The Great Gatsby Murder Case by David Finkle

The Great Gatsby Murder Case “I had barely finished reading the first sentence when a strange thing happened. I’d say the strangest thing happened, if it weren’t that even stranger things were to follow.”

In David Finkle’s mystery novel, The Great Gatsby Murder Case (Plum Bay Publishing, November 15 2024, ISBN: 979-8-9858564-5-3), Daniel Freund indeed proves to have the strangest week of his life after he acquires a curious 1953 edition of The Great Gatsby left on a neighboring stoop. A writer himself, Daniel has been collecting copies of the beloved American tale by F. Scott Fitzgerald for years. 

As he embarks on his annual re-read, however, this proves to be the most interesting read yet and his routine is turned completely upside down. In one magical moment, words begin lifting off the page and he realizes the book is speaking to him—and it’s telling him there’s been a murder that only he has the keys to solve. 

Set in present day New York City, The Great Gatsby Murder Case follows amateur sleuth Daniel Freund and his unlikely allies as he spearheads the journey to discover the truth behind the death of the previous owner of this copy of The Great Gatsby

When the words on the page begin to glow and a hand appears out of the pages sending Daniel secret messages, he cannot ignore the urge to discover what is going on. Prompted by The Great Gatsby itself, Daniel begins his own investigation. Accompanied by a hardheaded retired police detective and a nosy-body neighbor, he works to unfold the pieces of this supposedly solved case. He knows a murder took place, the book told him so, so why is everyone else convinced it was suicide?

Teeming with curiosity, adventure, magic, and worries about leaving the case unsolved, The Great Gatsby Murder Case is a clever and humorous piece of magical realism that explores the idea of a murder mystery in a whole new way.

“Finkle’s prose is lean and energetic, and he thankfully wastes little time attempting to establish a sense of verisimilitude.”
–Kirkus Reviews 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
David Finkle is a New York-based writer who concentrates on politics and the arts. He writes regularly on theater for New York Stage Review. He’s contributed to scores of publications, including The New York Times, The Village Voice, The New York Post, The Nation, The New Yorker, New York, Vogue, Mirabella, Harper’s Bazaar, Psychology Today, Saturday Review and American Theatre. He is on the weekly podcast, The Hour of Lateral Thinking. He is the author of People Tell Me Things, a story collection, The Man With the Overcoat, a novel, Humpty Trumpty Hit a Brick Wall: Donald J. Trump’s First Year in Verse, Great Dates With Some Late Greats, a story collection, and Keys to an Empty House, a novel.

The Great Gatsby Murder Case
By David Finkle
Plum Bay Publishing
Publication Date: November 15, 2024
ISBN: 979-8-9858564-5-3
Original Trade Paperback
Price: $17.99 | Pages: 246

That Voice by Marcia Menter

That Voice“‘I learned them all.  At some point I bypassed my father and started buying the records myself.  Ann Drummond-Grant was on six of them, in four contralto roles and two soubrette roles.  In ninth grade, the last year of junior high, she was far and away the most important person in my life.  I never mentioned her name to a soul.  I told my parents I wanted singing lessons but didn’t say why.’”

It was winter in Syracuse, New York, and thirteen-year-old Marcia Menter was plagued with all the requisite teenage insecurities from negative body image to just feeling weird and out of place. When her father brought her a recording of the Mikado, she was unimpressed at first, but once she heard the music of Gilbert and Sullivan (G&S), her life took on a new meaning. Not only did she soon learn all the G&S operas by heart, but she also became obsessed with Ann Drummond-Grant, principal contralto of the D’Oyly Carte Opera Company, the preeminent British G&S troupe. The story of Menter’s quixotic dream of becoming a singer is combined with an investigative biography of her idol in her new memoir, THAT VOICE: In Search of Ann Drummond-Grant, the Singer Who Shaped My Life (Publication Date: July 2024; 978-1-64742-662-0; $17.95). 

