Jun 022017
 

Executive Actions

by Gary Grossman

on Tour June 1 – July 31, 2017

Synopsis:

Executive Actions

In the midst of a heated presidential campaign, Secret Service Agent Scott Roarke gets an assignment that turns his world upside down. His investigation uncovers a plot so monstrous it can change the course of America’s future and world politics. Roarke discovers that presidency is about to fall into the hands of a hostile foreign power. The power play is so well-conceived that even the U.S. Constitution itself is a tool designed to guarantee the plot’s success. With the election clock ticking, Roarke and Boston attorney Katie Kessler race at breakneck speed to prevent the unthinkable. But they also know that it will take a miracle to stop the takeover from happening.

Praise for the Executive Series:

“Executive Actions is the best political thriller I have read in a long, long time. Right up there with the very best of David Baldacci. [A] masterpiece of suspense; powerfully written and filled with wildly imaginative twists. Get ready to lose yourself in a hell of a story.”
Michael Palmer, New York Times bestselling author

“Break out the flashlight, and prepare to stay up all night … Once you start reading Executive Actions you won’t be able to put it down.”
Bruce Feirstein, James Bond screenwriter, and Vanity Fair Contributing Editor

“Executive Command mixes terrorists, politics, drug gangs and technology in nonstop action! Gary Grossman creates a … horribly plausible plot to attack the United States. So real it’s scary!”
Larry Bond, New York Times bestselling author of Exit Plan, Cold Choices, Red Dragon Rising

“Moving at break-neck speed, Executive Command is nothing short of sensational … Executive Command is not just a great book, it’s a riveting experience.”
W.G. Griffiths, award-winning, bestselling author of Methuselah’s Pillar, Malchus

“Executive Command ramps up the excitement … A truly bravura performance from a master of the political thriller!”
Dwight Jon Zimmerman, New York Times bestselling co-author of Lincoln’s Last Days, Uncommon Valor

“Intricate, taut, and completely mesmerizing. Grossman expertly blends together globe-spanning locations, well-researched technology, finely crafted narrative, and intriguing characters to create a virtuoso tale. Highly recommended.”
Dale Brown, New York Times bestselling author

“Executive Treason is more chilling than science fiction … You’ll never listen to talk radio again without a shiver going down your spine.”
Gary Goldman, Executive Producer, Minority Report; Screenwriter, Navy SEALs & Total Recall

Book Details:

Genre: Political Thriller, Mystery
Published by: Diversion Books
Publication Date: Jan 13, 2012
Number of Pages: 556
ISBN: 1626811059 (ISBN13: 9781626811058)
Series: Executive #1
Purchase Links: Amazon 🔗 | Barnes & Noble 🔗 | Goodreads 🔗

Read an excerpt:

EXECUTIVE ACTIONS
by Gary Grossman

CHAPTER 1
Washington, D.C. Sunday 22 June

“Topic one. Theodore Wilson Lodge. Presidential material?” bellowed the host at the top of his Sunday morning television show. He directed his question to the political pundit to his left. “Victor Monihan, syndicated columnist for The Philadelphia Inquirer, is Teddy ready, yes or no?”

“Yes,” Monihan shot back. You had to speak up quickly on the lively program. There was no air between questions and answers. “If the cameras could vote, he’d be a shoo-in.”

“But they don’t. So again, will it be Mr. Lodge goes to Washington?” quizzed the host of the revamped McLaughlin Group. The reference to the Frank Capra movie was lost on most of the audience. Even AMC and Turner Classics weren’t running very many black and white movies anymore.

“Absolutely.” Monihan didn’t take a breath between thoughts. The host hated dead air. Pause and you’re dead. Someone else will jump in. “He’s totally informed, he’s had great committee assignments and he can do the job. Congressman Lodge comes off as a highly capable leader. Trustworthy. The all-American boy grown up. And he positively looks like a president should look … presidential.”

“So a tan and a good build gets you to the White House?” the host argued.

“It means I don’t have to worry about him taking my job.” The overweight columnist laughed, which made his belly spread his shirt to a point just shy of popping the buttons. The joke was good, but he lost his platform with it.

