Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Dangerous Secrets by Susan Hunter

Dangerous Secrets by Susan Hunter Banner

Dangerous Secrets

by Susan Hunter

on Tour July 2 - 13, 2018

 

Synopsis:

Dangerous Secrets by Susan Hunter
A week that starts out with a woman’s dead body in the living room is not going to end well. Writer Leah Nash learns this truth when her friend Miguel arrives home on a Sunday night, only to discover that his weekend renter has failed to checkout—at least in the usual sense of the word. By Wednesday, Miguel’s uncle is arrested for murder.
The victim is the owner of SweetMeets, a website for sugar daddies in search of college-age sugar babies. Police investigators uncover an eye-witness who saw Miguel’s uncle at the scene. They find his fingerprints on the murder weapon, and they dig up a connection to the victim that he was anxious to keep buried.
But Miguel’s uncle isn’t the only resident of small-town Himmel, Wisconsin with something to hide. As Leah and Miguel hunt for the real killer, they’re faced with half-truths and outright lies from local citizens desperate to keep their own secrets under wraps. In her most complex investigation to date, Leah must use all the smarts—and smart-assery—she has to find the killer’s true identity. When she does, everything comes together in a tense climax that tests her courage and reveals that she’s been keeping a few things secret from herself.
 

Book Details:

Genre: Mystery
Published by: Himmel River Press
Publication Date: November 2017
Number of Pages: 362
ISBN: 1979009821 (ISBN13: 9781979009829)
Series: Leah Nash Mysteries #4 (Each is a Stand Alone Mystery)
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Google Play | Goodreads
 

Read an excerpt:

Chapter 1

The late-afternoon sun shone with a fierce light that set the autumn reds and yellows of the leaves on fire. I had passed the construction and congestion around Madison, and I was almost home on that almost perfect October day. I rolled down the car windows, turned up the music, and sang my heart out to Adele, Aretha, and yes, it’s true, the Backstreet Boys. Don’t judge.
I was eager to get back to my small-town home—Himmel, Wisconsin, after a pretty grueling two weeks in Michigan. I had been thrust into the role of primary caregiver for my Aunt Nancy, after she took a tumble from the stage during an energetic dance number in her local theater group’s production of Grease. Normally, her husband, or my mother, or her daughter would have stepped in. But Uncle Jeff was on a fishing trip at some remote camp in Canada, and Aunt Nancy refused to ruin it for him. My mother was on a cruise, and my cousin Rowena was giving birth in Texas.
Enter me, Leah Nash, devoted niece, former reporter, current true crime writer, and unlikely home health care aide. I love my Aunt Nancy, but, sadly, I don’t have a big reserve of tender-loving care to draw from. And Aunt Nancy, it turns out, doesn’t have a big reserve of patience for forced immobility, cabin fever, and a steady diet of grilled cheese, Honey Nut Cheerios, and spaghetti. When I tried to vary the menu one night by making Cornish game hens, a favorite of Aunt Nancy’s, it just underscored my domestic deficiencies. They were in the oven a little long—well, maybe, a lot long. After I served them, Aunt Nancy started calling me “Baby Jane,” and asking me where her parakeet was.
When Uncle Jeff finally got home, both she and I were relieved. I flew out the door on a flurry of hugs, kisses, thanks, and don’t-mention-its almost before he set his suitcase down. My tour of duty in the wilds of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula was over. Himmel may not be a metropolis, but at least we don’t have wolves in our backyard. And bears. I don’t even want to talk about the bears.
The thought of sleeping in my own bed, in my own apartment, made me giddy as I neared home. If I had known it was the last time I’d feel unfettered joy for quite some time, I would’ve reveled in it more.
* * *
“Leah! When you get back?”
“Hi, Mrs. Schimelman, just now. I’m starving, so you’re my first stop. What’s good today?”
Clara Schimelman owns the Elite Café and Bakery just a short distance from my apartment. She’s a friendly, gray-haired woman in her late sixties. Her large, comfortable frame is testament to the delicate pastries and delicious sandwiches she serves. The Elite, with its rickety old tables, squeaky wooden floor, and uncomfortable small chairs, is a Himmel favorite.
“Is all good,” she said with justifiable complacency. “I make you döner kebap. Is a new menu item I bring back from Berlin. Pita bread, roasted turkey, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, cabbage, chili flakes, garlic-yogurt sauce. It’s the bomb.” Mrs. Schimelman, a fixture in town for more than 30 years, still retains a strong German accent, but she loves her American slang—though she generally runs a few years behind.
“Sounds perfect,” I said. “So, what’s been going on?” I asked, as she turned to assemble the sandwich.
Over her shoulder she answered, “You haven’t talked to no one?”
“No. Most of the time I couldn’t get a signal on my phone, and my aunt’s internet connection was so slow, I couldn’t stand it. I texted a couple of times with Coop and Miguel, but that’s about it. Why, did something happen?”
At that moment, the bell over the door tinkled and a frazzled looking mother with three rambunctious little boys came through the door.v“Coffee, just a really dark, really big cup of coffee, please, Mrs. Schimelman. Boys, one cookie choice. And don’t forget please and thank you.”
“Hey, Lanette, how are you?”
Lanette Howard is my mother’s across-the-street neighbor.
“Leah, hi. Sorry, did we just barge in on your order? Dylan, don’t lick the display case. Marcus, stop pinching Arlo.” As she spoke, she deftly separated two of her children and swiped at the remains of Dylan’s tongue print on the front of the case. “I’m so sorry, Mrs. Schimelman. If you have a cloth and some spray, I’ll wipe that off. And please, go ahead, get Leah’s order.”
“No, that’s OK, you go ahead. I’ll just take a look at the paper and catch up.” A copy of the Himmel Times Weekly sat on the counter, and I grabbed it and moved to a nearby table.
“Thank you. It’s probably better for everyone if we get out as quick as possible. How’s your aunt doing? And when’s your mother due back?” The boys, having made their selections, were vibrating with anticipation as Mrs. Schimelman reached into the display case with practiced hand and scooped up their choices in thin, white bakery tissue paper. There was a moment of buyer’s remorse while one changed his order, and the other wailed because his brother was “copying.” Lanette sighed and said, “I know, sugar is a bad idea, but I had to have a coffee and I couldn’t bring them into this divine bakery and not let them have a cookie.”
“Hey, you’ll get no argument from me. Aunt Nancy is doing pretty well. Mom will be back Tuesday or Wednesday. I can’t remember which. Anything going on in the old neighborhood?”
She looked surprised for a second and said, “In the neighborhood? No, but—Marcus, that’s it. Hand over the cookie. You may be able to get it after dinner, if you can ride home without picking at your little brother. I’m sorry, Leah, I have to get these monsters out of here.” She managed to pay Mrs. Schimelman, grab her coffee, and wrangle her crew out the door without spilling, dropping, or losing anything—or anyone. I stand in awe of Lanette’s multitasking skills.
I half-expected Mrs. Schimelman to share her views on parenting with me after they left. She’s as generous with her opinions as she is with her portions, but she was busying herself slicing turkey and getting out condiments. I opened the paper and scanned the headlines. Trick or treat hours had been set by the city council; a car had fallen into a sinkhole on Maple Street; a potbellied pig was used to assault a man in a domestic dispute; and Mrs. Hanson’s first grade class had participated in a trip to the zoo in Madison. A busy week, indeed.
I turned to the inside pages and checked the obituaries. It’s an old habit I can’t seem to break. My first assignment at my first newspaper, which happened to be the Himmel Times Weekly, was to write the obituaries. I’d envisioned covering police news, or at least a lively city council meeting—not dull, dead people stuff. When I had balked, my boss brought me up short.
“Every obituary is the story of a person’s life. It’s their final story. It’s something their families keep, and reread, and pass on. It’s a marker for their memories. It’s not a throwaway job. You need to do it right, and you need to can the attitude. Understand?”
I did. Ever since then, I’ve never been able to put aside a newspaper without at least scanning the obituaries as a small way of paying respect to all those life stories. As I looked through them, one notice surprised me. I put the paper aside and saw that my sandwich was ready.
“Mrs. Schimelman, what happened to Duane Stanton? It says he died suddenly. Heart attack?”
“Oh, ja. Terrible that was. No heart attack. He fell from that bird-watching place. Watching birds. It’s crazy.” She shook her head.
“That’s awful. He was a quirky guy, but I got a kick out of him. What do I owe you?”
“$4.50. And I give you pumpkin walnut cookie for free. Welcome home.”
* * *
I pulled into the parking lot behind my apartment and was just hauling my suitcase out, when a familiar voice called to me.
“Leah, what are you doing here?”
“I live here, Courtnee, remember?”
“I thought you were fishing in Canada with your grandma.”
It was typical of Courtnee Fensterman, a self-absorbed blonde who never really pays attention to anything that doesn’t center on her, to mash half-heard information into her own particular version of fake news.
“I was in Michigan taking care of my aunt.” I yanked the suitcase out and shut the door. Then I pulled the handle up, ready to head inside the back door to my loft.
“Aren’t you even going to ask me what I’m doing here on a Saturday?” Her pretty but vapid face had taken on a frown, and her blue eyes held reproach. I noticed then that she had a cardboard box in her arms.
“OK, I’ll bite. What are you doing here?”
“Well.” She paused and shifted the box, then handed it to me. “Could you hold this for a minute? It’s really heavy.”
Reflexively, I grabbed it, looked down and saw that it appeared to contain the vast make-up collection Courtnee kept in her desk drawer, along with some framed photos, at least half of the pens owned by the Himmel Times Weekly, and several boxes of Junior Mints.
“What are you doing, moving out?”
“Duh. Yes. Keep up, Leah.”
“Wait, what?” Courtnee leaving had long been my dream when I still worked at the Times. It seemed unfair that it should happen after I left.
“Rebecca is just so mean. I’m not, like, her personal slave. ‘Courtnee, you’re late! Courtnee, this message makes no sense. Courtnee, you can’t close the office to get your hair highlighted. Courtnee, the conference room isn’t your personal party place!’ Like anything is ever a party around here. My mom said I shouldn’t have to take that kind of thing. So, I finally quit.”
I wasn’t shocked that Mrs. Fensterman seemed to share Courtnee’s view that slavery on the job consisted of performing duties in a timely, accurate and professional manner. She had to develop her skewed vision somewhere. But it did surprise me that her mother had encouraged her to leave a paying position. It’s not like Courtnee’s job skills would open the door to many careers.
“Wait, wait, wait. You quit your job? What are you going to do?”
She tilted her head and rolled her eyes the way she does when she thinks I’ve said something especially lame.
“I’m already doing it. I’m a secretary or something in the Public Safety department at Himmel Tech. My Uncle Lou got me the job. Rebecca didn’t even give me a goodbye party or a gift or anything. And then she calls me today and says to come and get the rest of my stuff because the new girl needs the drawer space or something. Like, I’ve been busy, right? You’d think getting married might make her feel happy and be a little nice. But no. She’s still a biatch.”
I felt a fleeting frisson of sympathy for Himmel Technical College, but I was more interested in the last bit of information Courtnee had dropped in. I handed the box back to her, then leaned my face in close so she’d have to focus on me. I had to see if this was real news, or fake. “Courtnee, are you saying Rebecca is married? Who to?”
Rebecca Hartfield and I had clashed at our first meeting, and things had gone downhill from there. She was dispatched by A-H Media, the hedge fund that had bought the Himmel Times a year or so ago, to bring their latest purchase into line. Which, as far as I could see, meant squeezing every drop of profit out of the paper until A-H Media shut it down or sold its dried, dead husk. There’s a reason I refer to it as Ass-Hat Media.
“Well, Coop, of course. They got married last week.”
***
Excerpt from Dangerous Secrets by Susan Hunter. Copyright © 2018 by Susan Hunter. Reproduced with permission from Susan Hunter. All rights reserved.

