Tag Archives: crime drama

Killer with Three Heads (Killer Series Book Two)  by J.L. Hill Review

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

A decade after faking his own death, a former mobster and criminal returns to NYC to find his daughter, and those who kidnapped her, no matter the cost in author J.L. Hill’s “Killer with Three Heads”, the second book in the Killer series.

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The Synopsis

It’s been ten years since the Banoa-Rocci war. It is all but forgotten in New York City. Then the unthinkable happens, someone has kidnapped Maria and her nanny Akilina, and resurrected the Devil.

Bulletproof Morris ‘Mojo’ Johnson has been missing for the last four years. He returns in a hailstorm of bullets looking for his daughter, and more importantly, her kidnappers. He is ready to reignite the old conflicts, or start a new one with whoever would be so bold.

Nicky ‘Nails’ Rocci is ready to ascend to the role of Godfather of his New York Family and take a seat on the board of the Syndicate. His friend can derail his entire plan and put him in the middle of a war with the other families, or worse, government forces.

The Review

This was quite the loaded and action-packed crime thriller. Although fairly new to the Killer Series by this author, the narrative works in a way that allows newcomers to enjoy the story without sacrificing the callbacks and story components from the first book for returning fans of this series. The book is definitely geared towards a more adult readership, as descriptive and lengthy scenes of violence and sexual activity take place. The vivid imagery the author’s writing evokes conjures to mind the 80’s crime stories that have become a part of our pop culture for years, bringing to life mobsters, drug cartels, shady government agents, and more to the table.

The heart of this narrative was the complexity of the protagonist and the emotional driving force behind the story itself. The kidnapping of the protagonist’s daughter reawakens the seasoned criminal within Morris, and his love and determination to save his daughter is matched by the ferocity and shocking levels of violence he is willing to inflict on others to find her and gain what he wants. The story also highlights the conflicting struggles of women in general, but in particular, this story the women who had to learn to survive in the criminal underworld through any means necessary, becoming both weapon and object of desire alike to not only gain access to information and targets but to survive the violent world that these men had created back then.

The Verdict

Shocking, adrenaline-fueled, and entertaining, author J.L. Hill’s “Killer with Three Heads” is a must-read crime thriller and a great second entry into the Killer Series. The twists and turns in the narrative and the international settings and timelines that showcase the growth and development of this cast of characters help elevate the classic story seen time and time again in organized crime stories, as a father and criminal must use his resources and power to save his daughter’s life, no matter how much blood he has to spill. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

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A native New Yorker, born and raised in the Bronx, James L Hill spent his adolescence years in Fort Apache, the South Bronx 41st precinct during the 60’s, during a time when you needed to have a gang to go to the store. Raised on blues, soul, and rock and roll gave him the heart of a flower child. Educated by the turmoil of Vietnam, Civil Rights, and the Sexual Revolution produced a gladiator. Realizing the precariousness of life gave him an adventurous outlook and willingness to try anything once, and if it did not kill him, maybe twice. 12 years of Catholic education and a couple of years in college spread between wild drug induce euphoric years, which did not kill him, gave James an unique moral compass that swings in any direction it wants. A scientific mind and a spirit that believes nothing is impossible if you want it bad enough guides his writings. He enjoys traveling to new places and seeing what life has to offer. James began writing short stories and poetry back in his early years. In his twenties moved on to novels. He worked in the financial industry and later got a degree in computer programming, his other love. James has a successful career as a software engineer designing, developing and maintaining systems for the government and the private sector. He has been programming for nearly forty years in various languages. After years in the computer world he returned to his first love, unleashing the characters in his head. Still a hopeless insomniac, he feels free to pound out plots. James L Hill is a prolific storyteller writing crime stories, fantasies, and science fiction, with a slant on the dark side of life. The next step on his journey naturally led to the business of publishing. He started RockHill Publishing LLC not only to produce his own work, but to give others access to the literary world. His computer background and experiences in word processing gives him insight into what it takes to publish good books.

https://www.jlhill-books.com/index.html

One Visit by George Veck Review

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

TRIGGER WARNING: SCENES OF DRUG ABUSE AND SEXUAL ABUSE OCCUR IN THIS NOVEL. READER DISCRETION IS ADVISED.

A young man hoping to keep his brother out of the care system must contend with an abusive father, a former acquaintance turned drug dealer and his own addiction in author George Veck’s “One Visit”.

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The Synopsis

In sleepy, rural North Wales, Frankie Gibbs, a recently laid off, aimless twenty-year-old on Universal Credit, wants nothing more than to keep his younger brother out of the care system. He single-handedly takes this upon himself while their alcoholic, cocaine-addict, single-parent father, Guy Gibbs, heaps misery on their lives through systematic abuse and his never-ending wild parties. After Guy is sent to prison, Frankie is coerced into opening his home to Justin, an acquaintance from his school days now turned drug dealer, while his own addiction and self-worth spiral beyond recognition.

The Review

This was a truly gritty, dark, and twisted crime drama. The author expertly weaves together a heartbreaking tale that examines the impact that drug addiction, abuse, and toxic family relationships can have on people. The haunting imagery and chilling atmosphere capture the grim setting and cinematic, almost indie-film quality of the novel.

The aspects of this narrative that really stood out were the heartbreaking character developments of this novel and the emphasis the author put on capturing the surrounding culture and tone of the people around the main cast of characters. The exploration of Wales in general and both the terminology and culture that exists within their community was fascinating for a U.S. reader to explore, while the traumatic road these characters travel down feels both relatable and emotional all at once.

The Verdict

Thought-provoking, shocking, and engaging, author George Veck’s “One Visit” is a must-read crime drama. The horrors that the protagonist and his brother endure as the narrative descends further and further into chaos hone in on the growing problem of drug abuse and violence as a whole around the world, and will speak to readers on a very distinct level. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

I grew up in rural North West Wales, where hardships and a lack of opportunities spurred my passion for tackling tough subjects, such as poverty, addiction and mental health. Currently studying a masters degree in screenwriting at the University of South Wales, I’ve written and directed three short films. One Visit was the first feature-length screenplay I ever wrote, and through the exposure of this novel, I hope to garner interest and funding to turn it into a film one day. For news regarding my future novels and films, follow @vecks_gems_productions on Instagram.

https://www.instagram.com/vecks_gems_productions

Breaking the Weak Link by Gary Westphalen Review

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

A real-life crime begins and subsequently inspires the story of a spur of the moment theft of an armored car in broad daylight that turns into a edge-of-your-seat thriller involving crime rings, tourists, the destruction of a national monument, and a fiery romance in author Gary Westphalen’s “Breaking the Weak Link”.

The Synopsis

When an undocumented immigrant in New York City happens upon an armored truck whose guards are simply not paying attention, he seizes the moment and casually walks off with $1.6-Million dollars in pure gold. That true-life event forms the basis for Breaking The Weak Link. But the story is just beginning. Before it’s over, an international crime ring will have attacked many more armored trucks and destroyed one of America’s greatest landmarks. Along with the way, a television reporter, a gold dealer, numerous armored truck guards, uncountable tourists, many of the criminals, and even the FBI Agent chasing them will have their lives hanging by a thread. Top it off with a blazing romance so hot the pages might catch on fire, and this book is a must read.

This fast-paced thriller by Author Gary Westphalen (Plan A Never Happens, Murdered For Nothing) twists and turns through every page, leaving the reader begging to know what happens next. The story travels from New York City to Buffalo, Pittsburgh, Washington, DC, and many other points, even as far as Nicaragua and Russia. The colorful detail woven into this non-stop story will make you believe you have been transported right into the scenes. It’s as if you are the unseen bystander in every locus of the plot.

Get comfortable, because once you start reading Breaking The Weak Link, you won’t put it down until it’s over. 

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The Review

What an incredible whirlwind thriller! The amazing thing that always entertains me when I read a Gary Westphalen book is a natural way the author ties into the narrative a true crime that the fictional narrative spirals out of. The way a split-decision from one man can spiral out of control and create a cascading series of events that destroy lives was so expertly crafted and explored in this novel, balancing the action and suspense of the novel’s crime element with the mystery and intrigue of the characters and the masterminds behind this criminal organization.

The character growth really was the heart of this narrative. They brought the crimes themselves to life so vividly and chillingly, and the author did a great job of showcasing that crimes are rarely about “good and evil”, but instead reside in a cascading series of shades of grey. As the “criminal” who began this journey was a simple man who took an opportunity and made a series of bad decisions as a result, to the mastermind behind the subsequent crimes, who readers would never have seen coming a mile away, each character feels well-rounded and realistic, while also drawing upon the genres to create entertaining and visceral reading experiences.

The Verdict

A brilliant, entertaining, and hauntingly-adventurous crime drama, author Gary Westphalen’s “Breaking the Weak Link” is a must-read drama of 2021. One of the fall’s best new crime dramas, the author has brought to life a gripping thriller that will have fans on the edge of their seats and the twisted finale will leave readers totally shocked. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Gary Westphalen has spent most life in pursuit of the truth. First as a journalist working for local television stations, then moving on to work for national news organizations, eventually finding himself as part of the White House reporting teams for a major television network, where he engaged in verbal sparring with every President from Ronald Reagan to Barack Obama.

He also found time to work as an independent documentary film-maker, garnering numerous major awards for his work. He went on to NASA, where he produced several major documentary productions for the space agency.

Gary’s next journalistic adventure was as publisher of a major motorcycle magazine.

Now, Gary finds himself living on a Pacific coast beach in Costa Rica, where he has reinvented himself yet again as as an author and audiobook narrator. His first two books have received great critical acclaim and the pipeline is full of upcoming books.

https://www.facebook.com/gary.westphalen

Hollister McClane by Laurie Lisa Review

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

After stumbling into her first bank robbery, newly-formed criminal Hollister McClane takes readers on a journey of discovery, danger, and more in author Laurie Lisa’s “Hollister McClane”.

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The Synopsis

Hollister McClane is a small-town, southern Missouri, gorgeous (if she does say so herself) heroine who has a knack for accidentally robbing banks, a convenience store, and a possible drug cartel. She might inadvertently throw in a couple of grand theft autos, but truly, she wouldn’t hurt a fly–not even when that Ruger falls into her lap.

Savvy and self-taught, eternally optimistic and zealously patriotic, Hollister walks, runs, hitchhikes, and drives from one chance encounter to another across America’s heartland. After accidentally robbing her first bank dressed as Uncle Sam, Hollister sees her newfound life on the run as a matter of Fate. And it doesn’t hurt that she is a genius at disguises (if she does say so herself).

Hollister always tries to do the right thing with her newfound bounty, but somehow, it keeps slipping through her fingers. Also, there are a few obstacles along the way: the law, the lovers, the three not-quite-ex-husbands, the babies, and always, world-weary Mama. When Hollister finally does use that gun, unfortunately, she’s pointing it too close to home.

The Review

This was a truly engaging read. Author Laurie Lisa hits it out of the park once more, delving into the crime thriller genre with ease and finding the perfect balance of this genre with humor and charm. The theme of morality, and how desperation and miscommunication can easily lead someone down a dark and dangerous road made this story shine brightly.

Hollister McClane was a brilliant protagonist/antihero. The unique perspective of the character’s arc is fascinating to read, as the character gives a first-person POV as her journey into a life of crime grows deeper and deeper throughout the narrative. What is fascinating is seeing how the character rationalizes and frames the arc of her journey. From the moments trying to shed light on the path not taken, to the growth and experience she takes on as time moves forward, and even to the open-ended finale that highlights the character’s story, Hollister truly becomes the driving force of her own novel. 

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The Verdict

Something that author Laurie Lisa has done so well over the course of several books is creating relatable, realistic, and emotionally-driven reads that focus heavily on intricate character development, and Hollister McClane is no different. From the complex relationships with exes, her mother, and the law, to the balance of humorous observations on the protagonist’s part and the brilliant writing that showcases the author’s talent for fleshing out strong and unique characters, this novel, “Hollister McClane” by Laurie Lisa, is an instant smash hit! If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

About the Author

Laurie was born and raised in Southern Illinois.  She obtained her B.S.in English Education from the University of Illinois, where she also met and then married her husband Steve. Laurie earned both an M.A. and a Ph.D. in English (20th-century American literature) from Arizona State University, where she also taught literature and composition. In addition to her novels, Laurie has published two academic books, several short stories and poems, and edited other’s works. After much time spent in Academia and raising her three children (Anthony, Michelle, and Caitlin), Laurie returned to her passion for writing fiction.  She is a prolific writer of contemporary upmarket women’s fiction and typically completes one novel each year. 

Laurie resides with her husband, Steve, in Paradise Valley and Flagstaff, Arizona.

https://laurielisa.com/

The Wine Club by Laurie Lisa Review

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

Two friends go down a dangerous path in order to provide for their daughters in author Laurie Lisa’s “The Wine Club”. 

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The Synopsis

Be ready to get hooked, with The Wine Club.

