Post Script – City of the Dead – Herbert Lieberman

City of the Dead

Herbert Lieberman

Open Road Integrated Media

Open Road Media

ISBN: 9781480432628



Winner of the Grand Prix de Littérature Policière: As chief medical examiner of New York City, Paul Konig has one of the world’s most difficult jobs—and when his daughter goes missing, he must take on his most wrenching case yet.

New York City in the 1970s is a dark, dangerous, and threatening place. One of the bright spots in this decaying metropolis is Paul Konig. As the city’s chief medical examiner, he has developed an impressive reputation for his skills in forensic pathology—skills that will be put to the ultimate test when a dangerous psychopath kidnaps Konig’s daughter.

Herbert Lieberman takes his readers on a gruesome journey through the ten most difficult days in the life of a man at the very end of his rope. In addition to being awoken to phone calls featuring his daughter’s desperate screams each night, Konig’s professional life is in danger. Between the case of a serial killer who leaves a trail of severed body parts in his wake; the investigation of questionable forensic work on an alleged prison suicide under Konig’s watch; and the naked ambitions of a deputy medical examiner, it will take every ounce of Konig’s strength to save his own life—as well as his family’s.

My View:

Gruesome murders, political pressure, back stabbing and character assassination in the office, corruption in high places and the Chief  Medical Examiner is on knife’s edge, (and we won’t mention that his daughter has been kidnapped and tortured, he is keeping that to himself), the tension is imploding! This is a gripping yet somewhat grey and gritty picture of life in New York in the 70’s; the decay, the despair, the crime that is relentless and ever more sinister and sickening.  Lieberman’s Paul Konig serves as the template for the modern day forensic heroes that we are all so familiar with – he is professional, he is determined to find the truth for the deceased and their families and to find those responsible for  committing these crimes. Konig is driven, passionate and intelligent and…rather sad. He is human and shows his frailties.

Not only does the reader get a compelling murder/mystery but a portrait of a man under immense pressure overwhelmed by his situation;  regretting past misdemeanours in his personal life, berating himself for choices he made, for the things he didn’t do, slipping in and out of conversations with his past, spiralling into despair and darkness. This is a dark yet compelling work of crime fiction.

I thoroughly enjoyed this read. It is a brilliant forensic procedural – the detail and the technical masterfulness of the author are show cased in the minutia of the operations of the morgue, of the autopsies, of the piecing of the lives of the dead back together again is amazing. Yet this is not just a narrative defined by its plot, it is also a rich picture of so many lives; the criminals, the politicians, the victims, the police working on the cases, the pathologists and the Chief Medical Examiner and his relationship with all in this web of life and death. Brilliant!

In Conversation with Terry Hayes

As most of you know from reading my earlier blogs Terry Hayes is an accomplished journalist, motion picture screen writer and TV/film producer, with so many credits to his name it is simply amazing the levels of excellence he has achieved.

Terry Hayes began his career as a journalist for The Sydney Morning Herald, when as foreign correspondent in the US he covered Watergate and President Nixon’s resignation, among many major international stories. He then went on to become a successful screenwriter, having written the screenplays for Mad Max 2, Dead Calm, Bangkok Hilton, Payback and From Hell among many others

Mad Max Beyond ThunderdomeFrom HellDead Calm (1989) Poster

I have been very fortunate to read and review an advanced reader’s copy of Terry’s exciting debut thriller I am Pilgrim and even more fortunate to have the unique experience of interviewing Terry Hayes for my blog. 🙂

I am Pilgrim, Terry Hayes

Reading, Writing and Riesling: Terry, welcome to my blog. Firstly I wish to congratulate you on the success of your debut book. It is a fantastic read! I am sure it will be an award winner and best seller it is so engaging and well written. 

