NBTM & #Giveaway: Spider Green Series by Norm Harris
#Mystery, #Thriller, #Legal, #Military,
Fruit of a Poisonous Tree, Book 1
Faydra “Spider” Green is a dedicated Navy JAG lawyer who has lived her life in the shadows of a great and powerful man: her father, former President of the United States William Green. Green cannot heal the wound in his relationship with his daughter. His former power and influence curse Faydra and cause her to wonder if her accomplishments were her own doing.
A lawyer by trade, Faydra is both anxious and excited as she undertakes her first homicide investigation: —the brutal murder of a Navy SEAL. She reasons that a successful investigation will provide her the opportunity to validate her sense of self-worth. Thanks to her remarkable deductive abilities, Faydra soon realizes that the accused man, a Special Ops Marine war hero, may be innocent and that the Navy is using her as a pawn in a complex cover-up.
Meanwhile, a seasoned Navy Sea Captain, Egan Fletcher, whose wife had died eight years earlier, struggles to balance his Navy career with raising a son. When the Navy purposefully pairs him with Faydra in a meeting, the two Navy officers embark on an adrenaline-pumping adventure. It is a top-secret mission- impossible that will take them halfway around the world in an attempt to avert a catastrophic act of terrorism in the form of, a biological war.
Set against the dramatic backdrop of Washington State’s Puget Sound and the mystique of East Asia, Faydra’s story revolves around a woman who appears to be as pure as the driven snow—yet, she is driven by an insatiable need to complete any assignment, no matter how dangerous. Along the way, she transforms into a symbol of hope, perseverance, and a woman’s ability to overcome life-threatening events.
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“A great read with a stunning finish.” - Advocate, Narayan. “Picturing Justice,” published by the Faculty of Law, University of San Francisco.
“A sharp, crackling military thriller..., Norm Harris’s ‘Fruit of the Poisonous Tree’ offers a labyrinth of military cover-ups, surprise twists, and insider techno knowledge. Good, exciting, inventive read.” - Wendell Wellman, actor, producer, and screenwriter for Clint Eastwood’s “Firefox” and Producer of “Top Hat,” “Sail Away”, and “House in the Canyon.”
“Norm Harris’s book grabs the reader with its first sentence and holds the reader throughout with its fast-paced action. Dialogue is always the hardest to write, but Harris has captured the art and, with his writing, keeps the reader turning pages. His ability to heighten the intrigue keeps the reader on the edge of his or her seat throughout the story. Strongly recommend the book…” - CAPT David E. Meadows, US Navy, author of numerous (15) military thrillers, such as “Sixth Fleet,” “Seawolf,” and “Tomcat.”
Set against the dramatic backdrop of Washington State’s Puget Sound and the mystique of East Asia, Fadra’s story revolves around a woman who appears to be as pure as the driven snow—yet, she is driven by an insatiable need to complete any assignment, no matter how dangerous. Along the way, she transforms into a symbol of hope, perseverance, and a woman’s ability to overcome life-threatening events.
“This story is complex and well crafted, and you’ll immediately invest your emotions in these vivid characters. The dialogue is some of the freshest I’ve encountered in some time…. As a reader, and as a novelist myself, and now as a fan, my hat goes off to this guy. A wonderful debut.” - Larry Brooks, critically acclaimed author of psychological thrillers (including “Darkness Bound,” “Pressure Points,” “Serpents Dance,” and others), in addition to his work as a freelance writer and writing instructor.
The first novel, “Fruit of the Poisonous Tree,” begins the riveting Spider Green Mystery Thriller series. If you enjoy the razor-sharp dialogue, strong-willed people, twists, and high-octane action, then “Spider” Green, the intrepid female sleuth and unpretentious hero in this taut, fast-paced adventure, will appeal to you.
Occasionally, the glow cast by the divers’ torches below her would momentarily disappear. She supposed—prayed—it was perhaps Romeo or Juliet passing between her line of sight and the torches, temporarily interrupting the beams of light, rather than a predator.
Fay grew fascinated by the many air bubbles emitted by the divers, reflected in the light of their torches’ eerie glow. Like a surreal field of vapor flowers, they appeared and disappeared as they slowly wobbled toward the surface. Fay reached for a bubble but instead found it to be a jellyfish, not a bubble as she had first thought.
