Sep 212017
 

W.J. Evans pulls you into the unstable world of finance where danger lurks around every corner
“Dead Deal” delivers thrills as it delves into the mystery surrounding 3 dead bankers

ATLANTA – In a time of uncertainty after the financial crisis of 2008, three bankers have been found murdered. The FBI starts closing in on a lead suspect — a real estate broker with negative ties to all of the victims. W.J. Evans’ exciting new novel, “Dead Deal,” is a sexy thriller filled with twists and suspense.
Chaos rules in the days after the financial meltdown, and danger lurks around every corner for real estate broker Frank McCormick. When FBI agent Julia Harrow starts to track down leads on the dead bankers and hones in on Frank as a suspect, they begin to circle each other warily. As they continue to investigate, they uncover a criminal operation spanning the globe, and it puts them in more extreme danger than they could have ever imagined.
Evans’ sharp writing and fascinating characters will pull you in and keep you reading until the last page.

Read an excerpt:

The developer started digging, pressing the blade into the ground like he was digging through butter. He dug for 20 minutes in relative silence. Grady dutifully kept the flashlight beam on the hole. His hands were turning to ice, but he knew that if he complained at all the developer would continue griping.

The developer didn’t stop until the hole was at least three feet deep.

“Don’t tell me you picked the wrong spot,” Grady asked. He wasn’t going to spend all night shining light on the wrong holes. Enough was enough.

“No, this is definitely the spot,” the developer said.

He stopped digging for a moment. His white shirt was soaked through, and his hair was matted against his forehead.

“Can I tell you one more thing?” the developer asked, climbing out of the hole with great effort.

“One more,” Grady sighed.

The developer gripped the shovel with two hands like a baseball bat.

“I didn’t really bury a time capsule,” he said. “I didn’t bury anything.”

The developer smiled at Grady, showing every one of his teeth.

That crooked dopey smile was the last thing Grady saw before the blade of the shovel came flying at his face. It connected right where his moustache would have been. The blade sunk four inches into his mouth, severing his gums and scattering a handful of bloody teeth across the ground. Grady collapsed into the mud. The developer swung the shovel again—this time it landed below Grady’s eyebrows. Grady could feel blood flowing from his head as the developer raised the shovel for the third time.

The third blow landed across his neck. By the time the blade severed his jugular vein, Grady Gilmore was dead.

≈≈≈

The developer turned the key, and the Komatsu roared to life.

He maneuvered the bulldozer skillfully—he had worked in construction right out of college, and knew his way around all sorts of big machines. Bulldozers. Excavators. Forklifts.

The Komatsu belched angry tufts of steam as the developer positioned the corpse into his hole. He raised the blade and picked the corpse up—the bulldozer lifted it as easily as a child would lift a stick. The developer pulled some levers and the corpse that had once been Grady Gilmore settled nicely into the hole. For good measure he buried the shovel and blueprints as well.
When Grady was several feet under, the developer went to work, filling in the hole until there was no sign of a body, no sign of a struggle.

No sign of a murder.

When he had safely covered the body, cleaned off the bulldozer, and parked it back in its spot, the developer turned off the ignition and sat breathing heavily in the moist night air. He grabbed the flashlight, stomped on the ground, and whistled as he skipped back to his car.

I could really use a beer right now, he thought. Then, for the first time in a month, he laughed.

BOOK DETAILS:

Genre: Financial thriller | Suspense
Published by: CreateSpace Publishing
Publication Date: February 21, 2017
Pages: 356
Paperback: 978-0-9992924-0-2
E-book: 978-0-9992924-1-9

PURCHASE LINKS:

W.J. Evans

W.J. Evans is involved in various business interests including commercial real estate development, hotels and restaurants based in Atlanta, Georgia. He co founded the 50in50 in 2008, raising awareness for cancer by playing 50 golf courses in 50 days in all 50 states. Along with writing, in his spare time he enjoys golf trips, world travel and creating new projects for worthy causes.

INTERVIEW

Do you remember the moment when you decided to write this book?
Yes, I was playing golf in Ireland a few years ago and came up with the crazy idea to start this project during the trip.

What makes the financial world the perfect setting for a thriller?
There are so many real life stories from the corruption and greed, it will always be a fertile ground for subject matter. The story is historical fiction based on the actual financial crisis beginning in 2008.

DEAD DEAL has a lot of complex characters. Are any of them based on real people?
I made it a point to create these characters from scratch, not from real people. People are complex in nature based upon so many factors. It’s a fun challenge to create characters for a story like this.

How did your success in the business world influence your book?
So much of my business is project based. As with any project, it takes focus and determination to complete. A few of my developments did have an influence on the main characters’ success, and failure in the commercial real estate business.

How do you think your approach to the thriller genre differs from other writers?
Every writer’s approach and style is different. My goal is to keep it interesting and entertaining. I think in this case, unlike some of the other writers, I had first-hand experience with the financial meltdown and the collateral human damage it caused.

What’s the best advice you got when you started writing?
Focus on character development. Don’t get too technical with the subject matter….I know that my eyes glaze over with information overload from some writers. Keep the chapters short so the book has a nice flow.

How did you put yourself in the mindset of a female FBI agent?
That wasn’t an easy task. Probably the most challenging of all the characters. Even though she is a specially trained FBI agent, she is still a human being with wants and needs like all of us. She has been shaped by her life experiences and that makes her who she is.

The ending of the book is open-ended. Will we see these characters again?
Yes, there will be a sequel and some of the characters will be reappearing. People got invested emotionally with these characters and I don’t intend to let them down.

DISCLAIMER

I do not have any affiliation with Amazon.com or Barnes & Noble. I am an IndieBound affiliate. I am providing link(s) solely for visitors that may be interested in purchasing this Book/EBook.

