Friday, October 6, 2017

Jerome Charyn - Winter Warning - Review & Giveaway



About the Book

Reflecting our own world like a volatile funhouse mirror, Winter Warning lures us back to the 1980s, an era that could have been ripped right out of our most recent political upheaval. Isaac Sidel should have been vice president, banished to some far corner of the West Wing, but the president-elect has been forced to resign or face indictment for his crooked land deals—and Sidel becomes the accidental president. He’s a maverick, a crusader with a Glock in his belt, who defies both the Republicans and the Democrats. He seems haunted by Lincoln’s ghost, and the presidential palace becomes his own “great white jail,” as it did for Harry Truman. There’s never been another president quite like Isaac Sidel, New York’s former police commissioner and mayor. There’s a secret lottery created by some bankers in Basel to determine the exact date of Sidel’s death. And Sidel has to outrun this lottery in order to save himself. His greatest allies are not the Secret Service or the DNC, but a former Israeli prime minister who was a explosives operative during the British occupation of Palestine . . . as well as a mysterious billionaire who belongs to a brotherhood of killers and counterfeiters. His only companions in the capital are the captain of his helicopter fleet and a sexy naval intelligence officer who realizes that something has gone amuck at Camp David, when a band of mercenaries arrive with their sights trained on Sidel.




My Review

"America worships a true original."

…or so Isaac Sidel has been told.

He's a president who created himself, a president willing to enter the maelstrom.

"In a world of monuments and antiques and the must of history," he can't help but take a look at the men who came before him, and how he measures up in the grand scheme of things.

FDR had Camp David built as his mountain retreat to deal with his polio. And now one of the boys suffering from the same dreaded disease - one who Roosevelt once took under his wing - is all grown up and trying to kill Sidel. Unnerved, Sidel openly confronts the man.

"You were paid to kill me?"
"Yes."
"And you didn't finish the job."
"I would've dishonored Mr. Frank. It would've been like fratricide."

So it's not surprising that Sidel can't believe in Lincoln's "better angels." He's a guy who's been wrestling with demons all his life. Now as president, he's the lone white man who happens to appeal to both Latinos and blacks. And that designation quickly makes him persona non grata on Capitol Hill. Lincoln may have been an outcast thanks to his mad wife, but Sidel is more of an outcast than Lincoln ever was.

"He had to deal with all the sudden fury around him - the recriminations, the death threats, the talk of impeachment, congressional reprimands, editorials against his imperial presidency. He couldn't escape the barrage."

Yet Sidel is ashamed of the presidency and all its pomp. He feels like a fraud since, "Lincoln had carried a divided nation on his crooked back and prevented it from utterly unraveling and he took the time to visit a little school for the deaf. What had Isaac done except the irregular arc of his own demise?"

It's not for kicks that Harry Truman nicknamed the White House, "the great white jail," and Sidel readily agrees with his predecessor's assessment of things. In the book, Sidel's tenure begins in 1989, a year that "wasn't good for spies. Agents could be bought and sold by the bushel. Private contractors prospered among all the confusion."

So when it all comes down to it, Sidel doesn't have to be reminded of any of the greats who went before him - he's already walking in their footsteps.

***

Winter Warning can be purchased at:
Amazon
Barnes and Noble
IndieBound
iTunes
Biblio

Prices/Formats: $25.95 ebook, $25.95 paperback
Genre: Political, Espionage, Thriller
Pages: 256
Release: October 1, 2017
Publisher: Pegasus Books
ISBN: 9781681773483
Click to add to your Goodreads list.

***

About the Author

Jerome Charyn published his first novel in 1964. He's the author of Johnny One-Eye, The Secret Life of Emily Dickinson, I Am Abraham, and dozens of other acclaimed novels as well as nonfiction works. His short stories have appeared in The Atlantic, Paris Review, American Scholar, Epoch, and Ellery Queen. Charyn's popular crime novels featuring homicide detective Isaac Sidel inspired a new animated drama series: Hard Apple debuts on the small screen in 2017, helmed by Hollywood insider James Gray (The Immigrants) and illustrated by famed artists Asaf and Tomer Hanuka. Charyn lives in Greenwich Village, New York.

