#Review | Silent Island by Dana Perry

Silent Island Dana Perry
Genre: Organized Crime Thriller Police Procedural
Published by Bookouture
Publication Date: October 5, 2021
Pages: 269
Review Copy From: Publisher via NetGalley
Edition: Kindle
My Rating: 5

Synopsis (via GR)

Nancy Lavelle lies still on the floor. With her eyes looking towards her children’s rooms, her hands are clasped in prayer, as if the last thing she wished for was her children to be saved…

When Detective Abby Pearce is called to the Beach House, a holiday home in the most affluent part of Martha’s Vineyard, she finds five bodies. An entire family has been killed in a frenzied attack… all except one. Fifteen-year-old Karin is the only survivor. Sitting in the house, surrounded by her family, she stares into the distance and doesn’t say a word.

When Karin’s grandparents fly in to take her home, Abby’s investigation takes a shocking turn. Taking one look at the traumatised girl, they recoil—the girl curled up in a hospital bed isn’t their granddaughter. So who is she? And where is the real Karin Lavelle?

Abby fears the missing girl is in serious danger, and with local residents worried that the killer is still on the island and the press questioning her every move, she’s under pressure to solve both crimes fast. But when she uncovers a link between Thomas Lavelle’s New York office and her previous job at the NYPD, she begins to fear that these brutal murders are a sign… and that she’s next. Can she find the killer before another life is taken, or is she walking into a trap?

This fast-paced thriller is perfect for fans of Lisa Regan, Kendra Elliot and Mary Burton, but be warned—you won’t want to put it down!

My Thoughts

Caveat: Dana Perry is on my “authors to read” list so I know when I peel back that cover, I’m going to be experiencing an exceptional read…….

With that being said, let me catch my breath. I feel like I just ran a marathon reading this story.

This is the 2nd book in the Detective Abby Pearce series but can easily read as a stand alone. You can see my review for the 1st book Her Ocean Grave

A dream vacation on the iconic island of Martha’s Vineyard. But the entire Lavelle family has been murdered in their hotel room not long after arriving. From there, the action doesn’t diminish with each page that is turned.

Mr. Perry has a gift of writing stories within stories, mysteries within mysteries, which this book had, which was gripping and tense. I was so engrossed that I felt that I was also on the island and trailing Det. Abby Pearce on her hunt for the killer or killers.

A nail biter of a read!!! Chilling and riveting!!!!

A totally entertaining read from start to finish!!! Now I’m ready for the sequel!!!!

I received a complimentary copy from Bookouture via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

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


  • This blog was founded on the premise to write honest reviews, to the best of my ability, no matter who from, where from and/or how the book was obtained, and will continue to do so, even if it is through PICT or PBP.
  • I received a copy of this book, at no charge to me, in exchange for my honest review. No items that I receive are ever sold…they are kept by me, or given to family and/or friends.
  • I do not have any affiliation with Amazon.com or Barnes & Noble. I am providing link(s) solely for visitors that may be interested in purchasing this Book/EBook.

    The Thief Catcher by Jonette Blake | #Showcase #Interview

    The Thief Catcher by Jonette Blake Banner

    The Thief Catcher

    by Jonette Blake

    October 1-31, 2021 Virtual Book Tour


    The Thief Catcher by Jonette Blake

    A holiday in this tropical resort could be her last.

    Delia Frost is ready to quit her job and take a holiday. But she wants a relaxing holiday, not the one her husband dreams of; traveling in a motorhome. Sending airfare money to her two children who are holidaying abroad so they can all meet up for this family holiday, she packs her and her husband’s bags for seven glorious days in a tropical island resort.

    But even thieves need to take a holiday, and once more Delia finds herself caught in a web of thievery and murder. And this time it is not only her life in danger, it is the lives of her children.

    Can she catch this murderous thief before it’s too late?

    Book Details:

    Genre: Murder Mystery
    Published by: Self-Published
    Publication Date: August 13th 2021
    Number of Pages: 270
    ISBN: 978-1922694003
    Series: A Delia Frost Novel
    Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads


    Read an excerpt:

    Chapter 1

    Room 101


    A door slammed, startling the cleaner who had left the balcony door open to air out the smell of bleach. The wind liked to whip across the ocean straight into the rooms on this side of the resort. Josephine pulled the glass door closed, slipped a mask over her face to block out the acrid stench of cleaning products, and popped her headphones onto her head.

    Cleaning the hotel rooms with headphones was against hotel policy. It was written on the board in the staff room: PLEASE DON’T WEAR HEADPHONES WHILE CLEANING THE ROOMS. It had something to do with a cleaner once surprising a male guest who had left a sign on the door handle to make up the room, but had forgotten something and returned. The cleaner, a young woman from the Pacific Islands named Roxy, had not heard him return. The way Josephine had heard the story; Roxy claimed the guest had groped her, and the guest claimed he’d busted Roxy rummaging through his suitcase. Roxy had a habit of stealing items, so Josephine had believed the guest’s story. But Roxy was also stunningly beautiful, and often international guests would offer her money to come live with them, so Josephine had also believed Roxy’s story. Both were probably right.

    Bottom line: the cleaners always got blamed.

    Deep in her thoughts, Josephine hadn’t heard the door to the bathroom open. And she hadn’t heard someone creeping across the tiled floor. But the song on her music list ended and she heard a noise coming from within the closet.

    This room was empty. Guests weren’t due to arrive until tomorrow.

    Glancing at the balcony door, she saw it was closed.

    Her mother believed in ghosts. Josephine did not.

    She switched off the music. There. Something was inside the closet.

    Probably a possum, she thought. Or a stupid bird. The resort was swarming with wild animals that liked to break into rooms and steal food or other items. Once, a magpie had flown in and stolen a woman’s bikini and used it in its nest.

    Josephine crept towards the closet door. She was deathly afraid of animals. But she had to get it out of the room before it caused the worst kind of mess to clean.

    Halfway across the room, the closet door opened.

    Someone stepped out.

    They wore a white billowing top and pants and a large straw hat, as if they were a ghost, and her breath caught in her throat. She slipped off her mask, suddenly unable to breathe.

    “You can’t be in here,” Josephine said. “This room isn’t supposed to be occupied till tomorrow. How did you get in?”

    The intruder held up a hand and pointed a finger at the balcony door. This room was on the second floor. The intruder would have to have climbed thin air to get inside.

    She still couldn’t see the intruder’s face: the hat was pulled down low. They were a small build, nothing discernible, and she was too startled to pull her gaze away to check for features that might tell her more about this person’s identity and intention.

    It could have been a man beneath the loose-fitting clothes, but it could also have been a woman. And until she saw the face, she had no idea if they were young or old.

    “I have to call the manager,” Josephine said.

    The intruder’s finger wiggled in the universal sign of ‘I wouldn’t do that if I were you’.

    Suddenly loud music blasted out of the small stereo – each room had a DVD player, a TV, a small stereo, and a selection of CDs. This was loud, noisy, angry music.

    Josephine’s insides chilled. This was just how Roxy had described her attack.

    At last the intruder lifted their head. She stared into a set of dark eyes that brimmed with anger.

    “What are you doing here?” she asked, shouting to be heard.

    The intruder stood there, blocking her exit through the front door. The balcony door wasn’t an option because it was a sheer drop to the pool area below.

    “Okay,” Josephine said. “You can leave now. I won’t report you. I can keep my mouth shut. You ask my cousin if I’ve told anyone about the money she stole from her in-laws’ restaurant.”

    Angry, dark eyes stared back at her.

