Nov 072014
 

Death in the Dolomites: A Rick Montoya Italian Mystery

by David Wagner

on Tour November 1-30, 2014

Book Details:

Genre: Mystery

Published by: Poisoned Pen Press

Publication Date: September 9 2014

Number of Pages: 236

ISBN: 9781464202704

Series: 2nd Rick Montoya Italian Mysteries; Stand Alone Novel

Purchase Links:

Synopsis:

Rick Montoya is looking forward to a break from his translation business in Rome—a week of skiing in the Italian Alps with old college buddy Flavio. But Rick’s success helping the Italian police with a murder in Tuscany sends the Campiglio cops his way. An American banker working in Milano is missing. The man’s sister, an attractive and spoiled divorcée, has no idea where he could be, nor do the locals who saw him on his way to the slopes. With the discovery of a body, Rick and Inspector Albani widen their list of suspects. Picturesque resort Campiglio harbors old rivalries, citizens on the make, and a cutthroat political campaign. Why would these local issues, any of them, connect to the missing banker? The investigation doesn’t keep Rick and Flavio from enjoying perfect ski conditions in the Dolomites and glorious after-ski wines and bowls of fresh pasta. As for women—Rick has to wonder if the banker’s sister is just hitting him up for information. The action heats up, testing laid-back Rick whose uncle, a Roman cop, keeps urging him to make the police his career. As in Cold Tuscan Stone, Death in the Dolomites immerses us in the sights, smells and tastes of Italy, this time in a picture-perfect Alpine town with a surprising negative side.

Read an excerpt:

Chapter One

It had snowed most of the day, but a new and stronger system had begun blowing over the mountain from the north, diving into the valley. Snow was always welcome in a ski town, especially the clumped flakes that now cast ever-larger shadows on the ground under the streetlamps. The cement of the sidewalk and the parking lot, barely visible an hour before, was now covered. Bad news for Campiglio’s street crews but not for the skiers who had left Milan the previous afternoon to climb into the Dolomites, skis snapped to racks on the roofs of their cars.

They had been rewarded with an excellent day of skiing, and with this snow, tomorrow would be even better. If it kept up through the night, the base could last for weeks. The local merchants were likely standing outside their shops right now, letting the flakes fall on their grinning faces.

At this moment the man’s interest was not in tourists, but in the stained canvas duffel at his feet. He pulled his wool cap down over his ears and adjusted a small backpack before looking once more around the large lot. It was deserted save for a few cars of the remaining employees at the far side. His eyes moved to the bulky building and the thick cables that ran out of one side toward the mountain. On its top, the last weak rays of late afternoon sun, long gone from the valley below, outlined the station at the high end of the cable line.

It was time.

With a grunt he wrapped the strap of the duffel around his gloved hand and began to drag it toward the building. His burden slid easily through the accumulating snow and occasional patches of ice, like an injured skier on a ski-patrol sled. The last few meters would be inside on the loading platform, but the snow sticking to the bag would help it slide. This would be even easier than he’d planned. Halfway he stopped to catch his breath, pulling up his jacket sleeve to check his watch. Perfect,he thought. There would be one more run of the gondola before its cables stopped for the night, and he would be on it.

On the mountain the cleaning crew was finishing its duties. Given the number of skiers who had passed through the snack bar on their way to the piste during the day, the workload was heavy. The floor was now clean of slush and mud, and four black garbage bags, almost as tall as the women who handled them,had been loaded into the waiting gondola. It would be the same story the next night, especially with the snow now falling. One of the workers—a woman who had been doing the late afternoon shift for more years than she would admit—put down her mop, walked to the window, and peered out at the falling snow. She shook her head and returned to her job. A few moments later the crew stood in a silent clump near the door while the supervisor made a final check of the room. The woman closest to the door slid it open, letting in a light gust of wind and snow. The others, now in parkas and wool coats, instinctively pulled them around their necks in anticipation of the cold. The supervisor
finally nodded and the group began to file onto the platform to the waiting gondola, snow already covering its roof and the windows on one side. When they were all inside, the supervisor closed the latch on the door and took a silent head count before picking up the black phone hanging near the door.

