Author Interview: David Siegel Bernstein & Poisoned Pawn

David Siegel Bernstein will be awarding a $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

Author Interview

1. How did you choose your genre? What made you write this book?

Before I answer this wickedly deep question, I want to thank Danita Minnis for inviting me here (virtually).

I chose to write a mystery because I enjoy thinking up the perfect crime and fictionally getting away with it… almost. It is all about creating puzzles that appear unsolvable. My heroes struggle to a solution and sometimes, if you pay close attention in my stories, so will you.

I also enjoy writing quirky characters, and mysteries are especially conducive to quirk. In what other genre could Nero Wolfe solve crimes while never leaving the house and sipping his afternoon beer? Where else could Ms. Marple snoop as she knits away without being confined to a rest home? Where else could Hercule Poirot wax his mustache as his little gray cells solve a crime? Where else could Holmes, you know, be Homes? Of course, my characters in Poisoned Pawn are much quirkier and better than them.

I’ll let you in on a secret. Another reason I enjoy about writing a mystery: I like catching the baddie.

2. Writers write what they know, and must observe the world. Are you a first born, middle or last child and how does this shape your view of the world?

I’m a first born so I’m the heir apparent. I view the world as mine. Now that I think about it, so does the villain in Poisoned Pawn. Coincidence?

3. Where is your favorite place to write?

I favor no place. My process is a messy one. I write when I have the free time and in almost any location. Coffee shop, home, bar, etc.

4. How do you feel about killing your darlings, and what do you do with the remains?

Read Poisoned Pawn. It is a challenged NOT to be killed. When you read Poisoned Pawn, I think you can guess which darling’s demise I most regret with. I’m still doing tequila shots to get over the killing.

In general, I keep my “cut” prose and characters in a virtual file for possible future use. I hate cutting material I spent a lot of time on. I guess that makes human. Who knew?

5. You are introduced to your favorite author. Who is it, and what is that one burning question you must ask them?

It is a toss-up between Harlan Ellison and Neil Gaiman. Since Ellison is dead, and if he weren’t, he would probably yell at me about something, I’d ask my question to Gaiman. The question would be how I get into graphic novel writing.

6. Inquiring minds want to know…tell readers something about you that no one knows.

I’m assuming the answer should be PG, so I’ll tell you I’m a Dr. Who fanboy.

7. You are stranded on a deserted island with only a backpack for company. What three items are in your survival pack?

I’d choose the book War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy. It would be the only time I’d be able to get through it. A satellite phone, so I can call for help after I gave up on War and Peace. And beer.

8. If you could have one superpower in your existence, what would it be?

To be able to speak any language upon hearing or reading it. This includes computer programing languages.

9. Favorite snack?

Fritos and dark chocolate, but not at the same time. I need dark chocolate hourly.

10. Indy 500 – Do you know how to get where you’re going or do you drive the speed limit?

Read Poisoned Pawn and you will see I’m not afraid of overdrive! Sometimes I even get where I’m going.

Poisoned Pawn

by David Siegel Bernstein


GENRE:   Detective, Mystery



Caleb Jacobs is a man with a past. After serving on a failed dark ops assignment in Afghanistan, he leaves Marine Corps Intelligence to try to build a new life in Philadelphia as a homicide police detective.

Jacobs is happy, for a time, until he is assigned to solve the murder of Shannon Faraday. During the investigation, he is convinced the evidence points to him as the killer. He knows it is only a matter of time before other investigators see the same. He has no alibi and the clock is counting down.

Behind his partner’s back, Jacobs hires a private investigator named Lawrence Holmes. The PI is an irritation to the police, but he is unmistakably brilliant. And, many powerful people in the city owe him favors. Holmes is a bit odd. He insists on calling Jacobs Watson but claims to never have heard the name Sherlock. Jacobs can live with this kind of crazy as long as together they find the real killer.

They quickly link the murder to a series of seemingly unrelated crimes occurring throughout Philadelphia, and Jacobs becomes convinced the murder is related to the truth of what had happened during his time in Afghanistan. Old secrets have come back to haunt him.



I felt like shit for having to hire a private investigator, especially one who was most likely insane. Still, I couldn’t deny that his type of crazy got results. Reluctantly I handed over an envelope to the man sitting on the sun-bleached bench.

He opened it. Satisfied with my offering, he slid it into his jacket. “Ah, Watson,” he said. “Good to see you again.”

I shook my head and dropped onto the bench next to him. “My name is Jacobs. Caleb Jacobs,” I said, hoping the reminder might stick this time.

He turned to me. “Did you say something?”

I sighed. “No, Holmes.”

If I wasn’t desperate for his help, I’d strangle him. Of course my superiors at the Philadelphia Homicide Unit wouldn’t appreciate that. But I wondered if a cop hiring a private investigator was any worse of a violation. I needed Lawrence Holmes for his connections and unique viewpoint, things my PHU colleagues couldn’t provide. He might not be the fictional character he played at, but he was a talented PI.


AUTHOR Bio and Links:

To support his writing addiction and excessively extravagant lifestyle, David Siegel Bernstein, PhD, is a data scientist who consults as a forensic statistician. That sounds really boring until you realize that his clients include the US National Security Agency (NSA), the Secret Service, the FBI, the Department of Justice (DOJ), and a host of other acronymonious agencies who cultivate exciting and shadowy reputations. Alas, those reputations are mere facades that disguise the real reason these organizations exist, which is to keep him entertained and fed.

When David wants a break from this spellbinding work, he writes. His fiction credits encompass two novelettes and sixty shorts. His nonfiction has appeared in newsletters, popular blogs, academic journals and he is the author of the book Blockbuster Science: The Real Science in Science Fiction.

He lives within the shadow of Philadelphia with his wife, Michelle, two children, Seth and Gwendolyn, and a dog named Ringo Biggles Woofington.

Amazon Author Page:


twitter: @DavidBernstein

instagram @davidsieglebernstein

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In The Key Of Love

I should have known I would end up here... Give me a good book and I'm in heaven. Especially romance, mystery, mayhem, the fantastic and the fey. Give me a laptop and I'm writing any one of these, and not in any particular order.

9 thoughts on “Author Interview: David Siegel Bernstein & Poisoned Pawn”

  1. I laughed when I read your favorite snack.. I eat Fritos and dark chocolate every night. lol
    The book sounds great.

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