“Roger Deutsch, freelance writer for Vanity Fair, right now Lodge is trailing Governor Lamden. Can Teddy make it up?”

“No. With only two days before the New York primary, there’s no way Lodge can do it. He doesn’t have the votes. And there’s not enough time to get them. Henry Lamden will be addressing the Democratic Party at the August convention in Denver. But even when he gets the nomination, he’ll have a hard time against Taylor.”

The discussion expanded to include the other members of the panel. They talked about Montana Governor Henry Lamden’s qualities. About President Morgan Taylor’s rigid persona. About the voters’ appetite. And back again to the possibilities. “Is there any way Lodge can do what fellow Vermont favorite son Calvin Coolidge did: go all the way to the White House?” the venerable host rhetorically asked. The panel knew this was not the time to reply. Turning to the camera the host said, “Not according to my watch.”

This was the throw to the video package from the campaign trail.

Teddy Lodge smiled as he sat on the edge of his hotel bed to get closer to the TV set. He was half-packed. The rest would wait until the videotape report concluded. Lodge pressed the volume louder on his remote.

“It’s on,” he called to his wife, Jenny.

“Be right out,” she answered from the bathroom. Lodge tightened the knot on the hand-painted tie he’d been given the day before. The gift, from a home crafter in Albany, would go into his collection and eventually into his Presidential Library. But first he’d wear it for the cameras. She’d see it and tell everyone she knew. More votes.

Mrs. Lodge leaned over her husband and hugged him as he watched himself on TV. “You look great, sweetheart.” He agreed. The footage was perfect: Lodge in the thick of an adoring Manhattan crowd, the wind playing with his wavy brown hair, his Armani suit jacket draped over his arm. He came off relaxed and in charge; less like a politician than an everyday guy. An everyday guy who saw himself as President of the United States. And at 6’2” he stood above most of the crowd.

Lodge knew the unusual statistical edge his height provided. Historically, the taller of the two major presidential candidates almost always wins the election. And he was considerably taller than President Morgan Taylor.

The host obviously wasn’t a supporter. But the coverage counted. He hit the bullet points of Lodge’s career.

“Teddy’s been fast-tracking since college. He graduated Yale Law School and has a graduate degree in Physics at Stanford. The man speaks three languages. He worked on various government contracts until he decided to return to his country home in Burlington, Vermont, and run for State Assembly. Two years later, so long Burlington, hello Washington. Mr. Lodge went to Capitol Hill as a young, energetic first-term congressman. He distinguished himself in international politics and now serves as Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Terrorism and Homeland Security. He’s as close to a rocket scientist as they come in Washington. He heads the House Committee on Energy and understands the complexities of the issues. But is he going to the White House?” the moderator asked in his feature videotape. “New Yorkers will decide Tuesday.”

And with that set up came the obligatory sound bite. It couldn’t have been better if Teddy Lodge had picked it himself. It was declarative and persuasive. The producer of the video package must have been in his camp.

“Tomorrow the world will be different. More dangerous. More hateful. Different times need different leaders. Make no mistake, there are no more safe harbors or promised lands. Unless … unless we make better choices today than yesterday. Better friends tomorrow than today.”

As he watched, Lodge remembered the clincher was yet to come. Things like that just didn’t get cut. He was right.

“So come with me and discover a new America. Come with me and discover a new world.”

Thunderous applause followed; applause from the audience at a Madison Square Garden rally.

Eighteen seconds total screen time. Unbelievable on McLaughlin. But Lodge was not an easy edit. He’d learned to break the sound bite barrier by constantly modulating his voice for impact, issuing phrases in related couplets and triplets, and punching them with an almost religious zeal.

Like everything else in his life, he worked hard at communicating effectively. He punctuated every word with a moderately-affected New England accent. Whether or not they agreed with his politics, columnists called him the best orator in years. Increasing numbers of them bestowed almost Kennedy like reverence. And through the camera lens, baby boomers saw an old friend while younger voters found a new voice.

The video story ended and the host brought the debate back to his panel. “Peter Weisel, Washington Bureau Chief of The Chicago Tribune, What sayest thou? Can Teddy un-lodge Lamden?”

