First there was ThePharm House, Finalist in the Medical Thriller category of the 2014 National Indie Excellence Awards, where readers met Nicholas Harding and his daughter, Andrea. Now comes the second Harding Family story. In the exciting new thriller, The Torch is Passed, Andrea has just graduated college and her world is turned upside down when her father, Nicholas, and her uncle, Michael, are shot in a surprising and puzzling attack. As the only family other than her paternal grandmother, it falls to Andrea to not only investigate who would want to kill her father and uncle, but also to oversee Harding Industries.
The youngest Harding soon finds herself surrounded by a bevyof intriguing new friends and helpers after she is also violently attacked. Suspicion is cast on a short listof family friends and colleagues, including Don Marshall, with a shady past including an incident that also involved Andrea's father. Then there is MarcusRicci, widely believed to have ties to the New Jersey mob. Also on the suspectlist are the Oakes brothers, Carlton and Jefferson, who run Oakes Industries along with their silent partner and cousin, New Jersey state senator Schuyler Colfax. They recently made a seemingly irrational attempt to purchase Harding Industries and were rebuffed by Nicholas.
Along with her new allies, including an abrasive, but loyal,attorney and an eccentric southerner with more money than God and an intriguing background in international espionage, Andrea urgently seeks answers why anyone would want to kill her entire family-- grows up along the way and seeks her revenge.
I am one of those odd balls who loves train travel. I was recently reminded how much I love traveling by train a few weeks ago when stranded at an airport for four hours by one of the worst airlines on Earth (fill in the blank with airline of your choice).
About a year ago, I discovered the new Pullman Rail Journey that now runs between Chicago and New Orleans. It’s scheduled to add a New York to Chicago run later, and when it does, I plan to give it a try.
For family vacation last year, we spent a week in Montreal. I persuaded everyone (three of us) to take the train. We had never taken a family train trip. The Adirondack leaves New York Penn Station at 8:15 am with a scheduled arrival in Montreal of 7:11 pm. I have been in train stations all over the U.S. and Europe and with New York Penn Station, let’s just say there is a lot of room for improvement. There are 19 scheduled stops in places like Poughkeepsie, Hudson, Schenectady, Saratoga Springs, Ticonderoga, and Port Henry and the train glides smoothly past the beautiful Lake Champlain.
The Adirondack crew was very nice and helpful. The service is all coach class, and I admit, I would have preferred a first class option, but I guess there is not enough demand for that. The food service is mediocre, but beats what you’ll find on domestic airlines.
Yes, it is an eleven-hour train ride (actually, it turned into thirteen), but the scenery all along the ride is absolutely beautiful. I hear it is even more so in the fall. Cantic is the first stop in Canada and a border-crossing checkpoint for northbound passage. This is where the unplanned additional two hours comes from. The train pulls onto a siding; the crew gets off the train and about a dozen Customs Agents board and review everyone’s passports or paperwork. Depending upon what they find, that can take some time. There were no incidents, but let’s just say some folks had some “explaining to do.”
If you’re the kind of person who enjoys a relaxing, slow, and scenic pace once in a while, you will enjoy the Adirondack New York to Montreal run. I said that there were three in our party. Two of the three enjoyed the ride and one was the impatient, “are we there yet” one. We’ll ship her Air-Express next time.
Whenever I have to go from New Jersey to Washington, D.C., rather than drive or fly, I always take Amtrak. A couple of summers ago, I took an Amtrak sleeper train from New Jersey to Raleigh, NC, to get a feel for a long train ride, which I had planned to include in my next novel. In The Torch is Passed, which is a continuation of the Nicholas Harding story, I introduced a new character, Deirdre Southington, who is quite eccentric with her preferred mode of travel being by train—in her private rail car, the Liburnia. In my research for the Liburnia, I learned that there is a small group of people in the United States who own private rail cars and travel this way. By lease arrangements, they hook onto a freight or Amtrak train and travel all over the United States. Sounds pretty relaxing and like loads of fun, doesn’t it?
About Bill Powers:
Bill Powers worked in pharmaceutical Research & Development (Johnson & Johnson) for 26 years, rising to the position of Vice President of Global Preclinical Development. Bill has a Ph.D. in Toxicology from the University of Cincinnati and is a Diplomate of the American Board of Toxicology.
Bill’s love of words and books started in childhood, stimulated by parents who were both teachers. A voracious reader, he enjoys both fiction and biographies. Now that he has moved away from his industrial career, he plans to aggressively pursue his passion of being a fictional author. Bill’s first novel, The Pharm House: A Harding Family Story, was named a Finalist in the Medical Thriller category of the 2014 National Indie Excellence Awards. Bill’s second novel, The Torch is Passed: A Harding Family Story, was named Best Book in the Category of Thriller of the Pinnacle Book Achievement Award for Winter 2016