Book Review: DESPERATION IN DEATH by J.D. Robb

Desperation in Death, In Death #55, by J. D. Robb
ISBN: 9781250278234 (hardcover)
ISBN: 9781250278241 (ebook)
ISBN: 9781250859259 (digital audiobook)
ASIN: B09Q7ZGLL8 (Audible audiobook)
ASIN: B09NTJRDJ3 (Kindle edition)
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Release Date: September 6, 2022
Genre: Fiction | Mystery | Thriller

“The #1 New York Times bestselling author presents a gripping new thriller that pits homicide detective Eve Dallas against a conspiracy of exploitation and evil…

New York, 2061: The place called the Pleasure Academy is a living nightmare where abducted girls are trapped, trained for a life of abject service while their souls are slowly but surely destroyed. Dorian, a thirteen-year-old runaway who’d been imprisoned there, might never have made it out if not for her fellow inmate Mina, who’d hatched the escape plan. Mina was the more daring of the two—but they’d been equally desperate.

Unfortunately, they didn’t get away fast enough. Now Dorian is injured, terrified, and wandering the streets of New York, and Mina lies dead near the waterfront while Lt. Eve Dallas looks over the scene.

Mina’s expensive, elegant clothes and beauty products convince Dallas that she was being groomed, literally and figuratively, for sex trafficking—and that whoever is investing in this high-overhead operation expects windfall profits. Her billionaire husband, Roarke, may be able to help, considering his ties to the city’s ultra-rich. But Roarke is also worried about the effect this case is having on Dallas, as it brings a rage to the surface she can barely control. No matter what, she must keep her head clear—because above all, she is desperate for justice and to take down those who prey on and torment the innocent. 

 
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It has to be incredibly difficult for an author to continue writing a series after a few books and keep not only the characters but the action fresh. Thankfully, J.D. Robb (aka Nora Roberts) doesn’t seem to have a problem with this and her “In Death” series featuring homicide detective Eve Dallas and her zillionaire husband, Roarke. Eve Dallas was initially presented as someone whose background was unknown. It has gradually been revealed that she grew up in the foster care system, was sexually and physically abused as a child by her father – a grifter and thief, had a grifter and drug addict as her biological mother, and was never given a name by her biological parents. The trauma of her childhood has caused a host of issues for both Eve and Roarke as Eve has confronted her past. Cases dealing with children and sex crimes are difficult for anyone to deal with, but doubly so if that person has dealt with these issues in their own past. But Eve Dallas is not only a strong woman, but a good detective as she truly cares about each homicide victim she stands for with an impressive support system in her husband, friends that are now family, and her co-workers. The big question for Eve in Desperation in Death is whether she can find the guilty parties before someone else suffers the same fate as the murdered young girl.

Desperation in Death is the fifty-fifth installment to the “In Death” series and is just as fresh, to this reader, as the first book. Although we know Eve, Roarke, and all of their family and friends a bit better, we’re still learning about them as individuals, as a couple, and as friends. The world they live in is changing and they are definitely changing with the times. This particular case deals with child abduction, sex trafficking, sexual abuse, torture, and murder. Eve may not have an issue dealing with the murder, but the reason for the murder is one that touches a little too close to home. As with all of the previous books in this series, there are emotionally charged moments along with plenty of suspense. I found Desperation in Death to be an engrossing read and finished it in one sitting over less than six hours. I know that this series might end at some point, but I’m hopeful that Eve, Roarke, family, and friends will re-appear in many more stories before the inevitable end occurs. If you’ve been reading this series, then you’ll definitely want to grab a copy of Desperation in Death to read. If you’ve never experienced the awesomeness of the “In Death” series, then I encourage you to begin with Naked in Death and read your way through all of the books leading up to Desperation in Death, I doubt you’ll be disappointed. Something tells me that I’ll be re-reading this one at some point over the next few months (what can I say, I’m an avid re-reader!).

Happy Reading, y’all!

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

Book Spotlight: BEHIND THE LIE by Emilya Naymark

BEHIND THE LIE by Emilya Naymark

Behind the Lie by Emilya Naymark
ISBN: 9781643858920 (hardcover)
ISBN: 9781643858937 (eBook)
ASIN: B094GN9S9D (Kindle edition)
Publisher: Crooked Lane Books
Release Date: February 8, 2022
Genre: Fiction | Domestic Mystery | Thriller

NYPD detective turned small town PI Laney Bird is in a fight to save lives—including her own—after a neighborhood block party turns deadly.

A transplant to the upstate New York hamlet of Sylvan, all Laney wants is a peaceful life for herself and her son. But things rarely remain calm in Laney’s life—and when her neighborhood summer block party explodes in shocking violence and ends with her friend’s disappearance, she’ll need all her skills as a PI to solve a mystery that reaches far beyond her small town.

As people closest to Laney fall under suspicion, the local authorities and even her colleagues question her own complicity. And then there’s fifteen-year-old Alfie, her complicated and enigmatic son, obviously hiding something. Even as Laney struggles to bury evidence of her boy’s involvement, his cagey behavior rings every maternal alarm.

Laney’s personal life unravels as she’s drawn into her missing friend’s dark secrets and she realizes she and Alfie are in danger. With treachery blazing hot as the searing summer sun, Laney fights to save lives, her family’s included.

Advance Praise

“A captivating story that leads to an emotional but satisfying bittersweet ending.” — NY Journal of Books about Hide In Place by Emilya Naymark

“Devastating. Immersive. And somehow, still redemptive… A brilliant and tense mystery with heartbreaking characters—and a gasp-worthy solution. Do not miss this! Emilya Naymark is a star.” — Hank Phillippi Ryan USA Today Bestselling author of Her Perfect Life

Meet The Author

Author Emilya NaymarkEmilya Naymark was born in a country that no longer exists, escaped with her parents, lived in Italy for a bit, and ended up in New York, which promptly became a love and a muse.

She is the author of the novels Hide in Place and the upcoming Behind the Lie, out February 8, 2022.

Her short stories appear in A Stranger Comes to Town, edited by Michael Koryta, Secrets in the Water, After Midnight: Tales from the Graveyard Shift, River River Journal, Snowbound: Best New England Crime Stories 2017, and 1+30: THE BEST OF MYSTERY.

When not writing, Emilya works as a visual artist and reads massive quantities of psychological thrillers, suspense, and crime fiction. She lives in the Hudson Valley with her family. You can find her at her website: https://www.emilyanaymark.com/author.

Connect with the Author: Facebook | Goodreads | Instagram | Twitter | Website

This spotlight brought to you by Books Forward

 

Book Review: DESOLATION CANYON by P. J. Tracy

DESOLATION CANYON by P.J. Tracy book cover

Desolation Canyon, Detective Margaret Nolan #2, by P. J. Tracy
ISBN: 9781250754950 (hardcover)
ISBN: 9781250830197 (ebook)
ISBN: 9781250845498 (digital audiobook)
ASIN: B09557MV5Z (Audible audiobook)
ASIN: B092T9QHCS (Kindle edition)
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Page Count: 320
Release Date: January 18, 2021
Genre: Fiction | Thriller | Mystery

P.J. Tracy “seems to have found her literary sweet spot” (New York Times Book Review) with her dazzling new series, and in Desolation Canyon, fans get a deeper look into the complex characters who call Los Angeles home.

LAPD Detective Margaret Nolan is struggling to move forward after the death of her brother in Afghanistan and taking a life in the line of duty. Her stoic parents offer little support – they refuse to address anything difficult, and she’s afraid their relationship is eroding beyond the point of recovery.

