Posts Tagged ‘suspense’

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Welcome to my Saturday Screams.

I’m sure most of you have seen the Onyx Webb series featured on my blog many times. It’s a favorite of mine and almost over. I’m excited and dreading that last book.  Ever been there? You want to read the end but don’t want it to end? LOL

If you want to get started on the series, Book One is FREE on Amazon. Click on the cover below to grab your copy!

Onyx Webb: Book One: Episodes 1, 2, & 3 by [Waltz, Andrea, Fenton, Richard]

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Onyx Webb

Book Nine: Episodes 25, 26, 27 and 28

by Richard Fenton and Andrea Waltz

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Genre: Supernatural Suspense / Horror / Romance

My Review

I don’t think I’ve ever been this enthusiastic about a series. Especially one that has ten books in it, with each book including three episodes. This is the ninth book and I’m more in love with the writing and characters then ever. So I was very excited to see that this book had four episodes. I couldn’t wait to see what caused the authors to add an extra one. It didn’t take long for me to learn why.

Events happened fast, leading to something I never would have imagined. Some of it was funny. There were some high-five scenes for me. And there were some scenes that overwhelmed me. And the ending. Whew. I was left thinking, where can this go from here.

Being so late into the series there’s not much I can talk about. You know, the spoiler thing. I’ve been through a lot with these character’s. Felt the full range of emotions, from loss and grief, to anger and revenge, to laughter and love.

These splendid authors have held me captive with their bewitching saga that spans generations, slowly bringing the past and present together into what can only be an epic finale.

I hope you give this series a go. Just be sure to start at the beginning. It works best that way. And by the time you get to this one, the last book will be waiting.

   5  Stars

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Synopsis

Welcome Back to the World of Onyx Webb! This is Book Nine. (Episodes 25, 26, 27, & 28) Haven’t Gotten Entangled Yet? Please Start with Book One.

Book Nine is the most cataclysmic book in the series yet and what we have been building to for so long. The web is almost entirely formed now. But questions remain: what happens to everyone now that it is?

Onyx Webb is a complex multi-genre mash-up that combines elements of supernatural suspense, crime, horror, romance, and more. The Onyx Webb series follows the unusual life of Onyx Webb along with a central group of characters in various locations and times.

In Book Nine: The Mulvaney’s host the Solstice Eclipse Ball for the Restoring Savannah Foundation and Gerylyn’s prediction comes to pass. Stan Lee gets his revenge and Juniper battles a dark evil at the mansion. Onyx Webb spends her days at the lighthouse alone again without Noah Ashley but Noah may have other plans.

Amazon

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Strawberries
by Casey Bartsch
Genre: Thriller, Suspense
 
Strawberries is the name he has been given.

When they let him out, they had no way of knowing what he was. A
psychopath. A killer. The body count is at twenty already, and there
doesn’t seem to be an end in sight. Agent Harry Bland can’t see
one anyway. He doesn’t have a single clue to go on. It doesn’t
help that his mind won’t focus. His heart just isn’t in it
anymore.
Half way across the country, Sylvia is in a different state of mind. When
she isn’t selling sex to the rich, she is doing her best to
disappear. She lives a life of assumed names, one night stands, and a
constant stream of narcotics.
Sylvia has heard of Strawberries. Of course she has. So has everyone who has
turned on the television or surfed the net. Yet, she has no way of
knowing just how much his life will affect hers.
Seedy hotels, cross country truckers looking for the meaning of life,
homemade pie, a reporter with her own secret agenda, obscenely
expensive champagne, and plenty of spilled blood await our cast. But
make sure to read fast…..Strawberries has killed number 21.
A little Koontz, a splash of Palahniuk, and a pinch of Robbins.
Strawberries is sure to make you wince as well as smile.
 
 
Casey Bartsch lives in a tiny Texas town called Belton. He has yet to meet
any of his neighbors, or travel farther than the grocery store. He
doesn’t eat healthy foods, and is therefore a bit rotund. His
girlfriend loves him anyway, and that works out well. 


Casey often struggles to find the time to write. That is a lie. The time is
plentiful. He just has a hard time choosing to write when other, less
mentally taxing activities are available. He feels a great deal of
regret each time he makes this wrong choice.
Casey spends an obscene amount of time trying to figure out why people do
what they do, why he does what he does, and how long it might take
before the world implodes in on itself and leaves him stranded on a
small rock floating through the emptiness of space.
 
Win a custom art print, winner chooses scheme, colors, etc!
 
Follow the tour HERE!
 

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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

 
It’s a pleasure to be participating in author Yolanda Renée’s THE SNOWMAN Blog Tour through MC Book Tours today.
This is a prequel to the author’s Detective Steven Quaid Mysteries. This story tells of Steven’s first case as a rookie detective. It takes place 10 years before the events in MURDER, MADNESS & LOVE, the first book in the series.
The author is offering a tour-wide giveaway featuring both print and eBook copies from her series. More information on the giveaway is listed below.
◊ THE SNOWMAN
◊ by Yolanda Renée
◊ Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense
◊ Publisher: TRACE Enterprises
◊ Series: Detective Quaid Mystery
◊ Novella
◊ Print & eBooks
◊ Contains explicit sex & violence
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It takes a true artist to pursue his victims in the art of seduction, and Stowy Jenkins is no exception, especially with blood as his medium.
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          Stowy Jenkins, aka, Stone, and as Alaskans refer to him, the Snowman, is a true artist. His muse, Gigi, is the ultimate inspiration for his painting. Her rejection inspires him to use a very unusual medium…blood.
          While art may be his passion, the taste for blood is his obsession, and multiple murders, the result.
          Rookie, Detective Steven Quaid, is no fan of the Snowman’s murderous exhibitions. A twisted and deadly relationship bond the two men and neither knows who will come out of it alive.
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My Review

I sure enjoy a story that hits the ground running and The Snowman sure does that. The opening scene is the Snowman doing what he does best. Creating art in oh so horrific ways.

I feel I should warn you, the author pulls no punches. Many scenes are graphic in violence and sexual attacks. Yolanda does a super job of putting you into the mind of the Snowman, a crazed, sadistic serial killer who believes he’s the next great artist, using blood, body parts and corpses as his medium.

Genuine characters and a taut plot keeps the reading pace fast. And switching POVs from main characters to victims and the killers own thoughts ramps up the suspense and keeps it there.

This is a prequel to the Detective Quaid series and takes place ten years before the series, featuring the detective’s first murder case. You don’t need to have read the other books as it can stand alone or actually introduce you to the beginning.

Those who enjoy some gristle and gore along with a creepy mystery will enjoy this one. I plan to pick up the series and see what happens next.

4 stars

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At one time Alaska called to me, and I answered. I learned to sleep under the midnight sun, survive in below zero temperatures, and hike the Mountain Ranges. I’ve traveled from Prudhoe Bay to Valdez, and the memories are some of my most valued. The wonders, mysteries and incredible beauty that is Alaska has never left me and thus now influence my writing.Despite my adventurous spirit, I achieved my educational goals, married, and I have two handsome sons. Writing is now my focus, my newest adventure!

You can connect with me here:
Blog    *     Facebook     *     Twitter     *     Pinterest     *     Email
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The other books in the Detective Quaid Series include:
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          A killer plays cat and mouse with a young widow against the snowy backdrop of an Alaskan winter. Branded a black widow after the suspicious death of her millionaire husband, Sarah Palmer flees Seattle for Anchorage. However, the peace and quiet she hoped to enjoy in her hometown is soon shattered. A killer is murdering Sarah look-alikes on the 14th of each month, taunting Sarah with a valentine of evidence. After her experiences in Seattle, Sarah is slow to go to the police. When she finally does, she finds Detective Steven Quaid—Anchorage P D’s hotshot investigator—has not only heard the rumors, he believes them. Worse, her aloofness and composure only confirm his suspicions. Is Sarah a victim or a very skilled manipulator?
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World damnation is a psychotic man’s goal, but two obstacles stand in his way, greed and a dedicated detective.
Catching Alaska’s most notorious serial killer as a rookie made Detective Steven Quaid a hero, but falling in love with the victim of his last case tarnishes that status. While attempting to repair both his personal and professional life, he stumbles upon an unusual case–and an even more extraordinary foe: a man who believes he is Lucifer. An insidious man who delivers Quaid the ultimate choice: save his fiancée from an assassin’s bullet or stop the sacrifice of a young girl.
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Flames burn between a hardboiled cop and a gifted artist, but soon extinguish as another man’s obsession ignites into an inferno of desire, driving him to destroy the object of his madness.
Detective Steven Quaid is ready for new challenges as Anchorage’s top detective, but not until he marries the woman of his dreams on New Year’s Eve. Determined to give Sarah the wilderness honeymoon she desires, he turns his grandfather’s cabin into the perfect honeymoon retreat. After the final details are complete, Steven treks into the mountains to hunt. On his return to the cottage, instead of Sarah, he is greeted by several police officers and a bloody crime scene. Accusations fly, and Stephen flees into the wilderness, his heart racing and thoughts etching into his soul. The wilderness is unforgiving, but Steven faces it head on: Caught between a massive grizzly and a black bear in a deadly tug of war, he is barely saved from death’s door by the fortuitous appearance of his uncle. Despite surviving multiple injuries, Steven continues his investigation as he recovers, but answers don’t come quick or easy. Having enlisted the aid of his number one suspect, Steven faces a struggle that has become more than personal. This one just may cost him his heart.
You can find out more about the books and the author by following the tour HERE. You can also include your chances of winning in the giveaway.
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This tour-wide giveaway features both print and eBook copies of the four books in the Detective Quaid Series. The giveaway will end at 12 a.m. (EST) on Tuesday, June 6.
The prizes include:
* Grand prize – Winner receives a print copy of all
four books in the Detective Quaid Series (U.S. and Canada only).
* First place – Winner will receive a $25 Amazon gift certificate.
* Second place – Winner will receive eBook copies of all four books in the Detective Quaid Series.
* There will be 3 runner-up winners and each will win an eBook copy of THE SNOWMAN or one of the other books in the series (winner’s choice).
To enter the giveaway, just click on the Rafflecopter widget below and follow the instructions. The widget may take a few seconds to load so please be patient.
Thanks for stopping by and be sure to follow Yolanda on her month-long tour. You never know what you might find out.
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a Rafflecopter giveaway

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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 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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You can find a list of my reviews HERE.

For a list of free eBooks go HERE

To see all of my giveaways go HERE

 

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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Make sure to visit the Filles Vertes Publishing store;
Enter to win the Goodreads Giveaway;
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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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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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

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

http://i0.wp.com/www.partnersincrimetours.net/pict/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/1389455-2.jpg?resize=293%2C245

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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