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.

 

Tour Participants:

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


ENTER GIVEAWAY HERE:

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Susan Hunter. There will be 1 winner of one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card. The giveaway begins on February 1, 2019 and runs through April 1, 2019. Void where prohibited.

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Jan 162019
 

Dark Paradise by Gene Desrochers Banner

Dark Paradise

by Gene Desrochers

on Tour January 1-31, 2019

Synopsis:

Dark Paradise by Gene Desrochers

Boise Montague’s life in Los Angeles has fallen apart. After his wife dies, he returns to the tiny island where he grew up. Unfortunately, coming home doesn’t bring him the peace he’s looking for. Things have changed drastically since his last visit. The island has moved on and so have the people he once knew. When Boise tries to find the one friend he thinks he can count on to be there for him, he’s confronted with another death. A murder. A murder that the police did not think important enough to investigate thoroughly. Boise wants answers. He enlists a local reporter named Dana, who has theories of her own, to help him dig deeper. With not much left to lose, a bone to pick with the justice system, and a relentless partner, Boise sets out to do what the police would not: solve the murder of Roger Black. The island of St. Thomas is a gleaming tropical paradise. Welcome to the Caribbean, where murder is as common as sunshine.
 

Book Details:

Genre: Mystery (Caribbean Noir)
Published by: Acorn Publishing
Publication Date: June 25, 2018
Number of Pages: 336
ISBN: 1947392166 (ISBN13: 9781947392168)
Series: Boise #1
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Goodreads

 

Gene Desrochers

Author Bio:

Gene Desrochers hails from a dot in the Caribbean Sea called St. Thomas. He grew up with minimal supervision and free-roaming animals in a guesthouse that also served as a hospital during wartime. He has spent his life steadily migrating west, and now finds himself in Los Angeles with a beautiful wife, cats, and kids. After a lifetime of writing and telling short stories, he ventured into the deep end, publishing his first novel, Dark Paradise in 2018. If you ask, he will regale you with his Caribbean accent and tennis prowess.
 

Guest Post by Gene Desrochers

How is Boise Montague (the main character from Dark Paradise) similar or different from you?

The most compelling similarity between Boise and I from a plot standpoint is we both had a childhood friend who became a drug dealer get murdered. The way Boise discovers that his friend, Roger, is dead, was somewhat similar to the way of found out a friend of mine was murdered. From there I asked the question, “What if I decided to figure out what really happened rather than accepting the party line that he was murdered in a drug deal gone wrong.” That became the nugget of Dark Paradise.

Physically, Boise and I have a mix of commonalities and differences. He’s one-quarter African and three-quarters European and his skin tone alludes to his heritage, although, he could be Puerto Rican or something else. His appearance is not standard or easily categorized. I too have some ambiguity in my history that makes me hard to characterize. I have olive skin and I’m definitely largely Italian, however, I also have Creole in me and perhaps some more deeply ingrained African blood since my mother’s family had been in the Caribbean for generations, interracial relations were not uncommon. We also have similar hair, although I keep my trimmed short so you cannot tell how bushy and curly it is most of the time. We differ in that Boise is overweight and I am not. He’s a little taller but not much.

The biggest thing that ties us together psychologically is a feeling of not belonging anywhere. Both of us grew up in bars and alcoholism was a major factor in our lives. I had two alcoholic step-fathers and Boise had an alcoholic, controlling father. None of our “fathers” ever got treatment or into a program.

My biological father was not a drinker. He was into a healthy lifestyle, which I have personally mirrored. Boise on the other hand has a drinking problem and eats terribly. Unfortunately for my life, but perhaps fortunately for my writing, I did not spend a lot of time with my father as my parents divorced when I was very young and my mother maintained custody. I do not struggle with eating or drinking disorders, however, I have lived with the consequences and witnessed the results of addiction up close and personal for most of my life.

Boise’s position in life and his lost nature reflect the way I’ve felt throughout my life. I did not fit with my family, particularly my mother and her parents. I felt like something was just not right, but I struggled to fit my round self into the square life of my childhood. Boise has similar feelings of displacement. Los Angeles is a place for those who don’t fit elsewhere. That’s why we both wound up there. I tried to return to a past home at one point, but did not fit and in a few months wound up back in Los Angeles for good. I did not have a powerful catalyst driving me away permanently. Boise on the other hand did. Evelyn’s (his wife) death and the subsequent issues with the local authorities over what had happened to her propelled Boise away with a vengeance. For him, L.A. held too many reminders of his loss. He needed to start over, but do it somewhere he felt comfortable. St. Thomas was that place.

