Monday, April 9, 2018




You do the thing you were trained to do. You fight back or you die.

That’s the situation ex-Navy SEAL Trace Austin faces when the President of the United States decides to eliminate the five people who know his deadly secret — a secret so disturbing that should it ever be revealed, it will send the President to prison for the rest of his life.

Trace knows the President’s secret. He is one of the five people the President must eliminate before he leaves Office and gives up his powers as President.

But Trace will not go quietly. He will fight back against all efforts to get rid of him in this  edge of the seat, action-packed second book in the Trace Austin suspense thriller series that is full of twists and turns you won’t see coming.

Because Trace has no other choice.

When the President of the United States wants you dead, there is no place to hide. You resist or you die.

Book Details:

Title: No Place to Hide

Author’s name: Steven M. Roth

Genre: Suspense/Thriller

Series: Trace Austin, book 2

Publisher: Blackstone Press (January 2018)

Page count: 293


Steve, tell us about your series. Is this book a standalone, or do readers need to read the series in order?

Trace Austin is an ex-Navy SEAL who gets caught up in two bad situations not of his making in the first two books.

No Place to Hide
is the second book in my suspense/thriller series featuring ex-Navy SEAL, Trace Austin. It is not necessary to read the first book (No Safe Place) in order to enjoy this book, but there are some reveals in this book that are likely more meaningful if you’ve read the first book. If you are going to read them both, I recommend reading them in order.

I currently am doing my research and background reading for the third Trace Austin book.

Where’s home for you?                       
Washington, D.C.                                                                                                                          

Where did you grow up?                                                                                                
Margate New Jersey (a small town on the same 12-mile-long island as is Atlantic City); then, when I was 16, we moved to a suburb of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, called Cheltenham.

What do you love about where you live? 
Availability of museums, other culture, ability to walk to most places.                                              

What’s the most valuable thing you’ve learned?                                                          
Persistence pays off in most matters in life.

How true is that! Who would you pick to write your biography?   
David McCullough (except that I enjoy his work so much I would feel bad about boring him).

Ha! What is the most daring thing you've done?                                                                       
Defied my father when I was 17 years old when he refused to sign a permission slip for me to sky dive. I forged his signature, then took the dive and was terrified as I crawled out along the wing to jump, as well as terrified all the way down. Apparently, I do not have that so-called risk gene!

What is the stupidest thing you've ever done?                                                                  
See above. The end of the story is that I had a classmate over to Thanksgiving dinner a while later who did not know I had forged my father’s signature on the permission slip. He talked at dinner about how much he and I had hated our sky dives. I shudder, even as I write this all these years later, as I recall looking up from my dinner plate at my father, who nodded once as he looked at me, and said, “Interesting.” I had to live all through that slow, very long holiday dinner with the anticipation of explaining all this to my father after my friend went home.

Yikes! What’s one thing that you wish you knew as a teenager that you know now (other than not to forge your dad's signature)?   
That I would have liked to pursue a career as a writer rather than as an attorney.

What makes you bored?                                                                                                    
People who think they are engaging in a conversation with you when all they are doing is talking about themselves. Also, people who insist on talking about politics even after I have indicated I am not interested.

What choices in life would you like to have a redo on?                                                            
Career (becoming a writer rather than a lawyer).

What makes you excited?                                                                                             
Researching a new book; then starting that new book.

Do you have another job outside of writing?                                                                    
No. Retired from private law practice.

What brings you sheer delight?                                                                                           
Spending time with our 8-year-old grandson. Also, watching the sheer joy my wife has from anticipating when she will be with him, and then watching her and him actually together.

Would you rather be a lonely genius, or a sociable idiot?  
Lonely genius. Definitely.

What’s one of your favorite quotes?                                                                                         
“If you are in a hurry, dress slowly.” Found by me in a fortune cookie in a restaurant in Newfane, Vermont, in 1976 or 1977.  It still makes sense to me.

What would you like people to say about you after you die?                                     
That I was fair, honest, interesting, and also talented as a writer. That I was a good husband and friend to my wife, and was a good, loving father to our son and a good, loving grandfather.

What would your main character say about you?                                                                
I am too hard on him.

