Spotlight on Snifter of Death by Chris Karlsen

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Title: Snifter of Death
Series: The Bloodstone #2
Author: Chris Karlsen
Publisher: Books to Go Now
Publication Date: May 16, 2017
Genres: Mystery, Suspense, Historical

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Synopsis

The summer of 1889 was proving to be a strange one for
Detective Inspector Rudyard Bloodstone and his partner.

They had a sexual pervert loose. The man didn’t actually harm
women but threatened them at knife point, fondling
them, and ultimately stealing their stockings.

Far more serious were the murders of influential men, which
appeared random other than they were all killed by arsenic poison.
Never had he and his partner had cases with so little workable evidence.

Also, the rivalry between him and his detective nemesis at London’s
other police department was intensifying. That nemesis was the
boxing champion of their department and looking to
challenge Rudyard, who never trained as a boxer.

Besides Rudyard’s pride being at stake, and the pride of his station, his
nemesis also had in his possession a photograph of the woman Rudyard
cares very much for. The new lady in Rudyard’s life had captured his
heart and he’d fight the devil himself to save her reputation.

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Purchase Links:

              

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An Excerpt from Snifter of Death

“What address do you show for the Cross family?” the Vicar asked. Her mind went completely blank. Finally, she blurted the only one that came to her, which was no doubt wrong. “Park Lane.”

The Vicar smirked. Not smiled. Smirked. That meant it had to be wrong.

“I suggest you start there. In the meantime, I will have my housekeeper escort you out. I don’t know what you’re playing at but I don’t care for mischief. You’ll do your soul a good turn to drop a coin in the poor box on your way to the street.” He rang a small bell on his desk and the housekeeper came. “See this lady out.”

Graciela stood on the top stair of the chapel cursing her luck when a man’s disturbingly familiar laugh interrupted her thoughts. She took a quick step to the left and flattened herself against one of the portico pillars. The horrible laugh rippled over from close by. It sounded like Detective Bloodstone’s from the morning she’d bailed out Addy. He’d said something that sent the shine boy scampering away and had all the detectives snickering, including Bloodstone.

Taking a deep breath, she peered around the edge of the pillar expecting to see the detective. His presence would’ve been the perfect end to this entire St. Jude’s Chapel mission-turned-catastrophe. To her great relief, it came from a carriage driver. She hadn’t noticed a group of them gathered at the corner waiting to be hired. Graciela, you had no reason to be frightened. You’d done nothing wrong. Stop being such a ninny.

She left the church and headed home. Zachary would be getting up from her nap soon. The whole way home she questioned her luck. A dozen people are murdered every day in London.

How hard can it be to kill someone?

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Excerpt from Snifter of Death by Chris Karlsen. Copyright © 2017 by Chris Karlsen. Reproduced with permission from Chris Karlsen. All rights reserved.

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About the Author

I was born and raised in Chicago. My father was a history professor and my mother was, and is, a voracious reader. I grew up with a love of history and books.

My parents also love traveling, a passion they passed onto me. I wanted to see the places I read about, see the land and monuments from the time periods that fascinated me. I’ve had the good fortune to travel extensively throughout Europe, the Near East, and North Africa.

I am a retired police detective. I spent twenty-five years in law enforcement with two different agencies. My desire to write came in my early teens. After I retired, I decided to pursue that dream. I write three different series. My paranormal romance series is called, Knights in Time. My romantic thriller series is Dangerous Waters. The newest is The Bloodstone Series. Each series has a different setting and some cross time periods, which I find fun to write.

I currently live in the Pacific Northwest with my husband and five wild and crazy rescue dogs.

              

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Follow the tour here.

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Spotlight on The Achlivan Cycle Series by Cloud S. Riser

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Title: Displaced
Series: The Achlivan Cycle Book 1
Author: Cloud S. Riser
Genres: Science Fiction, Romance, Young Adult

Chevelle Donahue thought going into work would be just like any other boring day at the mall. Sure, there was her annoying co-worker Wicken Sanders, and a promotional visit from teen heartthrob Timber Hudson, to watch and keep her entertained. But who was she kidding? Working retail was lame no matter what happened. A terrorist attack changes everything – an attack from aliens of all things. The patrons are given two options: comply or else. Complying means giving in to a new set of rules and changing her entire life. “Or else” means she has no chance of going home again. She must figure out the truth behind why the aliens are holding everyone hostage. In doing so, she risks her chance at freedom – but by the time she learns what’s really happening, she might not want it.

Barnes & Noble // Amazon

 

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Title: Invited
Series: The Achlivan Cycle Book 2
Author: Cloud S. Riser
Genres: Science Fiction, Romance, Young Adult

It’s been three months since Chevelle Donahue, Wicken Sanders, and Timber Hudson were taken from Earth by the Achlivans – an alien race kidnapping humans in the name of preserving as much of Earth as possible before it is destroyed.

Wicken has been sold to another alien race – The Gorgachan – and their way of life is no where near as peaceful as the Utopia the Achlivans have set up. While he tries to figure out a way back home to his beloved Chevelle, he is caught in the middle of a fight that shouldn’t involve him.

Meanwhile, Chevelle and Timber work together to find a way to bring Wicken back home again, along with how they can save their families back on Earth. Someone on the Achlivan ship is working against them and their happily ever after. Timber and Chevelle must choose between their own desires and doing the right thing – and each must prepare to give the performance of their lives if they’re going to survive.

Barnes & Noble // Amazon

 

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Title: Sheltered
Series: The Achlivan Cycle Book 3
Author: Cloud S. Riser
Genres: Science Fiction, Romance, Young Adult

The exciting conclusion to the Achlivan Cycle!

Timber Hudson must come to terms with the loss of his family and friends while at the same time being tasked with his greatest challenge: saving humanity from becoming mindless drones. It’d be a lot easier if Rumor would keep her nose in her own business and in prison where it belongs.

Meanwhile, Chevelle and Wicken must choose sides. One offers them the chance to rebuild Earth from the ground up, and the other will return them to Sanctuary to be with their family and friends. Neither choice is as black and white as it seems.

And all must face great dangers.

Barnes & Noble // Amazon

 

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About the Author

Cloud S. Riser is a Minnesota native. She has lived in Minnesota her whole life. She will probably remain there for her whole life too. The mother of The Squid, Skyscraper, and two cats, her life is definitely never dull. An adventure she braves with her husband. In order to stay sane, she creates massive amounts of fiction which she has decided to share with the rest of the world for the simple reason of: she is a storyteller.

Website // Twitter // Facebook
Instagram // YouTube // Goodreads

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Follow the tour here.

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Giveaway
$10 Amazon Gift Card

Enter here.

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Spotlight on Have you Met Nora? by Nicole Blades

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Title: Have You Met Nora?
Author: Nicole Blades
Publisher: Dafina/Kensington
Publication Date: October 31, 2017
Genres: General Fiction

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Purchase Links:

              

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Synopsis

She’s blossomed from a wealthy surgeon’s beautiful daughter to
elegant socialite to being the top fashion stylist in the country. And
Nora Mackenzie is only days away from marrying into one of
New York’s richest, most powerful families. But her fairy tale rise
is rooted in an incredible deception—one scandal away
from turning her perfect world to ashes . . .

What no one knows is that Nora is the biracial daughter of a
Caribbean woman and a long-gone white father. Adopted—and
abused—by her mother’s employer, then sent to an exclusive
boarding school to buy her silence, Nora found that “passing” as
a white woman could give her everything she never had.

Now, an ex-classmate who Nora betrayed many years ago has
returned to her life to even the score. Her machinations are
turning Nora’s privilege into one gilded trap after another.
Running out of choices, Nora must decide how far she will
go to protect a lie or give up and finally face the truth.

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About the Author

Nicole Blades launched her journalism career working at Essence magazine, co-founded the online magazine SheNetworks and worked as an editor at ESPN and Women’s Health. Her essays have been featured in The New York Times, Cosmopolitan, Women’s Health, MarieClaire.com, WashingtonPost.com, Health, SELF, and Buzzfeed.  Blades can be heard co-hosting her new podcast, “Hey, Sis!,” and lives in Connecticut with her husband and their son.  Here is her most recent piece in The New York Times: Help! It’s Wear Your Teacher’s Favorite Color Day.

              

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“This is definitely a page-turner worth reading again and again.”
—RT Book Reviews, 4 Stars
 
“Blades (The Thunder beneath Us, 2016) blends mystery, scandal,
and intrigue.  Readers are encouraged to stick with the story for an
unsuspected and somewhat uncharacteristic twist at the end.”
—Booklist

Spotlight on Hounded by Kevin Hearne—and a Giveaway!

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Title: Hounded
Series: The Iron Druid Chronicles Book 1
Author: Kevin Hearne
Publisher: Del Rey
Publication Date: May 3, 2011
Genres: Dark Fantasy, Action Adventure

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Purchase Links:

              

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Synopsis

Atticus O’Sullivan, last of the Druids, lives peacefully in Arizona,
running an occult bookshop and shape-shifting in his spare time to hunt
with his Irish wolfhound. His neighbors and customers think that this
handsome, tattooed Irish dude is about twenty-one years old—when
in actuality, he’s twenty-one centuries old. Not to mention: He
draws his power from the earth, possesses a sharp wit, and wields an
even sharper magical sword known as Fragarach, the Answerer.

Unfortunately, a very angry Celtic god wants that sword, and he’s hounded
Atticus for centuries. Now the determined deity has tracked him down,
and Atticus will need all his power—plus the help of a seductive goddess
of death, his vampire and werewolf team of attorneys, a bartender possessed
by a Hindu witch, and some good old-fashioned luck of the Irish—to
kick some Celtic arse and deliver himself from evil.

Don’t miss any of Kevin Hearne’s phenomenal Iron Druid Chronicles novels:
HOUNDED | HEXED | HAMMERED | TRICKED 
TRAPPED | HUNTED | SHATTERED | STAKED
and coming in April 2018
SCOURGED

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About the Author

Kevin Hearne is a native of Arizona and really appreciates whoever invented air-conditioning. He graduated from Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff and now teaches high school English. When he’s not grading essays or writing novels, he tends to his basil plants and paints landscapes with his daughter. He has been known to obsess over fonts, frolic unreservedly with dogs, and stop whatever he’s doing in the rare event of rain to commune with the precipitation. He enjoys hiking, the guilty pleasure of comic books, and living with his wife and daughter in a wee, snug cottage.

Author Links:

              

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Hearne, a self-professed comic-book nerd, has turned his love of
awesome dudes whacking mightily at evil villains into a superb urban
fantasy debut. Staying alive for 2,000 years takes a great deal of cunning,
and sexy super-druid Atticus O’Sullivan, currently holed up in the
Arizona desert, has vexed a few VIPs along the way. High up on that list is
Aenghus Óg, the Celtic god of love. It’s not just that Aenghus wants
his sword back—though it is a very nice magical sword—but that Atticus
didn’t exactly ask permission to take it. Atticus and his trusty sidekick,
Irish wolfhound Oberon, make an eminently readable daring duo as
they dodge Aenghus’s minions and thwart his schemes with plenty of
quips and zap-pow-bang fighting. –Publisher’s Weekly, starred review

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GIVEAWAY

The Iron Druid Chronicles have been a favorite
series of mine since this first book came out. With
thanks to Kevin Hearne’s publisher, Del Rey, I have
two copies of the mass market edition to give away.
Just leave a comment below—even if you don’t
usually read dark/urban fantasy because this series
appeals across genres—to enter the drawing. The
winning names will be drawn Sunday evening,
October 15th. Open to the US and Canada.

