Find Virgil: A Novel of Revenge
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Highly recommended. I have copies of this book available to keen readers and sincere book reviewers, email me at: booklovercatlady gmail. I received a copy of this book thanks to the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review View all 30 comments. Synopsis: Get inside the mind of a serial killer as you never have before. Second-hand smoke gave Martin Muntor lung cancer, and he's mad. Muntor devises an ingenious strategy to put cigarette companies out of business, and he doesn't care how many people he has to take with him in order to do it. But that's not going to be so easy. Muntor's smart and has nothing to lose, and the FBI doesn't want Rhoads's help.
Rhoads has a lot at stake -- personally and professionally -- and is desperate to stop the killer. You'll never forget it. Mark Muntor, a good human being, who has always been a good man his entire lifetime, is now paying for his sins with his dear life. First his wife divorced him, then his company, then a second-hand smoke took a toll on his life by giving him lung cancer.
Mark decides to take down all the cigarette manufacturing big shot companies with him along with some chain smokers by sending them a parcel covered in sodium cyanide, thus taking the lives of innocent human lives. Will he stop at nothing to stop the mass murder? Tommy Rhoads is the PI whose used to work for his friend from a cigarette making company, now due to his own demons, he has stopped working as a detective and now the FBI wants him on his side to find this deathly serial killer. The book opens with a bang and ends with a rather huge bang. From the very first chapter, the story held my breath toll the very last page.
Although at times, the deadly protagonist clouded up my mind like a smoke yet still I could clearly put a perspective of my own on the story despite the haze. I loved the style of writing which is flawless and not even for a moment, it felt like reading a debut book, since occasionally then happen to be bit unpolished and all. The prose is evocative with a rather fast pace that kept me on my edges till the very end. The narrative is extremely challenging as well as articulate with smoothness. The author describes each scenes with intricate detailing and vivid graphics thus letting me see the story happening right in front of my eyes.
The characters are well developed by etching our their weaker points as well as strong points. Both Muntor and Rhoads are psychologically flawed and their determination to get what they want simply blew me and I was biting my nails for the moment when these two characters come face to face. The author has portrayed the protagonists with enough depth that let me contemplate with their situations, especially with the reasons which compelled them to behave in a different way.
The theme is extremely delicate and a sensitive matter not only with respect to 90's time period but also in today's world, and the author has strikingly depicted the hidden agenda of these top shot cigarette manufacturing companies who lie to make their product sell, who know that there is a life-threatening risk, yet they market them so openly and shamelessly provoking human minds to grab a pack either way.
The nail biting moments and those adrenaline rushing actions made me feel like riding a roller coaster, and with unexpected twists and turns made it one hell of a wild ride. Overall, the book is layered with some raw deep emotions as well as puzzling mystery that only kept me glued to the core of the story. View all 3 comments. Mark Muntor was undoubtedly an unwilling Christ. He refused to pay for the sins the world has heaped up on themselves. Starting at home, he had to endure his enormously fat wife, who smoked two packets of unfiltered Camels a day, taught their two daughters to do the same, and left him after the divorce to live without real human contact for ten whole years.
There was his chain-smoking drunkard dad, who called him a loser for not saving his mother's life after she overdosed and committed suicide. His dad blamed him for not being more than the sum total of the person he became. Muntor was also a laid-off journalist, who wasn't appreciated by his industry either.
He was convinced of that. His friends did not fare better either. They were like the rest of America: "dump, useless people who perhaps read an average of five books a year, mostly bullshit recycled pop-spych disguised as self-help, and romance stories. Muntor read more than books per year and could have qualified for several PhDs by now. The fat, lazy and ignorant lived on, like cows chewing the cud of the Madison Avenue and government propaganda that had replaced intellect in American life.
People were too stupid and weak to understand the lesson he presented to them. They polluted their bodies and minds with physiological and intellectual poisons—drink, drugs, cigarettes, ludicrous TV shows, books aimed at the masses. He had hardened himself, become even more of a model of human potential. His body was a temple, and he was the high priest. The more people failed to respond to the lesson he delivered merely by walking out the house each day, the more he became devoted to his mission. In the end, he knew that the cows would never learn. He was the perfect example of what a gift it was to be born in a healthy body with a powerful mind.
