Guest Post: Linda L. Richards – EXIT STRATEGY

Good day, book people. I’ve been thinking about “art imitating life” quite a bit lately and decided to look up the quote (I don’t know why, my brain is weird). Oscar Wilde wrote “Life imitates art far more than art imitates life” in an 1889 essay. I don’t know if that’s always true, but I’m thankful that authors look at various situations and think “I wonder” to themselves. As readers, we reap the benefit of their creative thinking and writing talent triggered by “I wonder” scenarios. I’m honored to welcome today’s guest, Linda L. Richards, author of Exit Strategy. Ms. Richards will be discussing that all-important “what if” scenario in her writing. Thank you, Ms. Richards, for joining us today and sharing your thoughts. The blog is now all yours.

Guest Post

So much of everything is around “what if?”

In Exit Strategy, the “what if'”s occur against the backdrop of technology and high-tech financing.

What if the high concept technology around a unicorn start-up simply did not work? And what if the people involved with developing the tech and bringing in the financing understood that it did not work, but were too deeply enmeshed in everything they were creating that they couldn’t step back from it? That they had to keep crashing forward, no matter what?

Around the time I was conceiving the book that is now Exit Strategy, there was a lot of discussion about Theranos and Elizabeth Holmes. She is a woman and she is beautiful, so it was very easy for public opinion to sway against her. In my mind’s eye, I saw something different. (Albeit, something that may have no bearing on reality. But this is fiction, so that’s okay, too.) What if she did not intend to deceive her investors and potential investors? What if she knew – or at least thought she knew — if she just got a bit more loot and had a bit more time, she would get it all to work out? It’s a different story then, do you see?

So Exit Strategy is not the story of Theranos or Elizabeth Holmes, though there might appear to be some connective tissue. Also, we’re layering in the perspective and contributions of the damaged hitwoman we first met in 2021’s Endings. I think that is an important piece, as well. By her very nature and all that has happened to her, our narrator’s perspective is suspect. We can’t trust her. She doesn’t even trust herself. So what we end up with is this juxtaposition of strong women on the edge of the abyss. It’s a tight rope. And I hope it works for you. And if it doesn’t, I hope it at least makes you uncomfortable. And wonder. And squirm a bit in your seat. ♦

Exit Strategy

by Linda L. Richards

May 16 – June 10, 2022 Virtual Book Tour

Synopsis:

Exit Strategy by Linda L Richards

A shattered life. A killer for hire. Can she stop?

Her assignments were always to kill someone. That’s what a hitman—or hitwoman—is paid to do, and that is what she does. Then comes a surprise assignment—keep someone alive!

She is hired to protect Virginia Martin, the stunning and brilliant chief technology officer of a hot startup with an innovation that will change the world. This new job catches her at a time in her life when she’s hanging on by a thread. Despair and hopelessness—now more intense than she’d felt after the tragic loss of her family—led her to abruptly launch this career. But over time, the life of a hired killer is decimating her spirit and she keeps thinking of ending her life.

She’s confused about the “why” of her new assignment but she addresses her mission as she always does, with skill and stealth, determined to keep this young CTO alive in the midst of the twinned worlds of innovation and high finance.

Some people have to die as she discharges her responsibility to protect this superstar woman amid the crumbling worlds of money and future technical wonders.

The spirit of an assassin—and her nameless dog—permeates this struggle to help a young woman as powerful forces build to deny her.

Fans of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and Dexter will love Exit Strategy.

Book Details:

Genre: Thriller
Published by: Oceanview Publishing
Publication Date: May 17th 2022
Number of Pages: 320
ISBN10: 1608094227 (hardcover)
ISBN13: 9781608094226 (hardcover)
ASIN: ‎ B09F24MTMN (Kindle edition)
ASIN: B09ZD3VHTC (Audible audiobook)
Purchase Links #CommissionEarned: IndieBound.org | Amazon | Amazon Kindle | Audible | Barnes & Noble | Bookdepository.com | Bookshop.org | Goodreads

Author Bio:

Linda L. Richards

Linda L. Richards is a journalist, photographer, and the author of 15 books, including three series of novels featuring strong female protagonists. She is the former publisher of Self-Counsel Press and the founder and publisher of January Magazine. Linda’s 2021 novel, Endings, was recently optioned by a major studio for series production.

Catch Up With Linda L. Richards:
LindaLRichards.com
Goodreads
BookBub – @linda1841
Instagram – @lindalrichards
Twitter – @lindalrichards
Facebook – @lindalrichardsauthor
TikTok – @lindalrichards

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Book Spotlight: DOCTOR GLASS by Louise Worthington

DOCTOR GLASS by Louise WorthingtonDoctor Glass by Louise Worthington
ISBN: 9781631611797 (trade paperback)
ASIN: B09TPPQWXY (Kindle edition)
Publisher: TCK Publishing
Release Date: April 11, 2022
Genre: Fiction | Psychological Thriller | Thriller

THE DOCTOR WILL SEE YOU NOW.

Psychotherapist Emma-Jane Glass has prioritized work over leisure for far too long. She does whatever it takes to help her clients, and it’s bordering on professional obsession. When she publishes a controversial article about unstable mothers murdering their children, an anonymous letter arrives on her doorstep:

I will expose you.
Then, I will mutilate you…
Wait for me.

After she is abducted into the night, Doctor Glass finds herself at the mercy of a dangerous sociopath. But being a relentless doctor of the mind, she feels an urge to help her fragile captor, even if it might shatter her sanity-and her life. It becomes a game of survival, and only one mind can win.

For fans of deeply layered thrillers by Ruth Ware, Tana French, and Alex Michaelides comes the newest voice in psychological fiction.

CONTENT GUIDANCE: This novel explores aspects of psychology and mental health and contains depictions of self-harm, alcohol abuse, eating disorders, and suicide. Please read with care.

Purchase Links #CommissionEarned: IndieBound.org | Amazon | Amazon Kindle | Barnes and Noble | BookDepository.com | Bookshop.org

Meet The Author

Author Louise Worthington

Louise Worthington writes psychological fiction for fans of deeply layered thrillers by Ruth Ware, Tana French, and Alex Michaelides.

She has a passion for exploring the complexity and darker side of the human heart in psychologically-layered tales imbued with strong emotional themes and atmospheric settings from poisonous gardens, and medieval dungeons to an isolated property by the sea. After gaining a degree in literature, she taught English in secondary schools for many years and studied psychology. More recently she runs a farm with her husband in Shropshire.

She is the author of six novels, including Rachel’s Garden and The Entrepreneur. Kirkus Review described her debut novel Distorted Days as “a formidable work that defies narrative orthodoxy.” Her flash fiction, poetry, and short stories have been widely published in literary magazines in the UK and US, brought together with new stories in the collection Stained Glass Lives.

Doctor Glass was released on 11th April 2022.

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

Book Showcase: THE OVERNIGHT GUEST by Heather Gudenkauf

The Overnight Guest by Heather Gudenkauf
ISBN: 9780778311935 (trade paperback)
ISBN: 9780778333166 (hardcover)
ISBN: 9780369715999 (ebook)
ISBN: 9781488213502 (digital audiobook)
ASIN: B09CF4FYJ2 (Audible audiobook)
ASIN: B08ZSQLZBS (Kindle edition)
Publisher: Park Row Books
Release Date: January 25, 2022
Genre: Fiction | Suspense | Small Town & Rural Fiction | Crime Thriller

“Weaving together three narratives in an explosive and shocking denouement, The Overnight Guest will have you glued to the page and leave you wanting more.” —Liv Constantine, international bestselling author of The Last Mrs. Parrish

In a snowstorm, the safest place is home. Or is it?

True crime writer Wylie Lark doesn’t mind being snowed in at the isolated farmhouse where she’s retreated to write her new book. A cozy fire, complete silence. It would be perfect, if not for the fact that decades earlier, at this very house, two people were murdered in cold blood and a girl disappeared without a trace.

As the storm worsens, Wylie finds herself trapped inside the house, haunted by the secrets contained within its walls—haunted by secrets of her own. Then she discovers a small child in the snow just outside. How long had the child been there? Where did he come from? Bringing the child inside for warmth and safety, she begins to search for answers. But soon it becomes clear that the farmhouse isn’t as isolated as she thought, and someone is willing to do anything to find them.

