The Dirty World of NY Crime and Sex Trafficking Investigated By TV Producer Ethan Benson is Exposed in Live To The Network By Jeffrey L. Diamond

Live to the Network cover art

My Review:

Jarring, thrilling and heart pounding, Live to the Network by Jeffrey L. Diamond is an addictive, dark mystery; compelling storytelling with a pace that leaves you breathless.  Ethan Benson, a tv producer at The Weekly Reporter, assists the police force by taking on a forgotten case of gut wrenching, seemingly related murders of several young girls, to generate more public attention.  He devotes himself to shedding light on the monstrous offenses, and in turn becomes obsessed with finding the killer.  Danger increases as each new clue he discovers gets him closer to solving the murders, and at the same time he is battling his own demons, causing his personal life to fall apart.

Author Jeffrey Diamond knows first hand what goes on behind the scenes in television broadcast news.  With forty years of experience under his belt, he offers up a vivid, frightening look at sex trafficking and inappropriate relationships between the law enforcement and the mafia, through the eyes of alcoholic producer Ethan Benson.

Live to the Network is a wild and thrilling criminal mystery ride.  For fans of Law and Order SVUCriminal Minds and Silence of the Lambs, this is the perfect combination of heinous crimes, sly detective work and difficult personal journeys.  Available soon!  Pre-order your copy today!

 

Summary

Jeffrey L. Diamond

Q &A with Author Jeffrey L. Diamond

Q:  As a journalist, producer I imagine you have had some incredible experiences. What was the most exciting story you worked on?

A:  I worked for over forty years as a writer, producer, and director in television news and produced hundreds of stories, ranging from investigative reports on consumer fraud to      high impact interviews, political profiles, human interest, entertainment, breaking news,   and dozens and dozens of crime stories. Picking one that was the most exciting or the most memorable is nigh on impossible. But there was one story I produced over thirty years ago that haunts me to this day. It was a profile of the serial killer, Henry Lee Lucas, who I met in an old rural jail in Texas. At the time, Lucas had been convicted of at least a dozen murders, and the authorities had linked him to well over a hundred more. I spent two days with Lucas, filming him in his jail cell, walking to and from the interview location—guarded by half a dozen Texas Rangers toting long guns—and chained to a chair in a conference room while my crew of ten shot the interview. Lucas was a small, unassuming man, who on the surface, appeared calm, almost meek, but underneath this placid exterior, was a violent and unstable killer who exploded without warning during the interview, rocking back and forth against his chains, screaming obscenities, and then withdrawing back into himself. During the two days I was with him, I never knew what to expect or how he’d react to my camera crew or what I’d capture on film as his personality swung from one extreme to the next. I can truly say that Henry Lee Lucas was the most frightening human being I have ever met. He was pure, unadulterated evil. When writing my second novel, Live to Tape, I modeled my killer, Rufus Wellington, on Henry Lee Lucas—trying to portray the personality of my character on the way Lucas made me feel when I was producing my television news story about this infamous serial killer. 

Q:  Ethan Benson has a drive to investigate cases and be in the line of fire when it comes to discovery. How much of you is in your hero?

A:  There are definitely parts of me in my character, Ethan Benson. He is a producer and a reporter in television news. I was a producer and a reporter in television news. He is an investigative journalist. I was an investigative journalist. He works with camera crews, production personnel, and anchormen. I worked with camera crews, production personnel, and anchormen. He covered the crime beat for The Weekly Reporter. And I covered the crime beat for the ABC Newsmagazine 20/20. But Ethan’s personality, the essence of who he is, is drawn—not only from me—but from the many people I worked with during my long career in production. I have tried in my books to create a hero who is not only one of the best at what he does—at solving crimes—but who is also troubled, insecure, and flawed as a human being. He is deeply sensitive and insecure, and at times, buries his fears and his demons in a bottle of Scotch. For me, one of the goals of my Ethan Benson series is not only to weave a good tale in each of my murder mysteries, but to also develop my character as he copes    with life’s uncertainties and with his own fragile ego, showing my readers how he handles the roadblocks in his life and changes from one book to the next.

Q:  Live to the Network includes a lot of violence against young women; what lead you to write about crimes investigated by the Special Victims Unit?

A:  Live to the Network, like all of my Ethan Benson Thrillers, is drawn from my personal experiences working as a journalist in television news. During my career, I produced many stories about young women and young girls, who were abused mentally, physically, and sexually by violent predators lurking in the shadows. Most of these stories, especially in the larger urban areas like Los Angeles, Dallas, Chicago, and New York, fell under the jurisdiction of the Special Victims Units, where the cops are specifically trained to investigate the most horrific crimes committed against women, children, and the elderly. When writing Live to the Network, I tried to incorporate in my storyline the many firsthand experiences I had working alongside SVU detectives—studying their crime scene photos, reading their police reports, going with them to the scene of the crimes, and interviewing, not only the killers, but the families of the victims. All of these experiences have left me with vivid and troubling memories, and when writing this book, I tried to bring these memories to life—as horrific as they may be—so my readers would understand that there is unspeakable evil in our society that leaves a permanent mark on everybody it touches. So it is this sense of evil that I have tried to capture, not only in Live to the Network, but also in my two other Ethan Benson Thrillers, Live to Air and Live to Tape.   

Q:  How did you come up with the idea of the priest in Argentina, the Chinese mob in NYC, and the corruption in the police department? What is the process for developing a good story that seamlessly connects characters and locations?

A:  Research. Research. Research. For me, that’s the first and most important step in            writing a novel. Each of my books always begins the same way—with a vague idea, a       kernel of thought, a memory of a story I produced as a journalist that simply pops into         my head at the most unexpected of times, and once this idea crystallizes into a possible subject for one of my novels, I begin to fill in the blanks by reading everything I can put my hands on to help me understand and then develop the storyline. In Live to the Network, which focuses on the underbelly of human trafficking and the sex trade industry, I spent months doing research into the ins and outs of this problem—reading dozens of books and newspaper and magazine articles, talking to the experts in the field, surveying locations where the problem is most acute—to give me a solid foundation in the facts before I sat down at my computer and began to write. Then it was simply imagination. Imagination. Imagination. Whatever I dreamed up to make my story interesting, compelling, and a good read. The priest in Argentina came from a trip I took to Salta, Argentina and a morning I spent at its most famous cathedral. The Chinese mob came from the time I spent visiting my son who lived near Chinatown in lower Manhattan. And the corruption in the New York City police department, well, that came from the dozens of newspaper stories I read on a daily basis. The end process is taking all of these elements and writing a good story, creating tension in each chapter, and weaving in the characters, and the way I do this is something I really can’t explain. It’s just what I do.    

Q:  Ethan Benson is a drunk, and he may not always have his priorities straight, but I was always rooting for him. How do you create a character that is flawed and pathetic in some ways, but still is likeable and heroic?

A:  People ask me all the time how I created my hero, Ethan Benson, and why I created             him with flaws and imperfections. That, in essence, has been and always will be my       biggest challenge. Heroes in murder mysteries are always good at what they do. Detectives are good at looking for clues and catching the bad guys. Attorneys are good at analyzing      the facts and prosecuting the villains or defending their clients. And private detectives are good at earning their money and working on the periphery of whatever cases they are investigating. Ethan is a producer and a reporter and one of the best at digging into the facts and unraveling the inconsistencies as he draws his own conclusions and solves the mysteries hidden in each of his stories. But Ethan’s private life is plagued by problems. His marriage is falling apart, he questions his own self-worth, and his ego is fragile. That’s why he drinks. That’s why he buries himself in a bottle of Scotch. The challenge in all of my books is to show the reader how he uses his talents as an investigative reporter as a counterweight to his failures as a human being and to develop in my writing how he copes with both halves of his personality and changes as a human being from one book to the next. I think that’s what makes Ethan Benson interesting as a character, that’s what makes him likeable, and that’s why my readers root for him to get his life back on track.

Q:  Your writing is extremely visual and Live to the Network could easily be on screen. If you could choose an actor to play Ethan Benson, who would it be?

