Monthly Archives: October 2013

Sepiessa Press announces release of Dutch Reckoning

Sepiessa Press announces release of Dutch Reckoning, a Tommy Shakespear Mystery Thriller

Author Michael West draws on personal connection to bring the Gardner Museum art theft to life


Martha’s Vineyard, MA (October 28, 2013)

Sepiessa Press announces the publication of Dutch Reckoning, a Tommy Shakespear Mystery Thriller, available in print and digital formats on Amazon and at bookstores on Martha’s Vineyard.  Off-island bookstores may order Dutch Reckoning through the Ingram catalog. Dutch Reckoning is a mystery novel in the vein of Robert B. Parker and John D. MacDonald, featuring an ironic sleuth named Tommy Shakespear.  In this book Shakespear tackles the unsolved art theft at the prominent Butler Museum in Boston.

The Beatrice Butler Museum in Boston, Massachusetts houses one of the most renowned art collections in the world. Early one morning, thieves masquerading as cops tied up the security guards and stole thirteen of the Butler Museum’s finest and most valuable paintings — by Vermeer, Rembrandt, Degas, Manet and others.

A reluctant sleuth, Tommy Shakespear leaves behind his surfboard and his mountain bike at the request of his old friend, Jack Butler, and travels from Santa Cruz, California to Boston and Barcelona in search of the elusive gang of thieves responsible for the art theft. Shakespear also leaves behind his budding romance with Shiva, a successful video game developer, and ventures a little too close to the heat of his former flame Elaine, as he dodges bullets and bedroom encounters on his way to solving the mystery of “Who did the Butler?”

Here is what one local reader said about Dutch Reckoning:

“A helluva whodunnit art theft, murder mystery. Plot twists and surprises
kept me turning pages until the end.”

– Thaw Malin III, Martha’s Vineyard landscape artist

Michael G. West, a graduate of Williams College and the Johns Hopkins Writing Seminars, is the author of several novels, including the Tommy Shakespear Mystery Thriller series. He has worked as a dishwasher, short-order cook, housepainter, shingler, sheetrock taper, private tutor, taxi driver, college professor, freelance book editor, computer programmer, industry analyst and strategy consultant in several countries and on both coasts, north and south, in the U.S. Michael West currently lives year round on Martha’s Vineyard, an island off Cape Cod, Massachusetts.

Said author West, “In real life, I was a colleague-in-poetry and close friend to the late Isabella ‘Belle’ Gardner, poet, niece and namesake of the woman who, with Bernard Berenson, amassed the amazing art collection housed in the little Florentine palace she built, the Gardner Museum. That personal connection helped fuel my writing of this tale.”

Steve Maxner Reviews XOC – The White Shark Murders

XOC – The White Shark Murders will soon appear on Amazon in Kindle digital format and soon after that, by Thanksgiving I expect, in a print edition on Amazon and in local bookstores on Martha’s Vineyard.

Steve Maxner, the now-“retired” Coordinator of VAST (Vineyarders Against Shark Tournaments), was kind enough to read and review XOC.  By the way, XOC (pronounced shok) is the ancient Mayan word for shark, going way back before the first Elizabethan pirates returned to London with the carcass of a dead shark on display.

Here is what Steve Maxner had to say about XOC:

“Within the context of current ecological imperatives, XOC offers a highly engaging synthesis of suspense, romance and humor.  This gritty and smartly crafted novel brings new meaning to the expression ‘going fishing with the family.’”
— Steve Maxner, VAST Coordinator

Steve Protesting the Shark Killing

When he’s not paddling around on a yellow kayak in Oak Bluffs harbor, you can find Steve with his lovely wife Joyce in the woods of West Tisbury. They have a great dog named Cooper. The Maxners also have a garden you’d have to see to believe, they raise chickens (yes, I’m a vegan, but they’re not), and they play and sing music beautifully. It has always been a pleasure and a privilege to visit and spend time with them. They have some great pot lucks and musical gatherings.

It was Steve who inspired me to want to write XOC. I had joined him in opposing the annual Monster Shark Tournament, and I wanted it to end. In the winter and spring of 2011/12 Steve organized a lot of island musicians (herding cats some would say) to write and record original songs for a CD, titled Hold On We’re Coming. Steve and Joyce financed the CD production and staged a CD release concert at Katharine Cornell Hall. The whole point was to bring attention to the plight of the sharks and the oceans because of public attitudes toward sharks. I felt I needed to do something. So in December of 2012 I decided to write XOC.

Many months later, I began to run chapters of XOC serially on a WordPress blog that I hoped would increase attention to this tournament and to the cruelty toward sharks worldwide. By then, VAST had successfully gathered enough signatures, thanks largely to Debbie Dean, to get a measure on the Oak Bluffs Annual Meeting and on the Ballot to convert the tournament to tag and release. We knew Steve James, the tournament organizer, would not run a tag-and-release tournament and would be forced to gina another venue or quit entirely. In April we won both the Annual Meeting vote and the Ballot and our measure passed. VAST has passed the measure, and though it was legally non-binding we knew it would have an effect. However, the town select board decided to continue with the tournament in 2013 because of revenues it would bring to certain (and certainly not all) merchants in the town.

The latest word we have is Steve James, seeing the writing on the wall, has decided to move his tournament to Newport, R.I.  We will believe that when we see it. The local press on his decision has included the loud cries of anguish from one Oak Bluffs merchant, who may not have that bloodthirsty tournament crowd to count on next summer.  We understand from the town harbormaster that the harbor will be full of boats anyway.  I hope this is the end of the Monster Shark Tournament and that Newport doesn’t have to struggle to end this brutal event as we have.

We need the sharks. They keep the oceans running smoothly, and they are truly beautiful.

Both the forthcoming novel XOC – The White Shark Murders and the CD Hold On We’re Coming will soon be widely available through Amazon.

Dutch Reckoning Print Edition Due Soon

I have received word that the print edition of Dutch Reckoning has shipped, but it is not yet online in the Amazon Bookstore. I look forward to that.

Here is what one reviewer said about Dutch Reckoning:

“A helluva whodunnit art theft, murder mystery.
Plot twists and surprises kept me turning pages until the end.”
– Thaw Malin III, Martha’s Vineyard landscape artist

Meanwhile, I have authorized a cool deal that Amazon offers to provide a combination of the print and digital editions for under $20. That means, if you are traveling, you can bring the digital edition, if you don’t have room for the print edition.  And, if you’re stuck somewhere, and you have a mobile device, you can always read a few more pages while you wait.