Friday, February 21, 2020

VBT, Interview and Giveaway: Poisoned Pawn by David Siegel Berstein

Poisoned Pawn
by David Siegel Bernstein

GENRE:   Detective, Mystery


Caleb Jacobs is a man with a past. After serving on a failed dark ops assignment in Afghanistan, he leaves Marine Corps Intelligence to try to build a new life in Philadelphia as a homicide police detective.

Jacobs is happy, for a time, until he is assigned to solve the murder of Shannon Faraday. During the investigation, he is convinced the evidence points to him as the killer. He knows it is only a matter of time before other investigators see the same. He has no alibi and the clock is counting down.

Behind his partner’s back, Jacobs hires a private investigator named Lawrence Holmes. The PI is an irritation to the police, but he is unmistakably brilliant. And, many powerful people in the city owe him favors. Holmes is a bit odd. He insists on calling Jacobs Watson but claims to never have heard the name Sherlock. Jacobs can live with this kind of crazy as long as together they find the real killer.

They quickly link the murder to a series of seemingly unrelated crimes occurring throughout Philadelphia, and Jacobs becomes convinced the murder is related to the truth of what had happened during his time in Afghanistan. Old secrets have come back to haunt him.


I felt like --- for having to hire a private investigator, especially one who was most likely insane. Still, I couldn’t deny that his type of crazy got results. Reluctantly I handed over an envelope to the man sitting on the sun-bleached bench. 

He opened it. Satisfied with my offering, he slid it into his jacket. “Ah, Watson,” he said. “Good to see you again.”

I shook my head and dropped onto the bench next to him. “My name is Jacobs. Caleb Jacobs,” I said, hoping the reminder might stick this time. 

He turned to me. “Did you say something?”

I sighed. “No, Holmes.” 

If I wasn’t desperate for his help, I’d strangle him. Of course my superiors at the Philadelphia Homicide Unit wouldn’t appreciate that. But I wondered if a cop hiring a private investigator was any worse of a violation. I needed Lawrence Holmes for his connections and unique viewpoint, things my PHU colleagues couldn’t provide. He might not be the fictional character he played at, but he was a talented PI.


AUTHOR Bio and Links:

To support his writing addiction and excessively extravagant lifestyle, David Siegel Bernstein, PhD, is a data scientist who consults as a forensic statistician. That sounds really boring until you realize that his clients include the US National Security Agency (NSA), the Secret Service, the FBI, the Department of Justice (DOJ), and a host of other acronymonious agencies who cultivate exciting and shadowy reputations. Alas, those reputations are mere facades that disguise the real reason these organizations exist, which is to keep him entertained and fed.
When David wants a break from this spellbinding work, he writes. His fiction credits encompass two novelettes and sixty shorts. His nonfiction has appeared in newsletters, popular blogs, academic journals and he is the author of the book Blockbuster Science: The Real Science in Science Fiction.
He lives within the shadow of Philadelphia with his wife, Michelle, two children, Seth and Gwendolyn, and a dog named Ringo Biggles Woofington.

twitter: @DavidBernstein

instagram @davidsieglebernstein



What author influences you the most? 

Nope. I’m not going to give only one. Influences rise and fall by how much they are needed at the time. For my recent project I was influenced by Harlan Ellison and Neil Gaiman. They taught me how to buzz sawed through the barriers between genres. 

For the mystery in Poisoned Pawn, I get inspiration from the likes of Rex Stout, Agatha Christi, and Conan Doyle. I turn to Dan Silva, Lee Child and Jonathan Maberry to get hyped about the thriller component in my book. 

What does your writing space look like? 

Do you like the look of chains? I write in my dungeon. It is a scary place, and not for the faint hearted. Come in and play. I dare you. Sighs. Okay, yes, it might be fun to play in a dungeon, but I don’t really have one. Perhaps someday, just not today. 

My writing process is a messy. I write when I have the free time and in almost any location. Coffee shop, home, bar, etc. 

Is there a "must have" when you are writing? 

I’d like to say talent, but that isn’t the “must have.” What you need to be an author is persistence. Write, write, write, every day. Choose a word count (500, 1000, whatever) and commit to writing that amount every day. If a goof like me can do it, anyone can.

Also, patience and self-forgiveness is important. In most cases the story you start out with isn’t the one that is going to be completed. Typically your first idea is a springboard for your next one, and so on. So learn to be flexible in your writing. 

When did you decide to become an author? 
That is a deep question. Darn you. I was hoping you would pitch me at least one softball question. Okay, there was no specific moment when I made the decision. The credit or blame goes to my mother. She was a writer and encouraged me to try my hand at it as a wee lad. For good or ill, I’ve never stopped. I decided during high school I wanted be an author, but it wasn’t until. I sold my first story that I bragged about it. Not long after that I felt like a fraud (Don’t judge me!). Even now, after over 100 publications, two novelettes, and two books I’m still uncomfortable calling myself an author.



David Siegel Bernstein will be awarding a $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


February 4: Andi's Book Reviews
February 5: Viviana MacKade
February 6: BooksChatter
February 7: Author C.A.Milson
February 11: Rogue's Angels
February 12: Fabulous and Brunette
February 14: Readeropolis
February 17: Danita Minnis
February 18: Jazzy Book Reviews
February 19: Our Town Book Reviews 
February 20: It's Raining Books 
February 21: Locks, Hooks and Books 
February 25: All the Ups and Downs 
February 26: Independent Authors
February 27: The Avid Reader 
February 28: Long and Short Reviews


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  1. Congrats on this tour and thank for the opportunity to read about another great book out there to read. It helps out so I can find books I know my family will enjoy reading. Thanks as well for the giveaway.

  2. How is it all linked to the murder? I want to know.

  3. Happy Friday, thanks for sharing the great post!

  4. Do you have any plans for a follow up book?

  5. Ooohh..This sounds like a real twisty turny suspenseful story😕. I love it. I was raised by a dad watching o!d war movies, shoot-am up etc..then bring them home Or go get them. I love this --> so far absolutely Fabulous :-)
    You got me at the twist and hiring the PI.
    Blessings for much Success with this book.
    Can't wait to 👀see and read it.


  6. I want to know what happened in Afghanistan.

  7. I like the cover! It’s very intriguing!

  8. I liked the excerpt. It sounds like a really intriguing book.

  9. How desperate do you have to be to have a PI that calls himself Holmes?

  10. Where do your inspirations come from?

  11. Do you have any more books you are writing on now?

  12. Do we find out about the failed dark ops assignment?

  13. I am looking forward to good reading.