Tuesday, April 17, 2012


Author: Tareq Hassan
Genre: Thriller/Espionage
How long it's been on sale: 3 months
Current price: $2.99
Marketing: Amazon KDP Select Free Giveaway.  Also just purchased Kindle Nation Email Blast
Total sold so far: 200 (Gave away 1300 copies on a free Select promotion.)
Link to book on Amazon: Trade

Product Description:

"Hassan doesn't take a simple or mundane route with his story, he invites the reader to immerse himself (or herself) in the scene, using sound, smell, touch, and layers of delicately conceived detail and texture. This is a thriller for both the casual reader and the literary minded."  5 out of 5 Stars

"This author has either spent time in the Middle East or has done extensive research into the 'War on Terror' topic as the plot hinges on a type of criminal scheming that only an insider understands well enough to explain."  5 out of 5 Stars

"I don't know what the author's background is, but he writes with the authority and attention of detail of someone with background in either the intelligence services or the military..."  5 out of 5 Stars

"A well written and accessible novel despite the 'speciality-speak.'"  5 out of 5 Stars

"I have never written a review on Amazon before, but felt compelled to do so after reading. Great read with compelling characters."  5 out of 5 Stars

Patricia Foley, anti-semite, homophobe, and previously one of the CIA's rising stars, has been exiled to the basement for the past ten years. Chase Anderson, Chief of the Near East Division and Pat's former mentor, feels partially responsible for her fall from grace. Pete Marcone and Adriel Parish, FBI, have penetrated a domestic cell of Muslim extremists, and the Powers-that-Be want the success leveraged into an international operation. Anderson offers the simple hand-holding exercise to Pat, but Pat has plans of her own. And figuring into those plans, Danny Golan, Israeli master spy, Pat's former lover, and the principal cause of her misfortunes.

Then 9/11 happens.

First 300 Words:

Samer Ajdad walks the tunnels.  The tunnels contain enough provisions to sustain a small army.  Food, clothes, medicine, rumors of gold even.  Samer rides the colossal escalator up then takes John Street all the way down to the river.

Which is where he sees him again.  A white-haired apparition in a frayed suit making unscheduled appearances outside some of the largest financial institutions in the world.  Lanky, old before his time, and to anyone with an eye for it, a soul partial to the needle.  But a tilt of the head, a raised roman nose, and the bearing of an aristocrat.

Hawkable items of every kind teeter around him.  Samples flow freely through the crowd, which consists principally of secretaries in stilettos and young turks in get-one-free suits.  The man’s voice booms above the din.  The sales patter never once falters or hesitates.  It cajoles, seduces, and finally irresistibly commands all to part with their lunchtime change.  This is a tired junkie scraping together the day’s fix, but also an artisan of the old school, his skills on display at the epicenter of the financial universe. 

Up on the sidewalk in tailored suits stand the middle-aged and the ancient.  These are the titans, and they sometimes venture out to watch a master at work.

Within minutes, the mountain of junk is reduced to a few discarded boxes.  The old man makes his way to the subway, a newfound spring to his step.  The titans retreat, murmuring within earshot of their young junk bond and penny stock-selling associates, “Now that’s how shit is peddled.”

Samer, smiling, happy, makes his way back to the glass tower home of Trevers and Hown, Limited Liability Partners, with a countertop grill in one hand and a foot massager in the other.

Vicki's Comments: The cover makes me think this is a non-fiction book. It looks like a book on business. To me, it doesn't have a thriller vibe at all. On the plus side, the title is large and easy to read, and in a nice font. The author's name is a bit small, but again I do like the clean font. The cover does look professional, even if it doesn't give me the right genre message. It could just be me, so I would get some other opinions on it.

You start your description with reviews. I would not do that, unless you have a review from Stephen King or some other person of note. If people want to read the reviews, they are easy to find down below. Start your description with the book.

The story description isn't bad, it just feels a bit clinical to me. Maybe because it's not really written in a character's voice? I'm not sure. But I do think there's a good story here. I would get some help with the blurb. I'd like to get a feeling for the main character. As it stands, I'm not sure who the protagonist is. Is it Chase, or Pete? I hope it's not Patricia, I'm not really liking her from the description. I hope she's the antagonist. I'd like to get more of a feeling of who I'm going to be sharing my time with.

The opening. I'll confess, I'm not a fan of present tense. I cringe a bit involuntarily when I read it. I usually put a book down if I'm looking to find something for my leisure reading, unless someone has highly recommended it. Now, for the good news. I really enjoyed this beginning. I had a few minor nit picks, but the description and characters sucked me in. I found myself visualizing the scene and having a pleasant experience. I admit, this is rare for me. Usually I take several pages or even a few chapters before I get sucked into a story. This was a refreshing beginning for me.

The nit picks? I would have liked to see the first and second sentences combined. I didn't like the sentence fragment. I know they're in right now, but that one bothered me. Like I said, pretty nit picky. I think this book needs a new cover and a description tweak. If I sampled this book I would keep reading.

What do you guys think?


  1. Heavens yes, ditch the reviews in the description. While they're nice to have, I'd sooner click off the page then wade through them all to find out what the book is actually about.

    Regarding the actual description, the third sentence is the meat, even if completely generic. The rest is too heavily weighted with detail while completely devoid of the emotional payoff readers can expect.

    Please, please go read some of the blurbs for Vince Flynn's books. I believe they do an excellent job of balancing left and right brain hooks for genre readers.

  2. Cover doesn't say "thriller/espionage" at all. Definitely thought it was a non-fiction book about Trade.

  3. I agree with the others, the cover does not convey the genre at all. There is no sense of action or tension. But unlike Vicki, I don't think it looks professional. I think it looks like a plain stock photo with a few words in a plain font (TNR?).

    I also agree that you should remove the reviews from the description, and the description should talk about what happens in the story. So far, all you have is a very detailed and complicated set-up.

    I have no sense of whether this is a Tom Clancy-style book with a lot of detail and politics, or whether it's a Jason Bourne-style action thriller.

    The sample text is pretty good. I liked it, even though I don't really like the genre myself.

  4. While it sounds interesting I have to agree with the others. An investment in a new cover is needed. Maybe spend a few hours on Amazon surfing around in the "Thriller Genre" to see what everyone else is doing.

  5. Many thanks Vicki and everyone else-this is very helpful.



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