Book Review: Thief’s Mark by Carla Neggers—and a Giveaway!

Thief’s Mark
A Sharpe & Donovan Novel #8
Carla Neggers
MIRA, August 2017
ISBN 978-0-778-33031-8
Hardcover

From the publisher—

A murder in a quiet English village, long-buried secrets and a man’s search for answers about his traumatic past entangle FBI agents Emma Sharpe and Colin Donovan in the latest edge-of-your-seat Sharpe & Donovan novel 

As a young boy, Oliver York witnessed the murder of his wealthy parents in their London apartment. The killers kidnapped him and held him in an isolated Scottish ruin, but he escaped, thwarting their plans for ransom. Now, after thirty years on the run, one of the two men Oliver identified as his tormentors may have surfaced.  

Emma Sharpe and Colin Donovan are enjoying the final day of their Irish honeymoon when a break-in at the home of Emma’s grandfather, private art detective Wendell Sharpe, points to Oliver. The Sharpes have a complicated relationship with the likable, reclusive Englishman, an expert in Celtic mythology and international art thief who taunted Wendell for years. Emma and Colin postpone meetings in London with their elite FBI team and head straight to Oliver. But when they arrive at York’s country home, a man is dead and Oliver has vanished. 

As the danger mounts, new questions arise about Oliver’s account of his boyhood trauma. Do Emma and Colin dare trust him? With the trail leading beyond Oliver’s small village to Ireland, Scotland and their own turf in the United States, the stakes are high, and Emma and Colin must unravel the decades-old tangle of secrets and lies before a killer strikes again.  

My favorite mystery setting, an English village, and a pair of FBI agents who are definitely out of their geographic element…what more could I want? Throw in an art thief (which I’ve always found fun and exciting, probably because these art thieves are daring and, well, sort of James Bond-ish, even the women) and a heinous crime from the past and the stage is set for an engrossing read.

Emma’s grandfather is an art detective in the private collector realm and has a strange tale for Emma and Colin. It seems that he’s had a break-in by someone apparently interested in items connected to one Oliver York. To add a little more mystique, Oliver used to be an accomplished art thief but then became an MI5 agent. Emma and Colin have years-long ties to Oliver through both of his professions but, when a dead man is found at his home, the case becomes ever-expanding and eventually involves multiple countries and law enforcement organizations.

While this is part of the Sharpe & Donovan series, it’s essentially a standalone and focuses largely on Oliver. He is a fascinating man and he makes it easy to understand why cops and robbers sometimes can’t help liking and even respecting each other. Emma and Colin are a delightful couple as well as being really good agents and Oliver’s colleague, Henrietta, is a force of nature but it’s Wendell, Emma’s grandfather, who really stole my heart. All in all, Thief’s Mark was a grand introduction, for me, to this series and the rest of the books are going on my wishlist right now.

Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, September 2017.

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Purchase Links:

         

    

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About the Author

Carla Neggers is the New York Times bestselling author of more than 60 novels, including her popular Sharpe and Donovan and Swift River Valley series. Her books have been translated into 24 languages and sold in over 35 countries. A frequent traveler to Ireland, Carla lives with her family in New England. To learn more and to sign up for her newsletter, visit CarlaNeggers.com.

Connect with Carla:

Website | Facebook | Twitter

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Follow the tour here.

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To enter the drawing for a print copy
of Thief’s Mark by Carla Neggers
, just leave
a
comment below. The winning name
will be drawn on Friday
night,
September 22nd and the book will be sent
out after the tour ends. This drawing is

open to residents of the US and Canada.

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Cover Reveal: The Lovely Dark by K.A. Last

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Title: The Lovely Dark
Author: K.A. Last
Designer: KILA Designs

Publication Date: October 2017
Genres: Dark Fantasy/Horror, Young Adult

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Synopsis

Three teenagers.
One witch.
Twelve souls.

Harvey Anderson always knew the universe was against him, but
there’s a lot of stuff he never expected to happen, like having a crush
on the most popular girl at school, and then falling into a giant hole
in the middle of nowhere with her. And if that wasn’t enough,
somehow they managed to release a soul-sucking, ancient witch
as well. So yeah, there’s that. You’d think it’d be pretty hard to
beat, but knowing Harvey’s luck, it’s about to get a whole lot worse.

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Pre-order Links

Barnes & Noble // Kobo // iBooks US
iBooks Aus // Amazon US // Amazon AU
(Amazon links to come)

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An Excerpt from The Lovely Dark

I shine my torch beam across the floor, then up the walls and back to the floor. An uneasy feeling settles into the pit of my stomach. I don’t want to ask the question I’m about to ask, but I can’t help myself.

“Are those human bones?”

Lian tenses beside me. “I hope not.”

Toni takes a few steps into the cave, moving to the left and skirting around the wall. I follow, and Lian comes close behind. I feel her grab the back of my T-shirt. I don’t mind the contact. I’m creeped out and glad I’m not down here by myself.

As we move farther into the cave, it becomes clear that something terrible must have happened here. Toni stops, and the light from her head torch shines on a human skull. I jump and a funny noise comes out of my mouth. Black, gaping holes stare at us. A huge spider slowly crawls out of one of the eye sockets, and an invisible finger traces my spine. Bile rises into my throat, and I supress the urge to vomit.

Lian grips my arm and presses against me. We crowd in behind Toni, neither of us prepared to have any space between us. For some reason, I feel safer huddled together when it’s probably not the best idea if we need to run away screaming.

“Yep. Definitely human,” Toni says.

She runs her torch around again and more skulls shine white in the darkness. Some of them are still attached to skeletons, which are sitting on rocks with their backs against the wall, bits of clothing draped off them. Other skulls lie on the ground, detached and without bodies. I keep my torchlight on the spider. I do not want it creeping up on me in the dark.

“Who are they?” Lian asks.

“Something tells me we won’t find a driver’s licence in their pockets,” I say.

“Can anyone see the wand?” Toni takes another step forward.

Lian and I shuffle with her, and I grab her arm with my free hand. The three of us search the cave with our torches, and my stomach rolls again. Our lights bounce around, and then I catch something that glimmers.

“There!” I point and realise neither of the girls can see me because all our light is in front of us. “I think … oh God.” I train my light where I saw the shiny thing. “It’s … is that a hand?”

Finger bones curl around a stick with a stone at the end. The stone is black but shiny enough to reflect our torchlight. Twine binds the stone to the head of the wand in a twisted mass. It’s not very pretty.

“I don’t want it to be a hand,” Lian says. “Bags not getting it.”

Toni snorts. “Seriously?”

“What?” Lian says. “I said it first.”

“You can stay calm when a spider runs up your arm,” I say, “but you can’t pluck a stick from a dead person’s fingers?”

“You do it then. I have no trouble admitting I don’t want to touch dead people.”

Toni hasn’t offered to get it either, even after questioning Lian. She’s as scared as us, which makes this a whole lot worse. Up until now, Toni has been the level-headed one. The one with all the answers. Now, her arm shakes beneath my hand.

I take a breath. “Get ready to … I don’t know. Kill the dead people if they attack me.”

I let go of Toni and take a step around her. Lian lets go of my arm, and fear rushes through me as I lose physical contact with both the girls. I take a few measured steps towards the hand holding the wand, careful not to step on any bones along the way.

Until now, I haven’t considered that the hand might be attached to an arm, attached to a body. I shine my torch around and wish I hadn’t. It is attached to someone, or at least, a skeleton that used to be someone. Strips of fabric fall in tatters around the form. With every step, I get more scared.

“They’re all dead,” I mumble under my breath. “They can’t hurt me.”

Only we’re dealing with witches and magic here, and I don’t actually know that these bones will leave me alone. Especially since I’m about to take something from them. I edge forward and stretch out my free hand, clutching my torch tightly with the other. I stop and lean forward, not wanting to get any closer, and use the length of my arm to get the wand.

My fingers brush the bones as I grab the stick and I yelp, pulling my hand back.

“What?” Toni asks. “What is it?”

“Nothing,” I say.

I flex my fingers and try again, telling myself that it’s no big deal, they’re just bones. Finger bones, but just bones, nonetheless. I manage to grip the wand, and I pull to free it from the dead skeleton’s grasp. At first it doesn’t move, and then it comes away with a snap.

I jump back with the wand in my hand, the bony fingers still gripping to it.

“Oh my god!” Toni says. “You broke the hand off!”

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About the Author

K. A. Last was born in Subiaco, Western Australia, and moved to Sydney when she was eight. Artistic and creative by nature, she studied Graphic Design and graduated with an Advanced Diploma. After marrying her high school sweetheart, she concentrated on her career before settling into family life. Blessed with a vivid imagination, she began writing to let off creative steam, and fell in love with it. K. A. Last is currently studying her Bachelor of Arts at Charles Sturt University, with a major in English, and minors in Children’s Literature, Art History, and Visual Culture. She now resides in the countryside on the mid-north coast of NSW.

Author Links:

Website // Twitter // Facebook // Goodreads
Pinterest // Instagram // Amazon

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