Book Blast: DEAD IN THE WATER by Jeannette de Beauvoir

Dead In The Water

by Jeannette de Beauvoir

April 27, 2021 Book Blast

DEAD IN THE WATER - JBeauvoir

 

Book Details:

Family Can Be Murder

Sydney Riley’s stretch of planned relaxation between festivals is doomed from the start. Her parents, ensconced at the Race Point Inn, expect her to play tour guide. Wealthy adventurer Guy Husband has reappeared, seeking to regain her friend Mirela’s affections. And the body of a kidnapped businessman has been discovered under MacMillan Wharf!

Sydney is literally at sea (by far not her favorite place!) balancing these expectations with her supersized curiosity. Is the murder the work of a regional gang led by the infamous “Codfather” or the result of a feud within an influential Provincetown family? What’s Guy Husband’s connection, and why is it suddenly so important that her boyfriend Ali come for a visit—especially while her mother is in town?

Master of crime Jeannette de Beauvoir brings her unique blend of irony and intrigue to this humorous—and sometimes horrendous—convergence of family and fatality.

Book Details:

Genre: Mystery
Published by: HomePort Press
Publication Date: May 1st 2021
Number of Pages: 309
ISBN: 9781734053371
Series:Sydney Riley Series, Book #8 | Each is a stand alone Mystery
Purchase Links: Amazon | Goodreads

Read an excerpt from Dead In The Water:

Chapter One

It was, I told myself, all my worst nightmares come true. All at once.

I may live at Land’s End, out at the tip of Cape Cod where the land curls into itself and for centuries foghorns warned of early death and disaster; I may have, yes, been out on boats on the Atlantic waters, laughably close to shore; but no, I’d never gotten used to any of it. I like floors that don’t move under my feet. I like knowing I could conceivably make it back to land on my own steam should something go wrong. (Well the last bit is a fantasy: without a wetsuit, the cold would get me before the fatigue did. But the point still stands.)

I was having this plethora of cheerful thoughts for two reasons. I had allowed myself to be persuaded to go on a whale watch. And the person standing beside me on the deck was my mother.

Like all stories that involve me and my mother, this one started with guilt. I’d had, safe to say, a rough year. I’d broken my arm (and been nearly killed) at an extremely memorable film festival here in Provincetown in the spring, and then during Women’s Week that October had met up with another murderer—seriously, it’s as if my friend Julie Agassi, the head of the town’s police detective squad, is right, and I go looking for these things.

I don’t, but people are starting to wonder.

Meanwhile, my mother was busily beating her you-never-call-you-never-write drum and I just couldn’t face seeing her for the holidays. My life was already complicated enough, and there’s no one like my mother for complicating things further. She’s in a class by herself. Other contenders have tried valiantly to keep up, before falling, one by one, by the wayside. Not even death or divorce can complicate my life the way my mother manages to. She perseveres.

On the other hand, circumstances had over the past year given her a run for her money. My boyfriend Ali—who after several years my mother continued to refer to as that man—and I had become sudden and accidental godparents to a little girl named Lily when our friend Mirela adopted her sister’s unwanted baby. And the godparents thing—which I’d always assumed to be a sort of ceremonial role one trotted out at Christmas and birthdays—had become very real when Mirela was arrested, incarcerated, and investigated as to her parenting suitability last October, and suddenly we were in loco parentis. I took the baby to Ali’s Boston apartment and we holed up there for over a month. Mirela had joined us for the last week of it and I can honestly say I’ve never been more relieved to see anyone in my life.

I was trying, but motherhood was clearly not my gig. Maybe there’s something to that DNA thing, after all.

What with one thing and another, it was this January before I was thinking straight. I’d gone back to my life in P’town and my work—I’m the wedding and events planner for the Race Point Inn, one of the town’s nicer establishments, though I do say it myself—and really believed I was finally feeling back to what passes for normal again when my mother began her barrage of guilt-laden demands. Had I forgotten I had parents? I could travel to Boston, but not to New Hampshire?

It hadn’t helped that, because there was absolutely nothing on the inn’s events calendar for February, Ali and I decided to be the tourists for once; we’d taken off for Italy. Okay, let’s see, the short dark days of February… and a choice between snowy New Hampshire and the charms of Venice. You tell me.

Which was why I’d run out of excuses by the time my mother started taking about being on her deathbed in March. (She wasn’t.) And that my father had forgotten what I looked like in April. (He hadn’t.)

I couldn’t afford any more time off—Glenn, the inn’s owner, had already been more than generous as it was—and there was only one thing to do. I had a quick shot of Jameson’s for courage and actually called my mother, risking giving her a heart attack (the last time I’d called was roughly two administrations ago), and invited her and my father to come to Provincetown.

Which was why I now found myself on the deck of the Dolphin IV, looking for whales and listening to my mother read from the guide book. “The largest living mammal is the blue whale,” she reported.

“I know,” I acknowledged.

“The humpback whale doesn’t actually chew its food,” she said. “It filters it through baleens.”

“I know,” I replied.

She glanced at me, suspicious. “How do you know all this?”

“Ma, I live in Provincetown.” It’s just possible one or two of the year-round residents—there aren’t that many of us, the number is under three thousand—don’t know about whales, but the possibility is pretty remote. Tourism is our only real industry. Tourists stop us in the street to ask us questions.

We know about whales.

She sniffed. “You don’t have to take an attitude about it, Sydney Riley,” she said. Oh, good: we were in full complete-name reprimand mode. “You know I don’t like it when you take an attitude with me.”

“I wasn’t taking an attitude. I was stating a fact.” I could feel the slow boil of adolescent-level resentment—and attitude, yes—building. I am in my late thirties, and I can still feel about fifteen when I’m having a conversation with my mother. Breathe, Riley, I counseled myself. Just breathe. Deeply. Don’t let her get to you.

She looked around her. “Are we going to see sharks?”

I sighed. Everyone these days wants to see sharks. For a long time, the dreaded story of Jaws was just that—a story, something to watch at the drive-in movie theatre in Wellfleet (yeah, we still have one of those) and shiver deliciously at the creepy music and scream when the shark tries to eat the boat. But conservation efforts over the past eight or ten years had caused a spectacular swelling of the seal population around the Cape—we’d already seen a herd of them sunning themselves on the beach today when we’d passed Long Point—and a few years later, the Great White sharks realized where their meals had all gone, and followed suit.

That changed things rather a lot. A tourist was attacked at a Truro beach and bled out. Signs were posted everywhere. Half-eaten seal corpses washed up. The famous annual Swim for Life, which once went clear across the harbor, changed its trajectory. And everybody downloaded the Great White Shark Conservancy’s shark-location app, Sharktivity.

The reality is both scary and not-scary. We’d all been surprised to learn sharks are quite comfortable in three or four feet of water, so merely splashing in the shallows was out. But in reality sharks attack humans only when they mistake them for seals, and usually only bite once, as our taste is apparently offensive to them. People who die from a shark attack bleed out; they’re not eaten alive.

“We might,” I said to my mother now. “There are a number of kinds of sharks here—”

The naturalist’s voice came over the loudspeaker, saving me. “Ah, so the captain tells me we’ve got a female and her calf just up ahead, at about two o’clock off the bow of the boat.”

“What does that mean, two o’clock?”

He had already told us. My mother had been asking what they put in the hot dogs in the galley at the time and hadn’t stopped to listen to him. “If the front of the boat is twelve o’clock, then two o’clock is just off—there!” I exclaimed, carried away despite myself. “There! Ma, see?”

“What?”

The whale surfaced gracefully, water running off her back, bright and sparkling in the sunlight, and just as gracefully went back under. A smaller back followed suit. The denizens of the deep, here to feed for the summer, willing to show off for the boatloads of visitors who populated the whale-watch fleet every year to catch a glimpse of another life, a mysterious life echoing with otherworldly calls and harkening back to times when the oceans were filled with giants.

Before we hunted them to the brink of extinction, that is.

“This is an individual we know,” the naturalist was saying. “Her name is Perseid. Unlike some other whales, humpbacks don’t travel in pods. Instead, they exist in loose and temporary groups that shift, with individuals moving from group to group, sometimes swimming on their own. These assemblages have been referred to as fluid fission/fusion groups. The only exception to this fluidity is the cow and calf pair. This calf was born eight months ago, and while right now you’re seeing her next to Perseid, she’s going to start straying farther and farther away as the summer progresses.”

Now that my mother was quieter—even she was silent in the face of something this big, this extraordinary—I recognized the naturalist’s voice. It was Kai Bennett, who worked at the Center for Coastal Studies in town; he was a regular at the Race Point Inn’s bar scene during the winter, when we ran a trivia game and he aced all the biology questions. “And we have another one that just went right under us… haven’t yet seen who this one is,” said Kai.

The newcomer spouted right off the port side of the boat and the light wind swept a spray of fine droplets over the passengers, who exclaimed and laughed.

“I wish they’d jump more out of the water,” my mother complained. “You have to look so fast. and they blend right in.”

My mother is going to bring a list of complaints with her to give to Saint Peter when she assaults the pearly gates of heaven. I swear she is.

Kai’s voice on the loudspeaker overran my mother’s. “Ocean conservation starts with connection. We believe that, as we build personal relationships with the ocean and its wildlife, we become more invested stewards of the marine environment. Whales, as individuals, have compelling stories to tell: where will this humpback migrate this winter to give birth? Did the whale with scars from a propeller incident survive another year? What happened to the entangled whale I saw in the news?”

“Look!” yelled a passenger. “I just saw a blow over there! Look! I know I did! I’m sure of it!”

Kai continued, “For science, unique identifiable markings on a whale’s flukes—that’s the tail, folks—and on the dorsal fin allow us to non-invasively track whale movements and stories over time. By focusing on whales, we bring attention to the marine ecosystem as a whole and the challenges we face as a global community.”

“He sounds like a nice young man,” my mother remarked. “He sounds American.”

Don’t take the bait, I told myself. Don’t take the bait.

I took the bait.

“Ali is American,” I said. “He was born in Boston.”

“But his parents weren’t,” she said, with something like relish. “I just wish you could find a nice—”

I cut her off. “Ali is a nice American man,” I said.

“But why would his parents even come to America?” my mother asked, for possibly the four-thousandth time. “Everyone should just stay home. Where they belong.”

Breathe, Riley. Just breathe. “I think they would have liked to stay home,” I said, trying to keep my voice steady. “There was just the minor inconvenience of a civil war. Makes it difficult to enjoy your morning coffee when there’s a bomb explosion next door. Seriously, Ma, don’t you hate it when that happens?”

“You’re taking a tone with me,” my mother said. “Don’t take a tone with me.”

Kai saved me yet again. “That’s a good question,” his voice said over the loudspeaker. “For those of you who didn’t hear, this gentleman just asked how we know these whales by name. Of course, these are just names we give to them—they have their own communication systems and ways of identifying themselves and each other! So as I said, these are whales that return to the marine sanctuary every summer. Many of them are females, who can be counted on to bring their new calves up to Stellwagen Bank because they can feast on nutritious sand lance—that’s a tiny fish humpbacks just love—and teach their offspring to hunt. Together with Allied Whale in Bar Harbor at the College of the Atlantic, the Center for Coastal Studies Humpback Whale Research Group runs a study of return rates of whales based on decades of sighting data. So, in other words, we get to see the same whales, year after year. The first one ever named was a female we called Salt.” He didn’t say what I knew: that Allied Whale and the Center for Coastal Studies didn’t always play well together. For one thing, they had totally different names for the same whales. I managed to keep that fact to myself.

“Your father will wish he came along,” my mother said.

My father, to the best of my knowledge, was sitting out by the pool at the Race Point Inn, reading a newspaper and drinking a Bloody Mary. My mother was the dogged tourist in the family: when we’d gone on family vacations together, she was the one who found all the museums and statues and sights-of-interest to visit. She practically memorized guide books. My father, bemused, went along with most of it, though his idea of vacation was more centered around doing as little as possible for as much time as possible. Retirement didn’t seem to have changed that in any significant way.