Fay stopped sinking. Although she could not see it, she assumed they had reached the wreck. She brought her wrist to within inches of her face to check the luminous reading on her depth gauge. Eighty-seven feet.
She strained her eyes in a vain attempt to see through the black water. Fay may as well have been swimming in a cup of Seattle’s Best Coffee. All she could see was the light from the torch she held in her hand. She experienced complete disorientation. No up, no down. Someone, Andrew Lawrence perhaps, grasped her wrist. He was dragging her somewhere. She saw a deck rail, then a deck, and finally passed through a hatchway. They were now inside the Carr. There was only one light ahead of her—Andrew’s.
Arid Sea, Book 2
Faydra “Spider” Green is a spirited Navy lawyer who wants nothing more than to do the right thing and see justice done. After reconciling with her father, former President William Green, Fay is asked to investigate the mysterious disappearance of Alvin Joe, a retired admiral. He has vanished – seemingly into thin air – from his Florida home, along with secret files for a top-secret military weapon. Alongside her bubbly, quick-witted sister and a handsome, affable Sheriff, Fay sets out to track down Joe. But she soon finds herself embroiled in a deeper and far more sinister plot involving an unscrupulous corporation, the mafia, and a truly evil man who has his sights set on destroying her.
Deception Pass, Book 3
Faydra “Spider” Green has had a storied career as a Navy lawyer, all while juggling being the daughter of a former U.S. President. She has successfully navigated complex diplomatic situations, pulse-pounding legal investigations, and dangerous military missions, managing each time to save the day. But now, Fay finds herself faced with a task unlike anything she has ever tackled before: fierce mafioso Roman Justine, the man who had nearly cost Fay her life, has seemingly returned from the dead. Now, Justine, hellbent on revenge, poses a threat to Fay and national security. Fay will have to go to extraordinary lengths to stop him, even tampering with the bounds of time and space.
The Girl Who Knew Death, Book 4
Katrinka Lavrova is a young Russian espionage agent discovered by Russian Navy Captain Lavrov at the age of nineteen. Katrinka worked as both a spy and a sparrow since age thirteen to support her aged parents. Lavrov rescues the woman and becomes her guardian. Captain Lavrov introduces Katrinka to Fay. Fay asks Katrinka to help her steal the top-secret plans from Roman Justine’s office safe. Fay grows fond of Kat and offers her a fresh start in the United States. Katrinka dares to hope for a better life by accepting Fay’s offer.
Navy lawyer and former First Daughter Faydra (Fay) Green is no longer quite so haunted by the dark events of her recent past and is hoping for some well-deserved rest. But her world is once again turned upside down when a shocking secret about her adopted daughter, Katrinka (Kat), is revealed. But before Fay can help Kat make any decisions about her future, Kat is captured and thrown into an Egyptian prison. She manages to escape but must flee to safety across Europe, trying to stay one step ahead of several mysterious pursuers. Soon, Fay and Kat discover they are being chased by more than ordinary forces – Azrael, the Angel of Death, has taken a puzzling interest in their situation and a dangerous demon appears to be stalking Kat’s every move. It will take all of Fay’s strength and ingenuity to meet these and other challenges looming ahead of her, while Kat must ask herself what she truly wants out of life.
Post a previously unreleased chapter from one of your books.
This will be six pages. So how about an unformatted sample of Chapter 9 from The Girl Who Knew Death?
Katrinka returned from the nearby market with apples and beer. She flopped onto the bed and clicked on the TV. The guy at the front desk had given her a converter which allowed her to access a few English programs. They were mostly old American and British produced reruns, but they were all new to her. She found American humor odd, but the British humor was hard for her to appreciate. Television watching was boring, yet she found whatever the offering was, it caused her to fall asleep.
Sleep was about to claim her when a soft knock came at the door. Only the manager, or Irishka, knew she was there. Now fully awake and alert, Katrinka reached for her weapon and paused, listening for any telltale sound that might cause her concern.
“Katrinka,” a voice called.
