Thursday, 27 October 2016

The Girls Next Door by Mel Sherratt

The Girls Next Door by Mel Sherratt
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

One warm spring evening, five teenagers meet in a local park. Only four will come out alive.

Six months after the stabbing of sixteen-year-old Deanna Barker, someone is coming after the teenagers of Stockleigh, as a spate of vicious assaults rocks this small community. Revenge for Deanna? Or something more?

Detective Eden Berrisford is locked into a race against time to catch the twisted individual behind the attacks – but when her own niece, Jess Mountford, goes missing, the case gets personal.

With the kidnapper threatening Jess’s life, can Eden bring back her niece to safety? Or will the people of Stockleigh be forced to mourn another daughter…?

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I thought I had the plot figured out while reading this book when everything suddenly takes a turn I did not expect and I was really taken by surprise about the change. That pretty much summons up my feeling about this book. That and that Mel Sherratt really knows how to write an intriguing story which pulls you in right from the start. This is, by the way, the first book I have read by Mel Sherratt and I'm quite looking forward to reading her other books.

The Girls Next Door is a book about women, that's how I feel, sure there are men in the book, both good and bad. But, I strongly felt that this story was about mothers, sisters, cousins, best friends. We have the mother who has lost a daughter, the other mother who is waiting to know the faith of her daughter. The sisters that are joined in heartache when one of their daughters is kidnapped. Cousins that were one's close, but then a secret tore them apart. And we have the two best friends that share secrets and now has to live with the consequences of their actions.

I found this book to be intriguing to read, and I like that not everything is how it seemed and I'm looking forward to reading the next book in the series to find out more about the characters, and what the actions in this book will do to their lives.

I want to thank Bookouture for providing me with a free copy through NetGalley for an honest review!

Cover Crush: The Good at Heart by Ursula Werner




Erin over at Flashlight Commentary is the one that came up with the cover crush idea and I loved it so much that I decided that every Thursday would I post a cover that I really love. 

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When I'm looking for a good cover for my weekly Cover Crush is my first priority that it need to catch me eyes while I'm browsing. This one absolutely did that. I love how the face in the background is not entirely showing and how the smoke from the train shows up on the white part in the middle of the cover. It's a cover that makes me curious.


Description:

Based on the author’s discoveries about her great-grandfather, this stunning debut novel takes place over three days when World War II comes to the doorstep of an ordinary German family living in an idyllic, rural village near the Swiss border.
When World War II breaks out, Edith and Oskar Eberhardt move their family—their daughter, Marina; son-in-law, Franz; and their granddaughters—out of Berlin and into a small house in the quiet town of Blumental, near Switzerland. A member of Hitler’s cabinet, Oskar is gone most of the time, and Franz begins fighting in the war, so the women of the house are left to their quiet lives in the picturesque village.

But life in Blumental isn’t as idyllic as it appears. An egotistical Nazi captain terrorizes the citizens he’s assigned to protect. Neighbors spy on each other. Some mysteriously disappear. Marina has a lover who also has close ties to her family and the government. Thinking none of them share her hatred of the Reich, she joins a Protestant priest smuggling Jewish refugees over the nearby Swiss border. The latest “package” is two Polish girls who’ve lost the rest of their family, and against her better judgement, Marina finds she must hide them in the Eberhardt’s cellar. Everything is set to go smoothly until Oskar comes home with the news that the Führer will be visiting the area for a concert, and he will be making a house call on the Eberhardts.


Based on the author’s discoveries about her great-grandfather, this extraordinary debut, full of love, tragedy, and suspense, is a sensitive portrait of a family torn between doing their duty for their country and doing what’s right for their country, and especially for those they love.

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Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Blog Tour: After The Texans by Declan Milling

After The Texans Blurb

Having exposed the corrupt government in Papua New Guinea, the UN’s carbon market watchdog is riding high. But Emil Pfeffer, its head of market integrity, is in meltdown. The UN investigation has been shelved and his girlfriend, Johanna, has been kidnapped as insurance that his inquiries will go no further.

Wracked by guilt and desperate to find her, Emil finds himself thrust into the high-stakes battle being waged for control of the world’s remaining fossil fuel resources.

It's economic war for hegemony over the future of global energy, being played out against a backdrop of Australian domestic politics, where coal mining and the Great Barrier Reef are locked in a fight to the death.