Terry: Thanks so much! I saw your review on GoodReads and can’t thank you enough – to give such an interesting account of the plot, indeed the whole novel, without giving away any spoilers was a triumph! I had been following how you were going with the reading via your blog and I loved the fact that it kept you up to all hours of the night. Your dog must have thought you were crazy. It’s the prospect of that sort of reaction that keeps you going when you’re writing it – so, thank you again.

RWR: Can you tell me a bit about how the book came about, the inspiration for it?

Terry: We were living in Switzerland and two friends of mine – both Swiss – asked if I would like to accompany them on a trip to a little known concentration camp in the Vosges Mountains on the border between France and Germany. I am very interested in the dismal history of Europe through the 30s and 40s so we set off one beautiful summer’s day and, as I think it says in the book, “we walked into darkness”. It was there that I saw a black and white photograph of a solitary woman leading her three kids towards the gas chamber. That started a process of storytelling that led to a modern day story about a covert intelligence agent chasing a very smart terrorist! It’s easier to tell where things start than where they will end, that’s for sure. I’m pleased to say I managed to include the photo of the woman and I like to think that in some small way I have honoured her and her familys memory.

RWR: This scene in the book was very memorable and so moving.

RWR: Tell me more about your writing process, do you plan out all the important events, or just write and see where it takes you? Do you write a “Bible”, or something similar to what is commonly used in screenwriting for profiling and establishing the identity of your characters?

Terry: I don’t write a Bible but I definitely have a beginning and, more importantly, an end. I also work out clearly what the characters’ journeys will be and what wounds they are carrying or labouring under. I find you have to know where you are going but not be so rigid that you are not open to whole new ideas opening up as you get deeper into the terrain.

RWR: Can you tell me about how you researched the material for this book? Did you travel to all the countries featured? Your descriptions are so visual I could place myself in the scene, on the roads, in the cafes… Do you have contacts in the agencies /government departments mentioned in your book that provide you with specialist knowledge/advice?

Terry: My wife and I have been lucky enough to live [in] and visit a lot of different countries and before that, as a journalist and foreign correspondent, I travelled extensively for work. I have been to nearly all of the countries mentioned – not Saudi Arabia or Syria, primarily because I can’t say I like really autocratic regimes much. I have been to quite a number of other countries in the Arab world so I felt I had enough of a feel for the culture and the places to make it live on the page. I think having written and made movies gives me an appreciation for the visual aspects of various locations and perhaps I have been lucky enough to draw on that. As far as the research is concerned, I read voraciously and am a very good researcher – sort of dogged, I suppose (I was once an investigative reporter) – so I sort of keep digging. I didn’t have a deep throat in any intelligence agency but I certainly couldn’t have done it without the internet. If you can find the smallpox genome on it, you can certainly find a good indication of how covert agencies operate. I had also been a political correspondent so I have seen at firsthand how politicians think and work, how bureaucracies operate, so that gave me a good leg up. A good imagination and a belief in making things credible also helped!

RWR: Can you talk to me about the publishing process? Was it easier to get a publishers attention because of the success of your screen writing? How long did it take from inspiration to being published?

Terry: I don’t think it would have been possible to have it published – or it certainly would have been incredibly difficult – without the screenwriting. The success of those movies and having that career meant that I was represented in LA by one of the world’s two leading talent agencies.

When I told my motion picture agent that I had written the first 150 pages of a novel, it was just a phone call to the head of the agency’s department which represents books and authors. She asked to read it, called me up and said on the strength of it “you can have a career as an international author if you want it”. Of course, there was the small matter of writing another 550p pages making it all hang together and then honing and rewriting it until it was as good as I could make it! Even so, I was blessed and please don’t think for a moment I am not aware of it. With the agency behind it, it was able to be brought to the attention of publishers at a high level. Those 150 pages and an outline I wrote meant that it sold to the UK and Commonwealth, the USA, Holland and Germany immediately. That gave me enough encouragement to forge ahead and once it was finished it the rest of the foreign rights sold to virtually every other major territory. It is published in Italy as the major release for Christmas, in Holland early in the New Year, in springtime in Germany, in the USA for spring as Simon&Schuster’s major book, then in France, Japan, Czech Republic, Scandinavia, Turkey and on and on. From inspiration to publication took over five years but I did nothing but keep developing the story in my head for a long time and then I also had several really big movies I had to work on so it was hard to get a straight run at it. I think over a three year period it took me two years to write.

