Changing genres: Experimentation in writing

“A chef pulls at the edges of their menus to see what new tastes can be created, a photographer tries new mediums, combining old and new, an engineer, a teacher, a social worker, turn their efforts sideways to gain new perspectives and possibly see new solutions to existing problems.

 

When I wrote the last word of the fourth Frank Nagler mystery, “The Red Hand,” I leaned back in my chair exhausted. It had taken eighteen months to complete the work, half again as long as the other three.

I needed a break.

All writers reach that point. It can be a combination of writing-centric concerns – a certain what-do-I-do-now-panic, too many ideas, no place to put them, or  something  outside of writing, something real-world, because writers do have real lives.

For me it was a combination. I had had shoulder surgery to correct painful tears and bone spurs which made even typing painful, but it was more… writing “The Red Hand” was harder than I anticipated.

I had written three Frank Nagler books over four years. The third one, “The Weight of Living” is an ever-changing story with many plot twists, and deep character emotions. The protagonist, Ironton, N.J. detective Frank Nagler is put through an emotional wringer and I leave him hanging off a cliff, so to speak.

For readers of the series, I knew I had to provide Frank a way off that cliff, and for me as the writer, I had to ask questions about how I would continue to tell Frank’s story.

So I started Book Five, the continuation of the series, and Book Four, the prequel to the whole thing. I finished Book Four, and have Book Five in various stages of construction.

But I was in a rut.

“The Red Hand” is good. It provides many answers to questions that I and readers had about Frank, his wife, Martha, his hometown, Ironton, N.J., and is a spooky thriller at the same time.

The writing problem was that I knew the story too well. I needed to know less about it, not more. That process of unlearning was time-consuming and exhausting.

So I sort of stopped writing.

I wrote a few things — it was not writer’s block, something I parodied in a piece called “Why writing a first draft is like performing stand-up with hecklers” – it can be found here: https://wp.me/p1mc2c-BM — but was an examination  of what I wrote and how I wrote it.

Like most writers I have files with ideas and incomplete stories, and since I began writing when we all used typewriters I have a large plastic tub with manila folders and boxes of typewritten manuscripts. You never throw out an idea; everything can be a work in progress.

That does not mean that you pull out the manuscript and begin the story where you left off.  You’re a different person, a different writer than you were when you began that work. You’ve aged, maybe had some success, moved, met new people, read more books, found friends, lost friends, wondered about the difference, gazed at different stars.

A chef pulls at the edges of their menus to see what new tastes can be created, a photographer tries new mediums, combining old and new, an engineer, a teacher, a social worker, turn their efforts sideways to gain new perspectives and possibly see new solutions to existing problems.

The works I pulled out were a story that years ago I had called “Oswald’s War,” about conflicts in a small Maine town. I had written some character scenes, and made notes on others.

The other piece was something called “Another Day of Here.” And it began: “Harry Demain didn’t make it to work on Tuesday.

And that night, he didn’t make it home for dinner.

A day later, when he hadn’t appeared either at work or his home, his wife Louise, after she checked his desk calendar for a possible business trip she had forgotten, and by then sufficiently worried, called the police.”

That’s all I had written. What could I do with that?

Is it Harry’s story or Louise’s?

I’ve made more progress, if that is the word, with the other tale, now entitled, “The year the world came to Mount Jensen, Maine.”

These stories are narrative fiction, at least in theory.

I’m not abandoning mystery writing.

Indeed, while pondering all of these other questions, I found a framework to use for the fifth Frank Nagler book: A copy cat not of crime methods, but of Frank’s investigative methods turned to crime. For good measure, reporter Jimmy Dawson’s news website has been hacked, and Lauren Fox, Nagler’s companion, may be running for mayor. I also have to resolve Leonard’s condition and his relationship with Calista Knox. So, a lot of stuff. Might be called “The Rhythm Method,” because that is what Frank tried to find, a rhythm to the crimes.

Taking on the other genres is this: Mystery writing is a highly manipulative. The reader is at times being led to the solution, and at other times, away from it.

What these new stories are is a challenge: They will require a different approach to character, setting, plotting. They are also a learning experience: How to tell the stories of the several characters. How to mine the changes that have occurred to me, the author? What things do I know that are different? What can I learn that I then can apply to the Frank Nagler mysteries?

