Book Showcase: THE RIVERMAN by Alex Gray

The Riverman

by Alex Gray

on Tour January 9 – February 15, 2017


Synopsis:

The Riverman by Alex Gray

Fans of atmospheric police procedurals will love watching Glasgow vividly come to life with the shocking twists and turns that have made Alex Gray an international bestseller

When a dead body is fished out of Glasgow’s River Clyde the morning after an office celebration, it looks like a case of accidental death. But an anonymous telephone call and a forensic toxicology test give Detective Chief Inspector William Lorimer reason to think otherwise. Probing deeper into the life and business of the deceased accountant, a seemingly upright member of the community, Lorimer finds only more unanswered questions.

What is the secret his widow seems to be concealing? Was the international accounting firm facing financial difficulties? What has become of the dead man’s protégé who has disappeared in New York? And when another employee is found dead in her riverside flat these questions become much more disturbing. Lorimer must cope not only with deceptions from the firm, but also with suspicions from those far closer to home . . .

Book Details:

Genre: Police Procedurals
Published by: Witness Impulse
Publication Date: January 10th 2017
Number of Pages: 368
ISBN: 0062659138 (ISBN13: 9780062659132)
Series: A DCI Lorimer Novel, #4
Purchase Links: Amazon  | Barnes & Noble  | Goodreads 


Read an excerpt:

PROLOGUE

April

THE RIVERMAN

The riverman knew all about the Clyde. Its tides and currents were part of his heritage. His father and others before him had launched countless small craft from the banks of the river in response to a cry for help. Nowadays that cry came in the form of a klaxon that could waken him from sleep, the mobile phone ringing with information about where and when. It wouldn’t be the first time that he’d pulled someone from the icy waters with only a hasty oilskin over his pajamas.

This morning, at least, he’d been up and doing when the call came. The body was over by Finnieston, past the weir, so he’d had to drive over the river towing a boat behind him on the trailer. He was always ready. That was what this job was all about: prompt and speedy response in the hope that some poor sod’s life could be saved. And he’d saved hundreds over the years, desperate people who were trying to make up their mind to jump off one of the many bridges that spanned the Clyde or those who had made that leap and been saved before the waters filled their lungs.

George Parsonage had been brought up to respect his river. Once it had been the artery of a great beating heart, traffic thronging its banks, masts thick as brush-wood. The tobacco trade with Virginia had made Glasgow flourish all right, with the preaching of commerce and the praising of a New World that was ripe for plucking. The names of some city streets still recalled those far-off days. Even in his own memory, the Clyde had been a byword for ships. As a wee boy, George had been taken to the launch of some of the finer products of Glasgow’s shipbuilding industry. But even then the river’s grandeur was fading. He’d listened to stories about the grey hulks that grew like monsters from the deep, sliding along the water, destined for battle, and about the cruise liners sporting red funnels that were cheered off their slipways, folk bursting with pride to be part of this city with its great river.

The romance and nostalgia had persisted for decades after the demise of shipbuilding and cross-river ferries. Books written about the Clyde’s heyday still found readers hankering after a time that was long past. The Glasgow Garden Festival in the eighties had prompted some to stage a revival along the river and more recently there had been a flurry of activity as the cranes returned to erect luxury flats and offices on either side of its banks. Still, there was little regular traffic upon its sluggish dark waters: a few oarsmen, a private passenger cruiser and the occasional police launch. Few saw what the river was churning up on a daily basis.

As he pushed the oars against the brown water, the riverman sent up a silent prayer for guidance. He’d seen many victims of despair and violence, and constantly reminded himself that each one was a person like himself with hopes, dreams and duties in different measure. If he could help, he would. That was what the Glasgow Humane Society existed for, after all. The sound of morning traffic roared above him as he made his way downstream. The speed of response was tempered by a need to row slowly and carefully once the body was near. Even the smallest of eddies could tip the body, filling the air pocket with water and sending it down and down to the bottom of the river. So, as George Parsonage approached the spot where the body floated, his oars dipped as lightly as seabirds’ wings, his eyes fixed on the shape that seemed no more than a dirty smudge against the embankment.

The riverman could hear voices above but his eyes never left the half-submerged body as the boat crept nearer and nearer. At last he let the boat drift, oars resting on the rowlocks as he finally drew alongside the river’s latest victim. George stood up slowly and bent over, letting the gunwales of the boat dip towards the water. Resting one foot on the edge, he hauled the body by its shoulders and in one clean movement brought it in. Huge ripples eddied away from the side as the boat rocked upright, its cargo safely aboard.

The victim was a middle-aged man. He’d clearly been in the water for some hours so there was no question of trying to revive him. The riverman turned the head this way and that, but there was no sign of a bullet hole or any wound that might indicate a sudden, violent death. George touched the sodden coat lightly. Its original camel colour was smeared and streaked with the river’s detritus, the velvet collar an oily black. Whoever he had been, his clothes showed signs of wealth. The pale face shone wet against the pearly pink light of morning. For an instant George had the impression that the man would sit up and grasp his hand, expressing his thanks for taking him out of the water, as so many had done before him. But today no words would be spoken.There would be only a silent communion between the two men, one dead and one living, before other hands came to examine the corpse.

George grasped the oars and pulled away from the embankment. Only then did he glance upwards, nodding briefly as he identified the men whose voices had sounded across the water. DCI Lorimer caught his eye and nodded back. Up above the banking a couple of uniformed officers stood looking down. Even as he began rowing away from the shore, the riverman noticed a smaller figure join the others. Dr. Rosie Fergusson had arrived.

‘Meet you at the Finnieston steps, George,’ Lorimer called out.

The riverman nodded briefly, pulling hard on the oars, taking his charge on its final journey down the Clyde.


Excerpt from The Riverman by Alex Gray. 

Copyright © 2017 by Alex Gray. 
Reproduced with permission from HarperCollins | WitnessImpulse. 
All rights reserved.

Author Bio:

Alex Gray

Alex Gray was born and educated in Glasgow. After studying English and Philosophy at the University of Strathclyde, she worked as a visiting officer for the Department of Health, a time she looks upon as postgraduate education since it proved a rich source of character studies. She then trained as a secondary school teacher of English.

Alex began writing professionally in 1993 and had immediate success with short stories, articles, and commissions for BBC radio programs. She has been awarded the Scottish Association of Writers’ Constable and Pitlochry trophies for her crime writing.

A regular on the Scottish bestseller lists, she is the author of thirteen DCI Lorimer novels. She is the co-founder of the international Scottish crime writing festival, Bloody Scotland, which had its inaugural year in 2012.

Connect with Alex Gray on her Website  & on Twitter .


Tour Participants:

Visit the other tour stops for more great features and reviews!

Don’t Miss Your Chance in this Giveaway!

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours for Alex Gray and William Morrow. There will be 3 US winners of one (1) PRINT copy of The Riverman by Alex Gray. The giveaway begins on January 9th and runs through February 23rd, 2017.

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Guest Post: Tonya Kappes, author of GHOSTLY REUNION

The Book Diva’s Reads is pleased to host a visit today from the USA Today best-selling author Tonya Kappes. Ms. Kappes is the author of 40+ books, including the Magical Cure Mystery series, the Laurel London Mystery series, The Divorced Divas Mystery series, the Grandberry Falls series, the Kenni Lowry series, the Olivia Davis Paranormal Mystery series, the Bluegrass Romance series, and the ever-popular Ghostly Southern Mysteries series. Today Ms. Kappes will be discussing cozy mysteries (who better to discuss this topic?). Without further adieu, I give you Ms. Kappes.



Why not a cozy?

When people find out I’m a writer and ask me what genre. I respond with cozy mystery. You can probably guess the next question. Cozy? What is a cozy?

Trust me, I’ve been around long enough (26 novels) to know that cozy mystery genre doesn’t get the same hats off, Baptist nod, and thumbs up that thriller mystery or even just mystery writers get.

And if it’s not bad enough, I have to tell them that I write paranormal cozy mystery.That really gets the quizzical looks that make me feels as if I have two heads. THEN when I say it’s a witch mystery, I get the OMG, you believe in witches?

My explanation generally goes like this: Cozy mystery is kinda just that. Cozy. More along the lines of Murder She Wrote where the sleuth of my novels has a job that is in a craft or a special talent. She stumbles on a murder that is somehow tied to her life and she has to solve the murder/crime on her own.

There is no blood, guts, or gore and cozies are centered on the sleuth’s craft or gift. In my case with A Ghostly Reunion, the sleuth is an undertaker who lives in the small southern town in Kentucky.

Emma Lee Raines, my cozy sleuth, owns Eternal Slumber, the only funeral home in Sleepy Hollow, Kentucky. She has an unfortunate mishap with a plastic snowman falling on her head and now she sees dead people…dead murdered people who need to find their killer to make it to the other side or Emma risks to be haunted forever.

Cozies have relatable characters set in small towns with a cozy setting. Even though romance takes a back seat in the mystery, there is still a love interest to sweet the pot.

By the time I’ve given my spiel, the person who asked me about what a cozy was, is spouting off movies or television shows that fit the cozy mystery genre.




Author Bio:


Tonya Kappes

Tonya has written over 40 novels and 4 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 grew up in the small southern Kentucky town of Nicholasville. Now that her four boys are grown boys, Tonya writes full time.



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





A Ghostly Reunion


by Tonya Kappes


on Tour January 16 – February 17, 2017





Synopsis:


A Ghostly Reunion by Tonya Kappes

A Ghostly Reunion



Proprietor of the Eternal Slumber Funeral Home, Emma Lee can see, hear, and talk to ghosts of murdered folks. And when her high school nemesis is found dead, Jade Lee Peel is the same old mean girl—trying to come between Emma Lee and her hot boyfriend, Sheriff Jack Henry Ross, all over again.

There’s only one way for Emma Lee to be free of the trash-talking ghost—solve the murder so the former prom queen can cross over.

But the last thing Jade Lee wants is to leave the town where she had her glory days. And the more Emma Lee investigates on her own, the more complicated Miss Popularity turns out to be. Now Emma Lee will have to work extra closely with her hunky lawman to get to the twisty truth.