A:  The answer to that is simple—Kevin Bacon. Each of the characters he plays is flawed as a human being but one of the best at what he does. Case in point is his role as a corrupt FBI agent on City on a Hill or his role as an emotionally and physically scarred FBI agent on The Following. In both of these television series, he brilliantly balances the good and bad of his characters. I could see him playing Ethan Benson and bringing just the right touch as an actor to my hero.

Q:  This is your third Ethan Benson thriller. Live to Air and Live to Tape are the first two? What is next for you?

A:  I plan on continuing to write my Ethan Benson Thrillers. I have already completed a draft of my next novel, All Cameras Live, in which my hero investigates a series of fires set by an arsonist/murderer in the Springfield area of Massachusetts, and I’m currently researching my fifth book in the series about a female serial killer who terrorizes the Florida Keys that I hope to begin writing soon.

Q: What books have you read lately that you would recommend?

A:  I read all the time, and if you like murder mysteries, I’d highly recommend the latest Harry Hole novel, The Knife, by Jo Nesbo. I just finished it, and it’s great. If you like fantasies, pick up a copy of the first three books in the new Terry Brooks series, The Fall of Shannara, or anything written by Joe Hill. My personal favorite—NOS4A2. I’m just about to begin A Good Man in Africa—the first of fourteen standalone novels written by British author, William Boyd, and published in 1981. I’ll let you know what I think as soon as I finish the book! 

Q:  How do you write about a psychopath?  
Jeffrey L. Diamond

About the Author

Jeffrey L. Diamond is an award-winning journalist with forty years of experience in television news. He began his career in the early 1970’s at ABC News, where he produced hundreds of stories ranging from several minutes in length to a full hour of programming for Special Events, Weekend News, and World News Tonight, before moving to the weekly newsmagazine, 20/20. CLICK HERE TO CONTINUE READING.

Dear Wife by bestselling author Kimberly Belle is a psychological thriller full of suspense that keeps you on the edge of your seat!

Dear Wife by Kimberly Belle book cover

My Review:

Having someone read to you is a joy we come to appreciate as a child and recently I indulged and listened to Dear Wife by Kimberly Belle.  Easy to follow, full of suspense with cliffhanger moments at the end of each chapter…I was addicted from the very beginning!

Beth has been planning an escape from her abusive husband for a long time.  We go on the journey with her as she escapes the danger and runs away, fighting for survival, trying to create a new identity while at the same time hoping to leave bogus clues to lead the man she fears far away from her.

Sabine is missing when her husband Jeffrey arrives home from work.  He can’t imagine where she might be; her personal belongings are still intact and he is distraught over her disappearance.

Marriage may not be easy and Marcus the detective takes a good hard look at Jeffrey and Sabine’s history as he is investigating the case of her disappearance. Told from three points of view, Author Kimberly Belle creates unbearable tension as she reveals clues every step of the way to help us piece together what really happened; Is Beth really Sabine?  Did Jeffrey kill his wife? What secrets are they hiding?

Nothing like a fast paced mystery to listen to as you walk at the beach!  Loved listening to Dear Wife and recommend it if you are looking for a fun escape that keeps you guessing!

Goodreads Summary

author Kimberly Belle

About the Author:

Kimberly Belle is the USA Today and internationally bestselling author of five novels, including the domestic suspense, Dear Wife (June 2019). Her third novel, The Marriage Lie, was a semifinalist in the 2017 Goodreads Choice Awards for Best Mystery & Thriller, and her work has been translated into a dozen languages. A graduate of Agnes Scott College, Belle divides her time between Atlanta and Amsterdam.

A gripping, unsettling, thriller…The Whisper Man by Alex North will have you looking over your shoulder!

The Whisper Man by Alex North

My Review:

The Silence of the Lambs meets The Shining in this gripping, unsettling thriller that is sure to creep you out!

If you leave a door half open, soon you’ll hear the whispers spoken.

Tom Kennedy and his young son, Jake move to Featherbank, a small, charming village for a fresh start, but their new location is not as warm and welcoming as they had hoped.  Years ago there had been multiple child abductions and murders in town, and now another boy has disappeared.  Amidst the fear and suspicions, Jake is talking to himself, Tom has a strange visitor at their new house, and unusual voices are being heard.  The boy and his father are struggling to connect with each other after a terrible loss in their family, and at the same time they are battling unseen demons and losing their grip on reality.

