On A Cold Day In Hell: A Legal Thriller Like No Other by Stephen Parkes Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

Readers get a dark, heartbreaking and emotional roller coaster of a story as the man readers met in The Soldier faces a criminal trial for a crime he committed while in the throws of addiction, and in the process highlights some of our world’s most difficult and inescapable truths in author Stephen Parkes novel “On A Cold Day In Hell: A Legal Thriller Like No Other”. Here is the synopsis. 

The Synopsis

The stakes couldn’t be any higher. Stephen Parkes, a former Airborne Ranger and law school graduate, has been charged with a brutal crime. A career prosecutor has made him an offer of thirty years in return for a guilty plea. He has a hanging judge and his own public defender wants him to die in prison. The circumstances have never been grimmer.

So, he decides to take matters into his own hands. He drops more than eight feet into a noose. His heart stops beating. His lungs stop breathing. 

But, somehow, Stephen Parkes lives. 

Fresh off his own gallows, his problems are only beginning. Parkes is as guilty as sin. The case against him is perfect. Undeterred, Parkes fights back, hoping to be set free. The odds against him are impossible.

Set against a background of horrid child abuse, pitiful drug addiction, and brutal crimes, On A Cold Day In Hell provides a scathing indictment of the American judicial system, demonstrates the emptiness of mandatory minimum sentencing, and gives a first-hand look at the consequences of the unthinking cruelty payed out to a minor child at the hands of a Catholic priest. 

Part jailhouse lawyer, part convict and all human, Stephen Parkes stands his ground and makes his own case for freedom, which can only be found On A Cold Day In Hell.

The Review

This was a dark look into the troubled life of Stephen Parkes. Written both eloquently and with wit, the author brings readers into the harsh reality of his life, which many across the world can relate to. A history of abuse, drug addiction and mental health problems plague this man, which turns him to a life of crime. While readers will be able to see that the crimes themselves were inexcusable, the author’s first hand account and painful ordeal showcases a true injustice in our society. Rather than help those suffering with addiction or mental health, it is more common to just throw them in jail with no means of helping or changing their lives around for the better. It showcases a never ending system of violence, abuse and addiction both within and outside of the criminal justice system.

It was interesting to see the perspective of the man underneath the criminal persona given to him in life. A highly intelligent man with a knowledge of the law himself and a former Army Ranger, the hardships and mental strain of childhood trauma and the resulting mental health problems that arose showcase a man divided between himself and the addict that took over his life. It’s a story of fighting for the truth and finding ways to help those who suffer rather than punish and then throw away, forgotten and abandoned as they were in life.

The Verdict

This was a powerful read that any true crime, non fiction and criminal justice/mental health advocate would be interested in. With bits of humor, a use of imagery that really brings the cold reality of life in prison and the affects of abuse/addiction on anyone in this world, and a compelling story that also touches on the struggle with suicidial thoughts that often plague those who have lost all hope, and the need to help those going through that kind of pain. It’s an emotional and heart pounding read that you should check out for yourself, so be sure to read On A Cold Day In Hell: A Legal Thriller Like No Other” by Stephen Parkes today.

Rating: 10/10

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The Soldier: An Airborne Ranger’s Fall From Grace by Stephen Parkes Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

Author Stephen Parkes takes readers on a grueling, personal journey through his training with the US Army Rangers and the affect it had on his life going forward in the novel, “The Soldier: An Airborne Ranger’s Fall From Grace”. Here is the synopsis:

The Synopsis

2LT Stephen Parkes is about to enroll in a soldier’s school. Between 1977 and 1995 its syllabus killed nine men. Graduation is anything but certain. He grabs his rifle and engages the most brutal fifty-six days of his young life; controlled starvation and sleep deprivation, a hundred pound rucksack and a five hundred mile walk. By parachute, helicopter or fast-moving jet, it’s a character defining journey through dense mountain forests and high desert plains, neck deep in salt water marshes and soaked to the bone in cold open seas. It’s July 1st 1986, welcome to Ranger school. 

On the other side of the world a cold war rages. Minefields, Morlocks and a long way from home, follow Lt. Parkes as he walks combat patrols inside the Korean demilitarized zone. The rules governing the Joint Security Area are clear, but Lt. Parkes has orders to follow. Join him as he breaks every United Nations regulation in the book and invades Panmunjom with a platoon of soldiers packing heavy weapons. From here, Parkes’ character flaws catch up and events grow complicated, grim and more dangerous. 

Recruited into the 75th Ranger regiment, 1LT Parkes arrives at Ft. Benning and learns everything there is to know about mortars, and lies. He gets honest and makes promises. He exits Jumpmaster school with a clean slate bound for the great Northwest and duty with the 2nd Ranger battalion and men of unparalleled principal. Meet Lieutenant Pete, a young officer of uncompromising bearing and unbreakable constitution, and Captain Mike, a soldier destined for greatness on the world’s stage, and LG, perhaps the most dedicated Ranger of all times. But here Parkes does not belong.

The promises he made are broken. His perception of self barely rises to worthless. He seeks that which he thinks he deserves … ugliness. Five years soldiering had seen hardship and risk, but no one had actually fired a weapon at him. All that’s about to change.

The Review

This was a truly gripping story to read. This memoir and true crime style novel focuses on the intense physical and mental toll training in the US Army Rangers can have on an individual. Not only will readers see through the author’s eyes how painful and difficult the journey can be, (from forcing trainees to strip any ranks they’ve earned from their military clothing, throwing mock grenades into cabins, etc), but readers will also see the great deal of mathematics, science and physicality that these officers in training must go through when preparing for their future missions and jumps from high altitudes. 

After leaving school behind, readers are taken to the harsh and tense area between North and South Korea, and the infamous DMZ. Seeing the author’s struggle through addiction while undergoing the grueling training was tough, but also getting to see through the author’s eyes the true nature of military life and the intensity of missions that they undertake was just as exhausting and emotionally driven as anything else. This is the perfect read to showcase the struggles and difficulties military training, and in particular Army Ranger training, can have on individuals and how it affects their lives after service. 

The Verdict

This is a must read novel. The author’s personal journey highlights this struggle in a powerful way. While a short read, hearing the author’s tale and getting a glimpse into the life an an Army Ranger was eye opening to say the least. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy of “The Soldier” by Stephen Parkes today!

Rating: 10/10

You Started WHAT After 60? Highpointing Across America by Jane T. Bertrand Blog Tour & Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

One woman’s journey to traverse the highest peaks in all 50 US States leads to a nearly decade’s worth of stories and memories in author Jane T. Bertrand’s You Started WHAT After 60? Highpointing Across America. Here is the synopsis.

The Synopsis

ITCHING FOR A CHALLENGE when she turned 60, Jane Bertrand set out to reach the highest point of each state. Her strategic mistake was to start with the easiest ones, leaving the most strenuous for the end of this decade-long quest. She recruited over 50 family members, colleagues, and childhood friends to join her in making this the experience of a lifetime.

Jane Trowbridge Bertrand is a professor at the Tulane School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine. A Maine native, she moved to New Orleans over 40 years ago where she and her husband Bill raised their children, Katy and Jacob. Her recurrent travel to Africa in connection with international family planning work generated many of the frequent flyer miles that made this highpointing pursuit possible.

The Review

This was such a unique and inspiring book to read. This nonfiction, sports and senior travel novel showcased not only the sport of high pointing and the various goals, classifications and challenges that go along with it, but it showed the strength and resilience it takes to complete such a task. Despite many challenges and alternate hiking routes/mountains that needed to be taken, the goal was the pursuit of this challenge, and showcased how anyone labeled a senior citizen can still accomplish seemingly impossible tasks. 

Although a fairy short read, the amount of detail and the writing itself was brilliant in this book. Breaking each chapter down by the mountains climbed and the difficulty of the climb itself, to bringing in memories of family and friends, as well as the travels themselves and the companions who joined her, made this not only an inspirational story and unique take on high pointing in general, but a personal story at that. This allows readers to connect with the author in a whole new way, and made this quite an enjoyable experience. 

