Hi, I publish my writing as Robert Schobernd.
My wife and I have three children, five grandchildren and five great grandchildren. When I'm not writing we share the work that an extensively landscaped yard requires. Our home is in the Midwest, northeast of St. Louis Mo.
Currently I have seven ebooks published at Smashwords. Six are in the crime category and one is a love story.
My crime stories started with a trilogy character study detailing an assassin’s rise and fall. The trilogy title is Irrevocable Change and the individual books are: Reverse Metamorphosis, The Assassin Evolves and The Devil's Homecoming. These stories are about coarse criminals and focus on the life experiences of an assassin. The language is rough and the actions are explicit. The story involves murder, torture, rape, and incest. Please don’t read the books if you are repulsed by these actions.
The first series I’ve written is the Carter A. Johnson novels. They depict a vigilante who invokes double jeopardy on criminals he determines to be guilty. The first is, The Blonde Heiress, a novella length introduction to the series. The second novel is The Dogtrot Murder. The story follows the prison internment of a wife convicted of killing her husband and Carter’s efforts to free her.
In another change of genre I wrote a short, very dark thriller, titled 59 Hours. I’ll give you a hint; some people bloom, wilt and die in fifty nine hours.
Even the love story has a crime as the catalyst for love to be tested and eventually triumph. The title is Choices: Karolyn's Story. It will be published by the middle of March, 2014. This novel was originally published as a short story The Agreement but has been expanded to let the characters grow.
My next work in progress is the third Carter A. Johnson novel. The title is Cape Abigail and its setting is Maine.
Thank you, I hope you enjoy my stories.
on Dec. 01, 2012 :
My God! This book is exciting and scary. I loved it. I wonder if cold blooded killers can really be this dangerous and still have ties to normal friends and families as depicted? The scene where Ron Weaver was attacked was intense as it gave his feelings when he was shot and dying. I liked that the assassin isn't perfect, he makes mistakes just like the rest of us. A great read.
(reviewed the day of purchase)
on Nov. 24, 2012 :
An excellent read. Down and dirty. Long enough that it took me three long evenings to finish. Well defined characters. The story flows well and I like the details of the hits. I recommend it if you like in depth crime stories.
(reviewed the day of purchase)
Kristi (Books N Beans)
on April 10, 2012 :
Is it nature, nurture, or environment that molds us? This is a topic that's long been debated, and the ultimate conclusion is that it's a tricky mixture of all 3. What is the trigger that allows one of these areas to outweigh the others enough to become the more powerful influence?
Clayton Albrecht (why does that name sound familiar) is a perfect example of how these 3 factors can combine into a deadly combination. Clayton's family is traditional if somewhat strict and judgmental, so he didn't get a lot of nurture. He also grew up with a best friend who's family is the mob, so his environment wasn't a great influence either. Was it either of these that lead to his nature being more accepting of committing a crime or was it just in his nature all along and these two factors only added to it?
No matter the reason why, Clayton finds his way into the position of being a contracted assassin. Reverse Metamorphosis is the first book in the Irrevocable Change trilogy by R.E. Schobernd. It examines the life events that happen to Clayton, the decisions he makes in lieu of these events, and how all of it creates a path that Clayton takes to becoming an assassin. We watch the small, ever increasing changes as Clayton starts the process of becoming a cold-blooded killer.
This book was such a fascination to read, to see Clayton's character impacted by forces within himself and outside of himself. To be in the mind of an assassin as he becomes. His planning, his skills, and his blunders as he learns his way around the art of killing. His conniving, manipulations, and his deceptions as he tries to hide his criminal life from his respectable life. And the irony! He's a criminal with morals, because he'll only take out other criminals.
The best part is that this is just the first book. You end it with Clayton issuing an ultimatum and then you get to jump right into the next one, The Assassin Evolves.
*Disclosure: I received this book for free in exchange for a review*
(review of free book)
on Nov. 01, 2011 :
It deserves 3 1/2 to 4 stars.
