Monday, July 19, 2021

Virtual Book Tour and Giveaway: Median Gray by Bill Mesce, Jr

Welcome to my stop on the virtual book tour for Median Gray by Bill Mesce, Jr. This book tour was organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. On my stop, I have an excerpt from the book as well as a great guest post from the author. There's also the tour wide giveaway for a chance to win a $25 Amazon or Barnes & Noble gift card. Be sure to visit the other stops on the tour for more content. Enjoy!
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Title: Median Gray
Author: Bill Mesce, Jr.
Publication Date: August 4th 2020
Print Length: 282 pages
Genre: Police Thriller
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New York City, Summer 1963
Rookie beat cop Jack Meara is bleeding out on the dirty floor of a tenement hallway - next to the body of another cop. The eyes of the shooter burned into his memory. Meara watches and waits to see the shooter brought to justice, but, instead, "Tony Boy" Maiella climbs up the Mob ranks, slipping off indictments as easily as his designer overcoat. But on the eve of his retirement, Meara decides on one last kamikaze-like try to even the scales of justice.

New York City, 1983
Rookie detective Ronnie Valerio finds himself unknowingly pulled into the wake of Meara's quest. A go-go palace bartender is being stalked, a body turns up in a neighborhood dumpster, machine guns blaze in the night, a New York bookie turns up dead in the Jersey Pinelands and the only thing they all have in common is, in one way or another, they all tie back to Jack Meara.

How far does a cop go to even a score? How far does a brother cop go to shield him? Is justice worth any price when the line between right and wrong blurs?

**The eBook is only $0.99 on Amazon!**

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EXCERPT:
He hears a shout upstairs, something panicky about cops out front, feet stumbling down the stairs. He gets up, turns as a figure hurtles around the second-floor landing and down the upper stairs of the first flight. He barely gets his gun up, hasn’t even said anything when they collide, entangle, and there’s one, brief, brilliant second of mental clarity – when he’s swamped by just what an unbelievably bad idea it was to come down that hall – and then that clarity collapses into panic as he and the figure grapple and try to untangle themselves, and then he feels himself losing his balance, falling backward, he reaches a foot back but there’s nothing there and now he’s on his back, his breath punched out of him as he skids down the stairs to the hallway floor.

He’s still got his pistol in his hand but he’s dazed, he can’t get enough breath to move, and he looks up, sees the guy he just wrangled with standing on the landing over McInerney, silhouetted against the soot-streaked window, sees the guy’s right arm coming up and he knows what that means, he knows, and he feels everything from the pit of his stomach down to his groin turn to cold mush, he’s trying to draw in some air, enough to get his own piece up –

There’s a flash. Quick, bright, like lightning. In that flash, dark eyes look down on him, cold hard eyes.

And with the flash...

There’s a POP – a small noise, like a single clap of hands, but in the confines of the hall it sets his ears ringing…
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Bill Mesce, Jr. Is an award-winning author and playwright as well as a screenwriter. He is an adjunct instructor at several colleges in his native New Jersey.





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GUEST POST:
There are two real-life mysteries that have never ceased to fascinate me and both for the same reason: they remain mysteries. Interestingly (and, man, I hope this isn’t some indication there’s something mentally wrong with me!), they’re both serial killer cases in which the killer taunted authorities with bizarre messages.

The first (and you may already have guessed it) is the Jack the Ripper killings. Saucy Jack murdered at least five prostitutes in London’s Whitechapel district during the latter part of 1888 and then stopped. The murders were never solved.

There’s been a ton of speculation over the decades about the possible identity of the Ripper, movies and books about case, even a theory that he migrated to the U.S. and continued killing.

What’s grimly fascinating to me is the why; what was the Ripper’s motive? The killings escalated in their ferocity, the final one being literally the destruction of a woman’s body. Those increasingly vicious mutilations of the victims is the only clue as to what might have been going on in that disturbed mind. I suppose that’s what hooks me; is seeing the results but not knowing what could push even a disturbed psyche to that kind of violence.

