A decade-old vengeance coursed through John Studebaker’s veins.
Everyone and everything counseled against it.
But in the end, did he really have a choice? He was who he was. And that man killed those who needed killing.
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About the Author
Author Bio: John Brinling
I was born in Pittsburgh, Pa. on June 8, 1936. I grew up in Pittsburgh and didn’t leave home until I was 21 and heading off to graduate school at the University of Illinois in Chicago. I’ve attended multiple universities: Duquesne, U. of Illinois, U. of Pittsburgh, Columbia. And I have a B.S. in Pharmacy and an M.S. in Pharmacology. I was married in 1975 and have one daughter.
I have been writing all of my life. I wrote my first novel when I was sixteen. “Black Dawn.” It dealt with segregation and the KKK. Whatever happened to it I don’t know.
Since then, earning a living has preempted long periods of my life when I wrote very little. My wife and I are both in data processing (IT nowadays) and we usually work long hours when we are on a contract, which meant I spent little time writing fiction when gainfully employed. The birth of my daughter offered me another excuse for not writing, but that’s what it was: an excuse. Writing is hard. But it’s in my DNA and I keep returning to it, despite some part of me that prefers the lazy life. However, not writing is unthinkable, and I am constantly exploring ideas even when I’m not committing them to paper.
I lived and worked in Europe for seven years. I met my wife In Italy where we both worked for the same company, and were married in 1975. The contract we were working on ended that year and we took two years off to live in England, in a 300 year old farmhouse in Wiltshire. It was in that farmhouse that I wrote “The Ghost Of A Flea,” as well as another book titled “Quarantine,” which is a science fiction thriller.
“The Ghost” has a strong autobiographical component. I was a programmer/analyst. The office ambience in the novel is similar to life in my New York office, although the intrigues were of an entirely different nature. I had a good friend who lived in Sparta. I lived for a time near the George Washington Bridge. The building manager was an Irishman, who became a good friend, and an integral character in the book.
“Quarantine” is set in East Africa, where my wife and I vacationed, and I drew liberally on what we read, saw, and experienced.
I had an agent back then who marketed both books, and came very close to selling them to both Doubleday and St. Martins. Unfortunately he died before completing the sale and I put the books on a shelf and forgot about them for 35 years. Only this year did I resurrect them and publish them on Amazon’s Kindle and Smashwords.
In 1977, my wife and I returned to the states and founded our IT consulting firm, Brinling Associates. For the next fifteen years we worked hard building our business. I wrote one novel during that time, a book titled “Alone,” which dealt with a man in an irreversible coma who is aware of what is happening around him, but is unable to communicate with the real world. I thought the book was lost, but have just recently found a hardcopy of the book and have begun reworking it..
In 1990, during a down period in our business activities, I wrote several other novels which I am attempting to bring out of retirement. These novels were also put on the shelf when circumstances re-ignited our business opportunities. One book – “The Watcher,” an occult horror thriller – is already self-published. The other is a much larger work, a rural mystery series tentatively titled “The Valley Mysteries” set in Vermont, that I’m still working on.
As you can see, writing books is one thing, marketing quite another. I am perhaps the world’s worst marketer, which helps explain why my writings have spent most of their lives on a shelf in my home in Vermont staring out at me asking “Why am I here?”
For the past few years I have been writing screenplays, which are more bite-sized writing efforts. I have done fairly well in some contests, but am still waiting to be discovered. The small royalty checks I earned from Amazon this year are the only money I’ve ever earned from my fiction writing.
My writing is pure escapism. When I sit down to write, I embark on an adventure. I let things happen and I let the characters be who they are. Since I strongly avoid outlines, I am as surprised by events as I hope the reader is. Pulling together loose ends is a subject for revision, which I do endlessly. This undoubtedly makes for more work and takes me longer to “finish” something, but it seems to be the best, the only, way for me. It is the candy bar just out of reach that keeps me at the keyboard.
My background illustrates my chaotic approach to life. I have been at different stages a pharmacist, a pharmacologist, a tech writer, a programmer/analyst, a business consultant, a business owner, a teacher, a novelist and a screenwriter. At one time I thought it perfectly acceptable, if not desirable, to change jobs/professions every year or so. I didn’t worry about the future, assuming I would always find a way to muddle through.
I’m still muddling through.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I really, really enjoyed "Death In The Arena". When we first meet the main character Big John Studebaker, he is holding a partially burnt Raggedy-Ann doll that is missing it's head and arm, and he is standing in front of the graves of his wife and infant daughter who had been killed 3 years prior. Big John has been after a drug lord known as the Silver Fox for a number of years, even prior to the death of his family, however after the death of his family his hunt for the Silver Fox, became a full blown obsession, but with good reason. He had lost a lot in his life due to the Silver Fox, not just personally but also professionally. The Silver Fox always wore a hood and seemed to always be able to stay a step ahead of Big John. I really enjoyed trying to figure out the true identity of the Fox, when it was finally revealed who he was, it totally caught me by surprise! I really enjoyed all the neat twists and turns. Big John's name really fits him, he is a big grizzly bear of a man but for all of his rough, tough exterior he also had a soft side to him, he also at times acted like a jerk but his good qualities quickly redeemed him, yes he had some faults but his good qualities tended to outweigh his bad qualities, he also has a sense of humor that tends to come out in some pretty good one-liners that had me chuckling out loud at times and also in his use of his middle finger. lol "Death In The Arena" is a real page turner that just seemed to get better with each turn of the page, it was full of action, twist and turns and had some good fight scenes, my favorite fight scene takes place in a warehouse towards the end of the book, it would be great in a movie! There is a lot packed into this book and at first I was a little overwhelmed as I was trying to keep the various characters straight but I was able to get them sorted out fairly quickly by just re-reading a few pages. My problem was that I was staying up way to late reading because I couldn't put this book down, then I'd fall asleep in the middle of reading and not remember what I'd read! lol