Another 5-star review for ‘Hand.’ Amazing detail in this one

Frank Nagler is a unique detective whose sleuthing is terrific to follow. This is a very fine mystery that invites the audience to capture the other volumes!

I saw this today and wanted to post it.  The reviewer gets to the heart of the Frank Nagler Mysteries.

Author Michael Stephen Daigle is a self-pronounced ‘Navy brat’, explaining why his roots are in both New England and the South. He is a journalist who elects to frame his novels based on places he has lived populated with his fascinating characters. This is the fourth volume of his popular and award-winning Frank Nagler Mysteries – THE SWAMPS OF JERSEY, A GAME CALLED DEAD, THE WEIGHT OF LIVING, and now THE RED HAND – the prequel to THE SWAMPS OF JERSEY. He has also published  a short story WHO SHOT THE SMART GUY AT THE BLACKBOARD.

An overview of the Frank Nagler mysteries shares Ironton, New Jersey. Detective Frank Nagler takes on dirty politicians, Internet terrorists and a shady, evil manipulator who deals in death, theft and destruction. To fully appreciate the richness of this book, reading the Anthology of the three volumes assists, but having said that, this novel is so well conceived that it is a stand-alone novel. In a grisly opening Michael offers, ‘Of course they were red, the handprints. The color of blood, re; the color of life, dripping between the hollow cracks of the siding. Leaking, crimson, chosen carefully. I’m here, the killer said, bragging. Try to find me. – Jimmy Dawson.

With that ‘taste’ of content Michael begins this lurid tale: ‘The first mark had appeared after the third death: red handprint dripping paint slapped on a wall of the busted-up hotel where cab driver Felice Sanchez had been found dead. Underneath, “HAND OF DEATH” splotched in an awkward scrawl. Is that a joke? Detective Frank Nagler thought when he saw the mark for the first time. Pretty crude but you might be in a hurry to leave your calling card after you killed a woman. But he wondered: Where were the marks left after the deaths of Nancy Harmon and Jamie Wilson, the deaths that were now believed to be the first in this cycle?’

Bristling and well scribed, the mystery thriller proceeds as the synopsis well describes it: ‘Rookie detective Frank Nagler has barely had time to arrange his desk, when a new homicide case is assigned to him. Could a serial killer be stalking his hometown of Ironton, N.J.? One by one the bodies pile up. Nine victims are killed over several months, all from different walks of life and different parts of Ironton. Each killed in a different way, forming no clear pattern, as might be expected from a single killer. This investigation takes place before economic hard times, political corruption and a government money scandal hit the former industrial center of Ironton, N.J.’

Keen timing of a fast-paced plot introduces the now respected hero of this series: Frank Nagler is a unique detective whose sleuthing is terrific to follow. This is a very fine mystery that invites the audience to capture the other volumes! Recommended. Grady Harp, July 19

Find it here:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/1944653198/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_apa_i_H1ZgDbQJB259V

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-red-hand-michael-stephen-daigle/1132368097?

 

Also here’s a link to the trailer created by Anita Dugan-Moore of Cyber-Bytz.com for my publisher:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HJ_SROHO88c

Posted in Bergen County Cooperative Library System, BooksNJ2017, Fiction, Greater Lehigh Valley Writer's Group, Hackettstown Public Library, Hot in Hunterdon; Georjean Trinkle, http://www.sallyember.com, Imzadi Publishing LLC, Michael Stephen Daigle, Paramus Public Library, Parsippany Public Library, Sally Ember, www.michaelstephendaigle.com | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Two 5-star reviews for ‘The Red Hand’

“The Red Hand” has received two 5-star reviews.

Thanks Reyna and Jim.

The reviews:

  1. “While reading the previous three books in this mystery series, I often wondered what the young Frank Nagler had been like. In the earlier books, I met a world-weary detective, broken by the death of his wife when he was a young man and newly married. In this prequel, I met that young man— a rookie detective in his first days on the job and in way over his head on his first big case. The characters in this story were-well drawn and believable. The dialog really spoke to who these characters were and kept the story moving at a brisk pace. The atmosphere was gritty, set in a city that reeked of corruption. But beneath the despair, the people of the city possessed a stubborn hope that tomorrow would be better.
    What surprised me most about this book was how involved with the story I became, despite knowing the outcome after having read the previous books. That speaks volumes about the quality of the writing. If you enjoy stories about hard-boiled detectives who triumph over a corrupt system, this book is for you.”

2. “This was a Frank Nagler novel at its best. A real page turner. I recommend it to everyone, especially murder mystery fans.”

What is interesting about these reviews is that they reflect what I was trying to do with the book.

First, I was trying to write a fairly straight forward police story: Bad guy does crimes, police solve the crimes, arrest the bad guy. It’s not as easy as it seems.

Since this was the prequel to a series, there had to be texture and foreshadowing of other events and the introduction of characters mentioned in the other three books.

That’s a risk.

New readers could be confused as I tried to do all this set up.

And readers of the series could be turned off by the familiar material.

I was trying the thread a literary needle.

 

“The Red Hand” is about Ironton,. N.J. Detective Frank Nagler’s first big case, in which nine women have been killed. It’s also about the love between Frank and his wife, Martha, the one thing that holds him together in the intense, gritty story.

Can an old-style detective story capture a modern audience?

It can if it is filled with characters that resonate, has a love story for the ages, settings that carry weight and is layered with issues that raise the story above the everyday.

“The Red Hand,”  is  published by Imzadi Publishing.

It’s gritty, moving, probably confounding,

 

Find it here:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/1944653198/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_apa_i_H1ZgDbQJB259V

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-red-hand-michael-stephen-daigle/1132368097?

 

Also here’s a link to the trailer created by Anita Dugan-Moore of Cyber-Bytz.com for my publisher:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HJ_SROHO88c

 

 

 

 

Posted in Bergen County Cooperative Library System, BooksNJ2017, Fiction, Greater Lehigh Valley Writer's Group, Hackettstown Public Library, Hot in Hunterdon; Georjean Trinkle, http://www.sallyember.com, Imzadi Publishing LLC, Michael Stephen Daigle, Mystery Writers of America, Parsippany Public Library, www.michaelstephendaigle.com | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

‘The Weight of Living’ named Finalist in Book Excellence Awards

I got this notice today, and I’m thrilled to announce it:

“It is with great pleasure to announce that THE WEIGHT OF LIVING has been selected as a Book Excellence Award Finalist for the Mystery category. There were hundreds of entries from around the world and your book was selected for its high-quality writing, design and market appeal.”

THE WEIGHT OF LIVING (2017) is the third Frank Nagler Mystery.

The fourth, THE RED HAND, a prequel to the series, was published on June 30.

This is the story of The Weight of Living: A young girl is found in a grocery store Dumpster on a cold March night wearing just shorts and a tank top. She does not speak to either Detective Frank Nagler, the social worker called to the scene, or later to a nun, who is an old friend of Nagler’s.

What appears to be a routine search for the girl’s family turns into a generational hell that drags Nagler into an examination of a decades old “suicide” of a young girl, and the multi-state crime enterprise of the shadow ringmaster.

The deeper Nagler looks, the more he and his companions are endangered, until the shocking climax that leaves Nagler questioning his actions to both solve the crimes and heal his damaged soul.

For more on THE WEIGHT OF LIVING listen to my Author’s Page interview.

The book has been well reviewed:

  1. THE WEIGHT OF LIVING by Michael Stephen Daigle balances its thriller tenets with solid characters, razor-sharp dialogue, and a breathless plot that careens from one realistic scenario to another. The narrative is a stunning and engrossing meditation of grief and survival that examines the insular world of Ironton, New Jersey whose past is clouded by everything from a devastating flood, to the near extinction of viable business opportunities to slimy politicians.
    Frank Nagler, an investigator with the local police department has seen it all. His latest foray to the dark underbelly of Ironton involves a young girl discovered standing shoeless in a dumpster clad only in a tank top and shorts. The weather is freezing and the girl isn’t talking, either because she is unable to or chooses not to.
    The tale unfolds as several characters ranging from our stalwart protagonist to an array of complex characters who each adds insight and ultimate resolution into the intricate and deeply troubling mystery.
    Daigle has provides an engrossing portrait of a town and its residents that examines the pain inflicted by long buried secrets as he couples these with tension and a pensive sadness that hooks the reader and never lets up.
  2. Daigle hits his stride in this third Frank Nagler Mystery. The characters are strong and convincing, and the plot is unpredictable, with sudden twists that take even a careful reader by surprise. The setting is dark, unsettling and gritty, a northern NJ city caught up in the aftermath of decades-long political corruption and financial hardships. Detective Frank Nagler is the last honest man in this city, the white knight who defends the weak and downtrodden. Of the three books in the series, this is the one that pulls out all the stops and tells a story of such depravity and evil that there will be times when you pause your reading and you’ll want to wash your hands. But it’s in this juxtaposition of the dark and light that the exquisite tension of the story builds, the decency and strength of the Nagler character is revealed and the sordid mystery of the little girl left filthy and neglected in a dumpster unfolds. This book is recommended reading if you’re looking for an inventive plot and boldly drawn characters.
  3. I picked this book to read from a recommendation of a friend. By accident, I started with book 3 of the Frank Nagler Mystery series. I was not disappointed as the book was a fantastic stand-alone for a series and I immediately read the first two, after. This story was set in a typical American small city/town. The scenes were set and believable to the point I thought I was working with the protagonist as I continued reading to try and solve the twisting story. Corruption exploited the scores of many locations and scenarios. The girl was a great addition to the story and made me want to find out more.
    I highly recommend this read and the full series. Kudos to the author.

