2023 Mystery and Thriller Novels I’m Looking Forward To Reading

Hi everyone! It’s Michael Gortenburg here. 

Anyone who knows me knows I love an excellent edge-of-your-seat read. Needing to know what happens next is a great motivator that gets me reading more. Here are some mystery and thriller books debuting in 2023 that I can’t wait to dive into. 

Just the Nicest Couple” by Mary Kubica 

Tension abounds in this thriller as a wife searches for her missing husband and finds that the couple they were close to knows more than they’re letting on. Alternating perspectives between Nina, looking desperately for her husband, and Christian, the other husband trying to cover it up to protect his wife, will make for an exciting read. 

The Shards” by Bret Easton Ellis 

From the same author that crafted “American Psycho,” this thriller follows a teenage Bret on his journey from adolescence to adulthood. Bret finds himself in the middle of a tight-knit group of friends and a budding obsession with a new student, Mallory, just as a serial killer in Los Angeles targets teenagers. This story is set to fuse fiction with Bret Easton Ellis’ reality, making for an intriguing ride. 

The Angel Maker” by Alex North 

This suspenseful new thriller follows a sister fighting to bring her missing brother home from a serial killer who seems to know the future. Katie Shaw and Detective Laurence Page try to make sense of the brutal actions of a notorious killer whose actions have haunted the Shaws for years. 

Exiles” by Jane Harper 

Federal investigator, Aaron Falk, finds himself in South Australian wine country navigating the tight-knit family of a woman who went missing a year before. Long-ago truths threaten to emerge as Falk questions some people closest to him. This is the third book in the “Aaron Falk” series and is sure to be a heart-pounding installment. 

The Kind Worth Saving” by Peter Swanson 

Private investigator Henry Kimball must investigate the husband of a woman from his past, only to be confronted with memories of the worst day of his life. Scared a murderer he thought was buried in his past is now closer than ever, he must investigate further into an infidelity case now turned homicide. This thrilling ca-and-mouse chase is the long-awaited second installment following Henry Kimball and Lily Kintner. 

If mystery isn’t your genre, seek the books that will excite you to read. These are just a few great reads that will be released in 2023 and I’m looking forward to including them in my collection. If you want tips on reading more, check out my blog about it here

While you’re waiting for these books’ releases, look at some of my other favorite mysteries and thrillers

Michael Gortenburg, Founding Principal of Eighteen Capital Group (18CG) in Kansas City, Missouri. 
Also follow Michael on Medium, Twitter, and Xing.

Best Places to Eat in Kansas City

Hi everyone! It’s Michael Gortenburg here. 

As a native of Kansas City, I’ve spent my life looking for great places to eat. It can be daunting figuring out where you want to eat. Nobody wants to spend a bunch of money only to end up hating the meal they’re eating. Whether you’re just visiting or a resident looking for new places to try, I’ve got a list of some of the best places to eat in Kansas City. 

Golden Ox 

Golden Ox is a steakhouse staple and is the birthplace of the Kansas City strip steak. Meat lovers have plenty of hearty, delicious menu items to choose from. Come ready to eat as they’ve got plenty of incredible appetizers and sides to fill you up. 

The Rockhill Grille

The Rockhill Grille offers an elegant dining experience with American cuisine and creative cocktails. Friendly staff and a great location make it a great spot for a date night away from the kids. You’ll be able to pick from a variety of delicious choices for brunch, lunch, and dinner. 


If you’re looking for a breakfast place to start off your day right, look no further than Mildred’s. Family-owned and operated for 25 years, Mildred’s has expanded far beyond its initial status as a small “Ma and Pa” and has since become a booming breakfast staple. Plenty of options are available for sweet or savory breakfast offerings and coffee for a nice caffeine fix. 

Joe’s Kansas City Bar-B-Que

Any Kansas City native will tell that barbecue is an important part of the city’s culture. Joe’s Kansas City BBQ is a relaxed BBQ pit stop that gives diners an extensive selection of incredible barbecue to choose from. They’ve got three locations, but I recommend visiting the original gas station location if you have the chance. 

Garazzo’s Downtown

You won’t find a better source of quality Italian food than Garazzo’s. Italian eatery at its finest, they’ve been a staple of the community for the past 32 years.  Garazzo’s has a welcoming, familial atmosphere that makes their home-cooked recipes taste even more delicious. Be sure to try out the owner’s private wine label, Garozzo Cellars Chianti Classico, to pair with your meal when you’re visiting. 

Kansas City is filled with incredible restaurants that can satisfy any appetite. I hope that this guide will be helpful the next time you’re trying to figure out where to eat out in Kansas City. 

If you’re looking for other places to visit in Kansas City, check out my blog on some of my favorite places.

Michael Gortenburg, Founding Principal of Eighteen Capital Group (18CG) in Kansas City, Missouri. 

Also follow Michael on Medium, Twitter, and Xing

How to Read More Often

Hi everyone! It’s Michael Gortenburg here. 

Reading as a hobby can be difficult. For many such as myself, the main problem you face is simply finding the time. When we have other commitments to attend to, it can be easy to let reading fall to the wayside. I wanted to share some ways for you to make the time to pick up a book!

Make a list of books you want to read

It’s easier to make time for reading when you feel excited to read. Look up books in your favorite genre and make a list of books you can look forward to. I’ve found websites like Goodreads especially helpful when trying to narrow down my next read. 

If you’re looking for mystery and thriller novels, consider checking out my blog where I discuss some of my favorites. 

Start by reading a few pages each day

If it’s been a while, don’t be afraid to set a lower number as your reading goal. Try reading just 15 or 20 pages a night before you go to bed. It’ll be a great way to reduce your screen time before bed and ease yourself back into the habit. If you keep it up, soon enough you’ll be able to get through pages at a quicker pace. 

Listen to audiobooks. 

Many of us are leading busy lives and don’t often have the time to physically sit down and read a book. What I’ve found helpful is listening to audiobooks as I’m cleaning, exercising, or driving in the car. Audiobooks are a great, hands-free alternative. Audiobooks tend to be pricier than their hardcopy counterparts, so I suggest using a library app like Libby to get access and support your local public library. 

Use the Library

It can be hard to fully commit to buying a book when you’re first starting to get back into reading. Libraries will help save you money and give you a time limit. If you’re someone who’s motivated by a deadline, a library due date could be the perfect solution to get you reading. 

Join a book club

What might be holding you back from making more time for reading is not having anyone to talk about your book with. A book club can make your reading experience more engaging as many will provide their members with questions to keep in mind as they read. Whether you love or hate a book, you’ll have a group of people to discuss your thoughts with. 

Reading is a great hobby to cultivate but can be difficult to make time for. Once you figure out which reading methods work best for you, you’ll be zipping through your pile of books in no time. 

Michael Gortenburg, Founding Principal of Eighteen Capital Group (18CG) in Kansas City, Missouri. 

Also follow Michael on Medium, Twitter, and Xing

Best Places to See Live Music in Kansas City

Hi everyone! It’s Michael Gortenburg here. 

There’s nothing better than listening to music live and in person. Getting to listen along with a crowd creates an experience like no other. Here are some recommendations on where to listen to live music in Kansas City from a lifelong native. 

Green Lady Lounge

The Green Lady Lounge pays tribute to Kansas City’s jazz legacy with local musicians playing their own compositions. A retro atmosphere free of screens awaits patrons so they can focus entirely on the music and the people around them. The dimly lit bar has excellent cocktails for you to sip on while you enjoy the amazing music. 

Uptown Theater

This historic theater holds shows and events for a wide variety of musicians that all music lovers will enjoy. Following a $15 million renovation, Uptown Theater is one of the few atmospheric theaters still operating and is a must-see for any music fans. 


Knuckleheads has five stages that provide five different concert experiences for guests. For those seeking out big outdoor concerts, visit the Outdoor Stage and Courtyard Theater to see your favorite artists perform. For those seeking bigger venues with their own unique charm, visit the Knuckleheads Garage or the Saloon Stage. If you’re looking for a place to dance and drink, stop by the Fender Stage or check out the Gospel Lounge for a more intimate listening experience. 

CrossroadsKC at Grinders

The outdoor venue CrossroadsKC at Grinders has artists playing everything from rock to reggae and country to hip-hop. There’s something for everyone here though it’s always good to keep the weather in mind when planning on attending. With great food and an exciting environment, this is one of the Premier venues for live music in Kansas City. 

 T-Mobile Center

T-Mobile Center is an arena downtown that hosts popular artists for large-scale, crowd-packed concerts. As Kansas City’s premier home for live entertainment and sports events, it’s a popular destination for those looking to see a live performance so be sure to get your ticket early. 

Kansas City has a musical history that visitors and natives alike should take the time to appreciate. These venues are just some of the many options for music lovers to get their fix. 