The first book I wrote when I was in my early twenties was “Welcome to Gokey Manor,” a coming-of-age saga. The second one I wrote was an early version of a Frank Nagler mystery.

So here I am today, performing the same juggling act.

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

Boot

If Achilles had a boot, the world would all be different.

What would have Homer written if the Greeks had not needed a reason to invade Troy and appease the gods?

How would great stories about star-crossed lovers ever emerge if Paris had shot his arrow and it bounced off the hard plastic form on Achilles’ ankle

rather than strike that one vulnerable spot?

Ah, the gods did not want perfection, they wanted one little place that could hobble their playthings, set us limping and stumbling in and out of love as a reminder that life is about wanting and forgiving at the same time.

What fun would it be if everything was one from column A, and one from column B?

They wanted us to open the Trojan horse and be surprised.

They wanted me to gaze into your eyes and ponder how their softness could be both the pleasure of discovery and the pain of uncertainty.

Posted in Fiction | Leave a comment

A taste of something new (and not a murder mystery)

This a  piece from a story called “The year the world came to Mount Jensen, Maine.”

It’s the tale of a small Maine town that is going through changes and features such characters as Max Danton, a teen-ager blogger, Henderson, the diner owner — because I can’t have a  story without a diner — a few locals, and Nola and Emma Jensen, mother and daughter whose arrival in Mount Jensen  sets the story in motion, consequences be damned.

The story is generational, about rebellion, examining old relationships and postures, and standing up for oneself in the face of overwhelming odds.

After writing (and still writing) the Frank Nagler Mysteries I want to try a larger story, stretch out a bit and apply what I learn in that process to Frank Nagler and Ironton.

This is from Max’s blog:

 

You have to understand about this place, Mount Jensen, Maine.

People came here a long time ago. It was in the middle of nowhere then and it’s still in the middle of nowhere. It’s like, if you go to the end of the road, you have to go even further to find Mount Jensen. That how middle of nowhere it is.

But somehow that changed when Emma Jensen arrived.

She was thirteen.

Her mother was Nola Jensen, who I found out later might have been the most notorious person this little settlement had ever produced.

I mean, they were THE Jensens, from the family that named this place.

When you’re a kid, you don’t really think about the name of the place you live. Everyplace had a name. It could be named after a physical feature like Bear Mountain, or a lake, like Belgrade Lake, or maybe an Indian name that was mangled into English, like Skowhegan

But this place is Mount Jensen, Maine, and Emma’s family named it.

That was pretty cool, knowing that.

Then it got complicated. I think that was because Emma had been out there and then came here. Out there, that place none of us knew except over the Internet, the imagined world of loud big cities, murders and crime and armed men and women, protestors with signs and politicians promising everything, and more music and stories and art than any one person could ever absorb, a place so big it overwhelmed the  imagination of a little Maine kid like me. It made you want to go out there, but also made you afraid to do it, like you’d be devoured.

That’s what Emma brought to Mount Jensen, and the place was never the same.

I’m Max Danton. I’m fifteen, and this is my blog.

My Dad runs the general store. It’s a three-story square brick building that sits in the middle of the town at the crossroads and from the historical notice that hangs above the cash register, the store has been here since 1846. That’s the date carved into a hunk of granite that rests above the main entrance. We haven’t always run the general store. But you probably guessed that. My Dad bought it I guess twenty-five years ago. He was a manager for an insurance company in New York and got tired of it, came here on vacation one day and never left because he bought the store. That was a surprise to my mother, which might have been the reason she left after I was born. He just announced it one day, I’ve been told, rented a cabin on the backside of the lake for two months, went back to New York, quit his job, sold the house and then showed up one day in Mount Jensen with his family and a trailer of our furniture.

We — me, my older sister Sarah, and my Dad, Roger Danton — live in the top two floors of the grocery building. I was told that my mother left after ten years of that because she missed the big city. She’s never been back.

When I got old enough to understand it, I found out the real reason my mom left was that old Roger was screwing the postmaster, Evelyn Jones. She was after Mary Carson, a shop owner, and before Nancy Harrington, a teacher.

