enter to win on @BookSweeps today — plus the rest of the exciting High-Tech Crime Solvers Series from a great collection of authors… AND a brand new eReader :D #amreading #Giveaway


BookSweeps Thriller BookGiveaway!

Today, I have a fun surprise to share with you…

I’ve teamed up with the rest of the fantastic authors to give away a huge collection of High-Tech Crime Solvers Series to 2 lucky winners!

Oh, and did I mention the Grand Prize winner gets a BRAND NEW eReader? 😁 

You can win my novel Virtually Gone, plus the complete High-Tech Crime Solvers series!

Enter the giveaway by clicking here 👉 bit.ly/HighTechCrimeSolvers-July2020

Good luck and enjoy!

Jacquie Biggar

Exclusive Excerpt of Virtually Gone

Matt spent the rest of the afternoon filling in a case report and waiting for the ME’s phone call. Paperwork was a necessary evil in a police detective’s job description. He’d seen too many cases thrown out of court due to an inaccurate paper trail—besides, it helped to ensure he didn’t overlook any of the facts. Not that there were many to miss.

Three women; all of differing backgrounds and religions. One, a young woman out to meet friends. The second, an Asian biology student at the University of Victoria. And now, Emily Carter; the youngest at just sixteen. She’d argued with her boyfriend, Alexander Friedman, and run off down the trail, straight into the hands of a heartless killer.

Matt clenched his teeth against the pounding in his skull. Ever since the concussion he’d suffered while chasing a perp a couple of months ago, he’d been getting sudden blinding headaches. He’d laughed when the doctor had suggested avoiding stress. Kind of tough to do in his line of work. He massaged his temples and popped a couple of pain killers, then stood, stretched his back, and crossed the bullpen to refill his coffee cup with the black sludge Esposito insisted on brewing. Matt caught Dan just as he was about to rinse out the pot. “Hold up there, I’ll take that.”

The wiry cop turned and grinned. “I’ve finally drawn you over to the dark side, huh?”

Matt scowled as the thicker-than-wallpaper-paste liquid poured into his mug. “It’s no wonder you’re so damn skinny, this shit’ll rot your guts out.”

Dan laughed and gave him a well-aimed jab to the kidneys. “What’s your excuse then, Roy?”

Matt grunted. “Do that again and your old lady will be having that kid without you.” Esposito’s wife, Prudence, was due to give birth to their first child any day now, making Dan more haywire than ever.

“Ha, that would leave you to give her comfort and you can forget that idea. My Pru only has eyes for me.” Dan winked.

It was true, too. Anyone who saw those two together knew they were a match made in heaven. Didn’t mean he couldn’t poke fun at his friend though. “Is that why she chose me to be the godparent, then? Better watch out, old man, I might just steal her away from you one of these days.”

Dan shook his head and carried on with the coffee-making process. “In your dreams, man. In your dreams.”

Matt was relieved the exchange, along with the pain pills, had worked to bring his headache down to a dull roar. He decided to take a break from the reports to add the details from the latest crime to his murder board. He’d always been a visual thinker and found using a cork board with photos of the victims, as well as any evidence, on one side and a list of suspects on the other helped him to focus. At the moment, the victims’ columns were filling up with information while the suspect pool remained noticeably empty, but he hoped today’s attack would turn the tide. If only the ME would call.

Matt turned when Connor entered the quiet conference room, yanking the tie from his neck. “Have I mentioned how much I hate getting called to court?”

Amen to that. Talk about a time suck. Half the cases ended up being dismissed anyway. It was enough to make a guy pull out his hair. Speaking of which… “Did you hear about the assault on the Galloping Goose today?”

Connor threw the paisley tie on the table and took a hesitant sip of Matt’s coffee. He grimaced at the taste and set the cup down. “Yeah. It was on the radio. Jules interviewed you?”

“Interrogated, you mean. That woman is like a dog with a bone when she’s after a story.”

“I don’t like it; she’s barely recovered from her experience with the ABC Killer. Why can’t she be a sports reporter?” Connor shrugged out of his navy-blue suit jacket and undid the top two buttons on his dress shirt. “What do you have so far?”

Matt was still contemplating the benefits of knowing someone who could score cheap hockey tickets. “You should talk to her about that sports thing. She’d get plenty of excitement interviewing athletic types. Never know what kind of perks might come with that sort of gig.”

“You’re a pig, you know that?” Connor shook his head and stared at the board. “Is that her?”

Sobering, Matt straightened the slightly crooked school photo of the Carter girl lined up next to her crime scene images. “Sixteen-years-old, she had her whole life in front of her.” He had to swallow the fury brewing in his chest in order to lay out the facts. “Parents are June and Henry Carter, of the furniture warehouse Carters. They forbade her to date, so she sneaked out to meet her boyfriend. They claim they had no idea. One other child; an older son in university. He wasn’t available when I was there today.” He took a drink of coffee, barely aware of the bitter taste. “Boyfriend is in the wind. We have an APB out on him. I was thinking of heading over to the coroner’s office to try and move them along. Interested in a drive?”

Connor grabbed his jacket, shoved the tie into a pocket and threw it over his shoulder. “Sure, but you know Dr. Robinson doesn’t like to be rushed.”

“That’s why I’m taking you; he likes you better than me,” Matt said as they left the station and walked through the parking lot toward his Charger.

“When are you going to let me drive that thing? And he likes you just fine.”

Matt slid behind the wheel and started the car. The motor emitted a deep-throated growl, then settle to a contented purr. He waited until Connor was in and belted up to tell him, “Never, you drive like an old woman. It would be an insult to Nelly.” He patted the dash lovingly before shifting into gear. “Hang on.” He was kidding… sort of. Truthfully, the 5.7 litre engine fed his need for speed and every now and then he took it to the track. But not today.

Enter the Giveaway Today

Enter Here

#BookReview- Virtually Dead by Edwin Dasso #Suspense @DassoEdwin


From critically acclaimed bestselling crime writer, Edwin Dasso, comes a gripping techno-thriller, part of a multi-author series tied together by an interlocking cast of characters, all centered around the fantastic new promise of high technology and the endless possibilities for crime that technology offers, in a world where getting away with murder can be not only plausible, but easy…if you just know how.

A young rising-star ad executive, Michael Saleen, in Vancouver dies unexpectedly. The police think it’s just another “routine” auto accident, in spite of some odd findings. The executive’s wife feels otherwise. A friend of hers knows Wes Watley, an ex-Army CID officer and FBI SAC who has now started a private security company, if he’d be willing to investigate the death. Though Wes’ company normally focuses on national security and antiterrorism cases, his friend compels him to take on the case of Saleen’s death. Wes thinks it will be a quick, open-and-close case. Wes is joined by his tech-whiz partner, Cameron, and they soon discover more and more oddities about the case. As they dig further, they uncover something far more extensive and dire than just the unexpected death of Michael Saleen. Uncovering the whole truth is going to stretch their crime-solving abilities and force them to use technology in new ways.

★★★★★ “I can’t wait to read more books by this author = unbelievable imagination and talent!”

Scroll up and grab Virtually Dead today!

Biography

Edwin Dasso, MD, a USA Today and Amazon International #1 Best-Selling medical thriller author, writes works of fiction that leverage many of his “stranger than fiction” experiences from years of practice at major medical centers and community hospitals.

“You might be shocked at some of the events in the books that are based on an actual experience.”

Member of the International Thriller Writers.

His “Jack Bass Black Cloud Chronicles” series has been developed into a TV series, “Jack Bass, MD,” (https://www.facebook.com/jackbassmd/?ref=bookmarks) which is actively being discussed around Hollywood. Network feedback has been very positive.

Fiction writing is reviving a lost love from earlier periods in his life where he enjoyed writing short stories. In addition to a number of years as a practicing anesthesiologist and critical care specialist, he has published articles in national healthcare journals, written many “Ask the Doctor” columns and has spoken frequently at national healthcare forums. He has also been instrumental in designing and deploying population health programs to help people deal with depression related to poor health.

Ed can be contacted at jackblackcloud2@hotmail.com or reach him on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/BlackCloudChronicles/).

Photo by Ognjen Karabegović on Pexels.com

My Review

When private security expert Wes Watley is asked to investigate a case for a friend, he doesn’t expect to be thrown into the confusing world of virtual gaming technology and murder.

An ad executive takes a sudden plunge off a cliff and the only clue is strange goggle-like markings on his face. Wes and his techy partner, Cameron, delve into the possibilities with little results until investigative reporter Julie Crenshaw gets involved and the stakes are raised.

This book delves into the latest in high-tech crime and the process used to track down a cold, ruthless killer.

Favorite Line

He soon spotted the yellow crime scene tape, a cold breeze making it flitter like a bird trying to escape to a better place.

Dasso, Edwin. Virtually Dead (High-Tech Crime Solvers Book 4)

I was fascinated by the research that went into writing this technical suspense filled with enough twists and turns to keep any mystery lover happy.

This is part of an eight book series written by different authors of high-tech crime thrillers with interconnecting characters and I look forward to reading more!

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Check out all of my book recommendations on BookBub 

I love having guests on the blog. If you have a new release, a sale or just want to chat, send me an email via the contact page and we’ll set something up. Hope to see you soon!

Watching Glass Shatter by James j. Cudney #amreading #Drama @jamescudney4


If you haven’t tried a James J. Cudney book, now is the perfect time!

His writing is filled with family dynamics, something that appeals to me. I’ve read, and enjoyed, many of Jay’s books (you can check out my review for Haunted House Ghost here, Academic Curveball here, and Father Figure here. Needless to say, I’m a fan!

May is a big month. All of James J. Cudney’s books will be discounted for a few days at some point. This week, it’s Watching Glass Shatter, his debut 2017 novel about a family drama imploding from a bounty of secrets. Download the Kindle format here as it’s only .99 from 5/17 thru 5/21. Rumor has it that the sequel will be coming out this fall… maybe it’s time to get on board the Glass family train!

Book Overview

After 40 years of marriage, Olivia Glass thought she could handle the unexpected death of her husband. But when Ben’s will reveals a life-altering secret, she suffers a blow no widow should ever experience.

Olivia learns that she gave birth to a baby who later died in the nursery. Instead of telling his wife what happened, Ben switched the child with another. And as if that’s not enough, Ben’s will doesn’t reveal which of their five sons is truly not hers.

While an attorney searches for answers, Olivia visits each of her sons to share a final connection before facing the truth that will change their family, and discovers that each of them has been harboring a painful secret, just like their father.

Olivia challenges herself to re-assemble and save their relationships. But will the secrets destroy their family beyond repair?

Blog Tour

  • The book went on a 17-day blog tour at the end of 2017. You can read all posts via this one location by clicking here.

Radio Interview

  • The author was a guest on the Artist First radio segment on Tuesday, November 14th from 6 to 7pm. To listen to the recorded 1-hour broadcast for news on the book and author, click here.

Book Reviews & Interviews

  • In addition to Goodreads and Amazon, you can find a central link to some very fun and in-depth book reviews and author interviews here.

Get to Know the Glass Family

Cassandra M. Baker

Book Excerpt

Present, Memorial Day Weekend

Sitting in the backseat of his steel-gray Mercedes-Benz sedan, Ben switched the mobile phone to his other ear and removed the seatbelt out of his way, loath to strap himself in for any length of time. When its band rested tightly across his chest, he struggled to breathe, preferring instead to trust in his long-time chauffeur’s driving abilities more than a piece of nylon fabric hinged to a pulley. “I’m in the car heading toward you. I should arrive in twenty minutes.”

“Still happily married to the woman of your dreams?” Olivia’s lyrical voice echoed on the phone.

“Ah, my beautiful Olivia. The last forty years have been amazing. There’s so much ahead of us and still to come.”

“I love you more than yesterday.”

“But not as much as tomorrow.” He played along enjoying their frivolous banter.

“Please get to the party soon. It’s not any fun when I’m dancing a rumba by myself. Remember when we crashed into the instructor while taking those silly dance lessons, and she yelled at us for being fools? Oh, I never laughed so hard.”

“Ha, yes! We are quite the pair. No wife of mine should ever dance alone. At least not while I can prevent it.” Ben glanced through the car window, surprised by the speed of the muddy water cascading down the mountains as his chauffeur took the exit to their country club in Brandywine, Connecticut. “I believe tonight is the first time the whole family has been together since last Christmas. Am I right?”

“Yes, they’re all here now reminding me so much of the you I remember from our early days.” Olivia sighed and waited for Ben to respond.

Ben’s thoughts drifted while lightning crackled in the sky, and rain pounded the black-tarred roads around him. “Time flies by too quickly, Olivia.”

“You’ve got a few months left, then you’ll retire and have nothing but time to be a grandfather and a father doling out advice. Even if they don’t want to listen to us. They never do, do they? Wishing you could turn back the clock. At least we can finally take our trip to Europe…” She paused. “Are you still there, Ben?”

