2017 Book 142: COME SUNDOWN by Nora Roberts

Come Sundown by Nora Roberts 
ISBN: 9781250123077 (hardcover)
ISBN: 9781250123107 (ebook)
ASIN: B01M4GE64D (Kindle edition)
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press 
Publication Date: May 30, 2017

A saga of love, family ties, and twisted passions from the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Obsession

The Bodine ranch and resort in western Montana is a family business, an idyllic spot for vacationers. A little over thirty thousand acres and home to four generations, it’s kept running by Bodine Longbow with the help of a large staff, including new hire Callen Skinner. There was another member of the family once: Bodine’s aunt, Alice, who ran off before Bodine was born. She never returned, and the Longbows don’t talk about her much. The younger ones, who never met her, quietly presume she’s dead. But she isn’t. She is not far away, part of a new family, one she never chose—and her mind has been shattered…

When a bartender leaves the resort late one night, and Bo and Cal discover her battered body in the snow, it’s the first sign that danger lurks in the mountains that surround them. The police suspect Cal, but Bo finds herself trusting him—and turning to him as another woman is murdered and the Longbows are stunned by Alice’s sudden reappearance. The twisted story she has to tell about the past—and the threat that follows in her wake—will test the bonds of this strong family, and thrust Bodine into a darkness she could never have imagined. 

Alice Bodine left home at age eighteen determined to see the world on her own terms. A little more than a year later, she decided to return home to the Bodine Ranch and disappeared. Her family presumes she simply never wanted to return home or maintain contact with the family. Fast-forward twenty-five years and there’s a new generation operating the Bodine Ranch, now a posh resort and ranch. Bodine “Bo” Longbow never knew her aunt and, like her brothers, presumes that her aunt is most likely dead. Bo’s current focus, along with her parents and brothers, is on continuing to operate the Bodine Ranch to the best of her abilities. Not long after a  childhood friend returns home and is hired to help manage the horses on the ranch, the body of a Bodine ranch employee is found dead and the new hire, Callan “Cal” Skinner, is considered a person-of-interest by some on the local police force. As time passes, Bo rekindles her friendship with Cal, begins to trust and rely upon him as illness causes a long-term family employee to take a leave of absence. Bo’s friendship with Cal quickly evolves into a romantic relationship. As their relationship heats up, more women disappear, and then a woman that has been gone and presumed dead turns up, Alice Bodine. No longer the free-spirited wild child of the past, this Alice has been broken. Afraid of men and one man in particular (her abductor/”husband”), the Bodines and Longbows come together to do whatever it takes to help Alice recuperate and regain some sense of self-worth and freedom. But darker forces are working in the background as the abducted women keep turning up dead, Alice’s abductor may still be at-large, and at least one law enforcement officer is willing to take the law into his own hands to see that his version of justice is done.

I found Come Sundown to be a fast-paced and engrossing read that melded the dark and twisted with the more traditional ideas of family, love, and justice. Yes, as with most Nora Roberts books, Come Sundown blends romance and suspense, but I found this story to be just a touch darker than some of her previous books (okay, it wasn’t as dark as some of the books from the In Death series). Don’t get me wrong, the dark and twisted works and works well. Come Sundown features dark themes such as abduction, serial rape, mental and physical torture, twisted ideas of marriage, family and justice, along with the more traditional notions of family, love, and romance. I could tell you more about what happens in the book, but if I did you wouldn’t need to read the book so I won’t. I will say that if you’re a Nora Roberts fan like me, you’ll definitely want to grab a copy of Come Sundown to read. If you’re a romantic-suspense fan, you’ll want to grab a copy of Come Sundown to read. If you’re looking for something a little different to read and you enjoy romance and/or suspense, then you’ll probably want to grab a copy of Come Sundown to read as well. I read Come Sundown almost two weeks ago and it’s still packing a punch. Thank you, Ms. Roberts, for another enjoyable read.

Disclaimer: I received a free print copy of this book from the publisher for review purposes. I was not paid, required, or otherwise obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Watch the book trailer:

Buy the Book

Available from          BookDepository     |     Alibris

Shop Indie Bookstores



Come Sundown

Come Sundown

Come Sundown



Come Sundown



2017 Book 160: A HOUSE WITHOUT WINDOWS by Nadia Hashimi

A House Without Windows by Nadia Hashimi 
ISBN: 9780062449658 (paperback)
ISBN: 9780062449665 (ebook)
ISBN: 9780062472632 (audiobook)
ASIN: B01825C5HK (Kindle edition)
Publisher: William Morrow 
Release Date: May 16, 2017

A vivid, unforgettable story of an unlikely sisterhood—an emotionally powerful and haunting tale of friendship that illuminates the plight of women in a traditional culture—from the author of the bestselling The Pearl That Broke Its Shell and When the Moon Is Low.

For two decades, Zeba was a loving wife, a patient mother, and a peaceful villager. But her quiet life is shattered when her husband, Kamal, is found brutally murdered with a hatchet in the courtyard of their home. Nearly catatonic with shock, Zeba is unable to account for her whereabouts at the time of his death. Her children swear their mother could not have committed such a heinous act. Kamal’s family is sure she did, and demands justice.

Barely escaping a vengeful mob, Zeba is arrested and jailed. As Zeba awaits trial, she meets a group of women whose own misfortunes have also led them to these bleak cells: thirty-year-old Nafisa, imprisoned to protect her from an honor killing; twenty-five-year-old Latifa, who ran away from home with her teenage sister but now stays in the prison because it is safe shelter; and nineteen-year-old Mezhgan, pregnant and unmarried, waiting for her lover’s family to ask for her hand in marriage. Is Zeba a cold-blooded killer, these young women wonder, or has she been imprisoned, as they have been, for breaking some social rule? For these women, the prison is both a haven and a punishment. Removed from the harsh and unforgiving world outside, they form a lively and indelible sisterhood.

Into this closed world comes Yusuf, Zeba’s Afghan-born, American-raised lawyer, whose commitment to human rights and desire to help his motherland have brought him back. With the fate of this seemingly ordinary housewife in his hands, Yusuf discovers that, like Afghanistan itself, his client may not be at all what he imagines.

A moving look at the lives of modern Afghan women, A House Without Windows is astonishing, frightening, and triumphant. 

When we first meet Zeba, she seems a typical Afghani wife and mother. She lives in a traditional, patriarchal society and knows that, as a woman, she has little if any rights that aren’t given to her by men. Found with the blood of her deceased husband on her hands and no witnesses to his death, Zeba is charged with murder. She must rely upon the system devised by men and governed by men to find justice in A House Without Windows by Nadia Hashimi.

Life in Afghanistan after the Taliban and Gulf War has not been easy for any Afghan citizens, but it is much easier for male citizens than for the female. Women are routinely imprisoned with claims of “zina” or fornication and the system is rigged such that the women are presumed guilty and must prove their innocence beyond any shadow of a doubt. Girls and women that leave abusive households are imprisoned for running away. A woman seen in the company of a man is guilty of fornication. What justice can there be in this type of society for a woman accused of killing her alcoholic and abusive husband? Zeba knows that justice may not be found for her and isn’t even willing to participate in her defense. What she does find is friendship amongst the women in the Chil Mahtab prison. It takes her awhile to acclimate to the prison environment and overcome the fears she has for her children, but slowly Zeba learns the plight of the other women sharing her cell and in the prison. 

Growing up, Zeba watched her mother practice jadu or witchcraft and vowed to never have anything to do with these practices. Once she begins to empathize and sympathize with her cellmates, she helps her young pregnant cellmate with a small spell. Even she is amazed when it works and the pregnant teen gets married to the love of her life and is released from prison. Other women in the prison quickly come to her for help and although she doesn’t promise anything, she does promise to pray for each woman in turn. Is it possible that this daughter of a witch and granddaughter of a beloved Islamic leader could possibly help others with either witchcraft or devout prayers? How can she possibly help others when she can’t even help herself?

I have read and enjoyed Ms. Hashimi’s previous books, The Pearl That Broke Its Shell and When the Moon is Low, so it wasn’t very surprising that I’d fall in love with A House Without Windows. I found this to be an engaging if not entrancing read that kept me enthralled until the last page. I simply had to know what would happen to Zeba and the others in the story. It was Zeba’s story, slowly revealed (no, I won’t tell you any more, read the book!) that kept me turning the pages, but I was just as enamored with the story of Yusuf, Zeba’s lawyer. Yusuf was born in Afghanistan and raised in America. He has returned to Afghanistan with the help of ensuring that justice is served for all not just for a select few. As am American Muslim woman, there were parts of this story that made me cringe. It was hard to reconcile the traditional cultural practices found in this story that were couched in pseudo-Islamic values with what I know as un-Islamic values and practices. Does that mean these practices don’t happen? Sadly, the answer is no. Ms. Hashimi has realistically portrayed these somewhat warped practices that occur in not just Afghanistan but across so-called Islamic societies. A House Without Windows is much more than the story of one woman and her fight for justice, it is the story of friendship and survival despite the traditional patriarchal societies these women live in. As I previously mentioned, I’ve read and thoroughly enjoyed all of Ms. Hashimi’s writings and wholeheartedly recommend you read A House Without Windows. I look forward to reading more from Ms. Hashimi in the future.

Disclaimer: I received a free print copy of this book for review purposes. I was not paid, required, or otherwise obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Meet the Author:


Photo by Chris Carter Photography

Nadia Hashimi was born and raised in New York and New Jersey. Both her parents were born in Afghanistan and left in the early 1970s, before the Soviet invasion. In 2002, Nadia made her first trip to Afghanistan with her parents. She is a pediatrician and lives with her family in the Washington, DC, suburbs.

