Friday, July 13, 2018

"The Palm Reader" by Christopher Bowron

The Palm Reader
(A Jackson Walker Thriller Book 2)
by Christopher Bowron

The Palm Reader (A Jackson Walker Thriller Book 2) by Christopher Bowron

The Palm Reader is the second book in the Jackson Walker Thriller series. Author Christopher Bowron stops by today for an interview and to share an excerpt from the book. You can also read my review and enter the giveaway. Also available: Devil in the Grass (read my blog post).

Devil in the Grass by Christopher Bowron

Jackson Walker once again faces his demons in this haunting sequel to Devil in the Grass. Now working as an investigative lawyer for Peter Robertson, Jack teams with Janie Callaghan to solve the disappearance of a sleazy client specializing in taboo pornography. Meanwhile, the evil head of the Church of Satan weaves an intricate web to lure Walker as the sacrificial lamb in an Everglades Black Mass ritual.

Chapter One
A TALL, MUSCLE-BOUND POLICE officer ushered Jackson Walker reluctantly away from his grandfather by putting a forceful hand on the back of his head, the other on one of his bound arms. The McFadden property, now overrun by cops, news crews and forensic teams, no longer seemed creepy. Lit-up, it looked ready for a film shoot—not the house of horrors it had been an hour back, shrouded in darkness with the smell of the Everglades and death all-pervading.  The carnage strewn across the estate would be picked apart, piece by piece, every inch scoured for incriminating evidence until its dark secrets were revealed to all who might have the stomach and desire to know them.
Jack, with the help of his Seminole cousins and a law clerk named Janie Callaghan, heroically brought down the Church of Set, a satanic cult based in Southwest Florida. Its evil leader, Henrietta LePley, along with her henchmen, the McFadden brothers, Eric, Isaac and Jimmy, all found their lives at an end earlier in the evening, and deservedly so. They were evil, hearts rotten to the core, especially the McFaddens, who were killers of a serial nature.
Though Walker would most likely be cleared of the alleged killings of two elderly people a week back in Clewiston, he would first need to be detained. The burly officer ushered him into a police van; the reinforced double-back door slammed shut with a loud clang before the locking mechanism engaged. Sitting across from Jack, to his utter shock, was Mason Matye, a high-ranking leader within the American branch of the Church of Satan. The cops surely made a mistake placing the two in the same vehicle. Matye, like Jack, was one of the few survivors of the haunting events of that evening. Jack felt slightly better seeing the Satanist’s hands were similarly bound with plastic flex cuffs. Their eyes met in the dark van.
“Jackson Walker,” said the man in his thick, Parisian French accent. His coal-black eyes were like lasers searing into the back of Jack’s skull and drying his throat. A wry smile formed on the man’s lips. “You have proven very resourceful.” His eyes were unrelenting. “You made a deal with the Devil, Mr. Walker, about a week back. I know you remember.”
Jack laid into him. “The Devil? Stop with the crap, you satanic fuck. I made no such deal with any Devil: Satan, or Set, or whatever name you want to call him!”
Mason only smiled, the way any Satanist would, his eyes narrowing and his mouth forming a taut smile. “Ah. Perhaps you thought you made a deal with Henrietta. We both serve a higher being—as agents, you might say, Mr. Walker. I hope you will not make the same mistake twice. It’s time to pay up, one way or another. You see, the beauty of being a Devil worshiper . . . it’s expected of you to be dastardly. I take great pleasure in it.” His eyes narrowed as he whispered through pursed lips, “We know where your family lives. We will watch your every move, be it as a free man, or in a prison cell. This isn’t finished.”
Jack studied the man, his eyes not leaving Mason. “Don’t tell me,” Jack said sarcastically, “the Church of Satan has connections within the state prison system?”
“Each and every state, Mr. Walker. Your incarceration will be a perfect hell. If you are lucky enough to make it there.” He lifted his foot to his cuffed wrists, resting it on the detention van’s bench seat. He deftly pulled out a thin blade hidden in the heel of his shoe. With his fingertips he ran the steel edge across the plastic tie and, gritting his teeth, began to cut through the plastic.
Jack couldn’t believe this was happening after all he’d been through that day. “Fucker!” He hurled himself at the vile little Frenchman, catching him in the chin with his shoulder. The force of the blow drove Mason’s head into the wall of the van. The blade clattered to the floor. Both men ended up face to face on their sides trying to capture the blade.
Mason spit at Jack, covering his face with blood and saliva. “Merde! You will die, Walker. Count on it!”
Jack did his best to head-butt the man but didn’t have the leverage with his hands tied, so the effort ended in more of a head rub than a useful smack. Mason scrambled to grab the knife. Jack pushed himself up against the bench and tried to regain his footing. Mason pulled his feet back to his hands and, with a couple of frantic pulls, cut his bonds.
Jack, having only freed his feet, hauled back and kicked Mason’s throat. There was a sickening crack and Jack hoped something gave way. Mason made a horrible gurgle, like a clogged drain being emptied. Jack kicked him again, this time in the face. He felt the man’s nose snap.
Clank. The back doors to the van opened abruptly. Two armed officers jumped into the back, grabbing both of them.
Jack yelled, “The fucker’s got a knife!”
One officer grabbed Jack by the hair, expertly herding him out of the van. Within seconds, and with the aid of a fellow officer, he found himself in the back of the police cruiser. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Matye receiving similar treatment. After that, the night became a blur.
[Want more? Click below to read a longer excerpt.]

