THE AMENDMENT KILLER by Ronald S. Barak (Showcase & Interview)

The Amendment Killer by Ronald S. Barak Tour Banner

The Amendment Killer

by Ronald S. Barak

on Tour February 1 – March 3, 2018


The Amendment Killer by Ronald S. Barak


That’s the text message Supreme Court Justice Arnold Hirschfeld receives as hearings commence in the U.S. Supreme Court to determine the fate of the 28th Amendment – enacted to criminalize abuse of power on the part of our political representatives.

In court to defend the amendment, retired U.S. District Court Judge Cyrus Brooks observes his old friend and law school classmate Hirschfeld acting strangely and dispatches veteran D.C. homicide detective Frank Lotello to find out why.

In the meantime, Hirschfeld’s precocious and feisty 11-year-old diabetic granddaughter Cassie, brutally kidnapped to control her grandfather’s swing vote upholding or invalidating the amendment, watches her insulin pump running dry and wonders which poses her greatest threat, the kidnappers or the clock. As Brooks is forced to choose between saving our nation or saving the girl.

**Read my review HERE and enter the giveaway**


Editorial Reviews

THE AMENDMENT KILLER is tense, timely, and terrific!”
-Lee Child, #1 New York Times Bestselling author of the Jack Reacher novels

“With an unparalleled sense of terror forewarned on the opening page, Ron Barak’s THE AMENDMENT KILLER is a high-speed, tense political thriller about one of today’s most fundamental issues, the integrity of our SupremeCourt.”
Andrew Gross, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The One Man

THE AMENDMENT KILLER is a high concept, hybrid blend of a political, psychological and action thriller all rolled into a smooth, savory, and suspenseful mix. Ron Barak manages to channel the best of John Grisham, David Baldacci and even Steve Berry in this amazingly timely tale cast with a SupremeCourt backdrop. As prescient as it is thought-provoking and as much fun as it is factual, this is reading entertainment of the highest order. I’d be shocked if this book doesn’t become a bestseller.”
Jon Land, USA Today bestselling author of Strong Light of Day

“From its electrifying opening line to its powerful conclusion, THE AMENDMENT KILLER is a ripped from tomorrow’s headlines story of law and politics set against the backdrop of the Supreme Court. But more so, it’s a story about the lengths we will go for the ones we love. Timely, fast-paced, and heartfelt, you’ll mourn the turning of the last page. Ron Barak is a writer to watch.”
Anthony Franze, author of The Outsider

“Ron Barak’s THE AMENDMENT KILLER is easily the best high stakes legal thriller we’ve read in 2017.”
Best Thriller Magazine


Book Details:

Genre: Political and Legal Thriller
Published by: Gander House Publishers
Publication Date: November 1st 2017
Number of Pages: 570
ISBN: 0982759096 (ISBN13: 9780982759097)
Series: Brooks/Lotello Thriller, Volume 1


**Q&A with Ronald S. Barak**

Writing and Reading:

Do you draw from personal experiences and/or current events?
I draw from personal experiences and current events. The idea for a 28th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution criminalizing abuse on the part of our political representatives came from my observation of current events, the political dysfunction in modern day Washington, D.C. But I combined my observation of those current events with my personal experiences as a courtroom lawyer, both how the Supreme Court battle takes place in The Amendment Killer and on the language of the 28th Amendment. The story is about that amendment. As you may know, I drafted that amendment in the real world and put it on my website even though it’s just fantasy in my novel.

Do you start with the conclusion and plot in reverse or start from the beginning and see where the story line brings you?
I start in the beginning and work toward the end. I know what happens in the opening scene of the novel and generally what I think will happen, but I don’t know the specifics or the details. I am not a plotter. I don’t make an outline first of how the story will go. I am a pantser. I write by the seat of my pants, making up the details as I go.

Are any of your characters based on you or people that you know?
Yes. First of all, Cyrus Brooks is patterned after me. I think his personality and his humor is very much like mine. Also Cyrus’ wife Eloise is very much like my wife Barbie. You will note that Cyrus and Eloise have a dog, named Ryder, and a cat, named Maccabee, or Maccs. Ryder and Maccs are based on a real dog and a real cat that Barbie and I have. Unfortunately, the real world Maccs recently had kidney failure and became very ill. We had to put him to sleep because he was suffering. That was of course very hard on Barbie and me. I wrote about losing Maccs on my website blog. There is one other character in The Amendment Killer that is based on real world people we know. Cyrus works with a detective by the name of Frank Lotello. Frank has a daughter who is named Madison. She is best friends in the novel with Cassie Webber, the young kidnapped diabetic granddaughter of the Supreme Court Justice who is kidnapped in the story to control her grandfather’s vote in the very important case concerning the 28th Amendment. Our granddaughter is named Madison. Frank’s daughter is patterned after our real-world granddaughter Madison.

