There are defining moments in people’s lives, times forever etched in our minds. Some are good. Others not so. For David Wallace, there was no worse time than receiving the news of his family’s death while confined to a jail cell on murder charges.
Seven years later, David has moved on with his life, having started a non-profit shelter for battered women, still haunted by the indiscretion which changed his world forever. But there are dark forces in play demanding a reckoning. As he’s besieged by past demons, David discovers enemies and crimes so heinous and so far reaching, they threaten to propel him down another avenue of regrets.
The Big Thrill caught up with internationally-acclaimed author R. J. Pineiro to discuss his newest thriller, AVENUE OF REGRETS:
What do you hope readers will take away from this book?
The novel is a mystery on the topics of domestic abuse and human trafficking. I’ve inserted enough facts and statistics into it during the natural course of the story not only to add realism but to raise the level of awareness to these terrible crimes that oftentimes don’t reach our nation’s headlines. Let me give you just a few examples: The number of American troops killed in Afghanistan and Iraq between 2001 and 2012 was 6,488. The number of American women who were murdered by current or ex male partners during that time was 11,766. That’s nearly double the amount of casualties lost during war. Another horrible fact: every 9 seconds a woman is beaten in the United States. And there’s that 80% of women who are stalked by a current or former male partner who are also physically abused by that partner.
How does this book make a contribution to the genre?
It provides a deep dive into the world of domestic abuse and human trafficking, woven into a mystery thriller packed with plot twists guaranteed to keep the reader flipping pages. I’m a military/political thriller writer. AVENUE OF REGRETS is a departure from that genre. But I felt compelled to write it after years of volunteer work at two institutions in the Austin area: The Burke Center for Youth (a shelter that promotes healing for boys 11-17 who were victims of domestic abuse and who were removed by the state of Texas from their parents) and Mobile Loaves & Fishes, an institution designed to feed the homeless population in Austin (and a few other states), where I drive a food truck (very similar to the one in the story) into the dark alleys of the city to deliver food and a little hope to those less fortunate. By the way, a percentage of the book earnings have been committed to those two institutions, whose directors have agreed to endorse the book.
Was there anything new you discovered, or that surprised you, as you wrote this book?
Absolutely. I provided a few examples above, but let me give you just a few more: When I started the book, I was aware that there is a human trafficking problem in the world, but I had no idea it was so immense, so far-reaching. The International Labour Organization estimates that there are 40.3 million victims of human trafficking globally, and 81% of them are trapped in forced labor. Imagine that. And on the topic of domestic abuse, every minute 20 women are victims of intimate partner violence, with three women murdered each day by a current or former partner. There is a staggering 38 million women who have experienced intimate partner violence in their lifetimes in the United States alone. But women are not the only ones being abused. One in seven men will also experience severe violence by a partner during their lifetimes, and that number grows to two in five for gay or bisexual men. And on the topic of children, there are 10 million kids each year who are exposed to domestic violence in our country alone. I could go on, and I do so in the book.
No spoilers, but what can you tell us about your book that we won’t find in the jacket copy or the PR material?
The story is written in the first-person present tense, so the reader will live the storyline at the same time as the main protagonist. As shocking events unfold, the reader will experience them through the eyes of the protagonist, who is just a normal guy thrown into the very abnormal and dark world of domestic abuse and human trafficking.
What authors or books have influenced your career as a writer, and why?
At the top of my list would be David Morrell, Douglas Preston, Clive Cussler, Harlan Coben, and Nelson DeMille. But I also write military fiction books, so during my 30 years writing those types of thrillers I was influenced by the likes of Tom Clancy, Stephen Coonts, and Larry Bond.
R. J. Pineiro is a 30-year veteran of the computer industry as well as the author of many internationally acclaimed novels, including The Fall, Without Mercy, Without Fear, and Ashes of Victory. His new novel is AVENUE OF REGRETS. Pineiro makes his home in central Texas with his wife, Lory.
To learn more about R. J., please visit his website.