12/10 through 12/12
(Normally $4.99 - Now $.99)
(Normally $4.99 - Now $.99)
by Forrest Carr
Three friends embark on journalism careers at the height of the Golden Age of TV News. In their quest for Truth, Justice, and Ratings, they'll risk it all, battling profit-minded owners, idiotic managers, dishonest businessmen, out-of-control public officials, and dangerous criminals. Before it's all over, one will be in a fight for his job, another will be fighting for his sanity, and the third will be in a fight for his very life. Written by Forrest Carr, an award-winning 33-year veteran of local TV news, Messages gives a never-before-seen glimpse into the inner workings of local television newsrooms and of the journalists who work and struggle within them.
Forrest Carr commentary on Messages:
Messages is a mystery/crime drama with lots of humor, and is based on the broadcast industry as it was in the Golden Age of Local TV News -- basically, the early to mid 80's. One of my reviewers called it "Better than Anchorman" -- the book is serious in overall tone but has funny moments, and those moments are plausible, unlike most of the silliness in the movie. Another reviewer said it was "like reading M*A*S*H only set in a newsroom" - and I think that's about right. Much of the book was inspired by actual events that I lived through in my 33 years in TV news. Readers will come away not only with an entertaining murder mystery (the ending for which no one has seen coming yet), but will also learn something about how the news industry grew to be what it is today (for better or worse.) Even readers who think they know all about what goes on in TV newsrooms will find some surprises -- TV news is crazier than people think!
Brief excerpt :
"And what did the boss say?" Regina demanded.
Austin locked eyes with her. "He said our stories need more vagina."
Regina recoiled as if Austin had poked her with a sharp stick. "He said WHAT?"
Austin held his hand up. "As God is my judge. That was the word he used."
"A masterful expose of TV news. Carr’s novel is engrossing, fun to read and a joy to see play out to its inevitable, tragic, hilarious and scandalous conclusion. Take this book home. You won’t be disappointed."
-- Tim Schwartz, MoCoVox.com
– "Forrest Carr has absolutely nailed it. The author is a television newsroom veteran and it shows. The insane characters and off the wall quirky personalities make you feel like you are reading M*A*S*H, only set in a newsroom." (Kindle reader post on Amazon.com)
– "Better than Anchorman. I suppose this is the serious, fluff-free version of it. The characters in the news room were so very funny and shocking as well. I enjoyed this book a great deal and often found myself laughing while reading it. " (Reader post on Goodreads)
-- "The characters of Arrow, Felix and Austin are absolutely believable and the supporting characters are just superb.... I think this is a great first novel and I hope Arrow, Felix and Austin come back in a sequel." (Reader post on Goodreads)
-- "The book is entertaining, wickedly funny, and an all around great read. Everyone will enjoy this book. Forrest’s description of conduct and conflict in the newsroom will seem too outrageous to be true, but believe me, it’s dead on accurate. The character development is amazing. The story is not predictable. The surprise ending is one you’ll never figure out. Among the thousand of choices available, I would encourage anyone to buy and read Messages." (Reader post on Goodreads)
(Normally $4.99 - Now $.99)
John Cruz awakens to find himself in unfamiliar surroundings. He learns that he's been in a mental hospital for nearly three years – confined there for a crime he does not remember, a crime the hospital staff refuses to discuss with him. But then he discovers something even more bizarre. While he and other mental patients like him have been mysteriously recovering in recent months, the rest of the world has begun a slow descent into madness, thanks to a mysterious disease that causes many of its victims to go violently insane. Meanwhile, overhead a spectacular apparition splits the skies. The largest comet in recorded history is making a close approach to the Earth, and some believe there's a connection. As the world goes to hell, with planes falling out of the sky, people committing bizarre acts of violence, and more and more crazies roaming the streets, John finds himself in a struggle not only to protect himself, but also to save the love of his life.
"It's not the Zombie Apocalypse. It's worse. And it could really happen."
Forrest Carr commentary on A Journal of the Crazy Year:
A Journal of the Crazy Year is a zombie-type novel, but I deliberately tried not to emulate what's already out there. This novel has many unique twists and some (hopefully) original angles. Here are some of them:
-- The zombies aren't zombies -- they're alive, but diseased (and some of them are very violent). So among other things, this means that you aren't supposed to just shoot them in the head on sight! (But of course people do that anyway).
