[Book Blitz]: Two for the Road by Henry Hoffman

An Adam Fraley Mystery

Genre: Mystery, Crime Mystery

Published: September 2020

Publisher: Melange Books

Private investigator Adam Fraley and his colleague, Tamra Fugit, the woman to whom he is engaged, travel vastly different paths, as they take on two seemingly unrelated missing person cases.

The trails take them through idyllic lands darkened by underworld intrigue, twisted relationships. carnal temptation, physical danger, and personal tragedy. Such are the legal ramifications they confront during their crossing of both state and international boundaries, that the FBI is eventually drawn into the matter.

From the very beginning, little did the investigators realize that the two roads they were travelling eventually would come crashing together in a manner entirely unexpected, testing not only their professional skills and resolve, but their personal faith in each other.

Excerpt

Chapter One

April 1997

The paramount lesson Adam Fraley learned early on in the private investigation business was to place a premium on case selection. Much like personnel hiring, you want to make sure you take on the right case, just as you would the right person, lest you end up drowned in disappointment and endless damage control. Fortunately, he had thus far successfully managed this aspect of the business. First, by hiring Tamra Fugit several years ago as his office manager. Secondly, by relying on her knack for making the right choices. Still, no selection system was foolproof. As an old boss of his was fond of saying, “You can only ride horses so many times before you get bucked off one.” Consequently, the admonition was always in the back of his mind when he and she met for their regular Monday morning caseload review.

“What’s on the agenda?” he asked from a visitor’s chair positioned in front of her desk.

“Two cases—one for you and one for me,” she said, working her desktop computer.

He halted in mid-motion the sip of coffee he was about to take to look askance at her.

She swiveled her chair to face him. “I’ve assisted you in nearly every case we’ve taken on since I was hired here, Adam. And thanks to your generosity, I will soon own half of the business. No better time for me to start taking half ownership of some of the cases, don’t you agree?”

“By ownership you mean taking to the street—the actual gumshoe part.”

“Yes…surveillance and tracking.”

“Who’s going to take care of the office end of it while we’re out gumshoeing?” he asked, carefully setting his coffee cup on her desk.

“Think of it this way,” she replied. “As with the modern family, the mother sometimes stays home to tend to the house and kids while the father is at work. Conversely, the husband stays home while the working wife takes to the road. We are destined to become a family business, are we not?”

“You’re looking terrific today,” he abruptly said to the woman who would have to be subjected to prolonged physical duress, say like an extended hike through the Mohave desert, to look bad—the woman, by the way, he happened to be betrothed to. But for her presence, the Adam Fraley Private Investigations office could best be described as nondescript, he opined.

“Do you realize your auburn hair, beautiful green eyes, and bright yellow dress offset very well the dull cast of this office?” he continued.

“You’re digressing,” she said. “Or are you stalling?”

“Okay, what are the two?” he asked in resignation.

“The first is for you,” she said, sorting through some notes on her desk. “I received a call from a woman by the name of Carmen Rivera. She was calling from Bogota, Colombia, where she lives. She has a son by the name of Manny who is attending Coastal State College here. She and her husband have not heard from Manny in over a month. Normally, he checks in with them at least once or twice a week. He lives in an off-campus home which he shares with another student who, for whatever reason, claims no knowledge of his whereabouts.”

“She’s contacted the cops?”

“Yes, and received the standard reply. Since he is an adult and there is no evidence of foul play, they will not get involved at this point.”

“We should send the department a thank you note, considering how much business that policy of theirs generates for us. You have the address for the kid?”

She again scrambled through the notes on her desk, picked one out and handed it to him. “Here you go.”

“Before we get started, how are we handling the fees? It’s not like we have a history of job requests from overseas on which to draw from. In fact, we have no history of it…right?”

“Correct,” she said. “However, if we do take the case, she will wire us a down payment upfront with the remainder to follow once we have concluded our investigation.”

“What do you think?” he asked. “Legitimate?”

“She spoke in a very cultured voice and with a mother’s concern. My sense is the Rivera family could very well be one of the five percent of the populace who control the wealth of the country.”

“Five percent…is that a fact or your opinion?”

“It comes from a former roommate of mine who spent a half year in the country.”

“Doing what?”

“Studying the Colombia rainforest region.”

“For what?”

“Six course credits,” she cracked. “She was in a study abroad program.”

“Well, it’s not likely we’re going to break the parents financially,” he said. “And the second case—the one you’ve put a claim to?”

Tamra glanced at another note on her desk. “I received a call from a man named Mickey Riley. He says his sister went missing about four weeks ago. He wants us to find her.”

“Let me guess…the cops don’t want to get involved because she is an adult and there is no evidence of foul play.”

“You got it.”

“So, does Mickey have any idea where his sister might be?”

“With her husband somewhere, he says.”

“And that’s a bad thing?” Adam asked, no doubt repeating the same question the cops asked the brother.

“According to Mickey, the husband, himself, is a bad thing…a very bad thing. Apparently, his sister has become a virtual prisoner of her husband, to the point he won’t even let her out of the house. A control freak, to say the least.”

“So, you aim to free her?”

“I aim to find her. It’s up to the brother to free her. He’s coming in for a meeting this afternoon. I should know more then, including where would be a good place to start looking for her. Meanwhile, your mother called. She’d like to know if we want a wedding planner. If so, she knows of a good one.”

“We’ve already decided we don’t need one, don’t you remember?”

“I certainly do, but apparently you failed to pass that bit of info along to her.”

“I’ll tell her when we finish with these two cases,” he sighed, perturbed by his oversight.

“You know, this will be a good time to go on the road,” he followed. “Noelle will be on her school-sponsored camping trip. We should be home by the time she returns.”

“If all goes well,” Tamra responded with a deadpan expression.

Adam leaned across the desk. “I have a proposition for you. How about we flip the cases? You trail after the missing student and I chase after the missing sister? You know how volatile these simmering domestic situations can get. They’re invariably about some demented guy’s passion to control another, usually a helpless woman, like the one you describe in this case. The moment you show up, you become a threat to take away that control. Needless to say, he’s not going to like that at all.”

“Are you worried for my safety? Would you rather I go chasing after porch poachers…sit in the car for hours on end waiting for a home delivery to be stolen? We still have one of those requests on the back burner waiting for a decision.”

“No, I’m not worried for your safety. It’s the safety of the captive wife’s husband, I’m worried about,” he joshed, rising from his chair to give her a quick kiss, followed by a longer one, before heading out of the office. “Before you leave, I have two other items to run by you,” she said, halting his movement.

“Okay…the first?”

“Harold Jenkins, the attorney from The Justice Brigade called. He wants to know if you’d like to meet with him regarding the merger idea that he discussed with you over the phone a while back.”

Adam slipped back into the chair, indicating it was a subject requiring immediate attention. “What do you think?” he asked of her.

Tamra gave a slight shrug. “I remember you mentioned the idea at the time. Run it by me again.”

“They’re interested in bringing us into their fold via some sort of a partnership, whether it be a corporate takeover, merger, or retainer-type arrangement. Whatever it takes to get us on board.”

