Monday, August 3, 2020

The Beautiful Ashes of Gomez Gomez by Buck Storm

The Beautiful Ashes of Gomez Gomez (Ballads of Paradise)
Literary Americana fiction filled with humor and heart When his wife, Angel, is killed in a head-on collision, Gomez Gomez feels he can't go on--so he doesn't. He spends his days in the bushes next to the crash site drinking Thunderbird wine, and his nights cradling a coffee can full of Angel's ashes. Slow, sure suicide, with no one for company but the snakes, Elvis's ghost, and a strange kid named Bones.

Across town, Father Jake Morales plays it safe, haunted by memories of the woman he left behind, hiding his guilt, loss, and love behind a thick wall of cassock and ritual. Then a shady business deal threatens the town--and his good friend Gomez Gomez--and Father Jake can't just stand by and watch. But what happens when the rescuer is the one in need of saving?

The Beautiful Ashes of Gomez Gomez is quirky, heartfelt, and deeply human. Lives and hopes collide in the town of Paradise, stretching across decades and continents in this epic story of forgiveness, redemption, and love

My Take:  This book is a slow burn but whenever I think of Arizona I think of life being slow so it can be enjoyed.  This book has many characters but good development of those characters.  There were some parts that were not my favorite but I did enjoy the book overall.  The story is not your run of the mill story as it is a bit on the different side but different good.  I would suggest reading a chapter before you pick it up to see if it is for you.  If you like different this might be for you.

I received a review copy of this book from Audra Jennings PR and was not required to write a positive review.















Friday, July 31, 2020

Murphy Murphy: and the Case of Serious Crisis by Keith Hirshland

Murphy Murphy and the Case of Serious Crisis by Keith HirshlandMurphy Murphy and the Case of Serious Crisis by Keith Hirshland Publisher:  Beacon Publishing Group (May 1, 2020) Category: Mystery, Humor Tour Dates June and July, 2020 ISBN: 978-1949472124 Available in Print and ebook, 308 pages Murphy Murphy

Description Murphy Murphy and the Case of Serious Crisis by Keith Hirshland

Murphy Murphy comes from a long line of male Murphys. All were named Murphy and all were cops. This Murphy heads the Department of Redundancy Department and his superior officer, Captain David “Dud” Hill has found him a case. The Captain’s niece is in a rock ‘n roll band called Serious Crisis, and it seems items belonging to members of the band have started to disappear. Were these items stolen? Were they simply lost? As Murphy Murphy works the case, he must chase down the clues all the while dealing with grammatical anomalies that drive him crazy.  As Murphy gets closer to the answers he seeks, one more “thing” goes missing; the Captain’s niece. Suddenly, in an instant, the stakes in the case of Serious Crisis become a lot more dire. Part Jasper Fforde, part Michael Connelly; Murphy Murphy and the Case of Serious Crisis combines humor, mystery, and grammar goofs as the detective pursues clues and suspects from coast to coast. It’s an entertaining and educational read for all ages.

Praise for Keith Hirshland

“I really enjoyed following along with each person as you discovery more about each one along with how four unsolved mysteries may be linked to everything..’Big Flies’ story takes off like a flash.. This is a great adventure and one that I recommend you check out. You will not be disappointed.”-JBrownder Book Reviews “ I found myself intrigued by this talented writer’s style.. A mystery woven into another mystery. The suspense was great. I enjoyed following the characters throughout the book.. this novel was realistic, stunning, and one that all readers can easily connect to in one or more ways. Brilliant, clever, and mysterious. Keith Hirshland has a way that lured me in deep. I couldn’t stop reading it.”-Urban Book Reviews “This is an engaging story well told. The plot hinges on the power of secrets and secrets revealed but Keith fully understands the heart of the story is the unfolding of relationships fulfilled or not. Can we ever really know who we know? While this novel works beautifully as a nostalgic and fun caper tale it’s all wrapped up in fathers and sons, true and lasting friends and of course intriguing women. Keith is aiming high here. Really, really well done.”- David R. Hill, Amazon Reviewer “I had to dig my teeth in the first pages but once I did I was on a twisty turning ride. This one turned out to be worth the ride.  A fast paced story with great characters. The plot had some twists making it entertaining.  As the bodies begin piling up it's a race to solve the mystery.  I enjoyed reading 'The Flower Girl Murder'. and look forward to reading more from this author. “-My Reading Journeys “Author Keith Hirshland provides a multi-layered storyline that has enough mystery, suspense, drama, treachery, secrets, and intriguing twists and turns that keeps the reader guessing, while weaving an intricate and complicated web of what the motive of the murders could have been, and the spectrum of possible participants who could have been involved in committing them. And if that isn't enough to captivate the reader, the author adds a wonderful touch of humor and a bit of romance into the mix to keep them entertained.”-Jersey Girl Book Reviews

Awards and Recognition for Keith Hirshland

Book Talk Radio Club Memoir of the Year (Cover Me Boys I’m Going In) New Apple Awards Solo Medalist True Crime Category (Big Flies) Shelf Abound Award Winner Indie Book Competition (Big Flies)

About Keith HirshlandMurphy Murphy and the Case of Serious Crisis by Keith Hirshland

Keith Hirshland is an Emmy Award–winning sports television producer with more than three decades of experience producing live and pre-recorded programs that aired on ESPN and ESPN2. Among the first forty people to be hired by the Golf Channel in 1994, Hirshland was in the middle of the action when that network debuted in 1995. He provided his talents for Golf Channel, as its live tournament producer, for two decades. Cover Me Boys, I'm Going In: Tales of the Tube from a Broadcast Brat is a memoir about his experiences in the television industry. Published by Beacon Publishing Group, Cover Me Boys was recognized as the Book Talk Radio Club Memoir of the Year. Hirshland’s second book, and first work of fiction, Big Flies, was published in 2016 and is the recipient of the New Apple Awards “Solo Medalist” in the True Crime Category. Hirshland followed that success with his third book, The Flower Girl Murder. In 2020 Beacon Publishing Group will release Murphy Murphy and the Case of Serious Crisis, Hirshland’s third mystery novel. All four books are available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and other bookstores. Keith Hirshland lives in Colorado with his wife and two dogs. Website:  https://www.keithhirshland.com/ Twitter: https://twitter.com/khhauthor Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KeithHirshlandAuthor/ Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/khhauthor/?hl=en