“Guido, siamo pronti,” she said.

Below, the man in the control room hung up his phone while keeping his eyes on the last sentences of a story in Gazzetta dello Sport. Guido knew it was not going to be a good year for his team, and again wondered why last season’s star player had been sold. To make it worse, the bastard would now play for their biggest rival. He folded the paper in disgust and pulled the long wooden lever, never glancing at the platform below. The huge dynamo came slowly to life and the cable above the long window shuddered and began to move.

The man was crouched on the floor of the gondola, well below its ski-scratched windows, when it swung slowly and lurched upward. Neither he nor the sack were visible from above, even if Guido had taken his eyes off the newspaper and looked down from his seat in the control room. As the huge metal box was dragged from the dim light of the lower station into the darkness, the man inside it heard the snow slapping softly against the glass windows above his head. He slowly got to his feet and looked down at the base station, now fading quickly as the cable picked up speed. In a few minutes its lights would be hard to distinguish from those of the other buildings at the northern edge of Campiglio.

The route was a steep shot straight to the top of the mountain, suspended over a forest of tall pines. The only breaks in the thick covering of trees were the clearings around the pylons or a few spots where the stone core of the mountain had pushed itself through the dirt. The ski trails, in contrast, returned to Campiglio over a tamer terrain. They took their time to work through the softer hills of the mountain’s other side, carrying skiers to a choice of bases along the east side of town.

He walked to the other end of the gondola cabin and looked upward. In the swirling wind and snow he could not make out his gondola’s twin, but he knew it was rushing toward him and would be passing soon. He dragged the duffel toward the door and checked to see that the latch had not slipped closed. It had not. According to his calculations the best time would be after passing the second pylon, and just at that moment the cable carrying his gondola slipped over the first one. He flexed his knees as the floor bounced slowly while continuing its climb.Suddenly the other gondola appeared out of the storm and the man dropped to his knees to get out of sight. Through the howling wind he heard a laugh from one of the workers as the two gondolas passed each other. Seconds later the only sound was once more the hum of the cable and the increasing patter of the snow. He reached over and slowly slid the door open with his right hand. As the snow swirled inside he sat back on the floor, the sack between him and the opening.

When the next pylon passed he waited until the swinging stopped and firmly pushed the sack out the door with both feet.

As he got up to slide the door closed he heard the crack of a tree branch and then the soft thump as the sack hit the snow below. The sound meant that it had sunk in, and with the new snow it would be well covered. Once the door was closed he slipped the latch into place. Safety first.

A few minutes later the other gondola bumped slowly into its berth at the edge of the town, where it would stay until it took the morning crew up on the first run of the day. The workers pushed out, waving at Guido in the control room while they pulled the plastic garbage bags behind them. Guido nodded to the group leader but kept his eyes on the young body of one of the newer members of the crew. When they had all shuffled through the door below him, he switched off the motors and gathered his belongings—the newspaper and a thermos. He was always sure to straighten up so the morning shift would have no complaints. He turned out the lights and locked the door behind him. As he walked down the stairs to the streets he wondered what his wife would be serving for dinner. She had not made lasagna in a while, perhaps this was the night. After pulling on a wide-brimmed hat, Guido buttoned his leather coat and walked into the storm.

High above, the man stepped out of the gondola and slid the door shut. On the platform the footprints of the cleaning crew were already covered, as his own would be in a matter of minutes. He turned and looked down at the valley, its lights blending together through the prisms of the falling flakes.

After a moment of reflection he adjusted his backpack and walked on the deck that ran along the outside of the building. Its tables and chairs had been stacked and pushed against the windows under the overhanging eaves, but the protection was not enough. The morning work crew would need their shovels. Two steps led from the deck down to where the wide trail began, a relatively benign incline for the skiers to start their runs, but still often littered with fallen beginners. He could barely make out the trail, but it didn’t really matter, he could get down the mountain blindfolded.

