Saturday, 4 July 2020

The Crushing Depths by Dani Pettrey



Title: The Crushing Depths
Series: Coastal Guardians #2
Author: Dani Pettrey
Genre: Inspirational Romantic Suspense
Publication Date: June 30th 2020
Publisher: Bethany House
Number of Pages: 320
ISBN: 0764230859 (ISBN13: 9780764230851)




When an accident claims the life of an oil-rig worker on the first drilling platform off the North Carolina coast, Coast Guard investigators Rissi Dawson and Mason Rogers are sent to take the case. Tensions surrounding the oil rig are high and the death has everyone on edge. Environmental activists are threatening to do whatever it takes to stop the structure from being completed, while rumors are being whispered about ancient curses surrounding this part of the ocean.

Mounting evidence shows the death may not have been an accident at all. Was he killed by one of the activists or, perhaps more frighteningly, a member of his own crew? Rissi and Mason have to sort through not only a plethora of suspects, but also their own past and attraction to each other.

Just as the case seems like it'll break open, worse news arrives. A tropical storm has turned their way and soon they're cut off from any rescue–and right where the killer wants them. It's a race to discover his identity before he eliminates the threat they pose.


Excerpt:


Chapter One

Late September
Thirty-eight miles off North Carolina’s coast


Greg Barnes clinked along the grated metal steps, his boot heels rasping with each shuffle as he headed topside for a much-needed breath of smoke.

Thrusting the door open with a resounding creak, he stepped out into the night air.

A litany of protestors’ chants mimicked the shrill whining of cicadas.

He glanced at his watch. 1930. Didn’t those eco-nuts ever give it a rest?

As if the cursed rig wasn’t enough—they had the dang relentless protestors going practically day and night.

Exhaling, he rubbed his thumb along the smooth surface of the tarnished gold lighter in his pocket. His tight muscles seized, making his movements stiff. He shook his head. Those people needed to get a life.

Edging around the far corner of the main separator facility, he pressed his back against the structure’s cool outer wall. Generators whirred across from him, finally drowning out the clatter. He scanned his surroundings and exhaled in relief. Finally, alone.

His leg twitched. Just one drag . . . maybe two. It’d been an awful day, and that was the gentleman’s way of putting it.

With unsteady hands, he pulled the plastic-wrapped pack from his shirt pocket.

It crinkled beneath his hold and the sweet scent of tobacco wafted beneath his nose. He tamped the cigarette in his palm and slid it between his cracked lips. Just one drag.

Tugging the lighter from his pocket, he flipped it open, then rolled the pad of his thumb across the ignitor.

A spark flashed and fire roared, hissing over him in a sizzling cascade of torment.


Chapter Two

Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina


Rissi Dawson sat at the long table on Dockside’s waterfront deck, gaping at Mason Rogers. He turned to look at her, his green eyes illuminated in the bright pole lights lining the wooden structural beams. She averted her eyes as heat rushed up her throat, spreading across her cheeks. He’d caught her staring again. Embarrassment drenched her. It’d been three days since his arrival, and she still couldn’t wrap her mind around the fact he was actually sitting next to her.

The boy she’d had the biggest crush on as a teen was back in her life. And on her Coast Guard Investigative Service team.

He handed her the basket of hush puppies the restaurant served instead of bread to start everyone off. His hand brushed hers with the movement, and her heart fluttered. “Thanks,” she said, keeping her gaze fixed on the red basket as she pulled two balls of fried cornmeal from it. She plopped the still-warm puppies onto the round plate to the right of her Coke. Get it together, girl!

The whir of a boat’s motor dropping to an idle sounded over the deck’s edge. A teen jumped out of the white outboard and onto the pier, tying her up to the cleat. Rissi loved living in a place with a boat drive-thru.

Noah raised his glass of iced tea. “Everyone . . .” The team lifted their glasses in response to their boss’s prompting.

Noah dipped his chin. “Welcome, Mason. Happy to have you on board.”

The team clinked their glasses together, even Caleb who sat brooding to her left. Observant as he was, there was no chance he missed the way she looked at Mason. In recent months, he’d developed feelings for her, so it wasn’t surprising he’d bristled at Mason’s arrival—especially after learning she and Mason shared a past, though he didn’t know the half of it. Only that they spent time in a children’s home together for a handful of months as teens.

The opening riff of “Sweet Home Alabama” emanated from Noah’s jean pocket. He hitched up as he extracted his phone. “Rowley,” he answered. “Yes?” Standing, he headed down the ramp toward the restaurant’s pier.

“Rockfish tacos,” the waitress said, placing the plate in front of Rissi. The sweet, tropical scent of the mango slaw swirled in the air.

The waitress handed out plate after plate to each of them, setting Noah’s burger at his spot while he continued to pace the pier.

Caleb bit into his Carolina BBQ pork sandwich, the scent of vinegar wafting in the night’s gentle breeze.

