Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read.” —Groucho Marx

Saturday, June 1, 2013

The Devil's Necktie by John Lansing/ PICT VBTour Showcase, review, author interview and giveaway!!!!

This morning please we have not only a book review, but also an interview with John Lansing, the author of The Devil's Necktie.  Please read and enjoy.

Book Details:

Genre: Crime/Thriller
Published by: Simon&Schuster
Publication Date: 12/31/12
Number of Pages: 295
ISBN: 1451698348
Note: Excessive strong language, Graphic violence, Explicit sexual scenes
Purchase Links: 

Retired Inspector Jack Bertolino had strict rules when dealing with confidential informants. But Mia had the kind of beauty that could make a grown man contemplate leaving his wife, his job, and his kids. After a passionate night together, Mia is found murdered, and Jack is the lead suspect. Facing threats from the LAPD, the 18th Street Angels, and a Columbian drug cartel, Jack delves deeper into the seedy world of drug dealers and Murderers. Jack is torn between fearing for his life and seeking revenge for his slain lover... either way the body count will rise.

Author Bio: 

John Lansing started his career as an actor in New York City. He spent a year at the Royale Theatre playing the lead in the Broadway production of "Grease." He then landed a co-starring role in George Lucas' "More American Graffiti," and guest starred on numerous television shows. During his fifteen year writing career, Lansing wrote and produced "Walker Texas Ranger," co-wrote two CBS Movies of the Week, and he also co-executive produced the ABC series "Scoundrels." John's first book was "Good Cop Bad Money," a true crime tome with former NYPD Inspector Glen Morisano. "The Devil's Necktie" is his first novel..

Catch Up With John:


Author Interview:

I just want to say a big thank you to Beth for sponsoring me on her blog.

1.      When did you know you were born to write? 

I didn’t grow up dreaming about being a writer. It wasn’t even on my short list. But now in hindsight I do think writing books was a natural evolution from my time working in Hollywood.


Writing my first script was actually a fluke. I had committed to directing a short film and when the screenwriter dropped out due to illness, I was forced to pick up the pen. I never looked back.

After an extensive acting career, I switched gears and moved from working in front of the camera to behind, and started writing for television. I moved from interpreting characters to creating characters and it opened up a whole new world for me.
2.      Who influenced you in becoming the author you are today?

I am a voracious reader. I’m never without a book or a kindle in hand. My favorite books were always in the crime/thriller genre. It was an arena that attracted me to books in the first place and had a profound influence on my work.

I’ll read anything and everything by Michael Connelly, Ian Rankin, Walter Mosley, Robert Crais, John Sandford and James Lee Burke. And that’s my short list.

I’ve always been drawn to flawed characters that were interested in reinventing themselves. Maybe because I’m flawed myself and had such a varied career.

I wanted to write about a detective who was standing at the crossroads, recovering from a nasty divorce, retiring from the NYPD, leaving Staten Island, and moving west to find some peace in his life.

It just didn’t work out the way he planned. Twenty-five years of taking down drug dealers, money launderers and killers came back to haunt him, and shook up his newfound state of calm in Marina del Rey, California.

3.      How did you conceive the idea for “The Devil’s Necktie?”

I started out with one very simple premise. “One night of passion for retired Inspector Jack Bertolino threw him on a deadly collision course with is past.”

I loved the relationship between a cop and his Confidential Informant. I knew something terrible was going to happen to his ex-CI, and recent lover, Mia. This beautiful woman was going to die in a horrific way, and Jack Bertolino was going to be accused of her murder.

Mia’s death was retribution for work she had done with Jack Bertolino infiltrating a Colombian drug cartel. They had inflicted some serious pain on the organization and put some major drugs on the table. During my research I learned that when a cartel discovered a snitch in their midst, they often killed that informant using a technique called a “Colombian Necktie”. It was also called a “Devil’s Necktie.”

I thought that name was so evocative it became the title for my book, and I was off and running.

4.      What advice would you share with a would-be writer?

Walter Mosley wrote a short book entitled, “This Year You Write Your Novel.” I have read the book at least five times.

