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review 2015-01-02 15:32
The Test
The Test - John Lansing

Author: John Lansing

  • Published: November 2014 by Tatra Press

A Short Story


A coming-of-age story set in 1950s, small-town Long Island, at a time when suburban America is about to undergo  seismic societal changes.

Jack Morgan returns, for what he knows will be the last time, to Baldwin, Long Island in order to settle his parents’ affairs. He felt indifferent about the sale of his boyhood home until he found himself parked outside. Looking at the house unleashed the floodgates of memories and emotions, taking him back to 1963 when he was a boy of fourteen in a completely different social and racial climate.


Jack and his two best friends, Gene and Greg, are sprucing up and getting a little buzzed on beer before heading to the dance hall. The evocative atmosphere is captured perfectly and is so relatable. Having the pre dance drinks for dutch courage, only in our case it was cider – yuck! Even after all this time I still can’t so much as think of drinking the stuff. The groups of boys and girls separated by the width of the room, the music and the coloured lights. After a couple of false starts Jack gets to dance with the girl of his dreams. Only it’s anything but straightforward.

“Jack, you’ve got to leave…now. No shit. I heard some crazy talk. Go! Now!”

I read the fear in Vida’s eyes; she nodded her head yes. I took her lead and we were on the move across the dance floor, hearts thumping. We grabbed our coats and were out the door and walking briskly down Grand Avenue before the song ended.

A touching teenage love, described with feeling and emotion, which could never be realised without probable tragic consequences. But, above all else, this is a poignant and disturbing reminder of the social conflict of the time. Racial prejudice was prevalent in most communities and was a major factor for a large number of people. When the first black family arrives in Baldwin the event is viewed with mounting dismay and anxiety by the towns’ residents. As Jack finds out to his cost.


For all this is short there’s a lot of story going on. The writing is distinct and expressive and has a truly authentic feel. Real people, real situations. And the ending! I hurt for Jack. He has never found lasting happiness, the fact he has three ex-wives is indicative, and it would be so sad if the reason was an unrequited first love, especially given the circumstances. A very emotive story told exceptionally well and one that leaves a lasting impression.
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text 2014-11-12 19:43
Blond Cargo ~ Excerpt and Interview with John Lansing
Blond Cargo - John Lansing

Jack Bertolino’s son, Chris, was the victim of a brutal murder attempt and Vincent Cardona, a mafia boss, provided information that helped Jack take down the perpetrator of the crime. Jack accepted the favor knowing there’d be blowback. In Blond Cargo the mobster’s daughter has gone missing and Cardona turned in his chit. Jack discovers that the young, blond, mafia princess has been kidnapped and imprisoned while rich, politically connected men negotiate her value as a sex slave. 

A sizzling whodunit for fans of James Patterson and Patricia Cornwell, Blond Cargo taps into the real-life crime world to deliver a thrilling, action-packed story that will keep you on the edge of your seat until the explosive, unprecedented finale.


Ahead of the release of Blond Cargo (Jack Bertolino #2) on Monday 20th October, I’m very pleased to welcome John Lansing to Between The Lines.


1) John, where did the inspiration for Jack Bertolino’s character come from?


Jack Bertolino is an amalgam of all my favorite detectives that I’ve read about in books, written about on television, seen in film, met in real life, or just wanted to be. I’ve always been drawn to flawed characters that were interested in reinventing themselves. Maybe because of my own personal demons and varied career paths. 


I wanted to write about a detective who was standing at the crossroads, recovering from a nasty divorce, retiring from the NYPD, leaving the old neighborhood in Staten Island, and moving west to find some peace in his life.


It certainly didn’t work out the way he planned. Twenty-five years of taking down drug dealers, money launderers and thieves, came back to haunt him and shook up his newfound state of bliss in Marina del Rey, California.


2) What’s more important, character or plot?


This question also encompasses question #4.


When I first began writing, I was writing scripts for network television. In that arena, an outline was imperative. First of all, you would never get an assignment until a story, and then the outline was approved. And then once you were green-lit, if another script fell out of the schedule, you might be asked to turn in a finished script in a week’s time. An almost impossible feat without a concise outline. 


