Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Widowmaker by Charles L. CarsonNo one notices the street people of Syria disappear without a trace, sliced from stem to stern, eviscerated, and discarded in China. Not even Jack McManus, recently exonerated but still fighting demons of his own. Not until now.

McManus resumes his search for the Oligarch and the Internet guru responsible for last year’s unexplained airline crashes. In that search, he discovers they have conspired with a Buddhist Abbott in China and with a Chef Boyardee look-alike to carry on the nasty practice of organ harvesting. But, when his quarry is within reach high over the Sea of Japan, McManus learns that what remains of his family is endangered by those he pursues.

Jack McManus was devastated by the death of his wife Mary in an Oakland drive-by shooting. But he had two children to raise and summoned strength he didn’t know he possessed. Although he welcomed the chance to clear his name and resume his career at DOJ, he discovered that his real duty and meaning in life might lay elsewhere. And he may have made that discovery too late.

WIDOWMAKER is available from Amazon.


“How could the media not jump on the story of vanished Syrians found halfway around the world in China, eviscerated and discarded? And how could widowed Harvard lawyer and disgraced prosecutor Jack McManus, barely recovered from his last struggle with personal and professional trials, not be drawn to investigate? The answer is that both are inevitable, with illegal and immoral organ harvesting emerging from Jack’s probe of such disparate elements as the reason for a string of airplane crashes, a powerful Oligarch, a Buddhist enclave.
“And there you have it: a Jack McManus thriller that excels in the unexpected, provides a worldwide case that eventually hits too close to home, and which involves thriller readers in nonstop action and intrigue from its very first page.
“Widowmaker is thriller writing at its best.”
-D. Donovan, Midwest Book Review


Charles was born during an October blizzard, in a small town in southeast Kansas, in a hospital that no longer stands. That town is pretty much gone too. He worked on-air as a disc jockey and announcer in commercial radio when most kids were bagging groceries. He stayed with broadcasting through college and got a commercial pilot license along the way with the aim of being an airline pilot. But, in a turn of fate, Charles went to law school instead.

He always had an imagination, a sense into what makes people tick, or not tick, and intuition about how the world works, or not work. In high school he wrote poetry and short stories, not for classes, but just because he enjoyed telling stories. But, after 30 years as a California trial lawyer, he recalled the stories he wrote long ago and returned to pencil and paper.

Charles writes about people, good people, smart, high achievers, the salt of the earth and responsible, good providers, good neighbors, people you could shoot the bull with over a beer. But many of them carry a special gift hidden from others. Special knowledge. Special visions. Special talents. Under their skin they are different from the rest of us.

They carry their special gift quietly. Most don’t realize the extent of their gift until life goes off its tracks. In a circumstance where we might feel out of control, these people find strong footing. Where we might fear for our lives, these people have never felt more alive. Where we might die, these people live on.

Is this a gift born from their DNA? Or does it flow from a spiritual source? Or does it come from some unknown undiscovered wellspring somewhere out there. Or does it come from somewhere in here? We don’t know. They don’t either. Maybe someday we’ll find out. Or maybe we never will. But Charles will continue to try to unravel these mysteries that live under our skin.