He cleared away a patch of snow at the edge of the deck with his foot and put down his backpack before stepping off and walking around to the far side of building to a small storage shed. After bending over, he used his gloved hands to scrape away the snow under the shed’s door, revealing a small opening from which he pulled a pair of dark skis and poles. Even though the falling snow would do the job for him, he carefully brushed the snow back with his foot before hoisting the equipment over his shoulder and returning to where he had left the backpack. From it he took out a pair of ski boots whose dark plastic matched the skis. After the usual grunts he had the ski boots on his feet and the snow boots secured in the pack. He also had a pair of ski goggles over his cap. It took him only a few seconds to snap into the skis and strap the poles around his wrists. It was snowing even more heavily now. The clear yellow plastic brightened the view slightly as he pulled the goggles down over his eyes and squeezed the rubber grips of the poles. He straightened up, pulling back the sleeve of his parka to check his watch again in the little light that was left in the day. Yes, the ski patrol would already be at the bottom after their final run to catch any stragglers. He pushed off slowly and began to work his way left and right through the fresh powder, his boots always touching as he flexed his knees for each turn. The flakes swirled around his bare cheeks, but he did not feel the cold. He knew that by the time he reached the valley, his racks, as well as everything else on the mountain, would be shrouded in snow.

 

Author Bio:

David P. Wagner is the author of Cold Tuscan Stone, the first Rick Montoya Italian Mystery. While serving in the diplomatic service he spent nine years in Italy where he learned to love things Italian, many of which appear in his writing. He and his wife live in New Mexico.

Writing and Reading:
-Do you draw from personal experiences and/or current events?
I draw from personal experience in that I set the story in a place I’ve been in Italy and write mysteries around it. Current events? Strangely, after my first book was sent to press, I read a story in the NY Times about Italian authorities arresting traffickers of Etruscan burial urns, which was exactly the plot of the book. So you could say that current events draw on my fiction.

-Do you start with the conclusion and plot in reverse or start from the beginning and see where the story line brings you?
I have to know the outcome before I start writing, so I outline the whole thing and work from there. That way I know what clues or red herrings to salt in along the way. Mystery writers who just start writing without knowing where it’s going must be geniuses, I can’t do it that way.

-Your routine when writing? Any idiosyncrasies?
To say that I’m not a morning person would be a gross understatement. I write late afternoon and evening, taking a break to watch Jeopardy!. After an hour or so of writing I have to take a break. So I have a snack or do the NY Times crossword that comes on line here at 8:00 PM.

-Is writing your full time job? If not, may I ask what you do by day?
My full time job is retirement. So I play golf or enjoy myself (since those two are not always the same) when not writing.

-Who are some of your favorite authors?
I never miss the latest Andrea Camilleri book, I hope he stays healthy and doesn’t leave us like Michael Dibdin, the best writer of mysteries set in Italy. When in doubt I always go back to a P.D. James or Ruth Rendell. I also like caper books, like the Elvis Cole and Junior Bender series. Funny is good.

-What are you reading now?
The Cinderella Killer by Simon Brett. His books are funny murder mysteries with great dialogue. He always throws in some new British word or expression that I have to look up, and that’s good.

-Are you working on your next novel? Can you tell us a little about it?
The third book in the series is taking Rick Montoya to the town of Bassano del Grappa, in the hills above Venice, a lovely little town. Lots of twists and turns, danger, and surprises. I’ve also brought back a character from the first book who did not appear in the second.

Fun questions:
-Your novel will be a movie. Who would you cast?
Rick Montoya, my multilingual protagonist with dual citizenship, would not be easy to cast. But there’s an Italian actor named Raoul Bova, who was the love interest in Under the Tuscan Sun, who could work. But a younger Raoul.

