Thursday, February 27, 2020

Virtual Book Tour + #Giveaway: Poisoned Pawn by David Siegel Bernstein @DavidBernstein @GoddessFish

Poisoned Pawn
by David Siegel Bernstein
GENRE:  Detective, Mystery


Caleb Jacobs is a man with a past. After serving on a failed dark ops assignment in Afghanistan, he leaves Marine Corps Intelligence to try to build a new life in Philadelphia as a homicide police detective.

Jacobs is happy, for a time, until he is assigned to solve the murder of Shannon Faraday. During the investigation, he is convinced the evidence points to him as the killer. He knows it is only a matter of time before other investigators see the same. He has no alibi and the clock is counting down.

Behind his partner’s back, Jacobs hires a private investigator named Lawrence Holmes. The PI is an irritation to the police, but he is unmistakably brilliant. And, many powerful people in the city owe him favors. Holmes is a bit odd. He insists on calling Jacobs Watson but claims to never have heard the name Sherlock. Jacobs can live with this kind of crazy as long as together they find the real killer.

They quickly link the murder to a series of seemingly unrelated crimes occurring throughout Philadelphia, and Jacobs becomes convinced the murder is related to the truth of what had happened during his time in Afghanistan. Old secrets have come back to haunt him.


I felt like shit for having to hire a private investigator, especially one who was most likely insane. Still, I couldn’t deny that his type of crazy got results. Reluctantly I handed over an envelope to the man sitting on the sun-bleached bench.

He opened it. Satisfied with my offering, he slid it into his jacket. “Ah, Watson,” he said. “Good to see you again.”

I shook my head and dropped onto the bench next to him. “My name is Jacobs. Caleb Jacobs,” I said, hoping the reminder might stick this time.

He turned to me. “Did you say something?”

I sighed. “No, Holmes.”

If I wasn’t desperate for his help, I’d strangle him. Of course my superiors at the Philadelphia Homicide Unit wouldn’t appreciate that. But I wondered if a cop hiring a private investigator was any worse of a violation. I needed Lawrence Holmes for his connections and unique viewpoint, things my PHU colleagues couldn’t provide. He might not be the fictional character he played at, but he was a talented PI.

Interview with David Siegel Bernstein

What was the hardest scene from your book to write?
I want to start by thanking The Avid Reader for inviting me here. Thanks!

All the scenes in Poisoned Pawn presented their own unique challenges. However, the trickiest to write were the quieter moments in the book.  Fighting, sex, murder, are all easy for me to write because there is a forward motion to them. Having characters sitting in contemplation after the action is tricky, especially if I don’t want to be boring.

Why did you choose to write in your particular field or genre? 
It has to do with family. Thanks to my grandmother I had read a library’s worth of mysteries and thrillers before I left high school and with my father, I watched just about every mystery ever aired on PBS and BBC.

So, as you can imagine, crime has been brewing in my noggin for quite a while. I’ve written a few mystery shorts, but this is my first full length novel. I would like to believe my grandmother would have loved it. My father reading it is very special to me.

Another reason I chose to write a mystery is because I enjoy thinking up the perfect crime and fictionally getting away with it… almost. It is all about creating puzzles that appear unsolvable. My heroes struggle to a solution and sometimes, if you pay close attention in my stories, so will you.

I also enjoy writing quirky characters, and mysteries are especially conducive to quirk. In what other genre could Nero Wolfe solve crimes while never leaving the house and sipping his afternoon beer? Where else could Ms. Marple snoop as she knits away without being confined to a rest home? Where else could Hercule Poirot wax his mustache as his little gray cells solve a crime? Where else could Holmes, you know, be Homes? Of course, my characters in Poisoned Pawn are much quirkier and better than them.

I’ll let you in on a secret. Another reason I enjoy about writing a mystery: I like catching the baddie.

If you write in more than one genre, how do you balance them?
Although I like writing mysteries and thrillers, I’m mostly known for my fantasy and science fiction. The nonfiction I write is mostly about science. A SF/science mashup is my book Blockbuster Science: The Real Science in Science Fiction.

Speaking of Genre-a-trois, if you do a deep internet search you just might find some poetry under my name combining a couple of genres.

I don’t think there is a need to find a balance when writing in more than one genre. They riff off of each other nicely. Sometimes I go solo on a genre, sometimes I go group. It is an open relationship—a desire thing… not one of balance.

What did you enjoy most about writing this book?
Heh, finishing it. I’m kidding. I was a bit sad when I finished and left the Poisoned Pawn universe. What I enjoyed most was when the characters revealed to me the twists and how to unravel them. They did all the heavy lifting.

What book that you have read has most influenced your life?
The Oxford Dictionary. All the words are in it. They just need to be arranged in such a way as to birth a novel.

Tell us a little about yourself? Perhaps something not many people know?
To go with my tough guy motif, I own a Toy Poodle named Ringo Biggles Woofington. He may, or may not, have a guess appearance in Poisoned Pawn.

I was on the television show Bozo the Clown. Don’t judge me. I was a cute kid.

I have a kick-ass comic collection (which makes me popular with the ladies… right?). Oh, and I am a firm believer in supporting the writing community. I am on the board of directors for the Philadelphia Writers’ Conference and I lead the writers group Words-in-Progress.

Can you tell us something about your book that is not in the summary?
Shhh. There is no guarantee (from me) that all the characters survive until the end of the story.

AUTHOR Bio and Links:

To support his writing addiction and excessively extravagant lifestyle, David Siegel Bernstein, PhD, is a data scientist who consults as a forensic statistician. That sounds really boring until you realize that his clients include the US National Security Agency (NSA), the Secret Service, the FBI, the Department of Justice (DOJ), and a host of other acronymonious agencies who cultivate exciting and shadowy reputations. Alas, those reputations are mere facades that disguise the real reason these organizations exist, which is to keep him entertained and fed.
When David wants a break from this spellbinding work, he writes. His fiction credits encompass two novelettes and sixty shorts. His nonfiction has appeared in newsletters, popular blogs, academic journals and he is the author of the book Blockbuster Science: The Real Science in Science Fiction.
He lives within the shadow of Philadelphia with his wife, Michelle, two children, Seth and Gwendolyn, and a dog named Ringo Biggles Woofington.


$25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC

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Goddess Fish Promotions said...

Thanks for hosting!

David Siegel Bernstein said...

Thanks for including me in your world!

James Robert said...

I appreciate getting to hear about your book. Thank you for sharing!

David Siegel Bernstein said...

Np @James, I hope you give the book a chance!