The Amendment Killer

February 5th, 2018

 

The Amendment

 

Killer

 

by Ronald S. Barak

on Tour February 1 – March 3, 2018

Synopsis:

The Amendment Killer by Ronald S. Barak

“WE HAVE YOUR GRANDDAUGHTER. HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO DO.”

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.

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 Supreme Court.”
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 Supreme Court 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

ISLAND BREEZES

If you don’t like “edge of your seat, nail biting” suspense, then this book is not for you. I spent the entire book trying to decide if this supreme court justice would cave and try to kill the amendment in order to save his granddaughter.

Of course, I was sympathetic with Justice Hirschfield’s situation, but I was really drawn to Cassie. Then again there’s not a single character who didn’t hold my attention.

I didn’t want this book to end. These people really grabbed me.

Thank you, Mr. Barak, for a story filled with engaging characters. I hope you have something more in mind for them.

***Book provided without charge by Partners in Crime Tours.***

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

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The Nook AudioBook ? will be $9.99 February 20-26, 2018
and
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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.

 

The Amendment Killer Trailer:

 

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-pollinate 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 criminalizing 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 ronaldsbarak.com/28th-amendment-page-2. You can also read his occasional political blogs at ronaldsbarak.com/blog.

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

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Enough, Already!

February 2nd, 2018

only a rodent

Sacred Rest

January 16th, 2018

Sacred Rest

rest
By Dr. Saundra Dalton-Smith

Staying busy is easy. Staying well rested- there’s a challenge.
How can you keep your energy, happiness, creativity, and relationships fresh and thriving in the midst of never-ending family demands, career pressures, and the stress of everyday life? In Sacred Rest, Dr. Saundra Dalton-Smith, a board-certified internal medicine doctor, reveals why rest can no longer remain optional.
Dr. Dalton-Smith shares seven types of rest she has found lacking in the lives of those she encounters in her clinical practice and research-physical, mental, spiritual, emotional, sensory, social, creative-and why a deficiency in any one of these types of rest can have unfavorable effects on your health, happiness, relationships, creativity, and productivity. Sacred Rest combines the science of rest, the spirituality of rest, the gifts of rest, and the resulting fruit of rest. It shows rest as something sacred, valuable, and worthy of our respect.

By combining scientific research with personal stories, spiritual insight, and practical next steps, Sacred Rest gives the weary permission to embrace rest, set boundaries, and seek sanctuary without any guilt, shame, or fear.

Learn more and purchase a copy.

ISLAND BREEZES

Burning. This was the author. Is it you?

There are different kinds of rest. It’s not just lying down at night or kicking back in your recliner. You first need to identify which kind or rest you really need in order to achieve that rest.

Not only will this book show you what kinds of rest you need, it will also show you how to go about achieving that rest.

I’ve been reading one or two chapters a day rather than reading straight through the book. This gives me time to process and implement.

Thank you, Dr. Dalton-Smith. I didn’t know just how much I needed rest.

***Book provided without charge by the Litfuse.***

doc

Dr. Saundra Dalton-Smith is an author, speaker, and board-certified physician. She has an active medical practice in Alabama (near the Birmingham area). She received her B.S. in Biochemistry at the University of Georgia, and graduated with honors from Meharry Medical College in Nashville. She has been an adjunct faculty member at Baker College and Davenport University in Michigan teaching courses on health, nutrition, and disease progression. Dr. Dalton-Smith is a national and international media resource on the mind, body, spirit connection and has been featured in Women’s Day, Redbook, and First For Women magazine. She is the author of “Set Free to Live” and “Come Empty” (winner 2016 Golden Scroll Nonfiction Book of the Year and 2016 Illumination Award Gold medalist). She is a member of the Christian Medical and Dental Association and a repeat keynote speaker at their annual gathering. She has shared her tips on merging faith and medicine with over 16,000 health care professionals to encourage the current and next generation of doctors to treat the whole person.

Find out more about Saundra at http://ichoosemybestlife.com.

Letter From Birmingham Jail

January 15th, 2018

dr-martin-luther-king-jr-color-collection

While confined here in the Birmingham city jail, I came across your recent statement calling our present activities “unwise and untimely.” Seldom, if ever, do I pause to answer criticism of my work and ideas. If I sought to answer all of the criticisms that cross my desk, my secretaries would be engaged in little else in the course of the day, and I would have no time for constructive work. But since I feel that you are men of genuine good will and your criticisms are sincerely set forth, I would like to answer your statement in what I hope will be patient and reasonable terms.

I think I should give the reason for my being in Birmingham, since you have been influenced by the argument of “outsiders coming in”

I am in Birmingham because injustice is here …I am cognizant of the interrelatedness of all communities and states. I cannot sit idly by in Atlanta and not be concerned about what happens in Birmingham. Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly. Never again can we afford to live with the narrow, provincial “outside agitator” idea. Anyone who lives inside the United States can never be considered an outsider …