“A big operation like theirs? What for?”

“Law firms have a need for tracking missing persons or conducting background checks, as you well know…”

“Yes, we’ve conducted several for them recently,” she interjected.

“Right, and apparently they liked the results. The Justice Brigade is one of those young, aggressive, fast-growing firms looking to gain a leg up on their competition. It’s not like they don’t have many law firms to compete with.”

Tamra flashed a look of surprise. “By doing their own detective work?”

“My guess is they’re planning to become a one-stop shopping operation, so to speak.”

“What’s in it for us?”

“Well, it could mean a steady work flow, which is no small matter. Looking down the road a way, there’s Noelle’s college tuition costs looming on the horizon. Right now, we’re operating at a small profit margin, enough to keep us afloat for the time being. However, as you and I have discussed, we’ve reached the stage where we’re either going to have to raise production or raise prices. I have a hunch joining forces with the Justice Brigade would lessen our office management burden significantly. Taking on the bulk of our paperwork would be an insignificant addition to their overall workload. Doing so would allow us to concentrate on the detective work.”

“You’re making it sound like—what do they call it in the business world—a white knight coming to the rescue. I don’t see it as magnanimous move on their part, Adam. They are simply making a business pitch.”

“Oh, I agree, but at the moment we’re discussing potential benefits, not the drawbacks. Jenkins also pointed out we would be working under their legal umbrella.”

“Meaning?”

“Meaning they would provide us free legal service, both personal and professional. And depending on the business arrangement, perhaps even corporate benefits, like retirement plans, something foreign to us.”

“Adam, we may be gaining corporate benefits, but would we not be losing our corporate identity?”

“That’s going to depend on the details of the proposed agreement. The question is how much independence we would be surrendering, starting with the case selection process. Who is going to have the final say on which ones we take on?”

“I do see one potential benefit in that regard,” Tamra opined. “They could serve as a filter to the possible legal landmines of each case. There are always those we have to consider.”

“True, but then there are other issues—potential conflicts of interest, the need to report to a supervisor, how it may affect the positive relationship we’ve developed with local law enforcement officials over the years—not to mention the more logistical items like office location. No question, there would be details galore to be worked out. Perhaps not so many if it was a retainer-type agreement, which could suffice, for all we know.”

“Something along the lines of a rental car company operating in the maintenance section of a car dealership,” Tamra suggested. “Have you consulted with your old boss on this?”

“Pete? No, though I definitely intend to before any final decision is made.”

Adam was already having second thoughts on the proposed relationship, particularly its impact on the freedom of choice regarding the case selection guidelines. Currently, the procedure was greatly influenced by their location. They were operating out of a street-level office situated on the corner of a moderately busy street. Walk-in traffic was steady—granted, not always a good thing for a P.I. outfit. It led to a significant amount of “impulse buying,” which was not in tune with most of the trade’s target base. Passersby would spot the store sign and on the spur of the moment decide they would rid themselves of lingering suspicions that their spouses were cheating on them, or an employee of theirs had his or her hand in the till, or they wanted their outdoor cat trailed so they could find out where it was spending the day. Following one walk-in guy’s request that they conduct a background check on his neighbor whom he suspected was a mass murderer, he joked to Tamra that they should post a sign on the front entrance stating We don’t do serial killers. It was one of the reasons a growing number of private investigators were forsaking the brick-and-mortar store for the home office where there was less chance of the delusional individual wandering in off the street to seek their assistance. In a home-based operation it was much easier to concentrate on corporate clients who were interested in tackling problems like insurance fraud or employee theft. That’s where the money was.

Yet, despite all the challenges posed by the walk-in trade, it did offer what Adam considered the most rewarding aspect of the profession—the opportunity to fix a family for the man or woman in the street. Tamra had picked up on this preference of his early on and had developed the skills to take on cases based on the attributes of clients, more so than the task involved, a distinction that greatly reduced the possibility of subsequent regret.

“In selecting clients, you want to pick someone whose side you wish to be on,” he had advised her. “There are no honeymoon, probation, or engagement periods with clients. Therefore, you want to be on the same page with them from day one. Lawyers may look at it differently, giving greater consideration to the case.”

Her earlier mention of a white knight potentially acting as a filter for the business brought him an inward smile, for there was no better filter than her in screening out the nightmare client.

“Maybe these two cases we’re taking on simultaneously will give us an indication of how raising the production end of the operation impacts us…office-wise and field-wise,” Tamra continued.

Adam glanced at the wall clock. “Maybe so…now, what was the second item you wanted to bring up before I head off?” he asked, hurrying her along.

“I received my first subpoena.”

“Relating to Adam Fraley Private Investigations, I assume.”

“Yes.”

“Another good reason to join The Justice Brigade,” he quipped. “Seriously, you are to be congratulated. I’m surprised it took this long. In this business you come to expect them. What does it pertain to?”

“Do you recall those background checks I conducted for the Midtown Mall security people for that job opening they had a few months back?”

“Sure do.”

“One of the applicants is suing, claiming she lost out to a far less qualified candidate. I’m not sure why they want my testimony.”

“Which side are you testifying for?”

“The security firm…any tips?”

“Stick to the facts of the background checks and be very careful with your opinions. I had a similar case not long after I first got into this business. I conducted background checks on a group of applicants for an upper level position in a banking firm. As in your case, one of the applicants sued for being bypassed for what she called a less qualified candidate. The bank felt they had a solid case and, in my opinion, they did. In the court testimony, however, one of the bank’s personnel managers on the hiring panel stupidly commented on the witness stand that he considered the plaintiff a dullard. When the judge’s final ruling came down in favor of the plaintiff, the word ‘dullard’ appeared five times in the written decision. He cited it as an example of a preconceived bias. As a result, the plaintiff ended up getting the job and the careless personnel manager wound up without one. He was fired.”

“I’ll be sure to watch my language,” Tamra declared.

“When’s the court date? It’s not going to interfere with present business, is it?”

“No, it’s a month away.”

“You’re fortunate, though I should say we’re fortunate. Often those subpoenas are served hours in advance,” he said. “Nothing like having a monkey wrench thrown into your regular workday plans before you even get started on them.”

Adam paused a moment, reflecting on Tamra’s proposal about who would handle which assignment. Both cases could present dangerous circumstances, he knew from previous experience, so trading cases based on the facts as presently known could be premature.

“Tamra, I’m not comfortable leaving you in charge of a domestic case that could go awry,” he said.

“The future is always unclear, no matter what type of case we take on,” she countered.

“This is the nature of the business we’re in.”

“Then promise me that you’ll fill me in the moment your intuition tells you that you’re in over your head.”

“You’ll be the first to know, she said, gathering her notes. “With that in mind, we best hit the road.”

About the author

Henry Hoffman is a former newspaper editor and public library manager. He is the author of the Adam Fraley Mystery Series and is the recipient of the Florida Publishers Association’s Gold Medal Award for Florida Fiction.