RWR: Is there anything else you would like to share with me about your writing habits, your process and finally what comes next?

Terry: My writing habits are pretty disciplined – though they may not always look like it. I lead a very quiet, family-oriented life. My wife and I have four quite young kids so we hardly ever go out which is fine – more time for reading, thinking and, finally, getting words on paper. I don’t set targets for pages or words – but I do set them for quality. Next is a book called “The Year of the Locust” – a REALLY intense thriller. Then I have the outlines for the next two Pilgrim books already done – I did them long before I finished this one so that I knew where I was going. That will complete his epic journey – a sort of Lord of the Rings of the espionage/ thriller genre! At least in its scope, if not in my abilities!

RWR: Terry thanks for giving me your time for this interview. It has been a  pleasure getting to  know a little about the man behind the book and your writing process. I really look forward to reading your next books…

Post Script: I am Pilgrim – Terry Hayes

The most sensationally well written, engaging, mystery/thriller of 2013!

I Am Pilgrim

Terry Hayes

Random House Australia Pty Ltd

Bantam Press

ISBN: 9780593064955



Pilgrim was the codename for a world class and legendary secret agent. The adopted son of a wealthy New York family, he was once head of a secret internal affairs force for US intelligence and held the title ‘Rider of the Blue’. He wrote the definitive book on forensic investigation before disappearing into an anonymous retirement, taking the secrets of the Rider of the Blue with him. A murder in New York: the body of a woman is found face down in a bath of acid, her features have been ripped from her face, her teeth are missing, her fingerprints gone. The rooms had been sprayed with DNA-eradicating spray. Someone has seemingly committed the perfect crime using the techniques outlined in Pilgrim’s book. A terrorist, known only as Saracen, was radicalised when, as a young boy, he witnessed the beheading of his father in a public square in Saudi Arabia. He has dedicated his life to destroying the special relationship between the Kingdom and the United States. He learnt his trade fighting the Soviets in Afghanistan, and now from hiding in Germany plots a terrible act of mass murder. When NYPD detective Ben Bradley tracks down Pilgrim, neither man can imagine the terrifying journey they are about to begin, as what begins as an unusual and challenging murder investigation leads them into a direct collision course with the dark forces of jihadist terrorism.

Terry Hayes began his career as a journalist for The Sydney Morning Herald, when as foreign correspondent in the US he covered Watergate and President Nixon’s resignation, among many major international stories. He then went on to become a successful screenwriter, having written the screenplays for Mad Max 2, Dead Calm, Bangkok Hilton, Payback and From Hell. He lives in Sydney with his wife and four children. This is his first novel.

My View:

Terry Hayes has redefined and claimed the genre of spy/ mystery/thriller as his own. He has written an exceptionally engaging, technically masterful and fast paced mystery debut novel – but given his credentials I am not surprised at the talent that is shining ever so brightly from under the cover of this compelling book. Simply stunning! Seven hundred pages were not enough to satisfy my intense involvement in this book! Even when I went to bed at night I could not get this story out of my mind, my brain forever thinking of what may happen next, how the terrorist plot would be enacted (there are no spoilers here), how the Pilgrim might be able to intercept and prevent this act of mass destruction.  I could not figure it out, but it didn’t stop me thinking about the possible scenarios as I tossed and turned in bed. By the time I finished reading this I was exhausted and emotional spent.