He was simply not meant to die, at the age of fifty six. He treated his human armor against the elements with respect all his life. He would show them all what he was made of. He would take a few sinners with him. Deservedly or undeservedly, they would make him the hero of his own American Masada. Building his Masada required more than the victims going down with him. He needed the tobacco companies, the FBI, the media hype and every other which way to storm the walls of his fortress of righteous control and fail miserably in doing so.
He needed them all to fuel his legend, his hero status, his place in history. Incognito was simply not his middle name. His time on earth was short, his dreams big, his body unwilling, his spirit indestructible. Suicide, being nature's own severest form of self-criticism , would not be the ironic outcome of his own Masada. Written seven hundred years ago, and divided into three parts, the Inferno, Purgatrio and Paradiso, it would become the ultimate building blocks of his own revenge. He would start off by mailing letters to the carefully chosen unsuspecting inhabitants of his American Masada COMMENTS: I was initially livid at the protagonist's arrogance as well as the 'what if' element behind the story and the devastating consequences this book could have if it landed in the wrong hands, because, we all know it is possible, how many times have this kind of lunacy served to cause immeasurable sorrow in America.
Who can ever forget the Uni-bomber, the school shootings, and so many more? I still do not subscribe to the message in the book and it undoubtedly has an influence on the subjective appraisal of its content. I strongly reject the idea of forcing people to die if they do not want to accept mores and values being forced upon them. So yes, does it make me a groupie to the average American psyche?
For sure. Now get over yourself and get lost, with my compliments, Muntor! Or a simple 'Now bite me' will do nicely. Everyone in the world has problems, and my opposition to this kind of mind-mmmm-fornication, is your problem, Muntro. You've so chosen the wrong opponent, Muntro! If I was one of those people, hot on your trail, even your mama's pictures of you on her bedroom wall would have burst out in tears, and that's guaranteed, Muntro! And so said the body language of all the American characters in the story as well. And this is why the book should be read!
The further I steamed through my chagrin and distaste of the whole set-up, the more I realized what a brilliant book this was and I simply hated myself for admiring the master at work behind it all. Every single element in the book played a pivotal role in the construction of the strong outcome. Yes, melodramatic and grotesque in form and structure, as all good, American, psychological thriller movies require, since it has movie potential, it worked splendidly! The sub themes in the book, well developed, reminded me so much of John Lennon's words "Life is happening to us while we're busy making other plans.
There isn't much surprises in the character choices nor in the theme. Was the message, new, or successful? The information used in the book to attack the tobacco industry was as stale as the smoke in a closed-up restroom. More people smoke than ever before in the history of the world. A fact that has been, perhaps conveniently, left unsaid. More young people have made it their drug of choice. Ironic, right? However, the thrilling suspense kept me in deep trouble and hopelessly determined to finish the book in one sitting, come Hell or high water.
The development of the story line, the characters, the mind games, compassion, as well as the pragmatism made this an excellent read. Nobody in the book is perfect, which is endearing and acceptable. It makes the story so much more possible. They are all people we can relate to.
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Was the book worth the angst? Yes, even the reader is controlled! It felt like being held captive in a serial killer's mind with no way out. The only escape was to storm ahead to the ending. The last period finally set me free. I fell asleep exhausted but immensely relieved. You have simply no idea! So, without further ado, five stars it is!
An Inside Job Media publication through Netgalley. Thank you for the opportunity. View all 14 comments. This book was recommended to me by Maxine, a Goodreads friend. It was also available free on Kindle — my favourite type of transaction. Frank Muntor has had a bad week: not only was he made redundant, causing the loss of his health insurance, he also found out he has emphysema and terminal lung cancer… ouch! As a man who has never smoked and has therefore been dealt his fate through passive smoking he decides to extract his revenge on the tobacco industry.