If you want my recommendations on the best sights to see in Kansas City, check out my blog here

Michael Gortenburg, Founding Principal of Eighteen Capital Group (18CG) in Kansas City, Missouri. 

Also follow Michael on Medium, Twitter, and Xing.

Tips on Being More Efficient in the New Year

Hi everyone! It’s Michael Gortenburg here. 

Many of us may have already dropped our New Year’s Resolutions by now, but I personally believe there’s no wrong time to make a positive change in your life. Here are some tips for those looking to be more efficient in 2023. 

Break Tasks Down Into Smaller Pieces 

The urge to procrastinate is hard to resist and I’ve learned that breaking down work into smaller chunks is very helpful when trying to concentrate. When looking at a big project or task, take a step back and zero in on what can be done first. One of the easiest ways to do this is to allocate a manageable amount of time you can dedicate each day to working on the project to make it feel more manageable.  

Figure Out What Needs to Be Done First 

Whether it’s for work or chores at home, look at what you need to do and think to yourself “What could cause a problem if I don’t get it done now?” For work, if a specific task is due that day, you’ll want to make finishing it a priority. At home, if you’re choosing between cleaning up a spill on the living room carpet or cleaning the oven, you’ll want to focus on cleaning up the spill before a stain can set. Prioritizing your tasks each day helps you become more productive on a day-to-day basis. 

Write Down a List of Your Tasks for Reference 

Many of us are leading busy lives with to-do lists we can’t keep straight from day to day. If you’ve got a busy day or week ahead of you, take a few minutes to write down a list of everything you need to get done. It can be easy to lose track of what you should be doing, so it’s handy having a list to refer back to. Plus, if you’re someone like me who loves having a to-do list to check off, you’ll feel even more accomplished when you finish! 

Learn to Say “No”

Sometimes in the name of being efficient, we say “yes” to everything thrown our way. But to be efficient, you can’t take on more than you can handle. Learn to know when your plate is full and be comfortable turning down others so you can prioritize yourself. 

Take Breaks

One of the most crucial parts of being more efficient is taking a break. If you’re operating at full speed 100% of the time, you’re bound to burn out. Your body and mind need time to recuperate if they’re going to be as efficient as you want them to be. If you want recommendations on books to read in your downtime, check out my blog here

When your life gets busy, it’s easy to succumb to the stress and get overwhelmed, but life doesn’t have to be that way. I hope these tips will help guide you so that your life throughout 2023 is more efficient than ever. 

Michael Gortenburg, Founding Principal of Eighteen Capital Group (18CG) in Kansas City, Missouri. 
Also follow Michael on Medium, Twitter, and Xing.

5 Reasons to Invest In Real Estate

Hi everyone! It’s Michael Gortenburg here. 

As many face financial difficulty in the wake of the pandemic, you may look for ways to boost your income. Real estate provides great benefits for those looking to diversify their portfolio and avoid riskier investments. Here are five reasons why you should invest in real estate:  

Tax Benefits 

When tax season arrives, real estate investors are able to write off fees for managing their properties. The costs of owning and operating can provide some decent tax breaks. If you’re able to sell your property for more than what you bought it for, then it won’t be counted as taxed income. 

Chance to Build Capital 

If you invest in the right properties, you’ll be able to expand your capital by selling it once its value has risen. One of the main goals of investing in real estate is to build out capital, or cash. What’s important is making sure you’re investing in the right properties and knowing the right time to sell. 


In times of economic turmoil, such as the one we’re currently facing, diversification can be key to protecting you from riskier financial investments. If certain stocks are facing a downturn, your real estate could still be increasing in value, protecting you from greater financial harm. 

Stable Cash Flow 

Renting out property to tenants is a good source of additional monthly income. After mortgage payments and any supplemental operating costs, the additional profit leftover is yours to take. Just make sure you’re renting out to reliable tenants. You don’t want to constantly be short of a check by the end of the month and have to cut into your own funds. 

Inflation Protection 

As inflation increases prices, property values also increase. You’ll be able to make more for higher operating expenses in order to compensate where you’re paying more in other areas. 

Figure out what kind of real estate investment is right for you. Do you want to rent out a property to families or business owners? The most important thing when investing in real estate is choosing the property that aligns with you and your goals. You’ll want to choose a property that will ideally move up in value instead of depreciating. Either way, you’ll be able to expand your financial resume and receive several financial benefits. 

If you want to learn about ways to boost the resale value of property you already own, read my blog here about home renovations I recommend. 

Michael Gortenburg, Founding Principal of Eighteen Capital Group (18CG) in Kansas City, Missouri. 