Praise for the Book
“… fantastic characters and a truly spellbinding plot - the best book in its genre I have ever read.” ~ Susan Keefe,
“A gripping thriller, which excels in unusual twists and turns, explorations of family heritage and truths, and one man’s ongoing journey as he explores new connections and threats to his life.” ~ Diane Donovan, Midwest Book Review
“Jackson Walker is back in this thrilling, fast-paced sequel to Best Seller - Devil in the Grass ... An edgy, action-packed thriller!" ~ Raymond Khoury, New York Times Best-Selling Author of The Last Templar
“A real delight for the imaginary senses. This is the best book in its genre that I have ever read.” ~ Chick Lit Cafe
“Wow! I absolutely loved this book. Even better than the first, the best-selling Devil in the Grass - could not put it down.” ~ Maxine (Booklover Catlady) - Top Amazon Reviewer
“The setting for Christopher Bowron's The Palm Reader isn't the Florida of blue hair and walkers and early-bird specials and family theme parks - seedy and gritty, The Palm Reader will keep you turning pages long past the time those household chores have grown tired of calling your name.” ~ David Patneaude, author of Fast Backward and other best-selling novels
“A Florida noir in the vein of Randy Wayne White - with a tight plot, well-drawn primary and secondary characters, and a climax most readers won't see coming, The Palm Reader is a most satisfying summer read. One can only hope that the Jackson Walker series continues.” ~ Betsy Ashton, author of Unintended Consequences and Uncharted Territory, Mad Max Mysteries, Eyes Without A Face

My Review
I received this book in return for an honest review.

By Lynda Dickson
The book begins where the previous book finished, but the author provides a summary of events, so it’s not necessary to have read the first book (although, if I were you, I would). The action quickly moves on to five years later, when Jack is now a lawyer working with investigator Janie Callaghan. He’s hired to defend a suspected pedophile, who they believe has been set up by Russian mobsters. Meanwhile, Mason Matye, a high-ranking leader within the American branch of the Church of Satan, is in jail but is looking to escape and exact his revenge on Jack and his whole family. Lolita, a psychic and palm reader, has a premonition that either she or Jack will die, but he doesn’t believe in the paranormal “hocus pocus”, even though his Gramps believes Jack has psychic abilities of his own. With both an old enemy and a new enemy out to get Jack, will the palm reader be able to save him?
As in the previous book, the story is told from multiple points of view, giving us an insight into each character’s motivations. The viewpoints change more and more quickly between characters as the story picks up its pace and approaches its climax. This is certainly an action-packed story. You never know what is going to happen next, no one is safe, and there is a twist about half-way through that I never saw coming.
Not for the faint-hearted.
Warnings: coarse language, sexual references, graphic violence, sex scenes.

