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:

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 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. 
 

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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.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

PICT book tour of Hiding by Jenny Morton Potts

Hiding by Jenny Morton Potts

Hiding

by Jenny Morton Potts

on Tour May 1-31, 2018

Hiding by Jenny Morton Potts

Synopsis:

 
Keller Baye and Rebecca Brown live on different sides of the Atlantic. Until she falls in love with him, Rebecca knows nothing of Keller. But he’s known about her for a very long time, and now he wants to destroy her.
This is the story of two families. One living under the threat of execution in North Carolina. The other caught up in a dark mystery in the Scottish Highlands. The families’ paths are destined to cross. But why? And can anything save them when that happens?
 

Book Details:

Genre: Psychological Thriller
Published by: Cahoots Publishing
Publication Date: February 2018
Number of Pages: 323
ISBN: 1976862817 (ISBN13: 9781976862816)
Check out Hiding on Amazon | Goodreads
 

Read an excerpt:

Chapter 2

Death Row
June 2021

There was a walk now. They passed doors, like random choices. They all looked the same, all the colour of pale nicotine. But some of those doors were in the business of living and some were not. As you walked past them, you could feel hope slipping away. Which door? Which one? It was like a game the devil might play as you entered hell. Eventually the passengers reached the end of their journey and were shown into another room which was similar in size to the last but with what looked like a window on one side. The window was dark for the moment, with a black blind pulled down and opposite, there was a gallery with seating. The seating was slightly raked, like a theatre. They were here for a performance.
‘That’s 11.30 gone now,’ someone said from the far end.
‘Show must go on.’ Keller mumbled.
There was a crackle and then an audio test from the speaker in the corner. Keller imagined that President Descher had arranged a televised viewing and that all over the State the people could see and hear this: factory workers, grandmothers, schoolchildren, stopping what they’re doing and watching. From the audio speaker, Keller recognised words from the phonetic alphabet, then the date, today, June 23rd 2021, the location, the prisoner’s name and number HCI 72259-931 and the time scheduled for execution.
Keller knew that the duration for the poison to act was ten minutes maximum and that the ratio to be injected was set against the inmate’s weight and height.
Somewhere behind him, Keller could hear mumbling about the victims’ families and an officer explained that they were seated separately, in another viewing room. He imagined that the families’ room was crowded, since eight victims had lost their lives that day.
At 11.45 am, the time was announced once more on the speaker and the blind was pulled up manually, revealing the execution chamber. Keller had forgotten who was seated directly next to him now, but whoever it was flinched.
The prisoner was already strapped onto the gurney. There was a sheet over his body but you could see where the constraint buckles jutted up into the clean white cotton. His left arm was exposed however and the intravenous tube was already in. He was clean shaven. Keller had never seen him without a beard. He could almost pretend he did not know him.
Three Harfield guards came into the chamber now. They did not look at the window, which to them was a mirror. Who would want to see themselves doing what they were about to do, even if it was their duty. The three guards were each handed a syringe. The content of one of the syringes was deadly and the other two contained a harmless fluid. The guards would never know who among them administered the lethal injection.
The condemned man’s chest began to rise and fall. He blinked rapidly and his Adam’s apple bulged in his throat, as he struggled to find an impossible place between dignity and the screaming of his nerves to stay alive.
Keller murmured, ‘There is nothing to do now but die.’
A man in the chamber who had been out of their view, moved into sight. He was dressed in a plain dark suit. He identified himself as Warden James and held up a chart. His hand was steady enough, his white knuckles though suggested a very tight grip on that chart.
Keller stared down at the inmate who seemed to be staring back, though Keller knew that the glass was one way and that all the condemned could see was a reflection of his own final scene. All the same, their eyes met.
Warden James turned to the prisoner. ‘Is there anything you would like to say or read before we administer this lethal injection?’
‘Yes.’
Keller frowned down at the neighboring lap. It was the redhead next to him, the PhD student, twisting that engagement ring. The girl who more than likely had it all, the girl who could not cope without her cell, was barely coping at all. Keller could feel her trembling against the length of his torso and the anger in his veins burned. The young woman held her hand up to her mouth and whispered into it, ‘God, dear God.’
The Warden lowered his eyes to Prisoner HCI 72259-931 on the gurney and blinked several times. He said to the inmate, ‘Go ahead, what do you want to say.’
‘I would like to ask a question.’
‘What is your question?’
‘I would like to ask a question and have it answered.’
Warden James looked around the room at the other officials.
‘Go ahead and ask your question.’
‘Not until you tell me that I will have an answer.’
Keller smiled and nudged the redhead. ‘You see? Make the most of every goddamned moment.’
The young woman was on the edge of her seat and on the edge of tears.
In the chamber, the suits and uniforms huddled and muttered amongst themselves and the Warden came free of the pack once more.
‘We shall try to answer your question. And cannot commit beyond that. I ask you therefore again, is there anything you would like to say?’
The inmate tried to lift his head but the strap across his brow was held tight. He cleared his throat and said in that thick Carolina accent that Keller thought he’d forgotten but which now reignited in his memory and ripped through his heart.
‘I want to know if my son can see me.’
***
Excerpt from Hiding by Jenny Morton Potts. Copyright © 2018 by Jenny Morton Potts. Reproduced with permission from Jenny Morton Potts. All rights reserved.
 

Author Bio:

Jenny Morton Potts
Jenny is a novelist, screenplay writer and playwright. After a series of 'proper jobs', she realised she was living someone else's life and escaped to Gascony to make gîtes. Knee deep in cement and pregnant, Jenny was happy. Then autism and a distracted spine surgeon wiped out the order. Returned to wonderful England, to write her socks off.
Jenny would like to see the Northern Lights but worries that’s the best bit and should be saved till last. Very happily, and gratefully, settled with family.
She tries not to take herself too seriously.

Catch Up With Jenny Morton Potts On: Website, Goodreads, Twitter, & Facebook!

My Take:  I liked this book from the very beginning as it grabbed me from there and wouldn't let me go.  It is told from Rebecca and Keller's view points alternating chapters.  it was a very good thriller and gave you the creeps at the right spots.  I would recommend this book.  
 

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This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Jenny Morton Potts. There will be 1 winner of one (1) Amazon.com gift Card. The giveaway begins on May 1 and runs through June 2, 2018.
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PICT tour of Victim of the System by Steve Hadden

The Victim of the System by Steve Hadden The Victim of the System by Steve Hadden Tour Banner

The Victim of the System

by Steve Hadden

on Tour May 1-31, 2018

Synopsis:

The Victim of the System by Steve Hadden
Twenty-two years ago, Ike Rossi's life was shattered when his parents were murdered in cold blood. He surrendered his football scholarship and returned home to find their killer and raise his nine-year-old sister. Now, the crime of a local ten-year-old genius, Jack Cole, threatens to unearth old wounds rather than provide the closure Ike desperately wants.
When Ike meets Jack inside the Pittsburgh courthouse, he doesn't see a murderer but instead a boy who has been victimized by a system that has left them both without justice. Despite knowing the case will resurrect the painful demons of his parents' unsolved murders, Ike agrees to clear Jack's name. The court of public opinion and the district attorney have an airtight case. Worse, taking Jack's side thrusts Ike into the crosshairs of the most powerful family in Pittsburgh, the Falzones.
Now, with only days before the trial, Ike confronts the Falzones' crumbling empire to find the shocking evidence that could save Jack. At the same time, he races to decipher a series of cryptic clues from Jack's dead father that could hold the key to his son's freedom. But each step closer to the truth draws them further into danger, and as three fractured families collide, Ike is forced to choose between saving Jack-and saving himself.

The Victim of the System is an intriguing and entertaining thriller about the justice system, closure and the abyss between them.

Book Details:

Genre: Thriller
Published by: Telemachus Press
Publication Date: April 3rd 2018
Number of Pages: 330
ISBN: 9781948046039
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads
 

Read an excerpt:

CHAPTER 1
Jack Cole knew they were coming for him next. He waited in the dense shrubs with a vengeful patience. He reminded himself he was here for a reason-one that justified the action. He fought back the dark sensation that this was wrong. Thou shalt not kill had been drilled into him at Saint John's. But this was the only way to end it-to be safe.
His hand shook as he gripped the heavy rifle and took aim at the front door of the mansion across the private cul-de-sac. He settled the jitter with the thought that this man had killed his dad.
He leaned back against the tree and braced for the kick. Then, through the bushes, he saw a sliver of light widen as the front door opened. He dropped his head and took aim through the scope. He'd been watching the lawyer's house for days.
The thick door swung open and his target stepped out, closing the door behind him. Jack hesitated when he came face-to-face with him through the scope. Still, he steadied the heavy rifle and squeezed the trigger.
The blast slammed his back against the thick tree. The kick felt stronger than it had when he'd fired it on his first hunting trip with his father, just two months ago. As he scrambled to regain his balance, he saw his prey-the man responsible for destroying what was left of his family-fall against the front door of the red brick home, his white shirt splattered with blood and his face paralyzed in shock. Blood smeared as the man grabbed at the door, apparently reaching for someone inside. Finally, the attorney collapsed with his contorted body wrapped around his large legal briefcase.
Jack stood and froze, shocked by the carnage he'd unleashed. When the door swung open and a panicked woman rushed out, he came to his senses.
In seconds, Jack secured and covered the rifle and began his escape. Halfway down the cul-de-sac, he was sure someone had called 911. As he calmly pulled the red wagon his father had given him on his ninth birthday, he heard the police cars responding. They raced through the expensive suburban homes toward 1119 Blackbird Court.
The two cars turned onto the cul-de-sac and slowed when the patrolmen passed a mom and her children standing in their driveway, gaping at the terrifying scene. At the deep end of the cul-de-sac, the police cars screeched to a stop. Their doors sprang open and two officers swept the area with their guns drawn. The other two rushed to the porch. The woman cradled the man's body, screaming wildly. Blood coated the porch and covered the woman's face and arms.
Jack fought the urge to run and wandered out of the cul-de-sac. Two other police cars and an ambulance raced past. Over his shoulder, he saw the paramedics rush to the porch. Then Jack turned the corner and lost sight of what he'd done-and he began to cry.
Six Months Later
CHAPTER 2
Ike Rossi hated this place. Not because something had happened here. Instead, it was something that hadn't. It represented failure. A rotting failure that he placed firmly on his own shoulders. While it had been twenty-two years, the wound was as raw as it was on that dreadful day he'd tried to forget for most of his adult life. Now, after years of dead ends, he was here once again to close that wound. He waited on the hard bench in the massive lobby of the Allegheny County Courthouse flanked by murals of Peace, Justice, and Industry. Despite their ominous presence, he ignored them. He'd never found any of those here.
As nine a.m. approached, the lobby swelled with people making their way to their destinies. Their voices and the clicks of their best shoes echoed through the massive honeycomb of thick stone archways as they wound up the network of stairs leading to the courtrooms on the floors above. Nameless faces all carried their tags: anger, sadness, fear, and arrogance. Those who were above it all, those who feared the system, and those who just saw money. While he'd always heard it was the best system on earth, he was painfully convinced that justice deserved better.
Three benches down, Ike's eyes locked on a small boy who was crying and leaning into a woman's side as she tried desperately to comfort him. When he recognized Jack Cole from the flood of news reports over the last six months, he didn't feel the prickly disdain that had roiled in his gut as he watched the initial reports on TV. At first, he'd condemned the ten-year-old boy as another killer-one who took the life of someone's parent. But as the case unfolded he'd discovered the boy had lost his father. The constant wound Ike kept hidden in his soul opened a little wider. He knew what it was like to lose a parent.
According to the reports, Jack Cole's father had committed suicide as a result of a nasty divorce from Brenda Falzone Cole, the estranged daughter of one of the richest families in the country. Jack, a genius ten-year-old, had shot and killed his mother's family law attorney-not exactly what Ike expected from a kid. When he was finally identified in video from a neighbor's security camera and questioned, he shocked investigators by admitting the act.
Claiming he didn't have a choice under Pennsylvania law, the prosecutor was trying the boy as an adult. Jack faced a murder charge. Due to his young age, both sides wanted to fast-track the trial. It was scheduled to start next Monday, just a week away.
The boy looked up and caught Ike's gaze. Despite his best efforts, Ike couldn't look away. Tears streamed down Jack's face, but at the same time, his eyes begged for help. A mix of fear and generosity accumulated deep in Ike's chest. He knew the boy sought the same help he'd sought for himself years ago, but the prospect of exhuming that pain warned him to stay away.
Still, yielding to a magnetic force that had no regard for his own protection, Ike stood, smiled, and walked to the boy, ignoring the condemning stares from the people eyeing Jack. Reaching into his jacket pocket, he pulled out a small Rubik's Cube he carried to amuse distressed kids on long flights to distant oil provinces.