How did you create the plots for the books in your Trace Austin series–No Safe Place and No Place to Hide?
I engaged in the important “What if” process after reading a newspaper clip about the government having experimented with some of its citizens during the Cold War. This gave rise to the first book. The current book was a natural extension of the ending of the first one.

Is your book based on real events?                                                                                     
Not based on real events, but inspired by several. See above.

Are you like any of your characters? 
Yes. Somewhat like Trace Austin and like Socrates Cheng (Socrates Cheng mystery series) in terms of my core values.

With what five real people would you most like to be stuck in a bookstore? 
Michael Connelly, Winston Churchill, FDR, David McCullough, and Natasha Tretheway.

Who are your favorite authors?                                                                                     
Fiction: Michael Connelly, James Lee Burke, Tobias Wolfe, Lawrence Block, Pat Conroy, Joseph Conrad, Richard Stark (a/k/a Donald Westlake), Joyce Carol Oats.

Poets: Theodore Roethke, Kim Addonizio, Natasha Tretheway, Phillip Levine, and Edna St. Vincent Millay.

Biographers: David Herbert Donald; David McCullough

What book are you currently reading and in what format? 
Trotsky in New York 1917 by Kenneth D. Ackerman. Hardcover.

What’s one pet peeve you have when you read?                                                                    
Authors who do not fact-check their books.

Do you have a routine for writing? 
Yes. Research in the morning; writing and/or editing in the afternoon. Marketing in the evening.

Where and when do you prefer to do your writing?                                                            
I outline chapters in great detail at Starbucks (I like the noise and activity around me as I do this). I write the chapters based on these outlines either at home (with music in the background) or in the library at the Cosmos Club, a private, cultural club in Washington. I read copy and edit back at Starbucks. I input my edits and revise either at home or at the Cosmos Club.

What’s the best compliment you’ve ever received about your writing?           
Someone I did not know came up to me at Starbucks and said he had read my books (I had three out at that time) and asked if I would stay at Starbucks while he went home to retrieve the books so I could sign them for him when he brought them to me.

Wow! That's awesome. Where is your favorite library, and what do you love about it?                                  
The Philadelphia Free Library. I haven’t been there since I was 18 years old, but even as I write this I recall its smell, its overpowering sense of warmth, and just how inspired I felt as I wandered among its shelves (you could do that in those days). It also instilled in me a life-long love of books as objects, not just for their content.

What’s the worst thing someone has said about your writing? How did you deal with it?                                                                                                                                              
A woman who reviewed my first book (Mandarin Yellow), which mostly takes place in Washington’s Chinatown, said it had too many Chinese characters (people, not letters) in it. I went back to the book and made a list of those characters I would eliminate and/or combine into fewer if I could, in hopes of learning something useful. There were none. I had already thanked the woman for her comment at the time, but later recalled the statement in the show Amadeus when Mozart’s patron rejected a new composition Mozart had written because it had “too many notes.” 

Perfect! What would your dream office look like?
Spacious! Big desk where I could spread out my manuscript and research materials, and leave them out as long as necessary. Many book shelves, with reference books within easy reach. Music speakers close by rather than in another room so I would not have to have the volume turned up as I now do. Good lighting. Everything I am missing in my cramped little home condominium office (that also doubles as a guest bedroom).

What are you working on now?
A third series – a mystery series – that takes place in Shanghai in the 1930s. The first book, Death in the Flowery Kingdom, takes place in 1935. I have projected a least four, and likely five or six books, in the series, ending in 1941 or 1942 when all of Shanghai came under Japanese occupation. The protagonist -– Sun-jin --  is a municipal police detective.

I also am currently doing the background reading for the third Trace Austin book which I will write when I have completed Death in the Flowery Kingdom.


Socrates Cheng mystery series:
The Mourning Woman                                                  
The Counterfeit Twin

Trace Austin suspense/thriller series:

No Safe Place


Steve has written a three-book mystery series featuring his Chinese/Greek/American private eye — Socrates Cheng — and a two-book thriller/suspense series featuring ex-Navy SEAL, Trace Austin. He currently is working on the first book in a new mystery series that takes place in Shanghai in the 1930s.
Steve holds a bachelor's degree in philosophy and history from Pennsylvania State University and a law degree from Duke Law School. He is retired from law practice and lives with his wife in Washington, DC.

Connect with Steve:
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