blog tour · book review · contemporary fiction · crime · police procedural · thriller

Blog Tour ‘n’ Book Review – Broken Silence

Broken Silence

When DS Felicity Springer is reported missing after a police training conference, the countdown to find her begins…

On her way home after an exhausting weekend, with colleagues she can’t wait to escape, Felicity notices something odd about the white van in front of her. A hand has punched through the car’s rear light and is frantically waving, trying to catch her attention.

Desperate to help, Felicity dials 999 and calls it in. But whilst on the phone, she loses control of the car on the icy road, crashing straight into the vehicle ahead.

Pinned in the seat and unable to move, Felicity feels a sudden whoosh of cold air across her face. Someone has opened the passenger door… and they have a gun.

With Felicity missing and no knowledge of whether she is dead or alive, DS Nikki Parekh and DC Sajid Malik race to find their friend and colleague.

But Felicity was harbouring a terrible secret, and with her life now hanging in the balance, Nikki can only hope that someone will come forward and break the silence…

Purchase Links

E book https://www.amazon.co.uk/Broken-Silence-absolutely-gripping-thriller-ebook/dp/B083Z3ZZ61

Paperback https://www.amazon.co.uk/Liz-Mistry-2-3/dp/0008358370

Author Bio 

Born in Scotland, Made in Bradford sums up Liz Mistry’s life. Over thirty years ago she moved from a small village in West Lothian to Yorkshire to get her teaching degree. Once here, Liz fell in love with three things; curries, the rich cultural diversity of the city … and her Indian husband (not necessarily in this order). Now thirty years, three children, two cats (Winky and Scumpy) and a huge extended family later, Liz uses her experiences of living and working in the inner city to flavour her writing. Her gritty crime fiction police procedural novels set in Bradford embrace the city she describes as ‘Warm, Rich and Fearless’ whilst exploring the darkness that lurks beneath.

Struggling with severe clinical depression and anxiety for a large number of years, Liz often includes mental health themes in her writing. She credits the MA in Creative Writing she took at Leeds Trinity University with helping her find a way of using her writing to navigate her ongoing mental health struggles. Being a debut novelist in her fifties was something Liz had only dreamed of and she counts herself lucky, whilst pinching herself regularly to make sure it’s all real. One of the nicest things about being a published author is chatting with and responding to readers’ feedback and Liz regularly does events at local libraries, universities, literature festivals and open mics. She also teaches creative writing too. Now, having nearly completed a PhD in Creative Writing focussing on ‘the absence of the teen voice in adult crime fiction’ and ‘why expansive narratives matter’, Liz is chock full of ideas to continue writing.

In her spare time, Liz loves pub quizzes (although she admits to being rubbish at them), dancing (she does a mean jig to Proud Mary – her opinion, not ratified by her family), visiting the varied Yorkshire landscape, with Robin Hoods Bay being one of her favourite coastal destinations, listening to music, reading and blogging about all things crime fiction on her blog, The Crime Warp.

Social Media Links 

FB https://www.facebook.com/LizMistrybooks/

Twitter @LizMistryAuthor

Website: https://www.lizmistry.com/

My Review

This is a real find! As my first book by Liz Mistry, I know I’ll be reading much more of her work from here on.

DS Felicity Springer leaves the conference centre feeling wiped-out, as though she’d drunk too much when she’s convinces she hadn’t but can barely remember what happened at all. To avoid the likelihood of being stopped by police on her way home she takes the back roads. the weather is awful but she makes out a hand sticking out of the rear light on the van in front of her and, ever the policewoman, decides to pursue. Still not feeling great, she puts in a call to the police but then drops her phone …

The police are alerted to Springer’s call, and when she doesn’t reply they race to track her vehicle …only to find it empty apart from her bag and some blood.

Nikki Parekh and her colleague Saj Malik are charged with finding her, a daunting task given that Nikki and Felicity aren’t exactly bosom buddies. But Springer’s disappearance is not the only crime occurring in Bradford over the coming days. Bodies are found in remote locations, fires break out throughout the city and the emergency services are overwhelmed. It appears there’s a new Mister Big in town and he intends to make his mark.

This is a gritty novel that had me enthralled from the outset. It covers contemporary themes such as homophobia, sexism, racism and the story revolves around modern-day slavery. It’s compelling and utterly addictive. 

Highly recommended! Readers who enjoy fast-paced stories with intriguing and interesting characters will enjoy this tense slice of reality. An amazing story. 

For more news and reviews, check out these blogs: 

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blog tour · book launch · cosy · mystery

Release Blitz – Hairballs & Homicide

A Kitty Beret Cafe Mystery, Book 1

Cozy Mystery

Release Date: June 26, 2020

 

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When Ellie Warren opens the Kitty Beret Café, her life revolves
around finding forever homes for rescued cats and serving lattes. That is,
until a woman’s body is discovered behind her shop—the same
woman who’d thrown a hissy fit with Ellie in front of lots of
witnesses. With Ellie’s cat, Templeton, supplying clues and the help
of handsome Detective Simon Dare, she’s on the prowl for the murderer.
Will Ellie discover the identity of the culprit before the murderer sinks
their claws into her?

 

 

 About the Author

Ruth J. Hartman spends her days herding cats and her nights spinning
mysterious tales that make you smile. She, her husband, and their cats love
to spend time curled up in their recliners watching old Cary Grant movies.
Well, the cats sit in the people’s recliners. Not that the cats couldn’t get
their own furniture. They just choose to shed on someone else’s.

Ruth, a left-handed, cat-herding, farmhouse-dwelling writer uses her sense
of humor as she writes tales of lovable, klutzy women who seem to find
trouble without even trying.

Ruth’s husband and best friend, Garry, reads her manuscripts, rolls his
eyes at her weird story ideas, and loves her in spite of her penchant for
insisting all of her books have at least one cat in them.

 

Contact Links 

Website

Twitter

Facebook

Promo Link

 

Purchase Link

Amazon

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Audiobook · blog tour · book review · mystery · paranormal · series

Audiobook Review – The Soul Searchers Mysteries: Donn’s Shadow

Audiobook Series Blog Tour: The Soul Searchers Mysteries by Caryn Larrinaga

Author: Caryn Larrinaga

Narrator: Jessica McEvoy

Length: 9 hours 51 minutes

Series: The Soul Searchers Mysteries, Book 2

Released: March 2020

Publisher: Twisted Tree Press

Genre: Supernatural Cozy Mystery

Mackenzie Clair finally has this whole ghost-hunting psychic thing figured out. The Soul Searchers are a hit, she’s got pet-parenting down, and she even has a plan to banish the poltergeist running amok at a lakeside cabin. Best of all, Donn’s Hill feels like home. But not everyone loves the town as much as Mac.

A world-famous paranormal debunker thinks the psychics in Donn’s Hill are lying about their abilities. His determination to destroy the Soul Searchers threatens Mac’s livelihood, and when a killer strikes, the sheriff’s suspicions threaten her freedom.

Mac needs all the help she can get to find the real murderer and clear her name… even if that help comes from beyond the grave.

Buy on Audible

Caryn Larrinaga is a self-described horror evangelist and paranormal junkie. Her debut supernatural mystery novel, DONN’S HILL, won the League of Utah Writers 2017 Silver Quill Award in the adult novel category and was a 2017 Dragon Award finalist. Her short fiction has won multiple honors and been featured in local and international anthologies. Watching scary movies through split fingers terrified Caryn as a child, and those nightmares inspire her to write now. She lives near Salt Lake City, Utah, with her husband and their clowder of cats. Visit http://www.carynlarrinaga.com for free short stories and audiobooks.

WebsiteTwitterFacebookInstagramGoodreads

Narrator Bio

Between peddling video games and teaching yoga in her home state of Arizona, Jessica McEvoy attempts to conduct a career as a professional voice actress. This, however, is moderately undermined by the fact that she records in a dimly lit closet with her microphone balanced on a stack of old board games (Junior Scrabble and Powerpuff Girls Monopoly form a strong foundation), but she hopes that no one holds that against her.

Though her main work consists of narrating audiobooks, her first dive into the voice world was through the NoSleep podcast after answering a post from the LibriVox forums. Having been raised on horror movies and scary stories, she was beyond excited to be able to work on the show. Many stories, tortured screams, deranged villains, and creepy little girl giggles later, Jessica hopes to work on the podcast for seasons and seasons to come.

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Yay! At long last the audiobook for Donn’s Shadow landed in my inbox. Was I excited? Of course. Book One was amazing in every aspect, and it was great to see the same narrator was back.

As before, this was well written,  totally absorbing and cunningly mysterious. This time, the author introduced a touch of horror, which made me wary since I’m no horror fan usually. Luckily, this was done in such a way that the story was intriguing enough to keep my attention, and the horror elements didn’t overwhelm the mystery; rather the tension ratcheted up several notches.

When the team set up ready to film at the lakeside after a spirit had previously harmed an innocent adventurer, they are rudely interrupted by the one man Mac had taken an instant dislike to. Raziel, a famous psychic debunker, arrived in Donn’s Hill determined to out those he considered frauds. Such was his determination that he had Mac and the team on his radar too. So, when he was found murdered, Mac’s name was quickly added to the suspect list. And, clearing her name proved more difficult than she expected.

The characters were well written, and Mac’s past was developed further with some letters from her mom to Gabriela (a character from book one now awaiting trial for murder / manslaughter). Continuity from book one means reading or listening the first in the series is advised, as this is a series in every sense of the word but especially with character development. As before, Striker outclassed the human contingency, and some new characters cropped up with interesting businesses …well, Donn’s Hill is not the place for your regular entrepreneur 😉

The mystery was very well written, and the ending was another winner. This author knows how to finish a story with a flourish. Another great paranormal mystery, with superb narration. I really hope there’ll be another in the series.

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

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blog tour · Partners in Crime Tours · series · Spotlight

A Spotlight on “Tooth for Tooth” (plus giveaway)

Tooth for Tooth

by JK Franko

on Tour June 1 – July 31, 2020

Synopsis:

Tooth for Tooth by JK Franko

What would YOU do?

What would you do if you got away with murder? Would you stop there? Could you?

Susie and Roy thought that they committed the perfect crime.

Their planning was meticulous. Their execution flawless.

But, there is always a loose end, isn’t there? Always a singing bone.

Now, while enemies multiply and suspicions abound, their perfect world begins to crumble.

The hunters have become the hunted.

IN THIS BLISTERINGLY RELENTLESS SEQUEL TO HIS DEBUT SHOCKER, EYE FOR EYE, J.K. FRANKO TAKES READERS ON A BREATHTAKING JOURNEY OF CAT AND MOUSE

Book Details:

Genre: Thriller, Suspense, Crime, Legal
Published by:Talion Publishing
Publication Date: April 4th 2020
Number of Pages: 400
ISBN: 9781999318819
Series: Talion Series, #2
Purchase Links: Amazon || Goodreads

Read an excerpt:

PROLOGUE

Before meeting Susie and Roy, I had never met a murderer. But then, I had also never lied to the police or destroyed evidence. I had never seen the inside of a jail cell. And I had most certainly never been complicit in a homicide.

I have to reluctantly admit that I am a better person for the experience. I now appreciate that murderers really are just regular people like you and me. Indeed, I have come to consider Susie and Roy more than mere patients… they are friends. And I think back on our time together with nostalgia—fondness, even.

This did not happen overnight. It was a process.

What would you do if you found out that your neighbor was a murderer? Would you double-check that you’d locked your doors every night? Keep an eye out for strange comings and goings? Would you ultimately put your house up for sale, not disclosing what you knew about the folks next door to potential buyers?

For most people, being in the proximity of a killer is neither pleasant nor desirable.

Imagine how I felt about having not one but two as-yet-undetected murderers as my patients. Sitting with each of them for hours every week. Trying to guide them toward more moderate conflict resolution techniques. And failing.

Well, I’m here to tell you that despite the complexities inherent in that situation, I found my path to inner peace and happiness.

I know. I may have said elsewhere that, as a psychologist, I’m not a big believer in “happily ever after.” But my thinking has evolved.

I’ve come to believe more in choices—in the power of decision. This is the key nugget of wisdom I have taken away from this whole mess: We are not what happens to us. We are what we choose.

And I am pleased to report, for the first time in years, that I can finally say I am happy.

You have to understand that my unhappiness was not due to lack of trying. Chalk it up to naiveté—but, at first, it was difficult to process everything Susie and Roy told me and still be happy.

It’s hard to put a positive spin on murder.

Selfishly, I was overwhelmed by the fear that they might turn on me. They had shared everything about their crimes with me in meticulous detail. It was manifestly apparent that I was the weak link. The one person who could bring them down.

I was not just a loose end.

I was the loose end.

And, though I tried, I could not initially find peace under these circumstances. But, as I said earlier, happiness is a choice. And it was a choice that I made which finally ended my torment and brought me to a place where I could be at peace—even though everything ended tragically: my relationship with Susie and Roy, their marriage, the whole mess.

For you to understand the rest of my journey with Susie and Roy, I must share with you something that happened years ago at an ostensibly happy event. I say ‘ostensibly’ because it was a wonderful night for almost everyone concerned.

There were two people at that event who figure in this story—in my story.

The first is Sandra Bissette. For her, the night in question was the beginning of what would become a successful career in politics and law.

For the other, Billy Applegate, the night would end in tragedy.

PART ONE

Billy Applegate

1974

Everybody loves a party.

And there’s nothing quite like an election night party. What makes an election night celebration different?

The guest of honor. You see, all parties—birthdays, anniversaries, wakes—feature a guest of honor. But an election night party is a completely different animal because it isn’t about any one person or couple. It’s not even about the candidates.

At an election night party, the guests of honor are the attendees.

The people who gather to watch election results together are all of one mind. Of one spirit. They are like pack animals, all focused on the same outcome. They all share the same heroes and the same enemies.

If their candidates win, they all win. And a “win” means real-world changes for them—tax breaks, preferential government spending, judicial appointments—and money in their pockets.

Now, that’s a party.

This particular election night party took place in Maryland in 1974. To be precise—because I can be—this party was held on the night of the 1974 midterm elections, on Tuesday, November 5th.

It was a good year for Democrats.

This was the first national election after Watergate. Nixon’s resignation had severely damaged the Republicans’ chances in the election. Gerald Ford was just three months into his presidency, having taken over from Richard Nixon a few months earlier. And, of course, having pardoned Nixon in September, Ford had destroyed his own hopes for re-election and added to the national animus against Republicans.

This election night party took place in a spacious colonial-style home decorated in red, white, and blue, with American flags hanging from the windows and banisters. It featured a spacious living and dining area. The kitchen was large and well-equipped. There was a generous backyard with a comfortable deck and a terrace around the pool. All four bedrooms—aside from one guest bedroom—were upstairs.

There was even a “pin the tail on the donkey” game set up near the bar, for those with a sense of humor. No one actually played.

This house belonged to Dan and Annette Applegate, two proud and active members of the Democratic party in Maryland.

Dan’s family had always been active in politics. His grandfather had been a state representative. His father had served as a county judge for most of his career. Dan—born Daniel Parsons Applegate IV—was the fourth generation of Applegates admitted to the Maryland bar. While he would never actually serve in public office, he understood the value of political contacts and actively cultivated them.

This party was part of that effort.

Dan was dressed in a three-piece, tan wool suit, a white Brooks Brothers shirt, and a burgundy silk tie. The lapels and tie were wide, and the shirt collar oversized—all very fashionable at the time. Annette wore a slim, gold-belted, navy blue flare-leg pantsuit with a pale blue silk blouse and a pair of simple gold earrings. Apropos for the gathering, and it went quite nicely with all the flags, she’d decided.

Their twelve-year-old son, Billy Applegate, was in dark green overalls with a white shirt and blue Keds. A handsome boy, Billy had inherited his mother’s cornflower blue eyes and his father’s thick sandy blond hair, which he wore in a neatly trimmed surfer cut.

Billy was an only child. His parents doted on him, as did his grandparents since he was the only grandchild in both families. Even so, Billy was a good boy and knew to stay out of the way when his parents had guests, though he stayed close enough to be in the mix and see what was going on. He was at the age where he still enjoyed watching the grown-ups. Spying on them. In fact, he was familiar with many of the faces that night from other events of this kind. It was a small community.

Tonight, Tuesday night, the guests were arriving early, many coming over straight after work before polling places even closed.

It was going to be a long night.

The band played. Alcohol flowed. Anticipation and excitement were in the air at the prospect of big Democrat wins. And, after everything Nixon had put the nation through, how could voters not want a change?

In the living room, a handsome mahogany console TV with a big twenty-five-inch-diagonal color screen announced results as they came in. Dan was loitering by the avocado green Trimline rotary phone, mounted on the kitchen wall, that rang periodically with live information. The spring-coiled, twelve-foot receiver cord allowed him to pace anxiously as he fielded calls from the few Democrats charged with providing up-to-the-minute results from county polling.

Remember, this was back in the days before computerized voting machines. Back then, voters travelled to their precinct’s designated polling station and used a machine to punch holes in their ballot. These were then collected and transported to a central counting center where the ballots were put through a counting machine which tabulated the results that were then released to the public.

Dan relayed results to his guests, with each ring of the phone bringing more good news. More cheering and more drinking.

It was a good year to be a Democrat.

At the peak of festivities, there were over 250 guests in and around the property, to the point where the party overflowed onto the street, which was not a problem. No one was going to complain, as most of the neighbors were in attendance. And these were all good white folk. The police were kind enough to block off both ends of the street and make sure that those who’d had too much to drink made it home safely.

Inside, the house was a political orgy. Supporters rubbed elbows with candidates. Candidates rubbed elbows with incumbents. Incumbents rubbed elbows with donors. And lobbyists rubbed elbows with everyone except each other.

There were a number of judges in attendance. Several city council members hovered by the buffet, and a few state representatives were sprinkled through the crowd.

It was into this whirlwind of excitement that Sandra Bissette arrived.

At a time when men still ran everything in politics, Sandra hoped to make a name for herself. The fact that she was a Yale-graduated lawyer didn’t hurt, nor did the fact that she had both the figure and the looks of Jackie Kennedy.

Sandra was the daughter of lifelong Democrats, and her father happened to be the county sheriff. Although Sandra was not part of the elite set in Maryland, she was making her way. She was two years into working as an associate at a top law firm after having done a couple of high-level summer internships in D.C.

That night, Sandra was primarily interested in meeting two people: one was Annette Applegate. Although Sandra knew that both Dan and Annette were active in the Maryland Democratic party, Dan was known to be a snob—his career consisted of riding on his family’s coattails. Annette was universally recognized as the nicer of the two. Annette knew everyone, and everyone loved Annette. It was with her that Sandra was hoping to build a connection.

The second person who Sandra had added to her charm offensive for the evening was Harrison Kraft—another young Yale lawyer who, unlike her, was connected in all the right ways. Having graduated a few years ahead of her from law school, Harrison was running for state representative. He checked all the right boxes— family pedigree, education, professional credentials. There was no doubt the man was going places. Sandra had heard good things about him as a person and was interested in seeing for herself.

It was a little after 9:00 p.m.—Dan had just announced the results from Precinct Four in Montgomery County when Sandra saw an opening. Annette was by the buffet chatting with Howard Patrick, an older lobbyist—handsy, and a bit of a bore. Sandra straightened her back, raised her chin, and approached.

“Hello Howard,” she said with a big smile.

“Sandra! Hello, my dear. Don’t you look beautiful tonight?” “Why, thank you, Howard. Ever the charmer,” she said, allowing him to kiss her hand.

“Have you met our hostess, Annette Applegate?”

As Sandra turned to greet Annette, she noticed that the woman was looking past her, over her shoulder.

“Um, excuse me, young man!” Annette said, eyebrows raised and pearly white teeth dazzling.

Sandra turned and followed Annette’s gaze to a young boy in green overalls filching shrimp from the buffet. She guessed he was just shy of being a teenager.

“Aw, crap,” said Billy as he chewed.

“Come here, you,” Annette said, narrowing her eyes in mock disapproval.

The boy hesitated as he took in the young woman, the fat old man, and his mother, who stood waiting for him expectantly with her hands on her hips. He’d never seen the young woman before. She was new.

Unconsciously, he slowly moved to return the three shrimp in his sticky hand to the platter.

“With the shrimp, silly,” his mother said, shaking her head. Billy moved toward her, chewing rapidly so he could stuff
the other shrimp into his mouth.

Howard put his hand against the small of Sandra’s back, a little too low, and harrumphed to her under his breath, “Better seen, not heard. That’s how it used to be.”

Sandra tried to smile and fought the instinct to pull away.

Howard’s breath smelled of scotch and cigarettes.

Annette overheard, but ignored the old lobbyist’s comment.

“I suppose I don’t need to ask if you’ve had dinner? I left meatloaf for you in the kitchen.”

“I know. But, Mom, these shrimp are amazing.”

“And the meatballs?” asked Annette, looking over Billy toward the platter on the buffet.

Billy blushed. “Those, too.”

“Well, it’s getting a bit late for you,” Annette said, ruffling her son’s fair hair and then kissing him on the forehead, making him squirm. “Finish up the shrimp and get to bed.”

“What about Dad?” Billy asked, looking around. Annette’s face darkened, and she sighed. “I’ll send him up for a goodnight kiss. But you come along now, young man.” She put her hands on her son’s shoulders and steered him towards the stairs. “Excuse me for a moment,” she said over her shoulder.

Shit, thought Sandra as she twisted politely away, getting the old lobbyist’s hand off her lower back as he struck up a conversation. While she tried to focus on what he was saying, it was all she could do not to stare at the green thing wedged in between the man’s tar-stained teeth.

It took her ten minutes to extricate herself from Howard, thanks to Alan Watts—a wiry man who was only modestly more interesting. His family ran a small chain of grocery stores. Alan had asked her out a while back, and though she’d declined, he still had hopes—she could tell.

After a few more minutes of polite conversation, Sandra fell back on “old reliable” with a forced smile. “Excuse me, gentlemen… ladies’ room.”

Once she was sure she had escaped, she continued to work the room. About half an hour later, as she accepted another glass of white wine from a passing waiter, she felt a hand pressing low on the small of her back.

Oh fuck, not again.

“Yes, Howard?” She turned, fake smile firmly in place, to find Annette Applegate standing behind her.

“Gotcha!” laughed Annette.

Sandra laughed, both from relief and from delight at the inside joke made by the woman to whom she’d hoped to ingratiate herself.

This is going to be a great night.

While Sandra and Annette chatted amiably, many other members of the party were well beyond civility.

The drinking had begun five hours earlier, but there was more than just alcohol flowing. Other substances were being abused. It was all very discreet, of course. Most were partaking solely for recreational purposes, but a few were ingesting more heavily. Beyond alcohol and drugs—and most hazardous of all, given that it was infecting everyone to some degree and was in ample supply—was the potent and dangerous combination of two psychological stimulants, victory and power.

You see, politics doesn’t attract only “normal” people. As in every part of society, there is a spectrum. And politics, too, has its outliers. The smug and the superior. The arrogant and the snide. And the sociopaths.

Victory and power are dangerous to all, but more so to the sociopath.

Do not consume alcohol or operate heavy machinery while taking…

For these select few, the alcohol, drugs, and victory combined with power was toxic. It created a euphoria that knew no rules.

No limits.

No fear.

* * *

Upstairs, Billy had fallen asleep with the soothing press of his mother’s goodnight kiss still fresh on his cheek.

A small nightlight plugged into a wall socket illuminated his bedroom, casting a warm glow on a baseball snuggled in a catcher’s mitt that lay in a corner next to a wooden Adirondack baseball bat.

On one end of his small dresser sat a model airplane—a Douglas A-20 Havoc that he’d built with his grandfather. It was a replica of the plane Gramps had flown during World War II. The model was flanked by a teddy bear that Billy claimed he’d outgrown but refused to give away. The other end of the dresser was reserved for the little boy’s current prized possession—Rock’em Sock’em Robots. A gift from his parents for his birthday.

The room was quiet, the party sounds muffled.

Suddenly, the door opened, spilling light into the little boy’s room along with the blare of music and the chaotic chatter of voices. Then, just as quickly, the door shut, returning the room to calm semi-darkness.

Billy was groggy and didn’t try to open his eyes. Instead, he just spoke out loud. “Dad?”

He felt the bed sag as his father sat next to him in a cloud smelling of alcohol and cigars.

Then he felt dry lips on his forehead. The kiss made him smile sleepily.

A hand stroked his head and his hair as Billy snuggled into his pillow and drifted back to sleep.

Suddenly, the same hand that had been stroking his hair gently clamped over his mouth. It was a man’s hand, but it was soft. Clammy. It was not his father’s….

Billy tried to sit up, but the hand squeezed harder, the man leaning into him, pushing him down and pinning him to the bed as a second hand groped at him, pulling away his sheets.

Billy didn’t know what to do. He was terrified. He opened his eyes, but with just the little nightlight on, he couldn’t see anything other than the vague shape of the form pressing down on him. He could smell booze and food on the man’s warm breath.

Tears came as the vise over Billy’s mouth forced him to suck air noisily through his nose as the groping continued—searching, finding, fondling, stroking, then reaching, penetrating, sending a hot shard of searing pain through his body. Inside.

He tried to fight, but couldn’t. The hands were too strong. The body too heavy. He felt sick. The stench of cigars, food, and alcohol on fetid breath was nauseating. And he was scared. Terrified. In pain.

Bile rose in Billy’s throat. But the hand over his mouth prevented him from vomiting. He gagged, then swallowed everything back down.

His body began to convulse.

To thrash.

As it did, the second hand stopped.

The man’s weight eased on top of his body, no longer pinning him down. The hand over his mouth loosened slightly, and Billy felt the other stroking his hair. He wanted to move, but he was paralyzed with fear.

The whole ordeal lasted minutes, but it felt like hours.

Then the presence leaned over and whispered, “Sleep. Sleep.

You were dreaming. Go back to sleep.”

The weight lifted from the bed, and as it did, the hand fell away from Billy’s mouth, leaving him shivering in the aftermath.

The door opened, first slightly. Through the crack, the man looked out into the hall as the babble of music and voices invaded the bedroom. Then the door swung fully open, and as it did, Billy saw the man clearly in the light from the hallway. The image burned itself into his memory. The image of a stranger whose identity he would eventually learn.

The door closed and the crowd cheered as the band started playing—“You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet.”

And Billy Applegate cried himself into a fitful sleep.

***

Excerpt from Tooth for Tooth by JK Franko. Copyright 2020 by JK Franko. Reproduced with permission from JK Franko. All rights reserved.

 

 

Author Bio:

JK Franko

J.K. FRANKO was born and raised in Texas. His Cuban-American parents agreed there were only three acceptable options for a male child: doctor, lawyer, and architect. After a disastrous first year of college pre-Med, he ended up getting a BA in philosophy (not acceptable), then he went to law school (salvaging the family name) and spent many years climbing the big law firm ladder. After ten years, he decided that law and family life weren’t compatible. He went back to school where he got an MBA and pursued a Ph.D. He left law for corporate America, with long stints in Europe and Asia.

His passion was always to be a writer. After publishing a number of non-fiction works, thousands of hours writing, and seven or eight abandoned fictional works over the course of eighteen years, EYE FOR EYE became his first published novel.

J.K. Franko now lives with his wife and children in Florida.

Catch Up With JK Franko On:
jkfranko.com, Goodreads, Instagram, Bookbub, Twitter, & Facebook!

 

 

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This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for JK Franko. There will be six (6) winners. Two (2) winners will each win one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card. Two (2) winners will each win TOOTH FOR TOOTH by JK Franko (print) and two (2) winners will each win TOOTH FOR TOOTH by Jk Franko (eBook). The giveaway begins on June 1, 2020 and runs through August 2, 2020. Void where prohibited.

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Get More Great Reads at Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours

As always, 

 

book blitz · RABT Book Tours · supernatural · thriller

Book Blitz – Can’t See Around Corners

 

Supernatural Thriller

Publisher: Folio Avenue/Xlibris

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Born into opulent wealth, Sharon and Annie were the only children of Edna and Warren Karce and the girls were the pride and joy of their parents. The fraternal twins had accomplished studying for their degrees and eagerly looked forward to their once in a lifetime overseas trip to Europe. The sisters love for one another was obvious to the bystander but a sinister undercurrent of malicious feelings dwelled profoundly beneath their facade of shared contentment. Penetrating treachery deceit and wickedness developed intensely between them and once abroad, with their over protective parents absent, their relationship advances into the finest possible nightmare changing their lives forever. How will the highly famed socialite dynasty survive the unforseen scandalous and degrading impacts created by the once idolized and respected twin daughter’s of the Karce Empire?

 

About the Author

 Josie Townsend is a sixth generation Australian. She lives in regional New South Wales.

 

 

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RABT Book Tours & PR

As always, 

do what makes you happy · family · there's a dog

I digress … cos Rusty has a namesake.

This post has absolutely nothing to do with books or writing; instead it’s a happy outcome to a sad story. 

It’s been eight weeks now since I said goodbye to Rusty, and it still brings me to tears to write this. 

I saw him at a local animal shelter in Dolores (if ever a place was aptly name, then this was it – dolor is Spanish for a pain or an ache, and losing Rusty was one of the biggest heartaches of my life.) He was the last of six corgi-cross pups who’d been abandoned on a building site. I’d had a corgi before; in fact, my first dog was a corgi when I was ten years old. 

Rusty had been named Arturo by the shelter but was not yet responding to it. He was around 4 months old and came running to me the instant I passed by. No other dog stood a chance. He’d chosen me and the rest is history. 

When my mum had a stroke and got dementia, Rusty was my rock. Taking him for a walk each day was my salvation from those nightmare months when Mum forgot who I was and grew angry with me for not letting her “go home”. He was the sponge who soaked up all my tears when I cried myself to sleep, and he was the only one who could make me laugh in those dark days. 

One time, after Mum had died, we were out on a walk and he dragged me across the road towards an elderly lady who had gone to the shops in her slippers. She had the same hairstyle as Mum, and he insisted on following her home until she was safe. 

Anyway, I digress …there are so many stories I could tell and I’m so grateful to have had sixteen wonderful years with him. He was the best big bro to Toby, who even now waits his turn to do anything as if he’s expecting Rusty to come along in front of him. 

Back to the story: a few days after Rusty’s passing, my friend at the Vets called to say there was a new stray at the animal shelter she volunteered at. 

Don’t panic – I haven’t got another dog. Toby and I aren’t ready for that yet. 

My friend had asked the shelter manager to name the stray after Rusty. And she’d agreed 😀 

OMG! How sweet was that? What a tribute to my dearest buddy! 

Days later, Stray Rusty was registered and chipped. It was official. 

Now came the wait for a new home. I wasn’t even tempted, it was too soon but I so wanted Stray Rusty to find his forever home. Apparently, he’d been roaming the streets for weeks and it was a real struggle to catch him. He was a very nervous dog and clearly didn’t trust people. And who could blame him? As we were in the middle of a very strict lockdown, we weren’t allowed to cross regional borders even though it was only ten minutes away. Instead, they sent me photos of him and kept me updated with messages on his progress. 

We all held our breath when a couple visited him and showed great interest. Unfortunately, they thought he was too scared and didn’t think they could cope with him.

Well, their loss is all I can say! Because, a few weeks later, another couple came to see him. They visited him every day and earned his trust. And, finally, they offered him a forever home. After the necessary checks and vaccinations, they took him home. Now he has a huge garden to explore and doting parents to love him for the rest of his life. 

That couple have their own Rusty buddy, and they probably don’t realise how lucky they are.  

For the time being, it’s just Toby and me …and we’re good with that. As a 14yo himself, he’s adapting to being Top Dog slowly, but most of the time he’s doing what he does best … being so damn cute!

As always, 

thanks for reading and give your furry friends an extra hug right now x

Author friends · author resources · writing software

Author Essentials – StoryOrigin

As an author, I rely so much on word of mouth recommendations from trusted scribblers when it comes to any kind of tech. If you’re the same, then let me be the bringer of good news (for a change, as I’m usually late to the party!)

If you haven’t heard of StoryOrigin, then this is for you. 

I realise many of you will have your own tried and trusted methods for all of these scenarios, but if you’re a straggler (like me) or just fancy checking out something new, then StoryOrigin could be right up your street. 

Within a matter of minutes, I created my account (currently free because it’s in beta mode) and also a reader magnet landing page!  which you’re free to check out 😉 

But more than that, StoryOrigin can do so much more. 

  • Review Copies: Collect requests to join your review team and automate review tracking for those you’ve given access
  • Universal Book Links: Send readers to your book’s purchasing page at their preferred, country-specific store in just 1 click.(Please, I’d love it if more people did this – not all readers are in the US or UK! – OK, getting off my soapbox now)
  • Reader Magnets: Collect subscribers for your mailing list and automate delivery of a free book or sample
  • Audio Promo Codes: Automate distribution and review tracking for Audible and Findaway promo codes
  • Direct Downloads: Provide easy downloads for newsletter exclusives, welcome gifts, or ARCs
  • Newsletter Swaps: Connect with other authors to swap mentions in upcoming newsletters
  • Group Promos: Team up with multiple authors to promote your books on a single landing page

and even that is not all … go and take a look for yourself.  As I mentioned, this is still in beta, so not everything is ready right now. That said, there is more than enough here for me to play with for the foreseeable future.

NB:This is not an affiliated link, merely a recommendation from me to you. 

StoryOrigin

Let me know what you think. 

As always, 

book review · NetGalley · self discovery

Book Review – Finding Hemingway

Finding Hemingway

by Ken Dortzbach

The blurb

Hyper-focused, overachieving New York lawyer Callie McGraw has six months between jobs and a hefty severance check when she is called to Spain by Ernest Hemingway. She begins packing her bags for the sun-kissed streets that night. Starting in Barcelona, Callie embarks on a six-month escapade of a lifetime, a whirlwind of Spanish food, wine, art and dancing, with a revolving cast of friends and lovers keeping her company in each new locale. Callie’s next cocktail is never far away, but Hemingway knows her secrets, the demons that plague her deep down. With each mysterious call and each enigmatic clue, Hemingway challenges her to open herself to laughter, passion and love. Ultimately, he defies Callie to face her greatest fears and embrace life on her own terms.

Add to Goodreads 

My Review

Both the title and the cover drew me to this book. I haven’t read any Hemingway myself but his time in Europe, particularly in Spain always fascinated me. The cover screamed Spain to me, and since that’s where I am, I thought it rude to not check it out. 

If I’m honest, the Hemingway “phonecall” didn’t intrigue me greatly, though having “The Sun Also Rises” as Callie’s favourite book ever worked as a plot device and was an original way to put the main character in Spain.  What fascinated me more was Callie’s decision to head to Spain on a whim while she was in-between jobs. Well, who wouldn’t if they had six months and a healthy bank account?