-Manuscript/Notes: hand written or keyboard?
Outline, list of characters, and manuscript on the laptop, but I am constantly scribbling notes throughout the day when I think of something, and keep a pen and pad at bedside since I often get ideas when reading. And some of my best flashes on how to deal with the scene I’m working on come in the middle of a golf round. So I write it down on the score card.
-Favorite leisure activity/hobby?
Like so many other unfortunates, I’ve got a love/hate relationship with golf. When it’s going well, it’s fantastic, but when it isn’t it stinks. Kind of like life.

-Favorite meal?
My wife is a wonderful cook, having taken various courses when we lived in Italy to add to an already innate skill in the kitchen, so it’s hard to pick one dish. But her flour gnocchi with creamy gorgonzola sauce is right up there.

Catch Up:

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Nov 032014
 

BLOND CARGO by John Lansing
Published by Karen Hunter/Simon&Schuster
Publication Date: October 20, 2014
ISBN:13-9781476795515
Pages: 355
Review request via PICT/Pub
Edition: Kindle
My Rating: 5

Synopsis (borrowed from GR):
Jack Bertolino is back… in the sequel to John Lansing’s, Barnes & Noble bestseller, “The Devil’s Necktie.”
Jack’s son, Chris, was the victim of a brutal murder attempt and Vincent Cardona, a mafia boss, provided information that helped Jack take down the perpetrator of the crime. Jack accepted the favor knowing there’d be blowback. In “Blond Cargo,” the mobster’s daughter has gone missing and Cardona turned in his chit. Jack discovers that the young, blond, mafia princess has been kidnapped and imprisoned while rich, politically connected men negotiate her value as a sex slave. John Lansing taps into the real life world of cops, crime, drugs and murder to deliver another sizzling whodunit.

My Thoughts and Opinion:
When I first read the synopsis of this book, like you might just have done, the word sequel stood out to me. But since the story sounded like something I would enjoy, I hoped that it was a book that the author would enlighten the reader of info from the first book when needed and he did. I never felt that I was “lost”

Words that came to mind while reading BLOND CARGO: excitement, non-stop action, adrenaline pumping, page turning adventure, heart pounding pace, and sometimes even a bit of humor.

Jack Bertolino, former LAPD and now PI is “paying back a favor” for mobster Vincent Cardona, to find his missing daughter. But it’s not your average “missing person” case. Drugs, Sex trade, Mafia, Family, Children, Relationships, Exes, Contract hits, Action packed.

This was the first time I read anything by this author and I was hooked by the first chapter. By the third chapter, because of his amazing ability with the written word, my visual creation and the adrenaline that was pumping faster than my eyes could absorb, until the final page, Mr. Lansing was added to my “authors to read” list. I will definitely be picking up the first in this series, THE DEVIL’S NECKTIE and hopefully there is a 3rd.

Do I recommend this author and/or this book? If you like action? Then the answer is absolutely!!

100x30 photo 715a7b0a-fc85-4ee8-a819-679fec1f28ed.jpg

 

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.
DISCLAIMER
I received a copy of this book, at no charge to me, in exchange for my honest review.
No items that I receive are ever sold…they are kept by me, or given to family and/or friends.
ADDENDUM

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.
Oct 292014
 


WELCOME Charles Salzberg

Charles Salzberg

Charles Salzberg is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in Esquire, New York magazine, Elle, Good Housekeeping, The New York Times Book Review, The New York Times, GQ and other periodicals. He is the author of over 20 non-fiction books and several novels, including Swann’s Last Song, which was nominated for a Shamus Award for Best First PI Novel, and the sequel, Swann Dives In. He also has taught been a Visiting Professor of Magazine at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, and taught writing at Sarah Lawrence College, the Writer’s Voice, and the New York Writers Workshop, where he is a Founding Member.

