Stand Alone Books


The Red Star of Death

Red Star of Death

Shortly after Forgotten was released, several readers suggested that I should write a sequel. At first, I wasn't interested but as time wore on and the requests continued, I began to contemplate a sequel.

When readers ask me which is my favorite book, my standard answer is which is your favorite child? In all seriousness, the main character of Forgotten - Janet Pulaski - is probably the most interesting character I've ever created. 

When Forgotten begins, Janet is a member of the Students for a Democratic Society's (SDS) Action Wing, which today is an organization we would label as domestic terrorists. As part of their Vietnam War protests, SDS' Action Wing firebombed several U.S. military recruiting centers and attempted to attack fuel facilities at several military bases in the country. 

Tossed out of the house by her parents for her radical views, Janet is encouraged by SDS' leaders to move to Fresno, CA, and see if she can find a lover who will let her get on the large Naval Air Station in Lemoore, CA, to conduct an attack or attacks on its facilities. She falls in love with a young Naval Aviator, Randy Pulaski, and shortly after they marry, he is shot down over North Vietnam and declared MIA.

SDS arranges for Janet to go to Cuba to learn to become an assassin. Janet goes freelance and becomes one of the most accomplished and feared assassins in the world and earns the moniker The Red Star of Death. She believed that during her career, she had worked for most of the world's intelligence agencies, several wealthy businessmen who wanted to eliminate rivals, and the mafia. Forgotten ends when Janet, who has enough money to live comfortably for the rest of her life, retires and lives under a new identity as Janis Goodrich. 

In laying out the plot of The Red Star of Death, several questions needed to be answered, such as how does the story begin? Another question was what happens to Janis' lover, Karin Egger who insisted Janet retire before she agreed to live with Janet.

Ultimately, the events around 9/11 provided the context. Islamic terrorists suddenly became the focus of most Western intelligence agencies. To the Israelis, Islamic terrorists were nothing new. Dealing with them had become a way of life for Israel's Mossad.

Neither Cuba's Dirección de Inteligencia, who trained her, nor the CIA nor Mossad, know what name Janis is living under nor where. The FBI learns of the CIA's interest, and it wants to put her in jail for her past transgressions.

Mossad's ongoing counterterrorism operations lead them to conclude that Janis may be an asset and send Aliyah Skylar to recruit Goodrich "by any means." She gets lucky and finds Goodrich first. A deal is struck with both Mossad and the CIA in exchange for an immunity agreement for what she had done in the past.

The early chapters of The Red Star of Death to tell enough of Janis/Janet’s back story to provide insight into why three intelligence agencies are interested in finding her.

Back to more about writing the book. Post 9/11 set the timing for the beginning of the book. From there, it was merely a matter of creating the timeline around real-world events and developing the characters. Initially, the first working title was The Retired Assassin. After several versions, the title morphed into The Assassin. That was too mundane, so last year, I renamed the novel as The Red Star of Death. It fits.

Before you ask, "Will there be a sequel?" I’ll provide the answer which is, “a sequel is a definite maybe.”