Sep 182018
 

The Found Child

by Jo Crow

September 18, 2018 Book Blast

Synopsis:

The Found Child by Jo Crow

One mother’s life can change in the blink of an eye—and there’s no going back.

Elaine’s worst fears become a reality when her beloved son Jakob is diagnosed with cancer. She needs to find a bone marrow donor, and time is running out. While awaiting test results from herself and her husband Nathan, she approaches his business partner, Roger—her ex-lover—to see if he could be a possible match. Instead, an even greater shock awaits: Jakob is not her biological son. For years, she has been raising someone else’s child.

The news threatens to send Elaine back to the pills that almost destroyed her life once before, pushing her already fragile mental state to the breaking point. As the family faces one crisis, a ghost from her past emerges to jeopardize everything she’s built. But is the threat real, or is it all in her mind? Elaine needs to stay strong for her son, but as her whole reality continues to unravel, she can’t trust anyone—not even herself.

 

MY THOUGHTS/REVIEW

5 stars

WOW! WOW! I read ¾ in the first sitting and couldn’t wait to pick it up the next morning to finish it.

I put this writer on my “authors to read list” after reading A MOTHER’S LIE and I now know it was a really good move on my part.

I don’t know where to begin because this was such a phenomenal read. Other than the synopsis, I don’t want to spill 1 iota of information because I don’t want to spoil it for those who want to read it.

The story has an intense spellbinding detailed plot. The characters are well developed, so much so, that I could feel the mother’s love, devotion, despair, terror, anxiety, confusion just to name a few emotions. The action and suspense is continuous from the first page to the last word.

Reading this book was like running a marathon and after turning each corner, I had to stop and catch my breath! Continuous tension and turmoil that left me gasping for air because I was holding my breath at every turn. A heart pounding read!

Did I say WOW!? I wish I could give this book more than 5 stars! It will definitely be one of my 2018 best reads!

I highly recommend this read if you are looking for uninterrupted action. And especially for mothers because you will be asking yourself what you would do.

I did, however, find just one negative…..I now have to wait for Ms. Crow’s next book!!!!

Book Details:

Genre: Thriller
Published by: Relay Publishing
Publication Date: September 4th 2018
Number of Pages: 372
ISBN-10: 1726446328
ISBN-13: 978-1726446327
Purchase Links: Amazon Goodreads

 

Read an excerpt:

Prologue

Telling parents that the search for their missing infant had gone cold was a job that no one wanted. And honestly, Detective Aaronson had tried to pass it off to someone else—to his partner, Miller, and then to a uniform. Ultimately, though, the chief had put his boot down and pushed it back on Aaronson. He was the point man. He and Miller had worked the case together for a month before the leads dried up, but it had been Aaronson who had sat with the parents, talked to them on the phone, and kept them updated.

He’d been the one to give them hope, so it followed that he should be the one to take it away… right?

They had agreed to meet him at the station. That seemed to be the best choice. No one wanted to get this kind of news in their own home—it would put a stain on the place that would never wash out. No, it was more professional to have the talk here in one of the small conference rooms. No decorations, no distractions, nothing to make the moment seem too casual. Only gray brick, white linoleum and a wooden table and chairs that were plain and utilitarian. Unemotional.

Now he sat across from them, steeling himself and trying to work up some moisture in his mouth. There was water, but they hadn’t poured a glass so he wasn’t about to. Both of them had dark circles under their bloodshot eyes, and a waxy pallor to their skin. They hadn’t slept in a month, he figured. He’d have put money on it. Hell, he could barely sleep when his teenager stayed out late with her friends on a weekend. And their child had been gone for more than a month. As a parent, he understood part of their pain. Just part of it. That’s what made this so damn difficult.

“We’re not closing the case,” he said, his tone as flat as he could manage. “But as of now, the leads—”

“You’re not looking anymore?” the mother asked. Fury filled her eyes, and loss. One of those was for him.

“It’s only been a month,” the father said. “You can’t stop now. Please, our son is out there somewhere—we know it.”

“I can feel him,” she said. “You have to believe me, I can feel him here.” She clutched at her chest, at the threadbare, peach-colored sweater she wore.

You have to keep it short, the chief had said. Keep it direct and then refer them to the counselor. That’s your job.

Aaronson wondered if the chief had ever done this before. He imagined he’d had, but to make it seem so simple… Of course, there were regulations. He couldn’t be the counselor and the detective, and there were good reasons for that. “We will keep the case open,” he told them. “If any new leads come in, we’ll follow up on them.”

