Guest Post: David Gardner – THE JOURNALIST

The Journalist by David Gardner Banner

Good day, book people. I hope you had a wonderful weekend, kept safe and dry (especially for those of you in rain-soaked areas), and were able to get some reading done. I spent the weekend with my 86-y.o. mother and we both spent most of our time reading. If I had to choose a so-called “guilty pleasure,” mine would be reading almost anything I can get my hands on (I know, not much of a shocker or a guilty pleasure). Some people might be fascinated by reality television, others to sports, and then you have those that are obsessed with the tabloids. Today’s guest, David Gardner and author of The Journalist: A Paranormal Thriller, knows quite a bit about tabloids and tabloid journalism and he’ll be sharing a few tidbits with us today. Please help me welcome author David Gardner to the blog. Thank you, Mr. Gardner for joining us today, the blog is now yours.

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Tabloid journalism fascinates me so much that I have forced the protagonist of my novel, The Journalist: A Paranormal Thriller (Encircle Publications) to work for a particularly cheesy one. For me, the more fanciful the story, the better. Do others believe what they read in the tabloids? I have no idea.

What is a tabloid? It refers to newspapers one-half the physical size of broadsheets, which we think of as the standard dimensions for a newspaper. Right here I need to distinguish between tabloid-sized newspapers and tabloid journalism. Most large cities have a respectable, tabloid-sized newspaper. Some people speculate that this is to make it easier to read on a subway. Those papers often refer to themselves as compact.

Tabloid journalism is associated with the tabloid-sized papers of questionable repute found in supermarket checkout counters.

My novel’s hero has written breathless tabloid articles about green aliens who’ve taken up residence at the Boston Red Sox playing field, a famous television cook who’s gone on a hunger strike, and a boy in Brisbane who can tell the future by licking truck tires. Bizarre topics like these are only slight exaggerations of what some tabloids print.

The first tabloid newspaper is thought to be The Daily Mirror, started in London in 1903 by the interestingly named Alfred Harmsworth. By 1909 it was selling a million copies a day. Competitors flourished across the globe.

Today’s tabloids specialize in celebrity gossip with paparazzi photos showing their subject in awkward situations. We learn of the subject’s alarming weight gain, drinking problems, family troubles and general misbehavior—we’re more than happy to learn that the rich and famous are no better than we are. A few tabloids take a strong political stand. Those I avoid.

The Onion (which you can read online) brilliantly spoofs tabloids. Several daytime television shows owe their existence to tabloid journalism.

What is true in a tabloid and what is not? If the front page reads, “Hillary Clinton Adopts Alien Baby” and shows an “official photo” of the former First Lady tentatively gripping a creepy, bald, babyish thing, then you can be pretty sure the story is fake. (Yes, that actually appeared in the Weekly World News.)

“Surgeons Cut My Head Off—And Sewed It Back On!” That’s a real headline from the Weekly World News. The tabloid’s front cover shows a surgeon fussing over an operating table with the severed head of an attractive brunette wearing an expression of perfect serenity.

Some stories hover between truth and fiction. Tales of celebrity misdoings sometimes stray over the libel line and get the paper’s owners in court. And once in a while a grocery-store tabloid will actually beat the respectable press to a story. Tabloids were the first to disclose that the married Senator John Edwards had fathered a child with his girlfriend, which brought to an end his presidential run.

As stated earlier, I have a weakness for tabloids, the more lurid the better. While standing in the checkout line at the grocery store, I’ll often grab a tabloid off the rack, drop it on top of a box of Corn Flakes and mutter to the person behind me, “Uncle Larry asked me to pick up a copy.”

I’m not sure I’m fooling anyone.


The Journalist

A Paranormal Thriller

by David Gardner

August 1-31, 2021 Tour

Synopsis:

The Journalist by David Gardner

If Jeff can’t save his ghostly ancestors from disappearing, so will he.

Writing for a cheesy Boston tabloid, Jeff Beekle fabricates a whimsical tale about a mob-built CIA prison for ghosts.

Which turns out to be true.

Now both the mob and the CIA have Jeff in their sights.

Even worse, Jeff discovers that his great-grandmother is an inmate and that she and the other spectral residents are being groomed as CIA spies. (And why not? They’re invisible, draw no salary, and won’t hop into bed with enemy agents.)

To his horror, Jeff learns that ancestors held too long in earthly captivity will vanish as if never born, taking with them all their descendants, which includes him.

Can Jeff outwit the mob and the CIA, free his ghostly ancestors, destroy the prison and save himself?

Book Details:

Genre: Humorous Paranormal Thriller
Published by: Encircle Publications, LLC
Publication Date: February 10th 2021
Number of Pages: 322
ISBN: 164599144X (ISBN13: 9781645991441)
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

Book Trailer for The Journalist:

Author Bio:

David Gardener

David Gardner grew up on a Wisconsin dairy farm, served in Army Special Forces and earned a Ph.D. in French from the University of Wisconsin. He has taught college, worked as a reporter and sold women’s shoes.

He coauthored three programming books for Prentice Hall, wrote dozens of travel articles as well as too many mind-numbing computer manuals before happily turning to fiction.

He lives in Massachusetts with his wife, Nancy, also a writer. He hikes, bikes, messes with astro-photography and plays the keyboard with no discernible talent whatsoever.

Catch Up With David Gardener:
DavidGardnerAuthor.com
Goodreads
Instagram – @davidagardner07
Twitter – @dgardner_author
Facebook – @david.gardner.33483

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Book Spotlight: BRASS CARRIAGES AND GLASS HEARTS by Nancy Campbell Allen

Brass Carriages and Glass Hearts by Nancy Campbell Allen
ISBN: 9781629727370 (paperback)
ASIN: B086WQCTTQ (Audible audiobook)
Publication date: October 6, 2020 
Publisher: Shadow Mountain Publishing


A steampunk retelling of Cinderella.

