Thursday, September 5, 2013

VBT - Dirty Water by Richard Hacker with Interview

Crime Thirller - Suspense/Mystery
Date Published: June 2013
Publisher: Champagne Books


An open and shut case of vandalism leaves more questions than answers for PI Nick Sibelius, as he untangles a knot of egomania, desire and greed. When entrepreneur Dan Hoyt makes a deal with virtual gaming icon, Izzy Zydeco, to partner in a desalination project Hoyt begins to count his money.  Unknown to Hoyt, his partner has bigger and more insidious plans, which involves betraying a major drug cartel and, in a twisted business strategy to build a customer base for desalinated water, contaminating the Austin water supply for the next century. Working with a covert Homeland Security agent and past love, MaryLou and his new partner, Theresa, Nick must thwart Izzy and ultimately choose between justice and saving Theresa’s life.   Water is up for grabs in Texas and Nick discovers that H2O is a dirty business.


Target #5

Charity’s universe demanded blood for the pain she endured.
She sat in her black Nissan Leaf, silent but for the sound of the impatient tapping of her fingers on the steering wheel. Her eyes fixed on a red roof tiled Spanish revival number in the cul-de-sac of Island Palms Cove, a street lined with multi-million dollar mansions along a custom built peninsula on Lake Austin. Ignoring the opulence, she watched a fire red Ferrari 430, license plate number HNJ 793. 
Her hopped up, speed addicted, hacker of a cousin Larry had provided, as usual, the required critical information. She'd handed him her standard envelop with his “medication” and a license plate number. Several hours later, he emailed an encrypted file with all of the particulars, including a code for the security gate. Charity would make Daniel Hoyt pay for his disrespect of cyclists. 
She pondered the idea of sticking a gun in Hoyt’s, mouth. She’d pull the trigger, watching his brain matter splatter across the mirrored surface of his fucking Italian super car. Imagining how sun-baked blood and brain would absolutely eat right through the clear coat, destroying his mirror finish, gave her a visceral pleasure. Balance. Don't worry about the future, girl, focus on the goal. 
Sitting in her carbon zero car, she downed a non-fat latte, one power bar and an electrolyte packed coconut water. Her hip ached and the need to take a piss rose with some urgency. For a moment she considered packing it in for the day, knowing she could come back tomorrow. Tapping an iPod strapped to her arm, a high energy male voice filled her ear buds.
“Are you haunted by demons? Do you find your plans faltering? Do you let your fear of failure stop you from achieving your goals?”
Charity spoke out loud to her demons – the lazy, fat, loser demons who always haunted her whenever she “hit the wall” during a race or a workout.
“Come on, Charity! Push it! Push through it, goddamn it! Let’s go. Let’s go!”
The podcast continued. “How do you approach life? ‘Fire, ready, aim’? To live with intention, to live consciously in the world, you must rearrange your world from ‘fire, ready, aim’ to ‘ready, aim, fire!’” 
Charity stepped out of the car into a warm, humid summer morning. She scanned the area, then pulled down her black tech fabric riding shorts. Squatting, she kept her legs far enough apart to avoid the splashing stream of urine. While peeing felt good, the indignity of the moment set off her ongoing anger at God. Men had pricks they could just hang out at will to pee. 
If God was a woman, then women, whenever the mood or necessity warranted, would be able to yank a man’s prick right off, like the tail of a chameleon, who scurries away nub-butted while you hold the still twitching member in your hand.
The energetic male voice pulled her back to the task at hand, “What is ‘Ready’? You are ready when mind, body and spirit, when your whole being is a coiled spring for action. Can you feel your creative, life spirit tension about to explode?”
Charity repeated her mantra. “Yes, I am Ready. I am a coiled spring. I am a creative explosion.” 
Finishing, she pulled her shorts up over her long and freckled muscular legs, watching her quads flex as she smoothed the leg band. As had been the pattern for the last three days, Hoyt had not left his house before 6:30 am. She checked her pink GPS enabled training watch. 5:05 am. Plenty of time.
“Readiness is not sufficient. To be powerful you must AIM. A for Attitude, the attitude of a winner. I for Intention, intending with heart, mind and soul the reality you will create. And M for Manifestation, making your power real in the world.”
“I am ready. I am a winner. I will manifest my power to create life exactly how I want it. Let’s go, Charity.” 
Pulling the trunk release, she reached for her  Iron Divas black and pink workout bag with a white skeleton riding a pink road bike, the skeletal rider’s long flaming hair trailing behind, teeth gritted ferociously. She took in a breath and slightly bent her knees, feeling the strain of her triceps flexing under the load of the bag. Her focus on Hoyt had taken her off the daily workout regimen. Just one more reason she hated this sonofabitch. Opening the bag, she pulled out a one liter opaque plastic bottle filled with a batch of highly concentrated fox urine she had purchased at Hill Country Outfitters the day before. 
“I am a winner. I will prevail.”
Moving quickly, she jogged the two blocks to an expansive home with terra cotta roof tiles and her target red sports car in the driveway. She crept to the driver’s side of the Ferrari, checking the door. No alarm. Even though she had a “smash and go” plan if needed, it pissed her off the egotistical jerk assumed no one would dare mess with his ride. She worked fast. Placing a gel pack on the driver’s side door to dampen the sound, she punched a quarter inch hole through the carbon fiber door with a titanium drill bit.  Charity pulled a battery powered pump with two drooping hoses from her bag. One hose connected to the urine filled bottle. She slipped the other hose, fitted with a tiny spray nozzle, into the hole, then flipped the switch. The pump hummed. A sulfurous stench filled the morning air, as urine  flowed through clear plastic tubing, disappearing into Hoyt’s sports car’s door. A fine mist sprayed out the nozzle onto the interior and custom red and black racing seats. Her pump strained, having emptied the container. She pulled the hose out, causing some liquid to dribble down the door, splashing onto the drive. Charity took a breath in through her nose, the stench like diarrhea and burnt hair causing her to gag, acidic vomit coming up in her mouth. 
Be strong. Be confident. Be courageous.
Closing her eyes she regained her focus, put the equipment back into her bag and twisted a bullet shaped tampon into the hole, its pale blue string dangling in the air. 
She ran back, tossing her gear in the trunk, then drove to the Laguna Gloria Museum parking lot to put on her cycling shoes, helmet, gloves and riding glasses. 5:55 am. She lifted her pink carbon road bike off the roof rack, checked tire pressure and brakes, then clipped in, heading back to Hoyt’s house. Her legs burned as she conquered the gradual slope of Mount Bonnell Road. She was strong, powerful, in control. Hoyt had begun his crucible of becoming her fifth target. But as she shifted through the gears, Charity reminded herself while Target #5 would be fun, she had come to Austin with a singular purpose: to kill her brother’s murderer. 
Yes, the Universe demands a balance of blood for pain.

