Posted in excerpt, Thriller on February 15, 2018

Title: DEAD COLD
Author: Jennifer Chase
Publisher: JEC Press
Pages: 326
Genre: Crime Thriller

Synopsis

What happens when one California community has a disturbing spike in homicides? It catapults cops into a deadly game of murder. Frozen human body parts hideously displayed at the crime scenes offers a horrifying interpretation that only a sadistic serial killer could design—and execute.

On the hunt for a complex serial killer, vigilante detective Emily Stone must face her most daring case yet. Stone’s proven top-notch profiling skills and forensic expertise may not be enough this time.

Young and ambitious, Detective Danny Starr, catches the homicide cases and discovers that it will test everything he knows about police work and the criminal mind. Can he handle these escalating cases or will the police department have to call in reinforcements—the FBI.

Emily Stone’s covert team pushes with extreme urgency to unravel the grisly clues, while keeping their identities hidden from the police. With one last-ditch effort, Stone dangles someone she loves as bait to draw out the killer. She then forces the killer out of their comfort zone with her partner Rick Lopez, and with help from a longtime friend Jordan Smith. A revelation of the serial killer’s identity leaves the team with volatile emotions that could destroy them.

The killer continues to taunt and expertly manipulate the police, as well as Stone’s team, and as they run out of time—they leave behind everyone and everything—in Dead Cold.

Excerpt

ESCAPE WAS IMPOSSIBLE. TEARS STREAMED down her face as she sat in the darkness and waited for the man to return. There was no other choice—but to wait.

She hadn’t eaten anything in three days and had only a limited amount of water—her strength continued to fade with every hour. With her wrists and ankles secured with duct tape, her skin stung with pain every time she struggled to move. At least the man had peeled the tape from her eyes and mouth so that she could see something besides pitch-blackness.

Even if she could escape, the only way to safety was jumping into the frigid water, but she could not swim and would drown before ever reaching the shore.

The only thing thirteen-year-old Kayla Swanson thought about was home. Fond memories flashed through her mind of her parents, her little brother, and her dog Charlie. She was never going to see them again. Their smiling faces were forever etched in Kayla’s mind, and she constantly held them close to her heart.

The boat rocked, and seemed to sway more violently as the tide flooded in and out of the harbor. Kayla could hear a consistent clanking noise above her as the boat rolled back and forth. The sound had a hypnotic quality, and kept her mind on something else besides when the man would return and what he would do next.

Her lips were dry and cracked as she bordered on dehydration. Even her tears dried on her cheeks, leaving her skin stiff and drawn. Her body began to shake, not only from fear, but also because of the extreme exhaustion and the constant dampness all around her.

The boat rocked more, but this time it shifted from the opposite sides. Kayla heard soft footsteps above, which she knew wasn’t her captor’s heavy walk. She strained her eyes in the darkness and thought she saw a thin shadow stealthily move along the upper deck.

Was it a ghost?

Kayla remembered a television series where a team of people hunted ghosts and they had said that ghosts could occupy any type of space, house, property, and even a boat.

She blinked her eyes several times and hoped that she could catch a glimpse of the ghost again. With every ounce of declining strength, Kayla scooted her body closer to the narrow stairs leading to the upper deck.

Painfully craning her neck, she strained to see something up in the darkness.

The dark shadowed areas played tricks on her eyes—it was there, then it wasn’t.

She waited for several minutes.

Nothing appeared.

The only sounds she heard were the usual boat noises she had grown accustomed to hearing. Whatever she thought she heard was gone now. It was most likely her imagination trying to give her some hope and a few moments break from her dire circumstances.

As she relaxed her shoulders and leaned back against the wall, the reality of her world pressing down hard. Tears streamed down her face. She tasted the saltiness that settled around her mouth. Her last moments were approaching, and there was nothing she could do.

About the Author

Jennifer Chase is a multi award-winning crime fiction author and consulting criminologist. Jennifer holds a bachelor degree in police forensics and a master’s degree in criminology & criminal justice. These academic pursuits developed out of her curiosity about the criminal mind as well as from her own experience with a violent sociopath, providing Jennifer with deep personal investment in every story she tells. In addition, she holds certifications in serial crime and criminal profiling.  She is an affiliate member of the International Association of Forensic Criminologists.

Website | Twitter | Facebook

Posted in Guest Post, Spotlight, suspense, Thriller on January 31, 2018

Synopsis

Unspeakable Things is a chilling mystery about motherhood and madness.

You’re pregnant.

You find out there’s madness in the family.

What are you going to do now?

Sarah moves back into her abandoned childhood home, hoping to connect with what’s left of her family. She is thrilled to learn about her long-dead mother from Uncle John, who runs the Woodlands Clinic nearby.

Then he tells her that her mother tried to kill her and died a mental patient at Woodlands. But is the truth even more shocking than that?

Sarah’s desperate search for what really happened to her mother rocks her marriage, career, and friendships. Can she discover the family’s bitter secret before her baby is born?

Or will she go mad trying?

Trailer

Thoughts from the Author

The Secret Behind the Title

I used to call my novel, The Gatehouse.

‘It’s a working title,’ I’d say when people looked doubtful.

‘Yeah. Definitely change it,’ they’d say.

When I hit upon Unspeakable Things, I got much better reactions. The phrase raises an immediate question: ‘What unspeakable things?’ and if you’re asking that, I’ve got you, and you’re not even on the first page.

The title comes from an unforgettable conversation I had years ago with a colleague – let’s call her Delia.

She had married young, with the blessing of her parents. The marriage broke down, but Delia’s mother really liked the husband and wouldn’t stop bemoaning the fact that Delia had left him. Delia got so fed up with this that she invented a reason for the break-up to get her mother off her back:

‘But Mum, he made me do unspeakable things.’

Her mother did not look as shocked as she had expected. ‘Oh men are like that, darling,’ she said.

It made Delia her look at her father in a completely different way.

About the Author

Sophie Kersey worked in publishing for almost thirty years before going freelance to pursue her lifelong writing ambitions. She is now a freelance writer and editor. Her articles have appeared in counseling and parenting magazines and in the US collection Enduring Love. She is the author of The History of Halstead School. Unspeakable Things is her first novel. She lives in Kent with her husband, Jon, and has two grown-up sons.

Website * Blog * Facebook * Twitter

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Posted in excerpt, fiction, Giveaway, Thriller on January 9, 2018

ANAHUAC

A Texas Story (Volume 2)

by

WILLIAM D. DARLING

  Genre: Historical Fiction / Thriller

Publisher: Canned Peas Productions

Date of Publication: October 3, 2017

Number of Pages: 244

Scroll down for the giveaway!

The Anahuac of 1972 is more than just an isolated outpost on Texas’s Trinity Bay – it’s a place where greed and justice uncomfortably intermingle, where the evangelical fervor of charismatic preachers resonate, where blacks and whites navigate a fragile co-existence, and where a murder leads to even darker mysteries than murder.

Jim Ward, introduced in Morgan’s Point as a young, idealistic Houston prosecutor, returns in Anahuac as an older, more conflicted, more complicated man, coming to Anahuac to defend a man who appears guilty of a horrible crime. His discoveries lead to entanglements in the very nature of good and evil, in a town that is at once of its time and timeless, steeped in a history that is unexpectedly but definitively drawing Ward in its narrative web.

PRAISE FOR ANAHUAC:

“Austin writer William D. Darling’s second novel, Anahuac, is an entertaining, engrossing legal thriller that offers both darkly humorous and good-natured thrusts at life, love, and law . . . first-rate reading, especially for readers who enjoy legal thrillers, lawyer procedurals, suspense, Texas settings, and characters who live large.” – Lone Star Literary Life

“Darling draws vivid portraits of his setting while also bringing in historical currents like women’s liberation, the growth of container shipping, and the rise of the prosperity gospel, adding interest to what’s otherwise a fairly simple courtroom drama.” – Kirkus Reviews

I’m a Texan originally from the east coast who’s had occasion to meet some of these characters from another planet. Darling weaves us through the minds of lawyers with jealousies, insecurities, questions of faith, honor, and guilt as they tackle the case of a horrible crime that has the potential to put a man of God away forever. I held on tight as we went through the engrossing trial, which did not disappoint! If you love history, crime, passion, religion, and suspense, this is a must read! – Kristy Recker (an Amazon reviewer)

EXCERPT from Anahuac: A Texas Story

By William D. Darling

This excerpt from Anahuac, which sets the novel in motion, centers around a briefly-seen yet memorable character, Sarita Jo Franklin, who lives on Palmetto Ranch, an isolated spread was 12,530 acres of pastures, fields and bayous located at Smith’s Point on the shore of Galveston Bay. As Darling writes, “Palmetto was the way Texas used to be.”

