The Perfect Daughter by D.J. Palmer | #SoHonored #SoExcited

You may have seen my review on the 21st for this phenomenal book. Before and after reading it, I saw many posts on Facebook about it and received many emails and pressers for it. But I was SHOCKED and HONORED when I saw that a blurb from my review had been used in the email below (the one right above the cover image)!!! I don’t know about you, but whenever this happens, I do get excited!!! A few of my quotes have also ended up in finished copies of a book and I have been named in the acknowledgments.

Has this ever happened to you? Has a quote from a review you wrote ended up in a book or a press release?

  


Dear Readers:

Early word is that my new novel, THE PERFECT DAUGHTER, is one of the most anticipated thrillers of 2021! Publishers Weekly raves, “Palmer’s take on a complex psychological disorder will keep readers in its grip.”

That’s the official word, and here’s what readers are saying:

5 stars
The suspense was awesome. Superb.5 stars 3Holy Cow…Wow… This is a psychological thriller that just had me guessing and totally pulled into the storyline the whole time. 5 stars 4WOW! That is one word I can use to describe this book. Also mind-blowing, inquisitive, bingeable, just completely and utterly amazing!


5 stars 5Had me sucked in from the first page!
Never saw the ending coming and that is great writing! 
There are hundreds more glowing reviews like these to encourge you to read the book. So what is the psychological disorder at the center of this story? Who is the daughter on the cover?

Hmmm…I’ll hold you in suspense and you can click the preorder link to find out.Click here to purchase: bit.ly/PreorderThePerfectDaughter


—- —————————-


More Praise for THE PERFECT DAUGHTER


5 stars 6I’ll go ahead and say it—the best D. J. Palmer yet!

5 stars 7
What a first-rate, superbly written psychological thriller.

5 stars 8
Holly hell! My jaw dropped, my nose hit the floor! Before losing other parts of my face: I’m screaming: this is freaking fascinating!

5 stars 9
Wow! What a story! The Perfect Daughter is the perfect thriller that keeps you guessing from start to finish.

5 stars 10
Don’t know how he’s going to top this title with his next. I can’t wait to see him try.

5 stars 11
And then WAIT!!!!   WHAT??  Did I just read that? I had to read the sentence three times to make sure I wasn’t misunderstanding who the murderer was!!!!  A jaw-dropper that I did not see coming nor was it on my radar!!!


PD Cover
 Preorder THE PERFECT DAUGHTER before the 4/20/2021 publication date and receive your free copy of THE NEW HUSBAND with proof of purchase.
You won’t be dissapointed! Best wishes and sending goodwill as always. -DJ Palmer
 

Three Missing Days by Colleen Coble | #Showcase #Giveaway

Three Missing Days

by Colleen Coble

April 5 – 30, 2021 Tour

Synopsis:

Three Missing Days by Colleen Coble

Book Three in the gripping romantic suspense series from USA TODAY bestselling author Colleen Coble.

A chilling murder.

Chief of Police Jane Hardy plunges into the investigation of a house fire that claimed the life of a local woman as well as one of the firefighters. It’s clear the woman was murdered. But why? The unraveling of Jane’s personal life only makes the answers in the case more difficult to find.

Her son’s arrest.

Then Jane’s fifteen-year-old son is accused of a horrific crime, and she has to decide whether or not she can trust her ex, Reid, in the attempt to prove Will’s innocence—and whether she can trust Reid with her heart.

Her stolen memories.

Three days of Jane’s past are missing from her memory, and that’s not all that has been stolen from her. As she works to find the woman’s murderer and clear her son’s name, finding out what happened in those three days could change everything. It all started with one little lie. But the gripping truth is finally coming out.

Book Details:

Genre: Mystery, Suspense, Thriller
Published by: Thomas Nelson
Publication Date: April 6th 2021
Number of Pages: 352
ISBN: 0785228543 (ISBN13: 9780785228547)
Series: Pelican Harbor #3 || These books are Stand Alone Mysteries but are better if read as a series!
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | ChristianBook.com | Goodreads

Read an excerpt:

“I know what you did.”

The muffled voice on her phone raised the hair on the back of Gail Briscoe’s head, and she swiped the perspiration from her forehead with the back of her hand. “Look, I’ve reported these calls. Don’t call me again.”

She ended the call with a hard finger punch on the screen and stepped onto her front porch. The late-May Alabama air wrapped her in a blanket of heat and humidity, and she couldn’t wait to wash it off. She should have left the light on before she went for her predawn run. The darkness pressing against her isolated home sent a shudder down her back, and she fumbled her way inside. Welcome light flooded the entry, and she locked the door and the dead bolt with a decisive click that lifted her confidence.

She stared at the number on the now-silent phone. The drugstore again. Though there weren’t many pay phones around anymore, the old soda shop and drugstore still boasted a heavy black phone installed back in the sixties. The caller always used it, and so far, no one had seen who was making the calls. The pay phone was located off an alley behind the store by a Dumpster so it was out of sight.

The guy’s accusation was getting old. Counting today, this made seven calls with the same message. Could he possibly know about the investigation? She rejected the thought before it had a chance to grow. It wasn’t public knowledge, and it would be over soon. She clenched her hands and chewed on her bottom lip. She had to be vindicated.

But who could it be, and what did he want?

Leaving a trail of sweaty yoga shorts and a tee behind her, she marched to the bathroom and turned the spray to lukewarm before she stepped into the shower. The temperature shocked her overheated skin in a pleasant way, and within moments she was cooled down. She increased the temperature a bit and let the water sluice over her hair.

As she washed, she watched several long strands of brown hair swirl down the drain as she considered the caller’s accusation. The police had promised to put a wiretap on her phone, but so far the guy hadn’t stayed on the phone long enough for a trace to work. And it was Gail’s own fault. She should have talked with him more to string out the time.

She dried off and wrapped her hair in a turban, then pulled on capris and a top. Her phone vibrated again. She snatched it up and glanced at the screen. Augusta Richards.

“I got another call, Detective. Same phone at the drugstore. Could you set up a camera there?”

“I hope I’m not calling too early, and I don’t think that’s necessary. The owner just told me that old pay phone is being removed later today. Maybe that will deter the guy. It’s the only pay phone in town. He’ll have to use something else if he calls again.”

“He could get a burner phone.”

“He might,” the detective admitted. “What did he say?”

“The same thing—‘I know what you did.’”

“Do you have any idea what it means?”

Gail flicked her gaze away to look out the window, where the first colors of the sunrise limned the trees. “Not a clue.”

“Make sure you lock your doors and windows. You’re all alone out there.”

“Already locked. Thanks, Detective.” Gail ended the call.

Ever since Nicole Pearson’s body had been found a couple of months ago, no one needed to remind Gail she lived down a dirt road with no next-door neighbors. No one wanted to buy the neighboring place after such a lurid death, so the area remained secluded other than a couple of houses about a mile away and out closer to the main road.

She stood back from the window. It was still too dark to see. Was someone out there?

Pull back the reins on your imagination. But once the shudders started, they wouldn’t stop. Her hands shaking, she left her bedroom and went to pour herself a cup of coffee with a generous splash of half-and-half from the fridge. She had a stack of lab orders to process, and she couldn’t let her nerves derail her work.

The cups rattled as she snatched one from the cupboard. The coffee sloshed over the rim when she poured it, then she took a big gulp of coffee. It burned all the way down her throat, and tears stung her eyes as she sputtered. The heat settled her though, and she checked the locks again before she headed to her home office with her coffee.

No one could see in this tiny cubicle with no window, but she rubbed the back of her neck and shivered. She’d work for an hour, then go into the lab. The familiar ranges and numbers comforted her. She sipped her coffee and began to plow through the stack of papers. Her eyes kept getting heavy. Weird. Normally she woke raring to go every morning.

Maybe she needed more coffee. She stretched out her neck and back and picked up the empty coffee cup.

Gail touched the doorknob and cried out. She stuck her first two fingers in her mouth. What on earth?

The door radiated heat. She took a step back as she tried to puzzle out what was happening, but her brain couldn’t process it at first. Then tendrils of smoke oozed from under the door in a deadly fog.

Fire. The house was on fire.

She spun back toward the desk, but there was nothing she could use to protect herself. There was no way of egress except through that door.

If she wanted to escape, she’d have to face the inferno on the other side.

She snatched a throw blanket from the chair and threw it over her head, then ran for the door before she lost her courage. When she yanked it open, a wall of flames greeted her, but she spied a pathway down the hall to her bedroom. Ducking her head, she screamed out a war cry and plowed through the flames.

In moments she was in the hall where the smoke wasn’t so thick. She pulled in a deep breath as she ran for her bedroom. She felt the cool air as soon as she stepped inside and shut the door behind her. Too late she realized the window was open, and a figure stepped from the closet.

Something hard came down on her head, and darkness descended.

***

Excerpt from Three Missing Days by Colleen Coble. Copyright 2021 by Thomas Nelson. Reproduced with permission from Thomas Nelson. All rights reserved.

 

 

Author Bio:

Colleen Coble

Colleen Coble is a USA TODAY bestselling author and RITA finalist best known for her coastal romantic suspense novels, including The Inn at Ocean’s Edge, Twilight at Blueberry Barrens, and the Lavender Tides, Sunset Cove, Hope Beach, and Rock Harbor series.

Connect with Colleen online at:
colleencoble.com
Goodreads
BookBub: @ColleenCoble
Instagram: @colleencoble
Twitter: @colleencoble
Facebook: @colleencoblebooks

 

 

Tour Participants:

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



 

 

Giveaway!:

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Colleen Coble and Thomas Nelson. ONE (1) winner will receive ONE (1) physical set of the first three books in the Pelican Harbor series. (U.S. addresses only). The giveaway begins on April 5, 2021 and runs through May 2, 2021. Void where prohibited.

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#Review | THE PERFECT DAUGHTER by D.J. Palmer


The Perfect Daughter by D.J. Palmer
Genre: Psychological Thriller
Published by St. Martin’s Press
Publication Date: April 20, 2021
ASIN: B08BYC8KX2
Pages: 384
Review Copy From: Publisher via NetGalley
Edition: Kindle
My Rating: 5

Synopsis (via GR)

The Perfect Daughter is a thriller that explores the truth or lies behind a teenage girl’s multiple personality disorder, from D.J. Palmer, the author of The New Husband.

Grace never dreamt she’d visit her teenaged daughter Penny in the locked ward of a decaying state psychiatric hospital, charged with the murder of a stranger. There was not much question of her daughter’s guilt. Police had her fingerprints on the murder weapon and the victim’s blood on her body and clothes. But they didn’t have a motive.

Grace blames herself, because that’s what mothers do—they look at their choices and wonder, what if? But hindsight offers little more than the chance for regret.

None of this was conceivable the day Penny came into her life. Then, it seemed like a miracle. Penny was found abandoned, with a mysterious past, and it felt like fate brought Penny to her, and her husband Arthur. But as she grew, Penny’s actions grew more disturbing, and different “personalities” emerged.

Arthur and Grace took Penny to different psychiatrists, many of whom believed she was putting on a show to help manage her trauma. But Grace didn’t buy it. The personas were too real, too consistent. It had to be a severe multiple personality disorder. One determined psychiatrist, Dr. Mitch McHugh, helped discover someone new inside Penny—a young girl named Abigail. Is this the nameless girl who was abandoned in the park years ago? Mitch thinks Abigail is the key to Penny’s past and to the murder. But as Grace and Mitch dig deeper, they uncover dark and shocking secrets that put all their lives in grave danger.

My Thoughts

D.J. Palmer has crafted another bombshell!!!! A nuclear bombshell!!!

I have been waiting patiently for this book and it did not disappoint!!

I’m not going to reiterate the synopsis but state how this book affected me.

The narrative is told via several POVs. The characters were so lifelike and relatable even though they are flawed. Compassion was felt for many of the cast members to the point that my heart was breaking for them. The suspense was taut with heart-pounding moments. A definite white knuckle read!

And then WAIT!!!! WHAT?? Did I just read that? I had to read the sentence three times to make sure I wasn’t misunderstanding who the murderer was!!!! A jaw-dropper that I did not see coming nor was it on my radar!!!

A read that will transport the reader into the story without knowing what is going on around them.

And now the BIG question. When will the next novel be published so I can put it on my calendar?

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

REVIEW DISCLAIMER

  • 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: (04/12/21)

    The Mother Next Door by Tara Laskowski~ eBook from Halequin via NetGalley

     

    Sweet Paradise by Gene Desrochers | #Showcase #Interview #Giveaway

    Sweet Paradise Banner

    Sweet Paradise

    by Gene Desrochers

    April 5 – May 7, 2021 Tour

    Synopsis:

    Sweet Paradise by Gene Desrochers

    In this harrowing Caribbean noir murder mystery, we meet Private Investigator Boise Montague, a man on the brink who is trying to get his life together after his wife died. He has returned to his childhood home and he’s started a private investigator firm of one. Since returning, his drinking has accelerated and he needs clients desperately before the life insurance money dries up.

    Enter Junior Bacon, grandson of Francine Bacon of the Bacon sugar and rum empire. Granny’s gone missing and Junior wants Boise to figure out what happened.

    As Boise delves into the mystery of the missing matriarch, a reporter associated with her winds up dead in his new office, dramatically raising the stakes. Now Boise must contend with questions from the police, the newspaper president, and the reporter’s widow.

    As Boise investigates he uncovers surprising truths about a woman seeking redemption, a family on the brink, and why no matter how hard we try, the past can sometimes never be fixed.

    In the end, Boise must not only confront a killer, but the island’s dark history and his own inner demons.

    Kudos:

    “Boise Montague, intrepid St. Thomas, V.I. private investigator, returns in SWEET PARADISE. Talented author Gene Desrochers delivers a suspense-filled tale overflowing with duplicitous characters and greed-driven agendas in lushly authentic Caribbean environs. A mature generation is determined to hold tight to the empire that provides them with every luxury, while the next generation attempts to fulfill its dreams … Others will compromise all that is decent. And Boise Montague will do what he does best as he separates the winners from the losers and the innocent from the guilty. A 5-star read.”
    –Laura Taylor – 6-Time Romantic Times Award Winner

    “Boise is back! Gene Desrochers returns his readers to the island paradise of St. Thomas. You’ll feel the warm tropical breeze as Private Investigator Boise Montague must discover [what happened to] the matriarch of a wealthy island rum producer. The deeper he digs, the closer he gets to his own mortality. Wandering and sometimes stumbling through his investigation, Boise learns about family secrets—and they could kill him. Outstanding writing and the vivid setting will keep you transfixed.”
    –R. D. Kardon, award-winning author of Flygirl and Angel Flight

    Book Details:

    Genre: Murder Mystery
    Published by: Acorn Publishing
    Publication Date: April 6th 2021
    Number of Pages: 299
    ISBN: 9781952112379
    Series: Boise Montague, #2 (Each book in the series is a stand alone mystery)
    Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

     

    Author Bio:

    Gene Desrochers

    Gene Desrochers hails from a dot in the Caribbean Sea called St. Thomas. He grew up with minimal supervision and free-roaming animals in a guesthouse that also served as a hospital during wartime. If you ask, he will regale you with his Caribbean accent and tennis prowess.

    After a lifetime of writing and telling short stories, he ventured into the deep end, publishing his first novel, Dark Paradise in 2018. Sweet Paradise is Gene’s second published novel in the Boise Montague Series.

    He lives in Southern California with his wife, step-daughter, and two cats.

     

    Q&A with Gene Desrochers

    What was the inspiration for this book?

    Sweet Paradise drew inspiration from thoughts I had about the consequences of supposed “good deeds” people attempt in an effort to right past wrongs. As I journeyed along I quickly realized that these good deeds are fraught with danger from those left behind, to the inadvertent effect it has on those who benefit, but unprepared to deal with benefits they never thought they would enjoy. In some cases, it’s never good enough. I’ve experienced this in my life, where I do something that was never done before thinking: “Hey, everyone’s gonna be so grateful and I’m making things better, woo-hoo!” A good example of this was when I put score cards on the tennis courts at my club. There had never been any score cards before (in over 40 years) and I thought that everyone would be excited, however, virtually no one said anything, then at one point the cards started to rust and I got all these calls about them being “unsightly” and why didn’t I get them painted and replace the numbers that were looking a little old. I thought, “Wow, I just created more work for myself and an expectation that these score cards be kept up.” Then I decided to remove them, and boy did I catch hell for that. Now, everyone expected to have score cards always and that they would be in perfect condition at all times. Removing them was no longer a viable option because an expectation had been created from their existence and the fact that they had not existed for over forty years didn’t matter a whit. This story explores that expectation human beings have of wealth and justice, even when someone goes above and beyond to make things right. The price for coming up short can be murder.

    What has been the biggest challenge in your writing career?

    Writing the very first novel to completion, then polishing it. Many other things presented major challenges: finding a publisher, marketing, editing, etc. The first novel to me requires a leap of faith as a writer. Putting yourself out there into the world as an author, getting slammed in reviews for the first time, seeing that your book doesn’t sell well. Without question, seeing the first novel through to a finished work, presentable in book format for the world to criticize and digest, that is the first step, and that first step requires a lot of faith. It’s much easier to keep partially finishing or writing the pages without completing the work enough to put it out there, but not enough to call it ready for the world.

    What do you absolutely need while writing?

    Not much. I can write by pen & paper or word processor. Typewriters work well too, although I haven’t used one in years, I learned to type on one. I can write with movement around or with music, or without. An idea and fleshed out characters that excite me I suppose would be the top things I need. Some days I’m easily distracted, but mostly I can write anywhere, anytime. No set schedule. I steal minutes even to jot a few words then continue on my day.

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

    I write all the time when I’m working on a project. Low expectations are my key. It’s a trick I use where I tell myself each day when I plop down to pound words: One sentence is all I have to do today. One sentence or fifty words, something that can be done in less than five minutes. Some days, that is all I do. Most of the time, the trick works and I keep writing for several pages, but if I don’t, I can still tell myself: you wrote something today and it keeps my head in the game, I’m fresh on the story, whereas, if I don’t write until I feel inspired, I sometimes forget where I was and I have to reacquaint myself before I can even begin writing. That reacquaintance period sometimes kills the inspiration.

    Who is your favorite character from your book and why?

    Daryl Evans, the private dick from Georgia who appears in the story has a strong presence in my mind. I have a very clear picture of his scruffy face and jowls. He knows who he is and he is that person completely and unapologetically even though he’s far from perfect. Not many of my characters are this comfortable in their own skin, so I find him refreshing.

    Tell us why we should read your book.

    My book does not bear special mention for reading. You should read for stories and for a glimpse into another mind that is not your own, while at the same time melding your consciousness with that of another as cannot be helped when reading.

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

    It is being released on the birthday of the main character, Boise Montague.

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

    Keep reading! Keep loving stories! Read all sorts of stories and as Malcolm X said, be open to the possibility that anytime you read a book, it can change your life.

    Tell us a little about yourself and your background?

    These books about Boise Montague and the Virgin Islands tell about my background. I’m from the Virgin Islands and grew up as a minority. The people who helped raise me treated me kindly, even the drunk men who peppered the island were playfully kind. I had a heavy Caribbean accent that I was entirely unaware of until I attended a school with more kids from the states and they teased me mercilessly. Quickly, my voice metamorphized to the “American” accent I speak with today. That change made me aware that all that we are, our characteristics, our clothes, our appearance, can be altered to create a character anytime if a strong enough impetus presents itself. The teasing and taunting of peers was such an impetus. Part of my character involves a love of education and physical games, especially tennis.

    What’s next that we can look forward to?
    I’m working on a novel tentatively titled, Oceanfront, that involves a tennis professional and the facility where he works. I’ve completed a rough draft, but it has a long way to go.