He stopped in front of the pair and asked the woman, "May I?" while he showed her the toy. The dried streaks down her cheeks told him she shared the boy's pain. He recognized her from the news reports but didn't want to remind her that millions of people were now witness to her custody battle with Jack's mother's family-and the progression of her devastating pretrial defeats at the hands of the district attorney.
"Oh, that's so kind of you," she said, nodding gently.
Ike gave Jack the toy and sat beside him. Jack's smallish build and timid posture made it hard to believe he was ten-and he'd killed someone.
Jack sniffled and wiped his nose with the back of his arm.
"Here, honey," the woman said as she handed him a Kleenex. Jack wiped his nose and immediately began twisting the cube, ignoring Ike.
"I'm Lauren Bottaro," the woman said. "This is Jack. I'm his aunt."
Ike reached out. "Ike Rossi."
Her eyes flamed with familiarity. She seemed stunned. "You're Ike Rossi?"
Jack handed the cube back to Ike. "Done!"
Ike wasn't sure what startled him more, the look on Lauren's face or the fact that Jack had solved the cube in less than a minute. "That's great, Jack." Ike offered Jack a high-five, but Jack awkwardly hesitated. Finally, he slapped it and Ike returned the toy. The tears were gone, replaced by a proud smile. Ike looked back at Lauren, who'd apparently caught herself staring at him.
She seemed to regain some composure, and a serious expression swept across her face.
"Mr. Rossi, can I ask what you do, now?"
Ike hesitated, hearing more than just that question in her voice.
He looked up and saw Mac Machowski, grinning.
"I'll tell you what he does."
Ike could have kissed Mac for the timely rescue.
Mac counted on his thick gnarled fingers. "He fixes things that can't be fixed. He keeps fat cats from getting kidnapped-or killed if they do-and he's the best damn investigator I've ever seen."
Ike noticed Jack had stopped playing with the Rubik's Cube and was listening intently to Mac, along with Lauren.
Ike smiled. "Mac, I'd like you to meet Lauren and Jack."
Mac tipped the bill of his Pirates cap to Lauren. "Ma'am." Then, extending his meaty paw, he knelt painfully and came face-to-face with Jack. "Nice to meet you, young man."
Jack nervously looked away but reached for Mac's hand and shook it.
"Jack. What do you say?" Lauren said.
Jack faced Mac. "Nice to meet you, sir."
Mac's joints creaked as he reached to the floor and pushed himself up. "You ready there, partner?" he said to Ike. "We gotta catch him before he leaves the courthouse at nine."
As Ike stood, Lauren rose with him. "So you're a detective?"
Ike threw a nod toward Mac. "He is-a retired homicide detective. I'm a private security and investigative services consultant in the oil and gas business."
Lauren tipped her head back, as if enlightened. "That makes sense now."
"What makes sense?" Ike said.
"I saw your name written on my brother's day planner."
The claim jolted Ike. "My name?"
Lauren nodded again. "Did you speak to him?"
"No, I've never talked to your brother." Ike was sure investigators would have checked the planner, but he'd never been questioned.
Jack reached up and tugged on Ike's forearm. "Can you help me?"
Those eyes were begging again.
Lauren gently pulled Jack's hand from Ike's arm. "I'm sorry," she said. "He's been through a lot."
Jack kept his eyes, now wet again, locked on Ike. "My dad wouldn't do that to me. He wouldn't kill himself."
Ike was frozen by Jack's stare. It was as innocent as any ten-year-old's. A primal desire to protect Jack stirred in Ike's heart. He didn't want to believe the kid-but he did.
Lauren hugged Jack. "It's okay, honey." She looked back at Ike and Mac. "We have no right to ask you th-"
A thick, towering woman with dark brown hair and a stone-cold stare wedged into the space between Mac and Lauren. She studied Mac, then Ike. "What's going on here, Lauren?"
Ike immediately recognized her from the news reports. Jenna Price represented Jack. For the last two months she'd been billed as a hopeless underdog, and the string of losses so far-other than prevailing at the bail hearing-supported that label. A basketball player-turned-lawyer, she was battling a DA who so far showed little mercy. She worked with her father in their tiny firm, and every talking head said she didn't stand a chance.
Lauren said, "Jenna, this is Ike Rossi and Mac … I'm sorry?"
"Machowski," Mac said as he shook Jenna's hand.
Jenna gripped Ike's hand and held it as she spoke. "My dad said you were the greatest quarterback ever to come out of western Pennsylvania."
Ike always had one answer to that comment to quell any further discussion of his accolades. "That was a long time ago."
"What are you doing now?" she asked.
Jack leaned around Lauren and nearly shouted, "He's a detective. He can help us!"
Lauren hugged him tight again. "Shhh."
"A detective?" Jenna said.
"A private security and investigative services consultant."
Jenna nodded and held her gaze but said nothing.
"We gotta go now," Mac said, looking at his watch.
Ike stepped back from Jenna. "Stay strong, Counselor." He nodded to Lauren. "Ms. Bottaro." Then Ike offered a handshake to Jack.
Jack sheepishly held out the Rubik's Cube for Ike. Immediately, Ike felt Jack's awkwardness.
"You keep that, Jack." Ike raised his hand for another high-five. Jack took the cue this time and slapped it. "Ladies," he said, turning with Mac and walking down the hall.
As they reached the stairs at the end of the corridor, Ike glanced over his shoulder. He could see Jack edging around the two women to keep his eyes on Ike, with the Rubik's Cube clutched in his hand. Ike turned back to the stairs.
"You okay?" Mac said. Ike nodded and started up the stairs to meet a man he despised. A man who might finally deliver the key to his parents' murder.
***
Excerpt from The Victim of the System by Steve Hadden. Copyright © 2018 by Steve Hadden. Reproduced with permission from Steve Hadden. All rights reserved.
 