Connect with Author:

http://www.charlessalzberg.com/ https://twitter.com/CharlesSalzberg

How Did You Get Started

Guest Post from Charles Salzberg

The other day I was at lunch with fellow writer and good friend—that’s how we freelance writers fill our days: lunches with each other. We got to talking about writing and, while we awaited our iced teas—not all writers drink their lunch, you see—she asked me, “how is it you got into crime writing?”
A good question because the answer is that it was purely accidental.
I love crime as much as the next guy. There’s not a crime show on TV or a crime movie I don’t see, whether it be The Wire, Boardwalk Empire, Goodfellas or my latest, A Walk Among the Tombstones. My favorite show as a kid was Naked City, which was based on the movie of the same name. I’ve now rediscovered them as reruns and believe me, they still hold up. Each story focuses on the human aspects of crime, while the crime itself is often incidental to the story. As the end narration, which still sends chills up my spine, announces, “There are 8 million stories in the Naked City. This has been one of them.”
Which brings me back to why I write crime novels and to the kind of crime novels I write.
With several unpublished novels languishing in my file cabinet, I decided perhaps I was doing something wrong. Here I was a well-read English major whose heroes were Nabokov, Bellow, Roth, Mailer and Malamud, and although I was receiving plenty of praise for my writing, I couldn’t sell a damn thing. Maybe, I thought, it was because I was too focused on character not plot. Maybe if I wrote something very tightly plotted I’d have better luck.
Nothing is more tightly and intricately plotted than a detective novel, so that’s what I decided to write.
As a teenager I loved mystery and detective novels and used to haunt a downtown second-hand bookstore picking them up for a buck or two. But I hadn’t read any since then and I decided if I were serious about writing one, I ought to re-introduce myself to the genre. So, I devoured as many crime novels as I could. Dashiell Hammett, Raymond Chandler, Ross MacDonald, Nero Wolfe, Agatha Christie, even the so-called pulp writers like James M. Cain and Jim Thompson.
What I found was that most of them were pretty much cut from the same cloth. There was the crime then the detective was called in to solve the crime, usually a murder. He or she followed the clues and inevitably those clues led to the perpetrator. It seemed pretty simple, a formula I could follow fairly easily. I started to write one, but after a few chapters it just didn’t sit right with me. Frankly, I was getting a little bored writing to a pre-designed script and entering myself into a neat almost religious world, where following the clues inevitably led to the solution of the crime. It’s pretty simple: There is chaos and then there is order. The world is put back into its proper place by the detective. But what, I thought, if the world wasn’t so neat? What if all the clues didn’t actually lead to the perpetrator? What if the crime was totally random?
It wasn’t long before the non-conformist in me won out and I wound up writing what a friend called an “existential mystery” where the detective follows all the clues then finds that none of them had anything to do with the actual crime, that in fact the crime was totally random.
The result was Swann’s Last Song, with Henry Swann being a down and out skiptracer and it was meant to be a stand alone because at the end Swann, who is a rational man who believes in a rational world, is so disillusioned he leaves the profession.
I was happy with what I’d written but it seemed no one else was because no one would publish it with that ending. And so it languished in my desk for two decades until I finally unearthed it, sent it to an editor who said he’d publish it if I changed the ending. I was twenty years smarter, so I did, but I still kept the title, still having no intention of writing another one.
Much to my surprise the novel was nominated for a Shamus Award. I lost, but that spiked my competitive side and I vowed to keep writing them until I either won something or ran out of catchy titles.
Now the third in the series, Swann’s Lake of Despair, is just about to be released and I’m almost finished with a fourth. But in each of them I try to bend the genre a little bit. In Swann Dives In, you’re not sure what the crime is until the halfway point of the novel and by the end of it you’re not even sure a crime has been committed. And in Swann’s Lake of Despair, Swann tackles three separate cases, none of which concerns a murder. Why? Because I’m much more interested in how and why people act the way they do. I’m more attracted to the petty crimes we commit each day, betrayal, theft, fraud, lies we tell others and ourselves to get us through the day.
Those are the real crimes, the crimes all of us can relate to.

