Tuesday, May 12, 2015

A FAR GONE NIGHT by John Carenen Review, Interview & Giveaway

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by John Carenen

AFGN CoverA Far Gone Night
(Thomas O’Shea Mystery, #2)
Mystery – Thriller
Perfect Paperback: 300 pages
Publisher: Neverland Publishing Company, LLC (September 8, 2014)
ISBN-13: 978-0990314851

Suffering from insomnia, wise-cracking tough guy Thomas O’Shea goes for a late-night stroll through the peaceful streets of Rockbluff, Iowa, and finds himself pausing downtown on the bridge that spans the Whitetail River. When he glances downstream, something catches his eye…something that looks like a body. He scrambles down to the riverbank, pulling the body of a young girl from the water. The girl is naked, with two bullet holes in the back of her head. Ever suspicious of law enforcement, O’Shea chooses not to mention the bullet holes when Deputy Stephen Doltch, on routine patrol, discovers him at the river’s edge.
When the coroner’s report lists the cause of death as “drowning,” Thomas confronts the coroner, but his questions are met with hostility. Then the coroner and his wife disappear, along with the body of the dead girl.
Teaming up with his friend Lunatic Mooning and Clancy Dominguez, an old buddy from his Navy SEAL days, Thomas and the other two men join together to bring justice to the dead girl, a quest that takes them to the Chalaka Reservation in Minnesota, seedy businesses adjacent to the Chalaka Casino, and straight into the world of organized crime.
A fast-paced story, laugh-out-loud moments and familiar, quirky characters from Carenen’s debut novel, Signs of Struggle, continue to enliven the complex world of Thomas O’Shea. Once again, Thomas gears up to find answers that will reveal who put the bullets in the girl’s head, why she was killed, and her identity, which may hit a little too close to home…
Dad_and_Roxie_-_photo_for_back_cover_and_websiteAbout This Author
John Carenen, a native of Clinton, Iowa, graduated with an M.F.A. in Fiction Writing from the prestigious University of Iowa Writers Workshop and has been writing ever since. His work has appeared in numerous popular and literary magazines, and he has been a featured columnist in newspapers in North and South Carolina. A novel, Son-up, Son-down was published by the National Institute of Mental Health.
His debut Thomas O’Shea mystery novel, Signs of Struggle, was published in October of 2012. A Far Gone Night, the long-anticipated sequel, continues the exploits of the enigmatic protagonist and the quirky characters of Rockbluff, Iowa.
John is currently an English professor at Newberry College in Newberry, South Carolina. He and his wife live in their cozy cottage down a quiet lane in northern Greenville, South Carolina. He is a big fan of the Iowa Hawkeyes and Boston Red Sox.
Author Links:

Purchase Links: 
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Where are you from?:  I was born and raised in Clinton, Iowa, home town of America’s first movies sex symbol – Lillian Russell. Beautiful old Missisissippi River town and a great place to grow up, which I have yet to do.

Latest News:  I guess my being nominated for “Best Fiction of the Year” by the Southern Independent Booksellers Association is a good thing. Also, I now have an outstanding agent in New York. First time with an agent. So happy about that.

When and why did you begin writing?:  I didn’t really start writing until I was in high school, where I had a wonderful and encouraging creative writing teacher, and also served as Features Editor and Sports Editor for the Clinton High School student newspaper, The Clintonian. Why did I start writing? That’s hard to say. I guess there was a kind of compulsion and it helped me get noticed, to be frank. Lots of positive feedback was key in my beginning to emerge as a writer.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?:  I think, again, that it was back in high school, moreso in the creative writing class of 12 students than the newspaper experience. Several of my fellow students in that class are published writers, by the way, testimony to our teacher, Gene Olson, now a famous writer under a different name.

What inspired you to write your first book?:  I think my desire just to tell a good story was the only “inspiration” to write. I don’t think it was inspiration as much as it was a desire to be a published, recognized writer. It seemed like a cool thing to do, a cool thing to be.

Do you have a specific writing style?:  Most of my writing is from a first person point of view, and I try to be conversational on an intelligent level. The conversational part is easy; not so much the “intelligent” level. Lots of rewriting there!

How did you come up with the title?:  The title comes from Romans 13:12 in which St. Paul tells us “The night is far gone; the day is at hand. So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light” (New American Standard Bible). And that is what is happening in the novel, where Thomas takes on some “works of darkness” in order to bring justice and closure to a horrible crime.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?:  No message per se. I just want readers to pick up the novel, and its predecessor, and enjoy the stories. Any message would probably come from within themselves. Really, my hope is that my writing entertains, yet keeps people thinking about the characters, who are, by some readers’ opinions, “quirky.”

What would you like my readers to know?: I want your readers to know that God is good. Really, that’s the main thing. And if your readers pick up A Far Gone Night, which is the sequel to Signs of Struggle, they can see how a good person, a Christian, can have struggles, yet keep the faith. Thomas O’Shea, the protagonist, is not superman, and he struggles with his losses, his past, his weaknesses. Yet he relies on his faith and his skills to get through lots of struggles (violence, alcohol, relationships) and remain standing.

My Review:
This book combined some of my favorite things. Gambling and a great mystery. This story could easily be an episode of a crime series. Coroners are usually the last word on what happened to a body. What if they were told what to do from a crime lord? I also liked that the characters were just as weird as they were in the first book. Thomas has definitely put himself in the middle of all this, and he is not ready to stop until he gets answers. However does he realize how close he is to people that are willing to do anything to keep their way of life? Even killing innocent people? I liked the end and I can not wait to read more from this author. I am giving this book a 4/5. I was given a copy to review, however all opinions are my own.

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  1. Flowers or vegetables, depends on the day and occasion. This book sounds great. Thanks for the chance!

  2. I like flowers and vegetables. Flowers to decorate, vegetables for dinner!