Finn Walker did the same with his crab cake sandwich. He and Noah, who was from Maryland, had argued for months over which state had the best crab cake. Finn had been convinced it was North Carolina, right up until Noah had crab cakes flown in fresh from Jimmy’s Famous Seafood in Baltimore. It took two bites for Finn to concede the win.

“Sorry about that, folks,” Noah said, retaking his seat.

“Everything okay?” Emmy Thorton asked. Rissi looked forward to seeing the quirky angel every day at the station.

“Rissi, Mason.” Noah lifted his chin in their direction. “I’ve got an assignment for you.”

Her and Mason? They’d worked a case his first day on the team, but Finn had joined them for most of the investigation. This would be the two of them . . . alone. A mixture of elation and fear sifted through her.

“Great.” Mason set down his lemonade.

“We’ve got a death out on the Dauntless.

“The offshore oil platform?” Mason asked, swiping a drop of lemonade from his bottom lip.

Stop staring, girl. So he’s jaw-dropping gorgeous. So you share a past. Still, staring is plain rude. Despite not having a mother to teach her, Rissi knew or, at least had come to learn, her manners.

Noah laid his napkin across his lap. “You two need to determine if the death was an accident or if foul play was involved. Helo is leaving from Textra Oil’s copter hub in forty-five. I need you both on it.”

Mason pushed back from the table. “No problem.”

“Great,” Noah said. “You’ll be joining the head of operations, a commercial diver, and the deceased’s replacement on the company copter.”

Rissi took one last bite of her taco before setting it down. She dabbed the corner of her lips with a napkin. “They aren’t wasting any time in replacing the deceased.”

“The deceased’s name is Greg Barnes. I talked to the head of operations, Bob Stanton, and he said they needed to replace him ASAP.”

“Must be an important position.” She reached for her glass and took a final sip.

“You’d think,” Noah said. “But Bob said the main reason they need to replace him fast is they’ve been working with a skeleton crew.”

Mason’s brows pinched as he stood. “Why?”

“Several guys didn’t show up for their three-week rotation transport out,” Noah said, popping a fry in his mouth.

“I know why they didn’t show up for that copter ride out there.” Tom Murphy leaned toward them from his table situated to their right.

“Why?” Mason asked, moving around to the back of Rissi’s chair. He held it out for her as she stood.

She glanced over her shoulder at him and smiled. “Thanks.”

He nodded.

Tom, one of Wrightsville’s most colorful fishermen, crooked his index finger, drawing them in. “That rig’s cursed.”

“Cursed?” Caleb chuckled. “You can’t be serious?”

Tom waggled his finger. “It’s no laughing matter, young man.”

“I’m sure it’s a good story, Tom,” Rissi said. No reason not to be polite. “But I’m afraid we’ve got to catch a copter ride.”

Tom shrugged and turned back to his food. “It’s your lives at stake.”

“What do you mean?” she asked before they passed his table, unable to stem her curiosity.

“You’ll see.” He smiled, his right incisor missing. “Henry’s curse is real.”

“Henry?” Why was she letting herself get sucked into this?

Tom let out a high-pitched chuckle. “Oh, you’ll learn all about Henry.”

“Shall we?” Mason said, gesturing to the wooden ramp leading down to the gravel parking lot.

Excusing themselves, they moved down the ramp. Mason leaned in. He smelled of the ocean and warm spice. He whispered, “Did that guy seriously just cackle?”

She nodded, strangely curious about the old man’s ghost story.

“I thought people only did that on Scooby-Doo.

She let out a slip of laughter.

“I wouldn’t be laughing,” Tom called after them as they rounded the ramp on his side of the deck. “You two be careful out there, you hear? It’s a dangerous place to be. Just ask the men on board.”


Excerpt from The Crushing Depths by Dani Pettrey. 
 Copyright 2020 by Dani Pettrey. Reproduced with permission from Dani Pettrey. 
All rights reserved. 


Author Bio:

Praised by New York Times best-selling author Dee Henderson as "a name to look for in romantic suspense," Dani Pettrey has sold more than half a million copies of her novels to readers eagerly awaiting the next release. Dani combines the page-turning adrenaline of a thriller with the chemistry and happy-ever-after of a romance.

Her novels stand out for their "wicked pace, snappy dialogue, and likable characters" (Publishers Weekly), "gripping storyline[s]," (RT Book Reviews), and "sizzling undercurrent of romance" (USA Today).

Her Alaskan Courage series and Chesapeake Valor series have received praise from readers and critics alike and have appeared on the CBA, ECPA, Publisher’s Weekly, and Amazon #1 bestseller lists. Dani has also been honored with multiple awards, including the Daphne du Maurier Award, two HOLT Medallions, a Christy Award finalist, two National Readers' Choice Awards, the Gail Wilson Award of Excellence, and Christian Retailing's Best Award.



This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Dani Pettrey. There will be 4 winners. Two (2) winners will each receive an Amazon.com Gift Card and Two (2) winners will each win THE CRUSHING DEPTHS by Dani Pettrey (Print ~ Open to U.S. addresses only). The giveaway begins on July 1, 2020 and runs through August 2, 2020. Void where prohibited.




