Wednesday, June 14, 2017

The Last Gig by Norman Green | Blog Tour with Excerpt, Author Interview, and Giveaway

The Blurb

A teenage runaway from the Brownsville projects, Alessandra Martillo lived with an indifferent aunt who had taken her in when her mother killed herself, and later, after more than a year on the streets, a caring uncle found her, took her in, and showed her she had a chance. That was many years ago, and now Alessandra’s all grown up, working for a sleazy P.I., repossessing cars, and trolling for waitstaff on the take. The cases aren’t glamorous, or interesting, but the work pays the bills. And she’s good at it---if there’s one thing she’s learned since leaving the streets, it’s how to take care of herself around life’s shadier elements.    

When an Irish mobster named Daniel “Mickey” Caughlan thinks someone on the inside of his shipping operation is trying to set him up for a fall, it’s Al he wants on the job. She’s to find the traitor and report back. But just a little digging shows it’s more complicated than a simple turncoat inside the family; Al’s barely started on the case when she runs into a few tough guys trying to warn her away. Fools. As if a little confrontation wouldn’t make her even more determined.

Gritty and unputdownable, this is perfect for fans of James Lee Burke and Robert Crais.

The Last Gig by Norman Green 
Genre: Detective Mystery
Series: Alessandra Al Martillo Mystery, #1
Publisher: Witness Impulse
Publication Date: May 23, 2017; 2nd Ed.
Paperback: 352 pages
ISBN-10: 0062672746
ISBN-13: 978-0062672742
eBook File Size: 1061 KB

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The Excerpt

“Your biggest problem is that you’re a girl.” That was the first thing he’d said to her back when they started, that first time she could remember him coming back home. Alessandra had been six years old at the time, a bit tall for her age and naturally athletic, but impossibly thin. He was back in Brooklyn after a tour of duty with the MPs on the Hong Kong waterfront. Tall, dark, and forbidding, that’s how she remembered him; quick to anger, sensitive to any disrespect, intolerant of any lack of rectitude in matters of dress or speech or behavior.

She remembered standing in front of him, trembling, glancing over at her mother for support. Like a lot of project kids, Alessandra’s mother had been her rock, her bodyguard, her ever- present protective shield, but right then her mother would not come past the kitchen doorway. “Beektor,” her mother said, pleading, and her father reddened at the mispronunciation. “Beektor, she’s so small. Are you sure . . .”

“How long do you want me to wait?” he snapped. “She’s old enough. Go make dinner.” He did not look in his wife’s direction to see whether or not he would be obeyed. “Okay, Alessandra,” he said. “Now you listen to me. You’re a girl, and everyone is bigger than you. They think they can make you do what they want, you hear me? You have to learn to defend yourself. Do you understand me? You need to be able to stand up for yourself. Now pretend I’m a strange man, I walk up to you on the street, and I grab you. What do you do?” He approached her then, got down on one knee, wrapped a thick arm around her in slow motion. “I’ve got you now. What do you do?”

She had heard his voice on the phone many times, but this was the first time she had been confronted with the physical reality of the man. He was clearly in charge, and she was terrified of disappointing him. “I would scream,” she said, after a minute. “I would scream for a policeman.”

“That’s good,” he said, but he did not release her. “You should scream. But what if there’s no policemen around? What if they’re too far away to protect you? You need to be able to take care of yourself.” She was afraid to look at him. “You have something to fight with. Tell me what it is.”

She could smell the aftershave he used, feel the smooth warm skin of his arm. She considered his question. “I could hit you?”

“No, you can’t hit me, you’re too small and you don’t know how yet. But you can poke my eye out.”

She looked at her hand, resting on his arm. “Would that hurt?”

“Never mind that. I’m a strange man, remember? I just grabbed you, and bad things are going to happen unless you can make me let you go. Do you understand?”

She did not, but she sensed that he wanted her to say yes. “Yes, Papi.”

“Good. Now we’re going to try it. No, not like The Three Stooges.” He released her then. He held his hand out in front of her, fingers straight and stiff. “Make your hand like this. No, hard, hard, feel mine. Just like that, hard. Now watch this.” Still down on one knee, he pushed her back a half step. “Now you pretend you’re the bad man, and you try to grab me.”

She smiled at that, just slightly.

“No,” he said, “just pretend. I’m the little girl, you’re the bad man. You’re way bigger than me, I can’t hurt you. Try to grab me.” She inhaled, took a half step, her hands raised, and quicker than anything she had ever seen, he jabbed at her face with his stiffened fingers. “Boom!” he said. “Now tell me what just happened.”

“You poked me.”

“I scratched your cornea. What that really means is if you were a bad man and I was a little girl, the bad man is hurting so much he can’t see the little girl anymore, and she’s running away. Do you understand?”

She did not. “Yes, Papi.”

“Good. Now we’re going to practice. First in slow motion. I grab you with this hand, slow, like that, and I’m going to hold up my other hand and you pretend it’s my face, and you jab at it, slow, slow, hold your fingers stiff. Good. Now a little quicker.” He reached for her again, holding up his other hand, and she poked at it. “No,” he told her, “keep those fingers hard and stiff, and jab harder. As quick as you can. Ready? Okay, go. That’s better. Let’s do it again. Okay, good. Again.”

That’s how it started.

Interview with the Author

We have a special guest in the studio today.  

Please welcome Norman Green!

1.  What or who inspired you to start writing? 
The late artist Will Barnet saw a couple of my early efforts, and he was hugely inspiring. Every time I saw him he wanted to know what I was working on. 
2.  How did you come up with your idea for your novel? 
I saw two guys arguing on a street corner in The Bronx. A lot of times, that’s all it takes, one scene, one visual, and then I just let my imagination supply the dialog. 
3.  What expertise did you bring to your writing? 
Curiosity and observation are more important than expertise.
4.  As far as your writing goes, what are your future plans? 
You ever hear the old joke, how can you make God laugh? Tell him your plans… I just want to keep working. 
5.  If you could be one of the characters from this book, who would it be and why? 
Hard enough, just being me. 
6.  Can you give us a sneak peek into this book? 
I resisted writing a ‘private eye’ story for a long time, but I thought it would be interesting to do it from a female perspective. 
7.  Do you belong to a critique group? If so how does this help or hinder your writing? 
Hell, no. 
8.  When did you first decide to submit your work? Please tell us what or who encouraged you to take this big step? 
When I thought I was finished with my first manuscript, my wife had more confidence in me than I did, she gave me the courage to take the next steps.
9.  Do you outline your books or just start writing? 
I can’t do outlines. I’ve tried, but I just freeze up, it’s much easier for me if I just do a page at a time and clean it up later. 
10. How do you maintain your creativity? 
Pretty mundane, really. You respect and honor your creativity by putting in the time. Doing the work.
11. Who is your favorite character in the book? Can you tell us why? 
I relate to Al a lot.

Thank you so much for visiting Jane Reads, and thank you to our audience!

The Author

About Norman Green

Norman Green is the author of six crime novels, most recently Sick Like That. Born in Massachusetts, he now lives in New Jersey with his wife.

The Giveaway

Three digital copies of The Last Gig will be awarded to
three randomly drawn winners via rafflecopter during the tour.

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Follow the tour here. Daily comments increase your chances of winning!

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