2017 Book 238: BAD BLOOD by Brian McGilloway

Bad Blood: A Lucy Black Thriller (DS Lucy Black #4) by Brian McGilloway 
ISBN: 9780062684578 (paperback – July 25, 2017)
ISBN: 9780062684554 (ebook)
ASIN: B01N3KOBQF (Kindle edition)
Publication date: June 13, 2017 
Publisher: Witness Impulse 

“Brian McGilloway blends timeless values with ripped-from-the-headlines issues to produce some of the very best crime fiction being written today.” —Lee Child, #1 New York Times bestselling author

A young man is found in a riverside park, his head bashed in with a rock. One clue is left behind to uncover his identity—an admission stamp for the local gay club.

DS Lucy Black is called in to investigate. As Lucy delves into the community, tensions begin to rise as the man’s death draws the attention of the local Gay Rights group to a hate-speech Pastor who, days earlier, had advocated the stoning of gay people and who refuses to retract his statement.

Things become further complicated with the emergence of a far-right group targeting immigrants in a local working-class estate. As their attacks escalate, Lucy and her boss, Tom Fleming, must also deal with the building power struggle between an old paramilitary commander and his deputy that threatens to further enflame an already volatile situation.

Hatred and complicity abound in McGilloway’s new Lucy Black thriller. Compelling and current, Bad Blood is an expertly crafted and acutely observed page-turner, delivering the punch that readers of Little Lost Girl have grown to expect.

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It’s pre-Brexit days in Northern Ireland and tensions are flying high. Anti-immigration, anti-homosexuality, and “us” first thinking are the norm. DS Lucy Black is called to investigate one apparent hate crime after another in the fourth installment in the Lucy Black series by Brian McGilloway, Bad Blood

A young man’s body is found in a park and a bloody stone is found nearby. A local pastor was heard just hours before to say that stoning of homosexuals was acceptable behavior for their sins. A local Romanian family is targeted by anti-immigrant thinkers. The same pastor has been heard saying the communities should be for “us” versus “them.” Things are never quite as simple or black-and-white and DS Lucy Black and her boss DI Tom Fleming know that although this pastor has been spewing what can only be deemed “hate” speech, he’s not the only one with these sentiments. Is it possible they can find the killer before another person is targeted?

As previously mentioned, Bad Blood is the fourth in the Lucy Black series and the second book that I’ve read. As with the previous books in this series, I found this one to be a fast-paced and engaging read. It was quite interesting to read about a pre-Brexit environment in a post-Brexit world. It’s been awhile since I’ve read Little Lost Girl, but the dynamics between Lucy and her coworkers have developed quite nicely as has her relationship with her mother. Bad Blood features a lot more political action than I expected and although timely and topical it casts the bad guys in a strange light (politics makes for strange bedfellows my friends). Are there bad guys in this story? Oh yes. There are bad guys, guys that seemed to be sucked into bad things, and then just really, really bad and very manipulative bad guys. There’s a lot of action going on in Bad Blood including the upcoming Brexit vote, hate crimes, hate speech, murder, multiple assaults, and even attempted rape (no, not going to tell you who, read the book!), and it all takes place in less than one week. The title is perfect because it refers to “bad blood” from past inflictions and the present, “bad blood” between family members, and more. If you enjoy reading crime fiction or mystery thrillers then you’ll definitely want to add Bad Blood to your TBR list. Did I enjoy reading Bad Blood? Yes! I had forgotten why I enjoyed reading Mr. McGilloway’s writing, but reading Bad Blood brought it back to me so much so that I’ll be rereading Little Girl Lost and the remaining books in the Lucy Black series just to catch up. 

Disclaimer: I received a free digital review copy of this book from the publisher for review purposes via Edelweiss Plus. 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.”

Author Bio:
Brian McGilloway

Brian McGilloway was born in Derry, Northern Ireland. After studying English at Queen’s University, Belfast, he took up a teaching position at St Columb’s College in Derry, where he was Head of English. He is the author of the New York Times best-selling Lucy Black series, all to be published by WitnessImpulse. Brian lives near the Irish borderlands with his wife and their four children.

Catch Up With Our Author On:

Website , Goodreads , Twitter , & Facebook !

Tour Participants:

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

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This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Brian McGilloway and WitnessImpulse. There will be 3 winners of one (1) non-Kindle eBook coupon for a copy of THE FORGOTTEN ONES by Brian McGilloway. The giveaway begins on June 24 and runs through August 1, 2017.

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Bad Blood: A Lucy Black Thriller

Bad Blood: A Lucy Black Thriller


Bad Blood

Guest Post: Susan Kandel, DREAM A LITTLE DEATH

Good morning, my bookish peeps. Today, The Book Diva’s Reads is pleased to host a visit by the best-selling mystery author Susan Kandel in celebration of her latest release, Dream A Little Death. Ms. Kandel will be discussing kitchen remodeling, mood boards, and writing inspirations. Thank you, Ms. Kandel, for your visit and taking the time to give us insight into your writing process.

             After twenty-six years of cohabiting with a dysfunctional kitchen — I’m talking drawers fused permanently shut, tiles that looked fresh when Bush Sr. was President, trashed hardwood floors you can’t walk on barefoot without getting splinters, a disposal that shoots carrot bits into the air like soggy pieces of confetti — I’m doing a remodel. With no idea how to accomplish this goal short of throwing myself at the mercy of a minimum-wage employee at Ikea, I hightailed it over to the local fancy kitchen showroom, where I was greeted by a decidedly not minimum-wage designer sporting a one-shouldered silk dress, kitten-heeled mules, and perfectly highlighted blond waves.

            “How might I be of service?” the woman asked.

            You could tell me where you get your hair cut, and do an edit of my closet.     

            “I’m looking for ideas,” I said haltingly. “I’m remodeling my kitchen. I think maybe the appliances are okay. They’re stainless steel. And less than fifteen years old. But everything else is a disaster.”

            Sensing she was dealing with a novice, the woman, whose name was (of course) Fabienne, led me over to her desk and sat me down with a coffee. A double espresso, actually, made with a gleaming machine from Italy that I was suddenly desperate to buy, even if it meant forgoing a mortgage payment.

            Fabienne began by asking me if I’d heard of Pinterest. I had, vaguely, though when it comes to new ideas for using the computer to make life easier, I usually duck for cover. Fabienne explained that she always tells her clients to get started on their remodels by getting onto Pinterest, finding boards to follow, choosing one board from an individual or following all of that person’s boards, then moving on to creating their own boards, deciding if they’re public or private, blah, blah, blah.

            At that point, despite the double espresso, I must’ve looked weak and unfocused because Fabienne took my by the shoulder and said, “Have you ever heard of a mood board? That’s all I’m talking about.”         

            Well, why didn’t you say so?

            Mood boards are my everything.

            People always ask writers how they get their ideas, and how they organize them into novels with beginnings, middles, and ends. For me, the beginnings are always the most challenging, and that is where my mood boards come in.

            In my garage-cum-office, I keep an enormous clippings file. Inside there are stories from newspapers and magazines that have caught my interest over the years, about anything from “faux mitzvahs” to the woman accused of faking her own kidnapping to the sordid confessions of a “honey trapper,” who, I learned, is someone paid to come on to men to see if they’ll cheat. Dig a little deeper into my file and there are pages ripped out of fashion magazines, of the outlandish, sometimes demure, sometimes elegant-beyond-measure outfits that at one time or another inspired me to wonder, “Who is that girl?” Deeper still are pictures of charged objects that may or may not wind up as Maguffins: a red lipstick (a clue?); a rare Nancy Drew 1st edition (a motive?); a unicorn Frappucino (in the hand of a sorority president type?); a black ice cream cone with dark chocolate ice cream and dark chocolate sprinkles (in the hands of the perpetually angry sister who just might want to do away with her?) There are fortunes from fortune cookies that seem like novels in themselves (“Your luck has entirely changed today”). And finally there are postcards of places and settings interesting enough to want to write about: Bugsy Siegel’s former gambling hideaway in Lake Arrowhead; the tattoo parlor around the corner from my house; the unexpected lake in the middle of Echo Park; an historic Spanish-Moroccan castle in Los Feliz; Raymond Chandler’s favorite restaurant on Hollywood Blvd.; Cher’s over-the-top Beverly Hills mansion.

