Posted in reviews

Fender Head by Robert McEvilla Review

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

A former German soldier and POW fights for survival in the United States, resorting to theft and murder. However after finding love, the POW joins the very military that imprisoned him and becomes a career soldier in author Robert McEvilla’s “Fender Head”.

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The Synopsis

Escaping from a Michigan prison camp in 1945, German solider and POW, Lothar Laumer, is on the run. With few resources, murder and robbery become necessities for survival, and after finding romance, he cleverly implements a plan to join the same army he had escaped from and becomes a career non-commissioned officer. His false sense of security is upended when a blast from the past threatens to undo him.

The Review

This was an incredibly engaging thriller. The author delves into the complex world of POWs and those who escaped imprisonment after WWII to lead entirely new lives. The narrative overall was evenly paced and entertaining, drawing the reader in with complex twists and turns that help showcase how the protagonist arrived smack dab in the middle of a military murder investigation. 

What really sunk in though however was the author’s delve into character growth. The complexity of the protagonist, Laumer, was intense and captivating. The character’s deep seated issues after being forced into service for the German military are highlighted in his interactions with Emma, the young woman who changes his life forever. Laumer’s journey from POW to criminal on the run and then posing as another man was thrilling to see unfold. 

The Verdict

This was a masterful, suspenseful and military-action driven war thriller like no other. Author Robert McEvilla brings a level of authenticity and authority to his writing, and captures the clash of cultures in the midst of war perfectly. A tale of survival, readers won’t be able to put this book down. Be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Author, Robert McEvilla, is a retired stationary engineer who lives in the backwoods of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. In his first novel which is based on his 

experiences with the 82nd Airborne in the Dominican Republic.  His second novel is a detective mystery.

His short stories have been published in the literary magazine, Down State Story.  Other stories have been published in CWW Publications of Carmel, California; Twin Rivers Press of Ellerton, Florida; and Toxic Evolution Press of Fairless Hills, Pennsylvania. The short story, Horseradish, received honorable mention in a 

Glimmer Train short fiction contest and was published in Story Teller Magazine. Also a short memoir of Robert McEvilla appeared in the October issue of The Good Old 

Days Magazine.

https://authorrobertmcevilla.com/

Posted in reviews

Scorpion Scheme: Death and Danger on the Nile (Hope Sze Medical Mystery Book 8) by Melissa Yi Review

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

A chance at studying the ancient history and culture of the Egyptians leads Dr. Hope Sze and her fiancé to Egypt, where they become embroiled in a shocking mystery as they search for fabled treasure and must outwit a dangerous criminal mastermind in author Melissa Yi’s “Scorpion Scheme: Death and Danger on the Nile”, the eighth book in the Hope Sze Medical Mystery series. 

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The Synopsis

PHARAOHS’ TOMBS. ANCIENT MYTHS. MODERN-DAY MURDER

Dr. Hope Sze doesn’t need a free trip to Egypt.

She can’t afford the flight to Cairo, or the cruise down the Nile, so she’d keep studying in Canada—except her fiancé, Dr. John Tucker, yearns to patrol the pyramids and confront the curse on King Tutankhamun’s tomb.

So when a company offers them both a free stay in Cairo in exchange for a month’s work in an emergency department, Tucker lobbies for a pre-honeymoon in the Valley of Kings and Queens, investigating the windswept temple of Hatshepsut, or scuba diving in the Red Sea.

Instead, within 90 minutes of arrival, Hope drops to her knees outside the Grand Egyptian Museum, desperate to save a now-comatose 87-year-old Johannesburg man who’d raved about Kruger and treasure after receiving a nail through his skull.

Tucker fixates on their one chance at the legendary Kruger Millions, a rumored fortune that many believe lies secretly stowed somewhere in South Africa.

Since their combined student debt load totals half a million dollars, Tucker can’t pass up the possibility of a treasure trove in buried gold.

Hope launches into her first mystery based in a birthplace of human civilization.

Where the evil god Set battled righteous Horus and Isis in an 80-year war.

Where wealth and power clash with political revolution.

Where Antony fell in love with Cleopatra.

Where Hope and Tucker must outwit, or fall prey, to a ruthless criminal mastermind.

