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

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

by E. James Harrison

February 9, 2021 Book Blast

Synopsis:

 

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

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

Book Details:

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

Read an excerpt:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“So what? He’s going to die anyway.”

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

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

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

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

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

“Not yet.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

***

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

 

 

Author Bio:

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

 

Catch Up With E. James Harrison:
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Guest Post – Carrie Stuart Parks RELATIVE SILENCE



Good morning, my bookish peeps! I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend and that you got some reading in while enjoying your weekend activities. I am pleased to welcome today’s guest, an award-winning author and internationally known forensic artist, Carrie Stuart Parks to The Book Diva’s Reads. Many authors have to combine hours of research into an unknown area of expertise to write stories about an unknown subject, but Ms. Parks is a forensic artist that combines her unique background in that area with her writing for some wonderful scenarios. Ladies and Gentleman, I present to you Carrie Stuart Parks, author of Relative Silence




What If? and Forensic Art
by Carrie Stuart Parks



Like most authors, I start out with two simple words, what if? What if my character has her dog bring home a human skull? (The Bones Will Speak.) What if my character lies about her training as a forensic artist and stumbles upon a secret from World War Two? (Formula of Deception.) What if my character has the face of her long-dead daughter age-progressed and becomes convinced she’s actually alive? (Relative Silence.) What might set my what if questions in a different direction from most authors is that the what if usually includes forensics. Specifically forensic art. As a forensic artist myself, I know the field intimately, and I know the many applications of this skill. 

Before I go on, let me define forensic art. It’s any art used in law enforcement or legal proceedings. This includes composite drawings from witness descriptions, measuring and recording crime scenes, and doing the courtroom sketching for television or print media. Any image enhancement such as adding or removing beards and glasses, drawing video surveillance images, or age progression falls under the forensic art umbrella. Facial reconstruction, either two-dimensional (drawing) or three dimensional (clay) over a skull for identification would be considered forensic art. Even preparing charts and exhibits for court is a form of forensic art.

Because the field is so exciting and varied, I try to shine a spotlight on one particular area in each of my novels. In Relative Silence, I wanted to present child age progression. I first heard of this in 1986 at a forensic art symposium in New Orleans. Two men had sketched the face of some missing children that had led to their recovery. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, founded just a year earlier by John and Revé Walsh and other child advocates, was in its infancy. Although most of America had heard of Etan Patz (abducted in 1979) and Adam Walsh (abducted in 1981), this was the first I’d heard of a way in which I could use my art skills to help children. Thirty-three years later, I was able to write about it in my novel.

I still teach and practice forensic art, and as each case crosses my drafting table, I now look at the possibilities for a storyline. What if . . ?







Relative Silence

by Carrie Stuart Parks

on Tour July 13 – August 14, 2020


Synopsis:


Relative Silence by Carrie Stuart Parks


A powerful family with lots of secrets. A forensic artist with his own tragedies. And a hurricane drawing bearing down on their private island.

Fifteen years ago Piper Boone’s only child died in a boating accident, and Piper’s almost perfect life came to an end too. After living through a divorce and losing her job, she retreats to Curlew Island and her childhood home—a secluded mansion for the politically powerful Boone family, who are practically American royalty.

But Piper’s desire to become a recluse is shattered when a mass shooter opens fire and kills three women at a café where Piper is having lunch. The crisis puts her family in the spotlight by dredging up rumors of the so-called Curlew Island Curse, which whispers say has taken the lives of several members of the Boone family, including Piper’s father and sister.

Forensic artist Tucker Landry also survives the shooting and is tasked with the job of sketching a portrait of the shooter with Piper. They forge a bond over their shared love of movies and tragic pasts. But when police discover a connection between the shooting and two more murders on Curlew Island, they face a more terrible lineup of suspects than they could have imagined: Piper’s family.

Unraveling the family’s true history will be the key to Piper’s survival—or her certain death.