Then there’s the Zodiac killings which took place in San Francisco and other areas of northern California in the late 1960s. Zodiac also had five victims although it’s suspected he might have been responsible for more. Unlike the Ripper murders, the Zodiac killings varied which makes it even harder than the Ripper killings to try to divine even a demented motive.

Over the years, a number of possible identities of Zodiac have been raised, but some have come up dead ends, while solid evidence couldn’t be found for others.

The usual suspicions when serial killings stop is that the killer may have been incarcerated on another charge, or that the killer himself may have died.

The appropriate word here is “haunting”: a ruthless, even vicious killer emerges out of nowhere, goes on a killing spree that defies explanation or understanding, and just as suddenly disappears. It’s the stuff of urban legends, and legends – especially eerie, disturbing ones -- never die, but, instead, remain the stuff of nightmares from one generation to the next.
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GIVEAWAY:
Bill Mesce, Jr. will be awarding a $25 Amazon or Barnes & Noble gift card to a randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter. Good luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

62 comments:

  1. What gave you the inspiration to write this book?
    digicats {at} sbcglobal {dot} net

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    1. I was 25 in 1980 when I first started working in NYC. If you want an idea of what NY was like in those days, watch MIDNIGHT COWBOY. Crazy, exhilarating, frightening, all at the same time. The book was sort of a response to what I was seeing, hearing, feeling. It's why, even as the years went by and I kept reworking the material hoping someone would publish it, I opted not to update it. It's very much a story about a particular time in that place.

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    1. When the house showed me the design for the cover, I was knocked out. I thought, That's IT! And I think it nicely captures the feel of the book, almost noiry.

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    2. It's Tuesday 20th in Ireland so here's my comment:

      Noiry? Yes! And that should be a word!

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  3. I want to thank All the Ups and Downs for inviting me here as part of this book tour. They had posed what I thought was an intriguing question to me for my post: what true life mysteries have interested me, and it was fun -- in a morbid sort of way -- to dwell on that. I look forward to any other questions from readers, writers, bloggers out there. Again, a thousand thanks to ATUAD!

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    1. Thank you for stopping by! I am a big fan of true crime. =)

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  4. How long was the writing process?

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    1. It's tough to answer because what's generally happened with me is that I finish a draft, I shop it around, it gets rejected, I put it on the shelf and go on to something else. Then I get a sense of how to rewrite it, take it off the shelf and round and round we go. I began writing MEDIAN GRAY back in the 1980s, and I think it went through 6 drafts over all those years. My problem is I get bored very quickly, so I'll bang through a draft to be done with it, and then go on to something else. It's probably not the best way to work.

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  5. Love the excerpt. Sounds like a great book.

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  6. Looking forward to reading. I'm married to a retired cop, and love this genre.

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    1. He might be interested to know that a friend of mine who helped me with some period details for the police was Sonny Grosso who was one of the real-life French Connection cops. He passed away in 2020; a sweetheart of a guy and a gold mine of street stories.

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  7. this sounds like a wonderful book

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  8. I really enjoyed your guest post.

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  9. I haven't read a police thriller in years. I love the genre and this sounds like a terrific read.

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  10. Sounds great, I love thrillers!

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  11. Sounds like a very good book.

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  12. Nice to learn about your thriller.

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  13. sounds like a amazing book :)

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  14. Love the cover and the excerpt sounds amazing.

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    1. They did do a hell of a job on that cover, didn't they? I was impressed.

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  15. Great post – thanks for sharing 🙂

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  16. My husband is a police officer and would love this book.

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    1. Not to send business away, but he might also like 400 THINGS COPS KNOW by Adam Plantinga who served on the Milwaukee PD and is currently a sergeant with the San Francisco PD. It's easily the best nonfiction book I've come across about how the world looks through a cop's eyes. Sgt. Plantinga helped me with a stage piece about cops. Great guy, hell of a writer.

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  17. hmmm...the thin blue line. sounds like a good one
    sherry @ fundinmental

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  18. I have always enjoyed a good police thriller especially in my home town. Thank you so much and best of luck with the tour.

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  19. Thank you. It sounds odd to say, but even though I know the city is in better shape these days (Covid notwithstanding), I kind of miss the nasty old days. In my years there I caught someone trying to pick my pocket, got hit by a cab, missed a bank robbery by 10-15 minutes, watched manhole covers explode just a block away from me, got accosted by some delusional lady on the street... Oh, the list goes on and on. You felt like some kind of survival expert just commuting to work in those days!

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  20. Do you ever suffer from writer’s block and, if so, how do you overcome it?

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    1. A write acquaintance of mine, now passed, who was also a mentor said an interesting thing about this: I don't believe in writer's block. It just means the piece isn't ready yet.
      That answered my own questions about when I've run dry on a book. Back before I was first published, I had a piece where I'd hit a wall. I thought, Ok, it just doesn't work; end of story. I put it on the shelf. YEARS later I had an ah-HA! epiphany, went back to it, piece wound up being a finalist for a couple of awards and published as a novella in a collection of short works of mine.
      Look, some pieces may never be ready. You hit a wall because there's nothing on the other side of it. Sometimes it's as my mentor said; you haven't found the key yet. While those things always nag at me, I have learned to put them aside and go on to something else. Sometimes the blocked piece needs that kind of percolation time, you need to cool on it instead of trying to force it. I've often -- and somewhat tastelessly -- compared trying to force a piece to trying to force a movement when you're constipated; the only thing you'll accomplish is popping a vein.

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  21. This sounds like a really good book also thank you for the chance!

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  22. David HollingsworthJuly 19, 2021 at 10:17 PM

    What inspired you to write this book?

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    1. I answered a similar question above but you were nice enough to ask, you deserve a personal response. It very much came out of my own personal experiences from when I started working in NYC in the 1980s. I was the main character's age, like him experiencing a lot of the craziness that was NY in those days for the first time. Every city has its own "flavor," and sometimes the flavors change over time. NYC, from the 1960s into the mid-late-1980s was a bizarre place. I've spent time in Boston, DC, a little bit in Philly, I went to college down south, a lot of time up in Portland, ME, but I've never been in a place with the particular outrageousness of NYC in that period and I wanted to capture that -- as much as a memento as a story vehicle -- in MEDIAN GRAY.

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  23. Looks like an interesting book.
    Thanks for the contest. 

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  24. This sounds like a great read.

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  25. The excerpt is interesting. Thank you for sharing it.

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  26. Midnight Cowboy? That's exactly what a couple of my College friends said when they moved there back in the '80s.

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    1. I don't know how to do an emoticon for a big laugh but if I could I would; they know what I'm talkin' about!

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  27. Nice book cover and the book sounds interesting.

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  28. This sounds like a fascinating book to read - a real page turner!

    Nancy
    allibrary (at) aol (dot) com

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  29. I love a good police thriller-this is definately a good one

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  30. Police thrillers are my favourites (both in tv and in books). Love the cover!

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  31. sounds like a fun one

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  32. I saw a documentary about the theory that The Ripper had simply emigrated to the US, NY, I think. It was done as a cold case, much like the tv series Without A Trace, and had me convinced (at the time anyway!).

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    1. I saw that documentary! I'm not sure if I buy it, but it was an intriguing theory.

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  33. Great book-cannot wait to read it

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  34. How many books do you read in a year?

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    1. During the semesters, it's hard for me to find time to write for fun because I'm usually drowning in student papers. During the summer, it depends on whether or not I'm working on something. Since June, I've been through 2-1/2 novels and a nonfiction work which seems about right for me and still be able to get house, family, and writing stuff taken care of.

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  35. I love that the cover matches the title. Thanks for the giveaway!

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    1. As an author and ghost, I've written 23 books, and this is definitely one of my 2 favorite covers.

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  36. I definately will need to read this

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  37. Well, that's it. Good luck with the novel Bill.

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  38. I can feel NYC in the 80's while reading the excerpt. This is going on my list to read

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  39. Sounds like an interesting book!

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