Sunday, October 31, 2010

WHEN THE DEVIL WHISTLES - Rick Acker - Free Book

Why do you write the kind of books you do?

Writing legal thrillers is a natural fit with my “real job” as a Deputy Attorney General. Every day I come across fascinating cases and outrageous stories—though the best ones are too unrealistic to make good fiction.

Besides when you came to know the Lord, what is the happiest day in your life?

 June 3, 1988—the day I married the love of my life, Anette.

How has being published changed your life?

In lots of ways, but mostly when my two worlds collide. Last week, for example, I was interviewing a very distinguished potential expert witness—a white-haired law professor with a thirty-page resume and six degrees. Then about an hour after I got off the phone with him, he sent me a fan e-mail telling me how much he and his wife like my books. Very flattering, but a little disorienting.

I can see how that could be. What are you reading right now?

High Crusade by Poul Anderson. It’s a fun old science fiction story that I read as a kid. It’s been out of print for years, but a 50th anniversary edition was just released.

What is your current work in progress?

The working title is Secret Murders and it’s a legal thriller. Here’s a sneak peak at the plot: In 1995, a death squad stole fourteen-year-old Christina Castillo from her family. Now attorney Marie Dupree must defend the man accused of masterminding this horrible crime. A victory could salvage her career and let her begin rebuilding a life shattered by her ex-husband’s betrayal. But before she can win, she must fight her way to the heart of a maze of dark and dangerous secrets—and does she really want to know the truth she’ll find there?

What would be your dream vacation?

If I could take a month and had unlimited funds (we’re dreaming here, right?), I’d love to visit Israel and walk the paths that Jesus walked and see the city that David built.

How do you choose your settings for each book?

I usually pick a place that I know well and will add to the story. For example, When the Devil Whistles is mostly set in and around San Francisco, and it was great fun to toss in real-life details about a favorite sea-front walk or how the rolling vineyard hills near my home look at sunset.

If you could spend an evening with one person who is currently alive, who would it be and why?

Denzel Washington. He’s a great actor, a committed Christian, and by all accounts a great guy. It would be an honor to meet him.

He's actually one of my favorite actors, too. What are your hobbies, besides writing and reading?

I really don’t have time for much beyond those, but I do go hiking or running with the kids when I can, and I’m a big college football fan (Go, Irish!).

My husband and I don't spend a lot of time watching sports, but now that the Texas Rangers are in the World Series, we're really supporting them. Josh Hamilton goes to our church, but we've never met him. (Big church.) What is your most difficult writing obstacle, and how do you overcome it?

Finding the time to write. I’ve got a demanding full-time job and a busy family, so getting in my daily word count is always a challenge. I actually do most of my writing on the train while traveling to and from the city. In fact, that’s where I’m sitting as I answer these questions.

What advice would you give to a beginning author?

There are three rules that worked for me and that I pass on to every new writer I meet:

1. Make writing part of your routine. Find a regular time when you can write and stick to it, even if it’s only one hour per week. It’s virtually impossible to write anything longer than a few pages or to grow as a writer unless writing becomes part of the rhythm of your life.

2. Learn to treasure good criticism. Find someone whose judgment you trust to critique your writing, and make him or her promise to be honest. Criticism is never fun to hear, but you won’t become a better writer without it.

3. Don’t give up. Most writers aren’t very good when they start. I was awful, and I still have the poetry to prove it. So keep writing and focus on getting better. You will.

Very good advice. Tell us about the featured book. 

The title is When the Devil Whistles and it’s a legal thriller based on real cases that I handle at the Department of Justice. Here’s what award-winning author Colleen Coble had to say about it: “When the Devil Whistles has it all: high stakes, compelling characters and a fast plot that had me gasping at the twists and turns. A legal thriller you won't want to miss!” To learn more or read the first five chapters, go here: .

Sounds very intriguing. Please give us the first page of the book.

Connor Norman loved a good fireworks show. He especially liked the ones that took place once or twice a year in the conference rooms at the California Department of Justice. Some executive or general counsel whose company was under investigation would come in for a witness interview, would lie, and would get caught. Then Deputy Attorney General Max Volusca would go off and the show would start. DAG Volusca did not suffer liars gladly. Fools he would tolerate, often longer than Connor. But if Max felt he was being misled, he soon lived up to his nickname, “Max Volume.”

Connor didn’t mind it when Max got loud. In fact, he liked the DAG’s outbursts because they usually rattled whoever was sitting across the table from him. And that usually meant more money for Connor and his qui tam clients. A qui tam plaintiff is a whistleblower who sues on behalf of the government and gets a cut (generally 15-20 percent) of whatever the government recovers. Better yet, if the Department of Justice likes a case, it takes on the lion’s share of the work. Envious defense counsel sometimes complained to Connor that he wasn’t really litigating these cases, just riding a gravy train driven by DOJ. Though Connor never told opposing lawyers, the real fun wasn’t the train ride so much as tying corporate criminals to the tracks in front of the engine.

Today, Connor’s client was Devil to Pay, Inc., a shell company he had created to bring qui tam lawsuits while protecting the identity of its owner. Most contractors assumed that Connor was the force behind Devil to Pay and that he recruited new whistleblowers for every lawsuit. In fact, all those suits were the work of a single woman: a professional whistleblower named Allie Whitman.

The corners of Connor’s mouth twitched. Allie was probably the most widely hated and feared woman in California’s government contracting industry, even though no one knew she existed.

Now I'm really hooked. How can readers find you on the Internet?

