Book Jacket

 

rank  Editors Pick
word count 14453
date submitted 12.11.2009
date updated 28.03.2014
genres: Fiction, Thriller
classification: universal
complete

Conflicts of Interest

Bob Steele

David Tyler’s profession has already cost him his marriage and his self-respect. Now a global business conspiracy could cost him his life.

 

In London, an accountant asks too many questions about a multi-million dollar contract. In New York, a ruthless executive conspires to take control of a global professional firm. In Moscow, criminals plot a money-laundering scam. The fallout engulfs management consultant David Tyler.

David’s job has already wrecked his marriage and destroyed his illusions. When events put his career on the line, he must choose between his principles and his ambitions.

Ditched by his girlfriend and shunned by colleagues, David wrestles with his own shortcomings and his partners’ duplicity. Alone, he finds unexpected help from his ex-wife Rosalind and her father. Together they unravel the conspiracy that entraps him. The trail leads into a business underworld where the truth is deadlier than he bargains for.

Facing torture and death, David runs for his life. His dilemma now is how to defeat his pursuers and retrieve his reputation without scandal bringing down the entire firm. His relationship with Rosalind may have another chance too, if he can avoid repeating past mistakes.

On the battlefield of life, he realises, there are no neat, happy endings. There are only new beginnings. And conflicts of interest.

 
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tags

conspiracy, fraud, kidnap, management consultant, money laundering, murder, take-over, torture

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Chapters

4

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Chapter 4

 

David Tyler stood by the reception desk, shoulders hunched. At the sight of his bloodless face Helen Moody veered from her march toward the crowd around the coffee urns.

“Are you OK, David?” she whispered.

“No I’m bloody not.” He winced as he drew breath. “I was just about to call the police. I disturbed some yob in the admin office and got a punch in the gut for my pains. He got away with a couple of your laptops, I think. The bastard took the mailbag, too, though Christ knows what value he thought he’d get from that. You’d better check if anything else is missing; I don’t know how long he’d been there.”

“Shit.” David watched various expressions chase themselves across her face, and was impressed with the speed with which she seemed to absorb the implications. “Right, leave the police to me,” she said. “Can you describe the guy?”

He shook his head. “All I saw was leathers and a crash helmet. I thought he was the courier until he punched me. I reckon I’ll have some serious bruises, though; he used a fancy brass knuckleduster.”

Helen’s eyes widened with concern and she grasped his arm. “Do you need a doctor?”

“No, I’m fine, I was just winded.”

“Well, if you’re sure,” she said with a dubious look. “So you remember nothing else about him?”

“Not really. He moved damn fast when I walked in, like he knew his business and how to handle trouble. I don’t reckon he was some amateur opportunist thief.” He wrinkled his brow in thought. “There was one thing, though. I was mostly concerned about trying to get some oxygen into my lungs at the time, but when he looked down at me I had the strangest feeling he knew me, or at least who I was.”

“Hmm.” Helen quirked an eyebrow. “Sounds unlikely. What happened after he hit you?”

“The sash window was open. He just stepped through it onto the path at the back of the office block and vanished, smooth as you like. I heard a motorbike shortly afterwards, so I suppose he’s long gone by now.”

“So you can’t really tell the police anything useful?”

“I guess not.”

He saw her face firm up into what he privately thought of as her ‘nanny knows best’ expression.

“Okay, then, we’ll leave you out of it, otherwise the police will waste your time with formal statements and God knows what else. I’ll report it as a burglary, they’ll give me a crime report number for the insurance claim and then they’ll happily forget it. There’s not a chance in hell of catching the bastard anyway.” She peered at him and frowned. “You’re looking pretty rough, though. You’d better get off home, I can organise cover for the rest of the day.”

He watched her bustle off to get things organised, and ran his fingertips gingerly over his stomach. No doubt she was right, but it felt like it would be a few days before the bruises would let him forget about the incident so easily. The memory of the instrument that had caused those bruises sent a shiver through him and his knees went weak. The brass studs on the business end had ended up only inches from his eyes before the fist was slowly withdrawn, and what was that all about? It seemed like a threat, but it was odd behaviour for a thief. He shook his head to get rid of the thought. He’d take the rest of the day off as Helen had suggested. The way he felt right now, he wasn’t in good shape to coach students in the finer points of management consultancy in any case.

He turned to go, but his eye caught his name on the message board beside reception. He reached for the slip without thinking. Ring Ted Willis, urgent. Damn. His heart sank. It was the last thing he needed. There was no mention of why the chairman of the Risk Management Committee wanted to speak to him immediately, but it was a summons that he couldn’t ignore.