Read an Excerpt:

THREE

“Maybe we can go outside and play?” the girl said as she peeked around the edge of the heavy curtain that covered the window. The sky was gray and soft drops of rain tapped at the glass.

“Not today,” her mother said. “It’s raining and we’d melt.”

The girl gave a little laugh and then hopped off the chair she had dragged beneath the window. She knew her mother was teasing. They wouldn’t actually melt if they went out in the rain, but still, it made her shiver thinking about it—stepping outside and feeling the plop of water on your skin and watching it melt away like an ice cube.

Instead, the girl and her mother spent the morning at the card table cutting pink, purple, and green egg shapes from construction paper and embellishing them with polka dots and stripes.

On one oval, her mother drew eyes and a pointy little orange beak. Her mother laid the girl’s hands on a piece of yellow paper and traced around them using a pencil. “Watch,” she said as she cut out the handprints and then glued them to the back of one of the ovals.

“It’s a bird,” the girl said with delight.

“An Easter chick,” her mother said. “I made these when I was your age.”

Together, they carefully taped the eggs and chicks and bunny rab-bits they created to the cement walls, giving the dim room a festive, springy look. “There, now we’re ready for the Easter Bunny,” her mother said with triumph.

That night, when the girl climbed into bed, the butterflies in her stomach kept chasing sleep away. “Stay still,” her mother kept re-minding her. “You’ll fall asleep faster.”

The girl didn’t think that was true, but then she opened her eyes, a sliver of bright sunshine was peeking around the shade, and the girl knew that morning had finally arrived.

She leaped from bed to find her mother already at the tiny round table where they ate their meals. “Did he come?” the girl asked, tucking her long brown hair behind her ears.

“Of course he did,” her mother said, holding out a basket woven together from strips of colored paper. It was small, fitting into the palm of the girl’s hand, but sweet. Inside were little bits of green paper that were cut to look like grass. On top of this was a pack of cinnamon gum and two watermelon Jolly Ranchers.

The girl smiled though disappointment surged through her. She’d been hoping for a chocolate bunny or one of those candy eggs that oozed yellow when you broke it open.

“Thank you,” she said.

“Thank the Easter Bunny,” her mother said.

“Thank you, Easter Bunny,” the girl crowed like the child on the candy commercials that she’d seen on television. They both laughed.

They each unwrapped a piece of gum and spent the morning making up stories about the paper chicks and bunnies they made.

When the girl’s gum lost its flavor, and she had slowly licked one of the Jolly Ranchers into a sharp flat disc, the door at the top of the steps opened, and her father came down the stairs toward them. He was carrying a plastic bag and a six-pack of beer. Her mother gave the girl a look. The one that said, go on now, mom and dad need some alone time. Obediently, the girl, taking her Easter basket, went to her spot beneath the window and sat in the narrow beam of warm light that fell across the floor. Facing the wall, she unwrapped another piece of gum and poked it into her mouth and tried to ignore the squeak of the bed and her father’s sighs and grunts.

“You can turn around now,” her mother finally said. The girl sprang up from her spot on the floor.

The girl heard the water running in the bathroom, and her father poked his head out of the door. “Happy Easter,” he said with a grin. “The Easter Bunny wanted me to give you a little something.”

The girl looked at the kitchen table where the plastic bag sat. Then she slid her eyes to her mother, who was sitting on the edge of the bed, rubbing her wrist, eyes red and wet. Her mother nodded.

“Thank you,” she murmured.

Later, after her father climbed the steps and locked the door behind him, the girl went to the table and looked inside the plastic bag. In-side was a chocolate bunny with staring blue eyes. He was holding a carrot and wore a yellow bowtie.

“Go ahead,” her mother told the girl as she held an ice pack to her wrist. “When I was little, I always started with the ears.”

“I don’t think I’m very hungry,” the girl said, returning the box to the table.

“It’s okay,” her mother said gently. “You can eat it. It’s from the Easter Bunny, not your dad.”

The girl considered this. She took a little nibble from the bunny’s ear and sweet chocolate flooded her mouth. She took another bite and then another. She held out the rabbit to her mother and she bit off the remaining ear in one big bite. They laughed and took turns eating until all that was left was the bunny’s chocolate tail.

“Close your eyes and open your mouth,” her mother said. The girl complied and felt her mother place the remaining bit on her tongue and then kiss her on the nose. “Happy Easter,” her mother whispered.

Excerpt from The Overnight Guest by Heather Gudenkauf.
Copyright © 2022 by Heather Gudenkauf.
Published by Park Row Books. All rights reserved.
Published by arrangement with Harlequin Books S.A.

Meet The Author

Heather Gudenkauf photo by Erin Kirchoff

Heather Gudenkauf is the critically acclaimed author of several novels, including the New York Times bestseller The Weight of Silence. She lives in Iowa with her husband and children.

Connect with the Author:  Facebook | Goodreads | Instagram | Twitter | Website
This excerpt brought to you by Park Row Books

Guest Author: Howard Michael Gould – PAY OR PLAY

Pay or Play by Howard Michael Gould Banner

Good day, book people. I hope the beginning of 2022 has been good to you all and that you’ve been able to get some reading time in over the holiday season. As a reader, I’m always fascinated by the paths taken by authors. How did they begin writing? How did they develop their characters? What sparked their creativity? I’m pleased to welcome the incredibly accomplished and multi-award winning writer, Howard Michael Gould to the blog. Mr. Gould will be providing us a glimpse into his character, Waldo, in what might loosely be termed his “finding Waldo” moments. I hope you’ll enjoy what he has to share with us, follow along with the blog tour, and put Pay or Play, the latest Waldo addition on your TBR list. Without further adieu I give you Mr. Howard Michael Gould.

Waldo: from Screen to Page and Back
by Howard Michael Gould

It’s hard to become a crime novelist by accident, but that’s kind of what happened to me. And I’m glad as hell that it did.

I moved to Hollywood in my 20s and worked in television comedy for a decade, then movies for a decade, then in my third decade did a little of both. Twenty-five years in, several producers in a row suddenly had the idea to hire me to write one crime comedy or another—a movie here, a pilot there—and I was surprised how much I enjoyed the blend.

I particularly liked the idea of doing a private eye TV series with some laughs, like Moonlighting or Monk. But because my TV credits were in comedy rather than drama, I’d need a unique pitch, so I found myself looking for a “high concept” idea—some angle or character gimmick that would make mine, unlike any other detective, though not goofy or corny, and sustainable enough to hold my own interest for several seasons.

Around that time, my daughter showed me a video called The Story of Stuff, about how society is burning through the planet’s resources in service of a planned consumerism which is simultaneously making us miserable. I was mesmerized. Out of this came my series lead, Charlie Waldo.

Waldo lives in a different kind of misery, punishing himself for a fatal mistake during his otherwise stellar LAPD career. In response, he’s vowed never to cause harm to anyone or anything again, not even the planet. So he’s moved to a tiny cabin in the woods on a mountain outside of Los Angeles, where he lives as a hermit, a pathological environmentalist, and even a minimalist—with a strict vow never to own more than One Hundred Things.

In my original network pitch, his ex-girlfriend Lorena, a PI herself, tracks him down three years into his isolation and lures him into helping her on a case, triggering a partnership between once and future lovers with clashing approaches to life: he the ascetic, she the up-from-poverty materialist who’d never give up her Mercedes or her D&G stilettos.

I pitched it to a top TV producer, who loved it, and we took it to a couple of networks. At one, the executives actually applauded at the end of the pitch—this had never happened in my whole career—but called three days later to pass because their network did policemen, not private eyes. So I put poor Waldo on the sad pile with dozens of other abandoned nifty ideas. That’s life in Hollywood, where—unless you’re a writer for hire who goes from series to series, helping other writers execute their ideas (a plenty noble path, but not for me, temperamentally)—lots and lots of your best stuff goes to waste.

About a year and a half later, I got an intriguing email from my favorite movie producer. This was during the post-2008 financial crash, with Hollywood in a tailspin and forced to reinvent itself. The producer had a new venture with two partners and some independent funding, and the trio wanted to hire me to write an indie movie. They expressed particular interest in my writing some sort of detective movie with comedy if I happened to have an idea lying around.

I pulled Waldo off the dead pile.

