Book Review: Justice by Joseph Badal—and a Giveaway! @JoeBadal @suspensemag

The Curtis Chronicles #3
Joseph Badal
Suspense Publishing, November 2019
ISBN 978-0-578-55928-5
Trade Paperback

A lot of action, a lot of characters, a tight story and several clichés. For anyone looking for an action-packed beach-read here’s one that should fill the bill. The story is tight, cleanly presented and nicely resolved. It spans the Western Hemisphere from the United States to Nicaragua and back.

Mathew Curtis and his wife, Renee, travel the globe. He’s a medical man, a former doctor, who travels the world lecturing about his company’s orthotics products. His wife often travels with him, in part because they have been targeted in the past by a smart but deranged human trafficker.

Lonnie Jackson is a wealthy, evil schemer with a world network of drug dealers and smooth-talking recruiters of young women, ostensibly for low-level but honest jobs in western cities. The reality, of course, is quite different. Jackson blames Matt and Renee for his family’s deaths and has waited years for revenge.

Jackson is living and thriving in Nicaragua. Matt Curtis comes to Costa Rica next door for a medical conference. Jackson plans a vicious kidnapping and murder. Meanwhile in Washington and Bulgaria, plans and events crawl toward a vortex of insane violence. The question is always, will Renee and Matt survive and be reunited?

The pace of the novel is relentless, the writing is strong and spare. For some readers, the patterns will be a problem. The bad guys have rotten teeth and terrible breath, the CIA and most of the U.S. government is corrupt to some degree, the good-looking and smartest, most adept, people are the small group of Matt’s friends, former military men, who come together to help in the direst of circumstances, using all their skills and expertise.

There are a couple of interesting twists toward the end of the story which are truly unexpected. They provide an intriguing basis for later novels, grab reader’s attention and remain just out of reach for fans of this novelist.

Reviewed by Carl Brookins, January 2020.
The Case of the Purloined Painting, The Case of the Great Train Robbery, Reunion, Red Sky.



To enter the drawing for a print copy
of Justice by Joseph Badal, leave
a comment below. The winning name
will be drawn on Monday evening,
January 20th. Open to residents
of the US and Canada.

Book Review: A Risky Undertaking for Loretta Singletary by Terry Shames @TerryShames @SeventhStBooks

A Risky Undertaking for Loretta Singletary
A Samuel Craddock Mystery #8
Terry Shames
Seventh Street Books, April 2019
ISBN 978-1-63388-490-8
Trade Paperback

This is the eighth book in the series with Chief Samuel Craddock.  Chief Craddock lives in the small town of Jarrett Creek, a rural community where, for the most part, the residents all know each other.  Recently, Samuel has noticed that his friend and neighbour, Loretta Singletary, has changed her hairstyle, has been wearing new clothes, and he’s more than a bit surprised to learn she’s signed onto an online Dating site.

The next day Samuel still hasn’t seen his friend and he’s beginning to worry.  He talks to several of her friends but no one has seen Loretta.  That’s when he decides to call her son. But he hasn’t seen her either. And when someone mentions they’d read of women being duped out of money, or worse,  by men they met on a dating site, Samuel decides it’s time to open an investigation.

When a woman’s body is found on a road leading to a nearby town, a woman who had also recently joined the same Dating site, Samuel is alarmed and the search for Loretta begins in earnest.  But unaccustomed with the internet Samuel quickly grows frustrated with his efforts, but he pushes on, worried that Loretta might suffer a similar fate.

Spending time with Chief Craddock is always a treat.  Check him out.

Respectfully submitted.

Reviewed by guest reviewer Moyra Tarling, November 2019.

Waiting On Wednesday (121) @LoriRaderDay @WmMorrowBooks

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:

The Lucky One
Lori Rader-Day
William Morrow, February 2020
Mystery, Psychological Thriller

From the publisher—

Most people who go missing are never found. But Alice was the lucky one…

As a child, Alice was stolen from her backyard in a tiny Indiana community, but against the odds, her policeman father tracked her down within twenty-four hours and rescued her from harm. In the aftermath of the crime, her family decided to move to Chicago and close the door on that horrible day.

Yet Alice hasn’t forgotten. She devotes her spare time volunteering for a website called The Doe Pages scrolling through pages upon pages of unidentified people, searching for clues that could help reunite families with their missing loved ones. When a face appears on Alice’s screen that she recognizes, she’s stunned to realize it’s the same man who kidnapped her decades ago. The post is deleted as quickly as it appeared, leaving Alice with more questions than answers.

Embarking on a search for the truth, she enlists the help of friends from The Doe Pages to connect the dots and find her kidnapper before he hurts someone else. Then Alice crosses paths with Merrily Cruz, another woman who’s been hunting for answers of her own. Together, they begin to unravel a dark, painful web of lies that will change what they thought they knew—and could cost them everything.

Twisting and compulsively readable, The Lucky One explores the lies we tell ourselves to feel safe.

Why am I waiting so eagerly? Lori Rader-Day has established herself as an author to be reckoned with, the kind I can depend on to keep me swiping those pages as fast as I can read and I’m expecting nothing less from her this time. It’s intriguing to think what an effect a brief abduction can have many years later and this search that Alice is about to undertake sounds like a tale that’s going to keep me up all night till I know what happens.

Change @kdkoppang

Kathleen Delaney, author of Murder Half-Baked and other books, retired from real estate to pursue writing full time. She’s here today to talk about how change doesn’t mean going back to the way things used to be, especially when it comes to reading and telling stories.

Purebred Dead, the first in the new Mary McGill series, was released in August 2015 and Curtains for Miss Plym was released in April 2016. Blood Red, White and Blue was released in July 2017 and was a finalist for best canine book of the year in the Dog Writers of America annual writing contest. Kathleen’s newest book in the series, Dressed to Kill, was released in the UK on August 1, 2019 and in the US on November 1, 2019.

The most overworked word in the English language today is change. If you pay any attention to politics, you can’t miss it. It’s in someone’s speech every other sentence. Our current President won office largely because he promised it. The current group of pol’s seeking to replace him promise we’re going to change back.

Not possible. A quick tour of history shows us that.

There was a time when only the very rich or the very religious could read. Monks spent their entire lives sitting on high stools, laboring to decorate the pages of bibles. The traveling storyteller visited small villages and a crowd gathered in the town square to hear the latest news but mainly to hear his stories. Along came Guttenberg and they were all out of a job. Books became available to those whose blood was more red than blue and rich or poor, religious or not, people learned to read them. Public libraries were born. People flocked to them and the world changed.

Sometime later, Henry Ford came along and so did the Tin Lizzie. The steam engine appeared, and the cotton gin. Farmers grew more crops on less land. Goods could be shipped further and faster on railroads that extended from coast to coast. Families could live further from their jobs, shop at stores other than the one down the block, and children could attend bigger and hopefully better schools, all on increasingly faster trains and paved roads. The small, neighborhood bookstore sprung up. And the world changed.

Then came the Internet and with it, Amazon. One morning, a mother discovered she could order the new mystery she had heard about while sitting in front of her computer, in her bathrobe and bunny slippers, a cup of coffee in her hand. She could order her children’s textbooks, and the book on baseball scores her husband had been hinting that he wanted, all while she started the next washing load. Once again, the world changed.

Today, we have the Kindle, The Nook, the I pad, and I have no idea how many other electronic things. Changes? They have turned publishing, writing, and yes, reading, upside down. Backpacks stuffed with heavy textbooks are disappearing off our children’s backs, replaced by computers, small reading devices are appearing in briefcases and purses everywhere, and people can afford to buy more books. And they are. Change? You bet.

One more thing.

Like most people in the book world, I’m not sure how all this will end. Some say the day of the paper book is gone for good. Others say that will never happen. Still others say it will close library doors, the Internet will replace all. I listen to them and get a little dizzy. However, there is one thing I am sure of. No matter how we deliver them, stories will never die. People still read bibles long after Guttenberg invented his press. Actually, more people read more bibles. The traveling storyteller may have disappeared from our town squares, but story telling didn’t, and when delivering stories in print instead of by mouth happened, we had a whole treasure trove of stories we will never lose. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Charles Dickens, the Bronté sisters, Agatha Christie, I’m sure you have your own list. Think of all the people you have met through stories, people who have changed your lives, the way you think about things, the places you have visited.

The pol’s have it both right and wrong. We can’t go back. We’ll keep changing, though. I’m not sure what the next one will be, or when, but like death and taxes, there is one thing I’m sure of. Hard back, paper back, Kindle or Nook, telling and reading stories won’t stop any time soon.

Spotlight on Limited Truth by Kay Bennson @kaybennson @Solsticepublish @YABoundToursPR


Title: Limited Truth
Series: A Squad Treble Novel #1
Author: Kay Bennson
Publisher: Solstice Publishing
Publication Date: February 19, 2018
Genres: Science Fiction, Young Adult





These words have more meaning than fourteen-year-old Cassie Routhier and her classmates can comprehend when a strange group called the Chi Rho Iota Corporation take over their high school. Suddenly, they are thrust into a state of the art war simulation that is supposed to prepare them for World War III.

It doesn’t take long for rules to be broken, for people to fight dirty, and for it to seem like something is amiss with the federally mandated simulation. Cassie and her squad are faced with discovering the intentions of the Chi Rho Iota Corporation as well as partaking in a war game that claims to be harmless when it’s anything but safe.

Nothing is as it seems in LIMITED TRUTH.


Purchase Links:
Barnes & Noble // Amazon // Indiebound


An Excerpt from Limited Truth

“Good morning!” Owen called over the crowd. “And good luck.” He turned and faced the principals. “If the principals would shake hands.”

“Wait!” I shouted, alarmed. “That’s it? They’re just going to start it?”

For once Patrick had nothing snarky or sarcastic to say. He looked terrified, his face as white as a ghost. This was really happening and there was nothing we could do about it.

“Students, face each other.”

I looked over my shoulder at Kara and Jared. Their hands were interlaced, bodies ready to spring.

“Enter the simulation now.”

The tingling sensation was back as I pressed the button on my I.D. bracelet with a trembling hand. Just like the day before, the outside edges of the high school disappeared with a blue ripple and the vivid colors returned, but I was too scared now to enjoy them.

Owen’s voice continued to give instructions: “Turn on all weapons.” The sound of tasers activating became a dull roar while the excess electricity seemed to dissolve into air already thick with expectancy. I clutched my weapon tightly as I watched Aaron several feet away twirl his taser in his hand in anticipation. I knew the only way Squad Treble stood a chance was to never let our weapons go.

Owen, the woman, and the principals moved toward the Super Children, out of the way of the battle about to take place. I looked to Patrick who held onto his staff like his life depended on it. It would have been so easy to watch him run to his own demise, but I couldn’t do it—I was too terrified to be alone. Despite everything I felt, I knew I had to follow him to that supply shed or be eliminated as I stood there in fear.

“Prepare to battle! Ready…”

Patrick gave me a curt nod as he got into position, ready to run. I took one last glance around, trying to remember partnerships and positions, even faces I recognized from other squads, just in case.


I took a deep breath and attempted to focus; what happened now would set the stage for everything else. A moment’s hesitation and it could all be over. I had to believe I would make it longer than that. I had gone toe-to-toe with a Chi Rho Iota lackey. Knock out in the first few minutes was not an option.

You know that feeling when someone is watching you and you can feel it? I turned my head just in time to see Brayden’s soft brown eyes looking at me. His face was grave, and it made my heart palpitate. I would have been elated had my time not run out.



About the Author

Kay Bennson is from Northwestern Connecticut where she lives with her husband and son. She doesn’t remember a time where she wasn’t writing stories (in fact, some of her best ideas were forged in high school classes and at part time jobs). When she isn’t writing, she enjoys video games, Irish dance, gymnastics, and fanfiction.

Author Links:
Website // Twitter // Goodreads


Follow the tour here.



Signed Copy of Shrewdest Faction:
A Squad Treble Novel

Enter here.



Fun at the Zoo

Just a couple of weeks ago, we
visited the Louisville Zoo and
these are just a few of our favorites 😊













Washington’s At It Again!

 This Time It’s —


Latest Thorny Rose Mystery Now Available for Pre-order!

“Lauren Carr definitely has a winner here! In her new Thorny Rose series, Kill and Run steps up several levels into an exciting category all its own.
It’s thriller, cold case, mystery suspense, and police procedural, all rolled into one exciting novel. Set amidst the political drama that comes with
Washington DC and the Pentagon, a current multiple murder becomes a search years in the past. With a young, hot lieutenant assigned to NCIS, and his beautiful new wife, you have all the makings of a bestseller.”
Reviewer: Merry Citarella, Mystery Suspense Reviews


Three years ago, the nation gasped in horror when the President of the United States barely escaped an assassination attempt that left two dead—the vice president’s wife and the attempted assassin.  Even after numerous investigations proved otherwise, conspiracy theorists argue that the assassin was acting on orders from the CIA, FBI, and every federal agency within a hundred miles of the capital.

Aspiring Author Dean Conway is the last person Lieutenant Commander Murphy Thornton wants to spend his Saturday afternoon when they end up at the same wedding reception table. While their wives tend to bridesmaid duties, Murphy is trapped listening to Dean’s latest work-in-project—completing the manuscript of an investigative journalist who’d disappeared months earlier.

“She was number twelve,” Dean says.

“Twelve?” Murphy asks.

“Twelve witnesses connected to or investigating The Nutcracker shooting have died either in an accident or suicide.”

Two days later, Dean dies suddenly―but not before sending a text message to Murphy: “13”


Buy the Book:
Pre-Order Your Copy Today!
Scheduled release date is Jan 30, 2020! 

Add to Goodreads

Book Excerpt –

The garbage can at the end of the driveway came into view when Amy turned the corner into the cul-de-sac. The throbbing in her broken arm intensified. She sensed it was the heat from her blood boiling.

He doesn’t cook. He doesn’t clean. Employment is beneath him. The slug can’t even lower himself to bring in the garbage cans—even after I broke my arm driving his SUV!

She punched the button on the remote to open the garage door and turned into the driveway. While waiting for the door to open, she noticed Dean’s silhouette in the study window. Playroom was a better description for it. He played at being an author. Surfed the internet. Played on social media. No actual writing.

A box rested on the front doormat of the ranch-style house.

What’d he buy now?

She pulled the SUV into the garage. With a sigh, she unbuckled her seatbelt, climbed out, and trekked to the end of the driveway to fetch the garbage can.

Across the cul-de-sac, George Phillips watched her from his seat on his front porch. A retired army captain, the president of the home-owners association believed everything in the subdivision fell under his jurisdiction—especially the hedges and bushes. More than once, George AKA the Hedge Nazi had slapped the Conways with a fine after Dean had failed to trim the hedge.

Don’t you even think of it, Amy thought when she saw George set down his beer, stand up, and hitch his plaid shorts up over his plump belly. She cringed when she saw the straggly tops sticking up out of the hedge. As she neared the garbage can resting at the end of the driveway, she pretended not to notice George marching across the cul-de-sac toward her.

“Where’s your recycling bin?” he demanded to know while closing the space between them.


George squinted at her from under his bushy gray eyebrows and pointed at the tall trash can. “That’s for regular trash. You’re supposed to have a separate bin for recyclables—plastic and glass. Where is it?”

“Since when is my trash your business?” Amy asked.

“Since your trash is killing my planet!” George launched into a loud sermon about how her un-recycled garbage was creating a massive carbon footprint and ruining the entire subdivision’s reputation. That was why the home-owners association had instituted a new rule that required every homeowner to separate their trash for recycling.

He ended his lecture by digging his arthritic fingers into the breast pocket of his shirt to extract his ticket pad. A second notepad remained in the pocket. With shaking hands, he wrote out a citation and slapped Amy with a seventy-dollar fine.

“When did this start?” Amy stared at the orange slip of paper George shoved into her hand.

“First of June.”

“Nobody told me.”

“You would have known if you and that husband of yours were neighborly enough to attend the meetings.” George sniffed.

“Some of us have real lives,” she said. “We have more important things to do than measure their neighbors’ hedges and worry about whether they’re recycling or not.”

“Your trash is killing my planet. We only have ten years left!”

“What’s it matter to you? At your age, you’re going to be dead by then anyway!”

George’s eyes bulged. He yanked his ticket pad out of his pocket again and proceeded to write another ticket. “I was going to be nice. I was going to cut you a break on account of that broken arm of yours. But since you’re so nasty, I’m going to fine you forty dollars for not keeping that hedge trimmed.” He slapped the second ticket into her hand. “Your hedge is bringing down my property value.”

“And your nose up my butt is a giant pain in the ass!”

“You always were the worst neighbors in the entire subdivision!” George shouted at her as she made her way back to the garage with the garbage bin rolling behind her.

Dean watched her through the living room’s bay window.

“The groceries are in the car,” she called to him.

He didn’t move.

She suspected Dean had witnessed the verbal assault from the HOA dictator without taking any action to defend her. “Lazy good for nothing…” Her voice trailed off into a mutter.

Amy gathered six bags of food, pried the side door open with the pinkie finger of her broken arm, and carried the groceries into the kitchen. As she tossed the bags onto the counter, she twisted her broken arm to send a pain shooting up to her shoulder causing her to grimace.

“What’s for dinner?”

Amy held open the freezer door in which she was depositing three bags of frozen vegetables and peered inside. Yep, there was a frozen pizza on the shelf.

“Frozen pizza.” She left the door open to toss in a box of frozen waffles. “You’re on your own tonight. I’m going over to Jessica’s. She’s donating some of her old clothes to charity and asked me to help her pick out what to give away.”

She held her breath while praying he didn’t offer to go along. If so, she was prepared with the lie that Murphy wouldn’t be there. Therefore, Dean would end up spending the evening watching two women go through Jessica’s wardrobe.

To her relief, Dean didn’t respond. Instead, he gestured toward the front door with his phone. “UPS left a package. Must be for you. I didn’t order anything.”

She tossed the empty shopping bags into the trash and tore open a bag of fresh coffee beans. “I’m not expecting any packages.”

“I guess it came to the wrong address.”

“Why don’t you go look at the label to see?” she said in a tone heavily laced with animosity while filling the bin with the fresh coffee beans. After she finished with the coffee, she turned around to find him staring at her.

“It could be a present from your family,” he said. “Your mother’s always sending you junk from all over the world while traveling on those juggernauts with your dad.”

“At least he does something.”

“I do stuff.”

“What stuff did you do today?” With a scoff, Amy opened the dishwasher to discover that he had not unloaded it. “You didn’t unload the dishwasher.”

“I’ve been getting threatening texts and phone calls.”

“You have to do something to give someone a reason to threaten you,” she said with a laugh.

“I’m going to expose the biggest government conspiracy that our nation has ever seen—a conspiracy to kill the president of the United States! Twelve people have been killed investigating The Nutcracker conspiracy. I may be next.” He pointed at the front door, on the other side of which rested the unopened package. “The CIA probably sent me a package containing a horse head.”

“It’s the mob that sends horse heads,” Amy said with a roll of her eyes.

“What does the CIA send?”

“I have no idea.” Amy waved two wine goblets, one in each hand, while transporting them from the dishwasher to the wine glass holder. She slipped them into the holder and pointed toward the front door. “But if it is a death threat from the CIA, then that means it’s your package, so you need to bring it inside. I’d hate to think that an assassin went to all the work of building and sending a bomb to warn you off investigating his government conspiracy only to have it rot on our front stoop because you’re too lazy to bring it inside.”

“I am not lazy! I’ve been working hard.”

“On what?”

“When my book comes out, I’m going to be proclaimed a hero to our democracy! They’re going to give me a Pulitzer!”

“And that’s why you couldn’t bring in the garbage can?” She laughed. “Because you were busy writing your acceptance speech for the Pulitzer?”

“You laugh now, but you’ll be crying when you see my face on the front cover of Time!”

“You proclaim all these great things that you’re going to do when you can’t even handle picking up a package from the front porch and bringing it inside.” She slammed the dishwasher door shut. “You’re so pathetic.”

“I am not pathetic!”

Amy’s hands landed on her hips. “You are the most pathetic man I’ve ever met!”

Dean blustered.

“Prove it!” She pointed at the front door. “Go get that package like a big boy.”

“Okay! I will!” Dean spun around and marched across the living room.

“About time you did something around here,” Amy muttered.

Dean yanked open the front door and stepped outside. The screen door rested against his hip as he lifted the package from its place on the doormat.

“Oh no!” was the last thing Amy heard before the blast from the explosion threw her to the other side of the kitchen.

About the Author:

Lauren Carr is the international best-selling author of the Mac Faraday, Lovers in Crime, Chris Matheson
Cold Case, and Thorny Rose Mysteries—over twenty-five titles across three fast-paced mystery series filled with twists and turns!

Book reviewers and readers alike rave about how Lauren Carr’s seamlessly crosses genres to include mystery, suspense, crime fiction, police procedurals, romance, and humor.

A popular speaker, Lauren is also the owner of Acorn Book Service, the umbrella under which falls iRead Book Tours. She lives with her husband and two spoiled rotten German Shepherds on a mountain in Harpers Ferry, WV.

Connect with the author: Website  ~  Twitter  ~  Facebook  ~  Instagram 


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