Author: Kevin G. Chapman
Narrator: Kevin G. Chapman
Length: 9 hours 44 minutes
Series: Mike Stoneman, Book 5
Publisher: First Legacy Productions
Released: Oct. 29, 2021
A Las Vegas drag queen and a South Dakota Senator– both murdered. How are they related? NYPD Homicide detectives Mike Stoneman and Jason Dickson wouldn’t be involved, except they’re in Vegas for Jason’s wedding . . . and the bride’s brother, Jackie, is the prime suspect.
Mike and Jason try to intercede with the local cops, but when somebody tries to kill Jackie, being arrested is the least of his troubles. The harrowing events threaten to ruin the vacation, the wedding, and Jackie’s career. Is there yet another murder in the casino cards?
When the heat is on in Las Vegas, Mike may need to take a huge gamble that could cost them everything. Their only way out may be a PERILOUS GAMBIT.
Kevin G. Chapman is, by profession, an attorney specializing in labor and employment law. He is the most recent past Chair of the Labor & Employment Law Network of the Association of Corporate Counsel, leading a group of 6800 in-house employment lawyers. Kevin is a frequent speaker at Continuing Legal Education seminars and enjoys teaching management training courses.
Kevin’s passion (aside from playing tournament poker) is writing fiction. Kevin’s first Novel: “Identity Crisis: A Rick LaBlonde, P.I. Mystery,” was self-published through Xlibris in 2003, and is now available via Amazon.com as a Kindle e-book. His second novel, A Legacy of One, published in 2016 and was a finalist (short list) for the Chanticleer Book Reviews’ Somerset Award for Literary Fiction. A Legacy of One is a serious book, filled with political and social commentary and a plot involving personal identity, self-determination, and the struggle to make the right life decisions. Kevin’s next novel, Righteous Assassin (A Mike Stoneman Thriller), was a much more “fun” read — it’s a page-turner. It has some serious sub-themes, but it’s a serial killer chase and it’s intended to be enjoyable and easy to read. It was named one of the top 20 Mystery/Thrillers of 2019 by the Kindle Book Review! Kevin has just recently finished book #2 in the Mike Stoneman Thriller series, Deadly Enterprise, which was published on December 2, 2019. He has recently completed the narration of books 1 and 2 in the Mike Stoneman Thriller series for audiobook release in 2020.
Kevin has also written several short stories, including “Fool Me Twice,” the winner of the New Jersey Corporate Counsel Association’s 2010 Legal Fiction Writing Competition, which was the genesis of the character Mike Stoneman, the protagonist in Righteous Assassin. He has also written one complete screenplay (unproduced so far) and has another screenplay and two more novels currently in the works, one of which is a sci-fi space opera epic.
Kevin is a resident of West Windsor, New Jersey and is a a graduate of Columbia College (‘83), where he was a classmate of Barack Obama, and Boston University School of Law (magna cum laude ’86). Readers can contact Kevin via his website at www.KevinGChapman.com.
Q&A with Author Kevin G. Chapman
- Q: Does your writing career ever conflict with your career as an attorney?
- Kevin: I am constantly juggling my day job and my writing. It is a fortunate side-effect of COVID-19 that, for the last 18 months, I have had very little going on in my personal life (no trips, no shows, no concerts, no movies . . . ). This allowed me to have more time for writing than during normal times. Work obligations often encroach into my evenings and weekends, which would normally be my writing time, but that’s to be expected. I’ve found that I’ve pared down some of my other leisure activities while I’ve been busy writing these books. When I have video conferences, my book cover posters are in the background, which stimulates discussion about my books during business calls – so sometimes the writing encroaches on my work, also.
- Q: What are the preponderant influences on your writing?
- Kevin: As a young adult, I read a ton of science fiction. Edgar Rice Burroughs, Robert Heinlein, Isaac Azimov, Frank Herbert, and others. Those masters are storytellers. They understand how to keep the reader interested and have an arc to their characters. Later in life I started reading crime/mystery authors like Michael Connelly, Sara Paretsky and Linda Barnes, who do the same thing with more realistic stories.
- Q: Why have you been drawn to crime-thrillers?
- Kevin: In the mid-90s, I wrote my first mystery, which was a PI story. As a lawyer, I’m always thinking about legal issues, and crime stories that touch on legal subjects have always fascinated me. I decided not to write about lawyers, but I might change my mind down the line and create some stories more about law and less about crime.
- Q: How do you deal with criticism?