Ann Drummond-Grant rose from a working-class background to become a D’Oyly Carte principal in the 1930s—but lost her job for falling in love with the company’s musical director, Isidore Godfrey, who was married to someone else. Godfrey soon became her husband, but it was more than a decade before “Drummie” (as she was always called) was able to reclaim her place as a major player with the company. Drummie had a glorious voice, but as Menter learned over years of research, it was furious discipline that made her a beloved performer. She was a quiet, unpretentious woman whose dedication to her art was absolute, and whose early death came as a shock to fans on both sides of the Atlantic. 

Menter dreamed of becoming a professional singer and joining the D’Oyly Carte, even though she knew the company didn’t hire Americans. But all through high school, and in college as a vocal performance major, Menter tried unsuccessfully to find a voice teacher who could help her develop her voice. Her stories of ineffective teaching methods and her own struggles with the physical mechanics of singing are told with wit, humor, and a gimlet eye. 

THAT VOICE is at once a coming-of-age story and an account of what it takes to be a professional performer. It is also a tribute to a great singer, and a poignant reflection about the sometimes-unbridgeable gap between dream and reality. Menter’s journey is universal for people who come to understand and accept who they are. The journey itself is the point—especially when it’s as entertainingly told as this one. 

THAT VOICE
In Search of Ann Drummond-Grant,
The Singer Who Shaped My Life
By Marcia Menter
She Writes Press
Publication Date: July 2024
ISBN: 978-1-64742-662-0
Original Trade Paperback
Price: $17.95 | Pages: 262

Flat by Neal Rabin

FlatRiveting, HIGH SPEED, CINEMATIC ADVENTURE. This ain’t your history teacher’s 16th century.”
–Hummus Aficionado – One vat is never enough

A wise man once said, “The purpose of life is to be defeated by greater and greater things.” If this is true, then it stands to reason that Captain Lanning Delaford is about to have the most meaningful day of his life.

In Neal Rabin’s newest, action-packed novel, FLAT (Ponderosa Publishing, Spring 2024, ISBN: 978-0-997046830), Lanning Delaford is torn from his typical routine in 16th Century Spain by a series of comically unfortunate events. Thrown into a swashbuckling adventure he had no intention of taking, Delaford becomes a reluctant explorer.

Set at the tail end of the Spanish Inquisition, when seafaring exploration and discovery were THE thing, FLAT follows the intrepid tales of Delaford and his makeshift crew as they embark on a journey teeming with betrayal, romance, murder, sea battles, and a healthy dose of satirical Renaissance humor. 

A part-time tennis instructor for the prince of Spain, part-time merchant seaman, Lanning lives a comfortable but financially precarious life in Andalusia. In the course of a single day, the fiscal scales tip out of his favor following a narrowly-escaped assassination attempt, a double mugging, and the loss of his loaner boat and its cargo to pirates. Now deep in the red, he has no choice but to rent another boat and make for the nearby trade port of Tangier to recover some of his losses. 

As luck would have it, passage on Lanning’s ship is in high demand, so the captain and his eclectic crew soon set sail. Accompanied by an engaging and diverse cast of characters including Ignatius Loyola, Ferdinand Magellan, (mostly) evil pirates, a mediocre Portuguese butcher, an alluring, bad-ass courtesan, and a peregrine falcon named Doug, Lanning finds that his short trip to Tangier is about to become a life-changing, epic voyage into the unknown Great Sea. 

Fraught with ruthless pirates, brutal storms, and worries about falling off the edge of the Earth, FLAT is a clever, cinematic odyssey. Neal Rabin has crafted a fast-paced piece of historical fiction that is at times both poignant and laugh-out-loud funny with a wit that readers of Douglas Adams or Christopher Moore will enjoy. 

