Mar 212019
 

Out of the Darkness

by Darcia Helle

on Tour March 1-31, 2019

Synopsis:

Out of the Darkness by Darcia Helle

Gus wakes up in a dark void with no memory and no body. Screaming and cursing does him no good. He’s trapped, until he learns about one man who can help.

Joe Cavelli is a PI who hears ghosts, solves their murders, and sometimes fixes their personal problems. Now he finds himself pestered by an invisible, impatient, and brash amnesiac.

Solving cases for ghosts comes with a unique set of circumstances. This time, Joe can’t even claim to be investigating a murder, since Gus’s body is nowhere to be found. Together, Joe and Gus delve into Gus’s past, uncovering clues that lead to a startling conclusion.

Book Details:

Genre: Paranormal Suspense
Published by: Indie
Publication Date: February 12, 2019
Number of Pages: 300
ASIN: B07KJGZY9F
Series: Joe Cavelli, Paranormal PI Book 2
Purchase Links: Amazon |Goodreads

 

Read an excerpt:

Joe put the few dishes in the dishwasher, made himself another cup of strong coffee, and said, “Okay, Gus. Let’s see if we can figure this out.”

He walked out of the kitchen, Gus’s voice trailing after him. “Where are we going?”

“My office.”

Joe stepped into the room that was the smaller of the two spare bedrooms. He crossed over to his desk, opened his laptop, and switched it on.

“This is your office?”

Joe sat in his padded leather chair. “My home office. I have another, professional place, with an assistant. No need to go there, though, particularly since she doesn’t know about—” He waved his hand in Gus’s general direction. “—you. This.”

“She doesn’t know you talk to ghosts, is what you’re saying?”

“Right.”

“Afraid she’d think you’re crazy?”

“No. It’s just not something I feel like sharing.”

“You banging her?”

“Jesus. No.”

“Huh. I thought all guys banged their secretaries.”

Joe heard the dry humor in Gus’s tone, though the statement still irritated him. “No, all guys don’t. And I said assistant, not secretary.”

“Same thing, isn’t it?”

“No. But it doesn’t matter anyway. I’m a one-woman man.”

Joe opened a browser page, then the Tampa Bay Times website. He typed ‘Angus Smith’ into the search bar and clicked the Enter key.

“What are you doing?”

Gus had a gruff way of asking a question that made it sound more like an accusation. One minute Joe felt bad for Gus, and the next he wanted to punch Gus in the face. If he could see Gus’s face.

If Gus even had a face. Did ghosts have faces, or were they just invisible blobs of energy? Joe was too tired to deal with this.

“I’m trying to find out how you died,” Joe said.

“Why?”

“I don’t know, Gus. Because it’s a place to start? Figure out how you died and maybe I’ll figure out why you’re stuck in the dark? Unless you have a better idea?”

A huff, then, “No. I got nothing.”

Gus kept silent while Joe scrolled down and clicked a link. Gus’s photo stared back at him from the screen. Seeing the person for the first time was always an odd experience. He couldn’t help but form a picture of each ghost in his mind, based solely on the voice and the little he knew about who he or she had been. Sometimes he was way off. Other times, like now, he was pretty close.

“That’s a crapass picture of me,” Gus said.

Joe studied the grainy image accompanying the article. Buzzcut. Deep brown eyes. Tattoo snaking down the side of his neck, disappearing into his shirt. He seemed to be snarling at the camera. The article put him at 6’3”, 230 pounds, and Joe could see it was all muscle.

He didn’t address the quality of the photo, ignoring Gus while he read through the article. He double-checked the date on the article, then said, “You’re missing.”

“What d’you mean, I’m missing? I’m right here.”

“I mean, you were reported missing. Last Friday, so three days ago.”

“Missing? That makes no sense, since I’m dead.”

“No one appears to know you’re dead.”

“Huh.”

“Do you remember where you were when you died?”

“No.”

“Were you sick? In an accident? Traveling somewhere?”

“I don’t know!”

Joe leaned back and closed his eyes. He forced himself not to react to Gus’s abrupt tone. The guy had every reason to be upset, though this mess sure as hell wasn’t Joe’s fault.

“Who reported me missing?”

Joe opened his eyes and scanned the article. “Cat Loring.”

Silence. Joe waited a moment before adding, “Says she’s your live-in girlfriend.”

“Yeah.”

“Do you remember the last time you saw her?” Joe felt a cool wall of air pressing around him.

