Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Book Review: The Dead Guy by Doug Hewitt

Looking for suspense? Looking for action? Looking for an intense read? You'll find it in The Dead Guy by Doug Hewitt.

Jack Thigpen is sent on what he believes is a routine car insurance scam investigation. But on this one, Jack gets more than he bargained for.

His investigation targets him for death soon after Jack discovers he's dying from an untreatable, debilitating illness. When Jack's best friend, Hal, is caught in the line of fire, Jack vows to track down Hal's killer, as he struggles to accept the fact that he's going to die--slowly and painfully.

The Dead Guy is one of those books that will leave you begging for more. Jack is a likable, tough character who is put in a position no human being should ever be--feeling responsible for his best friend's death when he, himself, is at death's door. Hewitt's masterful storytelling allows the reader to experience everything with Jack as he uncovers the evil underbelly of Detroit, which is consumed by corruption, fraud, and organized crime.

Other memorable characters include Jack's brother, Tom, the only other person who knows of Jack's illness, and who is forced to cope with the impending loss of his brother while struggling to sit back and let Jack deal with things his own way; Octavia, a tennis champion who Jack used to mentor; and Blalock, whose own complex story unfolds in the background.

This book is a roller coaster ride of action, intrigue, and mystery. Just when you think Jack has it figured out, something throws a monkey wrench into his theory and things are no longer as they seem. The reader will unconciously be biting off fingernails as he follows Jack from car dealerships to body shops to riverboats.

If this book hasn't won any awards yet, it should!

Riveting, intense, and action-packed, The Dead Guy by Doug Hewitt keeps you hanging on the edge of your seat and turning the pages.

Title: The Dead Guy
Author: Doug Hewitt
Publisher: Aberdeen Bay
ISBN-10: 0981472575
ISBN-13: 978-0981472577
SRP: $15.00 (U.S.)

This review first appeared at The Book Connection.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Guest Blogger: Kim Smith, Author of Avenging Angel

Today's guest blogger is Kim Smith author of Avenging Angel: A Shannon Wallace Mystery: Book 1

Shannon Wallace is having a bad hair week.

She’s been ditched by her job, dumped by her boyfriend, and implicated in his murder.

When she finds out her very private video collection is missing from the crime scene, it is all out war to find the disks before the cops do. The problem is, the killer has them. And he’s watched them.

Now Shannon’s at the top of his most wanted list.

In this post, one of the potential suspects is interrogating Shannon Wallace to try and get into her head and see what makes her tick:

In the interrogation room waiting area, I watched as they brought in a sexy brunette wearing cut-off shorts and a Purple Wave tee shirt. She looked around at all of us and the questions were evident in her eyes.

“What’s with you?” I asked her. I was pretty sure she was a mistake. The guy had been stabbed. Not a murder of choice for a woman. “You don’t look like you’d kill a flea.”

She made a face. “Gee thanks for the vote of confidence.”

Another fellow, a muscular African American man, nodded at me. “Yeah, they reaching now, ain’t they? I mean she obviously ain’t guilty of murder.”

“You the man’s woman or what?” I asked, conversationally.

She rearranged her butt on the hard plastic chair. “Or what.”

I kept looking at her, waiting for her to answer why she was brought in. She dropped her gaze to the dirty concrete floor.

“I get it. You got caught hanging out around the apartment, and the cops decided to go hard on you.” She was probably the dead dude’s neighbor.

This brought her head up and her eyes flashed like twin blue sapphires. “Oh, you’re good, yes indeed. You think you know everything, but you don’t know squat.”

I couldn’t imagine what had triggered this reaction but determined to find out. “You must be the nosy neighbor caught in the act of checking out the traffic going in and out and the cops got ticked at you.”

She shrugged. “Think what you like.”

Oh yeah. I had finally found the story. “What? You’re a reporter? You stick a mike in the wrong mug?”

She laughed derisively. “Whatever.”

She looked like she might unload some details. I pushed a little harder. “It’s okay, lady. We’re not telling anyone your secrets. For all you know we’re the killers here. Are you a little scared?”

“Not even a little,” she said. I could tell by the way she avoided looking me in the eye that she was lying. Not that the man and me looked very deadly. Not that she would know that.

“So? What got you in here?” I lifted my cuffed hands and waved at the room.

Resolving to admit to the guilty part, she said, “I sort of let myself into the apartment and ran smack into a cop. Apparently, they don’t take to strange people storming onto their crime scenes. “

My pal and I hooted with laughter, maybe a little too long because she frowned. The door to the inner room where police interrogators waited opened and the grumpy Hispanic detective glared out at us. “Wallace, get your ass in here.”

She took a deep breath and hauled up out of the chair. “If either of y’all is the killer, I don’t want to know. But trust me, I have a photographic memory and I will check out the wanted posters before I leave here to see if you are there. See ya in the funny papers,” she said.

Kim Smith was born in Memphis Tennessee, the youngest of four children. After a short stint in a Northwest Mississippi junior college, during the era of John Grisham’s rise as a lawyer, she gave up educational pursuits to marry and begin family life.

After the birth of her two children, she gave up working outside the home for the more important domestic duties of wife and mother. During those years, she began thinking of stories to entertain herself and pass the time. Before long she started telling her husband about her stories and he assured her she could write a book if she really wanted to. She put the idea away once she landed a job as a network administrator for a small corporation, and together the Smith’s started their own video production company.

Writing was a dream, hidden but not forgotten, and soon Kim began to talk again of trying her hand at it. She played with words, and wrote several poems, one of which was picked up for an anthology.

When she decided to try out her hand at mystery writing, she discovered her true love and niche in the writing journey. She has since had four short stories, and her first mystery novel accepted for publication.

Kim is a member of Sisters in Crime, and EPIC. She still lives in the Mid South region of the United States and is currently working on her second book in the mystery series.

You can visit her website at

This guest post first appeared at The Book Connection.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Book Review: The Devil Can Wait by Marta Stephens

A cursed papal ring, a Columbian drug smuggler, three dead bodies washed ashore in Massachusetts, and a demonic prophecy, mingle together to create a captivating, suspenseful and action-packed mystery in The Devil Can Wait by Marta Stephens.

When the third body of a teenage boy is uncovered by a man and his dog along Chandler Bay, Detective Sam Harper and his partner, Dave Mann are left with more questions than answers. With little to go on, they search to find the one thing that connects these murders and will lead them to the killer.