“You’re here until Sunday,” I pointed out. “You can take him out.”

She sniffed. “He doesn’t know anything about whales,” she said.

“Then that’s the point. He’ll learn.” Okay, come on, give me a little credit: I was really trying here.

“Maybe,” she said darkly. “What are those other boats out there?”

I looked. “Some of them are just private boats. And a lot of the fishing charters come out here,” I said. “And when there are whales spotted, they come and look, too. Gives the customers an extra thrill.” I knew from Kai and a couple of the other naturalists that the whale-watch people weren’t thrilled with the extra attention: the private boats in particular didn’t always maintain safe distances from the whales. Once a whale was spotted and one or two of the Dolphin Fleet stopped to look, anyone within sight followed their lead. It could get quite crowded on a summer day.

And dangerous. There had been collisions in the past—boats on boats and, once that I knew of, a boat hitting a whale. Some days it was enough to despair of the human race.

Kai was talking. “Well, folks, this is a real treat! The whale that just blew on our port side is Piano, who’s a Stellwagen regular easy to identify for some unfortunate reasons, because she has both vessel propeller strike and entanglement scars. This whale is a survivor, however, and has been a regular on Stellwagen for years!” Amazing, I thought cynically, she even gave us the time of day after all that.

“I didn’t see the scars,” said my mother.

We waited around for a little while and then felt the engines start up again and the deck vibrate. I didn’t like the feeling. I knew exactly how irrational my fear was, and knowing did nothing to alleviate it. I’d had some bad experiences out on the water in the past, and that vibration brought them all back. I’d tried getting over it by occasionally renting a small sailboat with my friend Thea, but—well, again, I always thought I’d be able to swim to shore from the sailboat if anything went wrong. Not out here.

And then there was the whole not-letting-my-mother-know side to things. If she did, she’d never let me hear the end of it.
At least when we were talking about whales we weren’t talking about her ongoing matrimonial hopes for me, the matrimonial successes of (it seemed) all her friends’ offspring, and the bitter disappointment she was feeling around my approaching middle age without a husband in tow. That seemed to be where all our conversations began… and ended.
And I wasn’t approaching middle age. Forty is the new thirty, and all that sort of thing.

“The captain says we have another pair coming up, folks, off to the port side now… I’m just checking them out… it’s a whale called Milkweed and her new calf! Mom is traveling below the surface right now, but you can see the calf rolling around here…” There was a pause and a murmur and then his voice came back. “No, that’s not abnormal. The baby’s learning everything it needs to know about buoyancy and swimming, and you can be sure Mom’s always close by. We’re going to slowly head back toward Cape Cod now…” And, a moment later, “Looks like Milkweed and the baby are staying with us! Folks, as you’re seeing here, whales can be just as curious about us as we are about them! What Milkweed is doing now—see her, on the starboard side, at three o’clock—we call it spyhopping.”

“Why on earth would they be curious about us?” wondered my mother.

“That,” I said, looking at her and knowing she’d never get the sarcasm, “is a really good question.”

Just breathe, Riley. Just breathe.

***

Excerpt from Dead In The Water by Jeannette de Beauvoir. Copyright 2021 by Jeannette de Beauvoir. Reproduced with permission from Jeannette de Beauvoir. All rights reserved.

 

 

Author Bio:

Author - Jeannette de Beauvoir

Jeannette de Beauvoir didn’t set out to murder anyone—some things are just meant to be!

Her mother introduced her to the Golden Age of mystery fiction when she was far too young to be reading it, and she’s kept following those authors and many like them ever since. She wrote historical and literary fiction and poetry for years before someone asked her what she read—and she realized mystery was where her heart was. Now working on the Sydney Riley Provincetown mystery series, she bumps off a resident or visitor to her hometown on a regular basis.

Catch Up With Our Author:
JeannettedeBeauvoir.com
HomePortPress.com
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BookBub: @JeannettedeBeauvoir
Instagram: @jeannettedebeauvoir
Twitter: @JeannetteDeB
Facebook: @JeannettedeBeauvoir

 

 

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Book Blast: NO GOOD DEED GOES UNPUNISHED by E. James Harrison

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

by E. James Harrison

February 9, 2021 Book Blast

Synopsis:

 

Five years ago, US Air Force pararescue jumper Garrett Shepherd saved a stranger’s life. Now that man, Edwin Sprague, is dead—and he’s left Garrett millions of dollars as thanks. But there’s a catch: Edwin has a task for Garrett to complete that will double his money—if he survives: Edwin wants revenge from beyond the grave, and he wants Garrett to get it for him.

Garrett agrees to give the bizarre challenge one week of his time, but he’s quickly pulled into a dangerous world of scandal, bribery, and secrets some would kill to keep hidden. He has attracted the attention of some very powerful people—people who have destroyed their enemies before and will not hesitate to do so again. With the help of a Navajo policeman and a beautiful lawyer, Garrett’s investigation leads him deep into the Navajo reservation—but uncovering the information he’s hunting for proves to be a deadly quest.

Book Details:

Genre: Mystery, Suspense
Published by: Covenant Communications
Publication Date: January 5, 2021
Number of Pages: 304
ISBN: 9781524413545
Series: No Good Deed Goes Unpunished is not a part of a series.
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Goodreads

Read an excerpt:

Edwin Sprague knew he was a dead man walking the instant he was sucker punched in his kidney and a blanket was thrown over his head.

The only question rumbling through his mind as his hands were zip-tied behind him and he was shoved into a vehicle was whether it would be a quick bullet to the head or painfully slow as they tortured him to talk. He was hoping for the bullet, but that hope evaporated when he felt a needle plunged deep into his right bicep. Within a moment, the semidarkness of the blanket turned to the complete black of unconsciousness.

When his consciousness returned, it came all jumbled and in bits and pieces, like someone channel surfing with a remote control. One second, there was a memory of him standing beside an abandoned Navajo hogan in Beclabito, Arizona, and the next, it was a vague image of two men dressed in desert camo. Then, as if someone had hit the rewind button, he was in the middle of a conversation with his wife or arguing with his son about a boat.

Water splashing on his face abruptly stopped the channel surfing and pulled him to the here and now. He was lying spread-eagled on his back on the ground with what felt like a thousand sharp rocks digging into him.

Above him, a gravelly voice said, “Wake up, old man.”

The water was splatting on his forehead and running into his eyes and trickling down the side of his face before dribbling into his ears. Edwin tried shifting his head sideways to get out of the water, but it wouldn’t move. Then he tried lifting his right hand to block the flow, but it stayed as still as if it were nailed to the ground. He tried moving his left hand and got the same result.

There was a slight chuckle, and the miniature waterfall stopped. After blinking several times and squinting against the sunlight, Edwin’s vision cleared enough for him to see a man standing above him holding a half empty water bottle. He watched as the man tipped the water bottle and a thin stream of water cascaded toward him, splashed onto his forehead, and again filled his eyes and ears. Frustrated and angry, he tried rolling onto his side, but he couldn’t move.

The man gave a quick nasally laugh and continued pouring the water.

“Come on, old man,” he taunted, “don’t just lay there; get up and make me stop. You’re supposed to be this tough old dude, but you don’t look so tough to me.” Then, pouring the water faster, he said, “You know, if you’d ask me to stop, I’d stop. How about it? You want me to stop?”

Edwin drew a breath to shout, but all that came out was a soft puff of air.

“What? I didn’t hear you. Did you say something?” the man sneered.

Then, bending over slightly but without slowing the flow of water, he said, “No, of course you didn’t say anything. You can’t. And you can’t move either, can you?” Grinding his boot heel into Edwin’s hand, he said, “How about that—does it hurt?”

Pain shot through Edwin’s hand, and he simultaneously tried moving his hand and screaming but could do neither.

“Yeah, of course it hurt.” He stopped the flow of water. “It’s the drug, old man. You can see and hear, and feel pain, but you can’t move any muscle in your body, which is too bad for you.”

Squatting down, the man grabbed Edwin’s hair and yanked his head back, then poured a few drops of water into his upturned nose. Every natural reflex told Edwin he was drowning, and his body instinctively reacted to stop the water from hitting his lungs. Edwin sneezed out a vaporized spray of snot and water directly into the man’s face.

The man reared back, wiped the watery liquid from his face, then doubled up his fist and slammed it into Edwin’s cheek.

“Stop it! You’ll kill him!” another voice shouted from somewhere above Edwin’s head.

“So what? He’s going to die anyway.”

“Yeah, but you can’t beat him to death or drown him. That’s not what they want done.”

“He blew snot on me!” the man shouted back angrily as he rose to his feet.

“I don’t care. We’re going to do exactly what we were hired to do.
Nothing more, nothing less.”

The man looked down at Edwin, drew back his foot, and kicked him in the ribs, causing Edwin’s lungs to huff out a muffled explosion of air.

Then, turning away, he asked, “Has the rest of the money been deposited into our account?”

“Not yet.”

“Somebody better hurry. I’m getting really tired of this forsaken desert. It’s as desolate and ugly as anyplace in Africa.” With that, he kicked sand onto Edwin’s face.

“Leave him alone, and come sit under this tree. We should get a call anytime now.”

Edwin followed the man’s retreating footsteps with his eyes, seething with anger but unable to lift a finger. He blinked his eyes several times to clear a particle of dirt, and for the first time since coming to, he concentrated on what little he could see.

Overhead, a few cotton puffs of clouds dotted the intense blue of the summer sky. To his right he could barely make out the outline of red sandstone cliffs. A stubby sagebrush and prickly pear cactus blocked his view to the left. Looking down, he couldn’t see anything, not even the tips of his boots. All of that was enough to tell him he was in the desert and that within a couple of hours he would be slowly roasting under the blistering rays of the sun and, if he was still alive, praying for someone to pour some water on his face. Closing his eyes, he forced his mind to concentrate on moving each finger on his right hand, then his left. When none moved, he tried wiggling his toes in his boots. Nothing.

Edwin guessed an hour had crawled by before he heard the distinct chirp of a satellite phone announcing an incoming call. Then there was a very soft, muffled conversation, too faint for him to understand, followed almost immediately by the sound of footsteps approaching. A few seconds later, a man was standing on either side.

The man who had been pouring water onto his face remained standing, holding a bottle of water in his hand. The second man squatted down, pulled his lips back in a tight smile, and said, “Mr. Sprague, it’s time for us to leave. My friend here doesn’t think we should tell you anything, but I’m a little more charitable than he is, so let me explain what is about to happen.

As you know, you’ve been drugged. Let me correct that. We’ve given you a combination of drugs since we abducted you yesterday—that’s right, yesterday. Until just a couple hours ago, you were completely unconscious.

You had to be so we could get you here without you knowing where ‘here’ is. Just as you started coming around, we injected you with a different drug, and I don’t need to explain what it’s doing to you.” Patting Edwin on the shoulder as if to console him, the man continued. “I suspect it’s a terrifying experience to be able to see and hear but not be able to move or even speak.

Don’t worry. Over the next six or eight hours, the drug’s effects will slowly wear off. You will gradually regain some of the use of your fingers, arms, feet, and legs. You’ll be nauseous, have the worst headache of your life, and generally feel worse than any day of your life, but you’ll be able to stumble around.”

Edwin tried cursing the man and silently screamed in frustration when nothing came out.

“Our client wants you to die naturally out here in the desert. You have no idea where you are, and there is no possibility you’ll find your way back to civilization before you die of thirst. You’ve already been without food and water for twenty-four hours, and in the heat of the day and cold of the desert night, I suspect someone of your age and condition will last only another day, maybe two at the most. And even if you knew where you were, you couldn’t walk for help; civilization is too far, and your muscles will be too cramped. You’re going to die out here, Mr. Sprague, and after you do, coyotes will feed on you for a while, then scatter your bones.”

The man rose to his feet, looked down at Edwin, and said, “Our client wants us to make certain you understand how ironic, yet fitting, it is that the desert you’ve been exploiting and destroying all these years will get its revenge by finally destroying you.”