My father was the reason I didn’t hang out with other kids in town. I got tired of being asked “who’s next,” or does he keep a score card, and even if my mother was one of those other women in Mount Jensen.

When I was smaller, I’d hike out the Halfway Rock alone, you know, just to get away. Sometimes I’d fish, or read. But mostly I’d lay on rocks and plan battles in  my head. I had read some of the histories, about how the settlers of the village hunted and farmed, built their homes, and sometimes made peace with the natives, and other times fought them.

When Emma arrived, she joined me in the woods, we outsiders. She taught me paintball, and that was when the battles became real.

We ended up in the woods because before that we had battles that had us running all over this old dusty place, along the lake front, under the floor of the gristmill  that was held up by a couple of rotted old posts, or through the annex of the burned out Inn, through the weeds behind the Congregational church and up and down the hills, behind cars and trucks out to Bachelor’s store, a half-mile from the center of town, then back through the scrub along the road. We left paintball splatters on walls of empty buildings, on the tarred road and on the Stop sign at the main intersection. We had to head to the woods because Mrs. Wilson’s car got blasted accidently when Emma  ducked behind it and I was a little slow on the draw. I cleaned it off, but Mrs. Wilson was a mean old cuss who chased general store customers away from parking in front of her house. Not like this place had any parking lots or even parking rules. Just don’t block the road or a log truck would take out your fender. Not like we were stealing stuff. We were just a couple masked teen-agers armed with paintball markers that looked like machine guns and occasionally we’d pop out of nowhere and blast away.

Little did we know at the time but those paintball games were the start of the rebellion. And little did Emma know – or maybe she did because she’d wink and wiggle her freckled nose at me – but she set me free.

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

Selfie

Time is balance and dreams we try to remember.

A warm yes and a cold no, the uncertain in between: Somehow all the same.

Pulling nails alone will not reveal truth.

The plaster must be smashed.

The veneer broken and crumbled to the ground.

The wall must be demolished, its false shield violated,

layers of time like coats of paint scraped away.

Strip away the coverings: This is what you’ll find of me.

Dress the bones how you see fit.

Posted in Fiction | Leave a comment

Another 5-Star review for ‘The Weight of Living.’ Thanks from a grateful author

HOT NEW REVIEW: ★★★★★ The Weight of Living “Intrigue at its finest!”

February 12, 2019

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.

 

My great thanks to the reviewer of this stunning review of “The Weight of Living.”

Who is “The girl?”

She opens the book:

“She seemed hollow, the girl did. Breathing, hearing, touching, but absent. Small, dark dots sunk into an ashen blank face, eyes impossibly dull for someone so young, eyes that stared straight ahead at the faded green wall; hard, eyes so hard that did not seem to register the color of the wall, the brown of the tabletop, the light bulb above her head or the presence of anyone else. Robotic. From the police car to the police station and into the back office she walked with slow, short steps, and once in the room without being told, she slipped sideways into the green vinyl chair with the tear in the seat that exposed the white cotton batting inside; the chair that engulfed her, hips too small to fill the worn indentation in the center of the seat as she faced the wall, folded her hands on the table and sat upright.

Her eyes held no light; expressionless, passages not to a dark soul, but to one seemingly hidden or removed; spaces missing life. Eyes not filled with pain, but absence.

Her hair was raggedly cut and filthy, as was her thin, damaged body. Grime lived in her skin folds, under her fingernails, on and in her skin so deeply its color changed from white to brown-gray; dirt so thick her skin shed water like plastic.

 

Later, Leonard, Detective Frank Nagler’s blind bookstore owning friend says this:

 

“I was thinking about the little girl, what she must be going through. I tried to speak to her when we were kidnapped” — he laughed — “trying to reassure her. She was so withdrawn; I could feel it in her hands when we talked. I told her I was blind, and the only way I would know she was still there was if I held her hand. Sometimes the pressure was tight, hard, like she was holding onto this world, and other times light and playful. When she held my hands tightly, I think she was fighting against her protective instinct to slide deep within herself.” He leaned forward and rested his cheeks on his balled fists. “I wanted at times to figuratively reach inside her soul, to free it, but I could not. Someone must, Frank, or she will be lost. We are so much alike, she and I, so apart from this world.” He wiped his eyes, now tearing. “I didn’t even have a name I could call her. Who has no name, Frank?”

