Immoral Origins

Desire Card #1

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Pub Date 14 Jun 2022 | Archive Date 31 Dec 2022
Wolfpack Publishing, Rough Edges Press

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Description

A PULSE-POUNDING THRILLER THAT ASKS HOW FAR WE'RE WILLING TO SHED OUR MORALS IN ORDER TO HELP THE ONES WE LOVE.

It's 1978 in New York City, and disco is prominent. As are mobsters, gritty streets, needle parks and graffiti-stained subways.

Jake Barnum lives in Hell's Kitchen. He's a petty thief selling hot coats with his buddy Maggs to make ends meet and help his sick kid brother. At a Halloween party downtown, he meets a woman with a Marilyn Monroe mask who works for an organization called The Desire Card-an underground operation promising its exclusive clients "Any Wish Fulfilled for the Right Price."

As Jake becomes taken with its leader, a pseudo father and sociopath at heart, he starts stealing from the rich and giving to the poor. In other words...himself. But as he dives deeper in with the Card, begins falling love with Marilyn, and sees the money rolling in, clients' wishes start becoming more and more suspect-some leading to murder.

The first book in the Desire Card series, Immoral Origins follows those indebted to this sinister organization-where the ultimate price is the cost of one's soul.

"What happens when a sweet-talking, enigmatic killer seduces a small-time crook from Hell's Kitchen to join a diabolical scheme operated by a ruthless cabal masquerading as the silver screen's most glamorous stars? Lee Matthew Goldberg answers in this twisted and cinematic new series that hatches in a Koch-era New York stoked by drugs, greed and disco."

—Luke Jerod Kummer, author of Takers Mad and The Blue Period

"An atmospheric riveting thriller you won't be able to put down or easily forget. The late-Seventies setting was an inspired choice and while difficult to pull off, Goldberg does it convincingly. One of Goldberg's best."

- Terrence McCauley - Award-winning author of THE WANDERING MAN and THE MOSCOW PROTOCOL

"Better clear your calendar: when this book gets its hooks in you, there's no escaping. Jake is a classic Lee Matthew Goldberg character: a thief and a killer who gets you on his side by being the only genuine person in a world of snakes. A love story, a fast-paced thriller, a time warp to the bad old days of New York City, Immoral Origins is incredibly entertaining." -- Chris Rhatigan, All Due Respect Books publisher

“[Immoral Origins] is a book that crackles with energy from the opening sentence. It has more than enough twists to satisfy the most demanding of thriller-addicts, while having an emotional depth that will keep any discerning reader turning the pages. Definitely a must-read!”

Andrew Komarnyckyj, acclaimed author of Ezra Slef, The Next Nobel Laureate in Literature





A PULSE-POUNDING THRILLER THAT ASKS HOW FAR WE'RE WILLING TO SHED OUR MORALS IN ORDER TO HELP THE ONES WE LOVE.

It's 1978 in New York City, and disco is prominent. As are mobsters, gritty streets...


A Note From the Publisher

Lee Matthew Goldberg is the author of nine novels including THE ANCESTOR and THE MENTOR and the YA series RUNAWAY TRAIN. His books are in various stages of development for film and TV off of his original scripts. He has been published in multiple languages and nominated for the Prix du Polar. After graduating with an MFA from the New School, his writing has also appeared as a contributor in Pipeline Artists, LitHub, The Los Angeles Review of Books, The Millions, Vol. 1 Brooklyn, LitReactor, Mystery Tribune, The Big Idea, Monkeybicycle, Fiction Writers Review, Cagibi, Necessary Fiction, Hypertext, If My Book, Past Ten, the anthology Dirty Boulevard, The Montreal Review, The Adirondack Review, The New Plains Review, Maudlin House, Underwood Press and others. His pilots and screenplays have been finalists in Script Pipeline, Book Pipeline, Stage 32, We Screenplay, the New York Screenplay, Screencraft, and the Hollywood Screenplay contests. He is the co-curator of The Guerrilla Lit Reading Series and lives in New York City. Follow him at LeeMatthewGoldberg.com

Lee Matthew Goldberg is the author of nine novels including THE ANCESTOR and THE MENTOR and the YA series RUNAWAY TRAIN. His books are in various stages of development for film and TV off of his...


Advance Praise

“Lee Matthew Goldberg’s The Desire Card series is a character-driven, enthralling thriller that introduces readers to a dark underworld powered by an equally mysterious organization loaded with as much menace as promise.” Alex Segura, acclaimed, award winning author of Blackout and Secret Identity

“Careful what you wish form especially from a nefarious shadow organization, in this gripping start to Lee Matthew Goldberg’s fast-paced, highly-compelling, buzz-worthy new series. Can’t wait to get my hands on Prey No More to see where this endlessly exciting story takes me next! Love it!” D.J. Palmer, critically acclaimed suspense author of Saving Meaghan and The New Husband.

