Saturday, June 30, 2012

SAVAGES Looks Like My Kind of Movie

I've been seeing the trailers for this movie and every time, I get more excited. My next novel project is going to deal with the Mexican Cartels, so this is just more fuel for the creative fires:

I'll be there next weekend!

Friday, June 29, 2012

RIVALRY Still Earning Great Reviews!

My short ghost story "Rivalry" has been up on Amazon for about ten months now. Despite being a 6,000 word short story, it still sells a few copies every month. Now and then I talk to other short story authors and we agree to read each other's works and do critiques and reviews, but it has been a while since I had someone write a review completely out of the blue.

So yesterday, I found this posted:

I loved this story. It's short but it's absolutely fantastic. Jack Badelaire is a great writer and I look forward to reading more of his work. For a short story it built tension and had scares in all of the right places. Only bad thing; it ended too soon. I highly recommend Rivalry A Ghost Story, it is well worth .99 cents.
It might be a short blurb, but it really made my day. While I'm pushing my new novel and preparing other works for publishing this summer, it's good to know that even a short story can still engage readers and provide some entertainment.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Killer Instincts gets its first five-star review!

The second review to come in for KILLER INSTINCTS:

At its heart Killer Instincts is a coming of age story, chronicling the journey that William Lynch takes from his beginnings as a ne'er-do-well rich kid to his destiny as a hard, cold-blooded operator. We first meet William as he is today--a mercenary on a mission to rescue some young women from slavers on a cargo ship at sea. He's a stone-cold killer and a veteran of this sort of operation. He gets the job done with brutal efficiency. Afterwards, William reflects on how he started down this path, and this is where the real story begins.

Cut to the spring of 2001, where William's father, a District Attorney in New England, is murdered along with William's mother and sister. The culprits are the Paggiano mafia family, against whom William's father was the lead prosecutor in a rape and murder case. Fortunately for William, he is on spring break in Paris and is forgotten by the killers.

Up to this point William has little direction in life, simply going through the motions of college, but the murders galvanize him into action. He is bent on vengeance, and his Vietnam-vet Uncle Jamie hooks him up with Richard, a mysterious Texan badass who is firmly entrenched in the shadow world of extra-legal operations. William hires Richard to train him in the skills he needs to wipe out the Paggiano family on his own.

Richard turns out to be one scary dude to learn from. While William remains committed to his goal, more than once he begins to feel that he might have gotten in over his head...

His training complete, William gets down to business. You're rooting for William to exact his revenge, but there looms a nagging feeling that he may lose his soul in the process. William starts out merely wanting vengeance for his family, but will he go too far?

Killer Instincts is an action-packed thriller spiced with gritty realism. This is a book that has you nodding your head with grim satisfaction every time a bad guy gets what coming to him. There is plenty of violence, sex, and profanity, but it's never gratuitous. Like a professional operator, Badelaire gets the job done and has no regrets.
Dan, thank you for that great review! 

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Television Series Review: The Sopranos

I feel like a bit of a fool for trying to write a blog post about this series, since I imagine that anything that could be said about The Sopranos, has been said long ago. However, I recently took the time to watch the series online from start to finish over the course of a couple of months.

I've never been a big fan of "mafia movies". I've seen The Godfather once, ages ago, and I've only seen the sequel in pieces. I don't really care for Goodfellas or Casino or many other mafia-related movies either, because I've always felt they glamorize organized crime way too much, even when things go badly for the characters (as they so often do). Because of this, I refused to watch The Sopranos for years, thinking it would be more of the same, even though many of my friends insisted I'd enjoy the series.

When I finally took the plunge and began watching, I understood what all the fuss was about.  The show covers the period of 1999 to 2007, and is a very "post-modern" look at the world of the Mafia. Gone are the days of Vito Corleone holding court in a mansion with guards patrolling the grounds. Tony and his "crew" do business out of the back of a seedy strip club along some boring stretch of road in New Jersey. Tony lives in a completely generic "McMansion", his kids are spoiled brats, his wife hounds him about picking up milk and bread on the way home, and of course, Tony has to see a therapist, like everyone else these days.