- Kevin: I like criticism. When I send out manuscripts to my beta readers, I’m disappointed when some of them tell me they loved the story and have no real issues. I want them to tell me what’s wrong, what’s missing, what doesn’t work, etc. I want people to tell me what they don’t like so I can make it better the next time. Sometimes criticism is just silly (like a reader who was “shocked” that there was violence in one of the books). That you just shrug off. You can’t please everyone. But I always take criticism seriously and think about whether someone’s critical comments have some validity and indicate something I can do better in the future.
- Q: In fiction as well as in non-fiction, writers very often take liberties with their material to tell a good story or make a point. But how much is too much?
- Kevin: As a lawyer, I hate it when authors write scenes where the law is wrong – where the defense lawyer gets to put his witness on the stand in the middle of the prosecution’s case, for example. A little artistic license is fine, but don’t get it totally wrong. I try to get it “right” as much as possible in my stories as to the things where it reality matters. I never want my readers to say “that would never happen that way.” As an example, in book #3, Lethal Voyage, I had a key plot event where the killer entered the victim’s state room on a cruise ship without being seen. I later learned from one of my story consultants that modern cruise ships have security cameras in the hallways, so the killer would be on camera and could not enter that cabin unseen. So, I wrote in a lightning strike the night before that knocked out the ship’s onboard servers and fried the ability of the security system to record their video images. That’s plausible, and it explains why the killer wasn’t caught on camera. That’s taking a little bit of artistic license, but still keeping it “real.” I’m ultimately fine with anything that’s plausible.
- Q: Do you ever dream about your characters?
- Kevin: All the time! I keep a notepad next to the bed so that when I have dreams about possible story lines for my characters, I can jot them down while I can still remember the dream.
- Q: How did you become involved with the subject or themes of the Mike Stoneman Thrillers and particularly Perilous Gambit?
- Kevin: I can’t say that I’m personally involved in drag culture, but it has always fascinated me. I’ve attended a few drag shows live and watched some of Ru Paul’s Drag Race, but I don’t personally know anyone who is a drag performer. But, somewhere along the line I decided that Rachel Robinson’s brother would be both gay and also a drag queen. This creates conflict in the Robinson family and gave me an excuse to get my characters to Las Vegas (my favorite place). As I got into the writing, I did research and talked to a bunch of people who have more insight than myself in order to learn enough about the drag culture to be reasonably authentic in my descriptions. It was a challenging process. I did not envision when I started the series that I’d be tackling themes of racism (Fatal Infraction) and homophobia in the later books. It just worked out that way.
- Q: What were your goals and intentions in this book, and how well do you feel you achieved them?
- Kevin: I wanted to show the drag performers (particularly Jackie) as “ordinary” people. They have special talents, and special challenges in their lives, but they are people, with many of the same hopes, fears, worries, and struggles as anyone else. They just happen to be drag performers. My goal was to bring these characters to my readers and bring my readers into this world so that they have an appreciation for those struggles as well as the fact that those people are just people. If that brings some level of acceptance or understanding to some readers, then I’ll be very happy. It’s also supposed to be a fun story, and tie up the romantic subplots, and I hope my loyal readers will appreciate how those subplots resolve here.
- Q: Did you know the end of Perilous Gambit at the beginning?
- Kevin: Oh, yes. I try to always start with the ending and work backwards. If I don’t know how the story is going to end, I can’t start. I’m a compulsive outliner and I have a very detailed summary of every scene in the story, including the ending, before I start the first draft. In this particular story, I kept the final scene secret, even from my beta readers, until the publication draft. Some of my early readers still don’t know about the final scene. (I expect to get some phone calls from surprised and excited readers.)
- Q: What was the most difficult part of writing your book and did you learn anything from writing your book. What was it?
- Kevin: It was very difficult finding the right emotional tone for Jackie and Lizzy as drag performers. As I learned more about the drag culture, I came to realize that there’s a lot of hurt and apprehension about cops and authority. I learned some history that made its way into the book, and I changed the tone of the characters to be more cautious and skeptical about cops – even Mike and Jason. When cops have historically pushed you down, oppressed you, and not taken crimes against you seriously, it’s hard to trust and have confidence in any cop. That was a concept I had not encountered before.
- Q: Where can our readers find out more about you and your novels?
- Kevin: My website at www.kevingchapman.com has information about me and all my books. Fans can also follow the Mike Stoneman Thriller facebook group.
- Q: What is next for Kevin G. Chapman?
- Kevin: Right now, I’m going to take a pause from the Mike Stoneman story. Perilous Gambit ends in January of 2020. There’s a reference to Helene DiVito’s sister dying of a respiratory illness. That’s all I ever want to write about COVID-19. So, the next story will not begin until the summer of 2022 at the earliest. For the next few months, I’m going to see what life is like when I’m not actively working on the next book. I’ve cranked out 5 books in 3 years, while working a full-time day job, so I’m due for a rest.
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