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

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”.

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

Instagram @BernardSchaffer

Twitter: @BernardSchaffer

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Written in Blood by Layton Green Review

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”.

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 Stephen Parkes

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

These days my wife and I live on a small hobby farm/ranch in rural South Dakota. It’s a very quiet place and my closest neighbors are miles away. We have about 12 acres in alphalfa and grass and we rescue animals of all sizes and shapes, turning some of the critters over to an agency that specializes in placing abandoned animals in forever homes across the upper mid-west.

We do keep some of the animals we find, though. Presently, we have fourteen pets including dogs, cats, horses and cows.

I’ve been writing most of my adult life. I earned a law degree in 1994. That education forced me to become a researcher and a writer. The work which followed that education just made my skills better.

Writing nonfiction seemed a natural fit with the types of writing I had long been doing.

2. What inspired you to write your book(s)?

I like to tell stories and I had a couple of good stories to tell. Writing books fulfills this desire of mine.

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

The two companion books, The Soldier and On A Cold Day In Hell, ultimately, lead to a single conclusion, that other people are capable of great acts of compassion and charity for even the least among us.

Same goes for a couple of short stories I wrote, Beyond The Tolbooth and The Devil’s Agent.

4. What drew you into nonfiction?

I find reality far more interesting than worlds imagined.

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5. What is one of the biggest issues facing prisoners and the criminal justice system today in your opinion?

The U.S. Department of Justice informs that the U.S. recidivism rate, the rate at which criminals re-offend following their release from custody, is 77%. In other words, more than three-quarters of all criminals are re-arrested for a new crime less than five years following their release. This is appalling, and considering that crime is a choice, leads to the inescapable conclusion that the single biggest issue facing prisoners today is their inability to stop committing crimes. With exceptions made for the chronic emotionally and mentally disturbed, and casting aside ignorant notions concerning wealth, education, skin color, ethnicity, business acumen, or privilege, this alarming statistic is occasioned universally by a criminal’s apparent lack of conscience. They simply do not care. Unless criminals grow a conscience while they are in prison, they are coming back. And this regardless of wealth, education, skin color, ethnicity, business acumen, or privilege.

Did you know that there are prison programs that match convicts with rescue animals? Did you know that some of these programs maintain a zero% recidivism rate?

The problems governing federal and state penal institutions are many, including, but not limited to, overcrowding, lack of financial resources and lack of empathy training.

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

I do not use, nor do I find it desirable or necessary to use social media for any aspect of my personal or business life. I have zero social media footprint.

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

If you’re going to write nonfiction, before you begin you must become a subject matter expert.

8. What does the future hold for you?

Hope.

About the Author

Stephen Parkes (1960 – ) was born in Detroit, Michigan. Stephen earned a Juris Doctorate from Mississippi College School of law and a Ranger tab from the U.S. Army. He is a former Weapons platoon leader with the 2d Ranger battalion. He is one of very few individuals to experience a long-drop hanging (in his case more than eight feet) and live to tell about it. He was twice convicted of robbery with a deadly weapon, a knife, and spent four and one-half years in federal prison and county lock-ups. Stephen was certified by the State of Florida as a habitual violent felony offender in 2008. These days, Stephen is an honorable man and husband. These days, Stephen lives free and prospers.

The Case Files of Doctor Arthur Lyons: Medical Examiner (Book Volume Book 1) by Dr. William Anderson Review

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

Author Dr. William Anderson dives head first into the complex world of medical examiners and the far too often injustices that our legal system fails to recognize or get justice for in the medical/crime drama, “The Case Files of Doctor Arthur Lyons: Medical Examiner (Volume Book 1). Here is the synopsis.

The Synopsis

There was a day in the early times of the invention of the medical examiner where this esteemed doctor and pathologist held the job of declaring people dead. Nowadays it is much different. Not only does he affirm time of death, he is involved with the entire community of law enforcement officials, their politics, as well as the many different agendas they hold. 

The cases of Dr. Lyons will shows you the different hats a medical examiner must wear during a single case on the street, in his office, and in the court room. 

The Review

This was one of the most interesting, gripping and intense medical crime thrillers I’ve read in a while. Instead of focusing on a single case, the author does a brilliant job of highlighting the failure of law enforcement and state medical examiners to properly investigate the deaths of individuals who have had no justice done in their investigations. These three cases seem to mirror real life events, or at least speak to the current injustices we see plastered over the internet in this day and age.

In a time where racial violence is on the rise and distrust between people and the police is more and more evident, the author does a marvelous job bringing these issues into the novel. The cases are presented in a clear and concise way, with the author’s medical knowledge showing in every passage. The detail that goes into the examinations of the victims and the detailed account of what each finding means in regards to the victim’s death is fascinating to see unfold, and readers will be left breathless and on the edge of their seat as the investigations unravel before their eyes.