When I started writing books, my process changed. I began with a premise, which dictated the characters I’d need to tell the story, and they defined the plot. No outline. Flying without a net. Frightening and exhilarating, but it seems to be working. It’s not a better way, just different.


If you have well defined characters that people can empathize with, care about, you can lead them most anywhere. But ultimately, it’s the plot that shows the audience how your protagonist responds to conflict, how he thinks, what makes him tick, and why you should care about him.


So, long winded answer, I think it’s a 50-50 split.


3) This is your second novel, did you find the process any easier/different this time round?


The only process that’s been easier for me the second time around is the marketing of the book. When I wrote The Devil’s Necktie, I didn’t know what a blog was. I’d never heard of a blog tour. I didn’t have a clue what social media was all about, and it was damn intimidating. It was a difficult learning curve, but I’m starting get the hang of it. 


Writing a book is difficult work. There’s no other way to say it. It’s gratifying when you’re in the zone and the words are flying off the page, but it’s not for the faint of heart. But as I was telling someone, it’s the only discipline in the creative arts where you don’t have to be hired to ply your craft. You can write a book on a napkin, on a plane, in a one-room shack, all you have to do is commit to writing every day, and you can end up with a completed first draft. I think that’s pretty cool.


4) Could you describe your writing day, and do you work to a structured outline or where ever the characters take you?


When I’m writing a book, it’s pretty much a 24/7 kind of thing. The characters are bouncing around in my head most of the day. I’m problem solving in my sleep. I sometimes wake up with the answers and head for the computer. I write the scene, pour some coffee, walk the dog, and then rewrite the work.


My biggest production occurs in the afternoon. And then the dog demands another walk. I’ll get a little lunch, take a hard look at what’s on the page, and I might do a simple step outline for the next sequence, just to keep things straight in my head. It’s only a road map. Nothing is set in stone. I like to end the day, having some idea of the direction I want to take the next day.


5) Are you planning more Jack Bertolino stories?


I’m knee deep into the third book in the Jack Bertolino series. And in November, Chris Sulavik at Tatra Press is publishing my short story, The Test. It’s a coming of age tale, set on Long Island in 1963 that deals with race, violence, social politics, and young love.


6) That’s good to know! What piece of advice would you give your younger self?


This is a hard question. I began my career, out of college, as a theatre actor before getting into television and film. I started writing for television and moved behind the camera, creating for the first time in my life instead of interpreting. Writing novels is my third career.


I think the best advice I could give to my younger self would be to pick up a pen every day. Fight the negative voices. Make writing a habit. It might be the only habit you have that can enrich your life.


7) On your bucket list?


Bucket list, huh? To have ten Jack Bertolino novels published in the next eight years. Okay, and to find the time to travel more. There’s too much of the world I haven’t seen.


8) Best gift you ever received?


I think the best gift I’ve ever received was getting cast as an understudy for Danny Zuko in the first national tour of Grease. It was a life changer. I rode that train until I won the title role. I spent a year playing Zuko on Broadway. It was a gift that set me on a life course, which allowed me to become a writer. All of my past experiences come into play when I’m sitting in front of my computer.


9) If you won the lottery what would you do first? 


Well, now that I’ve won the lottery, I can afford to take that time to travel I was talking about on my bucket list. Maybe spend a few months at a time in another country where I can get Jack Bertolino involved in new cases in exotic locals.


