WHERE THE TRUTH LIES by ANNA BAILEY

YA crime fiction can be so energetic and intense
and that’s why this one sounds so enticing
to me. Great review, Patty!

Pirate Patty Reviews

Where the Truth Lies

Teenagers, isolated small town, and lots of dirty little secrets make for a dynamite combination in this suspense novel.

The town of Whistling Ridge is off. There is just something not right about the people who live there. They have a lot of secrets to keep and they are about to blow up in a big way for some folks.

Emma and her bestie, Abigail are seventeen and think they know everything about each other. Emma is about to find out just how little she knows. At a party Abigail tells Emma to go home alone as she is meeting someone in the woods. Emma doesn’t know who and Abigail won’t say. All Emma sees is a guy in shadows.

So when Abi doesn’t make it home, Emma won’t let it go. The police think she ran away and with her family who would blame her? But Emma doesn’t believe…

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Book Review: Death Grip by Elaine Viets @evmysterywriter @severnhouse

Death Grip
An Angela Richman, Death Investigator Mystery (Book 4)
Elaine Viets
Severn House Publishers, March 2021
ISBN 978-0-7278-9018-4
Hardcover

This is the 4th book in the Death Investigator Series.  It is set in Chouteau County, Missouri. The heroine, Angela Richman, is a Death Investigator who is called out to examine and gather evidence when a death has occurred.

At the outset of the story Angela is called to a densely wooded area of the County. There, Detective Jace Budewitz leads her to the body found by a hiker, and suggests that the isolated area might well be a  ‘body dump’.

Angela is joined by another colleague, a CSI tech, and together they begin to gather evidence. Angela photographs the victim and collects and identifies anything that might offer a clue to the identity of the deceased or the perpetrator.

Her colleague, after studying the body, believes it belongs to Terri Gibbons, a high school track and field athlete who went missing eight months ago.

Two more bodies are also found in the area and arrangements are made to transport the victims for examination by a forensic anthropologist.  It isn’t long before a rather damaging clue is discovered, a clue that points to a rich, powerful, well-known local bachelor who already has some questionable history with the police.

A search-warrant is issued which seemed somewhat premature, and when nothing incriminating is found, the investigation is temporarily derailed.

While I initially liked the set up and start of the book, it quickly veered off course and settled on Angela’s personal life;  her love for her dead husband, a possible new love interest, and her own lack of interest in moving on with her life.

Her struggle with not being ready for a new romance felt more like filler, passing the time until another line of inquiry brought the reader back to the mystery of the murders of the three women.

I was also surprised to learn that while Angela was a Death Investigator she was not a qualified Detective and was told not to interfere with the ongoing investigation.  She is, in fact, reprimanded for doing so and warned off.

This, however, doesn’t deter Angela from continuing to pursue the case, determined to uncover evidence against the wealthy bachelor. But once again the narrative moves between interviewing women who had previously worked for the suspect, and the budding romance with the newest member of the force.

The climax, although a touch contrived, is exciting, bringing the mystery to a satisfying conclusion.

While the book was a relatively fast read, my interest lagged at times. If you are a fan of this well known author you will no doubt enjoy Angela’s latest entry.

Respectfully submitted.

Reviewed by guest reviewer Moyra Tarling, July 2021.

Spotlight on Yestertime by Andrew Cunningham @arcnovels @GH_Narrator @AnAudiobookworm

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Author: Andrew Cunningham

Narrator: Greg Hernandez

Length: 7 hours 34 minutes

Publisher: Andrew Cunningham

Released: Jun. 19, 2021

Genre: Science Fiction; Thriller

Add on Goodreads

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Synopsis

“I’m going to die a hundred years before I was born….”

The handwritten note was in a dusty trunk that sat in a cave untouched for 150 years. What did the words mean? When journalist Ray Burton finds the trunk near the Arizona ghost town of Hollow Rock, his life changes in an instant.

Something in the trunk shouldn’t be there.

This begins a dangerous journey of discovery bordering on the impossible. A discovery that will affect the past, the present, and the future.

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I’m the author of novels in several genres, including, mystery, thriller, and post-apocalyptic science fiction. Under the name A.R. Cunningham, I’ve also written the Arthur MacArthur series of mysteries for children.

I was born in England, but have spent most of my life living in the U.S.—including 25 years on Cape Cod before moving to Florida. A former interpreter for the deaf and long-time independent bookseller, I’ve been a full-time freelance writer and copy editor for many years. A 4th-degree Master Black belt in Tang Soo Do, I finally retired from active training when my body said, “Enough already! Why are you doing this to yourself?” I’m married, with two grown children and two awesome grandsons. My wife and I spend as much time traveling as we can, and are especially fond of cruising the Caribbean.