“Unlikely.” Weisel, a young, black reporter, was the outspoken liberal of the panel and a realist. “But he’ll help the ticket. He’s a strong Number Two. A junior pairing with Governor Lamden can work. The flip side of Kennedy-Johnson. Let the Democrats make him VP. Besides, his good looks won’t go away in four or eight years. TV will still like him.”

Theodore Wilson Lodge, 46 years old and strikingly handsome, definitely could pull in the camera lens. He had the same effect on women and they held far more votes in America than men. The fact was not lost on the show’s only female contributor of the week. “Debra Redding of The Boston Globe, is Lodge your man?”

Without missing a beat she volunteered, “There are only two problems that I see. One, I’m married. The other – so is he.”

What a wonderful way to start the morning, the congressman said to himself.

***

Excerpt from Executive Actions by Gary Grossman. Copyright © 2017 by Gary Grossman. Reproduced with permission from Gary Grossman. All rights reserved.

Author Bio:

Gary Grossman

Gary Grossman is a multiple Emmy Award-winning network television producer, a print and television journalist, and novelist. He has produced more than 10,000 television shows for 40 broadcast and cable networks including primetime specials, reality and competition series, and live event telecasts.

Grossman has worked for NBC, written for the Boston Globe, Boston Herald American, and the New York Times. He is the author of four bestselling international award-winning thrillers available in print, eBooks, and Audible editions: EXECUTIVE ACTIONS, EXECUTIVE TREASON, EXECUTIVE COMMAND and OLD EARTH. (Diversion Books, NYC) and two acclaimed non-fiction books covering pop culture and television history – SUPERMAN: SERIAL TO CEREAL and SATURDAY MORNING TV.

Grossman taught journalism, film and television at Emerson College, Boston University, and USC and has guest lectured at colleges and universities around the United States. He currently serves as an Adjunct Professor of Film and Television at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. He is a member of the Board of Trustees at Emerson College in Boston and he serves on the Boston University Metropolitan College Advisory Board. He is a member of the International Thriller Writers Association and The Military Writers Society of America.

Q&A with Gary Grossman

It’s a true pleasure to appear on CMash Reads. Thanks for the opportunity to answer your questions about EXECUTIVE ACTIONS with a sprinkling of my often non-linear stream of consciousness thoughts.

Here goes:

Do you draw from personal experiences and/or current events?

The question is really fundamental to writing EXECUTIVE ACTIONS and my other international political thrillers. I draw from both personal experiences and actual events.

Answering in reverse, I’ve always been a news junkie. I grew up in a political home in upstate New York. The morning started with the local news on the radio and the Today Show on TV. The daily newspaper was delivered by 4 pm and helped shape dinner-time discussions. I listened to shortwave stations from around the world and realized our duck-and-cover exercises would never protect us from a true Russian threat. Listening and reading to the news ultimately directed me to work in news, in radio, television, and to produce documentary films.

Putting that together in novel form was a natural next step. EXECUTIVE ACTIONS is a contemporary story with a plot that extends deep into the Cold War. However, the core of the story comes from my personal experience in New York on September 11, 2001.

Having been in Manhattan on that sad and horrible day made me think about the amount of time it took terrorists to plan the attack and how long the plot had incubated since the previous attack on the World Trade Center Towers. As a writer, a journalist, and reporter, I asked myself what kind of plot might be so devious, it could take decades to come to fruition. Through some initial research, I learned about actual secret Soviet cities where Russians spies had been trained to pass as Americans. The Andropov Institute. Viewers of “The Americans” TV series are certainly familiar with the dramatic territory. But my approach was to create a scheme with a huge political payoff that required immense patience, planning and money. The goal was to secure the American presidency itself.

Experience and current events. I guess they are the magic sauce in EXECUTIVE ACTIONS.

Do you start with the conclusion and plot in reverse or start from the beginning and see where the story line brings you?

As with any documentary TV show I’ve produced or news story I’ve written, I like to have a sense of the end. If it’s in sight, I know where I’m going. I also structure an outline; sometimes tight and detailed; other times not so. Either way, once the characters start taking shape, they move the story into better areas than I originally envisioned. They become real on the page and literally surprise me while I’m writing.