Thanks so much, John, for taking the time to share your thoughts


Excerpt from Blond Cargo


Jack carried a Subway turkey sandwich, a tall unsweetened iced coffee, a bottle of water, and a smile as he keyed the security gate that led to the dock in Marina del Rey where his boat was moored. The marina was always quiet during the week. Just the way he liked it.
He stopped to admire his twenty-eight feet of heaven before stepping onto his boat’s transom and then . . .
“Yo, Mr. B.”
Jack never forgot a voice, which explained his reluctance to turn around.
“Yo, yo, Mr. B.”
Miserably persistent, Jack thought. He turned to face Peter Maniacci, who was dressed head-to-toe in black. With his outstretched arms draped over the chain-link fence, Peter looked like an Italian scarecrow. The black circles under his eyes belied his youth. The sharp points of his sideburns, his boots, and the .38 hanging lazily from a shoulder holster added menace to his goofy grin.
So close, Jack thought. His only worry that day had been
whether to eat his sandwich dockside or out on the Pacific with a view of the Santa Monica Pier.
“How you doing, Peter?”
“How you doin’?”
Jack let out a labored sigh. “We could do this all day. What’s up?”
“That’s funny, Mr. B. How’s the boy? How’s his pitching arm?”
Jack’s face tightened. He wasn’t happy that Peter knew
any of his son’s particulars. When he didn’t answer, Peter continued.
“Hey, nice boat. I used to fish for fluke off the north shore. Long Island. I think I must be in the wrong business.”
“Count on it,” Jack said. “What can I do for you?”
“My boss was wondering if you could spare a few minutes of your time.”
As if on cue, a black Town Car materialized behind Peter and came to a smooth, silent stop. The car rose visibly when Peter’s boss, a thick, broad-shouldered man, stepped out of the rear seat.
Vincent Cardona. Expensive suit, the body of a defensive linebacker—fleshy but muscled. Dark, penetrating eyes. Cardona looked in both directions before leveling his feral gaze on Jack. An attempt at a smile fell short of the mark. A thick manila envelope was tucked under one beefy arm.
Jack had been aware there would be some form of payback due for information Cardona had provided on Arturo Delgado, the man responsible for the attempted murder of his son. He just didn’t think it would come due this quickly. He opened the locked gate and let the big man follow him down the dock toward his used Cutwater cabin cruiser.
As Peter stood sentry in front of the Lincoln Town Car, Jack allowed the devil entry to his little piece of paradise.
“How’s your boy? How’s the pitching arm?” Vincent asked bluntly. Just a reminder of why he was there.
“On the mend.” Jack gestured to one of two canvas deck chairs in the open cockpit of the boat. Both men sat in silence as Jack waited for Cardona to explain the reason for his visit.
Jack wasn’t comfortable with Cardona’s talking about Chris, but the big man had taken it upon himself to station Peter outside Saint John’s Health Center while his son was drifting between life and death. Cardona’s enforcer had scared off Delgado, and that might have saved his son’s life. The unsolicited good deed was greatly appreciated by Jack. The debt weighed heavily.
“It rips your heart out when your children have problems and you can’t do nothing to help,” Cardona said with the raspy wheeze of a man who had abused cigars, drugs, booze, and fatty sausage for most of his life.
“What can I do for you?” Jack asked, not wanting to prolong the impromptu meeting.
Cardona, unfazed by Jack’s brusqueness, answered by pulling out a picture and handing it to Jack.
“Angelica Marie Cardona. She’s my girl. My only. My angel. Her mother died giving birth. I didn’t have the heart to re-up. I raised her by myself.”
Mobster with a heart of gold. Right, Jack thought. But Cardona’s wife must have been a stunner because Angelica, blond, early twenties, with flawless skin and gray-green eyes, didn’t get her good looks from her father. Cardona’s gift was her self-assured attitude, which all but leaped off the photograph.
Jack Bertolino, master of the understatement, he thought.
“And doesn’t she know it. Too much so for her own good. You make mistakes, my line of business. Whatever.”
“What can I do for you, Vincent?” Jack said, dialing back the attitude.
Cardona tracked a seagull soaring overhead with his heavy-lidded eyes and rubbed the stubble on his jaw.
Jack would have paid good money to change places with the gull.
“I shoulda never moved out here. L.A. I’m a black-socks- on-the-beach kinda guy. East Coast all the way. Never fit in. But I’m a good earner and the powers that be decided they were happy with the arrangement. Everyone was happy except Angelica and me.
