Oct 252016


The Killing Game: A seductive story about corruption, sin, lust, and redemption The series opens as Ives Andrich, Special Agent in Charge of the New York Division of the FBI, is confronted with investigating the woman he has waited a lifetime to find. Because of her more than accurate novel about an Italian crime lord, the Bureau, against Ives’ wishes, asks for her help in infiltrating the internal organization of the nation’s most nefarious Mafia don. When the Bureau’s plan fails, and she becomes dangerously entangled in the private life of the United States’ most wanted criminal, Ives tolerance for Bureau mishaps vanishes. No holds barred, he puts everything on the line to save the woman he loves in the first book in The Killing Game Series, a suspense thriller series by The Black Rose.


Series: The Killing Game Series
Paperback: 504 pages
Publisher: Andrich Publishing (August 22, 2013)
ISBN-10: 0997947411
ISBN-13: 978-0997947410



The Black Rose is an author, photographer, and filmmaker. Born in Chicago, she currently resides in New York with the love her life, her Hokkaido Dog, Kuma. She began writing at the age of seven and dabbled until she woke up one day and simply had to write a novel. She has two 5-Star reviewed novel series.

She categorizes her writing very directly – interpersonal relationships: people’s feelings, thoughts, emotions, and the intimacies between two people that truly love each other despite the circumstances surrounding them. “I write about love, honor, and doing the right thing, even when it seems disadvantageous, even when it’s not the popular path to take.” She sees her writing as a gift from God, and appreciates and learns from her stories.

Her writing passion stems from her immense love for art, which began with drawing at age five and moved into oil painting by age eight. Her love and study of photography soon became a professional passion, and she spends hours photographing and laying out her book covers. Her photography can be found at theblackrosenyc.com in the Photography section. Readers can also find on the site “Privé with The Black Rose” to showcase behind-the-scenes insights into her writing, novels, characters, photography, and films. She films and produces her book trailers, and will soon produce short films (details coming on her newly created website thepenandthesword.com dedicated to screenplays, film, book trailers, book adaptations).
Connect with THe Black Rose at these sites:


Q&A with The Black Rose

Welcome and thank you for stopping by CMash Reads.

On Writing and Reading:
Do you draw from personal experiences and/or current events?
Most definitely! I think some of the best stories are based on personal experiences. That is the common denominator to which people relate. Personal experiences can be very intriguing if told with the right spin. In fact, the way The Killing Game series began is exactly how it happened to the heroine of the series. A man, I did not know, approached me in a small public library and enquired if I would write a book about illegal sports gambling and the mob. Thirty days later, I had. As it is said, “Truth is stranger than fiction.” My novel The Yugoslavian, is based on the disintegration of Yugoslavia and the siege for Sarajevo in the early to mid-1990s. That war so affected me that I had to write about it.

I have often categorized my writing as the non-fiction, fiction. The basis for my stories can involve current events and how these events affect the main characters. I find that if I have something to say about a current event, the least offensive way to express myself is through my stories. It is not my intention to offend anyone with anything I write, only to reveal how I see things as an alternative point of view, which, hopefully, is accepted as just that and respected.

When starting to write a story, do you start from the beginning and see where it takes you or do you know what the conclusion will be and plot in reverse?Sometimes yes and sometimes no. If a specific scene is playing in my head, I write it. It might be at the beginning of a story, or it might be at the end. I usually know where a story is going from start to finish. If one day I feel inclined to write a death scene or a love scene, I write that. However, since my stories have developed into series, I mostly write from beginning to end.

Are any of your characters based on people that you know?
Yes, in part. I have met and know some interesting and intriguing characters. The more people you meet, the more real life human traits you can add to your characters. There is a catch, though—to capture anyone’s actual personality, you have to listen to them when they talk. You have to hear their stories and ask questions when appropriate. By doing this, you better understand their thought processes and then you can incorporate those thought processes into your characters to make them more believable.

One of the greatest compliments I receive is when someone reviews my stories and says, “I know these characters” or “I’m worried about this or that character! I can’t wait to see what happens next!” By these comments, the reader has accepted the characters into their family, so to say. That only happens by creating believable characters that readers trust. And when they trust your characters, they trust you as an author.

Your routine when writing? Any idiosyncrasies?
I don’t have a particular routine. I’m always writing because my mind is always reviewing my stories. I sit down and physically write as often as I can. But since I spend so much time thinking about my stories, when I do get to my computer, the story flows quickly (sometimes faster than I can transcribe it) so all that psychological reviewing pays off.