Author Bio:

Susan Hunter
Susan Hunter is a charter member of Introverts International (which meets the 12th of Never at an undisclosed location). She has worked as a reporter and managing editor, during which time she received a first-place UPI award for investigative reporting and a Michigan Press Association first place award for enterprise/feature reporting.
Susan has also taught composition at the college level, written advertising copy, newsletters, press releases, speeches, web copy, academic papers and memos. Lots and lots of memos. She lives in rural Michigan with her husband Gary, who is a man of action, not words.
During certain times of the day, she can be found wandering the mean streets of small-town Himmel, Wisconsin, dropping off a story lead at the Himmel Times Weekly, or meeting friends for a drink at McClain's Bar and Grill.

Catch Up With Susan Hunter On: Website, Goodreads, Twitter, & Facebook!


My Take:  This is the fourth book in the Leah Nash mystery series and the third I have read.  I would probably rate this as a 4 out of 5 read.  I always like to see if I can figure out who does it before it is revealed in the book and I will have to say that I didn't with this book.  I don't want to say much because of spoilers but I think you could read these books out of order as not much except for the characters carries over from one book to the next.  I will say that I like the turn the book took at the end and I hope the author writes more books with this turn coming to fruition.  All and all I think you would like this book if you like mysteries.  
 

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Thursday, June 28, 2018

Yesterday's News by R. G. Belsky

Yesterday's News by R.G. Belsky Yesterday’s News by R.G. Belsky Tour Banner

Yesterday's News

by R.G. Belsky

on Tour June 1-30, 2018

Synopsis:

Yesterday's News by R.G. Belsky

A classic cold case reopened—along with Pandora's box

When eleven-year-old Lucy Devlin disappeared on her way to school more than a decade ago, it became one of the most famous missing child cases in history.
The story turned reporter Clare Carlson into a media superstar overnight. Clare broke exclusive after exclusive. She had unprecedented access to the Devlin family as she wrote about the heartbreaking search for their young daughter. She later won a Pulitzer Prize for her extraordinary coverage of the case.
Now Clare once again plunges back into this sensational story. With new evidence, new victims and new suspects – too many suspects. Everyone from members of a motorcycle gang to a prominent politician running for a US Senate seat seem to have secrets they're hiding about what might have happened to Lucy Devlin. But Clare has her own secrets too. And, in order to untangle the truth about Lucy Devlin, she must finally confront her own tortuous past.

Book Details:

Genre: Mystery
Published by: Oceanview Publishing
Publication Date: May 1st 2018
Number of Pages: 343
ISBN: 160809281X (ISBN13: 9781608092819)
Series: A CLARE CARLSON MYSTERY
Learn More about Yesterday's News & Get Your Copy From: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Oceanview Publishing | Goodreads

Read an excerpt:


PROLOGUE

School was always special to her. Some children hated to go to school. But she always looked for- ward to going back to school each morning. She loved her friends. She loved her teachers. And most of all, she loved to learn. For her, it was a time of excitement, a time of adventure, a time of new beginnings each day she sat in the classroom—like a butterfly emerging from a cocoon in a field of flowers underneath a blue, cloudless sky. And so, on this sunny morning, like so many others, the mother and daughter leave their house and walk together toward the school bus that will pick up the little girl. “What about your lunch?” the mother asks. “I’m buying it at school today, remember?” “Do you have enough money?” “Yes, you gave it to me last night.” “Right,” she says. The mother knows that, but she’s forgotten. “And remember to come home right after school.” “You worry too much, Mom. I’m not a baby anymore.” That’s all too true, of course. She is growing up. Just like they all do. But today she is still her little girl. The mother hugs her and puts her on the school bus, watching her in the window until the bus disappears from sight. A little girl who has everything in the world ahead of her. A lifetime of memories to come. And all the time in the world to enjoy it.