The days off are the hardest, because they give Margaret time to think. A moment of weakness leads to cocktails with a colleague—an attraction she knows could be dangerous —at the luxurious Hotel Bel-Air bar. A stroll through the grounds leads to a grim discovery beneath the surface of Swan Lake: the body of a successful attorney who made his fortune in international trade.

It initially appears to be death by misadventure, but the case is anything but straightforward. As a series of shocking revelations emerge, Nolan finds herself confronting a sinister cabal that just might destroy her and everyone she loves.


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Good day, book people. Although it’s a new year with plenty of new books and new-to-me authors to discover, I find myself leaning in on reading favorite authors. I’ve been hooked on the writings of P.J. Tracy since reading Monkeewrench and the subsequent books in that series. Needless to say, I was thrilled to hear that a new series was beginning last year and devoured Deep Into the Dark. I’m eternally grateful that I was given the opportunity to read the second book in this series, Desolation Canyon. I enjoy smart, taut, and well-written mystery or suspense thrillers, especially those involving realistic characters, like LAPD Detective Margaret “Maggie” Nolan. This time around Maggie has to deal with the apparent suicide of a divorced attorney that is ruled murder by poisoning, a subsequent murder and torture of the attorney’s ex-wife, “…kidnappings past and present, a Russian import-export company, and maybe the Russian Mob up in Death Valley hiding behind a cult. Oh, and nerve gas…” One of the kidnappings is personally tied to Detective Remy Boudreau, a possible love interest for Maggie. And if that’s not enough, her mother is visiting the “cult” to deal with the grief over her deceased son. The big question seems to be if Maggie and friends can tie everything together without getting any of the innocent bystanders hurt or worse.

Desolation Canyon introduces us to a host of characters in addition to Maggie Nolan and Sam Easton from Deep Into the Dark. We get to know Maggie’s parents, York and Emily Nolan, a bit better and understand how and why they opt to deal with their grief in a certain manner. Maggie’s partner, Al Crawford, is featured a bit more in this story, as well as the pathologist Dr. Weil, and a private investigator hired by Remy Boudreau, Malachai Dubnik. Ms. Tracy takes the reader through a variety of twists and turns while introducing the Russian Mob angle, along with the money laundering, reverse money laundering (yes, it’s a thing), and more. Desolation Canyon features kidnapping, poisoning, murder, torture, trafficking, and more. Yes, it’s a lot to throw at the reader, but it works. It might not be possible to see how all of the puzzle pieces will fit, but Ms. Tracy does a fantastic job of putting everything together to provide the reader with a picture-perfect resolution. I don’t know about you, but I’m a sucker for stories that feature a group of characters working together even if it’s an ever-changing cast of characters. Police officers/detectives don’t work in isolation and it’s always nice to see books reflecting this fact. It takes a village to raise a child and it usually takes a team to solve crimes. Desolation Canyon has plenty of crimes and a great team working together to solve them. If you enjoy reading thrillers or if you read Deep Into the Dark, then I encourage you to grab a copy of Desolation Canyon to read. For those of you not sure about thrillers, I suggest you grab a copy of Deep Into the Dark and Desolation Canyon to read. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed. I, for one, can’t wait to see what’s next for Maggie Nolan and her friends.

Happy Reading, y’all!

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

Book Showcase: THIRTY-ONE BONES by Morgan Cry

Book Cover for THIRTY-ONE BONES by Morgan Cry; swimming pool/water background with assortment of Euros in the water; tagline "It can be dangerous out in the sun"

Thirty-One Bones, Daniella Coulston #1, by Morgan Cry
ISBN: 9781951627669 (hardcover)
ISBN: 9781951627911 (ebook)
ASIN: B08LF1VZCY (Kindle edition)
Publisher: Arcade CrimeWise
Release Date: May 18, 2021
Genre: Fiction | Mystery | Thriller

When Effie Coulston drops dead on the floor of her bar in a small Spanish town mid-business meeting, her daughter Daniella feels it’s her duty to return for the funeral. But Daniella has been estranged from her mother for over twenty years, and Effie’s life in Spain harbours many secrets . Daniella is soon confronted by a hostile group of ex-pat misfits who frequent the bar and who, along with Effie, are involved in a multi-million-pound property scam. But the money has vanished, and the ex-pats are threatening to implicate Daniella to save themselves.

Meanwhile, a Spanish detective is investigating Effie’s death. He’s convinced Daniella knows more than she is telling. And now a terrifying enforcer has heard about the missing cash. With no idea where the money is and threats coming from all sides, Daniella is up against a seemingly impossible deadline to find the cash. She’s a stranger in a strange town – and she’s seriously out of her depth.

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 Read the Prequel to Thirty-One Bones:

 

Elephant in the Room

(Prequel to Thirty-One Bones)

‘Let me get this straight, Mr. Calderwood,’ I say, the noise of the insurance claim floor fading as I stare at the computer screen in front of me. ‘You are claiming that all your furniture in your flat has been destroyed by an elephant?’

‘That’s correct,’ say the voice at the other end of the telephone.

‘And,’ I add. ‘You live on the eleventh floor of a multi-storey flat in Glasgow?’

‘Correct.’

‘An elephant, Mr. Calderwood?’

‘I have pictures.’

‘Of the elephant?’

‘Yes.’

‘You have pictures of an elephant in your home?’

‘Yes.’

‘What size of elephant, Mr. Calderwood?’

‘A big swine.’

‘And you have pictures of it wrecking your stuff?’

‘Actually, the photo is of the elephant after it trashed the place. It’s sitting on my telly.’

‘Sitting on your TV, Mr. Calderwood? You have a picture of a real elephant sitting on your TV?’

‘A real elephant.’

I struggle with the next question but it has to be asked.

‘Are we talking a baby elephant or a fully grown one?’

‘Fully grown.’

‘And how did this elephant get into your home, Mr. Calderwood?’

‘Good question. I’d guess through the front door.’

I lean back in my chair and press mute on my head mike. My name is Daniella Coulstoun. I’m a thirty-six year old insurance claims assistant that has spent the best part of a decade hard-wired to a computer screen fielding claim calls for Just You Insurance. I quickly scan the room to see if anyone is watching me. To see if someone is taking the piss. But not one of my near-on fifty claims assistant co-workers are looking in my direction. I glance at my manager, currently hunched over Tom Rattle’s desk, lost in conversation. No interest in me to be seen from there either.

I flip on the mike on again.

‘Eh, Mr. Calderwood,’ I say. ‘Could you just give me one minute?’

‘Sure.’

I kill the mike once more, subjecting Mr. Calderwood to the specially composed hold music that all our clients seem to hate. I punch up the help menu on the screen. I know there’s a section on animal damage. Dogs and cats are a regular feature in my life. It always amazes me how much damage a deranged pooch or hyper moggie can do if left alone. But I’m sure that if I type in the word elephant into the help-bar that nothing useful will appear. More likely this is one giant wind-up and typing in the word elephant on the screen will be met with a massive round of applause, a gale of laughter and a message on my computer to the effect that I’ve been had. That’s the way that the Just You team members fly. Practical jokes to break the monotony and drudgery of relentless claim handling are all too frequent.

I decide not to give the prankster the satisfaction quite yet and elect to try and catch out the hoaxer.

‘Mr. Calderwood,’ I say, after flipping the mike back on. ‘I’m back. Sorry about that. Could you take me through your story again?’

‘Why? Do you think I’m making it all up?’

Yes.

‘It’s not that, Mr. Calderwood. It’s just that I need all the details.’

Of course, it is entirely possible that Mr. Calderwood could be telling the truth. Or his version of it. He had, by his own admission, been drunk as a skunk when he had come home last night and found the elephant.