Book Details:


Genre: Suspense
Published by: Thomas Nelson
Publication Date: July 14th 2020
Number of Pages: 336
ISBN: 0785226184 (ISBN13: 9780785226185)
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads




Author Bio:


Carrie Stuart Parks

Carrie Stuart Parks is a Christy, Carol, and Inspy award-winning author, an award-winning fine artist, and internationally known forensic artist. Along with her husband, Rick, she travels across the US and Canada teaching courses in forensic art to law enforcement as well as civilian participants. She has won numerous awards for career excellence. Carrie is a popular platform speaker, presenting a variety of topics from crime to creativity.


Catch Up With Carrie Stuart Parks:


CarrieStuartParks.com, Goodreads, BookBub, Instagram, &  Facebook!


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This is a Rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Carrie Stuart Parks. There will be 1 winner of one (1) print copy of Relative Silence by Carrie Stuart Parks. The giveaway begins on July 13, 2020 and runs through August 16, 2020. Open to U.S. addresses only. Void where prohibited.


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Book Spotlight: WHERE THE TRUTH HIDES by Liane Carmen




Where the Truth Hides

by Liane Carmen

Genre: Suspense, Thriller




Buried secrets can be deadly.

Becky Morgan has a life most women would envy until a car accident lands her in the hospital. She insists she’s fine, but it quickly becomes clear she’s changed. She’s forgetful, paranoid, short-tempered. Her husband wants to write off her change in personality to the IVF hormones she’s taking in an attempt to get pregnant.

Becky’s best friend, Jules Dalton, is a gorgeous, single woman, with a habit of sabotaging relationships. When Jules loses the man who could have been “the one,” she confronts the realization that being adopted at birth is contributing to her trust issues. She’s obsessed with finding out why she was given up and turns to DNA testing in hopes her matches will lead to her birth parents.

As Jules dives into her DNA results, Becky’s life soon becomes one she doesn’t recognize. Those closest to her are accusing her of things she simply can’t explain or remember. She’s terrified of losing everything: her career, her marriage, and her dream of becoming a mother.

Desperate to put the pieces of her shattered life back together, Becky needs her best friend more than ever. What she doesn’t realize is that Jules knows something that could explain everything away.

Becky has a dark past she’s unaware of. A darkness that’s coming for her.

It could also get her killed.




Purchase Links:  Amazon * B&N





I’ve always been an avid reader and a fan of the suspense/thriller genre. Several years ago, we decided to solve a family mystery using DNA and my obsession was born. My love of writing and my new addiction led to my first novel, Where the Truth Hides, newly released in May of 2020. It will kick off a series of books delving into the mysteries that DNA can reveal.

Website * Facebook * Twitter * Instagram * Bookbub * Amazon * Goodreads



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Book Spotlight: GIRL WITH A ROSE by Leslie Wolfe



Girl With a Rose
Tess Winnett Book 6
by Leslie Wolfe
Genre: Thriller, Crime Suspense




Her body is frozen, unable to move. Her eyes are locked on the blood leaving her body in a steady string of droplets, collecting in the bone ash porcelain bowl engraved with intricate gold leaves. Her parted lips let out a shriek that no one hears. He just smiles and wipes her tears with cold fingers.


“Wow. I think I just fell head over heels in love with a fictional character. Tess Winnett is one of the smartest FBI agents and profilers I have come across yet and with analytical skills to rival Sherlock Holmes. Hats off to Leslie Wolfe for easily the best thriller I have read in this genre for many, many years!” – Manie Kilianon, five stars review on Amazon.



The girl: missing

After fifteen-year-old Kaylee disappears without a trace, FBI Special Agent Tess Winnett is assigned to the case that falls outside of the normal purview of the FBI. With every lead she uncovers, more questions are posed with only one possible, terrifying answer: there are others like her who have vanished, never to be seen or heard from again.

Is there a pattern in these disappearances? What happened to the others who have vanished? Is there a connection, or is Tess chasing shadows?

The first twenty-four hours: critical

Frantic for answers and painfully aware of each passing moment, Tess has a choice to make, one that could save the life of a young girl: was Kaylee’s disappearance a singular event, or was she the latest victim of a serial killer no one knew existed?