 

“The Weight of Living” (2017) was awarded FIRST PLACE for Mysteries in the 2017 Royal Dragonfly Book Contest;

Named a NOTABLE 100 Book in the 2018 Shelf Unbound Indie Book Contest;

Named a DISTINGUISHED FAVORITE in the 2018 Independent Press Awards,

Named a DISTINGUISHED FAVORITE in the 2018 Big NYC Book Contest.

 

The Nagler books are available in ebook and paperback at:

https://www.amazon.com/Michael-Stephen-Daigle/e/B00P5WBOQC/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1548863995&sr=1-1

 

An anthology edition, containing  all three Nagler books and a bonus short story, “Who Shot the Smart Guy  at the Blackboard?”  is available in ebook, paperback and hardcover at:

https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=The+Frank+Nagler+Mysteries%3A+An+Anthology

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-nagler-mysteries-michael-stephen-daigle/1129938809?ean=9781944653125

An audio version of “The Swamps of Jersey” is available at: https://www.amazon.com/The-Swamps-of-Jersey/dp/B07BT8WHM3/ref=tmm_aud_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=

 

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 , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

5-Star review of ‘The Weight of Living’ : ‘A stunning and engrossing meditation on grief and survival’ (Thank you!)

Thanks to this reviewer for their reading of “The Weight of Living.”

Coming soon, “The Red Hand,” the prequel that tells you all you wanted to know about Frank Nagler and Ironton, N.J.

The review:

5 STARS. HOW DEEP DOES THE POISON GO?

January 26, 2019

“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 on 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 provided 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.”

“The Weight of Living” (2017) was awarded FIRST PLACE for Mysteries in the 2017 Royal Dragonfly Book Contest;

Named a NOTABLE 100 Book in the 2018 Shelf Unbound Indie Book Contest;

Named a DISTINGUISHED FAVORITE in the 2018 Independent Press Awards,

Named a DISTINGUISHED FAVORITE in the 2018 Big NYC Book Contest.

 

The Nagler books are available in ebook and paperback at:

https://www.amazon.com/Michael-Stephen-Daigle/e/B00P5WBOQC/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1548863995&sr=1-1

 

An anthology edition, containing  all three Nagler books and a bonus short story, “Who Shot the Smart Guy  at the Blackboard?”  is available in ebook, paperback and hardcover at:

https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=The+Frank+Nagler+Mysteries%3A+An+Anthology

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-nagler-mysteries-michael-stephen-daigle/1129938809?ean=9781944653125

An audio version of “The Swamps of Jersey” is available at: https://www.amazon.com/The-Swamps-of-Jersey/dp/B07BT8WHM3/ref=tmm_aud_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=

 

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

Nagler Book Four: ‘The Red Hand’ accepted for publishing

Among the favorite words an author likes to hear are: “I really liked your book.”

The other favorite words are: “Your book has been accepted for publication.”

So, I am pleased to announce that the fourth in the award-winning Frank Nagler Mystery series, “The Red Hand,” has been accepted for publication by Imzadi Publishing of Tulsa.

Thanks to Janice and Anita for their hard work to get to this point.

I mean, fours book in the series. I know there are authors who have written dozens of books, and good for them.

But I have written four (so far).

The Nagler mysteries take place in a purposely closed setting – Ironton, New Jersey – a town that has seen better days rife with dirty politics and the scourges of urban America.

The reluctant hero is all this is Detective  Frank Nagler, broken hearted, mildly depressed and yet, by the  third book, “The Weight of Living,”  confident enough to take on the most evil and despicable villain he had seen.

“The Red Hand,” is a prequel to the other three books, “The Swamps of Jersey,” “A Game Called Dead,” and “The Weight of Living.”

It is set 20 or so years before “Swamps,” and details the start of Nagler’s career as a detective and his marriage to the love of his life, Martha Shannon Nagler.

The story throws him into one of the most terrifying cases in the history of  Ironton —  the deaths of nine women – and for Nagler it is sink or swim.

