Author: Kevin G. Chapman
Narrator: Kevin G. Chapman
Length: 10 hours 10 minutes
Series: Mike Stoneman, Book 2
Publisher: First Legacy Productions
Released: Feb. 14, 2020
“Championing the forgotten turns deadly in this pulse-pounding edge-of-your-seat crime thriller.” Bruce Perrin, author of Killer in the Retroscape. “Unique and twisted. Another home run by Kevin Chapman!” — Michelle files, author of The Many Lives of Ivy Wells. THE DEAD GIRL THEY FISHED OUT OF THE EAST RIVER WAS A DRUG ADDICTED HOOKER, SO NOBODY CARES. Except that M.E. Michelle McNeill thinks it’s a murder. When NYPD Homicide detectives Mike Stoneman and Jason Dickson start investigating, they encounter unexpected obstacles that point in a disturbing direction. Every death is a tragedy, and every murderer should be exposed, even when nobody wants to hear about it. In order to uncover the truth, Mike and Jason have to go outside the lines, and risk their own reputations, jobs – and lives. This case is one that Mike can’t walk away from, no matter how much he wants to. Harry Bosch fans will love this fast-paced police thriller, from award-winning author Kevin G. Chapman. Book #1 in the Mike Stoneman Thriller series, Righteous Assassin, was named one of the top 20 Mystery/Thrillers of 2019 by the Kindle Book Review. The series continues here.
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Kevin G. Chapman is, by profession, an attorney specializing in labor and employment law. He is the most recent past Chair of the Labor & Employment Law Network of the Association of Corporate Counsel, leading a group of 6800 in-house employment lawyers. Kevin is a frequent speaker at Continuing Legal Education seminars and enjoys teaching management training courses. Kevin’s passion (aside from playing tournament poker) is writing fiction. Kevin’s first Novel: “Identity Crisis: A Rick LaBlonde, P.I. Mystery,” was self-published through Xlibris in 2003, and is now available via Amazon.com as a Kindle e-book. His second novel, A Legacy of One, published in 2016 and was a finalist (short list) for the Chanticleer Book Reviews’ Somerset Award for Literary Fiction. A Legacy of One is a serious book, filled with political and social commentary and a plot involving personal identity, self-determination, and the struggle to make the right life decisions. Kevin’s next novel, Righteous Assassin (A Mike Stoneman Thriller), was a much more “fun” read — it’s a page-turner. It has some serious sub-themes, but it’s a serial killer chase and it’s intended to be enjoyable and easy to read. It was named one of the top 20 Mystery/Thrillers of 2019 by the Kindle Book Review! Kevin has just recently finished book #2 in the Mike Stoneman Thriller series, Deadly Enterprise, which was published on December 2, 2019. He has recently completed the narration of books 1 and 2 in the Mike Stoneman Thriller series for audiobook release in 2020. Kevin has also written several short stories, including “Fool Me Twice,” the winner of the New Jersey Corporate Counsel Association’s 2010 Legal Fiction Writing Competition, which was the genesis of the character Mike Stoneman, the protagonist in Righteous Assassin. He has also written one complete screenplay (unproduced so far) and has another screenplay and two more novels currently in the works, one of which is a sci-fi space opera epic. Kevin is a resident of West Windsor, New Jersey and is a a graduate of Columbia College (‘83), where he was a classmate of Barack Obama, and Boston University School of Law (magna cum laude ’86). Readers can contact Kevin via his website at www.KevinGChapman.com.
I received this audiobook as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. The tour is being sponsored by Kevin G. Chapman. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.
