Archive for the ‘suspense’ Category

Welcome to The Friday 56 hosted by Freda’s Voice.

 

This is a really fun meme!

The only rules are to grab a book (any book), turn to page 56 or 56% in your eReader and find a sentence or a few (no spoilers) that grabs you and post it.

Then go over to Freda’s Voice and leave your link so we can visit your 56!

My 56 for this week is from:

The Best Seller

  by Dina Rae

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Genre: Mystery / Science Fiction / Suspense

 My 56 from the eBook.

The  moral sacrifices were forgotten as he stood in awe with the three doctors. The kind of secrecy and power all of this wielded was the ultimate aphrodisiac.

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Read on if you want to know more.

Synopsis

When Maya Smock writes her first novel, everything seems to go her way. Her book practically writes itself. She marries her gorgeous agent. Her name is on all of the best seller lists. Billionaire author Jay McCallister takes an interest in her meteoric rise to fame and invites her into his world of alien-believing celebrities. Her life changes forever when he tells her that they were both created inside of a laboratory. These authors are embedding an alien genetic code within the pages of their novels that originated from Nazi Germany because…

The time has come. They are here.

Amazon

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Leave your link and I’ll drop by your 56.

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Pitcher Plant: A Pacific Northwest Suspense
Melissa Eskue Ousley
Publication date: May 12th 2017
Genres: Adult, Suspense

Synopsis

When Tawny Ellis spots a run-down fixer-upper on the Oregon coast, she and her husband jump at the chance to own a cottage near the beach. But as the expensive repairs turn their dream home into a nightmare, their marriage unravels. And worse… something is lurking in the house’s dark past.

Tawny’s daughter has a new imaginary friend that bears a striking resemblance to a little girl who squatted in the house with her drug-addicted mother. These illegal tenants have been missing for years.

The house’s previous owner is enraged with Tawny, the same way he was with the squatters. As he stalks her family, Tawny suspects that she knows what happened to the last people who slept in the house. Her family might be next.

Goodreads / Amazon

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and watch an excerpt read by the author herself!

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Check out the excerpt

I was falling in love with this fixer-upper, but before we made an offer on the house, I had to check out the basement. I clicked on the light and stepped over the threshold, into darkness. Floating dust motes filled the air, dancing in the flashlight’s beam.

The room before me was expansive, running the length and width of the house. On one end was a wooden stall for firewood, still stacked with logs. They’d come in handy if we restored the fireplace, though I didn’t look forward to cleaning off the cobwebs covering them. The other end of the basement was stacked with junk and garbage, similar to what we’d encountered upstairs.

Everything was blanketed with a thick layer of dust. My nose was stuffy—all the dust triggering my allergies. I made a mental note to take an antihistamine when I got back to the car. Otherwise I’d be paying for this excursion tonight, when my sinuses were too clogged to let me sleep. I just hoped there wasn’t any mold down here. I’d heard horror stories from my neighbor about getting mold removed from her home. The procedure had been costly, and if we got this house, it’d cost us enough as it was.

I ventured a little deeper into the basement, shining my flashlight on the pile of junk. I could make out an old wooden trunk. Did that come with the house? Maybe I’d clean it up and use it for a coffee table.

The beam of my flashlight fell on a tattered ragdoll. The doll’s fabric face and its light brown yarn hair looked dingy. Its flower print dress was dotted with rust colored stains and black flecks. The flecks looked like rodent feces.

There was a rustle to my right, and I startled, swinging my light toward the sound. Given the state of the doll’s dress, I thought it might be a rat.

Suddenly the air was thick with flies. I clamped my mouth shut as they flew toward my face, waving my arms madly to keep them away. They crawled in my hair and buzzed in my ears, and I bit back a shriek. The beam of my flashlight flickered as I used it to swat the flies. I shuddered at the thought of it going out and having to find my way back to the stairs in the dark.

I stumbled back toward the corridor that led to the door of the basement, trying to see through squinted eyes, the cloud of flies, and the dying light of the Maglite. As I reached the passage, the buzzing sound eased, and the flies began to drift back to whatever attracted them to the basement.

I dared one last look, directing my beam to the offending corner of the basement. The dirt floor was carpeted with insects. Flies and other crawling things, though I was too far away to tell what they were. There seemed to be a small lump on the floor that attracted their interest. A dead rat, most likely, but there was no way I was going back to find out.

 

Author Melissa Eskue Ousley

Melissa Eskue Ousley is the award-winning author of The Solas Beir Trilogy, a young adult fantasy series. Her first book, Sign of the Throne, won a 2014 Eric Hoffer Book Award and a 2014 Readers’ Favorite International Book Award. Her third book, The Sower Comes, won a 2016 Eric Hoffer Book Award. Her fourth book, Sunset Empire was released as a single book and is also included in the bestselling Secrets and Shadows box set, a young adult collection. Melissa lives on the Oregon coast with her family, a neurotic dog, and a piranha. When she’s not writing, she can be found walking along the beach, poking dead things with a stick.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter

 

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The Devil’s Whisper
by T.H. Moore
Publication date: May 1st 2017
Genres: Adult, Dystopian, Suspense
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Synopsis:
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Take a moment and imagine your history books devoid of war. Envision entire civilizations absent of heinous crimes against humanity. A planet spared from the plagues of slavery, cultural genocides, and the colonization of indigenous nations by foreigners. Would you dare make the choices necessary to maintain this Utopia in which universal peace existed? Could you ignore the Devil whispering in your ear, luring you away from a world in which loving your fellow man was the expectation, not the exception?

