Tag Archives: thrillers

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/

Chasing the Captain (The Jessica Ramierez  Thrillers Book 2) By Terry Shepherd Review

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

Action hero and investigator Jessica Ramierez returns and must travel across the pond when a tiny thread leads to an international conspiracy and possibly the answers to the questions she’s been seeking in author Terry Shepherd’s “Chasing the Captain”, the second book in the Jessica Ramierez Thriller series. 

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The Synopsis

In Jessica Ramirez’s second outing, she’s once again a fish out of water, chasing the bad guy who got away. When forced to witness a questionable execution, Jess follows a tiny thread across the Atlantic, linking up with DI Liyanna Evans, a cop with London’s Metropolitan Police. The two quickly discover that their antagonist’s reach is both worldwide and deadly.

Another delectable tale that blends technothriller with suspense and police procedural adventure, Chasing the Captain picks up where Chasing Vega left off, giving Jess the chance to find the answers she seeks, even if it endangers her life and career in the process.

Many of your favorites from Chasing Vega are back, including the indomitable Alexandra Clark, technology guru Andy Milluzzi and Jessica’s FBI boyfriend Michael Wright. Add Terry Shepherd’s diverse ensemble cast and enough twists and turns to make your head spin and you have another wholly satisfying, screen-worthy popcorn thriller that best selling author Tori Eldridge calls, “a fast-paced international adventure.”

“Indomitable female cops hot on the trail of justice (and maybe a little revenge), bad guys I loved to hate, an international conspiracy, a little romance, and one blazing action sequence after another kept the pages turning and me happily reading until the end.Indomitable female cops hot on the trail of justice (and maybe a little revenge), bad guys I loved to hate, an international conspiracy, a little romance, and one blazing action sequence after another kept the pages turning and me happily reading until the end,” writes best novelest Kerry Schafer, author of the Shadow Valley Mystery Series.

D.P. Lyle, author of the Jake Longly and Cain/Harper Thriller series calls Chasing the Captain, “A break-neck ride crammed with tension, action and kick-ass characters.”

McKenna Mystery author Kate Anslinger says, “Terry Shepherd is one of those rare authors who can bookend a masterful action scene with poetic prose, descriptive settings, and human emotion, leading readers to fall effortlessly into the diverse worlds he creates.”

As you dive into Chasing the Captain, you’ll become immersed in the adventure, too.

The Review

This was a fantastic follow-up to the acclaimed hit action-thriller author Terry Shepherd brought us in his first book. The incredible world-building and action-packed writing the author employed throughout this narrative was incredible, written in such as way that felt very visceral and vivid to picture in the reader’s mind. The imagery throughout the writing kept the novel’s settings and atmosphere alive, becoming characters all their own. 

Yet it was the numerous appearances of several strong, powerful female characters that found the perfect balance of vulnerability and kick-ass. The International aspect of this thriller allowed for several looks into how differing police agencies work and introduced new characters like DI Liyanna Evans into the narrative. However, the star of the novel is of course protagonist and hero Jessica Ramierez. The author delved into the hero’s past while helping to close the chapter on the shocking personal losses she accrued in the first novel, giving the opportunity for new readers to the series to jump into the narrative without losing too much ground on what this character represents, which is the new face of thriller-genre heroes. 

The Verdict

A brilliant, adrenaline-pumping and entertaining action-thriller novel, author Terry Shepherd’s “Chasing the Captain” is a must-read novel of 2021! The author has brought pure action and entertainment into the narrative space in a fresh and unique way. The writing is descriptive and emotional as well and creates a unique experience that almost feels like it should be cinematic in its delivery as if waiting to become the next HBO Max series we all need. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today.

10/10

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About the Author

Terry Shepherd grew up in Michigan and began writing fiction in high school. After a long career in the corporate world, he took up the craft full time in 2018. He writes detective fiction for both adults and kids from his home on the Atlantic Ocean in Jacksonville, Florida.

The Shattered Violin by Jared Bodnar Review

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

After his fiancee is brutally murdered, one man will find himself facing moral challenges like never before as he takes on a mission of revenge in the hunt for her killer in author Jared Bodnar’s “The Shattered Violin”.

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The Synopsis

Conner and his fiancée Cassie had a fairytale love. They complemented each other in every way and looked forward to a perfect future ahead of them. In one day, that future is destroyed. Cassie is brutally murdered, leaving Conner broken, alone and filled with pain. He knows the pain of this loss will haunt him for the rest of his life.

After much deliberation, Conner decides that he will stop at nothing to avenge Cassie’s death. Tracking down her killer throws him into a world of moral ambiguity as he sets off on a meandering quest.

Without knowing how, Conner wants to inflict the same pain as the killer inflicted. But, as Conner gets closer to the moment of reckoning, he will face impossible choices and the realization that his elaborate plan may ultimately be derailed.

The Review

A truly gripping and haunting thriller, author Jared Bodnar expertly weaves a tale of love lost, and the downward spiral we go through when a piece of ourselves is ripped out of us savagely. The atmosphere and suspense the author builds as the mystery of who killed the protagonist’s wife was edgy and thick with tension, really balancing the protagonist’s personal development with intense storytelling.

Yet it was the protagonist who sold this narrative. The author really did a great job of portraying how losing someone you love, especially to a violent crime, can affect you emotionally and mentally. The person the protagonist slowly began to slip away from him, and instead, a person solely focused on violent revenge begins to emerge instead. The back and forth struggle of the person he was and the person he’s become add to the tension building the author implements in this story, making it impossible to put this book down.

The Verdict

A chilling, heartbreaking, and mysterious new thriller, author Jared Bodnar’s “The Shattered Violin” is a must-read novel of 2021. Engaging and rich in character study, the narrative really digs into the reader’s emotional depths and tasks us all to picture how challenging losing a loved one can be, while also challenging us to face our losses and overcome our grief, lest we fall further and further down the rabbit hole. If you haven’t yet, be sure to preorder or grab your copy of this book today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Jared Bodnar is an advertising professional by day, dedicated dad by night and novelist after Midnight.

He graduated from Arizona State University with a Journalism and Psychology double major, a perfect combination for writing psychological thrillers.

A lifelong writer, Jared is passionate about dialogue and is obsessed with converging, twisty storylines. Jared lives in Gilbert, Arizona with his wife Shannon, daughter Harlow, and sons Easton and Kai.

https://jaredbodnar.com/

Chasing Vega (Jessica Ramierez #1) by Terry Shepherd Review

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

Two detectives must hunt down and stop a serial killer serving up her own brand of justice in author Terry Shepherd’s “Chasing Vega”, the first in the Jessica Ramierez series. 

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The Synopsis

When a meth bust goes bad, Detective Jessica Ramirez and her partner, Officer Alexandra Clark, find themselves in pursuit of a serial killer who dispatches her own form of street justice from the rim of the Grand Canyon. They soon discover that the danger their adversary poses reaches well beyond Arizona and into the very heart of the New York City Financial District.

Filled with 21st century crimes and non-stop action, Terry Shepherd’s first detective thriller features a diverse ensemble cast of strong smart women and the men who try to keep up with them.

Jess and her partner, Officer Alexandra Clark, grab you from page one, and don’t let you go until the last plot twist is finally revealed.

Chasing Vega is a heart pounding roller coaster ride that will make you want to return to Jess and Allie’s world again and again.

The Review

This was an edge-of-your-seat thriller! The author did an amazing job of slowly elevating the tension and the drama of the narrative, adding to the high-stakes atmosphere of the novel. The vivid imagery of the novel’s settings did a fantastic job of highlighting the powerful writing and almost cinematic quality of the author’s writing style.

Yet it was the character development that really stole the show. The protagonist and titular star of this novel, Jessica Ramierez, was a brilliant new action and policy-driven hero, bringing a strong, Latina detective into a high-stakes hunt for a serial killer. The character’s complex family life and steely determination to face off against the sexism and misogynism within the police department was incredible to see, as was the relationships she built with colleagues and friends along the way. The personal stakes that pulled her into this case and the powerful conclusion to her chase with this complicated killer will leave fans eagerly wanting more stories from this author.

The Verdict

A remarkable, action-packed, and engaging thriller, author Terry Shepherd’s “Chasing Vega” is a marvelous start to the Jessica Ramirez series. A must-read thriller, the author expertly balances character growth and atmospheric storytelling that will keep fans invested all the way into the climactic finale. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

I’m a writer and editor by trade, living in Jacksonville, Florida with my beautiful wife. Between the two of us, we earn enough to keep the lights on, pay the Internet bill and share adventures together. Except for a few excursions and some daily cardio, I spend every free minute in front of a keyboard, spilling out the contents of my disordered mind. Someday maybe it will coalesce into something with commercial appeal. I’m ok if it doesn’t.

Jessica Ramirez is my “protagonist”, what we call our heroes and heroines in the trade. Yes, she patterened after a real Latina cop and I base her on actual events in that cop’s life. To protect the innocent, I weave a composite of traits and adventures in the lives of some amazing police women I’ve had the honor of knowing. Jess has had her share of troubles navigating her career in a department that is one of the last bastions of overt male chauvinism. She’s far from perfect, but has a good heart and a desire for both justice and compassion. Her wild hair tendencies get her into trouble. “La Familia Ramirez” is her rock and her best friend and sometime partner Ali Clark is a confidant and fellow troublemaker.