Find out more about Nadia at her website, connect with her on Facebook, and follow her on Twitter.

This review brought to you by TLC Book Tours 

Buy The Book

Available at             BookDepository     |     Alibris


Shop Indie Bookstores



A House Without Windows: A Novel

A House without Windows



A House Without Windows

Guest Post: Susan Kandel, DREAM A LITTLE DEATH

Good morning, my bookish peeps. Today, The Book Diva’s Reads is pleased to host a visit by the best-selling mystery author Susan Kandel in celebration of her latest release, Dream A Little Death. Ms. Kandel will be discussing kitchen remodeling, mood boards, and writing inspirations. Thank you, Ms. Kandel, for your visit and taking the time to give us insight into your writing process.

             After twenty-six years of cohabiting with a dysfunctional kitchen — I’m talking drawers fused permanently shut, tiles that looked fresh when Bush Sr. was President, trashed hardwood floors you can’t walk on barefoot without getting splinters, a disposal that shoots carrot bits into the air like soggy pieces of confetti — I’m doing a remodel. With no idea how to accomplish this goal short of throwing myself at the mercy of a minimum-wage employee at Ikea, I hightailed it over to the local fancy kitchen showroom, where I was greeted by a decidedly not minimum-wage designer sporting a one-shouldered silk dress, kitten-heeled mules, and perfectly highlighted blond waves.

            “How might I be of service?” the woman asked.

            You could tell me where you get your hair cut, and do an edit of my closet.     

            “I’m looking for ideas,” I said haltingly. “I’m remodeling my kitchen. I think maybe the appliances are okay. They’re stainless steel. And less than fifteen years old. But everything else is a disaster.”

            Sensing she was dealing with a novice, the woman, whose name was (of course) Fabienne, led me over to her desk and sat me down with a coffee. A double espresso, actually, made with a gleaming machine from Italy that I was suddenly desperate to buy, even if it meant forgoing a mortgage payment.

            Fabienne began by asking me if I’d heard of Pinterest. I had, vaguely, though when it comes to new ideas for using the computer to make life easier, I usually duck for cover. Fabienne explained that she always tells her clients to get started on their remodels by getting onto Pinterest, finding boards to follow, choosing one board from an individual or following all of that person’s boards, then moving on to creating their own boards, deciding if they’re public or private, blah, blah, blah.

            At that point, despite the double espresso, I must’ve looked weak and unfocused because Fabienne took my by the shoulder and said, “Have you ever heard of a mood board? That’s all I’m talking about.”         

            Well, why didn’t you say so?

            Mood boards are my everything.

            People always ask writers how they get their ideas, and how they organize them into novels with beginnings, middles, and ends. For me, the beginnings are always the most challenging, and that is where my mood boards come in.

            In my garage-cum-office, I keep an enormous clippings file. Inside there are stories from newspapers and magazines that have caught my interest over the years, about anything from “faux mitzvahs” to the woman accused of faking her own kidnapping to the sordid confessions of a “honey trapper,” who, I learned, is someone paid to come on to men to see if they’ll cheat. Dig a little deeper into my file and there are pages ripped out of fashion magazines, of the outlandish, sometimes demure, sometimes elegant-beyond-measure outfits that at one time or another inspired me to wonder, “Who is that girl?” Deeper still are pictures of charged objects that may or may not wind up as Maguffins: a red lipstick (a clue?); a rare Nancy Drew 1st edition (a motive?); a unicorn Frappucino (in the hand of a sorority president type?); a black ice cream cone with dark chocolate ice cream and dark chocolate sprinkles (in the hands of the perpetually angry sister who just might want to do away with her?) There are fortunes from fortune cookies that seem like novels in themselves (“Your luck has entirely changed today”). And finally there are postcards of places and settings interesting enough to want to write about: Bugsy Siegel’s former gambling hideaway in Lake Arrowhead; the tattoo parlor around the corner from my house; the unexpected lake in the middle of Echo Park; an historic Spanish-Moroccan castle in Los Feliz; Raymond Chandler’s favorite restaurant on Hollywood Blvd.; Cher’s over-the-top Beverly Hills mansion.

            Perhaps you’re getting the idea. When I am starting a new book, the first place I look is in my file. I start pulling out clippings and pictures, arranging them on a large corkboard that covers an entire wall of my office, and seeing what kinds of associations they trigger, how they play off of one another, what kinds of stories they might tell. In my previous life, I was an art critic and would spend my days looking at paintings, sculptures, photographs and installations, trying to translate what the artist does visually into a story I can tell in words. I suppose old habits die hard, because this is in many ways exactly how I go about my work as a fiction writer. I begin with the visual, and work my way into the verbal.

            Back to Fabienne at the kitchen showroom. I walked out of there without the espresso maker, but with a promise to myself to get onto Pinterest as soon as I got home. That was a year ago. Maybe by the time you are reading this, you will find me there. Or maybe not. I suppose some things — including my still-broken garbage disposal — are meant to forever remain mysteries.

Dream A Little Death

by Susan Kandel

on Tour May 23 – June 23, 2017


Dream A Little Death by Susan Kandel

From critically acclaimed author Susan Kandel comes a charming new mystery featuring Dreama Black and a cast of zany LA-based characters.

The first time I set eyes on Miles McCoy, I worried he might try to eat me. He was the size and girth of a North American grizzly, with long, silver-tipped hair, a long silver-tipped beard, and small dark eyes that bore into me like I was a particularly fine specimen of Chinook salmon. It couldn’t have helped that I’d used a honey scrub the morning we met. I should’ve known better. Not just about the scrub, but about a lot of things.

Like braving the freeway during rush hour.

Like thinking you can’t get a ticket for parking at a broken meter.

Like racing up to his penthouse in gladiator sandals, and expecting not to twist an ankle.

Like watching his fiancée shoot herself, and assuming it was suicide, instead of murder.

Meet Dreama Black. A 28-year-old, third-generation groupie trying to figure out who she is after being publicly dumped by the rock god whose mega-hit, “Dreama, Little Dreama” made the name and the girl world-famous. Now Dreama supports herself by running custom-designed, themed tours of her hometown of L.A. When she is hired by a Raymond Chandler-obsessed rap producer to create a “L.A. noir” tour as his present to his soon-to-be bride, Dreama gets pulled into the middle of a possible murder, corrupt cops, and an unforgettable pair of femme fatales.

Book Details:

Genre: Mystery/Thriller
Published by: Witness Impulse
Publication Date: May 23rd 2017
Number of Pages: 304
ISBN: 0062674994 (ISBN13: 9780062674999)
Series: A Dreama Black Mystery, 1
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

Author Bio:

An Agatha, Edgar, and SCIBA nominee, Susan Kandel is the author of the nationally best-selling and critically acclaimed Cece Caruso series, the most recent of which, Dial H for Hitchcock (Morrow), was named by NPR as one of the five best mysteries of the year. A Los Angeles native, she was trained as an art historian, taught at NYU and UCLA, and spent a decade as an art critic at the Los Angeles Times. When not writing, she volunteers as a court-appointed advocate for foster children, and loves to explore secret, forgotten, and kitschy L.A. She lives with her husband in West Hollywood.

Catch Up With Our Author On:

Website, Goodreads, Twitter, & Facebook!

Tour Participants:

Here’s Your Chance to WIN!

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Susan Kandel and Harper Collins. There will be 5 winners of one (1) eBook copy of Dream A Little Death by Susan Kandel. The giveaway begins on May 23rd and runs through June 27th, 2017.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Book Showcase: WEAVE A MURDEROUS WEB by Anne Rothman-Hicks and Ken Hicks

Weave a Murderous Web by Anne Rothman-Hicks and Ken Hicks 
ISBN: 9781680462524 (paperback)
ISBN: 9781680462517 (ebook)
ASIN: B01CDMB72W (Kindle edition)
Publisher: Melange Books, LLC. 
Release Date: March 8, 2016

No good deed goes unpunished. When Jane Larson—a hot-shot litigator for a large firm in New York City—helps out a friend, she is sucked into the unfamiliar world of divorce and child support. 

Jane’s discovery of the deadbeat dad’s hidden assets soon unravels a web of lies, drugs, and murder that keeps getting more dangerous. 

Soon, Jane is involved in a high stakes race to recover a missing suitcase of cashhigh-stakesthe murderer before she becomes the next victim. 


“A sleuthing lawyer returns to the streets of New York in this mystery of drugs, murder, and financial skullduggery… the husband-wife team of Rothman-Hicks and Hicks has again produced a fast-paced, engaging story… overall, this is a satisfying read. An enjoyable romp involving a shady attorney and the mob that should make readers look forward to the next Jane Larson caper.” – Kirkus 

Weave a Murderous Web involves a hotshot Wall Street lawyer who is a sassy, cynical New Yorker through and through. To help out a friend, she gets involved in a seamy matrimonial case that quickly pulls her into a vortex of murder, drugs, and dangerous games of deception.” – The Big Thrill 

Read an excerpt:

Weave A Murderous Web 

Chapter One

I was in my office at Adams & Ridge talking on the telephone when Francine entered. At the moment, my friend, Lee, was on the other end of the wire, yakking up a storm in my ear. Her rant covered already familiar terrain. My man, my David, was drifting dangerously away from me while I did nothing to win him back. As we say around the courts, Oy. 

Francine tiptoed forward and placed on my desk a two-day-old copy of The Daily News opened to the item concerning Mark Samuels’ death. 

“I gotta go, Lee,” I said. 

While Francine waited for me, she had backed into a corner of my office, leaned against the wall, and tried to make her six feet of lanky body less noticeable. Two large metal buttons were pinned to her heavily braided cotton sweater. One read Stop Fracking New York and the other protested against the annual Canadian seal hunt with a scarlet X through an image of a baby seal whose brains had been battered to a pink pulp. 

I pointed at the newspaper and gave her a questioning glance, but she quickly averted her eyes to stare at the floor. 

“Have you been listening to me at all?” Lee demanded. Her voice rose to a kind of exasperated wail. “David has been dating someone. I think he may be getting serious.” 

“David was born serious, Lee,” I said. 

“Stop it, Jane,” she shouted so I had to hold the phone away from my ear. Even Francine raised an eyebrow. “You know what I mean.” 

“I’m sorry, Lee.” 

“I don’t understand why you’re taking this so nonchalantly. You know you still love him. You could get back together in a heartbeat if you’d just spend a tenth as much time on a relationship as you spend on your career.” 

“I’m a lawyer, Lee. Not a—” 

A sharp intake of breath followed. “Not a baby maker?” Lee demanded. Anger replaced the plaintive wail. “Is that what you were going to say?” 

Would I ever admit that the word had been on the tip of my tongue? 

“No. I was going to say, ‘not a librarian’, or the owner of some other nine-to-five job. The hours come with the territory, Lee. David knows that, but deep down in that wonderful heart of his, he also thinks the hours spent at the office are A-okay for the guy, but not for the girl. In any event, Martha didn’t raise her daughter to compete over a man.” 

The sound of a whale breaching the surface erupted from the phone.

“You’re maddening, Jane.” 

“No, I’m busy,” I replied. 

Lee sighed. “Well, I have to go too. Laurie is home sick and I’m taking her to the doctor. We’ll talk more later, Jane. I’m not going to sit back and let this happen to my two best friends in the world. I’m going to fight, Jane.” 

“Goodbye, Lee.” 

She disconnected. 

Actually, I wasn’t busy at all, or I wouldn’t have spent even that much time on the phone being lectured by Lee. She’s an old friend from Columbia Law, but enough is enough. 

A major litigation I had been working on had settled just a day before and the client and powers-that-be at Adams & Ridge were very happy with me—especially Seymour Ridge. The old man himself had hammered out the settlement shortly after I made the CEO of the party suing our client look like a doofus on the witness stand. So, I had some time on my hands until I was given another assignment. 
More to the point, I wanted to know why Francine was still standing in my office, staring at the tips of her shoes. She was a legal assistant with the firm. I had gotten her the job. However, she didn’t work on any of my cases. That was a rule I had laid down from the beginning. 

“Hello, Francine,” I said. 

“Hi, Jane.” She looked up shyly, smiled her timid smile, gave a meaningful glance in the direction of the paper and resumed looking at her shoes. I had known her for so long that she was more like a relative than a friend, in the sense that one does not choose one’s relatives. She was really really shy but also effective in getting her way with me. I read the article. 

It was as depressing as I had expected. Mark Samuels was a single practitioner who worked out of a small office above a bodega on 116th Street. He wasn’t married and had no family to speak of. The exact date and hour of his demise were uncertain. The body was discovered only after fellow inhabitants of his East Village apartment house reported a foul odor during the last week in June when a heat wave had sent temperatures rising into the high nineties. Those same conditions had made his remains swell like a balloon in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. 

How can a person die without anyone knowing for a week or ten days? Did he have no friend or family member who cared to check on him? Were all of them as completely egotistical as he was? 

The cause of death, however, was easy to determine. When the cops broke down his door, three short fat lines of cocaine were still in place on the old-fashioned hand mirror Mark used to chop the drug fine enough to snort. The coroner confirmed Mark died of severe heart arrhythmia, which is to say his ticker skipped a few too many beats before stopping altogether. Testing of the merchandise showed the stuff he’d inhaled had been nearly pure—several times the strength of what is normally available on the street. As the cops put it, either he had chosen to depart this green orb flying on nose powder or he was inordinately careless. I suppose it didn’t much matter which alternative was true. The result was the same. An overdose had killed him. 

I looked up warily, unwilling to reveal I had the slightest interest in the entire subject. 

“Why are you showing this to me, Francine,” I asked. 

“Didn’t you know Mark when you worked for Legal Services for the Poor?” 

Did she expect me to burst into tears? 

“Yeah,” I said, “and he was just as big a screw-up then. They put him in the Family Law area because he could do the least harm there. At least no one could lose their apartment or get sent to jail because of him.” 

Francine winced. You might think this resulted from a superstitious aversion to speaking ill of the dead. You would be wrong. Francine had an aversion to speaking ill both of the living and the dead. 

“He kept doing matrimonial work after he left Legal Services,” Francine added. She nodded, as if agreeing with her own words, then fell into silence. Silence was her friend. 

“And?” I said. 

Francine pulled up her sweater, which was being dragged low by those protest buttons and exposing her collarbones and the top of her boney chest. Her stringy hair, a field mouse brown, had no discernible style. She had never chosen to master the art of makeup despite my efforts with pencil, rouge, and lipstick back when we were teenagers. The only jewelry she now wore was a pendulous locket with gold thread tying it together. She said she’d purchased it in a wild moment at an uptown thrift shop. Of course, those buttons and their slogans were a kind of jewelry, I suppose, in that jewelry also says, “Look at me. This is what I am.” 

Francine smiled at her shoes and continued. “Well, he had a client, Gail Hollings, who is a very good friend of mine, Jane, and—” 

Now I saw where this was going. “Would this friend of yours be in need of a lawyer?” 

“She’s in an awful fix, Jane. She has a court appearance at two o’clock this afternoon. She gave Mark three thousand dollars, which was all she could scrape together. She has no money left at all.” 

“Ridge will be glad to hear that. No money. Great.” 

Francine rummaged in the front pocket of her cargo pants, pulled out a wallet, and then drew from inside it a picture of a young child with long blond pigtails that dwarfed her diminutive round face but did not steal the scene from her toothy grin. 

“She has a little girl,” Francine added, glancing from the snapshot to me and back again to emphasize her point. 

“No money, no lawyer, and a kid. This just keeps getting better, doesn’t it?” 

My mother, Martha, who insists I call her by her first name, always says Francine faces a bright future if Jesus’ prediction about the meek is really true. Believe me, the meek have power, especially over those of us with guilt. Martha would love that. Guilt. I was like a fish nibbling at a big juicy worm and getting closer and closer to the hook. Francine was the fisherwoman, waiting patiently for the slightest pull on the line. 

“Look, you know I can’t take on this case, Francine. However, I have some free time today, so I can at least go down to court and adjourn the matter until we can find someone to help Gail and little…” 

“Courtney,” Francine said with a rush of breath that made the name seem like a prayer. An expression filled her eyes that reminded me of an early Renaissance image of a martyr at the moment of supreme sacrifice, pain mixed with a kind of bliss that seems to make it all worthwhile. 

The hook was set. That much was obvious. Francine had only to slowly reel me in. 

I opened a drawer and pulled out a legal pad to record the names of mother and daughter. 

“There’s just one thing maybe you should know,” Francine said. 

My pencil poised in midair and then wrote “one thing” with an exclamation point. I still have that piece of paper in the top drawer of my desk. 


“Well, Carmen Ruiz has kind of taken an interest in this because of the women’s rights angle and what happened to Mark and all.” 

“Carmen Ruiz? Last time I heard of her, she was spending time at a fat farm.” 

This was code. Everyone knew that the ‘fat farm,’ as I had injudiciously put it, was also a place where people could lose other bad habits, such as drugs. 

Francine winced again and swallowed hard. “That’s unkind, Jane.” 
Chalk one up for the meek. 

“You’re right, Francine. How is Carmen doing?” 

“She’s got a new gig on cable. One of the local news stations.” 

I nodded. I was safe from unkind remarks if I kept my mouth shut. At one time the cognoscenti had called Carmen the “female Wolf Blitzer” because she had enjoyed asking the hard questions, especially of men who were not used to being pushed around. The fact that she had the flashing good looks of a gypsy queen didn’t hurt, but now she was scuffling on cable news. 

“She said she called you a couple of times.” 

“Yeah, well, I’ve been busy.” 

I was on the verge of getting back the advantage, never easy in a conversation with humanitarian types like Francine, especially if your mother always places such types on a pedestal, a very high pedestal. 
Martha has not been affiliated with any organized religion since her mind began to function at age eleven. Still, she shares Jesus’ distrust of wealth and is fond of quoting both his advice to sell all you have and give it to the poor and his adage that it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. 

“You don’t even believe in Jesus,” I argue. 

“I don’t have to believe in Jesus as God to know he’s telling the truth,” she retorts. 

When I had accepted the job at Adams & Ridge, Carmen had had some unkind things to say to mutual friends about my going for the gold. Her whole premise that Martha’s goodness had gotten lost in one generation to my grabbiness had cut a bit too close to the bone. I hadn’t forgotten. 

“Carmen’s working on a series about children and the courts,” Francine said. “Kids falling into poverty are a very big problem.” 

“I’m aware of the problem, Francine. I’ll skip over the question of what has made Carmen give a good hoot in hell about children all of a sudden. What does any of this have to do with that coke-head Mark?” 

“Oh, nothing much. Nothing at all really.” 

