Good Junk by Ed Kovacs

By John Darrin

Let me start right off by saying, without hesitation, that Ed Kovaks is a wonderful human being and the best author I’ve had the privilege to have read. I can back up those opinions with one simple quote from our interview:

“Please keep in mind my skills with edged weapons before you ask another smart-ass question.”

Thus ended my smart-ass questions, leaving me with almost nothing to say. Fortunately, Ed is not without memorable quotes.

“For me, an armed and dangerous woman is a wonderful thing.  I usually can’t get interested in a girl unless she’s a spy, a stripper, or has done time.”

“I have a feeling our ‘leaders’ in DC and the West will let these bastards (the Burmese regime – Ed.) skate Scot-free.”

“I slept in a giant tent with 200 men who all smelled worse than me, and I smelled like a dead buzzard.”

“Social media is supposedly the great end-all to promoting a book, but I have about 7000 friends on Twitter and 6800 of them are trying to sell me something.  So how does that help me sell books?”

See? I was tempted to just publish his responses verbatim and save myself some work. But then I wouldn’t have been able to use these reviews on his latest book, GOOD JUNK.

From PUBLISHER’S WEEKLY, in a rare boxed and starred review:

“…powerful prose that evokes a city still struggling to recover its infrastructure and identity elevates this well beyond most other contemporary PI novels.”

From KIRKUS:

“With so many twists and turns, even the most devoted noir fans may wish they had a map. But it’s well worth trying to find the way.”

From BOOKLIST:

“Kovacs maintains a fast pace, and his descriptions of a steamy, seamy, badly managed city that is failing to recover from Katrina are jolting and plausible. Good Junk has plenty of action—and high-tech gadgetry, too.”

GOOD JUNK is the second installment in the Cliff St. James series. For everyone who enjoyed the first, and for all who will enjoy GOOD JUNK, I have it straight from the, uh, wonderful human being’s mouth that there will be at least five. Figuring he can say it better than me, here’s some GOOD JUNK from Kovak’s web site:

“While wrestling with guilt over having accidentally killed an MMA opponent in a sparring session, private detective Cliff St. James assists New Orleans Police in investigating the murder of a US government “black projects” engineer.

St. James quickly uncovers a murky netherworld of seedy arms dealers, shifty intelligence agents, fast-talking thieves, and shady scrap sellers. Sensitive state-of-the-art weaponry and high technology appears to be changing hands; the kind of technology that a foreign government would do anything to obtain.

As the bodies pile up, St. James fights for his life and sanity as he struggles to solve the murders and undermine a treacherous espionage conspiracy.”

In case anyone is counting, so far I’ve written just 31% of the words in this article. I guess I’d better start earning my keep.

The book is clearly very, very good, and you should buy it after friending Ed on Twitter to improve his stats. That said (without the edged-weapon duress), I’m going to spend what few words I have left talking about Ed. He is easily one of the most interesting characters I’ve encountered, and I’ve run across quite a few. There was this cross-dresser in Finland I met while … Never mind.

Ed seemed so earnest about all of his passions — and he has a lot of them — that I wondered if he had an actual sense of humor. From that smart-ass question, I learned that he’d been a comedy writer and almost a member of the Johnny Carson Show staff. Even being an “almost member” is huge in that arena.

One of those passions in WWII aircraft, and since his dowsing (another passion) hadn’t turned up any precious metals to fund collecting planes, he collected their seats, instead. Yes, seats from WWII vintage military planes. Oooookay. But I learned that someone named Warren McArthur designed and built 90% of the seats used in military aircraft of that era. Ed has some interesting factoids lodged in his head.

His career is as varied as his passions. From comedy to jazz DJ to screenwriter to security to author, he’s been around. Right now, ‘around’ puts him in an unnamed country ending in ‘stan’, working a security contract and promoting GOOD JUNK to non-English speakers. Home is Vientiane, Laos where he amuses himself by not getting killed while riding his motorcycle.

When he is back in the US, he lives in … I can’t say it. All of this just seems like piling on, one weird or outrageous image after another. All right, he lives inside an airport. A secure one. Behind chain-link and barbed-wire.

I’ve got to stop. Really. I’m starting to feel lazy and insignificant. If you want more, e-mail me and I’ll send you the whole 2,300 word interview and you can try to absorb this small dose of Ed for yourself.

*****

Ed Kovacs has studied martial arts, holds many weapons-related licenses, certifications and permits, and is a certified medical First Responder. He is a member of AFIO–Association for Intelligence Officers, International Thriller Writers, and Mystery Writers of America. He has worked and traveled all over the world. His well-reviewed action-adventure-thriller novel, UNSEEN FORCES, was published in 2004. St. Martin’s Minotaur released Ed’s crime novel STORM DAMAGE in hardback in 2011 to excellent reviews. Ed splits his time between his home in Asia and his aircraft hangar home at a Southern California airport.

To learn more about Ed, please visit his website.

John Darrin

John Darrin is a consultant on radiological emergency preparedness for homeland security. His work has taken him all over the world, and includes many unique and first-ever projects.A widower, John lives full-time in his RV and travels the country on the Go Places / Meet People / Do Things Tour.

Visit John at: www.johndarrin.com.
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