The Review

A fantastic blend of medical drama and an action-packed mystery like no other, this novel was a massive draw for this reader, especially as a fan of Indiana Jones and his films. The author does a great job of bringing their own authenticity to Hope’s character as the author is also a medical doctor, and from the book’s first chapters readers are treated to the protagonist’s heroic call to action to help others with her skills.

The big draw of course is the amazing historical mystery and action-packed heroics against this criminal mastermind. The author does a fantastic job of not only making this book accessible to both newcomers and fans of the series alike, but of crafting a character that feels authentic and brings history and its many mysteries to life, especially in such a short read.

The Verdict

A masterful, entertaining and engaging medical drama and action & adventure novel, author Melissa Yi’s “Scorpion Scheme” is a must-read novel! The motivations behind the characters are very reminiscent of classic mystery adventure novels, while the action keeps readers on the edge of their seats as the thrilling conclusion comes full circle. Be sure to grab your copy of this wonderful read today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

I read, therefore I am. I’ve been reading since my parents used to abandon me at the library.

When I was ten years old, we moved to Frankfurt, Germany, to a relative dearth of English books, and I started writing stories instead.

We moved back to Canada, and I started reading voraciously again, abandoning my pen and word processor for a few years before picking them up again. Nowadays, I read and write whenever I can, although my day/night jobs of emergency medicine and motherhood whisk me away regularly. 

http://melissayuaninnes.com/

Posted in reviews

Goddess of Justice: A Brad Coulter Thriller by Dwayne Clayden Review

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

In the fifth book in author Dwayne Clayden’s “Brad Coulter Thriller” series, Detective Brad Coulter finds himself being hunted by his own police department as a brutal killer begins pointing evidence towards the infamous detective in the upcoming novel, “Goddess of Justice”.

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The Synopsis 

Goddess of Justice

A series of seemingly unrelated deaths have occurred around the city. When one is an obvious homicide, Detective Brad Coulter gets the case.

Coulter has barely started investigating when more murders take place. It is clear that the killer not only understands Crime Scene Unit protocols but also has special forces military skills—or training in some sort of Tactical Unit.

During the investigation, Detective Coulter realizes he has a connection to some of the victims. Then the Crime Scene Unit discovers evidence that points to Coulter as the murderer.

Now hunted by his own police service, he has to clear his name.

But the killer has other plans.

The Review

Another powerful entry in the Brad Coulter series, author Dwayne Clayden has expertly crafted a perfect thriller. Combining classic whodunnit style storytelling with intriguing character growth and a brilliantly suspenseful narrative, the novel takes readers through so many twists and turns that the big reveal will take some readers by surprise. 

The author perfectly balances the action and mystery elements of the narrative with the important character development and drama that comes with Brad’s framing for crimes he hasn’t committed. The heart of this story is Brad of course and the relationships he’s built with his amazing cast of supporting characters. Readers will be shocked to discover who has Brad’s back when he is framed, and who turns on him when the evidence begins to pile up. 

The Verdict

Entertaining, mysterious, and action-driven, author Dwayne Clayden’s “Goddess of Justice” is a must-read thriller. The author’s own expertise in the field is evident in every chapter, bringing that special authenticity most thrillers are hard-pressed to find. The writing is brilliantly done, drawing the reader in with steady pacing and fantastic characters, including a shocking new killer. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Author portraits for use on books and book proposals, as well as on LinkedIn, portfolio websites, and other online marketing tools. ©2015, Sean Phillips http://www.RiverwoodPhotography.com

DWAYNE combines his knowledge and experience as a police officer and paramedic to write realistic crime thrillers.

CRISIS POINT, Dwayne’s first novel, was a finalist for the 2015 Crime Writers of Canada, Arthur Ellis Awards.

OUTLAWMC is the second in the Brad Coulter Series.

WOLFMAN IS BACK, is the third in the Brad Coulter Series.

In his 40 year career, Dwayne has served as a police officer, paramedic, tactical paramedic, firefighter, emergency medical services (EMS) chief, educator, and academic chair.

Dwayne is a popular speaker at conferences and to writing groups presenting on realistic police, medical, and paramedic procedures.

The co-author of four paramedic textbooks, he has spoken internationally at EMS conferences for the past three decades.

DwayneClayden.com

Posted in reviews

The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner Review

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

A historian discovers an old Apothecary vial, and unravels a centuries old mystery surrounding a series of murders known as the “apothecary murders” in author Sarah Penner’s “The Lost Apothecary”.