I’ll post more about “The Red Hand,” as then yet-to-be determined publishing date draws closer.”

The Nagler books are available in ebook and paperback at:

https://www.amazon.com/Michael-Stephen-Daigle/e/B00P5WBOQC/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1548863995&sr=1-1

 

An anthology edition, containing  all three Nagler books and a bonus short story, “Who Shot the Smart Guy  at the Blackboard?”  is available in ebook, paperback and hardcover at:

https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=The+Frank+Nagler+Mysteries%3A+An+Anthology

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-nagler-mysteries-michael-stephen-daigle/1129938809?ean=9781944653125

An audio version of “The Swamps of Jersey” is available at: https://www.amazon.com/The-Swamps-of-Jersey/dp/B07BT8WHM3/ref=tmm_aud_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=

A quick sample from “The Red Hand”:

“Of course they were red, the hand prints. The color of blood, red; 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.

For Nagler, staring at the red mark on the hotel had been the door that had cracked open, exposing a dark and sinister place, but the call that a body had been found near the downtown train station was the moment that his new job became real.

He’d been a detective for a month following another round of police department layoffs. He had investigated a burglary or two, a potential arson that destroyed an empty house, and broken up a few husband-wife fights, but he felt was running just to keep up, slogging through the everyday stuff of what he didn’t know, what he couldn’t imagine, one hand outstretched to feel the fog.

And now, ready or not, he was learning the awful lessons of murder first hand.

“Where is she?” he asked a patrolman standing sentry at the dark edge of the train station.

“Half-way down,” the patrolman replied, his voice a drip in a tin can echo. He tipped his head to the left. “It’s bad, Detective. Just sayin’.”

“Thanks,” Nagler replied, trying to sound confident. How bad?

Dispatch had said she was carried or dragged to the train station.

Nagler winced.

And then, if there wasn’t enough for Nagler to absorb, Medical Examiner Walter Mulligan forcefully said this: “Someone is experimenting in death,” while leaning over the body of the latest victim.

That’s when Nagler felt the ground shift and a tiny hollow spot opened in his heart. We’re supposed to be dispassionate, professional, he reminded himself. Try as he might, that hole never closed.

He ran a shaky hand through his sweat-soaked hair and squinted into a golden haze of a rooftop spotlight across the railroad tracks from where the body was found, and then nodded to Mulligan, trying to appear that he knew what that meant. My first murder case, and it’s an experiment in death.

 

One is random, or an accident.

Two makes you wonder.

Three becomes heavy.

Four brings fear.

 

It is more than just a cloud that settled over this city. It is a cancer, a disease that we suck in with each breath. It flows through our lungs, stops behind our eyes so they darken with suspicion; then it settles in our veins, in our blood, replacing love with pain, leaving us with only the darkness. – Jimmy Dawson.”

 

 

 

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

New format for ‘The Frank Nagler Anthology’

I am glad to announce new formats for the Frank Nagler Anthology, a collection of the first three Frank Nagler Mysteries. Thanks for my publisher, Imzadi Publishing. 

It was first issued as a hardcover, but is now available on Amazon as a paperback and Kindle ebook.

Here are the link:

https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=The+Frank+Nagler+Mysteries%3A+An+Anthology

 

What’s in this anthology:

“The Swamps of Jersey,” (2014).

 

“Beautiful writing with a dark plot: murder and dirty politics in a down and out city in New Jersey. Detective Frank Nagler, native son of this city, is a worn down, gritty character with a deeply buried sensitive side.”

“Characters are immediately human, complex and draw the reader into the decaying city they call home. The author has a way with infusing the prose with metaphors and similes that bring a scene to life and work on several levels. If you enjoy literary mysteries with well-crafted plots, this book is for you.”

 

 “A Game Called Dead,” (2016) was named a Runner-Up in the Shelf Unbound 2016 Indie Book Contest.

 

“What a great story! Not the typical mystery since there were pretty obvious hints from the beginning. The characters were well developed and the book created an emotional connection too.”

 

“Set in the down-but-not-out city of Ironton, New Jersey, this rather hard-boiled cop story also examines the topics of violence on college campuses and nepotism within city departments. This is the second in the Frank Nagler series and shows the growth of the writer; it’s an enjoyable novel with a good ending.”