Contact Links

Website: http://www.henryhoffman.net

GoodReads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/87713.Henry_Hoffman

Promo Link: http://bookbuzz.net/blog/mystery-two-for-the-road-by-henry-hoffman/

Purchase Links

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Two-Road-Adam-Fraley-Mystery-ebook/dp/B08GMC5JBV/

B&N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/two-for-the-road-henry-hoffman/1137540074?ean=2940162699859

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Publisher: http://www.melange-books.com/authors/henryhoffman/tworoad.html

[Release Blitz]: The Cold War Begins by Roger L. Liles

Second Volume of the Berlin Tunnel Trilogy

 Genre: Historical Fiction

Date Published: September 8, 2020

From Amazon bestsellers list author Roger L. Liles comes the second volume of his Cold War trilogy—THE COLD WAR BEGINS. The setting is war-ravaged Berlin in late 1946. Spies from both sides begin to move with relative ease throughout a Germany occupied by British, French, American and Russian military forces. Kurt Altschuler, our hero, soon becomes one of them.

While working behind enemy lines as an OSS agent in France during World War II, Kurt learns that intelligence collection involves both exhilarating and dangerous encounters with the enemy. He relished every moment he spent as part of the vanguard confronting the Nazis.

That war has been over for 18 months when he is offered a job as a CIA deep-cover agent in the devastated and divided city of Berlin. He jumps at the opportunity, but is concerned that his guise as an Associated Press News Agency reporter will offer little action. He need not worry. Soon, he is working undercover, deep inside of Russian-controlled southeastern Germany. Eventually, KGB agents waylay him and tear his car and luggage apart. His chauffeur is beaten. He is threatened with prison, torture and death.

Enter Erica Hoffmann, a very attractive, aspiring East German archeology student. Any relationship between an undercover CIA agent and an East German woman is strictly forbidden; she might be a KGB or Stasi agent or operative. But he cannot help himself—he has fallen hard for her. Kurt strives assiduously to maintain their tempestuous, star-crossed relationship.

Eventually, Kurt works to counter the efforts of Russian and East German spies, especially a mole who is devastating Western Intelligence assets throughout Europe. He also must work to identify and expose enemy spies who have penetrated the very fabric of the West German government and society. He frequently observes to others that: “the spy business is like knife fighting in a dark closet; you know you’re going to be cut up, you just don’t know how bad.”

About the author

Roger L. Liles decided he had to earn a living after a BA and graduate studies in Modern European History. He went back to school and eventually earned an MS in Engineering from the University of Southern California in 1970. 
In the 1960s, he served as an Air Force Signals Intelligence Officer in Turkey and Germany and eventually lived in Europe for a total of eight years. He worked in the military electronics field for forty years—his main function was to translate engineering jargon into understandable English and communicate it to senior decision-makers in the government.
Now retired after working for forty years as a senior engineering manager and consultant with a number of aerospace companies, he spends his days writing. His first novel, which was published in late 2018 was titled The Berlin Tunnel—A Cold War Thriller. His second novel The Cold War Begins was published in late 2020 and is the second volume in his planned The Cold War Trilogy. This trilogy is based on extensive research into Berlin during the spy-versus-spy era which followed World War II and his personal experience while living and working in Europe. He is in the process of writing its third volume of the trilogy which will be titled The Berlin Tunnel—Another Crisis and takes the story into 1962 and the era of the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Contact Link

Website: http://RogerLLiles.com

Purchase Link

Amazon Link Coming Soon

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[Guest Post]: A Venomous Love by Chris Karlsen

 

Writing an Old Fashioned Detective

 

I spent nineteen of my twenty-five years in law enforcement as a detective. Long before I became a police officer, I wanted to be a writer. But I feared it wasn’t a practical profession and lacked the confidence to an attempt at it. Shortly after I retired from law enforcement, I found the courage to try my hand writing a story that I had floated around in my imagination for years. I started taking classes to learn the craft and began my first book at the same time.

When I went to conferences and seminars the same question was asked: why don’t I write a cop story? I never had the desire to write a contemporary one murder/suspense. I enjoy a good police story as much as anyone. My favorite authors in the genre are Mike Connelly, Joe Wambaugh, and John Sandford. I just didn’t want to take that road.

I love history and began a series of historical romances involving time travel. While writing that series I got the idea for an old fashioned detective. I knew he’d work in London and I couldn’t think of a better setting for murder/suspense than Victorian England. From that idea, Detective Rudyard Bloodstone (Ruddy) was created.

When I started the Bloodstone series, it hadn’t occurred to me how much of my personal experience as a detective would influence the stories. I used my years of interviewing suspects to enhance the mindset(s) of the killers. I found including the POV of the antagonists added a lot of interesting aspects to their characters. They remained villains, but they weren’t flat, black and white ones.

In the first book, Silk, Detective Bloodstone must battle politics and the class structure while pursuing his suspect. In Snifter of Death, the second book, he and his partner find themselves investigating a killer that is the last person anyone would suspect. In my latest book, A Venomous Love, there are two villains. An added twist to the case is the murderer’s use of a most unusual weapon.

My detective experience became important in the execution of Ruddy’s investigations. Silk is set in 1888, Snifter of Death in 1889 and A Venomous Love in 1890. He literally has no forensic science to help him. With each murder, I had to walk the scene with him, observe with him, and consider what could possibly serve as a clue. To stay true to the period, I had to strip away everything I knew from modern investigations and fall back on old fashioned police work.

Detectives everywhere, and over time, have all handled the occasional bizarre case. One of the main elements of A Venomous Love is the weapon used. It is based on an actual event related to me years ago by a London police officer friend of mine. The setting, the time of the story and the weapon add a colorful angle.

I found the challenge of writing a cop story with a Victorian setting surprisingly fun. Detective Bloodstone has become my favorite character to write. I love filling his world with people from all walks of life in that period. He definitely will get more cases to solve in the near future.

 

 

Beginners-Guide-to-Simple-Cooking-twitter-image

 

About the book 

 

A Venomous Love final cover

 

Book 3 of the Bloodstone Series

Genre: Historical Suspense/Thriller

 Date Published: February 28, 2020

Publisher:  Books to Go Now

The killer whispered-“A pretty damsel…worth a pretty risk.”

 

A veteran, Detective Rudyard Bloodstone has fought a brutal battle and witnessed war horrors that haunt his nightmares. Now one of those horrors has followed him home from Africa.

A vicious predator, the Cape cobra, can kill a man in thirty minutes. A suspect using the snake as a weapon in robberies is terrorizing London.

When the crimes escalate into murder, a victim’s daughter, Honoria Underhill, becomes the focus of the killer. After several attempts on her life, Scotland Yard threatens to take over the high profile case. With few leads to follow, Bloodstone and his partner must now fight department politics and catch the killer before Underhill becomes another murder victim.

 

A Venomous Love Tour

 

About the author 

 

 

ChrisAuthor

I was raised in Chicago. My father, a history professor, and my mother, a voracious reader passed on a love of history and books along with a love of travel.

