Jun 102020
 

Enemies of Doves

by Shanessa Gluhm

on Tour June 1-14, 2020

Synopsis:

Enemies of Doves by Shanessa Gluhm

On a summer night in 1932, twelve-year-old Joel Fitchett wanders into an East Texas diner badly beaten and carrying his unconscious brother, Clancy. Though both boys claim they have no memory of what happened, the horrific details are etched into their minds as deep as the scar left across Joel’s face.

Thirteen years later, both men still struggle with the aftershocks of that long-ago night and the pact they made to hide the truth. When they find themselves at the center of a murder investigation, they make a decision that will change everything. A second lie, a second pact and for a time, a second chance.

In 1991 college student, Garrison Stark, travels to Texas chasing a rumor that Clancy Fitchett is his biological grandfather. Clancy has been missing since 1946 and Garrison hopes to find him, and in doing so, find a family. What he doesn’t expect to discover is a tangle of secrets spanning sixty years involving Clancy, Joel and the woman they both loved, Lorraine.

Told in alternating timelines from World War II to 1992, Enemies of Doves is a tale of family secrets, jealousy and deception perfect for fans of Kate Morton and Allen Eskens.

Book Details:

Genre: Historical Mystery
Published by: Touchpoint Press
Publication Date: March 20, 2020
Number of Pages: 328
ISBN: 1946920916 (ISBN13: 9781946920911)
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

Enemies Of Doves Trailer:

Read an excerpt:

Joel woke up to a white world: white walls, white sheets, a white pitcher of water, and a stranger wearing white. White like Mama’s favorite flowers, white like the coat Daddy wore to work, white like the doves that…

No, don’t think about doves. Don’t think about doves ever again.

The white was better than his last memory: black. Ravenous black. It had swallowed everything.

Harsh light speared into the room, painting sharp rectangles on the linoleum floor. Joel blinked involuntarily. The lady in the white uniform noticed. “He’s awake!” she called. “Mrs. Fitchett, he’s awake!”

Mama and Daddy charged in, talking at the same time, asking the same questions.

“I’m okay,” Joel said.

Mama’s hands hovered a few seconds before settling on his arm. “I’m sorry we weren’t here. I told your daddy we shouldn’t both leave but—”

“Are you in pain, son?” Daddy rarely let Mama finish a sentence.

“My stomach hurts.” Joel didn’t recognize the sound of his own voice, so small and croaky.

“Nurse! Bring this boy something for the pain,” Daddy yelled.

“A magnesia tablet.” Mama put her freezing hand on his forehead. “He might have a fever too.”

The nurse let out a noisy breath. She didn’t bother with his temperature, but the two bone-white pills she handed Joel appeased his parents, got them quiet at least. Joel raised his head, sweat-soaked hair sticking to his forehead. Or was it blood? He touched the bandage covering his face and winced. The details of the night before seeped into his mind. He could think of nothing that wasn’t contaminated by this memory.

The pills tasted like chalk and made his throat burn. “Can I have some water?” Before anyone responded, two taps at the door drew their attention away from him, away from that perfect pitcher of water.

Mama rubbed her forehead. “Can’t we go ten minutes without a knock on the damn door?” Joel knew Mama must be upset to use a word like that. Nancy Fitchett taught Sunday School and had taken soap to Joel’s mouth for less.

“Oh, for god’s sake!” Daddy threw up his hands. “He just woke up. Give us a minute with our boy.”

Two figures stepped through the door. A cigarette hung immobile in the mouth of the stubby police officer in front. “I understand, Mr. Fitchett, but the more time that goes by, the more victims forget. It’s vital we speak now.”

Forget? Joel knew better. He couldn’t forget, not till heaven anyway, and at twelve, heaven was a long wait.

The other officer stepped from the shadows. Like Dick Tracy, he wore a black suit and fedora instead of a uniform. He looked at Joel like he already knew the truth or could figure it out in the same effortless way Detective Tracy did in the comics. “Truth is,” —he reached into the hallway and pulled Clancy into the room — “we can’t get any information from this one. We hope your other boy will be more cooperative.”

Joel’s head sank into the pillow. So, Clancy hadn’t told. Even now, he only wanted to protect his little brother. Poor kid looked scared out of his skin.

“You all right, Joel?” Clancy’s voice shook.

“Don’t you worry about me, Clancy. I’m as right as rain, good as gold.”

“Nice as nectarines,” Clancy said. They often played this game, but Joel couldn’t think of another simile, so he offered a smile instead. It hurt like hell, but he wanted to assure Clancy he was okay. Joel was only a year and a half older, but the gap felt wider. Joel had always been mature for his age; everybody said so.

“I have nothing to say, sir,” Joel told Dick Tracy. His voice was still high pitched, but he tried to make it boom like Daddy’s. Tom Fitchett had a way of making people listen when he talked.

“And why’s that?” The tiny officer lit his cigarette.

“I don’t remember what happened.” The bed gave a muffled creek as he adjusted his position.

The detective looked at his partner. “Get Clancy out of here, will you? And the folks too.”

“We won’t leave.” Daddy pushed his shoulders back.

“Have it your way. Look here, Joel; we know who did this to you.”

The words made Joel forget his stinging face and terrible thirst. He watched a cockroach scuttle into a floor crack. Did they know? No one was around for miles. He was bluffing.

“Then go arrest the bastard,” his father said. “Don’t waste time traumatizing injured and frightened boys.”

Had Joel heard Daddy right? Had he demanded these important men, lawmen, stop traumatizing his boys? Something he did for sport? How strange to have Daddy in his corner for once.

“You may reconsider your statement when you learn who hurt the boy.”

“Impossible!” Daddy slammed his hand on Joel’s tray and knocked over the pitcher of water. Mama grabbed a towel and sopped it up. Even in crisis, her instinct to clean up Daddy’s messes took over. “Who did this?!” Daddy yelled.

Joel cringed, but at least this time Daddy’s fury flew at somebody else. Joel took a few deep breaths. Maybe if he stayed calm, everyone else would calm down too.

“It was him.” The officer stuck his finger in Clancy’s face.

Mama clutched him tighter, her arms a shield against the accusation.

The detective knelt in front of Clancy. “You did this. The only question I have is why?”

The room spun again. Joel looked for an anchor, but the patterns on the linoleum played leapfrog, and the walls closed in. His parent’s gasps faded into the white surrounding him, and once again, the world went black.

***

Excerpt from Enemies of Doves by Shanessa Gluhm. Copyright 2020 by Shanessa Gluhm. Reproduced with permission from Shanessa Gluhm. All rights reserved.

 

 

Author Bio:

Shanessa Gluhm

Shanessa Gluhm works as a librarian at an elementary school in New Mexico where she lives with her husband and children. It was during her own elementary days when a teacher encouraged Shanessa to write and share stories with the class. She hasn’t stopped writing since. Enemies of Doves is her debut novel.

Catch Up With Shanessa On:
ShanessaGluhm.wordpress.com
Goodreads
BookBub
Instagram
Twitter
Facebook

 

 

Tour Participants:

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

Visit these 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 Shanessa Gluhm. There will be 2 winners of one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card each. The giveaway begins on June 1, 2020 and runs through June 16, 2020. Void where prohibited.

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May 212020
 

Dragon Head by James Houston Turner Banner

 

 

Dragon Head

by James Houston Turner

on Tour May 1-31, 2020

Synopsis:

Dragon Head by James Houston Turner

“TURNER BARELY PAUSES FOR BREATH IN THIS EXCITING THRILL RIDE.”

Publisher’s Weekly

One-and-a-half billion dollars vanishes out of a numbered account into a cyberspace maze. But the thief who stole it lies dead on the tracks of Hong Kong’s Mass Transit Railway, his access codes having perished with him.

If it were simply a matter of missing money, the United States would not be concerned. But a Hong Kong crime boss named Dragon Head wants the money to fund an army of hackers, one of whom has already penetrated America’s GPS network. The result: a midair collision that kills more than a thousand people.

With national security at stake, the Director of National Intelligence becomes very interested in the whereabouts of that money. He wants the funds to remain lost. But Dragon Head wants them found. And Colonel Aleksandr Talanov is caught in the middle.

Both sides believe Talanov knows where the money is. But Talanov doesn’t have a clue. So both sides threaten to kill his closest friends unless he locates and surrenders the money. It’s an impossible situation when impossible is not an option, because whatever choice Talanov makes, someone will die.

“Snappy dialogue … humor and heart … scenes crackling with life as Talanov races against the clock in this complex spy thriller that delivers charm and thrills.”

–John M. Murray, Foreword Reviews

“Dragon Head is an explosive story packed with plenty of action and excitement. Like all good spy stories, it’s unclear exactly what everyone is up to and who can actually be trusted. Facing threats on all sides, Talanov is a great hero to follow, tough and quick to dive into the action, but also smart and more than capable of outmaneuvering his enemies. Dragon Head is an exhilarating story that tackles contemporary issues … a top-notch thriller.”

–Erin Britton, The Manhattan Book Review

Book Details:

Genre: Action Thriller
Published by: Regis Books
Publication Date: May 1, 2020
Number of Pages:
ISBN: 978-0958666497
Series: Aleksandr Talanov Thriller #4
Purchase Links: Amazon, Goodreads

 

Author Bio:

James Houston Turner

Winner of numerous awards, including “Best Thriller,” bestselling author James Houston Turner is known for his Aleksandr Talanov series of spy novels. Talanov the fictional character was inspired by the actual KGB agent who once leaked word out of Moscow that James was on a KGB watchlist for his smuggling activities behind the old Iron Curtain. “His act of heroism – he could have been executed for what he did – gave me the idea of a good-guy KGB agent who became a spy for America,” Turner explains.

A native of Kansas, James Houston Turner has been writing since he was ten. After earning his bachelor’s degree from Baker University, he moved to Texas, where he earned his master’s degree from the University of Houston (Clear Lake). He then headed west to California, where his love of writing turned into a profession with publication of The Spud Book: 101 Ways to Cook Potatoes. Publisher’s Weekly called it “A cookbook with ap-peel.” Between TV cooking tours, he worked as a journalist at the famed Los Angeles Union Rescue Mission, where he revised their magazine, Lifeline, from a needs-based ministry appeal to a collection of interviews from the streets about changed lives. Those interviews included numerous victims of human trafficking. The magazine won several awards.

During this time, James also worked as a smuggler into Soviet-occupied Eastern Europe, where he transported tons of food, clothing, Bibles, and medical supplies, to needy hospitals and churches. While there, he interviewed many heroes of death camps, gulags, Siberian exile, persecution, illness, hardship, and torture, including assassination squads.

James is also a cancer survivor after doctors in Australia removed a tumor the size of an orange from his face. “I was told if I lived eighteen months I would probably live to be one hundred. That was in 1991, so I am happy to report I am well on my way toward that goal. These experiences continue to influence my storytelling, whether in novels, or, now, in film. My stories are ‘overcomer stories,’ because that’s what I’ve had to do, and is why I want my stories to leave people with the same hope and faith that strengthened me.”

As a self-published author who made the deliberate choice away from traditional avenues, he has accomplished what he calls “the writer’s dream” with a film option on one of his novels, Greco’s Game. He is also one of a small handful of writers who can function both as a novelist and a screenwriter, with two of his screenplays having also been optioned, with production on his projects scheduled to begin in 2020.

After nearly twenty years in Australia, James and his wife, Wendy, now live in Austin, Texas.

Guest Post

TEN FACTS ABOUT TALANOV

(1) Talanov the fictional character was inspired by the actual KGB agent who once leaked word out of Moscow that James was on a KGB watch-list for his smuggling activities (cash, clothing, medical supplies, Bibles) behind the old Iron Curtain.

(2) When the republished US edition of Department Thirteen came out in 2010, we did a photo shoot in Australia, where I was living at the time. I brought in two photographers and two models, and we took over a nightclub early one morning and did a photo shoot for some promotional posters. The images from that early morning photo shoot are still how I view Talanov today.


Caption: Aleksandr Talanov and his wife, Andrea (from the novel, Department Thirteen)

(3) The Talanov thriller series has been optioned for film by Wonderfilm Media, in Los Angeles, with veteran screenwriter, David Marconi (Live Free or Die Hard, with Bruce Willis; Enemy of the State, with Will Smith, and The Foreigner, with Jackie Chan and Pierce Brosnan) writing the script as well as directing. Says Marconi—

“Talanov is such a rich and nuanced character, and the novel’s plot [Greco’s Game, which is set against a backdrop of human trafficking] is so timely with what is going on in our world. I’m excited to be working with Wonderfilm.” (The entire press release may be found HERE.)

(4) THE BASICS:
NAME: Aleksandr “Alex” Mikhailevich Talanov
KGB RANK: Colonel
DATE OF BIRTH: February 04
HEIGHT: 6’1″ (185.42cm)
WEIGHT: 172 lbs (78.02 kg)
HAIR: Brown, with touch of gray at the temples
EYES: Brown

Strong Aquarius personality: smart, enterprising, loves puzzles and dilemmas and finding unique solutions to problems; inventive and thinks outside the box; a realist (tends to look at the glass as being half full, but knows glasses are easily broken); thrives on processing information; curious and alert but often cold, calculating and indifferent to the emotional needs of others. An early morning runner and avid student of chess, Talanov is fluent in English (American, British) Russian, Ukrainian, German, Spanish, and French. Committed and loyal, he enjoys spicy food, fast cars, cold vodka, and passionate music.

(5) Since his youth, Talanov was destined to be part of the Komitet Gosudarstvennoy Bezopasnosti — the Committee for State Security — or the internal security and foreign intelligence agency of the old Soviet Union. His father, Mikhail Ivanevich Talanov, was reportedly killed when he was an infant, with his heroin-addicted mother, Nina, dying from a narcotics overdose when he was four. Alex was subsequently handed over to his elderly maternal grandparents, who lived in a ninth floor Moscow flat. The grandparents, however, couldn’t cope, so he was turned over to State minders, who immediately noticed his athletic and educational abilities and placed him in the Komsomol — the Communist Youth Organization — where he would be taught the fighting and philosophical skills needed to advance him to the KGB. It was here that he was taught Combat Sambo, where he rose to the rank of Black Belt, his instructor preferring the traditional belt system of rating over the cumbersome “razryad” system most sambists employed. It was also here, under the influence of his minders, that he was taught that love was a weakness and vulnerability that an enemy could exploit. These indoctrinations continue to cause him many problems with interpersonal relationships.

(6) It was in the mountains of remote northern China, as a boy of twelve (as told in the novel, November Echo), that Talanov was first groomed by means of a deliberate act of cruelty and betrayal to become “Ledyanoĭ chelovek” — the “ice man” — a cold, calculating, emotionally-impervious KGB agent. Yet in spite of such indoctrinations and training, Talanov developed an unusual idealism about fairness and morality, which baffled his Soviet colleagues and which was eventually used against him (in the novel, November Echo).

(7) THE TALANOV WAY: DEPARTMENT THIRTEEN
In Department Thirteen, we find Talanov “happily married to a woman he does not love,” or cannot love as we later find out, thanks to his training by the KGB. When his wife Andrea asks why they got married—

Talanov caught sight of her silhouette against the intermittent reflections of light moving in fluid motions over the harbor. Her long hair was blowing softly; her silk dress was clinging tightly to a slim waist and willing curves.
He recalled how they had become acquainted a year after his migration to Australia. Having purchased a house in Mosman, he telephoned the number on a glossy brochure asking for a quote on catering a party. A renovation crew would be arriving soon, and he wanted to christen his new residence before construction began. Andrea assured Mr. Talanov that Elegant Cuisine was one of Sydney’s most prestigious gourmet catering businesses, and that she would personally coordinate everything from the mailing of invitations to valet parking. Satisfaction, of course, was guaranteed.
After the event, Talanov invited her to stay the night.
Andrea refused.
“Scared?” he asked.
“Careful,” she replied.
“What do you know. A beautiful virgin who can cook.”
“Sorry, Alex, but the first part of that solicitous query is none of your business. The second part, however, comes with a very expensive invoice, which I expect you to pay.”
“I wasn’t trying to get personal.”
“Yes you were, but never mind. I like a man who takes risks.”
Talanov chuckled. “So what is this going to cost me?”
“More than you ever dreamed.”

(8) THE TALANOV WAY: NOVEMBER ECHO
Looking back at [his KGB partner] Sofia, Talanov said, “You want to catch a rat, you need to think like a rat and go where he goes but get there ahead of him. The old cats upstairs [referring to his aged KGB colleagues] don’t know how to do that. They’ve been in the house too long. They give their advice and meow when they’re told and when everything falls to shit, they blame it on somebody else. That’s why I do things my way. I’m an alley cat. No one likes alley cats but alley cats know how to get the job done when it comes to rats.”

(9) THE TALANOV WAY: GRECO’S GAME
In this story, Talanov wants his longtime friend and colleague, CIA department head Bill Wilcox, to
rescue a family in Ukraine. Wilcox says he can’t, that the CIA doesn’t have assets there. Talanov doesn’t believe him. And Wilcox says, “I think by now I would have earned enough of your respect for you to believe me when I tell you I can’t.”
“You’ve got that backward, Bill,” responds Talanov. “Respect isn’t earned, it’s given, right up front. Everybody deserves your respect until they earn your disrespect, and right now you’re earning mine.”

(10) THE TALANOV WAY: DRAGON HEAD
In this novel, we find Talanov in a congressional hearing in Washington, where he had been grilled by the ranking minority member, Warren Levin, who made no bones about not liking Talanov, whose only ally on the committee was Congresswoman Diane Gustaves (who is a series fixture). The day after Talanov’s grilling, it’s Wilcox’s turn.

Levin skipped the courtesy of thanking Wilcox for his service and jumped right into a blistering tirade about Talanov’s irreverent behavior toward congressional authority.
“You’re right,” confessed Wilcox once Levin had finished. “Talanov is annoying, pugilistic, flippant, arrogant, and dangerous.”
“That’s kind of harsh,” remarked Talanov inside the viewing theater. He glanced around at the semi-circle of big guys, who looked back at him but said nothing. Talanov shrugged and looked at the monitor again, where Wilcox was scanning the faces of each committee member. All were startled by Wilcox’s remark and none of them knew what to say.
“Are you surprised by that statement?” asked Wilcox.
“Frankly, yes,” answered Gustaves.
“Don’t be,” Wilcox replied. “He was trained by our enemies. He kicked our asses on numerous occasions.” He then smiled and leaned forward for emphasis. “Which is precisely why I recruited him. We needed him on our side.”

IN CONCLUSION
I had to cut a particular portion of the Dragon Head text because it didn’t quite fit. But I will share it here because it reveals the new direction I am taking Talanov in his efforts to help Diane Gustaves neutralize America’s enemies from within.

“You trust me, yes, but that’s not the main reason you want me on your team,” said Talanov. “You want me on your team because Washington is a snake pit and you need someone experienced in snake warfare. You can handle yourself in congress. No question about that. You’re a snake charmer and a damned good one. I’m not. I work in the shadows and do things you need to have done but don’t want to know how they get done. I’m also someone who’s expendable should things go south. Plausible deniability, I believe it’s called.”
“I would never use you like that,” Gustaves said.
“With respect, Madam Congresswoman, yes, you would. And that’s okay. I’m well aware of the risks and I’m not afraid of snakes. I’ve dealt with them before. Don’t forget, I used to be one myself, so I know the kind of poison we’re dealing with. But you need to know how I operate. When a snake comes after me, I chop off its head and roast its carcass in front of the others. That lets the other snakes know what awaits them if they screw with me. Look, I admire you for wanting to clean up this town. But the job will be harder than you think and cost more than you think. Question is: are you up for the job?”

Thank you for having me visit your blog, Cheryl. I can’t wait to be back with my next Talanov adventure.

Catch Up With James Houston Turner On:
JamesHoustonTurner.world, IMDB, Goodreads, BookBub, Instagram, Twitter, & Facebook!

 

Read an excerpt:

CHAPTER 1

Wu Chee Ming looked anxiously behind him. Where were they? Who were they? When would they strike? An attack in a crowded street like this would be over in seconds. A silenced pistol. A knife. A needle. Death would be quick and the assassin would vanish. One face in an ocean of faces.

He was not even sure they were onto him. In fact, they probably weren’t. He had taken extreme care over the last few months to make sure his movements went undetected.

One does not seek what one does not see.

It was a proverb that guided his every move.

And yet, in spite of his meticulous planning, he had to proceed as if they had noticed, which was why he had chosen Lan Kwai Fong, a small, bustling tourist district in the heart of Hong Kong, to make his escape. The narrow streets of Lan Kwai Fong were perfect for what he was planning. Flashing neon. Music. Thousands of people surging in and out of nightclubs and restaurants. The perfect place to disappear.

The perfect place to be killed.

The proverb, however, held the secret to his survival; namely, that the best place to hide is often in plain sight. That people usually do not notice what is right in front of them. Hence, his choice to pass through Lan Kwai Fong each night on his way home from work, so his being here tonight would not attract any undue attention.

Suddenly, an elbow caught him in the chest and knocked him into a group of Chinese girls texting one another. They were holding their phones so close their eyes glistened with light from the tiny screens.

“Kàn tā!” one of them barked.

Wu Chee Ming pushed on.

Ahead, the street bent ninety degrees and sloped downhill for a short block before meeting D’Aguilar Street. Wu Chee Ming turned at the corner and threaded his way uphill along another street filled with partygoers. Within minutes, he reached a short flight of steps that branched away from the street. Taking the steps two at a time, he reached the top and began running along a darkened walkway that angled between a pair of highrise office towers. Before long, the sounds and smells of Lan Kwai Fong had receded into the distance.

Wu Chee Ming knew he would miss those sounds and smells. But at least he would be alive to remember them. He glanced behind but saw no one.

One does not seek what one does not see.

His survival hinged on the truth of that proverb, and yet if he truly believed it, why was he running? Why was he not relaxed in the knowledge that he was but another face in an ocean of faces?

Under normal conditions, Hong Kong was the perfect city in which to vanish. But these were not normal conditions. He was running from a crime boss who knew every inch of the island. A crime boss with eyes and ears everywhere. A crime boss so skilled in the art of death that some people considered it an honor to die by his hand. Dexter Moran was his name, although no one dared address him that way. To everyone in Hong Kong and the New Territories, he was known as Dragon Head, and he was the supreme leader of the Shí bèi organized crime society, which was based in the Zhongzhen Martial Arts Academy.

The name “Dragon Head” was actually a title that had been seized by Moran in the same manner a lion becomes the alpha male of his pride: by defeating or killing his rivals. And not just known rivals, but anyone suspected of being a threat. Which was why Wu Chee Ming had chosen to run. He wanted to make sure he was not among them.

Ahead, beside a tree, was an old bicycle. Wu Chee Ming had purchased it from a repair shop with instructions that it be placed beside the tree this afternoon. It had a basket above the front fender and a tiny dome bell on the handlebar. Lifting the bike onto the path, Wu Chee Ming walked it to an intersecting walkway, where he turned left, jumped on, and began pedaling. In less than a minute he emerged onto a busy street.

Like New York, Hong Kong was a city that never slept. Even at this late hour, cars filled the streets and the sidewalks were gorged with people. A few dings on his bell caused pedestrians to stop long enough for him to bicycle across the sidewalk and into the bicycle lane, where he turned left and began pedaling with the flow of traffic. He kept pace for two blocks, then cut across to the other side of the street, where he began pedaling with the flow of traffic in the other direction. He bicycled past noodle bars, restaurants, and retail outlets offering everything from designer clothing to electronics, phone cards, and cosmetics. Before long, he turned down a side street and raced to the next corner, where he turned right and raced to the next corner, where he turned again. The zigzag pattern took him away from the neon madness of the tourist district and into Hong Kong’s shadowed side streets.

Within twenty minutes, Wu Chee Ming had made his way to a four-story apartment building in a rundown part of Wan Chai. Unlike the glamour and polish of the financial precinct where he worked, this part of town was stained with the gloom of poverty. There were no gleaming office towers of tinted glass. No stepped terraces with architectural flourishes. The buildings were rectangular and squat. Rust and soot were the predominant colors.

Leaning his bicycle against a metal roller door, Wu Chee Ming entered a darkened stairwell and dashed up a flight of steps. There were no lights in the stairwell because Wu Chee Ming had broken the bulbs. No one must remember his face to anyone asking questions. And there would be questions, and Dragon Head would be asking them. By that time, however, he would be long gone, which meant Dragon Head would have no choice but to hunt down the only other person who could give him answers. That person was former KGB colonel Aleksandr Talanov. Talanov, of course, would have no answers because he would not know what had happened. Torture would be employed, and Dragon Head would be merciless, but Talanov would not be able to reveal what he did not know. Yes, Talanov was a walking dead man, while he, Wu Chee Ming, was about to become a ghost.

***

***

Excerpt from Dragon Head by James Houston Turner. Copyright 2020 by James Houston Turner. Reproduced with permission from James Houston Turner. All rights reserved.

 

 

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Enter To Win!:

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for James Houston Turner. There will be 7 winners. One (1) winner will receive an Amazon.com Gift Card. Six (6) winners will receive DRAGON HEAD by James Houston Turner (print). The giveaway begins on May 1, 2020 and runs through June 2, 2020. Open to U.S. addresses only. Void where prohibited.

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May 132020
 

Miranda and the D-Day Caper

by Shelly Frome

on Tour May 1-31 2020

Synopsis:

Miranda and the D-Day Caper by Shelly Frome

A modern day mystery with WWII tactics, old-time heroes and values, and the efforts of two amateur cousin sleuths from the Heartland.

On a sparkling spring morning in the Blue Ridge, small-town realtor Miranda Davis approached the tailgate market, intent on dealing with her whimsical cousin Skip’s unexpected arrival from New York. It turns out that Skip was on the run and, in his panic, grabbed his beloved tabby Duffy, recalling that Miranda had a recent part in solving a case down in Carolina. His predicament stemmed from intercepting code messages like “Countdown to D-Day,” playfully broadcasting the messages on his radio show over the nation-wide network, and subsequently forced to flee.

At first, Miranda tried to limit her old childhood companion’s conundrum to the sudden abduction of Duffy the cat. But the forces that be were hell-bent on keeping Skip under wraps by any means after he now stumbled close to the site of their master plan. Miranda’s subsequent efforts to decipher the conspiracy and somehow intervene placed both herself and her old playmate on a collision course with a white-nationalist perpetrator and the continuing machinations of the right-wing enterprise, with the lives of all those gathered for a diversity celebration in nearby Asheville and a crucial senatorial vote on homeland security hanging in the balance.

Book Details:

Genre: Cozy Mystery
Published by: BQB Publishing
Publication Date: March 1st 2020
Number of Pages: 338
ISBN: 1945448571 (ISBN13: 9781945448577)
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

 

Author Bio:

Shelly Frome

Shelly Frome is a member of Mystery Writers of America, a professor of dramatic arts emeritus at the University of Connecticut, a former professional actor, a writer of crime novels and books on theater and film. He is also a features writer for Gannett Media’s Black Mountain News. His fiction includes Sun Dance for Andy Horn, Lilac Moon, Twilight of the Drifter, Tinseltown Riff, Murder Run, Moon Games and The Secluded Village Murders. Among his works of non-fiction are The Actors Studio and texts on the art and craft of screenwriting and writing for the stage. Miranda and the D-Day Caper is his latest foray into the world of crime and the amateur sleuth. He lives in Black Mountain, North Carolina.

Q&A with Shelly Frome

What inspired you to write this book?
At a certain point the machinations of the current administration and the tribal nature of politics began to get to me and I began longing for the decency and honesty of another time when I had faith in our government.

What was the biggest challenge in writing this book?
The biggest challenge was creating a dynamic that included the whimsical outlook prevalent in the Heartland of yesteryear and WWII tactics that could realistically be employed by the far right today.

Give us a glimpse of the research that went into this book.
For one thing, I had to come up with the testing of concealed high tech bomb making methods and the repair of a touring Harley Davidson motorcycle.

How did you come up with the title?
I needed a “grabber” that fit into the cozy genre and also promised to venture far beyond the homey word of typical examples.

Your routine in writing?# Any idiosyncrasies?
I seem to rely a great deal on a kind of daydreaming—trying scenes out in my mind until they jell and spur me on.

Tell us why we should read your book?
I suppose it’s highly unique, replete with an engaging whimsical duo as central characters, a host of colorful antagonists and supporting players, and a trendy, impending threat evolving around a dire conspiracy.

Are you working on your next novel?# If so, can you tell us a little bit about it?
The working title is “Shadow of the Gypsy” and involves being caught up in other peoples’ stories, sometimes known as your heritage, as opposed to recreating your possible true self under pressure.

Fun Questions:
Your novel will be a movie.# You would you cast?
If I could find someone like Shirley Maclaine and Jack Lemmon to play the leads and somebody like Steve McQueen to play Vin the cool sociopath, I would be off to a great start.

Favorite leisure activities/hobbies?
Exploring nature with my golden/doodle Baxter

Favorite foods?
Just about any combination of pasta and seafood like shrimp, lobster, clams and braised salmon.

Catch Up With Shelly Frome:
ShellyFrome.com, Goodreads, BookBub, Instagram, Twitter, & Facebook!

 

Read an excerpt:

“Okay, I get it,” said Miranda, assuming it was playtime as always. “We’re double agents. You keep reading the paper and light a cigarette. A minute later, you toss the cigarette and leave the book of matches on the table with the coded inscription Moscow rules. That’s when I take it and slip away awaiting further instructions.”

This was flippant Miranda. The one with the short bob, over thirty, just trying to set the tone on this glorious Saturday in the Blue Ridge and ease out of it. But at the moment, playful Skip seemed to have lost his way. His eyes were bloodshot, underscored by dark circles. And the signature mischievous smirk on that sliver of a face had been replaced by a worrisome twitch.

Folding the newspaper, with his cornflower blue eyes still gazing into the distance, Skip said, “I don’t know, kiddo. I tell you, I just don’t know.”

“Which makes two of us. So tell me why you couldn’t simply e-mail me?”

“Why? Am I holding you up or something?”

“No, you’re not holding me up. Look, what do you say we cut to the chase? Glancing around, taking his sweet time, making sure no one was within earshot, Skip said, “All right.”

“From the top.”

“Okay. Like I indicated, I was filling in, got a break on a prestige AM station.”

Getting more anxious by the second, his lanky body beginning to twitch, Skip said, “So, when opportunity knocks, you seize the day. Right?”

“Out with it. I am still waiting.”

Scrunching forward this time, Skip said, “One night I started to wing it. No more of this ‘Yup, it’s midnight, folks. Some of these homespun Indiana tales should ease you right off to sleep.’ I was antsy. I’d had it with Russ Mathews who’d signed off that night right before me, sounding more and more like some fear monger back in the day.”

“And what day was that?”

“World War Two.”

More glancing around on Skip’s part. More checking the flow of visitors coming and going.

Getting antsy as well, Miranda said, “Will you get on with it? Is there an upshot in our future? ”

“I’m coming to it,” Skip said, looking right at her this time. “Right after my kazoo rendition of I dream about the moonlight on the Wabash, I lean into the mic and say, ‘Guess what? Ole Russ Mathews must be on to something. I’m talking the plot against America. So I tell the insomniacs all over the Liberty Broadcasting system that, at first, I thought Duffy was pulling down on the blinds out of longing.”

“Duffy?”

“Just your average ginger house cat, left alone, separated from other felines on the prowl. But I come home to my sublet and notice he’s perched in the exact same spot, his green eyes staring across the street. So, over the airwaves, I said, ‘What if I told you night people something was up in a dilapidated rooming house in Hoboken? Right across the river from the Big Apple?’” “That does it,” Miranda said, getting to her feet. “How am I supposed to follow this? When you’re ready to get to the point, let me know.”

“Wait a minute. Don’t you see?” said Skip, getting to his feet as well. “I stumbled onto something. Before you know it, my ratings are starting to climb. But since the weather’s getting warmer, those guys across the street aren’t scurrying in and out of the cold. They’re loitering by the stoop, glancing across the shadows. Next thing I know, I’m getting negative call-ins. Listeners telling me to knock it off or else. Undaunted, I tell everyone in radio-land what’s going on out there may have far reaching consequences. Unless I intercept.”

“Oh, please,” said Miranda, walking away. “Listen to me.” Skip scurried over and held her arm. “I tell you, at the same time, those guys across the street were carting off concealed stuff.”

“I’m not listening anymore.”

“You’ve got to. You have obviously become a born tracker. Tracked down a poison pen perpetrator like the paper said.”

“Enough. Stop hyping everything up. Look at you. You’re coming down with full blown hysteria.”

“Exactly. Because it appears there’s no longer any line between entertainment and politics. While messing around, doing a take-off on Russ Mathews and boosting my ratings, I may have stumbled onto an actual plot utilizing WW II codes.”

***

Excerpt from Miranda and the D-Day Caper by Shelly Frome. Copyright 2020 by Shelly Frome. Reproduced with permission from Shelly Frome. All rights reserved.

 

 

Tour Participants:

Visit these 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 Shelly Frome. There will be 2 winners of one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card each. The giveaway begins on May 1, 2020 and runs through June 2, 2020. Void where prohibited.

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May 062020
 

 

The Last Scoop by R.G. Belsky Banner

 

The Last Scoop

by R.G. Belsky

on Tour May 1-31, 2020

Synopsis:

The Last Scoop by R.G. Belsky

Martin Barlow was Clare Carlson’s first newspaper editor, a beloved mentor who inspired her career as a journalist. But, since retiring from his newspaper job, he had become a kind of pathetic figure—railing on about conspiracies, cover-ups, and other imaginary stories he was still working on. Clare had been too busy with her own career to pay much attention to him. When Martin Barlow is killed on the street one night during an apparent mugging attempt gone bad, it seems like he was just an old man whose time had come. But Clare—initially out of a sense of guilt for ignoring her old friend and then because of her own journalistic instincts—begins looking into his last story idea. As she digs deeper and deeper into his secret files, she uncovers shocking evidence of a serial killer worse than Son of Sam, Ted Bundy, or any of the other infamous names in history. This really is the biggest story of Martin Barlow’s career—and Clare’s, too—as she uncovers the path leading to the decades-long killer of at least twenty young women. All is not as it seems during Clare’s relentless search for this serial killer. Is she setting herself up to be his next victim?

MY THOUGHTS/REVIEW

5 stars

The Last Scoop is the third book in the Clare Carlson mystery but can be easily read as a stand-alone. Read my reviews for the previous books, Yesterday’s News and Below The Fold.

As the synopsis states, Clare feels guilt when she learns that her mentor, Martin Barlow, has died. He had recently visited Clare telling her that he was working on a big story, even though he has retired. The police believe it was a random killing but knowing that he was working a case, she steps in. Was it a mugging? Or was it something to do with the information he was gathering?

With Clare’s innate journalistic drive to find the truth, she embarks on a journey using Martin’s notes. She soon finds out that the D.A. may be involved in corruption, the mob might be involved, and the biggest story is that a serial killer, of 30 years, may still be lurking. But how are all these connected? Could these facts also put her in jeopardy?.

This series is one of my all time favorites!!!

With each book, including this one, there are mysteries within mysteries. The writing so descriptive that I lose myself into the story, which allows me to create such vivid imagery as if I was there. The characters are realistic. The suspense continuous and steady throughout the book.

An engrossing read that held me captive! It was hard to put down! If real life hadn’t interfered, I am sure I would have finished this book in one day. A page-turner!!! And the ending? All I can say is WOW!! I was blindsided.

Now the hard part…waiting for the sequel!!!

Another phenomenal read by R.G. Belsky!!

Book Details:

Genre: Mystery
Published by: Oceanview Publishing
Publication Date: May 5th 2020
Number of Pages: 368
ISBN: 1608093573 (ISBN13: 9781608093571)
Series: Clare Carlson #3
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

Read an excerpt:

CHAPTER 1

I was sitting in my office at Channel 10 News, drinking black coffee and skimming through the morning papers when I saw the article about Marty Barlow.

It was a brief item about the murder of a man on an East Side New York City street. It identified the victim as Martin Barlow. It also said that Barlow was a retired journalist. It did not say Barlow was the first—and probably the best—newspaper editor I ever had.

The police reported that he’d died from a blow to the head. Apparently, from a solid object, although the object itself was never found. Cops first assumed it had been a mugging, but later backed off that a bit because his wallet wasn’t taken. Instead, it just seemed—at least on the face of it—to be one of those crazy, senseless crimes that happen too often in New York City.

The article never mentioned Marty’s age—he refused to ever tell it to anyone—but I figured he must be well up in his sixties by now. He was a frail-looking man. He had disheveled white hair, pasty-looking skin and he couldn’t have weighed more than 150 pounds. He always wore the same old wrinkled suit that looked like it had last been cleaned during the Reagan administration.

But more than twenty years ago, when I was starting out at a newspaper in New Jersey, Marty Barlow had helped me become the journalist that I am today. He was my editor, my mentor and my friend.

Barlow was a grizzled old veteran even back then, and I soaked up every bit of knowledge and wisdom I could from him. He taught me how to cover police stories, political scandals, and human-interest features. “Never turn down an animal story,” was one of his mantras. “People love animal stories!” But mostly, he taught me what a noble calling it was to be a newspaper reporter—and about all the integrity and responsibility that went with it. His favorite quotation was from an old Humphrey Bogart movie where Bogey played a managing editor talking about the job of being a newspaper reporter: “It may not be the oldest profession, but it’s the best.”

I moved on eventually to a bigger newspaper job in New York City where I had a career filled with pretty spectacular moments. I won a Pulitzer prize by the time I was thirty, I scored a lot of other big exclusives and front-page stories for the paper, and became a big media star because of all that. Then the newspaper I worked for went out of business, and I moved into TV. After a few false starts there—mostly finding out that I wasn’t very good as an on-air TV reporter—I wound up on the executive side of the business. First as a segment producer, then an assignment editor and now as news director of the whole Channel 10 operation. Along the way, I found the time to get married—and divorced—three different times, too.

Marty had helped me get through the highs and lows in my life—both professional and personal—over the years. He was always there for me. He always supported me and took my side in everything. Well, almost everything. Everything except the marriage stuff. Marty could never understand why I couldn’t make my marriages work. “Why don’t you find one man, the right man, and settle down with him for the rest of your life?” That’s what Marty said he had done with his wife. “It’s not that easy,” I told him. “Sure, it is,” he said. “You make sure your marriage is as important to you as your job in the newsroom. Then the rest will take care of itself.” It was good advice from Marty, even though I didn’t always follow it.

Marty stayed on as editor of the same New Jersey paper where we’d met, doing the job he loved, until he was pushed into retirement a few years ago. At some point after that his wife died, and he came to live with his daughter in Manhattan. Even after he retired though, Marty became very active in local political and community events. He started a website that skewered local politicians and demanded more accountability/public disclosure in New York City government. Then he became a kind of local gadfly—showing up at town hall and council meetings to demand answers from politicians. That was Marty. Still looking for his next big scoop even after he retired.

We’d kept in touch and he was always asking me to meet him for coffee, but I hardly ever got around to it. Or to checking out any of the various news tips and leads he kept sending me. I never could find time for Marty Barlow anymore.

Until that last day when he showed up in my office.

***

“Hello, Marty, how are you doing?” I said. “Sorry I never got back to you on your calls and emails before. I’ve been busy covering a bunch of stuff.”

“Yeah, probably a big, breaking Justin Bieber news story, huh?” Barlow said, without even attempting to hide the contempt in his voice.

I sighed. Marty Barlow was an old-fashioned journalist who believed the news media should cover serious topics like politics, schools, and government waste the way newspapers had traditionally done in the past. But now newspapers were dying off as people turned to the internet to give them instant news. And TV newscasts, including Channel 10 where I worked, focused even more these days on glitzy celebrity news, viral videos, and all the rest of the gimmicks known online as “traffic bait” in order to increase our all-important ratings and sales. Marty hated that. I wasn’t wild about it either, but I had no choice in the rapidly-changing journalistic landscape.

“This time the big story was Kim Kardashian,” I said.

“You’re kidding, right?”

“I’m kidding.”

“Good.”

“Actually, it was Khloe.”

“My God, what happened to you, Clarissa? The Clarissa Carlson I remember cared passionately about the stories she covered. She wanted to make a difference in the world with her journalism. I miss that woman.”

Fake news is what Marty called it. Yes, I know that term has a whole different meaning in today’s political world. But Marty had been using it long before that. For Marty, fake news encompassed pretty much everything on TV news or in newspapers or on news websites today. He didn’t just mean the celebrity news, either. He was contemptuous of the constant traffic reports, weather updates, lottery news, and all the rest of the things I did for a living. He complained that there was hardly any real journalism now. He was right. But the journalistic world had changed dramatically in recent years, even if Marty refused to change with it.

He sat down in a chair in front of my desk.

“So, Clarissa . . .”

“Clare.”

“What?”

“My name is Clare, not Clarissa.”

This was a ritual we had played out many times over the years. Yes, my full name is Clarissa Carlson, but I always use Clare. Have ever since I was a kid and decided how much I hated being called Clarissa. Everyone knew that. Friends, family, co-workers, even my ex-husbands never called me anything but Clare. Except for Marty. He insisted on calling me Clarissa. I never understood exactly why, but it had gone on for so long between us that it didn’t seem worth bothering to ask anymore.

I figured he wasn’t here for a social visit. That he came because he needed my help. Some big scoop he thought he was going to break, even though his days of breaking big scoops had long past. Marty always got very intense when he was working on a story, and this time he seemed even more intense than usual. I asked him what was going on.

“I’m working on a big story,” he said. “The biggest story of my life. And it’s all because I started taking a good look at one person.”
I nodded and tried to think of an appropriate response.

“Who?” I asked.

It was the best I could come up with.

“Terri Hartwell.”

“Hartwell?”

“Yes, the Manhattan District Attorney.”

I nodded again. Terri Hartwell was the darling of the New York City media and political world at the moment. She’d been a top-rated radio talk show host in New York for a number of years before she ran for the District Attorney’s job—and surprised political experts by unseating the incumbent. Since then, she’d aggressively gone after crime, corruption and all sorts of entrenched special interests in the city. Which made her a lot of enemies, but also made her popular with the voters. She was even being touted now as a potential candidate for Mayor.

“I started out thinking this was a story about building corruption. Illegal payoffs to politicians and authorities by wealthy New York City landlords. But now it’s bigger than that. Much bigger. There’s murder involved too.”

“Murder?”

“More than one murder. Maybe lots of them.”

I nodded again. Pretty soon I was going to have to stop nodding and ask more than one-word questions.

“Who is being murdered? And what does any of this have to do with Terri Hartwell?”

Now I was rolling.

“I can’t tell you any more details. Not yet. I’m still trying to figure it all out myself. But this is a sensational story. More sensational than any story I’ve ever covered. And I have to stop whatever is happening before it’s too late!”

Marty was getting really agitated now, pounding on my desk for emphasis.
A lock of white hair had fallen over his forehead and his eyes were blazing. He frankly looked insane.

“Who’s your source on all this, Marty?” I asked.

“I can’t tell you my source, Clarissa. You know that.”

“Is it a good source?”

“All of my sources are good!” he thundered at me.

He was right about that. All of Marty’s sources were good. Or at least they always had been in the past. But I wasn’t so sure how much I could trust them—or Marty himself—at this point. I didn’t think he was lying. Not intentionally anyway. Marty never lied to anyone, most of all to me. But I did suspect his desperation to get back into journalism in some meaningful way—to prove he wasn’t finished in the news business, no matter how much it had passed him by in recent years—had distorted his judgement and his connections with . . . well, reality.

“Will you help me? Give me a few days to get all the details together, and then I’ll tell you everything. You’re the head of a big news operation now. You have resources I don’t at your disposal. Maybe we could work on this story together. You and me, Clarissa. Just like the old days.”

Mostly because I didn’t know what else to do, I told Marty I’d get back to him about it. I told him we’d get together for coffee—like he’d asked me to do so many times—to go over the details of his story and maybe reminisce a bit about old times too. I told Marty I’d call him the next week and we’d meet up at the Sunrise Coffee Shop on the Upper East Side, which was his favorite place.

Except I never did meet Marty Barlow at the Sunrise Coffee Shop the next week.

Or any time after that.

I never got around to calling him back.

I thought about all that again now as I read the article about Marty Barlow’s death. “Maybe we could work on this story together,” Marty had said. “You and me, Clarissa. Just like the old days.” I didn’t have the heart to tell Marty those days were long over.

***

My boss was Jack Faron, the executive producer for the Channel 10 News. I went to see him now.

“Problem?” he asked when I walked in the door of his office.

“What makes you think I have a problem?”

“Because you never come to see me this early in the morning unless it’s about a problem.”

“My God, whatever happened to the simple courtesy of saying good morning to the people you work with? What is wrong with us as a society, Jack? Have we lost all civility in this day and age? Why can’t you greet me one time with a cheerful: ‘Good morning, Clare. How are you today?’”

“Good morning, Clare,” Faron said. “How are you today?”

“Actually, I have a problem.”

I showed him the short newspaper article about the death of Marty Barlow and told him about my relationship with Barlow.

“What do you think about us doing something on the news tonight about his murder?” I asked. “I feel like I owe him at least that much.”

Faron made a face. “Not our kind of story, Clare. There’s no celebrity or sensational angle, no pizzazz, no ratings of any kind there for us. I’m sorry your friend got killed. I understand he meant a lot to you. But that doesn’t meet the criteria for getting a story about him on our newscast. You already knew that before you even came in here, didn’t you?”

I did. I was feeling guilty because I’d let Marty down at the end. And I didn’t need another thing to feel guilty about right now. Marty was like family to me. And I had no other family. Well, I did, but that was the other thing I was feeling so guilty about. I’ve screwed up a lot of things in my life.

“Kind of ironic, isn’t it?” I said. “A guy like Marty devotes his life to the news business. And now, when he dies, he doesn’t even rate a meaningful goodbye in what the news business has become today. It makes me sad. And yes, guilty, too, that I couldn’t do more for him, after everything he did for me.”

“He was an old man,” Faron said. “He died. There’s no story there.”

***

Excerpt from The Last Scoop by R.G. Belsky. Copyright 2020 by R.G. Belsky. Reproduced with permission from R.G. Belsky. All rights reserved.

 

 

Author Bio:

R.G. Belsky

R. G. Belsky is an author of crime fiction and a journalist in New York City. His newest mystery, Below The Fold, was published in May 2019 by Oceanview. It is the second in a series featuring Clare Carlson, the news director for a New York City TV station. The first Clare Carlson book, YESTERDAY’S NEWS, came out in 2018. It won the David Award at Deadly Ink for Best Mystery of 2018. Belsky previously wrote the Gil Malloy series – THE KENNEDY CONNECTION, SHOOTING FOR THE STARS AND BLONDE ICE – about a newspaper reporter at the New York Daily News. Belsky himself is a former managing editor at the Daily News and writes about the media from an extensive background in newspapers, magazines and TV/digital news. He has also been a top editor at the New York Post, Star magazine and NBC News. Belsky won the Claymore Award at Killer Nashville in 2016. He has finished several times as a Finalist for both the Silver Falchion and David Awards. YESTERDAY’S NEWS, was also named Outstanding Crime/News Based Novel by Just Reviews in 2018 and was a Finalist for Best Mystery of 2018 in the Foreword INDIES Awards. His previous suspense/thriller novels include LOVERBOY and PLAYING DEAD. Belsky lives in New York City.

Catch Up With R.G. Belsky On:
RGBelsky.com, Goodreads, BookBub, Instagram, Twitter, & Facebook!

 

 

Tour Participants:

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



 

 

Enter the Giveaway!!:

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for R.G. Belsky. There will be 2 winners of one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card each. The giveaway begins on May 1, 2020 and runs through June 2, 2020. Void where prohibited.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

 

Get More Great Reads at Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours

 

Apr 222020
 

Diver's Paradise by Davin Goodwin Banner

 

 

Diver’s Paradise

by Davin Goodwin

on Tour April 6 – May 8, 2020

Synopsis:

Diver's Paradise by Davin Goodwin

After 25 years on the job, Detective Roscoe Conklin trades his badge for a pair of shorts and sandals and moves to Bonaire, a small island nestled in the southern Caribbean. But the warm water, palm trees, and sunsets are derailed when his long-time police-buddy friend back home, is murdered.

Conklin dusts off a few markers and calls his old department, trolling for information. It’s slow going. No surprise, there. After all, it’s an active investigation, and his compadres back home aren’t saying a damn thing.

He’s 2,000 miles away, living in paradise. Does he really think he can help? They suggest he go to the beach and catch some rays.

For Conklin, it’s not that simple. Outside looking in? Not him. Never has been. Never will be.

When a suspicious mishap lands his significant other, Arabella, in the hospital, the island police conduct, at best, a sluggish investigation, stonewalling progress. Conklin questions the evidence and challenges the department’s methods. Something isn’t right.

Arabella wasn’t the intended target.

Book Details:

Genre: Mystery
Published by: Oceanview Publishing
Publication Date: April 7, 2020
Number of Pages: 336
ISBN: 1608093832 (ISBN13: 9781608093830)
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

 

Author Bio:

Davin Goodwin

My family members have always been epic storytellers. I regularly wrote short stories in high school and college and, later in life, freelanced several articles for trade and industry publications. For years, the idea of writing a novel bounced around in the back of my mind, but never found its way out of the darkness.

My wife, Leslie (Double L), and I have visited the island of Bonaire nearly 30 times over the past 20 years, many of those trips for extended periods. The island is a perfect setting for the style of novel I wanted to write. Yes, the book would be a murder mystery, but I needed a laid-back, slightly exotic setting. And I wanted the book to partially center around scuba diving, an activity Les and I enjoy together as often as possible.

During the Spring of 2010, with mild coaxing from friends and family, the concept of Diver’s Paradise came to fruition. However, after close to a year of writing, I gave up, not touching the story for almost six years. In the Spring of 2017, I pulled out the tattered manuscript, rewrote and edited till blue in the face, then endured daily heart palpitations, waiting for submission responses from agents and publishers.

Nine months after my first submission, and after agonizing through a boatload of rejections, Oceanview Publishing—to my good luck—offered a contract. I would be a published author.

Diver’s Paradise launches on April 7, 2020 in Hard Cover and eBook, followed later in paperback.

I enjoy being outdoors when the weather is nice. I don’t particularly like snow and cold weather, which can be problematic dwelling in the frigid, midwestern state of Wisconsin.

Exercise is a passion of mine, although I don’t do it as intensely as in past years. Running, biking, and swimming are my favorites. As of several years ago, golf and I decided that we can no longer be friends.

Through high school and college, I played violin in the orchestras and community ensembles. Much to the chagrin of those close to me, around the age of sixteen I was struck with an uncontrollable desire to play the 5-string banjo. And play I did.

Hours and hours a day.

Everyday.

In 1992, the band I played with at the time, travelled to the Ukraine and performed in the International Kiev Music Festival. I’ve also performed on radio, TV, and recorded on several albums.

I’m 58 years old and live in Madison, WI. Originally from Rockford, IL, I went to college at Arkansas State University in Jonesboro, AR., graduating with a degree in Computer Science. I’m married and have one daughter and one stepson, both grown.

Professionally, I have roughly 30 years’ experience in the technology industry and currently manage a group of software developers for a local, mid-sized company. In the past, I’ve owned several small businesses, worked as an aerial photographer, a semi-professional banjo player, a flight instructor, and a real estate investor.

Future Plans: Continue the Roscoe Conklin series, hopefully, for a long time.

Guest Post

10 Things Readers Don’t Know About Roscoe Conklin

1. Hates vegetables. He’ll eat some corn or peas occasionally, but vegetables are off the menu. Loves almost all fruit, though.

2. Doesn’t eat anything that comes from the ocean. Not allergic to seafood, just doesn’t like it.

3. Never played high school sports. He thought sports was a waste of time and that he was too cool to be involved. He despises bodybuilders and tough guys. To this day, he still doesn’t watch sports on TV or follow any teams.

4. Doesn’t drink hard liquor. He loves beer and partakes regularly, but doesn’t drink whiskey, scotch, vodka, gin, etc. The few time he did in the past, didn’t work out well. It revealed a side of him he didn’t like. That no one liked. He swore it off for good.

5. Doesn’t listen to rap music or anything with an exaggerated bass beat. Prefers 70’s rock, mellow country, or bluegrass.

6. Astute at odd jobs. Even though he’s a procrastinator and prefers to relax as often as possible, Roscoe is very adept as a handyman. He personally renovated his old house in Rockford, IL. Reluctantly, and with excessive prodding from Erika, the office manager, he performs most of the maintenance at the YellowRock Resort.

7. Killed a man in the line of duty. Unlike most other law enforcement officers, Roscoe once pulled his service weapon in the line of duty. He had to shoot and kill a man in order to protect /save a hostage. He’s never talked about it, not even to Arabella. He regrets the incident but understands it was the only option. He was cleared of all wrongdoing.

8. Knows he has an anger management problem. Roscoe has attended several anger management classes, both in a professional and personal capacity. His anger doesn’t turn violent, but he struggles sometimes to control it. His “ten counts” are a personal reminder to get control and not go over the edge.

9. He’s been a regular visitor to the island. Before retiring, moving to Bonaire, and purchasing the YellowRock Resort, Roscoe made multiple trips to the island as a tourist. He enjoyed the scuba diving and the laid-back atmosphere of the island. Upon retirement, he decided to make Bonaire his home. But he knew he couldn’t scuba every day, so he bought the resort to stay busy, have a purpose, and be involved with the local community.

10. Has a two-year college degree. Roscoe graduated at the top of his high school class but wasn’t interested much in secondary education. He worked odd jobs in the Rockford area for a few years, eventually enrolling in the local junior college where he received an associate’s degree in criminal justice. At the age of 24, he was accepted for training by the Rockford Police Department. He graduated from academy and field training, then went on to complete over 25 years of service. He took an early retirement at the age of 50.

Catch Up With Davin Goodwin On:
DavinGoodwinAuthor.com
Goodreads
BookBub – @dgoodwin7757
Facebook – @authordavingoodwin
Instagram – davin_goodwin_author

 

Read an excerpt:

With the windows down and the top off, the warm Bonaire-island breeze flowed through the cabin of my four-door Jeep Wrangler. I glanced right, across the sea, savoring the salt-filled air. A brilliant shade of blue—one found only in the Caribbean—filled the cloudless sky.

Living on Bonaire, I never worried about traffic lights or big city hustle and bustle. With fewer crowds and more locals, I considered this tiny island my undiscovered paradise, not yet spoiled by restaurant chains, high-rises, or all-inclusive resorts. Scooters and bicycles were primary transportation for many, while others walked, greeting each other with smiles and waves. The culture, best described as laid-back with an unhurried pace, continued to have that slow, relaxed feel of the old Caribbean.

Unhurried, unspoiled, unforgettable.

My phone rang as I turned left, heading north on the road called Kaya International, toward Kralendijk. Even island life has its flaws.

Damn cell phones.

“Hello, Erika,” I said.

“Hello, R. You are on your way back?”

My full name is Roscoe Conklin. However, most folks refer to me as R. “Yes. Do you need anything?”

“It is Friday,” she said. A Bonaire native, and having lived on the island her entire life, Erika spoke English as a third, maybe fourth, language. As with most of the local population, her speech contained a hint of Dutch accent and reminded me of someone who wanted to sound formal and correct, but sometimes placed words in the wrong order.

“Yes, it is Friday… all day,” I said.

“I must leave early today.”

She had reminded me three times since noon. I smiled, downshifting around a curve.

“I know, I know. You must have a wonderful boss.”

“I did have a wonderful boss. Now I work for you.”

“Yes, you do.” I sighed. “Need anything?”

“I need a raise.”

I shook my head. “Anything else?”

“I do not think so.”

“See you soon.”

A few turns later, I stopped for a road-crossing iguana, or tree chicken as they’re called on Bonaire. It stood in the middle of the lane and swiveled an eye my direction which I considered a gesture of gratitude for saving its life. Even so, this guy had better quicken the pace. Many locals considered iguanas a food source, and one this size—maybe three feet long from head to tail—would be a prized catch.

We studied each other a moment or two, then I beeped the horn, ending our one-sided standoff. The iguana scurried away and found refuge in the roadside underbrush.

I pulled into the parking lot of the YellowRock Resort, which I owned, courtesy of my life savings and a large chunk of my pension. The Resort part, however, was a bit of a misnomer. It was a 10-unit ma-and-pa type hotel with a front reception area and a small apartment upstairs where I lived.

Guilt shot through me knowing the roof leaked in several units, and, scattered along the path, yellow flakes of paint reminded me of some much-needed upkeep. Bonaire is an island for water lovers and, most days, I wished for more time in the sea. Retired, and in no hurry to overwork myself, I struggled to stay ahead of the repairs. Erika seemed her happiest when keeping me busy.

I’d be lost, though, without her.

Before going into the office, I walked around the side of the building. Mounds of dirt, a cement mixing tool, and several wooden forms laid haphazardly around a partially repaired section of the foundation. The mess had cluttered the small side yard between the YellowRock and the building next door for several weeks. Neither the contractor responsible for the work nor any of his crew had bothered to show for work in several days. He wanted more money to finish; I wanted the job completed before paying him another cent. A stalemate like this on Bonaire—on island time—could last for months. Shaking my head, I walked into the guest reception area, which also doubled as the office, on the first floor.

Erika sat behind an old gray desk that reminded me of something from a 1960’s secretarial office. I did my work on an identical one against the back wall, and a third, stacked high with papers and other junk, gathered dust in the corner. The place needed an upgrade, but the retro decor of our cozy office served our function and suited us well.

Erika punched away at a computer keyboard, acting as if she hadn’t seen me enter. Her yellow polo, embroidered with YellowRock Resort on the upper left shoulder, deepened the tint of her dark skin. She refused to tell me her age, but insisted she was older than me “by several years.” I loved her like a big sister, and most of the time, she treated me like a little brother.

With black-rimmed glasses perched halfway down her nose, she rolled her eyes as I walked by her desk. “There are still some papers on your desk that still need your signature,” she said, turning back to her work.

“Hello to you, too.”

I laid a plastic bag on my desk and retrieved a bottle of water—or awa as it’s called in the native language of Papiamento—from the small fridge in the corner. I sat and put my feet on Erika’s desk, playing a game with myself by blocking out most of her face with my size eleven sandals. Her modest afro formed a dark halo around the tops of my toes.

“You still have not fixed the problem with that bathroom light.” She continued to gaze at the computer, not giving me the satisfaction of showing the least bit of aggravation.

I didn’t say anything and hoped she’d look over and see the soles of my sandals.

“The light?” she said.

I decided I’d better answer. “Which unit?” I glanced at the bags I’d placed on my desk. They contained several packages of light bulbs.

“You know which unit.”

“It’s just a light bulb.”

“Then it will be easy to fix, yes?”

“I’ll get it tomorrow.”

She moved her head to look around my sandals. “That is what you said last month about the paint.” She grabbed a small stack of papers, slapped my feet with them and turned back to her work, muttering “hende fresku.”

My Papiamento wasn’t good, but I got the gist of what she said. “What would I do without you?” I lowered my feet to the floor.

Knowing how far to push was most of the fun.

“Don’t forget you have some friends arriving on tomorrow afternoon’s flight,” Erika said. “You’ll need to meet them at the airport.”

“Yup, I remember. Tiffany and her boyfriend.”

She removed her glasses, laid them on the desk, and leaned forward resting on her elbows. “And how does that make you feel?”

I knew what she trolled for but didn’t bite. Tiffany and I had met during a case many years ago and were friends long before I moved to the island. She had visited me on Bonaire in the past and decided to bring her new boyfriend along on this trip.

“I feel fine about it.”

“You know what I mean.” She leaned back in her chair. “When do you plan to introduce her to Arabella?”

“Tiffany is a friend. That’s all she’s ever been. Nothing more, nothing less.” I took a swig of water and wiped my mouth with the back of my arm. Letting out an exaggerated “Ahh,” I concentrated on screwing the cap on the bottle before continuing. “Erika, you think you know more than you actually do.”

“Uh-huh.” She put her glasses back on, grabbed the stack of papers, and walked to the filing cabinet.

Wanting the conversation to end, I stood and headed up the stairs leading from the office to my apartment. “I’m going to take a shower. Have a nice weekend and don’t forget to lock up when you leave.”

Entering my apartment, I went straight to the fridge for a cold beer, my favorite being an Amstel Bright. The advertisements described it as a “Euro Pale Lager,” whatever that meant. Most of the bars and restaurants served it with a slice of lime wedged atop the bottle’s neck. At home, I didn’t waste time slicing limes.

Unlike Jeff “The Big” Lebowski, I liked the Eagles and Creedence, so I popped the Eagles Greatest Hits, Volume 1 into the CD player and sat in front of my computer to check email. Twelve new messages. Eleven went straight to my junk folder, but one had a recognizable address—Marko Martijn, the contractor responsible for the unfinished foundation work. Before I clicked it open, my cell phone rang.

“What’s up, Bella?” I said.

“Hey, Conklin, happy birthday.”

I laughed. “Thanks, but you’re a little early.”

“I know, but since it will be the big five-oh, I thought your memory might slip and needed a reminder.”

“Yeah, that’s funny.” Arabella was from the Netherlands, and I’d found sarcasm doesn’t always work on the Dutch.

“I thought so. I called to see how you are doing.”

“Well… I’m about to take a shower. Want to join me?”

“I wish I could, but I am on my way to work. They called me in to work the desk tonight.”

“That’s too bad.”

“Yes, for both of us. It is that new inspector, Schleper. He thinks we are at his beck and call.”

I walked out on the balcony and sat on a lounger facing the sea. “Yup, sounds familiar.”

“Ach. You think he would give me more respect.” She exhaled a short, hard breath. “I’ve been a cop for ten years on this island. Longer than him!”

Changing the conversation, I asked, “We still running tomorrow morning?”

“You bet. Eight kilometers?”

“If you mean four point nine miles, then yes.”

She laughed. “No, I mean eight kilometers.”

“Ah, forgive me. My measurements are still strictly American.”

“I will forgive you. You are drinking a beer right now?”

“Yup. Need to drink away my sorrows before I shower. Alone.”

“Do not drink too much. I do not want to hear excuses for tomorrow’s run.”

“Maybe one more, then I have some paperwork to do. Or maybe change a lightbulb.”

“Yeah, right. You are drinking, so you will not do more work tonight.

“Hey…”

“I will see you tomorrow. Usual time?”

“Yup. Good night.”

She chuckled. “I will send you a text reminder.”

I seldom read text messages and never answered them, but the phone pinged as soon as I set it down. She’d included the words “old man” as part of the reminder about our run.

The sun had moved closer to the distant horizon, creating an orange aura behind the few low clouds. Palm trees and sunsets. Tough to find a more relaxing setting. I nursed my beer and watched the sparse traffic crawl along the one-lane road that ran between the YellowRock Resort and the sea.

I imagined Erika’s delight in arriving at work in the morning and finding the light fixed. It’d be easy—just a bulb. As I headed towards the stairs to retrieve the bags sitting on my office desk, the landline phone rang; the one used most often for off-island communications. It might’ve been a future guest wanting to make a reservation at the YellowRock or maybe an old friend from the States calling to chat me up about retirement in paradise.

Darkness was settling over the vast, smooth sea and I took a swig of beer, not interested in answering the phone, content with letting voicemail do its job. Besides, the Eagles were telling me to take it easy, and, regardless of the lightbulb, that sounded like a good idea. Arabella was right. I was drinking; my work finished for the night.

Second ring.

Nearby, my banjo sat on its stand. Erika had kept me busy enough lately that practice had eluded me. Picking some tunes sounded good.

Third ring.

Turning around, I noticed my old 7-iron propped in the corner. I hadn’t played golf since moving to Bonaire five years ago but still fed the urge to practice my swing. Make sure my elbow stayed tucked, and the clubface didn’t open.

Fourth ring.

Or I could swap the Eagles CD for Creedence, sit on the balcony, and drink another beer or two or three, watching the sun settle below the horizon. Maybe skip the shower, doze off early, and catch a few Zs to the rhythm of the waves.

Fifth ring.

I could’ve done any of those things but didn’t.

Instead, I went to my desk and answered the phone.

***

Excerpt from Diver’s Paradise by Davin Goodwin. Copyright 2020 by Davin Goodwin. Reproduced with permission from Davin Goodwin. All rights reserved.

 

 

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