    “Okay. I’ll leave and you stay.”

    Josephine took a step toward the door.

    The intruder took a step forward.

    She quickly backed up.

    A knife appeared in the intruder’s hand.

    Her weapon of defence was a spray bottle containing bleach, which she threw at the intruder before spinning to bolt for the balcony door.

    She felt a hand grab her long hair, which hotel rules stated had to be tied back, only now her ponytail was being used like a rope to drag her into the room.

    She started kicking and screaming. Realised that nobody would hear her screams over the music, but she screamed anyway.

    A hand landed on her mouth.

    She bit it.

    She bit harder, so hard that she was flung across the room. She scrambled up, hissing like a cat, curling her fingers into claws, her long nails now her only defence.

    The glint of the steel knife stopped her. And then the intruder surprised her by tossing the knife onto the lounge.

    Her gaze was fixated on the knife as it swung through the air, and she followed its trajectory to the lounge. Her reflexes sprung into action. She lunged for the knife, but the intruder lunged at her, barrelling into her and knocking her to the ground, knocking the wind out of her.

    “What’s the combination to the safe?” a gruff voice asked.

    “I. Don’t. Know.”



    The hands around her throat were squeezing tight.

    “Tell me.”


    Tears coursed down her cheeks, blinding her.

    Play dead, her brain commanded.

    And so she did. She let her body go limp, her mind go free, and she closed her eyes and took herself to a quiet place, a special place, one reserved for moments of enlightenment.

    And then the tight feeling around her throat was gone.

    She lay there, too afraid to move, and equally afraid not to leap up and run for her life.

    And the music stopped.

    In the distance, she heard seagulls squawking. A warm breeze blew into the room. Laughter billowed up from the pool. The balcony door must have been open for her to hear the sounds of activity down below.

    How long should I lie here, she wondered? Five minutes. Ten? An hour?

    She finally opened her eyes.

    And realised that she couldn’t move. Her body was numb. Her mouth wouldn’t open. None of her limbs worked.

    And then loud music blasted again.

    Chapter 2


    Twilight reflected on the water like millions of fireflies, casting a shimmery haze to reflect off the surface. The white hulls of the luxurious cruisers in the harbour captured the remaining afternoon sun. Smaller boats bobbed gently up and down. Seagulls flew overhead. Pelicans settled to roost on the streetlights. A gentle breeze blew in as if it also sought a place to settle for the night.

    A perfect balmy evening. Just the way I liked it. Not too hot. Not too cold. Moments like this were called Goldilocks moments, where everything was ‘not too this’ or ‘not too that’. I stood motionless, gazing out across the marina, soaking up the perfect moment, wishing for a glass of champagne to toast this magnificent sight. I could see why this placed was called Majestic Island.

    I tore my gaze away from the marina and pulled it toward the mainland, eight kilometres away and yet still visible from the island. At least for another few hours until night closed its curtains. A moving light on the water’s surface caught my eye. It belonged to a small dinghy. The white anchor light moved up and down, as if it was drifting along the current. Darkness had not yet fallen so I could see that the dinghy was without its master.

    “What are you looking at, Mrs Frost?”

    I flinched. Richard had startled me. And why was my husband suddenly referring to me as Mrs? He knew I hated the reference, it made me feel old. Worse, it made me feel like his mother, who insisted on everyone calling her Mrs Frost. I liked his mother, and she liked me, but I wasn’t interested in becoming her.

    His lips lifted in a smile; he was teasing me.

    “Just watching the harbour, Old Man,” I replied, using the term he disliked the most. His silvery hair was the only indication that he was almost fifty-five, but his hair had been silver for so long, strangers had difficulty guessing his age.

    He stopped beside me and joined me in gazing out over the bay. “Gorgeous view.”

    “Yes, but that boat is floating in the water without a master.” I pointed a finger; it took Richard a few seconds to locate the slow-moving anchor light.

    “Are you sure it’s adrift?”

    “I’ve been watching it for a while. It’s moved with the current, but there isn’t anyone on board. It’s out there, floating aimlessly, alone, lost.”

    “Delia, you make it sound like it’s in the depths of despair.”

    “It could be dangerous when the ferry arrives.”

    “You’re right. I’ll tell the restaurant manager about the boat. He can call the marina manager to check it out.”

    The ferry had dropped us on Majestic Island an hour ago. I’d hardly had time to unpack: Richard had made dinner reservations at the marina restaurant. We’d been on our way there when Richard had told me to wait while he went on ahead to check on our booking. I hadn’t questioned his reasoning: this might have led to a long discussion about something I was too tired from the ten-hour drive today to feign interest in. So I’d let him go on ahead while I stopped to soak up the sunset.

    “Our table is ready,” Richard said. “We can go in now.”

    I nodded, too distracted to give him my full attention. The dinghy was keeping me mesmerised. To wish to be in that boat as it floated out to sea was an irrational desire to escape, and yet I couldn’t stop the idea from settling in.

    At last, I pulled my attention away from the boat and headed inside the restaurant, a place named The Shack, with wooden walls and floors, and marina paraphernalia strung about. Fishing nets hung from the ceiling. A large aquarium with colourful fish inside sat behind the main desk. There was a large metal artwork with the four cardinal directions hanging behind the bar. A massive blue marlin fish was mounted to a wooden beam.

    The waiter smiled at me and held out his arm like he was directing traffic. I’d lost sight of Richard, so I had no idea where our table was located.

    “Where are we sitting?” I asked the waiter.

    He turned and headed for the table against the window.

    I caught a glimpse of myself in a porthole-shaped mirror: white Capri pants with a red and black off-the-shoulder top. I could take no credit for the top – it had belonged to my twenty-two-year-old daughter Georgia, and I’d inherited it after she’d left for her overseas trip. I hadn’t had the chance to wear it until now; summer wouldn’t reach our hometown of Batemans Cove for another few months. My suitcase was filled with whatever of my daughter’s tops and summer shoes were suitable for a fifty-three-year-old woman, and whatever I could fit into.

    The waiter stopped at the table.

    Richard sat on the left, and there were two other people seated around the table.

    “Mum.” Georgia leapt up, hugged me and planted a kiss on my cheek. I noticed that she’d cut her dark hair so that it fell in curls just below her shoulders. Her skin was golden brown, that I almost hadn’t recognised her.

    My son stood up next. Tristan was two years older than Georgia. I had last seen him a few months ago, and yet I was taken aback at how much he’d changed. He had a neatly-trimmed beard and he seemed to have grown another two inches taller. I had to stand on my toes to accept his kiss on the cheek.

    “What are you doing here?” I said to them both. “You weren’t supposed to be arriving until tomorrow.”

    Georgia grinned. “Dad wanted to surprise you. Surprise.”

    I spun to find Richard grinning like a man with the winning lottery ticket.

    “If I’d known you were coming,” I said feigning annoyance, “I’d have had my hair done and worn make up.”

    Georgia laughed. “Oh, mum you look great. Hey, isn’t that my top?”

    I grabbed them both and pulled them close. They were my rocks and I felt anchored by their presence. All thoughts of drifting out to sea were instantly forgotten.

    The waiter arrived, his presence breaking apart our huddle. Standing beside him was a gorgeous woman with long dark hair, dark eyes, and a pale yet not sickly complexion. She wore an off-the-shoulder yellow top and a denim skirt. I suddenly wondered if we had been seated at her table and the waiter was here to move us.

    Tristan brushed past me to stand beside the woman. “Mum. I’d like to introduce you to Mary Ramirez. She’s my fiancé.”

