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Please Welcome Author BRAD PARKS!

Please welcome BRAD PARKS to our Month of Suspense & Thrillers!

 

 

 

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Re: Please Welcome Author BRAD PARKS!

Here's a peek at Brad's most recent newsletter:

 


 

It's a strange day at the offices of BradParksBooks.com, with the interns sitting in stony silence, unsure of what to say now that our usual topic of conversation has been placed out of bounds.

 

It started when Brad, who has been nominated for the prestigious Nero Award, announced that he was celebrating the honor by declaring it No Making Fun of Brad Day.

 

He began the "festivities" by lining up the interns, handing us a small strip of paper, and making us repeat the phrase written on it.

 

"Say it," he said to Sarah, the smart intern.

 

"Brad has been nominated for the Nero Award," Sarah said. "So I can't make fun of him for one day."

 

"Say it," he said, continuing down the line until he got to the newest member of the BradParksBooks.com crew: Maggie, the clueless intern, who naturally had a question.

 

"But, wait, aren't you supposed to be the boss around here?" she said.

 

Brad nodded.

 

"So why do they always make fun of you?" she asked.

 

"What are you talking about," said Zach, the silly intern. "Haven't you seen his..."

 

Brad pointed quickly and said something that sounded like "Zzzpp!"

 

"Never mind," Zach said. "I'll tell you tomorrow."

 

Yes, Maggie still has a lot to learn.

 

As for today, the interns have been on our best behavior. And, in truth, we're quite happy about Brad's Nero Awardnomination, mostly because the only award we ever thought he'd win was (NOTE: THE END OF THIS SENTENCE HAS BEEN CENSORED IN OBSERVANCE OF NO MAKING FUN OF BRAD DAY).

 

We promise that in the next issue of The Scoop, we'll be back to normal.

 

We'll also have some big news regarding EYES OF THE INNOCENT, the next installment in the Carter Ross series—and perhaps even a glimpse at the cover.

 

Faces of the Gone

 

In the meantime, Brad has added several new events to his

touring schedule:

 


 

Thursday, September 16, 5:30 p.m.
Carrot Tree Restaurant
Murder Mystery Dinner Program—RSVP required!
Yorktown, VA

 

Tuesday, October 5, 7 p.m.
Barnes & Noble
Meeting with Mystery Club
Broomall, PA

 

In addition, Brad is making a virtual appearance on August 11at the Barnes & Noble Mystery Book Club Forum as part of their Month of Suspense & Thrillers. Put it on your calendar to come heckle him.

 

After all, No Making Fun of Brad Day only lasts 24 hours.

 

Somberly,

The Interns at BradParksBooks.com

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Faces of the Gone 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis

 

Four bodies, each with a single bullet wound in the back of the head, stacked like cordwood in a weed-choked vacant lot: That’s the front-page news facing Carter Ross, investigative reporter with the Newark Eagle-Examiner. Immediately dispatched to the scene, Carter learns that the four victims—an exotic dancer, a drug dealer, a hustler, and a mama’s boy—came from different parts of the city and didn’t seem to know one another. 

The police, eager to calm jittery residents, leak a theory that the murders are revenge for a bar stickup, and Carter’s paper, hungry for a scoop, hastily prints it. Carter doesn’t come from the streets, but he understands a thing or two about Newark’s neighborhoods. And he knows there are no quick answers when dealing with a crime like this. 

Determined to uncover the true story, he enlists the aide of Tina Thompson, the paper’s smoking-hot city editor, to run interference at the office; Tommy Hernandez, the paper’s gay Cuban intern, to help him with legwork on the streets; and Tynesha Dales, a local stripper, to take him to Newark’s underside. It turns out that the four victims have one connection after all, and this knowledge will put Carter on the path of one very ambitious killer.

Treading the same literary turf as Harlan Coben, and writing with a fresh Jersey voice, Brad Parks makes an energetic, impressive debut.

Publishers Weekly

Parks's entertaining debut introduces an appealing hero, 31-year-old investigative reporter Carter Ross of the Newark (N.J.) Eagle-Examiner. When the bodies of four men, “each with a single bullet wound in the back of the head,” turn up in a vacant lot, Ross doesn't buy the police theory that the quadruple homicide was the result of a bar robbery gone bad. Despite his white upper-class background, Ross works the streets well, if not fearlessly, in his search for a link among the victims. Parks ratchets up the tension by occasionally interjecting the viewpoint of “the Director,” who orchestrated the slayings. Colorful supporting characters plus Ross's grit and determination keep the story moving at a good clip. Parks, a former print journalist himself, knows his way around a newsroom as the laments for the newspaper industry and the digs at TV reporters attest. Readers are likely to figure out the shadowy Director's identity before the intrepid reporter, but this is a quibble. (Dec.)