Edwin shifted his gaze to the man who was holding the water bottle, who bent over and set the bottle on the ground. He picked up a fistful of red dirt with one hand and forced Edwin’s mouth open with the other.

“This is for blowing snot on me,” he said and poured the dirt into Edwin’s mouth.

Edwin reflexively blew the dirt out and began coughing and gagging.

Through spasms of coughs, he watched as the man rose to his feet, picked up the bottle, and began pouring the water out onto the ground beside Edwin’s head. When the bottle was empty, he shook the last few drops onto Edwin’s face. Then the two of them turned and disappeared from his sight.

***

Excerpt from No Good Deed Goes Unpunished by E. James Harrison.  Copyright 2021 by E. James Harrison. Reproduced with permission from Covenant Communications. All rights reserved.

 

 

Author Bio:

 
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Much to his dislike, E. James Harrison is not a New York Times bestselling author. However, he is the author of four other novels, one of which was nominated for a Whitney Award (which he didn’t receive) and all of which his wife, mom, and daughters think should be best-sellers. Born in Salt Lake City, Utah, he learned to type in the seventh grade on an old Smith-Corona manual typewriter and has been pecking out words ever since. He somehow managed to graduate from college with degrees emphasizing public relations and creative writing and has spent most of his professional life writing articles about such gripping subjects as internet technology or has kept veterinarians spellbound with articles about the latest advances in goat, rabbit, and hamster medicine. When he isn’t putting words on paper for himself or others, he can be found boating with his family, slaving away on the family ranch, flying an airplane, or traveling to see new things and meet new people. He and his wife, Deborah, split their time between the deserts of southern Utah and the mountains of Idaho.

 

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Giveaway!:

This is a Rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for E. James Harrison. There will be 1 winner of one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card and there will be 1 winner of one (1) physical copy of No Good Deed Goes Unpunished by E. James Harrison (US addresses ONLY). The giveaway begins on February 9, 2021 and runs through February 25, 2021. Void where prohibited.

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Book Blast: ON THE RUN by Traci Hunter Abramson

On the Run

by Traci Hunter Abramson

October 27, 2020 Book Blast

Synopsis:

As one of the top investigative journalists in the nation, Elle Jameson has a knack for uncovering the truth. So when a promising lead points to corruption on a German military base, Elle anticipates a straightforward assignment. But then she stumbles upon a deadly conspiracy beyond anything she’s faced before, and her scrutiny does not go unnoticed. She knows too much, and she can’t be allowed to live. With no idea where to turn for help, she does the only thing she can: she runs.

The guardians, an elite team of undercover agents, have one job: safeguard those under their protection. As a new guardian, Nolan has just received his first solo assignment to help a young woman who just survived an assassination attempt. Within minutes of making contact with the beautiful journalist, however, their location is discovered. Thus begins a game of cat and mouse spanning the globe as the two work to stay ahead of a determined assassin. Nolan fights to buy Elle time to complete her investigation, and what she discovers is a plot that threatens the very fabric of America. In a desperate race against evil, Nolan and Elle are the only ones who can prevent global catastrophe.


Book Details:

Genre: Romantic Suspense

Published by: Covenant Communications

Publication Date: October 2020

Number of Pages: 296

ISBN: 9781524412487

Series: Guardian #4

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads


Read an excerpt:

Elle weaved her way through the Saturday crowd at the street market, listening to the various conversations flowing around her. Since arriving in Germany three weeks ago, she had looked forward to exploring the local scenery and visiting the cities near her new assignment. If only today she had time to enjoy the environment . . . and the shops.

A brisk wind whipped through Elle’s long, blonde hair. A few autumn leaves drifted onto the sidewalk. She tugged her overcoat tighter around her, then stuffed her hands in her pockets to protect them against the chill, not bothering to put her gloves on.

She passed various customers, picking up on snippets of their conversations.

Two women discussed what kind of fish to buy for dinner, and an older couple looked over a variety of apples at the fruit stand. At the neighboring booth, a handful of tourists chatted in English as they debated whether some glassware would make it safely home to Canada.

Elle wished she could worry about such trivialities, but she doubted that would happen anytime soon.

Something was wrong with the latest reports on the new drone project. She was sure of it.

When her uncle had sent her undercover as an army lieutenant, she had expected to find some evidence of misappropriation of funds or missing supplies, but uncovering a possible unauthorized access to highly sensitive material lifted her investigative senses to a new level. This wasn’t a story to be written. If her suspicions were right, this was espionage.

For three weeks now, she had set aside her true identity of investigative journalist and had acted under her alias of Lieutenant Elaina Martin to send her suspicions up the chain of command. Unfortunately, no one wanted to listen to a lowly lieutenant in a sea of colonels, especially when that lieutenant was a bean counter. She really needed to talk to her uncle about promoting her the next time he sent her undercover as an officer. Of course, no one would believe she was a colonel at twenty-seven, so she supposed her age was going to handicap her for a while longer.

Her assignment to Germany was supposed to be her opportunity to take a break from high-profile cases for a while, a chance to rest and recover from nearly six months of undercover work in the Middle East.

Unfortunately, her first day on the job, she had stumbled across an anomaly that, despite weeks of research, she still couldn’t explain.

When she tried to discuss the problem with her commanding officer, she had been told the program supervisor had everything under control. Colonel Doyle’s assurances didn’t change the facts. Someone without clearance had accessed the developmental software for the new unmanned aircraft prototype, a prototype that could fly undetected by radar. She didn’t need to be an aeronautical engineer to know that the software in the wrong hands could be deadly.

With no one in her unit taking her concerns seriously, she had reached out to the only person she’d known outside her unit whom she could trust with classified information: her sister Abby.

If Abby couldn’t figure out what was going on, Elle didn’t know who could.

The woman had a knack for seeing what other people missed. Elle should know.

Had it not been for Abby, the theft of weapons at Edwards Air Force Base would have put Elle before a court martial instead of the corporal who had tried to frame her.

The incident had opened Elle’s eyes to what she really wanted to do with her life. Abby had spent her years since college protecting their country by keeping secrets, and Elle wanted to protect their freedoms by revealing the secrets that, when kept, could create their own kind of danger, so she’d been working as an investigative journalist ever since.

Elle reached the designated café and stepped inside. Most of the round tables were occupied, the seats positioned so the customers could look out the wide window and watch the world go by. Deeper inside the restaurant, Abby waited for her at a table in the far corner.

Elle weaved her way past several waiters until she reached her sister. When Abby stood, Elle gave her a hug. “Abby, thanks for meeting me.”

“You said it was important. From what you sent me, I think it is.”

Elle sat beside Abby, then reached into her oversized purse to retrieve a file folder. “I brought you documentation.”

Abby took the folder and opened it in front of her. “What am I looking at?”

“The download logs for the new drone software.”

“And?”

Elle scooted her chair closer and pointed at the area of concern. “According to command, this software is still in the final testing stage. The only people who should be accessing the files are the programmers.”

She tapped on a list of the approved personnel. “Kamile Frost, Dennis Cleveland, and Lance Finney are all listed over here.”

“Then who is this?” Abby asked, pointing to the three access codes used during the night shift.

“That’s what I want to know. Whoever it is only downloads the updates after everyone else is gone for the day.”

“Talk about suspicious.”

“I thought so too.”

A waiter approached with a carafe of water, slices of lemon floating inside.

He filled both of their glasses. “Have you had time to look over the menu?”

Elle opened hers, quickly narrowing the options to what she could eat without triggering her allergies to citrus, tomatoes, and pork. After they both gave their orders and the waiter left, Elle pulled a water bottle from her purse and took a sip.

“I see you still come prepared.”

“Yeah. It’s such a pain that so many restaurants serve their water with lemon.”

Elle didn’t know how Abby had escaped all the food allergies in the family, while Elle appeared to have received a double dose.

Abby sipped her water and tapped her finger on the file folder. “I assume you brought your concerns to the attention of your CO.”

“Colonel Doyle didn’t seem the least bit interested in my concerns.”

“Did he have an explanation?”

“No. He just said the program manager would have said something if there were a problem. Apparently, everyone up the chain of command agrees with Colonel Doyle because no one seems concerned that a top-secret program might have been jeopardized,” Elle said.

“And no one told you who else is accessing it?”

“No. I thought with your resources, you could figure it out.”

“That’s easy enough. When I get back to the office, I’ll look up the access code and see who it belongs to.” Abby lifted her glass and took another long swallow. “I can’t guarantee I can tell you the name.”

“I realize you can’t share classified information, but you would at least be able to tell if this person is cleared on the project.”

“I can do that,” Abby said. “I’m not sure I’ll find anything beyond what the project supervisor would have noticed.”

“Maybe not, but after what happened at Edwards, I’d rather be safe than sorry.”

“The theft of those weapons wasn’t your fault. Adams created such a good paper trail, no one could have been expected to know it wasn’t real.”

“The auditor did.”

“An auditor who has thirty years of experience and was specifically looking for potential thefts,” Abby countered. “Besides, if it was something you should have caught in your ordinary course of business, he wouldn’t have made a point of clearing you.”

“But I sensed something wasn’t right. I just couldn’t put my finger on it.”

“Which is why we’re sitting here now.”

Elle shrugged. “I’m sorry if I seem paranoid.”

“Not paranoid. Cautious,” Abby corrected. “There’s a difference.”

“Whatever you call it, I appreciate your help.” Elle took another sip from her water bottle.

Abby cleared her throat. “How have you liked being stationed here in Germany?”

“It’s been good. I wasn’t sure if I would be able to practice speaking German much since so many people here speak English, but the language has come back faster than I’d expected.”

“I figured it would. You were speaking like a native when we lived here as kids.” Abby cleared her throat again and tugged at her scarf.

“So were you. I never realized how much we learned while Dad was stationed in Stuttgart.”

Abby opened her mouth to respond but, instead, coughed several times.

She reached for her water glass and took a swallow.

Elle leaned forward in her seat. “Are you okay?”

“Yeah. Sorry, I have this tickle in my throat,” Abby said, promptly coughing again. “Must be the change in the weather. I got a cold last fall too.”

“I’ve been wondering how anyone survives the winters here.”

“You’re about to find out . . .” Abby’s words trailed off into another fit of coughs, then her face turned red, a panicked expression dominating her features.

“Abby!” Elle pushed out of her chair and circled to pat her sister on the back.

Even though Abby hadn’t eaten anything, her hands went to her throat as though she were choking.

The waiter was at their side in an instant and pulled Abby out of her chair to start the Heimlich maneuver.

“She hasn’t eaten anything. I think she’s having an allergic reaction.” Elle fumbled through her purse for her EpiPen. She flipped off the safety cap, pressed the tip to Abby’s thigh, and pushed the button to trigger the injection.

Almost immediately, Abby took a gasping breath.

“Here.” The waiter thrust a glass of water toward Abby. “Take a sip.”

“No.” Elle pushed the glass away and knelt beside Abby’s chair. “Are you okay?”

Abby opened her mouth to speak only to begin another coughing fit.

Elle turned to the waiter. “Something’s wrong. Call an ambulance.”

A waitress approached, her phone in hand. “I already called. The ambulance will be here any minute.”

The waiter picked up the carafe from the table and refilled Abby’s glass. As soon as there was a break in the coughing, he offered the glass of water again.

“Are you sure you don’t want to give her something to drink?”

“Not until we figure out what caused this.”

Again, Abby tried to take a deep breath, but this time, her body trembled before being taken over by a seizure.

“Help me move her onto the floor.” Elle gripped Abby under her arms while the waiter helped ease her onto the carpet. Elle moved the closest chairs out of the way and knelt beside Abby.

“I’ll check on the ambulance,” the waiter said.

Elle sensed rather than saw the waiter head for the door. Helpless to do anything but wait, Elle fought for calm. “Hang on, Abby. Help is on the way.”

The words were barely out of her mouth before two ambulance attendants rushed through the door. Elle stood to give them room to work.

“What happened?” the paramedic asked in German.

