Audiobook · book review · books · challenge

My Year in Books – 2019

I’m a list person – to do lists, to buy lists, to cook lists, to read lists … you name it, I’ll put it in a list. Which is why I absolutely love Goodreads and my “what I read” list for 2019.

I’ve been doing the Goodreads reading challenge for a few years, and each time I start off with a cautious but doable figure in mind. You might say it’s the easy option, and you’d be right … but I hate not meeting a challenge. Please, don’t mention NaNoWrimo this year! 😦 😦 😦

So, in January 2019 I set the challenge at 60 books, which I then extended to 75, then to 90 and finally to 100. Yep, I did write that with a smug grin on my face 😉

 

The results are now in …

Don’t you just love numbers, and stats? Okay, it’s just me, isn’t it? 😀

 

 

So, how did I rate them?

I gave 34% of the books I read a fabulous 5 stars

56% got 4 stars from me

5% got 3 stars

1% got 2 stars

and 4% got only 1 star – don’t judge me, I’m giving my honest opinions here. Not every book suits everyone, and I will admit to being drawn in by a book’s description only to wonder if I’d been reading the same book!

All in all, I don’t reckon those stats are too shabby. In fact, I’d say I had a fabulous year of reading, because it’s true.

Talking of fabulous, here they are in all their bookerlicious glory ….

 

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My fist review was …

My last was …

All in all, an eclectic mix. From cosy mysteries and doggy tales, to historical fiction and time-slips; from rom-coms to feel-good fiction; from tense thrillers to conspiracy theories, and from satire to sarcasm. I even renewed my interest in audiobooks too.

I probably wouldn’t have read quite so many if I hadn’t signed up to review books for some fabulous book tours. I’ve discovered so many new (to me) authors and have stretched my TBR list for 2020 to beyond stupid. But, a book lover’s got to do what a book lover’s got to do. And what better way to spend the year than lost in a wonderful book.

I have to thank Rachel @rararesources and Shannon @RRbooktours1 for providing so many excellent tours. I’ve recently joined the Partners In Crime tours (@partnersincr1me) and audiobook tours came from @AnAudiobookworm, both of which have been amazing already with their offerings. Of course, NetGalley (@NetGalley) needs a mention too, as does my good friend and author buddy, Felicia (@MsFelicia) . Together these have sent my TBR list into overdrive and my Kindle into a happy state of overflowingness!

Thanks to everyone who’s read, liked and commented on my reviews. It’s great to hear that someone has picked up a book based on what I’ve written about it. Hope you all enjoyed the stories as much as I did.

Here’s to a marvellous 2020 in the world of books, and to those amazing authors out there …keep writing!

PS, keep an eye out for my Top Ten books of 2019 too. Bet you can’t guess which ones here made the the cut 😉

As always,

book review · crime · NetGalley · psychological suspense · thriller · thriller & crime

Book Recommendation ‘n’ Review – The Good Neighbor

The Good Neighbor

by Cathryn Grant

Sometimes the past just won’t stay buried.

When 14 year old Brittany disappears one night, her parents are devastated, certain she has been taken.

They can’t bear to think about who has done this and what might be happening to their precious girl.

Even worse, the police seem to see them as suspects, implying that they may have had a part in their own daughter’s disappearance. Only their neighbor, Taylor, is a rock. She organizes search parties, feeds the volunteers, works night and day to help them find Brittany.

But as this affluent California community becomes focused on the hunt for the missing girl, it slowly becomes clear that her disappearance is linked to terrible secrets from the past.

Secrets that must be kept hidden at all costs….

The Good Neighbor is a gripping psychological thriller that twists and turns as it races towards its nerve-shredding climax. Perfect for fans of K. L. Slater, Teresa Driscoll and Mark Edwards.

What readers are saying about The Good Neighbor:

‘I don’t even know where to start! This book has left me speechless. I love all of the mystery and drama The Good Neighbor provided.’ – NetGalley Reviewer

‘The Good Neighbor is a thrilling read that will have you gripped right from the beginning till the final page. If you love a story that is full of secrets, mystery, suspense with twists and turns, then this is the book for you.’ – Onceaponatimebookblog.com

‘Omg, this is a totally and utterly AMAZING book. It’s an intense tale of manipulation, lies, suspicion, deception and secrets that poses the question. Is it always best to do the right thing?’ – NetGalley Reviewer

‘Wow! To say this book “packs a punch” is such an understatement – it more ‘smacks you around the head with a 9 iron!’ There were twists and turns around every corner all neatly packaged within this highly readable tale.’ – ReadandRated.com

‘A great, can’t put it down suspense mystery novel. Read it in one day! It is rare to be surprised at how a story twists and turns I highly recommend for a great take on a plot that isn’t predictable.’ – NetGalley Reviewer

‘I loved the characters in this book…The book developed a hold over me…I was drawn into this story from the first word on the first page and Cathryn kept my attention throughout the book…a very well deserved 5* out of 5*.’ – gingerbookgeek.wordpress.com

‘A fantastic psychological thriller. Suspense filled and a very exciting read. Loved it. A good and exciting mystery.’ – NetGalley Reviewer

My Review

Well, am I chuffed to have found this book or what? A very clever story that is both tense and intense.

The Good Neighbor is Taylor Swanick, who just wants to bring some community spirit to the quiet – and frankly, dull – cul-de-sac in which she lives with her husband. Everyone seems to just go about their business, but Taylor wants more from her neighbours; she wants a sense of camaraderie, of pitching in together, sharing and generally being neighbourly.

The latest additions to the street are, however, more reserved and hermit-like than ever. But when, one night, Taylor is woken by someone frantically knocking on her front door, little does she realise things will never be the same again. Careful what you wish for …as Taylor was about to find out.

Her new neighbour, Moira, is screaming hysterically, convinced her daughter Brittany has been abducted from her bedroom. Taylor’s determination to get the whole street involved soon sees them all searching the open space behind their homes. All to no avail. But, Taylor, doesn’t stop there, nor does she do as her husband advises and leave it to the police. She starts a Facebook page, appealing to the public to find Brittany.

Let’s just say, that she doesn’t expect to get so many hoax responses to her plea for help. Nor does she expect to find someone like Crystal who knows Moira and her family all too well. In fact, Crystal knows an awful lot about them, and she’s not going to be hushed this time.

This is a gripping story, and once that humongous twist comes at the halfway stage I can assure you there’s no going back until you finish. The story is filled to the brim with larger than life characters. Not all of them are remotely likeable, and some are definitely not playing with a full deck. Yet, despite that they seem so normal. It’s scary to think that beneath the surface these people are nothing like you could ever imagine. Taylor most certainly was not prepared for what happened …and nor was I.

Don’t be thinking this is just a story about a missing teenager, because it’s way more than that. This is a story about people. Taylor is just looking for a sense of community; Moira and Alan are looking to stay under the radar, and Crystal is after the truth and justice. The story is told primarily from the viewpoints of Taylor and Moira, but also includes young neighbour, Luke, as well as some insight into who Brittany is and the life she has been leading thus far.

This is a well-paced story that hooked me early on, and included some major curve balls that blew me away. I’ve not read anything by this author before, but I surely will look out for her other work from hereon.

I received a copy from Netgalley, and wish to thank the author and her publishers for making it available.

As always,

Audiobook · blog tour · book review · mystery · series

Audiobook Tour ‘n’ Review – Vegas Lies (The Lies Mystery Series #3)

Lies by Andrew Cunningham

Author: Andrew Cunningham

Narrator: Greg Hernandez

Length: 5 hours 23 minutes

Series: Lies, Book 3

Released: Sep. 12, 2019

Publisher: Andrew Cunningham

Genre: Mystery, Modern Detective

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Synopsis

Five teenage girls from a small town in Oregon disappear without a trace.
Were they kidnapped, or have the five friends perpetrated a massive hoax? Nine hundred miles away, in Las Vegas, a woman with a dark secret vanishes on her way to meet friends for dinner.
Those friends are Del Honeycutt and best-selling mystery author Sabrina Spencer in Las Vegas for a book convention. As Del and Sabrina investigate their friend’s disappearance, they are convinced that she has been abducted, and they begin to uncover the secrets that might have triggered her abduction – secrets that now put Del and Sabrina’s lives in jeopardy.
When clues indicate that the five missing girls might also be in Las Vegas, the situation takes a new turn, directly into the unthinkable.
Once again, Del and Sabrina find themselves in deep trouble and marked for death, and they only have a few hours to solve the case, or their friend and the five young girls will be gone forever.


I’m the author of novels in several genres, including, mystery, thriller, and post-apocalyptic science fiction. Under the name A.R. Cunningham, I’ve also written the Arthur MacArthur series of mysteries for children.
I was born in England, but have spent most of my life living in the U.S.—including 25 years on Cape Cod before moving to Florida. A former interpreter for the deaf and long-time independent bookseller, I’ve been a full-time freelance writer and copy editor for many years. A 4th-degree Master Black belt in Tang Soo Do, I finally retired from active training when my body said, “Enough already! Why are you doing this to yourself?” I’m married, with two grown children and two awesome grandsons. My wife and I spend as much time traveling as we can, and are especially fond of cruising the Caribbean.
I have been gratified by the response to my books. When I published Eden Rising back in the spring of 2013, I had no idea what to expect. When I sold my first few copies, I was excited beyond belief that someone was willing to take a chance on it. Numerous books and thousands of copies later, I am still humbled by the emails I get from readers telling me that my books kept them up late into the night.
In October of 2014, Wisdom Spring made me an official Amazon Bestselling author, a thrill I never thought would happen. But it still comes down to being able to bring a few hours of escape to a reader. That’s what it’s all about for me.
I hope you will try my books. Please feel free to email me with your comments.

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Narrator Bio


Author-preferred Narrator of Mysteries & Thrillers
Narrating audiobooks is highly gratifying. I immerse myself into an author’s story in order to bring it to life for the listener. I’ve enjoyed working with Andrew Cunningham for several years. His books are filled with rich characters, and the stories keep me turning the pages.
I also work as a background actor in movies and TV shows.
For more than 20 years, I worked as a radio news reporter and news writer. I spent half of my broadcasting career at ABC News Radio in the Washington, D.C., bureau. I covered all the federal agencies as well as Congress and the White House. I reported on a wide range of stories during my career, including financial and entertainment industry news.
For nearly 24 years, I worked as a federal government spokesman at three separate agencies—National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), U.S. Mint and Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC).

Twitter

5/5 stars

This was by far my favourite of the series, and Greg Hernandez does an amazing job bringing the suspenseful story to life.

It seems Del and Sabrina are never very far away from a mystery, this time they head to Vegas for a book convention and plan to meet up with a friend for lunch. When she doesn’t arrive, the twosome are concerned, and even more so when there is no sign of her anywhere.

Running alongside this is the story of five girls from a small town in Oregon who are returning home after a trip to the movies. Only they don’t make it home, and instead are abducted with a clear intent on the part of their abductors to sell them on in due course. This topical subject matter gives a fascinating insight into how such a situation might occur. The author ties it into Del & Sabrina’s story with ease, and the journey through the desert is scary and tense.

Del and Sabrina are well established as a couple now, and their closeness grows stronger as they face separate dangers. Del’s witty retorts are still there, despite the dire circumstances -the narrator truly seems to have got into Del’s head since he portrays him so effectively.

Definitely a series I want to hear more about.
I received this audiobook as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. The tour is being sponsored by Greg Hernandez. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.

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Audiobook · Author interview · Giveaways · mystery · series

Audiobook Tour – A Spotlight on “Last Seen”

Author: Jo A. Hiestand

Narrator: Tristan Kopta

Length: 7 hours 33 minutes

Publisher: The Wild Rose Press

Released: Oct. 23, 2019

Genre: Mystery

One dark night, popular singer Kent Harrison goes missing after his performance at Tutbury Castle. When his body’s found in a forest, the police investigation focuses on Kent’s ex-wife, a local herbalist, a covetous colleague, and even the curator of another castle who tried to lure Kent into performing there.

But his occasional singing partner, Dave Morley, seems to have the biggest motive. He’s dying to make his name, money, and the big time, especially at the medieval Minstrels Court reenactment, where Kent’s appearance guarantees standing room only. Did Dave murder Kent to eliminate the competition…or had their partnership struck a wrong chord?

To entice him into investigating, ex-cop McLaren’s girlfriend plays detective. But Dena ends up in great danger. Now, McLaren must not only solve Kent’s murder but also rescue her. A hard task when a web of jealousy, anger, and lies covers the trails.

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Buy on Audible

Jo A. Hiestand can usually be found at her computer, which is good, since she writes three mystery series. It seems a natural progression from her job as a graphic artist – crafting word images on a sheet of paper instead of creating graphics on the computer screen. Between the two computer stints, she lived in Britain for her semi-pro folk singing career and became friends with several English police detectives. The latter relationship was not a consequence of the former calling, however, but all these UK aspects find their way into her books. When not tapping on the keyboard, Jo enjoys reading, baking, and photography. She lives in the St Louis area with her cat, Tennyson, and way too many kilts.

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Here, the author answers a few questions:

  1. Tell us about the process of turning your book into an audiobook.

    My publisher contacted all their authors, announcing they were going to offer audiobook editions. Those authors who wished to offer their books for narrator auditions signed up. I submitted an audition segment of the book, my preference as to narrator gender and accent, and main character descriptions. I also supplied a list of pronunciations that might be helpful. My publisher submitted all that for auditions. I was lucky to have my book chosen by a narrator. He sent back a sample of his reading. I could either accept the narrator or ask my publisher to keep looking. I’ve had great luck with grand narrators for the first book, Cold Revenge, and this new audiobook, Last Seen. When I accept the narrator, he begins recording. He sends the finished chapters to the publisher, who emails them to me. I listen to the chapters as I read along in the book. That’s the only way I know if he’s left out a word or sentence, or mixed up a character’s voice with another person, or whatever. I note the chapter, the time (minute and second), and the mistake and what it should be. It’s sent back to him, he corrects it, and a few weeks later, Voila! The audiobook edition appears for purchase!

  2. Was a possible audiobook recording something you were conscious of while writing?

    Not at all. I had no idea my publisher was going to offer that, for one, and I also didn’t think any narrator would choose my books. I’m glad I was proven wrong! It’s been such a fun experience to have the books come out as audiobooks. 

  3. Were there any real life inspirations behind your writing?

    I got the idea for Last Seen when I visited Tutbury Castle in Staffordshire. As luck would have it, a medieval reenactment was taking place that day. I talked to the castle curator, Leslie Smith, about it and I got the idea that something like that would make a great basis for a mystery. When I got home to St Louis I emailed her, told her my idea, and asked if anything grand went on during the castle’s heyday. She suggested I use the Minstrels Court. It was a festival of musicians, jugglers, jousting, etc that was so popular it endured for at least a century. I created my story idea, emailed her occasionally during my writing when I had questions, and she helped me with information and actual photos of parts of the castle — specific photos I hadn’t taken while I was there. When I finished the book she set up a live interview with BBC radio! She was interviewed in the field at the castle, and I was interviewed by the radio personality over the phone from my home. I’m glad I visited the castle that day and that Last Seen is a result of that!

  4. How do you manage to avoid burn-out? What do you do to maintain your enthusiasm for writing?

    For one thing, I like my protagonist, McLaren, a lot, so I’m always thinking of adventures and mysteries for him. I have more ideas for him than I can write at the moment. I love Britain, so there are many places that I envision would be great for a mystery involving him, so that keeps my enthusiasm going. I’ve surrounded him with a best friend, Jamie, a fiancee and a sister, and McLaren’s Scottish grandfather and uncle. Any/all of those characters can have problems and need McLaren’s help to solve the mystery, so those are other avenues to create stories.  I also write another British mystery series: the Peak District mysteries. Those revolve around a British tradition. If I get tired of McLaren, I switch to the other series. I think that helps keep the brain active and my desire going.

  5. Is there a particular part of this story that you feel is more resonating in the audiobook performance than in the book format?

    Definitely!  I think the conversations are incredible — either heart warming, chilling, or funny. The characters come alive in an audiobook; the narrator’s accents and voice inflections pull you into the story so easily. Even though I wrote the book and knew what was coming, I laughed aloud at times when I heard the humorous scenes. I even teared up at once scene.

  6. If you had the power to time travel, would you use it? If yes, when and where would you go?

    Yes, but I’d abide by the rule that says you can’t interfere or change history. I’d go to England and Scotland, medieval through Tudor times. That period fascinates me.

  7. What do you say to those who view listening to audiobooks as “cheating” or as inferior to “real reading”?

    This makes no sense to me. There’s no law that says you have to read a book in order to count it as a story you’ve consumed. Reading is a way to immerse yourself into a book; listening is another. That’s like seeing a movie vs reading the book — you still have experienced the story but perhaps in a different form. Reading is great because you can envision the landscape and the characters, but listening is also good because the narrator gives the characters a 3-D quality through the dialogue. They’re really alive.

  8. What’s your favorite:

    1. Food – B’stilla
    2.  Song – There Is a Time by the Dillards, Short Grass by Ian & Sylvia
    3.  Book – Death at the Bar by Ngaio Marsh, The Reckoning by Charles Nicholl, Faith and Treason by Antonia Fraser
    4. Television show – it varies, but right now it’s Shakespeare and Hathaway series and NOVA
    5. Movie – 13 Rue Madeleine
    6.  Band
    7.  Sports team – St Louis Cardinals (baseball)
    8.  City – Christchurch, New Zealand
  9. What bits of advice would you give to aspiring authors?

    Don’t stop writing. Send your work out. If you stop, you’ll never be published. 

  10. What’s next for you?

    Last Seen is the second McLaren mystery. The third book, Shadow in the Smoke, will be out as an audiobook probably right before Christmas. To date, I have written eleven McLaren books, and I have contracts on three more audiobook versions. I think those three will be out next year. I’ve just begun writing the twelfth McLaren mystery, Hide and Seek, so things are popping!

  1. Mr. McLaren, I know you were a police detective with the Staffordshire Constabulary. What made you leave that job?
    A year ago a burglar broke into a pub that was owned by a 70-year old friend of mine. My friend hit the burglar with a fireplace poker in the process of defending his wife, himself and his job. The senior investigating police officer arrested my friend for assault, a charge that was obviously revenge and aimed at me for our personal differences. I was outraged at the arrest and threw the officer into a handy rose bush. When I was given the choice of taking a reduction in rank or resigning from the job, I left.
  2. Goodness! That was a life-changing decision. What do you do now?
    I repair and build dry stone walls in Derbyshire. I like the work because it’s solitary — that way, I don’t have to deal with people or their betrayals. Also gives me time to think.
  3. I understand you’ve solved some cold cases on your own, mostly murders. When did you get your private investigator’s license?
    I’m not a PI. I look into cold cases strictly as a private citizen. People I question have no obligation to answer my questions, but I find most of them are happy to assist me. When I need something official done, like arresting a suspect, I phone the Derbyshire Constabulary and they handle it.
  4. When you’re not busy with our stone wall job or investigating cold cases, what fills your time?
    I have a girlfriend, Dena, and I try to spend as much time with her as I can. We’re both busy, though–she volunteers at a tiger sanctuary and I of course have my two jobs. But I also play guitar and sing with my folk group. That’s strictly amateur stuff, however. We sing in a pub for drinks. I also like to cook and bake. My mum taught me while I was a kid–basic, simple British dishes. When I was on my own, I ventured into international cooking somewhat, but I still prefer making simple things like cider-baked potatoes, leek soup, and honeyed turkey. I think I like baking better than cooking, and I usually make something at least once a week. Things like scones or shortbread or a cottage loaf. Kneading bread is very relaxing.
  5. Cooking and baking are great ways to unwind, yes. Does Dena like to join you in the kitchen?
    Not really. I have her over for dinner about once a month, and she’s very content to let me do the whole meal! She says her culinary skill extends to opening a tin of soup and microwaving that, but I know she’s jesting. Dena’s involved in a lot of charity work and hasn’t the time or energy for cooking, although she can whip together a brilliant Lancashire Hot Pot when she really wants to.
  6. Had you always wanted to be in law enforcement?
    I think I became interested in my late teen years. My family lived in Scotland, in Auchtubh, north of Edinburgh, until I was two years old. My grandfather assumed my dad (his older son) would follow in the family tradition of overseeing the family business one day. My grandfather owns Strathearn Brewery. It’s been in existence for three hundred years. When my dad moved our family to Derbyshire, England to help out another branch of the family, we put down roots there. I grew up in the English environment and, since we weren’t involved in the running of the brewery, I became enamoured with law enforcement. I really don’t know how or why that evolved, but I loved the job and made some smashing friends.
  7. You mentioned your folk group. Tell me a bit about that.
    It’s a quartet: three lads and a lass. We do mainly British and American folk, mainly traditional things but we’ll sneak in a contemporary song or two at times. I play guitar. We took our group name, Woodstock Town, from one of the first songs we worked up, “Near Woodstock Town.” That was a smash hit when we performed it, probably because we had fewer wrong notes in that than in the others we sang.
  8. If you sing in a folk group, you must like music. Do you have any other type of music or group in particular as a favorite?
    Obviously, I like folk. But I like classic jazz and many Romantic and Baroque era pieces quite a lot. Things by Handel, Bach, Telemann are favorites, as are Grieg and Mendelssohn. I like Marian McPartland a lot too. I lean toward traditional folk, but if you want names of contemporary artists, I’d include the American a cappella group The Wee Heavies and the Scottish lads The McCalmans.
  9. Getting back to your cold case investigations… Have any cases been particularly difficult to solve, or have any of the victims touched your heart?
    I’d say the case I just finished was difficult emotionally for me. Dena, my girlfriend, had tried to get me interested in the case. She did a bit of amateur sleuthing so she could present me with some facts to entice me to investigate–her sleuthing was highly dangerous, by the way, and got her into grave danger. I had to rescue her and also solve the case.

 

Giveaway

Prize: $25 Amazon Gift Card

Last Seen Giveaway: $25 Amazon Gift Card
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book review · courtroom drama · NetGalley · thriller

Book Recommendation ‘n’ Review – The Verdict

The Verdict

by Olivia Isaac-Henry

A cheating wife. An estranged mother. But is she guilty of murder?

Please raise your right hand.
An affair at work has cost Julia Winter her job and her marriage. There’s no denying she has let her family down.

Please remain standing.
When a body is discovered on the North Downs, it hits local headlines. But for Julia, the news is doubly shocking because the body was buried just opposite the house she lived in over twenty years ago. And it is one of her former housemates.

Please resume your seat.
Up on the stand, Julia’s not the only person to have secrets that are unearthed during the trial. But the evidence against her is overwhelming.

And yet one question remains: is she the murderer, or the victim?

Jurors, you may be excused.

My Review

I’m a sucker for a courtroom trial, so the blurb drew me in instantly. It was quite some time before the story got to the trial stage and I did think I’d missed something key in that summary to the effect that there would be no trial …and then it came. Oh happy days! It was worth the wait, well worth it.

The story runs along multiples timelines, primarily 1994 and 2018.
In 1994, Julia Winter has broken up with her boyfriend, Christian, and needs to starts afresh somewhere new. Unfortunately, she can’t get over the fact that he dumped her for another girl, and so in her haste to get away, prove she is strong and independent, she takes a room at the home of Genevieve D’Auncey in Guildford. It is here that she meets Brandon Wells, the man she is later accused of killing. Other tenants are also included in this act – Alan & Gideon – and the three are on trial for Brandon’s murder when his body is found in 2018.

Genevieve is a strange lady, grieving for her missing son (she clings to the fact that he may still be alive following an accident in the Alps) and, as a result, she takes a shine to Brandon. This favouritism leads to some animosity between other tenants, and her sister, Ruth, is particularly concerned about his affect on Genevieve.

When Genevieve takes her own life, the tenants eventually disperse and carry on with their lives. But the situation left behind comes back to haunt them.
Initially, Brandon is accused of theft and his disappearance explained as such, but when his remains are found on the Downs some 23 years later, then the mystery is reignited.
DNA points to Julia being involved, and Alan and Gideon are accused too. The three of them face trial, their legal defences all agreeing that none should testify.
The trial that follows is fascinating and dramatic as twists and turns reveal yet more secrets and potential scenarios. It is here that the reader finally learns the truth about the events leading up and after Brandon’s murder. It is here when the real personalities of the three tenants are revealed, none of them are hugely likeable, some more monstrous than others, but the way the author delivers this information is sublime and kept me hooked. delivering
There is a very clever twist at the end with an unexpected yet satisfying outcome.

I received a copy of this book from Netgalley and have to express my thanks to the author, Oliver Isaac-Henry for such an entertaining story, and to the publishers, Avon and One More Chapter, imprints of Harper-Collins for enabling this chance to read such a fabulous book.

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As always,

Audiobook · murder mystery · mystery · series

Audiobook Review – The Hanged Man’s Noose

The Hanged Man’s Noose

A Glass Dolphin Mystery #1

Small-town secrets and subterfuge lead to murder in this fast-moving, deftly written tale of high-stakes real estate wrangling gone amok.

Journalist Emily Garland lands a plum assignment as the editor of a niche magazine based in Lount’s Landing, a small town named after a colorful nineteeth century Canadian traitor. As she interviews the local business owners for the magazine, Emily quickly learns that many people are unhappy with real estate mogul Garrett Stonehaven’s plans to convert an old schoolhouse into a mega-box store. At the top of that list is Arabella Carpenter, the outspoken owner of an antiques shop, who will do just about anything to preserve the integrity of the town’s historic Main Street.

But Arabella is not alone in her opposition. Before long, a vocal dissenter at a town hall meeting about the proposed project dies. A few days later, another body is discovered, and although both deaths are ruled accidental, Emily’s journalistic suspicions are aroused.

Putting her reporting skills to the ultimate test, Emily teams up with Arabella to discover the truth behind Stonehaven’s latest scheme before the murderer strikes again.

My Review

5/5 stars

Emily Garland has a personal reason for agreeing to a new assignment in Lount’s Landing, where her boss wants her to keep an eye on the activities on Garrett Stonehaven. She heads to the small village outside Toronto as the new editor of a local magazine acquired recently by the company she works for.
Stonehaven has bought the old school building, initially to turn into a condo, but it soon transpires he has other plans. And that is when those who were once in support of his condo plans now start to voice concerns now opposing Stonehaven’s “megabox” development. When one of the more vocal dissidents dies from a peanut allergy, then suspicions are raised. His allergy was well-known and he always carried an epi-pen, so how could his death have occurred?
By now, Emily has befriended Arabella Carpenter, owner of the antiques stores – The Glass Dolphin – as well as Johnny Porter, a key advocate for ensuring prosperity for the retailers on Main St. A second death only adds fuel to the rumours that something more nefarious is in play.
Together, Emily and Arabella ask questions, and when the answers are not forthcoming, a look into the past of some of the residents suggest that Stonehaven is up to his old tricks.
There are links aplenty, secrets galore, and a plethora of clues to follow as the duo’s investigations truly takes hold.
Their blossoming friendship hits a few bumps as both Emily and Arabella have their own stories to tell, yet the determination – come what may – to get to the bottom of the deaths (of which there are more to come) leads them into danger.

The story develops at a good pace with an intriguing mix of characters – loyal friends, gossips, old-timers with hidden depths – all of whom are both entertaining and worthy of their places in the story.
A great mystery to follow, with plenty of clues to solve on the way. The ending works well, and leaves scope for more adventures. Another great mystery from Judy Penz Shulak, and the start of what will undoubtedly be an amazing series.

Great narration – very clear and easy to follow.
I received a copy from the author and have made the review voluntarily.

As always,

blog tour · mystery · Partners in Crime Tours · series

Blog Tour – How Deep is the Darkness

How Deep Is The Darkness by Mary Anne Edwards Banner

 

 

How Deep is the Darkness

A Charlie McClung Mystery

by Mary Anne Edwards

December 17, 2019 Book Blast

Synopsis:

How Deep is the Darkness by Mary Anne Edwards

Charlie McClung has always known about darkness, it’s part of being a police chief.

But now it’s spreading throughout the town and creeping into his life.

With each body found, the killer deepens the darkness and McClung must put an end to it.

Now.

Book Details:

Genre: Traditional Mystery Published by: Sellem Books Publication Date: December 2, 2019 Number of Pages: 247 ASIN:B081MYBYG8 Series: The Charlie McClung Mysteries Book 6 Purchase Links: Amazon | Goodreads

Read an excerpt:

This story begins on Monday, June 20, 1983, in Lyman County, Georgia

Chapter 1

Chief Charlie McClung stared at the pale, bloated body of Myron Wagstaff lying next to his own swimming pool. He’d seen enough bodies to know when dead is dead. And Myron was dead. McClung glanced at his wife standing near the diving board at the far end of the pool. Marian’s white tee shirt clung to her body and her wet hair was plastered to her head and neck. Hugging herself, she managed a pitiful grin. Not only was Myron Wagstaff a neighbor and the president of their Homeowners Association, but he was also Marian’s archnemesis. McClung knelt beside Myron, grabbed his thick wrist, and checked for a pulse. His fingers sank into doughy flesh. Myron’s waterlogged polo shirt looked as if it had been spray painted on his belly, now bloated more than normal. While McClung held his fingers in place waiting for a beat, he scanned the area. The patio furniture was jumbled together with the garden hose, snaking between the chairs, and stopping at the spot where Myron lay. That, combined with the fact there weren’t any signs of bruising on Myron, perhaps meant this was an accidental drowning. “Boss?” Sergeant Thayer asked as he stood behind McClung. He shook his head as he moved aside for the paramedics to perform their magic. But McClung realized not even Doctor Frankenstein could reanimate poor Myron. As the emergency team worked on Myron, Charlie hurried toward Marian. “Are you okay?” He kissed her forehead and pulled her into his arms. Marian’s body trembled against his chest. “Thayer! Get Marian a blanket.” The young sergeant ran full blast and quickly returned. “I’m okay just, um, just, um.” Marian fought hard to keep her tears in check. “Here.” Thayer’s breath pounded the back of Marian’s neck as he laid the blanket across her shoulders. Charlie released Marian, secured the blanket then blotted a tissue under her eyes and nose. “Here’s a clean one.” “Love the magical tissues.” A weak chuckle tumbled from Marian as she pulled the blanket tighter. “You’d think I’d be sweating in this June heat.” “Well, it’s not even ten o’clock. It’s cloudy, and you’re soaking wet.” Charlie glanced at her feet. “Where are your shoes?” “They were muddy, so I took them off before I went into Myron’s house to call 9-1-1 after I failed with CPR.” Marian sighed. “I was afraid that if Myron survived, he’d send me a bill to have the muddy floors cleaned.” Pointing at the patio doors, she winced. “My shoes are over there.” “What’s wrong?” Marian massaged her lower back. “I guess I hurt my back getting Myron out of the water. I’ll be okay.” Charlie squeezed her hand. Ever since Marian had the terrifying encounter with the Paper Heart Stalker and fell from a second-floor balcony last year, he worried about her health. When McClung came face to face with the Paper Heart Stalker, Marian almost lost her life to save his but unknowingly sacrificed their unborn child. He crossed over to the diving board and beckoned for her to follow. “Sit down. Here. Back toward me.” She eased down on the hard plank. Charlie’s strong hands ran across her shoulders and down her back. “Does it hurt?” “No, not really.” “I guess nothing’s broken, dislocated, or cracked.” He crossed over the board and sat down. “When I get home tonight, I’ll give you an intense massage once you’ve soaked in a tub of hot Epsom salt water.” “Sounds good.” Marian watched the paramedics work on Myron. The team’s jaws were tight as they knelt over Myron’s body. One paramedic rubbed the back of his neck as he stood in defeat while the other one closed Myron’s eyes and pulled a blanket over his face. “I didn’t think they’d have much luck reviving him. I’d hoped, but…” Marian’s voice trailed, her head heavy as she leaned on Charlie’s shoulder. “You did everything by the book. I still don’t see how you got Myron out of the pool.” Marian sighed. “I did what I had to.” She studied Charlie’s face, then swallowed hard and grimaced. “I tried to revive him. CPR but maybe if—.” “Don’t even go down that path.” Charlie scratched his eyebrow. “Dispatch said you saw a man run from the scene.” She sat up. “Yeah. Do you think he had something to do with this?” “Possibly, but we won’t know for sure until we’ve gathered the facts.” Charlie shrugged. “To me, every death is suspicious. Been fooled before but never again.” A year ago, two weeks after Charlie McClung had moved to Lyman County, he was called to the scene of a fatal shooting, Dianne Pannell. Without an investigation, the then chief of police ruled Dianne’s death a suicide, but Charlie proved it was murder after Dianne’s irritating neighbor, his now-wife, Marian, pressed him to look further into the case. “Yeah.” Marian murmured. Charlie stood. “Could be the guy got spooked when he saw Myron in the pool and ran away.” He held out his hand. “Come with me. The paramedics need to give you a quick check.” “Why? My back isn’t hurting that bad.” His hand cupped her cheek. “Sweetie, please just humor me.” Marian avoided looking at Myron and let her husband guide her to the ambulance. They met officers Willard and Marsh at the gate. Photographer Sam Goldstein wasn’t far behind. “Ma’am, are you okay?” Marsh’s voice quivered, and his eyebrows drew together. Marian looked at him for a moment. “I’m fine. Just a bit damp.” She bit her bottom lip and blinked several times. “Maybe a little shaken.” Both officers were like sons to Marian. A tentative smile eased the furrow between Marsh’s eyes. “Thank goodness.” Willard scratched his head. “Where are your shoes, ma’am?” McClung answered. “They’re outside the patio door. One of you get them for Marian.” “Consider it done, Boss.” Willard took off. “Marsh, I want you and Willard to help Thayer process the scene.” “Yes, Boss.” Willard returned a few minutes later, holding the less-muddy sneakers. His hands were filthy. “Here you go. I cleaned them up the best I could.” “Thank you, Willard.” Marian took the shoes. “No trouble.” “You two. Go assist Thayer.” McClung barked. “Wait.” Marian held up her hand. “I scratched the running guy’s tag number on the sidewalk.” “Marsh go find it. Willard, you report to Thayer.” McClung directed his trusted men. The two young men hurried off on opposite paths. “Sam, how did you know I needed you?” The silver-haired man tapped his temple. “Didn’t take me long to figure you out. You’re a cop that sees murder everywhere.” “But Sam, how did you know to come here?” Marian blurted. Charlie and Sam answered. “Police scanner.” Marian frowned. “Just anybody can have one?” “Yep!” Charlie sighed. “In this case, it’s a good thing but mostly it’s not.” Sam coughed. “I’ll just take a picture or two of that tag number.” “Yeah, do that. Plus, there’s a lot going on behind the house.” Charlie watched the older man trudge down the sidewalk. Camera bags banged against Sam’s body with each step he took. One of the paramedics joined McClung and Marian at the ambulance. “Ma’am don’t fret. There wasn’t a thing you could’ve done for that guy.” The bear of a man shook his head. “I ain’t no coroner, but I’ve been at this job for a long time. He’s been dead too long to be revived.” The reassurance that she wasn’t a factor in Myron’s death didn’t make Marian feel any better. “Mel, do you mind giving my wife a quick once-over to make sure she’s safe to go home?” Charlie stroked Marian’s back as he spoke. “Sure.” Mel removed his latex gloves and put on a fresh pair. He tilted his head toward the rear of the ambulance. “Just sit there.” “Boss.” Thayer called to McClung from the open gate. Charlie looked at Marian. “Go on. Do your job.” Marian kissed her husband’s cheek. He didn’t move from her side. “I’m fine, just a tweaked back. Besides you’re making me nervous watching me like a hawk.” “Boss.” Thayer repeated more urgently. Charlie smiled and gave her a casual salute. “As you wish.” McClung hurried toward Thayer. “Found something?” “I think I figured out what happened.” McClung disappeared behind the fence. ♦♦♦♦♦♦ “What is it, Thayer?” McClung followed him into Myron’s house as he pulled a pair of latex gloves from his pocket. “I was hoping I could go a whole year without having to use these.” “Makes for a mundane job.” Sergeant Thayer said flatly. “Here sir, in the kitchen. There’s a half-empty bottle of whiskey and one glass.” McClung arched an eyebrow as he leaned over to study the bottle of Four Roses Single Barrel Bourbon Whiskey. About three fingers of liquid was left inside the bottle, a few drops coated the bottom of the tumbler. He walked to the sink and smelled the drain. No lingering odor of alcohol. Then he carefully picked up the tumbler. “Thayer, flip on the overhead light.” The fluorescent tubes buzzed to life. McClung held up the tumbler to the harsh light. On the rim, was a faint lip print. “Hmm, make sure you dust this for prints and bag it.” He set it back in its original position. Marsh squinted as he entered the kitchen. “Boss, put me to work.” “Where’s Sam?” “Taking pictures of the deceased before they cart him away.” McClung rubbed his earlobe. “Tell Mel to instruct the hospital not to release the body until I say so. I want Jack Jackson to do the autopsy, if he’s available.” He snapped his fingers. “And tell Sam I’ll need him in here when he’s finished.” “Will do.” Marsh headed outside. McClung studied every inch of the kitchen: the floor, inside the cabinets, oven, and refrigerator. He examined everything as he searched for possible clues. There was no hint to what may have led to Myron’s death. “Boss, I don’t think it’s murder.” McClung raised an eyebrow and replied sarcastically, “Yeah? Well then, enlighten me with your hypothesis of poor Wagstaff’s watery demise.” He strolled toward the open patio door and headed for the pool. As Thayer spoke, McClung studied the jumbled furniture. “Myron was drunk, got tangled up in the patio furniture, stumbled around, and then fell into the pool. He was too drunk to get himself out of the water.” McClung pushed out his bottom lip and nodded. “Hm. He was in the shallow end. All he had to do was stand up.” Thayer rubbed the top of his head. “Maybe he hit his head on the bottom. Knocked himself out.” McClung wandered around the pool. He stopped where the garden hose lay beside the pool. The concrete was soaked, and the grass drenched to the point that a small stream had flowed down the incline, out the gate and onto the street. “What do you think Myron was doing with the hose?” Thayer hunched his shoulders. “Topping off the pool?” “Yeah, sounds right.” McClung pointed to the water-logged grass. “The hose had to be on for a long time to have created that miniature creek rolling down the hill and into the street.” “That goes to show I’m right. He was drunk standing here. The hose got tangled in the furniture. He yanked it. Lost his balance. Dropped the hose. Hit his head on the concrete and fell into the pool. Accidental drowning.” Thayer crossed his arms and grinned. McClung pulled on his bottom lip. “Plausible.” Something on the concrete caught his eye. “What does this look like to you?” McClung knelt close to the spot. “It looks like blood. Must be where he hit his head.” “Yeah, and what about this?” McClung touched a hard, yellowish, rectangular-shaped chip, like a half of a Chiclet. He looked around for Sam Goldstein. The EMTs were talking to Sam as he photographed Myron’s body. McClung yelled over his shoulder. “Sam, get over here.” The paramedics began moving Myron’s body. “What do we have there?” Sam held the camera to his eye, snapping pictures as McClung pointed toward the areas. “That appears to be blood.” McClung pointed to the yellowish object. “And that, my friend, doesn’t belong here. Possibly a clue.” Thayer knelt beside McClung. “Yep, could be. It looks like old ivory?” McClung thought the odd chip looked familiar, but the vague memory faded away. Sam zoomed to get a few tight shots of the chip and the blood spatters. McClung glanced at the EMTs. “Thayer, bag it and look for more spatters and anything else in this area. I want a chat with Mel.” “Mel, where’s Marian? Is she all right?” McClung moved out of the way of the paramedics while they loaded Myron onto the stretcher. “She’s fine. Just hurt her back. Understandable.” Mel groaned as they lifted Myron’s body. “Even for me this guy is hefty. I’m surprised your wife got him out of the water. She’s a tiny lady. What 5’3’ and 125 pounds?” McClung snorted as he nodded. “Yep, but she’s stubborn. If she’s got it in her mind to do something, consider it done.” “Is Marian still sitting in the back of the ambulance?” McClung followed the gurney. “No, sir. She’s sittin on the front stoop waitin on you.” Officer Billy Crawford met them inside the gate. McClung couldn’t help but smile at his oldest officer. Crawford was always in a jolly mood. But not this morning. “Boss, sorry it took me so long to get here.” Crawford wore a rare frown. “What’s the matter?” McClung waved the paramedics to go on. Crawford shifted the criminal investigation kit from one hand to the other. “Ah, the missus got news her favorite uncle isn’t doing so good and her dad’s not taking it none too well. If her uncle dies, my father-in-law will be the last one left in his family.” McClung gripped Crawford’s firm shoulder. “I’m sorry to hear that. Are you sure you should be here? Your wife needs you.” “Thanks, but I’m not much help. Best thing for me is to stay out of her way.” “Okay, but don’t be shy about asking for time off. Understand?” “I appreciate that, Boss.” “If there’s anything we can do, don’t hesitate to ask.” He shook his index finger at his officer. “I mean it. Ask. Marian will make sure you’re fed, you got that?” “Yes, Boss. But I saw her sitting out front, and she doesn’t look so good.” McClung’s eyes widened. “What?” “You didn’t know she’s here?” Crawford pulled back his head. “Yeah, but she said she was fine.” McClung patted the officer’s back. “Let me go speak with her. I’ll catch up with you later.” Charlie hurried to find his wife, but stopped a few yards away to observe her. So many questions he needed to ask, but he was worried about her. Marian didn’t need this stress. Not now. Marian looked like a triangular-shaped lump of coal. The dark gray blanket was wound tightly around her body and she was resting her forehead on her knees, which she’d pulled up to her chest. Charlie wondered how she was able to breathe. He sat beside her and rubbed her back. “Sweetie?” Marian’s head popped up. “Hey! I didn’t hear you come up. I must’ve dozed off as I was praying.” “Yeah? Are you sure you’re okay? You don’t look so hot.” Charlie wrapped his arms around her. Marian winced. “You’re such a sweet talker.” Charlie released his embrace. “Sorry.” His fingers massaged her lower back. “That’s okay.” Marian pulled off the blanket and neatly folded it. “I’m tired. I want to lie down. Is it okay for me to walk home, now?” “Nope, it’s at least a mile and a half. I’m driving you home.” She straightened her legs. “Might as well. These sneakers are ruined. Not good for anything but stomping around in the yard.” Marian tucked the thin blanket under her arm. “What about the investigation? Aren’t you going to question me?” “Your well-being is more important to me. Besides, Thayer’s opinion is this is an accidental drowning. My best team is on this. They don’t need me telling them how to do their job. And you can tell me what happened when you feel like it.” “Now?” “Do you honestly want to talk about it now?” Marian whispered. “I need to, but—” “But means later. Tonight?” “Yeah, tonight.” Charlie held her hand as they walked toward the gate. “Let me tell the guys I’m taking you home.” McClung passed the EMTs as he disappeared behind the fence. Marian shuddered as she watched the paramedics load Myron’s body inside the ambulance. “I’ve witnessed this scene too many times in the past year.” *** Excerpt from How Deep is the Darkness: A Charlie McClung Mystery by Mary Anne Edwards. Copyright 2019 by Mary Anne Edwards. Reproduced with permission from Mary Anne Edwards. All rights reserved.

 

 

Author Bio:

Mary Anne Edwards Born in Mercedes, Texas, Mary Anne has lived in Georgia for most of her life. A life-long fan of authors such as Agatha Christie, Anne Perry, Caroline Graham, and Elizabeth Peters, it wasn’t until a few years ago that Mary Anne listened to the voices in her head and began writing her own series of traditional mysteries featuring Detective Charlie McClung. The first book in the series, Brilliant Disguise, was released to critical acclaim in January 2014. The next three in the series, A Good Girl, Criminal Kind, and Sins of my Youth were released soon afterward. The fifth book in the series, Flirting with Time, was released on June 30, 2017. The sixth book, How Deep is the Darkness, will be released on December 2, 2019. She is working on the seventh book, Complex Kid, with at least three more to follow. Mary Anne and her husband live in Smyrna, GA with an ill-tempered Tuxedo cat named Gertrude. Mary Anne is a member of Sisters in Crime and sits on the advisory board of Rockdale Cares, a non-profit advocacy group for the developmentally challenged.

Catch Up With Mary Anne Edwards: MaryAnneEdwards.com, Goodreads, BookBub, Instagram, Twitter, & Facebook!

 

 

Book Blast Participants:

Visit these other great hosts on this tour for more great reviews, interviews, guest posts, and giveaways! Books Can Be Deadly        Mythical Books Quiet Fury Books Teatime and Books Eclectic Moods     CMash Reads I’m All About Books              Just 4 My Books Archaeolibrarian – I Dig Good Books!              Novels N Latte Lisa-Queen of Random     Tome Tender EienCafe               Celticladys Reviews The Book Divas Reads       Our Town Book Reviews 

GIVEAWAY!!!!:

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Mary Anne Edwards. There will be 2 winners of one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card each. The giveaway begins on December 17, 2019 and runs through December 27, 2019. Void where prohibited.

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Audiobook · blog tour · book review · mystery · series

Audiobook Tour ‘n’ Review – Fatal Lies (The Lies Mystery Series #2)

Lies by Andrew Cunningham

Author: Andrew Cunningham

Narrator: Greg Hernandez

Length: 5 hours 57 minutes

Series: Lies, Book 2

Released: Nov. 5, 2018

Publisher: Andrew Cunningham

Genre: Mystery, Modern Detective

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Synopsis

Daisy Leduc was forgotten and alone. That was just how she wanted it. But when she is discovered stabbed to death in a dusty little Texas town, it plunges Del Honeycutt and best-selling mystery author Sabrina Spencer into a 30-year-old mystery involving murder, hidden identities, dangerous family secrets, political intrigue, and a long-forgotten serial killer.

Daisy’s estranged daughter, who hasn’t seen her mother in years, receives a package sent shortly before her mother’s death. A note instructs her to immediately contact Sabrina and give her the package if Daisy is killed. But why Sabrina? The temptation to uncover the answer leads Del and Sabrina on a dangerous quest to find Daisy’s killer. When they discover Daisy, under a different name, supposedly died 30 years earlier, they find themselves squarely in the cross hairs of killers whose deadly secrets lie in Daisy’s mysterious past.

I’m the author of novels in several genres, including, mystery, thriller, and post-apocalyptic science fiction. Under the name A.R. Cunningham, I’ve also written the Arthur MacArthur series of mysteries for children.

I was born in England, but have spent most of my life living in the U.S.—including 25 years on Cape Cod before moving to Florida. A former interpreter for the deaf and long-time independent bookseller, I’ve been a full-time freelance writer and copy editor for many years. A 4th-degree Master Black belt in Tang Soo Do, I finally retired from active training when my body said, “Enough already! Why are you doing this to yourself?” I’m married, with two grown children and two awesome grandsons. My wife and I spend as much time traveling as we can, and are especially fond of cruising the Caribbean.

​I have been gratified by the response to my books. When I published Eden Rising back in the spring of 2013, I had no idea what to expect. When I sold my first few copies, I was excited beyond belief that someone was willing to take a chance on it. Numerous books and thousands of copies later, I am still humbled by the emails I get from readers telling me that my books kept them up late into the night.

In October of 2014, Wisdom Spring made me an official Amazon Bestselling author, a thrill I never thought would happen. But it still comes down to being able to bring a few hours of escape to a reader. That’s what it’s all about for me.

I hope you will try my books. Please feel free to email me with your comments.

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Narrator Bio

Author-preferred Narrator of Mysteries & Thrillers

Narrating audiobooks is highly gratifying. I immerse myself into an author’s story in order to bring it to life for the listener. I’ve enjoyed working with Andrew Cunningham for several years. His books are filled with rich characters, and the stories keep me turning the pages.

I also work as a background actor in movies and TV shows.

For more than 20 years, I worked as a radio news reporter and news writer. I spent half of my broadcasting career at ABC News Radio in the Washington, D.C., bureau. I covered all the federal agencies as well as Congress and the White House. I reported on a wide range of stories during my career, including financial and entertainment industry news.

For nearly 24 years, I worked as a federal government spokesman at three separate agencies—National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), U.S. Mint and Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC).

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As the second book in the series it was easy to get into the swing of things as the story picked up after Del and Sabrina’s “adventures” in Brazil. Being a mystery author, it was not unrealistic to believe that Sabrina might write about that experience, but it was good to see Del having a hand in it too.
This book involved looking back at Sabrina’s time in prison when a fellow prisoner – Daisy – was killed, and left a package for Sabrina. Collecting the package kicked off a series of events in which Del and Sabrina were in constant danger, being followed, arrested, and ultimately lured into a mine by Daisy’s killer.
Running alongside that mystery was the case of the Taunting Man, a serial killer whose murderous ways seemed connected to Daisy’s family. (Daisy was Lucinda Holt, whose wealthy family owned a mining enterprise, and from whom Daisy ran away as a teenager some 30 years ago, never to be reunited with them again)
There were twists and turns in the story that held me rapt, even if sometimes these were a little far-fetched. The romance between Del and Sabrina developed and blossomed throughout and I learnt lots about them as people, more about Sabrina to be honest. Del, through whom the story was told, insisted he was uninteresting in his true self-deprecating style from start to finish.

Greg Hernandez was once again the narrator for the audio version, and as before he delivered a fabulous story. I particularly loved Del’s mini inner outbursts and the sarcasm dripped beautifully.

I received this audiobook as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. The tour is being sponsored by Greg Hernandez. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.

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book review · crime · historical · NetGalley · romance

Book Review – Too Many Heroes

Where can a wanted man hide in a country full of returned war heroes?
It’s 1952 and Frank Danby has been looking over his shoulder for the last ten years, forced to lead an itinerant life, getting work wherever he can while trying to keep one step ahead of the police.
Returning to London, he finds a job in an East End pub, where he becomes entangled with Grace, the young and beautiful wife of the landlord. Then the law comes knocking. Facing a justice system prejudiced against him, Frank must find a way to escape the gallows.
Too Many Heroes is a gripping period thriller, exploring love, belonging and betrayal in a country still recovering from WW2. A must for fans of the post-war novels of Philip Kerr, Kate Atkinson and Sara Sheridan

About the author: Jan Turk Petrie lives in the UK.
She is the author of the fast paced Nordic thriller series: the Eldísvík novels. All three of these gripping novels are set in 2068 in a fictional city state just below the artic circle.

‘Until The Ice Cracks’ – the first of the trilogy was published in July 2018.
Volume Two – ‘No God for a Warrior’ was published in November 2018
The third and final volume – ‘Within Each Other’s Shadow’ was published in April 2019

‘Too Many Heroes’ a stand-alone thriller set in England in 1952 was published in August 2019.

A former English teacher with an MA in Creative Writing from the University of Gloucestershire, Jan has also written numerous, prize-winning short stories.

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My Review

4/5 stars

The story starts with a war time prologue, during which Frank is a rear gunner in a plane that has just been hit. He encourages his crewmates to bail out and save themselves, but they decline.

Chapter one moves onto the early 1950’s, and Frank is moving from job to job, sending money home as often as he can. He gets a job in the Eight Bells Public House while the owner’s wife, Grace, is away in Brighton visiting her mother.  When Grace returns, Frank expects to lose his job, but instead he is kept on by the landlord, Dennis.

Dennis has his fingers in a few pies, not to mention enjoys gambling. So, having Frank around gives him more time to indulge his “hobbies”. It also allows Frank and Grace to get to know each other better …a lot better!

When Dennis gets attacked one night, and is later murdered, it’s clear he hasn’ t been hanging out with a good crowd. At the same time, Frank is kidnapped for a few hours, just long enough to not give him an alibi for Dennis’s murder.

Frank is the main suspect now in the murder, and former locals warn Grace that there are people who want her out of the pub at any price. Frank has to hide, leaving Grace to deal with her husband’s funeral with her best friend, Dot, to help.

Is their romance over? Will Frank be caught and hanged for Dennis’s murder as the slimy, moustachioed detective claims?

The book is a slow-burner, and it takes quite some time before the prologue actually makes any sense – or at least it did to me. The story is categorised as a crime thriller, and while there are elements that relate to the criminal goings-on in London at that time, and that Frank is a deserter (a crime by itself), it’s not a typical crime thriller, more of a romance with a criminal thread running through it. The characters are believable and, despite the slow pace, it’s an easy read with a surprising ending.

I received a copy from Netgalley and this review is wholly my own.

PS – I just love the cover!

As always,

Audiobook · blog tour · book review · mystery · series

Audiobook Tour ‘n’ Review – All Lies (The Lies Mystery Series #1)

Lies by Andrew Cunningham

Author: Andrew Cunningham

Narrator: Greg Hernandez

Length: 7 hours 20 minutes

Series: Lies, Book 1

Released: Dec. 22, 2017

Publisher: Andrew Cunningham

Genre: Mystery, Modern Detective

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Synopsis

“I come from a long line of idiots.”

Those were the last words his father uttered before dying, and from what he knew of his family tree and the unfortunate end that came to so many of his ancestors, Del Honeycutt couldn’t disagree. What he didn’t know was that his family held dark secrets – secrets that were about to come crashing down upon him.

A seemingly innocent date gone tragically wrong plunges Del into a web of murder, lies, greed, and a hidden fortune dating back to a crime committed 85 years earlier by his great-grandfather. Accompanied by Sabrina, the sister of Del’s brutally murdered date, a violent journey of discovery and fear begins. Pursued by vicious killers intent on eliminating anyone with knowledge of the 85-year-old crime, their only hope of survival is to find the reason behind the original crime and why, decades later, someone is still willing to kill to keep it hidden. But Sabrina is concealing a monstrous lie of her own. Is she who she says she is?

By the author of the Amazon best-selling thriller, Wisdom Spring.

I’m the author of novels in several genres, including, mystery, thriller, and post-apocalyptic science fiction. Under the name A.R. Cunningham, I’ve also written the Arthur MacArthur series of mysteries for children.

I was born in England, but have spent most of my life living in the U.S.—including 25 years on Cape Cod before moving to Florida. A former interpreter for the deaf and long-time independent bookseller, I’ve been a full-time freelance writer and copy editor for many years. A 4th-degree Master Black belt in Tang Soo Do, I finally retired from active training when my body said, “Enough already! Why are you doing this to yourself?” I’m married, with two grown children and two awesome grandsons. My wife and I spend as much time traveling as we can, and are especially fond of cruising the Caribbean.

​I have been gratified by the response to my books. When I published Eden Rising back in the spring of 2013, I had no idea what to expect. When I sold my first few copies, I was excited beyond belief that someone was willing to take a chance on it. Numerous books and thousands of copies later, I am still humbled by the emails I get from readers telling me that my books kept them up late into the night.

In October of 2014, Wisdom Spring made me an official Amazon Bestselling author, a thrill I never thought would happen. But it still comes down to being able to bring a few hours of escape to a reader. That’s what it’s all about for me.

I hope you will try my books. Please feel free to email me with your comments.

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Narrator Bio

Author-preferred Narrator of Mysteries & Thrillers

Narrating audiobooks is highly gratifying. I immerse myself into an author’s story in order to bring it to life for the listener. I’ve enjoyed working with Andrew Cunningham for several years. His books are filled with rich characters, and the stories keep me turning the pages.

I also work as a background actor in movies and TV shows.

For more than 20 years, I worked as a radio news reporter and news writer. I spent half of my broadcasting career at ABC News Radio in the Washington, D.C., bureau. I covered all the federal agencies as well as Congress and the White House. I reported on a wide range of stories during my career, including financial and entertainment industry news.

For nearly 24 years, I worked as a federal government spokesman at three separate agencies—National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), U.S. Mint and Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC).

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A very enjoyable story with lots going on, so much so that the story held my interest from start to end.
Delmore (Del) Honeycutt is merely going through the motions when an online date changes his life. Not in the way you might imagine though. He didn’t click with Izzy Worth and found her questions about his grandfather most puzzling, especially when he had no answers for her.
So, imagine his surprise when he is asked by police to prove his whereabouts when Izzy is found dead.
Nothing is the same after that, as he is shot at, robbed, threatened all within a few days.
Spurred on by his neighbours and mother, he gives up his boring job and takes times to explore the ideas churning in his mind since Izzy’s questions. What did his grandfather have to do with what was happening to him now?
Cue the mystery author sister of Izzy (with her own troubled back story), an art heist from the 1930s, a treasure hunt and lots of interested parties eager to block him by any means necessary.

Great narration: Del’s inner thoughts come through with the perfect amount of sarcasm, and there’s no confusion as to who’s speaking when it comes to dialogue ( even when the scenes include multiple characters).

Recommended to mystery fans who enjoy a tangled web of clues all held together by strong protagonists.

I received this audiobook as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. The tour is being sponsored by Greg Hernandez. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.

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