Ben snapped from the storm’s hypnotic trance upon hearing Olivia’s rising voice. “I’m sorry. Recalling their antics over the years distracted me. I don’t know how we survived five boys.”

Ben heard her beautiful snicker–about to tell Olivia he loved her–when the car swerved as it neared the final exit on the slick asphalt curve, unaware traffic had come to a full stop ahead. He dropped the phone from the unplanned change in direction, grabbed it from under the front passenger seat, and raised his head.

Ben’s heartbeat and breath paused significantly longer than usual, enough to recognize the encroaching overpass column directly in his purview and to accept the impending fate laid before him.

Whoever said life flashes before one’s eyes in your final moments never lived to truly describe it. In Ben’s case, although they only lasted ten explosive seconds, those moments managed to include all sixty-nine years of his existence, each image punctuated by a blinding flash of pure white light and deafened by the harsh snapping sound of an old-time camera shutter.

CRUNCH. Grinding squeal. Bright light glimmers in a dark vacuum.

The enchanting depth of Olivia’s cerulean blue eyes the night they first met at the opera. Their wedding day when he truly understood what it meant to find one’s soulmate.

SNAP. Utter blackness, followed by a perforated vibrant glow.

The Thanksgiving feast spent at the hospital when his sister-in-law, Diane, broke her foot trying to avoid dropping the turkey on Bailey, their ten-year-old Shiba dog. Seeing his granddaughters nestled in tiny pink blankets when his sons brought them home the first day.

POP. Sharp, dark void. High pitch release of pressure, then a translucent shining flash.

The white-water rafting adventure on the Snake River in Yellowstone National Park where his boys rescued him from falling into the cold water only to stumble upon an angry moose searching for dinner. The final family portrait taken the prior year when everyone wore shades of black and white for a retro-style Christmas card setting.

BOOM. Screeching whistle. Bright light fades to total darkness.

The parchment letters which held the secret he kept from Olivia, pawned off on his attorney to handle once anxiety and fear defeated any chance of Ben telling his wife the truth in person.

The car hydroplaned atop a few inches of the warm, pooling rain and crashed into the steel overpass. The collision immediately torpedoed him through the front windshield, shattering what was the well-lived but haunted life of Benjamin Glass.

A final burst of the bulb’s filament into jagged shards.

* * *

Despite Olivia’s tendencies to lead and control, she’d little ability to plan Ben’s funeral services on her own. Diane recognized her sister’s fragile grip on reality teetered on the edge, volunteering to go with Olivia to the funeral home to manage most of the phone calls, selections, catering, and organizing.

Choosing Ben’s burial clothing served as the only funeral activity Olivia handled without any help. After pocketing an hour’s worth of sleep and waking up alone the morning after the accident, she accepted his death was anything but a dream. The restless night highlighted a comfort she didn’t know how much she had relied until stolen by fate. Olivia thrust her tired body out of their bed, walked to the closet, and pushed a slew of hangers across the sleek metal rod reminiscing while passing each suit as though every year of their lives disappeared before her weary eyes. She searched for the one he’d worn to the Met’s opening opera the prior year. After weeks of shopping that summer, she’d finally convinced him to expand his horizons with a new designer, selecting a modern-cut, three-button black wool suit adorning him better than any other had fit in the past. Even Ben had admitted she chose correctly. And he’d rarely admit so, given she’d laud it over him teasing Ben for days. They enjoyed their game of one-upmanship over the years, but now days later, she knew it was lost forever.

The final burial service ended thirty minutes earlier, and although everyone else had left, she stayed behind for her own last goodbye. Olivia’s memory focused on the somber tones that had serenaded the lowering of Ben’s casket six feet into the ground. Once the skirl of the bagpipes blasted its sorrowful resonance, Olivia, standing a few feet from Ben’s freshly open grave, could no longer thwart the wrecking ball that planned to decimate any remaining strength. The slow, melodic sound sliced away at the newly loosened threads once tasked with keeping her heart intact and sheltered from acknowledging a widow’s pain. Her battered eyes betrayed any remaining fortitude she’d stored deep within her body, and as the chords of “Amazing Grace” resounded from the chanter pipe, the cords of her soul, once intricately woven into Ben, ripped from Olivia’s chest. The flood of tears from her stinging red eyes trailed her cheeks as she walked to the car leaving behind a single set of prints that marked an unknown future.

As she stepped off the cemetery’s grassy path, she pulled a black cashmere sweater closer toward her shivering skin to halt the biting frost growing deep within her bones. Ben always said her true beauty glimmered when she wore black and gray, complimenting her on the elegant silhouette against her ivory skin and dark sable hair. She kept her shiny locks shoulder length, usually tied back with a clip, and although gray had appeared the last year, the varying shades were regal and striking on her patrician face.

Olivia pressed her palm to her chest and lowered her head until she’d emptied a few layers of grief. She opened the car door and slid across the back seat next to Diane.

All that remained before her impending post-Ben world began was to tell her driver he could leave the cemetery, but uttering those words felt impossible. As if Diane sensed the struggle within her sister, she leaned forward and motioned to the driver to start the car, allowing Olivia a few moments to accept the beginning of her new life. While the car served as a false protection from the reality waiting outside the doors to its passengers, it also evoked a budding nostalgia.

“I’m so sorry, Mrs. G. He was a good man.” Victor had been her driver for twenty-five years taking her to each child’s pediatric appointments, all her charitable foundation work, and every dinner with friends and family. “I’ll take care of you today, Mrs. G.” He checked the rearview mirror and nodded when he saw Olivia’s eyes, a quiet acknowledgment she’d heard his words. They sat in silence as Victor released the brake and inched the car away from Olivia’s latest prison.

Olivia and Diane had come from a poor upstate New York family where they shared a bed until they were nine years old, later pushed out of the door to work as housekeepers by age thirteen. Their parents told them only enough money existed for one to go to college, even if they could secure a scholarship to pay for most of it, and Olivia earned the lucky windfall. Diane believed school held no importance to her appearing content to remain in the small comforts of her home. Supporting her sister seemed easier for Diane than choosing her own path in life, focusing on anything but what she ought to do for herself.

“It was a beautiful ceremony.” Diane relaxed into the car seat. “The cherry tree you planted alongside the grave was touching, Liv. You’ve created a lifetime of memories for your family.”

“Is everyone else at the house?” Olivia pressed her fingers to her temple, pacified by the warm blood swimming through each one under her clammy skin.

“Yes, they’re setting up lunch. Only your boys will be there. We’ve spent enough time with friends and neighbors. I even asked George to stay away, so I could help you without worrying about him.”

George, Diane’s soon-to-be ex-husband, had attended Ben’s funeral service and conveyed his sterile condolences to Olivia. Though he’d been married to Diane for thirty years, George barely knew his wife’s family, not ever having an interest in other people’s children nor any of his own. Diane had finally grown tired of his cavalier attitude and vigilant penchant for ignoring their marriage, requesting a divorce earlier that spring.

“That was a good idea. You really should have dumped that unfortunate man years ago.” Olivia placed her hand on Diane’s noticing the age spots more prominently displayed on her sister’s than her own. Her voice stammered, but she held firm until finishing her thoughts. “Thank you for everything you’ve done for me these last few days.”

Despite being a few years younger, most people assumed Diane was at least a decade older than Olivia. She’d grown out her hair the last few years and tightly braided it to her lower back, wearing the same dress as she had to her nephews’ weddings and other recent funerals. She hated to spend any time fussing with her appearance. “It’s a shame Ben’s brother couldn’t make the funeral.”

Ben was the youngest of several siblings. When Olivia called her brother-in-law, he could barely even speak on the phone from the impacts of grief and his aging mind. His children stopped in for the wake but chose not to stay for the graveside burial.

“No, his family has withered. Ben only had us left. It’s unbearable for our children to go through this agony. You first focus on your own pain but watching them suffer steals all remaining breaths.”

Diane fumbled with the clasp on her purse and handed Olivia a tissue. “And without any warning. It’s awful, but you’ll know how to help them through it.”

“I can see the pain in Ethan’s eyes, but he’s strong and will grieve privately. He’ll miss Ben the most. Ethan’s always been so focused on spending time with all of us, his grandparents… oh, I can’t…” Olivia dabbed her eyes with the tissue.

“It’s such a shame to lose his father when he’s so close to becoming a doctor. Ben would have been so proud when Ethan fulfills his dreams.”

Olivia nodded. “Matthew had to tell his daughters their grandfather died. They’re too young to understand, but it was dreadful for him to show them Ben’s casket. He keeps talking about all the father-son weekends fishing and camping at Lake Wokagee. They’d planned another one this summer.”

“They loved those trips. Well, maybe not all of them.”

“That’s true. Theodore has alienated himself from us even more than usual the last few months.”

Theodore was Ben and Olivia’s eldest son, and though she would always call him by his proper name, everyone else chose Teddy. Ben had groomed him to take over the law practice at the end of the year, coaching his son on how to act as a stronger, more respected leader and to become a less antagonistic man. Teddy’s actions were always packaged with a rough edge, and the tone of his words and speech pattern sounded robotic. Although Teddy had shown up to football Sundays and movie nights, interacting with his family always resembled more of an obligation rather than an enjoyment.

The car turned passing the corner where Ben had always dropped off the boys for the school bus in the morning on his way to work. A few heavy drops fell from Olivia’s eyes. She let them roll across her cheeks, reluctant to grant them total control. She imagined Ben lining each son side by side, inspecting his loyal soldiers, and patting their heads as he christened each one ready to begin his day.

“At least Caleb is back for a few more days.” Diane rubbed her sister’s shoulder. “You’ll get to spend more time with him.”

Caleb had only agreed to attend the anniversary party the prior weekend after much pressure, but he stayed in Connecticut for the funeral to grieve for his father’s passing. Olivia once thought Caleb would stay home with her and Ben when they grew older, but abandoned hope when he disappeared to Maine ten years earlier.

“Caleb’s hurting. I know my son. I wish he weren’t all alone. He needs someone to lean on… a girlfriend, a wife. The guilt over living so far away must be consuming him.”

“Caleb is strong like you in so many ways holding back to protect himself from the intensity of it all. I’m sure he’s got friends to look out for him. What about Zach? Are you still worried he’s using…”

Olivia interrupted. “He drove back to Brooklyn last night for work. I heard him arrive early this morning. Zachary’s actions are always unclear.”

Olivia thought Zach often spiraled out of control when he left his five-year-old daughter in her and Ben’s care unsure of what trouble he’d engaged in. She and Zach hadn’t been close the last few years, and despite a few attempts at a reconciliation, it always proved futile.

“Five boys without a father. We should have had more time.” Olivia leaned forward and reached a hand to the front seat to sturdy herself. Her head sloped toward the floor of the car when her voice cracked.

Diane rested her head on her sister’s back. “I know, Liv, but you’ll support them. You’ll remind them of Ben, and they’ll find a way to get through their grief. It takes time. Pain is different for everyone. You need to replace it with memories of something positive.”


Watching Glass Shatter Available Formats & Languages

Kindle: http://mybook.to/WGS

Paperback: http://mybook.to/watchingglasspb

Large Print: http://mybook.to/watchingglasslp

Italian Translation: http://mybook.to/frantumi

Spanish Translation: http://mybook.to/elcristalpb

US Audiobook: https://www.audible.com/pd/B07X5MMVK9/?source_code=AUDFPWS0223189MWT-BK-ACX0-162878&ref=acx_bty_BK_ACX0_162878_rh_us

UK Audiobook: https://www.audible.co.uk/pd/B07X7H619V/?source_code=AUKFrDlWS02231890H6-BK-ACX0-162878&ref=acx_bty_BK_ACX0_162878_rh_uk

About The Author

Background

James is my given name, but most folks call me Jay. I live in New York City, grew up on Long Island, and graduated from Moravian College, an historic but small liberal arts school in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, with a degree in English literature and minors in Education, Business and Spanish. After college, I accepted a technical writing position for a telecommunications company during Y2K and spent the last ~20 years building a career in technology & business operations in the retail, sports, media and entertainment industries. Throughout those years, I wrote some short stories, poems and various beginnings to the “Great American Novel,” but I was so focused on my career in technology and business that writing became a hobby. In 2016, I refocused some of my energies toward reinvigorating a second career in reading, writing and publishing.

Author

Writing has been a part of my life as much as my heart, my mind and my body. At some points, it was just a few poems or short stories; at others, it was full length novels and stories. My current focus is family drama fiction, cozy mystery novels and suspense thrillers. I think of characters and plots that I feel must be unwound. I think of situations people find themselves in and feel compelled to tell the story. It’s usually a convoluted plot with many surprise twists and turns. I feel it necessary to take that ride all over the course. My character is easily pictured in my head. I know what he is going to encounter or what she will feel. But I need to use the right words to make it clear.