Check out Jess’ Journal to get to know her a little better. I hope it will inspire you to want to read “Chasing Vega”, her first adventure and “Chasing the Captain”, the one I’m trying to finish now.

I also write stuff for kids. My grandson asked me one day if I had a job. I spend a lot of time with him and with his sister, so it was natural that he might think I was a slacker. When I told him I wrote books, he asked if I could write one for him, so he could be a star. “Hudson and the Missing Tiger” became the first in what will be “The Waterford Detective” series for elementary school kids.

And when the Pandemic came upon us, I wanted to create something that could teach children habits that could help protect them from the Coronavirus. I grew up loving Dr. Seuss and with the help of my brilliant illustrator – son-in-law, Casey Ratchford, we created two books in “The Mystery Bug Collection”. “Juliette and the Mystery Bug” teaches proper hand-washing and nose-blowing. And “Juliette and the Masked Hero” teaches about Masking and Social Distancing. I wrote both books in the anapestic tetrameter style of the good Doctor and are available, along with everything I write at Amazon. The Mystery Bug series became so popular that we created mystery-bug.com as a place where parents and educators can find lesson plans for the classroom and more resources to help create productive conversations with kids about Covid19.

You can tell that my adventures in fiction have been unfocused and a little crazy. That’s ok. I’m often unfocused and crazy. I don’t expect to get rich doing this stuff. I do hope that what I write touches your heart and perhaps gives you an escape from this uncertain world we live in.

Thanks so much for reading this far. See you in the next chapter!

@TheTShepherd on Twitter

Terry@TerryShepherd.com

Such a Good Wife by Seraphina Nova Glass Review

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

A woman who begins having an affair with an acclaimed author finds her world in peril as her lover is found dead, and she must keep her affair a secret and prevent herself from being implicated in his murder in author Seraphina Nova Glass’s “Such a Good Wife”.

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The Synopsis

From the author of Someone’s Listening comes another thriller that will leave you breathless, about a housewife implicated in a murder investigation, perfect for fans of The Last House Guest and Someone We Know.

Melanie Hale has the perfect life. Her husband, Collin, is a loving and supportive partner and she loves their small-town home just outside of New Orleans. She doesn’t mind (too much) that she’s given up her career dreams to care for her two beautiful children. It’s all worth it.

So why, when she joins a writers’ group for fledgling novelists, does she embark on a steamy affair with Luke, a local bestselling author who gives a talk during the group? Why does she go back to Luke again and again, when she knows it’s wrong?

And then Luke is found dead, and Mel knows she was the last person to see him alive. Now, she not only has to keep the affair a secret, but somehow avoid being implicated in Luke’s death. But who would want to kill him? And if Mel finds the truth, will she be next? What follows is a sinister cat-and-mouse game that will leave readers guessing until the very last page.

The Review

A truly fantastic and engaging thriller! The author does a great job of fleshing out these characters early on, especially protagonist Melanie Hale. The author immediately sets up the narrative with Mel’s discovery of Luke’s body, and the horror of the moment quickly is underscored by the reality of the lies that she had begun to live with. Yet atop the background of her home life and showing the moments that led to her affair, the author has done an amazing job of layering the background with shocks and suspense that makes the murder itself only one of the shocks this novel holds in store.

What really stood out to me was the writing itself. The author does a phenomenal job of not only setting the tone and suspense a novel like this deserves but balances both the reality of having an affair with the more cinematic imagery that the writing invokes. So much of this novel felt like it could become the next Gone Girl, and Mel’s evolution over the course of this novel will keep readers hooked.

The Verdict

A brilliant, thought-provoking, and heart-pounding thriller, author Seraphina Nova Glass’s “Such a Good Wife” is a must-read novel of 2021! The twists and turns the narrative takes throughout this book are a wild ride, and the twist that Mel’s character takes towards the book’s final act will keep readers breathless as they eagerly await this book’s finale. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Seraphina Nova Glass is a professor and playwright-in-residence at the University of Texas, Arlington, where she teaches film studies and playwriting. She holds an MFA in playwriting from Smith College, and she’s also a screenwriter and award-winning playwright. Seraphina has traveled the world using theatre and film as a teaching tool, living in South Africa, Guam and Kenya as a volunteer teacher, AIDS relief worker, and documentary filmmaker.

Buy Links: 

BookShop.org

Harlequin 

Barnes & Noble

Amazon

Books-A-Million

Powell’s 

Social Links:

Author Website

Twitter: @SeraphinaNova

Facebook: Seraphina Nova Glass: Author

Goodreads

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Here is an Exclusive Excerpt from “Such a Good Wife”

Two

Before

I can pinpoint the day that set everything in motion. Gillian Baker, one block over, holds a book club at her house once a week. Reluctantly, and at her insistence, I finally decided to join. I squeezed a cylinder of cookie dough out of its plastic tube, cut it into disks and put a tray of the artificial-tasting dough in the oven so I had something to bring and pass off as my own. Collin thought the book club idea was great and might inspire me. I told him it’s just a kid-free night for the neighborhood wives so they can drink wine and make vapid, uninformed comments on great literature, but he still thought I would be in my element and should give it a try.

I was going to be a scholar once upon a time, but I dropped out of my master’s program when we learned about Bennett’s condition. I wasn’t forced to stay home, but we decided it made sense. It was for the best, and even better than a degree, because I could write books from home and still pursue that dream. What a gift! All the time in the world to write the great American novel. Except I haven’t written any books, have I? What the hell do I really have to say anyway? Life has gone out of its way to ignore me in many regards. Shelby Fitch two doors down was in the peace corps in freaking Guatemala for two years before she married into this neighborhood. She should write the book.

What will my topics be? “Mom cleans up kid’s barf during carpool.”

“Mom waits half a day for dishwasher repair guy, and guess what? He never shows.”

“Mom tries a Peppa Pig cake recipe from Pinterest, but it looks like deranged farm swine with a phallic nose and makes son cry.” I have nothing to say. The other day I thought I’d get serious again and try to really sit and brainstorm some ideas. I ended up watching videos of people getting hurt on backyard trampolines and a solid hour of baby goats jumping around in onesies. So, I guess maybe at least getting my mind back into the literary world can’t hurt.

At my dressing table, I pulled my hair back and slipped on some dangly earrings. It was my first time out of yoga pants that week, and it felt nice. I applied lip gloss and pressed my lips together; I could hear the chaos begin in the background. The oven was beeping nonstop, beckoning Collin to take out the premade dinner he’d been heating up for the kids, but he was arguing with Ben about a video game he refused to turn off. He still had to make a plate for Claire and help the kids with homework after dinner, and Ralph, our elderly basset hound, was barking excessively at something outside, raising the tension in the room. I felt guilty leaving, but when I appeared in the front hall in a sundress, Collin lit up and gave me a kiss, telling me he had it under control. I knew he ultimately did. It’s not rocket science, it’s just exhausting and emotionally bloodsucking, and he’d already had a twelve-hour day of anxiety at work.

I kissed the top of Ben’s head and said goodbye to Rachel, who was paying no attention, and then I walked out the front door. I carried the plate of cookies and a copy of The Catcher in the Rye as I walked across the street. They were trying too hard, trying to be literary. Why not just choose Fifty Shades or a cozy mystery? When Rachel had to read this book for English, she called it a turd with covers. I, on the other hand, spent hours making meticulous notes so I could be sure to make comments that were sharp and poignant. I rehearse them in my head as I walk.

I was the last to arrive; there were a few other moms from the block already there. We all did the obligatory cheek kisses. Gillian’s living room looked like she was hosting a dinner party rather than a book club. Chardonnay was chilling in ice on the kitchen island next to a spread of food that could have come from a Vegas buffet. I wished I could hide my pathetic tube cookies.

“Wow, Gill. Did you do all this?” I asked, impressed.

“Oh, hell no. Are you kidding? It’s catered, silly.”

I can’t believe she’s had her book club catered. Everyone has wine and something fancy on a toothpick in their hands. She put my sad cookies next to the beautiful chiffon cake on the island, and I was mortified. There was cling wrap over them for God’s sake—on a Spider-Man paper plate left over from Ben’s last birthday. Kill me.

She poured me a glass, pretending not to think anything of my trashy offering, and I walked carefully over her white rug as we made our way into the sitting room. Of course she has a “sitting room.” It’s a bright space in the front of the house with vaulted ceilings and a blingy chandelier. We all perched on the edges of pale furniture. I never did quite know how to feel about these women. They’ve welcomed me so warmly, but they sometimes seem like a foreign species to me. Yes, I live in this neighborhood too, but it’s because of Collin’s success, not anything I’ve done. I guess they can probably say the same. I still feel sort of like an imposter. I don’t lean into it the way they seem to.

I didn’t intend to stay home, of course, but I still feel like I was destined for a career, never dependent on anyone else. It’s not that I feel dependent on Collin. That’s not the right word. What we have is ours. The way I contribute is something he could never handle, but I guess I don’t take it for granted the way they seem to. Gillian was constantly remodeling her house and upgrading things that you’d think it impossible to upgrade. She had a stunning outdoor kitchen next to a pool that appears damn near Olympic-sized. It was even highlighted in the local home tour magazine. One day she gutted the whole thing because she wanted the pool to be teardrop-shaped instead. And here I am using Groupons for my facials.

Even that sounds indulgent. Facials. I grew up in a doublewide trailer in Lafayette with a mother who worked the night shift at the hospital and an alcoholic father who spent his days quiet and glassy-eyed on the front porch, staring at some invisible thing, lost in another time. It will never feel right to buy five-hundred-dollar shoes or drive a luxury car, although I’d never want to lose the safety of it and I’m grateful my children will never have to struggle the way I did. This comfort is for them. This safety is for them. That’s the bottom line, so I brushed away the negative thoughts.

Tammy commented on Gillian’s bracelet. She held Gillian’s wrist, examining it. Everyone oohed and aahed as Gillian explained that it was an early birthday gift from Robert and she had to get it insured. I have never understood charm bracelets. An ugly soccer ball hangs off of her silver chain, but I made my face look delighted along with the others. After we settled in, I assumed the small talk was over and we’d dig into a great piece of literature. Kid-free, wine-lubricated, I was ready.

“Oh my God, you guys, did you see Bethany Burena at Leah’s wedding?” Karen asked. There was mocking laughter. I’d been at that wedding, but I didn’t know what they were referring to, so I stayed quiet. Liz chimed in.

“God, it looked like someone stuffed a couple honey-baked hams into the back of her dress.”

“And the worst part is she did that on purpose,” Tammy said, placing her glass of wine on an end table so she could use her hands to talk. “That ain’t too much buttercream, y’all!” Then she held her hands to her mouth and pretended to whisper sideways. “Although did you see her shoveling it in at the cake table?”

“She had those babies implanted,” Karen agreed.

“No!” Gillian gasped.

“Yep. Ass implants. Ass-plants.” Everyone roared with laughter. I forced a chuckle so I didn’t stand out. I hated these people, I realized right in that moment. I longed to leave. I could fake a headache, or check in at home and say there’s a problem with Ben, I thought. Why didn’t I? Why do I need their approval? Karen kept the gossip going.

“That’s not as bad as Alice. She brought the guy who cleans her pool to the wedding!

“What do you mean?” Liz asked.

“As a date.”

“No!”

“Scandal much?” Tammy was delighted she had everyone in hysterics.

“Alice Berg?” I asked, not understanding the social sin she’d committed. “Isn’t she single—like, divorced, I thought.”

“Yeah, but she brought The. Pool. Guy. Sad.”

“So sad,” Karen echoed.

“Desperate,” Liz added. She noticed the book in my hands. “What’s that?”

“What do you mean? It’s the book,” I said with a lighthearted scoff.

“Oh, Mel. I’m so sorry I didn’t mention it, I guess I thought everyone just sort of got it—especially since the book was something so random,” Gillian said.

“Got what?”

“We don’t, like, read it. We just need an excuse to get rid of the kids and hubbies for one night. I think we deserve at least that?” she said, glancing around for allies.

“Damn right we do.” Liz held her wine up and gulped it down, a sort of toast to herself. “You didn’t read it, did you?” I didn’t answer. I felt like an idiot. I was joking when I said it was an excuse to drink and have a night away. I was at least half joking. I thought that I may have found a few kindred spirits, perhaps—that they were at least making a half-assed attempt at self-betterment.

“I just skimmed it,” I said.

I was probably visibly blushing, so I picked a strawberry carved into a rose shape from the table and picked at it.

“Mel has a master’s in literature. Did y’all know that?” Gillian said, maybe in an attempt to redeem herself from indirectly embarrassing me.

“Oh my gosh, smarty-smart pants. Look at you.” Karen swatted my leg and smiled, supportively. I wanted the attention off me as soon as possible, so I didn’t correct her and say that it was creative writing…and that I never finished the degree.

“You should give me the name of your caterer,” I said, picking up a skewer of chicken and taking a bite. “I was gonna do a thing for Collin’s birthday. Maybe a trip, but if we stay in town we’ll have people to the house.” The subject is officially changed. Her eyes lit up.

“Oh my gosh, I have their card. I told them they should pay me for how many referrals I’m getting for them. Their almond torte is totally to die for. Seriously. If you don’t do a cake, maybe mini tortes.”

“Oh, cute!” Liz said.

We talked about mini tortes, whose phone carrier is the worst, Karen’s daughter’s (nonexistent) modeling career and Botox for the next two hours until I walked home unsteadily with my plate of cookies that Gillian gracefully sent home with me. I had to laugh a little at the idea that they met weekly, like they’d read that much. Made sense now. I tossed The Catcher in the Rye in Brianna Cunningham’s garbage can, which she’d failed to pull back into the garage (Tammy actually made mention of that particular oversight earlier in the evening), and I didn’t know if the crushing disappointment of the evening was worse than going back home to Claire’s bedpan and the mounting stress of teen angst and Ben’s moods. I wished I could just sit in the Cunninghams’ yard, drunk for a little while, but someone would see, and it would be discussed at some other neighbor’s book club.

The temperate dusk air was dense with mosquitoes and the chatter of crickets. I took my time walking back. When I approached our house, I saw Collin in an orange rectangle of warm kitchen light. He was washing dishes, sort of, but mostly looking past the kitchen island at the TV in the living room. I concentrated on appearing more sober than I was as I entered the kitchen. I sat at the table, pulling off my shoes, and he offered me a glass of wine.

“No, thanks.” I got up and filled a plastic Bob the Builder cup under the tap, then sat on a counter stool. He pulled one up next to me.

“Was it fun?” he asked, hopefully, wanting me to find an outlet—some joy in my life while things are so tough. I didn’t know if I should tell him the truth or make him happy, so I went down the middle.

“It was okay.”

“Just okay?”

“Eh. Not exactly the literary minds I was hoping to connect with.”

“I’m sorry.” He squeezed my hand. “I took Ben to pick out a new chapter book at Classics tonight.”

“Oh fun. What did he pick out?” I asked, thinking Collin was changing the subject.

He handed me a little postcard advert. “There’s a writers’ group starting next week.”

I looked over the glossy square and it had details welcoming any local writers to join the weekly Thursday group to workshop their writing. Before I could dismiss the assertion that I’m a “writer,” he pointed to the bullet point that stated “all levels welcome.” It was so incredibly sweet that he brought this for me, not only to encourage me in pursuing something I care about, but was also willing to hold down the fort every Thursday. I kissed him.

“That’s very thoughtful of you.”

“But?” he asked, anticipating a “no,” but I didn’t have a reason to say no. I mean, except that I had no writing to present to the group. I could write a critical essay on The Catcher in the Rye. That was about it. It sounded thrilling though. Maybe some accountability and pressure would be just what I needed. I glanced past Collin into the living room and saw Bennett asleep in front of WWE SmackDown! on the TV. I gave Collin a look.

“Well, he’s asleep, isn’t he?” he defended himself. Ismiled and shook my head, pressing my thumb into the crumbs on his plate and tasting the remnants of the cookies I left behind for the kids to eat.

“I guess I can try it,” I said, standing and rinsing the plate. Words I’d give anything to take back.

Excerpted from Such A Good Wife by Seraphina Nova Glass, Copyright © 2021 by Seraphina Nova Glass. Published by arrangement with Harlequin Books S.A.

The Third to Die (Quinn & Costa aka Mobile Response Team #1) by Allison Brennan Review

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

A young detective and ambitious FBI agent must work together in order to stop a mysterious serial killer before he disappears again in author Allison Brennan’s “The Third to Die”, the first in the Quinn & Costa aka Mobile Response Team series.

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The Synopsis

An edgy female police detective… An ambitious FBI special agent. Together they are at the heart of the ticking-clock investigation for a psychopathic serial killer. The bond they forge in this crucible sets the stage for high-stakes suspense.

Detective Kara Quinn, on leave from the LAPD, is on an early morning jog in her hometown of Liberty Lake when she comes upon the body of a young nurse. The manner of death shows a pattern of highly controlled rage. Meanwhile in DC, FBI special agent Mathias Costa is staffing his newly minted Mobile Response Team. Word reaches Matt that the Liberty Lake murder fits the profile of the compulsive Triple Killer. It will be the first case for the MRT. This time they have a chance to stop this zealous if elusive killer before he strikes again. But only if they can figure out who he is and where he is hiding before he disappears for another three years. The stakes are higher than ever before, because if they fail, one of their own will be next…

The Review

Such a compelling and engaging blend of police procedural and serial killer thriller! This captured my attention immediately, as the author went about setting the haunting atmosphere of the killer’s actions in the book’s prelude. The insight into the killer’s mind and the investigation very much reminded me of J.D. Barker’s 4MK series, building the suspense and the cat & mouse element of the narrative slowly but surely, keeping the reader hanging on the author’s every word.

The character growth was definitely the major hook for this story. The killer’s motivations and thought process throughout his killings was complex, but it was the protagonists themselves, Costa and Quinn, who really added depth to this narrative. Their haunted backstories and the bond they form together keeps readers on an emotional rollercoaster as they follow this partnership through its highs and lows, until the book’s exhilarating final chapters.

The Verdict

A masterful, engaging, and thrilling new suspense novel, author Allison Brennan’s “The Third To Die” is a must-read thriller! Heart-pounding games between a killer and those chasing him really keep readers invested in this narrative, and the bond between the two investigators on the case will have readers ready and eager to dive into the next chapter of this series. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Allison Brennan believes that life is too short to be bored, so she had five children and writes three books a year.

40 books and numerous short stories later, Allison relocated in 2019 from Northern California to Arizona with her husband and two youngest children.

She currently writes the Lucy Kincaid/Sean Rogan thriller series, and launched the Quinn & Costa thrillers this year with THE THIRD TO DIE. Catherine Coulter called it an “amazing new series” and Kirkus Reviews says Kara Quinn is “A strong and damaged protagonist as compelling as Lisbeth Salander.”

RT Book Reviews calls Allison “a master of suspense” and her books “haunting,” “mesmerizing,” “pulse-pounding” and “emotionally complex.” RT also said that “The Lucy Kincaid/Sean Rogan books are getting better and better!” She’s been nominated for many awards, and is a three time winner of the Reviewer’s Choice award winner for RT Book Reviews as well as the Daphne du Maurier award. Most recently, she was nominated for Best Paperback Original by International Thriller Writers.

Allison has given back extensively to the writing community. She judged the Thriller Awards for nine years, served as awards committee chair for one term, was the managing editor of LOVE IS MURDER (edited by Sandra Brown), and has offered workshops on writing. She is also a mentor to unpublished writers for Mystery Writers of America has spoken to numerous writing groups.

You can reach Allison through Goodreads or through her website.

Murdered for Nothing by Gary Westphalen Review

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

A gruesome series of murders in the late 80’s finds upstate New York in a frenzy in a fictionalized version of true events in author Gary Westphalen’s “Murdered for Nothing”.

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The Synopsis

On a cold and snowy night in Upstate New York, two men walked into a little neighborhood bar. When they walked out a few minutes later, the three people inside had their heads caved in, and the place was on fire. In less than 48 hours, two more people in Rochester would be savagely tortured and murdered, and their homes also set ablaze. The five died in robberies that netted less than a hundred dollars. And that real-life crime spree is just the beginning.Set in the late 1980’s, Murdered For Nothing follows the criminals, the cops looking for them, the lawyer aching to represent them, and the media covering it all through a gruesome and twisted drama that includes egos, lies, suspense, the occasional touch of humor, and even a courtroom brawl that occurred in front of a dual trial involving two juries. Best of all, it unravels right in front of my camera. You see, I was the first television news photographer allowed to record a trial in New York State.Set in the late 1980’s, Murdered For Nothing is a fictionalized version of those real-life events that I witnessed first-hand. They have been percolating in my head for decades, and have bubbled to the surface in this page-turner that you won’t be able to put down.

The Review

This was a truly engaging and chilling crime thriller. What set this story apart from others within this genre was the fact that the crimes themselves were not some glamorous, Hollywood-style event that saw some big shootout with police during a bank heist. Instead, the story focused on the brutal reality of most crimes, which is that murder is far too often not just heartbreaking and painful for those left behind, but pointless as well. The author perfectly captures the raw emotions and vicious nature of the small-town crime that often gets overshadowed by the media, while also balancing this out with fast-paced storytelling and haunting use of imagery within the writing itself to bring these crimes and the lives of those involved to life.

What really stands out of course is the amazing character development within this novel. The author not only hones in on the mindset and personalities of the criminals, the police, and those involved in the case but even brings to life the small-town of Rochester itself, showing the townspeople and how these brutal crimes affected them. Balancing out this story of brutality with crimes such as this was the media sensation that the case became, highlighting our own nature as a society to become invested in and fascinated with the criminal mind and their acts. 

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The Verdict

A brilliant, enthralling, and haunting read, author Gary Westphalen’s “Murder for Nothing” is a fantastic and must-read crime thriller for the summer. Not only does the story itself draw the reader in, but the fact it’s a fictionalized narrative based on true events makes the story much more engaging, and will have readers clamoring to learn more about this case. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Gary has spent a lifetime as a documentary film maker and journalist. His pursuit of telling the story of the human condition has taken him to dozens of countries all over the world. He has interviewed Presidents and Kings, the homeless and destitute, and everything in-between. His work has been seen on nearly every major television and cable network. It’s almost a guarantee that you have seen the results of his story-telling. He has now turned to a life filled with narrating audiobooks for other authors, and writing his own books as well. Learn much more at garywestphalen.com

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

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/gary-westphalen-a37384126/

The Unknown Man by Natalie Hanson Review

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

An FBI agent with a gift for sensing lies finds herself searching for two kidnapped twins and a suspect with little to no information in a race against time in author Natalie Hanson’s novel, “The Unknown Man”.