The Verdict

Overall I loved the tale. A true story of overcoming the odds and adversity as a strong and powerful woman tackles an often overlooked sport and challenges herself to this task, readers who enjoy hiking, high pointing and stories of fighting against all odds will absolutely love this tale. If you haven’t yet, grab your copy of You Started WHAT After 60? Highpointing Across America by Jane T. Bertrand today!

Rating: 10/10

  • Paperback: 284 pages
  • Publisher: Walnut Park Press (November 16, 2018)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1732847703
  • ISBN-13: 978-1732847705

Amazon Link:  https://www.amazon.com/Started-after-Highpointing-across-America/dp/1732847703/?tag=wowwomenonwri-20

Itching for a challenge when she turned 60, Jane Bertrand set out to reach the highest point of each state. Her strategic mistake was to start with the easiest ones, leaving the most strenuous for the end of this decade-long quest. She recruited over 50 family members, colleagues, and childhood friends to join her in making this the experience of a lifetime.  

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About the Author:  

Jane Trowbridge Bertrand is a professor at the Tulane School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine. A Maine native, she moved to New Orleans over 40 years ago where she and her husband Bill raised their children, Katy and Jacob. Her recurrent travel to Africa in connection with international family planning work generated many of the frequent flyer miles that made this highpointing pursuit possible.

(Longer “about” from her website if you prefer:)

Jane Bertrand traces her love of hiking back to Girl Scout Camp Natarswi, located at the foot of Katahdin in Maine, the Northern terminus for the Appalachian trail.

After attending college out of state, she would return annually for her two-week sacrosanct vacation in Maine.  Over the years she would continue to climb Katahdin, first with her sisters, later with her own children, and finally with adult friends who shared her love of the mountain.

Yet not until age 60 did it occur to her to expand her annual expedition up Katahdin to a quest to reach the highpoints of the 50 states. When she started this project of “climbing a mountain in every state,” little did she realize that the Highpointers have a Club, Foundation, website, and annual convention.

During most of her adult life, Bertrand stayed in shape by jogging three times a week, but she was no elite athlete. When at age 60 she began her highpointing pursuit, she got off to a lackluster start, achieving only 11 high points in the first six years, and almost all of those were “easy.” As she advanced to her mid-sixties, the race against time begin. Despite minor setbacks with runner’s knee and bunions, she pushed ahead – her interest in highpointing evolving into an obsession and finally an addiction. As she faced mountains of increasing difficulty – that she had unwisely left to the end – she accelerated her exercise routine in hopes of meeting the challenge.

Initially, she assumed that her full-time job at Tulane University, both teaching classes and traveling to Africa in connection with her international family planning work, would be a deterrent to reaching the highest point of every state. Midway through this journey, she realized it was actually a facilitator, as she traveled through different Delta hubs en route to her work in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Over the course of this decade-long pursuit, Bertrand recruited over 50 family members, colleagues, and childhood friends to accompany her on this journey. They ranged in age from 4 months to 71 years. Some she hadn’t seen for over 40 years, others she met on the day they highpointed together. 

 Bertrand initially ruled out any mountain that would involve technical climbing requiring a harness, rope, ice axe, or helmet. But as the remaining mountains on her list increased in difficulty, she had no choice but to bite the bullet and harness up.  Her story describes the exhilaration and sense of accomplishment of pushing harder and reaching further than she expected possible. Yet it also recounts the humbling experience of getting lost more than once and dragging down the final miles, even after successfully summiting one of the hardest mountains – with every muscle in her body screaming “this is why 69-year olds should not be climbing Mt. Hood.”

Jane Bertrand received her B.A. (French) from Brown University in 1971, her PhD (Sociology) from the University of Chicago in 1976, and her MBA from Tulane University in 2001, Bertrand has lived in New Orleans, Louisiana with her husband Bill Bertrand (also a Tulane professor, affectionately known as the “Cajun Chef”), where they raised their two children, Katy and Jacob. She has come to love her adopted city: the jazz, the food, the beauty of Spanish moss and tropical plants. She is also a member of the all-female Krewe of Muses, a group that parades every year during Mardi Gras. 