More Reviews and Recommendations

Biography

BRAD PARKS is an escaped journalist, having done time at The Washington Postand The (Newark, N.J.) Star-Ledger as a sportswriter and news feature writer. A Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Dartmouth College, he is a washed-up jock, a veteran of community theater and an experienced (and enthusiastic) public speaker. He lives in Virginia with an understanding wife and two adorable young children.

 

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Re: Please Welcome Author BRAD PARKS!


FACES OF THE GONE
A Carter Ross Mystery 

Nominated for the Nero Award! 

 

Faces of the Gone

 

A shooting can rattle a city, even if it's gun-choked Newark. Investigative reporter Carter Ross finds himself with gruesome front-page news: four bodies in a vacant lot, each with a single bullet hole in the back of the head. Soon, Carter learns the four victims have one connection, and this knowledge puts him in the path of one very ambitious killer... 

Read more about the book 

Read an excerpt 

Read about FACES OF THE GONE in The New York Times! 

ORDER THE BOOK from IndieboundAmazon, or Borders 

Come see Brad! 

 Want a signed, personalized copy of the book? Click here

Facebook  Twitter  GoodReads

 

 

 

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Bookname

 

 

Bio (Brief Version) 

Brad Parks' first novel, Faces of the Gone, landed on several prominent critics' lists as being among the top mystery debuts of 2009. It has been shortlisted for a Nero Award and was lauded by Library Journal as "the most hilariously funny and deadly serious mystery debut since Janet Evanovich's ONE FOR THE MONEY." Yahoo.com called Brad "the literary love child of (Janet) Evanovich and (Harlan) Coben." The Dartmouth College graduate spent a dozen years as a reporter for The Washington Post and The Newark Star-Ledger and is now a full-time novelist. He lives with his wife and two small children in Virginia, where is working on the next Carter Ross novels, scheduled for publication in 2011 and 2012.

 

Bio (Slightly Verbose Version) 

Brad Parks started writing professionally at 14, when he discovered two important things about his hometown newspaper, The Ridgefield (Conn.) Press: One, it paid freelancers 50 cents a column inch for articles about local high school sports; and, two, it ran most submissions at their original length. For Brad, that meant he could make more money writing than babysitting. For the parents of the girls' basketball players at Ridgefield High, that meant glowing accounts of their daughters' games that ran on for no less than 40 inches. 

This launched Brad on a 20-year journalism career, one that continued at Dartmouth College—where he founded a weekly sports newspaper—and included stops at The Washington Post and The (Newark, N.J.) Star-Ledger. A sportswriter who later switched to news, he covered everything from the Super Bowl to the Masters, from small-town pizza wars to Hurricane Katrina. 

His work was recognized by, among others, the Associated Press Sports Editors, the National Headliner Awards, the National Association of Black Journalists and the New Jersey Press Association, which gave its top award for enterprise reporting to Brad's 40-year retrospective on the Newark riots. He also covered a quadruple homicide in Newark, which provided the real-life launching point for the fictional manuscript now known as Faces of the Gone

Brad left the newspaper industry in 2008 to become a full-time author/stay-at-home Dad to two young children. He and his wife, Melissa, now live in Virginia, where he is currently working on the next of what he hopes will be many Carter Ross Mysteries.

 

 


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Author Q & A 

You and your main character, Carter Ross, seem to have a lot in common. Do you think of him as an alter ego?

A: Not really. There are similarities in our backgrounds. We both had advantages in our upbringing that the people we write about didn't get. We both have a certain yearning for truth-telling that drives a lot of journalists. And we're both stiff white guys who prefer pleated pants. But Carter is pure fiction. His life as a newspaper reporter is far more interesting than mine ever was. And he's a lot better looking.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 

Why do you write?

A: I love telling stories. I believe the desire to tell—and hear—stories is what makes us human. Once upon a time, naturalists thought human beings were unique for all kinds of reasons. We were supposedly the only animals capable of emotion, speech, rational thought, the Macarena—you name it. As we've come to understand our world better, we've discovered our species is actually not that unusual. Dolphins, for example, can be trained to dance the Macarena. But it turns out there's one thing that separates us from the beasts: We are the only species capable of assembling our experiences into narrative form and relating them to other members of our tribe.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 

Do you like writing?

