Category: Author

Population Zero by Fran Lewis | #Review #Showcase

Population Zero

by Fran Lewis

August 1-31, 2021 Tour

Synopsis:

Population Zero by Fran Lewis

Imagine a forest so dense and so filled with trees that you cannot see anything but darkness. The smell of the dead leaves, the creatures that lived there, and the stench they created.

Imagine smashed windows and abandoned satellite dishes and blocks of plaster all over the ground.

Imagine… What might the world be like if humans were suddenly to disappear?

In Population Zero by Fran Lewis, we experience several post-human worlds through the eyes of people who were allowed to visit for one day. A world covered in ice, a world in complete darkness, a world where deserts are plentiful, and others…

Get a glimpse of what our planet would look like if humans stopped existing. Get a glimpse of the future.

Book Praise:

“Fran Lewis’s newest offering is a polished, razor-sharp double-edged sword. On one hand, it is reminiscent of the old Twilight Zone series and just as chilling. On the other, it is a poignant reminder of just how precious and fragile human life on this planet truly is. A riveting read.”
— Vincent Zandri, New York Times and USA Today bestselling Thriller and Shamus Award winning author of The Girl Who Wasn’t There and the Dick Moonlight PI series.

“Population Zero creatively focuses on the damage being done by Covid 19 as it ravages the human race, and our inability to deal with climate change.”
— Allan Topol, national best selling author of The French Revenge

MY THOUGHTS/REVIEW

4 stars

Who would have thought, or even imagined, how we had to live in 2020 with COVID-19? Having to quarantine, wearing masks, not seeing family and/or friends outside of our own house, and the number of deaths around the world.

I have spoken to some people in the medical field and their take was that there are going to be long-term conditions like PTSD and physical ailments to those that were lucky enough to beat the virus and even luckier, to those that evaded the illness.

Some people felt that this was the start of the end of the world. Maybe it was or wasn’t but we still aren’t 100% back to normal. We did receive hopeful news that vaccines were available the efficacy was promising. But what if there were no vaccines? What if the virus won and there was no one left behind?

The author creates those worlds and what it would be like if a human was allowed to return for just 24 hours to experience what life would be like. No sun, darkness, ice-covered terrains, and/or just deserts with no water.

A short story where we are allowed to visit the worlds that the author has created. And those are terribly eerie and chilling!!! A scary read!!!

Book Details:

Genre: Science Fiction
Published by: Atmosphere Press
Publication Date: June 26th 2021
Number of Pages: 76
ISBN: 163752868X (ISBN13: 9781637528686)
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

Read an excerpt:

My name is Ella, and I will be your guide and voice as you take the journey with me into the future. I am an ethereal being that is not alive but has been chosen by those above to help you, the humans, understand what is going to happen if you do not work together, follow the guidelines for the virus, and learn to live in harmony.

Remember, these worlds are the imagination of the author, and she wants you to really think about what she has created. You can decide if you would want to live in any of the worlds she imagined in her mind. What if you were asked to be the only human to experience one of these worlds if you could travel back for a short while? Welcome to your future. Think about it and decide.

Sometimes I think the world would be better off without humans. For many reasons in the worlds created, people fled and abandoned their homes. Desert areas became common, providing people with the sand, the hot sun, and not even a trace of water. Recent scenes show nuclear exclusion zones, urban neighborhoods burned out, and nowhere to escape.

Think about this: A forest so dense and so filled with trees that you cannot see anything but darkness. The smell of the dead leaves, the creatures that lived there, and the stench they created are worse than the smoke from a five-alarm fire. Imagine a sandstorm that plows across a highway and darkens the daylight sky, making it hard for drivers to see even an inch in front of them.

Smashed windows and abandoned satellite dishes and blocks of plaster all over the ground. The world — Population Zero…a look into the future.

What if this really does happen?

***

Excerpt from Population Zero by Fran Lewis. Copyright 2021 by Fran Lewis. Reproduced with permission from Fran Lewis. All rights reserved.

 

 

Author Bio:

Fran Lewis

‪Fran worked in the NYC Public Schools as the Reading and Writing Staff Developer for over 36 years. She has three master’s degrees and a PD in Supervision and Administration. Currently, she is a member of Who’s Who of America’s Teachers and Who’s Who of America’s Executives from Cambridge. In addition, she is the author of three children’s books and a fourth that has just been published on Alzheimer’s disease in order to honor her mom and help create more awareness for a cure.‪

Fran is the author of 19 titles and completed by the titled A Daughter’s Promise. Fran has 6 titles in her Faces Behind the Stones series and her magazine is MJ magazine. She was the musical director for shows in her school and ran the school’s newspaper. Fran writes reviews for authors upon request and for several other sites.

Her network if MJ network on Blog Talk Radio. You can also find her reviews on just reviews on WordPress. Her latest titles are Sisters : two sisters from the Bronx, What If? and Silent Voices in her Faces Behind the Stones series and the present one Population Zero. ‬ ‪

Catch Up With Our Author:
Tillie49.wordpress.com
Goodreads
BookBub
Instagram – @berthatillie49
Twitter – @franellena
Facebook

 

 

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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.
  •  

    Beyond The Headlines by R.G. Belsky | #Review #Showcase #Giveaway

    Beyond The Headlines by R.G. Belsky Banner

    Beyond The Headlines

    by R.G. Belsky

    May 1-31, 2021 Tour

    Synopsis:

    Beyond The Headlines by R.G. Belsky

    She was a mega-celebrity—he was a billionaire businessman—now he’s dead—she’s in jail

    Laurie Bateman was living the American dream. Since her arrival as an infant in the U.S. after the fall of Saigon, the pretty Vietnamese girl had gone on to become a supermodel, a successful actress, and, finally, the wife of one of the country’s top corporate dealmakers. That dream has now turned into a nightmare when she is arrested for the murder of her wealthy husband.

    New York City TV journalist Clare Carlson does an emotional jailhouse interview in which Bateman proclaims her innocence—and becomes a cause celebre for women’s rights groups around the country.

    At first sympathetic, then increasingly suspicious of Laurie Bateman and her story, Clare delves into a baffling mystery which has roots extending back nearly fifty years to the height of the Vietnam War.

    Soon, there are more murders, more victims, and more questions as Clare struggles against dire evil forces to break the biggest story of her life.

    MY THOUGHTS/REVIEW

    5 stars

    Wisecracking Clare Carlson, executive director at Channel 10 but a breaking news journalist at heart is back and investigating another murder.

    As you can see below, I am a HUGE fan of this series and have read all the previous books.  And WOW!!!! This book didn’t disappoint!

    A very wealthy Charles Hollister is found dead in his condo and his estranged wife, Laurie Bateman, is arrested for his murder.  Clare, the only news person that was there as the police escort Laurie out in handcuffs.  Clare was at the scene as she was supposed to interview the wife, who in her own right is famous, and was going to tell all about her marriage to Hollister, which wasn’t what they portrayed in the public and media.

    As Clare starts digging into this story, she feels that Laurie is innocent and wants to help her get out of jail, which she does and even the charges are dropped.  However, she wants to get the scoop as to who really killed Hollister but the more she delves in, the more questions are unanswered and not making sense. Did she make a mistake?  Who really killed Charles Hollister.

    Like the previous books in this series, this sequel will transport the reader because of the descriptive nature of the written word and conversations of the characters.  The reader will become one with the story and be totally unaware of what is going on around them.  That’s what happens to me when reading this author’s works.

    The suspense is constant and will have the reader sure as to who the suspect is and then BAM!  Wrong!  OK.  Let’s try this again. it has to be this character!!  Not!! Duped again!!!!!

    Even though this is the 4th book in the series, it can easily be read as a stand-alone, but I suggest you start with the first book, not only to get to know Clare a bit better but to also have the experience of reading some exceptional writing!!!!!

    I absolutely recommend this extraordinary book(s)!!!!

    BTW Mr. Belsky, no pressure, but when will the next book be available????