The odds of finding the girl alive drop with every second passing by and making the wrong choice would seal her fate. Her blood would be on her hands.

The best-selling author of Dawn Girl is back with another suspenseful, gripping crime thriller. If you’re a fan of David Baldacci, Melinda Leigh, and James Patterson, you will enjoy Leslie Wolfe’s enthralling police procedural that will keep you reading until the last page.



What Readers and Reviewers Are Saying About Leslie Wolfe

“Wolfe’s strong female characters, who all appear to be flawed, never disappoint.”


“The action is immediate and nonstop, and just when you think you have it all figured out, Wolfe tosses in a twist so masterful that it’ll make your head spin.”

“Wow… Leslie Wolfe is an incredible story teller. Can’t wait for more of Agent Tess Winnett.”

“Leslie Wolfe has a wonderful ability to make you feel as if you were right there watching the events unfold in this fast paced and nail-biting thriller.”



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Leslie Wolfe is a bestselling author whose novels break the mold of traditional thrillers. She creates unforgettable, brilliant, strong women heroes who deliver fast-paced, satisfying suspense, backed up by extensive background research in technology and psychology.

Leslie released the first novel, Executive, in October 2011. It was very well received, including inquiries from Hollywood. Since then, Leslie published numerous novels and enjoyed growing success and recognition in the marketplace. Among Leslie’s most notable works, The Watson Girl (2017) was recognized for offering a unique insight into the mind of a serial killer and a rarely seen first-person account of his actions, in a dramatic and intense procedural thriller.

A complete list of Leslie’s titles is available at http://wolfenovels.com/order.

Leslie enjoys engaging with readers every day and would love to hear from you.


Website * Facebook * Twitter * Instagram * Bookbub * Amazon * AmazonStore * Goodreads






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Book Spotlight: OUT OF THE SHADOWS by Theresa Sederholt




Out of the Shadows

by Theresa Sederholt

Genre: Suspense, Family Crime





Dane Johnson was like every other man in his thirties except for one very big secret. One that, for him, was so horrific, he was determined to keep it hidden. He thought it would never see the light of day—that is until today. His fragile world has crumbled around him. The past exposed for the world to see. Now the boy he tried so hard to keep safe might be gone forever.

This is a journey into one man’s hell, with the hope that it will help others find the strength to be able to say, “I need help.”




Purchase Links:  Amazon * Apple * B&N * Kobo * Books2Read







Theresa Sederholt was born and raised in Brooklyn New York. She is a graduate of Campbell University in North Carolina, with a degree in Criminal Justice. Theresa now resides in the mountains of North Carolina with her husband – a professional chef – and her two adorable dogs.

Experiencing life first-hand is what she does best. Believing she can do anything has put her in some crazy situations; babysitting a pig farm and cutting the top off a mini truck. Her list is A-to-Z and full of endless possibilities.

As a flight attendant (there’s that list again), she would make up stories about all of her passengers as they came and went. It seemed only natural to put pen-to-paper and see where these characters would take her.

A story that started as a single woman having a cup of coffee – while trying to make it through life – quickly grew into a complex world of romance, mystery, and murder. The Unraveled Trilogy was born.

This trilogy may have had humble beginnings, but in 2015 it gained prestigious recognition. Shattered Lies (book three in the trilogy) won Inks & Scratches Book Of The Year along with Cover Of The Year. BTS (Book Trailer Showcase) Book Reviews gave Shattered Lies The Red Carpet Book Award for Honorable Mention Rising Star Readers Choice. Theresa can humbly claim herself as an Award-Winning Author.

Theresa’s beliefs are pretty simple:


  • There isn’t a luggage rack on the hearse.
  • Give a girl some Nutella and an espresso, then watch her change the world.
  • Theresa enjoys connecting with her fans.






