"The universe is made of stories, not of atoms."
—Muriel Rukeyser

The Meg 2

Archaeolibrarian - I Dig Good Books! Reviews Art Johnson's Marilyn My Marilyn

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It’s the summer of ’62, and twenty-five-year-old journalist Rory Long receives a phone call at quitting time: it’s Marilyn Monroe. She wants to personally compliment him on a review he wrote of the new collected works of poet Carl Sandburg.

She then enlists the cub reporter to tell her story; she doesn’t want to be remembered as a joke. When they meet, Rory is captivated by her knowledge of classical music, art and literature. As their relationship intensifies, Rory experiences a coming-of-age inspired by this side of Marilyn few know, and at the same time, Marilyn is influenced by Rory to begin reassessing her own life.

But when Rory’s boss assigns him to write an article on the unsolved murder of the Black Dahlia, paranoia and tension mount. File papers go missing, then mysteriously return. An unknown covert organization watches Marilyn Monroe’s every move, thinking she may hold a clue to the Dahlia case. And just when Rory can feel he’s getting closer to the truth, J. Edgar Hoover himself intervenes to request that Rory be reassigned. Rapid changes are about to unfold in the land of the free, and they may be more costly than even Rory can surmise.

In Art Johnson’s latest novel, he continues his style of combining historical fact with fiction to offer the reader a steady stream of drama, tension and humor. Marilyn, My Marilyn reveals fresh insight into the most iconic woman of modern times, not as a biography, but with a view of a nation which often buries the truth with its dead.

An extremely well written fictional account of the friendship between a journalist and Marilyn Monroe, in the lead up to her death.

I loved the character of Rory Long and his determination to not be put off Marilyn and his decision to show Marilyn as he saw her.

His depiction of Marilyn is also refreshing and although it shows the known sides, it gives another facet to her.

I’m aware this is a fictional account but it does hook you in and causes you to rethink those who you think you know. Maybe we all need to look a little closer at the people we know in public and in private.

A lovely, sensitive and brave version of which it is not only enjoyable, but believable.

About the Author

Art Johnson has been a highly regarded musician for over forty years and has performed with everyone from Luciano Pavarotti, Lena Horne, Randy Crawford and Mark O'Connor, as well as being an Academy Award and Grammy Award participant. He is a solo recording artist with ten Cd's to his credit. He has toured all over the globe and his life experience has produced his first mystery/suspense/detective thriller, "The Devil's Violin" which in it's debut has caught the attention of the reader as well as the reviewers. He lives in Monaco where Her Serene Highness Princess Charlene has requested a copy which is now in the Palace. His taut crisp prose has been well received and his newly gathered fans as an author are waiting for the next book.

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Guest Post: The Open Secret – Art Johnson

Art Johnson was a very gifted composer and talented multi-instrumental musician and author.  Art passed away earlier this month.  It was a pleasure and an honor to work with Art on his books and film.

I am an American by birth. In 2002 my wife and I moved to Nice, France where she had spent her childhood. I have remained in the region ever since. The term ex-patriot is not comfortable. I prefer to think of myself as a transplant.

I was part of the vast music scene based in Los Angeles from 1968 through the early 80’s; recording on jazz and pop albums, as well as T.V. and film music for various companies like A&M Records, Twentieth-Century Fox, Warner Bros, and Universal.

The pressure of real-time-perfection in the recording studios, aware of executives gathered around
debating the relevancy of every note you played, would occasionally tempt one to break away from studio politics. A phone call from the management of a top recording artist, heading out for the road, would be just the ticket. Touring the globe was a fantastic experience, but it is not the romantic picture that most of the public conjures up. You are constantly on the move with just two or three days in each city, never having the time to adjust: packing/unpacking, airports, noisy hotel rooms, late meals, useless sound-checks, even more useless rehearsals, and the ever-changing itinerary surprises. Unlike the pressure in the studios, the perfection demanded in live performance offered the musician the opportunity to react with a thing called an audience: playing in real-time for people who paid to get in the door, always offers an honest appraisal of the performance moment.

Aside from wine, women and song, the greatest pastime for touring musicians in the days before IPads and the internet, was reading.

Most touring musicians were very well read individuals. With hundreds of hours of flight time and anonymous hotel rooms, reading became a psychological necessity. Dashing through LAX, one early morning, late for a flight, I ran into a fellow road-warrior who, of course, was also a few minutes behind schedule. As he ran past, he tossed me a book, “This is perfect for you,” he shouted, fading into a crowded corridor. The book was William Butler Yeats’s, Mythology’s, and it was perfect for me. This seminal gathering of Irish folk tales and Yeats’s veiled, dream-like memories of the poet’s time spent in mystical contemplation and magical ritual with groups who studied Transcendental Magic, in the late 19th century, sparked my interest.

devil's violinFor the next few years, throughout the 80’s, I read and wrote poetry, essays and kept intricate journals for hours each day as I gathered a small, but powerful library of rare treatises on Hermetic subjects: tomes that Yeats and his circle drew inspiration from.
In 1988, a book of forty poems was published in Los Angeles, by Silent House Publications, a small, intimate publishing house which is no longer with us. As I was delivering coordinated lectures and readings, the slender volume sold surprisingly well. After the excitement faded, I continued to write and study, but a life in music was taking most of my time as a performer, lecturer and educator.

Nearly twenty-five years later, I was transformed into a fiction author of detective/mystery-suspense novels. I’m not exactly sure how this happened, but I soon realized how much those years tucked away in a garden apartment, with a library and candles, contributed to the task of constructing a novel.

art2All poets earn by their hard work, acute powers of observation. The constant sifting through images, gathered into the mental-emotional state, brings about the distillation and re-defining of experience, which can be compared to the complexities of an alchemical formula—the tearing down and re-combining of elements.

A few years ago my wife and I were visiting relatives in Italy. One night, just before going to sleep, a half-dozen names came to my mind, with brief descriptions of each character. I turned out the light, confident I would recall these characters in the morning. Two minutes later I was sitting up in bed taking notes: as a poet, you learn to never trust your memory to recall an image received from those supposedly, unknown sources.

The following morning, I sat for breakfast, with just a cup of coffee, a pencil and my notebook. Six roughly outlined chapters for, what would eventually become, The Devil’s Violin, were written then. Because I wasn’t eating, the Italian grandmother asked my wife why I didn’t like her cooking. She told her I loved her cooking, but right now I was beginning a new book. Everyone at the table smiled, except for grandmamma: she kept trying to shove an overflowing plate in front of me every time I set the pencil down to take a sip of coffee!

A life spent creating, has taught me that all imaginative endeavors, no matter what the genre—music, literature or the visual arts, derive their inspiration from the same source. This vision; the will-power and desire of an individual, relies on the ritual of transformation, guided by faith and belief in the self. Art and Magic are nothing more, or less, than making the invisible—visible.
Transition is an open secret.

Deadly Impressions, and The Devil’s Violin by Art Johnson are available here.

 Reposted from BooksGoSocial 

ESSAY The Mean Streets of Pittsburgh: A Thriller Author & Former Hollywood Screenwriter on Pittsburgh’s Narrative Appeal

Formerly a Hollywood screenwriter (of My Favorite YearWelcome Back, Kotter, and more), Dennis Palumbo is a licensed psychotherapist and author. His mystery fiction has appeared in Ellery Queen’s Mystery MagazineThe Strand and elsewhere, and is collected in From Crime to Crime (Tallfellow Press). His series of mystery thrillers (Mirror ImageFever DreamNight TerrorsPhantom Limb, and the latest — excerpted on Littsburgh! — Head Wounds) all feature Daniel Rinaldi, a psychologist and trauma expert who consults with the Pittsburgh Police.
Praise for Dennis Palumbo’s Daniel Rinaldi Series:
“Accomplished writer Dennis Palumbo calls his latest novel Head Wounds and the grim title should serve as a warning. This psychological thriller has some fine language and a strong narrative pull that keeps the pages turning, but the series of crimes that occur are unnerving…People in the story wear Pitt Panthers and Steelers sweatshirts, drive on the parkway, and get their news from KDKA. Mr. Palumbo often does more than just mention Pittsburgh landmarks; he characterizes the city in both positive and negative ways…As Head Wounds rolls to its clever, crazy gothic conclusion, no one could accuse Mr. Palumbo of being flat. This is the fifth book in his Daniel Rinaldi series and most readers will hope Dan lives to see a sixth.”
— Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Head Wounds delivers relentless action toward a climax as vivid and harrowing as anything I’ve ever read.”
— Joseph Finder, New York Times best-selling author of The Switch
“The character of psychologist and trauma expert Daniel Rinaldi gives great heart to this story and elevates it to novelistic heights.”
— John Lescroart, New York Times best-selling author of Damage
“Lovers of noir will enjoy Dan Rinaldi’s fast-paced adventures. Rinaldi, an empathic therapist, is on call to the Pittsburgh police. He needs every ounce of his Golden Glove skills to survive the violent world of Pennsylvania politics.”
— Sara Paretsky, Mystery Writers of America Grand Master, author, V.I. Warshawski novels
“A gripping thriller, chock full of the desired twists and cliffhangers, with the added layer and intriguing access of a therapist narrator/detective. A page turner!”
— Aimee Bender, New York Times best-selling author of An Invisible Sign of My Own

What do the recent films UnstoppableThe Dark Knight Rises, and Jack Reacher — as well as popular TV series like This is Usand Mindhunter — have in common? They were all shot in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and the surrounding areas.
Probably because of its undoubted cinematic appeal. Pittsburgh has a sprawling network of neighborhoods that are full of character, steep hills and rolling streets, venerable buildings and parks, and the famous Three Rivers… not to mention some handsome tax breaks provided by the state for today’s filmmakers.
These same vivid, colorful traits (minus the tax breaks) hold true for a spate of recent novels, particularly mysteries and thrillers, set in the Steel City. Authors such as Kathleen GeorgeThomas LipinksiJ.J. Hensley, and K.C. Constantine have made good use of Western Pennsylvania’s unique flavors and tints, and of the cluster of small, industrially-depleted towns that surround the urban core.I must admit, I’m prejudiced about Pittsburgh as a setting for mysterious goings-on. I was born and raised there and graduated from Pitt. Though I’ve lived in Los Angeles for many years, the Steel City still exerts a powerful pull on my memory. Which is why, when deciding on a setting for my own series of mystery thrillers, featuring psychologist and trauma expert Daniel Rinaldi, I chose my home town.
But not just for nostalgia’s sake.
Pittsburgh’s an amazing place, an amalgam of old and new, a shot-and-a-beer town colliding with the Information Age. The steel mills I used to toil in during summers between college semesters are all gone; in their place are sleek, modern buildings where software designers and MBAs work. Run-down sections of the city have been gentrified, with the higher real estate values and tony shops that accompany such startling changes.
Moreover, with its huge financial endowments — from such fabled families as the Mellons, Carnegies, and Heinz — Pittsburgh’s become known as much for its state-of-the-art universities, museums and hospitals as for its sports teams. As well as its innovation. For example, it’s arguably the world’s pioneer in robotics and nanotechnology.
In many ways, it’s these changes that truly represent the transformation of blue collar into white collar. Except that the vestiges of the old Pittsburgh I grew up in are still felt around the edges, still apparent in the weathered turn-of-the-century buildings, the neighborhoods, the immigrant values and loyalties.
Traits I know about all too well.
As a child, my Italian-American parents were horrified when they learned that, during lunch at school, I’d often trade my homemade fried eggplant sandwiches for more “American” peanut butter-and-jelly. These days, adult visitors to Pittsburgh are just as likely to seek out trendy restaurants for that same Italian food (adjusting for inflation, I shudder to think of the PB&J exchange rate).
It would’ve been hard to imagine back when I was working summers at J&L Steel Works, part of seventeen miles of steel mills that no longer exist.* Along with my fellow students, I wore the traditional yellow hard hat that marked me as a newbie. And made us a much more convenient target for the soda bottles, tuna fish cans and other refuse dropped on us from above by the crane operators. Part of the blue-collar way of life in the mill back in the sixties, as were the ethnically-separated work crews and the occasional visits by Teamsters, unloading “misplaced” goods from the backs of trucks.
Then there were the longed-for breaks from the mill’s relentless heat, when, having fallen into an uneasy truce, we college kids and veteran mill hunks sat together on the tar-paper roof, overlooking the Monongahela River, drinking Cokes and listening to Pirates games on transistor radios.
Now that nostalgia-tinged Pittsburgh, like its steel mills, is pretty much gone. No better example comes to mind than when my mother’s brain tumor was removed some years back by a radical new surgery in a world-famous hospital unit, one of whose previous patients was the Dalai Lama. It’s part of a complex of new buildings — like so many springing up in the urban core — whose construction required the demolition of the older ones which had stood before.
No matter how welcomed or needed, change comes with a psychic cost. This is as true for a city as it is for an individual, and I believe it’s certainly true for Pittsburgh. It’s this tension between old and new, darkness and light, that makes the steel city such a fascinating place.
And such an excellent setting for a murder mystery, as more and more authors are beginning to discover as they lead their characters down the mean streets of Pittsburgh…
–Dennis Palumbo

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Mysteryrats Maze Podcast Features Dennis Palumbo's Short Story Players

Mystery short story, "Players", written by mystery author Dennis Palumbo and read by Fresno actor Max Debbas.  Players was previously published in From Crime to Crime, by Tallfellow Press.

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Montreal Times Reviews Dennis Palumbo's Head Wounds

Check out Page 13 for Review of Dennis Palumbo's Head Wounds 

 ON SALE NOW! Daniel Rinaldi #5, HEAD WOUNDS 

"A riveting series." PUBLISHERS WEEKLY 

"Jack Reacher with a psychology degree." KIRKUS REVIEWS

In Memoriam: Art Johnson

Art Johnson was a very gifted composer and talented multi-instrumental musician, having toured with Lena Horne, recorded with Barbara Streisand, and accompanied Pavarotti.  Art was also a wonderful storyteller and author who battled two diseases at the same time: Parkinson’s and polio, and yet created words and music every minute of his life.

Born in San Diego, California in 1945. At the age of twenty-three, Arthur Johnson moved to Hollywood where he spent the next twenty-one years as a studio musician, composer for films and records and touring musician to the stars. In 2002, he moved to Monaco with his wife Patricia.

He continued to perform and teach throughout his illness as well as completing an autobiography entitled Memoirs of a Sideman (excerpts and other writings here), and three novels, The Devil's Violin, Deadly Impressions and recently Marilyn My Marilyn. Listen to his music  for Marilyn, My Marilyn Film.

7 Ways The Meg Was Much Better Than You Expected

Jason Statham, talent from around the globe and a great big shark? Sign us up!

Jason Statham’s The Meg, like its titular megalodon, swam a little under the radar on its summer release. In these times of Sharknado after Sharknado, you’d be forgiven for thinking this was more B-movie trash.

But honestly, that does The Meg a disservice. Yes, it’s a B movie but it’s bloody proud of it. Every single person working on the movie knows they’re on a popcorn flick set, and each scene shows how much fun they’re having.

From start to finish, the film is a treat. Jumping seamlessly from laidback scenes fizzing with chemistry to bloody gore, The Meg defies expectation at every turn. Jason Statham, backed up by Rainn Wilson (The Office’s eccentric Dwight Schrute), Ruby Rose and a whole cast of diverse faces combine to make a marvellous summer movie.

Awards season is coming up, and although it’s unlikely to get the awards nod, there are a lot of reasons this film was much better than it’s given credit for.

If you still haven’t caught this future cult classic, there’s a couple of spoilers on entry number six, but the rest are safe, open waters to swim through.

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Story Merchant Books New Release: Reconstructing the Shield of Achilles by Kathleen Vail

Just received first copy of Kathleen Vail’s Reconstructing the Shield of Achilles off the press from Story Merchant Books. With this surprise, and gratifying, dedication:

"To Dr. Kenneth Atchity I offer my profound thanks, not only for managing the publication of this book, but for all the time and effort he generously and wholeheartedly devotes to every project he takes on. My respect for his work is, I am sure, shared by everyone who knows him, but no one knows the lovely impact of his book, Homer’s Iliad: The Shield of Memory has had on my heart. While reading it, I felt like Penelope, spellbound by an eloquent bard telling the same tales she is weaving on her loom. I am deeply honored to see my reconstruction of Achilles’ shield on the cover of Dr. Ken’s digital version of Homer’s Iliad: The Shield of Memory, and my thanks to him are immeasurable for all the support he has given me. 

Makes it all worthwhile…"

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Kathleen Vail is a member of the Maker Movement taking on the Classics. Combining career skills as a computer engineer and graphic artist for the US Department of Defense with research skills as a lifetime student of Homer’s ancient Greece, Kathleen has created a physical, artistically relevant reconstruction of the divine shield of Achilles based literally and solely on Homer’s specifications in Book 18 of the Iliad.

Enjoying great success since its creation, Vail’s reconstruction of Achilles’ shield appears on the cover of Dr. Kenneth Atchity’s 2014 Kindle version of "Homer’s Iliad: The Shield of Memory," and Carolina López-Ruiz’ "Gods, Heroes, and Monsters" (2nd Edition, Oxford University Press, 2018). She has also given presentations of her work to various groups and organizations, including Virginia chapters of the Classical Association and Mediterranean Society.

Visit Kathleen’s website and blog, TheShieldofAchilles.net for an in depth exploration of all things Achilles, including his spectacular armor, and Homer’s amazing power to excite our imaginations and inspire great creations by artists and artisans, aka Makers, throughout the ages and across all art forms.

DZNE Award Lecture: Nicolas Bazan Author of Una Vida

 Nicolas G. Bazan, M.D., was honoured at the DZNE in Bonn in the context of the "DZNE Award Lecture". The DZNE thus honours scientists who have made outstanding contributions in the field of neurodegnerative diseases. At the award ceremony, Bazan gave a lecture on the topic: Resiliency of brain homeostasis at the beginning of neurodegenerative diseases: significance of the newly discovered elovanoids.

Shaming My Red Lips: The Movie

“Shaming My Red Lips” tells the story of an Americanized Brooklyn teenager transported back to Iran at age sixteen because her father evaluated her cultural assimilation and decided she was becoming too white! Poppy was ripped away from her life in a liberal American environment and thrust into a new and unknown life in an Islamic country. 

Upon landing, the captain announced that all women aboard were required to put on their coats and scarves before stepping off the plane; but Poppy found herself glued to her seat. Fear was a mild word to describe what she was feeling! In Iran she was faced with culture shock but came to realize that in the cultural differences of every country there is something that can always be appreciated and cherished: remaining true to yourself. 

From going to regular school to becoming the evening news anchor in an Islamic country this is a true, hilarious and eye opening journey of how a young woman, during the most formative years of her life, desperately fought to maintain not only her freedom, but her identity. It’s a story of change, fear, hope, and ultimately, triumph. It’s a story to be shared for anyone undergoing tough circumstances no matter where in the world or faced with various challenges.

Sharon Farsijani's Shaming My Red Lips is currently being adapted into a movie with the help of Forbes top 10 speaker Dave Meltzer, Entrepreneur keynote speaker Scott Duffy and Emmy nominated producer Ken Atchity. 

 Join us in making this movie! Visit Shaming My Red Lips: The Movie on IndieGoGo

Deadline Hollywood: Charlie Matthau Readying ‘The Book Of Leah’ With Armand Assante

Filmmaker Charlie Matthau is close to finishing the independent feature The Book of Leah starring Armand Assante, which tells the story of a teenage rape victim who rebuilds herself as a karate fighter and seeks revenge on her attacker.

Brianna Joy Chomer plays Leah Gold, who after sneaking into a night
Getty Courtesy of Stan Rosenfield & Associates
club with her friends, is sexually assaulted in 1980s Chicago. The police do not take her case seriously, trying to blame Leah for being a minor, and the way she dressed. Her high-class family, embarrassed by the incident, sends Leah to a girls school, where she ultimately meets her uncle, played by four-time Golden Globe nominee Assante, who is a Holocaust survivor.

More than another female Karate Kid film, there are layers in The Book of Leah which echo a lot of what we’ve read lately about sexual assault; how alleged victims like Christine Blasey Ford and Patti Davis remained quiet about their incidents for several decades for many reasons. The Book of Leah puts a spotlight on the injustice that rape victim weather; the disbelief some face by those in authority after pointing a finger at their attackers.
In the film, Assante’s Adam Siegel forms a strong bond with Leah and builds her into a karate champ. Also starring in the pic is jazz singer and pianist Freddy Cole in his first feature role as a musical mentor to Leah, Kate Linder as Leah’s mother, Ty Olwin as the love interest, and Melanie Neilan as Leah’s friend.

Based on a true story, The Book of Leah was written by Leslie Neilan and Alan Roth. Neilan also produces with Kenneth Atchity. Matthau’s directorial credits include such pics as the 2012 feature take of Elmore Leonard’s Freaky Deaky starring Christian Slater, Billy Burke and Crispin Glover as well as 1995’s The Grass Harp based on the Truman Capote novel in which Matthau directed his Oscar-winning father Walter Matthau, Sissy Spacek and Piper Laurie. The Grass Harp won best English Language Film at the 1996 Palm Springs Film Festival.

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Clint Hill Selected as the 44th Recipient of the North Dakota Theodore Roosevelt Rough Rider Award!

Gov. Doug Burgum today announced former U.S. Secret Service agent and author Clint Hill as the 44th recipient of the North Dakota Theodore Roosevelt Rough Rider Award, the state’s highest commendation for its citizens.

Hill served in the U.S. Secret Service from 1958 to 1975, protecting the presidency through five administrations: President Dwight D. Eisenhower, President John F. Kennedy, President Lyndon B. Johnson, President Richard M. Nixon and President Gerald R. Ford.

“Clint Hill is an exceptional North Dakotan who has risked his life and health time and time again to protect our nation and its commander in chief,” said Burgum, who informed Hill of the award Wednesday. “During his 17-year career with the U.S. Secret Service, he stood guard over the nation’s highest office through the many extraordinary and unprecedented historical events that occurred from the beginning of the Cold War through the tumultuous 1960s and 1970s. His exemplary record of service at the highest level of national security continues to inspire pride and respect among North Dakotans, and we are deeply grateful for his lifetime of service.”

“It is an honor to be recognized by your home state, and North Dakota has always been my home,” said Hill. “Growing up in North Dakota, the values of hard work, dedication, integrity and the importance of public service instilled in me by my family and community served me well throughout my career. I am honored and humbled to be placed in the company of the many incredible North Dakotans who have received this award.”

A native of Washburn, Hill graduated from Concordia College in Moorhead, Minn., with a degree in history and physical education. Though he intended to be a history teacher and coach, he was drafted into the U.S. Army where he served as a Special Agent in the Army Counter Intelligence Corps.

After his honorable discharge from the Army, Hill applied to the U.S. Secret Service and, in 1958, was accepted as a Special Agent in the Denver field office. A year later, he was assigned to the elite White House detail protecting President Eisenhower. Hill served on President Eisenhower’s protective detail in the White House and during domestic travel and several international trips at the beginning of the Cold War.

When President Kennedy took office in 1961, Hill was assigned to First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy’s detail. Hill was in the motorcade as a member of the First Lady’s detail on the day President Kennedy was assassinated. Hill ran from his position on the running board of the Secret Service follow-up car and leapt onto the back of the presidential limousine as shots were being fired. Shielding President Kennedy and the First Lady from any further shots with his own body as the car sped from Dealey Plaza to Parkland Hospital, Hill is credited with saving Jacqueline Kennedy’s life and was awarded the nation’s highest civilian award for bravery in December 1963.

Hill remained with the First Lady’s detail for a year after President Kennedy’s assassination. In 1964, he was reassigned to the White House where he joined the presidential detail during President Johnson’s administration, eventually becoming the Special Agent in Charge of Presidential Protection.

Hill became the Special Agent in Charge of Vice Presidential Protection for Vice President Spiro Agnew upon President Richard M. Nixon’s election in 1968. Under Hill’s leadership, the size and capacity of the Vice Presidential Protective Division was expanded, and in 1970 Hill became the Deputy Assistant Director of Protective Forces. Later that year, Vice President Agnew visited Hill’s mother and family during a visit to Minot.

In 1971, Hill became the Assistant Director of the Presidential Protective Division. When Hill retired from the Secret Service in 1975, he was the Assistant Director responsible for all protective forces.

Hill has co-authored three books (with Lisa McCubbin) detailing his experiences as a U.S. Secret Service Agent, including the #1 New York Times bestseller “Mrs. Kennedy and Me,” “Five Days in November” and “Five Presidents.” A television series based on “Five Presidents” is currently in development with National Geographic.

Hill has been a guest speaker at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center and continues to participate with Secret Service personnel in discussing protective activities and procedures.

The Theodore Roosevelt Rough Rider Award recognizes present and former North Dakotans who have been influenced by the state in achieving national recognition in their fields

of endeavor, thereby reflecting credit and honor upon North Dakota and its citizens. Established during the 1961 Dakota Territory Centennial, the award was initially given as an honorary rank of Colonel in the Theodore Roosevelt Rough Riders.

The award will be presented to Hill in person at a date and location to be announced soon.


The Counsellors Café Features Therapist By Day, Crime Writer By Night by Dennis Palumbo

image by Aaron Mello

I must admit, I’ve had an interesting career journey. For many years I was a Hollywood screenwriter, after which I became a licensed psychotherapist specializing in treating creative types in the entertainment community. Now, after 29 years listening to hundreds of people’s most intimate stories, I’ve fulfilled a life-long dream and begun a series of crime novels.

The first, Mirror Image, featuring psychologist and trauma expert Daniel Rinaldi, appeared in 2010 from Poisoned Pen Press. After which followed Fever Dream, Night Terrors, Phantom Limb, and the latest, Head Wounds. 

Which begs the question: what, if anything, does a Hollywood psychotherapist and a suspense novelist have in common? Actually, quite a bit.

For both a therapist and a crime novelist, it’s the mystery of character itself that intrigues, puzzles, and continually surprises. As a therapist, I’ve borne witness to the awful suffering, painful revelations and admirable courage of my patients - many of whom have survived unbelievable abuse, neglect and loss. Not to mention those whose lives have been marred by substance use, violence, and severe mental illness.

How people cope with these issues and events, how well or poorly they meet these challenges, goes directly to the heart of the therapeutic experience. My job as their therapist is to help identify self-destructive patterns of behavior, and to empower patients by providing tools to address these patterns and, hopefully, alter them.

So much for my day job. Moonlighting as a suspense novelist, I find myself doing pretty much the same thing with my fictional characters. As a mystery writer, I believe that crime stems from strong emotions, and strong emotions stem from conflict. Kind of like life. Which means the secret to crafting satisfying thrillers lies in exploring who your characters are (as opposed to who they say they are), what it is they want (or think they need), and the lengths to which they’ll go to get it.

Moreover, using my experience as a licensed psychotherapist, I’ve woven many of the situations and people I’ve encountered into my crime novels. People like a particularly interesting patient I once met at the psychiatric hospital where I did my clinical internship. Now, many years later, he’s the inspiration for my hero’s best friend, a paranoid schizophrenic named Noah Frye. Much like this patient from long ago, the Noah of my novels is funny, combative, and achingly aware of the reality of his situation.

I’ve used other aspects of my life experience as well. For example, although my practice is in Los Angeles, the novels take place in Pittsburgh, my home town. In addition, the series hero, a psychologist named Daniel Rinaldi who specializes in treating the victims of violent crime, shares a similar background to my own - from his Italian heritage to his love of jazz to his teenage years spent working in the Steel City’s sprawling produce yards (Though, as each novel’s narrative hurtles Rinaldi into a vortex of murder and conspiracy, he reveals himself to be a lot braver and more resourceful than I am!)

But there’s another connection between my role as a therapist and my role as a mystery writer. Like the therapist, the crime novelist swims in an ocean of envy, greed, regret, and desire. As a therapist does, the crime novelist must relate to his or her characters. Must be able to understand and empathize with their wants and needs. Must, in fact, go inside their heads and think as they think, feel as they feel.

Since most of my patients are in the entertainment industry - writers, actors, directors, etc. - they present a broad canvas of creative passions, lofty ambitions, wild yearnings and devastating defeats. They love and hate deeply, with an artist’s fervor, and this extends beyond career considerations into the most intimate aspects of their personal lives.

So too the crime novelist must create and endow his or her characters with out-sized passions, hopes and dreams. How else can things go so awry in their lives? How else can things lead, as if inevitably, to treachery, blackmail, murder?

All the things, in other words, that make reading a crime novel so satisfying!

Dennis' latest book Head Wounds is available to purchase from many leading bookstores or here at Amazon 

“In Head Wounds, Dennis Palumbo delivers another remarkable first person psychological thriller, told through the eyes of besieged Pittsburgh police psychologist Daniel Rinaldi. When Rinaldi’s haunting past takes control of his present, no one in his orbit is safe, and no reader can escape the ever rising tension as you race to the end.” 

- Jeffrey Siger, Barry and Lefty-nominated best-selling author of the Andreas Kaldis series 

“Palumbo, who specialises in thrills (both) ruthless and baroque, outdoes himself in making life so harrowing for his series hero that he’s sure to need some extra time with his own therapist…” -

"Dennis Palumbo's Daniel Rinaldi books are cerebral thrillers of the first order, with twisting plots, terrifying villains, and a narrative driven by the insight and compassion of the psychologist at the center of it all."

- Timothy Hallinan, author of the Edgar-nominated Poke Rafferty mysteries 

"Dennis Palumbo always delivers the goods, and Head Wounds is his best yet. From the very first sentence you know you're in good hands. Propulsive action and unexpected twists keep you reading way past bedtime. In Daniel Rinaldi, Palumbo has created a hero for our time--as smart as he is tough, and resolutely humane in the face of madness and brutality.”

- Sean Chercover, NY Times best-selling author of Savior’s Game

Author's Bio

Dennis Palumbo, M.A., MFT, formerly a Hollywood screenwriter (My Favorite Year; Welcome Back, Kotter, etc.), Dennis Palumbo is a licensed psychotherapist and author. His mystery fiction has appeared in Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, The Strand and elsewhere, and is collected in From Crime to Crime (Tallfellow Press). His series of mystery thrillers (Mirror Image, Fever Dream, Night Terrors, Phantom Limb, and the latest, Head Wounds, all from Poisoned Pen Press), feature Daniel Rinaldi, a psychologist and trauma expert who consults with the Pittsburgh Police.

For more info, visit Dennis' website here

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Kirkus Reviews: Nobody Walks by Dennis M. Walsh

Pulpy, engrossing account of losing a family member to a senseless murder and retribution delivered through the criminal justice system.

Attorney Walsh was the only one among his four brothers to follow the straight-and-narrow path, perhaps due to the example set by their father, a Cleveland cop turned mobster. But none of them were prepared for the death of Chris, the youngest, at the hands of fellow denizens of the meth-and-gangs subculture on the fringes of Southern California’s pornography business. Walsh lived a sibling’s nightmare, asked to identify Chris’ decaying body. Street gossip quickly pinpointed the killer, David Steinberg, Chris’ former roommate, who was an associate of white supremacist prison gangs. Despite fears that he might pre-emptively sabotage eventual prosecution, Walsh began sniffing around Chris’ friends, a motley group of drug users, porn stars and entertainment-industry hangers-on. Many agreed to cooperate with him, given the implied threat of his more criminally inclined brothers’ thirst for vengeance. The narrative is sensibly straightforward, following the turns as police, prosecutors and Walsh make efforts to gather evidence on, arrest and successfully prosecute Steinberg and his cronies. As the author himself might agree, he is in some ways too close to the material. The narrative is populated by a surfeit of underworld figures who don’t really come alive as fully developed characters, but instead seem caricatures of seamy decrepitude. Still, Walsh captures the arc of his family’s involvement in an act of senseless malice, calling into question the cultural endurance of macho violence within certain subcultures and the difficulty of holding men responsible for horrific acts within the legal system’s overtaxed framework.

Gritty, effective, personalized tale of the outlaw lifestyle and its consequences.