Reader & Reviewer

Reading has also never left my side. Whether it was children’s books, young adult novels, college textbooks, biographies or my ultimate love, fiction, it’s ever present in my day. I read 2 books per week and I’m on a quest to update every book I’ve ever read on Goodreads, write up a review and post it on all my sites and platforms.

Blogger & Thinker

I have combined my passions into a single platform where I share reviews, write a blog and publish tons of content: TRUTH. I started my 365 Daily Challenge, where I post about a word that has some meaning to me and converse with everyone about life. There is humor, tears, love, friendship, advice and bloopers. Lots of bloopers where I poke fun at myself all the time. Even my dogs have had weekly segments called “Ryder’s Rants” or “Baxter’s Barks” where they complain about me. All these things make up who I am; none of them are very fancy or magnanimous, but they are real. And that’s why they are me.

Genealogist & Researcher

I love history and research, finding myself often reaching back into the past to understand why someone made the choice he or she did and what were the subsequent consequences. I enjoy studying the activities and culture from hundreds of years ago to trace the roots and find the puzzle of my own history. I wish I could watch my ancestors from a secret place to learn how they interacted with others; and maybe I’ll comprehend why I do things the way I do.

Websites & Blog

Website: https://jamesjcudney.com/

Blog: https://thisismytruthnow.com

Amazon: http://bit.ly/JJCIVBooks

Next Chapter Pub: https://www.nextchapter.pub/authors/james-j-cudney

BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/james-j-cudney

Social Media

Twitter: https://twitter.com/jamescudney4

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JamesJCudneyIVAuthor/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BraxtonCampusMysteries/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ThisIsMyTruthNow/

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/jamescudney4/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jamescudney4/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/jamescudney4

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jamescudney4

Genres, Formats & Languages

I write in the family drama and mystery genres. My first two books are Watching Glass Shatter (2017) and Father Figure (2018). Both are contemporary fiction and focus on the dynamics between parents and children and between siblings. I’m currently writing the sequel to Watching Glass Shatter. I also have a light mystery series called the Braxton Campus Mysteries with six books available.

All my books come in multiple formats (Kindle, physical print, large print paperback, and audiobook) and some are also translated into foreign languages such as Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, and German.

Goodreads Book Links

Watching Glass Shatter (October 2017)

Father Figure (April 2018)

Braxton Campus Mysteries

#BookReview- Simple by Anita Dawes #Suspense @jaydawes2


SHADES OF DELIVERANCE MEETS THE WALTONS…
Simple’s life is a painful nightmare.
He is one huge bear of a man, but with the heart and mind of an innocent child. He suffers terrible abuse from his vicious and uncaring backwoods family.
Together with his half-sister Leanne, they are hunted like wild animals and suffer the terror of nearly being burned alive as they try to escape.
Will they ever discover the joy of freedom?

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My Review

Life in the backwoods of Eastern USA is not easy. The hardscrabble country folk live by their own set of tough rules and there is a price to pay for breaking them.

Leanne’s family are as much a part of the woods as the trees and carnivores of the forest. They are rough, cruel, and frightening except for Simple, a big brute of a man with a soft heart and the mind of a child. Leanne would have run away long ago, but she was too scared of what her Uncle Jimmy would do to Simple to leave him behind.

When trouble comes to the mountain, Leanne is forced to make decisions for her and Simple or die.

This is a gripping suspense with intense scenes and complex characters who practically leap off the page. Uncle Jimmy, Jack, Granny are all people I would NOT want to meet in a dark alley!

Favorite Lines

When Simple got worked up his words stuck, stretched out like an echo rebounding around the woods before finding the end of it.

Simple- Anita Dawes

Putting on a face, Gran always said, don’t mean you can hide what you are.

Simple- Anita Dawes

I fell asleep, listening to the rain and Simple’s mind spilling out on to the dry leafy floor.

Simple- Anita Dawes

This book is the haunting story of one young girl’s journey to a new life. It is the story of survival.

I give Simple 5 lovely kisses- Unpredictable!

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#BookReview- The Last Sister by Kendra Elliot #Mystery


Three sisters’ secrets collide in a shocking novel of suspense by the Wall Street Journal and Amazon Charts bestselling author of the Mercy Kilpatrick series.

Twenty years ago Emily Mills’s father was murdered, and she found his body hanging in the backyard. Her younger sister, Madison, claims she was asleep in her room. Her older sister, Tara, claims she was out with friends. The tragedy drove their mother to suicide and Tara to leave town forever. The killer was caught. The case closed.

Ever since, Emily and Madison have tried to forget what happened that night—until an eerily similar murder brings it all back. It also brings FBI special agent Zander Wells to the Oregon logging town. As eager as he is to solve the brutal double slaying, he is just as intrigued with the mystery of Emily’s and her sisters’ past.

When more blood is shed, Zander suspects there’s a secret buried in this town no one wants unearthed. Is it something Emily and Madison don’t know? Or aren’t telling? And Tara? Maybe Emily can’t bear to find her. Because when Tara disappeared, she took a secret of her own with her.

Biography

***For a free Insider’s Guide to my novels, visit KendraElliot.com.***

Kendra Elliot has sold over 7 million books, hit the Wall Street Journal top ten bestseller list nine times, and is a three time winner of the Daphne du Maurier award.

Her 2017 release, A MERCIFUL DEATH, was a #1 Amazon overall bestseller and has been optioned for TV.

She is an International Thriller Writers’ finalist and a Romantic Times finalist. She grew up in the lush Pacific Northwest and still lives there with her family, three cats, and two Pomeranians. She’s always been fascinated with forensics, refuses to eat anything green, and can’t wait to wear flip flops every day.

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My Review

Secrets from the past collide with a modern day murder in this thrilling suspense novel by Kendra Elliot!

When restaurant owner Emily Mills goes to check up on a late-for-work employee, she comes upon a shocking crime scene. The woman is dead and her husband is found hanging in the backyard– a déjà vu moment for Emily who found her father the same way twenty years earlier.

A horrible coincidence or is there a mysterious connection?

FBI Agent Zander Wells is brought in to help the local sheriff’s department on a possible hate crime of a young couple, and finds a town steeped in secrecy.

As the investigation delves deep, a desperate criminal amps up his game, threatening Emily and her family. Will the truth cost the Mills girls their lives?

This is a gripping mystery with multiple storylines that all weave together into a surprising conclusion I didn’t see coming (Gotta love a good mystery!), but thought there were several threads left dangling by the end of the book to give it a 5* review. Racism is the leading factor in the storyline, yet the author doesn’t use it as a platform to teach us a valuable lesson- rather it’s sensationalized and then almost forgotten in the subsequent murder/mysteries that take place throughout the story. I feel that was an important moment lost.

Overall, a good story,

I give The Last Sister 4 lovely kisses

“I voluntarily read an ARC of this book which was provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.”

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#BookReview- Eventide by @MaeClair1 #Suspense


The darkness is coming . . .

The old house near Hode’s Hill, Pennsylvania is a place for Madison Hewitt to start over—to put the trauma of her husband’s murder, and her subsequent breakdown, behind her. She isn’t bothered by a burial plot on the property, or the mysterious, sealed cistern in the basement. Not at first. Even the presence of cold spots and strange odors could be fabrications of her still troubled mind. But how to explain her slashed tires, or the ominous messages that grow ever more threatening?

Convinced the answer lies in the past, Madison delves into the history of the home’s original owners, only to discover the origin of a powerful evil. An entity that may be connected to a series of gruesome attacks that have left police baffled. No matter where she turns—past or present—terror lingers just a step away, spurred on by a twisted obsession that can only be satisfied through death…

Biography

A member of the Mystery Writers of America and International Thriller Writers, Mae Clair is also a founding member and contributor to the award-winning writing blog, Story Empire. She has achieved bestseller status on both Amazon and Barnes & Noble, with several of her novels chosen as book club selections.

Mae writes primarily in the mystery/suspense genre, flavoring her plots with elements of urban legend and folklore. Married to her high school sweetheart, she lives in Pennsylvania and is passionate about cryptozoology, old photographs, a good Maine lobster tail, and cats.

Discover more about Mae on her website and blog at MaeClair.com

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My Review

Read with the lights on good!

When Madison Hewitt buys an old house on the banks of the Yarrow River, she’s looking for a fresh start. Instead, she inherits a century-old murder-mystery and a malevolent spirit who is determined to stop Madison and her friends from finding out the truth.

Meanwhile, a vicious killer is on a murdering rampage in Hode’s Hill and leave the police baffled. Witnesses swear the ‘thing’ isn’t human and the victims’ wounds support their theory, but what else could it be?

This story had me glued to my Kindle!

Mae Clair seamlessly blends past and present timelines, gothic creatures, ghosts and complex characters to create an unforgettable story.

There were a few edge-of-my-seat moments that left me looking for the nearest flashlight, lol (You’ll have to read the story to see why), and the twist at the end… wow! I didn’t see that one coming!

I give Eventide 5+ lovely kisses- This is going on my re-read shelf!

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#BookReview- A Conspiracy of Bones by @KathyReichs #Mystery


#1 New York Times bestselling author Kathy Reichs returns with a new riveting novel featuring her vastly popular character forensic anthropologist Temperance Brennan, who must use all her tradecraft to discover the identity of a faceless corpse, its connection to a decade-old missing child case, and why the dead man had her cell phone number.

It’s sweltering in Charlotte, North Carolina, and Temperance Brennan, still recovering from neurosurgery following an aneurysm, is battling nightmares, migraines, and what she thinks might be hallucinations when she receives a series of mysterious text messages, each containing a new picture of a corpse that is missing its face and hands. Immediately, she’s anxious to know who the dead man is, and why the images were sent to her.

An identified corpse soon turns up, only partly answering her questions.

To win answers to the others, including the man’s identity, she must go rogue, working mostly outside the system. That’s because Tempe’s new boss holds a fierce grudge against her and is determined to keep her out of the case. Tempe bulls forward anyway, even as she begins questioning her instincts. But the clues she discovers are disturbing and confusing. Was the faceless man a spy? A trafficker? A target for assassination by the government? And why was he carrying the name of a child missing for almost a decade?

With help from a number of law enforcement associates including her Montreal beau Andrew Ryan and the always-ready-with-a-smart-quip, ex-homicide investigator Skinny Slidell, and utilizing new cutting-edge forensic methods, Tempe draws closer to the astonishing truth.

But the more she uncovers, the darker and more twisted the picture becomes…

Biography

Kathy Reichs’s first novel Déjà Dead catapulted her to fame when it became a New York Times bestseller and won the 1997 Ellis Award for Best First Novel. Her other Temperance Brennan novels include Death du Jour, Deadly Décisions, Fatal Voyage, Grave Secrets, Bare Bones, Monday Mourning, Cross Bones, Break No Bones, Bones to Ashes, Devil Bones, 206 Bones, Spider Bones, Flash and Bones, Bones Are Forever, Bones of the Lost, Bones Never Lie, Speaking in Bones and the Temperance Brennan short story collection, The Bone Collection. In addition, Kathy co-authors the Virals young adult series with her son, Brendan Reichs. The best-selling titles are: Virals, Seizure, Code, Exposure, and Terminal along with two Virals e-novellas, Shift and Swipe. These books follow the adventures of Temperance Brennan’s great niece, Tory Brennan. Dr. Reichs is also a producer of the hit Fox TV series, Bones, which is based on her work and her novels.

From teaching FBI agents how to detect and recover human remains, to separating and identifying commingled body parts in her Montreal lab, as a forensic anthropologist Kathy Reichs has brought her own dramatic work experience to her mesmerizing forensic thrillers. For years she consulted to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in North Carolina, and continues to do so for the Laboratoire de Sciences Judiciaires et de Médecine Légale for the province of Québec. Dr. Reichs has travelled to Rwanda to testify at the UN Tribunal on Genocide, and helped exhume a mass grave in Guatemala. As part of her work at JPAC (Formerly CILHI) she aided in the identification of war dead from World War II, Korea, and Southeast Asia. Dr. Reichs also assisted with identifying remains found at ground zero of the World Trade Center following the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

Dr. Reichs is one of only 100 forensic anthropologists ever certified by the American Board of Forensic Anthropology. She served on the Board of Directors and as Vice President of both the American Academy of Forensic Sciences and the American Board of Forensic Anthropology, and is currently a member of the National Police Services Advisory Council in Canada. She is a Professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of North Carolina-Charlotte.

Dr. Reichs is a native of Chicago, where she received her Ph.D. at Northwestern. She now divides her time between Charlotte, NC and Montreal, Québec.

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My Review

Pulse-pounding suspense ride!

