Mystery Authors International

Book Review – Contemporary Mystery

Highland Peril

A Malice Novel

by Amy M. Reade

Trading the urban pace of Edinburgh for a tiny village overlooking a breathtaking blue loch was a great move for budding photographer Sylvie Carmichael and her artist husband, Seamus—until a dangerous crime obscures the view . . . 
 
Sylvie’s bucolic life along the heather-covered moors of the Highlands is a world away from the hectic energy of the city. But then a London buyer is killed after purchasing a long-lost Scottish masterpiece from Seamus’s gallery—and the painting vanishes. As suspicion clouds their new life, and their relationship, Sylvie’s search for answers plunges her into an unsolved mystery dating back to Cromwellian Scotland through World War I and beyond. And as she moves closer to the truth, Sylvie is targeted by a murderer who’s after a treasure within a treasure that could rewrite history . . . and her own future.

My thoughts: The adventure in the Highlands starts with a prologue, which befits the historical element needed to tell this tale. Here the true story of the removal of the Honours of Scotland from Dunnottar Castle are told, albeit with a tasty twist that then spawns the rest of the book. While the prologue is quite factual and descriptive, the slow start proves effective when the story switches to a first person narrative set in modern times. The marked change in technique jolts the reader into the lives of Sylvie and Seamus, man and wife, and owners of a small Scottish gallery where they craft and sell Seamus’s paintings & Sylvie’s photographs – all inspired by the stunning landscapes surrounding Cauld Loch.

When a painting – that has been sitting quietly in Seamus’s gallery for many years – garners interest from two buyers, all sorts of questions arise. Why now? Why this painting? But it is only when the purchaser is later found dead following a car crash that all sorts of conspiracies come to the fore. The “accident” brings the police to their door and from hereon the Carmichaels’ lives are plunged into danger – both physical and marital. The author unites the two threads effortlessly, making the reader want to know a)who killed the buyer? b)where is the painting now? and c)will Sylvie & Seamus survive the ordeal – or rather, will their marriage?

Happily, the author immerses the reader fully into Scottish life, using British terms like ‘trousers’ and ‘mobile phones’ to keep the characters relevant and true. (Although I did spy a ‘sidewalk’ and the use of ‘bills’ as money too – but this says more about me being pernickety than anything else). The scenery is painted – pardon the pun – with great skill and diligence, worthy of any material the Scottish Tourist Board might issue.  I challenge any reader to not be enchanted by the imagery and want to immediately book a trip themselves.

The story moves at a good pace, it will keep you turning the pages – or scrolling – and there are many twists and turns ahead. The questions are neatly resolved by the end, but you will undoubtedly feel the need to read more by this author. It is a rare talent to combine history and mystery with contemporary settings, characters and situations. I could see these characters in a soap opera, they have great appeal but are thoroughly down-to-earth and believable. I loved the historical flavour and felt it made for an addictive plot.

Another great story from Amy M. Reade and one I’d recommend to any mystery reader with a love for history and Scotland.

I received an ARC from NetGalley and this is my own, voluntary review.

 

 

 

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Featured Author – George M. Nagle

In the September spotlight from Mystery Authors International is George M. Nagle and his debut novel – The Life We Lead:Ascending – which is available to purchase now. There’s a trailer on YouTube that will give you an instant feel for the story. You can see it here.

What’s not to love about spies, romance, drug cartels and the like. The young protagonist, James, has been heralded as a mix between Bond & Holmes. It has to be good to receive that kind of accolade.

This is just the first in a series of what should be three books. At 425 pages, it is the shortest of the series and really the introduction to James, the group, Carissa and a whole cast of others.  The Life We Lead follows the life of James, the main character as he battles criminal syndicates while trying to have a normal life.  It is inspired by real life events, however, names, places, timelines and such have all been altered.  This story has been 25 years in the making and certainly won’t disappoint with an incredible ending to the series.  This series is based in reality of spying so the far-fetched gadgets and such like those found in James Bond won’t be appearing. It is a spy novel has lots of twists in turns that can make you laugh, cry, feel the characters outrage and even love.  The subtitle to the book is a clue to why it ends where it does too.

***

It’s a great cover, don’t you agree? Fancy a snippet? Of course you do.

Chapter 03 – [context:  James and Daen capture Nikolias after Petior has been abducted.]

“You are our prisoner, but you are a captive of whatever group you…” Daen began, but Nikolias cut him off.

“What makes you think I want to leave?” growled Nikolias.

“When you help us, your bosses will not be too happy with you. You and your cousin will need to leave to survive,” replied Daen.

“So he says,” Nikolias said curtly, with a head gesture towards James.

“What did he say? Why did he just do that?” asked James.

“Sounds like he doesn’t feel the need for our help. It seems he doesn’t want to, or have a reason to leave,” Daen replied, a puzzled look on his face.

“I am no traitor, and I will die to help our fraternity and country. I am loyal and believe in things, unlike you American dogs,” Nikolias stated in English.

James bowed his head, closed his eyes, and rubbed his left temple for a moment with his left hand. He dragged it down his face before speaking again.

“Okay, tell us what the fraternity’s cause is. What’s so special about it that you’re willing to risk your life, your cousin’s life, because someone felt I disrespected them near a train?” asked James.

Nikolias laughed. “We know you’re looking for drugs. You feel drugs are not disrespectful and destroying. You think we do not know that is why you are here? We see you peoples, and how you treat us. You all deserve death for your exploits on us, and our children.”

Check out the full blurb – I’m sure this will have you one-clicking in no time:

The DEA, FBI, and CIA have failed for years to bring down the Spara family, who control the world’s largest drug cartel. A secret society of spies whose members are under the age of 25 will try to succeed where the government has failed.

At only 21 years old, James is the most skillful member of this society. His new target is the Spara family. Through their relationship with Russia, the Sparas are the largest distributor of heroin in the world.  While beginning his investigation in Russia, James inadvertently saves the life of a former KBG officer who has a connection to the Tan family. This connection leads James farther into the heart of the criminal cartel.  However, the Tans have a dark secret of their own, which could jeopardize James’s perfect record and his tenure as a spy as he struggles to do what is right while protecting his family, friends and the love of his life.

***

George is the 3rd of 6 children and grew up in western Pennsylvania. He earned his BS in Biology from the University of Pittsburgh, his MSc in Biology and his MBA in Marketing and Management from Duquesne University. He is also a Master 5th degree black belt in the art of Taekwondo with Young Brothers in Pittsburgh. He currently in a global marketing and strategy professional in science industries. He also has one son, Matthew.

Follow him and his series at any or all of these sites:

WEBSITE

FACEBOOK

TWITTER  

AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE

GOODREADS AUTHOR PAGE

SMASHWORDS AUTHOR PAGE

Don’t forget to leave a review afterwards – reviews keep authors writing – and you’ll want to read the rest of this series, I’m sure.

Good luck with sales, George, and your push for those bestseller lists.

 

Featured Author – Iris Chacon

Let’s give a warm welcome to Iris Chacon, this month’s featured author from Mystery Authors International.

If you’re looking for an authentic taste of the Sunshine State, then look no further – you’re in the right place.

Duby’s Doctor is her fifth novel, and it carries on the Chacon tradition of good, clean fun, mystery, humor, romance, and a “sunshine state of mind.” Iris hails from the Sunshine State, Florida, where her ancestors have lived since Florida was a Spanish colony, before the United States existed. She is working on her next novel, which incorporates many of the adventures she has enjoyed in the American Southwest.

We’re here to talk about Duby’s Doctor.  So, let’s jump right in at the deep end and take a peek at an excerpt:

Excerpt from Duby’s Doctor, chapter 10 [context: Mitchell picks up John/Jean from his maintenance job at St. Luke’s Daycare.]

“He’ll be right out,” the nun said. “He’s all right. We were just cleaning him up. It looked worse than it is. The bleeding seems to have stopped—”

“Bleeding?”

“—and the paramedics said—”

“Paramedics?”

“—they don’t think Mister Kavanaugh’s ribs are broken, just bruised—”

“Who?”

“—and the police said, since nobody seems to want to press charges, — ”

“Police?”

“—that we can just forget about it. Of course, Jean had to be punished for hitting—”

“Hitting?”

“—so he had to run laps. And that started the nosebleed again. But everything’s all right now. Here he is.”

Jean limped out of the back room, holding a bloodied washcloth against his nose.

Sister Elizabeth sighed. “It’s been an exciting day.”

Mitchell studied Jean from head to toe, incredulous. She pointed at his swollen left knee. “You ran on concrete? And hitting? You were hitting! The children?”

“Oh, dear, no!” said Sister Elizabeth. “He was hitting Mister Kavanaugh.”

Mitchell stared at Sister Elizabeth and back at Jean. “You ran on concrete and you hit Mister Kavanaugh? Who is Mister Kavanaugh?”

“Debbie’s father,” answered Sister Elizabeth.

Mitchell was looking at Jean. “Excuse me, Sister, but unless Kavanaugh cut his tongue out, I’d like to hear Johnny answer something. John, why did you hit Debbie’s father?”

Jean pulled the washcloth away from his face to say, “He hits Debbie.”

After a pause, Mitchell muttered, “I told you never to run on the concrete.”

Well, that got my attention!

Reading the full blurb will have you running to one-click this right away.

When he can steal time away from his undercover assignment (as an arms dealer’s bodyguard), Agent Yves Dubreau jogs with all the other muscular Coconut Grove athletes. He enjoys the morning tai chi group in Peacock Park, and he quietly remains on the fringes of the Grove’s art scene — until he blows his cover and almost gets himself murdered. When resuscitated, he is a scarred, nameless giant with no memories, no language, and only his drawings with which to communicate. Of course, he still has the same deadly enemies he had in his former life; he just doesn’t know it. Neither does naive, lady surgeon, Dr. Mitchell Oberon. Soon, Duby’s unscrupulous supervisor forces the unsuspecting Mitchell to shelter this recovering “John Doe” in her home and begin teaching him how to live again. Both Duby and Dr. Oberon will learn a lot about living— they just may not be living long. A murderous arms dealer will soon be stalking them.

Coconut Grove sounds alluring, doesn’t it? What made Iris write this story and set it there?

Duby’s story was inspired by the landscapes, art culture, elaborate mansions, and live-aboard sailboats of Coconut Grove. For years the author passed through the magical Grove community on her way to work in the high-rise offices of Miami. The unique aura and ambience of the Grove always launched the writer’s imagination into a happy stratosphere of quirky characters and exotic locations. Sometimes the girls in the author’s carpool would simply stop in the Grove and watch the panoply of beautiful people (mostly male) passing by. Thus, a secret agent, who lived on a boat and worked undercover in an arms dealer’s mansion, was born. And if he lived in Coconut Grove, he had to be an artsy type, so Agent Yves Dubreau, a/k/a Duby, became a talented sketcher and painter.

I can see the attraction 🙂 What’s not to love about the grandeur of the location and the intriguing plot Iris has outlined here.

If this has whetted your appetite, you can get your copy here.

For more details about Iris’ books – there are some real gems to be found on her bookshelf – then check out the links here:

WEBSITE  

FACEBOOK

TWITTER

AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE

GOODREADS AUTHOR PAGE

SMASHWORDS AUTHOR PAGE

Thank you, Iris, for sharing these details with me. Wishing you heaps of success, but more than anything I hope your “Sunshine State of mind” lives on forever – we could all do with a healthy dose of that 🙂

Featured Author – Nicole Fitton

Here at Mystery Authors International we always have a great story to tell.

This month is no exception, since our featured author is none other than Nicole Fitton, and we’re going to be looking at her book, Forbidden Colours. 

Before we delve into the details, let me just add that Nicole is having an awesome spell as an author.

Not only has she been nominated for an author of the year award, but the cover of her novel was a front-runner in Cover Wars too.

As this is such a wonderfully imaginative cover, I feel the need to display it in full resolution – as a piece of artwork it merits its own spot of glory.

So, well done, Nicole. This is just the start of a successful writing career and we’re supporting you all the way.

You’re no doubt wanting to know what the novel is all about, so without further ado, Nicole tells me how the story came to be.

Forbidden Colours was the evolution of a question that had been rattling around in my brain. You know, those annoying questions that wake you at 4am and won’t let you rest until you’ve written something. Well, that’s how it was for me. I had read a newspaper article about the complexity of the human brain and well, it all started from there. Forbidden Colours is a gripping love story which contains elements of psychological suspense. It has enough adrenaline fuelled drama to power the national grid! Once I had the protagonist Midori Yates firmly fixed in my mind’s eye she took charge and dictated the direction of travel. I have a passion for science and being able to incorporate that into a book is very exciting. The story centres around a new drug being brought to market that does not quite do what it is supposed to…. I shall leave it at that. As I said earlier I started Forbidden Colours with a question and everything flowed from there. So, I know you want to know, what was the question? It’s a question I often ask myself but seldom has it led me in such an unusual direction…… ‘ What if?’

A thriller that offers suspense and romance must be bound for great things – next stop, Hollywood, Nicole?

Check out the blurb for greater insight into the plot:

What if your memories were not your memories? What if the drug hailed as a cure becomes your curse and ultimately your destruction?

Forbidden Colours is a gripping tale where nothing is quite as it seems. Neurologist Nick Campbell is all set to believe in new drug Centoria, but when his patients start turning up dead he starts to wonder whether his faith has been blind.

Determined to uncover the truth, pharmaceutical employee Midori Yates and Dr Nick Campbell find a conspiracy that is to have devastating consequences for both of them. Forbidden Colours is a clever contemporary thriller that has numerous twists and turns that will make your head spin! A book for bedtime? Maybe but don’t expect to get any sleep!

Powerful stuff, I think you’ll agree, and most definitely unique in its concept and intriguing to boot! Who needs sleep, anyway? 🙂

Fancy a snippet? (Of course you do, and what the reader wants, the reader gets …)

Katzuko Yates eyed her daughter thoughtfully. A sense of apprehension gripped her. Those years in Japan were long ago; she wondered if she could be clear with her explanation. Even though buried, her memories continued to breathe under the mountain of life she’d lived. Dare she even speak of them? Could she speak of them? Their place of residence had become an unmarked grave in her history. Her family had a right to know, after everything that had happened. His world was dark and full of shadows; where would she begin? For over 25 years she had told no one. Now she was being drawn back into his world. It was a time she wanted to forget. The tie that had been bound to her so tightly was about to be broken.

Wow! You must be tempted to one-click this now – so here’s the all-important link you need.

Pardon me, where are my manners? Let me introduce you to Nicole and provide all the links so you may stalk – I mean follow – her 🙂

Author Bio:

Nicole Fitton is an author and freelance writer who has lived in such glamorous locations as London, New York and Croydon! She currently reside in Devon, UK with her family. Forbidden Colours is her second novel. Her career has spanned over 3 decades working in PR and marketing within the music industry. She currently works within healthcare in the UK.

Alongside her novels Nicole has a passion for writing short stories. This year has seen her short ‘Soaring’ featured in an anthology by the Black Pear Press. Her stories always have a happy ending, but, the way in which they get there will keep you guessing right up until the last page! She admits she gets bored easily and can often be found enjoying new adventures!

Links:

Website 

Facebook

Twitter

Pinterest

Amazon Author Page

Before I go, let me share another tidbit – Forbidden Colours is on Kindle Countdown until May 4th – so time to grab your own copy and enjoy the bargain!

Featured Author – Phyllis Entis

It’s time for April’s Featured Author from Mystery Authors International and this month the place of honour goes to Phyllis Entis and The Damien Dickens Mysteries. You’re in for a real treat this month, as there are three books in the series to get your manic mystery mitts on.

In the great tradition of Agatha Christie’s Tommy & Tuppence Beresford and Dashiell Hammett’s Nick & Nora Charles, mystery writer Phyllis Entis presents Damien & Millie Dickens, Private Investigators.

The Dickens Detective Agency may be headquartered in 1980s Atlantic City, but Damien and Millie’s cases take them from Montreal to Miami. The settings are authentic, the plots are twisted, and the action moves forward at a steady pace.

Enjoy all three of Damien and Millie’s exploits. Download DAMIEN DICKENS MYSTERIES: BOOKS 1, 2 & 3 at Amazon today.

Phyllis gave me some insight into how her series and the intrepid investigators came to be. Naturally, there’s a story to be told here too:

Damien Dickens was born during a drop-in writing workshop at the Riford Branch of the San Diego Public Library, located in La Jolla, California.

The weekly workshop had a simple format. The moderator began each session with a writing prompt, typically a sentence, a list of words, or a picture. We all wrote at top speed for twenty minutes. At the end of the timed writing period, each of us read our creations out loud to the other participants in the group.

For the first session of 2013, our moderator introduced something new. She arrived laden with a stack of 10 x 13 brown envelopes, which she proceeded to distribute to us. Each envelope contained a different object. As a warm-up exercise, she instructed us to reach into the envelope, feel the object inside and, without looking at the object, write a few words of description. Then she had us remove the object from the envelope and use it as our story prompt.

The object in my envelope was a string of green plastic beads, such as would be found at a New Orleans Mardi Gras event. In my story, the beads became an expensive rope of green pearls belonging to Sylvia Sutherland, the CEO of Sutherland Smokes. Sylvia, so the story went, was worried about her kid sister, Celine, and engaged Damien Dickens to protect her. In my piece of flash fiction, Sylvia was the archetypical slinky dame and Damien the clichéd down-on-his-luck private eye. Fortunately for my readers, both characters evolved dramatically by the time I had completed the first draft of THE GREEN PEARL CAPER.

The first novel led to a second, THE WHITE RUSSIAN CAPER, and the second led to a third, THE CHOCOLATE LABRADOODLE CAPER. The three published novels are now united in a Kindle ebook compilation, DAMIEN DICKENS MYSTERIES: BOOKS 1, 2, & 3.

The first three ‘Capers’ will be joined by a fourth Damien Dickens novel later this year.

Not your average muse, I think you’ll agree. You can tell there’s a vivid imagination whirring away in the background, can’t you?

Let’s take a look at an excerpt from each story:

THE GREEN PEARL CAPER (Prologue)

I killed Celine. A couple of teenagers found her body last Sunday morning, half-hidden under the Boardwalk, a single bullet hole through her chest. The bullet came from my Smith & Wesson 29, the gun found on the beach not far from where Celine lay.

It wasn’t my finger that pulled the trigger. I wasn’t there when she died. Even so, I killed her. She came to me for help; I had bailed her out of a tight spot in the past, and she trusted me. But, this time, I let her down. I didn’t believe she was really in danger. I screwed up, and Celine paid the price. She was murdered, and it’s my fault.

Celine walked into my office on July 16, 1979. Less than one week later, she was dead.

WOW – you have to admit that is one killer opening hook 🙂 

THE WHITE RUSSIAN CAPER (Chapter One opening)

I was on my way out the door when the call came in. Millie already had left for the day; I covered the distance to her desk in two long strides and grabbed for the telephone. “Dickens Detective Agency,” I announced.

Is this Mr. Dickens? Mr. Damien Dickens?”

The voice in my ear was vaguely familiar. “Yes,” I replied, “this is Dickens.”

Oh, Mr. Dickens,” the soft male voice exhaled, “thank heavens! I didn’t know whom to call. Then I remembered your visit last year to my establishment. I require your assistance.”

Who is this?” I interrupted.

Why, it’s Stephane.” He paused, waiting for my reaction. “Stephane Major, n’est ce pas? Do you not remember me?

I recognized the voice then. It belonged to the General Manager of Boardwalk Hall, the venue of The Miss America Pageant – Atlantic City’s crown jewel. I had met the fussbudgety Mr. Major about six months before, when I was investigating the murder of Celine Sutherland. “Yes,” I acknowledged, though not without some reluctance, “I remember you, Mr. Major.”

Oh, thank heavens.” I could almost see his hand fluttering against his chest. “Oh, I don’t know what to do. I need your help, Mr. Dickens. It’s about Miss America, n’est ce pas?

What about Miss America?”

She’s missing.”

I love the way in which the author transports us readers back in time here – it’s so evocative.

But, there’s one more to come …

THE CHOCOLATE LABRADOODLE CAPER (from Chapter Four)

By the time I reached the office, it was approaching 7pm. There was no sign of Millie’s car in the parking lot, but I decided to go upstairs anyway, in case she had left me a message. When I got to the top of the stairs, I noticed an intermittent flicker of light shining through the frosted glass of our office door. I moved silently down the hall, keeping close to the wall. As I approached the door, I crouched down below the level of the glass pane and reached automatically for my pistol, before remembering that it was locked in the trunk of the car. Heart in my throat, I grasped the doorknob, turned it slowly, and edged the door open just enough to allow myself to slip inside.

The outer office was in chaos. Millie’s desk had been ransacked, the drawers hanging open and askew. Her files and notes were strewn over the desktop and spilled onto the floor, where they were joined by the contents of the filing cabinet. The intruder was in my office with the door closed; I could hear him shuffling through the papers on my desk. I tip-toed past Millie’s desk. My hand was on the knob to my office door now. I eased it open gently, but a squeak from one of the hinges cut through the silence. The intruder spun around at the sound and tried to flee past me. At the last second, I caught him ankle-high with a shoestring tackle. He fell heavily, dropping his flashlight as he hit the floor. We both scrambled for it, but he was closer and got there first. In a single, smooth sweep of his arm, he slammed the flashlight into my skull.

 Cue sound effects: Whack! Bam! Crash! 😀

These stories are made for audiobooks, don’t you think?

And, talking of which – okay, so it was a set-up – I can confirm that the audio versions are available via Audible with a new voice for Damien Dickens recently joining Phyllis’s crew.

For more details about Phyllis and how to keep up with details of these and more Damien Dicken’s mysteries in the future, you can follow her here:

Phyllis Entis is the author of the Damien Dickens Mysteries series, which includes The Green Pearl Caper, The White Russian Caper and The Chocolate Labradoodle Caper. Her debut novel, The Green Pearl Caper, was a Library Journal SELF-e Selection. Phyllis is a free-lance writer and retired food safety microbiologist with degrees from McGill University and the University of Toronto. In 2007, ASM Press published her non-fiction book, Food Safety: Old Habits, New Perspectives.

Phyllis lives in Carmel-by-the-Sea, California with her husband and their Australian Cobberdog, Shalom. When she’s not writing, Phyllis usually can be found walking around town, browsing in the local library, or enjoying her garden.

Links:

Website and blog

Twitter

Facebook 

LinkedIn

Amazon 

Goodreads     

So? What are you waiting for? Get clicking those links 🙂

Thank you to Phyllis for sharing her stories with me. Wishing you lots of luck and oodles more inspiration for future capers.

Featured Author – Bob Spearman

It’s that time again, and this month the featured author of Mystery Authors international is Bob Spearman.

shrimpin-goldHis latest book is Shrimpin’ Gold.

And just looking at that cover makes me want to dive right in. But, if that’s not enough, check out the blurb.

In good seasons and bad, small family-owned shrimping operations have survived in the Carolinas. Harlin Dodd, a third generation shrimper on Shem Creek, faces the demise of a business started by his grandfather. Long time loyal first mate, Joe Ladson, struggles to pay his wife’s medical bills. Their old shrimp boat is beyond repair. Shrimp are scarce. But just as the financial dilemmas of both families seem insurmountable, their shrimp nets bring up a treasure chest filled with gold. With this prize, their troubles really begin. When pirates return for their lost gold, Joe is tortured, and Harlin’s daughter is kidnapped. Harlin must trade himself to save his daughter. Storms, pirates, gold, and ghostly illusions, all set in historical Charleston, make the shrimpers’ struggle an exciting Lowcountry tale.

Sounds exciting, right? So, we asked Bob what drove him to write this story.

“The motivation to write this book was, in part, to highlight the life of the local shrimper family and their struggle to survive the current economic tsunami that attacks their business. In the Carolinas, this business spans generations of local families who know no other way to live. The concept to tell the story of this struggle and yet give the main characters a hope for survival popped in my head while sitting on the beach. I was watching a slow moving shrimp trawler offshore as he plowed his way home to Shem Creek. What if they pulled up a net of Spanish gold?

I’ve lived most of my life in the Charleston area. Local family and friends have all enjoyed the privilege of easy access to fresh fish, shrimp, and oysters sold along the creeks of the Lowcountry. One of the most popular landmarks for fresh seafood is Shem Creek. This creek, home to numerous shrimp boats that line its shores, feeds into the Charleston harbor. It has been an icon for the Lowcountry, a favorite haunt for painters and photographers, and a magnet for restaurants and bars. With fuel prices up and the competition from Asian shrimp farms, living has been difficult for the families who have toiled at this labor for generations. Life is changing for the shrimper. Bringing awareness to this situation and the potential to help were paramount to this story. If the shrimp boats leave, the creek will lose the allure, and will become just a muddy creek.

Oh, and finally, in Charleston, we have fun with pirates and the ghost of these characters from days gone by. Adding a little of that flavor to this story is like the hot sauce on shrimp; not necessary but it sure spices it up.”

And if that whet your appetite, here’s a snippet to further tantalise your taste-buds 🙂

“Joe sat on his front porch in his favorite spindle-backed rocking chair. He studied the movements of two brilliant red Cardinals as they chased bugs along a jasmine-covered fence. A cool breeze carried the sweet scent of the jasmine blossoms across the porch. When the breeze stiffened, a squeaky windmill propeller, in his flower garden, waggled around in uneven circles.

His gaze drifted from the birds to the empty rocker next to him, and he sighed. A Carolina Wren, hidden high in the oak tree canopy, tweeted a familiar tune. He looked up and gained solace with the chorus of sounds that nature offered.

As a boy, he had climbed in these oak trees and tossed a baseball with his dad beside the jasmine fence. He had fished the saltwater creeks near his property with his grandfather, his father, and his son. He had rocked on this porch and watched the stars with Cora Lee when they were both in high school.

This lowcountry haven embellished his soul, it was a part of him and impossible to dissect; it gave him peace. He knew he could not leave this place and survive. He knew if he did leave, the smell of pluff mud and the sounds of sea birds would haunt him until he returned.

For now, the empty chair reminded him of what might be lost, the missing complement to his soul, like the song to a bird or the smell to a jasmine blossom. Through the years, each Sunday after church, they ate noon dinner together, and then Joe and Cora Lee enjoyed this simple pleasure of sitting on the porch. They rocked content with what the afternoon offered, blue sky, clouds, or rain. He could no more live happy without her than he could survive without the marshes or the sea.”

If you want to check this out, head over to Amazon and grab your copy.

To follow Bob and his other stories you can find his website here,  or go to Facebook, Twitter  or his Amazon author page. 

About the Author:

Writing on the beaches of South Carolina has proven a productive environment for this author, and on a breezy, warm afternoon, you may find him sitting on the sand under an umbrella. His favorite Carolina haunts are Edisto Beach, the Isle of Palms shoreline, or on an isolated stretch of Pawleys Island. The relative solitude, the breath of salt air, and the rhythm of the sea provide inspiration for plot lines based in the Carolina Lowcountry.

Bob Spearman grew up in rural South Carolina and now lives with his wife, Barbara, in Mount Pleasant. Although a son of this area, he has lived in Georgia, Texas, Florida, and Utah while working as an engineer. After moving back to Charleston, he started writing fiction as a hobby. He works with several local writer groups, has written three novels, and several short stories. He is currently working on his fourth novel. He is a graduate of The Citadel and holds a master’s degree from the University of Texas.

Other books also available are:

turf-and-surf

Turf & Surf

Every year they build more hotels, more roads, more restaurants, more golf courses, more everything to attract tourists… Locals grow more dissatisfied each year. Some sell and move to another yet undiscovered paradise, some grow old and despondent. Some get mad.
A popular beach haven hides some dirty secrets in Bob Spearman’s thrilling debut novel, Turf and Surf.

Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, has long been known as a go-to tourist destination. But beneath the sunny exterior lies a dark power struggle between locals, summer workers, tourists, and drug dealing gangsters.

Among them is Bo Jr., a young man whose dreams of paradise quickly turn into a nightmare when he stumbles across a mob-owned bar and is soon recruited as a hit-man-in-training.

Meanwhile, best friends Edna and Evelyn navigate the perilous world of romance while their landlords, the volatile Eddie Rondell and his meek wife, Vera, have their own ideas about how the town should be ru

Events converge to a dangerous day of reckoning as a serial kidnapper terrorizes summer workers and a new drug gang attempts to make a claim of their own. With a corrupt police force in charge, does Myrtle Beach have any chance of surviving as a family beach resort?

and hard-roadHard Road

After her daughter’s tragic death, Laurel Peterson jumped in front of a truck, but her attempt at suicide failed. She was left on the side of the road with broken legs and a broken soul. The truck driver stopped to help. Hank Blevins, a veteran of savage fighting in Afghanistan, looked into her eyes and oddly found someone he could understand.

Laurel’s husband, Jack Peterson, a well know business man from Charleston’s high society, had refused to accept mental illness in his family, and would not allow her to seek medical attention for her depression. Prior to her suicide, the dilemma drove her to alcohol, divorce, and a life on the street.

Her future appeared hopeless with nowhere to go and no one to care. Due to the untenable rift with her abusive husband, few options were available. But while Laurel recovered from her injuries, Hank is compelled to visit her in the hospital. They build a relationship of mutual support by sharing the tragic stories of their flawed lives. With the developing friendship, Hank offers Laurel a place to live until she finds a better alternative.

Hank had served two years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit, and now works for a moving company as a condition of his parole. The company’s manager, Bubba Jaborski, and Hank’s parole officer, conspire to force paroled convicts to deliver drugs or return to jail. The violent and threatening activities of his boss and co-workers put Hank in dire straits as he struggles to live a good life.

When Hank finally reveals to Laurel that he had spent time in prison, she leaves and returns to a nightmarish existence with her husband in their South of Broad home. Driven by the belief that her existence diminished his reputation and position in society, Jack taunts and threatens her. The abuse and lack of proper medication push Laurel back to depression, alcohol, and finally a psychotic episode that almost kills her. She calls Hank and gets a lawyer to help with a divorce.

Jack and his long time business partner have a failing commercial development. To avoid bankruptcy they join forces with Hank’s boss, Bubba, to launder drug money as an investment to save their business. This perilous arrangement leads to big problems with an international crime syndicate and a dangerous confrontation for Hank.

With all of these troubles, Hank struggles to be a good citizen, and to become Laurel’s savior, but needs a champion of his own to survive the complex minefield at work. How will these two survive the odds? Will love find a way?

***

So much to choose from, you’ll agree. Happy reading everyone.

And, to Bob, keep on writing those stories with your own, very unique ‘flavor’ 🙂

Featured Author – Amy Reade

As part of the Mystery Authors International group, (#MysteryAI), each month I’m going to feature one of our members and share some of their books, links and maybe even an insight into their writing life.

Amy Reade is the first to take the spotlight, with her latest novel, to be released on February 7th,  The House on Candlewick Lane. amy-reade

USA Today bestselling author Amy M. Reade is a recovering lawyer living in southern New Jersey. The House on Candlewick Lane is the first of The Malice Novels, Amy’s gothic suspense series set in the United Kingdom. The second book in the series, Highland Peril, will be released in the fall of 2017. She is currently at work on the third book. Amy is also the author of Secrets of Hallstead House, The Ghosts of Peppernell Manor, and House of Hanging Jade, all standalones. She loves reading, cooking, and traveling.

And, talking of The House on Candlewick Lane, here’s a short excerpt:

I must have fallen asleep, because I sat up with a start, not remembering where I was. But after a second it all came back to me in a rush of fear and indignation. I was sitting on the twin bed. It was hot. My hair stuck to the back of my neck and my forehead. Gray light forced its way into the room through the small window that overlooked the fields behind the house on Candlewick Lane. The rain was still falling, smearing the glass. I wondered where Neill was. I knew pounding on the door would be no use, but I had to do something. I had to try. My fists bore the bruises from my earlier futile attempts to be heard. There was nothing to do but wait to be released from this tower prison. Someone had to let me go.

They couldn’t keep me here forever.

To follow Amy, you can take your pick of every Social Media option going. Pick one, pick them all  – you don’t want to miss out, do you?

Website: www.amymreade.com

Blog: www.amreade.wordpress.com

Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/author/show/8189243.Amy_M_Reade

Amazon: www.amazon.com/Amy-M.-Reade/e/B00LX6ASF2/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

Facebook: www.facebook.com/groups/AmyMReadesGothicFictionFans/

Twitter: www.twitter.com/readeandwrite

Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/amreade

Instagram: www.instagram.com/amymreade

In the meantime, here’s a few words from Amy:

I came up with the idea for this book while on vacation in Scotland. The country is so different from my little corner of the world. The lochs, the mountains, the villages and the sea are never far from one’s imagination in such a rugged and beautiful place, and the capital, Edinburgh, is a wondrous city where the cosmopolitan culture of today is closely connected to the regal, artistic, and intellectual heritage of yesterday.

One thing that always fascinates me is that we can never really know what goes on behind someone else’s closed doors. Every family has something, whether it be a secret, an embarrassing circumstance, or an entire façade, that they don’t share with the rest of the world. It could be a financial problem, a marital issue, a drug habit—anything. In The House on Candlewick Lane I wanted to explore one family’s secret (or secrets), hidden behind the walls of an old house that fits in with its stony, cold landscape at the outskirts of a small Scottish village.

Having done an internship at the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children many years ago, I have always been under the strong sway of the topic of familial abduction. In addition to the excitement of uncovering family secrets, The House on Candlewick Lane touches on the issue of non-custodial parental abduction in a way that sees justice served while addressing the custodial parent’s frustration and anguish.

 Good luck, Amy.

It looks like a best-seller to me.