Book Spotlight: THE CODEBOOK MURDERS by Leslie Nagel

The Codebook Murders:

The Oakwood Book Club Mystery Series
by Leslie Nagel

About the Book

The Codebook Murders: The Oakwood Book Club Mystery Series
Cozy Mystery
4th in Series
Alibi (May 21, 2019)
Print Length: 250 pages

Amateur sleuth Charley Carpenter discovers a coded journal that could crack her small town’s most infamous cold case wide open in this charming cozy mystery from the USA Today bestselling author of The Book Club Murders.

As the owner of Old Hat Vintage Fashions, Charley Carpenter supplies retro apparel to the residents of Oakwood, Ohio, but she’s been known to set business aside to play detective when a mystery rears its head. And there’s no bigger mystery in Oakwood than the murder of Regan Fletcher—a case that’s haunted the town for decades.

Regan’s boyfriend, Carter, did time for the crime—until another man’s confession freed him. But did the “real killer” really do it? Or did Carter walk away with blood on his hands? When Charley stumbles on an old journal written in code, it only complicates the case by revealing a blackmail scheme that targeted dozens of Oakwood’s citizens, giving them all a motive for murder.

Now, with a spate of new suspects to pursue, plus a fresh murder and the abduction of her sleuthing partner, Charley must dig deeper still into the past—even as she risks being buried by her shadowy prey. Joining forces with Detective Marcus Trenault and the newly formed Oakwood Mystery Book Club, Charley turns to a classic whodunit for clues on catching a killer—before more lives are lost, and the truth dies with them.

Leslie Nagel’s delightful Oakwood Mystery novels can be enjoyed together or separately:


Purchase Links

Amazon B&NKobo –  Google Play

About the Author

About The Author

Leslie Nagel is a writer and teacher of writing at a local community college. Her debut novel, “The Book Club Murders”, is the first in the Oakwood Mystery Series. Leslie lives in the all too real city of Oakwood, Ohio, where murders are rare but great stories lie thick on the ground. After the written word, her passions include her husband, her son, and daughter, hiking, tennis and strong black coffee, not necessarily in that order.

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Book Showcase: JUST ONE BITE by Jack Heath

Just One Bite, Timothy Blake #2, by Jack Heath
ISBN: 9781335952844 (hardcover)
ISBN: 9781335997456 (trade paperback)
ISBN: 9781488098697 (ebook)
ISBN: 9781488206399 (audiobook)
ASIN: B07HG798FT (Kindle edition)
Publisher:  Hanover Square Press
Release Date: June 4, 2019

The shocking, fast-paced and queasily funny follow-up to Jack Heath’s international bestselling thriller, Hangman 

Timothy Blake, a former consultant for the FBI, now moonlights in body disposal for a local crime lord. One night he stumbles across a body he wasn’t supposed to find. When the FBI calls Blake back in to investigate the man’s disappearance, Blake is the only one who knows the man is dead and in his freezer.

Then another man goes missing. And another. And another.

There’s a serial killer in Houston, and Blake is the only one who knows it for sure. As they hunt the killer together, his handler, FBI agent Reese Thistle, starts to warm to Blake—but she also gets closer and closer to discovering his own gruesome secret. This is cause for anxiety for the criminal kingpin who employs Blake. It would be better to murder Blake than to risk exposure.

Can Blake uncover the killer, without exposing himself?

Read an excerpt from Just One Bite:


What has a neck but no head?

If Charlie Warner wants you dead, first she steals your shoes. 

Not in person. She has people all over Houston. 

One of them is James Tyrrell, a pudgy guy with Coke-bottle glasses and scar tissue on his arm where the number 88 used to be. A coded white-supremacist tattoo—H is the eighth letter of the alphabet. The 88 means Heil Hitler. “I’m no Nazi,” I heard him say once. “But if you want to survive Huntsville prison, you gotta pick a team.” 

Tyrrell will open your front door with a police-issue lock-release gun and go to your bedroom wearing latex gloves and a hairnet. He’ll steal your most expensive pair of shoes. Usually black, always shiny—the kind you might wear to a funeral. He’ll take some socks, too, but won’t touch anything else on his way out. 

Two more guys will drive a white van with stolen plates to wherever it is you work. Their names are Jordan Francis and Theo Sariklis. They both have thick necks, square jaws and crew cuts. It took me a while to tell them apart. Sariklis is the one with the drooping eyelid and the Ramones shirt. He’s been working for Warner longer than me. Francis is new—just moved here from San Jose, California. He’s the one who cracks jokes. Even in winter he wears a wife-beater to show off his biceps. He might go to the gym after killing you. 

Francis will park the van next to the driver’s side of your car. Sariklis will open the sliding door on the side of the van and wait. 

You’ll walk out of the office and approach your car. When you go to open the door, Francis will grab you and drag you into the van. It takes seconds. He’s had plenty of practice—in San Jose he worked for one of the Sureño gangs. You won’t even have time to scream before Francis shuts the van door. 

You’ll know who they work for. Warner doesn’t target bystanders. They’re here because you stole from her, or lied to her, or informed on her. Or maybe you didn’t pay your tab at one of her businesses. An underground casino, a bordello, a drug den. 

They’ll ask you questions. The first few are a test; they already know the answers. If you lie, Francis will hold you down, while Sariklis forces a water bottle into your mouth and pinches your nose shut so it feels like drowning. They do it like that because they’re still in the parking lot. There aren’t many quiet ways to torture someone. 

Just when it feels like you’re gonna die, Sariklis will take the bottle out. You’ll throw up. Then Sariklis will ask you some more questions. The real ones. Whatever Warner needs to know. Who have you told? What are their names? Where do they live? Show us the messages. 

The final question is always about the PIN for your bank account. You’ll answer that one gladly. You’ll think it means they only want money. You’ll think they’re going to let you go.

After you give them your PIN, Sariklis will stick the bottle back in your mouth. This time he won’t let up. He’ll drown you, right there in the parking lot. Three minutes until your heart gives up, four until brain death. 

Francis will stay in the van with your body while Sariklis takes your car, your phone and your wallet to an ATM. He’ll withdraw as much as he can, then drive to a secluded stretch of beach in Galveston. 

There he’ll meet Tyrrell, who has your shoes. Sariklis will place your shoes side by side on the sand, your wallet and keys tucked inside like frightened mice. Tyrrell will do a factory reset on your phone, switch it off and hurl it into the sea. They’ll abandon your car on the side of the road, within sight of the gray ocean, and take Tyrrell’s car back to Warner’s office to give her the cash. 

I’ve only been to Warner’s office once, and I had a bag on my head for the whole journey. But I was memorizing the turns, and counting the seconds. Afterward I got them to drop me off someplace else, and I memorized that journey, too. Later I looked at a map, and narrowed it down to four city blocks near Market Square Park. 

They usually take you on a Friday. If you live alone, you may not be reported missing until Monday. The police will find your car and shoes around Wednesday. Some of them will say you drowned accidentally while swimming. Others will suggest that it was suicide. The shoes are too classy for a normal swim, they’ll say, and there’s no towel. Plus, your bathing suit is still at your home. 

Because of the ATM withdrawal, still others will say that you faked your death. You did have some powerful enemies, after all. Your missing phone lends credence to this theory. But anyone who suspects Warner will be smart enough not to say so. 

All this is assuming you’re one of the lucky ones, and Warner doesn’t want the credit for your death. Sometimes she kills someone to send a message. No stolen shoes, no water bottle. The body turns up in dozens of pieces, each removed from a living person. 

Once upon a time Warner’s men would have just thrown your body into the ocean. The water in your lungs would make sense on the autopsy report. But the bruising around your lips and wrists, plus the damage to your gums, might raise some eyebrows. Now they have a better way. 

While Sariklis and Tyrrell bring the cash to Warner’s office, Francis will take the van onto State Highway 12, alone. Your body will be in the back under a sheet, slowly going cold. Francis will drive through the dark, watching the buildings disappear and the trees get taller and taller. 

Then he’ll see a beat-up Toyota Corolla parked on the shoulder, miles from anywhere. He’ll pull over. Despite what he’s seen and done, he’ll shudder before he gets out of the car. 

Then he’ll slide open the van door, and give your body to me.

Copyright © 2019 Jack Heath. All rights reserved. 
Reprinted with permission from the publisher.

Meet the author

First published as a teenager, Jack Heath is the award-winning author of more than twenty fiction titles for young adult and middle-grade readers. In the course of his research, Jack has toured morgues and prisons, performed as a street magician and traveled through eleven countries, including Russia. His previous day jobs—in which he met many interesting characters—include fry cook, music teacher, TV salesman, call center worker, and bookseller. He plays several musical instruments and lives on the land of the Ngunnawal people in Gunghalin, Australia. 

Connect with the author via his website, Twitter, Facebook, or Goodreads


Southern Sass and Killer Cravings
(Marygene Brown Mysteries)
by Kate Young

About the Book

Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Kensington (May 28, 2019)
Mass Market Paperback: 368 pages
Print ISBN-10: 1496721454
Print ISBN-13: 9781496721457
Digital ISBN: 9781496721464
Digital ASIN: B07H1VWGBS

Life has always been sweet on Georgia’s Peach Cove Island, but a case of murder has Marygene Brown down in the pits . . .

For generations, the women of the Brown family on Peach Cove Island have been known for their Southern sass and sweet homemade desserts at their beloved Peach Diner. Since their mother’s passing two years ago, Marygene has been stuck in Atlanta while her sister Jena Lynn has been running the family business. Now Marygene has left her husband and returned to her hometown, where she can almost feel Mama’s presence.

But all is not peachy back home. Marygene has barely tied on an apron when a diner regular drops dead at the counter. When it turns out the old man’s been poisoned, Jena Lynn is led away in handcuffs and the family eatery is closed. Now, to save her sister and the diner, Marygene must find the real killer. With some startling assistance from her Mama’s spirit, Marygene will be serving up a special order of just desserts . . .

Includes Seven Recipes from Marygene’s Kitchen!

The author is hosting a pre-order giveaway!

About the Author

Kate Young writes humorous southern mystery novels. She is a member of Sisters in Crime and the Guppy Chapter. Kate lives in a small town in Georgia with her husband, three kids, and Shih Tzu. When she is not writing her own books, she’s reading or cooking.

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Purchase Links: IndieBound | BookDepository | Amazon | Kindle | B&N | Nook | Books-A-Million | eBooks | iBooks | Kobo 


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Guest Post: Linda Lovely – BAD PICK

Good day, my fellow bookish peeps. I’m always thrilled to meet new-to-me authors and series. I’m always intrigued by how an author can take a small idea and grow it into a plot for a book. Today, I’m honored to welcome Linda Lovely, author of the Brie Hooker mystery series. Ms. Lovely will be sharing with us her thoughts on DNA and the role it plays in her latest Brie Hooker story, Bad Pick. I hope you’ll all read what Ms. Lovely has to say, follow this blog tour, learn more about this book and author, and put Bad Pick and the Brie Hooker mystery series on your TBR list. Thank you, Ms. Lovely, for taking the time to stop by today and share with us. Ladies and gents I give you, Ms. Linda Lovely.

DNA Surprises
by Linda Lovely

Are you tempted to take a DNA test to learn if your genes up the odds you’ll suffer from various diseases? Are you curious about your ethnic makeup? Do you view testing and DNA databases as vehicles to expand your genealogy research and learn more about your family history?

People are curious beings, and this curiosity quite naturally extends to our own bodies and family sagas DNA testing services now available can cater to an individual’s specific interests, whether they’re focused on health issues or ancestry. As a consequence, some 12 million American adults—about 1 in 25—paid to use DNA testing services in 2017.

However, folks who take advantage of DNA testing need to be prepared to learn things they’d rather not know. In some cases, test results and database matches yield unwelcome surprises that cause personal anxiety or family upheavals.   

Despite urging from some of my relatives, I’ve resisted DNA testing because my mother fought a fourteen-year battle with Alzheimer’s before she died. I already worry enough that the disease may loom in my future without a test saying “yeah, your odds are above average.” That would make me even more concerned any time I forget a word or a name. As long as there’s no cure for Alzheimer’s, my saliva won’t be making an airmail trip to a DNA lab.

Yet, as an author of mysteries, DNA testing intrigues me. I’ve been especially interested in news stories describing how detectives have used “familial DNA” to solve cases where they’d run out of leads to pursue. In such cases, the detectives have samples of a suspected killer’s DNA but can’t find a match in any law enforcement database because the suspect’s never been arrested or convicted of a crime. In many states, these detectives now are allowed to search for “near” matches of first-degree relatives.  Each person’s DNA contains about 20 critical markers. If software can find a DNA result that matches 10 of these 20 markers, the person with that DNA is most likely the suspect’s parent, child or sibling. This technique has yielded some headline-making arrests in previously hard-to-solve cold cases.

Of course, it’s not just law enforcement use of familial DNA that has the capacity to reveal surprising results. Individuals who give consumer testing services permission to put their DNA in databases that search for relatives may discover one or both of their biological parents are strangers and not the people they’ve always called Mom or Dad. In fact, a Facebook support community for people who’ve discovered unexpected parentage already has more than two thousand members.

The relative-matching software also can reveal that a person has one or more half-brothers or half-sisters previously unknown to them. This could be the result of prior hushed-up marriages, infidelity, or adoptions. When such a discovery is made, what can happen if contact is made or parents are confronted about long-held secrets? 

In Bad Pick, my latest cozy Brie Hooker Mystery series, a familial DNA surprise plays a key role in the plot. But that’s the only hint I’ll give you. You’ll have to read Bad Pick to discover why the consequences can lead to murder.

Author Bio:

Hundreds of mystery writers have met Linda Lovely at check-in for the annual Writers’ Police Academy, which she helps organize. Lovely finds writing pure fiction isn’t a huge stretch given the years she’s spent penning PR and ad copy. She writes a blend of mystery and humor, chuckling as she plots to “disappear” the types of characters who most annoy her. Quite satisfying plus there’s no need to pester relatives for bail. Her new Brie Hooker Mystery series offers good-natured salutes to both her vegan family doctor and her cheese-addicted kin. Bad Pick is her eighth published mystery novel. She served as president of her local Sisters in Crime chapter for five years and belongs to International Thriller Writers and Romance Writers of America.

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Bad Pick

by Linda Lovely

on Tour April 1-May 31, 2019


Bad Pick by Linda Lovely

Vegan Brie Hooker lives and works with her feisty Aunt Eva at Udderly Kidding Dairy, a hop, skip, and jump away from South Carolina’s Clemson University. Brie’s fun farm outreach attempt backfires when religious extremists decide goat yoga is a form of devil worship. Believing one of the zealots might be persuaded to see reason, Brie’s free-wheeling friend Mollye convinces her they should call on the young woman. Big mistake.

Picketers at Udderly’s gates soon become the least of Brie’s troubles. Not only is she accused of murder, she worries the death might actually be her fault. Danger mounts when an old family friend’s visit ensnares Brie in a high-stakes feud between a U.S. Supreme Court nominee and the woman determined to expose his secrets. In her personal life, Brie’s still torn between the town’s two most eligible bachelors. While she’s edging toward a decision, she must first survive a cunning killer adept at crafting murders that look like tragic accidents. Will Brie be another “accident” victim? Pay a visit to Udderly Kidding Dairy and find out!

