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Interview with Ron Felber, author of A Man of Indeterminate Value

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A Man of Indeterminate Value is an in your face, let’s go for broke, thriller. It is raw and real and there are no restrictions. It’s been called by critics “a tour de force diary of despair”, but really it is a diary of desperation. It sucks the reader into a maelstrom of out of control anger, frustration, fear, sex, and violence that has tough guy Jack Madson, former cop and current Wall Street take over artist, spinning into the depths of Hell, scratching, biting, and clawing his way back up from the depths as the novel opens.

Trapped in a hate-filled marriage, a job he despises, and a mountain of debt racked up by his socialite wife, he’s crafted a plan to fake his death in a boating accident, let his wife and daughter collect the life insurance pay out, then start a new life under the name of John Harrison Dempsey in Queretaro, Mexico living off the $2.5 M a Chinese Triad has stashed away for him–payment for the intellectual property he’s stolen for them from companies he’s acquires along the way.

Problem is, it doesn’t go that way.

What genre is it?
Thriller. Someone also called it noir moderne.

What kind of readers will it appeal to?
Really, any reader who hungers for a gritty, fast-paced, tautly written thriller that brings along with it social commentary  as real as 9/11 or the stock market meltdown in 2009 will love this novel. This book holds up a mirror to American society 2013 such as few others will dare to do! I think of Jack Madson as a 21st century existential pilgrim, lost, fearful, and mad as hell, trying to find his way through the rubble of the life he has made for himself in the “new America”, an empire in decline. Most readers tear through it in a sitting and are left waiting for more!

“A 21st Century existential pilgrim”? You’d better tell us more about Jack Madson.
Jack Madson is a classic American anti-hero locked in the myth of the American Dream. He worked his way into a prestigious university, and landed a job at NuGen, a hyper-aggressive Wall Street firm that specializes in buying and gutting successful American companies, later purchased by Asian conglomerates at eight-times their value.

But his life is out of whack. Jack’s marriage has degenerated into an orgy of hate. His father-in-law despises him, and he is hopelessly in debt because of his wife’s profligate spending. While Madson, former cop and semi-professional boxer detests the hypocrisy of NuGen, he eventually finds himself as jaded as they when he starts selling the intellectual property of the companies NuGen buys to the Chinese criminal Triads.

Complete this sentence for us: if you like _________________, you’ll love A Man of Indeterminate Value.
John Grisham or Michael Connelly on steroids, or James Cain’s classic noir thriller “The Postman Always Rings Twice.” The raw power of Cormac McCarthy with the high-voltage sexual energy of Norman Mailer. I think readers who liked the movie “Pulp Fiction” will find the same kind of relentless pace in A Man of Indeterminate Value.

Have you written any other books that we should read next?
I wrote Il Dottore, The Double Life of a Mafia Doctor which was received very well and later became the basis for The Mob Doctor, the prime time TV drama that ran on FOX 2012 and into 2013. More to the point, the sequel to A Man of Indeterminate Value, is titled The Kafka Society. It will be out in May 2014 and along with Man is easily the best work I’ve ever done.

Tell us a bit about yourself.
I began my writing with articles for True Detective magazine and went on to write three books in the classic Nick Carter series. As mentioned, in addition to A Man of Indeterminate Value, I wrote Il Dottore which is out now as a trade paperback. Like my protagonist Jack Madson, I worked as a deputy sheriff transporting federal prisoners, and fought Golden Gloves for three years. I hold a Blue Belt in Brazilian jiu jitsu.

I graduated Georgetown University where I earned a degree in English, got an MBA from Loyola in Chicago, and a doctorate in Arts and Letters from Drew University. I reside with my wife and three children in New Jersey where I work as CEO of a major manufacturing company.

Do you have a website where we can keep up with your work?
http://www.ronfelber.com

How can we follow you on Twitter and/or Facebook?
Personal Facebook page is https://www.facebook.com/ron.felber

Not on Twitter yet.

What’s next?
Something that may be of interest is several film producers have been in discussions with my agent about creating a Jack Madson series either for television or the cinema. Of course, we’re thrilled about that!

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