Local author publishes first book with sequel on the way

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Local author Jake Kaminski's law enforcement career created many travel opportunities across Eastern Europe. This photo was taken in Budapest while Kaminski was serving as a senior advisor assigned to the U.S. Embassy in Zagreb, Croatia. (Photo submitted)

By Caroline Rosacker

Draw your chair up close to the edge of the precipice and I’ll tell you a story. – F. Scott Fitzgerald

Retired police lieutenant Jake Kaminski (a pseudonym) has recently published his first novel, Shadow Wolves. The author is getting ready to finish publication of the book's sequel, Ghostwalker.  Kaminski has 28 years experience in law enforcement and has worked and supervised numerous task forces with the FBI, ATF and the DEA. The highly-decorated officer spent the majority of his career working undercover and eventually supervising undercover operations in South Florida, Latin America, the Caribbean and Canada. In addition, his team spent six years combatting both the Medellin and Cali cartels. 

Kaminski told The Press, "I was born and raised in Milwaukee, Wis. I left Milwaukee and moved to Florida when I was 21. Following my career on the police force I spent 14 years as a senior adviser for the U.S. Department of Justice, assigned to post-conflict countries in the Balkan, preparing countries in the western Balkans for NATO accession. I have trained and advised foreign police and prosecutors on undercover operations, war crimes, organized crime and fugitive and human trafficking." 

Kaminski authored his first novel drawing on the extensive experience he encountered during his law enforcement career. He commented, "I had a unique job working undercover operations and teaching other countries how to track down war criminals. I was able to see the effects of genocide and human trafficking first hand. I had the opportunity to work with some Native American trackers who worked for Homeland Security." 

Shadow Wolves narrative is set in the remote deserts of the Mexican borderlands. Here modern day Native American trackers are summoned to fight the powerful Mexican drug cartels as they send billions of dollars in drugs into the United States and sell innocent young women into a lifetime of sexual slavery. 

The page-turning thriller weaves a tale of brave Native American men and women as they track down violent, merciless criminals on foot and horseback, using skills passed down through generations of ancestors. 

The transition from police officer to writer was a natural fit. "I have always enjoyed writing, although I never thought I was any good at it. I recall a high school journalism teacher and a fellow student encouraging me to pursue a career as a writer. I became interested in writing when I returned to college as an adult learner," said the first-time author. 

Kaminski attended the University of Central Missouri to study foreign language. "I went back to school when I was in my fifties. I immersed myself in the study of foreign languages and found I had a knack for it. I became friends with my French professor and wrote a few short stories for him. He encouraged me to pursue my interest in writing." He further noted, "Through my studies I became reacquainted with the importance of correct grammar and punctuation. Those skills have made my job and my editors' job much easier." An interesting career investigating criminal activity has provided Kaminski with plenty of material for his book. "The stories just came out of me. I have always been a storyteller. I had a career where I handled a considerable amount of information and had to delve into the criminal mind. My team fought human trafficking for many years. I interviewed many victims about what atrocities they experienced while being trafficked," he commented. 

The well-researched novel brought back many memories for Kaminski. He recalled, "People living in the United States have a pretty comfortable life. We really have no idea how people suffer in countries under attack. I remember driving through Northern Bosnia. There was only one stoplight for many miles. There was a man standing at that intersection begging for money. He had no arms, one leg and a crutch to lean on. You had to put the money in his mouth. That's suffering." 

Kaminski was grateful for friends and advisors during what sometimes seemed a disappointing process. "I used several big white boards just to keep all the characters straight. I was advised not to worry about grammar and punctuation – just get the story on the page. A good friend heightened my writing skill by reminding me to insert all five senses into my descriptive composition." He continued, "It's tough to get a publisher. You have to get an agent first and that is really tough. You can't get discouraged. You have to send your manuscript to a lot of people before someone decides to take an interest in your story."

Kirkus Reviews – an American book review magazine headquartered in New York City — gave Shadow Wolves a favorable review. They noted, "An action-driven tale of heroes worth rooting for at the U.S.- Mexico border."

Kaminski and his wife, Marsha, and their dog, "Ghost" reside part-time in Guttenberg. They enjoy the peaceful, friendly community and the spectacular views of the Mississippi River and the Driftless area. 

He concluded, "I have enjoyed every bit of this experience. I have met a lot of great people along the way who have helped me. The print and radio interviews have all been interesting and fun." 

A copy of Shadow Wolves is available at the Guttenberg Public Library. You can purchase a copy online in hardcover, paperback, Kindle and Nook from Amazon and Barnes & Noble. In the future, look for the eagerly-awaited sequel – Ghostwalker. Find additional information at www.jakekaminski.net or e-mail jkaminskibooks@gmail.com.

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