ABOUT Swann’s Lake of Despair

When rare photos, a scandalous diary, and a beautiful woman all go missing at once, the stage is set for three challenging cases for Henry Swann. It begins with an offer to partner up with his slovenly, unreliable frenemy, Goldblatt. The disbarred lawyer-turned-“facilitator” would provide the leads and muscle, while Swann would do all the fancy footwork. A lost diary by a free-loving Jazz Age flapper is worth enough to someone that Swann takes a beat down on an abandoned boardwalk. Pilfered photos of Marilyn Monroe propel him deep into the past of an alcoholic shutterbug, his wife; and he’s hired to search for a lonely writer’s runaway girlfriend. The cases converge and collide in a finale that lifts the curtain on crucial, deadly facts of life for everyone including Swann himself.

BOOK DETAILS:

Number of Pages: 284
Genre: Detective
Publisher: Five Star
Publication Date: October 22, 2014
ISBN-10: 143282936X
ISBN-13: 9781432829360

Purchase Links:

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DISCLAIMER
I received a copy of this book, at no charge to me, in exchange for my honest review. No items that I receive are ever sold…they are kept by me, or given to family and/or friends.
ADDENDUM
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.

 

Oct 292014
 

God Doesn't Love Us All the Same invitation

 

Nina Guilbeau

NINA GUILBEAU
Nina Guilbeau is the Siblings Editor for BellaOnline The Voice of Women and writes weekly family articles for online magazines. Her e-book, Birth Order and Parenting, is a popular pick with students studying the Alfred Adler birth order theory.
She is a member of the Florida Writer’s Association and the author of women’s fiction novels Too Many Sisters and Too Many Secrets. A winner of the Royal Palm Literary Award for her God Doesn’t Love Us All the Same manuscript, Nina’s work has been published in the short story anthologies From Our Family to Yours and Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Magic of Mothers and Daughters. An excerpt from upcoming novel Being Non-Famous was published in the Orlando Sentinel as a Father’s Day tribute.

GUEST POST

Book Clubs: Cyberspace vs Face to Face

 I love book clubs. Being around books inspires me to read, reading inspires me to write and book clubs encourage an exchange of ideas that I couldn’t possible get on my own. So, as both a reader and author, I am a huge supporter of book clubs in general. Also, as a reader and an author, I have joined a few book clubs, both online and in person. Which is better? It depends on what you want to get out of them, but if you’re ready to join a new book club here as a few things to consider:

 Location

Cyberspace – It’s hard to imagine a cyber social gathering being better than a face to face one, but online has its advantages and the meeting location is one of them. For instance, you can be in the comfort of your own home, on vacation, on the beach or wherever you happen to be and still keep your commitment to the book club. As long as there is a phone and internet connection, you choose your own location.

Face to Face – Having the ability to meet, greet and mingle is very freeing. Part of the fun of book club meetings is the extra socializing, such as going out to dinner, movies, and shopping, that can be done during and/or after the meeting. Experiencing commonalities of setting, food, drink and atmosphere is an irreplaceable benefit of “being there.”

 Diversity

Cyberspace – The number of members allowed to join is practically endless and having a large online presence is very beneficial. Every member will not necessarily be interested in every book or take part in every discussion. However, because of the sheer number of members, each book club meeting should have a pretty good turnout with the potential for a great discussion. Another benefit for a cyberspace book club is the diversity of its members, which can span across the globe. This increases the range for new perspectives and insightful ideas, both of which make for great book club discussions.

Face to Face – Diversity is a great attribute in book clubs, but so is having the ability to connect personally. Many book club members are or become close friends and these friendships often extend to include other family members. In addition, it’s easier to have individual voices heard as far as book club picks and opinions, something that is much more difficult with online clubs.

 Privacy

Cyberspace – The rule of thumb is this, if it’s online then it’s not private. That may not be an issue for anyone who routinely and openly shares on online social networks. After all, it’s just a discussion about books, so privacy may not be a concern.

Face to Face – In person book clubs are largely private or, at least, not meant for an unknown audience. Chances are you won’t see your face, comments or have recordings of yourself appear online without your permission. For some, not knowing who you’re sharing your opinions with can be a book club deal breaker.