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The Synopsis

In this addictive and spectacularly imagined debut, a female apothecary secretly dispenses poisons to liberate women from the men who have wronged them—setting three lives across centuries on a dangerous collision course. Pitched as Kate Morton meets The Miniaturist, The Lost Apothecary is a bold work of historical fiction with a rebellious twist that heralds the coming of an explosive new talent.

A forgotten history. A secret network of women. A legacy of poison and revenge. Welcome to The Lost Apothecary…

Hidden in the depths of eighteenth-century London, a secret apothecary shop caters to an unusual kind of clientele. Women across the city whisper of a mysterious figure named Nella who sells well-disguised poisons to use against the oppressive men in their lives. But the apothecary’s fate is jeopardized when her newest patron, a precocious twelve-year-old, makes a fatal mistake, sparking a string of consequences that echo through the centuries.

Meanwhile in present-day London, aspiring historian Caroline Parcewell spends her tenth wedding anniversary alone, running from her own demons. When she stumbles upon a clue to the unsolved apothecary murders that haunted London two hundred years ago, her life collides with the apothecary’s in a stunning twist of fate—and not everyone will survive.

With crackling suspense, unforgettable characters and searing insight, The Lost Apothecary is a subversive and intoxicating debut novel of secrets, vengeance and the remarkable ways women can save each other despite the barrier of time.

The Review

A hauntingly entertaining and engaging read, author Sarah Penner does a fantastic job of crafting a narrative that speaks to both historical fiction fans and fans of a serial killer-driven thriller, with a focus on the struggles and hardships of women throughout 18th century England. 

The story is perfectly written to explore the past of the apothecary while showcasing how this mystery impacts the life of struggling historian Caroline, who’s dealing with an unfaithful husband and must somehow find her true calling in life. The story does an excellent job of showcasing how this woman in the past became a serial killer, in essence, helping women throughout London either gain vengeance or escape impossible struggles utilizing poisons, while also making her plight sympathetic at the same time. 

The Verdict

A masterfully-thrilling, thought-provoking, and lengthy yet memorable read, author Sarah Penner’s “The Lost Apothecary” is a must-read. The story is inviting and engaging, while the protagonists keep the reader invested. The story is perfect for both fans of history-driven backstories with a modern twist that explores the struggles of women in the world while searching to gain more power and confidence in themselves, making the characters truly remarkable to read. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Sarah Penner is the debut author of The Lost Apothecary, to be translated in eleven languages worldwide. She works full-time in finance and is a member of the Historical Novel Society and the Women’s Fiction Writers Association. She and her husband live in St. Petersburg, Florida, with their miniature dachshund, Zoe. To learn more, visit slpenner.com.

Social Links:

Author website: https://www.sarahpenner.com/

Facebook: @SarahPennerAuthor

Instagram: @sarah_penner_author

Twitter: @sl_penner

Buy Links:

Bookshop.org

IndieBound

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

Audible

Apple Books

Kobo

Google Play

Books-A-Million

Target

Libro.fm

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An Exclusive Excerpt From “The Lost Apothecary”

Nella

February 3, 1791

She would come at daybreak—the woman whose letter I held in my hands, the woman whose name I did not yet know.

I knew neither her age nor where she lived. I did not know her rank in society nor the dark things of which she dreamed when night fell. She could be a victim or a transgressor. A new wife or a vengeful widow. A nursemaid or a courtesan.

But despite all that I did not know, I understood this: the woman knew exactly who she wanted dead.

I lifted the blush-colored paper, illuminated by the dying f lame of a single rush wick candle. I ran my fingers over the ink of her words, imagining what despair brought the woman to seek out someone like me. Not just an apothecary, but a murderer. A master of disguise.

Her request was simple and straightforward. For my mistress’s husband, with his breakfast. Daybreak, 4 Feb. At once, I drew to mind a middle-aged housemaid, called to do the bidding of her mistress. And with an instinct perfected over the last two decades, I knew immediately the remedy most suited to this request: a chicken egg laced with nux vomica.

The preparation would take mere minutes; the poison was within reach. But for a reason yet unknown to me, something about the letter left me unsettled. It was not the subtle, woodsy odor of the parchment or the way the lower left corner curled forward slightly, as though once damp with tears. Instead, the disquiet brewed inside of me. An intuitive understanding that something must be avoided.

But what unwritten warning could reside on a single sheet of parchment, shrouded beneath pen strokes? None at all, I assured myself; this letter was no omen. My troubling thoughts were merely the result of my fatigue—the hour was late—and the persistent discomfort in my joints.

I drew my attention to my calfskin register on the table in front of me. My precious register was a record of life and death; an inventory of the many women who sought potions from here, the darkest of apothecary shops.

In the front pages of my register, the ink was soft, written with a lighter hand, void of grief and resistance. These faded, worn entries belonged to my mother. This apothecary shop for women’s maladies, situated at 3 Back Alley, was hers long before it was mine.

On occasion I read her entries—23 Mar 1767, Mrs. R. Ranford, Yarrow Milfoil 15 dr. 3x—and the words evoked memories of her: the way her hair fell against the back of her neck as she ground the yarrow stem with the pestle, or the taut, papery skin of her hand as she plucked seeds from the flower’s head. But my mother had not disguised her shop behind a false wall, and she had not slipped her remedies into vessels of dark red wine. She’d had no need to hide. The tinctures she dispensed were meant only for good: soothing the raw, tender parts of a new mother, or bringing menses upon a barren wife. Thus, she filled her register pages with the most benign of herbal remedies. They would raise no suspicion.

On my register pages, I wrote things such as nettle and hyssop and amaranth, yes, but also remedies more sinister: nightshade and hellebore and arsenic. Beneath the ink strokes of my register hid betrayal, anguish…and dark secrets.

Secrets about the vigorous young man who suffered an ailing heart on the eve of his wedding, or how it came to pass that a healthy new father fell victim to a sudden fever. My register laid it all bare: these were not weak hearts and fevers at all, but thorn apple juice and nightshade slipped into wines and pies by cunning women whose names now stained my register.

Oh, but if only the register told my own secret, the truth about how this all began. For I had documented every victim in these pages, all but one: Frederick. The sharp, black lines of his name defaced only my sullen heart, my scarred womb.

I gently closed the register, for I had no use of it tonight, and returned my attention to the letter. What worried me so? The edge of the parchment continued to catch my eye, as though something crawled beneath it. And the longer I remained at my table, the more my belly ached and my fingers trembled. In the distance, beyond the walls of the shop, the bells on a carriage sounded frighteningly similar to the chains on a constable’s belt. But I assured myself that the bailiffs would not come tonight, just as they had not come for the last two decades. My shop, like my poisons, was too cleverly disguised. No man would find this place; it was buried deep behind a cupboard wall at the base of a twisted alleyway in the darkest depths of London.

I drew my eyes to the soot-stained wall that I had not the heart, nor the strength, to scrub clean. An empty bottle on a shelf caught my reflection. My eyes, once bright green like my mother’s, now held little life within them. My cheeks, too, once flushed with vitality, were sallow and sunken. I had the appearance of a ghost, much older than my forty-one years of age.

Tenderly, I began to rub the round bone in my left wrist, swollen with heat like a stone left in the fire and forgotten. The discomfort in my joints had crawled through my body for years; it had grown so severe, I lived not a waking hour without pain. Every poison I dispensed brought a new wave of it upon me; some evenings, my fingers were so distended and stiff, I felt sure the skin would split open and expose what lay underneath.

Killing and secret-keeping had done this to me. It had begun to rot me from the inside out, and something inside meant to tear me open.

At once, the air grew stagnant, and smoke began to curl into the low stone ceiling of my hidden room. The candle was nearly spent, and soon the laudanum drops would wrap me in their heavy warmth. Night had long ago fallen, and she would arrive in just a few hours: the woman whose name I would add to my register and whose mystery I would begin to unravel, no matter the unease it brewed inside of me.

Excerpted from The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner, Copyright © 2021 by Sarah Penner. Published by Park Row Books. 

Posted in reviews

The Mirror by Neerav Harsh Review

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

An unnamed man goes through a psychological journey as he comes into contact with a man in a mirror, and sees two realities come shattering together in author Neerav Harsh’s “The Mirror”.