Links to connect with Jerome:
Web Site
Facebook (author)
Twitter (author)
Facebook (Isaac Sidel)
Twitter (Isaac Sidel)
Goodreads

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Friday, September 15, 2017

A. Keith Carreiro - The Penitent: Part II - Review & Giveaway



About the Book

Hidden in the bottom of a roadside ditch as a baby, Evangel is only steps away from her viciously murdered parents. An old hermit finds her there a day later and takes her to his home in the heart of a sylvan wilderness. She is raised in a hermitage built by Matthew where he learns she is touched by a rare spiritual power. 17 years later a series of miracles occur that rock the very nature of her reality. Befriended by outlaws and a king’s champion, she is also betrayed by a woman of the cloth during a bard of the realm’s performance. That night, in a dream, Evangel envisions her future soul mate, Pall Warren, on a battlefield of death, and casts a prayer of protection around him. Thus begins a remarkable journey to save herself and those who believe in her. A hauntingly beautiful and startling tale of wonder.




My Review

The nature of duality always makes things interesting.

In this case, can a young girl really save a deeply troubled man? Well, let's say, she tries.

When Tabard meets Evangel all of the classic conflicts come into play: innocence versus experience, femininity versus masculinity, light versus darkness. Not to mention, the violence and utter brutality he inflicts on her family definitely does not make him a hero. In fact, a character so repulsive seems well beyond the bounds of ever achieving likability.

Yet somehow she manages to redeem him by rising above it all—by forgiving him.

Bewildered, people ask her flat out, "You're friends with him and not mortal enemies? How's that possible?"

Her response? "Perhaps the burden of what has befallen [him] should be borne by both of us."

Now that's a powerful statement.

She knows that seeking revenge will only end up killing the goodness inside her. Emotionally, she's strong enough to break the cycle of hatred. She's not allowing his pain to extend any farther than it already has. She's putting an end to it right here, right now.

But it's a process. Complete healing doesn't happen overnight. Tabard is very much a work in progress. Being good doesn't come easy for him as "he kept brooding over this newly perceived awakening from the darkness he had so long inhabited. He views the change in himself "as a weakness, a vulnerability that seemed distasteful to him."

So it's not surprising when it's not long before he's lured off course. Symbolically, he even falls three times, "as though he was still drunk, drugged, damaged." Evangel certainly has her work cut out for her. He's literally in a struggle over the peace of his soul, and when he comes back to her looking "aged, careworn and beyond weary," she fears that she's failed him, that he may very well be beyond her reach.

Yet she doesn't give up on him. Bravely, she continues to battle his double mindedness until it feels like it's suffocating her. She takes on his emotions becoming fearful, angry, lonely herself. Yet she's willing to do anything in her power so that his spirit can become a little less filled with fear.

In order to keep her bearings she clings to God, trying not to let her doubts overtake her, wondering again and again why her prayers for Tabard keep going unanswered.

Until her wise, old grandfather gives her some pertinent advice, "Your prayers may have saved him from an even greater plight had he continued on the soul's journey he was electing to take. Don't be mad at yourself. He is who he is supposed to be."

But is that enough for her…will he ever be the man she wants him to be? That's the question.

***

The Penitent: Part II can be purchased at:
Amazon

Prices/Formats: $4.99 ebook, $15.99 paperback
Genre: Science Fiction, Fantasy
Pages: 274
Release: May 15, 2017
Publisher: Copper Beech Press
ISBN: 9780997382716
Click to add to your Goodreads list.

***

About the Author

A. Keith Carreiro earned his master’s and doctoral degrees from Harvard Graduate School of Education, with the sequential help and guidance of three advisors, Dr. Vernon A. Howard, Dr. Donald Oliver and Professor Emeritus, Dr. Israel Scheffler. Keith’s academic focus, including his ongoing research agenda, centers upon philosophically examining how creativity and critical thinking are acquired, learned, utilized and practiced in the performing arts. He has taken his findings and applied them to the professional development of educational practitioners.

Earlier in his teaching career he was a professor of educational foundations, teaching graduate students of education at universities in Vermont, Florida, Arizona, and Pennsylvania. He currently teaches as an adjunct professor of English at Bridgewater State University, as well as teaching English, philosophy, humanities and public speaking courses at Bristol Community College.

He lives in Swansea, Massachusetts. He has six children and 13 grandchildren. He belongs to an eighty–five–pound golden retriever, an eight–pound Maltese, and an impish Calico cat.

Due to his love of family, he has seen his fervor for history, as well as his passion for wondering about the future, deepen dramatically.

Starting on May 23rd until October 9th of 2014, he sat down at his computer on a daily basis and began writing the first book of a science fiction/fantasy thriller in a beginning series about the quest for human immortality.