It was getting late and the sun was going down. As was Sarita’s custom, she ate a peanut butter sandwich and poured herself another stiff bourbon, but without the branch water. She picked up her little turquoise transistor radio and hobbled back to the porch to look at the stars and find radio stations far away from her struggles on the ranch. The frogs and cicadas were serenading and the sky was clear. She’d never had time to worry about what would happen to the ranch when she was dead. She was too busy staying in control. Now she recognized her death would mean Clete would inherit the ranch if she didn’t write a will to prevent it. All of her work and sacrifice would be for nothing. The reality staggered her and she had no answer.

Sarita turned the tiny dial on the radio until a hypnotic voice floated melodically out of the speaker. Not even the scratchy static of a distant station could distract Sarita’s fascination.

“Do you have what you need? I’ll say it again. Do you have what you need to get into heaven? Do you have money, but not love? Do you have money and no family? You can’t take it with you. Yooou might not know, but I know what you need to do. You can make sure the Randall Clay Prayer Hour stays on the air. Can you help me assure God’s works are done here on earth? God rewards those who make sure his word is spread. All you have to do is send your check to the Reverend Randall Clay Prayer Hour at P.O. Box 823, Hope, Arkansas.” Randall Clay managed to turn the town’s name of Hope into a three syllable word.

Reverend Randall repeated the address over and again. “Now get up and get a pen or pencil and write this down.” He repeated the address. “I know there is someone special out there who is wondering if this is the right thing to do. God knows you’re thinking about it.  He told me straight out right before I came on the air. Don’t you disappoint him! He won’t disappoint you. May Gaaaaawd’s grace be upon you. Once again that’s P.O. Box …”

Sarita Jo Franklin stared down at the little radio after the sermon ended, lost in the enormity of the moment.  She was not religious and not even sure whether God existed. But the visit from Clete, her aching hip, and the uncertainty about what would happen to the ranch after she was gone was upon her with a vengeance. Sarita had thought she was indestructible, but now she knew different.

Sarita walked into the house, repeating “P.O. Box 823, Hope Arkansas, P.O. Box 823.”  She rummaged through the roll top desk for a box of Palmetto ranch stationery and a fresh sheet of carbon paper. Carefully she aligned the carbon paper between the white sheet of stationery and a thin sheet of onion skin paper for Clete’s copy. Satisfied they were aligned, she rolled the sheets into her ancient typewriter. She struck the keys of the manual typewriter forcefully to assure that the carbon paper left a clear image on Clete’s onion skin copy. The rhythmic slapping of the typewriter’s keys comforted her as she typed a letter to the Reverend Randall Clay.

On the bottom of Clete’s copy she hand-wrote a note. “You are no better than your daddy!” When she sealed the two envelopes she felt better. There was just enough time for one more drink before she went to bed. Tomorrow Sarita Jo would fire up the old Chevy truck and drive into Anahuac to the post office. The sooner she and Reverend Randall Clay met up, the better it would be.

William D. Darling is a lifelong storyteller and very nearly a native Texan, arriving in his beloved state as an infant in 1942. His first novel, Morgan’s Point, introduced readers to both the mid-‘60s rough-and-tumble world of the Houston courts where Darling came of age, and the Galveston Bay region that has long fascinated him. His latest novel Anahuac, serves as a sequel to Morgan’s Point as well as its own fascinating tale.

Darling, who has lived within the legislative bustle of Washington, D.C. and in the beauty of a Central Texas ranch, currently resides in Austin, where he and his wife have built a longstanding law practice.

Website ║ FacebookTwitterGoodreads

UPCOMING AUTHOR APPEARANCES:

January 12, 2018, 7:00PM

Anahuac Reading & Signing

Deep Vellum Books, 3000 Commerce Street, Dallas, TX, US 

January 20, 2018, 10:00AM

Anahuac Reading in Anahuac
William D. Darling brings it on home! He’ll read from Anahuac in the city where the new novel is set for the first time ever.
Chambers County Library, 202 Cummings Street, Anahuac, TX, US 

February 17, 2018, 4:30PM

Anahuac Houston Release Event
William D. Darling will sign and read from Anahuac, celebrating the release of the book with friends and well-wishers in the city he once called home, as part of a multi-author event.
Murder by the Books, 2342 Bissonnet, Houston, TX, US 

————————————-

GIVEAWAY!  GIVEAWAY!  GIVEAWAY!