OPENING CREDITS

THE RULES ACCORDING TO CLARE

I always tell the same story to the new reporters on their first day.
It goes like this: Two guys are sitting in a bar bragging about their sexual exploits. As they get drunker and drunker, the conversation becomes more outrageous about how far they’d be willing to go. Would you ever have sex with an animal, one of them asks? Of course not, the other guy replies angrily. What if someone paid you $50 to do it with a dog? That’s ridiculous, he says. How about $500? Same answer. Okay, the first guy says to him, would you have sex with a dog for $5,000? The other guy thinks about that for a while, then asks: “What breed?”
The point here is that once you ask the question “what breed?” you’ve already crossed over a very important line and can never go back.
It’s based, I suppose, on the famous old Winston Churchill story. They say Churchill was seated at a dinner party next to a very elegant and beautiful lady. During the meal, he turned to her and asked if she’d be willing to have sex with him if he gave her $1,000,000. The woman laughed and said sure. Then he asked if she’d have sex with him for $25. “Of course not, what do you think I am?” the indignant woman replied. To which Churchill told her, “Madame, we’ve already established what you are. Now we’re just haggling over the price.”
This is a crucial concept in the news business where I work. Because there is no gray area for a journalist when it comes to honesty and integrity and moral standards. You can’t be just a little bit immoral or a little bit dishonest or a little bit corrupt. There is no compromise possible here.
Sometimes I tell a variation of the dog story. I call it the Woodstein Maneuver. The idea is to come up with a new scenario for the Watergate scandal. To speculate on what might have happened if Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein (“Woodstein!” in the Robert Redford–Dustin Hoffman movie) had not written their stories that led to Richard Nixon’s ouster, but instead gotten hush money to cover up the scandal. What if Nixon had paid them to make it all go away?
I ask a new reporter to put themselves in Woodward and Bernstein’s place and think about what they would do if offered such a bribe.
Most of them immediately say they would never take money under any circumstances to compromise a story. I’m not sure if they say it because they really mean it or simply because they believe it’s the answer I want to hear. A few laughingly say they’d go for the money, but I’m not sure I believe them either. I figure they’re just trying to be outrageous or different. Only a few reporters ask the key question. The “what breed?” question. “How much money?” they want to know. Those are the ones I worry about the most.
 

PART I

LUCY

CHAPTER 1

“It’s the fifteenth anniversary of the Lucy Devlin disappear- ance next week,” Maggie Lang said. “Little eleven-year-old girl leaves for school and just vanishes into thin air. It’s a legendary missing kid cold case. We should do a story for the anniversary.”
“Lucy Devlin is old news,” I told her. “The girl’s never been found, Clare.” “And after a while people just stopped caring about her.” “Well, you sure did all right with it. You won a damn Pulitzer.” Maggie Lang was my assignment editor at the TV station where I work as a news executive these days. She was a bundle of media energy—young, smart, ambitious, outspoken, and sometimes a bit reckless. I liked Maggie, but she scared me, too. Maybe because she reminded me of someone I used to know. Myself when I was her age.
Back then, I was Clare Carlson, award-winning reporter for a New York City newspaper that doesn’t exist anymore. When the paper went out of business, I moved on to a new career as a TV reporter. I wasn’t so successful at that. They said I came across as too intense on the air, too grating, too unlikeable to the viewers. So, they offered me a job in management. I was never quite sure I followed the logic of that, but I just went with the flow. I started out as an assignment editor, moved up to producer, and then was named news director for Channel 10 News here in New York City. It turned out that I really like telling other people what to do instead of doing it myself. I’ve always been a bitch. I guess now I just get paid for being one.
Maggie looked over at the Pulitzer Prize certificate I keep prominently on my desk at Channel 10. Hey, you win a Pulitzer—you flaunt it.
“You helped make Lucy Devlin one of the most famous missing child stories ever in New York City fifteen years ago, Clare,” she said. “Imagine if we could somehow find her alive after all this time . . .”
“Lucy is dead,” I told her. “How can you be so sure of that?” “C’mon, you know she’s dead as well as I do. Why else would she never have turned up anywhere?”
“Okay, you’re probably right. She is dead. And we’ll never find the body or catch who did it or know anything for sure about what happened to her.”
“So, what’s our story then?” “There’s a new angle.” “Believe me, I covered all the angles on this story a long time ago.”
“Anne Devlin, Lucy’s mother, is telling people she has some new evidence about the case,” Maggie said.
“Anne Devlin always claims she has some evidence. The poor woman has been obsessed with finding answers about her daughter for years. I mean, it’s understandable, I guess, given all the pain and anguish and uncertainty she’s gone through. But none of her so-called evidence ever goes anywhere.”
“Doesn’t matter. We go to the mother and say we want to hear about whatever new evidence she thinks she’s come up with. I tell her we want to interview her about the case for the anniversary. That maybe someone will see it and give cops some new information. It’ll be great TV. And that video—the heartbroken mom still pleading for someone to help her find out what happened to her daughter fifteen years ago—would go viral on social media.”
She was right. It was a good idea. A good TV gimmick. A good social media gimmick.
And that was my job now, whether I liked it or not. I was a long way from winning Pulitzer Prizes or writing thoughtful in-depth journalism. In television, it was all about capturing the moment. And an emotional interview like that with Lucy’s mother on the anniversary of her disappearance would definitely be a big media moment.
I looked out the window next to my desk. It was early April, and spring had finally broken in New York City. I was wearing a pale-pink spring pantsuit to celebrate the onset of the season. I’d bought it at Saks one bitterly cold day during the depths of winter to cheer myself up. But right now, I didn’t feel very cheerful.
“Okay,” I finally said reluctantly to Maggie, “you can reach out to Anne Devlin and see if she’ll sit down for an interview with us.”
“I already did.” Of course. Knowing Maggie, I should have figured she’d already set it in motion before checking with me.
“And?” I asked her. “She said yes.” “Good.” “Under one condition. She wants you to be the person who does the interview with her.”
“Me?” “She said she’d feel more comfortable talking to you than some reporter she didn’t know.”
“C’mon, I don’t go on air anymore, Maggie.” “She insisted on talking to you. She said you owed her. She said you would understand what that meant.”
I sighed. Oh, I understood. Anne Devlin was holding me to a promise I made a long time ago.
It was maybe a few months after Lucy was gone. Anne had become depressed as people stopped talking about the case. The newspapers, the TV stations, even the police—they seemed to have given up and moved on to other things. She felt so alone, she said. I told her that she wasn’t alone. I told her I’d always be there for her. I made her a lot of promises that I couldn’t keep.
“Let’s make a pact,” she said, squeezing my hand on that long- ago night. “If I ever find out anything, you’ll help me track Lucy down, won’t you, Clare?”
“I promise,” I said. “No matter what happens or how long it takes, you can’t let people forget about her.”
“No one will ever forget about Lucy.” I thought about that long-ago conversation now as I sat in my office looking at the Pulitzer that had come out of my coverage of the Lucy Devlin story in what seemed like another lifetime ago. That story had been my ticket to fame as a journalist. It made me a front-page star; it catapulted me into the top of the New York City media world; and it was eventually responsible for the big TV executive job that I held today.
“She said you owed it to her,” Maggie said again. Anne Devlin was right. I did owe her.
 