Spotlight on On Starlit Seas by Sara Sheridan


It’s a book to lose yourself in as you enter a world of smuggling,
chocolate, adventure and love in the 1820s. —Portobello Book Blog

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Title: On Starlit Seas
Authors: Sara Sheridan
Publisher: Black & White Publishing
Publication Date: October 1, 2017
Genres: Mystery, Historical, Adventure, Romance

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Synopsis

Celebrated writer and historian Maria Graham must make
the treacherous voyage from Brazil to London to deliver her
latest book to her publisher. Having come to terms with the
loss of her beloved husband, Maria now has renewed hope
for the future and is determined to live her life as she pleases,
free from the smothering constraints of Georgian society.

For a woman travelling alone it’s a journey fraught with danger,
and as civil war rages around her, the only ship prepared to take Maria
belongs to roguish smuggler Captain James Henderson. Onboard,
all is well until Maria makes two shocking discoveries – the first a deadly
secret, the second an irresistible attraction to the enigmatic captain.

With Henderson on a journey of his own and determined to finally
put his life of crime behind him, he and Maria grow ever closer. But
can Henderson escape his illicit past or will the scandalous
secret he’s hiding ruin them both?

On Starlit Seas is a breathtaking and compelling
story of passion, secrets and escape.

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Purchase Links:

Barnes & Noble // Indiebound // Amazon // IPG

Sheridan binds together social comment, romance on the
high seas, pursuit by excisemen, knife-wielding toerags in
the stench of 19th-century London and the consumption of
so much hot chocolate that the pages seem impregnated
with its heady aroma. It all makes On Starlit Seas a pleasure
to consume, and not even a guilty one. —The Herald

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About the Author

Sara Sheridan is the author of Brighton Belle, England Expects, and London Calling. She is a cultural commentator who appears regularly on television and radio. In 2014 she was named one of the Saltire Society’s 365 Most Influential Scottish Women, past and present.

Author Links:

Website // Twitter // Facebook // Goodreads

Email: sara@sarasheridan.com

It’s a book to lose yourself in as you enter a world of smuggling,
chocolate, adventure and love in the 1820s. —Portobello Book Blog

Spotlight on A Conspiracy of Ravens by Terrence McCauley—and a Giveaway!

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Title: A Conspiracy of Ravens
Series: James Hicks #3
Authors: Terrence McCauley
Publisher: Polis Books
Publication Date: September 19, 2017
Genres: Mystery, Thriller

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Synopsis

THE BATTLE LINES HAVE BEEN DRAWN. THE WAR HAS BEGUN.

James Hicks has spent his entire life and career fighting on the front
lines of terrorism for the clandestine intelligence organization known
as The University. Hicks has learned that enemies can appear and
disappear in the blink of an eye, and allegiances shift like the wind.
But now, Hicks has finally discovered his true enemy: the
criminal organization known as The Vanguard.

This shadowy group has operated as a deadly organization comprised
weapons dealers, drug runners, and money launderers for decades,
but has now decided to add regime change to their catastrophic agenda.
But knowing the enemy is one thing. Being able to defeat it is another
matter entirely. When Hicks uncovers a solid lead on his new adversaries,
his world explodes. His home base is attacked, his operatives in the
field are wiped out, and, for the first time, The University finds itself in
open combat against an unknown enemy. In a battle that rages from the
streets of Manhattan to the halls of power in Washington, D.C., to
the dark alleys of Berlin, Hicks will have to use every resource
at his disposal to defeat A Conspiracy of Ravens.

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Purchase Links:

              

“In our new reality, Terrence McCauley’s A Conspiracy of Ravens
is not far from the realm of possibility. He hits all the right notes
while creating an simultaneously entertaining and frightening scenario. Read it.”
—Reed Farrel Coleman, New York Times bestselling author of What You Break

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An Excerpt from A Conspiracy of Ravens

CHAPTER 1

2:00 A.M.

James Hicks was two hours south of Manhattan, driving to a meeting he didn’t want to attend in Washington, when his dashboard screen flashed red. It was a Proximity Alert from OMNI.

POSSIBLE SURVEILLANCE IN PROGRESS

“Goddamn it.” Hicks pounded the steering wheel. “Not this shit again.”

Surveillance was the whole reason he was driving to Washington, D.C. in the first place.

The Optimized Mechanical and Network Integration System (OMNI) was one of the most advanced computer networks in the world, giving the University one of the few advantages it enjoyed over the larger, federally-funded agencies. OMNI’s access to satellites, data systems, and communications networks collected more data in a millisecond than any human mind could ever comprehend, and saw more than any human eye could see.

Since being selected as Dean of the University weeks ago, the network now dedicated part of its impressive bandwidth to constantly scan his immediate area for patterns and signals that may constitute a threat to Hicks.

He had refused the security measures at first, finding it intrusive for a man who had spent most of his life in the shadows. He had managed to stay alive this long without babysitting. He had seen no reason to allow it now.

But the protection came with the job and could not be refused, not even by the Dean. Given the number of people who had tried to kill him in the past few months, Hicks decided an extra set of eyes watching his back might not be a bad idea.

The automatic alert he was reading now proved he had made the right choice.

He tapped the dashboard screen for more information.
TARGET CAR: BMW 750i
TAIL TIME: 30 minutes and counting
SPEED: Matching 70 miles per hour
ERROR: New Jersey license plates do not match VIN on black box

The fact that a car had been behind him for thirty minutes didn’t bother him. People often popped on the cruise control and let the car do the driving in light traffic like this.

It was the problem with the plates that bothered him. They didn’t match the Vehicle Identification Number OMNI detected from the signal on the BMW’s black box. That was unusual. Too unusual for it to be written off as a mistake.

Hicks had been checking his mirrors constantly during the  drive south. He hadn’t detected anyone following him, but it was difficult to track a car in the middle of the night.

Hicks tapped a button on the Buick’s steering wheel, accessing the OMNI network. “Get me an Operator.”

“Contacting an Operator,” the female electronic voice answered as it connected him to one of the dozens of technicians located throughout the world who constantly monitored OMNI’s field operations.

A man’s voice, betraying a slight British inflection, came over the Buick’s speakers. OMNI may have been a secure closed network operating entirely on its own bandwidth, but University Operators still answered using a standard protocol script. “You’ve reached the switchboard. How may I help you?”

“This is Professor Warren.” It was the signal that he was not in any immediate danger and free to talk. If he had given them any other name, the Operator would have assumed he was in trouble and activated necessary security measures. Even with twenty-first-century technology, old tricks like code words still had a place. “Looks like I’ve become pretty popular. I need more information.”

“I’m sorry to hear that, sir.” Hicks heard the Operator’s fingers work a keyboard as he accessed OMNI to find his location and the alert that had flashed on the dashboard screen. “I see the nature of the problem now. The plates match the exact make, model, and year of the BMW following you, but the VIN is completely different.”

Hicks knew that ruled out any government agencies following him. They would not need to steal plates for a vehicle.

But someone did.

“Who owns the car, according to the VIN?” He heard the Operator typing. “Records show it was delivered to a BMW dealership in New Jersey late last week.” More clicks. “No record of sale. No stolen car reports with the police, either. It’s possible they stole the car tonight from the dealership after it closed.”

Convenient timing. “Who owns the plates?”

More clicks of the keyboard. “Michael Spatola of Franklin Lakes, New Jersey. Zooming in to get eyes on his address now.” More clicks on the keyboard. “Satellites show his BMW is still parked in his driveway, but the license plates have been removed from the vehicle.”

Hicks kept his eyes on the road. Someone had been smart enough to steal plates matching the same make, model, and year of the vehicle they had just stolen. Even if a cop decided to run the plates, they would be close enough to match and the cop would probably let them go. Both the car and the plates would be reported stolen eventually, but not for several hours.

That kind of pairing took planning and access. It took effort that common car thieves wouldn’t have gone through. And the odds that common car thieves just happened to be following him this long by accident were astronomical.

Everything about the car and the plates showed intent. It showed planning.

Hicks didn’t like it. He needed answers and, under the circumstances, there was only one way to get them.

“Check traffic and toll cams based on my route. I’m looking for a visual of the driver. Send anything you get to my screen.”

Thirty seconds later, the Operator said, “Sending an image to you now.”

Hicks glanced at the screen while keeping his eyes on the road. A blurry image of two white males at a toll booth in the BMW appeared on his dashboard screen. Judging by the way they filled their seats, he guessed they were each over six feet tall and powerfully built.

The Operator explained, “That picture was taken as they blew through an EZ Pass station without an EZ Pass. I’ll keep looking for a clearer image, but that’s all I have for now.”

Hicks didn’t care about clearer pictures. He needed to find out who was driving that car.

“I’m in a generous mood tonight,” Hicks told the Operator, “so let’s do Mr. Spatola a favor. Enter the theft of the plates and the vehicle into the police network. Say the suspects should be considered armed and dangerous and are believed to be heading for the D.C. area.”

More keyboard clicks. “Doing it now, sir.”

Another idea came to him. “Show me the closest patrol unit on my map.”

A few more clicks. “I’ve just posted the location of the closest unit to your position on your map, sir. The blue icon is the closest police car—a county sheriff ’s deputy manning a speed trap approximately three miles and closing from your current position. The tail car is the red icon on your map, while your car is black.”

Hicks would have preferred a state trooper, but at least a county cop wasn’t some local Barney Fife looking to be a hero.

Hicks pulled the gloves tighter on his fingers. “Plot the nearest off-ramp between here and the speed trap. Something that gives me easy access back onto the highway.”

A blue line appeared on the map of his dashboard screen.

“There’s an off-ramp approximately two miles ahead of you, sir, but be advised: you may not be able to outrun the BMW. It’s got a twin 445 horsepower V8 engine. With all due respect, sir, that’s a tough engine for an old Buick to beat.”

Hicks smiled. That’s why I’ve got an Aston Martin V12 engine under the hood. “Consider me advised. Since the alert is already on the system, send a message directly to the deputy’s onboard computer. Tell him the vehicle is heading his way. Let’s see what he does.”

“Doing it now,” the Operator replied. “And good luck, sir.”

Hicks killed the connection. He never believed in luck. Only in himself.

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Excerpted from A CONSPIRACY OF RAVENS © Copyright 2017 by Terrence McCauley. Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.

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About the Author

Terrence McCauley is the award-winning author of two previous James Hicks thrillers: SYMPATHY FOR THE DEVIL and A MURDER OF CROWS, as well as the historical crime thrillers PROHIBITION and SLOW BURN (all available from Polis Books). He is also the author of the World War I novella THE DEVIL DOGS OF BELLEAU WOOD, the proceeds of which go directly to benefit the Semper Fi Fund. His story “El Cambalache” was nominated for the Thriller Award by International Thriller Writers.

Terrence has had short stories featured in Thuglit, Spintetingler Magazine, Shotgun Honey, Big Pulp and other publications. He is a member of the New York City chapter of the Mystery Writers of America, the International Thriller Writers and the International Crime Writers Association.

A proud native of The Bronx, NY, he is currently writing his next work of fiction. Please visit his website at terrencemccauley.com or follow him at @tmccauley_nyc.

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To enter the drawing for a paperback
copy of A Conspiracy of Ravens,
leave
a comment below. One winning
name will
be drawn Saturday evening,
September 23rd.
Open to residents of the US.

“Stunning set pieces…Solid fare for no-nonsense spy fans.” —Booklist