I do believe that both Boise and I are men of convictions and a healthy cynicism about the watchers. Between that common fear and the driftwood nature of our early life with people we did not feel anchored to, Boise and I ultimately have a lot more similarities than differences where it counts. I’m exploring those intersections and trying to entertain while doing it.

 

Catch Up With Gene Desrochers On:
genedesrochers.com
Goodreads
Twitter
Facebook!

 

Read an excerpt:

Behind me, the door I’d entered through opened. A very tan redhead showing signs of aging from many days spent in the sun entered carrying a laptop bag and shouldering a camera. A red Carnegie Mellon University baseball cap that looked like it had been run over by a garbage truck covered part of her tough, but beautiful face. She looked me over like I was a mongrel who’d wandered in begging for table scraps.

“You need something?” She dropped her stuff down on the cushioned chair next to the counter.

“Uh, yes, I wondered if I could get some clippings or microfilm or copies or whatever it is newspapers give for issues two to eight years old. Are they digitized yet?” I stammered.

“Seriously, what do you want?” She pulled her Ray-Bans off and the gray-blue of her eyes stunned me for a moment. Using her sunglasses, she tapped my shoulder. “Hello?”

The faint odor of cigarette smoke assaulted me when she got close.

“Clippings, you know, news from the past,” I said.

As she slipped the glasses into a case from her purse she said, “Yes, but you implied that something here was digitized.” She pursed her thin lips. “This newspaper went online three years ago, so, the last three years are available online in the archives section if you buy a subscription. You a subscriber?”

“I don’t have a subscription,” I said defensively.

“Figures. This is why my job is constantly in danger. Everyone expects news for free.” Her fine hair moved in a blur as she shook her head derisively while she rummaged for something in her bag.

“Hey, I’m happy to buy a subscription. I support journalism,” I said. It sounded lame.

We both flinched as a thunderous banging rang through the room as something or someone hit the other side of a door to my left.

She threw her hands up, exclaiming, “Not again!”

“What? What’s that?” I said.

“Calling the cops,” she sang out. “They said they’re gonna start charging us if this happened again,” she whispered.

Another, more urgent banging erupted through the room. The reporter had her cell out.

“Wait,” I said. “Is it really that dangerous?”

“No, just annoying.” She pressed a button on her phone. “You believe this? Now I’m on hold. I could probably walk over to the police station faster. He’ll probably take a dump on the floor by the time we get back.”

***

Excerpt from Dark Paradise by Gene Desrochers. Copyright © 2018 by Gene Desrochers. Reproduced with permission from Gene Desrochers. All rights reserved.

Tour Participants:

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

 

Enter To Win!:

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Gene Desrochers. There will be 2 winners of one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card each. The giveaway begins on January 1, 2019 and runs through February 1, 2019. Void where prohibited.

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Get More Great Reads at Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours

 

Oct 182018
 

Three Strikes

by Ross Klavan, Tim O’Mara, and Charles Salzberg

on Tour September 1 – October 31, 2018

Synopsis:

Three Strikes by Ross Klavan, Tim O'Mara, and Charles Salzberg

I Take Care of Myself in Dreamland

by Ross Klavan

Bartok is horribly scarred. Wounded in the Army, he roams through 1970’s New York, a city of perpetual night, punctuated by crime and populated by streetwalkers, hooker bars, strip clubs, easy drugs and a feeling of doom. There’s one thing on his mind: an experience he had when his Army truck exploded, an experience he calls Red River. More than bliss, more than spiritual. But nothing goes right. Bartok loses his girl, his money, any possibility of support and decides that he’s finished, he’s going to end it but before he does, he’s going out on the town for one last attempt to recapture the incredible experience of Red River. And when he does, he runs into others who see him as an easy mark for dirtier plans…plans that involve murder before suicide.

Bartok’s story is told by a driver for the mob, a guy who’s heard it all and usually keeps his mouth shut because when he begins a trip, it’s almost always one-way.

