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In The Dark by Loreth Anne White

In The Dark

Title: In The Dark
Author: Loreth Anne White
Publication Date: December 1, 2019
Publisher: Montlake

InTheDark

 
The promise of a luxury vacation at a secluded wilderness spa has brought together eight lucky guests. But nothing is what they were led to believe. As a fierce storm barrels down and all contact with the outside is cut off, the guests fear that it’s not a getaway. It’s a trap.

Each one has a secret. Each one has something to hide. And now, as darkness closes in, they all have something to fear—including one another.

Alerted to the vanished party of strangers, homicide cop Mason Deniaud and search and rescue expert Callie Sutton must brave the brutal elements of the mountains to find them. But even Mason and Callie have no idea how precious time is. Because the clock is ticking, and one by one, the guests of Forest Shadow Lodge are being hunted. For them, surviving becomes part of a diabolical game.

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Excerpt:

“The gas stove and the gas water heaters work,” Nathan said. “And there’s plumbing.” He turned his back on them and busied himself taking mugs out of the cupboard in an exaggerated fashion. His heart hammered in his chest. Sweat prickled across his lip.

“And there’s tea, coffee, tins of tuna, and soup,” Steven said as he hurriedly opened more cupboards.

Bart frowned. “Well, at least we won’t go hungry.” He made for the living area, paused. “I found a path. It looks like it leads around to the other bay, but it was getting too dark to follow without a flashlight.”

“Do you think it might lead to the real lodge?” Steven asked.

Nathan blinked. It was like the doctor was reaching for straws by asking—as if hoping, still, that their pilot had just made some terrible screwup with the GPS coordinates.

Bart said, “We can check again in the morning to see if—”

“There is no real lodge.” Jackie appeared in the doorway that led from the great room into the kitchen.

They all turned to look at the solid woman with intense eyes.

“This is no mistake,” she said curtly. “This is a con, some sick game.”

“What do you mean?” Bart asked.

“Did you guys not see the plaque outside, next to the front door? This place is called Forest Shadow Lodge. As in Forest Shadow Wilderness Resort & Spa. Here, look at this.” She pulled a brochure from her pocket and smoothed it out on the kitchen island.

“I printed it off the website before I left home.” She jabbed a photo of the luxury lodge. “It’s fake. It’s photoshopped, because it’s using the same location. See this bay here? And the shape of this one here? This mountain? This is how the terrain looked from the air. It’s this spot, but someone has photoshopped the spa into the location. They’ve erased parts of the forest, added cabins and trails, plus interior shots from some other spa and lodges.” She met their gazes. “This whole thing was faked from the get-go. We were lured here. All of us. And now we’re trapped.”

A sinister cold seemed to enter the kitchen. A shutter banged upstairs, and wind whistled. Mist, cloying and wet, pressed up against the windows. It grew darker inside.

“Why?” Bart asked, still holding his wood.

“God knows.” Jackie dragged her hand over her hair. “But right now, we’re stuck. We’ve been baited and lured into some weird kind of wilderness prison.”

“We are not trapped.” Stella entered the kitchen. “We have a plane. And you guys have a pilot—me. We have fuel. We—”

“We have no bloody radio!” Jackie snapped, whirling round to face Stella, her eyes furious.

“What?” said Steven.

“That’s right,” Jackie said. “Go on, tell them, Stella.”

Stella’s gray eyes flashed, shooting daggers at Jackie.

“Go on. Tell them. The radio is broken. Sabotaged, wires cut.”

“But I heard you speaking to your dispatch on the radio,” Nathan said.

“But it wasn’t working, was it, Stella?” Jackie said. “Your dispatch couldn’t hear you, could they? No one even knows where we are, do they?”

Stella’s features went tight.

“So when were you going to tell us this, Stella?” Steven asked.

“I didn’t want to say right away. Fear, worry, is not a good thing when—”

“When what? Jesus. Who are you to decide what’s right and wrong for us to know?” Steven barked. “You’re just the pilot, not the boss of our lives, for Chrissakes.”