Sep 192017
 

A Face to Die For

by Andrea Kane

on Tour September 18th – October 20th, 2017

Synopsis:

A Face to Die For by Andrea Kane

Urban legend says that everyone has a double, or exact look-alike. Would you search for yours? And if you found them, would you risk your life for theirs?

When a chance encounter outside the Plaza Hotel in Manhattan results in mistaken identity, wedding planner Gia Russo is curious to find the person whose cell phone picture has been shown her—veterinarian Dr. Danielle Murano, her exact look-alike. A Facebook private message blossoms into a budding, long-distance friendship, and the two women agree to meet in New York and see the truth for their own eyes.

Shocked at the sight of one another, they quickly bond over drinks, childhood pictures and an uncanny feeling that they share more than just a visual resemblance. Together they decide to end the speculation and undergo DNA testing for siblingship. But when the tests confirm they’re identical twins, more questions are raised than answered.

And with good reason. The same mysterious forces that separated the sisters years ago are still at large, frantic to keep the two women apart. Their attempts to do so become more violent once it becomes clear that the two sisters have found each other. But when the danger escalates and the sisters fear for their lives, Gia turns to a former client of her wedding planning company, Marc Devereraux of Forensic Instincts, for help.

Despite being embroiled in another case, Forensic Instincts agrees to help Gia and Danielle discover who has been threatening them. And when Forensic Instincts discovers that this case is linked to the [Mafia, Organized Crime], they must dig up skeletons better left buried, and get at the frightening truth without destroying the sisters and the families they have grown to love.

**Read my review HERE and enter the giveaway!**

Book Details:

Genre: Psychological Thriller
Published by: Bonnie Meadow Publishing LLC
Publication Date: September 19, 2017
Number of Pages: 336
ISBN: 1682320103 (ISBN13: 9781682320105)
Purchase Links: Amazon 🔗 | Barnes & Noble 🔗 | Goodreads 🔗

Author Bio:

Andrea Kane

Andrea Kane is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of twenty-eight novels, including fourteen psychological thrillers and fourteen historical romantic suspense titles. With her signature style, Kane creates unforgettable characters and confronts them with life-threatening danger. As a master of suspense, she weaves them into exciting, carefully-researched stories, pushing them to the edge—and keeping her readers up all night.

Kane’s first contemporary suspense thriller, Run for Your Life, became an instant New York Times bestseller. She followed with a string of bestselling psychological thrillers including No Way Out, Twisted, and Drawn in Blood.

Her latest storytelling triumph, A Face To Die For, extends the Forensic Instincts legacy where a dynamic, eclectic team of maverick investigators continue to solve seemingly impossible cases while walking a fine line between assisting and enraging law enforcement. The first showcase of their talents came with the New York Times bestseller, The Girl Who Disappeared Twice, followed by The Line Between Here and Gone, The Stranger You Know, The Silence that Speaks and The Murder That Never Was.

Kane’s beloved historical romantic suspense novels include My Heart’s Desire, Samantha, The Last Duke, and Wishes in the Wind.

With a worldwide following of passionate readers, her books have been published in more than twenty languages.

Kane lives in New Jersey with her husband and family. She’s an avid crossword puzzle solver and a diehard Yankees fan. Otherwise, she’s either writing or playing with her Pomeranian, Mischief, who does his best to keep her from writing.

Q&A with Andrea Kane

Welcome!
Writing and Reading:

Do you draw from personal experiences and/or current events?
I frequently get my “what ifs” from current events– big ones or even small tidbits I spot in the news. As for personal experience, I draw from my emotions and memorable moments very often. But my life is far too boring compared to my characters for me to base a book on!

Do you start with the conclusion and plot in reverse or start from the beginning and see where the story line brings you?
A little of both. I never know the exact play-out of the conclusion, but I always know who did it and why. I also know my main characters inside and out before I begin writing. I develop my antagonists with the same painstaking process as I do my protagonists. I never work free-form without some semblance of an outline, but that outline always shifts as the book progresses and I have to constantly regroup and move in other directions.

Are any of your characters based on you or people that you know?
I draw from interesting character traits I see in people. But I always end up tweaking those traits. And I’ve never based a character on an actual person, because that would compromise his/her individuality, which would throw off my whole characterization process. I like to think that each of my characters is unique. They’re each like a dear friend (or foe) to me, and friends (or foes) aren’t interchangeable.

Your routine when writing? Any idiosyncrasies?
Idiosyncrasies and writers go hand in hand! Some of mine? I can’t start a book without a working title. I can’t write out of sequence. I’m miserable when I have to leave a blank space to fill in later, even if it’s something as simple as the designer of a dress my character is wearing. I can’t write amid noise of any kind—no music, talking, TV, nothing. Oh, except for the sounds of nature, like chirping birds outside my window. Those kinds of sounds soothe me. Otherwise, it’s just me, my computer, and my hopefully fertile creative process.

Tell us why we should read this book.
Wow. How do you answer this one without sounding immodest?  I’d like to think you should read A Face to Die For because of its unforgettable characters, its surprise twists and turns, and its relatability to everyone with family who are dear to them—not to mention because you get the chance to spend time with the Forensic Instincts team again!

Who are some of your favorite authors?
This is a tough one, because I can never read as much or as often as I want to. I spend more time reading non-fiction research books than I do savoring the joys of a pleasure read. And now, with my first grandchild on her way, I find myself reading lots of Dr. Seuss as well as other exceptional children’s authors to preview what I’ll be reading to her. But I do sneak time to read a Harlan Coben novel when a new book of his is released. And I’m a big Robert Ludlum fan. I also enjoy Allison Brennan, Nora Roberts, and Mary Higgins Clark (who I’ve been reading for decades). I miss the days when I used to have enough time to read two books a week.

What are you reading now?
I’m actually waiting for a few new releases that won’t be out for a month. So I’m concentrating on screening the children’s books for now. Some of them are so beautiful they make me cry. I’m still a sentimentalist at heart.

Are you working on your next novel? Can you tell us a little about it?
I am working on my next novel and it’s exciting and challenging and a little bit overwhelming for me. For those of you who’ve read the Forensic Instincts series, you’ll know Aidan Devereaux, Marc’s brother, who’s played a covert part in several of their books. Well, Aidan has a clandestine team of his own—a unique group who handle both international and national crises. This will be their first book—AND it will include members of the Forensic Instincts team, as well. I’m researching like crazy, writing and rewriting and editing—and this is just the beginning. I’ve just gotten started and I’m learning about and bonding with the new characters who comprise the team. I’ll tell you lots more as the story unfolds, but right now it’s in its fledging stages.

Fun questions:
Your novel will be a movie. Who would you cast?
You’re going to hate me for this, but I absolutely can’t cast anyone. In fact, every time I read a good book and then see the subsequent movie, I disagree with every single casting decision. My characters are who they are, and no Hollywood replicas exist. My agent once told me that if my books are made into movies, I’ll have to be duct taped and thrown into a closet to keep me from interfering! 

Favorite leisure activity/hobby?
Watching movies with my family, playing word games, and seeing the Yankees play—every single game!

Favorite meal?
Hands down, pizza and ice cream!

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

Catch Up With Andrea Kane On:
Website 🔗, Goodreads 🔗, Twitter 🔗, & Facebook 🔗!

Read an excerpt:

Prologue

Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, New York
March 1990

Anthony slid behind the wheel of his Ford Taurus and started it up, cranking up the heat the instant the engine turned over. It was friggin’ freezing outside. Even in the five minutes it had taken him to walk the babysitter to her front door, the temperature outside felt like it had dropped ten degrees, and his car was an icebox.

Shivering, he zipped his parka up as far as it would go and gripped the steering wheel, maneuvering the car away from the curb. He’d finally shared an evening out with his wife. It should have eased the knot in his gut. After all, it had been the first time that he and Carla had left their infants with a sitter since the babies had been born a month ago. And Judy was the perfect babysitter—a good girl from a good family, one who studied rather than doing drugs and screwing horny guys.

Still, dinner had been strained.

Anthony had only picked at his manicotti, his favorite dish at Raimo’s. His mind was far away, and acid kept building up in his stomach.

Carla couldn’t stop worrying and talking about the babies. She’d checked her watch a dozen times, intermittently giving Anthony puzzled looks and asking if he was okay.

Each time she asked, he’d assure her that he was fine, just exhausted from work and midnight feedings.
As if to contradict his words, some new waiter had dropped a tray of dishes on the floor, and Anthony had nearly jumped out of his skin at the crash.

Carla rose, asking him to order her another drink and to get one for himself to calm his nerves. Giving in to her new-mother concerns, she went to the pay phone in the back to call Judy for an update. So far, so good, Judy had reported. But that didn’t totally erase Carla’s fretting. She tried her best to be bright and chatty, but the truth was that, as this point, she was ready to go. She’d fiddled with her napkin and sipped at her drink, making small talk and glancing at the door.

Getting the hell out of there had worked for Anthony. He was more than ready to be home with his family and not out in the open. He’d use his fatigue as an excuse. He had to continue keeping the inevitable from Carla, until he had no choice but to tell her. He’d soften the blow as best he could. But the important thing was that his family would be protected at all costs.

Now, the heat in his car roared to life, warming his body but doing nothing to extinguish his inner chill. He knew the rules. No transgression went unpunished.

Why the hell had he been so preoccupied with new fatherhood that he’d forgotten to make his collections from the designated list of construction foremen these past two weeks? That in itself was a huge black mark against him—one he’d be punished for. But the outcome of his stupidity opened the door to a far more lethal punishment. Someone else had been sent to handle his route, and his money. They would have collected and turned over twice the amount he’d been handing over. And that meant he’d better be able to explain the discrepancy—assuming he’d even be asked before he was killed.

Please God, let him have that chance. He was just on the verge of buying that gas station he’d been single-mindedly building his bank account for, just about to provide for his family’s future.

And now this.

With shaking hands, Anthony switched on the radio, gritting his teeth as Madonna’s voice blasted off the windows, followed by Michael Jackson’s. He turned the dial until finally the soothing tones of Frank Sinatra’s voice filled the car. Sinatra. Perfect. The Chairman of the Board’s crooning was just the right medicine to ease his clawing anxiety.

He reached his street and turned down the line of small brick row houses, all identical in their flat lines, gated fronts, and tiny gardens. There was a certain comfort and peace about the sameness of it all; it made it feel like a neighborhood.

Would he ever feel that sense of comfort and peace again?

He pulled into his narrow driveway and spotted Carla standing at the front door with a broad smile, giving him a thumbs-up. That meant the infants had come through their first babysitting experience with flying colors.

He forced himself to smile back, but even as he did, his gaze swept the area around the house to see if he was alone. It appeared so. Quickly, he turned off the car and then made the frigid dash to his house.

He couldn’t shut and lock the door behind him fast enough.

The soothing warmth from the heating system enveloped him when he stepped inside. Comfort in yet another form. He was home. Carla and the babies were safe. And for the moment, so was he.

With a wave of relief—however temporary—he let the tension in his body ease. He shrugged out of his jacket and hung it on the coatrack.

“You look happy,” he teased Carla. “What’s the final report?”

Carla’s eyes twinkled. “They were perfect. Judy said they’d only woken up once for their bottles and a diaper change. Now they’re sleeping like little angels.”

“Good.” Anthony looped an arm around his wife’s shoulders and led her toward the living room. “How about a nightcap before bed—to celebrate the success of our first night out?”

“That sounds wonderful.” Carla walked beside him, making a left into their comfortable living room.

They’d barely taken half a dozen steps when a tall masked man dressed in black rose from behind the large armchair, his .22 caliber pistol raised.

“Hello, Anthony.”

Anthony knew that voice only too well, and it elicited the chilling knowledge that there was no way out. No threats. Just death. “Welcome home.”

The man’s finger tightened around the trigger.

“No!” Carla screamed.

She threw herself in front of her husband just as the pistol fired.

The bullet pierced her skull, and with a shattering cry, she crumpled to the floor.

“Carla… no… Carla!” Anthony shouted. He dropped to his knees beside his wife’s lifeless body, grabbing her into his arms and openly weeping. “God forgive me. Oh, God forgive me.”

He looked up in dazed anguish, just as a second shot was fired.

The bullet struck Anthony between the eyes. His head jerked backward, and he fell over his wife, dead.
Upstairs, the babies started to cry.

The gunman shoved his pistol back in his waistband. He knew the mob code like he knew his own name. No women. No children. Omertà.

A woman lay dead before him, the taunting evidence of a fuckup.

He took the steps two at a time.

Tucked in their cribs, the babies were still crying as their parents’ killer entered the nursery and hovered over them.

Not even the nightlight could eradicate the darkness.

***

Excerpt from A Face to Die For by Andrea Kane. Copyright © 2017 by Andrea Kane. Reproduced with permission from Bonnie Meadow Publishing LLC. All rights reserved.

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Sep 052017
 

Murder in the Dog Days by P.M. Carlson Banner

Murder in the Dog Days

by P.M. Carlson

September 1-30, 2017 Book Tour

Synopsis:

Murder in the Dog Days by P.M. Carlson

On a sweltering Virginia day in 1975, reporter Olivia Kerr, her husband Jerry Ryan, his very pregnant sister Maggie and her family decide to have a beach picnic. Olivia invites her colleague Dale Colby and his family to join them. At the last minute, Dale decides to stay home to pursue an important story. But when the beach-goers return, they find Dale lifeless in a pool of blood inside his locked office.

Police detective Holly Schreiner leads the investigation, battling Maggie—and demons of her own.

Don’t Miss These Great Reviews:

“An ingeniously plotted, fair-play, locked-room mystery, one of the best we’ve encountered.” — Tom and Enid Schantz, The Denver Post

“A dandy locked room murder…The investigation is a dangerous one… [the] solution both surprising and satisfying” — A Suitable Job for a Woman

“A satisfying, fast-paced whodunit that also explores a range of social issues, especially the violence of war and its aftermath.” — Cynthia R. Benjamins, Fairfax Journal

​“[Maggie Ryan] has been a role model for women since the beginning and I loved watching her merge marriage and children with her talent for solving mysteries!” — Margaret Maron

Book Details:

Genre: Traditional Mystery
Published by: The Mystery Company / Crum Creek Press
Publication Date: April 2014
Number of Pages: 271
ISBN13: 978-1932325379
Series: Maggie Ryan and Nick O’Connor #6
Purchase Links: Amazon 🔗 | Barnes & Noble 🔗 | Smashwords 🔗 | Goodreads 🔗

Love this Video Chat Featuring Murder in the Dog Days:

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.

Q&A with P.M. Carlson

Welcome!

Thanks! It’s good to be here.

Do you draw from personal experiences and/or current events?
Yes and yes. Also yes to psychological case studies and to past events. When I’m starting a novel from scratch, I look for for what I call a “constellation” of ideas. For example, before I began MURDER IN THE DOG DAYS, I’d written several Maggie Ryan mysteries about a smart, caring, often humorous woman coming of age in the late 1960’s-70’s. Those turbulent times were redefining much about women’s (and men’s) lives, and the serious economic and personal problems my friends and I faced found their way naturally into the stories. Maggie helped me explore issues and often helped me laugh about them.

But I was beginning to feel guilty about not dealing directly with one major issue for Americans of that generation: the Vietnam war. I started reading veterans’ accounts and talking to vets.

About the same time I read a little story in an Indiana newspaper about a man who had died in an odd way.

And I was getting to know a friend who was an investigative reporter, and realizing that her drive to get a story, though not identical to the love of research that my academic friends shared with me, was also a passion for truth.

And Maggie, of course, was starting a family, so family issues were on my mind.

Veterans, family, reporters, an odd death–– a random collection of ideas, right? But in my head these seemed to relate to each other. That’s what I call a “constellation.” They began to pull other ideas into their orbit. For example, when I thought about the setting for a story about war, it seemed right to put the action in Virginia, which–– as we recently saw in Charlottesville–– still suffers from the scars of the Civil War. But why would Maggie be there? Visiting her brother, of course, which would underline the family issues I was interested in. Characters began to take form, the brother and the reporters, and then the police detective strode into my head and said “Hey, I’m Holly Schreiner, and this book is about me.” I realized the Vietnam war had just checked in, and it was time to write.

Do you start with the conclusion and plot in reverse or start from the beginning and see where the story line brings you?
Both! I’m most efficient with a mystery when I have a sketchy idea of where it will end and how it will get there. The “constellation” of ideas I just described may include the motive and mechanics of the murder. So I make a list–– major turns in the plot, a few important events in subplots suggested by the characters. Then I shuffle and space them so I won’t have chapter after chapter of buildup with all the exciting plot turns put off till Chapter 24.

For me, it’s also important to avoid overplanning, so I keep the “plot” at the bullet-point level. Once I’m writing, the most fun is what bubbles up from the combination of things already in the stories. One reason my detective Maggie Ryan and her actor husband Nick O’Connor enjoy each other’s company is the games they improvise, sometimes to get information, sometimes to thwart an injustice, sometimes just for fun. But Maggie is passionate about finding the truth and a fair conclusion. Of course some of the characters, like Detective Holly Schreiner, don’t agree with her methods, and the resulting arguments can be fierce.

Your routine when writing? Any idiosyncrasies?
I love writing but hate starting to write. In fact, I hate starting anything–– getting out of bed in the morning, closing a book to start lunch, etc. Inertia should be my middle name. So I have to play tricks on myself. Sometimes I stop mid-paragraph, making the next day’s start easier because I’ll know what’s coming up. But my secret weapon comes from my experience training lab rats: the power of reward. I put a chocolate near my desk that I’m not allowed to eat until I’ve written at least a paragraph. By then the writing is its own reward.

Tell us why we should read this book.
Readers who like visiting another time will find an authentic view of the US in the late sixties and seventies in the Maggie Ryan mysteries. They’ll find that Maggie and Nick’s America was dealing with many problems that are resurfacing today, with angry political divisions about racism, anti-Semitism, homophobia, oppression of women, and on and on.

The Maggie Ryan series has also been described as “mysteries of character”. Maggie and Nick enjoy each other’s humor and sometimes play pranks on stuffier folks, although they’ve both had griefs of their own and share a deep sense of justice. As a psychologist I find myself digging deep into all the characters, major and minor, and the problems they are facing.

And of course, Maggie Ryan mysteries are mysteries! Fans of fair-play plotting should know that MURDER IN THE DOG DAYS is a good locked-room mystery.

Who are some of your favorite authors?
William Shakespeare, Dorothy Parker, Anton Chekhov, Christine Downing, Robert Jay Lifton, Miguel de Cervantes, and lots of mystery authors

What are you reading now?
A Kathy Reichs mystery, also Kitty Molony’s memoir of touring America in 1886-87 with the great American Shakespearean actor Edwin Booth.

Can you tell us a little about your next novel?
Next up in the Maggie Ryan series is MURDER MISREAD. It’s different from MURDER IN THE DOG DAYS because it’s an academic mystery told from the points of view of two different professors. It’s similar in the emphasis on character and motive, and on finding a fair resolution to a bad situation.

Favorite leisure activity?
I love seeing live plays! Books are great, movies are great, but in the theatre there’s the additional thrill of being in the same space with the talented human beings who are performing the story at the very moment you’re seeing it. It’s a social event as well as a funny, or moving, or spirit-lifting event. Luckily my husband teaches theatre in New York City so I get to see lots of shows, about sixty a year.

Favorite meal?
I’m with Maggie Ryan on this one–– I love French cooking. Their recipes seem to find the essence of a trout, or a bean, or an apple and enhance it with just the right seasoning. Maggie’s ability to prepare French meals is one of the best things that she learned in her year abroad, and fun to write about when the stories need a food scene.

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

Thanks for inviting me, Cheryl!

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

Read an excerpt:

“I don’t understand!” Donna Colby cried out. Her self-control cracked. She reached toward Holly in appeal, tears starting. “It was bolted! How could anyone—even if Dale let them in, they couldn’t bolt it again after they—”

“Yes, Mrs. Colby.” Holly broke in, firm and reassuring, to deflect the outburst. “We’ll check into it. You can depend on it.”

‘Thank you,” said Donna with a little choking sound.

“Now, what did you do when you realized the door was bolted?”

“Well, he usually takes a nap. I thought maybe he was asleep.” Donna Colby was trying to revert to her numbed monotone again, but a tremor underlay her words. “Then Maggie went to look in the window and came running back in and said hurry up, we had to get the door open. So she did, and—” She stopped. The next part was the unspeakable, Holly knew. Donna Colby turned her face back to the pink flower on the back of the sofa, tracing the outline with a forefinger. “All that blood,” she murmured. “I just don’t… Why?”

“I know, Mrs. Colby.” Holly tried to keep her voice soothing in the face of the incomprehensible. A husband and father lay twisted in the den. Why? Tell me why. And the others, so many others. A flash of reds at the back of her eyes. A blue-green stench. A tiny whispered beat, ten, eleven. Twelve. No more. Hey, cut the bullshit, Schreiner. Just get the details. Ain’t no time to wonder why, whoopee we’re all gonna die. Holly flipped to a new page, keeping her voice colorless. “What did you do when you got the door open?”

“We all ran in—I don’t remember, it was so—I couldn’t—the blood. Maggie went to him. Sent Olivia to call an ambulance. Told me to keep the kids out, take them to the kitchen.”

Holly noted it down. This Maggie sounded like a real take-charge type. “Okay. And then what?”

“I don’t remember much. She made me leave, take care of the kids.”

“What was she doing?”

“I don’t know. There was so much…” The word escaped Donna and she stared at Holly in mute terror before finding it again, with an almost pitiful triumph. “Confusion. The men came back. Maggie will tell you,” she added hopefully, trying to be helpful. All her life, probably, being nice had kept her out of trouble. But now she’d hit the big trouble, and Holly knew that no weapons, even niceness, could help now.

* * *

Excerpt from Murder in the Dog Days by P.M. Carlson. Copyright © 2017 by P.M. Carlson. Reproduced with permission from P.M. Carlson. All rights reserved.

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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 AND 5 winners of one (1) eBook copy of MURDER IS ACADEMIC. The giveaway begins on September 1 and runs through October 1, 2017.

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Aug 312017
 

The Church of the Holy Child

by Patricia Hale

on Tour August 15 – October 15, 2017

Synopsis:

The Church of the Holy Child by Patricia Hale

A woman with a history of domestic abuse is missing. Her sister hires private investigators Cole and Callahan.

When the woman is found dead, her husband is charged but when a second body appears showing the same wounds, questions arise and what looked like a slam-dunk becomes anyone’s guess. The case goes to John Stark, a veteran cop and close friend of Griff Cole.

The bodies are piling up, and one person knows where the killer is. Father Francis, a priest at The Church of the Holy Child, listens to the killer’s disturbed account of each murder and wrestles with the vows that bind him to secrecy.