Book Details:


Genre: Cozy Mystery, Paranormal
Published by: HarperCollins / Witness
Publication Date: December 27th 2016
Number of Pages: 352
ISBN: 006246695X (ISBN13: 9780062466952)
Series: Ghostly Southern Mysteries #5
Purchase Links: Amazon  | Barnes & Noble  | Goodreads 





Tour Participants:








Giveaway:



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 #1-5 by Tonya Kappes. The giveaway begins on January 15th and runs through February 18th, 2017.



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Book Showcase: A GHOSTLY REUNION by Tonya Kappes


A Ghostly Reunion


by Tonya Kappes


on Tour January 16 – February 17, 2017





Synopsis:


A Ghostly Reunion by Tonya Kappes

A Ghostly Reunion



Proprietor of the Eternal Slumber Funeral Home, Emma Lee can see, hear, and talk to ghosts of murdered folks. And when her high school nemesis is found dead, Jade Lee Peel is the same old mean girl—trying to come between Emma Lee and her hot boyfriend, Sheriff Jack Henry Ross, all over again.

There’s only one way for Emma Lee to be free of the trash-talking ghost—solve the murder so the former prom queen can cross over.

But the last thing Jade Lee wants is to leave the town where she had her glory days. And the more Emma Lee investigates on her own, the more complicated Miss Popularity turns out to be. Now Emma Lee will have to work extra closely with her hunky lawman to get to the twisty truth.





Book Details:


Genre: Cozy Mystery, Paranormal
Published by: HarperCollins / Witness
Publication Date: December 27th 2016
Number of Pages: 352
ISBN: 006246695X (ISBN13: 9780062466952)
Series: Ghostly Southern Mysteries #5
Purchase Links: Amazon  | Barnes & Noble  | Goodreads 


Read an excerpt:

Sexy isn’t a firm fanny in a thong, ladies.”

Hettie Bell didn’t seem so sexy in her hot pink leggings and matching top as she gasped for breath in her downward dog position in the middle of Sleepy Hollow, Kentucky. Her butt stuck straight up in the air, right there on display for everyone to see. Her black, chin-length bob was falling out of the small ponytail on both sides and her bangs hung down in her eyes.

“Sexy is confidence and self-acceptance. It’s exactly what yoga provides.”

Hettie Bell curled up on her tiptoes with her palms planted on one of the mats she provided for us. The rickety old floor of the gazebo, in the middle of the town square, groaned as we all tried to mimic her pose. “Yes!” Beulah Paige Bellefry hollered out like we were in the first pew of the Sleepy Hollow Baptist Church getting a good Bible beating from Pastor Brown himself.

“Amen to a good pose!”

Beulah continued to adjust her feet and hands each time she started to slip. If she wasn’t a bit overweight, I’d say it was her eighties silk sweat suit that was slicker than cat’s guts giving her problems. Or it could’ve been those pearls around her wrist, neck and ears weighing her down. Beulah never took off those pearls. She said pearls were a staple for a Southern gal.

“You said it, sister,” Mary Anna Hardy gasped. She teetered side to side, nearly knocking into Granny. Her sweat left streaks down her makeup. Who on earth got up this early and put makeup on to do yoga? Mary Anna Hardy, that’s who.

“God help us!”

“That’s it.”

I pushed back off my heels and crossed my legs, staring at all the Auxiliary women’s derrieres at my eye level.

“I’m here to do some relaxing, not Sunday school.”

Sleepy Hollow was smack-dab in the middle of the Bible Belt and if God wasn’t thrown in our conversations, then we weren’t breathing. But the last thing I wanted to think about was my butt stuck up to the high heavens and everyone up in the Great Beyond looking down upon me.



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:








Giveaway:



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 #1-5 by Tonya Kappes. The giveaway begins on January 15th and runs through February 18th, 2017.



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Book Showcase: THE FANTASTIC BOOK OF EVERYBODY’S SECRETS by Sophie Hannah


The Fantastic Book of Everybody’s Secrets


by Sophie Hannah


on Tour November 1 – December 17, 2016





The Fantastic Book of Everybody's Secrets by Sophie Hannah

A collection of ingenious suspense stories from one of today’s most acclaimed novelists in the genre. Everybody has their secrets, and in Sophie Hannah’s fantastic stories the curtains positively twitch with them. Who, for instance, is the hooded figure hiding in the bushes outside a young man’s house? Why does the same stranger keep appearing in the background of a family’s holiday photographs? What makes a woman stand mesmerised by two children in a school playground, children she’s never met but whose names she knows well? And which secret results in a former literary festival director sorting soiled laundry in a shabby hotel? All will be revealed…but at a cost. As Sophie Hannah uncovers the dark obsessions and strange longings behind the most ordinary relationships, life will never seem quite the same again.




Book Details:


Genre: Short Stories, Thriller
Published by: Witness Impulse
Publication Date: October 11th 2016
Number of Pages: 120
ISBN: 0062562096 (ISBN13: 9780062562098)
Purchase Links: Amazon  Barnes & Noble  Goodreads 


Sophie Hannah

Learn More:

Sophie Hannah is the New York Times-bestselling author of numerous psychological thrillers, which have been published in 27 countries and adapted for television, as well as The Monogram Murders, the first Hercule Poirot novel authorized by the estate of Agatha Christie.