I’m on Facebook, Twitter (@authorrickacker), and my website is .

Rick, thanks for the interesting interview.
Readers, here's a link to the book. By using it when you order, you help support this blog.

Leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of the book. New information: Please tell us where you live, at least the state or territory. I’m trying to get a good idea of where the people live who leave comments on my blog. (Comments containing links may be subject to removal by blog owner.)

Void where prohibited; the odds of winning depend on the number of entrants. Entering the giveaway is considered a confirmation of eligibility on behalf of the enterer in accord with these rules and any pertaining local/federal/international laws.

The only notification you’ll receive is the winner post on this blog. So be sure to check back a week from Saturday to see if you won. You will have 6 weeks from the posting of the winners to claim your book.

If you’re reading this on Feedblitz, Facebook, or Amazon, please come to the blog to leave your comment. Here’s a link.


Marjorie said...

My favourite genre is Christian mystery books and I would really like to win this book.
I live in Ontario, Canada.

cenya2 at hotmail dot com

Mark said...

I've looked at this book and thought it looked interesting... enter me please.

I live in northeastern Ohio, close to the PA border

Jan Cline said...

This title is a hook in itself! We need more good books in this genre. This sounds very intriguing. Would love to win it.
Im from Washington state.

earlymorn23 said...

I have not read this author before, but am always excited to find another writer in my favorite genre--Christian legal mysteries. This one sounds wonderful and I am hoping this will be my lucky week to win a book. I live in the western part of Virginia, near the West Virginia border.

Patsy said...

This book sounds like a great read. Sounds very fast moving. Looking forward to reading it. Thanks for giving away a copy. From south Mississippi

Claire Koenig said...

Sounds fascinating. I think I would really enjoy it! Had no idea there was a Christian legal mystery genre. I live in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Cindy W. said...

Would love to win a copy of When the Devil Whistles. Thanks for the chance.


barbjan10 said...

Greetings from Arlington, TX! We're in middle of the Dallas/FtWorth area. Rick is an unknown author to me, and I have an idea that he will become a favorite to me after I read this book. It sounds fascinating with hard challenges. Thanks for the giveaway and the chance to win it. I hope I do!

Barb Shelton
barbjan10 at tx dot rr dot com

grannyvon said...

My favorite of all times are the legal thrillers and until recently I have not found that in the Christian genre. I would love to win this book. Guess it is because when I finished school I wanted to be a court stenogerfer and I live in AL and the nearest school was in TX. When I went to school the only kids going to college were the super smart or super rich and I was neither. The next best thing has been to read legal thrillers.Thanks for the chance to win.

holdenj said...

I like a good thriller and this looks both interesting and exciting! Thanks for the info and chance to win! Happy Halloween from MN today.

Anne Payne said...

Never read any of Rick Acker's books. This looks good! Thanks for the giveaway.


Daughter of the King said...

I loved reading Rick Acker's interview and found it very encouraging. I want to write but I've been afraid for so long to try because I thought it wouldn't be good. He encouraged me by saying that no one starts out good. I feel much better now. Would love to win this book.
Debbie from Texas

Gadget Girl said...

This book and its subjects sounds very interesting. I would love to be entered to win a copy--Thanks!

Robyn said...

Wow--Allie sounds like my kind of girl. The whole idea sounds fascinating.

I'm from the midwest. coolestmommy2000 at gmail dot com

Brenda said...

The book sounds great and I would love to read it. My favorite genre? A little bit of everything!
I do like Christian literature.

dancealert at aol dot com

Linda said...

Love a thriller and a mystery. Please enter me. Thanks for hosting this giveaway.
From Minnesota.
desertrose5173 at gmail dot com

Robin J. Steinweg said...

Thank you, Rick and Lena, for an interesting interview. I appreciate the advise for writers--"a part of the rhythm of your life...".

I'll be looking up your books from home in south-central Wisconsin.

Ann Lee Miller said...

This sounds great!

Wendy said...

Sounds like a good read.
Thanks for offering it.
I live in Minnesota.

misskallie2000 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Merry said...

When the Devil Whistles sounds like a terrific, thrilling story, please add me to the drawing. Thank you!

misskallie2000 said...

I live in GA.
I have got to read Rick's books. I love mystery, suspense and intrigue and his books has it all. Thanks for the awesome interview.

Lena, thanks for hosting this giveaway and the opportunity to enter.

misskallie2000 ar yahoo dot com

Connie Leonard said...

I love a good suspense story. This sounds like a book I would be thrilled to read. I would love to win it.
Granbury, TX

wmmahaney said...

This book sounds like a great read.

Rick Acker said...

Thanks for stopping by, everyone. And good luck!

Daughter of the King: Just write for fun and give yourself permission to be bad. Writing is like playing the violin: No matter how much talent you've got, it won't show until you've practiced for a while.

Claire: GO GIANTS!!

Bakersdozen said...

I would love to read this. I have been mixing in more suspense books with my other fiction lately. I live in Southern California.

Charlotte Kay said...

I'm from southern Ohio and am excited about this giveaway:)

rubynreba said...

I haven't read any of Rick Acker's books but this looks so interesting. From Iowa.

Ann Lee Miller said...

I'd love to win this book!
Ann Lee Miller
Gilbert, Arizona

barbjan10 said...

Rick gives a good interview and I remember reading about this book on another giveaway. It sounds very interesting and the kind of story you don't want to put down. Thanks for the giveaway and a chance to win Rick's great book. I hope I do!

Barb Shelton
barbjan10 at tx dot rr dot com