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Sex, Drugs, and Executions: Author Tom Vater Talks Inspiration For His New Book

I know I’m not supposed to have favorites as editor here at Exhibit A Books, but the cover and packaging of Tom Vater’s books are among the best across the entire Angry Robot family. It certainly helps that the stories between the covers are just as cool. In this guest post, he talks about secret wars and his inspiration for his latest book, The Man With the Golden Mind, available now from Exhibit A Books. 

From 1965 to 1973, as the US waged war in Vietnam, a much quieter but no less deadly conflict was fought in neighboring Laos. As President Kennedy announced that the US respected Laos’ neutrality and had withdrawn all its troops, the CIA trained a mercenary army of 30.000 men and children of ethnic minorities and sent them into battle against the Laotian communists. The heart of the American secret war was Long Cheng, a top secret airbase deep in the Laotian jungles, and for a time the world’s busiest airport with more than 400 daily flights distributing troops, munitions, drugs and food across the north of the country. In the later stages of the conflict, the US carpet bombed Laos, killing tens of thousands of Laotians and leaving tons of unexploded ordnance in the soil that continue to claim hundreds of victims a year.

With my brother, film maker Marc Eberle, I co-wrote a feature documentary on the secret war, The Most Secret Place on Earth ( and had the opportunity to meet some of the players involved in the conflict. This intimate relationship with an exquisite slice of 20th century secret history led me to use the secret war as historical backdrop for The Man with the Golden Mind.

Detective Maier is on his way to Laos to solve the 25 year old murder of an East German cultural attaché. But before he can set off, his client, the dead man’s daughter is kidnapped right under his nose in a swish Hamburg hotel. As soon as Maier reaches the Laotian capital Vientiane, he realizes that there‘s more to the case than an old murder.

His kidnapped client, the US government, the Laotian and Vietnamese secret services, remnants of the erstwhile US mercenaries and a feisty young Laotian woman are all on the trail of a file of cold war secrets and its creator, a man called Weltmeister, a former US assassin no one has heard of in a quarter century.

When Weltmeister drifts into the picture like a chimera, betrayed and vengeful, Maier is forced to examine old history, especially his own, in order to make sense of the present. All roads lead to Long Cheng, the former CIA airbase and a very personal encounter with America’s deadliest assassin.

All this might sound a tad too meditative for a spy thriller, but fear not, there’s plenty of sex, drugs, assassinations, executions, kidnapping, double-crosses and other darkness-tinged exotica along the way to keep readers in search of an action fix on Maier’s side. And in an all out explosive finale, the most infamous of former US foreign secretaries makes an appearance. Which makes me wonder, in passing, who will be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize this year?

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Happy Book Birthdays!

It is an exciting day at Exhibit A as we get the celebrate the launch of not one, but two brilliant books!

Rotten at the Heart by Bartholomew Daniels

First up is Rotten at the Heart, the intriguing and utterly unique debut novel from Bartholomew Daniels!

RottenAtTheHeart-300dpiEditWho better to solve a crime than the keenest observer of human nature in history?

Rotten at the Heart is the first in a series of Shakespearean mysteries featuring and narrated by the Bard himself.

London, 1596. With his patron’s mysterious death leaving Will on the brink of ruin and eviction, he’s forced to fall back on his own inimitable powers of observation in order to ferret out the killer and in so doing unravel a conspiracy that goes straight to the beating heart of the court of Queen Elizabeth I.

Rooted in historical fact and written in Will’s own accessibly Elizabethan voice, Rotten At the Heart explores the intersection of religion, politics, and corruption, and underscores the sacrifices that honour demands when a troubled man finally discovers his own.

Introducing Wm. Shakespeare: Detective.

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The Man with the Golden Mind by Tom Vater

Our second book birthday today belongs The Man with the Golden Mind, by Tom Vater, the fantastic sequel to The Camdodian Book of the Dead!

The Man With The Golden Mind by Tom Vater“In trouble again… and a long way from home…”

Julia Rendel asks Maier to investigate the twenty-five year old murder of her father, an East German cultural attaché who was killed near a fabled CIA airbase in central Laos in 1976. But before the detective can set off, his client is kidnapped right out of his arms.

