Firstly I wish to thank Andrea Kiliany Thatcher | Marketing Manager and Book Publicist at Smith’s Publicity for inviting me to read and review this book.
POWER, MONEY AND CORRUPTION COLLIDE IN TIMELY MUST-READ POLITICAL THRILLER
A politically-driven couple — he a charming governor and she the brains behind their meteoric rise — is poised to blow any preconceived notions you have about politics and power out of the water. Tom and Darla Carver certainly have revolutionary ideas on how to improve America. But improving their own political position and influence is always the underlying objective. Forget the headlines, but have fun guessing who’s who while devouring this delectable thriller. Political Justice: A Marc Kadella Legal Mystery by Dennis Carstens [October 3, 2017] is the seventh outing for the charismatic defense lawyer burning up Amazon best-seller lists. When one of now-president Tom Carver’s dalliances gets more than a polite brush off (she gets a death certificate!) the spin machine grinds into action as Darla resorts to bribes and leaks to preserve her own political legacy. She will even go so far as to frame an innocent, honorable soldier for treason to get what she craves. Kadella defends the man and as a legal defense is crafted, the lawyer is pulled further and further into the trial’s twists and turns. “I try to create a story that is entertaining, interesting and, most importantly, thought provoking,” Carstens says. “I want to create something that gives the reader a legal, moral or ethical dilemma to think about. In doing so, as in real life, every little detail may not be wrapped up in a nice, neat bow at the end. But the reading experience is well worth the ride.” A compelling mystery that readers can’t help but compare to political controversies current and historical, Political Justice is poised to be the most celebrated Marc Kadella mystery yet.
READ ON TO FIND OUT SOME FACTS ABOUT DENNIS CARSTENS
Dennis Carstens Q&A
1. How long have you been writing? What genres have you written?
I actually wrote my first book The Key to Justice in 1999 – 2000. I tried to go the traditional route to get it published and was met with total disinterest and rejection. Discouraged, I did not take it up again until 2011. My son encouraged me to self-publish on Amazon. The response surprised me with its success which encouraged me to continue.
The legal world, murder mystery/courtroom drama is the only genre I have written so far. I am extremely interested and well read in history and I have in mind a couple of historical novels based on actual events that I will eventually do.
2. What has been the greatest influence to your writing?
I am a retired lawyer who always enjoyed a good legal genre novel. What got me interested in doing one is most of the books in the genre left me wondering if the author had ever seen the inside of a courtroom. Ever represented a live, human client with a real legal problem or tried to make a living practicing law. Some do such as Scott Turow and Steve Martini who are very experienced and very good. Then others such as John Grisham, James Patterson and Michael Connelly who clearly have no clue. I wanted to write more realistically about what it is like.
3. Are you currently writing anything now?
I am about to start, and by the time you read this will have started, the eighth of the Marc Kadella legal mystery series. No, I am not going to tell you about it. Buy it, you’ll like it.
4. How do you typically begin your projects?
To me the main thing I need to have mostly figured out before I start writing is the ending. I think it is very important to know where you are going so as not to wander off too far as can happen. Writing a book is almost like building a house. You build the story one step at a time. And just as building a house you better have a pretty good idea of what it is supposed to look like when you are finished.
I do not use a written outline. I know what my beginning is going to be, my ending and the middle. I keep a lot of notebooks around the house, especially by my bed, for when ideas pop into my head so I can make notes of it.
As for characters, this is the main thing I am trying to accomplish. I want to create an emotional tie between the reader and the characters (good or bad, favorable or unfavorable) to keep the reader engaged to find out how they all make out in the end. Several of my characters are in all of my books and I do keep a written profile of each to be consistent. I also do that with non-recurring characters for the same reason.
I normally focus on one book at a time but things come to me about future books. When this happens I write up notes about it so as not to forget. Makin notes is extremely important. I once had a dream and I awoke in the middle of the night thinking about it. It was a great idea for a book. I laid in bed for at least twenty minutes thinking it through and was quite pleased about it. Instead of getting up and writing it down I was certain I would remember it in the morning. When I woke up I remembered having a dream, waking up and thinking about it but could not remember one thing about the dream itself. Still have not. Take notes. Do not rely strictly on your memory.