What follows is an unusual suspense nove This book was recommended to me by Maxine, a Goodreads friend. What follows is an unusual suspense novel, in that my view of who the bad guy was kept changing. Muntor is clearly unbalanced and as his plan starts to bear fruit the body count rises. The head of one particular tobacco company, targeted by Muntor, is even less likeable.
There are multiple strands involving quite a cast of participants. As the chase for Muntor comes to its conclusion the story races to a nerve tingling climax, truly one of the best I can recall reading. My lack of sympathy with any of the players meant that in the end I was rooting for nobody and at times it was a bit too manic, causing me to lose the thread a couple of times. In style it felt like an early Jeffery Deaver novel — one of the books he wrote before he worked out how to fully polish the apple.
This is not a review of my own book, but rather a blog-in-progress about the unusual history of the manuscript which evolved into Find Virgil. He bought it, renamed it Gasp, and published it that fall. The novel received more than thirty reviews, wire service and newspaper stories, and television and radio interviews. Many reviewers praised the book - and just as many fervently hated it. The book spawned significant controversy and tons of hate mail. Oh, and there was an FBI investigation, possibly triggered by an unappreciative tobacco industry. The Associated Press said, "Hollywood's leading actors should be asking their agents about this one.
Freudberg wastes our time. Save your money. The laudatory reviews were there, but buried. Lots of Press. Not So Much. Just as Barricade Books released Gasp, casino mogul Steve Wynn sued Barricade over the catalog copy for another book - the unauthorized biography Running Scared. The bio tied the Las Vegas tycoon to a Genovese crime family.
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As a result, Stuart was unable to invest in marketing for Gasp. Promotional activities came to a screeching halt and distribution ceased. The book failed commercially. It sold about 2, copies, mostly via word-of-mouth. Gasp, in one sense, was never really published. You there? Sixty seconds later, my doorbell rang. They flashed badges and asked to come in. The agent answered: "We want the cyanide. The detective apologized for bothering me. We were told the book encourages people to poison cigarettes. After leaving some colorful FBI-logo stickers for my toddler - and taking two hardback copies of Gasp they requested I autograph them - the FBI agent and detective left.
Christine Foster at the Shapiro-Lichtman Agency took on the project. A score of producers, including Harvey Keitel's company The Goatsingers, turned it down. Many said they were afraid of triggering Martin Muntor copycats. Later, several B-list Hollywood producers offered infamous "one-dollar options," which Foster insisted we decline. Stuart sold many of the leftover copies of Gasp to remainder houses that offed them for fifty cents or a dollar.
At the same time, Stuart agreed to sell me all the rights to Gasp. I paid, and I owned my own book again. Over the years, the hate mail subsided and used copies of the book continued to sell regularly on Amazon and other websites. The book became a quiet underground favorite, getting occasional mentions and praise online. Only a couple thousand copies were ever in circulation, and it always bothered me that Gasp never had a wider audience. The book was my baby, and I didn't like people calling it ugly.
So I rewrote it. Fifteen Years Later Years later, I returned to the manuscript to revise and rewrite. Some of the negative critiques made good points, and in the rewrite, I addressed them. I kept the mids era the same, but deepened the characters, delving into why they were doing what they were doing, and writing a little less about how they were doing it. I cut quite a bit, making the story move at an even faster pace. This year, I finished the rewrite, changed the name to Find Virgil , and contacted 92 literary agents, hoping to find a publisher interested in re-releasing the book.
Not one of the agents asked to see the manuscript. But there's always room at the top, and that's where I want to see my novel. The new book is being released as an eBook under my own imprint, Inside Jobs Media. What's going to happen with Find Virgil this time? Will it fare any better as an independently published novel? The jury's out on that, but based on the encouraging reviews and fan mail garnered by Gasp, there are plenty of readers and reviewers who think the story is an effective thriller. We'll see what Big Tobacco thinks this time. I'll refer them to the last batch of investigators who came knocking.
And I'll tell them how they shook my hand and left with their own, autographed copies of the book. View 1 comment. For 56 year old, Martin Munter, it was the beginning of his end. After taking good care of his body and mind, through healthy living and voracious reading, he was rewarded with a diagnosis of terminal lung cancer. Martin had experienced trials and disappointments, but this was the last straw. Martin Munter devised a meticulous plan to fight back.
If he was headed to a premature, undeserved death, he wasn't going alone. He was goi was a year full of significant memories and changes for many. He was going to take some others with him. Many intriguing mind games were played throughout this book by cops, FBI agents, the conniving tobacco mogul and the victim turned serial killer. I found it fascinating to follow law enforcement as they profiled Virgil. I was even more fascinated to read along as Martin the victim, transformed into Virgil, the avenging serial killer. A thought provoking thriller which will take the reader on an unforgettable journey as a serial murderer descends into madness and faces the end of his life.
Is Virgil the main villain or the justified victim? I encourage you to read and decide for yourself. Many thanks to the author and his publicist for my review copy of this book. Feb 17, Katy Noyes rated it really liked it. Tense, exciting revenge story that picking sides on is complicated "Journalist Martin Muntor is diagnosed with lung cancer.
An unknown person begins sending out poisoned cigarettes across America, demanding a reaction from the tobacco industry.
MIDNIGHTER Writer Creates 'Queersploitation' Hero in VIRGIL
It's a beautifully simple plot device. Is Muntor angry? Does he have a God complex? Is it mentally ill? Taking others down with him? Watching his reign Tense, exciting revenge story that picking sides on is complicated "Journalist Martin Muntor is diagnosed with lung cancer. Watching his reign of terror unfold is both horrifying and enthralling. I loved this, despite knowing that Muntor was targeting 'innocent' smokers. The reactions by the cigarette barons are fairly stereotypical, with corruption and conspiracies rife. With a death sentence hanging over him, will Muntor manage to strangle the response he needs out of Big Tobacco in time?
Will America end up on his side or see him as a mindless killer? There's some fantastic scenes as the FBI close in, as Muntor works towards his big finish. It's a cinematic story, one you can see on the screen. This moves along at a pace, it's a quick read that you have trouble putting down, with a memorable lead character. I wasn't too keen on the ending personally, on one aspect of it anyway, but apart from that I was loving being caught up in the anxiety and nerve-wracking story. Note: I was provided with a copy of this book for review. I have to admit I wavered between three and four stars with this one; I thought about it and decided four was the way to go.
For the parts I really liked made it more five than four, and easily outweighed the few parts that made it a three. I liked the concept of Find Virgil. I liked the idea of this guy, who had done everything right in his life to suddenly be struck down with cancer and wanting to take it out on those he feel wronged him. While I'll admit it probably wasn't the best way to go about it, and Muntor isn't the greatest person personality-wise even before the cancer, it was extremely clever and well planned revenge.
You can't help but admire "Virgil" as he taunts the FBI. He is smart and his jovial nature and committed attitude make you like him even more, and watching as he manages to stay a step ahead and seeing the care and thought Muntor has put into his scheme is excellent. The narrative covers a short period of time really well.
The events in the novel occur in a period of about a month, with a lot happening in that time and Freudberg manages to capture a real time feel for the events that happen. This grounds the novel well, highlighting the realistic nature of Muntor's acts and the FBI investigation and an overall natural feel to the entire storyline. Everyone has an agenda through this book; each character is looking for something, working towards something, and trying to get something from someone else. There are a range of additional characters and points of view that Freudberg uses in the story, all connected and intertwined with one another making a complicated array of characters.
Because of this there are many things happening at once that overlap and interact with one another; highlighting each character's personal motives and intentions. I understand that they were all connected and one couldn't happen without the other, but I felt that Muntor's story was more engaging, while I never got into Pratt's side as much. Granted they had very different storylines but I found myself not really caring about the people mixed up in Pratt's line, whereas with Muntor's I became easily caught up in what was happening.
