A Shattered Lens: A Detective Preach Everson Novel by Layton Green Review

A tragic murder brings the past hurtling at detective Preach Everson in author Layton Green’s novel “A Shattered Lens”.

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

A tragic murder brings the past hurtling at detective Preach Everson in author Layton Green’s novel “A Shattered Lens”. 

The Synopsis

A detective investigates the murder of a teenage golden boy that has rocked a small town–and the chief suspect is the victim’s mother.

Annalise Stephens Blue is a Creekville high school student with plans to become a world-famous filmmaker. As she begins filming an exposé of the town called Night Lives, she uncovers more than she bargained for: on the very first night of filming, she stumbles upon a murder in the woods, and flees the scene steps ahead of the killer.

Detective Joe “Preach” Everson is called to investigate the murder. The victim, David Stratton, is the town’s golden boy and high school quarterback. A modern version of what Preach used to be. Not only that, the boy’s mother is Claire Lourdis, a beautiful divorcée who Preach fell for in high school. She is also the main suspect in her son’s murder.

Despite the cloud of suspicion hanging over her, old feelings resurface between Claire and Preach, straining the detective’s relationship with his girlfriend Ari, a prosecutor in nearby Durham. As Preach delves into the secrets lurking beneath the surface of the town and searches for a missing girl who may have witnessed the crime, he must put his own feelings aside and pursue the answer to a terrible question: is a mother capable of murdering her own child? 

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The Review

For anyone who fell in love with the first book in this series, one of the first things readers will notice about this incredible sequel is how personal the story feels in comparison to the first story. Rather than tracking a growing serial killer, the story focuses on the unsettling death of a high school student, and showcases the struggle an investigator feels in a small town setting when the victim’s mother is not only someone Preach knew, but once had deep feelings for. Exploring the personal struggles of the detective and the hardships of finding the motive for the crime makes this a truly engaging story.

On top of the murder mystery angle of the narrative, it was fascinating to explore modern day criminal organizations and shady dealings that go on in rural or small town American cities. Showcasing a growing criminal element in this small town and seeing the chaos and corruption threatening the lives of a young girl who becomes an unwilling witness to a heinous crime, the author does a fantastic job of making this story relatable and more emotionally investing than even the first book, which is not an easy feat for anyone who loved book one in the Preach Everson series. 

The Verdict

This is a phenomenal murder mystery series that continues to both entertain and engage readers on a personal and emotional level. With relatable characters that instantly draw the reader into the story and a truly gripping murder mystery that will draw readers into many different directions until the shocking revelation at the books end, this is a novel that deserves your attention. Be sure to grab your copy of “A Shattered Lens” by Layton Green today. 

Rating: 10/10

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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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The Scopas Factor by Vincent Panettiere Review

A simple cloth becomes the vocal point for an international mystery involving war crimes, art theft and murder in author Vincent Panettiere’s The Scopas Factor.

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

A simple cloth becomes the vocal point for an international mystery involving war crimes, art theft and murder in author Vincent Panettiere’s The Scopas Factor. Here is the synopsis. 

The Synopsis

A Hmong “story cloth,” a Revolutionary War battle flag, forged Picassos and a Russian drug dealer—finding the link between these disparate elements is the challenge Mike Hegan faces in The Scopas Factor, the latest mystery from Vincent Panettiere.

After his last investigation ends tragically, Detective Mike Hegan returns to Chicago from St. Kitts, hoping to put everything behind him. But his girlfriend, Diana, has other plans, and although he has no interest in the job opportunity she presents him—in a small northern California town, no less—he wants to please her. Upon his arrival in Weedley, he’s caught up in a kidnapping and two murders. A visit to Diana’s family in San Francisco only serves to deepen the mystery, as her father might be the link to a gang of antiquities thieves that might have something to do with the crimes in Weedley. And when Diana’s father disappears, Hegan takes off for Antibes in southern France, where he discovers that the mystery has only just begun.

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The Review

A whirlwind adventure that explores the horrors of war and the ways in which criminals profit from other’s misery, the story is the third highly acclaimed novel from author Vincent Panettiere. The novel is very character driven, taking readers through the mystery by showcasing everyone involved in great detail, from Detective Heagan and his investigation into the mystery, to the woman who’s mother left a legacy behind that she hopes will reveal the truth, and an art forger who finds himself caught in the midst of a bloody battle. 