Connect with Nina at these sites:

WEBSITE        TWITTER

 

God Doesn't Love Us All the Same
ABOUT THE BOOK
God Doesn’t Love Us All the Same by Nina Guilbeau is a touching novel about the connection that develops between a young woman unsure about the path of her life and a homeless woman who shares her life story . . . Alternately captured and repulsed by Vera’s story, Janine is continually pulled back, only to realize that she genuinely cares. . . . While the story is sad, even horrifying, it is ultimately uplifting and provides a ray of hope for those who can ‘stop the movie’ and make positive steps towards self-forgiveness.

Janine Harris never really thought about homeless people. She barely even notices them as she passes them by on her way to work in downtown Washington D.C. All Janine can focus on is the shambles of her own young life, afraid that she will never be able to get past the painful mistakes she has made. However, all of that changes on a snowy evening in December when Janine unexpectedly finds herself alone with Vera, an old, homeless woman who seems to need her help.

Now Janine wants to know what could have possibly happened to Vera to leave her so broken and alone.

As Vera shares her life story with Janine, the two women form an unusual bond and begin a journey that changes both of their lives forever. Reluctantly, they each confront their own past and in the process, discover the true meaning of sacrifice, family and love. Although in the end, they learn that they must face the most difficult challenge of all–forgiving themselves.

BOOK DETAILS:

Paperback: 252 pages
Publisher: Juania Books LLC
Publication Date: May 5, 2014
ISBN-10: 0981804780
ISBN-13: 978-0981804781

PURCHASE LINKS:

       

DISCLAIMER
I received a copy of this book, at no charge to me, in exchange for my honest review. No items that I receive are ever sold…they are kept by me, or given to family and/or friends.
ADDENDUM
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.

Oct 282014
 

Phantom Limb

by Dennis Palumbo

on Tour at Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours October 2014

Book Details:

Genre: Mystery
Published by: Poisoned Pen Press
Publication Date: 09/09/2014
Number of Pages: 336
ISBN: 9781464202568
Purchase Links:

Synopsis:

Psychologist and Pittsburgh Police Department consultant Daniel Rinaldi has a new patient. Lisa Harland, a local girl, once made a splash in Playboy and the dubious side of Hollywood before bottoming out. Back home, down and out again, she married one of the city’s richest and most ruthless tycoons. Lisa’s challenge to Danny is that she intends to commit suicide by 7:00 PM. His therapist skills may buy some time—but, exiting, she’s kidnapped right outside his office.

Summoned to the Harland estate, Danny is forced, through a bizarre sequence of events, to be the bag man on the ransom delivery. This draws him into a deadly cat-and-mouse game with a brilliant, lethal adversary. Complicating things is the unhappy Harland family, whose members have dark secrets of their own along with suspect loyalties, as well as one of Danny’s other patients, a volatile vet whose life may, like Lisa’s, be at risk. What is really at stake here?

Phantom Limb, fourth in the acclaimed series of Daniel Rinaldi thrillers, will keep readers guessing until the very last page.

Read an excerpt:

The last time I saw Lisa Campbell, she was naked.

That was almost thirty years ago, when I was in junior high and she was the latest Hot Young Thing, smiling invitingly out at me—and thousands of other lonely guys—from the pages of Playboy Magazine. Barely nineteen,sprawled seductively across rumpled satin sheets. Every horny adolescent’s fantasy. Perfect breasts, perfect ass, perfect teeth.

Now, as she stood in my office waiting room, cashmere sweater folded neatly over her arm, I had to admit that the years since had taken their toll. Her face—though still comely, fineboned—was lined, leather-tanned. Framed by thick chestnut brown hair, lightly streaked with silver. Strained, weary eyes burned behind fashionable wire-rimmed glasses.