Buy Murphy Murphy and the Case of Serious Crisis by Keith Hirshland

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Giveaway Murphy Murphy and the Case of Serious Crisis by Keith Hirshland

This giveaway is for 3 print copies and  is open to the U.S. only.. There will be 3 winners. This giveaway ends August 1, 2020,midnight pacific time. Entries are accepted via Rafflecopter only. a Rafflecopter giveaway

Follow Murphy Murphy and the Case of Serious Crisis by Keith Hirshland Tour

Teddy Rose Book Reviews Plus June 8 Kickoff & Excerpt Lu Ann Rockin' Book Reviews June 9 Review & Guest Post Sherry My Reading Journeys June 10 Review & Extra Cremona Mythical Books June 11 Review Gud Reader Goodreads June 12 Review Kari From the TBR Pile June 15 Review & Excerpt Patricia Reviews by Room With Books June 16 Review Bookgirl Goodreads June 17 Review Amy Locks, Hooks and Books June 18 Guest Review & Excerpt Linda Lu Goodreads June 19 Review Michelle Reading Authors Network June 22 Review Teddy Rose Book Reviews Plus June 23 Review Dee Donadees Corner June 24 Review Lisa's Writopia June 25 Review & Guest Post Jas International Book Promotion June 26 Review Betty Toots Book Reviews June 30 Review & Interview Jane Amazon July 3 Review Stephen Amazon July 8 Review Kathleen Celticlady’s Reviews July 10 Guest Review Dawn Bound 4 Escape July 16 Guest Review Mindy A Room Without Books is Empty July 31 Review My Take: This book was an enjoyable read and the word play in this book made it even more so. Murphy Murphy comes from a family of many Murphy Muphys and all of them policemen. This particular Murphy works in the department of redundancies. His conversations with his boss are the main source of wordplay. The case of the Serious Crisis is about a band who has been having things disappear and then finally a whole person disappears. This was very fun and made me laugh several times. I would rate a 4 stars out of 5. Recommended. I received a review copy of this book from Virtual Author Book Tours and was not required to write a positive review.

Thursday, July 30, 2020

The Summoned Ones by Darryl A. Woods





THE SUMMONED ONES: BOOK 1 OF FLIGHT TO BERICEA SERIES
Darryl A. Woods
Adult Epic Fantasy

Can a group of college-aged friends from a small Kentucky town actually be the Summoned Ones of prophecy, called to a strange world filled with magic and devastated by war? Can they save the lives of the desperate inhabitants and help them defeat a wicked tyrant? Their epic journey will push them to the limits of their endurance. This unlikely group will discover truths about themselves and experience another world beyond their imagination.

During their journey, they will explore this new world, discover new talents and previously hidden abilities, develop friendships with people they couldn’t have dreamed possible, and will be forced to take actions they would have never considered in any less dire circumstances.