I am a retired police detective. After twenty-five years in law enforcement I decided to pursue my dream of writing. I write a historical-time travel romance series called Knights in Time and a historical suspense called The Bloodstone Series.

I am also working on a world war two series of novella romances. The first is Moonlight Serenade and currently available. The second is my work in progress at the moment and will be titled, The Ack-Ack Girl.

 

Contact Links

Website: https://chriskarlsen.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ChrisKarlsenAuthor/?eid=ARDwh1KvkROLq57XcR6XR9Bbw_-Chyy4hL-c5wrq0kQK2lKjUGjl-FSfdpl_iDk3HEqVCT150TFk0jPq

Twitter: https://twitter.com/chriskarlsen1

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4822048.Chris_Karlsen

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/chriskarlsen/boards/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/?hl=en

Subscribe: https://www.subscribepage.com/Moonlight_Serenade

 

 

A Venomous Love Giveaway

 

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Giveaway

2 e-copies of A Venomous Love, 1 Amazon gift card for $20 to a random winner

[Book Blitz]: The Ultra Betrayal by Glenn Dyer

 

The Ultra Betrayal

 

A Conor Thorn Novel, Book Two

Genre: Thriller, Historical Thriller, Military Thriller

Released: June 9, 2020

Publisher: TMR Press

One man’s dark deal with the Nazis could bring the Allies to their knees…

Autumn, 1942. Rule breaker OSS Agent Conor Thorn is assigned a mission to help the Allied war effort when a key Swedish cryptographer stationed in England goes missing. Thorn is determined to find him before critical information falls into enemy hands, but when his MI6 colleague vanishes trailing the code-breaker to Stockholm, Thorn is plunged yet again into a sinister Nazi conspiracy.

Can Thorn stop prized secrets from triggering more wartime carnage?

The Ultra Betrayal is the second novel in the thrilling Conor Thorn spy series. If you like harrowing historical drama, riveting espionage, and fast-paced action, then you’ll love Glenn Dyer’s well-researched World War II adventure.

Other Books in the Conor Thorn Thriller Series:

 

The Torch Betrayal Book One

 

The Torch Betrayal

A Conor Thorn Novel, Book One

Publisher: TMR Press

Released: January 2018

A disgraced agent. A missing battle plan. Will he find redemption or damage the Allies beyond repair?

London, 1942. OSS Agent Conor Thorn is desperate for a second chance. After a botched mission in Tangier, Thorn knows failure is not an option. When confidential directives for Operation Torch, the invasion of North Africa, go missing, the agent must recover the plans before the Nazis thwart the crucial mission.

Thorn teams up with MI6 agent Emily Bright to seek out the traitor in their midst. Untangling the web of suspects leads them to Nazi sympathizers, double-crossing Soviet spies, and Vatican clergymen with motives of their own. As their mission grows more and more dangerous, Thorn and Bright have one chance to retrieve the document before it falls into enemy hands, leaving countless Allied troops in danger.

The Torch Betrayal is a high-stakes World War II thriller inspired by true events.

 

 

Purchase Links

 

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Excerpt

CHAPTER SEVENTY-TWO

 

1915 Hours, Friday, October 30, 1942

Lysekil Harbor, Lysekil, Sweden

 

Conor and Emily shared a wooden crate in the back of the truck. Eve and Gunnar did the same. They had been on the road for ten minutes when the truck made a right turn and pulled to a stop. Conor pushed the rear canvas flap aside and saw that they had arrived at a gas station. Bobby came to the back of the truck.

“The driver said that he has to fill up for his deliveries tomorrow morning. That’s his routine. It won’t take long.”

“Long enough for a phone call?”

“I guess.”

Conor hopped down and headed inside the station’s office. There wasn’t anyone inside, so he laid a few krona on the desk, dialed the Grand Hotel, and asked for Gus Karlson.

“Are you there yet?” Karlson asked.

“Close. Maybe another fifteen, twenty minutes. Any fallout from our fishing trip?”

“Quite a lot. Tolberg visited us. The C Bureau is pretty grumpy. The body count at the Andersson house was out of hand, as far as they’re concerned. They say that quite a few people from all three legations are going to be sent home. I might be one of them.”

“Wait, you said three legations?”

“There were three dead Russians at the house, along with one German.”

“How did the Russians get involved?”

“They have eyes and ears everywhere, Conor.” 

A man in a grease-smeared coverall walked into the office through a rear door. He held his hands up as if to say, What the hell?

Conor pointed at the coins on the desk. 

The man shrugged and sat down. 

“Could they have been a competing buyer for Lind’s intelligence?” Conor believed that, once the war was over, the shotgun marriage that was the relationship between the Americans, Brits, and Soviets wouldn’t last long. 

“Wouldn’t put it past them.”

“Any sign of Eklof or Stuben?”

“Actually, they have been noticeably absent of late.”

“That’s not necessarily good news.” Conor saw Bobby waving at him from the cab of the truck. “Gotta get going, Gus. Keep your head down.”

“I could say the same thing to you. By the way, you taking good care of Ramsay’s Volvo?”

Conor dropped the phone in the cradle, gave the man a quick nod, and walked out to the truck. Conor stepped up into the cab and sat next to Bobby. He wanted to study the lay of the land as they made their approach to the harbor area.

Less than fifteen minutes later, they were driving along a road that ran beside a long wharf. The dockside was lit by a sparse number of streetlights. Three fishing trawlers were tied up along the wharf, all of their pilothouses lit up and their navigation lights on. Conor could see a few men washing down the decks with hoses. The driver pulled into a dirt lot adjacent to a long, three-story warehouse. At the near end was a sign for a fishmonger, most likely the driver’s boss. Farther down the quay, Conor could make out the shape of a motor gun boat tied up close to a single railcar. According to the extraction plan, it was motor gun boat 622, the Fairmile D. The Dog Boat. The same one that he and Donovan saw demonstrating high-speed maneuvers in the Thames. All armaments were removed from sight, and extra fuel was supposed to be on board. It was to fly the red ensign of a merchantman, crewed by trawler men from Hull. The captain, a man called Peter Scott, was former Royal Navy. 

A sedan parked near the gun boat caught his attention. Conor couldn’t make out who or how many people were inside, but he knew they were enjoying cigarettes given the smoke drifting out the open windows. 

The driver of the truck cut the engine, placed the keys in the visor, and said something to Bobby.

“What’s up?” Conor asked.

“Our friend here is going home to his family. He says we can stay in the truck as long as we like.”

Conor looked at his watch: 1934 hours. “Tell him we’ll be moving on in a few minutes. And thank him for the ride.”

The driver jumped down from the cab and headed up a sloping road toward the center of town. 

“What now?” Bobby asked.

“Do you see that car parked down near the railcar and the gun boat?”

“Yeah.”

“Not sure who they are, but the chances that they’re keeping an eye on our transportation out of Sweden is good. The problem is, they can’t see us board or we’ll never get out of here.”

“So do we wait them out?”

“No time for that.” Conor got out and went to the rear of the truck. 

Emily was sitting on the crate, gun held loosely in her lap. Eve and Gunnar were dozing. Gunnar’s hands were still bound behind his back. 