            Perhaps you’re getting the idea. When I am starting a new book, the first place I look is in my file. I start pulling out clippings and pictures, arranging them on a large corkboard that covers an entire wall of my office, and seeing what kinds of associations they trigger, how they play off of one another, what kinds of stories they might tell. In my previous life, I was an art critic and would spend my days looking at paintings, sculptures, photographs and installations, trying to translate what the artist does visually into a story I can tell in words. I suppose old habits die hard, because this is in many ways exactly how I go about my work as a fiction writer. I begin with the visual, and work my way into the verbal.

            Back to Fabienne at the kitchen showroom. I walked out of there without the espresso maker, but with a promise to myself to get onto Pinterest as soon as I got home. That was a year ago. Maybe by the time you are reading this, you will find me there. Or maybe not. I suppose some things — including my still-broken garbage disposal — are meant to forever remain mysteries.

Dream A Little Death

by Susan Kandel

on Tour May 23 – June 23, 2017


Dream A Little Death by Susan Kandel

From critically acclaimed author Susan Kandel comes a charming new mystery featuring Dreama Black and a cast of zany LA-based characters.

The first time I set eyes on Miles McCoy, I worried he might try to eat me. He was the size and girth of a North American grizzly, with long, silver-tipped hair, a long silver-tipped beard, and small dark eyes that bore into me like I was a particularly fine specimen of Chinook salmon. It couldn’t have helped that I’d used a honey scrub the morning we met. I should’ve known better. Not just about the scrub, but about a lot of things.

Like braving the freeway during rush hour.

Like thinking you can’t get a ticket for parking at a broken meter.

Like racing up to his penthouse in gladiator sandals, and expecting not to twist an ankle.

Like watching his fiancée shoot herself, and assuming it was suicide, instead of murder.

Meet Dreama Black. A 28-year-old, third-generation groupie trying to figure out who she is after being publicly dumped by the rock god whose mega-hit, “Dreama, Little Dreama” made the name and the girl world-famous. Now Dreama supports herself by running custom-designed, themed tours of her hometown of L.A. When she is hired by a Raymond Chandler-obsessed rap producer to create a “L.A. noir” tour as his present to his soon-to-be bride, Dreama gets pulled into the middle of a possible murder, corrupt cops, and an unforgettable pair of femme fatales.

Book Details:

Genre: Mystery/Thriller
Published by: Witness Impulse
Publication Date: May 23rd 2017
Number of Pages: 304
ISBN: 0062674994 (ISBN13: 9780062674999)
Series: A Dreama Black Mystery, 1
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

Author Bio:

An Agatha, Edgar, and SCIBA nominee, Susan Kandel is the author of the nationally best-selling and critically acclaimed Cece Caruso series, the most recent of which, Dial H for Hitchcock (Morrow), was named by NPR as one of the five best mysteries of the year. A Los Angeles native, she was trained as an art historian, taught at NYU and UCLA, and spent a decade as an art critic at the Los Angeles Times. When not writing, she volunteers as a court-appointed advocate for foster children, and loves to explore secret, forgotten, and kitschy L.A. She lives with her husband in West Hollywood.

Catch Up With Our Author On:

Website, Goodreads, Twitter, & Facebook!

Tour Participants:

Here’s Your Chance to WIN!

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Susan Kandel and Harper Collins. There will be 5 winners of one (1) eBook copy of Dream A Little Death by Susan Kandel. The giveaway begins on May 23rd and runs through June 27th, 2017.

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Guest Author Post: Stephen Booth, SECRETS OF DEATH

Hello, my bookish peeps. Today the Book Diva’s Reads is pleased to host a visit from Stephen Booth, author of the Cooper and Fry mystery series including the latest installment in this series, Secrets of Death. Mr. Booth will be discussing creating a sense of place in his writings. Thank you, Mr. Booth, for taking time out of your busy schedule to share a few minutes with us today. 

Darkness and light – creating a sense of place

My interest in using a strong sense of place in crime fiction goes back a long way. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s ‘The Hound of the Baskervilles’ made a deep impression on me as a child – a very dark story, with a wild, remote setting. In another story, Sherlock Holmes tells Dr. Watson: “The lowest and vilest alleys of London do not present a more dreadful record of sin than does the smiling and beautiful countryside.” 

So it was perhaps inevitable that I would choose a rural setting for the Cooper and Fry series. And the Derbyshire Peak District was the perfect choice.

The original inspiration for Edendale, my fictional Derbyshire town, came while I was admiring a wonderful panorama of the Hope Valley from a location called Surprise View. It was the spectacular picture I had in my mind when I began to write ‘Black Dog’, the first novel featuring young police detectives Ben Cooper and Diane Fry. 

But that spot also marks the boundary between the Dark Peak and the White Peak, the geologically contrasting halves of the Peak District which provide perfect symbolism for a crime novel, representing the dark and light, good and evil. Those sudden eruptions of black, twisted rock in the middle of a picturesque landscape constantly remind me of the darkness that lurks beneath the surface. 

Since then, various locations have inspired each book in the series. The eerie silence of Stanton Moor and its stone circles inspired the scene of a murder in ‘Dancing with the Virgins’. Winter on the Snake Pass and the remains of Second World War aircraft wrecks came together in ‘Blood on the Tongue’. The desolate moors and vanished communities of Longdendale helped me create the village of Withens and the tribal Oxley family in ‘Blind to the Bones’. Castleton and its underground caves are central to ‘One Last Breath’. 

In many of those places, there’s definitely a sense of that lurking darkness beneath that surface, sinister secrets behind the attractive exterior. And that’s what I’m writing about – complex family relationships, ancient vendettas, the deepest mysteries of the human heart.

The Peak District appealed to me on several different levels. I was born in a similar area a little further north, and I know the people can be a little, er… quirky? They’re stubborn and independent, and tend to say no more than is absolutely necessary, which makes them interesting to write about. There’s a huge range of wonderfully atmospheric locations within a small area, plus thousands of years of history – much of it visible right there in the landscape, from stone circles to abandoned lead mines. It’s said to be the second most visited national park in the world, resulting from the fact that it isn’t really remote, but has several cities right on the doorstep, so that everyone treats it as their back yard. One of the subjects I explore in the books is the uneasy relationship between city and countryside. Of course, there are inherent conflicts between all those millions of visitors and the people who live and work in the Peaks. It’s also fairly easy to commit your murder in one of the cities and drive out into the national park to dispose of the body!

I think of the Peak District as beautiful but dangerous. It can be quite a frightening place, particularly for people unfamiliar with the hills and the unpredictable weather. The area has been responsible for many deaths.

Readers sometimes say the location is a “character” in the books. I don’t think you can entirely separate location from character anyway, since we’re all shaped by where we live and where we come from. For me, each book has to be set in a very specific location. It helps me to work out who the characters are, and I go to a lot of trouble to find the right places. 

Over the years, I’ve found the Peak District locations have become very important to readers. A reader once wrote to me to describe what she called her “Ben Cooper Holiday”, which she’d spent tracing the footsteps of one of my fictional detectives. Many readers are keen to figure out the ‘real’ location of Edendale.

Since the books sell all around the world, it means that the majority of my readers have never heard of the Peak District until they pick up one of my books. I love the fact that I’m introducing the area to those countries. One summer, a party of Norwegian readers came over to visit the locations used in my books, and they made a point of staying in the same pub where a convicted murderer holed up while he was on the run in ‘One Last Breath’. 

In the real world Derbyshire Constabulary deal with the kind of murder inquiries I wouldn’t dare use in my stories. Reality is stranger than fiction, and events happen in the Peak District which readers wouldn’t believe in a novel. One murder took place at a rural railway station, when a taxi driver was found dead in the boot of his cab. It was a difficult one for the police to crack, because there was almost no motive, and no prior link between victim and perpetrator. It turned out that the man responsible simply wanted to know what it felt like to kill someone, and he sought out an isolated location to choose a stranger for his victim.

But in my books, deaths happen for a reason, often as a result of catastrophic decisions, tangled relationships, a desire for revenge, or sheer despair at being unable to see any other way out. 

The new Cooper and Fry novel ‘Secrets of Death’ explores an equally deadly fascination for the tourist hotspots of the Peak District. The story began with a classic ‘what if’ premise. If you’d decided to end your own life, how would you chose the way to do it, when to do it – and, most of all, where to do it? 

Many people have a favourite spot they go back to time and time again for all kinds of personal reasons. Wouldn’t you choose that favourite spot for the last moments of your life, if you could? That gave me the first line of the book: ‘There’s always a right time and place to die’. 

As summer approaches in the Peak District and the number of visitors increases, so does the suicide rate. DI Ben Cooper and his team from E Division CID are tasked with the problem of getting to the bottom of the epidemic of ‘suicide tourism’, not knowing where or when the next dead body might turn up. When the Major Crime Unit lose a suspect, DS Diane Fry has to convince Cooper that not all those deaths are suicide.

So in ‘Secrets of Death’ some of the best-known tourist spots become attractions for people with a much darker purpose, including Monsal Head – and even Surprise View itself. It seemed appropriate that the original inspiration for my fictional landscapes should be the scene for a death. It is, after all, the point where dark meets light, and good meets evil. 

Secrets of Death

by Stephen Booth

on Tour April 3 – 30, 2017


Secrets of Death by Stephen Booth

Residents of the Peak District are used to tourists descending on its soaring hills and brooding valleys. However, this summer brings a different kind of visitor to the idyllic landscape, leaving behind bodies and secrets.

A series of suicides throughout the Peaks throws Detective Inspector Ben Cooper and his team in Derbyshire’s E Division into a race against time to find a connection to these seemingly random acts — with no way of predicting where the next body will turn up. Meanwhile, in Nottingham Detective Sergeant Diane Fry finds a key witness has vanished…

But what are the mysterious Secrets of Death?

And is there one victim whose fate wasn’t suicide at all?

Book Details:

Genre: Thriller, Fiction
Published by: Witness Impulse
Publication Date: April 4th, 2017
Number of Pages: 384
ISBN: 0062690353 (ISBN13: 9780062690357)
Series: Cooper & Fry #16 (Each is a Stand Alone Novel)
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

Author Bio:

Stephen Booth

A newspaper and magazine journalist for over 25 years, Stephen Booth was born in the English Pennine mill town of Burnley. He was brought up on the Lancashire coast at Blackpool, where he attended Arnold School. He began his career in journalism by editing his school magazine and wrote his first novel at the age of 12. The Cooper & Fry series is now published by Little, Brown in the UK and by the Witness Impulse imprint of HarperCollins in the USA. In addition to publication in the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, translation rights in the series have so far been sold in sixteen languages – French, German, Dutch, Italian, Swedish, Danish, Finnish, Norwegian, Spanish, Portuguese, Russian, Czech, Romanian, Bulgarian, Japanese and Hebrew.Stephen left journalism in 2001 to write novels full time. He and his wife Lesley live in a village in rural Nottinghamshire, England (home of Robin Hood and the Pilgrim Fathers). They have three cats.

In recent years, Stephen Booth has become a Library Champion in support of the UK’s ‘Love Libraries’ campaign, and a Reading Champion to support the National Year of Reading. He has also represented British literature at the Helsinki Book Fair in Finland, filmed a documentary for 20th Century Fox on the French detective Vidocq, taken part in online chats for World Book Day, and given talks at many conferences, conventions, libraries, bookshops and festivals around the world.

Catch Up With Stephen Booth On:

Website, Goodreads, Twitter, & Facebook!

Tour Participants:

Stop by these blogs to follow the tour and learn more about this awesome thriller!


This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Stephen Booth and WitnessImpulse. There will be 3 winners of one (1) eBook copy of Secrets of Death by Stephen Booth. The giveaway begins on March 30 and runs through May 1, 2017.

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Book Showcase: THE ECHO MAN by Richard Montanari

The Echo Man

by Richard Montanari

on Tour March 20 – April 7, 2017


The Echo Man by Richard Montanari

It is fall in Philadelphia and the mutilated body of a man has been found in one of the poorest neighborhoods of the city. The victim’s forehead and eyes are wrapped in a band of white paper, sealed on one side with red sealing wax. On the other side is a smear of blood in the shape of a figure eight. The victim has been roughly and violently shaved clean — head to toe — a temporary tattoo on his finger.

As another brutalized body appears, then another, it becomes horrifyingly clear that someone is re-creating unsolved murders from Philadelphia’s past in the most sinister of ways.

And, for homicide detectives Kevin Byrne and Jessica Balzano, the killer is closer than they think…


“This tale had me gripped by the throat, unwilling to do anything but anxiously turn the pages. Richard Montanari’s writing is both terrifying and lyrical, a killer combination that makes him a true stand-out in the crowded thriller market. The Echo Man showcases a master storyteller at his very best.” -Tess Gerritsen, bestselling author of The Silent Girl

“Richard Montanari’s The Echo Man continues his work as a writer whose prose can capture quite extraordinary subtleties. When a man’s facial expression is described as “not the look of someone with nothing to hide, but rather of one who has very carefully hidden everything,” we know we are in good hands, and with The Echo Man, we are in the hands of one of the best in the business”. – Thomas H. Cook, bestselling author of Red Leaves

Book Details:

Genre: Mystery, Thriller
Published by: Witness Impulse
Publication Date: February 7th 2017 (first published January 1st 2011)
Number of Pages: 400
ISBN: 0062467425 (ISBN13: 9780062467423)
Series: Jessica Balzano & Kevin Byrne #5
Purchase Links: Amazon  | Barnes & Noble  | Goodreads 

Read an excerpt:

For every light there is shadow. For every sound, silence. From the moment he got the call Detective Kevin Francis Byrne had a premonition this night would forever change his life, that he was headed to a place marked by a profound evil, leaving only darkness in its wake.

    “You ready?”

    Byrne glanced at Jimmy. Detective Jimmy Purify sat in the passenger seat of the bashed and battered department- issue Ford. He was just a few years older than Byrne, but something in the man’s eyes held deep wisdom, a hard- won experience that transcended time spent on the job and spoke instead of time earned. They’d known each other a long time, but this was their first full tour as partners.

    “I’m ready,” Byrne said.

    He wasn’t.

    They got out of the car and walked to the front entrance of the sprawling, well- tended Chestnut Hill mansion. Here, in this exclusive section of the northwest part of the city, there was history at every turn, a neighborhood designed at a time when Philadelphia was second only to London as the largest English- speaking city in the world. The first officer on the scene, a rookie named Timothy Meehan, stood inside the foyer, cloistered by coats and hats and scarves perfumed with age, just beyond the reach of the cold autumn wind cutting across the grounds.

    Byrne had been in Officer Meehan’s shoes a handful of years earlier and remembered well how he’d felt when detectives arrived, the tangle of envy and relief and admiration. Chances were slight that Meehan would one day do the job Byrne was about to do. It took a certain breed to stay in the trenches, especially in a city like Philly, and most uniformed cops, at least the smart ones, moved on.

    Byrne signed the crime- scene log and stepped into the warmth of the atrium, taking in the sights, the sounds, the smells. He would never again enter this scene for the first time, never again breathe an air so red with violence. Looking into the kitchen, he saw a blood splattered killing room, scarlet murals on pebbled white tile, the torn flesh of the victim jigsawed on the floor.

    While Jimmy called for the medical examiner and crime- scene unit, Byrne walked to the end of the entrance hall. The officer standing there was a veteran patrolman, a man of fifty, a man content to live without ambition. At that moment Byrne envied him. The cop nodded toward the room on the other side of the corridor.

    And that was when Kevin Byrne heard the music.

    She sat in a chair on the opposite side of the room. The walls were covered with a forest-green silk; the floor with an exquisite burgundy Persian. The furniture was sturdy, in the Queen Anne style. The air smelled of jasmine and leather.

    Byrne knew the room had been cleared, but he scanned every inch of it anyway. In one corner stood an antique curio case with beveled glass doors, its shelves arrayed with small porcelain figurines. In another corner leaned a beautiful cello. Candlelight shimmered on its golden surface.

    The woman was slender and elegant, in her late twenties. She had burnished russet hair down to her shoulders, eyes the color of soft copper. She wore a long black gown, sling-back heels, pearls. Her makeup was a bit garish—theatrical, some might say—but it flattered her delicate features, her lucent skin.

    When Byrne stepped fully into the room the woman looked his way, as if she had been expecting him, as if he might be a guest for Thanksgiving dinner, some discomfited cousin just in from Allentown or Ashtabula. But he was neither. He was there to arrest her.

    “Can you hear it?” the woman asked. Her voice was almost adolescent in its pitch and resonance.

    Byrne glanced at the crystal CD case resting on a small wooden easel atop the expensive stereo component. Chopin: Nocturne in G Major. Then he looked more closely at the cello. There was fresh blood on the strings and fingerboard, as well as on the bow lying on the floor. Afterward, she had played.

    The woman closed her eyes. “Listen,” she said. “The blue notes.”

    Byrne listened. He has never forgotten the melody, the way it both lifted and shattered his heart.

    Moments later the music stopped. Byrne waited for the last note to feather into silence. “I’m going to need you to stand up now, ma’am,” he said.

    When the woman opened her eyes Byrne felt something flicker in his chest. In his time on the streets of Philadelphia he had met all types of people, from soulless drug dealers, to oily con men, to smash-and-grab artists, to hopped-up joyriding kids. But never before had he encountered anyone so detached from the crime they had just committed. In her light-brown eyes Byrne saw demons caper from shadow to shadow.

    The woman rose, turned to the side, put her hands behind her back. Byrne took out his handcuffs, slipped them over her slender white wrists, and clicked them shut.

    She turned to face him. They stood in silence now, just a few inches apart, strangers not only to each other, but to this grim pageant and all that was to come.

    “I’m scared,” she said.

    Byrne wanted to tell her that he understood. He wanted to say that we all have moments of rage, moments when the walls of sanity tremble and crack. He wanted to tell her that she would pay for her crime, probably for the rest of her life—perhaps even with her life—but that while she was in his care she would be treated with dignity and respect.

    He did not say these things. “My name is Detective Kevin Byrne,” he said. “It’s going to be all right.” It was November 1, 1990. Nothing has been right since.

Excerpt from The Echo Man by Richard Montanari.  Copyright © 2017 by Richard Montanari. Reproduced with permission from Witness Impulse. All rights reserved.

Richard Montanari

Author Bio:

Richard Montanari is the internationally bestselling author of numerous novels, including the nine titles in the Byrne & Balzano series.

He lives in Cleveland, Ohio.

Catch Up With Our Author On:

Website , Goodreads , Twitter , & Facebook !

Tour Participants:

Don’t forget to check out these other stops – they’ll be featuring reviews, interviews & More giveaways!


This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Richard Montanari and Harper Collins. There will be 5 winners of one (1) eBook copy of The Echo Man by Richard Montanari. The giveaway begins on March 20th and runs through April 9th, 2017.

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Guest Post: KL Murphy, author of THE LAST SIN

Good morning, my bookish peeps. March is turning into a favorable month for The Book Diva’s Reads because of all of the wonderful authors that have stopped by for a visit. Today I’m pleased to host a visit from KL Murphy, author of the Detective Cancini Mystery series: A Guilty Mind, Stay of Execution, and The Last Sin. Ms. Murphy will be discussing series and why we love them.

Why Readers Love a Series (and so do I)!

I’m often asked by people who learn I’m an author what type of writer I am. When I answer that I write mysteries, the follow-up question is usually, “Is it a series?” Happily, I can say yes. Authors are encouraged to write series by publishers, and there are good reasons for that. First, if a reader likes one book in the series, they will be more likely to buy the others in the series. Second, it’s easier to brand an author if they write a series. While some might not like being pigeon-holed, author name recognition in today’s expanded publishing world can be critical in attracting long-term readers.

I didn’t start out writing a series to meet publisher’s expectations though. I wrote my first novel, A Guilty Mind, without any idea that it wouldn’t be a standalone story. However, what started as a book about a man who’d lost his way and found himself the primary suspect in a murder turned into a story that featured a strong detective with ideas of his own. Detective Mike Cancini was a character I wasn’t ready to discard. I liked the character I’d created and more than that, I wanted to take him to other places and let readers get to know him better. 

In the second novel in the series, Cancini is drawn back into an old case when the man he once arrested for a series of violent crimes is suddenly released based on new DNA evidence. While some are shouting about righting the injustice that has been inflicted on the newly freed man, others are unwilling to accept the new evidence. Their fears seem justified and it is Cancini that the town turns to for help when the crimes start again. 

The third novel in the series, The Last Sin, puts Cancini in a tough spot when his oldest friend, Father Joe, finds the murdered body of a friend. Cancini questions what he knows about his relationship with the old priest and is forced to face his fear of losing the man. This is what I love about writing a series and why I think readers love them, too. With each installment, the reader learns more about the recurring characters. Cancini is not an easy man to know and like, but he is unflinching in his resolve to find the answers. Although gruff and often rude, there is compassion under his dispassionate exterior. I know this to be true because I created him! 

Readers want to watch their favorite characters struggle and grow and fall in love. Those characters become fictional friends, comforting and familiar. Many readers’ favorite recurring characters are also mine, though I doubt there is a more lasting and beloved recurring series character than Sherlock Holmes. He has become so known to readers (and TV and movie viewers) that while we know he is only fictional, he feels real to us. There are thriller characters who’ve also reached that height—Jason Bourne and Jack Reacher are two. Mystery sleuths like Kay Scarpetta, Alex Cross, and Cormoran Strike endure, too, because through a series, we get to know them and, yes, love them. We know that in each novel they will face conflict, but they will ultimately prevail and along the way, take us on a welcome ride. Publishers may have the right idea when it comes to series, but not because they are better for author branding or to capitalize on sales. The popularity of the series has been around since even before authors like Agatha Christie created Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple. This is not to say readers don’t read standalone novels—they do and always will—but readers truly enjoy a good series in much the same way they enjoy being with good friends. I’m thankful to all the series writers I know. I think I’ll read one now!  

The Last Sin

by KL Murphy

on Tour March 13 – April 14, 2017


The Last Sin by KL Murphy

Detective Mike Cancini has seen some dark days, but his skills are put to the test when a priest is discovered, brutally murdered in a run-down church in Washington, D.C. The man who discovered the body is none other than Cancini’s longtime friend and confidant, Father Joe Rossi. The murdered priest, Father Matthew Holland, was adored by the congregation, and it seems clear that this was a crime of opportunity in a deteriorating neighborhood.

However, Cancini soon learns some shocking details from the church secretary, and begins to suspect that Father Holland was not as saintly as he may have appeared. This new information leads to a trail of bribes and decades of corruption polluting the church. Cancini must confront his own struggles with his faith and uncover the truth of the conspiracy before more people are killed.

Book Details:

Genre: Mystery & Detective / Police Procedural
Published by: Witness Impulse
Publication Date: March 2014
Number of Pages: 304
ISBN:  9780062491633
Series: Detective Cancini Mysteries #3
Purchase Links: Amazon  | Barnes & Noble  | Goodreads 

Read an excerpt:


Sunday, February 21st: The Day Of

The smell of incense lingered in the air, temporarily masking the odor of rotting wood. Father Matthew Holland inhaled. The bitter scent stung his nose. Three years had passed since he’d taken over the church and nothing had changed. Even with the increased attendance and community outreach, the church offerings remained meager. Without offerings—without money—the parish church would die.

The priest sat down on the front pew, his robes gathered around his feet. His gaze shifted to the empty pulpit. Two large and colorful plants graced the altar, but they weren’t enough to hide the worn carpet or faded paintings, nor could the soft candlelight make him forget the plywood that covered the cracked stained glass. There was so much to do, so much need. He sighed and looked to the cross over the altar. Not for the first time, he asked for forgiveness, for understanding. There would be money now—he’d made sure of that—but at what cost? He’d done it for the church. His pulse quickened and his stomach clenched. Bending forward, he forced himself to take one deep breath after another until the moment passed.

He loosened his cleric collar and yawned. The evening’s mass had been long and difficult. The drunks in the back of the church had refused to leave, in spite of the old deacons’ best efforts.

“S’our right to be here,” the man with the long, stringy hair had said. His words slurred, he’d leaned forward as though he might topple straight into the next pew. “Worshipin’ God,” he’d said, although it had sounded like something else judging by the gasps from the congregation. The drunk had pointed a dirty hand toward the altar. “Here to see Father Holland. Tol’ us to come anytime.”