When I started reading the book, I was unsure what to expect. I hadn't read anything having to do with mob or assassins in the contemporary sense (only in a post-apocalyptic, dystopian urban fantasy environment).
So I started the book with an open mind and let myself get immersed in Clayton Albrecht's life during the late sixties and seventies.
Right from the start we understand that Clay is not like other people. Yes he looks like an ordinary young man, yes he is a construction worker and lives with his parents, Margaret and Walter and his sister,Lizzie, but there is a certain sense of detachment coming from him, even when he is dealing with them.
Maybe he would continue to be an ordinary man, if he is best friend wasn't Jimmy, the son of local gangster/mobster Tony Giliano and if he hadn't accidentally killed a man who attacked him late one night when he was drinking at a bar.
The killing wasn't intentional of course, and Clay did feel panic and sadness at first, but after getting over the initial shock he was able to make a decision that shaped his future.
He could contact the police and report the incident. Maybe it would be deemed an accident, but maybe he would be charged with manslaughter and that was something Clay couldn't live with.
Thus, he decided to leave the body hidden and go on his way. Like he himself said, he had a conscience just like everyone else, but unlike most others he found that he could just ignore and bury that voice inside his head at will.
There was nothing to link him to the murder so he went on with his life.
But once Jimmy, his best friend supposedly died in an accident, which he later uncovered to be an act of violence, he took the law into his hands and exerted his own kind of justice without telling anyone anything. Just like that, the barely-out-of-adolescence man, devised and executed a perfect plan meant to kill the man who pushed Jimmy to his death.
Of course, an execution like that, would attract the attention of Jimmy's father, Tony and when Clay revealed to him that he was the one who did it, he was impressed. It was, indeed, evident that Clay was a natural-born killer. :P
And a man like that could come in handy to a family like the Gilianis.
What excited me the most about this book, was the fact that it flowed quite easily and swiftly and it didn't feel stiff at all. Usually books that cover a lot of time (i.e. a whole decade) can get static at times, as the story evolves. This is not the case with this book.
We have clear characters, who are exactly what they appear to be, with no hidden motives or moments when their actions seem uncharacteristic.
On the contrary, we get to see the way people of this lifestyle lead their lives and how their life might revolve around criminal activities, but they can also maintain deep and meaningful relationships.
We don't see a lot of Jimmy, but his father Tony seems to be a strong, decisive man, who retains a sense of dignity and integrity throughout the book. Yes, he is a criminal, but he is not portrayed to use violence any more than necessary - where necessary is usually when a former employee or someone involved is on the verge of talking to the police or get too greedy. Is it easy for him to take the decision to kill someone? Yes, it is, but unlike in other situations, he isn't shown to kill someone's family to set an example or for revenge. It's only the person that crossed him.
Anna, his wife, seems quite intelligent and composed and it is quite clear that she is the force behind him. She is there to offer support and insight, which are both priceless. Later in the book we also find out that apart from the heart, she is also the brains of the whole family. I quite enjoyed every scene she was in, as she came across as classy and unassumingly efficient.
Their other children, apart from Adriana whom I grew to respect for her decisiveness and her truthfulness, seemed arrogant and hypocritical. If you are against the "family business" and you want to judge and declare your opposition and superiority, you can't accept the money coming from said business for your studies or lifestyle. That's just insulting.
Lizzie, was also a likable character that wasn't in the book that much, but towards the end she proved to be more than the frivolous, unreliable daughter. On the contrary, she supported her mother a lot when she needed it and was there for Clay, too.
As for Clay, he was by far the most impressive character of the book - even if hardly the most likable. How can a man go from ordinary and dull, to a full-time assassin, would be beyond me, had I not read this book.
Slowly but gradually, we follow Clay as he takes the grief (and sometimes the need for revenge)we would all feel over the murder or injury of a loved one, to an excuse to kill. I guess most of us have felt the urge to slap someone who hurt someone we love, but hardly do we contemplate hurting him/her and actually plan it and go through with it.
Clay, however, seems to have a knack for keeping a clear head during a time like that. He simply knows what to do in order to determine what is the best way to kill someone undetected.