Find Jane Online:

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1785116.Jane_T_Bertrand?from_search=true

 Twitter:  @JaneBertrand8

  Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/JaneBertrandAuthor/

 Website:  https://www.janebertrand.com/

Motivational and Inspirational Books for the New Year



———-Blog Tour Dates

Launch Day – 1/7 -Jane T. Bertrand launches her tour of “You Started WHAT After 60? Highpointing Across America”

(interview questions sent; need responses)

Tuesday, January 8th @ Fiona Ingram

Fellow author Fiona Ingram reviews the adventures story of Jane T. Bertrand’s experiences highpointing across America in “You Started WHAT After 60?”. Readers won’t be disappointed in Ingram’s review or Bertrand’s memoir!

http://fionaingramauthor.blogspot.com/

Wednesday, January 9th @ BOL w/Crystal Otto

Crystal Otto couldn’t wait to get her hands on Jane T. Bertrand’s story about highpointing across America! This busy farmer seldom leaves the farm and enjoyed every moment she experienced reading “You Started WHAT After 60?”. Find out more in her book review at Bring on Lemons today!

http://bringonlemons.blogspot.com/

Thursday, January 10th @ Selling Books with Cathy Stucker

Learn more about Jane T. Bertrand as she is interviewed by Cathy Stucker at Selling Books. You won’t want to miss this insightful interview about Bertrand and her memoir “You Started What After 60? Highpointing Across America”.

https://www.sellingbooks.com/

Friday, January 11th @ Breakeven Books

Don’t miss a very honest book review about Jane T. Bertrand’s “You Started WHAT After 60? Highpointing Across America”

https://breakevenbooks.com/

Monday, January 14th @ Look to the Western Sky with Margo Dill

Author, Editor, and Reviewer Margo Dill shares her thoughts after reading the inspiring memoir “You Started WHAT After 60?” by Jane T. Bertrand.

Wednesday, January 16th @ Author Anthony Avina

Description:Author Anthony Avina reads and reviews “You Started WHAT After 60?” – by Jane T. Bertrand. Readers won’t want to miss this adventurous memoir about highpointing across America.

https://authoranthonyavinablog.com/

Friday, January 18th @ BOL w/Michelle DelPonte

Michelle DelPonte offers her point of view after reading “You Started WHAT After 60?” by Jane T. Bertrand. Find out what this Wisconsin wife, mother, and autism advocate has to say about Bertrand’s recount of her adventures!

http://bringonlemons.blogspot.com/

Tuesday, January 22nd @ Book Santa Fe w/Elizabeth Hansen

Description:Young reader and reviewer Elizabeth Hansen shares her thoughts after reading about Jane T. Bertrand’s adventures in “You Started WHAT After 60? Highpointing Across America”

http://www.booksantafe.info/booksantafeblog

Thursday, January 24th @ Choices with Madeline Sharples

Description:Fellow memoirist Madeline Sharples shares her review of “You Started WHAT After 60?” by Jane T. Bertrand. Readers at Choices will be thrilled by Bertrand’s adventures in highpointing across America!

http://madelinesharples.com/

Wednesday, January 30th @ To Write or Not to Write with Sreevarsha

Sreevarsha reviews the inspirational book “You Started WHAT After 60?” by Jane T. Bertrand. Don’t miss the opportunity to learn more about Bertrand’s adventure highpointing across America later in life.

http://sreevarshasreejith.blogspot.co.at/

Tuesday, February 5th @ World of My Imagination with Nicole Pyles

Description:Nicole reviews and shares her thoughts after reading the thrilling account of Jane T. Bertrand’s adventures in highpointing across America in “You Started WHAT After 60?”. Join readers at World of My Imagination and find out more about this great read and inspirational author!

https://theworldofmyimagination.blogspot.com/

Heritage (Imagine #3) by Jenna Greene Review

The dangerous new world created by the Coalition puts the Elementals to the test in author Jenna Greene’s latest novel, Heritage, book three in the Imagine series.