THE WEIGHT OF LIVING is a multiple award winner:

2017: First Place in the Royal Dragonfly Book Awards

2018: Named a Notable 100 Book in the Shelf Unbound Indie Book Contest

2018: Named a Distinguished Favorite in the Independent Press Awards contest.

2018: Named a Distinguished Favorite in the Big NYC Book Contest.

 

 

Here’s a link to purchase the book: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B071CXW1JW/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_bibl_vppi_i3

Posted in Bergen County Cooperative Library System, BooksNJ2017, Fiction, Greater Lehigh Valley Writer's Group, Hackettstown Public Library, Hot in Hunterdon; Georjean Trinkle, http://www.sallyember.com, Imzadi Publishing LLC, Michael Stephen Daigle, Mystery Writers of America, Parsippany Public Library, www.michaelstephendaigle.com | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

‘The Red Hand’ is published, available now

What do we know

This: Six women gone.

Not gone.

Gone could be voluntary.

They were taken.

Things move quickly.

“The Red Hand,” the fourth book in the Frank Nagler Mystery series can be ordered TODAY.

My thanks to the Imzadi Publishing team. Some people have published a hundred books. I’m very proud of my four. Thanks to all for your support. More to come.

Here’s the link to order a copy: : https://www.amazon.com/dp/1944653198/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_apa_i_H1ZgDbQJB259V

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-red-hand-michael-stephen-daigle/1132368097?

 

 

Also here’s a link to the trailer created by Anita Dugan-Moore of Cyber-Bytz.com for my publisher:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HJ_SROHO88c

 

A sample from “The Red Hand”:

 

Nagler walked. Shook out the official chatter, the empty theories,

the “we need to find an answer” talk. Walked into the solace of the

humming Ironton streets.

An answer to what? People can leave, even an old lady with a bad

hip. There’s too little here, he thought. Too much space to fill, so we fill

it with what we don’t know; we guess.

The meeting with Foley produced some information. Nancy

Harmon’s sister from New York had called the department in January

when a fellow doctor had called her to inquire about the locked office.

The postal service reported the mail had piled up in her post office box,

and a number of patients reported to the front desk their concerns about

her absence.

An officer was assigned, the door was rattled, neighboring homes and

businesses were questioned, the mail was retrieved. And none of that

information made its way to us, Nagler thought. Why? Maybe the officer

who knocked on the door was let go in the job cuts, he thought. Did his

job, filed a report, now stuck in a cubbyhole somewhere, and he’s gone.

Foley also had said the cab company had called in February to report

Felice Sanchez missing when she didn’t come back to the garage at the

end of her shift; her empty cab was discovered two days later, and she

was found dead in the Wilson Hotel two days after that.

Jamie Wilson’s boss had called police the day after she went out for

a late lunch and never came back, Foley reported.

All these pieces had never been connected because there was no

reason to connect them. Three deaths about six months apart. They all

seemed to be singular, random events: People die, get killed. Sometimes

no one is caught.

Yet, Mulligan had said all the deaths were connected.

Why are we holding on to that key evidence?

And a second, unsettling thought: Why did Foley keep all this to

himself?

Nagler walked then paused at the train station site where Joan Chen

was found.

“Could we have stopped the killer and saved you?” he asked himself

softly.

Then another disturbing notion: Who gains by your death?

Nagler had collected the lists, the timelines, the reports and absorbed

the theories and understood that these deaths would not be solved inside

the four walls of the police station.

But Mulligan’s charge remained: An experiment in death. An

experiment. Chemicals dumped into a glass vial, bubbling away,

releasing a gas; a test. Can I get away with one? How about two. Then

three. Testing methods, weapons. If I make it look random, will it take

longer for them to catch on? What should I leave to tell them who I am?

Because the scientist does want recognition, after all. A little at a time.

So Nagler walked.

Martha’s worried face hovered as he had lain on the bed; her soft

hand brushed his brow and cheek. “So much to worry about,” she had

said. “Give that worry to me.” No, he had thought. Can’t give it to you.

And then she had kissed him, warm lips lingering, and in that instant,

took it.

Walked. In the heated, dusky hours of midweek. Ironton streets

bustling, shouting, sweaty dancing.

Past the shuttered factories, windows wired, glass broken, spider

webs of debris.