“She turned thirteen, didn’t wanna have nothing to do with her old man. Turned iceberg cold. I tried everything— private schools, horses, ballet, therapy, live-in help; nothin’ worked. She closed up tighter than a drum. I finally threatened to send her to the nuns.”
“How did that work out?”
“I’m fuckin’ sitting here, aren’t I? On this fuckin’ dinghy . . . no offense meant,” he said, trying to cover, but the flash of anger told the real story. “I hear you’re an independent contractor now.”
It was Tommy Aronsohn, his old friend and ex–district attorney, who had set him up with his PI’s license and first client, Lawrence Weller and NCI Corp. But Jack Bertolino and Associates, Private Investigation, still didn’t come trippingly off his tongue.
And thinking of the disaster up north, he said, “We’ll see how that goes.”
“This is the point. I haven’t seen my daughter in close to a month. Haven’t heard word one since around the time your son was laid up in Saint John’s,” he said. Reminder number two. “It’s killing me,” he continued. “I’m getting a fuckin’ ulcer. Then this.”
Cardona pulled out the L.A. Times with the front-page spread reporting on the woman who had died when her boat crashed on the rocks at Paradise Cove. As it turned out, a second woman down in Orange County had washed up on the beach a few weeks earlier at the Terranea resort, scaring the joy out of newlyweds taking photos at sunset. Talk about twisted memories, Jack thought. As if marriage wasn’t tough enough. He’d already read both articles with his morning coffee and hadn’t bought into the pattern the reporter inferred.
“And the connection?”
“I got a bad feeling is all. She’s never disappeared like this before—not for this long anyway,” he said, amending his statement. “And then . . .” Cardona said, waving the newspaper like it was on fire. “It says here they were both blonds. Both about Angelica’s age. They could be fuckin’ cousins. Could be nothing.”
“Did you file a missing-persons report?”
Cardona gave him a hard side eye. “Jack, don’t fuck with me. We take care of our own.”
Jack thought before he spoke. “I’m not one of yours.”
“What about your crew?”
Cardona flopped open his meaty hands. “I get angina, I don’t call my cousin Frankie, who has a certain skill set but stinks when it comes to open-heart surgery. Look, I get it. You were on the other team. But this is straight-up business. One man to another. One father to another. I need you to find my girl. You got my number. Use it, Jack. Money’s no object. Find my baby.”
Strike three.
Jack didn’t answer. He stared out at the navy-blue water of the marina, past row upon row of beautiful yachts, symbols of dreams fulfilled, and knew they were empty notions compared to family.
Cardona hadn’t actually spoken the words you owe me, but they filled the subtext of everything he’d said. He was not subtle. The big man had reached out when Jack was in need, and Jack had accepted the offer. Now Vincent Cardona wanted his pound of flesh.
“This is everything I know. Last address, phone numbers, phone bills, e-mail accounts, bank, credit cards, friends and whatnot. The whole shot,” Cardona said, holding the manila envelope out in Jack’s direction.
“I have other commitments,” Jack stated.
“You look real fuckin’ busy, Jack, if you don’t mind my sayin’.” His eyes crinkled into a sarcastic grin. Vincent Cardona does charm.
Jack accepted the overstuffed envelope with a sigh.
“If she don’t want to come back, fine. No funny business, no strong-arm bullshit from my end. You got my word. I just need to know that my blood is alive. I’m fuckin’ worried and I don’t do worry too good. Sleep on it, Jack. But do the right thing.”
Cardona’s eyes locked on to Jack’s. Jack remained silent. He’d take a look. No promises, not yet.
Vincent’s knees cracked and the canvas chair squeaked like it was in pain as he stood up. He covered a belch behind his fist and rubbed his gut as he moved stiffly past Jack. The boat rocked when Cardona stepped off and walked heavily away, his Italian leather shoes echoing on the wooden dock.
The weight of the world. Jack could relate.
Peter Maniacci opened the gate for his boss and then the door to the Lincoln Town Car, which plunged to curb level as the big man slid in. Peter ran around to the other side of the car and tossed Jack a wave like the queen mum. He jumped into the Lincoln, which lurched forward before Peter could slam the door shut.
Jack walked into the boat’s deckhouse, grabbed a bottle of water, and downed two more Excedrin. He stretched his back, which was going into a spasm from yesterday’s violence, and chased the pills with a Vicodin to stay one step ahead of the pain that he knew was headed his way.
Jack had already decided to take the case.