My Self-Narrating Journey
By Author Kevin G. ChapmanAs an independent author trying to talk up the first two books in my crime-thriller series to potential buyers, I frequently heard the same question: “Is it available as an audiobook?” (OK, mostly it was, “Is it available on Audible,” but I’m trying to be more inclusive here.) I would have to sigh and say, “No, not yet.” This was my hopeful way of telling myself that it could happen someday. Among the hundreds of marketing advice columns I have read over the past three years, a consistent theme is that getting into the audiobook market is a good idea. There are fewer titles available (relatively speaking), giving your book a chance to stand out more. But, without a traditional publisher to front the costs and make the arrangements for a professional narrator and a professional studio, is that investment (and it’s going to be around $4000) worth it when it comes out of your own pocket? Lord knows I’ve seen it work. My father-in-law is an avid listener to books on CD, and he routinely spends $25-30 per title. I take his audiobooks when he’s done for listening in my car. Some are pretty good. Many are just awful – and yet they are “best sellers,” even when the narrator is not particularly good – and even when the story is lousy. So – it’s a good idea to have an audiobook, but is the Return On Investment going to be there? Well, I was not quite ready to sink that much cost into the process on the speculative idea that I would then be able to sell thousands of audiobook copies. The next option was to consider self-producing the audiobook, just as I had self-published the paperback and ebook versions. (Of course, I had help from a professional cover designer and a professional editor during that process.) ACX (Audible’s production arm) tries to make it relatively easy, and there are on-line tutorials about how to narrate and edit your own audiobook. So, I asked my wonderful wife, Sharon, to buy me a home studio kit for the holidays (under $250) and in December I set up a studio in my basement (following the advice from all the blogs and You-tube video tutorials) to start narrating my own books. Fortunately, I have a basement at home that is pretty quiet (as long as nobody is walking across the floor directly above my work table). I set up the studio, although I did not initially put up sound barriers, which was mistake #1. By the time I was recording book #2, I had blankets hanging from the ceiling all around the recording area to dull any echoes. I fired up the software, plugged in the microphone, did some sound checks, and then launched into Righteous Assassin. As I went along, I discovered that there are aspects to the process that you don’t think about, can’t really prepare well for, and just have to learn by trial and error. Oh, there were so many errors. The biggest error was that I did not realize that the audio software interface that connected my microphone to my laptop computer had an input setting. I was happily narrating my book into the professional-grade microphone, listening to myself speak through my high-quality over-the-ear headphones (that came with the recording kit), and it sounded great. Then, somehow, the final audio files had a lot of echo. Why? The answer was that the software (Audacity) has a setting for the microphone interface, which should have been set to match the mic and the amp/processer (Focusrite). But, the software interface was set to “Microsoft sound Card” (or something like that). When I switched the interface input to Focusrite, the sound quality improved dramatically. Why? Because now the Audacity software was getting my voice through the professional microphone! What was happening before? The software was receiving my voice through the microphone built into the laptop. Yes, the same one that picks up your voice if you’re doing a video chat without a headphone. The crappy mic with the echo and the low fidelity. Arrrggh! I had recorded the whole book essentially without using my professional microphone – as if I had done the whole thing just reading into the laptop’s built-in mic. (What an idiot, right?) So, now what to do? Could I scrap the whole finished audiobook and start over? No. I did not. I recorded book #2 (using the correct interface setting), edited and mastered it, and got both books up for sale. My listeners will have to just live with the lower quality audio for book #1. It’s the same book – same words, same voices – just not quite at a professional audiobook production quality. To my listeners, I apologize and hope that you can overlook that small issue and still enjoy Righteous Assassin. In any case, anyone who listens to Deadly Enterprise will appreciate how much better the audio quality is. Were there other mistakes? Sure. too many to list here. Look for another blog post from me on this subject, and if you need any tips on how to avoid the mistakes I made in my self-narrating journey, feel free to drop me a line via my website at www.KevinGChapman.com. When I took down the blankets I had hung from the ceiling around my poker table to serve as noise-absorption barriers, coiled up my microphone cords, dismantled my boom stand, and put away all the equipment that I had been living with daily for the past two months, I had a real sense of accomplishment. I was also fearful that all the effort had been (maybe) wasted since I had no idea whether anyone outside my friends & family circle would buy the audiobook. But, I also knew that, someday, my great grandchildren would be able to listen to me read my books to them. That’s a nice thought. Sure, they can also read the books, but having the personal connection of my voice reading my stories to future generations is something that I now realize has great value to me, whether the audiobooks sell or not. I’m glad I did it. I made a ton of mistakes. Hopefully the narration of book #3 will go much more smoothly. Now, it’s up to my readers and reviewers to judge how well I did on my first attempt.
An Interview with Mike Stoneman (questions by Dexter Peacock, City reporter, The New York Times)
- NYT: Detective Stoneman, you have spent the last 17 years chasing down criminals in New York. What has been your biggest challenge?