She was hedging, worried that the prospect of helping Carmen might have made me shut the whole thing down before it ever began. 

“Go on, Francine.” 

“It’s just… she knew Mark fairly well and doesn’t think his death was accidental. She says Mark did drugs too much to do something that stupid.” 

“So she thinks he did it on purpose? Is that it? He committed suicide over the predicament of his client and child?” 

“Not exactly,” Francine said. 

In hindsight I can see clearly how nonchalant she wanted to seem, playing with the gold locket and dropping it inside her sweater, glancing in the direction of the window as if a pretty bird had alighted there. 

“Carmen thinks Mark was murdered.”

Excerpt from Weave a Murderous Web by Ann Rothman-Hicks and Ken Hicks. 
Copyright © 2016 by Ann Rothman-Hicks and Ken Hicks. 
Reproduced with permission. All rights reserved.

Meet the Authors:

Anne Rothman-Hicks and Kenneth Hicks have been collaborating on books for forty-six years.  Their first joint effort was a student project while Anne was at Bryn Mawr College and Ken attended Haverford. Since then, they have written over twenty books together. They are members of International Thriller Writers. They live and work in New York City, where many of their books are set. 

Their Jane Larson series of mystery/thrillers involves a high-powered New York City attorney with a penchant for getting involved in situations that she would be better off leaving alone. These novels have been praised by reviewers for their gritty portrayals of city life, lively characters, fast action, surprise endings and highly polished prose. Jane is cynical and rebellious, but she finds herself drawn to the simple life her deceased mother lived as an attorney who served women unable to afford legal services. The first two books in the series are Weave A Murderous Web and Praise Her, Praise Diana, both published by Melange Books, LLC. A third novel, Mind Me, Milady, will be published in early 2017.

Connect with the authors:    Blog     |     Facebook     |     Twitter 

Enter the Weave a Murderous Web giveaway for your chance to win a copy of this book (winner’s choice of print or Kindle version). This is an international giveaway sponsored by Book Publicity Services. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This showcase and giveaway brought to you by Book Publicity Services 

Buy The Book

Shop Indie Bookstores



Weave a Murderous Web



Guest Post: Kurt Kamm, author of CODE BLOOD

Hello my bookish peeps. Today the Book Diva’s Reads is pleased to host a visit by Kurt Kamm, author of Code Blood, The Lizard’s Tale, and more. Mr. Kamm will be discussing his insight on how “not to” write a novel. Without further adieu, I give you Kurt Kamm.


It’s important to have a plot before you start writing a novel—right? Can you set out to write 60,000 – 80,000 words without having a detailed story in mind? What about the characters? Shouldn’t you have a complete list, along with an outline of their personalities and physical descriptions? What about the twists and turns in the story, and the surprise ending? Shouldn’t you have that on paper before you start?

Maybe. Maybe not.

I have read that some mystery writers develop incredibly detailed plot outlines before starting their novels. Some even supposedly plan every chapter and each event within the chapter. When I began writing Code Blood, I had resolved to develop a detailed outline before beginning to write, but found that I simply could not do it. I started with nothing more than a basic plot idea. All I have ever been able capable of is beginning with is a rough idea—in Code Blood, a woman’s foot is severed in an accident and the paramedics are unable to find it. I knew that I wanted to have two main characters – Colt the sensitive rookie paramedic, and Markus the weirdo who steals the foot from the scene of the accident. With that in mind, I sat down and began writing.

I have found that my plots unfold as I begin to write. This is where imagination comes into play. You start with a few words about what is happening, and the action begins to unfold. You are drawn into it and begin to visualize what comes next. The same applies to my characters. I always begin with a couple of two-dimensional individuals and see what happens when the action starts. Very quickly they fill out. They begin to live their own lives, make their own decisions, bring their own friends and enemies into the story, and create their own crises. At that point, I become no more than their mouthpiece—they determine their own courses of action and tell me what to put down on paper. Sometimes they get into a lot of trouble, or back themselves into a corner. They are often sad, frightened, or broke. Then they appeal to me to help them out. Sometimes I get annoyed, how could one of my characters get into such a mess? But I have to help out. After all, I created them.

I won’t tell you that this is a perfect process—there is a lot of cutting, pasting, and revision. But it works. Sometimes I may have to stop writing for days at a time and just try to think through what will happen next in the story. Usually, if I concentrate on my character’s personalities, and think about what they would do, the solution becomes apparent.


In Code Blood, Markus, a medical records technician, is obsessed with finding Bombay Blood, the rarest blood type in the world. This leads him into all kinds of delicious and dangerous predicaments. Hes also very weird, uses painkillers, and collects body parts.

Markus handed Alexei the manila envelope with the cash. I want a hand, a womans hand, and imagined all the things he could do with it. He thought of his mother and felt her soft, fleshy hands caressing him.

Is not so simple. Alexei opened the envelope and looked inside. I cannot run downstairs and get hand. I match supply and demand for whole body. You choose left or right, but not man or woman.

Is a left hand cheaper?

Yes, left is cheaper. Is still another $1,200, payment on delivery. You take male or female, whatever comes. People dont die so often in summer. Everybody outside, having fun, no time for death. I give you couple days notice.

At the same time, Colt is a rookie paramedic who is a good, wholesome guy. How far does good and wholesome get you when you start to uncover the dark truth about a beautiful accident victim who dies in your arms?

“I’m still getting used being responsible for whether a person lives or dies,” Colt said. “What if I screw up and make a mistake? What if I forget to do something?” Colt got up and looked out through one of the small windows in the kitchen. “Like yesterday. That girl, Bibi, was lying on the pavement and her foot’s cut off. There’s no one with her and she’s looking at me with those deep blue eyes. So I tell her everything’s gonna be OK.”

“You do everything you can,” Captain Ames said, “but if you cant pull it off, it’s not your fault. You can’t perform miracles. You’re gonna lose some people.”

I find that as the novel progresses, it builds momentum, and about halfway through, I am suddenly immersed in a complex story with multiple individuals. During the day, when I am not writing, I often think about each character, and try to imagine what he (she) is thinking and doing.

By the end of the novel, I am close friends with most of my characters, and I often miss them when I finish writing about them. When I look back on each story, I am often amazed at the number of twists and turns, and the events that I never could have imagined at the beginning.


I hope you will enjoy reading Code Blood.

Code Blood

by Kurt Kamm

on Tour April 1 – May 31, 2017


Code Blood by Kurt Kamm

Colt Lewis, a rookie fire paramedic, is obsessed with finding the severed foot of his first victim after she dies in his arms. His search takes him into the connected lives of a graduate research student, with the rarest blood in the world and the vampire fetishist who is stalking her. Within the corridors of high-stakes medical research laboratories, the shadow world of body parts dealers, and the underground Goth clubs of Los Angeles, Lewis uncovers a tangled maze of needles, drugs and maniacal ritual, all of which lead to death. But whose death? An unusual and fast-paced LA Noir thriller.

Book Details:

Genre: Suspense, Vampire

Published by: MCM Publishing

Publication Date: October 2012

Number of Pages: 233

ISBN: 0979855136 (ISBN13: 9780979855139)

Series: Code Blood is a Stand Alone Novel
Purchase Links:  Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

Code Blood Literary Awards:

  • Writers Type – First Chapter Competition. January 2011- First Place

  • 2012 International Book Awards – Fiction: Cross Genre Category – First Place

  • National Indie Excellence Book Awards – Faction (fiction based on fact) – Winner of the 2012 Award

  • The 2012 USA Best Book Awards – Fiction: Horror – Winner

  • LuckyCinda Publishing Contest 2013 First Place – Thriller

  • Reader’s Favorite 2013– Finalist – Horror Fiction

  • Knoxville Writers Guild – 2011 Novella or Novel Excerpt – 2nd Place

  • Read an excerpt:

    Colt heard a small chopper. It sounded like a lawnmower. He knew it couldnt be the AirSquad and looked up. A news helicopter circled overhead. He saw another coming up the coast from Los Angeles. In minutes, news crews in vans would arrive, extend their satellite transmission poles, broadcast pictures of the accident and fan out to find people to interview. In the process, several spectators would have a moment of fame on Los Angeles network television. The accident would be a good lead-in on the 11:00 p.m. Sunday night news, but the anchors would be disappointed that a Malibu celebrity wasnt involved.

    Moose joined them with the backboard and laid it down next to the girls body.

    Brian checked the C-spine. Ready guys? On my count.

    The men prepared to roll the girl on her side.

    Be careful, Colt said.

    Brian gave Colt a quick look and said, One, two, three.

    In unison, they rolled her onto her side, Moose pushed the board in toward her and the men laid her back onto it.

    Colt thought he heard her utter a faint moan. While Brian secured the head brace and straps across her body and prepared her for transport across the beach, he looked at her bloodied leg again. Wheres the foot? he shouted. Does someone have her foot? She still wore one delicate leather sandal.

    We cant find the sucker, one of the deputies told Colt.

    Cant find it? Hows that possible? Colt said. The girl needed her foot. They had to ice it down before the tissue started to die. It might be reattached. It has to be here somewhere. He went over to the damaged pickup.

    The driver of the truck sat with his head down, behind the metal screen in the back seat of a black and white. A sheriffs deputy stood outside, questioning him through the window and writing on his notepad. Colt interrupted. Wheres the foot? He was met with a shrug and a blank stare from the deputy. Colt looked at the driver of the pickup, a man about his own age, and hated him.