In a state of reverie, an impractical idea of world peace has given birth to a culture in which the human race has chosen to live free of violent criminals. Instead, criminals have been systematically exiled to the lone prison city, Katingal, constructed in a far corner of Earth. Sentenced for the remainder of their natural lives, the wicked pit themselves against their soulless brethren. Exposure, disease, and starvation claim their victims daily. Those who survive nature’s wrath negotiate the perils of the prison city through murder and cannibalism. All the while, this inimitable death sentence satisfies civilization’s aim to punish the world’s irretrievable outcasts.

Charles “Yäbälay” Gravo is the criminal mastermind behind the world’s largest human trafficking network. As a prime most-wanted fugitive, he sets into motion events that will forever alter the realities of both civilization’s Utopia and Katingal’s Hell.

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Purchase: Amazon / B&N

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EXCERPT:

Though Charles felt relieved to have discovered Kristoff’s lair, he could see that the savage was surrounded by his men. Nevertheless, Charles surged ahead, his heart racing in tempo with his legs as he moved closer to his objective.

As Charles drew near, a commotion broke out on the balcony. The group of men were drinking, dancing, and fighting as if the balcony were a mosh pit. One reveler grabbed another, while a third man struck the unfortunate chap with a pipe. He buckled, and with one swift movement, the two men flung their victim from the balcony. His limp body fell twenty floors to the hard pavement below. Charles heard the thump when it hit, and the cheers from a group of men who had been waiting for it on the street.

“The king is offering sacrifices tonight,” one maniac on the balcony cheered, hooting down at the dead man sprawled on the pavement.

Charles quickened his pace, staying close to the edges of the road. He ducked into a nearby building and crouched down in a dark corner, using his hands to gather a pile of dirt. He took a mouthful of the water from his satchel and pushed it around his mouth to alleviate his thirst before releasing a thin, controlled stream onto the dirt pile. After mixing the water and dirt into a dark paste, he covered his pale face until all that remained visible were his green eyes.

As he continued his trek toward the epicenter of the city, Charles heard the faint symphony of suffering. Angry yells of men coming from the east and bloodcurdling screams of women pierced the night to the west. Moments later, he slid past a band of filthy men vying for ownership of a corpse like a pack of wolves.

Another ruckus was followed by another violent assault. Just like the one before him, the beaten man was thrown from the balcony. He screamed the entire way down while the maniacs rejoiced from above. Scavengers sprinted past Charles to the man’s broken body and started ripping him apart.

Kristoff’s acolytes leaned over the balcony railing and waved their arms in the air, chanting, “Kris-toff! Kris-toff! Kris-toff! The king of K-City!”

Charles was fifty yards from the barbed wire courtyard that secured the front entrance to the Apex building. Another scream of fear, followed by another thud, a pitched body, and the scurry of the scavengers. This time, Charles was close enough to hear bones snapping against the pavement. He took cover to avoid the scavengers, and waited while they butchered the latest sacrifice with their homemade weapons.

Charles darted along the side of the building until he spotted four men guarding the back doorway.

“Four offerings so far tonight,” one of the guards warned the other three. “Two more before it’s safe to go back up there.”

“You sound like a woman, Manta,” the smallest guard said.

“Fuck you, Hiro!” He laughed. “You look like a woman. Now give me some pussy, you dwarf!”

“Curse me again and I’ll take your tongue,” Hiro seethed, pulling a short knife from his belt.

The other three guards erupted into laughter. “You call that a knife?” said one. “The only thing that knife is good for is picking your rotting teeth.”

 

Author T.H. Moore

T.H. Moore is a Southwest Philadelphia native who relocated to Camden, New Jersey at the age of ten. He’s an active member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc., and earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Morgan State University. His career as an Information Technology Consultant and Real-Estate investor has afforded him the opportunity to travel to many countries all over the world as well as the majority of the United States. Blending experience with imagination helped formulate the basis of, and inspired him to write his first novel, ‘The End Justifies the Means’.

His second novel, The Devil’s Whisper, is uniquely creative fiction that ventures away from the inspiration of his own life experiences. In The Devil’s Whisper, he dives into a darker set of dual protagonists whose sole objective is to survive the circumstances of the world they live in. T.H. Moore is the proud father of one son, Jason, and currently resides in Virginia, where he is working on the next two installments of The Devil’s Whisper trilogy.

Author links:
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Title: THE SISTERS: A MYSTERY OF GOOD AND EVIL, HORROR AND SUSPENSE
Author: Don Sloan
Publisher: Independent
Pages: 239
Genre: Supernatural/Mystery/Horror/Thriller

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Synopsis

In this book, written in the style of Stephen King, two young people on vacation in a small New England seacoast town battle unspeakable horror and solve a hundred-year-old mystery. Fourteen Victorian mansions whisper dark secrets among themselves, and a dangerous shadow roams up and down the wide, wintry boulevard in search of new prey.

The Sisters: A Mystery of Good and Evil, Horror and Suspense is available on AMAZON.

 

Book Excerpt:

Snow pellets blow white across the boulevard and up onto the wide, night-shadowed porch of the house just in the center of the block. Inside, past leaded glass doors and heavy oak furnishings, something moves.

Up the polished mahogany staircase, and up yet another flight to the third story something moves that has no breath, no warmth, no life.

There is a narrow passageway to the attic, locked behind a heavy door with steel bands. The shadow pauses at the door only long enough to pass cold fingers over the padlock. It falls heavily to the floor and the door opens. The shadow passes through, as quietly as a midnight breeze in an icy cold forest. Here, no light at all warms the creaking steps. It is darker than the inside of death.

In the attic, the bitter, knifing cold whirls and eddies around shapeless mounds of old memorabilia and the shadow moves silently to a dormer window. Cobwebs—spun by industrious spiders long dead—are brushed aside and a single candle is placed on the sill. And in the darkness a flame is struck.

Outside, the wind falls off to nothing, and snow drifts listlessly to the ground. The candle flickers briefly and catches, burning a pinprick hole in the vastness of the night.

Far out to sea, a single cry begins and then falls silent.

And in the dormer window, where the shadow has settled down to wait, the candle flares brightly and then goes out.

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Author Don Sloan

Don Sloan is a former journalist for a large metropolitan daily newspaper and also an avid book reviewer, with more than 200 reviews posted on Amazon. His goal with the Dark Forces Series is to present readers with a new and exciting horror and suspense thriller experience. He currently lives in the mountains of Western North Carolina with his wife of 39 years, and, when not writing, enjoys a cold glass of Chardonnay in the evenings, sitting on his back deck.

Website & Social Links:

Website / Twitter / Facebook

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Terms & Conditions:

  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • One winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter to receive a $25 Amazon Gift Card
  • This giveaway ends midnight April 24.
  • Winner will be contacted via email on December 1.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.

Good luck everyone!

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For a list of my reviews go HERE.

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Ashes banner

Title: THE ASHES
Author: Vincent Zandri
Publisher: Bear Media
Pages: 277
Genre: Thriller/Horror/Romantic Suspense

The Ashes (The Rebecca Underhill Trilogy Book 2) by [Zandri, Vincent]

My Review

I wasn’t prepared for this one. I was expecting a creepy read. What I got was a dark, psychological nightmare. Loved it too.

As I got into this story I suspected there might be a book before this one. The author relates a huge event in the past that comes back to haunt Rebecca, her best friend, and their children. A psycho killer has escaped from the asylum and is coming for them, bent on finishing the job his cellmate started all those years ago.

You’ve seen the movies or read the books with similar scenarios. What will get you is how the author turns it darker, more horrifying. I’m warning you right now, don’t expect happy endings for everyone. This killer is cunning, patient, and doesn’t even seem to be entirely human. He’s like a spider. He spins his web and waits for the prey to get trapped in it.

I questioned some of the actions, especially Rebecca’s and her boyfriend Sam’s. They knew the killer was out there somewhere. Knew there was a threat, especially to the children. And hesitating at some crucial times wasn’t something I imagined I’d do. I’d be screaming for the police at the top of my lungs. I know, that’s easy for me to say. I’m not the one being hunted. But, then the story wouldn’t be so intense, wouldn’t get those gut reactions I suspect the author was going for. Sure got them out of me.

This is a hair ripping, wild look into the mind of a monster, and the struggles his victims go through to escape his killing web. I mentioned earlier that I suspected their was a book before this one. There is. The Remains. While I read this book first and got information about the earlier story, I plan to read it and expect to get just as much enjoyment out of it even though I have an idea how it ends.

If you love psychological thrillers with a large dose of horror, you’ll want to read this book.

5 Stars

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Synopsis

HORROR IN THE DARK WOODS

It’s been eight years since artist and single mom, Rebecca Underhill, was abducted and left to die in an old broken down house located in the middle of the dark woods. But even if her abductor, Joseph William Whalen, has since been killed, another, more insidious evil is once more out to get her in the form of the Skinner. The son of an abusive butcher, Skinner intends on finishing the job Whalen started but failed at.

How is he going to get to Rebecca?

He’s going to do it through her children, by luring them into the cornfield behind the old farmhouse they live in.

HORROR IN THE DEPTHS

Now, armed with the knowledge that the Skinner has escaped incarceration at a downstate facility for the criminally insane, Rebecca must face the most horrifying challenge of her adult life: Rescuing the children not from a house in the woods, but from the abandoned tunnels that run underneath her property.

But the Skinner is watching Rebecca’s every move.

Horrifying question is, will she live long enough to save the children?

For More Information: Amazon / Goodreads

Amazon

 

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Check out the Excerpt:

Albany Police Department

South Pearl Street Precinct

 

The old homicide detective sits behind his metal desk surrounded by the cold quiet of the early morning, staring forlornly into the radiant screen on his department-issued laptop. He’s been using the laptop, which is integrated with the department’s web server, for years and years now, but he still fondly recalls the days when his desktop supported only a telephone connected to an old fashioned landline and beside that, an IMB Selectric typewriter. And how could he ever forget the old two tiered Inbox/Outbox?

He glances at his inbox and the two dozen or so new emails that have come his way since he last checked it the previous evening. He scans the emails for their importance, relegating most of them to routine, until he comes to one marked, “URGENT: Serial Murderer Hanover Escapes Custody.”

The detective, whose name is Nick Miller, is a tall, wiry, white-haired man. He has been on the force for more years than a man should be. Or so he’s been told countless times by his peers inside the department. But he’s a widower who can’t seem to get over the fact that his wife is gone, even years after her untimely death on an operating table after suffering a burst aneurism. It also explains why he’s sitting behind his desk, suffering from the pangs of a whiskey hangover, on a quiet Sunday morning.

He opens the email.

“To Whom It May Concern,” reads the department wide message. “The former cellmate of New York State registered sex offender and convicted murderer, Joseph William Whalen, has escaped from the Mid-Hudson Psychiatric Center in New Hampton, New York while en route to a routine medical review at an upstate facility. Lawrence Frederick Hanover, 69, Caucasian, was convicted on several counts of murder in the first degree and is considered extremely dangerous. Both guards who were assisting with the transfer were killed during an apparent violent exchange with Hanover, aka Skinner, or The Skinner. His present whereabouts is unknown.”

 Miller exhales, sits back in his swivel chair.

The email originates not from the FBI but from the state police, most notably, the Rensselaer County Division. He recalls Whalen as the maximum security inmate who, not long after his release, attempted to abduct and kill the same woman, Rebecca Underhill, whom he’d abducted back when she was a little girl in 1977. Her twin sister, Molly, was also the target of his attacks. Although Molly has since died, Rebecca, still lives in the area with her son.

The email comes with several pictures of Hanover, including his most recent mugshots and psychiatric facility photo records. The small, bald, scraggily faced little man doesn’t seem like he could hurt a fly much less another human being. But Miller wasn’t born yesterday and he knows that even a little man can kill as efficiently and quickly as a big, monster of a man. Perhaps even more quickly and efficiently.

Sitting back up, he scans the rest of the email.

“While state police have issued state-wide APBs and launched a task force to hunt for Hanover’s whereabouts, we are asking that police cooperate in every way possible to ensure the quick, efficient, and otherwise discreet apprehension of the serial murderer. All communications should be delivered directly to this office via the email/phone number listed.”

Once more Miller sits back.

“The quick, efficient, and otherwise discreet apprehension of the serial murderer,” he whispers. “Somebody fucked up and that somebody doesn’t want the press to get ahold of this story.”

Sitting there, alone in the quiet office, Miller feels a distinct and very unpleasant chill run up and down his backbone.

“What would a schooled Statie or FBI pathologist have to say about this rather delicate situation?” he whispers quietly to himself. “That a killer as skilled and hungry as Hanover is gonna slip up and be found sleeping in some crappy hotel somewhere? That they can then slip him back inside his rubber room at Mid-Hudson Psychiatric, like he’s some two-bit bank robber?” The detective laughs aloud. “I’ll tell you something right now. If the Skinner doesn’t want to be found, then no way in hell he’s gonna be found. Simple as that. He didn’t escape to be free. He escaped to kill, to butcher, and that’s all.”

His bloodshot eyes once more focused on the laptop screen, the old detective shifts the curser so that it clicks on the Action Taken box beside the open email. He clicks on Saved Mail.

Closing the laptop lid, he finds that his hands are shaking. He opens the bottom desk drawer, pulls out the bottle of Jack Daniels stored inside it. Pouring a generous shot into his empty ceramic coffee cup, he drinks it down.

“Skinner,” he whispers. “Who will you flay next? Whose flesh will you feast on?”

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Author Vincent Zandri

Ashes author

Winner of the 2015 PWA Shamus Award and the 2015 ITW Thriller Award for Best Original Paperback Novel, Vincent Zandri is the NEW YORK TIMES, USA TODAY, and AMAZON KINDLE No.1 bestselling author of more than 25 novels including THE REMAINS, MOONLIGHT WEEPS, EVERYTHING BURNS, and ORCHARD GROVE. He is also the author of numerous Amazon bestselling digital shorts, PATHOLOGICAL, TRUE STORIES and MOONLIGHT MAFIA among them. Harlan Coben has described THE INNOCENT (formerly As Catch Can) as “…gritty, fast-paced, lyrical and haunting,” while the New York Post called it “Sensational…Masterful…Brilliant!” Zandri’s list of domestic publishers include Delacorte, Dell, Down & Out Books, Thomas & Mercer and Polis Books, while his foreign publisher is Meme Publishers of Milan and Paris. An MFA in Writing graduate of Vermont College, Zandri’s work is translated in the Dutch, Russian, French, Italian, and Japanese. Recently, Zandri was the subject of a major feature by the New York Times. He has also made appearances on Bloomberg TV and FOX news. In December 2014, Suspense Magazine named Zandri’s, THE SHROUD KEY, as one of the “Best Books of 2014.” Recently, Suspense Magazine selected WHEN SHADOWS COME as one of the “Best Books of 2016”. A freelance photo-journalist and the author of the popular “lit blog,” The Vincent Zandri Vox, Zandri has written for Living Ready Magazine, RT, New York Newsday, Hudson Valley Magazine, The Times Union (Albany), Game & Fish Magazine, and many more. He lives in New York and Florence, Italy.

Website & Social Links:

Website / Twitter / Facebook

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Ashes giveaway

Vincent is giving away ten Kindle e-copies of The Ashes!

By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.

Ten winners will be chosen viz Rafflecopter.

This giveaway ends midnight May 31st.

Good luck everyone!

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Partners In Crime Tours

Bone White

Genre: Thriller/Suspense
Published by: William Morrow Mass Market
Publication Date: March 28, 2017
Number of Pages: 384
ISBN: 0062349775 (ISBN13: 9780062349774)
Series: Mundy’s Landing #3 (Stand Alone)

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My Review

It starts with a note, “We Shall Never Tell.” Emerson, a Mundy family descendant, travels to Mundy’s Landing to discover what terrible secret from the families past has come back to haunt her and her relatives.

It’s been a year since the Sleeping Beauty murders were solved and Sully has changed places, now working as a detective on Mundy’s Landing’s police force. She’s looking forward to quieter times, but it isn’t long before she’s smack dab in the middle of another murder investigation. Someone’s determined to killed the Mundy family, one by one.

On top of that, Sully’s old partner, Stockton Barnes, shows up on her doorstep looking for a place to crash. He’s evasive about why he’s there and Sully can tell he’s in trouble.

And something weird is happening with Ora Abrams, curator of the Mundy’s Landing Historical Society. It gave me some eerie vibes.

As much as I enjoyed the other books in the series, this one is my favorite. From the 1600’s to the present, and from the West coast to the East, it’s a convoluted series of events and crimes. There are some new characters to contend with along with some favorites. The author fleshes them out and tangles their lives together. It’s up to you to sort out who did what, and she doesn’t make it easy.

Numerous plots abound in this mystery and it’s a race to the finish line, with no easy answers and plenty of intrigue. And you won’t see the end coming. I couldn’t read this fast enough and wished it were longer.

5 Stars

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Synopsis

In Mundy’s Landing, bygone bloodshed has become a big business. During the rigorous winter of 1666, all but five colonists in the small Hudson Valley settlement died of starvation. Accused of unimaginable crimes, James and Elizabeth Mundy and their three children survived, but the couple were later accused of murder and executed. Left to fend for themselves in a hostile community, their offspring lived out exemplary lives in a town that would bear the family name. They never reveal the secret that died with their parents on the gallows… or did they?

“We Shall Never Tell.” Spurred by the cryptic phrase in a centuries-old letter, Emerson Mundy has flown cross-country to her ancestral hometown in hopes of tracing her ancestral past—and perhaps building a future. In Mundy’s Landing, she discovers long lost relatives, a welcoming ancestral home… and a closet full of skeletons.

A year has passed since former NYPD Detective Sullivan Leary solved the historic Sleeping Beauty Murders, apprehended a copycat killer, and made a fresh start in the Hudson Valley. Banking on an uneventful future in a village that’s seen more than its share of bloodshed, Sully is in for an unpleasant surprise when a historic skull reveals a notorious truth. Now she’s on the trail of a murky predator determined to destroy the Mundy family tree, branch by branch.

Amazon / B&N / Goodreads

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Enjoy this glimpse inside

Chapter 1

 

July 20, 2016

Los Angeles, CA

 

We shall never tell.

Strange, the thoughts that go through your head when you’re standing at an open grave.

Not that Emerson Mundy knew anything about open graves before today. Her father’s funeral is the first she’s ever attended, and she’s the sole mourner.

Ah, at last, a perk to living a life without many—any—loved ones; you don’t spend much time grieving, unless you count the pervasive ache for the things you never had.

The minister, who came with the cemetery package and never even met Jerry Mundy, is rambling on about souls and salvation. Emerson hears only We shall never tell—the closing line in an old letter she found yesterday in the crawl space of her childhood home. It had been written in 1676 by a young woman named Priscilla Mundy, addressed to her brother, Jeremiah.

The Mundys were among the seventeenth-century English colonists who settled on the eastern bank of the Hudson River, about a hundred miles north of New York City. Their first winter was so harsh the river froze, stranding their supply ship and additional colonists in the New York harbor. When the ship arrived after the thaw, all but five settlers had starved to death.

Jeremiah; Priscilla; their sister, Charity; and their parents had eaten human flesh to stay alive. James and Elizabeth Mundy swore they’d only cannibalized those who’d already died, but the God-fearing, well-fed newcomers couldn’t fathom such wretched butchery. A Puritan justice committee tortured the couple until they confessed to murder, then swiftly tried, convicted, and hanged them.

“Do you think we’re related?” Emerson asked her father after learning about the Mundys back in elementary school.

“Nope.” Curt answers were typical when she brought up anything Jerry Mundy didn’t want to discuss. The past was high on the list.

“That’s it? Just nope?”

“What else do you want me to say?”

“How about yes?”

“That wouldn’t be the truth,” he said with a shrug.

“Sometimes the truth isn’t very interesting.”

She had no one else to ask about her family history. Dad was an only child, and his parents, Donald and Inez Mundy, had passed away before she was born. Their headstone is adjacent to the gaping rectangle about to swallow her father’s casket. Staring that the inscription, she notices her grandfather’s unusual middle initial.

 

Donald X. Mundy, Born 1900, Died 1972.

X marks the spot.

 

Thanks to her passion for history and Robert Louis Stevenson, Emerson’s bookworm childhood included a phase when she searched obsessively for buried treasure. Money was short in their household after two heart attacks left Jerry Mundy on permanent disability.

X marks the spot…

    No gold doubloon treasure chest buried here. Just dusty old bones of people she never knew.

And now, her father.

The service concludes with a prayer as the coffin is lowered into the ground. The minister clasps her hand and tells her how sorry he is for her loss, then leaves her to sit on a bench and stare at the hillside as the undertakers finish the job.

The sun is beginning to burn through the thick marine layer that swaddles most June and July mornings. Having grown up in Southern California, she knows the sky will be bright blue by mid-afternoon. Tomorrow will be more of the same. By then, she’ll be on her way back up the coast, back to her life in Oakland, where the fog rolls in and stays for days, weeks at a time. Funny, but there she welcomes the gray, a soothing shield from real world glare and sharp edges.

Here the seasonal gloom has felt oppressive and depressing.

Emerson watches the undertakers finish the job and load their equipment into a van. After they drive off, she makes her way between neat rows of tombstones to inspect the raked dirt rectangle.

When something is over, you move on, her father told her when she left home nearly two decades ago. She attended Cal State Fullerton with scholarships and maximum financial aid, got her master’s at Berkeley, and landed a teaching job in the Bay Area.

But she didn’t necessarily move on.

Every holiday, many weekends, and for two whole months every summer, she makes the six-hour drive down to stay with her father. She cooks and cleans for him, and at night they sit together and watch Wheel of Fortune reruns.

It used to be because she craved a connection to the only family she had in the world. Lately, though, it was as much because Jerry Mundy needed her.

He pretended that he didn’t, that he was taking care of himself and the house, too proud to admit he was failing. He was a shadow of his former self when he died at seventy-six, leaving Emerson alone in the world.

Throughout her motherless childhood, Emerson was obsessed with novels about orphans. Treasure Island shared coveted space on her bookshelf with Anne of Green Gables, The Secret Garden, The Witch of Blackbird Pond

She always wondered what would happen to her if her father died. Would she wind up in an orphanage? Would a kindly stranger take her in? Would she live on the streets?

Now that it’s happened he’s down there, in the dirt … moving on?

She’ll never again hear his voice. She’ll never see the face so like her own that she can’t imagine she inherited any physical characteristics from her mother, Didi—though she can’t be certain.

Years ago, she asked her father for a picture—preferably one that showed her mother holding her as a baby, or of her parents together. Maybe she wanted evidence that she and her father had been loved; that the woman who’d abandoned them had once been normal—a proud new mother, a happy bride.

Or was it the opposite? Was she hoping to glimpse a hint that Didi Mundy was never normal? Did she expect to confirm that people—normal people—don’t just wake up one morning and choose to walk out on a husband and child? That there was always something off about her mother: a telltale gleam in the eye, or a faraway expression—some warning sign her father had overlooked. A sign Emerson herself would be able to recognize, should she ever be tempted to marry.

But there were no images of Didi that she could slip into a frame, or deface with angry black ink, or simply commit to memory.

Exhibit A: Untrustworthy.

Sure, there had been plenty of photos, her father admitted unapologetically. He’d gotten rid of everything.

There were plenty of pictures of her and Dad, though.

Exhibit B: Trustworthy.

Dad holding her hand on her first day of kindergarten, Dad leading her in an awkward waltz at a father-daughter middle school dance, Dad posing with her at high school graduation.

“Two peas in a pod,” he liked to say. “If I weren’t me, I’d think you were.”

She has his thick, wavy hair, the same dimple on her right cheek, same angular nose and bristly slashes of brow. Even her wide-set, prominent, upturned eyes are the same as his, with one notable exception.

Jerry Mundy’s eyes were a piercing blue.

Only one of Emerson’s is that shade; the other, a chalky gray.

~~~~~

Author Wendy Corsi Staub

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New York Times bestseller Wendy Corsi Staub is the award-winning author of more than seventy novels.

Wendy now lives in the New York City suburbs with her husband and their two children.

Website / Goodreads / Twitter / Facebook

~~~~~

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Partners In Crime Tours

Genre: Suspense, Thriller, Crime
Published by: Jill Amy Rosenblatt
Publication Date: November 28, 2016
Number of Pages: 348
ISBN: 1539839443 (ISBN13: 9781539839446)
Series: Fixer – Katerina Mills Series

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My Review

Being into character driven plots, boy did I get some interesting ones in this book. And the funny thing is, none of them are what you would classify as good guys. Well, maybe the cop is, but not the others, not even Katerina. Strong characterization by the author made them quite likeable.

Kat’s got her hands full trying to attend college and keep up with the demands of her assignments from MJM. Stubborn and independent, she has no choice but to seek assistance, and beggars can’t be choosers. Most of them aren’t what you would call good guys either. But they’ll do in a pinch if Kat wants to come out of this alive.

I haven’t read the first book, The Naked Man, and wish I had before starting this one. The author did clue me in on past events but I stumbled a bit and had to fill in some blanks myself.

One of those blanks was how Kat got into a job like a fixer. She’s just a young woman going to college and her assignments as a fixer usually fall on the other side of legal. And I’d like to know more about how she met Alex Winter. also known as Bob. a professional thief. They sure have chemistry when they’re together and I’m hoping the next book gives them a chance to explore that.

I still had quite the adventure and several nail biting moments of suspense. Rosenblatt is a new author for me and there are some writers who don’t blink about knocking off their characters. Hence the nail biting.

While some assignments get wrapped up in the end, there’s still a lot going on and you’re in for a bit of a cliff hanger. I didn’t mind as I plan to grab the first book and get caught up while waiting for the third one to come out. I’m glad for the chance to read this story but would recommend you read them in order.

4 Stars

~~~~~

Synopsis

Kat’s back and in over her head with crooks, cops… and killers.

Christmas is around the corner but professional “fixer” Katerina Mills isn’t feeling the holiday spirit, juggling college classes, a lovesick cop, and demanding clients.

Obnoxious hedge fund manager Simon Marcus wants his prized Porsche back from his vengeful wife. The job is hard enough until wise guy Anthony DeSucci shows up and orders her to bring the car to him.

Rock star writer, Paul Patel needs something “special” to finish his next bestseller, something that will get Katerina a “Go Straight to Jail” card if she gets caught.

And what about mysterious Thomas Gallagher? His jobs are simple and easy. Is he just a bored billionaire, or is he watching Kat’s every move, making his own plans for her?

As the jobs heat up, handsome, elusive thief Alexander Winter re-enters Kat’s life to tutor her in all things criminal. But can she trust him?

Katerina Mills is still haunted by her first assignment…and her first assignment is about to come back to haunt her…a deadly enemy who’s closer than she thinks…

Amazon / B&N / Goodreads

~~~~~

Enjoy the excerpt

“Again?” Katerina asked as a whipping wind whistled around the parked car. “This is the fourth time.”

“There’s been a delay,” Jasmine said.

A few weeks earlier, Jasmine, MJM Consulting’s “Iron Maiden” gatekeeper, had called late at night. Thomas Gallagher, one of New York’s billionaire one percent, needed an assistant. Except he probably didn’t. Katerina Mills had already learned the first rule of a fixer. The job is never the job.

“Does he want a consultant or not?” Kat asked, her mouth overruling her mind. Careful Katerina. Don’t antagonize. You have to stay in. It’s too dangerous to be on the outside on your own. Not after the last assignment…

“Yes,” Jasmine said. “Any other questions?”

Katerina answered by clicking off the cell phone. Burrowing deeper into her coat, the heavy bangs of her short blond wig brushed her eyebrows as she focused on the apartment building diagonally across the street.

“Bad news?” came a voice behind her.

Katerina didn’t bother turning around. On the floor of the backseat, her current client, Lester Callahan, rearranged himself, kicking the back of Kat’s seat. She sighed.

“I hear you,” Lester said. “It’s tough. People are no good, you know? They give their word, it don’t mean shit.”

Katerina assumed Lester spoke from experience.

A pretty woman, swathed in a fur coat, exited the building and hustled to the corner, her hand in the air to hail a cab.

“Is that her?” Kat asked.

Rustling from the back seat. “Nope.”

