Monday, July 30, 2018

PICT tour of The Body in the Ballroom by R. J. Koreto

The Body In The Ballroom by R.J. Koreto The Body In The Ballroom by R.J. Koreto Banner

The Body in the Ballroom

by R.J. Koreto

on Tour July 1-31, 2018

Synopsis:

The Body in the Ballroom by R.J. Koreto
President Teddy Roosevelt’s daring daughter, Alice, leaps into action to exonerate a friend accused of poisoning a man just about everyone hated.
Alice Roosevelt, the brilliant, danger-loving daughter of President Theodore Roosevelt, has already risked an assassin’s bullet to solve one murder. She never expected to have to sleuth another, but she’d never pass up the opportunity, either. Anything to stave off boredom.
And such an opportunity presents itself when Alice is invited to a lavish ball. The high-society guests are in high spirits as they imbibe the finest wines. But one man, detested by nearly all the partygoers, quaffs a decidedly deadlier cocktail. An African-American mechanic, who also happens to be a good friend of former Rough Rider-turned-Secret Service Agent Joseph St. Clair, is suspected of the murder-by-poison, but Alice is sure he’s innocent and is back on the scene to clear his name.
From downtown betting parlors to uptown mansions, Alice and Agent St. Clair uncover forbidden romances and a financial deal that just might change the world. But neither Alice nor her would-be protector may survive the case at hand in The Body in the Ballroom, R. J. Koreto's gripping second Alice Roosevelt mystery.

Book Details:

Genre: Historical Mystery
Published by: Crooked Lane Books
Publication Date: June 12th 2018
Number of Pages: 304
ISBN: 1683315774 (ISBN13: 9781683315773)
Series: Alice Roosevelt Mystery #2
Purchase Links: Amazon  | Barnes & Noble  | Goodreads 

Read an excerpt:

President Roosevelt and I were just finishing out talk when A moment later, the office door opened, and Mr. Wilkie, the Secret Service director, walked in. I stood to greet him.
“St. Clair. Glad to see you’re back. Very pleased with the way it went in St. Louis.” He turned to the president. “Have you spoken to him yet, sir?”
“Yes, and he’s agreed.” Wilkie looked relieved, too.
“Very good then. If you’re done, sir, I’ll take St. Clair to her. My understanding is that arrangements have been made for Miss Roosevelt to leave tomorrow afternoon.”
“Exactly. We’re all done then. St. Clair, thanks again. And I’ll be up in the near future, so I expect to see you again soon.” We shook hands, and I followed Mr. Wilkie out the door.
“Is she smoking on the roof again, sir?” I asked. That’s what happened the first time I met Alice in the White House.
He grimaced. “No. My understanding is that she is in the basement indulging a new hobby of hers. But you’ll see.” He led me downstairs, and that’s when I heard the unmistakable sounds of gunfire. Mr. Wilkie didn’t seem worried, however. “Miss Roosevelt somehow got hold of a pistol and has set up her own private firing range in a storage room. We launched an investigation to figure out how Miss Roosevelt obtained such a weapon but were unable to reach a formal conclusion, I’m sorry to say.”
No wonder they wanted me back.
And just as when Mr. Wilkie had sent me to get Alice off the roof, he once again cleaned his glasses on his handkerchief, shook my hand, wished me luck, and departed.
I heard one more shot, and that was it. She was probably reloading. The sound came from behind a double door at the end of the hallway. I carefully opened it, and she didn’t notice at first.
I watched her concentrating on the pistol, her tongue firmly between her teeth as she carefully focused on reloading. It was an old Smith & Wesson single-action, and she was damn lucky she hadn’t blown her own foot off. She was shooting at a mattress propped against the far wall, and from the wide scattering of holes, it was clear her marksmanship needed a lot of practice.
“A little more patience, Miss Alice. You’re jerking the trigger; that’s why you keep shooting wild. And that gun’s too big for you.”
It was a pleasure to see the look of shock and joy on her face. She just dropped the gun onto a box and practically skipped to me, giving me a girlish hug. “Mr. St. Clair, I have missed you.” She looked up. “And I know you have missed me. They say you’re back on duty with me. We’re heading to New York tomorrow, and we’ll have breakfast together like we used to and walk to the East Side through Central Park and visit your sister Mariah.”
I couldn’t do anything but laugh. “We’ll do all that, Miss Alice. But I’m on probation from your aunt, so we have to behave ourselves. You have to behave yourself.”
“I always behave.” She waved her hand to show that the discussion had ended. “Now there must be a trick to loading revolvers because it takes me forever.”
“I’ll teach you. Someday.” I made sure the revolver was unloaded and stuck it in my belt. Then I scooped up the cartridges and dumped them in my pocket.
“Hey, that’s my revolver,” said Alice. “It took me a lot of work to get it.”
“You’re not bringing it to New York, that’s for sure, Miss Alice.”
She pouted. “I thought you’d relax a little after being in St. Louis.”
“And I thought you’d grow up a little being in Washington. You want to walk into the Caledonia like a Wild West showgirl? Anyway, don’t you have some parties to go to up there?”
“Oh, very well. But promise me you’ll take me to a proper shooting range in New York and teach me how to load and fire your New Service revolver.”
“We’ll see. Meanwhile, if you don’t upset your family or Mr. Wilkie between now and our departure tomorrow, I’ll buy you a beer on the train.” That made her happy.
We walked upstairs as she filled me in on White House gossip.
“Oh, and I heard you were in a fast draw in St. Louis and gunned down four men.” She looked up at me curiously.
“A little exaggeration,” I said. I hadn’t killed anyone in St. Louis, hadn’t even fired my revolver, except for target practice.
“You didn’t kill anyone?” she asked, a little disappointed.
“No. No one.”
But then her face lit up. “Because your reputation proceeded you, and they knew there was no chance of outdrawing you.”
“That must be it,” I said.
“But look on the bright side,” she said, still full of cheer. “New York is a much bigger city. Maybe you’ll get a chance to shoot someone there.”
***
Excerpt from The Body in the Ballroom by R.J. Koreto. Copyright © 2018 by R.J. Koreto. Reproduced with permission from R.J. Koreto. All rights reserved.

Author Bio:

R.J. Koreto
R.J. Koreto has been fascinated by turn-of-the-century New York ever since listening to his grandfather's stories as a boy.
In his day job, he works as a business and financial journalist. Over the years, he’s been a magazine writer and editor, website manager, PR consultant, book author, and seaman in the U.S. Merchant Marine. He’s a graduate of Vassar College, and like Alice Roosevelt, he was born and raised in New York.
He is the author of the Lady Frances Ffolkes and Alice Roosevelt mysteries. He has been published in both Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine and Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine. He also published a book on practice management for financial professionals.
With his wife and daughters, he divides his time between Rockland County, N.Y., and Martha’s Vineyard, Mass.

Catch Up With R.J. Koreto On: Website , Goodreads , Twitter , & Facebook !


My Take:  This book was very enjoyable.  I haven't read the first book in this series but I will be going back and getting the book to read.  This book had a great character in Alice Roosevelt.  She is a bit of a problem for her father as she is does what she pleases and doesn't think about it.  St. Clair is given the task of being her body guard and is given the task of cleaning up after her.  In this book one of the guests at a high society party dies after being poisoned after drinking some punch.  Alice tells the host of the party that St. Clair will help.  Alice and St. Clair have a playful banter between each other and leads a sense of playfulness to the mystery.  If you like cozy mysteries you will probably like this series. 

I received a review copy from Partners in Crime tours and the opinions are my own. 
 

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Thursday, July 26, 2018

The Lost Mata Hari Ring by Elyse Douglas

Lost Mata Hari Ring: Time Travel Novel by Elyse Douglas

Up-and-coming actress, Trace Rutland, has had nightmares about a tragic past ever since she was a little girl. She struggles with her everyday life, finally seeking help from a hypnotherapist. 

While under hypnosis, she inadvertently experiences a past life in Paris, in 1916, during the First World War. ​ 

Later, while visiting a wealthy man's private Mata Hari collection, Trace is drawn to a glittering ring, once worn by the convicted spy. Trace is enthralled. When she's alone, she slips the ring on and is swiftly hurled into the past. There, she must face herself as she was in the past, while struggling to change the course of her destiny. 

When she meets the handsome Edward Kenyon Bishop, a World War I British flying ace, she falls in love. She is soon swept away into a journey of suspicion and treachery, and must fight for her life. 

Can she survive the past? Can she return to the present? Can true love endure for all time?

My take: This is a time travel story where Trace travels back in time and discovers more about her past life.  This book has it all mystery, romance , history.  I really enjoyed it as I didn't really know that much about Mata Hari.  I like historical fiction and this book was filled with history.  I am not a believer in past lives but I found myself being drawn into the story and holding my breath to see what would happen next.  A very well done story.  I would recommend it if you like historical fiction.  

I received a review copy of this book from Virtual Author Book Tours and the opinions are my own.  

Monsterland Reanimated by Michael Okon

Monsterland Reanimated

After Monsterland has been destroyed, the entire world is thrown into chaos. Wyatt Baldwin and his friends must go beyond the boundaries of their small town to reestablish contact with the outside world. During their journey they discover a new threat released from the bowels of the defunct theme park. The danger of werewolves, vampires and zombies pale in comparison to an army of relentless mummies, Vincent Conrad’s reanimated monster and the menace of a life-sucking ooze they call The Glob.  Wil Wyatt and his friends survive when they reenter the scariest place on earth?

My take:  The world is in chaos after the events that happened in the first books of this series.  This is the second book in that series and it is non stop action from start to finish.  There are love stories and just like most teenage love stories once you have what you thought you wanted things change.  There are some unlikely pairings and some unlikely things that happen but like all monster movies you have to suspend your beliefs a bit. after all the monsters are what we are all here for after all.  There are some of the old monsters from the last book but there are some all new monsters in this book.  When things don't return to semi normal after Monsterland is destroyed Wyatt and his friends set out to find out what is going on.  Along the way the whole group encounter the new monsters and have to find out how to defeat them and the mastermind behind them.  
I really enjoyed this book and I practically flew through it to find out what was going to be thrown at this group and how they were going to  conquer these monsters.

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




Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Rive to Redemption by Ann H. Gabhart

River to Redemption

Orphaned in the cholera epidemic of 1833, Adria Starr was cared for by a slave named Louis, a man who stayed in Springfield, Kentucky, when anyone with means had fled. A man who passed up the opportunity to escape his bondage and instead tended to the sick and buried the dead. A man who, twelve years later, is being sold by his owners despite his heroic actions. Now nineteen, Adria has never forgotten what Louis did for her. She's determined to find a way to buy Louis's freedom. But in 1840s Kentucky, she'll face an uphill battle.

Based partly on a true story, Ann H. Gabhart's latest historical novel is a tour de force. The vividly rendered town of Springfield and its citizens immerse readers in a story of courage, betrayal, and honor that will stick with them long after they turn the last page.
 

My take:  I really enjoyed this book.  I really didn't know much about the cholera epidemic and this peaked my interest.  I liked how the author used the slavery issue in this book and how she portrayed slaves as kind people but they were always worried how people would think how they interacted with a small white child even if that child had no one in the world to take care of her.  I liked the relationship between Adria and Ruth and how they made a family after the epidemic took their other family.  I enjoy historical fiction and I would say that this book is at the top of my list.  I did get a bit frustrated at Adria and her choices at times but I enjoyed the book anyway.  

I received a review copy of this book from Revell and all opinions are my own.  

The Edge of Over There by Shawn Smucker

The Edge of Over There

Before the Tree of Life, everything in Abra Miller's life had been predictable. But after the Tree and the lightning and the angels, everything felt tenuous, like holding a soap bubble in the palm of her hand. She spent years looking for signs of that other world, waiting for it to break through. When it didn't, her friendship with Sam Chambers grew cold and distant, and they both wondered how any of it could actually have happened.

Four years later, 16-year-old Abra's long-delayed quest to find the next manifestation of the Tree of Life is renewed when she sees a woman walking up the road--a woman who looks exactly like Sam's dead mother. The woman directs her to New Orleans where she will find the grave of Marie Laveau, one of seven gateways between this world and Over There. As Abra enters The Edge of Over There and begins her pursuit of the Tree once more, she doesn't know whom to fear or whom to trust. But she's starting to think that some doorways should never be opened.
 


My take:  This book is a sequel and you may want to read the first book before you read this one.  It isn't entirely necessary but you may be a bit lost like I was at the beginning.  This book was very good and had a bit of fantasy to it.  I liked following Abra on her journey and look forward to the next book.  I will be going back and reading the first book in this series.  

I received a review copy of this book from Revell and was not required to post a positive review.  

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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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 July 2, 2018 and runs through July 14th, 2018. Open to U.S. addresses only. Void where prohibited
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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.  
 

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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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