After The Texans is the second novel in the Carbon Black series
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Purchase from Amazon

About Declan Milling

Declan Milling has over thirty years experience as an environmental lawyer. Born in Australia,he holds degrees in science and law and a masters degree in environmental law. Currently based in the United Kingdom, Milling divides his time between London and Edinburgh. His first novel, Carbon Black, was released in 2014.



Learn more about the Carbon Black series: 


Carbon Black, the first book in the series, is set at the end of this decade. It introduces Emil Pfeffer, an UN bureaucrat with the body charged with making the global carbon market work. He’s a pretty self-contained sort of guy who is on top of things until one of his staff is killed while on assignment in PNG. He goes there to look into what happened and things just don’t add up. Then something else happens: he meets Dr Johanna Dorn, a researcher working in Port Moresby, and is smitten. Trying to get to the bottom of what happened to his colleague, Emil finds himself fighting on three sides – with the shady characters standing behind the PNG government, with the anti-market environmental protesters, and with his own colleagues – while trying to get Johanna interested. It all builds to a crescendo with a twist that leads into ‘After the Texans…’ 

This second book in the series finds Emil running off the rails: Johanna has been kidnapped and he blames himself. He is torn between doing what he can to find her and just getting on with his work and leaving that job to the police. Events take him to Hong Kong and then on to Australia, where there are a number of twists and turns, as he pursues evaporating leads and ghosts from the events in PNG, before circumstances take some even more unexpected spins that fling Emil and the other characters towards the third, as yet unwritten, book in the series.


Blog Tour: The Lafayette Sword by Eric Giacometti and Jacques Ravenne

The Lafayette Sword by Eric Giacometti
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The Lafayette Sword

by Eric Giacometti, Jacques Ravenne, Anne Trager

on Tour October 24 - December 3, 2016

Synopsis:

The Lafayette Sword by Eric Giacometti, Jacques Ravenne, Anne Trager

Gold. Obsession. Secrets.

Following the murder of a Freemason brother, Antoine Marcas uncovers unsettling truths about gold and its power to fascinate and corrupt. A priceless sword is stolen and deaths ensue setting the Freemason detective on a case of Masons turned bad. A clue points to mysteries and conspiracy about elusive pure gold, launching a frantic, deadly race between two symbolic places—the Statue of Liberty and the Eiffel Tower.

A captivating plot weaves alchemy and the Middle Ages into a modern-day thriller. Part of an internationally best-selling series that has sold 2 million copies worldwide, with “vivid characters, an evocative international setting and history darker than midnight.”
For readers who love ancient myths, secret societies, chilling narrative and modern speed.

Book Details:

Genre: Thriller
Published by: Le French Book
Publication Date: August 15, 2015
Number of Pages: 266
ISBN: 1943998043 (ISBN13: 9781943998043)
Series: Antoine Marcas Freemason Thrillers Book 2

Purchase your copy of The Lafayette Sword on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple iTunes, and Add it to your Goodreads TBR list!


Review

I read the previous book, Shadow Ritual last year and I was thrilled to get the chance to read the sequel to it. If I understand the translation order is this book 4 and the previous book translated is book 2. But, it doesn't matter, this book was easy to get into and you don't have to have read Shadow Ritual before you read The Lafayette Sword.

So how was this book? I do admit that I was a bit less charmed by this book than the previous. It's still an interesting and fast-paced book and the mystery with the Lafayette sword was fascinating. And the historical angle with Nicolas Flamel's POV which gives the reader the clues to the present story was fascinating. However, I found that the story lacked the intensity from the previous book and I missed Jade that Antoine Marcas was teamed up with. I liked their chemistry and just having Marcas, well it felt like something important was missing. However, I did find the alchemy angle fascinating and Flamel POV really intrigued me.  

The Lafayette Sword may not have intrigued me as much as the Shadow Ritual did. However, I think that this series is definitely something you should read if you like adventurous treasure seeking books with a deranged killer.

I want to thank Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours for providing me with a free copy for an honest review! 