Tony's relationship with his shrink is probably the most unique aspect of the series. In many ways, Dr. Melfi is the viewer's surrogate; her questions and reactions to the things Tony says and does are, essentially, our own. As Dr. Melfi's relationship with Tony becomes more complicated, and she becomes more fascinated with the criminal underworld he operates within and the power he wields, we the viewers begin to realize that we hold that same level of fascination.

And yet, at the same time, Melfi's objective detachment also mirrors our own. Tony Soprano and the organization he represents is a long way from the heady days of Prohibition-era organized crime. These are gangsters who've grown up brainwashed by their own Hollywood-conceived mythology. Wiseguys sit around quoting gangster movies and making pop culture references, and Christopher (Tony's nephew/cousin) is obsessed with becoming a writer or movie-maker, constantly scribbling semi-literate attempts at his own Mafia-inspired crime fiction. Christopher's story emphasizes the way in which his generation within the Mafia is but a faint shadow of the organization's glory days.

It isn't necessarily by coincidence that I watched The Sopranos while working on my vigilante revenge thriller, Killer Instincts. The main character's family is killed by a small Boston Mafia crime syndicate, and it is made clear that the family is one of the last gasps of Mafia-based organized crime in the City, the rest having been hunted down by the FBI or shoved aside by other organized criminal elements such as the Russian or Irish mobs.  While we don't really spend any time in the heads of the Mafia characters, it is clear that they are also, in one way or another, deluded by their own mythology.

Having said all that, I almost feel like a hypocrite for enjoying the series so much, but because you end the series almost pitying Tony and his friends, rather than admiring them, I think it is a messily realistic look at these modern-day Mafiosi.

Monday, June 25, 2012

The First Killer Instincts Review Is Here

The first review landed for my vigilante revenge thriller, Killer Instincts. Here's the body of the review, copied from Amazon's page:

This book is a fun and violent tale of murder and revenge. It is the first novel by Jack Badelaire and he seems to be starting out what may be the saga of William Lynch, a mercenary cut from the same mold as Mack Bolan, Rambo, The Punisher and other guys with guns who I read about and watched when I was growing up. I follow Badelaire's blog and know he's a fan of the 70's and 80's pulp action genre and wanted to see how his version goes. The answer- pretty darn well!

After a completing a secret rescue mission a mercenary reflects on his past and how he got into the death dealing business. The long and the short of it is, tragedy strikes a college student's family. He decides he wants vengeance and with the help and shady connections of his Vietnam vet uncle, trains until he feels ready to even the score. The story moves fast and doesn't skimp on the action. The characters are fun sorts that an action fan recognizes, the battle hardened veteran, the leathery and tough-as-nails mentor and the greasy slimebags that stand in the way of the hero. And the guns! Badelaire has done a lot of homework on weapons and tactics and definitely enjoys putting it to use in this book. Lots of things find lots of ways to make the bad guys look a whole lot worse, if you know what I mean.

The dialogue is fun and the action scenes move fast. Badelaire creates some fun showdowns between Lynch and a variety of goons and gunmen. The opening sequence jumps right into action and there's some fun firefights throughout the book. Also, a particular highlight is the showdown between Lynch and a professional killer in a parking garage.

This is a fun read that'll please action fans.
 The Amazon product page for Killer Instincts can be found here.

Monday, June 18, 2012

KILLER INSTINCTS is Going to the Printers!

This past weekend I've been working with Amazon's CreateSpace to build the print copy of my new book. I have to say that even sticking strictly to CS's free services and doing the formatting myself, I'm extremely pleased with the results. Their digital proofing tools are very easy to use and let you take a "virtual tour" through your book before you even receive a PDF proof or order yourself a print proof.