Faced with your own personal precipice, would fear stop you at the edge, or would you dare to venture beyond it?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Neal Rabin is a UCLA graduate who worked for Club Med as a tennis and surf instructor on Reunion Island off the coast of Madagascar. He stocked refrigerators, xeroxed scripts, and served as a ‘fetch’ for Time Life Films. Neal cofounded and spent fifteen years as CEO of the Santa Barbara based global software company, Miramar Systems. He continues to live in Santa Barbara with his wife, two daughters, two dogs, multiple guitars, his piano, and a flock of chickens. Neal is an instrument pilot and has an active lifestyle that includes surfing, volleyball, yoga, and tennis.

The Book of Izzy by Ben Gonshor

The Book of Izzy

“‘What if we own our deepest flaws, our greatest sins, the things that God himself created in us, like you shtupping men and me just being crazy, and we embrace them openly, honestly, and purely to the point that they become the highest form of godliness? You know what happens then, Sam?’ 

I asked him, and I could tell by his eyes starting to widen and his head nodding that he was with me. ‘That’s right, they become Shir Hashirim, the Song of Songs!’”

Izzy is a writer who’s found himself in a series of downward spirals; between his recently failed love life, his faltering career as both a wedding planner and a novelist, and an ever-looming mental breakdown, he’s at his wit’s end. The Book of Izzy (AOS Publishing, May 2024, ISBN: 978-1-990496-46-2) is the debut literary novel from author and playwright Ben Gonshor, which picks up with Izzy right as he’s decided to take himself off his meds, against the expert opinion of the psychiatrists who diagnosed him. There are freedoms that come with it, but drawbacks as well— including a lot of fretting from his overbearing but well-meaning family. Their concerns redouble after Izzy snaps at an important client and starts being visited by a mysterious bird that no one else seems to be able to see.

Following his encounter with the ominous bird and encouraged by his family and friends, he soon finds himself agreeing to take on the leading role in an amateur production of the greatest play in all of the Yiddish theatre: The Dybbuk, a gothic tale of destiny, possession, and the triumph of love over all. The play may be just what he needs to find creative solace, stay connected with his Jewish heritage, and even reignite his dating life. But when the play’s director dies suddenly and the theatre is threatened with immediate closure, Izzy is thrust into a much greater role, one he’ll soon learn he was predestined to play. 

The Book of Izzy is a story about a man trying to find his own place between two worlds as he reckons with letting go of his painful past to focus on creating a fulfilling present. In the process, Izzy embarks on a fanciful, romantic voyage that not only forces him to come to terms with his Jewish identity, but to also confront the mystifying bird that holds the key to preserving the past and ensuring the survival of his heritage. Fans of Fleishman Is in Trouble or the literary stylings of Phillip Roth will love The Book of Izzy. Filled to the brim with wit, candid discussions about navigating life with a mental illness, and an engaging cast of characters, The Book of Izzy is a captivating modern take on Jewish cultural touchstones and heritage. 

“An engrossing novel about a man resurrected by the power of community, love, and Yiddish theatre. In the tradition of Roth and Richler, Ben Gonshor’s vibrant debut is full of heart and humour.”
Ariela Freedman, Award winning novelist of Arabic for Beginners, A Joy to Be Hidden & Léa

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Ben Gonshor is an award-winning writer, actor, musician and entrepreneur. A lifelong member of The Dora Wasserman Yiddish Theatre, in Montreal, he has played starring roles in its historic productions of “The Dybbuk,” and in the original musical adaptation of Ted Allan’s Golden Globe award-winning film, “Lies My Father Told Me” and others. His play, “When Blood Ran Red,” won the David and Clare Rosen Memorial International Play Contest at the National Yiddish Theatre in New York. In his spare time, he owns and operates FLUIDS iQ, Canada’s Wellness Laboratory.

The Book of Izzy
By Ben Gonshor
AOS Publishing
Publication Date: May 2024
ISBN: 978-1-990496-46-2
Original Trade Paperback
Price: $18.99 | Pages: 330