Tuesday, March 10, 2015


"Topol is up there with such masters of the labyrinthine as Robert Ludlum and Tom Clancy."

- The Washington Post

"John Grisham and Richard North Patterson may have a new successor"

- Publishers Weekly

"Topol creates believable characters with real problems and emotions; he constructs a tight, suspenseful plot that has us flipping pages as fast as we can find out what happens while we root 100% for a hero we don't altogether like."

- The Los Angeles Times

"Takes off at warp speed... Topol has done his homework."
             -Washingtonian Online On Conspiracy

"Topol's Fiction Is Woven From The Threads Of Real Events And Real-Life Concerns"
                                   - Legal Times on Dark Ambition

By Allan Topol

Hard on the heels of The Argentine Triangle and also The Russian Endgame comes author Allan Topol’s next great thriller, THE WASHINGTON LAWYER. In the high-stakes world of Washington politics, hotshot lawyer Andrew Martin is being put to the test. When long-time friend Senator William Jasper calls, it’s with explosive news—and a favor to ask. A sex tryst at Martin’s beach house in Anguilla has gone awry and former model Vanessa Boyd is dead. Just how far will Martin go to protect the chief justice nomination on which he’s built his entire career?

Rife with sophisticated backdrops and hairpin plot turns that put Topol on the best-seller list, THE WASHINGTON LAWYER is a heart-stopping foray into human vice coupled with power accelerating towards catastrophe. 

Topol, himself is a well-established partner at one of DC’s top law firms and author of 11 thrillers. THE WASHINGTON LAWYER is a penetrating glimpse into Capitol Hill’s seedy underbelly. Topol impresses again with this latest escapade into the intricate underpinnings of Washington’s influential power layers, drawing the reader into a new of questionable morals, deadly intrigues and treachery from which this is no escape.

Allan Topol THE WASHINGTON LAWYER is Topol’s eleventh novels of international intrigue. Two of them, SPY DANCE and ENEMY MY ENEMY, were national best sellers. His novels have been translated into Japanese, Portuguese and Hebrew. One was optioned and three are in development for movies. More recently, his books had focused on his Craig Page series, including THE ARGENTINE TRIANGLE, THE RUSSIAN ENDGAME, SPANISH REVENGE and CHINA GAMBIT.

In addition to his fiction writing, Allan Topol co-authored a two-volume legal treatise entitled SUPERFUND LAW AND PROCEDURE. A graduate of Yale Law School, he is a partner in a major Washington law firm, and an avid wine collector, he has traveled extensively, researching dramatic locations for his novels. He wrote a weekly column for Military.com and has published articles in numerous periodicals including the New York Times, Washington Post, and Yale Law Journal. He also has blogged for Huffington Post.     For more information, visit www.allantopol.com.

By Allan Topol
Select Books, Inc., March 2015
$16.95; 288 pages
ISBN13: 978-1-59079-266-7
Fiction/Political Thriller

Q & A With Allan Topol
Q:           Is the Washington Lawyer one of those legal novels that deals with trials and witnesses?

A:            It is  not.  There are no courtroom scenes in the novel.  Although one of the lead characters, Andrew Martin, is an influential Washington lawyer, it is a political thriller with espionage.  It involves a young woman’s death, her twin sister’s desire for revenge, and an inside look at the seedy aspect of Washington politics. 

Q:           At the heart of the Washington lawyer is a fateful Veteran’s Day weekend tryst involving a U.S. Senator, Wesley Jasper, and a Congressional staffer, Vanessa, who was a former runway model.  Does this kind of thing happen in Washington?

A:            Absolutely.  I have  been a Washington lawyer myself for many years.  Periodically, events like this occur.  Three examples:  One is Senator Ted Kennedy’s Chappaquiddick incident.  Another is stripper Fanny Fox out on a date with a powerful congressman, Wilbur Mills, and she dove into the tidal basin near the Jefferson Memorial.  And most recently, Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky.

 Q:           You have been a partner in a powerful Washington law firm for many years.  Have you modeled the firm in the Washington Lawyer after your law firm?