He strolled outside and switched on his mobile. A few moments later, Ted was on the line.

“David, how kind of you to call back.” The plummy voice caressed his ear. “I need you to do me a favour.”

“What sort of favour?”

“I want you to pick up a major risk review for me at PetroProm. I expect you’ve heard of it, you know, the big oil company? There’s a very large potential contract there to upgrade their computer systems, and we need an experienced eye to check out the background. You know the sort of thing, it’s right up your street.”

David thought of his existing workload and sighed.

“Look, Ted, I’d like to help, but I’m already up to my eyeballs. Apart from everything else, I’ve got a review of the Delta Oil project in Frankfurt on my hands right now.” He cast around for another plausible get-out. “PetroProm’s Russian, isn’t it? Eastern Europe is Luke Graham’s patch. He knows the environment over there a heck of a lot better than I do and should be well able to handle that sort of job for you.”

“Ah.” There was a pause. “You haven’t heard, then?”

David frowned. “Heard what?”

“Well, Luke was handling the project, of course.” The voice had dropped a register and become even more unctuous. “The thing is, I’ve got some terrible news. You see, Luke Graham was shot dead on London Bridge last night. He’s been murdered.”

*

David guided his BMW through the heavy traffic on autopilot while his mind wandered. The idea that Luke Graham’s casual camaraderie and sharp intelligence could be snuffed out so callously nagged at him like one of those songs you can’t get out of your head. Violent death seemed to be in the news every day, but with strangers you could blank it out. It didn’t touch you where it mattered. When it happened to someone you knew, things were different. He shuddered. He didn’t want to think about random chance and his own mortality.

They also seemed to expect him to pick up Luke’s responsibilities, and the implications made his stomach churn. He already had more than enough to handle with Western Europe, but they wouldn’t see it that way. To them, it would be a simple and obvious way to fill a gap. Christ. Eastern Europe? That really was the pits.

It could be dangerous, too. The thought sprang from nowhere, and he dismissed it with a shake of his head. It was ridiculous to suppose Luke’s death was connected with work. But either way, Luke was dead, and it could happen to anyone, anytime. What if it was his turn tomorrow? Or next week? If he knew for sure he only had a few days left, there was no way he’d waste them on all the shit at Blake and Moorfield. His life was a mess. It was three years now since Rosalind walked out on him and everything he valued had turned to ashes. The razor-sharp fragments of their disintegrating marriage had cut bloody scars, which still hurt like hell however much he applied the sticking plaster of other relationships. He couldn’t see a way out, and a wave of depression threatened to overwhelm him.

The car purred into its normal parking slot under the sign that said ‘residents only’. The narrow city street was a far cry from the gravel drive and coach house of the rural home he’d shared with Rosalind, but the mews flat around the corner was at least more convenient for the office. He switched off the engine and tried to summon the enthusiasm to get out of the car. Depression was a familiar enemy, and he began to pull himself together. Think of the positives. Life wasn’t so bad. He could still work the professional magic better than anyone when things got tough, despite his worries about the way the firm was going. The money was good, and his conscience was clear about the way he earned it. On top of all that, one of the prettiest girls in London was waiting for him at home, even if the relationship wasn’t all sweetness and light. He managed a weak grin. That was good enough for now. The future would have to take care of itself.

At the front door of the flat he juggled his keys, his laden briefcase and the computer bag, and let himself in. He kicked the door shut with his heel and crabbed his way up the narrow stairs, careful to keep the brassbound edges of the briefcase well clear of the wallpaper. It had been Patricia’s choice, and God forbid he should damage it. He reckoned it would have been cheaper to stick banknotes on the wall.

She was stretched out on the sofa in the first floor sitting room with what looked like the script of a play in her hand. He dropped his bags on the Turkish rug and leaned over to kiss her.

“Hi darling. Any luck with the audition?”

She was an actress, and if the script called for a leggy blonde with a figure to die for, she’d be a shoo-in. She curled an arm round his neck and returned his kiss with interest.

“I don’t think I got the part,” she said after a while. She waved the script and wrinkled her nose in mock disgust. “They said they’d let me know, and you know what that means.”

He did, only too well. It seemed blondes were out of fashion in the London theatre this season. She had been ‘resting between jobs’ ever since they’d moved into the flat together six months ago, and he sometimes wondered if the frequent auditions were just a figment of her imagination.

