Nov 282018
 

The Devil’s Son

by Charles Kowalski

on Tour November 19 – December 21, 2018

Synopsis:

The Devil's Son by Charles Kowalski

 

 

The son of a notorious Nazi fugitive is running for U.S. President. A Secret Service Agent sworn to protect him meets a beautiful Mossad spy determined to stop him.

 

 

 

 

Book Details:

Genre: Political, Espionage thriller
Published by: Seabridge Press
Publication Date: July 24, 2018
Number of Pages: 333
ISBN: 1724248731 (ISBN13: 9781724248732)
Purchase Links: Amazon | Goodreads

 

Author Bio:

Charles Kowalski

Charles Kowalski is an active member of International Thriller Writers. His debut thriller, MIND VIRUS, won the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers’ Colorado Gold Award, and was a finalist for Killer Nashville’s Silver Falchion Award for Best Thriller of 2017. His latest, THE DEVIL’S SON, was shortlisted for the 2018 Adventure Writers’ Competition Grandmaster Award. He divides his time between Japan, where he teaches at a university, and Downeast Maine.

Catch Up With Charles Kowalski On:
Website, Goodreads, Twitter, & Facebook!

 

Q&A with Charles Kowalski

Welcome!
Writing and Reading:

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

I started this book by drawing from current events, but then current events caught up with the book – and overtaken it, in frightening ways that I couldn’t have foreseen. As C.S. Lewis once said, “The trouble with writing satire is that the real world always anticipates you, and things that were meant as exaggerations turn out to be nothing of the sort.”

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

I start with a concept. When I sit down to write, I start from the beginning and have a fair idea where the story will go. I don’t start unless I can see the ending, but invariably, there are twists and turns on the way that take me by surprise.

Are any of your characters based on you or people that you know?
Any similarity to any actual persons, events, or presidents is purely coincidental.

Your routine when writing? Any idiosyncrasies?

I have a full-time job and a family, so I write in stolen moments – on trains, in cafes, in the office after the day’s work is done, or at home after everyone has gone to bed. I often get my best ideas when I’m in motion, either going for a walk or performing some mindless task, so I’ll often have my laptop on the kitchen counter when washing the dishes or hanging the laundry, just in case inspiration strikes.

Tell us why we should read this book.

To make sure it stays in the fiction section.

Who are some of your favorite authors?

I’ve been inspired by other writers of thrillers with a religious angle, like Dan Brown and Daniel Silva. I’ve also been encouraged by other Japan-based thriller writers whose scope has expanded worldwide, like Barry Eisler and Barry Lancet; I hope I can do the same, even though my name isn’t Barry!

What are you reading now?

I’m eagerly looking forward to starting the Detective Hiroshi series by a fellow Japan-based author, Michael Pronko.

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

After two highly charged, research-intensive thrillers, MIND VIRUS and THE DEVIL’S SON, I’m working on something lighter and hopefully non-controversial: a middle-grade historical fantasy set in 17th century Japan, featuring Simon Grey, an English boy who runs away to sea to escape from his “gift” of seeing ghosts.

Fun questions:
Your novel will be a movie. Who would you cast?

Gal Gadot as Rachel. As for Henry Hale, Aaron Eckhart says he doesn’t want to play any more villains, but I hope he’d make an exception.

Favorite leisure activity/hobby?

Besides writing? Or did you mean “favorite means of procrastination”? I confess before the assembly of the faithful that I’m more easily distracted by the siren song of social media (that counts as writing, right?) and Netflix (that counts as research, right?) than I would like to be.

Favorite meal?

My default lunch on a busy writing day is spaghetti pepperoncino made with habanero-infused olive oil. Definitely not for the faint of heart!

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

 

Read an excerpt:

BUENOS AIRES, ARGENTINA
1960

Azriel “Azi” Horowitz grimaced as his partner’s Zippo flared in the darkness beside him. He had never been a smoker, and in the confines of the Ford Mainline – a clunker, but the best rental they could find, and not out of place in the working-class Olivos neighborhood in Partido Vicente Lopez – the fumes from the Lucky Strikes nauseated him.

“Yaki, you know I have a little problem with noxious gases in closed spaces.”

Yaakov Lavan shrugged, with his usual easygoing grin. “We’re just two old friends having a chat, right, Azi? And we have to do it in the car, because my wife won’t let me smoke near the baby.”

Horowitz had to concede the point, although he still thought it was a rather thin cover story. One small mercy of operating in Argentina was that the sight of two men conversing in a parked car at night was not altogether uncommon, but every little extra touch of realism they could add was vital. If anyone accosted them, they would have a lot more explaining to do than either of them could manage in Spanish.

Lavan took a deep drag from his cigarette, held it for a moment, and slowly exhaled a white cloud with a look of supreme contentment. As much as Horowitz hated the smell of tobacco, he felt a touch of envy for his partner, and wished he had some similarly portable means of calming his own nerves. His mind continually flitted over the long journey that had brought them to this moment – the years of detective work that had traced their targets to Argentina, the months of secretly stalking and planning in their theater of operations – and all the hundreds of things that could still go wrong.

In addition to the unease in his mind, Horowitz felt another kind in his body: he desperately needed a bathroom break. Thanks to one of the men they were waiting for, his kidneys had stopped growing at the age of seven.

Their targets called themselves Carlos Vasquez and José Mendoza, and had the identity cards to prove it, but Horowitz had first made their acquaintance under different names. One was SS Hauptsturmführer Karl Weiss, #7278, the sadistic Lagerführer – deputy commandant – of Auschwitz. The other, holding the same SS rank, was Josef Mengele, #317885, a living desecration of the title of “doctor.” Anyone who had ever passed through the gates of Auschwitz knew him by yet another name: der Totesengel, the Angel of Death.

If all goes well, Horowitz thought, tonight will be a night for the history books. With luck and the blessing of the Almighty, they would soon have their targets in hand and be on their way to the safe house code-named Tira – “castle” in Hebrew – where Mengele and Weiss would go straight into an improvised holding cell, to join the worst of the worst: SS Obersturmbannführer Adolf Eichmann, “the Master,” architect of the Holocaust, personally responsible for the murder of millions.

The Israeli government naturally regarded Eichmann as the grand prize, but Horowitz had a personal score to settle with Mengele and Weiss. As soon as the cattle car arrived in Auschwitz, Weiss had sent Horowitz’s mother and father directly to the gas chambers, but knowing Mengele’s notorious fascination with twins, kept Azriel and his sister Rachel alive as subjects for his experiments. Mengele had tried to change Rachel’s eye color by injecting her eyeballs with a substance that left her blind, and then infected her with typhus, keeping a careful record of her wasting away. When her end was near, rather than let the disease claim her, Mengele passed her on to Weiss, who used her in one final experiment to see how long it would take to die from a new type of lethal injection.

It had taken twelve minutes and nineteen seconds before she stopped screaming.

“Look,” came Lavan’s voice, bringing Horowitz sharply back to the present. “Is that them?”

Horowitz gazed through the windshield and saw two figures staggering tipsily along the route from the Hofbräuhaus, the German restaurant Mengele and Weiss were known to frequent, towards the guest house where they lived. At first, the darkness and distance made it impossible to make out their features. Then they stepped into the light of a street lamp, and Horowitz risked a quick glance through his binoculars. At the sight of their faces, he felt a sudden burning pain in his left forearm.

Fifteen years had passed since Horowitz last saw those faces, but there could be no mistaking the granite jaw and ice-blue eyes of Weiss. Nor was there any doubt about the gap-toothed smile that gave Mengele the appearance of a little boy – one who delighted in torturing anything smaller and weaker than himself. Many children in Auschwitz had seen that smile on the face of their self-proclaimed “Uncle Josef” as he sat them on his knee, gave them sweets, stroked their hair – and in a soft, soothing voice, ordered an aide to inject them with poison.

“It’s them,” Horowitz said.

“You’re sure?”

“Positive.”

Lavan stubbed out his cigarette. He turned around in the driver’s seat, pointed a hooded flashlight at the car behind them, and gave it two quick on-off bursts. The crew in the second car would relay the signal to Tabor and Rosen, who were waiting around the corner.

Right on cue, they appeared a moment later, Tabor in a suit and fedora, Rosen in a coat that would allow her ample freedom of movement. They sauntered toward Mengele and Weiss, with the same relaxed, unsteady gait as their targets, pretending to be absorbed in conversation, occasionally leaning on each other for support. To all appearances, they were a couple coming home from a party with a few too many drinks under their belts, too wrapped up in each other to take much notice of their surroundings.

They would maintain this masquerade until they passed their targets, right between the two cars. Then they would turn and grab them from behind, as the driver of the rear car switched on the high beams to blind them. Horowitz, and the other strongman in the rear car, would jump out and help Tabor and Rosen subdue their targets and bundle one of them into each car. They would apply an ether mask to knock them out, and the two cars would take off on separate routes to Tira, where they and their captives would stay until the plane was ready to take them all back to Israel.

And then, Horowitz thought, all the stories you thought would lie buried with your victims will be told to the world, from a courtroom in Jerusalem. The world will know what we mean when we say, “Never forget.”

He pulled on a pair of gloves. The May night was chill enough to warrant them, but more than that, he might have to use his hand to muffle Weiss’s screams. It revolted him to think of his bare hands touching the mouth that had ordered his parents gassed and his sister tortured to death.

Tabor and Rosen were fifty paces away from their targets and closing.

Forty paces.

Thirty.

Horowitz heard the roar of a motorcycle approaching from behind. He tensed, and took an anxious glance in the rear-view mirror. The last thing they needed at this moment was for the police to pass by. The upcoming celebrations for Argentina’s hundred-fiftieth anniversary, which had all of Buenos Aires in a festive mood, had proven to be a double-edged sword for Horowitz and his team. The diplomatic entourage from Israel, one of many visiting from all over the world, had provided the perfect cover, but the influx of high-level international visitors also meant the constant menace of police patrols and checkpoints. The Mossad team was conducting this operation without the knowledge or approval of the Argentine government, and if they were found out, they might well go to jail. And, far worse, their targets might well go free.

The motorcycle passed by the lead car. Horowitz took a sidelong glance and saw no police insignia, just a single rider driving rather unsteadily. He breathed a little easier, but his heart was still pounding.

Twenty paces.

Ten.

“Get ready to meet the real Angel of Death, you sons of bitches,” Horowitz muttered aloud.

***

Excerpt from The Devil’s Son by Charles Kowalski. Copyright © 2018 by Charles Kowalski. Reproduced with permission from Charles Kowalski. 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 Charles Kowalski. There will be 1 winner of one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card. The giveaway begins on November 19, 2018 and runs through December 22, 2018. Void where prohibited.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

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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.

 

Tour Participants:

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


 

Get More Great Reads at Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours

 

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.

 

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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.

 

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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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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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Oct 022018
 

Scar Tissue

by Patricia Hale

on Tour October 1-31, 2018

Synopsis:

Scar Tissue by Patricia Hale

Track star, Ashley Lambert, has just been accepted into the prestigious Johns Hopkins University, so when she jumps eighteen stories to her death her parents hire the PI team of Griff Cole and Britt Callahan to find out why. The investigation exposes a deeply disturbed family hiding behind a façade of perfection and follows Ashley’s descent into performance enhancing drugs and blackmail. Ashley’s coaches, peers and even her parents come into question. The disturbing truth behind Ashley’s death is testimony to lines crossed and allegiances sworn…. in the name of love.

Meanwhile, things don’t add up next door. Britt’s working overtime researching their new neighbors whose one-year-old son disappeared four years ago. Rhea McKenzie, has a secret and bruises aren’t the only thing she’s trying to hide. When an off-hand comment discloses a connection to Ashley Lambert the two cases become entwined, setting off an unstoppable chain of events. Britt is sucked into an alliance with Rhea and driven to make decisions that challenge her ethics, threaten her relationship and in the end, push her over a line she never thought she’d cross.

**Check out my review HERE and enter the giveaway**

Book Details:

Genre: Thriller
Published by: Intrigue Publishing
Publication Date: September 1, 2018
Number of Pages: 194
ISBN: 978-1-940758-85-5
Series: Cole and Callahan #3
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

 

Patricia Hale 

Author Bio:

Patricia Hale lives in Standish, ME with her husband. She is a graduate of the MFA program at Goddard College, a member of International Thriller Writers, Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, Maine Writers and Publishers Alliance and the NH Writers Project. Scar Tissue is the third book in the Cole & Callahan thriller series. When the computer is off, you can find Patricia on the sideline of her grandsons’ sporting events or hiking the trails near her home with her German shepherd and one very bossy Beagle.

 

Guest Post

10 Things about Britt and Griff the reader doesn’t know….

It’s hard to find things unknown about Britt, she’s not one to exercise discretion. But she does understand self-preservation and doesn’t always show her hand when it comes to her own insecurities. Truth be told, a childhood spent with dis-interested parents took its toll and left her forever feeling like she has something to prove, hoping someone will notice. So, she leaps before she looks and gets into things she shouldn’t… like the neighbors’ secrets in Scar Tissue.

But Griff understands her. Although he doesn’t always approve of her impulsivity, it’s one of the things about her that he loves. It keeps her interesting and nicely off-sets his careful, methodical approach to investigations and to life. If he could just make her give up her honey berry cigars their relationship would be damn near perfect. Even though everything about them seems to run in opposition. He’s mid-forties, she’s early thirties. He’s been married once, she panics at the “M” word. She’s mercurial, he’s grounded. What one lacks, the other offers. No wonder they work so well together.

What Griff hasn’t mentioned is that he wants a dog and a fleet of antique cars and the big one… someday he wants to live in St. John, Virgin Islands.

What Britt has neglected to mention is that she’ll never move from Maine. It’s home and where her sister, Amy, lives. Maine is her living, breathing security blanket.

And the big one is coming. Now that they own a house together, Griff’s ring shopping and planning a Christmas surprise.

But Britt finds Christmas depressing, filled only with memories of disappointment as a child. It’s a holiday she’d sooner forget than celebrate.

But so far, they’ve made it through a serial killer too close to home in, The Church of the Holy Child. A religious cult covering for a prostitution ring in, Durable Goods. And in Scar Tissue, Britt crosses a line that flies in the face of everything Griff stands for.

If they can weather those storms, I think they’ll make it through whatever I can throw at them. And at the end of the day we’ll see them munching Wheat Thins and smoked Gouda, washing it all down with a Pinot Grigio and Gritty’s Black Fly Stout.

Catch Up With Our Author On:
Website, Goodreads, Twitter, & Facebook!

 

Read an excerpt:

“I don’t believe my daughter jumped. She wouldn’t have done that. I told the police, but they dismissed me. Evidently, they knew my daughter better than I did.”

“What’s your feeling on that, Mrs. Lambert?” I asked. Parents don’t always share perspectives on their children.

When she looked at me, her eyes were moist. She cradled the columbine in her palm. “Call me Gwen.”

I nodded.

“Ashley was a good girl. She worked very hard at everything she did.”

“She was the best, always. She made sure of it,” Greg chimed in.

Or else you did, I thought.

“It would have gone against her nature to jump off that building. It just wasn’t her way,” Gwen added.

“Her way?” Greg squinted at his wife, his face twisted in disgust as though studying an insect on flypaper. “What the hell does that mean?” He stood and walked around the circumference of our seating arrangement and then came back and took his chair again. “My girl did as she was told. And only what she was told.”

“It’s not always easy to tell a senior in college what to do,” I said. “At some point they start making their own choices even if some are ones their parents might not like.”

“Not my girl.” Greg shook his head, knocking my theory out of the park. Dismissed as impossible.

I couldn’t help but notice he kept referring to Ashley as my girl not our girl as though he’d created her, given birth and raised her throughout her short life singlehandedly. I didn’t like him. My assessment of Gwen was still up in the air, but she was wrapped so tight I couldn’t get a glimpse inside. It’s never easy to work for someone you don’t like, but Ashley’s case held the interest factor. Why had this seemingly perfect child jumped to her death?

“She was a star athlete at the top of her class and a week from graduation,” Greg continued. “She’d been accepted at Johns Hopkins Berman Institute for Bioethics. And you’re telling me that’s a kid who makes bad decisions? I don’t think so, Ms. Callahan.”

Okay, he shut me up. (A momentary lull.)

“Mr. Lambert,” Griff spoke up. “I have a daughter. I can’t imagine what you must be going through dealing with all this. What is it you think we can do for you?”

“I told the police and the medical examiner that my daughter wouldn’t take her own life. Cops shook their heads, said it wasn’t their call to make. The medical examiner said it presented as a cut and dried suicide.”

“And what do you say, Mr. Lambert?”

“My daughter was murdered.”

I glanced at Gwen. “Do you agree, Mrs. Lambert?”

She raised her eyes, glanced at her husband and then to me. “I’m not convinced, but I do agree that suicide doesn’t fit with who my daughter was.”

Griff kept his focus on Greg. “What makes you think someone would have killed your daughter? Did she have enemies that you’re aware of?”

“No, no enemies that I know of, but her jumping makes no sense. She had everything going for her and absolutely no reason to end her life. She would never have done that to me.”

Strike two. The selfish bastard assumed his daughter’s tragic death had more to do with him than whatever had driven her to that fateful state of mind. “Suicide is about what’s going on within the person themselves,” I said trying not to let my voice betray my disgust. “I doubt Ashley was consciously doing anything to you at the moment she jumped. If she jumped.”

“She knew the goals we’d set,” he said dismissing my remark. “And she had every intention of attaining them.”

“Goals?” I asked.

“Johns Hopkins, her PhD, an Olympic gold medal.”

“Had she been accepted to compete in the Olympics?” Griff asked.

“It was in the works,” he said annunciating each word as though we were hard of hearing.

“Did you let the medical examiner know how you felt?”

“Of course, I did.”

“And was an autopsy performed?”

Greg Lambert glanced at his wife. She looked away. Touchy subject, I gathered.

“Useless,” he said. “They found nothing.” He turned to Gwen. “Go get my checkbook.”

She rose and disappeared inside the house without a word, still holding the columbine in her hand.

I caught Griff’s eye and he raised his eyebrows as though asking, should we?

“Look Mr. Lambert,” he said. “Britt and I like to discuss a case before we commit to it. We want to feel some degree of surety that we can help you before money changes hands and we sign a contract. Give us time to talk it over and we’ll get back to you tomorrow.”

Gwen reappeared holding a large, black-spiraled checkbook. Greg took it from her along with the pen she offered and flipped open the front of the book. He looked at Griff. “How much do you want?” he asked.

“Mr. Lambert, I…” Griff started.

“We’ll give you the information you need to get started. I don’t have any doubt you’ll see it my way. What’s the retainer?” He held the pen poised over the checkbook.

“Five thousand,” Griff said.

I thought that was a little high. He must be thinking about the pool we wanted to install.

“And a list of names. Professors, coaches and friends,” he added.

Greg pointed to his wife. “Put that together.”

Dismissed, Gwen went inside to gather what we needed.

Once we had the necessary information from Gwen, and Greg’s check was folded inside Griff’s pocket, Carole stepped onto the deck and offered to show us out.

“We’ll be in touch,” Griff said. He stood extending a hand toward Greg.

Greg Lambert rose from his chair and placed his hands on his hips. “When?”

“As soon as I have something to tell you,” Griff said lowering his arm.

Griff’s ability to come off unfazed by blatant rude behavior is beyond me. I couldn’t get off that porch fast enough. If I’d lingered I would have placed a well-directed snap kick to Greg Lambert’s groin.

We followed Carole to the front door. She swung it wide and stepped with us outside then pulled the door closed behind her. On the front step she glanced from one of us to the other then dropped her head and stared at the granite, clearly trying to make up her mind. We waited. When she looked up she extended her arm toward Griff as though intending to shake.

“Look,” she said. “I’m probably way out of line here and dipshit in there will have me banned if he knows I’m talking to you. I’m already on probation around here so whatever I say stays between us, all right?”

Griff nodded and reached for her hand, keeping his eyes on her face.

She slipped a folded piece of paper into his palm. “I’m Carole Weston, Gwen’s sister. Call me,” she said. “There’s more to this. A lot more.”

***

Excerpt from Scar Tissue by Patricia Hale. Copyright © 2018 by Patricia Hale. Reproduced with permission from Patricia Hale. All rights reserved.

 

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