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Blood of Paradise

Blood of Paradise
NEW! Now available in ebook format from Open Road Media/Mysterious Press
Nominated for an Edgar® for Best Paperback Original

Nominated for an Anthony for Best Paperback Original

Nominated for the Macavity Award for Best Novel

Nominated for a Shamus Award for Best Paperback Original

Named a San Francisco Chronicle Notable Book of 2007

Chosen One of the Top Ten Thrillers & Mysteries of 2007 by The Washington Post

L SALVADOR: America's great Cold War success story and the model for Iraq's fledgling democracy—if one ignores the grinding poverty, the corruption, the spiraling crime and a murder rate ranked near the top in the hemisphere. This is where Jude McManus works as an executive protection specialist, currently assigned to an American engineer working for a U.S. consortium.

Ten years before, at age seventeen, he saw his father and two Chicago cop colleagues arrested for robbing street dealers. The family fell apart in the scandal's wake, his disgraced dad died under suspicious circumstances, and Jude fled Chicago to join the army and forge a new life.

Blood of Paradise
Now the past returns when one of his father's old pals appears. The man is changed—he's scarred, regretful, self-aware—and helps Jude revisit the past with a forgiving eye. Then he asks a favor—not for himself, but the third member of his dad's old crew.

Even though it's ill-considered, Jude agrees, thinking he can oblige the request and walk away, unlike his father. But he underestimates the players and stakes, and stumbles into a web of Third World corruption and personal betrayal, where everything he values—and everyone he loves—is threatened. And only the greatest of sacrifices will save them.

Read an interview of David with his editor, Mark Tavani.

Read the Author's Note.

Blood of Paradise, French Cover
French Cover
Check out David's El Salvador photos.

See more photographs by Jeff Becom, the photographer whose image appears on the cover of BLOOD OF PARADISE.

BLOOD OF PARADISE Goes to France! A hardcover French edition of BLOOD OF PARADISE (retitled Une Certain Vérité) was published in Fall 2013, through Sonatine, and received great praise in Le Monde, Le Parisien, and Le Point. A mass-market paperback edition will appear in 2014 through J'ai Lu. He was also interviewed for La Vie en Noir.

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"Corbett makes a powerful tale all the more shocking by weaving in the real-life story of the recent assassination of José Gilberto Soto, an American citizen and Teamster leader who returned to his native country in an effort to link up with union leaders there. Just weeks after Soto's murder, I traveled to San Salvador along with a group of religious and human rights leaders in a futile attempt to prod Salvadoran officials to find his assassins. I can attest that Corbett captures the frustration, the repression and terror that confronts those who battle for justice and oppose a brutally corrupt regime propped up by our own government."

   —Excerpted from an Amazon.com review posted by Ron Carver, who was Gilberto Soto's supervisor at the International Brotherhood of Teamsters' Port Division.
BLOOD OF PARADISE is dedicated to Mr. Soto's memory

Ballantine Books Paperback, March 2007, ISBN-10: 0812977335, ISBN-13: 978-0812977332



Nominated for the Macavity Award for Best Novel

Nominated for an Anthony for Best Paperback Original

Nominated for an Edgar® for Best Paperback Original

Chosen One of the Top Ten Thrillers & Mysteries of 2007
by Patrick Anderson
The Washington Post

Named a San Francisco Chronicle Notable Book of 2007

Recommended Reading
Adm. James Stavridis, USN
Commander, U.S. Southern Command

Named a 2008 Ohioana Book Award finalist in the Fiction category (awarded by the Ohioana Quarterly, the Ohioana Library's book review journal)

David has been selected as the inaugural speaker in the U.S. Southern Command Author Series

"Must Read" Pick
Smoke Magazine
Winter 2007

"Oscar Wilde once quipped that the truth is rarely pure and never simple. Amen to that, says Blood of Paradise, David Corbett's powerful and deeply unsettling novel of Americans attempting to navigate the perilous waters of post-civil-war El Salvador. . . . Though Corbett's novel is as fast-paced as a political thriller and as blood-drenched as a Quentin Tarantino opus at its twisted best (or worst), his aspirations extend far beyond a place on this summer's beach reading list. In a concluding coda labeled "Dossier," the author writes that he drew several themes of the book from Sophocles' "Philoctetes," in which the son of Achilles is corrupted by a cunning Odysseus. And Blood of Paradise is a novel with a political viewpoint. The Dossier is subtitled "From Troy to Baghdad [Via El Salvador]." To those Bush administration officials who have proposed that El Salvador's movement from armed struggle to elections can serve as a model for Iraq, Corbett's Central American tableau responds with "God help us." . . . The plot is complex, multilayered, at times vertiginous. . . . With all of that, the central character of this tale is the land in which it unfolds . . . Corbett writes knowingly and often lyrically of what El Salvador looks, sounds and feels like: its heat, its plants and animals, its foods, its beaches and lagunas. . . . There were times when character development defered to the hurtling plotline and political message. But that has also been true of John le Carre's more recent and ideologically loaded fiction, such as The Constant Gardener, or of Robert Stone's Damascus Gate. Yet I found those books riveting, and Blood of Paradise should feel at home in their company."
   —Dennis Riordan, San Francisco Chronicle

