Category Archives: crime

Welcome Back, Jack – Gritty, Gutsy, Good!

jack bannerREVIEW:

Welcome Back, Jack starts as a slow moving police procedural that subtly wraps around you like a constrictor, keeping you snug and comfortable with the story and characters. . . until it starts to squeeze. By then it’s too late because you’re morbidly fascinated by this psychological thriller bordering on a horror novel.   You can’t put the damn book down.

I admit, my love affair with Welcome Back, Jack did not start on the first page . . . or even the first chapter. While I usually enjoy attention to details, I felt the story stalled a bit as author Sweeny set the stage. Granted, there is a gruesome murder with graphic descriptions of the mutilated bodies. No one is going to sleep walk through that! But the initial investigation and introduction to the many characters seemed to take a long time and did not reel me in as quickly as I like.

However, once you get past the slough, this is an intriguing tale with some darned good twists. The story starts off like a gumshoe detective novel but soon gets in your head and stays there until the final page. Jack is a gruff detective who smokes too many cigarettes and keeps his emotions under lock and key. His wife, Mary might be the only one who truly understands him since she hails from a family of cops, but even that is debatable at times. As the investigation unfolds, clues reveal something even more terrifying – the killer is tied to Jack’s own biological parent’s murders from years earlier.  Things go from murky to dark, spiraling to a conclusion that will leave you breathless.

Fans of police procedural, crime or horror/thriller novels will want to put Welcome Back, Jack on their must read list, as well as anyone who likes dark psychological whodunits. It’s a good read.

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Like Horror? Read “Beneath” by Robin Heggelund Hansen

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Beneath

Eldritch City Shorts 

Book 1

Robin Heggelund Hansen

Genre: Crime/Horror

Date of Publication: March 21st, 2015

ASIN: B00V0R5QYW

Number of pages: 15

 Word Count: 5100

Book Description:

Nine years have passed since the tragic and mysterious deaths of Mr. Phillips and his daughter. A new clue surfaces, one which the lead investigator will follow to the brink of insanity.

Available at Amazon

beneathREVIEW:

Reading the first few paragraphs of short story “Beneath”, I was reminded of Edgar Allan Poe’s “Tell Tale Heart” and its lyrical prose. The narrator is tortured by his own actions, consumed with guilt and disbelief of unmentionable horrors. He even questions his sanity.

For lovers of the horror genre, it’s a great hook.

“Beneath” ends with a beginning, leading me to think it’s a prelude to an interesting novel.  This short story packs a lot of wallop into a few pages, 15 to be exact, but don’t think of it as a detriment. Rather, consider this a choice morsel you want to roll over your tongue and hold there, enjoying the burst of flavor for as long as it lasts.

That’s not to say the story is without flaws. It could use a good edit. The word “that” appeared much too often, and certain phrases were repetitious – but those things are only a nuisance in an otherwise well told story. Mr. Hansen understands less is more. While there are a few gory scenes, they are not sensationalized and contribute to the main character’s discovery later in the tale.

My only regret is that I read this late at night – before I took the dog out for last potty call. I did not stray from the sidewalk, and will avoid walking on the ground in the future. <shudder>

Excerpt:

To whoever reads this: I feel that I must apologize if what you find on these pieces of paper appears to be nothing more than a collection of near-indecipherable words. I can assure you that I have tried everything I can think of, and yet I cannot keep my hands from trembling. This, however, is only a symptom of my much greater problems.

I cannot eat, or sleep, or even close my eyes for longer than the briefest of moments. I feel as if I’m about to lose my mind, but I’m clear enough to realize that I have to get this story off my chest, before it consumes whatever sanity I have left. Unfortunately, the only recipient I can trust with a story as bizarre and horrible as this are the same pieces of paper upon which these words are written.

For officers of the Eldritch City Police Department, no two days are alike. Even with this in mind, yesterday morning would still single itself out as peculiar. As I entered the precinct to begin my shift, I met a man who I realized was from out of town. It was clear that he was uncomfortable since he was constantly scratching his arm and shifting his gaze. It was as if he was trying to view the entire room at once.

There are many things that can be said of Eldritch City, but the one thing people always remember is the air. It’s not that it has a particular smell, but it has a way of sticking to your skin, like wet clothes on a rainy day. Us locals usually say that it is due to the humidity that comes with being in a warm coastal city, but humid air does not leave you with a feeling of being watched, or that something terrible is about to happen. Given time, one learns to hide this discomfort. People from out of town, however, usually haven’t learnt the knack.

The man introduced himself as Deputy Swanson of the Heartbrook Sheriff’s office. Upon learning my name, he raised his eyebrows in surprise. “It would seem I am in luck,” he said. “It is in fact you that I have come here to see.”

Before continuing the conversation, I invited Swanson back to my desk — I have yet to earn my own office — and offered him a choice of coffee or tea, of which he chose the latter. When we were both sitting comfortably, I asked what had brought him all the way here from Heartbrook. To this he responded by handing me a newspaper article, dating back nine years. The article was an interview with a younger me regarding a murder case out by Mirkwood. I knew the article well, not just because I was the subject of the interview, but also because the case in question had been troubling me ever since I had been assigned to it.

Nine years earlier, for their summer-break, the Phillips family had gone out to their newly built cabin in Mirkwood, on the outskirts of the city. Only a day into their vacation, Mr. Phillips and his daughter, Julia, were brutally murdered. Their bodies had been mutilated to the point of being barely recognizable — large portions of flesh were missing. It was almost as if something had fed on them. The coroner couldn’t rule out an animal attack, but thought it unlikely since the wounds were inconsistent with the bite of any species known to be living in Mirkwood.

robinAbout the Author:

Robin was born on a cold winter night in Oslo, Norway, 1989. Growing up, he was always fond of telling stories, leading people to wonder when, not if, he would move on to writing stories of his own. Inspired by the works of H.P. Lovecraft, he wrote his first short story, ‘Beneath’, in 2015.

Blog: http://insideeldritchcity.tumblr.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/eldritchcityauthor

YEAR END SALE!!!

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This is it! My year end BLOWOUT SALE!!!  From now until January 1st, you can buy any of my titles for just 99¢!!!!  That’s right . . . less than a buck. Choose from suspense to contemporary fantasy, each with just the right amount of heat. Okay, The Gatekeeper has a LOT of heat but it did rate 4 stars from Romantic Times. Stone Cold Justice was an Amazon Best Seller when released and continues to please readers today . . . so much in fact, that Amazon Crossing chose the title for German translation and released it overseas! You can find them all at my Amazon author page, http://www.amazon.com/Deb-Sanders/e/B0068UNQ48 

So, enjoy my sale. Fill up your Kindles. And stay tuned . . . my NEW Mystery series will release in January. The Daisy Red-Tail Mysteries features a quirky Southern chef solving mysteries and dodging romance on a Native American reservation. Each book will include one of her scrumptious recipes and a healthy serving of sleuthing. Book One – DEAD MEN CAN’T TALK.

Profile of Evil – An Exciting Mystery by the Incomparable Alexa Grace

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Profile of Evil

The Profile Series

Book 1

Alexa Grace

Genre:  Mystery/Suspense

Publisher: Golden Publishing

ISBN: 0985593954

ASIN: B00COA6MX8

Number of pages: 324

Word Count: 78,674

Cover Artist: Christy Carlyle

UPDATEDprofileofevil_400x600Book Description:

A vicious serial killer…

As the body count increases, Sheriff Brody Chase realizes there is a monster living in his county and using it as a dump site.

A missing girl…

Alison is a lonely, abused and bullied thirteen-year-old who has no idea her online heart throb is a serial killer.

Time is running out…

A life hangs in the balance, and the profiler and sheriff rush to stop the most terrifying killer of their careers.

Available at   Amazon   BN   iTunes

Excerpt

Brody pulled up in front of a two-story gray house in a nice neighborhood with palm trees lining the streets.  Flicking on the interior car light, he checked the address he’d been given.  It was the correct address, so he parked his rental car in the driveway.  There were lights on inside the house, which was encouraging, for he had a critical need to talk to the resident.

Impatiently, he rang the doorbell several times, and then pounded his fist against the front door.  Damn it.  He had not come all the way from Indiana to Florida to miss talking with this guy.  He had to be home.  Brody desperately needed his help before another teenage girl lost her life.  Sheriff Tim Brennan had written to him about how good this guy was, and if Brennan recommended him, he had to be excellent.  Brody hammered at the door again, before peeking through the front window.  There was no one inside, but from his position he could see open sliding glass doors leading to the backyard.

From the side yard, he opened the iron gate to the back of the house.  The second he entered the backyard, he noticed a woman diving into an Olympic-sized pool.  Transfixed, he watched her as she swam to the far end of the pool, and then kicked-off to swim to the other end, this time on her back.  Her naked body, slick from the water, glowed in the moonlight.  The tiny glittering lights surrounding the pool made her look ethereal as she sliced through the water.

He should do the gentlemanly thing and leave, but he couldn’t move.  His frozen legs seemed attached to the ground.  He could barely breathe as she lifted herself out of the water.  With long black hair as shiny as glass, she had an athletic build, with full, uplifted breasts, curved hips and endless legs.  His jeans grew tighter as his arousal strained against the zipper.

Moving to a deck chair, she wrapped a white towel around her body—then picked up a serious-looking handgun that she aimed at his chest.

“I don’t know who you are or why you’re in my yard, but I’ve got a little secret I’d like to share with you,” she began.  “In the past two years, I’ve shot two men.  Neither man is here to talk about it.”

Brody stiffened as a wave of apprehension hit him full-force.  He’d been shot before, remembered it well, and had no desire to repeat the experience.  He cleared his throat and said, “I apologize if I frightened you.  I pounded on the front door, but no one answered.”

“That doesn’t tell me who you are and why you’re here,” she returned, assuming one of the best shooting stances he’d ever seen.

He hesitated for a second, and then responded, “I’m Sheriff Brody Chase from Morel, Indiana, in Shawnee County.  I’m here to see Carl Stone.”

She quirked her eyebrow questioningly, and asked, “Who told you Carl Stone lived here?”

“A fellow Indiana county sheriff gave me the name and address in an email.  Tim Brennan’s his name,” he replied.

She slowly lowered the gun.  “Sounds like Sheriff Brennan made a typo.  It’s Carly Stone that you’re looking for.  Why do you want to talk to me?”

“You’re Tim’s consultant?”  Brody asked, with an element of surprise in his voice.

“My brother, Blake Stone, is a detective on Tim’s team.  Last year, he and his wife, Jennifer, did all the work to track down a serial killer.  I just gave them a kind of psychological road map.”

“I need to talk to you,” Brody said as he moved closer.

She held up a hand.  “Not here.  There’s an IHOP Restaurant down the road.  I’ll meet you there in an hour.”

ALEXA GRACEAbout the Author:

USA Today Bestselling Author, Alexa Grace began her writing journey in March 2011 when the Sr. Director of Training & Development position she’d held for thirteen years was eliminated. A door closed but another one opened. She finally had the time to pursue her childhood dream of writing books. Her focus is now on writing riveting romantic suspense novels.

Alexa Grace is consistently listed in top twenty of Amazon’s Top 100 Most Popular Authors in the categories Romantic Suspense and Police Procedural.  In 2013, she was named one of the top 100 Indie authors by Kindle Review. A chapter is devoted to her in the book Interviews with Indie Authors by C. Ridgway and T. Ridgway.

Her books Deadly Offerings, Deadly Deception, and Deadly Relations are listed in e-retailer’s Top 100 Bestselling Romantic Suspense and Police Procedural Books.  Deadly Offerings has not left the top ten bestselling free mystery romance and police procedural books since 2011.

Deadly Holiday, published in November 2012, is her holiday-themed romantic suspense novella, featuring all her Deadly Trilogy characters.

Alexa Grace’s book Deadly Relations is included in the bestselling book set The Perfect Ten along with Dianna Love, Norah Wilson, Nancy Naigle, Andrienne Giordano, Misty Evans, Sandy Blair, Mary Buckham, Tonya Kappes and Micah Caipa.

Profile of Evil, the first book of the Profile Series was published in May 2013. Profile of Terror was released in May 2014  and Profile of Fear will be released in 2015.

Earning two degrees from Indiana State University, Alexa currently lives in Florida. She’s a member of Romance Writers of America and Sisters in Crime.

Her writing support team includes five Miniature Schnauzers, three of which are rescues. As a writer, she is fueled by Starbucks lattes, chocolate and emails from readers.

https://www.authoralexagrace.com

https://www.facebook.com/AuthorAlexaGrace

https://twitter.com/AlexaGrace2

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3345983.Alexa_Grace

newsletter: http://eepurl.com/sJ-Df

IN THE DEFENDANT’S CHAIR – A Thought Provoking Thriller

REVIEW and CONTEST!!!

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The Agency: In the Defendant’s Chair

The Agency Series

Book Four

Lynn Yvonne Moon

Genre: Fiction – Mystery

Publisher: Koehler Books

Date of Publication: November 2014

ISBN:         978-1-63393-036-0 ebook

ISBN: 978-1-94019-282-6 print

ASIN: B00OMVWLMI

Number of pages: 310

Cover Artist: Koehler Books

Agency Cover Final Book 4Book Description:

Her last memory before falling asleep is the love she feels for her husband and kids. Then she wakes up, confused, dizzy, and sick, and realizes where she is; a courtroom. This is the nightmare and reality of Early Sutton and other women like her across America.

Carrie Clark and Maddie Edwards reunite with The Agency to solve the mysterious murders that are plaguing America. They risk their lives as they travel from coast to coast gathering clues and piecing together a strange puzzle where the pieces don’t seem to fit. In The Defendant’s Chair examines the inner working of our US Government and a secret society as they manipulate the human genome in evil seclusion. In a race against time to save the human race, the women must contemplate both the ethical and moral issues of genetic tampering.

Available at Amazon

REVIEW:

If you’re not familiar with The Agency series by Lynn Yvonne Moon, do yourself a favor and read “In The Defendant’s Chair” – especially if you like gripping crime novels about controversial but relevant issues.

I was pleasantly surprised by how quickly this story grabbed me. It starts off with a bang and continues the pace until the final page. This is not light reading considering the content deals with genetic manipulation, specifically humans and animals, but it is definitely thought provoking. I enjoyed how Ms. Moon threaded the separate storylines of several characters into a parallel plot frame, joining them together at the end for the final outcome. “In The Defendant’s Chair” shines like a diamond – multi-faceted reflections of a brilliant plot.

There were a few minor issues with grammar and punctuation but nothing so blatant it took me out of the story.

Ms. Moon uses her knowledge of the government and court systems to craft a believable tale filled with corrupt, power hungry players and sympathetic victims. Readers may experience a bit of discomfort regarding morality issues. I personally found the topics fascinating but others might not. This is a novel for mystery/crime/suspense thriller fans who like meatier subject matter, and one I highly recommend.

Excerpt:

April 7th – 9:37 a.m.

Early heard everything being said, but she couldn’t understand a word. Her mind started spinning.

Are they speaking English? Yes… yes, she tells herself, they are, but the language is different—foreign. Sounds are echoing in my ears; oh the pain! The sound hurts… It must be the level of the noise that’s confusing… my vision is blurred; I see nothing. Vagueness… haze… no wait, the room is exactly as it’s supposed to be. But where am I?

Early reached up and rubbed the side of her face. She could hardly feel her hand against her skin. Am I dreaming? Yes, that must be it. What’s the last thing I remember? Think, Early…think. Oh yes, making love with Alex. But when did we go to bed? Early could not remember going to bed after making love that night. Perhaps Alex carried her into the bedroom? No, she wouldn’t have slept through that; she’s too light of a sleeper.

Early heard a booming noise that startled her.

“Objection!” The deep male voice echoed through her ears. Her stomach began to tighten, then everything was dark again, peaceful and quiet.

April 14th – 10:02 a.m.

Early startled awake, again to another booming voice.

“Order… I demand order in my court. Both attorneys approach the bench, now!”

It’s a man’s voice, but it isn’t Alex speaking, Early tells herself. Whose voice is it? It sounds familiar, perhaps the television, did someone leave it on all night? What’s wrong with me? My children, why haven’t they asked for breakfast? Headache, my God how my head hurts.

Pain envelops her and then, again, a strange but peaceful quiet engulfs her and everything fades far, far away into the distant darkness.

May 21st – 2:21 p.m.

Early’s darkness yielded to light. Muffled noises became sharper.

There’s brightness all around me, it must be morning. Did Alex oversleep again? I really must get moving or Daren will be late for school… I just hate to be rushed. My God my head hurts.

“Your Honor, please,” a voice boomed, jarring Early from her private thoughts. “We all know how long this will take if we cannot get through at least one question without this constant interruption.”

I’m not dreaming, Early thought. That is real.…

Early glanced down and saw her hands; they were shaking. She was not in her bed. She wasn’t in her house. Where am I? Glancing around as best she could, Early realized it was not her television making the loud noise. The sound was coming from all around—front, back, and from her sides. The tips of her fingers tingled. She frantically rubbed them together, desperate to stop the strange crawling sensation running up her arms. She reached out for her warm blankets. Early wanted—needed—to feel safe and secure. But her blankets were not there. She had to be dreaming, she just had to be.

The room began to spin and a gnawing sensation nagged deep within her jaws. Floating and twirling around the room, Early felt confused and sick. This had to be a dream. There could be no other explanation. She reached out again for her bed covers but felt something hard instead of soft.

The dresser? Am I touching my dresser? What’s it doing way over here?

The more she groped around at her surroundings, the more she realized she was not in bed. She was confused and it terrorized her, sickening her  even more. She couldn’t think. Her hands reached up to scratch her head, but instead she pressed her palms against her eyes to try to stop the wild spinning. The noise, muffled words… shuffling shoes… stop… please stop! I’m sitting in a chair. Get a hold of yourself, Early.

Hard wooden-arms hugged her. But Early didn’t own any chairs with wooden arms. I’m in a chair, a real hard chair. Fear was rising from deep within and spreading throughout her veins attacking the farthest points of her sanity.

“Your Honor, that wasn’t a question,” a voice huffed. “It’s clear he’s leading the witness. I object.”

Early exhaled a deep breath slowly. After blinking several times, her eyes began to focus. She skimmed the room for something familiar—anything. She had never seen this room before.

But how could that possibly be? No, something is terribly wrong. A table, a wooden table is in front of me. It’s not my kitchen table. Next to her sat a man in a dark suit wearing a bright red tie, arguing with the man standing in the middle of… of the…

“COURTROOM!” Early screamed.

Gradually the voices around her rose to the level of complete chaos before the judge slammed his gavel against his desk and commanded, “ORDER! Order in my court. Bailiff!”

“She spoke!” someone sitting behind Early shrieked.

The man sitting next to Early grabbed her arm. “My God,” he whispered. “Early? Can you hear me?”

“What’s going on? Where am I?” Early cried. “Who are you? Where am I?” Early jerked her arm and backed as far away as she could. The bailiff hurried toward them. Early’s fear was growing faster than her mind could comprehend. “What’s happening?” she screamed.

“My God,” the stranger repeated.

“Order… I demand order!” the judge yelled as the other voices continued to get louder.

The people behind her were moving about and talking out of sync with each other. The confusion and disorder was growing as every second passed. The judge sat stunned, trying to compose himself and bring calm to the chaos. The woman, the defendant, who had been silent for the last several months was suddenly talking. The crazy, evil and comatose woman who slashed her children into tiny unrecognizable pieces while they slept, and who stabbed her husband over a hundred times, was suddenly awake and speaking. Early grabbed her ears and screamed for her husband to help her. “Alex… Alex, where are you?”

LYNN-CLOSEAbout the Author:

Lynn Yvonne Moon is the author of the successful Agency Series, which deals with the implications of unlimited government power and money. She has worked for state and federal government since the 1990’s and uses her extensive personal experiences to captivate her audience with realistic stories of political corruption and black Government espionage.

Her first novel, When Souls Collide, introduces the reader to the ultimate power of The Agency. The second novel, What Rings True, awakens The Agency to the ramifications of never-ending political power. Dysfunctional Bloodline traces the steps of a family serial killer out for revenge. Lynn graduated from Troy State University where she earned a Masters Degree in Government. She currently works for the Commonwealth of Virginia and resides in Virginia Beach, Virginia.

http://www.lynnyvonnemoon.com/

https://www.facebook.com/#!/LynnYvonneMoon

@LynnYvonneMoon

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4387014.Lynn_Yvonne_Moo

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Dark Seed by Lawrence Verigin – A Must Read Thriller

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REVIEW:

As someone who is very concerned about GMOs and what they are doing to our physical health, I was interested to see if Lawrence Verigin had the guts to write about this controversial topic in a truthful way. He did.

DARK SEED is a gripping, fast paced thriller that will keep you riveted to the edge of your seat from start to finish. The characters are interesting, the dialogue realistic and snappy and the plot too real for comfort. With a style reminiscent of James Patterson’s early days, Mr. Verigin weaves an interesting tale about a supplier of GMOs – known to cause health issues in humans- and the Big Pharma conglomerate who provides medication to keep the maladies under control. But not cured.

The story reeks of evil, fueled by corporate power, greed and corruption. And since American rule has shifted to an oligarchy, it rings with unsettling comparisons to current events.

As Nick Barnes and Morgan Elles begin to decipher her murdered father’s scientific journals, they grow increasingly alarmed by the implications of corporate conspiracy. Be prepared for some twists and turns because just when you start getting comfortable, the story takes another spin, leaving you reeling in the aftermath. I don’t want to give away a lot of details about the plot because even the tiniest spoiler will rob you of the chance to experience it first hand.

If you are a reader who craves thrillers, suspense or mysteries, and enjoys plots woven around relevant issues, DARK SEED is a must read.

Dark Seed

Lawrence Verigin

Dark Seed coverGenre – Thriller, Lab-Lit

Publication Date – December 1, 2013

Publisher – Promontory Press

Book Description:

A disillusioned journalist and the grieving daughter of a murdered scientist uncover an immoral and destructive global plot by the largest developer of genetically engineered seed and its parent pharmaceutical conglomerate.

Nick Barnes and Morgan Elles learn that the goal of the man behind these organizations is the complete control of human existence. He eliminates opposition and interference without hesitation or remorse.

The couple quickly find themselves fighting for their lives. And yours.

Grad hold for a wild ride with this exciting, high concept thriller that tackles one of the big issues of our time.

About the Author:

Lawrence Verigin’s goal is to entertain readers while delving into socially relevant subjects that need more attention brought to them. Since 1999 Lawrence has spent a considerable amount of time and effort learning the writing craft.

In his spare time Lawrence enjoys cooking good food, rich red wine, travel, running, reading and numerous rounds of golf.

Lawrence and his wife, Diana, live in beautiful North Vancouver, Canada.

Contact

Email: lawrenceverigin@gmail.com

Website: http://www.lawrenceverigin.com

Facebook: Lawrence Verigin

Twitter: @lawrenceverigin

Amazon: http://amzn.to/1qsWlJB