    Colt walked around the pickup. Glass shards from a headlight and pieces of plastic lay on the ground. He knelt in a pool of green coolant dripping from the smashed radiator and looked under the front of the truck. The foot wasnt there. He stood up and looked around.

    Thirty or forty people stood in the parking lot watching the activity.

    Excerpt from Code Blood by Kurt Kamm. Copyright © 2012 by Kurt Kamm. Reproduced with permission from Kurt Kamm. All rights reserved.

    Author Bio:

    Kurt Kamm

    Malibu, California resident Kurt Kamm has written a series of firefighter mystery novels which have won several literary awards. He is also the author of The Lizard’s Tale, which provides a unique look inside the activities of the Mexican drug cartels and the men dedicated to stopping them.

    Kurt has used his contacts with several California fire departments, as well as with the ATF and DEA to write fact-based (“faction”) novels.

    In his chilling and suspenseful multi-award winning novel, Code Blood, Kurt takes the reader into the connected lives of a fire paramedic, a Chinese research student with the rarest blood type in the world, and the blood-obsessed killer who stalks her.

    Colt Lewis, a young Los Angeles County fire paramedic responds to a fatal accident. The victim dies in his arms. Her foot has been severed but is nowhere to be found. Who is the woman, and what happened to her foot? During a weeklong search, Colt risks his career to find the victim’s identity and her missing foot. His search leads him to a dark and disturbing side of Los Angeles…an underworld of body part dealers and underground Goth clubs. He uncovers a tangled maze of drugs, needles, and rituals.

    Emergency medicine, high-tech medical research, and the unsettling world of blood fetishism and body parts make for an edgy L.A. Noir thriller.

    Kurt has built an avid fan base among first responders and other readers. A graduate of Brown University and Columbia Law School, Kurt was previously a financial executive and semi-professional bicycle racer. He was also Chairman of the UCLA/Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center Foundation for several years.

    Visit his author website at kurtkamm.com & on Facebook!

    Tour Participants:

    The Partners in Crime Blogging Team is loving the Code Blood Tour! Check out the other interviews, guest posts, reviews, and Giveaways!



    This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Kurt Kamm. There will be 1 winner of one (1) $20 Amazon.com Gift Card. The giveaway begins on March 30 and runs through May 1, 2017.


    2017 Book 144: CROSSING THE STREET by Molly D. Campbell

    Crossing the Street by Molly D. Campbell 
    ISBN: 9781611882483 (paperback)
    ISBN: 9781945839054 (ebook)
    ASIN: B06XH34GLC (Kindle edition)
    Publisher: Fiction Studio Books | The Story Plant 
    Release Date: May 9, 2017

    This wasn’t the way Beck Throckmorton had planned it. She wasn’t expecting to find herself in her thirties writing erotica and making flat whites for a living while she stewed over that fact that her ex had wound up with her sister. She never saw herself living in a small suburban Ohio town with an octogenarian neighbor best friend. And she definitely wouldn’t have imagined the eight-year-old great-granddaughter of that friend turning her world upside down. 

    As summer comes around, Beck’s life is unsettled in every way. And that s before the crazy stuff starts: the sister taunting her with her pregnancy, the infuriatingly perfect boyfriend, the multiple trips to the emergency room. The needy, wise-beyond-her-years little girl finding places in her heart that Beck didn’t even know existed. Beck has found herself at an emotional intersection she never anticipated. And now it’s time to cross the street. Crossing the Street is a funny, touching novel that brims with life’s complexities. Filled with characters both distinctive and welcomingly familiar, it is a story that will entertain and enlighten.  

    Rebecca “Beck” Throckmorton decided at a very early age that she didn’t want children. Her one serious relationship ended because he wanted children and she didn’t. Unfortunately for Beck, he then decided to marry and have children with Beck’s sister. Now Beck is a thirty-something-year-old author of women’s erotic fiction, part-time barista, cat owner, and her life has stalled. One of her best friends is an octogenarian, Ella, and her other best friend, Gail, she’s known since elementary school. It’s bad enough that Beck’s sister Diana married the one-that-got-away and is now pregnant, Beck’s friend Ella is now guardian to a lively eight-year-old girl. Crossing the Street by Molly D. Campbell is the story of the twists-and-turns in life, the complications of friendship and family, and love.

    I found Crossing the Street to be a fast-paced, quick, and enjoyable read. I liked Beck despite all of her drama. I fell in love with eight-year-old Bob (Roberta). For someone that doesn’t want children and is mad at her sister, Beck does an admirable job of stepping up and taking care of her eight-year-old neighbor, her infant nephew, and her sister. There were parts of this story that made me smile, parts that made me laugh (Beck describing her “blind dates” set up by Gail is priceless), and parts that brought a tear to my eye (almost everything dealing with Bob’s past). Although classified as women’s fiction, I don’t think Crossing the Street can be classified as just one type of story as it is part coming-of-age (for Beck), part family saga, part love story (not romantic love but familial and friendship love), part tragedy, and part comedy. Ms. Campbell has created characters and action that are realistic and wholly believable. I wholeheartedly recommend you grab a copy of Crossing the Street if you’re looking for something to read that’s just a little bit different. I enjoyed reading Crossing the Street and look forward to reading more from Ms. Campbell. 

    Disclaimer: I received a free digital copy of this book via Providence Book Promotions for review purposes. I was not paid, required, or otherwise obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

    Crossing the Street

    by Molly D. Campbell

    on Tour May 9 – July 7, 2017

    Crossing the Street by Molly D. Campbell

    Book Details

    Genre: Women’s Fiction
    Published by: The Story Plant
    Publication Date: May 9, 2017
    Number of Pages: 290

    Purchase Crossing the Street on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Goodreads

    Read an excerpt:

    My life isn’t exactly bright and shiny. My name is Rebecca Throckmorton. I live in a small town, and I muddle along as best I can. Four scenes from my world:

    Scene one: I am at the grocery store. Aimlessly wandering down the produce aisle, looking at the grocery list, as usual, in my mother’s elegant hand. What the hell is a rutabaga, and why do we need one? Suddenly, I see my father, who is long gone from our family—divorce. He is wearing a gold golf shirt, his khaki slacks, crisp and unwrinkled. His hair from the back is a bit silvery, as I am sure it would be after being away from our family for all these years. My heart lurches—He’s back! He came back! I abandon my cart and nearly bowl over a woman studying kiwis, knocking the one in her hand to the ground. I don’t even stop to apologize, because my dad. I come up behind him, breathe in his cologne—yup, Eau de Sauvage. I reach out to touch his shoulder, and he turns around. I gasp. The man is definitely not Dexter Throckmorton. Instead of a Roman nose, this guy has a schnozz. There is awful hair growing out of his nostrils. His eyes are not velvety and black, like my father’s—they are a watery gray and clouded with cataracts. He hears me gasp and asks, “Do I know you?” I abandon the rutabaga and rush out of the store, grocery list still crushed between my fingers.

    Scene two: My sister’s wedding. I am wearing a sleeveless, misty green satin dress with two small lines of silver sequins along the bodice. The misty green is reflected in my coloring and makes me look slightly vomitous. I feel about to vomit, since my sister Diana is marrying my former boyfriend, Bryan Dallas, who stands at the end of the aisle, beaming, his horn rims polished so highly I worry that he might start a fire with their refractions into the balcony. As D comes down the aisle on my mother’s arm (see divorce, above), my mother looking for all the world like an aging Audrey Hepburn in a slender tube of taupe silk, I look down at my bouquet and stifle the impulse to hurl it in my sister’s smug, highly-made-up-with-false-eyelashes-and-dewy-lip-gloss face.

    Scene three: Me and my girlfriend, Ella Bowers. I sit with her in front of the TV. We like to watch really old reruns of Lawrence Welk that I found for her on the Family Network. Ella pats down her soft, fluffy lavender white hair, and every time Myron Floren comes on comments how much her mother “just loved that man and his accordion.” I nod and agree, because I don’t intend to hurt her feelings—Ella is eighty-three, and I don’t want her to get riled up and have a stroke. I notice my cut glass tumbler of iced tea is empty, and I offer to go into the kitchen of her cozy bungalow and get us each some more.

    Scene four: My day job and what really pays the bills. I get home from my part-time job at Starbucks at four. I stretch, try to do the downward facing dog, and fail, as usual, about three quarters of the way down. My cat, Simpson, ambles over for a purr, and then I go and pee, change into sweats, and sit down at my computer, where I pound out a scene in which four orgasms occur within the space of twenty minutes between Travis and Crystal, who are extremely talented genitally. My latest book, Boys on the Beach, is under contract and due at my publisher in two months. When I think about this, sweat pools into the cups of my bra, because I am behind schedule, and erotica pays the bills, not venti lattes.

    There you have it.

    Author Bio:

    Molly D. Campbell

    Molly D. Campbell is a two-time Erma Bombeck Writing Award winner and the author of one previous novel, Keep the Ends Loose. Molly blogs at http://mollydcampbell.com. Also an artist, Molly’s work can be found at http://www.cafepress.com/notexactlypicasso. Molly lives in Dayton with her accordionist husband and four cats.

    Catch Up With Molly: Website | Twitter | Facebook

    Tour Host Participants:

    Here’s Your Chance to WIN!


    This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Providence Book Promotions for Molly D. Campbell and The Story Plant. There will be 1 winner of 1 Amazon.com Gift Card AND 3 winners of 1 eBook copy of KEEP THE ENDS LOOSE by Molly D. Campbell. The giveaway begins on May 1st and runs through July 8th, 2017. This giveaway is for US residents only. Void where prohibited by law.