Emmeline O’Shea is determined to save the world—single-handedly, if necessary. A strong voice for societal reform, she is the natural choice to deliver a key speech at the end of the International Shifter Rights Organization’s week-long Summit in Scotland.

But when a death threat arrives at Emme’s home, she is immediately placed into protective custody, watched over by none other than her personal nemesis, Detective-Inspector Oliver Reed. The two have crossed paths many times, with disastrous results, but now they will have to work together in order to reach the Summit before midnight of the last day in order to ensure legislation is passed to protect the Shifter community.

As unseen enemies close in around Emme and Oliver, they struggle to reach Edinburgh by any means necessary, only to find Emme’s vindictive stepsister, Oliver’s vampire brother, and a dangerous political minefield awaiting them in Scotland.

Even more difficult is their own refusal to admit that the fiery animosity that once burned between them might be turning into the heat of romantic passion. Could a straitlaced policeman determined to uphold the law and an outspoken activist willing to break the rules ever find true love? Or will all their dreams shatter like glass when the clock strikes midnight?





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Advance Praise 

“Once again proving that genres are made to be melded, Allen puts a suspenseful twist on this enticing, steampunk retelling of Cinderella. Allen seamlessly integrates gentle romantic tension and nods to the original fairy tale with paranormal and steampunk elements and political intrigue. This is a fun, arresting break from reality.” –Publishers Weekly

“Relocates a classic fairy tale into an imagined future packed with airships, automated carriages, vampires, and corsets. Nancy Campbell Allen’s lively reimagining of the Cinderella story features an empowered, outspoken heroine who’s driven by a vision of a more equitable, futuristic Britain.” –Foreword Reviews




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Meet the Author

Nancy Campbell Allen is the author of seventeen published novels and numerous novellas, which span genres from contemporary romantic suspense to historical fiction. In 2005, her work won the Utah Best of State award, and she received a Whitney Award for My Fair Gentleman. She has presented at numerous writing conferences and events since her first book was released in 1999. Nancy received a BS in Elementary Education from Weber State University. She loves to read, write, travel, and research, and enjoys spending time laughing with family and friends. She is married and the mother of three children. 

Visit her on Instagram, Facebook, Goodreads, and on Twitter




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Book Spotlight: REVELATIONS by Hep Aldridge




Revelations: Sunken Treasure, Lost Worlds

The Risky Business Chronicles Book 2

by Hep Aldridge

Genre: Action, Adventure



The Saga continues…

As the mystery deepens from the peaks of the Andes to the ocean floor off Florida’s Space Coast, Colten X. Burnett, and the Risky Business team are confronted by new perils and discoveries in their extraordinary quest for both treasures and what might be explosive, historical findings.

New friends and new adversaries make their quest a suspense-filled thrill ride.

Will they find the elusive treasure galleon, is the legendary golden library in Ecuador real?

REVELATIONS – Volume 2 of the Risky Business Chronicles will engulf you as a virtual participant in this amazing adventure.

It is the second book in Hep Aldridge’s action and adventure series about Dr. Colten X.



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Book Trailer

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Sunken Treasure, Lost Worlds

The Risky Business Chronicles Book 1



His knowledge can make them all rich… or get them killed.

From the depths of the Atlantic off Cape Canaveral Florida, searching for sunken Spanish treasure, to the Andes mountains of Ecuador chasing the legend of a lost golden library, Dr. Colten X. Burnett and the Risky Business team are on a quixotic adventure.

While trying to make an honest, well sort of honest living, searching for remnants of the lost 1715 fleet, Risky Business Ltd. becomes entangled in a mystery that covers two continents and may rewrite history.

The lure of uncovering a lost civilization, as well as the secrets it holds, motivates the team on their dangerous journey into a cosmological unknown.

Sunken Treasure Lost Worlds is the first book in Hep Aldridge’s action and adventure series about Dr. Colten X. Burnett and the Risky Business team.



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Book Trailer

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Hep Aldridge is a certified scuba diver, cave diver and amateur archaeologist whose main area of interest is Pre-Columbian cultures of the Americas.

He has led or been part of archaeological expeditions to Mexico and Honduras, making discoveries that have been reported in National Geographic Magazine.

Hep’s related interest in space, and space exploration and “things unknown” was fueled by his father who worked for NASA.

While living in New Mexico, he began to question the many strange and unexplained things he saw in the night sky in the mid-’60s, and also developed an interest in lost treasures that has stayed with him his whole life.

The combination of these diverse interests led to the genesis of the Risky Business Chronicles, Book One, his first novel of a three-part series.

Hep is an Air Force veteran and resides on Florida’s Space Coast.



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Book Showcase: ENEMIES OF DOVES by Shanessa Gluhm

Enemies of Doves

by Shanessa Gluhm

on Tour June 1-14, 2020



Synopsis:


Enemies of Doves by Shanessa Gluhm

On a summer night in 1932, twelve-year-old Joel Fitchett wanders into an East Texas diner badly beaten and carrying his unconscious brother, Clancy. Though both boys claim they have no memory of what happened, the horrific details are etched into their minds as deep as the scar left across Joel’s face.

Thirteen years later, both men still struggle with the aftershocks of that long-ago night and the pact they made to hide the truth. When they find themselves at the center of a murder investigation, they make a decision that will change everything. A second lie, a second pact and for a time, a second chance.

In 1991 college student, Garrison Stark, travels to Texas chasing a rumor that Clancy Fitchett is his biological grandfather. Clancy has been missing since 1946 and Garrison hopes to find him, and in doing so, find a family. What he doesn’t expect to discover is a tangle of secrets spanning sixty years involving Clancy, Joel and the woman they both loved, Lorraine.

