Last Chance — Get My Thrillers with Their Original Covers

I have only a few remaining copies of the print editions of HUNTER and BAD DEEDS with their original covers. And to make space in my office, I’m selling them off, dirt cheap!

The holidays are coming, folks. And I’m sure you know friends or family members who would enjoy these stories — especially as gifts personally inscribed to them by the author. (I suspect that a few of you may even want them personally inscribed to you.)

Again, these are the last remaining copies of both novels in their original covers. So, if you think that the Dylan Hunter series will continue to grow in popularity with each new book, then these early editions, signed by their author, may very well become collectibles.



You can have them now at the super-low price of just $14 each, which includes FREE Priority Mail Postage. That’s a lower price than Amazon or any other retailer offers. 

For details, just send an email to me at:

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I Acquire a Literary Agent

I’m happy to announce that I’ve just engaged literary agent Sarah Hershman, of Hershman Rights Management LLC, to represent and sell subsidiary rights to my Dylan Hunter thriller series.

In hiring Ms. Hershman, my primary aim is to publish more print, ebook, and audio editions of the Dylan Hunter novels in foreign languages and markets, and, if possible, to better exploit audio and print opportunities in the domestic U.S. market.

As you know, I’m a huge advocate of self-publishing for English-language ebooks. Because it is so easy to do, indie publishing of ebooks continues to make the most financial sense, because you do not have to share most of your royalties with an agent and publisher. That’s why I’ll continue to self-publish the English language ebooks for all the Dylan Hunter novels.

If you intend to sell your print books mainly online, rather than through bookstores, self-publishing “print-on-demand” editions through the printing services of companies such as Amazon’s Createspace division also makes sense. Obviously, you don’t need an agent or publisher to do that. These days, you can even produce and sell your own audiobooks through firms such as, although there is an up-front commitment of several thousand dollars for studio time and a good narrator. (That’s what I did for the HUNTER audiobook.)

However, self-publishing is not a great option for producing foreign-language editions. Those require you to find and hire good translators and, in the case of audiobooks, narrators skilled in each language. I think it’s far preferable to leave all those logistics to foreign publishers to handle. And to pursue those publishers, it’s usually best to hire an agent with the time and market knowledge.

Also, bookstores don’t generally like to carry self-published print editions. If you wish to get your book into stores, a publisher is your best bet. And getting a publisher usually requires having an agent.

I’m excited about the prospect of expanding the Dylan Hunter brand globally, and I’m confident that Ms. Hershman is the right person to represent me. I hope that in coming months and years we’ll see many new editions of the books world-wide.

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100,000 Sales


With the August special Kindle Monthly Deal promotion on Amazon, the combined sales of all editions of both HUNTER and BAD DEEDS (print, ebook, audio, domestic, and foreign) have exceeded 100,000 copies, and by a very comfortable margin.

In addition, an unknown number of ebooks also were “borrowed” and read via the Kindle Unlimited and Kindle Owners Lending Library programs. (Amazon no longer shares any “units borrowed” data with authors.) So, the 100,000 figure is a low-ball estimate.

And that’s with only two books…so far!

I’m proud of this milestone, one that, starting out my fiction-writing career just a few years ago, I could never have imagined I would reach.

I’m grateful to all of you who have made it happen. Thank you for buying, reading, reviewing, and recommending HUNTER and BAD DEEDS. Thank you even more for your many expressions of enthusiasm and personal support for the adventures of Dylan Hunter, Annie Woods, and their colorful cast of friends. I hope that my future installments in the series will continue to merit your interest and generate many hours of enjoyment.

Speaking of the Kindle Monthly Deal, it was a rousing promotional success for HUNTER and BAD DEEDS. Nearly 1900 copies of the ebooks  were purchased, and in addition, customers utilizing Kindle ebook borrowing programs read the equivalent of 158 entire copies of HUNTER plus 82 additional complete copies of BAD DEEDS. So, let’s call it well over 2,000 paid copies of the books. Moreover, the ebook sale had a significant collateral promotional benefit on sales of the HUNTER audiobook.

These sales pushed both books back onto multiple genre category bestseller lists in the Kindle Store. HUNTER made it into the Top 10 in three separate crime-fiction categories and the Top 20 in a fourth, while BAD DEEDS entered the Top 10 in one category and the Top 20 in two more. You can see the impressive company that HUNTER was keeping by taking a look at the Kindle “Assassination Thrillers” bestseller chart as it appeared around midnight on August 29:


HunterAssassinationList 8-29-15 midnite
I’m more than pleased with how this promotion turned out, especially because it introduced many hundreds of new readers to Dylan Hunter. I’m sure he’s won many more fans for life.