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

The dangerous new world created by the Coalition puts the Elementals to the test in author Jenna Greene’s latest novel, Heritage, book three in the Imagine series. Here is the synopsis.

The Synopsis

As Becky tries to adjust to life back on Earth, in Oren, Prince Eston suffers under the deadly effects of broxide poisoning. 

While Cristox Savu joins with an unlikely friend as he attempts to save his people from extinction, Leda and Jamee, two of the three Naturals, those born with magic, struggle to defend the sanctuary of the Painter’s Valley. 

And, even as they finally face the feelings they have for each other, Kat and Ino must evade the Coalition’s clutches as they journey to discover what is affecting magic across Oren–before it is too late and magic, and an even deadlier enemy, destroys Oren and everyone Kat cares about.

The Review

All I can say is…wow. As a reader and fan of this growing series, I am more than blown away by the world building, character driven and emotionally charged story told by author Jenna Greene. This third novel in the Imagine series takes readers to new heights as we not only explore the Elementals fighting to survive in a world where their natural born gift for magic is outlawed as criminal behavior. Hunted and hated, the heroes must find a way to combat not only this powerful new organization, but the hatred and fear being stoked within the citizens of the kingdom of Areth. 

The author finds new and exciting ways to build upon the Oren mythology, including seeing how the magical realm has affected our own world. Seeing Becky’s journey struggling with the loss of her time on Oren and trying to find out what happened to her during all those weeks she was missing, it was great to see this young and powerful character continue to add to the overall narrative. Seeing the beginning of Kat and Ino’s relationship growing into something more than friends was a nice added development throughout this dramatic storyline, and readers will not believe their eyes when the book’s climax reveals the shadowy villain working behind the scenes of the Coalition.

The Verdict

This is a fantastic addition to this massively growing fantasy series by author Jenna Greene. A twist ending that leaves the possibility for more and more books in the franchise, the Imagine series continues to share the powerful world building techniques of the fantasy genre in new and unique ways. If you love YA fantasy as much as I do, then be sure to grab Heritage (Imagine #3) by Jenna Greene today.

Rating: 10/10

https://amzn.to/2Crynt9

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About the Author

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Jenna Greene is the author of the acclaimed Young Adult   Fantasy series, Imagine!  She is a middle school teacher, dragonboat coach, enthusiastic dancer, and semi-professional napper. She lives in Lethbridge, Alberta with her husband (Scott), daughter (Olivia), and dog (Thor, dog of thunder). 

http://www.jennagreene.ca/

Reality (Imagine #2) by Jenna Greene Review

The world of Oren faces a new danger as anti-magic rhetoric and a mission to return a friend home make Kat Bowers and the other Elementals lives more in peril than ever before in author Jenna Greene’s Reality, book number 2 in the Imagine series.

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

The world of Oren faces a new danger as anti-magic rhetoric and a mission to return a friend home make Kat Bowers and the other Elementals lives more in peril than ever before in author Jenna Greene’s Reality, book number 2 in the Imagine series. Here is a synopsis.

The Synopsis

The three young Elementals discover they no longer have full control over their magic, a fact that is both unsettling and could put lives in peril. As a new group, known as the Coalition, rises in power, anti- magic sentiment spreads rom the small village of Sorc all the way to the kingdom of Areth. Amidst all this turmoil, Kat decides to undertake a new quest, one that will affect Becky’s future. Venturing into territory more hazardous than any they’ve seen before, both girls strive toward a goal they know has little hope of success.

The Review

The overlaying threat of this anti-magic group really helped elevate the dangers the heroes face in Oren. With their newfound powers essentially malfunctioning and separated by two very different missions, the Elementals must navigate the dangerous new world being created by the Coalition. 

It was fascinating and engaging as a reader to see the underlying theme of persecution and hatred based on fear arising within the novel. During these tumultuous times, it was a great way to integrate serious discussions into a fantasy driven narrative. Seeing the characters deal with that new reality, all the while going about their separate missions was a fantastic way to develop the characters even more. 

