Library Journal gives the BLACK SWAN RISING audio book a starred review! Since it’s subscription only, here’s the whole thing:
Brackmann’s timely political thriller is a cautionary tale about the intersection of extremism, social media, and access to firearms. It is also filled with insider information about how political campaigns operate. Set in San Diego, parallel stories revolve around the congressional election of Matt Cason. Casey Cheng, Channel 9 reporter, is shot in the back at a mass shooting. She returns to work, perhaps too soon, to pursue the story of her assailant Alan Chastain. She finds he is connected to #TrueMen, who continue to troll her. Meanwhile, Sarah Price works on social media for the Cason campaign. But Sarah has a secret. She was the victim of a horrific sexual assault that was filmed and released to the Internet. After the trial, she changed her name, moved away, and started over. Now someone who knows about her past is sending her graphic, threatening emails, and she is terrified. When an assassination attempt is made on Matt Cason’s life, Casey’s and Sarah’s stories intersect. Christina Delaine expertly captures the vocal nuances of the many personalities. VERDICT: Listeners will enjoy this story of smart, capable women standing up for themselves. It’s thrilling, suspenseful, and thought provoking. Highly recommended.—Judy Murray, Monroe City Lib. Syst., Temperance, MI.
“A tambourine in the wrong hands…is a dangerous weapon”
So as I’ve been re-embarking on this whole playing in a band thing (which is a head trip in many ways), I’m rediscovering tunes that I wrote that I barely remember. Here’s one of them. It had been sitting on a cassette and I hadn’t heard it in 18 years or so (thanks to Dan Westrick for ripping it to digital so I could listen. Who has a cassette player any more? Not me).
Strange for me to hear it again. The musicianship was really solid–hearing Tony and Todd just made me happy. I don’t think Dana was on this tune for some reason — it sounds like me doing the backups (which is too bad, because I always liked the way our voices blended and balanced).
As for the song, it made me sad because it was about sad stuff, and it’s a sad song.
On the other hand, it’s very…musical. Like what’s the next TV show that wants to do a musical episode? Call me.
Brackmann’s novel isn’t only dark and foreboding, it’s also human and humane. The characters take us along this difficult journey through their compelling personal engagement with what’s going on. And the action of the novel doesn’t indulge in the cliches of the genre: The twists and turns of the plot are uniquely Brackmann’s.
Brackmann’s previous two series, one set in the gaming and art worlds of China, the other a more straightforward pair of noir novels set in the drug trade of Mexico, the southern and western U.S., establish the writer’s conversational narrative voice, which continues in Black Swan, but the new novel has more urgency and more contemporary impact, as if this is a novel that Brackmann had to write. I don’t know of any other book that captures the actual social and cyber threats to democracy in the U.S. so effectively. We can hope for more, whether a sequel or a new angle on our times in future books.
I’m happy to report that BLACK SWAN RISING has its first review, from PUBLISHER’S WEEKLY. It’s a good one:
San Diego, Calif., newswoman Casey Cheng, the heroine of this riveting thriller from Brackmann (Go-Between), researches an article exploring the effects of a mass shooting, perpetrated by Alan Chastain, on his victims. She was one of them, shot in the back. Once she recovers from her wounds, Casey interviews Alan’s mother, who allows her to inspect Alan’s bedroom. She finds a graphic novel there that leads her to Lucas Derry, who later attempts to assassinate Matt Cason, a local Congressman up for reelection. When a photo taken at the scene of the shooting showing Matt’s campaign worker Sarah Price attempting to save a collateral victim later goes viral, Sarah is devastated, afraid her secret past will be revealed. That outcome threatens to disrupt the life and career she has created, and possibly to derail Matt’s campaign. A vicious series of posts on social media, spurred by online provocateurs of violence named the True Men Movement, call for the disruption of the upcoming national elections. Despite threats to their safety, Sarah and Casey carry on. Readers will furiously turn the pages to see how it all ends.
On to blurbs…Blurbs are one of those difficult asks for a lot of authors, including me. You want your peers to like your book. You don’t want to put them out. Writers have a lot of demands on their time, and you don’t want to hand them a novel they aren’t going to enjoy and that wastes it.
I like to think from the responses I got back that I didn’t waste anyone’s time. Here’s a sample:
“Fierce, fearsome, and distressingly relevant, with three compelling female leads and a storyline straight out of your very worst Twitter mentions, Black Swan Rising is a showcase for Brackmann’s sharp prose and dry, trademark wit.”
— Elizabeth Little, Los Angeles Times–bestselling author of Dear Daughter
So…I have a new book coming out. Here is some info:
I am super-psyched and excited about this–to be working with the marvelous Terri Bischoff at Midnight Ink for one, and that the book is coming out on an expedited timeline, for another. “Black Swan Rising” is an explicitly political book — I’m not going to dance around this — and the fact that it will be published in advance of the Nov. 2018 midterm elections is incredibly appropriate. The book is about a lot of things–online harassment, misogyny, mass shootings, our polarized nation–and it all takes place in the context of a highly contentious political campaign.
(I swear I wrote the first chapter and pitch for this book in July 2014!)
Because all of this is happening so quickly (in publishing terms, this is light-speed, folks), I’ve already seen some cover comps, and they are awesome! As soon as the design is finalized, I’ll be back to show that off and to tell you more about the book.