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Prologue

 “Rally to the general! Rally to the general!” shouted the tall, lanky soldier as he fought his way toward Darnon.
Kail thought to himself that if they survived this battle, General Darnon would likely discipline him for issuing commands. What he did not know is that Darnon greatly admired his skill with a sword, and regarded Kail as the best he had seen in his long military career.
Over the last nine years of war, the two had engaged in an odd sort of dance. Darnon was keenly aware of the respect his troops had for Kail. A respect not only for his individual prowess in battle, but for his uncanny understanding of the battlefield. As he was now demonstrating, Kail instinctively knew where he and the others were most needed at critical junctures in a battle.
In the beginning, when Kail first joined his army’s ranks and began to positively affect the outcomes of battles, General Darnon decided to reward his new soldier with a promotion. But each time he prepared to issue Kail a field commission, the rogue would do something that forced the general’s hand and demanded reprimand. Darnon came to realize that these altercations were no accident. Over time, he learned what Kail already knew: that he could serve best as a rank-and-file soldier in the thick of battle. So, the two played out their game. Darnon would dole out light punishment and Kail would act indignant, then reluctantly accept his penalty.
“Fight your way to the general!” Kail bellowed again and again over the din of battle.
His general was indeed in trouble, as was the army’s position in the overall battle. Only minutes earlier, Darnon’s command post had been overrun. The enemy was countering in near-perfect fashion the battleplan drawn up that very morning. The general now found himself surrounded on three sides. His skillful use of his massive two-handed sword was the only thing keeping him from being overwhelmed. Three of his officers fought frantically to protect his back, but two were so slowed by wounds, they could barely defend themselves, let alone their commanding officer.
“The general, the general,” Kail continued to scream, as enemy after enemy fell to the savagery of his blades.
Kail fought as he often did, with a medium-length sword in one hand and a long dagger in the other. His blades were literally a blur, the speed and uncanny accuracy of their wielding unmatched. A wedge of soldiers followed in the wake of Kail’s lethal blades. Many of the men owed their lives to the fighter as he mercilessly dispatched the enemies that came toward them. Those not killed outright by Kail were quickly dealt with by the throng of soldiers growing behind him.
“To the general, to the general!” Kail heard his entreaty taken up by soldiers across the battlefield.
The shouts took on a cadence that seemed to cause Kail to intensify his frantic fight to reach the general he respected and admired. Darnon had been so intent on his own fight for survival, it was only now that Kail’s shouts began to register. Allowing himself a quick glance, Darnon made eye contact with his tall soldier. That brief exchange gave both the exhausted warriors the boost they needed to close the gap.
Kail finally reached the ring of enemy soldiers surrounding Darnon. As the skillful swordsman attacked them from behind, each foe quickly fell in turn. The last two made the mistake of wheeling to face their new threat, only to be cleaved nearly in two by the wide arc of the general’s long sword.
The shouts imploring the men to rally to their general continued unabated even though Darnon was temporarily out of harm’s way, surrounded now by dozens of his men. The shouts persisted in no small part because of Kail. Darnon couldn’t comprehend why his usually astute tactician continued to encourage the troops to rally to their general. The only affect apparent to Darnon was that his troops were collapsing into the center of the battlefield, now completely surrounded by the enemy with little hope of escape.
“To the general, to the general!” continued the shouts from Kail and the mass of troops surrounding Darnon. Such conduct exasperated their leader, and he began to second-guess the man he had once trusted implicitly. In this moment of despair, when Darnon thought the lives of the troops he commanded and his own forfeit, he heard the sudden thunder of hooves and the clash of steel. The Jerimassian cavalry exploded into the enemy with such force, the sounds of new battle drowned out the localized fighting. Darnon’s army began cheering as they realized help had arrived, seemingly from nowhere.
The enemy, so sure of complete victory only moments before, now found themselves caught in a vice. Darnon’s surging troops pressed them from the inside out, and they were completely surrounded by the formidable Jerimassian cavalry. The skillful horsemen darted in and out of the enemy’s ranks, inflicting heavy casualties then disappearing before any defense could be marshaled.
As they had done in several prior battles, the enemy troops now turned their aggression on their leaders. Darnon’s troops aided these common soldiers as they attacked their superiors. Darnon and his men knew that the bulk of the enemy fighting force was made up of men coerced into fighting to keep their families alive.
For the last nine years, their foes had served under an evil entity named Zybaro. He overran villages and captured their inhabitants, forcing anyone capable of serving into his army and enslaving the rest. The new soldiers were forced to fight or witness the murders of their loved ones. Enforcing his brutal siege with the aid of powerful, mutated magicians called nollax, Zybaro swept across Malabrim, amassing an immense army. Malabrim was the country General Darnon and Commander Namir now fought, hoping to free as many souls as they could and disrupt Zybaro’s methodical march to total domination.
When the conflict was at last over, the remaining enemy troops dropped their weapons and placed their hands, fingers interlocked, on their heads. Over the years, Darnon and his men had seen this scene play out many times. Without waiting for orders, the soldiers began corralling their now-placid enemy towards an empty area of the field. They would next begin the long process of removing their enemy’s armor and searching for hidden weapons.
Kail set out to help the troops with their task, but made it a point to pass close by the general en route. He spoke softly so that only Darnon could hear.
“I’m sorry for the confusion back there. I saw Commander Namir’s scouts on the ridge. I thought it best to get everyone away from the perimeter.”
Darnon couldn’t help but return the soldier’s unrepentant grin.
The general heard a commotion and turned to see Namir reining in his horse a short distance away. The commander dismounted in the fluid motion of one who has spent a lifetime in the saddle. Leading his well-disciplined steed forward, the reins slack between them, Namir approached
 Without offering a formal greeting, the commander got right to the point. “My scouts reported they saw you having a hard time.” Not waiting for a reply, Namir pressed on, genuinely concerned.
 “Darnon, you know I was ordered north. We stumbled across a mine being worked by the most wretched souls. We couldn’t allow their agony to continue. If we hadn’t taken the time to liberate them, we would have been well over a league from here.”
Darnon face reflected his regret but not shame. He inclined his head, indicating acceptance of just how dire the situation would have been without his friend’s aid.
“The state of those miners was the worst I’ve seen yet. Children as young as four or five years, piled like cordwood, dead of malnutrition and exhaustion. The condition of the ones left alive was so deplorable it made the dead seem like the lucky ones.” Namir paused as he struggled to deliver his dark narrative.
When he continued, contempt edged his voice. “When the guards saw the overwhelming odds and realized they had no hope, they turned on their captives. If not for some of the stronger miners defending themselves, the slaughter would have been far worse.”
Darnon’s pained look and glistening eyes were reflected in Namir’s countenance.
“Between the captured soldiers and those you rescued, at least we saved a few,” Darnon all but whispered.
Namir gestured to the surrounding battlefield. “I agree my friend, but at an ever-increasing price. How long can we keep this up?”
“What alternative do we have? We can’t just leave these people to their own fate. Besides, how long will it be before those miners are replaced by our own families?” Darnon demanded.
“I know how you feel about the prophecies, Darnon, but if the clerics of Hinloose really have found the means to bring the Summoned Ones to our aid, don’t you think we should at least try?” Namir asked, expecting the same skeptical response he had heard so many times before.
Darnon replied in a matter-of-fact tone, “The air has grown cold. This will be the last of this year’s campaigns. Let’s get these people healthy enough for travel and back to Bericea. Once there, we can make plans for the summoning as we await the spring.”













Darryl Woods is a storyteller who hones his craft entertaining coworkers. He also enjoys regaling family and friends with stories of his upbringing in rural Ohio, of the motorized contraptions his father fabricated, and of the timber cutting and sawmill work he did with his father-in-law. With an appetite for reading fantasy, it was inevitable he would choose to write about an epic journey in a world dominated by magic and sword fighting.

WEBSITE & SOCIAL LINKS:

Website Address: http://darrylawoods.com/
Newsletter: http://darrylawoods.com/newsletter/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/DarrylAWoods
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Darryl-A-Woods-Storyteller-and-Author-104898847706876/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/goodreadscomdarrylawoods
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/darrylawoods/




http://www.pumpupyourbook.com
 
My Take: This a very strong start to a new fantasy series. The world building is very good and I didn't feel lost once. I liked that the start was an introduction to the friends in the books. Once the friends make it to the fantasy world the action picks up and takes you on wonderful ride. I have just gotten into fantasy books and I enjoyed reading one that I felt comfortable with right from the beginning. A good starter book. I received a review copy of this book from Pump Up Your Book and was not required to write a positive review.

!3 Billion to One by Randy Rusk

13 Billion to One: A Memoir: Winning the $50 Million Lottery Has Its Price  
As a welfare kid who grew up in the streets, Randy Rush had to fight for everything he got and knew what it was like to struggle. So, when he was suddenly handed $50 million in tax free money, he vowed to use his new-found wealth to help others. But what he didn’t see coming was Jeremy Crawford.

In his gripping, adrenaline-packed memoir, Rush takes readers on his rocket-fueled journey after a trip to the corner grocer to buy food for his beloved cat, Conway Kitty, leads to the discovery that he has won Canada’s $50 million Lotto Max jackpot.

Soaring on a seemingly endless endorphin high, Rush spends the months following his win traveling, feeding his passion for rare sports cars, considering charitable causes, and splurging on friends — paying off their debts and even giving them a free place to stay in million-dollar homes. But his world comes crashing down when he discovers that Dave Crawford, a man he loved like an older brother and had generously provided for, has served him up to his con artist son, Jeremy — who scams Rush out of nearly $5 million.

Reeling from Dave’s betrayal and fueled by the discovery that the Crawfords are serial con artists who have devastated the lives of more than a hundred others, Rush embarks on a mission to take his adversaries down. But as his quest for justice drags on, his festering rage reaches a boiling point and he is faced with a choice: Let the Crawford’s cons destroy him, or re-focus his attention on doing good in the world and enjoying the enormous gift he has been given.
  

My Take:  Whenever I dream about winning a million dollars all I have to do is learn about people who have won a lot of money and how they have lost it all by spending it all or being swindled.  Randy Rush falls into the last category.  He won but was taken advantage of by some con men.  Like we all do we have to choose between revenge or trying to make good from the good we have been given.  It sounds like he did a lot of good in the beginning.  I am not 
going to spoil what happens after his being conned but this book is a good look at the good and bad of sudden windfalls.

I received a review copy of this book by Virtual Author Book Tours and was not required to write a positive post. 

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

How the Deer Moon Hungers by Susan Wingate

How the Deer Moon Hungers
How the Deer Moon Hungers

For those who enjoyed reading books like Where the Crawdads Sing and My Sister's KeeperMACKENZIE FRASER witnesses a drunk driver mow down her seven-year-old sister and her mother blames her. Then she ends up in juvie on a trumped-up drug charge. Now she's in the fight of her life...on the inside! And she's losing.

My Take:  This was a sad book as the Mac witnesses her younger sister's death and is put into Juvie on a false drug charge.  Mac handles herself very well.  There are mature language and situations so be well aware.  Characters are well developed and the book is well thought out and it definitely makes you feel for them.

I received a review copy of this book from Pump Up Your Book and was not required to write a positive review.  

Crushing Depths by Dani Pettrey

The Crushing Depths by Dani Pettrey Banner

 

 

The Crushing Depths

by Dani Pettrey

on Tour July 1-31, 2020

Synopsis:

The Crushing Depths by Dani Pettrey

When an accident claims the life of an oil-rig worker on the first drilling platform off the North Carolina coast, Coast Guard investigators Rissi Dawson and Mason Rogers are sent to take the case. Tensions surrounding the oil rig are high and the death has everyone on edge. Environmental activists are threatening to do whatever it takes to stop the structure from being completed, while rumors are being whispered about ancient curses surrounding this part of the ocean.

Mounting evidence shows the death may not have been an accident at all. Was he killed by one of the activists or, perhaps more frighteningly, a member of his own crew? Rissi and Mason have to sort through not only a plethora of suspects, but also their own past and attraction to each other.

Just as the case seems like it'll break open, worse news arrives. A tropical storm has turned their way and soon they're cut off from any rescue–and right where the killer wants them. It's a race to discover his identity before he eliminates the threat they pose.

Book Details:

Genre: Inspirational Romantic Suspense
Published by: Bethany House
Publication Date: June 30th 2020
Number of Pages: 320
ISBN: 0764230859 (ISBN13: 9780764230851)
Series: Coastal Guardians #2
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | ChristianBook | Goodreads

Read an excerpt:

Chapter One

Late September

Thirty-eight miles off North Carolina’s coast

Greg Barnes clinked along the grated metal steps, his boot heels rasping with each shuffle as he headed topside for a much-needed breath of smoke.

Thrusting the door open with a resounding creak, he stepped out into the night air.

A litany of protestors’ chants mimicked the shrill whining of cicadas.

He glanced at his watch. 1930. Didn’t those eco-nuts ever give it a rest?

As if the cursed rig wasn’t enough—they had the dang relentless protestors going practically day and night.

Exhaling, he rubbed his thumb along the smooth surface of the tarnished gold lighter in his pocket. His tight muscles seized, making his movements stiff. He shook his head. Those people needed to get a life.

Edging around the far corner of the main separator facility, he pressed his back against the structure’s cool outer wall. Generators whirred across from him, finally drowning out the clatter. He scanned his surroundings and exhaled in relief. Finally, alone.

His leg twitched. Just one drag . . . maybe two. It’d been an awful day, and that was the gentleman’s way of putting it.

With unsteady hands, he pulled the plastic-wrapped pack from his shirt pocket.

It crinkled beneath his hold and the sweet scent of tobacco wafted beneath his nose. He tamped the cigarette in his palm and slid it between his cracked lips. Just one drag.

Tugging the lighter from his pocket, he flipped it open, then rolled the pad of his thumb across the ignitor.

A spark flashed and fire roared, hissing over him in a sizzling cascade of torment.

Chapter Two

Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina

Rissi Dawson sat at the long table on Dockside’s waterfront deck, gaping at Mason Rogers. He turned to look at her, his green eyes illuminated in the bright pole lights lining the wooden structural beams. She averted her eyes as heat rushed up her throat, spreading across her cheeks. He’d caught her staring again. Embarrassment drenched her. It’d been three days since his arrival, and she still couldn’t wrap her mind around the fact he was actually sitting next to her.

The boy she’d had the biggest crush on as a teen was back in her life. And on her Coast Guard Investigative Service team.

He handed her the basket of hush puppies the restaurant served instead of bread to start everyone off. His hand brushed hers with the movement, and her heart fluttered. “Thanks,” she said, keeping her gaze fixed on the red basket as she pulled two balls of fried cornmeal from it. She plopped the still-warm puppies onto the round plate to the right of her Coke. Get it together, girl!

The whir of a boat’s motor dropping to an idle sounded over the deck’s edge. A teen jumped out of the white outboard and onto the pier, tying her up to the cleat. Rissi loved living in a place with a boat drive-thru.

Noah raised his glass of iced tea. “Everyone . . .” The team lifted their glasses in response to their boss’s prompting.

Noah dipped his chin. “Welcome, Mason. Happy to have you on board.”

The team clinked their glasses together, even Caleb who sat brooding to her left. Observant as he was, there was no chance he missed the way she looked at Mason. In recent months, he’d developed feelings for her, so it wasn’t surprising he’d bristled at Mason’s arrival—especially after learning she and Mason shared a past, though he didn’t know the half of it. Only that they spent time in a children’s home together for a handful of months as teens.