Despite the "digital revolution" that's come to readers in the last few years, there are still a lot of people who just prefer to have a paper copy of a book in their hands. While sharing review copies of my novel to people, I've had several ask for PDF copies, so they could print it out and read it in hard copy, either because they don't have an e-reader or because they simply prefer it that way.

Also, when you begin giving copies of your book to friends and relatives, handing them a tangible paper copy, printed and bound just like any novel they might find in a bookstore, that has more intrinsic meaning than just e-mailing a Kindle file to someone.

Anyhow, I'm still tweaking the cover image a little bit, but once it's where I want it, I'll be ordering my proof copy and I'll provide a review of CreateSpace's print services.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

My Vigilante Revenge Thriller "Killer Instincts" is Now Available

After a two-year gestation, my vigilante revenge novel Killer Instincts has gone live on Amazon via Kindle Direct Publishing. If you're interested in checking it out, click on the link in the right-hand sidebar.

For the majority of you who've never heard or seen me talk about it...

Killer Instincts is the story of William Lynch, an upper-middle class college junior, whose parents and teenage sister are killed in a mob hit while he's in Paris during spring break in March of 2001. William's father is a hotshot DA in Boston, attempting to prosecute Pauly Paggiano, the son of a minor-league crime boss, for the rape and murder of a young college girl. In order to deliver a savage message to the eyewitnesses in the case - the only real evidence the prosecution has - the Paggianos kill William's family and burn their Providence home to the ground.

William is informed of the tragedy by his estranged uncle Jamie Lynch, a Vietnam veteran and former SOG Green Beret. Jamie leads a reclusive existence in Maine, where he owns a log cabin on the shore of Moosehead Lake and works in a sporting goods shop. William has only met his uncle a handful of times over the years; both of William's parents were against Jamie having much contact with their son, worried that Jamie - whose views on war and violence can be disturbing - would somehow "corrupt" their son into a warmonger.  Jamie was a soldier who thrived in combat, and after the war he spent a number of years participating in activities that can only be described as morally ambiguous...

Now, Jamie is the only family William has left. Meeting for the first time in years, Jamie reveals to William the reasons behind his family's slaughter; the court case against Pauly Paggiano, how the eyewitnesses have all withdrawn their testimonies or otherwise backed out of the case, and how the case against Pauly has been thrown out. Faced with the enormity of what has happened to him, William realizes that at 21, any hope he has for a normal life has been erased by this terrible act. Feeling he doesn't have anything to lose, since his future has been so horribly ruined, William decides he's going to find a way to avenge his family and destroy the Paggianos.  He begs Jamie to join with him in his crusade, but Jamie refuses, declaring that he can't go back to that way of life after decades of maintaining a civilized existence.  Seeing his nephew is committed to this idea with or without his help, Jamie begrudgingly admits that, although he's not going to help William, he knows someone who can.

Jamie introduces his nephew to Richard, a mysterious, eccentric Texan who made his living for decades as a professional mercenary. Although he's now retired from taking active assignments, Richard has a network of contacts and resources he'd be willing to provide to William, for a price. After some consideration, William decides that he wouldn't feel right contracting the Paggiano's destruction; he wants to keep the revenge personal. So, for a hundred thousand dollars (plus expenses), Richard agrees to mentor William through an intense, month-long training and indoctrination regimen out in the Texas desert.

What takes place next is the mental and physical transformation of a peaceful, white-collar college student into a bloody-minded vigilante killer. And then the fun really begins...

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

D-Day Tribute: HBO's Band of Brothers "Day of Days"

I won't review the whole miniseries here, since that's several posts all by themselves, but if you're a fan of World War Two history, you really need to see Band of Brothers. All round excellent production values, great storytelling, superb casting, and some incredible combat sequences to boot.

In celebration of D-Day, I thought I'd post the opening few minutes from Episode 2, "Day of Days".  If you've never seen Band of Brothers, you can dig around on YouTube and find a bunch of clips from various episodes.

I'll say that the same praise I give BoB, goes for HBO's other WW2 series, The Pacific. Another incredible miniseries, and if you get the chance to see it, I highly recommend it.