Monday, June 17, 2019



Cole Haufner has no equal as a professional MMA fighter. At the peak of his success, Cole suffers a horrible personal tragedy. His grief deepens when his brother, Butch, a Delta Force operator, goes missing. Desperate to find Butch, Cole travels back to his childhood home in southeastern China and the Shaolin Temple where he was raised. 

When Cole meets his brother's Delta teammate, code name Hammer, his fame and personal agenda collide with the Delta unit's mission to recover an invention that could transform the human race. It could also see its downfall, if the pursuing North Korean agents find it first. 

Cole's spiral downward approaches madness as a family secret is revealed, one that could force him to choose between his brother and one of the most important, and potentially deadliest, discoveries in modern human history.

Book Details:

Title: Dark Spiral Down

Author’s name:  Michael Houtz

Genre:  Thriller

Publisher: The Wild Rose Press (May 8, 2019)

Print length: 376 pages

On tour with: Pump Up Your Book


A few of your favorite things: puppies, children’s laughter, good friends.
Things you need to throw out: nearly my entire wardrobe, Internet troll responses

Things you need in order to write: Google, the book’s movie in my head, full stomach.
Things that hamper your writing: social media pings, my dog’s leash, doorbells

Things you love about writing: creativity, reader reactions, zero commute.
Things you hate about writing: editing while I write, computers freezing/lost files, the actual earnings per hour spent creating.

Easiest thing about being a writer: working whenever inspiration strikes
Hardest thing about being a writer: malicious criticism

Things you love about where you live: the great outdoors, the people, the sunshine.
Things that make you want to move: people migrating here from certain parts of the country who bring their poor choices with them; reduction in personal freedoms.

Things you never want to run out of: ideas, family time, Hot Tamale candy.
Things you wish you’d never bought: those damned golf clubs. The jeep I barely took offroad

Favorite foods: Crawfish ettoufe, crab legs, anything cow.
Things that make you want to throw up: coconut, green beans, gas station sushi.

Favorite beverage: DR Pepper
Something that gives you a pickle face: that Green juice my wife makes.

Favorite smell: home-baked bread.

Something that makes you hold your nose: changing a diaper pail.

Something you’re really good at: assessing a situation
Something you’re really bad at: ignoring bad behavior

Something you wish you could do: draw.
Something you wish you’d never learned to do: bite my fingernails.

Something you like to do: fishing
Something you wish you’d never done: flaming shots of Jaegger.

People you consider as heroes: our women and men in uniform
People with a big L on their foreheads: hypocrits, bullies.

Last best thing you ate: Pop-Tarts.
Last thing you regret eating: Pop-Tarts.

Things you’d walk a mile for: good book, a kiss from my wife, a friend in need.
Things that make you want to run screaming from the room: politics, my dog’s GI disturbances.

Things you always put in your books: detailed fight scenes, good triumphing.

Things you never put in your books: cats.

Things to say to an author: I’m a huge fan.

Things to say to an author if you want to be fictionally killed off in their next book: Did they publish your rough draft?

Favorite places you’ve been: Vienna, London, Budapest.

Places you never want to go to again: Paris, Jamaica.

Favorite things to do: traveling, shooting, camping
Things you’d run through a fire wearing gasoline pants to get out of doing: the dentist, PTA meetings.

Things that make you happy: on-time flights, tacos, good customer service
Things that drive you crazy: being late, open-mouth chewers.

Most embarrassing moment: falling off stage in front of 25,000 people
Proudest moment: watching my 3-year-old son escort a crying toddler from entrapment on a McDonald’s playground.

Biggest lie you’ve ever told: “I’ll never become an author.”

A lie you wish you’d told: “Those pants totally fit.”

Best thing you’ve ever done: marry the girl of my dreams.

Biggest mistake: waiting 30 years to pursue writing full-time.

The last thing you did for the first time: publish a novel.

Something you’ll never do again: wait on a dream.



Anger born of helplessness rose in his chest. In contrast to Master Li’s placating tone, Cole straightened to his full height and stared into the man’s face. “Let me guess, more 14K cowards?”

Another man stepped forward and cocked his pistol’s hammer. “I show you coward.”

As at the Crowne Plaza earlier, Cole refused to back off, even in the face of impending conflict. “The coward is the man who needs a gun.”

The other with the shotgun pointing at Cole’s chest stood only some seven or eight feet away. “You will come with us now!”

“Please. Violence is forbidden here,” Master Li spoke again. “The Temple is sacred. We cannot have this type of behavior.”

“Maybe you don’t hear so good,” the leader sneered. “He comes with us whether you approve or not.”

“He is a famous American! If you take him, the government will arrest anyone involved. They will have no choice but to 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?”

Excerpt from Dark Spiral Down. Copyright © 2019 by Michael Houtz. Reproduced with permission from Michael Houtz. All rights reserved.


After a career in medicine, Mike succumbed to the call to hang up his stethoscope and pursue his other passion as a writer of fast-paced thrillers. A rabid fan of authors such as Clancy, Mark Greaney, Vince Flynn, and Brad Thor, Mike loves series writing with strong characters, fast pacing and international locations, all of which explode into action in his debut novel, a 2017 Zebulon Award winner. When not at the keyboard, he can be found on the firing range, traveling for research across the globe, or trying out the latest dry-fly pattern on a Gold Medal trout stream. He lives at the foothills of the Rocky Mountains in Colorado.

Connect with Mike:
Website  |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Goodreads

Buy the book: