Feb 212019
 

Dangerous Flaws by Susan Hunter Banner

Dangerous Flaws

by Susan Hunter

on Tour February 1 – March 31, 2019

Synopsis:

Dangerous Flaws by Susan Hunter

A chilling murder shocks a small Wisconsin town.

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

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

Book Details:

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

 

Author Bio:

Susan Hunter

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

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

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

 

Guest Post

Ten Things You Don’t Know About Leah Nash

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

Read an excerpt:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“I finally caught up with you.”

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

“What are you doing here?”

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

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

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

“Tomorrow would be better. I—”

“No! It wouldn’t be!”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Tennyson, come here right now.”

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

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

He likes this game.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

***

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

 

Tour Participants:

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

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Feb 132019
 
Rotten Peaches by Lisa de Nikolits Tour banner

Rotten Peaches

by Lisa de Nikolits

on Tour February 1-28, 2019

Synopsis:

Rotten Peaches by Lisa de Nikolits

Rotten Peaches is a gripping epic filled with disturbing and unforgettable insights into the human condition. Love, lust, race and greed. How far will you go? Two women. Two men. One happy ending. It takes place in Canada, the U.S. and South Africa. Nature or nurture. South Africa, racism and old prejudices — these are hardly old topics but what happens when biological half-siblings meet with insidious intentions? Can their moral corruption be blamed on genetics — were they born rotten to begin with? And what happens when they meet up with more of their ilk? What further havoc can be wreaked, with devastating familial consequences?

“Wow. Just wow. Lisa de Nikolits’ Rotten Peaches blew me away. A dark, compulsive, and addictive story in which the characters’ secrets and needs conflict with each other and fold back in on themselves in an ever-tightening noose, Rotten Peaches will keep readers gripped until the very last page. Highly recommended!” —Karen Dionne, internationally bestselling author of The Marsh King’s Daughter

Book Details:

Genre: Noir Suspense Thriller
Published by: Inanna Poetry & Fiction Series
Publication Date: September 20th 2018
Number of Pages: 300
ISBN: 1771335297 (ISBN13: 9781771335294)
Purchase Links: Amazon | Inanna | Goodreads

Rotten Peaches Trailer:

Read an excerpt:

I am not a killer. I just fell in love with the wrong man. I went too far this time, and there’s no going back. There’s no going anywhere, period. I nearly stayed afloat, but my luck ran out. Luck, that mystical mythical glue that holds the shards of despair together and makes life navigable. But fragmented despair, that’s what sinks you.

It’s the middle of the day and the ghost of a cat walks across my bed. I am hidden in the downy softness of bleach-laundered sheets, sheets ironed with starch and cleansed of their filthy sins by scalding Catholic water.

The bed is high and wide and the pillows are like clouds ripped from a summer’s sky. I bury my head in cotton balls, puffy meringues and whipped cream, and try to ignore the ghost of the cat that is walking the length of my back.

The cat settles at my feet but it gets up again and pads along my legs. When it first started its prowl, I sat up and reached for it but, like all ghosts, it immediately vanished and waited for me to turn away before settling in a warm, heavy lump against my side. Its weight is comforting in a way, like being massaged by the hand of God, but it isn’t God. It can’t be,because God, like luck, has left the building of my life.

***

Excerpt from Rotten Peaches by Lisa de Nikolits. Copyright © 2018 by Lisa de Nikolits. Reproduced with permission from Lisa de Nikolits. All rights reserved.

 

Bonus Content!

Bake Your Way To Happiness by Lisa de Nikolits
amazon barnes & noble Goodreads

In addition to Lisa’s amazing new thriller, she’s also released a new cookbook. To celebrate she’s sharing the recipe for one of the South African desserts mentioned in Rotten Peaches!

Download your copy today & start baking your way to a nourished body and spirit!

Click Here to Download Your Copy of Melk Tert Recipe

 

Author Bio:

Lisa de Nikolits

Originally from South Africa, Lisa de Nikolits has lived in Canada since 2000. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature and Philosophy and has lived in the U.S.A., Australia and Britain. Her seventh novel, No Fury Like That will be published in Italian, under the title Una furia dell’altro mondo, in 2019. Previous works include The Hungry Mirror, West of Wawa, A Glittering Chaos, Witchdoctor’s Bones; Between The Cracks She Fell and The Nearly Girl. Lisa lives and writes in Toronto and her very new book, Rotten Peaches is hot off the press to reader and literary acclaim. Lisa a member of the Sisters in Crime, Toronto Chapter, Sisters in Crime, Mesdames of Mayhem, The International Thriller Writers.

Q&A with Lisa de Nikolits

Which of your characters do you dislike the most and why?
That’s like asking a mother which of her children she dislikes the most! I love them all. A lot of them are pretty weird and they behave in self-destructive and morally reprehensible ways but that’s what makes them so interesting! One day, in the afterlife, I’d love to hold a banquet and invite every character I’ve ever written! All of them! Or maybe we’d rent out a resort in the Bahamas for a month and get to know each other!

Which of your character is the hardest to write and why? Leonie who was hard to write and she definitely took the most work. I think it’s because I thought she was perfectly formed in her first draft and it took the persistent nudging of a good friend to say hey, who is this gal? Once I started fleshing her out, I just loved working with her!

What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned through writing?
That you can work as hard as you like, be the hardest worker in the world and still, you may not be able to make your dreams comes true. Hard work doesn’t guarantee success and not even success guarantees success. I know a lot of really talented writer friends who’ve had bestselling novels and they’re struggling to find homes for their more recent books. It’s one of life’s assumptions that if you reach a certain point, that there will be no downhill from there but that’s so untrue! Which is why I love watching documentaries about movie stars or writers or musicians who peaked and then fell and then rose again and it was even sweeter the second time around. Also, you get to see how extremely hard those artists work, they practice every day, write every day, and they’re relentless in their comittment to their craft even when you’d think they’d be ready to sit on their laurels and enjoy doing not much of anything in the sunshine!

What has been your biggest challenge to your writing career
The biggest challenge is that I don’t write a straightforward, genre type of novel. Readers, booksellers, agents and publishers like books that neatly fit a slot and mine don’t do that! And if you mention the word ‘cross-genre’, people get suspicious. And the question, ‘who do you write like, or so what are your books about, or, tell me a book that’s similar to yours

What inspired you to write your first book?
I’ve tirelessly written books for the past thirty years! However, in the beginning, I didn’t actually realize what it meant, to write a book. I didn’t know anything about plot arcs or character development or strong dialogue or setting as character. I studied English Literature (with the goal of wanting to become a writer) but back in the day, we didn’t have creative writing courses. So I wrote long manuscripts that were awful streams of consciousness – terrible things!

The very first book I wrote was called Single Girls Go Mad Sooner and it was supposed to be a collaborative effort with an illustrator friend of mine. I would write anecdotes about dating (pre-Internet!) and she would illustrate these tales of disaster! This was in my early twenties. Then she bailed on me and I went ahead and wrote it anyway. It was, truly, one of the most poorly written collection of short stories to ever see the light of day but at least I tried! I always tell myself that, to not be disparaging of my early efforts because they all showed passion and commitment and the desire to do that which I really felt was my calling. Thankfully, there are no copies of Single Girls Go Mad Sooner out there and at one point I thought of rewriting it and I read it and shuddered! There wasn’t anything at all to salvage from it!

So really, the first book I sat down to really write in a proper way, was The Witchdoctor’s Bones, which was twelve years ago. By that time, I had attended conferences and workshops, I had read books on writing by the stack, I studied books in a different way, I dissected books to see how they had been written. I left my day job (madness!) and sat down and wrote The Witchdoctor’s Bones.

And one more note, clearly I hadn’t done my homework well enough because I wrote the book at 220 000 words! The average book length should be between 70-85 000 words! This resulted in many rejection letters and a lot of rewriting but the The Witchdoctor’s Bones made it into the world in 2014 and I was just delighted! I still love this book so very much

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
I’d like to say, please give Rotten Peaches a try! I know some readers are more used to my more serio-comedic books, like The Nearly Girl and No Fury Like That but Rotten Peaches will give you a good read! It has a unique setting and story line and it’s a good, entertaining read! When I read a book, the thing I want most, is to escape into that world and I offer readers an escape!

Fun Questions:
Which actor/actress would you like to see playing the lead character from your most recent book?
I can see Charlize Theron as Bernice and Sandra Bullock as Leonie. Both are very strong women and would bring such power to the roles! And I’d love to see Sandra Bullock as the really nasty sociopathic, amoral Leonie.

Give us an interesting fun fact or a few about your book or series:
I tried to turn one aspect of Rotten Peaches into reality! In Rotten Peaches, Bernice is the author of self-help cookbooks and I thought this would be a hit in real life! So I got together with a wonderful therapist, Marilyn Riesz, and an extremely talented food editor, Gilean Watts, and we came up with Bake Your Way to Happiness. You can find it on Amazon (link below). Unfortunately this book did not fly in the way that I truly believed it would (and should!) but you never know, it’s day might still come – it really is a wonderful book and it got great reviews! https://amzn.to/2FhJjxe

Favorite foods?
My husband, Brad, made slow-cooked scalloped potatos with aged cheddar, garlic and parmesan cheese! That is definitely my most favourite thing in the world right now! Followed by birthday cake! Give me those two things in one meal and I’d be ecstatic!

Favorite activities?
Having a nap is definitely on the top of my charts! Talking to my cat, having a few good reads on the go at the same time, finding a fabulous new series to binge watch! I love finding a series with about eight episodes because that way you’re not going to lose your entire life for months but just a few hours! I’d love to watch Sons of Anarchy but with seven seasons and ten episodes (and actually I think there are more!), that’s 70 hours! Which is, I guess, two work weeks, so if I ever have a two week vacation and don’t know what to do with myself, I’ll do that! I love going for bike rides in summer and I also love exploring abandoned places! If there’s a hole in the fence, I’m in! Travel is high on my list too. If I won the lottery, Brad and I would travel the world, with the cat of course!

 photo LDN 200.png

Catch Up With Lisa On:
lisadenikolitswriter.com, Goodreads, Twitter, & Facebook!

Lisa de Nikolits picture credit Richard Picton

 

Tour Participants:



Don’t Miss Your Chance to WIN!

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Lisa de Nikolits. There will be 5 giveaway winners. There will be 1 Grand Prize winner of one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card. There will be 1 2nd Prize winner of one (1) Print Edition of Rotten Peaches (US & Canadian Mailing Addresses only). There will be 3 additional winners of one (1) eBook Edition of Rotten Peaches. The giveaway begins on February 1, 2019 and runs through March 1, 2019. Void where prohibited.

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Feb 062019
 

Into the Light

by Darcia Helle

on Tour February 1-28, 2019

Synopsis:

Into the Light by Darcia Helle

Max Paddington refuses to go into the light until he finds his killer. This presents a dilemma, since Max is even less competent as a spirit than he was as a live person. No one sees or hears him and he can’t manage to get anywhere or do anything on his own.

Joe Cavelli is a private investigator, living an ordinary life. Then one day he walks across a parking lot, gets yelled at by a ghost, and his life only gets stranger from there.

Max and Joe team up to find Max’s killer. In the process, they form an unlikely friendship and change each other’s lives in ways they never expected.

 

Book Details:

Genre: Paranormal Suspense
Published by: Indie
Publication Date: July 14th 2011
Number of Pages: 250
ISBN: 146364020X (ISBN13: 9781463640200)
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads | Audible

Darcia Helle

Author Bio:

 

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

Q&A with Darcia Helle

Welcome!

I’m honored to be here!

Writing and Reading:
Do you draw from personal experiences and/or current events

Our personal experiences shape our thought process, so I don’t think it’s possible to write without drawing from them to some extent. For me, I usually don’t realize I’ve done it until the book is finished. When I do my first read-through, I find threads of those experiences sprinkled around.

Incorporating current events takes that same inadvertent path. I don’t set out to plot a story around a specific thing in the news. It happens because whatever is going on kind of festers in my mind until a story accidentally takes shape. For instance, aspects of my novel Killing Instinct are the result of me having read an in-depth article about Silk Road, the Darknet black market where you could purchase pretty much anything from drugs to contract killings. The concept sat in my subconscious until it found a place in a story.

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

I don’t plot at all. I’m a total pantser, meaning I fly by the seat of my pants. I typically start with nothing more than a random sentence and a character’s voice that pops into my head. My writing is character-driven, with a strong emphasis on emotion. I need to feel it in order to write it. The plot unfolds as I get to know the characters involved.

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

No, they all pop into my head complete with their own identity. I should probably be concerned that all these people live in my head, but at least I’m never lonely.

The one exception to this is my novel The Cutting Edge. Aspects of that story are ripped straight out of my personal life. The fictional hair salon is a replica of my mother’s salon, which I worked in for about 15 years. And all the fictional clients and incidents are based on real clients and incidents that occurred in that salon. While we didn’t have a killer running loose in the town, the fictional killer is modeled after a real-life client. Writing that novel was my catharsis; my own personal cleansing ritual!

Your routine when writing? Any idiosyncrasies?

My favorite room in the house is my sunroom, and that’s almost always where I write. I’m usually trying to balance my laptop around my three dogs and cat, with a giant mug of tea sitting precariously on the edge of the side table. My brain and I aren’t on speaking terms in the morning, so most of my writing happens in the afternoon. Late at night, when the world around me is silent, I stare into the darkness and figure out where the story will take me next.

I have all kinds of idiosyncrasies, but only one pertains to my writing routine. I must brush my teeth before I start writing. It’s weird, I know, but any sort of aftertaste from something I’ve eaten becomes horribly distracting. Seriously, I become a little obsessed if I don’t do it. I think it’s a sensory thing. I need to lose sense of myself and sort of disappear without reminders of the chocolate or crackers I’d eaten. But that’s just a guess. It could also be that I’m a total nutjob.

Tell us why we should read this book.

This question reminds me of the “elevator pitch” expected from publishers and marketing agencies. I’ll let you in on a secret: I suck at this. I can tell you all sorts of reasons why you should read someone else’s book but telling you why you should read one of mine makes me squirm.

The best, most honest answer I can give is that you should read this book because you want to. Maybe the premise intrigues you, or you like PI novels, or you want to spend time with a ghost, or you need a laugh or a little bit of a cry. Maybe you like men with dark, curly hair who are named Joe. Or you don’t like the name Max and you’re glad he’s dead. Whatever the reason, something about this story speaks to you, and you want to know more.

Who are some of your favorite authors?

I have many favorites for my many moods. Karin Slaughter, Tami Hoag, and John Sandford are three of my favorite mystery/suspense authors. I love Tony Schumacher’s John Rossett historical thriller series. Maria Haskins, Maria Savva, Jason McIntyre, and Lisette Brodey are just a few of my favorite independent authors.

I could fill an entire page with names. Ultimately, my favorite authors are those who make me feel the emotions, who make me think, and who move me with their words.

What are you reading now?

I just finished The Boy by Tami Hoag. And, wow! Held me captivated the entire time.

I have that book on my TBR list. However, I need at least 3 more lifetimes to read all that are on my list. I’ll let you in on one of my fantasies…that I could just read all day, every day without RL interuppting.

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

I’ve had to actively force myself to shut out thoughts of the next one. I needed to stay focused on all the prep work for the launch of Out of the Darkness, the next Joe Cavelli, Paranormal PI novel. But the voices in my head are never silent, and all the cacophony can be terribly distracting!

My intent is to write the third Joe Cavelli novel next, though I know better than to make any sort of plan or assumption. The characters are always in charge and, ultimately, I follow the voice that speaks the loudest in the moment.

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

Oh, my. Here’s another question I’m not good at. I don’t watch a lot of movies, and I’m especially bad with the celebrity thing. Beyond those shortcomings, I struggle with this question because my characters feel like real people to me, and so assigning another person to play them is a major hurdle my psyche can’t get past.

So, I asked Google for help with lists of actors, and that got me nowhere. Maybe a reader out there can help me out with suggestions!
Don’t feel bad….I have no clue who the popular actors are these days. I can’t even remember the last movie I watched. I would much rather read and use my imagination to create the movie in my head.

Favorite leisure activity/hobby?

Reading!

Favorite meal?

Does cheesecake count as a meal?
Absolutely!!!

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

Thank you for having me!

 

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

 

Read an excerpt:

Chapter 1

Divorce. She slid the word across the table like it was part of his breakfast. Here’s your toast and coffee and I want a divorce.

Max Paddington stared into his wife’s clear brown eyes and said the only thing that came to mind. “What?”

“I want a divorce,” Rachel repeated.

At least she’d left out the toast and coffee bit. Divorce hadn’t been a side order, after all. “Are you still mad about the golf clubs?” he asked. “I’ll take them back if it’s that big of a deal.”

“Max…”

Rachel said his name as if it left a sour taste on her tongue. Max swiped a hand through his damp hair. He’d been awake less than a half hour and already his day had turned to shit. Rachel, his wife of fourteen years—no, it was fifteen now—stood in front of him with her arms folded over her breasts. She wore a black camisole, pantyhose, and three-inch heels. And he was supposed to take her seriously?

“Rach,” he said. “You want to get divorced over golf clubs?”

“It’s not the golf clubs, Max.”

“Well, what the hell?”

“I need to finish getting dressed or I’ll be late for work.”

“So be late! You can’t tell me you want a divorce, like you’re telling me the weather for the day, then walk out the door.”

“I can’t be late today.”

“Or what? The world will implode because you don’t serve your boss’s coffee on time?”

Rachel glared. “I do not serve my boss coffee. I only did that for you and I won’t be doing it anymore.”

“I’m sorry, okay?” Max pushed his coffee mug aside, the object having suddenly become an obstacle between them. “I didn’t mean that. It’s just that you dumped this bombshell on me and you won’t even talk to me about it.”

“I don’t understand why you’re so surprised.”

“What? I should have been expecting a divorce with my breakfast?”

“Think about it, Max.”

With that, she turned and strode from the room. He watched her ass, naked beneath the pantyhose. Divorce. What the hell?

~ ~ ~

Max took his miserable attitude to work at the local Publix, where he’d been assistant manager for nearly five years. Before that, he’d been the assistant manager at Winn-Dixie. Always the assistant. Never the boss. And now his wife wanted a divorce because he’d bought expensive golf clubs. How had he managed to earn such a low rank in life?

He took his misery out on the new stock boy, a skinny sixteen-year-old with pockmarked skin and the grace of a five-thousand-pound elephant. The kid was close to tears by the time Dan, the manager, caught wind of the bad karma in the air. Max muttered an apology to his boss, said he was having a bad day, and wandered out to the stockroom. While sorting through overstock, he knocked an open case of olives onto the floor. The green ones in the glass jars. Four of the jars shattered. Little green eyeballs rolled in a puddle around his feet. One of the stockers helped him clean the mess with only a minimal of razzing.

Max hid his embarrassment behind a gruff attitude, then ducked into his office. He poured himself a cup of coffee and promptly spilled some on his tie. Next, he slipped on a newly waxed section of floor and did a fancy skid that landed him on his ass in the middle of the aisle. After that, he gave up on even pretending to work and managed to steer clear of everyone until quitting time.

He cursed his Honda Civic for not being a Mercedes, then cursed the traffic for getting in his way. His house mocked him with its dark silence. The coffeemaker mocked him from its place on the counter. Would you like a divorce with your morning coffee? A sweep of his arm sent the machine and its glass carafe sailing across the room. Leftover coffee exploded with the glass.

Was Rachel even coming home? Max watched the coffee form a river between the floor tiles. He cursed at the mess on the floor and the mess that was his life. Think about it, she’d told him. As if he could think about anything else!

He grabbed his keys and slammed out the door. Stupid to sit around sulking on the off chance that Rachel would come home soon. She was probably humping her boss on his fancy desk in his cavernous office. Damn lawyers. If the guy wasn’t overweight and bald, that thought would bother him a lot more.

Max brought his attitude to Chili’s, where he ate a burger and drank two large Cokes. Rather than one of the cute waitresses, he got stuck with a twenty-something waiter with a hundred-watt smile and perfect hair. The kind of guy who got threesomes on a regular basis. The kid’s name was Carlos and Max hated him on sight.

The noise level in the place had Max chewing on the edge of his glass. An entire building full of couples and families, all talking to each other, smiling and happy. He sat alone, being waited on by the pinup boy for Playgirl, looking like the true loser he’d become.

Would you like a divorce with your order?

Max left Carlos what was likely the worst tip the kid had ever received and stomped back out to his car. He’d been forced to park in the bank’s lot next door. That should have been a sign for him to stay out of the place. The food, liquor, noise and Carlos’s perfect white teeth only managed to further sour his mood.

Maybe Rachel would be home by now and be willing to talk. As he yanked his door open, it occurred to him that he should have gotten her some food. What if she hadn’t been avoiding him and had only worked late? What if she was waiting for him now, in their kitchen with the glass and the coffee river?

He spotted someone standing in the shadows, twenty feet from his car. A thin man, maybe a woman. Couldn’t tell with that stupid ball cap pulled low, half hidden behind the palm trees where no lights fell. Why the hell was the guy standing there in the dark? That was the thought Max had when the bullet ripped through his left eye, tore through his brain, and exploded out the back of his skull.

***

Excerpt from Into the Light by Darcia Helle. Copyright © 2019 by Darcia Helle. Reproduced with permission from Darcia Helle. All rights reserved.

 

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Jan 242019
 

The Company Files: The Good Man by Gabriel Valjan Banner

The Company Files

The Good Man

by Gabriel Valjan

on Tour January 14-26, 2019

Synopsis:

The Company Files: The Good Man by Gabriel Valjan

Jack Marshall had served with Walker during the war, and now they work for The Company in postwar Vienna. With the help of Leslie, an analyst who worked undercover gathering intelligence from Hitler’s inner circle, they are tasked to do the inconceivable: recruit former Nazis with knowledge that can help the U.S. in the atomic race. But someone else is looking for these men. And when he finds them, he does not leave them alive.

In this tale of historical noir, of corruption and deceit, no one is who they say they are. Who is The Good Man in a world where an enemy may be a friend, an ally the enemy, and governments deny everything?

Book Details:

Genre: International Mystery, Crime Fiction
Published by: Winter Goose Publishing
Publication Date: December 15 2017
Number of Pages: 251
ISBN: 1941058736 (ISBN13: 9781941058732)
Series: The Company Files: 1
Purchase Links: Amazon | Goodreads

 

Read an excerpt:

At 0300 his little black beauty warbled from the nightstand, and stirred Walker from his semi-erotic embrace of the pillow. Grable, his .45, was sleeping next to the receiver. She could sleep through anything. He was jealous.

“Awake?” Jack’s distinctive voice came over the wire.

“I am now.” Eyes focused on becoming alert.

“Meet me at the Narrenturm, ninth district.”

“Why?”

“The IP are here already.”

Walker washed a hand over his face, still in the fog.

“What is it, Jack?”

“Dead body in the Fruitcake House.”

The informative sentence ended with a click. The IP, the International Police, presence was a guarantee that the crime scene would not be kept contained.

Walker got out of bed.

His room was square, clean, and impersonal. The room measured 50 square meters and served as living room where the nice, upholstered chair was and bedroom where stood the bed. A modest walnut armoire rested against the wall space next to the bathroom door. There was a set of doors out to the balcony so small that it was an insult to a poor man’s suicide.

There was no pretension to domesticity or habit, like paintings, books, or luxurious furniture. His mirror in the bathroom was his daily reminder of what he presented to the world, and on the nightstand rested his Leich desk phone with its felt-covered base, curled cord, and petite Bakelite body that he answered when the outside world called him.

Each night before bed Walker draped a towel over the upholstered chair, and he placed a pail of water on the balcony. Then he inventoried the room. He knew that if something changed in the room he would wake up. Out of habit he slept without socks, his feet in the open air, so he could respond to anything that moved uninvited in the room.

The AKH is the General Hospital in Vienna, the Allgemeines Krankenhaus, the largest in the country, and the Narrenturm was the second mental hospital in Europe after Bedlam in London. The German word for the place was Gugelhupf because of its architecture. The asylum housed the mentally ill, the criminally insane, and political prisoners.

The AKH boasted the first lightning rods in Vienna on its roof and breakthroughs in hygienic practices. Walker wondered whether the lightning rods had anything to do with the electroconvulsive therapy he had read about back home, as he walked over to the chair, grabbed the towel, and tossed it onto the floor by the balcony door. Blood groups had first been typed in thorough Teutonic style at the AKH, while patients were chained to lattice doors at the Narrenturm, screaming like the forgotten poor and unrepentant heretics in medieval dungeons well into the nineteenth century.

He took off his shorts, went out onto the balcony naked in the cold air, picked up the pail of now freezing water and poured it over his head.

He had learned this trick from a Russian POW. Cold water forces the body to discharge negativity and disease. The POW, he was told through a translator, did this ritual every single day without fail regardless of season. The water made his skin scream. Walker never got used to the shock. The heaviness went out of him through his heels and his mind focused.

He toweled off, dressed, and coaxed Grable out of her sleep and under his arm.

Any time of night the Narrenturm is a nightmare. The building had a corkscrew circular corridor that spun off twenty-eight patient rooms on each of its five floors. Dessert cake. Each room had slit windows that only a starving bird could contemplate for roosting. Escaping the place was as formidable as finding it.

After Walker had given a brief flash of his papers and had inquired after directions, the MP told him in factual German that Courtyard 6 was accessible from one of several entrances. ‘Take Alserstrasse, Garnisongasse, or Spitalgasse, and then consult any one of the gateway maps.’ It was just the right number of precise German details to confuse him.

In darkness and frustration Walker found the wrought-iron gate with a nice curvy snake that he thought was the caduceus. He looked at the serpent. Was it the caduceus of Hermes or the rod of Asclepius? He touched the single snake, ran his fingers across the diamond-shaped iron fixtures. Old man Hermes must have stolen back his staff and had just enough time to get away from the crazies with only one of his snakes. The caduceus, he remembered, had two.

Above him, darkness; ahead of him, in the curving hall as he climbed, voices. He saw Jack, who, intuitively turning his head to his shoulder, saw him before turning his head back to face forward, as International Police and some suits swarmed around, the air charged in a Babel of languages. Even in a crowd Jack Marshall stood out as a man not to crowd.

Walker went to stand next to Jack. Standing at ease – hands behind his back – out of habit. Jack uttered his words just audibly enough for Walker to hear. “The German word for magician is Der Zauberer. Our friend is a magician. He sets the stage, does his trick, and then poof he’s gone. No clues. Nothing.”

Approaching them were the four-to-a-jeep policemen, one representative for each of the national flags that controlled the city. They were reporting to the Inspector in their respective languages. Walker knew the Inspector would summarize the scene for him and Jack in English.

The Frenchman who wore a long haggard face from smoking too many cigarettes, spoke with a phlegmatic bass. The Brit recounted events in his reedy voice with an affected posh accent; no doubt picked up from the BBC back in Birmingham. The Russian, after he had spoken, stood at attention with winter in his face, whereas the American, a young kid, gave a smiling report, about as graceful as a southpaw in a room of righties. Walker’s ears listened for any German, keen for the second verb at the end of the sentence so he could understand what was being said. The Inspector scribbled notes with a very short pencil that took brevity to an art form.

Finally. In his lilting Austrian-inflected English: “Gentlemen, it appears we have an unfortunate scenario here. The victim was discovered this evening, two hours ago to be precise. The police arrived at the scene after hearing a tip from an informant that this facility was being used for black-market trading. Thinking that they might discover black-market penicillin or other commodities popular these days, they made this discovery. Our medical examiner is making an assessment as I speak.”

Jack and Walker remained silent.

The man continued as the four policemen lingered solemnly and choir-like behind him. “The victim in question was, according to our preliminary findings, a man of the medical profession with questionable ethics.”

“You mean a Nazi doctor,” Jack said in his tone of an officer weary of formality and needing facts.

The Frenchman murmured “Bosch” and covered his racist word with a cough. The Inspector’s eyes looked behind him without turning his head.

“Yes, a doctor. The deceased is said to have performed unseemly medical experiments on prisoners in the camps. He did horrible things to children, women, and particularly, Russian prisoners of war. Unconscionable.”

The Russian, a silent Boris, stared ahead without a flinch or thaw.

The Inspector with a modest bow of the head and genteel click of his heels handed Jack a piece of paper. It was a preliminary. Jack said nothing. His eyes took in the paper with a downward glance and he began the short walk to the scene.

Walker and Marshall entered the patient’s cell. The room smelled of something tarry. Some other men who had just been there left in whispers, leaving them alone with the doctor and the body. When the doctor, who was dressed in the all-black priestly garb of his profession, saw his helpers leave and these new men arrive, he switched from his native language to English the way an owl with fourteen neck bones moves his head in ways not humanly possible.

“How’s the patient?” Marshall asked the little man near the body.

“Dead a day or two by his liver temperature. Rigor has set, as you well can see from the positioning.” The doctor was making his own notes while he talked.

“Any thoughts to cause of death, Herr Doktor?” Walker asked, knowing that coroners had looked at enough mortality to be either humble or inhumanly arrogant.

The doctor used his fingers to show an invisible syringe and did the motion of pressing the plunger. Abgespritzt. Lethal injection. I would say, carbolic acid.”

“Sounds to me that would be a fast way to go, Doctor,” Jack said with his hands in his topcoat’s pockets.

“Not necessarily. Ten to fifteen millimeters of the liquid, if injected directly into the heart, should induce ventricular tachycardia in, say, fifteen seconds. Our man here was not so lucky. First, I found no such puncture in the chest. I did find, however, a puncture in one of the extremities. I would say this man took an hour to die. Look at him.”

With this pronouncement, the small birdlike man clicked his little black bag shut and left Jack and Walker inside the cell.

Walker’s eyes took in the history of the room. He estimated that the room was tall enough, walls thick enough, that a man could scream all he wanted and nobody would know he existed. He imagined centuries of such screams within this room and maybe some claw marks on the walls, too. “How did he get in here?”

“And what does the staging job mean?” Jack said.

The dead man was propped on a stool, naked. A metal T, evidentially meant for chaining prisoners, was behind him with one part of the cross bar holding his left arm secure while his right hand, bent in rigor, rested over his heart. The corpse’s left arm had received the injection, the head was cocked back, the throat muscles taut but the mouth closed shut in typical Germanic reticence. The eyes were clouded over, the light gone from them when the heart had stopped. The legs were neutral, the back straight in a way that any mother would be proud of such perfect posture.

Walker and Jack walked around the body without saying a word. In front of the corpse was an SS uniform, folded neatly in a stack. The shirt’s right collar patch bore the runic double lightning bolts, the left patch and matching right shoulder board said, with its three diamonds and two double bars, Hauptsturmführer, Captain. His .32 was holstered and accounted for at his feet, next to his shined-to-a-sheen boots.

Jack said nothing. His mind had already processed the scene.

They descended the stairway towards the exit. Both stopped to look at the display of the hydrocephalic baby inside a formaldehyde jar. Walker and Marshall stopped, looked at it, and said nothing, because there was nothing to say.

“What do you think, Walker?” was the question once they were outside.

“The Inspector said that this dead man was a medico but there was no serpent badge on the uniform. That tells me he wasn’t in the Medical Corps. He had to be a straight-up SS man, maybe with some medical knowledge or simply passing through the camp. But he’s no doctor, so I don’t know how the Inspector could say he was doing medical experiments, unless that report of his says something I’m missing.”

Jack answered, “It doesn’t. Anything else?”

“Those slacks,” Walker replied. “They had cat hair on them.”

“So the dead guy either had a cat…”

“Or the killer has one, because there are no cats here that I can see. Another thing: those clothes were pressed and regulation-folded. He wasn’t wearing them when he was killed. Besides, nobody would walk through Vienna these days with that uniform. They either were placed in front of him as he was dying, or after he was dead. It’s all staged to make some kind of statement. Question is, where did his street clothes go.”

Jack touched his breast pocket, where the Inspector’s report rested privately. “We have another problem, Walker.”

“And what might that be?” Walker thought he knew what Jack was thinking but he waited.

Jack was quiet.

“What? You want me to go chase down an orange tabby?”

“Relax, Walker. That Inspector’s report is in German. That’s why I didn’t show it to you.”

“So my German isn’t perfect, but I can manage. What does it say?”

“It gives us the man’s name.”

They stood outside together as the sun was arriving.

“That man…” Jack pointed with his eyes upward to the stone turret from hell “was on our list. Either way we’ll never be able to talk to the Captain.”

“So what’s your recommendation?” asked Walker, afraid of the answer.

They walked to the curb together. Jack had hailed a cab, opened up the suicide door, got in, but delayed the driver with a few words in German, and from the car window said to Walker, “Talk to Leslie later to see what she thinks after I get tonight’s details to her. I’ll get a report on your desk that might interest you.”

He banged on the side door as a signal to the driver to take off.

***

Excerpt from The Company Files: 1. The Good Man by Gabriel Valjan. Copyright © 2018 by Gabriel Valjan. Reproduced with permission from Gabriel Valjan. All rights reserved.

 

Gabriel Valjan

Author Bio:

Gabriel Valjan is the author of the Roma Series and The Company Files from Winter GoosePublishing as well as numerous short stories. In 2018, he was shortlisted for the Bridport and Fish Prize Short Story Prizes.

Gabriel lives in Boston, Massachusetts, where he enjoys the local restaurants, and his two cats, Squeak and Squawk, keep him honest to the story on the screen.

Catch Up With Gabriel On:
gabrielvaljan.com, Goodreads, Twitter, & Facebook!

 
 

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Giveaway:

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Gabriel Valjan. There will be 1 winner of one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card. The giveaway begins on January 14, 2019 and runs through January 27, 2019. Void where prohibited.

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Jan 162019
 

Dark Paradise by Gene Desrochers Banner

Dark Paradise

by Gene Desrochers

on Tour January 1-31, 2019

Synopsis:

Dark Paradise by Gene Desrochers

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

Book Details:

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

 

Gene Desrochers

Author Bio:

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

Guest Post by Gene Desrochers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

Read an excerpt:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“What? What’s that?” I said.

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

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

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

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

***

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

Tour Participants:

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

 

Enter To Win!:

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

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