The Verdict

This was a great sequel to an already great developing series. Taking the magic of the first novel and increasing the drama and dangers of this new world, the author gave not only protagonists Kat and Becky new challenges, but gave special insight from supporting characters like Easton and the other elementals. If you enjoyed the first novel or are looking for a fun new fantasy series to dive into, then pick up your copy of Reality (Imagine #2) by Jenna Greene today.

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Jenna Greene is the author of the acclaimed Young Adult   Fantasy series, Imagine!  She is a middle school teacher, dragonboat coach, enthusiastic dancer, and semi-professional napper. She lives in Lethbridge, Alberta with her husband (Scott), daughter (Olivia), and dog (Thor, dog of thunder). 

National Puzzle Month – Adult Jigsaw Puzzles Buy 1, Get 1 50% Off

https://amzn.to/2Fq6rd5

http://www.jennagreene.ca/

Imagine by Jenna Greene Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

Author Jenna Greene brings a dangerous, exhilarating and emotional fantasy to life in the novel Imagine, the first of the Imagine series. Here is the synopsis.

The Synopsis

A fierce wind and a blast of green light during a strange storm causes everything to change for Katharine Bowers and Becky Thatcher. The girls wake up in Oren, an entirely different realm than their earthly city. They meet Enalie, a fading magical presence who sets an incredible destiny before them… then simply disappears. Left alone to fend off creatures that hunt them in the night, they must relay a magical heritage that doesn’t make sense, and – if possible – save a world that they know nothing about.

The Review

This book took the fantasy genre to a whole new level. A brilliant YA style fantasy novel that wasn’t afraid to delve into the brutal nature of magic and fantasy style storytelling. With an entire cast of memorable characters, the author did a fantastic job of bringing two strong, young and driven female protagonists to life. 

The world building was phenomenal in this first book of the series. Exploring the fictional world of Oren and all of the provinces within it was great to see, as was the political nature of various kingdoms and different species living throughout the world. The story of young women discovering the power within themselves and overcoming oppressive and tyrannical forces was the inspirational fantasy story everyone has been waiting for, making Jenna Greene the next great name in the fantasy genre.

The Verdict

This is a must read novel. Full of action, suspense and cinematic level storytelling, Imagine is a wonderful introduction to the world of Oren and heroes like Kat and Becky. If you enjoy a good fantasy novel with strong female lead characters and a large dose of magic, then Imagine by author Jenna Greene is the book for you. Grab your copy today!

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Rating: 10/10

https://amzn.to/2Crxyk3

About the Author

Jenna Greene is the author of the acclaimed Young Adult   Fantasy series, Imagine!  She is a middle school teacher, dragonboat coach, enthusiastic dancer, and semi-professional napper. She lives in Lethbridge, Alberta with her husband (Scott), daughter (Olivia), and dog (Thor, dog of thunder). 

http://www.jennagreene.ca/

National Puzzle Month – Adult Jigsaw Puzzles Buy 1, Get 1 50% Off

To Dream the Blackbane Blog Tour

ToDreamtheBlackbane

Congratulations to author Richard J. O’Brien, on the release of his latest novel, To Dream the Blackbane!

TDTB Book CoverTo Dream the Blackbane

Publication Date: December 29th, 2018

Genre: Fantasy/ Urban Fantasy

A cosmic event in 2015 fused Earth with the faerie realm. Scientists referred to the event as The Anomaly. A byproduct of The Anomaly was the advent of hybrid beings—people who became mixed with whatever animal or object was closest to them the moment the event occurred. Humans, or pedigrees, soon relegated fairy refugees and hybrids into ghetto zones in large cities.

Seventy years later, Wolfgang Rex, a second-generation hybrid—part human, part Rhodesian Ridgeback—is a retired police detective who runs a private investigation business in Chicago’s Southside. It’s a one-hybrid show; though Rex couldn’t survive without his assistant, the faerie Sally Sandweb.

One night, two vampires visit Rex and offer him a substantial reward for the recovery of a stolen scroll. Later that same evening, Charlotte Sweeney-Jarhadill, a pedigree woman from Louisiana, visits Rex and hires him to exorcize the headless ghost of a Confederate soldier from her home.