Temperance Brennan is recovering from a delicate surgery and suffers from migraines and nightmares, so the last thing she needs is a strange man lurking in the shadows of her home late at night. But when she goes out to look for him he vanishes.

Then, a series af ghastly photographs are sent to her via text messages and leads her to a faceless corpse. Her new boss blocks her at every turn, forcing Tempe to work outside the system in order to track down the victim’s identity and his link to her.

This is my first Kathy Reichs book- though I LOVE the television series- and I was excited to get my grubby little hands on it. As you can see by her impressive bio, Dr. Reichs knows her stuff and this led to a, sometimes, jaw-dropping read!

Told in first party, it took me a bit to get into Tempe’s character, but I think that’s my own lack of knowledge and nothing to do with the quality of writing. The book is intelligent, gritty, clever, and filled with plot twists to keep even the most diehard mystery reader guessing.

I give A Conspiracy of Bones 5 lovely kisses- good stuff!

“I voluntarily read an ARC of this book which was provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.”

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#BookReview- A Better Man by Louise Penny #Mystery


Catastrophic spring flooding, blistering attacks in the media, and a mysterious disappearance greet Chief Inspector Armand Gamache as he returns to the Sûreté du Québec in the latest novel by #1 New York Times bestselling author Louise Penny.

It’s Gamache’s first day back as head of the homicide department, a job he temporarily shares with his previous second-in-command, Jean-Guy Beauvoir. Flood waters are rising across the province. In the middle of the turmoil a father approaches Gamache, pleading for help in finding his daughter.

As crisis piles upon crisis, Gamache tries to hold off the encroaching chaos, and realizes the search for Vivienne Godin should be abandoned. But with a daughter of his own, he finds himself developing a profound, and perhaps unwise, empathy for her distraught father.

Increasingly hounded by the question, how would you feel…, he resumes the search.

As the rivers rise, and the social media onslaught against Gamache becomes crueler, a body is discovered. And in the tumult, mistakes are made.

In the next novel in this “constantly surprising series that deepens and darkens as it evolves” (New York Times Book Review), Gamache must face a horrific possibility, and a burning question.

What would you do if your child’s killer walked free?

Biography

LOUISE PENNY is the #1 New York Times and Globe and Mail bestselling author of the Chief Inspector Armand Gamache novels. She has won numerous awards, including a CWA Dagger and the Agatha Award (five times) and was a finalist for the Edgar Award for Best Novel. She lives in a small village south of Montréal.

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My Review

Chief Inspector Armand Gamache returns to duty on the eve of his son-in-law’s resignation amid internal upheavals, catastrophic spring flooding, and the murder of the young, pregnant goddaughter of one of his agents.

As Montreal, and most of Quebec, is threatened by bursting dams and rivers ready to burst their banks, Armand is thwarted at every turn by those who had him removed as head of the Sôreté. Adding to the stress, he’s pulled between his concern for the province and the distraught father of the missing woman.

While the investigation seems to lead in an obvious direction, evidence is hard to find. The closer the agents come to making an arrest, the more questions arise, making this case one of the hardest Gamache and Beauvoir have been faced with.

Louise Penny is a master of suspense!

Within the first few pages, the reader is fully invested in the characters. The love and trust between Jean-Guy and Armand is so strong we hurt when they hurt, and cheer when they succeed against impossible odds. Their relationship is complex, with Beauvoir now sharing his mentor’s office as head of the Sôreté, as well as being the husband and father to Armand’s daughter and grandson.

Three Pines, the Gamaches adopted village, is a key part of each book, with its cast of eclectic characters. I adore grouchy old Ruth and her swearing duck (really!), the gay couple who run the inn, Clara and her strange but talented paintings, and many more. The village is so realistically written, I feel as though I could drive there myself!

Each book in this series is easily read as a standalone, though it does have an overarching storyline.

I give A Better Man 5+ lovely kisses- recommended reading!

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#BookReview- Through the Nethergate by @RobertaEaton17 #Suspense


Margaret, a girl born with second sight, has the unique ability to bring ghosts trapped between Heaven and Hell back to life. When her parents die suddenly, she goes to live with her beloved grandfather, but the cellar of her grandfather’s ancient inn is haunted by an evil spirit of its own.
In the town of Bungay, a black dog wanders the streets, enslaving the ghosts of those who have died unnatural deaths. When Margaret arrives, these phantoms congregate at the inn, hoping she can free them from the clutches of Hugh Bigod, the 12th century ghost who has drawn them away from Heaven’s White Light in his canine guise.
With the help of her grandfather and the spirits she has befriended, Margaret sets out to defeat Hugh Bigod, only to discover he wants to use her for his own ends – to take over Hell itself.

Biography

Robbie, short for Roberta, is an author with six published children’s picture books in the Sir Chocolate books series for children aged 2 to 9 years old (co-authored with her son, Michael Cheadle), one published middle grade book in the Silly Willy series and one published preteen/young adult fictionalised biography about her mother’s life as a young girl growing up in an English town in Suffolk during World War II called While the Bombs Fell (co-authored with her mother, Elsie Hancy Eaton). All of Robbie’s children’s book are written under Robbie Cheadle and are published by TSL Publications.

Robbie has recently branched into adult horror and supernatural writing and, in order to clearly differential her children’s books from her adult writing, these will be published under Roberta Eaton Cheadle.

Robbie has two short stories in the horror/supernatural genre included in Dark Visions, a collection of 34 short stories by 27 different authors and edited by award winning author, Dan Alatorre. Robbie has three short stories in the murder mystery short story anthology, Death Among Us, edited by author Stephen Bentley. These short stories are published under Robbie Cheadle.

Robbie has also published a poetry collection, Open a new door, together with fellow South African poet, Kim Blades.

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My Review

The fight between good and evil is brought to life in this spellbinding novel!

At the sudden death of her parents, teenager Margaret travels to Bungay to live with her aging grandfather in a mysterious old inn.

Before long, Margaret begins to see spirits of people who died horrible deaths and are somehow tied to the inn and the nearby castle of Hugh Bigod. The spirits, some kind and others malicious, tell the stories of the last moments of their lives and the part a large black dog with glowing eyes took in tying them to the netherworld.

They believe Margaret is the key to their escape, but dangerous forces are out to stop her at all costs, and soon Margaret is drawn into the fight of her life.

This book is filled with historical tidbits told through the spirits point of view that I found completely fascinating. The author seamlessly integrates religious beliefs and historical data with immersive storytelling.

I give Through the Nethergate 5 lovely kisses- a fascinating read!

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Single by @KimLSlater #Thriller #BookReview


‘I keep feeling like I’m being watched – dropping the boys off at school, choosing wine at the supermarket – but when I turn around there’s nobody there…’

When single mother Darcy’s son falls from a rope bridge at a local playground, life stands still. She clutches his small, limp body, frozen, until a pair of strong hands push her aside, and she watches as George, a local doctor, saves her son’s life.

George is a single parent too, and with his twinkling hazel eyes, easy charm, and lack of wedding band is almost too good to be true, but coffee becomes lunch, lunch becomes dinner, and soon they can’t go an evening without seeing each other. When he invites her to move into his beautiful home with its sprawling garden for her boys, Darcy doesn’t hesitate.

But as Darcy is settling in, she receives a bunch of flowers with a chilling message. George says they’re from an obsessed ex-girlfriend, Opal, and days later Opal turns up at Darcy’s son’s football match. She claims to have shocking information that could threaten George’s custody of his daughter.

Darcy doesn’t know who to trust, but she’s starting to suspect that, whatever the truth, she might have put her beloved boys into terrible danger …

From the million-copy-bestselling author K.L. Slater this utterly gripping psychological thriller will make you gasp out loud as you race towards the unforgettable twist. If you loved The Girl on the Train and The Wife Between Us this book is for you.


Biography

Kim is the million-copy bestselling author of nine psychological crime thrillers. Her tenth thriller, SINGLE, is published November 2019 and is now available for pre-order.

Order of publication:
SAFE WITH ME (2016)
BLINK (2017)
LIAR (2017)
THE MISTAKE (2017)
THE VISITOR (2018)
THE SECRET (2018)
CLOSER (2018)
FINDING GRACE (2019)
THE SILENT ONES (2019)
SINGLE (2019)
THE APARTMENT – AN AUDIBLE ORIGINAL PRODUCTION (2019)

Her titles are published in eBook by Bookouture and in paperback by Sphere (UK) and Grand Central (USA).

For many years, Kim sent her work out to literary agents and collected an impressive stack of rejection slips. At the age of 40 she went back to Nottingham Trent University and now has an MA in Creative Writing.

Before graduating in 2012, she had gained literary agent representation and a book deal. As Kim says, ‘it was a fairytale … at the end of a very long road!’

Kim is a full-time writer. She has one daughter, two stepsons and lives with her husband in Nottingham.

Publishers: Bookouture, Grand Central, Sphere, Audible
Agent: Camilla Bolton at Darley Anderson

Author website: http://www.KLSlaterAuthor.com
Twitter: @KimLSlater
Facebook: KL Slater Author
Instagram: KLSlaterAuthor

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My Review

A twisting, turning thrill-ride!

Single mother, Darcy, is on the road to recovery after the devastating betrayal and loss of her husband. She spent time in rehab while her inlaws cared for her young children, but now she has them back and is looking forward to a fresh start.

Until a frightening incident on the playground makes her realize she’s not as strong as she thought. A handsome doctor arrives in time to save her asthmatic son and leaves a lasting impression on Darcy.

Fate steps in and brings the single parents together. A new romance blossoms against her inlaws wishes and the two move in together. Instead of the happily-ever-after, secrets unfold as a stalker from George’s past makes threats and the woman Darcy’s husband was having an affair with makes a reappearance.

This book has more twists and turns than a roller-coaster, and while I felt bad for Darcy and all she was going through, I had a hard time connecting with her. She has a few issues of her own and left me wondering just how stable she actually was.

Overall, this is a well-written mystery that kept me guessing. I give Single 4 lovely kisses!

“I voluntarily read an ARC of this book which was provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.”

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Girl Gone Home by Kathleen O’Donnell #Suspense #Reading @SDSXXTours @authorkodonnell


Girl Gone Home

Twisted Crime Book 3

by Kathleen O’ Donnell

Genre: Psychological Thriller

The Best Book I’ve Read This Year!
I just finished it and I loved it! It has more twists and turns than a
roller coaster.
This book would make an amazing movie, but
the book will always be better. I can’t wait to see what she writes
next! – Rena, five-star review on Amazon.
From two-time Book of the Year finalist and Thriller of the Year Award
winner Kathleen O’Donnell comes a gripping psychological thriller
filled with quirky, unexpected twists.
A girl in serious trouble
Delilah Diamond had it all, the popular cooking show, a dream house, and a
great romance with her producer, until the producer’s wife gets
wind of it all. Delilah loses her show, her job, and her house. She’s
forced to go back to her hometown where everyone has skeletons in
their closet—or worse.
A home not like any other
She arrives just in time for the unfortunate death of her high school
crush, but senses something’s wrong with the story of his demise.
Before she realizes it, she’s knee-deep in a past that almost crushed
her years before, and could very well crush her now, for good.
A mother who keeps sordid secrets
Local law enforcement is a homegrown drunk, and useless, so someone higher
up the food chain sends a big city detective who starts sniffing
around her classmate’s suspicious death and her mother’s past.
Delilah’s protective hackles are raised. She knows her mother has
shameful secrets, but the more she learns, the more she realizes she
doesn’t know the whole story.
A hometown that comes together, even in crime
In small towns, you protect your family and your neighbors come what
may, but will Delilah be able to protect her mother without exposing
her own sins? The ones she worked so hard to cover up? Will she be
able to deter the detective away from the truth?
You can’t go home again. Or can you? Should you?
How safe is home when you know where the bodies are buried?
Girl Gone Home is
ultimately a story about love, family, loyalty and circling the
wagons no matter what terrible crime’s been committed. It’s quirky,
heartfelt, and reminiscent of Dolores Claiborne and the works of Kate
Atkinson, Jane Hamilton, and Janet Evanovich.

Goodreads * Amazon

 

elegant-1769669_640

CHAPTER ONE

 

“Willy Wally came to a bad end,” Fran said. “Just like I predicted.”

“Only you’d gloat over the dead at a funeral.” I’d just walked in, looked at my watch. My mother irritated me in less than sixty seconds. A record.

“We don’t do funerals, Delilah. The stiff puts a real damper on the festivities.”

“Right. Memorials after the fact only.”

“Who even knows where the nearest funeral home is?” Fran said, unimpeded by the Marlboro in her mouth, long ash miraculously still intact. “Okay, I know where it is, but who gives a highfalutin crap? Potluck and booze give whoever croaked a fine send off—this is a bar for Chrissake. You’re back on the Highway. Better forget those fancy city ways.”

From my spot bellied up to the bar I watched the sea of cowboy hats attached to heads full of rampage and Coors from the tap. They went whole hog at these things. The only commercial enterprise for as far as the crow flies, Vi’s Place teemed with quasi-mourners spilling through both front and back doors to the overflow outside. The middle of nowhere meant good business for anyone with stuff to sell.

“No idea why I let you drag me to this thing,” I said. “I’m still knee-deep in unpacked boxes.”

“Still? You move in geologic time. It’s the food. That’s why you came. You’ve always been a sucker for the highway potlucks. Besides, won’t kill you to show some respect for a guy you went to school with. Dead just like that.” She’d have snapped her fingers if they weren’t already occupied with the whole cigarette/ashtray/coffee cup situation.

“Nothing says respect like eating beanie-weenies while drunks heckle the bereaved,” I said. “Good times.”

“Good turnout.”

“I should hope so. Willy Wally wasn’t even forty.” I stopped when I noticed Fran paid a lot of attention to my words. “Never mind.”

She flicked her ash into the ashtray. “Doc Bates won’t show. Accident or no, tough to look your daughter in the eye after you shoot her husband.”

“Isn’t Doc in jail?”

“You know he’s not. Investigation’s still on. Doubt it’ll turn up anything criminal. Shit happens out here.”

“Like there’s gonna be a real investigation.” I rearranged my butt on the hard stool, scooted it closer to hear Fran over the hootin’-and-a-hollerin’. “Unbelievable. What a fiasco. Whole thing’s terrible.”

“What do you care? You didn’t even want to come.”

“I don’t and I didn’t. Well, that’s not altogether true. Of course, I care. It’s sad isn’t it? A young man killed?”

“Culling out the herd. You see Wally’s widow, Wanda? Jesus, Mary and Joseph try to say that three times fast.”

“I don’t know. Probably wouldn’t know her if I did.”

Fran slipped her cigarette into the slot on the ashtray on the bar. “You’d know her all right—still two-bagger ugly. Wanda and Willy Wally Watkins. Why on earth poor Willy Wally didn’t strangle himself with his own umbilical cord, I’ll never know, with that dumbass name.”

Nothing sordid happened that Fran didn’t know about in great detail. Whatever the backstory, and there was always a backstory, she knew it and loved to tell me about the whole mess. I got zippo this time. Fishy.

“What do you know about this, Fran? You know something. I can tell.”

“You obviously can’t, since I know zilch, other than Willy Wally and Doc went hunting like always. Doc accidentally shot him. Makes sense to me. Willy Wally’s schnoz made him look like a moose or some such.”

“You’re talking a mile a minute. Like you do when you’re dancing around the truth.”

“Shit happens around here.”

“I’m aware. Fran, you—”

 

“Dee, aren’t you a sight.” Vi amputated my interrogation with a voice that sounded like someone dragged a cheese grater over her vocal cords. Her familiar shortening of my name gave me a warm fuzzy. “Been trying to get over to this end to say hey, but this crowd, no patience.”

“Not much changes on the Fifty-Three,” I said.

Including Vi who still looked like a jack-o-lantern left too long on the porch.

“If it did, I’d know it. Been behind this bar fifty years if you can believe that. But look at you. You’re fresh as peach pie. Damn shame your TV show got cancelled,” Vi said.

“Yeah, well thanks. TV shows come and go.”

“She can still cook like the dickens though. What with that cooking class.”

“Cordon Bleu is hardly a cooking class, Fran. I—”

“Now you’re back home where you belong.” Vi wiped down the bar with a snake-tattooed hand, pulled a frothy topped beer. “Where in Jesus’s name are those good-for-nothin’ bums I hired to help me out today? Goddamn-lazy-bastard-shit-for-brains . . . ” She carried the mug to the other end, insults trailing.

“Is she wearing the necklace I gave you for your birthday?” I said.

Fran brushed crumbs off the front of her “Smooth Move Ex-Lax” t-shirt.

“Oh, that little bauble? Well, yes. Vi went on and on about how much she wanted it. I didn’t—”

“Do you know how much that little bauble cost?”

Fran gave zero fucks about the cost.

“Never mind.” I put a sock in it.

“Lord a mercy, Delilah.” Margene Cox made a beeline, heaped plate in hand. “I liked to fell out when I heard you’d come home. Wondered when we’d finally lay eyes on you.”

“Only been back a couple weeks,” I said. “Still settling in.”

Margene draped the silk sweater around her shoulders that I’d bought Fran last Christmas.

“Nice sweater,” I said.

The sharp stab of Fran’s elbow to my ribs shut my mouth.

“Fran give it to me. She’s generous as always. Only fits if I don’t wear it. So hot out here the devil up and left, but still cools down like the dickens at night.” Margene stuffed a whole jalapeno popper into her mouth. I felt mildly surprised most of her teeth looked intact. “You out at the old Winston pig farm?”

“Mm hmm. No pigs anymore.”

“You missed Jefferson Davis.” Margene licked her greasy fingers. “Dadgum it. He’s dyin’ to bend your ear about that farm.”

“My loss.”

“You know Willy Wally passing the way he did near tore my heart in two.” Margene wiped a nonexistent tear. “You dated him didn’t you, Dee?”

“Mercy no,” Fran said.

“Well, I swanee,” Margene said. “Dee nursed a crush on Willy Wally ya’ll could see from space back in the day.”

“Emily dated Willy Wally,” Fran said.

For once I didn’t mind Fran’s poking in.

“Oh, right. Emily. Land’s sake.” Margene pushed her plastic fork through the turkey tetrazzini on her paper plate.

“Where’s Arthur?” I looked around for Margene’s husband.

“Oh, honey, had his memorial right here a couple years back.”

“Lots of memorials the last few years,” Fran said. “I told you about Arthur’s.”

She probably did but I hadn’t been listening.

“Not the same without Blanche and Edith, is it?” Margene squeezed in closer, set her plate on the bar. “Blanche dyin’ of the cirrhosis after Earl died in that car wreck, drunk. Too many memories. And Edith with the Alzheimer’s over to her sister’s in Portland.”

Before she could run on any more, Willy Wally’s father hushed the gathered to thank everyone for coming. I wandered away from my lunch, Fran, and Margene’s census update. A drunk blocking the exit got a free swat from me. Heat plus the pissy sour outhouse smells slapped me hard. Came as no revelation Vi still resisted indoor plumbing.

“You look just like you do on TV,” a man said two seconds after I got out.

“Huh?”

The sun glittering off the rows of cars lined up on both sides of the highway made me squinty. I got closer. Strange man held out a too elegant hand, flashed a badge with the other.

“I’m Billy Dale,” he said. “You’re Delilah Diamond from Fork in the Road. Am I right?”

“Billy Dale what?”

Name like that usually preceded a Jim Bob or Buck Dee.

“Just Billy Dale.”

“You’re not from around here then,” I said.

“Nope.” He withdrew his unshaken hand.

Billy Dale’s kick-my-ass-why-don’t-you ensemble cheered me somewhat. His slicked-backed hair, GQ chin stubble, casual Friday Brooks Brothers khakis and pink polo made me want to open the bar door, throw him in to see how he fared. The small crowd milling around outside to avoid the teary farewells inside dispersed as if they smelled an unfamiliar no good cop. Nothing like stranger danger to speed folks along their way. Billy Dale peered over the top of his sunglasses, looked past me at the open vista, dirt, and sagebrush.

“Jesus,” he said. “You could seriously get off the grid out here.”

“What do you want?”

“Just making inquiries about the shooting incident.”

“At a memorial? Willy Wally’s barely cold.”

“When I drove up didn’t realize this, whatever this is, was going on.” He gestured toward the food covered picnic tables.

I kicked up a puff of dirt with the toe of my Converse, shifted my weight from one foot to the other. Billy Dale studied the fly-infested open jar of mayo on a nearby table, waiting, silent, doing that let-them-talk-to-see-what-spills cop thing. He flicked an imaginary something off his shirtsleeve. His blank face and open-too-wide eyes gave him a real dimwitted appearance—the kind of guy who moved his lips when he read.

“Where’s Rusty?” I said. “He’s been the law out here forever.”

“On a bender probably.”

“No doubt.”

“Mind if I do some asking now?” he said.

I let that hang like a corpse from a noose.

“You know,” I finally said after the silence got too awkward even for me. “I just came back here. Moved away eons ago.”

“So I heard.” Billy Dale leaned against a clean sedan that must’ve been his. “Some say they’re surprised to see you back.”

“None more than me.”

“You came back for the—this—potluck thingy?”

“No. Coincidence.”

“Coincidences give me cramps,” Billy Dale said serious as all get out.

Like I cared about his bowels.

“Willy Wally your old high school boyfriend?” He went on.

“Christ, no. He dated my friend. Emily. She—”

“You all right?” Billy Dale said.

I’d swayed to one side. The beer I’d chased lunch with gurgled its way up the back of my throat. I beat it back, steadied myself.

“I’m fine. This heat, outhouse smell, I’m not used to it anymore.” I pulled away from the hand he’d gripped my arm with, snooty-like. He probably did it to help, but too bad so sad.

“Right. Well, Jefferson Davis told me you—”

“Oh you’re already on a first name basis? Jefferson Davis and I haven’t so much as cast shadows near each other in twenty years.” Droplets popped up above my top lip.

“Right. Well, speaking of names. You call your mother by her first name?”

“Always have,” I said halfway lying. “Fran is her name.”

I’d replaced Mom with Fran when we moved to the highway, when she went full wacko, to distance myself from her in the only way I could then, to get under her skin. Joke was on me since her skin proved unyielding, but it stuck.

“Fran knows Doctor Bates well?” Billy Dale said.

“Everybody here knows everyone else well.”

“Willy Wally too?”

“Yes, but they didn’t exactly run in the same circles since Fran’s old enough to be his mother.”

We stared each other down. I wondered if he could see me sweat.

He blinked first. “Can you think of any reason Fran would’ve called Willy Wally the day before he got shot and the day of?”

“Who knows? It is a small town,” I said. “Why don’t you ask Fran?”

“Did. Said she doesn’t recall.”

“She’s no spring chicken. Memory’s going.” I twirled one finger near my ear.

“Fran called Willy Wally four times the day before he died, twice the next.”

“She’s a talker,” I said.

There it was.

Fran did know more than she’d admitted. I crossed my arms over my chest, shoved both hands under my dripping armpits, worked hard to keep my face from going funky.

“Not to mention six calls to Doctor Bates.” He’d taken out a notepad, which I guess meant business.

“I’m sure for harmless reasons.”

I turned on my heel. Eat my dust sucker.

Billy Dale hollered at my back, “I’m sure I’ll find out.”

Kathleen O’Donnell is a wife, mom, grandmother and a recovering blogger.
She currently lives in Nevada with her husband. She is a two time
Book of the Year finalist for her debut novel The Last Day for Rob
Rhino. You can find short stories and blog posts on her website.
Follow the tour HERE
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Broken Angels by Russell Heath #Suspense #Reading @rslheath @SDSXX


Broken Angels

by Russell Heath

Genre: Mystery

“Heath’s debut novel is gripping from the get-go.” -Kirkus Reviews
“Alaska is almost a character all on its own:
beautiful, unpredictable, violent, and unforgiving. Broken Angels is
a compelling debut by a talented new writer.” -Elaine Ford,
winner of the Michigan Literary Award.
“This book was amazing, just as Burke brings New Orleans to life
Heath puts Alaska into your soul.” -Judy Smrdel
“Heath has tapped his
intimate knowledge of Alaska, its people, its coastal communities and
its interior uniqueness and crafted a character-rich, page-turning,
murder mystery.” -An Alaskan
She stares at her mother’s clumsy lettering on the envelope. Nine years.
Nine years since she stepped over her mother’s drunken body and into
a cold Alaska night running south, leaving her mother forever. How
did she find me? She hesitates, knowing the letter inside will drag
her home; back into the bleakness of a life with no exit. Kris
Gabriel, Alaska Native, and fierce like a wolverine, returns to
Alaska–to find her mother murdered. Guilty she abandoned her in
life, Kris only knows to fight. Relentlessly, she tracks a trail of
pain, of lost love, of lives ripped apart by the frozen north’s
unyielding laws, never suspecting that she has far more at stake than
just finding her mother’s killer.

 

Broken Angels is a fast-paced Alaskan noir filled with
richly drawn characters struggling to survive in a hostile country
where there are no second chances.

 Heath Interview: Broken Angels

 

Please give us a short introduction to what Broken Angels: A Novel is about

 

Kris Gabriel, an Alaska Native, 24, reluctantly returns to Alaska at the request of a mother she hasn’t seen in nine years. She finds her murdered; shot in the face by the double-barreled blast of a shotgun. Driven by anger and guilt and only knowing how to fight—she sets out to avenge her mother’s death. Relentlessly, she tracks a trail of pain, of lost love, of lives ripped apart by the frozen north’s unyielding law of survival, never suspecting that she has far more at stake than finding her mother’s killer.

