- Paperback: 312 pages
- Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (November 11, 2013)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9781481896818
- ISBN-13: 978-1481896818
- ASIN: 1481896814
- Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.8 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 36 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,804,371 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Final Shot: A Psych 'n' Roll Mystery Paperback – November 11, 2013
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From Kirkus Reviews
In Kalina’s debut mystery, the host of a popular radio program races against time to unravel his family’s secrets and bring a notorious Nazi war criminal to justice. Psychologist Isaac “Ike” Miller’s career is on a roll as the host of “Psych ’n’ Roll,” a successful radio call-in program that combines practical advice with classic rock. However, he’s haunted by memories of his father, a guitarist for Neil Young’s band who was the victim of a drug-related murder. He draws strength from his relationships with his friends, colleagues and family, particularly his grandfather Otto Sperber, a psychoanalyst. Otto is part of a group of Auschwitz survivors that includes Ike’s paternal grandfather Avram. After two other members of the group, Baruch Gittlestein and Hymie Safier, die under mysterious circumstances, Ike learns of the group’s connection to a Nazi doctor named Antonin Helm. Soon, Ike and Otto find themselves the targets of Helm and his family, and as Ike delves further into his family’s past in a quest to bring Helm to justice, his life is complicated by a growing attraction to a mysterious, beautiful woman named Aja Connolly. The mystery boasts strong characters; Ike, for example, is an effective protagonist who’s caring, compassionate and aware of his potential weaknesses, and he’s surrounded by a well-drawn group of friends and colleagues (including producer Tony Keyes and Ike’s high school friend Jamal Jamison). The story also effectively uses music throughout, and Kalina includes a discography of the songs he references in the book. The opening chapters ably balance character development and back story, and the action moves briskly, A fast-paced mystery buoyed by a likable hero.
About the Author
Having had a forty-year distinguished career in psychology, psychotherapy, and marriage and family therapy as a diagnostician, therapist, workshop leader, supervisor, and professor, Ira Kalina, Ph. D. turned to his other passion, writing fiction, for the next phase of his life. “Final Shot” is Dr. Kalina’s first novel, and the first in a series of mysteries he has dubbed The Psych ‘n’ Roll Mystery Series. In addition to his writing, Dr. Kalina is the moderator of the simulated online radio advice and music show located at www.psychnrollradio.com. This unique program, now in blog and podcast format, provides advice, coaching, and personal support using Dr. Kalina’s expertise. Each program is based on a topic of the day (emotional, relationship, problems of daily life, music for the soul, spirituality, and more). Each subject begins with a musical set related to the theme of the week. Songs or musical productions from various genres follow each individual interaction as well. A new show and topic is presented every Wednesday. Dr. Kalina lives on Long Island. He is married and has two adult sons.
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I finally made time for Final Shot and came away rather impressed. The plot is multi-layered, dense, and surprising. Dad does some impressive work constructing a vibe of paranoia and fear. Even when the situation seems relatively under control, there is an air of dread hanging over the proceedings - appropriately enough for a tale of old nazi villains and obsessive treasure-hunters. Dad's also not afraid to subvert the reader's expectations - he frequently kills off some of his most colorful characters - which makes for a thoroughly entertaining read.
If anything, I'd like to see more from the secondary and tertiary characters in this world. The protagonist - Dr Ike Miller - has a multi-faceted personal and familial history which is intricately tied into every step of the storyline. There is some unbalance here, as the primary love interest and villains and victims who flesh out the cast aren't always woven as tightly into the narrative.
All told, there is much to enjoy here, and I eagerly anticipate Dad's future novels (which, I am happy to report, are very much in the works).
What I also loved about this book was the infrastructure that filled in the plot. From basketball to music to Jewish heritage to a love interest, Kalina fills in the plot with so many details, interesting and eye opening details, that it enriched the plot in so many ways.
I am looking forward to the movie as this book was perfect for film in the manner of John Grisham and Ken Follett. My hat goes off to you, first time author. You've written a winner.
Did I mention the dessert? Midway in the book Kalina serves us an original song "Love and Vengeance" he wrote with Scott Berber. You can even go hear it performed by Berber through Kalina's Psych N' Roll Radio interactive music/advice blog.
Finally, like a truly great chef, Kalina's first offering left me not stuffed full, but just satisfied enough so that I would eagerly await my next invitation to his unique melodic-literary table. I hope all of you will be his guest, too
Give yourself a mini vacation buy this book, you'll be captivated! Kudos Ira Kalina!