“I don’t know,” Elle said, automatically responding in his language. “She started coughing and acting like she couldn’t breathe. I injected her with my EpiPen, and she got better for a few seconds. Then it started again. She started her seizure about a minute ago.”

Both paramedics knelt beside Abby, evaluating her.

“Does she have any known allergies?”

“No, and she was fine when I got here,” Elle said. “When she couldn’t breathe, the EpiPen was the only thing I could think of.”

Abby’s face paled, and her body stilled.

“I’ve lost her pulse,” one paramedic said.

Elle stepped back and watched the paramedics begin CPR and start Abby on oxygen. Adrenaline still pumping through her, Elle lowered herself into her chair. Minutes stretched out, the paramedics continuing the CPR, trading places every few minutes. They spoke with someone on the phone, the voices blurring with the background noise of the crowd who had been cleared out of the restaurant.

Tears flowed freely down Elle’s cheeks. She stood with her arms tightly folded, unable to do anything but watch and pray. She didn’t know how much time had passed when one paramedic tapped the other on the shoulder and shook his head. The paramedic not working on Abby sat beside Elle to confirm that the unbelievable had become the inevitable.

The one performing CPR gave one more chest compression and leaned back on his heels. His eyes lifted to meet Elle’s. “I’m sorry.”

“No.” The word escaped in a whisper. It couldn’t be. Elle stared at her sister’s lifeless body, waiting for any sign that she had misunderstood. Her heartbeat echoed in her head as though beating inside a deep tunnel.

“I’m so sorry.” The second paramedic put his hand on Elle’s arm.

Grief crashed over her, new tears forming. Her sister was gone. She was really gone.

“Can I get you something to drink? Maybe a glass of water?”

Elle shook her head, and her gaze swept over the table. Her water glass wasn’t there. Why that detail mattered at such a time, Elle didn’t know. A quick scan of the table revealed her glass wasn’t the only thing missing. Abby’s glass, the water carafe, and the file outlining Elle’s suspicions were also missing.

Elle swiped at her tears. “What happened to the waiter who met you at the door?”

“No one met us when we arrived,” the paramedic said.

Suspicions cut through her grief and bloomed with a sense of panic. Her file was coded in a way that it wouldn’t jeopardize national security, but if the people behind the suspicious activity got ahold of it, they would know exactly where the evidence was that could identify them.

Elle swallowed hard and forced herself to push aside her emotions and look at Abby’s lifeless body. The only thing her sister had ingested since her arrival was the water their waiter had served them, water Elle herself would have drunk had it not contained lemon slices. She stood and took a step toward the door.

“I have to go.”

“But we need more information from you.”

“Her name is Abigail Bender, and I think she was poisoned.”

***

Excerpt from On the Run by Traci Hunter Abramson.  
Copyright © 2020 by Traci Hunter Abramson. 
Reproduced with permission from Traci Hunter Abramson. 
All rights reserved.


Author Bio:

Traci Hunter Abramson was born in Arizona, where she lived until moving to Venezuela for a study-abroad program. After graduating from Brigham Young University, she worked for the Central Intelligence Agency for several years, eventually resigning in order to raise her family. She credits the CIA with giving her a wealth of ideas as well as the skills needed to survive her children’s teenage years. She has gone on to write more than twenty bestselling novels that have consistently been nominated as Whitney Award finalists and seven-time Whitney Award winner. When she’s not writing, Traci enjoys spending time with her husband and five children, preferably on a nice quiet beach somewhere. She also enjoys sports, travel, writing, and coaching high school swimming.


Catch Up With Traci Hunter Abramson:

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Giveaway!:

This is a Rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Traci Hunter Abramson. There will be TWO winners.  ONE winner will receive (1) Amazon.com Gift Card and ONE winner will receive one (1) physical copy of On the Run by Traci Hunter Abramson (U.S. addresses only). The giveaway begins on October 27, 2020, and runs through November 5, 2020. Void where prohibited.


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Book Blast: WHEN IT’S TIME FOR LEAVING by Ang Pompano



Book Blast – When It’s Time for Leaving

by Ang Pompano



About When It’s Time For Leaving



When It’s Time for Leaving
Traditional Mystery
1st in Series
Encircle Publications, LLC (October 1, 2019)
Paperback: 274 pages
ISBN-10: 1948338920
ISBN-13: 978-1948338929
Digital ASIN: B07TYQ8PDL


When his girlfriend dumps him and a dealer nearly rams him off a bridge, Al DeSantis quits the New Haven Police Department. Just as he plans to head for LA, he finds out the father who left when he was a kid has deeded him the Blue PalmettoDetective Agency in Georgia.

Al goes down to Savannah intending to sell fast and go west, but before he can, he discovers a strong, attractive detective named Maxine, a dead body on the dock—and his father, alive, suffering from dementia, and determined to help his “new partner Al” solve the crime. Al has a lot of adjusting to do when his traditional ideas are challenged as he has to act as his father’s caretaker, and finds that Maxine is his superior in the agency that he “owns.” When his father goes missing, Al and Max must team up to save his father—and capture the murderer.



Purchase Links
     

  • Amazon Print

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  • Amazon Kindle

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  • Barnes and Noble

  •      

  • Encircle Publications




  • Praise




    Ang Pompano’s debut novel, WHEN IT’S TIME FOR LEAVING, is a corker. Thoroughly likable former cop, Al DeSantis, wants to get out of the crime business but inherits one that, fortunately for readers, won’t let him go. — Hallie Ephron, New York Times bestselling author CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR



    In When It’s Time for Leaving, debut mystery author Ang Pompano has created the most unusual and appealing duo of detectives since Holmes and Watson. —Lucy Burdette, national bestselling author of A DEADLY FEAST



    Author Ang Pompano serves up the PI for the double 20s. Al DeSantis is a classic, damaged gumshoe but with a youthful energy that pulls you through the pages. —Barbara Ross, author of the Maine Clambake Mysteries and winner 2019 Maine Literary Award for Crime Fiction



    Crime fiction has boasted some famous fathers and sons, from Inspector Richard Queen and his son Ellery to Jim Rockford and his dad Rocky. Add to that list the unforgettable duo of Al DeSantis and Big Al—building on that tradition but with some provocative twists. Ang Pompano’s first novel proves tough-minded and warm-hearted in equal measure. A fine, multi-layered debut.—Art Taylor 2019 Edgar, Anthony, Agatha, Macavity, and Derringer Award winner



    When it’s Time for Leaving is a crime thriller that delivers an atmospheric tale packed with action, suspense and some surprising twists. Pompano is a skilled storyteller who offers readers a complex mystery of chases, confrontation, and introspection. The tale he weaves is, indeed a well-crafted murder mystery, set in a turbulent sea of emotions and populated with multifaceted characters. ­­­ —James Terry reviewer The Paladin Project



    I like mystery/thrillers.  This one is heavy on the mystery and very little thriller aspect. It is an enjoyable sometimes snarky read that made me smile. The main characters were so well written I felt like I knew them. The mystery itself was wrapped in mystery as we got to know the individuals and the hidden nuances of small towns. It was almost like watching (albeit reading) a 50/60 movie. I personally wanted the ending to share with everyone who was guilty. Have to leave it there, no spoilers. Thank you for the arc!  All thoughts and opinions are my own and were unsolicited. —Cheryl M, Net Galley Reviewer



    A really good and surprising mystery. The characters are great and feel like friends. I loved the snarky humor. I will definitely read more by this author. —Leah H, Net Galley Reviewer



    Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours Praise

    . . . a compelling detective mystery, with a bit of romance and lots of action and suspense. It is very well written, the plot is well intertwined and the pace is flowing.

    ~LibriAmoriMiei



    This was a good mystery, with rough around edges characters . . . I really enjoyed this mystery . . .  

    ~eBook Addicts

    Pompano’s flawed detective is fun to watch. He’s tough with the bad guys, but when dealing with his father and the gal next store, he’s totally lost. There are moments of humor; others of sadness.  

    ~Here’s How It Happened

    When It’s Time for Leaving by Ang Pompano is a traditional PI mystery that had me intrigued from the first page . . . I enjoyed the mystery and thought it was a good debut novel.  

    ~Brooke Blogs


    About Ang Pompano


    Ang Pompano has been writing mysteries for more than twenty years. His mystery novel, WHEN IT’S TIME FOR LEAVING will be published on October 1, 2019, by Encircle Publications. His short stories have been published in many award-winning anthologies, including the 2019 Malice Domestic Anthology, PARNELL HALL PRESENTS MALICE DOMESTIC: MURDER MOST EDIBLE. His newest story, “Stringer” will appear in SEASCAPE: THE BEST NEW ENGLAND CRIME STORIES 2019. In addition, he has written many academic pieces including one on teaching detective fiction. A member of Mystery Writers of America, he is a past recipient of the Helen McCloy/Mystery Writers of America Scholarship for a novel in progress. He has been on the New England Crime Bake Planning Committee for fourteen years and is a long-time board member of Sisters in Crime New England. He lives in Connecticut with his wife, Annette, an artist, and his two rescue dogs, Quincy and Dexter.


    Author Links:

    Website – http://angpompano.com
    Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/A.J.Pompano/
    Twitter – https://twitter.com/AngPompano
    Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/angpompano/


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    Book Blast: Santa Barbara Suspense Series by Catharine Riggs

    Santa Barbara Suspense Series Banner

    Santa Barbara Suspense


    What She Gave Away


    What She Never Said


    by Catharine Riggs


    March 10, 2020 Book Blast



    What She Gave Away

    Santa Barbara Suspense #1

    What She Gave Away

    Revenge is anything but sweet in this twisty thriller about two women with very different lives locked in the same deadly game.
    Imagining the best way to destroy a person’s happiness is Crystal Love’s favorite game. Devious and unpolished, the plus-sized loan analyst couldn’t be more out of place in her new town of Santa Barbara, where the beautifully manicured women never age and the ocean views stretch farther than the million-dollar lawns. And yet her eye for the power dynamics at play in this tony community is dead accurate.
    Kathi Wright, on the other hand, has made it her life’s work to fit in with the plastic people who surround her. But when her husband—a wealthy bank president—dies suddenly, she’s left with nothing. Then the FBI shows up, asking questions she can’t answer and freezing assets she once took for granted.
    While Kathi struggles to outrun the mess caused by her husband’s mysterious death, Crystal seems focused on her game. But why? And who are her targets?
    Spanning two years and told in Crystal’s and Kathi’s alternating voices, this tautly plotted novel reveals the power of choice and the price of revenge.



    Book Details:


    Genre: Psychological Suspense

    Published by: Thomas & Mercer

    Publication Date: September 4th 2018

    Number of Pages: 348

    ISBN: 1503901890 (ISBN13: 9781503901896)

    Series: Santa Barbara Suspense #1

    Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

    Read an excerpt:

    I’ve targeted the sperm donor. I blame him for the fat. Not the six-hundred-pound kind that shows up on TV. Or the curvy kind that’s trending in magazines. I’m talking about the basic kind that makes me invisible. Just fat enough that girls don’t hang with me and boys won’t take a second look. Just fat enough to get the glare when I climb onto an airplane or a crowded bus.

    I try to avoid mirrors, but they’ve seated me in an office with a mirror directly behind the desk. It has a weird curve to it, warped on the sides and in the middle. It makes me look fatter than I am. I mean, why is the office designed this way? Do they want their clients to feel insecure? Will it make them deposit more money? Help them to choose a bigger loan? I paste on a smile. That usually lifts my fat pads so my cheekbones show through. But smiling in this mirror only makes me look crazy. The door squeals open, and I stand.

    “Ms. Love?”

    “Yes?”

    “I’m George Taylor. The bank’s chief lending officer.”

    I hold out my hand to an aging hipster dressed in a tight black suit and pink satin tie. Dirty-blond hair, nicely textured. Blow-dryer and curling iron at work. That and a little gel. Stinky gel, the kind that wrinkles my nose. Should I tell him about the bit of salad stuck between his teeth?

    “Please take a seat.” He picks up my résumé and gets right to business. “You’ve had five years’ experience as a loan analyst?”