‘I told you,’ he says. ‘I’d been out at the pub and when I got home, I noticed that the hall was a mess. When I entered the living room it was also trashed and there was an elephant sitting on my telly.’

‘And you say you have photographic evidence of this elephant?’

‘I can send you it.’

I give him my work email address and a few seconds later his email appears. I click on the attachment and the photo opens. It’s dark but it’s clearly of a living room. A living room that looks fairly wrecked to me. Chairs broken, china smashed, a dining table cracked down the middle. And, right in the middle of the photo, back to me, sits what looks a lot like an elephant. I study the picture and can’t help but eyeball the floor to see if I’m being watched. Certain that I’m not, I zoom in on the photo but the low light it was shot in has given the whole picture a grainy wash when enlarged. Judging by the size of the dining table the elephant is a good eight feet high. With its back to me, I can see its trunk swung out to the left and two flappy ears sit high on its head. The only disconcerting thing, if having an elephant in your front room isn’t disconcerting enough, is that the elephant looks very, and it could be the poor quality of the picture, hairy.

‘Did you get the photo?’ asks Mr. Calderwood.

‘Yes,’ I reply.

‘Well will my policy pay out? The damn thing has done no end of damage.’

I have no idea if elephant damage is contained within any of our policies, let alone Mr. Calderwood’s cut price version.

‘Mr. Calderwood,’ I say, trying to think of a logical flow to my questioning. ‘If you came in last night and found an elephant in your home, did you not report it to the police?’

‘Not last night,’ he says. ‘I went to the bog. I needed to throw up and I fell asleep on the pan. It happens.’

‘And when you woke up where was the elephant?’

‘Gone.’

‘And did you look for it?’

‘Yes. I had a gander at the landing and a peek down the stairs but saw nothing.’

‘And your neighbours?’

‘What about them?’

‘Did any of them see the elephant?’

‘I haven’t asked. Why? Do you think one of them might have been keeping it as a pet?’

I ignore the question. ‘Mr. Calderwood how big is the lift in your block?’

‘Why?’

‘Could the elephant have fitted in it?’

‘Nah. The beast was way too big.’

Can elephants climb stairs?

It’s the next question waiting to be asked. Or specifically can they climb eleven flights of stairs.

‘Mr. Calderwood was your front door damaged?’

‘Nah.’

‘So someone let the elephant in?’

I can’t believe I’m saying this. I thought I’d heard it all. But not this.

It has to be a wind-up.

‘Well it didn’t get in by itself,’ he points out.

‘And you are sure it’s gone?’

‘How the hell would I miss it, if it was still here?’

He has a good point.

‘Mr. Calderwood,’ I say, again looking around. ‘It does seem a little odd that an elephant wrecked your home.’

‘You think? And here’s me figuring it was just another Friday night in Partick.’

‘And have you phoned the police this morning?’

‘I have.’

‘And what did they say?’

‘That they would send someone round.’

‘And have they?’

‘Not yet.’

It’s at times like this that I wish myself away from here. My mother lives in Spain and owns a bar in El Descaro, a small coastal town on the Costa Blanca. I’ve been all but estranged from her since she walked out on me when I was sixteen but, of late, I’ve been thinking of trying to patch things up. Not that mum seems to want to talk but then again what would be better – a row with mum in the sun or an elephant in a multi-storey flat in Glasgow?

‘So, will you pay out?’ Mr. Calderwood asks.

‘It’s not that easy,’ I say. ‘I would need a police report.’

‘Why? If it was my dog would you need a police report?’

‘Eh, no.’

‘So what’s the difference?’

About two tonnes.

I have two choices here. Proceed through the automated menu that will pop up as soon as I start processing the claim or I can call for help. If this is a wind-up then whoever is behind it is stringing it out. The norm around here is more along the lines of taping a week-old kipper under someone’s desk or a quick call from a pay-as-you-go mobile asking if we can provide insurance against premature ejaculation. Elephants are a whole new level.

‘Mr. Calderwood, can I phone you back?’

‘Why?’

‘I need to check your policy and don’t want to keep you hanging on the line,’ I lie. ‘I’ll not be long. I have your number here on my screen.’

I read it out to him, he agrees to me calling back and I hang up.

I run through his details on screen. He’s a bona fide client of ours. Six years and this is his first claim. His phone number checks out, as did the password he gave me when we were first connected. As wind-ups go this is getting on the sophisticated side.

I take a chance and Google ‘elephant’ and ‘Partick’. Nothing. I try ‘Glasgow’ and ‘missing elephant’ – there is still nothing.

How the hell did a fully-grown elephant appear in a flat in the west end of Glasgow, wreck the place and then vanish?

I call Mr. Calderwood back.

‘Can I get back to you,’ he says as soon as he answers. ‘The police are at the door.’

‘Would I be able to talk to them?’ I ask.

‘What for?’

‘I need to check if there have been any reports of a missing elephant.’

I really just said that.

‘Well, okay,’ he replies.

I hear the rustle of the phone being passed on.

‘Hello, can I help you?’ says a new voice.

‘Hi. My name’s Daniella Coulstoun. I’m a claims assistant with Just You Insurance and I’m dealing with Mr. Calderwood’s claim. Am I right in saying he reported an elephant was in his home?’

‘You say you’re the insurance company?’ the voice says.

‘Yes.’

‘And Mr. Calderwood is phoning to claim on his insurance?’

‘He is.’

‘Will you pay out?’

‘I can’t say. I need to establish the facts first. He says the elephant was in his front room.’

‘The place is a mess but there’s no sign of any elephant.’

‘He said it vanished.’

‘Not easy for an elephant to do.’

‘I hate to ask but what do you think of his story?’

‘Normally?’

‘Normally.’

‘Bollocks would be the technical term.’

‘So you think he’s making it up?’

He pauses.

‘No,’ he finally says.

‘You think it’s for real?’

‘We had a couple of reports of an elephant in the neighbourhood late last night.’

‘Where?’

‘On a street near here.’

‘Really?’

‘Really.’

‘Is there a circus in town?’

‘Not that I know of and anyway I’m not sure circuses keep elephants anymore.’

‘Did the reports mention if it was hairy?’

‘What was hairy?’

‘The elephant.’

‘Hairy?’

‘Forget that,’ I say. ‘It’s nothing. So there could have been an elephant in Mr. Calderwood’s house.’

Again, he pauses.

‘Hell knows. If it was, how did it get in? The reports from last night said it was a big swine but the lift here is tiny. And I’m damned if I know if elephants can climb stairs.’

And break into homes before leaving unnoticed.

‘I need to go,’ says the policeman. ‘I’ll ask Mr. Calderwood to call you back when I’m finished.’

I’d like to take time to think on this but I’m driven by the computer and as soon as I hang up I’m allocated another call and say, ‘Hello, Just You Insurance can I help…’

***

‘Daniella,’ says the voice in my ear. ‘I have a Mr. Calderwood on the line. He says he won’t talk to me about his claim. He wants you. Very insistent. It’s not policy to do that. You know you’ll get into trouble.’

‘Thanks, Colin,’ I say. ‘I’ll take the heat if this goes south.’

The rule in here is simple. Whoever answers the call, deals with the call. If a claimant hangs up and re-dials they don’t get the option to talk to the original contact. That way the company maxes our time. Once you give a punter a dedicated handler you can lengthen the process no end trying to get back in touch with each other.

‘Hi Mr. Calderwood,’ I say.

‘I think about twenty grand will cover it.’

‘Cover what?’

‘The damage the elephant did.’

‘Twenty thousand pounds?’

‘Aye. I added it up. Now that the police have said there was an elephant on the loose, you lot can pay me quickly and maybe claim off the owner.’