    My hand reached for the back of the chair for support. Three months ago, Richard had suffered a heart attack. I finally knew how it felt to have one’s heart just stop.

    “Way to go, big brother,” Georgia said, hugging Tristan tightly then throwing her arms around Mary.

    “Congratulations,” I said, finding my voice. “This is a bit of a shock. A nice shock, but still a shock.”

    “I’m sorry to spring this on you,” Tristan said with an apologetic smile. “But there’s no easy way to announce something like this.”

    I supposed there wasn’t.

    “Tristan stressed about how to tell you on the plane ride over,” Mary said. Even her voice was gorgeous, throaty and melodic.

    She flashed her finger at me; it was as if a star had exploded and one bright shard had fallen to earth and landed on her finger. How could Tristan have afforded such a ring?

    While Georgia gushed over the diamond, I sought out Richard’s hand. From the corner of my mouth, I said, “Did you know about this?”

    “As if I’d keep something this big a secret from you,” he stage-whispered back.

    It was my turn to admire the ring. All those years of wondering if my son would find true love drifted away.

    I glanced up to see that Mary was staring at something happening in another part of the restaurant. She finally turned back to face us; her smile seemed forced.

    “I thought you were in Africa on holidays,” I said to Tristan.

    He grinned. “I was on holidays. That’s where I met Mary.”

    “Let’s all sit down,” Richard said. He turned to the waiter. “We’d like a bottle of sparkling wine please.”

    “Make it two bottles,” I said.

    My nerves were in overdrive. I could literally have drained one of them on my own.

    The waiter nodded and left. He returned with two bottles of sparkling wine and two buckets with ice, fussing over opening the first bottle, making so much noise with the ice bucket it was like listening to a cat at a litter box. I grabbed the other bottle and handed it to Richard to open.

    I felt Tristan’s gaze on me.

    “Aren’t you happy for me?” he asked.

    “Of course I’m happy. I’m just a little shocked.”

    “It’s still a bit of a shock to me too. I mean, who’d have thought I’d ever land a woman like Mary.”

    He began to move his cutlery around on the table. That was when I suspected that Tristan was nervous about something.

    Georgia blurted out what had been on my mind a few minutes ago. “So did you pay for the ring or did Mary?”

    “That doesn’t matter,” he said.

    Georgia address Mary next. “Well, if you take it off to go swimming, my advice is to leave it in the hotel main safe. The safes in the rooms are like toys. They’re too easy to break into.”

    Chapter 3

    Georgia nudged me. “What are you having to eat?”

    We were both hiding behind our menus to whisper between ourselves. It used to infuriate Richard and Tristan that we’d deliberate over the menu items with the precision of generals heading to war. What if you ordered ‘this’ and I ordered ‘that’ and then we shared? What else have you eaten today? What if we shared ‘this’ or ‘that’ meal and then each got a dessert? What dessert would we order? What if you ordered ‘this’ dessert and I ordered ‘that’ dessert and then we each got a taste? Should we have the creamy dessert knowing we are having the creamy main meal? Perhaps we should rethink our main meal selections? All the while deflecting the looks of exasperation from Richard and Tristan because they knew what meals they were having, because for them it could only ever be the most calorie-laden foods on offer.

    But I wasn’t studying the menu. I was clutching it like a lifeline, using it as a shield, and as a means to study Mary. I had known that Tristan was bringing his girlfriend with him on this holiday – I had learned that he was serious about a girl, via my sister Madison, so I’d insisted that Tristan’s new girlfriend accompany him on this trip. If they were serious, I wanted to meet her. I hadn’t expected her to turn up waving an engagement ring around.

    Though, I ought not to have been surprised. This was Tristan, the boy who fell in love with whoever smiled at him.

    Lowering my menu, I snuck a glance in Georgia’s direction, and she wasn’t the slightest bit subtle about studying Tristan’s fiancé.

    Tristan swatted her with his napkin. “Cut it out.”

    “I’m not doing anything.” Georgia was unable to keep the grin off her face. “So are you two having an engagement party?”

    Tristan’s gaze flickered to Mary who was placing her napkin in her lap. She looked up and gave Tristan a polite smile.

    “It all happened rather quickly,” Tristan stammered. “We haven’t thought about it yet.”

    “How did it happen, exactly?” Georgia sat with her arms folded over themselves, leaning in close. With one hand she lazily grabbed for the wine glass and took a sip. “I want all the details. How did you two meet?”

    Tristan shot her a cautionary look. “We met at work.”

    “I thought you weren’t working. That was the last email I received from you. ‘Still haven’t found a job’. I wondered how you were paying for your travels. Unless mum and dad loaned you money.”

    Richard scowled. “We didn’t loan him money.”

    “You got an email?” I asked, feeling left out.

    Georgia flicked her curly hair. “So, big brother, how can you afford such a lovely ring? Can I look at it again? It’s so big and shiny, it’s like it needs planets orbiting it.”

    She didn’t wait for Mary to offer her finger. Georgia grabbed Mary’s hand and stroked the ring.

    There were times when my daughter’s boldness could grate my nerves as thinly as dust, and then there were moments like this when her boldness was inspiring. The ring must have cost thousands of dollars. Tristan didn’t have thousands of dollars.

    At last, Georgia let go of Mary’s hand. Mary returned to calmly sitting at the table, as if she had trained for this inquisition. Precisely what had Tristan told her about our family?

    I topped up my glass. “How about we go around the table and catch up on what we’ve been up to. Who wants to start?”

    “Well, Tristan’s already caught everyone up,” Georgia said. “So it must be my turn. I’ve been having a ball in Europe.” She took the bottle off me and topped up her glass. “It’s amazing how cheaply you can travel if the right people tell you where the non-touristy places are. I’ve tasted so much new food. I’ve picked grapes at vineyards and berries at orchards.” She set down the bottle and took a drink from her glass. “Not bad. I stayed at a villa in France recently where I learned to distinguish good wine from bad. This is not bad.”

    “I thought you were in Finland,” I said.

    “I’ve been all over Europe. You can get to most places by train. Or you can hitch a ride.”

    “Who are you running away from this time?” Tristan said, giving her a wry smile.

    Mary sat up. “Why would she run away?”

    Tristan shrugged. “The moment a guy gets interested in my sister, she’s suddenly not interested in him.”

    Richard tossed his napkin onto the empty plate. “Georgia, you will not hitch rides in foreign countries. We’ve taught you better than that.” He turned to me. “Haven’t we? We’ve told her not to hitch rides.”

    “Of course we’ve told her not to.”

    Georgia was giggling. “Relax, Dad. I was joking. Just waiting to see how long before you got all fired up.”

    “You are so immature,” Tristan said. “And you should know better than to rile Dad up in his condition.”

    “There’s nothing wrong with me,” Richard snapped.

    Tristan spoke to Mary: “Dad had a heart attack a few months ago.”

    “A mild heart attack.” Richard leaned in close to Mary. “I’m as fit as I was when I was twenty-four.”

    Good lord, was he flirting with her?

    “He’s supposed to take things easy,” Tristan added.

    Georgia groaned. “Can’t you take a hint, big brother? I’m trying to deflect the attention off you by lightening the mood. You’ve sprung this engagement on Mum and Dad, but fine, you still want the limelight. You’re up. Tell us everything.”

    All heads swivelled to stare at Tristan, whose face was turning bright red. Obviously Georgia had hit a nerve.

    Mary stood up and swept her polite smile around the table. “Perhaps I’ll go to the bathroom to freshen up. Excuse me.”

    Tristan and Georgia glared at one another.