Author Bio:

Steve Hadden
Steve Hadden was born in Columbus, Ohio but spent much of his childhood in North Severna Park, Maryland. Building a short-wave radio with his father (an electrical engineer), frequent trips to the US Naval Academy, and the gift of a chemistry set, sparked his interest in chemistry and mathematics at an early age. At the end of elementary school, Steve's family moved to Columbus, Indiana where he developed his love for basketball and where his favorite book was Stranger Than Science by Frank Edwards. Two years later, Steve moved to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania where his junior high school creative writing teacher sparked his interest in writing. Steve attended North Allegheny High School and fell in love with Clive Cussler's Raise the Titanic.
He attended Penn State, graduated with a degree in chemical engineering, and began a career in the oil and gas business, where he's worked in engineering, management, and advisory roles. He's traveled to intriguing places around the world and met fascinating people. His experience in the oil and gas business ultimately led to the idea for his first thriller, The Sunset Conspiracy. His interest in biology and science formed the foundation for his next four thrillers, Genetic Imperfections and The Swimming Monkeys Trilogy. He returned to his hometown of Pittsburgh with his latest thriller, The Victim of the System, a story with a mind-bending scientific twist.
Steve now lives in the foothills of the Cascades outside of Seattle. When he's not working on his next intriguing thriller, Steve is hiking the trails with his wife and two Labrador retrievers, playing guitar or piano, reading great books, listening to music and consulting on business matters.

