Tag Archive | mystery

Savior by S.L. Scott

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Title: Savior
Series: The Kingwood Series #2
Author: S.L. Scott
Genre: Romantic Suspense/Mystery
Cover Design: Sarah Hansen, Okay Creations
Release Date: August 13, 2017

 

Savior Ebook CoverEverything is not as it seems.

Alexander IV has succeeded to the throne of the billion-dollar Kingwood Empire, but the people he thought he could trust aren’t allies.

They’re enemies.

Everyone he cares about is at risk.

Decisions–SACRIFICES–must be made.

What will he do to protect the people he loves? Will Sara Jane live or die?

Find out NOW in this EPIC conclusion to the bestselling The Kingwood Duet.

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Excerpt:

      I sit outside on a bench, looking at the scuffs on the tips of my black leather shoes. The bottoms are worn from wearing them while riding my bike. It was the only sign that set me apart from the other rich kids where I grew up. Other than Cruise, no one rode motorcycles or had dealt with anything worse than getting a warning after getting busted for smoking, skipping school, sneaking out, smoking weed, getting drunk, or driving over the speed limit. The list could go on.
      I have a car. I just don’t drive it much, preferring the freedom I feel on my bike. It wasn’t just my clothes or the bike that set me a part. None of them had lived, breathed, existed simply because their soul mate did. Not even now.
      From the moment I saw her, I knew Sara Jane was it for me, an angel in a Catholic school uniform, eating a candy bar. She couldn’t have been more innocent. Except she was. The girl had barely been kissed. It’s like she had been waiting to meet me, as if she had saved herself for me. How a girl who looked that good and smelled even sweeter remained untouched for so long was beyond me.
      I would have loved her no matter what. She could have been a prostitute, and I would have only seen her halo. I was a ship navigating a stormy sea, but she called me to her lighthouse, a beacon shining in the dark. It was never about her innocence, or the sins I had inherited. The day I met Sara Jane was about two lives that weren’t meant for only one lifetime, but destined to be together forever.
      Maybe that’s what had given me the confidence to break away from the kids I grew up with. I knew I was meant for something bigger than a life of partying and getting high socially.
      I was meant for Sara Jane, and she for me.

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Savage, book 1 in the series, should be read first.
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Author Bio:

S.L. ScottLiving in the capital of Texas with her family, Scott loves traveling and avocados, beaches, and cooking with her kids. She’s obsessed with epic romances and loves a good plot twist. Her favorite color is blue, but she likens it more toward the sky than the emotion. Her home is filled with the welcoming symbol of the pineapple and finds surfing a challenge though she likes to think she’s a pro.

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Savior by S.L. Scott

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Title: Savior
Series: The Kingwood Series #2
Author: S.L. Scott
Genre: Romantic Suspense/Mystery
Cover Design: Sarah Hansen, Okay Creations
Release Date: August 13, 2017

 

Savior Ebook CoverEverything is not as it seems.

Alexander IV has succeeded to the throne of the billion-dollar Kingwood Empire, but the people he thought he could trust aren’t allies.

They’re enemies.

Everyone he cares about is at risk.

Decisions–SACRIFICES–must be made.

What will he do to protect the people he loves? Will Sara Jane live or die?

Find out NOW in this EPIC conclusion to the bestselling The Kingwood Duet.

Pre-order on Amazon | Add to Goodreads

 

 

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Savage, book 1 in the series, should be read first and is LIVE on Amazon.

Both Books – Free in Kindle Unlimited

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Author Bio:

S.L. ScottLiving in the capital of Texas with her family, Scott loves traveling and avocados, beaches, and cooking with her kids. She’s obsessed with epic romances and loves a good plot twist. Her favorite color is blue, but she likens it more toward the sky than the emotion. Her home is filled with the welcoming symbol of the pineapple and finds surfing a challenge though she likes to think she’s a pro.

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30 Second Death by Laura Bradford

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Title: 30 Second Death
Series: A Tobi Tobias Mystery #2
Author: Laura Bradford
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Pub Date: 7/11/2017

30 Second Death_400x600To help an old friend, Tobi Tobias gets a third-rate thespian a part in a commercial, and learns that in the advertising business, bad acting can lead to murder . . .

When Tobi Tobias opened her own advertising agency, Carter McDade was there for her every step of the way. A brilliant hairdresser, Carter has just landed his dream project: doing hair and makeup for a theatrical production of Rapunzel. But the dream turns into a nightmare when he runs into Fiona Renoir, a cruel, talentless starlet who won’t let Carter touch a hair on her head.

To get Fiona out of Carter’s hair, Tobi hires the difficult actress for a bit part in her latest commercial. But true to character, Fiona is a terror on set, and Tobi is starting to think she’s made the biggest mistake of her life. But things get even worse when Fiona drops dead in the hairdresser’s chair, and the only suspect is the man left holding the tainted hair dye, Carter McDade. And unless Tobi can prove his innocence, he’ll never do hair in this town again.

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Excerpt:


Hell had officially frozen over. And, oddly enough, there was no swell of background music, no thunderous blast like I’d always imagined.


There was simply crunching.


Loud, deliberate crunching.


In fact, it was the cruncher and the crunchee that had turned the fiery flames of the dreaded underworld into the clichéd icicles referenced at the end of virtually every nasty breakup.


In English?


My best friend, Carter McDade, was standing less than five feet from my sofa eating a bowl of Cocoa Puffs.


That’s right, Carter McDade—the same guy who lectured me daily 
on the gaps (okay, seismic gullies) in my eating habits. The same guy who could draw a textbook food pyramid in mere seconds. The same guy who’d willingly and happily choose broccoli in a head-to-head with a Caramello bar.

Which is why his puff-crunching pointed to one indisputable conclusion:
Carter was stressed. Big-time.


A rarity in and of itself, Cocoa Puffs or no Cocoa Puffs.


My upstairs neighbor was the most positive human being I’d ever met. One of those happy-go-lucky, always-has-a-smile types. You know, the kind of person everyone needs in their life, but few are fortunate 
enough to have.

I was one of the fortunate.


I was also dumbfounded. Utterly and completely dumbfounded by what to say and how to say it. So I took the not-so-subtle approach.


“What’s wrong, Carter?”


“Uh-in.”


Now I’ll admit, I have a leg up when it comes to deciphering pufftalk (it is, after all, my second language), but I was feeling pretty proud that I could decode it from even the most novice of crunchers.


“Nothing? Nothing?! Do you realize what you’re eating right now?”


Carter looked at the bowl in his left hand an
d then the spoon moving
toward his mouth with his right. “Uh-huh.”


“They’re Cocoa Puffs, Carter! Co. Coa. Puffs. As in chocolate— or as you call it, sugar central. You know, void of roughage. In fact, if I do recall correctly, you refer to them as the downfall of mankind. The reason for society’s ills.”


I guess I thought if I really hammered home the point, it might sink in. Then again, I was living proof that tactic failed. Just ask my mother.


Besides, it was hard to hammer home drawbacks when I didn’t believe a word of what I was saying. Why? Because I, Tobi Tobias, am a chocoholic. And proud of it, I might add.


So I did what any good chocoholic would do. I sauntered into the kitchen, grabbed my Bugs Bunny melamine bowl and matching spoon, filled it to the brim with the last of the crunchy brown puffs (don’t worry, I’ve got four more boxes in the cabinet over the stove), and headed back into the living room. I mean, let’s face it, the expression “If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em” was coined for a reason, right?


Not that my commiserating helped. In fact, when I returned, Carter
showed no signs of having noticed my departure or subsequent return.
His facial expression was still void of its trademark smile, and his eyes
held a vacant look. Somehow, though, I managed to coax him onto the sofa.


“C’mon, Carter, spill it. It’s Fiona again, isn’t it?”

Call it a lucky (or, really my only) guess, but it was worth a shot. And judging by the look of complete mortification on his face as my words (and thus, his choice of food) registered in his subconscious, I’d hit the jackpot.

“Oh, good God, please tell me I’m not eating what I think I’m eating.”
Carter squeezed his eyes shut, then opened them slowly, cautiously. A tortured gasp escaped his mouth, along with a partially chewed puff.

 

 

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Bradford, Laura - Credit Carrie Schechter Studios

 

Author Bio:

Laura Bradford is also the author of the Emergency Dessert Squad Mysteries, including Silence of the Flans and Éclair and Present Danger, and the national bestselling Amish Mysteries, including A Churn for the Worse and Suspendered Sentence. Under the pen name, Elizabeth Lynn Casey, she writes the Southern Sewing Circle Mysteries, including Wedding Duress and Taken In. She lives in Yorktown Heights, New York, with her husband and their blended brood.

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Guest Post:

The Right Man for the Job

By Laura Bradford

One of my favorite parts of reading a series is the attachment I feel for the characters. I want to read the next book to know what happens in the lives of my fictional friends. As a writer, I feel the same way about the characters in my own books. I’ve spent so much time with these folks, that I know them inside out and backwards.

So when I come up with a plot or sub plot for my next book, one of my characters invariably steps up and says “pick me for this one.” And I have to say, the right character always steps up to the plate.

For 30 Second Death, that person was Carter McDade (Tobi Tobias’ best friend and upstairs neighbor). Carter is a happy, easy going guy who gets along with everybody. Except one: Fiona Renoir.

Fiona is a complete diva and despises Carter.

She’s also the boss’s niece.

(You can almost hear the Jaws theme song right about now, can’t you?)

Soon, I had the perfect set-up for the kind of mayhem that only Tobi and company could handle in Tobi Tobias Mystery # 2—30 Second Death.

 

 

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?

***

Sherlock Holmes and the Mystery of Einstein’s Daughter

by Tim Symonds

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Another adventure brings Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson face to face with Albert Einstein

Title: Sherlock Holmes and the Mystery of Einstein’s Daughter
Author: Tim Symonds
Genre: Mystery
Publisher: MX Publishing
Publication Date: January 13, 2014

mystery-of-einstens-daughterThe Dean of a Swiss university persuades Sherlock Holmes to investigate the background of a would-be lecturer. To Dr. Watson it seems a very humdrum commission – but who is the mysterious ‘Lieserl’? How does her existence threaten the ambitions of the technical assistant level III in Room 86 at the Federal Patents Office in Berne by the name of Albert Einstein? The assignment plunges Holmes and Watson into unfathomable Serbia to solve one of the intractable mysteries of the 20th Century.

In Tim Symonds’ previous detective novels, Sherlock Holmes and the Dead Boer At Scotney Castle and Sherlock Holmes And The Case Of The Bulgarian Codex the author based pivotal historic facts and a principal character on real life. So too in this new mystery.

 

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“Einstein’s Daughter by Tim Symonds takes the reader back to the early years of the 20th Century. It is an enjoyable romp for both Sherlock Holmes fans and for history buffs. The story is based on a true fact of Albert Einstein’s life and it is interwoven with Sherlockian grace. There are many Holmes pastiches, but Symonds manages to find the true voice of Conan Doyle.”
– Yvonne Beltzer

 

Excerpt:

Zorka’s Magical Marionette Show

Slowly, to joyous calls from the marionettes, a wooden crib descended from the dark of the roof. The cot tilted and swayed like a lifeboat lowered in a storm. The marionettes crowded around it, welcoming a new baby into the world. Their hand movements and excited exclamations proclaimed their delight. The proud terracotta mother hovered over the troupe, looking down. On one foot she wore an ugly orthopaedic shoe. A marionette broke an egg for luck over the face of the new-born infant. Other marionettes swung into a wild dance, with nimble, high-stepping footwork as though to give zest to the new soul. The swirling kolo reached a frenzy.


A crash of thunder rattled the small auditorium. A disquieting barefoot human hurled herself swooping and twirling into the throng of marionettes. Dark hair fell in an avalanche of curls on the left eye, obscuring her face. A paste made from talc and tamarind seeds applied to the face, hands and feet gave a lustrous ivory glow to her skin. A black pearl drooped heavily from one ear, a pink pearl from the other, giving an odd and bewildering witchery. The wild dancing came to an abrupt halt. As though the lid had been lifted off a beehive, a buzz rose from the audience. In awed whispers, the name ‘Zorka’ seeped around the auditorium.


With an air of menacing command, Zorka ordered the marionettes to turn back and look again into the cot. One by one they obeyed. They went strangely silent as they stared down more intently at the new-born infant. A female marionette called out, beseeching someone in the outer darkness to approach. A midwife puppet appeared and examined the infant. With a high-pitched cry of anguish she turned to face the audience, her hands clasped in prayer. The music switched tempo from joyous to menacing. The musicians broke into a shrill falsetto, a wild, inhuman sound, in an attempt to frighten off the evil eye. The agonised mother cried out, realising something terrible was about to happen.

 

 
About Tim Symonds:

Tim Symonds was born in London, England, and grew up in Somerset, Dorset and the Channel Island of Guernsey, off the coast of Normandy. After spending his late teens farming in the Kenya Highlands and driving bulldozers along the Zambezi River, he moved to California and graduated Phi Beta Kappa from UCLA with an honours degree in Politics.

He lives in the ancient woodland known as the High Weald of Sussex, where the events recounted in Sherlock Holmes and The Dead Boer at Scotney Castle took place. His second novel, Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Bulgarian Codex (MX Publishing 2012), took Holmes and Watson into the very depths of the Balkans in 1900. Holmes and Watson were back in the region – Serbia – in Sherlock Holmes And The Mystery of Einstein’s Daughter (MX Publishing 2014), and not long afterwards in ‘Stamboul’ investigating a plot against the despotic Sultan, in Sherlock Holmes And The Sword of Osman (MX Publishing 2015).

Visit Tim Symonds’s official website

 

 

Follow the book tour from July 5 – 18, 2017.
Check out excerpts, reviews, interviews, fun facts and more features on the book.
For the latest tour schedule, visit the Sherlock Holmes and the Mystery of Einstein’s Daughter Book Page at Book Unleashed.

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Contest runs from July 5 – 18, 2017.

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In partnership with
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Great Summer Reads Countdown Blitz 2017

Day 4:
The Golden Hour: A Nora Tierney English Mystery by Marni Graff

summer 17

 

coverAmerican writer Nora Tierney is house hunting in Oxford to solidify her little family that includes her almost-year old son, Sean, and her partner, Det. Insp. Declan Barnes. But why does she feel like she’s being followed?

When tracking devices confirm Nora has a stalker, it sets off a chain of events that connect to Declan’s murder investigation of a young Oxford art restorer, and will bring bioterrorism and a psychopath into their lives, while Sean’s hangs in the balance. The fourth Nora Tierney English mystery is the most tension-filled yet, a meditation on what is family and home, combined with art theft and an international conspiracy.

This book will be available soon. Make sure you read the first three books in the series first!

 

 

Find the links to the entire series here:
~ Amazon ~ Amazon UK ~ Amazon Canada ~ Amazon Australia ~


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Snippet:

(From Chapter 1:)

In the 10 weeks he’d been following her, it became obvious that Nora Tierney was a competent mother who loved and cared for her child. It seemed they had a fairy-tale life, bouncing back and forth between the storied city and the nature-filled village.

From the overheard talks with Barnes, her friends, and phone conversations, plus the house viewings, he learned she planned to move back to Oxford. When would that happen? How long would she stay in Bowness this time?

How long could he keep following her?

As long as it took.

 

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MKGHdshotMarni Graff writes two award-winning mystery series: The Nora Tierney English Mysteries and The Trudy Genova Manhattan Mysteries. She teaches writing workshops and mentors the Writers Read program, and is Managing Editor of Bridle Path Press.

Graff also writes the crime review blog Auntie M Writes.

FacebookTwitter ~ Bridle Path Press ~

 

 

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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…