The opening riff of “Sweet Home Alabama” emanated from Noah’s jean pocket. He hitched up as he extracted his phone. “Rowley,” he answered. “Yes?” Standing, he headed down the ramp toward the restaurant’s pier.

“Rockfish tacos,” the waitress said, placing the plate in front of Rissi. The sweet, tropical scent of the mango slaw swirled in the air.

The waitress handed out plate after plate to each of them, setting Noah’s burger at his spot while he continued to pace the pier.

Caleb bit into his Carolina BBQ pork sandwich, the scent of vinegar wafting in the night’s gentle breeze.

Finn Walker did the same with his crab cake sandwich. He and Noah, who was from Maryland, had argued for months over which state had the best crab cake. Finn had been convinced it was North Carolina, right up until Noah had crab cakes flown in fresh from Jimmy’s Famous Seafood in Baltimore. It took two bites for Finn to concede the win.

“Sorry about that, folks,” Noah said, retaking his seat.

“Everything okay?” Emmy Thorton asked. Rissi looked forward to seeing the quirky angel every day at the station.

“Rissi, Mason.” Noah lifted his chin in their direction. “I’ve got an assignment for you.”

Her and Mason? They’d worked a case his first day on the team, but Finn had joined them for most of the investigation. This would be the two of them . . . alone. A mixture of elation and fear sifted through her.

“Great.” Mason set down his lemonade.

“We’ve got a death out on the Dauntless.”

“The offshore oil platform?” Mason asked, swiping a drop of lemonade from his bottom lip.

Stop staring, girl. So he’s jaw-dropping gorgeous. So you share a past. Still, staring is plain rude. Despite not having a mother to teach her, Rissi knew or, at least had come to learn, her manners.

Noah laid his napkin across his lap. “You two need to determine if the death was an accident or if foul play was involved. Helo is leaving from Textra Oil’s copter hub in forty-five. I need you both on it.”

Mason pushed back from the table. “No problem.”

“Great,” Noah said. “You’ll be joining the head of operations, a commercial diver, and the deceased’s replacement on the company copter.”

Rissi took one last bite of her taco before setting it down. She dabbed the corner of her lips with a napkin. “They aren’t wasting any time in replacing the deceased.”

“The deceased’s name is Greg Barnes. I talked to the head of operations, Bob Stanton, and he said they needed to replace him ASAP.”

“Must be an important position.” She reached for her glass and took a final sip.

“You’d think,” Noah said. “But Bob said the main reason they need to replace him fast is they’ve been working with a skeleton crew.”

Mason’s brows pinched as he stood. “Why?”

“Several guys didn’t show up for their three-week rotation transport out,” Noah said, popping a fry in his mouth.

“I know why they didn’t show up for that copter ride out there.” Tom Murphy leaned toward them from his table situated to their right.

“Why?” Mason asked, moving around to the back of Rissi’s chair. He held it out for her as she stood.

She glanced over her shoulder at him and smiled. “Thanks.”

He nodded.

Tom, one of Wrightsville’s most colorful fishermen, crooked his index finger, drawing them in. “That rig’s cursed.”

“Cursed?” Caleb chuckled. “You can’t be serious?”

Tom waggled his finger. “It’s no laughing matter, young man.”

“I’m sure it’s a good story, Tom,” Rissi said. No reason not to be polite. “But I’m afraid we’ve got to catch a copter ride.”

Tom shrugged and turned back to his food. “It’s your lives at stake.”

“What do you mean?” she asked before they passed his table, unable to stem her curiosity.

“You’ll see.” He smiled, his right incisor missing. “Henry’s curse is real.”

“Henry?” Why was she letting herself get sucked into this?

Tom let out a high-pitched chuckle. “Oh, you’ll learn all about Henry.”

“Shall we?” Mason said, gesturing to the wooden ramp leading down to the gravel parking lot.

Excusing themselves, they moved down the ramp. Mason leaned in. He smelled of the ocean and warm spice. He whispered, “Did that guy seriously just cackle?”

She nodded, strangely curious about the old man’s ghost story.

“I thought people only did that on Scooby-Doo.”

She let out a slip of laughter.

“I wouldn’t be laughing,” Tom called after them as they rounded the ramp on his side of the deck. “You two be careful out there, you hear? It’s a dangerous place to be. Just ask the men on board.”

***

Excerpt from The Crushing Depths by Dani Pettrey. Copyright 2020 by Dani Pettrey. Reproduced with permission from Dani Pettrey. All rights reserved.

 

 

Author Bio:

Dani Pettrey

Praised by New York Times best-selling author Dee Henderson as "a name to look for in romantic suspense," Dani Pettrey has sold more than half a million copies of her novels to readers eagerly awaiting the next release. Dani combines the page-turning adrenaline of a thriller with the chemistry and happy-ever-after of a romance.

Her novels stand out for their "wicked pace, snappy dialogue, and likable characters" (Publishers Weekly), "gripping storyline[s]," (RT Book Reviews), and "sizzling undercurrent of romance" (USA Today).

Her Alaskan Courage series and Chesapeake Valor series have received praise from readers and critics alike and have appeared on the CBA, ECPA, Publisher’s Weekly, and Amazon #1 bestseller lists. Dani has also been honored with multiple awards, including the Daphne du Maurier Award, two HOLT Medallions, a Christy Award finalist, two National Readers' Choice Awards, the Gail Wilson Award of Excellence, and Christian Retailing's Best Award.

Catch Up With Dani Pettrey:
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My Take: This is the second book in the Coastal Guardian series but it can be read as a standalone. This is a Christian suspense novel and is very action packed. This Book is about a murder that took place on an oil rig. There are many factors that are at play like environmental activists, Henry's Curse as well as other accidents that have occurred on board. Two Coast Guard Investigators are charged to find out what happened. I enjoyed this book and will be going back and reading the first book in this series as well as others to come. I received a review ebook of this book from Partners in Crime tours and was not required to write a positive review.

Tooth for Tooth by J.K. Franko

Tooth for Tooth

by JK Franko

on Tour June 1 - July 31, 2020

Synopsis:

Tooth for Tooth by JK Franko

What would YOU do?

What would you do if you got away with murder? Would you stop there? Could you?

Susie and Roy thought that they committed the perfect crime.

Their planning was meticulous. Their execution flawless.