“Emily, I’m going to drive us down to the dock where the gun boat is tied up. As soon as I stop, get moving and board.”

“Understood.” At that moment, Eve and Gunnar woke up. 

“And for good measure, get the gag back in Gunnar’s mouth.”

Conor walked around to the driver’s-side door, jumped up, started the truck, and pulled out of the lot.

“You going to tell me what your plan is at any point?” Bobby asked.

“Once I get rid of our visitors, we board the boat. Not complicated.” 

Bobby said something, but Conor couldn’t make it out over the sound of the truck’s engine. He kept the truck in first gear as he set it on a direct path to the rear of the sedan. The truck’s headlights revealed two men turning around in their seats to watch the truck coming toward them. Conor glanced over at the motor gun boat and saw someone in the pilothouse, as well as a plume of dark exhaust spouting from the boat’s stern. 

Ten feet from the sedan, the passenger-side door opened, and he punched the gas. The force of metal on metal closed the door. The truck picked up some speed as it began to push the sedan toward the end of the wharf, but progress slowed as it fought the braking power of the car. More gas and the sedan and truck neared the end of the quay. The sedan balanced on the wharf’s edge momentarily before tumbling into the harbor.

“Let’s go.”

Conor jumped out of the cab and rushed to the back of the truck. Emily was on the ground, helping Eve jump down. Gunnar was right behind her. With the truck engine silent, the throaty sound of the motor gun boat’s engines filled the night. Conor was last to board. 

“Get them below, Emily. Bobby, tell the captain that now would be a good time to shove off. Those two guys might be good swimmers.”

Conor heard the car before he saw it, but the headlights quickly found him on the aft section of the deck. The car skidded to a stop under a streetlight. The driver got out, then the passenger. Eklof. 

Conor reached for his Colt, but before he could raise it, Eklof fired off two rounds. A deckhand on the foredeck tossed the last line into the water and took cover behind the craft’s superstructure. As the gun boat started to drift from the quay, Conor fired two rounds, shattering the window of the door that Eklof was using as cover. The driver began firing as well, rounds whizzing over Conor’s head. Bobby and Emily started firing from the bridge, and soon the driver fell to the ground behind his door. 

As the gun boat pulled forward, Eklof sprinted toward the stern. Conor pulled the trigger of his Colt, but the gun’s slide snapped back, signaling an empty magazine. He dropped the gun on the deck as Eklof leaped and landed on the aft deck, losing his balance due to the accelerating boat, which, luckily, kept him from firing accurately. Before he could regain his balance, Conor raced toward him. Jumping, he planted both feet into Eklof’s chest. Eklof’s pistol flew into the air and landed in the boat’s prop wash, while Conor landed on his back, knocking the air from his lungs.

Eklof struggled to his feet, also gasping for air. He charged Conor, who had barely gotten to his feet, and landed on him. Eklof wrapped his arms around his chest, pinning Conor’s upper arms against his body. Eklof landed one headbutt, then another. Conor’s vision blurred. He raised his right arm and, before Eklof could launch another headbutt, grabbed the man’s ear and ripped it from his head; blood gushed, covering Conor’s hand, and Eklof let out a scream as he rolled off Conor and grabbed the side of his head. Conor, his head pounding from the headbutts, rolled on top of Eklof, grabbed his hair, and started pounding his head on the deck. 

“You. Don’t. Ever. Hit. A. Woman,” Conor screamed. Each word was punctuated with Eklof’s head slamming into the deck. Blood pooled under it, and his eye patch had come loose. The eye socket looked like a dried peach pit. 

Conor heard Eklof’s short, hoarse breaths, and he rolled off the man, grabbed his legs, and dragged him toward the stern, letting his body slip into the churning water with no fanfare, no emotion. 

When Conor turned, he noticed a commotion on the port side of the wheelhouse. Emily was bent over a body. He ran forward, the motor gun boat picking up speed. When he reached Emily, he saw that she was tending to a wounded man. Bobby Heugle. 

 

The Ultra Betrayal Blitz

 

About the author

 

The Ultra Betrayal Author Glenn Dyer

Glenn Dyer is a former commercial television executive whose career spanned thirty-seven years. That career took him to cities such as Salt Lake City, Dallas, Washington, DC, and Denver. He returned to Park City, Utah in retirement in 2013 and began writing full-time. He has long been captivated by the events of World War II and couples this fascination with his passion for historical thrillers with the publication of The Torch Betrayal and The Ultra Betrayal, both books in the Conor Thorn Series. He and his wife Chris have three children, all of whom live too far away. Visit his website at http://www.glenndyer.net and follow him on Twitter @duffy_dyer and Instagram @glennduffydyer.

 

Contact Links

Website: http://www.glenndyer.net

Twitter: https://twitter.com/duffy_dyer

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GlennDyerAuthor/

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/glenn-duffy-dyer-4960b44/

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCywxrmToBjVSIJceW0IrgZw

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/glennduffydyer/

Promo Link: http://bookbuzz.net/blog/thriller-the-ultra-betrayal/

 

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[Book Blitz]: Tokyo Traffic by Michael Pronko

 

Tokyo Traffic

 

 

Detective Hiroshi Tokyo Series, Book 3

Genre: Mystery, Thriller

Released: June 20, 2020

Publisher: Raked Gravel Press

Running from a life she didn’t choose, in a city she doesn’t know, Sukanya, a young Thai girl, loses herself in Tokyo. With her Bangkok street smarts, and some stolen money, she stays ahead of her former captors willing to do anything to recover the computer she took. After befriending Chiho, a Japanese girl living in an internet café, Sukanya makes plans to rid herself of her pursuers, and her past, forever.

Meanwhile, Detective Hiroshi Shimizu leaves the safe confines of his office to investigate a porn studio where a brutal triple murder took place. The studio’s accounts point him in multiple directions at once. Together with ex-sumo wrestler Sakaguchi and old-school Takamatsu, Hiroshi tracks the killers through Tokyo’s teen hangouts, bayside docks and crowded squares, straight into the underbelly of the global economy.

As bodies wash up from Tokyo Bay, Hiroshi tries to find the Thai girl at the center of it all, whose name he doesn’t even know. He uncovers a human trafficking ring and cryptocurrency scammers whose connections extend to the highest levels of Tokyo’s power elite.

 

 

Tokyo Traffic on tablet with bookstore logos

 

Other Books in the Detective Hiroshi Tokyo Series:

 

The Last Train Book One

 

 

The Last Train

Detective Hiroshi Tokyo Series, Book One

Published: May 2017

Publisher: Raked Gravel Press

In Tokyo, murder’s easy to hide.

Detective Hiroshi Shimizu investigates white collar crime in Tokyo. When an American businessman turns up dead, his mentor Takamatsu calls him out to the site of a grisly murder. A glimpse from a security camera video suggests the killer might be a woman. Hiroshi quickly learns how close homicide and suicide can appear in a city full of high-speed trains just a step–or a push–away.

How do you find one woman in the biggest city in the world?

