Thursday, July 12, 2012

Vincent Zandri's The Concrete Pearl A Personal Favorite!

"Trojan ultra-thin- bare skin...The empty wrapper
had been flung onto the ground...Tossed onto the bank
not far from that, a used condom. Just looking at it
made my stomach turn....
"Well, what do you know? Jimmy Farrel's
personal choice of lovemaking protection.
Not far away from that, a can of Skoal chewing
tobacco.  Wintergreen flavor. Coincidence of
coincidences, Jimmy chewed Skoal tobacco--
wintergreen Skoal, to be precise.
Farrell might have been one hell of
a gifted dumb jock back in high school. But I
knew from experience that he did  harbor
that one very bad habit that I found
particularly repulsive, especially when I
kissed him. He still chewed the stuff, even
when making the rare visit to the PS 20 jobsite.
"What a trail of pretty disgusting bread crumbs our
Jimmy had left behind..."

The Concrete Pearl

By Vincent Zandri

The activities in Zandri's novel were not new for me--more like going back quite a few years. I came into facilities management through the technical/administrative side of facilities use at a major university. Then, as most organizations do, reorganization after reorganization resulted to my exposure to all facets of construction. I must highlight that I admired the few females who had professionally studied in architectural, drafting and other skills required for many of our jobs...

So I was pleased and comfortable meeting Spike Harrison, owner of the construction company which she inherited from her father. As with most women who choose to work in nontraditional fields, she worked hard to be accepted and treated as an individual who could do the job. Business had decreased after her father had died and Ava (Spike) took on more and more, trying to handle it with less employee support. In the construction field, though, with so many specialized areas, Spike was forced to delegate and then depend upon those individuals to do their jobs...

But no matter how efficient and effective you are as the leader--you just can't win when you come face-to-face with power-hungry, greedy and corruption-hardened people...Believe me, I know...

Spike had found out when one of her former employees had left to take a job with OSHA. Diana had already cost Harrison Construction a lot of money by fining large amounts for small issues that had been found. Now she was right in the middle of the latest and enjoying it as she was able to put the pressure on...

The final blow to Spike's company came when the sub-contractor for asbestos removal from a school disappeared. Yes, Spike had been signing off on the reports; however, this activity which requires certification cannot be supervised. Still, she had to take the final responsibility!

She decided to try to find him, not only for the money from the contract, but also for the $10,000 she had taken from her own funds to help him. If we weren't heavy into construction, I'd immediately think this was a cozy mystery, LOL, because she surely did take on the investigation and handled it! A can of skoal was her first clue...

What she discovered was that the corruption was far beyond what was done by the asbestos contractor--

And she, and her company, was the real target that was to be destroyed!

Fortunately, she had several dedicated employees who worked with her and took on as much as they could while she investigated, but she also discovered that a major player was playing both sides of the game, and had chosen to support the assumed winner... And along the way, a PI named Spain was hounding her to team up with him so she could provide the technical knowledge of construction for him. But what was she going to gain from him?

There are many ways to hide corruption within construction projects. Zandri draws on excellent examples and provides in-depth detail as to how and where it can be easily done without getting caught. Sometimes it takes a major disaster and deaths before it is discovered. But sometimes it may never be found...

I had both good and bad feelings as I read this novel. Good because there were good people with whom I once worked and enjoyed my job...Bad because of those who were poor employees, if not, corrupt, who got away with it... I enjoyed Zandri creating a strong female character to head the construction company. The book "could" have been just as good with a male owner, but I wouldn't have enjoyed it as much as by meeting Spike Harrison--a woman after my own heart that didn't buckle down and give in under the tremendous pressure that she faced. A personal thanks to Vincent Zandri from a former facilities administrator...

Ok...I should add the kudos for excellent storyline, character development and all the good stuff that writers like Zandri puts into their work...I loved the book for personal reasons...but to suspense thriller readers, hey, I think you'll enjoy it too!


Vincent Zandri is the No. 1 International Bestselling Amazon author of THE INNOCENT, GODCHILD, THE REMAINS, MOONLIGHT FALLS, CONCRETE PEARL, MOONLIGHT RISES, SCREAM CATCHER, BLUE MOONLIGHT and MURDER BY MOONLIGHT. He is also the author of the Amazon bestselling digital shorts, PATHOLOGICAL, TRUE STORIES and MOONLIGHT MAFIA. Harlan Coben has described THE INNOCENT (formerly As Catch Can) as "...gritty, fast-paced, lyrical and haunting," while the New York Post called it "Sensational...Masterful...Brilliant!" Zandri's list of publishers include Delacorte, Dell, StoneHouse Ink, StoneGate Ink and Thomas & Mercer. An MFA in Writing graduate of Vermont College, Zandri's work is translated into many languages including the Dutch, Russian, and Japanese. An adventurer, foreign correspondent, and freelance photo-journalist for RT, Globalspec, IBTimes and more, he lives in Albany, New York. For more go to WWW.VINCENTZANDRI.COM