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Dale T. Phillips Books In Order

Publication Order of Zack Taylor Books

A Memory of Grief (2011) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
A Fall From Grace (2011) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
A Shadow on the Wall (2013) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
A Certain Slant of Light (2015) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
A Sharp Medicine (2017) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

Shadow of the Wendigo (2013) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Dale T Phillips is a popular mystery, horror, and thriller writer from New England. He grew up In Maine and went to the University of Maine, Orono, where he fell in love with writing as he studied under Stephen King. After completing his college studies, Phillips lived and worked in different places. He has worked in several industries as a technical writer charged with the translation of software developer code into clear instructions for computer software. Before he got into technical writing, he did all kinds of odd jobs. Some of his jobs include blackjack dealer, lab experiment subject, website designer, assistant maître’d, wine steward, bartender, waiter, busboy, theater apprentice, office assistant among many others. He has published in a variety of literary formats churning out poetry, jokes, blog articles, collections, short stories, and novels. He has also featured in an independent film named “The Throg” and appeared on television series “Think Twice” and “Jeopardy” and on stage. He acted and co-wrote a short political satire film named “The Nine”, which was aired on Liberty News TV. His short stories have been featured on the likes of Plot Magazine, Crime and Suspense, House of Horror, and Ethereal Gazette among many others. He has famously been to all 50 US states, and has traveled through Europe, Canada, and Mexico.

Dale T. Philips realized from a very young age that telling stories is what he loved to do and that he was very good at it. Having held practically all jobs available, seen the wide spectrum of humanity, traveled through many countries in Europe and all the 50 US states, his life experiences have shaped his writing. His extreme background has helped him analyze people and their motivations even as life itself has knocked him about a lot. Since he grew up loving the mystery novel, his works have been heavily influenced by the likes of James Lee Burke, Robert B. Parker, Mickey Spillane, Raymond Chandler, and Dashiell Hammett. The Travis McGee series of novels by John D. Macdonald, which is Phillip’s favorite work, is one of the most significant influences in the Zack Taylor series. The hero in the series is more of a MacDonald’s McGee, though he is a nonprofessional private investigator protecting people from predators, yet having to fight his own dark demons. All of Dale’s works have a theme he derives from given works of literature, making Phillips more of a learned person’s author. For instance, his title in “A Certain Slant of Light” is an Emily Dickinson quote focusing on the theme of death. As such, the novel is not your typical detective murder mystery where there is generic action, as there is a lot of thematic discussion behind the scenes. In his novel “A Shadow on the Wall”, he combines Jungian concepts of the self as portrayed in the reality and illusion aspects of “Plato’s Cave”.

The setting of Dale T. Phillips Zack Taylor series of novels is Portland, Maine as the author has asserted that he wanted to highlight the mystery and beauty of Maine, where he had grown up. Unlike many mystery novel settings that are in the largest cities such as New York or Los Angeles, the lead character in the series lives in a small town with special stories and healing properties. He is an ex con and martial arts expert who reacts to different people depending on the relationship they have with him. For instance, he will mostly have a great time with his friend J.C. Reed or his girlfriend Allison, but tends to be wary around persons that he believes may have bad intentions. Nonetheless, being an ex con and martial arts expert he can take care of himself, and those that try to do him harm often have a tough go of it. The lead was born and lived on a turkey farm in Fresno, California, and begun to go bad after suffering the trauma of having his brother killed in a freak gun accident. He never got a chance to put down any roots and has always run away from his problems until he runs into his new friends in Maine. The novels in the series are noirish hard-boiled mysteries that are full of action as Dale explores the themes of redemption and guilt in stories with gritty realism interspersed with violence and romance.

“A Memory of Grief”, the first novel in the Zack Taylor series of novels introduces the lead protagonist Zack Taylor, a man who is still haunted by the freak accident that took his brother years earlier. Full of anger and guilt, he has been living a life with few attachments and little purpose as he wanders through the shadows. When he learns that Ben Sterling one of his closest friends was the latest victim of a gunshot suicide, he becomes determined to find out the truth. He travels to Maine where his friend had died but soon finds that with no credibility, information, or connections he is more like a fish out of water. Nobody wants to talk about his friend’s death, leaving Zack even more frustrated as he breaks the law, gets into fights, and makes enemies in the quest for truth. His only hope to make anything of himself in the new city is a sympathetic nurse who may just become his romantic partner, if he can tone down on his violent streak. But to complete his mission, he needs to do something that may be one of the most dangerous he has ever done, and while at it learn to live in a strange world.

“A Memory of Grief” the second novel in the series sees Allison ask her boyfriend Zack Taylor to assist Bonnie her cousin that has been falsely charged with the murder of her boss. The murdered man may have had many business associates and family members all of whom may have had compelling motives to take him out. Nevertheless, the police seem determined to pin everything on Bonnie and ignore everyone else with a motive. Zack can see injustice from afar and even as he gets the bit between his teeth, he is determined to ensure Bonnie is cleared of the murder. It will not be easy, as he has to waddle through a minefield of sex, selfishness, fraud, revenge, infidelity, greed, and corruption that he must expose to prove that Bonnie is innocent. Zack is a captivating and likeable character being determined, focused and compassionate to the last. Even as he often gets more black eyes than he deserves he remains resolute even in the face of emotional and personal cost.

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