Your routine when writing? Any idiosyncrasies?
My routine is not very routine. When I have lots of responsibilities to my law clients, I have to fit my writing in when I can, one or two hours at a time here or there, sometimes very early in the morning or late in the day. When I’m able to reduce my law practice commitments then I write as much every day as possible, at least four to six hours and sometimes twelve to fifteen hours. That’s not hard on me because I really like writing. The only idiosyncrasy that I have is I like to write sitting on the floor. I put my back against a sofa and my laptop computer keyboard and monitor on a coffee table in front of me. It sounds weird, but it’s actually very comfortable and works well for me. I listen to my music while I write and I have my cell phone within reach—unless I’m on deadline.

Tell us why we should read this book.
Because I wrote the book for people to read. I love engaging with my readers. I answer all of my emails personally. I think people should also read the book because it is very timely in terms of the political dysfunction in our country today. I try to write novels that are very timely, and cause people to think about what’s going on in the world. I also try to make my stories very exciting. Lee Child, NYT #1 bestselling author of the Jack Reacher novel called my book “Tense, timely, and terrific!” He gave me that for the cover of my novel. Best Thriller Magazine recently featured The Amendment Killer on the cover of its magazine and called it “Easily the best high stakes legal thriller of 2017. At the end of the day, the reason why people should read this book is because what all the readers who have posted five-star reviews on Amazon and Goodreads are saying about it. They are the judges, not me. Oh, and one other reason to read this book: To read it you need to buy it and my wife and I have pledged 50% of the proceeds of sales of the book to diabetes research. Like Cassie in the novel, 30 million people in the real-world U.S.—one in every ten Americans is diabetic. I am one of those 30 million.

Who are some of your favorite authors?
I read almost all of the novels of the present and past bestselling thriller and mystery writers.

What are you reading now?
Right now, I’m reading two novels, The Outsider by Anthony Franze, who writes great mysteries about the U.S. Supreme Court where he practices appellate law, and The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, by Agatha Christie, which many in England call the best English mystery of all time.

Are you working on your next novel? Can you tell us a little about it?
I am working on my next novel, The Puppet Master. It’s another in the Brooks/Lotello Thriller series and is the prequel to The Amendment Killer. It’s in final rewriting and editing and I expect it to be released before next summer. You can read the first five chapters of it at the end of The Amendment Killer. It’s about a vigilante serial killer in modern Washington, D.C. going around assassinating corrupt political leaders. It’s a real who-dunnit. Or maybe I should say why-dunnit? No spoilers here.

Fun questions:
Your novel will be a movie.

From you lips! Who would you cast? I’ll go you one better. Please go to my website, and, and see the images of all of the characters in The Amendment Killer and The Puppet Master as I perceive them and you tell me who you’d cast to play them.

Favorite leisure activity/hobby?
Golf and reading.

Favorite meal?
Sushi and other Japanese food.


Author Bio:

Ronald S. Barak

Described by his readers as a cross between Agatha Christie, Lee Child, and John Lescroart, bestselling author Ron Barak keeps his readers flipping the pages into the wee hours of the night. While he mostly lets his characters tell his stories, he does manage to get his licks in too.

Barak derives great satisfaction in knowing that his books not only entertain but also stimulate others to think about how things might be, how people can actually resolve real-world problems. In particular, Barak tackles the country’s dysfunctional government representatives—not just back-seat driving criticism for the sake of being a back-seat driver, but truly framing practical remedies to the political abuse and corruption adversely affecting too many people’s lives today. Barak’s extensive legal background and insight allow him to cleverly cross-pollinatepollenate his fiction and today’s sad state of political reality.

In his latest novel, THE AMENDMENT KILLER, Barak calls upon his real world legal ingenuity and skill to craft a 28th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution criminalizingcriminalizng political abuse and corruption that Constitutional scholars across the country are heralding as a highly plausible answer to the political chaos destroying the very moral fiber of the country today. It’s difficult to read THE AMENDMENT KILLER and not imagine what could—and should—be expected and demanded of those political leaders who have forgotten they are there to serve and not be served.

