Character Guest Post: Lisa Carson of Lance Charnes' ZRADA #characterday


Today is character guest post day! We have Lisa Carson from Lance Charnes' new action adventure novel, ZRADA. Enjoy!

Yeah, writing. Not my favorite.

Guess I should start with the name. “Lisa Carson” isn’t my real name. It’s the one on the passport I travel on the most. My real name is Lara Tarasenko. “Lara” is a nickname. I don’t like my real first name – it’s too girly. When I was in the Toronto Police Service, I married Ron Carson, another cop. I didn’t use his name when I wore his ring, but I figured the dumb son of a bitch owed me something for being a crappy husband, so I borrowed his last name for the passport Rodievsky got me after I started working for him.

I can’t remember ever not wanting to be a cop. Pops was a cop in Ukraine back when it was still the Soviet Union, then worked security for oil companies when he and Mom moved to Alberta in the ‘70s. When he was home, I’d follow him around and bug him with questions. Sometimes he’d take me on patrol in the oil fields near home. I was so proud when I swore into TPS – I’d nailed my dream job.

But the guy cops treated women cops like total shit when they weren’t grabbing our asses. That didn’t stop even after I married Ron. I was already in good shape from hockey and rugby and farm work when I joined the service, and I started doing this insane workout to get strong enough to hold my own with the guys. They got the message after I decked a few of them when they groped me or said stupid shit.

What, bad language? Poor you. Get used to it. This is how cops talk. I’m keeping it clean for you.

I wore the badge for thirteen years. I’d have liked to stay longer. I was a detective in Organized Crime Enforcement, going after this Russian mafiya pakhan called Gennady Rodievsky. We tried to bust him, but a bent superintendent warned him and he got away. TPS blamed me based on nothing real and turfed me out. I was the crooked cop, the snitch. Then I found out Pops owed Rodievsky a shit-ton of money and hadn’t been paying it back. Knowing what happened to people like Pops, I made a deal with Rodievsky to take over the debt. Now I’m kinda his personal troubleshooter. He takes money off my tab when I do jobs for him. I doubt I’ll ever get free of him, but at least Pops won’t get his head cut off.

Allyson found me a year later. She owns the DeWitt Agency. They “fill needs” for rich people and organizations. I get to go to some pretty dope places and it’s not all dealing with Russian shitbags. My last couple of big projects were about crimes involving art. Allyson partnered me with this guy Matt, who’s an ex-con who worked in a crooked gallery in L.A. It was kinda rough between us to start, but we worked it out mostly. I learned a lot.

What else? This thing in Ukraine. I finally got to see “the old country.” It was nothing like what Mom and Pops told me growing up. The places I went were kinda shitholes, and I was busy most of the time. You’ll see why if you read the book. But the countryside reminded me of growing up on the prairie. That was weird for me – I was thinking about things I normally never bother with.

That’s enough. I gotta go – Allyson’s calling.

Title: ZRADA
Author: Lance Charnes
Publisher: Wombat Group Media
Pages: 335
Genre: Action / Adventure / Thriller

Two priceless paintings. Two million euros. A civil war. What could go wrong?

The DeWitt Agency assigned disgraced ex-cop Carson a simple job: carry two briefcases of cash to swap for two artworks stolen from a German museum. Except nothing’s simple in the Donbass, the breakaway Ukrainian region overrun by militias, warlords, and bandits.

After a brutal zrada – betrayal – Carson finds herself alone and hunted forty miles behind the front lines with half the money, one of the paintings, and a huge target hung on her back. The militia behind the exchange thinks she blew up their deal and wants the money and her hide. Her co-workers were in on the double-cross. And the Agency can’t send help into the hottest war in Europe.

Carson’s never been one to wait to be rescued. She hires Galina – a tough local with a harrowing past and a taste for revenge – to help her cut through every checkpoint, freelance army, crooked cop, and firefight between her and the West. But the road to safety is long and poorly paved. A vengeful militia commander, a Russian special-forces operator with an agenda, and her own ex-colleagues have Carson in their crosshairs.

Carson’s life is now worth less than a suitcase of money or paint on a plank…but if they want to take it from her, she’s going to make them pay.


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Lance Charnes has been an Air Force intelligence officer, information technology manager, computer-game artist, set designer, and Jeopardy! contestant, and is now an emergency management specialist. He’s had training in architectural rendering, terrorist incident response, and maritime archaeology, though not all at the same time. His Facebook author page features spies, archaeology, and art crime.

Lance is the author of the DeWitt Agency Files series of international art-crime novels (The CollectionStealing Ghosts, and Chasing Clay), the international thriller Doha 12, and the near-future thriller South. All are available in trade paperback and digital editions.