The Victim of the System
by Steve Hadden
on Tour May 1-31, 2018
Twenty-two years ago, Ike Rossi's life was shattered when his parents were murdered in cold blood. He surrendered his football scholarship and returned home to find their killer and raise his nine-year-old sister. Now, the crime of a local ten-year-old genius, Jack Cole, threatens to unearth old wounds rather than provide the closure Ike desperately wants.
When Ike meets Jack inside the Pittsburgh courthouse, he doesn't see a murderer but instead a boy who has been victimized by a system that has left them both without justice. Despite knowing the case will resurrect the painful demons of his parents' unsolved murders, Ike agrees to clear Jack's name. The court of public opinion and the district attorney have an airtight case. Worse, taking Jack's side thrusts Ike into the crosshairs of the most powerful family in Pittsburgh, the Falzones.
Now, with only days before the trial, Ike confronts the Falzones' crumbling empire to find the shocking evidence that could save Jack. At the same time, he races to decipher a series of cryptic clues from Jack's dead father that could hold the key to his son's freedom. But each step closer to the truth draws them further into danger, and as three fractured families collide, Ike is forced to choose between saving Jack-and saving himself.
The Victim of the System is an intriguing and entertaining thriller about the justice system, closure and the abyss between them.
Book Details:Genre: Thriller
Published by: Telemachus Press
Publication Date: April 3rd 2018
Number of Pages: 330
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads
1. Is being a writer a gift or a curse?
This is an interesting question. I’ve heard many writers answer this question, “both”. For me, it’s a two-part question. While I had read quite a few novels before I started writing, I quickly learned that learning to write well was like learning to build a house by yourself. You had to take the time to master a series of skills and gain an understanding of the building blocks of writing a novel. This took many hours at writing conferences, reading books about the various elements of the craft and spending time talking with writers who’d had success, and a ton of writing to get to the point where I felt like a good writer. For some, I do think it’s a gift, but for me it’s a skill that needed to be built. This is when the second part of the question kicks in. Once I “got it”, the stories kept coming and I had to get them out to the world. So for me, it’s more of an addiction than a curse.
2. Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
I was trained as an engineer and worked in business for years, so I naturally was drawn to the structural components of writing like plot and story structure easily. One of the skills I found more challenging to learn was getting to third level emotions of characters in my writing. Listening to super-agent Donald Mass at a couple of writing conferences really helped lock it in for me.
3. Who are your favorite authors?
I write thrillers that lie at the intersection of great stories, interesting characters, dramatic human conflict and the edge of science. That’s generally what I enjoy. I read broadly but Greg Iles is one of my favorite authors right now. Reading his Mississippi Burning series was a great joy for me. I also like James Rollins, Lee Child, Michael Connelly, John Grisham, Joseph Finder, Steve Berry and the late Michael Crichton.
4. Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
The first stories I read were probably Dr Seuss books. How great were those when we were kids? But the first novel that had in impact on me was Clive Cussler’s Raise the Titanic. My father gave me the book. It was a big sweeping story that had great characters and a touch of science. Since I grew up near the US Naval Academy and loved science, that book resonated with me.
5. Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
I guess wrote is the operative word here. I loved to tell stories as a kid, especially if they were scary or funny. It wasn’t until junior high school when I wrote a short story that I knew I loved writing. The story was about a being in class and falling into a daydream that ended with me hitting the floor. My teacher took me aside and encouraged me explore writing, but I was off the charts in science and math, so I pursued an engineering degree and then began to write years later.
6. When you develop characters do you already know who they are before you begin writing or do you let them develop as you go?
Here comes that engineering training again. I spend a lot of time up front with my characters. I develop backstories for each of them that includes their history and how they justify their goals in the story. I invite them into my world and they live in my mind for months until I start the actual writing.
7. How did you break into publishing?
Break may not be the right word for me. I’m wedging myself into this gigantic writing universe. I just launched my sixth novel and have developed a great team of editors, beta readers, publishing experts and a great marketing expert. It’s taken time and hard work to get to this point and I’m happy where we are today. But I still have lofty goals for my writing career.
8. What marketing strategies do you find most helpful? Any resources you would recommend to other authors or aspiring authors?
As a businessman with an engineering degree, I knew I needed expert help and guidance. I’d pick up lots of advice at conferences and books, but there is nothing like having an expert on your team to help you get your writing noticed. You can have a great product but getting the right eyes on it is the challenge. And in my experience, one size doesn’t fit everyone. I think your genre, brand, personality and budget all combine in a unique way when it comes to marketing needs and it takes a while to find the right person and expertise for you. I found Rebecca at 2MarketBooks and she’s perfect for my needs. We focus on building awareness for my books using Facebook posts and ads, Goodreads ads and giveaways, Amazon ads, promotions and giveaways, and promotions and ads in key online outlets that fit my thrillers.
Read an excerpt:
Steve Hadden was born in Columbus, Ohio but spent much of his childhood in North Severna Park, Maryland. Building a short-wave radio with his father (an electrical engineer), frequent trips to the US Naval Academy, and the gift of a chemistry set, sparked his interest in chemistry and mathematics at an early age. At the end of elementary school, Steve's family moved to Columbus, Indiana where he developed his love for basketball and where his favorite book was Stranger Than Science by Frank Edwards. Two years later, Steve moved to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania where his junior high school creative writing teacher sparked his interest in writing. Steve attended North Allegheny High School and fell in love with Clive Cussler's Raise the Titanic.
He attended Penn State, graduated with a degree in chemical engineering, and began a career in the oil and gas business, where he's worked in engineering, management, and advisory roles. He's traveled to intriguing places around the world and met fascinating people. His experience in the oil and gas business ultimately led to the idea for his first thriller, The Sunset Conspiracy. His interest in biology and science formed the foundation for his next four thrillers, Genetic Imperfections and The Swimming Monkeys Trilogy. He returned to his hometown of Pittsburgh with his latest thriller, The Victim of the System, a story with a mind-bending scientific twist.
Steve now lives in the foothills of the Cascades outside of Seattle. When he's not working on his next intriguing thriller, Steve is hiking the trails with his wife and two Labrador retrievers, playing guitar or piano, reading great books, listening to music and consulting on business matters.