About the author

JohnLansingJohn Lansing started his career as an actor in New York City. He spent a year at the Royale Theatre playing the lead role in the Broadway production of “Grease.” He then landed a co-starring role in George Lucas’ “More American Graffiti,” and guest-starred on numerous television shows. During his fifteen-year writing career, Lansing wrote and produced “Walker Texas Ranger,” co-wrote two CBS Movies of the Week, and he also co-executive produced the ABC series “Scoundrels.” John’s first book was “Good Cop, Bad Money,” a true crime tome with former NYPD Inspector Glen Morisano. “The Devil’s Necktie” was his first novel. A native of Long Island, John now resides in Los Angeles.

The Devil’s Necktie may be found at Amazon US and Amazon UK and my review is here

Blond Cargo may be found at Amazon US and Amazon UK



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review 2014-10-10 00:07
The Devil's Necktie
The Devil's Necktie - John Lansing

By John Lansing

Series:  Jack Bertolino!#1

ISBN: : 9781451698343

Publisher:  Gallery Books/Karen Hunter Publishing

Publication Date:  12/31/2012

Format:   Other

My Rating:  4 Stars


A special thank you to Gallery Books, Karen Hunter Publishing, and NetGalley for a complimentary reading copy in exchange for an honest review.

Wow, loving protagonist, Jack Bertolino!  Was dying to read The Devil's Necktie, after having just finished an ARC of #2 in the series Blond Cargo (10/20/14). Was intrigued with the sexy and complex Jack, and how he found himself in LA on the west coast. Highly recommend both!

John Lansing delivers a riveting and intense crime thriller debut novel, The Devil’s Necktie (#1 Jack Bertolino) a hero and ex-NYPD, now in LA in the middle of a world of danger, violence, gangs, drug cartels, and murder while mixed with Hollywood glitz and glam!

Jack Bertolino has left his hometown of New York City, and his position of NYPD narcotics chief after ongoing back pain side, taking early retirement, and relocates to Los Angeles, CA to enjoy life at a slower pace. (for like 5 seconds)?

Unfortunately, at the opening of the novel, his leisurely evening on the balcony of his loft in Marina del Rey, grilling a steak and nursing a glass of wine, is interrupted when he receives a call from Mia, one of the best Columbian CIs in the business, for the DEA, the NYPD, and the federal government. She and Jack had teamed up with groundbreaking work together. With the help of Mia and DEA agent Kenny Ortega, Jack and the team of NYPD narco-rangers he headed up—put away a heavy hitter in the cocaine trade.

Manuel Alvarez was the head of a Columbian drug cell that had been importing a thousand keys of coke into Florida on a weekly basis, and the poison was dripping into New York City. Jack and his group had put away a major cartel scumbag, and Mia had gotten rich, at a great personal risk.

The only problem, informants had a short shelf life. Once a major domo got busted, the cartels worked very hard to discover where the sickness had come from. If your name ended up on the short list, you turned up dead. Jack had made a promise to Mia that if things ever got too hot to handle, he would do whatever he could to help her out of the jam. She was calling in the note (chit, or favor).

She is in LA, and he drops everything and he goes to visit her. She tells him the entire story and they wind up sleeping together for hours of passion. When she falls asleep, he leaves. Who was she running from? What kind of game was she into to? Had someone discovered her secret? Had Alvarez tumbled to the fact that Mia was the reason he was eating jail chow? If this was serious he would reach out to Kenny in Miami. The feds might be able to put her back in the system and arrange for witness protection. Mia had become an informant for revenge for what this horrible family did to her, for loving the wrong man.

However, all this went up in smoke, when less than 30 minutes after he left her bed, she was brutally murdered. He rushes back when he sees the police cars headed that way; too little, too late. The drug kingpins called it a Columbian Necktie—some, the Devil’s Necktie. (gross). They had butchered her to death. This scene tormented Jack, and her eyes, would continue to torment him, until he took down the animal who had killed her. Could he have done anything to prevent Mia’s death? It weighed heavily on him.

