Apr 012012
 

Today is a very special day for me.   And what better way to spend my birthday then with an old (and not chronologically lol) friend.   I read and reviewed Bill’s first book,  A Note from an Old Acquaintance, for another tour company back in March of 2010 .  He then emailed me asking if I would post my review on Amazon and we kept in touch.  Then in August of 2010 he bestowed on me a great honor and entrusted me to read and review his rewritten manuscript of Titanic 2012.  Today, not only is he stopping by to kick off his tour, but he is kicking it off with Partners In Crime Tours.   I will be reposting my review because, as you will see, that was what I promised to do.  So please help me welcome my friend and author, Mr. Bill Walker.

ABOUT BILL WALKER

 A graduate of Emerson College’s prestigious film school, Bill wrote and directed his first feature film, Pawn, while still a student. After graduation, he co-founded Newbury Filmworks, Inc., an award-winning production company renowned for making high-quality corporate films and commercials.

In 1990, Bill relocated to Los Angeles, and began a freelance story analysis career for various studios and independent production companies, while devoting his spare time to the writing of novels, short stories, and screenplays. He is also a highly-respected graphic designer, specializing in book and dust jacket design. He has worked on books by such luminaries as: Ray Bradbury, Richard Matheson, Dean Koontz, and Stephen King. In addition, Bill is a member of the Authors Guild.

He has won awards for his screenwriting, his two short story collections for Mid-Graders, Five-Minute Frights and Five-Minute Chillers, are perennial Halloween favorites, and his first novel, Titanic 2012 was enthusiastically received by readers. His second novel, Camp Stalag was released in 2001. Bill lives in Los Angeles with his wife, Debbie, and their sons, Jeffrey and Brian.
You can visit Bill at his website or Facebook.
You can hear his interview on Blog Talk Radio here.

ABOUT THE BOOK

Best-selling mystery novelist Trevor Hughes has no idea that attending his twentieth reunion at Harvard will forever change his life.

Persuaded to go by his on-again-off-again girlfriend, Dr. Julia Magnusson, he meets up with three old friends: Solly Rubens, a self-made Wall Street millionaire; Ken Faust, a successful software entrepreneur; and Harlan Astor, New York real estate tycoon and the glue that holds their circle together.

That afternoon, over drinks at the Harvard Club, Harlan drops his bombshell: He is doing what James Cameron did not — he is rebuilding the Titanic, and sailing the ship on the hundredth anniversary to honor those who died, including his great-grandfather, John Jacob Astor IV. Only Trevor is intrigued by Harlan’s audacity. Touched by his friend’s interest and concern, Harlan invites him on the maiden voyage to serve as the official chronicler.

On April 10, 2012, Trevor journeys to Southampton and, along with the hundreds of handpicked passengers, boards the Titanic. He is awed by the immensity of the ship and the feelings that well up in him. His friend has made his grand dream a reality.

During the journey, armed with his iPod Touch and a miniature wireless camera hidden in his glasses, Trevor interviews both passengers and crew, eager to learn the reasons why they chose to sail on the reborn ship.

Nearly every one of them claims to have been profoundly affected by Cameron’s film, wanting to recapture the magic for themselves. And some of them are dying — their last wish to be on the maiden voyage of the new Titanic.

Trevor is touched that his friend has allowed these people to come aboard, and is unprepared when he meets Madeleine Regehr, a beautiful, free-spirited woman who resists his entreaties to be interviewed, intriguing Trevor all the more. Slowly, and inexorably, Maddy draws him out of his shell, allowing him to love deeply and completely, for the very first time in his life.

But Trevor soon discovers a darker purpose for the voyage, a purpose that threatens to destroy him and the woman he loves. In a race against time that pits friend against friend, Trevor must stop the unstoppable or risk a horrific replay of history…

Read an excerpt:

Chapter One

The furor in the media had just died down when Solly’s call came that rainy midweek day. I’d been hiding from the wolves of the fourth estate for nearly three weeks, holed up in my book-filled condo/prison in Charlestown, unable even to slip outside for a breath of fresh air without some cookie-cutter reporter, with a paint-by-numbers smile, sticking a microphone in my face and asking me the same tired question: “What was it like?”
As if the whole of my experience could be quantified in a sound bite.
Truth was I was avoiding everyone, even Julia and her earnest attempts to help me sort through the miasma of doubt and pain.
Sweet Julia.
We’ve been on-and-off again for the last five years. And I hadn’t seen her for the better part of a year. I¬¬ guess she thought now was as good a time as any to mend fences. Christ, if she only knew….
And what was worse, the book I’d promised my publisher, the one that was supposed to chronicle all I’d been through, lay like a beached whale on the shore of my imagination. I was standing at the bay window overlooking the harbor, watching the rain sluice down the glass, wondering if I would ever have the courage to write again, when my gaze shifted to the pile of DVDs lying in a scattered heap on the teakwood coffee table.
My eyes filled with tears yet again.
“I’m so sorry, Maddy,” I groaned, knocking my forehead against the cool glass. “I’m so goddamned sorry.”
“You have a call,” the computer intoned in a quiet contralto, making me wince. Even the goddamned computer’s voice reminded me of Madeleine.
“Who is it?” I asked, expecting to hear it was yet another call from the Globe. Hometown reporters were the worst, the most ravenous.
And then I remembered I’d instructed the computer to screen all calls, allowing access to only a select few.
“The caller has an Identity Block in place. Shall I take a message?”
I sighed.
To hell with it. I had to rejoin the human race at some point, even if I felt as if I no longer belonged in it.
“Put it through,” I said, making my way over to the sleek MacBook Pro sitting atop my writing desk. The screen came to life and Solly Rubens’ round face filled the screen. His saturnine looks were etched with concern, an expression that somehow looked ominous on him.
“Hey, Hughes, you okay? How are you holding up?”
The tiny “picture-in-picture” in the upper left-hand corner of the screen showed me what Solly was seeing, rendering his question moot.
I looked as if I’d taken the cook’s tour of Hell: blue eyes¬¬–red-rimmed and puffy–surrounded by dark circles, sandy hair greasy and disheveled, three-day growth of a patchy red-flecked beard, and the same clothes I’d worn since Monday. I looked sixty-two, instead of forty-two. All in all, I presented a picture about as far as one could get from what Boston magazine had called: “The World’s Most Eligible Author.”
“How the hell do you think I’m holding up?” I said, staring back at Solly. His eyes blinked rapidly and I debated whether or not to instruct the MAC to disconnect, when he spoke again.
“Aw, man, I’m sorry. I really put my foot in it, didn’t I?” he said, trying to appear contrite. “Listen, I know we’ve never been the best of pals, but we had some good times back in school, didn’t we? I mean, Christ, we’ve been through a hell of a lot since Harvard. You a hotshot writer. Me hittin’ the big time. I still can’t believe it’s been a year–”
“What do you want, Solly?”
His porcine eyes darted somewhere off-screen, then riveted onto mine.
“Ken and I thought you should get out of the house, maybe meet us at the Harvard Club. What do you say?”
“I don’t want to talk about it.”
“You gotta talk about it sometime,” he said, his Brooklyn tenor rising in pitch. “You’ve been avoiding us for weeks, you look like crap, and everybody–and I mean everybody’s–been trying to find out what the hell happened out there. And what about Julia? You shutting her out? You treatin’ her like dirt, too?”
I resented him bringing her name up, only because I knew he was using her as leverage, and not out of any real concern for her feelings.
Not that I was any better.
“She’s none of your business, Solly. Leave her out of this.”
“All right, I’m sorry. But you know I’m right. You gotta get on with your life, for Christ’s sake. If you’re not gonna do it for yourself, do it for Harlan.”
I leaned forward, my nose practically touching the screen. “Where were you when Harlan needed the three of us? Huh? Where the hell were you when the chips were down? Taking Karen to another Broadway show?”
Solly’s lips compressed into a thin angry line. “Okay, I deserved that. But Ken and I have a right to know what happened.”
So, that was it. Like everyone else, they wanted to know the truth about Harlan’s death–wanted to know all the gory details. Christ, they were no better than the goddamned muckrakers slinking around my front door. And why was it so important to Ken and Solly, anyway?
Would it bring Harlan back? Would it bring any of them back? Why the hell couldn’t they just leave me alone?
And then, all at once, the anger passed, as if someone had thrown a switch inside me. Suddenly, I wanted very badly to tell someone–anyone. And perhaps it was more than fitting to do it where it all began.
“All right,” I said. “I’ll meet you guys at the club, Friday night at six.”
Solly cracked a grin, revealing crooked yellow teeth. “It’ll do you good, Hughes, you’ll see.”
“Maybe…. But drinks and dinner are on you.”
He chuckled.
“My pleasure. See you there.”
The screen went dark, and I sat there for a long moment, wondering if I shouldn’t blow them off. And then I realized Harlan would want me to go. I doubted very much, however, once they heard the whole story, it would be any pleasure for any of us….

