PICT Book Review: The Witchdoctor’s Bones by Lisa De Nikolits

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The Witchdoctor’s Bones

by Lisa De Nikolits

on Tour July

Book Details

Genre: Murder Mystery/Thriller
Published by: Inanna Poetry and Fiction Series
Publication Date: May 21, 2014
Number of Pages: 460
ISBN: 1771331267 (ISBN13: 9781771331265)
Purchase Links:

Synopsis

TheWitchdoctorsBonesIn The Witchdoctor’s Bones a group of tourists gather. Some have come to holiday, others to murder. Canadian Kate ditches her two-timing boyfriend and heads to Africa on a whim, hoping for adventure, encountering the unexpected and proving an intrepid adversary to mayhem.

The tour is led by Jono, a Zimbabwean historian and philosopher, and the travelers follow him from Cape Town into the Namib desert, learning ancient secrets of the Bushmen, the power of witchcraft and superstition, and even the origins of Nazi evil.

A ragged bunch ranging from teenagers to retired couples, each member of the group faces their own challenges as third world Africa pits against first world greed, murderous intent and thwarted desire. The battle between goaded vanity and frustrated appetite culminates in a surprising conclusion with shocking twists.

With the bones of consequence easily buried in the shifting sands, a holiday becomes a test of moral character.

Unpredictable, flawed, fun-loving, courageous, bizarre, weak, kind-hearted and loathsome; the individuals in this novel exist beyond the page and into real life.

Seamlessly weaving history and folklore into a plot of loss, passion and intrigue, the reader is kept informed and entertained as this psychological thriller unfolds.

 

Review

This is a very pleasurable read not in the least because of the charm of the African background and setting of the story.

There is a lot of unbelievable twisted mayhem taking place in just under two weeks, with an interesting if unlikely gathering of odd people leading to a number of strange and fatal events happening. I love the fact that each character is fascinating, the personal background is revealed in the ongoing story line, as well as the character developments throughout the story.   In the end however, everything is tied up very neatly which felt a bit strange to me, also because the unraveling of the murders is somewhat of an anti-climax.

It’s not so much the suspense, despite the twists and turns the story takes, but the quality of storytelling and the author’s ability to draw the reader in  that made it such a great read. It’s a great psychological thriller/mystery with African folklore thrown in to top it of. Grab it for a Summer read, you won’t regret it :-)

Kudos

Beautiful, sexy, exciting, mysterious, dangerous and twisted. Those words can be used to describe not only the alluring locations depicted in Lisa de Nikolits’ thrilling novel The Witchdoctor’s Bones, but also some of the eclectic characters fatefully traveling together on a tour bus through South Africa and Namibia. A suspenseful page-turner that will bewitch you until the end.

Warning: You may get hungry reading this book. Some of the exotic dishes described in this novel sound so enticing you may want to risk being on a bus-load of crazy people to sample them.

- Alexander Galant, author of ‘Depth of Deception (A Titanic Murder Mystery)’

“Imagine you’ve signed up for a low-budget safari in South Africa and find yourself cheek-to-cheek on a battered van with the most bizarre travellers you’ve ever met – except in some ways they do remind you of characters you’ve encountered in a late-night screening of Moulin Rouge.

By planting her characters in the untamed landscape of the South African wilderness, de Nikolits has stripped away the niceties and rigours of polite society. You’re drawn in. Illicit love, rejected love, misfired love, machinations of all sorts, and all involving characters of dubious integrity and (in some cases) of questionable sanity. Such are the players in Lisa de Nikolits’s The Witchdoctor’s Bones, who’ve embarked on a journey that soon seethes with peril (physical and psychological), and not solely because of the wild creatures roaming the bush veld.

Sweet-talking Kate, the Canadian, is the closest thing you get to a heroine in The Witchdoctor’s Bones, proof that the best woman will be left standing.”

– Doug O’Neill, Canadian Living

Fascinating South African lore comes to life in The Witchdoctor’s Bones. De Nikolits gives us more than an intriguing mystery – a look at the dark side of the human soul and the healing power of love.
– D.J. McIntosh, national bestselling author of The Witch of Babylon and The Book of Stolen Tales (Quill + Quire’s top thriller for 2013).

Take sixteen travellers from around the world, gather them on a tour bus bumping its way along the rough roads of South Africa and Namibia, add jealousy, sexual obsession, secrets, violence, magic, poison, mental breakdown and the breathtaking arrogance of tourists treating Africa (and Africans) as their playthings, and you have Lisa de Nikolits’ psychological thriller, The Withdoctor’s Bones. As the travellers and their guides slowly reveal their true (and sometimes twisted) natures, the tension ratchets higher and higher in a narrative that draws deeply on African lore and history, with echoes of Christie’s classic Ten Little Indians, Katherine Anne Porter’s Ship of Fools and Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales.
– Terri Favro, author of The Proxy Bride

Put together an international group of travelers, each with their own secrets, in a bus touring Africa and you have the makings of a very suspenseful tale! Lisa de Nikolits does a masterful job of drawing the reader in and not letting go until the last delicious word! Set against an exotic backdrop of Africa and Namibia, this story is a great read!
– Joan O’Callaghan, editor and contributing author of Thirteen

“A cast of intriguing characters is thrust together for an African adventure. What results is far more perilous than anyone could have imagined. Against the beautiful backdrop of South Africa and Namibia, danger and death lurk around every bend in the road, as the trip of a lifetime becomes the holiday from hell. Within the pages of The Witchdoctor’s Bones multiple mysteries emerge, as Lisa de Nikolits takes the reader on a suspense-filled journey that won’t soon be forgotten.”
—Liz Bugg, author of the Calli Barnow Series

Lisa de Nikolits has done it again. This time she shines her characteristically unflinching but loving and humour-filled gaze on the land of her birth, deftly weaving Africa’s ancient witchcraft practices, superstitions, breathtaking beauty and disturbing struggles into the journey of a group of modern-day tourists — whose motives for coming on the “trip of a lifetime” are in some cases highly suspect. The myriad conflicts between the characters are handled so subtly and the physical terrain of southern Africa painted so vividly, you won’t be able to tear yourself away from your own seat on the bus, even as the body count begins to rise.

- Brenda Missen, author of Tell Anna She’s Safe

What I really enjoy about Lisa de Nikolits is her refusal to be pinned down to a particular genre. Besides the fact that The Witchdoctor’s Bones is so different from all her other novels, it’s also incredibly difficult to classify it in its own right. Part travelogue, part psychological thriller, part sociological and anthropological study, The Witchdoctor’s Bones entertains, educates and fascinates all at the same time. It’s a gripping read that draws you into the heart of darkness, both in the literal and figurative sense; the action takes place in untamed Africa, but it’s the darkness in the human heart that de Nikolits portrays with such chilling precision. It’s a page-turner that will keep you biting your nails right up to the bitter end.
– Bianca Marais, http://biancamarais.com/ Musings of a Wannabe Writer

Read an excerpt

Kate and Marika made coffee and rejoined the others who were huddled around the fire pit while Stepfan and Charisse moved off to one side and were deep in a private conversation.

“So what’s the big discussion about?” Kate asked, sitting down.

“I’m trying to explain the difference between sangomas versus witchdoctors,” Helen said, sitting back on her heels. “I thought I knew but then once I started explaining it, I realised I’m confused. Jono, maybe you can help us out?”

“I can,” Jono said, accepting a beer from Richard. “Thank you. First, some facts. Eighty-four percent of all South Africans consult a sangoma more than three times a year and there are more than 200,000 sangomas in South Africa alone. A witch and a sangoma are not the same thing whereas a witchdoctor,” he emphasized the last word, “is the same thing as a sangoma but the term witchdoctor is considered to be a perjorative one that came from the European settlers. Sangomas are practitioners of complimentary medicine and they serve a long apprenticeship learning to become intermediaries between the world of spirits and the world of the living. Witches are a whole other thing, they are evil and dangerous and if they cannot be cured, they are stoned to death or buried alive.”

“Yes, they certainly gave Kleine Skok the heebie jeebies,” Richard stretched his feet towards the fire. “Poor fellow, he had this godawful lump of dried up rabbit’s blood and I asked him if that was something a witchdoctor would use and he nearly shot right off the mountain. I felt quite dreadful for asking.”

Jono laughed and took a drink of his beer. “Yes, I can imagine that frightened him in a big way. More than six hundred people have been killed in the last ten years in Gauteng alone, because they were accused of being witches, so even the mention of such a thing is frightening for many people.”

“Can you cure someone of being a witch?” Eva asked.

“Yes, but it’s not easy,” Jono said. “You have to call an isanusi, a professional who can smell out witches and get rid of them.

“There are many kinds of witches,” he continued, “one of which is the night-witch who is invisible during the daytime but then at night, changes into an animal; a crocodile, a hyena, a lion, a wolf maybe. Night-witches devour human bodies, dead or alive during the night and they can been seen flying at night, with fire coming out of their bottoms.”

“They fart fire?” Mia found this hysterically funny and the rest of the group joined in, laughing. “Oh lord, fire-farting witches, knock my bleedin’ socks off.”

“Isn’t it true,” Helen queried when the laughter died down, “that Western doctors found a high correlation between schizophrenia and epilepsy in individuals who have been accused of being witches?”

Jono nodded. “Which would explain the hallucinations they have,” he said. “And some of them have also been found to be manic-depressives and schizophrenics. But if you ask me, this does not mean that Western medicine has any kind of increased knowledge in this area, it’s just that you call your witches by a lot of medical-sounding names and find different ways to treat them.”

“Touché.” Richard exclaimed while Helen nodded enthusiastically.

“So,” Jono said, “we have the isanusi or shaman, or the witch-finder, who sniffs them out, and then you have the witch-doctor, an igqira, who can smell by moral, not physical means, the corrupt presence of the witch or sorcerer. The isanusi is the diviner, and he is called upon to explain the source of your misfortune and to see if you have a witch. The sangoma, which is a Zulu word by the way, is the one who will be invited to cleanse an entire village of witchcraft by giving them emetics, or sneezing powder or making incisions into which medicine is rubbed, or by many other methods.”

“How does the isanusi know what to do?” Kate asked.

“The diviners, or isanusi, receives his knowledge from the spirits and there are more than sixty documented methods to ask the spirits; reading the stars, throwing sticks, studying lines in the sand, observing the blood trickling from a victim, even by looking at how birds are flying or how they are sitting on a tree. A lot of people think that diviners are not good because they are trying to know God’s secrets before God wants us to know them, and we should not be attempting to steal divine secrets.”

“I’m divining that it’s high time for schnapps.” Mia got to her feet, and brushed embedded grass from her legs. “I’m getting the Archers. Go on, you lot.” She waved and walked across the grass. “Don’t wait for me.”

“Yes, carry on Jono,” Richard said, “Mia won’t mind, she’s not into this sort of thing.”

“I find it incredibly amazing,” Helen spoke up quickly, “I wish I’d had time to learn more. Well, better late than never.” She smiled at Richard who cracked open another beer and missed her meaningful glance.

“So the sangoma tries to cure the witch…” Kate reminded Jono where he had left off.

“Yes,” Jono said, “but curing witches is a very small part of what the sangoma does as his life’s work. The main function of the sangoma is to heal and protect people in the community.

“Are sangomas only men?” Eva asked.

“No, both men and women can be sangomas, and they are generally very respected members of the community. Even Nelson Mandela was circumcised by a sangoma when he was sixteen by a famous ingcibi, a circumcision expert. Sangomas conjure up potions, known as muti to make you better and muti is made from all sorts of herbs and things. Then the sangoma dances herself, or himself, into a trance, usually with his drum which also has a spirit, and this is how they contact the spirit. Then they will alter their voice and begin to talk, using two voices, relying on their powers of ventriloquism.”

“I was told you can recognize a sangoma by their dress which is covered in beads, and is very ornamental, in red which is bomvu, black which is mnyama and white, mhlophe,” Helen said, hoping to impress Richard with her knowledge.
Jono nodded. “The medicine the sangoma mixes can be based on colours also. The sangoma mixes opposite colours together, uniting them symbolically and then real life harmony follows. Light colours represent life and masculinity, dark colours are death and femininity.”

“I knew it.” Richard poked Mia who had returned with the bottle of schnapps and a sleeping bag, “you women are the death of men.”

Mia tittered, slapped him on the shoulder and wrapped herself in the sleeping bag. She opened the bottle, took a long swig and passed it to Jasmine.

“Is it true,” Marika asked, “that sangomas study for as long as doctors?”

“Yes. It takes seven years for the sangoma to study, and he, or she, studies a lot of things; techniques of divination, treatment of psychological, mental, physical conditions, animal and plant medicine use, the anatomy of the soul, ritual mastery, prayer and invocation, throwing the bones, trans-body, chant and song, channeling souls, soul ascension, case study, tradition and culture, and finally, techniques of investigation. Sangomas are also very good detectives and great historians and guardians of local culture and learning.”

“Impressive,” Kate said. “But the witches sound horrible.”

“They are. Witches operate on fear, superstition and rumour,” Jono said. “The evils of gossip. Nowadays even some of the churches use witchcraft to bring new worshippers, convincing them their problems are due to supernatural witch curses that only the church can cure. Some churches even preach that diseases like AIDS and leprosy, blindness, deafness, impotence and infertility are muti curses by witches.”

“Before we left,” Richard said, “I read an article about how Tanzanian witchdoctors have been killing albinos and harvesting their body parts because they think it will bring them good luck. What’s with that? Why albinos, why body parts for good luck?”

“What have you been reading, my friend, to hear that?” Jono asked and Richard’s expression became guarded.

“Oh, general research and whatnot. One’s interested in studying up before a trip, and what with the Internet, it’s astounding what one comes across. Some scary stuff actually. But why albinos, Jono?”

“Because they are considered to be very sacred. They are treated with deep respect because they are believed to be spirits born as human beings. And the whole muti body parts thing, well, that’s a whole other area, my friend, that is a dark thing for sure.”

“I’d be super keen to hear the whole bangshoot,” Richard said.

“Maybe you are, my friend but it’s not a discussion for the faint-hearted,” Jono warned. “And yes, Richard, I know the events of which you speak. At this time, nineteen albinos have been murdered in less than a year. But one last word on witches; they are also accused of inciting adultery, alcohol abuse and theft. Witches also have immense power to turn innocent people into witches and therefore it’s possible to become a witch without even being aware of it, simply by eating contaminated food or picking up an ‘impure’ object.”

“Oh, do not, for the love of God, tell Harrison any of this,” Richard said, “we’re all sworn to secrecy. Can you image what he’d be like if he heard these sorts of things? He’ll be rubbing everything, including us, in antiseptic.”

“All for one and one for all, we say nothing,” Helen assured him. “Jono, what about tokoloshes? I’ve tried to find out about them but no one would really tell me anything.”

“Ah,” Jono said, “the infamous tokoloshe. Helen, here is the secret to creating one – you remove the eyes and tongue from a full size corpse, then you blow a secret powder into its mouth and it is comes to life and will obey your every wish. But there is a high price for creating a tokoloshe, including the death of a relative within a year, because the spirits do not give life freely. If you are prepared to create an unnatural life, then you must be prepared to destroy a natural one.”

“An unnatural life,” Kate echoed and even the fire seemed to flicker and dim. Mia offered her the bottle of schnapps but she shook her head. Mia shrugged and passed the bottle to Jasmine.

“The tokoloshe,” Jono continued, “is a spirit in the households of witches and warlocks and they speak with a lisp…”
“Sofie’s a tokoloshi.” Mia sat up, giggling “I suspected it all along.”

“She’s not small and brown,” Richard objected.

“Nor does she have a penis so long it has to be slung over her shoulder,” Jono said. “Sorry Mia, but she falls short of many of the physical characteristics needed.”