    “That’s enough out of you two,” I said. “We are here for a holiday and I will not have you ruin it with your constant bickering.”

    “Sorry,” they both said in unison.

    Then Tristan lowered his voice and snuck a furtive look over his shoulder. “The thing is, Mary comes from a very wealthy family and her parents don’t approve of her job.”

    “And what job is that?” I asked.

    “She works with a large security firm. Her parents want her to return to the family business.”

    “Which is?”

    Honestly, this holiday would be over by the time Tristan finished connecting the dots of this story, which was his way of saying he didn’t want to tell me anything; this had been his way of avoiding telling me about a bad grade or a fight he’d gotten into at school. Give only vague answers. Better than Georgia though, who had, between the age of fourteen and fifteen, chosen to grunt as her method of communication.

    “They own a chain of jewellery stores,” he said.

    “In Africa?”

    “No, in Argentina.”

    “What’s the issue about not wanting to work there?”

    “She lives in Africa. The stores are in Argentina.”


    “I don’t know exactly what the issue is. I haven’t met her family. Please don’t make a big deal out of this. We’re planning on visiting them after this holiday.”

    My insides warmed that Tristan had wanted Mary to meet us before he met her family.

    “What about siblings?” Georgia asked. “How many?”

    “I don’t know. Shut up, will you. It’s not like you know anything about the men you date.”

    Georgia’s sly grin deepened. “I’m not marrying any of the men I’ve dated.”

    The conversation around the table halted abruptly when Mary appeared. She wore a confused look on her face.

    “I didn’t get a chance to explain,” Tristan said with a sigh.

    “Oh.” Mary looked back toward the toilets. “Perhaps I should…”

    “Our apologies, Mary,” Richard said. “It appears as if our children have returned to Australia without their manners. I’d have thought holidaying abroad would have matured them.”

    “We’re not cheese,” Georgia said, slugging back the wine.

    I’d lost count if this was her third or fourth glass. Not that I could criticise. I’d almost finished my bottle: it had done nothing to settle the shock of learning that my son was getting married and I wasn’t getting his emails.

    As Mary took her seat, she appeared to be sending Tristan a silent message that I couldn’t interpret. Then the waiter arrived with a basket of warmed rolls and none of us got to hear any more about how Tristan and Mary met.

    During the lulls in conversation, Tristan refused to fill in the gaps. Mary was polite, charming, she spoke of her life in a vague way, never giving specific details. She lived ‘near the coast’. She worked ‘in security’. Her family was ‘just like any other family’. How would the two of them even be able to open a joint bank account if neither of them could provide any real information?

    Georgia tried her best to pry the finer points out of the two of them, but Tristan wasn’t talking and Mary wasn’t offering anything, and I realised it wasn’t them being vague. It was as if the two of them had an arrangement in place: no spoilers. Which meant there was something better to come.

    My hand shook as I tore my bread roll in half. Good lord she was pregnant. It was the only explanation for this sudden engagement. Because now that a little of the shock had worn off, they didn’t look like a young couple in love. They looked like two scared teenagers.


    To get things back on track, I tapped my glass with my fork and waited until all eyes were on me.

    “I too have an announcement,” I said. “I’ve quit my job and your father and I are travelling for the next nine months.”

    “It was meant to be twelve,” Richard said. “But we’ve spent the last three months getting things organised.”

    “Anyway, I think we should have a birthday party for your father while we are here.”

    “That’s a great idea,” Tristan said.

    Richard’s eyes lit up. “I do like a party in my honour.”

    “Mum and I can organise it,” Georgia said. “It’ll be fun, like old times.”

    Mum is on holidays,” I told her. “The resort must have an event planner. At the very least we can have a fancy dinner.”

    “We could have a combined birthday and engagement party.” Georgia was giggling, so I knew it was a joke. Richard, however, could not see the funny side.

    “I’m not having a combined party,” he said. “No offense to the happy couple, but I spent my childhood having a combined birthday with your Uncle Reggie. It’s not fun.”

    All heads swung in the happy couples’ direction, and once again I was struck by how much they looked like frightened children.

    They were a happy couple, weren’t they?


    Excerpt from The Thief Catcher by Jonette Blake. Copyright 2021 by Jonette Blake. Reproduced with permission from Jonette Blake. All rights reserved.



    Author Bio:

    Jonette Blake

    Jonette Blake writes supernatural thrillers and suspense thrillers. She is the author of over ten books and dozens of short stories, writing as D L Richardson. ​She was born in Ireland and grew up in Australia. She lived through the 80s and music is still a big part of her life. When she is not writing, she plays her piano and guitar, listens to music, reads, and enjoys the beach. ​She has held jobs in administration, sales and marketing, has worked in HR, payroll, and as a bank teller. Her latest novel “The Widow Catcher” is based on the coastal town she lives in and her own bank teller experience.

    Q&A with Jonette Blake

    What was the inspiration for this book?

    I hadn’t planned on writing a sequel, but readers enjoyed The Widow Catcher so much that I had to write a follow up. I ended The Widow Catcher with Delia Frost planning the trip she wanted to go on. The inspiration came from my own holiday experiences. The ones you plan can sometimes not live up to expectations, and the ones you don’t plan can bring nice surprises. So I sent Delia and her family off to a holiday destination that I thoroughly enjoyed but still landed her in the middle of trouble.

    What has been the biggest challenge in your writing career?

    Time is my biggest challenge. I have so many story ideas and only so much time to write them. Plus, it has taken time to work out what I’m doing with writing and marketing. Every day I get better at it, but I wish I knew all this years ago. I wish I didn’t have to spend years building up an audience. There aren’t enough hours in the day to do everything I want.

    What do you absolutely need while writing?

    A schedule and a reward. I’m a list person, so if I just try to ‘just write’, I get bored. But if I have a schedule and a reward at the end, for example write 1,000 words and then I can watch that TV show, I tend to get down to business.

    Do you adhere to a strict routine when writing or write when the ideas are flowing?

    Both. I might start off with a chapter overview and then start filling in the chapters, but then I’ll go walking with the dog and entire conversations and scenes will play out, so I’ll write them down as soon as I get home. Then I put weave all these scenes together.

    Who is your favorite character from your book and why?

    Delia Frost, the main character, is my favorite. She’s been a mother and a wife for so long, someone who has set aside her own needs to look after others, and now she’s starting to blossom. But she doesn’t know who she will become. I think there is a little bit of identity struggling within everyone as we go through life.

    Tell us why we should read your book.

    Read The Thief Catcher if you want to read about a character with refreshing traits – integrity, honesty, ordinariness. Read this book if you are tired of characters who have dark and disturbing back stories. Read this book if you like stories about happy families. Read The Thief Catcher if you like stories with layers and twists. Read this book if you’re fine with middle-aged characters sharing their mid-life crisis with you.

    Give us an interesting fun fact or a few about your book?

    Majestic Island is based on a real holiday destination, Magnetic Island on the Queensland coast. I went there in my early thirties, and I adored the sun, and the beach, and the relaxing atmosphere. I could have moved there.
    Windswept Resort is a fabrication. The island is mostly national park and such a lavish resort wouldn’t be permitted.

    Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

    I never planned to write a series, but readers loved Delia Frost and her family so much (and so did I to be honest) that I jumped right onto writing a sequel. I can see myself writing a few more books, two at least, maybe more if the unique story ideas continue to flow. Then stick around because I have plans for a psychological thriller series.

    Tell us a little about yourself and your background?