Never has a book had so much emotional influence on me. This was a roller coaster ride of intrigue, mystery and conspiracy theories. It was an eye opening account of how the machinery of anti terrorist activities operates and a grim but realistic account of how the rights of the individual are sacrificed for the welfare of the many. I think this book well open the eyes of many as to the state of the world we are currently living in – to the wealth of information about individuals that we unknowingly and  mostly without permission, offer up to the technical masterminds’ of the world.  Let’s just hope they are on our side. J

Not only do we have a splendid plot that engages and compels us to keep turning the pages, we have well developed and mostly likable main characters who act with a great deal of humanity and naturalness; I particularly liked the character Ben Bradley and of course the hero, code named Pilgrim.  Even the anti hero is treated with some empathy; we are able to understand his radicalisation but not able to forgive his actions.

Then we have the stunning visuals – the setting of time and place so realistic I was I could place myself in the scene; on the roads, in the cafes… in the desert of Afghanistan, in streets of New York, in Red Square, in Bahrain… and watch the world go by. This story has phenomenal visuals, a strong sense of place; realism that appears natural and not contrived; a testament to the monumental amount of research that must have been done to write this narrative.  The atrocities and the violence are just as real.

I am struggling to do justice to this outstanding read and this is a book I do not want to let down. When you read the hype about this book – believe it, it is all true! Get yourself a copy of this book, set aside a few days and just allow yourself to be completely immersed in this outstanding, break out story.

I can’t wait to see what Terry Hayes delivers us next.

Post Script: Heist – Robert Schofield

Heist, Robert Schofield

Robert Schofield


Allen & Unwin

ISBN: 97817431520



Gareth Ford is a mining engineer with a gambling habit and marital problems. After a daring $8 million gold heist on the day of the Kalgoorlie Cup, he’s left for dead in the desert and framed as the inside man. Pursued by cops and mercenaries, Ford forms a fragile alliance with Doc and Banjo, a pair of fugitive bikers, and Kavanagh, a gym-buffed female cop from the Gold Stealing Detection Unit. The unlikely foursome travel across the Outback, intent on uncovering a conspiracy that reaches all the way up to big business and the Western Australian government. 


My View:

This debut novel from Robert Schofield is fast paced, action packed and entertaining. Schofield masters the art of establishing time and place and we get a real sense of how the mining industry, particularly gold mining and gold towns operate. It is a tough and arduous existence; long dusty days, isolated existences and a male dominated industry. It is lonely. It is hot. It is the perfect setting for a gold robbery.

The plot is complicated and ACTION is the best description for this book; the protagonist – Ford, is beaten up, shot at and wounded – many times, he is locked in an armoured vehicle when it is blown up, he is chased and hunted down, by bikies, gold stealers and the cops. Ford is in a bad way, and he is also an alcoholic being pumped with booze, pain killers, antibiotics and others “meds”. I don’t know how he is able to stand up let alone continue his search for his missing wife and daughter and escape the baddies. And this is the books down fall – to me there is a lacking in credibility in many of the characters and the scenes.

But if you like you read fast paced, with thrills, spills and shoot em ups every five minutes, this book is for you. If you don’t look too deeply at the characterisations, if you close your eyes to the stereo types that abound in this book, this is an entertaining read.

Sneak Peak: I am Pilgrim – Terry Hayes

I am Pilgrim, Terry Hayes

I have been fortunate to be asked to participate in a  blog tour launched by Random House Books Australia for the above book.

It is being marketed as “the breakout thriller for 2013.” And guess what? It is! All the hype that comes with this book is true!!!