Mia found this so hilarious she nearly fell into the fire.

“Easy there, cupcake,” Richard said, kicking a burning log further away from her.

“I’m fine.” Mia protested, “perfectly composed. It’s the thought of Sofie with a giant penis slung over her shoulder, lisping…” She and Jasmine hung onto each other, hooting with laughter.

“The tokoloshe,” Jono said, “is very unusual in that he has a single buttock. Apparently Satan was unable to replicate this uniquely human feature, of our lovely, well rounded bottoms. So if you wish to scare away the devil, you must bare your buttocks at him and he will be frightened by that which he cannot have.”

“Ah that’s why mooning is such a handy tool,” Mia yelled. “Never mind crosses for vampires, just pull down your pants to the devil. Go on Richard luv, show us your moon.”

“Yes,” Helen chimed in, “show us.”

“I respectfully decline the invitation,” Richard said, “go on Jono.”

“I am too worried to continue,” Jono said. “I am afraid this discussion is being a health hazard to Mia.”

“No, I’m fine,” Mia gasped, “but my stomach hurts from laughing. Oh bleedin’ hell, this is hilarious. Go on Jono.”

“Part of the tokoloshi’s duties,” Jono said, “is to make love to its witch mistress, which is why he was created so well-endowed. As a reward for fulfilling these sexual duties, the tokoloshi is rewarded with milk and food.”

“Milk?” Kate was perplexed. “Why milk?”

“Milk is considered a sacred drink in many parts of Africa,” Jono explained, “it has many healing powers.”

“Likes to suck on a bit of tit, does he?” Richard was thoughtful. “Sign of a good man if you ask me.”

Jono ignored this comment and continued. “If you do see a tokoloshe, do not annoy it by talking to it and most certainly do not point at it because it will vanish immediately.”

“How on earth can I not look,” Mia shook with laughter, “when its hung like a bleedin’ donkey?”

Despite having downed half the bottle of schnapps, Mia was surprisingly coherent, unlike Jasmine, who had abruptly fallen fast asleep and was snoring slightly.

Jono finished the last of his beer and looked regretful. “Well, everyone, I must go to sleep or I will be a bad driver in the morning. Thank you very much for listening.”

He looked at Kate who grinned at him.

“No, thank you,” Richard said. “You’re incredibly knowledgeable, Jono, and I look forward to more stories about muti and witchdoctor’s and the like. Anyone else like one for the ditch? Last call, people, last call.”

“I’m going to bed,” Eva said. “Thanks Jono, thanks everyone.”

“Yeah, we’re calling it a night too,” Kate and Marika said, getting up.

“Me too,” Helen said. “That was fascinating, thanks Jono.”

“I’ll have one more,” Mia said, “lay it on baby.”

Jasmine was still fast asleep and Mia patted her head.

-.-

 

Author Bio

Originally from South Africa, Lisa De Nikolits has been a Canadian citizen since 2003. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature and Philosophy and has lived in the U.S.A., Australia and Britain.

Her first novel, The Hungry Mirror, won the 2011 IPPY Awards Gold Medal for Women’s Issues Fiction and was long-listed for a ReLit Award.

Her second novel, West of Wawa, won the 2012 IPPY Silver Medal Winner for Popular Fiction and was one of Chatelaine’s four Editor’s Picks.

Her third novel, A Glittering Chaos, launched in Spring 2013 to much acclaim and is about murder, madness, illicit love and poetry. It is just tied to win the IPPY Silver Medal for Popular Fiction, 2014.

All books published by Inanna Publications.

Catch Up With the Author:

Other Tour Participants

7/01 ~ Interview & Showcase @ Lauries Thoughts and Reviews
7/02 ~ Showcase @ Ryder Islingtons Blog
7/03 ~ Guest Post @ Writers and Authors
7/07 ~ Guest Post & Review @ Deal Sharing Aunt
7/08 ~ Review @ Hotchpotch
7/09 ~ Showcase @ The Opinionated Me
7/10 ~ Review & Giveaway @ Wall-to-wall books
7/14 ~ Review & Giveaway @ 3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, & Sissy, Too!
7/15 ~ Review @ Book Dilettante
7/16 ~ Review @ Vics Media Room
7/17 ~ Interview & Showcase @ CMash Reads
7/20 ~ Suspense Magazine Blog Talk Radio 10am PST/1pm EST
7/23 ~ Guest Post & Showcase @ The Book Faery Reviews
7/24 ~ Showcase @ A Blue Million Books
7/25 ~ Review @ FictionZeal. com
7/29 ~ Showcase @ X-Mas Dolly

Partners In Crime Tours

PICT buttonPICT was founded in  2011 and is a Virtual Book Tour site that helps new, rising and popular crime/ suspense/ thriller/ mystery authors promote their books in the virtual world. It is always a joy to work with Cheryl, Gina and Lance! If you are interested to review books in this genre too, please, feel free to complete the tour host submission form here.

 

Disclaimer

Every (e)book received for review on the tours for Partners In Crime Tours is given in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.

 

Book Review: Hypocrisy by Daniel M. Annechino

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Book Details

Genre: Medical Thriller

Content Rating: PG 13 Mature

Publication Date: March 13th, 2014

Number of Pages: 295

ASIN: B00J0BU3IY/ISBN-13: 9781495931246

Purchase Links: Amazon, B&N, Bookdepository

Synopsis

Book Cover - HypocrisyDr. Lauren Crawford is a brilliant research scientist who discovers a revolutionary treatment for cancer that not only extends life, but much improves the quality of life for terminal cancer patients. The treatment, in some instances, can even cure certain cancers. On the evening before Dr. Crawford holds a press conference to announce that the FDA has given preliminary approval of her new cancer treatment, somebody follows her to her car and puts three bullets in her head. Was it a planned murder with a motive, a mugging gone badly, or merely a random act of violence?

Two New York City homicide detectives, Amaris Dupree and T.J. Brown, are assigned to the investigation. The detectives evaluate the circumstances surrounding Dr. Crawford’s death, and follow a trail of clues that exposes a sequence of startling facts. One by one, the detectives carefully examine each suspect and piece together a puzzle with unimaginable implications. As the investigation gets more intense, and the detectives get closer to solving the murder mystery, someone threatens Dupree’s life. The detectives now realize that Dr. Crawford’s murder was much more than a homicide. And if they don’t arrest the murderer soon, Dupree might be the next victim.

 

 

 

 

Review

The premise of the story – promising treatment/cure for cancer versus big pharma earning its dough – is one that is, in my opinion, completely plausible. It’s a pity though that the medical side is not developed more, as we do not get to know more about the research other than the fact it is groundbreaking.

The main characters are a bit too developed, and I like mine well done. It seems as if all of it has to fit in. For me, the story line was pretty predictable, with few surprises, some turns were a bit abrupt and I kept wondering about the title in relation to the story.

Having said that, I found most of the characters very enjoyable, the story is fast-paced, the epilogue is sweet, overall it is an entertaining, smooth read that readers with a love for police procedure will certainly enjoy.

 

Author Bio

Daniel M. AnnechinoDaniel M. Annechino, a former book editor specializing in full-length fiction, wrote his first book, How to Buy the Most Car for the Least Money, in 1992 while working as a General Manager in the automobile business. But his passion had always been fiction, particularly thrillers. He spent two years researching serial killers before finally penning his gripping and memorable debut novel They Never Die Quietly. His second book Resuscitation (Thomas & Mercer 2011), a follow-up to his first novel, hit #1 in Kindle sales in both the USA and UK. He is also the author of I Do Solemnly Swear (Thomas & Mercer 2012). Hypocrisy, is Annechino’s fourth novel.

A native of New York, Annechino now lives in San Diego with his wife, Jennifer. He loves to cook, enjoys a glass of vintage wine, and spends lots of leisure time on the warm beaches of Southern California.

Where to find Daniel: Website, Facebook, Twitter.

 

iRead Book Tour Logo MediumiRead Book Tours  is a virtual book tour company that works with authors, publishers, publicists and book bloggers.book touring website that aims to help authors promote their books and get in contact with readers.

 

Tour participants

May 12 – Peeking Between the Pages – review / giveaway
May 13 – Every Free Chance Book Reviews – review / giveaway
May 14 – Bound 4 Escape – review
May 14 – Rockin’ Book Reviews – book spotlight
May 15 – Reviews From The Heart – review
May 16 – Omnimystery News – guest post
May 19 – Based on a True Story… – review / giveaway
May 20 – Back Porchervations – review
May 21 – Hezzi-D’s Books and Cooks – review
May 22 – A Blue Million Books – book spotlight / author interview
May 23 – The Pen and Muse Book Reviews – author interview
May 26 – Bookaholics Must Read – review
May 27 – Rockin’ Book Reviews – review
May 28 – Let’s Talk About Books – review
May 29 – The Things We Read – review
May 30 – Views From the Countryside – review
June 2 – A Nook of Blankets and Books – review
June 3 – Omnimystery News – author interview
June 4 – By Book or By Crook – review
June 5 – All Things Bookie – review
June 6 – Lizzie in Wonderland – review
June 9 – Brooke Blogs – review / author interview
June 10 – Book Loving Hippo – review / guest post
June 11 – Peggy Ann’s Post – review / giveaway
June 12 – Back Porchervations – guest post
June 13 – A Bookish Escape – review
June 16 – Mary’s Cup of Tea – review
June 17 – Ryder Islington’s Blog – review
June 18 – The Many Thoughts of a Reader – review
June 19 – Hotch Potch – review
June 19 – Library of Clean Reads – review
June 20 – CelticLady’s Reviews – review

 

Disclaimer

Every (e)book received for review on the tours for iRead Book Tours is given in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.

PICT Book Review: Hide and Seek by Amy Shojai

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Hide and Seek

by Amy Shojai

on Tour June 1 – July 31, 2014

Book Details

Genre: Suspense/Thriller
Series: September Day Series #2
Published by: Cool Gus Publishing
Publication Date: January 2014
Number of Pages: 254
ISBN: 978-1621251477
Purchase Links:

 

Synopsis

Hide and SeekA mysterious contagion will shatter countless lives unless a service dog and his trainer find a missing cat . . . in 24 hours.

A STALKER hides in plain sight.

A VICTIM faces her worst fear.

AND A DOG seeks the missing—and finds hope.

Eight years ago, animal behaviorist September Day escaped a sadistic captor who left her ashamed, terrified, and struggling with PTSD. She trusts no one—except her cat Macy and service dog Shadow.

Shadow also struggles with trust. A German Shepherd autism service dog who rescued his child partner only to lose his-boy forever, Shadow’s crippling fear of abandonment shakes his faith in humans.

They are each others’ only chance to survive the stalker’s vicious payback, but have only 24 hours to uncover the truth about Macy’s mysterious illness or pay the deadly consequences. When September learns to trust again, and a good-dog takes a chance on love, together they find hope in the midst of despair–and discover what family really means.

Review

A compelling story with a dog as a hero, written by a specialist in animal behavior, with a dash of intrigue and a splash of suspense, some dead bodies and a lot of hiding and seeking. All ingredients that make for a very enjoyable read!

In the course of the story September’s history is slowly revealed, and the reader gets a hold of what made her into the person she now is, as well as gets clarification of the status of certain relationships she has in the village.

I think the reader does better in reading this series in order, pure for enjoyment purposes. There are many references to earlier events and incidents.

Looking forward to the next book in the series!

Read an excerpt

HIDE AND SEEK

Prologue

Tommy Dietz grabbed the car door handle with one bloody fist, and braced his other hand against the roof, worried the carcasses in the back would buck out of the truck’s bed. Despite the precaution, his head thumped the muddy window. He glared at the driver who drove the truck like he rode a bronco, but BeeBo Benson’s full moon face sported the same toothless grin he’d worn for the past two weeks. Even BeeBo’s double chins smiled, including the rolls at the nape of his freckled neck.

The ferret thin guy in the middle snarled each time his Katy Railroad belt buckle chinked against the stick shift he straddled. Gray hair straggled from under his hat and brushed his shoulders. He had to slouch or he risked punching his head through the rust-eaten roof. Randy Felch’s snaky eyes gave Dietz the shivers even more than the freezing temperatures spitting through windows that refused to seal.

Three across the cramped seat would be a lark for high school buddies out on the town, but the men were decades beyond graduation. Dietz was in charge so Felch could either ride the hump or share the open truck bed with two carcasses, and the new Production Assistant.

Dietz stifled a laugh. Not so high-and-mighty now, was he? The man must really want the job. Vince Grady had turned green when he was told to climb into the back of the truck. Just wait till he got a load of the dump. Dietz remembered his first visit three years ago when he’d been out scouting locations. He wondered how the spit-and-polish Grady would react.

He’d hired locals for the rest of the crew. They needed the work, and didn’t blink at the SAG ultra-low pay scale, the shitty weather, or the stink. In this business, you took anything available when pickings were slim. Then the show got picked up and union fees grabbed him by the short hairs. Amateur talent screwing around and missing call times cost even more money, so he needed a Production Assistant—PA in the lingo—with more polish and bigger balls to keep the wheels greased. A go-to guy able to think on his feet, get the job done. No matter what.

If Grady wanted the PA job, he’d have to be willing to get his hands dirty, and stand up to BeeBo and his ilk. Riding in the open truck bed was illegal as hell, though here in North Texas even the cops turned a blind eye unless it was kids. This was an audition, and Grady knew it.

He had to give Grady props—he’d not blinked, but clenched his jaw and climbed right in when they collected him at his hotel. He’d been less enthusiastic after following the hunters most of the morning, tramping to hell and gone through rough country until his eyes threatened to freeze shut. Something drove the man, something more than a PA credit for piss-poor pay and worse conditions. Hell, something drove them all to work in this unforgiving business. Dietz didn’t care about anyone else’s demons as long as they let him feed his own.

Dietz craned to peer out the back to be sure the man hadn’t been tossed out the tailgate. Grady gave Dietz a thumbs-up. Probably wants to point a different finger, Dietz thought.

Grady wore the official Hog Hell blue work gloves and ski mask—dark blue background and DayGlo red star on the face—or he’d be picking his frostbit nose off the floor.

Prime time in the back woods. Dietz’s quick smile faded. Nothing about this trip was prime, not even the butchered Bambi in the back. Deer season ran November through early January, and it was always open season on hogs, so they were legal for any follow up film footage. The two deer hadn’t looked good even before BeeBo dropped them, but that’s what viewers wanted. Crocodile wrestlers, duck dynasties, and gold rush grabbers with crusty appeal and redder necks.

Nobody wanted actors anymore. Casting directors looked for “real people.” So he’d caught a clue, jumped off the thespian hamster wheel, moved to New York and reinvented himself as Tommy Dietz, Producer. He’d found his calling with a development company relatively quickly.

A movie star face didn’t hurt. Everyone these days had a little nip-and-tuck; it was part of the biz. He’d been selling his version of reality for years anyway, and always came out on top. He hit it out of the park on his third project. Hog Hell kicked off the next step with a Texas-size leap. He’d show them all, those who’d laughed at his dreams, calling him a loser. And he’d make them sorry.

The shabby pickup lurched down and back up again, and its engine growled and complained. Dietz was surprised the seat hadn’t fallen through the floor. The overgrown road the hunters called a pig path consisted of frozen ruts formed from previous tire treads. They damn well better not get stuck out here.

“Don’t worry, she’ll make it.” BeeBo talked around the stub of his unlit cigar. “This ol’ warhorse made the trip so often, she could drive herself. Ain’t that right, Felch?” BeeBo reached to downshift and Felch winced as the other man’s ham-size fist grabbed and jerked the stick between his knees.

Dietz sighed. Out the window, skeletal trees clawed the pregnant sky. Weird flocks of blackbirds moved in undulating clouds, exploding from one naked tree after another to clothe the next with feathered leaves. Spooky.