DIRTY WATER, as well as Nick Sibelius’ first crime adventure TOXIC RELATIONSHIP,  is available at your favorite digital book vendor.

Richard Hacker’s novel, TOXIC RELATIONSHIP, released August, 2012 by Champagne Books was a 2011 Writer’s League of Texas (WLT) finalist, where in addition, SHAPER EMERGENCE won best novel in the Science Fiction category.  He is a member of the Pacific Northwest Writers Association.  
After living many years in Austin, Texas where he worked as a leadership coach, public speaker and management trainer, he moved with his high school sweetheart to Seattle.  While he misses the big skies of Texas, Richard has grown fond of the Pacific Northwest.  His writing partner, a springer spaniel named Jazz, helps with proofreading and ball fetching. 
DIRTY WATER, the next novel in the Nick Sibelius series after TOXIC RELATIONSHIP, will be released June, 2013.  He is currently working on the third book in the series, CHAIN REACTION, as well as a young adult fantasy entitled INKER WARS: THE FIVE PENS OF JOHANN.
Visit him online at
Contact Information
Twitter: @Richard_Hacker


Dirty Water 
Giveaway Contest

Two fans who answer the survey correctly will be randomly selected to win $25 Amazon Gift Certificates.
Read the book. Take the  survey. Win the prize.
Two chances to win!

Send your completed questionnaire to:

What is your email address? (The address will be used to send the contest winner their prize and may be used to send you periodic updates on future publications.)


1. Who was pitching in Nick’s dream? ____

A. Sandy Koufax

B. Nolan Ryan

C. Roger Clemens

D. Andy Petit

2. What mythological creature terrifies Charity?  ____
A. Banshee

B. Unicorn

C. Bunyip

D. Yeti

3. Jonah Martin plays one of Izzy Zydeco’s virtual games. What is it?  ____

A. Mujahid Deathmatch 1.2

B. Kill Bird Death Knell

C. Argo Blaster Kill Zone 3

D. Pro Tennis Courtside

4. What is Dan Hoyt building on the Texas coast?  ___
A. Spa Resort

B. Margarita Machine Factory

C. Suntan lotion boutique

D. Desalination Plant

5. Nick has a run-in with what drug cartel?  ____

A. Tres cerditos

B. Los Tejanos Diablos

C. Los Distribuidores

D. La Familia

Send your completed questionnaire to:


1)     First, tell us about yourself – where  you live, your family, and those 
sorts of details.

I live in Seattle, Washington with my wife and our springer spaniel, Jazz. 
We moved in 2009 from Austin, Texas, where we both had lived since the 
late 60’s.  I actually met my bride in high school and the love fest just keeps 
getting better.  We love Texas and Austin in particular--our daughter, son-inlaw, grandkids, other family and friends are all there, but Seattle is a great 
city surrounded by stunning beauty.  If I’m not going to be in Austin, Seattle 
is a pretty good place to land.

2)     How long have  you been writing?

Most of my life.  I recall writing short stories for show and tell in the third 
grade!  And I’ve written for my work in business consulting, squeezing in 
some time to write fiction now and then. I’m always impressed with writers 
who have full lives and still manage to get up at 4AM to write fiction.  I need 
the creative energy to be flowing, so with a busy work life which included 
lots of travel and a busy family life, I just didn’t have the juice left to write.  
Until I got to Seattle.  I was about to start up my business here when my 
wife, Sidney, encouraged me to use this transition to do what I actually love 
doing, which is writing.  So I focused 100% on the writing.  I’m definitely in 
my happy place.

