Tag Archives: thrillers

Nanny Dearest by Flora Collins Review

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

A young woman dealing with the loss of her father runs into her childhood nanny, and hoping to reconnect with a lost parental figure, begins to build a friendship with the woman. Yet not all is as it seems, and soon the tale of the nanny takes this woman down some dark and twisting roads in author Flora Collins’s novel, “Nanny Dearest”.

The Synopsis

Compulsively readable domestic suspense, perfect for fans of THE TURN OF THE KEY and THE PERFECT NANNY, about a woman who takes comfort in reconnecting with her childhood nanny after her father’s death, until she starts to uncover dark secrets the nanny has been holding for twenty years.

Set in New York city and upstate New York, NANNY DEAREST is the story of twenty-five year-old Sue Keller, a young woman reeling from the recent death of her father, a particularly painful loss given that Sue’s mother died of cancer when she was only three. At just this moment of vulnerability comes Anneliese Whitaker, Sue’s former nanny from her childhood days in upstate New York.

Sue, craving connection and mothering, is only too eager to welcome Annie back into her life; but as they become inseparable once again, Sue begins to uncover the truth about Annie’s unsettling time in the Keller house all those years ago, particularly the manner of her departure – or dismissal. At the same time, she begins to grow increasingly alarmed for the safety of the two new charges currently in Annie’s care.

Told in alternating points of views, switching between Annie in the mid-90s and Sue in the present day, this is a taut novel of suspense with a shocking ending.

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The Review

What a shocking and engaging story! The author did such a great job of taking the time to build up these characters and their history together. The alternating chapters between the past as Annie settled into life as a nanny, to Suzy’s present-day struggles to find a connection to the parents she lost too soon, did an amazing job of peeling back the layers of this dark and haunting domestic drama, as secrets are revealed and relationships are changed forever.

What stood out to me was just how strongly the author covered parenthood, loss, and the grieving process. In particular, the focus on motherhood and the impact that things like loss can have on a mother’s relationship with their children and vice-versa was so fascinating to watch unfold. The exploration of loss really covered most of the main characters in this thriller and showed how that kind of pain could impact people in so many different ways, from internal struggles to chaotic and scary external experiences that impact everyone around them. 

The Verdict

A brilliant, thought-provoking, and highly entertaining thriller, author Flora Collins’s “Nanny Dearest” is a must-read novel of 2021. The haunting way the author explores the importance of relationships and bonds formed in childhood and the lengths some people will go to in order to regain something lost so long ago was eloquently written into the fabric of this narrative, and the shocking final pages will keep readers hanging on the author’s every word. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Flora Collins was born and raised in New York City and has never left, except for a four-year stint at Vassar College. When she’s not writing, she can be found watching reality shows that were canceled after one season or attempting to eat soft-serve ice cream in bed (sometimes simultaneously). Nanny Dearest is her first novel, and draws upon personal experiences from her own family history.

BUY LINKS:

Bookshop.org: https://bookshop.org/books/nanny-dearest/9780778311614 

IndieBound: https://www.indiebound.org/book/9780778311614 

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/nanny-dearest-flora-collins/1138522927 

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Nanny-Dearest-Novel-Flora-Collins/dp/0778311619

Books a Million: https://www.booksamillion.com/p/9780778311614?AID=10747236&PID=7310909&cjevent=3aaff079426711ec81b7ebac0a82b839

SOCIAL LINKS:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/flococo16?lang=en

Instagram: @floracollins_author

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/en/book/show/56472992-nanny-dearest

Here is an Excerpt from “Nanny Dearest”

“I WOULD RECOGNIZE THOSE bangs anywhere,” she says, clutching her large faux-leather bag, pink nails pinching the synthetic hide. I can see the laugh lines beneath her glasses’ rims. I swallow, my tongue darting between my back molars, bracing myself. 

“They stuck, I guess.” I laugh lightly, a meek trickle that escapes from my lips before I can stop it. She smiles again, this time with teeth, and I see how her front two overlap, barely discernible. But she’s standing so close that it’s hard not to notice.

“You live around here now?” She stopped me in front of a church and behind us the congregation trickles out, chatting among themselves. A child wails for lunch. The sun beats down hard and yellow, speckling the sidewalk. I raise my hand like a visor, even though I feel the weight of my oversized sunglasses, heavy on the bridge of my nose.

“Yep. Moved down to Alphabet City after college,” I answer. She nods, pushing a wisp of red hair behind her ear. 

She is letting the sun in, the pupils of her green eyes shrinking with the effort.

“You don’t remember me, do you?” It’s a statement, not a question, one that she says confidently, as if it’s a sign of character that she is easily forgettable, that fading into my brain’s recesses is some kind of compliment.

The church group disperses and I step away to let a family by.

“I’m sorry. I don’t.” And then, even though she is secure in her stance, amused perhaps by my social transgression, I fumble for some excuse. “Forgive me. I-I’m not good with faces.”

She laughs, then—a long, exhilarating sound, like a wind chime. “I don’t blame you. I think you were about three feet tall the last time you saw me.” She reaches out a hand, dainty and freckled. “I’m Anneliese. Anneliese Whittaker. I was your nanny.” Her hand remains in the air for a moment, outstretched, like the bare limb of a winter tree, before I take it.

“Sue. Sue Keller.” But of course she knows who I am. She says she was my nanny.

“I used to babysit you when you lived upstate.” I flinch, unintentionally. She knew my mother. “How’s your dad? He always wanted to move back up there later in life.”

I bite the inside of my cheek, savoring the tenderized spot there, made bloody by my anxious jaw. “He passed last year. Car accident.”

Anneliese puts a hand to her mouth, her eyes widening behind the glasses. “Oh honey, I’m so sorry. You must miss him a lot, don’t you? He was your whole world back when I knew you.”

I offer her a smile. “Yes, well, aren’t most little girls that way with their fathers?”

The child is still screaming for lunch. His mother is speaking to another woman, the three of them the only people left in front of the church.

“Yes, well, I guess that’s true. You and your dad had a special bond, though.” She gazes at me then, her face full of compassion, those green eyes penetrative.

And we’re silent, for a beat too long. So I find myself shuffling, moving around her. “I actually have to meet a friend.” I check my wrist though I’m not wearing a watch. “But it was funny running into you.” I give her what I hope is an apologetic smile, backing away from her, toward the curb.

She stops me, one of those tiny hands on my wrist, almost tugging at my sleeve like a child. “Wait. I’d love to see you again.” She digs around in her purse. I catch sight of a book, earbuds, some capped pens, a grimy-looking ChapStick. She takes out a receipt, uncaps a pen, and leans the paper against the church’s stone masonry, scrawling her number. The figures are dainty, like her hands.

“I’m sorry to keep you waiting. Tell your friend a crazy lady stopped and demanded you spend time with her.” She laughs again, that wind chime chortle, and I pocket the receipt.

“Nice to see you again!” I call, making the traffic light just in time. When I cross the street and turn, she’s gone, consumed by the hordes, no sign of that red hair glinting in the sunlight.

“And you stopped? I would’ve kept on walking. No time for nutso people like that,” Beth says through the phone as I pace my studio, absentmindedly throwing trash away, smoothing out the creases in my bedspread, my phone nestled between my shoulder and ear. I set it down and put her on speaker. I have the urge, suddenly, to rearrange the furniture in this miniscule apartment. To move the bed to the other side of the room, away from the window, from the noise of the street.

“She knew my name, Beth. She called out ‘Sue.’ I wasn’t going to ignore that.” Outside, a siren wails and I pull down the shade.

“That’s why you always wear headphones. So you have an excuse not to deal with those kinds of people.” Beth smacks her gum, the noise ricocheting through the tinny speaker.

“So you really don’t remember if I had a nanny called Anneliese?” I crumple up the wax paper from my bagel, letting it drift to the floor. The old family photo albums from that period are in storage, buried deep inside the disorganized cardboard boxes I hired movers to collect when I cleaned out Dad’s apartment.

“Dude, we met when we were five. I don’t think I knew my own mom’s name back then. I certainly wouldn’t remember who your babysitter was.” I close my eyes and massage my temples, my usual insomnia-inflicted headache edging toward a dull throb. I don’t remember a long-term nanny. I never had any babysitters growing up, just my dad.

I hear Beth say something to her girlfriend, a bark, and I walk away from the phone for a minute with a twinge of annoyance that she’s not giving me her undivided attention.

I think of Anneliese’s face, those teeth, the green eyes. The hair. And.

And.

I am running in a field with her, in the yard behind the house upstate. The garden is giant. Huge sunflowers, hedges high enough to block the sun. Beneath me, the grass is lush, dewy, tickling my bare feet. And the sky is white, hot and blazing. And she is behind me, shrieking, her freckled arm outstretched, a paintbrush in her hand tinged blue.

And I feel its slick bristles on my back and I fall, stumble. But I am laughing. And she is, too, her orange hair like a halo, eclipsing the sun.

I open my eyes.

“Anyway, I’m having some people over next weekend. I know you hate parties these days but you’re so cooped up all the time in that apartment. I swear it’ll be fun…” Beth squawks on, her voice shrill through the speaker.

“I remember her.”

Beth pauses mid-ramble. “What?”

“I remember her. Anneliese. The woman who stopped me today. She’s not nuts. I remember her.”

There’s a heavy silence on the other end. “Are you sure? You just said you didn’t.” Beth’s voice has lowered an octave, as if she’s whispering. Which I know is for my benefit, so her girlfriend won’t hear.

I tighten my hand into a fist. “I’m serious. She was my nanny. We used to play this game with paint.”

Beth sighs. “Still weird to me. You’re not thinking about calling her or anything like that, right?” But I’m already reaching into the garbage bag I use as a hamper, sifting through it for the sweats I wore earlier today. I take out the receipt, smoothing it out against my knee. It’s for shampoo, coconut Herbal Essences, and I can smell it on her, as if it’s 1996 and I am on the floor of my blue-carpeted bedroom and she is swinging her princess hair to and fro as we play Candy Land, the smell even more enticing than how I imagined Queen Frostine’s scent.

Tears prick my eyelids.

“I want to see her.” It comes out sounding infantile, testy even. And I hear Beth breathing, willing herself not to lash out.

“Okay. Okay, Suzy. Just meet in public and bring some pepper spray. Remember, she stopped you in the street. She really could be anyone, even if she did babysit you a thousand years ago.” I hear her put another piece of gum in her mouth, the wrapper like static.

“I know. She’s just a nice middle-aged woman. And maybe she has some cool things to say about my parents.” I know that will get Beth off my back. Any mention of my parents gets anyone off my back.

I hear her breath as she blows a bubble, the snap of the gum sticking to her lip. “I’m just trying to be a good friend. Don’t fault me for it.” Her voice has lowered again. “I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again: you’ve been spending way too much time alone. It’s not like you and I can tell it’s getting to you. It would get to me.” But my finger is already hovering over the End Call button, eager to get Beth off the line.

“I appreciate it. But for real, now I have work to do. I’ll text you.” She spends one more minute reminding me to come to her party next weekend and I promise I will, even though we both know I won’t, and I hang up first, still fingering that crumpled receipt, studying the perfectly shaped eights in the handwritten phone number, each the same height, the same size.

Outside, a dog barks. And I bark back, loud and sharp, laughing at myself, my apartment easing into darkness as the sun sets.

Excerpted from Nanny Dearest by Flora Collins, Copyright © 2021 by Flora Collins. Published by MIRA Books.

Shooting Star: A Nikki Latrelle Mystery Book 5 (The Nikki Latrelle Mystery-Thriller Series) by Sasscer Hill Review

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

A job to protect the horses and people involved in a Hollywood shoot forces heroine Nikki Latrelle to face off against a mysterious sniper in author Sasscer Hill’s “Shoot Star”, the fifth book in the Nikki Latrelle Mystery-Thriller series!

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The Synopsis

When Nikki’s ex-lover Will hires her to protect the horses used to film a movie at Santa Anita Racetrack, she learns evil is alive and well in Hollywood.

Keeping Thoroughbreds safe from a director who doesn’t know a horse from a hamster is tricky. More difficult are the unresolved feelings between Nikki and Will, especially when sexy, young movie star, Jamie Jackson, sets his sights on Nikki.

But when a sniper’s bullet shatters the brain of a cameraman close enough that she can smell his blood, Nikki’s need to protect overrides everything. Her sleuthing unearths a trail of corruption and when she must lie to Will to protect his life, she’s on her own. Can she identify the evil behind the scenes before she and Will become the next victims?

Shooting Star is the fifth rocket-paced story in the award-winning Nikki Latrelle mystery series. If you like protagonists with heart and courage, unexpected twists, and a thrill ride to the finish, you’ll love Shooting Star.

Find out why this series has so many fans. Buy Shooting Star today! 

The Review

This book starts off quite literally with a bang. The shocking murder of a cameraman shocks readers with a quick introduction to the setting followed by the harrowing events that spark this mystery. Now although I am a newcomer to the Nikki Latrelle series, the author did an amazing job of crafting a narrative that felt self-contained enough to stand on its own while still touching upon scenes and experiences the character had in previous entries in the series. 

The balance the author found between the pacing of the mystery and the character arcs of not only the protagonist but of the supporting cast as well as brilliantly written. Each clue and twist in the narrative was delivered naturally and kept the reader invested, while the characters kept you on the edge of your seat as readers tried to solve the mystery themselves. Add some unique and original storytelling elements involving horse racing and the treatment of animals in Hollywood productions overall, and you have the recipe for a highly engaging thriller.

The Verdict

A high octane, adrenaline-fueled, thought-provoking mystery thriller, author Sasscer Hill’s “Shooting Star” is a must-read thriller of 2021. A brilliantly original and heartfelt look into the world of horse racing and the treatment of animals in general blended with a heart-pounding murder mystery and complex character development, readers will not be able to put down this amazing story. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

I’ve never wanted to write the “Great American novel.” I believe my job is to entertain with stories about chasing a dream, fighting the odds, and helping the helpless. I want to create a world that’s a bit scary, sometimes funny, always informative, and a reliable destination for escape.

Sasscer Hill’s books have won the $10,000 Dr. Tony Ryan Award for Best Book in Racing Literature (FLAMINGO ROAD.) They have also garnered a Carrie McCray Award and been nominated for Agatha, Macavity, and Claymore awards. Her second book in her two-book “Fia McKee” series, THE DARK SIDE OF TOWN, received a Booklist Starred Review and was an Editor’s Pick in the Toronto Star.

Her newest title, TRAVEL’S OF QUINN” (out March 2010) is a mystery-thriller based on the con artists known as the Irish American Travellers. A novel of deceit, murder, greed and hope,

Currently, Sasscer is writing SHOOTING STAR, her fifth novel in the “Nikki Latrelle” mystery series.

Sasscer was a breeder, owner, and rider of race horses for over 30 years. She lives in Aiken, SC, with her husband, a dog named Rosco and a cat named Lola.

https://www.sasscerhill.com/

Fan Club by Erin Mayer Review

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

A young millennial searching for meaning in her work finds herself drawn further and further into a psychological wormhole revolving around an obsession with a pop star and a group of hard-core fans that take their fandom to all new heights in author Erin Mayer’s “Fan Club”. 

The Synopsis

In this raucous psychological thriller, a disillusioned millennial joins a cliquey fan club, only to discover that the group is bound together by something darker than devotion.

Day after day our narrator searches for meaning beyond her vacuous job at a women’s lifestyle website – entering text into a computer system while she watches their beauty editor unwrap box after box of perfectly packaged bits of happiness. Then, one night at a dive bar, she hears a message in the newest single by international pop-star Adriana Argento, and she is struck. Soon she loses herself to the online fandom, a community whose members feverishly track Adriana’s every move.

When a colleague notices her obsession, she’s invited to join an enigmatic group of adult Adriana superfans who call themselves the Ivies and worship her music in witchy, candlelit listening parties. As the narrator becomes more entrenched in the group, she gets closer to uncovering the sinister secrets that bind them together – while simultaneously losing her grip on reality.

With caustic wit and hypnotic writing, this unsparingly critical thrill ride through millennial life examines all that is wrong in our celebrity-obsessed internet age and how easy it is to lose yourself in it.

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The Review

This was such an intense, emotional, and heartbreaking yet moving read. The author brilliantly captured the tone and psychological concept of many millennial today, both the popularized “selfie-obsessed” millennial that appear in shows and films in today’s pop culture, and the more heartfelt, directionless, and depressive millennial who have inherited so many problems from previous generations and have a harder time making their schooling and degrees match up with the jobs that are available in our current market. It added depth and really challenged the notion people have of the millennial generation. 

What was so fascinating about this narrative was twofold: the protagonists’ mystery identity and the comparison of intense fandoms to cults. The lack of personalized identity to the protagonist was so interesting to read, as it allowed the reader to feel like they could either step into the protagonist’s shoes or witness her actions with somewhat of familiarity after knowing someone who has lost themselves to an obsession with pop culture. The comparison between fandoms and cults was so deeply felt in this narrative, as the protagonist and the other members of this group found themselves losing themselves more and more to this idea of having a deeper connection to this individual than they actually had.

The Verdict

Intense, mind-bending, and shocking to watch unfold on the page, author Erin Mayer’s “Fan Club” is a must-read novel. The perfect read for fans of psychological thrillers that focus on more modern themes, the author brilliantly touches upon the more intimate nature of celebrities and the access their fans have to them thanks to social media. With an emotional finale, this is one book readers will not want to miss this fall. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

About the Author

Erin Mayer is a freelance writer and editor based in Maine. Her work has appeared in Business Insider, Man Repeller, Literary Hub, and others. She was previously an associate fashion and beauty editor at Bustle.com.

BUY LINKS:

Bookshop.org: https://bookshop.org/books/fan-club/9780778311591 

Indie Bound: https://www.indiebound.org/book/9780778311591 

Books-A-Million: https://www.booksamillion.com/p/9780778311591?AID=10747236&PID=7310909&cjevent=65e1269f327311ec8113ab580a82b832 

B&N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/fan-club-erin-mayer/1138476507;jsessionid=447EED4856C3B3C9AFCBCB912D1233C6.prodny_store01-atgap13?ean=9780778311591&st=AFF&2sid=HarperCollins%20Publishers%20LLC_7310909_NA&sourceId=AFFHarperCollins%20Publishers%20LLC 

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/0778311597?tag=harpercollinsus-20

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/fan-club-4 

Apple Books:https://books.apple.com/us/book/fan-club/id1545139327 

Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Fan_Club_A_Novel?id=pXAPEAAAQBAJ&hl=en_US&gl=US 

SOCIAL LINKS:

Author website: http://erinmayer.com/

Twitter: @mayer_erin

Instagram: @erinkmayer

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Here is an Excerpt from FAN CLUB

Chapter One

I’m outside for a cumulative ten minutes each day before work. Five to walk from my apartment building to the subway, another five to go from the subway to the anemic obelisk that houses my office. I try to breathe as deeply as I can in those minutes, because I never know how long it will be until I take fresh air into my lungs again. Not that the city air is all that fresh, tinged with the sharp stench of old garbage, pollution’s metallic swirl. But it beats the stale oxygen of the office, already filtered through distant respiratory systems. Sometimes, during slow moments at my desk, I inhale and try to imagine those other nostrils and lungs that have already processed this same air. I’m not sure how it works in reality, any knowledge I once had of the intricacies of breathing having been long ago discarded by more useful information, but the image comforts me. Usually, I picture a middle-aged man with greying temples, a fringe of visible nose hair, and a coffee stain on the collar of his baby blue button-down. He looks nothing and everything like my father. An every-father, if you will.

My office is populated by dyed-blonde or pierced brunette women in their mid-to-late twenties and early thirties. The occasional man, just a touch older than most of the women, but still young enough to give off the faint impression that he DJs at Meatpacking nightclubs for extra cash on the weekends.

We are the new corporate Americans, the offspring of the grey-templed men. We wear tastefully ripped jeans and cozy sweaters to the office instead of blazers and trousers. Display a tattoo here and there—our supervisors don’t mind; in fact, they have the most ink. We eat yogurt for breakfast, work through lunch, leave the office at six if we’re lucky, arriving home with just enough time to order dinner from an app and watch two or three hours of Netflix before collapsing into bed from exhaustion we haven’t earned. Exhaustion that lives in the brain, not the body, and cannot be relieved by a mere eight hours of sleep.