    I’m an Irish-born Australian who grew up in the suburbs in the 70s. I always loved music, reading, and horses. After singing for years in the school band, I decided to continue singing after school. From the age of 16 to 26, I played bass guitar and was the lead singer in a rock band. I genuinely wanted to be a rock star. It broke my heart when this didn’t happen. However, a few years before I quit music, I’d started writing. Short stories at first, then I tackled my first novel at age 26. At the time I was big into Stephen King and Dean Koontz, so my first book was a horror story. This book was never finished. I kept on writing. My goal was to become a prolific writer. I’ve never taken on management roles at my day jobs, because writing has always been my focus. I would write in the morning before work, after work, at work. I also chose careers where I could sit in front of a computer all day and sneak in a few words in the quiet periods (don’t tell my employers). But a happy life requires balance, so I also walk the dog, go to the gym, send time in the garden, watch TV, read books, play my piano or guitar. I’m married with two pets.

    What’s next that we can look forward to?

    More Delia Frost books, and I think in the next book she can finally step inside the motorhome. I’ll send her to another destination that I’ve stayed at. I like being able to share Australian holiday destinations in my books.

    Catch Up With Jonette Blake:
    BookBub – @iandebr
    Instagram – @debbielrichardson
    Twitter – @DLRichardson1
    Facebook – @JonetteBlake



    Tour Participants:

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



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    #Review | The Liar’s Wife by Kiersten Modglin

    The Liar’s Wife by Kiersten Modglin
    Genre: Psychological Thriller, Suspense
    Published Independently
    Publication Date: July 10, 2020
    ISBN-13: ‎ 979-8665121413
    Pages: 240
    Review Copy From: Personal Purchase
    Edition: TPB
    My Rating: 5

    Synopsis (via GR)

    Palmer Lewis married a liar.
    But just how deadly are his lies?

    Shortly after marrying her soulmate and the birth of their son, the lies begin.

    First, it’s the phone calls, always held in secret, always deleted from his phone.
    Then it’s his odd disappearances and the little nagging voice in her head screaming: something is not right.

    When Palmer follows her gut — and her husband — she catches him with an unfamiliar woman in the park and in his biggest lie thus far. Learning from her past, she hatches a plan to protect herself and their child.

    But when her husband and son disappear one afternoon and don’t return, Palmer must retrace her steps and dig deep to discover the truth before it’s too late.

    Who is the mysterious woman her husband lied about meeting? Who knows what happened to her family? Who’s lying? In this twisted psychological thriller, the better question is, who isn’t?

    My Thoughts

    How does she do it????

    Another superior read penned by Ms. Modglin!!!!

    In one of my earlier reviews, see below, I encouraged you to pick up a book by her, and like me, I promise you, you will become a fan.

    I don’t want to reiterate what is written in the synopsis only because I am afraid that I would slip and maybe mention a possibility of a spoiler.

    So with that said, let me tell you what will happen if you take my recommendation to pick up one of her books. I started with The Mother-In-Law and I was hooked!!

    Let me tell you a little bit about her books and her writing style. She pulls you in within the first few pages and there is no turning back. It’s like you are on a rollercoaster, so enjoy the ride. Her books have short chapters, which means you will be saying just one more and you then realize you have read 10. And her books are less than 300 pages and within those pages is an intense story filled with suspense and a profound ending.

    Also in an earlier review, I mentioned that I want to read all of her books. Now all I need is a month of no adulting and sitting on a beach in Aruba with all of her books under the palapa and a frozen mudslide or two. I’m sure that if you pick up one of her books, you will want to join me on that beach!!!!!

    Previous books read and reviewed:

    I Said Yes
    Just Married
    The Mother-In-Law

    Purchase Links: Amazon 🔗 | Goodreads 🔗


  • This blog was founded on the premise to write honest reviews, to the best of my ability, no matter who from, where from and/or how the book was obtained, and will continue to do so, even if it is through PICT or PBP.
  • I received a copy of this book, at no charge to me, in exchange for my honest review. No items that I receive are ever sold…they are kept by me, or given to family and/or friends.
  • I do not have any affiliation with Amazon.com or Barnes & Noble. I am providing link(s) solely for visitors that may be interested in purchasing this Book/EBook.

    Mailbox Monday


    Mailbox Monday

    According to Marcia, “Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came into their house last week. Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles and humongous wish lists.

    Click on title for synopsis via GoodReads.

    Monday: (09/20/21)
    The Night Shift by Alex Finlay~ Kindle from St. Martin’s Press via NetGalley

    Tuesday: (09/21/21)
    Widow Falls by Kiersten Modglin ~ Kindle from Personal purchase

    Monday: (09/22/21)
    The Magnolia Palace by Fiona Davis~ Kindle from Penguin Group/Dutton via NetGalley

    Monday: (09/23/21)
    The Pilots Daughter by Meredith Jaeger ~ Kindle from Penguin Group/Dutton via NetGalley


    #Review | The Trapped Wife by Samantha Hayes

    The Trapped Wife by Samantha Hayes
    Genre: Psychological Thriller
    Published by Bokouture
    Publication Date: September 8, 2021
    ASIN: ‎ B0977J5ZBG
    Pages: 354
    Review Copy From: Bookouture via NetGalley
    Edition: Kindle
    My Rating: 4

    Synopsis (via GR)

    My family gathers around the large oak table in our beautifully renovated home. I’ve put on a dress and lit candles, and there’s a wonderful aroma coming from the dinner you’ve so lovingly prepared. I feel your hand squeeze mine as you top up my glass and ask about my day as a doctor in our small town. It’s the perfect domestic scene, except for one tiny fact: I think my husband is dead, and you are just another patient of mine…

    I had no choice but to let you in. If I laugh at your jokes and run my fingers through your hair, maybe I can delete the photos on your phone and find the truth about the night I can’t remember, just before my husband left on the trip he never returned from. Perhaps my son and I will have a chance at a normal life again.

    But as I carefully piece together the shards of what really happened that fateful night, only one thing can possibly be true: everyone is lying, even me…

    My Thoughts

    After reading The Liar’s Wife I was excited to see that Ms. Hayes had a new book out and that I had to get my hands on a copy.

    I found the first third of the book to be very slow. And I have to be honest that a couple of times, I was thinking of putting this one aside. But my gut told me to keep going, especially after checking out some reviews that had been posted.

    Then the second third of the book I felt that I had figured the plot out, but I had to keep reading to see if I was right. Was I?

    Then BAM!!! The last third of the book was so suspenseful that I couldn’t read, nor turn the pages fast enough!!! The story continued at breakneck speed that I found myself holding my breath

    The conclusion was hair raising that I finished reading it with my mouth wide open because it was so unexpected.

    Ms. Hayes has written another great read!!! Now I wait for her next novel!!

    Would I recommend this book? Absolutely!!!

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

    I received a complimentary copy from XXX via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.


  • This blog was founded on the premise to write honest reviews, to the best of my ability, no matter who from, where from and/or how the book was obtained, and will continue to do so, even if it is through PICT or PBP.
  • I received a copy of this book, at no charge to me, in exchange for my honest review. No items that I receive are ever sold…they are kept by me, or given to family and/or friends.
  • I do not have any affiliation with Amazon.com or Barnes & Noble. I am providing link(s) solely for visitors that may be interested in purchasing this Book/EBook.

    Trace Of Doubt by DiAnn Mills | #Showcase #Interview #Giveaway

    Trace of Doubt

    by DiAnn Mills

    September 1-30, 2021 Tour


    Trace of Doubt by DiAnn Mills

    Bestselling and award-winning author DiAnn Mills delivers a heart-stopping story of dark secrets, desperate enemies, and dangerous lies.