    Check out my Review for Yesterday’s NewsHERE

    Check out my Review for Below The FoldHERE

    Check out my Review for The Last ScoopHERE

    Book Details:

    Genre: Mystery, Suspense, Thriller
    Published by: Oceanview Publishing
    Publication Date: May 4th 2021
    Number of Pages: 336
    ISBN: 160809409X (ISBN13: 9781608094097)
    Series: The Clare Carlson Mystery Series, 4 (This can be read as a stand alone mystery.)
    Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

    Read an excerpt:

    CHAPTER ONE

    “Do you know who Laurie Bateman is?” my friend Janet Wood asked me.

    “I do,” I said. “I also know who Lady Gaga is. And Angelina Jolie. And Ivanka Trump. I’m in the media, remember? That’s what we do in the media, we cover famous people. It’s a dirty job, but somebody’s gotta do it.”

    “Laurie Bateman hired me.”

    “As an attorney?”

    “Yes, as an attorney. That’s what I do, Clare.”

    We were sitting in my office at Channel 10 News, the TV station in New York City where I work as news director. I should have known something was going on as soon as Janet showed up there. We usually met at Janet’s law office which is big, with panoramic views of midtown Manhattan, and a lot nicer than mine.

    Janet never comes to see me at Channel 10 unless she has a reason.

    I figured I was about to find out that reason.

    It was early December and outside it was snowing, the first real storm of the winter. The snow started falling during the night, and by now it was covering the city with a powdery white blanket. Pretty soon the car exhausts and trucks would turn it into brown slush, but for now it was gorgeous. From the window next to my desk, the city had an eerie, almost unreal quality. Like something from a Norman Rockwell painting.

    My outfit for the day was perfect for the snowy weather, too. I’d walked in wearing a turtleneck sweater, heavy corduroy slacks, a blue down jacket with a parka hood and white earmuffs, scarf and mittens. The ski bunny look. I felt like I should have a cup of hot chocolate in my hand.

    “Why does Laurie Bateman need you as an attorney?” I asked Janet.

    She hesitated for what seemed to be an inordinately long amount of time before answering.

    “Are we talking off the record here?”

    “Whatever you want, Janet.”

    “I need your word on that.”

    “C’mon, it’s me. Clare Carlson, your best friend in the world.”

    She nodded.

    “Laurie Bateman wants me to represent her in divorce proceedings.”

    “Wow!”

    “I thought you’d like that.”

    “Is it too late to take back my ‘best friend in the world/ off-the-record’ promise?”

    Janet smiled. Sort of.

    “How much do you know about Laurie Bateman?” she asked me now.

    I knew as much as the rest of the world, I suppose. Laurie Bateman seemed to have the American Dream going for her. Since coming to the U.S. as a baby with her family after the fall of Saigon in 1975, the pretty Vietnamese girl had grown up to become a top model, then a successful actress, and finally, the wife of one of the country’s top corporate deal makers. She had a fancy Manhattan townhouse, a limousine at her beck and call and her face had graced the covers of magazines like Vogue and People.

    Her husband was Charles Hollister, who had become incredibly wealthy back in the ’70s as one of the pioneers of the burgeoning computer age. He was a kind of Steve Jobs of those early days, and he later expanded into all sorts of other industries—from media to pharmaceuticals to oil drilling and a lot more. He was listed as one of the ten wealthiest businessmen in America.

    When Hollister married Laurie Bateman a few years ago, there were a lot of jokes about the big difference in age between the two—she was so much younger and so beautiful. Like the jokes people made about Rupert Murdoch with Wendy Deng and then Jerry Hall, his last two wives. People always assume that a younger and pretty woman like that is marrying for the money. But Laurie Bateman and Charles Hollister insisted they were in love, and they had consistently projected the public persona of a happily married couple in the media since their wedding.

    Except it now appeared they weren’t so happily married.

    “Is she trying to divorce him to get her hands on his money?” I asked.

    “Actually, he’s trying to divorce her and stop her from getting her hands on any of his money.”

    “So the bottom line here is this divorce is about money.”

    “Always is.”

    “Isn’t there a pre-nuptial agreement that would settle all this?”

    “Yes and no.”

    “Spoken like a true lawyer.”

    “Yes, there is a pre-nup. But we don’t think it applies here. That’s because other factors in the marriage took place which could invalidate the terms of the pre-nup they agreed to and signed.”

    “Okay.”

    I waited.

    “Such as?” I asked finally.

    “For one thing, Charles Hollister has a mistress. A younger woman he’s been seeing.”

    “Younger than Laurie Bateman?”

    “Much younger. In her twenties.”

    “Jeez! Hollister’s such an old man I have trouble imagining him being able to have sex with his wife, much less getting it up for a second woman on the side.”

    “Her discovery that he was cheating on her, along with a lot of other reasons, have turned Laurie Bateman’s life into a nightmare—a living hell—behind the walls of the beautiful homes they live in. She’s kept quiet about it so far, protecting the happy couple image they’ve put on for the media. But now she wants to let the world know the truth. That’s where you come in, Clare.”

    Aha, I thought to myself.

    Now we’re getting down to it.

    I was about to find out the real reason Janet was here.

    “Laurie Bateman wants to go public with all this,” Janet said. “She wants to tell her story in the media. The true story of her marriage to Charles Hollister. We know Hollister is going to use his clout to try and smear her and make her look bad, so that’s why we want to get her version out quickly. What I’m talking about here is an exclusive interview with Laurie Bateman about all of this. Her talking about the divorce, the cheating—everything. And she wants you to do the interview with her.”

    “Why me?”

    “What do you mean?”

    “Why not Gayle King? Or Savannah Guthrie? Or Barbara Walters or Katie Couric or Diane Sawyer or another big media name? I’m just the news director of a local TV station here.”

    “She wants you, Clare. In fact, I think that’s the reason she hired me for her lawyer. She found out you and I were friends—and she’s hoping I can deliver you to her to do this interview on air with her.”

    “I still don’t know why she wouldn’t want to go with someone really famous . . .”

    “You’re famous too, Clare. You know that as well as I do. And that’s why she wants you. You’re as famous as any woman on the air right now.”

    Janet was right about that.

    I was famous.

    It could have gone either way—I could have wound up being either famous or infamous because of what I did—but in the end I’d wound up as a media superstar all over again.

    Just like I’d been when I won a Pulitzer Prize nearly twenty years ago for telling the story of legendary missing child Lucy Devlin—even though I didn’t tell the whole story then.

    “Laurie Bateman’s life with Charles Hollister is a big lie,” Janet said to me. “Now she wants to tell the truth on air about all those lies she’s been hiding behind. Like you did when you finally told the truth on air about you and Lucy Devlin. That’s why she wants you to be the one who interviews her.”

    I still wasn’t sure how I felt about all this new found fame I’d gotten from my Lucy Devlin story, but there was no question that if it got me this Laurie Bateman story . . . well, that would be a huge exclusive for me and the station.

    “When can I meet her?” I asked Janet.

    ***

    Excerpt from Beyond The Headlines by R.G. Belsky. Copyright 2021 by R.G. Belsky. Reproduced with permission from R.G. Belsky. All rights reserved.

     

     

    Author Bio:

    R.G. Belsky

    R. G. Belsky is an author of crime fiction and a journalist in New York City.

    His new mystery, BEYOND THE HEADLINES, will be published in May 2021. It is the fourth in a series featuring Clare Carlson, the news director for a New York City TV station – and follows THE LAST SCOOP, published in 2020. The first Clare Carlson book, YESTERDAY’S NEWS, won the David Award at Deadly Ink for Best Mystery of 2018. The second Clare Carlson book, BELOW THE FOLD, was named Best Mystery 0f 2019 in the Foreword INDIES Awards.

    He also is the author of two thrillers written under the pen name of Dana Perry – THE SILENT VICTIM (2019), THE GOLDEN GIRL (June, 2020) and HER OCEAN GRAVE (June 2021 – Bookouture).