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The Synopsis

It took just a tiny bit more matter than antimatter for the big bang to produce the entire universe. Born with an abnormality that manifests through her body, imbalance is something Zalla Bennbett understands. Her ability to sense out lies gives her an advantage on FBI investigations, but sixteen years in, both her marriage and career are on the rocks.

Zalla is assigned to work the kidnapping of an FBI informant’s young twins. With no evidence or leads, her suspect is deemed ‘The Unknown Man’. She’ll have to fight against her instincts to find the girls before time runs out.

The Review

A chilling and gripping tale, author Natalie Hanson has delivered a masterpiece thriller like no other. The author does a fantastic job of delivering suspense and drama on every page through perfect pacing and shocking narrative developments. The complex web of deceit and the twists and turns the author showcases in the narrative help bring out the terror that helps define the horror/thriller genre. 

The novel is the perfect balance of character development and pacing, taking the time to introduce readers to this narrative’s characters and establish a bond between the reader and the characters. The revelations that are made throughout the novel and the identity of the villain who has brought a level of complexity and drama to the narrative make this story a real stand-out amongst the other new releases in this genre.

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The Verdict

A memorable, engaging, and chilling novel of twisted games and haunting memories, author Natalie Hanson’s “The Unknown Man” is the perfect first entry into a brand new series of thrillers following a complicated and unique new protagonist. The shocking revelations the narrative unveils really make this novel inviting and nail-biting, making for the perfect summer thriller. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Natalie Hanson is an author and screenplay writer born and raised in Seattle, WA.

‘The Unknown Man’ is the first of five novels chronicling the hunt for serial killers and criminals by FBI agent Zalla Bennbett. This dark series examines the worst criminals humanity has to offer through the eyes of a jaded agent, struggling to keep optimism alive and fight for the voiceless.

Book two in the series, ‘The Butcher’, is an upcoming release.

Her novel ‘Every Moment and Not a Second More’ was published on Amazon in 2018.

Currently she is collaborating on a horror genre comic series based on her screenplay “Dociles.” It tells the story of a teen runaway, kidnapped by a medical examiner who turns the dead into zombies. It’s a fight to not end up as one of the herd!

https://nataliehardy9.wixsite.com/author/books

Texas Dead by William Gensburger Review

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

A series of gruesome murders leads two detectives down the rabbit hole as clues lead them to powerful figures, and the race to stop not only more killings but a full-scale war takes center stage in author William Gensburger’s “Texas Dead”. 

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The Synopsis

A series of murders in Corpus Christi leaves residents uneasy. All the victims were shot in the back of the head. But when a prominent financial genius is also found murdered, and not in the same way, celebrity detective Mackenzie ‘Maxie’ Michaels and her partner Kobe Jameson, must race to find the person responsible before more murders occur. As they uncover clues, the mystery deepens, dragging in powerful people, and threatening to erupt in a full-on war.

The Review

A thrilling new novel just in time for summer! The author does an incredible job of immediately balancing the chilling suspense of the main narrative with the humor and charm of the main cast of characters. The pacing of the novel’s main mystery perfectly draws the reader in, slowly unraveling a tangled web of corruption and power as shocking suspects are revealed throughout the investigation.

However, it is the strong characters of this novel that really are the backbone and selling point of the whole narrative. A strong female lead detective like Maxie does a great job of taking readers through the investigation process and the shocking twists and turns that occur, while her relationship both with her partner Kobe and reporter Devin Parker make this story feel real and connected. However, it is the humor and wit of the protagonist and her back and forth with the other characters that make this feel like a serialized cop show waiting to happen. 

The Verdict

A funny, shocking, and engaging thriller and suspense novel, author William Gensburger’s “Texas Dead” is the perfect introduction to a powerful new thriller series and an equally powerful protagonist and lead detective fans can get behind. A novel that’s imagery really makes the narrative feel like a network show that is meant to be seen, the novel proves to be the perfect starting thriller of the 2021 Summer reading season. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today.

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

William Gensburger is the author of TEXAS DEAD, a murder mystery novel, DISTANT RUMORS, an anthology of 16 stories about life and death, and HOMO IDIOTUS, a collection of published newspaper editorials.

He is also the publisher of ‘Books’N Pieces Magazine (soon to be a video podcast), where he has worked with many different authors, as well as publishing The Concordian, a 24-page monthly community newspaper, until 2016.

http://www.misterwriter.com/