Read an excerpt:

PROLOGUE

A thick layer of fog shrouded the capital. It wasn’t bad enough to keep people inside, but it was still vaguely unsettling. Teens on scooters, who usually slalomed with ease along the narrow streets, took their time, unsure of what lay ahead. The few high points of the city, including the dome of Sacré Coeur, had vanished altogether. Only the revolving light of the Eiffel Tower managed, more or less, to pierce the opaque surroundings.
Léo, an independent taxi driver in Paris for twenty years, dropped off his customer on the Avenue de La Bourdonnais. The damned pea soup was making it impossible to find another fare. Everyone was taking the metro. He parked his dark blue Mercedes on the Rue du Général Lambert and listened to the weather forecast. More precipitation. He grumbled and turned off the radio. Until today, the spring weather had been pleasant. Feeling sullen, Léo got out and stretched his legs. The damp cold hit him right away. He shivered, pulled up his collar, and headed toward the Eiffel Tower. The atmosphere, enchanting on any other night, was unreal and ghostly.
A second later, he heard a scream rise up from tourists gathered under the Iron Lady.
“Damned tourists,” Léo muttered. “Always getting pickpocketed.”
As he got closer he could see thirty or so Japanese sight- seers in red plastic ponchos staring up at the tower. Next to them, two young women in black T-shirts and ripped jeans were pointing at something. No, the commotion wasn’t about someone getting her purse nabbed.
Leo followed their fingers. Three meters above them, a dark figure was appearing and disappearing in the fog, like a string puppet, its head tied to a rope—a life-sized toy gracefully oscillating in the white cloud.
The tourists applauded.
“Nothing serious,” Leo said to himself, ready to turn away.
“Just another street artist.”
But as the sway of the rope began to slow, the figure’s face came into full view. The two young women were the first to realize the terrible error they had all made. They cried out in shock.
Léo felt bile rising in his throat.
The puppet was a man, red in the face, tongue hanging out, arms slack.
The crowd stepped back in unison and let out a wave of shrieks.

1

RUE LAFAYETTE, PARIS PRESENT DAY
Antoine Marcas was sipping a sweet brandy on the terrace of Le Régent café. The night before, he had celebrated his forty-second birthday. It was nothing like the shock of forty—a mere step away from a half a century. In the two years following that disaster, the affronts of time had been minor.
Sure, life had sucked after the breakup with Jade. The idyllic love had turned to vinegar after a few months of living together. She was too independent, too loud, too different—and yes, even too beautiful. Too much for Marcas. The relationship had gotten stuck in mounds of pettiness, and they were both saved at the last minute by separation. She accepted a position at the French embassy in Washington, leaving him alone one night in his vast apartment on the Rue Muller in Paris.
For a while, resentment and doubt ate away at him. His doctor, a Freemason brother, suggested some rest. Marcas thought he might try therapy. Would he have to choose a Freemason shrink? The question seemed both strange and meaningful. Only a brother could understand the personal development offered by regular temple attendance. If he had to explain the transformation of uncut stone into polished cubes to a profane, he’d never get better. Did Freemason-specific therapy even exist? He had considered asking his worshipful master. Then the need passed.
He examined himself in the mirror just inside the café. His hair was beginning to gray at the temples. His son, Pierre, had recommended the new style, which made him look younger and less serious. Or at least that’s what Marcas told himself. There were a few wrinkles around his brown eyes, but his natural expression was always pleasant. His smile became more pronounced when he was feeling sure of himself. Those who didn’t know him sometimes interpreted it as mockery.
Marcas straightened in his chair and checked his leather briefcase, making sure he had brought his master’s apron. The Masonic meeting was scheduled to begin in a half hour at the Grand Orient Masonic Hall. He’d never have time to go home and come back. He grinned. He hadn’t been forced to let out his belt by a single notch in the four years he’d been wearing the apron. He had maintained a steady seventy-seven kilos, the ideal weight for his size, according to his doctor. Not an easy task, considering the feasts that followed their meetings every second Thursday.
The hubbub in the café rose as new customers arrived for happy hour. Marcas gestured to the waiter. He want- ed to pay his tab. Just then, two thirtyish men in suits, their ties loosened, plopped down in chairs at the next table.The older one, who had carefully groomed blond hair, ordered two beers.
“Did you hear the news?”
The other one shook his head and grabbed a fistful of peanuts.
“ISIS is making something like eighty million euros a month on the oil wells it’s seized, and now it’s bragging that it can get its hands on nuclear weapons from Pakistan. We’ll never be able to get the better of these guys. They’ll be riding into Paris in the back of their pickups the same way the German troops came marching in.”
Marcas leaned in a little closer. He loved café talk, especially when it was laced with paranoia. Yeah, ISIS was a threat. But France had seen worse—the Gestapo and the storm troopers, for example. And France had prevailed.
The younger man, who had brown hair, nodded while giving the waitress a visual once-over.
“TV news is full of crap,” he said. “It’s all controlled by the establishment. If you want the truth, you’ve gotta go to the Internet and find the right sites. I’m following a great blog now that claims the Freemasons are behind a lot of the havoc we’re seeing now.”
“Come on. In with the terrorists? You’ve got to be kidding. I’m all for conspiracy theories, but that’s too much. Look around Paris, and you can see all the good work they’ve done.”
“Just go to the blog,” the blond-haired man said. “You’ll understand. The newspapers and TV stations are full of liars. But they’re all Freemasons anyway. What do you expect?”
Marcas sighed. So many assholes and so little time. When would everyone just drop the Masonic conspiracy thing? It was one conspiracy after another—for centuries now. Every year, he and some brothers from his Freemason lodge would get together over dinner to discuss the latest and craziest conspiracy theories. The brother who told the most off-the-wall story would win twelve bottles of Haut Brion. Last year, his friend Jean-Marc had taken the prize with a story that claimed the Freemasons were descendants of extra-terrestrials that had abducted Jesus in a flying saucer.
The blond-haired man continued. “Listen, those guys control the European Union and our French elections. You have no idea.”
Marcas couldn’t take it any longer. “Excuse me,” he said, leaning over. “I couldn’t help but overhear. And I have to say that I agree. The Antichrist is among us, and guess what. He’s a Freemason.”
Marcas smirked and stood up. The two men glared as he tossed a bill on the table, gathered his things, and walked away.
If only they knew that his oddly shaped briefcase held a ceremonial sword.
Marcas looked at his watch. It was nearly eight. The meeting would begin in exactly twenty minutes. He hurried up the Rue Lafayette and turned right on the Rue Cadet.
Delicious aromas wafted from the rôtisserie on the left, and the Detrad Bookstore next to the lodge headquarters was still open. He had just enough time to take a look. Three customers—brothers, he assumed—were leafing through books in the central aisle. He nodded to the affable-looking man and the smiling blonde behind the counter and glanced at the new releases. The huge number of books about Freemasonry published every year always impressed him. One would think that everything had been written already, but no, there were always new books.
And there it was. The book he was looking for: La Chevalerie Maçonnique by the French historian Pierre Mollier.
His brothers had spoken highly of it. He picked it up and headed to the back of the store, which had a showcase of Masonic objects, including aprons, canes, glasses, and plates. A rectangular box adorned with a mother-of-pearl eye in a triangle caught his attention. Another Masonic cigarette lighter for his collection. He had more than twenty of them now. His ex-wife, son, and friends teased him about this hob- by of his. Even after he quit smoking, he always carried one. They reminded him of his childhood, when he spent much of his time in his father’s woodworking shop on the Rue Saint Antoine.
The cashier rang up the sale and handed him his purchases in a plastic bag. They exchanged a few words about upcoming events at the lodge and said good-bye.
Marcas hurried over to the lodge headquarters, a Spartan and somewhat unsightly building that hid a fascinating secret. Behind its modernistic metal and glass façade, elaborate and mysterious ceremonies were routinely orchestrated in any number of magnificent Masonic temples.

2

RUE SAINT JACQUES DE LA BOUCHERIE,PARIS MARCH 13,1355
Nicolas Flamel heard the clamor rising from the banks of the Seine River and decided to shut his shop. People were already running toward the water. Shouts and the sound of horse hooves hitting cobblestones filled the air. The wind was picking up, too, carrying the acrid smell of resin. All of Paris seemed electrified.
As Flamel closed his shutters, he saw that other bourgeois were doing the same thing. One could never be too careful. The English were encamped a few leagues from the city and could attack at any time. And then there were the common people, the poor who lived in the faubourgs, whose fever of revolt, exacerbated by famine and taxes, always ended in pillages and blood baths.
Flamel took down the parchments displayed in front of his shop and put each fine work away. He had something for everyone: war chronicles, prayer books, and stories of chival- ry, all illustrated in fine gold powder. Every day, his workers plumbed their imaginations to create angelic Virgins, warriors with bloody weapons, and dragons spitting fire in the shadowy depths of caverns.
“Neighbor, do you fear for your paintings?”
Flamel turned around. Master Maillard, a furrier, was staring at him with mockery in his eyes.
“My kind neighbor, I don’t like the air we breathe tonight. And I certainly don’t like to take any risks. There are rumors of a riot.”
“True, true. They lit the fires a little too early tonight,” the furrier answered. “But one must keep the people entertained even before the show begins.”
“My neighbor and friend, I fail to understand. Your language is as obscure as a tree in a pitch-black night.”
“What? You haven’t heard what’s happened? What world do you live in, with your nose always in your books? For that matter, you should…”
Master Maillard lowered his voice. “It’s not good to spend too much time with books these days. One doesn’t know what could be hidden in them. Our Holy Mother Church cannot check everything. Who knows? An apprentice could be copying one of the Devil’s gospels in your very own shop.”
“Master Maillard!”
“Lower your voice, my neighbor. I was just giving you some advice, that’s all. Books are under suspicion these days. Too many heretics are spreading their doctrines on parchment. Too many witches are writing down their accursed rites. You’ll see. Soon we’ll be burning books, along with their authors.”
“Yet, my dear Master Maillard, none of that explains what’s happening at the moment.”
The furrier looked at him with incomprehension written all over his face. “So you really don’t know?”
“No, I don’t. I spent all week with my aids recopying a volume of Aristotle’s Physics for the university. The illustrations were very costly, and not only in man hours. I had to import a special blue powder from the Orient. There—”
Master Maillard made the sign of the cross. “Don’t talk to me about those monsters. Those black-skinned Saracens are damned to hell. Don’t you know they worship a goat- headed god named Baphomet? The Templars, cursed as they are, adored that impious idol and paid for it with their lives.”

3

GRAND ORIENT MASONIC HALL, PARIS PRESENT DAY
Antoine Marcas smoothed his apron and made sure his double-edged sword was secure at his side.
Next to the elevator, a display system similar to the ones at airports informed him that the meeting would be in Lafayette Temple. The 9 p.m. initiation ceremony was the only gathering scheduled for the night. The seventeen other temples in the building were closed. Marcas checked his watch. Only five more minutes.
“Well, my brother, I see you’re a fan of modern technology. So what’s next? Skyped initiation ceremonies?”
Startled, Marcas turned around. A man in a wheelchair was smiling at him.
“Paul! I didn’t hear you.”
Paul de Lambre, a physician who had lost the use of his legs in a car accident, was a descendant of the illustrious Marquis de Lafayette and a high-ranking Freemason.
“You wouldn’t believe what they’re doing with wheelchairs these days,” Paul said, tapping one of the wheels. “This one’s made of carbon fiber: strong, flexible, and darned-near silent. Four detachable components, and the footrests even have LED lights. That means I can see you in the dark, but you can’t hear me coming.”
“As long as you’re being sarcastic, that’s a good sign, my brother.”
A shadow seemed to cross the man’s face, and his eyes became serious. “The signs are not very good right now. I have something on my mind, Antoine, and since you’re a police detective and a brother, I think you’re the person I should be talking with.”
Marcas studied the man. “Of course. The ceremony is about to begin. Why don’t we get together afterward? Right now it’s time to go to the temple of your glorious ancestor. That must be quite an experience for you.”
Paul de Lambre’s jaw stiffened. “You could put it that way,” he said as he spinning his wheelchair around.
***
The hooded man wearing the Masonic apron waited in the darkness of the closet. He fiddled nervously with the ceremonial sword as he ticked off the minutes. Finally, he took a deep breath, opened the closet door, and made sure the hallway was empty. He stepped out of the shadows.
“I am the Sword of Light. I march in the night,” he chanted in a low monotone.
He advanced noiselessly. Slipping through the dark corridors was child’s play. Tricking the security system had been a joke. It was even intoxicating. He’d been exploring this prodigious labyrinth for at least a dozen nights. Each time he’d stop just before reaching the chamber of reflection. Then he’d leave. Only one time had he crossed paths with a brother, and that hadn’t caused any problems. He knew the building’s strange topography by heart, and now he could make his way over it blindfolded. The tangle of hallways, the crooked floors, and the myriad temples in this vast structure made him feel like he was moving on a gigantic movie set.
But this would be the last night he’d go unnoticed. His quest would begin with sacrifices.
He could hear the voice again. Perhaps it was his. “I kill, and I die. I kill, and I am born again.”
He took the stairs two by two and reached the next floor in a matter of seconds. He smiled in the darkness.
“I am the chosen one.”
He was on pins and needles as he recited the ritual words.
The taste of blood filled his dry mouth.

Author Bio:

Eric Giacometti & Jacques RavenneJacques Ravenne is a literary scholar who has also written a biography of the Marquis de Sade and edited his letters. He loves to explore the hidden side of major historical events. Eric Giacometti was an investigative reporter for a major French newspaper. He has covered a number of high-profile scandals and has done exhaustive research in the area of freemasonry. Translator Anne Trager has a passion for crime fiction that equals her love of France. After years working in translation, publishing and communications, she founded Le French Book.