“I’m so sorry,” he said. “I’m sure something will turn up soon.”

She tucked her legs up on the sofa, and shrugged. “Can’t be helped,” she said. “I don’t think the part was quite me anyway. So how was your day?”

“Bloody awful.” He flopped back into the cushions. “There was a break-in at the training centre, and then to cap it all I found out one of our partners was murdered last night.”

“Murdered?” She sat up and looked at him wide-eyed. “What happened? Was it anyone I know?”

“It was Luke Graham; he and I worked together a bit, but I don’t think you’ve met him. They tell me the poor bugger was shot last night on his way home after work. It must have been a mugging, I suppose; nobody seems quite sure.”

She looked at him, the world-weariness in her expression at odds with the youthfulness of her face. “Muggers don’t shoot people, it’s not worth it. Are you sure he wasn’t targeted?”

“Nobody would have any reason...” His voice tailed off in disbelief.

She shrugged. “You can never tell. You guys all travel abroad a lot. Maybe he was a drug smuggler or something.”

“Luke spent a lot of his time in Eastern Europe; his job was to check up on client projects over there. But there’s no way he’d be involved in drugs. He wasn’t the type.”

Her eyes narrowed. “Eastern Europe? Well, there you are then.”

“What do you mean?”

“You read the papers,” she said with a frown. “It’s one of the hottest areas in the world right now for international crime. Money-laundering, illegal technology transfers, arms, drugs, you name it. If he was mixed up with any of that...”

“No, no, that’s crazy,” he interrupted. “We’re management consultants. We advise people on how to run their businesses better. I hardly think a bunch of crooks would knock on our door and ask us to review their operations to see if we can suggest any improvements.”

She shook her head. “If this was a contract killing, it must take money and organisation. Somebody must have had a powerful reason, something big to protect.”

He looked up and gave her a glare. “There’s absolutely no way Luke or the firm would get mixed up in anything criminal.” He recalled some of Luke’s wilder stories and hoped his inner qualms didn’t show. Those were jokes, tongue in cheek, weren’t they? He took a deep breath and continued. “You’re barking up the wrong tree altogether. This isn’t a TV drama.”

Her lips curled unattractively. “You wouldn’t be the first bunch of professional types to put easy money ahead of your scruples. I bet the police will see it that way too.” She shrugged and he saw a look of calculation enter her eyes.

“Whatever, I’m so glad you’re home early. I thought you might have forgotten the party tonight at Stringfellow’s.”

“Party?” The question slipped out before he could catch himself. Bugger. Would he never bloody learn?

“You damn well have forgotten, haven’t you?” Her voice turned shrill and her smile vanished like the morning mist. “You know how much I’ve been looking forward to it. All the smart set will be there.”

“Well, I...”

“But you will take me, won’t you darling?” She put her arms round his waist and the honey back into her voice. “It’ll be fun. Max and Pete and the rest of the gang will all be there, and it’s ages since we’ve been out. You’ve got plenty of time to get ready. You promised.”

He looked into the clear blue eyes close to his, and tried to shield his thoughts. Deep down he could feel his Welsh Baptist ancestors stoke up the hell-fire at the thought of a drunken evening with a gay couple and a mixed bag of unrepentant sinners. It wasn’t that he lacked a sense of fun. That bubbled away, alive and well under the sober exterior. But after the run-in with the burglar and the shock of Luke’s death, a party was the last thing he could stomach this evening. In any case, his taste in entertainment ran in very different directions. He tried hard to fit in for Patricia’s sake, but her friends weren’t his idea of a good time. Nor he theirs, as she must be very well aware. And anyway, he’d be damned if he’d give in to emotional blackmail.

Patricia wouldn’t give a toss about any of that, though. There was only one excuse that might circumvent one of her tantrums - if he was lucky. He waved in the direction of his briefcase.

“I’m sorry, darling, today’s been a complete bloody disaster and I’m really not in the mood. Besides, I can’t.” He spread his hands and forced a repentant expression onto his face. “I’ve got to get myself up to speed for my meetings in Frankfurt tomorrow. Honestly, there’s a mass of stuff to get through, and the contract there could cost the firm a fortune if it all falls apart. I’ve got no choice.”

She went rigid and pushed him away.

“No choice?” she yelled, “What do you mean, no bloody choice? With you it’s always the firm this, the firm that. What about me? You might as well be married to that bloody firm for all the attention I get.”

He watched tears gather in the corners of her eyes, and wondered if crying on demand was a skill they taught in drama school. Just in time, he engaged his brain before his mouth got into gear.

