Posts Tagged ‘review’

Welcome to The Kid’s Korner.

I decided to do this feature as I have so many great children’s books to share. From picture books, to books for beginning readers, to middle graders, I have plenty of fun ones.

Today’s I have some very different books to share with you.

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Breakfast Doodles #1

Written & Illustrated by Donovan Scherer

27726561

Age Range: 9 – 12  years / Grades: 4 – 8

Genre: Children’s Picture Book / Art

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My Review

I couldn’t resist when I read the blurb for this book. I wish there had been ones like this when I was a youngster. Being a kid at heart, I had a crackin good time.

Lots of fun ghoulish illustrations are followed by short captions, kind of one or two sentence stories to go along with the pictures.

Some of my favorites are Workin’ Cats about Area 51 and Monster Monday and the Black Lagoon.

It’s all in fun and this ghoul wanted to grab a sketch pad and pencil and try some of my own. The author should make this a coloring book. Now, that would be even more fun.

3 Stars

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Synopsis

Breakfast Doodles are the daily drawings of Donovan Scherer, author and illustrator of the Fear & Sunshine series and more. Created as a reason to get out of bed and make some art before heading off to the day job, this morning routine has quickly become a horrible addiction of our dear artist, leading to strange creatures and cats with workplace depression. Join him as reality spirals out of control in this first collection of artwork and stories.

This work is originally published daily online but collected here for convenience and because he thinks it would be cool to say he publishes a book every month. And since you ought to know just what you’re getting into, here’s your Breakfast Doodle Menu:
Monday – Monsters
Tuesday – The Art of Fear & Sunshine
Wednesday – Childhood Adventures
Thursday – The Rise of the Deadish
Friday – Free for All
Saturday – Workin’ Cats
Sunday – Adventure Quest Land

As an added bonus, Volume 1 was created during October 2015 while Inktober and Drawlloween were happening. Inktober is an annual event where artists around the world work to create a new inked illustration each day of October. Drawlloween offers Halloween-themed suggestions for artists to choose from. This month’s Breakfast Doodles combines them both (along with the regular menu).

Hope you like it!

Amazon

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Be sure to hop over and check out my review of Mama’s Knight, A Cancer Story Of Love. It’s such a unique book and there’s also a giveaway for a chance to win a signed copy! Click on the cover below to read my review and enter.

Mama's Knight

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Thanks so much for visiting fuonlyknew!

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

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.

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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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a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Click here to view the Bone White by Wendy Corsi Staub 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

Welcome to My Monday Minis where I share short reviews about books I’ve read.

I decided it was time to read some more science fiction. I won My Delicate Destruction by Jillian Ashe in a giveaway. Actually, I won the first two books and will share my review of Book Two, Riding On Whispers, on next weeks Monday Minis Reviews.

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My Delicate Destruction

The Wolfegang Series #1

by Jillian Ashe

31280291

Genre: Science Fiction

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My Review

Katerina and her twin brother, Kris, both have a fatal type of cancer. With a new drug called Hope, they just might have found the cure. Only drawback, they will have to sleep, frozen, for two years. They jump at the chance. The year is 2016.

Over 500 years later, Kat awakens to a strange new world. It appears they were assumed dead after a great earthquake, but signs show Kris awoke and was now gone. As she navigates the new world, she discovers Kris made some enemies and fled to another planet. Hiding her past, she manages to get a ride on a ship and sets off to find him.

I was surprised how quickly I fell into this story. Kat won me over with her sense of adventure and her fierce dedication to finding her brother. As I learned more about why her brother fled, the story deepened.

While categorized as science fiction, the world building isn’t bogged down in detail. You easily get the picture. The pace is fast. The characters drive the story and those that enter the story as Kat finds her way are varied and interesting. And there’s secrets demanding answers that keep you anticipating what comes next.

I should warn you though. The ending is rather abrupt and it’s obvious you’ll have to read more of the series to wrap things up. I look forward to that.

4  Stars

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Synopsis

They Promised her Hope…

My name is Katerina Anderson. In 2016, a drug called Hope was created. Administered during suspended animation, the drug was supposed to cure the cancer my twin brother and I had. When an earthquake leveled Los Angeles, we were presumed dead.

Forgotten, we slept.

The day I woke up, I realized everything had changed. My brother was missing, and everyone else I knew was dead. I booked passage on a ship to find Kris. The government thinks I’m a criminal and the cure did more than just cure my cancer. My brother is the only one who might have the answers I need, but that drug and all its false hope set me on a path I’m not sure I can follow.

Will I find my twin and learn exactly what they did to me before it’s too late?

Amazon

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Thanks so much for visiting fuonlyknew!

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

Southern Fried

by Tonya Kappes

With a fantastic cast of characters and a story filled with humor and murder you won’t be able to put it down.
~Shelley’s Book Case

Tonya Kappes had me laughing from the opening pages of Southern Fried…
~fundinmental

I love these books because the whodunit isn’t all that obvious. Just when I think I’ve figured it out, a new wrench is thrown into the mix and I’m back to square one.
~Reading Is My SuperPower

Full of Tonya’s sass and spirit, this series keeps up a strong pace and keeps Sheriff Kenni on her toes.
~Laura’s Interests

This is an engaging story full of misdirection and undercurrents…
~ Jemima Pett, Author

It was a good solid mystery, the author kept me guessing and I like that.
~Books, Movies, Reviews. Oh my!

 


Southern Fried (A Kenni Lowry Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Henery Press (April 4, 2017)
Paperback: 252 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1635111873
Kindle ASIN: B01N212SJ8

Synopsis

In the South, it’s better when the food is fried and the secrets kept buried…

After the dead body of a beloved Cottonwood resident is found tangled up in an electric fence, Sheriff Kenni Lowry has a hunch that somethin’ ain’t right. Her investigation heats up with a fierce cook-off competition, a euchre game where the intel is sweeter than the brownies, and a decades old family recipe that may just be the proof in the pudding.

The icing on the cake: Kenni is fighting an attraction to her recently sworn-in deputy sheriff, and election season is hot on her tail. When the killer comes after who she holds most dear, even her poppa’s ghostly guidance might not be enough to keep her and her own out of the frying pan.

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My Review

Having read Fixin To Die and enjoyed it, I was expecting more fun shenanigans with these colorful characters. And I got it.

It’s two years until the next election, but zany events leave Sherriff Kenni Lowry with no choice but to start campaigning early. She has a lot to overcome being the first female in office. And she needs to solve this murder case swiftly so the people will put their trust in her again.

When one of the towns residents is found lying on some prize tomatoes, it’s a juicy case of murder. Kenni is hard on the case, along with her poppa’s ghost, a former Sheriff and quite handy for solving cases. As with the first book, it tickled me how these two worked together and that Kenni had to be careful not to be caught looking like she was crazy and talking to herself.

And I’ve got to hand it to Kenni. She’s juggling campaigning to keep her job while trying to solve this case quickly, and fighting her attraction to the new handsome deputy.  The possible romance isn’t the focal point of the story, but sure makes things interesting.

There’s lots of suspects and I had fun following Kenni as she eliminated them one by one until the culprit was revealed.

In a nut shell, if you like mysteries with a dash or two of southern charm and humor, you’ll enjoy this one.

4 Stars

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Author Tonya Kappes

Tonya-5

For years, USA Today bestselling author Tonya Kappes has been self-publishing her numerous mystery and romance titles with unprecedented success. She is famous not only for her hilarious plotlines and quirky characters, but her tremendous marketing efforts that have earned her thousands of followers and a devoted street team of fans. Be sure to check out Tonya’s website for upcoming events and news and to sign up for her newsletter! Tonyakappes.com

 

Kenni Lowry Mystery Series

Fixin’ To Die

Southern Fried

Also by Tonya Kappes

Olivia Davis Paranormal Mystery Series

SPLITSVILLE.COM

COLOR ME LOVE (novella)

COLOR ME A CRIME

Magical Cures Mystery Series

A CHARMING CRIME

A CHARMING CURE

A CHARMING POTION (novella)

A CHARMING WISH

A CHARMING SPELL

A CHARMING MAGIC

A CHARMING SECRET

A CHARMING CHRISTMAS (novella)

A CHARMING FATALITY

A CHARMING DEATH

A CHARMING GHOST

Grandberry Falls Series

THE LADYBUG JINX

HAPPY NEW LIFE

A SUPERSTITIOUS CHRISTMAS (novella)

NEVER TELL YOUR DREAMS

A Laurel London Mystery Series

CHECKERED CRIME

CHECKERED PAST

CHECKERED THIEF

A Divorced Diva Beading Mystery Series

A BREAD OF DOUBT SHORT STORY

STRUNG OUT TO DIE

CRIMPED TO DEATH

Bluegrass Romance Series

GROOMING MR. RIGHT

TAMING MR. RIGHT

Women’s Fiction

CARPE BREAD ’EM

Young Adult

TAG YOU’RE IT

A Ghostly Southern Mystery Series

A GHOSTLY UNDERTAKING

A GHOSTLY GRAVE

A GHOSTLY DEMISE

A GHOSTLY MURDER

A GHOSTLY REUNION

A GHOSTLY MORTALITY

Enjoy a free ebook from Tonya when you sign up for her newsletter by clicking here.

Visit Tonya:

Facebook at Author Tonya Kappes

Kappes Krew Street Team

Kappes Krew Recipe Exchange

Webpage

E-mail

Recipe Submission Email

Goodreads

Twitter

Pinterest

 Purchase Links

Amazon   B&N

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I have one eBook copy of Southern Fried to giveaway.

To enter, please leave your email address so I can contact you if you win and answer this question:

What’s your favorite thing about cozies?

Giveaway ends April 20th.

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Tour Participants

April 4 – The Book Diva’s Reads – GUEST POST, GIVEAWAY

April 4 – Brooke Blogs – CHARACTER GUEST POST, GIVEAWAY

April 5 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT, GIVEAWAY

April 5 – Shelley’s Book Case – REVIEW, CHARACTER GUEST POST

April 6 – fundinmental – REVIEW

April 6 – Books,Dreams,Life – SPOTLIGHT

April 7 – Reading Is My SuperPower– REVIEW

April 7 – Island Confidential – CHARACTER INTERVIEW. GIVEAWAY

April 8 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW, GIVEAWAY

April 8 – The Editing Pen – INTERVIEW, GIVEAWAY

April 9 – Jemima Pett, Author – REVIEW, INTERVIEW, GIVEAWAY

April 10 – Rainy Day Reviews – REVIEW, GIVEAWAY

April 10 – 3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, & Sissy,Too! – SPOTLIGHT, GIVEAWAY

April 11 – Books, Movies, Reviews. Oh my! – REVIEW

April 11 – deal sharing aunt – INTERVIEW, GIVEAWAY

April 12 – Because I said So, and other adventures in parenting – REVIEW, GIVEAWAY

April 12 – Author Annette Drake’s blog – INTERVIEW

April 13 – fuonlyknew – REVIEW, GIVEAWAY

April 13 – Lisa Ks Book Reviews – REVIEW, CHARACTER GUEST POST

April 14 – Blogger Nicole Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

April 14 – Community Bookstop –  REVIEW, GIVEAWAY

April 15 – Texas Book-aholic – REVIEW

April 15 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – SPOTLIGHT, GIVEAWAY

April 16 – Cozy Up With Kathy – REVIEW, CHARACTER INTERVIEW

April 17 – Becky’s Bookcase – REVIEW

April 17 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – GUEST POST

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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

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

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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

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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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Remnants banner

I’ve got a thrilling mystery to share with you. Can’t wait to tell you about Remnants by Carolyn Arnold.

Enjoy my review and don’t forget to enter the giveaway!

But first, I have a guest post from the author. Enjoy!

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Five Steps to Profiling a Serial Killer

BY CAROLYN ARNOLD

He’s five seven, in his thirties, walks with a limp, works in temporary placements, and is single. He targets women because he was abused by his single mother, who slept around with men while he was growing up.

If you’re a fan of serial-killer fiction, whether it be on TV or in books, you are probably left shaking your head sometimes when the FBI sees some crime scene photos and immediately has a profile of the killer. What are they, psychic?

As it turns out, profiling is actually a science, though not an exact one. In fact, many profiles prove to have been wrong once the unsub is caught. So why bother profiling at all? Well, even if some facts are off, profiling establishes a foundation from which investigators can begin their search for—and hopefully catch!—the killer.

So what do investigators consider when building a profile?

  1. Investigators focus on the crime itself. What do the crime scene photos show? What are the autopsy findings? Are there any witnesses, and if so, what are they saying? What have police officers noted in their reports?
  1. Investigators visit the crime scene. They use their six senses—sight, sound, taste, smell, touch, and intuition—and make a record of their reactions. They analyze where the body was found, whether the murder was committed in the same location that the body was found or the body was dumped. They question any and all aspects of the location and what it might tell them about the killer and/or the killer’s victim selection, aka victimology.
  1. Investigators look for a signature or method of operation (MO). Don’t confuse these two terms, though, as they are not the same thing. Every crime has a MO, which is how the murder was carried out, but a signature is not present in all cases. A signature only exists when a killer chooses to leave behind a personal mark.
  1. Investigators consider what kind of unsub might commit the crime at hand. For example, are they organized or disorganized? Are they a hunter or a sexual sadist? Is gender, age, or religion relevant? Is there is a geographical element to the crimes?
  1. Investigators take a closer look at the victims. They factor in similarities and determine whether the victims are low-, medium-, or high-risk people. Can any of the victims be connected to one or more person or place? How were the victims approached? Is there evidence of resistance, or is it possible the victims knew their killer?

Sometimes the answers to all these questions can be harder to piece together than others. In my most recent novel, Remnants, Brandon Fisher and his FBI team struggle to build a profile on the killer they’re hunting, as the identities of the victims are unknown and aspects of the MO vary among the murders. But when a torso painted blue and missing its heart is found—something they haven’t seen in any of the previous deaths—the case takes a dark turn that begins to provide them with some new leads. As the story unfolds, the FBI is drawn deeper and deeper into a creepy psychological nightmare. One thing is clear, though, even if they don’t have all the facts yet: The killing isn’t going to stop until they figure it all out. And they are running out of time…

I invite you to read Remnants and profile alongside the FBI to stop a serial killer in Savannah, Georgia.

Remnants is available in e-book, paperback, and hardcover formats from popular retailers, including the following:

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

Apple iBooks

Kobo

Google

About the Brandon Fisher FBI series:

Profilers. Serial killers. The hunt is on. Do serial killers and the FBI fascinate you? Do you like getting inside the minds of killers, love being creeped out, sleeping with your eyes open, and feeling like you’re involved in murder investigations? Then join FBI agent and profiler Brandon Fisher and his team with the Behavioral Analysis Unit in their hunt for serial killers.

This is the perfect book series for fans of Criminal MindsNCIS, Silence of the Lambs, Seven, Dexter, Luther, and True Crime.

Read in any order or follow the series from the beginning.

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Remnants

Brandon Fisher FBI Series #6

by Carolyn Arnold

33954483

Genre: Mystery

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My Review

Body parts are turning up in a river. Arms, legs, torsos. The odd thing? The parts are from multiple victims and no hands or feet are found. Georgia has a serial killer and the FBI is called in to investigate.

I’m a fan of murder mysteries. Give me a twisted serial killer and a case not easily solved, along with many suspects, and I’m lost in the story until the end.

This case reminded me of episodes from the TV show Criminal Minds. The killings are gruesome. The FBI team works as a well oiled machine. And who the victims are and why the killer is murdering them is so out there. Carolyn Arnold leads you into a very dark place, teasing you with lots of clues and false trails, until the final reveal. What a finish!

While this is the 6th book in the series, each one stands on it’s own so you won’t have a problem jumping in anywhere. Always a bonus for me. And the author doesn’t leave you hanging, filling in past events where needed without slowing down the story.

Remnants will have you flipping the pages to find the identity of the killer, keeping you engaged and wanting right up to the end.

4 Stars

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Synopsis

FBI agent and profiler Brandon Fisher and his team are called to Savannah, Georgia, when body parts belonging to three separate victims are recovered from the Little Ogeechee River. As the case takes one dark turn after another, Brandon finds himself embroiled in a creepy psychological nightmare.

Amazon

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Excerpt

PERIMETER MALL, ATLANTA, GEORGIA

FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 10, 11:30 AM EASTERN

 

THE TIME HAD COME TO select his next victim. He had to choose carefully and perfectly—he wouldn’t get a second chance. The mall was teeming with life, and that made for a lot of eyeballs, a lot of potential witnesses. But he supposed it also helped him be more inconspicuous. People were hustling through the shopping center, interested solely in their own agendas. They wouldn’t be paying him—or what he was doing—much attention.

He was standing at the edge of the food court next to the hallway leading to the restrooms eating a gyro. The lidded and oversized garbage bin on wheels that was behind him would ensure that anyone who did notice him would just think he was a mall janitor on his lunch break.

The pitchy voice of a girl about eight hit his ears. “Daddy, I want ice cream.”

Trailing not far behind her were a man and woman holding hands. The woman was fit and blond, but his attention was on the man beside her. He was in his twenties, easily six feet tall with a solid, athletic build. He’d be strong and put up a fight. Yes, this was the one. And talk about ideal placement—he was across from the Dairy Queen.

He wiped his palms on his coveralls and took a few deep breaths. What he was about to do wasn’t because of who he was, but rather, because he had to do it.

And he had to hurry. The family was coming toward him.

“It’s almost lunchtime,” the woman said, letting go of the man’s hand.

“Daaaaaaddyyyyy.” A whiny petition.

The man looked to the woman with a smile that showcased his white teeth. “We could have ice cream for lunch?”

The little girl began to bounce. “Yeah!”

“Really, Eric?” The woman wasn’t as impressed as the girl, but under the man’s gaze she caved and smiled. “All right, but just today…”

“Thank you, Mommy!” The girl wrapped her arms around the woman’s legs but quickly let go, prancing ahead of her parents and toward the DQ counter.

“Brianna, we wash our hands first.” The woman glanced at him as she walked by and offered a reserved smile. Had she detected his interest in them?

Breathe. She thinks you work here, remember?

Smile back.

Remain calm.

Look away and act uninterested.

~~~~~

Author Carolyn Arnold

Remnants author

CAROLYN ARNOLD is an international best-selling and award-winning author, as well as a speaker, teacher, and inspirational mentor. She has four continuing fiction series—Detective Madison Knight, Brandon Fisher FBI, McKinley Mysteries, and Matthew Connor Adventures—and has written nearly thirty books. Her genre diversity offers her readers everything from cozy to hard-boiled mysteries, and thrillers to action adventures.

Both her female detective and FBI profiler series have been praised by those in law enforcement as being accurate and entertaining, leading her to adopt the trademark: POLICE PROCEDURALS RESPECTED BY LAW ENFORCEMENT™.

Carolyn was born in a small town and enjoys spending time outdoors, but she also loves the lights of a big city. Grounded by her roots and lifted by her dreams, her overactive imagination insists that she tell her stories. Her intention is to touch the hearts of millions with her books, to entertain, inspire, and empower.

She currently lives just west of Toronto with her husband and beagle and is a member of Crime Writers of Canada.

Connect with CAROLYN ARNOLD Online:

Website / Twitter / Facebook

And don’t forget to sign up for her newsletter for up-to-date information on release and special offers at http://carolynarnold.net/newsletters.

~~~~~

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Welcome to Freakin Fridays.

I’ve got another one to share from the John Cleaver Series by Dan Wells. 

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My Review

Hold on to your hats people. While I don’t expect every book in a series to be better than the previous ones, I do expect to see characters grow and plots thicken. Never fear, as this one is every bit as good, if not better, than the others.

It’s been a month since John’s last otherworldly encounter and he’s feeling more in control of his urges. Enough to challenge a demon to come and get him. The demon, Nobody, accepts his challenge and the consequences are dark indeed.  The author through me a curve ball here. You’ll see what I’m talking about when you give this one a listen. Lots more than meets the eye.

So much of this story reads as genuine. Almost creepy at times how that happens. It’s told in 1st person from John’s own mind. And with him being a budding sociopath, it gets twisted.

He’s not only juggling normal teenage hormones and angst, he’s also dealing with a controlling mother and doubts about his own set of rules. It’s compounded by a girlfriend, Marci. He didn’t expect to have a romantic relationship, and she’s something he can’t categorize and ignore. I, for one, think she’s a perfect fit for him.

Dan keeps the story tight, no fluff, all business. And the business is sordid and dark. Especially the ending. I hoped for one thing, got something else, and while it was devastating, it was the right way to go. All I could think was, I want some more, please.

5  Stars

Narrator Kirby Heyborne

Kirby continues to do well narrating this series. I’ve noticed that when I’m reading a book, my mind jumps forward, anticipating what might be about to happen and sometimes spoiling the surprise. Funny how that happens. While narrating, Kirby stays on course and the inflections come at the right times, so anticipation builds as the action increases. A great choice and fit for this thrilling series.

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Thanks so much to Tantor Audio and the author for this complimentary copy.

My review is voluntarily given.

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Synopsis

John Cleaver has called a demon—literally called it on the phone—and challenged it to a fight. He has faced two of the monsters already, barely escaping with his life, and now he’s done running; he’s taking the fight to them. But as he wades through his town’s darkest secrets, searching for any sign of who the demon might be, one thing becomes all too clear: in a game of cat and mouse with a supernatural killer, the human is always the mouse.

In I Am Not a Serial Killer, we watched a budding sociopath break every rule he had to save his town from evil. In Mr. Monster, we held our breath as he fought madly with himself, struggling to stay in control. Now John Cleaver has mastered his twisted talents and embraced his role as a killer of killers. I Don’t Want to Kill You brings his story to a thundering climax of suspicion, mayhem, and death.

It’s time to punish the guilty.

And in a town full of secrets, everyone is guilty of something.

Amazon / Tantor

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I’ve listened to and reviewed I Am Not A Serial Killer, the first in the John Cleaver series and the second story, Mr. Monster.

 

 

Click on the covers for my reviews.

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