5. What aspect of your writing do you consider your strength? Your weakness?
I prefer to have my characters tell my story with their actions and interactions and their dialogue. I do not use a lot of third party narration for this. I think it helps with character development, creates the reader-character bond and makes the story flow along better. When reading I can get a little bored with page after page of third party narration.
I am a lawyer, not a grammar expert. Apparently there are people out there who believe they are. I have used the internet to check on grammar usage all the time and have found there are differing opinions on proper usage. If you think you are a grammar expert, you probably are not. At least others will disagree with you. Plus, I use dialogue the way people actually speak not the way your sixth grade English teacher tried to get you to speak.
6. What are the next steps after publishing a book?
At first I did nothing much except publish on Amazon and let them do the marketing. There are services out there who will work with you for a fee or commission to use Amazon and other book promo organizations to promote your book. I am just now starting to use them and it has worked for me. But, I was fortunate to do well right away which, from what I understand, is quite unusual.
7. What advice would you give a writer who is starting out?
First of all, be disciplined. Writing a 300 plus page fiction novel is very difficult. It is a lot of work. There are millions of partially written manuscripts sitting in desk drawers in this country from people who found this out. They wanted to try it, and good for them, then got part way into it and ran out of ideas.
I treat writing like a job. I am retired but I get up every morning around 6:30 and am at the desk by 8:00 every day. I have a daily goal of what I want to accomplish and I get at it and work until I have it. If you are employed, make a schedule every week of times when you are going to write and stick to it. If you can’t be that disciplined, odds are pretty good you are going to fail. Know that going in.
So as not to be overly negative, it is also very rewarding. I am fortunate enough to have had some success and am making a pretty good living at it. I also like the creative side of it. Apparently I have a fairly active imagination and creative streak. Not to brag but I have received more Five Star reviews from readers than all other reviews combined. Each time you get one of those it feels very gratifying to know that all of the work you put into the book was not a waste of time.
Write about what you know. If you are a doctor don’t write science fiction about interstellar space travel. You can do that but it will not seem factual.
Be realistic about your target market. I happen to have worked in a genre that is very popular with the reading public. My audience was quite large going in. Children’s books are enormously popular. For some reason people keep having babies and buying books for them to teach them to read. Apparently no one tells them about dealing with teenagers. Books about the exciting life of a plumber, not so much.
HERE ARE MY THOUGHTS AND REVIEW
Thomas Jefferson Carver has Hollywood film star looks and the charisma to charm the pants off almost any woman that he desires. He also has a wife that is power obsessed and will let nothing get in her way or stop them getting into the Whitehouse, with herself being First Lady and her husband of course President of the United States.
When the campaign is in full swing an accidental over dose of a young woman in Carver’s bed threatens to end the dream and turn it into a political nightmare. The thought of this being a young woman who has lost her life is the last thing on Darla Bunton Carver’s mind, her only thought is to get this body removed from her husband’s bed and shift blame onto an innocent young man who has been talked into being the fall guy.
From the first meeting with Darla she left such a bitter taste and what begins as a cover up rapidly evolves into so much more, especially after Thomas Carver is successful and elected as President. The loose ends of the past have to be tied off permanently. I was totally engrossed in this story, the corruption, blackmail, murder and almost cult like following that surrounded the President and his First Lady, with those closest to the pair carrying out orders without question.
Darla has a much bigger goal, this First Lady wants to become the first female President of the US. Just when you think that this woman has surely done her worst she manages to go a step further.
This was a totally gripping read for me on a subject that I knew little about. Part of the story does surround a court case of yet another fall guy of the Carver dynasty. One of my favourite characters of this story has to be Lawyer Marc Kadella. What a guy! It wasn’t until after I had read this story that I discovered that a series is based round him, this book being one of them. The story reads superb as a stand alone novel but I sure do want to read more about him.
The story began as intriguing political story and ended up as a fast paced thriller, just loved it!
HERE IS A LITTLE ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dennis Carstens was born in Worthington, MN, and has lived most of his life in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul. He received a BA from the University of Minnesota and his J.D. from a highly respected private law school, William Mitchell, in St. Paul. A veteran of the U.S. Air Force and a retired trial lawyer, Carstens brings these life experiences to his fiction for a dose of realism and accuracy missing from much of the legal thriller genre today.