    Fifteen years ago, Shelby Pearce confessed to murdering her brother-in-law and was sent to prison. Now she’s out on parole and looking for a fresh start in the small town of Valleysburg, Texas. But starting over won’t be easy for an ex-con.

    FBI Special Agent Denton McClure was a rookie fresh out of Quantico when he was first assigned the Pearce case. He’s always believed Shelby embezzled five hundred thousand dollars from her brother-in-law’s account. So he’s going undercover to befriend Shelby, track down the missing money, and finally crack this case.

    But as Denton gets closer to Shelby, he begins to have a trace of doubt about her guilt. Someone has Shelby in their crosshairs. It’s up to Denton to stop them before they silence Shelby—and the truth—forever.

    Praise for Trace of Doubt:

    “Well-researched… with some surprising twists along the way. In Trace of Doubt, Mills weaves together a tale of faith, intrigue, and suspense that her fans are sure to enjoy.” – STEVEN JAMES, award-winning author of SYNAPSE and EVERY WICKED MAN

    Trace of Doubt is a suspense reader’s best friend. From page one until the end, the action is intense and the storyline keeps you guessing.” – EVA MARIE EVERSON, bestselling author of FIVE BRIDES and DUST

    “DiAnn Mills serves up a perfect blend of action, grit, and heart… Trace of Doubt takes romantic suspense to a whole new level.” – JAMES R. HANNIBAL, award-winning author of THE PARIS BETRAYAL

    “Filled with high stakes, high emotion, and high intrigue.” – JLYNN H. BLACKBURN, award-winning author of UNKNOWN THREATand ONE FINAL BREATH

    Book Details:

    Genre: Mystery & Thrillers, Romance, Romantic Suspense
    Published by: Tyndale House Publishers
    Publication Date: September 7th 2021
    Number of Pages: 432
    ISBN: 1496451856 (ISBN13: 9781496451859)
    Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | ChristianBook.com | Tyndale | Books-A-Million | Murder By The Book | Goodreads

    Read an excerpt:



    Would I ever learn? I’d spent too many years looking out for someone else, and here I was doing the same thing again. Holly had disappeared after I sent her to the rear pantry for potatoes. She’d been gone long enough to plant and dig them up. I needed to get those potatoes boiling to feed hungry stomachs.

    I left the kitchen to find her. The hallway to the pantry needed better lighting or maybe fewer corners. In any event, uneasiness swirled around me like a dust storm.

    A plea to stop met my ears. I raced to the rear pantry fearing what I’d find.

    Four women circled Holly. One held her arms behind her back, and the other three took turns punching her small body. My stomach tightened. I’d been in her shoes, and I’d do anything to stop the women from beating her.

    “Please, stop,” Holly said through a raspy breath. For one who was eighteen years old, she looked fifteen.

    “Hey, what’s going on?” I forced my voice to rise above my fear of them.

    “Stay out of it, freak.”

    I’d run into this woman before, and she had a mean streak. “What’s she done to you?” I eyed the woman.

    “None of your business unless you want the same.”

    “It’s okay, Shelby. I can handle this.” Holly’s courageous words would only earn her another fist to her battered face.

    And it did.

    “Enough!” I drew my fists and stepped nose to nose with the leader.

    The four turned on me. I’d lived through their beatings before, and I would again. I fell and the kicks to my ribs told me a few would be broken.

    A whistle blew, and prison guards stopped the gang from delivering any more blows to Holly or me. They clamped cuffs on the four and left Holly and me on the floor with reassurance help was on its way.

    I’d been her age once and forced to grow up fast. No one had counseled me but hard knocks, securing an education, and letting Jesus pave the way. I’d vowed to keep my eyes and ears open for others less fortunate.

    Holly’s lip dripped blood and a huge lump formed on the side of her head. I crawled to her. “Are you okay?”

    “Not sure. Thank you for standing up for me. I thought they would kill me. Why do they do this? I’ve never done a thing to them.”

    “Because they can. They want to exert power, control. Stick by me, and I’ll do my best to keep you safe.”


    I tightened my grip on the black trash bag slung over my shoulder containing my personal belongings—parole papers, a denim shoulder bag from high school, a ragged backpack, fifty dollars gate money, my driver’s license at age sixteen, and the clothes I’d worn to prison fifteen years ago.

    The bus slowed to pick me up outside the prison gates, its windshield wipers keeping pace with the downpour. The rain splattered the flat ground in a steady cadence like a drum leading a prisoner to execution. I stepped back to avoid the splash of muddy water from the front tires dipping into a pothole. Air brakes breathed in and out, a massive beast taking respite from its life labors.

    The door hissed open. At the top of the steps, a balding driver took my ticket, no doubt recognizing the prison’s release of a for- mer inmate. He must have been accustomed to weary souls who’d paid their debts to society. The coldness glaring from his graphite eyes told me he wagered I’d be locked up again within a year. Maybe less. I couldn’t blame him. The reoffend stats for female convicts like me soared high.

    For too many years, I imagined the day I left prison would be bathed in sunlight. I’d be enveloped in welcoming arms and hear encouraging words from my family.

    Reality hosted neither.

    I moved to the rear of the bus, past a handful of people, and found a seat by myself. All around me were those engrossed in their devices. My life had been frozen in time, and now that I had permission to thaw, the world had changed. Was I ready for the fear digging its claws into my heart?

    The cloudy view through the water-streaked window added to my doubts about the future. I’d memorized the prison rules, even prayed through them, and now I feared breaking one unknowingly.

    The last time I’d breathed free air, riding the bus was a social gathering—in my case, a school bus. Kids chatted and laughter rose above the hum of tires. Now an eerie silence had descended.

    I hadn’t been alone then.

    My mind drifted back to high school days, when the future rested on maintaining a 4.0 average and planning the next party. Maintaining my grades took a fraction of time, while my mind schemed forbidden fun. I’d dreamed of attending college and exploring the world on my terms.

    Rebellion held bold colors, like a kaleidoscope shrouded in black light. The more I shocked others, the more I plotted something darker. My choices often seemed a means of expressing my creativity. While in my youth I viewed life as a cynic. By the time I was able to see a reflection of my brokenness and vowed to change, no one trusted me.

    All that happened . . .

    Before I took the blame for murdering my brother-in-law. Before I traded my high school diploma and a career in interior design for a locked cell.

    Before I spent years searching for answers.

    Before I found new meaning and purpose.

    How easy it would be to give in to a dismal, gray future when I longed for blue skies. I had to prove the odds against me were wrong.


    Excerpt from Trace of Doubt by DiAnn Mills. Copyright 2021 by DiAnn Mills. Reproduced with permission from DiAnn Mills. All rights reserved.


    Check Out This Fab Trailer for Trace of Doubt:


    Author Bio:

    DiAnn Mills

    DiAnn Mills is a bestselling author who believes her readers should expect an adventure. She is a storyteller and creates action-packed, suspense-filled novels to thrill readers. Her titles have appeared on the CBA and ECPA bestseller lists; won two Christy Awards; and been finalists for the RITA, Daphne Du Maurier, Inspirational Readers’ Choice, and Carol award contests.

    DiAnn is a founding board member of the American Christian Fiction Writers, a member of Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, and International Thriller Writers. She is the director of the Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference, Mountainside Retreats: Marketing, Speakers, Nonfiction, and Novelist with social media specialist Edie Melson where she continues her passion of helping other writers be successful. She speaks to various groups and teaches writing workshops around the country.

