A Disgraced Journalist Finds Himself Involved in an Epic Art Heist

Writer Michael Ostrowski’s latest novel, Lost in the Fog, is a love letter to San Francisco—one full of shootouts, art thieves, and lots of booze. “I really wanted to make San Francisco its own character,” explains Ostrowski. “I lived there for eight years and just fell in love with the place. Every weekend, I would explore a new section of the city, like Strawberry Hill, and so many of those places are featured in my story.”

Alongside the Golden City, readers are introduced to a host of other colorful characters in this twisty thriller. Camden Swanson is a former journalist who can’t quite seem to pull himself together after being fired, much to the chagrin of his long-suffering artist girlfriend: 

“The official reason listed for his termination was “misconduct by egregious disregard for facts.” His superiors claimed he maliciously fabricated a story to create an Orson Welles–type War of the Worlds hoax. But at the time of the incident, Camden believed the city was being attacked by half-monkey, half-snakelike creatures. Dropping acid can do that to you.”

While working as a gallery attendant, Camden becomes unexpectedly mired in an art heist that couldn’t possibly go more wrong. Also roped into the plan is Veronica Zarcarsky, a hotel worker who has big dreams of becoming a journalist. 

Camden’s personal demons are at once painful to read and completely relatable—given the turmoil of recent years—as he continues to self-destruct: “With each chicken wing and beer, his tenuous grasp on morality began to fade away. He was committed to being the thieves’ hostage tomorrow and had taken the leap of faith in believing they would keep their word and not kill him.” 

Even as he and Veronica are forced to ultimately work together to save their own lives, Veronica’s eagerness to investigate and establish herself as a journalist is a compelling contrast to Camden’s hardened, defeatist attitude at having had it all and lost it. Yet as Camden’s situation spirals further out of control, becoming bigger than himself, Camden does something remarkable: He pulls himself together.

And that’s a message that Ostrowski hopes resonates with audiences of all backgrounds. “The character of Camden really came from that place in my life where I just didn’t know what to do next….So it’s ultimately a story of redemption, of learning how to go out and live your dreams,” explains the author. 

The novel may have grown out of Ostrowski’s experience of getting to know San Francisco, but that’s not where the similarities end. Prior to moving there, he worked as a museum gallery attendant and would often spend his time while on duty scribbling poems and other snippets in his notebook. “[The job] was a bit boring,” he says, “but I kind of viewed it as an art history class. I read so many books about artists, particularly Henri Matisse, that the ideas just started bubbling. But it wasn’t until I actually moved to San Francisco that the story elements really came together.”

Writing came early and naturally to Ostrowski, who first remembers dashing off a story about a trip he took with his parents when he was about 8 years old. Currently residing in Miami Beach, where he writes and works in human resources for a hotel management company, he previously pursued a career as a journalist while dabbling in screenplays and short stories. Heavily influenced by detective writers like Robert B. Parker and Dashiell Hammett, Ostrowski pivoted from literary fiction in his first novel (A Model Community, 2003) to the mystery/thriller genre for his current release.

And it’s safe to say he nailed it. Kirkus Reviews praises Lost in the Fog, noting, “thriller enthusiasts will want to add this well-sculpted heist drama to their collections.”

When Ostrowski began writing Lost in the Fog, he was initially unsure of what form it would take. Novella? Short story? Something else entirely? Partway through writing what would turn out to be a novel, and after spending so many years with the now-beloved characters, he realized that he had enough material for not just one or two books, but at least three. The next book in the series, which is partially written and (mostly) planned out, will find Camden and Veronica in Hawaii. The third novel will take place on Spain’s famed Camino de Santiago. “I feel like there is a lot more to explore with these two characters,” says Ostrowski. “Not only in terms of their journalistic exploits, but also their relationship to and with each other.”

Alongside the adrenaline-fueled chases, hails of bullets, and nail-biting interrogations, readers will also find a healthy dose of humor to ease the tension. Whether it’s Camden describing the taste of expensive wine as “light but complex…with a hint of clowns on a bright summer day” or two heist accomplices who have been sworn to secrecy spilling their guts to a pair of indifferent strippers, the characters somehow make trying to stay alive inherently humorous. 

There is much to be said for keeping a sense of humor and viewing life itself as an adventure. And that lightness, often found within dark moments in the novel, is something Ostrowski hopes audiences will appreciate. “Life isn’t always what you want,” he explains. “But if you have that positive attitude, you can still laugh about it.”

Andrea Moran is a professional copywriter and editor who loves all things books.


Aloha All,

Thank you to everyone who has let me know they have received their copies of Lost in the Fog!  It’s been a long journey to publication, and I’m extremely excited for you to finally have the opportunity to read the book!  The calls, texts, emails, DMs, and social media posts you’ve shared have made me incredibly happy.