Visit Steve Hadden at stevehadden.com, Goodreads, & Facebook!


My take:  This is my first time read  a book by this author.  This story had me reading and putting other things off so I could read and find out what happened next.  Ike gave up alot when his parents were killed and he feels like he needs to help Jack so that Jack's life isn't wasted but he has so little time to come up with any evidence.  I wish the team from that crime show CSI would show up and solve it within an hour. Great book.  Highly recommend.  
 

Tour Participant



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 Steve Hadden. There will be 2 winners of one (1) Amazon.com gift Card. The giveaway begins on May 1 and runs through June 2, 2018.
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Miss Wilton's Waltz by Josi Kilpack

Miss Wilton's Waltz

A follow-up to Josi S. Kilpack's bestselling Proper Romance title The Vicar's Daughter.

Lenora Wilton has spent her life hiding behind the keys of her beloved pianoforte and the vibrancy of her younger sister, Cassie. But Lenora is ready for a change and travels to Bath to live with her Aunt Gwen and teach music at an all-girls’ boarding school. She is different in Bath—more comfortable with herself—and enjoys the freedom and independence of her new life there.

When Lenora meets Aiden Asher, she finds herself attracted to him, but her unexpected feelings become more complicated when she learns that Catherine—Lenora’s newest and most troublesome student in the school—is Mr. Asher’s niece. Catherine is a difficult student, and Lenora works hard to make progress with the girl.

When the chemistry between Lenora and Aiden increases, they share a passionate kiss by the River Avon, and Lenora feels it is the beginning of a new forever—until she learns that Aiden has withheld an important detail about his life that changes everything.

Lenora closes her heart to him, and Aiden, caught between his obligation and his heart, must do what he can to make amends. And Lenora, after years of hiding from everyone and everything, faces a decision only she can make.

My Take:  I enjoyed this book.  I could relate to Lenora as I was fairly shy in high school except around my friends and I seemed to open up more when I moved away to college.  I liked that this book wasn't insta love and that the characters had to work at things.  I have read some of Josi Kilpack Cozy mysteries and enjoyed them and thought I would give her romances a try.  I am glad I did.  Although this is the second in a series you do not need to read the first in order to enjoy this book.   

This book was provided for review by Shadow Mountain but the opinions are my own.  

Sunday, May 27, 2018

The Theory of Happily Ever After by Kristin Billerbeck

The Theory of Happily Ever After

According to Dr. Maggie Maguire, happiness is serious science, as serious as Maggie takes herself. But science can't always account for life's anomalies--for instance, why her fiancé dumped her for a silk-scarf acrobat and how the breakup sent Maggie spiraling into an extended ice cream-fueled chick flick binge.

Concerned that she might never pull herself out of this nosedive, Maggie's friends book her as a speaker on a "New Year, New You" cruise in the Gulf of Mexico. Maggie wonders if she's qualified to teach others about happiness when she can't muster up any for herself. But when a handsome stranger on board insists that smart women can't ever be happy, Maggie sets out to prove him wrong. Along the way she may discover that happiness has far less to do with the head than with the heart.

Filled with memorable characters, snappy dialogue, and touching romance, Kristin Billerbeck's The Theory of Happily Ever After shows that the search for happiness may be futile--because sometimes happiness is already out there searching for you.
 

My Take;  This was a cute book.  It would be a perfect read beside the pool or just as a summer read.  I found myself smiling at some of the situations that Maggie found herself in.  I didn't like the love triangle which was probably added to add more drama.  I didn't think that it needed anymore so it would have been fine without it.  If you like romance but don't want to feel like you are loosing brain cells  the book for you. 

Friday, May 18, 2018

PICT review of Dangerous Mistakes by Susan Hunter

Dangerous Mistakes by Susan Hunter . Dangerous Mistakes Tour Banner

Dangerous Mistakes

by Susan Hunter

on Tour May 7 - 18, 2018

Synopsis:

Dangerous Mistakes by Susan Hunter

A clever killer. A smart reporter. An unexpected twist.

Small-town reporter Leah Nash investigates a murder no one else believes happened—until a second death signals the killer's first mistake. Nothing is as it seems, and the twisting trail she follows pits Leah against her police lieutenant best friend, her new boss, and even her mother. Still, the smart and smart-ass Leah can't back down. If she's right, she can save someone she loves. If she's wrong, the next victim could be her.
Independent, intrepid and irrepressible Leah Nash can't resist a good story, especially not one that ends in murder. Sharp dialogue, plots that move and storylines full of unexpected turns make this series a fan favorite.

Book Details:

Genre: Mystery
Published by: Himmel River Press
Publication Date: November 2015
Number of Pages: 370
ISBN: 1519208588 (ISBN13: 9781519208583)
Series: Leah Nash Mysteries #2 (Each is a Stand Alone Mystery)

Click to check out Dangerous Mistakes on: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Google Play, and Goodreads!!

