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Friday, June 28, 2013

The Devil's Necktie by John Lansing (Author Guest Post / Book Review / Contest Giveaways)

In association with Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours, Jersey Girl Book Reviews is pleased to host the virtual book tour event for The Devil's Necktie by author John Lansing!

Author Guest Post

I’ll bet all of you know of at least one person who is still underwater on his or her mortgage. The real estate bubble peaked in 2006 and burst in 2007. To say that many people got hurt in the economic downturn is an extreme understatement.

One of the big winners was the Colombian drug cartels. They made a killing in real estate while most were sweating blood.

In the early 2000’s, cash was king in NYC. The cartels were so wealthy from cocaine sales that they were desperate to unload their cash. They were willing to take a loss and gladly went into business with undercover cops posing as legitimate bankers, knowing full well that if a million dollars got cleaned, they’d probably lose the next million. They might get lucky and get two million cleaned and then lose the third. To the cartels, it was just the cost of doing business.

The money laundering cells knew the cops would have to clean the first installment to prove their bona fides to the cartels. After that, it was anyone’s bet.

Fifty percent of two million was still a million in clean U.S. greenbacks.

And then in the mid 2000’s the cash seemed to evaporate. The cops weren’t making as many arrests, putting as much cash on the table. A Detective I knew in NYC talked to an old confidential informant who said the reason the cash dried up was, real estate, plain and simple. And he explained how it worked.

The government had a program in place at the time called the Foreign National Loan Program. If you were an alien with a passport, visa, good credit, and you could put ten percent down on a house, you were good to go.

All the major banks were making these loans.

The cartels recruited straw buyers for this government program. They’d fly them into the country, pay them fifteen grand for their name and clean credit, and go to town.

The cartel’s went into a neighborhood, paid cash for a house using drug money and a false social security number, and then put the house back on the market.

The straw buyer would step in and make an offer on that house. The ten percent came out of a bank account controlled by the cartel. When the bank approved the loan, the cartel was paid for the home with clean money and they still owned the house.

Scams like this fueled the housing boom in Las Vegas and South Florida.

The cartels would get a dirty appraiser to inflate the homes value, and then refi. The bank would lend on the higher value and the cartels would skim the profit. They’d flip the property until the loan was upside down, and then walk away.

Everyone turned a blind eye, because everyone made his or her money upfront. The banks, the brokers, the appraisers, underwriters, inspectors, and title companies all got fat.

The politicians went along for the ride because the tax bases in their cities grew along with the false bubble creating paper wealth.

Everyone got rich until the musical chairs stopped and entire neighborhoods went into bankruptcy from fraudulently inflated home values.

At the end of the day, the Colombian drug cartels were big winners.

Interestingly, we never really heard that part of the story.

About The Author

John Lansing started his career as an actor in New York City. He spent a year at the Royale Theatre playing the lead in the Broadway production of Grease. He then landed a co-starring role in George Lucas' More American Graffiti, and guest starred on numerous television shows. During his fifteen year writing career, Lansing wrote and produced Walker Texas Ranger, co-wrote two CBS Movies of the Week, and he also co-executive produced the ABC series Scoundrels. John's first book was Good Cop Bad Money, a true crime tome with former NYPD Inspector Glen Morisano. The Devil's Necktie is his first novel.

The Devil's Necktie by John Lansing ~ Virtual Book Tour Page: Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours

The Devil's Necktie - Book Trailer

Book Review

The Devil's Necktie by John Lansing
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: December 31, 2012
Format: eBook - 295 pages / Kindle - 1159 KB / Nook - 3 MB
ISBN: 1451698348
ASIN: B007Z40F0Y
Genre: Crime / Thriller

BUY THE BOOK: The Devil's Necktie

Disclaimer: I received a copy of the book from the author in exchange for my honest review and participation in a virtual book tour event hosted by Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours.

Book Description:

Retired Inspector Jack Bertolino had strict rules when dealing with confidential informants. But Mia had the kind of beauty that could make a grown man contemplate leaving his wife, his job, and his kids. After a passionate night together, Mia is found murdered, and Jack is the lead suspect. Facing threats from the LAPD, the 18th Street Angels, and a Columbian drug cartel, Jack delves deeper into the seedy world of drug dealers and Murderers. Jack is torn between fearing for his life and seeking revenge for his slain lover... either way the body count will rise.