We have waited for more than three hundred and forty years for our God-given and constitutional rights. The nations of Asia and Africa are moving with jetlike speed toward the goal of political independence, and we still creep at horse-and-buggy pace toward the gaining of a cup of coffee at a lunch counter. I guess it is easy for those who have never felt the stinging darts of segregation to say “wait.” But when you have seen vicious mobs lynch your mothers and fathers at will and drown your sisters and brothers at whim; when you have seen hate-filled policemen curse, kick, brutalize, and even kill your black brothers and sisters with impunity; when you see the vast majority of your twenty million Negro brothers smothering in an airtight cage of poverty in the midst of an affluent society; when you suddenly find your tongue twisted and your speech stammering as you seek to explain to your six-year-old daughter why she cannot go to the public amusement park that has just been advertised on television, and see tears welling up in her little eyes when she is told that Funtown is closed to colored children, and see the depressing clouds of inferiority begin to form in her little mental sky, and see her begin to distort her little personality by unconsciously developing a bitterness toward white people; when you have to concoct an answer for a five-year-old son asking in agonizing pathos, “Daddy, why do white people treat colored people so mean?”; when you take a cross-country drive and find it necessary to sleep night after night in the uncomfortable corners of your automobile because no motel will accept you; when you are humiliated day in and day out by nagging signs reading “white” and “colored”; when your first name becomes “nigger” and your middle name becomes “boy” (however old you are) and your last name becomes “John,” and when your wife and mother are never given the respected title “Mrs.”; when you are harried by day and haunted by night by the fact that you are a Negro, living constantly at tiptoe stance, never quite knowing what to expect next, and plagued with inner fears and outer resentments; when you are forever fighting a degenerating sense of “nobodyness”–then you will understand why we find it difficult to wait. There comes a time when the cup of endurance runs over and men are no longer willing to be plunged into an abyss of injustice where they experience the bleakness of corroding despair. I hope, sirs, you can understand our legitimate and unavoidable impatience …

 
You express a great deal of anxiety over our willingness to break laws. This is certainly a legitimate concern. Since we so diligently urge people to obey the Supreme Court’s decision of 1954 outlawing segregation in the public schools, it is rather strange and paradoxical to find us consciously breaking laws. One may well ask, “How can you advocate breaking some laws and obeying others?” The answer is found in the fact that there are two types of laws: there are just laws, and there are unjust laws. I would agree with St. Augustine that “An unjust law is no law at all.”

Now, what is the difference between the two? How does one determine when a law is just or unjust? A just law is a man-made code that squares with the moral law, or the law of God. An unjust law is a code that is out of harmony with the moral law. To put it in the terms of St. Thomas Aquinas, an unjust law is a human law that is not rooted in eternal and natural law. Any law that uplifts human personality is just. Any law that degrades human personality is unjust. All segregation statutes are unjust because segregation distorts the soul and damages the personality …

There are some instances when a law is just on its face and unjust in its application. For instance, I was arrested Friday on a charge of parading without a permit. Now, there is nothing wrong with an ordinance which requires a permit for a parade, but when the ordinance is used to preserve segregation and to deny citizens the First Amendment privilege of peaceful assembly and peaceful protest, then it becomes unjust.

Of course, there is nothing new about this kind of civil disobedience. It was seen sublimely in the refusal of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego to obey the laws of Nebuchadnezzar because a higher moral law was involved. It was practiced superbly by the early Christians, who were willing to face hungry lions and the excruciating pain of chopping blocks before submitting to certain unjust laws of the Roman Empire. To a degree, academic freedom is a reality today because Socrates practiced civil disobedience.

We can never forget that everything Hitler did in Germany was “legal” and everything the Hungarian freedom fighters did in Hungary was “illegal.” It was “illegal” to aid and comfort a Jew in Hitler’s Germany. But I am sure that if I had lived in Germany during that time, I would have aided and comforted my Jewish brothers even though it was illegal. If I lived in a Communist country today where certain principles dear to the Christian faith are suppressed, I believe I would openly advocate disobeying these anti-religious laws …

I have no fear about the outcome of our struggle in Birmingham, even if our motives are presently misunderstood. We will reach the goal of freedom in Birmingham and all over the nation, because the goal of America is freedom. Abused and scorned though we may be, our destiny is tied up with the destiny of America. Before the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth, we were here. Before the pen of Jefferson scratched across the pages of history the majestic word of the Declaration of Independence, we were here …If the inexpressible cruelties of slavery could not stop us, the opposition we now face will surely fail. We will win our freedom because the sacred heritage of our nation and the eternal will of God are embodied in our echoing demands …

Never before have I written a letter this long–or should I say a book? I’m afraid that it is much too long to take your precious time. I can assure you that it would have been much shorter if I had been writing from a comfortable desk, but what else is there to do when you are alone for days in the dull monotony of a narrow jail cell other than write long letters, think strange thoughts, and pray long prayers?

If I have said anything in this letter that is an overstatement of the truth and is indicative of an unreasonable impatience, I beg you to forgive me. If I have said anything in this letter that is an understatement of the truth and is indicative of my having a patience that makes me patient with anything less than brotherhood, I beg God to forgive me.

Yours for the cause of Peace and Brotherhood,
MARTIN LUTHER KING JR.

Thyroid Awareness

January 3rd, 2018

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Walk in the Light

December 30th, 2017

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Therefore be imitators of God, as dearly loved children;

And walk in love, just as Messiah also loved us and gave Himself up for us as an offering and sacrifice to God for a fragrant aroma.

But sexual immorality and any impurity or greed – don’t even let these be mentioned among you, as is proper for kedoshim.

Obscene, coarse, and stupid talk are also out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving.

Know for certain that no immoral, indecent, or greedy person – who is really an idol worshiper at heart – has any inheritance in the kingdom of Messiah and God.

Ephesians 5:1-5

kedoshim – Hebrew for saints, holy ones

The Story Behind the Song

December 27th, 2017

This touches me so much that I always need a box of tissues handy every time I watch it.

The Real Christmas Story

December 25th, 2017

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“For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life!

God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world,  but in order that the world might be saved through Him.”

John 3:16,17

Today’s World?

December 23rd, 2017

big blue marble

And just as they did not see fit to recognize God, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what is not fitting.

They became filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice. They are gossips,

slanderers, God-haters, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents.

They are foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless

Though they know God’s righteous decree – that those who practice such things deserve death – they not only do them but also approve of others who practice the same.

Romans 1:28-32

I’ve Been Flashed

December 20th, 2017