Welcome to Day 24 of the Mystery Book Tour, today our guest is John Lansing and his book Blond Cargo
Where is your home town?
I grew up in Baldwin, Long Island. It’s about 45 minutes outside of New York City. It was a pure, middle class, suburban existence. I moved to Los Angeles in the late 70’s and now reside in Marina del Rey.
How Long have you been writing?
I spent fifteen years writing for network television. I’ve been writing novels for the past four years.
What is your favourite sub-genre of mystery?
Crime/Thrillers I think says it best.
Where is your book set?
I set my Jack Bertolino series in Marina del Rey. I find it helps me to write what I know. What I can touch and feel. Streets I walk down, roads I drive on and restaurants I eat in. I think the reader appreciates getting an honest feel for the geography where the action takes place.
Can you introduce us to Jack Bertolino?
Jack Bertolino is a retired NYPD Inspector. Exemplary record. He spent 25-years as an undercover narcotics detective who worked his way up the political ladder. He ran a group of narco rangers who were responsible for putting multi-ton quantities of cocaine on the table, millions of dollars of laundered cash, and shutting down major cartel kingpins. If it wasn’t for a violent fall off a steel girder doing cleanup at ground zero post 9/11 he’d still be carrying a badge.
After three unsuccessful operations and months of painful rehab, he promised never to go under the knife again. Jack found himself standing at the crossroads. Shooting pains ran down his six-foot-three frame on a daily basis. He was damaged goods, recovering from a contentious divorce, and self-medicating his chronic back pain with a daily Vicodin, Excedrin cocktail. He decided to leave his hometown of Staten Island, and move west to find some peace.
What’s that old saw? Men make plans and God laughs. Well, twenty-five years of taking down drug dealers, money launderers and killers came back to haunt him, and shook up his newfound state of calm in Marina del Rey, California.
Tell us about Vincent Cardona
I think I’ll let Vincent Cardona explain himself. “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 it. 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.”
Cardona is a mob boss who runs a successful high-end steakhouse in Beverly Hills. He’s a deadly man whose only soft spot is his beautiful daughter who has gone missing.
Why must Jack take a kidnapping case for Vincent?
In The Devil’s Necktie, my first novel, Jack’s son, Chris, was the victim of a brutal murder attempt. Vincent Cardona, a mob boss, and shadowy figure I introduced in that book provided information that ultimately led Jack to the killer. He also posted one of his men outside the hospital where his son was drifting between life and death. That unsolicited deed may have saved his son’s life. Jack knew there’d be payback involved, there always was with the mafia. And when Cardona’s daughter goes missing, the mobster turns in his chit.
Jack crosses the thin blue line and takes on the case to pay his debt. It’s a matter of honour.
Does Jack work alone or as part of a team to find the Mafia Princess?
Jack has assembled a team to work with him on this case. Mateo Vasquez, thirty-nine years old, tall, handsome, with striking gray eyes, long brown hair, and a thousand dollar suit. He was an ex Colombian drug cartel operative that became a prolific Confidential Informant. When Jack busted the cartel, he made Mateo an offer – spend thirty years in the big house, or come to work for the NYPD. Mateo made the right choice and Jack earned himself a loyal operative when he became a private investigator.
Cruz Feinberg. His mother was Guatemalan, his father a Brooklyn Jew who founded Bundy Lock and Key and taught his son everything that he knew. That’s where Jack first met the technical wiz. Cruz, who took after his mother’s side of the family, looked taller than his five-foot-nine frame. Dark-skinned, intelligent brown eyes, a youthful angular face, and at twenty-three, he could still pull off the spiky short black hair.
Tell us what you are working on at the moment.
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.
Where can readers find out more about you and your books?
I think the best place to get a feel about what I’ve been up to is my website.
If you have the time to visit, leave me a message, I’d love to hear your thoughts.