigh and the musty smell of sweat and tears on his Scooby-Doo pajamas, the way his chin rested continually on his chest—these left me utterly heartbroken.
I could only pray that the dark Christmas of 1975 would slip into history as the worst I would ever experience. Surely, Dad, Alex and I would recover our happiness, our optimism, as our futures unfolded according to a new plan, albeit a motherless one.
That little executioner's waltz I'd performed on the street in front of our house in August would no doubt be my last dance.
Little did I know: more monsters roamed the world than I'd ever imagined.
They weren't finished with me.


            This book is written from the point of view of two antagonists, Tony and Norton.  These two men’s lives are inextricably entwined whether they like it or not.  The story is told in a series of clips, like journal entries or flashback clips, in altering viewpoints.  In this manner we see the story from each person’s point of view.

            The story is difficult to read as the topic is a hard one, but it is well written and intriguing.  I found it hard to read at times due to the graphic nature of the subject, but I’m glad I stuck to it and finished it.

            I give this story 3.5 out of 5 clouds.

This product or book may have been distributed for review; this in no way affects my opinions or reviews.

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