The drunk had swayed again, and his companion had reached out with a strong arm to catch him. Father Holland’s mouth had gone dry at the sight of the tattoo on the man’s forearm—a black dagger plunged into a white skull. Three drops of blood extended in a single line from the tip of the dagger to the man’s wrist. He knew that tattoo, knew what it meant.

The awkward moment had passed although not before Father Holland caught the disdain on the faces of the ladies in the choir. Still, none of the parishioners had said a word, all looking to him instead. He’d hidden his trembling hands in the folds of the heavy cassock and swallowed. “St. William is open to everyone, our members and our guests. However, since we are about to have communion, I would ask that everyone who is not singing remain quiet. Guests may come forward for a blessing, of course.” He’d been careful to keep his voice steady. Thank the Lord it had been enough. The man with the oily hair had quieted down and then stumbled out during the Eucharist. His friend with the tattoo had stayed a moment longer, then followed.

Silence filled the sanctuary now. Father Holland rubbed his hands together and shivered. He could still feel the cold eyes of the tattooed man and the curious glances from the congregation. The man’s presence at the evening mass had been no accident and no drunken whim. The message had been clear.

After the church had emptied, he’d walked to the corner market and made the call. He’d done the best he could. Money changed everything. It always did. He opened his hand and stared at the crumpled paper with the phone number. He was not a stupid man. Nothing came without a price. He murmured a prayer until his shoulders relaxed and the drumbeat of his heart slowed.

His stomach growled, the gurgling loud and rumbly, and he realized it had been hours since he’d eaten. Breaking the quiet, a sound came from the back of the church, a click and a swish as the heavy outer door swung open. He stood and smoothed his cassock. Dinner would have to wait. He strained to see, but the vestibule was dark. “Who’s there?” he asked.

The door clanged shut and heavy steps sounded on the dingy marble floor. Father Holland replaced his collar and ran his fingers through his hair. There was only silence. The hair on the back of his neck prickled. “Is somebody there?” he asked again.

A figure shrouded in black stepped out of the dark.

Father Holland stiffened. “Why are you here?”

From the shadows, the eyes of the visitor glittered in the candlelight. “I’m a sinner, Father.”

Father Holland’s shoulders slumped. “We are all sinners in God’s eyes.”


Excerpt from The Last Sin by KL Murphy.  Copyright © 2017 by Witness Impulse. Reproduced with permission from Witness Impulse. 
All rights reserved.


Author Bio:

K.L. MURPHY was born in Key West, Florida, the eldest of four children in a military family. She has worked as a freelance writer for several regional publications in Virginia, and is the author of A Guilty Mind and Stay of Execution. She lives in Richmond, Virginia, with her husband, four children, and two very large, very hairy dogs.

To learn more about the Detective Cancini Mystery series or future projects, visit her Website , Twitter , & Facebook  pages.

Tour Participants:

Don’t Miss Your Chance to WIN:

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for KL Murphy and Witness Impulse. There will be 3 winners of one (1) code for a BlueFire eBook copy of The Last Sin by KL Murphy. The giveaway begins on March 13th and runs through April 16th, 2017.

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2017 Book 83: WILDCAT by Sara Paretsky

Wildcat: V.I. Warshawski’s First Case (V.I. Warshawski #17.5) by Sara Paretsky 
ISBN: 9780062689504 (eBook)
ASIN: B01N5EKGTQ (Kindle edition)
Publisher: Witness Impulse 
Publication Date: March 7, 2017

Sara Paretsky, one of the most legendary crime writers of all time, presents an exclusive and thrilling short story featuring beloved investigator V.I. Warshawski as a ten-year-old girl on her first investigation.

V.I. Warshawski developed her strength and sense of justice at a very early age.  It’s 1966 and on the south side of Chicago racial tensions are at an all-time high. Dr. Martin Luther King is leading marches at Marquette Park and many in the neighborhood are very angry.

With nothing but a bicycle, eighty-two cents in her pocket, and her Brownie camera hanging from her wrist, Victoria sneaks off to Marquette Park alone to protect her father Tony, a police officer who is patrolling the crowds.

What begins as a small adventure and a quest to find her father and make sure he is safe turns into something far more dangerous.  As the day goes on and the conflict at the park reaches a fever pitch Victoria realizes she must use her courage and ingenuity if she wants to keep herself and her family members out of harm’s way.

If you’ve ever read any of the V.I. Warshawski books, you might think you’re very familiar with this character. But the V.I. Warshawski in Wildcat isn’t like the V.I. we all have come to know and love. First, this V.I. is known as Victoria. Second, she’s only ten years old. Victoria is experiencing societal injustice and the fight to overcome it for the first time with the civil rights marches in Chicago for equal access to housing. Victoria’s parents are very supportive of Dr. Martin Luther King and his crusade. Victoria’s aunt and uncle, not so much. Adding to the drama and confusion of the summer is the fact that even the local Catholic priest and his church member’s are against these desegregation efforts. Although Victoria is concerned about the ongoing battles against injustice in her city, she’s more concerned about what might be happening to her father, a local police officer. When Victoria hears something that indicates her father is in jeopardy, she does the only thing she can think of and heads off to warn him. Things don’t exactly go as planned, but we do witness where and when the spunk, smarts, and sass we’ve come to expect with V.I. originated. (No, I’m not going to tell you everything that happens. Read the book!) Wildcat is a short story and an incredibly fun and fast read. I’ve read a few of the V.I. Warshawski stories in the past and reading Wildcat has made this reader want to return to this series. If you’ve read any V.I. stories in the past or are a diehard V.I. fan, you’ll definitely want to read Wildcat. Seriously, go and grab your copy today!

Disclaimer: I received a free digital review copy of this book from the publisher via Edelweiss for review purposes. 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.”

Purchase Links: Amazon  | Barnes & Noble  | Goodreads 

Author Bio:

Sara Paretsky
Hailed by P.D. James as “the most remarkable” of modern crime writers, SARA PARETSKY is the New York Times-bestselling author of nineteen previous novels, including the renowned V.I. Warshawski series. She is one of only four living writers – alongside John Le Carré, Sue Grafton, and Lawrence Block – to have received both the Grand Master Award from the Mystery Writers of America and the Cartier Diamond Dagger from the Crime Writers’ Association of Great Britain. She lives in Chicago with her husband and their dog.

Before there was Lisbeth Salander, before there was Stephanie Plum, there was V.I. WARSHAWSKI. She took the mystery world by storm in 1982 with her first appearance in Indemnity Only. A gifted private eye with the grit and smarts to tackle the mean streets, V.I. transformed a genre in which women were typically either vamps or victims. As a “courageous, sexually liberated female investigator,” she “has a humility, a humanity, and a need for human relationships which the male hard-boilers lack” (P.D. James).

Catch Up With Our Author On:

Website , Goodreads , Twitter , & Facebook !

Tour Participants:

Visit these other great tour hosts for review & more great giveaways!


This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Sara Paretsky and Witness Impulse. There will be 5 winners of one (1) eBook copy of WILDCAT: V. I. Warshawski’s First Case by Sara Paretsky. The giveaway begins on March 4th and runs through April 10th, 2017. The giveaway is open to residents in the US & Canada only.

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Guest Post: Tonya Kappes, author of A GHOSTLY MORTALITY

The Book Diva’s Reads is incredibly honored to host a return visit from Tonya Kappes, author of the Divorced Diva Mystery series, the Laurel London Mystery series, the Magical Cures Mystery series, the Olivia Davis Mystery series, the Kenni Lowry Mystery series, the Killer Coffee Mystery series, the Ghostly Southern Mystery series, and more. Today Ms. Kappes will be discussing the value and importance of the reader from one author’s perspective. Read her thoughts on this matter, then read an excerpt from the latest addition to the Ghostly Southern Mystery series, A Ghostly Mortality, and finally enter to win a set of the Ghostly Southern Mystery series print books.

I’ll never forget the very first email I had received from a reader. She was telling me how much my books helped her through a very difficult time in her life. That is when I sat back and really took notice of how important a reader is. 

You see, I started writing for myself. And when I decided to pursue publishing I still had myself in mind. I wanted to see my book on Amazon or on the shelf at the book store. It had become a dream of mine. BUT I never took into consideration who was going to buy my book. . .outside of my family. 

