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When a date's roommate is murdered, curiosity turns dangerous, and Zach has to keep one eye open IN THE COUNTRY OF THE BLIND.
217 backers pledged $18,140 to help bring this project to life.

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$18,140

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THE STORY

IN THE COUNTRY OF THE BLIND is the first novel of suspense featuring my character Zach Brandis. Here's the pitch:

Zach Brandis has too much time on his hands. Everyone, even Zach himself, wonders why he threw away his promising legal career and is now the super of a five-story brownstone. When his first date with Cynthia ends with her roommate’s dead body and the cops asking all the wrong questions, there’s no good reason that Zach should care, other than the fact that Cynthia is beautiful and in distress. Maybe Zach can be a knight in shining armor, maybe he just needs something to do, and maybe, just maybe, he’ll figure out what he's doing with his life. But what starts out as curiosity turns dangerous, and Zach learns that you have to keep one eye open IN THE COUNTRY OF THE BLIND.

Read a SHORT EXCERPT.

Read the FIRST FIVE CHAPTERS.

PRAISE

"Matthew Arkin's new novel . . . is a wonderful reinvention of the noir novel. Snappy dialogue. Sharp voice. A delight. It will make not just a great series of books, but a great series of movies. Or a great series (TV)!" David Black, author and screenwriter; winner of the Writers' Guild of America Award for The Confession; three time Edgar Allan Poe Award nominee; producer, Law and Order; executive producer, CSI: Miami, 100 Centre Street.

"Matthew Arkin has a great knack for imbuing humor into a tense situation but continuing along a serious line throughout the scene, rather than letting the story fall completely toward humor. His characters feel real as if I’m watching them in the restaurant or on the street. He has a great sense for mystery writing with reminiscences of Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammett in how the protagonist becomes the damsel’s hero, and a lovely classic style with a contemporary language and setting." Susan Wingate, award-winning author of the Bobby's Diner series.

"With this gripping page-turner of a mystery, Matthew Arkin introduces America's next great detective - and we can only hope that Zach Brandis will be solving crimes for decades to come . . ." Adam Belanoff, Executive Producer, TNT's "Major Crimes."

THE SERIES

I have already begun work on the second novel in the Zach Brandis series, tentatively titled Cherchez La Perp. Here's the pitch:

Zach Brandis was born and raised in New York City, studied and practiced law there, and now lives in quiet semi-retirement as a building super. He thought he knew the city inside and out, its rhythms, its bright open spaces, its out of the way places. But the brutal murder of his friend Roger Thewliss draws him into a world he never knew existed. Roger, a promising young attorney, is found brutally stabbed in a Chinatown back alley, his body sexually mutilated. At Roger’s funeral, Zach meets his old law school friend Bill Walsh, and is intrigued by the tale of Roger’s sudden downward spiral in the months prior to his death. The police think the murder is the result of a sex trade transaction gone wrong. The high profile, white-shoe law firm where Roger worked wants the embarrassing news off the front page. The lurid details humiliate Roger’s family, and they don’t care if the perp is ever found. Rogers’s ex-fiancée just seems to be glad he’s dead.

Retracing Roger’s steps into the world of pleasure for sale, Zach meets the alluring and silent Mingxia, who works 14 hour days at a Manhattan massage parlor. Captivated by her beauty, and disturbed by the life she leads, a life he’s only beginning to understand, Zach starts asking questions: Why is such a lovely and apparently intelligent girl doing this for a living? Where did she come from? What will her future be? What, and who, is keeping her there? When allegations surface of Roger’s involvement with drugs, Zach must turn to his former lover, undercover narcotics detective Sally Hermosa, for help. Next it appears that Roger was toying with client funds, and Zach must run up against the managing partner at Roger’s law firm. The deeper Zach digs, the more it looks as if Roger just got what he deserved. But how could a rising legal star fall so far, so fast? Or is that only how someone, someone powerful, would like it to appear? Spurred by his own demons, both past and present, Zach has to know.

Reconstructing Roger’s life leads Zach into the just-under-the-surface world of New York City’s sex trade, where semi-legitimate massage parlors bleed into brothels and peep shows, and the pornography industry supports strip clubs and high priced in-call prostitutes. All of this, in turn, is built on the hidden world of the modern day slave trade. This economic system feeds on the habits and addictions of vast numbers of men from all walks of life, and like any system where there are immense sums of money to be made, it is zealously guarded. As Zach enters this world to follow the trail to Roger’s death, will it lead ultimately to his own?

REWARDS

The rewards for backers are listed in detail to the right on this page, and are fairly self-explanatory. Here's a little more info on a couple of them:

The Book: Of course, for only $25.00, you get a signed and numbered first edition of the paperback, together with a laminated cover art bookmark. (Cover art pictures below is for promo purposes only. It hasn't yet been finalized.)

Brew Food: This is a terrific cookbook, written by my best college buddy Bruce Glassman. The main character in my novel is a craft beer fan, and a homebrewer himself, and at one point in the book cooks a dish from this cookbook. All of the recipes use beer as an ingredient. It's a must have for any craft beer lover, but you don't have to love beer to love the recipes in this book.

Click on the image for contents and a sneak peak!
Click on the image for contents and a sneak peak!

