“A shadow passed behind a tree, bigger than any animal. He propped himself up against a rock, too exhausted to move any farther, closing his eyes and waiting to die. He could see tomorrow’s headlines declaring his death as a mugging gone wrong.”

–From The Desire Card by Lee Matthew Goldberg

Lee Matthew Goldberg is the author of SLOW DOWN and THE MENTOR (St. Martin’s Press), which was acquired by Macmillan Entertainment with the film in development. He has been published in multiple languages and nominated for the 2018 Prix du Polar. The first two books in a thriller series, THE DESIRE CARD and PREY NO MORE, are forthcoming from Fahrenheit Press in winter 2019. His pilots and screenplays have been finalists in Script Pipeline, Stage 32, We Screenplay, the New York Screenplay, Screencraft, and the Hollywood Screenplay contests. After graduating with an MFA from the New School, his writing has also appeared in the anthology DIRTY BOULEVARD, The Millions, The Montreal Review, The Adirondack Review, Essays & Fictions, The New Plains Review, and others. He is the co-curator of The Guerrilla Lit Reading Series (guerrillalit.wordpress.com). He lives in New York City. Follow him at leematthewgoldberg.com and @LeeMatthewG.

Any wish fulfilled for the right price. That’s the promise the Desire Card gives to its elite clients. But if the Card doesn’t feel like they’ve been justly compensated, the “price” will be more menacing than the clients could ever imagine.

Harrison Stockton learns this lesson all too well. Harrison has lived an adult life of privilege and excess: a high-powered job on Wall Street along with a fondness for alcohol and pills, and a family he adores, yet has no time for. All of this comes crashing to a halt when he loses his executive job and discovers he has liver cirrhosis with mere months left to live.

After finding himself far down on the donor list, Harrison takes matters into his own hands. This decision sparks a gritty and gripping quest that takes him to the slums of Mumbai in search of a black market organ and forces him under the Desire Card’s thumb. When his moral descent threatens his wife and children, Harrison must decide whether to save himself at any cost, or do what’s right and put a stop to the Card.

THE DESIRE CARD is a taut international thriller that explores what a man will do to survive when money isn’t always enough to get everything he desires. It’s the first book in a series followed by PREY NO MORE that focuses on other people indebted to this sinister organization, where the actual price is the cost of one’s soul.

Interview:

Welcome, Lee!  Your crime/suspense novel, The Desire Card, sounds thrilling!  Why did you decide to write a whole series around a sinister organization where the actual price of being in the organization is the cost of one’s soul?

Lee: The sinister organization has a motto, Any wish fulfilled for the right price. The book came about when I thought of a character so desperate to attain his wish that he would do anything for it. And of course, some evil company would come up with idea to make money off of desperation.

Can you tell us a little about the main characters in The Desire Card?

Lee: The main character is Harrison Stockton, who works on Wall Street in Mergers & Acquisitions. He has a wife Helene and two kids who he never sees. His goal in glife has been the sole pursuit of money along with drinking and pills. When he finds out his has liver cirrhosis, he assums he can just pay to get to get a new one. But after being placed far down on the donor list, he resorts to more unsavory measures to get a new liver.

They say all books of fiction have at least one pivotal point where the reader just can’t put the book down. What is one of the pivotal points in your book?

Lee: There are a few big twists in the book that the readers will not see coming. One takes place about halfway through. The other about 2/3rds into it and then a final big twist at the end. I like twists so if someone reads a book a second time they can see all the clues that foreshadow the twists. And thrillers must keep readers turning the pages.

Do your novels carry a message or written for pure entertainment?

Lee: I would say entertainment first, message second. I want readers to be transported into another world but also to think. I would say this book is a literary thriller. It is certainly a page-turner, but also about morality. We might think we know our own morals, but in times of desperation, we might not be as ethically sound as we think.

Can you tell us what was it like when you saw your book cover for the first time?

Lee: I just saw it! I absolutely love it. It is ominous and eye-catching. The design team at Fahrenheit Press did a fantastic job getting the feel for the book.

What did you want to become when you were a kid?

Lee: I have always wanted to be a writer. Since I was about six, I was writing stories. I remember one about my dog and a cat staying at a spooky hotel.

Where is your happy place when you are writing? You know – the place where imagination flows and a feel good environment to write your books?

Lee: My happy place is definitely writing in Central Park, which I call my outdoor office. From about April through November, I have a few spots in the park where I bring my laptop and write under a tree. The Desire Card was written during a mild winter where I bundled up and wrote it wearing gloves.

Where is your happy place when you just want to unwind?

Lee: I love the beach and to travel. Traveling is really the only time I take a break from writing. I love Santa Monica beach. I go there a lot.

Is there anything you’d like to tell your readers and fans?

Lee: If you are looking for a fast-paced, high-stakes thriller that will also make you think, The Desire Card is for you. It will also be the first book in a series. The second book Prey No More will be coming out soon. I have finished a draft of the third book and I am working on the fourth book right now, which is an origin story of the sinister organization set in 1978.

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