The Judas Game
by Ethan Cross
on Tour October 1 – Dec 3, 2016
When a correctional officer climbs to the top of his watchtower and opens fire on the inmates and guards, federal investigator Marcus Williams and serial killer Francis Ackerman Jr. must join forces again to unearth the truth behind the incident. What they find is a serial killer using the prison as his hunting grounds. But the Judas Killer’s ambitions don’t end with a few murders. He wants to go down in history and has no reason left to live.
With Ackerman undercover among the inmates and Marcus tracking down the mastermind on the outside, the team must learn the identity of the Judas Killer and stop a full-scale uprising that he’s orchestrated. But the more they learn about what’s happening at the prison and why the more enemies they must face. From inside the overrun facility, Marcus and Ackerman must save the hostages and stop an elaborate escape attempt while trying to determine how a rival corporation, the leader of one of the world’s most dangerous criminal organizations, and an inmate with no identity only known as Demon fit into the Judas Killer’s plans.
Launching a bold new cycle of novels featuring The Shepherd Organization, The Judas Game is searing, mesmerizing fiction—it’s Ethan Cross at his very best.
Wow! Let me catch my breath! This book blew me away!!
On the cover it states International Bestselling Author. I think it should also say Brilliant. Ethan Cross is a very talented author that has an incredible art of writing and story telling.
In 2012 I read another book by him, THE PROPHET, #2 in the Shepherd series , and gave it a 5 star rating. With THE JUDAS GAME, #4 in the series, he outdid himself. It read easily as a stand alone, even though I have read out of order, throughout the book when needed, the back story was explained.
The Shepherd Organization, an agency within the DOJ, are an elite team of investigators that hunt serial killers and the worst of mankind using any means to neutralize them. The agency is given a case where, at a new state of the art experimental prison, with a vision of future reform, a Correctional Officer goes on a killing spree but this isn’t a typical mass killing, they are soon to discover. And what makes it even more bizarre, is that a highly intelligent, fearless, Hannibal Lecter type of man, who at one time was the most feared and was hunted by the agents, is now joining forces with them. The story takes place over a 2-3 day period, which makes for a wild ride! And at times, the agents feel that they are being hunted instead of hunting, or is that part of the plan by “Judas”? Full of betrayals!
Ethan Cross holds the reader captive, from the first page to 5 pages left in the book, when all comes together and all is exposed. A non stop, heart pounding read. Mr. Cross has created characters and a story, with intricate details, that is gripping and leaves the reader spellbound! A thrilling and chilling novel that will have your heart racing!
This is a book that you will not be able to put down and will have you unaware of anything around you. Captivating 100%!!!!! As soon as I catch my breath, I will be reading the other books in this series that I need to catch up on, and highly suggest you do too!
Published by: The Story Plant
Publication Date: October 2016
Number of Pages: 350
ISBN: 1611882346 (ISBN13: 9781611882346)
Series: Shepherd #4
Grab Your Copy of The Judas Game by Ethan Cross on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and add it to your to read list on Goodreads!
Read an excerpt:
Ethan Cross is the award-winning international bestselling author of The Shepherd (described by #1 bestselling author Andrew Gross as “A fast paced, all too real thriller with a villain right out of James Patterson and Criminal Minds.”), The Prophet (described by bestselling author Jon Land as “The best book of its kind since Thomas Harris retired Hannibal Lecter”), The Cage, Callsign: Knight, Father of Fear, and Blind Justice.
In addition to writing and working in the publishing industry, Ethan has also served as the Chief Technology Officer for a national franchise, recorded albums and opened for national recording artists as lead singer and guitar player in a musical group, and been an active and involved member of the International Thriller Writers organization and Novelists Inc.
He lives and writes in Illinois with his wife, three kids, and two Shih Tzus.
Q&A with Ethan Cross
Writing and Reading:
Do you draw from personal experiences and/or current events?
I think that James Grippando hit the nail on the head when he stated, “Someone you know, something you did, some abstraction you fear, some desire you hold, some piece of news you heard and interpreted through your own moral prism—in short, the person you are at the time you put pen to paper—goes into those characters.”
For me, that’s what it means to “write what you know.” That definitely doesn’t mean that I advocate inserting yourself into your story. I’m not all that interesting. And I think we all cringe a little when we read the dust jacket of a book that contains a writer as the heroic protagonist. However, I think that characters become especially real and interesting when the author has given them a quirk, passion, hobby, flaw, emotional baggage, etc that is personal to the writer. This familiarity and first-hand knowledge comes across on the page, and as a reader, I find those moments to be truly captivating. You can deeply feel that person’s pain, their need, their desires.