Jammed

by Tim O’Mara

Aggie’s back. After barely escaping with his life in “Smoked,” Aggie disproves the old adage of “Once burned…” This time around he’s heading from the Midwest to New York City with a sweet shipment of stolen maple syrup. He also has picked up an unwanted-and potentially dangerous-passenger; the fifteen-year-old daughter of his latest boss has hopped on for a free ride to the Big Apple and her on-line boyfriend. When they arrive in NYC, Aggie’s worst fears are realized when the “boyfriend” turns out to be a group of human traffickers. Aggie knew that running one of the world’s most valuable liquids across state lines was skirting the line between safety and danger, but he never knew it could get this sticky.

The Maybrick Affair

by Charles Salzberg

It’s a couple weeks before the attack on Pearl Harbor and a young reporter, Jake Harper, who works for a small Connecticut newspaper, is assigned a routine human interest story. A reclusive, elderly woman, has quietly passed away in her small cottage upstate. Anxious for bigger stories, Jake begins his assignment by trying to find out who this woman was and what kind of life she led. As Jake investigates the old woman’s death he finds that years earlier she was tried and convicted of murdering her husband in a well-publicized, lurid trial in London, England. And, after digging further, he, unearths evidence that she might have had a connection to an even more famous British serial killer and that the ramifications of this story might affect America’s entry into the War.

 

Check out my review HERE and enter the giveaway!

Book Details:

Genre: Crime
Published by: Down & Out Books
Publication Date: September 10th 2018
Number of Pages: 350
ISBN: 978-1-948235-25-9
Series: 3 Authors, 3 Novellas
Purchase Links: Down & Out Books | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

 

Our Authors:

Ross Klavan, Tim O'Mara, and Charles Salzberg

Ross Klavan

Ross Klavan’s work spans film, television, radio, print, live performance and visual art. A novella, “Thump Gun Hitched,” was published in 2016 by Down and Out Books as part of “Triple Shot” along with Charles Salzberg and Tim O’Mara. His darkly comic novel Schmuck was published by Greenpoint Press in 2014. Klavan’s original screenplay for the film Tigerland was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award and the film was released by New Regency starring Colin Farrell. He recently finished an adaption of John Bowers’ The Colony and has written scripts for Miramax, Intermedia, Walden Media, Paramount, A&E and TNT-TV among others. The “conversation about writing” he moderated with Kurt Vonnegut and Lee Stringer was televised and published as Like Shaking Hands with God, and his short stories have appeared in magazines and been produced by the BBC. An earlier novel, Trax, was published under a pseudonym. His play How I Met My (Black) Wife (Again), co-written with Ray Iannicelli, has been produced in New York City, and he has performed his work in numerous theaters and clubs. He has acted and done voice work in TV and radio commercials and has lent his voice to feature films including: Casino, You Can Count on Me, Revolutionary Road, Awake and the Amazon web series Alpha House, written by Gary Trudeau. He has worked as a newspaper and radio journalist in New York City and London. He lives in New York City with his wife, the painter, Mary Jones.

Catch Up With Ross Klavan On: Goodreads, Twitter, & Facebook!

 

Tim O’Mara

TIM O’MARA is best known for his Raymond Donne mysteries about an ex-cop who now teaches in the same Williamsburg, Brooklyn, neighborhood he once policed: Sacrifice Fly (2012), Crooked Numbers (2013), Dead Red (2015), Nasty Cutter (2017), published by Minotaur Books (#1–#3) and Severn House (#4). He recently signed a deal for a fifth Raymond book, The Hook, which should be published in late 2019 by Severn House. His novellas Smoked and Jammed appear in 2016 and 2018 crime trilogies from Down & Out Books. O’Mara taught special education for 30 years in the public middle schools of New York City, where he still lives and teaches adult writers. In addition to writing The Hook and the stand-alone high-school-based crime drama So Close to Me, O’Mara is currently curating a short crime story anthology to benefit the non-profit American Rivers.

Catch Up With Our Author On: timomara.net, Goodreads, Twitter, & Facebook!

 

Charles Salzberg

Charles Salzberg is a former magazine journalist and nonfiction book writer. He is the author of the Shamus Award nominated Swann’s Last Song, and the sequels, Swann Dives In, Swann’s Lake of Despair and Swann’s Way Out. His novel, Devil in the Hole, was named one of the best crime novels of 2013 by Suspense magazine. His latest novel is Second Story Man. He is co-author of Triple Shot, with Ross Klavan and Tim O’Mara (three crime novellas). He teaches writing in New York City and is on the board of the New York chapter of Mystery Writers of America.