    Q&A with DiAnn Mills

    Welcome and thank you for stopping by CMash Reads
    Reading and Writing:

    What inspired you to write this book?

    My goal was to show how a young girl’s love for her older sister could be manipulated into sacrifice.

    What was the biggest challenge in writing this book?

    I used first person POV for the heroine and hero. I really liked the result, but it had its challenges.

    Give us a glimpse of the research that went into this book.

    1. Interview with an FBI Special Agent friend who specializes in media-assistance.
    2. Hours reading about the penal system for women incarcerated in Texas. How rehabilitation is conducted, the gangs and bullies, what probation means, and the psychological effects in and out of prison.
    3. The psychological effects of allowing a situation or circumstance define a person.
    4. Small town living.
    5. Texas laws and guidelines for operating a café or bakery.
    6. The process of fashioning jewelry.

    How did you come up with the title?

    I didn’t! This was a result of my publisher and the creativity team. Love their choice

    Your routine in writing?

    Any idiosyncrasies? I’m a morning writer who needs lots of dark roasted coffee. I tune out everything around me and find it easy to focus.

    Tell us why we should read your book?

    For the action-packed story of a young woman who spent 15 years in prison for a crime she didn’t commit. Once released, her probation states she cannot contact her family. Yet danger lurks and the source wants her dead.

    Are you working on your next novel? If so, can you tell us a little bit about it?

    I just finished a romantic suspense, and I’m thrilled with the story!

    A young woman’s love for her grandfather is tainted when she fears he killed a man. But running from the truth doesn’t solve a thing. In fact, someone wants her dead.

    Fun Questions:

    Your novel will be a movie. Who would you cast?

    I answered this on a previous interview, but I’m adding a few new characters.

    Emma Watson – Shelby Pierce
    Hugh Jackman – FBI Special Agent Denton McClure (would need to have white hair).
    Amanda Seyfried – Marissa Stover, Shelby’s Sister
    Kiernan Shipka – Aria Stover, Marissa’s daughter
    Kevin Costner – Clay Pierce, Shelby and Marissa’s father
    Edie Campbell – Jennifer Garner
    Sheriff Wendall – Mark Wahlburg
    Amy-Jo – Judy Dench

    Favorite leisure activities/hobbies?

    Cooking and Baking
    Spending time with the grandkids

    Favorite foods?

    Blueberries, strawberries, bananas, blackberries, raspberries, and apples.
    Whole grains

    Catch Up With Our Author, DiAnn Mills:
    BookBub – @DiAnnMills
    Instagram – @DiAnnMillsAuthor
    Twitter – @DiAnnMills
    Facebook – @DiAnnMills



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    Join In:

    This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for DiAnn Mills. There will be 2 winners who will each receive one gift card. Winners may select either Amazon or Barnes & Noble. The giveaway runs September 1 through October 3, 2021. Void where prohibited.

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    The Memory Bell by Kat Flannery | #Showcase #Interview #Giveaway

    The Memory Bell

    by Kat Flannery

    September 1-30, 2021 Tour


    The Memory Bell by Kat Flannery

    Grace Penner’s safe haven crumbles when a body is found outside of town.

    Gifted the memory bell, a family heirloom, from her grandfather’s will, Grace’s excitement is soon squashed when the bell gets broken right after she receives it. While gluing the pieces back in place, she discovers three are still missing.

    Determined to find them, she is halted when the new detective, Bennet James, investigates her family. Grace is intent on showing the detective her family isn’t capable of murder, but as the investigation deepens, and pieces of the bell show up with ominous notes, Grace soon realizes the Penners are not what they seem. Amidst the tightly knit family; dark secrets, deception, and possibly even murder unfold.

    Will Grace be able to save the family she loves more than anything without losing herself forever?

    Praise for The Memory Bell:

    “A naïve small-town girl and a disillusioned big-city cop, drawn together by an unsolved crime that is itself only the tip of the iceberg, The Memory Bell serves up the perfect steamy summer read.”
    –Jenny Jaeckel, author of House of Rougeaux

    “The story moves beyond a small town whodunit to probe the underlying bonds of history that connect a family.”
    -Midwest Book Review

    “Wonderful, engaging, and fast-paced! Flannery knows what she’s doing!”
    -Jonas Saul, author of the Sarah Roberts series

    Book Details:

    Genre: Mystery, Suspense
    Published by: Black Rose Writing
    Publication Date: July 1, 2021
    Number of Pages: 288
    ISBN: 1684337089 (ISBN-13:978-1684337088)
    Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

    Read an excerpt:

    “Family is supposed to be our safe haven. Very often, it’s the place where we find the deepest heartache.” ~ Iyanla Vanzant


    Detective Bennet James stood over the remains of a hand dug grave. The morning air was brisk for July, and a foggy cloud permeated the air as he exhaled. He’d woken as the first rays of dawn crept through his hotel window casting sundogs along the planked floor.

    Bones were found by the grain elevators at the mill in Oakville. The sleepy town was an hour’s drive from Chicago and where he’d been stationed for the last two weeks. It was hell, but anything was better than sitting at home waiting to hear his fate. He flexed his shoulders. The muscles ached from the mounting pressure.

    He took a sip of the coffee he’d bought at the local gas station. The bitter blend was cold and old. Probably made the night before and just waiting for some poor soul to drain the last of the dregs from the decanter.

    With no details other than the presence of human remains to work with, Ben made quick work of taping off the area and closing all access in and out of the mill. The trains were halted and all productivity near the tracks was at a standstill. He surveyed the grounds. Three metal silos stood in a row to his left with tracks laid in front of them. Directly behind were wooden buildings with peaked roofs, and a single track led to a dead end.

    He gathered the mill was over fifty years old by the way the boards heaved and sagged. Out of commission for some time, he wondered why no one had torn the dilapidated buildings down. Being that the place was pretty much deserted it’d make things difficult in the investigation. He snorted. It wasn’t his investigation, and if things didn’t work out for him with the state, he’d never see another one again.

    He rubbed his hand across his face. His heart quickened with the familiar feeling of piecing together a puzzle. It was the same feeling he got every time he was dealt a new case. Except this one was different. It wasn’t his, and even though the thought of having something to occupy his mind was appealing, he doubted Sheriff Rhoads would let him take the lead on it, much less be a part of it.

    Ben glanced down at the body. Nothing left but bones and a few fragments of hair which signified the death happened years before. The grave was not shallow, but not deep either. Ben guessed it was four feet into the ground. A blue blanket caught his eye. He fingered the soft cotton with a gloved hand, a crocheted throw that was now pulled from the knots someone delicately placed there. Whoever had wrapped the victim in it did so with pristine care.

    “Where is the witness?” he asked the young deputy standing to his left. He couldn’t remember the boy’s name, or was it he didn’t care? It didn’t really matter. He’d stopped caring about those around him a long time ago.

    The deputy looked a bit flushed, and Ben figured the kid living in the small town had never seen anything like this before. Regret settled in his stomach at making the boy stay with him while he looked over the body and its surroundings. Ben remembered seeing his first body, a young girl, no more than six. Her image still haunted him on nights when sleep wouldn’t come.

    He blinked, collected his thoughts, and faced the young man.

    “You’re no longer needed here,” he said.

    “The men who found the body are over there,” the kid stammered. His hand shook as he pointed to the two silhouettes standing twenty yards away.

    “Thanks.” Ben dismissed him and walked toward the two men sipping coffee from their mugs. A part of him wanted to turn back to his car and leave now that Rhoads was here, but his pride and his duty wouldn’t allow it. He pulled out the small note pad and pen he kept in his pocket.