Coffee Mug: I don't know about you, but I'm a big fan of logo coffee mugs. Collected them all my life. And now you can have one with the cover art and slogan of the book. If you'd like, I'll sign it. (Cover art pictured on the mug below is for promo purposes only. It hasn't yet been finalized.)


T Shirt: I feel the same way about T shirts as I do about logo coffee mugs.  And now you can have one with the cover art and slogan of the book, and if you want, you can have it signed. (Cover art pictured on the T shirt below is for promo purposes only. It hasn't yet been finalized.)


THE PLAN

The manuscript has been completed. It has received extensive editorial input from several distinguished figures in the publishing industry, and has undergone extensive editing and revision. Final manuscript review and copy editing will be provided by Meghan Pinson of My Two Cents Editing.

While Meghan is doing her work, I will be gathering submissions from graphic designers for the cover art for the book. Once that is finalized, the book will be published in paperback and a limited edition hardcover through CreateSpace, and as an ebook through Kindle, with a possible second launch through Lightning Source, as well, in order to take advantage of the return policy offered by their parent company, Ingram. That return policy makes it possible to approach the larger chains for distribution, as well as making the book more attractive to smaller chains and boutique bookstores.

Copies of the book will be submitted for review to all available outlets, all of the major crime, suspense, and mystery websites and blogs, as well as to any other sources that will cover it, and interviews with several internet radio literary talk shows have already been secured. Promotional bookmarks, sell sheets,  and posters will be ordered through Createspace, and I will engage in a full court press marketing campaign, together with my author website and Facebook pages, which are already up and running. You can find them at matthewarkin.com. You can also sign up for the Matthew Arkin Author Newletter to receive updates on the progress of the Kickstarter Campaign, publication schedule, personal appearances and other information.

Video Credits: Production and Editing by Anthony Arkin. Dead Body Photo © Spaxia/Dreamstime.com. Hot Cop Photo © Robert Byron/Dreamstime.com

Risks and challenges

The risk associated with this project are extremely low. The manuscript is already completed, and I have carefully researched the budget for publication. The stated funding goal will meet all of the needs listed below to successfully complete publication of the novel through both Amazon's CreateSpace Print on Demand and Kindle platforms, and to provide all of the rewards.

1. Manuscript review and copy editing.

2. Layout and Custom Interior Design.

3. Custom cover design.

4. CreateSpace publicity services and materials, including sell sheets, posters and bookmarks, for use both as rewards and for publicity distribution.

5. 600 copies of the paperback edition, and 50 limited edition hardcovers, for use for use as rewards as well as distribution to bookstores, critics, and other marketing outlets.

The expected delivery date of the manuscript from my copy editor is early November of this year. While the manuscript is being edited, I will be working with cover designers as well as laying the groundwork for the publicity and marketing campaign. As soon as I recieve the manuscript back from my editor, the actual layout and publication process can begin, and I would expect to have copies of the book available for deliver by February of 2014.

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $1 or more About $1.00

    An eCard thank you, and a listing in the special acknowledgements webpage for the novel on my author website.

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    All of the above, together with an autographed and laminated cover art bookmark.

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    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    All of the above, together with a signed first edition paperback. (You may substitute the Kindle edition together with a signed promotional print for the first edition paperback.)

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    All of the above, together with a signed promotional print.

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    Pledge $75 or more About $75

    All of the above, together with a one-hour visit by me to your book club in the greater Los Angeles area, or by Skype/Facetime/Google Hangout or similar technology.

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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    All of the above, together with an invitation to the exclusive book launch party to be held in Los Angeles, California (Transportation not included).

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    Pledge $125 or more About $125

    All of the above, together with a coffee mug imprinted with the cover art for the book, and the promotional slogan: "Keep One Eye Open." (Cover art in promo photo on Kickstarter page is not finalized.)

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    Pledge $150 or more About $150

    All of the above, together with a signed and numbered limited edition hardcover, in lieu of the paperback edition.

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    Pledge $175 or more About $175

    All of the above, together with a T shirt imprinted with the cover art for the book on the front, and the promotional slogan: "Keep One Eye Open" on the back. (Cover art in promo photo on Kickstarter page is not finalized.)

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    Pledge $200 or more About $200

    All of the above, together with a copy of Brew Food, a cookbook of recipes using beer. It is one of Zach's favorite cookbooks, and is featured in the novel.

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    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    All of the above, together with your name in the acknowledgments section of the print edition.

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    Pledge $300 or more About $300

    All of the above, together with a copy of the 1st Draft of the manuscript for CHERCHEZ LA PERP (working title), the second novel in the Zach Brandis series. This will be an unedited draft, prior to editorial input, complete with good ideas, bad ideas, and typos. This will only be available to backers pledging at this level or above on or after July 9th, 2013.

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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    All of the above, together with a two hour visit to your bookclub, library or bookstore event, in person, if the location is within a 6 hour drive of Studio City, Los Angeles (and still within the United States).

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    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    All of the above, and I will use your name, or another name that you and I both agree on, for a minor character in the next book in the series.

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    Pledge $1,500 or more About $1,500

    All of the above, together with a copy of the 1st Draft of the manuscript for CHERCHEZ LA PERP (working title), the second novel in the Zach Brandis series, with my original handwritten notes for edits and rewrites. This will be the unedited draft, prior to editorial input, complete with good ideas, bad ideas, and typos.

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Funding period

- (30 days)