Praise for Bad Pick

“There’s such a lot to enjoy in Linda Lovely’s third Brie Hooker mystery Bad Pick. Of course, I came for the goat yoga and the religious extremists (I’m only human), but I stayed for the love triangle, the female friendships, the family members rubbing along so realistically, the sidelights on vegan cooking and the rich depiction of small-town life. And what kept me flicking the pages fast enough to cause a draft? The twisty, knotty, killer plot underneath all that charm. Bad Pick is a good un!”—Catriona McPherson, Multi-Award-Winning Author of the Last Ditch Mysteries.

“Wow! In Bad Pick, Lovely wrote an amazing novel only to see one part of the plot come to life in headlines all over the country. A fringe religious cult, a Supreme Court nominee, and goat yoga combine together in a tale that fans of mysteries won’t want to miss.” –Sherry Harris, Agatha Award Nominee and Author of the Sarah Winston Garage Sale mysteries.

“The Brie Hooker mysteries from author Linda Lovely continue to entertain, this time with extremists who really don’t like the farm’s new goat yoga offering. You’ll find yourself muttering, “What the feta?” as you follow the action around not one but two murders from the edge of your seat. Fix yourself a chevre sandwich and sit down to enjoy a delightful – and suspense-filled – read.”—Edith Maxwell, Author of the Local Foods Mysteries and the Quaker Midwife Mysteries.

Book Details:

Genre: Cozy Mystery

Published by: Henery Press
Publication Date: April 16, 2019
Number of Pages: 270
ISBN: 9781635114744
Series: Brie Hooker Mystery Series

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

Tour Participants:

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

Enter To Win!:

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Linda Lovely. There will be 1 winner of one (1) Gift Card. The giveaway begins on April 1, 2019, and runs through June 2, 2019. Void where prohibited.

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Book Showcase: ALL QUIET ON THE MIDWESTERN PLAINS by Dorothea Shefer-Vanson

All Quiet On The Midwestern Plains: a Tale of Deception, Betrayal and Vindication by Dorothea Shefer-Vanson
ISBN: 9781723871801 (paperback)
ASIN: B07HJCXJRF (Kindle edition)
Release Date: September 19, 2018

It is 1985 and Israeli paleontologist is spending a year at a university in Nebraska. He encounters hostility from the head of the department and anti-Semitism in the local paper. Events seem to conspire to prevent him achieving his aim of attaining academic success, and his family is on the verge of breaking up, until he is finally able to unmask the plot to wreak havoc throughout America.

Purchase Links:  Amazon  |  Kindle 

Read an excerpt from All Quiet On The Midwestern Plains:

Wielding chisels and hammers, the two men busied themselves prising sections of rock away from the hillside till the sun was low on the horizon, by which time their hands were blistered and sore.

Avi carefully recorded the original position of each rock as he placed it in one of the sacks he had brought along for the purpose. They spoke little, each of them absorbed in the task at hand. After they had been working for some time Avi lit the camping gas ring he had brought along and brewed some coffee. They drank it slowly, savoring the warmth and the aroma.

“I’d like to get a few more specimens from up there,” Avi said, pointing to a higher part of the hillside. “Once I’ve done that I’ll be ready to head back into town.”

“That’s fine with me. I’ve got enough stuff here to give me years of analysis. Besides, I must confess, I don’t seem to have the stamina I once had for roughing it in the open and hacking away at rocks.”

Tom stopped working and watched anxiously as Avi balanced himself on the rocks in his efforts to prise part of the rock-face away. The effort involved in maintaining his balance while engaging in the strenuous yet delicate physical effort showed on Avi’s face. He improved his foot-hold and began to wield his tools, at first slowly, then, as his confidence increased, with growing rhythm and speed.

As Tom watched his friend he was reminded how much he enjoyed being out in the open, where the air was fresh and he could feel the earth beneath his feet, seeing everything from a different perspective. The elements seemed so docile, after the violent storm of the morning, making him think of Nancy, with her sudden violent mood-swings. One moment she would be as quiet and sweet as a dove, the next a screaming harridan. He often did not know why. Whether it was because of some imagined slight on his part or some error of omission or commission.

Avi strained to insert his chisel at an awkward angle into the rock face, lost his balance, and fell, not far but heavily. Without uttering a syllable he bumped down the jagged edges of protruding russet-colored rocks, landing close to where Tom was standing, helpless and unable to move. Suddenly Avi was lying motionless at his feet, his eyes closed, blood oozing from a gash in his forehead.

Tom’s heart began pounding at an alarming rate. He bent down and took Avi’s limp hand, trying to find his pulse. He wondered if he was badly wounded and whether he should try to staunch the blood, though he did not know what with. He did not know if any bones were broken, consoling himself with the fact that at least Avi was still breathing. After a moment he was relieved to find that his pulse was steady.

Avi groaned and opened his eyes. He put his hand to his forehead, then stared at the blood on his fingers.

“I fell, didn’t I?” he asked.

“You sure did.”

“Is it a deep cut?”

“Maybe. I can’t really tell,” Tom screwed his eyes up and peered at the wound.

“There’s a first-aid kit in the jeep,” Avi’s voice was weak. He sat up slowly, wincing in pain. The blood had drained from his face, so that his dark eyes stared out at Tom from sockets that seemed suddenly to have sunk deep into his skull.

“Don’t get up. Stay where you are. I’ll go and get the things.”

When Tom came back with the first-aid box, he found Avi sitting on a rock, dabbing his wound with a blood-stained tissue. His face was still pale, but he looked as if he was recovering from the initial shock.

“Here. Let me do it,” Avi said, and took the box from Tom. With deft fingers he cleaned his wound, dressed it, and wound a bandage around his own head. Tom nodded in admiration.

“I’ve seen medics treat battle wounds a few times. I reckon I know what to do,” Avi explained as he tightened the bandage and secured it with a safety-pin. “Sometimes we had to dress one another’s wounds ourselves when the medic wasn’t around. I could do with something to drink, though. My mouth feels very dry. I’m probably in shock. Is there any water left in the jeep?”

Once again Tom clambered down to where the vehicle was standing, and came back with their last container of water. He handed it to Avi, who gulped the tepid liquid down, then washed his face and hands, careful not to wet the bandage.

“I’m OK now,” his voice sounded stronger. “Luckily I don’t seem to have broken any bones. I really wish I could have got some rocks from up there, but I don’t want to take any more risks.”

“I could try,” Tom ventured.

“No, I wouldn’t dream of letting you. But thanks for offering. It’s funny, you know,” he added after a moment, “being here with you, like this, is a bit like being back in the military. I didn’t realize it till now, but I’m glad you’re here with me. I don’t know how I’d have managed without you. We make a good team. I’m sorry I spoiled things with this stupid fall.”

“That’s OK,” Tom recognized that this was the highest compliment Avi could give. He felt that he really ought to reciprocate in some way, tell Avi he was glad they had made the trip together, but somehow the words just would not come. Instead, he busied himself with practicalities, fussing over his friend like a mother-hen. “Here. Take my arm. I don’t want you falling down any more rocks till we’re safe in the jeep. You gave me quite a shock just now.”

With unaccustomed docility, like a newly-tamed animal, Avi took Tom’s arm, and together they made their way slowly down the hill. When they reached the road, Avi made for the driver’s seat.

“Don’t make me laugh, Avi,” Tom said. “You’re in no fit state to drive. Besides, you’ve driven all the way so far. Now it’s my turn.”

Again without demurring, Avi went round to the passenger seat and let Tom take the wheel.

“It’s years since I’ve driven a vehicle with a manual gear,” Tom said. “I guess it’ll take me a while to get used to it. Still, I’ve got to do it. So here goes.”

He engaged the engine and started to drive, raising a cloud of dust.