$10 Amazon Gift Card

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Book Showcase: SMOKE SCREEN by Terri Blackstock



Smoke Screen


by Terri Blackstock


on Tour October 28 – November 30, 2019



Synopsis:


Smoke Screen by Terri Blackstock

One father was murdered, and another convicted of his death. All because their children fell in love.

Nate Beckett has spent his life fighting wildfires instead of the lies and rumors that drove him from his Colorado home town. His mother begs him to come to Carlisle now that his father has been released from prison, but it isn’t until he’s sidelined by an injury that he’s forced to return and face his past. But that means facing Brenna too.

Fourteen years ago, Nate was in love with the preacher’s daughter. When Pastor Strickland discovered Brenna had defied him to sneak out with Nate, the fight between Strickland and Nate’s drunken dad was loud—and very public. Strickland was found murdered later that night, and everyone accused Roy Beckett. When the church burned down, people assumed it was Nate getting even for his father’s conviction. He let the rumors fly and left Carlisle without looking back.

Now, Brenna is stunned to learn that the man convicted of murdering her father has been pardoned. The events of that night set her life on a bad course, and she’s dealing with a brutal custody battle with her ex and his new wife where he’s using lies and his family’s money to sway the judge. She’s barely hanging on, and she’s turned to alcohol to cope. Shame and fear consume her.

As they deal with the present—including new information about that fateful night and a wildfire that’s threatening their town—their past keeps igniting. Nate is the steady force Brenna has so desperately needed. But she’ll have to learn to trust him again first.



Book Details:

Genre: Suspense (Christian)
Published by: HarperCollins-Thomas Nelson
Publication Date: November 5th 2019
Number of Pages: 352
ISBN: 0310332591 (ISBN13: 9780310332596)




Read an excerpt:


I woke up in a blinding bright room, my clothes off and something clamped to my face. I tried to reach it, but I couldn’t bend my right arm, and my hand stung. An IV was taped to my other hand, but I moved carefully and touched the thing over my face.

An oxygen mask. I tried to sit up. “What happened?”

T-bird came to my bedside, a sheen of smoky sweat still soiling his face. “Nate, lie back, man.”

“The fire,” I said. “Need to get back. My men.”

“They’re still there. Making progress. But you’re not going anywhere near a fire for a month or so.”

I took the mask off and coughed a little, but managed to catch my breath. “A month?”

“Yep. Second degree burns on 20 percent of your body. Some of the burns are deep.”

It came back to me, the event that had gotten me here.

“The family. Were they injured?”

“Not a scratch or burn. Turns out it was a U.S. Senator from Kansas. He says you’re a hero.”
“You know I had no choice. They were in the path—”
“Take the praise where you can get it, man. We don’t get that much.”
I looked at my right side. My right arm was bandaged, and so was my side and down my right leg to the point where my boots had stopped the flames. Second degree wasn’t so bad, I told myself. Third degree would have been brutal. I’d be able to leave the hospital soon. I’d heal.

“I won’t need a month,” I said.

“Yes, you will. They can’t let you go back. Doctor’s orders. You’re grounded until he releases you.”

I managed to sit up, but it was a bad idea. The burns pulling on my skin reminded me why I shouldn’t. “I can’t be grounded during fire season. Are you crazy? I need to be there. You don’t have enough men as it is.”

“Sorry, Nate. It is what it is. Why don’t you go home to Carlisle for a while? Take it easy.”

Go home? Pop had just been pardoned, and he and my mom were trying to navigate the reunion. Though she would love to have me home, I didn’t know if I was up to it. My father could be challenging, and fourteen years of prison hadn’t done him any favors.

***



Excerpt taken from Smoke Screen by Terri Blackstock. Copyright © 2019 by Terri Blackstock. Used with permission by Thomas Nelson. All rights reserved.



Terri Blackstock

Author Bio:

Terri Blackstock has sold over seven million books worldwide and is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author. She is the award-winning author of Intervention, Vicious Cycle, and Downfall, as well as such series as Cape Refuge, Newpointe 911, the SunCoast Chronicles, and the Restoration Series.