Barak is also a committed and strident advocate of finding a cure for diabetes. One of the primary characters in THE AMENDMENT KILLER is the feisty and precocious 11-year-old diabetic granddaughter of the Supreme Court justice holding the swing vote in a case in which Congress is challenging the validity of Barak’s hypothetical 28th Amendment. It is no small coincidence that Barak is himself a diabetic. Or that he has committed 50% of the net proceeds of THE AMENDMENT KILLER to diabetes research and education.

Barak is singularly qualified to have authored THE AMENDMENT KILLER, which will appeal to political and legal thriller aficionados alike. Barak is a law school honors graduate and a former Olympic athlete. While still in law school, he authored a bill introduced in Congress that overnight forced the settlement of a decades long dispute between the NCAA and the AAU to control amateur athletics in the United States.

Present-day politicians would do well to read THE AMENDMENT KILLER and not underestimate the potential of Barak’s 28th Amendment. You can read his 28th Amendment at You can also read his occasional political blogs at

Ron and his wife, Barbie, and the four-legged members of their family reside in Pacific Palisades, California.

Catch Up With Our Author On:
Website 🔗, Goodreads 🔗, Twitter 🔗, & Facebook 🔗!


The Amendment Killer Trailer:

Read an excerpt:

Chapter 1

Tuesday, May 6, 6:30 am

We have your granddaughter. Here’s what you need to do.

Thomas T. Thomas III reviewed the language. Again. He closed the phone without hitting send. Yet.

He stared through high-powered binoculars from atop the wooded knoll. As always, the girl hit one perfect shot after another.

Cassie Webber. Age 11. He’d been tailing her for three months. It seemed longer.

She was chaperoned everywhere she went. Two-a-day practices before and after school. Her dad drove her in the morning. He watched her empty bucket after bucket and then dropped her off at school. Her mom picked her up after school, ferried her back to the practice range, and brought her home after daughter and coach finished. Mom and daughter sometimes ran errands on the way, but always together. Even on the occasional weekend outing to the mall or the movies, the girl was constantly in the company of family or friends. Having someone hovering over me all day would have driven me batshit.

His childhood had been different. When Thomas was her age, he walked to school on his own. And he lived a lot farther away than the girl. His daddy had never let his driver chauffeur him around. Wasn’t about to spoil him. Spare the rod, spoil the child. Didn’t spoil me that way either.

He kept telling himself patience was the key. But his confidence was waning. And then, suddenly, he’d caught a break. The girl’s routine had changed.

She started walking the few blocks between school and practice on her own. Dad dropped her off at morning practice and Mom met her at afternoon practice instead of school. Only a ten minute walk each way, but that was all the opening he needed.

Everything was finally in place. He would be able to make amends. He would not let them down.

This time.

She completed her morning regimen, unaware of Thomas’s eyes trained on her from his tree-lined vantage point. No doubt about it, he thought to himself. She was incredibly good. Driven. Determined.

And pretty.

Very pretty.

He relieved himself, thinking about her. A long time . . . coming. Haha! As the girl disappeared into the locker room, he trekked back down the hill, and climbed into the passenger side of the van. He returned the binoculars to their case. He removed the cell from his pocket, and checked the pending text one more time.

Moments later, the girl emerged from the locker room, golf bag exchanged for the backpack over her shoulders. She ambled down the winding pathway, waved to the uniformed watchman standing next to the guardhouse, and crossed through the buzzing security gate. She headed off to school.

Without taking his eyes off her, Thomas barked at the man sitting next to him. “Go.”

Chapter 2

Tuesday, May 6, 7:00 am

Eloise Brooks stared at Cyrus and shook her head. After more than 50 years of marriage, she understood everything about him there was to understand. Still: “I take the time to make you a nice breakfast. The least you could do is eat it while it’s hot.”

She held the warm cup of tea in both hands. “And can’t you talk to me, Cyrus? Why do you treat me like I’m not here? Like I’m some kind of a potted plant.”

Cyrus moved the eggs around on his plate. Speared a bite of fruit, swallowed it, but showed no visible pleasure in it. “I’m eating. What do you want to talk about? You think the couple cut from Dancing With The Stars last night deserved to be sent packing?”