Nobody understands exactly what it is we do here, and neither do we. I push through revolving glass door, run my wallet over the card reader, which beeps as my ID scans through the stiff leather, and half-wave in the direction of the uniformed security guard behind the desk, whose face my eyes never quite reach so I can’t tell you what he looks like. He’s just one of the many set-pieces staging the scene of my days.

The elevator ride to the eleventh floor is long enough to skim one-third of a longform article on my phone. I barely register what it’s about, something loosely political, or who is standing next to me in the cramped elevator.

When the doors slide open on eleven, we both get off.

In the dim eleventh-floor lobby, a humming neon light shaping the company logo assaults my sleep-swollen eyes like the prick of a dozen tiny needles. Today, a small section has burned out, creating a skip in the letter w. Below the logo is a tufted cerulean velvet couch where guests wait to be welcomed. To the left there’s a mirrored wall reflecting the vestibule; people sometimes pause there to take photos on the way to and from the office, usually on the Friday afternoon before a long weekend. I see the photos later while scrolling through my various feeds at home in bed. They hit me one after another like shots of tequila: See ya Tuesday! *margarita emoji* Peace out for the long weekend! *palm tree emoji* Byeeeeee! *peace sign emoji.*

She steps in front of me, my elevator companion. Black Rag & Bone ankle boots gleaming, blade-tipped pixie cut grazing her ears. Her neck piercing taunts me, those winking silver balls on either side of her spine. She’s Lexi O’ Connell, the website’s senior editor. She walks ahead with her head angled down, thumb working her phone’s keyboard, and doesn’t look up as she shoves the interior door open, palm to the glass.

I trip over the back of one clunky winter boot with the other as I speed up, considering whether to call out for her attention. It’s what a good web producer, one who is eager to move on from the endless drudgery of copy-pasting and resizing and into the slightly more thrilling drudgery of writing and rewriting, would do.

By the time I regain my footing, I come face-to-face with the smear of her handprint as the door glides shut in front of me.

Monday.

I work at a website.

It’s like most other websites; we publish content, mostly articles: news stories, essays, interviews, glossed over with the polished opalescent sheen of commercialized feminism. The occasional quiz, video, or photoshoot rounds out our offerings. This is how websites work in the age of ad revenue: Each provides a slightly varied selection of mindless entertainment, news updates, and watered-down hot takes about everything from climate change to plus size fashion, hawking their wares on the digital marketplace, leaving The Reader to wander drunkenly through the bazaar, wielding her cursor like an Amex. You can find everything you’d want to read in one place online, dozens of times over. The algorithms have erased choice. Search engines and social media platforms, they know what you want before you do.

As a web producer, my job is to input article text into the website’s proprietary content management system, or CMS. I’m a digitized high school janitor; I clean up the small messes, the litter that misses the rim of the garbage can. I make sure the links are working and the images are high resolution. When anything bigger comes up, it goes to an editor or IT. I’m an expert in nothing, a master of the miniscule fixes.

There are five of us who produce for the entire website, each handling about 20 articles a day. We sit at a long grey table on display at the very center of the open office, surrounded on all sides by editors and writers.

The web producers’ bullpen, Lexi calls it.

The light fixture above the table buzzes loudly like a nest of bees is trapped inside the fluorescent tubing. I drop my bag on the floor and take a seat, shedding my coat like a layer of skin. My chair faces the beauty editor’s desk, the cruelest seat in the house. All day long, I watch Charlotte Miller receive package after package stuffed with pastel tissue paper. Inside those packages: lipstick, foundation, perfume, happiness. A thousand simulacrums of Christmas morning spread across the two-hundred and sixty-one workdays of the year. She has piled the trappings of Brooklyn hipsterdom on top of her blonde, big-toothed, prettiness. Wire-frame glasses, a tattoo of a constellation on her inner left forearm, a rose gold nose ring. She seems Texan, but she’s actually from some wholesome upper Midwestern state, I can never remember which one. Right now, she applies red lipstick from a warm golden tube in the flat gleam of the golden mirror next to her monitor. Everything about her is color-coordinated.

I open my laptop. The screen blinks twice and prompts me for my password. I type it in, and the CMS appears, open to where I left it when I signed off the previous evening. Our CMS is called LIZZIE. There’s a rumor that it was named after Lizzie Borden, christened during the pre-launch party when the tech team pounded too many shots after they finished coding. As in, “Lizzie Borden took an ax and gave her mother forty whacks.” Lizzie Borden rebranded in the 21st century as a symbol of righteous feminine anger. LIZZIE, my best friend, my closest confidant. She’s an equally comforting and infuriating presence, constant in her bland attention. She gazes at me, always emotionless, saying nothing as she watches me teeter on the edge, fighting tears or trying not to doze at my desk or simply staring, in search of answers she cannot provide.

My eyes droop in their sockets as I scan the articles that were submitted before I arrived this morning. The whites threaten to turn liquid and splash onto my keyboard, pool between the keys and jiggle like eggs minus the yolks. Thinking of this causes a tiny laugh to slip out from between my clenched lips. Charlotte slides the cap onto her lipstick, glares at me over the lip of the mirror.

“Morning.”

That’s Tom, the only male web producer, who sits across and slightly left of me, keeping my view of Charlotte’s towering wonderland of boxes and bags clear. He’s four years older than me, twenty-eight, but the plush chipmunk curve of his cheeks makes him appear much younger, like he’s about to graduate high school. He’s cute, though, in the way of a movie star who always gets cast as the geek in teen comedies. Definitely hot but dress him down in an argyle sweater and glasses and he could be a Hollywood nerd. I’ve always wanted to ask him why he works here, doing this. There isn’t really a web producer archetype. We’re all different, a true island of misfit toys.

But if there is a type, Tom doesn’t fit it. He seems smart and driven. He’s consistently the only person who attends company book club meetings having read that month’s selection from cover to cover. I’ve never asked him why he works here because we don’t talk much. No one in our office talks much. Not out loud, anyway. We communicate through a private Morse code, fingers dancing on keys, expressions scanned and evaluated from a distance.

Sometimes I think about flirting with Tom, for something to do, but he wears a wedding ring. Not that I care about his wife; it’s more the fear of rebuff and rejection, of hearing the low-voiced Sorry, I’m married, that stops me. He usually sails in a few minutes after I do, smelling like his bodega coffee and the egg sandwich he carefully unwraps and eats at his desk. He nods in my direction. Morning is the only word we’ve exchanged the entire time I’ve worked here, which is coming up on a year in January. It’s not even a greeting, merely a statement of fact. It is morning and we’re both here. Again.