Interview with the Author
Christopher Bowron joins me today to discuss his new book, The Palm Reader.
Hello Lynda
For what age group do you recommend your book?
The Palm Reader is not for the faint of heart. It is an adult book. There is some violence and sexy parts. The target age would be late teens and up.
What sparked the idea for this book?
The Palm Reader is the second book in a series. It follows Devil in the Grass, which was a best seller. Devil in the Grass contained a cliff-hanger at the end which led me right into The Palm Reader. In the beginning, both books were “sparked” by my love of South Florida, where I have spent a lot of time since childhood. Driving through the Everglades one day I came up with the idea of a family of psychopaths who use the Everglades to dispose of dead bodies. There is a lot of empty space - literally millions of acres.
So, which comes first? The character's story or the idea for the novel?
Devil in the Grass was more about the idea for the novel. The Palm Reader is more about the main character - Jackson Walker. He has to come to terms with his past - a failed pro athlete - and his ancestry - being a Seminole Indian. His grandfather is a Shaman and Jack has received some of his blood and along with it, his gift of talking with the spirits. Jack doesn’t like this idea. It’s also about a medium (the palm reader) named Lolita, who tries to save Jack from a vision she’s had about him. She has sensed his apathy and his unwillingness to accept his talents.
What was the hardest part to write in this book?
I will be honest, it virtually wrote itself. I guess, the difficult part was creating a sequel, which could be read as a stand-alone. You don’t need to have read Devil in the Grass to get this book. There is some recounting of information, but not too much.
How do you hope this book affects its readers?
Tough question … I hope that they get a feel for Southwest Florida. A continuing theme is about Florida nature and how it is being affected by man. I also hope that people get a feel for and like my writing style, which is very straightforward. I hope that readers jump in and forget about everything else for a few hours.
How long did it take you to write this book?
Roughly three months. I literally started cruising and didn’t stop. The only reason I’m saying this is because Devil in the Grass took me nearly two years. I think that it is noticeable how the different plotlines mesh very seamlessly, as I didn’t need to think back too far to remember anything. I would say that the writing is better because of it.
What is your writing routine?
If I feel inspired, I write for short times at night. I try for 300 words or so then stop. The real writing is usually early in the morning, where I can rattle off a few thousand words. I move all over the house. I’ve written at every table and chair we own. I also like to write on my balcony at night in Florida, looking out at the moon shimmering off the Gulf of Mexico. Perhaps … a glass of wine is often needed.
Sounds idyllic. How did you get your book published?
I was lucky enough to have contacted a Literary Agent who did the first book deal with Koehler Books. I have a new agent - Mary Ellen Gavin from Gavin Literary. She is helping me with a couple of other books, which have been written. They too are very exciting. I did the deal for The Palm Reader with Koehler Books myself, as we already had a standing relationship. I must say, Koehler are a pleasure to deal with. Their editing and cover work is exceptional, and they are nice people.
What advice do you have for someone who would like to become a published writer?
Hmmm. Finish what you start. 300 words a day, which is easy, will give you a book in less than a year.
No matter how much you pay, get an editor. Mary Ellen, my agent, is an editor and she has been invaluable on the last three books. Nothing ruins a book quicker than bad editing or lack thereof.
There is the debate about whether to self-publish or be published traditionally. I would stick it out and try to get published. If you polish your work well enough, you will get found. Being published gives you much more credibility. There are a lot of authors out there who go to self-publishing after they have been traditionally published, and their fan base is intact. This is something I may decide to do at some time.
Last, it is all about conflict. Whether it’s a love story or a thriller, every page needs to have some degree of conflict, otherwise it’s boring. People need to be taken away from their mundane lives.
What do you like to do when you're not writing?
I’m happily married and have two young adult children, who keep us busy.
I love to saltwater fish, everything from a 15-inch sea trout to a 12-foot hammerhead shark. I’m a sports fanatic. I played semi-pro hockey in my twenties. I still play. I love golf, working out - anything competitive.
I’m also a Real Estate Broker and own my own company in Southern Ontario.
Country music.
What does your family think of your writing?
After they read my first book, they think I’m crazy. Besides that, they are very supportive. I keep telling them that one day I’m going to be famous. They give me funny little looks. Maybe I am crazy.
Did you like reading when you were a child?
Yep, I was a voracious reader when I was younger - at least a book a week. Not so much now, as writing takes up a lot of my time. I read The Lord of the Rings when I was 7-8 years old. I still love Tolkien - he was a story-teller extraordinaire. After reading those books I wanted to do the same. I started to write little short tales. I gave that up after a time, but it was stuck in me. I like to think that above all, I am a good storyteller.
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
Always. I knew that I would do it one day. I was a History major at University, which required a lot of writing, and I was very good at it and had exceptional marks because of it. I think the logic behind essay writing carried forward into novel writing. Everything needs to make sense. There has to be some logic to a novel, or you will lose your reader.
I tried writing a few books back then, but they never saw completion. I struggled to finish Devil in the Grass, but afterwards thought, “That wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be.” It really isn’t if you can write and have a good imagination.
I just finished a true-life adventure story. I found nonfiction to be tough. Lots of interviews and I wasn’t allowed to get off track. I prefer fiction.
Did your childhood experiences influence your writing?
I think so. I was always a dreamer and a thinker. My wife probably hates that the most about me. I can get “disengaged” as she calls it. Really, I’m just thinking about interesting things - ideas for my books, etc. - or just interesting stuff.
I loved to explore as a kid. I could go off for hours walking along a creek bed. We had a cottage in northern Ontario. My parents wouldn’t see me all day.
I was a pretty quiet kid. I liked to watch people and how they interact with each other. Maybe this has carried over into my writing and why I’m also a very good salesman.
Which writers have influenced you the most?
As I already stated, J. R. R.  Tolkien was an influence. I really like Anne Rice. She has a way of making the Paranormal very believable. I think I’ve stolen from her a lot. I like Stephen R. Donaldson and his White Gold series. Some say that I write a lot like Greg Illes with a touch of Stephen King, but this wasn’t by design.
Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?
Mostly from people in my hometown. It has made me into a quasi-celebrity. Also in Fort Myers Beach, where we have a second home. I was out for dinner last night and our dinner guests marveled at how many people came up to me and asked me about my writing and how much they enjoyed my first book.
I don’t get a lot of fan mail, though my blog is getting a lot of traction lately.
What can we look forward to from you in the future?
As I mentioned, I have written two more books, which are being shopped around New York as we speak. One is a true-to-life rescue story about three men who went fishing in the Gulf of Mexico and their boat sunk quickly. They were not able to get out a mayday and had to survive three days floating, deathly afraid of the sharks. There was also a minor hurricane, which blew through. There is a touch of faith in it. The back end of the story is how their wives didn’t give up and spearheaded the rescue. It’s called: Waiting for Morning Time.
The second, which I just loved (but can’t sell yet) is called The Body Thieves. It’s about a military surgeon who goes undercover to try and crack the connection between a big US medical conglomerate and its source of contraband human organs in Central America.
I’m a way into the third book in this series and it’s called The Sawgrass Savannah.
Lastly, though I said I don’t like nonfiction. I’ve been contacted by a man who was a chef for the Queen Mother - after escaping communism. He then emigrated to the US and was a chef for four different presidents. I don’t think I can turn down this story.
No, that sounds really interesting. Thanks for taking the time to stop by today, Chris. Best of luck with your future projects.