“Are you leaning on me?”

“I’m trying to read the article.”

Joe suppressed a shudder—barely. “It doesn’t say much. You left the house at your usual time on Thursday morning. You’re not answering your cell phone, and no one has seen you since.”

“I don’t remember.”

“What’s the last thing you remember?”

Silence.

“Gus?”

“The very last thing? Hell, I don’t know. I might’ve been at a bar with some buddies. I might’ve been driving my truck. Or having sex. It’s all a jumble.”

“Did you and Cat fight the last time you saw her?”

“I don’t know. I don’t think so. Maybe.”

“Could she have killed you?”

Gus snorted a laugh. “Cat? Kill me? That’s funny, Mr. Detective.”

“Yeah? Why is it so funny?”

“She just wouldn’t.”

Joe rubbed at his burning eyes. “Tell me about your relationship.”

“Why?”

“Maybe it’ll trigger a memory. Help me figure out where your body might be.”

“Well, shit.”

***

Excerpt from Out of the Darkness by Darcia Helle. Copyright © 2019 by Darcia Helle. Reproduced with permission from Darcia Helle. All rights reserved.

 

Darcia Helle

Author Bio:

 

Darcia Helle is a Massachusetts native, who escaped the New England winters to write in the Florida sunshine. She lives with her husband in a home full of spoiled rescue animals and an occasional stray lizard. She writes because the characters trespassing through her mind leave her no alternative.

Catch Up With Ms. Helle On:
darciahelle.com, Goodreads, Twitter, & Facebook!

 

 photo OutofTheDarkness_Paperback01.jpg

 

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 Darcia Helle. There will be 1 winner of one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card. The giveaway begins on March 1, 2019 and runs through April 1, 2019. Void where prohibited.

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Mar 182019
 

DEAD IN A WEEK by Andrea Kane
Genre: Suspense Thriller
Published by: Bonnie Meadow Publishing
Publication Date: March 19th 2019
Number of Pages: 384
ISBN: 1682320294 (ISBN13: 9781682320297)
Series: Forensic Instincts, Zermatt Group
Review Copy from: Author
Edition: ARC TPB
My Rating: 5

 

Synopsis

In a globe-spanning chase, from the beer halls of Germany, to the tech gardens of California, to the skyscrapers of China, and finally the farmlands of Croatia, Aidan’s team cracks levels of high-tech security and complex human mystery with a dogged determination. Drawing in teammates from the Forensic Instincts team (introduced in The Girl Who Disappeared Twice), the Zermatt Group will uncover the Chinese businessmen responsible, find the traitors within NanoUSA who are helping them, and save Lauren from a brutal death.

 

MY THOUGHTS/REVIEW

5 stars

Caveat: I have read, and thoroughly enjoyed, Andrea Kane’s Forensic Instincts’ series dating back to 2012. You can see my past reviews by clicking on the title: THE LINE FROM HERE AND GONE, THE MURDER THAT NEVER WAS, and A FACE TO DIE FORA FACE TO DIE FOR.

When I found out that a new book was in the works I patiently waited to get my hands on a copy thinking it was another book from the Forensic Instincts’ series. I soon realized that DEAD IN A WEEK introduces a new company, the Zermatt Group. Would this new group of characters, plot, settings, etc., be as great a read as her previous novels?

And Andrea Kane did not disappoint her readers that love the Forensic Instincts cast since they did have a hand in solving the case that the Zermatt Group is currently working on.

Aidan Devereaux founded the Zermatt Group 5 years ago, a covert operation, along with his team, Simone, Philip, and Terri. They don’t have boundaries, can’t be hired but they find cases that only they can solve using their experience and unlimited contacts around the world.

And this case involves the kidnapping of an American young college student, Lauren, in Germany. Her father, Vance Pennington, VP of a highly secure technology company, NanoUSA, doesn’t even know that his daughter has been taken until Aidan pays him a visit. Not only is this information terrifying, but they only have 1 week to find her or the kidnappers will kill her if what they want isn’t delivered.

I was very impressed with the details of this book with both the settings and the technology. The research had to have been meticulous, vast, and extremely thorough as the story takes place in different parts of the world.

The story hooked me from the very beginning and didn’t let go. I found my heart pounding faster and harder as the days slipped by and the clock was ticking. At times, I even found myself holding my breath due to the action. A thrilling read that had me on the edge of my seat!