But, there is always a loose end, isn’t there? Always a singing bone.

Now, while enemies multiply and suspicions abound, their perfect world begins to crumble.

The hunters have become the hunted.

IN THIS BLISTERINGLY RELENTLESS SEQUEL TO HIS DEBUT SHOCKER, EYE FOR EYE, J.K. FRANKO TAKES READERS ON A BREATHTAKING JOURNEY OF CAT AND MOUSE

Book Details:

Genre: Thriller, Suspense, Crime, Legal
Published by:Talion Publishing
Publication Date: April 4th 2020
Number of Pages: 400
ISBN: 9781999318819
Series: Talion Series, #2
Purchase Links: Amazon || Goodreads

Read an excerpt:

PROLOGUE

Before meeting Susie and Roy, I had never met a murderer. But then, I had also never lied to the police or destroyed evidence. I had never seen the inside of a jail cell. And I had most certainly never been complicit in a homicide.

I have to reluctantly admit that I am a better person for the experience. I now appreciate that murderers really are just regular people like you and me. Indeed, I have come to consider Susie and Roy more than mere patients... they are friends. And I think back on our time together with nostalgia—fondness, even.

This did not happen overnight. It was a process.

What would you do if you found out that your neighbor was a murderer? Would you double-check that you’d locked your doors every night? Keep an eye out for strange comings and goings? Would you ultimately put your house up for sale, not disclosing what you knew about the folks next door to potential buyers?

For most people, being in the proximity of a killer is neither pleasant nor desirable.

Imagine how I felt about having not one but two as-yet-undetected murderers as my patients. Sitting with each of them for hours every week. Trying to guide them toward more moderate conflict resolution techniques. And failing.

Well, I’m here to tell you that despite the complexities inherent in that situation, I found my path to inner peace and happiness.

I know. I may have said elsewhere that, as a psychologist, I’m not a big believer in “happily ever after.” But my thinking has evolved.

I’ve come to believe more in choices—in the power of decision. This is the key nugget of wisdom I have taken away from this whole mess: We are not what happens to us. We are what we choose.

And I am pleased to report, for the first time in years, that I can finally say I am happy.

You have to understand that my unhappiness was not due to lack of trying. Chalk it up to naiveté—but, at first, it was difficult to process everything Susie and Roy told me and still be happy.

It’s hard to put a positive spin on murder.

Selfishly, I was overwhelmed by the fear that they might turn on me. They had shared everything about their crimes with me in meticulous detail. It was manifestly apparent that I was the weak link. The one person who could bring them down.

I was not just a loose end.

I was the loose end.

And, though I tried, I could not initially find peace under these circumstances. But, as I said earlier, happiness is a choice. And it was a choice that I made which finally ended my torment and brought me to a place where I could be at peace—even though everything ended tragically: my relationship with Susie and Roy, their marriage, the whole mess.

For you to understand the rest of my journey with Susie and Roy, I must share with you something that happened years ago at an ostensibly happy event. I say ‘ostensibly’ because it was a wonderful night for almost everyone concerned.

There were two people at that event who figure in this story—in my story.

The first is Sandra Bissette. For her, the night in question was the beginning of what would become a successful career in politics and law.

For the other, Billy Applegate, the night would end in tragedy.

PART ONE

Billy Applegate

1974

Everybody loves a party.

And there’s nothing quite like an election night party. What makes an election night celebration different?

The guest of honor. You see, all parties—birthdays, anniversaries, wakes—feature a guest of honor. But an election night party is a completely different animal because it isn’t about any one person or couple. It’s not even about the candidates.

At an election night party, the guests of honor are the attendees.

The people who gather to watch election results together are all of one mind. Of one spirit. They are like pack animals, all focused on the same outcome. They all share the same heroes and the same enemies.

If their candidates win, they all win. And a “win” means real-world changes for them—tax breaks, preferential government spending, judicial appointments—and money in their pockets.

Now, that’s a party.

This particular election night party took place in Maryland in 1974. To be precise—because I can be—this party was held on the night of the 1974 midterm elections, on Tuesday, November 5th.

It was a good year for Democrats.

This was the first national election after Watergate. Nixon’s resignation had severely damaged the Republicans’ chances in the election. Gerald Ford was just three months into his presidency, having taken over from Richard Nixon a few months earlier. And, of course, having pardoned Nixon in September, Ford had destroyed his own hopes for re-election and added to the national animus against Republicans.

This election night party took place in a spacious colonial-style home decorated in red, white, and blue, with American flags hanging from the windows and banisters. It featured a spacious living and dining area. The kitchen was large and well-equipped. There was a generous backyard with a comfortable deck and a terrace around the pool. All four bedrooms—aside from one guest bedroom—were upstairs.

There was even a “pin the tail on the donkey” game set up near the bar, for those with a sense of humor. No one actually played.

This house belonged to Dan and Annette Applegate, two proud and active members of the Democratic party in Maryland.

Dan’s family had always been active in politics. His grandfather had been a state representative. His father had served as a county judge for most of his career. Dan—born Daniel Parsons Applegate IV—was the fourth generation of Applegates admitted to the Maryland bar. While he would never actually serve in public office, he understood the value of political contacts and actively cultivated them.

This party was part of that effort.

Dan was dressed in a three-piece, tan wool suit, a white Brooks Brothers shirt, and a burgundy silk tie. The lapels and tie were wide, and the shirt collar oversized—all very fashionable at the time. Annette wore a slim, gold-belted, navy blue flare-leg pantsuit with a pale blue silk blouse and a pair of simple gold earrings. Apropos for the gathering, and it went quite nicely with all the flags, she’d decided.

Their twelve-year-old son, Billy Applegate, was in dark green overalls with a white shirt and blue Keds. A handsome boy, Billy had inherited his mother’s cornflower blue eyes and his father’s thick sandy blond hair, which he wore in a neatly trimmed surfer cut.

Billy was an only child. His parents doted on him, as did his grandparents since he was the only grandchild in both families. Even so, Billy was a good boy and knew to stay out of the way when his parents had guests, though he stayed close enough to be in the mix and see what was going on. He was at the age where he still enjoyed watching the grown-ups. Spying on them. In fact, he was familiar with many of the faces that night from other events of this kind. It was a small community.