Since I’d conceived him as a case-of-the-week detective, I now had to come up with a movie-sized story, and landed on a sensational Hollywood murder: a larger-than-life, British-born thespian named Alastair Pinch, a belligerent alcoholic, may or may not have killed his wife in their locked mansion during a blackout drunk. A second great role. And setting it in L.A., which I knew so well, would set eco-maniacal Waldo in contrast with the most materialistic town in the world.

It turned out to be the hardest script I’d ever written—subject for another essay—but when I was done, the producer thought it was the best I’d ever written. Instantly, it seemed, Owen Wilson wanted to play Waldo, and a hot indie director came aboard, too, a very smart guy in love with the project. I started doing some rewrites to accommodate their ideas, standard for the business.

(Meanwhile, I’d gotten a new sitcom on the air, my primary job for the next three years. The Waldo rewriting would be early-morning and weekend work.)

Once I got the script where the director wanted it, the actor’s agent got cold feet: people weren’t really making detective movies anymore—big studios were only interested in bigger movies, and indie financers were only interested in smaller, less commercial movies—i.e., awards-bait—and the agent didn’t want a project with Owen attached to seek financing and possibly fail. Goodbye, Owen. Oh, and goodbye director, too.

Next, the producers attached a more famous director, and we wasted a year or two rewriting to make him happy before he decided that what he really wanted was to chase bigger money jobs.

Then Jim Carrey wanted to do it. We had a delightful meeting. He had ideas. I did more rewrites.

Somewhere in this period, my sitcom concluded its run, affording me the time and financial freedom to try something more ambitious and creatively gratifying. Meanwhile, through all the rewrites, I’d fallen in love with Waldo and hated the idea that he’d end up back on that dead projects pile. Which is when it hit me: maybe Owen Wilson’s agent was right, maybe there weren’t a lot of detective movies anymore…but there sure were a lot of detective novels. What if I got back the rights, and tried to reverse-adapt my Waldo screenplay into a book?

Of course, I’d never written fiction as an adult and had no reason to think I’d be any good at it.

But write it I did. And damned if getting it published wasn’t the first thing that ever came easily. I wrote a sequel, and that sold, too. And now a third, called Pay or Play.

To my great surprise, I’ve found the career shift very satisfying. The writing itself is painful and difficult, and I take longer on each book than most authors I meet in the category (subject for yet another essay), but unlike Hollywood—where the goal is to attract the interest of someone who’ll attract the interest of someone more important, who’ll attract the interest of someone more important, who’ll actually attract someone with money to say they want to make your project, while each of those someones has creative input and you hope that you can hang on and make all the someones happy while still steering something you’re proud of to a screen—now the only goal is to write a book I’m proud of.♦

 

P.S.: The movie finally got made, too. It’s called Last Looks, same as the first book in the series. Charlie Hunnam—exactly the right actor, in the end—plays the eco-maniacal, ascetic detective, and Mel Gibson plays the belligerent alcoholic star. They’re both brilliant, and it’s coming out in a couple of weeks. I hope you’ll look for it.♦♦

Pay or Play

by Howard Michael Gould

January 1-31, 2022 Virtual Book Tour

Synopsis:

Pay or Play by Howard Michael Gould

Blackmail, sexual harassment, murder . . .
and a missing dog: eccentric, eco-obsessed LA private eye Charlie Waldo is on the case in this quirky, fast-paced mystery.

Paying a harsh self-imposed penance for a terrible misstep on a case, former LAPD superstar detective Charlie Waldo lives a life of punishing minimalism deep within the woods, making a near religion of his commitment to owning no more than One Hundred Things.

At least, he’s trying to. His PI girlfriend Lorena keeps drawing him back to civilization – even though every time he compromises on his principles, something goes wrong.

And unfortunately for Waldo, all roads lead straight back to LA. When old adversary Don Q strongarms him into investigating the seemingly mundane death of a vagrant, Lorena agrees he can work under her PI license on one condition: he help with a high-maintenance celebrity client, wildly popular courtroom TV star Judge Ida Mudge, whose new mega-deal makes her a perfect target for blackmail.

Reopening the coldest of cases, a decades-old fraternity death, Waldo begins to wonder if the judge is, in fact, a murderer – and if he’ll stay alive long enough to find out.

Pay or Play is the third in the Charlie Waldo series, following Last Looks and Below the Line. Last Looks was turned into a major motion picture, starring Charlie Hunnam as the offbeat private investigator.

Book Details:

Genre: Thriller, Private Detective
Published by: Severn House Publishers Limited
Publication Date: December 7th 2021
Number of Pages: 224
ISBN: 0727850857 (ISBN13: 9780727850850)
Series: Charlie Waldo, #3
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Goodreads

Author Bio:

Howard Michael Gould

Howard Michael Gould graduated from Amherst College and spent five years working on Madison Avenue, winning three Clios and numerous other awards.

In television, he was executive producer and head writer of CYBILL when it won the Golden Globe for Best Comedy Series, and held the same positions on THE JEFF FOXWORTHY SHOW and INSTANT MOM. Other TV credits include FM and HOME IMPROVEMENT. He wrote and directed the feature film THE SIX WIVES OF HENRY LEFAY, starring Tim Allen, Elisha Cuthbert, Andie MacDowell and Jenna Elfman. Other feature credits include MR. 3000 and SHREK THE THIRD.

His play DIVA premiered at the Williamstown Theatre Festival and La Jolla Playhouse, and was subsequently published by Samuel French and performed around the country.

He is the author of three mystery novels featuring the minimalist detective Charlie Waldo: LAST LOOKS (2018) and BELOW THE LINE (2019), both nominated for Shamus Awards by the Private Eye Writers of America, and PAY OR PLAY (2021). The feature film version of LAST LOOKS, starring Charlie Hunnam and Mel Gibson and directed by Tim Kirkby, will premiere February, 2022; Gould also wrote the screenplay.

Catch Up With Howard Michael Gould:
HowardMichaelGould.com
Goodreads
BookBub
Instagram – @howardmichaelgould
Twitter – @HowardMGould
Facebook – @HowardMGould

 

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Guest Post: C. Matthew Smith – TWENTYMILE

Twentymile by C. Matthew Smith Banner

Good day book people. I hope you’re reading to head into the weekend with plenty of reading choices. If you’re looking for some ideas and are into police procedurals or thrillers, then I may have the perfect book for you. Please help me welcome, C. Matthew Smith, author of Twentymile. This exciting new book takes us into the Investigative Services Branch (ISB) of the National Park Service (yes, it’s a thing). So sit back, grab your favorite beverage, and let’s learn a bit more about the ISB and its role in Twentymile. Thank you, Mr. Smith for joining us today and giving us a glimpse into this little known law enforcement branch.

Introducing the National Park Service’s Investigative Services Branch to the World of Fiction
By C. Matthew Smith

In 2018, I was writing down the first pages in what eventually would grow into my debut novel, Twentymile. I had a germ of an idea: a Good Guy on the run from Bad Guys in a challenging outdoor environment. I vaguely knew I wanted the story to deal with themes of land use and ownership (among others), and I gravitated toward setting the novel on what we term “public land”–a national or state park or wilderness area. In the early going, I toyed with a number of scenarios, including a wildlife biologist who encounters poachers after endangered species. Or a park ranger coming upon some similarly unsavory characters.

And then, in October 2018, Outside Magazine published an article entitled “The F.B.I. of the National Park Service.” In it, I learned of a little-known department within the NPS apparatus called the Investigative Services Branch. This small group of law enforcement agents investigates the most serious crimes committed on NPS land–everything from homicides to sexual assault to theft of antiquities. Strangely, while this felt to me like fertile ground for fiction, my research found no prior novels featuring the ISB.

It was a lightning bolt. I read and re-read the article several times. After some brief research, I sent an e-mail to a public inquiries address for the ISB and, to my surprise, received a very kind reply from Christopher Smith (no relation), the ISB’s Special Agent in Charge of Operations. Yes, he’d be willing to talk. Since then, SACO Smith has been generous with his time, speaking with me on multiple occasions. He’s rightly proud of the work his plucky organization does, and he took pains to ensure I understood the realities of working as an ISB special agent.