Also follow Michael on Medium, Twitter, and Xing

Travel Tips and Tricks for 2023

Hi everyone! It’s Michael Gortenburg here. 

Traveling can be stressful. As a seasoned traveler myself, I know how much effort goes into trip preparation. Today, I wanted to share some tips about aspects of your vacation you may put on the back burner. Here are some tips to keep in mind as you plan your next vacation. 

Never Underestimate Lines at the Airport

It may seem overkill to get to the airport hours ahead of takeoff but it’s essential to keep in mind. Some international travelers are waiting up to four hours to get through security. Don’t miss out on your dream vacation because the line for TSA is moving too slowly. Better to be early and bored than to miss your flight entirely. If you’re looking for a good read to pass the time waiting in the terminal, check out my blog about some of my favorite mystery novels

Budget Accordingly 

Traveling expenses can add up pretty quickly. Create a travel budget that will account for essentials like food and lodging but remember to take experiences into consideration. Give yourself room to make some pre-planned “impulsive” decisions on your trip. 

Invest in a Quality Suitcase. 

Many travelers fall victim to the overpacking impulse. This can be a pain when you’re trying to consolidate the number of bags you’re checking at the airport. Invest in a suitcase that can compensate for any last-minute additions to your clothes for the trip and anything you decide to purchase while you’re away. 

Study Up. 

It’s always important to know some of the ground rules for where you’re traveling. You should know. What’s a big no-no? Are there any cultural differences? Is there any special clothing you need to pack? Look at the weather forecast and be prepared for different climates depending on the time of year. You don’t have to know the ins and outs of everything but it’s good to have a general knowledge of the area you’re visiting so you can ensure you have the best trip possible. 

Don’t Be Afraid of the Tourist Label 

Tourists tend to get a bad rep. Many people get caught up trying to avoid judgment from locals but as long as you’re being respectful, embrace your status as a traveler. Don’t be afraid to ask for directions or visit the monument already clogged up with other visitors. They’re popular for a reason! 

Preparedness pays off but make sure you don’t get too caught up in the details when you’re traveling. It’s good to have a plan so you can make the most out of your time but don’t sweat it too much if things get knocked a bit off course. Wherever you’re going, enjoy your visit! 

Michael Gortenburg, Founding Principal of Eighteen Capital Group (18CG) in Kansas City, Missouri. 

Also follow Michael on Medium, Twitter, and Xing

Top-Rated National Charities You Should Donate Toward

Hi everyone, Michael Gortenburg here. 

We all want to make the world a better place but when it comes down to donating, it can be difficult to nail down who you want to help and how. Today, I want to share with you some reputable charities you might want to consider: 

St. Jude’s Hospital 

St. Jude’s Research Hospital works to advance cures for deadly illnesses affecting children through research and treatment. Their mission is “no child should ever die in the dawn of their life.” They provide complete monetary support for families who can’t otherwise pay for their children’s medical bills. Donations to St. Jude are what keep families from ever receiving a bill. Unlike other hospitals, they rely solely on donations to support their mission. St. Jude’s is unique in that you get to see where your money is going. Donations directly support families seeking treatment for their children and provide them relief during an incredibly difficult time in their lives. 

National Federation of the Blind

The National Federation of the Blind (NFB) is the largest and oldest organization led by blind people in the country. They work to let the world know that blindness is not what defines someone and to continually raise expectations for what their community is capable of. Proceeds to the NFB go toward training and education for blind youth, advocacy for the community, and investing in accessible technology. 

Mental Health America

Mental Health America (MHA) works to educate the public on mental health and reduce barriers to diagnosis and treatment. They’re doing the work to reduce the stigma around mental health and provide solutions and resources to those who live with it. MHA has raised over one million dollars to support mental health programs, screened eight million people for mental health conditions, and reached 31 million people through public education programs. Those who suffer from a mental health condition may sometimes suffer in silence and organizations such as MHA are striving to start the conversation on mental illness. 

Helping others in an effort to make the world a better place, or Tikkun Olam is an important part of my Jewish heritage. These are just a few of the many great charities that put in the work to educate the public and aid vulnerable communities. At the end of the day, by contributing to a charity, you make a contribution in someone’s life. 

Michael Gortenburg, Founding Principal of Eighteen Capital Group (18CG) in Kansas City, Missouri. 

Also follow Michael on Medium, Twitter, and Xing.

Increase the Resale Value of Your Home with These Top Home Renovations

Hi everyone, it’s Michael Gortenburg. 

