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Between a Smile and a Tear (A Crime Thriller)

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Jack Waters is a successful writer and an alcoholic struggling to stay on the wagon, desperately trying to keep his family together. He meets a fan, an attractive woman, in a coffee shop and she plies him with compliments and a Mickey. The next morning he wakes up at a seedy motel naked, reeking of alcohol, alone, and confused. A blackmail ensues and he becomes entangled i Jack Waters is a successful writer and an alcoholic struggling to stay on the wagon, desperately trying to keep his family together. He meets a fan, an attractive woman, in a coffee shop and she plies him with compliments and a Mickey. The next morning he wakes up at a seedy motel naked, reeking of alcohol, alone, and confused. A blackmail ensues and he becomes entangled in a shadowy underworld involving strippers, prostitutes, gangsters, corrupt politicians, and cops. His wife and son leave him and he plunges into the mean streets of San Francisco seeking answers to the riddles at the heart of those seeking to destroy him. My main character in Between a Smile and a Tear, Jack Waters, a successful novelist, is a recovering alcoholic coming to terms with the damage his drinking has caused to his family and friends. He's trying his best to make amends, but is it too late? Is it impossible to right some wrongs? I've read a number of James Hall's antic thrillers set in Florida (primarily the Thorn books) with their wild and crazy bad guys and they inspired me to create my villain here: Wallace Unger. I tried to make him both humorous and scary, a counterpoint to the serious and darker action and themes of the novel. Wallace is wild and crazy, funny and dumb, but also unpredictable and a dangerous antagonist made even more fearsome by his employer, the amoral gangster boss, NIck Ravelli. This is a "bigger" novel than others that I have written, featuring multiple point-of-view characters, more subplots, a wider range including political and social forces impacting the characters, as well as a deeper attention to location and geography. I've tried to make San Francisco a major character in its own right here. I grew up in the city and know it well, but supplemented that knowledge with research and maps and a couple of trips back to the Bay Area. I think San Francisco, in all of its beauty and mystery, comes alive in the novel and I hope you agree. I put my heart and soul into this book and hope you feel that while you read. Thanks for taking the time.


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Jack Waters is a successful writer and an alcoholic struggling to stay on the wagon, desperately trying to keep his family together. He meets a fan, an attractive woman, in a coffee shop and she plies him with compliments and a Mickey. The next morning he wakes up at a seedy motel naked, reeking of alcohol, alone, and confused. A blackmail ensues and he becomes entangled i Jack Waters is a successful writer and an alcoholic struggling to stay on the wagon, desperately trying to keep his family together. He meets a fan, an attractive woman, in a coffee shop and she plies him with compliments and a Mickey. The next morning he wakes up at a seedy motel naked, reeking of alcohol, alone, and confused. A blackmail ensues and he becomes entangled in a shadowy underworld involving strippers, prostitutes, gangsters, corrupt politicians, and cops. His wife and son leave him and he plunges into the mean streets of San Francisco seeking answers to the riddles at the heart of those seeking to destroy him. My main character in Between a Smile and a Tear, Jack Waters, a successful novelist, is a recovering alcoholic coming to terms with the damage his drinking has caused to his family and friends. He's trying his best to make amends, but is it too late? Is it impossible to right some wrongs? I've read a number of James Hall's antic thrillers set in Florida (primarily the Thorn books) with their wild and crazy bad guys and they inspired me to create my villain here: Wallace Unger. I tried to make him both humorous and scary, a counterpoint to the serious and darker action and themes of the novel. Wallace is wild and crazy, funny and dumb, but also unpredictable and a dangerous antagonist made even more fearsome by his employer, the amoral gangster boss, NIck Ravelli. This is a "bigger" novel than others that I have written, featuring multiple point-of-view characters, more subplots, a wider range including political and social forces impacting the characters, as well as a deeper attention to location and geography. I've tried to make San Francisco a major character in its own right here. I grew up in the city and know it well, but supplemented that knowledge with research and maps and a couple of trips back to the Bay Area. I think San Francisco, in all of its beauty and mystery, comes alive in the novel and I hope you agree. I put my heart and soul into this book and hope you feel that while you read. Thanks for taking the time.

30 review for Between a Smile and a Tear (A Crime Thriller)

  1. 4 out of 5

    Ann

    Ok. This is my first book by this author. It was an ok read although some of the scenes were implausible. A writer outwitting an entire police force on a man hunt for a murder suspect was just unbelievable.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth Mason

    Heartbreaking and hopeful I discovered this author on Kindle free reads. Alcohol and betrayal is central in the 3 books I've read. Killing and torture. Creative ways to hurt people with leeches. A good guy who, against all odds, is a hero in the end. I will read him again but need a break from the violence. Heartbreaking and hopeful I discovered this author on Kindle free reads. Alcohol and betrayal is central in the 3 books I've read. Killing and torture. Creative ways to hurt people with leeches. A good guy who, against all odds, is a hero in the end. I will read him again but need a break from the violence.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Shirley

