By Don Helin
In his novel, STORM DAMAGE, Ed Kovacs unleashes a story so thrilling that New York Times bestselling author Steve Berry says, “Hard-edge, Frenetic. This tale is fluid, dark, and compelling. Ed Kovacs is a vivid addition to the thriller genre.”
Synopsis: In a city overwhelmed with murder and mayhem, the last homicide before a Category 5 hurricane wipes out New Orleans is quickly forgotten and remains unsolved. Until now.
A mixed-martial arts coach and bare-knuckled former cop investigates a curious missing persons/murder case. The cold trail quickly heats up, propelling him into a battle of wits and brawn with the deadliest killers operating in the apocalyptic, post-hurricane ruins of New Orleans.
With no forensic evidence, a destroyed crime scene, and no corpse, Cliff St. James, who’s practically homeless and on the verge of bankruptcy, tenaciously navigates the gritty aftermath of a city that’s barely functioning. The more layers of deceit he peels away surrounding the case, the grander is the conspiracy that comes into focus, placing him squarely in the cross-hairs of those who specialize in remaining unknown.
Author Biography: Ed Kovacs has worked for many years as a private security contractor deploying to challenging locations worldwide. He is a member of the Association for Intelligence Officers. When not on a contract, he splits his time between his home in Southeast Asia and his aircraft hangar home at a Southern California airport.
I had the opportunity to catch up with Ed a few days ago and ask him a few questions.
Is there anything special you’d like to tell us about STORM DAMAGE?
In early 2009, I was working a security job on the most heavily drug-trafficked stretch of the Mexican border. I spent three years writing and rewriting the manuscript because I was working so many hours. Then I got deployed to a Central Asian country for four months and tweaked STORM DAMAGE some more when I was off-duty and not swilling cheap vodka with Russian soldiers or intelligence agents.
Later in 2009, I was working a security contract on the French Riviera and reread the manuscript. I thought it read pretty well, but then I sold my good coins when gold was $350 an ounce so what do I know. Luckily I located Ed Stackler, whose clients included major heavyweight super-talented authors. When Ed got back to me, he told me if the rest of STORM DAMAGE was as good as the first 50 pages, he would do his best to get me a literary agent. While in Thailand, I not only had a great agent, but a two-book deal with St. Martin’s Press.
Did any particular event inspire the novel idea?
I deployed to New Orleans as a heavily-armed security contractor for a telecommunications concern in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. During this time, I became aware of an unsolved murder case—the last murder to take place in New Orleans before the hurricane hit. I instinctively knew that the premise was a good jumping-off point for a crime novel.
What are you doing to promote your novel?
All of the obvious stuff: Facebook, Twitter, blogging, Goodreads. I’ve placed a few articles with sites like Backspace. Seems like I should be doing more online, but I’m not sure what that would be. I’ll be back in the States in January for what I’m calling my “Double Down Micro Tour”—book signings in Los Angeles, Phoenix, Tucson, Houston, St. Louis, and maybe New Orleans.
St. Martin’s Minotaur will publish the second Cliff St. James crime novel, titled, GOOD JUNK, in 2012. If they want more titles, I’ve got them. I’ve also developed a series of espionage thrillers—I already have six plots—featuring a security contractor protagonist who carries out unofficial missions for the US State Department. I enjoy writing thrillers of all types.
When you’re not writing, what are you doing (hobbies, family, etc)?
Wish I had time for hobbies like prospecting and aviation wreck chasing, but I spend a lot of time deployed overseas. In 2011, I spent less that 30 days sleeping in my own bed.
What didn’t I ask you that I should have?
I remember sitting on the Mexican border and watching convoys of pick-up trucks full of drugs drive right across the border and pass me with their light out and I couldn’t do anything about it. Maybe some of that righteous anger found its way into STORM DAMAGE. Similarly, I was in Central Asia working with an American team on a Russian military base. We had limited freedom of movement and were confined to a small crumbling compound. The paranoia, the ruined structures, and all the bleakness meshed well with the themes interwoven in STORM DAMAGE.
A couple of jacket blurbs:
“Ed Kovacs comes out of the gate with a bang. STORM DAMAGE is ultra fast-paced, moving, and nicely devious. Highly recommended.” –Jonathan Maberry, New York Times Bestselling Author of THE KING OF PLAGUES.
“Powerful as a Category Five hurricane, STORM DAMAGE by Ed Kovacs is a riveting journey into murder, politics, and greed. Kovacs writes like a master, bringing to exciting life colorful and cosmopolitan New Orleans. In the aftermath of Katrina, brand-new private investigator Cliff St. James is thrown into a cauldron of lies, felonies, and violence just as Mardi Gras begins. This is a spicy, thrilling story as unforgettable as an excellent gumbo.” –Gayle Lynds, New York Times bestselling author of THE BOOK OF LIES.
“With a penchant for descriptive accuracy, Ed Kovacs provides page-turning excitement in this New Orleans centered murder mystery. In fact, if you allow yourself to become immersed, you’ll probably be able to hear the jazz playing in the background—it’s that intense.” –John B. Alexander, author of FUTURE WAR.
Thanks, Ed. Your book looks great.
ED KOVACS has worked has worked for many years as a private security contractor deploying to challenging locations worldwide. He is a member of AFIO, Association for Intelligence Officers. When not on a contract, he splits his time between his home in Southeast Asia and his aircraft hangar home at a Southern California airport.
To learn more about Ed, please visit his website.