I do have one habit; I sleep with my iPad next to my pillow. I often wake up in the middle of the night and make a few notes to myself (or sometimes write an entire chapter) and email what I wrote to myself for incorporating into a story the following day.

Any Idiosyncrasies? I think all writing is idiosyncratic by nature. In a way, it’s a bit odd to want to display your personal experiences and innermost thoughts for others to read. Writing is so permanent versus speaking your thoughts, which often are forgotten by others rather quickly.

Tell us why we should read your book?
Despite all the personal experiences and interjections of my opinions, my books are great escapist entertainment. But at the same time, they are educational as well. I work very hard to make the storyline complete and comprehensible while introducing my readers to the different situations my character’s experience. My characters and the situations they endure are relevant. Their feelings are significant to humans in general. We all have needs, wants, and desires, and for each of those, there is always an opposition. Most readers will find something in my stories that hits home with them.

Are you working on your next novel? If so, can you tell us a little bit about it?
I’m always working on next novels. The next novel to come out will be the fourth book in The Killing Game series. I think most readers of the series imagine the next book is a direct continuation from book three, The Lost Days. I’ve thrown in a little twist I hope readers will appreciate. However, it is still the continuation of the story of Ives Andrich (the romantic hero), Special Agent in the FBI, and how he manages the situation he is faced with in finding Allina, his wife, who is presumed to be dead.

The next novel titled The Last Hope, will fill in the blanks to some unanswered questions and give more detail to what Ives will face in the future as well as provide reasons as to why this current situation has happened to begin with.

Who are some of your favorite authors?
Most authors from The Bible are my favorites. But my absolute favorite author from that immensely excellent book is John, the Apostle. My favorite two books from it are The Gospel of John and The Book of Revelation. In more contemporary fiction, my favorite author would be Harper Lee.

What are you reading now?
Always rereading The Bible because there is so much to learn from it.

Whether it’s bad or good, I don’t often read other authors work. I mostly read for research. My latest studies have been on the Roman Empire and about the occupation of Eastern Europe by the Ottomans, both for future novels.

Fun Questions:
Your novel will be a movie. Who would you cast?
From the performances I’ve seen recently, I am a bit partial to Henry Cavill as a match for Ives Andrich. Not so much because he might resemble the character physically, but because of the emotions he has portrayed in some of his performances, especially in the series The Tutors. I really don’t know whom I would cast for the heroines or the villains. I need to do more research on actors of today.

Favorite leisure activity/hobby?
Spending time with the love of my life, my pup, Kuma. Despite being work related, I enjoy photography and spend a good amount of time designing my book covers and creating book trailers. One day, I hope to return to painting.

Favorite meal?
My taste in food is quite simple. I most enjoy poached wild caught fish with steamed vegetables. However, my mainstay and all-time favorite is not a meal but a beverage—whole milk.


Oct 242016

Mailbox Monday

Mailbox Monday was created by Marcia of A girl and her books and is now hosted on its own blog.

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: LUCIDITY by David Carnoy from Author/PICT

Oct 172016

Mailbox Monday

Mailbox Monday was created by Marcia of A girl and her books and is now hosted on its own blog.

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.

Thursday: UNEXPECTED: Short Stories from Around the World by P.F. Citizen One from author/PBP

Oct 102016

Among the Shadows

by Bruce Robert Coffin

on Tour September 12 – October 14, 2016


Among the Shadows by Bruce Robert CoffinFall in Portland, Maine usually arrives as a welcome respite from summer’s sweltering temperatures and, with the tourists gone, a return to normal life—usually. But when a retired cop is murdered, things heat up quickly, setting the city on edge.

Detective Sergeant John Byron, a second-generation cop, is tasked with investigating the case—at the very moment his life is unraveling. On the outs with his department’s upper echelon, separated from his wife, and feeling the strong pull of the bottle, Byron remains all business as he tries to solve the murder of one of their own. And when another ex-Portland PD officer dies under suspicious circumstances, he quickly realizes there’s much more to these cases than meets the eye. The closer Byron gets to the truth, the greater the danger for him and his fellow detectives.

This taut, atmospheric thriller will appeal to fans of Michael Connelly and John Sandford.