He was not sorry to be leaving that spot, but glad he had not let Avi go on his own. Realizing that anything could have happened if he had, he imagined how proud of him Nancy would be and gave himself a metaphorical pat on the back.

“We’ll soon have you back in civilization,” he said to Avi, who winced each time the jeep jolted on the uneven road. “We’d better get you to a doctor as soon as possible.”

“I’m alright,” Avi protested. “I just want to get home.”

Home. The magic word that since time immemorial has given fighting men the strength to endure hardship. The word that has kept soldiers going through the most rigorous training, field exercises, battles, gun-fire and falling bombs.

Avi recalled how, though still a teenager when he was doing his compulsory military service, the thought of his mother’s worn face and comfortable form, had kept him going. He would envisage her busy in the kitchen, making the food he liked, or bringing him a cup of coffee and a slice of home-made cake when he came home on leave. He imagined himself sitting in the big armchair, his legs stretched out in front of him, his boots on the floor beside him, as he read the paper.

He shook his head despite the pain and reminded himself that home was no longer his mother. Home was Rachel and the twins, who were all doubtless just carrying on with life, unaware of what had happened to him. He wondered whether his wife would spare a moment to wonder where he was and what he was doing. He glanced at his watch and calculated that she was probably making lunch for the twins, tidying the kitchen, or enjoying one of the interminable television comedies

“There’s no chance of getting back to Seabrook tonight,” Tom said. “We’ll stop at the nearest gas station and ask where we can find a doctor. Chances are that there’ll be a motel where we can stay tonight. Then we’ll be able to leave tomorrow morning and get to Seabrook by noon.”

“Couldn’t we make it back to Seabrook tonight?” Avi’s voice was wistful.

“Not if I’m driving. And you’re certainly not going to. I’m not taking any more risks. Unlike you, I don’t like living dangerously.”

“Don’t lecture me, for heaven’s sake, Tom.”

“OK. Sorry. End of sermon,” Tom said.

“Besides,” Avi continued, “What’s the point of living if you don’t take a risk or two now and again? We’d all die of boredom.”

“That’s fine with me. I get enough excitement from working with Harold Anderss and watching the Huskers playing. What more can a man want?”

“Ah, yes, the football team. I’ve heard about them. The twins said something about the game the other day. I didn’t know that you were interested in that too.”

“Interested?” Tom exclaimed, negotiating a pile of small stones that the storm had deposited on the road. “I don’t think that ‘interested’ is the right word. Everyone in the state supports the Huskers. They’re a damn good team. One of the best in the country. If not the best. Everyone’s a fan. Some people are just enthusiastic supporters, while others are real fanatical supporters. But no-one’s indifferent. I’ll have to take you to a game some day.”

“I can’t wait.” Avi said, then winced and put his hand to his head as the jeep lurched over a pot-hole in the road.

The teenage attendant at the gas station chewed gum languidly as he filled their tank, all the while leaning against their mud-encrusted vehicle. He told them that they’d find a doctor and a motel in the nearby town of Spurling.

The light was beginning to fade as the two men checked into the motel on the outskirts of the town. The clerk at the desk looked at Avi’s bandaged head with some concern. The blood that had oozed out of the wound had dried into an ugly, rust-colored stain that resembled the map of some unknown country.

“That looks real bad,” he said. “How d’ya get that?”

“He fell. I’d really like to get him to a doctor,” Tom said. “Where can we find one?”

“Well now, let me see,” the clerk closed his eyes and sucked his teeth, evidently to aid concentration. “Doctor Thompson lives out over on the other side of town, and I think you’ll find he’s a real good doctor. There’s another one, Doctor Harris, who’s nearer but ain’t so well thought of. But he’s out of town right now anyway. He goes out of town a lot. Mostly on fishing trips. Though he does some hunting too sometimes. That’s why people prefer Dr. Thompson. Anyhow, you just take the main road through the town and you’ll find him right at the other end.”

Tom looked anxiously at Avi, who was standing next to him at the counter and beginning to sway. His face had now turned a delicate shade of gray, and the bloodstain on the bandage round his head was spreading gradually.

“You’d better get your friend over to the surgery real quick,” the clerk said. “He looks real bad to me.”

“Thanks, I will,” Tom said, taking Avi’s arm and steering him back to the jeep. Avi leaned on him for support, causing Tom to struggle with his considerable weight.

By the time Tom had located the surgery Avi could barely sit upright in his seat, so that Tom had to come round to the passenger seat and haul his friend’s half inert body out. The effort made his arms ache and left him breathing heavily.

The doctor took one look at the dusty, blood-stained pair on his doorstep and helped Tom bring Avi into his office. He lay Avi down on his examining couch and went over to the sink to wash his hands.

“How did it happen? Hunting? Climbing? he asked while he checked Avi’s pulse and eyes, then gently unwound the blood-soaked bandage.

“He fell down some rocks. We were out at Horseshoe Rock collecting specimens. We’re paleontologists from the university in Seabrook,” Tom said.

“A dangerous profession,” the doctor said.

Avi groaned gently, his eyes closed.

Tom watched, both fascinated and repelled. Once again the vulnerability of the human body was brought home to him. One minute Avi had seemed almost god-like, clambering over rocks like a mountain goat, and the next he was a frail bundle of blood, flesh, and potentially brittle bones.

“It’s a deep gash. He’s lost quite a lot of blood,” Doctor Thompson said, examining the wound. “He’ll have to have stitches. And he’ll need plenty of rest. He may even have concussion, though at least he doesn’t seem to have broken any bones. You’ll have to get him to hospital.”

“Can’t you stitch it, doctor?” Tom asked. “How far is it to the nearest hospital?”

“No. I can’t. The nearest hospital is in Seabrook, which is where you’re headed anyway, isn’t it?”

“I don’t want to go any farther tonight,” Tom said. “We’ve driven a long way today. And worked in the hot sun for hours. Got drenched in that rainstorm this morning, too. I’m tired. I need to rest. And my friend certainly can’t drive.”

“I don’t like it, but I suppose I could apply a temporary dressing. That should get him through the night. Do you have somewhere to stay?”

Tom nodded, and Doctor Thompson cleaned and dressed Avi’s wound. When he had finished, Avi opened his eyes, looked from the doctor to Tom, and gave a weak grin. The color was gradually returning to his face.

“Come back to me in the morning. And if there’s any change in his condition, call me in the night. Though of course I’d prefer it if you didn’t. The main thing is to keep him as still as possible. Here’s my card. That will be thirty-five dollars. I’ll give you a receipt so you can get a refund from your medical insurance.”

After Tom had paid the doctor Avi stood up unsteadily and mumbled some words of thanks. Once they were in the jeep he reached into his pocket, took out his wallet, and thrust thirty-five dollars into Tom’s hand.

“I can’t have you subsidizing my foolishness,” he said as Tom tried to push the notes away. “Anyhow, give me the receipt and I’ll get the refund.”

Tom relented, shivering in the chilly night air. The two men drove back to the motel, stopping only to get some pizza on the way.

Excerpt from All Quiet on the Midwestern Plains by Dorothea Shefer-Vanson. Copyright © Dorothea Shefer-Vanson 2018. All Rights Reserved. Reprinted with permission from the author.

Meet the author

Born and brought up in post-war London, the daughter of refugees from Hitler’s Germany, Dorothea Shefer-Vanson now lives in Israel and has worked most of her life as a translator, editor, and writer. She has a B.A. from the London School of Economics and an M.A. from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Now retired from translating, she devotes her time to writing and has published five novels to date. 

She writes a weekly blog containing reviews of books, concerts, and exhibitions, as well as traveling, general topics, politics and anything that interests her at the time.

