Hand Over Fist
by Michael Ross
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When an old friend disappears, Martin learns nothing is what it seems… Martin Russell can barely face the future. With dismal life prospects and an estranged family, he is at the end of his rope. When an old friend, Hannah, elbows her way back into his life, Martin’s luck begins to turn around. Hidden within the shadows of evil, there must be some good…
Ex-policeman Bobby Tanner lost everything one rage-filled night. Now he runs a reading group for alcoholics where he meets a young drug dealer, Zack, who disturbs him in a way that’s hard to define. Bobby soon discovers the teenager is in over his head and has been dealing with a despicable individual known as The Chemist.
The roots of evil run deeper than we imagine…
Martin’s lucky streak begins to unravel when Hannah suddenly goes missing, and he turns to a friend of a friend, Bobby, for help. Thrust into an underworld empire of corruption and half-truths, he learns his friend may not be who he thought she was.
In a shadowed world of deception, stalkers, and despicable drug dealers, Bobby and Martin must uncover the truth, and fast…
Several lives depend on it.
“Good morning. L & J Windows. How can I re-direct your call?”
“Hi. Can I speak to John please?”
“Which department is John in, please?”
“Sorry. John Staples.”
“Is Mr. Staples expecting your call, sir?”
It had been hard enough dialling the number, and at that point, Martin seriously thought about putting down the phone, but he managed a garbled response. “My name’s Martin Russell. I used to know John quite well. We were friends.”
Her tone made it clear that she was looking forward to advising him that Mr. Staples was otherwise engaged. “I will see if Mr. Staples will take your call, sir.”
Martin felt a knot in his stomach and convinced himself that he should put down the phone. Maybe give it five seconds. Then,
“Russ, you old bastard! How are you?”
Just to hear the warmth in his old friend’s voice was enough to make the call worthwhile.
“Just been keeping my head down.” Martin looked at the scribbled notes he had made earlier and continued, “You probably know everything went pear-shaped for me.”
“Yeah, sure. I heard about the bitch taking your boy and milking you dry. They say the banks fucked you big time. You never, ever, deserved that. Let’s meet up.”
It was typical of John Staples, and it was how Martin remembered him. How could Martin have blocked him out of his life? He spoke quickly before he lost his nerve. “You’ve probably guessed I’m ringing you up for a favour, haven’t you? Pretty damned shitty, I know, after more than three years.”
“You’ve got it, Russ, whatever it is.” There was hardly time for the businessman to draw breath before he offered his old friend an invitation. “Hey, Russ, come to the game tonight.”
There was no questioning on any details of the favour Martin wanted, but the thought of mixing with a group of successful business people filled Martin’s head with dread. “It might be a bit awkward tonight, Pin-up.”
Staples. Pin-up. It was a silly nickname, but all John’s close friends had used it for years. There was a thoughtful silence at the other end of the phone.
“Just two stand tickets, Russ. You and me on our own.”
John’s immediate grasp of his fears left Martin feeling utterly choked and unable to respond, so Pin-up filled the space for him.
“That’s agreed, then. Meet you outside The Feathers at seven. Oh, and the favour? It’s done, whatever it is.”
It is my pleasure to welcome Michael Ross to Room With Books!
Please tell us about yourself. Did you always want to be a writer? If not what did you want to be?
No, only in the last 7/8 years. A successful businessman.
How long have you been writing and who or what inspired you to write?
Eight years – going to my fist creative writing class and discovering I had an ability
Do you do a job in addition to writing and would you tell us more about it?
Very much committed to my writing nowadays
How would you summarize this book in less than 20 words?
Martin has hit rock bottom before Hannah re-enters his life, but one night she disappears and life turns upside down
Now, let’s talk about writing and how you came to be a published author. When did you first consider yourself a “writer”?
When I produced and self-published my first short story anthology
How long did it take to get your first book published?
To find a publisher – three years
How long does it usually take you to write a book, from the original idea to “The End”?
What can we expect from you in the future? More of the same genre? Books of a different genre?
Three more books this year; a follow up thriller to Hand Over Fist, entitled Out of hand, another short story anthology and first of all, in July, a feel good romance Chasing What’s Already Gone.
Who is your favorite character from your books and why are they your favorite?
All three main characters Martin, Pin-up and Bobby have large chunks of me in their DNA
What is your routine for writing?
Get up – walk the dog – catch up on News 24 – then write.
Do you choose a title first, or write the book then choose the title?
Write the book and wait for the title to jump out at me during the writing process
Are there any hidden messages or morals contained in your books?
Somewhere in all of my books there is a character who has hit rock bottom, survived and is making their way back in the world. Never give in to the fates.
Which format of book do you prefer, eBook, hardback, or paperback?
Easy going on that one.
What is your favorite book and why is it your favorite? How many times would you estimate you’ve read it?
I would be disappointed with myself if I could answer that one, I would like to think my tastes and desires were constantly changing.
Do you read all the reviews of your books?
I do, every now and then it might hurt to read something I do not agree with- but what hurts us makes us stronger.
That’s enough of the serious business. How about a handful of fun questions?
What is your favorite food? Sea bass
Who is your favorite singer or group? This week Ben Folds
What is your favorite color? Yellow
What is your ideal getaway dream vacation? Gdansk – I LOVE Poland – glorious country.
What final words would you offer to our readers?
Never stop reading
Thank you for spending time with us at Room With Books. I appreciate your time and wish you the best with your book. I hope you will come back again!
It was a strange and twisting road that led to the publication of my first novel. From my humble beginnings, as an office clerk, to ownership of a multi-million dollar business I always maintained my love for literature.
Born and raised in Bristol, England. I spent most of my life in business, my companies turning over in the region of $500 million. The majority of that time marketing cars, eventually owning the largest Saab specialist in the world, before a bitter divorce forced me rethink my priorities. Particularly between 2003 and 2005 when I had to accept that I was no longer a millionaire but literally penniless. I avoided bankruptcy by the skin of my teeth and slowly rebuilt my life.
This led me to the life changing decision to leave the bustling city and move to live halfway up a mountain in the Welsh valleys. At the same time I started a part time six year English Literature course at Bristol University, and attended creative writing classes at Cardiff University. I left school at sixteen and this was my first taste of further education and an immense challenge.
I eventually adjusted my thinking to the academic life, and on 30 June 2015 had confirmation of my 2.1(Hons) degree from Bristol University. At the same time I also won the prestigious Hopkins Prize for my essay on Virginia Woolf and the unsaid within her text. Now the university courses are finished it will, with any luck, gives me plenty of extra time that I can devote to my fiction writing.
Thanks to the university experiences, my interest in English literature has flourished over recent years. Hopefully I have evolved as a writer from my earlier work in short stories (over ninety of them.) Although interestingly my first three novels have all been developed from a long forgotten short story.
Life is, once again, very good, and I live very happily halfway up a mountain, in the Welsh Valleys, with my wonderful partner Mari, and our rescue dog Wolfie.
Goodreads Mike Ross
Michael will be awarding a $10 Amazon or B&N gift card to a randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter during the tour.