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Book 32: DEFENDING JACOB Review

Defending Jacob by William Landay
ISBN: 9780385344227
Publication date: January 31, 2012
Publisher: Delacorte Press

Andy Barber has been an assistant district attorney in his suburban Massachusetts county for more than twenty years. He is respected in his community, tenacious in the courtroom, and happy at home with his wife, Laurie, and son, Jacob. But when a shocking crime shatters their New England town, Andy is blindsided by what happens next: His fourteen-year-old son is charged with the murder of a fellow student. Every parental instinct Andy has rallies to protect his boy. Jacob insists that he is innocent, and Andy believes him. Andy must. He’s his father. But as damning facts and shocking revelations surface, as a marriage threatens to crumble and the trial intensifies, as the crisis reveals how little a father knows about his son, Andy will face a trial of his own—between loyalty and justice, between truth and allegation, between a past he’s tried to bury and a future he cannot conceive. 


Everyone has secrets, but some secrets can be devastating. Andy has kept a secret from his wife and colleagues for more than thirty years, but he knows he has to come clean once his son is considered a suspect in another student’s murder.

Parents are often willing to do anything to protect their children, even if it means protecting them from the law. Andy Barber doesn’t intend to circumvent the law, as he has spent the majority of his adult life upholding the law as an assistant district attorney. But Andy knows that his family background may play a larger role than anyone expects. Andy’s father and grandfather were career criminals and both were accused and convicted of murder. Andy had told Laurie that his father was dead; now that she knows the truth about his heritage she is shocked that he misled her all these years. The shock of Andy’s lineage coupled with Jacob’s arrest and the impending trial might be too much. As the family prepares for the trial, Andy does several things that may be construed as obstruction of justice but he simply views his actions as protecting his child. Even after the family begins counseling and Laurie discloses problems with Jacob’s behavior as a child, Andy remains in denial about their son. Is it possible that Jacob has behavioral problems bordering on sociopathy like his grandfather and great-grandfather? 

Defending Jacob is a tense legal, suspense thriller filled with drama centering on one parent’s inability to accept the possible truth about their child. Laurie knows that Jacob isn’t like the other kids and she fears that she may have done something to cause his behavioral problems. Laurie is willing to do whatever is necessary to get Jacob the help he needs from a psychological perspective. Andy is willing to do whatever is necessary to get Jacob the legal help he needs to be acquitted. Both parents are “defending” their son in the only way they can, yet neither can fully accept nor understand the other parents’ point of view. Mr. Landay has provided a story that doesn’t disappoint from beginning to end.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book free for review purposes from the publisher. 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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Book 200: THE BROKEN TEAGLASS Review

It’s difficult to imagine that work at a dictionary company and word definitions and citations could be mysterious. But these are the elements that Emily Arsenault quite artfully combines in The Broken Teaglass.


Billy Webb is a new hire at Samuelson Company, an esteemed dictionary publisher in New England. Billy recently graduated from college and is now working as an editor. Parts of his responsibilities include obtaining new citations or “cits” for word usage, as well as checking previously filed cits to determine if usage and definitions have changed. He discovers several cits for a book but cannot find any reference to the book in the library or anywhere else. Curiously the cits are rather long and seem to be telling a story, the story of a murder. Even more curious, the cits seem to make reference to Samuelson and several employees. Billy, with the help of a Mona Minot – a coworker, begins to investigate and seek out more cits in order to learn the entire story. 


The cits tell a story of despair and in many ways seem to reflect Billy’s life. Billy and Mona seem to have a friendship that borders romance, just like their mysterious author. Their stories are revealed bit by bit, just as they unravel the mystery of the cits bit by bit. Although Billy is in his mid-twenties, in many ways this is also a coming-of-age tale in addition to a mystery. I wasn’t sure about the story when I first read the blurbs as I presumed it would be a dry or plodding tale. Imagine my surprise when I began reading and simply couldn’t tear myself away (even with the reading block). The Broken Teaglass is an artfully crafted story to be savored, perhaps while drinking a delicious cup of tea (may I suggest Darjeeling or Oolong).