“I guarantee you’ll want to devour The Desire Card series in one glorious, heart-pounding sitting.” Laura Benedict, Edgar nominated author of The Stranger Inside

“A taut emotional tale that portends an even deeper exploration of this world in the sequel.” – Kirkus Reviews

“A compulsively addicting thriller series.” - IndieReader

"What happens when a sweet-talking, enigmatic killer seduces a small-time crook from Hell's Kitchen to join a diabolical scheme operated by a ruthless cabal masquerading as the silver screen's most glamorous stars? Lee Matthew Goldberg answers in this twisted and cinematic new series that hatches in a Koch-era New York stoked by drugs, greed and disco."

Luke Jerod Kummer, author of Takers Mad and The Blue Period

"An atmospheric riveting thriller you won't be able to put down or easily forget. The late-Seventies setting was an inspired choice and while difficult to pull off, Goldberg does it convincingly. One of Goldberg's best."

- Terrence McCauley - Award-winning author of THE WANDERING MAN and THE MOSCOW PROTOCOL

"Better clear your calendar: when this book gets its hooks in you, there's no escaping. Jake is a classic Lee Matthew Goldberg character: a thief and a killer who gets you on his side by being the only genuine person in a world of snakes. A love story, a fast-paced thriller, a time warp to the bad old days of New York City, Immoral Origins is incredibly entertaining." -- Chris Rhatigan, All Due Respect Books publisher

“[Immoral Origins] is a book that crackles with energy from the opening sentence. It has more than enough twists to satisfy the most demanding of thriller-addicts, while having an emotional depth that will keep any discerning reader turning the pages. Definitely a must-read!”

Andrew Komarnyckyj, acclaimed author of Ezra Slef, The Next Nobel Laureate in Literature


“Lee Matthew Goldberg’s The Desire Card series is a character-driven, enthralling thriller that introduces readers to a dark underworld powered by an equally mysterious organization loaded with as...


Available Editions

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ISBN 9781685490850
PRICE $17.99 (USD)

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Average rating from 13 members


Featured Reviews

The premise of the book is quite interesting. You can get anything for the right price. Whatever it is that you desire. It could be material stuff but also getting rid of someone you don't like/want around anymore. Where do you draw the line? What would be too far? This is the first book in a series of 5 related to the desire card. The title says it all, it's about the immorality of this particular company and how people are drawn into it.

I really had to get used to the sinister way the story is written. It's quite dark in a sense of immoral behaviour. I also couldn't quite grasp the characters completely but the pace of the story was a bit too fast to really get into each character. The story played out nicely and is a mix of different types of thrillers. I would like to read the second book to see how it all evolves.

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How often does it happen with you? You read hundreds and hundreds of books and THE one get stuck with you forever. I'm shook. I'm speechless. I'm amazed. I don't know how to form words properly.

I'm a 90's baby so anything before that time fascinates me to no end. This book spans it's story only around three years 1978 - 80 but it feels like you've lived your entire life with these characters, so much so that you'll start to empathize with the main characters and their everyday emotional struggle. This books will give you a glimpse of a 80's mafia organization, its ups and downs, a sleazy sociopath of a mob boss, a very dangerous love triangle. This book is a perfect blend of Crime fiction, thriller and a whirlwind of a love story. At the end you'll be questioning yourself how far will you go to protect the ones you love? And Is love worth it to loose your soul, to loose everything that you stand for?

It's been a while since I've found a book that has everything that made me drop everything and kept me hooked till the very end. And I can't wait to read the second installment of this awesome thriller. If you loved Godfather or similar kind of books or movie, you should pick this one up.

Thanks to @netgalley
And @wolfpack.publishing for providing me an e-arc in exchange for an honest review.

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Welcome to the New York underground and characters that you’d probably never want to meet, but are fascinating to read about in a novel. An excellent start to a series that leaves the reader eager for more..

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I was attracted by the setting and appreciated this well plotted and gripping noir. It's a solid story that kept me hooked even if the end left me wondering.
I know it's a first in a series and I want to read other books by this author.
Recommended.
Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for this ARC, all opinions are mine

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Immoral Origins
Desire Card #1
by Lee Matthew Goldberg

This is a 3 series book. I am so glad it was. This set can be stand-alone but, REALLY you will WISH you got the set, The first is book will make you wonder, and yes be careful what you wish you. hanks to @netgalley
And @wolfpack.publishing for providing me an e-arc of the entire set in exchange for an honest review. Brilliant books, you better clear your day or two to get 100% into these.