    “Six if you count a year of training.” He’s disappointed, I know. I have the qualifications but not the look.

    “Why move to Santa Barbara?”

    “I’m tired of the Bakersfield heat.”

    “You have family here?”

    “A few friends.”

    He glances at my belly with a question in his eyes. I know what he’s thinking. I carry a lot of weight in my gut. But he’s taken his HR classes. He knows the rules. That’s a lawsuit waiting to happen. I do my best to sound earnest.

    “I’m one of those rare people who grew up wanting to be a banker. I love working with numbers. They mean everything to me.”

    “So you’ve taken accounting?”

    “I was an accounting major at Bakersfield College. Got my AA degree six years ago and went right to work at the local bank. I’ve never looked back.”

    He nods, staring hard at my résumé. Time to nudge him in the right direction.

    “I’m not looking for a job. I’m looking for a career. I’m a hard worker. I’m focused. I’m single. No children. I’m the most efficient person I know. I believe Pacific Ocean Bank is the right fit for me. Only five branches and ten years in business, but you’re the top-performing bank in the region. Impressive.”

    He forces a smile. “Our president’s an industrious man.”

    “So I’ve heard.”

    George taps his pencil on the table. “We prefer four-year degrees.”

    “My accounting major and years of experience should more than make up for that.”

    “And we have a strict dress code . . .”

    “Which I will follow.”

    “No casual Fridays.”

    “I’ve never been a fan.”

    “The other analysts are men. Any problem with that?”

    “None at all.” Fish on the hook. Now reel him in slow.

    “Do you work well in high-pressure situations?”

    “I prefer them.”

    “Weekends?”

    “No problem.”

    “Team player?”

    “Absolutely.”

    “What about references?” He points to my résumé. “May we contact your most recent supervisor?”

    “I wish.” I make a sad face. “My ex-boss passed away a few months ago from a horrific accident. A terrible situation. He was a mentor to me. The head of Human Resources said to call her with any questions. She understands my need to move on.”

    He scribbles something before looking up. “When can you start?”

    “Next week.” There’s something wrong with his left eye. I’m guessing it’s made of glass. I bet it’s a flaw that bugs him. I file away the thought.































    ***


    Excerpt from What She Gave AwayWhat She Never Said by Catharine Riggs. Copyright © 2020 by Catharine Riggs. Reproduced with permission from Catharine Riggs. All rights reserved.

    What She Never Said


    Santa Barbara Suspense #2


    What She Never Said

    People are dying at a luxury retirement community . . . and not from natural causes.
    Ruth Mosby is the VP of operations at Serenity Acres, where the privileged elite go to die. For a hefty fee, wealthy retirees can live the good life in this posh Santa Barbara community—even after they outlive their money. Ruth thinks this is a fine arrangement, but the savvy new boss has a new rule: if you can’t pay, you can’t stay.
    Ruth is deeply disturbed when destitute residents start dying at an alarming rate, as if on cue. Even more troubling, a macabre note accompanies each departed guest. Surviving guests whisper about an “Angel” who assists with suicides. Ruth has another word for it: murder.
    Ruth enlists her neighbor, an ex-detective named Zach, to discover the Angel’s secret identity. However, the two have a painful history, and Ruth has dark secrets all her own. To solve the mystery, Ruth must descend from her golden tower—but can she bear the consequences of revealing her own sinister truths?



    Book Details:


    Genre: Psychological Suspense

    Published by: Thomas & Mercer

    Publication Date: September 10th 2019

    Number of Pages: 362

    ISBN: 1542042135 (ISBN13: 9781542042130)

    Series: Santa Barbara Suspense #2

    Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

    Read an excerpt:

    THE ANGEL



     

    Some might call me a cold-blooded killer. I beg to disagree. I’m more like a kindly saint. A patron saint of crossings. One part Saint Christopher, two parts angel of mercy. Add a dash of Mother Teresa, and the recipe is getting close. I have a calling, and I’m good at it. I’ll keep it up until I’m stopped.
     

    “Will it hurt?” The bedside candle casts a shivering shadow across Loretta’s sunken face. Tracing my fingers along the glass syringe, I gaze into her liquid eyes.

    “Not for long.” I’ve administered a few insulin overdoses. It doesn’t seem like a bad way to go. But I never lie to my disciples. That would be morally wrong.
     

    “It won’t be worse than the bone cancer?”
     

    “It won’t be worse than that.”
     

    “Then I’m ready.”
     

    I tug her pink slip from my pocket and set it on the nightstand. “First, I need your secret.”

    Tears slip along the folds of Loretta’s crumpled cheeks. “I don’t have one.”
     

    I fight off a quiver of irritation. “You’re forgetting our agreement?”

    “Of course not. But I can’t think of a single thing.”
     
    “Oh, Loretta. I’m disappointed. I can see the secret in your eyes.”
     

    She plucks at her satin bedcovers until a lavender scent blooms. “What kind of secret do you want?”
     

    I shrug. “Your choice. It can be happy or sad. Scandalous or glorious. I’m not picky. It’s totally up to you. But it must be something you’ve never revealed. A defining moment in your life.”
     

    Loretta is quiet for so long I wonder if she might back out of the crossing. But then she speaks with a trembling voice. “All right then. It’s something that happened on my fourteenth birthday. I’ve never told anyone—not even my husband. I’m still so terribly ashamed.”
     

    “Go ahead,” I say, nearly drooling. This side of me isn’t quite so noble. Less like a saint and more like a tick.
     

    “It was a hot summer day in Michigan.” Her voice cracks as she speaks. “My friends were busy with chores, so I walked to the lake on my own. When I entered the forest, I heard a rustling behind me, and . . .” Her words drone on from there.
     

    Closing my eyes, I sip on her secret. Her words are like a melody—the mournful notes of a dove. When she finishes, I have tears in my eyes. “Thank you,” I say. “That was beautiful.”
     

    “Beautiful? But it was such a terrible moment. So unspeakably dark.”
     

    “There are times when dark can be beautiful.”
     

    Loretta takes a choking breath. “Yes, I suppose you’re right. And I do feel better somehow. You promise you’ll never tell?”
     

    “I promise.”
     

    “Good.” She lifts an arthritic hand and swats vaguely at the air. “You’ll stay with me?”
     

    “Until you cross.”
     

    “Then let’s get moving. I’m ready to see my Charles.” Loretta folds her hands across her chest and takes a quivering breath.
     

    “Peace be with you,” I whisper, and then I inject the fatal dose. A half-hour later, I head to my office, where I retrieve my crossing journal and write the seventh entry in my book.

    ***


     

    Excerpt from What She Gave AwayWhat She Never Said by Catharine Riggs. Copyright ©2020 by Catharine Riggs. Reproduced with permission from Catharine Riggs. All rights reserved.


    Author Bio:


    Catharine Riggs


    Catharine Riggs lives and writes on California’s central coast. She is the author of the twin thrillers What She Gave Away and What She Never Said, both set in Santa Barbara, California. Riggs has worked as a business banker, adjunct college instructor, and a nonprofit executive.

    Get caught up on the progress of her Santa Barbara Suspense series by visiting the author online at:

    www.CatharineRiggs.com, Goodreads, BookBub, Instagram, & Twitter!

    Tour Participants:

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

    GIVEAWAY!!!:

    This is a Rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Catharine Riggs. There will be three (3) winners. One (1) winner will receive an Amazon.com Gift Card, One (1) US ONLY winner will receive the series (print) and one (1) Worldwide winner will receive the series (audio). The giveaway begins on March 10, 2020, and runs through March 18, 2020. Void where prohibited.



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    Book Blast: HOW DEEP IS THE DARKNESS by Mary Ann Edwards

    How Deep Is The Darkness by Mary Anne Edwards Banner

    How Deep is the Darkness

    A Charlie McClung Mystery

    by Mary Anne Edwards

    December 17, 2019 Book Blast


    Synopsis:


    How Deep is the Darkness by Mary Anne Edwards


    Charlie McClung has always known about darkness, it’s part of being a police chief.

    But now it’s spreading throughout the town and creeping into his life.

    With each body found, the killer deepens the darkness and McClung must put an end to it.

    Now.




    Book Details:


    Genre: Traditional Mystery
    Published by: Sellem Books
    Publication Date: December 2, 2019
    Number of Pages: 247
    ASIN:B081MYBYG8
    Series: The Charlie McClung Mysteries Book 6
    Purchase Links: Amazon | Goodreads




    Read an excerpt:



    This story begins on Monday, June 20, 1983, in Lyman County, Georgia

    Chapter 1


    Chief Charlie McClung stared at the pale, bloated body of Myron Wagstaff lying next to his own swimming pool. He’d seen enough bodies to know when dead is dead. And Myron was dead.

    McClung glanced at his wife standing near the diving board at the far end of the pool. Marian’s white tee shirt clung to her body and her wet hair was plastered to her head and neck. Hugging herself, she managed a pitiful grin.

    Not only was Myron Wagstaff a neighbor and the president of their Homeowners Association, but he was also Marian’s archnemesis.

    McClung knelt beside Myron, grabbed his thick wrist, and checked for a pulse. His fingers sank into doughy flesh. Myron’s waterlogged polo shirt looked as if it had been spray painted on his belly, now bloated more than normal.

    While McClung held his fingers in place waiting for a beat, he scanned the area. The patio furniture was jumbled together with the garden hose, snaking between the chairs, and stopping at the spot where Myron lay.

    That, combined with the fact there weren’t any signs of bruising on Myron, perhaps meant this was an accidental drowning.

    “Boss?” Sergeant Thayer asked as he stood behind McClung.

    He shook his head as he moved aside for the paramedics to perform their magic. But McClung realized not even Doctor Frankenstein could reanimate poor Myron.

    As the emergency team worked on Myron, Charlie hurried toward Marian.

    “Are you okay?” He kissed her forehead and pulled her into his arms.

    Marian’s body trembled against his chest.

    “Thayer! Get Marian a blanket.”

    The young sergeant ran full blast and quickly returned.

    “I’m okay just, um, just, um.” Marian fought hard to keep her tears in check.

    “Here.” Thayer’s breath pounded the back of Marian’s neck as he laid the blanket across her shoulders.

    Charlie released Marian, secured the blanket then blotted a tissue under her eyes and nose. “Here’s a clean one.”

    “Love the magical tissues.” A weak chuckle tumbled from Marian as she pulled the blanket tighter. “You’d think I’d be sweating in this June heat.”

    “Well, it’s not even ten o’clock. It’s cloudy, and you’re soaking wet.” Charlie glanced at her feet. “Where are your shoes?”

    “They were muddy, so I took them off before I went into Myron’s house to call 9-1-1 after I failed with CPR.” Marian sighed. “I was afraid that if Myron survived, he’d send me a bill to have the muddy floors cleaned.”

    Pointing at the patio doors, she winced. “My shoes are over there.”

    “What’s wrong?”

    Marian massaged her lower back. “I guess I hurt my back getting Myron out of the water. I’ll be okay.”

    Charlie squeezed her hand. Ever since Marian had the terrifying encounter with the Paper Heart Stalker and fell from a second-floor balcony last year, he worried about her health.

    When McClung came face to face with the Paper Heart Stalker, Marian almost lost her life to save his but unknowingly sacrificed their unborn child.

    He crossed over to the diving board and beckoned for her to follow. “Sit down. Here. Back toward me.”

    She eased down on the hard plank.

    Charlie’s strong hands ran across her shoulders and down her back.

    “Does it hurt?”

    “No, not really.”

    “I guess nothing’s broken, dislocated, or cracked.”

    He crossed over the board and sat down. “When I get home tonight, I’ll give you an intense massage once you’ve soaked in a tub of hot Epsom salt water.”

    “Sounds good.” Marian watched the paramedics work on Myron.

    The team’s jaws were tight as they knelt over Myron’s body. One paramedic rubbed the back of his neck as he stood in defeat while the other one closed Myron’s eyes and pulled a blanket over his face.

    “I didn’t think they’d have much luck reviving him. I’d hoped, but…” Marian’s voice trailed, her head heavy as she leaned on Charlie’s shoulder.