Catch Up with Sophie Hannah on her Website , Twitter , or Facebook 









Tour Participants:







Giveaway:



This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours for Sophie Hannah and Witness Impulse. There will be 5 US winners of one (1) eBook copy of The Fantastic Book of Everybody’s Secrets by Sophie Hannah. The giveaway begins on November 1st and runs through January 2nd, 2017.


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Book Showcase: THE VISITOR’S BOOK by Sophie Hannah

The Visitor’s Book

by Sophie Hannah

on Tour November 1 – December 17, 2016



The Visitor's Book by Sophie Hannah

A collection of spine-tingling ghost stories from one of today’s most acclaimed suspense novelists. In this small but perfectly formed collection of supernatural short stories, bestselling author, Sophie Hannah, takes the comforting scenes of everyday life and imbues them with a frisson of fear. Why is a young woman so unnerved by the presence of a visitors book in her boyfriend’s inner-city home? And whose spidery handwriting is it that fills the pages? Who is the strangely courteous boy still lingering at a child’s tenth birthday party when all the parents have gathered their children and left? And why does the presence of a perfectly ordinary woman in a post office queue leave another customer pallid and quaking with fear?




Book Details:


Genre: Short Stories, Thriller
Published by: Witness Impulse
Publication Date: November 1st 2016
Number of Pages: 120
ISBN: 0062562126 (ISBN13: 9780062562128)
Purchase Links: Amazon  Barnes & Noble  Goodreads 



Sophie Hannah

Learn More:

Sophie Hannah is the New York Times-bestselling author of numerous psychological thrillers, which have been published in 27 countries and adapted for television, as well as The Monogram Murders, the first Hercule Poirot novel authorized by the estate of Agatha Christie.




Catch Up with Sophie Hannah on her Website  & Twitter !









Tour Participants:







Enter for a chance to WIN!



This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours for Sophie Hannah and Witness Impulse. There will be 5 US winners of one (1) eBook copy of The Visitor’s Book by Sophie Hannah. The giveaway begins on November 1st and runs through January 2nd, 2017.


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Book Showcase: THE TROUTBECK TESTIMONY by Rebecca Tope

The Troutbeck Testimony

by Rebecca Tope

on Tour October 24 – November 23, 2016





Synopsis:



The Troutbeck Testimony by Rebecca Tope


A huge funeral for Windermere’s popular resident, Barbara Dodge, is taking place and florist Persimmon ‘Simmy’ Brown and her new assistant, Bonnie Lawson are busy compiling wreaths in preparation. There’s word of a series of sinister dognappings occurring in nearby Troutbeck and whilst taking a walk up Wansfell Pike, Simmy and her father, Russell, stumble on a dog, strangled to death – it’s not long before Simmy reluctantly finds herself caught up in a murder investigation…






Book Details:


Genre: Mystery & Detective, Cozy
Published by: Morrow/Witness Impulse
Publication Date: October 2016
Number of Pages: 384
ISBN: 9780062567468
Series: Persimmon Brown #4

Grab a copy of The Troutbeck Testimony on Amazon 🔗, Barnes & Noble 🔗, & Add it to your TBR list on Goodreads 🔗!




Read an excerpt:



The first anniversary of Persimmon Brown’s opening of her florist shop in the Lake District had almost coincided with Easter and an explosion of spring flowers and blossom. Wordsworth’s daffodils performed to their greatest strength and pussy willow attracted hosts of honey bees who had failed to notice that they were meant to be in terminal decline. A month later, on the first long weekend in May, walking along a sheltered footpath to the west of Troutbeck, Simmy – officially Ms. Persimmon Brown – could hear an energetic buzzing and murmured ‘something something something in the bee-loud glade’ to herself. Not Wordsworth, she was sure, but somebody like Yeats or Hardy. She would ask her young friend Ben, who knew everything.

The sun was warm on her shoulders; the light so clear that she could pick out numerous fast-growing lambs on the fells far above the village. Every weekend throughout the coming summer, she promised herself, she would get up at first light and go for an early walk. The anniversary had been a time for resolutions and one of them was to make much better use of the natural delights that surrounded her.

She felt an almost pagan euphoria at the burgeoning landscape, vibrant with flora and fauna at the start of another cycle of life. Her mother would say it was a mark in Christianity’s favour that it had been clever enough to superimpose all its biggest rituals onto far more ancient moments in the natural year, with Easter an obvious example.

There was now a bonus Spring Bank Holiday that Simmy was savouring with complete abandonment.

The late morning, with a sunny afternoon still ahead of her, brought feelings of richness and privilege that were almost shameful. But she had earned it, she reminded herself. The winter had been grey and protracted, interspersed with a number of unpleasant adventures. She had been repeatedly drawn into events that demonstrated the darker side of human behaviour, forced to confront far too much reality.

Now that spring had arrived with such a colourful crash, she was determined to shake all that off and concentrate on her flowers.

The plan for the day was to meet her father, Russell Straw, for a long-promised fellside walk after a modest lunch at the Mortal Man. The full walk, along Nanny Lane and up to the summit of Wansfell Pike – and back – was easily four miles in total, with some steep sections of stony path. ‘By rights, we should go across to the Troutbeck Tongue at the same time, but that’s rather ambitious,’ Russell conceded.