“Compulsively readable, Among the Shadows is that rare cop novel that’s chock full of blood-and-guts detail while taking you on a ride of a lifetime. —Gayle Lynds, New York Times bestselling author of The Assassins

“Bruce Robert Coffin knows cops — how they talk, how they act, how they think — and he deploys that knowledge to devastating effect in Among the Shadows. A tense, twisty tale of greed, betrayal, and revenge, it heralds the arrival of a powerful new voice in crime fiction.” —Chris Holm, author of The Killing Kind

“Bruce Robert Coffin is the real deal: not just a veteran homicide detective, but an incredibly gifted storyteller. Among the Shadows is the best debut I’ve read in ages, filled with suspense, great writing, a perfectly realized setting in Portland, Maine (this is probably the most accurate depiction I’ve seen of that big little city), and an intriguing main character. Detective John Byron promises to become a break-out favorite among readers of crime fiction. He’s already one of mine.” —Paul Doiron, author of Widowmaker

“With the twists and racing pace of a thriller and the profound authenticity of a police procedural, Among the Shadows is the kind of debut crime novel that could only be written by an ex-cop.” —Brian Thiem, author of Red Line

“Bruce Robert Coffin’s debut crime novel is a compelling page-turner that keeps you guessing – and rooting for his determined investigator – until the very end.” —Kate Clark Flora, author of Finding Amy


My Thoughts and Opinion: 5 stars

Thirty years ago, members of the Portland PD, were assigned to the Special Reaction Team, one being John Byron’s father. After a deadly shoot out with the SRT during an investigation of a million dollar heist, Byron finds his father after he committed suicide, which has affected him emotionally after all these years.

Now Byron is assigned to an investigation involving the death of another member of the SRT. But soon finds out that it is murder. As the case is progressing, another member is also found dead. Are these murders connected? Who wants the members of the SRT dead and why?

A captivating read! Full of tension and ticking of the clock to find out who is behind these murders. Riveting plot that had this reader on the edge of my seat. Surprises and twists and turns to the very last page with an ending that wasn’t expected.

I am looking forward to reading the next book by Mr. Coffin.

Highly recommend this thrilling read!!

Book Details:

Genre: Mystery, Thriller
Published by: Witness Impulse
Publication Date: September 13th 2016
Number of Pages: 400
ISBN: 9780062569462
Series: Detective Byron #1
Don’t forget to grab your copy of Among the Shadows on Amazon, at Barnes & Noble, or add it to your TBR list on Goodreads

Read an excerpt:

The bitter stench of urine and impending death permeated the small dingy bedroom. Hawk stood next to the bed, looking down at O’Halloran. The ancient warrior lay withered and gaunt. Patches of dull white hair clung to his age-spotted scalp. Eyes, once calculating and sharp, were now yellowed and dim. O’Halloran was dying.

Hawk moved quickly, snatching the pillow from beneath the old man’s head. He covered O’Halloran’s face and pressed down firmly, his well-developed forearms flexed.

O’Halloran thrashed about, nearly toppling the chrome IV stand, but Hawk caught it easily. Muffled screams vibrated up through the pillow. He held fast as O’Halloran’s bony legs slid back and forth like eels under the coverlet, kicking the sheet free on one side. Hawk closed his eyes, attempting to block out the image before him. The old man’s feeble struggles, no match for Hawk’s strength, tapered off, then ceased.

In the next room a clock chimed, shattering the silence and signifying that the hour was at hand.

Warily, Hawk lifted the pillow. The warrior was gone. O’Halloran’s eyes were lifeless and wide, projecting a silent narration of shock and fear. He closed them with a gentle hand, smoothed the disheveled hair, then fluffed the pillow and restored it to its rightful place. Lastly, he slid the old man’s bony white foot back under the sheet and retucked the bedding.

Standing upright, he surveyed the room. Everything appeared in its proper place. O’Halloran looked serene, like he’d simply fallen asleep. Satisfied, Hawk walked from the room.


Detective Sergeant John Byron parked his unmarked Taurus behind a black-and-white cruiser. Neither the heat nor humidity were helping his foul mood. Only seven-thirty in the morning and the temperature displayed atop Congress Street’s fourteen-story Chapman Building already read eighty-four degrees. Though September had nearly passed, summer wasn’t quite

ready to release the city from her sweltering grasp.

Portland autumns were normally cool and comfortable. Normally. Tourists returned to whichever godforsaken corner of the globe they had come, kids returned to the classroom, and the days grew increasingly shorter.

