Choosing the City of Chicago as a Setting by Russell – Guest Blog and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Russell will be awarding $10 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour. Read our review here.

Choosing the City of Chicago as a Setting

Even from the very moments of the opening scenes, DERRICK transports the reader to the heart of Chicago. Throughout the book, various locations around the city and iconic destinations, the reader will admire the beauty and even darkness of Chicago. In Book 1 of the Gavin Nolan Trilogy, GAVIN immerses the reader in the vibrancy of city life. When I wrote both GAVIN and now DERRICK, Chicago was a just a natural choice as a setting for several reasons.

First and foremost, Chicago has a rich, turbulent history. Between the historic landmarks, the Great Chicago Fire, infamous gangsters, 1893 World’s Fair, and the fated Chicago Stockyards, Chicago was built on determination, dedication and devotion. The city created a unique cityscape in the heart of the Midwest which bridged the East Coast and the West Coast. The beautiful turn-of-the-century architecture, the towering skyscrapers and the futuristic modern glass structures line Michigan Avenue, State Street and Wabash with both reverie and prestige. One can only imagine the streets of the burgeoning city in the Industrial Era, changing landscapes as buildings rose to the heavens in midcentury and the modern expanse circumventing the city to spiral out in the neighborhoods. In addition, Chicago truly becomes a tertiary character. Echoing New York City and Los Angeles, Chicago’s bustling city life does not cease. Within the subtle shadows of DERRICK and GAVIN, Chicago can be seen as constant moving mechanism as it always stirs at any given point of the day. As you read my books, you will feel this motion of city life through bustling traffic noises, an intoxicating fragrance and busy streets full of people.

On a personal note, I lived in Chicago for nearly two decades. Having been raised in Milwaukee, WI, I didn’t know of any city larger. When I was eleven, my older sister and I travelled to Chicago, which had a profound effect on me. The grandeur and beauty of the city stole my imagination, and even then, I was instantaneously smitten for Chicago’s zeal of life. About fifteen years later, an opportunity rose for relocating to Chicago, which I grabbed immediately. With much excitement and trepidation, I became immersed in the city by touring and visiting as many sites, locations, museums and neighborhoods throughout the area. My admiration for Chicago comes out through Derrick’s poignant moments in the book.

Even though I currently live in South Texas, and had lived in Upstate New York, I often go back to my pseudo-hometown of Chicago and admire the beautiful glass and steel scenery. The city gives me a sense of wonder and awe. Each time when I see the beautiful city scape, I feel the goosebumps rise on my arms, and become memorized by the beauty.

Please check out both GAVIN and DERRICK today. Currently, I am working on the final part QUINN. Also, follow me on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

Read to Escape!

In Hyde Park, a movie theater erupts in flames on a bitterly cold November evening.

It seems like a job for the fire department, but under Captain Creighton’s direct orders, Detective Gavin Nolan and his partner, Derrick Williamson, must investigate. Arriving on the chaotic scene, they find multiple fatalities —but one of the victims is most peculiar…

Gavin soon discovers that this fire wasn’t the first of its kind. The arsonist has set ablaze other buildings around Chicago, and more female victims left in the same gruesome state have been discovered.

Gavin and Derrick determine that the arsonist is not an arsonist at all—but a sinister serial killer with an agenda.

Juggling the unexpected events in his personal life, Gavin digs into the locations of the explosions. At the same time, Derrick probes into the victims’ lives, searching for any possible connection.

However, when the next explosion occurs, the killer leaves behind a significant object, and Derrick becomes noticeably reserved. Gavin soon uncovers an enigmatic link, one that points to Derrick’s military past. A time that his partner had wished to forget. Yet, to catch the vicious maniac, Derrick must tell Gavin everything.

In a suspenseful, gripping ride to the end, it is up to Gavin to rescue his partner from the clutches of a killer. But will he make it in time?

WARNING: This book contains graphic scenes, explicit language, and violent sexual situations.

Enjoy an Excerpt

Alarmed, the woman’s eyes opened. Her nerves twitched slightly, as if an electric shock rattled her body.

Instantly, an eerie darkness consumed her, and an unusual stillness blanketed her surroundings.

Where am I? the woman wondered.

With her instinctual medical training, she began immediately diagnosing her own condition: blurry vision, raspy breath, citrus acidic taste at the back of her throat, and weak muscles. The signs were a tell-all. She had been drugged. Most likely either clonazepam or estazolam.

As her thick braids fell in front of her eyes, she realized that her body was hanging in midair. Above her, a rope bound her hands. The burning strain in her deltoids ached deep into her lower back.

The air was unusually frigid. Her entire body was trembling. She looked down and realized she was completely naked.

Who took off my clothes? she thought, her mind racing with a fresh wave of panic.

All she could remember was getting home from a run in the cold rain of a late November day that had chilled her to the core. Since the presentation of her dissertation was only days away, she relieved the building stress with those exhilarating runs. They were especially liberating knowing that she had to head back to the university lab. Entering the darkened house, she had sworn she’d left the light on. She recalled a quick shadow slipping just behind her in her peripheral vision. She’d felt a sudden blow to head, had fallen against the wooden banister—

What day is it? The presentation was on Saturday. Did she miss it? A sense of dread engulfed her, then fear. All the seemingly endless months and years of planning her project, all the meetings with that arrogant, dimwitted professor, all those countless hours in the lab…it would all be for nothing. Most importantly, all the sacrifices she’d made with her family, spending so much time away from her daughter—and well, her husband too— would be just a waste.

About the Author: Russell has been writing for the majority of his life. Slipping into alternative universes allows him to enjoy the process of creativity from the novel’s conception to its final draft. Currently, he lives in South Texas with his wife, two kids and several cats.

DERRICK is a 2018 Winner in the New Apple Literary Awards, receiving Official Selection in Psychological Suspense.

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  1. Thanks for hosting!

  2. James Robert says

    Always fun to hear about another new great book. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Rita Wray says

    Sounds like a great read.

  4. Mya Murphy says

    This book sounds amazing!! Can’t wait to read it!!

  5. Interesting cover

  6. bernie wallace says

    Who is your favorite author currently writing?

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