Most people can’t tell a good wine from a bottle of Two-Buck Chuck.

At least that’s what best friends Reggie and Audrey decide one night while celebrating their daughters’ election to the elite Mohave High Tigerette Pom Squad. But cheerleading in Scottsdale Arizona doesn’t come cheap, and both women are strapped for cash and going through a rough patch. Reggie’s husband has announced he’s gay and wants a separation. Audrey’s husband is entering rehab. But what if they could earn money by selling cheap wine in fancy bottles? How hard could it be?

As the housewives perfect their high-stakes con, their greed and mistrust of one another grow…as does the realization that they’ve become a small team of female criminals.

The Wine Club is a witty, wicked tale of crime in the suburbs. With its dark humor, twisted plot, creative use of satire, and female protagonists who turn to a life of crime, this women’s suspenseful crime novel filled with surprising twists and turns is a novel you won’t put down, and one your book club will love.

The Review

A truly fun yet twisted read. Author Laurie Lisa does an excellent job of setting the tone and pace for this novel early on, and blends family drama with corruption and crime thriller incredibly well. The way the author is able to showcase each character’s personal struggles adds depth and background to the cast of characters who help bring this story to life. 

Character growth and story play equal parts in this narrative, with the novel taking readers through twists and turns as this late-night money-making scheme turns into a full-blown crime drama like no other. The shocking twists to each of the women’s families and the growing actions each character finds themselves participating in showcase how greed and power can turn anyone into a completely different person.

The Verdict

Entertaining, witty yet delightfully wicked, author Laurie Lisa’s “The Wine Club” is a must-read crime drama. With a cast of relatable characters and themes such as sexuality, body image, and family becoming key factors in the actions of the two protagonists, readers won’t find themselves lacking any incredible drama to sink their teeth into. With a shocking final chapter, fans won’t want to miss another smash hit from author Laurie Lisa, so be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Laurie was born and raised in small towns in Southern Illinois. She obtained her B.S. in English Education from the University of Illinois, where she also met and then married her husband Steve. Laurie earned both a M.A. and a Ph.D. in English, 20th-century American Literature, from Arizona State University, where she also taught literature and composition. In addition to her eight novels, Laurie has published two academic books, several short stories and poems, and edited other’s works. After much time spent in Academia and raising her three children (Anthony, Michelle, and Caitlin), Laurie returned to her passion for writing fiction. She is a prolific writer and typically completes one novel each year. Laurie resides with her husband, Steve, in Paradise Valley and Flagstaff, Arizona.

https://laurielisa.com/

https://www.facebook.com/authorlaurielisa/

https://www.instagram.com/laurieolisa/

Payback – Tales of Love, Hate and Revenge by Steve Bassett Review

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

Two homicide detectives in the late 40’s find themselves in over their heads when three victims tied to Hitler sympathizers are found with their bodies mutilated, and tensions begin running high both personally and professionally for the detectives in author Steve Bassett’s novel, “Payback – Tales of Love, Hate and Revenge”. 


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The Synopsis

Payback – Tales of Love, Hate and Revenge, the second book of the Passaic River Trilogy, is a drama so intense that it would be improbable anywhere but 1946 Newark. Across the country millions were dealing with the loss of loved ones, and horrible memories were being buried for the greater good. But not in Newark. Two mutilated bodies were pulled from the putrid Passaic River, and the sawed-off arm of a third man was found neatly wrapped and tied at the city dump. The three victims were members of the German-American Bund, Hitler lovers who had to pay the price for supporting a murderous madman. Someone was sending a message that only revenge could clear the mind and free the soul.

It didn’t take long for Police Lieutenant Nick Cisco and his partner, Sergeant Kevin McClosky, two veteran homicide cops [first introduced to readers in “Father Divine’s Bikes” the first book of the Trilogy], to realize they were in over their heads as they grappled with ambition, greed, racial tension, international intrigue, and a powerful church on the take. The three murders could not have come at a worse time for Cisco. His wife, Connie, had left him, and his close-knit Catholic family had disowned him because of his affair with his lover, Grace.

To add to the chaos, Cisco learned that he could have another homicide on his plate. Father Terry Nolan cornered Cisco at the city morgue and demanded his help. The senior counsel for M.L. Kraus, manufacturer of the poisonous gas Zyklon B, and his German wife were severely beating a Catholic orphan they were seeking to adopt. The Archdiocese had weighed Kraus’ huge cash contributions against a helpless girl’s plight and did nothing.