About the Author
Christopher Bowron
Christopher Bowron’s roots stretch back four generations in historic Niagara-on-the-Lake, voted the prettiest town in Canada. Christopher is the owner of a successful Real Estate Brokerage, Niagara-on-the-Lake Realty. He has a bachelor of arts from Brock University and is a lover of fine wine, sport. Christopher has a second residence in southwest Florida where he has spent a good part of his life since childhood. Southwest Florida is the backdrop for his first novel, Devil in the Grass, a number one bestseller, published by K√∂ehler Books in March 2016.
Christopher has just finished the sequel to Devil in the Grass, a thriller called The Palm Reader. Jackson Walker returns to find himself in another paranormal mix up as he is now working for Peter Robertson, where he attempts to find a client mixed up in a taboo porn ring, at the same time, Walker is stalked by Mason Matye, head of the Church of Satan. The Palm Reader was published by Koehler Books in June 2018.
Christopher has also just finished a nonfiction book, Waiting for Morning Time, about three men whose boat sank during a fishing expedition in the Gulf of Mexico. They spent 48 hours floating in shark-infested waters off the coast of Venice Florida. His Lit Agent, Mary Ellen Gavin, is currently shopping this title.

Enter the Goodreads giveaway for a chance to win one of two print copies of The Palm Reader by Christopher Bowron (US only; ends 17 July).