The Los Angeles police initially suspect Jack but quickly clear him, and then brush him off when he offers to help. This of course does not stop Jack, as he investigates the murder on his own, using his instincts and invaluable connections from his cartel-busting days to unearth new evidence that makes the LAPD crawl back to him. Old enemies return to haunt Jack, placing not only himself in danger, but the people he cares about too. Soon Jack realizes that motives for Mia’s murder go much further than just a local gang hit, the people behind the brutal slaying have connections all the way back to the drug cartels of both Mexico and Columbia.

From the 18th Street angels, cops, sex, drugs, money laundering, murder, violence, danger, cops, mafia, Mexican cartels, and some cool LA hot spots, fancy cars, yachts, upscale neighborhoods to seedy bad ones, and a hot romance, for an explosive and mega bucks’ ending of killing two birds with one stone with delicious revenge.

What makes Lansing’s novel so enjoyable is his unique character development, Jack’s personal life with his son, Chris, his east coast ex-wife, new relationships; his strengths, weaknesses, and humor—mixed with the fast paced action – a dynamic winning combination-hope we see a movie upcoming!

The Devil’s Necktie, lives up, and I was not disappointed! Highly recommend reading both books; high quality, with superb and sharp writing. They can be a standalone; however, you cannot stop with one. (I tend to read new releases, get hooked, and then devour their previous work).

Jack Bertolino is Jack’s Lansing’s dangerous, and sexy LA hero; similar to Michael Connelly’s Harry Bosch and Mickey Haller; Karin Slaughter’s southern and troubled GA Bureau of Investigation agent, Will Trent; J. Carson Black’s Cyril Landry, former navy seal; and Paul Cleave’s Christchurch PD, Theodore Tate.

Lovable tough heroes, fighting the bad guys; ones we support, root for, and keep reading, and reading, anxiously awaiting for the next, while hoping the series never ends. The Blond Cargo carries on the explosive action and cannot wait for the next one!  


The Blond Cargo 

#2 Jack Bertolino Series 


Read My Review 



Source: www.goodreads.com/review/show/1074246813
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review 2014-10-06 01:55
Blond Cargo
Blond Cargo - John Lansing

By John Lansing
Series: Jack Bertolino #2
ISBN: 9781476795515
Publisher: Gallery Books
Publication Date: 10/20/2014
Format: e-book
My Rating: 4 Stars


A special thank you to Gallery Books and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.


Sexy Jack (Jack Bertolino and Associates NYPD officer turned LA PI), is back with Book #2 with John Lansing’s Blond Cargo with an action packed crime thriller, with the hanging fate of blond mafia princess.


Vincent Cardona, a mafia boss (a mobster who abuses cigars, drugs, and booze, with a heart of gold) needs a favor, and Jack knew payback was coming. He just did know it would be this soon. He had taken it upon himself to station Peter outside Saint John’s Health Center while his son was drifting between life and death. Cardona’s enforcer had scared off Delgado, and that may have saved his son’s life. The unsolicited good deed was greatly appreciated by Jack and the debt weighed heavily.


The request is to find Angelica Marie Cardona, his only daughter. His wife died giving birth and he raised her. Angelica, beautiful, blond, early twenties, with flawless skin and gray-green eyes (who did not get her good looks from her father). When he moved to LA and she turned thirteen, she did not want anything to do with him. He tried private schools, ballet, horses, and live in help and nothing helped, and he threatened to send her to the nuns. He has not seen his daughter in a month, around the time Jack’s son Chris was in the hospital.


There have been two women (both blonds) murdered, and he has a bad feeling, as she has never disappeared for this length of time. The other girls were the same age and similar features, as Angelica. Money is no object, he wants his daughter found. Jack is taking the case; however, he has no clue what he will be up against.


For a privileged young woman, Angelica does not appear to have extravagant tastes or shopping habits, and her apartment in Beverly Hills is paid in full by her dad. Maybe she was trying to change her persona, since her dad was a mobster. Jack soon discovers that the young, blond, mafia princess has been kidnapped and imprisoned while rich, politically connected men negotiate her value as a sex slave. (A white slavery ring and priceless artifacts).