 

What made you decide to write a novel?

Hubris. I was kayaking with a friend around Baranof Island in Southeast Alaska—a 3-week trip. She’d just finished a mystery by an Alaska author and I asked her if it was any good. She said, yes—so I read it. It was beyond dreadful. I complained to my friend—

“Yeah, I know,” she said. “But I didn’t want to influence your opinion.”

“I want my opinion influenced. I wasted hours of my life reading this.”

That night we were weathered in by a blow. I was snugged up in my sleeping bag still pissed that a book could be so bad. And then I stepped off the edge. I said to myself that I could do better.

 

 

How did the idea for the novel originate?

That was a problem. I hadn’t a clue how to start. I so hapless, it was almost comical. Thousands of books written every year and I didn’t what to do after picking up a pencil.

Then, one random day, I remembered a novel that was a scene by scene rip-off of Shakespeare’s Lear. A Thousand Acres by Jane Smiley. You’d think she’d be hauled off for plagiarism, but no—she’d won the Pulitzer. I cast about for a play where the author had been dead long enough he wouldn’t be coming after me for stealing his stuff.

Since I was writing a mystery—the play to use was obvious. The first mystery in western literature was Oedipus Rex by Sophocles. Fortunately, Sophocles has been dead for 2,500 years and I figured he wouldn’t much care that I was taking his best work. That was my start.

 

Why murder mystery? What drew you to this genre?

I have no love for mysteries—generally because they are so contrived: a bunch of unlikely events strung together to produce an outrageously improbable outcome that has next to zero psychological plausibility: she killed him because of a hang-nail? I chose a mystery because I was on automatic: the book that kicked it all off was a mystery, so I was going to write a mystery.

 

So—is Broken Angels a bunch of unlikely events strung together to produce an outrageously improbable outcome that has next to zero psychological plausibility?

No. This story is the story that I wanted to read. It’s psychologically real, the characters are driven by who they are; they make bad decisions that lead to horrific outcomes—but each step of the way you get why they are doing what they are doing. The story is rich and complex and, at times, emotionally challenging for the reader. And it rips—you will not be able to put this book down.

 

 

Tell us more about Kris Gabriel. What makes her tick?

At the outset, it looks as if Kris is driven by vengeance to find her mother’s killer. Maybe, but maybe also by guilt. She’d abandoned her mother when she was 15 and when she left, her mother’s life fell apart. Then she’s Alaska Native and she, like her mother, was cast aside by the white world. She grew up on the streets Fairbanks with an alcoholic mother, no father, and even now, she is living a meager existence on the bleak edges of society. She’s crusted by anger and resentment and all she knows how to do is fight. So that’s what she does—fight. But then, as she uncovers her past, we see that what she’s truly searching for is love, for connection, for her humanity. Because Broken Angels is taken from a Greek tragedy—you know it’s not going to turn out well.

 

 

In your teens, you hitchhiked to Alaska and lived in a cabin on the banks of the Tanana River. How has this influenced your writing?

Alaska is not a normal place; it is not like some random suburb where stubbing your toe on a busted sidewalk is the highest adventure on offer. Alaska roughs you up and scours your soul; it lifts you and rings you like a bell; it punishes you in its endless nights, its searing cold, and its vastness so threateningly silent you cower in awe.

Most novels set in Alaska caricature the state—50 below and your spit freezing before it hits the snow. Yeah, but what do you think that does to a person’s psyche? What do you think a landscape so stunning, so unrelenting, so overwhelming does to a person? In Broken Angels, Alaska it isn’t a setting, it’s is an enveloping presence that stalks each character—and no one escapes.

 

 

What have been readers’ reactions to Broken Angels?

Alaskans get the story and the Alaska portrayed in it. Some non-Alaskans are annoyed by Alaska’s presence, as if it were an unnecessary character. Kind of like Woody Allen in his later movies: what’s he doing there?

People who love the way mysteries tie everything into a tight tidy bundle—order is brought to the universe—are often frustrated by the ending. Those who revel in the psychological and the emotional are moved by the ending.

For the tight tidy bundle folks—a sequel is coming.

  1. Besides writing, what other secret skills do you have?

 

I was still a callow teenager when I decided my life’s trajectory was going to be erratic: No career, family, house in the suburbs. Since then I have been twice around the world—once in a sailboat, written novels, crusaded for Alaska’s rainforests, smuggled gems, climbed mountains, lived in Florence—whatever. My secret skills are a willingness to fly high and the foolishness—after a crash—to give it another go.

  1. Have you always wanted to be a writer?

 

I have always wanted to be a writer in the same way I’ve always wanted to be president, or Spiderman, or a supermodel. A daydream to lift me out of the daily grind.

  1. What are you working on right now?

 

I’m readying my second novel, Rinn’s Crossing, for publication—it’s due out at the end of November, 2019. And I’m working on a sequel to Broken Angels. And I’ve got a TV writer in LA intent on turning Broken Angels into the next Breaking Bad.

  1. Where can our readers discover more of your work or get in touch with you?

 

I super enjoy hearing what folks have to say about my novels even if to excoriate them—shoot me an email, give me a ring. You can find me at russellheathauthor.com

In his teens, Russell Heath hitchhiked to Alaska and lived in a cabin on
the banks of the Tanana River; in his twenties, he lived in Italy and
then traveled overland across the Sahara, through the jungles and
over the savannas of Africa and into southern Asia; in his thirties,
he sailed alone around the world in a 25 foot wooden boat; in his
forties, he wrote novels; and in his fifties he bicycled the spine of
the Rockies from Alaska to Mexico.
He’s worked on the Alaska Pipeline, as an environmental lobbyist in the
Alaska Legislature, and run a storied environmental organization
fighting to protect Alaska’s coastal rainforests. Several years ago,
he moved to New York City to dig deep into leadership development and
coaching. He now coaches business and non-profit leaders intent on
making big things happen in the world.
Follow the tour HERE
for special excerpts, guest posts and a giveaway!

 

Leverage in Death by J.D. Robb #Mystery #BookReview


Lieutenant Eve Dallas puzzles over a bizarre suicide bombing in a Wall St. office building in Leverage in Death, the latest in the #1 New York Times bestselling series from J.D. Robb…

For the airline executives finalizing a merger that would make news in the business world, the nine a.m. meeting would be a major milestone. But after marketing VP Paul Rogan walked into the plush conference room, strapped with explosives, the headlines told of death and destruction instead. The NYPSD’s Eve Dallas confirms that Rogan was cruelly coerced by two masked men holding his family hostage. His motive was saving his wife and daughter—but what was the motive of the masked men?

Despite the chaos and bad publicity, blowing up one meeting isn’t going to put the brakes on the merger. All it’s accomplished is shattering a lot of innocent lives. Now, with the help of her billionaire husband Roarke, Eve must untangle the reason for an inexplicable act of terror, look at suspects inside and outside both corporations, and determine whether the root of this crime lies in simple sabotage, or something far more complex and twisted.

Biography

J.D. Robb is the author of the #1 New York Times bestselling In Death series and the pseudonym for #1 New York Times bestselling author Nora Roberts. The futuristic suspense series stars Eve Dallas, a New York City police lieutenant with a dark past. Initially conceived as a trilogy, readers clamored for more of Eve and the mysterious Roarke. Leverage in Death, on sale Septenber 2018, is the 47th entry in the series.

My Review

A high-tech page-turning mystery from the queen of suspense!

When a well-liked man with a successful career enters a business meeting wearing a suicide vest and blows everyone in the room to kingdom come, Lieutenant Eve Dallas begins an investigation into a web of intrigue like no other.

When it’s confirmed the suspect was in fact a victim- his family was beaten and threatened with death unless he went through with the detonation- Dallas seeks Roarke’s help to determine why. Just as the list of possible suspects grows, another explosion and the theft of some paintings takes the case in a completely different direction.

Time is running out before the thieves strike again- will Roarke and Dallas figure out what is going on before more people die?

Leverage in Death is an explosive hit! There are so many twists and turns to this one and yet the author does a superb job of tying all the loose ends.

There’s a fight scene toward the end that had me literally gasping!

Best Lines:

What would you do to save two people you love more than yourself, more than anything?”

Roarke laid a hand over hers. “Absolutely anything.”

Robb, J. D.. Leverage in Death (p. 103). St. Martin’s Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

“You do know it’s leopards that don’t change their spots, not polka dots?”

“A leopard’s born, lives, and dies a leopard, so that’s that.”

“That’s rather the point of the adage.”

“Why need an adage on something that’s just that? It’s a waste of words. If people didn’t have stupid sayings about the obvious, they wouldn’t waste so many words and talk so damn much.”

Robb, J. D.. Leverage in Death (p. 111). St. Martin’s Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

“I never like convenient. It brushes close to coincidence.”

Robb, J. D.. Leverage in Death (p. 215). St. Martin’s Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

She lay under him, weak, dizzy, empty of anger. And somehow tendrils of sorrow trailed in to fill the void. “It’s not you I don’t trust. It’s never you.”

“It’s never me you want to distrust,” he countered. “But there are still times, just now and then, when those cop’s eyes are on me and say different.”

Robb, J. D.. Leverage in Death (p. 266). St. Martin’s Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

I give Leverage in Death 5+ lovely Kisses- Must-read Suspense!

The Eva Rae Thomas Mystery Series #Suspense #Reading @SDSXXTours @MadamWillowRose


The Eva Rae Thomas Mystery Series : Books 1-3

by Willow Rose

Genre: Thriller, Mystery, Suspense

Multi-million-copy bestselling author Willow Rose’s new mystery series ensnares ex FBI
profiler Eva Rae Thomas in some confounding murder cases.

Mystery, love, and action this series has it all.
All books in this boxset were instant #1 bestselling New Releases on
Amazon.

– DON’T LIE TO ME:

When twelve-year-old Sophie Williams went on a Girl Scout summer camp, she
never returned home.
Three months later, her body is found inside her sleeping bag in the most
frequented area of Cocoa Beach, and the town is outraged.
The girl isn’t just any child. She’s the town’s most beloved surf idol,
and it was believed that she could be the next Kelly Slater.
As another child, the son of a well-known senator is kidnapped, and the
parents receive a disturbing video, FBI profiler Eva Rae
Thomas
— who has just returned to her hometown, divorced
and out of a job — plunges into the investigation, breaking her
promise to her children not to do police work again.
Local law enforcement, with her old flame Matt Miller in charge, are the
ones who ask for her help in a case so unsettling that only she can
solve it. But the deeper they dig, the deadlier it becomes for Matt
and Eva Rae. Soon, everyone she holds dear is in grave danger as this
case hits a little too close to home.

– WHAT YOU DID:

Former FBI-profiler, Eva Rae Thomas, faces the most personal case
in her career, as bestselling author Willow Rose’s new hit series
continues.
Three girls disappear on prom night at the local high school. One of them
is the prom queen.
Eva Rae Thomas is chasing her long-lost sister when detective—and
boyfriend—Matt Miller asks her to join the investigation of the
three girls’ disappearance. They were last seen walking home
together after the dance.
When the body of a young girl shows up in her backyard, Eva Rae knows she
can no longer watch from the sidelines, and soon she realizes not
only is she involved in this investigation, she’s also this
killer’s target.

– NEVER EVER:

Ex-agent Eva Rae Thomas is on the run. The past month she has done
things she never knew she was capable of while hunting for her
kidnapped daughter.
Eva Rae has risked everything,
-her career,
-her newfound love,
-her freedom.
She’s looking for the man they call the Iron Fist. The trail has led her to
Miami.
Meanwhile, Miami is under attack. Hundreds of passengers in the Metrorail are
exposed to a deathly nerve gas on a peaceful Monday morning. When Eva
Rae Thomas sees her daughter on the surveillance footage from the
attack, she knows it is no coincidence. But by the time she uncovers
the chilling truth of how it is all connected, it might be too late.
The fourth installment in the Eva Rae Thomas Series SAY YOU LOVE ME is out now!

Goodreads * Amazon

The Queen of Scream aka Willow Rose is a #1 Amazon Best-selling Author
and an Amazon ALL-star Author of more than 60 novels.
She writes Mystery, Thriller, Paranormal, Romance, Suspense, Horror,
Supernatural thrillers, and Fantasy.
Willow’s books are fast-paced, nail-biting pageturners with twists you won’t
see coming. Several of her books have reached the Kindle top 10 of
ALL books in the US, UK, and Canada. She has sold more than three
million books.
Willow lives on Florida’s Space Coast with her husband and two daughters.
When she is not writing or reading, you will find her surfing and
watch the dolphins play in the waves of the Atlantic Ocean.
Follow the tour HERE
for exclusive content and a giveaway!

