James E. McCarthy

James E. McCarthy is a retired Private Investigator and Tax Practitioner born and raised in Orlando, Florida. After High School he worked for TWA as a Mail Courier at the Kennedy Space Center. He volunteered for the U.S. Army during the Vietnam era and was sent to West Germany. Upon returning home he attended Tallahassee Community College graduating with an AA Degree in Clinical Psychology then further his education by attending Southern College obtaining an AA Degree in Computer Programming then attended the University of Central Florida, graduating with  ...See more >

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"He would turn into a Goddamn Chameleon if it was a question of surviving."

Kirkus Reviews


Pinnacle Book Achievement Award, 2017: SIN & REDEMPTION: THE PINK ELEPHANT CONNECTION

Hometown Orlando, Florida

Favorite author Sidney Sheldon

Favorite book The Best Laid Plans

Day job Tax Consultant

Favorite line from a book Make My Day

Favorite word Love

Unexpected skill or talent Writer

Passion in life To live long and prosper


Pub Date:
ISBN: 978-1-944136-00-0
Page count: 280pp

A debut novel delivers a journey through poverty and the heroin trade.

Leo Stegner is no stranger to illegal activities. Not only is his father involved with the Mafia through his gambling habit and efforts to pay his debts, but Leo has had a great deal of success as part of an auto-theft ring as well. But when his father and the head of the gang of robbers die in rapid succession, Leo resolves to alter his destructive course even as he vows revenge for his father’s murder. But despite going legit as a courier and later joining the military, Leo ends up deeper in the underworld than when he started; he’s now part of the international heroin market. Traveling throughout the world, running up against danger at every turn, Leo considers himself adaptable: “He would turn into a Goddamn Chameleon if it was a question of surviving.” But when he’s finally caught and convicted, turning his life around once and for all from the inside of a cell is the greatest—and most permanent—transformation he could ever imagine. McCarthy’s tale manages to paint an optimistic picture of what is possible when someone truly decides to change. The novel’s matter-of-fact prose style and fast pace serve the story well, giving a broad perspective on significant events in the United States in the latter part of the 20th century as well as the more personal circumstances that make Leo the man he is. Even so, the book is not without its emotional moments, as when Leo faces trial or when his dreams of retribution come to a head in the prison yard. The senses of anger and despair are palpable and should resonate with readers who’ve been down on their luck, especially any who are familiar with stories of inmates and rehabilitation. That said, as Leo’s life connects him with the space race, the Vietnam War, the introduction of Chinese heroin on American soil, and the war on drugs, even readers uninterested in prison stories will likely find plenty to recommend in this complex narrative.

A rare, hopeful crime story that also manages to be deeply honest.


True Crime

Same as the hard cover version only no pictures or photos

ISBN: 978-1-944136-02-4 (Kindle)
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