The characters were amazing. And just a little hint…there was a familial connection to the Forensic Instincts.

Now to answer the question, would this new group of characters, plot, settings, etc., be as great a read as her previous novels? The answer is ABSOLUTELY! I can’t wait to see what is next for both the Zermatt Group and Forensic Instincts!

**Stop by tomorrow for Q&A with Andrea Kane**

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.
  • Feb 272019
     
    Blackwell by Alexandrea Weis with Lucas Astor

    Blackwell

    by Alexandrea Weis with Lucas Astor

    on Tour February 1 – March 31, 2019

    Synopsis:

    Blackwell by Alexandrea Weis with Lucas Astor

    “… an intriguing, dark tale complete with vividly drawn characters, and a uniquely compelling character in Magnus … seamlessly blends mystery, magic and matters of the heart to create an enthralling read. Readers will be engaged from the start of the story to its climactic ending.” ~Melanie Bates, RT Book Reviews

    “A dark story of passion and revenge … A guilty-pleasure read that kept me captivated knowing something sinister is looming in the plot and over the characters.” ~New Orleans Magazine


    In the late 1800s, handsome, wealthy New Englander, Magnus Blackwell, is the envy of all.

    When Magnus meets Jacob O’Connor–a Harvard student from the working class–an unlikely friendship is forged. But their close bond is soon challenged by a captivating woman; a woman Magnus wants, but Jacob gets.

    Devastated, Magnus seeks solace in a trip to New Orleans. After a chance meeting with Oscar Wilde, he becomes immersed in a world of depravity and brutality, inevitably becoming the inspiration for Dorian Gray. Armed with the forbidden magic of voodoo, he sets his sights on winning back the woman Jacob stole from him.

    Amid the trappings of Victorian society, two men, bent on revenge, will lay the foundation for a curse that will forever alter their destinies.

    Book Details:

    Genre: Historical Mystery with Supernatural Elements
    Published by: Vesuvian Books
    Publication Date: January 17th 2017
    Number of Pages: 295
    ISBN: 1944109242 (ISBN13: 9781944109240)
    Series: A Magnus Blackwell Novel 0.5
    Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

     

    Guest Post by Alexandrea Weis

    10 interesting fun facts about your book or series
    1. The Magnus Blackwell Series is set in the most haunted city in America-New Orleans. Ghosts are the norm there, not the exception.
    2. The series spans well over a century and shows the progression of New Orleans from the 1890s (beginning with BLACKWELL: the prequel) to modern day. The interesting fact is that many of the businesses and buildings mentioned in 1890s New Orleans are still around. The French Quarter is a time capsule which has preserved the past.
    3. In book one: DAMNED, one of the lead characters—Magnus Blackwell—is a ghost. His life and sins are the impetus for the story, and his quest for redemption sets in motion a chain of events that changes the lives of many. He is the spirit guide to Lexie Arden, and he is bound to her through the power of voodoo.
    4. The Magnus Blackwell Series is steeped in New Orleans traditions and folklore. Many tales known to New Orleanians are blended into the storyline.
    5. Voodoo and the gods and goddesses who oversee it are an integral part of the Magnus Blackwell Series. It taps into this side of ritual magic not known by many outside New Orleans, and the gods in the story exist in the religion.
    6. Many of the locations described in the story exist. The restaurants, buildings, addresses, and cemeteries named can be visited in the city.
    7. One of the authors, Alexandrea Weis, grew up in the French Quarter and lived next door to a voodoo priestess. Her childhood memories are used to describe many of the rituals and spells recreated in the series.
    8. The baton juju described in the series and used by the mambo, Lexie Arden, is something utilized by priests and priestesses during voodoo ceremonies. It comes from the gods or Loa of voodoo. Their sacred batons are recreated for rituals used to please a particular god or gain favor.
    9. The term Mambo comes from Hattian voodoo. It is the term for a female (as opposed to the Houngan, or male) High Priest. In the Magnus Blackwell Series, it is the title given to the priestess in charge of New Orleans. The person through which all magical power flows.
    10. The next installment in the Magnus Blackwell Series arrives in the Spring 2019. SEIZE continues Lexie Arden and Magnus Blackwell’s story and introduces more voodoo gods from the pantheon.

     

    Blackwell Trailer:

     

    Read an excerpt:

    “We all saw different spirits,” Emily surmised. “How is that possible?”

    Katie rose from Jacob’s side. “We each saw the person we wanted to see. The person we felt most connected to on the other side.” She came around the table to Magnus, grinning like a proud peacock. “Do you still doubt my abilities?”

    “No.” Magnus blew out a long breath. “I think we should not do this again, though. I got the impression what happened tonight may be only the beginning.”

    “The beginning of what?” Emily pestered.

    Magnus straightened his coat as he turned for the door. “Something very dangerous.”

    ***

    Excerpt from Blackwell by Alexandrea Weis with Lucas Astor. Copyright © 2017 by Alexandrea Weis. Reproduced with permission from Alexandrea Weis. All rights reserved.

    Alexandrea Weis:

    Alexandrea Weis

    Alexandrea Weis, RN-CS, CRRN, ONC, PhD, is a multi-award-winning author of over twenty-seven novels, a screenwriter, ICU Nurse, and historian who was born and raised in the French Quarter of New Orleans. Having grown up in the motion picture industry as the daughter of a director, she learned to tell stories from a different perspective and began writing at the age of eight. Infusing the rich tapestry of her hometown into her novels, she believes that creating vivid characters makes a story moving and memorable. A permitted/certified wildlife rehabber with the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries, Weis rescues orphaned and injured animals. She lives with her husband and pets in New Orleans. Weis writes mysteries, suspense, thrillers, horror, crime fiction, action, historical, and romance. She is a member of the Horror Writers Association and the International Thriller Writers Association.

    Lucas Astor is from New York, has resided in Central America and the Middle East, and traveled through Europe. He lives a very private, virtually reclusive lifestyle, preferring to spend time with a close-knit group of friends than be in the spotlight. He is an author and poet with a penchant for telling stories that delve into the dark side of the human psyche. He likes to explore the evil that exists, not just in the world, but right next door behind a smiling face.

    Catch Up With Alexandrea On:
    alexandreaweis.com, Goodreads, Twitter, & Facebook!

    Lucas Astor:

    Lucas Astor

    Lucas Astor is from New York, has resided in Central America and the Middle East, and traveled through Europe. He lives a very private, virtually reclusive lifestyle, preferring to spend time with a close-knit group of friends than be in the spotlight.

    He is an author and poet with a penchant for telling stories that delve into the dark side of the human psyche. He likes to explore the evil that exists, not just in the world, but right next door behind a smiling face.

    Photography, making wine, and helping endangered species are just some of his interests. Lucas is an expert archer and enjoys jazz, blues, and classical music.

    One of his favorite quotes is: “It’s better to be silent than be a fool.” ~Harper Lee (To Kill a Mockingbird)

    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 Vesuvian Books. There will be 2 winners of one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card each. The giveaway begins on February 1, 2019 and runs through April 1, 2019. Void where prohibited.

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    Get More Great Reads at Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours

    Feb 212019
     

    Dangerous Flaws by Susan Hunter Banner

    Dangerous Flaws

    by Susan Hunter

    on Tour February 1 – March 31, 2019

    Synopsis:

    Dangerous Flaws by Susan Hunter

    A chilling murder shocks a small Wisconsin town.

    True crime writer Leah Nash is stunned when police investigating the murder of a beautiful young college professor focus on her ex-husband Nick. Leah has no illusions about her ex, but despite his flaws, she just can’t see him as a killer. Reluctantly, she agrees to help Nick’s attorney prove that he isn’t.

    But Nick’s lies make it hard to find the truth, and when a damning piece of evidence surfaces, Leah plunges into doubt. Is she defending an innocent man or helping a murderer escape? She pushes on to find out, uncovering hidden motives and getting hit by twists she never saw coming. Leah’s own flaws impede her search for the truth. When she finds it, will it be too late to prevent a devastating confrontation?

    Book Details:

    Genre: Mystery
    Published by: Himmel River Press
    Publication Date: December 11th 2018
    Number of Pages: 392
    ASIN: B07KK2HM6M
    Series: Leah Nash Mysteries, Book 5
    Purchase Links: Amazon | Goodreads

     

    Author Bio:

    Susan Hunter

    Susan Hunter is a charter member of Introverts International (which meets the 12th of Never at an undisclosed location). She has worked as a reporter and managing editor, during which time she received a first place UPI award for investigative reporting and a Michigan Press Association first place award for enterprise/feature reporting.