On Tour July 1 - July 31, 2020

Visit these other great hosts on this tour for more great reviews, interviews, guest posts, and giveaways!
These are the stops on the tour as of June 11 and are subject to change.


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Monday, 15 June 2020

Tempt Me





Tempt Me is a limited collection of romance tales. This diverse bundle of short stories has something for everyone, from paranormal to fantasy to dark romance.

The temptation will be too strong to resist. This book will captivate you and leave you wanting more. Be prepared for a thrilling ride that will make your heart pound.

The stories in the compilation are exclusive and can't be found anywhere else. Please don't wait, this box set will only be available for a limited time before it is gone forever!


Note: The authors of this collection have joined together to raise money for kidney disease patients. All proceeds will be donated to the Kidney Foundation of Ohio.




Amazon 
US ⬪ AU ⬪ CA ⬪ UK



~ Contributing Authors ~

Yolanda Olson ⬫ Shani Greene-Dowdell ⬫ Michelle Brown ⬫ Theresa Hodge
 Emery LeeAnn ⬫ Michelle Pace ⬫ Simone Evans ⬫ Eden Rose ⬫ Ruby Papciak
Faith Ryan ⬫ Delizhia Jenkins ⬫ Barb Shuler ⬫ Amanda Kimberley
Julia Bright ⬫ Ja’Nese Dixon ⬫ Donna R. Mercer ⬫ Peyton Banks.





Thursday, 28 May 2020

Portrait of a Snow Queen by Micah S Harris



Title: Portrait of a Snow Queen
Series: The Chronicles of Aarastad Book 1
Author: Micah S Harris



An epic fantasy of forbidden romance that chronicles the coming of age of a princess who is possessed by the Snow Queen and fated to rule her kingdom with a strong hand and icy heart.


As a child, Princess Freyja looked into the Snow Queen’s cursed mirror - and was changed.

Now an aloof and difficult young woman with a wit as sharp as her tongue, the future monarch is in need of a tutor. And Ambrose, a failed poet, is in need of a teaching position. He just never suspected how dangerous the extracurricular activities would be!

Soon, Ambrose finds himself on a grand adventure fighting to save the vexing but alluring princess from the court occult conspiracies that have targeted her. He is opposed not only by sorcerers and the evil Snow Queen, but also the icy royal damsel who holds his heart.

Will Ambrose’s love cause Freyja to thaw…or will she put him in the deep freeze instead?

Sensuous, suspenseful, supernatural and filled with witty banter, this romantic fantasy will both turn up the heat and leave you thoroughly frost smitten!

A 2019 Critters Readers Poll top ten finalist in the category of Science-Fiction and Fantasy.

The price of this book as been steeply discounted on Amazon for this event!
Check it out!


Excerpt:

      “Now,” Lord Melchior said, producing a small key which he turned in a lock in the desk’s drawer. “I am going to read the account of what happened next in the words of my friend, Prince Rudolph himself, from a diary entry dated July 21, 1839.”

      He took out an envelope and removed some browning papers from of it, which he proceeded to unfold. Holding the pages at half an arm’s length, he began:


     Much time had passed since I last felt the chilling embrace of the Ice Princess (whom others call ‘Maiden’ but I know she was not so!). My hope was that the warm caresses of my beautiful young wife, which she rejoiced to administer and I rejoiced to receive, would one day put those of that witch out of my memory entirely.


      Indeed, the intervening years by far had been happy ones. My daughter Freyja was now almost three years old, and soon my darling Isolde and I would have a sibling for her.


     I remember that night that would change my young family’s life forever was an unusually freezing one for the spring. We had seen the snow on the mountain, and odd it was. We knew the wind was blowing down to us from off it.


      This unseasonable snow brought back memories of my captivity, and the icy caresses I had been forced to endure.


      But, I assured myself, certainly this snowfall is but a freak occurrence. I had handled the Ice Princess’s severed head myself. She had not been human, but that did not make her immortal or supernatural– only other natural. And she was long dead. Thus, I did not speak of my fears and unsettle my wife and daughter.


      That night, we awoke to a woman’s scream. I sat up in bed, all my fears immediately recalled upon waking. We found the nurse collapsed on the floor of the nursery and Freyja squalling uncontrollably.


      Our daughter was unhurt; we thought at first that she was only upset from the nurse’s screeching. But the nurse said that she had been awakened by Freyja’s cry at what she had seen hovering over her bed, and then she, too, had screamed at the eldritch vision:


      A tall pale woman with long white hair whose clothing tinkled like sleet against a window pane when she moved. Her sparkling gown fell to her feet shod in silver slippers, and a cloak of pale blue draped her shoulders, reaching to the floor and forming her train.


      At first, I feared the Ice Princess had reconstituted. But as I pressed the nurse for more description of whom she had seen, it became clear that this was a different entity, though her intentions for our daughter were no less frightening.