Thank God the icy weather stayed dry. Heartland, Texas had dug out of a record-breaking snowfall, and the locals hadn’t quite recovered. It put a kink in Hog Hell filming and they’d barely met the deadlines. Delay turned his balance book bloody with red ink.

Back home in Chicago they’d been hit with the same blizzard and so had NYC. But big cities knew how to manage winter weather. Apparently North Texas rolled up the sidewalks with even the hint of flurries. He wondered if BeeBo and Felch knew what to do in the snow, and didn’t want to find out. The thought of hunkering down overnight in the truck with these men turned his stomach.

Dietz adjusted his own ski mask. He’d folded it up off his face so the blue cap hugged his head while the red star painted a bull’s-eye on his forehead. He wore the official coat, too; dark blue and a bright hunter-safe star on the front and back, with the Hog Hell logo. The Gore-Tex fabric crackled with newness, and his blistered feet whimpered inside wet, dirt-caked boots. No way would he wear his new $300 Cabela’s, purchased for photo ops at the upcoming watch party. He had a gun, too. In Texas nobody cared if you carried. They expected it.

BeeBo’s preferred weapon, an ancient short barreled shotgun loaded with deer slugs, contrasted sharply with Felch’s double gun he’d had custom made last season. Felch shot 44 Magnums, and the cut down double barrel rifle boasted enough firepower to take out an elephant, or a charging feral boar hog.

They sleeved the guns in canvas cases stowed in the back of the truck, but the hunters cared far less about their own attire.

BeeBo and Felch would wear official Hog Hell gear at the watch party in five weeks, but not before. Dietz didn’t want them stinking up the outfits. Today they wore wash-faded coveralls, heavy work coats, earflap hats, clunky boots with thorn-tangled laces, and frayed gloves with fingertips cut out. A bit of peeling DayGlo tape formed an “X” on the back and front of each coat after Dietz insisted on the nod to safety, even though he knew the two hunters paid little mind to official start and end dates during hunting season.

That was the point of the original reality program Cutting Corners that focused on people forced to skirt the rules to make ends meet. The unlikely stars of a single episode, though, turned Felch and BeeBo into overnight sensations and birthed the new show after Cutting Corners tanked. The two hunters were experts at skirting rules. Dietz was no slouch, either.

In the truck bed, Grady swayed back and forth. He’d pushed up the ski mask enough to expose his mouth. White breath puffed out in a jerky tempo, and Dietz wondered if the man would pass out. If Grady took a header off the truck bed, the liability would kill the show. “Find a spot to stop, BeeBo. I think our new team member has had enough.”

Felch grunted. “No place to stop till we get there. Unless you want us to get stuck.” He grinned, but the expression never reached his eyes. “You don’t want us lugging that shit back to your hotel. The stink ain’t something you want close by.”

BeeBo guffawed. “Got that right. With all the hunters unloading, it’s what y’all might call a ‘renewable resource.’” He twisted the wheel and the truck bucked, jittering the decades old pine-shaped deodorizer suspended from the rear view mirror. “The critters take care of the stink pretty quick, though.” His hairless wide-eyed face was a ringer for the Gerber baby. “It’s around that next bend. You might even catch a whiff of Jiff by now.”

Dietz wrinkled his nose. The pungent aroma wasn’t assuaged by the air freshener that had probably come with the vehicle. He shielded his head from another thump, and squinted ahead through the crusty windshield. Wiper blades had torn loose on the passenger’s side and smeared the detritus rather than clearing the view. It didn’t bother BeeBo.

The trio remained silent during the final bump-and-grind through the trees. They pulled halfway into the clearing, and Dietz waited impatiently until BeeBo cranked the steering wheel, turned, and backed beneath a massive tree with pendulous clusters decorating the branches. Grady ducked, or he would have been scraped off by low limbs.

Several similar trees bordered the clearing, and another smaller truck squatted at the far end of the area. An elderly man stood in the truck bed and flailed tree branches with a long pole, while the woman dodged and weaved beneath to gather the resulting shower in a bucket.

“What’s that?” Grady wasted no time jumping off the truck bed. He gagged when the wind shifted.

“Nuts.” Felch unfolded himself from the cramped middle seat. “Pecan trees. They’re gleaning the nuts.”

Dietz’s stomach clenched. He pulled the ski mask over his lips and breathed through his mouth, imagining he could taste the odor that closed his throat. Neither Felch nor BeeBo seemed to notice the stench.

Grady wiped his watery eyes. The breeze paused and he gulped a less contaminated breath. “Pecans? To eat?”

The truck squeaked, rocked and grew two inches when BeeBo stepped out. “Back in town they’ll pay $8 to $10 per pound, once shelled. I got my daddy’s old commercial sheller—held together with baling twine and spit, but works okay. I only charge fifty-cents a pound to shell.” He shrugged. “Every little bit helps. It’s too early for most of the big-name commercial farms, but for the gleaners, if ya wait too long the squirrels get ‘em off the trees, or the pigs root ‘em off the ground. Pigs eat lots of the same stuff the deer and turkeys eat, acorns and suchlike. But they get ground-nesting bird eggs, too. Pigs’ll root up and eat damn near anything.” He jerked his chins at Felch. “Gimme a hand.” He lumbered toward the back of the truck and waited by the taillights.

Felch vaulted in the bed of the vehicle, and adjusted his gloves. He pointed. “Smorgasbord, y’all. Hey Slick, you might want to get video of this. Bet your big-city cronies never seen the like.” His yellow teeth gleamed. He bent low, and grunted as he pushed and tugged the black plastic bag to the tailgate, hopped down and joined BeeBo. Together they slung the truck’s cargo into the pit.

Yipping and growls erupted from below. Dietz stayed back, he’d seen it before. This stuff he wouldn’t put on the air. This’d be too much even for the hardcore viewers without the added value of aroma.

Grady covered his mouth and nose in the crook of his elbow. He edged closer to the deep trough, a natural ditch-like runoff that sat dry three-quarters of the year. Piles of gnawed and scattered bones mixed with carcasses in various stages of decomposition. A family of coyotes tried to claim BeeBo’s tossed deer remains, but was bluffed away by a feral boar.

Grady ripped off his ski mask, puked, wiped his mouth, and grabbed his camera with a shaking hand. He spit on the frozen ground and jutted his chin at Dietz. “So?”

Dietz smiled. “You got the gig.”

***

The damn ski mask dragged against his hair so much, the normally clear adhesive had turned chalky. Victor had removed the wig after dissolving the glue with a citrus-scented spray, a much more pleasant olfactory experience than the afternoon’s visit to the dump. A shower rinsed away any lingering miasma, but he gladly put up with the stink, the rednecks, and the sneers. The payoff would be worth it.

Until then, he couldn’t afford for anyone in Heartland to recognize him. His tool kit of fake teeth, makeup and assorted hairpieces kept him under the radar. For the price, nearly fifty bucks for a four-ounce bottle of adhesive, it damn well better hold the new wig in place for the promised six weeks. He rubbed his hands over his pale, bald head and grinned. Even without the wig, she’d be hard pressed to recognize him.

Muscles had replaced the beer gut, Lasik surgery fixed his eyes, a chin implant and caps brightened his smile. He’d done it all, one step at a time, over the eight years it took to track her down. He’d even changed his name and transformed himself into a man she couldn’t refuse.

He’d done it for her. Everything for her.

He dialed his phone. “I want to order flowers. Forget-Me-Nots, in a white box with a yellow ribbon. Got that? And deliver them December eighteenth. It’s our anniversary.” He listened. “Use red ink. The message is ‘payback.’ Got that? No signature, she’ll know it’s me.” He picked up a news clipping that listed the address, and admired the picture. She was lovely as ever. “Two-oh-five Rabbit Run Road, Heartland, Texas. Deliver to September Day. The name is just like the month.” He chuckled softly. “Yes, it will be a lovely holiday surprise.” He could hardly wait.

 

Author Bio

Amy Shojai is a certified animal behavior consultant, and the award winning author of 26 bestselling pet books that cover furry babies to old fogies, first aid to natural healing, and behavior/training to Chicken Soupicity. She is the Puppies Expert at puppies.About.com, the cat behavior expert at cats.About.com, and has been featured as an expert in hundreds of print venues including The New York Times, Reader’s Digest, and Family Circle, as well as national radio and television networks such as CNN, Animal Planet’s DOGS 101 and CATS 101. Amy brings her unique pet-centric viewpoint to public appearances. She is also the author of the critically acclaimed dog viewpoint thriller LOST AND FOUND.

Catch Up With the Author:

 

Other Tour Participants

6/01 ~ Suspense Magazine Blog Talk Radio
6/02 ~ Interview @ Lauries Thoughts and Reviews
6/03 ~ Review & Giveaway @ 3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, & Sissy, Too!
6/05 ~ Guest Post @ Writers and Authors
6/10 ~ Review @ Vics Media Room
6/11 ~ Review & Giveaway @ Deal Sharing Aunt
6/16 ~ Showcase @ The Book Divas Reads
6/17 ~ Review @ Hotchpotch
6/18 ~ Interview & Showcase @ CMash Reads
6/20 ~ Guest Post & Showcase @ Thoughts in Progress
6/24 ~ Interview @ Mochas, Mysteries and More
6/25 ~ Review @ Hezzi-Ds Books and Cooks
7/15 ~ Review & Giveaway @ Marys Cup of Tea
7/26 ~ Showcase @ Hott Books

Partners In Crime Tours

PICT buttonPICT was founded in  2011 and is a Virtual Book Tour site that helps new, rising and popular crime/ suspense/ thriller/ mystery authors promote their books in the virtual world. It is always a joy to work with Cheryl, Gina and Lance! If you are interested to review books in this genre too, please, feel free to complete the tour host submission form here.

 

Disclaimer

Every (e)book received for review on the tours for Partners In Crime Tours is given in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.

 

 

PICT Book Review: Telegraph Hill by John Nardizzi

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Telegraph Hill

by John Nardizzi

on Tour June 2014

Book Details

Genre: Crime Fiction, Suspense, Mystery
Published by: Libboo eBook, Merrimack Media Paperback
Publication Date: May 2013
Number of Pages: 232
ISBN: 193916611X / 978-1939166111
Purchase Links:

Synopsis

Telegraph HillIn Telegraph Hill, private detective Ray Infantino searches for a missing girl named Tania. The case takes him to San Francisco, the city he abandoned years ago after his fiance was murdered. Thrust into his old city haunts, Ray finds that Tania may not be lost at all. Tania saw a murder; and a criminal gang, the Black Fist Triad, wants to make sure she never sees anything again. Ray enlists help from an old flame, Dominique, but now he has three women on his mind.

Meeting with various witnesses-ex-cops, prostitutes, skinheads-he relentlessly tracks the evidence. But the hunt for Tania fires his obsession with avenging the murder of his fiance. When the triad retaliates, and blood begins to flow, Ray must walk the knife-edge between revenge and redemption on the streets of San Francisco.

Review

Idyllic and gritty descriptions alternate in this well-written detective story. It is a smooth read, although characters could have been developed more, apart from perhaps Ray Infantino.

The story evolves against the backdrop of the Chinese gangs with links to Hong Kong, which made it a more interesting story for me. San Fransisco is described in detail, which will appeal to those who know the city intimately.

The story line is a bit ragged and the ending begs for a sequence. Overall, an interesting and fun read.

Read an excerpt

Jones was halfway down on the left side, a boxy, blue thirty-unit apartment building with Victorian adornments long since left to rot. The building was in a neighborhood on the lower section of Jones. It was the perfect spot for vice, where the steaming muck of the Tenderloin lapped the shores of Nob Hill decency.

The steel security door was ajar. Ray slipped inside and looked at the mailboxes. Apartment 12 was labeled “resident,” with no name listed. A sure sign of criminal activity. The inner door was locked. Ray paused and picked up a newspaper, loitering in the hall. He thought he loitered well. He was considering the next spoke in the investigative wheel when the inner door opened and an Asian woman in jeans and a red leather jacket stepped out. She held the door. Thanking her, Ray entered.

The hallway was painted institutional white. Wall sconces with flame-shaped amber bulbs cast a lurid hue. Debris littered the hallway: bottles with cigarette butts sloshing in the swill, condom wrappers, coffee cups. A sign on the wall read:
Management will not help settle gambling debts. Gamble at your own risk. Manager.

He geared up for the upcoming interview. Numerous scientific studies had been conducted in the field of psychology regarding the detection of deceptive behavior. For a time, experts taught that if a person’s eyes shifted right, he was creating a visual response (and therefore presumably lying); if the person looked left, he was recalling an actual event (and thus most likely telling the truth). Newer studies had concluded that these eye movement theories were utter crap. If a man blinked, he was nervous, or stressed, or he had a gnat caught under his left eyelid; if he sweated profusely, he was lying, or possibly had lived for several years in Finland.

The heavy wooden door of apartment 12 was straight ahead.

 

Author Bio

John Nardizzi is an investigator, lawyer, and writer. His writings have appeared in numerous professional and literary journals, including San Diego Writers Monthly, Oxygen, Liberty Hill Poetry Review, Lawyers Weekly USA, and PI Magazine. His fictional detective, Ray Infantino, first appeared in print in the spring 2007 edition of Austin Layman’s Crimestalker Casebook. Telegraph Hill is the first crime novel featuring Infantino.

In May 2003, John founded Nardizzi & Associates, Inc., an investigations firm that has garnered a national reputation for excellence in investigating business fraud and trial work. His investigations on behalf of people wrongfully convicted of crimes led to several million dollar settlements for clients like Dennis Maher, Scott Hornoff and Kenneth Waters, whose story was featured in the 2010 film Conviction

Catch Up With the Author:

Other Tour Participants

 

Partners In Crime Tours

PICT buttonPICT was founded in  2011 and is a Virtual Book Tour site that helps new, rising and popular crime/ suspense/ thriller/ mystery authors promote their books in the virtual world. It is always a joy to work with Cheryl, Gina and Lance! If you are interested to review books in this genre too, please, feel free to complete the tour host submission form here.

 

Disclaimer

Every (e)book received for review on the tours for Partners In Crime Tours is given in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.

PICT Book Review: The Insanity Plea by Larry Thompson

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The Insanity Plea

by Larry Thompson

on Tour May 19 – July 20, 2014

Book Details

Genre: Legal Thriller
Published by: Story Merchant Books
Publication Date: May 13, 2014
Number of Pages: 412
ISBN: 9780989715478
Purchase Links:

Synopsis

InsanityPlea-COVER-667x1000A young nurse is savagely killed during a pre-dawn run on Galveston’s seawall. The murderer slices her running shorts from her body as his trophy and tosses the body over the wall to the rocks below. As dawn breaks, a bedraggled street person, wearing four layers of old, tattered clothes, emerges from the end of the jetty, waving his arms and talking to people only he hears. He trips over the body, checks for a pulse and, instead, finds a diamond bracelet which he puts in his pocket. He hurries across the street, heading for breakfast at the Salvation Army two blocks away, leaving his footprints in blood as he goes.

Wayne Little, former Galveston prosecutor and now Houston trial lawyer, learns that his older brother has been charged with capital murder for the killing. At first he refuses to be dragged back into his brother’s life. Once a brilliant lawyer, Dan’s paranoid schizophrenia had captured his mind, estranging everyone including Wayne. Finally giving in to pleas from his mother, Wayne enlists the help of his best friend, Duke Romack, former NBA star turned criminal lawyer. When Wayne and Duke review the evidence, they conclude that Dan’s chances are slim. They either find the killer or win a plea of insanity since the prosecution’s case is air tight. The former may be a mission impossible since the killer is the most brilliant, devious and cruel fictional murderer since Hannibal Lecter. The chances of winning an insanity plea are equally grim.

It will take the combined skills of the two lawyers along with those of Duke’s girlfriend, Claudia, a brilliant appellate lawyer, and Rita Contreras, Wayne’s next door neighbor and computer hacker extraordinaire, to attempt to unravel the mystery of the serial killer before the clock clicks down to a guilty verdict for Dan.

The Insanity Plea is a spell-binding tale of four amateur sleuths who must find, track and trap a serial killer as they prepare for and defend Wayne brother who is trapped in a mind like that of John Nash, Russell Crowe’s character in A Beautiful Mind.

 

Review

As you know, I like thrillers with that little extra, like this one, dealing with a person who is mentally ill getting caught up in a murder. Even though  it is quite predictable in its story line, the aspects of the mentally ill and being homeless wandering the streets are all too real. I like it that the author is drawing attention to this plight.

I enjoyed the characters surrounding Dan, and the way the killer’s mind works. The ending was a bit disappointing though. It is an interesting read and those loving court room drama’s will definitely be satisfied.

 

Read an excerpt

PROLOGUE

The alarm jolted the young blond woman out of a dream

where she was surfing toward a pristine beach on Maui, which had

mystically transformed itself into jagged rocks. She moaned, turned off

the radio, tried to rub the sleep out of her eyes and forced herself out of

bed. It was five a. m. Debbie Robinson had two hours before she

reported to work as a surgical nurse in the operating room at John Sealy

Hospital in Galveston. Nude, she shuffled to the bathroom and then to

the kitchen where she made a cup of instant coffee before slipping into

a jogging bra, sweatshirt, shorts and New Balance running shoes. A

five mile run along the seawall was her usual routine to prepare for her day

She stopped at the front door to take her key from the entry

table and glanced in the mirror. Even with no make-up, the mirror

reflected a wholesomely attractive face with a sharply defined chin, full

lips, light blue eyes and a nose that had been touched up only slightly

by a friendly plastic surgeon at the hospital. After she pulled her hair

back into a pony tail, she left her apartment, glanced toward the

hospital two blocks over and started a slow trot down 8th Street toward

the Gulf of Mexico and Seawall Boulevard. Reaching the seawall, she

paused momentarily and gazed out across the Gulf. At this hour of the

morning, the stars were still visible in the eastern sky.

Resuming her run, in a matter of a few blocks Debbie had

settled into an eight minute pace, fast enough to get her back to her

apartment in about forty-five minutes. As she approached the old

Galvez Hotel at 21st Street, she heard footsteps coming up behind her.

Early morning joggers were common along the seawall; so she moved

over to allow the other runner to pass.

Suddenly, Debbie felt a strong arm circling her waist and a

hand covering her mouth. She had trained in the martial arts for years

and refused to surrender to her panic. Instead, she twisted and brought

her knee up into the groin of her attacker who groaned but still

succeeded in forcing her to the ground. Before he could pin her arms,

she reached into her shorts and found her apartment key. Using it as her

only weapon, she raked the key as hard as she could down her

attacker’s left cheek.

The killer let a low moan escape his lips. “Damn it, you bitch,

you shouldn’t have done that.”

The killer held her with his left hand while he retrieved a knife

from its holster on his waist. He flipped open the blade and pulled it

from right to left against the soft flesh of her throat. Blood spurted from

both carotid arteries and spilled from her neck. She was breathing more

and more slowly when she slipped to the concrete. Her fluttering eyes

became fixed as life drained from her body. The killer smiled with

satisfaction as he bent over and used his knife to slice the running

shorts from her lifeless body. Being careful not to get her blood on

himself, he picked up her body and tossed it over the seawall to the

rocks below. When he started his slow jog back to the hotel, he felt a

few drops of blood, trickling from his cheek. He used her shorts to stem

the flow. I’ll probably have to explain a Band-Aid on my cheek to my

audience this morning as a shaving cut, he thought. As he continued

his jog, he smiled. She was number three. Forty-seven to go.

***

A boulder covered jetty extended out about a hundred yards in

front of the Galvez. As the sun rose, it illuminated the silhouette of a

man sitting cross-legged at the end of the jetty, watching silently as the

orange hued ball broke through the fog overhanging the Gulf. Satisfied

that he brought forth another day as the voices commanded, he rose and

picked his way through the rocks back to the seawall.

He certainly was not a jogger. His gray hair was a tangled,

matted mess that hung below his shoulders, and he scratched at a long,

scraggly beard as if searching for fleas or mites. He wore four layers of

clothes, all that he possessed, and a tattered brown raincoat found in a

dumpster. When people passed him, they recoiled from the stench of

urine, feces and filth that surrounded him. As he made his way back to

the seawall, he was waving his hands and shaking his head as if to

reject someone’s direction. All the while he was muttering to an unseen

being, something about wanting to be left alone.

He didn’t notice the jogger’s body until he tripped and almost

fell on her. Even then he continued to talk. He bent over and peered

into her face, expecting to find one of his fellow street people passed

out below the wall. When he saw her neck and the pool of blood that

had oozed from the gaping wound, he jumped back, horror framing his

face. Looking around and seeing no one else, he stepped forward again,

not realizing that his left foot was now in the blood. A second time he

bent over the lifeless form and touched her left wrist, searching for a

pulse. There was none. Instead, he found a diamond bracelet, paused as

he glanced up at the seawall once more and took the bracelet from her

wrist. Holding it close to his face, he studied the bracelet and found an

inscription, To Debbie with love, Dad.

Now he became frightened that someone would find him with

the woman. Glancing in all directions to make sure he was not seen, he

stuck the bracelet in the pocket of his second layer of pants where it

would be safe and started for the seawall. Abruptly, he stopped,

listened briefly, nodded and returned to the body where he removed

one of his coats and covered the woman’s head and shoulders. Then he

climbed the steps to the top of the seawall where he saw an older

couple out for a morning stroll. He turned his head to hide his face as

he hurried toward 21st and the Salvation Army where he would join a

line of other homeless ones awaiting breakfast. The couple heard him

continuing his monologue.

“I know, I know, I shouldn’t have taken her bracelet,” he said,

gesturing as if trying to push someone away. “Look, she’s dead. She

didn’t have a pulse. It’s mine now. How many times do I have to tell

you to leave me alone?”

When the light changed to green, he picked up his pace and

crossed Seawall Boulevard, shaking his head. “I’m getting out of here

as quick as I can. You don’t have to tell me how to do everything.”

CHAPTER 1

Wayne Little loved every aspect of a trial except this

one…waiting for the jury to return a verdict. Until the jury retired to

deliberate, he could exert significant control and often take charge as he

maneuvered through voir dire, examination of witnesses, arguing points

of law to the judge and final summation. Once the summation was

concluded, all he could do was wait, often for agonizing hours, even days.

Of course he would win like he nearly always did.

Nonetheless, nagging doubts always crept into his mind as he paced the

halls of the Harris County courthouse. Often, he walked up and down

the stairway just to burn off nervous energy before he would return to

the courtroom, reassure his client and wander off again.

The questions were nearly always the same. Did he make the

right points on closing? Was he too easy on the expert witnesses?

Should he have struck that one juror who glared at him throughout the

trial and stared at the ceiling when he made his closing argument? And

inevitably the longer the jury deliberated, the more questions surfaced.

It had been three hours when Claudia Jackson, a new partner

in the firm and his second chair in the trial, found him at a table in the

basement cafeteria, cold black coffee in his hand.

“Wayne, I’ve been looking all over this damn courthouse for

you,” Claudia said, not trying to hide the exasperation in her voice.

Wayne looked up expectantly. “We get a verdict?”

“No, but I got a call from Grace. She said your cell must be off.

Wayne searched through his pockets for his phone, looked at it

and agreed. “Yeah, I turned it off this morning when we began closing

arguments and forgot about it.”

“Grace says the District Attorney in Galveston called. Said it

was a courtesy call since you worked for him before you joined Tod. I

didn’t know you had been a prosecutor.”

“Guess I never told you. I did three years there before Tod

talked me into leaving my hometown and moving to Houston. That was

about ten years ago.”

“He told Grace to tell you that your brother is in the

hoosegow.”

A cloud crossed Wayne’s face as he stared down at the floor.

“I don’t have a brother, Claudia. I haven’t had one since I’ve been in

Houston.”

Puzzled, Claudia continued, “Wayne, the D. A. said this guy’s

name was Dan Little. He’s apparently in pretty bad shape but mumbled

something about you being his brother. And he had a faded, dirty

business card with your name on it in one of his pockets.

“One more thing. The D. A. said to tell you he is charged with

capital murder.”

After the jury returned a verdict for his client, Wayne told

Claudia he would see her in the office the next day. He walked to the

parking lot where he dropped his briefcase in a blue Nissan Armada

and crossed the street to Tex’s Bar, a place he knew would be

practically deserted in the middle of the afternoon. Wayne was enough

of a regular that Tex, the owner and bartender, knew him by name and

knew his brand of Scotch.

“Gimmie a double, Tex.”

“Starting a little early with the hard stuff today, aren’t you,

Wayne? You just lose a case?”

“No. Actually, I just won one, but this isn’t a celebration. I’ve

got some personal issues to sort through.”

Tex had been a bartender long enough to know when a

customer wanted to be left alone; so, he poured a double Scotch on the

rocks, set it in front of Wayne and walked to the other end of the bar

where he continued to wash drink glasses.

Tex occasionally glanced toward Wayne, wondering what

problems were troubling him. Wayne seemed to have the world by the

tail. He carried a lean and muscular two hundred and ten pounds on a

six foot, four inch frame. His hair was black as the ace of spades and

his gray eyes sparkled when he told a joke or described his last win.

Yet, his easy-going smile hid an intense personality, a young type-A if

there ever was one.

In an hour or so, other lawyers began drifting into the bar.

Seeing Wayne, some tried to strike up a conversation. Wayne was

polite but his manner soon discouraged them; so they wandered off to

other parts of the bar to tell war stories and bitch about judicial rulings.

After enough drinks that Tex was concerned about his driving,

Wayne paid his tab, assuring Tex that he was fine.

Leaving the bar, he considered taking the Metro train which

stopped in Midtown only two blocks from his townhouse. Then he

remembered his Nissan would be too tempting if he left it overnight.

Once he crossed the street he was confronted by a homeless man.

“You got any spare change, mister? I haven’t eaten today and

sure could use a hamburger.”

Wayne usually brushed such requests aside. This time,

wishing it was Dan just asking for a buck, he reached in his back

pocket and pulled a five dollar bill out of his wallet. Then, he continued

to his car, climbed in and left the parking lot on the Fannin Street side.

Carefully observing speed limits and red lights, he drove south on

Fannin to his home. Wayne tried to push Claudia’s news out of his

mind, only the more he tried the quicker the thoughts returned. In less

than ten minutes he punched in the code at the complex gate, entered

the driveway and turned down into his garage.

 

Author Bio

Larry D. Thompson is a veteran trial lawyer and has drawn on decades of experience in the courtroom to produce riveting legal thrillers. After graduating from the University of Texas School of Law, Thompson founded the Houston trial firm where he still serves as managing partner. The proud father of three grown children, he lives and works in Texas but spends his summers in Colorado, where he crafts his novels and hikes the mountains surrounding Vail. His greatest inspiration came from Thomas Thompson, his brother, who wrote many best-selling true-crime books and novels.

Catch Up With the Author:

Other Tour Participants

5/15 ~ Radio Interview @ Suspense Radio
5/27 ~ Review @ Hotchpotch
5/28 ~ Interview @ Lauries Thoughts and Reviews
6/02 ~ Guest Post @ Writers and Authors
6/02 ~ Review & Giveaway @ Deal Sharing Aunt
6/06 ~ Review & Giveaway @ 3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, & Sissy, Too!
6/10 ~ Review @ Views from the Countryside
6/11 ~ Review @ Vics Media Room
6/12 ~ Review @ Book Club Librarian
6/13 ~ Review & Guest Post @ Jersey Girl Book Reviews
6/17 ~ Review & Giveaway @ Deco My Heart
6/23 ~ Review & Giveaway @ Real Army of Moms
7/01 ~ Review & Giveaway @ Marys Cup of Tea
7/04 ~ Review & Giveaway @ The Book Divas Reads
7/12 ~ Showcase @ Hott Books
7/15 ~ Review @ Books & Beauty
7/16 ~ Review, Interview & Showcase @ CMash Reads

Partners In Crime Tours

PICT buttonPICT was founded in  2011 and is a Virtual Book Tour site that helps new, rising and popular crime/ suspense/ thriller/ mystery authors promote their books in the virtual world. It is always a joy to work with Cheryl, Gina and Lance! If you are interested to review books in this genre too, please, feel free to complete the tour host submission form here.

 

Disclaimer

Every (e)book received for review on the tours for Partners In Crime Tours is given in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.

 

Book Blast & Guest Post: Time To Let Go by Christoph Fischer

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Time To Let Go

by Christoph Fischer

Book Details

Genre: Contemporary Novel
Published by: Create Space Publishing
Publication Date: May 11, 2014
Number of Pages: 238
ISBN-13: 9781499130591 / ASIN: B00K9G8M8W
Purchase Links:

time-to-let-go-cover-medium

Synopsis

Time to Let Go is a contemporary family drama set in Britain.

Following a traumatic incident at work Stewardess Hanna Korhonen decides to take time off work and leaves her home in London to spend quality time with her elderly parents in rural England. There she finds that neither can she run away from her problems, nor does her family provide the easy getaway place that she has hoped for. Her mother suffers from Alzheimers’ disease and, while being confronted with the consequences of her issues at work, she and her entire family are forced to reassess their lives.

The book takes a close look at family dynamics and at human nature in a time of a crisis. Their challenges, individual and shared, take the Korhonens on a journey of self-discovery and redemption.

 Read an Excerpt

 

For the next half hour he watched his wife as she was talking to and feeding the ducks in a pond in a nearby park. This was a very quiet time of day for the birds. School children were at class and mothers with young ones seemed to come out here a little later than this: the pond was all hers. It amazed him how much joy and entertainment his wife could gain from such a simple thing as feeding the ducks.
Her zest for life still showed frequently and sometimes even seemed completely unbroken by the disease. When she was first diagnosed with Alzheimers she had desperately tried to fight it and in the process she had suffered a lot. She had read all the books there were, taken supplements and tried to train her brain with exercises.
“Come to bed,” Walter had said to her one evening when she had spent several hours in the study with her brain teasers.
“But I must solve this puzzle,” Biddy shot back at him. “I can’t finish unless I get this right.”
“Do it tomorrow, love.”
“No,” Biddy hissed. “I need to do it now.”
“You are probably too tired to solve it tonight. You need sleep more than this exercise,” Walter tried again.
“Mind your own business,” she yelled and slammed her fist on the table.
Walter was so surprised at this uncharacteristic outburst; he stood frozen and had no reply ready. While he struggled to come up with a response to this unprecedented shouting over nothing Biddy doubled over on the desk and started to sob.
“I can’t do it, Walter,” she cried. “I just can’t do it.”
“You don’t need to do everything today. Do it tomorrow.”
“That’s not just it, Walter. I’ve forgotten something else but I can’t remember what it is. I know it is something really important that I must do. I should have written it down.”
Walter walked up to her and tried to hug her.
“Get off me,” she screamed and yanked his hand away. “You don’t know what it is like. Don’t patronise me!”
Walter wanted to shout back at her, to make her snap out of her mood, but he was just too surprised to think of what he could possibly say. His wife had never pushed him away before.
He left her in the study and went to bed. Biddy stayed up for hours turning the house upside down for clues as to what she had forgotten. He did not sleep a wink that night and many more to follow when his wife was on a mission to locate a misplaced item.
Fortunately, they eventually passed that very awkward period of her life and these days she no longer seemed to care and no longer wasted her time in agony over the spilled beans of her mind. He wondered if that was part of her complex drug regime. He suspected that the doctors had slipped her an anti-depressant or a sedative of sorts into her cocktail of daily pills. He would rather not know and so he never asked about it and only ever read the dosage instructions on the prescription sheet.
Biddy’s manners these days were innocent and childlike, just the way she had always been. Her optimism and her famous positive attitude had been the core of her character and she had helped many of her friends and family to overcome crisis after crisis with her unbreakable spirit.
Watching her being happy and joyful while feeding the stupid ducks he felt that for a moment everything was just as it always had been. He could see the young woman he had married underneath the wrinkles, the white hair and behind the blank stare she often had these days when she got confused.
Right now the bright light of her essence was visible and it warmed Walter on the inside. Such moments gave him the necessary strength to accept the things he was missing from his married life of late.