Kat knew the voice. It may be a friend. The jury was still out on her assessment of the person. She moved with caution to the door. She took the precaution of standing beside the door, and not in front of it, in case someone shot through the door so that she would not be in line with a bullet or three.
Deciding she had enough trust in the person on the opposite side, Kat unlatched the security chain and opened the door. At least the woman was smiling, the sign of a good beginning. “Azrael.” Kat welcomed the visitor without surprise evident in her voice. “Come in.”
Azrael proceeded through the door as Kat closed it behind her.
Azrael surveyed the room. “Nice place. Fit for a queen,” she said.
“Yeah. Right,” Kat replied. “You want beer?”
Kat retrieved a bottle from the refrigerator, opened the top with her pocketknife, then handed it to Azrael. “Have seat,” she offered. “We talk.”
Azrael sipped the beer. She smiled and looked at the bottle. “Beer over the centuries has greatly improved. The piss they served five hundred years ago was pathetic. Carbonation is the secret,” Azrael said. She took a second sip.
Katrinka replied, “I would imagine many things have improved over the millennia.”
“True,” Azrael agreed. “Except for humans. All was going well until Gen Y came along. No offence.”
“None taken.” Katrinka pressed, “What of the deal you suggested?”
“Oh, yeah, yeah,” Azrael said. “I almost forgot. There was a reason I came to see you.”
With some doubt evident on her face, Katrinka reminded the forgetful Angel of Death, “The soul for a soul. Me for Faya.”
Azrael’s face brightened. “The deal. Well, I have been thinking about it.”
Katrinka became worried. Was Azrael going back on the offer? “Me for Faya. That was the offer,” she stated firmly.
Azrael smiled. She took another sip of beer. “Great drink,” she said. “I have another offer for you. You probably won’t like it but hear me out.”
Katrinka continued speaking to Lady Death in the Russian language. “You speak my language well.”
“I’m not one to brag. Well, yes, I am one to brag,” Azrael replied. “I’m fluent in over ten million languages,” she boasted, “give or take.”
Katrinka began to grow impatient. “The deal?” she prompted.
Azrael looked at Katrinka. “You wouldn’t happen to have a cigar, would you?” she asked.
Katrinka’s eyes lit up. “No, but I do have a cigarette.”
Azrael shook her head, no. “I don’t touch the stuff.”
Katrinka now reasoned if she could keep Azrael’s mind off of the deal, she may well forget about it. Again.
But no. “I told you, and you figured out some on your own,” Azrael said. “Well played on that one, by the way.”
“Spacibo,” Kat replied.
Azrael continued, “My original intention was to claim Fay’s soul. It was her time. And, the truth be known, she was well past her time. By all rights, she should have drowned on the mission a few years ago there in the Yellow Sea. But the dolphins got in the way and saved her.”
“She told me,” Kat recalled. “It was awesome.”
“Then she outwitted an alligator and a shark, at the same time,” Azrael explained. “That one impressed me.”
“Then there was the sick bastard, Roman Justine. I hold Mazikim completely responsible for that wretch Justine trying to kill her, I think it was twice?” Azrael pondered. “Maybe three times? She outwitted him every time. She got him in the end.”
“She has a knack for ducking death, it would seem,” Kat observed.
“Yes,” Azrael agreed. “However, this time is unavoidable.”
Azrael revealed, “Fay has cancer. It will only get worse.”
“I did not know it,” Kat said sadly.
“She has told no one,” Azrael replied. “She keeps it to herself. But this is the Fay I have come to know and to admire. You see, she 1has a pure heart. Those are very rare in humans. You know it, Lady K.”
“She will give everything to anyone before she will give to herself,” Kat stated.
“True. I have come to know her and to appreciate her,” Azrael responded. “As a result, I am willing to deal. But a soul is required.”
“A soul for a soul is what you said,” Kat recounted.
“Fay’s cancer is becoming painful for her. She hides it from all. Only her and her doctor know. And me,” Azrael added.
“What can be done?” Kat wondered.
“If you and I strike a bargain, then tomorrow her pain will subside,” Azrael told Kat. “Her cancer will disappear, and she will live out her life, and well she should.”
“Okay. I am in,” Kat immediately replied. “But you say deal changed. You want more?”