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    Visit Providence Book Promotions for more great reads!

    Book Spotlight: SAPPHIRE PAVILION by David E. Grogan

    Sapphire Pavilion by David E. Grogan 
    ISBN: 9781603816038 (paperback)
    ISBN: 9781603816045 (ebook)
    ASIN: B0713MBCCS (Kindle edition)
    Publisher: Camel Press 
    Release Date: May 1, 2017

    Steve Stilwell’s former Navy JAG Corps buddy Ric Stokes has been jailed for possession of heroin in Vietnam. He was found in the same room with his traveling companion Ryan Eversall, dead of an overdose and in the company of a prostitute. Steve knows his friend is a straight arrow. Was he set up? If so, for what reason? Steve travels to Ho Chi Minh City in search of the truth.

    In no time Steve is targeted by the people who framed his friend. A beautiful young American businesswoman insinuates her way into the case. Can she really help, or is she just a dangerous distraction? Ric and Ryan came to Vietnam in search of an Air Force transport plane that disappeared in 1968. The pilot was Ryan’s father. Before the heroin bust, they had located the wreckage. Ryan’s notebook, which Steve manages to obtain, spells out the exact location. Ryan’s widow has given Steve’s associate Casey another piece of valuable evidence, a file labeled “Sapphire Pavilion.” Someone is willing to go to any lengths to steal both the notebook and the file. 

    From Virginia and Texas to DC and Vietnam, powerful, all-seeing forces with unlimited resources are determined to bury the truth about Sapphire Pavilion. But they have grossly underestimated Steve Stilwell and his associate Casey, a former Army pilot who lost her leg in a helo accident. And the ability to inspire loyalty wherever you go can come in handy when danger lurks behind every corner. 

    Meet the Author:

    David E. Grogan was born in Rome, New York, and was raised in Cleveland, Ohio. After graduating from the College of William & Mary in Virginia with a B.B.A. in Accounting, he began working for the accounting firm Arthur Andersen & Co., in Houston, Texas, as a Certified Public Accountant. He left Arthur Andersen in 1984 to attend the University of Virginia School of Law in Charlottesville, Virginia, graduating in 1987. He earned his Masters in International Law from The George Washington University Law School and is a licensed attorney in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

    Grogan served on active duty in the United States Navy for over 26 years as a Navy Judge Advocate. He is now retired, but during the course of his Navy career, he prosecuted and defended court-martial cases, traveled to capitals around the world, lived abroad in Japan, Cuba, and Bahrain, and deployed to the Mediterranean Sea and the Persian Gulf onboard the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Enterprise. His experiences abroad and during the course of his career influence every aspect of his writing. Sapphire Pavilion is his second novel. His first was The Siegel Dispositions.

    Grogan’s current home is in Savoy, Illinois, where he lives with his wife of 33 years and their dog, Marley. He has three children.

    Connect with the author:    Website  |  Facebook   |  Twitter   |  Goodreads 


    Enter the Sapphire Pavilion blog tour giveaway for your chance to win $25.00 (Amazon gift card or PayPal cash). This is an international giveaway.

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    This spotlight and tour brought to you by Tribute Books Blog Tours 

    Buy The Book

    Available at             BookDepository     |     Alibris

    Shop Indie Bookstores



    Sapphire Pavilion

    Sapphire Pavilion

    Sapphire Pavilion



    Book Blast: AZRAEL by M.T. Ellis

    Azrael by M.T. Ellis Book Blast


    by M.T. Ellis

    May 9, 2017 Book Blast

    Azrael by M.T. Ellis


    Emily thought her ordeal was over after she escaped a brutal kidnapping. She’s wrong. He’s coming for her again.

    The body Detective Rose is looking at bears a striking resemblance to Emily, a woman who survived a horrific, sexually motivated abduction five years ago. Her fear is confirmed when Emily goes missing again. When another woman, Grace, is abducted, Detective Rose finds herself doubting the instincts that tell her the disappearance is the result of intimate partner violence. She connects the cases and recruits Grace’s partner, Ethan, to help in the search. Together they must find Grace and Emily before it’s too late.

    Book Details:

    Genre: Crime, Thriller
    Published by: Self-Published
    Publication Date: April 30th 2017
    Number of Pages: 345
    ISBN: 0648043800 (ISBN13: 9780648043805)
    Purchase Links: Amazon Goodreads

    Read an excerpt:

    [Mild profanity alert.]


    “I think I must have scared the shit out of her,” Azrael joked to himself as he opened the van door and smelt the stench coming from the dark brown stain on the back of the girl’s jeans. He laughed, even though he couldn’t be sure if she had defecated from fear or because she lost control of her bowels from his accidental overuse of the stun gun. He’d only needed to hit the woman for a second or two to disable her, but his nerves got the better of him, and he kept shocking her for a good thirty seconds, just to be sure. He could smell burning flesh as he picked up the woman and dumped her in the van. This was his first abduction, and so far the plan was working.

    Azrael looked at his victim lying face down on the floor of his white Toyota HiAce. Conveniently, the commercial van had no back seats, and all of the windows were painted white when it was manufactured. As long as the police didn’t pull him over, and she didn’t wake up, no one would be able to see the sprawled petite twenty-something brunette. He wondered whether, when he bought this van five years ago, he had subconsciously known he would end up using it for this type of adventure.

    He had picked up the girl from the university grounds around the corner from his house. It was luck, really. He’d been driving past and saw the woman walking by herself, and since there was no one around, Azrael went in for the kill, so to speak.

    There had been no traffic nearby when he drove past the woman the first time, or when he doubled back. He stopped and asked her for directions. She leaned into the window to answer him, and a short squeak came out of her mouth as she was hit on the side of the neck with the stun gun. The woman silently convulsed and then dropped to the ground, whimpering in the fetal position and twitching occasionally. Azrael whistled as he casually got out, walked around, and opened the side door. “In you go, love,” he said as he picked her up and dumped her onto the floor of the van.

    He drove around town, looking for a place to take her. He couldn’t take her to his one-bedroom apartment. If the neighbours didn’t see him carry her in, they’d certainly notice when he took her out again. He’d have to cut her up so she’d fit in the wheelie bin outside, but the bins were only collected on Mondays, and since it was Tuesday she’d have to sit around for a week. At the very least, he was sure the seventy-year-old woman who lived in the apartment next to him would be nosey enough to rummage through garbage to find out where an offensive smell was coming from.

    Azrael decided to take his victim out to The Common, thousands of acres of City Council-owned bushland about an hour from his apartment. Burnt-out cars were regularly found dumped there. Kids often stole them to go bush-bashing, setting them on fire when they were done. By the time he got there it was nearly 7:00 p.m. Luckily it was spring, so the weather was warm enough for him to wear shorts, a t-shirt, and dirty old Converse sneakers. Springtime also meant the sun went down at about six, so it was dark by the time he got there. The moon was full, so Azrael had no problems seeing where he was going when he turned his lights off. As he drove through the bushland he was happy to note there were no cars on fire tonight. This meant there would be no unexpected interruptions from the local fire brigade.

    He settled on a location a few kilometres into the property, where he figured he’d be most hidden. He shut off the van and listened. All he could hear were cicadas clicking outside his window and some muffled whimpers from the back of the van. Ooh, she’s awake, Azrael thought excitedly. He stepped out of the van and looked back towards the clearing he had just driven through. The van was concealed well enough by the dense scrub. He leaned back into the driver’s door to grab the map from the dash and to turn on the light above the rear-view mirror. We are here, he thought as he pointed at the middle of the map. If we go by foot into the bush a few hundred metres, no one will find her.

    Azrael walked around the front of the van to the passenger door and pulled out a small backpack that was stuffed underneath the seat. He had been planning this for weeks and had hidden the bag, which contained a hunting knife, zip ties, blue latex gloves, and various other items he might need on his adventure. He took out three zip ties and looped them together to make a chain. He would put an outer ring around each of his victim’s wrists and tighten them to make handcuffs. Azrael put on the latex gloves and zipped up the backpack then shut the driver’s door and pulled the bag onto his back.

    As he opened the side door, the woman started to stir. He quickly dragged her towards him by the leg and turned her over onto her stomach. He pulled both of her arms behind her as he attached the makeshift handcuffs.

    “Let go of me,” the woman shrieked once she realised what was happening.

    “You didn’t have to shit yourself, madam,” he said in his husky voice. “I’m not that scary.”

    “W-who, who are you?” she stammered. “What do you want from me?”

    “Never mind who I am. You and I are going to have some fun out here tonight,” he said playfully as he dragged the woman by her upper arm out of the van and onto the ground. She landed with a thud. She screamed as he yanked her up onto her feet. “Stand up and start walking. Don’t bother screaming — no one can hear you.”

    About ten minutes later, Azrael had pushed her, kicking and screaming, farther into the bushes. Once they had reached a suitable location, he kicked the woman’s feet out from underneath her. She crumpled in a heap on the ground and sobbed, “Please don’t hurt me.” He unhooked one arm of his backpack, twisted the bag around in front of him, and took out the hunting knife. The blade was about thirty centimetres long, and when the woman saw the moonlight gleaming on it, she lost it and started shrieking hysterically.

    Azrael became impatient with her screaming and yelled, “Shut up,” before kicking her in the face. The woman stopped screaming, and he could see her right eye already starting to swell. She lay with tears silently streaming down her face. He slid the backpack off his arm and dumped it onto the ground beside her, then bent down and pushed the girl onto her back, crushing her hands, which were still bound behind her. He took the knife and held it to the girl’s throat, putting just enough pressure on it to make a small cut. “Are you going to behave yourself?” he asked as he watched blood trickle in a thin red line just below her ear.