    “Morning. I need to ask you a few questions.”

    “Ain’t you the new fella?” one of the men asked.


    “You’re that swanky detective from the city.”

    Ben didn’t answer.

    “Why in hell would you want to come out here?”

    He remained silent. It was none of the old man’s business why he’d been placed in this shithole town.

    “Talk is you got into hot water up there.”

    “I need to ask you some questions,” Ben repeated, an edge creeping into his voice. He wasn’t about to discuss his shit with these guys. He shifted from one foot to the other, took a deep calming breath, cleared his throat, and waited.

    “Not much to tell,” the man said. His thick white moustache spanned the whole of his upper lip and the bottoms of his cheeks.

    “Your name?” he asked.

    “Walter Smythe.” The man leaned in to read what Ben wrote and tapped his index finger onto the paper. “That’s Smythe with a Y not an I.”

    Ben nodded.

    “Can you tell me how you came upon the body?”

    “Ol’ Russ was the one who found it.”

    He turned to the other man.

    “I ain’t Russ,” the farmer said.

    “Who is—”

    “That’s my dog.” Walter whistled. A large St. Bernard came loping up from the field behind the buildings.

    “The dog found the body?”

    “That’s right.”

    “What were you doing out here?”

    “I come out from time to time.”

    “Why if the place is closed down?”

    The man shrugged.

    “Have you brought Russ out here before?” Ben asked, still trying to piece together how the remains were found.

    “Sure. I bring him everywhere.”

    “Why was he in the elevators?”

    Walter’s wide shoulders lifted underneath the plaid jacket.

    “Did the dog take anything from the grave, or disturb it in anyway?”

    “Once I seen him diggin’, I called him over.” Walter guffawed. “But the damn mutt just kept on going back. So, I went over to see what the hell he was after.”

    “At what point did you figure out it was a body?”

    “Right away when I saw the bones.”

    “Russ dug up most of the grave?”

    “Nah, maybe a foot of it.” Walter nudged the farmer beside him. “I called Bill and we determined it was best to call the sheriff.”

    “Why didn’t you call the sheriff first?”

    Walter didn’t answer.

    “Did you remove or touch anything?” Ben asked.


    As much as the farmer was rough around the edges, he could tell Walter Smythe spoke the truth.

    “One more question. Has anyone gone missing in the last ten years?”

    “Not around these parts. Most people who go missing leave for the city.”

    “Why is that?”

    “Small towns ain’t for everybody.” Walter’s eyes narrowed. “Stuff like this don’t happen around here.”

    Ben nodded before he walked away and headed back to his car. He opened the door but didn’t get in. Tall silos, train cars and tracks were surrounded by a field. Waist-high stalks of yellow waved in the breeze and from what he knew of farming, it looked to be canola. Why wasn’t the body buried in the field? There must be over a hundred acres of land. Until he received the coroner’s report, he couldn’t begin to guess at anything yet. Before he left, he’d need to talk to Sheriff Rhoads and see about any missing persons reports in the area.

    “Well, that is odd.” Rhoads sauntered toward him, brows furrowed.

    “What is?” Ben asked.

    “A body, here, at the elevators, in Oakville.” His forehead wrinkled, and a perplexed look crossed his face. “Nobody has been here in years.”

    “These things can happen anywhere. There are no rules for death.”

    Rhoads focused on him, but remained quiet for some time before he said, “Not here.”

    “I’d like to take the lead on this,” Ben said. The words surprised him, but he couldn’t take them back now. Besides, he needed something to keep him busy. The minor misdemeanors at the old folk’s home, break-ins, and an occasional kid in trouble wasn’t enough to keep him from going crazy with boredom.

    “Not sure that’s wise, with your probation and all.”

    Ben nodded, figuring that would be the answer.

    “But I don’t see it as more than an unfortunate accident, so go ahead.”

    Ben wasn’t so sure.


    Excerpt from The Memory Bell by Kat Flannery. Copyright 2021 by Kat Flannery. Reproduced with permission from Kat Flannery. All rights reserved.



    Author Bio:

    Kat Flannery

    Kat Flannery’s love of history shows in her novels. She is an avid reader of historical, suspense, paranormal, and romance. A member of many writing Kat enjoys promoting other authors on her blog. When she’s not busy writing, or marketing Kat volunteers her time to other aspiring authors. She has been a keynote speaker, lecturer and guest author inspiring readers and writers at every event she attends. Kat’s been published in numerous periodicals throughout her career, and continues to write for blogs and online magazines. A bestselling author, Kat’s books are available all over the world. The BRANDED TRILOGY is Kat’s award-winning series. With seven books published, Kat continues to plot what story will be next. Creativity is in all aspects of Kat’s career. She does Social Media and Marketing for her own career and businesses, writing ads, and other content.

    Q&A with Kat Flannery

    What was the inspiration for this book?

    Family. We all have family skeletons and it’s when they come to light what you do with them.

    What has been the biggest challenge in your writing career?

    Coming up with different plots. I like to give my readers a story they can relate to in some way.

    What do you absolutely need while writing?

    A candle burning, quiet room and on occasion whiskey. 

    Do you adhere to a strict routine when writing or write when the ideas are flowing?

    I always adhere to a strict routine once the story has come to me and it’s time to write. If I don’t it’d never get done…there are way too many distractions out there.

    Who is your favorite character from your book and why?

    In The Memory Bell I have a few but my favorite is Jules, Grace’s uncle because he is the steady voice of calm and reason when she needs it and he is level headed. He’s the kind of guy you could have a beer with and just hang out.

    Tell us why we should read your book.

    If you love a good mystery but also the tangled web of family relationships, then this is the book for you.

    Give us an interesting fun fact or a few about your book?

    I never thought I’d write a contemporary book let alone a crime novel. My previous books are all historical western suspense. I love the history and that is why I wrote them, but to delve into the here and now was something I didn’t foresee in my writing career.

    Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

    Thank you! If I didn’t have readers, I wouldn’t be able to do what I love. I am honored to have each one read my books, and I am humbled that they do.

    Tell us a little about yourself and your background?

    I am Italian an American and Canadian citizen and I’ve always loved a good story. I knew at a young age I’d write and to be truthful I wanted to be a journalist. I have three grown sons and have been married to my best friend for 22 years.

    What’s next that we can look forward to?

    Another contemporary mystery and a historical western series.

    Thank you for having me on your blog and featuring The Memory Bell.

    Catch Up With Kat Flannery:
    BookBub – @KatFlannery
    Instagram – @katflannery_
    Twitter – @KatFlannery1
    Facebook – @kat.flannery.5



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    This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Kat Flannery. There will be 1 winner of one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card (U.S. ONLY). The giveaway runs September 1 through October 3, 2021. Void where prohibited.

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    Mailbox Monday


    Mailbox Monday

    According to Marcia, “Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came into their house last week. Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles and humongous wish lists.

    Click on title for synopsis via GoodReads.

    Wednesday: (09/15/21)

    The New Wife by Sue Watson~ Kindle from Bookouture via NetGalley

    Friday: (09/17/21)

    The Night She Went Missing by Kristen Bird ~ Kindle from Harlequin via NetGalley
    This Might Hurt by Stephanie ~ Kindle from Berkley Publishing via NetGalley
    The Memory Bell by Kat Flannery ~ TPB from Margaret Yelton
    All Her Little Secrets by Wanda M. Morris~ Kindle from William Morrow/Scene Of The Crime via NetGalley

    Saturday: (09/18/21)

    Dad by Steven Manchester ~ Signed HC from Author