The pages describing the way he watched and stalked his victims, extrapolating their most vulnerable moments from their habits are fascinating. He can literally spend days thinking of nothing else. The amount of dedication and meticulousness is unsettling and awe-worthy. At first, he is driven from the need to avenge people he cares about, which to some extent is comprehensible, but later on he becomes and assassin and can still keep his mind on the job, regardless of the fact that the person he is asked to kill hasn't done anything to him, might have a family etc.
You follow him throughout the whole planning, so everything makes sense (everything is plausible and there are no moments at which you want to roll your eyes) and works out in way that makes your head spin at how easy it could be for someone intent on killing!
And just when you think that Clay can be softie or "not all bad" he goes and does things that leave you with your mouth open. He kills the man staying at his former bootcamp instructor because he poses a threat (so it's something he has to do out of self-preservation in a way), but just before lighting the whole area on fire, he has time to grab food and beer from his fridge and even later he casually steals from his victims!
He is ruthless and headstrong and knows what to do to get what he wants...We have proof of that even in the last pages when he pushes "Adriana" into a decision.
The way he isn't shown to rationalize his actions, yet feel little to no remorse - in other words not lose any sleep over it - is chilling. And it's not even the way he is written that is chilling. It's the way he goes on with his life as if nothing has happened that stays with you the most.
One of his most impressive "feats" is killing a "potential" witness against three "families", while he is in protective custody (witness protection) at a random hotel, where he had no information whatsoever as to which room or which floor the man was in. The attention to detail, his perceptiveness and obviously his intelligence is quite astonishing.
All in all, Clay is a solid character who impresses you, but also scares you with the skill set he has and how he puts it to use. He is not immoral, he is not exactly amoral, but he isn't exactly moral either. The way he thinks about things is practical and straightforward. He has no second thoughts, he takes a decision and lives with its consequences and whatever he does, he convinces himself that it is the action he should take in order to progress in the way he wants.
He is good at killing people, so why not make money out of it?
He is smart with his investments, but he is not greedy or money-hungry. He likes the stability and security it offers. But he is also smart enough to realize that he needs something solid in his life, hence he starts his own business...
On the other hand, there are a few things that felt a bit awkward to me, while reading the book.
We do get a feel of the character, mostly when it comes to killing and "maneuvering" his life around that, but although there is no mention of him appreciating furniture etc, suddenly he decides to open and Antiques shop because he has always kind of liked it. It is of course quite convenient to pursue a profession like this since he can't get out of state without raising suspicions, but prior to that he wasn't shown to appreciate things like that. Then, when he has to murder someone in an skiing area in Canada, he has a little knowledge over that, because he used to go fishing with his step-dad. But even though he visits his parents, he is mostly there for dinner and I'm not sure a mention of fishing trips was there before. (Although he did go on fishing trips with Tony after he got his boat.)
Another instance is when his sister, Lizzie, is roofied and gang-raped and he finds out about it.
Yes, his sister might be a little fickle and have relationships with a lot of men, but that doesn't mean that she deserves something like this, especially since it wasn't her choice.
Yet, Clay feels that it could be a "lesson" to her, at first!!!
Seriously? His sister is gang-raped and it's a lesson? It was his sister and he only decided to take action and kill the man responsible, when he blackmailed Lizzie to do it again, so that he wouldn't show pictures of the incident. So it's the blackmail that went to far? The rape was "meh..."?
For someone who took the law into his own hands because his best friend was killed ad forms a deep bond with the head of a gang family, it's weird not to "avenge" his own sister, because clearly he is capable of emotions and love and devotion.
Besides, let's not forget it is the seventies, so there was this whole thing of "sexual freedom and revolution" , so his sister was hardly "that" fickle. It was a trend.
He did redeem himself later on, though when his sister revealed to him that she was a lesbian and he stood beside her.
Overall, this was an exciting first book in a series, that promises to impress you as well as scare you, because the main character, Clay is an ordinary man turned into a ruthless assassin not exactly out of necessity but out of skill!
People who enjoy a good crime read that doesn't have any plot holes and shows a deeply satisfying and meticulous attention to details, should not miss this one!
(reviewed long after purchase)
on July 23, 2011 :
This story is not for the faint of heart. The language is coarse and the violence is abundant, but not overdone considering the characters; it's what I expected in a novel about an assassin. I was drawn to the humanity of the characters and amazed by the details of the planning and executions. A lot of internal thoughts by Clay let me feel who and what he was as he turned from a nice young man into a killer. A very good read.
(reviewed within a week of purchase)
on July 18, 2011 :
Book one of the Irrevocable Change trilogy starts by introducing the initial main characters and lays a foundation for the following books. Character development is very good in that I felt like they were people of conviction and ethics; their own brand of ethics of course. The story quickly kicked into high gear as Clayton Albrecht is drawn into the criminal world through his friendship with Chicago's worst when they are attacked and he responds by performing vigilante actions. He soon discovered he was addicted to the hunt and the kill as he developed into a professional killer. The language, violence and sexual situations are rough, but I think acceptable considering the people who are portrayed. The detailed description of a hit on a crooked policeman and his emotional dying thoughts struck me as very real and I felt pity for the man. Of course later on there were even more victims to feel pity for. Another interesting feature of the writing is how Clayton's personal relationship with his family and friends is woven into his newfound profession. When I finished book one I couldn't wait to move on to book two. The tension created in the final scene made it impossible not to want to read more.
(reviewed within a week of purchase)
on May 10, 2011 :
R.E. SCHOBERND "REVERSE METAMORPHOSIS" (A REVIEW)
I often pride myself on being a fast reader and in this case I started reading this book last night around 10:00 pm and I couldn't stop. I've just finished it at 7:07 pm and decided I needed to get this review up. I can honestly say that if you like Mob stories this book is for you. It seemed to start out a little on the documentary side, a lot of narrative which was really good because R.E. gives you enough background that you aren't left in the dark when you get to the meat of the story.
Clay is a young man just turned 21 that becomes the catalyst to an unfortunate accident which involves the death of a bar patron. He soon becomes like a shark that's tasted blood and just can't let go of the leg it flows from. Soon he loses his best friend and finds out that the 'accident' that took his life was no accident at all. This entire scenario sends Clay down a path of darkness as he becomes an avenging angel. At first you can sympathize with the man and his need to gain revenge but later you begin to realize that he's tossed his life away only to become the divining hand of the Mob in his city.
Clay goes through life warring with his emotions and trying to figure out what it is he really wants. He ends up constantly losing his way and losing people he cares about all for the sake of his 'job'. This story is well written and chock full of such detail you'd think that R.E. Shobernd had lived the life himself.
This book makes you see the action as though watching it on screen and forces you to take a side. Perhaps it's just that dark part of me that we all have but in a way I still liked Clay even though his path was a dangerous and bloody one. Definitely a good read for the men out there!
(reviewed within a month of purchase)
Crescent Suns eBooks
on April 14, 2011 :
In this raw, unbridled look at how an assassin might be made, R.E. Schobernd reveals intricacies of underworld crime that suggest he might know more than he's willing to admit, except within the pages of his fictional writing.
Irrevocable Change is a chilling look into the life of an underworld hit man unlike any you have ever read before or are likely to read ever again.
For the full review on this book visit: http://crescentsunspublishing.blogspot.com/2011/04/killer-beginings.html
(review of free book)
on March 26, 2011 :
Reverse Metamorphosis is a daring and explosively written crime story. The descriptions of the scenes pulled me in and held my interest throughout the book. The central characters are ruthless but intriguing and I felt myself liking them, even though I knew I shouldn't.
(review of free book)
on Feb. 20, 2011 :
A real page turner. I was hooked from the start, and couldn't put it down.
A riveting look into the making of a hitman and an inside view of organized crime.
He makes you care about the characters.
Looking forward to reading book two and three.
(review of free book)