For those who have yet to receive their copies, please know the books have shipped and are on the way.  Your wonderful neighborhood mailperson will be getting it into your hands very soon! 

When you do receive your copy of Lost in the Fog, I’d love to hear from you.  And if you’re able to post a picture of it to the social media outlet of your choosing, I would greatly appreciate that as well!  You can tag me with @mikeozzie for Instagram and @MichaelOWriter (both Facebook and Twitter).



Aloha All,

I have  good news to share with you!  Inkshares has begun to ship the paperbacks of Lost in the Fog!

I haven’t received my author copies in the mail yet, but I’ve heard from some friends who have gotten their pre-orders.  That makes me incredibly happy!  Both you and I will be getting our paperbacks of Lost in Fog very soon!  

The post offices around the globe are doing yeoman’s work, so we’ll just need to be patient while they do their jobs.  Given all the delays I’ve read about due to a variety of reasons, please give them some time to deliver the packages.  If you haven’t received your copies within the next 2 weeks, please let me know.

There’s no way I can properly thank you all for your support!  I’m also incredibly grateful for your patience in this Rip Van Winkle-esque process that is publishing a book.  This wouldn’t have been possible without you.   I sincerely hope you enjoy Lost in the Fog

I’ll end this update with the first professional review I’ve ever received.  It’s from Kirkus, who have been trusted evaluators of books since 1933.  I’m so grateful they loved it:

“Ostrowski, a former resident of both Boston and San Francisco, thoroughly knows the territory the intriguing characters roam. The places range from a hidden foodie gem in Boston’s North End to where the steep slope of Powell Street meets Sutter in the San Francisco fog . . . humor weaves throughout the smoothly written story.   For example, Camden says his wine has an intense black cherry taste “with a hint of clowns on a bright summer day.”

But the mood can change quickly.  The tension rises in this enjoyable tale as unhappy clients attack, often fatally.  Thriller enthusiasts will want to add this well-sculpted heist drama to their collections." – Kirkus Reviews



Aloha All,

The ebooks of Lost in the Fog are now available!

Everyone who pre-ordered Lost in the Fog will receive an email from Inkshares with a link to download it.  If you bought a paperback, the ebooks were included with the purchase.

Your downloads will be in three different formats: mobi (Kindle), Epub (Apple books), and Adobe PDF (which can be read on any device).  Please check your email, and if you haven’t received it, please let me know. 

Paperback books will be mailed in October.

Thank you all again for your support!!!


Aloha All,

The publication of Lost in the Fog is so close I can smell it.  For me, the scent is a cool, ocean breeze mingled with trees and dirt and the dampness of fog drifting across Lands End Trail at the westernmost point of San Francisco.  Maybe there’s some whiskey notes in there as well. 

Lost in the Fog is a mystery, a comedy, a wild adventure, and a neo noir.  It’s also taken a helluva long time to get into print for people to read.  With the pandemic, it’s unfortunately made the wait even longer.

And now there’s a new calamity to add to the Shit Show of 2020 to further delay Lost in the Fog

The fires in California and Oregon, with their extremely dangerous air quality, have been a horrific ordeal that’s affected so many people.  Because of this, it’s produced a slight setback for the printed books to be shipped to everyone who pre-ordered one.  Of course my novel’s delay means absolutely nothing in the larger picture of what’s going on, and my heart goes out to everyone affected.

But there is some good news with Lost in the Fog . . . the e-version will be ready to go on September 21st as promised! 

Anyone who bought a paperback will also automatically receive an e-copy.  You will be emailed my book in both mobi (for Kindle) and Epub (Apple books) files, as well as in Adobe PDF which can be read on any computer or device.  I just received my advanced e-copy, and it looks super cool!  While I’m still a paper and ink kind of guy, I’ve read plenty of books on Kindle and I’m a fan. 

Inkshares has said that the paperbacks of Lost in the Fog will be shipped in October.  I don’t have an exact date, but when I do, you will be the first to know.  I’m incredibly sorry for this delay.

That being said, I’m also incredibly excited that on September 21st e-copies will be sent to everyone who pre-ordered Lost in the Fog!  Thank you, thank you, thank you, and mahalo!  I’m so grateful for your support, and I hope you enjoy the story of Camden, Veronica, and their quest to find the stolen Matisse sculptures in San Francisco.


Aloha All,

Hope you have been enjoying your summer as much as possible and have been reading some good books!

With Lost in the Fog a little more than a month away from being published, I want to make sure everyone who graciously pre-ordered the book (thank you, thank you, thank you!!!) receives their copy.  If you still have the same address as when you bought Lost in the Fog it shall arrive at your doorstep or mailbox on or around September 21st.  But if you’ve moved since then ... 