Maier follows Julia’s trail to the Laotian capital Vientiane, where he learns different parties, including his missing client are searching for a legendary CIA file crammed with Cold War secrets. But the real prize is the file’s author, a man codenamed Weltmeister, a former US and Vietnamese spy and assassin no one has seen for a quarter century.


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Both promise to be incredible reads that you definitely shouldn’t miss! But in case you can’t get straight to your nearest bookshop or onto the Robot Trading Company website just yet, below is a sample chapter from each book to tide you over!

Happy reading guys!

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From the Editor: Exhibit A Gets Some Noir At The Bar

From the Editor: Exhibit A Gets Some Noir At The Bar

After a week off last week here to make space for the announcement of Matthew C. Funk signing with Exhibit A Books, I’m back with my weekly note to you, our lovely readers. I’m in New York City this week for publishing stuff and last night I popped in to the Noir at the Bar down in Greenwich Village to talk about Exhibit A, show off a couple of Exhibit A authors, including Mr. Rob Hart, and also read from my own forthcoming noir novel.

For those not familiar with Noir at the Bar, I first become aware of it as a reading series in St. Louis started by Scott Phillips and Jed Ayers, but it actually got it’s start in Philadelphia. After a few in St. Louis, it began spreading across the country and now there are regularly scheduled readings in various cities, including New York, that mix established writers with new and up and coming writers and booze. It’s as close as we’ll get these days, I think, to the great literary salons of Paris in the 20s. Even in this technological wonderland we’re living in with websites and blogs and social media and ebooks, these sorts of live, in-person events are vital to maintaining the spirit and community of books and writing. This is why book stores, libraries, and conferences and conventions will still be a main part of most publisher strategies for the near future, including Exhibit A.

So tell me about your favorite in-person events. Anyone out there been to the other Noir at the Bars?

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Media Round Up 21/03/2013

Hi Everyone,

It has been a pretty busy couple of weeks since our last round up, with new authors signed, novels on tour and video trailers starting to come out for our books – make sure to check out for the incredibly exciting and gritty trailer for The Ballad of Mila posted on Exhibit A page yesterday!

Due to all of this, we neglected to get a round up to you last week, but don’t worry as we’re bringing you a bumper one today to make up for it!

We’re starting with The Professor by Robert Bailey, shooting its way across the states on its tour, before looking at the historical hit Rotten at the Heart by Bartholomew Daniels and finally the thrilling first Freelancer novel Courier by Terry Irving.

So with all of that to cover we better get started!

The Professor by Robert Bailey

The Professor by Robert Bailey“I found this absolutely gripping and fascinating from page one, filled with wonderfully drawn intriguing characters and an engaging and captivating storyline that twists and turns its way to a satisfying conclusion, this is the start to what promises to be one of my favourite legal series. I simply cannot wait to see what is next for team McMurtrie and Drake.” – Lizlovesbooks

“This is a must-read novel for me. One that I would recommend whole-heartedly to anyone who knows how to read. Yeah, that’s right. Not just the genre junkies, but anyone. If I were teaching still, I’d probably make this a required reading of my high school students for the strength of character the professor has alone. This is one of those books that you want to read and discuss.” – A TiffyFit

“Grisham turned me on to legal thrillers more than twenty years ago and I have been an avid fan since.  Now along comes Robert Bailey, another lawyer/author sharing the thrills of courtroom drama.  I enjoyed the flow, the legal drama, the hidden clues, the tenacity of the small firm vs the giant…it all adds up to a good thrilling read.” – My Bookshelf 

“With a complex and realistic cast of characters; witty dialogue and dramatic heart pounding interactions; and a fascinating mystery/crime storyline with an authentic style that flows seamlessly from beginning to end; The Professor is a thoroughly entertaining legal crime story that takes the reader on one hell of a thrilling roller coaster ride!” – Jersey Girl Book Reviews 

“The story is simple in this phenomenally well-written first legal thriller, but the steps by which the topics of legal defense and legal community problems are handled is exemplary and bodes well for more exciting fiction from this new writer!” – Crystal Book Reviews 

“This has ‘best-seller’ written all over it.  It’s active, it’s compelling, it’s an easy read.  If I were to look for something new, and thrilling, this is exactly what I’d want.” – Looking for a Good Book 

Rotten at the Heart by Bartholomew Daniels

Rotten At The Heart by Bartholomew Daniels“Bartholomew Daniels has taken Shakespeare and turned him into a private eye. When I first read the description at NetGalley I knew I had to request a copy–so very glad I did…Looking forward to more” – M.E. Welman 

“Shakespeare makes a quirky and enjoyable detective. I hope to read more about his adventures in the future.” – Cayocosta72 Book Reviews

“It takes some courage for an author to write a book as though he were writing as William Shakespeare.  Shakespeare, after all, is “widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language” and any attempts to write as him are surely to pale by comparison.  Fortunately, author Bartholomew Daniels doesn’t try too hard to emulate the Bard’s writing, instead, he works to capture the voice of the era — the sounds and feel of 1500-1600′s England.  In this, Daniels has done a remarkable job of writing in such a way as to remind us that this was some five hundred years ago, and yet managing to be readable to modern readers.  A feat of no small measure!” – Daniel (Goodreads)

Courier by Terry Irving

Courier by Terry Irving“I never thought about how all those stories were put on the news so quickly. But in fact someone had to pick up the film, drive it down to the news station and have it developed before It could be edited, let alone put on air. In the traffic congested streets of Washington DC, that person was the motorcycle courier. Weaving in and out of traffic, he put his life on the line to get the story in on time. Imagine all that drama… then imagine realizing that someone in that traffic was trying to kill you. A great read!!” – Alison (Goodreads)

“Courier is one of those fun books you just thoroughly enjoy. Terry Irving took his own experiences as a motorcycle courier during Nixon-era Washington, DC and wove them into an exciting, nail-biting, fictional thriller…This is one you won’t regret picking up; and once you do, you won’t be putting it down until you’re done!” – Loriann Murray (Goodreads)

“I know it is a ‘reach’ to compare a first timer with an amazingly successful fiction author, but this story has enough echos of ‘The Pelican Brief’ about it that Terry should be looking over his shoulder. I want to see the movie.” – Donald Critchfield (Goodreads) 

But don’t let the comments stop there! We want to know what you think, so grab yourselves a copy and get reading!

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Watch Out! Mila is Slashing and Shooting Her Way to the Movies!

Hi Everyone,

Not content with the Italian Mafia, Mila Zago has set her sights on a new target, the silver screen!

The Ballad of Mila’s author, Matteo Strukul, has teamed up with Lyda Patitucci to create this incredible teaser trailer for a potential movie about Mila!

The trailer has proved so popular that not only did it win The Best Pitch Trailer award at this year’s Trailer FilmFest Awards but it has also led to the both The Ballad of Mila and its sequel being optioned for movies!

Watch the trailer below and let us know what you think.


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Matthew C. Funk Joins the Exhibit A Ranks

Exhibit A Books Sign Matthew C. Funk

Exhibit A Books is excited to announce our latest acquisition, English Language Rights from Stacia Decker (Donald Maass Literary Agency) for Matthew C. Funk’s The City of NO (March 2015), a stylishly cool novel, set in New Orleans.

funk-e1357188327577Matthew C. Funk: “The most exciting part of this entire pulse-blasting process was when I learned Bryon was the man at the helm for my book’s home. It made informing my immediate family a far more complicated and delightful process, as I had to narrate my history with him and the inspiration it lends to our collaboration. That’s all a long-hand way of saying, I’m thrilled to the gills to be working with Bryon and Exhibit A.”

Bryon Quertermous: “I’ve known Matthew for a while through the broader crime fiction community so I’m excited for the opportunity to work with him on this very cool novel. I think Matthew and Angry Robot/Exhibit A are a great fit for each other.”

Stacia Decker: “I’m very pleased that Matthew Funk and Jari Jurgis have found a home with the innovative publishers at Exhibit A. Fans of Matt’s prolific short work will be blown away by this powerful, affecting novel, and Exhibit A has proven itself to be the right publisher to bring it to them.”

The City of NO:

Police Detective Jari Jurgis came to New Orleans to save the poor and downtrodden. Instead she lost herself—first to the drug dealers determined to control her, then to her desire for retribution. Now, surrounded by corruption as constant and suffocating as the sweltering summer heat, Jari is a rogue cop cruising the cracked and decaying post-Katrina streets on her own mission: hunting down the men who made her as broken as her city and putting them in as much pain as she’s in.

But Jari finds a new mission when she discovers dozens of young women have been lost in the New Orleans Parish Prison system—their records washed away by the storm, and their fates determined by officials targeted by a new, foreign influx of human traffickers. To save these women, Jari will have to decide whether to trust a criminal kingpin who’s already brought bloodshed and regret to her doorstep. More important, she’ll have to face up to her own true goal—and how far she’s willing to go to achieve it.

About Matthew:

Matthew C. Funk is a social media consultant and professional marketing copywriter. He is an editor of Needle Magazine, editor of the Genre section of the critically acclaimed zine, FictionDaily, and a staff writer for Planet Fury and Criminal Complex. Winner of the 2010 Spinetingler Award for Best Short Story on the Web, Funk has work featured at numerous sites indexed on his Web domain and printed in Needle, Grift, Pulp Modern, Pulp Ink and D*CKED. 

A graduate of the University of Southern California’s Masters of Professional Writing MFA Program, he has been a managing editor on two literary magazines – “Fresh Fruit For Rotting Vegetables” at Kenyon College and “Phylegeas” at USC.

Advance Praise:

“A powerful novel of New Orleans. Gets the place and its people exactly right. One couldn’t ask for more.”—Randy Newman, Oscar-winner

City of No is a breathtaking debut—bursting with both rage and violence as well as compassion and heart. One of the best first novels I’ve read in years.”—Duane Swierczynski, Shamus and Anthony Award-winning author of Fun & Games and Hell & Gone

“Matthew has a uniquely compelling voice, and in this book, he delivers the gritty post-Katrina New Orleans in blazing technicolor so vivid you’ll feel the sweat, the grime, and the chaos climb inside your skin. The fascinating characters he’s created have a visceral impact and their stories are unforgettable and haunting.”—Marcia Clark, author of Guilt By Association

Rights Queries: Please contact Stacia Decker for all film, translation and merchandise rights queries:

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‘The Professor’ on Tour

The Author, Robert Bailey

Robert Bailey

Robert Bailey has been busily working away these last few weeks promoting his debut novel The Professor.

From Blog Tours, to book signings, to video interviews, Robert has been tireless in his mission to make The Professor everyone’s new number one book.

So for everyone who is a fan of The Professor and Robert’s work or interested in what an author does to promote a new book, here is a recap of what he’s been up to.


Radio Interviews


Robert giving his reading

Robert finished February with an interview on the Thacker Mountain Radio Show in Mississippi. In front of 150-200 strong crowd Robert gave a reading from The Professor and spoke to members of the crowd about the novel. As well as being a great opportunity to promote it also allowed Robert the chance to see The Professor out on local bookshop shelves!

Book Signings and Special Guests

Robert followed the radio interview up with a weekend of special book signings. First a private one with family and friends as well as special guest Lieutenant Governor of the State of Alabama, Kay Ivey. This was followed the next day by a much bigger signing at Books-A-MillionNot only did the event nearly cause a stock sell-out of The Professor but it was also described by a store clerk “the best I have ever seen in the eight years I have worked at the store.” Well done Robert.

Video Interviews

Finally Robert took part in a video interview for HTVHe took the opportunity to talk about The Professor and how he got into writing in the first place. Essential viewing for anyone considering becoming a writer and great publicity for the book as the interview will be going out across America!

At Exhibit A we’re incredibly proud of all authors and their accomplishments and its great to be able to show you all how hard they work for them!

Don’t forget to get your own copy of The Professor, available from Amazon, Waterstones and The Book Depository and many other booksellers!

The Professor by Robert Bailey

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From the Editor: More Talk About Photos + Social Media Stuff

From the Editor: More Talk About Photos + Social Media Stuff

Today is going to be a short post. Last week sucked. My wife had the flu, the kids were sick, I was sick and I fell behind on a bunch of stuff that I need to catch up on. But I wanted to take a second and follow-up on the discussion from last week about photos in blog posts. Over in my own personal world I joined Instagram in an effort to orient myself more to visual storytelling as well as using words and so far I’m pleased with the results. I really don’t NEED another social media stream to manage, but this offers something different, I think. I hope. I also have to confess that I was watching GIRLS and one of the younger writers was talking about Twitter and said he didn’t have it but he would find her (Hannah) on Instagram. It made me feel old and I don’t like feeling old. So that’s Instagram.