‘I shall want some fortification first,’ Simmy had warned him. ‘And if there’s the slightest risk of rain, I’m cancelling the whole idea. Neither of us is fit enough to do anything rash.’

There was no suggestion of rain, the sky a uniform blue in every direction. It was, in fact, the most perfect day for very many months and Simmy was duly thankful for it. Her father would bring water, map, and dog. She would provide a camera, mobile phone and two slabs of Kendal mint cake.

The fells above Troutbeck were stark, dramatic and uncaring. There were barely any flowers or trees adorning them, other than the tiny resilient blooms that crouched underfoot. More than happy to accommodate her father’s wishes, Simmy nonetheless preferred the softer and more moderated lower levels.

This explained her morning stroll, taking a zigzag route from her house to the hostelry along lanes that had been colonised by humanity, with gardens and houses taking their place in the picture. The bees at least agreed with her. Azaleas and rhododendrons were in bud, reminding her of her startled surprise at the vibrant colours, the year before. Not just the natural purples and pinks, but  brilliant orange, deepest crimson and a wide array of other hues shouted from gardens all over the relatively balmy area around Windermere and Ambleside. Even the wilder reaches of Coniston boasted spectacular displays. Aware that it might be foolish to expend energy on this pre-walk stroll, she nonetheless felt the need to exploit the sunshine and the flamboyant floral displays. It was semi-professional, too – she ought to be apprised of the full range of seasonal blossoms in gardens, in order to echo and embellish them in the offerings she stocked at the shop. Flowers were her business, and any lateral information she could acquire would always come in useful.

Her father was waiting for her at the pub, sitting at an outside table on a lower level, with his dog. She kissed the man and patted the animal. ‘Is he going to cope with such a long walk?’ she wondered. It was a rather ancient Lakeland terrier, officially named Bertie, but mostly just called ‘the dog’. His forebears had failed a purity test, it seemed, and poor Bertie had found himself rejected as breeding stock and consigned to a rescue centre until eventually rescued by kindly Russell Straw.

‘Oh yes. And if he doesn’t we’ll have to carry him.’

‘When did you last take him on a jaunt like this?’

‘About eighteen months ago. We’ve been waiting all this time for you.’

‘Dad! That’s ridiculous.’ In spite of herself, she laughed. ‘Poor old chap. He won’t know what’s hit him. His feet will be sore for weeks.’

‘Not a bit of it. He spends all his time digging up stones. His feet are as tough as iron. He could easily outwalk both of us. Now let’s get on with it. I want to set off by one at the latest.’

That gave them forty-five minutes to eat a hearty pub lunch with beer to wash it down. ‘We shouldn’t walk on full stomachs,’ Simmy remarked. ‘We’ll get a stitch.’

‘Better than trying to do it empty. We need the food to give us stamina.’

‘At least we’ve got the weather for it. And listen to those birds!’ A pair of collared doves cooed at them from an overhead wire, the gentle three-note song a backdrop that Simmy always loved, despite the blatant lack of musical variety. Her habit of feeding garden birds had attracted another pair of doves to her own little patch, a few hundred yards from the pub, and she had grown used to waking to their call, imagining that they were deliberately asking her for some breakfast.

Russell cocked his head. ‘They’re not native, you know. They’re quite recent immigrants. I mean recent. I was about ten years old when the first ones settled here. The BBC put them in a medieval radio play by mistake not long ago. Lots of people wrote in about it.’

‘Well, they’re very welcome as far as I’m concerned.’

‘I agree with you. I also like grey squirrels, even if I get lynched for saying so.’

She laughed again, after a wary glance around. In Troutbeck, the red squirrel was verging on the sacred and the grey accordingly considered devilish. Anyone overhearing Russell was liable to take exception to his views. But nobody at the neighbouring tables was reacting. Nothing could sully her delight at the carefree afternoon ahead with the best of all possible fathers. It took a lot to disturb Russell Straw – but then a lot had happened in recent times, and his daughter had certainly caused him some worry over the winter. His wife was the powerful half in the marriage, leaving him to contented pottering and sporadic researches into local history. They ran a somewhat eccentric bed-and-breakfast business in Windermere, in which Angie Straw broke a lot of rules and earned a lot of profound gratitude in the process. Her reviews on TripAdvisor veered from the horrified to the euphoric, depending on how much individuality her guests could stomach. She was a capricious mixture of old fashioned and hippy, refusing to use guests’ first names unless they insisted, and cheerfully producing full breakfasts at ten-thirty, if that’s what people wanted.

‘Let me just pop to the lav and then we can be off,’ Russell said. ‘Mind the dog, will you?’

She took the lead attached to Bertie and nodded.

The sun was as high as it was going to get, and the afternoon stretched ahead of them with no sense of urgency. The sky remained an unbroken blue.

The views from the summit of Wansfell Pike would be spectacular. At least two lakes would be visible, and any number of fells on all sides. Russell knew the names of most of the main landmarks, and had a map with which to identify others. Simmy had only a rudimentary and theoretical knowledge of any of it.