Disclaimer: I received this book free for review purposes from 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.”

Book 193: A CRACK IN EVERYTHING Review

A Crack in Everything by Angela Gerst is a mystery suspense novel featuring betrayal, politics, real estate and of course murder. Unfortunately Susan Callisto finds herself dragged into the drama of all of these.


Susan Callisto is a lawyer and political consultant. After working for a few years with a large firm she decided to go solo. Most of her work relates to a few real estate consultations and consulting on political campaigns. Susan is currently dealing with a former elderly client – Nino Biondi – that refuses to leave his restaurant’s rental property and an entrepreneur and political candidate – Roddie Baird, while trying to figure out why her relationship with Detective Lieutenant Michael Benedict fizzled out. She must also deal with a walk-in client that appears to want to run for political office but may have a hidden agenda. Charles “Chaz” Renfrow says he wants to run for mayor to allow his business a fair shake but he’s left it a bit close as applications must be submitted within four days. Susan advises him on what needs to be done and briefly meets his assistant, Victoria “Torie” Moran, and his son, Glen Renfrow. As if she didn’t have enough to deal with she uncovers Torie’s body the day after meeting her and a few days later Chaz is dead. The good thing is these investigations have brought Michael back into her life, the bad thing is that her political client Roddie appears to be the prime suspect. Can Susan figure out what is going on to free Roddie and save his political life? What do these murders have to do with real estate? The more Susan uncovers the more mysteries and betrayals she finds. Can she uncover the truth before she becomes the next victim?


There’s a lot of drama and action going on in A Crack in Everything. The characters are well developed and even likeable. Regrettably I just couldn’t get past the somewhat convoluted storylines. At the end all of the little connections are tied together, but while reading it just seemed like it was a bit much. Look for A Crack in Everything to be released on 09/06/2011 by Poisoned Pen Press.


Disclaimer: I received this book free for review purposes from 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.”

Book 151: THE SILENT GIRL Review

There are a few authors (okay does 25 count as a few) that I try to read on a regular basis. I’ve read most of these authors previous writings and greatly look forward to new books, Tess Gerritsen is one such author. I recently had the opportunity to read The Silent Girl and am I glad I did.


The Silent Girl is another story in the Rizzoli & Isles series, one series that I follow (sorry I don’t watch the TV show but I’m diligent about reading the books). This was a little different or at least it felt different for me. Perhaps it’s because Jane and Maura are moving on with their lives and even though they work in fields that are closely aligned they are growing apart in this stage of their friendship. Of course it might have something to do with Dr. Isles testifying against a police officer responsible for killing (subduing) a prisoner that was responsible for another police officer’s death. Maura knows that she did the right thing with her testimony, after all she only provided the facts. But not many police officers see it the same way so she has become persona non grata at crime scenes. The first time this happens is when she is called out because a severed hand was found along with a nearly decapitated body. Evidence leads to a retired Boston PD detective, a martial arts school, and reveals that the body was injured with a sword. The link is a 19-year-old Chinatown murder-suicide case. As Jane, her partner Frost, and newcomer Tam, investigate further they realize that this particular case may not have been solved and perhaps wasn’t as cut-and-dry as it initially appeared. Did the accused murderer, Mr. Wu, really commit these crimes before killing himself? What was the motive? And what exactly does the Chinatown murder case have to do with the disappearance of two teenage girls? And what does the Chinatown murder case have to do with the current murders?


There are minor storylines that appear throughout, such as Maura’s ability to see things as black and white when the police department wants shades of grey, or Jane’s family’s reaction to her mother’s engagement. Ms. Gerritsen has provided a tale that is intriguing and alien. She brings in ancient Chinese myths, tales and legends into a current homicide and makes it work. Her characters are strangely exotic and unique but wholly believable. This may not be a traditional mystery/suspense thriller but it works and works quite well. 



Disclaimer: I received this book free for review purposes from the Early Reviewers program at LibraryThing. 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.”