Monday, March 21, 2011

A Word to the Wise, Continuing Sales, Some Recommendations

First of all, Thriller Guy is sick, sick, sick of grown-up thriller writers having heroes, tough guy heroes, chuckle. Enough! No more chuckling! Really, has anyone actually seen anyone chuckle? It's a childish, stupid word. Stop. Right now. Never again.

Thriller Guy's ongoing experiment in selling Allen Appel's period mystery, Abraham Lincoln: Detective, in the Kindle format continues. In the month since the book was put up on Amazon, 12 copies have sold. Pitiful, really pitiful. The roll-out has been purposely slow with mentions of the book on this blog, Facebook and now TG's wife has notified her friends. Profits are hovering around $70.00, enough to buy a middling bottle of Balvenie whiskey. Obviously, if Appel thinks he's going to make any real money on the project he is deluded. Actually, thirteen books were sold and one person came to his senses or something and quickly canceled his order and got a refund.

The book chronicles the adventures of Abraham Lincoln and his sidekick law partner, William Herndon as they try to get to the bottom of a mystery surrounding the disappearance and possible death of an addle-brained visitor to their hometown of Springfield, Illinois. Lincoln's on-again, off-again girlfriend, Mary Todd, involves herself in the detecting, much to the disgust of Herndon who could not abide Mary Todd. The fiction is based on a real case that Lincoln once wrote a short article about. He was never able to solve the mystery, but Appel has helped him out with a solution. Along the way readers will, one hopes, learn a great deal about Lincoln and the period.

Here's the deal: the book is fun, funny, clever and damn interesting. If you don't believe Thriller Guy, go to the Amazon Kindle site and take a gander at the three reviews there. TG feels so strongly that you will like this book that he's offering the following terms: If you download the book, read it and don't like it, TG will send you your $9.99 back. Yep, no strings, just comment on this blog with an email and TG will get in touch and send you your money. Now what could be more fair than that? Jesus, what does it take to pry ten bucks out of TG's reader's pockets?

OK, now that's out of the way... On the physical book front -- you know, books, the ones printed on paper -- TG has a few new recommendations.

Mike Lawson continues his entertaining series of mystery/thrillers (House Rules, House Secrets) with House Divided, starring Senate fix-it man Joe Demarco. Joe works for John Mahoney, Speaker of the House of Representatives, a larger-than-life, blustery politician based on the Tip O'neil mold, though in this book Mahoney remains offstage, in a coma. This is a gutsy move for Lawson as this character is a good one and he's taking a chance leaving him off the page. TG can report that the gambit works all right, but he would advise author Lawson to not try it again. TG has some tales of woe that come from his own experience of killing off a well-loved character in a series much to the dismay of readers who were very upset at the move. One of these days, TG will devote an entire blog to this mistake. Anyway, those of you who like a Washington-based mystery will like this series. TG suggests that you start with the first and read them in order, which though not strictly necessary will give you a better look at Joe Demarco's continuing history.

The Burning Lake by Brent Ghelfi is a tough, dark book set in today's tough, dark Russia. Ghelfi's hero is Alexei “Volk” Volkovoy, a man who wears many hats – soldier, spy, criminal, assassin – and who works for the mysterious, dwarfish criminal kingpin known only as The General. The story is built around the disappearance of Volk's girlfriend, a journalist who writes under the name Kato, who is investigating a dead zone in the Urals where a radioactive reservoir exploded 50 years ago. Readers interested in Russia today and who can handle some rough stuff will like it.

TG has some more new thrillers here on his desk to tell you about, but they'll have to wait until next week. Meanwhile, stay tuned for the actual numbers on the book that TG mentored and which was mentioned last week. You will be amazed.


  1. I am one of those 12, but I haven't yet reached it in my huge TBR pile, TG. I don't know what your philosophy on pricing is but $2.99 and less seems the most effective price point for indie e-books according to what I've observed reading J A Konrath's blog. There are a lot of authors who comment are generating huge sales and very large revenues by selling at low prices. Personally I think $2.99 is too low a price for a book, electronic or not, but if that low price encourages a ton of readers take a chance on it I can see the sense of it.

    You'd have to sell 3.4 books at $2.99 to equate to the same royalty at $9.99 if my calculations are correct (probably not) and I think it's safe to say that low price would convince plenty more than 3 times as many people to part with their dollars. I think it's worth trying, if only as "sale".

  2. Hi Allen,

    Knowing how well you treat historical settings and the amount of research you put into them, I didn't doubt that the shift from
    whatever the real history or personality of Abe Lincoln really truly was, to the way you have woven your story would not be a unpalatable stretch of suspension of disbelief at all. I suspect you could argue
    every little nuance too with historical anecdotes and letters and other accounts. So when I set out to read it, I set aside any
    skepticism that a stranger to you might have - and was prepared to enjoy a mystery that would allow me to enjoy the 'personality' of the two protagonists in a way that was entertaining and I dare to say,
    "Educational". You see, I found myself reading about something or someone and became curious, and so I would stop periodically and wiki or Google different people and events and I have to say I was very impressed with how nicely things dovetailed into the story. I saw the potential over years of historical events - even after he became President, for all manner of story's down the road if you were to continue the series.

    So as a fan of historical fiction, mysteries, and Conan Doyle's Holmes - I can truly say that this was very enjoyable and I'd continue to read Herndon's, I mean, your accounts of Lincoln & Herndon's adventures. You are the closest thing to time traveling that a person
    can experience, because in spite of the fictional mechanisms of time travel or the secret investigative life of a gas light era president, you bring to life those times in a way that is very enjoyable and memorable.

    I am having trouble articulating it, but as a result of your story I like Lincoln better than I had before, and realize he was far more interesting than I had previously known him to be.



  3. Didn't some publisher once advise a writer that Americans love books about Lincoln, doctors, dogs, and diets? So, the writer proceeded to write a book entitled "Lincoln's Doctor's Dog's Diet". If you like books that combine mystery, social commentary, and humor then "Abraham Lincoln: Detective" is for you.