Three hundred and sixty-five days lost to the hum and twitch and click. I can’t seem to remember how I got here. It all feels like a dream. The mundane kind, full of banal details, but something slightly off about it all. I don’t remember applying for the job, or interviewing. One day, an offer letter appeared in my inbox and I signed.

And here I am. Day after day, I wait for someone to need me. I open articles. I tweak the formatting, check the links, correct the occasional typo that catches my eye. It isn’t really my job to copy edit, or even to read closely, but sometimes I notice things, grammatical errors or awkward phrasing, and I then can’t not notice them; I have to put them right or else they nag like a papercut on the soft webbing connecting two fingers. The brain wants to be useful. It craves activity, even after almost three hundred and sixty-five days of operating at its lowest frequency.

I open emails. I download attachments. I insert numbers into spreadsheets. I email those spreadsheets to Lexi and my direct boss, Ashley, who manages the homepage.

None of it ever seems to add up to anything.

Excerpted from Fan Club by Erin Mayer, Copyright © 2021 by Erin Mayer. Published by MIRA Books.

Cold Star: The Cold War Just Got Hotter by Dick Woodgate Review

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

An anonymous secret agent in 1960’s Casablanca must deal with danger, a deadly conspiracy, and heated romance in author Dick Woodgate’s espionage thriller, “Cold Star”. 

The Synopsis

An audacious plan, a dangerous attraction, a deadly agent …a fatal flaw.

The Agent is an anonymous British intelligence agent working for a department so secret the government won’t admit to its existence. In 1960s Casablanca, a devastating fire at the port leads the Agent to Morocco where he uncovers an audacious plot of epic proportions. The Agent must unravel the conspiracy and put a stop to it. The Russian embassy is implicated – and the Agent’s just fallen for one of its diplomats, a beautiful young woman who may hold the key to unearthing the secret in the Sahara… but only if he can overcome his desire for her. And all the while a fatal flaw in the Agent’s assignment goes unnoticed until its explosive revelation in the closing chapters.

The Agent takes you on a thrilling and immersive ride through the heady exoticism of early sixties Casablanca in a compelling cold war era thriller, weaving in science and buckling the classic espionage premise with a twisted finale. Readers of Fleming and le Carré will particularly enjoy this intriguing story, full of narrow escapes and wonderful characters. Brimming with style, detail and atmosphere, Cold Star confidently evokes the period with great historical authenticity. The cold war just got hotter.

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The Review

This was an incredible espionage read. The atmosphere and tone the author employed here very much captured the era of the narrative’s setting. The iconic spy thriller style novel presented both political and action thriller vibes, and the imagery the author used in the writing, from the powerful sports cars the Agent utilized in his adventures to the trickery and air of tension that the protagonist had with other key figures in the novel, really did an amazing job of crafting this fictional world in the reader’s minds.

The characters themselves really brought the novel’s heart into play here. The protagonist himself being this anonymous secret spy known only as The Agent was an inspired choice, as he represented the classic literary characters (and film) such as James Bond that readers have come to know and love over the years while allowing enough room for imagination in the reader’s minds to take over and craft a wholly original and unique experience. The ruthless and almost cold nature of the character’s actions gave such an interesting psychological aspect to his development as well, as he worked to do the “heroic” thing while still struggling to find the meaning and humanity behind his actions. 

The Verdict

A masterfully executed, creative, and engaging spy thriller, author Dick Woodgate’s “Cold Star” is a must-read novel of 2021. The author’s balance of imagery and character growth will have readers harkening back to an iconic time in espionage thriller novels, while the plot and tone will keep readers on the edge of their seat as the shocking finale explodes onto the page. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

As well as being a writer, I’m also a furniture maker. I moved from London to rural Kent seven years ago to start a family. The skies are dark down here. I bought a telescope soon after we moved and it was this – and a love of espionage fiction, Fleming in particular – which led me to start writing my first novel, Cold Star.

Cold Star is the first book featuring the Agent in a planned series charting the race to the moon in the sixties. A sense of that pioneering decade of space exploration is expressed in parallel with the plot and theme of each book – I’m nearing completion of the second book, set later on in the decade in Europe, Russia & California. I hope you’ll enjoy reading it as much as I have writing it for you. 

https://www.dickwoodgate.com/

https://www.facebook.com/dickwoodgate

HELLROSE by Emma M. King Review

A doctor plagued by traumatic visions of trauma must try to fix her past by helping a new patient at the asylum she works at in author Emma M. King’s “HELLROSE”.

The Synopsis

Over the past 150 years, HELLROSE psychiatric hospital has become one of America’s most feared establishments.

After being plagued by flashbacks to a terrifying past, a psychiatrist, Dr. Lisa Williams, tries to repair her life by helping a new outlandish patient who has his own horrifying history.

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The Review

This was a gripping psychological thriller! The author did an incredible job of delivering a tense and haunting look into the world of mental health and the criminal justice system, exploring how mental health can affect so many people, not just a particular group of people, and the shocking behavior and actions that can arise within someone so completely separate from their own personalities. 

The character exploration was detailed and engaging in this novel. The protagonist’s personal struggles mirror the intensity of the environment around her, and the twisted cases that arrive on her desk daily. The mystery surrounding her new patient and the investigation that arises during his evaluation will have readers on the edge of their seats. 

The only thing of note here is that some of the dialogue between characters can come across as less natural and more pointed, so my only critique would be taking a less “tell” approach to the character’s interactions and more of a “show” approach instead, but honestly this happens only a couple of times that I could see so the narrative overall feels powerful enough to overshadow those few instances.

The Verdict

An entertaining, chilling, and thought-provoking psychological thriller, author Emma M. King’s “HELLROSE” is a must-read novel for the fall 2021 season! Shocking revelations and a twist ending will take readers by surprise, and the novel showcases the depth and experience the author has brought to this particular genre of thriller, making the narrative’s tone feel authentic and more engaging. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 8/10

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About the Author

Born in Allentown, Pennsylvania, Emma M. King graduated from Penn State University with a degree in journalism & psychology.

Her publishing story has been covered by the Wall Street Journal, Entertainment Weekly. She has appeared on ABC’s World News Now and America This Morning.

Emma lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, with her family. She enjoys traveling, hiking, kayaking, and exploring the city’s best brunch options. She regularly blogs about her “writing life” at www.emmaking.co.

Serpent Loop by Lynn Lipinski Review

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

A brother is pushed to the limits when a murder at the carnival he is working at opens up a twisted mystery his younger sister is caught in, and as the investigation ramps up and she disappears, he must decide how far he is willing to go to protect the family he has left in author Lynn Lipinski’s “Serpent Loop”.

The Synopsis

Sometimes new beginnings come from destruction.

A man is murdered at a carnival. For Zane Clearwater, witnessing the crime is a dark reminder of a violent past he had hoped to put behind him and his teenage sister Lettie. But the fear on her face tells him one thing: she’s somehow involved and as her guardian, he must protect her at all costs. Even if it jeopardizes his future as a police officer.

Zane has a lot of questions, but so do the police…and the FBI. Zane had seen his sister’s genius computer skills as an asset to get her into college and out of the hand-to-mouth life he was living as security guard and janitor. But Lettie had decided to use those skills in some questionable schemes on the dark web. And now trouble had come looking for them in real life.

When Lettie takes off for California, Zane embarks on a journey of discovery that even unbreakable bonds may have their limits. Can he stay one step ahead of trouble and protect Lettie? Or has trouble finally caught up with them for good? 

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The Review

The author did a fantastic job of grabbing the reader’s attention with a gripping opening scene. While this book seems to be a continuation of the author’s first book, Bloodlines, this narrative does an amazing job of connecting the two books while still allowing new readers to jump into the story headfirst without having read the first book. The suspense and atmosphere are adrenaline-fueled as the reader is treated to twists and turns galore and the original crime spirals into something the protagonist could not have seen coming.

What was captivating the most was the balance the author found with this twisted narrative with the emotional and realistic journey the protagonist went on. Between trying to solve the mystery of what caused this violent altercation to turn into murder, to trying to bond and figure out the complicated issues his little sister has gotten into in her teenage years, and the struggle to find his life’s purpose all at the same time is something many readers are going to be able to identify with and makes for truly engaging reading overall.

The Verdict

A marvelous, entertaining, edge-of-your-seat thriller, author Lynn Lipinski’s “Serpent Loop” is the must-read crime thriller you have to be reading this fall. Beautifully written and highly creative, the author has delivered a narrative that feels real and magical all at once and brings a true depth of emotional development for these characters that readers won’t be able to help themselves from feeling a bond with them. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Lynn Lipinski is a writer who channels an overactive imagination into fictional worlds where justice rules, karma is real and the good person comes out on top. Her second book, “God of the Internet,” was named to Kirkus Reviews Best Indie Books of 2016 list.

Her first book, “Bloodlines,” is set in her hometown of Tulsa, Oklahoma, which also happens to be her favorite place to write about even though decades of living in L.A. have worn away the Okie accent. She earned an M.F.A. in creative writing from Mount St. Mary’s University in 2018.

http://lynnlipinski.me/

The Mother Next Door by Tara Laskowski Review 

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

A group of mothers within a popular cul-de-sac find their little community threatened by a mysterious figure who threatens to reveal the dark secrets of their past in author Tara Laskowski’s “The Mother Next Door”.

The Synopsis

For fans of Lisa Jewell, Aimee Molloy, and Joshilyn Jackson, an upmarket suspense novel from a multi-award-winning author about a tightknit group of suburban mothers who invite a new neighborhood mom into their fold, and the fallout the night of the annual block party, when secrets from the past come back to haunt them…

The annual block party is the pinnacle of the year on idyllic suburban cul de sac Ivy Woods Drive. An influential group of neighborhood moms—known as the Ivy Five—plan the event for months.

Except the Ivy Five have been four for a long time.

When a new mother moves to town, eager to fit in, the moms see it as an opportunity to make the group whole again. This year’s block party should be the best yet… until the women start receiving anonymous messages threatening to expose the quiet neighborhood’s dark past—and the lengths they’ve gone to hide it.

As secrets seep out and the threats intensify, the Ivy Five must sort the loyal from the disloyal, the good from the bad. They’ll do anything to protect their families. But when a twisted plot is revealed, with dangerous consequences, their steady foundation begins to crumble, leaving only one certainty: after this year’s block party, Ivy Woods Drive will never be the same.

From award-winning author Tara Laskowski, The Mother Next Door is an atmospheric novel of domestic suspense in which the strive for perfection ends in murder…

The Review

This was a chilling and adrenaline-fueled thriller that will give readers whiplash with the twists and turns that the narrative takes them on. The atmosphere and tone really do a great job of highlighting the contrast between the picturesque suburban dream the Ivy Five portrayed to the public and the hellish nightmare their secrets and lies have created in the background of the community. The author perfectly captures the privilege that wealth and status buy people who have done terrible things in this life, and captured the societal emotions that have taken hold in recent years at the injustice of such secretive actions.

Yet it was the narrative and character growth that really stole the show here. The razor-sharp wit of the moms, especially Kendra, as they move people around like pawns in a game of their own making is highlighted perfectly in Theresa’s chapters especially, as the protagonist shows the struggles to adapt and make herself belong in this group, as mistakes of her own past begin to haunt her as well. The weight of those secrets and lies highlights the elevated anger and fear that builds up with keeping such a secret for so long, and the author’s use of this to add tension into the narrative was a stroke of genius.

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The Verdict

Pretty Little Liars meets Revenge with a Halloween twist, author Tara Laskowski’s “The Mother Next Door” is the perfect suburban thriller this fall. The memorable characterization of the “perfect” suburban dream team and the haunting emotions that build as the secrets begin to pile up on one another more and more make this a truly memorable read. Be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

About the Author

Tara Laskowski

TARA LASKOWSKI is the author of One Night Gone, which won an Agatha Award, Macavity Award, and Anthony Award, and was a finalist for the Mary Higgins Clark Award, Left Coast Crime Award, Strand Critics’ Award, and Library of Virginia Literary Award. She is also the author of two short story collections, Modern Manners for Your Inner Demons and Bystanders, has published stories in Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine and Mid-American Review, among others, and is the former editor of SmokeLong Quarterly. Tara earned a BA in English from Susquehanna University and an MFA from George Mason University and currently lives in Virginia. Find her on Twitter and Instagram, @TaraLWrites.

SOCIAL LINKS:

Author website: https://taralaskowski.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/tara.laskowski.9

Twitter: @TaraLWrites

Instagram: @taralwrites

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/56555529-the-mother-next-door

BUY LINKS:

Bookshop.org: https://bookshop.org/books/the-mother-next-door-a-novel-of-suspense/9781525804700

Politics & Prose: https://www.politics-prose.com/book/9781525804700

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-mother-next-door-tara-laskowski/1138551311?ean=9781488078125&st=AFF&2sid=HarperCollins%20Publishers%20LLC_7651142_NA&sourceId=AFFHarperCollins%20Publishers%20LLC

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Mother-Next-Door-Novel-Suspense/dp/1525804707/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=

Target: https://www.target.com/p/the-mother-next-door-by-tara-laskowski-paperback/-/A-82219724

Apple Books: https://books.apple.com/us/book/the-mother-next-door/id1547075567?id=1547075567&ign-mpt=uo%3D4

One More Page: https://www.onemorepagebooks.com/book/9781525804700

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/the-mother-next-door

Indiebound: https://www.indiebound.org/book/9781525804700?aff=PublishersWeekly

Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/The_Mother_Next_Door_A_Novel_of_Suspense?id=baYREAAAQBAJ&hl=en_US&gl=US 

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Q&A with Tara Laskowski

Q: Please give us a one sentence pitch for your novel, The Mother Next Door.

A: An atmospheric suspense novel about a tight-knit group of suburban mothers who invite a new neighborhood mom into their fold, and the fallout the night of the annual Halloween block party, when secrets from the past come back to haunt them.

Q: Why do you believe thrillers are so popular?

A: They naturally invoke our curiosity–our sense of “I have to know what happens.” Plus, I think people like to read about bad things happening to other people. It’s the same with horror movies or books–it’s a fun way to put yourself in a terrifying situation without actually having to be in a terrifying situation. As long as our brains know we are safe, we can enjoy that rush of adrenaline without the sheer panic.

Q: Where do you get your ideas? Of course, from your imagination, but do you read, see or hear something that clicks? How did you come up with the idea for The Mother Next Door? Is this book based on any true events?

A: I usually start with setting, weirdly. I need a place that I can envision, and that I can see bad things happening in. If I’ve got the place, then I can insert characters and make things happen. 

For The Mother Next Door, I took all of the things I love most–Halloween, cool houses, urban legends–and put them in a domestic suspense set in a creepy suburban neighborhood. The book isn’t really based on any true events, but it definitely riffs off stuff in my real life. We live in a neighborhood with a cul-de-sac that throws a Halloween potluck every year, for example, though as far as I know nothing nefarious has happened over there!

Q: Are you a plotter or pantser?

A: I don’t do well with outlines. I need to feel my way through a book with a blindfold on (though occasionally I guess I pull it down and try to get a glimpse of what’s ahead.) By this, I mean, I like to write a little, then figure out the next few “beats” or things that might happen, then write those, then figure out a little more, etc. And delete and rewrite and cry a little and doubt myself and think I’m the greatest thing since barbeque chips and start the whole process over again. And each time, so far, it’s ended up in a book, so fingers crossed!

Q: Any great tips for aspiring writers?

A: 1) Find your tribe 2) Learn to take criticism and rejection gracefully 3) Read. A lot. 4) Sign up for a monthly massage program.

Q: What is your favorite place to write?

A: It’s super boring, but my home office. I like to have control over my environment. I know writers who can write in coffee shops or libraries or outside, but I need to be at a desk in relative quiet most of the time. If it’s too noisy or too cold or there’s a chance that a spider will crawl on me, I can’t concentrate. That said, we have an excellent screened-in porch and I do like writing out there sometimes.

Q: Are you working on another book now or taking a break?

A: I’m working on my third novel, which is set in upstate New York at a winery and estate and features a group of old friends who return there for a reunion only to realize they are caught up in a decade-old revenge plot.

Q:  What is your favorite season and why?

A: Hands-down: Fall. Sweaters! Crunchy leaves! Pumpkin everything! Football! Also, Halloween is my birthday, and I adore anything and everything spooky. So, there you go.

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Here is an Exclusive Excerpt From “The Mother Next Door”

HALLOWEEN

Ladies and gentlemen, skulls and boys: by the time our Halloween block party is over tonight, one of us will be dead.

And I don’t mean dead as in dull, or dead as in zombified. I mean dead as in gone. Dead as in expired. Killed.

Murdered.

You may be feeling distressed about this, knowing what you know about Ivy Woods—the great neighborhood it is, the sweet, loving families that live there. How could such a tragedy happen in such a wonderful place? You may have traveled here yourself, as a child or as a parent, lured in by the local fame of the street and its ghoulish decorations each year. The lights, the smoke, the gravestones, and the moaning. The witches, cackling and handing out candy. The swarms of little Frankensteins and cowboys and robots and ballet dancers lugging their pillowcases and plastic pumpkin buckets filled with sugar and junk.

But Ivy Woods isn’t perfect.

Far from it.

Look closer. Look under the makeup and the masks, look into the windows of the perfect houses. Dig under the surface of those freshly mowed lawns and you’ll find the worms. I’ve looked—believe me, I’ve looked. There’s something about this street. There are secrets. I know from watching through the windows, from hearing the hushed conversations, from lingering on their faces when they think everyone else has looked away.

Oh they think they are perfect. They pat themselves on the back for throwing such good parties, for raising such fine children, for living in such big houses.

But they are pretending.

They don masks on this one single night to dress up as someone or something else, but in reality they live their lives this way.

We all do.

We hate ourselves. We are too fat, or too thin. We should work hard, be smarter. We are lonely and depressed. We are worried about money. We are ashamed of the way that our friends and family treat us. But we lie about it all. We hide behind a protective façade, fragile glass figurines inside elaborate dollhouses designed to look like perfect, safe, happy places.

Tonight it will all shatter.

Watch closely and you’ll begin to see what I see. There’s trouble in the air, a cold wind blowing in from far away, and it’s settled on Ivy Woods Drive. The secrets and the lies we tell ourselves and others will emerge tonight like spirits of the dead. Lines will be drawn. Sides will be taken. Someone won’t make it out alive.

I can’t save that person, but I’ll tell the story. Turn over the rocks, expose the worms. Pull back the masks.

Because I know their secrets, secrets that will destroy them all.

If they don’t destroy themselves first.

Excerpted from The Mother Next Door by Tara Laskowski, Copyright © 2021 by Tara Laskowski. Published by Graydon House Books. 

Interview and Spotlight Of Author Natasha Jeneen Thomas and her Novel, “Family Medicine”

Family Medicine: A Psychological Suspense Thriller

Synopsis

Therese Hughes-Baldwin arrives in Boca Raton with hopes of joining the most prestigious dance company in south Florida. But instead of finding ballet success, she suffers an embarrassing heartbreak and takes a boring barista job. She also inadvertently gains the attention of the woman who stalks her on every train ride she takes. So, when Therese’s favorite café customer, Dr. Dara Clemens, offers an escape to her beachside mansion, Therese can hardly say “yes” quickly enough. With her suitcase in hand and best friend Phoebe by her side, she heads to the Clemens’ oceanfront getaway. The home is gorgeous. The beach is, too. So is the stranger Therese gives her number to at the bar. But there are voices in the vents. And there are people who stare. And Therese faces a sinking feeling that something is hauntingly off about Phoebe’s behavior. As Therese questions the motivations of those around her, she opens the door to a reality she never thought she’d find. CONNECT WWW.NATASHAJENEENTHOMAS.COM

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Interview with Author Natasha Jeneen Thomas

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

I was born and raised as an only child in Daytona Beach, Florida and now live in the Metro Atlanta area. I work as a psychiatrist who specializes in caring for pregnant and postpartum women, and in treating posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). 

My parents tell me I was a very quiet child. I think that’s partially because I am introverted. I think my constant daydreaming contributed to my quietness, too. Solo activities like reading and playing piano filled my childhood.  I was fortunate to have several strong English teachers who taught me grammar and writing construction, spurred on my love of literature, and entered me in writing contests. In high school, I won a National Council of Teachers of English “superior performance in writing” award after my teacher submitted an extemporaneous piece I had written. Winning that accolade made me think, “Hmm, maybe I’m good at this writing thing.” 

I’ve been writing in some form ever since. I began with poetry but have also written short stories, newsletters, and mental health blogs. Now, I’m presenting my first novel! 

2) What inspired you to write your book?

My work as a psychiatrist has been a major inspiration in both my blog writing and in the writing of my book, Family Medicine. As I mentioned earlier, I specialize in women’s mental health work. Many of the themes throughout the book were selected based on areas where I see women struggle. 

However, this book was also inspired by a recurring dream I’ve had for over twenty years. I started writing the story a decade ago and couldn’t pull all the pieces together. It was always scratching at my brain. I finally took the opportunity to write it once my work travel time was eliminated as I converted my psychiatric practice to an exclusively telemedicine practice in 2020.

It was fun to make the story a fictional account and to put a psychological suspense thriller twist on it. That part of my writing is heavily influenced by my father and all the horrors and thriller films we watched together when I was young.

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

Well, since this book is a thriller, I’d love to save the surprise of discovering the theme for my readers. It would be really cool to hear after people read it what themes they picked up—and what they think is the major message. 

4) What drew you into this particular genre?

I write psychological suspense because I am infinitely interested in the human mind. In medical school, I very strongly considered becoming an OB/GYN and planned to live out my career delivering babies. But in the end, I selected psychiatry as a specialty because I realized I’d never fully understand or master the human mind. That idea intrigued me. 

My fictional writing, at this point, is a reflection of the awe, respect, and sometimes outright terror I discover when delving into human psychology.

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

I love this question! In the story, the main character runs into a woman on the train who begins to stalk her. I think it would be really interesting to know what this woman is doing when she’s not stalking our main character. 

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

So far, it seems like Facebook has been the most helpful in that respect. I have the most followers on that platform and some people are beginning to really interact with the page. They’re entering contests, have subscribed to my website, and respond in some way to most posts. It’s cool to see. 

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

I’d say don’t talk yourself out of your dream to write. You don’t have to be super experienced to do great writing but you do need to be open to learning. You also have to set aside time to write, even when you don’t feel inspired. Don’t give a ton of credence to the idea of writer’s block. Get advice from other writers and keep what resonates with you. Don’t be afraid to share your work with people who can make it stronger. If you’re too sensitive to critique, your work will suffer. Have fun with it! You get to create your very own world!

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

Now that I’ve gotten over the hump of writing my first novel, I definitely expect to continue writing and hope to have another project out in 2022. Who knows, Family Medicine may even have a sequel!

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About the Author

Natasha Jeneen Thomas is a Florida-born psychiatrist and psychological suspense writer. She has spent the past eleven years in psychiatric private practice exploring individual and collective story and the power of perception. Witnessing life from the vantage point of the human psyche’s inner workings, Natasha sees the state of the world as a reflection of the stories we tell ourselves – and allow ourselves to believe.

Natasha earned a Bachelor of Science from Spelman College, studied medicine at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, and completed residency training in psychiatry at University of Maryland and Sheppard & Enoch Pratt hospitals. When she is not doctoring or writing, she is enjoying her family, her home, or her corner of the couch.

https://linktr.ee/natashajeneenthomas

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Double Crosser by Emme Gordon Review 

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

A young man hoping to bring progress to his village finds himself forced to choose between fulfilling a long-cherished dream and the girl he loves in author Emme Gordon’s “Double Crosser”.

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The Synopsis

What if a young man sets out to bring progress and development to his village… at any cost?

Maverick businessman Krish Thomas decides to build a highway that passes through his village. To finance it, he launches a business, becomes a wheeler dealer, and makes a fortune.

And then, in alliance with a dubious political fixer, he plans to steal a billion dollars – from his own company… so he can keep his promise to a childhood friend!

What happens when a nosey detective pokes around into his shady deal making? And a double-crosser begins exposing the shenanigans?

Find out in this fast-paced action thriller ‘Double Crosser’!

With his entire business empire at stake and his very survival threatened, Krish is finally forced to choose between two options… a long-cherished dream, or the girl he loves.

In the end it looks as if Krish’s compromises will almost wreck his fortune – but will they let him pursue his dreams?

‘Double Crosser’ is a thrilling drama full of tension and action. A roller-coaster ride that will plunge you into an exhilarating world of high finance and deadly intrigue, rampant corruption as well as shining idealism.

“It’s about how far one will go, how much one is willing to give… to make a dream come true” – Sid Sinclair

“Fast paced. Never a dull moment. And what a stunning climax. Great story.” – Raj Ramanathan

“A page-turner that grips and will keep you awake late into the night.” – Charlene Cartier

Enter the fascinating universe of Krish, his friends and lover, his rivals and enemies.

A roller-coaster adventure in big finance, rampant corruption, and shining idealism. A stark choice between friendship and love. This action packed thriller will keep you on the edge of your seat!

Enjoy ‘Double Crosser’ today.

The Review

What an engaging and unique thriller! The author has done a marvelous job of drawing readers into this powerful narrative of a young man with dreams of bettering his village and those who live within it, and along the way gets caught up in a game of high-stakes finances, corporate and political corruption, and a delicate balance between love and childhood promises. The atmosphere and tone the author creates early on strike a stark contrast between the hopeful dreams of the protagonist and the dark underbelly of financially driven crime. 

Yet this author’s command over character development was amazing to see unfold. The intricacies of protagonist Krish were so insightful and added so much depth to the narrative. The haunting loss of a childhood friend early on in the book really highlights the overall struggle of the protagonist and influences his actions so much in this story. The balance the author found between this development of the characters and the intrigue of the conflict amongst the protagonist and the corrupt figures he faced really made this financial thriller so engaging to read.

The Verdict

A remarkable, entertaining, and investing financial thriller, author Emme Gordon’s “Double Crosser” is a must-read book. The lengthy yet fast-paced and heart-pounding twists and turns the author takes readers on will guarantee that no reader ever feels bored, as the action is heart-pounding while unique to this particular genre. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Emme Gordon lives in Madras with his French wife and two young boys.

During the day, he clocks time in a cubicle, pretending to code software. In the gloam of twilight, while the world readies to sleep, Emme transforms into a dreamer who indulges joyously in a universe of make believe.

Larger than life characters. Impossibly crazy situations. Desperately dangerous risks. King size dreams. All are grist to Emme’s creative mill.

His novels are about unconventional characters who set out to change the world – a reflection of his own refusal to conform and fit in.

Emme would love to hear from you, especially if you enjoy reading his stories and want to share your thoughts.

https://www.DoubleCrosserBook.com/