Roma Series Book #5
By Gabriel Valjan
Genre: Tech Thriller
A call for help from an old friend lands Bianca and the crew back in Boston. On a timeout with Dante, due to revelations in the aftermath of the showdown in Naples, Bianca is drawn to a mysterious new ally who understands the traumas of her past, and has some very real trauma of his own. Murder, designer drugs, and a hacker named Magician challenge our team, and Bianca learns that leaving Rendition behind might be much harder than she thinks.
Savvy forensic accountant Alabaster Black is hiding in Rome from her former employer, covert U.S. organization “Rendition.” While there under an assumed name she meets Dante, an investigator, erstwhile explorer and member of the Roma Underground, a band of amateur archaeologists who map the city beneath Rome. With Italian artifacts disappearing at an alarming rate, Alabaster and Dante search for answers and create a trap for the thieves. Through a mysterious online contact Alabaster learns she is being followed, and with her safety at risk she is forced to rethink her chosen alliances and discover hidden truths about herself.
“A provocative thriller with a riveting and surprising plot.” —M.J. Rose, International bestseller
“...the strong, captivating heroine and an allure of conspiracy and organized crime make this novel an undoubted success.” —Kirkus Book Reviews
“Conspiracy, double identities, car chases and espionage, all against the backdrop of magical Rome, with its great food and marvelous art history, make this an entertaining, intriguing read.” —Blogcritics Book Reviews in Brief
In the highly anticipated sequel to Roma, Underground, Bianca returns to the U.S. for her former employer, the covert organization Rendition, to investigate Cyril Sargent and Nasonia Pharmaceutical. Although ambivalent about the assignment and uneasy about her online “friend,” Loki, she is enticed into researching what Sargent is doing with insect genetics that might upset the world of cancer research and treatment. Old friends Farrugia and Gennaro uncover a twisted conspiracy from their past and join Bianca in Boston where they will experience conflicted loyalties, question allies, and confront uncertain enemies, as they’re drawn into the wasp’s nest.
“Again, Valjan successfully conflates multiple sophisticated narratives that bring the past and present together, which the archaeological theme of the last novel also helps accomplish . . . Black is back and just as entertaining as ever.” —Kirkus Book Reviews
“…a compelling reading, action-packed and with intriguing characters. The plot had plenty of twists and turns, some surprising secrets, and it kept me on the edge of my seat, guessing until the very end.” —The Book Junkie
THREADING THE NEEDLE
Milan. Bianca’s curiosity gets a young university student murdered, but not before he gives her a file that details a secret weapon under development with defense contractor Adastra. Guilt may drive her to find justice for the slain Charlie Brooks, but she is warned by the mysterious Loki to stay away from this case that runs deep with conspiracy. Bianca must find a way to uncover government secrets and corporate alliances without returning Italy to one of its darkest hours, the decades of daily terrorism known as the “Years of Lead.”
“It is even more to Gabriel Valjan’s credit that with Threading the Needle he, as an American, was nonetheless capable of unusual insight into the Misteri Italiani, the Italian Mysteries, without taking any prejudicial standpoint, one way or the other, or putting the blame on anyone, but rather inviting readers to judge for themselves.” —Claudio Ferrara, Italian journalist and translator
“But after the first few pages, I knew I was committed to the end of the book ... and would be reading the two earlier books…Characters, plot, ideas, background: In Threading the Needle, Valjan weaves it all into an international crime novel worth the read.” —Beth Kannell of Kingdom Books, a specialty mystery bookshop in northeastern Vermont.
TURNING TO STONE
Forensic accountant Alabaster Black has always been steps ahead of her former employer, Rendition, a clandestine and apparently lethal organization. Once the star investigator of financial crimes, she fled from the United States to Italy, under a new name: Bianca Nerini. She carries on her work with a group of trusted friends, although a mysterious contact by the name of Loki reaches out to her on occasion. In this fourth installment, Bianca is in Naples against the Camorra, a crime syndicate unlike the American or Sicilian mafia.
Gabriel Valjan lives in Boston, Massachusetts. He is the author of the Roma Series, available from Winter Goose Publishing. Gabriel has also written numerous short stories and essays found online and in print.
I’m hearing-impaired, with about 70% loss in my left ear and about 55% in my right ear. The deficit was the result of an antibiotic that I had been given as an infant, though the hearing loss wasn’t detected until much later. The range of my hearing loss is in the decibel range for conversational speech, which can cause people to have speech pathologies. I am fortunate not to have that problem, though I don’t have stereophonic hearing – meaning, I can’t tell you whether a sound is on my left, right, or behind me. Prior to the accidental discovery of my hearing loss, I had become quite adept at reading lips and body language. Not hearing well can lead to some hilarious misunderstandings.
I never saw my hearing loss as a disability. Kids are really resourceful and I was no different. I made it a point to sit in front of the class. I happened to do quite well in school. I loved drawing, reading, and science. There have been times when I have been self-conscious about my hearing. One problem that I have had is that people have assumed that I am arrogant because I might not respond to them, when in reality I didn’t hear them. Also, I am soft-spoken because hearing aids can make your raised voice sound as if you’re screaming at someone. All in all, I do fine. I just don’t think people realize how unintentionally rude they can be by mumbling or turning away from others when they are in a conversation, or how many other environmental factors such as ambient noise have an impact on a simple interaction. Again, I haven’t let it hinder me. I have had curveballs in life. Who hasn’t? I have worked a variety of jobs, from applications engineer, research assistant, and registered nurse. I am a writer now and I feel that I have found my passion, my purpose in life. As for any other quirk I might have? Although I was born right-handed, I edit left-handed. I can write an intelligible scrawl as a lefty.