A:            The law firm in the Washington Lawyer is a composite of many law firms I have seen.  In addition to the thriller aspect of this novel, the reader will gain insights into the operations of powerful Washington based international law firms.

Q:           Chinese spies play a pivotal role in the Washington Lawyer.  Is this your creation or is Chinese spying a major factor in Washington?

A:            Chinese spying in Washington is huge.  The Chinese are now doing what Russia and the KGB did during the Cold War days.  I wanted to shine a light on this Chinese conduct in the Washington Lawyer.

Q:           One of the major issues in the Washington Lawyer is the bond between Allison and her twin sister, Vanessa, as well Allison’s determination to find out what happened to Vanessa on that fateful weekend in Anguilla.  Why did you decide to write about the bond between sisters?

A:            I have three daughters and have observed them first hand.  I have seen my daughters’ strong bond and commitment to each other.  I know that many books dwell on the jealousy and backstabbing of sisters.  But in the Washington Lawyer, Allison and Vanessa always were proud and supportive of each other. 

Q:           Why did you make Allison an archeologist on an excavation in Israel?

A:            I have always been intrigued by archeology and especially in Israel.  So this was a way to add another dimension and locale to the Washington Lawyer.  Also, archeologists dig and that’s what Allison does metaphorically to discover what happened to her twin sister Vanessa in Anguilla with Senator Jasper.

 Q:           Why did you use the Caribbean island of Anguilla for the tryst between Senator Jasper and Vanessa?

A:            I wanted to pick a peaceful and secluded island where the rule of law prevails.  I made several visits to Anguilla before writing the book.  When I decided to use it, I went back and did research.  When authors write about international locales, it is important for them to know the place.  Only then can the author make it come alive for a reader.

Q:           The Washington Lawyer is your eleventh novel.  How have you found time to write novels while being a Washington lawyer yourself?

A:            I’m fortunate that I don’t need much sleep, so early mornings are perfect for writing.  I travel a great deal on business and am able to tune out noise around me.  That makes airplanes great for writing.  Also, being an international lawyer has complimented my novel writing.  It has enabled me to meet people, see places, and observe events which can go into the novels.

Q:           Do you have an agenda or objective in writing your novels? 

A:            I want to entertain readers in the sense that I want them turning pages to find out what happens next.  However, I also want to provide insights about world events and people.  In the Washington Lawyer, one of my objectives is to focus readers on the rivalry between the U.S. and China and the extent to which the Chinese are spying on the U.S.  At the same time, on a personal level I want to show people making critical decisions which lead to a chain of events out of their control, particularly Andrew Martin, the powerful Washington lawyer.  At the beginning of the book, Martin is a paragon of virtue.  He desperately wants to become Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.  The Washington Lawyer explores how far Martin will go, what he is willing to do on the dark side, to obtain his objective.  This parable is at the heart of the novel. 

Q:           Do you have any advice for aspiring novelists?

A:            First, develop a compelling story because story, story, story are the three major ingredients of a good novel.  Second, create vivid characters whom the reader will root for or despise.  Prepare a detailed outline—scene by scene.  Mine are typically around 50 pages.  Then sit down and write a first draft in a white heat.  Don’t read a word until you finish your draft.  Then read it and evaluate what you have.  Find a trusted reader.  Obtain input from that reader.  If you believe you have a possible book, begin the painstaking process of rewriting and polishing.  Nothing is more satisfying than seeing your book in stores or online.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Shadow Ritual Blog Tour Q&A with Eric Giacometti and Jacques Ravenne