And her email really touched me. Her words filled my soul with gratitude and joy. After her email, it was like the floodgates opened. One after the other, more and more reader mail popped up in my email. Each one had something different to say about my stories. 

The more I heard from them, the more they fed my muse. I wanted to give them more. It wasn’t about me selling more books, it was about pleasing the readers that I had gained. I wanted to make them feel good and continue to feel good. 

Sometimes I think that authors forget about the reader. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not putting any authors down or saying that I’m the right one here, but I see readers different than most writers. 

I started a TONYA KAPPES STREET TEAM. This is a Facebook page where my readers have gathered and we talk about everyday life, what they are reading, or just a quick hello. It’s not a place for my readers to praise me. It’s the place where I PRAISE them! 

Here is what it’s all about:

This is a team that I have assembled because you have been so supportive and an instrumental part of my success. I’m creating this group to help spread the word about my books. The best sell for an author is personal recommendation. The best way for me to do that is for you, my friends, to spread the word through email or word of mouth would be a great big help.

There isn’t much to it. As a member, you will join my online yahoo group which is a yes to the street team invite. And in return you get a chance to:

  • Have a character named after you in my books
  • Win monthly drawing for Street Team Members only – you are automatically entered. (this includes gift cards, books, and other fun stuff)
  • In the month of my releases, you have a chance to win a $25 Visa Gift card
  • Fun tips about my characters
  • Extra more things!

What do you have to do to be a COZY KREW STREET TEAM MEMBER? You only have to do none or all of these:)

  • Spread the word to family and friends about the books of mine that you really liked
  • Take promo materials to local writers groups, conventions, etc…
  • Be my friend
  • Pick one of my books for your book club
  • Skype me into your book club or google plus is fine too
  • If you have a blog, feature my new book trailer, review my book, interview me
  • Post reviews for my books on all the reader-centric sites like Goodreads, Shelfari, Amazon, Barnes and Noble etc…

I can’t take credit for the street team concept. It was coined in the 70’s with music executives working on spreading the word about new artists, and making them bigger names. But as authors, we have to find inventive ways with the explosion of social media to reach readers other than book signings. 

Good luck!

A Ghostly Mortality

by Tonya Kappes

on Tour February 28 – March 30, 2017


A Ghostly Mortality

That ghost sure looks . . . familiar


Only a handful of people know that Emma Lee Raines, proprietor of a small-town Kentucky funeral home, is a “Betweener.” She helps ghosts stuck between here and the ever-after—murdered ghosts. Once Emma Lee gets them justice they can cross over to the great beyond.

But Emma Lee’s own sister refuses to believe in her special ability. In fact, the Raines sisters have barely gotten along since Charlotte Rae left the family business for the competition. After a doozy of an argument, Emma Lee is relieved to see Charlotte Rae back home to make nice. Until she realizes her usually snorting, sarcastic, family-ditching sister is a… ghost.

Charlotte Rae has no earthly idea who murdered her or why. With her heart in tatters, Emma Lee relies more than ever on her sexy beau, Sheriff Jack Henry Ross…because this time, catching a killer means the Raines sisters will have to make peace with each other first.

Book Details:

Genre: Cozy Mystery, Paranormal

Published by: Witness

Publication Date: February 28th 2017

Number of Pages: 336

ISBN: 0062466976 (ISBN13: 9780062466976)

Series: Ghostly Southern Mysteries #6

Purchase Links: Amazon  | Barnes & Noble  | Goodreads 

Read an excerpt:

“Lawdy bee.” Granny scooted to the edge of the chair and lifted her arms in the air like she was worshiping in the Sunday morning service at Sleepy Hollow Baptist and the spirit just got put in her.

I sucked in a deep breath, preparing myself for whatever was going to come out of Zula Fae Raines Payne’s mouth, my granny. She was a ball of southern spitfire in her five-foot-four-inch frame topped off with bright red hair that I wasn’t sure was real or out of a L’Oréal bottle she’d gotten down at the Buy-N-Fly.

“Please, please, please,” she begged.  “Let me die before anything happens to Emma Lee.” Her body slid down the fancy, high-back mahogany leather chair as she fell to her knees with her hands clasped together, bringing them back up in the air as she pleaded to the Big Guy in the sky. “I’m begging you.”

“Are you nuts?” My voice faded to a hushed stillness. I glanced back at the closed door of my sister’s new office, in fear she was going to walk in and see Granny acting up. I sat in the other fancy, high-back mahogany leather chair next to Granny’s and grabbed her by the loose skin of her underarm. “Get back up on this chair before Charlotte Rae gets back in here and sees you acting like a fool.”

“What?” Granny quirked her eyebrows questioningly as if her behavior was normal. My head dropped along with my jaw in the “are you kidding me” look.

“Well, I ain’t lying!” She spat, “I do hope and pray you are the granddaughter that will be doing my funeral, unless you get a flare up of the ‘Funeral Trauma.’ ” She sucked in a deep breath and got up off her knees. She ran her bony fingers down the front of her cream sweater to smooth out any wrinkles so she’d be presentable like a good southern woman, forgetting she was just on her knees begging for mercy.

“Flare up?” I sighed with exasperation. “It’s not like arthritis.”

The “Funeral Trauma.” It was true. I was diagnosed with the “Funeral Trauma” after a decorative plastic Santa fell off the roof of Artie’s Meat and Deli, knocking me flat out cold and now I could see dead people. I had told Doc Clyde I was having some sort of hallucinations and seeing dead people, but he insisted I had been in the funeral business a little too long and seeing corpses all of my life had brought on the trauma. Truthfully, the Santa had given me a gift. Not a gift you’d expect Santa to give you, but it was the gift of seeing clients of Eternal Slumber, my family’s funeral home business where I was the undertaker. Some family business. Anyway, a psychic told me I was now a Betweener. I helped people who were stuck between here and the ever after. The Great Beyond. The Big Guy in the sky. One catch . . . the dead people I saw were murdered and they needed me to help them solve their murder before they could cross over.

“I’m fine,” I huffed and took the pamphlet off of Charlotte Rae’s desk, keeping my gift to myself. The only people who knew were me, the psychic and Sheriff Jack Henry Ross, my hot, hunky and sexy boyfriend. He was as handy as a pocket on a shirt when it came time for me to find a killer when a ghost was following me around. “We are here to get her to sign my papers and talk about this sideboard issue once and for all.” Granny stared at me.

My head slid forward like a turtle and I popped my eyes open.

“I’m fine,” I said through closed teeth.

“You are not fine.” Granny rolled her eyes so big, I swear she probably hurt herself. “People are still going around talking about how you talk to yourself.” She shook her finger at me. “If you don’t watch it, you are going to be committed. Surrounded by padded walls. Then—She jabbed her finger on my arm. I swatted her away with the pamphlet.

“Charlotte Rae will have full control over my dead body and I don’t want someone celebrating a wedding while I lay corpse in the next room. Lawdy bee,” Granny griped. I opened the pamphlet and tried to ignore Granny as best I could.

“Do you hear me, Emma Lee?” Granny asked. I could feel her beady eyes boring into me.

“Don’t you be disrespecting your elders. I asked you a question,” she warned when I didn’t immediately answer her question.

“Granny.” I placed the brochure in my lap and reminded myself to remain calm. Something I did often when it came to my granny. “I hear you. Don’t you worry about a thing. By the time you get ready to die, they will have you in the nut-house alongside me,” I joked, knowing it would get her goat. The door flung open and the click of Charlotte Rae’s high-dollar heels tapped the hardwood floor as she sashayed her way back into her office. The soft linen green suit complemented Charlotte’s sparkly green eyes and the chocolate scarf that was neatly tied around her neck. It was the perfect shade of brown to go with her long red hair and pale skin.

“I’m so sorry about that.” She stopped next to our chairs and looked between me and Granny. She shook the long, loose curls over her shoulders. “What? What is wrong, now?”

“Granny is all worried I’m going to get sent away to the nuthouse and you are going to lay her out here.” The words tumbled out of my mouth before I could stop them. Or did my subconscious take over my mouth? It was always a competition between me and Charlotte, only it was one-sided. Mine. Charlotte never viewed me as competition because she railroaded me all my life. Like now. She’d left Eternal Slumber with zero guilt, leaving me in charge so she could make more money at Hardgrove’s Legacy Center, formerly known as Hardgrove’s Funeral Homes until they got too big for their britches and decided to host every life event possible just to make more money.