When I look back at my original notes and compare them to the final manuscript, I have to stop and thank the book characters for saving me. Invariably, in the moment, they come up with much more exciting plot twists, and sometimes an end that I hadn’t even considered.

I know it sounds weird, but it honestly happened in EXECUTIVE ACTIONS. The main character, Scott Roarke, and his nemesis, a Jackal-like assassin took me to an action-packed conclusion I hadn’t envisioned. And that’s just the ending! It happened all through the book.

Are any of your characters based on you or people that you know?

My father was the Supervising Investigator for New York State Civil Service and my mother worked in the state Assembly and Senate and ran political campaigns. So while they’re not actually characters in EXECUTIVE ACTIONS, I certainly drew on the experiences they shared with me and my observations of their careers. Those memories helped make each of the principal characters more real, whether they were Secret Service Agent Scott Roarke, President Morgan Taylor, FBI agents, CIA operatives, and perhaps most importantly, attorney Katie Kessler, a very strong woman character who, now that you mention it, had great qualities I saw in my mother.

Your routine when writing? Any idiosyncrasies?

I’ve got a routine I try to follow. Three pages a day. They may not be great pages, but they’re pages. And after a month, there are 90 of them. After two months 180 and onto about 360 after four months. Rewriting will take just as long and that’s where I really see what works and what doesn’t.

I suppose I could write more each day, but I also produce television shows, teach graduate college courses in TV and film, and watch far too much news.

It’s interesting that you ask about idiosyncrasies. Here I am working on my Dell desktop computer now. But when I write books, I do it on my laptop, not in my home office. The reason is simple. I find it too easy to get distracted by my email or what I think will be a quick Google search when I sit at my desk. So, I usually write my first draft in the living room.

I can access email and the Internet on my laptop, but it takes me extra steps. (And accordingly, it discourages me from doing so.) So I really do get more writing done. For rewriting, I will come back to my home office.

Also, I’ll often write with movie soundtracks on in the background. I choose scores hat reflects the mood of the scene I’m writing.

Tell us why we should read this book.

I believe EXECUTIVE ACTIONS is an evergreen thriller, able to be reborn every political cycle with impact that relates to breaking news. The plot is steeped in history, but the threats are ever-present. The dangers come from an external plot that constantly feels all too real and internal pressures that face every presidency. The characters feel like real people. Hero or villain, they have their reasons for what they do, the skills they bring to the job, and the dark places they hide.

EXECUTIVE ACTIONS is a read for Republicans or Democrats. Conservatives or Liberals. Americans and International readers. Young and old. Men and women.

To that point, one reader recently complimented me on having a strong woman character who is so essential to the plot. Attorney Katie Kessler. The reader liked the way Katie was drawn into the plot, Katie’s influence on Secret Service Agent Scott Roarke, how she helped him and how he listened to her.

The reader noted that many thriller authors eventually end up killing their lead women characters. “Please don’t do that to Katie,” she said. “If you have to, in your next books, you can send her on a long vacation or put her in a coma. But please don’t kill Katie!”

Spoiler alert: I agreed. And when you read EXECUTIVE ACTIONS, I think you’ll see why I love her, too.

Who are some of your favorite authors?

Reading Tom Clancy years ago made me feel I could write in the genre. But I didn’t know I could until I started. However, my first favorite authors and my introduction to the political thriller world were Fletcher Knebel and Charles W. Bailey II. Their novel “Seven Days in May” remains one of the most powerful reads I’ve ever experienced.

I also love Dale Brown’s techno-thrillers. He always delivers.

I like Patrick Robinson’s submarine thrillers. And of course, Lee Child, David Baldacci, Nelson DeMille, Brad Meltzer, KJ Howe, John Lescroat, Lisa Gardner and so many of the wonderful writers and members of ITW, The International Thriller Writers Association, of which I’m a proud member. The late Vince Flynn and Michael Palmer were also so influential to me.

What are you reading now?