He walked seeking ghosts, clues, understanding.

Are you hiding in these shadows, your face a smear on the light, an

echoed voice? Are you following, spying, choosing, jumping?

I know these streets, grew up on them, chased friends down narrow

alleys; waited as unsmiling mill workers trudged limping, smear-faced,

back from the dark, factory hollows; listened as the wind slammed

through broken windows, through thin coats, under collars.

I know how misery turns the smiles on kids’ faces. Know how the

darkness can descend, stealing hope.

But I don’t know you. Don’t know you.

Yet, Nagler thought.

Walked. Asked. Who knows; who among us knows? Knows why.

Someone does.

Past the dark coolness of bars, doors open, the blast of cold from air

conditioners pushing against the sidewalk heat, dry and burning, leaking

jukebox sounds, the clinking glasses of afternoon loneliness.

Past the grumbling train station, soot covered seats, paint chipped,

broken slats, an old lady clutching two shopping bags. An eastbound

train grinds in, a whoosh of open doors, feet flat on metal stairs, slapping

broken concrete, riders step from shade to glare and shield their eyes

with a folded newspaper. A horn blast, squeaking metal wheels, then

rolling, ground shaking, then silence.

Past the dry river bed, leaning wearily on the hot metal Sussex Street

railing, head down, squinting against the watery glare cast from the last

pools hidden in dry rocks and sand. Water so low from lack of rain,

the banks had hardened, browned and cracked. He thought of Marion

Feldman. We would have found you by now.

Walked, called out, voice raw. Demanded; waited.

Past the stoops, the blocks of neighborhood stoops; old men with

straw hats and beer in brown bags, women in long, colored loose skirts

yanked thigh high and waist-tied blouses yelling at kids with soccer balls

to watch for cars; grandmas and diapered babies rocking in a corner of

shade, sweat on soft cheeks, the sighs of innocence.

Nagler walked. Are you all safe in your friendly groups? Will your

laughter protect you?

Peered into alleys seeking a shadow, down sunbaked streets,

looking for a face, squinted into flashing sunlight shining off shifting

windshields; into the wreckage of industries past, arched hollows in

brick walls, birds flapping in gritty shade, plywood slathered doorways,

dripping, softened to paper.

Are you hidden in the darkness, or standing in plain sight?

Walked; stared, seeking the soul of the city, ear tipped for a voice;

questioned, waiting for a whisper. Lives on hold. A table seat empty, a

question hanging, unanswered; space left where someone should be.

When do I begin to figure all this out? When do I begin to feel I’m not

running behind anymore? When does this make sense?

He leaned over the railing of the Sussex Street bridge and let his

mind drift like the river of dark water that floated without logic around

the rocks on the banks, that curled and spiraled, and with each pass,

ground away one more infinitesimal layer of stone, making sand, the

tiny destruction of something solid.

He knew he needed to push the confusion aside, to ask again: What

do we know?

This: Six women gone.

Not gone.

Gone could be voluntary.

They were taken.

 

Posted in Bergen County Cooperative Library System, BooksNJ2017, Fiction, Greater Lehigh Valley Writer's Group, Hackettstown Public Library, Hot in Hunterdon; Georjean Trinkle, http://www.sallyember.com, Imzadi Publishing LLC, Michael Stephen Daigle, Mystery Writers of America, Parsippany Public Library, www.michaelstephendaigle.com | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Three days till new Frank Nagler: ‘The Red Hand,’ out July 4

Can an old-style detective story capture a modern audience?

It can if it is filled with characters that resonate, has a love story for the ages, settings that carry weight and is layered with issues that raise the story above the everyday.

It’s “The Red Hand,” the latest Frank Nagler Mystery, published by Imzadi Publishing.

It’s gritty, moving, probably confounding, and it will be released July 4.

In the meantime, catch up with Ironton, N.J.’s troubled and determined detective Frank Nagler.

View the trailer here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HJ_SROHO88c

The other Frank Nagler Mysteries:

“The Swamps of Jersey” (2014) is about political corruption and murder.

The first Frank Nagler mystery.

Nagler is called out on stormy night to investigate the report of a dead woman in the Old Iron Bog. It is the first event in a chain of events that set the hard-luck city of Ironton, N.J. on edge. Besides the possible murder, the city was flooded when a week-long storm settled in and wrecked homes, businesses, and streets, and Nagler is trying to make sense of a series of letters that claim to expose theft of city funds, except they are so incomplete he wonders if it is really so.

Then there is Lauren Fox, a woman sent to Ironton to jump-start economic development. She and Nagler are attracted to one another and begin to become serious when she leaves town without an explanation. Nagler was an emotional recluse following the death of his wife years before. They had been childhood sweethearts, and her death crushed Nagler.

 

The story of Frank Nagler picks up two years after “Swamps”  in “A Game Called Dead” (2016)

A GAME CALLED DEAD was named a Runner-Up in the 2016 Shelf Unbound Indie Book Contest.

Ironton, N.J., is still a city struggling with its economic and rebuilding troubles, but new heroes emerge. Meanwhile a break-in at the local college leaves two women badly beaten, and one later dies. Following a series of criminal acts in the city, including several that damage the book store owned by Leonard, Nagler’s friend, the story takes on a sinister twist.  The title comes from the students’ name for a video game that has taken on a real-world life. They call it “A Game Called Dead.”

The story is tense and propulsive.

 

“The Weight of Living” (2017) brings Frank Nagler face-to-face with a soulless, manipulative killer whose crimes stretch back decades.

THE WEIGHT OF LIVING IS A MULTIPLE AWARD WINNER:

2017: First Place in the Royal Dragonfly Book Awards

2018: Named a Notable 100 Book in the Shelf Unbound Indie Book Contest

2018: Named a Distinguished Favorite in the Independent Press Awards contest.

2018: Named a Distinguished Favorite in the Big NYC Book Contest.

 

A young girl is found in a grocery store Dumpster on a cold March night wearing just shorts and a tank top. She does not speak to either Detective Frank Nagler, the social worker called to the scene, or later to a nun, who is an old friend of Nagler’s.

What appears to be a routine search for the girl’s family turns into a generational hell that drags Nagler into an examination of a decades old death of a young girl, and the multi-state crime enterprise of the shadow ringmaster.

The deeper Nagler looks, the more he and his companions are endangered, until the shocking climax that leaves Nagler questioning his actions to both solve the crimes and heal his damaged soul.

The story is entangled, deeply involving and holds an emotional grip.

 

The Nagler Mysteries are available through Barnes and Noble and Amazon.

The first three books in the series were issued in an anthology edition in 2018. It is available from the sires above in hardcover, paperback and ebook formats. (A handy way to catch up).

An audiobook version of “The Swamps of Jersey” is available on audible.com and Amazon.

 

Posted in BooksNJ2017, Fiction, Greater Lehigh Valley Writer's Group, Hackettstown Public Library, Hot in Hunterdon; Georjean Trinkle, http://www.sallyember.com, Imzadi Publishing LLC, Michael Stephen Daigle, Mystery Writers of America, Parsippany Public Library, www.michaelstephendaigle.com | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Release date for ‘The Red Hand’: July 4

It’s gritty, moving, probably confounding, and it will be released July 4.

“The Red Hand,” the latest Frank Nagler Mystery has a release date.

Details will be available soon on how to pre-order a copy.

In the meantime, catch up with Ironton, N.J.’s troubled and determined detective Frank Nagler.

 

“The Swamps of Jersey” (2014) is about political corruption and murder.

The first Frank Nagler mystery.

Nagler is called out on stormy night to investigate the report of a dead woman in the Old Iron Bog. It is the first event in a chain of events that set the hard-luck city of Ironton, N.J. on edge. Besides the possible murder, the city was flooded when a week-long storm settled in and wrecked homes, businesses, and streets, and Nagler is trying to make sense of a series of letters that claim to expose theft of city funds, except they are so incomplete he wonders if it is really so.

Then there is Lauren Fox, a woman sent to Ironton to jump-start economic development. She and Nagler are attracted to one another and begin to become serious when she leaves town without an explanation. Nagler was an emotional recluse following the death of his wife years before. They had been childhood sweethearts, and her death crushed Nagler.

 

The story of Frank Nagler picks up two years after “Swamps”  in “A Game Called Dead” (2016)

A GAME CALLED DEAD was named a Runner-Up in the 2016 Shelf Unbound Indie Book Contest.

Ironton, N.J., is still a city struggling with its economic and rebuilding troubles, but new heroes emerge. Meanwhile a break-in at the local college leaves two women badly beaten, and one later dies. Following a series of criminal acts in the city, including several that damage the book store owned by Leonard, Nagler’s friend, the story takes on a sinister twist.  The title comes from the students’ name for a video game that has taken on a real-world life. They call it “A Game Called Dead.”

The story is tense and propulsive.

 

“The Weight of Living” (2017) brings Frank Nagler face-to-face with a soulless, manipulative killer whose crimes stretch back decades.

THE WEIGHT OF LIVING IS A MULTIPLE AWARD WINNER:

2017: First Place in the Royal Dragonfly Book Awards

2018: Named a Notable 100 Book in the Shelf Unbound Indie Book Contest

2018: Named a Distinguished Favorite in the Independent Press Awards contest.