Takamatsu drags Hiroshi out to the hostess clubs and skyscraper offices of Tokyo in search of the killer. Hiroshi goes deeper and deeper into Tokyo’s intricate, perilous market for buying and selling the most expensive land in the world. He teams up with ex-sumo wrestler Sakaguchi to scour Tokyo’s sacred temples, corporate offices and industrial wastelands to find out why one woman was driven to murder.

 

Buy on Amazon

 

The Moving Blade Book Two

 

The Moving Blade

Detective Hiroshi Tokyo Series, Book Two

Published: September 2018

Publisher: Raked Gravel Press

A moving blade is hidden in the blur of motion, felt but nIn Tokyo, the past is present. And deadly.

When the top American diplomat in Tokyo, Bernard Mattson, is killed, he leaves more than a lifetime of successful Japan-American negotiations. He leaves a missing manuscript, boxes of research, a lost keynote speech and a tangled web of relations.

When his alluring daughter, Jamie, returns from America wanting answers, finding only threats, Detective Hiroshi Shimizu is dragged from the safe confines of his office into the street-level realities of Pacific Rim politics.ot perceived.

With help from ex-sumo wrestler Sakaguchi, Hiroshi searches for the killer from Tokyo’s back alley bars to government offices, through anti-nuke protests to the gates of an American naval base. When two more bodies turn up, Hiroshi must choose between desire and duty, violence or procedure, before the killer silences his next victim.

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About the author

 

Tokyo Traffic Author Michael Pronko

Michael Pronko is a Tokyo-based writer of murder, memoir and music. His writing about Tokyo life and his character-driven mysteries have won awards and five-star reviews. Kirkus Reviews selected his second novel, The Moving Blade for their Best Books of 2018. The Last Train won the Shelf Unbound Competition for Best Independently Published Book.

Michael also runs the website, Jazz in Japan, which covers the vibrant jazz scene in Tokyo and Yokohama. During his 20 years in Japan, he has written about Japanese culture, art, society and politics for Newsweek Japan, The Japan Times, and Artscape Japan. He has read his essays on NHK TV and done programs for Nippon Television based on his writings.

A philosophy major, Michael traveled for years, ducking in and out of graduate schools, before finishing his PhD on Charles Dickens and film. He finally settled in Tokyo as a professor of American Literature at Meiji Gakuin University. His seminars focus on contemporary novels, short stories and film adaptations.

 

 

Contact Links

Website: https://www.michaelpronko.com/

Twitter: http://twitter.com/pronkomichael/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pronkoauthor/

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/michaelpronko

You Tube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LE1hGjg9Grg

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/michaelpronko/

Promo Link: http://bookbuzz.net/blog/mystery-thriller-tokyo-traffic/

 

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[Book Tour. Excerpt]: Speakeasy by A. M. Dunnewin

I featured this amazing novella a few weeks ago as a part of the book’s blitz. Now, you can read an excerpt. 

 

Speakeasy Cover

 

 

Genre: Suspense Thriller / Historical

Date Published: 21 December 2011

Publisher:  Dark Hour Press, LLC

The novella is centered on Eddie Durante, owner of a speakeasy who’s supported by his mobster uncle—the boss of the Durante family. Eddie is a young widower after his family’s rival, the Caprice family, murdered his wife over a territory dispute. After devising a plan that retaliated against four of the rivaling capos, Eddie is left with the daunting task to try and move on. That is, until he’s notified that the Caprices have put a hit man in the speakeasy—and Eddie’s name is on the list. But things take an unexpected turn when Eddie instead starts to find the dead bodies of his relatives, the ones who had helped in the retaliation.

Behind the backdrop of jazz music and glistening flappers, murder after murder begins to unravel as revenge takes center stage, and Eddie soon learns that some secrets can’t be taken to the grave.

 

 

 

Quote-Layout-twitter-image

 

About the author

 

Author Photo

A. M. Dunnewin grew up with a taste for mysteries and thrillers, inherited ever so lovingly from her family. An affiliate member of the Horror Writers Association, A. M.’s own stories cover a wide range of genres that tend to take a dark turn when least expected. With a B.A. in Psychology, she’s a gambler of words, obsessed with chai tea, and addicted to books – everything from classical literature to graphic novels. Other hobbies include art, history, music, equestrianism, and a good classic film. She currently dwells in Northern California.

 

Contact Links

 

Website:  www.amdunnewin.com

Facebook:  www.facebook.com/A.M.Dunnewin

Twitter:  www.twitter.com/amdunnewin

Blog:  www.amdunnewin.com

Goodreads:  www.goodreads.com/author/show/540598.A_M_Dunnewin

Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/amdunnewin/boards/

Instagram:  www.instagram.com/amdunnewin 

 

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Excerpt 

 

Once the doors were closed, Sal didn’t take long to get right to the point. “They know it was you, Eddie.”

The words slapped him across the face, but Eddie didn’t respond.

“That you were the one who came up with the idea,” Sal continued. “They’re out for

retaliation, and it’s rumored that they’ve sent a torpedo into this juice joint of yours. That’s part of the reason why I’m not being too open with the information. Afraid of who might be listening.”

A hit man in his speakeasy. Eddie stared out the windshield, watching Sal begin to light a cigarette out of the corner of his eye. “I had a lot of ideas,” he remarked hoarsely, fear and dread subtly mixing into his thoughts.

“Only took one,” Sal responded as he lit the cigarette. He silently offered one to Eddie, who refused with a shake of his head. “Sorry, kid,” Sal explained as he took a puff. “After what they did to your wife, I wouldn’t have blamed ya.”

Eddie remained silent, his eyes drifting to the bootleggers who were moving the last of the crates. No wonder they weren’t laying their eyes on him. He was a dead target.

Sal took another drag on his cigarette, taking a moment for himself. “Don’t worry,

though,” he finally remarked. “Your family’s got your back. My brother-in-law, your dear uncle, has requested that Joe stay by your side until we can square away if there’s a torpedo and who it is.”

“What?” Eddie balked, shattering his calm exterior.

“It’s temporary,” Sal cooed, trying to calm the young man down. “He’s just some extra protection.”

Eddie gawked, unable to believe that they’d send Joe, of all people, to protect him. “He’s crazy,” was all Eddie could summarize when it came to his cousin.

“He’s happy,” Sal tried to smooth over.

“Trigger happy,” Eddie corrected.

Sal shrugged his shoulders. “He gets the job done. And when the boss’ favorite nephew needs protection, the boss will only send the very best.”

“I don’t need protection,” Eddie fought back, trying not to raise his voice to the lunacy.

“And even if I did, I have Anthony and Marcus in there—”

“Little orphan Anthony and Baby Marcus?” Sal choked, half laughing, half sputtering on the cigarette smoke. “Marcus is too naive, and Anthony,” but Sal had to chuckle first before he could continue. “Well, ya better just pray your killer isn’t a female.”