Write every day, he advises. A book won’t magically appear if you don’t put in the time. But if you do, everyday, carve out some time to write, the work will improve and come to fruition. Make writing a habit. It might be the only habit you have that will enrich your life.

5.      Do you write with background noise or silence?

I write with background noise. A moment ago, while I was writing this, I heard an echoing noise that sounded like a building was being torn down. It was a FedEx sponsored NASCAR dragster that pulled into the lot next door to my building for a photo shoot. I loved the visual and it didn’t impact my work at all.

Working in television, if you were on staff, and writing the series from a production office, there were always distractions. Phones ringing, people poking their heads in, lunches ordered, pitch meetings. You had to stay light on your feet.

Now, I do demand a clean desk. No clutter except my Post-its, yellow pads, and pens on my writing area. But noise can be a happy distraction.

6.      Now for fun:

Salty or Sweet?  : Salty.

Favorite drink?   : Eighteen-year-old Macallan.

Cookies, pie or cake?  :  Cake.

Happy endings, surprise endings, or cliffhangers? : Surprise endings.

What is the ultimate goal with your writing?  : To entertain.

Thank you John for joining us today.   With this reader, rest assured you have successfully met your goal!!


Jack Bertolino stood on the balcony of his loft in Marina del Rey, tending a dry-aged New York steak on his prized possession, a top-of-the-line Weber gas grill. He didn't miss winter, not one little bit. Here he was manning the barbecue in his new uniform, a black T-shirt and jeans, while his cousins were chasing heart attacks shoveling snow off their Staten Island driveways. That image never ceased to put a smile on his face. That and the salty ocean breeze that floated in over the marina.
Jack nursed a glass of cabernet and watched the long line of bright white FedEx trucks return home from their final deliveries and park in neat rows in the lot next to his building. It sure beat the sight of patrol cars jammed onto the sidewalk in front of a precinct house.
Early evening was Jack’s favorite time of day. The sun was just starting to paint the clouds a muted orange. From his fourth-floor vantage point, Jack could see a string of jumbo jets in the distance, silently making their final approach to LAX. Stacked eight planes deep, their slim silver bodies glinted in the setting sun. For the first time in Jack Bertolino’s life, he felt at ease. 
His cell phone chirped, snapping him out of his reverie. He tossed some Japanese eggplant onto the grill, closed the lid, and checked his cell phone screen for the name of the caller.
“How’s my Italian stallion?”
“Mia . . . ,” he said instantly, his tone neutral, giving away nothing. “All the planets are aligned, Jack. It’s time for you to man up and make an honest woman out of me.”
Jack couldn’t help but smile. Mia’s throaty voice and light Colombian accent had the power to make a grown man weep. More important, it could make a bad man give up his secrets. He hadn't really been surprised when he received her text. He knew it was only a matter of time. Payback’s a bitch.
“What can I do for you, Mia?”
“It’s what I can do for you, papi. My lips . . . they’re still magic.”
“I love it when you talk dirty.”
“Only for love or money.”
Although Jack was enjoying the back and forth, he was no longer in the business. “Why are you calling, Mia?”
Mia dropped her act as well. “We need to talk.”
“It’s not a good time,” Jack said as he opened the lid of the grill and pressed his fork against the steak, checking for doneness.
“Face-to-face, Jack.”
“I’m not in New York.”
“That’s why I’m in Los Angeles.”
Jack didn’t reply right away. He did a quick analysis of how Mia could know he was living in L.A., what kind of trouble she might be in, what kind of blowback he was going to suffer just from having this conversation. He came to the instantaneous conclusion that however this new wrinkle in his life played out, it would definitely have an impact on his newly found state of bliss.
Mia answered some of his unspoken questions. “I’m still connected, Jack, and you’re still on the radar screen. There are certain people—who will remain nameless, because I’m not on your payroll anymore—who are not convinced you’re out of the game.”
“I’m happily retired,” Jack fired back, wondering if his response sounded forced, wondering why he cared.
“And happily divorced?”
Jack didn’t respond. His private life was none of Mia’s business. He had strict rules when dealing with confidential informants, a line in the But Mia had the kind of beauty that could make a man contemplate leaving his wife, his job, and his kids. Jack had never taken the bait, but had to admit he’d been tempted.
Mia was one of the best CIs in the business, and she and Jack had done groundbreaking work together. 
With the help of Mia and DEA agent Kenny Ortega, Jack and the team of NYPD narco-rangers he headed up had put away a heavy hitter in the cocaine trade. Manuel Alvarez was the head of a Colombian drug cell that had been importing a thousand keys of coke into Florida on a weekly basis, and the poison was dripping into New York City. Jack and his group had put away a major cartel scumbag, and Mia had gotten rich. The feds had a financial equation in place when dealing with CIs. The greater the quantity of drugs an informant was responsible for delivering, the more money it was worth to the United States government. They were happy to give to get. Mia did very well for herself at great personal risk. Informants had a short shelf life. Once a major domo got busted, the cartels worked very hard to discover where the “sickness” had come from. If your name ended up on the short list, you turned up dead. 
Jack had made a promise to Mia that if things ever got too hot to handle, he would do whatever he could to help her out of the jam.
Mia was turning in her chit. “Meet with me in an hour, after I get settled in.”
“I’m about to have dinner, Mia.”
“Vista Haven Road, 3468. You owe me, Jack.”
“It was a two-way street,” he reminded her.
“And I don’t want it turning into a dead end.”
Jack was about to protest, but she clicked off. He turned back to his grill, but now he was unsettled. Mia had always been a cool customer, but there was an edge of panic in her voice. Jack let out an irritated groan. He shut off the grill with a hard snap. He wouldn’t be able to eat anyway until he found out what the hell was wrong.

