‘A substantial book’

A new review: Great Detective Book

The Red Hand by Michael Stephen Daigle is a gritty, raw, and enticing murder mystery that features the rookie detective Frank Nagler. This is a prequel to several other books in the series and really lays out what kind of person Nagler is. This is a great stand alone book, but you should certainly avail yourself of the other books in the series as well. We follow the story of a serial killer in a run down New Jersey town, one filled with desperation but also hope. The writing is substantial, the characters are all interesting and well described, and the plot itself is fascinating. Truly a story about overcoming and trying to survive against overwhelming forces like corruption, terror, and more, this is a substantial book that will keep your attention from the beginning until the end. Daigle writes with a confident tone, one which handles the subject matter with expertise and finesse. Highly recommend.

Other comments:

“A brilliant storyline and excellent and believable characterization make it well-worth reading. The conversations keep the story flowing at a fast pace. If you enjoy tales of a detective who wins against corrupt politicians, terrorists, and criminals, you will love The Red Hand.”

“At first I thought the story seemed quite simple, but there is a lot more depth to it than I had first anticipated. A fine detective novel, quick read and very enjoyable.

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

“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.”

“The author presents a riveting story of a serial killer unlike any other in a depressed New Jersey town that seeks a rebirth. Not only is there the well-written story of the case itself, but also how a young detective handles deeply-personal and professional crises at the same time. Michael Stephen Daigle weaves these strands into an excellent work about Frank Nagler, a detective who loves his hometown in spite of everything, and whose devotion to his young wife and duty never waver. He is a very sympathetic character, and readers will want to be with him for every step of the way.”

“As a reader, I like to know what a character is thinking. Michael Daigle gave me all I wanted. The thought processes, the doubts, the anticipation, the exhilaration of a solved case. It’s all there.”

Thanks to all who read and enjoyed the story and took the time to review it. 

https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00P5WBOQC

 

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

an audiobook version of THE SWAMPS OF JERSEY is here: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07BT8WHM3/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_bibl_vppi_i2

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 , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Change comes to Mount Jensen: Work in progress

This is a story about change in a small Maine town.  The changes come in many forms.  This piece is about setting the framework:

 

The first sign that change had come to Mount Jensen, Maine was the sight of a short man in a blazing yellow jacket nailing a FOR SALE sign to the front door of the Congregational Church.

He admired his handwork for a second or two, touched the edges with two fingers to straighten it; then satisfied, he turned, tossed the hammer and pack of nails into the trunk of his white Cadillac, and drove off.

Not exactly Martin Luther nailing his thesis to the door of All Saints Church in Wittenberg and starting the Reformation, Henderson thought, watching the actions of the unnamed prophet from a ladder angled against the front of his diner three doors down, but unsettling enough that he dismounted the ladder and strolled over to the old, unpainted church building.

It was the in-between season, late April, the morning air still chilled by an icy touch not yet warmed off. Graying snow piles lined north-facing ditches; fields were broken with cocked roots of cow corn, laid bare, awaiting the furrowing plow. Early sunlight cracked the tips of the dark and silent tree stands, while the palest green shoots of hardwoods brightened the black spruce groves down to the lake where the water swirled with Stygian menace, the shore guarded by frozen blades of rim ice. A layer of wood smoke swirled across the face of the hills that sheltered the settlement, the gritty air burnt.

The diner regulars piled in with dirty ballcaps and hooded sweatshirts covered by stained denim Bean work coats; he would mop a layer of mud and stones off the linoleum before lunch. Trout season would open in two weeks and the streets would be lined with pick-ups hauling small boats that had been dragged from storage, the dust still thick on their canvas covers. The tourists and seasonal campers would show up on Memorial Day.

The church had not been painted in years, about as long as it had not been used as a church, but its sturdy walls and imposing bell tower that rose like an arm outstretched to heaven reminded all that the strong faith of its congregants had carried them through trials and tribulations as they served their stern God. Paint, Henderson had decided as a younger man, meant the church goers would have had to acknowledge that faith and life was not always a grim slog through deep snow in winter, days of privation or that hardness cured the soul of frivolity.

In truth, the Congregational church had not served that denomination after a dispute a hundred-fifty years ago sent half the congregation up to the top of Apple Hill where they constructed a new sanctuary and painted it white. Suddenly half the village of Mount Jensen were Baptists.

The root of the schism was lost to time and a pile of dusty records buried in the cellar of one of the churches, Henderson knew. Legend said it was dispute between the Jensens and the Nettlesons, founding families whose disagreement seemed to have started the moment those early settlers set foot on the lakeshore where the settlement was established.

It was clear who won: The village was not named Mount Nettleson.

