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The Last Act by Brad Parks – an extract

Today I am excited to be able to share with you an extract from the thrilling new page-turner from the author of Say Nothing, Brad Parks.

The Last Act follows former Broadway star Tommy Jump. As his final run as Sancho Ponza draws to a close, Tommy is getting ready to give up the stage, find a steady paycheck, and settle down with his fiancée.

Cue Special Agent Danny Ruiz. An old school friend of Tommy’s, now with the FBI, Ruiz makes Tommy an offer that sounds too good to refuse. All Tommy has to do is spend six months in prison, acting as failed bank robber ’Pete Goodrich’.

Inside, he must find and befriend Mitchell Dupree, who has hidden a secret cache of documents incriminating enough to take down New Colima, one of Mexico’s largest drug cartels. If Tommy can get Dupree and reveal where the documents are hidden, the FBI will give him $300,000, more than enough to jumpstart a new life. But does he have what it takes to pull off this one final role?

Read on for an extract from this fantastic sounding novel.

We spent the next few hours getting granular with the details.
By the time we had something workable, it was three
o’clock in the afternoon. I felt ready to confront Danny Ruiz. Or as
ready as I could be.
We had decided I would make the call from a burner phone. If I
used the Randolph phones, the Bureau of Prisons would be
listening— which, if nothing else, would prevent Danny from being
able to talk freely. With Mrs. Lembo’s blessing, Agent Hall went out
and procured a flip phone that, by appearances, had not set the FBI
back much.
I told them I didn’t want to make the call in front of them, which
Hines had originally fought against. But I convinced her my job was
already difficult enough, without the added pressure of performing
for a live audience. I won the argument when I pointed out that we
were each going to have to trust each other a lot in the coming days
if this plan was ever going to succeed.
Eventually, she acquiesced. They set me up in an empty office
down the hall from the conference room. It was strange— strange
and powerful— being gifted with cellular technology again after two
months in the dark ages. In my hands, that cheap burner phone felt
like Excalibur.
Now sitting at a desk, like some midlevel BOP bureaucrat, I took
a few deep breaths to mentally prepare myself. I had to be the same
actor Ruiz and Gilmartin had hired. They couldn’t suspect I had
switched roles behind their backs.
I dialed Danny’s number. After three rings, he answered with a
cautious, “Hello?”
This was the first time I had actually talked to him since learning
what he really was. His treachery, the ease with which he had manipulated
me— and the unwitting guilelessness I had shown throughout
most of it— was coming back to me as both humiliation and anger.
But I swallowed the bile rising in my throat and, in my regular
voice— not my Pete Goodrich accent— said, “Hey. It’s Tommy.”
“Slugbomb? What’s this number you’re calling me on?”
“It’s a burner phone. I had a CO smuggle it in for me. I wanted
us to be able to talk without the Bureau of Prisons listening in.”
“Oh, right. Smart. So what’s up? Did Mitch finally make up
his mind?”
“Yeah, he did.”
“What did he say?”
“Not yet. We’ve got some business to discuss first,” I said, then
presented my newfound knowledge without adornment: “I know
what you really are, Danny. I know who you really work for.”
“I’m sorry, what?”
“I know you’re not an FBI agent.”
“I’m not?” And then, in typical smooth- Danny fashion, he tried
to made a joke out of it: “Then why am I wearing this suit right now?”
“Knock it off, Danny. I know about the drug charges you faced.
I know you killed Kris Langetieg. I know you threatened David
Drayer into cooperating. I know you have been lying to me about
everything.”
“Slow down, slow down. I have no idea what you’re talking about.
Did someone…… Did you hear something that got you upset? Help
me out here. I’m confused about where this is coming from.”
“Stop it. Stop pretending. It’s over.”
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Closer Than You Know by Brad Parks – a review BLOG TOUR

Closer Than You Know by Brad Park introduces us to Melanie. Having survived a difficult childhood she is now happily married with a young son. Her life seems to be in control. Until she arrives to pick up her son from his child minder to find out that he has been removed by social services. Her problems then increase when she is arrested for drug possession and she realises that someone is trying to frame her.

The story is told not only from the point of view of Melanie, but also that of Amy who is the assistant commonwealth’s attorney. She is assigned to Melanie’s case, but is also hunting down a serial rapist who has been active for years.

This was a good read. The story itself was interesting although in parts it did feel a little implausible. However it is no lie that I couldn’t put this one down. The twists and turns just kept coming giving it a real rollercoaster feel. The characters of Melanie and Amy were both well written. Both women were in incredibly frustrating situations and despite their different circumstances they both felt powerless at times. One thing that really stood out for me was the fact that at no point did it become obvious that this was a man writing from a woman’s point of view. I find often certain words or phrases sound a bit out of kilter but not with this one.

This was the first I have read from Brad Park’s but I’ll certainly keep an eye out for the rest of his novels if they are all such a roller coast as this one was. Closer Than You Know is out on the 15th March. Don’t forget to visit the other stops on the blog tour.

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Filed under book review, crime fiction