    Catch Up With Gene Desrochers:
    GeneDesrochers.com
    Goodreads
    BookBub – @problemsolvergene
    Instagram – @authorgenedesrochers
    Twitter – @problemsolverge
    Facebook – @ggdesrochers

     

    Read an excerpt:

    The first coat was drying. More droplets of sweat rivered between my shoulder blades as I slugged water and Guinness alternately. Two in the afternoon was no time to be painting in the October heat, but I didn’t know what else to do and sitting around worrying about my looming penury seemed pointless.

    The used old-timey clock radio I’d picked up at Bob’s Store babbled on about hurricane warnings as reception fizzled in and out. It was the latter part of hurricane season and we’d seen minimal storm damage in the region. We might dodge hurricanes for one or two years running, but it was never long enough to truly get complacent about them the way places like New Orleans had.

    The overhead fan whirred. Outside my door sunlight filtered thinly through a cloud, illuminating the traffic circle a faint ocher. As I considered the faded lines denoting parking spaces and the cracked pavement, a young man bobbed into my line of sight. He was one of those people who walked on his toes at all times, like the tendons in his calves were so tight his heels couldn’t touch the ground for more than an instant before popping up again. He squinted at the building, turning his head back and forth, then perusing a sheet of paper clutched in both hands. A green Osprey backpack hung loosely off his shoulders. People in California used them for hiking. He tugged at the built-in sippy straw and sucked. The bubbly slurping of the last drops of water in his pouch filtered up to me. Disappointment clouded his face.

    His attention snagged on my door. I grinned and gave myself a mental pat on the back. He shifted one hand to his hip and gave a slight lean. I wasn’t sure whether I should let him see me in my ratty painting outfit, but figured that could be explained by the wet door. A spooge of cantaloupe paint dominated the center of my gray t-shirt. I eased the door open a couple more feet.

    “Help you?” I asked. “You look lost.”

    “Nice door.” He pointed at his forehead and swirled his finger around. “You got some.”

    He was college-aged and his face was sunburned, as were his arms. He wore a Hawaiian shirt and khaki pants, a classic tourist outfit.

    He continued to stand in the same spot, squinting and considering the sheet of paper. I returned to my inner office, needing another sip of water and the breeze from the fan. Out my open doorway, I could barely make out the top of his Caesar-style haircut.

    “You should get a hat!” I hollered out.

    His head rose up from the paper and he pushed up on tip-toes so I could see his eyes. “The sun’s doing a number on you,” I said. “Want a drink of water?”

    He stared at me a while with a strange stillness, like he was in no hurry as he weighed every option. This boy was a local and he would pull me into events that would rock one of the largest industries in the Virgin Islands.

    “Do you have Perrier?”

    ***

    Excerpt from Sweet Paradise by Gene Desrochers. Copyright 2021 by Gene Desrochers. Reproduced with permission from Gene Desrochers. All rights reserved.

     

     

    Tour Participants:

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



     

     

    Enter To Win!:

    This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Gene Desrochers. There will be two (2) winners. Each winner will receive an Amazon.com gift card. The giveaway begins on April 5, 2021 and runs through May 9, 2021. Void where prohibited.

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    HIT OR MISS by Jeff Markowitz | #Showcase #Interview #Giveaway

    Hit Or Miss by Jeff Markowitz Banner

    Hit Or Miss

    by Jeff Markowitz

    April 1-30, 2021 Tour

    Synopsis:

    Hit Or Miss by Jeff Markowitz

    When you’re twenty-one years old, it can be hard, under the best of circumstances, to balance the expectations of your father and the desires of your girlfriend. For Ben Miller and his girlfriend Emily Bayard, circumstances are far from perfect.

    Emily’s mother has been murdered. Ben’s father, a detective in Dutch Neck, catches the case. It’s not long before evidence suggests that Emily’s father may be responsible for the death of his wife.

    Set against the backdrop of the cultural and political unrest associated with the war in Viet Nam, Emily and Ben find themselves attracted by the politics and lifestyle of the counter-culture.

    As Detective Miller conducts the homicide investigation and Dr. Bayard attempts to keep an affair with his secretary secret, everyone else in the town of Dutch Neck that summer of 1970 has the same question.

    Who is responsible for the death of Rosalie Bayard?

    Book Details:

    Genre: Mystery
    Published by: WiDo Publishing
    Publication Date: December 29, 2020
    Number of Pages: 278
    ISBN: 9781947966482
    Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

     

    Author Bio:

    Jeff Markowitz

    Jeff Markowitz is the author of 5 mysteries, including the award-winning dark comedy, Death and White Diamonds. His new book, Hit Or Miss, was released in December 2020. Part detective story, part historical fiction, part coming of age story, Hit Or Miss is an Amazon Hot New Release in political fiction. Jeff spent more than 40 years creating community-based programs and services for children with autism, before retiring in 2018 to devote more time to writing. Jeff is Past President of the NY chapter of Mystery Writers of America.

    Q&A with Jeff Markowitz

    What was the inspiration for this book?

    Write what you know. We’ve heard the advice a thousand times. But what do we know and how do we know it? And equally important, what don’t we know? The stories that I write evolve from a combination of experience, research, and imagination.

    When it comes to technology, I am something of a Luddite. There are plenty of authors who write high tech stories and fast paced thrillers. That’s not me and that’s not the kind of story I should be writing. I write character-driven mysteries in which complex relationships, rather than technology, drive the action. That pushed me in the direction of writing an Historical Mystery. Of course, I could have set the story in most any time period other than today.

    Once I settled on 1970, I knew I wanted to address what we used to refer to as the “generation gap.” This created an opportunity to view the story not only from the perspective of the detective, but also from the detective’s son, and from the son’s girlfriend as well, who happens to be the daughter of the victim.

    A complex set of personal relationships drives the storytelling, but, at its core, Hit or Miss remains a straightforward detective story as Detective Miller pursues the truth about the murder of Rosalie Bayard.

    What has been the biggest challenge in your writing career?

    I have often said, I may not have the most readers, but I have the best readers. My books don’t always fit neatly into a particular genre or subgenre and that can create a challenge to building readership. According to my publisher, Hit or Miss is classified as a Detective Story/Historical Fiction and I think that’s accurate. According to Amazon, the paperback is a Mystery, but the ebook is not. The ebook is listed as Political Fiction/Coming-of-Age Story. In fact, when it was released, the ebook was an Amazon Hot New Release in Political Fiction.
    I believe that readers want a good story, well told, and that is always what I try to write. The challenge, at times, is to connect with “my” readers.

    What do you absolutely need while writing?

    I need a story that I love and not enough time to write it.

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

    I do my best writing early in the morning, on a desktop computer in my family room. It has been my routine now for nearly two decades and it works for me. I spend the rest of the day thinking about what I’m writing and jotting down key words on post-it notes that pile up on the dresser in my bedroom. If I took the time to put the post-it notes in sequential order, it would almost look like I knew what I was doing.

    Every writer has to figure out what works best for them and then develop habits to support that process.

    Who is your favorite character from your book and why?

    I guess I have two favorite characters – Ben Miller and Emily Bayard. The book’s back cover copy tells you why –

    When you’re twenty-one years old, it can be hard, under the best of circumstances, to balance the expectations of your father and the desires of your girlfriend. For Ben Miller and his girlfriend Emily Bayard, circumstances are far from perfect. Emily’s mother has been murdered. Ben’s father, a detective in Dutch Neck, catches the case. It’s not long before evidence suggests that Emily’s father may be responsible for the death of his wife.

    Tell us why we should read your book.

    There are more than 3 million ISBNs registered in the United States and new books are being published every day. The challenge both for writers and for readers is to connect. As a reader, how do you find the right storytellers for you? Reading book blogs is one very good way to find your next favorite author.

    If you’ve read this far, thank you. Perhaps I’ve made a connection. If I have, I hope you’ll pick up a copy of Hit or Miss. I think you’ll like it.

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

    In May 1970, more than 100,000 protesters converged on the National Mall in Washington DC to protest the wart in Viet Nam and the shooting of student protesters by the National Guard on the campus at Kent State. In my story, Emily Bayard meets President Nixon at the demonstration. Some readers may find it unrealistic to have the President chatting amiably with protesters on the morning of the demonstration, but that is historically accurate. There is, however, no evidence that he invited one of the protesters to join him for breakfast in the White House.

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

    Thank you for caring about books.

    Tell us a little about yourself and your background?

    I spent more than forty years creating community-based programs and services for children and adults with autism, including twenty-five years as President and Executive Director of the Life Skills Resource Center, before retiring in 2018 to devote more time to writing.
    I wrote my first four books while I was still working full-time. My first mystery, Who is Killing Doah’s Deer, was published in 2004; it introduced readers to tabloid reporter and amateur sleuth Cassie O’Malley. Cassie returned in 2006 in A Minor Case of Murder and again in 2009 in It’s Beginning to Look a Lot like Murder. In 2015, my standalone black comedy Death and White Diamonds won a Lovey Award and a David Award. Now that I’m retired, I write at a more civilized hour.
    When I set out to learn the craft and the business of writing, many mystery writers were generous with their time and their talent. I’m proud to have had the opportunity to pay it forward. In 2018 – 2019, I served as President of the New York Chapter of Mystery Writers of America.

    What’s next that we can look forward to?

    For now, I’m focusing on short fiction. I have a short story about to be released in Murder Most Diabolical, the Malice Domestic 2021 anthology. I also have a short story in Jewish Noir 2, coming out later this year. I’m currently writing a novella, but I’m not ready to talk about it yet.

    Catch Up With Jeff Markowitz:
    www.JeffMarkowitz.com
    Goodreads
    BookBub – @JeffMarkowitz
    Twitter – @JeffMarkowitz1
    Facebook

     

    Read an excerpt:

    Thousands of young people were on the mall, and more were streaming in by the minute. Willow, and her hippie friends staked out a spot near the Lincoln Memorial. Emily wandered the length of the National Mall, from the Lincoln Memorial to the Capital Building and back again, determined to take it all in. There was a buzz in the morning air. The President appeared unannounced on the Ellipse at dawn and chatted with a small group of demonstrators. He wished them an enjoyable stay in the nation’s capital. Everyone Emily met on the Mall claimed to have seen him. The day was hot; the Mall was dry and dusty. There were crowds of people everywhere, an uneasy mixture of antiwar protestors, soldiers and police units, newsmen and onlookers. Protestors flashed peace signs and sang the fish cheer. Young Republicans responded with middle-finger salutes.

    Emily didn’t know most of the speakers at the demonstration, but she like the message. End the Cambodian incursion. End the war in Vietnam. She located a pay phone and used her spare change to call Ben.

    “It’s amazing. You should be here.” She had to yell to be heard. Demonstrators continued to pour into the Mall. “Is anything happening in Dutch Neck?”

    “You need to come home.”

    “Don’t be like that.”

    “That’s not what I mean. It’s your mother.”

    “What about my mother?”

    Ben didn’t answer right away. The phone line crackled with static.

    A scuffle broke out on the Mall. Police moved in quickly, weapons at the ready, cutting the small group of protestors off from the larger crowd. The confrontation pulled Emily’s attention away from the phone call.

    “Your mother is dead.”

    Later, the news would report that there were more than one hundred thousand demonstrators on the national mall, but at that moment, amidst the pushing and shoving, Emily felt like she was alone in the world. Without more change to feed the phone, the line went dead. She dropped the pay phone and turned, nearly bumping into a cop.

    “Stay back,” he ordered, his hand on his weapon.

    “She’s dead,” she replied and kept walking.

    He pointed the gun at Emily’s head. “Who’s dead?”

    She could feel anger in the policeman, but also restraint. Days removed from Kent State, it was as if no one wanted to provoke the next shooting. The policeman holstered his weapon. Shouts of “pig” were replaced by prayers for peace. Emily breathed a sigh of relief and answered the officer’s question.

    “My mother.”

    “Do you have a way to get home?”

    Emily told the officer about Miss Cooper and the apartment on C Street. He offered to give her a ride. If anyone saw her in the patrol car, she would tell them that she had been arrested.

    No one answered when she knocked on the apartment door. The apartment manager was polite, but firm. She would have to leave.

    “Do you need money for a bus ticket?” The officer reached for his wallet. “I’ll drop you off at the bus station.”

    When Emily left Dutch Neck, her mother had been alive. If she got on a bus, she would be admitting that her mother was dead. She wasn’t prepared to deal with that. Not yet. So she decided to spend another night in DC. As long as she remained in DC, she told herself, she could pretend that nothing was wrong at home. And maybe, just maybe, she could help end the war.

    With no place else to go, she retraced her steps.

    The crowd at the National Mall was smaller. There was a chill in the air, the midday heat a distant memory. It was a tough night, out on the mall, trying not to think about her mother. Instead she thought about the American boys who were spending the night in rice paddies on the other side of the world, probably trying not to think about their mothers too, and she knew that this was a small price to pay to end the war. At four in the morning, an older man approached. He was dressed like an off-duty policeman heading out to play a round of golf.

    “Are you here to end the war, miss?”

    “Yes, I guess I am,” She took a closer look at the middle-aged man and jumped to her feet, “Mr. President?”

    President Nixon chuckled quietly.

    “But, what…”

    “I couldn’t sleep. I thought some fresh air would do me good.”

    “But…”

    “You know, sometimes I think you young people actually believe that I like being at war.”

    Emily didn’t know how to answer the Commander in Chief. “Begging your pardon sir, but it does sometimes seem that way.”

    “Let me tell you something miss… by the way, we haven’t been properly introduced. My name is Richard Nixon and yours is?”

    “Emily Bayard.” She started to raise her fist in protest, like Bug, during the demonstration, but couldn’t extend her arm, not while she was standing face-to-face with the President. She looked around, grateful that Willow and her friends weren’t there to see her pitiful attempt at protest.

    “Well, Emily, let me tell you something. I think I hate this war more than you do. But sometimes war is the necessary thing to do.”

    “But you could end the war, sir. You could end the war today.”

    “General Westmoreland tells me we need two more years to achieve our goals. You wouldn’t want us to leave now, without achieving our goals. Give me two more years Emily, and I’ll end the war. You have my word on it.”

    “I don’t think I can do that, sir.”

    President Nixon shook his head in sadness. “You young people can be so impatient.”

    “In a few weeks, I’ll be graduating from college.”

    “Congratulations. And then?”

    “I don’t know. But I have classmates… friends… They’ve been called up. In two years’ time, they could be dead.”

    President Nixon didn’t have an answer at the ready. “I’d best be on my way.” The sun was beginning to peek over the horizon. “Before my Secret Service detail realizes I’ve slipped out.”

    President Nixon turned to leave. He took a few steps and then turned back to face Emily. “I’ve just had an idea. Are you hungry? Would you like to have breakfast with me?”

    “You mean, like, in the White House?”

    The President grinned. “I have the best chef. What would you like? You can have anything, anything at all. After all, I am the President.”

    “This isn’t some sort of photo op, is it? You know what I mean, antiwar activist sees the error of her ways after breaking bread with the President.

    “I see what you mean. It would sure look good in the papers. Lord knows I could use a good story in the papers.” The President chuckled. “No. No photos. No press release. You have my word.”

    And so it came to pass, on Sunday morning, before taking a bus back to Long Island to bury her mother, Emily had breakfast with the President. Mr. Nixon had poached eggs and corned beef hash with a cup of coffee, black. Emily had blueberry blintzes and a cup of chamomile tea. And all the while, they argued about the war.

    “Would you like seconds?”

    But she had put it off long enough. “I’m needed at home.”

    ***

    Excerpt from Hit Or Miss by Jeff Markowitz. Copyright 2020 by Jeff Markowitz. Reproduced with permission from Jeff Markowitz. All rights reserved.

     

     

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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.

    Tuesday: (04/06/21)

    Such A Good Wife by Seraphina Nova Glass ~ ARC from Harper Collins
    Leilani’s Gift by Bette Lee Crosby ~ Kindle from Amazon free download

    The Stepsisters by Susan Mallery ~ eBook from Harper Collins via NetGalley

     

    THE DEADENING by Kerry Peresta | #Showcase #Interview #Giveaway

    The Deadening by Kelly Peresta Banner

    The Deadening

    by Kerry Peresta

    April 1-30, 2021 Tour

    Synopsis:

    The Deadening by Kerry Peresta

    OLIVIA CALLAHAN’S quiet, orderly life is shattered when she regains consciousness in a hospital and discovers she is paralyzed and cannot remember a thing. The fragmented voices she hears around her help her piece together that an apparent assault landed her in the hospital, but nobody knows who attacked her, or why.

    Now, in spite of a brain injury that has rewired her personality, Olivia is on a mission to reclaim her life. As clarity surfaces, and she starts to understand who she was, she is shocked.

    Could she really have been that person?

    And if so, does she want her old life back?

    Praise:

    “A gripping read populated by likable characters. Peresta draws us into a colorful detailed world and makes us care what happens to the people living in it. We root for Olivia as she struggles to regain her memory, her bearings, and the identity she lost long before her injury. Excellent!”
    – Susan Crawford, Internationally bestselling author of The Pocket Wife and The Other Widow.

    The Deadening is a captivating psychological suspense novel that will have you holding your breath with each turn of the page. Peresta has created a world chock-full of characters who are dynamic and unforgettable, for better or worse. Hold onto your seat.”
    – Clay Stafford, bestselling author and founder of Killer Nashville Writers’ Conference

    Book Details:

    Genre: Psychological Suspense
    Published by: Level Best Books
    Publication Date: February 21, 2021
    Number of Pages: 353
    ISBN: 1953789358 (ISBN13:9781953789358) (ASIN:B08SVKLMZ8)
    Series: Olivia Callahan Suspense, 1
    Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

     

    Author Bio:

    Kerry L Peresta

    Kerry’s publishing credits include a popular newspaper column, “The Lighter Side,” 2009-2011; and magazine articles in Local Life Magazine, The Bluffton Breeze, Lady Lowcountry, and Island Events Magazine. She is the author of two novels, The Hunting, women’s fiction, released by Pen-L Publishing in 2013, and The Deadening, released in February, 2021 by Level Best Books, the first in the Olivia Callahan Suspense series, She spent twenty-five years in advertising as an account manager, creative director, and copywriter. She is past chapter president of the Maryland Writers’ Association and a current member and presenter of Hilton Head Island Writers’ Network, and the Sisters in Crime organization. Recently, she worked as editor and contributor for Island Communications, a local publishing house. Kerry and her husband moved to Hilton Head six years ago. She is the mother of four adult children, and has a bunch of wonderful grandkids who keep life interesting and remind her what life is all about.

    Q&A with Kerry Peresta

    What was the inspiration for this book?

    Six years ago, I walked into yet another library for a book signing, this one to host twelve or so authors besides me. As usual, I set up my table with a cute tablecloth, a video running on my laptop, business cards, pens, a stack of books. After an hour, the stack of books had not diminished one iota. Frowning, I looked around the room, noticed that the other authors were experiencing similar disinterest. All except one.

    Irritated, I strode across the room to this author’s table. I cannot remember her name, but a flock of interested book enthusiasts surrounded her, and she held court like the queen bee of fiction. When the crowd parted, I edged in toward the table and asked her, with a smile, why she seemed to be the biggest magnet in the room.

    “I guess it’s the car wreck,” she shared. “I almost died a few years ago, and was in a coma for six months. When I woke up, I was just like this!” I asked what she meant. “Before the coma, my personality was passive. Shy. Afterward, well…” she grinned. “Not so much.” She fluttered her small hand at the people waiting for me to get out of the way so they could talk to her. “People seem to like that.” Her eyes twinkled. “And they buy my books!”

    Thoughtful, I walked back to my table and sat, my mind not on potential customers, but on the next book. After a thinking session of ‘what ifs’ and ‘maybe this could happen in that scenario’ and throwing in a nasty antagonist, “The Deadening” was born.

    What has been the biggest challenge in your writing career?

    Writing a query letter that works. I finally hired a writing coach who got me out of my head and had objective, productive insights, and she helped me write a killer query. It was worth the hundred bucks I paid her!

    What do you absolutely need while writing?

    Sugarless gum. Mainly ‘Mint Bliss’ or Dentyne ‘Fire’. Earbuds. If I’m writing an exciting, dark scene I go for classical music, i.e. Grieg, Rachmaninoff; if it’s domestic, I listen to smooth jazz. I have to shut out other sounds to focus. Sometimes I just listen to rain sounds. A great pen. I love the fine point Zebra ballpoints, which are hard to find now. Space. I broke down and finally bought an L-shaped desk and a great, comfortable desk chair. Usually, all my notes have to be dug out of a drawer somewhere, but now, I can spread out.

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

    The morning. Usually 9:30 – whenever. That’s when my brain is firing on all cylinders. I try to wrap up around 3. If I have to write in the evening, I can…but I am grumpy about it! If a great idea comes to me in the afternoon or evening, I jot it down and put it on my desk. I’ll get to it the next day.

    Who is your favorite character from your book and why?

    You’d think it would be the protagonist, but I really love Detective Hunter Faraday, the all-around good guy; unlucky in love, good at his job and falling for Olivia (the protagonist) but not really a good idea yet because she has a lot of healing to do…he is a hottie with humility and a gun. I will be developing his character further in the second book.

    Tell us why we should read your book.

    Since I cannot seem to end a chapter on anything other than a cliffhanger, it seems it is ‘riveting’ according to people that have read it. My editor told me it kept her engaged from start to finish. High praise from someone who reads like…a hundred manuscripts a day or something! So that is one reason. Another is Olivia’s journey. She wrestles with secrets and personal discoveries that compel her to dig deeper, and she bravely faces the often heart-wrenching pain in order to reclaim the identity she lost long ago. “The Deadening,” in a word, is about overcoming!

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

    My antagonist is based on a compilation of my ex-husbands. Drawing and expanding upon their darker proclivities, which makes me chuckle as I’m typing.

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

    Get ready for a bumpy ride.

    Tell us a little about yourself and your background?

    I was raised in a military family, and we settled down in Little Rock, AR when I was thirteen. After college, I moved to Denver, CO, and have since lived in Pierre, SD, and Baltimore, MD, and now, Hilton Head Island, SC. Hopefully, we are here to stay because it’s wonderful! I raised two boys and two girls, enjoyed a successful career in advertising as account manager, copywriter, and designer. I started writing in 2009, and it’s been quite the undertaking to learn the publishing industry as a complete newbie. Now, I feel like I could teach a class. Maybe several! I’m grateful to be a working author, and look forward to pumping out as many books as readers would like to read. On a side note, and much to my surprise, my husband and I now have fourteen grandkids! (Insert wide-eyed emoji here).

    What’s next that we can look forward to?

    I’ll be writing Book Two and Book Three in the Olivia Callahan Suspense Series, and also thinking of creating another protagonist with as compelling a story as the one I met at the signing event years ago. Everyone I meet has a story—and one of them will be the catalyst for my next series!

    Catch Up With Kerry L Peresta:
    KerryPeresta.net
    Goodreads
    Instagram – @kerryperesta
    Twitter – @kerryperesta
    Facebook – @klperesta

     

    Read an excerpt from The Deadening:

    Prologue

    The stiff bristles of the brush grew coppery as he scrubbed back and forth, back and forth. Wrinkling his nose at the smell, he groped for the mask he’d bought, looped it over his head, and snugged it into place.

    He dipped the brush in the red-tinged solution in a blue, plastic bowl beside him on the floor, and continued scrubbing. Fifteen minutes later, he emptied the bowl down the toilet and shoved everything he’d used into a trash bag. He fought to staunch the bile creeping up his windpipe, but his throat constricted and he gagged. After retching into the sink, he turned on the faucet and splashed water on his face. Paused to take deep breaths. He could do this. He had to do this. He gripped the edge of the counter and stared out the bathroom window.

    She’d not told anyone. Thank God for that. No one could know. No one would ever know. He’d make sure.

    He walked to his garage, opened his car trunk, tossed in the latest trash bag. His hands felt icy. He rubbed them together, wiggled his fingers, and slammed the trunk shut.

    Admittedly, her terror had excited him. Confusion. Dawning realization in her expression. His lips curved upward into a smile, then disintegrated. Reliving it didn’t change anything. He needed to move forward.

    He returned and studied the carpet. In spite of his efforts, the stain still needed work. He cursed, dropped to his knees, and pounded the dampness with a fist.

    Through a veil of fatigue, he watched in horror as the kidney-shaped stain stood and pointed an accusatory finger at him. He blinked, hard. Was he hallucinating? How long had he been without sleep? He crabbed backwards, leaned against the wall, pulled his knees to his chest and squeezed his eyes shut. When he opened them some moments later, the blood-apparition had disappeared.

    He groaned.

    He stared at the ceiling until his brain spit out a solution.

    The problem lay in the other room. That’s how he looked at her now.

    A problem to solve.

    He rose from the floor and walked out.

    His eyes slid from her pale face, down her form, to her feet. He no longer thought of her as warm, soft, desirable. She had been so scared…eyes wide and unblinking as she fell. He shook his head and pushed the image away.

    Nesting her in towels so her blood wouldn’t pool on the couch, her bronze-sandaled feet with their shiny, pink toenails hung over the edge. He looked away. “Get a grip, man. Just do it.”

    The towels fell away when he picked her up. He wound them back around her, careful to tuck in the edges. His heartbeat slammed his ribs.

    She was fragile, a little bit of a thing, like a bird. He drew his index finger across her lips. “I’m sorry,” he whispered. “If you had just…if you had only…” His voice trailed away. Jaw clenched, he carried her to his car.

    Chapter One

    Nathan ambled along sidewalks that wound through the manicured hospital grounds, fishing in his pocket for a lighter. He lit the cigarette dangling from his lips and inhaled deeply, his smile saturated with nicotine’s unholy bliss.

    “Thank God,” he mumbled around the cigarette, and withdrew it from his lips, stretching. He glanced over his shoulder at the brightly lit ER entrance to Mercy Hospital, rubbing his neck. He rolled his shoulders, inhaled several deep drags from the cigarette, dropped it, and ground it beneath his shoe. “These night shifts are killing me.” He groaned and gazed at the sky. Clouds hid a full moon. He’d been grateful to get the med tech job, but after two months of bodily fluid testing and storage, he was bored. He needed a challenge.

    Nathan followed his typical route through the hedged lawn, almost on auto-pilot, so when he stumbled and sprawled onto the grass face-first, he was stunned. What had tripped him? Cursing softly, he explored his cheeks, nose, forehead. No damage done that he could tell. “Klutz,” he berated himself, pushing up to hands and knees.

    Something soft and warm lay beneath his palms. His breathing sped up. He looked down, but it was too dark to see. Trembling, his fingers inched their way to lips, nose, eyes, stiff knots of hair. His mouth dropped in horror. The clouds obligingly slid off the moon and revealed a woman’s body, her hair blood-matted, her face ghostly white. The grass around her head was rusty with blood. He edged his head toward her lips to check her breathing. Shallow, but at least she was alive.

    He scrambled to his feet, fighting nausea and staring at his palms, sticky with the woman’s blood. Shrieking for help, he raced into the hospital and skidded to a stop in front of the desk. The ER nurses behind the reception desk squinted at him like he was deranged.

    “Possible head injury!” He flailed an arm at the entrance. “Someone, anyone, come quick!”

    A male nurse and two aides followed him outside, shoes pounding the sidewalk at full gallop. The tech stopped, turned, and signaled them to tread carefully as they parted ways with the sidewalk and navigated the shrubbery in the dark. Single file, panting, they tiptoed through the shadows until the tech raised a palm for them to stop.

    “Here,” he hissed at the nurse, and held a point like a bird dog.

    The nurse dropped to the ground and clicked a flashlight on. “Ohmigosh,” he whispered. He lifted the woman’s thin, pale wrist and glanced at his watch. Satisfied that she had a pulse, he slapped the flashlight into Nathan’s bloodied palm. “Stay with her!” He rushed inside.

    Within minutes, looky-loos poured from the ER and clustered around the limp form.

    “Move back!” Nathan stretched out his arms like a cop directing traffic. “She’s barely breathing!” His glanced nervously at the ER entrance.

    The crowd didn’t yield an inch. The ER doors whooshed open. A stretcher clattered down the sidewalk and onto the dew-damp grass. Chills shivered up the tech’s spine as the ashen pallor of death climbed from the woman’s neck to her face. He dropped to the ground and picked up her hand. The paramedic team drew closer, their flashlights piercing the darkness with slivers of light. The crowd eased apart to let them through.

    Nathan bent closer to the woman, and whispered, “Hang in there. Help is on the way.”

    The stretcher slid to a stop beside him. The paramedics dropped to their knees, stabilized the woman’s head with a brace, staunched the bleeding, and wrapped the wound. They eased her onto the stretcher and rumbled away. The aides shared nervous smiles of relief. They looked at Nathan, then followed the paramedic team back inside.

    Nathan, his heartbeat finally slowing, called, “Thanks for the assist, guys!” as they walked away.

    The crowd dispersed with curious glances at Nathan, who watched until the group disappeared behind the ER’s double glass doors. He heaved a sigh of relief and swiped perspiration off his forehead. He patted his scrubs pocket for a cigarette, reconsidered, and trotted toward the ER entrance.

    After the automatic doors parted, he jogged past two closed-door exam rooms and paused at a third, wide open. He looked inside.

    The paramedics shared their observations with the ER doctor on call as he deftly explored the woman’s wounds. When he finished, he nodded, barked instructions, and pointed at the bed. In seconds, the woman’s transfer from stretcher to bed was complete. One of the nurses whisked a blood pressure cuff around her arm. Another hooked an IV bag to a chrome stand, pierced the skin on the back of the woman’s hand, slid in a needle, and taped it down.

    The tech stepped back from the door to allow the paramedics to exit. Holding his breath, he stole into the room and crept past a floor-to-ceiling supply cabinet. He planted both palms onto the smooth, white walls behind him and inched sideways, melting into the corner next to a shelf holding tongue depressors, a box of plastic gloves, and a sanitizer dispenser.

    “Pulse one-fifteen.” The nurse studied the blood pressure cuff. “Blood pressure eight-five over fifty.”

    “Need a trach,” the doctor barked. “She’s bleeding out. Get some O neg in here.”

    A blur of motion, two nurses and the ER doctor huddled around the woman’s body. When they stepped back, a laryngoscope, an endotracheal tube, and four sticky electric nodes leading to a cardiac monitor had been secured.

    The medical team stilled, their eyes riveted to the monitors. The nurses wore sage green scrubs. Both had pink stethoscopes around their necks. The ER doctor had on a crisp, white jacket with his name scripted in black on the pocket. Nathan fidgeted and stuck his head out from the corner a little to focus on the screens.

    The readings sputtered, stalled, plummeted.

    “Code Blue!” The doctor spun around. A nurse jumped to the wall and slapped a flat, white square on the wall.

    “Code Blue!” echoed through the ER’s intercom system. Frantic footsteps in the hall. Shouted instructions. Clanging metal. Squealing wheels. Nathan squeezed farther into the corner as the cart bearing life-saving electronic shock equipment exploded through the door.

    “Brain must be swelling,” the doctor mumbled. He grabbed two paddles and swiped them together. “Clear!”

    The woman’s body jolted. The doctor’s head jerked to the cardiac monitor. Flat.

    “Clear!” He placed the paddles on the woman’s chest.

    Her frail torso arced. The machine blipped an erratic cadence, then droned a steady hum.

    The doctor cursed. “Clear!”

    Another jolt. The monitor surged, sagged, then settled into a reassuring metronome blip. Tense faces relaxed. Applause spattered around the room.

    The doctor blew out a long breath. “Okay, people, good job.” He smiled.

    Within minutes, more lines snaked from the woman’s form. An orogastric tube drooped from the corner of her mouth, behind the intubation tube. A lead to measure brain waves clung to her forehead. The doctor studied each monitor in turn. Nathan let out the breath he’d been holding, slid down the wall into a crouch, and balanced on the balls of his feet.

    “Any additional instructions, Doctor Bradford?” Brows raised, the nurse waited.

    He rubbed his head thoughtfully. “Think she’s stable for now. CAT scan already ordered?”

    She nodded. “Of course.”

    “Tell them to expedite.” He cocked his head at the woman. “May be a long night. Watch her closely.” The doctor strode to the door, paused, and turned. He glanced at the tech huddled in the corner. “Good job, son.”

    Nathan grinned and rose from his crouch, his chest puffed out a little. He’d never saved a life before. After a sympathetic glance at Mercy Hospital’s latest Jane Doe, he returned to the lab.

    ***

    Excerpt from The Deadening by Kerry Peresta. Copyright 2021 by Kerry Peresta. Reproduced with permission from Kerry Peresta. All rights reserved.

     

     

    Tour Participants:

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



     

     

    Giveaway!:

    This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Kerry Peresta. There will be 1 winner of one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card.
    The giveaway begins on April 1, 2021 and runs through May 2, 2021. Void where prohibited.

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

     

     

    Get More Great Reads at Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours