#BlogTour Son of Escobar: First Born by Roberto Sendoya Escobar @MidasPR

EgMp1UMXgAc5-2oWelcome to today’s stop on the blog tour for Son of Escobar: First Born by Roberto Sendoya Escobar. My thanks to Bei at Midas PR for inviting me to take part in the tour. Unfortunately I was unable to fit the book into my reading schedule but I’m delighted to share with you an extract from what sounds like a remarkable story.


Son of Escobar_Book Jacket_smAbout the Book

Pablo Escobar was the most notorious drug lord the world has ever seen. He became one of the ten richest men on the planet and controlled 80 per cent of the global cocaine trade before he was shot dead in 1993.

In 1965, a secret mission by Colombian Special Forces, led by an MI6 agent, to recover a cash hoard from a safe house used by a young Pablo Escobar culminates in a shoot-out leaving many dead. Escobar and several of his men escape. Only a baby survives – Roberto Sendoya Escobar. In a bizarre twist of fate, the MI6 agent takes pity on the child, brings him home and later adopts him.

Over the years, Pablo Escobar tries repeatedly to kidnap his son. The child, unaware of his true identity, is allowed regular meetings with Escobar and it becomes apparent that Roberto’s adopted father and the British government are working covertly with the gangster in an attempt to control the money laundering and drug trades.

Many years later in England, as Roberto’s father lies dying in hospital, he hands his son a coded piece of paper which, he says, reveals the secret hiding place of Escobar’s ‘missing millions’. The code is published in this book for the first time.

Format: Hardcover (288 pages)       Publisher: Ad Lib Publishers
Publication date: 6th August 2020 Genre: Memoir

Find Son of Escobar: First Born on Goodreads

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Extract from Son of Escobar: First Born by Roberto Sendoya Escobar

Prologue

I had two fathers. The one I called Dad – and loved dearly – was my adoptive father, Patrick Witcomb. I knew him as an English businessman who had made a successful life for his family in Colombia. That was only half the story. It wasn’t until years later that I found out he was also an MI6 agent working undercover for British intelligence. But hearing that still wasn’t my biggest shock.

I learned that my biological father was Pablo Escobar, the most notorious gangster in the history of the world. I had met him only fleetingly, unaware of our connection or that there were times he was prepared to kill to win me back. This is the story of how the lives of my two fathers became inextricably intertwined. Good and evil. Light and darkness. This story has it all.

When I was a child I knew nothing of all this. I just thought Patrick – Pat to everyone who knew him – was a regular dad. There were an awful lot of guns and strangeness going on around our beautiful mansion in Colombia but my dad worked for a firm that printed banknotes for governments and ran an armoured car business and as an employee he was subject to attack from criminal gangs. It was just part of our life, although sometimes it felt like violence followed us around and I was grateful for my round-the-clock armed protection.

There were also a few occasions on which my father took me to a place called Medellín where I met a younger man who took a keen interest in me – this was Escobar. And there was the day I saw huge bags of money being loaded on to a plane. Little did I know of the murky dealings that linked these two powerful figures in Colombia’s turbulent history – and the millions of dollars that passed between them.

Only when I was twenty-four did my father – Pat – sit me down to tell me the true story of my extraordinary life. It was 1989 and by then I had left home and was living in Sotogrande on the Costa Del Sol of Spain, near Gibraltar. Until that day I had always been Phillip Witcomb, although I did know that I was adopted. It hadn’t worried me. I always looked upon Pat and his wife, Joan, as my dad and mum. They had told me I had been born in Colombia, which explained my darker hair and features, but until this point both had said that nothing was known about my real parents and I had always accepted it. Now Pat prepared to turn my world upside down. ‘What we told you wasn’t the whole story,’ Dad said. ‘It’s time you knew the whole truth.’

He revealed I had started life as Roberto Sendoya Escobar. They had adopted me from a Catholic orphanage. My mother was dead and they believed my father had given up any claim for me. It was then that he explained how he had come to cross paths with Pablo Escobar.

Dad had been tasked with setting up the Colombian arm of the banknote printing company De La Rue and, as part of his work, he needed to infiltrate the criminal gangs then gaining a foothold in the country’s fledgling economy and pass back intelligence. Some of this information made its way back to UK secret services but the main beneficiaries of the elaborate, sophisticated and devastatingly effective operation were their US counterparts in the CIA.

Dad explained that the armoured car division often came under attack and their consignments of newly printed Colombian banknotes would be stolen. After one such robbery, Dad received intelligence about the whereabouts of the missing money. With the backing of his bosses in London and his employers in UK intelligence, he mounted a daring and heavily armoured mission to recover the cash.

It was in the course of this most bloody of expeditions that I was discovered as a helpless baby in the gang’s hideout and the link with my biological father, Escobar, was established. At the time Pablo Escobar was a teenager and nothing more than a low-level criminal, but as he rose through the criminal ranks he would go on to be a useful asset for the intelligence services who sought to influence the growing gang networks in Colombia.