Byron’s poor attitude had more to do with the day of the week than the weather. Wednesdays always put him in a bad mood, because it was the day Chief of Police Michael Stanton held his weekly CompStat meeting, a statistical midweek tough-mudder designed to give the upper echelon an opportunity to micromanage. Today’s administrative migraine was accompanied by one of Byron’s own creation. He knew of no better cure than a little hair of the dog, but nothing would land him in hot water with Lieutenant LeRoyer faster than the scent of Irish on his breath. Instead, he opted for the mystical healing properties of ibuprofen and caffeine, with a breath mint chaser. He closed his eyes and swallowed the pills on a wave of black coffee, pausing a moment before giving up the solitude of his car. On his game as always, in spite of his current condition.

Officer Sean Haggerty sat behind the wheel of another police cruiser, parked further down the street under a shady canopy of maples. The veteran officer was speaking with a young auburn-haired woman. Byron guessed she was the nurse, primarily because she wasn’t in hysterics, as most relatives would’ve been. He was pleased to see Hags on the call. Hags did things by the numbers. The same could not be said of every beat cop. They exchanged nods as Byron headed up the driveway.

A skinny uniformed rookie stood sentry at the side door to the Bartley Street home. Byron knew they’d crossed paths before, but couldn’t recall his name. What had once been a phenomenon was occurring with far greater frequency, a clear indication the cops were either getting younger or he wasn’t.

“Morning, Sarge,” the rookie said as he recorded Byron’s name into the crime scene log.

“O’Donnell,” Byron said after stealing a glance at the name tag. He gestured with his thumb toward the street. “That the nurse with Haggerty?”

“Yes, Sir.”

“Who’s inside?”

“E.T. Pelligrosso and Detective Joyner. First floor, back bedroom.”

Evidence Technician Gabriel Pelligrosso, a young, flat-topped, ex-soldier, was known for being methodical, thorough, and dependable, traits Byron’s own father had harped on. “If every cop on the job had those qualities, sonny boy, it’d be a sorry fuckin’ day to be a criminal.” Byron stepped inside.

The odor assaulted him upon entering the kitchen. An all too familiar blend of bladder and excremental expulsion, which, thanks to the humidity, would undoubtedly linger in the fabric of his clothing all day.

He listened to their footsteps on the hardwood floor along with the occasional click of Pelligrosso’s camera as they recorded the scene. Not wanting to interrupt them, he waited in the kitchen, making mental notes of everything he saw.

A 2015 Norman Rockwell calendar depicting several boys and a dog running past a No Swimming sign hung on the wall beside the refrigerator. Notations had been made with a red pen in what resembled the flowery script of a woman, perhaps the nurse. The days of the month had been crossed off up to the twenty-third. Someone had been here yesterday. Maybe a family member or one of the nurses. He’d check with Hags.

“Sarge, you out there?” Diane called from down the hall.

Diane Joyner, Portland’s first female African-American detective, was a tough-talking New Yorker. Tall and attractive, she’d lulled more than one bad guy into thinking he could get over on her. Prior to arriving in Portland, she’d worked homicides in the Big Apple for seven years. Byron didn’t know if it was her confidence or thoroughness that made some of the other officers insecure about working with her, but those very same traits made Diane his first choice for partner on murder cases.

“Just waiting on you,” Byron said.

“We’re all set in here.”

Byron walked down the hall and entered the bedroom. “What’ve we got?”

“One stinky stiff,” Diane said. “Formerly Mr. James O’Halloran.”

“O’Halloran?” he asked. Byron had known a James O’Halloran. Was this the same man? The emaciated corpse lying in the bed bore little resemblance to the squared-away Portland police lieutenant from his memory. “Did we find an ID?”

Diane handed him an expired Maine driver’s license. The photo, taken seven years and at least a hundred pounds ago, was definitely Jimmy O. The same man who had sat beside him in the church, on the worst day of Byron’s life.

Don’t Miss Bruce Robert Coffin!

Bruce Robert CoffinBruce Robert Coffin is a former detective sergeant with more than twenty-seven years in law enforcement. At the time of his retirement, from the Portland, Maine police department, he supervised all homicide and violent crime investigations for Maine’s largest city. Following the terror attacks of September 11th, Bruce spent four years working counter-terrorism with the FBI, earning the Director’s Award, the highest honor a non-agent can receive.