    “You did everything by the book. I still don’t see how you got Myron out of the pool.”

    Marian sighed. “I did what I had to.” She studied Charlie’s face, then swallowed hard and grimaced. “I tried to revive him. CPR but maybe if—.”

    “Don’t even go down that path.” Charlie scratched his eyebrow. “Dispatch said you saw a man run from the scene.”

    She sat up. “Yeah. Do you think he had something to do with this?”

    “Possibly, but we won’t know for sure until we’ve gathered the facts.” Charlie shrugged. “To me, every death is suspicious. Been fooled before but never again.”

    A year ago, two weeks after Charlie McClung had moved to Lyman County, he was called to the scene of a fatal shooting, Dianne Pannell. Without an investigation, the then chief of police ruled Dianne’s death a suicide, but Charlie proved it was murder after Dianne’s irritating neighbor, his now-wife, Marian, pressed him to look further into the case.

    “Yeah.” Marian murmured.

    Charlie stood. “Could be the guy got spooked when he saw Myron in the pool and ran away.” He held out his hand. “Come with me. The paramedics need to give you a quick check.”

    “Why? My back isn’t hurting that bad.”

    His hand cupped her cheek. “Sweetie, please just humor me.”

    Marian avoided looking at Myron and let her husband guide her to the ambulance.

    They met officers Willard and Marsh at the gate. Photographer Sam Goldstein wasn’t far behind.

    “Ma’am, are you okay?” Marsh’s voice quivered, and his eyebrows drew together.

    Marian looked at him for a moment. “I’m fine. Just a bit damp.” She bit her bottom lip and blinked several times. “Maybe a little shaken.”

    Both officers were like sons to Marian.

    A tentative smile eased the furrow between Marsh’s eyes. “Thank goodness.”

    Willard scratched his head. “Where are your shoes, ma’am?”

    McClung answered. “They’re outside the patio door. One of you get them for Marian.”

    “Consider it done, Boss.” Willard took off.

    “Marsh, I want you and Willard to help Thayer process the scene.”

    “Yes, Boss.”

    Willard returned a few minutes later, holding the less-muddy sneakers. His hands were filthy. “Here you go. I cleaned them up the best I could.”

    “Thank you, Willard.” Marian took the shoes.

    “No trouble.”

    “You two. Go assist Thayer.” McClung barked.

    “Wait.” Marian held up her hand. “I scratched the running guy’s tag number on the sidewalk.”

    “Marsh go find it. Willard, you report to Thayer.” McClung directed his trusted men.

    The two young men hurried off on opposite paths.

    “Sam, how did you know I needed you?”

    The silver-haired man tapped his temple. “Didn’t take me long to figure you out. You’re a cop that sees murder everywhere.”

    “But Sam, how did you know to come here?” Marian blurted.

    Charlie and Sam answered. “Police scanner.”

    Marian frowned. “Just anybody can have one?”

    “Yep!” Charlie sighed. “In this case, it’s a good thing but mostly it’s not.”

    Sam coughed. “I’ll just take a picture or two of that tag number.”

    “Yeah, do that. Plus, there’s a lot going on behind the house.” Charlie watched the older man trudge down the sidewalk. Camera bags banged against Sam’s body with each step he took.

    One of the paramedics joined McClung and Marian at the ambulance.

    “Ma’am don’t fret. There wasn’t a thing you could’ve done for that guy.” The bear of a man shook his head. “I ain’t no coroner, but I’ve been at this job for a long time. He’s been dead too long to be revived.”

    The reassurance that she wasn’t a factor in Myron’s death didn’t make Marian feel any better.

    “Mel, do you mind giving my wife a quick once-over to make sure she’s safe to go home?” Charlie stroked Marian’s back as he spoke.

    “Sure.”

    Mel removed his latex gloves and put on a fresh pair. He tilted his head toward the rear of the ambulance. “Just sit there.”

    “Boss.” Thayer called to McClung from the open gate.

    Charlie looked at Marian.

    “Go on. Do your job.” Marian kissed her husband’s cheek.

    He didn’t move from her side.

    “I’m fine, just a tweaked back. Besides you’re making me nervous watching me like a hawk.”

    “Boss.” Thayer repeated more urgently.

    Charlie smiled and gave her a casual salute. “As you wish.”

    McClung hurried toward Thayer. “Found something?”

    “I think I figured out what happened.”

    McClung disappeared behind the fence.

    ♦♦♦♦♦♦

    “What is it, Thayer?” McClung followed him into Myron’s house as he pulled a pair of latex gloves from his pocket. “I was hoping I could go a whole year without having to use these.”

    “Makes for a mundane job.” Sergeant Thayer said flatly. “Here sir, in the kitchen. There’s a half-empty bottle of whiskey and one glass.”

    McClung arched an eyebrow as he leaned over to study the bottle of Four Roses Single Barrel Bourbon Whiskey. About three fingers of liquid was left inside the bottle, a few drops coated the bottom of the tumbler.

    He walked to the sink and smelled the drain. No lingering odor of alcohol. Then he carefully picked up the tumbler. “Thayer, flip on the overhead light.”

    The fluorescent tubes buzzed to life.

    McClung held up the tumbler to the harsh light. On the rim, was a faint lip print. “Hmm, make sure you dust this for prints and bag it.” He set it back in its original position.

    Marsh squinted as he entered the kitchen. “Boss, put me to work.”

    “Where’s Sam?”

    “Taking pictures of the deceased before they cart him away.”

    McClung rubbed his earlobe. “Tell Mel to instruct the hospital not to release the body until I say so. I want Jack Jackson to do the autopsy, if he’s available.” He snapped his fingers. “And tell Sam I’ll need him in here when he’s finished.”

    “Will do.” Marsh headed outside.

    McClung studied every inch of the kitchen: the floor, inside the cabinets, oven, and refrigerator. He examined everything as he searched for possible clues. There was no hint to what may have led to Myron’s death.

    “Boss, I don’t think it’s murder.”

    McClung raised an eyebrow and replied sarcastically, “Yeah? Well then, enlighten me with your hypothesis of poor Wagstaff’s watery demise.” He strolled toward the open patio door and headed for the pool.

    As Thayer spoke, McClung studied the jumbled furniture.

    “Myron was drunk, got tangled up in the patio furniture, stumbled around, and then fell into the pool. He was too drunk to get himself out of the water.”

    McClung pushed out his bottom lip and nodded. “Hm. He was in the shallow end. All he had to do was stand up.”

    Thayer rubbed the top of his head. “Maybe he hit his head on the bottom. Knocked himself out.”

    McClung wandered around the pool. He stopped where the garden hose lay beside the pool.

    The concrete was soaked, and the grass drenched to the point that a small stream had flowed down the incline, out the gate and onto the street.

    “What do you think Myron was doing with the hose?”

    Thayer hunched his shoulders. “Topping off the pool?”

    “Yeah, sounds right.” McClung pointed to the water-logged grass. “The hose had to be on for a long time to have created that miniature creek rolling down the hill and into the street.”

    “That goes to show I’m right. He was drunk standing here. The hose got tangled in the furniture. He yanked it. Lost his balance. Dropped the hose. Hit his head on the concrete and fell into the pool. Accidental drowning.” Thayer crossed his arms and grinned.

    McClung pulled on his bottom lip. “Plausible.” Something on the concrete caught his eye.

    “What does this look like to you?” McClung knelt close to the spot.

    “It looks like blood. Must be where he hit his head.”

    “Yeah, and what about this?”

    McClung touched a hard, yellowish, rectangular-shaped chip, like a half of a Chiclet. He looked around for Sam Goldstein.

    The EMTs were talking to Sam as he photographed Myron’s body.

    McClung yelled over his shoulder. “Sam, get over here.”

    The paramedics began moving Myron’s body.

    “What do we have there?” Sam held the camera to his eye, snapping pictures as McClung pointed toward the areas.

    “That appears to be blood.” McClung pointed to the yellowish object. “And that, my friend, doesn’t belong here. Possibly a clue.”

    Thayer knelt beside McClung. “Yep, could be. It looks like old ivory?”

    McClung thought the odd chip looked familiar, but the vague memory faded away.

    Sam zoomed to get a few tight shots of the chip and the blood spatters.

    McClung glanced at the EMTs. “Thayer, bag it and look for more spatters and anything else in this area. I want a chat with Mel.”

    “Mel, where’s Marian? Is she all right?” McClung moved out of the way of the paramedics while they loaded Myron onto the stretcher.

    “She’s fine. Just hurt her back. Understandable.” Mel groaned as they lifted Myron’s body. “Even for me this guy is hefty. I’m surprised your wife got him out of the water. She’s a tiny lady. What 5’3′ and 125 pounds?”

    McClung snorted as he nodded. “Yep, but she’s stubborn. If she’s got it in her mind to do something, consider it done.”

    “Is Marian still sitting in the back of the ambulance?” McClung followed the gurney.

    “No, sir. She’s sittin on the front stoop waitin on you.”

    Officer Billy Crawford met them inside the gate.

    McClung couldn’t help but smile at his oldest officer. Crawford was always in a jolly mood.

    But not this morning.

    “Boss, sorry it took me so long to get here.” Crawford wore a rare frown.

    “What’s the matter?” McClung waved the paramedics to go on.

    Crawford shifted the criminal investigation kit from one hand to the other. “Ah, the missus got news her favorite uncle isn’t doing so good and her dad’s not taking it none too well. If her uncle dies, my father-in-law will be the last one left in his family.”

    McClung gripped Crawford’s firm shoulder. “I’m sorry to hear that. Are you sure you should be here? Your wife needs you.”

    “Thanks, but I’m not much help. Best thing for me is to stay out of her way.”

    “Okay, but don’t be shy about asking for time off. Understand?”

    “I appreciate that, Boss.”

    “If there’s anything we can do, don’t hesitate to ask.” He shook his index finger at his officer. “I mean it. Ask. Marian will make sure you’re fed, you got that?”

    “Yes, Boss. But I saw her sitting out front, and she doesn’t look so good.”

    McClung’s eyes widened. “What?”

    “You didn’t know she’s here?” Crawford pulled back his head.

    “Yeah, but she said she was fine.” McClung patted the officer’s back. “Let me go speak with her. I’ll catch up with you later.”

    Charlie hurried to find his wife, but stopped a few yards away to observe her.

    So many questions he needed to ask, but he was worried about her. Marian didn’t need this stress. Not now.

    Marian looked like a triangular-shaped lump of coal. The dark gray blanket was wound tightly around her body and she was resting her forehead on her knees, which she’d pulled up to her chest.

    Charlie wondered how she was able to breathe. He sat beside her and rubbed her back. “Sweetie?”

    Marian’s head popped up. “Hey! I didn’t hear you come up. I must’ve dozed off as I was praying.”

    “Yeah? Are you sure you’re okay? You don’t look so hot.” Charlie wrapped his arms around her.

    Marian winced. “You’re such a sweet talker.”

    Charlie released his embrace. “Sorry.” His fingers massaged her lower back.

    “That’s okay.” Marian pulled off the blanket and neatly folded it. “I’m tired. I want to lie down. Is it okay for me to walk home, now?”

    “Nope, it’s at least a mile and a half. I’m driving you home.”

    She straightened her legs. “Might as well. These sneakers are ruined. Not good for anything but stomping around in the yard.”

    Marian tucked the thin blanket under her arm. “What about the investigation? Aren’t you going to question me?”

    “Your well-being is more important to me. Besides, Thayer’s opinion is this is an accidental drowning. My best team is on this. They don’t need me telling them how to do their job. And you can tell me what happened when you feel like it.”

    “Now?”

    “Do you honestly want to talk about it now?”

    Marian whispered. “I need to, but—”

    “But means later. Tonight?”

    “Yeah, tonight.”

    Charlie held her hand as they walked toward the gate. “Let me tell the guys I’m taking you home.”

    McClung passed the EMTs as he disappeared behind the fence.