3)     Do you have a favorite place to write?

I have writer friends who have a specific place and environment for writing.  
A certain coffee shop, with a double latte and a bagel between 1 and 3 pm.  
I’ve made a conscious effort to remove boundaries from my writing, so my 
favorite place to write is anywhere, anytime, under any circumstances.  I’ve 
written at home in silence, coffee shops with music and a two year old 
reaching my laptop to add her two cents to my manuscript, on planes, 
trains, buses, anywhere.  Of course, everyone has to do what works for 
them.  For me, what works is to choose for anywhere to work.

4)     Why did you decide to write Dirty Water?

Dirty Water is a sequel to the first Nick Sibelius book, Toxic Relationship.  
Part of my reason for writing these novels is purely selfish.  I love Texas, 
Austin, and the culture of Central Texas, and writing a novel set there helps 
keep me connected emotionally and physically.  I do go to Austin regularly 
to visit family and friends and always make time to do some research and 
scouting for locations and plot ideas while I’m there. 
I suppose the other driving force for writing Dirty Water is that Nick has 
more to do in Austin. I enjoy creating rather bizarre, quirky characters. Nick 
doesn’t know it, but he’s got more crazies to deal with than I think he’s 
bargained for.

5)     Who is your favorite character in your book and why?

For Dirty Water it’s a tough call between the eco-terrorist Charity and the 
developer Dan Hoyt.  But I’ll go with Charity. She’s a tall, athletic cyclist
eco-terrorist who has it in for ‘carbon spewers’ and anyone who might want 
to run her off the road.  She’s crazy, but extremely passionate about her 
cause.  A conversation with her would be fascinating, hearing the story of 
what drives her and why she traveled from Australia to the States.  I’m also 
pretty clear that Charity is not someone you want for a friend. She’s
certifiable. A sociopath with anger issues.  Hanging around Charity 
guarantees jail time, injury, or more likely, both

6)     How about your least favorite character?  What makes them less 
appealing to you?

Least favorite--tough question.  They’re all my babies, but the least 
appealing character by design is the main antagonist, Izzy Zydeco. This 
guy is a brilliant virtual reality game developer who will kill anyone who gets 
in the way of his path to power.  He’s not someone you’d want as a friend.
Actually he’s the kind of guy you don’t want to know. He’s violent, 
unpredictable and possibly a bit deranged.

7)     Do you proofread/edit your own books or do you get someone to do 
that for you?

I proofread and edit my own work multiple times, have beta readers proof
and edit and then once the book goes to the publisher, I work with an inhouse editor to continue to proof and edit the manuscript.  Self-editing is a 
bit like standing in a very familiar acre of woods.  You’re so close to every
branch, every leaf, the texture of the bark on every tree that it becomes 
difficult to be aware of the flaws.  So I’m a big advocate of getting outside 
editing help.

8)     What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

Besides reading, I walk my dog, Jazz. She’s a 2 year old springer spaniel 
with lots of energy.  Riding my scooter. I ride around for errands, but I also 
will go on little excursions, for example a pizza slice and a beer in Alki 
beach in West Seattle. Hiking. And I love to cook--maybe a bit too much!

9)     Do you read much and if so who are your favorite authors?

Within the same genre of crime with some humor, three come immediately 
to mind:  Donald Westlake who demonstrates his mastery of the genre in
the 1968 novel, God Save the Mark; Elmore Leonard, Get Shorty; and Carl 
Haissen, Skin Tight.  Favs from other genres include Andrea Camilleri 
(Sicilian police procedural, Terra-Cotta Dog is one in his Inspector 
Montalbano series), Paulo Bacigalupi (sci-fi, check out Wind-up Girl), Alan
Furst (historical fiction set in WWII-a bit dark, The Polish Officer is an 
example).  And I’ve always been a fan of William Gibson, Douglas Adams,
Umberto Eco, and Phillip Dick.  Currently I’m reading Terry Pratchett’s, The 
Long Earth.  
Okay, I guess I like to read a bit. 

10)  What’s up with Alice, the transgender office manager for Nick?

One of the things I want to do as a writer is to bring diversity into my 
fictional world, but more importantly, make different normal.  In our culture 
there’s often pressure to fit into a box, especially in regards to gender, 
sexual orientation and race. Then stereotypes develop.  If I say black gay 
man or transgendered hispanic woman and image pops into our minds 
whether we like it or not.  So creating a character, in this case a white man
who identifies as a woman, and then breaking assumptions about the 
character I think helps all of us at least question the stereotype.  So Alice
could be an emotional wreck, over the top diva, flamboyant and fragile. 
Instead, She’s an ex-Navy Seal with serious combat skills and lots of selfconfidence.  She is fully embracing her femininity, sometimes faltering in 
her execution as she explores this new path for herself, but moving forward
with grace and dignity and persistence. In Dirty Water she’s with her 
attorney lover on an island getaway, but she’ll be back for Chain Reaction.

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