RUSSIANS, THEY’RE THE BAD GUYS, RIGHT? “Not all of them,” says bestselling author, James Houston Turner, whose fact-to-fiction hero, Aleksandr Talanov, has attracted the interest of a major Hollywood finance and production company. “We are still in negotiations,” says Turner from his home in Austin, Texas, “but we’re getting close.”
The first novel being considered is Greco’s Game, which is set entirely in Los Angeles against the backdrops of human trafficking and a famous chess game used as an assassination plot to kill Talanov’s wife. His vendetta to then track down and kill the assassin becomes a journey of redemption with the help of two young women being held captive by human traffickers. Other books in the series include November Echo, Department Thirteen, and the soon-to-be-released Dragon Head, with several additional books currently in the pipeline.
“To me, a great thriller needs more than nonstop action,” Turner explains. “It’s the characters and their personal odysseys in the midst of the action that make us stand up and cheer, and that means some kind of love story, be it romantic or the bond between friends and family and how those relationships are put at risk. That is what gives a book or a film the emotional ‘grip’ it needs. In Greco’s Game, we see Talanov’s wife murdered in front of his eyes. We experience his agony and witness his downward spiral. We then see him discover the truth, that his wife was a sacrificial “pawn” in a deeper assassination plot. But why, and against whom, and by whom? We see him begin to unravel those mysteries, and just when the answer appears within reach, a shot rings out. We then see him faced with an impossible situation: does he go after the killer and avenge the dead, or does he stay and fight for the living, who lies dying in his arms? It’s redemption for Talanov, but redemption at a cost.”
As an author, Turner has an advantage in that he has experienced the world he creates in his books. In addition to having been a smuggler behind the old Iron Curtain, he was once a journalist in Los Angeles, where he interviewed victims of human trafficking. He is also a cancer survivor of more than twenty-five years when he was given but eighteen months to live. “When Talanov is pushed beyond human limits, I’ve been there,” he says. “When he bleeds, I’ve been there. When he’s ripped apart from friends and family, I’ve been there. When he looks death in the face, I’ve been there. That is why I think Talanov resonates with people. I put him through what I’ve been through. He feels what I have felt.”
Turner is currently scheduling his 2017-18 tours, which will include a virtual book tour, guest posts, book signings, and speeches in schools, writing conferences, and other venues. Dates will be announced here and on Turner’s Official Facebook page.