It was the 1960s and the cocaine trade was in its infancy. There was no way of predicting the way that its cultivation and supply would become one of the biggest industries in the world – or of knowing that the secret services would play a key role in allowing the gangs to flourish, creating the cocaine cartels that brought so much misery to so many people. At the time Pat’s goal was simply to safeguard his company interests and provide intelligence for the services back home.

Enter one more figure who would much later become notorious on the world stage. An ambitious Panamanian, then just an officer, named Manuel Noriega not only assisted Dad on the fateful mission that led him to Escobar but would also go on to help him in his dealings with the criminal gangs. Noriega and Escobar were quite the pair, between them overseeing the rise of narcotic trafficking to a global level.

What had begun as a low-level operation in aid of securely transporting government-issued banknotes exploded into a dangerous game: trying in vain to control drug gangs that nobody could have known would become so big that their resources outstripped those of entire nations. Yet for years, US Intelligence’s attitude to the cocaine flooding the USA verged on the relaxed. It was only when the amount of dollars for drugs pouring out of the USA – then the largest economy in the world – reached dangerously high levels, that action was at last taken.

The once primitive criminal gangs had by then morphed into huge drug cartels that made more money than they knew how to spend. By the time that I began to find out the truth of my life, Escobar feared his grip on power was slipping and had hidden millions of dollars in secret locations. When Dad told me all of this and hinted that he knew where some of the money was, it was at first too much to take in.

It was only slowly that this incredible story began to make sense to me. For years I had been plagued by vague dreams of what I thought were explosions and a woman’s screams. Were these somehow related to real events, to that armed mission that Dad had mounted and that had led to my rescue? I remembered our trips to Medellín. Suddenly, conversations I’d had with a mysterious man with a magnetic presence took on a new significance. Was this Escobar? My biological father?

That wasn’t all. Many years later, as he lay dying, my father imparted perhaps his most sensational secret – clues to the location of Escobar’s legendary missing millions.


Roberto Sendoya Escobar_Author Photo_23 April 2020About the Author

Roberto Sendoya Escobar lives with his wife in a remote finca on the Mediterranean island of Mallorca under his adopted name of Phillip Witcomb. He works as an acclaimed fine artist, and his work sells for many thousands of pounds.

He plans to donate a substantial percentage of profits from this book to charities which benefit young people.

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#BlogTour #Extract Second Sister by Chan Ho-Kei @HoZ_Books @midaspr

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Welcome to today’s stop on the blog tour for Second Sister by Chan Ho-Kei (translated from the Chinese by Jeremy Tiang) and published in hardcover on 18th February 2020 by Head of Zeus. It’s also available as an ebook and audio book. Described as perfect for fans of hacker thrillers such as Stieg Larsson’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo series, I’m delighted to bring you an extract from the book below.

Thanks to Bei at Midas PR for inviting me to take part in the tour and for my digital review copy.


image001About the Book

Set against a backdrop of Hong Kong’s Umbrella protests a young woman investigates her teenage sister’s suicide, in this evocative and zeitgeisty crime novel from the acclaimed author of The Borrowed.

Upon discovering her fifteen-year-old sister’s body sprawled in a pool of blood at the bottom of their apartment block, Nga-Yee vows to serve justice to the internet troll she blames for her sister’s suicide. Hiring an anti-establishment, maverick tech-savvy detective, Nga-Yee discovers the dark side of social media, the smokescreen of online privacy and the inner workings of the hacker’s mind.

Determined to find out the truth about why her sister Siu-Man killed herself, Nga-Yee cannot rest until she finds out whose inflammatory social media post went viral and pushed her sister to her death. Along the way, Nga-Yee makes unsavoury discoveries about her sister’s life and the dark underbelly of the digital world.

Part detective novel, part revenge thriller, Second Sister explores themes of sexual harassment, internet bullying and teenage suicide – and vividly captures the zeitgeist of Hong Kong today.

Format: Hardcover (496 pages)             Publisher: Head of Zeus
Publication date: 18th February 2020 Genre: Crime, Thriller

Purchase links*
Amazon.co.uk | Amazon.com | Hive (supporting UK bookshops)
*links provided for convenience, not as part of any affiliate programme

Find Second Sister on Goodreads


Extract from Second Sister by Chan Ho-Kei

Chapter One

“Your sister killed herself.”

When Nga-Yee heard the policeman say these words in the mortuary, she couldn’t stop herself from blurting out, her speech slurred, “That’s impossible! You must have made a mistake, Siu-Man would never do such a thing.”

Sergeant Ching, a slim man of about fifty with a touch of gray at his temples, looked a littlelike a gangster, but something about his eyes told her she could trust him. Calm in the face of Nga-Yee’s near hysteria, he said something in his deep, steady voice that silenced her: “Miss Au, are you really certain your sister didn’t kill herself?”

Nga-Yee knew very well, even if she didn’t want to admit it to herself, that Siu-Man had ample reason to seek death. The pressure she’d been under for the last six months was much more than any fifteen-year-old girl should have to face.