    Belsky previously wrote the Gil Malloy series – THE KENNEDY CONNECTION, SHOOTING FOR THE STARS and BLONDE ICE – about a newspaper reporter at the New York Daily News.
    Belsky himself is a former managing editor at the Daily News and writes about the media from an extensive background in newspapers, magazines and TV/digital news. He has also been a top editor at the New York Post, Star magazine and NBC News.

    His previous suspense/thriller novels include LOVERBOY and PLAYING DEAD. Belsky lives in New York City.

    Catch Up With R.G. Belsky:
    www.RGBelsky.com
    Goodreads
    BookBub – @dickb79983
    Instagram – @dickbelsky
    Twitter – @DickBel
    Facebook – @RGBelsky

     

     

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    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.
  •  

    EYE FOR EYE TRILOGY by J.K. Franko | #Reviews #Giveaway

    Eye for Eye Trilogy

    by JK Franko

    October 19 – December 31, 2020 Tour

    Eye for Eye Trilogy by JK Franko

     

    If you like smart, fast-paced thrillers with unexpected twists, then you’ll love J.K. Franko’s Eye for Eye Trilogy!

     

    “REALISTIC & CHILLING!” – Mystery Thriller Week

     

    MY THOUGHTS ON THE TRILOGY

    5 stars

    This Trilogy was phenomenal!! High octane reads!!! Both thrilling and chilling!! Outstanding!!!!

    The research was extensive, whereas the reader will learn many things, at least I did. Lies, secrets, betrayals, friendships, and murder fill the pages. Don’t let the 400 pages deter you from picking up these books because it was so captivating that the pages were turning at warp speed.

    An exceptional ingenious story!!! I can honestly say that these books are in the Top 10 of my all-time reads!!!!

    These books should be both on the NYT Best Sellers list and/or made into a series or movie!!!! Remember his name because I am sure, you will be hearing more about him!!!

    Not only do I highly recommend it, but I also suggest you put your life on hold and devour it!!!!! But then, you may not have a choice because you won’t want to miss what happens next!!

    BRAVO Mr. Franko!!! BRAVO!!!!!!

    MY THOUGHTS ON EACH INDIVIDUAL BOOK BELOW

     

     

     

    Eye for Eye

    “NEW TWIST ON STRANGERS ON A TRAIN”
    ~ THE SUNDAY TIMES

    Roy and Susie are on a skiing holiday, trying to take a break from the constant reminders of their daughter, tragically killed by a careless driver. Out of the blue they meet Deb and Tom, another couple with a tragic past and a shocking proposal to put things right.

    As the bodies accumulate, secrets are revealed and alliances crumble. Ultimate survival depends on following the rules for a perfect murder. And the first rule is… leave no singing bones.

    My Thoughts On Eye For Eye

    5 stars

    The story starts 30 years ago in 1980 when an eleven-year-old Joan saw something shocking while she was at camp and was running to tell the adults because she knew what she saw was sinful. But she never did because a tragic and fatal accident interfered. Or was it more than just an accident?

    The story then proceeds to 2018 where the reader is introduced to a married couple, Susie Font and Roy Cruise. From the outside, they have everything, the perfect marriage, wealth, and notoriety to all of their accomplishments. Or should I say had? All of that meant nothing after they lost their only child, sixteen-year-old Camilla in a fatal car accident. The other driver, Liam Bareto, hit her head on because of texting. He fell into a coma with severe injuries but the doctors thought he would survive. During this time, Susie became a shell of a person and Roy tried everything to help her through this dark time. Then a few months later, Liam also died. His mother believed it was not due to his injuries but to something more sinister.

    Should life’s bad choices be an eye for an eye or should one believe in the justice system? And if there is no justice, should there be revenge? And if this route is taken, make sure there are no singing bones!

    An exceptional read. With most books, the jaw-dropping usually happens at the end of the story. However, this book had multiple jaw-dropping moments throughout. There were stories within stories, each interwoven with precision. The writing fluid and sharp.

    Highly, HIGHLY, recommend!!!!

     

     

    The Trial of Joe Harlan Junior

    A college Halloween party. A night of fun, dress-up, and laughter. But for Kristy Wise, it quickly became a night of horror.

    Now, Joe Harlan Junior, entrepreneur and son of a prominent senator, is at risk of losing everything as he stands accused of a crime he insists he did not commit.

    Yet the facts are undisputed: Kristy was drugged, and she did have sex with Joe.

    But was it consensual?

    Read the story. Listen to the testimony. Is everything that happens next justified?

    YOU decide.

    My Thoughts on The Trial of
    Joe Harlan Junior

    5 stars

    This is how and when it all began. The outcome of this case set everything in motion that caused upstanding individuals to take justice, and revenge, into their own hands and become murderers.

    This was a quick read. The majority was the transcript of the court proceedings and the outcome. I did feel that I was in that jury box but I’m still not sure what my verdict would have been. But then I might not have seen the silent, instantaneous reaction that the defendant gave to the victim. Would that have changed my decision?

     

    Tooth for Tooth

    What would YOU do?

    What would you do if you got away with murder? Would you stop there? Could you?

    Susie and Roy thought that they committed the perfect crime.

    Their planning was meticulous. Their execution flawless.

    But, there is always a loose end, isn’t there? Always a singing bone.

    Now, while enemies multiply and suspicions abound, their perfect world begins to crumble.

    The hunters have become the hunted.

    MY Thoughts on Tooth For Tooth

    5 stars

    More bodies are piling up at the hands of Roy Cruise and Susie Font in the name of revenge.

    In Tooth For Tooth the who, how, and why of the murders in Eye For Eye are revealed and the details are shocking and will totally surprise you. And even more jolting is that one young victim joins in the fray of vengeance.

    But have this successful husband and wife, turned murderers, committed one murder too many to put themselves in the crossfire?

    Tune in to Book 3, Life For Life.

    Another thrilling and chilling read in this Trilogy!!!!

     

     

    Life for Life

    What would YOU do if someone threatened your family?

    Roy Cruise and his pregnant wife Susie barely survived an assassination attempt in their own home. The police now have them under surveillance. Meanwhile, Kristy Wise is a loose cannon—she knows too much and is trying to “set things right.”

    What goes around comes around. And in this case, Roy and Susie may have pushed things too far. There are too many dead bodies. Too many foes plotting against them.

    Roy and Susie must outwit the police and neutralize their enemies once and for all. If not, their days of retribution may end behind bars… or six feet under.

     

    My Thoughts on Life For Life

    5 stars

    The drama continues and like I mentioned in my review for Eye For Eye, more jaw-dropping moments. More truths are revealed and more bodies are piling up. But is it true what they say about Karma?

    In Life For Life it may have just caught up with Roy Cruise as he has to make a horrendous decision. And on the tails of that, he is charged with the murder of Joe Harlan Junior. Is there a “singing bone” that will cost him his freedom?

    As much as I wanted to see how this ended, as I was getting to the last few chapters in the book, I also didn’t want it to end. I was invested in these characters.

    And if you heard a scream, it was me, more books are on the horizon and I CAN’T WAIT!!!!!

     

    Eye for Eye Trilogy Details:

    Genre: Thriller, Suspense, Crime, Legal
    Published by: Talion Publishing
    Publication Date: October 5, 2020
    Number of Pages: 1050
    ASIN: B08KSCHTRX
    Series: Talion Trilogy #1
    Find out more or get your copy:

    Amazon & Goodreads

     

     

    Read an excerpt from Eye for Eye:

    When I try to piece together how this whole mess began, a part of me thinks it may have started over thirty years ago. At least the seeds were planted that far back, in the early 1980s. What happened then, at that summer camp in Texas, set the stage for everything that was to come.

    Odd, how something so remote in time and geography continues to impact me here, today.

    Sometimes I try to imagine her, how she felt—that eleven year-old girl—as she ran, stumbling and tripping through the woods that night. I try to put myself in her shoes. When I do, I wonder if she was frightened.

    Did she understand the consequences of what she’d gotten herself into? I imagine it felt otherworldly to her, like a dream. But not a good dream. No, one of the bad ones—the ones that make your heart machine-gun as you try to outrun some dark thing that’s chasing you. But the faster you try to run, the slower you go, your legs feeling leaden, clumsy, useless.

    Panic sets in. Tears of frustration form. Fear takes hold and won’t let go. You open your mouth to scream but realize, to your horror, that you’re paralyzed. It’s not that you can’t scream; you can’t even breathe. Not a dream—a nightmare.

    Then again, all that may simply be my imagination. It could just be me projecting what I might have felt onto Joan. Maybe she wasn’t scared at all.

    True, it was dark out. The night smelled of rain, but there was no lightning, only the far-off rumble of thunder hinting at a distant storm. There were no trail lights, no visibility but for the moon peeking out intermittently from behind a patchwork of clouds. But, Joan had been down this trail before. She was running toward the main cabin.

    She had been at Camp Willow for almost two full weeks. She had been up and down that trail at least ten times a day, every day. Of course, that was during the day, and always with her buddy, or a camp counselor (the children called them troop leaders). Joan had never been on the trail at night. And never alone.

    Maybe I imagine Joan was scared because, as an adult, I believe that she should have been. I would have been terrified.

    ***

    Excerpt from Eye For Eye by JK Franko. Copyright © 2019 by JK Franko. Reproduced with permission from JK Franko. All rights reserved.

     

     

    Author Bio:

    JK Franko

    J.K. FRANKO was born and raised in Texas. His Cuban-American parents agreed there were only three acceptable options for a male child: doctor, lawyer, and architect. After a disastrous first year of college pre-Med, he ended up getting a BA in philosophy (not acceptable), then he went to law school (salvaging the family name) and spent many years climbing the big law firm ladder. After ten years, he decided that law and family life weren’t compatible. He went back to school where he got an MBA and pursued a Ph.D. He left law for corporate America, with long stints in Europe and Asia.

    His passion was always to be a writer. After publishing a number of non-fiction works, thousands of hours writing, and seven or eight abandoned fictional works over the course of eighteen years, EYE FOR EYE became his first published novel.

    J.K. Franko now lives with his wife and children in Florida.

    Catch Up With JK Franko On:
    jkfranko.com, Goodreads, Instagram, Bookbub, Twitter, & Facebook!

     

     

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    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.
  • #Review | SISTERS by Fran Lewis

    SISTERS by Fran Lewis
    Genre: Children, Friendship, Siblings
    Published by World Castle Publishing, LLC
    Publication Date: July 10, 2020
    ISBN-10: 1951642953
    ISBN-13: 978-1951642952
    Pages: 151
    Review Copy From: Author
    Edition: TPB
    My Rating: 4

    Synopsis (via GR)

    We grew up as Marcia and Fran. My sister was beautiful, thin and talented. She has the lead in productions of Broadway Shows in our school. These are true stories. Marcia was a ray of sunshine on a stormy day. She was rare. Never saying a negative word about anyone, always looking for the positive in people. No matter how difficult the problem, she figured out the solution. Sometimes the solution would make you smile and other times double over laughing. This is. A collection of stories to remind young people that sisters are best friends forever.

    My Thoughts

    I usually don’t read YA/MG books, however, when I read the synopsis I thought this might be such a great book to add to my granddaughters’ library when they get older. Was I right?

    SISTERS contain journal entries from sisters, Bertha and Tillie’s, younger days. I found it also had topics that are much deeper than the relationship between siblings and that children have to deal with even in today’s culture. It also touched upon when an elderly relative has an illness and how a family comes together to help.

    At times I was laughing and other times, my heart ached for Bertha who endured bullying. And what was refreshing is how Bertha learned that her sister, Tillie always had her back.

    I am so glad that I decided to read this book. I think it is a positive and powerful read for children entering middle school especially in today’s climate with bullying.

    It will definitely be added to my granddaughters’ shelves.

    Purchase Links: Amazon 🔗 | | 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.
  • #Review | THE GOLDEN GIRL by Dana Perry

    THE GOLDEN GIRL by Dana Perry
    Genre: Psychological Thriller
    Published by Bookouture
    Publication Date: June 8, 2020
    ISBN-10: 1838882677
    ISBN-13: 978-1838882679
    Pages: 322
    Review Copy From: Publisher
    Edition: Print
    My Rating: 5

    Synopsis (via GR)

    Maura was perfect.
    A perfect liar.

    One humid summer evening, Officer Maura Walsh is lead to her table at a local restaurant – it’s a trendy place with cocktails on the menu, full of office workers leaning across the bar to flirt. She’s prettier than most of the women here, but everybody gives her a wide berth. She doesn’t eat or drink anything. She doesn’t meet anyone’s eye.

    An hour later, Maura is dead. Her silky red hair swirls in the dirty puddles beneath her body. The dank walls of a forgotten alley are the last thing she ever saw. It took a long time for Maura to die, alone in the dark.

    Somebody made sure she would have plenty of time to think about what she’d done.

    This totally twisty and absolutely gripping read will keep you turning the pages late into the night. Perfect for fans of Mary Burton, Karen Rose and Lisa Jackson.

    My Thoughts

    After reading the first book in this series, THE SILENT VICTIM, I knew that I would probably have to hold onto my hat because it was going to be another wild ride. Was it?

    Jessie Tucker, a reporter at The Tribune, is covering the tragic story of NYPD officer, Maura Walsh, who was shot dead in the line of duty. She is the daughter of the Deputy NYPD Commissioner, aka The Prince of the City for stamping out police corruption.

    Once Jessie starts her investigation, she learns that Maura Walsh wasn’t, The Golden Girl, as everybody thought she was because of her father and grandfather before that. Could it be that she really was taking payoffs from some seedy businesses, some owned by mob boss Domenic Bennato? Jessie also learns that there was also a tragic loss many years ago involving her little brother.

    As Jessie delves into this story, more bodies are piling up. Maura’s partner Billy Renfro and PI Frank Walison, who had been hired by someone to get the dirt on Renfro. But who hired him?

    And in the middle of tracking down leads and answers, she also learns some devastating personal news. The father that left her and her mother many, many years ago, was not her biological father.

    Dana Perry has an uncanny ability to weave and interweave details in the story. When reading his books, it’s like trying to put an intricate jigsaw puzzle together with all the pieces being the same color because once it is all pulled together, your jaw will hit the floor.

    A story that flows from the very first word to the final one. The suspense never lets up and the suspense so engrossing that the reader is pulled into the story. A book that is unputdownable and will have you shaking your head the minute you finish reading it.

    I definitely had to hold onto my hat as if I was riding the biggest roller coaster ever!

    I can’t wait for the next book in this series!!!

    A daunting and chilling read that I highly recommend!!!!

    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.
  • #Review | THE MENU by Steven Manchester

    The Menu by Steven Manchester
    Genre: Religious Literature & Fiction
    Published by Luna Bella Media, Incorporated
    Publication Date: June 2, 2020
    ISBN-10: 0984184252
    ISBN-13: 978-0984184255
    Pages: 318
    Review Copy From: Author
    Edition: eBook
    My Rating: 5+

    Synopsis (via GR

    Blessed with a high emotional IQ, Phinn Reed enters the world with the promise of finding his soul mate. With heaven’s memories erased, his romantic quest teaches him that the heart often sees clearer than the eyes—and that not everyone has ordered the same items from The Menu. Evidence that love stories come in many different forms, The Menu is a spiritual journey involving more than just a man and a woman; it is a modern-day tale that reaches far beyond the boundaries of reason.

    My Thoughts

    I apologize in advance because I know I’m going to fall short with my review because I won’t be able to find the right words for this powerful read.

    If you know me, you know that I am a HUGE fan of this author. I have said in the past, that he hits his books out of the park. But this book! THIS BOOK! He hit it to Heaven!!! I have also said that I consider his books to be classics, but THE MENU is so much more.

    I am not going to reiterate the synopsis but recap the story as a whole.

    We are all handed a menu before we enter the world. It is the choices we make that will dictate our lives, both good and bad. Even if we choose wrongly, it’s what we do with that choice. But there are 2 staples on that menu that we should all choose and that is love and kindness.

    I have never reread a book. However, I can honestly say, I will with THE MENU. I highlighted so many meaningful passages for when I need to be reminded when life may hit a trying time.

    Who should read this book? EVERYONE!!!! Those that are entering adulthood, those that are facing difficult moments, and those that need to be uplifted. This is the perfect book to give to family and friends that are facing tough times when words don’t seem adequate.

    THE MENU is an inspirational fictional story that will bring smiles to your face, tears to your eyes, and leave an imprint on your heart and soul that will last for your remaining days!!!!

    Purchase Links: Amazon 🔗 | 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.
  • Dirty Old Town by Gabriel Valjan | #Review #Showcase #Giveaway

    Dirty Old Town by Gabriel Valjan Banner

     

     

    Dirty Old Town

    by Gabriel Valjan

    on Tour March 1 – April 30, 2020

    Synopsis:

    Dirty Old Town by Gabriel Valjan

    “Robert B. Parker would stand and cheer, and George V. Higgins would join the ovation. This is a terrific book–tough, smart, spare, and authentic. Gabriel Valjan is a true talent–impressive and skilled–providing knock-out prose, a fine-tuned sense of place and sleekly wry style.”– Hank Phillippi Ryan, nationally bestselling author of The Murder List

    Shane Cleary, a PI in a city where the cops want him dead, is tough, honest and broke. When he’s asked to look into a case of blackmail, the money is too good for him to refuse, even though the client is a snake and his wife is the woman who stomped on Shane’s heart years before. When a fellow vet and Boston cop with a secret asks Shane to find a missing person, the paying gig and the favor for a friend lead Shane to an arsonist, mobsters, a shady sports agent, and Boston’s deadliest hitman, the Barbarian. With both criminals and cops out to get him, the pressure is on for Shane to put all the pieces together before time runs out.

    MY THOUGHTS/REVIEW

    4 stars

    This was the first book that I read by this author and thoroughly enjoyed his writing style.

    Shane Cleary, P.I. and ex Boston Police Detective is down on his luck and needing some cash, gets a call from an old friend that he hasn’t seen in 10 years, Brayton Braddock, and in need of his help due to someone is blackmailing him. There is some bad blood there since Brayton also won the girl that Cleary loved at one time. But money is money.

    The Boston Police would love to see Cleary go down since he went against the Brotherhood when he testified against another police officer. They are looking for him because he was on the scene when an FBI auditor was murdered.

    The story takes place in the ’70’s and the writing style made me reminiscent of an early era with gumshoed investigators. The descriptive delivery, not only captivated me but allowed me to create vivid imagery.

    Full of friendships, enemies, and the mafia of days past, the book was definitely character-driven with an atmospheric tale. The mystery kept the pages turning. I was pulled in and completely engrossed.

    I will be checking out other books but Mr. Valjan!!!!

    Book Details:

    Genre: Crime Fiction, Mystery, Procedural, Historical Fiction
    Published by: Level Best Books
    Publication Date: January 14th 2020
    Number of Pages: 162
    ISBN: 1087857325 (ISBN13: 9781087857329)
    Series: A Shane Cleary Mystery
    Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

    Read an excerpt:

    The phone rang. Not that I heard it at first, but Delilah, who was lying next to me, kicked me in the ribs. Good thing she did because a call, no matter what the hour, meant business, and my cat had a better sense of finances than I did. Rent was overdue on the apartment, and we were living out of my office in downtown Boston to avoid my landlord in the South End. The phone trilled.

    Again, and again, it rang.

    I staggered through the darkness to the desk and picked up the receiver. Out of spite I didn’t say a word. I’d let the caller who’d ruined my sleep start the conversation.

    “Mr. Shane Cleary?” a gruff voice asked.

    “Maybe.”

    The obnoxious noise in my ear indicated the phone had been handed to someone else. The crusty voice was playing operator for the real boss.

    “Shane, old pal. It’s BB.”

    Dread as ancient as the schoolyard blues spread through me. Those familiar initials also made me think of monogrammed towels and cufflinks. I checked the clock.

    “Brayton Braddock. Remember me?”

    “It’s two in the morning, Bray. What do you want?”

    Calling him Bray was intended as a jab, to remind him his name was one syllable away from the sound of a jackass. BB was what he’d called himself when we were kids, because he thought it was cool. It wasn’t. He thought it made him one of the guys. It didn’t, but that didn’t stop him. Money creates delusions. Old money guarantees them.

    “I need your help.”

    “At this hour?”

    “Don’t be like that.”

    “What’s this about, Bray?”

    Delilah meowed at my feet and did figure eights around my legs. My gal was telling me I was dealing with a snake, and she preferred I didn’t take the assignment, no matter how much it paid us. But how could I not listen to Brayton Braddock III? I needed the money. Delilah and I were both on a first-name basis with Charlie the Tuna, given the number of cans of Starkist around the office. Anyone who told you poverty was noble is a damn fool.

    “I’d rather talk about this in person, Shane.”

    I fumbled for pen and paper.

    “When and where?”

    “Beacon Hill. My driver is on his way.”

    “But—”

    I heard the click. I could’ve walked from my office to the Hill. I turned on the desk light and answered the worried eyes and mew. “Looks like we both might have some high-end kibble in our future, Dee.”

    She understood what I’d said. Her body bumped the side of my leg. She issued plaintive yelps of disapproval. The one opinion I wanted, from the female I trusted most, and she couldn’t speak human.

    I scraped my face smooth with a tired razor and threw on a clean dress shirt, blue, and slacks, dark and pressed. I might be poor, but my mother and then the military had taught me dignity and decency at all times. I dressed conservatively, never hip or loud. Another thing the Army taught me was not to stand out. Be the gray man in any group. It wasn’t like Braddock and his milieu understood contemporary fashion, widespread collars, leisure suits, or platform shoes.

    I choose not to wear a tie, just to offend his Brahmin sensibilities. Beacon Hill was where the Elites, the Movers and Shakers in Boston lived, as far back to the days of John Winthrop. At this hour, I expected Braddock in nothing less than bespoke Parisian couture. I gave thought as to whether I should carry or not. I had enemies, and a .38 snub-nose under my left armpit was both insurance and deodorant.

    Not knowing how long I’d be gone, I fortified Delilah with the canned stuff. She kept time better than any of the Bruins referees and there was always a present outside the penalty box when I ran overtime with her meals. I meted out extra portions of tuna and the last of the dry food for her.

    I checked the window. A sleek Continental slid into place across the street. I admired the chauffeur’s skill at mooring the leviathan. He flashed the headlights to announce his arrival. Impressed that he knew that I knew he was there, I said goodbye, locked and deadbolted the door for the walk down to Washington Street and the car.

    Outside the air, severe and cold as the city’s forefathers, slapped my cheeks numb. Stupid me had forgotten gloves. My fingers were almost blue. Good thing the car was yards away, idling, the exhaust rising behind it. I cupped my hands and blew hot air into them and crossed the street. I wouldn’t dignify poor planning on my part with a sprint.

    Minimal traffic. Not a word from him or me during the ride. Boston goes to sleep at 12:30 a.m. Public transit does its last call at that hour. Checkered hacks scavenge the streets for fares in the small hours before sunrise. The other side of the city comes alive then, before the rest of the town awakes, before whatever time Mr. Coffee hits the filter and grounds. While men and women who slept until an alarm clock sprung them forward into another day, another repeat of their daily routine, the sitcom of their lives, all for the hallelujah of a paycheck, another set of people moved, with their ties yanked down, shirts and skirts unbuttoned, and tails pulled up and out. The night life, the good life was on. The distinguished set in search of young flesh migrated to the Chess Room on the corner of Tremont and Boylston Streets, and a certain crowd shifted down to the Playland on Essex, where drag queens, truck drivers, and curious college boys mixed more than drinks.