In the last book, when Jack busted Mateo, he decided it was in the state’s best interest to utilize the man’s connections and talent and he became Jack’s most prolific CI. Since Jack had saved his life, he had given him a second chance, and the man is forever in his debt. After he worked off his prison time, he went to make a legitimate fortune in Miami flipping condos in (near me) North Miami Beach and knew the upside and the dark side of the real estate business. Now Mateo is joining Jack on the hunt and along with Cruz Feinberg, Jack’s new associate.


Chris (from The Devil’s Necktie), Jack’s son, presently attending Stanford on a baseball scholarship-- The two are not getting along these days, because the Columbian drug dealer Jack had taken down a month ago had decided to get personal and had run Chris down in a Cadillac Escalade. One of the main casualties of the assault was Chris’s pitching arm.


Angelica, last seen in Club Martinique interacting with an ex-con, is being held hostage by a stereotypical Iraqi super-villain investor with powerful local and international connections. Angelica prays her message will be found, as she swore on the grave of her mother that she’d do whatever was necessary to stay alive and find a way to punish her captors. Retribution is something the Mafia had always excelled at. In this, Angelica is her father’s daughter. In a race against time, Jack is running out of options on a collision course to save them both!


From multi-billion dollar Malibu mansions to million dollar customized and cigarette boats, billion dollar real estate, sexy cars, designer clothes, Cuban cigars, marinas, women, drugs, murder, cops, crime, gangsters, cartel, sex videos, Miami connections, sex slavery rings, rape, torture, mob, art, and some hot spots in Marina del Rey, Venice Beach and Santa Monica; private compounds, estates on the Pacific, the rich, and Vargus Development Group, are just a few of the mentions of this fast paced suspense action thriller.


I have not had the opportunity of reading the debut, and first in the Jack Bertolino series; however, a few of the characters are back in book two: sexy DDA Leslie (with some sizzling sex scenes; with plenty of fury, sparks, and chemistry), and son Chris, still in pain, taking pills and seeing a neurologist, with a case of PTSD.


With all the action, thrills, and danger, and added bonus with some human interaction with Jack's character (loving him), and his relationship with son, Chris, and love affair with Leslie. Looking forward to reading #1 (The Devil’s Necktie), and hopefully #3 in this riveting series!  Fans of James Patterson will devour this series;  however, I prefer Lansing's style over Patterson. 

Source: www.goodreads.com/review/show/1077030291
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review 2014-03-18 10:20
The Devil’s Necktie

bookAuthor: John Lansing

Published: December 2012 by Gallery Books/Karen Hunter   Publishing

Category: Crime/Thriller/Suspense


As part of my affiliation with PubShelf I was given a copy of this book in  return for an unbiased review


Jack Bertolino has retired from the NYPD on medical grounds and moved over to Marina Del Ray on the West Coast. He’s put the drug dealers, criminals and the world of cops firmly behind him.....or so he thinks.  Until he gets a call from Mia, a confidential informant he’s worked with in the past, saying they need to talk. Jack has a sinking feeling his new-found peace isn’t going to last much longer. How right he is.


When Mia is brutally murdered Jack is inevitably drawn into the investigation. After initially being the prime suspect for Mia’s murder he goes it alone using his considerable experience and contacts to gather evidence against the 18th Street Angels gang and a dangerous and widespread drug cartel.




A very dramatic, gripping and well written storyline crammed with action and suspense. The characters are well-developed, strong and believable. It’s obvious the author knows what he writes about and it shows.


Jack Bertolino is my type of protagonist, a good guy with principles. Not perfect but determined, steadfast and can show emotion. He’s multi layered and easy to connect with. Can you tell I like him ;-)


The story flows well and realistically, showing the extreme differences between the seedy underworld of drug dealers and gang members and the rest of society. The bad guys are frightening and vicious and don’t think twice about ending someone’s life. The violence is chilling, the title of the book has a very macabre meaning.


I like the style of writing very much, it’s vividly descriptive both in dialogue and story structure. I look forward to more Jack Bertolino.

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