- Stoneman: Dealing with the changes at City Hall. It’s tough to be a cop in this City, but it gets tougher when you’re not sure whether the mayor and the police commissioner has your back. When the politics change after an election, it’s like you have to get your bearings all over again. The criminals are at least consistent.
- NYT: You received extensive coverage in the media after you and your partner headed up the team that tracked down the Righteous Assassin. Was that your most challenging case?
- Stoneman: No. It may have been the most high-profile case, but I’ve had many more that were harder to solve.
- NYT: Can you describe what happened that night in Queens when Ronald Randal died and the City was freed from the terror of the Righteous Assassin?
- Stoneman: No. I’d rather not talk about it. I know everyone wants to make it out like I was a hero, but I’ll tell you that I’m no hero. I was just trying to stay alive, and I was fortunate enough to do so.
- NYT: What do you love most about your job?
- Stoneman: I enjoy teaching the younger cops, and the cadets. I get to determine what the facts are, so it’s much easier than figuring out what really happened at a crime scene.
- NYT: Do you have any regrets about your career?
- Stoneman: Many. I’ve screwed up plenty. I’m not going to talk about them.
- NYT: Well, why don’t we try something a bit lighter. What do you like to do in your off time?
- Stoneman: I enjoy going out to Citi Field to watch the Mets. I’ve been a fan my whole life. I had the pleasure of attending a World Series game in 2015, and I’d like to see another very soon.
- NYT: What’s your favorite Broadway show?
- Stoneman: Avenue Q. I love the sick sense of humor.
- NYT: If you could do one thing in New York City that you’ve never done before, what would it be?
- Stoneman: I would love to get into a boat and sail around Manhattan.
- NYT: Do you sail?
- Stoneman: No. Never. No idea how. But I’d like to do it.
- NYT: What’s your favorite restaurant?
- Stoneman: The Nam Wah Tea House on Doyer street in Chinatown. My cousin Louie used to take me there years ago. It was just a hole in the wall then. I guess it still kinda is. It’s the kind of place that the tourists don’t go, which makes me like it. It’s also cheap and the food is good, so what more can you want?
- NYT: This spring you were seen at the Hero’s ball in the company of the county medical examiner, Dr. Michelle McNeill. Are you and the ME seeing each other?
- Stoneman: I’m afraid that my personal life is not something that I feel comfortable talking about.
- NYT: Fair enough, Detective. Last question. Aside from Ronald Randall, have you ever had to kill anyone?
- Stoneman: Yes. But again, it’s not something I want to talk about.
Author Kevin G. Chapman’s Top 10 Literary Inspirations
- Michael Connelly — the master of my genre — the middle-aged crusty police detective who’s not really as hard-nosed as he wants people to think he is.
- Sara Paretsky — Her characters are so vivid. She wraps her mysteries and conspiracies around them so well that you overlook the deficiencies in the plots because you love the characters.
- Robert Heinlein — Stranger in a Strange Land is perhaps the best book ever, and in an odd way made me want to be a lawyer.
- Edgar Rice Burroughs — so many nights spent looking up at Barsoom as a kid (Mars). My brother and I built a Martian chess set. His stories are so bad in many ways, but so wonderful in the ways that really matter.
- Ayn Rand — the ability to build philosophical construct within an entertaining story is just brilliant. Tell me a great story, and make me think at the same time.
- Isaac Azimov — yes, a lot of sci fi on the list, but that’s what I grew up reading. Azimov could tell a hundred different types of stories and do them all well.
- Wallace Stevens — you probably don’t know him, but he was a poet from the early 20th Century. He was also an insurance company executive who wrote his poems in the car while commuting to and from work. Reminds me of me sometimes. I studied him in college and his words are simply perfect.
- Linda Barnes — Another great mystery/suspense author with a long series of wonderful stories with wonderful characters and a very personal setting. Read her stuff!
- JRR Tolkien — well, it’s true. I read the Hobbit when I was 10 and never looked back. Fantasy is sometimes overlooked, but the complexity of the story arc and the richness of the characters makes him special.
- Greg Prince — you probably don’t know him either because he writes sports, but his writing and his book publishing has inspired me and he always makes me remember why it matters to write well.
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