    This is the first book by Bucchianeri that I've read. I like his writing and enjoyed the book very much, but I could have done without the vivid description of the leeches at work, especially since I do much of my reading at mealtime. :) This is the first book by Bucchianeri that I've read. I like his writing and enjoyed the book very much, but I could have done without the vivid description of the leeches at work, especially since I do much of my reading at mealtime. :)

  4. 5 out of 5

    Linda W. Wells Wells

    It was really good

  5. 4 out of 5

    Sheri

    Between a Smile and a Tear by Robert Bucchianeri Jack Waters is an alcoholic Author trying to stay sober. One day he wakes up in a motel and finds himself being blackmailed. His wife and son leave him and he is in despair. Determined to find out who is blackmailing him and why, he encounters many unsavory characters, but no matter what he faces he is determined to get to the truth. A mystery/suspense with interesting characters, twists, turns and secrets. Many times I thought I knew where (it) wa Between a Smile and a Tear by Robert Bucchianeri Jack Waters is an alcoholic Author trying to stay sober. One day he wakes up in a motel and finds himself being blackmailed. His wife and son leave him and he is in despair. Determined to find out who is blackmailing him and why, he encounters many unsavory characters, but no matter what he faces he is determined to get to the truth. A mystery/suspense with interesting characters, twists, turns and secrets. Many times I thought I knew where (it) was going, only to be shocked by a new turn or secret. A great read. Suspense/mystery lovers should enjoy Between a Smile and a Tear.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Kim

    took me a little while to get through this one and i don't know why -- it was my bedside reading while i finished another book, but once i went back to it it was a really good read. A page turner for certain. Short chapters. Never a dull moment and i didn't expect the twist at the end. oh and there was an epilogue to tie it all off. thank goodness. took me a little while to get through this one and i don't know why -- it was my bedside reading while i finished another book, but once i went back to it it was a really good read. A page turner for certain. Short chapters. Never a dull moment and i didn't expect the twist at the end. oh and there was an epilogue to tie it all off. thank goodness.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Peggy

    Jack Waters is a writer, a recovering alcoholic, father and husband. Life is going okay until the day he is sitting having coffee, meets a fan, wakes up in a motel room, does not remember anything, and his whole life is turned upside down. Although it had decent reviews and the ending did surprise me, I just couldn't sink my teeth into this book. Jack Waters is a writer, a recovering alcoholic, father and husband. Life is going okay until the day he is sitting having coffee, meets a fan, wakes up in a motel room, does not remember anything, and his whole life is turned upside down. Although it had decent reviews and the ending did surprise me, I just couldn't sink my teeth into this book.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Ed Scott

    A good book, but again one of those books that ask the question, how could a novice do all the the things that the main character did in this book. The blackmail scenario could happen, but the detective work with almost no help was a bit far fetched. Did hold my interest, but as I said, does ask the question how could..............

  9. 4 out of 5

    Kary

    book one of three free books by robert bucchianeri from Kindle, fast read, good character development

  10. 4 out of 5

    Carly Kirk

    Solid story Pretty good pace, well written characters - some you like, others you definitely don't. Solid story that keeps you entertained. Solid story Pretty good pace, well written characters - some you like, others you definitely don't. Solid story that keeps you entertained.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Dawn

    I enjoyed this book. Great story and easy to feel sorry for what main character was going through.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Pauline Badgley

  13. 4 out of 5

    Linda

    I liked this book and recommend to my fellow readers. As to writing mechanics, there were plenty of errors, but not one interrupted the reading flow of this book. The book is an action packed thriller, but I call it a 'how in the world do I get myself out of this fine mess' book. It involves an alcoholic writer, Jack, and one bad apple cop, T. C., who professes to be Jack's best friend. Jack is a wealthy writer, and T. C. needs money. He is in debt to some nasty mob men and there goes the plot. I liked this book and recommend to my fellow readers. As to writing mechanics, there were plenty of errors, but not one interrupted the reading flow of this book. The book is an action packed thriller, but I call it a 'how in the world do I get myself out of this fine mess' book. It involves an alcoholic writer, Jack, and one bad apple cop, T. C., who professes to be Jack's best friend. Jack is a wealthy writer, and T. C. needs money. He is in debt to some nasty mob men and there goes the plot. There was a verbal exchange between Jack and his wife at the opening of the book that piqued my interest throughout the book. Thank you, Mr. Bucchianeri, for a good read.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Cynthia

  15. 5 out of 5

    Dana N. Wilcox

  16. 5 out of 5

    David Desrochers

  17. 5 out of 5

    Stefanie Verret

  18. 5 out of 5

    Jessica Polk

  19. 4 out of 5

    Jeanne Campbell

  20. 5 out of 5

    Darlene

  21. 5 out of 5

    Carolyn

  22. 5 out of 5

    Delosa Young

  23. 4 out of 5

    Karen Guthrie

  24. 5 out of 5

    Barbara

  25. 5 out of 5

    Carole Crowe

  26. 5 out of 5

    Leigh

  27. 4 out of 5

    susan lambaria

  28. 4 out of 5

    FRANKLIN M MORGAN

  29. 4 out of 5

    John T.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Charlynemiller

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