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HUNTER Coming to German Readers

More good news on the foreign edition front: I have just inked a publishing deal for the German language rights to HUNTER.

It will be published in Germany, initially in trade paperback and ebook editions, by the Festa Verlag publishing company, probably within the next year. This publisher specializes in thrillers and horror titles, and its authors include some of the top names in the thriller business: Stephen Hunter, Mark Greaney, Brad Taylor, Ben Coes, Dalton Fury, and other luminaries you’d know.

I’m delighted for the opportunity to introduce Dylan Hunter to the big German language audience. More details will follow as the publishing date nears.

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Turkish Edition of HUNTER Is Published


I’m pleased to report that the Turkish translation of HUNTER has been released in Turkey by the Panama publishing company. The book was translated from English by a talented student, Duygu Özcan, who did a great job.

[UPDATE] Here is a photo of the full cover, which I found online:













And below is a photo that Duygu took recently of the book sitting in the middle of a bookstore stack in Ankara. You’ll pick it out easily because the cover employs the same black-and-gold style as the U.S. edition. By the way, the Turkish title is JUSTICE WARRIOR. Not bad, given that my target readership consists of people who share my passion for justice. Duygu tells me that the book is widely available, which I’m delighted to hear.




And here is an advertisement I found online for the Turkish edition:



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Interview with Mark Dawson — Hot-Selling UK Thriller Master


Prolific UK writer Mark Dawson is the bestselling author of the John Milton, Beatrix Rose, Isabella Rose, and Soho Noir thriller series. He’s currently ranked among the top 50 hottest-selling “Mystery, Thriller, & Suspense” authors on Amazon, and his remarkable self-publishing success story has been featured in Forbes, The Financial Times, and on the BBC.

Dawson was bitten early by the writing bug. He finished his first novella while still in middle school. Later, he went to law school and practiced for a few years before deciding it wasn’t for him. Other jobs along the way included stints as a DJ and selling ice cream in Chicago.

In 2000 he released his first novel, “a literary thriller” titled The Art of Falling Apart, issued by a major publisher. It didn’t sell well, though, mainly because the publisher failed to promote it. Dawson spent a decade in the British film industry, but his desire to write persisted.

Mark Dawson portraitWhen he heard about self-publishing ebooks on Kindle, Dawson decided to give it a try. He uploaded a WWII-era serial-killer thriller, The Black Mile. Then, he began to experiment with various promotional techniques. He watched in amazement as tens of thousands of copies were downloaded onto Kindles.

Galvanized, Dawson immediately set to work on his John Milton series. Making every moment count, he typed them on his laptop while commuting to and from his London job. To date, the seven books — including The Cleaner, The Driver, and the just-released Headhunters — have sold well over 300,000 copies. Dawson then branched out into the highly successful Beatrix Rose thrillers (beginning with In Cold Blood), as well as a series of “noir” period titles and several stand-alone tales.

After several attempts to schedule an interview with this busy writer, husband, and father, I finally caught up with him for this fascinating chat.

Note: You can receive a free selection of Mark’s ebooks by clicking this link to his website.


The Vigilante Author: Mark, as a fellow self-published author, I have to tell you that your success is an inspiration to me. Before we get down into the weeds, why don’t you first describe your two most popular series for us?

Mark Dawson: The John Milton and Beatrix Rose books are fast-moving thrillers with interesting characters in the lead. Milton, for example, is not the stereotypical good guy. He has a dark side and a lot of blood in his past. Fast-moving, page-turning, propulsive thrillers for Beatrix Rose. Slightly slower and more character driven for Milton, but with big action sequences.

The Vigilante Author: Let me ask you the familiar question that all authors get from their fans: Where did these unusual characters come from?

Mark Dawson: They are, of course, amalgams of my experiences and the art that I have been exposed to. Milton, for example, draws on James Bond, Jack Reacher, and — especially — Robert McCall from “The Equalizer.” Beatrix Rose is influenced heavily by Tarantino’s “Kill Bill” films.

The Vigilante Author: “The Equalizer”? Mark, I loved that TV series of decades ago. I now suspect that the McCall character subconsciously influenced me in developing my Dylan Hunter vigilante character, too. Joel Surnow, McCall’s creator, also was the brains behind Jack Bauer and the hit TV thriller series “24.”

cleanerAnyway, to date I’ve read your novella 1000 Yards and your novel The Cleaner, and I am well into Saint Death — all John Milton stories, and all riveting. I’m especially impressed by your unique “voice,” as well as your extensive research into settings and topic backgrounds. The details lend so much realism to your tales. And Milton is a fresh, interesting protagonist, too. In 1000 Yards, he was still working as an assassin for the British government. Am I correct in assuming that this tale preceded the events in The Cleaner?

