In a chase scene typical of the classic detective/noir thriller style, Zach races through L.A. with a hapless girlfriend at his side: 'At some point we d have to cut inland. Checked the rearview, hoping we d lost them. Clear. If we were lucky maybe they crashed and burned. Yeah, it s not good to wish that on people, especially your friends. I was brought up right. But what the hell, I d just come from a f***ing war zone. And now I felt like I d never left it.'
And that's just the opening salvo in a nonstop staccato action noir fiction story that, in less than two hundred pages, packs in a mystery/thriller that can't be beat.
From the dry, dusty L.A. basin atmosphere to the perceptions of a wounded veteran whose combat doesn't end with service, events of the war return to haunt Zach's life at home.
It's not easy to capture and build atmosphere while crafting a complex noir plot using a limited number of words; but what might take other writers hundreds more pages to spin, Paul D. Marks creates with just a few deft swipes of his pen: 'We strolled yes strolled, it just seems like the right word down the rough-hewn planks of the Santa Monica Pier. Ocean waves crashing a few yards away. And just like everything in L.A., the pier was the star of movies and TV, The Sting and Forrest Gump, Iron Man and even Hannah Montana. We bought smoothies and walked to the end of the pier, past Bubba Gump Shrimp with its fake fish shanty look. Leave it to Hollywood to turn a make-believe soldier's dream into a reality.'
A superior writer can create believable protagonists, settings, and inject a smoky, fast-paced mystery into everything using a minimum of words to describe and capture experiences. Vortex lives up to its name, quickly creating a maelstrom of action and purpose to draw readers into a whirlpool of intrigue and mystery centered on a believable protagonist and his dilemmas.
Noir detective readers looking for a short work that is immediately gripping and well-written will find the perfect item of choice in Vortex, but be forewarned: once picked up, it's nearly impossible to put down before the end."
--D. Donovan, Senior Reviewer --Midwest Book Review"Noir, Thy Name is Paul D. Marks.
From the moment I started reading Vortex by Paul D. Marks, I was transported into the hypnotic dark world of Zach Tanner. The next thing I knew, I finished it, and the only thing I didn t like was that it was over. Zach is a vet with PTSD who made some dicey war dealings. He also makes the unfortunate choice of trying to escape his past in L.A. But Hollywood s flashy Sunset Boulevard is no place to get away from anything. Neither is the desolate Salton Sea. His so-called war buddies are after him. It s about money, and all the mistakes that go with it. It s about not knowing which woman you love. Marks is an authority on all things noir and L.A., and he knows how to give this contemporary tale the kick of a double shot of whiskey straight up. Chandler and Cain have found their heir. I shook my head to clear it. All that did was make it hurt. Gee, I wish I could write like that. Treat yourself to Vortex, and you ll never feel the same way about driving at night. Or stealing. Or love."
--Jon Bloch, Criminologist and author of Identity Thief and Shadow Language --Jon Bloch, Criminologist and Author"'We did more than just fight a war; we found a way to cash in on it. I guess we had larceny in us to begin with. And now they thought I had the swag. But I didn t.' Zach made it out of Afghanistan alive, only to be fighting for his life in his own back yard. This time, the enemies were his army buddies. Four high school friends who called themselves the Four Musketeers enlisted in the Army after high school. Zach returned home after being injured in Afghanistan. He reunited with his old girlfriend, Jess and two of the Four Musketeers Carlos and Bryan. Carlos and Bryan became very upset with him, since they thought that he was hiding The Stash . This highly suspenseful noir takes you all over Southern California as Zach is being chased and tormented by Carlos and Bryan they believing that he had the stash another army buddy Matt, sent him. He s desperately trying to get a hold of Matt while escaping and hiding from the others. This fast pace book keeps you on the edge of your seat for the entire ride. There are a lot of twist and turns; you ll become obsessed with who has the stash and if Zach is going to live long enough to find the answer. I highly recommend this book for anyone who enjoys a good mystery. I look forward to reading the authors other books."
--Cathy Carey --UnderratedReads.com