 

The Falling of Stars by @Traci_Finlay #Suspense #Reading @jennw23


TFoS - BT banner

“Forget having to lock your doors, predators are right at your fingertips—in the bedrooms of our children. The Falling of Stars is a terrifying revelation of the dangers lurking online, and a must-read in this age of technology. — Willow Aster, USA Today bestselling author

The Falling of Stars, an all-new intriguing psychological thriller from Traci Finlay, is available now!

The Falling of Stars_ebook

When a high school freshman commits suicide, everyone at Liberty School of Excellence is shocked—especially Eve Hunter, who is not only the English teacher at Liberty, but also a friend of the victim’s family. Although devastated, Eve is prepared to offer her love and support.

But when the grieving mother discloses her theory that her son was secretly bullied to death at school, Eve is conflicted. Not at a prestigious school like Liberty, Eve is certain. Regardless, she agrees to do some underground (and possibly illegal) investigating—even if that means risking her career. After all, the pain of losing a child trumps that of losing a job.

Eve isn’t the only one delving into secrets. Her son, Malik Hunter, is a sophomore at Liberty whose perfect life is a perfect lie. Behind his good looks, straight A’s, and the facemask of his football helmet, Malik battles a crippling depression. But someone sees through it all. Someone who reaches out to him on LibertyNet, the school’s online intranet. Someone who seems to know Malik better than he knows himself. Someone evil.

Eve believes a cyberbully may be lurking in the dark realms of LibertyNet.

Malik knows there is.

Unless anybody in this household is willing to reveal their secrets, someone could end up falling over the edge … literally.

TFoS - Review ad1

Download your copy today!

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TFoS - Teaser 3 AN

Excerpt

MALIK

 

She stares at my lips and says, “Tell me a secret.” She’s smiling, even though she’s hiding behind her cup. I can tell because her eyes are twinkling.

I lean back in my chair. “What kind of secret?”

She shrugs and sets her cup down. “Everyone knows everything about you, Malik. Your life’s an open book. We know your parents, everything you do on campus, which cheerleader you date, what you eat for lunch … tell me something no one knows.”

I tug on my bottom lip as I stare at her. “I don’t want to play football anymore,” I say before realizing what a stupid idea this is.

Her jaw drops and she glances around, like she’s scared someone might’ve heard. “Malik, did you say what I think you just said?”

I nod.

“You—but you’re like, the best football player ever. You’re gonna get a scholarship! What would your dad say? Oh my gosh, he’d die. Your teammates would die! The entire school would go under.”

I hold up a hand, laughing nervously. “Okay, okay. See why I didn’t want to say anything? You’ve just described the apocalypse.”

“But why? Don’t you love football?”

I nod as a leaf flutters from the tree onto the table. “Do you have any idea how much pressure I’m under, twenty-four, seven?” I glance at her as I pick at the leaf. “So many people rely on me for so much, and … I just want to relax sometimes, you know? Just be a kid and fuck around. Take off the pressure, just do my own thing.”

“Well, what is your own thing? What would you be doing instead?”

“I don’t know, anything. I don’t want to be associated with something so severely, you know? I mean, you hear my name and you immediately think ‘football.’ I’m not allowed to be human. To make mistakes. I gotta be like a soldier, on guard at all times. And I take a lotta heat if other people fuck up, too. I—it’s just—”

I stop and look at her, and she’s assessing me. I can’t believe I just spoke all these words aloud. To another person. What have I done?

 

 

About Traci

Traci Finlay grew up in the Midwest and transplanted to Florida for college. She received a bachelor’s degree in Communication Arts with a minor in English, met and married the love of her life and moved to Miami, where she currently lives with her husband, two sons, and two smart-mouthed dogs.

Growing up, she loved reading books, but had a particular passion for mysteries. Throughout her adulthood, she’s taken many writing courses and written three psychological thrillers she plans to publish soon.

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Connect with Traci

Facebook: http://bit.ly/2BBMLzl

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Twitter: https://twitter.com/Traci_Finlay

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/tracifinlay/

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Website: https://www.tracifinlay.com/

 

A Cold Trail by @RobertDugoni #Suspense #BookReview


From Amazon:

In New York Times bestselling author Robert Dugoni’s riveting series, Seattle homicide detective Tracy Crosswhite returns home to a brutal murder and her haunted past.

The last time homicide detective Tracy Crosswhite was in Cedar Grove, it was to see her sister’s killer put behind bars. Now she’s returned for a respite and the chance to put her life back in order for herself, her attorney husband, Dan, and their new daughter. But tragic memories soon prove impossible to escape.

Dan is drawn into representing a local merchant whose business is jeopardized by the town’s revitalization. And Tracy is urged by the local PD to put her own skills to work on a new case: the brutal murder of a police officer’s wife and local reporter who was investigating a cold-case slaying of a young woman. As Tracy’s and Dan’s cases crisscross, Tracy’s trail becomes dangerous. It’s stirring up her own haunted past and a decades-old conspiracy in Cedar Grove that has erupted in murder. Getting to the truth is all that matters. But what’s Tracy willing to risk as a killer gets closer to her and threatens everyone she loves?

Biography

Robert Dugoni is the New York Times, #1 Wall Street Journal, and #1 Amazon Internationally Bestselling Author of the Tracy Crosswhite Series : My Sister’s Grave (2014), Her Final Breath (2015), In the Clearing (2015), The Trapped Girl (2016), Close to Home (2017) and A Steep Price (2018). 

Dugoni’s espionage novel, The Eighth Sister, inspired by real events, arrives April 2019.

His critically acclaimed literary novel, The Extraordinary Life of Sam Hell (2018) won Suspense Magazine’s Crimson Scribe Award as The Best Book of 2018 and has drawn comparison’s to novelist John Irving’s work. Dugoni also won a Golden Microphone for his narrationo that novel. Connect with him on Facebook @AuthorRobertDugoni, on Twitter @robertdugoni, and on Instagram, robertdugoni, author

Dugoni is also the author of the David Sloane series: The Jury Master, Wrongful Death, Bodily Harm, Murder One and The Conviction. 

Dugoni is the winner of the 2015 Nancy Pearl Award for Fiction, has twice been a finalist for the Harper Lee Award for Legal Fiction, twice been a finalist for the Silver Falchion award for his mysteries, was a 2015 and 2017 International Thriller Writer’s finalist for thriller of the year, and a 2017 Mystery Writers of America Edgar Finalist for his stand alone novel, The Seventh Canon. His books are sold world-wide in more than 30 countries and have been translated into dozens of languages including French, German, Italian and Spanish. 

Dugoni’s first in the Tracy Crosswhite series, My Sister’s Grave (Nov. 2014), became a months-long #1 Amazon Bestseller in the United States, France, Italy, Germany and in the UK, as well as a New York Times and Wall Street Journal Best Seller and won the 2014 Nancy Pearl Award for fiction. Library Journal gave it a Starred Review and said it “Combines the best of a police procedural with a legal thriller, and the end result is outstanding…Dugoni continues to deliver emotional and gut-wrenching, character-driven suspense stories that will resonate with any fan of the thriller genre.” 

The sequel, Her Final Breath, also became an Amazon top 10 bestseller, as did In the Clearing. The Trapped Girl was a #1 Amazon and #1 Wall Street Journal best-seller that Kirkus and Booklist are calling his best book to date. Close to Home debuted at #2 on the Wall Street Journal Best Seller list. 

For more on Robert Dugoni and his novels, visit his website at http://www.robertdugoni.com

Photo by Guillaume Hankenne on Pexels.com

My Review

Tracy Crosswhite and her husband Dan make the trip to their childhood home and are soon immersed into a tangled web of murder, betrayal, and conspiracies.

A series of brutal murder draws Tracy into investigating the cold case connections to a young woman’s death, along with that of Tracy’s sister, while Dan accepts a suspicious case against the city. When Tracy and Dan’s cases show a few too many coincidences, the danger ramps up.

As a killer draws close, Tracy fights not only her own parental instincts, but her husband’s disapproval. With more questions than answers, Tracy’s hunt leads to a surprise ending.

I love a good whodunit, and for the most part this story fit the bill. I did guess who the murderer was and would have liked to have felt a bit more tension throughout the book, but overall a good read.

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read this advanced copy of A Cold Trail- 4 lovely kisses!

Father Figure by @JamesCudney4 #Suspense #BookReview


Between the fast-paced New York City, a rural Mississippi town and a charming Pennsylvania college campus filled with secrets, two young girls learn the consequences of growing up too quickly.

Abused by her mother, Amalia Graeme longs to escape her desolate hometown and fall in love. Contemplating her loss of innocence and conflicting feelings between her boyfriend and the dangerous attraction for an older man, Amalia faces life-altering tragedies.

Brianna Porter, a sassy, angst-ridden New York City teenager, yearns to find her life’s true purpose, conquer her fear of abandonment, and interpret an intimidating desire for her best friend, Shanelle. Desperate to find the father whom her mother refuses to reveal, Brianna accidentally finds out a shocking truth about her missing parent.

Set in alternating chapters two decades apart, the parallels between their lives and the unavoidable collision that is bound to happen is revealed. Father Figure is an emotional story filled with mystery, romance, and suspense.

Biography

James is my given name; most call me Jay. I grew up on Long Island and currently live in New York City, but I’ve traveled all across the US (and various parts of the world). After college, I spent 15 years working in technology and business operations in the sports, entertainment and media industries. Although I enjoyed my job, I left in 2016 to focus on my passion: telling stories and connecting people through words. My debut novel is ‘Watching Glass Shatter,’ a contemporary fiction family drama with elements of mystery, suspense, humor and romance. To see samples or receive news from my current and upcoming books, please subscribe with your email address at my website: https://jamesjcudney.com

What do I do outside of writing: I’m an avid genealogist (discovered 2K family members going back about 250 years) and cook (I find it so hard to follow a recipe). I love to read; between Goodreads and my blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, I have over 500 book reviews which will give you a full flavor for my voice and style. On my blog, I started the 365 Daily Challenge, where I post a word each day that has some meaning to me, then converse with everyone about life. There is humor, tears, love, friendship, advice and bloopers. Lots of bloopers where I poke fun at myself all the time. Even my dogs have segments where they complain about me. All these things make up who I am; none of them are very fancy or magnanimous, but they are real and show how I live every day.

A bit of humor: Everything doubles as something else when you live in NYC. For me, it’s the dining room, my favorite space in the apartment, where more than just my cooking is on display! As I look out the windows onto a 12th floor terrace, various parts of nature (trees, bushes, flowers, bugs & animals) inspire me to write. How else can you pen the best story possible without these things by your side?

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

My Review

A coming of age story!

Set in a dual timeframe, the author creates a story of innocence lost, parental abuse, uncovered secrets, and the journey two young women take on the road to self-discovery.

Cudney uses the juxtaposition of completely different personalities- Amelia is shy and innocent while Brianna is confident and independent- to highlight underlying similarities. Both long for acceptance and love in a world that often seems unforgiving and harsh.

The plotline is nothing short of brilliant, with a surprise ending you won’t guess is coming!

I give Father Figure 5 lovely kisses- A family saga with thorns!

Freebie Friday- Independence Day Edition #amreading #Romance


Happy Independence Day weekend!

This week’s edition of free reads is a fun mix of contemporary, mystery and suspense novels- something for everyone!

I’m often asked which of my books that I’ve written is my favorite, and while I love them all (I should, right? 🙂 ), Jared’s story always pops into my head.

Here’s a book trailer to give you an idea of the storyline:

Excerpt

They stood close together in the dimness of the craft store. Jared stared down into Annie’s misty green eyes and fought the urge to pull her into his arms. The citrus shampoo she’d used filled his mind with memories of his hands combing through her silky curls. The taste of her sweet lips. The feel of her luscious body wrapped around him in pleasure.

And he’d let her go.

His gut twisted into knots. Why would anyone want to break into a little craft store? It wasn’t likely to have much cash on hand, and unless the guy was into knitting there wasn’t much in the way of valuables either. Suddenly the rest of what she’d said fell into place.

“Where’s your son?” His hold on her hands tightened. She looked pale, frightened. It was his fault. If that prick had harmed one hair on her head… “Tell me again. What exactly did he say?”

“He said to tell you there’s no place you can hide. And he wants repaid, whatever that means.” Annie frowned and pulled one hand free to rub the back of her neck. She straightened her spine. “Chris is fine, he’s at school. Anyway, Jack will be here soon and I’ll give a statement. Let him handle this, Jared, he knows what he’s doing.”

And I don’t? Is that what she thought? What did she think he’d been doing for the past eight years? Jared spun away before he said something he’d regret and paced over to the glass door. He took inventory of the busy street. Everything looked normal. He drew in a deep breath, needing a moment to get his frustration under control. She was only giving voice to what the whole town thought, but from her more than any other, it hurt.