    Marian shuddered as she watched the paramedics load Myron’s body inside the ambulance. “I’ve witnessed this scene too many times in the past year.”

    ***


    Excerpt from How Deep is the Darkness: A Charlie McClung Mystery by Mary Anne Edwards.  Copyright © 2019 by Mary Anne Edwards. Reproduced with permission from Mary Anne Edwards. All rights reserved.




    Author Bio:


    Mary Anne Edwards

    Born in Mercedes, Texas, Mary Anne has lived in Georgia for most of her life. A life-long fan of authors such as Agatha Christie, Anne Perry, Caroline Graham, and Elizabeth Peters, it wasn’t until a few years ago that Mary Anne listened to the voices in her head and began writing her own series of traditional mysteries featuring Detective Charlie McClung.

    The first book in the series, Brilliant Disguise, was released to critical acclaim in January 2014. The next three in the series, A Good Girl, Criminal Kind, and Sins of my Youth were released soon afterward. The fifth book in the series, Flirting with Time, was released on June 30, 2017. The sixth book, How Deep is the Darkness, was released on December 2, 2019. She is working on the seventh book, Complex Kid, with at least three more to follow.

    Mary Anne and her husband live in Smyrna, GA with an ill-tempered Tuxedo cat named Gertrude. Mary Anne is a member of Sisters in Crime and sits on the advisory board of Rockdale Cares, a non-profit advocacy group for the developmentally challenged.

    Catch Up With Mary Anne Edwards:


    MaryAnneEdwards.com, Goodreads, BookBub, Instagram, Twitter, & Facebook!




    Book Blast Participants:


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




    GIVEAWAY!!!!:



    This is a Rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Mary Anne Edwards. There will be two (2) winners of one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card each. The giveaway begins on December 17, 2019, and runs through December 27, 2019. Void where prohibited.


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    Book Blast: MOON GAMES by Shelly Frome

    Moon Games

    by Shelly Frome

    November 6, 2018 Book Blast




    Synopsis:


    The Secluded Village Murders by Shelly Frome

    At the outset, Miranda Davis has nothing much going for her. The tourists are long gone by October in the quaint Carolina town of Black Mountain, her realty business is at a standstill, and her weekend stint managing the local tavern offers little to pull her out of the doldrums. When prominent church lady Cloris Raintree offers a stipend to look into the whereabouts of a missing girl hiker on the Q.T, Miranda, along with her partner Harry (an unemployed features writer) agree.

    But then it all backfires. A burly figure shambles down a mountain slope with a semi-conscious girl draped over his shoulder. Miranda’s attempts to uncover Cloris Raintree’s true motives become near impossible as she puts up one smokescreen after another, including a slip of the tongue regarding an incident in Havana. The local police keep stonewalling and Harry is of little help.

    Tarot cards left on Cloris’ doorstep and arcane prompts on her e-mail only exacerbate the situation. Growing more desperate over the captive girl’s fate, Miranda comes across a link to a cold case of arson and murder. With the advent of the dark of the moon, she is summoned to “Tower Time” as this twisty tale continues to run its course.




    Book Details:


    Genre: Mystery, Amateur Detective
    Published by: Milford House
    Publication Date: August 2018
    Number of Pages: 264
    ISBN: 1620061848
    Purchase Links: Amazon | Goodreads




    Read an excerpt:



    The wind picked up yet again, joined by spatters of cold rain and the rustle of leaves from the encircling shrub.

    All at once, the lantern flicked off, a scream cut through the wind and spatters. The cries became muffled, replaced by the grunts of a hulking figure clambering up the knoll, coming directly toward him with something writhing and flailing over its back.

    For one interminable moment, he caught sight of her eyes, frozen, terrified, beseeching him.

    Reflexively, despite every decent intention deep in his bones, Harry dropped the Maglite, turned and ran down the slope, tripping and stumbling, falling to his knees, righting himself, smacking into a brush that scraped his cheek. Rushing headlong now, smacking into more brush and banging his elbow, he kept it up, twisted his ankle but hobbled forward fast as he could until he reached his station wagon. Squirming behind the wheel, he fumbled for his keys, dropped them on the mat, groped around, snatched them up, grinded the ignition, set both front and back wipers going and shot forward hitting the trunk of a tree. He backed up into the hedgerow, turned sharply, not daring to flip on the headlights, scraped another tree and slid onto the narrow lane.

    He switched on the low beams so he could see where he was going in the drizzle and fog and began making his way down. Dull headlight beams flashed behind his rear window and faded.

    With his mind racing and the wipers thwacking away as the rain lashed across the windshield, he careened down the zig-zagging lane and thought of the car that was wedged under the branches parked on a downward angle and the hulking figure carrying his prey over his shoulder shambling toward it. And her eyes, those beseeching eyes.

    He might have a few seconds lead before the girl was tossed in the trunk . . . or deposited in the cottage while the driver lying in wait exchanged signals and went after him. So many what-ifs? while some cowardly part of him only wanted a place to hide.

    Then the dull, low beams flicked on again, glinting on his rearview mirror.

    Straining to see through the wipers and beads of rain, he turned off down Sunset, then onto a flat, darkened stretch, then gunned it through an amber light over the tracks across brightly lit Route 70.

    He drove away from the tracks where the girl doubtless had been tailed, came upon a T and swerved left onto a sign that said Old Route 70. In no time, he spotted a Grove Stone Quarry, but the gates were closed and he could swear the low beams tailing him flicked on again. If only he could stop veering all over the place, if he could get behind those humongous mounds of sand and stone.

    Ignoring the traffic light, he cut to his right and swerved up a road bordered by a high wire fence demarcating a prison facility, sped past until he was hemmed in by walls of white pine. The walls of pine were intersected by for-sale arrows and a bright red banner. He killed his headlights altogether, swerved again into a cluster of model homes that formed a cul-de-sac, and coasted to a stop as the car stalled.

    He got out and followed an exposed drain pipe that angled down until it cut off at a rain-slick paved drive onto a neighborhood of two-story houses, porch lights and street lamps.

    His ankle gave way again as he became fixated on circling back to that massive, enclosed hiding place where he could try to get his bearings.

    The cold rain beat down harder. Though the Blue Ridge range hovered in the near distance, it was shrouded in mist and offered no comfort.

    ***


    Excerpt from Moon Games by Shelly Frome. Copyright © 2018 by Shelly Frome. Reproduced with permission from Shelly Frome. All rights reserved.








    Shelly Frome

    Author Bio:



    Shelly Frome is a member of Mystery Writers of America, a professor of dramatic arts emeritus at the University of Connecticut, a former professional actor, a writer of crime novels and books on theater and film. He is also a features writer for Gannett Media. His fiction includes Sun Dance for Andy Horn, Lilac Moon, Twilight of the Drifter, Tinseltown Riff, and Murder Run. Among his works of non-fiction are The Actors Studio and texts on the art and craft of screenwriting and writing for the stage. Moon Games is his latest foray into the world of crime and the amateur sleuth. He lives in Black Mountain, North Carolina.


    Catch Up With Our Author On:


    Website, Goodreads, & Twitter!



    Tour Participants:

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






    Giveaway!:



    This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Shelly Frome. There will be 1 winner of one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card. The giveaway begins on November 6, 2018, and runs through November 14, 2018. Void where prohibited.

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    Book Blast: BROKEN WINDOWS by Paul D Marks

    broken-windows-by-paul-d.-marks-banner


    Broken Windows

    by Paul D. Marks

    October 30, 2018 Book Blast



    Synopsis:


    Broken Windows by Paul D. Marks

    While the storm rages over California’s notorious 1994 anti-illegal alien Proposition 187, a young woman climbs to the top of the famous Hollywood sign—and jumps to her death. An undocumented day laborer is murdered. And a disbarred and desperate lawyer in Venice Beach places an ad in a local paper that says: “Will Do Anything For Money.” Private Detective Duke Rogers, and his very unPC partner, Jack Riggs, must figure out what ties together these seemingly unrelated incidents. Their mission catapults them through a labyrinth of murder, intrigue and corruption of church, state and business that hovers around the immigration debate. Along the way we explore the fiery immigration issue from all sides and no one escapes unscathed.




    Book Details:


    Genre: Mystery/Crime/Thriller
    Published by: Down & Out Books
    Publication Date: September 10th 2018
    Number of Pages: 360
    ISBN: 1948235072 (ISBN13: 9781948235075)
    Series: Duke Rogers PI, #2
    Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads



    Read an excerpt:



    PROLOGUE

    The Hollywood Sign beckoned her like a magnet—or like a moth to a flame. The sign glowed golden in the magic hour sun—that time of day around sunrise and sunset when the light falls soft and warm and cinematographers love to shoot. Like so many others, Susan Karubian had come here seeking fame and fortune, hoping to make her mark on the world. Oh hell, she had come to be a star like all the others. And she would do it, just not quite in the heady way she’d anticipated.

    She had spent hours deciding what to wear. After all, this wasn’t exactly in the etiquette books. Probably not the kind of thing you’d find in Ask Amy column. She finally decided on a tasteful dress with high-heeled sandals.

    The young woman drove her Passat down Hollywood Boulevard, turning up Franklin, passing the Magic Castle. She turned slowly up Beachwood Canyon, past the low-rent area north of Franklin, up through the towering stone gates with their “Welcome to Beachwood Canyon” signs. Past the movie star homes in the hills—past where she thought she’d be living by now. She drove in circles, past piles of rubble from the earthquake several months ago, figuring that sooner or later she’d hit the right combination of roads and end up where she wanted to be.

    The Passat crested the top of the mountain—mountain or hill? What was the difference anyway? A small concrete building with an antenna sat just below the road. No cars. No one around. As quiet as the Sherman Oaks Galleria on a Monday morning. She parked on Mt. Lee Drive.

    She rolled up the windows, locked the car, set her purse on the floor by the gas pedal. The note she’d written in a steady hand tucked into her pocket. She hoped someone would find it quickly. Standing beside the car, she realized she’d have to hike down to get to the sign. She had thought it would be at the top of the mountain. She was buggin’, as she treaded toward the edge of the road.

    The nonstop rain of the last couple weeks had broken. The view from up here was incredible. You could almost see Mexico to the south and the Pacific glittering in the west. The city below, shiny and bright. Pretty and clean from up here. A million doll houses that reminded her of childhood, playing with dolls and making everything come out the way she wanted it to. Little toy cars down below, scooting back and forth. Swarms of ants scurrying this way and that on important business. Oh yeah, everyone here had important business all day and all night. Everyone but her. She gazed down at Los Angeles on the cusp of the millennium. The place to be. Center of the universe. Totally.

    She hesitated at the edge of the road, her toe kicking some gravel down the hill. It clattered down, somehow reminding her of the industrial music in the clubs where she liked to hang.

    Should she try to talk to him? What would be the point now? She was talked out. And he wouldn’t forgive her. Why should he? She had hurt him. No, it was beyond hurt. There was no way to rationalize it.

    ***


    Excerpt from Broken Windows by Paul D. Marks.  Copyright © 2018 by Paul D. Marks. Reproduced with permission from Paul D. Marks. All rights reserved.







    Author Bio:


    Paul D. Marks

    Broken Windows, the sequel to Paul D. Marks’ Shamus Award-winning mystery-thriller White Heat hit the shelves 9/10/18. Publishers Weekly called White Heat a “taut crime yarn” and said of Broken Windows: “Fans of downbeat PI fiction will be satisfied…with Shamus Award winner Marks’s solid sequel to… White Heat.” Though thrillers and set in the 1990s, both novels deal with issues that are hot and relevant today: racism and immigration, respectively. Marks says “Broken Windows holds up a prism from which we can view the events burning up today’s headlines, like the passionate immigration debate, through the lens of the recent past. It all comes down to the saying we know so well, ‘the more things change, the more they stay the same’.” His short stories appear in Ellery Queen and Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazines, among others, and have won or been nominated for many awards, including the Anthony, Derringer, and Macavity. His story Windward, has been selected for the Best American Mystery Stories of 2018, edited by Louise Penny & Otto Penzler, and won the 2018 Macavity Award for Best Short Story and was also short-listed for a 2018 Shamus Award. Ghosts of Bunker Hill was voted #1 in the 2016 Ellery Queen Readers Poll. He is co-editor of the multi-award nominated anthology Coast to Coast: Private Eyes from Sea to Shining Sea.