Told in alternating timelines from World War II to 1992, Enemies of Doves is a tale of family secrets, jealousy and deception perfect for fans of Kate Morton and Allen Eskens.




Book Details:


Genre: Historical Mystery
Published by: Touchpoint Press
Publication Date: March 20, 2020
Number of Pages: 328
ISBN: 1946920916 (ISBN13: 9781946920911)
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads



Enemies Of Doves Trailer:





Read an excerpt:



Joel woke up to a white world: white walls, white sheets, a white pitcher of water, and a stranger wearing white. White like Mama’s favorite flowers, white like the coat Daddy wore to work, white like the doves that…

No, don’t think about doves. Don’t think about doves ever again.

The white was better than his last memory: black. Ravenous black. It had swallowed everything.

Harsh light speared into the room, painting sharp rectangles on the linoleum floor. Joel blinked involuntarily. The lady in the white uniform noticed. “He’s awake!” she called. “Mrs. Fitchett, he’s awake!”

Mama and Daddy charged in, talking at the same time, asking the same questions.

“I’m okay,” Joel said.

Mama’s hands hovered a few seconds before settling on his arm. “I’m sorry we weren’t here. I told your daddy we shouldn’t both leave but—”

“Are you in pain, son?” Daddy rarely let Mama finish a sentence.

“My stomach hurts.” Joel didn’t recognize the sound of his own voice, so small and croaky.

“Nurse! Bring this boy something for the pain,” Daddy yelled.

“A magnesia tablet.” Mama put her freezing hand on his forehead. “He might have a fever too.”

The nurse let out a noisy breath. She didn’t bother with his temperature, but the two bone-white pills she handed Joel appeased his parents, got them quiet at least. Joel raised his head, sweat-soaked hair sticking to his forehead. Or was it blood? He touched the bandage covering his face and winced. The details of the night before seeped into his mind. He could think of nothing that wasn’t contaminated by this memory.

The pills tasted like chalk and made his throat burn. “Can I have some water?” Before anyone responded, two taps at the door drew their attention away from him, away from that perfect pitcher of water.

Mama rubbed her forehead. “Can’t we go ten minutes without a knock on the damn door?” Joel knew Mama must be upset to use a word like that. Nancy Fitchett taught Sunday School and had taken soap to Joel’s mouth for less.

“Oh, for god’s sake!” Daddy threw up his hands. “He just woke up. Give us a minute with our boy.”

Two figures stepped through the door. A cigarette hung immobile in the mouth of the stubby police officer in front. “I understand, Mr. Fitchett, but the more time that goes by, the more victims forget. It’s vital we speak now.”

Forget? Joel knew better. He couldn’t forget, not till heaven anyway, and at twelve, heaven was a long wait.

The other officer stepped from the shadows. Like Dick Tracy, he wore a black suit and fedora instead of a uniform. He looked at Joel like he already knew the truth or could figure it out in the same effortless way Detective Tracy did in the comics. “Truth is,” —he reached into the hallway and pulled Clancy into the room — “we can’t get any information from this one. We hope your other boy will be more cooperative.”

Joel’s head sank into the pillow. So, Clancy hadn’t told. Even now, he only wanted to protect his little brother. Poor kid looked scared out of his skin.

“You all right, Joel?” Clancy’s voice shook.

“Don’t you worry about me, Clancy. I’m as right as rain, good as gold.”

“Nice as nectarines,” Clancy said. They often played this game, but Joel couldn’t think of another simile, so he offered a smile instead. It hurt like hell, but he wanted to assure Clancy he was okay. Joel was only a year and a half older, but the gap felt wider. Joel had always been mature for his age; everybody said so.

“I have nothing to say, sir,” Joel told Dick Tracy. His voice was still high pitched, but he tried to make it boom like Daddy’s. Tom Fitchett had a way of making people listen when he talked.

“And why’s that?” The tiny officer lit his cigarette.

“I don’t remember what happened.” The bed gave a muffled creek as he adjusted his position.

The detective looked at his partner. “Get Clancy out of here, will you? And the folks too.”

“We won’t leave.” Daddy pushed his shoulders back.

“Have it your way. Look here, Joel; we know who did this to you.”

The words made Joel forget his stinging face and terrible thirst. He watched a cockroach scuttle into a floor crack. Did they know? No one was around for miles. He was bluffing.

“Then go arrest the bastard,” his father said. “Don’t waste time traumatizing injured and frightened boys.”

Had Joel heard Daddy right? Had he demanded these important men, lawmen, stop traumatizing his boys? Something he did for sport? How strange to have Daddy in his corner for once.

“You may reconsider your statement when you learn who hurt the boy.”

“Impossible!” Daddy slammed his hand on Joel’s tray and knocked over the pitcher of water. Mama grabbed a towel and sopped it up. Even in crisis, her instinct to clean up Daddy’s messes took over. “Who did this?!” Daddy yelled.

Joel cringed, but at least this time Daddy’s fury flew at somebody else. Joel took a few deep breaths. Maybe if he stayed calm, everyone else would calm down too.

“It was him.” The officer stuck his finger in Clancy’s face.

Mama clutched him tighter, her arms a shield against the accusation.

The detective knelt in front of Clancy. “You did this. The only question I have is why?”

The room spun again. Joel looked for an anchor, but the patterns on the linoleum played leapfrog, and the walls closed in. His parent’s gasps faded into the white surrounding him, and once again, the world went black.

***

Excerpt from Enemies of Doves by Shanessa Gluhm.  Copyright © 2020 by Shanessa Gluhm. Reproduced with permission from Shanessa Gluhm. All rights reserved.