Catch Up With Charles Salzberg On: charlessalzberg.com, Goodreads, Twitter, & Facebook!

 

Guest Post by Charles Salzberg


What inspired you to write your first book?

I’m going to skip over the inspiration for my first book, which I began to write when I was 12-years old, primarily because I never finished it. It was a roman a clef (I don’t even think I had a title for it) based on several unhappy summers spent at sleepaway camp. I’d recently learned how to touch type—the most useful course I’ve ever taken in school—and was eager to put my new skill to work. I thought those three or four single-spaced pages were lost forever, but when I moved apartments a few years ago, I found them. Don’t bother asking about them, though, because I haven’t worked up enough nerve yet to actually read them. But I will. Maybe.

I guess the inspiration for my first completed novel, for writing all subsequent novels, in fact, came from reading the work of Saul Bellow, Seize the Day, Herzog, and The Adventures of Augie March, Bernard Malamud, The Fixer and The Natural, Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye, and Norman Mailer’s, Naked and the Dead.
But the actual inspiration for my first completed novel, The Executioner, came from a yearly feature in the Village Voice. The novel is not what you think, an action-packed tale about a ruthless hitman, but rather a moody, literary novel about a middle-aged man who feels his life is meaningless, and is searching for something he can do to make the world a better place. One day, he reads a feature story in the Voice naming the 10 worst landlords in New York City. One of them acts so egregiously, intimidating tenants so they’ll move and he can hike up the rents, failing to provide basic services like heat and hot water, that the protagonist decides his contribution to society will be to rid the world of this horrible man (mind you, I was only in my early twenties when I wrote this novel, so how I thought I knew anything about mid-life crises is beyond me). The novel was never published but it did find me an agent, make me a finalist in for a prestigious fellowship, and serve as a writing sample to get me into an MFA program.

The inspiration for my first published novel, Swann’s Last Song, was an insult. I’d been accepted into the MFA program at Columbia and before classes began I met with my advisor, a pompous published author of middling and certainly not critically acclaimed novels. Our meeting consisted of him berating me because he said I wrote “that psychological crap like Roth and Doestoevsky” (pretty good company, I thought), and then he added gratuitously, “don’t you know what a story is?”

Yeah, I knew what a story was. I was an English major. I’d read hundreds of novels and short stories. The above mentioned The Executioner, was what got me into the program in the first place. Then he delivered the coup de grace, “if you can forget everything you think you know about writing, I can teach you how to be a good writer.” Yeah, right. I quit the program a week later.

But his words stuck in my mind. Of course, I can tell a story. I know exactly what a plot is. I wanted to prove it to him and me and everyone else in the world, so I decided I would write the most heavily plotted kind of book I could think of: a detective novel. So, I read dozens of crime novels: Chandler, Hammett, Nero Wolfe, John D. MacDonald, James M. Cain, Big Jim Thompson, Charles Willeford, anyone I could get my hands on.

And then I began to write. The result was Swann’s Last Song, which languished in a desk drawer for almost twenty years before it was finally published.

Oh, by the way, it was nominated for a Shamus Award for Best First PI Novel.

All of this suggests, at least in my case, that revenge is a very powerful form of inspiration.

 

Read an excerpt:

I Take Care of Myself in Dreamland
By Ross Klavan

 
It was a great time for whores.

New York City, 1970, ’71 maybe, ’72, but, as Bartok was saying, “If nothing else, it’s an ace of a time to be a hooker.” In fact, he says, maybe it’s a lousy time to be anything else. This is what Bartok is telling us he told the whore he’s with, standing in the fleabag hotel on Lex across from Grand Central. Something like, “Must be a great time to be turning tricks.”

Now, a certain kind of guy won’t tell you this but—it doesn’t bother me a damn bit that I’m stupid. Plenty of people would mind—I don’t. They’d be embarrassed—I’m not. When I was a kid they use to say to me, “You don’t have the brains you were born with.” And you know what? They were right. Or maybe I did have those brains, maybe I was born this way. Whatever it is, “stupid” is the reason I’m still around.

The way I see it, I’m just smart enough to keep my mouth shut and at this age—I’m an old man now—you get to see that being smart enough to zip the yap is all the smarts you need. If you take the trip and make your way around, what you’ll end up with anyway is lots of stories you can tell in a bar when nobody wants to listen. So, it’s okay that I’m stupid. Back then, I kept myself dumb except to sometimes say something stupid to make them all laugh. That’s all.