Because of this there was a steady rise and fall in my engagement as we switched focus. Not that Pratt's side wasn't interesting or clever, it just didn't seem to hold my attention like Muntor's did. As it says in the synopsis, you do actually find yourself rooting for the madman, which sounds terrible when you realise he plans to kill hundreds of innocent people but in a clever way Muntor doesn't come across as a madman either.
This is Freudberg 's great skill, we get inside Muntor's head, his reasoning and justifications and you actually understand what he is doing. I did find myself rooting for both Muntor and the FBI. It's like watching a nature documentary, you love the little baby impala and want it to be ok, but then you suddenly switch and start cheering on the lion that wants to eat it.
Freudberg's story is driven with unique and curious characters and a well developed and complex narrative, that provides you with a good case of intrigue and wondering if, how, and when 'Virgil' will be caught, and who and how many will suffer in the meantime. I love the premise of this book. The idea is so fresh and original. The setting is key. When I first began this book, I thought, pfffft, hardly anyone smokes now, anyways.
Plus, how does this guy get lung cancer from secon I love the premise of this book.
Plus, how does this guy get lung cancer from second-hand smoke? That seems a little extreme. Then, I remembered it was , which had considerably more people smoking. Also, Muntor had a dad who constantly smoked, then a wife and kids who smoked. After that information, I felt a little better. His whole life revolved around cigarettes, and everything seemed a bit more realistic.
Freudberg subtly showed the reader that his life is an extreme case. Also, the writing style really gave the feel of the criminal-mystery book. This style is different from what I usually read, and Freudberg pulled it off well. He uses a third-person omniscient point of view, so the reader knows all that is happening from every side. I do think the book is a bit insipid in parts. For one, every little trial and tribulation is stretched out.
Every phone call and hint lasts pages, and the drama seemed over the top. Because of these extra evils, it makes the novel seem less real. Also, some of deduction skills Rhoads has are too good to be true. Cutting out some scenes, and maybe one more editing cycle would have helped Find Virgil in my opinion.
I think I would have also enjoyed it more if it was shorter. Otherwise, I liked stepping out of my box and reading a crime mystery rather than my usual young adult dystopian novels. The writing style is interesting and different, and my only critiques are the length and unnecessary drama. More reviews at Stealingpages. Having read and enjoyed Baby Please Don't Go, by the same author, I was interested to see what else he had written so I gave this a go.
I found the beginning of this book a little convoluted and hard to follow and I had to really concentrate probably a me thing rather than a book thing but, once I got into it, the time and pages literally just flew by as I was drawn so far into the story it was a challenge putting the book down.
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I found this to be a book where again, I wasn't keen on the main ch Having read and enjoyed Baby Please Don't Go, by the same author, I was interested to see what else he had written so I gave this a go. I found this to be a book where again, I wasn't keen on the main character.
I understand why he felt the need to do what he did but part of me just isn't OK with the means he took to get to the end. Nothing justifies what he did. But I guess, in his mind, when you have nothing to lose by doing what you want to then, why shouldn't you!?! I also didn't really warm to Rhodes either although, I liked him a whole lot better than Munter. I found his motivation to be a little off key and, for all he said, I wasn't convinced re the relationship with his brother. I think for me personally the whole major theme of this book is one of greed and this manifests itself into the majority of the main characters attitudes and selfishness.
I get that Munter feels hard done by and I agree that someone should probably be accountable but I can't condone what he did. This makes for quite a tough read in parts. This also keeps the book moving at a cracking pace. Information is delivered efficiently.
I really did like the character of Dr Bea Trice, I found her insights to be very credible and extremely useful. I'd also definitely like her on my side in a fight, She has guts that gal! Finally, I though the ending was justly delivered. I am just sad that we had to go through the rest of the book to get to where we could have got to without so much pain and suffering. Lessons to be learned by all I hope.