Author Bio:



Shanessa Gluhm


Shanessa Gluhm works as a librarian at an elementary school in New Mexico where she lives with her husband and children. It was during her own elementary days when a teacher encouraged Shanessa to write and share stories with the class. She hasn’t stopped writing since. Enemies of Doves is her debut novel.



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This is a Rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Shanessa Gluhm. There will be 2 winners of one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card each. The giveaway begins on June 1, 2020, and runs through June 16, 2020. Void where prohibited.

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2018 Book 262: I CAN HANDLE HIM by Debbie K. Lum

I Can Handle Him by Debbie K. Lum
ISBN: 9781944463120 (paperback)
ISBN: 9781944463137 (ebook)
ASIN: B079H9HTP3 (Kindle edition)
Publisher: DKLit
Release Date: April 7, 2018 (paperback & Kindle edition) | May 11, 2018 (ebook)


Quinn Corbin’s got nothing to lose – except her life.

She’s finally got the attention of the man she’s always loved, Nick Allen. But Nick has a reputation for trouble. And after a car explosion killed his last girlfriend, many people in San Antonio, Texas think Nick got away with murder.

But Quinn, a 24-year-old elementary school teacher and bubbly optimist, believes Nick is innocent. So does her best friend Tory, a law student and sarcastic realist. Soon Quinn and Nick find their relationship growing when suddenly their world upends. Now Nick is in major trouble again and Quinn may have made the biggest mistake of her life.

With incriminating evidence mounting against Nick, Tory works to prove his innocence. But Nick finds himself in a bigger battle when he must fight to protect, and win, his true love. 



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Quinn Corbin, Tory Taylor, and Nick Allen are reunited at the retirement party for Al Thomas, their former employer and owner of the bookstore/cafe the Indigo Exchange in San Antonio. All three have moved on with their lives, but have fond memories of Al and Indigo Exchange. Quinn has finished graduate school and has been hired to become an elementary school teacher, her dream job. Tory is following in her father’s footsteps and is in law school. Nick has decided to become an entrepreneur and take what he’s learned from Al and open his own cafe/bookstore but includes an in-house bakery. On the surface, it looks as if everything is great between these three and Al, but a recent car accident that resulted in the death of a girl has Al’s son’s best friend and his family out-of-sorts. This family wrongly blames Nick for Sienna’s death, especially since Nick wasn’t driving the car — Sienna was — and the investigators found that the car had a faulty gas tank that raptured after the accident. But trouble seems to follow Nick. His parents died in a car accident when he was only 18 years old (he wasn’t in the car and had nothing to do with the accident). He was then in an accident where he hit and killed a beloved family pet (he tried to make amends). Now the incident with Sienna. But Quinn and Tory both know that Nick has a kind heart and isn’t the bad guy everyone seems to make him out to be, so Quinn decides to befriend him once again. Her plan seems to work until she invites him over to her parents’ home for their annual fiesta and he’s disinvited because of rumors and bad feelings. But Quinn refuses to give up. When the opportunity presents itself to make amends for this slight she takes it. Little does she know that this opportunity may well be her last. Tory loves Quinn and is also a staunch advocate for Nick, so when a devastating accident occurs she does the only thing she knows how and that’s become his legal ally. Can Nick and Tory find out which enemy has it out for him before he ends up behind bars permanently?

I didn’t particularly enjoy the first portion of I Can Handle Him, as I found it to be a bit slow. However, the pace picked up after a few chapters and the story sucked me in. I was just as invested and Quinn, Tory, and Nick into finding out what had happened, why it had happened, and who was behind it. There’s a lot going on in this story, there’s the death of Sienna, the rivalry and antimony between Sienna’s brother and Nick, the business rivalry between Faze (Nick’s business) and Indigo Exchange (Al’s business), another prominent character’s death (no, I’m not telling you who but it is pivotal to the story), the investigation into that death and subsequent arrest of Nick for vehicular manslaughter, family drama (Nick gets reunited with his long-lost brother), and romance. My only wish for this story was to get to know the San Antonio area a bit more (I can say I’m craving tacos now, thank you Ms. Lum), but enjoyed reading the scenes set on the Riverwalk area. For those of you that are fans of New Adult stories, Romance, or Romantic-Suspense, I encourage you to grab a copy of I Can Handle Him to read while lounging on the beach, camping, glamping, flying to your vacation destination, or during your staycation.


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



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Meet the author

Debbie K. Lum is an unlikely author, a non-reader who was inspired by a self-esteem ad campaign encouraging little girls to dream big. Her romantic suspense novels feature fun, flawed characters with steamy and complicated relationships (and plenty of surprises!) In 2018, Lum released I Can Handle Him, which was called “A fresh, enjoyable tale.” by BlueInk Reviews. Reviews for the book have been published in Booklist Magazine and Kirkus Review Magazine. Her 2017 novel, The Doctor, The Chef, or the Fireman, was called “A quick, satisfying romantic mystery.” by Kirkus Reviews. In 2016 she debuted Plebeian Revealed, Plebeian In Danger, and Plebeian Reborn, a series about a married woman who finds sudden fame with her ex-boyfriend.

Debbie splits her time between Florida and Texas and drinks more unsweetened iced-tea than she probably should.