CHAPTER 2

Lucy Devlin disappeared on a sunny April morning.
She was eleven years old, and she lived on a quiet street in the Gramercy Park section of Manhattan with her parents, Anne and Patrick Devlin. That last day her mother had helped her get dressed for school, packed her books in a knapsack that hung over her back, and then kissed her goodbye before putting her on the school bus.
As far as anyone knew, she was with the other students on the bus when they went into the school. The first indication that something was wrong came when Lucy didn’t show up in her classroom for the morning attendance. The teacher thought she was either late or sick, reporting it at first to the principal’s office as a routine absence. It wasn’t until later that police began a massive search for the missing eleven-year-old girl.
The disappearance of Lucy Devlin exploded in the media when the New York Tribune, the newspaper I wrote for, ran a front-page story about her. The headline simply said: “MISSING!” Below that was a picture of Lucy. Big brown eyes, her hair in a ponytail, a gap between her two front teeth.
The story told how she was wearing a blue denim skirt, a white blouse, and cork sandals when she was last seen. It said she loved reading; playing basketball and soccer; and, most of all, animals. She petted every dog in the neighborhood and begged her parents to get her one. “She was my little angel,” Anne Devlin said in the article. “How could anyone want to hurt an angel?”
The whole city fell in love with her after that. The Tribune story spared no emotion in talking about the anguish of her parents as they waited for some kind of word. It talked about their hopes, their despair, and their confusion over everything that had happened.
I know because I was the reporter who wrote it. With my help, Lucy Devlin—just like Maggie had said— became one of the most famous missing person stories in New York City history. Posters soon appeared all over the city. Announcements were made in schools and churches asking people to look for her. The family offered a reward. First it was $10,000. Then $20,000 and $50,000 and as much as $100,000 as people and civic groups pitched in to help the Devlin family. For many it brought back memories of the tragic Etan Patz case—a six-year-old boy who had disappeared from the streets of New York City a quarter century earlier. Little Etan became the face of the missing child crisis all over the country when his picture was the first to appear on a milk carton in the desperate search for answers about his fate. In that case, the family had finally achieved some closure when a man was eventually arrested and convicted for their son’s murder. But there was no closure for Anne and Patrick Devlin.
I sat in the Devlins’ apartment—crying with them, praying with them, and hoping against hope that little Lucy would one day walk in that door.
I’ve never worked a story before or after where I identified so much with the people I was writing about. My access to the parents gave me the opportunity to see things no one else did, and I put every bit of that into my stories. Everyone was picking up my stuff—the other papers, TV news, and even the network news magazines like Dateline and 60 Minutes.
Yes, I did win a Pulitzer for my coverage of this story. The Pulitzer judges called it “dramatic, haunting, and extraordinarily compassionate coverage of a breaking deadline news story” in giving me the award. That was nice, but they were all just words to me. I wasn’t thinking about a Pulitzer or acclaim or my career when I covered the Lucy Devlin disappearance. I just reported and wrote the hell out of the story, day after day.
Eventually, of course, other stories came along to knock this one off the front page.
All the reporters moved on to cover them. In the end, I did, too. It wasn’t that easy for Anne and Patrick Devlin. The police told them that Lucy was probably dead. That the most likely scenario was she’d been kidnapped outside the school that day, her abductor had become violent and murdered her. He then must have dumped her body somewhere. It was just a matter of time before it turned up, they said.
Anne Devlin refused to believe them. “I can’t just forget about my daughter,” she said. “I know she’s still alive. I know she’s out there somewhere. I can feel her. A mother knows. I’ll never rest until I find her.”
Her obsession carried her down many paths over the next few years. Every time a little girl turned up murdered or police found a girl without a home, Anne checked it out. Not just in New York City either. She traveled around the country, tracking down every lead—no matter how slim or remote it seemed.
There were moments of hope, but many more moments of despair.
A woman who’d seen the story on TV said she’d seen a little girl that looked like Lucy at an amusement park in Sandusky, Ohio. She was standing with a man holding her by the hand near the roller coaster, looking confused and scared. At one point, she tried to break away, but the man wouldn’t let her go. The woman told one of the security guards that there was something suspicious about the man and the little girl, but never found out what happened. Anne went to Ohio and talked to everyone she could find at the amusement park. She eventually tracked down the security guard and finally the little girl herself. It turned out that the man was her father, and she looked scared and tried to run away because she was afraid to ride the roller coaster.
Another time a group of college coeds thought they spotted her in Florida during spring break. Some fraternity guys who tried to hit on them had a young girl in the back seat of their car, and she seemed out of place amid the beer swilling Neanderthals par- tying up a storm in Fort Lauderdale. The coeds told Anne they were convinced it was her missing daughter. That lead turned out to be a dead end, too. She was the daughter of a woman the fraternity guys had picked up the night before. The woman had passed out back in their hotel room, and they were just driving around with the girl because they didn’t want to leave her alone.
And then there was the time the body of a young girl about Lucy’s age and description was found alongside a highway in Pennsylvania. The state troopers found Lucy’s name on a list of missing children and contacted Anne. She drove ten hours through a blinding snowstorm to a morgue outside Pittsburgh, where the body had been taken. The entire time she had visions of her daughter lying on a coroner’s slab. But it wasn’t Lucy. It turned out to be a runaway from Utah. A truck driver had picked her up hitchhiking, raped and killed her, then dumped the body alongside the road. Anne said afterward she felt relief it wasn’t Lucy, but sadness for the family in Utah who would soon endure the same ordeal as she did.
Once a psychic came to Anne and said she’d seen a vision of Lucy. Lucy was living somewhere near the water, the psychic told her. Lucy was alright, but lonely. Lucy wanted to get back to her family, but she didn’t know how. Eventually, the psychic said she saw a sign in the vision that said La Jolla. La Jolla is a town in Southern California, just north of San Diego. The psychic offered to travel with Anne there and help search for her. They spent two weeks in La Jolla, staying in the best hotels and running up big bills at fancy restaurants. The psychic found nothing. Later, it turned out she just wanted a free trip to the West Coast and some free publicity for her psychic business.
Worst of all were the harassing phone calls. From all the twisted, perverted people in this world. Some of them were opportunists looking for extortion money by claiming they had Lucy. Others were just sickos who got off on harassing a grieving mother. “I have your daughter,” they would say and then talk about the terrible things they were doing to her. One man called Anne maybe two dozen times, day and night, over a period of six months. He taunted her mercilessly about how he had turned Lucy into his sex slave. He said he kept her in a cage in the basement of his house, feeding her only dog food and water. He described unspeakable tortures and sexual acts he carried out on her. He told Anne that when he finally got bored, he’d either kill her or sell her to a harem in the Middle East. When the FBI finally traced the caller’s number and caught him, he turned out to be one of the police officers who had been investigating the case. He confessed that he got a strange sexual pleasure from the phone calls. None of the others turned out to be the real abductor either. But Anne would sometimes cry for days after she got one of these cruel calls, imagining all of the nightmarish things that might be happening to Lucy.
All this took a real toll on Anne and Patrick Devlin. Patrick was a contractor who ran his own successful construction firm; Anne, an executive with an advertising agency. They lived in a spacious townhouse in the heart of Manhattan. Patrick had spent long hours renovating it into a beautiful home for him, Anne, and Lucy. There was even a backyard with an impressively large garden that was Anne’s pride and joy. The Devlins seemed to have the perfect house, the perfect family, the perfect life.
But that all changed after Lucy disappeared. Anne eventually lost her job because she was away so much searching for answers about her daughter. Patrick’s construction business fell off dramatically, too. They had trouble meeting the payments on their town house and moved to a cheaper rental downtown. Their marriage began to fall apart, too, just like the rest of their lives. They divorced a few years after Lucy’s disappearance. Patrick moved to Boston and started a new construction company. He remarried a few years later and now had two children, a boy and a girl, with his new wife. Anne still lived in New York City, where she never stopped searching for her daughter.
Every once in a while, at an anniversary or when another child disappeared, one of the newspapers or TV stations would tell the Lucy Devlin story again.
About the little girl who went off to school one day, just like any other day, and was never seen again. But mostly, no one had time to think about Lucy Devlin anymore.
Everyone had forgotten about Lucy. Except her mother.

***
Excerpt from Yesterday's News by R.G. Belsky. Copyright © 2018 by R.G. Belsky. Reproduced with permission from R.G. Belsky. All rights reserved.

Author Bio:

R.G. Belsky
R.G. Belsky is an author of crime fiction and a journalist in New York City. Belsky's crime novels reflect his extensive media background as a top editor at the New York Post, New York Daily News, Star magazine and NBC News. His previous novels include the award-winning Gil Malloy mystery series. YESTERDAY'S NEWS is the first in a new series featuring Clare Carlson, the hard-driving and tenacious news director of an NYC TV station.

Catch Up With R.G. Belsky On: rgbelsky.com, Goodreads, Twitter, & Facebook!


My Take:  This is a great crime mystery told from the point of view of the reporter that broke the story fifteen years before and won a Pulitzer Prize and then went into administration.  She comes out of reporter retirement and is given new evidence that could or couldn't accuse a local politician.  This was a very good mystery and there are things that come out that would be better off staying buried.  This book is good for people that like twists and turns but you may have to overlook one or two.  
 

Tour Participants:

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Giveaway:

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for R.G. Belsky. There will be 1 winner of one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card. The giveaway begins on June 1, 2018 and runs through July 1, 2018. Open to U.S. addresses only. Void where prohibited.
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Awakening: Dreamer's Realm One by Karen Arnpriester

Awakening (Dreamers' Realm Book 1)

The horror of her sister's abduction and Lucinda's guilt manifest into years of acute insomnia. She appears to be miraculously healed when she participates in a test program that provides restful sleep but awakens a new dream realm ... an alternative existence where Lucinda can create and manipulate any fantasy inspired by her imagination. 

Lucinda's new realm is shattered by a dark evil that lurks there. Evil that is not confined to nightmares, but a sinister foe that also hunts for victims in the real world. 

Lucinda's discarded spiritual beliefs resurface and prompt her to begin a perilous journey against this very real threat; a heartless creature that destroys innocent lives. The dream realm, spiritual domain and Lucinda's physical reality integrate and twist together as Lucinda rediscovers her faith and confronts the monster that threatens her very life and those she loves.