This is a fast paced, hair-raising, psychological thriller that also deals with loss, grief and father-son relationships.  If you love to get spooked, check out The Whisper Man.

Q & A with Author Alex North

Q: What was the initial idea that became The Whisper Man? 

A: I wanted to write about fathers and sons. Very specifically, I wanted to write about a widowed father struggling to connect with his grieving son. But I knew that I wanted it to be a crime novel with spooky elements, and I’ve long been a fan of the forums and threads you find online where people list creepy things little kids have come out with. Like saying “that’s where I used to live” when the family is driving past a graveyard, or talking about the man with the long neck in the closet and then the parents discover someone hung themselves in the house years earlier. 

When we moved into our new house, there was a day when my son, who was about four at the time, talked about playing with “the boy in the floor.” That stuck with me, and I eventually decided that Jake in the book would have imaginary friends and some of them would be quite frightening. The story developed from there. 

Q: Describe the writing process— how long did it take you, and what was your writing routine like as you worked on the book? 

A: The book probably took about a year to write, although I’d been thinking about it and planning it a little before then. My routine was – and is – pretty standard. In terms of time, I take my son to school, then head to the gym for an hour. Depending on the weather, I sit in a park and read for another hour or so, then head to a bar or a café and write until it’s time to pick my son up again. In the beginning, I was writing cautiously, a few hundred words a day, but it certainly accelerated as I went along. Towards the end, I was writing and rewriting tens of thousands of words a day and not sleeping all that much. But that suits me fine. I was always the kind of kid that did all his revisions the night before the exam. 

Q: The story offers a very honest portrait of how difficult it can sometimes be for a father to connect with his son. What was it like to write about such a sensitive subject, and how much did you draw from your experience as a father or from people you know? 

A: I don’t think you can help but draw from your own experience. Even if you’re using your imagination, you’re still going to be influenced by everything you’ve seen and read and done. The book’s entirely fictional, in that nothing in it really happened – or at least not the way it does in the story – but it’s inevitable that real life creeps in a little, because I wanted the book to feel honest. 

I’m not sure how sensitive that particular subject is. You have two characters who love each other and want to connect but aren’t sure how, and I think that to some degree that’s probably the norm rather than being unusual. Especially when it comes to children and parents. As a parent, you are suddenly handed this incredible responsibility. There’s a sense that your child is an extension of you, and that it’s your job to guide them based on your own knowledge and experience. But of course, as they grow older, they become much more of a person in their own right, and you have to hold yourself back more and more. They’re not you. In the book, Tom has to fight against his best intentions for Jake and, as he puts it, “just let him be him.” I think that’s pretty key, but also easier said than done sometimes. 

Q: Jake accidentally reads something his father is writing and is disturbed by it. Have you ever been in this situation in real life? Is it something you think about, as a novelist and as a father? 

A: No, I’m incredibly protective of my writing until it’s done. I write in public places,
but I always want my back to a wall, as I don’t want someone looking over my shoulder and reading part of some terrible first draft. It’s important for me to keep it to myself until it’s as good as possible. So, my son is never going to see anything I’ve been writing on a screen; I’m way too careful for that. 

He’s a voracious reader, though, so maybe he’ll read one of my books when he’s older. That’s a bridge I’ll have to cross when I come to it. He’s only eight right now, so it’s a few years until I need to worry about it! 

Q: Rights have now sold in over 23 territories and counting, and film rights have been optioned by the directors behind “Avengers: Infinity War.” What has it been like to see this reaction to The Whisper Man? 

A: It’s been amazing. As I was writing the book, I just wanted to finish it – to get it done – and I had no real expectations about rights or film adaptations. I think if you imagine that kind of thing while you’re writing, you’re setting yourself up for massive disappointment down the line. Better to have much lower expectations and end up being surprised! And I’ve been not just surprised, but slightly humbled. For various reasons, it’s a personal book for me, and I’m enormously pleased that people have connected with it the way they have. 

Q: Are you at work on another book? 

A: I’m writing something at the moment, but I’m superstitious about talking about work in progress. For one thing, a part of me feels that if you talk about a story too much, you rob yourself of the need to write it down; and for another, it will probably change completely by the time I’m done with it. At the moment, it’s another spooky psychological thriller, this time about a violent murder and an impossible disappearance from years earlier. But I’ll have to finish writing it to find out for sure. 

Q &A courtesy of DAVID ADAMS/Celadon Books

The Whisper Man is available now.  If you enjoy psychological thrillers, check out some great ones by Clare Machintosh!

About the Author:

Alex North was born in Leeds, England, where he now lives with his wife and son. The Whisper Man was inspired by North’s own little boy, who mentioned one day that he was playing with “the boy in the floor.” Alex North is a British crime writer who has previously published under another name.

Give The Gift of Reading for Father’s Day!

Books for Father's Day

The Dads in your life definitely deserve the benefits of reading, so here are few book recommendations to spark their interest.  From a moving debut set in South Africa to a compilation of Howard Stern’s interviews, there is something for everyone!

FICTION – SOUTH AFRICA

You Will Be Safe Here by Damian Barr

Purchase You Will Be Safe Here by Damian Barr HERE.

Blurb from Goodreads:  An extraordinary debut that explores legacies of abuse, redemption, and the strength of the human spirit–from the Boer Wars in South Africa to brutal wilderness camps for teenage boys.

Goodreads Summary

NONFICTION – NASA/MUSIC

The Vinyl Frontier

Purchase The Vinyl Frontier by Jonathan Scott HERE.

Blurb from Goodreads: The fascinating story behind the mission, music, and message of NASA’s Voyager Golden Record–humanity’s message to the stars.

Goodreads Summary

THRILLER – PARIS

The Paris Diversion

Purchase The Paris Diversion by Chris Pavone HERE.

Blurb from Goodreads:  From the New York Times bestselling author of The Expats. Kate Moore is back in a pulse-pounding thriller to discover that a massive terror attack across Paris is not what it seems – and that it involves her family.

Goodreads Summary

NONFICTION – ENTERTAINMENT

The Battle For Sky

Purchase The Battle For Sky: The Murdochs, Disney, Comcast and the Future of Entertainment by Christopher Williams HERE.

Blurb From Goodreads: The story of how Rupert Murdoch’s Sky became one of Britain’s most successful companies and the hottest property in global entertainment.

Goodreads Summary

NONFICTION – RADIO/HOWARD STERN

Howard Stern Comes Again

Purchase Howard Stern Comes Again HERE.

Blurb from USA TODAY: Howard Stern is revealing why he altered his shock-jock persona in his candid new book, “Howard Stern Comes Again.”

Goodreads Summary

NONFICTION – LIFE-CHANGING LESSONS ABOUT LEADING

Book Nation by Jen with Bobby Herrera, author of The Gift of Struggle

I also recommend The Gift of Struggle by Bobby Herrera…

NONFICTION – FOUNDATIONS FOR LEADING YOUR BEST LIFE

Book Nation by Jen with Israel Ellis, author of Moving Through Walls

and Moving Through Walls by Israel Ellis.

 

In need of a distraction? Look no further…These addictive psychological thrillers keep you hooked right up to the end!

 

An Anonymous Girl and The Wife Between Us

 

My Review:  

Authors Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen are superstars when it comes to psychological thrillers.  Last year they came out with The Wife Between Us which has you working hard to figure out what is going to happen next, and with unexpected plot twists,  the authors rewards you with continual surprises and unanticipated shocks.  A bitter ex-wife, a younger, prettier replacement…you think you know what’s going on.  But you don’t!  Little tidbits feed your knowledge of what you believe could be the truth but you will be fooled.  Skillfully written with all loose ends tied up by the conclusion, this is impressive writing by the author duo and so much fun to read.

 An Anonymous Girl, their recent bestseller, currently headed to the big screen, delivers continual suspense and gives you much to think about.  A doctor conducting a study on morals and ethics is looking for women volunteers to participate.  The questions are simple but get increasingly more challenging and unpredictable.  Relationships become murky when overcome with jealousy and deceit.  What is real?  And who can be trusted?

Manipulative and oh, so addictive, these two fantastic thrillers are not to be missed!  I read each book in less than 24 hours, one after the other!  All you need is a weekend of no plans – you must cuddle up with these gems and your favorite stress eating snacks (gummy bears and licorice😜)…and dive right in…you will be on the edge of your seat!

Check out this Video interview; Sara Haines of GMA talks with Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen about their writing process and how they work together.

Goodreads Summary

authors Sarah Pekkanen and Greer Hendricks

About the Authors:

Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen are the co-authors of the blockbuster New York Times bestseller, THE WIFE BETWEEN US, as well as the forthcoming, AN ANONYMOUS GIRL. AN ANONYMOUS GIRL has been optioned for a television series by eOne, with Sarah and Greer executive producing. THE WIFE BETWEEN US has been optioned for film by Amblin Entertainment, with Sarah and Greer screenwriting the adaptation.

 

Girls’ Night Out by Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke

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My Review:

In Girls’ Night Out, the thrilling summer read by authors Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke, Ashley invited her old friends Natalie and Lauren to go on a girls’ vacation in Tulum, Mexico… but it is not the easygoing carefree celebratory trip they had wanted.  Ashley and Natalie are best friends that work together and they are in  disagreement about whether or not to sell the company they own.  For personal reasons they have not shared with each other, neither are willing to budge.  Lauren, typically the third wheel in this longtime friendship, had lost her husband the prior year and had a falling out with Ashley at his funeral.  Both were hoping to repair their fractured friendship, but bad feelings run deep.

The ladies plan to spend some quality time together hoping they can mend some fences, but their issues are not exactly fixable with a few cocktails far away from home…despite the beautiful setting and casual atmosphere, problems esclate when a charming local insinuates himself in the midst of their relationships and their planned girl time.  This fast paced thriller will keep your attention as everyone’s secrets are slowly revealed and at the same time physical danger ensues…your pulse will increase as you race to the finish…another fun page-turner by writing team Liz Kenton and Lisa Steinke!

Girls’ Night Out is a perfect summer thriller…a girlfriends trip to Mexico….secrets and tragedy….a fun escape!

Goodreads Summary

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About Liz and Lisa:

Liz Fenton & Lisa Steinke are the authors of  Girls’ Night Out and the Amazon Charts bestselling novel, The Good Widow.

Liz and Lisa have been best friends for 30 years.  They have also published three women’s fiction novels with Simon & Schuster/Atria Books. Your Perfect Life is a hilarious and heartwarming story of two childhood best friends who switch bodies at their twenty-year high school reunion. The Status of All Things, is a cautionary tale of a woman who realizes she can change the course of her entire life by what she writes in her Facebook status. And The Year We Turned Forty follows three women who get the chance to relive the year they turned forty, a year they each made decisions that altered the course of their lives.  But a lot happened before their first publishing deal…

The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena

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As stated in Goodreads:

Fast-paced and addictive, THE COUPLE NEXT DOOR announces a major new talent in thriller writing.

You never know what’s happening on the other side of the wall.

Your neighbour told you that she didn’t want your six-month-old daughter at the dinner party. Nothing personal, she just couldn’t stand her crying.

Your husband said it would be fine. After all, you only live next door. You’ll have the baby monitor and you’ll take it in turns to go back every half hour.

Your daughter was sleeping when you checked on her last. But now, as you race up the stairs in your deathly quiet house, your worst fears are realized. She’s gone.

You’ve never had to call the police before. But now they’re in your home, and who knows what they’ll find there.

What would you be capable of, when pushed past your limit?

My Comments:

The Couple Next Door is an easy to read, thrilling page turner – enjoyable like an episode of CSI…devoured in one sitting!  A couple leaves their baby alone next door, sleeping in her crib, and then she is gone.  Who took her?  Did the parents facilitate the disappearance?  Other family members?  The neighbors?  An intruder?  Someone is hiding something.  Just when you think you figured things out…another twist to keep you racing to the end.  And what an end it was!  A rollercoaster debut thriller from Shari Lapena!