Please go to https://www.inkshares.com/

Sign into your account (if you don’t remember your password you can reset it).  Click the "Account" button on the top right, and select "Address." You can then verify and/or update your mailing address. Once you do that, you should be all set, and Lost in the Fog will be sent to you!

If you changed email accounts or in any way cannot log-in, please contact Inkshares at hello@inkshares.com.  They are really amazing and will help you.  But if for some reason you are experiencing difficulties, please let me know and I will assist. 

Mahalo again for your support, and here’s a 3D mock-up of the book!



Aloha All,

Just a quick update here on Lost in the Fog’s official publication date as well as a sneak peek at the front and back of the cover!

While we all wanted August, the good folks at Inkshares are still not yet back in the office due to the pandemic.  Avalon, the extremely hardworking and amazing Director of Marketing & Publishing Operations, selected a new date to ensure there is enough time to properly handle everything on their end.  

Lost in the Fog will be released September 21, 2020!

It’s been a long journey, and I thank you all once again for your tremendous support.  I’ll be back in touch as the date gets closer, but in the meantime here’s an exclusive, first look at the cover.  I am so happy with the work from the talented artists Xavier and Rafael from CoverKitchen!  I hope you enjoy it too.  Mahalo! 



Aloha All,

I hope this Lost in the Fog update finds you all safe and well.  While our world has been upended by a dangerous and awful virus, I’m choosing to focus on whatever positive news I can get.  Thankfully, there is plenty if you seek it out. 

First off, the healthcare workers all over the world are such amazing heroes, and I cannot say enough thanks to all of those amazing humans. I think of that great quote from Mr. Rogers, who was told by his Mom when he saw scary things as a kid to “look for the helpers”.  There are so many incredible helpers right now saving lives and we need to salute them every day.  Thank you, thank you, thank you!

I also love that there are millions of people around the globe protesting and taking a stand against racism.  I wish the despicable things that propelled this movement never happened, and I pray for the family and friends of all of the victims.  But so wonderful that the world is changing because of this moment.   

After pondering all of this important stuff, I’m tempted to end this post here. 

But as this is an update for all the terrific people who pre-ordered my novel, I’ll quickly share some good news.   I just heard back from the amazing people at Inkshares (my publisher), and while they are not yet reopened because of the pandemic, they hope to do so soon.  

And I was informed Lost in the Fog will be released in August.

I’m so happy that the book you all graciously ordered long ago will finally be in your hands and e-reader devices very soon.  I hope you’ll find it fun, mysterious, entertaining, suspenseful, and well-written.  When I get a specific August release date, I’ll share it with you as soon as I know.   But for now, lets celebrate this positive news!  

Aloha All,

I wish everyone and their families & friends safety and good health during these bizarre and uncertain times.  Hopefully you all are sheltering from the microscopic storm and are not going stir-crazy.  This too shall pass. 

Health and safety are the top priorities now, and other than essential services everything else in the world is pretty much hitting the pause button.  That of course includes my publisher Inkshares, and Lost in the Fog, like most other books scheduled for release, is now on hold.  It’s a huge bummer since my long awaited new novel is so close to the finish line, but there are more important things for people to focus on now.

As soon as I get an update on the new release date I will share the info.  I’m so incredibly excited to finally get Lost in the Fog into your hands and/or screens at some point in the near future.  

In the meantime, if you’d like to read some of my work, I invite you follow along in the 550 mile adventure across Spain on foot I undertook last September and October.  The Camino de Santiago was an incredible physical and spiritual journey, and I’ve been chronicling it with lots of photos on my blog.  

 You can check it out at www.getlostinthefog.com.  Thank you all and be well!!


Aloha All,

I’m happy to share with you that Lost in the Fog is nearly ready to reach your hands and eyes as a published book!  Inkshares is currently doing the design pour, which is one of the final steps before it’s printed.  While I don’t have a hard date yet, publication will be either this April or May.

I also have the cover I can at long last reveal to you! 

Lost in the Fog shares a few strands of DNA with the Maltese Falcon, the Big Sleep, and a few other of my favorite classic mystery novels.  And the cover is a pulp fiction inspired throwback to those books, designed by the immensely talented team at Coverkitchen.  I present it to you below.

There was a ton of back and forth and revisions, and I’m thrilled with their final version.  Although I love the old pulp covers, I wasn’t sure if it would work for my book, and originally considered more modern designs.  But in the end Xavier and Rafa of Coverkitchen came up with the throwback concept, and nailed it.

So excited to be in the home stretch, and I’ll continue to keep everyone updated!

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