    The car was warmer than my office and the radio dialed to stultifying mood music. Light from one of the streetlamps revealed a business card on the seat next to me. I reviewed it: Braddock’s card, the usual details on the front, a phone number in ink. A man’s handwriting on the back when I turned it over. I pocketed it.

    All I saw in front of me from my angle in the backseat was a five-cornered hat, not unlike a policeman’s cover, and a pair of black gloves on the wheel. On the occasion of a turn, I was given a profile. No matinee idol there and yet his face looked as familiar as the character actor whose name escapes you. I’d say he was mid-thirties, about my height, which is a liar’s hair under six-foot, and the spread of his shoulders hinted at a hundred-eighty pounds, which made me feel self-conscious and underfed because I’m a hundred-sixty in shoes.

    He eased the car to a halt, pushed a button, and the bolt on my door shot upright. Job or no job, I never believed any man was another man’s servant. I thanked him and I watched the head nod.

    Outside on the pavement, the cold air knifed my lungs. A light turned on. The glow invited me to consider the flight of stairs with no railing. Even in their architecture, Boston’s aristocracy reminded everyone that any form of ascent needed assistance.

    A woman took my winter coat, and a butler said hello. I recognized his voice from the phone. He led and I followed. Wide shoulders and height were apparently in vogue because Braddock had chosen the best from the catalog for driver and butler. I knew the etiquette that came with class distinction. I would not be announced, but merely allowed to slip in.

    Logs in the fireplace crackled. Orange and red hues flickered against all the walls. Cozy and intimate for him, a room in hell for me. Braddock waited there, in his armchair, Hefner smoking jacket on. I hadn’t seen the man in almost ten years, but I’ll give credit where it’s due. His parents had done their bit after my mother’s death before foster care swallowed me up. Not so much as a birthday or Christmas card from them or their son since then, and now their prince was calling on me.

    Not yet thirty, Braddock manifested a decadence that came with wealth. A pronounced belly, round as a teapot, and when he stood up, I confronted an anemic face, thin lips, and a receding hairline. Middle-age, around the corner for him, suggested a bad toupee and a nubile mistress, if he didn’t have one already. He approached me and did a boxer’s bob and weave. I sparred when I was younger. The things people remembered about you always surprised me. Stuck in the past, and yet Braddock had enough presence of mind to know my occupation and drop the proverbial dime to call me.

    “Still got that devastating left hook?” he asked.

    “I might.”

    “I appreciate your coming on short notice.” He indicated a chair, but I declined. “I have a situation,” he said. He pointed to a decanter of brandy. “Like some…Henri IV Heritage, aged in oak for a century.”

    He headed for the small bar to pour me some of his precious Heritage. His drink sat on a small table next to his chair. The decanter waited for him on a liquor caddy with a glass counter and a rotary phone. I reacquainted myself with the room and décor.

    I had forgotten how high the ceilings were in these brownstones. The only warm thing in the room was the fire. The heating bill here alone would’ve surpassed the mortgage payment my parents used to pay on our place. The marble, white as it was, was sepulchral. Two nude caryatids for the columns in the fireplace had their eyes closed. The Axminster carpet underfoot, likely an heirloom from one of Cromwell’s cohorts in the family tree, displayed a graphic hunting scene.

    I took one look at the decanter, saw all the studded diamonds, and knew Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton would have done the set number of paces with a pair of hand-wrought dueling pistols to own it. Bray handed me a snifter of brandy and resumed his place in his chair. I placed my drink on the mantel. “Tell me more about this situation you have.”

    “Quite simple, really. Someone in my company is blackmailing me.”

    “And which company is that?”

    “Immaterial at the moment. Please do take a seat.”

    I declined his attempt at schmooze. This wasn’t social. This was business.

    “If you know who it is,” I said, “and you want something done about it, I’d recommend the chauffeur without reservation, or is it that you’re not a hundred percent sure?”

    I approached Bray and leaned down to talk right into his face. I did it out of spite. One of the lessons I’d learned is that the wealthy are an eccentric and paranoid crowd. Intimacy and germs rank high on their list of phobias.

    “I’m confident I’ve got the right man.” Brayton swallowed some of his expensive liquor.

    “Then go to the police and set up a sting.”

    “I’d like to have you handle the matter for me.”

    “I’m not muscle, Brayton. Let’s be clear about that. You mean to say a man of your position doesn’t have any friends on the force to do your dirty work?”

    “Like you have any friends there?”

    I threw a hand onto each of the armrests and stared into his eyes. Any talk about the case that bounced me off the police force and into the poorhouse soured my disposition. I wanted the worm to squirm.

    “Watch it, Bray. Old bones ought to stay buried. I can walk right out that door.”

    “That was uncalled for, and I’m sorry,” he said. “This is a clean job.”

    Unexpected. The man apologized for the foul. I had thought the word “apology” had been crossed out in his family dictionary. I backed off and let him breathe and savor his brandy.

    I needed the job. The money. I didn’t trust Bray as a kid, nor the man the society pages said saved New England with his business deals and largesse.

    “Let’s talk about this blackmail then,” I said. “Think one of your employees isn’t happy with their Christmas bonus?”

    He bolted upright from his armchair. “I treat my people well.”

    Sensitive, I thought and went to say something else, when I heard a sound behind me, and then I smelled her perfume. Jasmine, chased with the sweet burn of bourbon. I closed my eyes, and when I opened them I saw his smug face.

    “You remember Cat, don’t you?”

    “How could I not?” I said and kissed the back of the hand offered to me. Cat always took matters one step forward. She kissed me on the cheek, close enough that I could feel her against me. She withdrew and her scent stuck to me. Cat was the kind of woman who did all the teaching and you were grateful for the lessons. Here we were, all these years later, the three of us in one room, in the middle of the night.

    “Still enjoy those film noir movies?” she asked.

    “Every chance I get.”

    “I’m glad you came at my husband’s request.”

    The word husband hurt. I had read about their marriage in the paper.

    “I think you should leave, dear, and let the men talk,” her beloved said.

    His choice of words amused me as much as it did her, from the look she gave me. I never would have called her “dear” in public or close quarters. You don’t dismiss her, either.

    “Oh please,” she told her husband. “My sensibility isn’t that delicate and it’s not like I haven’t heard business discussed. Shane understands confidentiality and discretion. You also forget a wife can’t be forced to testify against her husband. Is this yours, Shane?” she asked about the snifter on the brandy on the mantel. I nodded. “I’ll keep it warm for you.”

    She leaned against the mantel for warmth. She nosed the brandy and closed her eyes. When they opened, her lips parted in a sly smile, knowing her power. Firelight illuminated the length of her legs and my eyes traveled. Braddock noticed and he screwed himself into his chair and gave her a venomous look.

    “Why the look, darling?” she said. “You know Shane and I have history.”

    Understatement. She raised the glass. Her lips touched the rim and she took the slightest sip. Our eyes met again and I wanted a cigarette, but I’d quit the habit. I relished the sight until Braddock broke the spell. He said, “I’m being blackmailed over a pending business deal.”

    “Blackmail implies dirty laundry you don’t want aired,” I said. “What kind of deal?”

    “Nothing I thought was that important,” he said.

    “Somebody thinks otherwise.”

    “This acquisition does have certain aspects that, if exposed, would shift public opinion, even though it’s completely aboveboard.” Braddock sipped and stared at me while that expensive juice went down his throat.

    “All legit, huh,” I said. “Again, what kind of acquisition?”

    “Real estate.”

    “The kind of deal where folks in this town receive an eviction notice?”

    He didn’t answer that. As a kid, I’d heard how folks in the West End were tossed out and the Bullfinch Triangle was razed to create Government Center, a modern and brutal Stonehenge, complete with tiered slabs of concrete and glass. Scollay Square disappeared overnight. Gone were the restaurants and the watering holes, the theaters where the Booth brothers performed, and burlesque and vaudeville coexisted. Given short notice, a nominal sum that was more symbolic than anything else, thousands of working-class families had to move or face the police who were as pleasant and diplomatic as the cops at the Chicago Democratic National Convention.

    I didn’t say I’d accept the job. I wanted Braddock to simmer and knew how to spike his temperature. I reclaimed my glass from Cat. She enjoyed that. “Pardon me,” I said to her. “Not shy about sharing a glass, I hope.”

    “Not at all.”

    I let Bray Braddock cook. If he could afford to drink centennial grape juice then he could sustain my contempt. I gulped his cognac to show what a plebe I was, and handed the glass back to Cat with a wink. She walked to the bar and poured herself another splash, while I questioned my future employer. “Has this blackmailer made any demands? Asked for a sum?”

    “None,” Braddock answered.

    “But he knows details about your acquisition?” I asked.

    “He relayed a communication.”

    Braddock yelled out to his butler, who appeared faster than recruits I’d known in Basic Training. The man streamed into the room, gave Braddock two envelopes, and exited with an impressive gait. Braddock handed me one of the envelopes.

    I opened it. I fished out a thick wad of paperwork. Photostats. Looking them over, I saw names and figures and dates. Accounting.

    “Xeroxes,” Braddock said. “They arrived in the mail.”

    “Copies? What, carbon copies aren’t good enough for you?”

    “We’re beyond the days of the hand-cranked mimeograph machine, Shane. My partners and I have spared no expense to implement the latest technology in our offices.”

    I examined pages. “Explain to me in layman’s terms what I’m looking at, the abridged version, or I’ll be drinking more of your brandy.”

    The magisterial hand pointed to the decanter. “Help yourself.”

    “No thanks.”

    “Those copies are from a ledger for the proposed deal. Keep them. Knowledgeable eyes can connect names there to certain companies, to certain men, which in turn lead to friends in high places, and I think you can infer the rest. Nothing illegal, mind you, but you know how things get, if they find their way into the papers. Yellow journalism has never died out.”

    I pocketed the copies. “It didn’t die out, on account of your people using it to underwrite the Spanish-American War. If what you have here is fair-and-square business, then your problem is public relations—a black eye the barbershops on Madison Ave can pretty up in the morning. I don’t do PR, Mr. Braddock. What is it you think I can do for you?”

    “Ascertain the identity of the blackmailer.”

    “Then you aren’t certain of…never mind. And what do I do when I ascertain that identity?”

    “Nothing. I’ll do the rest.”

    “Coming from you, that worries me, seeing how your people have treated the peasants, historically speaking.”

    Brayton didn’t say a word to that.

    “And that other envelope in your lap?” I asked.

    The balding halo on the top of his head revealed itself when he looked down at the envelope. Those sickly lips parted when he faced me. I knew I would hate the answer. Cat stood behind him. She glanced at me then at the figure of a dog chasing a rabbit on the carpet.

    “Envelope contains the name of a lead, an address, and a generous advance. Cash.”

    Brayton tossed it my way. The envelope, fat as a fish, hit me. I caught it.

    ***

    Excerpt from Dirty Old Town by Gabriel Valjan. Copyright 2020 by Gabriel Valjan. Reproduced with permission from Gabriel Valjan. All rights reserved.

     

     

    Author Bio:

    Gabriel Valjan

    Gabriel is the author of two series, Roma and Company Files, with Winter Goose Publishing. Dirty Old Town is the first in the Shane Cleary series for Level Best Books. His short stories have appeared online, in journals, and in several anthologies. He has been a finalist for the Fish Prize, shortlisted for the Bridport Prize, and received an Honorable Mention for the Nero Wolfe Black Orchid Novella Contest in 2018. You can find him on Twitter (@GValjan) and Instagram (gabrielvaljan). He lurks the hallways at crime fiction conferences, such as Bouchercon, Malice Domestic, and New England Crime Bake. Gabriel is a lifetime member of Sisters in Crime.

    Catch Up With Gabriel Valjan On:
    GabrielValjan.com, Goodreads, BookBub, Instagram, Twitter, & Facebook!

     

     

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    No Stone Unturned by Andrea Kane | #Review #Showcase #Giveaway

    No Stone Unturned by Andrea Kane Banner

     

     

    No Stone Unturned

    by Andrea Kane

    on Tour March 16 – April 17, 2020

    Synopsis:

    No Stone Unturned by Andrea Kane

    WHAT IF YOU FOUND YOUR FRIEND DEAD AND FEARED YOU’D BE NEXT?

    Jewelry designer Fiona McKay is working on her latest collection of Celtic-inspired jewelry. She’s excited by the possibilities uncovered by Rose Flaherty, the antiquities dealer helping her research the heirloom tapestries inspiring her new collection. So when Rose calls to tell her she has answers, Fiona hurries to meet her. But her artistic world is shattered when she finds the lifeless body of the elderly woman.

    Why would anyone kill such a harmless person? And what if Fiona had arrived just a few minutes earlier? Would she have been killed as well? Unnerved, she heads for her brother’s Brooklyn apartment seeking advice and comfort.

    Ryan McKay, Forensic Instincts’ technology wiz is not amused by his little sister interrupting his evening with his girlfriend and co-worker, Claire Hedgleigh. But when Ryan and Claire hear the details of Rose’s murder, they fear that Fiona could be next, and quickly assume the role of her protectors. What they’re unaware of is how many people are desperately seeking the information now buried along with Rose.

    A former IRA sniper. A traitorous killer who worked for the British. Two vicious adversaries taking their epic battle to America. A secret Irish hoard as the grand prize in a winner takes all fight to the death.

    As the story woven into the tapestries passed down from McKay mother to daughter unravels, Forensic Instincts realizes that Fiona and her family are in grave danger. Together, the team must stay one step ahead of two rival assassins or risk Fiona’s life and the McKay family tree.

    MY THOUGHTS/REVIEW

    5 stars

    If you are an avid reader, like I am, then I’m sure you have an “authors to read” list that you wait patiently for their next book to get your hands on. And even better, if it’s an ARC!!! For me, one of those authors is Andrea Kane!!! So receiving a signed ARC from the author was both exciting and honored!!!!! Now that I have finished reading it, this book will be placed in a special bookcase where I proudly store my signed editions. Family and friends know not to touch these books nor even breathe near them!!!!

    The Forensic Instinct team, a highly sophisticated PI firm, is back and this time the case involves one of the member’s sister, Fiona McKay. As the synopsis states, Fiona is a jewelry designer and creates her pieces on Celtic art via tapestries that her family has inherited ​that were ​passed down from generations past.

    Rose Flaherty, an elderly antique dealer/expert is working with Fiona to aide her with the research. Until that night Fiona and Rose were meeting because Rose had important and exciting news to share. Upon entering the shop, Fiona found Rose dead and it is being ruled a homicide. And within days, Fiona’s apartment was broken into and was ransacked. Nothing was taken so what were they looking for? Will Fiona be the next victim? The Forensic Instinct team will not let that happen so they are on the case but they soon find out that there are some unsavory men that could be the killer but also want the hoard that is hidden in those tapestries.

    Why do I love Ms. Kane’s books, you ask. For many reasons!!!

    The story and suspense flow and is gripping and consuming from the very first word to the last. I find myself submerged and caught up in the narrative. The characters are well developed and realistic. The action was electrifying. The writing is descriptive, so much so, that I could create vivid images in my mind as if I was watching a movie. And the in-depth research is phenomenal whereas I became more informed about things I didn’t know much about, like Celtic tapestries, Celtic art, the IRA and much more.

    A page turner that was hard to put down!!!! And the reason she is on my “authors to read” list because it was another book by her that I devoured!!!

    Bonus: Check out Fiona McKay’s
    Designs HERE

    UPDATE

    After reading this book, I was intrigued by the Celtic jewelry. So when Fiona McKay / Andrea Kane, launched the jewelry site, I had to have a piece of jewelry. I chose the Tree Of Life necklace which symbolizes strength, family, and resilience. I just received it and the picture does not do it justice. It is gorgeous!!!

    Book Details:

    Genre: Suspense Thriller
    Published by: Bonnie Meadow Publishing LLC
    Publication Date:
    Number of Pages: March 17, 2020
    ISBN: 978-1-68232-039-
    Series: Forensic Instincts
    Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

    Read an excerpt:

    Slowly, Rose Flaherty made her way over to the front window of her Greenwich Village antique shop, leaning heavily on her cane as she did. Preoccupied with the ramifications of her research findings, she barely took note of the passersby on Bedford Street, most of them headed home for the evening. A few of them glanced in her window, their unpracticed eyes seeing none of the beauty attached to the treasure trove of antiques and antiquities, instead seeing only the dusty surfaces, the random pieces, and odd assortment of furnishings that bespoke unwanted junk from the past.

    At seventy-nine years old, Rose had long ago stopped caring what people thought. She knew who and what she was. And she knew it was no accident that her established clientele, many of whom were wealthy and educated in the realm of ancient civilizations—including Egyptian, Etruscan, Roman, Byzantine, Greek, and her beloved Celtic—came to her for her expertise as well as her one-of-a-kind offerings. Her knowledge was vast, her list of contacts vaster still.

    The levels of research she performed were always a labor of love. However, her current project was even more than that. It was a thrilling adventure, a fascination of possibilities that transcended anything she’d dealt with in the past.

    She couldn’t wait to delve deeper.

    Impatiently, she squinted at her watch, barely able to make out the hands without the aid of her glasses, which she’d left somewhere. Ah. Five fifteen. Forty-five minutes to go.

    Given the magnitude of her findings, there was just one way to pass the time.

    She limped her way over to her Chippendale desk, sliding open the bottom drawer and pulling out the bottle of rare, old Irish whiskey she kept on hand for special clients. It was sinfully expensive. How fortunate that one of her prominent clients, Niall Dempsey, was a wealthy real estate developer who also appreciated fine Irish whiskey and who had been kind enough to gift this to her.

    She poured the whiskey into a glass, making sure to put out a second for her client. They certainly had something to toast to. She would just get a wee bit of a head start.

    “Rose?” Glenna Robinson, Rose’s assistant, poked her head out of the back room. Glenna was studying archeology at NYU and thoroughly enjoyed her part-time job at the shop. The fragile, white-haired owner was an intellectual wonder. Learning from her was an honor—even if she was becoming a bit more absentminded as she neared eighty. Absentminded about everything except her work. In that precious realm, her mind was like a steel trap.

    “Hmmm?” Rose lifted her lips from her glass and turned, initially surprised to see Glenna was still here. Ah, but it wasn’t yet five thirty, and Glenna never left before checking in, so she should have expected to see her shiny young face. Such was the level of Rose’s absorption with the task at hand. “Yes, dear?”

    Glenna’s gaze flickered from the glass in Rose’s hand to its mate, sitting neatly beside the whiskey bottle on the desk. “Do you need me to stay late? You mentioned an evening appointment, obviously an important one… even if it’s not in the calendar.”

    “It was last minute.” Rose smiled, giving a gentle wave of her hand. “There’s no need for you to stay. This is a meeting, not a transaction. If you’d just collect the mail and drop it off, you can go and enjoy your evening.”

    Glenna smiled back, trying not to look as relieved as she felt. Her friends had invited her to join them for pizza and beer. After a long week, that was exactly what she needed. But she wouldn’t leave Rose in the lurch.

    “Are you sure?” she asked.

    “Positive. Now run along.”

    “Thank you. See you tomorrow afternoon.” Glenna blew Rose a kiss, then retraced her steps into the small back room—the business office, as she and Rose laughingly called it. It was barely larger than a closet, but it served its purpose. Glenna used it to answer phone calls, schedule appointments, email invoices, do reams of paperwork, and keep track of the countless Post-its Rose stuck on every inch of available surface space. She called it Glenna’s to-do list, but Glenna was well aware that the reminders were really for Rose, not for her. All part of Rose’s charm. The Post-it-spotted room contained a jam-packed file cabinet, a rusty metal desk, an on-its- last-legs photocopier, and a computer that Glenna had nicknamed Methuselah because it was older than time. Still, it was enough for their needs and Rose didn’t know how to use it anyway. That was part of Glenna’s job. She’d been doing it since she was sixteen, and she had no desire to go elsewhere.

    She scooped up the stack of mail and was about to leave when she spotted a manila envelope propped up against the outbox with the name of the addressee penned on it in Rose’s neat hand. No street address. No postage.

    Typical forgetful Rose.

    Recognizing the client’s name, Glenna quickly scanned their contacts list, found the requisite address, printed it on a label that she adhered to the envelope, and carefully marked the parcel: hand cancel. She’d take care of the postage at the post office. Jimmy would move the process along. He was an efficient postal worker with a wild crush on her. She’d be in and out in a flash.

    After tucking the envelope beneath the rest of the mail, she shut down Methuselah for the night, then grabbed her lightweight jacket and left the shop.

    The tinkling sound of the bells over the door echoed behind her.

    Twenty minutes later, they tinkled again.

    Rose had been sitting in a chair midway in the shop, her back turned to the entrance as she sipped her whiskey and stared idly at the marble fireplace that stayed lit year-round to ward off dampness and mildew. Hearing the bells, she reached for her cane and came to her feet, surprised but delighted. Her client was early.

    She turned, a greeting freezing on her lips.

    It wasn’t a client who had come for her.

    ***

    Excerpt from No Stone Unturned by Andrea Kane. Copyright 2019 by Andrea Kane. Reproduced with permission from Andrea Kane. All rights reserved.

     

     

    Author Bio:

    Andrea Kane

    Andrea Kane is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of thirty novels, including sixteen psychological thrillers and fourteen historical romantic suspense titles. With her signature style, Kane creates unforgettable characters and confronts them with life-threatening danger. As a master of suspense, she weaves them into exciting, carefully-researched stories, pushing them to the edge―and keeping her readers up all night.

    Kane’s first contemporary suspense thriller, RUN FOR YOUR LIFE, became an instant New York Times bestseller. She followed with a string of bestselling psychological thrillers including NO WAY OUT, TWISTED and DRAWN IN BLOOD.

    Her latest in the highly successful Forensic Instincts series, NO STONE UNTURNED, showcases the dynamic, eclectic team of maverick investigators as they solve a seemingly impossible case while narrowly avoiding an enraged law enforcement frustrated over Forensic Instincts’ secretive and successful interference in a murder case. The first showcase of Forensic Instincts’ talents came with the New York Times bestseller, THE GIRL WHO DISAPPEARED TWICE, followed by THE LINE BETWEEN HERE AND GONE, THE STRANGER YOU KNOW, THE SILENCE THAT SPEAKS, THE MURDER THAT NEVER WAS, A FACE TO DIE FOR, and DEAD IN A WEEK.

    Kane’s beloved historical romantic suspense novels include MY HEART’S DESIRE, SAMANTHA, ECHOES IN THE MIST, and WISHES IN THE WIND.

    With a worldwide following of passionate readers, her books have been published in more than twenty languages. Kane lives in New Jersey with her husband and family. She’s an avid crossword puzzle solver and a diehard Yankees fan.

    Catch Up With Andrea Kane:
    AndreaKane.com, Goodreads, Twitter, & Facebook!

     

     

    Tour Participants:

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



     

     

    Enter The Giveaway!!:

    This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Andrea Kane. There will be 6 winners for this tour. One winner will receive (1) Amazon.com Gift Card and 5 winners will receive No Stone Unturned by Andrea Kane (eBook). The giveaway begins on March 16, 2020 and runs through April 19, 2020. Void where prohibited.

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

     

     

    Get More Great Reads at Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours

     

    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.
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