Tag Archive | Crime

Secrets? by Christer Tholin

SECRETS BANNER

 
Series: Stockholm Sleuth Series
Author: Christer Tholin
Genre: Mystery Crime Thriller

 

Secrets?

Book 2

“Dammit! She’d made a huge mistake. She’d never make it out of here – they were going to kill her.”

ebook_375x600In the crime novella SECRETS?, fledgling private investigator Elin Bohlander takes on what looks like an easy assignment — at first: to determine if her client’s boyfriend is having an affair with another woman. To do this, Elin follows him to a secluded cabin in the woods, where she soon discovers that what’s actually transpiring is stranger than anyone thought. Having ventured too far, she’s stumbled upon a hornet’s nest and put her life at risk. But it’s too late. Can Elin win the unequal fight against a gang of brutal child molesters?

SECRETS? is the second, standalone book from Christer Tholin’s Stockholm Sleuth Series. In the previous novel VANISHED?, Elin and her colleague Lars solve their first case together.
If you like fast-paced action and surprising twists and turns, then you will love Christer Tholin’s sleuth series.

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Excerpt:

      “I was attacked,” she finally gasped.
      “What? Are you hurt?” Elin couldn’t believe it. Maja was extremely well trained—she could perform any self-defense move in her sleep. And what did this have to do with the car?
      “No. They only threatened me.”
      “That’s lucky.” Elin breathed a sigh of relief. At least, Maja was unharmed. “But who threatened you? Now please! Tell me the whole story from the beginning.” Elin gave her a penetrating look. “All right, Maja?”
      Maja blew her nose once more and leaned back. “Yeah, OK. So I was walking out of the studio on my way to the underground. Since it was still so light out, I took the shortcut through the park. There was no one in sight other than that guy who’s been following me for the past few days. He was sitting on a bench in the middle of the park. I was trying to decide whether to turn around. But then I thought, ‘This is my chance to find out what this is all about,’ and I walked right up to him. He immediately stood up, and it was only then that I noticed he was wearing a mask. I wanted to go back right away, but when I turned around, there were three other guys standing before me, all with masks as well. I tried to escape to the right, but these guys already had a knife at my throat, and they were restraining me on all sides. Then they pulled me off the path and down into the bushes, and one of them whispered that I should keep my trap shut. I was sure they were going to rape me, and I was desperately trying to figure out how to break free. But then one of them—a tall guy, definitely over six feet—said that they just wanted to talk to me. I didn’t really believe that, but I waited to see what they would say.”
      Elin stared at her, spellbound.
      “I need something to drink,” Maja said.
      Elin rose and went to the kitchen. She had an uneasy feeling for some reason. Four guys, of all things, and one of them very tall. That was surely no coincidence. But why?
      Elin handed Maja a glass of water. Maja drank eagerly. “And what did they want?” asked Elin.
      “They claimed I’d followed them in my car. And that they didn’t like having someone sneaking around behind them. This would be their first and final warning. If they saw either me or the car nearby again, our next meeting would proceed without a lot of talking. They said they’d make short shrift of me.” Maja had tears in her eyes again, and she let out several sobs. “I had to confirm that I understood. I obviously said yes. After that, one of them hit me in the stomach full force, and I blacked out. When I came to again, the four of them were gone.”
      “God, how awful! I’m so sorry—I’m sure they were the same guys I was observing. I just don’t understand why they reacted so viciously. I’ve already put the whole thing to rest. Honestly, Maja, I didn’t want to pull you in. I’m sure it was me they were after.”
      “Yeah, that much was clear to me by then. But did you go back to the cabin another time? You only told me about two surveillances. And the men didn’t see you at all, did they?”
      “Well, yes, they did. The second time, they stopped briefly next to my—I mean, your car. I ducked right away, but they might have written down or photographed the license plate number. I’m sorry—that was my mistake. The first time, I did better and parked around the corner. I’m sure they didn’t see the car that time. Then the day before yesterday, I was there again for the third and last time because I just couldn’t get the whole business out of my head. I wanted to get through the surveillance quickly, so I drove the car down the dirt road to the fork where it turns off to the cabin. On their way back, they obviously drove by your car, but I was hoping they didn’t see it.”
      Maja sighed. “But they did. Did you find anything out?”
      “No, that’s why I put the whole thing to rest. The assignment is done. I just wanted to make sure one more time that nothing new had come up. But it was the same game as the other times: working together on their computers, four guys in two cars—nothing more.”

 

Vanished?

Book 1

“He could only hope he’d get out of here in one piece.”

Cover_final_engl_400x600To come to terms with his recent divorce, Martin, an attorney in Berlin, plans a peaceful vacation – two weeks in a Swedish summer house seem to be the solution. It won’t be peaceful, however, and those two weeks will change his life forever. He takes a liking to Liv, a Swedish woman whom he meets in the neighborhood. Unfortunately, they don’t get to have their first date – Liv disappears under mysterious circumstances. Martin begins his search but soon realizes he can’t find Liv in a foreign country by himself. He hires two private investigators, and their discoveries make everything seem even stranger.

The complexities in this suspenseful criminal case lead to a hunt across Sweden. Martin comes close to finding answers, but his search lands him in very real danger, eventually leading to the first deaths. Soon he‘s wondering if he can get Liv and himself out of this situation alive.

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Excerpt:

      They left the house and ran to the driveway. There they heard the sound of an engine rapidly approaching.
      “Damn, somebody’s coming. Quick, into the woods!”
      They rushed behind the house and into the trees, where before them was a narrow path. Martin tried to keep his voice muted: “We’ll cut through the woods to my car. Follow me!”
      He followed the wooded pathway for a short stretch, then veered to the right through the trees. It was muddy and difficult to negotiate; that meant they weren’t going to make headway very quickly. “We have to try not to make any noise.”
      Liv nodded.
      They moved slowly around the house. The vehicle had now arrived; it was the black pickup.
      “Shit.” Martin cursed. Liv held on firmly to his shirtsleeve. “Shouldn’t we try to escape through the woods instead?”
      “Do you know your way around here?”
      “No.” Liv looked around. “How far is it to my summerhouse?”
      “Liv, we’re in Dalarna, really close to your husband’s summerhouse.”
      “What?” Liv opened her eyes wider and pressed her hands to her mouth.
      Martin looked at her: “To my car?”
      She nodded.
      They kept moving cautiously through the woods, able to hear the driver getting out and going up to the house. It couldn’t be much longer until he noticed that Liv’s things were missing; then he would go into the cellar and…
      Gradually they put more distance behind them and approached the driveway. Martin looked back and believed they could now leave their cover without risk. It went faster on the driveway; Martin’s shoulder ached with every step, but now was the time to keep his teeth clenched. Just as he unlocked the car, he heard a sound from the house. The man had come out the door and roared something that Martin didn’t understand. Liv looked at him with horror. As fast as they could, they climbed into the car. Martin started it; unfortunately, he still had to turn it around, and there was very little space to do so. Twice he backed up until he could finally drive off. At that very moment, the engine of the pickup revved behind them. He looked in the rear-view mirror; the truck was already approaching them. He hit the gas. The car reacted and lurched forward with a jerk. Martin drove as fast as he could; Liv was frightened; she held on to the armrest and looked around from back to front.
      “Faster! Please!”
      “I’m trying to.”
      Martin pushed the pedal harder. The main road lay in front of them – he knew he wouldn’t make the curve at that speed. Even so he kept driving at the same velocity; a brief glance revealed the pickup directly behind them. The engine was loud, and the black steel fenders in front of the hood were coming dangerously close. At the intersection to the main road, Martin braked slightly, hoping to make it onto the dirt road without landing in the ditch. Gripping the steering wheel with all his strength, the Audi swung around, and it looked like they would make it. But the pickup had other plans. It didn’t intend to make the curve. The driver swerved slightly to the right and rammed the Audi from the side just as they reached the bend. The Audi’s rear end slung around towards the woods. Liv screamed, both airbags deployed and Martin braked with everything in his power. The car came to a stop diagonally across the road.

 

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About the Author:

ChristerThe author grew up in the North of Germany, Schleswig-Holstein. Today, he lives together with his family in Stockholm, Sweden, where he works as management consultant.

Already for ages he has been a great fan of crime stories and therefore, had the desire to write his own crime story with the characters acting in Sweden. This crime-fiction is available under the title “Vanished?”.

The crime novel starts at a slower pace – like Martin’s holidays, but the tension goes up more and more. It comes to a number of surprising turns giving new impulses to the story. Apart from that, the lovely country Sweden is described with the view of a foreigner.

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Organized Crime Queens: The Secret World of Female Gangsters

OCQ--Final Front_424x600From the bizarre world of female Japanese motorcycle gangs to the historic rise and fall of London’s Forty Elephants, the history of female organized crime is both fascinating and strange. These are the stories, both true and legendary of the female crime bosses that broke the mould of feminine gentility. This is The Secret World of Female Gangsters.

Most of society thinks of women as the gentler sex, the sex with more compassion and empathy, not prone to violence. The truth is history, and current events, are littered with stories of violent women who do whatever it takes to get what they want; women who either revel in, or accept as needed, whatever acts of torture, murder and depravity that are required to achieve their goals. We’re not talking about mundane psychopaths that kill their children and their husbands; or homicidal maniacs that kill randomly without purpose, other than for some sexual or psychological gratification. We’re talking about female organized crime bosses, leaders of highly structured, often successful criminal organizations.

Most everyone knows about the high profile male mobsters; people like Lucky Luciano, Myer Lansky, Bugsy Segal, Arnold Rothstein, and Al Capone: men who became legends, rightly or wrongly, due to the public’s insatiable appetite for literature, movies, and television stories based on their lives. But what about their female counterparts, they definitely existed and still exist. Their stories are both fascinating and cautionary. Their histories provide an alternative perspective on the equality of the sexes; everything has a price. We are talking about smart, capable, talented, ruthless women who under other circumstances might have become leaders in either business or politics; women who demanded respect, loyalty and a big payday; or else.

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Excerpt:

Forty Elephants

The Female Gang That Terrorized London

The idea of a gang of highly intelligent, dangerous, wild living, independent criminal women led by an extraordinary individual who thought she was the reincarnation of some Amazon Queen is unusual, if not unique. In today’s society Alice Diamond might have become the CEO of a major multinational corporation, or perhaps the Prime Minister of England, but in the early twentieth century, ruthless women of ambition, strength, and intellect were not given access to the educational and leadership avenues available to men.

If there’s a lesson to be learned from the tale of the Forty Elephants it’s that denying access to opportunity based on bias, prejudice, or preconception will ultimately bite society in the ass, extracting a larger price than if opportunity was provided to all. On the other hand, there are individuals and groups of males and females who refuse to work within the confines of society to create change and prefer a self-indulgent, nihilistic pursuit of self-gratification and interest.

The Forty Elephants, also known as the Forty Thieves, were an all-female gang of criminals that operated in London from the 1700s up until the 1950s. They reached their heyday in the years between WWI and WWII under the leadership of twenty-year old Alice Diamond, also known as Diamond Annie, due to her penchant for wearing diamond rings that she often used as a weapon. More than one assailant lost an eye or suffered severe physical injury from one of her namesake fashion statements.

 

 

What’s Your Poison? How Cocktails Got Their Names

WYP-Final FrontWhy do we call mixed alcohol drinks “cocktails”? How do they get their exotic names: names like the Singapore Sling, Screw Driver, the Alamagoozlum, the Angel’s Kiss, the Hanky Panky, the Harvey Wallbanger, Sex On The Beach, the Monkey Gland, the Brass Monkey, the Margarita, the Japalac, the Lion’s Tail, and many, many more? Who makes up these names, where are they invented, why, and how do you make them? These questions will be answered in “What’s Your Poison?” by exploring the incidents, people, and places that prompted the creation of these exotic concoctions.

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Excerpt:

The Jack Rose

A Bald Gambler, A Corrupt Police Detective, A Murdered Casino Owner, And A Dash of Applejack


New York City, July 16, 1912, it’s a hot steamy afternoon. Four men wait under the awning of the Hotel Metropole located at 147 West 43rd Street. The hotel is a five story brick building on the corner close to Times Square. A sign above and to the side of the canopy over the entrance tells visitors they’ve arrived at the famous Metropole, the first hotel in New York City with running water in every room, home to gambler Nicky Arnstein, Fanny Brice’s lover and ultimate second husband, Bat Masterson, ex-western lawman, now New York City sports’ writer, and Herman Rosenthal, bookmaker and illegal casino owner.

The four men milling about outside the hotel are not out of place on the busy street. They’re wearing summer weight suits suitable for the weather. Jacob, Whitey Lewis, Seidenschner wears his usual cloth flat-cap, while Francisco Cirofici, aka Dago Frank, Harry Horowitz, aka Gyp the Blood, and Lefty Louie Rosenberg, all wear straw boater’s, a popular male fashion statement of the time.

These men are all members of the Lennox Avenue Gang led by Harry Horowitz and controlled by Zelig Harry Lefkowitz, aka Jack Zelig, head of the Eastman Gang. The Lennox Avenue group could be considered the prototype of the more famous criminal gang known as Murder Incorporated.

As Herman Rosenthal exits the front door of the Metropole the four men surround him, draw their guns and fire. Gambler Herman Rosenthal is shot dead in broad daylight on a crowded New York street. As Rosenthal lies bleeding on the pavement the four men scramble to the waiting car provided by Baldy Jack Rose, the man who hired them to murder Rosenthal on orders from crooked NYPD Lieutenant Charles Becker.

Baldy Jack Rose was born Jacob Rosenzweig in Poland in 1876. His family immigrated to America and at the age of four Rosenzweig was stricken with typhoid leaving him with alopecia universalis, a condition causing all his hair to fall out. Cruel classmates teased Jacob giving him the nickname Baldy, an apparent prerequisite for a life of crime as all the gangsters in this tale seem to have colourful monikers, and Baldy Jack Rose seemed appropriately fitting for a hairless young criminal.

Baldy spent his early years in Connecticut where he grew up to be a gambler, boxing promoter, and founder of a minor league baseball team, The Rosebuds, not the toughest sounding name for a sports team owned by the man that became embroiled in one of America’s most infamous murders. If not for being overshadowed by Lucky Luciano’s bloody rise to power, the Rosenthal murder might be regarded as New York City’s most infamous gangland murder.

After moving to New York City, Rose opened an illegal casino called The Rosebud. It wasn’t long before it became an underworld hangout, especially favored by the Eastman Gang headed by Selig Harry Lefkowitz, and its offshoot the Lennox Avenue Gang led by Harry, Gyp The Blood, Horowitz.

 

 

Beating the System

BTS-Final Front_402x600It’s been said that gambling is a tax on the dumb; that may be overly harsh, but the fact is, most gambling venues are designed to guarantee you lose. It doesn’t matter if it’s horseracing, lotteries, casinos, or the annual state fair. As soon as you plunk down your dollar you’re a loser. Those milk bottles at the bottom of the pyramid you’re trying to knock down are filled with lead, and that basketball net that looks so close you can’t miss, is actually oval not round, and barely big enough for a ball to pass through.

Most people like to take a chance every once in a while; maybe they’ll get lucky. It’s a kick, a lark: an afternoon’s entertainment. They know when to walk away… others don’t… some can’t. For them it’s a drug, a search for an unattainable high. Deep down they don’t even want to win. It’s sad. It’s pathetic is what it is.

You see these sorry souls at the track, at the casinos, or anywhere there’s a game of chance. They’ll bet on horses, dogs, camels’… even killer roosters. It’s nuts I know, but their addicts, they’ll bet on people, and that’s the worst bet of all. Gambling is for suckers; that’s why gamblers don’t gamble, they fix the game, and even then, it doesn’t always work.

Horse racing is advertised as the sport of kings. Sure, if that’s what you want to believe. I was a jockey, it was my job, but I made my living as a fixer. You want to know what really goes on behind the scenes. You want to know what horse racing is really all about. Then come a little closer, cause I got a story for you.

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Excerpt:

Be Careful Who You Screw


Joey Pines kneels on the bathroom floor of the Juanita Bar on the outskirts of Detroit. Pee is trickling down Pines’ soiled jeans pooling on the floor around his knees. Blood runs down his face from where Ronny introduced his nose to the Mexican’s Smith and Wesson. The guy is scared, scared to death, scared because in the next few seconds a decision had to be made. Does Joey Pines end his days on the bathroom floor of Juanita’s third-rate bar, or does he live another day so he can screw somebody else? Whatever happens, he’s never going to screw Ronny again.

It all started three days earlier when Ronny fixed the fifth race at Motor City Downs. Fellow jockey, Angel Morales, came to him with a deal. Juan Carlos Perez, a local drug dealer wanted to expand his operation. He was already supplying jockeys with various illegal pharmaceuticals for weight loss and entertainment purposes, so why not expand into the gambling business. Perez supplied the money, and Morales supplied Ronny. It was an arrangement made in hell.

The fifth race at Motor City Downs seemed like the perfect initial foray for Perez. All the jockeys in the race were paid their five hundred bucks and given the order of finish for the first three horses. Other than the first three places, jockeys could do what they wanted but those first three horses had to finish in the correct order for Morales, Perez, and Ronny to collect on the trifecta. This wasn’t rocket science.

Everyone was on board but Ronny had his doubts about Pines, who was a known shithead and drug addict. Someone had seen Pines slip the valet what looked like cash, probably for a bet. If Pines was betting on the race, was he betting the trifecta, or was he betting on himself? Nobody knew for sure. Before the race Ronny warns him.

“You understand what you have to do? Your number can’t be on the board. You fuck us over and finish in the top three… you’ll be in the ground before the sun comes up.”

“Don’t worry, I got it.”

As the horses were being loaded into the starting gate Ronny turns to Pines one more time. “We good?”

Pines nods, “I got this.”

The starter rings the bell and the gates fly open. Coming around the first turn Ronny is on the outside of Pines, they’re in sixth and seventh places respectively. Ronny looks over at Pines and sees him pull up his sleeve. The prick has a machine. Before Ronny can do anything about it he hears the buzz, and Pine’s horse takes off leaving Ronny and everyone else in the dust. They get to the finish line and Pines finishes second. The horses that needed to finish one, two, three, finish first, third, and fourth. The bet is busted. The son-of-a-bitch screws Ronny and friends. He doesn’t even collect on his own bet because he came in second instead of first. Pines is laughing and making fun of the other jockeys who all had bets on the race, figuring it was a sure thing.

 

 

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About the Author:
jerryJerry Bader is author, publisher, and Senior Partner in MRPwebmedia.com. He has written twelve hybrid graphic novels (including “The Method,” “The Comeuppance,” “The Coffin Corner,” and “Grist For The Mill”), thirteen children’s books (including “Two Dragons Named Shoe,” “The Town That Didn’t Speak,” “The Bad Puppeteer,” “The Criminal McBride,” and “Mr. Bumbershoot, The Umbrella Man”), three marketing books, and several novels and biographies including “The Fixer” and “Organized Crime Queens.”

The graphic novels are unique in that they are designed as screenplays with accompanying storyboard panels to give the reader an enhanced experience akin to reading like a movie producer. Watch for new releases as they come available!

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Hell Week Event

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 This Fun- Filled week runs from 25th-31st Oct

Each day of the event, three random people who like, share and comment on the day’s video will win an ecopy of one of Michael J. Elliott’s works:

Portraits Of Dread, Choice Cuts and his novella Sharpshooter.

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The Alibi by Marilyn Baron

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Title: The Alibi
Author: Marilyn Baron
Genre: Romantic Suspense, Women’s Fiction, Crime Fiction, Cozy Mystery
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press, Inc.
Publication Date: September 13, 2017

In Marilyn Baron’s The Alibi,
a cover-up could cost heroine Merritt Saxe her life.

the-alibiMerritt Saxe, newly hired public relations specialist with the Florida prison system, answers an urgent plea from their division’s director, Willard Ware Baintree. Following his orders, she finds him in the apartment of his mistress, his bloody T-shirt and the mistress’s dead body convincing her the criminal justice superstar is himself a criminal. The director claims he didn’t kill the woman and coerces Merritt into being his alibi.

Meanwhile, as the director pulls her farther into his web of lies, Merritt breaks with her longstanding boyfriend and begins a steamy relationship with hunky attorney Israel Goodspeed, whose brother works for the director. Yet how can she trust Israel with her secret or her heart when she suspects the director has been orchestrating their relationship to keep her in line? Speaking out about the cover-up could cost her more than time in jail…it could cost her life.

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Fun Fact #1

The last line in Marilyn Baron’s The Alibi is “When you’re in love, who needs bagels?”

 

Excerpt:

Tear tracks stained his face. Blood stained his white T-shirt. His eyes were glazed over. He appeared to be in shock. He looked like hell.

“Director, are you all right?”

He didn’t answer.

“Director Baintree,” I shouted, “are you hurt?” My raised voice blew him out of his stupor and back into battle mode.

“What the hell does it look like? No, I’m not all right. I need you to take me home.”

“Where’s Miss Braddock? Does she need a ride somewhere?”

“Miss Braddock?” The director appeared confused.

“Savannah Braddock. The woman who lives here.”

“She’s gone,” he said simply, deflated, his face crumpling.

I don’t know what prompted me to do this, but I walked around him and ran from room to room. There weren’t many places to look in that tiny apartment. Apparently, all it needed were the basic necessities—a kitchenette, a bathroom, and of course, a bedroom.

That’s where I found her, half naked, sprawled out on the bedspread, a pool of blood soaking the white eyelet duvet cover. And the handle of an oversized kitchen knife sticking out of her abdomen. I wanted to scream, but no sound came out. I began hyperventilating. I was going to be sick—I knew I wouldn’t make it into the bathroom.

“For God’s sake, stop.” The director walked into the bedroom. He rounded on me, and my breathing calmed, but I continued to stand there, immobilized, staring at the once perfect, now bloody and lifeless body of Savannah Braddock.

 

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September 13 – October 7, 2017

3 winners

1) $25 Amazon Gift Card

2) eBook copy of Stumble Stones by Marilyn Baron

3) Stilt House print by Florida artist Sharon Goldman – “Stilt House,” a signed, matted decorative print by Florida artist Sharon Goldman. Stilt House is on St. George Island off the Florida Panhandle, where The Alibi is set. The location is representative of where the hero and heroine go for their weekend beach getaway.

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Author Bio:

marilyn-baronMarilyn Baron writes in a variety of genres, from humorous coming-of-middle age women’s fiction to historical romantic thrillers and romantic suspense to paranormal/fantasy.

She’s published 13 novels with The Wild Rose Press, five short stories with TWB Press and self-published three books. AmazonEncore republished her book Sixth Sense on September 15, 2015.

She’s received writing awards in Single Title, Suspense Romance, Novel With Strong Romantic Elements and Paranormal//Fantasy Romance. She is a Georgia Romance Writers (GRW) Maggie Award winner. She is the Finalist in the 2017 Georgia Author of the Year Award for Stumble Stones: A Novel in the Romance Category. She’s a PAN member of Romance Writers of America and GRW and winner of the GRW 2009 Chapter Service Award.

A public relations consultant in Atlanta, Marilyn graduated with a BS in Journalism and a minor in Creative Writing from the University of Florida. She worked in Public Relations for AT&T in Atlanta for 13 years before starting her own PR firm. She serves on the 2017-18 Roswell Reads Steering Committee. She was selected as a featured author in the 2016 Atlanta Authors Series. She presented on a panel at the 2017 AJC-Decatur Book Festival (the largest independent book festival in the country) on September 3, 2017.

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Fun Fact #2

Author Marilyn Baron spent a year in the Florida prison system, doing PR, not time, as the inspiration for her novel.

 

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Books I Read in July ’17

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Thief of the Night Guild

by Andy Peloquin

35281158The first book of Queen of Thieves (Child of the Night Guild) was “an edge of your seat, fast-moving and unforgettable read” and I was eager to read this second book.

Thief of the Night Guild is everything I hoped it would be, and much more!

Ilanna is now a strong and determined journeyman, a professional thief and a woman in what is mainly a mans world. She wants to secure her freedom from the guild and protect her son from its clutches.

The characters were so skilfully drawn that I felt as though I was living along side them.
So I joined Ilanna and her accomplices as they strived to pull off the greatest heist in Praamis.
Andy Peloquin’s fluent and descriptive writing ensured that I felt the joy of friendship and suffered heartache and pain from the betrayal and loss of our friends.

Illana’s story – so far – is one that will stay with me for a very long time.
And I am now waiting on tenterhooks for the next book in the series.

 
“I am Ilanna, Journeyman of House Hawk. I do the impossible.”

A cunning thief of unrivaled ingenuity, Ilanna is determined to secure her freedom. Nothing will prevent her escape from the Night Guild’s callous cruelty, not even the most powerful man in Praamis, Duke Phonnis.

Commanding a crew of pickpockets, bounty hunters, poisoners, and assassins, Ilanna schemes to disgrace the Duke. She must survive blackmail, a bloodthirsty rival syndicate, and enemies within her own House to claim her spoils: vengeance for the deaths of her friends and gold to buy independence.

But all Ilanna’s skill may not suffice to protect the one person who matters most: her son.

***

Flirting With Time: A Charlie McClung Mystery

by Mary Anne Edwards

35555087 Another wonderful and entertaining mystery in the Charlie McClung series.

Mary Anne Edwards’ books go from strength to strength. The characters continue to develop and the mysteries get more intriguing and suspenseful.

I’ll be looking forward to the next instalment in Charlie, Marian and their friends lives.

To get the best out of this series the books should be read in order.

 
Detective Charlie McClung is haunted by someone leaving mysterious paper hearts in odd places for his bride, Marian. Any thought that this is the work of a harmless prankster quickly vanishes when his men are attacked and people begin to die. The stalker is growing bolder and Charlie knows he needs to act quickly but there are too many suspects, too many alibis, and too much at stake.

***

Wolf Bride: The Tale of Ailis and Eoghan

by C.D. Gorri

35222715C.D. Gorri takes us back to a time before the formation of the Macconwood Pack.

It’s a well written and fascinating, historical look at Macconwoods first Alpha and his mate. The story pulls you in and doesn’t let go.

Another superb book from this talented author.

The path to true love is often rocky, especially for Werewolves Eoghan MacContire and Ailis Dungannon in 16th Century Ireland.

Find out how it all began in this prequel to the Macconwood Pack Series.

***

The Hunger Within

by Lily Luchesi

35510557 The Hunger Within is not your customary stereotypical vampire story…. It’s a heck of a lot steamier!

There’s a lot of action and intrigue packed into this short story from Lily Luchesi, as Bec starts her new life alongside her dominating sire and fathoms out how to deal with all the complications that go with it.

 
Newly turned vampire Rebecca Renfield is about to discover that there is much more to the world of the Undead than sex, blood, and handcuffs. Her sire and Mistress is the direct descendant of Count Dracula, and that means she has a reputation to uphold. Meetings with vampiric dignitaries, secret blood and bondage dungeons, and vampire hunters now fill the couple’s nights. is this world everything Bec thought it would be, or will she fall under the pressure of what it means to be the submissive to the most powerful vampiress in the world?

***

Crane

by Stacey Rourke

35222715Crane is an entertaining and (in parts) amusing story. I liked how the author blended the ‘historic’ tale with the modern day twist on the retelling of ‘The Legend of Sleepy Hollow’.

Although I thought the characters could do with a bit more developing, the story was well written and kept me turning the pages to see what would happen next.

 
The Horseman is unending,
his presence shan’t lessen.
If you break the curse,
you become the legend.

Washington Irving and Rip Van Winkle had no choice but to cover up the deadly truth behind Ichabod Crane’s disappearance. Centuries later, a Crane returns to Sleepy Hollow awakening macabre secrets once believed to be buried deep.

What if the monster that spawned the legend lived within you?

Now, Ireland Crane, reeling from a break-up and seeking a fresh start, must rely on the newly awakened Rip Van Winkle to discover the key to channeling the darkness swirling within her. Bodies are piling high and Ireland is the only one that can save Sleepy Hollow by embracing her own damning curse.

But is anyone truly safe when the Horseman rides?

***

Books I Read in May ’17

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Playing with Fire

by Clare Meyers & Cris Meyers

51qE0iSS3OL._SY346_An interesting beginning to a new series.

Magic, shapeshifting and crime all blend together to make this enjoyable read by husband and wife team, Cris and Clare Meyers.

Talented thief, Renee and her partner, Stone, join a trio of shapeshifters, Rook, Carlos and Grace, to steal a magical gem, and take revenge against the man who set them up on a previous job.
But in their line of work, nothing is quite what it seems.

Although the book is much more about the planning and the action, I did enjoy getting acquainted with the characters and hope to get to know them better in the next book of the series.

 

Loner Renee Devereaux is a thief with a lot to hide, and trust is a risk she rarely takes. Stone Anders is a mercenary and hitman, but being a hired killer isn’t fitting like it used to. But while they are criminals, they are anything but common. Renee and Stone are Talents, and their supernatural powers give them an edge in a high stakes business where one wrong move could be their last.

It’s always just one job, and everyone scatters—sometimes in less than favorable circumstances. For Renee and Stone, that’s business as usual. But things change.

A chance at revenge draws Renee and Stone into a job they know they shouldn’t take. The job: Steal a dangerous magical artifact before it can be used. Along with the deadline, they’ll have to deal with a loudmouth hacker with problematic connections, a rookie who still believes in ‘right’ and ‘wrong,’ and a professional liar with a cat’s curiosity.

Worse, something just doesn’t feel right.

But this is their job. They have a reputation to maintain, a paycheck to earn, and a score to settle…

***

 

Fly by Night

by Clare Meyers & Cris Meyers

31925656The ‘gang’ from book 1, Playing with Fire, are back. They’ve moved on from the events in Seattle, but they haven’t forgotten, or forgiven.

This, the second book in the series is told from Rooks point of view and is a superb sequel.
Rook never knows when to keep his mouth shut and his thoughts to himself, which makes for some great moments. Half the time I wanted to gag him, the rest of the time I wanted to hug him!

The characters all evolve and grow in their own ways, during the story, and we learn more about them, their past and their relationships.

The plot is well thought out, and this book has more action and suspense than the previous one.

I enjoyed Playing with Fire… I loved Fly by Night!

 

The game has changed.

Rook is a wisecracking hacker, a shapeshifter who prefers the name ‘were-crow,’ and former underling to a Talented crime boss. But as supernatural powers go, he’s no heavy hitter.

After a job blew up in his face, Rook thought the worst thing he’d have to deal with was criminal unemployment. But when he starts losing his mind to mysterious voices, being broke takes a backseat. And once his apartment goes up in smoke, Rook knows he’s in trouble.

Out of his depth and trying to dig his way out of a hole not entirely of his own making, Rook must put his survival—and his sanity—in the hands of people who have their own mysterious reasons for helping him.

With trust in short supply and time ticking down, Rook will need to find a way to make this uneasy alliance work before even more of his life goes up in flames.

Book 2 of the Criminal Elements urban fantasy series

And don’t miss out on Playing with Fire (Book 1)

***

 

Code Wolf

by C.D. Gorri

34747449 I really enjoyed this new book from C.D. Gorri.

As with her previous books, it’s set in ‘Grazi Kelly’s world’. This one, however, is definitely not YA!

I loved learning more about Randall, and his unexpected love interest, Tulla, along with Tulla’s special son, Danny.
The book is well-written, easy to read and hard to put down. The descriptive writing allows you to join the fleshed out characters on their adventures.

 

“He never thought of himself as a family man, but sometimes things changed… ”

Randall Graves spends most of his time writing lines of code in his air-conditioned office at Macconwood Manor. He’d rather be alone than risk involvement of any kind. Everything was going fine, until his Alpha sends him on a forced vacation.

It’s all good with Randall, as long as there’s WIFI at the small, beachfront, bed and breakfast in Bloody Point, South Carolina. He could work and get some sun at the same time, but he wasn’t counting on Tulla Nirvelli. The beautiful single mother owned and operated the small B &B with her seven-year old son.

Charmed by the small island and the young family, Randall finds himself enjoying his time at the Sea Mist Bed & Breakfast. When trouble starts brewing for Tulla and her son, Randall is ready to jump in, but that means revealing his secret. Will she accept the truth about him?

***

 

The Name of Death

by Joshua Robertson

33636392 I enjoyed this short story from Joshua Robertson.

It was a well-written and entertaining read.
The characters were fairly well fleshed out for such a short tale.

A good introduction to the authors writing and to the world in his novels, which I look forward to reading.

 

Drada Koehn is a fearless, formidable fighter ensnared in a presaged war against the northern humans. When the Speaker foretells their victory upon discovery of the name of death, she sets out to unravel the mysterious prophecy. Now, bound by duty and honor, Drada faces untold horrors with her companions, searching for what may never be found. In a story of unexpected twists, she soon finds that her resolve to see the quest done will be the fortune or doom of her people.

***

 

Dark Legends

32721381 I enjoyed quite a few of the books in this set and will be looking to read other books by some of the authors.

If you like stories with Dragons, Ghosts, Mermaids, Shifters, Vampires, Witches… and much more, you’re bound to find a story in here that you enjoy.

Some of the stories worked well as standalone reads, while others were obviously part of a series.

As a bunch of the books were steamy (one or two more steam than story) this is definitely an adult only box set.

All in all, this collection of books was good value and a great way to find ‘new-to-me’ authors.

 

This Collection is packed with more than 20 full-length Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance reads from New York Times, USA Today, and International Bestselling Authors!

Don’t miss this collection of more than twenty unique twists in paranormal romance and urban fantasy, providing over one million words of supernatural suspense that will transport you to new worlds with smoking hot action and heart-throttling adventure!

The DARK LEGENDS boxed set includes: Mermaids, Sirens, Shifters, Vampires, Dragons, Sorcerers, Warriors, Angels, Faeries, Demons, Witches, Psychics, Ghosts, Mythology, Folk Tales, Legends, Dark Magic, Time Travel, and More!

***

 

Gloria and the Unicorn

by Wanda Luthman

34797852 A lovely children’s book with a wonderful message.

The book encourages its readers to be happy and to love themselves.

Gloria looks different from other children, but thanks to Sir Louie, a magical unicorn, she learns to accept that it’s ok to be different.The plot is well thought out, and this book has more action and suspense than the previous one.

 

Adopted by a loving owner of a children’s home, Gloria still has a lot to overcome. She has a droopy cheek on one side of her face. Then, she overhears a terrible secret about her past that she doesn’t want anyone to know. To protect her from bullies, she is kept out of school. But, Gloria wants to learn to read more than anything in the world. She feels she has no one to turn to until a magical unicorn named Sir Louie befriends her. Can he help her learn to love and accept herself? And when Sir Louie suddenly disappears, will Gloria think he has rejected her like everyone else or realize his life is in danger and he may need her help?

***

 

Remnants by Carolyn Arnold

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Title: Remnants
Series: Brandon Fisher FBI Series, Book 6
Author: Carolyn Arnold
Genre: Crime Mystery, Thriller

All that remains are whispers of the past…

Remnants-Paperback-with-Back-2-stacked-350When multiple body parts are recovered from the Little Ogeechee River in Savannah, Georgia, local law enforcement calls in FBI agent and profiler Brandon Fisher and his team to investigate. But with the remains pointing to three separate victims, this isn’t proving to be an open-and-shut case.

With no quick means of identifying the victims, building a profile of this serial killer is proving more challenging than usual. How is the killer picking these victims? Why are their limbs being severed and bodies mutilated? And what is it about them that is triggering this killer to murder?

The questions compound as the body count continues to rise, and when a torso painted blue and missing its heart is found, the case takes an even darker turn. But this is only the beginning, and these new leads draw the FBI into a creepy psychological nightmare. One thing is clear, though: the killing isn’t going to stop until they figure it all out. And they are running out of time…

**Can easily be read as a standalone!!**

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Excerpt from Chapter 18 of Remnants (Brandon Fisher FBI series):


TELEVISION WAS FOR THE WEAK-MINDED, and he found the futility of sitcoms to be tedious and mind-numbing. His thoughts would always drift—as they often did anyway—to the freedom of the spirit, to being rid of the flesh that bound him to Earth. There was one program that held his attention, though, when he decided he felt like watching something, and that was the news. Events most people considered to be tragic, to be evidence of a world full of chaos, he rather enjoyed hearing about. The car bombs, the terrorist attacks, the murders—these things only proved how fleeting an earthly existence was and how the way one spent one’s time mattered.