​I have been gratified by the response to my books. When I published Eden Rising back in the spring of 2013, I had no idea what to expect. When I sold my first few copies, I was excited beyond belief that someone was willing to take a chance on it. Numerous books and thousands of copies later, I am still humbled by the emails I get from readers telling me that my books kept them up late into the night.

In October of 2014, Wisdom Spring made me an official Amazon Bestselling author, a thrill I never thought would happen. But it still comes down to being able to bring a few hours of escape to a reader. That’s what it’s all about for me.

I hope you will try my books. Please feel free to email me with your comments.

WebsiteTwitterFacebookGoodreadsAmazon

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Narrator Bio

Author-preferred Narrator of Mysteries & Thrillers

Narrating audiobooks is highly gratifying. I immerse myself into an author’s story in order to bring it to life for the listener. I’ve enjoyed working with Andrew Cunningham for several years. His books are filled with rich characters, and the stories keep me turning the pages.

I also work as a background actor in movies and TV shows.

For more than 20 years, I worked as a radio news reporter and news writer. I spent half of my broadcasting career at ABC News Radio in the Washington, D.C., bureau. I covered all the federal agencies as well as Congress and the White House. I reported on a wide range of stories during my career, including financial and entertainment industry news.

For nearly 24 years, I worked as a federal government spokesman at three separate agencies—National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), U.S. Mint and Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC).

Twitter

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Click here to view the full tour schedule!

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Plugging you into the audio community since 2016.

Sign up as a tour host here.

Book Review: Bring Me Back by B. A. Paris @baparisauthor @StMartinsPress

Bring Me Back
B. A. Paris
St. Martin’s Press, June 2018
ISBN 978-1-250-15133-9
Hardcover

A strange and troubling tale of anger, selfishness, disappearance and mystery. Finn McQuaid is a driven slick fund manager. He’s successful and popular with several women. Twelve years earlier, when the story starts, he is driving toward England out of Paris with his current lover, Layla, whom he hopes to marry soon. In the dark middle of the night they stop for fuel and Layla disappears.

Now, still more successful, McQuaid romances Layla’s sister, Ellen, moves her into the house he once shared with Layla and prepares to marry her. Then strange things begin to happen, clues drop, that indicate that Layla may not be dead after all and McQuaid admits he didn’t tell police the whole truth, that fateful dark night.

The novel is highly personal and internal in tone. It reveals the inner amoral mental state of a man who seems committed to almost nothing except his own personal reality and a unique truth that is his own. Readers will be dragged through the weeds of this internal turmoil almost from the very beginning. The use of Russian dolls to provoke and irritate McQuaid and possibly mess with his mind is brilliant but the deliberate pace and development is at times a bit tedious. Nevertheless, carefully structured and presented, the novel eventually satisfies the mystery after a deliberate buildup to a logical ending.

Reviewed by Carl Brookins, May 2019.
http://www.carlbrookins.com http://agora2.blogspot.com
Traces, Grand Lac, Reunion, Red Sky.

Waiting On Wednesday (161) @StephenKing @ScribnerBooks

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event that
spotlights upcoming releases that I’m really
looking forward to. Waiting On Wednesday
is the creation of Jill at Breaking the Spine.
This week’s “can’t-wait-to-read” selection is:

Billy Summers
Stephen King
Scribner, August 2021
Mystery, Noir, Thriller

From the publisher—

Billy Summers is a man in a room with a gun. He’s a killer for hire and the best in the business. But he’ll do the job only if the target is a truly bad guy. And now Billy wants out. But first there is one last hit. Billy is among the best snipers in the world, a decorated Iraq war vet, a Houdini when it comes to vanishing after the job is done. So what could possibly go wrong?

How about everything.

This spectacular can’t-put-it-down novel is part war story, part love letter to small town America and the people who live there, and it features one of the most compelling and surprising duos in King fiction, who set out to avenge the crimes of an extraordinarily evil man. It’s about love, luck, fate, and a complex hero with one last shot at redemption.

You won’t put this story down, and you won’t forget Billy.

Why am I waiting so eagerly? Well, it’s Stephen King and that’s all the reason I need, really. Add to that my conviction that he’s at his best with characters who shouldn’t be sympathetic or appealing but are—this time, it sounds like the hitman is somebody I’m going to like despite his chosen profession. Then, throw in a spell of bad luck and a search for redemption and here we go, off on a new adventure from the master. 😀

Book Review: The Ocean in Winter by Elizabeth de Veer—and a Giveaway! @BlackstoneAudio @TLCBookTours

The Ocean in Winter
Elizabeth de Veer
Blackstone Publishing, July 2021
ISBN 978-1-982674649
Hardcover

From the publisher—

The lives of the three Emery sisters were changed forever when Alex, eleven at the time, found their mother drowned in the bathtub of their home. After their mother’s suicide, the girls’ father shut down emotionally, leaving Alex responsible for caring for Colleen, then eight, and little Riley, just four. Now the girls are grown and navigating different directions. Alex, a nurse, has been traveling in India and grieving her struggle to have a child; Colleen is the devoted mother of preteens in denial that her marriage is ending; and Riley has been leading what her sisters imagine to be the dream life of a successful model in New York City. Decades may have passed, but the unresolved trauma of their mother’s death still looms over them creating distance between the sisters.