    Susan has also taught composition at the college level, written advertising copy, newsletters, press releases, speeches, web copy, academic papers, and memos. Lots and lots of memos. She lives in rural Michigan with her husband Gary, who is a man of action, not words.

    During certain times of the day, she can be found wandering the mean streets of small-town Himmel, Wisconsin, looking for clues, stopping for a meal at the Elite Cafe, dropping off a story lead at the Himmel Times Weekly, or meeting friends for a drink at McClain’s Bar and Grill.

     

    Guest Post

    Ten Things You Don’t Know About Leah Nash

    Leah Nash is the main character in the series I write, which is appropriately named the Leah Nash Mysteries. She’s a true crime writer who can’t quite leave her reporting background behind, particularly because she just sank all her savings into a business partnership to try and save her hometown’s weekly newspaper. It was an impulsive decision, but Leah often leaps before she looks, as anyone who reads the series knows. They also know she’s smart, funny, loyal, stubborn and can’t resist a challenge. But Leah keeps some secrets, even from long-time readers. Here are ten things you didn’t know about Leah Nash.

    1. Leah is hard-headed, but she has a few soft spots she’d rather people didn’t know about. One of them is that she’s an easy mark for a Hallmark Christmas movie—the more schmaltz, the better.

    2. Although she doesn’t carry a gun, she knows how to use one. She took a handgun safety course as background for a story once and was a surprisingly accurate shot by the end of it. The instructor encouraged her to continue, but Leah felt that her quick temper and a handy handgun probably weren’t a good mix.

    3. In the sixth-grade, Leah made it to the finals in the statewide spelling bee. She lost it on the word pièce de résistance and has held a grudge against the French ever since.

    4. Leah’s all-time favorite book is To Kill A Mockingbird, with The Portable Dorothy Parker a close second.

    5. Leah once ate a dozen of her Aunt Nancy’s Cranberry Hootie Creek cookies in a single sitting.

    6. To her intense mortification, Leah has never mastered a manual transmission. Her best friend Coop tried to teach her how to use a stick shift, and it nearly ended their twenty-year friendship.

    7. Leah was once bodily removed from a state legislator’s press conference after repeatedly asking follow-up questions about the senator’s role in a cover-up. She considers the photo, which ran on the front page of the Miami Star Register, one of her prize possessions.

    8. Leah has an odd assortment of skills mostly picked up from sources and research for various stories. She can start a fire with a battery and aluminum foil, use two fingers to emit an ear-piercing whistle, fix a dislocated shoulder.

    9. Leah was fired from a summer job as a hostess at an all-you-can-eat buffet restaurant for making this announcement over the loudspeaker. “Will the disengaged parents of the two underage terrorists who are destroying our ice cream dessert counter by mixing all the toppings into one container, smashing each other in the face with cups of soft-serve ice cream, and pelting patrons with crushed M&Ms, please pick your offspring up at the register? If you fail to retrieve them in the next five minutes, please check the curb outside the restaurant. Thank you.”

    10. Leah is a terrible dancer. Think Elaine on Seinfeld —the only difference being that she’s aware of it.

     

    Catch Up With Ms. Hunter On:
    leahnashmysteries.com, BookBub, Twitter, & Facebook!

     

    Read an excerpt:

    How did everything go so wrong? But then again, why did she ever think that this could come to anything but disaster? She knows now there are only a few ways this can end and none of them are good.

    She sighs, then bends down to put the leash on Tenny, her crazy little mixed-breed dog, looking up at her with big brown eyes. He’s so happy and so oblivious. Despite her sense of coming catastrophe, she can’t help smiling at him. He begins wagging his tail, then dancing around eagerly in anticipation of his nightly run. She can barely get the leash hooked.

    “Come on, then, you heartless beast. I’m in the worst situation of my life, and all you can think about is getting out and having fun. Tell me again why I bother with you?”

    They leave and walk down the road—no sidewalks here—toward the county fairgrounds, an expanse of 80 acres just a short distance away. She loves the odd mix of town on one side of her home and country on the other.

    She shivers a little. Her exhaled breath leaves a small trace of vapor in the air. Under the silvery light of the full moon, everything stands out in crystalline splendor: the piles of snow left by the plow, untouched yet by the dirt and grime of passing cars; bare branches of trees shimmering with frost; the stars themselves, flashing and glittering like sparkling beads sewn on the black night sky. It is incredibly beautiful. But she barely notices. She is too lost in thought.

    Should she do as she threatened, confess and bring everything to a head? If she does, there’s no going back. And she isn’t the only one who will suffer—or be saved. Because isn’t it possible that freedom, not tragedy, will be the outcome? Things do, sometimes, turn out better than we expect. She feels a momentary spark of optimism, but it fades. This is too important for wishful thinking. She must be realistic. Once the truth is out, the consequences will be devastating. But this—the way she’s living now, lying, denying, pretending that everything is fine—is crushing her. So intent is she on her thoughts that she doesn’t hear the crunch of footsteps behind her.

    Doesn’t notice the increasing agitation of her little dog. Doesn’t recognize the impending danger.

    “I finally caught up with you.”

    Startled, but not alarmed—she recognizes the voice—she turns.

    “What are you doing here?”

    “We didn’t finish. I need to know you understand.”

    She doesn’t want to have this conversation. Not tonight. Not when her mind is so filled with jumbled and conflicting thoughts. Her reluctance shows on her face.

    “You said you want to do the right thing. I do too, but you’re wrong about what it is. Please, let’s talk.”

    “Tomorrow would be better. I—”

    “No! It wouldn’t be!”

    The words are said with such force that she takes an involuntary step backward. Tenny growls softly at her side.

    “I’m sorry. But we’re talking about my life! Don’t I deserve a few minutes at least? I’ll walk with you. Please?”

    She sighs. But now Tenny is pulling at his leash, eager to run free on the frozen surface of the pond.

    “All right.” She slips off her gloves and bends down to release the dog. Her cold fingers fumble and his eager jumping makes it hard work. He spies something on the ice and springs forward with excitement. Both the collar and the leash come loose in her hands, and he dashes away.

    She tucks them into her pocket as she stands. It’s then that she notices the barricades around a large hole in the frozen pond.

    “I forgot about the Polar Plunge tomorrow. Let’s go that way, in case Tenny gets too close. The barriers should keep him out, but he’s a wily little devil.”

    They walk around the edge of the pond. She is silent; she doesn’t interrupt. But she isn’t persuaded. Her focus turns inward, as she searches for the right words to explain. All the while she knows they will be unwelcome. As she struggles for a way to be both truthful and kind, she misses the rising tension in her companion’s voice. She doesn’t register the transition from desperation to danger.

    A loud series of barks causes her to look up. Tenny is chasing a muskrat across the ice. Both of them are heading toward the barrier-shielded hole in the frozen pond. For the muskrat, it will mean escape. For Tenny, it will mean calamity.

    “Tenny, no! Come here!” She runs out on the ice, calling him, moving as fast as she can on the slippery surface, trying to distract the dog. But intent on his prey, he ignores her. He dashes under the barricade just as the muskrat slips into the water to safety. Tenny slides to a stop, gives a few frustrated yips, then turns toward her. His expression clearly says, “Thanks a lot. I almost had him.”

    She reaches the edge of the barricade and pushes it aside, holding out the leash and collar.

    “Tennyson, come here right now.”

    He makes as if to obey, but when she leans to get him, he scampers away. She calls him again.

    He comes tantalizingly close, then eludes her grasp and retreats with a cocky grin on his face.

    He likes this game.

    She sets the collar and leash down on the ice. She gets on one knee and reaches in her pocket.

    When her hand emerges, it’s holding a dog treat. In a honeyed, coaxing voice, she says, “Hey, Tenny. Look, sweetie! Your favorite, cheesy bacon.”

    She stays very still as he approaches. When he gets within range, she intends to scoop him up, scold him, and never let him off the leash again. He moves slowly, maintaining eye contact with the treat, not her. She stretches her hand out ever so slightly. He streaks forward, snatches it from her open palm, and runs away across the pond. Then his attention is caught by a deer just reaching the middle of the ice. He gives chase.

    She sighs with relief. At least he’s away from the open water. She starts to rise. Without warning, a strong shove from behind sends her sprawling. Her head hits the ice. She’s dazed for a second. Then terrified as another shove pushes her forward and into the hole cut in the pond.

    The shock of hitting the water takes her breath away. The weight of her clothes pulls her down.

    She struggles back to the surface, disoriented and confused. Her breathing is shallow and quick—too quick.

    She swallows a mouthful of water and starts to choke. Panic rises. Her arms flail.

    One hits something hard. The edge of the ice. Her fright lessens as she can see a way out.

