Australian Author To Accept Third Gold Medal In New York City For His Award-Winning Novel

Adelaide novelist JAMES HOUSTON TURNER has won a third gold medal for his acclaimed thriller, Department Thirteen, in the 2012 Indie Book Awards. He will collect his medal at an invitation-only gala June 4th at the Plaza Hotel in New York City.
By: 2 Oz Productions
James Houston Turner, speaking to students on his 2011 USA Book Tour
James Houston Turner, speaking to students on his 2011 USA Book Tour
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James Houston Turner
2012 Indie Book Awards
Comfort Publishing
Aleksandr Talanov


Adelaide - South Australia - Australia


May 15, 2012 - PRLog -- After winning the USA Book News "Best Thriller of 2011" award and a gold medal in the thriller/suspense category of the 2012 Independent Publisher ("IPPY") Book Awards, Adelaide novelist JAMES HOUSTON TURNER has been honored with a third gold medal in the 2012 Indie Book Awards (action/adventure category). His book, Department Thirteen, is the debut thriller in his Aleksandr Talanov thriller series, which was inspired by the actual KGB agent who leaked word out of Moscow back in the 1980s that Turner was on a KGB watchlist for his smuggling activities behind the old Iron Curtain.

"That guy -- whoever he was -- gave me the idea of a good-guy Russian agent who worked for America during the Cold War. In Department Thirteen, he is wealthy and retired, and living in Australia, where his past comes back to kill him in the form of a mysterious group of assassins from Department Thirteen, the actual assassination and sabotage unit of the KGB from their Balashikha complex near Moscow. Department Thirteen was so dark and secret, they were never officially acknowledged to exist."

Turner says his book's success has been especially rewarding because of how long and difficult the road has been. Originally finished in 1999, Department Thirteen has been worked and reworked numerous times, with Turner being told by countless agents and editors that readers today simply do not not want to read about a protagonist who is not American, or one who has links with the old KGB, or someone living abroad. But his moment came when Comfort Publishing president, Pam Tolen, read his manuscript and ended up signing him for a three-book publishing deal. The gamble paid off, with Turner taking to the open road late last year with a 4500 mile tour across America to promote the book and speak in schools about his personal journey of editorial rejection and surviving cancer. He continues to credit Qantas Airways, G'day USA, and Jacobs Creek wine for helping him reach this point in his career.

With the book winning awards and achieving best-seller status on his 2011 tour, Turner says he is sometimes asked what he thinks the book's appeal with readers is. "It's Talanov, pure and simple," he says. "And his appeal, interestingly, is precisely for the reasons the so-called "experts" rejected it. Reviewer Daniel Cann said it best, when he wrote: 'I find the idea of a hero in his fifties far more interesting and compelling than a superhuman, indestructible, twenty-something, programmed agent. Clearly Talanov is not your typical fifty-something, as he has the conditioning of someone much younger, but it is his brainpower and experience as much as his physical ruggedness that makes him so effective.' "

Turner's writing colleague, national bestselling author Jordan Dane, calls Talanov "a dark sexy hero for the new millennium," echoing another of Cann's comments that Talanov is ". . .one of us. Sherlock Holmes had 'deductive reasoning' and Talanov has 'inverse logic,' and any scene that illustrates his brain power is every bit as thrilling as the ones packed with action" (Cann's comments and reverse interview by Turner, with links to his original review and interview with Turner, can be read in their entirety here:

Jordan Dane agrees, describing Talanov as a "smart, savvy, timeless hero."

"This is why this awards ceremony means so much," explains Turner. "To have Department Thirteen win the USA Book News 'Best Thriller of 2011' had me doing cartwheels. But to actually win two more gold medals -- an IPPY and now and Indie-- and be invited to the lavish Indie Book Awards gala at the Plaza Hotel to collect my gold medal, is an adrenalin rush like nothing I've ever experienced. This is the first time I've won a gold medal in anything."

Greco's Game, the anticipated sequel to Department Thirteen, will be released by Comfort Publishing on September 1st, 2012. The book has its own Facebook page and Turner has created a unique set of "teaser" posters to illustrate scenes from the book. The first poster can be viewed here:'s_game_poster_the....


Department Thirteen -- the assassination and sabotage unit of the KGB -- never officially existed. But retired KGB colonel Aleksandr Talanov knows that it did, and it's but one of the many secrets he's worked hard to forget.

Now living in Australia, Talanov and dozens of dinner guests are suddenly the target of assassins. On a stroll to the beach with his wife, Talanov and Andrea are mistakenly spared, but soon find themselves running for their lives: hunted by the killers, blamed by the police, increasingly pivotal to an invisible network of death about which they know nothing. But someone thinks they know.

For in 1983, a second Department Thirteen was created and Talanov discovers they have but one purpose: to kill him, whatever the cost.


A native of Kansas, JAMES HOUSTON TURNER turned to writing fiction as a result of his years as a smuggler behind the old Iron Curtain. He has been on a KGB watchlist, organized secret midnight meetings with informants, located hidden mountain bunkers, and investigated legends of forgotten tunnels beneath the cobblestones and bricks of some of Central Europe's most venerated cathedrals. A former journalist in Los Angeles, he holds a Bachelor's Degree from Baker University and a Master's Degree from the University of Houston - Clear Lake. He and his wife, Wendy, a former triathlon winner, live in Adelaide, South Australia.

You may visit him at

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