Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Book Spotlight: Fair Game by Annette Dashofy

Paramedic Zoe Chambers hoped a week at the Monongahela County Fair, showing her horse and manning the ambulance, would provide a much-needed diversion from recent events that continue to haunt her.

An old friend, a bossy nemesis, and a teenage crush from her 4-H days fail to offer the distraction she had in mind. But ever the caregiver, she soon bonds with a troubled teen and a grieving father.

Back in Vance Township, a missing woman turns up dead, leading Police Chief Pete Adams into a journey through her mysterious final hours. With each new clue, the tragic circumstances of her death grow increasingly muddied.

A cryptic phone call leads Pete to join Zoe for an evening at the fairgrounds where the annual school bus demolition derby concludes with a gruesome discovery and a new case that may or may not be connected to the first.

Pete’s quest for the motive behind two homicides—and Zoe’s stubborn determination to reunite a family—thrust them both onto a collision course with a violent and desperate felon.

Series: A Zoe Chambers Mystery (Book 8)
Paperback: 286 pages
Publisher: Henery Press (May 8, 2019)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1635114993
ISBN-13: 978-1635114997

Purchase here!

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Book Spotlight and Giveaway: The Naming Game by Gabriel Valjan (Book 2 of The Company Files)

Whether it’s Hollywood or DC, life and death, success or failure hinge on saying a name.

The right name.

When Charlie Loew is found murdered in a seedy flophouse with a cryptic list inside the dead script-fixer’s handkerchief, Jack Marshall sends Walker undercover as a screenwriter at a major studio and Leslie as a secretary to Dr. Phillip Ernest, shrink to the stars. J. Edgar Hoover has his own list. Blacklisted writers and studio politics. Ruthless gangsters and Chief Parker’s LAPD. Paranoia, suspicions, and divided loyalties begin to blur when the House Un-American Activities Committee insists that everyone play the naming game.


He suggested drinks Friday night at the Cocoanut Grove, with dinner afterwards. The weekend wasn’t quite on the

horizon but the doctor’s voice insinuated he had intentions.

The Cocoanut Grove club was part of the Ambassador; and like most places in Los Angeles it took forever to get

from the curb to the front door of the hotel. Then there was the nightclub. The hotel, like a Henry James preamble,

sat at the far end of a very long cultivated sentence of twenty-four acres off Wilshire Boulevard. The logic was

deceptive but calculated, its geometric lawns and trained trees were way out in front like a mirage of color schemes,

the designs descended from gardeners who created the Hanging Gardens of Babylon. It was here Bacchantes of

another day and age descended from the Hollywood Hills or from elsewhere in the desert to have their Award

ceremonies, sexed-up affairs on hearths of Italian stone, their celebrity tantrums, complete with champagne glasses

dashed against tiled floors while the fountain’s water out front pulsed the rhythm of time’s cruel cadence.

The Cocoanut Grove was dedicated to nocturnal decadence. Palm trees were imported inside, stuffed monkeys sat

on top of them, their choreographed arms groping the leafy foliage and their glass eyes forever gazing at a ceiling

painted midnight blue with unmoving stars. Here the desert people came to dance and forget their troubles and

mingle with matinée royalty. Here they dined and here they listened to music beneath Moorish arches and tried to

forget the Crusades and the inconvenience of Christ on the cross. On a grand night they might see ghosts or the

gauzy image of Pola Negri walking her pet cheetah on a long leash through the garden.

7pm and early, Leslie saw Ernest at the bar in tailored silk pants and a patterned jacket, white shirt, and no tie. She

might’ve walked fast across the floor to surprise him, but she enjoyed every set of male eyes (and some female ones,

too) on her in a strapless cocktail dress made of plush black velvet and layers of cream tulle. Leslie didn’t believe in

makeup. Simple pink lipstick sufficed. In her small purse she carried cash and a .22 caliber pistol, a gift with a red

Croix de Lorraine on the white grip enamel. Neither the gun nor the caliber punched like a .45 automatic, but at

close range the .22 was feminine and lethal.

“You’re early, Dr. Ernest.”

“Please call me Phillip, or Phil. A drink?”

“What are you having?”


Brandy and crème de menthe. Upper-crust choice of either flyboys or college men. She motioned the bartender

over with her gloved hand. He ambled over, a big man in a tuxedo. He offered his clientele cool stoicism while he

made their drinks or dried glassware. He listened, or pretended to. His hand on the counter and the forward tilt at

the shoulders signaled he was eager to take her order.

“An Old Fashioned, please.”

