Good Reviews: A Writer's Lifeline

Writer’s write. Authors publish. Successful authors sell. But in those strange, awkward, uncomfortable, and unpredictable moments – which may days, weeks, or years – between publishing and selling, we find that reviews keep us motivated, moving on, and willing to take a chance and write again.

Somebody liked what we wrote. Or at least they said they liked what we wrote, and in the midst of self-doubt, wavering self-esteem, and attacks of paranoia, we believe anything good that the reviewers have to say about us and our work. It is suicidal to believe otherwise. We would never, I hope, end our own lives, but perhaps even worse, we might take drastic measures and end the life of our next book.

Place of Skulls is back on the market as a free book today and tomorrow, May ninth and tenth. I’m giving KDP one more chance to make a difference. There may be a better way, and I hope there is, but no one has tapped into the mother lode yet.

Place of Skulls is, quite simply, a thriller. A man with no known past and no name as been dispatched to the deserts, ghost towns, and underbelly of drug-infested Arizona to uncover a secret that could forever change the scope and teachings of Christianity.

A DEA agent has written that he possesses the unmistakable and undeniable proof that Christ did indeed return to earth again and walk the land of the Aztecs almost fifteen hundred years after his crucifixion on the cross. But has the agent found a relic? An artifact? A long lost manuscript of the written Word? No one knows, and the agent dies before he can smuggle the secret out of an empty grave.

Andrews St. Aubin can’t dig past the charred fragments of his memory, but he must unravel the legend of Quetzalcoatl, the white-skinned, blue-eyed, god figure whose sixteenth century ministry, death, resurrection, and mystical promise to return someday to gather up his people closely parallels the Biblical story of the man called Christ. Is Quetzalcoatl merely a myth, or was he Christ himself?

In St. Aubin’s quest to find the answers, he becomes involved in a rogue CIA plot to invade Mexico and wage an unholy war on drugs. He finds himself pursued by the same mysterious assassin who struck down the DEA agent.

Does the artifact actually exist? Who possesses it now? St. Aubin battles an unseen and unknown enemy in an effort to survive long enough to discover the truth. If he doesn’t, he knows that death awaits him on the desert sands of a land held sacred for centuries by the mysterious and holy ones.

These are the kind words that kind reviewers have had to say about Place of Skulls.

Bert Carson: I don’t know what governs your reading choices but I do know my number one criterion and it isn’t genre. I read dragon books and mainstream fiction. I read of werewolves, soothsayers, and humans. I read John Grisham, Nevil Shute, M.R. Mathias, James Lee Burke, Robert Parker, J.H. Sked, and I read Caleb Pirtle. You see, I read writers, not books.
Writers who have something to say and say it well, no matter what vehicle they say it through, have my attention, and I count myself fortunate to have found Caleb Pirtle, one of the very best of the new breed of writers that we call “indie.”

Caleb is a master storyteller who hooked me with this line from Place of Skulls – “His left arm had been broken in three places. He possessed no wallet, no papers, no passport, no name, no memory, no past.”

A delightful read, written by a master.

Jo Vonbargen: I’ve been reading Caleb Pirtle short stories for some time now, enjoying them immensely, and was curious to see if his talent could survive the rigors of a long novel. Indeed, it has, and gloriously so!

I love a sharp dose of authenticity – when a story is told arrow-straight and fiction feels like reality, when you may have never been to a certain place or met someone like the character you’re reading, and yet you feel the narrative’s truth. Caleb Pirtle definitely has a gift for this…in spades. In PLACE OF SKULLS the writing is tensile-taut, the story lines are interwoven seamlessly, and all the gory details are nicely intact.

An intricate plot and fleshy, memorable characters, the expressive narrative and relentless pacing will no doubt cause PLACE OF SKULLS to be remembered as indeed one of the best mysteries of the year.

Jack Durish: A man, a mystery unto himself, is sent to solve mysteries. He is accompanied by a ghost he doesn’t recognize any more that the face that he finds in the mirror. From this shaky foundation, he is sent without a clue to find a murderer and a missing artifact. Somehow, the author finds a way for this unlikely hero to solve the mysteries, all of them except one. Who is he? This story is believable. It’s eloquently written. It’s narrative sings. If this isn’t enough for you to decide, there is little else I can say to convince you to read Place of Skulls, for that is my intent.

Christina Carson: A unique novel, PLACE OF SKULLS, interweaves a heart-rending yet colossally ruinous situation of drug traffic into the US from Mexico with an ancient legend of Jesus’ return to earth in Mexico, to create a story that will rivet you. The writing is polished and often breathtaking:

The past held its secrets in a tightly closed fist, and only on rare occasions did the fingers of another time, another place, loosen their grasp long enough to provide faint glimpses of what was, what might have been, and what did or did not happen on the landscape of a man’s faith or his memory. On those rare occasions, his beliefs could be shaken, even shattered and his hopes dimmed or perhaps darkened forever.

The plots offer not only action and modern day terror but also deep substance for thought, as they jostle the reader between the hope of faith and the hopelessness of the immense problems created by greed and fear. Don’t make the mistake of passing this book by.

Book Editor: Caleb Pirtle keeps the reader riveted to the page while he spins his tale of political intrigue with St. Aubin trapped between a rogue CIA agent and an Arizona drug lord.






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