Tonight, Tuesday night, the guests were arriving early, many coming over straight after work before polling places even closed.

It was going to be a long night.

The band played. Alcohol flowed. Anticipation and excitement were in the air at the prospect of big Democrat wins. And, after everything Nixon had put the nation through, how could voters not want a change?

In the living room, a handsome mahogany console TV with a big twenty-five-inch-diagonal color screen announced results as they came in. Dan was loitering by the avocado green Trimline rotary phone, mounted on the kitchen wall, that rang periodically with live information. The spring-coiled, twelve-foot receiver cord allowed him to pace anxiously as he fielded calls from the few Democrats charged with providing up-to-the-minute results from county polling.

Remember, this was back in the days before computerized voting machines. Back then, voters travelled to their precinct’s designated polling station and used a machine to punch holes in their ballot. These were then collected and transported to a central counting center where the ballots were put through a counting machine which tabulated the results that were then released to the public.

Dan relayed results to his guests, with each ring of the phone bringing more good news. More cheering and more drinking.

It was a good year to be a Democrat.

At the peak of festivities, there were over 250 guests in and around the property, to the point where the party overflowed onto the street, which was not a problem. No one was going to complain, as most of the neighbors were in attendance. And these were all good white folk. The police were kind enough to block off both ends of the street and make sure that those who’d had too much to drink made it home safely.

Inside, the house was a political orgy. Supporters rubbed elbows with candidates. Candidates rubbed elbows with incumbents. Incumbents rubbed elbows with donors. And lobbyists rubbed elbows with everyone except each other.

There were a number of judges in attendance. Several city council members hovered by the buffet, and a few state representatives were sprinkled through the crowd.

It was into this whirlwind of excitement that Sandra Bissette arrived.

At a time when men still ran everything in politics, Sandra hoped to make a name for herself. The fact that she was a Yale-graduated lawyer didn’t hurt, nor did the fact that she had both the figure and the looks of Jackie Kennedy.

Sandra was the daughter of lifelong Democrats, and her father happened to be the county sheriff. Although Sandra was not part of the elite set in Maryland, she was making her way. She was two years into working as an associate at a top law firm after having done a couple of high-level summer internships in D.C.

That night, Sandra was primarily interested in meeting two people: one was Annette Applegate. Although Sandra knew that both Dan and Annette were active in the Maryland Democratic party, Dan was known to be a snob—his career consisted of riding on his family’s coattails. Annette was universally recognized as the nicer of the two. Annette knew everyone, and everyone loved Annette. It was with her that Sandra was hoping to build a connection.

The second person who Sandra had added to her charm offensive for the evening was Harrison Kraft—another young Yale lawyer who, unlike her, was connected in all the right ways. Having graduated a few years ahead of her from law school, Harrison was running for state representative. He checked all the right boxes— family pedigree, education, professional credentials. There was no doubt the man was going places. Sandra had heard good things about him as a person and was interested in seeing for herself.

It was a little after 9:00 p.m.—Dan had just announced the results from Precinct Four in Montgomery County when Sandra saw an opening. Annette was by the buffet chatting with Howard Patrick, an older lobbyist—handsy, and a bit of a bore. Sandra straightened her back, raised her chin, and approached.

“Hello Howard,” she said with a big smile.

“Sandra! Hello, my dear. Don’t you look beautiful tonight?” “Why, thank you, Howard. Ever the charmer,” she said, allowing him to kiss her hand.

“Have you met our hostess, Annette Applegate?”

As Sandra turned to greet Annette, she noticed that the woman was looking past her, over her shoulder.

“Um, excuse me, young man!” Annette said, eyebrows raised and pearly white teeth dazzling.

Sandra turned and followed Annette’s gaze to a young boy in green overalls filching shrimp from the buffet. She guessed he was just shy of being a teenager.

“Aw, crap,” said Billy as he chewed.

“Come here, you,” Annette said, narrowing her eyes in mock disapproval.

The boy hesitated as he took in the young woman, the fat old man, and his mother, who stood waiting for him expectantly with her hands on her hips. He’d never seen the young woman before. She was new.

Unconsciously, he slowly moved to return the three shrimp in his sticky hand to the platter.

“With the shrimp, silly,” his mother said, shaking her head. Billy moved toward her, chewing rapidly so he could stuff
the other shrimp into his mouth.

Howard put his hand against the small of Sandra’s back, a little too low, and harrumphed to her under his breath, “Better seen, not heard. That’s how it used to be.”

Sandra tried to smile and fought the instinct to pull away.

Howard’s breath smelled of scotch and cigarettes.

Annette overheard, but ignored the old lobbyist’s comment.

“I suppose I don’t need to ask if you’ve had dinner? I left meatloaf for you in the kitchen.”

“I know. But, Mom, these shrimp are amazing.”

“And the meatballs?” asked Annette, looking over Billy toward the platter on the buffet.

Billy blushed. “Those, too.”

“Well, it’s getting a bit late for you,” Annette said, ruffling her son’s fair hair and then kissing him on the forehead, making him squirm. “Finish up the shrimp and get to bed.”

“What about Dad?” Billy asked, looking around. Annette’s face darkened, and she sighed. “I’ll send him up for a goodnight kiss. But you come along now, young man.” She put her hands on her son’s shoulders and steered him towards the stairs. “Excuse me for a moment,” she said over her shoulder.

Shit, thought Sandra as she twisted politely away, getting the old lobbyist’s hand off her lower back as he struck up a conversation. While she tried to focus on what he was saying, it was all she could do not to stare at the green thing wedged in between the man’s tar-stained teeth.

It took her ten minutes to extricate herself from Howard, thanks to Alan Watts—a wiry man who was only modestly more interesting. His family ran a small chain of grocery stores. Alan had asked her out a while back, and though she’d declined, he still had hopes—she could tell.

After a few more minutes of polite conversation, Sandra fell back on “old reliable” with a forced smile. “Excuse me, gentlemen… ladies’ room.”

Once she was sure she had escaped, she continued to work the room. About half an hour later, as she accepted another glass of white wine from a passing waiter, she felt a hand pressing low on the small of her back.

Oh fuck, not again.

“Yes, Howard?” She turned, fake smile firmly in place, to find Annette Applegate standing behind her.