The case takes an unexpected and personal turn when Cole’s ex-wife goes missing and a connection to his past points to the killer.

**See my review here and enter the giveaway**

Book Details:

Genre: Mystery/Suspense
Published by: Intrigue Publishing LLC
Publication Date: August 15th 2017
Number of Pages: 259
ISBN: 1940758599 (ISBN13: 9781940758596)
Purchase Links: Amazon 🔗 | Barnes & Noble 🔗 | Goodreads 🔗

Q&A with Patricia Hale

Do you draw from personal experience or current events?

A little of both, I think. My life isn’t nearly as exciting as the lives of my characters, but sometimes I give them a quirk or a reaction to something that comes from personal experience. I’ve also reshaped pieces of news stories and I save interesting articles from the newspaper or on-line that I might play around with.

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

Most often I have the ending and work my way back. Sometimes all I have is what I know will be the last line in the book. I rarely have the plot worked out in my head. I just start writing toward what I know is the ending and see how I get there.

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

None of the characters are based on me, but because the series is written in first person with Britt as narrator, some of my sarcasm shows up in her banter with Griff, and impulsivity is a characteristic (or vulnerability) of mine as it is for Britt. Sometimes I use traits from friends in my characters, like Britt’s affinity for honeyberry cigars. My co-worker smokes these on the sly and when I found out, I thought it was a great little vice to use for Britt.

Your routine when writing? Any idiosyncrasies?

I have to write in the morning and it has to be the first thing I do after feeding the dogs and making coffee. I can’t shower or get dressed before I write. If I do, I lose my mind set and creativity. I might as well just vacuum or do errands because showering or getting dressed takes me out of the zone.

Tell us why we should read this book.

The Church of the Holy Child is a mystery/suspense novel so it will satisfy those looking for a good who-dun-it. But the sub-plot of the Catholic priest conversing with the killer in the confessional offers a richer, more complex story. The priest’s ethical dilemma of whether he should go to the police with what he knows or obey his holy orders, draws the reader into considering their own beliefs and challenges them with more than figuring out who the killer is.

Who are some of your favorite authors?

I enjoy reading Stephen King for his writing style. He’s a terrific storyteller. I’ve read a number of Lionel Shriver’s books. She provides a unique perspective and her detailed insights of our everyday lives always make me stop and say, ‘I wish I’d said that’. Dennis Lehane and Tana French need no explanation. And I’ve recently been enjoying Jussi Adler-Olsen’s series.

What are you reading now?

I’m reading Freedom, by Jonathan Franzen. I’ve never read him before, but I’m really enjoying this book. He takes a look at marriage, parenting and middle age through the eyes of the Berglund family with humor and often, painful honesty. His understanding of the fears, fantasies and idiosyncrasies that haunt middle-class America are right on the money.

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

The Church of the Holy Child is the first in a three book series. In the second book, Durable Goods, Britt goes undercover looking for a missing girl and ends up over her head in the sex trade industry. The third book in the series is Scar Tissue, in which Britt and Griff are hired to investigate a young girl’s suicide. In their search to find the reason why, they expose the lines parents will cross to insure success as well as revenge. Both of these will follow The Church of the Holy Child, but I don’t have release dates yet.

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

This question made me laugh because when I was thinking about what Britt and Griff looked like, I went on-line and looked at actors to get different characteristics in my head. Now… dead center on my desk, above my computer I have two pictures. One is of Hugh Jackman (Griff Cole) and the other is Natalie Portman (Britt Callahan). In the picture, Natalie has a very short, black, pixie style hair cut. My dream team!

Favorite leisure activity/hobby?

I am a yoga and animal enthusiast. I do a yoga routine every day and I hike in the woods with my dogs. I have a German shepherd and a Beagle mix who are my constant companions. I am also looking forward to becoming a foster home for an organization called Beagle Freedom who rescues animals from laboratory testing. Most labs use Beagles because of their size and sweet temperaments and many of these dogs have never been outside of a laboraory. I’ll provide an interim home until the dogs become acclimated to their new life and can be placed in forever homes. (I’m sure a few will find their place with me.)

Author Bio:

Patricia Hale

Patricia Hale received her MFA degree from Goddard College. Her essays have appeared in literary magazines and the anthology, My Heart’s First Steps. Her debut novel, In the Shadow of Revenge, was published in 2013. The Church of the Holy Child is the first book in her PI series featuring the team of Griff Cole and Britt Callahan. Patricia is a member of Sister’s in Crime, Mystery Writer’s of America, NH Writer’s Project and Maine Writer’s and Publisher’s Alliance. She lives in New Hampshire with her husband and two dogs.

Catch Up With Our Author On:
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Read an excerpt:

Inside the wooden confessional there’s a man who talks to God. At least that’s what my mother told me the last time we were here. But a month has passed since she disappeared so today I’ve come to the church alone. I no longer believe that she’s coming back for me like she said. Instead, I’ve become her stand-in for the beatings my father dishes out. That’s what he calls it, dishing out a beating, like he’s slapping a mound of mashed potato on my plate. He swaggers through the door ready for a cold one after coming off his seven to three shift, tosses his gun and shield on our kitchen table and reaches into the refrigerator for a Budweiser. I cringe in the corner and make myself small, waiting to hear what kind of day he’s had and whether or not I’ll be his relief. More often than not, his eyes search me out. “’C’mere asshole,” he says, popping the aluminum top, “I’m gonna dish out a beating.” If anyone can help me, it has to be this guy who talks to God. I open the door of the confessional with my good arm and step inside.

Twenty-three years later

ONE

His breath was warm on my neck, his lips hot and dry. His tongue searched the delicate skin below my ear. Heart quickening, back arching, I rose to meet him.

The phone on the nightstand vibrated.

“Shit,” Griff whispered, peeling away from me, our clammy skin reluctant to let go. He swung his feet over the edge of the bed and flashed me his bad-boy, half-smile. “Cole,” he said into the phone.

At times like this, cell phones rate right alongside other necessary evils like cod liver oil and flu shots. I leaned against his back and caressed his stomach, damp dunes of sculpted muscle. Not bad for a guy north of forty. Griff still measured himself against the hotshots in the field. But in my book he had nothing to worry about; I’d take the stable, wise, worn-in model over a wet behind the ear, swagger every time.

He pried my fingers from his skin and walked toward the bathroom still grunting into the phone.

I slipped into my bathrobe and headed for the kitchen. I have my morning priorities and since the first one was interrupted by Griff’s phone, coffee comes in a close second.

Twenty minutes later he joined me dressed in his usual attire, jeans, boots, tee shirt and sport jacket. Coming up behind me, he nuzzled my neck as I poured Breakfast Blend into a travel mug. Coffee splashed onto the counter top.

“Gotta run,” he said taking the cup from my hand.

“What’s up?”

“Not sure yet. That was John. He said he could use a hand.

“Sobering up?

Griff flinched like I’d landed one to his gut.

“Sorry,” I said. “Cheap shot.”

“Woman found dead early this morning.”

“When’s he going to admit that he can’t run the department with a pint of scotch sloshing around in his gut?”

“The job’s all he’s got left, makes it hard to let go.”

“I’m just saying that he shouldn’t be head of CID. Not now. I’m surprised Haggerty has put up with it this long.”

“There’s a lot going down at the precinct. Internal Affairs is having a field day after that meth bust.

They’ve got so many guys on leave right now that a bottle of Dewar’s in John’s desk is the least of Haggerty’s problems.”

“I just don’t want you to get sucked into CID.”

He slipped his hands inside my robe and nuzzled my neck. “No chance of that. Nobody on the force feels like this.”

I pushed him away halfheartedly.

I’ll call you when I know what’s going on.”

The door closed behind him.

I sank onto a kitchen chair and flipped open the People magazine lying on the table. Griff and I had just finished an investigation for an heiress in the diamond industry whose sticky handed husband had resorted to blackmailing her brother as a way around their pre-nup. The ink on her twenty-thousand-dollar check made out to Cole & Co. was still wet. And being that I was the & Co. part of the check, I’d earned a leisurely morning.

The phone rang just as I was getting to the interview with Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell on the secrets of a long-term relationship. Caller ID told me it was Katie Nightingale, our go-to girl at the office. Katie kept track of everything from appointments to finances to take-out menus.

I lifted the phone and hit ‘answer’.

“Britt?” Katie spoke before I had a chance, never a good sign.

“What’s up?” I asked.

“Missing woman.”

“Since when?”

“Last night.”

“What makes her missing? It hasn’t even been twenty-four hours.”

“The woman who called said her sister was leaving an abusive husband and was supposed to let her know when she was safe by ringing the phone once at seven-thirty. The call never came. Now she can’t get hold of her. She said her sister carries your card in her wallet.”

“What’s her name?”

“The woman who called is Beth Jones. Her sister is Shirley Trudeau.”

I nodded into the phone. I can’t remember every woman I encounter, but Shirley’s name rang a bell. Since giving up my position as a Family Law attorney with Hughes and Sandown, I’d been offering free legal aid for women who needed advice but couldn’t afford it. Mostly I worked with wives trying to extricate themselves from abusive marriages. Given the reason I’d abandoned my law career, it was the least I could do. Shirley hadn’t been living at the women’s shelter, but she’d spent enough time there to have Sandra, the shelter’s director, hook her up with me.

“And Beth thinks Shirley’s husband found her?”

“That’s what it sounded like once she’d calmed down enough to form actual words.”

“I’m on my way.”

I set the phone down, making a mental note to call Sandra. She’d upgraded from a caseworker in Connecticut to Director in Portland, Maine a few months ago. I’d stopped by her office to introduce myself when she started and left my business cards. Our paths didn’t cross that often but we respected each other’s work and always took a few minutes to chat. I knew she’d been on the swim team in college and that she could bench-press her weight. We were close in age and like minded when it came to the politics of non-profits. No doubt Beth Jones had called her too.

After a shower and a quick clean up of last night’s wine glasses, Chinese takeout containers and clothes that we’d left strewn around the living room, I locked the apartment door and began my fifteen-minute trek to our office on Middle Street. I savored my walk through the Old Port, the name given to Portland, Maine’s waterfront. The summer heat that a month ago had my shirt stuck tight against my back was a thing of the past and the snow and ice that would make walking an athletic event had not yet arrived. The cool, crisp air was like a shot of espresso. As long as I didn’t let my mind wander to what nature had in store, I could enjoy the rush.

I hit “contacts” on my phone and scanned the names for Sandra’s.

“Sandra, it’s Britt,” I said when she answered. “I wish this was a social call, but it’s not. Shirley Trudeau is missing.

“I know. Her sister called this morning. I’m on my way in now. How did you find out?”

“Her sister hired us to find her. “Was someone helping her leave?”

“She had a caseworker, but I wasn’t in on the plan. I’ll know more once I get to my office and talk to the person she was working with.”

“Okay if I call you later?”

“I don’t know how much I’ll be able to tell you. You know the rules. If she was on her way…”

I stopped mid-stride and lowered the phone from my ear. Sandra’s voice slipped away. That dead body that Griff went to look at… my gut said, Shirley Trudeau.

***

Excerpt from The Church of the Holy Child by Patricia Hale. Copyright © 2017 by Patricia Hale. Reproduced with permission from Patricia Hale. All rights reserved.

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Aug 252017
 

Five Ways to Kill A Man

by Alex Gray

on Tour July 30th to August 30th, 2017

Synopsis:

Five Ways to Kill A Man by Alex Gray

An unpredictable killer is loose on the streets of Glasgow, experimenting with death. Beginning with brute force, the murderer moves on to poison and drowning, greedy for new and better ways to kill.

Faced with a string of unconnected victims, DCI Lorimer turns to psychologist and friend Solomon Brightman for his insights. Lorimer is also assigned to review the case of a fatal house fire. His suspicions are raised by shocking omissions in the original investigation. Some uncomfortable questions have been buried but Lorimer is the man to ask them.

As the serial killer gets closer to Lorimer’s family, can the DCI unmask the volatile murderer before the next victim is found too close to home?

MY REVIEW

5 stars

I am so addicted to this DCI Lorimer series and it seems each one gets better than the one before! The previous books I have read are THE RIVERMAN #4, PITCH BLACK #5, and THE GLASGOW KISS #6.

DCI Lorimer has been assigned to a horrific cold case of a wealthy couple that was found dead in their house after a deliberate act of arson. While on this assignment, it seems there are also multiple deaths of elderly women falling from their front stairs. Could this be a coincidence or is there a serial killer at lodge, and if so, why the elderly? And then it hits home, his mother in law has been targeted. Can these 2 cases be connected in some strange way?

Alex Gray, in an exceptional, descriptive story, weaves and interweaves characters and settings that have the reader trying to guess how it will all come together. The characters are life like and very relatable.

This novel was a bit different (vague to not include a spoiler) in that the ending was more than shocking! A roller coaster ride with tense apprehension that was palpable throughout. Did I mention an ending that had me shaking my head??!!! Thrilling!!!! Bravo Ms. Gray….another extraordinary read!!!!!!!

Book Details:

Genre: Procedural
Published by: Witness Impulse
Publication Date: July 11, 2017
Number of Pages: 368
ISBN: 0062659189 (ISBN13: 9780062659187)
Series: DCI Lorimer #7, All are Stand Alone
Purchase Links: Amazon 🔗 | Barnes & Noble 🔗 | Goodreads 🔗

Read an excerpt:

When Mary heard the back door being knocked, a smile lit up her wizened features: it was him! Danny hadn’t let her down after all, she thought. Shuffling through the hall, the old lady placed one hand on the papered walls for support, breathing hard at the effort. She switched on the kitchen light, an expression of delighted anticipation on her face at the shadow beyond the half-glazed door. The tea tray was still prepared for them; Danny’s favourite biscuits on a plate beneath the embroidered cloth, two china cups and saucers all ready beside them. Mary smoothed down her skirt and patted her tightly permed white curls, just as if she were about to welcome a young suitor to her parlour.

Eager fingers turned the key and then the cold air rushed in, sweeping Mary’s skirt above her knees, making her tremble at the empty darkness. Where was he? The trees outside swayed in the gathering storm. Had she really seen his shadow there on her doorstep? Or was it a trick of the light?

‘Danny? Danny! Are you out there? Come in, lad, it’s too cold for me to leave the door open.’ Mary’s smile faded as she heard the branches of the old apple tree creak in the wind. Had she imagined the door being knocked? Had her heightened anticipation tricked her into imagining that familiar sound? Was it the wind?

Disappointed, Mary was about to shut the door once again when she heard it: a pitiful cry just out there in the garden, some small animal in distress. Was it a cat? She’d had cats for years, but after Tiggle had been put down Malcolm had persuaded her not to have another one. It’s too much for you, Mother, he’d scolded. But Mary still missed the companionable creature and on a night like this a furry body curled on her lap would have been very welcome. So, was it a stray cat, perhaps?

Peering into the darkness, Mary heard it again, a bit closer this time.

‘Puss?’ she queried. ‘Here, pussy,’ she said, her words drawn away by a gust of wind. Venturing forwards, Mary took one step down, her fingers gripping the rail that the nice man from social services had put in for her, and called again. ‘Puss, puss . . .’

The figure seemed to come from nowhere, the hood concealing his face.

‘Danny?’ Mary stood still, wondering, doubting as he mounted the steps towards her.

But in that moment of hesitation she felt her fingers being pried from the railing, then the figure was suddenly behind her.

One blow to her spine and she was falling down and down, a thin wail of pain coming from her mouth as the sharp edges of the stone steps grazed her face, cut into her flailing arms.

Mary closed her eyes before the final thud, her skull smashing against the concrete slab below.

‘Miaow!’ the hooded figure cried, then laughed softly at the inert body splayed at the foot of the steps. Bending down, it lifted one of the woman’s thin wrists, feeling for a pulse. A moment passed then the hood nodded its satisfaction, letting the dead woman’s arm fall back on to the cold, hard ground.

Excerpt from Five Ways to Kill A Man by Alex Gray. Copyright © 2017 by Alex Gray. Reproduced with permission from Witness Impulse. All rights reserved.

Author Bio:

Alex Gray

Alex Gray was born and educated in Glasgow. After studying English and Philosophy at the University of Strathclyde, she worked as a visiting officer for the Department of Health, a time she looks upon as postgraduate education since it proved a rich source of character studies. She then trained as a secondary school teacher of English.

Alex began writing professionally in 1993 and had immediate success with short stories, articles, and commissions for BBC radio programs. She has been awarded the Scottish Association of Writers’ Constable and Pitlochry trophies for her crime writing.

A regular on the Scottish bestseller lists, she is the author of thirteen DCI Lorimer novels. She is the co-founder of the international Scottish crime writing festival, Bloody Scotland, which had its inaugural year in 2012.

Connect with Alex Gray on her Website 🔗 & Twitter 🔗.

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Giveaway!

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Alex Gray & Witness Impulse. There will be 3 winners of one (1) eBook copy of Alex Gray’s Glasgow Kiss. The giveaway begins on July 30 and runs through August 30, 2017.

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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.
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I received a copy of this book, at no charge to me, in exchange for my honest review.
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