Featured New Book: Collateral Damage by Frederick Brooke


It looks like word of the Featured New Book spotlight is spreading. I’ve got a bunch of posts to bring you guys — keep it up! I love the deluge.

Today’s author is Frederick Brooke, who I’d never met before he dropped into my inbox. Good to know you, sir! After reading this post, I hope you’ll all join me in hoping Frederick isn’t a stranger in West of Mars-ville.

collateral damage hi res cover

His new book is called Collateral Damage, and here’s Frederick himself to tell you more:

The whole time I was writing COLLATERAL DAMAGE, I had Eminem’s song “I’m Not Afraid” going through my head. I finally realized why when I was working on a scene with Michael Garcia. Michael has had some of the same troubles with drugs and anger and abandonment that Eminem riffs about.

I guess I had to
Go to that place to get to this one
Now some of you
Might still be in that place
Just lettin you know that you’re not alone
If you’re tryin to get out
Holla if you feel like you’ve been down the same road
Just follow me, I’ll get you there

If he could, Michael would follow. Eminem captures the desperation and helplessness of an addict, and the rage and complete lack of self-esteem that so often go with it. Michael would follow if he had someone to follow – but isn’t that how it is with anthems like “I’m Not Afraid”? They inspire us. The singer can also be the leader we follow, if only virtually.

The language of the song is beautiful, arresting, a vision:

Okay, quit playing with the scissors and shit and cut the crap
I shouldn’t have to rhyme these words in a rhythm for you to know it’s a rap
You said you was the king, you lied through your teeth
For that fuck your fillings, instead of getting crowned you’re getting capped

Lord Byron himself would have admired Eminem’s wordplay, weaving a jumble of images involving the creative dentistry of rappers, their visions of royalty, and the rituals of kings and crowns. Through his own art, Eminem finds his own way out of the deadly maze of drug addiction.

My character, Michael Garcia, is also a poet. I don’t want to spoil the story by quoting the whole poem here. But the question of whether Michael will find his way out of the maze through art or any other means is one essential element in the book COLLATERAL DAMAGE.

Michael and his friend Husker put on a big reunion of Iraq War veterans in the book, and they call the party “Collateral Damage.” When Annie, his old lover, asks him how they came up with that name, Michael doesn’t have to think long about the answer. “It’s who we are. What we are. They had their war, they got what they were after. Think about how we’re damaged.” To which Annie Ogden says: “I’m not damaged. Speak for yourself.”

Ooh, love it — and I’m not much of an Eminem fan, as catchy as his music is.

Ready for the blurb?

Annie Ogden is back. Like it or not, she’s about to learn about Collateral Damage.

A love story.

When Annie Ogden’s ex-boyfriend Michael Garcia reappears, she has to confront a lie dating back to her time in Iraq. Will she go back to hot, passionate Michael, who has developed a disturbing interest in meth, or stick with her pudgy PI partner and fiancé, Salvatore?

A murder.

The calculus changes when Michael is arrested for murder. When Salvatore refuses to help investigate, Annie is forced to try to find the killer herself. Meanwhile her sister’s creepy husband, Todd, is making more of an ass of himself than usual.

An obsession.

Annie’s problems with three obsessive men suddenly pale in significance when she realizes the killer has set his sights on her. Having changed his mind about helping her, Salvatore finds himself in a desperate race against time, the only man capable of finding the killer before it’s too late.

And some links for you, too!

First off, the all-important buy link. It’s a Kindle-only book, so us without Kindles are out of luck (bummer).

Now, on to the social fun!
Amazon page
my blog
Google +



  1. Frederick Lee Brooke

    July 17, 2013 5:06 am

    Susan, thanks so much for this opportunity to bring out an aspect of one of my characters which is hidden in the layers of the unspoken! Love your blog!

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