    She works her body around so she can grab the icy lip of the opening in the pond. She begins to move her legs, stretching out as though she were floating on her stomach. As she transitions from vertical to horizontal, she’s able to get one forearm on the ice. She tries to lift her knee. If she can get it on the ice—she’s too weak. The weight of her water-logged clothes pulls her back into the water. She feels the panic rising again. She pushes back against it with her desperate determination to survive.

    She tries again, kicks her legs again, stretches out again, gets her forearms on the ice again.

    But this time, she doesn’t try to lift herself. Instead, she begins to inch forward with a writhing motion, like a very slow snake crawling on the ground. She fights for every awkward, painful inch of progress. How long has it been? Five minutes? Ten? Twenty? It feels like forever.

    Her arms are numb. Tiny icicles in her hair slap gently against her face as she twists and turns her body out of the water. Tenny is nearby. He’s barking, and then he’s by her left arm, tugging at her sleeve.

    “No, no, Tenny, get back.” She thinks she is shouting, but the words are a whisper. She has to rest, just for a minute. She stops. She closes her eyes. But as her cheek touches the ice, Tenny’s bark calls her back to life. She will not give up. She will not die this way, this night.

    Again, she begins her hesitating progress forward. She can do this. She will do this. Almost her entire upper body is on the ice now. Just a little longer, just a few more inches, just another—hands grab her shoulders. Someone has come. Someone is pulling her to safety. As she turns her head to look up, she realizes the hands aren’t pulling, they’re pushing, pushing, pushing her back.

    No, no, no, no! She tries to fight, but she has nothing left. She’s in the water.

    The hands lock onto her shoulders like talons. They push her down, down, down. Water enters her mouth; her throat closes over. She can’t breathe. The last sound she hears from far, far away is Tenny’s mournful bark. Then darkness closes in.

    ***

    Excerpt from Dangerous Flaws by Susan Hunter. Copyright © 2018 by Susan Hunter. Reproduced with permission from Susan Hunter. All rights reserved.

     

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    Feb 192019
     

    NEVER TELL by Lisa Gardner
    Genre: Mystery, Suspense, Thriller
    Published by Penguin Dutton
    Publication Date: February 19, 2019
    ISBN-10: 1524742082
    ISBN-13: 978-1524742089
    Pages: 416
    Review Copy From: Publisher via NetGalley
    Edition: eBook
    My Rating: 5

    Synopsis (via GR)

    A man is dead, shot three times in his home office. But his computer has been shot twelve times, and when the cops arrive, his pregnant wife is holding the gun.

    D.D. Warren arrives on the scene and recognizes the woman–Evie Carter–from a case many years back. Evie’s father was killed in a shooting that was ruled an accident. But for D.D., two coincidental murders is too many.

    Flora Dane sees the murder of Conrad Carter on the TV news and immediately knows his face. She remembers a night when she was still a victim–a hostage–and her captor knew this man. Overcome with guilt that she never tracked him down, Flora is now determined to learn the truth of Conrad’s murder.

    But D.D. and Flora are about to discover that in this case the truth is a devilishly elusive thing. As layer by layer they peel away the half-truths and outright lies, they wonder: How many secrets can one family have?

    My Thoughts

    I haven’t read a book by Lisa Gardner in years and after reading NEVER TELL I’m asking myself why?

    Does lightning strike twice? Sixteen years ago Evie Carter accidentally shot her father and she now finds her husband Conrad dead, with three gunshots, in his office and then fires the weapon 12 times into his computer because of what she sees on the screen.

    D.D. Warren was on the case 16 years ago and recognizes Evie when she arrives on the current scene.

    Flora Dane, six years ago was rescued after being held captive and tortured for 472 days by Jacob Ness. To this day she has never told the whole story about her abduction but when she sees a picture Evie’s husband on the T.V. as the victim of this recent crime, she instantly recognizes him from when she was held captive. Who really is Conrad?

    She is now a confidential informant to D.D., a vigilante and supporter of other victims.

    What do these 3 women have in common? Is Evie really the killer? What’s the connection between Conrad Carter and the kidnapper Jacob Ness? And why were they both involved in “the dark web”?

    A multi-faceted case spanning 16 years. I was glued to each word trying to figure out the puzzle but never did. I kept switching to each character as to who was the suspect but not even close. The action was non stop. The suspense never ending. A riveting read that had this reader on the edge of my seat!

    Highly recommend!

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