Connect with the author

Website     |     Facebook     |     Twitter     |     Goodreads      |     Pinterest



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I Can Handle Him

I Can Handle Him 


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2018 Book 24: THE CHALK MAN by CJ Tudor

The Chalk Man by C. J. Tudor
ISBN: 9781524760984 (hardcover)
ISBN: 9781524761004 (ebook)
ISBN: 9780525526391 (digital audiobook)
ASIN: B071FDZYVK (Kindle edition)
Publication date: January 9, 2018 
Publisher: Crown Publishing


In 1986, Eddie and his friends are just kids on the verge of adolescence. They spend their days biking around their sleepy English village and looking for any taste of excitement they can get. The chalk men are their secret code: little chalk stick figures they leave for one another as messages only they can understand. But then a mysterious chalk man leads them right to a dismembered body, and nothing is ever the same.

In 2016, Eddie is fully grown and thinks he’s put his past behind him, but then he gets a letter in the mail containing a single chalk stick figure. When it turns out that his friends got the same message, they think it could be a prank–until one of them turns up dead. That’s when Eddie realizes that saving himself means finally figuring out what really happened all those years ago. 



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Eddie Adams, known as “Eddie Munster” when he was a child, had four neighborhood friends: Gavin aka “Fat Gav,” Mickey aka “Metal Mickey” (as a result of braces), David “Hoppo” Hopkins, and Nicky Martin. Eddie’s mother was a doctor and provided abortions, just as controversial in 1986 as it is today, and his father was a freelance writer. Gavin’s father owned the local pub and his mother was an Avon lady. Mickey’s parents were considered ordinary working parents. David’s mother worked as a cleaner and his father was not in the picture. Nicky’s father was the local vicar and led the crusade against the local abortion clinic and her mother was reportedly deceased. The story briefly begins with these young friends finding the gruesome remains of a decapitated and mutilated body in the woods. From there we witness Eddie and one of the local school teachers, Mr. Halloran, provide critical medical assistance to a young girl when tragedy strikes at a local fair, a ride flies apart and a girl is seriously injured. After that bonding experience, Eddie learns that Mr. Halloran is a gifted artist and used chalk with his friends to leave secret messages with his own childhood friends. Eddie and his friends begin to use chalk, with each friend using a different color, to leave messages for one another. The chalk messages fade into obscurity when more tragedy strikes, Mickey’s older brother drowns, Hoppo’s dog dies, the mutilated and dismembered body is found in the forest, and Nicky’s father is brutally attacked. Thirty years later, Eddie is still leaving in his childhood home and only Fat Gav and Hoppo are still around. Nicky left town with her biological mother (surprise, not dead) after her father’s attack. Mickey is now a big ad executive and lives in the city (presumably a major city, like London). Then chalk messages begin to reappear, Mickey returns to town and tells Eddie he knows the identity of the killer from 1986, and then Mickey turns up dead. It was bad enough when Eddie began to “see” the ghosts of Mickey’s dead brother and his teacher-friend, Mr. Halloran, as a child but now he’s seeing them again along with chalk messages. What do the messages mean? Is it possible Eddie’s next in line to die? If so, why and can he figure out the messages in time to stop the killer?

I initially had difficulties getting into The Chalk Man because I felt the pace was moving a bit slow, but then about halfway through the book it began to pick up and I was entranced. Ms. Tudor had to provide all of the backstory in order for the contemporary story to work and the backstory took time to reveal. Trust me, it’s worth the time. Some people have difficulty with stories than vacillate between two timelines. I actually enjoyed getting bits of the story from 1986 and then bits from 2016. I thought I had the story figured out, then it took a nice twist (no, I won’t reveal the twist…read the book!). There’s a lot of action in this story with the coming-of-age angst of Eddie and his friends compounded by the deaths of a sibling of one friend, the death of a school teacher, and them finding a dismembered body in the 1986 storyline. In the 2016 storyline, there’s the return of a childhood friend and his subsequent death, secrets revealed from 1986, possible hallucinations, and more. There are a few minor characters with major impact in this story and that threw me (hint: when reading this story, don’t try to figure out whodunit). The Chalk Man is a psychological suspense that provides a boogie man that haunts both the children and adults in the story. The primary character, Eddie is deeply flawed and his flaws seem to take over the story at a time. Told you, there’s a lot happening in this book. If you enjoy reading suspense with unexpected twists and turns, then I strongly encourage you to grab a copy of The Chalk Man to read. If you’re simply seeking something radically different to read, then I urge you to go out and grab a copy of The Chalk Man to read. (FYI: I suggest that you throw out all pieces of chalk in your home before reading this story.) I enjoyed reading The Chalk Man and look forward to reading more from Ms. Tudor in the future.


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



Meet the author


C. J. TUDOR lives in Nottingham, England, with her partner and three-year-old daughter. Over the years she has worked as a copywriter, television presenter, voice-over, and dog walker. She is now thrilled to be able to write full-time and doesn’t miss chasing wet dogs through muddy fields all that much. The Chalk Man is her first novel.



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Enter to win one print copy of The Chalk Man by C. J. Tudor courtesy of TLC Book Tours. Please note that this giveaway is open to US residents only (sorry), all non-residents will be disqualified. This giveaway will run from 12:01 AM ET on January 23, 2018, through 11:59 PM ET on January 30, 2018. The winner will be announced by 10:00 AM ET on January 31st, 2018. If for any reason, the initial winner does not respond within 48 hours a new winner will be selected. Please note that this book will be mailed by TLC Book Tours at the conclusion of the blog tour.


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The Chalk Man : A Novel

2017 book 394: THE WHISPERING ROOM by Dean Koontz

The Whispering Room by Dean Koontz
ISBN: 9780345546807 (hardcover)
ISBN: 9780345546814 (ebook)
ASIN: B071CJBDJL (Kindle edition)
Publication date: November 21, 2017 
Publisher: Bantam

Jane Hawk—fiction’s most relentless, resourceful, stunning new heroine—continues her battle against a murderous conspiracy in the riveting sequel to The Silent Corner.


“No time to delay. Do what you were born to do. Fame will be yours when you do this.” 

These are the words that ring in the mind of mild-mannered, beloved schoolteacher Cora Gundersun—just before she takes her own life, and many others’, in a shocking act of carnage. When the disturbing contents of her secret journal are discovered, it seems certain that she must have been insane. But Jane Hawk knows better.

In the wake of her husband’s inexplicable suicide—and the equally mysterious deaths of scores of other exemplary individuals—Jane picks up the trail of a secret cabal of powerful players who think themselves above the law and beyond punishment. But these ruthless people bent on hijacking America’s future for their own monstrous ends never banked on a highly trained FBI agent willing to go rogue—and become the nation’s most wanted fugitive—in order to derail their insidious plans to gain absolute power with a terrifying technological breakthrough.

Driven by love for her lost husband and by fear for the five-year-old son she has sent into hiding, Jane Hawk has become an unstoppable predator. Those she is hunting will have nowhere to run when her shadow falls across them.  


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Jane Hawk, a twenty-something former FBI-agent, is still grieving the murder-by-suicide of her beloved husband Noah. Their five-year-old son, Travis, has been safely hidden away from the people behind her husband’s murder. Jane doesn’t know how high up in the government this group goes, but she does know it has ties to the NSA and possibly the FBI, as a result, she can’t trust any of her former colleagues. She’s now relying on the criminal connections to stay one step ahead of the group that wants her and thousands of others dead. After rigorously questioning a California attorney with ties to one of the leaders of the group, Jane learns that the group has ties to a small town in Kentucky. Meanwhile, in rural Minnesota, a beloved local teacher commits an action that no one understands. Cora Gundersun drives her SUV, containing numerous gasoline-filled canisters that she then sets afire, into a historic inn and restaurant killing dozens of people. Why? Because she was told to do so by the spider in her brain. The local sheriff, Luther Tillman, discovers the reason for Cora’s actions and refuses to take part in the government cover-up. He also learns that Cora hasn’t been quite the same since she returned from Iron Furnace Lake, Kentucky. Both Jane and Luther converge on Iron Furnace Lake and what they found is shocking (no I won’t tell you what they find, read the book!). Will they join forces? Can they protect their families? Will they be able to stay one step ahead of this all-powerful group? 

Jane Hawk, star of The Silent Corner, returns to right wrongs, fight for truth, justice, and battle unseen forces of evil in The Whispering Room by Dean Koontz. I enjoyed reading The Silent Corner so much that I re-reread it before reading The Whispering Room (yes, you read that right, I’ve read it twice so far this year). Jane is not your typical hero, as she no longer functions in shades of black and white, keeping everything legal and aboveboard. She now has to function in the shades of gray just to stay alive. Just as the group consistently underestimates Jane, they also underestimate Luther Tillman, as he’s initially written off as a simple, local sheriff with a third-tier college education and obviously no threat to these Ivy-league educated powerbrokers. There’s a lot of action in The Whispering Room and just enough tech explanations to make you never want to touch a computer, tablet, or smartphone ever again. As with The Silent Corner, The Whispering Room is a story about family, friends, trust, power gone wrong, corruption, and more. There’s also drama, action, and humor. Just in case you couldn’t tell, I thoroughly enjoyed The Whispering Room and found it to be a fast-paced and engrossing read. For those of you that enjoy reading suspense thrillers, then I strongly recommend you grab a copy of The Silent Corner and The Whispering Room to read. For those of you that have already read The Silent Corner, I know you’ll want to get a copy of The Whispering Room to read to find out what happens next. I’m looking forward to reading the next Jane Hawk installment, The Crooked Staircase, coming in the Spring of 2018 (and yes, I’ll be re-reading The Silent Corner and The Whispering Room).

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



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The Whispering Room :  A Jane Hawk Novel

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2017 Book 203: EVERY LAST LIE by Mary Kubica

Every Last Lie by Mary Kubica 
ISBN: 9780778319986 (hardcover)
ISBN: 9781460396698 (ebook)
ASIN: B01N0UM130 (Kindle version)
Publication Date: June 27, 2016 
Publisher: Park Row Books 

New York Times bestselling author of THE GOOD GIRL, Mary Kubica is back with another exhilarating thriller as a widow’s pursuit of the truth leads her to the darkest corners of the psyche. 

“The bad man, Daddy. The bad man is after us.” 

Clara Solberg’s world shatters when her husband and their four-year-old daughter are in a car crash, killing Nick while Maisie is remarkably unharmed. The crash is ruled an accident…until the coming days, when Maisie starts having night terrors that make Clara question what really happened on that fateful afternoon. 

Tormented by grief and her obsession that Nick’s death was far more than just an accident, Clara is plunged into a desperate hunt for the truth. Who would have wanted Nick dead? And, more important, why? Clara will stop at nothing to find out—and the truth is only the beginning of this twisted tale of secrets and deceit. 

Told in the alternating perspectives of Clara’s investigation and Nick’s last months leading up to the crash, master of suspense Mary Kubica weaves her most chilling thriller to date—one that explores the dark recesses of a mind plagued by grief and shows that some secrets might be better left buried.


Clara Solberg is a happy, but tired stay-at-home mom. She’s just given birth to her second child and the only thing she truly longs for is a good night sleep. Awaking to find that her husband dead, his business in shambles, his life insurance canceled, her daughter traumatized, and her parents dealing with their own set of problems just might be more than she can handle all at once. These are just a few of the things going on in Every Last Lie by Mary Kubica.

