Let's jump in.
VH: If you could change one thing about our world, what would it be and why?
RB: I would make the world fair. The talented would succeed, the hard working would flourish, good would prevail over evil, bad men would fail and be brought to justice while good ones ran things to everyone's mutual benefit, governments would be small and work for the people instead of commandeering the fruits of their labor, a life of moderation and good choices would guarantee longevity, might would not make right, love would find a way, we would get the one more chance we deserve, apathy would be despised instead of nourished, honesty would be the preferred ethic, a life well lived would be its own reward, and dogs and cats would live as long as we do.
VH: I do believe I would like to live in your world Russell. Especially if our four-legged friends had our longevity.
If you knew the exact date of your death down to the minute, what would you change about your life starting tomorrow?
RB: The exact date of my death down to the minute.
VH: You are wise beyond your years.
For what are you grateful?
RB: For the chance to reinvent myself multiple times in my life. I've been extremely fortunate to have had a number of extraordinary careers and avocations, the likes of which would make a reasonable book. These were driven by a naive belief that anything was possible if I tried hard enough, as well as a conviction that education was a lifelong endeavor I was responsible for acquiring for myself, from books, as well as experientially.
I've been lucky enough to stand on stage in front of thousands and be cheered, been celebrated as a pundit and castigated as a fool, been rich and poor (both of my own making), loved and lost, danced for joy and to numb pain, and survived long enough for the worst of my scars to masquerade as a kind of wisdom. And now, I've had the chance to reinvent myself yet again, this time as an author, with the opportunity to reach others with my contrivances while enjoying creative fulfillment, plying a craft which will never cease to pose a challenge - one which you never fully master and that demands constant application. That's a kind of gift from the universe. For me, the perfect gift.
VH: Thank you Russell, I've said it once and I'll say it again. I want to be like you one day.
Fatal Exchange chronicles the story of Tess Gideon, a female Manhattan bike messenger with an appetite for the wild side, who becomes embroiled in a rogue nation's Byzantine scheme to destabilize the U.S. financial system.
From the sweltering streets of Seoul to the sex-and-drug-driven underbelly of Greenwich Village, attempts at silencing a leak in an international counterfeiting operation leave a trail of butchery that leads inevitably to Wall Street, pitting a counter-culture heroine against a ruthless state-sponsored assassination team that will stop at nothing to achieve its lethal ends.
As the body count climbs, Tess is assisted by a homicide detective tracking a brutal serial killer whose ritualistic cycle of murder and mutilation targeting bike messengers is escalating to fever pitch.
Tess's battle to survive propels her into a deadly underworld where she must become judge & executioner, challenging her core beliefs about morality, justice & love.
Fatal Exchange is a genre-melding race that's sure to delight readers searching for an exciting new author in the action/intrigue realm.
The Geronimo Breach is a breakneck-paced thrill ride that pits the world's most unlikely protagonist against the deadliest adversaries on the planet. From the corridors of Langley to the sweltering jungles of Panama, from the hills of Pakistan to the cocaine trails of Colombia, a clandestine scheme to preserve a terrible secret goes horribly awry, plunging a reluctant hero down a deadly rabbit hole of deceit and betrayal, while raising disturbing questions about the media, the war on terror & its linkage with the war on drugs, & the nature of reality in an age of sound-bites and photo ops.
Albert Ross is a malingering misanthrope - a boozing, chain smoking philanderer; shifty, lazy, cowardly, going to fat, & more prone to doing the wrong thing than any man alive. His purgatorial existence working for the State Department in Panama gets shattered when a routine errand becomes a race against the clock, battling adversaries for whom no price is too high to protect a secret that could topple the world order. As the body count climbs in a struggle without rules, Al must face his own demons, as well as the myriad very real ones intent upon destroying him. The unexpectedly shattering conclusion of this richly drawn thriller is both topical & chillingly plausible, making for a roller-coaster action/adventure without parallel.
The Zero Sum trilogy of serial Wall Street thrillers grouped into a single volume.
Present Day Wall Street. Where intelligence agencies and the financial industry are strange bedfellows, and the two worlds are often intertwined in disturbing ways.
In this chillingly plausible scenario of a military/industrial/financial complex run amok, Zero Sum pits Dr. Steven Archer Cross against powerful financier Nicholas Griffen in a conflict that raises troubling questions about our markets and our government.