When he wasn’t making sacrifices, he was usually thinking about them—either past offerings or those yet to come. There was a hunger that raged through him that made such sacrifices necessary, and the constant natter in his brain told him he was living his life with purpose and according to divine plan.


He went to the fridge, took out a bunch of grapes, and broke off a cluster. He put them into a bowl and then filled a glass with cold, filtered water. Sitting down in front of the television with the bowl of grapes on his lap and the glass of water on the side table, he was ready for the eleven o’clock news.


“Hey, honey.” His mother padded toward the sofa, wearing a robe over her pajamas and slippers on her feet.


He smiled at her, yet felt nothing for the woman who had given birth to him. And she knew how he viewed her, how he didn’t have the same feelings other sons had for their mothers, but she accepted him for who he was. She didn’t try to fix him when the rest of the world saw him as a freak.


He’d had no friends in school and was teased excessively for being different, but that was a small price to pay for being chosen. It had taken him awhile to fully realize his purpose, but once he had, there was no stopping him. He lived on a higher plane of existence than his human peers, one they couldn’t comprehend. He saw the entire spectrum from life to death and beyond.

 

 Series Information:

What to expect from the Brandon Fisher FBI series:

Profilers. Serial killers. The hunt is on. Do serial killers and the FBI fascinate you? Do you like getting inside the minds of killers, love being creeped out, sleeping with your eyes open, and feeling like you’re involved in murder investigations? Then join FBI agent and profiler Brandon Fisher and his team with the Behavioral Analysis Unit in their hunt for serial killers.

This is the perfect book series for fans of Criminal Minds, NCIS, Silence of the Lambs, Seven, Dexter, Luther, and True Crime.

Read in any order or follow the series from the beginning.

Find the series on Amazon!

 
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Paperback Copy of Violated (Brandon Fisher Series #5)

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About the Author:

Carolyn-Arnold-Author-Photo-Hi-ResCAROLYN ARNOLD is an international best-selling and award-winning author, as well as a speaker, teacher, and inspirational mentor. She has four continuing fiction series—Detective Madison Knight, Brandon Fisher FBI, McKinley Mysteries, and Matthew Connor Adventures—and has written nearly thirty books. Her genre diversity offers her readers everything from cozy to hard-boiled mysteries, and thrillers to action adventures.

Both her female detective and FBI profiler series have been praised by those in law enforcement as being accurate and entertaining, leading her to adopt the trademark: POLICE PROCEDURALS RESPECTED BY LAW ENFORCEMENT™.

Carolyn was born in a small town and enjoys spending time outdoors, but she also loves the lights of a big city. Grounded by her roots and lifted by her dreams, her overactive imagination insists that she tell her stories. Her intention is to touch the hearts of millions with her books, to entertain, inspire, and empower.

She currently lives just west of Toronto with her husband and beagle and is a member of Crime Writers of Canada.


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GuestPost by  CAROLYN ARNOLD:

 

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Five Steps to Profiling a Serial Killer

 
He’s five seven, in his thirties, walks with a limp, works in temporary placements, and is single. He targets women because he was abused by his single mother, who slept around with men while he was growing up.

If you’re a fan of serial-killer fiction, whether it be on TV or in books, you are probably left shaking your head sometimes when the FBI sees some crime scene photos and immediately has a profile of the killer. What are they, psychic?

As it turns out, profiling is actually a science, though not an exact one. In fact, many profiles prove to have been wrong once the unsub is caught. So why bother profiling at all? Well, even if some facts are off, profiling establishes a foundation from which investigators can begin their search for—and hopefully catch!—the killer.

So what do investigators consider when building a profile?

1. Investigators focus on the crime itself. What do the crime scene photos show? What are the autopsy findings? Are there any witnesses, and if so, what are they saying? What have police officers noted in their reports?

2. Investigators visit the crime scene. They use their six senses—sight, sound, taste, smell, touch, and intuition—and make a record of their reactions. They analyze where the body was found, whether the murder was committed in the same location that the body was found or the body was dumped. They question any and all aspects of the location and what it might tell them about the killer and/or the killer’s victim selection, aka victimology.

3. Investigators look for a signature or method of operation (MO). Don’t confuse these two terms, though, as they are not the same thing. Every crime has a MO, which is how the murder was carried out, but a signature is not present in all cases. A signature only exists when a killer chooses to leave behind a personal mark.

4. Investigators consider what kind of unsub might commit the crime at hand. For example, are they organized or disorganized? Are they a hunter or a sexual sadist? Is gender, age, or religion relevant? Is there is a geographical element to the crimes?

5. Investigators take a closer look at the victims. They factor in similarities and determine whether the victims are low-, medium-, or high-risk people. Can any of the victims be connected to one or more person or place? How were the victims approached? Is there evidence of resistance, or is it possible the victims knew their killer?

Sometimes the answers to all these questions can be harder to piece together than others. In my most recent novel, Remnants, Brandon Fisher and his FBI team struggle to build a profile on the killer they’re hunting, as the identities of the victims are unknown and aspects of the MO vary among the murders. But when a torso painted blue and missing its heart is found—something they haven’t seen in any of the previous deaths—the case takes a dark turn that begins to provide them with some new leads. As the story unfolds, the FBI is drawn deeper and deeper into a creepy psychological nightmare. One thing is clear, though, even if they don’t have all the facts yet: The killing isn’t going to stop until they figure it all out. And they are running out of time…