She is married to an Israeli physicist, and together they have three children, eight grandchildren, and one grand-dog. She also enjoys painting in watercolors, and her pictures adorn the covers of her books. She is an avid fan of classical music, attends as many concerts as possible and every room in her house – including the smallest – has a radio tuned to the classical music program. She enjoys traveling and her books reflect her experience of living in England, Israel, France, and the USA.

Connect with the author via her website or blog, as well as Goodreads and Amazon

2019 Book 148: REBEL by Beverly Jenkins

Rebel Women Who Dare #1 by Beverly Jenkins
ISBN: 9780062861689 (paperback)
ISBN: 9780062861696 (ebook)
ISBN: 9780062861702 (audiobook)
ASIN: B0796SHBJ6 (Kindle edition)
Publisher: Avon Romance
Publication Date: May 28, 2019

The first novel in USA Today Bestselling Author Beverly Jenkins’ compelling new series follows a Northern woman south in the chaotic aftermath of the Civil War…

Valinda Lacey’s mission in the steamy heart of New Orleans is to help the newly emancipated community survive and flourish. But soon she discovers that here, freedom can also mean danger. When thugs destroy the school she has set up and then target her, Valinda runs for her life—and straight into the arms of Captain Drake LeVeq.

As an architect from an old New Orleans family, Drake has a deeply personal interest in rebuilding the city. Raised by strong women, he recognizes Valinda’s determination. And he can’t stop admiring—or wanting—her. But when Valinda’s father demands she return home to marry a man she doesn’t love, her daring rebellion draws Drake into an irresistible intrigue.

Purchase Links:  IndieBound  |  Amazon  |  Kindle  |  Barnes & Noble  |  B&N Nook  |  Books-A-Million  |  |  Kobo  |  Kobo Audiobook  |  Downpour Audiobook  |  BookDepository

Valinda Lacey was born into freedom in the North. Although she has always known freedom as a woman of color, she hasn’t been allowed the opportunity to pursue her dreams of furthering her education. Valinda’s father feels that an advanced education is wasted on women and educated women won’t be able to have children. Valinda doesn’t agree with her father, but since she can’t study without his permission she does the best she can. When the opportunity arises to get “engaged” to a childhood friend then travel South, Valinda does just that. Her fiance and his business partner travel to France seeking funding for their business and Valinda heads to New Orleans. The war between the states may be over, but there are still former slave owners that don’t feel the need to pay wages to their workers despite signed contracts. There are still bad feelings toward Northerners and Blacks, especially freed Blacks, and it doesn’t help that Valinda is a Northerner helping freed Blacks learn to read. Valinda has difficulties with one of her landladies, difficulties getting paid the small stipend she was guaranteed for her work, difficulties getting the supplies necessary to teach her students (children and adults), and then her school is targeted and destroyed. Fortunately for Ms. Lacey, she had come across one of New Orleans’ infamous LeVeq sons during an unfortunate run-in with some soldiers. Now Drake LeVeq and the entire LeVeq family is willing to help Valinda when things take a turn from bad to worse. Over the course of just a few weeks, Valinda has to make some serious decisions. Will Valinda marry her fiance even though she doesn’t love him and he doesn’t love her? If she foregoes a loveless marriage will she be forced to return North by her fierce and overbearing father? Can she turn her back on her growing attraction to New Orleans and Drake LeVeq?

I read Rebel the first in the Women Who Dare series by Beverly Jenkins in just one afternoon. Although I was dealing with a migraine that was rapidly progressing from a moderate to a severe level, along with some allergy and asthma issues, I could not put this book down. I love reading Queen Beverly’s books, and I do mean all of her books. Seriously, I reread a portion of her books at least once every other year. Rebel is a historical romance set in late 1860s in New Orleans during the Reconstruction period after the Civil War. Blacks that have been freed from the bounds of slavery are searching for loved ones that were sold away. They’re trying to find gainful employment and, for the first time for many, learn to read and write. Although Valinda isn’t a trained educator, she can and does help freed Black adults and children learn to read and write. She also helps writes letters, reads letters, writes newspapers advertisements, and does whatever she can to help reunite families. Yes, Valinda is idealistic but she is also realistic having grown up in the North where slavery is outlawed but Blacks were still treated as less than. For the first time ever, Valinda feels needed and when she meets Drake she is more than a little bit infatuated. The great thing about reading romance novels is that you know that there will be a happy-ever-after (HEA) ending no matter what trials and tribulations the couple may go through, but it’s those trials and tribulations that make the story interesting. One of the many things I enjoy about reading Ms. Jenkins’ historical romance is that she weaves a lot of historical tidbits into her stories, the bitter along with the sweet. I enjoyed the characters, the settings, and the action. Yes, there are bad guys but the good guys prevail (yay!). So this is for my romancelandia readers, if you’ve previously read any books in the LeVeq series by Beverly Jenkins, then I strongly encourage you to grab a copy of Rebel to read. If you haven’t read any of the books in the LeVeq series, go and read those then grab a copy of Rebel to read. For those of you that don’t read romance, I encourage you to start (you don’t know what you’re missing), and Rebel is a good book to start you off. Seriously, Rebel is another fine addition to the long list of great reads by the one and only, “Slayer of Words,” Beverly Jenkins. I look forward to reading more in the Women Who Dare series by this author.

Disclaimer: I received a free digital review copy of this book from the publisher via Edelweiss+. 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.”

Guest Post: Charles Salzberg – SWANN’S DOWN

Swann's Down by Charles Salzberg Banner

Good day, book people. I hope everyone is having a wonderful week. If you’re like me, you’ve probably read quite a few books that are part of a series. And also like me, you’ve probably wondered how the author determines when or if a series should end. Today, I’m pleased to welcome Charles Salzberg, author of the Henry Swann detective/noir/mystery series including the latest release Swann’s Down, and he’ll be discussing the author’s choice behind continuing or ending a series. Thank you, Mr. Salzberg, for taking the time to stop by today and sharing with us. I hope you all will enjoy Mr. Salzberg’s information, read more about Swann’s Down, and add this series and book to your TBR list.

Author’s Choice
Charles Salzberg

All good things (and some bad, though they seem to take much longer) must come to an end. 

For those of us who write series, it’s sometimes difficult to admit when the end is near. 

Some writers, when they start a book already have a series in mind. You do this for several reasons. One, because you like the character and enjoy writing about him or her. Two, because your editor flatters you by insisting you keep going.  Three, because there’s unfinished business when it comes to the character. And four, and this is probably the most important reason of all, you’ve actually amassed a hardcore fan base that demands you keep going. 

In terms of the latter, it’s not really the fans who determine the longevity of your series, but rather sales.  I have a number of friends who, after the third book in their series (publishing “wisdom” is that a series needs at least three books before it catches on if it’s going to catch on) were dropped by the publisher. It rarely has anything to do with quality. It’s almost always an economic decision. If you’re lucky, and it is a matter of luck because editors and agents tell us that once you’ve started a series with one publisher it’s very unlikely that another one will pick up the series. This, too, is an economic decision. Unless you come armed with the rights to the previous books in the series, the new publisher will have no control and no long-term economic interest in the series.

It’s too bad because by the third book most authors have finally begun to figure out their main character. They know how he or she thinks. They know how he or she will react in certain situations. And if you’re a good writer you can see that your writing and story-telling is getting better with each installment. Your characters stop existing in a fictional world but start to exist in the “real” world. I know, I know, people are committed for this tenuous hold on reality, but writers may be the exception.

In my case, the Swann series came about by accident. Not only did I have no intention of writing a sequel, but I had no intention of writing another crime novel. You can tell by the title of that first one. It wasn’t Swann’s First Song but rather, Swann’s Last Song. Would I have used that title if I had any inkling that it would be anything other than one and out? Not a chance. 