I guess what I’m saying is that I would never (or at least try not to) insert myself into a story, but I do think that there is something to be said about channeling a small aspect of yourself into a character when you breathe life into them. The trick is to do so and then let them live their own lives and be their own person.
Do you start with the conclusion and plot in reverse or start from the beginning and see where the story line brings you?
I usually only have a vague idea about the ending and the events in the second half of the book. I’ll brainstorm a bunch of thoughts about plot points and the characters and their stories and motivations. Then I’ll usually do an outline of the first section of the book and try to channel that down into the first few chapters. I then let the story unfold in a pretty much linear fashion. Outlining further and refining ideas as I go. I consider my process to be a bit of a hybrid between outlining and pantsing. I like to think of it as linear story sculpting.
Are any of your characters based on you or people that you know?
Stan, the Shepherd team’s tech genius, is loosely based on a friend and publishing industry colleague.
Your routine when writing? Any idiosyncrasies?
I typically start at 8:00 or earlier and don’t quit until 6:00. My usual spots for writing are either in a recliner, in my office, or a lounger, sitting in what I call “my secret garden.” If I’m in my office, writing, I’ll have all the lights shut off. I read somewhere that we’re more creative neurologically in a darkened room. I find it helps me to focus.
Tell us why we should read this book.
I think a wonderful writer of both books and for the screen, Matthew Quinn Martin, answers that question best:
“An absolute next level thriller! The Judas Game welds the balletic brutality of Lee Child at his peak to the cerebral chicanery of David Ely’s Seconds…then girds the whole thing with a healthy dose of the emotional heft found in Wagner & Locke’s A History of Violence. If you are looking for a thriller with cartoon heroes and cardboard villains…look someplace else. If you want something that will leave you floored…this is the book.” – Matthew Quinn Martin
Who are some of your favorite authors?
I enjoy any book that’s action-packed, regardless of genre, and I’ve been known to read three or four books in a week. I love David Morrell, James Rollins, Lee Child, F. Paul Wilson, Dean Koontz, Jeffery Deaver, James Patterson, Douglas Preston, and many, many more.
What are you reading now?
Strong at the Break by Jon Land – The third book in the Caitlin Strong series
Are you working on your next novel? Can you tell us a little about it?
Sure! The next book in the Shepherd series will take place in San Francisco and features a killer known as the Gladiator. And Ackerman, Marcus, and the rest of the crew will all be back as well. And I’ll let you in on a little secret… I’m thinking of killing off a character who’s been in the series since the beginning.
Your novel will be a movie. Who would you cast?
I’m going to run down my list of current actors and actresses who could possibly fit the bill for each character and briefly explain why….
Marcus – Chris Pine, Hugh Jackman (if he were younger), Stephen Amell, Sam Worthington, Chris Evans, Jensen Ackles, Henry Cavill
Marcus is my main protagonist. He’s a tortured soul with the frightening ability to get inside the head of a killer, a memory that’s both a blessing and a curse, and a gift for hurting people. The actor playing him would need to be physically intimidating, but also have some acting chops. I think Hugh Jackman could definitely pull it off, but he would be quite a bit older than the actual character. I would also love to see what Jensen Ackles (Dean from one of my favorite shows—Supernatural) could do with the role. He could definitely pull off the smart-ass part of Marcus, but I’m not sure if he could capture some of the character’s other traits. So the most likely candidate would probably be Chris Pine.
Ackerman – Michael Fassbender, Dan Stevens, Michael Keaton (if he was only younger)
This one is probably the toughest call, but also a role that a talented actor could really have a lot of fun with. He’s been described as a less-cultured Hannibal Lecter by a great number of people. He’s cunning, ruthless, extremely intelligent, charming, handsome, and completely insane. I think Michael Fassbender (X-Men: First Class, Prometheus) or Dan Stevens (The Guest) could really shine in this role. And just for a bit of a wildcard… Michael Keaton. He’s way too old now, but if the movie was made 15-20 years ago, he could have been great. Don’t believe me? Check out Desperate Measures 😉
Maggie – Amber Heard, Julianne Hough, Ali Larter, Charlize Theron, Bryce Dallas Howard, Rose McIver
Maggie is the primary love interest and a member of the Shepherd team. She’s strong, but not tough. She’s beautiful, but not girly. She also has deep-rooted personal issues and suffers from obsessive compulsive disorder. Any of the actresses mentioned above could do an incredible job with it, so this one is too close to call.
Favorite leisure activity/hobby?
I’m a huge movie buff. My wife and I religiously have date night every week and take in a movie at the theater.
Hmmm…. I love food, so this is a tough one. But I’m going to say Cold Stone Creamery: Cake Batter Ice Cream with Marshmallows, White chocolate chips, and Cookie Dough 😉
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