Links to connect with A. Keith:
Web Site
Facebook
Twitter
Goodreads
Blog


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Friday, September 8, 2017

R. Franklin James - The Bell Tolls - Review & Giveaway



About the Book

Hollis Morgan has survived imprisonment, received a pardon and persevered to finally become a probate attorney. Tough as she is, her newest case will further test her mettle. She discovers her client, Matthias Bell, is a deceased blackmailer whose last wish was to return the damaging documents he collected, letting his victims off the hook. It falls to Hollis to give them the good news. But it’s revealed that Bell was murdered, and the victims of “Bell’s tolls” are now suspects.

Hollis’ white-collar criminal past has left her with keen survival instincts. A gifted liar she knows a liar when she meets one. A lot of people in this case are lying and one is a killer.

On top of that, she’s also representing a dying stripper, a wealthy widow whose estranged daughter spurns her attempts at reconciliation, but whose husband sees the potential inheritance as mending all wounds particularly financial ones.

Clients aside, Hollis is defensive and wary. Her mother, who hasn’t spoken to her for years, needs a kidney, and Hollis is a match, but neither are ready to put away the past. With Hollis’ fiancĂ© and emotional support off on an undercover mission for Homeland Security, she must count on her own survival instincts. She is swept along on an emotional roller coaster as her absent love and her family’s coldness take their own toll.

Work is her salvation. The specter of a killer keeps her focused. Hollis has always had to rely on her wits, but now she finds that others who don’t have her well-being in mind are relying on them as well.



My Review

"The daughter she wished were dead was the only daughter who could keep her alive."

Harsh words, but true. It's clear Hollis is the proverbial black sheep. Ever since her incarceration and release from prison, her relationship with her family has been, to put it mildly, strained. Out to make a fresh start for herself, she decides to put some distance between them by choosing to go by her middle name. That is until her sister calls out of the blue, looking for her dear sibling formerly known as Rebecca. Because guess what? Mom needs a new kidney, and they're really hoping she's a match.

The family circle now needs her, but it still doesn't feel like including her. In fact, her family cares so little about her that they even make her sleep on the couch when she returns home for a round of preliminary testing. Their lack of consideration kills her inside, and "the emptiness she thought she'd locked away was falling open to the reality of daylight."

Because Hollis isn't agreeing to help her mother because she wants them all to think she's the big hero, riding in to save the day. That's just not who Hollis is, and she readily admits, "She's my mother. It's what you're supposed to do." Yet she's honest with herself about the reality of the situation she's facing, not sugarcoating anything, "She…chose me over death."

It's the honest to God truth, but it offers little in the way of comfort. However, Hollis carries on, determined to make the best of things, even sharing with her friends that for years she's been imagining herself as part of a pretend family in order to cope with the pain of estrangement she's experienced for most of her life. But now that things have taken a turn in a different direction, she relates, "I need to feel like a good daughter. I don't want to be cheated of how that feels like. And a good daughter donates a kidney to her mother."

As the two emerge from surgery, Hollis's mom, who is well know for hating displays of affection, opens the door to her heart, just a crack, and Hollis, unsure of this change in her mother, doesn't know what to make of it. Thrown off kilter, she's puzzled, not wanting to lower her defenses, only to be hurt again. In fact, "her mother's attempt to be kind was almost more than she could bear. Her sharp, mean-spirited barbs were more common and easier to block out."

So will they be able to repair their broken relationship? Only time—and the next installment in the series—will tell.

***

The Bell Tolls can be purchased at:
Amazon
Barnes and Noble
iTunes
Kobo
Overdrive

Prices/Formats: $4.95 ebook, $15.95 paperback
Genre: Women's Sleuth, Mystery, Suspense, Thriller
Pages: 239
Release: June 1, 2017
Publisher: Camel Press
ISBN: 9781603812177
Click to add to your Goodreads list.

***

About the Author

R. Franklin James grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area and graduated from the University of California at Berkeley. From there she cultivated a different type of writing—legislation and public policy. After serving as Deputy Mayor for the City of Los Angeles, under millionaire Richard Riordan, she went back to her first love—writing, and in 2013 her debut novel, The Fallen Angels Book Club was published by Camel Press. Her second book in The Hollis Morgan Mystery Series, Sticks & Stones, was followed by The Return of the Fallen Angels Book Club, and The Trade List. The Bell Tolls, book five was released in June 2017.

R. Franklin James lives in Northern California with her husband.

Links to connect with R. Franklin James:
Web Site
Facebook
Twitter
Goodreads


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Monday, August 14, 2017

Rich Zahradnik - Lights Out Summer - Review & Giveaway



About the Book

In March 1977, ballistics link murders going back six months to the same Charter Arms Bulldog .44. A serial killer, Son of Sam, is on the loose. But Coleridge Taylor can't compete with the armies of reporters fighting New York's tabloid war--only rewrite what they get. Constantly on the lookout for victims who need their stories told, he uncovers other killings being ignored because of the media circus. He goes after one, the story of a young Black woman gunned down in her apartment building the same night Son of Sam struck elsewhere in Queens. The story entangles Taylor with a wealthy Park Avenue family at war with itself. Just as he's closing in on the killer and his scoop, the July 13-14 blackout sends New York into a 24-hour orgy of looting and destruction. Taylor and his PI girlfriend Samantha Callahan head out into the darkness, where a steamy night of mob violence awaits them. In the midst of the chaos, a suspect in Taylor's story goes missing. Desperate, he races to a confrontation that will either break the story--or Taylor. Book 4 in the Coleridge Taylor Mystery series.




My Review

The "Yes Virginia" editoriala front page editorial affirming the existence of Santa Claus in exquisite language. Yet it said moreAffirmed the idea of hope.

Think about it—it's only 1977 and Taylor is already mourning the glory days of newspapers. Why is a career newsman so forlorn nearly twenty years before digital media? Because for him, facts are stubborn things. You blow your credibility with your sources, you're done. You don't jump on the bandwagon. You go after the stories no one else is doing. Yet not many reporters follow these hard and fast rules. They run in a pack, chasing the one big bad guy, they're told to chase.

Remember half the stories in the Post are made up now that Murdoch owns it. Might as well be crime fiction… No flipping out because the Post has some fantastic story. Fantastic because it's fantasy.

So when the Son of Sam killer strikes New York City—shooting defenseless young white girls in the dark—every news outlet in the five boroughs is giving extensive daily coverage to the story—but not Taylor. He'd rather look into the murder of a black woman, that occurred on the same night as one of the Son of Sam killings, the one no one is talking about.

However, Taylor's not exactly what you would call a big-time reporter. He works for the City News Bureau, a wire service that supplies quick news bites for radio stations. In fact, his late father used to say he was nothing more than "a scribbler with a high school degree." So when temptation comes calling in the form of a job offer from the New York Post, proudly boasting a healthy circulation of over half a million, it feels "like any bargain with the devil…it offered something he wanted so badly."

Because realistically, Taylor doubts that he can keep doing what he's doing, and make a living out of it. He knows the Post would think he was nuts to care about a story no one cares about. That's not what sells newspapers. So after wrestling with the decision for a while, he comes to realize that it's not that he can't compete with the big guys—it's just that he doesn't want to. In his mind, all victims deserve to have their stories told, instead of the mass media making the decision to focus on a single case just "because the victims look like your family."

If you chased what readers wanted, not what they needed to know, you'd do anything. Bend facts. Break them.

So Taylor chooses to fight the good fight, and give a voice to the people, everyone else in the city is quick to write off. Who needs Panavision when you can do so much more with a close-up?

***

Lights Out Summer can be pre-ordered at:
Amazon
Barnes and Noble
IndieBound

Prices/Formats: $4.95 ebook, $15.95 paperback, $29.95 audio
Genre: Historical, Mystery, Thriller, Suspense
Pages: 288
Release: October 1, 2017
Publisher: Camel Press
ISBN: 9781603812139
Click to add to your Goodreads list.

***

About the Author

Rich Zahradnik is the award-winning author of the critically acclaimed Coleridge Taylor Mystery series (Lights Out Summer, A Black Sail, Drop Dead Punk, Last Words).



The first three books have been shortlisted or won awards in the three major competitions for novels from independent presses. A Black Sail was named winner in the mystery category of the 2017 Next Generation Indie Book Awards. Drop Dead Punk collected the gold medal for mystery ebook in the 2016 Independent Publisher Book Awards. Last Words won the bronze medal for mystery/thriller ebook in the 2015 IPPYs and honorable mention for mystery in the 2015 Foreword Reviews Book of the Year Awards.

"Taylor, who lives for the big story, makes an appealingly single-minded hero," Publishers Weekly wrote of Drop Dead Punk.

 A Black Sail received a starred review from Library Journal, which said, “Fans of the late Barbara D’Amato and Bruce DeSilva will relish this gritty and powerful crime novel.”

Zahradnik was a journalist for 25-plus years, working as a reporter and editor in all major news media, including online, newspaper, broadcast, magazine and wire services. He held editorial positions at CNN, Bloomberg News, Fox Business Network, AOL and The Hollywood Reporter.



Zahradnik was born in Poughkeepsie, New York, in 1960 and received his B.A. in journalism and political science from George Washington University. He lives with his wife Sheri and son Patrick in Pelham, New York, where he writes fiction and teaches kids around the New York area how to write news stories and publish newspapers.



Links to connect with Rich:
Web Site
Facebook
Twitter
Goodreads
Blog


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Monday, August 7, 2017

Sharon St. George - Spine Damage - Review & Giveaway



About the Book

Paulo Ferrara, a young Portuguese man, lies comatose in the Intensive Care Unit of Timbergate Medical Center, shot in the spine. The neurosurgeon who would normally be in charge of his care has left town to attend to an injured daughter, and the only other neurosurgeon, the rude and egotistical Dr. Godfrey Carver, is about to be suspended for not completing his continuing education requirements. The unpleasant duty of ensuring that the staff obey the rules lies with Aimee Machado, the medical center's forensic librarian and Continuing Education Coordinator. Aimee and her pilot boyfriend Nick live together on her grandparents’ llama farm. While dealing with Dr. Carver, Aimee learns the circumstances of Paulo’s injury and enlists Nick’s help. Aimee is half Asian and half Portuguese, and her parents live on Faial, one of the Azores Islands off the coast of Portugal. Faial is the closest neighbor to Pico, home of Paulo and his family. Paulo came to rural Northern California in search of his fifteen-year-old sister Liliana, who vanished two weeks ago. Nick’s wealthy employer Buck Sawyer takes an interest in the girl’s plight as well, especially when they learn that she left the Azores on a superyacht. Not only is Buck a yacht owner, but he is also on a crusade against drug trafficking, and Paulo and Liliana have clearly stumbled onto a criminal operation of some kind. The trail leads Aimee and Nick from Timbergate, to the Azores, to San Francisco. Paulo’s condition is deteriorating, and he might never be able to explain what got him shot. Can Aimee, her brother Harry, and Nick unravel the mystery in time to save Liliana? Book 4 in the Aimee Machado Mystery series, which began with Due for Discard.




My Review

The human trafficking of young girls is the ugly secret of life on the high seas.

Liliana Ferrera, a fifteen-year-old girl, willingly boards a fancy super-yacht that's docked in her hometown, a small island in the Portuguese Azores, thinking she's going to America to meet her online boyfriend and finally pursue her interest in fashion design. For Liliana, it's all about breaking free of parental control and doing what she wants to do with her life, but little does she know that she's in way over her head and in a heck of a lot of trouble.

The boyfriend she never met could very well be a creep, who's catfishing for an unsuspecting kid. The boat she's on could be in the hands of an ISIS terror network or any number of major crime organizations. Ultimately, she could end up anywhere in the world, and not even know it. Impetuous and headstrong, "she knew she was exquisite looking. That was obvious. What she apparently didn't know was how her beauty might put her life in danger."

It's a known fact that violent crimes committed in international waters frequently go unreported. Young girls are lured onto these yachts with the promise of employment as a maid or galley worker in exchange for their passage. Some are convinced that they're being hired as models, as Liliana is led to believe, when she's really been classified as "unblemished merchandise," or code for still a virgin.

When the auctioneers release a photo of her to prospective buyers, she appears happy and unharmed, ensuring that if the photo ever falls into the hands of the police, they'll simply classify her as a runaway, with little chance of ever being rescued. When the bidding for her starts at half a million dollars, she quickly becomes a valuable commodity for the rich men who charter flights and arrive in limos, ready to quietly haul away their human cargo and avoid detection by the authorities.

When an undercover DEA agent happens to stumble upon a drugged Liliana during an unrelated raid, she sums the situation up best by saying, "Just when I'm convinced human beings can't think of anything worse to do to each other, someone comes up with another creative way to prove me wrong."

***

Spine Damage can be purchased at:
Amazon
Barnes and Noble
iTunes
Kobo

Prices/Formats: $4.95 ebook, $16.78 paperback
Genre: Mystery
Pages: 328
Release: May 15, 2017
Publisher: Camel Press
ISBN: 9781603815819
Click to add to your Goodreads list.

***

About the Author

Sharon St. George’s writing credits include three plays, several years writing advertising copy, a book on NASA’s space food project, and feature stories too numerous to count. She holds dual degrees in English and Theatre Arts, and occasionally acts in, or directs, one of her local community theater productions. Sharon is a member of Sisters in Crime and Mystery Writers of America, and she serves as program director for Writers Forum, a nonprofit organization for writers in northern California.

Links to connect with Sharon:
Web Site
Facebook
Twitter
Goodreads


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