A: I'll steal a line from one of the all-time great Jersey Girls, Dorothy Parker: "I hate writing. I love having written."
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 

How do you plot your novels?

A: I know where my story begins—with a newspaper article about a crime—and I know my characters. But I have absolutely no idea how Carter is going to find the bad guy or how things are going to resolve themselves. I let the characters figure that out as the story moves forward. If you're one of those super-readers who has everything figured out by page 50? Congratulations. You're a lot smarter than I am. Because I can guarantee you when I was writing page 50, I didn't have a clue what was going to happen next.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 

What writers do you read? Who has inspired you?

A: If I were stuck on a desert island with just one writer's work to entertain me for the rest of my days, I'd have to go with John D. MacDonald. His ability to create character and sense of place is on loan from the gods. Among contemporaries, my favorites are a pair of Jersey authors: Harlan Coben, who is not only a fabulous writer but an all-around good guy; and Mary Higgins Clark, who is now in her 80's but is still as good at building suspense as anyone in the business. They're also great role models for aspiring writers, because they paid their dues before they made it to the bestseller list. Harlan toiled in quasi-anonymity for years, banging out one great book after another until he finally got noticed. Mary raised five kids as a single mother but still found the energy to get up at 4 a.m. each day to write at the kitchen table before she went off to work.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 

What's your writing process?

A: I drink a lot of diet soda. Otherwise, I will invoke the second forward in "On Writing," Stephen King's memoir, which nicely explicates my thoughts on this matter. "This is a short book," he begins, "because most books about writing are filled with bull**bleep**. Fiction writers, present company included, don't understand very much about what they do—not why it works when it's good, not why it doesn't when it's bad. I figured the shorter the book, the less bull**bleep**."
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 

What advice do you give to young writers?

A: The key to good writing is to do a lot of bad writing first. So find a place where you can get your bad writing out of the way: A school literary magazine, a writing group, a journal, whatever. I inflicted my bad writing on a variety of newspapers, writing literally thousands of articles—a lot of which (just ask my editors) were real stinkers. But eventually, you'll find your own voice. Writing is like a muscle. The harder you work it, the stronger it gets.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 

What advice would you give writers who are trying to get published?

A: Untold numbers of articles/books/blogs have been written on this subject, and most of them make you think there's some magic secret to it. There's not. Just keep trying to become the best writer you can be and keep writing until you find someone to put it in print. Oh, and get an agent.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 

How long did it take you to get published?

A: I started researching my first manuscript in 2000. It's a coming-of-age tale about a high school football star, set in early 1960's Youngstown, Ohio. I completed it in 2004, and it's still in a desk drawer somewhere, waiting to be discovered. In 2005, I started working on my second manuscript, a murder mystery told through the eyes of an investigative reporter named Carter Ross. I completed that one in 2006. It took my agent 18 months to sell it, then another 18 months to appear in print. So, from start to finish, it was a nine-year process.
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JOIN THE FAN CLUB

Members of the Carter Ross Fan Club receive the following:
  • A subscription to The Scoop, the Official Newsletter of the Carter Ross Fan Club!1
  • Information about give-aways, contests and Official Carter Ross merchandise.
  • Access to uncensored parts of BradParksBooks.com, including doctored photos of the Author dressed up like Queen Latifah!2
Best of all, it's free! 

 

 

Sign up at Brad's website, here.

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Re: Please Welcome Author BRAD PARKS!

And Due Out February 2011...


Eyes of the Innocent 

A fast-moving fire guts a house in Newark, killing two young boys whose mother is nowhere to be found. Newark Eagle-Examiner investigative reporter Carter Ross is dispensed to write a follow up story about his editor's favorite pet peeve: malfunctioning space heaters. With the help of the paper's newest intern, Lauren McMillan—a honey-haired Vanderbilt graduate the editors are calling "Sweet Thang"—Carter tracks down and interviews the mother, Akilah Harris. She spins a tale of woe, telling the reporters how an interest rate reset on her subprime mortgage forced her to get a second job just to keep up with the payments. But as Carter hastily fact-checks the story on deadline, he discovers Akilah Harris isn't what she seems. And neither is the fire that claimed her boys. Soon, Carter is on the trail of a murderer who's a lot more dangerous than an overactive space heater.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 

PRAISE 

"Eyes of the Innocent is the complete package. With wonderful prose, witty observations and a relentless drive, this book held me hostage until the last page. Well done, Brad Parks!"
   —Michael Connelly 

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characters

 

Carter Ross

 

characters
Vitals: 6-1, 185, brown hair, blue eyes
Our hero, the sometimes-dashing investigative reporter. Born and raised in well-to-do Millburn, Carter attended some of New Jersey's finest prep schools then spent four years at Amherst College. Still in his early 30's, he has landed a plum gig: Investigative reporter at The Newark Eagle-Examiner, a job that plunges this white-shoe WASP into some of the seamiest places the city has to offer.