That’s why they let me drive. The smart guys? They didn’t last so long. Smart guys or guys trying to be smart. They’re always the ones who get it first.

“You’re an interesting guy,” they said to me. “You’re the only dumb Yid I’ve ever met.” I told them I was proud to show them that it takes all kinds.

So. Bartok. I’m driving, he’s in the back seat between Nicky and Ray, and he can’t keep his mouth shut, he keeps on chattering like Mr. Happy and he has this strange way of saying things like that he was a guy who “travels the night city, the dark arsenal of bad dreams.”

I said, “You’re a real poet,” and he agreed. I knew he wasn’t gonna last too long.

In the back seat, Bartok shoves his voice down into a whisper so that he sounds like he’s got some hot, evil secret to get off his chest—that’s the way he tells us that he likes hookers except the thing is, they usually don’t take to him. I’m thinking that if this is gonna be his confession, then it’s his last one. “So you’re a guy that even hookers won’t go with,” I say to him. “Man, you ain’t gonna miss much in this world.”

“I can’t say,” Bartok says and it’s the only time he gets so agitated that Ray and Nicky hold him back on the seat. “I can tell.” And then he goes on about the hotel room and how he’s trying to be so cool and charming because, like he says, he’s got this thing for hookers. He likes scotch and hookers he says, and that’s about everything. That’s his entire life. That, and Red River.

 

Jammed
By Tim O’Mara

 

“I oughta shoot you where you stand.”

I know, but I swear to God, that’s exactly what he said. With all I’d been through in the past day and a half, I almost laughed, and I woulda, except he had this huge-ass gun pointed at my face. I guess all guns look big when they’re pointed at you. Forget about it being the biggest cliché in the world, but I was sitting at the time. In his pickup truck. A beautiful red pickup truck. I tell ya, if ya ever commit a crime in the Midwest, make your getaway vehicle a red pickup truck. Soon as you hit the highway, you’ll blend in like a sore thumb in a podiatrist’s office. A sore toe is more like it, but I don’t know what they call hand doctors, so…whatever. You know what I mean.

Truth be told, I was surprised he said anything to me at all. If I was him, I’da shot my ass before I got into his truck. Make sure I didn’t get any blood on the seats. That’s if I was him. Me? I couldn’t shoot someone who wasn’t trying to shoot me. Or maybe trying to hurt a loved one, I guess, y’know? I especially couldn’t shoot someone who comes to a gunfight with a set of keys, which is all I had on me when I got in his truck. That, my driver’s license, and an expired credit card. I think back on it, if I did laugh, it woulda been more than likely my last laugh. My momma used to say, “He who laughs last, laughs best.”

She’da been wrong this time, though. He who laughed last mighta got his ass blown all the way to hell.

Anyway, that was my cook talking, the guy I got my meth from. I screwed up trying to go big league with him. I shoulda learned my lesson and stayed small time and just kept on going with the flow. Sitting next to my cook, in the back seat of the pickup, was that guy Robert who owned the ranch, and was gonna pay me, Elmore, and Mickey to drive those illegal cigarettes to Illinois.

You know things are going to shit when three guys ride out and only two ride back. Somebody wrote a song like that a buncha years ago. The Byrds? The Eagles, maybe?

So, there I am in the back of a pickup, sitting across from my cook and Robert, and I very slowly reach behind me and pull out the money I owed them. What I had left of it, anyway. Robert took it and did that thing like he was weighing it in his hands, letting me know that had the deal gone the way it was supposed to, he’d be holding a lot more money than I’d just given him, we’d be talking about the next deal, and I wouldn’t have a gun sticking in my face.
Nobody talked for a few minutes and I sure as shit wasn’t gonna be the first one to strike up a conversation. I could tell they were both deciding what to do with me and none of the things I came up with in my head were good. Next thing I know, they both take out their phones and start texting. That confused the shit out of me, but after a little while it dawned on me—the way Cook texted and then Robert’s phone would ding and then he’d text and Cook’s phone would ding—that they were texting each other. About me.

 

The Maybrick Affair
By CharlesSalzberg

 

1

If there’s anything more boring, make that deadly boring, than a town council meeting I’ve yet to experience it. But when you’re a young reporter for a small newspaper in a small state—Connecticut—and you’re low man on the totem pole, you don’t have much choice in what you cover. Thank goodness, I only have to do it once a month or in the unlikely event an emergency meeting is called.

It’s not exactly what I had in mind when I broke into journalism after graduating from Yale a couple years ago. I can hardly budget my own meager salary much less understand the town’s budget, and the idea of sitting through lengthy, mostly pointless discussions about traffic violations, Christmas festivals, parades and holiday decorations, well, let’s just say I can think of at least a dozen better uses of my time.

The truth is, not much goes on up here, so you wind up praying for something big, like a multi-car pile-up, a domestic dispute, a burglary, or even a small fire. Nothing too serious, just anything to break the monotony.

But it’s my job to be here, and so I make sure I pay attention and take good notes, which I’ll have to decipher later, since my handwriting leaves much to be desired. My friends used to joke that with that scrawl I should have been a doctor. Not much chance of that, since I gag at the sight of blood.

The way I figure it, I’m just biding my time, paying my dues, impressing my boss with my work ethic in hopes he’ll see he’s wasting me on crap like this and gives me something more interesting. Something like the crime beat. Not that there’s all that much crime up here, but every so often there is a break-in or a domestic squabble, or some two-bit white-collar crime that can possibly make it below the fold on the front page.

I am a fish out of water, living and working in a small town like New Milford. I’m a city kid, born and raised in New York City. Yorkville, to be precise, which is on the upper east side of Manhattan. I literally grew up on the wrong side of the tracks, the tracks of the elevator train, also known as the subway or just plain el. The wrong side of the tracks in this case being east of Park Avenue. My family isn’t German, Czech or Hungarian, but that’s who mostly inhabit my neighborhood and that heritage is reflected in the local restaurants and bakeries, places like the Bremen House, Geiger’s, Schaller and Weber, and Kleiner Konditorei,
A small-town council meeting is a stretch for me, especially since the usual issues under discussion are so provincial and, for the most part, intrinsically uninteresting, at least to me.

***

Excerpt from Three Strikes by Ross Klavan, Tim O’Mara, and Charles Salzberg. Copyright © 2018 by Ross Klavan, Tim O’Mara, and Charles Salzberg. Reproduced with permission from Down & Out Books. All rights reserved.

 

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Oct 102018
 

Beneath The River by Alexandrea Weiss and Lucas Astor Banner

Death by the River

by Alexandrea Weis and Lucas Astor

on Tour October 1 – November 30, 2018

Synopsis:

Death by the River by Alexandrea Weis and Lucas Astor

A High School “American Psycho

SOME TRUTHS ARE BETTER KEPT SECRET.
SOME SECRETS ARE BETTER OFF DEAD.

Along the banks of the Bogue Falaya River, sits the abandoned St. Francis Seminary. Beneath a canopy of oaks, blocked from prying eyes, the teens of St. Benedict High gather here on Fridays. The rest of the week belongs to school and family—but weekends belong to the river.

And the river belongs to Beau Devereaux.

The only child of a powerful family, Beau can do no wrong. Handsome. Charming. Intelligent. The star quarterback of the football team. The “prince” of St. Benedict is the ultimate catch.

He is also a psychopath.

A dirty family secret buried for years, Beau’s evil grows unchecked. In the shadows of the ruined St. Francis Abbey, he commits unspeakable acts on his victims and ensures their silence with threats and intimidation. Senior year, Beau sets his sights on his girlfriend’s headstrong twin sister, Leslie, who hates him. Everything he wants but cannot have, she will be his ultimate prize.

As the victim toll mounts, it becomes crystal clear that someone has to stop Beau Devereaux.

And that someone will pay with their life.

Book Details:

Genre: Young Adult, Horror, Thriller
Published by: Vesuvian Books
Publication Date: October 2, 2018
Number of Pages: 389
ISBN: 1944109145 (ISBN13: 9781944109141)
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

 

Alexandrea Weis:

Alexandrea Weis

Alexandrea Weis, RN-CS, CRRN, ONC, PhD, is a multi award-winning author of twenty-five 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 paranormal, suspense, thrillers, horror, crime fiction, and romance.

Q&A with Alexandrea Weis

Welcome!
Writing and Reading:

Do you draw from personal experiences and/or current events?

I draw from a lot of personal experiences. As a nurse for over twenty-five years I have had a lot of experience with the human condition—good and bad. It has made me a better writer.

Do you start with the conclusion and plot in reverse or start from the beginning and see where the story line brings you?

I always start at the beginning and see where the story brings me. I like to surprise myself as I write, and I never plot out a story because I never stick with it.

Are any of your characters based on you or people that you know?

Some characters in every book I write are based on the people I know. Makes them more relatable for me and the reader.

Your routine when writing? Any idiosyncrasies?

I just sit and write. I spend several hours a day writing, so it has become a habit for me.

Tell us why we should read this book.

Death by the River is an entertaining and riveting in-depth look at a man’s descent into depravity and the psychological instability he suffers from. How he manifests his fantasies by hurting the innocent also ignites the need for revenge in the women he harms. How his mental illness develops, and how it affects others, is the crux of the story. Beau Devereaux for me is a fascinating character.

Who are some of your favorite authors?

Ian Fleming, Mary Renault, Charles Dickens.

What are you reading now?

ISAN: International Sensory Assassin Network by Mary Ting

Are you working on your next novel? Can you tell us a little about it?

My next YA (historical) novel is complete and will be out in May 2019. Realm (Vesuvian Books) is about the sixteen-year-old Persian wife of Alexander the Great—Roxana. The daughter of a local governor in Bactria, Alexander married her and took her with him on his travels across Persia and India. It is about her time with him and the years after his death when she is bounced around his myriad of generals who are vying for control of his empire. It is an epic tale of love, conquest, and the plight of women in ancient times. History tells his story. This is hers.

Fun questions:
Favorite leisure activity/hobby?

I’m a runner. When I am not writing, I am working out on my treadmill.

Favorite meal?

French fries.

Thank you for stopping by CMash Reads and spending time with us.

 

Catch Up With Our Alexandrea On:
Website, 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)

 

Read an excerpt:

Crickets chirped and mist curled around him as Beau eased out of the crack in the wall to the cells. The chill in the air teased his sweaty skin, but the surge of power pounding through his blood was like liquid fire.

The rush consumed him. He knew in that instant he would find another victim, but his rational mind begged him to be careful.

Don’t get caught.

He chuckled. Besides the money, his father still had hefty political clout in Baton Rouge, thanks to his notorious grandfather and years of murky business dealings. The family name had spared him in the past from legal proceedings and institutions. It would again.

Heading toward the fountain across the grassy field, Beau considered his next night of fun. Before he reached the forgotten angel, a flash in the corner of his eye made him turn.

Amid the trees, crowding the edge of the property, something darted in and out. He could just make out a long, white hooded cloak, fluttering and billowing at the edge of the woods. Then it disappeared.

His heart rocketed to his throat. It can’t be!

All the stories he’d heard of the lady in white of The Abbey came rushing back at once, intensifying his panic.

Then he calmed. Someone had to be messing with him. It wasn’t the girl. Kelly had taken off, a bawling mess, across the field several minutes before and he’d heard the slam of the iron gate. He was alone. Unless … the guys had pulled a fast one on him.

But the guys don’t know about your room in the cells.

Beau cut across the grass, anxious to get to the iron gate and back to the party. Almost to the path, he glanced back over his shoulder to the patch of trees where he had seen the ghostly presence. Nothing was there.

It was just your imagination. Or was it?

He made it to the party at the beach, relieved to be back among people, but the incident with the ghost had eradicated his high.

He hungered for it to return but would have to wait.

***

Excerpt from Death by the River by Alexandrea Weis and Lucas Astor. Copyright © 2018 by Alexandrea Weis and Lucas Astor. Reproduced with permission from Vesuvian Books. All rights reserved.

 

Tour Participants:

Tour Participants:

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Enter To Win:

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Vesuvian Media Group. There will be 1 winner of one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card. The giveaway begins on October 1, 2018 and runs through December 3, 2018. Void where prohibited.

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Oct 092018
 

Dead in the Dark

by Stephen Booth

on Tour September 25 – October 25, 2018

Synopsis:

Dead in the Dark by Stephen Booth

How do you prove a murder without a body?

Ten years ago, Reece Bower was accused of killing his wife, a crime he always denied. Extensive police searches near his home in Bakewell found no trace of Annette Bower’s remains, and the case against him collapsed.

But now memories of the original investigation have been resurrected for Detective Inspector Ben Cooper – because Reece Bower himself has disappeared, and his new wife wants answers.

Cooper can’t call on the Major Crime Unit and DS Diane Fry for help unless he can prove a murder took place – impossible without a body. As his search moves into the caves and abandoned mines in the isolated depths of Lathkilldale, the question is: who would want revenge for the death of Annette Bower?

 

Book Details:

Genre: Mystery
Published by: Witness Impulse
Publication Date: September 25, 2018
Number of Pages: 384
ISBN: 0062876104 (ISBN13: 9780062876102)
Series: Cooper & Frye Mysteries #17
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

 

Guest Post by Stephen Booth

10 things that readers don’t know about Detective Inspector Ben Cooper

  1. Ben Cooper’s birthday is in late June, so his star sign is Cancer (like mine!).
  2. He broke his arm as a child when his older brother Matt pushed him off his bike. He still gets a twinge of pain in the winter.
  3. Like many children who grew up on a farm, Ben once had pet lamb that had lost its mother. He called it Norman.
  4. As a teenager, his first girlfriend’s name was Stephanie. She was the daughter of a local veterinary surgeon, but she dumped him when he announced he was joining the police.
  5. Ben barely scraped good enough grades at school to qualify as a police cadet – unlike his colleague Diane Fry, who is a university graduate in Crime and Policing.
  6. However, after his day-to-day experience as a cadet and a police constable, he passed his sergeant’s exams with flying colours.
  7. Ben played rugby for a while, as a wing threequarter with Edendale rugby club, but a bad tackle during a match against Buxton aggravated his old injury.
  8. As a uniformed police constable, he was once called to an incident of domestic violence and had to single-handedly tackle a man armed with a knife, for which he received a Chief Constable’s commendation.
  9. On his desk in his office, Ben Cooper has an aerial view of Bank End Farm, where he grew up.
  10. He doesn’t have much time for reading because of his job, but when he does he enjoys historical fiction like Bernard Cornwell or Simon Scarrow. He rarely reads crime novels, because he finds them too unrealistic.

 

Stephen Booth

Author Bio:

A former newspaper journalist, British author Stephen Booth is the creator of two young Derbyshire police detectives, Ben Cooper and Diane Fry, who have appeared in 17 crime novels, all set in and around England’s Peak District.

 

Catch Up With Stephen Booth On:
stephen-booth.com
Goodreads
Twitter
Facebook

 

Read an excerpt:

Chapter One

No one wants to die in the dark. To lie alone in the blackness, feeling the chill of death creep slowly over you. Shut away from the light as the fear numbs your limbs and chokes the breath in your throat. The long, long sinking into the cold depths. And then to sense that slipping away. The final slipping away into nothing.

Do you feel that stab of pain as it shoots through your chest? Try to make your breathing more shallow. You have several broken ribs, a fractured arm, perhaps a punctured lung. You can hardly know, in the dark. But you can feel the internal bleeding, the seeping blood as it squeezes your internal organs, bloats your stomach and intestines. You know your injuries are fatal.

That fear of the dark is overwhelming. Because this is true darkness, an eternal night in which your eyes have become useless. Your heart thumps uselessly as you strain to see where you’re lying. You can sense space around you, a slight movement of icy air, a shifting of heavy masses, a solid weight way above your head. A sharp, stabbing pain is in your back from something hard you’re lying on. This isn’t a grave. But it is your tomb.

Does your fear of the dark make any sense? When you’re dead, you go into endless blackness. Yet you’ve always hoped you would get one last glimpse of the light, always prayed that you wouldn’t die alone.

Well, that’s not going to happen. There’s nothing for you to see here. Not a glimmer of light, not a flicker of hope. Only the darkness.

A creak and a rattling makes you freeze. Is someone here? Or some thing? But no . . . you breathe out and release the pain. The noise has quite a different meaning. It’s something huge shifting overhead. It signals the end, the approach of your death. You’re about to be crushed completely.

***

Excerpt from Dead In The Dark by Stephen Booth. Copyright © 2018 by Witness Impulse. Reproduced with permission from Witness Impulse. All rights reserved.

 

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Enter the Giveaway!:

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Harper Collins/Witness Impulse. There will be 3 winners of one (1) copy of SECRETS OF DEATH by Stephen Booth (eBook). The giveaway begins on September 25, 2018 and runs through October 26, 2018. Open to U.S. addresses only. Void where prohibited.

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