2018: Named a Distinguished Favorite in the Big NYC Book Contest.

 

A young girl is found in a grocery store Dumpster on a cold March night wearing just shorts and a tank top. She does not speak to either Detective Frank Nagler, the social worker called to the scene, or later to a nun, who is an old friend of Nagler’s.

What appears to be a routine search for the girl’s family turns into a generational hell that drags Nagler into an examination of a decades old death of a young girl, and the multi-state crime enterprise of the shadow ringmaster.

The deeper Nagler looks, the more he and his companions are endangered, until the shocking climax that leaves Nagler questioning his actions to both solve the crimes and heal his damaged soul.

The story is entangled, deeply involving and holds an emotional grip.

 

The Nagler Mysteries are available through Barnes and Noble and Amazon.

The first three books in the series were issued in an anthology edition in 2018. It is available from the sires above in hardcover, paperback and ebook formats. (A handy way to catch up).

An audiobook version of “The Swamps of Jersey” is available on audible.com and Amazon.

 

 

 

Posted in Bergen County Cooperative Library System, BooksNJ2017, Fiction, Greater Lehigh Valley Writer's Group, Hackettstown Public Library, Hot in Hunterdon; Georjean Trinkle, Imzadi Publishing LLC, Michael Stephen Daigle, Mystery Writers of America, Parsippany Public Library, Sally Ember, www.michaelstephendaigle.com | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The year of disease

The roses bloomed and died while I was gone,

Dozens, a wall of glorious crimson, grabbing light;

Bursting, then all at once browning, fading, but having lived.

Petals drifting to the cold soil, crushed, dry bones of rebirth.

We burst, rub together, then fade;

The pieces we leave behind embedded.

Lips formed to kiss, a surprise,

Your taste lingers, like time.

Eyes narrow and dark become brown and soft, startled, questioning.

The darkness peels away, silence become sound; a sigh.

Light cracks the gloom; your face.

Roses bloom and die and feed their resurrection.

Skin accepts the dew, becomes alive.

Bodies astride accept love.

Darkness opens to light

There is always light.

Always light.

Posted in BooksNJ2017, Fiction, Greater Lehigh Valley Writer's Group, Hackettstown Public Library, Hot in Hunterdon; Georjean Trinkle, Imzadi Publishing LLC, Michael Stephen Daigle, Mystery Writers of America, Sally Ember, www.michaelstephendaigle.com | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Coming soon: ‘The Red Hand,’ A New Frank Nagler Mystery

So, it’s off the publisher after an editorial scrubbing.

“The Red Hand,” the latest Frank Nagler Mystery, is now in the final steps as my publisher Imzadi Publishing, readies the manuscript for release.

No publication date has been set, but it’s coming.

Thanks to Anita Dugan-Moore for the stunning cover, and Kathleen Tate for her careful copy edit. Kate, I’m sorry I can’t spell “gray” and keep inventing ways to mangle the English language.

“The Red Hand” is a prequel to the three other books in the series.

Why write a prequel?

Two reasons.

First, to answer questions about the life of Ironton, N.J. Detective Frank Nagler.

What is it like to be a new detective investigating a horrible series of deaths, labeled “an experiment in death,” by the medical examiner? How does Nagler become the soul of his hometown?

What happened to Nagler’s wife, Martha, whose memory haunts him in the series?

Why doesn’t Ironton, a once thriving manufacturing city, ever seem to turn the corner to prosperity?

These are all themes that are evident in the other three books in the series and will carried into the fifth one, now a work-in-progress.

The other reason is to add to the long story arc represented in the series.

Clues and hints to the origin, for example, of the political and financial morass that is Ironton are laid out. Also, deeper clues about how these issues will be resolved in the fifth book are dribbled throughout “The Red Hand.”

A note on style: The story will appear to have a certain herky-jerky quality. That was done to reflect several aspects to the cases: A lack of evidence, tension within the police department, and the one-step-forward, two-steps-back uncertainty of a rookie detective thrust into a murder spree beyond his imagination.

My thanks to the readers who have stuck with this series, and whose support is immeasurable.

I hope “The Red Hand” does not disappoint.

 

The previous Nagler Mysteries:

 

“The Swamps of Jersey” (2014) is about political corruption and murder.

The first Frank Nagler mystery. Available at Amazon, Nook, Kobo and Wal-Mart

Nagler is called out on stormy night to investigate the report of a dead woman in the Old Iron Bog. It is the first event in a chain of events that set the hard-luck city of Ironton, N.J. on edge. Besides the possible murder, the city was flooded when a week-long storm settled in and wrecked homes, businesses, and streets, and Nagler is trying to make sense of a series of letters that claim to expose theft of city funds, except they are so incomplete he wonders if it is really so.

