Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Poisoned Pawn

Detective Mystery

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions

David Siegel Bernstein will be awarding a $25 Amazon or B&N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. 

See below to sign up for the Giveaway

Caleb Jacobs is a man with a past. After serving on a failed dark ops assignment in Afghanistan, he leaves Marine Corps Intelligence to try to build a new life in Philadelphia as a homicide police detective.

Jacobs is happy, for a time, until he is assigned to solve the murder of Shannon Faraday. During the investigation, he is convinced the evidence points to him as the killer. He knows it is only a matter of time before other investigators see the same. He has no alibi and the clock is counting down.

Behind his partner’s back, Jacobs hires a private investigator named Lawrence Holmes. The PI is an irritation to the police, but he is unmistakably brilliant. And, many powerful people in the city owe him favors. Holmes is a bit odd. He insists on calling Jacobs Watson but claims to never have heard the name Sherlock. Jacobs can live with this kind of crazy as long as together they find the real killer.

They quickly link the murder to a series of seemingly unrelated crimes occurring throughout Philadelphia, and Jacobs becomes convinced the murder is related to the truth of what had happened during his time in Afghanistan. Old secrets have come back to haunt him.

My Review

Really kind of funny P.I. book Sort of a satire on the Holmes and Watson characters but in today’s modern times with modern people. I said the word satire in the previous sentence, and I tend to love satire, sarcasm and I suppose what you might call a little dark humor. This book has it all.

The main characters developed in this story are very interesting and very well-defined. However, there are quite a few characters and there were a couple of times I had to look back to see “who was whom” so to speak. This can cause me to be irritated once in a while, but I think the other highlights and the overall storyline here won out.

This is a good story with, as I said, some very well-crafted main characters. Something with a little different twist to it which made it a fresh read.  

Although I can find that the author has written in many other formats and genres, this looks to be his first mystery novel. Well worth the reading time.

read an excerpt...
I felt like shit for having to hire a private investigator, especially one who was most likely insane. Still, I couldn’t deny that his type of crazy got results. Reluctantly I handed over an envelope to the man sitting on the sun-bleached bench.

He opened it. Satisfied with my offering, he slid it into his jacket. “Ah, Watson,” he said. “Good to see you again.”

I shook my head and dropped onto the bench next to him. “My name is Jacobs. Caleb Jacobs,” I said, hoping the reminder might stick this time.

He turned to me. “Did you say something?”

I sighed. “No, Holmes.”

If I wasn’t desperate for his help, I’d strangle him. Of course my superiors at the Philadelphia Homicide Unit wouldn’t appreciate that. But I wondered if a cop hiring a private investigator was any worse of a violation. I needed Lawrence Holmes for his connections and unique viewpoint, things my PHU colleagues couldn’t provide. He might not be the fictional character he played at, but he was a talented PI.

About the author...

To support his writing addiction and excessively extravagant lifestyle, David Siegel Bernstein, PhD, is a data scientist who consults as a forensic statistician. That sounds really boring until you realize that his clients include the US National Security Agency (NSA), the Secret Service, the FBI, the Department of Justice (DOJ), and a host of other acronymonious agencies who cultivate exciting and shadowy reputations. Alas, those reputations are mere facades that disguise the real reason these organizations exist, which is to keep him entertained and fed.
When David wants a break from this spellbinding work, he writes. His fiction credits encompass two novelettes and sixty shorts. His nonfiction has appeared in newsletters, popular blogs, academic journals and he is the author of the book Blockbuster Science: The Real Science in Science Fiction.
He lives within the shadow of Philadelphia with his wife, Michelle, two children, Seth and Gwendolyn, and a dog named Ringo Biggles Woofington.

twitter: @DavidBernstein

a Rafflecopter giveaway

More but personal stuff about David...

Does this book have a special meaning to you? i.e. where you found the idea, its symbolism, its meaning, who you dedicated it to, what made you want to write it?
I want to start by thanking Our Town Book Reviews for inviting me here. So, Thanks!

Poisoned Pawn hits me more in the feels than most. It has to do with family. Thanks to my grandmother I had read a library’s worth of mysteries and thrillers before I left high school and with my father, I watched just about every mystery ever aired on PBS and BBC.

As you can imagine, crime has been brewing in my noggin for quite a while. I’ve written a few mystery shorts, but this is my first full length novel. I would like to believe my grandmother would have loved it. My father reading it is very special to me.

Where do you get your storylines from?
I do a lot daydreaming and stream of consciousness writing. I usually start with a character and she leads me where she needs to go. I’m always confident she will fall into some interesting plot. This is in no way means I have a way of getting her out. In Poisoned Pawn my main character Caleb Jacobs (not a she, but nobody is who they appear to be in this book) finds himself in a sticky plot that he is able to free himself from. Maybe.

Was this book easier or more difficult to write than others?  Why?
This was more difficult to write. There were a lot of moving pieces and it was hard to keep them all moving in unison. The characters cooperated. It was a well-oiled machine. That said, at times they lead me down some dead ends. Luckily, I retraced my steps and found fresher paths.

Do you only write one genre?
By practice, I’m mostly a fantasy and science fiction writer. And yet, I knew I had at least one epic mystery in me. Poisoned Pawn this is it. I also write nonfiction. I recently released my book titled, Blockbuster Science: The Real Science in Science Fiction.

Give us a picture of where you write, where you compose these words…is it Starbucks, a den, a garden…we want to know your inner sanctum?
My dungeon is a scary place, and not for the faint hearted. Do you want to come and play there? I dare you. Sighs. Okay, yes It might be fun to play in a dungeon, but I lied about having one. I don’t even have a castle.

The truth is my writing process is a messy. I write when I have the free time and in almost any location. I do not use an outline. I let the story unfold organically as I work on maintaining a daily wordcount.

And finally, of course…was there any specific event or circumstance that made you want to be a writer?
There was no specific moment. The credit or blame goes to my mother. She was a writer and encouraged me to try my hand at it as a wee lad. I did. 


If you see any spam comments, please notify me. My email is on the "About Me" page. Thanks much.