This is way, way past any practical joke my work colleagues could invent. And it’s starting to smell like an out-there fraud case. I’m beginning to wonder if Mr. Calderwood brought an elephant home with him last night. After all you can buy most things in a Glasgow pub if you know the right people.

But why an elephant? I’ve had my fair share of insurance frauds in my time and sometimes they’re a little eccentric, but an elephant. Who would use an elephant? And where in the hell would you get one. I need to escalate this now. Call in my manager. I should have done it before now.

‘Shit,’ says Mr. Calderwood. ‘What are you doing here?’

‘Sorry?’ I say.

‘I’m not talking to you,’ he replies. ‘The police are back and they have my daft idiot of a son with them.’

His voice fades and I hear, ‘What have you done now you wee bugger.’ Then the line goes dead.

I hit the system pause button to let me contact my manager. This will be interesting.

***

‘Miss Coulstoun?’ the voice says on my head phones.

‘Yes.’

‘This is PC Adam, we talked earlier.’

‘About the elephant?’

‘Yes.’

‘PC Adam, do you know that my manager thinks I’m on drugs.’

That was the polite summation of my talk with him.

‘So does my sergeant,’ PC Adam replies.

‘What happened?’ I ask. ‘Did you get to the bottom of it all?’

‘Have you heard of the film Caveman?’

‘Who hasn’t.’

It’s the years biggest hit. A real surprise at the box office. It tells the story of one day in a caveman’s life. No dialogue. A roller coaster of a film. I saw it a week ago and thought it was great fun.

‘Well we found the elephant,’ the PC says.

‘You did?’

‘Except it’s not an elephant.’

‘What is it?’

‘A woolly mammoth.’

‘A what?’ I say.

‘A woolly mammoth.’

Hairy.

‘Hang on, are you telling me you found a woolly mammoth in Glasgow?’

‘It’s what Mr. Calderwood saw in his living room.’

I look around the call floor again, just in case.

‘I’m sorry,’ I say. ‘But am I to believe that a woolly mammoth trashed Mr. Calderwood’s flat?’

‘No it didn’t. I’m telling you that Mr. Calderwood saw a woolly mammoth in his flat.’

Is it me I wonder, or do I need a break from all of this?

‘I’m lost, PC Adam.’

‘It turns out that Mr. Calderwood’s son decided to have a small party in his dad’s house last night. It all got a bit out of hand. Some local neds got in and played smash and trash before running off. It seems they have some history with Mr. Calderwood. Payback would appear to be the motive for the trashing.’

‘And the woolly mammoth?’

‘A prop.’

‘Sorry?’

‘The local cinema has been using it to promote the Caveman film. It was situated on top of the cinema’s entrance canopy with a caveman next to it. It’s a half fibre glass, half blow up thing. Mobile if you let the air out. The neds nicked it and dragged it to Mr. Calderwood’s place for a laugh. The son hid when his dad came in from the pub and got rid of it when Mr. Calderwood fell asleep on the toilet. We found it floating in the River Clyde this morning. It caused a major incident. People thought an elephant had fallen into the river and needed help. Did you not see the news? It’s all over it.’

‘No. I’ve not had my break yet. So you’re saying Mr. Calderwood saw this woolly mammoth in his living room, fell asleep in the toilet, the son dumped it in the river and what? The son let his dad believe that an elephant, or a woolly mammoth, had trashed his house?’

‘That’s about the size of it.’

I really need out of here.

‘Thanks for calling PC Adam.’

‘That’ll be one for the Christmas show’n’tell,’ he says.

‘I’m so gubbed,’ I say to him. ‘I’ll never, ever hear the end of this. I’ll have bloody elephants and woolly mammoths coming out of my ears.’

I hang up and I’m fed another call thinking there really is an elephant in the room and it’s not the daft prop from the Caveman film. It’s the fact that I’ve hated this job for years and should have quit long, long ago.

***

‘Daniella,’ says the voice on my mobile. ‘This is George Laidlaw. In Spain. We’ve met a few times. I knew your mum.’

I’m back at home and already have two copies of Dumbo on DVD in my handbag courtesy of the humour merchants at my work.

‘George,’ I say. ‘Is something wrong?’

‘I’m sorry to tell you this, Daniella – but your mother died this morning.’

‘Died? How?’

‘A heart attack they think. In the pub. And I need you to come out here and attend to things.’

My world spins.

‘And when I mean come out. I mean come out right now. There are things we really need to talk about.’

Elephant in the Room by Morgan Cry.

Copyright © by Morgan Cry.

All Rights Reserved. Used With Permission.

 

Meet The Author

Author - Gordon Brown AKA Morgan Cry bloodyscotland2019_authorportraits_paulreich003-1Morgan Cry is the alias of Gordon Brown, who has written eight Tartan Noir crime novels and thrillers, including the Craig McIntyre series. He is a founding director of the Bloody Scotland festival that celebrates crime fiction every fall. Thirty-one Bones is his first novel as Morgan Cry. He is married with two children and lives in Glasgow.

Connect with the Author:

Facebook | Goodreads | Twitter | Website

This spotlight and excerpt brought to you courtesy of Arcade CrimeWise

Book Showcase: BEYOND THE HEADLINES by R.G. Belsky

BEYOND THE HEADLINES by R.G. Belsky blog tour banner, book cover features a blue-washed woman holding a microphone with the title BEYOND THE HEADLINES over her face and body; "She was a mega-celebrity--he was a billionaire--now he's dead--she's in jail"; Quote: "Excellent plot with fascinating characters...Clare Carlson had me hooked from the first book I read in the series." Manhattan Book Review, Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours

Beyond The Headlines

by R.G. Belsky

May 1-31, 2021 Tour

Synopsis:

BEYOND THE HEADLINES - RGBelsky

She was a mega-celebrity—he was a billionaire businessman—now he’s dead—she’s in jail

Laurie Bateman was living the American dream. Since her arrival as an infant in the U.S. after the fall of Saigon, the pretty Vietnamese girl had gone on to become a supermodel, a successful actress, and, finally, the wife of one of the country’s top corporate dealmakers. That dream has now turned into a nightmare when she is arrested for the murder of her wealthy husband.

New York City TV journalist Clare Carlson does an emotional jailhouse interview in which Bateman proclaims her innocence—and becomes a cause celebre for women’s rights groups around the country.

At first sympathetic, then increasingly suspicious of Laurie Bateman and her story, Clare delves into a baffling mystery which has roots extending back nearly fifty years to the height of the Vietnam War.

Soon, there are more murders, more victims, and more questions as Clare struggles against dire evil forces to break the biggest story of her life.

Book Details:

Genre: Mystery, Suspense, Thriller
Published by: Oceanview Publishing
Publication Date: May 4th 2021
Number of Pages: 336
ISBN: 160809409X (ISBN13: 9781608094097)
Series: The Clare Carlson Mystery Series, 4 (This can be read as a stand alone mystery.)
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

Read an excerpt:

CHAPTER ONE

“Do you know who Laurie Bateman is?” my friend Janet Wood asked me.

“I do,” I said. “I also know who Lady Gaga is. And Angelina Jolie. And Ivanka Trump. I’m in the media, remember? That’s what we do in the media, we cover famous people. It’s a dirty job, but somebody’s gotta do it.”

“Laurie Bateman hired me.”

“As an attorney?”

“Yes, as an attorney. That’s what I do, Clare.”

We were sitting in my office at Channel 10 News, the TV station in New York City where I work as news director. I should have known something was going on as soon as Janet showed up there. We usually met at Janet’s law office which is big, with panoramic views of midtown Manhattan, and a lot nicer than mine.

Janet never comes to see me at Channel 10 unless she has a reason.