-- These zombies are not individually contagious. Think you can stay healthy by avoiding zombie bites? Guess again! So how does one keep from getting sick?
-- All zombie-genre novels that I know of have the victims being "infected," but of course there is no real-world disease that can cause dead people to walk around. So authors have to make something up that has little to no basis in science or the laws of nature. Not this novel. The disease referenced in my book is very real, and what I say about it is historically accurate. It's inspired by a real-life pandemic that appeared 100 years ago during World War One, and then disappeared as mysteriously as it had arrived, without any human intervention. (The historical basis for the disease is set forth in the Prologue, which readers can sample for free using the "Look Inside" feature on Amazon.com.) In other words -- the pandemic described in the book could really happen, and that makes it science fiction, not supernatural horror or horror/fantasy. Not that there is anything wrong with those genres. But I'm hoping people will see A Journal of the Crazy Year as a thinking-person's zombie novel.
-- The ultimate goal in the heroes of all zombie stories is to kill all the zombies, right? Not this one. The fate of the human race may depend on saving at least some of them.
The disease isn't the only historically accurate reference in the book. There's a "lost civilization" theme containing accurate facts and current theories. And there's also a contemporary reference to the comet ISON, which is on its way here right now. That, plus a fictional comet that comes along after, is suspected by some of the scientists in the book of having something to do with the pandemic. Fear of comets is a very old part of human culture, going back to the dawn of recorded history. Did our ancestors know something we don't?
It's also worth noting that the novel delves deeply into mental health issues. One of the major characters is a former schizophrenic, who describes her experiences in detail. I did a lot of research to get those details right. This character plays an important role in the fate of the human race. When was the last time you heard of a mentally ill person being portrayed as a positive role model?
As noted, A Journal of the Crazy Year is not a "traditional" zombie novel. The main literary device at the heart of the book is a classic role-reversal. In this case, chronically ill mental patients begin to recover. But those who were formerly sane begin a slow descent into madness, and the world starts coming apart. Our hero, John Cruz, is one of the former -- a severely mentally ill patient who suddenly and mysteriously recovers. His mission then becomes to save the life of the woman he loves -- yes, the narrative at the heart of the book is a love story.
A ton of research went into this -- using my (alleged) skills as a journalist, I spent a lot of time researching comets, lost civilizations, disease, and mental illness. Everything in the book on those subjects is reasonably accurate. Getting the science right (or at least within the ballpark) is important to an old-school science fiction fan like me.
"The twists and turns make it hard to put down (thanks for no sleep that night when I found myself finishing it up at 4 am on a work night!) and the ending was just so unexpectedly PERFECT."
(Kindle reader post on Amazon)
" 'This is crazy, John. Crazy!' Maria vents to John Cruz, the liberal protagonist of A Journal of the Crazy Year by Forrest Carr. Her sentiment sums up the chaotic tone of this apocalyptic horror novel about a doomsday that involves a mysterious zombie-like plague and a comet."
"Carr's impressive scientific and historical details elaborately frame the danger of the unknown. The origins of the comets and some cool references to Atlantis and the Genesis flood, interestingly make a point that history is about to repeat itself. There's education and mystification in the midst of the thrilling narrative, and they fit well."
-- F. J. Bayog of Fantascize
About Forrest Carr:
Author of Messages and A Journal of the Crazy Year, Forest Carr is a long-time fan of old-school science fiction who spent 33 years in the trenches of local TV news warfare. He has received or shared credit in more than 90 journalism awards, including a Suncoast Regional Emmy for investigative reporting, two regional Edward R. Murrow awards for investigative reporting, a Walter Cronkite large-market station award for excellence in television political journalism, and most recently, a national Edward R. Murrow station award for best website. Carr is a co-author of Broadcast News Handbook, a college textbook published by McGraw-Hill, now in its fifth edition. He is a long-time fan of old school science fiction, particularly the works of Robert Heinlein, and is author of the science fiction novel, A Journal of the Crazy Year. Carr resides with his wife Deborah and their two cats Ellis and Mina, a.k.a. Butthead 1 and Butthead Also, in Tucson, Arizona.