As I approached my prime, I developed the powerful urge to write thrillers. My wife harbored the absurd suspicion midlife crisis had struck, because I was bound in those days to courtroom and desk at the U.S. Attorney’s Office. So my dream remained just that for a long time. As soon as I retired, though, we moved to Arizona and I took things in hand by enrolling in a workshop for wannabe authors. German is my native tongue, not English, and my experience as an author consisted of the publication of a couple of student papers and law journal articles, plus cranking out numberless legal pleadings and briefs. What was I thinking?
The workshop was a bust, but it did push me into tackling my first book, The Stasi File – Opera and Espionage: A Deadly Combination, in which, following the age-old advice to “write what you know,” I wove together the unlikely combination of a German upbringing, a lifelong love of opera and my experiences as an attorney. After a beginning that seemed to take forever, I was surprised when the challenge of creating characters and building a plot that was real and intriguing started to take over my waking hours, and a few sleeping ones too.
My skill and talent developed quickly, but there were many times they seemed almost superfluous--I was too busy holding on tight as "my" characters and their actions took over and went their own ways, leaving me to serve as their scribe and menial servant. What a journey!
"The Stasi File" was named a finalist for Book of the Year by the British Arts Council sponsored website YouWriteOn.com, and is ranked a bestseller by the site. The novel was a quarter finalist in the 2011 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Contest. Reviews and reader comments on the book include "breathtaking roller coaster ride," and "comparable to the books of Clancy, Ludlum and Follett."
The sequel, "Kiss of the Shaman's Daughter," pits The Stasi File protagonists, Sylvia and Rolf, against ruthless smugglers of Indian artifacts during Sylvia's engagement at the Santa Fe Opera, interweaving as subplot the story of thirteen-year old Indian girl, Teya, during the Pueblo Indian Revolt of 1680 that drove the Spanish from New Mexico.
The fierce cold-war espionage battle between East and West Germany inspired me to write my third novel, "Red Romeo." The plot takes the reader inside the Stasi spymaster's ingenious method of unleashing his small army of spy gigolos on lonely women working in the West German government's most secret divisions.
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by Peter Bernhardt
The summer of 1977 finds divided Germany locked in a fierce espionage battle. West Germany’s premier spy hunter, ambitious SABINE MAIER, faces off against ruthless Stasi General WERNER HEINRICH. Sabine has filled half a prison with her prodigious arrests of communist spies. Heinrich is the mastermind behind a small army of spy gigolos who prey on lonely women working in the West German government.
Kiss of the Shaman's Daughter
by Peter Bernhardt
When a Washington trial lawyer and a budding opera diva are pressed into searching for a missing archaeologist in the Santa Fe hills, they not only encounter ruthless antiquities traffickers, but find their fates intertwined with that of a shaman’s daughter, who centuries earlier played a crucial role in the Pueblo Indian Revolt that drove the Spanish from New Mexico.
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Smashwords book reviews by Peter Bernhardt
One Promise Too Many
on Aug. 06, 2011
Rick Bylina has created a memorable character in Detective Roger Stark whose desperate race against time to save a kidnapped girl will grip the reader from start to finish. Stark not only must work with a new partner who has his own issues, but he must also overcome his own past as a cop who failed to prevent a boy's drowning and a murder. Bylina has made the detective so human and likeable that the reader will instantly pull for him as the twists and turns of the fast moving plot keep Stark and his partner off balance. The characters are vividly drawn, the settings are well painted, and the story line advances at breakneck pace toward a climactic finale. Bylina is a master at creating tension, conflict and drama without having to resort to gratuitous violence and obscenities. If you like a story that compels you to turn the page, this book is for you.
Peter Bernhardt, Author: The Stasi File - Opera and Espionage: A Deadly Combination, Quarter Finalist 2011 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Contest. Sequel: Teya's Kiss.