Are things starting to sound a bit more familiar? Romulus will found Rome aha! Jupiter says he will give the Romans unlimited power. This power will reach its summit during the reign of Caesar that is, the Emperor Augustus , which will bring about a great era of peace. Then Jupiter sends down the god Hermes to make the Carthaginians welcome Aeneas and the other Trojans. That night, Aeneas is lying awake thinking. He decides to go exploring the next day. And that's just what he does — once again with his buddy Achates.
While they are walking in the woods, Aeneas and Achates run into Venus, who is disguised as a young huntress.
A few drops of ink: Book Review: FIND VIRGIL
Aeneas knows something is up, and asks the huntress what goddess she is. This would probably be a good opener even if she wasn't a goddess. But Venus keeps up her disguise, saying that she's just an ordinary girl from that neck of the woods. Venus then fills Aeneas in on what's been going on. She explains how Dido, the local queen, was once married to Sychaeus, the richest man of the city of Tyre in modern-day Lebanon.
Her brother, Pygmalion, was the king of Tyre. Unfortunately, Pygmalion was very greedy, and ended up killing Sychaeus for his money. He managed to keep what he had done from Dido for a little while — but then Sychaeus appeared to her in a dream and explained what had happened.
Sometimes dead men do tell tales.
Sychaeus told Dido to flee the city immediately, and also told her where some treasure was buried, to finance her trip. Dido gathered up some other men from Tyre and sailed over to North Africa, where they are now, and where she is building the city of Carthage. Then, having wound up her story, Venus asks Aeneas who he is. Aeneas replies by saying his name, his quest, and his favorite color — wait, scratch that last bit.
He ends by saying how he got slammed by the storm and lost a bunch of his companions. Venus says, "Don't worry about them. Venus interprets this as a sign that everyone's OK. Then the goddess turns to go, and, as she does, Aeneas recognizes her. I just want to spend some quality time with you! Instead, she wraps Aeneas and Achates in a cloud of mist, making them invisible.
This allows them to walk into the heart of Carthage. All around them, people are busy as bees building the new city. Aeneas is jealous. In the middle of the city, the Trojans are building a temple to Juno. Insert ominous music here. Aeneas goes up to the temple. On its gates, he sees depicted various scenes from the Trojan War. Most of these are from the Iliad , though some come from the later tradition known as The Epic Cycle.
Then, Queen Dido comes in with a bunch of attendants. She takes her seat in front of Juno's shrine. At this point, in come representatives from all of the ships that Aeneas thought he had lost — safe and sound, just as Juno predicted. The Trojans explain to Dido who they are and where they're going. They complain about the rough treatment they've gotten from the locals, and say that the gods are on their side. They ask for permission to stay in the area for long enough to repair their ships; then they'll either sail for Latium as planned if they reconnect with Aeneas, that is , or head to Sicily instead, where another Trojan, Acestes, has set himself up as king.
In response, Dido apologizes for any trouble they have encountered; she explains that she has had to ramp up security while their city gets on its feet. Then she tells them that she has heard of Aeneas. She says that the Trojans can go wherever they want, with a Carthaginian escort.
Or, if they want, they can stay in Carthage as equal citizens. She says that she wishes Aeneas were there, and promises to send out scouts to search the coastline for him. Just then, the cloud vanishes from Achates and Aeneas. At the same time, Venus makes Aeneas look super-impressive and handsome. Aeneas thanks Dido for her hospitality. Dido is impressed with Aeneas and tells him so, explaining how she is an exile too, from Tyre. She leads Aeneas into her palace and declares it a feast day.
Aeneas thinks about his son Ascanius and sends Achates back to the camp to bring him to the feast. He also tells him to bring some gifts for Dido. Specifically, he asks him to bring some of the things that Helen brought with her to Troy when she ran off with Paris, as you can read about here. The goddess Venus decides to make Amor — the god of love — take Ascanius's form so he can infect Dido with love. She tells Amor that she will hide the real Ascanius away in one of her shrines so that no one will be the wiser.
This is exactly what happens. When Amor arrives with the gifts, he first goes up to Aeneas and says "Hi dad. Amor inflames Dido with love for Aeneas, and slowly takes away her memory of her dead husband, Sychaeus.