AT the moment I am 250 pages into the 703 pages of the book – and I only put it down to go to bed last night and even then I did not stop thinking of all the possibilities for what is coming next. I cant wait to start reading again today but know once I pick it up I will be totally involved in it again ( there goes the possibility of doing anything else today). 🙂

Please look out for this book – full review  and author interview to follow next week. 🙂

Post Script: Reconstructing Amelia – Kimberly McCreight

Reconstructing Amelia, Kimberly McCreight

Reconstructing Amelia

Kimberly McCreight

Simon & Schuster

ISBN: 9781471111297


In Reconstructing Amelia, the stunning debut novel from Kimberly McCreight, Kate’s in the middle of the biggest meeting of her career when she gets the telephone call from Grace Hall, her daughter’s exclusive private school in Park Slope, Brooklyn. Amelia has been suspended, effective immediately, and Kate must come get her daughter–now. But Kate’s stress over leaving work quickly turns to panic when she arrives at the school and finds it surrounded by police officers, fire trucks, and an ambulance. By then it’s already too late for Amelia. And for Kate.

An academic overachiever despondent over getting caught cheating has jumped to her death. At least that’s the story Grace Hall tells Kate. And clouded as she is by her guilt and grief, it is the one she forces herself to believe. Until she gets an anonymous text: She didn’t jump.

Reconstructing Amelia is about secret first loves, old friendships, and an all-girls club steeped in tradition. But, most of all, it’s the story of how far a mother will go to vindicate the memory of a daughter whose life she couldn’t save.


My View:

A moving and engaging story that both teenagers and parents can relate to and one I feel sure will be picked up by book clubs across the world with it universal story of school yard bullying, manipulation, teenage suicide and sexual awakenings.

I enjoyed this modern mystery, I was engaged in the story and really wanted to find out what really did happen to Amelia on that roof. The more knowledge I was given about Amelia’s private life through her texts, emails and face book posts, the more concerned I felt. McCreight builds the tension perfectly, providing the reader with several perspectives – through alternative chapters of narration – Amelia’s recounting episodes of the immediate past as it happened to her and Kate’s looking back with the additional reference points provided by reading her daughters private social media and text messages.

This novel asks many questions including do we really know our own children? Any parent will tell you it is a scary world we bring our children into – there are so many evil’s out there we want to protect our children from but we really can’t protect them from the faceless beings that prowl the electronic social media seeking innocents. We cannot protect our children all the time, we have to let them grow and make decisions for themselves but sometimes they are not equipped to make those decisions wisely.  Sometimes growing up and make decisions for themselves comes at a cost. For Amelia it cost her life.

I was very impressed at the way this novel tackled bullying, it is a subject that needs to aired and openly discussed. Electronic media make bullying so much more insidious and so much harder to control; messages, images, photos can be sent anytime, anywhere and to mass audiences with little or no costs. And the content of this messages is cannot be simply eradicated…the messages are forever.

Enough of my ranting….a great fast paced read. Plenty of issues are raised that will bring forth much needed discussion. This is an issues based book and a mystery in one. This book does not apologise for being such, it rejoices in challenging you, the reader to open your eyes and see the modern world and social media for what it can be for your children – potentially dangerous and damaging. It doesn’t offer solutions just opens discussions. A great read.


Post Script: Bones in Her Pocket – Kathy Reichs

Bones in Her Pocket

Kathy Reichs

Random House UK, Cornerstone

ISBN: 9781448185580



Dr Temperance Brennan is in unfamiliar territory as she races to learn the truth from the bones – before it’s too late. A new, exclusive straight-to-digital short story from Kathy Reichs, world leading forensic anthropologist and No.1 bestselling author of Deja DeadBones Are Foreverand Bones of the Lost.

Dr. Tempe Brennan has seen it all.  Human bones.  Animal bones.  Old bones. Young bones.  Male bones.  Female bones.  What she hasn’t seen is all of them mixed together in the same case.

Until now.

The foothills of North Carolina aren’t the only unfamiliar territory Tempe faces as she races to learn the meaning of the Bones in Her Pocket.

Multi-million copy, international bestselling thriller writer Kathy Reichs is an expert in forensic science, giving her fiction an authenticity other crime writers would kill for.

Bones In Her Pocket also gives readers the first chance to read the opening chapters of Kathy’s new thriller, Bones of the Lost, out in August.