Excerpt from A Ghostly Mortality by Tonya Kappes.  
Copyright © 2017 by Tonya Kappes. 
Reproduced with permission from Witness. All rights reserved.

Author Bio:

Tonya Kappes

Tonya Kappes has written more than fifteen novels and four novellas, all of which have graced numerous bestseller lists including USA Today. Best known for stories charged with emotion and humor and filled with flawed characters, her novels have garnered reader praise and glowing critical reviews. She lives with her husband, two very spoiled schnauzers, and one ex-stray cat in northern Kentucky. Now that her boys are teenagers, Tonya writes full-time but can be found at all of her guys’ high school games with a pencil and paper in hand.

Catch Up with Tonya Kappes on her Website , Twitter , &  Facebook 

Tour Participants:


This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours for Tonya Kappes and Witness Impulse. There will be 1 US winner of one PRINTED set of The Ghostly Southern Mysteries #1-6 by Tonya Kappes. The giveaway begins on February 27th and runs through April 2nd, 2017.

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Book Showcase: STOLEN by Carey Baldwin


by Carey Baldwin

on Tour February 14 – March 3, 2017


Stolen by Carey Baldwin

Is she missing…or a murderer?

When Laura Chaucer, daughter of a U.S. senator, vanishes from her college campus, celebrated FBI profilers Special Agent Atticus Spenser and forensic psychiatrist Dr. Caitlin Cassidy are called in. Thirteen years ago, Laura and her nanny disappeared from her family’s Denver home. Laura was found alive, but her nanny wasn’t so lucky… and the killer was never caught. Laura could identify him—if only she didn’t have a deep, dark hole in her memory.

Now she’s missing again. Did the troubled young woman run away or has the kidnapper returned? As women who look eerily similar to Laura’s nanny begin turning up dead, the Chaucer family psychiatrist renders a disturbing opinion: Laura is unstable, a danger to herself and others. Who knows what terrible secrets lurk in the shadowy recesses of her mind? Cassidy and Spenser must solve one of the most infamous cold cases ever to uncover the answer: Is Laura a killer, or is a monster still out there, waiting to claim another victim?

Book Details:

Genre: Suspense, Thriller
Published by: Witness Impulse
Publication Date: February 14th 2017
Number of Pages: 352
ISBN:  0062495542 (ISBN13: 9780062495549)
Series: Cassidy & Spenser #4
Purchase Links: Amazon  | Barnes & Noble  | Goodreads 

Read an excerpt:

Chapter One


Somewhere in the Rocky Mountains

    Consciousness was the enemy and Laura Chaucer its captive. No matter how badly she wanted to flee into a dark, unseeing void, the menacing chill of the knife pressed against her neck forced her to keep her chin high and her eyes open. As her pulse raged, pounding against the deadly blade, she wondered, horrified, if it was possible for her throat to slit itself.

    If only her mind would drop into an abyss. If only she could crawl into a black hole and escape awareness, at least then she wouldn’t suffer. Cowardice dragged her eyelids shut.

    Stop running away.

    From deep within, a voice demanded she bear witness to her own death. Like broken wings beating against a gale, her eyelids fluttered up. Evil had been swirling around her for as long as she could remember, but she’d never had the courage to face it. Now, in her last moments, she must find the will. Before she left this twisted world, she needed to know the truth.

    Who are you?

    The answer she’d been running from her entire life loomed right behind her.

    But the knife prevented her from swiveling her head to confront the bastard. A defiant move like that would surely cost her whatever precious seconds she had left. His breath, warm on her cheek reeked of booze, its stench curdling in her already woozy stomach.

    Careful not to move her head, she braved a glance down and noted a wood floor.

    Where am I?

    A candle nub flickered in the dark; its yellow light illuminating patches of dust caked on an uneven plank tabletop. Bare log walls surrounded her. Eager for more clues, she sniffed. The scent of rain and earth hung heavily in the air. He must’ve stolen her from her room and brought her to a cabin—a primitive one.

    Who was he?

    You know, the voice within insisted. Stop pretending you don’t.

    “I-I don’t know anything,” she answered, as if he and her thoughts were one and the same. “P-please, just let me go.”
     The knife slipped across her throat, leaving fire trailing in its wake. Blood, warm and sticky, dribbled down her chest. Her head became heavy. The room spun. It would be so easy to let her chin fall, to drift into blessed unconsciousness, to leave it all behind.

    But that would mean dying the same way she’d lived: running from the truth.

    It’s not too late. As long as you have one breath left, there’s still time to change your craven ways.

    Watching the blood, already darkening from contact with the air, snake between her breasts, she took it all in, and a gasp agonized its way up her throat.

    She was naked.

    Bound around the waist, chest and ankles to a chair.

    It all seemed so…unreal. But the scrape of splintered wood beneath her bottom, the shivers that wracked her body from the frigid air, told her this was no dream. This wasn’t another one of her ubiquitous nightmares.

    If she closed her eyes now, she’d never wake up.

    Her throat burned with the urge to scream. But sensing that might give him pleasure, she clamped her teeth together, stuffing her fear down deep. She inhaled a fortifying breath through her nose. Wiggled her freezing fingers. But when she tried to shift her arms into a more comfortable position, she found that they, too, were tied to the chair, just up to the elbows. He’d left her hands and lower arms free, giving her enough slack to cross her palms in her lap and cover herself. Tears of gratitude for this small kindness welled in her eyes.

    Maybe he of the knife had a tiny, shriveled semblance of a heart.

    He proved he did not by dragging the jagged blade across her neck again—a shallow retracing of its former path that produced exquisite pain and more hot red blood. The need to cry out shook her body so hard the legs of the chair rattled against the floor. Then he pressed the knife’s point into the hollow of her neck—that spot that ought to be reserved for a lover’s kiss. It was as if this monster could not decide whether he wanted to kill her with a long, decimating swipe or by a swift, stabbing impalement. She didn’t know whether he was deliberately prolonging her agony or working up his nerve.

    A spasm of fear knotted her toes. Her vocal chords trembled from the impossible effort of restraint. Finally, she opened her mouth, releasing a hysterical noise.

    He wanted to hear her scream? Let him hear her laugh instead. Her pulse bounded harder against the blade, but she no longer feared the consequence.

    Whether he revealed himself to her or not, she suddenly didn’t care. It didn’t matter who he was. It only mattered who she was. Relief flooded her entire being, drenching her in joy. Her death would be a victory.

    Because it answered, once and for all, the question that had haunted her since the age of eight.

    She was not a murderer.

Excerpt from Stolen by Carey Baldwin.  
Copyright © 2017 by Carey Baldwin & WitnessImpulse. 
Reproduced with permission from WitnessImpulse. 
All rights reserved.

Kudos for Carey Baldwin:

Judgment, the first book in my Cassidy & Spenser Thriller series, has been named one of the “BEST BOOKS of 2014” by SUSPENSE MAGAZINE

Both Judgment & Confession are BOOKSELLERS BEST AWARD Finalists

Author Bio:

Carey Baldwin

Carey Baldwin is a mild-mannered doctor by day and an award-winning author of edgy suspense by night. She holds two doctoral degrees, one in medicine and one in psychology. She loves reading and writing stories that keep you off balance and on the edge of your seat. Carey lives in the southwestern United States with her amazing family. In her spare time, she enjoys hiking and chasing wildflowers.

Catch Up With Ms. Baldwin On:

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This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours for Carey Baldwin and William Morrow | WitnessImpulse. There will be 5 US winners of one (1) eBook copy of Stolen by Carey Baldwin. The giveaway begins on February 12th and runs through March 5th, 2017.

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Book Showcase: END OF THE ROAD by LS Hawker

End of the Road

by LS Hawker

on Tour January 30th – February 28, 2017


End of the Road by L.S. Hawker

Great minds can change the world

or leave it in ruins . . .

When tech prodigy Jade Veverka creates a program to communicate with her autistic sister, she’s tapped by a startup to explore the potential applications of her technology. But Jade quickly begins to notice some strange things about the small Kansas town just beyond the company’s campus—why are there no children anywhere to be seen, and for that matter, anyone over the age of forty? Why do all of the people living here act uncomfortable and jumpy?