The author does a fantastic job of commanding the story fully into the mystery genre. The action of the narrative plays out in a very creative and cinematic way, creating instant images in the readers imagination as they follow the adventure piece by piece. The way the author stretches out the mystery is perfect as well, taking readers in one direction and then completely dropping the floor out from under them, taking the adventure into an entirely unexpected direction. 

The Verdict

This is a wonderful novel, filled to the brim with action, suspense and romance as one lone detective becomes embroiled in a larger than life international mystery. Who can you trust when everyone seems to be connected? And with a feeling of dread hanging over the detective after the loss of his last two relationships, can he find happiness in a new relationship, or are the dangers of the case too overwhelming for his relationship to survive? Find out in this incredible roller coaster mystery by picking up your copy of The Scopas Factor by Vincent Panettiere today!

Rating: 10/10

www.vincentpanettiere.com

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About the Author

Many times imagination develops through loneliness. Left in solitude and quiet the creative process emerges later, dormant until activated by circumstances or maturity.

Vincent was the only boy in a family of six children. Many times he was left to himself and his imagination. As he got older, he started writing short stories.

Vincent tells about the time he submitted a short story to “one of those magazines at the supermarket checkout counters”. He showed this story to his high school English teacher who then became convinced that the teenager was having trouble at home. He wasn’t, but this story earned him his first acknowledgement as a writer – as well as his first rejection slip.

He began his career as a sports reporter for the UPI wire service. While in graduate school at Boston University, he wrote sports for The Boston Herald, a daily newspaper.

Several years later after having reviewed his screenplay submissions a story editor at Columbia Pictures encouraged Vincent to move to the West Coast and keep writing. He wrote and sold several screenplays which – “in the byzantine world of motion pictures” – went unproduced.

It was time for a career change. Panettiere struck out on his own becoming a licensed literary agent representing writers and directors in TV and Film. During this time he became frustrated with the entertainment financing system, and began searching for outside financing for his clients. Some of his experiences are chronicled in his book, The Internet Financing Illusion.

Whether as a literary agent or executive at CBS or Twentieth Century Fox, Panettiere continued to search for ideas and stories to feed his imagination. For him, the seed of a story starts nudging his mind, forming characters and situations. His characters lead the story, and often surprise him with unforeseen twists.

The Scopas Factoris Panettiere’s third novel. His other novels are A Woman to Blameand the award-winning and critically acclaimed These Thy Gifts, which earned 5 stars from Readers’ Favorite,  second place in Literary and  Contemporary Fiction from CIPA, as well as the Reviewers’ Choice Award in General Fiction Novels. He is also the author of The Internet Financing Illusiona nonfiction account of the dark side of the internet.

For Vincent, writing brings several joys. He looks forward to reading the pages he has written a day later. Many times he can’t remember writing the pages. “This is my favorite part of the creation process. Something inside takes over. Something that I know I can rely on indefinitely.”

Most importantly, he says, the best part of the writing process is “having written – having defeated the tyranny of the blank page.”

Vincent Panettiere currently resides on the West Coast.

Cast No Shadow by Brandon Dragan Review

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

A dark, perilous story that explores one man’s struggle to balance the horrors of war, family and the hunt for justice in an unjust world, author Brandon Dragan’s short story Cast No Shadow is a gripping tale that packs a punch in just a short amount of time. Here’s the synopsis:

Set deep in the heart of 1980’s Texas, Cast No Shadow tells the harrowing tale of Vietnam veteran, husband, and father, Beau Moreland. By day he helps his elderly neighbors and watches his son’s baseball practice; by night he hunts drug gangs. In his quest for justice and a more peaceful life for his loved ones, Beau inadvertently sets off an unstoppable chain of events which will hurtle his family toward a startling and breath-taking conclusion.

The story was incredibly engaging. It showcased the struggle many veterans face coming home from war and seeing the horrors the nation they fought so hard to protect are enduring on their own front doors. In a unique twist that kind of blends stories like Breaking Bad with The Punisher, we see Beau take on criminals while still profiting from his vigilante work, and how the danger he comes into contact with slowly begins to infect his daily life at home.