My Take:   This book was a pleasant surprise all around.  The story that is told is the fantasy life of Lucinda after her sister is abducted.  There is alot to digest in this book and I found it a bit slow at first but the end was very fast paced and I found myself enjoying it a bit more than I thought.  I would recommend this book if you like fantasy but this is not a typical fantasy book.  

I received a review book from Pump Up Your Book but the reviews are my own.    

The Flower Girl Murder by Keith Hirshland

The Flower Girl Murder

Daisy Burns was a likable, devoted wife and mother who spent her spare time volunteering at school events. Everyone loved Daisy. So why would someone shoot her three times and dump her body behind a Planned Parenthood chapter in North Carolina? 

With no witnesses and few leads, Raleigh detective Marc Allen turns to the press for help—specifically, veteran news anchor Lancaster Heart. Heart agrees to broadcast the police department’s plea for information in his nightly newscasts. 

Elderly viewer and longtime social worker Blanche Avery is positive she recognizes the photograph on the television as an older version of her friend Daisy— the young, heavily pregnant girl she met years before who made the decision to give her child up for adoption.

When Tanner Goochly Jr.—a member of a notorious crime family—becomes the victim of another point-blank shooting, Allen races to discover the connection between the murders. Could it be that Daisy was somehow involved with an illegal enterprise, or was she hiding something else, another secret to be discovered?

The body count is rising, and the suspect pool is widening. As Allen’s investigation reaches a fever pitch, he realizes that a mother’s choice could have killer consequences.

My Take:  This was not your typical crime mystery.  Daisy is found shot and then a member of a crime family is also found shot in the same way.  The mystery becomes about how everyone in the story is connected in some way and how the police go to the news for help.  I found that part a bit refreshing as the police usually don't like the news involved.  I thought the ending was a bit on the cliffhangery side.  This is the first book I have read by this author but I enjoyed it.  IT was a fairly short book so it was easy to get through.  

I received a review copy from Virtual Author Book Tours but the views are my own.  

Friday, June 22, 2018

The Anomaly by Michael Rutger

The Anomaly

If Indiana Jones lived in the X-Files era, he might bear at least a passing resemblance to Nolan Moore -- a rogue archaeologist hosting a documentary series derisively dismissed by the "real" experts, but beloved of conspiracy theorists.

Nolan sets out to retrace the steps of an explorer from 1909 who claimed to have discovered a mysterious cavern high up in the ancient rock of the Grand Canyon. And, for once, he may have actually found what he seeks. Then the trip takes a nasty turn, and the cave begins turning against them in mysterious ways.

Nolan's story becomes one of survival against seemingly impossible odds. The only way out is to answer a series of intriguing questions: What is this strange cave? How has it remained hidden for so long? And what secret does it conceal that made its last visitors attempt to seal it forever?

My take:  I found this book to be really interesting.  I thought the beginning of this book was a bit heavy on setting up the rest of the book which was almost half the book.  But when we get to the secret cave things start to happen and we don't know what is going to happen but we have that feeling at the back of our neck and the hairs raise up telling us that something creepy is going to happen.  This book was very good and I was pleased with the outcome and would recommend it to anyone who likes thrillers.  Just don't give up in the first part of the book and get bogged down in the details, the last half is well worth the wait.  

I received a review copy of this book from Grand Central but the views are my own.  

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

PICT book tour of Dangerous Places by Susan Hunter.

Dangerous Places by Susan Hunter Dangerous Places by Susan Hunter

Dangerous Places

by Susan Hunter

on Tour June 4 - 15, 2018

Synopsis:

Dangerous Places by Susan Hunter
When teenager Heather Young disappeared from the small town of Himmel, Wisconsin everyone believed her boyfriend had killed her—though her body was never found. Twenty years later, his little sister Sammy returns to town. She begs her old friend, true crime writer Leah Nash, to prove her brother Eric isn’t a murderer.
But Sammy has no new evidence, and her brother doesn’t want Leah’s help. Leah says no—but she can’t help feeling guilty about it. That feeling gets much worse when Sammy is killed in a suspicious car accident. That’s when the independent, irreverent, unstoppable Leah takes up her cause. Her investigation takes her to some dark and dangerous places, and the truth she finds has an unexpected and shattering impact on her own life.

Book Details:

Genre: Mystery
Published by: Himmel River Press
Publication Date: November 2016
Number of Pages: 348
ISBN: 1540356477 (ISBN13: 9781540356475)
Series: Leah Nash Mysteries #3 (Each is a Stand Alone Mystery)
Purchase Links: Amazon  | Barnes & Noble  | Google Play  | Goodreads 

Read an excerpt:

Chapter 1

So, Leah, good to see you. I almost missed your book readin’ there. But what I heard, you did real good. I’m late because the stop ’n’ go light on Main is on the blink, caused a little fender-bender. But that’s OK, eh? Because we put the—”
“I know, Marty, you ‘put the sure in inSUREance.’ ”
Marty Angstrom beamed, thrilled at the evidence that his painstakingly-crafted slogan for the A-1 Independent Insurance Agency had achieved market penetration.
“Noreen was gonna come too, but she’s at her mother’s over to Waukesha tonight. But she bought your book anyway. Gonna give it to her sister for her birthday. I got it right here. Could you sign somethin’ personal? You know, make it special for her to give to Arlene?”
“Sure.” I took the book he handed to me and sat down to autograph it.
Unholy Alliances is the true story of the death of my younger sister Lacey at a residential school run by Catholic nuns. Years after the fact, I got a tip that her death wasn’t accidental as we’d all believed. The investigation I did for my small-town paper, The Himmel Times Weekly, brought the truth to light and also generated some national interest. I wound up with a book deal and a career switch from reporter to true crime writer.
My book reading at the annual Himmel Public Library Wine and Cheese Fundraiser was my first official “celebrity” appearance in town. Although I’d spent the past few months promoting my book across the country on every radio show, television interview program, and podcast that would have me, I’d been a little nervous no one would show up on my home turf. But there was a respectable crowd.
As I signed the book, Marty kept talking.
“So, you’re a big deal now, aren’t you? I saw you on the TV the other day, everybody at McClain’s was watchin’. Gettin’ real famous and all. Leah Nash, big-time author, eh? But I can still say I knew you when.” He smiled with the kind of hometown pride that was usually reserved for a Packers player. I was very touched. He really is a nice man.
“I don’t know about that. The book’s doing well, but that promotional tour stuff is pretty wearing. I’m glad to be home.”
“Speakin’ of home there, Leah, how you set for insurance on that new loft apartment you moved into? Renters need insurance too.”
“I hadn’t really thought about it, Marty. I’ll call your office and—” As I handed him the book, my response was cut off by a jolt to my arm from a woman carrying a full glass of burgundy. The slosh from it instantly made my pale-yellow blazer look as though I’d been a casualty in a shootout.
“Oh! I’m so sorry. I’m sorry.” She began dabbing ineffectively with her hand at the spreading deep red stain on the front of my blazer.
“It’s OK, don’t worry about it.” I stood and stepped away from the table, slipping out of my jacket. Fortunately, the wine hadn’t penetrated through to my shirt. I snagged a bottle of water and a napkin from a circulating waiter. As I liberally doused the front of my jacket, the woman apologized again, her voice high and tense.
“Hey, c’mon. It’s not a big deal,” I said. Several people began to glance our way. “I’ll just run to the bathroom and run some cold water on it.” I smiled to ease her embarrassment and hurried off to the restroom. I pushed through the door and narrowly missed slamming it into the bent head of a man who had just started to rise from kneeling under the sink. Startled, I took a half-step back to check the sign on the door. “Ladies.” Nope, I hadn’t barged into the men’s room by mistake.
As he stood I realized he was wearing workman’s clothes and held a wrench in his hand.
“Had a leaky pipe emergency. All done except the moppin’ up.” He indicated a puddle of water that nearly reached the two stalls on the opposite wall.
“Oh, well, sorry to bang in here. Is it OK if I just run some water on this stain so it doesn’t set?”
“Sure, sure. Workin’ fine now. I got to say, Leah, your daddy would sure be proud of you tonight.”
I stopped cold. Nothing brings me up short like mention of the father who abandoned us. “Excuse me?”
“Now, don’t get all huffy, there. You ’member me, don’t ya? It’s Dorsey. Dorsey Cowdrey. I knowed your dad. Knowed you too. We both did a little work for Anthony Dunn, back when he wasn’t so hoity-toity and his name was Tony. Likes to be called Anthony now. Mr. Dunn is even better.” He started a laugh that ended in a smoker’s cough before he went on. “I’m still Tony’s go-to guy. What my daddy used to call a jack-of-all-trades. Little plumbin’, little carpentry, little electrical, little this ‘n’ that. Not much I can’t handle.”
I stared at him without recognition. He had a foxy face, long and sharp-featured with weathered skin. His build was lean, his hair ginger-colored and streaked with gray. Even his ears were fox-like, high and almost pointed. I guessed him to be in his late fifties or early sixties.
“I’m sorry, I don’t remember you, Mr. Cowdrey.” I had turned my back and was running water over the spot on my blazer.
“Oh now, darlin’, don’t say that. You can’t forget the man what used to give you them Baby Ruth candy bars you was so crazy about. I used to call you ‘little Ruthie’ ’cause you liked ’em so much.”
As I squeezed the excess water from my jacket, I closed my eyes and saw my five-year-old-self and a much younger version of this man leaning toward me. “Here you go, little Ruthie. You sit right there on your swing and chew on this. I’m goin’ in to talk to your daddy fer a minute.” I hadn’t liked him very well—he smelled like stale sweat and tobacco—but I had indeed been crazy about the Baby Ruths, and at five, I was easily won over. Actually, even now, the right candy bar can take you pretty far with me. I faced him and said, “Yes, you’re right. I do remember you, Mr. Cowdrey.”
He smiled, revealing small, sharp yellow teeth that made him look more vulpine than ever. “I heard your little presentation there. You did a real nice job. I’m not much of a reader myself. My boy Cole, though, seems like he read your whole book. I guess he likes bein’ famous, even if he don’t come out lookin’ too good.”
Again I was puzzled. “Cole Granger? He’s your son?”
Cole had been a low-level drug dealer involved with my youngest sister Lacey in her lost days. The last time I saw him, he was a pretty scared loser, on the run out of town from some criminals who were a lot more dangerous than he was.
“By marriage, yeah. He’s my stepson. We don’t get along too good. Still, kin is kin, right?”
The door swung inward then as two laughing women came through. They stopped at the unexpected duo who greeted them. I gave them that funny little half-smile you offer to strangers, and I stepped to their left.
“Excuse me, please. Bye, Mr. Cowdrey.” I didn’t say it was nice seeing him, because it really hadn’t been. Something about that guy gave me the willies. He was picking up his tools as I left.
I hurried back to the reception room, lest Dorsey Cowdrey decide to escort me, and found an empty chair to drape my damp blazer on. As I did so, someone tapped me on the shoulder. I turned and saw the woman who’d spilled my drink. My expression must have conveyed a not-very-friendly “Enough, all ready. Let it go,” because she started talking quickly.
“No, but wait, please. What an idiot I am. I’m just nervous, I guess. You know, you think something through in your head, and you imagine what you’ll say and how it will go, and then it doesn’t.” She was speaking so quickly that it was hard to follow her, and what I did catch I didn’t understand. Her obvious nervousness was all out of proportion to the slight accident she’d caused.
“I have to talk to you. I need you to—please.” She gulped, emitting a sound between a gasp and a hiccup. She continued a little desperately, “Leah, don’t you remember me?”
Two in one night. What were the odds? I had no idea who she was, and she saw the lack of recognition on my face.
“It’s me, Samantha. Sammy. You have to remember. You were my best friend!” Her voice was stronger now, but still pleading. And then I saw it, as I looked straight into her face. I flashed back to a big, sunny room, with two little girls sitting on a bed, repeating in unison: “We’re best friends. We’ll always be, ’cause I’m for you, and you’re for me.” Then high fives and waves of laughter.
“Sam? Sammy.” I repeated the name with growing certainty. The eyes had it. They were Samantha’s—big and wide set, a little wary now, as though the world were an unfriendly place, but still an amazing shade of aquamarine. Her fine flaxen hair was darker, and instead of hanging like a shining curtain down her back, was cut short and blunt-edged. But it was Sam.
***
Excerpt from Dangerous Places by Susan Hunter. Copyright © 2018 by Susan Hunter. Reproduced with permission from Susan Hunter. All rights reserved.

Author Bio:

Susan Hunter
Susan Hunter is a charter member of Introverts International (which meets the 12th of Never at an undisclosed location). She has worked as a reporter and managing editor, during which time she received a first-place UPI award for investigative reporting and a Michigan Press Association first place award for enterprise/feature reporting.
Susan has also taught composition at the college level, written advertising copy, newsletters, press releases, speeches, web copy, academic papers and memos. Lots and lots of memos. She lives in rural Michigan with her husband Gary, who is a man of action, not words.
During certain times of the day, she can be found wandering the mean streets of small-town Himmel, Wisconsin, dropping off a story lead at the Himmel Times Weekly, or meeting friends for a drink at McClain's Bar and Grill.

Catch Up With Susan Hunter On: Website, Goodreads, Twitter, & Facebook!


My Take:  This is the 3rd book in the Leah Nash series and I enjoyed it as much as I enjoyed the 2nd one (I haven't read the first one but I don't feel you need to read them in order to enjoy them).  In this one Leah is looking into the disappearance of a popular girl from 20 some odd years ago.  Everyone thinks that the boyfriend killed her as he was the last one to see her. Leah finds alot of things that brings this into doubt.  Also in other news the paper that Leah use to work for has moved on the first floor of the building that Leah has just moved into so she has the chance of running into her ex boss who she can't stand.  This book has alot going on but it keeps you interested and you are wondering what will happen next.  
 

Tour Participants:

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Giveaway:

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Susan Hunter. There will be 1 winner of one (1) Amazon.com gift Card. The giveaway begins on June 4 and runs through June 17, 2018. Void where prohibited.
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Saturday, June 9, 2018

Preordained by David L. Wallace

Preordained by David L Wallace Preordained by David L Wallace Tour Banner

Preordained

by David L Wallace

on Tour June 1-30, 2018

Synopsis:

Preordained by David L Wallace
Art Somers is a detective in close-knit Murrell's Inlet, S.C., a small-town, coastal community with deeply held spiritual and supernatural belief systems. A serial killer has shattered his peaceful existence by abducting multiple twelve-year-old boys within his county. Young thugs, backwater drug dealers and the occasional murderer are the most Art’s had to deal with, but now he must apprehend a predator who FBI profilers can’t find.
He discovers he has a tie by blood to the case and uncovers evidence that calls into question his long held spiritual and supernatural beliefs. Abraham, the father of faith, had to choose to either sacrifice his son or disobey a direct order from God. Art must now make a choice - sacrifice his soul to save his son.
“A riveting and intriguing read.” – Clarion Review
“Original and engaging.” – Publisher’s Weekly
“A gripping detective story.” – Kirkus Reviews

My Take:  I liked this book well enough.  There was a bit of sex and language in this book.  Toward the end of the book I found myself reading faster so I could find out who the killer was and boy was it a dousy of a surprise.  I did have a bit of an idea of the whole supernatural angle from a few things that happened earlier in the story but I had no idea about the very end surprise on the very last couple of pages.  I thought the story was told well but I did think some things were repeated a bit much leading up to the big reveal.  That is just something I have a hard time in books when authors repeat things over and over.  Readers don't have bad memories usually so repeat something maybe twice and be done with it.  That is just a pet peeve of mine.  Otherwise the book a good story. 