A fellow writer I very much admire, Sam Reaves, named Blood of Paradise one of his recent favorites. To read his remarks, go to his website (and pick up Sam's Homicide 69. A truly wonderful book).

"This is, above all, a serious novel. Serious, of course, is not always good. Serious can be deadly dull. But seriousness, when combined with moral concern and novelistic talent, can produce outstanding fiction. A number of writers . . . provided advance praise for the novel, and some compared it to works by Graham Greene and Robert Stone that have also explored Americans caught up in troubling events in distant lands. The comparisons are apt. I would say of Blood of Paradise what I said of Done for a Dime: If you accept its politics, if you don't find it too dark or disturbing, it's an example of the best in contemporary crime fiction—or, if I may be so bold, in contemporary fiction, period."
   —Patrick Anderson, Washington Post

"I need to state at the outset that I had a bit of a problem while reading Blood of Paradise by David Corbett. It's a simple one: Corbett and I happen to have different world views. But, politics aside, this is a haunting and compelling read from beginning to end. . . . Where Blood of Paradise truly shines is with the creation of the murky situational undertow that Corbett creates and slowly pulls [the protagonist, Jude] McManus toward, even as we see (or think we see) where things are heading. Corbett is an absolute master at creating a scenario leading unexpectedly to explosive violence, and the result is a work in which one is compelled to keep turning pages even as one dreads seeing what will happen next. . . . Corbett weaves an extremely complex tapestry throughout Blood of Paradise while, interestingly enough, making McManus a devil's advocate—a skeptic who wonders, with some merit, whether the Salvadorans' lot in life would improve regardless of who governs them. . . . Corbett keeps the action moving slowly but steadily toward a series of horrifying denouements where it's difficult to sort out winners from losers—if indeed such classifications ultimately matter."
   —Joe Hartlaub, Bookreporter.com

"Corbett has outdone himself with Blood of Paradise."
   —Crimespree Magazine

"With an assured hand David Corbett has been quietly crafting some of the best novels of the last 5 years. . . . Corbett is better then anyone else at using a simple premise or crime as a platform to spin epic stories of the human experience writ large against a vast canvass. From personal interaction with one another; to interactions with ourselves; to interactions with our own ghosts and demons; to interactions with faith, god and fate; to interactions with the socio/politico machines of our own creation. The beating heart at the center of Blood of Paradise may be a dark one but it's a real one that we, at times, can recognize as our own. . . . You've heard of the term embedded journalist; well Corbett is an embedded novelist."
   —Brian Lindenmuth, FantasyBookSpot.com

"Poetic, romantic, hard-eyed and brutal...Corbett, like Robert Stone and Graham Greene before him, is crafting important, immensely thrilling books. Blood of Paradise is his best to date."
   —George Pelecanos, author of The Night Gardener

"This big, brawny novel runs on full throttle from first to last page. Brutal and heartrending, eloquent and important, this is a fully engrossing read."
   —Michael Connelly, author of Echo Park

"[N]othing is simple with Corbett and nothing is straightforward. He's a master at immersing you in a sea of contradictions while describing real life so that it,s not only interesting to read about, but manages to sound like real life. . . . Written from a multiplicity of perspectives, Corbett offers what readers desire most, intense tension and gritty authenticity. . . . The result is a book that is dense with detail and character, rich with plots and subplots, filled with the absurdity of Americans puttering about in foreign territories where they have no business being. . . . Corbett should be on your auto-buy list."
   —Rick Kleffel, The Agony Column

"A Quiet American for the new century. Angry and impassioned, Blood of Paradise is that rare beast: a work of popular fiction that is both serious and thrilling."
   —John Connolly, author of The Book of Lost Things

"Inspired by the eloquent yet deeply disturbing Greek tragedies of long ago, Blood of Paradise is a dark novel, penned by one of today,s most passionate writers. . . . The characters are flawed, three dimensional and absolutely believable. Throughout the novel, recognizing good and evil becomes more difficult, as the reader begins to question his own moral assumptions and attitudes. The plot and subplots work well together and often propel each other forward. Intricately layered and complicated, Corbett's story revs up both the suspense and the stakes as the novel hurtles toward its conclusion. . . . With a practiced eye for detail, Corbett,s thoughts on the modern predicament are as insightful as they are chilling. Acknowledging the complexity of the politics and the difficult decisions being made by politicians lends a realism to the novel, making it almost impossible to discern the line between fact and fiction. He weaves a myriad of seemingly disparate situations in the world - gang activity, terrorism, US foreign policy, corruption, murder, - into a seamless story that ties everything together. The novel is exceptionally well written, with haunting depictions that capture both the beauty and the despair of a land and its people, which no longer seem so foreign or distant. . . . Powerful, shocking and thought provoking, Blood of Paradise is a challenging read that I would recommend to all who enjoy serious thrillers."
   —RJ McGill, 3Rs-Real Reader Reviews

"Blood of Paradise proves that David Corbett can do what so few others can: write a thought-provoking, intelligent thriller that never loses its edge for a minute. Gripping, powerful, and beautifully written, Blood of Paradise is a terrific read that will keep readers enthralled from start to finish."
   —Jan Burke, author of Kidnapped

"David Corbett is a supremely gifted writer and his latest, Blood of Paradise, is mesmerizing. Its lyrical prose, its exotic setting, its damaged souls grasping for redemption any way they can, all combine in a tour de force that will haunt you long after you reach the end."
   —Denise Hamilton, author of Prisoner of Memory

"David Corbett is the best, least appreciated writer in the thriller genre today."
   —Biblio's Bloggins

"David Corbett is a very good writer who knows some very bad things. This compulsively readable moral thriller steps boldly into Robert Stone and Graham Greene territory. It is a meditation on love and honor in the face of pervasive evil and terror. Reader beware: behind this novel's intoxicating tropical greenery, there lurks a savage predator waiting to rip your heart out. Get it now, and make plans to stay up late tonight."
   —Luis Alberto Urrea, author of The Devil's Highway

"An amazing novel set in El Salvador that illustrates the tangled and perverse alliances that the US government has established with corrupt leaders . . . The ending is deeply moving, and as timely and timeless as the Greek tragedy that inspired the story. I will be thinking about this book for a long time."
   —Barbara Fister's Place

"Fascinating, intricate plot set in interesting locale. . . . Jude McManus is a fascinating character who pulls you immediately into Blood of Paradise."

"Blood of Paradise is rich in insider detail and Latin American politics. It benefits from an extraordinary amount of research implicit throughout the novel. But the novel is, at its dark heart, a character study in which Jude's values, self-image and soul are put to a terrible test. As with Corbett's other two novels, his finely-drawn characters and a fledgling romance pull the reader through the grim, pungent, unsentimental and often raw backdrop of Blood of Paradise."
   —Edgar-nominated author Craig McDonald, ThisWeek

"The sense of place is so vivid, you can feel the heat and sand along the seemingly endless beaches. The atmosphere fairly reeks of the corruption that pervades this poor, embattled country. The writing is sharp and the characters appealing."
   —Time Out New York

"Set inside the lush tropical countryside and along the beaches of El Salvador, Blood of Paradise is a dynamic and adventurous thriller. Collusion and corruption are key words here in this no man's land of domination, ill-gotten money, and greed. . . . a gritty and complex story . . . a compelling read . . ."
   —Diana Risso, Romance Reviews Today

"Polished writing and deeply engaging characters carry the reader through the sometimes murky intricacies of third-world politics."

"David Corbett's passion for justice glows off every page, as brightly as his love of language. Only rarely do you find a novel that's equal parts heart and craft, but Blood of Paradise is that one."
   —SJ Rozan, author of In This Rain

"Blood of Paradise cuts sharply and deep, a machete sweep through mangrove on a steaming landscape of American mischief abroad. Peopled by the haunted and the heavily-armed, this is a bravura performance of brooding darkness."
   —Dan Fesperman, author of The Prisoner of Guantanamo

"Blood of Paradise is a fascinating thriller . . . a political exposé [with] action-packed suspense."
   —Harriet Klausner, Reader's Robot Instant List

Dear Mr. Corbett,
Your book is still in and out of my mind, though it went back to the library a few years ago.
   —Andrew G. Roth, M.D., M.F.A.


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