 

Guest Post by Christoph Fischer

 

“The Real Biddy Korhonen”

I grew up with only a few friends and with two older siblings who were miles ahead of me in their lives. My mother was a busy woman and so I spent a lot of time at my aunt’s house. She had always wanted to have four children but lost one child at birth. Her other three children were much older and didn’t need her much anymore, so my visits to her house filled a gap for her, in the same way as her attention to me filled a need in me. A match made in heaven.
Philomena, or Minna, as we called her, remained a source of happiness and encouragement throughout my life. I was always welcome and treated like a precious gift. She smoked, but she outlived both of her sisters (taken in their 40s by cancer).
time-to-go-open-bookIn her late 70s Minna was diagnosed with Alzheimers’ disease. Well, I thought, at least she lives, belittling her misfortune without much awareness.
The next time I saw her, her trademark happiness however seemed far away. She was crying bitterly because she had lost her hearing aid, a very expensive one, too. Suddenly her life seemed to revolve around retrieving things. She was spared the physical pain of her sisters, but she suffered severe mental torture.
She fortunately reached a happier stage as medication and care helped reduce the misery in her life, but the attention she needed was a huge toll to the family. Despite her memory loss, she seemed to vaguely recognise me; me, the ‘child’ that lived abroad and who rarely came to visit. She had not lost her warmth and happiness, or maybe she had just regained it after the bad patch I mentioned earlier.
Very recently I saw her again, almost unrecognisable: withdrawn, very unresponsive and almost reduced to basic functioning. Surprisingly, she could still read and when I came to see her for a second time her eyes shone as if she did recognise me. I spoke an emotional goodbye to her and her hand was shaky and excited as she listened to my speech. She even responded by talking, using words that didn’t fit exactly but which expressed an emotion similar to what one would expect from a loving aunt in such a situation.
With her loving kindness in mind I created Biddy, the mother in “Time to let Go”, a selfless, giving woman, who even in her illness manages to show her innate kindness. I know it would be wrong to praise her for a gift that many other patients do not have, through no fault of their own. Losing one’s memory and control of one’s life is a terrible thing that you can only understand when it happens to you.
“Time to Let Go” is partly meant as a tribute to my brave aunt and to the wonderful people who help making her life dignified and as happy as is possible.

Author Bio

922159_10151345337037132_1303709604_oChristoph Fischer was born in Germany, near the Austrian border, as the son of a Sudeten-German father and a Bavarian mother. Not a full local in the eyes and ears of his peers he developed an ambiguous sense of belonging and home in Bavaria. He moved to Hamburg in pursuit of his studies and to lead a life of literary indulgence. After a few years he moved on to the UK where he is still resident today. ‘The Luck of The Weissensteiners’ was published in November 2012; ‘Sebastian’ in May 2013; ‘The Black Eagle Inn’ in October 2013.
He has written several other novels which are in the later stages of editing and finalisation.

Where to find Christoph: Website, WebsiteAmazon, Facebook, Twitter.

 

What/Who is WaAR?

WaARWaAR is short for Wanda’s amazing Amazon Reviewers – an awesome Facebook group for Indie authors and reviewers. I have met and talked to many Indie authors. We really are one crazy bunch of letter-writing-letter-eating people who like to hang out with one another. This group has me dabbling into some genres I never read before – like Dystopian, Paranormal, Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Young Adult – as there is a huge variety of genres that ‘our’ authors create. What are you waiting for? Come join us, STAT!

Disclaimer

I received an e-copy of the book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed in this post are my own.

TSP Book Review: Fatal Impressions by Reba White Williams

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Banner Fatal Impressions

Book Details

Genre:  Mystery

Series: Coleman and Dinah Greene #2

Published by: The Story plant

Publication Date: April 22, 2014

Number of Pages: 300

ISBN-13: 9781611881318 / ASIN: B00GQFBQBA

Purchase Links:

Synopsis

Fatal ImpressionsColeman and Dinah Greene are making names for themselves in the art world. Coleman’s magazine publishing empire is growing and Dinah’s print gallery is gaining traction. In fact, Dinah has just won the contract to select, buy, and hang art in the New York office of the management consultants Davidson, Douglas, Danbury & Weeks – a major coup that will generate The Greene Gallery’s first big profits. However, when Dinah goes to DDD&W to begin work, she discovers a corporate culture unlike anything she’s ever encountered before. There are suggestions of improprieties everywhere, including missing art worth a fortune. And when two DDD&W staff members are discovered murdered, Dinah and Coleman find themselves swept into the heart of another mystery. Revealing the murderer will be no easy task…but first Dinah needs to clear her own name from the suspect list.

Review

This is a second in the series which was noticeable as there were many references to what happened in the past. Maybe I would have enjoyed it more knowing the story it referred to since this book builds on it to some extent.

I like reading about the art world, but was disappointed at the scope of it. The mystery of the disappeared art and the descendants of one of the partners was more interesting than the random killings. The corporate world of DDD&W is shown as completely corrupt and much of a caricature.

The cast of characters and their connections is a bit too convenient after my taste.

Overall, a pretty smooth read with not too much depth and not enough mystery for me. Maybe it was just not my cup of tea.

 

 

Read an excerpt

By five thirty Thursday morning, Dinah had eaten a light breakfast, dressed, and packed. At 5:45, Tom, Jonathan’s driver, picked her up in the Lincoln Town Car. Tom would drive her to the DDD&W office in the Fry building, wait while she made a final check of last night’s installations, then take her to the airport in time for the nine a.m. flight to Los Angeles.

They dropped Baker at his vet’s for the weekend and were on their way uptown by a few minutes past six. Dinah mentally checked everything she should have done. Her suitcase and carry-on bag were in the trunk, and she was dressed in a favorite travel outfit, a navy blue pantsuit and a crisp white shirt. Her ticket was in her bag, as were her sunglasses, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, and cash in small bills to buy newspapers or magazines, and for tips. She’d remove the jacket when the plane arrived in warm LA. The New York weather was typical for March: cold, damp, and overcast. She smiled. In a few hours she’d be in sunshine, surrounded by the beautiful Bel Air gardens, enjoying a loving welcome from Jonathan. Making up after a quarrel could be fun.

At the Fry building, she took the elevator to the thirty-third floor. She paused to admire the prints in the reception area, then hurried toward the dining area. But before she reached it, she noticed the door to the anteroom of the managing director’s suite was open. Hunt Frederick must be in. She’d invite him to join her for a tour.

The door to his office was ajar. Dinah called his name but got no reply. Maybe he was on the telephone and couldn’t hear her? She tapped on the door and pushed it open. The carnage jumped up at her, a vision in a nightmare, and the smell was horrific—blood, urine, feces, and—oh, God—a whiff of Jungle Gardenia. The heavily carved bookshelves on the left had pulled away from the wall, and shelving and books lay all over the floor. Beneath the jumble of dark wood, red leather, and white pages splattered with blood: a body—and more blood, black against the red carpet. Blonde hair soaked in blood. A blood-stained beige platform shoe. A hand with purple painted nails.

Dinah tiptoed into the room, avoiding the blood, and touched a white wrist: no pulse, and the skin was cool. Nothing could help the poor woman.

Fighting nausea, she backed into the corridor and called 911 on her cell phone. “There’s b-been a f-fatal accident,” she said.

 

Author Bio

Reba-White-WilliamsReba White Williams worked for more than thirty years in business and finance—in research at McKinsey & Co., as a securities analyst on Wall Street, and as a senior executive at an investment management firm.
Williams graduated from Duke with a BA in English, earned an MBA at Harvard, a PhD in Art History at CUNY, and an MA in Writing at Antioch. She has written numerous articles for art and financial journals. She is a past president of the New York City Art Commission and served on the New York State Council for the Arts.

She and her husband built what was thought to be the largest private collection of fine art prints by American artists. They created seventeen exhibitions from their collection that circulated to more than one hundred museums worldwide, Williams writing most of the exhibition catalogues. She has been a member of the print committees of several leading museums.

Williams grew up in North Carolina, and lives in New York, Connecticut and Southern California with her husband and Maltese, Muffin. She is the author of two novels featuring Coleman and Dinah Greene, Restrike and Fatal Impressions, along with the story of Coleman and Dinah when they were children, Angels. She is currently working on her third Coleman and Dinah mystery.

Where to find Reba Williams: Website, Twitter, Facebook.

 

 

Other Tour Participants

April 22, 2014 – OmniMystery

April 22, 2014 – Booksie`s Blog

April 24, 2014 – Writers and Authors

April 25, 2014 – The Book Connection

April 28, 2014 – CMash Loves to Read

April 30, 2014 – A Blue Million Books

May 04, 2014 – Bound by Words

May 05, 2014 – OmniMystery

May 06, 2014 – Hotchpotch

May 07, 2014 – Bound by Words

May 07, 2014 – The Opinionated Me

May 20, 2014 – Deal Sharing Aunt

June 04, 2014 – Hezzi-D`a Books and Cooks

June 24, 2014 – CelticLady Reviews

June 25, 2014 – Socrates` Book Reviews

June 27, 2014 – Beth Art from the Heart

June 30, 2014 – Reviews by Molly

July 01, 2014 – Self-Taught Cook

July 10, 2014 – Booklover Book Reviews

July 15, 2014 – Just the Stuff Ya Know

The Story Plant

The Story Plant was founded in 2008 by two long-term industry professionals, Lou Aronica and Peter Miller. From the start, the company has been dedicated to publishing quality fiction and to developing authors. In 2013, The Story Plant was acquired by Studio Digital CT, LLC, a limited liability company headed by Lou Aronica. With this, Mitchell Maxwell came on board to add his unparalleled blend of creativity, passion, and business acumen.

The Story Plant has an absolute dedication to its authors. Both Aronica and Maxwell are novelists as well, and they understand the desires, needs, and insecurities of writers at the most personal level. We want The Story Plant to be a good home for those who write for us, and we want it to be a place where readers can be assured that everyone involved in bringing these books to them cares deeply about what they’re doing.

Disclaimer

Every (e)book received for review on the tours of The Story Plant is given in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.

PICT Book Review: Saigon Laundry by Hughes Keenan

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Saigon Laundry

by Hughes Keenan

on Tour April 2014

Book Details

Genre:  Crime/Suspense/Thriller
Series: Atonement Trilogy #1
Published by: L’etranger Books
Publication Date: 2/1/2014
Number of Pages: 512
ISBN: 9780615907963
Purchase Links:

Synopsis

Cover Saigon LaundryBorn to wealth and nobility, Jack Muerce is obligated to bestow a favor that draws him into a string of grisly murders that stain the Lenten calendar as his own season for atonement and absolution unfolds. The grotesque condition of the victims’ bodies mimic a series of six famous Medieval tapestries on display at the city’s elegant fine arts museum, and earn the killer the name – The Death Weaver. As the dismembered and elaborately embroidered corpses turn up across the city, Muerce comes face-to-face with a genocidal war criminal known as the Dragon, a psychopathic plastic surgeon, a flamboyant mob boss named Titty Boy, and his own shameful demons from the past. Like the tapestries, Muerce struggles to balance the five senses of earthly desire with his chivalric duty – A mon seul desir! Saigon Laundry is the first book of the Atonement Trilogy.

 

Review

Jack Muerce – pronounced ‘mercy’, a nice play of words – dispenses favors, that is his job. He is born rich, belonging to the elite, trying to do good in this world while being fully aware of his short comings. This theme is very fitting for the Lent season in which the story takes place. Something happened in  Jack’s past that influences him to this day, it’s one big secret that is alluded to several times during the story and only a part of the veil is being lifted in this first installment.

The author creates a very different world and draws the reader in with his descriptive style of writing. The world of the Vietnamese Trung family, of which Jack has become a part, is very interesting and intriguing. I loved the setting of Saigon Laundry with its different sides of business. The name has some history to it as well. The world of crime that Jack gets involved in is pictured well and really horrifying.

The plot lines are fairly complex and are not all resolved, which made sense when I realized it is the first in a trilogy. It is not your typical thriller, as there is so much more to the story than just the killings, however gruesome they are. It becomes a very personal battle, if you mess with one of Jack’s people, you better watch out! However, is the cost to him really worth it? The end is true suspense and keeps you somewhat guessing. The last twist was a good one.

A word of warning, though. There are many explicit sex and violent scenes. I choose to skip some of it.

Read an excerpt

CHAPTER 2
Saigon Laundry was owned and operated by theTrung family. They had come to America in two waves after the end of the Vietnam War. The first contingent of the family arrived shortly after the fall ofSaigonin April 1975 with ColonelBao VanTrung, who served in the Army of the Republic of South Vietnam. He had been politically connected throughout the U.S. involvement in the war, and that qualified him to evacuate with the U.S. forces. With him came his wife, who adopted the nameMinny to better fit into to their new home in America, their four children, and ColonelTrung’s mother, MadameTrung. The second wave ofTrungs—made up of the Colonel’s brother, Banda, his wife and children, and several cousins—were granted admission to the U.S. in the early 1980s as part of the Orderly Departure Program. That’s howMuerce first came to know, and eventually become part of, the extendedTrung family. They, in turn, saw him as their guardian angel in a new, strange, and sometimes hostile land. For theTrung family, JackMuerce didn’t just walk on water—he turned it into wine.Muerce was fresh out of law school, working for a prestigious law firm, when he was assigned a pro bono case to help a Vietnamese refugee family navigate the bureaucratic confusion of immigration and commercial commerce laws. He had no idea what he was doing, but jumped into the work with all he had, partly to impress his superiors, partly because of the way he was raised, but mostly because he could help people. He liked how it made him feel. Helping people who needed it the most became more than a compulsion forMuerce. It was his duty, and it was chivalrous.While working with the Trung family,Muerce learned how to leverage the resources he had been given by birth to get things done. He was intelligent, handsome, charming, and pragmatic. It also helped that his family was socially and politically connected, and very rich. TheTrungs also opened a world toMuerce to which he had never been exposed—the world where people struggled each day to survive, whether it was putting food in their stomachs or a roof over their heads. It was a world where warm clothes and dignity were, too often, scarce commodities. WhatMuerce admired the Trungs for the most, was that they managed daily life with grace.He also came to know the Trung family at a time in his life when there was a developing relationship with a young woman who would shape Muerce for the rest of his life—whether that was a good thing or a bad thing was something he struggled with daily. Its ending, and the circumstances around it, left Muerce off-¬balance, and feeling incomplete for a long time.

The heav y rain abated. Now just a few intermittent sprays were blown by rising winds that typically followed a storm to dry everything off. Muerce liked to think of it as Nature’s Car Wash where he imagined God and the angels as a crew of minimum wage earners toweling off the Cadillac Escalades, and their chrome rims, like the guys at the Suds Barn just down Canary Street.

He pulled the Mercedes to the curb in front of Saigon Laundry, and turned the engine off. For a moment, Muerce was lost in the silence of the car. He recalled her face, what her voice sounded like. Even though it had been a long time, all of it was as fresh as the rain. He became frustrated when his thoughts kept wandering back to Ashley’s face smiling at him from the bed not more than an hour ago.

The Mercedes door closed with a whong. Saigon Laundry was his office, and it was time to go to work.

Saigon Laundry was many things besides a two-¬story business front. The facade of the building was made of light ocher brick, and ornately carved limestone corners and arches. It sat on half a city block. The second floor, which was comprised of a dozen apartments, housed the extended family, and visiting Trung relatives. Over the years, Colonel Trung had purchased the large Victorian home behind the building, which had once been an upscale residential neighborhood. That was before the suburbs exploded, and the term “White Flight” was coined.

The front of the 1920s era building was plain except for a large neon sign Colonel Trung had installed in the late 1980s. The sign proclaimed “Saigon Laundry”, which was formed with an elaborate script, and painted in bright yellow with red trim. Within the letters, pink fluorescent

tubing spelled out the name of the business when night came. It was, Muerce thought when Colonel Trung first had it installed, a gaudy waste of money. Time had proved Muerce wrong, and the Colonel right. The sign did its job. It brought in business, and the business, like the Trung family, thrived.

Saigon Laundry was actually three businesses. The door to the far right—as you faced the neon sign—led to a large self-¬service laundromat. It had twenty-¬two coin-¬operated washers and dryers lined against pale green walls, and large, faded Formica-¬covered folding tables in the middle. There were soft drink, snack and laundry supply vending machines as well. What wasn’t provided in the Laundromat was seating. The Trungs learned early on that seating became territorial for customers, who would literally fight for their space. The seating went, and the rules sign went up. Rule No. 1: No sitting on the folding tables. Rule No. 2: Bring your own chair, and take it with you when you leave. Rule No. 3: No outside business (which meant no pimps, drug dealers or solicitations of any kind—even Girl Scout cookies—allowed). The rest of the rules were general housekeeping, and common courtesy.

Over the years, and under the Trungs, the laundromat had become the unofficial community center for the neighborhood. On the front wall next to the entrance were large bulletin boards that served as a community information center, and informal mail post. A flyer from the nearby Catholic Church announced a Friday fish fry, tacked next to it was a photo-¬copy of a missing young girl with a handwritten note from her family pleading for her to return. There were items for sale, as well as the names of bail bondsmen, and posters for various social service agencies. Four times a year, the city health department set up a small table for childhood inoculations. In the fall, flu shots were provided for infants, and the elderly. On Friday afternoons, the local food pantry truck parked outside to distribute meals and food packages to families in need.

Anyone and everyone was welcome at the laundromat, as long as they followed the rules. And anyone and everyone could be found there. It drew saints and sinners alike: from the nuns that ministered at the parish during the day, to the prostitutes who worked the bars on lower Canary Street at night.

The middle door entrance to Saigon Laundry, which was framed by the simple limestone trim, and situated below the neon sign, was the main entrance. It was the second of the Trung businesses—a dry cleaning operation, and tailoring service. The tailoring was done by Minny, who had worked as a seamstress in Saigon before she met and married the Colonel.

It had not been an arranged marriage, or one that was at first accepted by the Colonel’s parents or extended family. The Trungs had been very much woven into the fabric of Colonial French culture. The Colonel was educated in Paris, as were his parents. They had a lucrative business in the bamboo and rubber industries, part of which was a specialty subsidiary that produced the finest split-¬bamboo fly fishing rods in the world. Some of those rods made in the 1950s, now fetched upwards of ten-¬thousand dollars at auction houses in the United States. Minny, however, came from a poor family that lived in the Cholon District of Saigon. She had met the Colonel while fitting him for a uniform. They fell in love. They still were very much in love, which Muerce admired, and which Madame Trung had begrudgingly learned to accept over the years.

As you entered the dry cleaners portion of the Trung business dynasty, there was a large, arched opening to the right that led into the Laundromat. Along the wall next to the entrance was a long counter with a cash register, and hanging racks of plastic-¬covered dry cleaning. The dry cleaning itself was done in another building that was connected by a back alley, and located behind the Trung’s house. For tailoring, Minny had customers come to a nicely appointed room in the back. That the dry cleaning, pressing, and such were done off site was a concession Muerce had to have the Trungs concede to so they could get the proper licensing for their third business.

Benny Trung was Banda Trung’s son. Banda died of lung cancer two years after arriving in the U.S. There was a shrine for him on the wall behind the cash register that was maintained by daily offerings of food and flowers, and the burning of incense. Benny ran the third Trung enterprise on Canary Street. While you were visually greeted by the Colonel’s garish sign on the front of the building, and deafened by the constant drumming of washing machines, dryers and loud talk in the laundromat, it was Benny’s operation that stopped you where you stood as you entered. The smells made you close your eyes, and anticipate mellifluous, tart, savory, and exotic flavors.

Benny was the chef at Saigon Laundry. The restaurant was accessed through the smaller arched entry to the left, just passed the cash register and his father’s shrine. A dark, beaded curtain separated the restaurant from the rest of the business, and most of the gastronomic world.

The bell tinkled when Muerce walked through the front door. One of the Trung grand-¬daughters was working the dry cleaning cash register. She was immersed in a college physics textbook, her notes spread out on the counter. A white plastic string fell from each of her ears and merged

into one that was plugged into the iPhone laying flat next to her notes. Muerce closed his eyes and inhaled. There was the fresh aroma of baked goods, and dark coffee. Surely, this is what heaven smells like.

When he opened his eyes the grand-¬daughter was holding one of the ear buds in her right hand, and looking at him with amusement.

“ÔNG ỎÐÂU mãy nôm nay? ” she said, a hint of inquisition in her voice. “BÂN VIÊC, Tôi lā ngǚð i danh tiêńg,” Muerce said. The grand-¬daughter smiled at Muerce after chastising him for being tardy, and had a wicked thought of what it would be like to be occupied with him.

“Well, you’re late and she’s on the warpath, giving Uncle Benny a hard time,” the grand-¬daughter said, with perfect American pitch and tone. The sound of a breaking dish came from the kitchen in the back, followed by the voices of a man and woman arguing in Vietnamese.

“C’est la vie,” Muerce said, shrugging his shoulders.

“Si dedaigneux pendant qut nous soufrons de votre ralentissmento,” the grand-¬daughter said, plugging the ear bud back in, and returning her attention to the textbook. She lifted her swan-¬like right arm, holding her hand horizontal before waving him with three quick motions toward the beaded doorway that led to the dining area. Muerce liked her sassiness, though if Madame Trung had observed the interaction she would have interpreted her grand-daughter’s behavior as disrespectful to her elder, and lacking the appropriate filial piety for the family. Muerce winced when he thought of himself as the attractive young coed’s elder, and as a possible lover. Enough. She is family, and too young.

Saigon Laundry, the restaurant, wasn’t particularly big. It wasn’t located in any of the ritzy or fashionably hip parts of town, meaning it took real effort, and for some diners, a strong sense of adventure and courage, to journey there to eat. It was more than just the best French-¬Indochine cuisine you could find. Benny had taken Saigon Laundry to a new culinary level, earning rankings as one of the best restaurants in the world by a number of prestigious gastronomic associations, and publications. With a scant four, four-¬top tables at which only dinner was served, and a prix fixe menu at that (Benny prepared only what he wanted to serve over seven courses), made Saigon Laundry one of the toughest eateries in the world to get a seat. If dinner reservations were a commodity, getting a table at Saigon Laundry was like scoring a moon rock. Friday and Saturday nights were booked a year—sometimes two years for holidays—in advance. Weekday dinner reservations were full for up to eight months, depending on the day of the week.

Compounding the scarcity and exclusiveness of Saigon Laundry was that it was closed every Sunday and Monday—which Benny used to plan and shop for his menu for the week ahead. And there was only one seating per table per night; sixteen meals, eighty total for the week. All dinner reservations were for eight o’clock in the evening, starting with aperitifs and light hors d’oeuvres. Dinner service generally lasted until eleven o’clock with dessert or cheese and champagne. Diners had no choice in what spirits they were served. Benny matched cocktails and wines with the food. There were no substitutes, save for food allergies, which were addressed when the reservation was accepted, and again when a confirmation call was made the week before the assigned night. If a party cancelled, or did not show within twenty minutes of their reservation, there was a long waiting list of people willing to throw down whatever they were doing, and race to Saigon Laundry for dinner. Muerce couldn’t remember the last time he saw an empty chair at dinner, and he would know because he ate there almost every night.

For his relationship with the Trungs, and the legal and financial efforts he had put in on their behalf over the years—including loaning Benny the money to attend both Le Cordon Bleu in Paris and the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York—the lone two-¬topper table wedged against the far wall was exclusively his. It included breakfast, lunch and dinner. He was the only person other than members of the Trung family, to be fed from Benny’s kitchen during the day. The two-¬topper also served as Muerce’s tacit place of business.

For what Muerce did, he only needed a phone, a roof over his head, and a good cup of coffee. He had long ago given up working inside the boundaries of a law firm.

The squabbling in the kitchen ceased. Muerce, now sitting at his crisp, white linen-¬covered table, prepared to be chastened by Madame Trung. She approached him from the kitchen with a silver tray that held a full French press, coffee cup and saucer, and a plate of beignets fresh from the oven.

Madame Trung was the third most remarkable woman Muerce had ever met in his life. There was his mother, certainly, and the woman he did not talk about.

Though the Colonel was the Trung patriarch, there was no doubt as to who had the final say in all family matters. Although eighty, Madame Trung looked like she was in her early sixties. Her features, attractive and intact, were ageless. She was medium height, still thin, and the few lines on her face did not hint at her age; the harsh black tint of her dyed hair, however, could not go unnoticed.

Madame Trung wore a dark purple ao dai. The right sleeve of the traditional garment was folded and pinned to her shoulder with an antique Tiffany brooch. Madame Trung lost the arm in an automobile accident in France when she was attending university in the early 1950s. She spoke little of it other than to refer to the incident as “The Tragedy.” The only details she had ever given to Muerce was that she had been riding in a delightfully sporting automobile, and the driver, a man, a poet, was killed in the crash. She only spoke of it to Muerce once, many years back, when she had consoled him through his own tragedy. He never forgot the sadness in her voice, or his own sadness.

Madame Trung set the tray on the table with an ease that was impressive for someone of her age and impairment. She had compensated for the lost limb with a grace of movement that made one forget what was missing. She smiled as she plunged the French press to the bottom of the glass container, then poured the hot, dark liquid into the cup. As she bent down, he noticed the large, crudely swathed black cross adorning her forehead. She was a true French Colonial. A devout Catholic. Madame Trung had gone to early Mass for ashes.

“Bonjour Madame Trung, merci beaucoup,” Muerce said, as she finished pouring the coffee.

“Bonsoir Monsieur Muerce,” she replied, dryly and emphasizing the greeting for the latter part of the day. And so it begins.

“Pardonnez, s’il vous plait, mes offenses,” Muerce said. “It was an active evening, and I did not get much sleep.”

Madame Trung arched an eyebrow, and gave a speculative look at Muerce before putting her one hand on his left shoulder, patting him softly.

“Et ne nous soumets pas a la tentation,” she said. Temptation was Muerce’s favorite distraction. He lifted the cup to his face and absorbed the aroma of the coffee and the beignets, which held the promise of a hint of maple syrup goodness. The coffee was Trung Nguyen. Dark and strong. The first two sips cleared away what remained of the champagne fog. He closed his eyes and savored another sip before biting into one of the warm pastries sprinkled with confectioner’s sugar. There was the distinctive maple sweetness that merged with the airiness of the pastry, and made a subtle crunch when he chewed. Perfection.

“Vietnam style, no chicory,” Madame Trung said of the coffee, her hand still on Muerce’s shoulder as she turned to address the kitchen, and began yelling. “~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~”

“You go to ashes?” she said, returning her attention to Muerce. “Noon Mass with my mother at the Cathedral,” Muerce said. At Madame Trung’s barked command, Benny appeared in an instant

with a crisp, white linen napkin he placed on the table. “~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~” Benny said. Madame Trung removed her hand from Muerce’s shoulder, waved it in

the air at Benny in a dismissive gesture, and began muttering in Vietnamese as she returned to the kitchen.

“~~~~~~~” Muerce said to Madame Trung as she departed.

Benny clasped his hands together, as if in prayer, and bent down slightly to greet Muerce.

“How is it, Jack?” he said.

Muerce looked up at Benny, rolled his eyes and contorted his face to mimic a moment depicting the peak of sexual passion, and emphasized the gesture with a moan. Seriously Benny, what do you expect?

“Excellent, will you be with us for dinner?” Benny said. “Yes, early though Benny,” Muerce said. “What’s on the menu?” “Seafood all this week. The presentation will be a surprise.” “Sounds wonderful,” Muerce said, biting into another pastry. “We missed you last night,” Benny said. “Did you find a better place to eat?” “Not possible, and you know that,” Muerce said. “Mardi Gras party. I was obligated to attend.” “Good gumbo?” “Awful gumbo. But lots of pretty girls who drink too much.” Benny winked at Muerce. “What time tonight?” “Early, say six if that’s okay,” Muerce said. “I didn’t get much sleep last night.” “Yes, that was the speculation when you weren’t here… at your regular time,” Benny said, looking toward the kitchen. “Six is good.” Some kind of ruckus had begun in the kitchen, and Madame Trung was yelling in Vietnamese. Benny put his hand on Muerce’s shoulder, and gave him a look of exasperation. “I’ve got to go. She’s been at it all morning,” he said. “More beignets?” “Yes. Sorry for being late.” Muerce said, chagrined that his intimate conquests were part of Trung family conversations. That’s how families are.

Muerce savored the coffee, the beignets, and the sudden quiet that settled in the dining space with Madame Trung and Benny back in the kitchen. There was only the gentle drumming of the machines coming from the Laundromat.

He surveyed his surroundings. It amused Muerce, that the restaurant side of the business was in such contrast to the rest of Saigon Laundry. While the décor of the laundromat, dry cleaners and tailoring was well suited for the rundown part of the city—although close in proximity to Downtown—the design of the dining room was high-¬end French Colonial Vietnam. Paris on the Mekong. It exuded a feeling of expensive and ornate furniture slowly decaying in the fetid heat and humidity of Southeast Asia. Two large ceiling fans circulated the air, which was warmed by the busy nature of the laundromat, and the ovens and stoves in the kitchen. It really was a small space. Two of the four-¬top tables were tucked toward the back of the room with the opening archway leading to the kitchen. Benny liked that the kitchen was somewhat open for viewing. It enhanced the dining experience, allowing customers to see, smell and hear their food being prepared. That way, Benny believed, all of their senses were heightened when the food arrived at their table.

The other pair of tables were nestled partly into each of the two bay windows at the front of the building. Benny had sealed off what used to be an entrance. Along the front window and where the door used to be, was an elaborate collection of plants and flowers that included some of Madame Trung’s finicky orchids. In the fall she would swap out some of the containers for mums. In the spring there would be tulips and daffodils. There were also pots of different herbs like basil, rosemary, thyme, lemon grass and mint.

Large colonial shutters framed the front windows. The floor had been renovated with an ornate parquet pattern that squeaked when you walked on it. On the walls were gilt-¬framed antique street maps of Paris, and what was now Ho Chi Minh City. On the wall above Muerce’s table was a framed linen napkin. On the napkin was a drawing of an abstract likeness of a young Madame Trung. It was signed by Picasso. Madame Trung delighted in never telling the full story of the napkin, only saying how upset her father was with the friends she had made attending university. Who, Muerce knew, included the dead poet. Madame Trung, Muerce liked to believe, was very wild in her youth.