“Should have got the hook weeks ago. You dance better than he does. Even with your two left feet.”

He didn’t answer. She knew why. “What’re you thinking about? Esposito? Whether 50,000 is enough? Your two left feet?”

“All of the above.”

She gazed at him but said nothing. Notwithstanding his apparent disinterest in the plate of food in front of him, his appetite—and his imagination—were never-ending. He loved upbeat music and dancing. And sports. He couldn’t carry a tune or dance a lick. Except for an occasional round of golf, his sports these days were mostly played out in front of the television. But that didn’t stop him from daydreaming. He danced like Fred Astaire. He sang and played guitar and harmonica like Bob Dylan. He moved around a tennis court like Roger Federer.

However, Eloise knew his real passion in life was the law. He had enjoyed a distinguished legal career, first as a trial lawyer and then as a U.S. District Court judge. Now retired from the bench, writing and teaching, and occasionally trying a case that got his hackles up, when it came to the law, those who knew Cyrus Brooks knew he was second to none. Amazing how sometimes he exuded that—with confidence bordering on arrogance—but at other times did not. More so since Frank Lotello had been shot, and barely survived.

Brooks sat there fidgeting restlessly with the newspaper. Eloise reached over and put her hand on his. “You’ll be great, Cyrus. I need to walk Ryder and get dressed, so we can drive into Court together. Please make sure Maccabee’s dishes have enough water and dry cat snacks.”

Arguments in the case were scheduled to commence in barely two hours. The chance to appear before the United States Supreme Court was rare, even for Brooks, but to do it in a landmark case that could permanently change the U.S. political landscape was unparalleled.

When they were first married, Eloise often attended Cyrus’s court appearances, both to show her support and because the judicial process was new to her. Now long accustomed to Cyrus’s legal adventures, Eloise was a less frequent visitor to the courtroom. Given the importance of this case, she told Cyrus the night before that she planned to attend.

He looked up absently with a gentle, distant smile, still fixed in some far-off place, no doubt grateful for her efforts to distract him, and bolster his confidence. “Macc’s snacks? Sure.”

Chapter 3

Tuesday, May 6, 7:20 am

Cassie left the practice range, looking momentarily at the clock on her phone. School began at eight. She had plenty of time.

She strolled along the familiar middle-class neighborhood route to school, sticking to the tree-hugged, concrete sidewalk. Well-kept houses on modest-sized manicured lots, one after another, adorned both sides of the paved street that divided the opposing sidewalks.

Mouthing the words to the song streaming through her earbuds, she made a mental note of a few questions from her morning practice to ask Coach Bob that afternoon.

Using her ever present designer sunglasses—a gift from her grandparents—to block the sun’s glare, Cassie texted her best friend Madison:

Hey, BFF, meet u in cafeteria in 10. Out after 1st period to watch ur mom & my poppy in S Ct—how dope is that? 2 excited 4 words!

As she hit “Send,” she was startled by the sound of screeching tires. She looked up from her phone and saw a van skid to the curb a few houses ahead of her. A man in a hoodie jumped out and charged straight at her.

She froze for an instant, but then spun and raced back in the direction of the clubhouse. “Help! Help!! Someone help me!!!”

As she ran, she looked all around. No one. She saw no one. The guard kiosk was in sight, but still over a block away. Does he want to hurt me? Why? Why me?

Hearing the man gaining on her, she tried to speed up. If I can just get close enough to the gatehouse for someone to help me. She glanced back, shrieking at the top of her lungs, just as the man lunged. He knocked her to the ground, shattering her glasses in the process. “What do you want?! Leave me alone! Get off me!!!”

She saw him grappling with a large syringe. “No!” She screamed even louder, clawing and kicking him savagely—until she felt the sharp stab in the back of her neck. Then nothing.


Excerpt from The Amendment Killer by Ronald S. Barak. Copyright © 2017 by Ronald S. Barak. Reproduced with permission from Ronald S. Barak. All rights reserved.


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2 thoughts on “THE AMENDMENT KILLER by Ronald S. Barak (Showcase & Interview)

  1. Thank you for this thoughtful review. I always enjoy learning more about authors after reading a book I enjoy, so what a treat to learn more about Ronald S. Barak right within your review! I have already done the movie cast in my mind, love that question.

    1. Thank you, Eileen, for stopping by. Like you, I too like to know about the person behind the book. Glad you enjoyed the interview. This book was SO good, IMO.

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