Annie moved to his side. “Look, I’m sorry. That was uncalled for. I just want to handle this by the book. It was nothing more than a simple break and enter. Jack will catch the guy and then we can forget this ever happened, okay?” she pleaded, lifting her hand to touch his arm.

He tensed in response. But then she let it drop and something within him fell with it. He wished…he wished they could go back eight years to that next morning so he could have another chance. He really did.

And From My Friends

A ramshackle cabin by the lake, a haven for people at the crossroads of their lives.

Maddie wasn’t looking for romance when she rented the cabin by the lake in Fortune Bay to prepare for her first solo photography show.

A traumatic childhood has left her a loner, but maintaining her distance is almost impossible in a town like Fortune Bay. Despite her best efforts, she slowly realizes that this is the life she’s always wished for but never thought she could have: inspiration, real friends, and the man and family of her dreams.
But now, when success and happiness beckon, Maddie’s not sure whether to take the chance, or if it will all blow up in her face when the people of Fortune Bay discover who she really is.
Welcome to Fortune Bay.

Links: amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Summer-Fortune-Small-Town-Romance-ebook/dp/B01F5T0XOS/

universal link: https://books2read.com/u/mlKZOA 

EXCERPT:

He watched as, all business now, she tilted the second pan of liquid as she had the first, repeating the process in the last tray, then holding the picture under running water in the sink. When she turned around, her eyes wide and happy, she held a dripping picture of Sarah.

“Finished?” he asked, his voice a low rumble.

Her eyes flared, inches away, hot in the red glow of the safe-light.

“Yes,” she whispered, but she made no move to turn on the light.

He reached for her then, his lips closing on hers. To hell with September. He wanted her now.

The print dropped from her hand to the counter and she melted into the kiss. Like an addict, relief flooded his system as she wrapped her arms around his neck. This was what he needed, her body pressed against him, her curves molding to his chest. 

He swung her around, against the door, bringing her hands up beside her head and pinning them to the wood. He deepened the kiss, mouths moving, tongues searching, exchanging heat for heat until she softened like wax beneath him.

A loud knock sounded through the door behind her. Jake sprang back, but kept her pinned to the door. She didn’t struggle. They were both breathing hard.

Frankie’s muffled voice called, “Maddie?”

He held her eyes in silence.

Maddie’s lips pressed together, holding back a laugh. “Working in here,” she called. “Be out in a minute.”

Bio:

Judith Hudson writes the Fortune Bay small town romance series from her home in the Pacific Northwest. Her words to write by are Family, Friendship and Happily Ever After.

Skin – Thumbnail

facebook group:   https://www.facebook.com/groups/JHletstalk/

“What you two need is to have a vision,” their realtor declared as she prepared to close the deal. “Think how spectacular this house will be, once you fix it to your liking.”

After buying an ancient mansion in dire need of a makeover, lovers Shannon and Rick Burke are treated to more visions than they bargained for. An old well in their back yard reveals a bucket of bones, and an old trunk is found in the attic.

As the renovations begin, she and Rick discover a decades old diner, with its elderly owner boasting his homemade desserts are ripe with special hormones.

The sudden appearance of an unusual white cat, coupled with the century old secret in the attic leads Shannon to believe the cat never ages. Although she’s lured by the purity of the odd feline, she begins to wonder if it’s a guardian angel, or a creature of darkness.

Beth Campbell grew up poor. The kind of poor that people only hear of but never actually see—the dirty-no-electricity-in-the-winter kind of poor. But she had brains, grit, and determination. She was making a better life for herself, until she met a man—and made a mistake. 

Now at age twenty-five she’s a single mother working hard once again, making a better life for herself and her three-year-old daughter, Zoe. She’s learned from her mistakes and is focusing on the right things. No more wishful dreams for her.

Dr. Mac Malone was minding his own business on his daily run when he heard a child’s scream. Before he knew it, he was Zoe Campbell’s savior. Falling in love with the little girl was easy. Convincing her mother he really was a good guy was something altogether different. Can he help Beth learn to trust again? 

Charged with finding out who is trying to stop a dam project, Owen finds himself sidetracked with the head engineer’s beautiful daughter.
Having lost her family, Laura seeks the father she has never known.
Those attacking the project plan to use her against her father.

We hope you enjoy these free reads. See you next Friday!

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SwitchBack by @Danika_Stone #YA #AdventureNovel @XpressoReads


Switchback
Danika Stone
Published by: Swoon Reads
Publication date: May 28th 2019
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult

An epic YA adventure story about two friends lost in the Canadian wilderness from Danika Stone, the author of All the Feels.

Vale loves to hike, but kind of hates her classmates. Ash is okay with his classmates, but kind of hates the outdoors. So, needless to say they are both fairly certain that the overnight nature hike with their PE class is going to be a hellish experience. But when they get separated from the group during a storm, they have worse things to worry about than bullies and blisters.

Lost in the Canadian wilderness with limited supplies, caught in dangerous weather conditions, and surrounded by deadly wildlife, it’s going to take every bit of strength, skill, and luck they can muster to survive.

Praise for Danika Stone:

“An enjoyable, fast-paced read.” — School Library Journal on Internet Famous

“The book is a dream. I loved absolutely everything about it. … From the chapter headers to every mention of nerd culture, All the Feels is a blast!” —Seeking Book Boyfriends on All the Feels

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / iBooks / Kobo / Google Play

 

Excerpt

Vale woke, heart pounding. Her eyes opened in the darkness of the shelter as she struggled to make sense of the strange sound that had woken her. What in the world was that?! Whatever she’d heard was nearby, but groggy from sleep, she couldn’t put a finger on its origin. Maybe it was just a dream. I could have—

“Maaa-a-a-am!”

The plaintive crying appeared a second time. It was high pitched, like a baby or perhaps a child, calling for its mother. Confused, Vale pushed herself up on one elbow. It was almost pitch black inside the lean-to—the light stick having faded into a dull green—but beyond the darkness, a circle of pre-dawn gloom appeared.

“Did you hear that, Ash?” she whispered. “Something outside in the…” She turned and her words faded as she caught sight of the bare patch behind her. She sat motionless, fear filling her like the cold that had spread through her limbs last night. “Ash?!”

He was gone.

Outside the shelter, something moved through the forest. The footsteps sounded like a person walking at a distance, or perhaps a dog moving through the snow. “Maaa-a-a-am!” the voice cried again.

“What the…?” Fighting panic, Vale struggled to pull on her coat, then crawled to the open entrance of the shelter. Her breath released as she stuck her head out the door. “Oh thank God,” she muttered.

A line of footprints headed away from the shelter, into the nearby woods. Though it wasn’t light enough to see yet, Vale suspected Ash had gone to relieve himself. Her eyes widened as she took in the scene beyond the shelter. In the hours since they’d fallen asleep, the seasons had changed. Outside the narrow opening was a winter wonderland; a heavy layer of snow covered every tree, bush, and mountain peak.

“Maaa-a-a-am!”

A branch broke and Vale jerked. From the far side of the forest, a flicker of movement drew her attention. A small shadow appeared, then another… and another. They came forward, appearing by degrees.

“Maaa-a-a-am!” the smallest called.

Vale grinned. It’s just a deer.

The fawn was half-grown. A yearling, at most, the spotted marking of babyhood half-faded on its flanks. Around it, other adult deer walked wraith-like through the trees, moving nervously away from the lean-to.

“Maaa-a-a-am!” the fawn cried again.

Vale watched, breath held, as the fawn passed directly in front of the opening of the hut. The deer held one leg up, its crooked three-legged walk causing her smile to falter. It can hardly keep up with the others. Vale leaned further out the open doorway, her gaze following the herd as they moved further into the trees, and the single fawn, trailing behind. She held her breath. Vale had never been this close to a wild animal before. She wished that Ash was here to see it too.

The fawn stumbled, then glanced back over its shoulder. Its gaze paused anxiously on the shelter, then lifted.

Vale smiled.

“Maaa-a—”

Everything happened at once: The branches directly above the lean-to shifted with a suddenness that shocked Vale into silence, a scream—like a woman’s voice melded with the roar of a lion—loud and near, broke through the wooded glade. Snow pellets smacked Vale’s face. The snow a few feet beyond the shelter exploded as a large golden animal—A cougar!—dropped from the trees straight above the lean-to and pounced on the fawn.

 

Author Bio:

Danika Stone is an author, artist, and educator who discovered a passion for writing fiction while in the throes of her Masters thesis. A self-declared bibliophile, Danika now writes novels for both teens: INTERNET FAMOUS (Macmillan, 2017) and ALL THE FEELS (Macmillan, 2016); and adults THE DARK DIVIDE (Stonehouse, 2018) and EDGE OF WILD (Stonehouse, 2016).

Ms. Stone’s work has received both recognition and literary praise. In 2017, Chapters included EDGE OF WILD in “Our Favourite Canadian Fiction”, and INTERNET FAMOUS was nominated for the R. Ross Annett Award for Children’s Literature (2018) as well as selected as one of Fierce Reads’ “9 Perfect Summertime Reads” (2017). EDGE OF WILD (previously entitled TATHAGATA) was a quarter-finalist in Amazon’s Breakthrough Novel of the Year Award (2013), a finalist in the Horatio Nelson Fiction Prize (2015), and took second place in the Publish or Perish contest (2015). ALL THE FEELS was selected for Swoon Reads’ fourth list (2015) and was nominated for YALSA’s Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers (2016), and for CYBILS’ Children’s and Young Adult Bloggers’ Literary Awards (2016).

Ms. Stone’s books have been reviewed by VOYA, Teen Reads, and School Library Journal. Danika has also featured in the BN Teen Blog, Clash, Quillable, Fierce Reads, Lethbridge Living Magazine, CJSR’s Word, and on CBC’s Daybreak.

When not writing, Danika can be found hiking in the Rockies, planning grand adventures, and spending far too much time online. She lives with her husband, three sons, and a houseful of imaginary characters in a windy corner of Alberta, Canada.

Ms. Stone is represented by Morty Mint of Mint Literary Agency.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter

 

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End of Day by @MaeClair1 #Mystery #BookReview @KensingtonBooks


The past is never truly buried…   

Generations of Jillian Cley’s family have been tasked with a strange duty—tending the burial plot of Gabriel Vane, whose body was the first to be interred in the Hode’s Hill cemetery. Jillian faithfully continues the long-standing tradition—until one October night, Vane’s body is stolen from its resting place. Is it a Halloween prank? Or something more sinister?   

As the descendants of those buried in the church yard begin to experience bizarre “accidents,” Jillian tries to uncover the cause. Deeply empathic, she does not make friends easily, or lightly. But to fend off the terror taking over her town, she must join forces with artist Dante DeLuca, whose sensitivity to the spirit world has been both a blessing and a curse. The two soon realize Jillian’s murky family history is entwined with a tragic legacy tracing back to the founding of Hode’s Hill. To set matters right, an ancient wrong must be avenged…or Jillian, Dante, and everyone in town will forever be at the mercy of a vengeful spirit.

Biography

A member of the Mystery Writers of America and International Thriller Writers, Mae loves creating character driven fiction in settings that weave contemporary elements of mystery and suspense with urban legend and folklore. Married to her high school sweetheart, she lives in Pennsylvania, and is passionate about writing, old photographs, a good Maine lobster tail and cats.

Discover more about Mae on her website, MaeClair.net

Photo by Skitterphoto on Pexels.com

My Review

Beware of powers that push the boundaries of time!

In this second installment to the Hode Hill mysteries, we learn of a horrific crime committed over two centuries ago that still holds a town in its fearsome grip today.

Jillian Cley follows a long line of ancestors whose duty it is to tend the burial plot of Hode’s Hill Cemetery’s first ‘victim‘, Gabriel Vane. But when Gabriel’s remains are stolen just days before All Hallows Eve, it unleashes a string of macabre accidents all tied to the town’s early descendants.

Coincidence? Or is something, or someone, wreaking havoc on Hode’s Hill citizens?

Jillian must use her empathic powers as she joins forces with Dante DeLuca to end a curse centuries old.

Ms. Clair does a stellar job building tension and atmosphere as she guides the reader between events of the past and the consequences to be faced when greed uncovers murder and brings mayhem to the town.

The book is filled with expressive passages that let the reader immerse themselves in the world Clair has so perfectly created.

Here are a couple of my favorites:

Gabriel Vane wiped sweat from his face and zigzagged deeper into the woods. A sliver of moon shadowed him, ghost-white behind the frantic scuttle of spider clouds.

The old hickory tree overshadowing the grave rattled its branches with a sound like bones clacking together.

I give End of Day 5+ lovely kisses- a must read mystery!