Mark Dawson: You are correct.

The Vigilante Author: The Cleaner opens with an assassination committed by Milton, in which there is the shocking loss of an innocent life. I found that morally disturbing, as I’m sure a lot of readers have. I interpret the rest of the story, and the entire series, as chronicling Milton’s efforts to make amends for this crime and for other sins in his career. Clearly, he is a flawed, damaged man. In other words, The Cleaner is a redemption tale. Did you intend that?

Mark Dawson: Yes, that’s it. He’s got a lot of blood on his conscience. I don’t want him to be 100% sympathetic, although he is striving to make amends. His journey through the 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous is a key part of his development as a character, particularly the steps on taking a personal inventory and then making amends to those who have been wronged. I see him as a ronin, wandering the wilderness without a master, seeking to atone for past sins.

The Vigilante Author: Are you trying to say something about the world with the Milton stories? Is something represented by the character himself?

Mark Dawson: I hate neat, happy endings. The world isn’t like that. I’ve had bad reviews because — spoiler!The Cleaner doesn’t end well. Well, that’s life. Sometimes — often — it doesn’t.

The Vigilante Author: In that respect, you and I are different. I’m more Old School, in the Alistair MacLean tradition. My Dylan Hunter stories put the hero through living hell, but in the end, justice prevails.

cold bloodAnyway, as I said, I’m extremely impressed by the richness of detail you provide in both the settings of the stories, and about the topics of the stories themselves: life inside the closed society of North Korea; the atmosphere and activities of young members of urban gangs; the violent activities of Mexican drug cartels; and so much more. Obviously, you do extensive research, because the pictures you paint are so vivid and persuasive. What do you do to gain sufficient knowledge to conjure such “you are there” realism?

Mark Dawson: A lot of research. And Google Streetview is pretty amazing.

The Vigilante Author: I use Streetview myself, a lot, especially to avoid having to wander into dangerous places. But to pursue this a bit, how much advance preparation, research, and outlining do you undertake before starting to write? Or are you a “seat of the pants” writer who goes back to research only after the first draft?

Mark Dawson: Minimal. I research as I go along, usually, because I don’t always know where it is going to go. I’m not a “pantser” — I know roughly what is going to happen — but the color is added as I write.

The Vigilante Author: I’m also amazed at your prolific output. What is your work schedule like?

Mark Dawson: Hectic. I write whenever I can. The first five Miltons were written on a ninety-minute commute when I was working full time. Since I left to write for a living, it’s been harder to find time, weirdly. The business is demanding.

The Vigilante Author: What prompted you to leave the John Milton series and work on other series and stand-alone novels?

Continue reading

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Interview with John Clarkson — Author of Crime Thrillers


Back in the 1990s, browsing in a bookstore, I happened upon an intriguing-looking thriller titled And Justice for One, written by some fellow named John Clarkson. The back cover copy opened with an irresistible teaser: “If someone you loved was the victim of a violent crime, how far would you go to find justice?”

I grabbed the book, devoured it at once, and loved it. Its protagonist — a big, two-fisted former Secret Service agent with the Man’s Man name of Jack Devlin — was exactly the sort of vigilante hero I love. I couldn’t wait for the sequels.

And Justice for One was published in 1992, and Clarkson followed with two more entries in the Jack Devlin series: One Man’s Law in 1994 and One Way Out in 1996. Meanwhile, Clarkson wrote a screenplay adaptation of the first novel for Paramount Pictures and also worked on a first-run syndicated TV series.

He followed the “One” series with two gripping standalone crime tales: New Lots (1998) and Reed’s Promise (2001). During that period Clarkson worked in advertising as a copywriter and then ran his own advertising agency for many years. Later, he consulted directly with major corporations, developing marketing strategies, positioning their brands, developing creative, and managing their advertising agencies.

Crime Thriller Author John Clarkson

Crime Thriller Author John Clarkson

But while advertising work dominated his time, Clarkson had the itch to get back to writing crime thrillers, and knew that he would at some point. It was just a matter of when.