“There’s a chance I could fix it in the morning. If I can—if it’s an easy fix—you’d never have to have known about it.”

“So you thought you’d play God?” Steven snapped. “Because we would all panic.” He wagged jazz hands at the sides of his face.

“And you’re not panicking?” she said.

Silence swelled in the kitchen. It felt for a bizarre moment as though the house was listening. Alive. Hostile. Nathan felt hairs rise along his arms. He was sensitive to these things. He could feel trees in the forest watching and listening to him.

 

My Review:

With shades of the Agatha Christie mystery, And Then There Were None, this was an enjoyable read.

When a group of people, each with their own secret, are lured to a secluded ‘holiday resort’, you know the outcome isn’t going to be good.

This book jumps between the events at the resort, where the guests are targeted, and become distrustful of each other, not knowing who’s behind their predicament, or who will be next to die, and the law enforcement/search and rescue team who are trying to find the missing group.

In The Dark is a compelling, fast paced mystery that kept me guessing.

 

About the Author:

LorethAnneWhiteLoreth Anne White is a bestselling author of thrillers, mysteries, and romantic suspense. A three-time RITA finalist, she is also the recipient of the Overall 2017 Daphne du Maurier Award, the Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Award, the National Readers’ Choice Award, and the Romantic Crown for Best Romantic Suspense and Best Book Overall. In addition, she’s a Booksellers’ Best finalist and a multiple CataRomance Reviewers’ Choice Award winner. A former journalist who has worked in both South Africa and Canada, she now resides in the Pacific Northwest with her family. When Loreth isn’t writing, you will find her skiing, biking, or hiking the trails with her dog (a.k.a. the Black Beast) or open-water swimming. She calls this work, because that’s when the best ideas come.

 
Q&A with Loreth Anne White

1. You are very well known for your romantic suspense tales, but your new title, In The Dark, is all about mystery — a real whodunit! Tell us a bit about the story.

I like to think there is still a strong echo of my earlier romantic suspense books that ripples through In The Dark. Yes, it’s a locked-room mystery/thriller — wilderness style, but the mystery narrative is wrapped inside a romantic suspense-style narrative that follows a budding friendship between Detective Mason Deniaud and Search & Rescue manager Callie Sutton who must not only piece together what happened as they hunt for survivors, but also must race against time to save who might be left. The story leaves off with a promise of more ahead in the relationship between Callie and Mason, so my roots are still showing, I hope.

2. Your story definitely has shades of Agatha Christie as well as a nod or two to Stephen King. Did these authors act as inspirations for this book?

In The Dark is not only a homage to Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None, but Christie’s story becomes a plot device, a psychological tool that the villain uses to instill fear in the victims trapped in the lodge because the victims know what transpired in the book, and they anticipate the same will happen to them.

And yes, a teensy nod to master of atmosphere and horror, Stephen King’sThe Shining where characters are trapped in a remote and snowbound hotel and become mercy to the psychological horror that descends on them.

3. A rural, isolated lodge is always a great place to start a suspenseful novel. How exactly did your characters all come to be at Forest Shadow Lodge?

The characters are invited for an all-expenses stay at the brand new, high-end, fly-in wilderness lodge and spa. They are lured by an offer to enjoy a ‘soft opening’, so to speak, where they can assess the accommodation and potentially negotiate lucrative contracts with the new lodge owners. Each guest runs a business that would be suitable for such an establishment. Each is excited by a possible lucrative contract. But not all is quite what meets the eye, of course.

4. Your story is told from multiple points-of-view as you take deep dives into the characters’ lives and histories. Does everyone have something to hide?

Don’t we all have something to hide? My characters in this book certainly do. Some of their secrets are more powerful than others.

5. Mason and Callie are two of the law enforcement responders that are trying to piece together exactly what happened at The Lodge. Tell us more about these characters and what makes them so good at what they do.

Mason Deniaud was a top homicide detective before relocating to the remote north for personal reasons. He lost a young son and a wife and he’s searching for a way to live, or exist, if not heal. Callie Sutton is a young mother who is single, but also isn’t because her husband lies in hospital and is brain dead. Her husband is there, but he also isn’t there for Callie and her young son. Like Mason, she’s in limbo, a place where she can’t move forward, or back. It’s through this they find a bond. And the search for the missing lodge party pushes them together.

6. In The Dark is a pivotal novel in your career. What does it have in common with your previous writing and how is it different? How does this inform your next steps as a writer?

Pivotal sounds cool. I’ll take it! Thank you. But yes In The Dark is a bit of a departure from my previous romantic suspense books. If readers enjoy it, however, and if my publisher remains happy, I’d like to keep growing in this direction. But I do think my crime stories will always revolve around strong women, or women who might be victims to start with, but who find agency and take back their lives and become strong and survive through the arc of a story. (As with my forthcoming work In The Deep). I do love to include a relationship element in my crime novels, but bonding with a potential love interest comes out of the personal growth of the protagonist. I like to tell—and read—stories of women who find ways to rescue themselves.

 

Enter the giveaway to win a $25 Amazon Gift Card and a Digital Copy of Loreth Anne White’s In The Dark.

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InTheDarkGraphic

A Flash of Horror by Karina Kantas

A Flash of Horror

 

41lmpqn+5eLA Flash of Horror is a collection of short and flash fiction in the horror genre taken from Karina Kantas’s two collections, Heads & Tales & Undressed.

12 chilling and thought-provoking tales that will stay with you for nights to come.

Are you ready to delve into the dark side?

Amazon

 

Excerpt:

VIRUS

 

“Well, that’s it. Now we wait again,” Maria announced.

Phil watched her sit at a cluttered desk to scribble yet more failure notes. But his eyes did not linger. He scanned the laboratory. It might be the last time he’d see it. Beds lined the walls of the spacious room, all but hiding its sterile, white-tiled floor. “How long until we see results this time — if any?” he asked.

“Same as the others. Twelve hours.”

“That doesn’t give us much time to administer a vaccine.”

“No. And — yes, before you say it, you’re right — there’s no guarantee we’ll ever find an acceptable vaccine.”

On each bed lay a test subject. Even those that had succumbed remained, since the examination of their rotting bodies still offered the faint hope of a cure.

But Phil knew that the virus had won this war. There was no hope. Eight months of this, and nothing but 665. The committee was right.
Phil turned his face away from the rotting, deformed victims, and stared at his co-worker. It was time to tell her, although he knew how she’d react. Maria was obstinate — so certain she’d find a cure.

Phil walked to his colleague’s desk. Each step weighed heavily on him, like the weight they’d shouldered as a team these past few months. He rested his hand on her shoulder.

“Maria?” he whispered.

Her eyes shimmered. “Yes?”

Phil blinked and spoke. “The committee decided if this last trial is unsuccessful, they’ll go with 665. They’ve already begun to manufacture.”

“What? You’re joking?”

“They say there’s no more time to be choosey. It’s 665 or total annihilation.”

“Choosey! Don’t they realise what will happen? 665 has such awful side effects.”

“Sorry. Maybe choosey was the wrong word, and yes, they know the peril. I agree with them. What other choice do we have?”

“I’d rather die.”

Phil turned and looked at the bed beside him. Clear plastic sheeting did nothing to hide its demonic deformities. IT was the only way to describe this once-person. Its new facial appearance removed any identification of what sex, race or age test subject 665 once had.

More to come…

 

Author Bio:

Karina Kantas is the author of the popular MC thriller series, Outlaw, and the loved romantic fantasy duology, Illusional Reality.

She also writes short stories and when her imagination is working overtime, she writes thought-provoking dark flash fiction.

Karina Kantas

When Karina isn’t busy working on her next bestseller, she’s a publicist, author manager and VA. She’s also the host of the popular radio show, Author Assist on the Artist First Radio Network.

Karina writes in the genres of fantasy, MC romance, Young Adult. sci-fi, horror, thrillers and comedy, romance, PNR, dystopian and erotica.

Her inspirations are the author S.E.Hinton and the rock band, Iron Maiden.

You can find her on Facebook and Twitter, where she loves hanging out with her readers.

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Get samples from Book 1 and Book 2 of Illusional Reality duology when you sign up to Karina’s mailing list.

 

Why I wrote this book?

I never thought of myself a someone with a dark side. I always thought of my flash fictions as scifi, thriller maybe a little creepy. But then I was a guest on a podcast and the host made me realise that, a lot of what I do write does fall into the horror genre. And so I decided to take out some of the best horror flash from my two collections Heads & Tales and Undressed and make this small collection for those that don’t mind sleeping at night.
Enjoy.

 

Other Books by Karina Kantas:

Electric Eclectic book

  • Toxic (Dystopian Erotica)

 
The OUTLAW series

  • In Times of Violence
  • Huntress
  • Lawless Justice
  • Road Rage

 
Collections

  • Heads & Tales
  • UNDRESSED

  • In Times of Violence Young Adult Edition (MC romance)
  • Stone Cold (YA supernatural thriller)

 
Illusional Reality duology

  • Illusional Reality (YA romantic fantasy)
  • The Quest (Fantasy paranormal romance)

 
Coming soon

  • Broken Chains (MI5/mafia romance)
  • Predator (Erotic horror)

 

Please like the Electric Eclectic Facebook Page, and join our Electric Eclectic & Friends Group.

See all Electric Eclectic books on our website
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Electric Eclectic

A Paris Fairy Tale by Marie Laval

 

Is Paris the city of happily ever afters?

A Paris Fairy TaleWorkaholic art historian Aurora Black doesn’t have time for fairy tales or Prince Charmings, even in the most romantic city in the world. She has recently been hired by a Parisian auction house for a job that could make or break her career. Unfortunately, daredevil journalist Cédric Castel seems intent on disrupting Aurora’s routine.

As Aurora and Cédric embark on a journey across France, they get more than they bargained for as they find themselves battling rogue antiques dealers and personal demons, not to mention a growing attraction to each other.

But with the help of a fairy godmother or two, could they both find their happily ever afters?

 

 

My Review:

A Paris Fairy Tale is the second book by Marie Laval that I’ve read. I enjoyed Little Pink Taxi, but this book is my favourite of the two.

Aurora Black is a dedicated workaholic with low self-esteem, because of the scars and limp she was left with after the car accident that killed her parents. She doesn’t remember much about them or her early childhood, although her Grandmother paints a picture of neglect and poverty due to her mother’s flighty attitude.

When we meet Aurora, she is leaving for France, as she’s been hired by Florent Maupas to work on a rare manuscript, previously thought to have been destroyed. Once in Paris, she meets Cédric Castel, a journalist who is suspicious of her and believes she is involved in the criminal activities of Maupas and his associates.

What follows is an exciting and intriguing story, with twists and shocking discoveries in both their professional and personal lives as Cédric and Aurora attempt to uncover the truth about the manuscript, and break down the barriers they have erected between each other.

A Paris Fairy Tale is a well-written, emotive, action-packed romantic suspense novel and was a delight to read.

(I received a complimentary copy of the book for reviewing purposes. All opinions are my own.)

 

The Author:

Marie LavalOriginally from Lyon in France, Marie now lives in Lancashire with her family. She works full-time as a modern languages teacher, and in her spare times loves writing romance and dreaming about romantic heroes.

She writes both historical and contemporary romance, and her historical romance The Lion’s Embrace won the Gold Medal at the Global eBook Awards 2015 (category Historical Romance).

She is a member of the Romantic Novelists Association and the Society of Authors. Her native France, as well as her passion for history and research, very much influences her writing, and all her novels have what she likes to call ‘a French twist’!

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Don’t Drink the Pink by B.C.R. Fegan

Don't Drink the Pink

 
Don’t Drink the Pink by B.C.R. Fegan

Illustrated by Lenny Wen

Published by TaleBlade Press

 
Don't-Drink-the-Pink-CoverMadeline adores her Grandpa Gilderberry – she always has. To everyone else he might seem a bit strange – an eccentric inventor – perhaps even a little mad. Yet Madeline knows that these are his very best qualities.