The barkeep smiled when he set down her short tumbler not far from her date’s Stinger. He put in the sugar cube

and doused it with Angostura bitters, added water halfway up the sugar cube before he dropped ice cubes and added

a shot and half of rye whiskey. He hitched a maraschino cherry on the back of an orange wedge.

The jazz musicians in the background burned through a slow number of horns and muted drums. He moved near

her and she smiled. She could smell his cologne. Not bad. Not overpowering. She wore no perfume. Leslie learned

perfume always lingered in the air, or on fabric. It left a trace, a damning signature. Phillip pushed the cocktail to her

on a napkin

“Quite the drink you have there.”

“I can handle it.” Let him think I’m easy prey. “So, Phillip, what do you suggest for dinner?”

“Place up in the Hills, exotic and with a spectacular view of the city if you don’t mind Asian food.”

“I’ll give it a go. That’s what the weekend is for.”

“You’re full of surprises, Maggie. Didn’t figure you for the living type.”

He realized his awkward turn of phrase. She saved him from embarrassment. “As opposed to the alternative?” she

asked. “Don’t worry, I know what you meant. You don’t do so bad yourself.” Awe and flattery always chipped a man

down. “It can’t be easy listening to people’s problems all week. Shows character.”

“Nothing too challenging or anything I can’t handle.”

“You’re saying you don’t feel challenged?” she asked.

“Not at all. My patients are motivated, which is crucial to the therapeutic process, and I enjoy guiding them to

recovery so they can live meaningful, productive lives.”

“Say, ever had a client you couldn’t help? Someone you couldn’t fix.”

“I’ve had my share of difficult cases, but I try to persuade them to see the destructive consequences to their

choices,” he said, between sips of his minty drink.

Leslie drank a small sip of hers. “I never hear frustration in your notes. You’re always clinical, very professional. I

daresay you sound confident. Self-assured.”

“You haven’t seen all my cases, Maggie.”

“Really?” she asked, letting him see her take a hefty gulp drink from her glass, turned so he saw more flesh. He

responded with another sip of his toothpaste drink.

“I’ve had two, maybe three intractable cases. All men. One with inordinate guilt, the other one, a thief, and the last

one was a deviant. The thief and deviant I thought I could cure, but not the guilty one. All three men kept company

with people who exacerbated their conditions.”

The doctor explained all of this as he paced his drinking until he emptied his glass. Leslie left a wee bit of drink in

her glass. There was an uptick to the drums and the soft shudder of cymbals. A piano added light sprays of laughter

from the high keys. Smoke floated over the crowd.

“I’m no clinician, Phillip, but I’m clueless as to what constitutes deviant behavior. As for criminal urges, I’d suggest

an avoidance strategy. Not much I can say about regret. I’ve always thought guilt was a useless emotion.”

“I wish it were so simple, Maggie.”

“It is. The human mind confuses childhood with the responsibilities of adulthood.”

The perplexed expression on his face arrived on time. “That sounds familiar,” he said.

“It should, Phillip. I quoted you.”

Quoting him had worked. He smiled, his shoulders rounded and he leaned forward and intent, relaxed. She savored

that small victory more than the cherry clinging to the orange wedge on her glass.

“Shall we go eat?” she asked and deliberately misplaced her foot as she stepped off the metal chair. He caught her

arm in time. She released that little laugh all women practiced for embarrassing moments. He left a generous bill to

cover the drinks, as the drum kicked the air with a one-two beat and a crash of cymbals.

Ernest drove the roads above Hollywood Boulevard to the restaurant. High up in the hills and under a half moon,

The Mountain Palace rested on a hilltop like a shogun’s castle carved out of teak and cedar. There was a pagoda, too.

An architect plotted, a landscaper tilled the California hill into an enigmatic kōan with trees, shrubs, numerous

gardens, and waterfalls. Koi fish meandered through ponds. The only thing missing was the plucking sound of the

koto asking for rain.

Excerpt used with permission by author and publisher, Gabriel Valjan and Winter Goose Publishing (May, 2019)

Purchase Links: Amazon | Goodreads

Gabriel Valjan is the author of two series, The Roma Series and The Company Files, available from Winter Goose Publishing. His short stories have appeared in Level Best anthologies and other publications. Twice shortlisted for the Fish Prize in Ireland, once for the Bridport Prize in England, and an Honorable Mention for the Nero Wolfe Black Orchid Novella Contest, he is a lifetime member of Sisters in Crime National, a local member of Sisters in Crime New England, and an attendee of Bouchercon, Crime Bake, and Malice Domestic conferences.

Catch Up With Gabriel On:


This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Gabriel Valjan. There will be 1 winner of one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card. The giveaway begins on April 22, 2019 and runs through June 24, 2019. Void where prohibited.