What I learned from him provided me with the makings of a compelling protagonist. Consider the following: There are just under three-dozen special agents, spread over several regions, responsible for more than eighty million acres from Hawaii to the U.S. Virgin Islands. As a consequence, ISB special agents typically work cases solo, not with a partner, marshaling what assistance they can from local law enforcement resources. They’re frequently on the road, living out of their SUVs and motels. They process crime scenes deep in the wilderness when necessary and investigate a wide variety of offenses, from financial crimes to murder. They are independent, tough-minded jacks of all trades who spend the majority of their time with only themselves.

What kind of individual chooses this life?

There could be many answers, of course. But for Tsula Walker, the protagonist of Twentymile, I settled on the following: She’s flinty, steady in demeanor, and capable of protecting herself. A woman confident in her own analytical skills and professional judgment. And someone who, for reasons I won’t spoil here, is predisposed to extended periods alone. That, I decided, is a main character I’d follow anywhere.

I hope you, dear reader, will follow her, too. She’s on one hell of a journey.

Having written the first novel featuring the ISB, I feel a certain pressure to “get it right.” To capture its essence. The needs of fiction may sometimes require taking liberties with certain details, but thanks to my research and the willingness of ISB leadership to answer my many questions, I hope Tsula accurately embodies the spirit of this spunky group of law enforcement professionals. ♦

Twentymile

by C. Matthew Smith

November 15 – December 10, 2021 Tour

Synopsis:

Twentymile by C. Matthew Smith

When wildlife biologist Alex Lowe is found dead inside Great Smoky Mountains National Park, it looks on the surface like a suicide. But Tsula Walker, Special Agent with the National Park Service’s Investigative Services Branch and a member of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, isn’t so sure.

Tsula’s investigation will lead her deep into the park and face-to-face with a group of lethal men on a mission to reclaim a historic homestead. The encounter will irretrievably alter the lives of all involved and leave Tsula fighting for survival – not only from those who would do her harm, but from a looming winter storm that could prove just as deadly.

A finely crafted literary thriller, Twentymile delivers a propulsive story of long-held grievances, new hopes, and the contentious history of the land at its heart.

Praise for Twentymile:

“[A] striking debut . . . a highly enjoyable read suited best to those who like their thrillers to simmer for awhile before erupting in a blizzard of action and unpredictability . . .” Kashif Hussain, Best Thriller Books.

“C. Matthew Smith’s original, intelligent novel delivers unforgettable characters and an irresistible, page-turning pace while grappling with deeply fascinating issues of land and heritage and what and who is native…Twentymile is an accomplished first novel from a talented and fully-formed writer.” James A. McLaughlin, Edgar Award-winning author of Bearskin

Twentymile is packed with everything I love: A strong, female character; a wilderness setting; gripping storytelling; masterful writing. Smith captures powerfully and deeply the effects of the past and what we do to one another and ourselves for the sake of ownership and possession, for what we wrongfully and rightfully believe is ours. I loved every word. A beautiful and brutal and extraordinary debut.” Diane Les Becquets, bestselling author of Breaking Wild and The Last Woman in the Forest

Book Details:

Genre: Procedural, Thriller
Published by: Latah Books
Publication Date: November 19, 2021
Number of Pages: 325
ISBN: 9781736012765 (paperback)
ISBN: 9781736012772 (eBook)
ASIN: B09GRLTYDG (Kindle edition)
Purchase Links #CommissionEarned: IndieBound.org | Amazon | Amazon Kindle | Barnes and Noble | BookDepository.com | Goodreads | Kobo eBook | Latah Books

 

Author Bio:

C. Matthew Smith

C. Matthew Smith is an attorney and writer whose short stories have appeared in and are forthcoming from numerous outlets, including Mystery Tribune, Mystery Weekly, Close to the Bone, and Mickey Finn: 21st Century Noir Vol. 3 (Down & Out Books). He’s a member of Sisters in Crime and the Atlanta Writers Club.

Catch Up With C. Matthew Smith:
www.cmattsmithwrites.com
Twitter – @cmattwrite
Facebook

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Book Showcase: FAN CLUB by Erin Mayer

FAN CLUB by Erin MayerFan Club by Erin Mayer
ISBN: 9780778311591 (paperback)
ISBN: 9780369706102 (ebook)
ISBN: 9781488212543 (digital audiobook)
ISBN: 9781665104791 (audiobook on CD)
ASIN: B094Q6D9C8 (Audible audiobook)
ASIN: B08QSDDSJQ (Kindle edition)
Publisher: MIRA Books
Release Date: October 26, 2021
Genre: Fiction | Thriller | Psychological Suspense

In this raucous psychological thriller, a millennial office worker finds relief from her crippling ennui in the embrace of a cliquey fan club, until she discovers the group of women is bound together by something darker than devotion.

Day after day our narrator, a gloomy millennial, searches for meaning beyond her vacuous job at a women’s lifestyle website—entering text into a computer system while she watches their beauty editor unwrap box after box of perfectly packaged bits of happiness. Then, one night at a dive bar, she hears a message in the newest single by child-actor-turned-international-pop-star Adriana Argento, and she is struck. Soon she loses herself to the online fandom, a community whose members feverishly track Adriana’s every move.

When a colleague notices the extent of her obsession, she’s invited to join an enigmatic group of adult Adriana superfans who call themselves the Ivies and worship her music in witchy, candlelit listening parties. As the narrator becomes more entrenched in the group, she gets closer to uncovering the sinister secrets that bind them together—while simultaneously losing her grip on reality.

With caustic wit and hypnotic writing, this unsparingly critical thrill ride through millennial life examines all that is wrong in our celebrity-obsessed internet age, and how easy it is to lose yourself in it.

Read an excerpt:

Chapter One

I’m outside for a cumulative ten minutes each day before work. Five to walk from my apartment building to the subway, another five to go from the subway to the anemic obelisk that houses my office. I try to breathe as deeply as I can in those minutes, because I never know how long it will be until I take fresh air into my lungs again. Not that the city air is all that fresh, tinged with the sharp stench of old garbage, pollution’s metallic swirl. But it beats the stale oxygen of the office, already filtered through distant respiratory systems. Sometimes, during slow moments at my desk, I inhale and try to imagine those other nostrils and lungs that have already processed this same air. I’m not sure how it works in reality, any knowledge I once had of the intricacies of breathing having been long ago discarded by more useful information, but the image comforts me. Usually, I picture a middle-aged man with greying temples, a fringe of visible nose hair, and a coffee stain on the collar of his baby blue button-down. He looks nothing and everything like my father. An every-father, if you will.

My office is populated by dyed-blonde or pierced brunette women in their mid-to-late twenties and early thirties. The occasional man, just a touch older than most of the women, but still young enough to give off the faint impression that he DJs at Meatpacking nightclubs for extra cash on the weekends.

We are the new corporate Americans, the offspring of the grey-templed men. We wear tastefully ripped jeans and cozy sweaters to the office instead of blazers and trousers. Display a tattoo here and there—our supervisors don’t mind; in fact, they have the most ink. We eat yogurt for breakfast, work through lunch, leave the office at six if we’re lucky, arriving home with just enough time to order dinner from an app and watch two or three hours of Netflix before collapsing into bed from exhaustion we haven’t earned. Exhaustion that lives in the brain, not the body, and cannot be relieved by a mere eight hours of sleep.

Nobody understands exactly what it is we do here, and neither do we. I push through revolving glass door, run my wallet over the card reader, which beeps as my ID scans through the stiff leather, and half-wave in the direction of the uniformed security guard behind the desk, whose face my eyes never quite reach so I can’t tell you what he looks like. He’s just one of the many set-pieces staging the scene of my days.

The elevator ride to the eleventh floor is long enough to skim one-third of a longform article on my phone. I barely register what it’s about, something loosely political, or who is standing next to me in the cramped elevator.

When the doors slide open on eleven, we both get off.

In the dim eleventh-floor lobby, a humming neon light shaping the company logo assaults my sleep-swollen eyes like the prick of a dozen tiny needles. Today, a small section has burned out, creating a skip in the letter w. Below the logo is a tufted cerulean velvet couch where guests wait to be welcomed. To the left there’s a mirrored wall reflecting the vestibule; people sometimes pause there to take photos on the way to and from the office, usually on the Friday afternoon before a long weekend. I see the photos later while scrolling through my various feeds at home in bed. They hit me one after another like shots of tequila: See ya Tuesday! *margarita emoji* Peace out for the long weekend! *palm tree emoji* Byeeeeee! *peace sign emoji.*

She steps in front of me, my elevator companion. Black Rag & Bone ankle boots gleaming, blade-tipped pixie cut grazing her ears. Her neck piercing taunts me, those winking silver balls on either side of her spine. She’s Lexi O’ Connell, the website’s senior editor. She walks ahead with her head angled down, thumb working her phone’s keyboard, and doesn’t look up as she shoves the interior door open, palm to the glass.