Kraus, facing a host of war crime indictments in Germany, was fighting for its massive pre-war chemical holdings in New Jersey. A federal court in Newark would soon decide Kraus’ fate. The outcome of the case would have a bearing not only on the company’s future, but Europe’s as well. Watching it all from the banks of the Passaic River was the dark specter of a murderous madman seeking further revenge.

The Review

A phenomenal story of grisly murders, tensions from a long fought and gruesome war, and so much more take center stage in this truly wonderful novel. The story echoes the great days of crime fiction and noir style storytelling, highlighting an era of upheaval and change in the United States and around the world in the wake of the Second World War. 

The novel focuses heavily on story through characterization. The book is filled with rich and diverse characters, each bringing their own set of problems and history that enhance the overall story and make the ongoing investigations and actions of other characters have much more emphasis on the overall story. Combined with the theme and genre of the story, this characterization draws the reader in immediately and gets the reader hooked on the action of the novel throughout every chapter. 

The Verdict

This is a must read crime fiction read of 2019. A high octane drama with in-depth character development and edge of your seat thrills, this novel is the perfect winter read for any fan of the crime thriller genre. Those who love the classic noir style storytelling will absolutely love this novel, and despite it being the second novel in a series, the reader will find this novel stands on its own and is easily able to be absorbed. An evenly paced read overall, be sure to grab your copies of “Payback – Tales of Love, Hate and Revenge” by Stephen Bassett today!

Rating: 10/10


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About the Author

Born and raised in Newark’s crime-ridden Third Ward, although far removed during a career as a multiple award-winning journalist, Steve Bassett has always been the proud sobriquet Jersey Guy. He has been legally blind for almost a decade, but having this hasn’t slowed him down.

Bassett has written two nonfiction books, The Battered Rich and Golden Ghetto: How the Americans and French Fell In and Out of Love During the Cold War. Continuing with his newest fiction release, Father Divine’s Bikes (a Finalist in the 2018 International Book Award in the Cross-Genre Fiction category), readers share in his insights that earned him three Emmys for investigative documentaries, and the California Bar Association’s first Medallion Award for Distinguished Reporting on the Administration of Justice. He now resides in Placitas, New Mexico with his wife, Darlene.

https://mobile.twitter.com/SteveBassett19

https://www.facebook.com/stevebassettworld/

https://www.instagram.com/stevebassettauthor

An Unsettled Grave (A Santero and Rein Thriller #2) by Bernard Schaffer Review

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

After hunting down a demented killer, a newly appointed detective finds herself delving into a decades old cold case filled with haunting secrets, and discovers a shocking connection to her mentor in author Bernard Schaffer’s novel, “An Unsettled Grave”. Here is the synopsis.

The Synopsis

In this brilliantly chilling follow-up to The Thief of All Light, veteran police officer Bernard Schaffer digs deep into the past–and the haunted psyches of the detectives who search for truth . . . at any cost.

“There’s a thousand scavengers in these woods.”

Before being promoted to detective, Carrie Santero was given a rare glimpse into the mind of a killer. Through her mentor, Jacob Rein–a seasoned manhunter whose gift for plumbing the depths of madness nearly drove him over the brink–she was able to help capture one of the most depraved serial killers in the country. Now, the discovery of a small human foot buried in the Pennsylvania woods will lead her to a decades-old cold case–and the darkest secrets of her mentor’s youth.

“Nobody trusts an animal that tries to eat its own kind.”

Thirty years ago, a young girl went missing. A police officer was murdered. Another committed suicide. The lives of everyone involved would never be the same. For three agonizing decades, Jacob Rein has yearned for the truth. But when Detective Carrie Santero begins digging up new evidence, she discovers some answers come with shattering consequences.

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The Review

This is the perfect follow up to the series began in The Thief of All Light. Author Bernard Schaffer continues to bring his expertise in the field of criminal investigation to bring a sense of realism and relatability to the genre, while still providing an engaging and entertaining thriller like no other. Detective Santero shines through in this story, providing a more confident and seasoned investigative mind to the case while still showing her honest and no nonsense personality that allows her to showcase her strength as a protagonist in this tale.