But we should start with the Au family’s many years of misfortune.

Nga-Yee’s parents were born in the 1960s, second-generation immigrants. When war broke out between the Nationalists and Communists in 1946, large numbers of refugees began surging from the Mainland into Hong Kong. The Communists emerged victorious and brought in a new regime, cracking down on any opposition, and even more people started arriving in the safe haven of this British colony.

Nga-Yee’s grandparents were refugees from Guangzhou. Hong Kong needed a lot of cheap labor and rarely turned away people who entered the territory illegally, and her grandparents were able to put down roots, eventually getting their papers and becoming Hong Kongers. Even then, they led difficult existences, doing hard manual labor for long
hours and low wages. Their living conditions were terrible too. Still, Hong Kong was going through an economic boom, and as long as you were prepared to suffer a little, you could improve your circumstances. Some even rode the wave to real success.

Unfortunately, Nga-Yee’s grandparents never got the chance.

In February 1976 a fire in the Shau Kei Wan neighborhood on Aldrich Bay destroyed more than a thousand wooden houses, leaving more than three thousand people homeless. Nga-Yee’s grandparents died in this inferno, survived by a twelve-year-old child: Nga-Yee’s father, Au Fai. Not having any other family in Hong Kong, Au Fai was taken in by a neighbor who’d lost his wife in the fire. The neighbor had a seven-year-old daughter named Chau Yee-Chin. This was Nga-Yee’s mom.

Because they were so poor, Au Fai and Chau Yee-Chin didn’t have the chance for a real education. Both started work before coming of age, Au Fai as a warehouse laborer, Yee-Chin as a waitress at a dim sum restaurant. Although they had to toil for a living, they never complained, and they even managed to find a crumb of happiness when they fell in love. Soon they were talking of marriage. When Yee-Chin’s father fell ill in 1989,
they wed quickly so at least one of his wishes could be fulfilled before he died.

For a few years after that, the Au family seemed to have shaken themselves free of bad fortune.

Three years after their marriage, Au Fai and Chau Yee-Chin had a daughter. Yee-Chin’s father had been an educated youth in China. Before his death, he’d told them to call their child Chung-Long for a boy, Nga-Yee for a girl – “Nga” for elegance and beauty, “Yee” for joy.

The family of three moved into a small tenement flat in To Kwa Wan, where they lived a meager but contented existence. When Au Fai got back from work each day, the smiling faces of his wife and daughter made him feel that there was nothing more he could ask for in this world. Yee-Chin managed the household well. Nga-Yee was bookish and well-behaved, and all Au Fai wanted was to earn a little more money so she could go to university one day rather than having to get a job halfway through secondary school as he and his wife had had to do. Academic qualifications were now necessary to get ahead in Hong Kong. In the 1970s and ’80s you could get a job as long as you were willing to work hard, but times had changed.

When Nga-Yee was six, the god of fortune smiled on the Au family: after years on the waiting list, it was finally their turn to get a government flat. […]

Two years after moving into Wun Wah House, Chau Yee-Chin was pregnant again. Au Fai was delighted to be a father twice over, and Nga-Yee was old enough to understand that becoming an elder sister meant she’d have to work hard to help share her parents’ burden. Because his father-in-law had left only one name for each sex, Au Fai was stuck for a second girl’s name. He turned to their neighbor, a former schoolteacher, for help.

“How about calling her Siu-Man?” the old man suggested as they sat on a bench outside their building. “Sui as in ‘little’ and Man as in ‘clouds coloured by twilight.'”

Au Fai looked to where the old man was pointing and saw the setting sun turning the clouds a dazzling array of hues. “Au Siu-Man…that’s a nice-sounding name. Thanks for your help, Mr. Huang. I’m too ignorant to have ever come up with something so beautiful on my own.”


image003About the Author

Chan was born and raised in Hong Kong. He has worked as a software engineer, game designer, manga editor, and lecturer. Chan wrote made his debut as a writer in 2008 at the age of thirty-three, with the short story ‘The Case of Jack and the Beanstalk’ which was shortlisted for the Mystery Writers of Taiwan Award. Chan re-entered the following year and won the award for his short story ‘The Locked Room of Bluebeard’.

Chan reached the first milestone of his writing career in 2011 with his novel The Man who Sold the World which won the biggest mystery award in the Chinese speaking world, the Soji Shimada Award. The book has been published in Taiwan, Japan, Italy, Thailand and Korea.

In 2014, Chan’s crime thriller The Borrowed was published in Taiwan. It has sold rights in thirteen countries, and the book will be adapted into a film by acclaimed Chinese art film director Wong Kar-Wai. Second Sister has acquired a six-figure film deal with Linmon Pictures in China. The book will be published in the US in 2020 and rights have been sold to China, Korea and Japan.

Connect with Chan
Website | Twitter

About the Translator

Jeremy Tiang’s writing has appeared in The Guardian, Esquire and Quarterly Literary Review Singapore. He has written four plays and translated more than ten books from the Chinese. Tiang lives in New York.