I trip over the back of one clunky winter boot with the other as I speed up, considering whether to call out for her attention. It’s what a good web producer, one who is eager to move on from the endless drudgery of copy-pasting and resizing and into the slightly more thrilling drudgery of writing and rewriting, would do.

By the time I regain my footing, I come face-to-face with the smear of her handprint as the door glides shut in front of me.

Monday.

I work at a website.

It’s like most other websites; we publish content, mostly articles: news stories, essays, interviews, glossed over with the polished opalescent sheen of commercialized feminism. The occasional quiz, video, or photoshoot rounds out our offerings. This is how websites work in the age of ad revenue: Each provides a slightly varied selection of mindless entertainment, news updates, and watered-down hot takes about everything from climate change to plus size fashion, hawking their wares on the digital marketplace, leaving The Reader to wander drunkenly through the bazaar, wielding her cursor like an Amex. You can find everything you’d want to read in one place online, dozens of times over. The algorithms have erased choice. Search engines and social media platforms, they know what you want before you do.

As a web producer, my job is to input article text into the website’s proprietary content management system, or CMS. I’m a digitized high school janitor; I clean up the small messes, the litter that misses the rim of the garbage can. I make sure the links are working and the images are high resolution. When anything bigger comes up, it goes to an editor or IT. I’m an expert in nothing, a master of the minuscule fixes.

There are five of us who produce for the entire website, each handling about 20 articles a day. We sit at a long grey table on display at the very center of the open office, surrounded on all sides by editors and writers.

The web producers’ bullpen, Lexi calls it.

The light fixture above the table buzzes loudly like a nest of bees is trapped inside the fluorescent tubing. I drop my bag on the floor and take a seat, shedding my coat like a layer of skin. My chair faces the beauty editor’s desk, the cruelest seat in the house. All day long, I watch Charlotte Miller receive package after package stuffed with pastel tissue paper. Inside those packages: lipstick, foundation, perfume, happiness. A thousand simulacrums of Christmas morning spread across the two-hundred and sixty-one workdays of the year. She has piled the trappings of Brooklyn hipsterdom on top of her blonde, big-toothed, prettiness. Wire-frame glasses, a tattoo of a constellation on her inner left forearm, a rose gold nose ring. She seems Texan, but she’s actually from some wholesome upper Midwestern state, I can never remember which one. Right now, she applies red lipstick from a warm golden tube in the flat gleam of the golden mirror next to her monitor. Everything about her is color-coordinated.

I open my laptop. The screen blinks twice and prompts me for my password. I type it in, and the CMS appears, open to where I left it when I signed off the previous evening. Our CMS is called LIZZIE. There’s a rumor that it was named after Lizzie Borden, christened during the pre-launch party when the tech team pounded too many shots after they finished coding. As in, “Lizzie Borden took an ax and gave her mother forty whacks.” Lizzie Borden rebranded in the 21st century as a symbol of righteous feminine anger. LIZZIE, my best friend, my closest confidant. She’s an equally comforting and infuriating presence, constant in her bland attention. She gazes at me, always emotionless, saying nothing as she watches me teeter on the edge, fighting tears or trying not to doze at my desk or simply staring, in search of answers she cannot provide.

My eyes droop in their sockets as I scan the articles that were submitted before I arrived this morning. The whites threaten to turn liquid and splash onto my keyboard, pool between the keys and jiggle like eggs minus the yolks. Thinking of this causes a tiny laugh to slip out from between my clenched lips. Charlotte slides the cap onto her lipstick, glares at me over the lip of the mirror.

“Morning.”

That’s Tom, the only male web producer, who sits across and slightly left of me, keeping my view of Charlotte’s towering wonderland of boxes and bags clear. He’s four years older than me, twenty-eight, but the plush chipmunk curve of his cheeks makes him appear much younger, like he’s about to graduate high school. He’s cute, though, in the way of a movie star who always gets cast as the geek in teen comedies. Definitely hot but dress him down in an argyle sweater and glasses and he could be a Hollywood nerd. I’ve always wanted to ask him why he works here, doing this. There isn’t really a web producer archetype. We’re all different, a true island of misfit toys.

But if there is a type, Tom doesn’t fit it. He seems smart and driven. He’s consistently the only person who attends company book club meetings having read that month’s selection from cover to cover. I’ve never asked him why he works here because we don’t talk much. No one in our office talks much. Not out loud, anyway. We communicate through a private Morse code, fingers dancing on keys, expressions scanned and evaluated from a distance.

Sometimes I think about flirting with Tom, for something to do, but he wears a wedding ring. Not that I care about his wife; it’s more the fear of rebuff and rejection, of hearing the low-voiced Sorry, I’m married, that stops me. He usually sails in a few minutes after I do, smelling like his bodega coffee and the egg sandwich he carefully unwraps and eats at his desk. He nods in my direction. Morning is the only word we’ve exchanged the entire time I’ve worked here, which is coming up on a year in January. It’s not even a greeting, merely a statement of fact. It is morning and we’re both here. Again.

Three hundred and sixty-five days lost to the hum and twitch and click. I can’t seem to remember how I got here. It all feels like a dream. The mundane kind, full of banal details, but something slightly off about it all. I don’t remember applying for the job, or interviewing. One day, an offer letter appeared in my inbox and I signed.

And here I am. Day after day, I wait for someone to need me. I open articles. I tweak the formatting, check the links, correct the occasional typo that catches my eye. It isn’t really my job to copy edit, or even to read closely, but sometimes I notice things, grammatical errors or awkward phrasing, and I then can’t not notice them; I have to put them right or else they nag like a papercut on the soft webbing connecting two fingers. The brain wants to be useful. It craves activity, even after almost three hundred and sixty-five days of operating at its lowest frequency.

I open emails. I download attachments. I insert numbers into spreadsheets. I email those spreadsheets to Lexi and my direct boss, Ashley, who manages the homepage.

None of it ever seems to add up to anything.

Excerpt from Fan Club by Erin Mayer. Copyright © 2021 by Erin Mayer. Reproduced with permission. All rights reserved.

Meet The Author

Erin Mayer

Erin Mayer is a freelance writer and editor based in Maine. Her work has appeared in Business Insider, Man Repeller, Literary Hub, and others. She was previously an associate fashion and beauty editor at Bustle.com.

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

This excerpt brought to you by MIRA Books

Guest Post: Lindsay Marcott – MRS. ROCHESTER’S GHOST

Good day, book people. Do you have a favorite classic? One of my favorite classics is Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. I’ve loved this book since I read it for the first time many, many years ago in junior high school (aka middle school). Since my love affair began with Jane Eyre, I’ve become invested in all things Jane Eyre, i.e., movie and television adaptations, book adaptations, book retellings, books influenced by, etc. Needless to say, I was very excited when I heard about Mrs. Rochester’s Ghost by Lindsay Marcott. I’m beyond excited to welcome none other than Lindsay Marcott today as she discusses with us a modern take on Jane Eyre. I hope you’ll enjoy what she has to say and will add Mrs. Rochester’s Ghost to your TBR list, if it isn’t already there. Thank you, Ms. Marcott, for stopping by, the blog is now yours.

Jane Eyre for the Modern Age

by Lindsay Marcott

What is it about Jane Eyre that has made it a blockbuster for over a hundred and seventy years? The breathtaking writing, yes. The gripping plot: part Gothic romance, part coming-of-age story. The swooning romance between a rich man and a poor orphan, and the shock of the mad wife secreted in an attic.

But I think most of all it’s the voice of Jane herself: a young woman with an extraordinary sense of her own worth and independence. A voice that was revolutionary in 1847 when Charlotte Brontë published it. At the time, women had little say outside family and home. Their career opportunities outside of marriage were limited to underpaid servants and schoolteachers. Female characters in early Victorian novels were usually portrayed as either sugary too-good-to-be-true angels or fallen women seeking repentance.

Jane is neither. She’s constricted by the society she lives in—she needs to keep a stifling job as a governess or else starve to death—but she makes it clear she’d rather starve than sacrifice her will or stifle her intelligence. As a child, she has a temper and a will, even though she’s punished harshly for it. Later, when her employer, Mr. Rochester, grills her, she responds with strong opinions and engages in spirited debates. And when he tempts her to go live in sin with him in Europe, she escapes through the only means available to her—by running off to the surrounding moors, though it probably means she will die in those wilds. And she will not return to him until she learns he has fundamentally changed, and she can now love him passionately and physically without compromising her true self.

I believe it’s this will and independence of Jane’s that keep modern readers coming back for more (not to mention that throbbing romance!), and these are the same elements that inspire continual adaptations of the story. I had long dreamed of creating modern versions of these characters, because they so thrilled and delighted me and taught me life lessons over many years of my rereading the book. A nervy dream, yes. But also one that presented huge challenges: there are so many elements of the book that just won’t fly in an updated story.

For example: a current-day Jane would not be able to keep her curiosity under wraps about all the strange and spooky things going on in Mr. Rochester’s house. She wouldn’t just accept vague explanations or agree to his request to simply not ask about them. She would be itching to find out more.

Also a sexual relationship outside of marriage is no longer a taboo for most women of today. Jane wouldn’t have to flee that temptation. And of course a modern Mr. Rochester would be able to divorce a mad wife, though no doubt having to pay a heavy alimony for her future care. So that’s no longer even an obstacle.

But lies are always a problem in a relationship. Especially big lies.

A secret bigamist is a pretty big lie.

Being a secret murderer would be an even bigger one.

It was thinking about this that gave me the idea of adapting the book as a modern thriller. One in which Rochester does not have a stashed-away wife—instead he’s suspected of murdering a famous wife who has now disappeared. Jane would have to surreptitiously seek out the truth about him–guilty or not?–before she could give in to falling in love. And when spooky things happened, she would need to confront those as well. She would be risking an enormous amount. Losing the love of her life. And maybe also losing her life.

And so I set about writing a thriller, adding startling new twists, putting in jumps and shivers. The result is Mrs. Rochester’s Ghost. It was a joy to write, and I certainly hope it’s an equal joy to read.


 

Mrs. Rochester's GhostMrs. Rochester’s Ghost by Lindsay Marcott
ISBN: 9781542026383 (hardcover)
ISBN: 9781542026390 (paperback)
ISBN: 9781713561422 (audiobook)
ISBN: 9781713561415 (audiobook on CD)
ASIN: B08DFSR14S (Kindle edition)
ASIN: B08L9LPFZP (Audible audiobook)
Release Date: August 1, 2021
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
Genre: Fiction | Mystery | Thriller | Retelling

 In a modern and twisty retelling of Jane Eyre, a young woman must question everything she thinks she knows about love, loyalty, and murder.

Jane has lost everything: job, mother, relationship, even her home. A friend calls to offer an unusual deal—a cottage above the crashing surf of Big Sur on the estate of his employer, Evan Rochester. In return, Jane will tutor his teenage daughter. She accepts.

But nothing is quite as it seems at the Rochester estate. Though he’s been accused of murdering his glamorous and troubled wife, Evan Rochester insists she drowned herself. Jane is skeptical, but she still finds herself falling for the brilliant and secretive entrepreneur and growing close to his daughter.

And yet her deepening feelings for Evan can’t disguise dark suspicions aroused when a ghostly presence repeatedly appears in the night’s mist and fog. Jane embarks on an intense search for answers and uncovers evidence that soon puts Evan’s innocence into question. She’s determined to discover what really happened that fateful night, but what will the truth cost her?

 

Read An Excerpt:

The fog streamed in white scarves and pennants, with a bright half moon playing hide-and-seek among them. I walked briskly down the asphalt drive, Pilot racing figure eights around me. We cut across switchbacks toward the highway. I kept to the gravel shoulder as the grade descended.

A pair of headlights glowered in the mist, then swept swiftly by.

The highway continued to dip. Pilot romped ahead and disappeared from my sight around a curve.

“Pilot!” I heard him barking but couldn’t see him. I quickened my steps.

I found myself in the middle of a dense cloud. Fog gathered in the depression in the road.

“Pilot?” I yelled again. “Where are you?”

Excited yapping. But he was a ghost dog.

The roar of a motorcycle echoed from around the far side of the bend. Through the blanketing cloud, I caught a glimpse of the poodle trotting onto the road.

“Pilot, get back here!” I screamed.

The motorcycle’s headlamp glowed dimly as it appeared on the near side of the bend. Pilot barked with sudden frenzy. The headlamp veered crazily. Pilot darted off the road into the underbrush. A sickening sound of tires skidding out of control on gravel. A shout.

With horror, I watched motorcycle and rider slam down onto the gravel shoulder.

I ran toward the rider. He was sprawled crookedly next to the bike, but his limbs, encased in black leather and jeans, were moving stiffly. Alive, at least. With a groan, he hoisted himself up onto his elbows.

“Are you okay?” I shined my flashlight on him. He whipped his head. “What the hell are you?”

“Just a person,” I said quickly.

He yanked his goggles down. “For Chrissake. I meant who are you? What are you doing here?”

“Taking a walk.”

“What kind of lunatic goes out for a walk in this kind of fog?”

“Maybe the same kind of lunatic who drives way too fast in it.”

“You call that fast? Christ.” He gingerly gathered himself into a sitting position, then flexed his feet in the heavy boots experimentally. He took off his helmet and shook out a head of rough black curls. A week’s tangle of rough salt-and-pepper beard nearly obscured a wide mouth. The prominent nose might be called stately on a more good-natured face. “What the hell was that creature in the middle of the road?”

“A dog.”

“A dog?”

“A standard poodle. Unclipped.”

He put the helmet back on, then pulled a cell phone from his jacket and squinted at the screen. “Nothing,” he muttered.

“The reception’s kind of iffy around here.”

He flung out an arm. “Help me up, okay?”

I approached him tentatively. He was over six feet and powerfully built. About twice my weight, I guessed. “I’m not sure I can pull you.”

“Yeah, you probably can’t. Stoop down a little.”

God, he’s rude. I did, and he draped his arm around my shoulder, transferring his weight. My knees buckled a little but didn’t give. He began to stand, crumpled slightly, then got his balance and pulled himself up straight.

I suddenly became aware of his intense physicality. The power of his arm and shoulder against my body, the taut spring of the muscles in his chest. As if he sensed what I was feeling, he shook off my support and stood on his own feet.

“At least you can put weight on your feet,” I said. “That’s a good sign.”

“Are you a medical professional?”

“No.”

“Then your opinion doesn’t count for much at the moment.”

Go to hell, was on the tip of my tongue. But the fog’s chill was making me sniffle. It seemed absurd to attempt a stinging retort with a dripping nose. I swiped it surreptitiously with the sleeve of my jacket.

He walked, limping slightly, to the Harley. “This thing’s supposed to take a corner. That’s the main reason I bought it!” He gave the seat a savage kick. Then he hopped on his nonkicking boot and shook a fist as if in defiance of some bully of a god who particularly had it in for him.

I laughed.

He whirled on me. My laughter froze. The look of fury on his face sent a thrill of alarm through me. I edged backward; I felt at that moment he could murder me without compunction and leave my corpse to be devoured by coyotes and bobcats.

But then, to my astonishment, he grinned. “You’re right. I look like an ass.”

Pilot suddenly came crashing out of the underbrush.

“Is that your mutt?”

“Yes. Though, actually, not mine. He’s a recent addition at the place I’m staying.”

He stared at me, a thought dawning. I forced myself to stare back: deep-set eyes, dark as ink. I was about to introduce myself, but he yanked the goggles back over his eyes and stooped to the handlebar of the bike. “Help me get this up. Grab the other bar. You pull and I’ll push.”

“It’s too heavy.”

“I’ll do the heavy lifting. Just do what you can.”

Obstinately, I didn’t move.

“Please,” he added. He made the word sound like an obscenity.

I took a grudging step forward and grabbed hold of the handlebar with both hands. I tugged it toward me as he lifted his side with a grunt. The bike slowly rose upright.

“Hold it steady,” he said.