Then on a March night, a storm rages near the coast of northeastern Massachusetts. Alex sits alone in an old farmhouse she inherited from a stranger. The lights are out because of the storm; then, an unexpected knock at the door. When Alex opens it, her beautiful younger sister stands before her. Riley has long been estranged from their family, prompting Colleen to hire the private investigator from whom they’d been awaiting news. Comforted by her unexpected presence, Alex holds back her nagging questions: How had Riley found her? Wouldn’t the dirt roads have been impassable in the storm? Why did Riley insist on disappearing back into the night?

After her mysterious visitation, Alex and Colleen are determined to reconcile with Riley and to face their painful past, but the closer they come to finding their missing sister, the more they fear they’ll only be left with Riley’s secrets. An unforgettable story about grief, love, and what it means to be haunted, The Ocean in Winter marks the debut of a remarkable new voice in fiction.

Eleven-year-old Alex lost her childhood in an instant the moment she found her mother dead from suicide. Even that extremely traumatic event might have not been so overwhelming if only her father had been strong enough to step up to his duties but, no, he retreated. The three children were pretty much left on their own with Alex taking on the role of mother to Colleen and Riley.

The three girls promised to always be there for each other but life didn’t cooperate and they drifted apart, each on a very different path. Then certain circumstances bring them back into each other’s orbits again and the deep-seated love is still very evident.

This is a character-driven story with limited plot and, as such, the pacing is much slower than I usually like but there is no shortage of feeling. In fact, emotions run high and numerous themes come into play including some that might be considered triggers (suicide, depression, drug addiction, emotional abandonment, etc.). Ms. de Veer handles all of this with grace and compassion beyond her status as a debut author.

Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, July 2021.

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Purchase Links:
Barnes & Noble // Kobo // Amazon 
Blackstone Publishing // Indiebound

”Do we choose our memories, or do our memories choose us?
That’s the central question for the three sisters in Elizabeth de Veer’s
emotionally rich, incandescent debut novel. Ocean in Winter is
a page-turner of a book with a family mystery at its core, and profoundly
explores the ways in which women struggle to rebuild their lives
after grief and trauma. You won’t want to put it down once you start.”
—Holly Robinson, author of Beach Plum Island and Chance Harbor

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An Excerpt from
The Ocean in Winter

I am hurtling through Massachusetts at a rate of speed I cannot understand; the wind blows my cheeks, but it does not feel cold. I know only generally where I am going: deep into the state’s north- east corner where small towns cluster at the coast like grapes, nestled by a fragile barrier island at the mouth of the Merrimack River. The towns, blanketed now in briny mist, go by these names: Rowley; Newbury; Newburyport; Salisbury; and, inland, the city of Amesbury, the rough-edged river-fed mill town where my sisters and I grew up, a place I left when I was eighteen and never returned to. The town was too small for me, I suppose, and too much had happened for me and Amesbury to pretend that we had ever been all that close.

A storm has been raging here all day, but now the rain has stopped. In this strange moment, I come to stand on the doorstep of a house in the town of Newbury that I have never seen before, an old farmhouse whose white paint and green trim are cracked and peeling, wooden beams rotted. Behind me, I leave no foot- prints in the cold mud.

What year is this? I think for a moment. Wait, how do I not know the answer immediately?

It’s 2014. The answer comes to mind like a vague memory, as though the question itself does not matter. The house belongs to my oldest sister, Alex. Time is confusing to me right now—how long has it been since I saw her? Years, I think. But how many? Four, five, six? More? Maybe seven. I pushed her away. I pushed everyone away, far away, all to protect my ugly little secrets. Regret lingers in my throat like bile; I’ve made so many mistakes.

I glance through the front window; the room beyond is pitch black. The electricity in this area is out and has been out for a couple of hours. How do I know this? I’m not sure. In the woods beyond this clearing, trees creak high and long like old rocking chairs, swaying slowly in one direction and then the other. The effect is eerie, ghostly.

Many secrets stand between me and my sisters, Alex and Colleen, but not all will be revealed tonight. Tomorrow, after dawn breaks, one of these secrets shall become known. Others will unfold in the days to follow. Far from here a little boy sleeps soundly in his bed in the city. My awareness of him is so intense, I can almost hear his soft steady breath. Goodbye, sweet Caleb. Mama loves you, though she never did a good job of showing it.

I stand for a moment at the threshold of this house and take a deep breath of damp, mossy air, while a chill wind presses against my neck and blows my hair in my face. Alex is inside alone. She is not waiting for me, in fact, she is not expecting my visit. I raise my fist to the door and rap my knuckles against it. One moment passes, and then another. Nothing happens, so I knock again. Finally, Alex opens the door a crack.

“Hello?” she whispers. “Is someone there? Colleen?”

“Alex, it’s me,” I say, pushing my hair away from my face. “Riley.”

“Riley?” she says, incredulous. Then she opens the door the rest of the way. She points her flashlight toward me; I squint in the light and raise my hand to shield my eyes. From the shadows Alex stares, her pale face wide-eyed with fear and surprise. Slowly her expression registers recognition and then she gasps.

“Riley!” She pulls me inside and slams the door to leave the wind and wildness behind us. She throws her arms around me and hugs me hard and long; I do the same. There is a damp towel over her shoulder. Her wool sweater smells dusty, and the air reeks of plaster and paint.

“Hi, Alex,” I say.

“Where have you been?” she says, touching my arm as though she does not believe that I am real. “We’ve been searching for you. Are you okay? Wait, how did you find me?”

“That’s a lot of questions,” I say.

“Let me look at you,” she says, and she holds my face in her hands. She’s shorter than I am, which is surprising because she is eight years older, and I remember her as tall, although I suppose the last time I saw her I was already over a head taller. In my childhood memories, she’s a grown-up, which I guess she has been since she was eleven, since the day she saw what she saw. In the pale shimmer from two utility candles in paper cups, her skin looks tired, her eyes sunken as though she has not been sleeping. Her eyes bear the beginnings of fine lines at the corners; she, too, has aged in these past years. The dark, curly waves of her hair are streaked with a few gray strands, tied back in a sloppy ponytail. She looks strong, like she’s someone who knows what she’s doing. The kind of person I always wished I were or would someday become.

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About the Author

Elizabeth de Veer has a Master of Theological Studies from Harvard Divinity School and has been admitted to writing residencies at the Jentel Artist Residency, the Hambidge Center for Creative Arts and Sciences, and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. She is a member of several writing groups, including Grub Street Writers’ Collective of Boston, the Newburyport Writers’ Group, Sisters in Crime New England, and the New Hampshire Writers’ Project. She lives in a small town in Northeast Massachusetts with her husband, daughter, and labradoodle.

To learn more, check out her web site at elizabethdeveer.com.

Connect with Elizabeth
Website // Facebook // Instagram

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Follow the tour here.

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Giveaway

To enter the drawing for a print copy of
The Ocean in Winter, leave a comment
below. The winning name will be drawn
on the evening of Thursday, July 29th.
US entrants only.

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Book Review: Saving Irene by Judy Alter @JudyAlter

Saving Irene
A Culinary Mystery
Judy Alter
Alter Ego Press, September 2020
ISBN 978-0-9969935-6-2
Trade Paperback

Billed as a culinary mystery and set in Chicago, Saving Irene introduces us to Henny James whose job is to prepare ingredients for chef Irene Foxglove’s regional television cooking show.  Irene fancies herself a French chef trained at the famed Le Cordon Bleu culinary school in Paris but Henny doubts that.  Rather, she is convinced that Irene learned her cooking skills at a local junior college.  Nonetheless, Irene is the star and Henny the assistant.  Irene is married to Howard who is very protective, perhaps overly so, of Irene and since she has received at least one threatening letter Howard asks Henny to keep an eye on Irene and help protect her at work.  For me, this is a problem with this book’s premise for Henny is no more equipped to protect Irene than Irene’s daughter, the haughty and sullen Gabrielle is.  Nevertheless, Henny agrees to do so – at what cost to herself remains to be seen.

When Howard dies suddenly in what appears to be an accident Henny realizes that his protectiveness of Irene was perhaps not unwarranted, and it now falls to her to take on that job.  In the meantime, Irene’s publicist, Penny, is, on the one hand, urging Irene to write a cookbook while on the other scheming to advance another chef over Irene.  When Penny is eventually fired by Henny, upon whom Irene has come to depend for nearly everything, Penny’s determination to ruin Irene goes into high gear.

Meanwhile, Henny has become fast friends with her neighbor the handsome, helpful, and accommodating Patrick.  While Henny would love to become much closer to him, there is a problem – Patrick is gay – or at least so he seems but he is the nicest guy Henny has ever known.  And then, as if there isn’t enough going on, Gabrielle disappears without a word or a trace.

A lot of people on Goodreads, Amazon, and other sites loved this book.  I cannot go quite that far.  It does have interesting characters and it is well written.  But I could not quite suspend my disbelief enough to see Henny as a protector of the annoying, demanding, and often insulting Irene.  That said, I think this book would be a quick and fun read for the beach or sitting on the porch for an afternoon.

Reviewed by Melinda Drew, May 2021.