A Small Jewel…Flawlessly Smooth and Realistic…An Engaging Work of Noir Fiction

mc-cover_smCritics and readers alike praise Mark Spano’s Midland Club.

(Chapel Hill, NC) — Thunderfoot Press author Mark Spano’s new 120-page book, Midland Club, officially released just one month ago, is already receiving rave reviews from critics and readers and remains ranked at 4.3 stars out of five among Amazon Customer Reviews.

“I’m stunned and humbled by the favorable critical responses to Midland Club,” Spano said recently. “What, though, is of greater consequence is that the book has struck a chord with its readers. That is surely every writer’s ambition.”

Set in 1958 in a Midwestern town, Midland Club is a 120-page mystery novel about corruption, lies, and murder. The protagonist, Rich St. Pierre, is compelled to expose the truth about a friend’s death knowing he’s risking his own life in the process. The protagonist is a gay white man and a member of a highly respected family. The deceased is a gay black man.

The premise intrigued two reviewers with Gaybook Reviews.com. One described the book as “a small jewel…melancholic, lyric, flawlessly smooth and realistic… an excellent piece of gay fiction of exceptional quality.”

The other reviewer called the book “a dark and cynical tale that reads like a film noir classic,” adding: “The beauty of Midland Club is the telling of the tale, rather than the answer to the mystery…There’s a bit of Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil amidst the melancholy and I highly recommend this book.”

Mark Spano admits that he set Midland Club in his old neighborhood in his hometown, Kansas City, MO. But in his book, he refers to the location only as “a Midwestern city.” Yet one Amazon reader, also a Kansas City native, said he immediately recognized the city’s “repressive social strictures of decades ago, designed to prevent the intersections of ethnicity, class, and forbidden love at the heart of this tale of passion and loss.” Spano “can be proud of his story,” he wrote, “as it perfectly captures that place and time to create an engaging work of noir fiction. It kept me reading non-stop until the end, meriting this hearty recommendation.”

Another reader echoed that sentiment, adding, “This book is more than just a murder mystery. It speaks to the human condition.”

Midland Club is available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle editions. Review copies are available by emailing publicist Kim Weiss of Blueplate PR: blueplatepr@gmail.com.

About The Author:

MARK SPANO is a filmmaker and author of five works of fiction and a memoir. As a filmmaker, his work includes The Quality of Light: A Biography of Claude Howell and the definitive documentary on Sicily, “Reimagining Sicily.” He holds advanced degrees from Marymount University of Virginia and the American University in Washington, D.C., and now resides in rural Orange County, North Carolina. (Headshot available on request.) For more information: blog.markspano.com.

Nine-Year-Old Book Critic Praises “The Mahogany Door”

Author J. Mark Boliek reaches, and impresses, his target audience.  

August 31, 2011 (Durham, NC) – A positive review from a professional book critic is any author’s dream-come-true. Yet for J. Mark Boliek, author of “The Mahogany Door,” a new fantasy-adventure book for young readers, no review will mean as much to him as the one he recently received from the kid in Pennsylvania who writes the blog “This Kid Reviews Books.”

In early August, nine-year-old Erik (last name withheld for privacy) requested a review copy of Boliek’s 353-page book and the all-original soundtrack CD that comes with it. Delighted to have the chance to hear an honest opinion from a member of his book’s target audience (nine to 20-something), Boliek quickly obliged.

This Kid Reviews Books blog logo.

Erik’s synopsis of the book: “What would you do if you could save someone who was lost in a different world? Years ago, JT, Kali, Michael and Charlie traveled to the world of Bruinduer through The Mahogany Door, a magical portal. The friends thought Charlie died in Bruinduer, but he didn’t. He is just trapped and the others now realize it and they vow to get him back. JT, Kali and Michael have to travel back through The Mahogany Door. They’ll face old enemies, fight in a war, cross a desert, have to find trust in Billy (their guide in Bruinduer) and convince Charlie (who wasn’t happy to see them) to come back home.”

Erik was so pleased with the book, in fact, that he wanted to interview the author.

“I liked ‘The Mahogany Door’ so much that I asked Mr. Boliek if he would answer some questions about his book and music. He was very nice to let me do the interview,” he wrote in his post on August 25.

I have to say, when I first started into the story, I thought it was going to be too much like ‘The Witch, Lion and the Wardrobe,’ but it wasn’t,” he writes in his review. “The story of ‘The Mahogany Door’ is unique. The story really kept me reading (seriously, I couldn’t put the book down)… I recommend it to everyone!”

He even gave “The Mahogany Door” his highest ranking, “5 out of 5 bookworms,” which means “You have to read this book!” according to the blog description.

Erik also liked the accompanying CD so much – “The songs are really great” – that he posted a link to Boliek’s website so his readers can hear the songs for themselves.

“This is it,” Boliek said after Erik’s review was posted. “This is straight out of the mouth of a member of my target audience. I can’t even say how much Erik’s review means to me. I’m also extremely impressed by Erik’s love of books and his writing quality. He’s an amazing kid.”

Erik began reviewing books in January 2011 because “I love books, so that’s why I have this blog. The reason I’m doing this is for parents to approve of a book, and for kids to find an excellent book, too,” he writes on the “About” page.

Who reads his blog? “Other kids, parents, teachers, librarians, authors, publicists, publishers, illustrators, and people who just like books have all visited my blog,” he said via email. “I think it’s actually pretty cool how people from all over the world visit my blog.”  (The latter statement is confirmed by his blog’s statistics.)

Erik’s entire review of “The Mahogany Door” and his interview with the author can be read at http://bit.ly/pcyMAA.

The Mahogany Door” is currently available at The Regulator Bookshop in Durham, NC, Quail Ridge Books & Music in Raleigh, NC, and The Moravian Books & Gifts shop in Winston-Salem, NC. Ebook versions, including an enhanced version with imbedded music, are available at the iBook Store, Amazon, and other outlets. For more information visit www.jmarkboliek.com.

Facts about The Mahogany Door:

Author: J. Mark Boliek.  Publisher: Split Rail Books.  Publication Date: May 2011.  Genres: Fantasy-Fiction, Adventure-Fiction.  Illustrator: Lauren Gallegos.  Age Group: 10 and up.  ISBN: 978-0-9832900-0-1.  Paperback: 353pp.  Retail Price: store’s discretion.  Website www.jmarkboliek.com. Ebooks are available at Barnes & Noble, Amazon and iBookstore.