Selling your home can be stressful. You want to make sure you’re fully capitalizing on the space you have but might not know where to start. Here are some ways to increase the resale value of your home and take full advantage of what your home has to offer: 

Improve your curb appeal 

You want potential buyers to be drawn in from the moment they see your house. There are many small changes you can make to improve your front porch and yard. Enhance your landscape with trees, flowers, and bushes to help frame your front yard. Expand your front porch with an inviting and comfortable seating area and welcoming light fixtures. Also, easy changes like a fresh coat of paint or new doors can make all the difference. 

Build or convert space 

The next best way to guarantee an increase in the value of your home is to add square footage. However, if an addition isn’t in your timeframe or budget, consider converting some unused space. Do your kids have an old playroom they’ve outgrown? Consider converting it into a home office space. With such a large portion of the workforce working from home, having an area devoted specifically to work could be a major selling point for homebuyers.

Make your home more energy efficient 

More and more buyers are looking for ways to be energy efficient in their day-to-day lives. By incorporating energy efficiency into your home, you’ll be doing the work for them, making your home all the more enticing. If you’re curious about which green tech to incorporate into your home, check out my blog about the best green tech here

Enhance your backyard 

Upgrading your backyard can offer new recreational benefits. With so many people now working from home, and so many others still concerned about shared spaces, many have incorporated the outdoors as an expansion of their everyday space. A deck or pool can transform a backyard into a place in which potential buyers can easily imagine spending long stretches of their time. 

These renovations can make all the difference in upping the value of your home. When making these changes, it’s important to keep in mind what sellers are looking for. Whether it’s planting more flowers or building a fire pit, figure out what changes make the most sense for your home, and more importantly, for your buyers. 

Michael Gortenburg, Founding Principal of Eighteen Capital Group (18CG) in Kansas City, Missouri. 

Also follow Michael on Medium, Twitter, and Xing

Scott Asner and Michael Gortenburg Honor Workers on Labor Day

Scott Asner and Michael Gortenburg, founding Principals of 18 Capital Group (18CP), a Kansas City-based private equity firm with a focus on real estate, celebrate Labor Day this year by honoring the hard work of their employees. 

First proposed by Matthew Maguire, a secretary for the Central Labor Union, Labor Day is a national holiday that began as a way of celebrating the strides of the Labor movement in America. This day honors the daily efforts and achievements of the working class that keep our country running. 

Scott Asner and Michael Gortenburg wish to do their part in uplifting workers by highlighting the 226 employees that keep 18 Capital Group going. Their staff works every day to provide upstanding management to the highest quality housing units. 

This Labor Day is a way to reflect on how their employees’ daily hard work has contributed to 18 Capital Group’s strategic success. With their efforts, 18CP has provided over 6000 units to people spanning 33 communities in 11 states. 

“It’s important that we take the time to appreciate our in-house employees and property management teams who provide the necessary support for our customers day in and day out,” said Scott Asner, “If not for their dedication to 18 Capital Group, our business would not be where it is today.” 

Asner and Gortenburg created 18 Capital Group out of shared care for their communities, wanting to reposition the real estate landscape through better management. 18 Capital Group set high standards for customers and every day, their staff continues to not only meet but exceed expectations. 

“We try our best to create a positive working environment that rewards employees for their accomplishments. That’s why we want to make sure they know how appreciated they are this Labor Day,” stated Gortenburg. 

About Scott Asner

Scott Asner is a longstanding Kansas City, MO investment manager and Founding Principal of Eighteen Capital Group (18CG). Having earned his bachelor’s degree in economics at the University of Pennsylvania and his law degree from Stanford University, Scott practiced law for two decades before turning to the investment management profession. As a Principal of 18CG, Scott specializes in diverse real estate investments and leads a core team of 25 employees from 18CG’s corporate headquarters in Leawood, Kansas. Scott oversees the private equity-financed acquisition of properties nationwide –more than 7,000 apartment units at 33 properties in 15 states. He is a long-term holder of most of these properties. For more information about Scott Asner, please visit www.scottasner.com.

About Michael Gortenburg

Michael Gortenburg is a Founding Principal of Eighteen Capital Group (18CG) and owner of more than 100 investment entities–a diverse portfolio focusing primarily on multifamily housing units. In addition to overseeing all corporate and individual property functions for 18CG, Michael is involved in a number of other operational businesses, such as digital media and software companies. For more information about Michael Gortenburg, please visit https://michaelgortenburg.com.

Originally published at https://www.prweb.com on September 5, 2022.