She was now, however, immune to Muerce’s attempts to flirt with her. Nonetheless, he made efforts to on occasion. When he did, she would smile, and dismissively pat him on the head with her one hand.

Briefly lost in his thoughts, Muerce snapped back to reality when he remembered he had a voicemail waiting for him. He pulled the phone from the pocket of his suit coat that he had draped over the back of his chair. He fingered the bottom button that brought the black screen alive with various colored icons, and navigated his way to voicemail with his index finger.

The drawl was unfamiliar, but the name was not. The call was from Tyler B. Squire, the chief executive officer and chairman of the board of what was now referred to in business parlance as one the largest “healthcare systems” in the county. To Muerce they were still hospitals. Just a lot of them under one publicly traded umbrella. You went there if you were sick, or dying. Otherwise, you avoided them as best as possible. Tyler B. Squire was originally from somewhere in the South—Texas or Alabama, or something like that. Muerce wasn’t sure. As is the custom in the South, the health care executive’s name had been shortened to T.B. Squire. Muerce rolled the humor around in his head. Was there irony in a man in charge of a national chain of hospitals being saddled with the name T.B., or was it just a cruel coincidence?

Distracted with the inane amusement, Muerce missed the point of the message and replayed it, this time intent on listening. He had never given T.B. Squire one of his business cards. That the man had his mobile number meant that either someone of some influence had provided it to him, or someone to whom Muerce was indebted had.

T.B. Squire’s message was polite, brief and to the point. Would Mr. Muerce please return his call at his earliest convenience as it was a personal matter involving his son. T.B Squire ended the message saying he was giving Muerce his own private mobile number, and not his work mobile number, and that he would be monitoring for his call as to not miss him.

Muerce contemplated the information, and tone of the message. T.B. Squire had a son in trouble. A son he apparently cared about because his voice was heav y with concern, if not a little fear. If T.B. Squire didn’t care about his son, Muerce would have picked up on anger beget from annoyance. If that had been the case, Muerce would politely return Mr. T.B. Squire’s call, and without asking what the problem was, say he was unable to be of any help. Muerce shied away from favors having to do with spoiled rich kids. He had done enough of those to know that, in most cases, the kid was better off learning from the consequences than being bailed out by Mommy and Daddy. That, and the return favor was rarely honored.

It was unlikely, though, that Mr. T.B. Squire’s troubled son was facing a drunk driving or drug possession charge. Either of those could be han

dled by an army of attorney’s the CEO had at his disposal. Muerce also factored in that the call had come very early in the morning—the memory of Ashley naked in his bed flashed in his head again—and the man had gone to the trouble to find an alternative solution to his problem. Muerce was the alternative people turned to before they had to come face-¬to-¬face with the last resort—reality. Anyone who knew Jack Muerce knew that you did not share his mobile number freely. Muerce’s business card was as rare a commodity as a dinner reservation at Saigon Laundry. You treated either as a divine gift. Nothing goes down on this, Muerce thought, until I know who gave out my number.

He poured the last cup of coffee from the press, and took several sips. It was time to go to work. He thumbed the button that returned T.B. Squire’s phone call. It rang only twice before it was answered.

“Mister Murse?”

“It’s pronounced mercy,” Muerce said, disappointed that T.B. Squire hadn’t done all of his homework.

“I apologize Mister Muerce.” There was a moment of pregnant silence between them. “I’m returning your call, Mister Squire,” Muerce said. “Ah, yes. I’m sorry Mister Muerce. I’m not sure how this works.” “How what works, Mister Squire?” “Well, frankly, as I said in my message, how I go about asking you to, perhaps, help my son,” Squire said. “It’s Jack isn’t it. May I call you Jack?”

Time to set some boundaries.

“My friends call me Jack, Mister Squire. Are we friends? Have I ever been invited to your home for dinner?”

A few fleeting seconds of awkward silence followed. “I understand Mister Muerce,” Squire said. Good. “Can you help me, Mister Muerce?” Squire said, subtly pleading. “I don’t know, Mister Squire, can I?” Muerce said. “How was it you came to get my name and number?” T.B. Squire hesitated. He was a man used to making important, and very expensive decisions at a moment’s notice. He knew when to heal a decision, and when to unleash one quickly. This one involved his only child, his son, so he went with honesty.

“Detective Trumbley,” Squire said, pausing. “He asked that I not use his name, Mister Muerce. I wanted to respect that request, but I also want to respect yours as well. Although we’ve never been formally introduced, I have heard of your family, and your… reputation.”

Right answer, though you should have asked about proper pronunciation if you say you know of my family.

“I appreciate that Mister Squire,” Muerce said. “There will be no repercussions for disclosing Detective Trumbley’s identity.”

Muerce knew Trumbley well. Nick Trumbley could call him Jack. He could call Jack anything he wanted, and get away with it. Few people could do that. Trumbley was a good man, and an honest vice cop who wouldn’t hand out Muerce’s name on a whim. He wouldn’t refer T.B. Squire to him unless it was a sensitive, or nearly impossible problem. It was Trumbley asking for a favor, and Muerce would do the best he could to fulfill the request, and find out why later.

“All right Mister Squire,” Muerce said. “How time sensitive is the problem with your son?”

T.B. Squire felt like he had been holding his breath beyond his capacity. His chest was heavy. He exhaled and took in fresh air that gave him a positive outlook.

“I’m not sure what you mean by time sensitive?” he said.

“I’d rather not talk about particulars over the phone Mister Squire,” Muerce said. “Especially cell phones. I’d like to meet, so we can be… properly introduced.”

“Ah, yes, I see,” Squire said. “There’s a little time, a few days.”

“Good,” Muerce said, reviewing his schedule for the next twentyfour hours, and realizing that he could only fit T.B. Squire in at dinner. “Six o’clock, Mister Squire. Six Twenty Five Canary. Park out front. Go through the middle door. Ask for me. I’ll see you tonight”

Muerce pressed his thumb on the red icon that ended the call.

T.B. Squire scribbled the information on a fluorescent orange Post-¬It note without giving the address any thought. He was a transplant to the city, and was still unfamiliar with street addresses. Particularly addresses in the part of town where Saigon Laundry was located. Given the discourse with Muerce, T.B. Squire was savvy enough to know that he was to come alone. He would have anyway. The trouble his son, Travis, had gotten into was something he wanted as few people as possible to know about. Not for his own sake, but for his son’s.

Muerce placed the phone on the table, and rubbed his hands over his face in a massaging motion. Despite the strong coffee, he was still groggy from too much champagne, and too little sleep. He hoped the vigorous motion might alleviate the faint throbbing in his head. Some of the night before started to return to him. He and Ashley had gone at it, rather loudly, for some time. He didn’t think they fell asleep until three

o’clock that morning. He also began to realize that his pelvic bone was sore. The duration of their carnal activities, and the soreness it left, made him smile. His headache abated some.

Swiveling in his chair, Muerce lifted the empty press up so Benny could see him. Benny acknowledged with the wave of one finger and spoke to Madame Trung, who reacted with a barrage of Vietnamese that Muerce could not make out. Several minutes later, Madame Trung was at Muerce’s table with a fresh press of coffee, and another plate of beignets.

“Merci, merci beaucoup,” he said. “Vous vous etes top rejouis hier soir,” Madame Trung said. “Yes, too much fun last night,” he said. “I’m sore, every where.” Madame Trung frowned and pressed too hard on the plunger. A spurt of coffee and grounds was ejected from the lip of the container, staining the white, linen table cloth. She shook her head in disapproval, not at the mess she had made but at what she guessed to be Muerce’s activities the previous night.

“Good thing Lent come,” she said, in broken English. “You no so young no more.”

Muerce screwed up his face in a dramatic wince.

“~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~,” she said. “Old Vietnamese proverb.”

“It’s an old Greek proverb,” he retorted. “The Romans translated it as, Modus omnibus in rebus.”

“Vietnam older than Greeks,” she said. “You older than Greeks, I think.”

“~~~~~~~~~~ ~~ ~~~~~~~~~~~,” Muerce said, clutching his right hand to his chest as if he’d been shot.

“You hurt self. You get ashes with your mother. You start atone.”

That last word landed like a lance, and the past spilled into his thoughts like the coffee staining the table cloth. The memories were granular, dark, hot, and messy. Her face was as clear as if she were sitting across the table from him. He felt like his flesh was being torn from his body.

A loud commotion erupted in the laundromat, and the face disappeared. Madame Trung and Muerce went to see what it was about.

“You can’t leave that baby here,” said the Trung grand-¬daughter, the white cords of her ear buds dangled from her shoulders.

She was addressing a short, pasty-¬skinned woman with dark hair cropped very close to her head. The woman wore heavy, black eye makeup, which complimented her black, leather mini-¬skirt. Her outfit was accented by a tight pink blouse hidden under a white, faux fur jacket. She teetered on pink stiletto heels. Her wardrobe left no doubt that she was dressed for work, and the look of desperation on her face indicated she was late. Her boss would not be happy, or understanding.

“It’s not my baby,” the woman said, with a defiant and heavy SerboCroation accent. “Is Redzil’s. I was just watching it for a few days while she… was away. For work.”

“So?” the grand-¬daughter said. “You’re responsible. You can’t just leave a baby here. This isn’t daycare drop off.”

The crying baby was wrapped in an assortment of dingy blankets, and had been placed inside a dilapidated wicker basket. Muerce guessed the infant was, maybe, three months old.

“Red. Redzil, will be here soon,” the woman said, her voice becoming more anxious and desperate than defiant. She kept looking toward the front window at a car idling outside. “She promised to meet me here. Just watch it for a little bit. I have to go. I have to go!”

A white Cadillac Escalade with a cascade of gaudy gold trim and gold rims was parked behind Muerce’s Mercedes. The drumming of the washing machines and dryers was interrupted by a series of aggressive honks from the waiting car.

The darkly tinted passenger window slid down, and a pale hand covered with gold jewelry that matched the trim of the Escalade aggressively motioned for the woman to hurry.

Madame Trung frowned, and looked at Muerce. Fine, he thought, I’ll take care of it.

“Nobody go any where,” he said, looking directly at the pink and black dressed woman. “I’ll be right back.”

The bell on the front door of the laundromat tinkled behind Muerce as he stepped outside and approached the open window of the waiting car. The wind had picked up, lifting his tie over his right shoulder, and the temperature had dropped a good ten degrees.

The ostentatious car belonged to Mikal Delic, who liked to call himself “Pimp Deluxe”. He was also known as “Micky D” for his fondness of the Golden Arches. Mikal was in his late thirties and had come to the U.S. in the mid-¬nineties after fleeing the hostilities and ethnic cleansing in Bosnia-¬Herzogovina. There was, at that time, and again in the early 2000s, a flow of immigrants, mostly Muslim, into the city, along with a few Christians. The ethnic cleansing from the “old country” spilled over onto American soil in the form of gang warfare. A lot of it played out along the Canary Street corridor. It had been no different for previous waves of immigrants—Nigerians, Vietnamese, Hmong, Jamaican, Cuban,

along with the original settlers of the city; the Irish, Italians, and Germans. Most of them, however, had long ago climbed up the economic ladder, and out of the now worn and squalid neighborhoods that made up Canary Street.

Muerce rested his arms on the open window of the Escalade, and leaned inside.

“Micky D, what shakes?” he said.

Mikal flashed a hip-¬hop smile. His top left, front tooth was encased in gold. A one-¬carat diamond was set in the middle of the tooth. He reached across from the driver’s seat with an open hand, palm up.

“Jock Mur-¬see, what it is, my man,” he said, smiling, his Serb-¬Croat accent thicker than the pink and black girl’s mascara. Mikal’s gold chains made a metallic rustling sound as he leaned over. He wore a purple, velour track suit, and a white “wife-¬beater” t-¬shirt.

“What it is, Deluxe,” Muerce said, slapping Mikal’s hand.

“Stock market good,” Mikal said. “Bidness been booming. Girls busy for Deluxe. Think economic finally looking up.”

“Yeah?”

“Yeah, move everything out of treasuries. Yields crap,” Mikal said. “More opportunity in equities. Deluxe not need to be so liquid. You should talk to my broker.”

“Smooth, my man.” “How you do Jock?” “Business is good,” Muerce said, pausing to look back into the laun

dromat, then back at Mikal. “What’s the four-¬one-¬one inside?” “Beech is late for work,” Mikal said, agitated. “The baby, Micky D,” Muerce said. “What time your girl shows up for work is none of my business.” Mikal pushed his lower lip up his face and made a slight nodding motion with his head, indicating he understood. Mikal respected Muerce. If you didn’t, he knew all too well, you could get burned in a way you had never thought of before. Muerce was fair. He knew what was, was, and what is, is. It was better to work with Muerce than against him. You don’t fuck with the man who’s armor shines brightest.

“Belong to Redzil, Redzil Hadzic,” Mikal said. “She belong to you?” Mikal nodded his head that she did. “You know her Jock?” Mikal said. “Maybe she please you sometime?

The tall red-¬head. Pretty face, big lips, long legs. You like the long legs, Jock, yes?”

The description registered with Muerce. He had seen her in the laundromat before. She was pretty, and she did have the kind of long legs he liked, though she, like all the working girls that frequented Saigon Laundry, were, of his own accord, strictly off limits. Don’t blur boundaries.

“Your girl, your responsibility,” Muerce said. Mikal rolled his eyes. “I Pimp Deluxe not Montessori,” he said. “Besides, it deal Redzil make

with beech inside. I not baby daddy.” “The one inside, she got a name?” Muerce said, his voice rising. “Mirsad. I lose respect fucking around babysit beech’s kids.” “You lose street cred too if you don’t take good care of your girls, Mi

kal,” Muerce said. “No more Pimp Deluxe. They’ll go to someone else, or start freelancing.”

Mikal gripped the leather wrapped steering wheel. His knuckles turned white.

“Look, Jock, you do me favor I do you favor?”

“You still owe me favor, Mikal, lots of favor. I want to know what is going on. Now.”

“Da, da, da,” Mikal said. “Beech inside—Mirsad—say other beech— Redzil—have side deal she not tell me about. Freelancing, like you say. Piss me off. She give baby to Mirsad take care of while she go for weekend. Weekend come and go, no Redzil. I tell beech inside got to get back to work. Fuck Redzil. Fuck beech’s baby.”

“Mirsad just volunteered that information, did she?” Muerce said.

“I convince her a little,” Mikal said. “Not hurt her bad. Just help get to truth faster.”

“Maybe I help Pimp Deluxe get to the truth a little faster,” Muerce said. “Does this look like an orphanage Mikal? You just drop the kid off in a basket, and that’s it?”

“Like I said, Jock. You do Deluxe favor, he do you favor.”

Muerce was losing his patience when he felt a tug on the back of his shirt. It was Mirsad. She wanted past him, and into the Escalade. There was no baby in her arms. Muerce glanced back into the laundromat to see Madame Trung holding the baby in her one arm. It had been decided, not by him, that Muerce would grant a favor. But it wouldn’t be for Pimp Deluxe, it would be for the baby. Not so much for the baby’s mother, Redzil Hadzic, wherever she was. Muerce opened the car door for Mirsad. As she passed he could see bruising on the back of her neck.

“Look at me Mikal,” Muerce said, leaning back into the open window as Mirsad fumbled with the seat belt. “When I call, and I will call, you get one ring. If I hear two, I’ll hang up. And then I’m going to start twisting you. Very hard. No more treasuries, no more equities, no more liquidity, no more beeches for you.”

Mikal smiled his pimp smile, and nodded.

“I have a special dentist who owes me a favor,” Muerce said. “Maybe you pay what you owe me in gold.”

Mikal’s smile disappeared.

“When your girl turns up, tell her the kid is in the system,” Muerce said.