Inspired by the true story of mysterious Freemason files thought to hold a terrible secret, which were stolen by the SS in 1940, recovered by the Red Army in 1945, and returned a half century later, SHADOW RITUAL (Le French Book; March 25, 2015; $16.95) by Eric Giacometti and Jacques Ravenne  is a fast paced international thriller that takes the reader from France to Italy to Israel.
An electrifying thriller about the rise of extremism. Two slayings—one in Rome and one in Jerusalem—rekindle an ancient rivalry between modern-day secret societies for knowledge lost at the fall of the Third Reich. Detective Antoine Marcas unwillingly teams up with the strong-willed Jade Zewinski to chase Neo-Nazi assassins across Europe. They must unravel an arcane Freemason mystery, sparked by information from newly revealed KGB files. Inspired from the true story of mysterious Freemason files thought to hold a terrible secret, stolen by the SS in 1940, recovered by the Red Army in 1945 and returned half a century later.
How did the two of you come together to write SHADOW RITUAL?
Many things led us into this adventure. First of all, Jacques is a Freemason, and Eric had investigated scandals linked to freemasonry. We had two different visions of this brotherhood. Second, Eric had already written a mystery and his French publisher was encouraging him to write another one. Thirdly, we had known each other since our teenage years together spent in Toulouse, in the south of France, when we shared a passion for esoteric mysteries and secret societies. At the time, while others were flirting, we were exploring Cathar castles and Templar outposts, certain we would find some lost treasure, perhaps even the Holy Grail. We always kept a bit of that feeling of wonder. All of this came together with the idea of a Freemason inspector. Two other inspirations fed Shadow Ritual: the little known story of Freemason persecutions in Nazi-occupied France, and the true story of French Freemason archives stolen by the Nazis in 1940, recovered by the Soviets in 1945 and only returned to France in 2000. What secret did they hold?
How does the fact that Jacques is a Freemason and Eric is a Profane affect the portrayal of the relationships between your characters?
It gives us a more balanced view of freemasonry: one that is not too indulgent and not too full of fantasy.
What was the inspiration for the characters Antoine Marcas and Jade Zewinski?
Antoine embodies an upright Freemason who believes in his ideals, but is aware that the brotherhood is not perfect. He is always doubting, and that is his strength. Jade is hostile to freemasonry and challenges Marcas, by asking him all the questions the Profane have about this secret society.
The Inspector Marcas series is an international phenomenon! Has the success of the series changed your life?
The success of the series has allowed us the freedom to write and earn a living from it, which is a real luxury.
How did you decide to write a series with a freemason as the protagonist?
We though thrillers are an excellent way for readers to discover the world of freemasonry. Then, we were doubly lucky: at the time, nobody in France had had the idea of creating a positive Freemason protagonist, and Dan Brown published his Da Vinci Code a year before we brought out the first Antoine Marcas mystery in French. We were the first French authors to benefit from the Dan Brown effect.
SHADOW RITUAL deals with actual Freemason history and the potential implications of a breach; has SHADOW RITUAL ruffled some feathers?
At first, Jacques’s brothers were a little thrown off. But over time, freemasons have become fervent supporters of Inspector Marcas. The rituals and meetings described in the books are genuine, and readers can understand a little bit more about the brotherhood.
How much research do you have to do, which are the most difficult types of scenes to research, and have you ever had to go to extreme or unusual lengths to research a scene?
We spend a lot of time in libraries, often in Freemason libraries, which have many rare books. We also meet with scholars. This is a fascinating part of the work, but it’s important not to get lost in the research or to recount too much of what we found in books. The hard part is building a plot and adjusting the mechanism to work like clockwork.
What are you reading now?
The Black Swan by Nassim Nicholas Taleb, a fascinating book about the unforeseeable events that change the destinies of nations.
Who or what has influenced your style of writing?
Jacques’s influences are very literary, as he was a French professor and a Paul Valery scholar. Eric’s are more thrillers (both books and movies).
What’s up next for you, Eric?
I’m heading to New York for Thrillerfest in July. I can’t wait to meet other thriller writers. And next year, there will be another Antoine Marcas thriller in English, one with surprising Freemason information about the Statue of Liberty and the Eiffel Tower.
What’s up next for you, Jacques?
Las Vegas in August to celebrate my son’s twenty-first birthday, and shared impatience with Eric for the next Marcas adventure.

I did not receive any compensation for this review. I did, however, receive a free copy for my review from Meryl L. Moss Media Relations, Inc.