Monday, June 3, 2019

Playing Book Trivia with Michael Houtz, Author of Dark Spiral Down

It’s time to play... 
Periodically, we scour the Internet for interesting authors who would like to play Book Trivia with us.  By answering our book trivia questions, we get to learn things about the author no one else knows!  So, let’s get ready…let’s play…Book Trivia!

Today our guest author is Michael Houtz, author of the new international thriller, Dark Spiral Down.  

In the movie Castaway, if Tom Hanks unearthed a copy of Dark Spiral Down, how would that help Tom find a way off the island?

The most important thing for any survival situation is a positive mental attitude. A human can perform miracles, if the mind believes. Tom would become inspired by the book’s characters, and the life and death struggles they must overcome to achieve success. Staring at the ocean, his only thought would be “breast stroke or backstroke?”

Everyone knows Miley Cyrus is now the wild child in the music business.  But she read your book and wants to let you know that it changed her life for the better.  Why did your book give Miley a new lease on life?

She would see the different path the main character, Cole Haufner, takes for stardom. He is reserved, takes no credit for his success, and is a gentleman to even his toughest opponents—even while taking them apart in the ring. This unassuming approach brings Cole more fame than any other tactic. She could garner even more fans if she changed her ways.

A homeless man was caught stealing your book
out of a bookstore.  When asked why he did it, he opened the book and pointed a passage out.  What was that passage? 

“He is a famous American! If you take him, the government will arrest anyone involved. They will have no choice but hold immediate trials and executions.” Master Li cupped his hands together and held them against his chest.
“Famous American,” the man chuckled. “If you are so famous, what are you doing here then, huh?”
Cole stared straight into the man’s eyes. He took several steps toward the shotgun-wielding thug. “How about I show you?”

You are being pulled over for speeding.  When the officer asks you for your license and you discover you left it at home, you decide to pull out your book instead.  What do you tell the officer?

“I want to report a crime in progress! Millions of readers across our great Nation, the world in-fact, are unaware of this novel. It’s your duty as a patriot, a law enforcer, to get on the radio and alert the world’s citizens!”

Superman has decided to pull out one of your characters to be his sidekick.  Who is it and why?

He chooses the main protagonist, Cole Haufner. Cole spent his youth at a Shaolin Temple and is thoughtful, reserved, and calm. Superman would feel that kinship in a similar tempered human. He also realizes, when the going gets tough, Cole can lay down some serious smack. He’d make Lex Luther cry like a hungry infant.

You have a chance to appear on the hit talent show for authors, American Book Idol, and the mighty judges will determine whether your book will make it to Hollywood and become a big screenplay.  What would impress them more – your book cover, an excerpt or your best review – and why?

Yes. Oh, you want just one. My best review. When a leader in the industry gives a glowing review, that knowledgeable, independent assessment of my book gives credence to what’s inside that cool cover. I’ve been extremely fortunate and count my blessings everyday my reviewers found the novel a great read.

The Arbor Day Foundation has decided to pick one tree in your honor because of your writing brilliance.  What kind of tree is it and why did they choose that tree in relation to your book?

A Tallow tree. They are indigenous to southeast China—the book’s setting. They even make it into a scene description. No brainer.

You have five seconds to tell us who the greatest author of all time is.  In your opinion, who would that be?

Tolkien. No one has ever built a better world nor written something so timeless that captures our imaginations better than him. Hemingway probably just flipped me off.

You have been told your book has won one free year on a billboard in any one state.  What state do you feel would be best for your book and why?

Texas. One of the characters is a Delta Force operator who played football at Univ. of Texas. We all know that state cranks out some badass Americans. Texans appreciate American heroes and what they mean to our country’s freedom and way of life. 

Finally, you just got word that your book has received the 2013 NY Times Bestselling Book Award and you have to attend the ceremony at the Four Seasons Hotel in Manhattan.  Anyone who’s anyone will be there and it’s your shot for stardom.  On stage, you must give an acceptance speech.  What would you say and who would you thank?

“I’m the luckiest man on earth. And luck can be created with hard work and persistence—two ingredients I strove for every day. I felt a duty to produce a manuscript worthy of reader’s expectations and of their choice of how they spent their valuable time. I only want to know that they were glad they chose to read my book.