Racing against the clock in a chase that spans continents, one man's battle to expose the Machiavellian machinations of a ruthless Wall Street marauder forces him into a financial jungle populated by every variety of unscrupulous sociopath - rogue intelligence agencies, Russian mafia oligarchs, drug cartels, and terrorist networks.
As a white-collar game of chess transitions into a lethal real world cage-fight, Steven finds himself in a deadly showdown, where hunters can quickly become the hunted, and blood is the ultimate currency.
The Delphi Chronicle is a serial trilogy - a story that unfolds over three installments. This bundle of book 2 & 3 chronicles the saga of NY private eye Michael Derrigan, as he unwittingly comes into possession of a manuscript that will change the world order if its secrets are aired. Clandestine factions of the U.S. government will do anything to keep the story buried, & a trail of butchery follows Derrigan as he races for his life in a chase that takes him from New York, to Mexico, to Havana. An epic roller-coaster ride of a thriller, The Delphi Chronicle's unflinching & often disturbing twists and turns question the nature of reality & of the integrity of our governments in a post-modern world of lies, deceit & betrayal.
When a sacred relic is stolen from its subterranean guarded vault, Dr. Steven Cross, amateur cryptographer, becomes embroiled in a deadly quest to decipher one of history's most enigmatic documents - a 15th century parchment written entirely in unbreakable code; The Voynich Manuscript. Stalked by secret societies, and aided by the daughter of a murdered colleague, a trail of riddles catapults Cross from England to Italy to the Middle East, where a Byzantine web of ancient secrets leads him to a revelation so profound it will change the world order.
Night of the Assassin is the gritty, edge-of-your seat prequel to King of Swords. A no-holds-barred, breakneck-paced thriller, Night of the Assassin charts the early years of El Rey - the King of Swords - a super-assassin responsible for some of the world's most spectacular and daring executions.
Framed against the backdrop of present-day Mexico's brutal narco-trafficking violence, Night of the Assassin chronicles the making of a monster - a cold-blooded, ruthless killing machine. Raw, disturbing, edgy and unflinching, this epic saga defies convention to create a roller-coaster of intrigue, suspense and thrills that will leave even the most jaded thriller aficionados gasping for breath.
King of Swords is an epic assassination thriller framed against a gritty backdrop of brutal drug cartel violence in modern Mexico.
The G-20 Financial Summit is planned for San Jose Del Cabo. The world's pre-eminent finance ministers will attend, along with the presidents of the U.S. and Mexico.
Captain Romero Cruz of the Mexican Federal Police uncovers an assassination plot against the attendees. In a roller-coaster race against the clock, Cruz must track and stop El Rey, the "King of Swords" – a faceless super-assassin responsible for a string of the world's most spectacular killings, before he turns the G-20 into a slaughterhouse.
King of Swords is an intelligent, rule-breaking rush that shatters convention to create a richly-drawn story that's sure to shock and delight even the most jaded intrigue/adventure thriller fans.
Revenge of the Assassin is the breakneck-paced sequel to the bestselling international thriller King of Swords. When El Rey, the super assassin responsible for Latin America's most spectacular hits, returns to Mexico for one final sanction, the race is on for Captain Romero Cruz of the Federales to stop him before he can fulfill his contract to kill the president. Revenge will delight fans of King of Swords, and offers the same gritty, unpredictable ride of thrills, twists and surprises before arriving at a conclusion that is sure to leave readers gasping.
Return of the Assassin is the shocking continuation of the saga of El Rey, the notorious Mexican cartel super-assassin whose legacy of impossible kills has earned him the reputation as the most lethally effective hit man in the world. Faced with impossible choices as he races against time, El Rey must return to a cartel underworld where the smallest slip means instant death, on a suicide mission to save the life of a young woman whose escape and survival is inexorably linked to his own.
Russell Blake is the author of Fatal Exchange, The Geronimo Breach, Zero Sum, The Delphi Chronicle trilogy, The Voynich Cypher, Night of the Assassin, King of Swords, Revenge of the Assassin, Return of the Assassin, An Angel With Fur, and How To Sell A Gazillion eBooks In No Time (even if drunk, high or incarcerated). He lives on the Pacific coast of Mexico, where he enjoys drinking and collecting tequila, playing with his dogs, writing, boating, and battling world domination by clowns.