Mikal put the car in gear, pressed down hard on the accelerator and sped off, kicking up a dirty spray from the wet streets that soiled the back panel of the pearl white SUV. Muerce stepped back from the car as it bolted away, his hands in the air, feeling like he’d just been robbed at gunpoint despite his threat.

The hot, humid air of the laundromat enveloped Muerce like a blanket. He fixed his tie, frowned at Madame Trung, and reached in his pocket for his phone. The baby was quieter in her arm.

“Miriam, it’s Jack Muerce,” he said into the phone. He reached voicemail, and left a short message. “I need a favor…”

Half an hour later a black-¬and-¬white was parked outside. Muerce gave the two patrolmen what little information he had about the child when Miriam Estrada walked in. She was carrying an infant car seat, and a large diaper bag that she tossed onto the laundry table. She waved her Family Welfare credentials at the patrolmen without looking at either them. Her eyes were fixed on Muerce.

Miriam was a welcome sight, and not just because it meant the cops, Muerce and the Trungs could beg out of dealing with an abandoned child. The Welfare Lady, as Miriam was commonly referred to, was a handsome woman in her late thirties. She was tall with dominant Aztec features: dark skin, high cheekbones, and emerald green eyes. She and Muerce had a brief history, once, years earlier. At the time, she was separated. Her husband had been a good cop with a bad problem. He and Trumbley were partners. Miriam’s husband was a drinker. A big drinker. When his liver gave out, Miriam took him back, and nursed him until the end. She called it off with Muerce, who understood her decision. Muerce did everything he could, from a distance, to help her care for her dying husband. After he passed, they decided to remain friends, and only friends.

Still, her eyes twinkled whenever she saw Jack Muerce. 28

“Been awhile Mister Muerce,” she said, addressing him in front of the patrolmen. She turned to the senior cop. “You guys got all you need? I can take it from here.”

All business.

“Yes ma’am,” the cop said, glad they could get on with their day, but disappointed they couldn’t linger to gawk at Miriam a moment or two longer.

“I’m sure you two have more important things to do than change diapers,” she said, in a tone used to usher them on their way.

When she heard the tinkling of the bell above the laundromat door as they left, Miriam retrieved the child from Madame Trung’s arm, turned to Muerce and smiled.

“You look good Jack,” she said, holding the baby in her arms. Her eyes smiled in a way that Muerce thought might indicate a change in their agreement to be friends, and just friends.

“Not as good as you look Miriam,” he said. The memory of her soft dark skin, and the dimples at the small of her back came to him easily.

“I drop everything to run down here and that’s the best line you have, Jack, really?” she said.

Madame Trung barked an order in Vietnamese for her grand-¬daughter to get back to the dry cleaning counter, and then excused herself. The handful of customers in the laundromat returned to their wash, gossip, and magazines. Miriam turned her attention from Muerce. Cradling the baby in one arm, she spread out a disposable paper blanket on the laundry table, and went about giving the child a cursory examination for any indications of abuse, or poor health.

“Seems healthy, fairly clean and well-¬cared for,” she said, removing the soaked disposable diaper. “Male. Hmm…”

Miriam looked at the child’s irregular facial features. “Not the prettiest baby I’ve ever seen,” Muerce said. “As if you’ve ever seen many babies,” Miriam said, still examining the

infant, who was, she guessed, about three months old. “I’ve seen enough of them,” Muerce said. “You mean you’ve dated enough of them,” she said. “And I thought you were happy to see me,” Muerce said. “So, is some

thing wrong with it?” “Don’t know. Could be fetal alcohol syndrome, crack baby, or any other number of congenital or genetic tags,” Miriam said. “Or just plain and simple FLK syndrome.”

“FLK syndrome?” Muerce said. 29

“Funny Looking Kid,” Miriam said. “It’s not a real term, Jack. He got a name?”

“Mother is a prostitute, Bosnian, I think, goes by the name Redzil,” Muerce said. “I forget the name but I can try. Her street name is Red. She dumped the kid off with a… co-¬worker slash friend… for a weekend special, and hasn’t shown up. The friend got behind on her work hours taking care of the kid, and decided to drop him off at Madame Trung’s Orphanage.”

Miriam looked around the room. “This is as good a place as any, if not better. Hell, it’s cleaner than any of the fire stations, or police precincts.

“So, he’s a John Doe? Or should we call him Jack Doe?” “Not funny, Miriam,” Muerce said. She put a fresh diaper on Baby John Doe Redzil, and gleefully handed

Muerce the old one before dressing the infant in a floral one-¬piece cotton jumper that was too big. Muerce held the soiled diaper as if it were nuclear waste.

“What do you want me to do with this?” he said.

“Are you really that clueless, Jack?” she said, pulling a wet wipe from a container, and handing it to Muerce. She placed the child in the infant car seat, and secured the straps.

“Throw it in the trash,” she said. “You can flush the wipe if you want when you’re done.”

Muerce dropped the diaper in the trash can next to him, wiped his hands with the wet wipe, and disposed of it with the diaper. Miriam jumped up to sit on the folding table next to the baby, who was sucking on a small formula bottle she had produced from the diaper bag. Some of the customers in the laundromat frowned at her. Rule No. 1: No sitting on the folding tables. But nobody was going to mess with the Welfare Lady, and she knew it.

“Baby Jack is hungry,” she said.

“Yes he is,” Muerce said. Miriam either ignored or missed his inflection, so he changed the subject. “Do you want some coffee?”

“Nah, too much already,” she said. Muerce could make out the faint smear of ashes on her forehead. A good Catholic girl.

Miriam had a girlish smile. She averted her eyes from Muerce’s, and looked through the archway that led toward the restaurant.

“Last time I was here was for dinner,” she said. Muerce didn’t say anything.

“I miss that,” she said, wistfully. “Miss what?”

“Going out to dinner.”

“It’s been, what, two years?” he said, opting to drop the “death” part from the rhetorical nature of the question. “You’re an attractive woman.”

“With two teenage boys, Jack,” she interjected. “You want to go down that road? Get real.”

“Doesn’t mean you can’t go out to dinner every once in awhile,” he said.

There was a loud sucking sound that indicated Baby Jack Doe Redzil had finished his bottle. Miriam turned her attention to the child, which let out a loud burp. She slung the diaper bag over her shoulder, and picked up the infant seat holding the baby. As she turned to head toward the door, Muerce stepped in front of her.

“Do you want to have dinner sometime?” he said. “With you?” she said. “Dinner with Jack Muerce is never just a meal.” “Is that a yes or a no?” The tension in her face eased, and Muerce thought he saw a hint of coquet as she batted her eyelashes a few times without looking directly at him.

“Maybe,” she said, slightly embarrassed. Then she walked straight out the door, secured the infant seat in her car, and drove away. Definitely call Miriam.

Madame Trung stood in the archway, Muerce’s suit jacket and raincoat draped across her arm.

“You going to be late for ashes,” she said. “You hurry.”

He looked at his watch. Now it was his mother who was going to be pissed.

** Please forgive the excerpt. The ~~~ is part of a conversation in Latin. We’re working on finding the correct characters so that it will work in html ;) **

Author Bio

Hughes Keenan began his writing career at The Kansas City Star and was a member of the staff awarded the 1982 Pulitzer Prize for reporting. He has been a correspondent for United Press International, The Associated Press, Reuters and Bloomberg News, covering war, politics, sports and finance. His first novel, The Harvest Is Past, was a finalist for the Thorpe Menn Award for Literary Excellence.

Catch Up With the Author:

Other Tour Participants

3/30 ~ Suspense Magazine Blog Talk Radio
4/02 ~ Review @ Deal Sharing Aunt
4/05 ~ Showcase @ The Opinionated Me
4/06 ~ Showcase @ Bookalicious Traveladdict
4/09 ~ Review @ Vics Media Room
4/10 ~ Review & Giveaway @ 3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, & Sissy, Too!
4/16 ~ Interview @ The Pen and Muse
4/17 ~ Review & Giveaway @ Marys Cup of Tea
4/17 ~ Review @ A Bookish Girl
4/25 ~ Interview & Showcase @ CMash Reads

Partners In Crime Tours

PICT buttonPICT was founded in  2011 and is a Virtual Book Tour site that helps new, rising and popular crime/ suspense/ thriller/ mystery authors promote their books in the virtual world. It is always a joy to work with Cheryl, Gina and Lance! If you are interested to review books in this genre too, please, feel free to complete the tour host submission form here.

 

Disclaimer

Every (e)book received for review on the tours for Partners In Crime Tours is given in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.

Cover Reveal of Legally Undead by Margo Bond

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Legally Undead, available May 27

from World Weaver Press

Cover LEGALLY UNDEAD

Synopsis

A reluctant vampire hunter, stalking New York City as only a scorned bride can.

Elle Dupree has her life all figured out: first a wedding, then her Ph.D., then swank faculty parties where she’ll serve wine and cheese and introduce people to her husband the lawyer.

But those plans disintegrate when she walks in on a vampire sucking the blood from her fiancé Greg. Horrified, she screams and runs–not away from the vampire, but toward it, brandishing a wooden letter opener.

As she slams the improvised stake into the vampire’s heart, a team of black-clad men bursts into the apartment. Turning around to face them, Elle discovers that Greg’s body is gone—and her perfect life falls apart.

Author Bio

MargoBondCollinsMargo Bond Collins is the author of a number of novels, including Waking Up Dead, Fairy, Texas, and Legally Undead (forthcoming in 2014). She lives in Texas with her husband, their daughter, and several spoiled pets. She teaches college-level English courses online, though writing fiction is her first love. She enjoys reading urban fantasy and paranormal fiction of any genre and spends most of her free time daydreaming about vampires, ghosts, zombies, werewolves, and other monsters.

Where to find Margo: AmazonWebsite, Twitter, Google+, Goodreads, Tumblr, Facebook, Facebook Novel Page, and her e-mail: MargoBondCollins@gmail.com.

Be sure to add Legally Undead to your Goodreads bookshelves!

Fabulosity Reads Book Promotions is a book touring website that promotes authors and their precious works to an extensive audience using blogs, twitter, Facebook and other Social Media, with the aim of introducing them to an appreciative readership.

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FRBT Book Blast, Guest post & Giveaway: Choices by Sheila Bliss

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1 (1)

Book Details

Genre: Romance

Published by: Sheila Bliss

Publication Date: August 22, 2013

Number of Pages: 433

ASIN: B00BJXRKF0

Purchase Links:  

Synopsis

Laurel is a devoted wife. She married her high school sweetheart Paul, all while denying and avoiding the role his demons played in their marriage. Laurel’s support system, other than her three children is her career as a nurse and her friends that she cherishes beyond words. Addictions and emotional abuse are the cornerstone of her marriage until one day life presents an interesting choice.

 

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Guest Post by Sheila Bliss

There were so many things I wanted to be when I grew up. I wanted to be a TV news anchorwoman, a fashion designer, a news journalist, a nurse, a teacher and a psychologist. That’s quite a variety. I wanted to make sure I had all the bases covered. I was also a voracious reader. My entire family was. Memories as a kid always involved a family member reading a book. My dad, my mom, and my older sisters. The best vacations also involved sharing our responses to whatever book one of us was reading at the time. My family instilled in me a huge love for reading. It was also my escape. My childhood was lonely at times and broken. Reading allowed me to escape the loneliness and I found solace reading about people who experienced a similar pain between the pages of a book. The words breathed life into these imaginary people that I wanted to be friends with, that I wanted for family. It also sparked a deep desire to create those same feelings of connection, relief and escapism for another person. Ultimately, I wanted to create and help people in the process. Teaching called the most to me at the time of college major declaration, though. My fear of failure was strong, so strong I allowed it to overshadow my desire. So, I went with door number two or six if you count all my other options. I could still be creative and I loved working with children, especially children in impoverished areas. Although if you talked to my family they would swear I became a teacher just so I could boss people around. In the fourteen years I taught, I felt restless, I still felt a deep yearning to explore something different. I’m a goal oriented person. I like challenges and I wanted to challenge myself to something bigger. I wasn’t getting any younger and I wanted to write.Choices-SheilaBliss-600x900I always wrote something, really bad poetry, random thoughts, character names, gratitude journals, quotes, lesson plans, wish lists and ideas for novels. I started my very first scrapbook when Princess Diana and Prince Charles were married in 1981 at the age of thirteen. I cut out pictures and wrote my own bubble quotes for each picture. I was so proud of myself. I kept going from there, writing diary entries, taking creative writing classes whenever I could in high school and college, keeping journals that were cathartic and therapeutic during some dark days in my early twenties when I was diagnosed with an auto-immune disorder that was incredibly exhausting and as equally painful. I took a break from teaching sixth grade in West Philadelphia so I could figure out how to tackle this auto-immune disease, went back to school to procure my master’s degree and started my family. When my oldest who is now sixteen, was ready to begin school I went back to school with her and started teaching Kindergarten. I’ve been there ever since. I love teaching. I loveKindergartners. They are my absolute favorite, but my yearning and restlessness was increasing and suddenly my reading choices were changing as well. My girls started talking about this book Twilight. I had no idea what they were talking about and I insisted that I read it first before they did. I was hooked, but what interested me more than anything was Stephenie Meyer’s personal story about how she started. She inspired me to sit in my girl cave, as my husband has affectionately dubbed it, and write something more than lesson plans. She gave me the courage to put my ideas that gnawed at my brain on my computer screen and actually save it and then have the nerve to label it. It was reading Jamie McGuire’s personal story that gave me the balls to self-publish it. I never met Jamie. She wouldn’t know me from Eve, but her story, her advice she posts on her blog, inspired me to not be afraid. She held my hand even though she didn’t know it or me. For the first time in my life, I was truly going to live by my own personal mantra, feel the fear, but do it anyway. It was time for mommy to practice what she preached to her little people at home. It was time to go big or go home. The clock was ticking and it wasn’t the female one, it was the life one that kept chiming through the night, through the fog of my dreams.I started Choices in 2009. It’s taken me five years from beginning to the end product you’ve purchased on Amazon. I wrote during the summer months, during holidays, weekends, days off and sometimes these characters hijacked my sleep and I wrote all night and then taught all day. I’ve had some major bumps in the road, some huge failures and some huge successes writing this book. Some people are shocked at the subject matter because I’m a Kindergartner teacher, but honestly that’s not all I am. I am a creator. I wanted to write something outside my realm of knowledge. Some of my friends were shocked and couldn’t understand why I didn’t write a children’s book…um, because I didn’t want to. I wanted to write something real, something edgy, something dark, yet promising, hopeful. I wanted to write a big romance, but not a typical romance that’s sweet and neat. I wanted to write something gritty and real. I wanted to write a story about a strong woman who’s had some strong situations that forced her to feel out of control and her response to it. I wanted to write about a character that was forced to really examine her life. I wanted to write a story that forced this character to ask herself the question no one wants to ask themselves, am I happy or am I lying to myself and believing the lie? Am I just going through the motions? I wanted to write a story about how a woman doesn’t have to sacrifice everything about herself in order to save someone who isn’t interested in saving themselves. When is enough? When do you draw the line in the sand and say I need to take care of me now. Life is hard. Life gives you cards you don’t want. Life is unfair. Life is real. Life isn’t pretty sometimes, but it does give you choices. So, therefore, I give you Choices.

Author Bio

This independent author enjoys writing books about circumstances that shape a person’s life and that life is all about the choices we make.

She hopes that you enjoy reading her first novel Choices as much as she’s enjoyed writing it!

Catch Up With The Author: Website, FacebookTwitter.


Fabulosity Reads Book Promotions is a book touring website that promotes authors and their precious works to an extensive audience using blogs, twitter, Facebook and other Social Media, with the aim of introducing them to an appreciative readership.
They offer a diverse range of both complimentary and affordable products to help the reach of your book go that much further.