Read an excerpt:

Chapter 1

“All of us are dying.”
“Well, yes, I guess I can’t argue with that, Betty,” I said to the slight, white-haired woman seated behind my desk in the newsroom. I had come barreling in to pick up a new notebook, late for my next assignment.
“Oops, sorry, if I could just get into that center desk drawer there.” I gently rolled her away from the desk, edged my drawer out a couple of inches, and stuck my arm into the depths until I felt cardboard. I tweezered out the spiral-bound notebook between two fingers.
“All of us. Dying. It’s not right.”
I slipped the notebook into my purse and moved to scoot Betty back into position, mentally cursing our receptionist Courtnee for sending her back to the newsroom. Again. Betty Meier was a retired nurse in her 80s. Years ago, during my first stint at the Himmel Times Weekly, she often stopped by to drop off an ad for a garage sale, or a press release for the Sunshine Girls bazaar, or to put in a notice for one of the many other groups to which she belonged. But now she suffered from Alzheimer’s, and when she came to the office, it was because she’d wandered away from home. This was the third time in the past two months that she’d ended up here. As I reached round her to slide the chair, she grabbed my arm, clamping on with almost desperate strength.
Startled, I looked down into her upturned face. The spark of life in her faded blue eyes caught me by surprise. I swallowed the placating answer I’d been about to give.
“No, Betty, it’s not right. It doesn’t matter how old we are. No one wants to go into that good night.” I pulled up the visitor’s chair and sat down so we were eye level.
“No, no, no! It’s us. Everyone is dying. Where’s Max? I want to talk to Max.” The bright light had gone out as quickly as it had come, and her eyes took on a cloudy cast again. Her fingers released their grip, and her voice became querulous.
“Max isn’t here anymore, Betty.” Max, the former owner of the Himmel Times Weekly, wasn’t just gone, he was dead. How and why he died was something I didn’t like to talk about, but never really stopped thinking about.
Just then a harried-looking woman in her early 40s burst through the door.
“Mom! I’ve been looking all over for you. Sweetheart, what are you doing here?” She knelt down and patted her mother’s arm. In an aside, she said to me, “I’m sorry, Leah. The caregiver didn’t show up. Mom’s next door neighbor went over, but then her dog got hit by a car, and she had to leave. I rushed out of work. It was only 10 minutes, but when I got there Mom was gone.”
“Don’t worry about it, Deborah. It’s OK.”
“Sometimes she seems fine, you know? The other day, out of nowhere, she said, ‘How was work, Debbie?’ It almost broke my heart. She hadn’t initiated a conversation in weeks, and then for a second, there she was. My mom. And just as quickly she was gone, and there was a confused old lady who didn’t know who I was.”
“I’m sorry,” I said, awkwardly and inadequately. Two things I specialize in, awkward and inadequate. “She keeps saying all her friends are dying.”
She nodded. “I took her to a funeral a month or so ago. I knew she’d want to be there, but I shouldn’t have. She’s been upset ever since.” She turned to her mother again. “Mom, let’s go home. Tandy’s coming over tonight, and we’ll have dinner and watch some family movies. That’ll be nice, won’t it?” She slid her arm under her mother’s and helped her up. As they left, she turned to me. “Leah, again, I’m so sorry. I know we can’t go on like this. It isn’t safe for her.”
“It’s not easy,” I said, though in truth, and thank God, I knew nothing about the pain of the parent-to-child reversal Deborah was experiencing. My mother–maddening, bossy, loving, funny woman that she is–still has full control of all her faculties, and would happily take charge of mine if I’d let her.
I followed Deborah out the door on a run, but I was already 15 minutes late for an interview with the incoming principal at Himmel High School.
* * *
“Really, Courtnee? Betty Meier sitting in the newsroom? At my desk? Why did you take her back there?”
It was nearly five when I got back to the office, and I was a little on the pissy side. Make that a lot. My interview with the principal didn’t go well. He was unhappy because I was late and even madder when I left early. I had to, or I’d have missed shooting a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the new McDonald’s franchise. That’s the kind of cutting-edge journalism we do here at the Himmel Times. On the way back to the office, the iced tea I’d bought at the drive-through tipped over, and half of it ran into my purse. In fairness, I couldn’t blame Courtnee for that, but I think that fairness is far overrated.
Looking up from her Facebook account, Courtnee gave a shrug.
“I’m a receptionist, Leah. It’s my job to receive. So, I received her into the newsroom. You were gone, and Miguel is out, and Rebecca wasn’t here, and like always, I had to take care of things myself. She likes sitting at your desk.”
Miguel Santos is the other full-time reporter, and Rebecca Hartfield is the publisher and micromanager at the Times.
“The next time she comes in, if there is a next time, ‘receive’ her in reception. Sit her down—out here—and call her daughter. OK?”
“Okaayy.” She gave a flip of her silky blonde hair and turned to read the text that had just pinged on her phone. At the same time a loud static-filled squawk came from the scanner in the newsroom. I couldn’t make out the words, but I didn’t need to, because Rebecca was already out of her office to translate. She’s a cool blonde—calm, measured, methodical. And, oddly, not that crazy about me.
“Good, you’re still here. There’s a working fire at 529 Halston. A residence. I need you to cover it.”
“But I’ve got a Parks Committee meeting. Miguel is—”
“He’s still in Milwaukee. You can do a phone follow-up on the meeting. Is there a problem?”
“No. Nothing,” I muttered. I grabbed the camera and headed out.
* * *
My name is Leah Nash, and in the exciting, competitive, high-adrenalin carnival that is journalism, I operate the merry-go-round. I’m a reporter for a small-town weekly in Himmel, Wisconsin. It’s where I started 11 years ago, and it’s where I landed 18 months ago, after a series of bad career decisions. I had an exit strategy, but it hadn’t come together quite yet.
The fire assignment was no big deal. Except it was. Though I wasn’t about to confide my darkest fears to Rebecca, who, as far as I can tell, has the empathy and emotional range of a Popsicle. The truth is, I’m afraid of fires—to the point of hyperventilating and quaking in my shoes. Have been since I was 10 years old. I never willingly cover one. But sometimes I have no choice.
My hands were sweaty on the wheel, and I was repeating “breathe in, breathe out” in a frenzied mantra as I pulled up. Smoke billowed from the back of a small two-story house. Here and there yellow flames shot red-tipped tongues out the windows. Gray ash snowflakes floated through the air as firefighters wrangled hoses, flooding the fire into submission. Still, I sat in my car, unable to open the door and move closer to the burning house. Hard as I tried not to let it, my mind hurtled back to another fire, a long time ago. I squeezed my eyes tight to shut out the images. A second later they popped back open in surprise at the sharp rapping near my ears. I rolled down the window so that David Cooper could lean in.
“Hey, Coop.”
“Hey. What are you doing here? Where’s Miguel?”
“Rebecca sent him out of town. So, it’s me.” I struggled to put on an air of professionalism as I opened the door and hauled out my camera bag. Coop is my oldest friend and a lieutenant with the Himmel Police Department.
“So, what’s the story? Anyone hurt? What are the damages? Do they know how it started?” I fired off questions, determined not to let him know how hard it was to force myself to walk closer toward the heat of the fire, to hear the snap and pop as it ate through dry wood, the crash as a section of roof gave way.
I didn’t fool him. Coop doesn’t say much. But he sees a lot. Which I find quite irritating when it’s me he’s looking at.
“Al Porter’s over by the ladder truck. He thinks it’s just about under control. I’ll point him in your direction when he gets off the phone. No sense you going over there and getting in the way.”
I try not to let my weaknesses show. If anyone sees what hurts or scares you, it makes you vulnerable. And, in my experience, that’s not a good thing.