I’m going forward and backwards. Forward in my queue is the second book by horror author DG Wood, “Light and Darkly,” along with KJ Howe’s thriller, “The Freedom Broker.” Going backwards, I think it’s time again to read Sinclair Lewis 1935 prophetic novel, “It Can’t Happen Here.” But with some cross country flights coming up I’m sure I’ll be into Dale Brown’s latest.

Are you working on your next novel? Can you tell us a little about it?

I am. Two. One hopefully will come out later this year. It’s titled RED HOTEL, and it’s a collaboration with former Marriott International President Ed Fuller. It’s a terrific thriller based, in part, on Ed’s hotel and anti-terrorism experience around the world. (Real life experiences in the moment!) We’re hoping RED HOTEL will lead to a whole series of thrillers. It’s exciting, fast-paced, and, we think, impossible to put down.

I’m also writing another sequel to EXECUTIVE ACTIONS. It’ll be the forth book in the series. No title yet, but as we say in journalism, “Watch this space,” and in TV, “Stay Tuned!” The thriller picks up with Scott and Katie and a brand new villain and dangerously real threat to the country. I just got the shivers thinking about it. I’ll be finished with it by late summer.

Fun questions:
Your novel will be a movie. Who would you cast?

Let me start by asking who you’d like to see as Scott, Katie, President Taylor and the assassin? Let me know at gary@garygrossman.com. But here’s my thinking, at least today. I really like Channing Tatum, Chris Pine, and Scott Eastwood in the lead. I think “Bosch” star Titus Welliver would make the perfect Morgan Taylor. As for Katie Kessler? Brie Larson, Kirsten Stewart, Nina Dobrev, or Emma Watson? They’re all great!

Let’s hope a studio wants to go for it. I’m trying!

Favorite leisure activity/hobby?

I love taking long walks along the ocean and gazing out into the sunset. Whoops. That’s not me. I was channeling someone else for a moment. But I do love traveling (which I don’t do enough), trying new LA restaurants (which I do too much), re-watching “Burn Notice” (love the series, the characters and the acting), and spending time with my kids, now adults (which means we can hit cool bars together and talk without most of the daddy/kid baggage). I also have to get back to bicycling, but Los Angeles streets aren’t the best for that.

Favorite meal?

Depends. Sometimes it’s as simple as a Pink’s Hot Dog on North La Brea Avenue in LA. But at home, my wife is a great cook (and a restaurant reviewer) so she always tries lots of new dishes. As far as standards go, she makes a great, always perfect salmon with a simple mustard glaze. (There’s some leftover in the refrigerator now!) I also love lobster. I mean I really love lobster. Really. And the Dunkin Donut coffee cake muffin (loaded with too many calories) is scrumptious. However, I wouldn’t recommend having one while reading EXECUTIVE ACTIONS. Too many crumbs on your book or your reader!

Thanks again for letting me have some fun with your questions. It’s great to be in touch with readers and I hope I hear from you via email at gary@garygrossman.com or Twitter: @garygrossman1. And when you’re through with EXECUTIVE ACTIONS, move right in EXECUTIVE TREASON and EXECUTIVE COMMAND, all from Diversion Books. (Shameless plug, but thanks)

Catch Up With Gary Grossman On:
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Tour Participants:



Giveaway:

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Gary Grossman. There will be 1 winner of one (1) $15 Amazon.com Gift Card AND the opportunity to Suggest a Character Name for the Next Book in the Executive Series! The giveaway begins on June 1 and runs through August 3, 2017.

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  2 Responses to “EXECUTIVE ACTIONS by Gary Grossman (Interview, Showcase & Giveaway)”

  1. GREAT interview!!! Or I should say – great answers!

    first – “long walks along the ocean and gazing out into the sunset” – I think you were channeling me!
    Love trying new restaurants and love Salmon!

    I have not read the book but my vote is for – Scott Eastwood (YUM!!!), Brie Larson, and if Morgan Taylor is the “bad guy” then yes definitely – Titus Welliver, He was a great bad guy in Sons of Anarchy!

    This book sounds great!

  2. Hey, glad you think Scott Eastwood would be terrific as Scott Roarke. He’s got those eyes! Hope you do have a chance to read EXECUTIVE ACTIONS. Thanks so much! Best, gary gary@garygrossman.com

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