 

 “The Weight of Living” (2017) was awarded FIRST PLACE for Mysteries in the 2017 Royal Dragonfly Book Contest; was named a NOTABLE 100 Book in the 2018 Shelf Unbound Indie Book Contest; was named a DISTINGUISHED FAVORITE in the 2018 Independent Press Awards, and a DISTINGUISHED FAVORITE in the 2018 Big NYC Book Contest.

The fourth Nagler book, a prequel called “The Red Hand,” should be available in the Spring 2019.

 

“The Weight of Living didn’t disappoint. It presents a mystery that kept me guessing until the very end. The crime involves stones that many influential people would like to see unturned, stones that have kept secrets buried for generations. Despite grave opposition and at personal cost, Nagler, driven by his moral code, compassion, and commitment to help the helpless, keeps digging until his and his worthy cohorts have uncovered the truth.”

 

“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 …  (it’s through) this juxtaposition of the dark and light that the exquisite tension of the story builds.”

 

As a bonus, included is the fun, quirky short story, “Who Shot the Smart Guy at the Blackboard,” which a reviewer called, “One of the best short stories I’ve read.”

 

Posted in BooksNJ2017, Fiction, Greater Lehigh Valley Writer's Group, Hot in Hunterdon; Georjean Trinkle, Imzadi Publishing LLC, Michael Stephen Daigle, Mystery Writers of America, Sally Ember, www.michaelstephendaigle.com | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

‘The Weight of Living’ free for five days

Here’s a chance to jump into the award-winning Frank Nagler Mystery series.

For the next five days, Jan 10 to 14, the third  Frank Nagler Mystery, “The Weight of Living,” will be available as a free download on Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited at https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00P5WBOQC.

Thanks to my publisher, Imzadi Publishing, for the promotion.

Please download a copy, (IT’S FREE) and if you do, please leave a review. Each one helps. Thank you in advance.

 

“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 death of a young girl, and the multi-state crime enterprise of the shadow ringmaster, named “Tank” by Nagler.

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 Weight of Living” (2017) was awarded FIRST PLACE for Mysteries in the 2017 Royal Dragonfly Book Contest; was named a NOTABLE 100 Book in the 2018 Shelf Unbound Indie Book Contest; was named a DISTINGUISHED FAVORITE in the 2018 Independent Press Awards, and a DISTINGUISHED FAVORITE in the 2018 Big NYC Book Contest.

 

A reviewer noted the exquisite tension between good and evil. Character Del Williams says, “You see how deep the poison goes, how strong is the  wrong in what they doin’ and your soul cries out for justice and you just wanna bring ‘em down.”

 

Kirkus Review said: “Daigle has done an admirable job of portraying the evolutions of Frank (Nagler) and the hometown that he loves and protects. An involving thriller with a memorable protagonist.”

 

The Nagler books:

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

Nagler is called out on stormy night to investigate the report of a dead woman in the Old Iron Bog. It is the first 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 just before 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 Swamps of Jersey” is available as an audio book at:

https://www.amazon.com/The-Swamps-of-Jersey/dp/B07BT8WHM3/ref=tmm_aud_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=

and at iTunes.com.

The book was read and produced by Lee Alan, a 35-year professional voice actor, artist, writer, composer, producer and published author.

According to his website, he is a Peabody Award Nominee, winner of 14 Silver Microphone Awards and a former ABC Radio and Television performer, program executive.

His site: http://www.leealancreative.com/.

 

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, claimed by mystery man #ARMAGEDDON, 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.

“A Game Called Dead,” (2016) was named a Runner-Up in the Shelf Unbound 2016 Indie Book Contest.

 

 

 

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

Two interviews. Thanks

I’ve had the privilege of being interviewed on two blog sites in the  past week.

 

Thanks to Claire Jennison and Kris Wampler for including me.

Here’s the links:

 

https://penningandplanning.com/2019/01/04/authors-40-series-michael-daigle/

 

https://kriswampler.com/2018/12/29/michael-stephen-daigle/  

For more information visit: https://www.authorbookings.com/members/michael-daigle

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