Q&A with Bruce Robert Coffin

Do you draw from personal experiences and/or current events?
Yes and no. The plots I create in my novels are fictitious but I draw on personal experiences when describing the actions and thoughts of my characters in order to make the story as realistic as possible. As far as current events are concerned, it really depends. I may insert things that I deem relevant if they’re a good fit with my story. I haven’t designed an entire plot from a current event yet, but who knows, that may change. The ideas for my novels usually begin with ‘what if?’ and proceed from there.

Do you start with the conclusion and plot in reverse or start from the beginning and see where the story line brings you?
I start at the beginning. When I sit down to write a novel, I’ll already have a general idea in mind. I’ll also know where I want the story to go. What I try to avoid is locking down the synopsis so tightly that nothing is left to chance. I find it’s far better to let the story evolve naturally. Often, in spite of my best attempts at controlling the storyline, the characters may begin speaking loudly about a different direction the story should take. If it makes sense to change course, I do.

Your routine when writing? Any idiosyncrasies?
Ha! An author friend of mine is fond of saying you should never let them see how the sausage is made but, if you promise not to tell him, I’ll give you a peek. I normally write in the morning. My brain seems to function best earlier in the day. Hard to say why. Could be the coffee. I may pick up the manuscript and begin by editing the previous session or, if the ideas are flowing, I may simply start writing anew. If the writing goes well I shoot for the magical threshold of one thousand words. Some days, when it’s like chiseling stone, I may only get four or five hundred written, other times I’ve banged out thirty-five hundred without breaking a sweat (wish there were more days like these)..

I don’t think I had any real idiosyncrasies when I began writing, but now… It really depends upon the season and the level of outside distractions. During the winter months, I find I have no problem staying home and writing in my studio. Summertime is a whole different animal, with plenty of distractions. For starters, it’s nice outside. Then there are things to do. Hiking. Kayaking. Going to the gym. Mowing the lawn. Washing the car. The beach. You get the picture. I have finally figured out that the best way to beat summer is to pack up my IPad, get in the car, and drive to one of the local libraries. For me it’s like driving to work. The minute I arrive at the library and walk through the door, I’m at work. No distractions, just work. Of course all of those distractions are still there, but for me the trip to the library cures all.

Is writing your full time job? If not, may I ask what you do by day?
Writing is my full time job now. At least when I’m not out promoting. I retired from police work in 2012 and wrote part time. I started my own handyman business, doing home improvements, and did some consulting, but never stopped writing. Now writing is my career.

Who are some of your favorite authors?
There are many but I’ll give you a few. I enjoy reading Stephen King, Lee Child, Michael Connelly, Ken Bruen, Robert B. Parker, Kate Flora, Paul Doiron, Brenda Buchanan, and James Hayman. Of course you realize all of my author friends are gonna be miffed that I left them out…

What are you reading now?
At the moment, I’m reading Benefit of the Doubt by Neal Griffin and Iron Lake by William Kent Krueger.

Are you working on your next novel? Can you tell us a little about it?
I am. The first draft of book number two in the Detective Byron Mystery Series is nearly complete. I haven’t decided on a title yet, but it will definitely be something cool. Without giving too much away, I can tell you that not all murder victims are beloved. John Byron and his detectives look to track down a killer after a prominent local attorney is found swimming with the fishes.

Fun questions.:
Your novel will be a movie. Who would you cast?
I’d pick Daniel Craig to play John Byron and Jada Pinkett Smith to play Diane Joyner. Any chance I could get a walk on roll?

Manuscript/Notes: hand written or keyboard?
I’ve written notes for several novels on scrap paper, in notebooks, on receipts, on my cell phone, literally everywhere. The manuscripts I write on my IPad, using a Bluetooth keyboard. I love using the IPad, I’ve written three novels on it.

Favorite leisure activity/hobby?
Oil painting, woodworking, and hiking, not necessarily in that order.

Favorite meal?
Shepherd’s pie and Guinness.

Thank you for stopping by!

Catch Up with Bruce Robert Coffin on his
Website, on Twitter, and on Facebook!

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Oct 102016

Mailbox Monday

Mailbox Monday was created by Marcia of A girl and her books and is now hosted on its own blog.

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: CHILD’S PLAY by Merry Jones from Oceanview Publishing/PICT
Thursday: BURNING SEPTEMBER by Melissa Simonson from Author
Thursday: THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN by Paula Hawkins Personal purchase
Thursday: ONE BREATH AWAY by Heather Gudenkauf Personal purchase