So, what happened? I won’t go into the checkered history of the manuscript, that it sat in my desk for almost twenty-five years before I decided to send it out again. The reason was the ending. Or rather the non-ending. Detectives are supposed to solve the crime, putting a chaotic world back together. But in the original Swann, the detective follows all the clues but it doesn’t lead him to the solution. Instead, he finds that the world doesn’t make that kind of sense. In fact, the world is in a state of chaos, and although we do find out who committed the murder that sets the book in motion, it has nothing to do with all the clues Swann follows diligently, across the continent and then across the world. 

But when I agreed to change the ending, a publisher agreed to publish the book. Meanwhile, I was onto something else. But when the book came out and was nominated for a Shamus Award for Best First PI Novel, my world changed. I didn’t win, but I did get pissed off enough to care myself to keep writing them until I won something or ran out of catchy titles.

Swann’s Down is the latest in the series and most probably the last. I’ve learned to never say never, but I am pretty certain about this. First, I think I’ve taken the character about as far as he can go. And I want to quit before the books become formulaic, which would pretty much take the fun out of writing them. And they have been fun.

Swann has been good to me. He’s allowed me to write about all sorts of things I was interested in. The world of rare books. The art world. The crazy world of Hollywood. Broken Hearts. Collectible photography. The world of rare artifacts. And now, in Swann’s Down, the spirit world. He’s allowed me to write about ethics and morality—especially in Swann’s Down when he’s hired to find a missing witness who might give an alibi to a notorious hitman. 

But now it’s time to move on to other things, other characters. I love the world of crime simply because it allows me to write about anything I want, especially human nature. I’m halfway through a novel with another PI, one who’s very, very different from Swann. And I had so much fun writing the complicated, evil character of master burglar Francis Hoyt, that I’m seriously thinking of writing a spin-off centering around him. And there’s more.

With so much on my plate, I’m not sad about leaving Henry Swann. He’ll be fine without me. And I want to thank him for opening the door into a literary world I never would have found without him.

And so, Henry, it’s not goodbye, because he’ll always live in those five books and also in my mind, but rather, “it’s been a fun ride, pal, and see you around.”

Author Bio:

Charles Salzberg

Charles Salzberg is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in New York magazine, Esquire, GQ, Redbook, The New York Times Book Review and other periodicals. He has written over 20 non-fiction books, including From Set Shot to Slam Dunk, an oral history of the NBA, and Soupy Sez: My Zany Life and Times. He is author of the Shamus Award nominated Swann’s Last Song, Swann Dives In, Swann’s Lake of Despair, nominated for two Silver Falchions, Swann’s Way Out, Devil in the Hole, named one of the best crime novels of the year by Suspense Magazine. He was a Visiting Professor of Magazine at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University and he teaches writing the New York Writers Workshop where he is a Founding Member. He is a member of the MWA-NY Board.

Catch Up With Charles Salzberg On:, Goodreads, Twitter, & Facebook!

Swann's Down by Charles Salzberg Banner

Swann’s Down

by Charles Salzberg

on Tour May 1 – June 30, 2019


Swann's Down by Charles Salzberg

When Henry Swann is asked by his quirky partner, Goldblatt, to find a missing psychic who’s swindled his ex-wife out of a small fortune, he just can’t say no. Although he doesn’t actually expect to get paid, he figures it might give him a chance to finally learn more about his partner’s mysterious past. His search takes him into the controversial, arcane world of psychics, fortune tellers, and charlatans while raising questions in his own mind about whether or not there is an after-life.

While working his partner’s case, he’s approached by a former employer, attorney Paul Rudder, to track down a missing witness who might be able to provide an alibi for his client, Nicky Diamond, a notorious mob hitman who’s scheduled to go on trial for murder he claims he didn’t commit in a week. Swann’s search for the missing witness, who happens to be the defendant’s girlfriend, takes him from Brooklyn to a small beach town across the Bay from Mobile, Ala. But what does she really know and will she even come back with him to testify for her boyfriend?

Book Details:

Genre: Detective/Noir/Mystery
Published by: Down & Out Books
Publication Date: May 14, 2019
Number of Pages: 300
ISBN: 978-1-64396011-1
Series:Henry Swann
Purchase Links: Amazon | | Goodreads

Praise for Swann’s Down:

“Psychics, double-crosses, missing persons–Charles Salzberg’s latest Henry Swann book has it all. Swann’s Down is a gritty, no-frills PI novel that brings to mind greats like Reed Farrel Coleman’s Moe Prager and Michael Harvey’s Michael Kelly. Whether this is your first Swann adventure or the latest, you won’t want to miss the brass-knuckle punch that is Swann’s Down. Trust me.”
~ Alex Segura, author of Blackout and Dangerous Ends

“From Manhattan to Coney Island to the steamy shores of Alabama, Charles Salzberg delivers a top-flight mystery with his latest Henry Swann outing. Highly recommended.”
~  Tom Straw, New York Times bestselling author as Richard Castle

Swann’s Down gives readers two intriguing mysteries for the price of one, as skip tracer Henry Swann pursues a woman who might alibi a murderer and a psychic who swindled the ex-wife of Swann’s partner. Shamus Award-nominated Salzberg does a superb job cutting between the two investigations. I kept turning pages to stay with both chases as the suspense increased to the very end. Whatever is going on, Swann is at the center of this story. His wry wit, quotes from authors and philosophers, genius for questioning suspects, and dark past make him a character readers will follow anywhere as he seeks his quarry. This is another thrilling addition to this excellent series.
~ Rich Zahradnik, Lights Out Summer, winner of the 2018 Shamus Award for Best Paperback Private Eye Novel

Henry Swann dives in where others fear to tread in Swann’s Down: Fast. Funny. And Smart. This time out, Swann crosses paths with a psycho hitman, a phony psychic and Swann’s mysterious partner, a disbarred lawyer. Who could ask for more? I hope we’ll see a lot more of Swann in the future and that this isn’t Swann’s swan song.
~ Paul D. Marks, Shamus Award-winning Author of White Heat and Broken Windows.

Tour Participants:

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

Enter To Win!:

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Charles Salzberg. There will be 6 giveaway winners. There will be 1 Grand Prize winner of one (1) Gift Card. There will be five (5) 2nd Prize winners of one (1) Print Edition of Swann’s Down (U.S. Mailing Addresses only). The giveaway begins on May 1, 2019, and runs through July 2, 2019. Void where prohibited.

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2019 Book 145: THE PRINTED LETTER BOOKSHOP by Katherine Reay

The Printed Letter Bookshop by Katherine Reay
ISBN: 9780785222002 (trade paperback)
ISBN: 9780785222019 (ebook)
ISBN: 9780785222033 (audiobook)
ASIN: B07DT45N19 (Kindle edition)
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Publication Date: May 14, 2019

Love, friendship, and family find a home at the Printed Letter Bookshop

One of Madeline Cullen’s happiest childhood memories is of working with her Aunt Maddie in the quaint and cozy Printed Letter Bookshop. But by the time Madeline inherits the shop nearly twenty years later, family troubles and her own bitter losses have hardened Madeline’s heart toward her once-treasured aunt—and the now struggling bookshop left in her care.

While Madeline intends to sell the shop as quickly as possible, the Printed Letter’s two employees have other ideas. Reeling from a recent divorce, Janet finds sanctuary within the books and within the decadent window displays she creates. Claire, though quieter than the acerbic Janet, feels equally drawn to the daily rhythms of the shop and its loyal clientele, finding a renewed purpose within its walls. When Madeline’s professional life takes an unexpected turn, and when a handsome gardener upends all her preconceived notions, she questions her plans and her heart. She begins to envision a new path for herself and for her aunt’s beloved shop—provided the women’s best combined efforts are not too little, too late.

The Printed Letter Bookshop is a captivating story of good books, a testament to the beauty of new beginnings, and a sweet reminder of the power of friendship.