Then there is Lauren Fox, a woman sent to Ironton to jump-start economic development. She and Nagler are attracted to one another and begin to become serious when she leaves town without an explanation. Nagler was an emotional recluse following the death of his wife years before. They had been childhood sweethearts, and her death crushed Nagler.

 

The story of Frank Nagler picks up two years after “Swamps”  in “A Game Called Dead” (2016)

A GAME CALLED DEAD was named a Runner-Up in the 2016 Shelf Unbound Indie Book Contest.

Ironton, N.J., is still a city struggling with its economic and rebuilding troubles, but new heroes emerge. Meanwhile a break-in at the local college leaves two women badly beaten, and one later dies. Following a series of criminal acts in the city, including several that damage the book store owned by Leonard, Nagler’s friend, the story takes on a sinister twist.  The title comes from the students’ name for a video game that has taken on a real-world life. They call it “A Game Called Dead.”

The story is tense and propulsive.

 

“The Weight of Living” (2017) brings Frank Nagler face-to-face with a soulless, manipulative killer whose crimes stretch back decades.

THE WEIGHT OF LIVING IS A MULTIPLE AWARD WINNER:

2017: First Place in the Royal Dragonfly Book Awards

2018: Named a Notable 100 Book in the Shelf Unbound Indie Book Contest

2018: Named a Distinguished Favorite in the Independent Press Awards contest.

2018: Named a Distinguished Favorite in the Big NYC Book Contest.

 

A young girl is found in a grocery store Dumpster on a cold March night wearing just shorts and a tank top. She does not speak to either Detective Frank Nagler, the social worker called to the scene, or later to a nun, who is an old friend of Nagler’s.

What appears to be a routine search for the girl’s family turns into a generational hell that drags Nagler into an examination of a decades old death of a young girl, and the multi-state crime enterprise of the shadow ringmaster.

The deeper Nagler looks, the more he and his companions are endangered, until the shocking climax that leaves Nagler questioning his actions to both solve the crimes and heal his damaged soul.

The story is entangled, deeply involving and holds an emotional grip.

 

The Nagler Mysteries are available through Barnes and Noble and Amazon.

The first three books in the series were issued in an anthology edition in 2018. It is available from the sires above in hardcover, paperback and ebook formats. (A handy way to catch up).

An audiobook version of “The Swamps of Jersey” is available on audible.com and Amazon.

Posted in BooksNJ2017, Fiction, Greater Lehigh Valley Writer's Group, Hackettstown Public Library, Hot in Hunterdon; Georjean Trinkle, Imzadi Publishing LLC, Michael Stephen Daigle, Sally Ember, www.michaelstephendaigle.com | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Walking upright while bent over

The last thing I said to the surgical nurse was that I would be very unhappy if I awoke missing my left arm and still having a left kidney.

That was said in response to the purple mark on my left arm placed there by the surgeon to ensure the procedure they performed was on my left side.

She’d heard that line before.

I still have my left arm.

And remnants of the purple mark.

Major surgeries are an exercise in being alive while being dead; the post-operative hospital stay is as much about being dragged back to life as it is about physical healing.

I had brought two books with me, Richard Ford’s “The Sportswriter,” and “The Milkman,” by Anna Burns.

But my brain would not accept the elegant phrases and detailed human observations of either author. It was as if it had erected a wall around itself as protection. Instead I watched home improvement shows or conspiracy based investigations on cable whose information acted as a battering ram to crush the wall; I was not ready to absorb great prose, but was able to fend off bullshit.

It’s a process and it moves at its own pace.

Now home after the May 23 surgery to remove a diseased kidney, I learn to sit and stand as ramrod straight as possible because the torque of turning and bending causes pain. Those actions are the essence of the old Henny Youngman joke: Doc, it hurts when I do this. Well, don’t do that.

Or as the surgeon who cleaned out my shoulder last October told me at the last visit: My job now is to not screw it up.

So, here I sit, trying not to screw it up.

Aiding in this recovery in her own special way is Lily the Missile Dog, the 6-months-old, 17-pound terror, whose efforts to deliver dog sympathy come in to play only after a launched airborne attack from 15 feet way with a running start. Sometimes I can get the pillow over my stitches in time.

I spend time thinking about my hospital roomie, Fred. He was in his mid-80s dealing with a couple of ailments, including what I could gather was something serious with his spine that left him bed-ridden and bent at the waist in those times he passed by my bed on his way to physical therapy. There were a lot of questions about whether he was wearing his back brace.