Bertie whined and pulled annoyingly. ‘He’ll be back in a minute,’ Simmy told him. ‘Don’t be silly.’ Dogs were generally annoying, to her way of thinking. So dreadfully dependent and needy all the time.  It had come as a surprise when her parents rescued this little specimen, and even more so when Russell developed such a fondness for it. To Simmy’s eyes, the animal lacked character, which Russell insisted was a consequence of his harsh life, full of betrayal and confusion. ‘He just wants  everything nice and peaceful from here on,’ he said.

Which was generally what he got, apart from a never-ending procession of B&B guests, who mostly patted his head and then left him alone.

‘You were a long time,’ she told him, when her father eventually returned.

‘I know.’ He was frowning distractedly. ‘I overheard something, outside the gents, and I have no idea what to make of it. I kept out of sight for a minute, just in case they didn’t like the idea of anyone hearing them.’

‘Oh?’

‘Two men talking. It sounds a bit wild, I know, but I think they were planning a burglary.’





Author Bio:


Rebecca Tope

Rebecca Tope is the author of four murder mystery series, featuring Den Cooper, Devon police detective, Drew Slocombe, Undertaker; Thea Osborne, house sitter in the Cotswolds and now Persimmon Brown, Lake District florist. She is also a “ghost writer” of the novels based on the ITV series Rosemary and Thyme.




Catch Up with Ms. Tope on rebeccatope.com 🔗 or on twitter at @RebeccaTope 🔗.




Tour Participants:

Visit other tour stops for reviews, guest posts, interviews, and more giveaways!






Don’t Miss Out On Your Chance to WIN!



This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours for Rebecca Tope & Harper Collins – Witness/Impulse. There will be 3 US winners of one (1) eBook copy of The Troutbeck Testimony by Rebecca Tope.  This is subject to change without notification. The giveaway begins on October 22nd and runs through November 25th, 2016.


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Book Showcase: THE CONISTON CASE by Rebecca Tope


The Coniston Case


by Rebecca Tope


on Tour September 2016





cover

Valentine’s Day is fast approaching and business at Persimmon ‘Simmy’ Brown’s flower shop is booming. But when Simmy fulfills a string of anonymous delivery orders, she is startled to realize that each contains a secretly menacing message for the recipients. When one of the people who receives a bouquet disappears, it seems that her worst fears have been confirmed.


As if that isn’t enough, Simmy’s friend Kathy turns up, on the trail of her wayward daughter Joanna, who she fears has grown too close to one of her university tutors. When Kathy attempts to reason with her daughter she finds that Joanna’s older lover may be even more dangerous than she had imagined. With both Kathy and Joanna in peril, Simmy and her friends find themselves caught up in a web of deception, blackmail and murder…



Book Details:


Genre:  Cozy Mystery & Detective
Published by:  Harper Collins/Witness Impulse
Publication Date:  August 12, 2016
Number of Pages:  384
ISBN:  9780062567420
Series:  Lake District Mysteries #2

Purchase The Coniston Case on Amazon & Barnes & Noble. Or Learn More at Goodreads.


Read an excerpt:

‘It’s not the same,’ Melanie argued. ‘She can do some shopping when she comes here. Nobody wants to shop in Coniston, do they? Making a delivery over there really is a waste of time and petrol. And you’re not supposed to do too much driving, remember.’ Melanie’s protectiveness had become a habit since Simmy had suffered an injury, shortly before Christmas, and been forbidden to drive until early in February. She had used crutches throughout most of January. Damage to her head had necessitated a shaven area, which prompted her to have a very short all-over haircut that still felt strange.


‘Well it’s too late now. I just hope it doesn’t go mad tomorrow or I’ll be turning orders away. You know you’ll be doing all the local ones, don’t you?’ ‘Yeah, yeah. My feet’ll be worn away to nothing by the time I’ve done them all.’ There had been a degree of discord about how Melanie might best make the deliveries of flowers in the streets of Windermere and Bowness. Her battered car was deemed by Simmy to be bad for the image of the business, but she had compromised slightly, and agreed that it could be left full of flowers in the Bowness car park, and again at the northern end of Windermere, for increased efficiency. She had also, as a major concession, permitted Melanie to use the van while she herself had been unable to drive. As a resident of an area renowned for walking, the girl was almost a freak in her reluctance to use her own legs as a means of transport.


Rebecca Tope

Author Bio:

Rebecca Tope is the author of four murder mystery series, featuring Den Cooper, Devon police detective, Drew Slocombe, Undertaker; Thea Osborne, house sitter in the Cotswolds and now Persimmon Brown, Lake District florist. She is also a “ghost writer” of the novels based on the ITV series Rosemary and Thyme.

Catch Up with Rebecca Tope on her Website or on Twitter.



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This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours for Rebecca Tope & Harper Collins – Witness/Impulse. There will be ONE (1) Winner for this tour. The winner will receive 1 Free link to download the ‘The Coniston Case by Rebecca Tope’ e-book. This is subject to change without notification. The giveaway begins on August 29th and runs through September 30th, 2016.



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Book Showcase: RANDOM ACTS by J.A. Jance

Random Acts (A Joanna Brady and Ali Reynolds Novella) by J.A. Jance 
ISBN: 9780062499059 (paperback)
ISBN: 9780062499042 (eBook)
ASIN: B019MMUAXS (Kindle version)
Publication Date: August 9, 2016 
Publisher: Witness Impulse


From New York Times bestselling author J.A. Jance comes an all- new novella, in which Sheriff Joanna Brady and investigator Ali Reynolds join forces to solve a crime that has hit dangerously close to home. Sheriff Joanna Brady has a lot on her plate—she is up for re-election as sheriff, pregnant with her third child, and her eldest is packing up to leave for college. Then Joanna is woken in the middle of the night by a call reporting a motor vehicle accident. Her mother and stepfather’s RV ran off the road at high speed and hit the pillar of an overpass.

Something about the accident seems suspicious, though, and when Joanna gets a call from Ali Reynolds, a journalist turned investigator, she accepts her offer to help. They come up with a plan to find out who was responsible…even if that person is not the villain they’d expected.


Read an excerpt:

“Mom,” Jennifer Ann Brady said, “what if you lose?”

Sheriff Joanna Brady and her daughter, Jenny, were seated at a booth in the Triple T Truck Stop where they’d stopped for deep dish apple pie on their way home to Bisbee from a shopping expedition in Tucson. Jenny would be leaving for her first semester at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff in a matter of days. Because Tucson was a hundred miles one way from Bisbee, both of them had taken the day off work—Jenny from her job at a local veterinarian’s office and Joanna from work as well as pre-election campaigning.

Since there had been no panicky phone calls or texts from Tom Hadlock, her chief deputy, or from her campaign manager, either, it seemed likely that things on that end must be fairly well under control.

Somewhere between Wal-Mart—towels, bedding, pillows, sheets, a tiny microwave, and a one-cup coffeemaker—T.J. Maxx—clothing that would have caused Joanna’s mother, Eleanor, to have a conniption fit—and Western Wearhouse—boots, shirts, jeans, and a new hat—it had occurred to Joanna that kids needed lots of goods to head off to college these days. That was especially true for Jenny. After being awarded a full-ride athletic scholarship to join NAU’s recently reinstated rodeo team, she would also be going off to school with a pickup truck loaded with tack and a horse trailer hauling her relatively new quarter horse, Maggie.

Jenny had insisted that for this shopping trip it should be just the two of them—”like the old days,” she had said. The old days in question were the years between the death of Joanna’s first husband, Deputy Sheriff Andrew Roy Brady, and the arrival of her second husband, Butch Dixon. During that difficult interval after Andy’s murder and before Butch’s making his way into Joanna’s heart, Jenny had been the only star in her firmament. It had been just the two of them back then…well, three really—Jenny, Joanna, and a single dog. Now there was Butch; Jenny’s younger half brother, Dennis; and a menagerie of dogs, horses, and cattle, to say nothing of the growing baby bump at her expanding waistline, who was just then pummeling the inside of Jonna’s ribs with a series of field-goal worthy kicks.

All in all, it had been a lovely day, but Jenny’s question left a somber note lingering in the air over the Formica table in the bustling and noisy truck stop dining room.

“I’m not planning on losing,” Joanna said quietly.


Copyright © J.A. Jance, 2016



Meet the author:


J. A. Jance is the New York Times bestselling author of the J. P. Beaumont series, the Joanna Brady series, the Ali Reynolds series, and five interrelated thrillers about the Walker Family as well as a volume of poetry. Born in South Dakota and brought up in Bisbee, Arizona, Jance lives with her husband in Seattle, Washington, and Tucson, Arizona.



Connect with the author:

Website     |     Facebook     |     Twitter      |     Goodreads 



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2016 Book #229: BLOOD SYMMETRY by Kate Rhodes

Blood Symmetry by Kate Rhodes
ISBN: 9780062444080 (paperback – release date 8/9/16)
ISBN: 9780062444073 (ebook)
ASIN: B016UEKRGQ (Kindle version)
Publication Date: July 12, 2016 
Publisher: Witness Impulse


Clare Riordan and her son Mikey are abducted from Clapham Common early one morning. Hours later, the boy is found wandering disorientated. Soon after, a pack of Clare’s blood is left on a doorstep in the heart of the City of London.

Alice Quentin is brought in to help the traumatized child uncover his memories – which might lead them to his mother’s captors. But she swiftly realizes Clare is not the first victim… nor will she be the last.

The killers are driven by a desire for revenge… and in the end, it will all come down to blood.



Alice Quentin is a forensic psychologist with the Forensic Psychology Unit (FPU) of the Metropolitan Police Department. Her very first day as the second-in-charge, she’s assigned a case involving a mother, Dr. Clare Riordan, that has been abducted and her son, Mikey, apparently escaped. Alice has to contend with her new responsibilities as the Deputy Director at the FPU, her burgeoning relationship with DCI Don Burns, and her relationship with the traumatized child in Blood Symmetry by Kate Rhodes.

Alice Quentin’s professional life is moving forward with her recent appointment as the Deputy Director at the FPU. Her romantic life is in a holding pattern. Don Burns is separated from his wife but not yet divorced. Alice isn’t quite sure if she believes his commitment to her nor is she ready to fully commit to him. She feels backed into the proverbial corner, as their romantic relationship has been revealed to all and sundry and now they must work closely on this abduction case. Just when Alice thinks she has a grasp on this case, she realizes that the abducted mother might be just one in a series of abductions/murders and they all have ties to the Tainted Blood Scandal. (Tainted blood products were imported into the United Kingdom and provided to hemophiliacs causing a host of acquired medical issues including hepatitis C and HIV.) Once Alice realizes the full scope of Dr. Riordan’s abduction, everyone she meets becomes a suspect. The abduction is featured prominently in the news and soon both Mikey and Alice become targets. Can Alice and Don find Clare Riordan before it’s too late?