I figured I was about to find out that reason.

It was early December and outside it was snowing, the first real storm of the winter. The snow started falling during the night, and by now it was covering the city with a powdery white blanket. Pretty soon the car exhausts and trucks would turn it into brown slush, but for now it was gorgeous. From the window next to my desk, the city had an eerie, almost unreal quality. Like something from a Norman Rockwell painting.

My outfit for the day was perfect for the snowy weather, too. I’d walked in wearing a turtleneck sweater, heavy corduroy slacks, a blue down jacket with a parka hood and white earmuffs, scarf and mittens. The ski bunny look. I felt like I should have a cup of hot chocolate in my hand.

“Why does Laurie Bateman need you as an attorney?” I asked Janet.

She hesitated for what seemed to be an inordinately long amount of time before answering.

“Are we talking off the record here?”

“Whatever you want, Janet.”

“I need your word on that.”

“C’mon, it’s me. Clare Carlson, your best friend in the world.”

She nodded.

“Laurie Bateman wants me to represent her in divorce proceedings.”

“Wow!”

“I thought you’d like that.”

“Is it too late to take back my ‘best friend in the world/ off-the-record’ promise?”

Janet smiled. Sort of.

“How much do you know about Laurie Bateman?” she asked me now.

I knew as much as the rest of the world, I suppose. Laurie Bateman seemed to have the American Dream going for her. Since coming to the U.S. as a baby with her family after the fall of Saigon in 1975, the pretty Vietnamese girl had grown up to become a top model, then a successful actress, and finally, the wife of one of the country’s top corporate deal makers. She had a fancy Manhattan townhouse, a limousine at her beck and call and her face had graced the covers of magazines like Vogue and People.

Her husband was Charles Hollister, who had become incredibly wealthy back in the ’70s as one of the pioneers of the burgeoning computer age. He was a kind of Steve Jobs of those early days, and he later expanded into all sorts of other industries—from media to pharmaceuticals to oil drilling and a lot more. He was listed as one of the ten wealthiest businessmen in America.

When Hollister married Laurie Bateman a few years ago, there were a lot of jokes about the big difference in age between the two—she was so much younger and so beautiful. Like the jokes people made about Rupert Murdoch with Wendy Deng and then Jerry Hall, his last two wives. People always assume that a younger and pretty woman like that is marrying for the money. But Laurie Bateman and Charles Hollister insisted they were in love, and they had consistently projected the public persona of a happily married couple in the media since their wedding.

Except it now appeared they weren’t so happily married.

“Is she trying to divorce him to get her hands on his money?” I asked.

“Actually, he’s trying to divorce her and stop her from getting her hands on any of his money.”

“So the bottom line here is this divorce is about money.”

“Always is.”

“Isn’t there a pre-nuptial agreement that would settle all this?”

“Yes and no.”

“Spoken like a true lawyer.”

“Yes, there is a pre-nup. But we don’t think it applies here. That’s because other factors in the marriage took place which could invalidate the terms of the pre-nup they agreed to and signed.”

“Okay.”

I waited.

“Such as?” I asked finally.

“For one thing, Charles Hollister has a mistress. A younger woman he’s been seeing.”

“Younger than Laurie Bateman?”

“Much younger. In her twenties.”

“Jeez! Hollister’s such an old man I have trouble imagining him being able to have sex with his wife, much less getting it up for a second woman on the side.”

“Her discovery that he was cheating on her, along with a lot of other reasons, have turned Laurie Bateman’s life into a nightmare—a living hell—behind the walls of the beautiful homes they live in. She’s kept quiet about it so far, protecting the happy couple image they’ve put on for the media. But now she wants to let the world know the truth. That’s where you come in, Clare.”

Aha, I thought to myself.

Now we’re getting down to it.

I was about to find out the real reason Janet was here.

“Laurie Bateman wants to go public with all this,” Janet said. “She wants to tell her story in the media. The true story of her marriage to Charles Hollister. We know Hollister is going to use his clout to try and smear her and make her look bad, so that’s why we want to get her version out quickly. What I’m talking about here is an exclusive interview with Laurie Bateman about all of this. Her talking about the divorce, the cheating—everything. And she wants you to do the interview with her.”

“Why me?”

“What do you mean?”

“Why not Gayle King? Or Savannah Guthrie? Or Barbara Walters or Katie Couric or Diane Sawyer or another big media name? I’m just the news director of a local TV station here.”

“She wants you, Clare. In fact, I think that’s the reason she hired me for her lawyer. She found out you and I were friends—and she’s hoping I can deliver you to her to do this interview on air with her.”

“I still don’t know why she wouldn’t want to go with someone really famous . . .”

“You’re famous too, Clare. You know that as well as I do. And that’s why she wants you. You’re as famous as any woman on the air right now.”

Janet was right about that.

I was famous.

It could have gone either way—I could have wound up being either famous or infamous because of what I did—but in the end I’d wound up as a media superstar all over again.

Just like I’d been when I won a Pulitzer Prize nearly twenty years ago for telling the story of legendary missing child Lucy Devlin—even though I didn’t tell the whole story then.

“Laurie Bateman’s life with Charles Hollister is a big lie,” Janet said to me. “Now she wants to tell the truth on air about all those lies she’s been hiding behind. Like you did when you finally told the truth on air about you and Lucy Devlin. That’s why she wants you to be the one who interviews her.”

I still wasn’t sure how I felt about all this new found fame I’d gotten from my Lucy Devlin story, but there was no question that if it got me this Laurie Bateman story . . . well, that would be a huge exclusive for me and the station.

“When can I meet her?” I asked Janet.

***

Excerpt from Beyond The Headlines by R.G. Belsky. Copyright 2021 by R.G. Belsky. Reproduced with permission from R.G. Belsky. All rights reserved.

Author Bio:

Author - RG Belsky

R. G. Belsky is an author of crime fiction and a journalist in New York City.

His new mystery, BEYOND THE HEADLINES, will be published in May 2021. It is the fourth in a series featuring Clare Carlson, the news director for a New York City TV station – and follows THE LAST SCOOP, published in 2020. The first Clare Carlson book, YESTERDAY’S NEWS, won the David Award at Deadly Ink for Best Mystery of 2018. The second Clare Carlson book, BELOW THE FOLD, was named Best Mystery 0f 2019 in the Foreword INDIES Awards.

He also is the author of two thrillers written under the pen name of Dana Perry – THE SILENT VICTIM (2019), THE GOLDEN GIRL (June, 2020) and HER OCEAN GRAVE (June 2021 – Bookouture).

Belsky previously wrote the Gil Malloy series – THE KENNEDY CONNECTION, SHOOTING FOR THE STARS and BLONDE ICE – about a newspaper reporter at the New York Daily News.
Belsky himself is a former managing editor at the Daily News and writes about the media from an extensive background in newspapers, magazines and TV/digital news. He has also been a top editor at the New York Post, Star magazine and NBC News.

His previous suspense/thriller novels include LOVERBOY and PLAYING DEAD. Belsky lives in New York City.

Catch Up With R.G. Belsky:
www.RGBelsky.com
Goodreads
BookBub – @dickb79983
Instagram – @dickbelsky
Twitter – @DickBel
Facebook – @RGBelsky

Tour Participants:

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

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Giveaway:

This is a Rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for R.G. Belsky. There will be two (2) winners who will each receive one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card. The giveaway begins on May 1, 2021 and ends on June 1, 2021. Void where prohibited.

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Book Showcase: THE JIGSAW MAN by Nadine Matheson

The Jigsaw Man by Nadine Matheson
ISBN: 9781335146564 (hardcover)
ISBN: 9781488075889 (ebook)
ISBN: 9781488210402 (audiobook)
ASIN: B089ZVM8MP (Audible audiobook)
ASIN: B087RS9GDZ (Kindle edition)
Publisher: Hanover Square Press
Release Date: March 16, 2021

 
 Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery…

When body parts are found on the banks of the River Thames in Deptford, DI Angelica Henley is tasked with finding the killer. Eerie echoes of previous crimes lead Henley to question Peter Olivier, aka The Jigsaw Killer, who is currently serving a life sentence for a series of horrific murders.

When a severed head is delivered to Henley’s home, she realises that the copycat is taking a personal interest in her and that the victims have not been chosen at random.

To catch the killer, Henley must confront her own demons — and when Olivier escapes from prison, she finds herself up against not one serial killer, but two.

 

Read an excerpt:

Chapter Two

‘How long have we got until the tide comes in?’ Henley was facing the river watching the small waves crashing against the derelict pier. She checked her watch. Nearly two hours had passed since the first 999 call.

‘I checked online, and high tide is at 9.55 a.m.’ Ramouter replied as he stepped around a half-submerged car tire, his eyes glazed with anxiety. ‘Low tide was at 3.15. Sunrise was at 6.32. A three-hour window for someone to dump whoever this is and hope that someone would find it before the tide comes in?’

‘Maybe,’ Henley acknowledged. ‘But for all we know it could have been dumped after sunrise or was dumped earlier upstream before being washed up here.’ She inspected the glass façade of the Borthwick Wharf, empty commercial spaces and work units that opened to the terrace and lacked security cameras. Henley doubted that the local council would have extended their own CCTV cameras to this part of the street. They had been neglecting this part of Deptford for as long as she could remember.

‘Has it been touched?’ Henley asked Anthony who had appeared at her side.

‘As far as I’m aware, it’s in situ. It wasn’t touched by the woman who found it. Matei, your builder, said that he hadn’t touched the legs but unhelpfully, it’s covered in his vomit. I had a quick look at the arms that were found downstream before I came here. From the looks of things, the treasure hunters may have prodded around a bit.’

‘There’s always one.’

The wind dropped and the air softly crackled with the electricity generated from the substation nearby.

‘We’re isolating the recovery of evidence to the direct path from the alleyway to the torso,’ said Anthony. ‘I doubt very much that whoever it was sat here and had a coffee afterwards.’

‘They may not have had a coffee, but if we go with Ramouter’s theory and the body parts have been dumped then whoever it was certainly knows the river,’ Henley replied. ‘We’ll let you get on. Ramouter and I are going to take a walk.’

‘Where are we going?’ asked Ramouter.

‘To meet Eastwood.’

‘And you want to walk it?’

Henley did her best to push aside her frustration when Ramouter pulled out his phone. ‘Google maps says that Greenwich pier is almost a mile away,’ he said.

‘Your body-part dumper isn’t the only one who knows the river,’ Anthony shouted out as Henley began to walk determinedly along the riverbank.

The gold scepters on the twin domed roofs of the Old Royal Naval College pierced the cloudless sky. The bare masts of the restored Cutty Sark completed the historical panoramic view that Greenwich was known for. It was a resplendent, whitewashed version of history that contrasted with the sewage that washed ashore. Henley stopped walking when she realized that she could no longer hear the sounds of Ramouter’s leather soles slipping on wet pebbles.

‘Where are you from?’ Henley asked, waiting for Ramouter to take off his jacket and loosen his tie. She moved closer towards the moss-covered river wall as the tide began to encroach.

‘Born in West Bromwich. Moved to Bradford when I was twelve.’ Ramouter tried to brush off the bits of mud that had stuck to his trousers, but they only smeared more. ‘Lots of moors, no rivers. Surely it would have been quicker in the car.’

‘This is quicker. Unless you fancy sitting in traffic for the next half hour while they raise the Creek Road Bridge.’

‘You know this area well?’

Henley ignored the question. She didn’t see the point in telling him that she could have walked this path with her eyes closed. That this small part of South-East London was ingrained in her. ‘Whoever dumped the torso would have taken this route. It doesn’t make any sense to come down here, go back up to the street level and then drive up to Watergate Street. Out of sight, below street level. Lighting would have been minimal.’

‘Body parts are heavy though,’ Ramouter tried to quicken his step to catch up with Henley. ‘The human head weighs at least eight pounds.’

‘I know.’ Henley pulled out her mobile phone, which had started to ring. She saw who it was and ignored the call.

‘Head, torso, arms, legs. That’s at least six individual body parts.’

‘I know that also. So, tell me, what point are you making?’ Henley waited for Ramouter to reach her before maneuvering him towards the river wall as though she was chaperoning a child.

‘I’m just saying that that’s a lot of dead weight to be carrying around at three in morning.’ Ramouter paused and placed his hand against the wall, trying to catch his breath.

Henley didn’t openly express her agreement. She fished out a black hair band from her jacket pocket and pulled her thick black curls into a ponytail. She had forgotten how much energy it took to walk across the gradient slope of the riverbank. Worse, she felt mentally unprepared for the job ahead, with a trainee struggling behind her who had no idea this was her first time as senior investigator in almost a year.

‘It’s a bit grim, isn’t it?’ DC Roxanne Eastwood shouted out as Henley finally reached the first crime scene. ‘Morning, Ramouter. Not a bad gig for your first day.’

Henley had always thought that Eastwood actually looked and carried herself like a detective. Now, Eastwood was poised on the riverbank, the sleeves of her jacket rolled up with her notebook in her hand. She had come prepared for the river and was wearing a pair of jeans and trainers that had seen better days.

‘Morning, Eastie. How does it feel to be out of the office?’ Henley asked, her eyes drifting to a crime scene investigator who was putting an arm into a black bag.

‘I should be asking you that,’ said Eastwood, with a look of concern.

Henley silently appreciated the empathy and placed her hand on Eastwood’s shoulder.

‘But since you asked, it’s bloody terrible. I think I’ve got sunburn.’ Eastwood rubbed a hand over her reddening forehead. ‘Forensics are going to be wrapping up in a bit. Not that there’s much for them to do. Bag it and tag it.’

‘Where’s Mr Thomas?’

‘Ah, our illustrious treasure hunter. Last time I saw him he was heading towards the shops. Said that he needed to get some water for his dog.’ Eastwood shook her head, obviously not believing a word of it. ‘I’ve got an officer keeping an eye on him. I wouldn’t be surprised if he’d already uploaded pictures of his find onto Instagram.’

‘I want him taken back to the station. Ramouter can take another statement from him.’ Henley said it purposely so that Ramouter would sense she was in control. ‘If he’s like most mudlarkers, he would have been out here first thing this morning waiting for the tide to go out. Where exactly were the arms found?’

‘Just over there.’ Eastwood pulled down her sunglasses and pointed towards the foamed waves created by a passing river bus. The tide had already come in where X had once marked the spot. A sense of urgency filled the air as the river regained its territory.

‘Did he say anything else?’

‘Only that he found the second arm about three feet away from the first.’

‘It’s a sick trail of breadcrumbs,’ said Henley.

‘You’re telling me and before you ask about CCTV, there’re loads of cameras—’

‘But none aimed at this part of the river.’

‘Exactly.’

Henley’s mobile phone began to ring. She pulled it out and answered. After a quick chat, she ended the call.

‘That was Dr Linh Choi. You wouldn’t have met her yet but she’s our go-to forensic pathologist. She’s just arrived,’ Henley explained to Ramouter. She wiped away the sweat from the back of her neck.

‘So, we’ve got two arms, both legs and a torso,’ said Ramouter. ‘Where’s the head?’

Good question. Henley thought of the places between the two locations. A primary school, two nurseries and an adventure playground among the flats and houses. The last thing she needed was to find a head in the kids’ sandpit.

‘Can I have a quick look?’ Henley asked the assistant from Anthony’s CSI team, who had just bagged up the arm and was scribbling in her notebook.

‘Sure.’ The assistant unzipped the bag and pushed the plastic apart.

‘Fuck,’ Henley said under her breath. Her heartbeat quickened, her stomach flipped.

‘Oh,’ said Ramouter as he peered over Henley’s shoulder. One arm was covered with gravel. Slivers of seaweed criss-crossed old scars. The second arm. Slender wrist, the ring finger slightly longer than the index, broken fingernails. Black skin. Henley could hear Pellacia’s words from earlier ringing in her ears.

‘Too early to say if it belongs to the same victim or if it’s more than just one.’

‘Call DSI Pellacia,’ Henley told Ramouter. ‘Tell him that we’ve got two possible murder victims.’

Excerpted from The Jigsaw Man by Nadine Matheson.
Copyright © 2021 by Nadine Matheson. Published by Hanover Square Press.

 

Meet The Author

Nadine Matheson

Nadine Matheson is a criminal defense attorney and winner of the City University Crime Writing competition. She lives in London, UK.

Author Links: Facebook | Goodreads | Instagram | Twitter | Website

 
 

This excerpt brought to you courtesy of Hanover Square Press

Guest Post: Alissa Grosso – UP THE CREEK

Up the Creek by Alissa Grosso Banner
 
Happy Monday, my bookish divas and divos. I’m finding it a bit hard to accept that this is the last Monday in January of 2021. It seems as if this month just started a few days ago yet took forever to get to now. I look forward to the New Year and all of the new books being published as well as the new-to-me authors I know I’ll be introduced to along the way. Today, I’m pleased to introduce you to one of those new-to-me authors, Alissa Grosso. Ms. Grosso is the author of the Culver Creek mystery series, which includes Up The Creek. She’ll be discussing with us just one of the many lessons I’ve learned over the years, easy reading makes for hard writing, and she describes the seven things she’s learned about writing a book series. I hope you’ll enjoy what she has to say, follow along with the blog tour, enter the tour-wide giveaway, and add Up the Creek to your reading list. Thank you, Ms. Grosso for joining us today. The blog is now yours!
 
Up The Creek Guest Post Photos

7 Things I Learned Writing a Book Series

Alissa Grosso

 

As someone who has started writing and abandoned more novels than she cares to disclose, I knew that writing my first book series would be a daunting proposition, but I also knew that a series could be a great way to build an author’s fanbase and also actually earn a decent living from this writing thing, so I was determined to do it. Along the way, I learned a few things.

 

1. Make Sure You Like Your Protagonist

Writing a series of books means you’ll be spending a whole lot of time with the main character of your series. Sage Dorian, who features in Up the Creek and the other novels in my Culver Creek series is a police detective still haunted by the unsolved murder of his sister. He’s a tortured and complex individual whose story unfolds over the series. His life situation gave me plenty of fodder for the four books in the series, but I also decided to give him a few traits that helped endear him to me. Like me, Sage doesn’t eat meat and can’t abide the taste or smell of coffee. Though his reasons are different, his eating and drinking habits helped to make him someone I enjoyed spending time with. Because it turned out I was going to spend more time with him than I originally planned.

 

2. Series Sometimes Become Longer Than You Planned

The Culver Creek series was supposed to be a trilogy. This was deliberate. I was new to this whole writing series thing, and I figured I would start with the bare minimum of books to be considered a series. Three seemed doable to me. Then I began working on the third book in the series, and it was a disaster. There was too much going on. There were too many characters. The whole thing was a convoluted mess. I took some time to think about it, and realized that the book I was working on was actually two different books, and thus my trilogy turned into a four-book series.

 

3. Copyeditors Are Invaluable

Look, even if you are working on a standalone book, it would be in your best interest to work with a good copyeditor. No matter how many times you read your book, and think you have cleaned things up and fixed all of your mistakes, copyeditors will find plenty more that needs fixing. And when it comes to keeping track of characters, settings and other important details, copyeditors are amazing. Once, years ago, I wrote a book, and while working on it my copyeditor pointed out by her count I had written of a July that was seven weeks long. Look, in my defense sometimes July feels seven weeks long, but thankfully I had a copyeditor to set me straight. I worked with freelance copyeditor Lisa Gilliam on all four books in the Culver Creek series, and she did amazing work including making sure that all the details I described matched from one book to the next. (She did not work on this blog post at all so any mistakes are mine, and mine alone.)

 

4. Characters Can Surprise You

There’s a big debate in the writing world between pantsing and plotting, that is writing by the seat of your pants and making things up as you go along, or writing outlines and carefully planning your book. I’m a reformed pantser, and these days tend not to dive into a book until I have written at least a rough outline for it. So, I had a plan when I set out to write the Culver Creek series, and wrote out outlines before working on each book. But even so, I found that some characters surprised me. The biggest surprises came while I was working on the fourth book, where I ended up rewriting my outline halfway through because I realized my original plan for the book wasn’t as good as this new version.

 

5. Write All the Books First

Depending on your publishing situation, this might not work for everyone, but if you can write all the books in a limited series before publishing the first one, it might just save you some grief, like if for instance you get to the fourth book, realize that things are going to be radically different than you first planned, and then need to go back to the previous books to make a few little tweaks to make sure everything fits with this new development. If Up the Creek had already been published, when I started working on Book 4, Blood Answer, I wouldn’t have been able to change things up the way I wanted.

 

6. Publishing a Book is a LOT of Work, Publishing Four is Even More Work

I’m not going to lie, there were times during the writing and publication planning of this book series that I asked myself why I was publishing four books, one right after the other. I love writing books, but these days being an author means that you have to do a lot of things beside simply writing a book. I don’t regret my decision to publish a book series, and hopefully I’ll publish another series or two down the road, but it IS a lot of work.

 

7. Have Fun

That’s why it’s so important to have fun when you are writing and publishing your books. There are tedious tasks to be sure, but if you write a book that you truly enjoy reading, because you’ll likely be reading it over and over again as you ready it for publication, it’s easier to find the joy in what you are doing. I write because I love books and love writing them, and I truly do have fun sharing my creations with the world.

 
 

Up the Creek

by Alissa Grosso

January 11 – March 12, 2021 Tour

Synopsis:

Up the Creek by Alissa Grosso

An unsolved murder. Disturbing dreams. A missing child.

Caitlin Walker hasn’t had a dream in nine years. But now nightmares torture her son Adam and awaken in Caitlin buried memories and a dark secret. Her husband Lance has a secret of his own, one that his son’s nightmares threaten to reveal.

In Culver Creek newly hired detective Sage Dorian works to unravel the small town’s notorious cold case, the grisly murder of a young girl.

How are Caitlin and Lance connected to the horrific crime? And how far will they go to make sure their secrets stay hidden? Find out in this riveting thriller.

Book Details:

Genre: Mystery Thriller
Published by: Glitter Pigeon Press
Publication Date: January 12, 2021
Number of Pages: 356
ISBN: 9781949852080
Series: Culver Creek Series, Book 1
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Goodreads

 

Author Bio:

Alissa Grosso

Alissa Grosso is the author of several books for adults and teens. Originally from New Jersey, she now resides in Bucks County, Pennsylvania.

 

Find out more about Alissa Grosso and her books at:
AlissaGrosso.com
Goodreads
BookBub
Twitter
Facebook

 

 

Tour Participants:

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


https://www.linkytools.com/basic_linky_include.aspx?id=299840

 

 

Giveaway!:

This is a Rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Alyssa Grosso. There will be two (2) winners each receiving one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card. The giveaway begins on January 11, 2021 and runs through March 14, 2021. Void where prohibited.

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Book Spotlight: NO PLACE TO HIDE by Opa Hysea Wise

No Place to Hide by Opa Hysea Wise
ISBN: 9781641464772 (paperback)
ISBN: 9781641464932 (ebook)
ASIN: B08G8X7P6K   (Audible Audiobook)
ASIN: B08KSNVCVG   (Kindle edition)
Publisher: Made for Success Publishing
Publication Date: November 3, 2020

A Suspenseful Page-Turner That Examines Personal Transformation Amid Violence & Racial Injustice

Against hope, Smythe Windwalker Daniels anonymity is compromised and a threat has been made against her life. The danger impacts not only her life but the lives of those around her. She reluctantly accepts the FBI’s protection, hoping to testify and bring a promise of justice to a community.


Smythe is a woman with vision in her eyes and fire in her soul. From a young age, Smythe was discriminated against as a mixed-race girl in a predominantly white neighborhood. She travels to Hawaii to escape the corporate rat race, only to get entangled in a pesticide poisoning cover-up attempt by a mega-corporation. While on the run, she seeks to find meaning in events that now threaten her life. Through a series of misadventures, she discovers how all events are all woven together in this tapestry called “life.”


As she uses her past experience to find meaning in her present, she begins to see beauty in the midst of chaos. But the harder she tries to hide, the more difficult it is to survive.

Purchase Links #CommissionEarned:  IndieBound  |  Amazon  |  Amazon Kindle  |  Audible  |  BookDepository  |  !ndigo  |  Kobo eBook

Meet The Author

Author Opa Hysea Wise

Opa Hysea Wise is an American author, born to mixed-race parents. Like so many people of color, she came to experience a sense of “otherness,” which fueled her desire to discuss diversity as the woven fabric within the American tapestry. She worked as a Training and Development specialist and manager in Government and Corporate organizations. Often tasked to develop and deliver diversity courses, Opa brought a sense of understanding, compassion, and a call to action to her audience, with the firm knowledge that returning to the connection we all have would be but one step to returning to love.  As both a Jack Canfield Success Coach and an author, Opa Hysea Wise looks to set a fire within the hearts of both her students and her readers. Her book No Place to Hide was released on Nov. 3, 2020. 

Connect to the author via her Website, Facebook, or Amazon.

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2020 Book 356: AND NOW SHE’S GONE by Rachel Howzell Hall

And Now She’s Gone by Rachel Howzell Hall 
ISBN: 9781250753175 (hardcover)
ISBN: 9781250753168 (ebook)
ISBN: 9781250772671 (digital audiobook)
ASIN: B08C7YBLRY    (Audible audiobook)
ASIN: B082RSNH44   (Kindle edition)
Publication date: September 22, 2020 
Publisher: Forge Books


Isabel Lincoln is gone.

But is she missing?

It’s up to Grayson Sykes to find her. Although she is reluctant to track down a woman who may not want to be found, Gray’s search for Isabel Lincoln becomes more complicated and dangerous with every new revelation about the woman’s secrets and the truth she’s hidden from her friends and family.

Featuring two complicated women in a dangerous cat and mouse game, And Now She’s Gone explores the nature of secrets  and how violence and fear can lead you to abandon everything in order to survive. 





Purchase Links #CommissionEarned:  IndieBound  |  Amazon  |  Amazon Kindle  |  Apple Books  |  Audible  |  Audiobooks   |  BookDepository  |  eBooks  |  !ndigo Books  |  Kobo eBook   |   Kobo Audiobook  |  Powell’s  |  Target  |  Walmart



Read an excerpt here.




Grayson Sykes is a female private detective on her first case with Rader Consulting in Los Angeles. The case is to locate a missing person, Isabel Lincoln, on behalf of her boyfriend, a local cardiologist. Initially, it appears that Isabel may have left her boyfriend because of an abusive relationship. But Grayson knows firsthand what an abusive relationship is like and she’s convinced that all is not what it appears. Although she doesn’t like the arrogant Dr. Ian O’Donnell, she begins to realize that he may be guilty of many things, but the charge of physical abuse isn’t one of them. She talks Dr. O’Donnell into allowing her to stay on the case to track down Isabel and is quickly led down a proverbial rabbit hole as she uncovers secret after secret in Isabel’s life.

Now, I could go on and reveal the secrets of this book, and there are quite a few. What I will tell you is that And Now She’s Gone is a smart, well-written, psychological mystery with layer after layer of twists and turns that kept this reader engaged until the very last page. There are bad guys — come on people it’s a mystery so of course there are bad guys  and horrible guys. The entire story is told as two stories, one as a flashback and the other as a more contemporary storyline. The flashback reveals the story of Natalie K. Grayson Dixon. She’s married to a Vegas big shot and is slowly isolated from her friends and family as well as constantly abused. She was raised in foster care until the age of 15 when she was adopted by Faye and Victor Grayson, both now deceased. Faye was a school teacher and Victor was an FBI agent who worked with Dominick Rader, former FBI agent and currently the CEO of Rader Consulting. For those of you that are sensitive to stories that include physical, mental, and emotional abuse themes, you may want to give this book a pass. However, for those of you that enjoy reading a taut and twisted psychological thriller with truly warped characters, then you’ll definitely want to grab a copy of And Now She’s Gone by Rachel Howzell Hall to read. Personally, I’ll be adding quite a few of Ms. Hall’s previous titles to my TBR list and possibly re-reading And Now She’s Gone over the next few weeks or months. I know, there are other books I should be reading, but I so enjoyed this one. There are many bad things I could say about 2020, but it has been great as the year of procrastireading (reading instead of doing anything else). One of the many great things about 2020 is that I’ve had the opportunity to read some wonderful books including And Now She’s Gone. I look forward to reading more by Rachel Howzell Hall in the future.

Happy Reading y’all! 


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

Book Spotlight: I KNOW WHEN YOU’RE GOING TO DIE by Michael J. Bowler






I Know When You’re Going to Die

by Michael J. Bowler 

Genre: YA Mystery, Thriller





Leonardo Cantrell is a painfully shy sixteen-year-old who cannot look people in the eye. One night while he’s volunteering at a homeless shelter, an old man forces eye contact and gives Leo the power to see Death. 

His best, and only, friend—J.C. Rivera—thinks this new power is cool until Leo accidentally looks into J.C.’s eyes and “sees” his murder, a murder that will occur in less than two weeks. Stunned and shaken, the two boys sift through clues in Leo’s “vision” in a desperate effort to find the killer and stop him before he can strike. 

Aided by feisty new-girl-at-school, Laura, the boys uncover evidence suggesting the identity of the murderer. However, their plan to trap the would-be killer goes horribly awry and reveals a truth that could kill them all.




**only 99 cents until March 10th !!** 





Purchase Links:  Amazon * Apple * B&N * Kobo





Michael J. Bowler is an award-winning author who grew up in Northern California. He majored in English/Theatre at Santa Clara University, earned a Master’s in Film Production from Loyola Marymount University, a Teaching Credential in English from LMU, and a Master’s in Special Education from Cal State University Dominguez Hills. Michael taught high school in Hawthorne, California for many years, both in general education and students with disabilities. When Michael is not writing you can find him volunteering as a youth mentor with the Big Brothers Big Sisters program, volunteering within the juvenile justice system in Los Angeles, or caring for his newly adopted son. He is a passionate advocate for the fair treatment of children and teens in California, and hopes his books can show young people they are not alone in their struggles.




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