Around 2011, Clarkson became interested in the fact that the United States incarcerates more people than any other country in the world. How did this happen? What are all those people doing? How do they survive in and out of prison? Out of these questions grew the idea for a crime novel with ex-cons as the heroes. The result is the recently published Among Thieves, which has brought John Clarkson back to writing crime thrillers full time.

These days, John and his wife Ellen divide their time between Brooklyn and upstate New York. Recently, he took time from his busy schedule to let himself be grilled by The Vigilante Author.


The Vigilante Author: John, as you know, I love your work and can’t tell you how glad I am that you’ve gotten back to writing. Why don’t you tell my readers about your crime thrillers, and give us some details about your latest.

John Clarkson: Thanks, Robert. As you might remember from the emails we exchanged, I wanted you to be among the first to know about my newest novel, Among Thieves, because you had very positive reactions and things to say about my previous novels.

The Vigilante Author: That’s putting it mildly.

John Clarkson: My first novel, And Justice for One, had a great response. I published it quite some time ago. I’d written it pretty much without any sort of input, completely unaware and unconcerned about the workings of the publishing industry. And looking back, ignorance was pretty much bliss.

I generated interest from two agents. Picked one. Signed a deal with Crown for two books and thought: Hey, this isn’t all that hard. Of course, I completely forgot about the years leading up to producing that book. Years spent writing plays, screenplays, short stories, etc., etc. And Justice for One was the culmination of quite a bit of writing and finally finding that the long-form novel was something that worked for me.

The Vigilante Author: Well, you clearly left any amateurish writing in a drawer somewhere, because that novel was as polished and compelling a debut as I’ve encountered. You mentioned that Hollywood was interested, too.

AndJusticeforOne2John Clarkson: That book was optioned by Paramount and I actually ended up writing the screenplay for it. This was back when Brendan Tartikoff ran Paramount. Again, looking back, I think that was a wrong move. It took my eye off the ball in terms of novels. Long story (but actually fascinating), everything blew up when he suddenly left the studio.

However, And Justice for One introduced my first version of the kick-ass “Competent Man” protagonist — Jack Devlin.

The Vigilante Author: Is he ever! You must have had great fun writing about him.

John Clarkson: I just took off on a tear with that character and did two sequels. I’m sure you’re familiar with the eternal question you get from everybody about your novel: “What’s it about?” I remember very naturally getting my answer down to one word with regard to And Justice for One: REVENGE.

I also remember how satisfying it was when I got so many nods and responses. “Oh, yeah. Revenge. Got it.”

I’d advise every writer of commercial novels: Forget about the one-paragraph summary, forget about the “elevator conversation,” forget about one sentence. Get it down to one word.

The Vigilante Author: I’m not that terse. I can get my Dylan Hunter character down to maybe two words. But I won’t argue with you, because you’re the professional marketing expert.

John Clarkson: Anyhow, speaking of “one,” I ended that “One” series — And Justice for One, One Way Out, and One Man’s Law — for various reasons…mainly, they took too long and were too expensive to write. The concept was to have this globe-trotting character, Jack Devlin, so I set them in different places around the world: New York, Hawaii, London. Fun to research, but unsuited to the realities of publishing, where I quickly learned you have to grind out one a year to really establish a brand.

The Vigilante Author: Well, I hope I can persuade you to resurrect Devlin, anyway. He’s a fantastic thriller character. But after those three tales, you decided to go in different directions, right?

Continue reading

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My Two Bestselling Thrillers — Now for the Price of One!



I’m delighted to announce that the Amazon Kindle​ staff have selected both of my Dylan Hunter thrillers — HUNTER, and its sequel, BAD DEEDS — for inclusion in their August “Kindle Monthly Deal” promotion! The ebook editions will be available for only $1.99 each — or just $3.98 for the set.

This is really huge for me, friends. Out of over 3 million titles, only about 300 books are selected by Amazon Kindle editors for these promotions. When they selected HUNTER for a week-long promotion in late 2011, it soared right to the top of the bestseller lists. This time, I’ll have two books being promoted for an entire month. And though I don’t expect a repeat sales performance, this certainly will give them a big boost of visibility to thousands of new readers.

And here is how you can help me:

1. If you have not yet downloaded one or both of my books, starting on Saturday August 1 you’ll be able to get them at half-price. That’s two bestselling thrillers for the price of one — just $3.98 for the set! And you don’t need a Kindle ereader to download and read them, either: The free Kindle app lets you read ebooks on any smart phone, tablet, iPad, etc.