      She kissed Freyja’s lips, and then a toe, and then an ankle. “More than one but no more than three,” she said. Then the nurse told us the terrible doom this creature pronounced over our little girl:


      “A daughter for a daughter and the Snow Queen shall be avenged. Should this child escape me, then unto her progeny be my curse, until the Snow Queen is avenged.”


      She brushed by the nurse on her way out, leaving a trail of glittering frost behind, and the nurse some blackened fingers from the touch of her train.


      We searched the castle, but the frost trail did not remain long behind its source and had melted before we could overtake the creature.


      Thereafter we were on guard for the Snow Queen. Hot coals were kept burning on the window sills and at the threshold of each castle door throughout the days and nights until the unusual cold snap had passed. She did not return.


      Still, I never let drop my vigilance, especially when winter arrived, until that day of great familial happiness – which became the last such that I would ever know.


      On Freyja’s eighth birthday, she received a large package. I unwrapped it and found it contained a looking glass in an ornate metal frame. My heart was heavy with love for my eldest daughter that day, and our new addition was darting about our feet to my joy. In this bliss, I smiled into the mirror – and saw the most hideous leer reflected back at me.


      Clearly, the Snow Queen was behind this vile present and had hoped that Freyja would open the gift and look into the glass. But to what end? She surely would gain no great revenge from simply frightening the girl. I would learn all too soon what was her scheme.


      For Freyja had come behind me and was already staring into the mirror. And who she saw staring back at her – yes, I saw, too – was the Snow Queen! Freyja recognized that face at once, and now it was hers!


      From that moment on, my daughter was changed. The Snow Queen’s personality dominates her own to this day with no sign of remission, despite all our efforts.


      My wife, though she saw that Freyja had already slipped beyond us, was screaming for me to do something if I loved her. I fetched Ifguter’s axe that had severed the head of this creature’s daughter. I should have called for Caius whose father’s weapon was his alone to wield. The blade was enchanted, there was thus a ban upon it, and the handling of it was beyond me.


      Knowing all this, I still swung, with my wife’s shrill screams filling my ears, at that awful face in that glass that transfixed my daughter. I shattered the mirror and sent a tiny splinter to lodge in Freyja’s eye – and an eye of her sister, whom her mother had not removed from the room as I had ordered.


      Those pieces still retain the Snow Queen’s reflection! Thus, my own hand insured that neither Freyja herself nor her sister would ever see my oldest daughter again as anything but the Snow Queen. Asa now views the whole world as an uncertain place where good appears evil and evil appears as good. All is fearful in her eyes, but nothing more so than her own sister.



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Micah S. Harris is the Author of the epic fantasy romance Portrait of a Snow Queen, which took third place in the category of science fiction and fantasy in the Critters Readers Poll.  Strong female protagonists and banter are trademarks of his work. Portrait of a Snow Queen is no exception and is recommended for older fans of Frozen and lovers of the witty verbal sparring in The Princess Bride.

He won the 2016 Pulp Ark Award for best novel for Ravenwood, The stepson of Mystery: Return of the Dugpa. He is also the Author - Along with artist Michael Gaydos (Marvel’s Jessica Jones) - of the graphic novel Heaven’s War, a historical fantasy pitting the Oxford Inklings against Aleister Crowley.

His lifelong love of movies also influences his fiction, whether a fairy tale retelling, horror story or paranormal mystery. He taught film on a collegiate level and has chronicled, both in print and via podcast, fascination lost genre gems.



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Top Ten List:
Top Ten Esoteric Fun Facts About Micah S. Harris
  1. My teddy bear Boo Boo ran away from home because I wouldn’t stop sucking my thumb. After this intervention caused me to declare my sobriety, we found him hanging out in a nearby tree.
  2. My childhood pets include a Venus fly trap, a pink chicken, and a wolf spider…at least, it might have been a wolf spider.
  3. As a kid, I read the book The Gingerbread Rabbit, so I had to have my mom bake me a gingerbread rabbit. He was delicious.
  4. I attended the graveside memorial service for Schlitze, a sideshow “pinhead” (he suffered from microcephaly) who was the inspiration for the character of “Pepper” in American Horror Story. He can be seen in the 1932 cult classic movie Freaks. I wrote a book about him.
  5. I was friends with the late Verne Langdon, make-up man on the original Planet of the Apes and the old TV game show Match Game among his many other projects. His company used to cast the foam rubber for the old stop motion animation Pillsbury Doughboy.
  6. I have always loved cats. My last one was named “Emmy” after Emma Peele from the old British Avengers spy show.
  7. I am a life-long Tar Heel who grew up nearby the real Mayberry: Mount Airy, N.C.
  8. My favorite movie is the 1933 King Kong.
  9. My favorite book is a tie: Winter’s Tale by Mark Helprin and unexpurgated, uncut Count of Monte Cristo by Alexander Dumas
  10. I have the heart of a little boy…I use it for a paperweight.



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Friday, 22 May 2020

Dragon Head by James Houston Turner



Title: Dragon Head
Series: Aleksandr Talanov Thriller #4
Author: James Houston Turner
Genre: Action Thriller
Publication Date: May 1, 2020
Publisher: Regis Books
ISBN: 978-0958666497




One-and-a-half billion dollars vanishes out of a numbered account into a cyberspace maze. But the thief who stole it lies dead on the tracks of Hong Kong’s Mass Transit Railway, his access codes having perished with him.

If it were simply a matter of missing money, the United States would not be concerned. But a Hong Kong crime boss named Dragon Head wants the money to fund an army of hackers, one of whom has already penetrated America’s GPS network. The result: a midair collision that kills more than a thousand people.

With national security at stake, the Director of National Intelligence becomes very interested in the whereabouts of that money. He wants the funds to remain lost. But Dragon Head wants them found. And Colonel Aleksandr Talanov is caught in the middle.

Both sides believe Talanov knows where the money is. But Talanov doesn’t have a clue. So both sides threaten to kill his closest friends unless he locates and surrenders the money. It’s an impossible situation when impossible is not an option, because whatever choice Talanov makes, someone will die.



“This thriller works beautifully ... a highly enjoyable potboiler of plot twists, action, and suspense.”
--Kat Kennedy, The US Review

“Snappy dialogue … humor and heart … scenes crackling with life as Talanov races against the clock in this complex spy thriller that delivers charm and thrills.”
--John M. Murray, Foreword Reviews

“Dragon Head is an explosive story packed with plenty of action and excitement. Like all good spy stories, it’s unclear exactly what everyone is up to and who can actually be trusted. Facing threats on all sides, Talanov is a great hero to follow, tough and quick to dive into the action, but also smart and more than capable of outmaneuvering his enemies. Dragon Head is an exhilarating story that tackles contemporary issues … a top-notch thriller.”
--Erin Britton, The Manhattan Book Review




Excerpt:

CHAPTER 1

Wu Chee Ming looked anxiously behind him. Where were they? Who were they? When would they strike? An attack in a crowded street like this would be over in seconds. A silenced pistol. A knife. A needle. Death would be quick and the assassin would vanish. One face in an ocean of faces.

He was not even sure they were onto him. In fact, they probably weren’t. He had taken extreme care over the last few months to make sure his movements went undetected.

One does not seek what one does not see.

It was a proverb that guided his every move.

And yet, in spite of his meticulous planning, he had to proceed as if they had noticed, which was why he had chosen Lan Kwai Fong, a small, bustling tourist district in the heart of Hong Kong, to make his escape. The narrow streets of Lan Kwai Fong were perfect for what he was planning. Flashing neon. Music. Thousands of people surging in and out of nightclubs and restaurants. The perfect place to disappear.

The perfect place to be killed.

The proverb, however, held the secret to his survival; namely, that the best place to hide is often in plain sight. That people usually do not notice what is right in front of them. Hence, his choice to pass through Lan Kwai Fong each night on his way home from work, so his being here tonight would not attract any undue attention.

Suddenly, an elbow caught him in the chest and knocked him into a group of Chinese girls texting one another. They were holding their phones so close their eyes glistened with light from the tiny screens.

“Kàn tā!” one of them barked.

Wu Chee Ming pushed on.

Ahead, the street bent ninety degrees and sloped downhill for a short block before meeting D’Aguilar Street. Wu Chee Ming turned at the corner and threaded his way uphill along another street filled with partygoers. Within minutes, he reached a short flight of steps that branched away from the street. Taking the steps two at a time, he reached the top and began running along a darkened walkway that angled between a pair of highrise office towers. Before long, the sounds and smells of Lan Kwai Fong had receded into the distance.

Wu Chee Ming knew he would miss those sounds and smells. But at least he would be alive to remember them. He glanced behind but saw no one.

One does not seek what one does not see.

His survival hinged on the truth of that proverb, and yet if he truly believed it, why was he running? Why was he not relaxed in the knowledge that he was but another face in an ocean of faces?

Under normal conditions, Hong Kong was the perfect city in which to vanish. But these were not normal conditions. He was running from a crime boss who knew every inch of the island. A crime boss with eyes and ears everywhere. A crime boss so skilled in the art of death that some people considered it an honor to die by his hand. Dexter Moran was his name, although no one dared address him that way. To everyone in Hong Kong and the New Territories, he was known as Dragon Head, and he was the supreme leader of the Shí bèi organized crime society, which was based in the Zhongzhen Martial Arts Academy.

The name “Dragon Head” was actually a title that had been seized by Moran in the same manner a lion becomes the alpha male of his pride: by defeating or killing his rivals. And not just known rivals, but anyone suspected of being a threat. Which was why Wu Chee Ming had chosen to run. He wanted to make sure he was not among them.

Ahead, beside a tree, was an old bicycle. Wu Chee Ming had purchased it from a repair shop with instructions that it be placed beside the tree this afternoon. It had a basket above the front fender and a tiny dome bell on the handlebar. Lifting the bike onto the path, Wu Chee Ming walked it to an intersecting walkway, where he turned left, jumped on, and began pedaling. In less than a minute he emerged onto a busy street.

Like New York, Hong Kong was a city that never slept. Even at this late hour, cars filled the streets and the sidewalks were gorged with people. A few dings on his bell caused pedestrians to stop long enough for him to bicycle across the sidewalk and into the bicycle lane, where he turned left and began pedaling with the flow of traffic. He kept pace for two blocks, then cut across to the other side of the street, where he began pedaling with the flow of traffic in the other direction. He bicycled past noodle bars, restaurants, and retail outlets offering everything from designer clothing to electronics, phone cards, and cosmetics. Before long, he turned down a side street and raced to the next corner, where he turned right and raced to the next corner, where he turned again. The zigzag pattern took him away from the neon madness of the tourist district and into Hong Kong’s shadowed side streets.

Within twenty minutes, Wu Chee Ming had made his way to a four-story apartment building in a rundown part of Wan Chai. Unlike the glamour and polish of the financial precinct where he worked, this part of town was stained with the gloom of poverty. There were no gleaming office towers of tinted glass. No stepped terraces with architectural flourishes. The buildings were rectangular and squat. Rust and soot were the predominant colors.

Leaning his bicycle against a metal roller door, Wu Chee Ming entered a darkened stairwell and dashed up a flight of steps. There were no lights in the stairwell because Wu Chee Ming had broken the bulbs. No one must remember his face to anyone asking questions. And there would be questions, and Dragon Head would be asking them. By that time, however, he would be long gone, which meant Dragon Head would have no choice but to hunt down the only other person who could give him answers. That person was former KGB colonel Aleksandr Talanov. Talanov, of course, would have no answers because he would not know what had happened. Torture would be employed, and Dragon Head would be merciless, but Talanov would not be able to reveal what he did not know. Yes, Talanov was a walking dead man, while he, Wu Chee Ming, was about to become a ghost.

Excerpt from Dragon Head by James Houston Turner. Copyright 2020 by James Houston Turner. Reproduced with permission from James Houston Turner.
All rights reserved.


Author Bio:

Winner of numerous awards, including "Best Thriller," bestselling author James Houston Turner is known for his Aleksandr Talanov series of spy novels. Talanov the fictional character was inspired by the actual KGB agent who once leaked word out of Moscow that James was on a KGB watchlist for his smuggling activities behind the old Iron Curtain. "His act of heroism – he could have been executed for what he did – gave me the idea of a good-guy KGB agent who became a spy for America," Turner explains.

A native of Kansas, James Houston Turner has been writing since he was ten. After earning his bachelor's degree from Baker University, he moved to Texas, where he earned his master's degree from the University of Houston (Clear Lake). He then headed west to California, where his love of writing turned into a profession with publication of The Spud Book: 101 Ways to Cook Potatoes. Publisher's Weekly called it "A cookbook with ap-peel." Between TV cooking tours, he worked as a journalist at the famed Los Angeles Union Rescue Mission, where he revised their magazine, Lifeline, from a needs-based ministry appeal to a collection of interviews from the streets about changed lives. Those interviews included numerous victims of human trafficking. The magazine won several awards.

During this time, James also worked as a smuggler into Soviet-occupied Eastern Europe, where he transported tons of food, clothing, Bibles, and medical supplies, to needy hospitals and churches. While there, he interviewed many heroes of death camps, gulags, Siberian exile, persecution, illness, hardship, and torture, including assassination squads.

James is also a cancer survivor after doctors in Australia removed a tumor the size of an orange from his face. "I was told if I lived eighteen months I would probably live to be one hundred. That was in 1991, so I am happy to report I am well on my way toward that goal. These experiences continue to influence my storytelling, whether in novels, or, now, in film. My stories are 'overcomer stories,' because that's what I've had to do, and is why I want my stories to leave people with the same hope and faith that strengthened me."

As a self-published author who made the deliberate choice away from traditional avenues, he has accomplished what he calls "the writer's dream" with a film option on one of his novels, Greco's Game. He is also one of a small handful of writers who can function both as a novelist and a screenwriter, with two of his screenplays having also been optioned, with production on his projects scheduled to begin in 2020.

After nearly twenty years in Australia, James and his wife, Wendy, now live in Austin, Texas.




This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for James Houston Turner. There will be 7 winners. One (1) winner will receive an Amazon.com Gift Card. Six (6) winners will receive DRAGON HEAD by James Houston Turner (print). The giveaway begins on May 1, 2020 and runs through June 2, 2020. Open to U.S. addresses only. Void where prohibited.




On Tour May 1 - May 31, 2020

Visit these other great hosts on this tour for more great reviews, interviews, guest posts, and giveaways!
These are the stops on the tour as of April 16 and are subject to change.


Get More Great Reads at

Thursday, 21 May 2020

Celeste Three Is Missing by Chris Calder



Title: Celeste Three Is Missing
Author: Chris Calder
Genre: Thriller
Publication Date: July 2019


The world’s first earth-orbit passenger plane, the sensational Celeste Three, takes off from its base in Arizona, also the only place where it is designed land. On a routine flight the craft disappears.

On board is Viktor Karenkov, billionaire oil magnate who has used his wealth to evade prosecution for a murder he committed years earlier. Gregory Topozian, the murdered man’s friend, has been waiting for a chance to bring Karenkov to justice. With dogged determination and considerable ingenuity, he conceives an audacious plan.

Getting the craft down in total secrecy is key. And someone has to pay the huge costs involved.






Author Bio:

After ten happy years of retirement in rural France, Chris Calder is back in England. He came late to writing novels, penning his first whilst incarcerated in a French hospital following cancer surgery. At the time he spoke little French. Unable to communicate effectively with the staff, he spent his time fleshing out his first novel. Five more have followed; light thrillers leavened with humour. Best of all, the cancer is now history.

Chris knows that readers of fiction expect to be diverted and entertained. He loves feedback and believes passionately that taking on board readers’ views improves what he does. You can email him at chris@chriscalder.com. Go on, he’d love to hear from you.



Guest Post by Chris Calder:

Where was I born?

A simple question but, strangely, one to which I cannot give a straight answer. The reason is that I was born in India, in a city that is now in Pakistan. A different country, so I could have answered with either.

But memories of my childhood in a distant place at a historically interesting time have proved invaluable for providing the backdrop to my next novel. The provisional title is Growing Apart and it is about twin boys born in India at the end of the British Raj, as I was. They were the result of a clandestine affair between an English civil servant and a vivacious Anglo-Indian girl who dies in childbirth, at a time when the father is on leave in England.

One twin is adopted and raised in India, the other is taken by his natural father to be raised in England, unaware of the existence of his brother. And all this happens between the years 1936 and 1962. I suppose that would be classed as ‘history’ by most readers today!







Monday, 18 May 2020

Miranda and the D-Day Caper by Shelly Frome



Title: Miranda and the D-Day Caper
Author: Shelly Frome
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Publication Date: March 1st 2020
Publisher: BQB Publishing
Number of Pages: 338
ISBN: 1945448571 (ISBN13: 9781945448577)


A modern day mystery with WWII tactics, old-time heroes and values, and the efforts of two amateur cousin sleuths from the Heartland.

On a sparkling spring morning in the Blue Ridge, small-town realtor Miranda Davis approached the tailgate market, intent on dealing with her whimsical cousin Skip’s unexpected arrival from New York. It turns out that Skip was on the run and, in his panic, grabbed his beloved tabby Duffy, recalling that Miranda had a recent part in solving a case down in Carolina. His predicament stemmed from intercepting code messages like “Countdown to D-Day,” playfully broadcasting the messages on his radio show over the nation-wide network, and subsequently forced to flee.

At first, Miranda tried to limit her old childhood companion’s conundrum to the sudden abduction of Duffy the cat. But the forces that be were hell-bent on keeping Skip under wraps by any means after he now stumbled close to the site of their master plan. Miranda’s subsequent efforts to decipher the conspiracy and somehow intervene placed both herself and her old playmate on a collision course with a white-nationalist perpetrator and the continuing machinations of the right-wing enterprise, with the lives of all those gathered for a diversity celebration in nearby Asheville and a crucial senatorial vote on homeland security hanging in the balance.


Excerpt:

“Okay, I get it,” said Miranda, assuming it was playtime as always. “We’re double agents. You keep reading the paper and light a cigarette. A minute later, you toss the cigarette and leave the book of matches on the table with the coded inscription Moscow rules. That’s when I take it and slip away awaiting further instructions.”

This was flippant Miranda. The one with the short bob, over thirty, just trying to set the tone on this glorious Saturday in the Blue Ridge and ease out of it. But at the moment, playful Skip seemed to have lost his way. His eyes were bloodshot, underscored by dark circles. And the signature mischievous smirk on that sliver of a face had been replaced by a worrisome twitch.

Folding the newspaper, with his cornflower blue eyes still gazing into the distance, Skip said, “I don’t know, kiddo. I tell you, I just don’t know.”

“Which makes two of us. So tell me why you couldn’t simply e-mail me?”

“Why? Am I holding you up or something?”

“No, you’re not holding me up. Look, what do you say we cut to the chase? Glancing around, taking his sweet time, making sure no one was within earshot, Skip said, “All right.”

“From the top.”

“Okay. Like I indicated, I was filling in, got a break on a prestige AM station.”

Getting more anxious by the second, his lanky body beginning to twitch, Skip said, “So, when opportunity knocks, you seize the day. Right?”

“Out with it. I am still waiting.”

Scrunching forward this time, Skip said, “One night I started to wing it. No more of this ‘Yup, it’s midnight, folks. Some of these homespun Indiana tales should ease you right off to sleep.’ I was antsy. I’d had it with Russ Mathews who’d signed off that night right before me, sounding more and more like some fear monger back in the day.”

“And what day was that?”

“World War Two.”

More glancing around on Skip’s part. More checking the flow of visitors coming and going.