Book Details:

Genre: Paranormal Crime Thriller
Published by: David L Wallace
Publication Date: April 13th 2018
Number of Pages: 346
ISBN: 0997225726 (ISBN13: 9780997225723)
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads
 

Read an excerpt:

Chapter 1

From his crouched position in the woods of rural Georgetown County, South Carolina, and under the echo of his heavy breathing in the night air, he watched his favorite family’s movements inside their small brown home.
After much thought about the impression his outfit would make, he’d decided it was festive enough for the occasion. The complete ensemble consisted of a red and black head mask, aligned perfectly to the holes for his eyes, nose, and mouth and a form-fitting, black bodysuit with white wings painted on the back.
For years, he’d contemplated a befitting name for himself and finally settled on Star of David killer. He liked the way the alias reverberated in his head. It revealed a lot. It concealed everything. It hinted at his purpose and yet – it withheld the true essence of his aspirations, keeping them covered in a shroud of secrecy. He hoped an insightful reporter would have an epiphany and bestow that nickname on him. It was far more interesting than the one his parents had given him at birth. He breathed deep and exhaled slowly, taking in the ambience of the moment. He flexed his muscles. It was time to initiate the events that would lead everyone to recognize him by his self-appointed moniker.
He clenched and released his toes on each of his hospital footie–covered feet. Through the sheer curtains of the dimly lit dwelling, he watched the boy pick up the used plates from the table, which signaled the parents and their twelve-year-old son had finished their dinner. He knew them well. He’d cased their dwelling for years, observing every nuance of their behavior. He sat flushed as he watched them for the last time, shivering from time to time from the thrill of the thought of what he was about to do.
The music of the bullfrogs kept him company, along with the thought that all he’d longed for, all that he was meant to be, was about to be on full display on the world stage in a matter of hours. Like Heinz ketchup, he’d been waiting in anticipation for a long time for this moment.
He glanced at the scavengers in the clear sky above him, each casting its shadow across the moon as it circled. They were his favorite creatures—the redheaded, black-feathered, and partially white-winged turkey vultures of the Carolina skies. His outfit mimicked theirs. The birds squawked in the sky, seeming to know his plan for that evening. They’d followed his vehicle from his home until he’d parked, and now they circled directly above him. He could feel their hunger and impatience.
The boy walked outside his home and scraped the remains of their dinner plates into a slop bucket on the back porch. He picked up the hog’s food and headed out to the pigpen, which was located near the backend of their yard.
The Star of David killer watched the boy make his evening trek on pigeon-toed feet that turned inward with each step. Ever since the infant pigs were born, the boy fed the adult male hog an extra feeding at night to prevent him from dining on his offspring. That’s right, the daddy hog actually ate his own children. What a disgusting breed of animal.
The overhead undertakers began to shriek and shrill as the boy moved across his lawn, their voices echoing in the night.
The boy jumped at their sound and looked to the skies. He stared into the woods directly below them.
The Star of David killer remained as still as a stone as the kid’s gaze seemed to linger on him for a moment. The last thing he needed was for the boy to detect his presence and yell out for his daddy. The papa of the family had an itchy twelve-gauge finger that he didn’t want to deal with that evening.
Seemingly satisfied, the boy stopped searching the woods and continued his walk.
The Star of David Killer glanced overhead at the vultures, angry with them for almost giving away his position. For their carelessness, they wouldn’t be feeding on his handiwork that evening, and if they didn’t atone for their misstep, they wouldn’t partake in any of the festivities on his planned itinerary.
This was the first night—the evening of his coming-out party and the kickoff of his personal pilgrimage. It was the acknowledgment that the presence within him, who had compelled him to plan and now execute the initial steps of his mission, had chosen the right vehicle for the job.
He felt something biting him on his lower legs. Glancing down, he saw by the light of the rear porch that ants were advancing up his calves. He remained silent and didn’t move, not wanting to sound the alarm that he was out there in the dark. A small green garden snake slithered out of the brush toward him. He stepped on it and crushed its head.
The grunting male hog reveled in the slop the boy had dumped into his pen. The female hog stood to the side with her five remaining piglets cowering under her.
The killer frowned at the stench of the hogs. It wasn’t the last smell he wanted on his mind before he began his body of work. To get past it, he closed his eyes and thought of the fragrances inside the boy’s family home, smells that he knew all too well. He’d spent many nights there while they slept, enjoying their scents, with his favorites being the individual smell of each of their worn clothing. The laundry room was a treasure trove of delights. Each of the family members left their own unique and enjoyable stains in their underwear. He’d gotten to know the other families in just as much detail, meticulously taking in their routines and schedules, getting to know every nuance of each of them.
He removed his blade from his waistband and watched Rueben, his first victim, as he rinsed out the slop bucket with a water hose attached to the rear of his home. He squeezed the black-handled blade. The paring knife felt perfect in his hand, after having gone through an exhaustive testing process to find the right cutting instrument—one with just the right shape and size for optimal carving control against a moving body. He’d practiced his skills with it for many hours, initially on cantaloupes, cucumbers, and other fruits and vegetables, until he’d graduated to successful tests on small gerbils, kittens, and puppies he’d purchased at various pet stores.
Finally, the lights went out in the shack. It was time. As usual, Rueben’s parents were more than likely already fast asleep. Rueben, on the other hand, should be wide-awake in his darkened room, surfing Internet porn sites by the light of his laptop. The little fella loved to look at online pussy, but he wouldn’t live long enough to enjoy any.
As the final step of his preparation process, he extracted a bottle of removable glue from the front waistband of his outfit and placed another coat over his hands. It was an additional layer to guard against him leaving fingerprints behind, but he knew he didn’t need to worry on that score. Over the past year, he’d used razor blades every month to remove the top layer of skin on each of his fingertips, making them as smooth as a baby’s ass.
He had no fingerprints.
He could’ve easily used gloves, but he wanted to touch them, to feel his prey with his bare hands. He blew on the glue until it dried. Satisfied, he stood, stretched his legs and approached Rueben’s home on silent feet.
He hadn’t troubled himself to brush the ants from his lower torso. The stinging sensation of their bites would serve as a reminder that before that evening, he was once human.
***
Excerpt from Preordained by David L Wallace. Copyright © 2018 by David L Wallace. Reproduced with permission from David L Wallace. All rights reserved.
  David L Wallace  

Author Bio:

Before publishing his debut novel in 2016, he served over 27 years as an information technology professional working initially for the US Navy, and then the Department of the Navy and various fortune companies. He’s a UCLA writing program alumnus who writes mystery thrillers and children stories. He has three wonderful kids who he enjoys immensely. Writing is his passion and his goal with each story is to capture the imagination in the opening pages and keep it engaged to the story’s riveting conclusion.
 

Catch Up With Mr Wallace On: davidlwallace.com, Goodreads, Twitter, & Facebook!

   

Tour Participants:

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

Giveaway:

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for David L Wallace. There will be 1 winner of one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card. The giveaway begins on June 1, 2018 and runs through July 1, 2018. Open to U.S. addresses only. Void where prohibited.
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Thursday, June 7, 2018

Keep the Midnight Out by Alex Gray

Keep the Midnight Out by Alex Gray

Keep the Midnight Out

by Alex Gray

on Tour May 7 - June 8, 2018

Synopsis:

Keep the Midnight by Alex Gray
When the body of a red-haired young man is washed up on the shore of the beautiful Isle of Mull, Detective Superintendent Lorimer’s tranquil holiday away from the gritty streets of Glasgow is rudely interrupted. The body has been bound with twine in a ghoulishly unnatural position and strongly reminds Lorimer of another murder: a twenty year old Glasgow case that he failed to solve as a newly fledged detective constable and which has haunted him ever since.
As local cop DI Stevie Crozier takes charge of the island murder investigation, Lorimer tries to avoid stepping on her toes. But as the similarities between the young man’s death and his cold case grow more obvious, Lorimer realises that there could be a serial killer on the loose after all these years.
As the action switches dramatically between the Mull murder and the Glasgow cold case twenty years earlier, Lorimer tries desperately to catch a cold-hearted killer. Has someone got away with murder for decades?