 

Tommy Hernandez

 

characters
Vitals: 5-7, 130, straight brown hair, brown eyes
What every hero needs: A gay Cuban sidekick. Although still an intern, Tommy is a gifted natural reporter, blessed with the ability to hit the streets and find the story. And Carter often finds himself relying on Tommy's assistance—and receiving his sartorial critiques—as they tackle the tough stories together.

 

Tina Thompson

 

characters
Vitals: 5-8, 135, brown curly hair, brown eyes
The smoking hot city editor and Carter's not-quite lover. Tina is pure Type-A: a career-driven, yoga-obsessed, jogging enthusiast who gets what she wants by force of personality. And she's recently decided she wants to become a mother—and, fortunately and/or unfortunately for Carter, she's got the father all picked out.

 

Sal Szanto

characters


Vitals: 5-11, 245, salt-and-pepper hair, brown eyes
The grumpy managing editor. Szanto is Carter's boss, which is only one of several headaches in his life. He medicates these pains with a combination of caffeine, nicotine and antacid—most of which only exacerbate his occasional inability to pronounce vowels.

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Harold Brodie

characters


Vitals: 5-9, 150, silver hair, blue eyes
The legendary executive editor. Brodie has ruled overThe Newark Eagle-Examiner newsroom for the last quarter century. With wild eyebrow hair and a grandfatherly falsetto, he is a mostly benign dictator—though he is nothing if not persistent when he wants a story

 

Reginald "Tee" Williams

characters


Vitals: 5-10, 250, black braided hair, brown eyes
The source on the streets. Tee owns a custom T-shirt shop in Newark and looks like a bad-ass: One-eighth of a ton of muscle, braids and tattoos. But he's also afraid of his wife and cries at car commercials. Tee explains the ways of the 'hood to Carter, who reciprocates by translating white people for Tee.

 

Buster Hays

characters


Vitals: 6-0, 210, gray curly hair, brown eyes
The newsroom crank. Hays comes from da Bronx, roughly the neighborhood of 133rd street. An old-time newsman, he's always riding Carter for the silver spoon in his mouth. Still, he's got a massive rolodex of sources from three decades in the business and he'll (grudgingly) share them with Carter.

 

Deadline the Cat

 

characters
Vitals: 25 inches, 13 pounds, black and white coat
The indolent domestic shorthair. Deadline gets very cranky if he doesn't get his sleep—about 22 hours a day will usually do the trick. His other hobbies are eating and pooping. 

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Please welcome BRAD PARKS! (Brad, I had to search high and low for a welcome graphic serious enough for this auspicious occasion!)

 

 

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Re: Please Welcome Author BRAD PARKS!

Hi Brad - it was great meeting you at the Romantic Times book signing!

 

Tell us more about the new book - is there any chance we could get a peek at the cover, or is it too soon?

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Re: Please Welcome Author BRAD PARKS!

Hi Brad,

 

It's nice to know I'm not the only one who drinks a lot of diet soda.  I can't wait for Eyes of the Innocent in February!  I loved Faces of the Gone.  Of course, I want to know, how many pages do you typically write in a week.  As one who is trying to kick out the pages, I am curious to know what my *family* is up to.

 

Happy writing!

Joelle Charbonneau

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TiggerBear
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Re: Please Welcome Author BRAD PARKS!

Hey thanks for joining us Mr. Parks!

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Re: Please Welcome Author BRAD PARKS!

 


JoelleCharbonneau wrote:

Hi Brad,

 

It's nice to know I'm not the only one who drinks a lot of diet soda.  I can't wait for Eyes of the Innocent in February!  I loved Faces of the Gone.  Of course, I want to know, how many pages do you typically write in a week.  As one who is trying to kick out the pages, I am curious to know what my *family* is up to.

 

Happy writing!

Joelle Charbonneau


 

 

Good question, Joelle!

 

I'll also ask my usual question: Are you a plotter or a pantser?