Blood Symmetry is the fifth book in the Alice Quentin series by Kate Rhodes. Although this is the first book in this series that I’ve read, I didn’t really feel as if I missed out on anything (of course, I’ll be reading the previous books in the series because I’m hooked). I thoroughly enjoyed Blood Symmetry and found it to be a fast-paced and engaging read. Ms. Rhodes has provided a mystery that kept me guessing until the bitter end, a bit of romance, some family drama, political drama, and more. I especially enjoyed the incorporation of a historic  medical issue into the storyline as well as the idea of recipients of tainted blood products seeking revenge. I found the characters to be realistic and the action to be wholly plausible. If you enjoy crime fiction or mystery-thrillers, then you’ll definitely want to add this series to your TBR list. As previously mentioned, I’ll be reading the first four books then rereading Blood Symmetry while I eagerly await the next installment in this series. 


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







This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours for Kate Rhodes and Witness Impulse. There will be 5 winners. Each winner will receive one ebook copy of Blood Symmetry by Kate Rhodes. The giveaway begins on July 11th and runs through August 20th, 2016.


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2016 Book 127: THE WAGES OF SIN by Nancy Allen

The Wages of Sin: An Ozarks Mystery by Nancy Allen 
ISBN: 9780062438768 (paperback – available June 14, 2016)
ISBN: 9780062438751 (ebook)
ASIN: B0166JUGPM (Kindle edition)
Publication date: April 12, 2016 
Publisher: Witness Impulse 


In rural McCown County, Missouri, a young pregnant woman is found beaten to death in a trailer park. The only witness to the murder is Ivy, her six-year-old daughter, who points to her mom’s boyfriend—father of the unborn child. County prosecutor Madeleine Thompson promises the community justice, and in the Ozarks, that can only mean one thing: a death sentence.

When Madeleine’s first choice for co-counsel declines to try a death penalty case, she is forced to turn to assistant prosecutor Elsie Arnold. Elsie is reluctant to join forces with her frosty boss, but the road to conviction seems smooth—until unexpected facts about the victim arise, and the testimony of the lone eyewitness Ivy becomes increasingly crucial. Against Elsie’s advice, Madeleine brings in the state attorney general’s office to assist them, while cutthroat trial attorney Claire O’Hara joins the defense.

Elsie will not let the power of prosecution—of seeking justice—be wrested from her without a fight. She wants to win the case, and to avenge the death of the mother and her unborn child. But as the trial nears, Elsie begins to harbor doubts about the death penalty itself. Meanwhile, the child Ivy is in greater danger than anyone knows… 



A pregnant woman is viciously beaten and dies. Her boyfriend is the murderer. The pregnant woman’s six-year-old daughter is a witness to the beating. Elsie Arnold, a prosecuting attorney in rural Barton City, McCown County, Missouri has the chance to try a death penalty case in The Wages of Sin by Nancy Allen.

Normally, Elsie Arnold, is the last person in the prosecuting attorney’s office expected to assist in a death penalty case, but there are major issues within the prosecuting attorney’s office that afford her this opportunity. The chief assistant prosecuting attorney had to recuse himself as he witnessed the defendant beat the accused at a campsite just a few days prior to the murder. Elsie’s best friend and fellow assistant prosecuting attorney, Breeon Johnson, recuses herself because she doesn’t believe in the death penalty. Elsie is relatively confident she can more than handle this case as second chair with her boss, prosecuting attorney Madeleine Thomas, until her boss decides to contact the States Attorney General’s office for assistance, and enter Samuel Parsons. Just as things are heating up with Elsie’s professional life (or so she thinks), her personal life is slowing down as her lover, Detective Robert Ashlock, has obtained custody of his fourteen-year-old son. Unfortunately for Elsie, she has to function as the liaison between the prosecuting attorney’s office and Family Services on behalf of the six-year-old witness, establish a relationship with a six-year-old witness, and do all of the scut-work for the legal case against the murderer. It isn’t until the actual trial begins, that Elsie begins to realize that all is not as it appears and there’s a lot more to this case than meets the eye. Will she be able to determine all of the major players before it’s too late for her witness and her case?

The Wages of Sin is the third book in the Ozarks Mystery series by Nancy Allen and the first book in this series that I’ve read. Fortunately, it isn’t necessary to read the previous books in this series in order to understand what is happening in the current book, as each book seems to function as a standalone with recurring characters. I found The Wages of Sin to be a rather quick read. Ms. Allen provides plenty of colorful characters to keep things interesting (Elsie and Ivy are a riot!). Ms. Allen seems to capture the essence of rural life without being apologetic about the poverty, deprivation, or depravation. If you enjoy reading mysteries  or legal thrillers, then look no further as The Wages of Sin is equal parts mystery and legal thriller.

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



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