One of Grandpa Gilderberry’s most secret inventions is his box of potions which he delights in giving to Madeline each year on her birthday. Each potion conveys an unexpected and magical experience for Madeline. Year after year, Madeline selects a new potion with exciting results, however each time she reaches for her enchanted birthday present, her grandfather reminds her of only one rule – ‘don’t drink the pink’.

Exploring the special relationship between a grandfather and his grandchild, the potions in Don’t Drink the Pink provide an apt metaphor for each magical moment. Yet with birthdays comes ageing and this tale doesn’t shy away from what this means for both the young girl and her loveable grandpa.

Don’t Drink the Pink is available in hardcover, paperback, Kindle and ePub through all major online retailers.

AmazonB&NIndieBoundBook DepositoryIndigoMcNally Robinson

Excerpt:

On my eighth birthday,
I ran and didn’t stop.
Before the sun had risen,
I had come to Grandpa’s shop

Don't Drink the Pink“Happy birthday, Madeline,”
he said with a wink.
“Take a potion, take a brew.
Just don’t drink the pink.”

I reached out for the black one
and drank till I was full.
Then slowly from my head to toes,
I turned invisible!

 

My Review:

Another charming picture book from the author of Don’t Ever Look Behind Door 32 and The Day That A Ran Away.

Madeline’s grandpa gives her a magical potion each year on her birthday, and we witness the fantastic results.

The book takes us through the numbers ‘first’ to ‘fifteenth’, and fifteen different colours, as well as the effects of ageing and the relationship between grandfather and granddaughter.

The illustrations by Lenny Wen are delightful and complement the rhyming text perfectly.

(I received a complimentary copy of the book for reviewing purposes. All opinions are my own.)

 
 
About The Author:

BCR-FeganBCR Fegan is a multi-award-winning author who has written a number of fairy tales and fantasies for children and young adults.

Raised on a small hobby farm only minutes from some of Australia’s greatest beaches, Fegan grew up inspired by the power of natures ambience. From the intensity of the frequent summer storms, to the overwhelming serenity of a lonely beach in the early hours of the morning. His ravenous appetite for both reading and writing soon saw him drawing on the transformational influence of the world around him to craft short stories, poems and picture books.

As time wore on, Fegan also found inspiration in the magic and depth of authors and compositors like Hans Christian Andersen, the Brothers Grimm and Charles Perrault. He was mesmerised by the potency of small but beautiful phrases that were carefully carved from the minds of Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Alfred Lord Tennyson and Robert Frost. He grew to appreciate the worlds meticulously created by David Eddings, JRR Tolkien and CS Lewis.

Eventually, he began to forge his own complete works. Weaving his own magic, piecing together his own phrases and crafting his own worlds. Agonising over plots that would inspire, characters that would be loved and circumstances that would delight. In time, his efforts saw a number of children’s books and young adult fiction produced. Through the efforts of TaleBlade Press, these works are now being published with that same careful dedication.

Website • Twitter • Goodreads

 

Teaser Tuesday

Teaser Tuesday

Oops!

Sorry, I don’t have a teaser for you today.

I started reading the second book of Maria Gibbs’ Children from the Streets series, Sins of the Father, on the train home from Bradford on Saturday, and I was enjoying it. However I accidentally packed it along with the other books I brought home from the Lit Fest, so now it will have to wait.

Sins of the Father

Saturday Spotlight

saturday spotlight

Don’t Drink the Pink by B.C.R. Fegan

Illustrated by Lenny Wen

Published by TaleBlade Press

 
Don't-Drink-the-Pink-CoverMadeline adores her Grandpa Gilderberry – she always has. To everyone else he might seem a bit strange – an eccentric inventor – perhaps even a little mad. Yet Madeline knows that these are his very best qualities.