I shook my head. “I’m going over to talk to him.”
He looked at me, but didn’t say anything.
“Look, I’m fine.”
“Yeah, I know.”
“Don’t patronize me. I hate it when you patronize me.”
“I’m not. Just saying it’s wet and slippery and crowded over there. Call Al over here, and you’d be out of the way. Suit yourself.”
“I will.”
“Oh, I know.”
We could have gone on like 10-year-olds forever—at least I could have—but the fire chief walked up just then.
“Leah.” He nodded and paused to wipe a rivulet of sweat running down the side of his face, smearing ash across his cheek. He had pulled off his yellow helmet, and I could see that his gray hair was wet and curling in wisps. Pushing 60, and about 30 pounds over fighting weight, Al isn’t going to be September in anyone’s Fire Fighters Calendar. But he knows how to run a crew, keep them safe, and put out the fire, and no one is in any hurry to tell him to hang up his turnout gear.
“You’re a little late to the party. But Matt McGreevy got some good shots and video too.”
I could’ve kissed Al and Matt both, but I played it casual. “Oh? Sure, that’d be great. Whose house is it?”
“Old gal by the name of Betty Meier.”
Al picked up on the shock I felt right away.
“It’s OK, Leah. You know her? She wasn’t home. Nobody was. Well, except for one pretty mad cat, but we got her out all right. The old lady was at her daughter’s, the neighbor said. I guess she’s got some dementia issues. Might have left on the gas burner on the stove. But don’t print that,” he hastened to add. “We’re gonna have the state fire marshal in.”
A loud whoosh of water hit the house just then, spraying the charred remains. No flames were visible, but I knew that didn’t mean the fire was out. Some of the crew would be on the scene for a couple of hours to make sure the blaze didn’t start up again.
“She’s wandered away a few times and come to the paper, asking for Max. I talked to her daughter today. I think she’s probably going to move her to a nursing home.” Poor Betty. Losing all her friends, her memories, and tonight it could have been her life. It’s true. Old age isn’t for sissies.
“Yeah. I’d say it’s past time for that. Fire can move so damn fast. People don’t realize how—” He stopped. Looked at me. Looked embarrassed. I helped him roll on past a subject I didn’t want to delve into either.
“For sure. So, who called it in? What’s the damage estimate?” I went through the standard reporter’s litany of who, what, when, where, why questions, and when I had all the information Al could give me at the moment, I asked Matt to email me his photos and video.
Then I packed it in and went back to the office to post a few pictures and a news brief on the Times website. I stopped by the front desk and checked the spike on the corner of Courtnee’s desk for messages. At 6:30 p.m. she was long gone.
I pulled off the notes for me and gave them a quick glance. Nothing looked urgent, so I stuffed them in my purse to read later. In the newsroom, I didn’t bother to flip on the light, just turned on my desk lamp and used the blue glow of the computer screen. It was kind of nice there in the semi-dark. There was no jangle of Courtnee’s unanswered phones in reception, no tap-tap-tap of other keyboards, no repeated clunking of cans of soda coming out of the Coke machine.
Before I started writing, I texted Coop and Miguel to see if they wanted to meet up for a beer and a burger at McClain’s, then I filed a quick story. I uploaded two of the photos Matt had sent to my iPhone and a short video clip. When I finished, I leaned back for a long, satisfying yawn and stretch, my chair tilted and my arms reaching as far back as possible. I was right at that almost orgasmic point of satisfaction, when every muscle was extended and just on the edge of relaxing, when the light clicked on.
“Leah.”
I all but tumbled out of my chair.
“Rebecca! Geez, how about some warning when you creep in on little cat feet?”
“Did you get the story?” Her eyes, the color of a blue-tinged icicle, blinked behind her black-framed glasses.
“Already written. Nobody hurt. Betty, the woman who owns the house, wasn’t there. Property’s totaled though.”
“Photos?”
“Yep.”
“All right, good. Pull the commission story from the front page and run with the fire above the fold—if the pictures are any good. Are they?”
“Matt McGreevy took them. They’re great. It was really nice of him to share them, especially since you fired him last month.”
“I did not fire him. Stringers aren’t employees. They’re independent contractors. Why didn’t you take the photos?”
I flashed back to my near panic attack at the fire, my dithering around the edge trying to get my nerves under control. The shaming fear that had gripped me. “I got there too late. Matt rolled out with the fire department—he does their videography. And he’s a good guy, so he shared them, even though you ‘not’ fired him.”
“I don’t cut costs for fun. It has to be done. That’s my job.” She spoke slowly, as though explaining something to a small child.
I gave in to the urge to get a rise out of her. “I thought you went to journalism school. Not bean counting academy.”
“I was hired to get the Times in better financial shape, and that requires the counting of some beans. It might be easier if you didn’t take every decision as a personal affront.”
Something in her voice made me look up from putting away my stuff. She had taken off her glasses and was rubbing the bridge of her nose. Her shoulders had sagged a little, and for a minute I saw her as a woman with a tough job, who didn’t have the luxury of casual banter with her staff or after-work drinks at McClain’s. Her role was to be the bad guy, the nay-sayer, the buzz-killer. That had to be pretty lonely. She was only 36, just a few years older than me.
“Rebecca, would you like to—”
She cut me off before I could invite her to stop by McClain’s with me. “Don’t forget to turn your mileage in tomorrow. It’s the cutoff, and you won’t get paid this month if you don’t get it in. I’ve already told Courtnee that.”
As part of the general cutbacks and reassignments in Rebecca’s lean and mean vision for the Times, Courtnee had been assigned the task of processing mileage and expense reports. It had proven to be one of the more effective cost-saving measures, because half the time Courtnee didn’t finish the reports in time for us to get paid for the month, which she always insisted was our fault. The other half of the time, she screwed them up, and they didn’t get processed correctly until the following month. I suspected there was some method to Rebecca’s madness in giving the job to Courtnee, in that to some degree, expenses were always deferred.
“Right.” I gathered my things and left before saying something I’d regret. Working at the Times wasn’t exactly a step up the career ladder, but when Max was here it was fun. I missed the camaraderie, the kidding around, the messy, lively, frustrating, fulfilling business of putting out a paper. When Rebecca first started, I thought we might be friends. She’s near my age, she’s from Wisconsin like me, and she’d even worked at the Grand Rapids Press in Michigan, like I had, though at a different time. It just seemed like we’d have a lot in common. Instead, Rebecca sucked the happy right out of the air. If it weren’t for Miguel, I might have done something stupid like I did at the Miami Star Register. Namely, leaving one job without having another waiting. I wanted to play it smart this time. But she was making it awfully hard.
***
Excerpt from Dangerous Mistakes 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: leahnashmysteries.com, Goodreads, Twitter - @LeahNashMystery, & Facebook - leahnashmysteries!


My Take:  I really enjoyed this book.  I didn't read the first book but I was able to jump right in.  I was convienced right along with Leigh that everyone she thought that did it did it.  I did figure it out before the big reveal but not to soon before.  The only thing I had a problem with was there wasn't any warning that the scene was changing so you would be reading along and then all of a sudden you were reading a totally different scene so you were a bit lost for a bit.  I think there should have been at least a couple of line spaces between scenes.  I gave this a three stars because of that but the story itself was good.  If you like mysteries you would probably like this book.  
 

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