Yet it is the shocking connection to seasoned detective and Carrie’s mentor Rein that makes this story shine, as readers are given a rare glimpse into the history of Jacob Rein and the events that made him into the brilliant detective that he is. A case from his past highlights the events that led to his descent into darkness, swimming amongst the monsters of this world in order to capture them. Jumping between the past and the present makes this story feel more personal and intimate of a story than the first book, cementing the protagonists Santero and Rein as true thriller heroes that are here to stay.

The Verdict

This is a must read summer 2019 thriller. With the book’s release due in July of 2019, the fans who fell in love with Santero and Rein will be thrilled to watch this story unfold. Filled with heart and emotion, humor and brutal honesty, and a story that feels both cinematic and real all at once, this is the perfect read for anyone who loves the thriller genre, and leaves readers eager for a third book in this exciting and developing series. If you haven’t yet, pre-order your copy now or grab your copy of An Unsettled Grave by Bernard Schaffer on July 30th, 2019. 

Rating: 10/10

About the Author

Bernard Schaffer is the author of the Santero and Rein Thriller Series from Kensington Publications. 

Prior to that, he published multiple titles in a variety of genres as an independent author. Schaffer is the father of two children and a full-time police detective in Southeastern PA.

Visit him @BernardSchaffer or www.bernardschaffer.com.

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Social Media Links

Bernard Schaffer’s Facebook Author Page 

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Website: www.BernardSchaffer.com

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Twitter: @BernardSchaffer

Written in Blood by Layton Green Review

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

A cop seeking a life of relative peace by taking a job in his former hometown in North Carolina finds horror when a gruesome murder teases the arrival of a serial killer in author Layton Green’s “Written in Blood”. Here is the synopsis. 

The Synopsis 

Detective Joe “Preach” Everson, a prison chaplain turned police officer, is coming home. After a decade tracking down killers in Atlanta, and with a reputation as one of the finest homicide detectives in the city, his career derailed when he suffered a mental breakdown during the investigation of a serial killer who was targeting children. 

No sooner does Preach arrive at home in Creekville, North Carolina–a bohemian community near Chapel Hill–than a local bookstore owner is brutally killed, the first murder in a decade. The only officer with homicide experience, Preach is assigned to the case and makes a shocking discovery: the bookstore owner has been murdered in exactly the same manner as the pawnbroker in Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment. 

With the help of Ariana Hale, a law student and bibliophile who knew the victim, Preach investigates the local writer’s community. As their questions increase, a second body is found, this time eerily resembling the crime scene in a famous Edgar Allan Poe novella. Preach and Ariana realize that their adversary is an intelligent, literate killer with a mind as devious as it is disturbed–and one or both of them may be his next target.

The Review

The author has truly captured the serial killer thriller and classic “whodunnit” storytelling theme that has defined crime thrillers. The emergence of a disturbed serial killer with a penchant for literary based crime scenes immediately grips readers in a tight embrace as the investigation takes twists and turns the reader will never see coming. 

While the characters really provided the insight and emotion of the investigation, it was the setting that really captivated me in this story. As I lived in North Carolina for a number of years, not only did I feel personally connected to the location of the story, but the concept of a small town harboring the same level of deceit, crime and seedy underbelly that one would normally expect in a large city was truly fascinating to play out. We see this often in the novel reflected in the protagonist, as Preach sees the hard hitting criminal underworld setting he thought he left behind show itself throughout the investigation inside this seemingly peaceful small town, something many people are beginning to see in our world today.

The Verdict

This was a truly captivating read. Heart-pounding action and shocking character twists that will leave readers hanging off of the author’s every word, this is a must read novel in the crime thriller genre. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy of the novel “Written in Blood” by Layton Green today. 

Rating: 10/10

About the Author

Layton is a bestselling author who writes across multiple genres, including mystery, thriller, suspense, horror, and fantasy. He is the author of the popular Dominic Grey series, as well as other works of fiction. His novels have topped numerous lists (including a #2 overall Amazon bestseller) and have been nominated for major awards, including two finalists for an International Thriller Writers award. Layton is also the co-editor of International Thrills, the online magazine of ITW (International Thriller Writers).

In addition to writing, Layton attended law school in New Orleans and was a practicing attorney for the better part of a decade (even though he still resents having cut his hair for that first interview). He has also been an intern for the United Nations, an ESL teacher in Central America, a bartender in London, a seller of cheap knives on the streets of Brixton, a door-to-door phone book deliverer in Florida, and the list goes downhill from there. Currently based in Durham, North Carolina, Layton has traveled to more than sixty countries, lived in a number of them, and has a burning desire to see every country, city, beach, moor, castle, cemetery, twisted street and far flung dot on the map.

www.laytongreen.com

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Interview with Author N. Lombardi Jr.

1) Tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you get into writing?

Born and raised in New York City, I left to see the world at age 24 as a water engineer in the Peace Corps. For most of my life, I had never entertained the idea of becoming an author. My career as a groundwater specialist kept me busy enough, filled with both adventure and satisfaction with my job. However, while in Kenya I fell in love with a woman, and this relationship was doomed from the start. As a kind of catharsis, I began to write a semi-autobiographical story which became Journey Towards a Falling Sun. As I said, it was the need to purge my emotions that drove me, without immediate plans for publishing, as I was in the prime of life as regards to my vocation. But in 1985, I did manage to get an agent who was very enthusiastic over the manuscript. After fifteen rejections by big publishing houses, however, I gave up and shelved it, abandoning any thoughts about being a writer. It wasn’t published until 30 years later.

In 1996, while working in Laos, I learned of the secret war that the US conducted for 9 years, and resulted in the aerial bombardment that has given that country the dubious distinction of being the most heavily bombed country of all time. As an American, I was ashamed of my ignorance of this matter, for I had never known of this secret war. I was so moved, I decided I would write an epic novel that would illustrate the consequences of that war which became The Plain of Jars, released in 2013. And from there my path as a writer began.

2) What inspired you to write your book?

The idea for Justice Gone came from a true incident – the fatal beating of a homeless man in California. It was such an outrageous act, recorded on video and uploaded to YouTube, that I wondered what would happen if someone who saw the gruesome video would mete out their own version of justice to the police officers involved.

The novel then, is a tale of what happens in a small town following the fatal beating of a homeless Iraqi war vet at the hands of police. A cascading series of events, from street protests to a vigilante shooting of three police officers leads to a multi-state manhunt for the vet’s war time buddy. A controversial trial attracting nationwide attention dominates the second half of the novel. The story ends with a twist revealing the identity of the cop-killer

3) What theme or message do you hope readers will take away from your book?

Although deaths at the hands of law enforcement officers disturb me, I tried to avoid taking too strong a stand against the police, and just presented a possible (albeit extreme) scenario if this issue is not addressed. I also wanted readers to have a detailed look at the legal system in the US, i.e. the importance of lawyer tactics on both sides of the bench and of jury sentiment in deciding a case.

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4) What drew you into this particular genre?

First of all, I don’t consider myself a genre writer, I just write about things that move me. Having said that, as a reader I do enjoy mystery/thriller/suspense/crime, so I may be writing more of this kind of fiction from now on. It is much easier to write this sort of stuff than cross-cultural adventure novels such as my first two books, The Plain of Jars, set in Laos, and Journey Towards a Falling Sun, set in Kenya.

5) If you could sit down with any character in your book, what would you ask them and why?

I would have to say, the policemen that beat Jay Felson to death – Why, when he was unarmed, did it take 6 cops to bring him down and beat him till he died?

6) What social media site has been the most helpful in developing your readership?

I’m really not active in the social media scene, so I would have to say Goodreads, despite the fact I find Goodreads a bit exploitive and disdainful of independent authors. As a reader, it is pretty good. I tried Facebook, but it isn’t focused enough and being an old fart, I’m mistrustful of Twitter. I love book bloggers, thank god for them!

7) What advice would you give to aspiring or just starting authors out there?

Although it sounds cliché, the first thing is to write well. Many independent authors, particularly those who self-publish, write with a quality barely above a high school student. You don’t have to be a wordsmith, but the book should not sound stilted. Read passages from a book by an acclaimed author than read your stuff. How does it compare?

Secondly, unless you’re with a big publishing house, be prepared to market your work. You should have a budget of $2,000 for this, even if you are very active on social media, because it’s always better for someone else to tout your book than you as the author. That means reviews, which can only result from exposure.

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8) What does the future hold in store for you? Any new books/projects on the horizon?

I’m in the process of fine-tuning another Tessa Thorpe novel, Woman in the Shadow. It takes place several years prior to the setting of Justice Gone, and is considerably darker, more of a psychological/suspense thriller. I actually wrote this before Justice Gone, but I was disappointed with the publisher’s reaction to it so I shelved it. Directly related to this, I’m looking for another publisher, so I hope it doesn’t take too long for the book to come out.