Getting antsy as well, Miranda said, “Will you get on with it? Is there an upshot in our future? ”

“I’m coming to it,” Skip said, looking right at her this time. “Right after my kazoo rendition of I dream about the moonlight on the Wabash, I lean into the mic and say, ‘Guess what? Ole Russ Mathews must be on to something. I’m talking the plot against America. So I tell the insomniacs all over the Liberty Broadcasting system that, at first, I thought Duffy was pulling down on the blinds out of longing.”

“Duffy?”

“Just your average ginger house cat, left alone, separated from other felines on the prowl. But I come home to my sublet and notice he’s perched in the exact same spot, his green eyes staring across the street. So, over the airwaves, I said, ‘What if I told you night people something was up in a dilapidated rooming house in Hoboken? Right across the river from the Big Apple?’” “That does it,” Miranda said, getting to her feet. “How am I supposed to follow this? When you’re ready to get to the point, let me know.”

“Wait a minute. Don’t you see?” said Skip, getting to his feet as well. “I stumbled onto something. Before you know it, my ratings are starting to climb. But since the weather’s getting warmer, those guys across the street aren’t scurrying in and out of the cold. They’re loitering by the stoop, glancing across the shadows. Next thing I know, I’m getting negative call-ins. Listeners telling me to knock it off or else.

Undaunted, I tell everyone in radio-land what’s going on out there may have far reaching consequences. Unless I intercept.”

“Oh, please,” said Miranda, walking away. “Listen to me.” Skip scurried over and held her arm. “I tell you, at the same time, those guys across the street were carting off concealed stuff.”

“I’m not listening anymore.”

“You’ve got to. You have obviously become a born tracker. Tracked down a poison pen perpetrator like the paper said.”

“Enough. Stop hyping everything up. Look at you. You’re coming down with full blown hysteria.”

“Exactly. Because it appears there’s no longer any line between entertainment and politics. While messing around, doing a take-off on Russ Mathews and boosting my ratings, I may have stumbled onto an actual plot utilizing WW II codes.”


Excerpt from Miranda and the D-Day Caper by Shelly Frome. Copyright 2020 by Shelly Frome. Reproduced with permission from Shelly Frome. All rights reserved.


Author Bio:

Shelly Frome is a member of Mystery Writers of America, a professor of dramatic arts emeritus at the University of Connecticut, a former professional actor, a writer of crime novels and books on theater and film. He is also a features writer for Gannett Media’s Black Mountain News.

His fiction includes Sun Dance for Andy Horn, Lilac Moon, Twilight of the Drifter, Tinseltown Riff, Murder Run, Moon Games and The Secluded Village Murders. Among his works of non-fiction are The Actors Studio and texts on the art and craft of screenwriting and writing for the stage. Miranda and the D-Day Caper is his latest foray into the world of crime and the amateur sleuth.

He lives in Black Mountain, North Carolina.



This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Shelly Frome. Two (2) winners will each win (1) Amazon.com Gift Card. The giveaway begins on May 1, 2020 and runs through June 2, 2020. Void where prohibited.


On Tour May 1 - May 31, 2020

Visit these other great hosts on this tour for more great reviews, interviews, guest posts, and giveaways!
These are the stops on the tour as of April 16 and are subject to change.


Get More Great Reads at

Friday, 15 May 2020

The Soul Killer by Ross Greenwood



Title: The Soul Killer
Series: The DI Barton Series Book 2
Author: Ross Greenwood
Genre: Crime
Publication Date: 7th May 2020
Publisher: Boldwood Books


‘Repent in this life, rejoice in the next…’

A murder made to look like suicide. Another that appears an accident. DI Barton investigates the tragedies that have shattered a family’s lives, but without obvious leads the case goes nowhere. Then, when the remains of a body are found, everything points to one suspect.

Barton and his team move quickly, and once the killer is behind bars, they can all breathe a sigh of relief. But death still lurks in the shadows, and no one's soul is safe. Not even those of the detectives…

How do you stop a killer that believes life is a rehearsal for eternity, and their future is worth more than your own…?

Ross Greenwood writes gritty, heart-pounding thrillers, with twists aplenty, and unforgettable endings. Perfect for fans of Mark Billingham and Stuart MacBride.




My Review:

Written from two very different points of view, the author, Ross Greenwood, has given us a gripping read with a well-crafted plot.

The first viewpoint is that of the killer, who we meet at the start of the book, as a young boy suffering at the hands of his cruel and religious mother. Although we don't know who he is, this pov takes us inside his mind and lets us learn about his life and the reasoning behind his crimes.

The other perspective is that of DI Barton and his team as they investigate an apparent suicide, which is soon followed by a tragic accident within the same family. As the death toll mounts up, the team race to catch the culprit before he kills again.

The Soul Killer is a fast-paced, suspenseful thriller, with many twists and turns, and which I found difficult to put down. Although the second book of the series it works very well as a standalone read.

( I received a complimentary copy of the book for reviewing purposes. All opinions are my own.)



Author Bio:

Ross Greenwood is the author of six crime thrillers. Before becoming a full-time writer he was most recently a prison officer and so worked everyday with murderers, rapists and thieves for four years. He lives in Peterborough.