It also does a great job of exploring the impact we have on our children as a whole, and the way profiling and judgement can lead to trouble no one would ever expect. The writing was incredibly powerful and captured the essence of the story perfectly. The setting and imagery was incredibly vivid, and by story’s end you were left wanting more of Beau and his story, hoping to delve deeper into this amazing character and his backstory more.

Overall I thought this short story was brilliant. It was an evenly paced short tale of intrigue, action, and heart-pounding thrills that very few short stories manage to capture. If you haven’t yet be sure to pick up your copies of Cast No Shadow by Brandon Dragan today!

Rating: 10/10

About Brandon

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Brandon Dragan grew up in New Jersey, just miles from the Lincoln Tunnel.

At eighteen he left home to attend Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee.

He draws on a wide range of influences—from literature, to history, to philosophy—to craft meaningful and often surprising narratives that challenge the status-quo and reach for a deeper understanding of what it means to be human.

Brandon and his wife Jami live in the Nashville area with their two daughters, Natalie and Brooklyn.

He enjoys road cycling and is an avid supporter of Arsenal Football Club.

Links:

brandondragan.com

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Author Interview with Lily Black

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

A: I’ve always been a writer—even though I was actually a late reader. Ever since I was a kid books and reading were my first go-to in coping with the challenges of life, so writing became a natural outgrowth of all that time spent reading.

 

2)      What inspired you to write your book?

A: I have a black belt and on occasion teach women’s self defense classes, so as my mind turned over story ideas I was struck by the concept of a warm and cozy small town juxtaposed against a seriously scary situation, and the people caught up in it. I explore this dynamic in both my first book, Storm of Attraction, and the second which is also set in charming Willowdale.

 

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

A: The story always comes first, but one takeaway I really believe in is that even the most difficult circumstances can lead to unexpected good.

 

4)      What drew you into this particular genre?

A: I guess despite being very aware of the dangers in the world, I’m a romantic at heart and believe that true love can triumph over anything. Totally cheesy, I know! I also believe that sometimes people need something to shake them out of their usual circumstances in order to discover what other resources they might have, and who they really trust. Romantic suspense is the perfect medium to explore this.

 

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

A: Just now I’d sit down with Detective Rawlings and have a long chat with her about her estranged husband! I know the two of them have split—leaving her to raise her twins mostly alone—and I know he’s a National Geographic photographer, but I don’t have all the other details and want them, because these two will be getting a novella or some newsletter time in the near future!

 

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

A: I use my Facebook page to connect with my readers, and really enjoy that. I also have my news page on my website which doubles as a blog, and more importantly send out a newsletter to subscribers in which I share short fiction bursts that I’ve written, or anything else I can to give my readers insights into my characters and Willowdale. I also love connecting with readers generally through the Book Ninjas website (www.book-ninjas.com), a content-rating catalog of romance and women’s fiction which I co-own and help to run. There I can see which books are popular and of course pick out new books just right for me based on their blush level, and what I see other readers picking up!

 

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

A: First, read, of course. Then, write. Remember that even short burst of writing time can train you in the craft, so never underestimate the importance of short snatches of time you can devote to your writing dreams.

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

A: I’m so glad you asked! I recently turned in Willowdale book two—tentatively titled Storm of Deception—to my publisher, and it will release sometime in 2019. It’s the story of a senator’s daughter and the veteran who publicly humiliated her when he ended their engagement, plus a deadly black mailer. The hero was introduced in Storm of Attraction so readers will remember him, and there are cameo appearances from the first couple, so I think readers will get a kick out of that. But mostly it’s just a super intense love story set against the back drop of a winter festival and the black mailer’s schemes, with touches of the drama which comes from life in the political limelight. To celebrate Storm of Deception’s acceptance for publication I made ‘suspenseful snowflakes’ by printing a page from the unedited draft. So much fun to make, since they have tiny teaser peeks at a page from the novel! They’ve been lots of fun to give away and I’m happy to share them here, too, if anyone would like one. This is a novel that nearly ripped my soul in half writing, and I can’t wait to share it with my readers!