2. If you have read and enjoyed the books, you can “gift” them to anyone of your choice, at a bargain price. All you need is the recipient’s email address. For instructions, just click the “Give as a gift” button in the upper right section of the books’ Amazon pages. So, if someone you know loves to read thrillers (crime, espionage, political, etc.), mysteries, or romantic suspense novels, they should enjoy the Dylan Hunter tales.

Here are the links to their Amazon pages: HUNTER  and BAD DEEDS.

3. I would be especially grateful if you would time your purchases for the first weekend — Saturday August 1, or Sunday, August 2. Simultaneous purchases will give the books their best chance of climbing high onto the Amazon bestseller lists, where they will be visible to a lot more browsing customers for the rest of the month. However, I’ll appreciate purchases any time during August.

4. Finally….PLEASE share this message on your social media! You can click the media buttons on the right side of the top of this post.

Thanks so much for considering this request — and for your continuing friendship. I’ll let you know later how the promotion is going.

RB_HUNTER_4BAD DEEDS ebook 2015 - final

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Your Book of Gold

A message to struggling and discouraged authors:

“If you only write one book in your whole life, and only sell 600 copies or less, nonetheless, I assure you, I solemnly assure you, that this book will be someone’s absolutely favorite book of all time, and it will come to him on some dark day and give him sunlight, and open his eyes and fill his heart and make him see things in life even you never suspected, and will be his most precious tale, and it will live in his heart like the Book of Gold….

“I write for that one reader I will never see, the one who needs just such a tale as I can pen, in just such a time and place, some rainy afternoon or dark hour, when providence will bring my book into his hands. And he will open it, and it will not be a book, but a casement, from which he will glimpse the needed vision his soul requires of a world larger than our own, or a star in a heaven wider and higher than ours, a star aflame with magic more majestic than any star mortal astronomers can name.

“I humbly but strongly suggest you write for that unknown reader also, and not for worldly praise, or influence, or pelf, or applause. The world flatters popular authors, and the clamor of the multitude of brazen tongues is vanity. It is dust on the wind. The unknown reader will greet your work with love. It is a crown of adamant, solid and enduring.

“You will never meet that one reader, not in this life. In heaven he will come to you and fall on his face and anoint your feet with tears of gratitude, and you will stand astonished and humbled, having never suspected.”

–John C. Wright

“Your Book of Gold”

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Book Review: VEIL OF CIVILITY by Ian Graham

In Veil of Civility, Ian Graham has crafted a dazzling thriller, breathing fresh new life into a genre filled with character cliches and tired tropes.

A time-tested plot formula for the thriller genre presents a former spy or special operations military guy trying to escape his past, reinventing himself to lead a normal life in peaceful obscurity. But then some person or event connected to his violent past re-enters his life, shatters its tranquility, drags him back into that grim world, and rekindles his lethal talents.

Veil of CivilityNow, to be sure, there’s nothing wrong with this formula. The “reluctant hero with hidden skills and a mysterious past” is one of the enduring plot tropes that literary scholars trace throughout the history of literature. (In fact, I use it myself in my own thrillers.) The creative challenge for a writer, however, is to take a popular convention like this and make it seem newly minted.

Fortunately, Ian Graham is more than equal to the challenge. Graham’s writing talent and fertile imagination transform tried-and-true thriller elements into something I haven’t seen before. His hero, Declan McIver, is not a super-spy or spec ops veteran. He is a disillusioned ex-combatant from the brutal “Troubles” in Northern Ireland — a man scarred by the blood-soaked violence of his youth, now enjoying a new life as a happily married entrepreneur in rural Virginia. But a pleasant reunion with an old friend on a famous local college campus suddenly turns horrific as international terrorism visits the peaceful setting. Without warning, McIver finds his world upended, and he and his wife fleeing a complex conspiracy whose tentacles reach from Chechnya to Mexico, from Ireland to Wales, from Downing Street in London to the Capitol in Washington.

Graham’s characterizations are rich and deep. So are the vivid details he provides about locales, history, the web of international terrorism, weapons and gadgetry, government surveillance, and much more — details that never bog down and overburden the relentless, headlong pace of this gripping tale. And in addition to colorful international settings, much of the non-stop, violent action transpires in rural Virginia, a refreshing departure for a thriller.

Above all, in Declan McIver, Ian Graham has given us a great new thriller hero for our troubled times. With his past now revealed to the world, McIver has been dragged back into the violent life that he had tried so long to escape. That is a terrible thing for him — but a wonderful thing for his fans. As one of them, I can’t wait to see what new “Troubles” the deviously clever mind of Ian Graham has in store for him.

See my interview with Ian Graham here.



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