Today is release day for the third Frank Nagler Mystery, “The Weight of Living.”
My great thanks and appreciation to the Imzadi Publishing team: Janice Grove, graphic artist Anita Dugan-Moore, and copy editor Kate Springteen Tate.
Imzadi is an independent publisher and we have gone through growing pains since 2014, when my first Nagler mystery, “The Swamps of Jersey,” was published.
The company has grown and developed new editing and marketing skills that have boosted our visibility. The efforts are greatly appreciated.
So, Frank Nagler.
“The Weight of Living” is his most difficult case. The presumably simple task of finding the name and family of a young girl discovered standing in a grocery store Dumpster on a cold night instead becomes an increasingly urgent battle to bring peace and salvation to a number of characters whose lives have been torn as a result of long-hidden actions.
They tell lies, they at times confront the truth and then run from it. They are angry, pained and broken and turn to Detective Frank Nagler for answers.
But where does he turn when the weight becomes too much to carry?
He asks: “Where does all this pain go. And why does it weigh so much?”
The story drags the reader down the rabbit hole and back, offers turns and unexpected twists, characters to both loathe and admire, feel sympathy for and cheer.
“The Swamps of Jersey” (2014) is about political corruption and murder, and I attempted to write it in real time, that is to say, reflecting some of the activities that mark our present lives, but use them in a story that is broad and wide, and with luck, filled with the lives of characters struggling to make sense of troubled times. The central character is Frank Nagler, a cop, whose troubled heart is ever present.
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)
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 Nagler books are available online at:
The first two books are available at the following New Jersey libraries: Mountainside; Morris County Library; Somerset County Library System; Bernardsville Public Library; Hunterdon County Public Library; Mount Olive Public Library; Phillipsburg; Warren County, Franklin branch; Mount Arlington; Wharton; Dover; Hackettstown; Clark, Parsippany and the Ramsey library, as part of the Bergen County Cooperative Library System Deptford Free Public Library and Franklin Township Library (Gloucester Co.). And, the Palmer (Pa.) Branch of the Easton Public Library.