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Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Book Spotlight: Lacey and the Law by Anne Greene

1924- Against impossible odds can Mitch, a poor divinity student, win the love of Lacey, a courageous flapper, seeking the most life has to offer?

It’s the height of the roaring twenties, alive with flappers and speakeasies. Lacey Fairchild is a modern daughter of the era. Rich, fun-loving, blossoming with life, Lacey finds herself witnessing the murder of her date and the kidnapping of his sister at a popular speakeasy.

Mitch Ferguson’s college roommate and best friend is murdered. His roommate’s sister, Patricia, kidnapped. Risking his life, Mitch goes undercover into the Chicago Mob to rescue his roommate’s sister.

Will Lacey and Mitch succeed in shining the light of justice into the dark shadows of corruption found in the speakeasies and mobs of Chicago, or will they experience the same fate as Patricia and her brother?

Paperback: 116 pages
Publisher: Independently published (July 14, 2018)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1717767249
ISBN-13: 978-1717767240

Purchase here!

Friday, March 29, 2019

Book Review: The Walker on the Cape by Mike Martin

If you enjoy a police procedural or a murder mystery with a unique protagonist, you'll find it in The Walker on the Cape by Mike Martin.

The body of Elias Martin is found on the Cape on the eastern coast of Canada. Word was the old man died of a heart attack or stroke, but it is soon discovered he was poisoned. Sergeant Wintson Windflower and his trusted colleague, Eddie Tizzard, are called to investigate, discovering Grand Bank  holds a lot of secrets for a small fishing community.

The Walker on the Cape is the first book in Martin's Sgt. Windflower Mysteries series. It features a full-blooded Cree as a sergeant for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. While balancing his work life with a little bit of romance, Windflower draws upon his native background and traditions to help others.

Martin does a fine job of crafting an engaging mystery with several twists and turns. He ramps up the tension between Windflower and his superior, making this story feel real. This novel had a quick pace and was easy to move through.

Personally, I'm not a fan of the third person omniscient point of view, so I struggled with that. In addition, it would have been helpful if the book made it through another round or two of edits. The number of typographical errors, missed words, or incorrect words drove me a bit batty; but that's the editor in me. Some readers might not notice as much.

Overall, this looks like it will be a fun series to read. Windflower and Tizzard make a great team.

File Size: 353 KB
Print Length: 243 pages
Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
Publisher: BookLocker.com, Inc. (November 1, 2012)
Publication Date: November 1, 2012
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
Language: English

I received a digital copy of this book from the author. This review contains my honest opinions, which I have not been compensated for in any way.

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Interview with Mike Martin, Author of the Sgt. Windflower Mystery Series

Mike Martin was born in Newfoundland on the East Coast of Canada and now lives and works in Ottawa, Ontario. He is a long-time freelance writer and his articles and essays have appeared in newspapers, magazines and online across Canada as well as in the United States and New Zealand. He is the author of Change the Things You Can: Dealing with Difficult People and has written a number of short stories that have published in various publications including Canadian Stories and Downhome magazine.

The Walker on the Cape was his first full fiction book and the premiere of the Sgt. Windflower Mystery Series. Other books in the series include The Body on the T, Beneath the Surface, A Twist of Fortune and A Long Ways from Home, which was shortlisted for the Bony Blithe Light Mystery Award as the best light mystery of the year. A Tangled Web was released in 2017 and the newest book in the series is Darkest Before the Dawn.

Twitter: @mike54martin

Did you like mysteries, thrillers, and suspense novels when you were growing up?

I loved the Hardy Boys and Tom Swift, a British young boy's series that had lots of adventures and they always had a bag of sweets. Later, I loved Stephen King, until he scared me too much.

What was the first story in that genre that you wrote?

I never wrote horror, but mystery remained a favorite. My first mystery was The Walker on the Cape, the first book in the Sgt. Windflower Mystery series.

What is your favorite part of writing in this genre?

I love the idea of discovering a crime like a murder and then taking the time to not just solve the crime, but to explore why people do these kind of things in the first place.

What do you find most difficult about writing in this genre?

There are some general rules that you have to follow that sometimes stop the flow, but it's also that readers are very smart and point out any errors or mistakes that they find. You have to find a hook or something different every time you kill someone, especially in a series.

Is there an author in this genre that you admire most?

Louise Penny is an author that many of us admire and few of us can hope to live up to. She has created characters and a world that we would all like to live in.

What is up next for you?

I have started a new book in the Sgt. Windflower Mystery series and I'm also working on an audio book for The Walker on the Cape. Both will be out this year sometime.

Do you have anything to add?

Thank you very much for your interest. Keep reading and I will keep writing.