Jennifer Blake, an ambitious newspaper reporter looking for the story that will catapult her to the top, agrees to pick up a ring from a pawn shop for her former college professor. When both the pawn shop owner and the professor turn up dead, Blake is moved to the top of Harper's prime suspect list.

What makes the ring so valuable that someone would kill to get his/her hands on it? How are the deaths of the pawn shop owner and the professor connected to the boys pulled from Chandler Bay? And will Harper be able to uncover the truth before the murderer finds the ring and unleashes pure evil upon the earth?

This is the second book in the Sam Harper Crime Mystery series by Marta Stephens and the first book of hers that I have read. I'll definitely be spending the money to get Silenced Cry--the first book in the series.

The Devil Can Wait captivated me so deeply that I had to go back and look over some of the details in order to write this review. Stephens wove a complex plot into a set of engaging and creepy characters and came up with a huge winner for mystery fans. As the reader flows through each chapter, the mystery deepens; twists and turns drive the reader forward as she seeks to uncover the truth right along with Harper.

Sam Harper is a well-written character. Edgy and driven, but still vulnerable after the loss of his last partner, Harper still hasn't managed to clear his ex-girlfriend's clothes out of the closet. The unfolding romance between Harper and Jennie Blake is predictable, but doesn't take center stage. I liken it to an episode of the Rockford Files or Magnum P.I. where the romance exists only as an aside to uncovering the truth.

The Devil Can Wait will draw the reader in from the first word to the last, and leave her anxiously awaiting the next book in the Sam Harper Crime Mystery series!

Title: The Devil Can Wait
Author: Marta Stephens
Publisher: BeWrite Books
ISBN: 978-1-905202-86-7
U.S. Price: $15.99

This review first appeared at The Book Connection.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Guest Blogger: Richard E. Roach, Author of Scattered Leaves

Today's guest blogger is Richard Roach, author of Scattered Leaves.

About the Book: When Ben McCord comes home from a business trip to find his young wife raped and murdered, he starts out on a journey of death and destruction.

Clues lead him to a dark world of drugs and violence in action that spans Texas, Colorado, and the Mexican border. McCord hooks up with a beautiful doctor, who was also victimized by members of the same drug cartel, and together they track down the killers, surviving bloody confrontations, and ending with a suspenseful climax in the Big Thicket of Texas.

Guest Post by Richard E. Roach

Most of the descriptions in SCATTERED LEAVES came from my imagination, however I have been to the spots mentioned that are adjacent to the Rio Grande, and in Colorado, and The Big Thicket. It was easy to describe them because they made deep impressions on my young mind. (That, of course, was many years ago.)

In my younger days my family and I did a lot of camping out. Naturally, we looked for exotic spots. Being in the U. S. Air Force for four years and working in the oil industry for thirty-one years added miles and miles of travel in all sorts of places, more than I care to remember. A few of them: Lake Calcasieu, Lake Maurepas, Vermilion Bay, offshore in the Gulf of Mexico out of Grand Isle, Louisiana, off shore out of Sabine Pass, Texas, and finally, The Atlantic Ocean out of Mateo, North Carolina.

Land locations in the oil field rarely lasted more than a few weeks. On exploratory wells (sometimes called wildcat wells--holes in the ground that are not in a field), unless the drill site comes in as a producer, you're here today and gone tomorrow.

The idea of commercializing pot and selling it packaged was my own idea. I don't know why it hasn't been done. It would be so easy, IF! you had a few trusted workers to run the machinery.

When I was in high school in Houston, some wet-heads were growing marijuana on the banks of Buffalo Bayou--within the city limits--and the site could have been seen from city hall if the trees had been removed. The pot plants were discovered when one ungodly shot another.

I have old friends in the Houston Police Department and in the Dallas Police Department and they didn't let me get too far off track. They also furnished some of the statistics, prices, and names the miscreants use. Too bad Jack Webb isn't still alive! (Dragnet) He could really rattle off facts and figures. Example: When you're in a head-on collision, your shoes are left on the floorboard!

I wish to thank all the readers of this site. I love you! Believe it or not: reading helps expand your mind and you will make more money, but you must save and invest. Trust can make good money on these bridges I have to sell.

About the Author: Suspense/Mystery author Richard Roach was born in 1931 in Galveston, Texas. Short stories of his have been published in Man’s Story 2, Happy 2007, Vol. 20 and Bibliophilos 2006, Vol. 42. His first novel, Scattered Leaves, hit the book stores on September 1, ’08, and his second novel, Scattered Money, will be published in 2009. You can visit his website at

Monday, January 21, 2013

Spotlight: Robert Greer, Author of the CJ Floyd Mystery Series

Today we are going to shine the spotlight on the work of Robert Greer and his CJ Floyd Mystery series.


Featuring the vivid characters and streetwise dialogue that have made the CJ Floyd series a critical and commercial success, BLACKBIRD, FAREWELL introduces CJ Floyd’s protégé and is a punch-packing whodunit that exposes the dark side of the pro-athlete good life.


“Every entry in the versatile Greer's CJ Floyd series (The Mongoose Deception) is different in scope and theme. Here, he takes on professional and college basketball, the pressures placed on young men to perform, the media hype, and the organized crime possibilities of point shaving and drug dealing. Much like Les Roberts's mysteries about Cleveland, Greer's books in this series also give readers a strong sense of place (the Denver area) and a rare look at a diverse community that works together regardless of racial and economic barriers. Highly recommended.” —Library Journal, starred review



Cheroot smoking African-American bail bondsman CJ Floyd is a man who plays the odds whether chasing down bond skippers, keeping a thumb on Denver's gang-bangers, or working on the occasional bounty hunting case that comes his way. When a couple of corporate "oreos" toting fashionable briefcases and sporting manicured nails appear in CJ's office one day asking him to locate the missing daughter of a federal judge, CJ reluctantly accepts the job, hoping the money he earns will help him meet his always shaky expenses for the month. Seems the missing woman, Brenda Mathison, has skipped out on a high paying, high tech job at Carson Technologies with proprietary bio tech documents.


"CJ Floyd is the archetypical lone-wolf, American private eye, smart, tough, principled and complex in the best Philip Marlowe tradition." —Booklist

"Comparisons with Walter Mosley will surely follow Greer on his road to literary success. But look to the cultural texture and tremendously affably characters for Greer's distinctive style. Examine also the professional background knowledge laced throughout the writing and it's easy to understand the difference." —Columbus Dispatch


For CJ, the case begins when a beautiful black woman hires him to look into the death of her father, one LeRoy Polk, a.k.a. Daddy Doo-Wop, a famous Chicago D.J. Sleek, smart, and hard-driving Clothilde Polk is sure her father did not die of the heart attack doctors first suspected. Before long, he realizes that the death of Daddy Doo-Wop is part of a bigger story, one that reaches back to Chicago in the fifties when the Mob called the tune. From payola to paychecks, from the dirtiest of deals to some old tapes that still might be worth gold, CJ is entering into a realm where a great melody can lead to a deadly refrain, and where someone has a murderous hit parade of his own.


"The energy just leaps off the page... The characters are well-drawn, his scenarios compelling and evocative -- think of Dashiell Hammet and Chester Himes in a pickup truck." —Austin Chronicle

"Jam-packed with action and characters and local color... The plot rips along so quickly, you just plunge ahead with the hope that Greer will pull it all together for you later... lively and intricate and rich in detail... one heckuva ride." —Mostly Murder



"Greer relaxes into a lean, loose style that fits his western mysteries like a beat-up pair of lizard-skin boots." —New York Times Book Review

"Greer has a great sense of place and a knack for fixing his colorful characters in your mind, offering an unusual background of Colorado diamond mining, the rodeo, and black life in Denver ." —Detroit News and Free Press

ABOUT THE BOOK: There were only two things that terrified retired rodeo star and all-around gadfly Hambone Dolbey. One of them was water. So when Hambone's lifeless body was found floating in a wet suit, those who knew him best knew for sure that the cowboy had been murdered.


No one emerges unscathed from war, and ER doctor Carmen Nguyen is no different. More than thirty years after Vietnam , when the ghosts of that distant war come calling, Carmen decides to look for her father, Langston Blue, an army sergeant and Vietnam combatant, whom she never knew. Blue remains a shadowy figure, forever missing from Carmen's life and presumed dead since the end of the war. But Ket Tran, Carmen's feisty aunt and the guiding light in her life, has a sliver of evidence that Blue may still be alive—and on U.S. soil. Carmen enlists the help of CJ Floyd to find him.


"A taut mystery intertwined with political intrigue and colorful detail." —Ebony

"A great plot setup, with the ever wily and determined C.J ready to match wits with all comers. Strongly recommended." —Library Journal, starred review



"[A] great, convoluted mystery, possibly Greer's best in his CJ Floyd series—it's an absorbing read filled with surprises." —The Denver Post

"Entertains with interesting characters and a good puzzle. It should please Greer's current fans and attract new ones." —The Boulder Daily Camera

ABOUT THE BOOK: When a young Nicaraguan immigrant appears in CJ Floyd's recently opened Denver antique and western collectables store toting a rare book on Montana medicine, CJ uses the last cash he has to purchase the book. A book that turns out to contain a lot more than the dry mundane history of the medical profession in Nineteenth Century Montana. When the young student is found murdered in an alley a few blocks from CJ's store, a police investigation pegs CJ as a suspect, and CJ must turn to his comrades to investigate the killing themselves.


In unraveling America 's most important twentieth-century political crime, CJ enlists the aid of his always-faithful cadre of street-smart former rodeo cowboys and friends. CJ puts his own life on the line as he travels the potentially lethal trail that may lead to the identity of the killer, and to the one person living who actually knows the entire story about who killed JFK.


"Expertly crafted." —The Denver Post

"African American investigator and bail bondsman C.J. Floyd (The Fourth Perspective) and his cohorts get caught up in a series of murders that may be linked to the assassination of John F. Kennedy—Greer gives the JFK killing a newish spin in a riveting story..." —Library Journal

This spotlight first appeared at The Book Connection.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Spotlight: Deputy Tempe Crabtree Mystery Series by Marilyn Meredith

With the recent release of eighth book in Marilyn Meredith's Deputy Tempe Crabtree series we are going to spotlight all eight books today, starting from the most recent release, Kindred Spirits and working down.

Kindred Spirits

Kindred Spirits is about a troubled marriage, a husband who planned the "perfect" murder, a murder victim whose spirit won’t rest until the murderer’s identity is revealed, the genocide of the Tolowa nation, and two dangerous trips for Deputy Tempe Crabtree as she searches for answers.

Judgment Fire

A shaman warns Deputy Tempe Crabtree her life is in danger. The death of a battered wife leads Tempe to participate in a Native American starlight ceremony that brings back hidden memories of her painful high school days. She attempts to help the delinquent son of the murdered woman, is threatened by his step-father--the primary murder suspect, deals with a man who may be mentally ill, and renews acquaintances with not such good friends from her younger years. A second fire brings judgment to the guilty party.

Calling the Dead

In Calling the Dead, Native American Deputy Tempe Crabtree puts her job in jeopardy by investigating two suspicious deaths without permission from her superiors. She jeopardizes her marriage to the local minister by using Native American ways to call back the dead in order to solve a mystery.


A hidden marijuana farm and the murder of a long lost granddaughter keep Tempe busy, while her husband has troubles of his own--when the description of a man who exposes himself to school children sounds just like Hutch.


Tempe and Hutch escape to a mountain lodge for a longed for second honeymoon. Instead they find themselves surrounded by a disgruntled group of Hollywood has-beens. A murderer takes advantage of a white-out storm that takes out the electricity and phone service.Tempe shifts into official mode to investigate the murder. Will she be able to discover who the killer is without becoming a victim herself?

Unequally Yoked

The search for a missing child takes Tempe Crabtree on a quest for a murderer, which includes participation in a Yanduchi ceremonial and a dilemma in her relationship with her husband.

Deadly Omen

Tempe Crabtree, part Yanduchi, is the resident deputy of a small community called Bear Creek. Recently married to a Christian minister, raising a teenage son, Tempe is in the process of learning about her own heritage. Assigned to keep peace at a native American Pow Wow Tempe discovers the body of a young woman who was a candidate for princess. Tempe finds herself drawn into the investigation in spite of clear warnings from the male detectives to stay out of the case.

Deadly Trail

The tranquility of the Bear Creek in the southern Sierra is disrupted by the suspicious death of the owner of the local Inn. Investigating a murder case isn’t Deputy Tempe Crabtree’s job, but when the detectives don’t look any further than Nick Two John as the primary suspect, Tempe begins asking questions.

Putting the planning of her wedding to Pastor Hutch Hutchinson on hold, it doesn’t take long for her to discover there are several more people who wanted the victim dead, including his wife. Tempe follows the trail of clues, putting her job, her upcoming marriage, and herself in peril.

About Deputy Tempe Crabtree: Native American, Tempe Crabtree is the resident deputy of the area surrounding Bear Creek, a small mountain community which includes the Bear Creek Indian Reservation. She has a son, Blair, by her first husband who was killed in the line of duty as a California Highway Patrolman.

Her second husband, Hutch Hutchinson, is the pastor of the community church.

Hutch and Tempe have a good marriage though he worries about the dangers of her job and the threat to her soul when she uses Native American spiritualism to find out the answers in difficult cases.

Bear Creek is similar to where Marilyn lives in the Southern Sierra. Bear Creek Indian Reservation bears a striking resemblance to the reservation nearby. However, Marilyn always reminds people she is writing fiction.

You can find Marilyn on the web at

This spotlight first appeared at The Book Connection.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Book Review: Kindred Spirits by Marilyn Meredith

Murder, ghostly visions, and a quest for justice are woven together to create an engaging story in Kindred Spirits, the latest in Marilyn Meredith's Deputy Tempe Crabtree series.

A forest fire rushes through the mountains of Bear Creek as Tempe searches for local artist Vanessa Ainsworth. When Vanessa's body turns up inside her burnt out studio with a bullet hole, Detectives Morrison and Richards seek Tempe's help in finding out who could have behind what might have been a perfect murder.

Even though Tempe and Hutch's marriage is on the rocks, Tempe takes a trip to Crescent City to visit with Vanessa's family and friends to see if she can find any clues to who might have wanted Vanessa dead. Tempe's involvement in the case puts her in danger, but she knows she'll never be rid of the ghostly visions haunting her until she brings Vanessa's killer to justice.

In this installment of the Deputy Tempe Crabtree series, Meredith brings back Tempe, Hutch, and members of the Bear Creek Sheriff's Office and gives them a mission: to prove who killed local artist, Vanessa Ainsworth. While in Judgment Fire--the book before this one in the series that I reviewed here--Tempe and the gang had a full slate of suspects, in Kindred Spirits their efforts are combined to prove the one person who couldn't possibly have committed the crime, did it. And even though I typically prefer a "who done it" kind of mystery, this novel had me on the edge of my seat as Tempe dodged threat after threat to bring Vanessa's murderer to justice.

Again Meredith has woven Native American history, small town charm, and a quest for the truth to provide an entertaining read for mystery and crime fans. And while Tempe is still dealing with the prejudice of being the only woman in the Bear Creek Sheriff's Office, she finds Detective Morrison an unexpected ally in this latest installment, perhaps forever changing their working relationship and making me eager to see what the next book will bring for Morrison and Tempe. True to form, Meredith has made the personal lives of her characters an integral part of the story and the reader is eager to see if Tempe and Hutch, her minister husband, can find their way back to each other. Involving Hutch in Tempe's case makes for many tense moments as they each deal with concern for the other's safety, even though they are worlds apart on issues that might have forever changed their marriage.

A great read that mystery and crime readers will certainly enjoy, Kindred Spirits proves why Marilyn Meredith's fans keep coming back for more!

Title: Kindred Spirits
Author: Marilyn Meredith
Publisher: Mundania Press, LLC
ISBN-10: 1-59426-735-9
ISBN-13: 978-1-59426-735-2
U.S. Price: $12.95

This review first appeared at The Book Connection

Monday, January 14, 2013

Book Review: The House on Tradd Street by Karen White

Brilliant and engrossing, The House on Tradd Street by Karen White brings the reader through Charleston's deep-rooted history and Confederate legends to uncover a story of passion, heartbreak, and murder.

Real estate agent Melanie Middleton visits with the elderly Nevin Vanderhorst just days before his unexpected death. Melanie isn't much into historic homes--even though she sells them for a living. She much prefers new construction, free of the ghosts that she's seen since childhood. When she inherits Vanderhorst's historic Tradd Street home she is less than thrilled, but their meeting and Nevin's letter about the mother he is sure would never have abandoned him encourage her to restore the house at 55 Tradd Street and try to unravel the mystery surrounding Louisa Vanderhorst's sudden disappearance.

In walks stunningly gorgeous Jack Trenholm, a true-crime writer obsessed with unsolved mysteries. He believes that the diamonds from the missing Confederate Treasury are stashed inside the house. Using Louisa's story Jack is able to convince Melanie to let him help with the restoration of the house in exchange for allowing him to perform research for his next book.

Neither of them quite knows what they are getting into. An evil ghost also resides in the house on Tradd Street and it doesn't want Melanie or Jack telling Louisa's story. How far will this spirit go to keep a secret?

This book captured me from the very first sentence. Steeped in Charleston's history and Civil War legends, The House on Tradd Street is a rare gem among paranormal mysteries. Exquisitely told, rich in descriptions, and filled with multi-faceted characters whose past lives are eloquently woven into each others, I was sad to read the last word of this moving novel.

White gets right to the heart of things by blending family secrets, love, legends, and the charm of the South, creating an emotional tale that will leave you begging for more. The cover art is strikingly handsome and truly completes one of the best novels I've read in my lifetime.

Lovers of southern fiction, paranormal mysteries, and moving stories that tug at the heartstrings will want to read The House on Tradd Street by Karen White.

Title: The House on Tradd Street
Author: Karen White
Publisher: New American Library
ISBN: 978-0-451-22509-2
U.S. Price: $14.00

This review first appeared at The Book Connection.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Review of Beneath a Buried House by Bob Avey

If you enjoy unusual mysteries with multiple twists and turns, then check out Bob Avey's latest novel, Beneath a Buried House.

Tulsa Police Detective Kenny Elliot has a keen sense for the unusual. The death of a John Doe from an overdose seems like an easy case--to everyone except Elliot. He's sure there is more to it than meets the eye. His mission to discover the truth finds him deceived at every turn and makes him the target of an unknown danger.

In this second book of Avey's Detective Elliot series I found much to enjoy. The characters are well-developed and complex; the plot thickens as the list of potential suspects increases; and I never expected the ending.

I haven't read the first book in this series, Twisted Perception, but now I'm more curious than ever to see where Elliot got his start and how he solved his first case.

This book started off a bit slow because it is told from several points of view. The reader is introduced to eight characters who play a significant role in the book within the first six chapters and there is also a reference to a person from Elliot's past that plays a role in forming Elliot's relationship with women. But at a certain point the story picks up as the clues come together and Beneath a Buried House becomes a real page-turner. I couldn't put it down until I finished the last page.

My only disappointment is that Avey ignored an important event towards the end that interfered with how the rest of the story played out. No matter how I tried to get around it, I couldn't, and it spoiled what could have been a perfect ending.

Beneath a Buried House is a thrilling, suspenseful mystery that will have you waiting to see what case Elliot has to solve next.

Title: Beneath a Buried House
Author: Bob Avey
Publisher: Deadly Niche Press
ISBN: 978-0-937660-81-2
U.S. Price: $17.95

This review first appeared at The Book Connection

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Review of The First Patient by Michael Palmer

The First Patient by Michael Palmer is an outstanding, exciting thriller that will have you on the edge of your seat from the very first page.

Years ago, Andrew (Drew) Stoddard and Gabe Singleton were roommates at the Naval Academy in Annapolis. Then their lives took very different directions. Drew became a war hero, a governor, and soon President of the United States. Gabe ended up a country doctor living on a ranch in Wyoming, surviving various addictions as he lives with the fact that he killed a woman and her unborn child while driving drunk one night; an accident that sent him to prison.

When Drew and Marine One touch down on Gabe's ranch, Gabe learns that the president's personal physician has mysteriously disappeared and Drew wants Gabe to temporarily replace him. Not without reservations, Gabe agrees to go to Washington...but nothing could prepare him for the mess he dropped into.

While Drew is embroilled in a tight race for reelection, he might also be going insane; and Gabe will have to make the decision whether or not to invoke the Twenty-fifth Amendment.

If you enjoy thrillers filled with suspense, mystery, action, and some political wrangling, then The First Patient is a must read.

Palmer is a master storyteller, weaving the reader through plot twists that lead her to believe everyone is a suspect, but knowing she must decipher the evidence to find out who is really responsible. A story full of lies, cover ups, and shocking addictions, Palmer's characters truly bring this novel to life: the war hero, turned governor, and now president; the Naval Academy student whose life takes a new direction after a tragic accident he can never forget; an overly protective father, and a virtual garden variety of special agents and operatives create an all too realistic of politics at its best...and its worst.

The First Patient is a satisfying, suspense-filled story of dynamic proportions that will thrill you up to its shocking end.

Title: The First Patient
Author: Michael Palmer
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
ISBN-10: 0-312-34353-1
ISBN-13: 978-0-312-34353-8
U.S. Price $25.95

This review first appeared at The Book Connection.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Review of The Poetry of Murder by Bernadette Steele

The Poetry of Murder is a tale of lies, secrets, and revenge that will find you weaving through twists and turns every step of the way.

Aspiring African American poet, Geneva Anderson finds her aunt, Victoria Franklin murdered in her office at International House. She is stunned once more when she discovers that she has inherited her aunt's estate that is worth millions.

After the inheritance leads to Geneva becoming the prime suspect, she is arrested for her aunt's murder. To clear her name, she decides to search out the real killer on her own, despite the advice of many friends. The more she discovers about Victoria's past, the more Geneva fears her aunt might not be who she thought she was. As lies are uncovered and long-held secrets revealed, Geneva is forced to learn The Poetry of Murder.

I was thrilled with this cozy murder mystery from debut author, Bernadette Steele. She drops the reader right into the action and it never stops until the murderer is revealed. Geneva Anderson makes the perfect amateur sleuth because she truly learns as she goes, using only past experience and common sense to move her investigation along.

There were so many twists and turns to this novel I almost got dizzy and I honestly had no idea who the real killer was until I read it. Steele wove a great plot, included a well-developed set of characters, and plenty of mystery and suspense to come up with an outstanding first novel.

The cover didn't do much for me. I liked the black, red, and white print on a yellow background, but the black and white photo of International House wasn't what I would like to see on such a page turner. And having seen the video trailer for this novel at YouTube, I feel there is so much more that could have been done to design an attention-getting cover.

All lovers of cozy murder mysteries will want to pick up The Poetry of Murder by Bernadette Steele. I look forward to the next book in this series starring amateur sleuth, Geneva Anderson.

Title: The Poetry of Murder
Author: Bernadette Steele
Publisher: Oak Tree Press
ISBN-13: 978-1-892343-08-6
ISBN-10: 1-892343-08-8
U.S. Price: $12.95

This review first appeared at The Book Connection.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Interview with Author F.M. Meredith

We welcome mystery and crime fiction author F.M. Meredith (Marilyn Meredith). We’ll be talking about the latest book in her Rocky Bluff P.D. series, Smell of Death.

Welcome back Marilyn. It’s always a pleasure to have you with us.

Thank you for having me. This is always fun.

Before we begin talking about Smell of Death, why don’t you give readers a refresher of who you are and let them know what you’ve been up to since you last popped in.

I’m the author of over 20 books. Besides the Rocky Bluff P.D. series, I also write the Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery series. Since my last tour, I’ve been to Tampa FL where I was a speaker at a writer’s conference and to Anchorage AK to a mystery convention and then I stayed a few days with a friend in Wasilla and spoke to every class about mystery writing at Wasilla middle school.

This is a bit off-topic, but I am dying to ask you about this. Your website says that you write mysteries, historical novels, and Christian horror. That last one throws me. I didn’t even know there was such a genre. Can you tell us a little bit about it and the Christian horror books you’ve written?

I probably am the one who came up with the name for the genre. It’s horror (really scary) with a Christian theme. The Left Behind Books fit in that category, though in my Christian horror, the heroines may not have the strongest faith, but that’s what carries them through and helps them overcome what ever threat they’ve come up against whether it’s the devil or his demons.

Why don’t you tell us about your Rocky Bluff P.D. series.

This series focuses on the men and women in the Rocky Bluff P.D. and their families. My intention is to show how what goes on in the job affects the family and what happens in the family affects the job. Though many of the same characters appear in each book, the main characters change. For instance, in the first book, Doug Milligan is the main character and at that time is just a regular officer. He appears as a minor character in the next two books, and in this book he’s become a detective and has a major part.

Officer Stacey Wilbur’s physical size appears to be a disadvantage for her. How does she handle it?

What Stacey doesn’t have in brawn she makes up with by her brain and psychological approach to situations.

In the first chapter of Smell of Death you have a lot going on—a murder, a police officer suffering from horrible nightmares, and a missing toddler. How did you manage to jam that much conflict into one chapter? What do you think the key is to making it work well?

Hopefully, I’ve hooked the reader into continuing on. One thing my son-in-law, a police officer for 15 years, always said was that the police department never has just one case to work on at a time like they do in books and movies. That’s one of the things I wanted to show in all four books and have it be more realistic.

We also meet several members of Rocky Bluff’s police department in this first chapter. Is there anyone you would like to talk more about?

Other officers have come and gone, the ones who are in this book have appeared in others. Gordon Butler is an officer who is interested in Stacey, and sort of becomes the comic relief. He was an important character in the book right before this one, Fringe Benefits.

In addition to being the only female in the department, Stacey is a single-mom. How does she juggle her career and her home life?

Stacey and her son live with her parents. She is fortunate to have her folks to baby-sit Davey.

There’s a hint of romance in Smell of Death. We find out that Stacey is attracted to Detective Doug Milligan, but she has a long standing rule about not dating anyone from the department. Do you think Doug could make her break that rule?

There is definitely a strong attraction between Stacey and Doug. He not only admires her as a woman but soon realizes she’s intelligent and a real asset to the department. To find out if she breaks her rule, you’ll have to read the book.

Where can readers purchase a copy of Smell of Death?

Smell of Death is available as a trade paperback from my website, or Amazon.

What is up next for you? Are there any upcoming projects you would like to share with our readers?

My next Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery, Kindred Spirits, is expected in August. I’ll be busy promoting Smell of Death and the latest Tempe mystery, Judgment Fire, all this coming year. I’m attending Love is Murder in Chicago, EpiCon in Portland OR, Public Safety Writers Association’s conference in Las Vegas, and Mayhem in the Midlands, in Omaha NE plus library talks and other appearances. And oh yes, while working on another book.

Thanks for joining us today, Marilyn. It was great to speak with you again. I wish you continued success and hope you’ll be stopping by again soon.

This interview first appeared at The Book Connection.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Interview with Author Dennis Griffin

Joining us today is Dennis Griffin, a retired New York State Director of Investigations, turned author. Concentrating on mysteries and non-fiction titles, Dennis uses his former career to create books reviewers have called, “riveting”, “engrossing”, and “well-written”. We’ll be talking about Dennis’s latest release, CULLOTTA: The Life of a Chicago Criminal, Las Vegas Mobster, and Government Witness.”

Welcome, Dennis. It’s great to have you with us!

Before we talk about CULLOTTA, can you tell us about yourself? How long have you been writing? Is it because of your employment history that you are drawn to writing mysteries and non-fiction books about law enforcement and organized crime?

I began writing my first manuscript in 1994, following my retirement from a 20-year career in law enforcement and investigations in New York State. My motivation at that time wasn’t money or fame. It was solely to tell the story of a medical examiner’s office run amok. It was based on the last investigation I did prior to retiring, and was a story I felt needed to be told. I plunged ahead with my project without doing any research on the writing business. I didn’t know traditional publishing from self-publishing. I had no idea what a POD book was. I only knew I had a story to tell and wanted to get it out there.

The Morgue was completed in early 1996, and that’s when all the things I had failed to do came home to roost. There I was with an 110,000- word document and was clueless about what to do next. Belatedly springing into action, I researched publishing options and commenced sending our queries, followed by sample chapters, followed by the entire manuscript in some cases. Each attempt ended with a rejection. As the copying and postage expenses mounted, along with the frustration, I was about ready to pack it in. Suddenly, out of the blue I was thrown a life line. A company called 1stBooks (now AuthorHouse) contacted me to announce they were expanding their services to include printed and bound books as well as e-books. Was I interested in being one of the first authors to have their manuscript published in POD format for only a $75 setup fee? I still didn’t understand what POD was all about, but without any attractive alternatives I couldn’t sign fast enough.

From there I wrote five more mystery/thriller fictions, all of which were self or POD published. With my background, this was the genre that was the easiest and most fun for me to write.

When your novel The Morgue was released in 1996, readers didn’t believe anything like that could happen, but it was actually based upon one of your investigations. Do you still receive this type of feedback from readers? Are they amazed at the kinds of things portrayed in your novels?

The Morgue generated the most disbelief among my readers. But Red Gold and Blood Money, which were also based on actual events, drew comments such as, “You certainly have a vivid imagination.”

I think the reason for that type of reaction was because most people aren’t familiar with the workings of morgues and clinical laboratories. When I turned to writing about more traditional crimes such as robbery, rape and murder — subjects that can be read about in the newspapers or heard discussed on TV newscasts every day — readers were more easily able to relate to the events I was describing.

Your three non-fiction titles have ties to Las Vegas, which is where you now live. How is New York similar to Las Vegas from a law enforcement perspective? How are they different?

Las Vegas is unique. Its reliance on the gaming industry and related tourism for much of its economy makes it different than about any other place in the country. But from a law enforcement perspective, I think it’s much the same as other large cities. They all have to deal with organized crime, gang violence, illegal drugs, burglars, robbers and murderers. Lawmen have to contend with the same types of people — the good, the bad and the ugly, if you will — no matter where they ply their trade.

Let’s move on to CULLOTTA. Frank Cullotta--the subject of this book--provided a great deal of information to you and also shares the title of author on the cover. What was it like to work with him? If you didn’t have his cooperation, what would you have done differently to provide a true account for your readers?

What it was like working with Frank is a subject that interests many writers and readers. I think I can best answer that question by sharing an article I wrote after the book was released in July.

Writing CULLOTTA – The Author and the Hit Man

In the spring of 2006, if anyone had told me I would become involved in a business relationship with a former hit man, I’d have said they were crazy. After all, a guy like me with 20 years working as a law officer and investigator, one who has always been a staunch supporter of law enforcement, would never allow himself to be associated with someone from the dark side. However, in a little over a year I not only co-authored a book with such a man, I’ve come to consider him a friend.

This strange turn of events began for me when I was researching for my book The Battle for Las Vegas – The Law vs. the Mob (Huntington Press, July 2006). In it I told the real story of Chicago Outfit enforcer Tony Spilotro’s Las Vegas reign. As I was writing the book I was fortunate to develop a number of now-retired FBI agents and Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department detectives as sources. These were men who had actually been involved in the investigations of Spilotro and his gang.

I was very pleased with the information I obtained, but felt I was lacking one thing: a perspective from the bad guys. Spilotro’s crew was either dead, in prison, or their whereabouts were unknown, except one: Frank Cullotta. Tony’s one-time right hand man had turned against his friend and become a government witness. After a stint in the Witness Protection Program, Cullotta was around somewhere with a new identity. I thought if I could talk with him, I might be able to nail down additional details and maybe even come up with some previously undisclosed information. But how was I going to get in contact with Cullotta, and would he talk with me if I did?

I knew that one of my sources, retired FBI agent Dennis Arnoldy, had been Cullotta’s handler after the crook rolled. I figured he’d be a good place to start in my quest to locate the former mobster. It turned out that Dennis and Frank had remained in contact over the years and they spoke on a regular basis. Dennis said he couldn’t promise any results, but that he’d mention me to Frank and see what happened.

Several weeks later Dennis called and said Cullotta had agreed to speak with me by phone. The interview was brief; only a couple of questions. Although it was by no means the in-depth conversation I’d hoped for, it was better than nothing. I added Cullotta’s input to my manuscript and submitted it to the publisher. I then forgot about Frank Cullotta, at least for a while.

When chatting with Dennis Arnoldy a few months later an idea popped into my head. I asked him if Cullotta had ever thought about writing his life story. I opined that it would probably be a great read if he would be willing to be totally candid. Dennis said he’d ask Frank and let me know. Not too long after I got my answer: Frank had been thinking about doing his bio for several years. He’d already recorded cassette tapes of his memories and had them transcribed. Now he was looking for a writer and wanted to meet with me.

After my initial excitement over the news faded, doubts began to surface. Cullotta had been a thug, thief, arsonist and murderer. All things I’d been against my entire adult life. If we reached an agreement about doing a book, would I be able to bring myself to work closely with him? I pushed those thoughts from my mind as I awaited my chance to meet the confessed killer in the flesh.

I learned almost immediately that when working with Frank, security was first and foremost. For our initial meeting, Dennis Arnoldy told me the day Frank would be in Vegas, but not the time or place we’d get together. I got those details one hour before we met in a hotel room of a major casino. Dennis also informed me that I wouldn’t be able to learn Frank’s new identity, business, location or phone number. Any communication between Frank and me would have to go through Dennis.

Once inside the hotel room, Dennis introduced me to Frank Cullotta. He wasn’t a particularly imposing figure physically, although he looked like he could still take care of himself in a tussle. As we talked, what impressed me most about him was his demeanor. He talked about crimes he had committed, including murder, with no more emotion than a couple of co-workers standing around the office water cooler discussing the weather. I thought of the line from The Godfather: This is nothing personal. It’s strictly business.

After two hours, Frank and I reached an agreement. He’d provide the details of his career as a criminal and I’d do the writing. The story would begin on the streets of Chicago, and go through his days in Las Vegas, life as a government witness, and his involvement in the production of the movie Casino. All the criminal activity he would admit to would be that for which he had been granted immunity or the statute of limitations had long since run. We were in agreement that candor was key. His account had to provide information previously unknown to the general public and be as accurate as humanly possible. As the meeting wore on I became ever more confident that Frank was being up front with me and would fulfill his end of the bargain. We ironed out the financial arrangements and sealed our deal with a handshake.

The project wasn’t very far along before it became clear that our method of communication wasn’t adequate. I needed to be in touch with Frank frequently, sometimes several times a day. Routing everything through Dennis Arnoldy was simply too cumbersome, resulting in delays and frustration for all of us. I was given a special phone number to contact Frank directly. That simplified the process, but also provided a clue as to Frank’s location. That meant I now had a role in Frank’s security, a fact that Dennis made sure I understood.

My easier access to Frank certainly helped, but on occasion using the phone or mail wasn’t sufficient. There were times when getting together in person was the only way to go. We decided that the best place to have our meetings would be at my place. My wife, nicknamed Bear, wasn’t particularly enthused about me getting involved with Frank in the first place. When I announced his initial visit she was not a happy camper. The day Frank showed up, he came in one door and Bear went out the other. Eventually though, they’ve become buddies and she now looks forward to his calls and trips to town.

In summary, although there have been a few bumps along the way, co-authoring CULLOTTA has been an experience I wouldn’t trade, regardless of how the book sells.


What would I have done if I didn’t have Frank’s cooperation? The short answer is that I wouldn’t have written a second Spilotro era book.

It is my belief that if I write a book claiming it as a true crime story, I owe my readers the most complete and accurate information available. That means doing a lot of research, that includes whenever possible talking to the people who have first-hand knowledge of what transpired. I did that with The Battle for Las Vegas and was very comfortable with the finished product. Without Frank, Battle would have been my only book on the subject.

What was it about Frank Cullotta’s story that made you want to write it?

I found Frank’s overall criminal career to be fascinating. And CULLOTTA provided an opportunity to set the record straight about what really happened during the last few years of Tony Spilotro’s Las Vegas reign.

In addition to the tremendous story Frank had to tell, his candor when we met, and the reputation for being truthful that he had developed with detectives, agents and prosecutors, made taking on this project an easy decision for me.

According to the back cover blurb, this is a no-holds-barred biography. How much graphic detail is included? Do you think readers will be comfortable with what is found between this book’s pages?

I think that the majority of people who read this book will be organized crime buffs. They will have read other mob books, seen the Godfather series, Casino and Good Fellas, and watched The Sopranos on TV. For them, I don’t see anything that would cause discomfort.

However, for anyone being exposed to the mob life for the first time, there could be certain things that might be a bit upsetting to them. I hope those cases are few and far between. I’d like to think CULLOTTA will create fans rather than alienate them.

Frank’s life took an interesting turn when he became a cooperating government witness. Nicholas Pileggi--who worked on the script for the Martin Scorsese film, Casino--says in the Foreword to CULLOTTA, that Frank’s life as a free man was dependent upon his telling the truth. Did this help your working relationship with Frank as you drafted the manuscript?

I actually learned the details of Frank’s plea agreement while researching for Battle. Dennis Arnoldy, the retired FBI agent who had been Frank’s handler, was very confident that after Frank rolled and became a prosecution witness he was very forthright in his statements and testimony. Unlike some witnesses or informants who will say whatever they think the prosecution wants to hear, if Frank didn’t know an answer he said he didn’t know. As mentioned previously, that fact made me much more comfortable working with him.

Where can readers find a copy of CULLOTTA: The Life of a Chicago Criminal, Las Vegas Mobster, and Government Witness?

The book is available at or through any bookstore and all the major online outlets. I have purchase links for CULLOTTA and all my books on my AuthorsDen site at Currently, has the best prices for both CULLOTTA and Battle.

What is up next for you? Are there future projects you would like to share with our readers?

I actually have quite a lot going on right now. I’m heavily involved in promoting CULLOTTA. In my spare time I’m finishing a fiction called Vegas Vixen, and doing consulting for The Vegas Mob Tour, which is based on The Battle for Las Vegas, and takes passengers to the actual locations where many of the incidents depicted in Casino took place

I’m also mulling over three appealing true crime projects. I plan to start work on one of them in the near future.

Thank you so much for joining us today, Dennis. It has been a distinct pleasure finding out more about your latest book. I wish you continued success.

This interview first appeared at The Book Connection.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Interview with Author Marilyn Meredith

Marilyn Meredith is the author of the award-winning Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery series. Not only has Marilyn written numerous books, she is also an editor, freelance writer, instructor, and writer’s conference presenter. Judgment Fire is the latest book in her Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery series and Marilyn is floating around the blogosphere chatting about it. She was nice enough to pay us a visit and tell us all about it.

Welcome, Marilyn. It’s wonderful to have you with us!

Before we talk about the book, can you tell us a bit about yourself?

I'm a fourth generation Californian, mother of five, grandmother of nineteen (just got a new granddaughter this year when my second oldest daughter became legal guardian to a sixteen year-old), and great-grandmother to eleven.

How long have you been writing?

I began telling stories through drawings when I was four and have written ever since. I didn't begin writing novels until I was in my forties. Before that it was mostly plays for my Camp Fire group to perform, PTA newsletters and short stories.

Do you have a mentor or a source of inspiration?

Willma Gore, a woman who was in the first critique group I joined, taught me so much about writing and was and is a wonderful friend.

What is your writing process like? Do you write every day?

I do write every day though not necessarily the novel I'm working on. At the moment I'm polishing up a new Tempe novel--one that probably won't be published for about two years. Once that's done, I'll begin another.

Is there a time of day when you’re more productive than others?

I do best first thing in the morning. In the afternoon, I'll do some promoting chores or editing.

Judgment Fire is the next book in your Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery series. Can you tell us a little bit about this series? Is this new one the sixth?

Actually, Judgment Fire is the seventh in the series. Deadly Trail is the prequel, though it was published a bit later than Deadly Omen which came first. Unequally Yoked, Intervention, Wingbeat, and Calling the Dead are the others and in that order.

Tempe Crabtree is a Native American resident deputy in the mountain community of Bear Creek in the Southern Sierra. In each book she learns more and more about her Indian heritage and often has some supernatural or mystical experience while solving a crime. Her husband, a Christian preacher, loves her but fears for her soul.

How challenging can it be to write a series?

I love writing the Tempe series. I doubt if I'll ever run out of story ideas.

Do you ever get tired of the characters?

Tempe and her husband Hutch are as real to me as any of my friends or relatives and I certainly know more about my characters since they live inside my head.

How do you keep loyal readers interested but not lose new readers if they’ve picked up book #3 in the series?

Every book I write as a stand-alone so that someone can read a later book and not feel left out. Hopefully, though, that reader will want to find the rest of the series to read.

Deputy Tempe Crabtree is part Yanduchi Indian and Native Americans play a prominent role in this series. What kind of research did you have to do to accurately portray Native American customs and beliefs?

Yanduchi is not the name of a real tribe--however the tribe is based on the Yokut Indians who live on the Tule River Reservation near my home. I've borrowed a lot from the reservation and the Indians history and legends. Though I have done a lot of research, I am writing fiction. I've tried to respect my neighbors and their beliefs--that's the main reason I want everyone to know I'm writing fiction.

Tempe is married to the minister of a local church. Is she fully accepted by the members of her husband’s congregation?

Tempe definitely is not a normal minister's wife. Because she's also the resident deputy everyone knows her and relies on her.

Does she have to deal with any prejudice because of her mixed heritage?

Her being of Indian heritage doesn't seem to matter much in Bear Creek. The detectives she often works for seem to think because she's an Indian if a crime involves a Native American she'll have special insights. The fact that she is female causes more problems for her with her male superiors.

If you had to describe Tempe in only three words, what would they be?

Strong but vulnerable.

In addition to being a deputy sheriff, Tempe is also a wife and mother. Does she have to deal with the same challenges other working mothers do? How does she handle them?

Tempe's son is nearly grown in Judgment Fire, a senior in high school. In previous books, he's had a bigger role. Blair is infatuated with fire-fighting and serves as a volunteer on the local volunteer fire department. Blair was only two when his father, a highway patrolman, was killed in the line of duty. Being a young widow, Tempe returned home to Bear Creek where she had relatives to help with Blair, and went to the academy and became a deputy in Tulare county.

In Chapter One, we meet a shaman named Doretha. What can you tell us about her? Has she always lived in Bear Creek?

Doretha is a Native American shaman who lives on the Bear Creek Reservation. In Unequally Yoked, she puts on a grieving ceremonial for a murder victim and Tempe participates.

The descriptions in the excerpt of Judgment Fire left me feeling like I had just driven in the Blazer along with Tempe, as if I were there in Dorothea’s car, and like I was right in the middle of Tempe’s conversation with Dorothea about the strange accident. How do you bring your fiction to life? How do you know which details to include and which things it is just better to let the reader figure out for himself?

Wow, what a compliment! Thank you! Whenever you're writing fiction you want everything to keep moving the story along. Leave out anything that's unnecessary. Dialogue always needs to do two things, either move the plot or reveal character--and best if it's doing both.

Where can readers order a copy of Judgment Fire and the rest of the books in the Deputy Tempe Crabtree series?

Judgment Fire is available from Mundania Press ( as a trade paperback and ebook, or can be ordered through your local bookstore or soon after the first of August.

The other books can be ordered from my website or All of the books can be ordered in electronic format from

I really could keep going, but I don’t want to be greedy with your time. What’s up next for you?

Of course I'm working on the next Tempe. I'm always about two books ahead.

Do you have any exciting news to share?

Yes, Calling the Dead, the book prior to this one, just received Best Mystery for 2006 from the Readers Choice Awards at Author Island. And another of my books, Wishing Makes It So, was chosen as best horror.

Wow! Congratulations!!! Is there anything else you would like to add?

Thank you very much for letting me talk about Judgment Fire and Tempe. I hope some of your readers will take a look at my series.

Thanks for spending so much time with us today. I think I might just have to break open my piggy bank to buy all the books in this series. May you be blessed with continued success.

Again, my most heartfelt thanks for your wonderful questions.

This interview first appeared at The Book Connection.