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The Synopsis

This is the story of an unnamed man. One morning, he looks into the mirror and finds someone else looking back at him. His first reaction was not to jump into an adventure to unravel this mystery. He chooses to keep it under wraps. He is worried that it may affect his prospects of an upcoming promotion at work and tries to function normally in his dysfunctional marriage of 5 years to Lina. But the secret comes out and brings with it its own complications. It is learned that this, not the first time. The last time this happened, he was young. He was in school then.

For the safety of everyone, the man is locked inside a room. It is there that he first interacts with the man in the mirror (also unnamed) which opens a pandora’s box. His reality shifts constantly between the present and his childhood. He had always found the inside of a pea a little special. His mental journey to get rid of the outer layer is the center of this story. Slowly he starts losing touch with reality and the relationships he has outside of the room. What he doesn’t know is what changes as he loses this outer cover.

The Review

This is a short yet powerful and thoughtful thriller. The obscurity of the main character does a fantastic job of adding to the mystery and suspense of this narrative, while the author’s thought-provoking layering of the themes allows readers to go back and re-read chapters to see the things that may have been missed previously.

The themes themselves are so powerful and lend well to the emotional core of this narrative. Themes of identity, reality, and looking back and dealing with regret and what may have been all come crashing down around the protagonist as his life and the reality he knew begin to deteriorate the further and further he goes on this journey to understand the man in the mirror. 

The Verdict

An emotional, chilling, and psychologically deep narrative, author Neerav Harsh’s “The Mirror” is a must-read short story/novella. The reader will be enthralled with the author’s natural world-building and pacing in such a short yet powerful read and will want to read more of the author’s work to be sure. If you haven’t yet be sure to grab your copy of this amazing story today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Neerav is a trained salesman selling innovations by the day. He wrote his first poem at the age of 10.

He lives and works out of his home in Mumbai (India) and spends the holidays traveling and exploring the world with his beautiful wife, Rini.

A serious daydreamer, he can spend lazy afternoons dreaming of anything under the sun and beyond. He loves history, physics, philosophy. His favorite questions are 1. What is going on? Has this happened before? So, where is it all heading?

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08T21QDN4/ref=x_gr_w_glide_sin?caller=Goodreads&callerLink=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.goodreads.com%2Fbook%2Fshow%2F56794385-the-mirror&tag=x_gr_w_glide_sin-20

Posted in reviews

A Caller’s Game by J.D. Barker Review

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

A controversial radio host finds herself forced to face the past as a caller plays a deadly game live on the air in author J.D. Barker’s “A Caller’s Game”. 

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The Synopsis

DIE HARD meets TALK RADIO in this heart-pounding, relentlessly fast-paced thriller from the New York Times bestselling author of The Fourth Monkey—master of suspense, J.D. Barker.

“I’m going to offer you a choice.”

Controversial satellite radio talk show host, Jordan Briggs, has clawed her way to the top of the broadcast world. She doesn’t hold back, doesn’t spare feelings, and has no trouble sharing what’s on her mind. Her rigorous pursuit of success has come at a price, though. Her marriage is in ruins, she hasn’t spoken to her mother in years, and she’s distanced herself from all those close to her. If not for her young daughter, Charlotte, her personal life would be in complete shambles.

When a subdued man calls into the show and asks to play a game, she sees it as nothing more than a way to kick-start the morning, breathe life into the beginnings of drive-time for her listeners. Against her producer’s advice, she agrees, and unwittingly opens a door to the past.

Live on the air with an audience of millions, what starts out as a game quickly turns deadly—events long thought buried resurface and Jordan Briggs is forced to reconcile with one simple fact—All decisions have consequences.

The Review

What a heart-pounding thriller. The author immediately jumps into the action as readers are introduced to the protagonists, Officer Cole and Jordan Briggs. The threat of this anonymous caller is evident to the entire city as he unleashes the first of many attacks and lays the blame at Jordan’s feet. Yet from the beginning it is clear not everything is as it seems.

The author expertly balances character development and action/thriller vibes in this narrative. Themes of facing the past and roads to redemption make this a memorable read, as we see the character’s overcome some dangerous situations while facing some difficult memories that could tear apart the best of us.

The twisted game that the antagonist, “Bernie”, plays with Jordan and Cole really does capture the action and suspense of films like Die Hard and Phone Booth, with the threats increasing and the reader’s hearts pounding faster and faster as the mystery behind this relentless killer takes unexpected and emotional twists and turns, drawing the reader in deeper and deeper.

The Verdict

This is J.D. Barker at his best. “A Caller’s Game” is another fantastic thriller from one of the best authors I’ve read in recent years, and readers will love delving into this mystery. The evolution Jordan Briggs takes as her ruthless talk radio personality starts to face the consequences of her actions over the years, and Cole emerges as a fantastic new hero facing down this powerful threat. If you haven’t yet, be sure to preorder or grab your copy of this amazing novel today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

J.D. Barker is the New York Times and international best-selling author of numerous novels, including DRACUL and THE FOURTH MONKEY. His latest, SHE HAS A BROKEN THING WHERE HER HEART SHOULD BE, released March 31. He is currently collaborating with James Patterson. His books have been translated into two dozen languages, sold in more than 150 countries, and optioned for both film and television. Barker resides in coastal New Hampshire with his wife, Dayna, and their daughter, Ember.

Posted in reviews

13 Days of Terror (Brad Coulter #4) by Dwayne Clayden Review

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

A deadly sniper taunts detective Brad Coulter and the city of Calgary as the killer leaves no clues, and stalks the streets of the Canadian city like a predator in author Dwayne Clayden’s “13 Days of Terror”, the fourth book in the Brad Coulter series.

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The Synopsis

Monday morning. A man drops dead in the parking lot of a car dealership in downtown Calgary. No one knows where the shot came from. No one knows why the victim was targeted. The shooter? Invisible.

An hour later, another body hits the ground. Random victim, random location.

A sniper is terrorizing Calgary.

Detective Brad Coulter has just returned to work after a long leave of absence. He is thrown directly into the fire and tasked with stopping what is rapidly becoming one of the city’s deadliest killers. The shooter leaves no evidence behind but taunts Brad with notes addressed directly to him. As the death count rises, city-wide panic ensues.

It is a race against time. But how can Brad hunt a ghost?

The Review

This was a fantastic and heart-pounding thriller. The author had a great way of bringing everything in this story to life, from the setting of Calgary to the bitterness and anger of the killer and the frustration and heartbreak of the protagonist. While I am a newcomer to the series, I found the characters engaging and the narrative easy to delve into as a newcomer, making this book accessible and entertaining for both newcomers and longtime fans alike.

This is the perfect read for fans of classic suspense thrillers, as the author does a great job of incorporating their own personal experiences in law enforcement into the narrative to make the plot a lot more realistic than the typical thriller. Yet the author adds just enough drama and creativity to elevate the action and character growth of these characters, making for a well-rounded and enjoyable read.

The Verdict

A memorable, action-driven and suspenseful read, author Dwayne Clayden’s “13 Days of Terror” is the perfect next chapter in the Brad Coulter series. The author masterfully weaves amazing character development for the protagonist and supporting cast with a plot that twists and turns with shocking developments, and by the book’s end leaves room for another exciting chapter in this growing series. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab the perfect winter thriller read today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Author portraits for use on books and book proposals, as well as on LinkedIn, portfolio websites, and other online marketing tools. ©2015, Sean Phillips http://www.RiverwoodPhotography.com

DWAYNE combines his knowledge and experience as a police officer and paramedic to write realistic crime thrillers.

CRISIS POINT, Dwayne’s first novel, was a finalist for the 2015 Crime Writers of Canada, Arthur Ellis Awards.

OUTLAWMC is the second in the Brad Coulter Series.

WOLFMAN IS BACK, is the third in the Brad Coulter Series.

In his 40 year career, Dwayne has served as a police officer, paramedic, tactical paramedic, firefighter, emergency medical services (EMS) chief, educator, and academic chair.

Dwayne is a popular speaker at conferences and to writing groups presenting on realistic police, medical, and paramedic procedures.

The co-author of four paramedic textbooks, he has spoken internationally at EMS conferences for the past three decades.

DwayneClayden.com

Posted in reviews

The Fiddler In The Night by Christian Fennell Review

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

A young teen must navigate rural America and stay one step ahead of a ruthless killer in author Christian Fennell’s “The Fiddler In The Night”.

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The Synopsis

Christian Fennell’s, The Fiddler in the Night, is a return by the author to the raw, abstract, and visceral landscapes set forth in his critically acclaimed collection of short stories, Torrents of Our Time. In his debut novel, Fennell takes the reader on an orphaned teen’s journey through the darker recesses of rural America–horrifying, yet compelling–where he tries to stay one step ahead of a ruthless killer. A tragic love story unfolding against a background that is both real and imagined, making this novel as memorable for its language as for its non-stop and blistering storyline.

The Review

A haunting and beautiful story of love, loss, and the journey in between, author Christian Fennell has done an amazing job with his debut novel. His almost poetic way of telling the story really strikes at the heart of rural America, and the way the author writes allows enough room for the reader’s own imagination to go to work, bringing this story to life in their mind.

The cat-and-mouse storytelling is the perfect backdrop to the novel’s two core elements: beautiful imagery and depth-filled character growth. The story of a young teen in search of his missing mother after his sick father passes away set against a deadly killer stalking the darkness around him is a chilling scene, to begin with, and the journey these characters take is elevated by the in-depth look into the heart of rural America. 

The Verdict

A harmonic, artistic style of storytelling at its finest, author Christian Fennell’s “The Fiddler in the Night” is a must-read book for 2021. A thought-provoking narrative and awe-inspiring poetic storytelling are perfectly encapsulated by the author’s deep character development and emotional story. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy of the author’s debut novel today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Christian Fennell is the author of the critically acclaimed collection of short stories, Torrents of Our Time, Firenze Books, October 6, 2020, and the novel, The Fiddler in the Night, Firenze Books, January 26, 2021. 

Christian’s essays and short stories have appeared in a number of international magazines, literary journals, and collected works, including: Chaleur MagazineLitro Magazine, XRAY Literary Magazine, Dreamers Magazine, Spark: A Creative Anthology, Kind Writers Anthology, Liars’ League London, Wilderness House Literary Review, and .Cent Magazine, among others. He was a columnist and the fiction editor at The Prague Review. Prior to this, Christian worked as a screenwriter and commercial director (DGC).

https://www.christianfennell.com/

https://www.instagram.com/christianfennell_/

Posted in reviews

The Girl Who Can Cook by Mike Wehner Review

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

What begins as a tale of revenge soon turns into a search for life and the hidden nature of those we care about most in author Mike Wehner’s “The Girl Who Can Cook”. 

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The Synopsis 

She killed my best friend.

Shame on me.

She lied and said it was self-defense.

Shame on me.

She wrote a book about it.

Shame on you.

It’s been three years since chef Erin shot her boyfriend, John, five times during a domestic dispute. Two years since she was found not guilty on murder charges by way of self-defense. And one year since she opened Essen, a German restaurant in San Francisco’s East Bay. You can read all about it in her memoir; there’s a copy on the front seat of the car parked in front of Essen. The man in the driver’s seat was John’s best friend, Alex, a former engineer. He’s abandoned his career to take justice into his own hands, what he doesn’t know is that soon he’ll be inside, using those hands to peel carrots for the girl who can cook. 

The Review

The novel starts out swinging and doesn’t slow down from there. The protagonist, Alex, is a man beset by anger and fury after his best friend is killed, and the woman responsible not only gets away from it in his eyes but makes money off of it through a tell-all book. The path of vengeance is explored heavily here, as far too often vengeance blinds us to the truth. That also plays into the other narrative here, which is what we do when confronted with a harsh truth about those we care about. Far too often those we trust and love harbor dark secrets about themselves and who they truly are, and it doesn’t come to light until it is too late. 

The author achieved a perfect balance of character development and action within this narrative. A commentary on our modern obsession with true crime-style storytelling, the author highlights the pain of loss and the lengths those who have lost someone will go to see justice done when the law fails them. The use of food and recipes throughout the narrative brought a creative and lightheartedness to the novel, making this a truly entertaining and memorable read.

The Verdict

Emotionally-driven, at times humorous and always action-packed, this evenly-paced novel “The Girl Who Can Cook” by Mike Wehner is a must-read. The exploration of the thin line between revenge and justice is a marvelous thing to see in this narrative, and the twists and turns the reader endures all the way to the book’s end make this a remarkable and fun read. Be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Mike is a novelist, illustrator and fine artist. When he isn’t writing he’s drawing and painting. He lives in Bloomington, Indiana with one small wife and two large dogs.

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