Category: The Book Trib/Media Muscle




THE PRESENT: In Utah, the fabled remains of Mormon pioneers whose nineteenth-century expedition across the desert met with a murderous end have been uncovered. In Washington, D.C., the official investigation of an international entrepreneur, who is also an elder in the Mormon Church, has sparked a political battle between the White House and a powerful United States senator. In Denmark, a Justice Department agent, missing in action, has fallen into the hands of a dangerous zealot—a man driven by divine visions to make a prophet’s words reality. In a matter of a few short hours, Cotton Malone has gone from quietly selling books at his shop in Denmark to dodging bullets in a high-speed boat chase.

All it takes is a phone call from his former boss in Washington, and suddenly the ex-agent is racing to rescue an informant carrying critical intelligence. It’s just the kind of perilous business that Malone has been trying to leave behind, ever since he retired from the Justice Department. But once he draws enemy blood, Malone is plunged into a deadly conflict—a constitutional war secretly set in motion more than two hundred years ago by America’s Founding Fathers.

From the streets of Copenhagen, to the catacombs of Salzburg, to the rugged mountains of Utah, the grim specter of the Civil War looms as a dangerous conspiracy gathers power. Malone risks life, liberty, and his greatest love in a race for the truth about Abraham Lincoln—while the fate of the United States of America hangs in the balance.

Read an excerpt:

“I have not left anyone in doubt. My task is to save the Union. I would save it the shortest way under the Constitution. The sooner the national authority can be restored, the nearer the Union will be the Union as it was. If I could save the Union without freeing any slave, I would do it. If I could save it by freeing all slaves, I would do it. If I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone, I would also do that. What I do about slavery, and the colored race, I do because I believe it helps to save the Union. What I forbear, I forbear because I don’t believe it would help to save the Union. I shall do less whenever I shall believe what I am doing hurts the cause, and I shall do more whenever I shall believe doing more will help the cause.”

“Then you are not my president, sir. Nor would you be the president of those who voted for you.”

“But I am president. So take this message back to the general. He was sent west to move the army to Memphis and keep advancing eastward. Those are still his orders. He shall either obey them or be removed from his post.”

“I must warn you, sir, that it could be hard if you continue to oppose the general. He could set up for himself.”

The federal treasury was empty. The War Department a mess. No Union army anywhere was prepared to advance. And now this woman, and her insolent husband, were threatening revolt? He should have them both arrested. Unfortunately, however, Fremont’s unilateral emancipation had become popular with abolitionists and liberal Republicans who wanted slavery ended now. A bold strike at their champion could be political suicide.

He said, “This meeting is over.”

She threw him a glare, one that said she was unaccustomed to being dismissed. But he ignored her sneer and stepped across the room, opening the door for her to leave. Hay, his personal secretary, was on duty outside, as was one of the stewards. Mrs. Fremont passed Hay without saying a word, and the steward led her away. He waited until he heard the front door open, then close, before signal-ing for Hay to join him in the parlor.

“That is an impertinent soul,” he said. “We never even sat. She gave me no chance to offer her a seat. She taxed me so violently with so many things that I had to exercise all the awkward tact I have to avoid quarreling with her.”

“Her husband is no better. His command is a failure.”

He nodded. “Fremont’s mistake is that he isolates himself. He does not know what is going on in the matter he is dealing with.”

“And he refuses to listen.”

“She actually threatened that he might set up his own government.”


Excerpted from THE LINCOLN MYTH by Steve Berry. Copyright © 2014 Steve Berry. Excerpted by permission of Ballantine Books, a division of Random House, LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.


Series: Cotton Malone
Number of Pages: 448 pages
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Publication Date: May 20, 2014
ISBN-10: 0345526570
ISBN-13: 978-0345526571



Steve Berry

STEVE BERRY is the New York Times and #1 internationally bestselling author of nine Cotton Malone adventures, four stand-alone thrillers, and four short-story originals.   His books have been translated into 40 languages with more than 17 million printed copies in 51 countries. A 2010 NPR survey named The Templar Legacy one of the top 100 thrillers ever written.

History lies at the heart of every Steve Berry novel.  It’s his passion, one he shares with his wife, Elizabeth, which led them to create History Matters, a foundation dedicated to historic preservation. Since 2009 Steve and Elizabeth have crossed the country to save endangered historic treasures raising more than $750,000 via lectures, receptions, galas, luncheons, dinners and their popular writers’ workshops.

In 2012 Steve’s devotion to historic preservation was recognized by the American Library Association, which named Steve the first spokesman for National Preservation Week (a role he reprised in 2013).  Among other honors that came his way in 2013 were the Poets & Writers’ Barnes & Noble Writers for Writers Award; the International Thriller Writers Silver Bullet Award; and the Spirit of Anne Frank Human Writes Award. The first two awards honored Steve’s philanthropic work with fellow writers and historic preservation. The latter is given to the writer who best exemplifies the spirit of Anne Frank in their work. In addition, Steve was asked to write the forewords for the 2014-2015 re-release of the novels of James Michener, his boyhood idol and one of America’s foremost storytellers.

Steve was born and raised in Georgia and graduated from the Walter F. George School of Law at Mercer University. He was a trial lawyer for 30 years and held elective office for 14 of those years.  He is a member of the Smithsonian Institution Libraries Advisory Board and a founding member of International Thriller Writers—a group of more than 2,500 thriller writers from around the world—and where he served three years as its co-president.
Connect with Steve at these sites:


I received a copy of this book, at no charge to me, in exchange for my honest review. No items that I receive are ever sold…they are kept by me, or given to family and/or friends.
I do not have any affiliation with or Barnes & Noble. I am an IndieBound affiliate. I am providing link(s) solely for visitors that may be interested in purchasing this Book/EBook.


WHEN WE MET by Susan Mallery showcase & giveaway


Angel Whittaker earned his scars the hard way, but the scars that can’t be seen are the ones that haunt him the most. Since he moved to Fool’s Gold, California, he’s cobbled together a life for himself as a bodyguard trainer. If he’s not exactly happy, at least his heart is safe.

Working with pro-football superstars taught tough-talking PR woman Taryn Crawford one thing—she can go toe-to-toe with any man. But then dark, dangerous former Special Ops Angel targets her for seduction…and challenges her to resist his tempting kisses.

Even in four-inch heels, Taryn never backs down. Unless, somehow, Angel can convince her that surrender might feel even better than victory.

Read an excerpt:

Chapter One


“We both know where this is going.”

Taryn Crawford glanced up at the man standing by her table and ignored the rush of anticipation when she saw who he was. He was tall, with broad shoulders and gray eyes. But the most compelling feature—the one she would guess people pretended didn’t exist—was the scar on his neck. As if someone had once tried to slit his throat. Taryn idly wondered what had happened to the person who failed.

She supposed there were plenty of women who would be intimidated by the man in front of her. The sheer volume of muscle he had might make someone apprehensive. Not her, of course. When in doubt she put on a power suit and killer heels. If those failed her, she would simply work harder than anyone else. Whatever it took to win. Sure, there was a price, but she was okay with that.

Which was why she was able to stare coolly back and ask, “Do we?”

One former of his mouth curved slightly in a sort of half smile.

“Sure, but if you’re more comfortable pretending we don’t, I can make that work, too.”

“A challenge. Intriguing. You don’t expect that to be enough to make me defensive so I start saying more than I had planned, do you?” She made sure she was plenty relaxed in her chair. She would guess the man was paying as much attention to her body language as her words. Maybe more. She hoped he wouldn’t make things easy.  She was tired of easy.

“I would hate for you to be disappointed,” she murmured.

The smile turned genuine.  “I’d hate that, too.” He pulled out the chair opposite hers. “May I?”

She nodded. He sat.

It was barely after ten on a Tuesday morning. Brew-haha, the local coffee place she’d escaped to for a few minutes of solitude before she returned to the current chaos at her office, was relatively quiet. She’d ordered a latte and had pulled out her tablet to catch up on the latest financial news. Until she’d been interrupted. Nice to know this was going to be a good day.

She studied the man across from her. He was older than the boys, she thought. The three men she worked with—Jack, Sam and Kenny, aka “the boys” –were all in their early to mid-thirties. Her guest was nearer to forty. Just old enough to have the experience to make things intriguing, she thought.

“We’ve never been introduced,” she said.

“You know who I am.”

A statement, not a question. “Do I?”

One dark eyebrow rose. “Angel Whittaker. I work at CDS.”

Otherwise known as the bodyguard school, she reminded herself.

For a small town, Fool’s Gold had its share of unusual businesses.

“Taryn Crawford.”

She waited, but he didn’t make a move.

“We’re not shaking hands?” she asked, then picked up her latte with both hers. Just to be difficult, because being difficult would make things more fun.

“I figured we’d save the touching for later. I find it’s better when that sort of thing happens in private.”

Taryn had opened Score, her PR firm, eight years ago. She’d had to deal with unwelcome passes, assumptions she was an idiot, being asked who the boss was, pats on her butt and people presuming that if she worked with three ex-football players, she must have gotten her job by sleeping with them. She was used to staying calm, keeping her opinions to herself and gaining victory through the unanticipated side run.

This time Angel had been the one to put the first points on the board. He was good, she thought, intrigued and only slightly miffed.

“Are you coming on to me, Mr. Whittaker? Because it’s still a little early in the morning for that sort of thing.”

“You’ll know when I’m making my move,” he informed her. “Right now I’m simply telling you how things are.”

“Which takes us back to your comment that we both know where this is going. I’ll admit to being confused. Perhaps you have me mixed up with someone else.”

She uncrossed, then recrossed her long legs. She wasn’t trying to be provocative, but if Angel got distracted, it was hardly her fault.

For a second she allowed herself to wonder how she would have been different if she’d been able to grow up in a more traditional home. One with the requisite 2.5 children and somewhat normal parents. She certainly wouldn’t be as driven. Or as tough. Sometimes she wasn’t sure if that was a good thing or not.

He leaned toward her. “I hadn’t taken you for the type to play games.”

“We all play games,” she told him.

“Fair enough. Then I’ll be blunt.”

She sipped her coffee, then swallowed. “Please.”

“I saw you last fall.”

“How nice,” she murmured.

When she’d been scouting locations. Moving a company required time and effort. They’d only truly settled in Fool’s Gold a couple of months ago. But she had been in town the previous fall, and yes, she’d seen Angel, as well. Found out who he was and had wondered about…possibilities. Not that she was going to admit that to him.

“I watched you,” he continued.

“Should I be concerned you’re a stalker?”

“Not when you were watching me right back.”

He’d noticed? Damn. She’d tried to be subtle. She thought about lying but decided to simply stay silent. After a second, he continued.

“So we’ve finished sizing each other up,” he said. “Now it’s time to move on to the next phase of the game.”


Series: Fool’s Gold (Book 13)
Number of Pages: 352 pages
Publisher: Harlequin HQN
Publication Date: April 29, 2014
ISBN-10: 0373778651
ISBN-13: 978-0373778652





SUSAN MALLERY is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of more than 80 novels, with more than 25 million books sold worldwide. Mallery is known for creating characters who feel as real as the folks next door, and for putting them into emotional, often funny situations readers recognize from their own lives. Susan’s books have made Booklist’s Top 10 Romances list in four out of five consecutive years. RT Book Reviews says, “When it comes to heartfelt contemporary romance, Mallery is in a class by herself.” With her popular, ongoing Fool’s Gold series, Susan has reached new heights on the bestsellers lists and has won the hearts of countless new fans. Susan grew up in southern California, moved so many times that her friends stopped writing her address in pen, and now has settled in Seattle with her husband and the most delightfully spoiled little dog who ever lived.
Connect with Susan at these sites:


Q&A with Susan Mallery

WHEN WE MET’s hero Angel Whittaker appeared in your 2005 book Living on the Edge. What made you decide to bring him back?
I never forgot about Angel, and I always knew I’d write a book for him when I found the perfect woman for him. When I started brainstorming this year’s Fool’s Gold romances, Taryn Crawford came to me. She’s a very powerful, confident, self-made woman. She started her PR firm from nothing, and she is the clear leader over her three NFL-star partners. She needed a man who was equally strong, someone who would stand up to her when need be, and someone who would cherish and protect her when she wasn’t feeling all that strong. Angel, who’d been hovering in my subconscious for years, stepped forward and claimed her.

The idea was a little disconcerting, to be honest, because Living on the Edge is a romantic suspense, and Fool’s Gold is sooooo not a suspense-y series. Which meant Angel, this very serious, hard-core sniper type was going to have to move to a quirky small town in California. I paired him up with buddies from the military who opened a bodyguard academy in Fool’s Gold last year.

Angel grew up in a small town, so in some ways, Fool’s Gold felt very familiar to him right away. After a few months of living there, he decides that he wants to give something back, to contribute, because that’s what people do in small towns. A decision he lives to regret… the project assigned to him by the all-knowing Mayor Marsha isn’t exactly what he has in mind. I think readers are going to really laugh when they see what he’s gotten himself into. Fortunately, Taryn will help him over the rough spots.

What book would you love to take a weekend vacation inside of?
I’d love to spend a weekend on Debbie Macomber’s Blossom Street. I wouldn’t even have to travel far—I live in Seattle, where that series is set. I’m hopeless at knitting, but since this is fantasy, let’s pretend that I’d whip up a gorgeous sweater during my weekend visit.

With the release of WHEN WE MET, as you look back, what was the biggest surprise that occurred while you were writing the story?
I was a little surprised by how hot things got between Angel and Taryn. I tend to write sexy, but Angel and Taryn are a little older than my typical hero and heroine—40 and 34, respectively—and significantly more experienced. They know what they want, and they’re not afraid to ask for it. There were times when these two were so in-your-face with their sexy repartee that I was sort of gasping and laughing as I wrote.

What’s the hardest thing you’ve had to face or as a writer? How did you overcome it? 
The hardest part of what I do is making sure each book is better than the one before. In the beginning, when I was still learning, it was pretty easy to improve. But now, after over 100 books, it’s challenging. But that’s always the goal. That the characters are more real, the dialogue funnier, that the story draws you in even faster. There’s not a single day that I sit down to write without thinking about how to do it better than I did yesterday.

You wrote in a recent Facebook post that you started writing a new Fool’s Gold book for 2015 and rewrote the beginning a few times because you didn’t know the heroine well enough yet. Can you explain this process and how you are able to finally get to “know” the character you’re writing?
I first start thinking about a book somewhere around 18 months to two years before it’s released. This is particularly true with a series like Fool’s Gold. I need to know what’s coming so that I can set up the stories in advance, so the characters feel naturally integrated into the town.

When I’m ready to really get started, I write until the characters click for me, usually about a chapter. I have to know who they are so that I can know how they will react to whatever might happen in the book. Once I know them, I stop writing and thoroughly plot the story.

Because of all the prep work, once I get to the actual writing of the book, I can write pretty fast. But it’s kind of like when you ask an artist how long it took them to create a beautiful painting—a few hours… plus years of practice and study.

You often turn to your fans to help you come up with names for your characters. What makes you decide to do this and how do you pick?
Oh, I loooooove asking my friends at to help me brainstorm, whether it be character names, business names, or even country music song titles for a heroine who will be coming to Fool’s Gold next year! Sometimes a character comes to me complete with a name, but mostly, they come with heart and soul, and I have to think of a name. I could easily look at naming websites for ideas, but I think my Facebook friends love being involved, and it’s fun for me to see what they come up with. I choose the name that I think best suits the heart and soul of the character in my head. Whenever possible, I give that character the last name of the reader who suggested the first name I selected.

If WHEN WE MET were made into a movie, who would you have play Angel Whittaker and Taryn Crawford?
Have you heard of an actor named Sullivan Stapleton? He’s British, but with an American accent, he’d be perfect as Angel. Tall and dark, with a dangerous edge. His pale gray eyes are almost hypnotizing, like the cobra in Jungle Book. Except, you know, sexy guy, not at all a snake.

For Taryn, I’ll go with Sandra Bullock. Taryn’s a high-powered fashion plate. She likes what she likes, she wants what she wants, and she makes no apologies for it. Everything she has, she has earned. She’s not just smart, she’s street-smart.

What makes Taryn stand out from the other heroines you’ve written?
Contradiction is what makes any character come alive, and Taryn is full of them. On the surface, she has it all together. She runs a very successful PR firm. She has a wardrobe that couture fashion models would envy. Your first impression of Taryn is that she wants for nothing… but she went through a lot of pain to get where she is today. She’s a survivor. She has pulled herself up from very tough circumstances, and to do that, she has had to guard her heart. But there’s a softness, a vulnerability inside her that no one but Angel can see. He will treasure her forever.

What’s next for the town of Fools Gold?
Up next are BEFORE WE KISS and UNTIL WE TOUCH, featuring two of Taryn’s partners at Score PR. In BEFORE WE KISS, Sam Ridge, a former NFL kicker, has to hire Dellina to help him plan a major company bash. He’s very reluctant to work with her because a few months ago, they had a little fling that went terribly (and comically) wrong. Dellina’s going to make him pay a little bit before she forgives him. So much fun to watch a strong man grovel!

At the start of UNTIL WE TOUCH, former quarterback Jack McGarry is shocked when the mother of his personal assistant and best friend Larissa Owens tells him to fire Larissa because the big-hearted beauty is in love with him. That’s news to Jack… and when he tells Larissa what her mom said, it’s news to Larissa, too! She’s not in love with Jack. Except, just by saying the words, her mom has opened both their eyes, and things between them suddenly get very hot.


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I received a copy of this book, at no charge to me, in exchange for my honest review. No items that I receive are ever sold…they are kept by me, or given to family and/or friends.
I do not have any affiliation with or Barnes & Noble. I am an IndieBound affiliate. I am providing link(s) solely for visitors that may be interested in purchasing this Book/EBook.


Guest Author ALLAN TOPOL showcase & giveaway



Allan Topol is the author of nine novels of international intrigue. Two of them, SPY DANCE and ENEMY MY ENEMY, were national best sellers. His novels have been translated into Japanese, Portuguese and Hebrew. One was optioned and three are in development for movies. His new novel, is the next in the Craig Page series, following the successful THE RUSSIAN ENDGAME, CHINA GAMBIT and SPANISH REVENGE.

In addition to his fiction writing, Allan Topol co-authored a two-volume legal treatise entitled SUPERFUND LAW AND PROCEDURE. He wrote a weekly column for and has published articles in numerous periodicals including the New York TimesWashington Post, and Yale Law Journal. He is currently a blogger for Huffington Post.
Connect with Allan at these sites:



Hard on the heels of The Russian Endgame comes author Allan Topol’s next great thriller. Rife with the exotic backdrops and hairpin plot turns that put Topol on the best-seller list, THE ARGENTINE TRIANGLE is a heart-stopping foray into human vice coupled with power accelerating towards catastrophe.

After a fall from grace and drastic cosmetic surgery in Switzerland, former CIA director Craig Page is enjoying a new, exhilarating life racing cars across Europe. But when new dangers threaten America and an old friend goes missing during a covert mission in Argentina, will Craig be ready to step up to the plate?

Undercover in the glamorous world of Buenos Aires’ wealthy elite, Page finds himself on the brink of a terrible discovery. General Estrada and Colonel Schiller have plans for Argentina, but that’s only the tip of the iceberg. A world of brutality hidden in the classified secrets of Argentina’s Dirty War comes to light, painting an image of the cataclysmic future awaiting Estrada’s South America. To expose Estrada and put an end to his plot, Page is forced to implement every instinct, skill, and tool in his arsenal. But when it comes time to close in for the kill, Page meets with unexpected complications—love, lust, and a lethal game of cat and mouse.

In a world fraught with global conspiracy, Craig Page is king.


Number of Pages: 336 pages
Publisher: SelectBooks; 1 edition
Publication Date: April 15, 2014
ISBN-13: 9781590792537




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a Rafflecopter giveaway


I received a copy of this book, at no charge to me, in exchange for my honest review. No items that I receive are ever sold…they are kept by me, or given to family and/or friends.
I do not have any affiliation with or Barnes & Noble. I am an IndieBound affiliate. I am providing link(s) solely for visitors that may be interested in purchasing this Book/EBook.


Guest Author CYM LOWELL



Cym Lowell was born in Montana to academics with a youth of traveling the world. To be polite, he was an undistinguished student, rewarded with assignment to the U.S. Navy at 18. After two years in Vietnam, college and law school were a challenge. Being a veteran in the political turbulence of the late 1960s and early 1970s taught humility. Raising three children in the Midwest and Texas brought love and responsibility. An international tax practice in the financial crises of the past 40 years provided insight into motivations of actors on the global stage. Friends, clients, adversaries, and colleagues, like victory and defeat, added color and context. The result is a thriller writer with a treasure trove of experience to frame compelling characters enmeshed in heart-thumping challenge about endearing people caught-up in events that one would never dream possible.
Connect with Cym at these sites:



In his newest novel, JASPAR’S WAR (Rosemary Beach Press; April 2014; $12.99), author Cym Lowell takes readers on a thrill ride to the most unexpected and dangerous of locales to uncover secrets that could bring down the U.S. government.

The recent economic collapse of the Western world is not as vague or nebulous as most of us think. It has been initiated by those with close ties to the sitting American president who have been rewarded by various governments for their stealth efforts. Now, with the capitalists’ own money they are preparing to take the economic attack to another level.

However, there’s one woman who can unravel their plans.

Set in Greenwich, Connecticut, JASPAR’S WAR is the compelling story of an American woman who lives a life of happiness, privilege, and wealth. Wall Street success preceded the president’s request that her husband, Trevor, become Secretary of the U.S. Treasury to rescue a failing global economy.

Now, Trevor has been murdered when the government jet he is travelling in crashes and her children kidnapped. She is told to be silent or else they will disappear like their father. Jaspar doesn’t know it, but she has evidence that can bring these people to justice. Yet, her own government is suspicious of her reasons, suspecting she may know more than she’s willing to tell. To save her children, she is on the run in Italy with an unlikely ally, and will go to the brink of hell and back, joining hands with assassins, traitors, and the devil himself, in a most terrifying and psychological cat and mouse game of intrigue and deception.

Hunted from all sides and unsure of who to trust, Jaspar races around the world in an attempt to stop a madman’s disastrous plans, reclaim her life, and find her children. With a host of characters caught up in thrilling circumstances, the storyline comes alive at breakneck speed as readers are taken on a wild and unexpected journey from the quiet backcountry of Greenwich, the picturesque countryside of Tuscany, the magnificence of the Eternal City of Rome and to the Monte Carlo Grand Prix. With alarms sounding off around the world, hero and villain alike twist and turn in and around each other, encountering threats suspiciously similar to current world events.


Chapter 1

Greenwich, Connecticut


POCK!” The distinctive sound of a plastic bat driving a Wiffle ball into the outfield triggered shrieks from children as they ran and played. My ten-year-old daughter Chrissy dropped the bat and raced toward first base, actually a luminous orange Frisbee.

“Run, Chrissy,” I shouted as she rounded first, heading toward second. Auburn ponytails, woven with my fingers, flew in her wake. Theo, my twelve-year-old son, played shortstop. Chrissy watched his face.

“Go!” he telegraphed. I clasped my hands, hoping that she would not slide face first into base. Scratches and cuts were no deterrent when she was so focused.

It was Easter weekend, a time for relaxation and family in Greenwich, Connecticut. Neighbors, friends, and local dignitaries filled our park-like estate. We had room for a ball field where neighborhood kids could congregate. Private security personnel were out of sight.

It was an annual celebration of faith. Parents and grandparents sat all around, absorbing the beautiful sunshine and mild weather. They brought coolers of drinks, soda pop for the kids, beer and wine for the adults. It was my version of a neighborhood tailgate party. My dream of family and community had come true.

“Throw the ball,” the other team yelled as the outfielder cocked his arm.

“Down, Chrissy!” Theo yelled.

Their father had taught her to ignore the ball and watch the coach.

 “Your agility will always give you an edge,” he said.

Small thin legs churned as the ball was launched. I cringed watching her dive. Dust flew from the infield side of the base. The second baseman caught it just as the little fingers touched safety, and the catcher’s hand smacked her hip.

“Safe!” the father serving as umpire shouted, crossing outstretched arms in exclamation.

I jumped for joy. Theo stood back, pride on his face. Chrissy brushed grass and dirt from her bottom, beaming at her brother. She gave me a thumbs up. No blood. I was relieved. Taunts from the other boys about coddling his sister only amused her proud big brother.

Neighborhood kids enjoyed the afternoon Wiffle ball game on the lawn between our pool and tennis courts. I organized the games just as I had played them as a child. My dad called it “scrub.” As a player made an out, she would go to right field and the catcher moved up to bat in the prescribed rotation.

“Jaspar, when will Trevor get home?” my best friend Crystal Jamison asked about my husband. I took my seat, still reveling in the joy of observing my children care for each other. She sipped a glass of Sancerre, basking in the sun and relaxing in a rocking chair brought from the pool.

“Trevor is so good at teaching passing techniques,” she said watching her own son. “Joshua will be a senior this year, so he needs to make a strong showing for college scouts. Trevor is his hero.”

I remembered Trevor dropping back to pass on the sacred turf of Notre Dame Stadium in South Bend, then stepping forward to deliver his trademark bullet to a receiver streaking across the goal line to seal a national championship. The memory was so strong. I longed for him to be back at my side. Before departing, he told me of his fear that his fabled career on Wall Street had been a fraud. Our conversation had to be completed.

POCK!” brought my attention back to the kids on the grass. They all raced to field the ball. Chrissy was on her way around third as the batter ran to first, the wobbly ball flying just over the head of Theo. He ran after it, looking over his shoulder at Chrissy racing toward the plate. Reaching the ball, he turned and launched a strike to the catcher, doing his best to nail her.

“Run Chrissy,” I yelled rising again. She jumped on home base in triumph as the floating ball was caught too late.

“Batter up,” Theo yelled as I returned to my seat.

“Trevor’s on his way home from London,” I answered my friend’s question.

Crystal and I first met when we came to New York after college. Her husband Raymond played football with Trevor at Notre Dame. They were quite a team. A fleet, sure-handed receiver, Raymond caught the passes that Trevor threw. Trevor’s career ended in a national championship game. Raymond came to New

York drafted by the Jets. Trevor took an entry position on Wall Street. I dated Raymond early in college before I met Trevor or he began dating Crystal. She and I were kids just off campus coming to the big city. Neither of us had any real preparation for the strange new world. We found jobs in finance, me at the Federal Reserve on Wall Street and Crystal in a research office of a secretive private equity firm owned by an Indian tribe. Similarity of situation and background facilitated fast friendship. Her drawl from rural Georgia complimented my odd mixture of Australian Outback and Northern Indiana twang. As our husbands succeeded, we searched for a place where we could live in relative obscurity. Greenwich was perfect. Our children grew up together, like the extended family of my dreams.

“He’s gone so much now,” Crystal responded. “You seemed excited when he went down there. Almost as if he were answering a call to duty.”

“He’s been seeking European agreement for the president’s stimulus plan.”

Trevor took to Wall Street. He began as a runner for energy traders and became fascinated with learning to anticipate market movements. His skill expanded in a master’s program at Columbia, propelling him to a position where he implemented a strategy to take advantage of an inconsistency in risk pricing. Successful exploitation brought us success.

Trevor’s firm, Westbury Madison & Co., became the pre-eminent Wall Street investment bank, profiting whether the economy flourished or crashed due to what Trevor believed was his own strategy. When the financial world crashed, President Hamilton Henrichs asked him to lead the effort to resurrect the economy of America and the world as secretary of the Treasury, a position once held by Alexander Hamilton. The financial press criticized the appointment. “Wolf Hired to Rebuild Hen House?” asked

headlines in the financial and popular press.

“I am proud of him,” I answered, anxiously twisting the everpresent bangles at my left wrist. They were gifts I’ve treasured from my Indian friends. “He works hard and travels constantly trying to plug holes in the economic dam of the world.”

Inside, far different feelings had germinated. Something was wrong. What happened to you, Trevor? He was distant, ignoring me in ways that I had never experienced. He seemed to avoid me. Is he having an affair? I wondered, fearing that a slowly ebbing sex life could be a marker of something more than job stress. Have I become less desirable or is there something troubling in his new life in Washington that he cannot find words to tell me?


“You seem distant, honey” I finally said as he was leaving days earlier. “Have I done something?”

“I know,” he answered, with an unusual tone of resignation in his voice. “It’s not you, sweetheart. Please don’t think that. I’m sorry. I’ve discovered treachery that you may be able to understand better than me. I need your help,” he blurted out, taking me in his arms with a grip that felt desperate.

“Is it something at Treasury?” I asked, relieved that his distance was due to business. But his distance troubled me. It was so unlike anything I had experienced in our life together.

“Yes, it’s there and also in the White House. It’s unbelievable,” he answered in a voice that trembled as his hands shook. “I’ve been used by people I trusted. It began at the firm.”

“At Westbury?”

“Yes. I’ve tried to piece the story together. We can discuss what to do when I return.”

My relief soon gave way to fear. Trevor was afraid; I had never seen that in him. Was my intrepid hero cracking?

* * *

“Hey Mom, come pitch,” Theo yelled as one player jumped into the pool. The scrub game was more fun with full teams in the field and at bat. The kids liked me to pitch because I threw softly. “Like a girl,” Theo would say, happy that he could always whack my pitch. His friends tried to throw curves or fastballs with the plastic sphere with holes on one side. I learned from my dad how to pitch so the ball hung right in Theo’s sweet spot. Of course, I did the same for all the kids; unfortunately I usually struck out as batter. My father was a missionary. After my mother died when I was just three he raised me. For many years we lived in the Australian Outback. When it was time for college, we moved to South Bend,

Indiana. I was the first member of my family to go to Notre Dame on a scholarship. Dad was proud. He lived long enough to express his pride. His greatest joy, he often said with breaking voice, was that I had grown as a woman of faith: “Your mother’s heart would burst with thankfulness.”

“Gotta go,” I responded to Crystal, touching her shoulder and grabbing my mitt. Theo was the next batter. I picked up the ball as I marked my territory around the luminous strip of plastic that served as the pitcher’s mound. Theo looked like pictures of my dad at the same age.

My son stepped to the plate, pointing the bat at me. “Gotcha, Mom!” he declared for the entire neighborhood to hear. I had to play the role. Glove on my knee, I leaned forward with the ball behind my back as if I were looking for a signal. I glanced at runners on base, then the batter.

“Strike the turkey out!” Crystal yelled.

“Yeah, yeah!” our friends echoed.

“Strike one!” the umpire shouted as Theo’s bat slapped the back of his shoulder, so intense was the swing.

“Mom?” his lips mimed, looking at me.

“Strike two!”

The words roused cheers from parents ringing the field. Beer and wine had flowed long enough to produce a boisterous mood. Adults always lost in these games, so the prospect of me striking out the best of the kids triggered excitement.

I gripped the Wiffle ball, knowing where to place my fingers for an underhand throw. It could be a screwball, twisting into the right-handed batter, as I had done on the first strike then reversed for the second. Or, I could push the ball with my knuckles, and it would drop as he was getting ready to swing. Theo’s focus was like his father’s. He looked straight into my eyes, curious. I was jolted back to the moment. In throwing strikes, I had allowed my anxiety to overcome Theo’s needs.

“POCK!” The sound rewarded me as the ball sailed over the head of the left fielder. Theo winked as he ran to first. It would be a home run. I had thrown his pitch. Maternal pride filled my soul.

“Yeah, Theo!” Chrissy yelled in a squeaky voice. He also leapt on home plate in triumphant exclamation, ending the game. My boy led them all to the pool with Chrissy at his side.

* * *

After the game, Crystal and I organized the food brought by our friends and neighbors. Fathers and older boys unloaded tables from a rental company trailer in our driveway, arranging them in a horseshoe around the pool so we could eat and talk.

 “Have you seen the kids?” I asked her when Theo and Chrissy seemed to have been absent for a long time.

“Oh, come on, calm down,” Crystal responded. “What could happen here?”

We joined our neighbors at a tent erected on the ball field. One of our traditions was to have entertainment as the late afternoon set, so the children would not be so impatient for darkness and the fireworks. I had arranged with the local Mohegan tribe to have a troupe perform traditional dance routines of celebration. Crystal and I worked for many years with the tribe. Our project was developing job opportunities, which had evolved into a business of creating replicas of art, apparel, and pottery from their rich cultural heritage. Our work was gratifying and successful. Members of the troupe mingled in the crowd entertaining the kids. On stage, each child was outfitted with handmade costumes complete with colorful feathers and leather trim. Tribal artists applied face and body paints to duplicate markings from the proud history of the Mohegan people. We were all lost in the magic. It became difficult to separate child from tribal dancer.

“This is amazing?” Raymond declared, enjoying the collage of color and laughter. His career with the Jets ended suddenly when a vicious cross block broke his ribs and punctured his heart muscle. He became a youth counselor in the Greenwich school system, close to home and family.

I searched the faces of dancers and children trying to find Theo and Chrissy, ignoring the conversation surrounding me. I had not seen either since the game ended. Always in the midst of the children, they should be playing and laughing. I tried not to panic, but was failing. When the exhibition was at an end, darkness began to envelop the scene. “Crystal, they’re not here!”

“Raymond, get the officers,” she directed, taking my arm.

“No child has left the grounds,” the head of security detail assured me, deploying his team to search. As the fireworks display began, the Greenwich police, as well as the Connecticut State Police began checking cars, trucks, and the equipment of the Mohegan troupe. No one was allowed to leave. Backup security teams arrived as the dark sky was illuminated by a kaleidoscope of color.

I barely heard the increasingly anxious discussions of friends and security people. Chrissy did not like chaos and always curled up in my lap at such times. “Where are you, sweetheart?” I asked pacing back and forth.

Neighbors were herded onto the driveway as officers checked each person. Police cars with emergency lights blocked the entrance to our property. Flashlights illuminated fence lines as the search broadened.

“Who delivered the tables?” the senior security officer asked, trying to confirm all who had come and gone.

“I, I, I don’t know,” I stammered, my mind not able to focus on even a simple question.

“Where are they officer? They can’t be hiding this long. They wouldn’t run off. Who would take them?” I asked.

“Ma’am, we’re trying to . . .”

“Mrs. Moran?” a man in a suit asked politely, interrupting the security officer’s response. In the midst of the chaos, a dark sedan had been allowed to enter the driveway.

I was drifting into shock.

“Mrs. Moran, I need to speak to you,” the man repeated gently taking my arm.

“Who are you?” the security officer asked.

“I am Peter McGuire with the FBI,” he said, holding out identification.

“What’s going on here?” he asked, looking at dozens of flashlights sweeping grounds and trees. Neighbors stood by the garages. The Indian troupe clustered by their vehicles.

“My children have disappeared,” I blurted out.

Crystal had called my priest, Father Michael O’Rourke. He was the priest in the rural Australia diocese of my childhood and my dad’s best friend. When I got to Notre Dame, Father Michael was there as a youth pastor. “I am your guardian angel,” he often declared. The image was an essential element of my faith. He had been present throughout my life. He came at the first hint of trouble or joy. Father Michael explained the situation as the security leader departed to check how the search was going.

Something passed over the FBI agent’s face. “Mrs. Moran, is there someplace we could speak in private?”

“Let’s go in the house,” Crystal suggested as she and Raymond led us inside.

We stepped in the front door. The FBI officer motioned for Crystal and Raymond to sit on either side of me on a sofa.

“May I get you anything, Mrs. Moran,” he asked.

“No, what is it?”

He knelt and took my hand. “Mrs. Moran, we regret to inform you that Secretary Moran’s plane en route from London has apparently crashed into the ocean near Iceland. Search planes are on their way. It will take several hours. The conditions are horrendous in the remote area where the plane disappeared.”

I barely heard the words. The rest of the evening was a blur. Friends took turns staying with me throughout the night. Father Michael was at my side when I awoke to the distinctive cathedral chime of my phone.

“Theo or Chrissy at last!” I said grabbing for a ray of hope.

“They must have gone to a friend’s house.”

The chime continued. My mind cleared enough to sit up, hold

Father’s hand, and look at the phone.

“It’s Trevor!” I blurted. His name was on the caller ID. My mind jumped to the conclusion that he was safe after all. “Thank God!”

“Honey, where are you?” I asked. He’ll take care of this.

Long moments elapsed in silence as I pressed the phone to one ear then the other. “Trevor? Honey?”

“A text message will arrive momentarily,” a mechanical voice enunciated slowly. It sounded as if the words were spoken from underwater. The connection terminated, leaving only a cold dial tone.

I looked at the phone.

“Jaspar, what is it?” Father asked, standing next to Crystal and Raymond. I looked up at each of them. Their eyes narrowed with questions. Anxiety blew through me like a chill Arctic wind.

“I . . . I don’t know. The caller ID said ‘Trevor Moran.’ Then there was this scary voice.” I startled when the chime for a text message sounded. My eyes riveted on the words:

Your children are gone because you asked about something not your business.

Your husband started to answer and is being digested by sharks.

If what he believed becomes public, your children will also become ocean shit.

Your silence is their only path to life.


Published by: Rosemary Beach Press
Publication Date: April 2014
Number of Pages: 352 pages
ISBN: 978-0-9914913-0-8



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I received a copy of this book, at no charge to me, in exchange for my honest review. No items that I receive are ever sold…they are kept by me, or given to family and/or friends.
I do not have any affiliation with or Barnes & Noble. I am an IndieBound affiliate. I am providing link(s) solely for visitors that may be interested in purchasing this Book/EBook.

Guest Author ANDERSON HARP showcase & giveaway ENDED



Anderson Harp served 30 years in the U.S. Marine Corps, rising through the ranks to become a Colonel. His stations included: the Pentagon, South Korea, Central America, the Persian Gulf, Europe, Camp Pendleton, the Marine Mountain Training Center, Fort Benning, Fort Sill, and Camp LeJeune. He has served as the Officer in Charge of Crisis Action Team for Marine Forces Central Command. His decorations include the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal and Navy Commendation Medal. As an officer in the Marine Corps Reserve, he was mobilized for Operation Enduring Freedom and served with MarCent’s Crisis Action Team. Anderson Harp lives with his family in Columbus, Georgia.
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Anderson Harp served 30 years in the U.S. Marine Corps, rising through the ranks to become a Colonel. He has served as the Officer in Charge of the Crisis Action Team for Marin Forces Central Command. His decorations include the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, and Navy Commendation Medal. As an officer in the Marine Corps Reserve, he was mobilized for Operation Enduring Freedom and served with MarCent’s Crisis Action Team. Using his up-to-date knowledge of cutting edge technology, and the kind of military experience that a make for great thriller writing, Harp has created a fast-moving and totally riveting thriller that will make Anderson Harp a leading name, like Ludlam and Brad Thor, in the military/political thriller. RETRIBUTION (Pinnacle Books, March 2014; $9.99) by Anderson Harp, a book in the Will Parker thriller series will be published in mass market by Pinnacle Books this March, now with full national distribution.

The remote and impenetrable Pakistani mountains have offered refuge to the worst

enemies of civilization since the time of Alexander. Now, the world faces a new challenge. Reared from birth to harbor a seething hatred, a lone man is about to unleash a firestorm that will rage for centuries. And the window of opportunity to stop him is shutting much faster than Washington D.C. can hope to deal with.

A top operator, Will Parker is embedded within the terrorists’ ranks to stop this catastrophic disaster. But with a nuclear core on its way to the U.S., Parker will go to any length to stop a devastating threat to the homeland, more lethal than anything the USA—and the world—has ever faced.


Published by:Pinnacle, an imprint of Kensington
Publication Date: March, 2014
Number of Pages: 528 pages
ISBN: 978-0-7860-3421-5




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I received a copy of this book, at no charge to me, in exchange for my honest review. No items that I receive are ever sold…they are kept by me, or given to family and/or friends.
I do not have any affiliation with or Barnes & Noble. I am an IndieBound affiliate. I am providing link(s) solely for visitors that may be interested in purchasing this Book/EBook.


Guest Author JENNY SAUER showcase & giveaway ENDED



Jenny Sauer is a SAG-AFTRA television and film actress whose credits include Water For Elephants, Project X, The Hangover: Part II, Millionaire Matchmaker, The Mentalist and more. She has also appeared in commercials for Old Navy, Sun Chips, 901 Tequila and Swiffer. Born in Jacksonville, Ill. and raised in Winchester, Ill., Sauer is also a third generation farm girl. Sauer has also modeled for a national Corning Ware advertisement, now featured in the new spring issue of The Knot Magazine, and Chicago designers Boris Powell Designs and Anna Hovet.
Connect with Jenny at these sites:


Q&A with Jenny Sauer

As readers will learn in your new book, you grew up on a farm, worked in a lab, modeled, and have acted in numerous films and commercials. How did you come to write a book?
Those various experiences took me across the country to live in different places and subsequently threw me into different cultures where I met so many types of people. It made for a collection of interesting stories, especially from during my “serial dating” stage in L.A., I wanted to share for people to connect with and hopefully even learn from my mistakes and many adventures.

How are you so unapologetic? You say things most people probably want to say but for some reason or another don’t.
My whole family is very quick-witted, so growing up I learned a lot from my older brother and sister concerning comebacks and how they dealt with things. From that I created my own effective way of dealing with people. I won’t say I’m completely unapologetic, but I am brutally honest. I’m not a drama fiend and much prefer being straight up and real about something. I believe honesty makes life easier. That being said, I don’t enjoy hurting someone on purpose. I do actually feel bad if my honesty unintentionally hurts a person’s feelings.

I think the people who come to me for advice ask because they know I will tell them the truth and not sugar coat things. And I respect others who are just as honest with me. If someone tells me I’m wrong about something, great! I want to know my faults, and I know that I can be wrong. You won’t get anywhere in life just thinking you’re better than everyone else.

While you do give many of your exes a tough review, the good guys definitely get a nice pat on the back and you’re honest about your own faults, too. Is it hard to open up about such a personal topic as dating?
It really wasn’t hard to open up about my dating experiences; I’m essentially an open book anyway. I tell stories and argue with facts. So if the guys represented don’t like how they are viewed, tough noogies because it’s the truth.

You say you’re really close to your mom – is she going to gawk at any of these stories about her little girl in the dating scene?
She has read the book and thinks it’s funny. She has known all of the stories along the way; so there weren’t any surprises to her. I really do tell her EVERYTHING.

The nicknames for your encounters are hilarious. What do you think you ex-dates would call you?
Hmmm, that’s a good one. “Smartass McDoogle,” “Eyes”…I’ve had a lot of different experiences with guys so I’m really not sure. I’ll be frank, I really don’t want to know. 😉 I’m usually just known as “Jen” or “Jenny,” in their phones anyway. For the record, I hate the nickname “Jen,” especially on a first date. Don’t shorten a person’s name when you just met them, for crying out loud! You don’t hear me shortening your name because I’m feeling lazy and don’t want to speak an extra syllable.

You’ve written a book on dating, but you’re not married?
You don’t have to be married, or an expert, to date. And these are real, actual experiences. That’s what I’m sharing. The good, bad and ugly. I’ll find that person someday, but I’m in no rush. I’d rather take my time to make sure. I don’t feel like pulling an Elizabeth Taylor and having more than seven or eight weddings. Plus, weddings are expensive and stressful, not my cup of tea to do more than one.

Do you stay in touch with any of your exes in the book?
Yes I do, and it’s probably obvious to the reader which ones. The guys I don’t speak ill about, I still like and we left everything on good terms, so why not stay in touch as friends?

There are actually a few where I talk to them about who they are dating now and give them advice. Not every day, but every couple of months here and there. It’s nice.

From text hoarding, to stiletto porn, to old people’s toenails, you draw quite a few laughs in your book. But there is a mix of funny and serious, as you also offer some real advice. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever personally received about dating?
“Stop looking, it’ll happen.”


Model and SAG-AFTRA television and film actress Jenny Sauer adds author to her resume as she sets to release her first book on March 1. “Snickering Out Loud” is an autobiographical look into Sauer’s own dating life, showcasing her experiences from growing up on a small Illinois farm to her serial dating escapades in the big city of Los Angeles.

The book opens with an introduction into Sauer’s not-so-normal life – she’s gone from herding cattle on the family farm to publishing scientific research to modeling and acting in national films, commercials and magazines. And the dating adventures she shares next show how her various suitors have been just as much a mixed bag. College, work and love brought Sauer across the country to make lasting memories in Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas, Little Rock, Oklahoma City and other small towns in-between.

The tall, funny and brutally honest female provides refreshingly unapologetic commentary on everything – yes everything – a gal or guy has wanted to say about those horrible dates, questioning a relationships status and waiting for “the one” to finally come around.

Tying everything up at the end of the book, Sauer includes a list of helpful advice on love and dating she’s gathered throughout her time in the field.

“The book is a nice heaping dose of Irish sarcasm, wit and humor for the dating impaired,” Sauer explained. “Let’s face it, dating isn’t always enjoyable, so I have taken my unexpected, yet surprising, experiences and made them into a big ball of side-splitting material for your reading pleasure. It’s okay not to be good at dating, just make sure you laugh about it.”


Number of Pages: 168 pages
Publisher: Grinding Gears Publishing
Publication Date: February 15, 2014
ISBN-10: 0578137887
ISBN-13: 978-0578137889




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a Rafflecopter giveaway


I received a copy of this book, at no charge to me, in exchange for my honest review. No items that I receive are ever sold…they are kept by me, or given to family and/or friends.
I do not have any affiliation with or Barnes & Noble. I am an IndieBound affiliate. I am providing link(s) solely for visitors that may be interested in purchasing this Book/EBook.


Guest Author JOHN P. DAVIDSON showcase & giveaway ENDED



John P. Davidson was born and grew up in Fredericksburg, a small ranching community in the Texas Hill Country. He studied economics and history at the University of Texas at Austin then joined the Peace Corps, serving as a Volunteer in Peru where he worked with agricultural coops in the desert south of Lima. Following the Peace Corps, he earned a Master’s degree at the University of Texas while working in a community literacy program.

He began writing at Texas Monthly magazine where one of his early assignments was to follow Mexican workers crossing the Rio Grande River to find jobs in Texas. He made the trip twice with two brothers and in 1980 published The Long Road North, (Doubleday, 1980) He has held senior editorial positions at Texas Monthly, The Atlanta Journal Constitution, and Vanity Fair. As a freelance writer, he has contributed to GQ, Fortune, Rolling Stone, Harper’s, Elle, Preservation, and Mirabella. He received a National Endowment for the Arts grant, the Dobie Paisano Fellowship, and the Penney-Missouri Prize for Excellence in Journalism. He taught English at the Universidad Catolica de Puerto Rico, and has been a guest lecturer at the University of the Americas in Cholula, Mexico. He travels frequently in Latin America and lives in Austin, Texas.
Connect with John at these sites:




Leon Trotsky, one of the leaders of the Bolshevik Revolution and the head of The Fourth International, was exiled from Russia in the late 1920’s by Joseph Stalin and later assassinated for opposing Stalin’s non-aggression pact with Adolph Hitler.

In this dark and riveting thriller, John Porterfield Davidson has re-envisioned the life and mission of Ramón Mercader, the Spanish nationalist enlisted to murder the great intellectual and who obediently and reluctantly completed the task after a great deal of self-doubt and soul-searching regret.

Ramón’s great internal conflict is ignited by an unexpected and unwanted passion that develops for a left-leaning Jewish woman named Sylvia whom he is ordered to seduce as a means of getting at Trotsky but ends up being the one enthralled by the woman’s intelligence and gentle trusting nature. This finer feeling creates a conflict between Ramón and his mother, part of a satellite group controlled by Stalin who has conscripted her son to murder Trotsky. We follow the protagonist through Spain, France and Belgium and finally to Mexico where he comes into contact with Frieda Kahlo who along with Diego Rivera have offered Trotsky and his wife refuge in one of their gated homes.

Read an excerpt

The men could see the car coming on the road for a long time. It would appear on a rise, then disappear, a black sedan moving through the landscape of white limestone hills. The road was a rough track. Jeeps came that way and trucks, mules, and wagons, but a car was rare.

It was cold that afternoon, the temperature hovering near freezing. Rafts of slate-gray clouds marched south. As far as one could see, the ground had been stripped of anything that would burn; brush, trees, and even weeds had been cut down or ripped up. Tin cans radiated out from the old farmhouse and the entrenchments dug along the ridge. The smell of rotting garbage and human excrement filled the air. Across the valley, on the opposite hillside, the Loyalist camp looked like stone-age dwellings dug into earth. Occasionally, soldiers the size of ants would appear, and a lone voice would echo through the cold dry air. Or, with a resonant metallic snap, a loudspeaker would come on and one of the Loyalists would drone on about General Franco saving Spain and how the Republican Army was filled with comunistas y maricones—Communists and queers. The sound of gunfire was desultory and usually distant—the pow-pow-pow of a rifle or the staccato of a machine gun.

Lieutenant Mercader lay huddled on his cot in a low stone shed that stank of sheep. He heard the car arriving, the voices of men talking excitedly. “Es una dama con su joven.” It’s a lady with a boy.

Women didn’t come to the front, not even peasant women trying to sell food. The lieutenant was cold and exhausted, but he put his feet to the ground and reached for his steel-frame glasses. The shed was filled with gloom, the sound of snoring. When he pulled the tarpaulin from the opening, he saw the Peugeot, elegant despite the crust of white mud, sliding into the farmyard. As he watched, his mother got out of the car. Tall, as tall as most men, she was imposing and inevitable with her shock of white hair. As she walked to the farmhouse, she wrapped a black shawl around her head. She knew the protocol. She would see Commander Contreras first.

The lieutenant considered going to the car to talk to the little boy, his half-brother, sitting in the back. Instead, he let the tarpaulin drop and returned to his cot to wait, pulling the wool blankets over his boots and up to his chin. The ache of shame lay like a chunk of ice in the pit of his stomach. His face rigid, his eyes moving rapidly from side to side, he thought of the words he would say, the hard truths that must be told. Shivering, listening to one of the junior officers snore, he inserted a hand into his pants to scratch at the lice feasting in his pubic hair.

After a while, voices came from the farmhouse, the sounds of departure. She was talking to Commander Contreras, saying goodbye. Then, as was inevitable, she stood at the opening to the shed. “Hijo, ven! Es Caridad, tu mama.” Son, come! It’s Caridad, your mother.

Voy,” he answered, his voice deep and hoarse.

With a blanket wrapped around his shoulders, he pushed the tarpaulin aside and stepped out of the shed. He studied her face for signs of grieving and saw the flush in her cheeks from drinking brandy at the commander’s fireside.

“Here,” she said, handing him a pack of cigarettes.

“Where did you get them?”



She shrugged, refusing to commit.

“What are you doing here? What do you want?”

“Is that how you greet me?”

He didn’t answer. The expression on his face did not change.

“I wanted to see you. We have to talk.”


“I need to tell you about Pablo.”

“I know what happened. What can you possibly say?”

“We have other things to discuss.”


“Where can we talk? In private?”

“Not here. In the car?”

“No, there is the chauffer and Luis.”

“Then come this way. It isn’t nice, but nothing is.”

He led her down a path through the farmyard and around the corner of the barn. The men, trying to get out of the north wind and looking for privacy, had been shitting against the wall. So much shit accumulated, Contreras ordered them to find another place. Now the dung was dry, frozen, and relatively odorless. Dead rats hung from a wire fence, a warning to their surviving brethren.

She snapped open her handbag to withdraw a second pack of cigarettes, offering him one along with a small box of wax matches. He lit hers, then his, taking a deep breath. “This will make my head spin.”

“What is the ration?”

“Two a day.”

“Keep these as well. There are more in the car.”

Mother and son, they stood in the cold, smoking. Crows cawed in the distance. The black shawl wrapped around her head suggested a peasant woman in mourning, but her back was too straight and there was something innately haughty about the cut of her lips and her prominent cheekbones. She took a deep breath, exhaling audibly through her nostrils. Her eyes drifted over the holes, pocking the plot of ground next to the barn, trying to decipher the mysterious rectilinear pattern, slowly understanding that there had once been an orchard. The soldiers had cut down the trees for firewood, then come back to dig up the stumps to burn, too.

He turned to face her. “So, tell me about my brother.”

“You said you knew.”

“I said you were wasting your time if that was why you came. But now that you’re here, tell me. I want to hear your version.”

Her eyes moved, appraising him, looking for a way past the anger. He was twenty-two, aged by the war, fully a man. His cheeks were hollow, his lips chapped and red. Though dirty and tired, he was handsome with his thick auburn hair. He had her looks, his olive skin shading into the faintest lavender beneath deep green eyes.

“Tell me,” he insisted. “How did they kill him?”

“It was a disciplinary action. Pablo disobeyed orders. He knew the rules. You don’t leave bodies in a public place after a political execution. You never leave a body on the street. What Pablo did was  no small thing.”

“They could have warned him.”

“They did. They warned him. He was seeing a woman who belonged to POUM, a suspected Trotskyist. They told him to break it off, but he refused.”

“That was Alicia. He was in love with her.”

“He put himself above the cause.”

“You didn’t defend him?”

“What could I do? I wasn’t there. The orders had been given.”

“With all of your connections, all of the strings you pull, you let your comrades make an example of Pablo? You let this happen?”

She laughed, the silent bitter gesture of a laugh. “I didn’t let it happen. You overestimate my power.”

His voice choked as tears stung his eyes.

“Is it true they strapped him with dynamite? Is it true they marched him in front of a tank? Tell me, is it true?”


“They had him run down like a dog. They gave him a sporting chance, then crushed him in the dirt like a miserable cur.”

She nodded.

“I want to hear it from you.”

“Please, Ramón! This is cruel.”

“He was my brother!”

“He was my son!”

He looked away. The wind was blowing; a crow, its black wings ruffling, had landed on the fence to peck at one of the dead rats.

“The shame. His. Ours. He had to be shitting his pants with terror. And all of his comrades watching!”

She met his eyes, her own blurring with tears. “You have to understand. He was going to be punished. The decision had been made and I could do nothing. Everyone was watching me, waiting for me to break. But no, I held my head up. All I could control was my own behavior. I made the ultimate sacrifice and kept silent. I proved my loyalty beyond a doubt and now they owe me.”

“What are you doing here? What do you want?”

She tossed away the end of her cigarette.

“You know this is a lost cause.”

“If we lose to Franco, we’ll be without a country.”

Her chin lifted, indicating the entrenchments. “Those are Spaniards you’re shooting at on the opposite side of the valley. They’re like you, no different. They’re hungry, scratching at their own flea bites, freezing in their own shit. This is a revolution we should have won. This is archaic, rooting in the mud. You don’t turn people into revolutionaries by shooting at them. You indoctrinate them. We would have won had it not been for Trotsky, splitting the left, setting the people against each other.”

“I know about Trotsky. You needn’t preach to me.”

“You have to understand that the fight has moved on; a bigger war is coming.”

He shuddered, feeling the cold once more. “What do you want from me?”

Her eyes settled on his. “I have been given an opportunity. I’m leading a mission that will change the course of history. I am second in command. It’s a great honor for all women. I’ve come here with an assignment for you.”

“As you see, I’m engaged in fighting a war.”

“No, you have to listen to me. This is undercover, intelligence. Our orders come directly from Stalin.”

“How did this plum fall into your hands? Is this a reward for your loyalty?”

“Perhaps in part.”

“Who is first in command?”

“Colonel Eitingon. Leonid.”

He laughed. “Of course, Eitingon! Hasn’t he done enough to us?”

“What do you mean?”

“He left you when you were pregnant. I remember your misery.”

“I behaved like a bourgeois girl. He did what he could. He never left us. He helped us. He paid for you to go to school.”

“He abandoned you.”

She winced, shaking her head. “That isn’t true.”

“That’s his bastard sitting out there in the car.”

“Leonid wanted to stay with me.”

“But he had two wives, two families. Walking out on Papa the way you did, dragging all of us to France, you ruined our family.”

“I had to leave Barcelona. I was dying on Calle Ancha, and I didn’t know it.”

“I don’t trust you.”

“Ramón, you want to hate me, but we’re alike. You have so much to gain, but you must face the truth. We have to think beyond Spain.”

“Without our country we have nothing. We’ll be like the Gypsies, the Jews, wandering from place to place.”

“That’s why we have to win the bigger war. Ramón, we have to think ahead. I can take you out of all this. Tonight in Barcelona, you will have a hot bath and a good meal. You can see Lena. You’ll sleep in a warm bed, and in France…”


“Yes, Paris. We would leave tomorrow. What I am offering you is something far better than this, perhaps something glorious.”

“What is the assignment?”

“I can’t tell you. Not here. But you will know soon enough. Trust me!”

He shook his head. “No, I’m sorry. No, never.”


Number of Pages: 320 pages
Publisher: Delphinium
Published by: February 4, 2014
ISBN-10: 1883285585
ISBN-13: 978-1883285586




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ERIC C. LEUTHARDT M.D. is a neurosurgeon and biomedical engineer as well as a recognized pioneer in neuroprosthetics. He is widely published in scientific journals and has received a number of scholarly awards in recognition of his contributions Dr. Leuthardt is the director of the Center of or Innovation in Neuroscience and Technology at Washington University School of Medicine, where he researches brain-computer interfaces. He is ranked as one of the most prolific inventors in the world, with more than 800 patents either granted of pending. REDDEVIL 4 is his first novel.
Connect with Dr. Leuthardt at these sites:




Renowned neurosurgeon Dr. Hagan Maerici is on the verge of a breakthrough in artificial intelligence that could change the way we think about human consciousness. Obsessed with his job and struggling to save his marriage, Dr. Maerici is forced to put his life’s work on the line when a rash of brutal murders strikes St. Louis.

Edwin Krantz, an aging, technophobic detective, and his partner, Tara Dezner, are tasked with investigating the horrifying killings. Shockingly, the murders have all been committed by prominent citizens who have no obvious motives or history of violence. Seeking an explanation for the suspects’ strange behavior, Krantz and Denzer turn to Dr. Maerici, who believes that the answer lies within the killers’ brains themselves. Someone is introducing a glitch into the in-brain computer systems of the suspects—a virus that turns ordinary citizens into murderers. With time running out, this trio of unlikely allies must face a gauntlet of obstacles, both human and A.I., as they attempt to avert disaster.


Number of Pages: 368 pages
Publisher: Forge Books
Publication Date: February 4, 2014
ISBN-10: 0765332566
ISBN-13: 978-0765332561




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a Rafflecopter giveaway


I received a copy of this book, at no charge to me, in exchange for my honest review. No items that I receive are ever sold…they are kept by me, or given to family and/or friends.
I do not have any affiliation with or Barnes & Noble. I am an IndieBound affiliate. I am providing link(s) solely for visitors that may be interested in purchasing this Book/EBook.