From the author of The Winner Maker and Blackquest 40 comes The Pinebox Vendetta: a genre-bending thriller that combines a love story, cold-case murder mystery, and political blood feud — told over the course of a single breathless weekend.
The Gallaghers and Pruitts have dominated the American political landscape dating back to Revolutionary times. The Yale University class of 1996 had one of each, and as the twenty-year reunion approaches, the families are on a collision course.
Owen Gallagher is coasting to the Democratic nomination for president.
Rock Pruitt — the brash maverick whose career was derailed two decades ago by his association to a tragic death — is back, ready to reclaim the mantle of clan leader.
And fatefully in between lies Samantha Lessing. Sam arrives at reunion weekend lugging a rotten marriage, dumb hope, and a portable audio recorder she’ll use for a public radio-style documentary on the Pruitt-Gallagher rivalry — widely known as the pinebox vendetta.
What Sam uncovers will thrust her into the middle of the ancient feud, upending presidential politics and changing the trajectory of one clan forever.
The Pinebox Vendetta is the first entry in the Pruitt-Gallagher saga: a series that promises cutthroat plots, power grabs, and unforgettable characters stretched to their very limits by the same ideological forces that roil America today.
Book Details:Genre: Thriller Published by: Jeff Bond Books Publication Date: February 19th 2020 Number of Pages: 264 ISBN: 1732255253 (ISBN13: 9781732255258) Series: Pruitt-Gallagher Saga, #1 Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads
Read an excerpt:
Jeff Bond is a Kansas native and graduate of Yale University.
He lives with his wife and two daughters in Michigan, and belongs to the International Thriller Writers Association.
Catch Up With Jeff Bond On:
I hadn’t read anything by this author before but was hooked by the political intrigue promised in the book’s description. The crux of the story revolves around two families with extraordinary political influence and an even greater rivalry. Their desire to control supersedes everything – there are no lengths to which they will not go to retain influence.
Stuck in the middle is Sam, whose own marriage is on its knees, and who sees the reunion of her fellow Yale graduates as a chance to find herself again. Of course, the reunion is drama-packed, and really shows the true nature of the warring families. For me, as a non-American, the Yale scenes were confusing, so many unexplained acronyms to identify certain groups I had no idea what was going on. Added to the fact that key characters were just so awful, with not a likeable bone in their body, it was difficult to relate to them and understand their anger with the world.
In today’s political climate, mud-slinging has become common-place, and here it was no different. It also seemed that these people – much like today’s politicos – were never held accountable for their actions. Where was the voice of reason in all of this? I expected more of Sam, assumed her role would be to provide balance …but, no.
The pace of events picked up in the second half and that old family feud kicked off with a vengeance, highlighting the darker and manipulative side of those wielding the power in politics. As fascinating as this was, at the back of my mind I was waiting for someone to own up to their actions, admit responsibility, and maybe – I know, what was I thinking? – show some contrition.
Despite the characters’ complete lack of moral fibre, the families’ ingrained ability to deceive, and the cover-ups, I felt compelled to read on, just in case …. It certainly gave me insight into the shenanigans going on behind the scenes during campaign season. It’s probably – at least I hope so – an extreme take on that world. The ending felt incomplete, but maybe that will be resolved in the next book of the series.
I received a complimentary ARC edition as part of a blog tour review. This is my honest and voluntary review.
Visit these other great hosts on this tour for more great reviews, interviews, guest posts, and giveaways!
Enter To Win!:
This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Jeff Bond. There will be 2 winners of one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card each. The giveaway begins on May 1, 2020 and runs through July 2, 2020. Void where prohibited.
The Family Secret
by Terry Lynn Thomas
The Family Secret
Will she find the truth?
After a sudden unexplained disappearance, Thomas Charles comes back into Cat Carlisle’s life with the suggestion she leave London – and the threat of bombs – to move to back her childhood village in Cumberland.
Back in her hometown Cat discovers her childhood friend, Beth Hargreaves, is suspected of murder. As Cat tries to prove Beth’s innocence, she discovers a scheme of deception that affects the whole village. Can she uncover the family truths behind the murder and expose the enemy hiding in plain sight?
Get ready for another gripping read from USA Today bestselling author of THE SILENT WOMAN!
Terry Lynn Thomas grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, which explains her love of foggy beaches and Gothic mysteries. When her husband promised to buy Terry a horse and the time to write if she moved to Mississippi with him, she jumped at the chance. Although she had written several novels and screenplays prior to 2006, after she relocated to the South she set out to write in earnest and has never looked back.
Terry Lynn writes the Sarah Bennett Mysteries, set on the California coast during the 1940s, which feature a misunderstood medium in love with a spy. The Drowned Woman is a recipient of the IndieBRAG Medallion. She also writes the Cat Carlisle Mysteries, set in Britain during World War II. The first book in this series, The Silent Woman, came out in April 2018 and has since become a USA TODAY bestseller. When she’s not writing, you can find Terry Lynn riding her horse, walking in the woods with her dogs, or visiting old cemeteries in search of story ideas.
Social Media Links – https://twitter.com/TLThomasBooks
The Family Secret is a cosy, historical mystery set during WWII – one of my favourite eras to read about, especially in fiction. So, it should come as no surprise that I thoroughly lapped up every page of this book.
The heroine, Cat Carlisle is a strong-minded redhead with a warm and caring streak. But, never think that Cat will lurk on the sidelines when there’s a mystery to be solved or when a friend is highlighted as a suspect.
When a former friend and colleague, Thomas Charles, asks her to move back to her hometown to help him with his next book – and, of course, to escape the bombings that are expected in London – she does so for two reasons. Firstly, she is looking forward to being around Thomas again (to whom she seems scared to confess her feelings), but also because Annie (her ward) is scared of bombs and air raid sirens.
What Cat doesn’t know is that Thomas is going there for reasons other than his next book. His real job is to investigate a murder. He can’t tell Cat about this though, because she’ll want to get get involved – and that could really mess things up. Cat is known for digging a little too deeply and for causing all sorts of drama – even when she thinks she has done an altogether amazing job!
But, as I mentioned, Cat Carlisle is not going to take a back seat for anyone or anything. There may be trouble ahead!
As the stakes intensify, other characters come into their own, bringing tension, drama, a touch of unrequited love, a lot of envy and plenty of vengeful desires. The twists and turns are plentiful, and the opposing viewpoints always keeps the mystery at the forefront.
The Family Secret is the second book in the Cat Carlisle series, and despite not having read book one, this was an easy-to-follow story with enough information about the past to keep the reader up to speed in Cat’s lifestory and, more importantly, her past behaviour and its impact.
I’d definitely read more by this author in future, whether from this series or others.
Thank you to the author, NetGalley & Rachel’s Random Resources for the opportunity to read and review this book. The opinions given here belong to me, are my own and only mine, so help me Hermes (apparently the god of literature, amongst many other things 😉 )
For more reviews and interviews, check out these blogs:
by DM Wolfenden
Well, hello, Sugar, my name is Joanna…
That’s the introduction that all my victims get. It’s nice to be polite.
Even serial killers have manners.
I know what I do isn’t normal, but I also know that I do the country a service.
And the world is better off with me in it. You will understand.
See, I was once the victim.
Hurt by the one who should have taken care of me.
Let down by the system that should have protected me.
Now I vow to help others, and if I have to hurt people to do it, I will.
WOW! Did you read that hook? This jumps off the screen to me, and I cannot wait to get my copy.
Sounds like another fascinating read from my favourite short story author. I have a ‘source’ that tells this is not the only story in this series – The female of the species – and I’m super excited.
DM Wolfenden is an author with a dark side – she can spin a tale, fill it with humour and emotion and then … wham, the twists are truly shocking.
Are you ready to one-click right now?
Well, hold your horses. It will be released on 3rd August – but, fear not, I have the pre-order link already.
If you’ve hit that link, be sure to come back and let me know what you think. I’ll post my review if you’ll post yours 😉
Thanks for reading 🙂
Who? You might ask.
Lacey was my first protagonist to meet the public, yet she is also the one who has had the least attention. As the key player in Lacey’s Law (incidentally my most downloaded and, at the same time, least-reviewed book) she is a character close to my heart. But, for some reason, many have said she’s unlikable (which is an unfortunate comment to hear given she’s the character most like me in so many ways).
It’s has always amazed me how reviewers have been so quick to criticise her. Granted, at the outset, her desire for revenge is almost an obsession. But, without giving away the ending, things take an unexpected twist, turning her life upside down – again. This time, she acts with more maturity (about time, given she’s no spring chicken!) and her actions prove she’s not a total bitch.
So, I can see how reviewers might not take to her, but I feel they don’t give a chance before condemning her. I think, for some, there’s a moral judgement made that often leaves Lacey looking like the villain. Okay, her behaviour at times is inexcusable; she doesn’t claim to be an angel, but nor is she the devil in disguise.
She has been hurt. She’s grieving and in shock. She hits back. Literally!
Strangely enough, other readers who have spoken to / contacted me personally have said they understand her and end up rooting for her in the end. Sadly, these readers rarely leave a review 😦 (Hey, you can lead a horse to water …)
Anyway, I’m going to let Lacey introduce herself, and you can decide for yourself. But, I’ll warn you – she’s no Doris Day.
Beware the fury of a patient woman.
I’m Lacey Fielding and I have a score to settle.
I had everything I’d ever wanted: my dream job,
a riverside apartment, a great life.
Eight years ago I learned the truth behind my father’s death.
And it wasn’t pretty.
I mean, revenge was inevitable.
Carla Sommers, a ‘friend’ of thirty years, was my target.
After stealing her husband, I was about to confess
when my plan took an unexpected, yet delightfully
delicious turn, putting Carla’s liberty and her sanity at stake.
I was having so much fun … until an ironic shift in circumstances
challenged and changed my ‘happy’ ending.
Yep, she’s definitely got a touch of the Alexis Carrington about her, minus the shoulder pads and big hair. But, the clues are there – an ironic shift in circumstances – well, that’s an understatement.
Lacey & Carla met a university; they were polar opposites in every way. But Carla enjoyed having Lacey around, and when it was just the two of them, they got along marvellously. So well, in fact, Carla was a frequent visitor to Lacey’s home, albeit in a much less affluent area. Carla became the friend Lacey had always yearned for, the best friend she had dreamt of and couldn’t quite believe she had finally found.
After university, everything changed. Both took different paths, and despite countless attempts to contact Carla, Lacey found herself back on familiar territory – all on her lonesome. She threw herself into her work, becoming quite the successful architect. Headhunted by a big London firm, she headed for the Big Smoke where an illustrious career awaited her.
It was here she met up with Carla again and they rekindled their friendship. This time, Lacey was on an even keel with Carla, who had married and devoted her life to her husband and son.
Or so it seemed.
As I said, Lacey was grieving, but the shocking secret that followed took the bottom out of her world.
As for Carla … she had it coming!
And, so Lacey’s Law was born. In her shoes, how would you react? If nothing else, her story makes for great debate.
I love her, but then again, I would, wouldn’t I?
Her story is told with love, humour and a wee bit of sarcasm, and is best read with a cup of tea and a packet of chocolate biscuits.
Of course, there are dogs in there, too – I told you how alike we are 😉
Thank you for reading 🙂
We all get tired of the same old look, don’t we?
Imagine how books must feel – wearing the same cover, day in, day out – on every occasion and to every event.
If it’s true what they say that we all judge a book by its cover, then surely we should give our books a wardrobe tweak every now and then. (Although, it’d be hypocritical of me to say that book covers are the first thing that grab my eye about a book. I don’t belong to the school of thought that places more attention on a cover image than on the story itself. For me, if the title is compelling, then I’ll read the blurb and make a decision from that. I know that’s not the trend, but it’s my way.)
Anyway … I decided to give Lacey’s Law a new look. Well, it’s kind of an old look with a fresher feel.
I loved it, because it meant something to me as the writer. But, I guess it was a case of ‘you had to be there – in my head’ to appreciate it.
I wasn’t aiming for attention-grabbing, but I did feel it represented the overall theme well enough to get readers to read the blurb.
Then, I won a competition to get a new cover. Great, you might think. A chance to try out the other line of thinking without any cost to me.
Hmm, well, yes. It was. But … I could only choose from a handful of pre-made covers and so had to make my story fit someone else’s image.
“It’ll be worth it,” they said. “Having a professionally designed cover will have a major impact.”
Very different, don’t you think.
Even a new tagline – Beware the fury of a patient woman.
So, I made the change and waited.
But, something felt wrong.
While ‘the fury of a patient woman’ did fit the story, it didn’t represent the growth of my character. Instead, Lacey came across as vindictive and unlikable. In fact, she’s not like that at all. Yes, she was angry, and wanted revenge – but life threw her an ironic twist. One that changed everything. Which is the point of the story. Her need to defend her family (at first, her parents) soon became a need to protect her future family. So, that’s why I’m taking her back to her roots.
The tree is back, as is the original tagline.
It has a softer, less cut-throat, feel about it – one I hope better reflects her growth and validates her as a woman whose emotional reactions are forced to adapt.
In effect, Lacey grows up properly (and yes, she’s already in her forties when the story starts, but she hadn’t really been challenged as an adult before.) It’s a story about friendships and relationships; about trust and betrayal; about dealing with obstacles and – ultimately – “adulting”.
I once called this story ‘an eye for an eye meets happy ever after’, and I think it still fits rather well.
Description: Scandinavian blond, 6’1, ice-blue eyes, trim beard, lean physique. (Although, as Jorge, he is clean-shaven and dyes his hair dark brown)
Born in Portugal to a Swedish mother and Portuguese father, Stefan grew up in the Algarve, but moved to England as a teenager with his mother. His father left them shortly before, taking Stefan’s younger sister with him.
He was a fastidious child, neat and orderly. Very bright and quick to learn, soon understanding that certain behaviour earned him attention.
These days, he listens attentively and is a keen observer of people. He demands attention when he talks and enjoys controlling the conversation. Not one who will admit to being wrong, he bears grudges and has a childish need to get his own back when he feels undermined.
Doggedly determined, he never gives up on what he wants and sees no obstacle as too big to prevent him from getting his own way. Manipulation is his forte and he will stoop to nothing to meet his goal. His relationship with Nessa is a convenience, suiting his purpose but he has no plans for anything long-term. She is a disposable asset to him.
With an artistic streak, he appreciates beautiful things, but is obsessive about such items being soiled by the manhandling of other people. Everything he owns has a specific place and is not there for anyone’s pleasure but his own.
He can be beguiling, charming, sociable and friendly but generally prefers his own company. He admires attractive women with a clinical detachment. He loves sailing and is at ease on the ocean.
Emotionally, he is a solitary figure, with little regard for anyone but himself. However, he retains a soft spot for his younger sister, although they grew up separately. During his time in the remand centre his cellmate, Alfonso, befriends him. For the first time ever, Stefan encounters new emotional responses that baffle and surprise him.
Is he finally growing up? Showing concern for others is not usually in his make-up, although he can fake it without breaking a sweat, But, recent encounters seem to have more of an effect on him than he is used to, hinting at a caring streak behind his mask.
And just when you think he may be changing for the better, he goes and throws another spanner in the works. Life with Stefan Pereira is far from dull.
The Judas effect is often the ultimate betrayal and it’s an act – and sentiment – that resonates greatly with my characters in Courting Danger.
Stefan feels he was betrayed by his father, abandoned to deal with his alcoholic mother. Of course, he is embittered and unwilling to build bridges, until he has no other choice. The desire revenge creates a selfish man of Stefan – for whom only a satisfactory conclusion to his plan will ever be enough.
For Fern, the betrayal comes from Nessa – a friend who she accuses of allowing Stefan to get close and almost killing her. Fern finds it quite easy to dismiss Nessa from her life, but it’s not so simple for Raven – best friends with Nessa for over fifteen years, but for whom this disloyalty is hard to overcome. Friendships are truly tested for the three young women proving the path to justice is never smooth.
My second story in the anthology “HOLIDAZED” is a mystery story, with a revenge element.(No surprises there)
The Fifth Wheel sees Fern take a much-needed holiday
It took a great deal of persuasion by Nessa, a colleague of Fern’s, to convince her to take this break.
Whilst the girls do not gel immediately, it is only when Fern disappears that we see the beginnings of new friendships.
Doubts arise about existing relationships and the mystery of Fern’s empty room and sunken wheelchair raise concerns amongst them, particularly when a body is spotted out at sea.
Does she meet a watery end?
The anthology will be available from Amazon in summer 2015. More details will follow on here.
The Proof of the Pudding is in the Eating (cont’d)
Realising that he had no place to hide, he sauntered across to Laurel, with a malicious sneer, ‘I demand to taste your food. It is inconceivable that your little pudding is chosen above my own recipe.’ Unblinking, Laurel said, ‘I thought you might say that. I have another plate for you back in the kitchen. Come with me.’ Muttering ‘this contest is not yet over,’ he turned and followed her with a snort of dismissive laughter.
The critic looked on, his brow furrowed, knowing that the once great chef couldn’t possibly hope to gain from such a confrontation.
Laurel handed Igor a plate with the remaining pastry, which he grabbed, sniffed, rotated in his fingers and finally bit into.
With narrowing eyes and a wave of the hand, he retorted, ‘you call this…this offering …better than the dish of the famous, Silver- Apple-awarded, Igor Romanski? You are fools.’
No sooner were the words uttered than he clutched at his stomach and ran off towards the toilets. Laurel started to giggle, before erupting into full-on belly laughs, as the judges watched her, horrified and bemused.
Seeing their puzzled expressions, she bent down to her box of ingredients and pulled out some extra-strong laxative powder. ‘Don’t worry, I only used this on his serving. I had a feeling he’d object to losing.’
As peals of laughter filled the kitchen, she added, ‘after all, revenge is a dish best served cold!’