Book Review: Among the Shadows by Bruce Robert Coffin @coffin_bruce @WitnessImpulse @HarperCollins

Among the Shadows
A Detective Byron Mystery #1
Bruce Robert Coffin
Witness Impulse, September 2016
ISBN 978-0-06-256947-9
Trade Paperback

Set in Portland, Maine, Among the Shadows is the first in a series of which, so far there are three. I’ve read them all…. Book 2, Beneath the Depths (2017), and Book 3, Beyond the Truth (2018). Update! The 4th in the series Within Plain Sight is available now!

It’s the Fall and Detective Sergeant John Byron is assigned a case concerning the murder of a retired Portland Officer. Meantime Byron is in the middle of some personal upheaval, his wife has left him, he’s drinking too much, and he’s having problems with his Superiors.

He typically throws himself into the investigation, determined to solve the murder of one of their own, and when a second ex-Portland PD Officer dies under suspicious circumstances, he realizes there is much more to these deaths than meets the eye.

Detective Diane Joyner, the first female African-American detective in the department, and his partner begin to delve into these men’s pasts, and uncover the fact that these two policemen and several others in the department were working on a case where a a substantial amount of money disappeared. In digging up the old files, Byron and Joyner wonder if more policemen are in danger.

John Byron’s character is not without flaws. He is drinking too much, ignoring calls and messages from his wife in an attempt to avoid facing the possible end of his marriage, and his bosses are watching him closely. Tensions quickly rise and Byron uncovers a truth that escalates his efforts to bring the perpetrator to justice.

It was hard to put this one down… and I quickly got my hands on Books 2 and 3 of this very enjoyable series.

Respectfully submitted.

Reviewed by guest reviewer Moyra Tarling, November 2020.

Just Passing the Time…

It’s way too cold right now here in St. Augustine—NOT
why I moved here 🥶. I think I might just have to indulge
since it’s National Hot Buttered Rum Day.

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And tomorrow, besides Martin Luther King Jr. Day,
we get to celebrate National Winnie the Pooh Day!

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And for those of us who love words, there’s this—

Not a bad couple of days, I’m thinking 😄

Book Blitz: The Secrets We Keep by Nikki Lee Taylor @Nikki_LeeTaylor @RockstarBkTours

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Title: The Secrets We Keep
Author: Nikki Lee Taylor
Publisher: Magpie Creative Media
Re-Release Date: January 11, 2021
Genre: Mystery, Domestic Thriller

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About the Book

Not all mothers are created equal… Some are better at hiding the truth.

Crippled with anxiety, Sophie is desperate to overcome the pain of losing her husband and only child in a freak car accident. Living and working in isolation with only the company of her dog Miss Molly, Sophie agrees to take on a job reviewing the manuscript of an up-and-coming writer. But this isn’t any story. It is one that unearths old secrets and to discover the truth, Sophie must find the courage to embark on a search that will change her life forever.

​On the outside, Love Mommy blogging queen Madelyn-May has it all. To her online community she is the perfect mother. She has a successful husband, perfect twins, and an idyllic life. What they don’t know is Madelyn-May also has a secret. When her past collides with the present, Madelyn-May is forced to make a choice that could destroy everything she loves.

​Would you risk destroying a family, if it meant healing your own heart? Would you tell the truth, if it meant losing everything you love?

​The Secrets We Keep is a confronting look at the complexities of family and lengths a mother will go to for her child.

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

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An Excerpt from
The Secrets We Keep

The blinds are drawn because I need them to be. There are days the light is welcome, but not today. Today I need the darkness. It is the best way I know to pull them in close, here in the dark, in the empty spaces where they no longer exist and yet still take up every particle of air.

My life. My love. My family. James and Josh. My husband and son, stolen while I was sleeping, peacefully unaware at that very moment that the entire world was shattering.

It’s the small things that hurt the most. An unexpected letter with his name on it. A television commercial for Linvilla Orchards – where we picked peaches every July, just the two of us at first, and then with Josh. His familiar scent trailing behind a stranger, its ghostly arms wrapping around my lungs and squeezing. The crisp sting of empty sheets as autumn turns to winter.

Worst of all: the sudden ring of a child’s laughter breaking the silence and tearing my heart into a thousand tiny pieces.

I stroke the fur on Miss Molly’s golden head and close my eyes. “I’m sorry,” I whisper, even though dogs don’t understand apologies. “It’s this day, it’s….”

I let the words trail off, unable to say out loud that five years ago my husband and son took their last breath, trapped in a car wreck, and I hadn’t been there. Unable to say that while they were dying, I lay peacefully in bed, useless and selfish, taking an afternoon nap. It hadn’t even woken me. I hadn’t sat up, my instincts kicking into overdrive. I hadn’t experienced so much as a bad dream.

At the time friends told me I should try to forgive myself, that it wasn’t my fault. They brought soup, and sent messages. They held me and promised things would get better. They stood on my stoop and reminded me, “There’s nothing you could have done.”

Therapists call my depression and anxiety a form of post-traumatic stress disorder.

Survivor’s guilt, they say, although that’s not the official term. Apparently it’s natural for parents who outlive their children to experience a sense of blame, but I have struggled to believe there is anything natural about it. Could there be anything more unnatural than for a mother to bury her son?

Then there were the people who told me to have faith. I’ve never been a religious person, but I have stood alone on a rainy afternoon and heard the hollow thump of dirt shoveled onto a tiny white casket. I’ve heard the mournful cry of a loon as people, not knowing what else to say, turned and made the sad walk back to their cars. I have stood as day turned to night, staring at two holes in the ground, hoping my husband and son wouldn’t be cold on the first night away from their beds. Away from me. Having faith would mean believing James and Josh were taken for a reason, that there was some divinity to their absence. There is not. There is only pain and empty spaces.

I get up from the couch and pull the curtains further across. But no matter how dark I make the room, there are always slivers of light that keep me in the place I don’t want to be.

Slivers that never let me bury the one question I still have no answer for.

How do I ever find the strength to step into the light when they are forever lost in the dark?

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About the Author

Nikki Lee Taylor is a long-time newspaper journalist turned fiction writer. She is also a dreamer, a doer, a storyteller, a coffee lover, and fur mum to two golden retrievers Max and Sam.

She spends most of her time staring into space, walking between worlds, and creating out-loud character dialogue that sounds a lot like talking to herself in the shower. She stays up late plotting and planning the lives of characters yet to be created and starts every day embraced by the warmth of a good coffee.

She is a courageous booktrovert who lives life with her right foot in NSW, Australia and the left in a world that exists only in her head.

She reads books out loud to anyone who’ll listen and drives her husband mad spending all her free time with friends who exist only on the page.

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

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Giveaway

1 lucky winner will win a $10
Amazon Gift Card, International.

Enter here.

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Book Review: Viebury Grove by Shannon Kirk @ShannonCKirk @suspensepub

Viebury Grove
Method 15/33, Book II
Shannon Kirk
Suspense Publishing, May 2020
ISBN 978-0-578-63307-7
Trade Paperback

A taut, high-energy, brutal novel focusing on some of the worst and darkest interests of the human animal. Readers discover early on there is a small but close-knit group of wealthy men (of course) who have developed a small expensive underground sex service. They abduct, abuse and murder young women for the “pleasure” of their clientele. The novel is the story on one young woman who escapes the service and plots and plans her revenge for many years.

There are a number of fascinating characters in the story which begins startlingly with murder and then runs for several months as the well-found protagonist moves forward her long-planned case of revenge. She has targeted the people from whom she escaped as a teen girl, a dark, vicious gang of wealthy and even eminent men who kidnap, rape and torture girls and young women as a service for those who can pay.

The novel moves at a high rate of speed and energy as the well-conceived protagonist enlists an odd and fascinating group of experts to help her wreak her revenge. Tagged as a thriller, the novel is unquestionably dark and not for everyone. The writing is excellent, the plot very well executed, and the continuing success of the writer is apparent from the very first to last page.

Reviewed by Carl Brookins, January 2021.
http://www.carlbrookins.com http://agora2.blogspot.com
Traces, Grand Lac, Reunion, Red Sky.

Waiting On Wednesday (150) @KensingtonBooks

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:

When the Apricots Bloom
Gina Wilkinson
Kensington Books, February 2021
General Fiction

From the publisher—

Inspired by her own experiences stationed in Baghdad during Saddam Hussein’s rule, former foreign correspondent Gina Wilkinson’s evocative, suspenseful debut is told through the eyes of three very different women in Iraq at the turn of the millennium. A secretary, an artist and a diplomat’s wife, each must confront the complexities of trust, friendship, and motherhood under the rule of a dictator and his ruthless secret police…

At night, in Huda’s fragrant garden, a breeze sweeps in from the desert encircling Baghdad, rustling the leaves of her apricot trees and carrying warning of visitors at her gate. Huda, a secretary at the Australian embassy, lives in fear of the mukhabarat–the secret police who watch and listen for any scrap of information that can be used against America and its allies. They have ordered her to befriend Ally Wilson, the deputy ambassador’s wife. Huda has no wish to be an informant, but fears for her teenage son, who may be forced to join a deadly militia. Nor does she know that Ally has dangerous secrets of her own.

Huda’s former friend, Rania, enjoyed a privileged upbringing as the daughter of a sheikh. Now her family’s wealth is gone, and Rania too is battling to keep her child safe and a roof over their heads. As the women’s lives intersect, their hidden pasts spill into the present. Facing possible betrayal at every turn, all three must trust in a fragile, newfound loyalty, even as they discover how much they are willing to sacrifice to protect their families.

Why am I waiting so eagerly? This is kind of a leap of faith for me because it’s so far out of my reading comfort zone. Events during the past few years have given me a re-invigorated appreciation of cultures and life experiences different from my own and, for a number of years, I’ve been fascinated in particular by the Middle East. A story about women coping with the unique dangers and difficulties of a brutal regime seems like a good way to learn more plus I suspect this is a cracking good tale.

Book Review: On the Hunt for the Haunted by Robin Strom @LlewellynBooks

On the Hunt for the Haunted
Robin Strom
Llewellyn Publications, April 2019
ISBN 978-0-7387-5841-1
Trade Paperback

On the Hunt for the Haunted is a non-fiction narrative highlighting processes and tools often employed in meta-physical investigations. Written by part-time paranormal researcher, founder and director of the Delaware Paranormal Research Group, it features odd experiences of a few (self-professed) normal people; along with the findings of Ms. Strom and her team.

It is difficult to doubt the author’s sincerity in simply seeking answers. To satisfy her own curiosity, certainly, but also for the opportunity to assist people with potential paranormal problems. She happily shares findings of concrete reasons for seemingly inexplicable reactions.

A particular room that adversely affects everyone who enters, must be haunted. Headaches, feelings of fatigue and general sickness are commonly reported. But the investigation team’s equipment identified a breaker box giving off extremely high electromagnetic fields, creating very the real symptoms.

On the eerie side, however; recording equipment captures voices and statements that are not so easily explained. Ms. Strom’s personal-use dowsing rods exhibit sporadic, unique and somewhat wild, behavior. Everyday folks relaying their unusual episodes in an almost-embarrassed way is as sweet as it is scary.

I truly enjoyed this neat little book’s intriguing stories as I learned the categories of equipment and how everything works together.

Reviewed by jv poore, August 2020.

Review of The Cousins by Karen M. McManus (hardcover)

I’m a fan of this author and I must say this book
sounds like just what I need to “stir the juices” 😲😀

Confessions of a YA Reader

 

 

49757149

 

The Cousins by Karen M. McManus

 

Milly, Aubrey, and Jonah Story are cousins, but they barely know each another, and they’ve never even met their grandmother. Rich and reclusive, she disinherited their parents before they were born. So when they each receive a letter inviting them to work at her island resort for the summer, they’re surprised… and curious.

Their parents are all clear on one point—not going is not an option. This could be the opportunity to get back into Grandmother’s good graces. But when the cousins arrive on the island, it’s immediately clear that she has different plans for them. And the longer they stay, the more they realize how mysterious—and dark—their family’s past is.

The entire Story family has secrets. Whatever pulled them apart years ago isn’t over—and this summer, the cousins will learn everything.

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author…

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