THREE WINNERS EACH WIN A COPY OF ANAHUAC + $10 Amazon Gift Card

January 5-January 14, 2018

(U.S. Only)

 


a Rafflecopter giveaway
 

VISIT THE OTHER GREAT BLOGS ON THE TOUR

1/5/18 Notable Quotable Syd Savvy
1/5/18 Author Interview Texan Girl Reads
1/6/18 Review Missus Gonzo
1/7/18 Notable Quotable A Novel Reality
1/8/18 Review Forgotten Winds
1/9/18 Excerpt StoreyBook Reviews
1/10/18 Notable Quotable Tangled in Text
1/11/18 Review Reading by Moonlight
1/12/18 Author Interview Texas Book Lover
1/13/18 Scrapbook Page The Clueless Gent
1/14/18 Review Hall Ways Blog

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Posted in 4 paws, paranormal, Review, Thriller on January 5, 2018

DRS Publishing LLC; 1 edition

Paperback: 346 pages

September 7, 2017, $14.99

Genre: Paranormal Thriller

Synopsis

In the spring of 1867, at a makeshift graveyard in Mississippi, a work crew begins the somber task of unearthing the remains of Civil War soldiers. Found in the skeletal hand of one unidentified soldier is a US belt buckle. Believed to be a Union soldier, he is laid to rest in a Federal cemetery and honored with a Memorial Star Marker mounted on a pole at his gravesite. THE MARKER disappears from the cemetery in 1952 and remains hidden for over 64 years. When found, it becomes a conduit between its current owner and the Unknown Soldier, who pleads that his story be told. The result of this supernatural encounter reveals a history of envy, hate, and murder. These revelations bring everyone connected to THE MARKER into great peril.

Review

If you like genealogy, history and mystery you might just like this book!

I wasn’t sure what to expect when I started this book, but once the grave marker is discovered I felt like the story really took off. Jennifer Beasley is a reporter, so who better to ferret out the history of the marker. It had been stolen from a cemetery in 1952 and was languishing in a drawer in a tiny shop that was going out of business. The marker intrigues Jennifer and she takes vacation time to find out the history of the marker, which turns into a search for who the unknown soldier is buried in that grave. To help her on that journey is the spirit of the soldier, Dr Bradley Taylor. She encounters some resistance and disbelief, but she also finds those willing to help her.

I marveled that the small hometown of Dr Taylor had one family that had kept meticulous records and items of the citizens of that town. That was a huge boon to Jennifer in unraveling the mystery behind what happened to the family and the doctor during the Civil War.

And what would this book be without a romance. There is Jake, a photographer at the magazine where Jennifer works, but I don’t think she feels like he is her soul mate. Then she meets a descendant of Dr Taylor and it is like kismet. Would he feel the same?

I enjoyed the history and what goes into genealogical research and how complicated it can become especially if you do not have a lot of facts to start a search or if there are many unknowns. There is even a little danger for Jennifer while she is seeking the truth about what happened to Dr Taylor and his family.

My only negative is that at times the conversations/writing seems stilted. I still really enjoyed the plot of the book and how it was laid out.

We give it 4 paws up.

About the Author

Diana began her writing career as a columnist and feature writer. She later became a food journalist and editor. In 1992, she established her own company, publishing two print magazines (The COLLECTOR Newsmagazine and Gourmet Fare). In addition, Diana was the creator and host of Cooking with Grandma. Her first book, ON THE BREATH OF ANGELS, was released in April 2008. WINDS OF POOD series (Under the Puddle and In the Blizzard) are her first middle-grade novels, followed by The Upside Down Inside Out Life of Maureen Kiernan (Book 1: The Magic Cello), The Princess Who Loved to Swim, and THE MARKER. Diana is a member of the Authors Guild and SCBWI. When she’s not roaming around Gardone Riviera (Lake Garda, Italy), she can be found in suburban Atlanta, Georgia, with her husband, Anthony.

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Posted in 5 paws, Review, Thriller on December 28, 2017

Synopsis

Every time Gwen closed her eyes, she saw him in her nightmares. Now her eyes are open, and he’s not going away.

Gwen Proctor won the battle to save her kids from her ex-husband, serial killer Melvin Royal, and his league of psychotic accomplices. But the war isn’t over. Not since Melvin broke out of prison. Not since she received a chilling text…

You’re not safe anywhere now.

Her refuge at Stillhouse Lake has become a trap. Gwen leaves her children in the protective custody of a fortified, well-armed neighbor. Now, with the help of Sam Cade, brother of one of Melvin’s victims, Gwen is going hunting. She’s learned how from one of the sickest killers alive.

But what she’s up against is beyond anything she feared—a sophisticated and savage mind game calculated to destroy her. As trust beyond her small circle of friends begins to vanish, Gwen has only fury and vengeance to believe in as she closes in on her prey. And sure as the night, one of them will die.

Review

You must read Stillhouse Lake before reading this book or you will be totally lost.

This book is much like the first in the way that it keeps me on the edge of my seat wondering what is going to happen next. I am always surprised at each turn. While I hope to never have to deal with a serial killer, the way their minds work is nothing like I have ever encountered. Very manipulating!

I enjoyed how this book was told from the viewpoint of 4 pivotal characters – Gwen, Lanny, Connor and Sam. Now if there had been a viewpoint of Melvin (the serial killer) that would have been even more eerie! But since this is more about what the family endures it is appropriate to have it from these 4 voices.

There are times I wanted to yell at the characters for doing something stupid – it is like watching the horror movie and the characters doing something you know aren’t good decisions! But that aside, the mistakes they make help round out the storyline and really drag you into caring about what happens next and that all will be ok.

My understanding is that there will be a 3rd book and I’m wondering what could possibly happen next as this book wrapped a lot of things up nicely. I have my suspicions but can’t wait to see what happens in the next installment.

We give this 5 paws up

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Posted in 5 paws, Review, Thriller on December 27, 2017

Synopsis

Gina Royal is the definition of average—a shy Midwestern housewife with a happy marriage and two adorable children. But when a car accident reveals her husband’s secret life as a serial killer, she must remake herself as Gwen Proctor—the ultimate warrior mom.

With her ex now in prison, Gwen has finally found refuge in a new home on remote Stillhouse Lake. Though still the target of stalkers and Internet trolls who think she had something to do with her husband’s crimes, Gwen dares to think her kids can finally grow up in peace.

But just when she’s starting to feel at ease in her new identity, a body turns up in the lake—and threatening letters start arriving from an all-too-familiar address. Gwen Proctor must keep friends close and enemies at bay to avoid being exposed—or watch her kids fall victim to a killer who takes pleasure in tormenting her. One thing is certain: she’s learned how to fight evil. And she’ll never stop.

Review

Whoa, talk about an engaging, edge of your seat psychological thriller.

I felt back for Gwen/Gina and what she had to endure being married to serial killer, Melvin. But like many, he put on a good front and if not for a freak accident no one would have known what he was doing to all those women. I also hated that while acquitted (she didn’t help him), there were still people out there harassing her and trying to track her down to possibly kill her. That is nothing anyone should have to deal with in this world. Especially the children.

There are some twists that I didn’t see coming and the ending leaves you hanging just enough to want to read the next book out in a few months (Dec 2017).

We give this 5 paws up!

 

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Posted in Book Release, suspense, Thriller on November 14, 2017

Synopsis

Carrie thought her son was dead. She was wrong.

She’d only taken her eyes off him for a second. But that was all it took for a perfect day at the beach to turn to horror. Cal disappeared beneath the waves. His body was never found.

Seven years later, Carrie has a new family. But her life in the sleepy Cornish town of Devil’s Cove is about to be torn apart again. A boy washes up on the shore. The cove’s residents believe it’s missing local child Noah Pengelly.

It’s not. It’s Carrie’s son. And he’s alive.

Now a teenager, Cal is covered in scars and suffering from unknown trauma. Where has he been these last seven years? Is he the key to finding young Noah alive? Carrie is desperate for answers but there’s a problem. Cal cannot speak.

As a disturbing chain of events is set in motion, Carrie and the people of Devil’s Cove will discover that the horrifying truth lies closer to home than they think.

A dark and suspenseful page-turner set on the rugged coast of Cornwall, The Cove is the first book of a gripping new trilogy that will you shake you to the core.

Buy the Book

About the Author

British author Malcolm Richards was born in Cornwall. His character-driven mysteries and thrillers feature ordinary people thrown into extraordinary circumstances. He is the author of the Emily Swanson series, in which the titular sleuth solves shocking crimes while battling an anxiety disorder, and the upcoming Cove trilogy, in which a small Cornish town experiences a series of disturbing events following the return of a missing boy.

Malcolm has a degree in Creative Writing, but has also worked for several years in the fields of special educational needs and children’s mental health. He currently lives in London, England, with his partner, a cat called Sukey, and a fish called Freddy Krueger.

Email * Website * Facebook * Twitter * Instagram

Posted in excerpt, Spotlight, Thriller on October 24, 2017

Title: DEAD COLD
Author: Jennifer Chase
Publisher: JEC Press
Pages: 326
Genre: Crime Thriller

Synopsis

What happens when one California community has a disturbing spike in homicides? It catapults cops into a deadly game of murder. Frozen human body parts hideously displayed at the crime scenes offers a horrifying interpretation that only a sadistic serial killer could design—and execute.

On the hunt for a complex serial killer, vigilante detective Emily Stone must face her most daring case yet. Stone’s proven top-notch profiling skills and forensic expertise may not be enough this time.

Young and ambitious, Detective Danny Starr, catches the homicide cases and discovers that it will test everything he knows about police work and the criminal mind. Can he handle these escalating cases or will the police department have to call in reinforcements—the FBI.

Emily Stone’s covert team pushes with extreme urgency to unravel the grisly clues, while keeping their identities hidden from the police. With one last-ditch effort, Stone dangles someone she loves as bait to draw out the killer. She then forces the killer out of their comfort zone with her partner Rick Lopez, and with help from a longtime friend Jordan Smith. A revelation of the serial killer’s identity leaves the team with volatile emotions that could destroy them.

The killer continues to taunt and expertly manipulate the police, as well as Stone’s team, and as they run out of time—they leave behind everyone and everything—in Dead Cold.

Excerpt

ESCAPE WAS IMPOSSIBLE. TEARS STREAMED down her face as she sat in the darkness and waited for the man to return. There was no other choice—but to wait.

She hadn’t eaten anything in three days and had only a limited amount of water—her strength continued to fade with every hour. With her wrists and ankles secured with duct tape, her skin stung with pain every time she struggled to move. At least the man had peeled the tape from her eyes and mouth so that she could see something besides pitch-blackness.

Even if she could escape, the only way to safety was jumping into the frigid water, but she could not swim and would drown before ever reaching the shore.

The only thing thirteen-year-old Kayla Swanson thought about was home. Fond memories flashed through her mind of her parents, her little brother, and her dog Charlie. She was never going to see them again. Their smiling faces were forever etched in Kayla’s mind, and she constantly held them close to her heart.

The boat rocked, and seemed to sway more violently as the tide flooded in and out of the harbor. Kayla could hear a consistent clanking noise above her as the boat rolled back and forth. The sound had a hypnotic quality, and kept her mind on something else besides when the man would return and what he would do next.

Her lips were dry and cracked as she bordered on dehydration. Even her tears dried on her cheeks, leaving her skin stiff and drawn. Her body began to shake, not only from fear, but also because of the extreme exhaustion and the constant dampness all around her.

The boat rocked more, but this time it shifted from the opposite sides. Kayla heard soft footsteps above, which she knew wasn’t her captor’s heavy walk. She strained her eyes in the darkness and thought she saw a thin shadow stealthily move along the upper deck.

Was it a ghost?

Kayla remembered a television series where a team of people hunted ghosts and they had said that ghosts could occupy any type of space, house, property, and even a boat.

She blinked her eyes several times and hoped that she could catch a glimpse of the ghost again. With every ounce of declining strength, Kayla scooted her body closer to the narrow stairs leading to the upper deck.

Painfully craning her neck, she strained to see something up in the darkness.

The dark shadowed areas played tricks on her eyes—it was there, then it wasn’t.

She waited for several minutes.

Nothing appeared.

The only sounds she heard were the usual boat noises she had grown accustomed to hearing. Whatever she thought she heard was gone now. It was most likely her imagination trying to give her some hope and a few moments break from her dire circumstances.

As she relaxed her shoulders and leaned back against the wall, the reality of her world pressing down hard. Tears streamed down her face. She tasted the saltiness that settled around her mouth. Her last moments were approaching, and there was nothing she could do.

About the Author

Jennifer Chase is a multi award-winning crime fiction author and consulting criminologist. Jennifer holds a bachelor degree in police forensics and a master’s degree in criminology & criminal justice. These academic pursuits developed out of her curiosity about the criminal mind as well as from her own experience with a violent sociopath, providing Jennifer with deep personal investment in every story she tells. In addition, she holds certifications in serial crime and criminal profiling.  She is an affiliate member of the International Association of Forensic Criminologists.

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Posted in Giveaway, Guest Post, mystery, suspense, Thriller on October 16, 2017

HIDDEN SEA

by

MILES ARCENEAUX

  Genre: Mystery / Thriller / Suspense

Date of Publication: November 2017

Number of Pages: 384

Scroll down for giveaway!

Charlie Sweetwater saw Mexico—especially the Mexican Gulf Coast—as a spiritual second home. He’d worked, played and lived there for much of his life, and thought the country suited him better than anywhere this side of his home on the Texas Coast.

But now a worrisome and potentially dangerous development has shown up on Charlie’s radar. Young Augustus Sweetwater, affectionately known as Augie, hasn’t reported in after completing a south-of-the-border sales trip for Sweetwater Marine. Raul, Augie’s father and Charlie’s nephew, is worried sick. Drug cartel violence in Mexico has reached epidemic proportions and Augie’s path took him through the heart of the narcotraficantes’ territory.

Charlie figures Augie just went off the grid to do some well-deserved fishing, surfing and beer-drinking at the end of his trip. He’d done the same in his time. But as Augie’s unexplained absence grows, Charlie and Raul become increasingly alarmed and set off for Mexico to bring their boy home.

What they unearth is far more than the sum of their fears. The familiar and friendly Gulf of Mexico has turned into a hidden sea plagued by smugglers, human traffickers, crooked politicians and even pirates. And Augie is lost somewhere in the middle of it all.

Charlie and Raul must summon an unlikely cast of characters to aid them, including a hilariously dissolute ex-pat musician, a priest whose faith struggles against the rising tide of refugee migration, a Mexican tycoon who may have secrets of his own and a beautiful maritime “repo man”. At the end of their quest, as the deepest secret of all is revealed, Charlie Sweetwater learns that neither Raul and Augie, nor the Gulf of Mexico, nor even himself, will ever be the same again.

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Praise for Hidden Sea

“A riveting story from Texas that wanders down the cartel-invested Gulf Coast of Mexico and drifts across to lawless Cuba. The characters are as salty as the sea and the plot pulls you along as powerfully as the loop current.” – W.F. Strong, Stories from Texas, Texas Standard Radio Network

“Hidden Sea is a total blast: smart, funny, and riveting, with unforgettably colorful characters and a world so alive that you’ll swear you’re really there.” – Lou Berney, Edgar Award-winning author of The Long and Faraway Gone

“In Hidden Sea, Miles Arceneaux tosses us in the drink of a timely contemporary adventure tale with the Sweetwater clan, complete with pirates, slave ships, family secrets, and the mother of all plot twists, in his patented Gulf Coast noir style.” – Michelle Newby Lancaster, Contributing Editor, Lone Star Literary Life, NBCC Literary Critic

Miles Arceneaux on Writing the Gulf Coast

(First published, May 5, 2016, Mystery People Blog)

The dilemma of writing mysteries set on the Texas Gulf Coast isn’t an absence of compelling characters to drive the plot and flesh out the scenery. On the contrary, there’s too damn many of ‘em to ever winnow down, even over the course of four (so far) novels.

It’s an embarrassment of riches, folks. What the Texas coast lacks in terms of sun-kissed white sand beaches, beautiful people and tony resorts (instead of Donald Trump’s sumptuous Mar-A-Lago, we’ve got the No Esta Aquí Lounge, featuring u-peel-‘em shrimp and cockfights on Sundays), we make up for in local color. Always have.

The stomping ground for my characters is Texas’ Coastal Bend, which runs roughly between Galveston and Corpus Christi. It’s a complex and fascinating array of bays, barrier islands, estuaries and wetlands that has been a magnet for dingbats and reprobates ever since Texas’ first tourist, Spanish castaway Cabeza de Vaca, stumbled ashore near Galveston in 1528, only to encounter our first Chamber of Commerce, in the form of the six-foot tall, tattooed, alligator grease-coated, ritualistically cannibalistic Karankawa Indians.

Since then the area has been as popular as Padre Island to spring breakers among a historically diverse human subset of pirates, freebooters, smugglers, colorful drunkards, pennyante empire builders, refugees and fugitives of every description, silver-tongued conmen (and women), top-shelf bullshit artists, and congenitally lying fishermen. There have been female temptresses who can turn gold wedding bands into cheap pewter with a glance, and men who have changed their names and fled to sea to escape them.

Let’s put it this way: If Ernest Hemingway, Mark Twain, the Coen Brothers, Molly Ivins (RIP), Gabriel Garcia Marquez and any local fishing guide sat on the deck of a Port Aransas oyster bar pounding Papa Doble daiquiris for, oh, all night, they might have come up with my fictional counterpoints of the real-life characters who give the Coastal Bend its savor.

It’s close to a photo finish, but I’d say on the balance I enjoy writing about the women of the Texas Coast more than their male counterpoints. The women not only have to put up with the men, they frequently have to force Joe Bob et.al. to confront, sometimes under extreme duress, the better angels of their nature.

In one of my tales, a particularly enterprising fry cook picked up a cast iron skillet and did a Joe DiMaggio off the skull of a B-list gangster. In other areas of the country, this might be construed as assault. In my part of the world it’s considered behavior modification. As a West Texas buddy of mine once remarked, he never understood all the fuss about Women’s Lib: “All the chicks I know are armed,” he remarked.

BookPeople, MysteryPeople and especially Scott Montgomery have been surpassingly supportive since my debut thriller starring the Sweetwater clan, Thin Slice of Life, was published in 2012. Likewise, with LaSalle’s Ghost, Ransom Island and, most lately, North Beach. I’m humbly grateful. Still, with all respect to Scott and MysteryPeople, I’m not certain these epistles fall neatly into any “mystery” category. They are not locked-room mysteries by any means, neither are they noir, hard- boilers nor whodunits. I guess “comedic novel of suspense” about covers it, though that takes up a lot of real estate on a book jacket. Still, it’s a mystery to me what’s gonna happen to all these rascals when I start out on a new one, so there is that.

Though the issues in my books, including the clash of cultures, the erosion of time, the nature of friendship and loyalty, might (I hope) seem nuanced, the characters at the heart of the story are pretty simple. I write about men and women you can root for and enjoy hanging out with, bad guys who are low-down sons of bitches who get what’s coming to them and supporting characters who make you laugh, shake your head or maybe both.

We’re not talking Dostoyevsky here.

In the end, to paraphrase our former future governor (cq) Kinky Friedman, I write to entertain Americans in their airports, by their swimming pools and on their skiffs when the fish aren’t biting.

There is a thing called a “Texas Fairy Tale.” A regular fairy tale, say about Cinderella and them, starts out “Once upon a time…” A Texas fairy tale, on the other hand, begins, “You ain’t gonna believe this bullshit…”

So that’s me: Miles Arceneaux, Texas fairy tale writer. Let’s drink to that.

 

“Miles Arceneaux” is the pen name of three long-time Texas friends. James R.  Dennis is a former attorney turned Dominican friar who lives in San Antonio. Brent Douglass is an international businessman from Austin. John T. Davis, also of Austin, is a journalist and author. Together, as “Miles,” they have been featured authors at the Texas Book Festival, the San Antonio Book Festival, and the Lubbock Book Festival.

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GIVEAWAY!  GIVEAWAY!  GIVEAWAY!

Grand Prize: Autographed copies of all five Gulf Coast series books by Miles Arceneaux + a copy of Geoff Winningham’s Traveling the Shore of the Spanish Sea — The Gulf Coast of Texas and Mexico

Two Runners-Up: Each win an autographed copy of Hidden Sea

October 11-October 20, 2017

U.S. Only


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Check out the other blogs on this tour

10/11 promo Texas Book Lover
10/12 Review Forgotten Winds
10/12 ICYWW #1 Bibliotica
10/13 Review Missus Gonzo
10/14 Excerpt 1 Syd Savvy
10/14 Author Interview A Page Before Bedtime
10/15 Review Texan Girl Reads
10/16 Guest Post StoreyBook Reviews
10/16 ICYWW #2 Chapter Break Book Blog
10/17 Review Hall Ways Blog
10/18 Excerpt 2 Books and Broomsticks
10/18 Playlist The Page Unbound
10/19 Review Reading By Moonlight
10/20 Review Tangled in Text
10/20 ICYWW #3 The Librarian Talks

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Posted in Thriller, Trailer on September 28, 2017

Title: EMILY STONE THRILLER SERIES
Author: Jennifer Chase
Publisher: JEC Press
Genre: Crime Thriller

Synopsis

Vigilante detective Emily Stone hunts serial killers and child abductors, covertly and under the law enforcement radar. She uses her fine-tuned skills of criminal profiling and forensic perceptiveness to locate predators that cops cannot or will not find. She is trained, she is tough, she is serious, and she gets results.

With Stone’s toughest cases yet, the killer immediately crosses her radar and sends her into the dark territory of a serial killer’s mind—to the point of no return.

Take your pick of any of the award-winning, stand-alone books and tag along with a serial killer hunter.

Amazon

Trailer

About the Author

Jennifer Chase is a multi award-winning crime fiction author and consulting criminologist. Jennifer holds a bachelor degree in police forensics and a master’s degree in criminology & criminal justice. These academic pursuits developed out of her curiosity about the criminal mind as well as from her own experience with a violent sociopath, providing Jennifer with deep personal investment in every story she tells. In addition, she holds certifications in serial crime and criminal profiling.  She is an affiliate member of the International Association of Forensic Criminologists.

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