My Review:

 Although The Devil's Necktie is described above as a crime thriller, I think action-adventure should also be listed as part of the description.   I was given a copy of this book by the author's representatives in exchange for an honest review.  I was not disappointed with my read.   The book is very well thought out and holds the reader's attention seamlessly and again, I found it hard to tear myself away from the action and the characters.

Jack Bertolino is a retired cop and wants to live a quiet retired life in sunny California...the land of sunshine and dreams.    However in  retrospect, he has made many the enemy during his lifetime of public service and they are not about to let him rest.   Jack is well defined, hard nosed and stubborn and relies very much on his cop instincts.  A lot of his hunches and gut feelings are in hindsight and it seems he is always a step behind the evil that infuses itself in his retirement.  The action begins in chapter one and continues through to the end of the book, affecting not only Jack, but the people he loves and those he works with.  It seemed to me, Jack was always putting himself in harm's way; he certainly didn't fear the brutality of the bad guys.   I've said it before and I will say it again, I'm glad I am not a cop and I am thankful for those who can provide this kind of service to the public and not dishonor their shield!!

John Lansing's writing was easy to read, fast paced and very gripping.   I very much enjoyed the novel and rate it a 5 WINK read!   Thank you John!

John is offering a free ebook to a lucky winner on this blog.   Please fill in the Rafflecopter entry below for a chance to win the ebook!    Good Luck to all! 


a Rafflecopter giveaway

John is also providing a kindle during this tour.   Please follow the linky below  for an opportunity to win the Kindle.  Just go to this page, enter this rafflecopter code & you're in!


Every eBook received for review on the tours for Partners In Crime are given in exchange for an honest review. The eBooks are sole property (copyrighted) of the author and should not be sold, distributed to, or exchanged among other people not part of the tours, nor should they be listed on file sharing sites. Failure to comply with this disclaimer, will result in removal from all future tours.


CMash said...

Loved this post! Fantastic job. Truly enjoyed the interview and the review was superb. Thank you for sharing!

Unknown said...

What a wonderful way to start my blog tour. Thank you, Beth, for the probing questions and very thoughtful review. All the best, John

Marjorie/cenya2 said...

Maybe only about 3 lately.