“Look, I’m truly sorry.” He knew it was probably a lost cause, but maybe he could divert some of her wrath. “Like I said, I’ve had a hell of a day. I’ll make it up to you....”

Later, after Patricia left, alone, to head for the party, he sat and nursed his wounded feelings. The flat still echoed with the vicious slam of the front door. He should have learned by now it was a fatal mistake to try and sweet talk her out of anything once she’d made up her mind. In any case there was no tactful way to explain that Blake and Moorfield’s global reputation and a few million dollars in potential contract penalties really were more important than taking his girlfriend to her favourite nightclub. Women just didn’t seem to understand the sacrifices that had to be made to build a successful career.

What the hell. He opened his briefcase and extracted a thick report. Life was full of conflicting pressures and priorities. He tried his best to strike a balance at home, just as he did at work. But sometimes compromise wasn’t possible. He’d make a real fuss of her when he got back from Frankfurt. Flowers, dinner at the expensive new Italian restaurant she’d been banging on about. Champagne. He could talk her round once the dust settled. But like most men he could only handle one crisis at a time, and tomorrow he would have his hands full with Delta Oil.

For a couple of hours, the silence in the flat was disturbed only by the rustle of paper and the click of the computer keyboard. Finally, he leaned back with a satisfied grunt, pressed the print button, and the small laser printer whined into life. His stomach reminded him he hadn’t eaten, so he left the machine to it while he headed for the kitchen to get a sandwich.

He whistled a tune as he buttered the bread. He’d never understand women, but client problems were much more straightforward. All that was needed at Delta Oil was a bit of applied common sense, despite the threats of legal action against the firm that had been bandied about. Unless he had missed something fundamental, and he was pretty damned sure he hadn’t, the meeting tomorrow should be a breeze.

 

Chapters

4

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HarperCollins Wrote

Conflicts of Interest is an intriguing tale that fits firmly in the thriller and mystery genres. After Luke Graham is murdered on his way home, colleague David Taylor must pick up the reins at work. This sudden crime occurs directly after Luke’s business trip to Russia, which raises a lot of unanswered questions for the reader. Meanwhile David must fly to Frankfurt from London for a business meeting with Joe Weiss, an ambitious American colleague. After attempting to resolve a conflict of interest, it’s clear that David has made a new enemy out of Joe.

The book’s strengths are the plot and the intrigue created. The opening line of the book is terrific and immediately leaves you wanting more, and there is a strong set-up with Luke’s death at the end of the first chapter. I liked the international scope of the book and that within the first five chapters we’d visited London, New York and Frankfurt. I also appreciated the grey area surrounding the consulting company, Blake and Moorefield, and Joe Weiss, and the activities that they may be involved in.

I felt that although the first chapter had a great opening, the rest of it could be tighter, simplified and faster paced. The last two paragraphs of the chapter are a great pay-off and well written but I wanted to get there sooner. I also felt more could be made of Luke’s time in Russia.

As a general note for the book I felt that there should be more exposition through dialogue and action rather than the characters’ thoughts to make this a more satisfying read. When David says thank you to Helen (‘For saving me from myself, I suppose. Reminding me actions, not words, are what count in the end’), it didn’t ring true in terms of his character at that stage of the story. Perhaps this is a discovery David needs to make later in the book. Additionally I felt Joe’s reaction at the Frankfurt meeting (‘Yes. I mean no. Well, not yet, maybe, technically. But they will, believe me. Unless we do what they want’) was over-played and not in keeping with how his character was introduced in New York.

I think the book has commercial potential. Conflicts of Interests has echoes of the plot and themes from some of John Le Carré’s and Jeffrey Archer’s books. However as a twenty-something reader I felt the storyline with a potential Russian threat could seem somewhat outdated. Conflicts of Interests would appeal to a predominantly male audience as the female characters in the work are secondary and not very interesting. This book would be suited to a commercial list featuring crime/thriller/mystery novels.

The success of mysteries and thrillers depend on twists and turns and a satisfying conclusion and of course this is yet to be revealed. The first chapters have set the story up and have made me want to read more, which is a good sign. I feel the book so far is strong, however it could be edited and re-written in parts to make this a tighter and more engaging story.

Jared wrote 1617 days ago

The master returns. Flawless pitches, especially the final paragraph, wonderfully economical while conveying so much. The opening chapter has a brilliant hook at the end and from then onwards the reader is lost in the story. I've read all five chapters and want to read more. No niggles at all, no reservations and absolutely no presumptuous suggestions for improvement. I'd buy this book.
On my shelf - obviously.
Jared (Mummy's Boy).

Sly80 wrote 1597 days ago

Fantastic opening line ... brilliant. The excellence continues throughout the first chapter, feeding us the story in a perfect diet of characterisation, atmosphere and fast-approaching menace. David, a man with intelligence and principles, but feeling a bit jaded after a night on the booze and nearly forty years ... no idea of what's about to hit him. On to Pete, and his energy is palpable ... it comes off the 'page' like a physical force ... another man with intelligence, but no principles here. I like Helen's practicality at David's emotional cowardice. Patricia is a different matter entirely - though his 'Women just didn't understand' attitude is likely to give him problems and may help account for the divorce. Chapter 5 ... stunning drama, I could visualise it playing out.

Bob, this is a big business thriller with the teeth of a Rottweiler. Professional, cinematic, dripping with expertise about the corporate world, and just page-turningly gripping. I read everything here, and I would buy this in a beat. It has to be published. You've already read mine, so you can be sure that the words and the shelving are fully deserved.

harveya wrote 1542 days ago

You don't need my comments, Bob. You need a publisher to give you a healthy chunk of money and get this book (and the other one two) into the bookstores. This is fluid, professional writing, without the smallest pothole. Starting as you have (as you did with the other book) with a guy in some kind of trouble, we immediately want to know what's going to happen. Backed with enthusiasm. Harvey Ardman.

Mark Eyre wrote 1531 days ago

Hi Bob. This is great writing and a great story. Your opening and closing lines in chapter 1 are superb, and I love the irony of David's presenting a session on business ethics as your introduction to him. I am fully engaged in your story, particularly given my background in consulting and business ethics! Backed without hesitation, and I hope you make it to the publishing table.
Mark (Stand up and live!)

Dadoo wrote 1527 days ago

Wow. What a great read! Two things came to mind as I was reading your book.
First, the authentic voice, especially in the not so subtle manoeuvrings and manipulations during the confrontation in chapter six. It seems you are writing what you know, and you know it well.

Second, I love the method you used to introduce the theme of the novel in chapter two. I know that I'll be spending the rest of the novel trying to divine the internal and external conflicts of interest.

It's a far cry from the type of satire that I enjoy writing, but I have to say, your book is a treat. Thank you for sharing it.

Bob

Seringapatam wrote 488 days ago

I really enjoyed this, but have picked up on the subjects that other people have mentioned. I wouldnt have spotted a lot of these being Mr Joe Soap and I am guessing a lot of other readers would be the same. A brilliant tale.
Sean Connolly British Army on the Rampage. (B.A.O.R)

made wrote 531 days ago

Loving it all the way pal

Brian Bandell wrote 657 days ago

Conflicts of Interest has been recognized as one of the favorite Authonomy books of Brian Bandell, author of science fiction thriller Mute from Silver Leaf Books.

Here are my thoughts on Conlicts of Interest and the other elite level books by emerging authors.

http://brianbandell.blogspot.com/2012/06/my-favorite-books-from-emerging-authors.html

Brian Bandell
Mute

ClaireLouise wrote 1234 days ago

Great thriller Bob! I'm intending to recommend this to a few people I know will enjoy it. The pitch is excellent and the first paragraph had me immediately. Best of luck, Claire

eurodan49 wrote 1370 days ago

Just wanted to tell you that I enjoyed your story. Russia holds a mythical interest of readers and a little more showing could go a long way. I think you’ve got a winner.
Good luck.


SusieGulick wrote 1371 days ago

Dear Bob, This is your 2nd book that I'm backing - I backed your other book 48 days ago. :) I am so impressed that you have stars under your book covers - how did you ever find enough people to back your books? I can't find anymore - well, I did find up, but only 1 in 10 return backs that I back. I am top talent spotter & commenter, but still can't find anymore backers. Back to your books. Is Harpen Collins going to publish them? What now? Is my predicament hopeless? I love all of the intrigue in this story - you'd think your hero would have learned his lesson. :) Love, Susie :) p.s. Hope you'll back my 2 memoir books. :)

Sinead McNeill wrote 1496 days ago

Great pitch and a great opening. Nice characterisation and well paced.
Good Luck
Sinead - Make Cake Not War

Diane60 wrote 1502 days ago

Bob,
Nice fish hook am totally intrigued as to what happens next. So?
Have enjoyed the first 5 can't wait to read the complete book.