He meant it, too. But the truth that he knew, and that these two knew even if they didn’t want to believe it, was that after seventy-two hours, most of these cases were never solved. Every day after that windows closed, the likelihood of finding a child like theirs dropped exponentially until it plummeted to a fraction of a percent which itself really only represented the handful of miracle cases that had been resolved sometimes decades after a disappearance.

“Please don’t do this,” the father begged. He took his wife’s hand, and they leaned into one another. “One more month. There was that woman—”

“At the moment, Andrea Williams has been cleared as a suspect,” Aaronson said. That poor woman’s life had been all but destroyed already. “We’ve been over her life with a fine-toothed comb. If new evidence emerges, we’ll look into it again, but I’m telling you that she’s not who we want.”

“So, what do we do now?” the mother asked. “What do we do now that you’ve abandoned our boy? Abandoned us?”

Aaronson was so close to breaking. He stood from the table. “I swear to you both,” he said, the words bitter on his tongue, “that we will pursue any and every lead that comes across my desk. We’re not abandoning anyone. Alright?” And while it may have been technically true, it sure felt like a lie.

Nothing but contempt came from them, and he didn’t blame them at all. And he hated himself for what he had to say next. “There’s a counselor here. Doctor Amari. She’s a grief counselor, and it’s free to see her. I can send her in, but I have to leave you now. I’m sorry. Really, I am.”

They turned their faces from him.

As he left, he closed the door gently even though he wanted to slam it hard enough to shatter the glass. He wasn’t even sure who to be angry with. Himself, mostly, he guessed, or the whole damn department. And Andrea-fucking-Williams, who had wasted their time from the beginning by lying to protect herself instead of telling them the truth about her record so that they could have moved on.

He took only two steps before the mother wailed loudly behind him. The entire department went quiet. That sound was one they all knew. It was the sound of a woman who had lost the last shred of hope she’d had. The shred that he’d taken away from her.

That was the sound of a mother whose child had died. And, at this point, Aaronson had nothing to suggest it wasn’t true.

He’d failed them.

***

Excerpt from The Found Child by Jo Crow. Copyright © 2018 by Jo Crow. Reproduced with permission from Jo Crow. All rights reserved.

 

Author Bio:

Jo Crow

Jo Crow gave ten years of her life to the corporate world of finance, rising to be one of the youngest VPs around. She carved writing time into her commute to the city, but never shared her stories, assuming they were too dark for any publishing house. But when a nosy publishing exec read the initial pages of her latest story over her shoulder, his albeit unsolicited advice made her think twice.

A month later, she took the leap, quit her job, and sat down for weeks with pen to paper. The words for her first manuscript just flew from her. Now she spends her days reading and writing, dreaming up new ideas for domestic noir fans, and drawing from her own experiences in the cut-throat commercial sector.

Not one to look back, Jo is all in, and can’t wait for her next book to begin.

Catch Up With Jo Crow On:
Goodreads & Facebook!

 

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This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Jo Crow. There will be 5 winners of for this tour. There will be 1 winner of one (1) Amazon GC; there will be 3 winners of one (1) A MOTHER’S LIE eBook; and there will be 1 winner of one (1) A MOTHER’S LIE by Jo Crow audiobook. The giveaway begins on September 18, 2018 and runs through September 25, 2018. Void where prohibited.

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REVIEW DISCLAIMER

  • This blog was founded on the premise to write honest reviews, to the best of my ability, no matter who from, where from and/or how the book was obtained, and will continue to do so, even if it is through PICT or PBP.
  • I received a copy of this book, at no charge to me, in exchange for my honest review. No items that I receive are ever sold…they are kept by me, or given to family and/or friends.
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  • May 082018
     

    White Heat by Paul D. Marks | Tour Banner

    White Heat

    by Paul D. Marks

    May 8, 2018 Book Blast

     

    Synopsis:

    White Heat by Paul D. Marks

    P.I. Duke Rogers finds himself in a combustible situation in this racially charged thriller. His case might have to wait…

    The immediate problem: getting out of South Central Los Angeles in one piece during the 1992 “Rodney King” riots and that’s just the beginning of his problems.

    Duke finds an old “friend” for a client. The client’s “friend,” an up and coming African-American actress, ends up dead. Duke knows his client did it. Feeling guilty that he inadvertently helped the killer find the victim, he wants to track down the client/killer. He starts his mission by going to the dead actress’ family in South Central L.A.—and while there the “Rodney King” riots ignite.

    While Duke searches for the killer he must also deal with the racism of his partner, Jack, and from Warren, the murder victim’s brother, who is a mirror image of Jack in that department. He must also confront his own possible latent racism—even as he’s in an interracial relationship with the dead woman’s sister.

     

    Book Details:

    Genre: Mystery, Crime, Thriller
    Published by: Down & Out Books
    Publication Date: May 21st 2018
    Number of Pages: 340
    ISBN: 9781370062423
    Series: Duke Rogers #1

    Check out White Heat by Paul D Marks on: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Google Books, & Goodreads

     

    Read an excerpt:

    We came to Florence and Normandie. Half a block away the cops were regrouping. Or retreating. Or hiding out. It was hard to tell. There was a swarm of them, but they weren’t doing much of anything. People were looting, throwing rocks, bottles and the like right under their noses. As we left the intersection, I glanced back. A large semi was pulling into the intersection. We continued away from the intersection. Later I learned that this was where Reginald Denny, the driver of the semi, was pulled from the truck. Beaten within an inch of his life. We were gone before it happened. But I still have pangs of guilt for having been so close and having done so little. Now I know how lucky we were.

    In a sense it was a quid pro quo situation. Tiny’s black face was my passport among his people. My white face was his insurance that the cops might just leave him alone—if they knew he was with me. That might have been why he wanted to help me out. Protection. But it wasn’t an uneasy truce. I felt comfortable with him. Like we’d known each other all our lives. Maybe we had. The last thirty minutes had been a lifetime.

    We crouched behind a low wall at a service station, surveying the situation. He watched two sides. I watched the other two, covering each other’s backs. We were both armed; neither of us wanted to use our guns.

    Noise barked from every direction. Sirens. Shouts. Choppers hovering. Shots. Too many shots. It all blended into a cacophony of confusion. The din was ear-shattering and lifeless, inert, all at the same time.

    “Why’re you helping me?” I asked Tiny as we scoped the street out. He never answered my question, though I asked several more times.

    There was an explosion in the distance, then the shock wave. A new column of black smoke appeared every few minutes. Slow-motion funnel clouds.

    “Man, don’t they know they’re tearing down their own goddamn neighborhoods,” he said, scanning the horizon. “Where’re they gonna get food and clothes when all this burns to the ground?

    ***

    Excerpt from White Heat by Paul D. Marks. Copyright © 2018 by Paul D. Marks. Reproduced with permission from Paul D. Marks. All rights reserved.

     

    Author Bio:

    Paul D. Marks

    Paul D. Marks is the author of the Shamus Award-Winning mystery-thriller White Heat. Publishers Weekly calls White Heat a “taut crime yarn.” His story Ghosts of Bunker Hill was voted #1 in the 2016 Ellery Queen Readers Poll. Howling at the Moon (EQMM 11/14) was short-listed for both the 2015 Anthony and Macavity Awards. Midwest Review calls his novella Vortex “…a nonstop staccato action noir.” Marks’ story Windward, from the Coast to Coast: Private Eyes from Sea to Shining Sea anthology, has been selected for the 2018 Best American Mystery Stories (fall 2018), edited by Louise Penny & Otto Penzler.

    Catch Up With Paul D. Marks On:
    Website 🔗, Goodreads 🔗, Twitter 🔗, & Facebook 🔗!

     

    Tour Participants:



     

    Giveaway:

    This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Paul D. Marks. There will be 1 winner of one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card. The giveaway begins on May 8 and runs through May 14, 2018. Void where prohibited.

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    Mar 062018
     

    Black Flowers, White Lies by Yvonne Ventresca Banner

    Black Flowers, White Lies

    by Yvonne Ventresca

    March 6, 2018 Book Blast

     

    Synopsis:

    Black Flowers, White Lies by Yvonne Ventresca

    “I raced through Black Flowers, White Lies in a single sitting. What a twisty thrill-ride!”
    ~April Henry, New York Times-bestselling author of Girl, Stolen

    LIES CAN COME BACK TO HAUNT YOU.

    Her father died before she was born, but Ella Benton knows they have a connection that transcends the grave. Since her mother disapproves, she keeps her visits to the cemetery where he’s buried secret. But when Ella learns that her mother may have lied about how Dad died sixteen years ago, it’s clear she’s not the only one with secrets. New facts point to his death in a psychiatric hospital, not a car accident as Mom always claimed.

    When a handprint much like the one Ella left on her father’s tombstone mysteriously appears on the bathroom mirror, she wonders if Dad is warning her of danger, as he did once before, or if someone’s playing unsettling tricks on her. But as the unexplained events become more frequent and more sinister, she finds herself terrified about who—or what—might harm her.

    Soon the evidence points to someone new: Ella herself. What if, like Dad, she’s suffering from a mental breakdown? In this second novel from award-winning author Yvonne Ventresca, Ella desperately needs to find answers—no matter how disturbing the truth might be.

     

    NOW IN PAPERBACK!

    Black Flowers, White Lies by Yvonne Ventresca is a 2017 Independent Publisher Book Award Gold Medal Winner!

     

    Book Details:

    Genre: Young Adult Thriller
    Published by: Sky Pony Press
    Publication Date: Paperback March 6, 2018 (Hardcover Oct 2016)
    Number of Pages: 280
    ISBN: 1510725962 (ISBN13: 9781510725966)

    Grab Your copy of Black Flowers, White Lies on: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Indiebound, & Add it to your Goodreads list!

     

    Read an excerpt:

    Chapter One, Beautiful Boy:

    I approach Dad’s tombstone with trepidation, then breathe a sigh of relief. No mysterious flowers wilt at his grave as I had feared. Last August, someone left fresh orange lilies for him throughout the month. I never figured out who. Then, in September, the flowers stopped appearing as suddenly as they started. I always wondered, with an odd mixture of anxiety and hope, if I would run into the other mourner— someone else who honored my father. But I never did.

    Usually, the ritual of navigating the same cemetery rows, visiting Thomas Darren Benton, and putting a small rock on his headstone calms me. Now, the heat is relentless and sweat trickles down my back as I search for the perfect pebble. It needs to be a nice, roundish one. Despite the lilies left last summer, Dad wasn’t a bouquet kind of guy.

    I know this even though I never met him. He died before I was born, so I have no memories of him, only stories from Mom that I’ve heard so many times it feels like I was actually there. I see him beam during his graduation from veterinary school and feel his hand pat Mom’s pregnant belly. I hear him pick my name from the baby book: Ariella, meaning lion, although Mom insists they nickname me Ella. I smell the damp on his clothes from the night he rescued Oscar the kitten from a storm drain and brought him home to stay. These recollections have been cobbled together into my own version of Dad for the last fifteen years.

    Today the sky is gray and foreboding, but the occasional burst of wind does nothing to cool me. I finally find just the right rock nestled in a patch of grass and rub off the dirt with my fingers. My friend Jana taught me the tradition of leaving a stone as a way to mark my visits with something more permanent, more enduring than flowers.

    I’m the only person who comes to his grave somewhat regularly, other than last summer’s unknown mourner. I don’t think Mom’s been here since her engagement to Stanley, a non-reading, self-absorbed, stubby man. With the wedding only days away, Stanley’s settled into our apartment, but each awkward conversation we have leaves me yearning for the father who painted my room a cheerful yellow, who created a mini-library of animal books to read to his future daughter.

    I hesitate before Beloved Husband and Father, rolling the pebble between my fingers, then place it in line with the last one, making it the eighth in a row. I let my hand linger against the cool granite. Next week is Dad’s birthday, August 8. That number has been lucky for me since I was eight years old, when I could have died, but because of Dad’s warning, I didn’t.

    The air gusts, whipping strands of hair across my face and scattering the pebbles to the ground. My skin prickles at the eerie timing before I realize that the wind has been stormy on and off throughout the day. Still, it spooks me because nothing has disturbed my markers in months. Until now. It’s almost like Dad is giving me another sign.

    The cemetery turns out to be more peaceful than home. I’m lounging across my bed checking my phone with Oscar purring beside me when—bang—Mom pounds on the adjacent wall. Oscar scampers to the top of my bookcase, his favorite spot in times of trouble.

    The room next to mine serves as Mom’s office, and since my soon-to-be-stepbrother is expected to arrive later tonight, she’s fixing it up. Loudly.

    I give up on coaxing Oscar down and move to the doorway. “What are you doing?”

    “Look.” She points with the hammer at two new pictures of the Manhattan skyline where a framed print of The Cat in the Hat used to be. Besides changing the wall decorations, she also cleared out the closet and moved her many piles of papers from the desk. “Do you think Blake will like it?”

    I have no idea what Blake will like. The only photo I’ve even seen of him is one that Stanley keeps on his nightstand. It’s a faded picture of a young blond boy at the beach, smiling up at him.

    “The room looks nice,” I say. “But it’s not like he’s living here forever.” Blake would only be staying with us for a few weeks until he moved into his dorm at NYU.

    “I know. But I want this to feel like home for him.”

    She certainly cares a lot about this guy we’ve never met. The filing cabinet, the now-spotless desk, and the fax machine are the sole remnants of her office.

    “After we find your dress today, I need to buy some blue sheets and maybe some towels, too,” she says. “Are you ready to go?”

    “Sure.” I sigh quietly.

    Our apartment building is directly across from the Hoboken PATH station. After a short train ride to the Newport Mall, I remember for the hundredth time why I hate shopping with Mom. Every dress she pulls off the rack is revolting. But the wedding is only days away. We need to find something suitable that won’t forever embarrass me when I see the photos in years to come.

    “How about this?” Mom holds up a mauve paisley thing with puffy sleeves, her eyes shiny with hope. “This color will look so flattering on you.”

    “Maybe.” I don’t want to hurt her feelings, so I purposely drift away to shop on my own. And then I see it: a pale yellow dress, strapless, with a flouncy skirt and sequins around the middle. The dress sparkles when I hold it against me. I can’t wait to try it on.

    Mom will hate it. She’ll want me to look conservative for the small group of friends and family at her wedding. My strategy is to show her other dresses she’ll hate even more. I find a black mini she’ll say isn’t long enough and a floral sundress she’ll think is too casual.

    When I get to the dressing room, Mom and three hideous pink dresses await.

    I try on the minidress first, which she predictably declares too short. Luckily, the mauve one bunches at my waist. She likes the sundress, but not for the wedding.

    I put on a blush-colored one.

    “It’s not bad,” she says. “What do you think?”

    “Too much lace. It’s like wearing a tablecloth.”

    She nods in agreement.

    Finally, I try on the yellow one and giggle with delight. I come out, posture perfect, feeling like a princess. “Isn’t it beautiful?”

    Mom frowns. “Strapless? You’d need something over it.”

    I twirl. “I have that silver sweater at home.”

    “Let’s see the rose-colored one.”

    “Fiiine.”

    In the dressing room, I breathe deeply as I put on the last dress.

    Her face lights up when I step out. “Ella! It’s so pretty! It brings a glow to your cheeks. And it’s perfect with your coloring.”

    She calls it my coloring because I inherited Dad’s brown hair and brown eyes instead of her fairness.

    “The rose is all right,” I say. “But don’t you think the ruffles look too childish for a sophomore?”

    “Honey. It’s perfect for an almost-sophomore. And it’s appropriate. The yellow one might be nice for a dance, but for the wedding . . .”

    I close the curtain and put on my shorts and favorite T-shirt, the one with the tabby cat that says Rescued is my favorite breed. It’s her wedding, I remind myself. She should get to choose. I should be mature.

    I walk out and hand her the ruffled dress.

    “Thank you. It means a lot to me,” Mom says. “I’ll pay for this and go to the bedding department. Want to meet at the food court in an hour?”

    “Sure.”

    I shake off my annoyance and detour into the accessories section, where my friend Grace had seen a cute wallet with kittens on it that she thought I’d like. I’m sifting through the clearance items when this guy approaches me, holding a bunch of ties. Whoa. He’s tall and blond, and his white polo shirt shows off his tan.

    “Excuse me,” Beautiful Boy says. “I’m trying to decide between these?” His voice lilts into a question. His smile is friendly, his eyes deep brown and intense. “I suck at this kind of thing.” He somehow manages to look model-perfect and sheepish at the same time. “Would you mind helping me pick one?”

    I blink for a minute, staring at his face instead of the ties. My delayed response verges on awkward. “Okay,” I say. “What are you wearing it with?”

    “A gray suit.”

    I’m conscious of his eyes on me as I study the ones he’s chosen. It makes it hard to think. None of the ties have any yellow, my favorite color. Maybe it’s the dress shopping with Mom, but I point to the gray one with rose-colored diamond shapes. “I like this.”

    “Thanks.”

    I wish I could prolong our interaction somehow so that I can learn more about him. He lingers a too-short moment, then gives me another smile before he turns away.

    I can’t help feeling like something momentous has transpired. I’m a believer in karma and fate and the mysterious workings of the universe. As I watch Beautiful Boy walk away, I hope that meeting him again is meant to be.

    ***

    Excerpt from Black Flowers, White Lies by Yvonne Ventresca. Copyright © 2018 by Yvonne Ventresca. Reproduced with permission from Sky Pony Press. All rights reserved.

     

    Author Bio:

    Yvonne Ventresca

    Whether the topic is psychological manipulation, ghostly encounters, or surviving a deadly outbreak, Yvonne Ventresca enjoys the thrill of writing about frightening situations. BuzzFeed listed her latest novel, BLACK FLOWERS, WHITE LIES at the top of their YA “must read” list for fall 2016, and this psychological thriller received an IPPY Gold Medal for Young Adult Fiction in 2017.

    Her debut YA novel, PANDEMIC (Sky Pony Press, 2014), won a Crystal Kite Award from the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. Yvonne’s other credits include several short stories selected for anthologies, as well as two nonfiction books. She is a member of the Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, SCBWI, The Authors Guild, and International Thriller Writers.

    Besides writing, she loves a good ghost story, and as a third-degree black belt, she studies Isshinryu karate in a haunted dojo. You can learn more about Yvonne and her books at YvonneVentresca.com, where she also features helpful resources for teen writers.

     

    Catch Up With Ms Ventresca on yvonneventresca.com, Goodreads, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, & Facebook!

     

    Tour Participants:

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

     

    Giveaway:

    This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Yvonne Ventresca. There will be 1 winners of one (1) Amazon.com Giftcard. The giveaway begins on March 6, 2018 and runs through March 13, 2018. Void where prohibited.

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    Get More Great Reads at Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours

    Dec 052017
     

    A Mother’s Lie

    by Jo Crow

    Book Blast on December 5, 2017

    Synopsis:

    A Mother's Lie by Jo Crow

    When her child’s life is at stake, a mother will do anything to save him.

    Clara McNair is running out of time to save her son, James. When the two-year-old is diagnosed with a rare form of brain cancer, only an experimental treatment can save his life. She desperately needs money to pay for the surgery, but she’ll have to travel back to the site of her darkest memories to get it.

    Clara has escaped the demons of her youth—or so she thinks. It’s been ten years since the mysterious disappearance of her parents. Widely suspected of murdering her mother and father, Clara fled west to start a new life. Now, a documentary film crew is offering cold, hard cash—enough to pay for James’s treatment—in exchange for the sordid secrets of her past.

    With no other choice but to delve into a long-ago tragedy, Clara must unravel the lies surrounding that terrible night. Facing hostile gossip, Clara is fighting to clear her name and learn the truth about what really happened. But how far will she go into the dark to save her son—and herself?

    Book Details:

    Genre: Psychological Thriller
    Published by: Relay Publishing
    Publication Date: November 29th 2017
    Number of Pages: 310
    ISBN: 978-1979295420
    Purchase Links: Goodreads 🔗

    Read an excerpt:

    Chapter One

    Dense red clay was pushing between the teeth. Pond mist drifted across the manicured lawns, wisping through the dark eye sockets. Parts of the cranium were shaded a vile yellow-brown where decomposing leaves clung to its surface like bile expressed from a liver. The jawbone was separated from the skull, its curved row of teeth pointing skyward to greet the rising sun.

    Two feet away, closer to the oak tree, other bones were piled haphazardly: a pelvis, high iliac crests and subpubic angle. A femur, caked with dirt, jammed into his empty skull. Sunlight decorated the brittle bones in long, lazy strips and darkened hairline fractures till they blended with the shed behind them.

    It was peaceful here, mostly. The pond no longer bubbled, its aerator decayed by time; weed-clogged flowerbeds no longer bloomed—hands that once worked the land long ago dismissed. Fog blanketed the area, as if drawn by silence. Once, a startled shriek woke the morning doves and set them all into flight.

    It was the first time in ten years the mammoth magnificence of the Blue Ridge Mountains had scrutinized these bones; the first song in a decade the morning doves chorused to them from their high perch.

    A clatter split apart the dawn; the skull toppled over as it was struck with another bone.

    In a clearing, tucked safely behind the McNair estate, someone was whistling as they worked at the earth. The notes were disjointed and haphazard, like they were an afterthought. They pierced the stillness and, overhead, one of the morning doves spooked and took flight, rustling leaves as it rose through the mist.

    A shovel struck the wet ground, digging up clay and mulch, tossing it onto the growing mound to their left. The whistling stopped, mid note, and a contemplative hum took its place.

    Light glinted on the silvery band in the exposed clay—the digger pocketed it—the shovel struck the ground again; this time, it clinked as it hit something solid.

    Bone.

    A hand dusted off decayed vegetative matter and wrested the bone from its tomb. Launching it into the air, it flew in a smooth arc, and crashed into the skull like a bowling pin, scattering the remains across the grass. With a grunt of satisfaction, the digger rose and started to refill the hole from the clay mound.

    When it was filled and smoothed, and the sod was replaced over the disrupted ground, the digger lifted the shovel and strolled into the woods, one hand tucked in a pocket as they whistled a cheery tune lost to the morning fog.

    ***

    Excerpt from A Mother’s Lie by Jo Crow. Copyright © 2017 by Jo Crow. Reproduced with permission from Jo Crow. All rights reserved.

    More About Jo Crow:

    Jo Crow

    Jo Crow gave ten years of her life to the corporate world of finance, rising to be one of the youngest VPs around. She carved writing time into her commute to the city, but never shared her stories, assuming they were too dark for any publishing house. But when a nosy publishing exec read the initial pages of her latest story over her shoulder, his albeit unsolicited advice made her think twice.

    A month later, she took the leap, quit her job, and sat down for weeks with pen to paper. The words for her first manuscript just flew from her. Now she spends her days reading and writing, dreaming up new ideas for domestic noir fans, and drawing from her own experiences in the cut-throat commercial sector.

    Not one to look back, Jo is all in, and can’t wait for her next book to begin.

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    This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Jo Crow. There will be 1 winner of one (1) Amazon.com gift Card AND 3 winners of one (1) eBook copy of A Mother’s Lie by Jo Crow. The giveaway begins on December 5 and runs through December 11, 2017.

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    Nov 072017
     

    Bad Blood by P.M. Carlson

    Bad Blood

    by P.M. Carlson

    November 7, 2017 Book Blast

    Synopsis:

    Bad Blood by P.M. Carlson

    After an argument with her grandmother at her Maryland home, sixteen-year-old Ginny Marshall – “born rotten,” according to Gram – gets high and runs away. She turns up on the doorstep of Maggie Ryan and Nick O’Connor’s Brooklyn brownstone. Her presence in Brooklyn is unsettling, but, more urgently, Ginny is a suspect in a murder investigation back home. Maggie travels undercover to Maryland, where she searches for a killer as threads from the past threaten to unravel both families.

    This Mystery Company edition is the first paperback publication of the eighth and final novel in the Maggie Ryan series.

    Don’t Miss These Great Reviews:

    “P.M. Carlson’s energetic and insightful novels are back in print — hallelujah!” — Sara Paretsky

    “BAD BLOOD is a fascinating and illuminating story”–– C. Bartorillo, Murder By the Book

    BAD BLOOD “has vivid, interesting characters, great dialogue and psychological insight”–– Amazon Reviewer

    Book Details:

    Genre: Traditional Mystery
    Published by: The Mystery Company/Crum Creek Press
    Publication Date: 2017
    Number of Pages: 294
    ISBN: TBD
    Series: Maggie Ryan and Nick O’Connor #8
    Purchase Links: CRUM CREEK PRESS / THE MYSTERY COMPANY
    Amazon 🔗 | Barnes & Noble 🔗 | Goodreads 🔗

    “Bad Blood” by P.M. Carlson, the Maggie Ryan Mystery #8

    After an argument with her grandmother at her Maryland home, sixteen-year-old Ginny Marshall – “born rotten,” according to Gram – gets high and runs away. She turns up on the doorstep of Maggie Ryan and Nick O’Connor’s Brooklyn brownstone. Her presence in Brooklyn is unsettling, but, more urgently, Ginny is a suspect in a murder investigation back home. Maggie travels undercover to Maryland, where she searches for a killer as threads from the past threaten to unravel both families.

    Read an excerpt:

    Rina had waited a day and faced her daughter. “Honey, I don’t want to make a big thing out of an experiment. But drugs are off-limits in this family.”

    “For sure, Mom. No problem.”

    The ironic flash in the blue eyes hurt Rina. She had exclaimed, “Ginny, think of your future! You’re bright and talented. You can do anything you want!”

    Ginny had smiled tauntingly. “Like you, Mom?”

    But at least she hadn’t come home high again. Till now.

    Rina couldn’t trust herself to mention it directly today. She said, “Honey, if you have problems, please tell me about them. Don’t run from things. You have to face them.”

    “Oh? You tell me to face them? You? Funny old Mom!”

    “Yes, damn it! I’ve faced problems!” And a hell of a lot bigger than whatever you think yours are, she almost added. But she swallowed her rage; Ginny was high, so arguing wouldn’t help now. She said more calmly, “It’s just that you could be hurt. I don’t want that.”

    “Yeah, for sure. I could be hurt.” That shining, cruel smile again. “Or I could be an addict. Or I could be a movie star. In America I could be anything!” Ginny pushed herself to her feet, scooping up Kakiy. She carried him steadily enough into her bedroom. Rina followed as far as the door. Ginny had made an insert for her backpack, a sturdy cardboard cat carrier with a round porthole window. She put Kakiy into it, took her waterproof poncho from the closet, clapped the fedora onto her head, then frowned at her cluttered table for a moment. Finally she picked up a box of cat treats.

    “Where are you going, honey?” asked Rina.

    “Library.”

    Rina sighed. Better to talk to her later. “Okay. See you at dinner.”

    “Yeah. Save the whales.” She kissed Rina almost contemptuously, then pushed by and swung down the hall. Kakiy, unapologetic, gazed back serenely through his porthole as she marched out the door.

    She wasn’t back for dinner. Rina fought down her worry. But when her mother finally excused herself and went downstairs to her room, she said to Clint, “Maybe Ginny thought we’d be eating late, because of Mamma’s bridge game.”

    “Maybe.” Clint, silvery-haired and blue-eyed, paused with a last forkful of cherry pie halfway to his mouth. “You’re worried, though.”

    “Yes.”

    He tried to be comforting. “She’s probably just throwing her weight around.”

    “Maybe.”

    “Rina, I hate to see you worrying like this! It’s time to get her back in line. It’s no favor to go easy on a kid these days. But it’s up to you, Rina. I’ll back you up, but I’m not here much of the time, damn it.”

    “She had reason to be mad today.”

    “Half her fault,” he pointed out. He was too much the lawyer, she thought, always ready to see both sides of a question and argue whichever suited him. Rina busied herself cleaning off the table.

    But when the doorbell rang at eight-fifteen Rina ran to it, her anxious heart a staccato counterpoint to her footsteps. Two men stood there: stolid faces, intelligent eyes. The older one held out a shield. Police.

    “Ginny?” she blurted before they could say anything. “Has something happened to Ginny?”

    “No, ma’am,” said the older policeman. His voice was flat-pitched, unexcitable. “We’re here to ask about a John Spencer.”

    “Spencer?”

    Behind her, Mamma laid a firm hand on her arm. “John Spencer was here this afternoon. Is there a problem?”

    “Yes, ma’am. Are you Mrs. Marshall?”

    “I’m Mrs. Rossi. Leonora Rossi,” Mamma corrected him. “My daughter here is Mrs. Marshall. But I’m the one who knows John Spencer. Not well–– we just met this afternoon.”

    “I see. Well, ma’am, I’d like to ask you a few questions.”

    Clint had come up behind them. “We’d be glad to help,” he said. “What’s the problem?”

    In answer the policeman held up his identification again. “Just a few questions, sir,” he repeated. “I’m Sergeant Trainer. Homicide.”

    ***

    Excerpt from Bad Blood by P.M. Carlson. Copyright © 2017 by P.M. Carlson. Reproduced with permission from P.M. Carlson. All rights reserved.

    P.M. Carlson

    Author Bio:

    P.M. Carlson taught psychology and statistics at Cornell University before deciding that mystery writing was more fun. She has published twelve mystery novels and over a dozen short stories. Her novels have been nominated for an Edgar Award, a Macavity Award, and twice for Anthony Awards. Two short stories were finalists for Agatha Awards. She edited the Mystery Writers Annual for Mystery Writers of America for several years, and served as president of Sisters in Crime.

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    Giveaway:

    This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for P.M. Carlson. There will be 1 winner of one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card. The giveaway begins on November 7 and runs through November 14, 2017.

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