 

This is my review that was posted on August 16th, 2010:

There are caveats before I give my official review. Back in February I read, reviewed and hosted a “Guest Author” spotlight at the request of Pump Up Your Book, for A Note from an Old Acquaintance by Bill Walker.   I thought the book was exceptional, giving it a rating of 5/5. You can read my review here. Bill had contacted me, after I posted my review, and asked if I would mind posting the review on some sites, which I agreed to do.   Since that time, we have touched base every now and then as to how things were going with his book.   He told me that he was working on a manuscript (revising, editing, making changes) of a book that he had written and with limited printing in 1998.   I then received an email from him, which amazed me, surprised me and, quite honestly, felt honored to receive this request.   Could he entrust me with this manuscript and give my honest opinion as a reader, consumer and reviewer?

I have not read the original Titanic 2012, that was printed years ago so I can not compare it to the revised manuscript that I recently finished reading.   However, and ironically knowing that I had the manuscript in my EReader waiting for me to read, I saw that another blogger had found a copy of the original and had read the book. Sheila, from One Person’s Journey Through A World Of Booksreviewed this book on her blog.   I also need to say that the revised manuscript edition, is just that, a manuscript.   Bill has informed me that it is now in his agent’s hand, so the revised edition, that I will be reviewing, has not yet been published nor is it available as of this date.   However. I did tell him that since this blog is about books and my honest thoughts and reviews of books I read, that I would treat his manuscript in the same manner I do for all books I read.   I also told him that I pride myself on giving a credible and honest review of every book I read, and that the same criteria would be utilized for his manuscript.   He agreed.   He also promised me that when the book does become available, he would notify me to let my followers, readers and visitors know so that I can give an update.   And now my thoughts and opinion of said manuscript:

 

Titanic 2012 by Bill Walker (revised manuscript)
Final Manuscript Draft
At the request of the author, who entrusted me with his manuscript, a PDF was sent via email to be downloaded to my EReader, at no cost to me, for my honest opinion.
 

  Synopsis (blurb borrowed from GoodReads for original print): When James Cameron’s vision of a movie, Titanic, made it to the screen, who would’ve known just how popular it would become? Now there’s a new mystery thriller that puts the luxury liner of doom in the near future with suspenseful results. It’s the year 2012, and best selling mystery novelist Trevor Hughes has just about completed his next big book when old friend Harlan Astor announces that he’s spent hundreds of millions of dollars to stage one of the biggest publicity shows in history: he’s built a new Titanic, an exact replica of the 1912 version. This tweaks Trevor’s writerly instincts, and in short order, he breaks up with his girlfriend and heads out for Poland to board the maiden voyage of this colossal remake. Even Kate Winslet is on hand to christen the ship, and the media are eating it up. But why did Astor do this, and why did he handpick the people who are boarding this remarkable ship? First-time novelist Bill Walker rings all the bells and blows all the whistles as he sets sail with his maiden voyage déjà vu, TITANIC 2012.

My Thoughts and Opinion: I have to preface this by saying that I saw the movie, Titanic, on multiple occasions and enjoyed it each time.   Also, there will be no spoilers in this review.   The premise of the plot, at times parallels the movie to some degree, but the story line stands on its own.   The parallels were Harlan Astor, whose great grandfather was lost in the tragedy of the original Titanic, designed the new ship to resemble the original.   He also planned other details to resemble the maiden voyage of 1912, such as the dress of the passengers, the menu, the different classes, the valets.   As the synopsis states, Titanic 2012 is a suspenseful romance.   The author’s words transported me back to 1912 and then back to the present.   I found myself so engrossed in reading this manuscript whereas I became part of the story and unaware what was going on around me.   The characters were brought to life through the writer’s descriptions and each had their reasons for wanting to be a part of Titanic 2012.   As far as the suspense, a page turner.   I apologize for being vague, but there are many aspects to the suspense theme and will not include any spoilers in this review.   The romance perspective profound, yet tender and emotional.
I am sorry for posting this review due to the fact that it is unavailable as of right now. But will honestly tell you, that when it is published, it is a must read.   If you are a fan of Titanic, the movie, you will love Titanic 2012.   Put this one on your TBR list now and hopefully it will be obtainable soon.   And like the movie whereas I saw it more than once, when this is in print, I will be reading it again.   Bravo Mr. Walker !!

 

DISCLAIMER
I received a copy of this book, at no charge to me,
in exchange for my honest review.
No items that I receive
are ever sold…they are kept by me,
or given to family and/or friends.

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