It felt like it weighed several tons—it took every ounce of my strength to keep my side up as he straddled the seat. He grasped both bars. Engaged the clutch, cursing in pain as he stomped on the pedal. He glanced at me briefly.

And then, sending up a heavy spray of gravel, the Harley roared off into the enveloping fog.

“You’re welcome, Mr. Rochester!” I shouted into the deepening gloom.

Excerpt from Mrs. Rochester’s Ghost by Lindsay Marcott. Copyright © 2021 by Lindsay Marcott. Published by Thomas & Mercer. Reproduced with permission. All rights reserved.

Meet the Author

Lindsay Marcott_(c) Kenneth LockerLindsay Marcott is the author of The Producer’s Daughter and six previous novels written as Lindsay Maracotta. Her books have been translated into eleven languages and adapted for cable. She also wrote for the Emmy-nominated HBO series The Hitchhiker and co-produced a number of films. She lives on the coast of California. You can contact the author on her website at https://www.lindsaymarcott.com/.

Connect with the author at:
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Giveaway

This is a Rafflecopter giveaway for one (1) Amazon gift card and one (1) digital copy of Mrs. Rochester’s Ghost by Lindsay Marcott. This contest is being run by PitchLit Publicity Services. The winner will be selected and contacted by PitchLit at the end of the contest period. Void where prohibited.

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Book Showcase: PRIMORDIAL by David L. Sobel

PRIMORDIAL Virtual Book Tour Banner, Red background with white torn paper listing all of the virtual book tour stops between June 14 through June 18; book cover, white background, with blood droplets beside the tips of opened surgical forceps, PRIMORDIAL is in large red letters across the forceps, David L. Sobel, MD, JD is also in red below the forceps.

Primordial by David Sobel
ISBN: 9781736303504 (paperback)
ISBN: 9781736303511 (ebook)
ASIN: B08Q7Z9MZF (Kindle edition)
Release Date: December 7, 2020
Genre: Fiction | Thriller | Medical Thriller

Primordial by David Sobel, is a Crichton-like thriller that centers on the plights of two scientists separated by decades and borders but united in their obsessive quest for the physical location of the soul. Jonas, a hospital attorney, begins to suspect that someone is targeting patients in his NYC hospital. With the help of two residents, his search for answers will bring him face to face with a killer.

Thought-provoking, both scientifically and ethically, Primordial is a story that spans decades of medical and legal mystery, history and suspense. It will transport readers to a Nazi medical laboratory in World War II, then back to present day New York City where an unlikely trio, Jonas the experienced hospital lawyer, “Early” the quirky urology resident, and Rachel, the wickedly smart neurosurgery resident, struggle to piece together a series of unexplained killings. Debut author Dr. Sobel weaves his medical expertise and extensive historical research in a twisted tangle of secrets that will keep readers on the edge of their seats.

Read an excerpt:

Rudolph “Rudy” Walla was sweating.

He stood, perfectly still, within the one-meter square sentry post that was positioned just inside the back gate of the Seelentor concentration camp. The post was a tiny glass and wood structure with a small external cut-out that housed a potbelly stove. The stove, on this bitter February night, poured molten heat into the structure. Rudy’s breath, exhaled in the long drawl of the bored and tired, condensed on the front pane of glass, obscuring his view. He was just able to discern the shadowy outline of the SS-Schutze—the private—who had occupied the post before Rudy came looking for a reprieve from the cold. He smiled at the thought of a sentry post with a frosted view and of the private, hunched and angry, pacing in the cold. Not much to see anyway, he thought to himself, returning to his slow, metered breathing. Rudy was in a corner of Poland—forgotten, miserable, stoic, and sweating. God, was he sweating.

Rudy’s wool uniform, the severe black of the SS, was plastered to his body. Each movement was a sticky uncomfortableness. The commander of the camp had called the sentry post the Aufrechten Sarg—the “upright coffin.” And, as horrible as the coffin was, it beat the blistering cold that was just on the other side of the glass. It was early morning. Dawn was approaching and the sun was just tickling the sky, turning the black into a bruised dark blue. The earth felt as if every ounce of heat had been stolen away. A brittle and broken, icicle-white wasteland. His sanctuary was a stifling coffin. Rudy thought of Ishmael and the white whale. And, not uncommon on a lonely, sleepless night, he thought of the hand of fate that had steered him all the way from his childhood in Berlin to this tiny box in this foreign land.

Excerpt from Primordial by David Sobel. Copyright © by David Sobel. Reproduced with permission. All rights reserved.

Meet The Author

Author - David Sobel MD JD

David Sobel, M.D./J.D. is a board-certified practicing urologist who specializes in sexual medicine and is a faculty member at the University of Colorado. He has over 21 years of experience and graduated from the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine. Prior to becoming a physician, he was a corporate lawyer with Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison in NYC. Dr. Sobel is also a founder of Emmi Solutions, a company that creates education modules that assist patients with their medical care. He lives in Denver with his wife and two children.

Connect with the Author:

Facebook | Goodreads | Instagram | Twitter

 

This excerpt and virtual book tour brought to you by PR By The Book

Guest Post: Eleanor Kuhns – DEATH IN THE GREAT DISMAL

As most of you have probably discerned by now, I’m somewhat of a fanatic when it comes to reading. Seriously, if a day goes by and I don’t read I feel as if there’s something seriously wrong. (Okay, there’s probably something wrong with the fact that I’m addicted to reading, but that’s a problem I’m not even thinking about seeking treatment for anytime soon!) My reading style can only be classified as eclectic as I enjoy reading mysteries, suspense, thrillers, fantasy, sci-fi, horror, romance, romantic-suspense, ChickLit, YA, and nonfiction. I read contemporary fiction and historical fiction without a preference for any time period. One of the many things I enjoy about reading historical fiction is that many authors will include interesting historical tidbits that pique my interest in learning more. Eleanor Kuhns writes the Will Rees Mystery series, historical fiction, and Death In the Dismal is the latest addition to this series. I’m incredibly honored to host Ms. Kuhns today. Ms. Kuhns will be providing us with some background on the history and current use of the Great Dismal Swamp. I hope you’ll enjoy learning something new about this swampland, follow the blog tour to read some great reviews, and add Death in the Great Dismal to your TBR list. Dear book people, I give you Eleanor Kuhns. Thank you, Ms. Kuhns, for taking the time to stop by and visit with us today. I look forward to learning more about the setting of your latest book.

The History of the Great Dismal

by Eleanor Kuhns

In Death in the Great Dismal, Rees and Lydia take an unusually long journey. They go south, to the Great Dismal Swamp, at the request of their friend Tobias. He and his wife Ruth are free blacks, born in Maine, but they are taken off the street and sold down south (in Death of a Dyer.) Tobias and Ruth both flee servitude but while Tobias escapes back to Maine, Ruth runs to the Great Dismal Swamp and a community of other fugitives like herself.

Now Tobias wants to rescue her. He believes he will have a better chance returning north if accompanied by White friends.

At first Rees refuses. But Lydia persuades him to agree. After the conflict between them (in A Circle of Dead Girls), the previous spring when their marriage was sorely tested, she feels they need a time away from home to mend their relationship.

But the swamp is much more challenging than either Rees or Lydia expects.

Although native peoples knew of the swamp, it was discovered by Europeans only in 1665, by William Drummond. He was the first governor of North Carolina and the large shallow lake in the swamp is named for him. George Washington visited the swamp when he was a young British Officer. He saw potential for development in this wilderness and later founded the Great Dismal Swamp Canal company, with others, with the intention of draining the swamp.

The original size of the swamp is estimated at between one million and three million acres. It is a peat bog and the water-saturated peat is very thick. Despite the difficulty of draining the water, some of the swamp has been developed. The area that is left, which spans a section of southern Virginia and reaches into North Carolina, is 112 acres. It is now a Wildlife Refuge, a habitat for over 200 species of birds, a large black bear population, deer, bobcats, snakes and turtles, and many insects. (All biting, I think. Insect repellant is a must.) There are no rocks or stones of any kind in the swamp.

This is the environment that fugitives from the surrounding plantations fled to. The runaways were called maroons. (The origin of the name is not known although one theory posits it is from the French marronage – to flee.) They found refuge on the islands of higher ground that dot the swamp. Small villages and farms were established, although most of the fields were little more than an acre in size. Sweet potatoes, corn and squash were the most common crops. Feral cattle and pigs that had escaped from their pens, as well as deer, turtles, and other animals provided meat.