To complicate matters, the private detective ends up falling for Charlotte. Meanwhile, the vampires demand results in the search for the missing scroll. When Rex’s assistant Sally goes missing, he must stay alive long enough to find her. Charlotte and the vampires, however, have other plans for Rex.

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Excerpt

My name is Wolfgang Rex. I am a private detective. Once upon a time I’d been a police lieutenant. After twenty-five years of service to the city of Chicago, I retired in 2063 and opened up Chi-town Detectives, a private investigation firm.

I’m what they call in the medical books a second-generation Anomalous cross-breed. My father was a cop like me. One night he was out walking his dog, a Rhodesian Ridgeback named Rex. My mother hated that dog. After she died I learned that she had always wished that Rex would meet some unfortunate demise. She got her wish on the night of The Anomaly. My father came home from his walk without the dog—in a manner of speaking. For lack of a better term, he and the dog had fused. And the result was a humanoid—with a hairy body, a tail, and the head of his old dog Rex. My mother was horrified, but my parents were both Catholic. So they stuck it out. I was born in the tenth year of The Anomaly. When I was a kid, my mother used to read me fairy tales. She died before I finished high school. So it goes, like Kurt Vonnegut once wrote. I turned out to be the spitting image of my father post-Anomaly. I lucked out with being born without a tail. My father had somehow managed to keep his human vocal cords. My face was less hairy than his, but our snouts were nearly identical.

Learning to speak with a dog’s mouth was tricky when I was coming up, but I eventually got the hang of it. And thank Christ I’d been born with opposable thumbs; otherwise, I would’ve starved to death a long time ago. Still, given that many people melded with inanimate objects—much like that poor bastard who became a stone gargoyle—I constantly considered myself lucky. My father cursed his lot for the rest of his life. Some people, like my old man, never learned to adjust.

Available on Amazon

About the Author

Author Pic

Richard J. O’Brien is a graduate of the Fairleigh Dickinson University MFA in Creative Writing Program. Richard’s novels include Under the Bronze Moon, Infestation, and The Garden of Fragile Things. His short stories have appeared in The Del Sol Review, Duende, Pulp Literature, The Dr. T.J. Eckleburg Review, Weirdbook, and other magazines. Richard lives in New Jersey, where he teaches at Rowan College at Gloucester County and Stockton University.

Richard J. O’Brien | Goodreads | Amazon

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Tour Schedule

Jan 7th

Reads & Reels (Excerpt) http://www.readsandreels.com

Life at 17 (Review) https://lifeat17.wordpress.com/

Tranquil Dreams (Excerpt) https://klling.wordpress.com/

The Invisible Moth (Review) https://daleydowning.wordpress.com/

Jan. 8th

On the Shelf Book Reviews (Excerpt) https://ontheshelfreviews.wordpress.com

Jessica Rachow (Review) http://jessicarachow.wordpress.com

Your Books, My Reviews (Review) https://yourbooksmyreview.wordpress.com

Jan. 9th

I Smell Sheep (Excerpt) http://www.ismellsheep.com/

The Voluptuous Book Diva (Excerpt) http://www.thevoluptuousbookdiva.com/

Rockabilly Spoonie (Interview) https://lauramorningstar.com

Splashes into Books (Excerpt) https://splashesintobooks.wordpress.com/

Jan. 10th

Anthony Avina (Excerpt) http://www.authoranthonyavinablog.com

The Bookworm Drinketh (Review) http://thebookwormdrinketh.wordpress.com/

The Return Cart (Review) http://thereturncart.com/

Didi Oviatt (Excerpt) https://didioviatt.wordpress.com

Jan 11th

Reading Nook (Excerpt) http://readingnook84.wordpress.com

Cats Love Coffee Book Reviews (Review) https://catsluvcoffeez.blogspot.com

Bronder Book Reviews (Review) https://jbronderbookreviews.com/

Sammie Reads (Review) https://sammiereadsbook.wordpress.com

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