As a long-term Hispanophile, I will always hunt down stories set in my adopted homeland. So, I felt a connection to Callie from the outset. It didn’t last. While I soaked up the details about Spain, especially the Pamplona chapters, I couldn’t muster up any fondness for Callie. To say she grated on me would be an understatement. She came across as selfish, rude, high and mighty, childish, and annoying. I felt sorry for her loyal friend, Trevor, who she teased and mocked incessantly – which, of course, she justified as allowable because she was “Callie McGraw”!!!!!! (There are not enough exclamation marks to express my reaction to her.) Poor Trevor was her plaything, until someone more to her liking came along in the form of Mr Spain Man, Claudio. I have no idea why either of these intelligent men put up with her for as long as they did. 

Callie’s quest was supposedly to find Hemingway, and he contributed with additional phonecalls  to steer her in the right direction. However, the story drifted into her doing a lot of nothing. An awful lot of drinking, eating …especially breakfast …and only very occasionally remembering why she had come to Spain in the first place. 

It was evident early that the purpose of her trip was to really find herself. I do wonder if she liked what she found. At times, she had to listen to some cold, hard truths …did she accept her flaws? I’m not convinced she did. Granted, she did overcome her fears but I didn’t sense any real change in her come the end. 

Trevor summed this story up when he gave his opinion of Callie’s treasured book, and in doing so described Callie perfectly:

“No, they really are losers.” His voiced turned cautious. “Listen, I’m not saying this to be mean but …the characters just drift around Europe, full of nothing but entitlement.”

I pumped the air at that point. Go, Trevor!

I did enjoy the setting in Spain, of course: the museums, art galleries, tapas and dances, and my heart went out the Señora Hernandez, of whom too little was seen after Callie discovered the old lady’s secret. The setting was vivid and vibrant, and full of pasión. Even the story idea was an original take on the “self-discovery” trope, but Callie rode roughshod over the story, for me anyway. 

Many thanks to Net Galley and the publisher for the advanced copy in return for an honest review. 

As always, 

cover reveal · romantic comedy · summer · summer reading

Cover Reveal – Summer at my Sister’s

Summer at my Sister’s

by Emily Harvale

Twin sisters. One scorching summer. A bucketful of secrets.

Diana’s life is perfect. Her twin sister, Josie’s – not so much. They aren’t identical twins. Perhaps the only things they have in common are agreeing their mother can be a nightmare – and their birthdays. This summer they’ll be thirty-five.
 
Diana has the perfect husband, two talented youngsters, and an adorable dog. She runs a successful business from home, a popular book club, and hosts sparkling parties for her wealthy husband. She always looks as if she’s stepped from the cover of a magazine. Her immaculate second home by the sea, for idyllic summers with her perfect family, was actually featured in one.
 
Josie has a messy, compact flat, dates, but not relationships, and she can’t even keep a houseplant alive. She moves from job to job, goes clubbing with her friends, and always looks as if she’s fallen through a hedge. She loves Diana, deeply, but each year she declines the invitation to spend the summer with her sister. Or any other family holiday. Because Josie has a secret.
 
But is Diana’s life so perfect? Or is she hiding something too? When secrets are revealed this summer, everything will change. Josie could finally have the life she’s always wanted … if she’s brave enough to take a chance. And it all begins with a phone call from their mother.

Publication Date: 31st July

Pre-order Link: mybook.to/SummeratmySisters

Author Bio

Emily writes novels, novellas and short stories about friendship, family and falling in love. She loves a happy ending but knows that life doesn’t always go to plan. Her stories are sure to bring a smile to your face and a warmth to your heart.

Emily loves to connect with her readers and has a readers’ group in which many have become good friends. To catch up with Emily, find out about the group, or connect with her on social media, go to her website at www.emilyharvale.com.

Having lived and worked in London for several years, Emily returned to her home town of Hastings where she now writes full-time. She’s a member of the SoA, an Amazon bestseller and a Kindle All Star. When not writing, she can be found enjoying the stunning East Sussex coast and countryside, or in a wine bar with friends, discussing life, love and the latest TV shows. Chocolate cake is often eaten. She dislikes housework almost as much as she dislikes anchovies – and will do anything to avoid both. Emily has two mischievous rescue cats that like to sprawl across her keyboard, regardless of whether Emily is typing on it, or not.

 

Social Media Links:

https://www.facebook.com/emilyharvalewriterhttps://www.twitter.com/emilyharvalehttps://www.instagram.com/emilyharvale

Here it is …

Ta dah!

Fab, isn’t it? I’m looking forward to reading this for the blog tour now. Perfect summer reading 😉 

As always, 

 

anthology · charity · hope · inspirational · poem · short story

Towards the Sun – An Anthology for Chloe

From today you can purchase this charity anthology, Towards the Sun, featuring various authors and artists (including me)

Centring on the theme of HOPEPUNK, the short stories, poems, and artwork aim to be inspirational and, most of all, uplifting. Who doesn’t need some of that these days?

Proceeds from the sale of this book go towards Chloe Dean’s GoFundMe for her fight against cancer.

 

 

Get your copy here

Thank you for your support. Hope you enjoy the collection. 

As always,