We didn’t get a lot of time to chat in those two days — both of us were in and out of different levels of consciousness. But I did hear him tell the nurses that I had it worse than he did: “Did you see my roomie? They ripped out his kidney.”

I also heard him awaken three times in one night after having an accident. The cry of pain, helplessness and embarrassment was heartbreaking.

But mostly I eavesdropped on Fred and his wife talking with pride to his grandson, who has just got a job at the Saratoga Springs, N.Y., horse track with the promise of a full-time post, or the phone chats with a daughter visiting New Orleans for the first time, or tracking his investments.

Life and family pride go on, hospital bed or not.

But mostly I think about Fred because even as he moved slowly with a walker and an attendant nurse, bent 90 degrees at his waist, he carried himself as a man with a future.

He walked, as it were, upright while bent over.

Posted in BooksNJ2017, Fiction, Greater Lehigh Valley Writer's Group, Hot in Hunterdon; Georjean Trinkle, http://www.sallyember.com, Imzadi Publishing LLC, Michael Stephen Daigle, Mystery Writers of America, www.michaelstephendaigle.com | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The evolution of the Frank Nagler Mysteries: A couple samples from early versions.

The Frank Nagler Mystery series began with a small police blog item in a newspaper years ago.

Soon, I began to write a series of short sketches to build out the story. I must have written four or five, each one adding depth to the original story of a break-in and unknown thief.

Recently my older brother send a package of stuff to his son, and in that pack were two forgotten entries to that list.

I hadn’t seen them in years, but they provided a curious look into how the series took shape.

For the uninitiated, the Frank Nagler Mysteries tell the story of the investigations of Ironton, N.J. Detective Frank Nagler. They tell a dystopian tale of the city, fallen on hard economic times, beset by crooked politicians, battered by weather and years of stagnation. Hope dies and crime breeds.

And Nagler persists, carrying the weight of grief for his wife and his city.

In these early versions, Nagler did not exist, but I was surprised to find, the kernel of the decline of the city was greatly evident.

The character who is present is Charlie Adams, who readers know becomes a serial killer.

What’s interesting is the writing. These were composed when I was in my 20s. They are a mish-mash of dreamy thematic descriptions and some not-bad character set ups.

A couple samples:

“And how when the river slides along the docks, cool green water, mixing the Chenango and the Susquehanna, how as they merge there is one audible creak, one small twinge of pain, one small whisper that time has come. And why in the gathering of winds do the rattles of loose shutters or the grinding of a broken cornice fill the personless air? Why is it through decay we reason rebirth?”

(Okay, that was painful.)

A later version:

“The heavy truck lurches to a stop, its load shifting a bit. The engine puffed like a tired ox, long in the yolk. At first the trucks arrived singly, days a part. They would thunder during the day, their loads of red beams shining in the hot summer sun. And at night they would leave almost without a sound…..

…The light changed to green…In two years the new college would be standing. Behind him, framed by his rearview mirrors, the driver could see reflected the old city standing gray and smoky in a late afternoon sun. (Somewhat better.)

And then Charlie Adams: “Yet something great was at war with his physical being. His hands worked fiercely at his hat, his breathing came in deep, strong pulls, slow and deep, then faster and shorter. Suddenly he leaped at the table. “Goddamn all of them! Damn everyone!” His bellow rattled through the empty building. His mind exploded as never before. “All the time laughin’ and pointin. Someday I’m gonna go out and smash someone or something and no one is gonna laugh anymore. Someday they’ll say, ‘yeah, that’s the guy. Yeah, he’s the guy.’ “

What’s important about this version of Charlie Adams is that he embodies the clash that fills the entire series: The clash between the haves and the have-nots. Much of this characterization gets transferred to Frank Nagler as he fights for his city and his life. Charlie over time becomes a megalomaniacal killer, but one who knows where he came from – the wrong side of the tracks – and it fuels his rage.

 

 

My interview on The Author’s Show that discusses the series and the last award-winning entry, “The Weight of Living,” is playing continuously for three days. from April 17 to 19. See the accompanying and for details.

Link: https://wnbnetworkwest.com/WnbAuthorsShow3.html?fbclid=IwAR0zHjdLh62XomD8Cjo63SzuoCMognhi-dvKIDcE9I5Ab-ITZ2Egr3wo59o

The Frank Nagler books are available online at Barnes and Noble, and Amazon.

 

Look for the new book in the series, “The Red Hand,” coming soon.

 

Posted in BooksNJ2017, Fiction, Greater Lehigh Valley Writer's Group, Hackettstown Public Library, Hot in Hunterdon; Georjean Trinkle, Imzadi Publishing LLC, Michael Stephen Daigle, Mystery Writers of America, Sally Ember, www.michaelstephendaigle.com | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment