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Wednesday 21 February 2018

ℚ The Fourth Gunman: Jack Bertolino [4] - John Lansing

Today we have the pleasure of meeting up with author to talk about The Fourth Gunman (, Gallery Books/Karen Hunter Publishing, 320 pages), a Crime Thriller, book four in the Jack Bertolino series.

"For fans of suspense and mystery, heroes who know how to dig up the dirt and uncover those pesky skeletons in the closet, THE FOURTH GUNMAN is a great read to sink into. A little gritty, with a hero who colors outside the lines!" ~  Dianne B, Reviewer 

"This book brings to mind a lot of questions. Who was the fourth gunman? Where is he? Who is he working for – the good guys, the bad guys or the really, really bad guys? That’s the challenge for Jack Bertolino. By the way, who’s he working for? I was getting an adrenaline rush from this book, and didn’t want to put it down. When it ended, I didn’t want it to end. This was my first John Lansing book. It won’t be my last"
~ Nancy, reviewer

|| Synopsis || Teaser: Excerpt || The Series || Author Q&A || About the Author || Giveaway & Tour Stops ||

Hello John, and welcome back to BooksChatter!

Last time you spoke to us about Dead Is Dead, the third book in the Jack Bertolino series; The Fourth Gunman is the latest instalment.

Can you introduce us to retired inspector Jack Bertolino and tell us how he has been developing since the beginning of the series?

"First of all, I want to thank Flora, at BooksChatter for hosting me today, and posing such thoughtful questions. And when I write, I don’t work with music in the background. The only sounds I hear are the ambient noises drifting up from the road in front of my building in Marina del Rey.

For those of you who are new to my series of crime/ thrillers, my protagonist, Jack Bertolino, is a retired NYPD inspector who found himself standing at a crossroads. He had just recovered from a contentious divorce, and retired from the NYPD after an accident all but destroyed his back leaving him in constant pain and self-medicating with a daily cocktail of Excedrin and Vicoden. The irony of an undercover narcotics detective, now addicted to opioids, wasn’t lost on Jack. He decided to leave the old neighborhood in Staten Island behind, and move west to reinvent himself.

Men make plans, and God laughs. It certainly didn’t work out the way Jack planned. Twenty-five years of taking down drug dealers, money launderers and thieves, came back to haunt him and shook up his newfound state of bliss in Marina del Rey, California.

Marina Del Rey, California
Jack’s son won a baseball scholarship to Stanford, and the move west afforded Jack the opportunity to repair their damaged relationship. Jack had been an absentee father for most of his son’s life, as he fought his way up the NYPD food-chain. He’d missed a lot of firsts in his boy’s life, and suffered with the guilt. Making amends was a top priority.

Now, four novels into his move west, Jack and his son have made great strides forward in their rocky relationship. Jack also achieved an often humorous but strained detente with his ex-wife and her boyfriend. And his new business, “Jack Bertolino and associates, Private Investigation,” is keeping him fully engaged.

Hopefully it will also keep you, the reader, engaged."
What was the spark for this latest plot that features the mob, a missing FBI agent and an illegal gambling yacht?
"The first spark came from my nephew. He sent me a newspaper article, and the subject matter piqued my interest. I can’t go into the specifics without a spoiler alert. What I will say is, I thankfully held onto the story for a few years, until I could create an organic approach to work it into my ever-expanding cast of characters.

The book is a stand alone, but Blond Cargo is the antecedent to my new book, The Fourth Gunman. In Blond Cargo, Jack was hired to find Mob boss, Vincent Cardona’s daughter, who’d gone missing. While writing that book, I sparked to the idea that one of his soldiers should be an FBI plant.

I didn’t go there in Blond Cargo, but that singular idea, along with the subject matter of the Wall Street Journal article, was enough to pull Jack Bertolino onto a new case."
What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating this book?
"To never get intimidated by technical issues. You can learn, research, and write about almost anything your imagination can conjure. Just Google it. At that point you might want to go a step further and interview specialists in the field you’re writing about. There were a lot of technical subjects in this book I was unfamiliar with. I problem solved on the computer, and through personal interviews. In the end, I was quite pleased with the results."
Can you share with us a favorite scene from The Fourth Gunman?
"Not so much a favorite scene, but my favorite location. The illegal gambling yacht operating in international waters off the shores of Southern California. It’s a colorful, romantic, and sexy location. And it’s Mob boss, Vincent Cardona’s latest venture. I could organically revisit Cardona, his mafia crew, and his daughter Angelica Marie, whose life Jack saved in Blond Cargo. Angelica plays a pivotal roll in The Fourth Gunman, and I’ll leave it to the reader to discover how their relationship evolves."
Art seems to be in your blood: stage and TV actor, musician, TV writer and producer, and published novelist for nearly 10 years. (I couldn't help putting together a selection of clips from John's acting days - I hope you enjoy it!)

Tell us about your journey and what made you embrace the crime/thriller genre.
"I was an actor for many years. I had my share of successes, and my share of disappointments, but, once I discovered I could write, that I could create the show, and not interpret, I never looked back. When I moved from television to novels, my life changed again. I always worked with a partner in my television work, now I write alone. And now I write what I love to read. Crime/thrillers."
What has been your greatest challenge as a writer?
"Staying on top of the business aspects of book selling. The writing, the creating, is the joy. The business is a necessity."
What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment?
"The toughest criticism came from a literary agent I approached to represent me. She said my work was too commercial. Not a compliment. The best came from a Hollywood producer who optioned my first book and said my work was very commercial. Total compliment. You can’t please everyone."
Which do you think you have the most of: talent, intelligence, education, or persistence? How has it helped you in your life?
"I’ll let others critique my talent. You can spend a lifetime studying and still not be able to write a compelling character, or a story, or soar when you sing, or act, or dance or paint. Tenacity is what separates the dabblers from the professionals. The only way to succeed is to work at your craft every day."
Do you have any special sayings or expressions?
"“You never know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have.”"
Do you feel differently about yourself now from how you felt when you were younger? How? What do you think has stayed the same about you throughout life? What do you think has changed?
"Just physically. Not mentally. I’ve been able to keep my inner-child alive."
John in the '70s
(left to right: 1974 as Danny Zuko in Grease, 1976 as Doc in The Kids From C.A.P.E.R., 1979 in Halloween outfit)
What comes next?
"I’m writing the 5th book in the Jack Bertolino series. It deals with the “Innocence Project.” An organization that reopens cold cases and works to exonerate deathrow inmates who were falsely accused, and convicted. Many of these men have spent most of their adult lives behind bars. Using modern forensic techniques, the organization has had great success overturning convictions, and freeing the innocent."
And as a final quirky thing, to get to know you a little bit better... do you have a pet or something that is special to you that you could share with us?
"I have a twenty-eight pound mini-poodle named Lucky. He’s been by my side through my entire writing career, and reminds me every day when its time to step away from the computer and get some air. He’s my best friend and I love him dearly. I've e-mailed a picture."
Hello Lucky! You are a very beautiful boy. Once again, lots of head-scratches and kisses on the nose to you from all of us at BooksChatter!

John, thank you for sharing Lucky with us - we are animal mad. 

The Fourth Gunman
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John Lansing said...

Many thanks to Books Chatter for their thoughtful questions, and for sponsoring me today. I enjoyed the experience. Best, John

CMash said...

This book was an exceptional read!

John Lansing said...

I need to post again. Books Chatter, you did a fantastic job telling my story. The detailed work you put in was wonderful, and greatly appreciated. All the best, John

BooksChatter said...

Hello John, thank you for popping by again :-)

I had fun preparing it - it was a real pleasure!
Now I just have to get reading! ;-)

All the best to you, Flora

Mary @ StackingMyBookShelves! said...

OMG, I love the pictures from the 70's. Awesome. I am sorry I didn't get a review copy for this tour. Oh well next one for sure! =)