“You, my dear Lady, have something I want,” Azrael informed Kat. “You are also a rare human. You are a survivor, and you are clever. No one else would have experienced your life from age thirteen until now and have lived.”
“I sometimes wonder it myself.” Katrinka noticed Azrael’s bottle was empty. “Can I get you another beer?” she offered.
Katrinka retrieved a beer for Azrael, and encouraged her, “Please. Continue.”
“We have the opportunity to right wrongs which have occurred in Russia since before the time of Tsar Nicholas II,” Azrael went on. “Again, Mazikim screwed the pooch. Her guys were Rasputin and Lenin. Again, they are all on her. Always, this is Mazikim. Always trouble with that one.”
“The deal is I agree to assume the headship of Russia as Princess Yekaterina, with you as my Rasputin,” Kat guessed.
“Almost,” Azrael corrected. “I want nothing to do with it. You would be on your own. You can handle it.”
“What would be the purpose?” Kat wondered.
“It is complex. If I had time to explain, I would. We do not have three months for it, so the quick version is you, as Princess, will assume a position of opposition to political Russia. You will restore the Russian soul,” Azrael stated. “Small children will want to be you. You will become a role model. All the small ones now have is Cheburashka. It is like Winnie the Pooh becoming a role model for American children. You can see the problem.”
“I do not know this Winnie the Poop,” Kat said.
Azrael laughed. “Your life will be difficult. But it has been difficult since age thirteen. You are also clever. Difficult is a concept you will eventually own. In the meantime, you will have the power to return to the Russian people their hearts.”
“And I would have Faya and Sasha with me?” Kat asked.
“You can tell me the worst and I will still make deal,” Kat affirmed.
“I know you would. But that’s you. So, deal?” Azrael asked.
“No question in my mind. It is deal.” Katrinka considered. “When does this happen?”
“For Fay, the pain subsides beginning today. Her doctor will claim a miracle has occurred. All cancer gone,” Azrael declared. “For you, it is a process, one of time. As they say, ‘go with the flow.’”
“And you?” Kat asked.
“I will remain with Fay,” Azrael answered. “One day the young woman, the kid from East LA, will reclaim her soul. It will be seamless.”
“Can I add to the deal?” Kat inquired.
Azrael offered, “You can try me.”
“When you decide to leave, will you tell me?” Kat asked.
“I will,” Azrael agreed. “But I will be around. You can count on it. We have a lot of work ahead, you and I.”
“May I ask you, why me?” Kat wondered.
“I first noticed you when you killed Gabriel,” replied Azrael.
Katrinka clutched her hands to her chest. “I killed an angel?” Kat gasped.
“An archangel, no less,” Azrael confirmed.
A look of serious doubt claimed Kat’s face. “That’s worse.”
“It may be,” Azrael agreed. “You thought he was the man who would kill Irishka. Gabriel had taken his body when he died. The killing of an angel does not go unnoticed.”
“I have big trouble for it?” Kat guessed.
“No. Gabriel moved on. It is not often a human kills one of God’s chosen ones,” Azrael told her. “So, like I said, it gets noticed. I then realized you possessed something special. I have a mission for you.”
“The stones?” Kat speculated.
“Yes,” Azrael replied. “The purpose of the stones will be known to you at a later time. In the meantime, guard them with your life.”
“And from time to time, the two men you call topknots…” Azrael went on.
“They are who you surmised them to be. Angels,” Azrael confirmed. “I don’t want you to kill them. Okay?”
“I will try not to,” Kat promised.
Azrael had finished her second bottle of beer. “Want another beer?” Kat offered.
“Sure. Why not?”
Katrinka retrieved yet another beer for Azrael. After she open it, she asked, “Do you want to watch TV?”
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Norm Harris' first novel debuted on an Amazon bestseller list in 2002. It was a one-and-done, but now he's back with a plan to publish a couple of sequels to that first mystery/thriller of days gone by. Except for time spent in military service, he is a second-generation Seattleite (that's what they call those who dwell in the shadow of Mt. Rainier), with his legal beagle son, K-K, and five giant tropical fish. His upcoming release, Arid Sea, is the third book in what he hopes to be an award-winning Spider Green Mystery Story series.