How do you all as readers and writers feel about more social media streams? I think everyone is firmly establish on Facebook and Twitter, but is there any value to other social media like Instagram or Tumblr or Pinterest? Myself, those others just baffle and frustrate me so I hope you say no. Especially even as Caroline and I have regular discussions on how to keep the social media feeds we already have fresh and useful. But if the readers are all heading in one direction, I don’t want to be with the publishers heading in the other direction. So talk to us in the comments.

P.S. The photo up there is what my office at home looks like where I write this little bursts of genius. I’ve thought a couple of times about moving into a separate, dedicated office, but for now this works best for me and I like being able to look through that cutout and see the TV, especially as baseball season approaches.

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Media Round Up 07/03/2014

Hi Everyone,

You join us in the midst of exciting times at Exhibit A, where a celebratory mood is sweeping through our offices.

Why are we celebrating? The answer is simple, despite being the youngest member of our imprint family, we have proven our ability to bring you gripping and high quality reads and as such can now provide you with seconds and sequels to books that have taken over all our lives!

In honour of this the round up today is dedicated to two such books, Greed by Dan O’Shea and Stalk Me by Richard Parker.

Greed follows O’Shea’s incredible generation spanning novel Penance whilst Stalk Me comes after the equally impressive Scare Me which was, for those new to us, Exhibit A’s first title! Understandably these new books are very important to us and have a lot to live up to, so without further a do, lets see what people said about them!


Greed by Dan O’Shea

Greed 200x300“O’Shea never makes a false step or misses a beat—the tone and attitude of each player is pitch-perfect, the action both intense and believable, and every character, big or small, reeks of authenticity…Greed is a thriller of the highest order, and you will be making a grave mistake if you don’t read this adrenaline-fueled adventure.” – Elizabeth A. White 

“More of a “the next adventure” than a direct sequel, O’Shea proves that the success of PENANCE was no mere beginners luck. You’ll stand up and cheer, because O’Shea has made his laundry list of characters and puzzle pieces of plot points work so well.” – Crimespree Magazine 


Stalk Me by Richard Parker

Stalk Me by Richard Parker“Richard Parker thrilled us with Stop Me and Scare Me, and he has hit the heights yet again with this, his third stand-alone novel.  Stalk Me will draw you in, it will excite you, it will upset you, and it will terrify you.  Most definitely another must-read from Richard Parker.” – Crimespace 

“Richard Parker writes the kind of book that I love to read. He creates these intense scenes of fear and panic that jump from the pages and strangle you! He did it with Scare Me and he has done it again with Stalk Me.” – Redhead Reader Book Blog

“Like SCARE ME, author Richard Parker has written another edge of your seat thriller that, if anything else builds upon his capacity to spin an utterly engrossing and complex thriller.” – Just A Guy That Likes To Read 

“Author Richard Parker has a knack for writing books that will keep you not only on the edge of your seat but also finding it impossible to put down .  This book is no exception.” – Martha A Cheves


So it sounds like the new additions to Exhibit A annals didn’t disappoint! And the excitement doesn’t stop there, stick with us because this year we’ve got more sequels and seconds coming your way from our brilliant authors, as well more fantastic brand new books of course!

Whatever you do don’t let the Exhibit A homepage out of your site for moment!

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From the Editor: How Many Words Are Pictures Really Worth?

From the Editor: How Many Words Are Pictures Really Worth?

For someone who is as visually oriented as I am, the issue of photos in blog posts has always been a complicated one for me. When I first started blogging back in the dark ages of 2004, blogs were very text oriented with a few scattered pictures. Over the ten years or so since then, it has moved almost completely in the opposite direction with pictures dominating posts with a scattered bit of text. I have not taken well to this transition.

I love photos on other people’s sites, but I always forget to include them in mind because I’m just not generally a fan of taking photos. I don’t know why either. I think I’m good at it and I have plenty of ideas for photos, I just usually would rather write about something that photograph it. But Marc has kindly suggested I add more photos to my posts, so here we are.

As most of you know I work from home here in Michigan. My son is in school all day, but a few days a week my daughter is home with me and I’ve named her the unofficial Exhibit A US Intern. Here she is at my old laptop taking dictation for me (or playing Curious George games possibly). She is much more photogenic than I am, so I think this is a fine tradeoff for all of you.

I am curious about your thoughts on photos in blog posts though. Do they really make a difference? What kinds of photos would you like to see here at Exhibit A…within reason of course? As always, have your say in the comments.

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