Clara and Nick Solberg are a happy and loving couple. Clara has gladly given up her career in photography to be a stay-at-home mother to their four-year-old daughter Maisie. After Nick’s sudden traumatic death, Clara has to deal with a traumatized Maisie, a newborn infant, a house in constant need of repair, a dwindling amount of income, the possibility that her husband’s car crash might not have been an accident based on her daughter’s night terrors, and her mother’s ever-increasing problems associated with early-onset dementia. Clara is somewhat single-minded in what she is and isn’t willing to deal with, but she’s sure that Nick must have been murdered based on her daughter’s terrors and statements and begins to investigate. Her investigation reveals more than she may have ever wanted to know in some regards, but is she getting closer to the truth or simply uncovering more secrets and lies? Was Nick murdered or was it just a tragic accident?

I’m a huge fan of mystery thrillers, suspense thrillers, and psychological thrillers and Ms. Kubica crafts some of the best thrillers I’ve read and she’s done it yet again with Every Last Lie. I enjoyed this fast-paced story, found it to be part mystery thriller and part psychological thriller, and a wholly entertaining read. I also enjoyed the way Ms. Kubica told this story in alternating viewpoints, so the reader gets to know both Clara and Nick (and let me say there were times I wanted to bop them both upside the head and say “get a grip!”). Are there bad guys in Every Last Lie? Well, yes and no (you’ll need to read the story to discover the truth of this for yourself). There’s a lot of action going on in Every Last Lie and if I told you everything that happened you wouldn’t need to read the book, but I’ll tell you there are hints of marital infidelity, gambling, theft, workplace incompetence/negligence, bullying, marital abuse, and much more. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, if you’re not sure about this genre then I suggest you add all of Ms. Kubica’s titles (The Good Girl, Pretty Baby, Don’t You Cry, and Every Last Lie) to your TBR list, because after reading just one of her books you’re sure to be a fan. If you’ve read any of Ms. Kubica’s previous titles, then you’ll definitely want to grab a copy of Every Last Lie to read.



Read an excerpt from Every Last Lie here


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



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Every Last Lie

Every Last Lie :  A Gripping Novel of Psychological Suspense

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2017 Book 6: THE FIREMAN by Joe Hill

The Fireman by Joe Hill 
ISBN: 9780062200648 (paperback)
ISBN: 9780062200655 (ebook)
ASIN: B013C5M08O (Kindle edition)
Publication date: January 3, 2017 (paperback) 
Publisher: William Morrow 


From the award-winning, New York Times bestselling author of NOS4A2 and Heart-Shaped Box comes The Fireman, which was an instant #1 New York Times bestseller when published in hardcover last year. The Fireman is a chilling novel about a worldwide pandemic of spontaneous combustion that threatens to reduce civilization to ashes and a band of improbable heroes who battle to save it, led by one powerful and enigmatic man known as the Fireman.

The fireman is coming. Stay cool.

No one knows exactly when it began or where it originated. A terrifying new plague is spreading like wildfire across the country, striking cities one by one: Boston, Detroit, Seattle. The doctors call it Draco Incendia Trychophyton. To everyone else it’s Dragonscale, a highly contagious, deadly spore that marks its hosts with beautiful black and gold marks across their bodies—before causing them to burst into flames. Millions are infected; blazes erupt everywhere. There is no antidote. No one is safe.

Harper Grayson, a compassionate, dedicated nurse as pragmatic as Mary Poppins, treated hundreds of infected patients before her hospital burned to the ground. Now she’s discovered the telltale gold-flecked marks on her skin. When the outbreak first began, she and her husband, Jakob, had made a pact: they would take matters into their own hands if they became infected. To Jakob’s dismay, Harper wants to live—at least until the fetus she is carrying comes to term. At the hospital, she witnessed infected mothers give birth to healthy babies and believes hers will be fine too. . . if she can live long enough to deliver the child.

Convinced that his do-gooding wife has made him sick, Jakob becomes unhinged, and eventually abandons her as their placid New England community collapses in terror. The chaos gives rise to ruthless Cremation Squads—armed, self-appointed posses roaming the streets and woods to exterminate those who they believe carry the spore. But Harper isn’t as alone as she fears: a mysterious and compelling stranger she briefly met at the hospital, a man in a dirty yellow fire fighter’s jacket, carrying a hooked iron bar, straddles the abyss between insanity and death. Known as The Fireman, he strolls the ruins of New Hampshire, a madman afflicted with Dragonscale who has learned to control the fire within himself, using it as a shield to protect the hunted . . . and as a weapon to avenge the wronged.

In the desperate season to come, as the world burns out of control, Harper must learn the Fireman’s secrets before her life—and that of her unborn child—goes up in smoke.








Harper Willowes Grayson is a mid-twenty-something-year-old school nurse. She’s taken her life lessons from Disney films and uses “what would Mary Poppins do” as one of her guiding mottoes in life. Now that all schools are closed due to Dragonscale, she wants to help in the only way she knows how, but volunteering as a nurse at her beleaguered community hospital. She’s exposed to hundreds of people infected with Dragonscale but wears protection similar to those that had treated Ebola patients. When the hospital catches fire due to several patients bursting into flames, she escapes the hospital and covered in ash returns home to her husband, Jakob Grayson. Grieving the loss of so many lives, Harper finds solace in the company of her husband. Harper had thought she escaped the possibility of infection but awakens the next morning only to find that she too is infected. Her infection throws Jakob off-kilter and he becomes enraged that she has exposed him to this deadly “infection.” A few short weeks later, Harper realizes she’s pregnant. When her husband tries to kill her, Harper realizes she only has one option, escape. Fortunately, she is befriended by a group of infected and taken to a secret camp run by Father Tom Storey. Father Storey uses common-sense wisdom, platitudes, and camp songs to keep the infected in not only good spirits but from combusting. It is at this camp that Harper learns to control the fire that burns within all of the infected. When Father Storey is attacked, Harper is given the mandate to keep him alive or else. With limited supplies and dwindling food, Harper knows she may not be able to fulfill this particular demand. Fearing for her life and the life of her unborn child, Harper latches on to the one person she truly trusts, The Fireman. Can they escape the mob-mentality craziness that seems to be infecting those at the camp, as well as the regional Cremation Squads and make it to safety? Does a safe place for the infected even exist anymore?