SofD three sparkly snowflakes white side

Lily Black website: http://www.lilyblackbooks.com/

LB Twitter: https://twitter.com/lilyblackbooks

Book Ninjas website: http://www.book-ninjas.com/
LB Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Lily-Black-1713161408963150/

 

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Towne Square (Providence Island Book 2) by Dianna Wilkes Review

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

A woman reconnecting with her son after recovering memories of a life she never knew she had leads a small knit group of people through a mystery that shakes up the small town of Providence Island in the hit book Towne Square (Providence Island Book 2) by Dianna Wilkes. Here’s the synopsis:

Jamie Danvers’s luck changed for the better when she was hired to handle marketing and communications for a Providence Island design firm. Although she’s learned from her past mistakes, her family continues to believe the worst about her. On PI, she’s making a fresh start—a home, good friends, and a challenging career. Her boss, Dana Canfield, believes in her, something Jamie hasn’t experienced for a long time. Falling in love with architect Rhys McCall wasn’t in Jamie’s plan, especially since he’s Dana’s son. Can she trust her instincts this time that Rhys might be The One?

Workaholic Rhys McCall put off having a personal life for too long. A fractured family life growing up left him cynical about finding eternal love. Jamie’s beauty catches his interest from the beginning. Her clever mind and quick wit keeps him on his toes, and he’s ready to become a believer in Forever After. She’s the perfect fit for him—personally and professionally.

But the path to love isn’t going to be easy. A killer roams the streets of PI. He’s murdered two people already, and Rhys appears to be next in his sights. Until Rhys discovers who’s targeting him, he can’t put Jamie’s life at risk. But Jamie’s not about to let Rhys shut her out. Will her determination to save their relationship put them both in jeopardy?

This book perfectly balances the mystery surrounding these characters with the personal relationships both romantic and familial that everyone loves to read. This romantic suspense thriller is the second in the acclaimed Providence Island series, and sees the story continue as a woman who learned she was lied to for years about who she was reconnects with her long lost son, trying to rebuild the life they never got to have together. However her son not only has to deal with a blossoming romance, a man swooping his mother off her feet and a huge business deal that could affect the entire town, but now he has to contend with a stalker who sets their sights on him, going after anyone he cares about.

The suspense is addicting to read, keeping the reader on the edge of their seat until the books final moments. Leaving room for the anticipated third book in the franchise, the story does a marvelous job of furthering the character’s story developments while keeping the relationships fresh and heartwarming to read. Twist after twist keep the story flowing in this small town, as the island itself becomes a character that sets the scene for a coastal town becoming the home to a mysterious killer with an agenda all his own.

In the end, this was a wonderful read. While I hadn’t read the first book in the series, the second book does a great job of balancing past events in the first book with a fresh new story that doesn’t require the reader to go out and buy the previous book. It’s an engrossing read that everyone should try, so if you haven’t yet be sure to pick up your copies of Dianna Wilkes novel Towne Square today!

Rating: 8/10

 

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Book Tour: Bleeding Hearts by Dana Provo

Title: Bleeding Hearts

Tag Line: Finding love is difficult, especially when it tries to kill you.

Genre: New adult, romantic suspense

Blurb: Orphaned at an early age, now twenty-four-year-old Camryn Lucks is ready to commit to find that special someone, and so accepts a date from a charming, gallant, handsome stranger. The last thing she imagines after accepting that first date with Carson would actually be the beginning of her worst nightmare.

Red roses, a reminder of her parents’ killer, soon become an emblem of horror for Cami as one by one, those closest to her fall victim to a serial killer. Cami becomes an obsession for Carson, the man she had finally allowed herself to love. Not only is he vying for her heart, but also her life.

Finding herself in a whirlwind of torments shadowed by the blood-colored bloom, Cami finds solace in Isaac, a neighboring police officer. She’s desperate to escape the haunting memories, but she must revisit them in order to catch her would-be killer. Living life in constant fear has driven Cami to second-guess every choice she makes. Will the police catch the illusive murderer, or will Cami be forced to face him once again?

Cover

Short Blurb: When Cami Lucks accepted a date with a charming, gallant stranger she didn’t know it would be the beginning of her worst nightmare. She becomes an obsession for Carson, her first love. Not only is he vying for her heart, but also her life. Now Cami must work with the police to stop the illusive murderer before he finds her.