    When she didn’t answer, Azrael knelt down beside her and slowly used the knife to cut her white singlet. She shivered as he cut each strap just above her shoulder and again as he made a single long slash down the right side of the singlet. He pulled the top out from underneath her, scrunched it up, and put it to his nose. He breathed in the scent of her berry body wash and became aroused. He crawled over her until he was straddling her upper thighs. He was still holding the knife in his right hand but didn’t have any trouble using it to steady himself as he put his hands down on the ground on either side of her shoulders to keep his balance. He leaned in to rub his face on her chest and let his lips rest between her breasts. She recoiled from his touch, and he could feel the friction from his five o’clock shadow scratching at her skin like razors. Suddenly, he turned his head to the right a little and bit down on her breast, just above where her lacy white bra was covering her nipple. He twisted his head and tore away a small chunk of flesh. She let out a blood-curdling scream and started to buck fiercely beneath him.

    He sat up and looked down at the bite-sized hole in the woman’s breast. He followed the blood trail down her stomach, onto his groin, and up the front of his shirt. He started to chew on the chunk of tissue, savouring the taste. Just as he moved his knife hand towards his face, so he could wipe away the blood dripping from his mouth with the back of his hand, the girl bucked her hips up and knocked him off sideways. She raised her right leg up to her chest and kicked him in the stomach, which forced him off her. The shock of the woman’s defence made Azrael gasp. It rammed the piece of flesh he had bitten off towards the back of his throat, and he started to choke.

    He dropped the knife, lay on his side, and clutched at his neck. The woman used this second of freedom to clamber to her feet and run away through the trees. By the time she had taken her first step, Azrael had coughed hard enough to dislodge the flesh from his throat and spat it onto the ground. He grunted as he got to his feet and gave chase.


    He’s coming. Emily found it impossible to avoid branches whipping her in the face as she ran with her hands still cable-tied behind her. She had only been running for a few seconds before she could hear her attacker’s breaths behind her. Run! He can’t catch you, she thought urgently. Fear gripped her, and she moved faster than she had ever run before. There was a sharp sting in her wrists as he grabbed the centre of the zip-tie chain that was holding her arms together and yanked her backwards. She was pulled into the air, and just as she thought her shoulders would pop out of their sockets, the middle zip tie snapped. Her arms flew out to her sides just in time for her to land with a thump on her back. Her attacker tripped, fell forward on top of her, and knocked the wind out of her. They both lay for a second, his head near her feet, gasping for breath.

    “Gotcha, you little bitch,” he said breathlessly.

    His weight crushed the air out of her lungs. Pain seared through her limbs, one by one, as he pressed down on them while he turned his body around until he straddled her again. Then his strong hands were on her throat. She could feel his wild eyes burn into her soul as he started to squeeze the life out of her. She coughed and choked as she struggled underneath him. Emily scratched desperately at his hands. He wouldn’t let go. She reached out in search of anything that could help her and found a rock the size of her hand. She stretched out her arm and tried to grab it with her fingertips but couldn’t get it into her grasp. She had just started to feel light-headed from the lack of oxygen from the short, quick breaths she took when her attacker readjusted his grip. Come on, you can’t die out here. Not like this, she thought as she tried once more to pick up the rock.

    Emily stretched her whole body as far as it could go and rolled the rock towards herself with her fingertips. She eventually got it close enough to pick up. She grabbed the rock in her right hand and beat him repeatedly in the temple. She felt her attacker’s warm blood trickle down her arm as he lost consciousness. His full weight fell on top of her as she strained to get out from underneath him. Emily grunted as she pushed him off her and slowly got to her feet. She stood there for a few seconds, bent over with her hands resting on her knees, and tried to catch her breath. In between gasps, she saw her attacker start to stir. Emily stood up immediately and started to run through the dark bushes.


    Azrael woke to a pounding inside his head. The left side of his face felt hot and swollen. When he touched his temple, he could feel the warm blood oozing through his gloved fingers. Shit, he thought as he started to get up.

    Where’d the little bitch get to? He was dizzy as he got to his feet and had to stand still for nearly a minute to get his bearings. Once the nausea subsided, he looked around in the moonlight to find the girl’s trail. He noticed some flattened and broken branches on a bush in front of him and figured she must have damaged them as she took off. He started to follow the trail.


    Emily wandered hysterically. She ran into bushes and tripped over roots for what seemed like hours. She eventually collapsed, exhausted; she couldn’t stop sobbing. Once on the ground, she thought, Slow, deep breaths. Calm down, he can’t find you. You are going to be okay. She looked around for a bush or a fallen tree to hide behind until daylight, when she hoped she’d be able to find her way out of the maze of trees and scrub.

    She crawled on her hands and knees for another ten minutes and then unexpectedly heard something in the distance. Her heart fluttered as she tried to keep down the rising panic. She kept low to the ground as she crept slowly towards the noises and hid behind a cluster of bushes.

    While keeping concealed, she poked her head out from behind a bush and listened intently. She heard laughter and the sound of empty beer cans clinking as they were thrown to the ground. Her stomach lurched as she saw a group of teenagers in the shadows. She crept over to some bushes nearer to them to get a better look. There must be six of them, four boys and two girls, standing around an old red V8 Commodore. Judging by the smashed rear quarter glass, it was stolen. She peeked through the scrub and saw two more later model Commodores sitting back a few hundred metres. Suddenly a fireball erupted around the stolen car, and they all started running towards the getaway cars. Shit, they’re leaving! I have to get their attention, she thought as she ran out of the bushes, directly towards the group. “Help me!” she shrieked. “Help me, I’ve been abducted, let me come with you!”

    She was a horrid sight: blood poured from cuts to her face, neck, and chest. Bruises had formed on her eye, cheek, and wrists. She was wearing only her stained jeans and bra, with no shoes, and was covered in dirt and clotting blood. Her wrists still had zip ties around them, and her hair was full of leaves and clumps of dirt. The teenagers didn’t hear her, and by the time she had gotten to the burning car, they were in their getaway cars with the engines running. She ran towards the closest Commodore. The driver had just turned on its headlights, and it started to turn away from the burning car.

    Suddenly, the Commodore’s headlights swept back in her direction. The car stopped as if it was trying to figure out whether what it was seeing was real. It slowly started moving towards her. The car stopped about ten metres away, and a blonde guy with a southern cross tattoo down one leg got out of the passenger side and came over to her. “Are you okay? Who are you?” the boy asked. He could not have been more than seventeen.

    “Please take me with you, he’s coming!” Emily screamed as she limped towards him. “Please.”

    The boy looked frightened as he stared wildly around. He focused back on her and said, “Quick, get in the car!”


    “Fuck!” Azrael yelled. Exhausted from running, he stopped and gathered his wits. I’m never going to find her, he thought after searching for what seemed like an eternity. He looked down at the torn and bloodied latex gloves on his hands and thought, Fuck this shit, I’m out of here. He turned around and headed back towards the van.

    As Azrael got to the van, he saw an orange glow from the top of some trees a few kilometres away. Great, the Firies will be here soon. Just what I need. About twenty minutes later, as he pulled onto the main road after leaving the gates, Azrael saw three fire trucks with sirens and lights blaring turn off into The Common.

    Excerpt from Azrael by M.T. Ellis.  Copyright © 2017 by M.T. Ellis. Reproduced with permission from M.T. Ellis. All rights reserved.

    Author Bio:

    M.T. Ellis

    M.T. Ellis is a Brisbane-based author. She got kicked out of high school in year 11 for non-attendance. She then went on to attempt a Business Management degree at University, but dropped out half-way through. Despite these failures, she managed to get a job and is currently driving boats for a living.
    Her dogs, Opal and Zeus, occupy a lot of her time. She would write books about their adventures if she thought people were even half as interested in them as she is.
    M.T. Ellis is currently working on the second novel in her Detective Allira Rose series.

    Catch Up With Our Author On:

    Website, Goodreads, Twitter, & Facebook!

    Book Blast Participants:

    Visit these tour stops on May 9th, 2017 to learn more about Azrael by M.T. Ellis and for awesome giveaways!!

    Don’t Miss Your Chance to WIN!

    This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for M.T. Ellis. There will be 5 winners of one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card and 5 winners of one (1) eBook copy of Azrael by M.T. Ellis. The giveaway begins on May 8, 2017 and runs through May 16, 2017. Void where prohibited by law.

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    2017 Book 133: GINNY MOON by Benjamin Ludwig

    Ginny Moon by Benjamin Ludwig
    ISBN: 9780778330165 (hardcover)
    ISBN: 9781460397961 (ebook)
    ISBN: 9781538409077 (digital audiobook)
    ASIN: B01M70PS0S (Kindle edition)
    Publisher: Park Row Books
    Publication Date: May 2, 2017

    Meet Ginny Moon. She’s mostly your average teenager—she plays flute in the school band, has weekly basketball practice and reads Robert Frost poems for English class. But Ginny is autistic. And so what’s important to her might seem a bit…different: starting every day with exactly nine grapes for breakfast, Michael Jackson, taking care of her baby doll and crafting a Big Secret Plan of escape. 

    Ginny has been in foster care for years, and for the first time in her life, she has found her “forever home”—a place where she’ll be safe and protected, with a family who will love and nurture her. Though this is exactly the kind of home that all foster kids are hoping for, Ginny has other plans. She’ll steal and lie and reach across her past to exploit the good intentions of those who love her—anything it takes to get back what’s missing in her life. She’ll even try to get herself kidnapped. 