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Desire Card Series

Book 1 - Immoral Origins
Book 2 – Prey No More
by Lee Matthew Goldberg

4 stars

The Desire Card is an underground operation that promises to its exclusive clients "Any Wish Fulfilled for the Right Price." Jake Barnum is one of their upcoming workers who starts with from the rich and giving to the poor, ending with murder.

The first book, and by far the better follows Jakes rise and fall with the organisation The second book follows another recruit J.D. Storm as he tries to run from the organisations and its psychotic leaders long reach.

Both books are face paced action novels, that are easy to read and daw the reader in.

This title has been reviewed by www.books-reviewed.weebly.com

This title was provided by Netgalley and the publisher in return for an open and honest review.

#immoraloriginsdesirecard #NetGalley

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This book is a page turner but the characters are so awful that i have no interest in reading the next books. This book added nothing to my life.

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I love this author's writing style and it lends itself perfectly to this thrilling late 70's New York gangster organization that is the start to The Desire Card trilogy. There's a lot of action, a little romance, and plenty of intrigue to keep the story moving and I love the nod to Old Hollywood using actors names as code names. The descriptions of NYC in that time period are both bleak and hopeful and the richly drawn characters bring those descriptors to mind as well. This book is a wild ride from start to finish and I can't wait for the second book!

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This was the third book of the series for me. I read them in reverse order. I liked the first two (the second book better than the last in the series). But this was disjointed. By the end, I could barely continue reading. I stated to count the number of times the word "iced" was used.

I liked the very end, like the last sentences, but otherwise was not impressed. I would recommend reading these in chronological order, but if I had, I would have stopped half way through this first book and not continued.

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Small-time crook Jake Barnum lives in Hell's Kitchen, 1978, just scraping by. His family needs money to take care of Jake's little brother, Emile, who was born with a disability. When a new opportunity falls into Jake's lap at a Halloween party, Jake happily agrees. A woman dressed as Marilyn Monroe offers Jake a position with the Desire Card, an operation that allows wealthy clients to have any dream fulfilled. Jake begins with simple tasks, but moves through the ranks quickly and learns how the card really makes its money dealing in drugs and death.

Immoral Origins is a fast-paced thriller where I never knew what was coming next. Like other Lee Matthew Goldberg books, I was completely immersed in the time period and setting of Hell's Kitchen in the late 1970's with descriptions of music, people, clothing, the apartments, diners and clubs. The characters are also all dynamic and surprising. I was really intrigued by all of the members of The Card wearing a mask of a celebrity and assuming their name, eventually taking on their mask's character, mannerisms and voice. The masks also seemed to fulfill something different for each character, Marilyn's beauty and Jake's need to fit in with his Errol Flynn persona. The Card as an organization was interesting as well. Their true nature, greed and hold over the city slowly spilled out as Jake began to climb through the ranks. However, as Jake became more ingrained with The Card, the dangerous tasks that they asked him to do seemed less against his morals.


This book was received for free in return for an honest review.

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The book was strange but it was good. I definitely liked the mystic mystery behind the mask and the characters that were selected to wear them. I was very aware after each chapter of how the stakes of how high of a risk Jake was involved in with the Card. I totally dislike Marilyn Monroe but I guess she helps make the book good. I’m hoping that all will work out well for Jake and his family. I totally love the mob boss affect that the book s portraying. All in all this is a fast pace book. It’s exciting and entertaining.

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3 1/2 stars

THE DESIRE CARD
Any wish fulfilled for the right price.
Call to inquire.
(212) 555-CARD


As intriguing as it sounds, Immoral Origins presents another point of view on people's greediness. One truly dark and twisted ride full of adrenaline.

Jake is one struggling young man who juggles between keeping away from prison and providing for his family. On Halloween night in 1978, he meets a girl with a Marilyn Monroe mask. In that same moment, it feels like he's found someone to hold on to.

But little does he know that his Marilyn will pave his road to hell. And their relationship will be just the beginning of his downfall.

When Jake learns that the Desire Card can take care to fulfill any of his wishes, he won't think twice before joining this secret underground society. Task after task, the pile of money gets thicker and thicker. The problems he had in his life, today seem like history.

But at what cost?

"Right is tight even if no one is doing it; wrong is wrong even if everyone is doing it."


Many thanks to the publisher, who provided the digital ARC via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review. All the thoughts and opinions are my own.

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