Purchase Links: 
IndieBound | Amazon | | AudiobooksNow.comBarnes & Noble  | B&N Nook | Books-A-MillionBookDepositoryDownpour | Kobo eBook | Kobo Audiobook   

Madeline Cullen is an only child. She’s currently working as a lawyer for a firm in Chicago and vying for partnership. She has fond memories of her namesake aunt, her father’s sister, but also recalls a family schism that occurred during her early teens. She always thought that her aunt and her husband blamed her father for the loss of monies during the tech market crash 20 years ago. Loyalty to her parents meant that after her father severed ties to his sister, Madeline also severed ties with her beloved aunt. Over the past few years, it didn’t matter that she was less than 50 miles away from her aunt, she always found some excuse to postpone a visit. Her aunt had even called her a few months before her death and Madeleine once again put her off. Sadly, her aunt’s death means no chance of repairing this familial relationship. On top of losing her aunt, Madeline is informed that she hasn’t been chosen for partnership at her law firm. Unsure of what to do with her life, Madeline grabs hold of the lifeline left to her by her aunt and takes over the ownership of The Printed Letter Bookshop miles away in Winsome. Little does Madeline know that ownership of a bookstore will come with a huge learning curve, built-in friends (if she’s only willing to accept their offers of friendship), and the possibility of a new start in life. Just when things are heading in the right direction, store sales are up, Madeline is getting along well with Janet and Claire – the two store employees, and she’s begun to date, she’s hit with a massive blow and this is one loss neither she nor the store may recover from.

I’ve always enjoyed reading books written by Katherine Reay and The Printed Letter Bookshop was no different. Okay, it was a little different. First, I read this book in one afternoon while sitting with my elderly mother. I read it cover to cover in less than five hours. I could not put it down. Second, I enjoyed all of the characters, the settings, the storyline, the action…basically, I enjoyed everything about this story! I enjoyed the complexity of each character, Madeline, Janet, Claire, Claire’s daughter Brittany, Chris, and Drew, and the struggles they face. I even enjoyed discovering more about Madeline’s deceased aunt Maddy (we learn a lot about her throughout the story from the viewpoint of various characters). I was initially intrigued about this story because it featured a bookstore, pardon me, a bookshop. But The Printed Letter Bookshop is much more than story about a bookshop, it’s about second chances, relationships, family, forgiveness, friendships, and being true to one’s self. It’s also about faith in one’s self, family, friendships, relationships, and learning to live in the present rather than wallow in the past. The Printed Letter Bookshop was a story that filled me with emotions as a read it, because I could empathize with all of the characters as well as the struggles and choices they faced. The Printed Letter Bookshop isn’t Women’s fiction, although it does have some aspects of Women’s fiction. It isn’t just Inspirational fiction although it includes an inspirational message. This story isn’t just a romance, but it does include romance. I don’t want to classify The Printed Letter Bookshop because I feel any classification other than contemporary fiction would be too limiting. I can say this, if you’re looking for a well-written story with realistic and well-developed characters dealing with realistic issues then you’ll definitely want to grab a copy of The Printed Letter Bookshop. If you’ve read anything by Ms. Reay in the past, then you probably already have The Printed Letter Bookshop on your TBR list. The Printed Letter Bookshop is going on my must read list for this year. I’ll be recommending it to all of my local fiction book groups with hopes that at least one of them will choose it so I can reread it. (Yeah, you already know I’m going to reread it whether a bookgroup chooses to read it or not. And yes, it is just that good! 😉)

Disclaimer: I received a free print review copy of this book from the author. 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.”

2019 Book 143: THE NIGHT WINDOW by Dean Koontz

The Night Window Jane Hawk #5 by Dean Koontz
ISBN: 9780525484707 (hardcover)
ISBN: 9780525484714 (ebook)
ISBN: 9781543627336 (audiobook)

ASIN: B07GMS9JXT (Kindle edition)

Publisher: Bantam Books
Publication Date: May 14, 2019

#1 New York Times bestselling author Dean Koontz brings Jane Hawk’s one-woman war to an explosive climax as the rogue FBI agent wages her final battle against a terrifying conspiracy–for vengeance, for justice, and for humanity’s freedom. 

Groundbreaking, wholly involving, eerily prescient and terrifyingly topical, Dean Koontz’s Jane Hawk series sets a new standard for contemporary thrillers. Since her sensational debut in The Silent Corner, readers have been riveted by Jane Hawk’s resolute quest to take down the influential architects of an accelerating operation to control every level of society via an army of mind-altered citizens. At first, only Jane stood against the “Arcadian” conspirators, but slowly others have emerged to stand with her, even as there are troubling signs that the “adjusted” people are beginning to spin viciously out of control. Now, in the thrilling, climactic showdown that will decide America’s future, Jane will require all her resources–and more–as she confronts those at the malevolent, impregnable center of power.

What do you do when the lives and safety of your loved ones are being threatened by a shadow cabal that seeks to use technology to rid itself of any perceived threats as well as make key individuals in government, law enforcement, banking, media, etc. agents for your cabal? Well, if you’re name is Jane Hawk, you fight and fight dirty. In The Silent Window Jane’s husband Nick had been forced to commit suicide by this shadow cabal known as the Techno Arcadians and her five-year-old son’s life had been threatened. She took a leave-of-absence from the FBI, sold everything she could sell, hid her son away and went hunting the leadership of this cabal. In the second book, The Whispering Room, Jane along with Minnesota Sheriff Luther Tillman, discover an entire town in Kentucky filled with “adjusted” adults, learn the phrases to control these people, and rescue all of the children from the town. Book three, The Crooked Staircase, has Jane going up against a key government agent, and Techno Arcadian, his brother, and some of her deepest fears in an effort to stay a few steps ahead of the game of cat-and-mouse. By book four, The Forbidden Door, the Techno Arcadians have figured out where Jane has hidden her son and are fast on his trail. His surrogate aunt and uncle, friends to Jane and her husband, do their best to keep Travis away from harm and die protecting him. Fortunately, Jane and her new found friends, an 82-year-old retired wig maker – Bernie Riggowitz, and Sheriff Tillman help her rescue Travis and his new caregiver, Cornell Jasperson before it’s too late. 

Because of Jane’s law enforcement background, keen intelligence, and desire to protect her son, she’s always been able to stay one or two steps ahead of the Arcadians in their search to keep her from discovering more of their secrets. She now has the assistance of her former FBI colleague, Vikram Rangnekar, an IT specialist, to help plan her final steps. Vikram has somewhat boldly left the FBI, accessed one of Jane’s compatriots to get vehicles, and is working feverishly to backdoor into numerous databases (including the a few belonging to the government) to ascertain who is involved with the Techno Arcadians, who’s on the adjusted list, where their money is coming from, and how it’s being channeled. All Jane has to do is stay alive…or that’s what she thought. She has to stay alive and keep Vikram alive whilst battling her former partners in crime and the Techno Arcadians and the bad guys are closing fast. Unbeknownst to Jane, a burglar targets Bernie’s daughter’s house, finds Travis, and attempts to “sell” him to his Vegas fence. In just a few short weeks, Jane has had so many fires to put out and has been portrayed as public enemy number one in the media. Her disguises are no longer effective, her vehicle is being tracked a little too fast to her liking, and she’s running out of options. Will she be able to discover the truth about the Techno Arcadians and reveal it to the world before it’s too late? Will Travis be sold away without her knowledge? Can the Techno Arcadians be put down without a massive fight? Can good and righteousness triumph over evil?