    Told in an extraordinary and wholly original voice, Ginny Moon is at once quirky, charming, big-hearted, poignant and yet also heartbreaking and a bit dark. It’s a story of a journey, about being an outsider trying to find a place to belong and about making sense of a world that just doesn’t seem to add up. 

    Ask most parents and they’ll say that raising teenagers is difficult, add in a teenager with special needs due to physical, psychological, emotional, or neurological problems and the difficulty quotient is raised exponentially. Fortunately for Ginny Moon, her “forever” parents feel she is well worth any difficulties, at least they did until things begin to spiral out of control. Ginny Moon by Benjamin Ludwig is a remarkable story of one teenager’s quest to find what she’s been missing for five long years despite the fact that others don’t believe in her quest.

    When we meet Ginny Moon she is almost fourteen years of age and had been removed from her birth mother at age nine. Ginny doesn’t set out to be a difficult person, she’s just perceived as difficult by those that don’t understand her brain works differently from others. She takes what people say literally. She can’t focus on multiple questions and will not answer if more than one question is asked. She doesn’t like lying and will often refuse to answer a question rather than lie (a workaround that she doesn’t see as devious). All Ginny knows is that she has to get back to her “baby doll.” Now that Ginny’s “Forever Mom” is pregnant and even after she has the baby, she fears that Ginny might be too physical with the newborn. Her “Forever Mom” is so afraid that Ginny might do something, that she has instigated a new rule that Ginny can’t touch the baby and she isn’t even allowed to watch her “Forever Mom” and the infant. Needless to say, this causes a lot of stress in the Moon family. In addition to this stressor and unbeknownst to the Moons, Ginny has contacted her birth mother to find out about her “baby doll.” Her birth mother is a bit reckless and has some volatility and anger-management issues. Between fears about Ginny and her birth mother, the tension at the Moon house is beyond taut. Just when it seems like things couldn’t get any worse or stranger, they do (no, I’m not going to tell you what happens…read the book!).

    I found Ginny Moon to be an engaging and emotional read. I fell in love with Ginny and felt anxious for her during all of her little escapades. I applaud Mr. Ludwig for crafting a character that felt so real to this reader, so much so that I was wanting to be her new “forever” parent and provide her with a loving home (yes, I know it wasn’t a realistic option since Ginny is a fictional character and I have my own medical limitations, but it is what I felt). There are a lot of themes presented in Ginny Moon, including adoption, special needs adoption, rights of birth parents, autism, coming-of-age issues, family drama, teen angst, and more. I generally don’t liken one book to another, but I can say if you’ve read and enjoyed The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, The Rosie Project, The Rosie Effect, House Rules, and/or Love Anthony then you’ll definitely want to read Ginny Moon. If you enjoy reading stories about families in all their glory and dysfunction, then you’ll want to read Ginny Moon. If you enjoy reading a story that is a bit different from the norm, you’ll want to read Ginny Moon. If you enjoy…okay, I think you get the message, read Ginny Moon! Yes, I enjoyed reading Ginny Moon and found it to be both heart-wrenching and heart-warming. I enjoyed the characters, the storylines, and the action. I encourage you to grab a copy of Ginny Moon and read it over a weekend (trust me, you won’t want to set this aside so allow yourself plenty of time to read). I can’t tell you all that happens in the story, but I can say if you’re an emotional reader like me, keep a box of tissues close at hand as there are some scenes that might bring a tear (or two) to your eye. I sincerely hope you’ll enjoy Ginny Moon just as much as I did and, if you do, please recommend it to other readers. 

    Read an excerpt from Ginny Moon here.

    Disclaimer: I received a free digital copy of this book from the publisher via Edelweiss+ for review purposes. I was not paid, required, or otherwise obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

    Buy the Book

    Available from             BookDepository     |     Alibris


    Shop Indie Bookstores





    Ginny Moon

    AudiobookGinny Moon

    Ginny Moon

    Ginny Moon



    Ginny Moon

    The Original Ginny Moon

    2017 Book 131: GRIMM WOODS by D. Melhoff

    Grimm Woods by D. Melhoff 
    ISBN: 9780992133139 (paperback)
    ASIN: B01NAKIHI9 (Kindle edition)
    Publisher: Bellwoods Publishing
    Publication Date: December 17, 2016

    A remote summer camp becomes a lurid crime scene when the bodies of two teenagers are found in a bloody, real-life rendering of a classic Grimm’s fairy tale. Trapped in the wilderness, the remaining counsellors must follow a trail of dark children’s fables in order to outwit a psychopath and save the dwindling survivors before falling prey to their own gruesome endings.

    Drawing on the grisly, uncensored details of history’s most famous fairy tales, Grimm Woods is a heart-pounding thriller about a deranged killer who uses traditional children’s stories as tropes in elaborate murders. Set against the backdrop of modern-day Michigan, it’s a journey through the mind of a dangerous zealot and a shocking glimpse into the bedtime stories you thought you knew. 

    Camp Crownheart, bordered by Grimm Woods, is an idyllic, rural summer camp offering one week away from the trials and tribulations of dysfunctional families and bad foster homes. Each week during the summer, a busload of children are brought to frolic in a camp modeled on fairytales of old. The camp counselors are young adults and most are former graduates from the camp. A camp filled with kids from the city, counselors with their own sets of problems, a rural location, no cell phone coverage, and miles away from anyone, what could possibly go wrong?

    Grimm Woods is a — dare I say it, yes I must — grim and often horrifying story of just what can and does go wrong at a remote camp location. The first night reveals the murder of two counselors. The next night, two more are found murdered and the radio has apparently been sabotaged. There’s no way to contact the authorities and the only option is to wait for the bus to arrive on Friday. Scott Mamer is a new counselor at Camp Crownheart and he’s one of the few adults left standing and fighting to protect the kids at the camp. As he and a fellow counselor attempt to find out who is killing the other adults and why, they must also find ways to keep over 50 kids occupied throughout the day, as well as safe and fed until the bus arrives to take them home. Grimm Woods is part horror tale, part moral tale, and part suspense-thriller. It was difficult for me to relate to most of the characters, namely the counselors, as they all seemed too immature and self-absorbed to my liking. I did, however, like the few kids that are presented, such as Tyrell, Marshall, and Stephanie. For those of you that enjoy a bit of blood, guts, and gore mixed with your mystery, Grimm Woods may be just the book for you. After reading this book I’ll never be able to watch another Disneyfied fairy tale quite the same ever again.

    Disclaimer: I received a free digital copy of this book from the author via Partners In Crime Virtual Tours for review purposes. I was not paid, required, or otherwise obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

    Grimm Woods

    by D. Melhoff

    on Tour April 1 – May 31, 2017

    Book Details:

    Genre: Thriller
    Published by: Bellwoods Publishing
    Publication Date: December 2016
    Number of Pages: 384
    ISBN: 0992133130 (ISBN13: 9780992133139)
    Purchase Links: Amazon | Goodreads

    Read an excerpt:

    July 7th, 5:44 a.m.

    One hacksaw. One hammer, six boxes of nails. Twelve Mason jars, four hunting knives, two pairs of handcuffs. Fifteen gallons of gasoline divided evenly among three dented jerry cans.

    It’s time.

    A work glove hovered over the table where the objects were laid out side by side and began ticking the air as though marking off an invisible checklist. The chamber reeked of mildew, and the walls had no windows or electrical sockets—no lamps, no wires, no switch covers. A single red candle provided the only light, its crimson wax dripping down its shaft like blood.

    The hand picked up a piece of paper from the table and slipped it into a blank envelope. Below, a beetle scuttled across the floorboards. The insect—its gangly antennae tuned to some foul frequency in the gloom—raced past the sole of a giant boot just as a drop of liquid fell through the air and struck it dead center, engulfing its body in a hot, gelatinous blob that filled its orifices and burned it from the inside out. Another droplet tumbled from the candle, plopping onto the envelope this time, and then a brass stamp came down and pressed the wax into a hardened seal.

    Drawing in heavier, raspier breaths, the figure held the envelope up to a corkboard that was bolted to the wall. More than a dozen pictures of young men and women were tacked to the panel by their throats and foreheads, smiling in the shadows.

    The figure pinned the envelope to the board and stepped back to take in the room again.

    The table and the switchblade.

    The book of matches.

    The iron rods, the hatchet, the .22 Smith & Wesson.

    The smiling faces.

    Now, the figure mused, watching the photographs flicker in the bloodred light. Who’s the nicest, Who’s the worst, who wants to hear a story first?

    Author Bio:

    D. Melhoff

    D. Melhoff was born in a prairie ghost town that few people have heard of and even fewer have visited. While most of his stories are for adults, he also enjoys terrifying younger audiences from time to time, as seen in his series of twisted picture books for children. He credits King, Poe, Hitchcock, Harris, Stoker, and his second-grade school teacher, Mrs. Lake, for turning him to horror.

    Catch Up with Mr. Melhoff on his Website, Twitter, & Facebook.

    Tour Participants:

    Stop by all of the blogs that are hosting Grimm Woods by D. Melhoff for great features, reviews, & giveaways!

    Don’t Miss Your Chance to WIN!

    This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours for D. Melhoff. There will be 2 winners of one (1) Amazon Gift card and 5 winners of one (1) eBook copy of Grimm Woods by D. Melhoff. The giveaway begins on April 1st and runs through June 2nd, 2017.

    a Rafflecopter giveaway