Book Excerpt:

Jack Bertolino stood on the balcony of his loft in Marina del Rey, tending a dry-aged New York steak on his prized possession, a top-of-the-line Weber gas grill. He didn't miss winter, not one little bit. Here he was manning the barbecue in his new uniform, a black T-shirt and jeans, while his cousins were chasing heart attacks shoveling snow off their Staten Island driveways. That image never ceased to put a smile on his face. That and the salty ocean breeze that floated in over the marina.

Jack nursed a glass of cabernet and watched the long line of bright white FedEx trucks return home from their final deliveries and park in neat rows in the lot next to his building. It sure beat the sight of patrol cars jammed onto the sidewalk in front of a precinct house.

Early evening was Jack’s favorite time of day. The sun was just starting to paint the clouds a muted orange. From his fourth-floor vantage point, Jack could see a string of jumbo jets in the distance, silently making their final approach to LAX. Stacked eight planes deep, their slim silver bodies glinted in the setting sun. For the first time in Jack Bertolino’s life, he felt at ease.

His cell phone chirped, snapping him out of his reverie. He tossed some Japanese eggplant onto the grill, closed the lid, and checked his cell phone screen for the name of the caller.


“How’s my Italian stallion?”

“Mia . . . ,” he said instantly, his tone neutral, giving away nothing.

“All the planets are aligned, Jack. It’s time for you to man up and make an honest woman out of me.”

Jack couldn’t help but smile. Mia’s throaty voice and light Colombian accent had the power to make a grown man weep. More important, it could make a bad man give up his secrets. He hadn't really been surprised when he received her text. He knew it was only a matter of time. Payback’s a bitch.

“What can I do for you, Mia?”

“It’s what I can do for you, papi. My lips . . . they’re still magic.”

“I love it when you talk dirty.”

“Only for love or money.”

Although Jack was enjoying the back and forth, he was no longer in the business. “Why are you calling, Mia?”

Mia dropped her act as well. “We need to talk.”

“It’s not a good time,” Jack said as he opened the lid of the grill and pressed his fork against the steak, checking for doneness.

“Face-to-face, Jack.”

“I’m not in New York.”

“That’s why I’m in Los Angeles.”

Jack didn’t reply right away. He did a quick analysis of how Mia could know he was living in L.A., what kind of trouble she might be in, what kind of blowback he was going to suffer just from having this conversation. He came to the instantaneous conclusion that however this new wrinkle in his life played out, it would definitely have an impact on his newly found state of bliss.

Mia answered some of his unspoken questions. “I’m still connected, Jack, and you’re still on the radar screen. There are certain people—who will remain nameless, because I’m not on your payroll anymore—who are not convinced you’re out of the game.”

“I’m happily retired,” Jack fired back, wondering if his response sounded forced, wondering why he cared.

“And happily divorced?”

Jack didn’t respond. His private life was none of Mia’s business. He had strict rules when dealing with confidential informants, a line in the But Mia had the kind of beauty that could make a man contemplate leaving his wife, his job, and his kids. Jack had never taken the bait, but had to admit he’d been tempted.

Mia was one of the best CIs in the business, and she and Jack had done groundbreaking work together. 

With the help of Mia and DEA agent Kenny Ortega, Jack and the team of NYPD narco-rangers he headed up had put away a heavy hitter in the cocaine trade. Manuel Alvarez was the head of a Colombian drug cell that had been importing a thousand keys of coke into Florida on a weekly basis, and the poison was dripping into New York City. Jack and his group had put away a major cartel scumbag, and Mia had gotten rich. The feds had a financial equation in place when dealing with CIs. The greater the quantity of drugs an informant was responsible for delivering, the more money it was worth to the United States government. They were happy to give to get. Mia did very well for herself at great personal risk. Informants had a short shelf life. Once a major domo got busted, the cartels worked very hard to discover where the “sickness” had come from. If your name ended up on the short list, you turned up dead.

Jack had made a promise to Mia that if things ever got too hot to handle, he would do whatever he could to help her out of the jam.

Mia was turning in her chit. “Meet with me in an hour, after I get settled in.”

“I’m about to have dinner, Mia.”

“Vista Haven Road, 3468. You owe me, Jack.”

“It was a two-way street,” he reminded her.

“And I don’t want it turning into a dead end.”

Jack was about to protest, but she clicked off. He turned back to his grill, but now he was unsettled. Mia had always been a cool customer, but there was an edge of panic in her voice. Jack let out an irritated groan. He shut off the grill with a hard snap. He wouldn’t be able to eat anyway until he found out what the hell was wrong.

My Book Review:

The Devil's Necktie is a riveting tale that takes the reader into the seedy underworld of crime, drug cartels and murder. Author John Lansing weaves a fast-paced crime thriller set in Los Angeles and written in the third person narrative, that follows the dangerous quest of retired NYPD inspector Jack Bertolino as he investigates the heinous murder of Mia, his former confidential informant, and the woman whom he had recently shared a passionate night together. Jack's investigation leads him into the seedy underworld of drug cartels, where he finds himself caught up in a dangerous and deadly world that he thought he had left behind.

This riveting realistic story is full of intrigue, action, drama, suspense, murder and dark humor that draws the reader in and keeps them captivated and turning the pages. As the reader follows Jack into the shady world of cops and crime, the multitude of plot twists and turns will keep them guessing what will happen next. Jack takes the reader on a wild ride when his dangerous adventure takes him into the upscale areas and seedy gang infested neighborhoods of LA. It is a seedy and gritty world of drugs, gangs, money laundering, and murder ... where he clashes with cops, drug gangs, ruthless drug cartels, and a variety of old and new enemies... all in the pursuit of Mia's killer.

With a multidimensional cast of characters who leap off the pages; gritty dialogue and vivid interactions; richly detailed description of the neighborhoods and local landmarks in Los Angeles; and a no-holds-barred storyline that keeps the reader sitting on the edge of their seats holding their breath as the chilling trail of crime and murders leads up to an explosive climax; The Devil's Necktie is one hell of a thrilling story that you won't be able to put down and leaves you wanting more!


Virtual Book Tour Contest Giveaways

Win An eBook Copy of The Devil's Necktie



During the virtual book tour of The Devil's Necktie, author John Lansing is offering one (1) lucky winner an eBook copy of The Devil's Necktie and a Kindle! Enter the contest giveaway using the Rafflecopter entry form below. Contest Dates: June 1 - July 31, 2013. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Win An eBook Copy of The Devil's Necktie

Contest Dates: June 28 - July 6, 2013

Author John Lansing has offered one (1) eBook Copy of The Devil's Necktie to be given away on each tour stop. Enter the contest giveaway by using the Rafflecopter entry form below. One lucky winner will be notified by the author and/or a representative from Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Virtual Book Tour Schedule

Tour Schedule:

06/01 ~ Review & Interview @ Beth Art From the Heart
06/02 ~ Interview & Showcase @ CMash Reads
06/03 ~ Showcase @ Lauries Thoughts and Reviews
06/05 ~ Guest Post @ Omnimystery
06/06 ~ Review & Giveaway @ Deal Sharing Aunt
06/10 ~ Showcase @ J. C. Martin, Fighter Writer
06/11 ~ Showcase @ Hott Books
06/12 ~ Review @ I Read a Book Once
06/13 ~ Review by Carol
06/14 ~ Review & Interview @ The Bunnys Review
06/17 ~ Review @ Book Nerd Designs
06/18 ~ Showcase @ Read 2 Review
06/24 ~ Showcase @ The Stuff of Success
06/28 ~ Review & Guest Post @ Jersey Girl Book Reviews
07/02 ~ Review @ Teena in Toronto
07/05 ~ Review & Giveaway @ Wanted Readers
07/09 ~ Showcase @ The Book Divas Reads
07/10 ~ Review @ Celticladys Reviews
07/19 ~ Review @ My Cozie Corner
07/22 ~ Review @ The Top Shelf
07/25 ~ Review @ Marys Cup of Tea
07/30 ~ Review @ THE SELF TAUGHT COOK


  1. Nice review and give-away. A book to add to my wishlist :)

    1. Hi Jane! Thank you for visiting and posting your kind comment. I hope you get to read this book, it is one heck of a thriller.

  2. WOW!! The guest post was so interesting and the review extraordinary. Fantastic!! I am so looking forward to reading this title. Thank you for sharing.

    1. Hi Cheryl! As always, thank you for your kind words, I appreciate it. Thank you for the opportunity to host the virtual book tour event.

  3. Many thanks to Kathleen Higgins-Anderson for sponsoring me on her fabulous site and taking the time to write such an in-depth review. It is greatly appreciated.
    All the best,

    1. Hi John! I loved this book, it was so riveting I couldn't put my Kindle down. I hope there will be more Jack Bertolino adventures! Thank you for the opportunity to host your virtual book tour event. :)

  4. My pleasure Kathleen. Your support is greatly appreciated.
    I just finished a first draft of the next book in the series. Keep a good thought.

    1. I look forward to reading the next book in the series. :)

  5. Hi Teena! Thanks for stopping by, I enjoyed this book too. :)