“Gotcha!” laughed Annette.

Sandra laughed, both from relief and from delight at the inside joke made by the woman to whom she’d hoped to ingratiate herself.

This is going to be a great night.

While Sandra and Annette chatted amiably, many other members of the party were well beyond civility.

The drinking had begun five hours earlier, but there was more than just alcohol flowing. Other substances were being abused. It was all very discreet, of course. Most were partaking solely for recreational purposes, but a few were ingesting more heavily. Beyond alcohol and drugs—and most hazardous of all, given that it was infecting everyone to some degree and was in ample supply—was the potent and dangerous combination of two psychological stimulants, victory and power.

You see, politics doesn’t attract only “normal” people. As in every part of society, there is a spectrum. And politics, too, has its outliers. The smug and the superior. The arrogant and the snide. And the sociopaths.

Victory and power are dangerous to all, but more so to the sociopath.

Do not consume alcohol or operate heavy machinery while taking...

For these select few, the alcohol, drugs, and victory combined with power was toxic. It created a euphoria that knew no rules.

No limits.

No fear.

* * *

Upstairs, Billy had fallen asleep with the soothing press of his mother’s goodnight kiss still fresh on his cheek.

A small nightlight plugged into a wall socket illuminated his bedroom, casting a warm glow on a baseball snuggled in a catcher’s mitt that lay in a corner next to a wooden Adirondack baseball bat.

On one end of his small dresser sat a model airplane—a Douglas A-20 Havoc that he’d built with his grandfather. It was a replica of the plane Gramps had flown during World War II. The model was flanked by a teddy bear that Billy claimed he’d outgrown but refused to give away. The other end of the dresser was reserved for the little boy’s current prized possession—Rock’em Sock’em Robots. A gift from his parents for his birthday.

The room was quiet, the party sounds muffled.

Suddenly, the door opened, spilling light into the little boy’s room along with the blare of music and the chaotic chatter of voices. Then, just as quickly, the door shut, returning the room to calm semi-darkness.

Billy was groggy and didn’t try to open his eyes. Instead, he just spoke out loud. “Dad?”

He felt the bed sag as his father sat next to him in a cloud smelling of alcohol and cigars.

Then he felt dry lips on his forehead. The kiss made him smile sleepily.

A hand stroked his head and his hair as Billy snuggled into his pillow and drifted back to sleep.

Suddenly, the same hand that had been stroking his hair gently clamped over his mouth. It was a man’s hand, but it was soft. Clammy. It was not his father’s....

Billy tried to sit up, but the hand squeezed harder, the man leaning into him, pushing him down and pinning him to the bed as a second hand groped at him, pulling away his sheets.

Billy didn’t know what to do. He was terrified. He opened his eyes, but with just the little nightlight on, he couldn’t see anything other than the vague shape of the form pressing down on him. He could smell booze and food on the man’s warm breath.

Tears came as the vise over Billy’s mouth forced him to suck air noisily through his nose as the groping continued—searching, finding, fondling, stroking, then reaching, penetrating, sending a hot shard of searing pain through his body. Inside.

He tried to fight, but couldn’t. The hands were too strong. The body too heavy. He felt sick. The stench of cigars, food, and alcohol on fetid breath was nauseating. And he was scared. Terrified. In pain.

Bile rose in Billy’s throat. But the hand over his mouth prevented him from vomiting. He gagged, then swallowed everything back down.

His body began to convulse.

To thrash.

As it did, the second hand stopped.

The man’s weight eased on top of his body, no longer pinning him down. The hand over his mouth loosened slightly, and Billy felt the other stroking his hair. He wanted to move, but he was paralyzed with fear.

The whole ordeal lasted minutes, but it felt like hours.

Then the presence leaned over and whispered, “Sleep. Sleep.

You were dreaming. Go back to sleep.”

The weight lifted from the bed, and as it did, the hand fell away from Billy’s mouth, leaving him shivering in the aftermath.

The door opened, first slightly. Through the crack, the man looked out into the hall as the babble of music and voices invaded the bedroom. Then the door swung fully open, and as it did, Billy saw the man clearly in the light from the hallway. The image burned itself into his memory. The image of a stranger whose identity he would eventually learn.

The door closed and the crowd cheered as the band started playing—“You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet.”

And Billy Applegate cried himself into a fitful sleep.

***

Excerpt from Tooth for Tooth by JK Franko. Copyright 2020 by JK Franko. Reproduced with permission from JK Franko. All rights reserved.

 

 

Author Bio:

JK Franko

J.K. FRANKO was born and raised in Texas. His Cuban-American parents agreed there were only three acceptable options for a male child: doctor, lawyer, and architect. After a disastrous first year of college pre-Med, he ended up getting a BA in philosophy (not acceptable), then he went to law school (salvaging the family name) and spent many years climbing the big law firm ladder. After ten years, he decided that law and family life weren’t compatible. He went back to school where he got an MBA and pursued a Ph.D. He left law for corporate America, with long stints in Europe and Asia.

His passion was always to be a writer. After publishing a number of non-fiction works, thousands of hours writing, and seven or eight abandoned fictional works over the course of eighteen years, EYE FOR EYE became his first published novel.

J.K. Franko now lives with his wife and children in Florida.

Catch Up With JK Franko On:
jkfranko.com, Goodreads, Instagram, Bookbub, Twitter, & Facebook!

 

 

Tour Participants:

Visit these other great hosts on this tour for more great reviews, interviews, guest posts, and giveaways!



 

 

Enter To Win!!:

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for JK Franko. There will be six (6) winners. Two (2) winners will each win one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card. Two (2) winners will each win TOOTH FOR TOOTH by JK Franko (print) and two (2) winners will each win TOOTH FOR TOOTH by Jk Franko (eBook). The giveaway begins on June 1, 2020 and runs through August 2, 2020. Void where prohibited.

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My Take: This is the second in a series and I would highly recommend reading the first book Eye for Eye so you will know what is going on. . I guess enjoy is not the right word. This book is kind of brutal in it's look at revenge in it's many different forms. I did like the book though and I fully intend to go back and read the first book to get a better understanding of everything that is going on. I Liked how the characters developed throughout the book. I am looking forward to the next book. I received a review copy of this book from Partners in Crime Book Tours and was not required to write a positive review.