Some of the villages were located on the outskirts of the swamp. As I describe in the novel, the Maroons made regular forays to the plantations to take supplies, especially those items they could not find or make within the swamp. Bands of slave takers and their dogs regularly pursued the fugitives into the swamp, both to recapture what they saw as property, as well as to stop the raids on the plantations.

Other runaways lived deep within the swamp, far away from the reach of the white world. Both men and women escaped bondage, although more men than women. Family groups were established, and children were born. Many of these Maroons did not leave the swamp until after the end of the Civil War; at that point the children and grandchildren born in the swamp had never seen a white person.

Trapped within the small village by the inhospitable ecosystem outside, Rees and Lydia are the outsiders, already distrusted because of their white skins. Within days of their arrival, there is one murder and then another. Who among these few people is a murderer and why?

Death In The Great Dismal

by Eleanor Kuhns

March 22 – April 16, 2021 Tour

Synopsis:

DEATH IN THE GREAT DISMAL - EKuhns

Finding themselves in a slave community hidden within the Great Dismal Swamp, Will Rees and his wife Lydia get caught up in a dangerous murder case where no one trusts them.

September 1800, Maine. Will Rees is beseeched by Tobias, an old friend abducted by slave catchers years before, to travel south to Virginia to help transport his pregnant wife, Ruth, back north. Though he’s reluctant, Will’s wife Lydia convinces him to go . . . on the condition she accompanies them.

Upon arriving in a small community of absconded slaves hiding within the Great Dismal Swamp, Will and Lydia are met with distrust. Tensions are high and a fight breaks out between Tobias and Scipio, a philanderer with a bounty on his head known for conning men out of money. The following day Scipio is found dead – shot in the back.

Stuck within the hostile Great Dismal and with slave catchers on the prowl, Will and Lydia find themselves caught up in their most dangerous case yet.

Kuhns’ vivid portrayal of the community that developed inside the swamp captures a group of naturally cunning and vigilant people who provided a family for one another when most had none. . . the story shines for its historical backbone and atmospheric details.

Booklist

Book Details:

Genre: Mystery, Thriller
Published by: Severn House Publishers
Publication Date: January 5th 2021
Number of Pages: 224
ISBN: 0727890239 (ISBN13: 9780727890238)
Series: Will Rees Mysteries #8
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

Author Bio:

 

Author - Eleanor Kuhns

Eleanor is the 2011 winner of the Minotaur Books/Mystery Writers of America First Crime novel winner. After working as a librarian, she transitioned to a full time writer. This is number eight in the Will Rees Mystery series.

Catch Up With Eleanor Kuhns:
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Guest Post: Emilya Naymark – HIDE IN PLACE

Hello, book people and welcome to the almost end of the week! (Hey, we have to celebrate what we can, when we can.) I’m constantly searching for new-to-me authors and adding new-to-me titles to my TBR list then lamenting the fact that I never seem to find the time to get to read all of the books I want. (Yes, I know that if I actually stopped re-re-reading books I might actually have time to read all of these new-to-me books, but that’s a whole other discussion.) Since I began this blog, I’ve realized all of the hard work and research that goes into writing. Authors have to choose the setting for the books, the characters and their names, the action, when the characters will speak, etc. As readers, we presume it’s all done effortlessly, but if you read a book that’s set in a familiar location and the author makes a mistake in describing an area, you quickly realize that it isn’t as effortless as it appears. I’m pleased to welcome Emilya Naymark, author of Hide In Place to the blog today. Ms. Naymark will be discussing with us today the importance of setting or location for a story. Please join me in welcoming Ms. Naymark and I hope you’ll enjoy what she has to say. Thank you, Ms. Naymark for taking the time to join us today.

Location, Location, Location

A story’s setting is so important that it’s often thought of as yet another character. Location has moods and atmosphere, it can be benign or antagonistic, and it, more than any other aspect of a novel, offers escapism.

When deciding where to set my debut crime novel, I had no doubts—it would take place in the Hudson Valley of New York, my new home. I moved to the Hudson Valley in 2013, and I immediately became enamored of its mountains, rivers, lakes and endless hiking opportunities. The Appalachian Trail runs through forests mere miles from my house. There is a tremendous amount of history here too, with West Point a short drive north and a restaurant still in operation which had served, briefly, as Major John André’s prison before his execution.

The land is picturesque here year-round, but winter offers a particularly stark beauty, and when I began writing I knew right away my characters had to face their demons in the middle of a snowstorm.

However, writing is a way for an author to practice escapism as well, and when I thought of my NYPD detective character, Laney Bird, working, I imagined her at the opposite end of the spectrum—on a sun-blistered boardwalk in New York’s Brighton Beach. Not only did I enjoy transporting myself to the beach and “Little Odessa”, as Brighton Beach is known, but the setting made absolute sense for Laney’s job. As an undercover detective, she works a RICO (racketeering) case against the Russian mob. And where better to do this than at the bull’s eye epicenter of Russian mafia in New York (if not the entire USA)?

The novel swings back and forth between Laney’s past, working her case in sun-drenched Brighton and her horrifying present in an icebound Hudson Valley.

These settings have psychological connotations as well—the seemingly cloudless, warm past, tinged with a nostalgic glow over its boardwalks, sand, and ethnic foods, and the harsh, cold, isolated present. Memories for characters in books, as for real people leading real lives, are not the most accurate recorders of reality, and so the environment steps in as a metaphor. Maybe Laney’s time working the racketeering case seems hotter, sunnier, merrier, because back then she thought she had everything she ever wanted.

And maybe her life in February-frigid Sylvan seems colder and more nightmarish because of all the things she believes she’s lost.

 

Hide In Place

by Emilya Naymark

March 1-31, 2021 Tour

Synopsis:

HIDE IN PLACE - ENaymark

She left the NYPD in the firestorm of a high-profile case gone horribly wrong. Three years later, the ghosts of her past roar back to terrifying life.

When NYPD undercover cop Laney Bird’s cover is blown in a racketeering case against the Russian mob, she flees the city with her troubled son, Alfie. Now, three years later, she’s found the perfect haven in Sylvan, a charming town in upstate New York. But then the unthinkable happens: her boy vanishes.

Local law enforcement dismisses the thirteen-year-old as a runaway, but Laney knows better. Alfie would never abandon his special routines and the sanctuary of their home. Could he have been kidnapped–or worse? As a February snowstorm rips through the region, Laney is forced to launch her own investigation, using every trick she learned in her years undercover.

As she digs deeper into the disappearance, Laney learns that Alfie and a friend had been meeting with an older man who himself vanished, but not before leaving a corpse in his garage. With dawning horror, Laney discovers that the man was a confidential informant from a high-profile case she had handled in the past. Although he had never known her real identity, he knows it now. Which means several other enemies do, too. Time is running out, and as Laney’s search for her son grows more desperate, everything depends on how good a detective she really is–badge or no.

Book Details:

Genre: Thriller
Published by: Crooked Lane Books
Publication Date: February 9, 2020
Number of Pages: 278
ISBN: 1643856375 (ISBN13: 9781643856377)
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Goodreads

 

Author Bio:

Author - Emilya Naymark

Emilya Naymark’s short stories appear in Secrets in the Water, After Midnight: Tales from the Graveyard Shift, River River Journal, Snowbound: Best New England Crime Stories 2017, 1+30: THE BEST OF MY STORY, and in the upcoming Harper Collins anthology A Stranger Comes to Town.

She has a degree in fine art, and her artworks have been published in numerous magazines and books, earning her a reputation as a creator of dark, psychological pieces.

When not writing, Emilya works as a visual artist and reads massive quantities of thrillers and crime fiction. She lives in the Hudson Valley with her family.

Catch Up With Emilya Naymark:
www.EmilyaNaymark.com/author/
Goodreads
BookBub
Instagram
Twitter
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Tour Participants:

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https://www.linkytools.com/basic_linky_include.aspx?id=300531

 

 

Giveaway!:

This is a Rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Emilya Naymark. There will be THREE winners. ONE winner will receive (1) physical copy of Hide In Place by Emilya Naymark (U.S. addresses only). The giveaway begins on March 1, 2021 and runs through April 2, 2021. Void where prohibited.

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