I slowly savored The Night Window by Dean Koontz simply because I knew it was the last book in the Jane Hawk series and I didn’t want the story to end. I normally read a book in a day, but I kept putting this one down because I didn’t want it to end. The themes of a shadowy government-within-a-government cabal, use of technology to make us blind sheep willing to follow any command, unlimited use of governmental law enforcement powers to coerce, harm, and kill anyone that gets in their way were all incredibly scary to read about or even think of as a possibility. Having said that, Mr. Koontz presented all of these fantastical ideas in such a way that it seemed not only plausible but probable rather than a bit too science-fiction fantasy or out-of-this-world. I loved meeting Jane Hawk, her son Travis, Jane’s in-laws – Ancel and Clare Hawk, her friends Gavin and Jessica Washington, Gavin’s cousin – Cornell Jasperson, retired wig-maker Bernie Riggowitz, IT specialist extraordinaire Vikram Rangnekar, and more. There are bad guys and even worse guys that appear throughout each book. Some live to see another day and some do not. The heart of the Jane Hawk series isn’t simply a shadow cabal and a conspiracy, but one person uncovering this cabal and conspiracy and going out of her way to do the right thing and get justice for her deceased husband and the thousands of others killed and targeted by this group with the help of a few friends. If you enjoy well-written, gripping, suspenseful thrillers with plenty of twists, then I strongly encourage you to read the Jane Hawk series. If you’ve read the previous books in this series, you’ll definitely want to read The Night Window just to see how it all ends (no, I’m not telling). I enjoyed the action, the characters (okay, just the good guys), and the settings. I, for one, am sad to say goodbye to Jane, Travis, Bernie, Luther, Cornell, and the gang. Thank you, Mr. Koontz, for another gripping story and introducing us all to Jane Hawk.
Disclaimer: I received a free digital review copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley. 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.”

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Print: The Night Window (Jane Hawk Series #5)

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The Night Window (Jane Hawk Series #5)

The Night Window :  A Jane Hawk Novel


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Guest Post: Gary McAvoy – AND EVERY WORD IS TRUE

Hello, my bookish peeps. I hope everyone has had a wonderful week and, perhaps, time to read some wonderful books. I’m always fascinated by what draws an author to a particular subject matter. Or more simply put, why that book is written that way? With fiction, the answer can be quite convoluted, but we generally expect the answer to be simplistic when dealing with nonfiction. I don’t know why since reality is often anything but simple and often convoluted with stories within stories and intrigues within intrigues. Author Gary McAvoy deals with just that scenario when faced with the possibility of purchasing and researching the records of one of the key investigators in the infamous Kansas murders that led to Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood. Read what Mr. McAvoy has to say about his journey to becoming an “accidental” author in today’s guest post. Thank you, Mr. McAvoy, for stopping by and sharing this information with us. I’m looking forward to reading And Every Word Is True to learn more behind the scenes details in this investigation and I hope you’ll be putting this book on your TBR list.

Gary McAvoy

Though I’ve been writing professionally, on and off, for some 30 years, I had no plans to even start the book I’ve just finished. It wasn’t until the State of Kansas sued me—to prevent making public the research I obtained—that the thought even occurred to me. And then, I couldn’t not write it.

As a dealer in rare literary manuscripts and other historical memorabilia, I was approached in 2012 by the son of Harold Nye, a former special agent for the Kansas Bureau of Investigation and the lead field investigator for the 1959 Clutter family murders, a case made famous by Truman Capote in his bestselling book In Cold Blood. The younger Nye was looking to sell his father’s signed books and handwritten letters from Capote in order to meet family medical expenses, the type of transaction dealers like me encounter often.

When the State learned of the pending auction of Agent Nye’s personal archives, however, they went ballistic, issuing a cease and desist order—one I was not about to comply within the normal course of legitimate business—which quickly morphed into a lawsuit. Beyond the books and letters, Nye’s personal journals and investigative field notes of the notorious murders of a Kansas farmer and his family were interesting enough at first glance, I thought, but hardly seemed the type of material a state government would sue over to gain protective custody.

That type of extreme action made me more curious as to what I was actually in possession of, so I dove into a deep pile of research lasting six years, discovering in the process that while Capote’s book told a gripping tale exceedingly well, there was another, more sinister reality to the investigation that hadn’t been made public—one that appeared to have been the State’s urgent target of suppression.

Having ultimately prevailed in that litigation when the Court ruled in our favor—affirming our First Amendment right to publish—I came to realize this was much more than a simple auction of memorabilia. This was potentially a book of historical literary import. But I did not want it to be a take-down of an important and treasured American work (although, as a byproduct, I did uncover an abundance of erroneous or contrived material in Capote’s work). No, this book needed to set the record straight in a story that had been read and deeply believed by millions of readers worldwide for over fifty years—no small task.

Surprisingly, more than one publisher we approached with early versions of the book while finding its content and premise fascinating, responded: “We don’t want to be the house that brings down an American classic…”! That was hardly the intention of the book, but clearly, my work was cut out for me. That’s when I chose the path of an indie author, and never looked back.

To have “fallen in” to a topic I normally wouldn’t have been drawn to was one thing. But, as we learned from the bullying tactics of a well-funded legal opponent, backing down when we were in the right would have been unconscionable. Faced with a do or die moment, we took the high road, won the day, and have published a book that will stand the test of time. And, after all, every word is true.

Author Bio:

Gary McAvoy

Gary McAvoy is a veteran technology executive, entrepreneur, and lifelong writer. For several years he was also a literary media escort in Seattle, during which time he worked with hundreds of authors promoting their books—most notably Dr. Jane Goodall, with whom Gary later collaborated on “Harvest for Hope: A Guide to Mindful Eating” (Hachette, 2005).

Gary is also a professional collector of rare literary manuscripts and historical letters and books, a passion that sparked the intriguing discoveries leading up to his latest book, And Every Word Is True (Literati Editions, March 2019), a revealing look at startling new disclosures about the investigation surrounding the 1959 Clutter family murders, heinous crimes chillingly portrayed in Truman Capote’s “In Cold Blood.” And Every Word Is True pulls back the curtain for a suspenseful encore to Capote’s classic tale, adding new perspectives to an iconic American crime.

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And Every Word Is True

by Gary McAvoy

on Tour April 1 – May 31, 2019


And Every Word Is True by Gary McAvoy

Truman Capote’s bestselling book “In Cold Blood” has captivated worldwide audiences for over fifty years. It is a gripping story about the consequences of a trivial robbery gone terribly wrong in a remote village of western Kansas.

But what if robbery was not the motive at all, but something more sinister? And why would the Kansas Bureau of Investigation press the Attorney General to launch a ruthless four-year legal battle to prevent fresh details of the State’s most famous crime from being made public, so many years after the case had been solved?

Based on stunning new details discovered in the personal journals and archives of former KBI Director Harold Nye—and corroborated by letters written by Richard Hickock, one of the killers on Death Row—

And Every Word Is True meticulously lays out a vivid and startling new view of the investigation, one that will keep readers on the edge of their seats as they pick up where Capote left off. Even readers new to the story will find themselves drawn into a spellbinding forensic investigation that reads like a thriller, adding new perspectives to the classic tale of an iconic American crime.

Sixty years after news of the 1959 Clutter murders took the world stage, And Every Word Is True pulls back the curtain for a suspenseful encore to the true story of “In Cold Blood.”

Book Details:

Genre: True Crime, Memoir
Published by: Literati Editions
Publication Date: March 4, 2019
Number of Pages: 310
ISBN: 978-0-9908376-0-2 (HB); 978-0-9908376-1-9 (PB)

Purchase Links: Amazon Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Kobo | Goodreads

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This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Gary McAvoy. There will be four (4) giveaway winners.  One winner will receive one (1) Gift Card and three (3) winners will receive one (1) print copy of And Every Word Is True by Gary McAvoy (Open to U.S. addresses only). The giveaway begins on April 1, 2019, and runs through June 2, 2019. Void where prohibited.

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