She’d been standing at the waiting room’s single window when I came out to greet her. Her still-shapely body turned away from me, she stared out at the cool light of early spring. Five floors up from Forbes Avenue, the view included the University of Pittsburgh’s urban campus—its gabled buildings, chain stores and local hangouts—as well as the new green shoots on the venerable maples and oaks lining the sidewalks. Plus the familiar cacophony of car horns, downshifting semis, and shouting students crossing against the streetlight, hurrying to make their last classes of the afternoon.

At first, Lisa didn’t seem to register me. Then, as if reluctant to pull herself from the sights and sounds beyond the window, she turned to face me.

I felt her shrewd, guarded gaze as we shook hands. Her undisguised appraisal of my looks, my clothes, my apparent social status. I returned the favor, taking in her designer-label blouse, slacks, and heels, her five-hundred-dollar haircut, the expensive diamond bracelet and matching wedding ring.

“Pleased to meet you, Mrs. Harland,” I said. “I’m Daniel Rinaldi.”

“Obviously.” Her lips tightened. “And don’t use my goddamn married name. Nobody else does. I’ll always be Lisa Campbell.”

I nodded stiffly, then led her into my office.

I knew her story, of course. At least the public version. Most people here in Pittsburgh and environs did, too. Especially in her hometown of Waterson, about a hundred miles east of the city. Her career journey, from small-town beauty contestant to Playboy Playmate to sexy film actress, had been a long, well publicized one. Accompanied by the shrill carping of Waterson’s outraged local press, excommunication from her church, and the painful yet predictable estrangement from her pious, deeply conservative family.

It didn’t help that, once she’d moved to Hollywood, her acting career consisted mostly of roles in low-budget horror films, in which she was frequently naked, and invariably tortured and killed. She also developed a reputation as a reliably freaky party animal, clubbing every night with the rich and trendy, showing up late and disoriented for work, sleeping with the usual mix of celebrities and Eurotrash.

Until her very public second divorce, a protracted and ugly drug scandal, and a series of embarrassing box office flops pushed her out of the glare of the tabloid spotlight and—seemingly overnight—into the purgatory of semi-obscurity.

At least, that was how her story was told in a two-part feature the Post-Gazette ran on Lisa when, almost a decade ago, she abruptly returned to her hometown. “With her tail between her legs,” as one self-satisfied neighbor had put it…

Author Bio:

Dennis Palumbo, M.A., MFT is a writer and licensed psychotherapist in private practice, specializing in creative issues.

The first Rinaldi mystery, Mirror Image, was published in 2010. Palumbo is also the author of Writing From the Inside Out (John Wiley), as well as a collection of mystery short stories,From Crime to Crime (Tallfellow Press).

Formerly a Hollywood screenwriter, Palumbo’s credits include the feature film My Favorite Year, for which he was nominated for a WGA Award for Best Screenplay. He was also a staff writer for the ABC-TV series Welcome Back, Kotter, and has written numerous series episodes and pilots.

His first novel, City Wars (Bantam Books) is currently in development as a feature film, and his short fiction has appeared in Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, The Strand and elsewhere. He provides articles and reviews for The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Lancet, and many others.

His column, “The Writer’s Life,” appeared monthly for six years in Written By, the magazine of the Writers Guild of America. He’s also done commentary for NPR’s “All Things Considered” and blogs regularly for The Huffington Post.

Dennis conducts workshops throughout the country. Recent appearances include the Family Therapy Network Annual Symposium, the Association for Humanistic Psychology, Cal State Northridge, the American Society of Journalists and Authors, PEN West, the Writers Guild Foundation, the Los Angeles Psychoanalytic Society and Institute, the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists, Screenwriting Expo, USC, the Romance Writers of America, the Nieman Foundation, the Directors Guild, and UCLA.

His work helping writers has been profiled in The New York Times, Premiere Magazine, Fade In, Angeleno, GQ, The Los Angeles Times and other publications, as well as on NPR and CNN.

A graduate of the University of Pittsburgh and Pepperdine University, he serves on the faculty of UCLA Extension, where he was named Outstanding Teacher of the Year.

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