    Catch Up With Our Author On:


    Website, Goodreads, Twitter, & Facebook!




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    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 Paul D. Marks. There will be 1 winner of one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card. The giveaway begins on October 30, 2018, and runs through November 7, 2018. Void where prohibited.


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    Book Blast: A MOTHER’S LIE by Jo Crow

    A Mother’s Lie

    by Jo Crow

    Audiobook Blast on October 2, 2018



    Synopsis:


    A Mother's Lie by Jo Crow

    When her child’s life is at stake, a mother will do anything to save him.


    Clara McNair is running out of time to save her son, James. When the two-year-old is diagnosed with a rare form of brain cancer, only an experimental treatment can save his life. She desperately needs money to pay for the surgery, but she’ll have to travel back to the site of her darkest memories to get it.

    Clara has escaped the demons of her youth—or so she thinks. It’s been ten years since the mysterious disappearance of her parents. Widely suspected of murdering her mother and father, Clara fled west to start a new life. Now, a documentary film crew is offering cold, hard cash—enough to pay for James’s treatment—in exchange for the sordid secrets of her past.

    With no other choice but to delve into a long-ago tragedy, Clara must unravel the lies surrounding that terrible night. Facing hostile gossip, Clara is fighting to clear her name and learn the truth about what really happened. But how far will she go into the dark to save her son—and herself?



    Click Here to get your Audiobook copy of A Mother’s Lie, today!




    Book Details:


    Genre: Psychological Thriller
    Published by: Relay Publishing
    AudioBook Release Date: April 23, 2018
    AudioBook Length: 9 hrs and 59 mins
    ISBN: 978-1979295420
    Purchase Links: Amazon | Audible | Goodreads



    Read an excerpt:



    Chapter One

    Dense red clay was pushing between the teeth. Pond mist drifted across the manicured lawns, wisping through the dark eye sockets. Parts of the cranium were shaded a vile yellow-brown where decomposing leaves clung to its surface like bile expressed from a liver. The jawbone was separated from the skull, its curved row of teeth pointing skyward to greet the rising sun.

    Two feet away, closer to the oak tree, other bones were piled haphazardly: a pelvis, high iliac crests and subpubic angle. A femur, caked with dirt, jammed into his empty skull. Sunlight decorated the brittle bones in long, lazy strips and darkened hairline fractures till they blended with the shed behind them.

    It was peaceful here, mostly. The pond no longer bubbled, its aerator decayed by time; weed-clogged flowerbeds no longer bloomed—hands that once worked the land long ago dismissed. Fog blanketed the area, as if drawn by silence. Once, a startled shriek woke the morning doves and set them all into flight.

    It was the first time in ten years the mammoth magnificence of the Blue Ridge Mountains had scrutinized these bones; the first song in a decade the morning doves chorused to them from their high perch.

    A clatter split apart the dawn; the skull toppled over as it was struck with another bone.

    In a clearing, tucked safely behind the McNair estate, someone was whistling as they worked at the earth. The notes were disjointed and haphazard, like they were an afterthought. They pierced the stillness and, overhead, one of the morning doves spooked and took flight, rustling leaves as it rose through the mist.

    A shovel struck the wet ground, digging up clay and mulch, tossing it onto the growing mound to their left. The whistling stopped, mid note, and a contemplative hum took its place.

    Light glinted on the silvery band in the exposed clay—the digger pocketed it—the shovel struck the ground again; this time, it clinked as it hit something solid.

    Bone.

    A hand dusted off decayed vegetative matter and wrested the bone from its tomb. Launching it into the air, it flew in a smooth arc, and crashed into the skull like a bowling pin, scattering the remains across the grass. With a grunt of satisfaction, the digger rose and started to refill the hole from the clay mound.

    When it was filled and smoothed, and the sod was replaced over the disrupted ground, the digger lifted the shovel and strolled into the woods, one hand tucked in a pocket as they whistled a cheery tune lost to the morning fog.

    ***


    Excerpt from A Mother’s Lie by Jo Crow. Copyright © 2017 by Jo Crow. Reproduced with permission from Jo Crow. 
    All rights reserved.




    Author Bio:


    Jo Crow

    Jo Crow gave ten years of her life to the corporate world of finance, rising to be one of the youngest VPs around. She carved writing time into her commute to the city, but never shared her stories, assuming they were too dark for any publishing house. But when a nosy publishing exec read the initial pages of her latest story over her shoulder, his albeit unsolicited advice made her think twice.

    A month later, she took the leap, quit her job, and sat down for weeks with pen to paper. The words for her first manuscript just flew from her. Now she spends her days reading and writing, dreaming up new ideas for domestic noir fans, and drawing from her own experiences in the cut-throat commercial sector.

    Not one to look back, Jo is all in, and can’t wait for her next book to begin.


    Catch Up With Our Author On: Facebook & Goodreads!






    Tour Participants:

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






    Giveaway:



    This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Jo Crow. There will be 5 winners of one (1) A Mother’s Lie by Jo Crow audiobook. The giveaway begins on October 2, 2018, and runs through October 8, 2018. Void where prohibited.


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    Book Blast: THE FOUND CHILD by Jo Crow

    The Found Child

    by Jo Crow

    September 18, 2018 Book Blast



    Synopsis:


    The Found Child by Jo Crow

    One mother’s life can change in the blink of an eye—and there’s no going back.

    Elaine’s worst fears become a reality when her beloved son Jakob is diagnosed with cancer. She needs to find a bone marrow donor, and time is running out. While awaiting test results from herself and her husband Nathan, she approaches his business partner, Roger—her ex-lover—to see if he could be a possible match. Instead, an even greater shock awaits: Jakob is not her biological son. For years, she has been raising someone else’s child.

    The news threatens to send Elaine back to the pills that almost destroyed her life once before, pushing her already fragile mental state to the breaking point. As the family faces one crisis, a ghost from her past emerges to jeopardize everything she’s built. But is the threat real, or is it all in her mind? Elaine needs to stay strong for her son, but as her whole reality continues to unravel, she can’t trust anyone—not even herself.




    Book Details:


    Genre: Thriller
    Published by: Relay Publishing
    Publication Date: September 4th 2018
    Number of Pages: 372
    ISBN-10: 1726446328
    ISBN-13: 978-1726446327
    Purchase Links: Amazon Goodreads





    Read an excerpt:



    Prologue


    Telling parents that the search for their missing infant had gone cold was a job that no one wanted. And honestly, Detective Aaronson had tried to pass it off to someone else—to his partner, Miller, and then to a uniform. Ultimately, though, the chief had put his boot down and pushed it back on Aaronson. He was the point man. He and Miller had worked the case together for a month before the leads dried up, but it had been Aaronson who had sat with the parents, talked to them on the phone, and kept them updated.

    He’d been the one to give them hope, so it followed that he should be the one to take it away… right?

    They had agreed to meet him at the station. That seemed to be the best choice. No one wanted to get this kind of news in their own home—it would put a stain on the place that would never wash out. No, it was more professional to have the talk here in one of the small conference rooms. No decorations, no distractions, nothing to make the moment seem too casual. Only gray brick, white linoleum and a wooden table and chairs that were plain and utilitarian. Unemotional.

    Now he sat across from them, steeling himself and trying to work up some moisture in his mouth. There was water, but they hadn’t poured a glass so he wasn’t about to. Both of them had dark circles under their bloodshot eyes, and a waxy pallor to their skin. They hadn’t slept in a month, he figured. He’d have put money on it. Hell, he could barely sleep when his teenager stayed out late with her friends on a weekend. And their child had been gone for more than a month. As a parent, he understood part of their pain. Just part of it. That’s what made this so damn difficult.

    “We’re not closing the case,” he said, his tone as flat as he could manage. “But as of now, the leads—”

    “You’re not looking anymore?” the mother asked. Fury filled her eyes, and loss. One of those was for him.

    “It’s only been a month,” the father said. “You can’t stop now. Please, our son is out there somewhere—we know it.”

    “I can feel him,” she said. “You have to believe me, I can feel him here.” She clutched at her chest, at the threadbare, peach-colored sweater she wore.

    You have to keep it short, the chief had said. Keep it direct and then refer them to the counselor. That’s your job.

    Aaronson wondered if the chief had ever done this before. He imagined he’d had, but to make it seem so simple… Of course, there were regulations. He couldn’t be the counselor and the detective, and there were good reasons for that. “We will keep the case open,” he told them. “If any new leads come in, we’ll follow up on them.”

    He meant it, too. But the truth that he knew, and that these two knew even if they didn’t want to believe it, was that after seventy-two hours, most of these cases were never solved. Every day after that windows closed, the likelihood of finding a child like theirs dropped exponentially until it plummeted to a fraction of a percent which itself really only represented the handful of miracle cases that had been resolved sometimes decades after a disappearance.

    “Please don’t do this,” the father begged. He took his wife’s hand, and they leaned into one another. “One more month. There was that woman—”

    “At the moment, Andrea Williams has been cleared as a suspect,” Aaronson said. That poor woman’s life had been all but destroyed already. “We’ve been over her life with a fine-toothed comb. If new evidence emerges, we’ll look into it again, but I’m telling you that she’s not who we want.”

    “So, what do we do now?” the mother asked. “What do we do now that you’ve abandoned our boy? Abandoned us?”

    Aaronson was so close to breaking. He stood from the table. “I swear to you both,” he said, the words bitter on his tongue, “that we will pursue any and every lead that comes across my desk. We’re not abandoning anyone. Alright?” And while it may have been technically true, it sure felt like a lie.

    Nothing but contempt came from them, and he didn’t blame them at all. And he hated himself for what he had to say next. “There’s a counselor here. Doctor Amari. She’s a grief counselor, and it’s free to see her. I can send her in, but I have to leave you now. I’m sorry. Really, I am.”

    They turned their faces from him.

    As he left, he closed the door gently even though he wanted to slam it hard enough to shatter the glass. He wasn’t even sure who to be angry with. Himself, mostly, he guessed, or the whole damn department. And Andrea-fucking-Williams, who had wasted their time from the beginning by lying to protect herself instead of telling them the truth about her record so that they could have moved on.

    He took only two steps before the mother wailed loudly behind him. The entire department went quiet. That sound was one they all knew. It was the sound of a woman who had lost the last shred of hope she’d had. The shred that he’d taken away from her.

    That was the sound of a mother whose child had died. And, at this point, Aaronson had nothing to suggest it wasn’t true.

    He’d failed them.

    ***


    Excerpt from The Found Child by Jo Crow.  Copyright © 2018 by Jo Crow. Reproduced with permission from Jo Crow. All rights reserved.







    Author Bio:


    Jo Crow

    Jo Crow gave ten years of her life to the corporate world of finance, rising to be one of the youngest VPs around. She carved writing time into her commute to the city, but never shared her stories, assuming they were too dark for any publishing house. But when a nosy publishing exec read the initial pages of her latest story over her shoulder, his albeit unsolicited advice made her think twice.

    A month later, she took the leap, quit her job, and sat down for weeks with pen to paper. The words for her first manuscript just flew from her. Now she spends her days reading and writing, dreaming up new ideas for domestic noir fans, and drawing from her own experiences in the cut-throat commercial sector.

    Not one to look back, Jo is all in, and can’t wait for her next book to begin.


    Catch Up With Jo Crow On:


    Goodreads & Facebook!




    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 Jo Crow. There will be 5 winners of for this tour. There will be 1 winner of one (1) Amazon GC; there will be 3 winners of one (1) A Mother’s Lie by Jo Crow eBook; and there will be 1 winner of one (1) A Mother’s Lieby Jo Crow audiobook.  The giveaway begins on September 18, 2018, and runs through September 25, 2018.  Void where prohibited.


    a Rafflecopter giveaway