On the way home one night, Jade and her co-worker are run off the road, and their lab and living spaces are suddenly overrun with armed guards, purportedly for their safety. Confined to the compound and questioning what her employers might be hiding from her, Jade fears she’s losing control not only of her invention, but of her very life. It soon becomes clear that the threat reaches far beyond Jade and her family, and the real danger is much closer than she’d ever imagined.

Book Details:

Genre: Thriller
Published by: Witness Impulse
Publication Date:  January 31st 2017
Number of Pages: 384
ISBN: 006243523X (ISBN13: 9780062435231)
Purchase Links: Amazon  | Barnes & Noble  | Goodreads 

Read an excerpt:

September 7

Jade Veverka unwrapped the frozen bomb pop she’d bought from the gas station on the corner of Main and 3rd and took a bite. She sat gazing at the pile of magazines on the barbershop coffee table while a rhythmic alarm-clock buzz went off in her head. Not an urgent warning, just buzz buzz buzz.

Her friend and coworker Elias Palomo sat in the barber chair, getting his customary fade crew cut, the same one he’d presumably sported since his plebe days at the Naval Academy. So the background to her mental alarm clock was an actual buzzing from the electric razor punctuated now by a sharp yip of pain from Elias.

“Sorry about that,” the barber said.

Elias rubbed his ear, and Jade attempted to keep her face neutral, looking at his scowl in the mirror.

Buzz buzz buzz.

She leaned forward and fanned the magazines—Popular Mechanics, Sports Illustrated, ESPN—all this month’s issues. Jade took another bite of bomb pop and grinned.

“What are you smiling at?” Elias grumbled, rubbing his nicked ear.

“I don’t know how to tell you this,” Jade said, “but you are not the center of my universe. I do occasionally react to things outside of you. I know it comes as a shock.”

“Shut up,” he said, his dark eyes flashing.

Jade stared now in fascination as the razor tracked upwards on Elias’s skull, his glossy black hair—or what was left of it—uneven, his scalp an angry pink. This guy was the worst hair dresser Jade had ever seen. And the least talkative. In her experience, growing up in rural Ephesus, Kansas, barbers had always fit the stereotype—gregarious and gossipy.

Elias was the shop’s lone customer, and only a few folks walked by outside the window, through which Jade could see the hardware store and the occasional slow passing car.

Buzz buzz buzz.

It struck Jade now that this was less a barbershop than what amounted to a barbershop museum, complete with an actor playing the part of the barber. She wanted to point this out to Elias, but it would mean nothing to him. He’d grown up in Reno, Nevada, a vast metropolis compared to Jade’s 1200-population hometown an hour southeast of this one, which was called Miranda, Kansas.

Not only was this man not a barber, he wasn’t a Kansan either, Jade would have bet money.

“Hey,” she said to him. “What’s your name?”

The man went on butchering as if she hadn’t spoken. Elias’s eyes met Jade’s in the mirror, and his dark thick brows met on either side of a vertical crease, his WTF? wrinkle. He leaned his head away from the razor, finally making the barber pay attention.

“The lady asked you a question,” Elias said.

Jade had to hold in a guffaw. This never failed to tickle her, him referring to her as a lady. No one other than him had ever done that before. Plus she loved the authoritative rumble of his voice, a trait he’d probably developed at Annapolis.

The barber froze, his eyes locked with Elias’s. Weird.

“Need a prompt?” Elias said. “Your name.”

The man cleared his throat.

“Is it classified?”

Jade did guffaw this time, and she watched the barber’s jaw muscles compress as she clapped a hand over her mouth.

“My name’s Richard.”

“Hello, Richard, I’m Elias. This is Jade. We work out at SiPraTech.”

Jade could see from Richard’s face he knew very well where they worked. He nodded and got back to destroying the remains of Elias’s hair.

“Whereabouts you from, Richard?” Jade said.

He pulled the razor away from Elias’s head and blinked at her.

What in the world was this guy’s problem?

Buzz buzz buzz.

Elias emitted a loud sigh, clearly exasperated by the guy’s reticence, and waved a hand as if to say, “Carry on, barber-not-barber.”

Jade laughed again.

“Here,” Richard mumbled. “I’m from here.”

Like hell. What was he, in the witness protection program or something?

And then it hit her. The magazines, every last one of them, was a current issue. In a barbershop. The place where back issues of magazines go to die.

She’d worked for SiPraTech just over three months now, and Miranda, the closest town, had always given her an itch. Something about it was slightly off, but she couldn’t say what. She’d brought it up to her team members—Elias, Berko Deloatch, and Olivia Harman, and each of them had looked at her like she was schitzy. They all came from big cities, so Miranda struck them as weird in general.

Buzz buzz buzz buzz buzz buzz.

As if drawn by static electricity, her eyes tracked to the window where a man in mirrored shades peered into the barbershop. The man had a dark mustache and wore a blue baseball cap pulled low over the sunglasses.

What was he staring at? She glanced behind her, but there was nothing to see but a white wall. When she turned back, the man mouthed something at her, his exaggerated soundless enunciation wringing a sharp intake of breath from her.

“What?” Elias said in response to her gasp.

Was it her imagination, or did this man she’d never seen before say her name?

Jade Veverka.

She looked at Elias, and said, “There’s a man out there—”

Author Bio:


LS HAWKER grew up in suburban Denver, indulging her worrisome obsession with true-crime books, and writing stories about anthropomorphic fruit and juvenile delinquents. She wrote her first novel at 14.

Armed with a B.S. in journalism from the University of Kansas, she had a radio show called “People Are So Stupid,” edited a trade magazine and worked as a traveling Kmart portrait photographer, but never lost her passion for fiction writing.

She’s got a hilarious, supportive husband, two brilliant daughters, and a massive music collection. She lives in Colorado but considers Kansas her spiritual homeland. She is the author of The Drowning Game, a USA Today Bestseller, and Body and Bone.

Visit Ms. Hawker’s Website , her Twitter Feed , & her Facebook Page .

Tour Participants:

Visit the other tour participants for interviews, guest posts, reviews, & more great giveaways!

Check Out This Awesome Giveaway:

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours for LS Hawker and William Morrow. There will be 3 US winners of one (1) eBook Coupon for End of the Road by LS Hawker. The giveaway begins on January 24th and runs through March 2nd, 2017.

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Book Showcase: THE PIPER by Charles Todd

The Piper

by Charles Todd

on Tour February 1-28, 2017


The Piper by Charles Todd

Scotland Yard inspector Ian Rutledge returns shell shocked from the trenches of World War I, tormented by the spirit of Hamish MacLeod, the young soldier he executed on the battlefield. Now, Charles Todd features Hamish himself in this compelling, stand-alone short story.

Before the Great War, Hamish is farmer in the Scottish Highlands, living in a small house on the hillside and caring for a flock of sheep he inherited from his grandmother. When one spring evening he hears a faint cry ringing across the glen, Hamish sets out in the dark to find the source. Near the edge of the loch he spots a young boy laying wounded, a piper’s bag beside him. Hamish brings the piper to his home to stay the night and tends to his head wound, but by the time Hamish wakes the boy has fled. He tracks the footsteps in pursuit of the injured lad and finds him again collapsed in the grasses—now dead.

Who was the mysterious piper, and who was seeking his death? As Hamish scours the countryside for answers, he finds that few of his neighbors are as honest as he, and that until he uncovers a motive, everyone, including Hamish, is a suspect.

Book Details:

Genre: Mystery
Published by: Witness Impulse
Publication Date: January 10th 2017
Number of Pages: 100
ISBN:  0062678094 (ISBN13: 9780062678096)
Series: Inspector Ian Rutledge #19.5

Purchase Links: Amazon 🔗

| Barnes & Noble 🔗 | Goodreads 🔗

Charles Todd

Author Bio:

Charles Todd is the New York Times bestselling author of the Inspector Ian Rutledge mysteries, the Bess Crawford mysteries, and two stand-alone novels. A mother-and-son writing team, they live on the East Coast.

Catch Up with the latest Charles Todd news on their Website

,  Twitter & Facebook

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Visit the tour stops for great features & reviews!