Either way, Mount Jensen, a settlement of about five hundred souls had two churches. In modern times, church members settled on a convention of using the hilltop church in the summer and the village church in the winter. Henderson as a kid wondered if that mean everyone was a Congregating Baptist. While it appeared the arrangement was made because the new church had no heating system other than a fireplace, Henderson, who attended neither church, quietly enjoyed the symbolism of using a bright, white church building in the spring and summer, seasons of joy and growth, and then occupying an angry, dark finger-pointing sanctuary in the cold, hard times of fall and winter.

During one Christmas pageant years ago, Henderson, wearing a bulky knit sweater under his choir robes overheated in the closed, crowded church and threw up during “O Holy Night.” They had cut away that smelly piece of ancient rug and never replaced it, leaving an oval of bare floor in the top left corner of the choir loft.

He stared at the sign on the front door of the church: FOR SALE. Can you sell a church? If all its meaning had been removed, you could, he decided.

But if you can buy a church, what else can you buy?

At least it wasn’t the Inn, he thought. The wreck of the Mount Jensen Inn, a sanctuary of a different kind, filled a fenced-in lakeside lot between Henderson’s diner and the old church. It had been the center of the economy and life in the village for more than a hundred years; even if the town fathers disagreed on where to worship, they had placed an oval black-and-white photograph of the Inn on their official stationary.

While the placement of a FOR SALE sign on the church door could feel like the end of times, Henderson thought, even in its grand wreckage, the fact that the Inn was still standing, was a sign of hope.

 

Posted in Fiction, Hot in Hunterdon; Georjean Trinkle, Imzadi Publishing LLC, Michael Stephen Daigle, www.michaelstephendaigle.com | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

‘The Red Hand’ in Martha Nagler’s own words; Two new 5-star reviews

One element of the Frank Nagler Mysteries is the strong women. Lauren Fox, Nagler’s companion in THE SWAMPS OF JERSEY, A GAME CALLED DEAD, and THE WEIGHT OF LIVING; Lt. Maria Ramirez, the do-it-all-cop in A GAME CALLED DEAD and THE WEIGHT OF LIVING; and the mysterious Sister Katherine in THE WEIGHT OF LIVING and THE RED HAND.

Before them, all was Martha Nagler, his red-headed wife, whose story is hinted at in the three other books, but who comes to life in THE RED HAND.

She is the woman who defines his life. She is playful, sexy, smart, intuitive and brave.

 

Her introduction: “I know,” she said as she guided his hand under her shirt and placed it on her left breast and then reached up to kiss him.

“Oh, Frank.” A comic, swooning voice.

“Oh, Martha.”

Then they laughed.

“You can stop now,” she said, smiling.

“Stop what?”

“Playing with my tit.” She pulled his hand out from under her shirt and turned toward the window. “There was a commotion across the street earlier tonight. Trash cans, banging, I don’t know. Seemed like it was coming from that empty lot, the one with the junk that we complain about all the time.” She playfully punched him in the ribs. “Who could I call about that? Hmmm. Maybe a cop I know?”

 

Reaching out: 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.

 

Life and death: “Does it not blush, as do I, at the mention of your name, at the touch of your hand?” She brushed the flower across his cheek and he smiled deeply at her performance. “Does it not pulse with life when brushed with pollen, drink in the dew?” She pulled off a petal. “And is it not so frail?” She pulled off another petal and let it drop gently from her fingers to Nagler’s chest. Her voice softened and trembled. “Its time is so brief, its beauty so rare.” She jerked off the remaining petals, leaving a bald stalk. Her voice harsh and firm. “It is time that I want, time with you, sweet rose, before the petals fade; time I do not have. Time no one can give me.”

 

“I would have been a better Juliet in college, you know, in case you were wondering,” Martha said to the sky after she had rolled onto her back. “By then it was more than words. I knew about the loss, the pain, facing death and had already experienced the great love” —she touched his face— “and felt the poetry flow through me, the words of a soul’s awakening coursing in my blood, bursting through the brain’s barrier, throwing open the world.” A soft, teasing laugh.

She rolled to her side and faced Nagler, gently touching his face with a single finger and kissing his eyes, cheeks, and mouth.

“That’s what that…that damned disease nearly took from me, Frank,” her voice now hard. “That chance. You were my Romeo, dear Frank. And for a moment I thought I would lose you.”

 

Teenage fights: “And then the teenager stuff stopped. We grew up right then,” she said. “You were across the street on a night like this, hot, miserably sticky, and I walked over, and we just fell back into each other’s arms. That was the sweetest kiss, like the first one ever. None of the others, and nothing else mattered. It wasn’t lust although I was aching for you. It was just you and me, bodies pressed together, lips soft and lightly brushing each other’s mouth. A little peck, then a long, electric kiss I didn’t want to end.”