One of Grandpa Gilderberry’s most secret inventions is his box of potions which he delights in giving to Madeline each year on her birthday. Each potion conveys an unexpected and magical experience for Madeline. Year after year, Madeline selects a new potion with exciting results, however each time she reaches for her enchanted birthday present, her grandfather reminds her of only one rule – ‘don’t drink the pink’.

Exploring the special relationship between a grandfather and his grandchild, the potions in Don’t Drink the Pink provide an apt metaphor for each magical moment. Yet with birthdays comes ageing and this tale doesn’t shy away from what this means for both the young girl and her loveable grandpa.

Don’t Drink the Pink is available to pre-order in hardcover, paperback, Kindle and ePub through all major online retailers.

AmazonB&NIndieBoundBook DepositoryIndigoMcNally Robinson

 
 
My Review:

Another charming picture book from the author of Don’t Ever Look Behind Door 32 and The Day That A Ran Away.

Madeline’s grandpa gives her a magical potion each year on her birthday, and we witness the fantastic results.

The book takes us through the numbers ‘first’ to ‘fifteenth’, and fifteen different colours, as well as the effects of ageing and the relationship between grandfather and granddaughter.

The illustrations by Lenny Wen are delightful and complement the rhyming text perfectly.

 
Don't Drink the Pink

 
What other readers are saying about Don’t Drink the Pink :

“Imaginative, poignant, and humorous—altogether charming.”
– Kirkus Reviews

“Very, very highly recommended, Don’t Drink the Pink excels in both illustrative quality and several underlying messages about life and learning.”
– D. Donovan, Senior Reviewer, Midwest Book Review

“Don’t Drink the Pink is a lovely picture book full of the warmth that a true friendship between a grandchild and a grandparent can engender.”
– The Bookbag

“Joyful and curious characters enliven this spirited picture book about a grandfather’s magical gifts to his granddaughter.”
– Foreword Clarion Reviews

“Absolutely fun, cute, and entertaining!”
– Literary Titan

“Don’t Drink the Pink is an entertaining read and another excellent offering by Fegan, who has established himself as a consistent author of quality children’s books.”
– BlueInk Review

“The combination of detail in the storytelling and illustrations in Don’t Drink the Pink is really exceptional and the concepts are presented in a sophisticated way.”
– Readers’ Favorite

 

About The Author:

BCR-FeganBCR Fegan is a multi-award-winning author who has written a number of fairy tales and fantasies for children and young adults.

Raised on a small hobby farm only minutes from some of Australia’s greatest beaches, Fegan grew up inspired by the power of natures ambience. From the intensity of the frequent summer storms, to the overwhelming serenity of a lonely beach in the early hours of the morning. His ravenous appetite for both reading and writing soon saw him drawing on the transformational influence of the world around him to craft short stories, poems and picture books.

As time wore on, Fegan also found inspiration in the magic and depth of authors and compositors like Hans Christian Andersen, the Brothers Grimm and Charles Perrault. He was mesmerised by the potency of small but beautiful phrases that were carefully carved from the minds of Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Alfred Lord Tennyson and Robert Frost. He grew to appreciate the worlds meticulously created by David Eddings, JRR Tolkien and CS Lewis.

Eventually, he began to forge his own complete works. Weaving his own magic, piecing together his own phrases and crafting his own worlds. Agonising over plots that would inspire, characters that would be loved and circumstances that would delight. In time, his efforts saw a number of children’s books and young adult fiction produced. Through the efforts of TaleBlade Press, these works are now being published with that same careful dedication.

Website • Twitter • Goodreads

 

Teaser Tuesday

Teaser Tuesday

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by The Purple Booker. The weekly Meme wants you to add books to your TBR, or just share what you are currently reading.

  • Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
    -BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

 

A Boy from the Streets
If I’d been Jose, I might have recognised the warning signs—the tone of his voice, his heightened colour, the stiff jut of his chin. I did see them, but I was not Jose, and my fear of this man was not as severe as the pain of starvation I’d lived through.

~A Boy From The Streets by Maria Gibbs