I want to thank the writers that came before me and who inspired my own creative thoughts. Most important, I thank my family for bringing meaning to my life and sharing in the excitement of reaching my goal as a published author.”

Inside the Book

Dark Spiral Down


COLE HAUFNER is a reluctant superstar in the professional mixed martial arts world. After his latest fight, his wife and child perish in a car crash. His grief deepens when his brother, BUTCH, a Delta Force operator, is absent from the funeral and reported missing by two furtive strangers who show up unannounced at the burial. Despairing, and acting on a tip, Cole travels to his childhood home in southeast China, looking for his brother.

Butch and his teammate, HAMMER, are the sole American survivors of a gun battle between their unit and North Korean commandos, both sides fighting over possession of a stolen suitcase containing a miniaturized fusion device that could either provide unlimited clean energy or be converted to an undetectable bomb seven times more powerful than a nuclear explosion. Leading the North Koreans is the sociopath, Commander PARK. Pressed into helping the Koreans is a disgraced former CIA operative, BARRETT JENNINGS.

Cole meets with the uncle who raised him, MASTER LI, and is warned to stop his search for Butch. Barrett discovers Cole’s identity (with the help of a genius computer hacker, LILLY), which opens a twenty-year-old wound when Barrett was blamed for the disappearance of Cole’s father, along with the man’s invention. Barrett enlists the 14K organized crime syndicate to help capture Cole. Hammer, separated from Butch during the fight for the device, thwarts the gang’s attempt to kidnap Cole, and the two then set off to find Butch and the device. All parties converge on the city library where Butch, now disguised as a monk, is attempting to communicate with the Pentagon. Barrett and Park capture Butch, while the 14K gang nabs Cole.

Danger mounts as Chinese authorities begin investigating foul play within their borders. Cole fights his way free of the gang and reunites with Hammer.  Both men find Barrett’s apartment and discover Lilly (the man’s stepdaughter), who divulges Barrett’s identity and plan. Cole clashes with Hammer, who is willing to sacrifice Butch in order to recover the fusion device. Lilly offers her help in exchange for her and Barrett’s rescue from Park’s grip. Meanwhile, Barrett discovers the true nature of the case the North Koreans are pursuing and, sensing he and Lilly are to be assassinated by Park once he has the device, frees Butch. Butch, trusting Barrett was sent to rescue him, leads the turncoat to the site where he hid the device. Barrett, hoping to make a quick fortune selling it, shoots Butch before escaping with the case.

Cole, along with Hammer and Lilly, arrives at the location of Butch and finds him gravely wounded. Butch fingers Barrett for shooting him and for stealing the case. Cole wants only to save his brother but Butch makes him promise to kill Barrett and recover their dad’s invention. The revelation that the device is his father’s scientific discovery propels Cole forward to fulfill his brother’s mission. Cole is forced to abandon Butch at a hospital. Cole pursues Barrett to a remote dock where the ex-CIA man is planning to escape China by boat. With the Chinese military now actively looking for Cole, Cole confronts Barrett and Park sparking a gunfight. Barrett kills Park. As Barrett turns the gun on Cole, Hammer kills Barrett. Cole, Hammer and Lilly escape via the boat, and the fusion device is safely returned.


“If you’re in the market for a fast paced, action filled, page-turning thriller, Mike Houtz delivers a must-read novel. I highly recommend this emotional rollercoaster of a book for every die-hard thriller reader…Get it ASAP!”
~Lima Charlie Review
“…this work proves that author Houtz is undoubtedly a rising star in the publishing world.”
~Andrea Brunais, Author
“Mike Houtz takes us on fast-pace adventure in Dark Spiral Down, a thrilling ride along the border between China and North Korea, where Cole Haufner is in pursuit of his Delta Force brother and a device that has the potential to change the world forever or destroy it.”
~Dan Grant, Author
Dark Spiral Down is a phenomenal debut novel by Mike Houtz. This book has everything readers of the genre love: a great plot, memorable characters, and a powerful voice. It’s a must-read!”
~Ammar Habib, Bestselling & Award-Winning Author, Editor-in-Chief of Thriller Magazine



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