“Thanks for warning me,” Eddie begrudgingly admitted as he pulled the door handle…

 

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[Release Blitz]: Lake Effect by K.C. Gillis

 

 

Lake Effect

 

A Jordan Reed Mystery

Genre: Mystery, Thriller

Release Date: May 26, 2020

Publisher: Chesterfield Press

Mysterious marina accidents. Destroyed evidence. Can a tenacious reporter decipher the twisted clues at a small-town lake?

Jordan Reed is burned out from all the attention on her previous high-profile story. But when a new lead lands in her lap, she reluctantly postpones her vacation to investigate a classic New England marina. With hundreds of dead fish washing up on Copper Lake’s otherwise pristine shores, Jordan suspects a sinister cover-up.

But by the time she arrives on the scene, she’s surprised to discover the police chief eliminated every last carcass and seems hellbent on blocking her inquiries. And her search for the culprit takes a perilous turn when gambling kingpins descend on the city and a string of unexplained calamities plague the docks.

Can Jordan expose the corruption, or will she be the next to go belly-up?

Lake Effect is the second book in the fast-paced Jordan Reed mystery series. If you like steely female sleuths, gripping action, and clever twists that’ll keep you guessing, then you’ll love K.C. Gillis’s page-turning mystery.

Buy Lake Effect to dive into dangerous waters today!

Other Books in the Jordan Reed Mystery series:

 

Toxic Deception Book One

 

Toxic Deception

A Jordan Reed Mystery

Publisher: Chesterfield Press

Published: February 2020

Strange symptoms. Bloody secrets. Can one reporter solve a medical mystery before she ends up in a body bag?

Jordan Reed put her world on hold to hunt down corruption. So when the gutsy journalist gets tipped off about blood money changing hands at a pharmaceutical factory, she dives into the story. With an otherwise healthy worker dropping dead of multiple organ failure, Jordan suspects something far more sinister than a simple accident…

Daring to go up against big pharma, she gains an ally on the inside and recruits two friends to join the investigation. But after a string of false leads and tight-lipped witnesses, she ties her case to disturbingly similar evidence in a medical trial on the other side of the globe. And if she doesn’t expose the lethal conspiracy soon, Jordan is terrified she and her team could be the next victims of the lethal cover-up.

Can Jordan take down a greedy corporation before they sacrifice more lives in the drive for profit?

Toxic Deception is the first book in the gripping Jordan Reed thriller series. If you like tenacious heroines, underdog stories, and edge-of-your-seat action, then you’ll love K.C. Gillis’s page-turning tale.

Buy Toxic Deception to unravel a contagious mystery today!

 

Amazon

 

Lake Effect on tablet with book cover background

 

About the author 

 

Lake Effect Author K.C. Gillis

K.C. (Kevin) Gillis is the author of the Jordan Reed mystery series. Despite being a lifelong lover of stories and books, writing took a distant back seat as his professional career travelled through the Canadian Air Force, a decade as a chemist, followed by a long and continuing run in corporate America.
With writing no longer in the back seat (but not quite yet in the front seat), Kevin now has the Jordan Reed series well underway. His personal interests focus on endurance and water sports. Having grown up in the Canadian Maritimes, he now lives in the US northeast.

 

 

Contact Links 

Website: http://www.kcgillis.com

Twitte: http://twitter.com/kcgilliswriter

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/kcgilliswriter

Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/kcgilliswriter

Promo Link: http://bookbuzz.net/blog/mystery-thriller-lake-effect/ 

 

Purchase Link 

 

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[Release Blitz]: The Org by Scott Brody

TheOrg_BookCover (1)

Genre: Political Thriller
Date Published: April 14, 2020
Publisher: Waterton Publishing Company
The Org, is set in the near future, when the effects of the global climate crisis are leading to food shortages, extreme deteriorating weather conditions, and increasing panic. After the mysterious murder of one of his followers, the leader of the EcoParty, Lee Beloit, uses his charisma, skill, and guile to transform his organization from a tiny cult-like party into a national movement, with fighting climate change as his platform. His polling numbers are way up, and his movement is growing exponentially, but he and his followers are in the fight of their lives, as President Leo Pine sends people to battle Org members in the streets. Beloit fights back, pushing his people to the breaking point. He decides the time is right to declare for the Democratic Party nomination for President.
 But journalist Walt Jones is preparing to expose the fact that Beloit is protecting a killer. The NYPD is pulling search warrants to find out what Beloit’s campaign knows about the murder. After years of obscurity, Beloit is finally becoming a real factor in American politics, but he knows his campaign could collapse if this came out. He is determined not to let that happen. His top lieutenant, Juan Garcia, decides it’s time for him to act and initiates a plan to silence any threats to the campaign.
The Org Blitz
About the author: 

Head Shot Scott Brody (1)

I grew up in a political home in New York, where some of my first memories were of the older generations arguing about politics, meeting and supporting candidates, going off on freedom rides, and supporting Adlai Stevenson and the young nation of Israel. In my teens, in the 1960’s I learned from, and joined in, the political and cultural ferment of the time.
I marched against the war in Vietnam, listened to Jean Shepherd on WOR and to WBAI until all hours, read Ray Bradbury and Ramparts, and ended the decade going to Woodstock in 1969, the summer I graduated from High School. After college, I spent a few years in a political group similar to the one fictionally depicted in The Org. After that, I got into broadcasting, married my wife Judy, and we had a daughter and two sons. We now have a grandson and live in Southern California.
Contact Links
Twitter: @scottbrody1000
Purchase Links: Amazon

 

[Book Review]: The Old Man’s Request by Joab Stieglitz

 

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Genre: Horror, thriller, noir

Published: November 3rd, 2018

Publisher: Rantings of a Wandering Mind

 

Fifty years ago, a group of college friends dabbled in the occult and released a malign presence on the world. Now, on his deathbed, the last of the students enlists the aid of three newcomers to banish the thing they summoned.Hampered by the old man’s greedy son, the wizened director of the university library, and a private investigator with a troubled past, can Russian anthropologist Anna Rykov, Doctor Harry Lamb, and Father Sean O’Malley gather the knowledge and resources needed to defeat the entity?The Old Man’s Request is a pulp adventure set in the 1920s, and the first part of the Utgarda Trilogy.

 

About the author:  

Joab Stieglitz was born and raised in the Warren, New Jersey. He is an Application Consultant for a software company.  He has also worked as a software trainer, a network engineer, a project manager, and a technical writer over his 30 year career. He lives in Alexandria, Virginia.

He is an avid tabletop RPG player and game master of horror, espionage, fantasy, and science fiction genres, including Savage Worlds (Mars, Deadlands, Agents of Oblivion, Apocalypse Prevention Inc, Herald: Tesla and Lovecraft, Thrilling Tales, and others), Call of Cthulhu, Lamentations of the Flame Princess, and Pathfinder.

Joab channeled his role-playing experiences in the Utgarda Series, which are pulp adventure novels with Lovecraftian influences set in the 1920’s.

You can follow Joab on Twitter @JoabStieglitz and his blog joabstieglitz.com

 

 

My review: 

This is the first book of Joab Stieglitz I’ve read. The author has made a lot of research and described well the dark and unsettling atmosphere of the place. All characters are believable, but Anna, a Russian anthropologist, is probably, my favourite one. She’s a strong woman who went through a lot in her life, but didn’t lose her charm and drive.
It’s not quite clear though what exactly has happened to her in Dr. Lamb’s house, and it stays a mystery. I hope to learn more about it in the next book.
I’d also prefer to learn more about detective, his first encounter with a ritual, and people who conducted it. In the book, it’s described only once as his flashback. It’s not quite clear on what stage he became possessed by a demon.
The book has a bit of horror and graphic violence in it, but just enough to keep it within the noir/paranormal genre, without going too gory. The plot is well-balanced and fast-paced which I like in thrillers.
A bit too much details of the characters’ appearance and description of the places, but I suppose, it’s a part of the author’s style.
I’d recommend this book to all fans of Lovecraftian horror and fast-paced thrillers. It’s a great, easy, quick read.

 

Purchase Links:

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[Book tour]: Double Blind by Sara Winokur

 

Doubleblindnew

Genre: Mystery Thriller

Date Published: March 31, 2020

Publisher: Anchor House Publishing

A young boy disappears in the chill of North Iceland. Twenty years later, a mysterious poem lands on the desk of his twin sister Brynja, a forensic geneticist, and rekindles her hopes that her brother might be alive. As Brynja unravels the clues, more poems arrive, each bearing dire consequences for those who receive them: the guard of the medieval manuscript of Icelandic sagas that possibly has the answer to her burning question, the prime minister’s secretary, the local pastor.

Is the poet out to stop Brynja from finding her brother and shut down her access to the DNA database? Or is the verse maker simply a psychopath copycat killer?

Fighting the visual auras that have plagued her since childhood and now threaten everything she holds dear, Brynja must summon the strength to navigate the twisted labyrinth of the poet’s mind and confront the dark secret buried in her family’s past.

DOUBLE BLIND is a wild ride through the cultural landscape of Iceland, from rural farmsteads to icy fjords to the high-tech world of DNA forensics. This crime thriller packed with twists and turns that will keep you on the edge of your seat until the very end.

 

 

The-Ultimate-guide-to-living-Healthy-facebook-post-3

 

About the author: 

 

Sara Winokur

Sara Winokur is a geneticist and researcher who reinvented herself as an author. She writes historical fiction and cultural thrillers hoping to inform readers while they’re being entertained.

Sara has a Masters in Cytogenetics for cancer diagnosis and a Ph.D. for her work on Muscular Dystrophy, identifying mutations that cause disease. She is also a consultant at the University of California and an Associate Researcher at the Biological Chemistry School of Medicine at Irvine. She was part of the team that found the genes associated with Dwarfism and Huntington’s Disease.

 

 

Contact Links

Website: sarawinokur.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sarawinokurauthor/

Instagram: sara_winokur

Purchase Links

Amazon: https://amzn.to/3c2p5EJ

Giveaway

Amazon Gift Card $25

 

Excerpt 

 

Eyjafjörður, North Iceland
April 1997
First Day of Summer

Lúkas was seven winters that day, the day he froze in time and memory.
It was mid-morning when the children pressed their noses to the window, Lúkas in his
Thor superhero jammies and Brynja in princess-pink. Below, an icy wind howled off the fjord, battering the red and white flaps of the carnival tent—a giant, striped bird that had landed on thesnowy patch of farmland below their house. The townspeople were gathered at the fair, huddled in their heavy, gray overcoats, their chatter frozen in white puffs. Their neighbors, hardy farmers
in rough-knit sweaters, stomped their boots and greeted one another with a clap on the back.
The two—twins and inseparable—bundled into woolies and raced across the hall. Brynja
begged their father Pabbi to let them go down to the fair.
“Too young, my little lambs,” he said. “Next year.” He kissed the tops of their
heads and shuffled back to Mamma.
Brynja poked her head into the kitchen, though she knew she shouldn’t. Pabbi had
just said no.
“Jónas?”
“Well, well, litla mín,” he said, flipping slices of blood sausage in the pan atop the
stove.
“Breakfast will be ready soon.”
Brynja clasped her hands together. “Can Lúkas and I go to the carnival first? Please?
We’ll watch out for each other. I promise.”

The farm manager never said a lot, so she knew to be patient while he thought about it.
“You’ll have to ask your father.”
“I did.” Brynja turned and put her finger to her lips, daring Lúkas to stay quiet. She
wasn’t lying. She did ask Pabbi.
“Okay, then, just for a bit. But keep an eye on each other.” Jónas shook his finger.
“No pony rides or talking to strangers.”
Brynja grabbed Lúkas’s hand and ran to the entry. They hurried to throw on their
winter coats, stuffed their stockinged feet into rubber boots, and quietly shut the door. Taking the long way around the house, they avoided Pabbi and Mamma’s bedroom window.
Brynja held onto Lúkas as they tromped down the hill through snowdrifts piled high
against the cliffs. They had to stop more than once to clear the snow from inside their boots.
Ducking under the carnival tent, they wandered among tables stacked with deep-fried
kleinur and steaming pots of cocoa. They peeled off their icy-cold mittens and warmed their hands against the cups as they sipped the hot, sweet liquid. Nearby, the sizzle of grilled lamb mixing with the sulfur smell of manure made Brynja feel a little sick, but that didn’t stop her from burying her face in sticky, pink clouds of cotton candy.
They had their pictures taken. Brynja put the tiny photos into the silver locket that hung
about her neck. They painted their faces green and white, looking like the elves that roamed the highlands. They played ring toss and fed the newborn lambs. Tractors rumbled. Accordions bellowed. Farmers raised their mugs and shouted, “Skál!” The old folks sang. A man tied balloons into monkeys and dogs. One popped in Lúkas’s hand when he held it too tight. Circus music piping through speakers drew Brynja to the up-and-down, round-and-round, every-color-in-the-rainbow carousel. Mesmerized by the wild eyes and flowing manes  of the painted horses, she pulled Lúkas from the tent and ran across the clearing in the field.
“Two tickets,” she said, digging deep for the krónur Jónas had tucked into her pocket.
Lúkas stomped his foot. “No. Jónas said not to go on any pony rides.”
“Come on,” Brynja pleaded, tugging his arm. “It’s a merry-go-round. Not a real horse.”
Lúkas folded his arms across his chest.
“No.” “Please? We have to stay together.”
He shook his head.
“Okay, then, wait right here. I’ll only be a minute.” She pulled the red ribbon from
her braid and handed it to Lúkas before giving him a quick hug. “Take this. And don’t
worry. Wave to me and I will see you from the carousel.”
She climbed atop a painted pony. The merry-go-round jerked, then spun about, faster
and faster, until the waves of her hair flew with the horse’s mane. Soaring above the
crowd, she let go of the reins, lifted her face to the sun, and kissed the clear, blue sky.
With each exhilarating turn, Lúkas grew smaller and smaller, until, when the
carousel slowed and the horses reared to a halt, he was nowhere to be seen.