My View:

A very quick read; the plot is well executed, Reich relies on her loyal readers understanding of her protagonist’s voice and character and thus Tempe Brennan  needs little introduction and  further Reich does not waste pages with intricate  sub plots but gets right on with the story. A quick read (sixty odd pages), this format illustrates this writer’s skillful knowledge of the crime fiction genre.  The narrative has a satisfying conclusion and as a bonus includes an advanced peek of Reich’s upcoming book “Bones of the Lost.”

Post Script: The Last Winter of Dani Lancing – P D Viner

The Last Winter of Dani Lancing

A Novel

P. D. Viner

Crown Publishing


Pub Date   Oct 8 2013

ISBN: 9780804136822



P.D. Viner bursts on to the scene with a gritty and powerful crime thriller that explores the dark, dangerous line that separates grief, violence, loss, and revenge.

Twenty years ago, college student Dani Lancing was kidnapped and brutally murdered. The killer was never found; the case has long-gone cold.

Her parents, Patty and Jim, were utterly devastated, their marriage destroyed. Patty threw away her successful journalism career and developed a violent obsession with the unsolved crime.  She is utterly consumed with every lead and possible suspect no matter how far-fetched.  Jim, however, is now a shell of his former self, broken down and haunted—sometimes literally—by the loss of his daughter.  Tom Bevans, Dani’s childhood sweetheart, has become a detective intent on solving murders of other young women.  He was so scarred by Dani’s death that his colleagues have nicknamed him “The Sad Man.” After twenty years of grief, all of three of them are burnt-out and hopeless.

But when Tom finds an opening on the case, everything changes.  Patty’s obsessions are lit up once again and she will do anything for revenge—even if it means dragging her whole family back into the nightmare, as lies and secrets are unearthed and the truth finally revealed.

Told in fractured time, with a breathless pace and masterful plotting, The Last Winter of Dani Lancing is a superb thriller: swift, edgy, gripping, and unforgettable.


My View:


A must read mystery/crime novel.


This book was by far one of the best mystery/crime novels I have read this year. There were many twists and turns that kept me guessing right up to the last pages. The characters were well drawn, sad, empathetic, desperate and credible. P D Viner is a fantastic story teller, his settings are realistic and he writes with cinematic prowess – I could see the story play out in the big screen of my mind and do not doubt it will be very long before the feature films rights to this story are snapped up! I wish I had the money to produce this novel as a film – it would work so well.

I loved that the reader was able to form a picture of Dani through the recollections and opinions of other characters in the book – she was a daughter, a friend, a sports star, a popular student; slowly the bigger picture emerges, warts and all. It is interesting to see how we mean different things to different people and this book demonstrates that aspect of life and friend/kinship very well.

The plot is complex and full of twists and turns and the narrative highlights that life can be wearisome, sometimes depressing and that ordinary people are capable of extraordinary and sometimes brutal things. No one is quite how they first appear – there are sinister undertones waiting to be revealed.  Perhaps it was the character of Tom Bevans, nicknamed “The Sad Man” that surprised me most of all – his resourcefulness, his ability to react without fear for his own position  in society and his physical wellbeing in order to protect Dani and his powerful devotion to her was incredible. No matter what Dani and her destructive lifestyle threw at him he remained devoted and obsessed, obsessed with the image he had constructed and determined to protect that image.

The bigger picture story looks at love, grief and loss and revenge. It speaks about actions, reactions and the unforeseen consequences of those actions. Despite the sadness and the violence in this story there is a modicum of hope, love and optimism sprinkled throughout the novel that lifts this book above the bleakness of such horrific tragedy; and tragic it was.

I loved the characters; I loved their imperfections (mostly), their guilt and suffering, though intense and often paralysing, was credible and moving. This is a very well written story of modern life that demonstrates how quickly one mistake in judgment can effect so many.

The ending does reconcile some of the issues but leaves so much unsaid, so much to the reader’s imagination. A fantastic read!