Author Bio:

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Dana Provo has always loved books and reads everything from young adult fantasy to adult historical romances. When she’s not reading or writing her next novel, Dana can be found riding her horses and getting ready for competition. Dana lives with her husband and two house plants in Richmond, Virginia.

Excerpt:

My arm trembles as I grip the cool handle of my pistol, keeping a firm grasp to ensure it doesn’t slip out of my sweaty hand. It usually stands sentry in my left nightstand to scare the nightmares away. But this isn’t a dream. The room is dark and hides the face of the man whose intent is to kill me. But I know who he is. A metallic taste fills my mouth; I want to gag. My blood drips off the blade in his hand in slow, steady beats on the carpet. My arms shake as I lift the barrel and point it in his direction. He doesn’t move. His heavy breaths alert me to the meager distance between us.

We’re at a stalemate.

A soft glow from the lamppost just outside my window casts a sliver of light on his face. His dark, beady eyes that I have grown to know rake over my body like I’m another one of his many victims. He lifts the edges of his mouth into a smile. My heart plunges into my stomach. I know what that sinister expression means, and I think back to all the times he had looked at me like that before. I had been so blind.

Before I react he lunges at me, grabbing onto my waist and twisting me to the ground. I shriek as my head slams against the bed frame. Black spots flood my vision. I squeeze my hand only to find it empty. My gun is gone. The sound of the knife clattering on the floor gives me slight hope. Not much though. He climbs up my body trying to pin my arms to the floor. I thrash my fists around, desperate to knock him off.

“Get off!” I scream, pulling on his shirt and kicking him off balance. Wrapping his hands around my arms, my attacker cuts off the circulation of blood. Rug burns flare across my skin as he drags me across the carpet. He closes his hands around my neck, shutting off my air supply. I pull at his hands but it’s no use; he has always been stronger than me. My pulse drums a frantic beat in my ears. The air slowly leaks out from my lungs, killing any hope I may have left. I search for the gun around the room; it may be my only savior now.

“Why are you doing this?” I struggle to get the words out. He squints his dark eyes. I’m wondering if there might be a chance that he will stop this madness. I am wrong.

“It’ll be over soon, sweetheart.” His hands again tighten around my neck, blocking the air from entering my lungs.

 

Social Media Links:

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/DanaProvo

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/icehorses12/

Blog: https://authordanaprovo.wordpress.com/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/authordanaprovo

Amazon: https://goo.gl/aL1YR8

 

Buy Links:

Amazon: http://a.co/3z28apX

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iBooks: https://itun.es/us/KydHeb.l

Kobo: http://goo.gl/ea1W0W

Smashwords: http://goo.gl/r99gn5

 

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A Life of Death (A Life of Death #1) by Weston Kincade Book Review

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from the author and Booklover Catlady Publicity in return for a fair and honest review.
Many thanks!

It’s rare that a YA novel that deals with supernatural elements is outshone by the emotional core of it’s characters and story, and yet that is
the case in Weston Kincade’s A Life of Death, the first in the A Life of Death series. This book is very well written, and does a marvelous job
of exploring the themes of life, death, and family. Here is the description:

Alex Drummond is a troubled high school senior with a checkered past, a broken home, and a surprising ability. When he touches items that murder
victims held in their final moments, Alex relives the events in gruesome detail, seeing what they saw, thinking their thoughts, and even feeling
what they felt. But who will believe a troubled teen, especially when the murders are so close to home and might reveal skeletons hidden for
hundreds of years? Join Alex as he struggles to find his destiny, understand love, solve the mysterious murders within his small home town, and
speak for victims who can no longer speak for themselves.

The novel does a great job of implementing the supernatural elements in a very real and natural way. While the prospect of this protagonist being
able to connect with the dead is fascinating, what draws readers in more and what a lot of people will be able to identify with is Alex’s struggle
with his home life and the loss of a loved one. Elements of abuse, alcoholism and death are the core of this powerful story, while the emotional
struggle Alex goes through in every chapter of this story make this novel a heartbreaking read that is impossible to put down. The grounded
reality of the characters does a great job of mixing with the surreal nature of Alex’s newfound abilities, and by the end of the book you are left
wanting more from Alex Drummond and his life. This is a must read novel and I hope to see more from Weston Kincade and this series in the future.
Be sure to check out A Life of Death by Weston Kincade today!