The Fireman is definitely not a light-hearted or quick read with over 700 pages, but it is a fast-paced and engaging read that kept my attention from the first page to the very last. There are so many issues being dealt with in this story including an Armageddon-like apocalypse, anarchy, rampant chaos and terror, horrific scenes involving the infected just trying to reach safety but being intercepted and murdered by Cremation Squads, and more. There are bad guys, crazy guys, as well as bad and crazy guys. The world may not be consumed and obliterated by a fantastical disease like Dragonscale, but Mr. Hill has presented a somewhat plausible future where society is destroyed by a rampant infection that simply can’t be controlled. It is easy to imagine the mass hysteria, fall of government infrastructures, and vigilante mentality run amuck in an effort to survive at all costs. I wish I could say I read The Fireman in one sitting (I didn’t want to put the book down at all—sadly I had to set it aside for quite a few hours), but life intervened and it took me a day-and-a-half to finish reading this amazing book. The Fireman is the second book that I’ve read by Mr. Hill (sad to say I couldn’t really get into the first book I read) and now I’m ready to tackle Horns and NOS4A2. If you enjoy reading bone-chilling stories that combine humor and hopefulness with horror and the fantastical (not to mention superior writing), then you’ll definitely want to read The Fireman. If you think you’re not really a horror genre reader, The Fireman will change your mind. Seriously, this was an awesome read and I’m looking forward to rereading it (yes, it was just that good!).


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


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Meet the author:

Photo by Shane Leonard
Joe Hill is the author of the New York Times bestsellers Horns, Heart-Shaped Box, and NOS4A2. He is also the Eisner Award-winning writer of a six-volume comic book series, Locke & Key. He lives in New Hampshire.




Find out more about Joe at his website and follow him on Twitter and Instagram: @joe_hill, and Facebook.



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2016 Book 239: THE EMPTY ROOM by Sarah J. Clemens



The Empty Room by Sarah J. Clemens
ISBN: 9780997619201 (paperback)
ISBN: 2940153032832 (ebook)
ASIN: B01FPRS72A (Kindle edition)
Publication date: July 23, 2016 
Publisher: Off the Page Publishing



The small town of Eastbrook, Maine seemed like the kind of close-knit community where newlyweds Dean and Elizabeth Montgomery could begin their lives together, and the 1930s Victorian seemed like the house they’d always dreamed of owning. The only condition for purchasing the property was that it was sold in “as-is” condition. But when the couple arrived in Eastbrook, they received anything but a warm welcome from the local residents. And when they realize that as-is condition meant that the previous owner of the house had left every worldly possession behind, the dream of the small town life starts to take a mysterious turn. Day after day, Dean and Elizabeth uncover more truths than they could have ever imagined, or ever wanted to know about the secrets that were hidden in the small town of Eastbrook. And as the neighbors become growingly hostile with every encounter, this young couple searches furiously to uncover what the residents in this town are trying to hide. What they find instead is that the home they thought they were getting a good deal on had a much higher price than they could have ever known, and that secrets are better off hidden.


Dean and Elizabeth Montgomery are newlyweds embarking on a new adventure. A new town, a new home, and a new start in life with hopefully a growing family. Their new home is ideal from all appearances, but looks can be deceiving in The Empty Room by Sarah J. Clemens.

Dean and Elizabeth met in Chicago and had a whirlwind romance. After getting married, they decide to relocate to a small town in Maine. They arrive in Maine to find their home is fully furnished with the previous owner’s belongings. Excited to be starting a new life in a new town, Elizabeth is disappointed by the reaction from the town’s inhabitants. No one openly acknowledges them except with oblique references to not delve too deep into hidden secrets. Eliminating the negativity she’s receiving around town, Elizabeth decides to focus on the house. She and Dean explore and find that each room is lovingly furnished, except for one room, an empty room. Why is that particular room empty? The more Dean and Elizabeth try to uncover the mystery of the empty room, the more strange things become around town. What is the secret of the house and that empty room?

I found The Empty Room to be a relatively fast-paced and easy read. I enjoyed the pop culture references, such as Dean calling his elderly female neighbor “Mrs. HaWiggins.” The Empty Room combines elements of a mystery, psychological suspense, and much more all in one quick read. (No, I’m not going to reveal the more…read the story and discover it for yourself.) If you’re looking for something a little different to read then you may want to grab a copy of The Empty Room to read while wiling away the hours on a lazy sunny day.

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


Read an excerpt:

Chapter One

The car grumbled to a stop at the end of the gravel driveway. The three-day car trip was finally over. The gas station food and bathroom stops were all behind them. They were home. The house might have been filled with someone else’s belongings, but they owned it now.

The house looked like a postcard from the outside. Small shrubs lined each side of the driveway as it suspiciously winded its way to the front porch. The grass was wet with dew after the recent rain.

As though looking at a piece of abstract art, Dean and Elizabeth both leaned forward in their seats toward the dash and squinted from inside the window of the car. Their eyes moved from left to right, making sure to take in every detail that first met their view.

“It’s gorgeous.” Elizabeth peered out from beneath the windshield.

With her eyes squinted and her mouth opened slightly, she studied every feature of architecture as though the house would greet her with an exam before allowing her to enter. She broke her concentration from the house and pressed her hand to the passenger side window, looking up and down to visually imprint every detail that awaited.


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