Book Details:

Genre: Mystery
Published by: Witness Impulse
Publication Date: May 8th 2018
Number of Pages: 368
ISBN: 9780062659286
Series: A DCI Lorimer Novel, #12 (Stand Alone)
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble; | HarperCollins | Goodreads

Read an excerpt:

CHAPTER ONE
They called it ‘the splash’; though the boat that crept silently, oars dipping lightly in and out of the water creating myriad bubbles of phosphorescence, made little sound at all. It was vital to keep quiet; the time for frightening the fish would not come until the net was properly laid across the mouth of the burn. After that the oars would be raised high and brought down with force, driving the sea trout from their shadowy lairs straight into the trap. It was illegal, of course, had been for decades, but that did not stop more intrepid poachers sneaking in at dead of night and lying in wait for the fish.
Unfair, unsporting, the fishery bodies claimed, though most folk here, on the island of Mull, recognised the thrill of rowing under the stars and risking some wrath from the law enforcers.
Ewan Angus Munro glanced back over his shoulder to see his son playing out the last of the splash net; the ancient cork floats now in a perfect arc across this narrow neck of water.
Young Ewan looked towards his father and nodded; the first part of the deed was done and now all that remained was to ensure that the fish would be scared out from their hiding places by the sudden noise of oars thrashing on the surface so that they would rush towards the net.
The old man turned the boat with an expertise that came from many years of practice, then headed back towards the shallow channel. He raised the oars, resting them in the rowlocks, water dripping like molten rain from their blades. The small craft was allowed to drift a little before Ewan Angus turned to his son again, the eye contact and nod a definite signal to begin the second stage of their night’s work.
Young Ewan Angus stood, legs apart, perfectly balanced in the centre of the boat, one oar raised high above his shoulder as the older man watched him, eyes full of approval. The boy had been given more than just his father’s names: his flair for the splash, too, had been passed down from father to son.
Across the marshy strand full of bog cotton and sweet-smelling myrtle sat a small white cottage. A swift glance showed him that there was no light on anywhere; the holiday folk were doubtless sound asleep, oblivious to the small drama being played out yards from their front door.
The sound of the splash seemed magnified as it disrupted the stillness, echoing over the bay. The young man heaved the oar again and again, each whack making his body stiffen with fear and a sort of bravado. If they were caught they’d lose both the net and the boat, a heavy price to pay for a night of fun and a good catch of sea trout, fish that fetched a decent price at the back doors of the best hotel kitchens.
Several times the boat was rowed up and down, followed by a series of splashes until the old man raised his callused hand to call a halt. Now it was time to wait and see if the fish had indeed been scared witless enough to swim towards their doom.
Once more the old man rowed along the line of corks, his son lifting the net to see if anything lingered below.
‘A beauty,’ the boy whispered, raising the net to reveal a good-sized sea trout struggling in the brown mesh.
‘Ten pounder at least!’ he went on, freeing the huge fish where its gills had caught and hurling it into a wooden box below his feet.
‘Be-wheesht and get the net up,’ his father hissed, though the grin on his face showed how pleased he was with their first catch of the night. The old man bent towards the struggling fish, his fist around the priest, a wooden club that had been in the family for generations. One swift blow and the fish lay lifeless in the box, its silvery scales gleaming in the night.
One by one, others joined the fated sea trout as the two men made their laborious way along the edge of the net.
‘My, a grand haul, the night, Faither,’ Young Ewan Angus exclaimed, his voice still hushed for fear of any sound carrying over the water.
‘Aye, no’ bad,’ his father agreed, a contented smile on his face. One of the middling fish would be wrapped in layers of bracken and left in the porch of Calum Mhor, the police sergeant. A wee thank you for turning his continual blind eye to the nocturnal activities taking place down the road from Craignure. Mrs Calum had guests staying and she’d be fair pleased to serve them a fresh sea trout for their dinner. It was universally acknowledged here on the island that the pink fish was far superior in flavour to the coarser salmon, particularly those that had been farmed.
‘My, here’s a big one!’
The young man staggered as he tried to haul in the final part of the splash net. ‘I can hardly lift it!’ he exclaimed.
‘Must be caught on a rock,’ the old man grumbled, his mouth twisting in a moue of disgust. If they had to tear the net to release it then it would take hours of work to mend, but the operation depended on being in and out of these waters as quickly as they could manage. Hanging about was not an option in case the Men from the Revenue had decided on a little night-time excursion of their own.
Suddenly the young man bent down in the boat, hands gripping the gunwales as he peered into the depths below.
His brow furrowed at the rounded mass swaying beneath the surface, rags of bladderwrack shifting back and forwards with the motion of the waves. Then, as his eyes focused on the ascending shape, Ewan Angus Munro saw pale tendrils that had once been fingers of flesh and one thin arm floating upwards.
He screamed, and covered his mouth as the sickness rose in his throat, then stumbled backwards. The boy flung out his arms, desperate to grasp hold of something solid to break his fall but all he felt under his hands were the wet bodies of slithering fish.
‘What the . ⁠. ⁠. ⁠?’ Ewan Angus turned, an oath dying on his lips as the boat rocked violently, small waves dashing over the bow.
Wordlessly, his son pointed to the waters below. Then, as the old man peered over the side of the boat, he saw the body rising to the surface, its passage out to sea impeded by their net.
***
Excerpt from Keep the Midnight Out by Alex Gray. Copyright © 2018 by Alex Gray. Reprinted by permission of Witness Impulse, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers. All rights reserved.
 

Author Bio:

Alex Gray
Alex Gray was born and educated in Glasgow. After studying English and Philosophy at the University of Strathclyde, she worked as a visiting officer for the Department of Health, a time she looks upon as postgraduate education since it proved a rich source of character studies. She then trained as a secondary school teacher of English.
Alex began writing professionally in 1993 and had immediate success with short stories, articles, and commissions for BBC radio programs. She has been awarded the Scottish Association of Writers' Constable and Pitlochry trophies for her crime writing.
A regular on the Scottish bestseller lists, she is the author of thirteen DCI Lorimer novels. She is the co-founder of the international Scottish crime writing festival, Bloody Scotland, which had its inaugural year in 2012.

Catch Up With Alex Gray On: Website , Goodreads , & Twitter !


My Take:  I enjoyed the mystery in this book but found that some of the terms were a bit hard to follow as this book is set in Scotland and I take full responsebility for that.  I find it a bit interesting that law enforcement are very territorial when it come to their cases when i think they should welcome the help.  The mystery of if there is a serial killer or not after so many years was very interesting and kept me turning the pages to see what would happen next.  I think if you like mysteries and don't have the same hangups I have about the terminology you should like this book.  I would give it 4 stars. 
 

Tour Participants:

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

Giveaway:

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Alex Gray and Witness Impulse. There will be 3 winners of one (1) print copy of Alex Gray’s THE SILENT GAMES. The giveaway begins on May 7, 2018 and runs through June 10, 2018. Open to U.S. addresses only. Void where prohibited.
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Thursday, May 31, 2018

Book Spotlight of My Heart belongs in Glenwood Springs, Colorado by Rebecca Jepson

My Heart Belongs in Glenwood Springs, Colorado: Millie's Resolve

Journey now to healing spa town of Glenwood Springs, Colorado in 1885
Where the past and present collide and a woman is on the precipice of unexpected love.

Millie Cooper, fisherman’s-daughter-turned-nurse, flees a painful entanglement with the wealthy Drexel family who summered near her childhood home in Nantucket, only to encounter them again six years later in Glenwood Springs. The serenity of Millie Cooper’s mountain hideaway in a town with healing springs is disrupted when she faces caring for the elderly mother and the expectant wife of Stephen Drexel, the man she’d once loved—at the request of John Drexel, the man who’d kept them apart. Will

Millie forgive the wrongs she feels were done to her, or will she come to see them as a blessing in disguise that lead her to greater joys?

More from My Heart Belongs in Series...
My Heart Belongs in Fort Bliss: Priscilla's Reveille by Erica Vetsch (January 2017)
My Heart Belongs in the Superstition Mountains: Carmella's Quandaryby Susan Page Davis (March 2017)
My Heart Belongs in Ruby City, Idaho: Rebecca's Plight by Susanne Dietze (May 2017)
My Heart Belongs in the Shenandoah Valley: Lily's Dilemma by Andrea Boeshaar (September 2017)


Book Spotlight of All Things Bright and Strange by James Markert

All Things Bright and Strange

In the wake of World War I in the small, Southern town of Bellhaven, South Carolina, the town folk believe they’ve found a little slice of heaven in a mysterious chapel in the woods. But they soon realize that evil can come in the most beautiful of forms.

The people of Bellhaven have always looked to Ellsworth Newberry for guidance, but after losing his wife and his future as a professional pitcher, he is moments away from testing his mortality once and for all. Until he finally takes notice of the changes in his town . . . and the cardinals that have returned.

Upon the discovery of a small chapel deep in the Bellhaven woods, healing seems to fall upon the townspeople, bringing peace after several years of mourning. But as they visit the “healing floor” more frequently, the people begin to turn on one another, and the unusually tolerant town becomes anything but.

The cracks between the natural and supernatural begin to widen, and tensions rise. Before the town crumbles, Ellsworth must pull himself from the brink of suicide, overcome his demons, and face the truth of who he was born to be by leading the town into the woods to face the evil threatening Bellhaven.