Katerina crushed herself further into her coat. She didn’t want the work but she had to keep her hand in this world, to protect herself. And I need the money. But instead of a steady windfall of cash, the jobs had been few and far between. Lester needed an item retrieved; but she didn’t know what the item was. From his babbled tale of rambling half-truths, Kat pieced together a picture: Lester had dangerous connections, something had gone wrong, and he needed to disappear. He was about to board a Greyhound bus when he realized he had forgotten something.

“You know it’s not easy to get lost.”

“So you said,” Kat answered.

“Yeah, people don’t understand how big their digital footprint is, you know? Take you for instance. You’re a young girl. You on social media?”

“No.”

“Dating sites? Not that you need one.”

“No.”

Lester shifted again; Kat’s seat lurched forward. She sighed.

“You’re smart, you know. There’s a lot involved. I hired a professional to help me. Rebel One.”

“Yup,” Kat said, glossing over the sound of Lester’s voice. Am I smart or did it just work out that way? she thought, reflecting on her training by her first boss, shady lawyer and ex-lover, Philip Castle. Stay away from the computer unless it can’t be helped. Never leave a trail. Katerina realized Lester was still talking.

“It’s a stupid name but I didn’t say that. I didn’t want to hurt the kid’s feelings. Anyway, Rebel One can make you disappear. You don’t realize you do a thousand things every day and leave clues how to find you: the phone, the credit card, the bank account, your magazine subscription to Cosmo… everything.”

“I don’t read Cosmo.” My college transcript. My library card. Could I get away clean if I needed to?

They sat in silence.

“You have a family?” Kat asked.

“Yeah.”

“Yeah? And you’re just taking off?”

“It’s okay, I made arrangements, you know? I left some cash, told the wife we’d get a condo when I got settled.”

“Is that what you told your girlfriend?” Kat mumbled.

“I’m sensing judgment coming from the front seat. I don’t think you’re supposed to do that.”

“Sorry,” Kat said.

As they fell back into silence, Kat’s thoughts turned to her father, William Mills. She had plenty of judgment for him. After walking out on her mother weeks earlier and breezing through the Big Apple with his new bimbo, where was he now? Had he left a digital footprint? Could he be found?

Her father wasn’t the only one to pull a Houdini. Where was Lisa, who had brought Kat into this life as a “fixer”? Where had she vanished to? And then there was Alexander Winter. If it hadn’t been for him…

She relived the robbery in her mind; Winter taking her by the hand, leading her through the break-in to retrieve the client’s requested item. He had schooled her, protected her, and brought her home safe. Kat realized that not a day passed without her thinking of him. Except for a post-robbery “all clear” text, he had disappeared. Where is he now?

A young woman, rock star groupie attractive, wearing leopard Ugg boots and a winter-white fur coat over black pants exited the apartment building.

“Is that her?” Kat asked.

Rustling from the back seat. “Yeah, yeah, that’s her.”

Katerina shook her head. This anemic, two-bit hustler is hooked up with the jailbait leaving the building. “Let me guess. You bonded over shared interests.”

“You know, sarcasm is not attractive in a woman. It shows a lack of self-esteem.”

Said the man hiding on the floor of the back seat. “Uh-huh.”

“You got the code, the key, and the phone, right?”

“Yes,” Kat said, her heart racing like she was on the track waiting for the flag to come down. She slipped on her sunglasses, fussed over the wig hiding her long, chestnut-colored hair, and shrugged a large black bag onto her shoulder.

“Call me as soon as you’re in the apartment,” Lester said.

Katerina cracked the car door, checking for oncoming traffic. Getting out, she slammed the door and crossed the street. Punching the numbers on the keypad, she slipped into the building.

Remember, keep your head down. There are cameras everywhere. She made a mental note to change out her coat afterwards. The elevator chimed, the doors opened, and Kat ducked inside.

***

Getting out on the fifth floor, Kat stole down the hall. Apartment 512. She slipped the key out of her coat pocket, letting herself in. Taking the phone from the bag, she punched in the number. After two rings, Lester picked up.

“I’m here,” Kat said. “What am I getting?”

“Go into the bedroom,” he said.

Kat entered a room drowning in feminine pinks. “Okay, what?”

“You don’t see it?”

“Obviously not,” she said. “Is it a bill, a laptop, a deed to the apartment?”

“Go back into the living room.”

Katerina retraced her steps and froze in her tracks. A West Highland white terrier stared at her, its head cocked to one side.

Don’t bark. For the love of God and all that’s holy, do not bark.

“You didn’t tell me there was a dog in the apartment,” she whispered. What I wouldn’t give for a Snausage right now.

“Okay, good. You got it.”

“I wouldn’t say that—wait … what? I’m here for the dog? You’re leaving—and you want the dog?”

“No, no,” Lester said. “The dog has a microchip in it. I need the chip.”

“Why?”

“Because if the dog is scanned, the chip has my information. They’ll find my wife and then, you know—they find me. Digital footprint.”

Katerina blew out a mouthful of air. Still staring, the dog sat down.

“The chip is implanted by the right shoulder blade,” he said. “It’s the size of a grain of rice. It’s nothing to take it out.”

“I left my veterinary degree in my other purse.” Moron. “And what do you suggest I use for a scalpel, a Ginsu knife?”

“If you think that’s best. I’m not really attached to the animal. I don’t think she is either, truthfully. I mean, look, she doesn’t even take it with her when she goes out. I paid a shitload of money for that thing.”

Katerina clamped her eyes shut.

“I was told you agency girls are up for anything. Anything. I need the chip. Get the chip.”

Katerina clicked off the phone. She stared at the dog. It raised a paw as a greeting, then lay down on its back, baring its belly for a scratch.

Unbelievable.

***

Katerina hustled into the car, depositing the bag on the passenger seat. She revved the engine and took off.

“Did you get it?” Lester asked.

“Yup,” Katerina answered.

***

Katerina dropped Lester Callahan off at the Greyhound bus terminal. Then, she parked the car and sent a text.

Done. W. 42nd. 8th Ave. Thanks

She got out of the car and walked away. The text had gone to Luther, an entrepreneur with his own limousine service. Luther’s clients paid in cash. Luther saw nothing, heard nothing, and asked no questions. Luther had a lot of clients. He had gotten the car through Moose, a man Katerina had yet to meet. The car would disappear and turn up somewhere else: different state, different plates, different color. Five thousand of Kat’s take had already gone for payment for the service. Contacts liked to be paid up front. That was a problem; she didn’t get paid until the job was done.

Kat passed the Plaza and entered an elegant, gleaming office building. A few minutes later, she was standing in the empty, dark paneled anteroom of MJM Consultants.

“Come in, Katerina,” she heard Jasmine’s hard-edged voice call out.

With her bag slung over her shoulder, Kat entered the small, immaculate office. Jasmine, wearing her signature black Chanel and pearl teardrop earrings, glanced up from her laptop; she didn’t bat an eye at the wig on Kat’s head.

“The job is finished,” Kat said.

“The client called.”

I know. I was there. Right before he got on a bus.

“And then he called back again.”

Shit.

“You never showed him the item he wanted retrieved.”

Katerina caught the hint of a smirk on Jasmine’s lips. Is this part of the ‘probation’ test? You are not cheating me out of my money. Think fast, Katerina.

“The client never said he wanted to see the item. He just said retrieve it. I retrieved it.”

Jasmine was about to speak when Kat’s bag moved, a sliver of fur peeking through the top. The smirk vanished. “Is that a dog in that bag?”

“You’re not a pet person?” Katerina asked.

“Is that the item?”

“It’s the item that contains the item.”

Opening a desk drawer, Jasmine removed two rubber banded packets of bills. She held them out to Katerina. “Get it out of here.”

Katerina took the money, turned on her heel, and left.

Stepping out of the building into the bright, chilly day, she placed a call.

“Whatever it is, it’s gonna cost you a lot of money,” the raspy voice said through the line.

“Morning, Doc. I need something removed,” Kat said. “But the patient isn’t human.”

The raspy voice broke out into a low gutteral laugh.

***

Katerina watched over the sleeping Westie. A clean-cut man, wearing surgical gloves and a gown, used a feather touch to perform the procedure. He held up the forceps, showing Kat the tiny chip. Moving to the microwave on the counter, he placed the chip inside, closed the door, and hit a few buttons. Kat watched the plate rotate. A few sparks later, the chip was cooked.

Kat turned to Doc, perched on a stool, his frame struggling under the weight of his bulging stomach. Between wheezes, he puffed on a cigarette.

“Thanks, Doc,” she said.

“Don’t bother. You still have to pay me.”

Kat nodded. At least he’s honest. This little act of benevolent kindness is about to take another healthy bite of my take-home pay.

A woman entered the room without knocking. Dressed to the nines, she looked to be in her late sixties, a cross between a gracefully aging Audrey Hepburn and Jackie O., complete with swing coat and pillbox hat.

“Miss Kitty, this is Gertie. She provides pet relocation.”

“Charmed, I’m sure,” Gertie said with a flourish of her hand. “Now darling, time is money. You want a major city or you prefer something rural?”

Thousands of criminals in the city and I get the Dolly Levi of pet theft.

“What do you have?”

“Oh, honey, it’s carte blanche. I always have a waiting list for Westies; very popular breed. Lucky you came along. People are so careful these days. Owners almost never leave them unattended.”

“You steal to order?”

Gertie’s eyes opened wide. “Steal? I beg your pardon,” she said. “Darling, I connect pets with loving families. I provide a service. You think Social Security pays enough to live on? A girl’s gotta get by. I used to be in the garment business—before they moved everything to China—no disrespect.” She gave Kat the once-over. “I can get you a coat at cost. You’d look to die for in a Saint Laurent Chesterfield. You want a coat?”

Kat shook her head. “No thank you. Any location far away from here will be fine.” She wanted to apologize. It wasn’t judgment. Kat didn’t know why, but she never quite felt prepared for the world she found. Even after what she had seen so far, she could be surprised. Maybe I’m not up for anything. Maybe I just don’t have what it takes.

The man finished scrubbing at the sink. Drying his hands, he turned to Kat.

“How long have you been a veterinarian?” Kat asked.

The man smiled.

Oh shit. Kat turned to Gertie.

“Meet my nephew,” she said.

The family that steals together… that’s one my father missed.

“Still lots to learn, Miss Kitty,” Doc said. “Lots to learn.”

Katerina glanced over at the sleeping dog. Pulling out the packets of money, she counted out fifteen thousand, half of her cut.

A girl’s gotta get by.

She certainly does, Kat thought, watching Gertie and Doc divvy up the cash. And not for the first time, she wondered how she would get by.

~~~~~

Author Jill Amy Rosenblatt

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Jill Amy Rosenblatt is the author of Project Jennifer and For Better or Worse, published by Kensington Press. She has a Masters Degree in Creative Writing and Literature from Burlington College.

“The Fixer” mystery/suspense series is Jill’s first adventure in self-publishing. The Fixer: The Naked Man (Katerina Mills, Book 1) is available in e-book and paperback formats. The second book in the series, The Fixer: The Killing Kind, released on November 28, 2016. She is currently at work on the third book of the series, The Fixer: The Last Romanov (when she’s not watching NY Rangers hockey).

She lives on Long Island.

Find Jill Amy Rosenblatt: Website / Twitter / Facebook

~~~~~

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a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Click here to view the The Fixer: The Killing Kind by Jill Amy Rosenblatt Book Tour Participants

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Thanks so much for visiting fuonlyknew and Good Luck!

For a list of my reviews go HERE.

For a list of free eBooks updated daily go HERE

To see all of my giveaways go HERE