Diane

Diane60 wrote 1502 days ago

Bob,
Nice fish hook am totally intrigued as to what happens next. So?
Have enjoyed the first 5 can't wait to read the complete book.

Diane

mazzadonna wrote 1503 days ago

Sorry its taken so long - but I did enjoy what I have read so far - good luck with it.

Backed with pleasure.

Mazzadonna

Little Black Cloud in a Dress wrote 1506 days ago

Great gear change: the dialogue is pithy and, in quite a few instances, laugh-out-old funny. Your characters really come alive, they're very solid, which is great news so early on.

latterday wrote 1507 days ago

i liked the pitch very much and was engrossed in the opening chapter. It is the kind of work that gets you hooked. I LIKED THE COMBINASTION OF DIALOUGE AND THE WAY YOU SAY THINGS.
Well Done
Ray
Victoria's desperate mother

JoeTheAuthor wrote 1507 days ago

A terrific pitch; great first line; compelling first chapter - a sure recipe for success! Backed with pleasure.

Joe Perrone Jr.
As The Twig Is Bent
Opening Day

seedee wrote 1510 days ago

Congrats, Bob...well deserved. Cynthia Drew, Tabernacle

legray22 wrote 1511 days ago

Enjoy the accolades - well deserved.

Rhiannon65 wrote 1511 days ago

congratulations...what I've read I've really enjoyed. hope you can get it complete and published.

AVRAHAMANOUCHI wrote 1511 days ago

Bob Steele

Congratulations.
I am delighted to assist you in reaching stardom and for being selected for a review by Harper Collins.
I hope to get your support

Avraham
The Hidden Scroll

olive-col wrote 1511 days ago

Hi Bob, I enjoyed the read, backed it. Good luck Olive

GuardsMann81 wrote 1511 days ago

Very descriptive, but still flows well. It will be interesting to see how he confronts his new assailant. Good hook for chapter 1.

Backed

Weston Kincade
An Invisible Dawn

Corinna Turner wrote 1511 days ago

Great opening character. I've backed you. Good luck tonight.

kiwiwriter67 wrote 1511 days ago

Hi Bob
This is not my usual genre but you had me hooked from the opening sentence which builds the tension through the rest of the chapter. Believable characters and crisp writing. I enjoyed it and would read more. Backed with pleasure. Good luck on the Ed's desk.
J

Merman wrote 1511 days ago

A great opening chapter - I love the terse style - and how can anyone not go on to read Chapter 2 after that hook?!

Wild Iris wrote 1511 days ago

Bob,
I've backed your book. When might you post more chapters? I was rereading chapter one and noticed Luke sent a package to David... I'd like to continue reading!

I hope you don't take some of the other comments to heart and simplify your descriptions. Good books have to transport you, not read off action like a grocery list. As you can tell (I have not written a book myself), I am merely here as an observer. Another book I have on my shelf is Karmic Relief, which has also received complaints that the first chapter doesn't capture the entire plot and fully describe the main character. I would love to hear your feedback on his writing style and descriptions.

Good luck on the editor's desk!
Iris

shartie wrote 1512 days ago

Considering this is not really my type of book, you really got me hooked! You get the reader interested in the character from the very first sentence and then it's hard to put it down, you just want a litlle more.... and some more. This is good stuff Bob.
Backed.

StampMan wrote 1512 days ago

Good stuff. Don't have time for proper comments right now - but backed. Comments to come later.

Pathinen wrote 1512 days ago

Hi Bob, Will definitely back this up. But I don't know if I want to read it !!!! Frankly I am out of all this stuff !!!!!! Got to get my sleep so that I can pay full attention to this site !!!!!!! But I am sure that this will make a very thrilling movie indeed !!!

Pathinen wrote 1512 days ago

Hi Bob, I personally prefer "Spin" !!!!

MDamsker wrote 1512 days ago

SOlid detail and a sure grasp of his characters' worlds. Bob Steele can turn the professional life of a management consultant into an adventure story with an urgent sense of how global business is changing, and threatening, our comfortable preconceptions

Tim Roux wrote 1512 days ago

Very smoothly written and well paced. It feels like a familiar chair to sink into and relax.

Tamara Milliken wrote 1512 days ago

So descriptive. You place the reader right there with your character. Even though this is not the type of book I sit with on my Friday afternoons, the flow of your words kept me reading. Backed. Tam

Fellpony wrote 1512 days ago

Nice pitch and a good opening line. I've just read Ch 1. You established the character, his work and and his physique well and sketched in the location, the wife and family.

Here and there I found your expositions a bit lengthy, and sometimes incidents that Luke recalled sat a tad uncomfortably when juxtaposed with present action (eg, the looking over the shoulder for a taxi // the remark about rocket science, which refers to forensic accounting, made me stumble in reading as I thought the "not rocket science" referred to the looking for a taxi. Which he then didn't find.)

He read, to me, older than I think he is meant to be. (Is he really fit enough to play rugby without a midweek training session?)

Closing hook is good in concept, but was too detailed for me to take in at one reading - I had to read it three times to pick up all the implications of the 5 adjectives: "slide-mounted safety being pushed down to the 'fire' position on a silenced Makarov nine millimetre semi-automatic pistol" could be covered by "the safety catch sliding to "fire" on a semi-automatic pistol" - after all you can give us the technical details later if they are important.

Generally - I'd tighten the prose where it doesn't advance the plot, but it rings true overall. Good luck with this!

Fellpony wrote 1512 days ago

Nice pitch and a good opening line. I've just read Ch 1. You established the character, his work and and his physique well and sketched in the location, the wife and family.

Here and there I found your expositions a bit lengthy, and sometimes incidents that Luke recalled sat a tad uncomfortably when juxtaposed with present action (eg, the looking over the shoulder for a taxi // the remark about rocket science, which refers to forensic accounting, made me stumble in reading as I thought the "not rocket science" referred to the looking for a taxi. Which he then didn't find.)

He read, to me, older than I think he is meant to be. (Is he really fit enough to play rugby without a midweek training session?)

Closing hook is good in concept, but was too detailed for me to take in at one reading - I had to read it three times to pick up all the implications of the 5 adjectives: "slide-mounted safety being pushed down to the 'fire' position on a silenced Makarov nine millimetre semi-automatic pistol" could be covered by "the safety catch sliding to "fire" on a semi-automatic pistol" - after all you can give us the technical details later if they are important. Good luck with this!

Fellpony wrote 1512 days ago

Nice pitch and a good opening line. I've just read Ch 1. You established the character, his work and and his physique well and sketched in the location, the wife and family.

Here and there I found your expositions a bit lengthy, and sometimes incidents that Luke recalled sat a tad uncomfortably when juxtaposed with present action (eg, the looking over the shoulder for a taxi // the remark about rocket science, which refers to forensic accounting, made me stumble in reading as I thought the "not rocket science" referred to the looking for a taxi. Which he then didn't find.)

He read, to me, older than I think he is meant to be. (Is he really fit enough to play rugby without a midweek training session?)

Closing hook is good in concept, but was too detailed for me to take in at one reading - I had to read it three times to pick up all the implications of the 5 adjectives: "slide-mounted safety being pushed down to the 'fire' position on a silenced Makarov nine millimetre semi-automatic pistol" could be covered by "the safety catch sliding to "fire" on a semi-automatic pistol" - after all you can give us the technical details later if they are important. Good luck with this!

Leslie Rocker wrote 1513 days ago

Great piece of professional writing. I read the 5 chapters in one gulp and enjoyed them. My only reservation was that the trip to Frankfurt seemed a step to one side, but no doubt the significance is explained in later chapters. It does add anyway to the atmosphere of international business, which is presumably the intention..
I have no hesitation in backing it and thnk it ought to attact a publisher.
I would be interested to get your reaction to Adam's Apple, which is a horse of a different colour as they say.
Leslie Rocker

Tim Greaton wrote 1513 days ago

Thanks so much for the read. Intelligent, well-written, and maybe just a tad slow to come out of the gate. However, there is never any doubt when a true writer is in the room. Nicely done. Shelved. Best always, Tim Greaton

Wild Iris wrote 1513 days ago

Bob,
Great story. I enjoyed all five chapters. There are places where your writing really shines. For instance, I love the sentence, "Patricia had been 'resting between jobs'.....were a figment of her imagination." Other times, your descriptions fall a little short, like when you ended with a whimper: "not somebody to mess with." And a couple of times, you overstate the obvious: "Even if he had the talent for it, which he didn't." Just end the sentence after "it."

I think you could work on writing more subtly. Instead of saying he sat in business class, perhaps he could accept a complimentary glass of champagne, which would both underline his high status and his indifference to it. In the first chapter, Luke is consumed with fear. Yet "the only solution was to push on..." Do you mean that despite the risks, he is the sort of man who must adhere to his morals or convictions? Why not examine that? I would like to get to know him more deeply before he's killed. Instead of "it meant nothing to him" why not say how far he is from the dirty workings of the underworld.