He touched her face. “I was trying to figure out how much you had been hurt, so much that you wouldn’t even talk to me.” He kissed her forehead. “Trying to figure out what I’d done, because I’d had to have done something.”

She kissed his palm, and then licked it, smiling.

“Sometime distance is just distance, nothing really, a gap, that makes a wall.” She looked up and smiled softly. “We had to push through it.”

 

Finding Frank: “Why would I tell you?” Martha asked. “You would have run away.” She reached her arms around his neck and kissed his cheek. “I needed to be sneakier than that. I saw his boy with the dirty pants and the blue sweater, and he was smarter and more gentle than anyone. But I knew that he was ashamed of where he had come from,” she deepened her voice in an exaggerated growl, “the poor side of town, the wrong side of the tracks.” She smiled and stared into the darkness. “But for me there was no wrong side of the tracks, there was just you.”

His hands were shaking, and tears filled his eyes. “I would have been there still if not for you.”

She smiled and ran a hand through his hair. “What else was I supposed to do there, Romeo? I saw you and nothing else mattered.” He held her face and kissed her deeply. “That’s okay,” she said, winking. “I know you felt the same way. You could say it, but you’re the strong, silent type. The words are in there somewhere. They’ll come out.”

 

The end: “Hush, my love. I want to remember how it feels to be with you, how alive. The salty taste of you on my fingers, on my lips, the things we laughed about, the tears of stupid teenage fights.”

She rolled over to him again and pressed her forehead to his mouth.

“To remember this, just this, you and me and that great big world out there and how we ran into it yelling, telling it to catch up, thinking it never would.” She closed her eyes tightly leaking tears. “I want to hear the morning lark, the robin sing, and sparrows twitter in the bushes. I want to see the sun and you squinting hopelessly toward the horizon. But that night is coming and the only bird I will hear will be the nightingale, announcing darkness. Not yet, but it will come, one last darkness.” A dark growl in her voice. “We’re in the last act. But I don’t want to be Juliet lying cold and dead in that crypt. I don’t want to end at all. I want to be her on the day before, laughing. I want a new ending. Hey, Shakespeare. A rewrite, now.”

He wiped her face with the cloth again and she turned her head to him. “Don’t be scared. Look at me. Let me see your eyes. That’s my strength, Frank. Your eyes. Always.” Silence. Then a whisper. “Romeo’s a-traveling to Mantua. Fetch him.”

 

Oh, and two new 5-star reviews of THE RED HAND.

Stephen R, 5 stars Goodreads:

The Red Hand by Michael Daigle is an investigative mystery and drama-filled story. The main character, Detective Frank Nagler is a young rookie detective. He is assigned a case involving a mysterious series of murders all in a few months. Is there a serial killer in town?

Nagler rises above the gritty town to face gruesome crimes. He is very devoted to his duty and wife. You will sympathize with him as he deals with challenges at work and at home. The investigation takes place in a city marred with corruption. While there is an aura of despair, there is the hope of a better tomorrow.

Michael Daigle does not disappoint in this stand-alone prequel. A brilliant storyline and excellent and believable characterization make it well-worth reading. The conversations keep the story flowing at a fast pace. If you enjoy tales of a detective who wins against corrupt politicians, terrorists, and criminals, you will love The Red Hand.

A reader called “My Nightstand”: I am a huge fan of crime-mystery genre and Michael Daigle’s The Red Hand was a natural choice for me. I zip through crime stories in the summer time, during my holiday or lazy evenings after long hours at work. The Red Hand is a story of detective Frank Nagler in New Jersey. At first I thought the story seemed quite simple, but there is a lot more depth to it than I had first anticipated. Even though this is part of a series I didn’t feel I missed out from not having read the earlier books, but I’m sure I will go back and read the earlier installments after enjoying this so much.

A fine detective novel, quick read and very enjoyable.

 

Find THE RED HAND 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 , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Read, don’t sweat: Another 5-star review for ‘The Red Hand’

5.0 out of 5 starsAbsorbing drama on mystery and personal levels

The author presents a riveting story of a serial killer unlike any other in a depressed New Jersey town that seeks a rebirth. Not only is there the well-written story of the case itself, but also how a young detective handles deeply-personal and professional crises at the same time. Michael Stephen Daigle weaves these strands into an excellent work about Frank Nagler, a detective who loves his hometown in spite of everything, and whose devotion to his young wife and duty never waver. He is a very sympathetic character, and readers will want to be with him for every step of the way.
The grittiness of the town and the gruesome nature of the crimes never detract from the excellent writing and plot. Great mystery writing is not confined to the past…..it is alive and well here!

 

Thanks, Arthur.

Posted in Bergen County Cooperative Library System, 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, Paramus Public Library, Parsippany Public Library, www.michaelstephendaigle.com | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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