“Payback” to be Released on March 17
By JENNIKA INGRAM | Reporter
The suspense leading up to the scheduled release of Palisadian Ronald Barak’s latest thriller novel “Payback”—scheduled out March 17—is palpable in a new YouTube series aimed at raising the visibility of the book launch.
The YouTube series, “Writing a Murderer,” predicated on real world serial killers, was created so that the author could encourage people to read “Payback,” which is about fictional serial killers.
The eight-episode series runs March 3 through 27, released Fridays and Tuesdays at 3 p.m.
“Payback” marks the Castellammare resident and author’s third book in the Brooks/Lotello Thriller Series. Barak’s thriller book series will include four books, with the final installment, “JK’s Code,” to be released in 2021.
“I write novels I hope are always page turners, exciting stories, and I also try and make them very timely,” Barak said to the Palisadian-Post.
Barak wasn’t always a novelist but he has long been an accomplished person. As a U.S. national gymnastics champion, Barak competed in eight events at the 1964 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, Japan.
At the time, he was a senior at the University of Southern California and the NCAA National Champion in the all-around.
Barak attended USC law school and later, in the 1980s, he decided to write a non-fiction book about foreign investment in U.S. real estate, he shared with the Post.
When the well-received non-fiction book was translated into Japanese, it flew off the shelves because of his experience as a competitor in the 1964 Olympics, Barak explained.
Barak then became a local real estate attorney and experienced courtroom lawyer.
Raised in West Los Angeles, Barak met his wife, Barbie, at Hamilton High School. The two have been married 55 years, with two decades spent in the Palisades.
“I play golf with a group of about 40 people on Wednesdays and we have lunch afterward,” Barak shared.
When one person suggested Barak would not be capable of writing a novel, he said that’s all it took.
Quietly and secretly, Barak set forth to write his first fiction book—a bestseller at that.
Best Thrillers Magazine listed “The Amendment Killer” as one of the top 21 thriller mystery novels for the 21st century on October 27, 2019.
“‘The Amendment Killer’ was about an amendment to the U.S. Constitution designed to reel in political corruption,” Barak said of the book, which came out in November 2017. “It took me about one year to write.”
Next, he wrote the prequel, “The Puppet Master,” which came out in January 2019.
“The second one, ‘The Puppet Master,’ was about a vigilante serial killer, killing corrupt politicians,” Barak added. “‘Payback’ … takes a bit of a bend in the road and is closer to home.”
In his latest book, D.C. trial court judge Cyrus Brooks and homicide detective Frank Lotello attend a writer’s conference in the South of Spain.
“Cyrus Brooks’ wife, Eloise, is very protective of Cyrus and he is a retired U.S. district court judge—he’s not James Bond,” Barak explained. “He and Lotello keep getting into these life-threatening situations. She’s very unhappy about that.”
For their 55th wedding anniversary, Eloise gives Cyrus and Lotello a trip to a one-week writing conference at a luxury hotel off the coast of Spain.
“She wants Cyrus Brooks to develop a new career writing political thrillers and not living them,” Barak said. “What happens is that they get there and Brooks is supposed to be learning how to write thriller novels.”
But when a wannabe writer serial killer shows up at the conference and people start disappearing, the pair finds themselves back in the center of the action.
Pre-orders of “Payback” will include free copies of his earlier books.
For more information, visit ronaldsbarak.com.
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