Congratulations on keeping a suspense thriller classy. Good work.

mmefford wrote 1513 days ago

I read the pitch and opening chapter. The pitch was very good, as was the opening chapter. The writing style is clean. The chapter itself built up slowly. I could feel Luke's stress as he moved through the chapter. The final hook was very nice. Backed.

blueboy wrote 1513 days ago

ok, i've read the first two chapters. i will read more later, but my first impressions are that you could really use some polishing. you include many details that do not move your plot forwad and tend to bog the flow down unnecessarily. too many details that are are not intrinsic to the plot crowd prose writing, and this does seem like prose writing. edit out "left" whener it really oes not matter whch hand a character is using to do somethng. edit specifics like "the corner of" if it is not intrinsic to the plot and going to be important later which part of the towel he mopped his face with and so forth. you ill have a lmited word count with qwhover you get published by, so write economically so that you will have plenty of words to vivdly described the important scenes that move move your plot forward. the only other things i noticed is that you tend to narrate a good bit. remember to "show" what is happening at least as much as you "tell" what is happening. you have an interesting plot and conception of the book so i have no problem backing you. but , like i said, i do suggest suggest polishing for flow and voice. i hope this is helpful. goodluck with the editor's desk, i think you have good story here. take care

D.J.Smith wrote 1513 days ago

Hi Bob
Thanks for your support and comments on 'Taylor' - will have a look at the opening lines of the chapters. Just read the first chapter of 'Conflicts of Interest'; I like the attention to detail that creates a very vivid setting and also conveys information about the main character. The plot opener is intriguing and despite there being no dialogue (and that I'm not really drawn to this genre), it promises immense things to come. So, I backed it. All the best.
D.J

Andromeda3600 wrote 1513 days ago

Fantastic opening- I only read the first chapter, but you have me intrigued. I'm sorry I didn't get back to you in time- I've been very busy writing my alternative history novel.

Andromeda3600 wrote 1513 days ago

Fantastic opening- I only read the first chapter, but you have me intrigued. I'm sorry I didn't get back to you in time- I've been very busy writing my alternative history novel.

The Z wrote 1514 days ago

Good writing, gripping and fast. Unfortunately, the story line goes around in circles, not a very good character development. I guess it is necessary to read the rest to figure out what is happening but a good read nevertheless.

GAClark wrote 1514 days ago

Not normally my genre, but the intricacy of the writing kept me reading. You actually got me to feeling the characters growing ulcer. Excellent look into the world of finance and big business. It is backed.

GA Clark
Show Low

Piers Peterson wrote 1514 days ago

Excellent read, Bob. It opens up the world of finance in which the characters exist and draws the reader into the impending crisis firsthand. I hope the rest is as good as the beginning!
-Piers (Karmic Relief)

emywoo84 wrote 1515 days ago

I was sure that i had backed this already, but was reading again and noticed there wasn't a comment from me here, so just incase i hadn't I'm backing again.

Love the premise, writing... everything. i can't wait to see it on the shelves!

E Saunders - Nightfall

J. A. Partridge wrote 1515 days ago

You have a strong authentic voice that inspires confidence in the reader. Backed.

Poor Poets Wife wrote 1515 days ago

You definitely have a talent for writing! Backed!!!

Kidd1 wrote 1515 days ago

Hey Bob, I read the first three chapters and loved the tense atmosphere you created. It kept me enthralled. Wonderful pacing, edge of the seat ending in Chapter One that hooks the reader. Masterfully drawn characterizations. You know the world you are writing about, and your expertise shows. I am eager to read more, and will come back. You shall be shelved!

L_LaBella wrote 1515 days ago

Bob - I only intended to read the first chapter, but you hooked me immediately with the suspense, tension and your outstanding writing. This is fantastic and worth its spot on the Editor's Desk. I backed the book and wish you all the best as it gets reviewed by HC.

Good Luck!

~Laura
Blood Moon

WendyB wrote 1515 days ago

Now, this I can relate to.
I worked in the Management Consulting world on Bay Street in Toronto for years (Bay Street is the business centre of Canada, for anyone who cares) and you've captured the atmosphere beautifully.
I'm looking forward to giving this a good read and will be back to you with more significant comments when I have the time to do so. But I won't keep you waiting...I'm going to back it now.
I'm looking forward to the read.

Wendy Bertsch
(Once More...From the Beginning)