The Verdict

This is a must read novel! Filled with elements of thrillers, mysteries, and detailed medical forensics that give this novel an air of authenticity that few other medical/crime thrillers have, author Dr. William Anderson has created a remarkable novel filled with three heart-pounding tales that will fascinate, enrage and engage readers on multiple levels. If you haven’t yet, grab your copy of The Case Files of Doctor Arthur Lyons: Medical Examiner (Volume Book 1) today!

Rating: 10/10

https://amzn.to/2Q6WCRQ

The Bagman’s Buddies by Josh Holliday Review

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

Corrupt politicians and a massive FBI operation bring author Josh Holliday’s novel The Bagman’s Buddies to life in a thrilling investigation like no other. Here is the synopsis:

This book recounts the likely events and explosive encounters that happened in the nightime as well as the day time during a ‘Sting’ Operation against Tennessee legislators and Senators.

Some plead guilty and some took it to trial and were found guilty. Most of them squirmed trying to get out of it before it went down.

Complete with many Color Images to portray the events.

The investigation and subsequent book written here delves into the realm of political thriller and crime drama, showing the corruption and power struggle within the Tennessee government. The book starts off with a literal bang, showing the dark depths these government officials are willing to go to in order to cover up their deceptions, and by book’s end readers will see who cooperated, who tried to slink away and who stayed to fight to bring this corruption to light. Based on true stories of an actual sting operation in the area, the author does a great job exploring the various aspects of the investigation and those involved, from the undercover agents working as the infamous “bagmen” to the surveillance crew, the victims who found themselves double crossed and the Senators themselves.

The only advice or criticism I would offer for the author would be separating dialogue from the other paragraphs and implementing quotations. This addition can help the story flow more freely and naturally. Other than that the book was well written and told the story well. The use of visuals highlighted the investigation perfectly, creating a natural flow to the story that doesn’t always translate in other books.

Overall this was an amazing read. Filled with humor, relatable characters and a fascinating political thriller that will have readers eager to dive into the case this novel is based on. If you haven’t yet be sure to pick up your copy of Josh Holliday’s The Bagman’s Buddies today!

Rating: 8/10

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-bagmans-buddies-josh-holliday/1129597519?ean=2940156096831

Lexington And Fifth (on Wattpad) http://my.w.tt/UiNb/cmdHKnwKmz

Vengeance is a dish best served cold! This is a lesson that Ella Garner and her friends will learn the hard way in Lexington and Fifth. Years after a college accident left Ella broken, she has picked herself up and is about the marry the man of her dreams. She has a great writing career, a blossoming video channel on the internet, and is happier than she ever thought she could be again. Yet as the holidays
quickly approach, she soon learns those responsible for the accident years ago, (and the people she called friends), are being targeted by a ruthless killer, and Ella will have to revisit the tragedy that has haunted her for years if she has any hopes of surviving the holidays.

Lexington and Fifth is an emotional roller coaster ride, which will have you squirming in your seat and changing your view on the characters and their story so many times that by the end of the tale, you won’t know who the true evil really is. Come along for this bone-chilling tale as week by week the story will slowly unfold over the course of this year, until by the end of 2016, you will find yourself hanging on to the edge of your seat as you read the final words of author Anthony Avina’s next great project. Come along for the journey, and take a ride to Lexington and Fifth today!

Lexington And Fifth – Chapter 48: Confession Part 2 (on Wattpad) http://my.w.tt/UiNb/pmeVLIdsQy

Vengeance is a dish best served cold! This is a lesson that Ella Garner and her friends will learn the hard way in Lexington and Fifth. Years after a college accident left Ella broken, she has picked herself up and is about the marry the man of her dreams. She has a great writing career, a blossoming video channel on the internet, and is happier than she ever thought she could be again. Yet as the holidays
quickly approach, she soon learns those responsible for the accident years ago, (and the people she called friends), are being targeted by a ruthless killer, and Ella will have to revisit the tragedy that has haunted her for years if she has any hopes of surviving the holidays.

Lexington and Fifth is an emotional roller coaster ride, which will have you squirming in your seat and changing your view on the characters and their story so many times that by the end of the tale, you won’t know who the true evil really is. Come along for this bone-chilling tale as week by week the story will slowly unfold over the course of this year, until by the end of 2016, you will find yourself hanging on to the edge of your seat as you read the final words of author Anthony Avina’s next great project. Come along for the journey, and take a ride to Lexington and Fifth today!