Learn More at: lefrenchbook.com 

 

Tour Participants:

Stop by the other sites on this tour for more great interviews, guest posts, review, and giveaways!

Giveaway:

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours for Eric Giacometti, Jacques Ravenne, and Anne Trager. There will be 5 US winners of one (1) eBook copy of The Lafayette Sword by Eric Giacometti, Jacques Ravenne, Anne Trager. The giveaway begins on October 22nd and runs through December 4th, 2016.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Get More Great Reads at Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours

 

Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Wishlist October: Most wanted mystery books of 2017

It's soon 2017 and that means new books are coming! Here I list 5 mystery books that I'm looking forward to reading. Criterium is that the book has a cover so more post like this may show up in the future... Update 13 November: Removed Thrice the Brinded Cat Hath Mew'd (Flavia de Luce #8) thas has already been published and instead added Twist in Time (Kendra Donovan #2) by Julie McElwain.
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A Twist in Time (Kendra Donovan #2) by Julie McElwain

Former FBI agent Kendra Donovan’s attempts to return to the twenty-first century have failed, leaving her stuck at Aldridge Castle in 1815. And her problems have just begun: in London, the Duke of Aldridge’s nephew Alec—Kendra’s confidante and lover—has come under suspicion for murdering his former mistress, Lady Dover, who was found viciously stabbed with a stiletto, her face carved up in a bizarre and brutal way.

Lady Dover had plenty of secrets, and her past wasn’t quite what she’d made it out to be. Nor is it entirely in the past—which becomes frighteningly clear when a crime lord emerges from London’s seamy underbelly to threaten Alec. Joining forces with Bow Street Runner Sam Kelly, Kendra must navigate the treacherous nineteenth century while she picks through the strands of Lady Dover’s life.

As the noose tightens around Alec’s neck, Kendra will do anything to save him, including following every twist and turn through London’s glittering ballrooms, where deception is the norm—and any attempt to uncover the truth will get someone killed.

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Where the Dead Lie (Sebastian St. Cyr #12) by C.S. Harris 

The gruesome murder of a young boy takes Sebastian St. Cyr from the gritty streets of London to the glittering pleasure haunts of the aristocracy . . .

London, 1813.

Sebastian St. Cyr, Viscount Devlin, is no stranger to the dark side of the city, but he's never seen anything like this: the brutalized body of a fifteen-year-old boy dumped into a makeshift grave on the grounds of an abandoned factory.

One of London's many homeless children, Benji Thatcher was abducted and tortured before his murder—and his younger sister is still missing. Few in authority care about a street urchin's fate, but Sebastian refuses to let this killer go unpunished.

Uncovering a disturbing pattern of missing children, Sebastian is drawn into a shadowy, sadistic world. As he follows a grim trail that leads from the writings of the debauched Marquis de Sade to the city's most notorious brothels, he comes to a horrifying realization: someone from society's upper echelon is preying upon the city's most vulnerable. And though dark, powerful forces are moving against him, Sebastian will risk his reputation and his life to keep more innocents from harm . .


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Racing the Devil (Inspector Ian Rutledge #19) by Charles Todd

Scotland Yard’s Ian Rutledge finds himself caught in a twisted web of vengeance, old grievances, and secrets that lead back to World War I in the nineteenth installment of the acclaimed bestselling series.

On the eve of the bloody Battle of the Somme, a group of English officers having a last drink before returning to the Front make a promise to each other: if they survive the battle ahead—and make it through the war—they will meet in Paris a year after the fighting ends. They will celebrate their good fortune by racing motorcars they beg, borrow, or own from Paris to Nice.

In November 1919, the officers all meet as planned, and though their motorcars are not designed for racing, they set out for Nice. But a serious mishap mars the reunion. In the mountains just north of their destination, two vehicles are nearly run off the road, and one man is badly injured. No one knows—or will admit to knowing—which driver was at the wheel of the rogue motorcar.

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The Chalk Pit (Ruth Galloway #9) by Elly Griffiths

Boiled human bones have been found in Norwich's web of underground tunnels. When Dr Ruth Galloway discovers they are recent - the boiling not the medieval curiosity she thought - DCI Nelson has a murder enquiry on his hands.

Meanwhile, DS Judy Johnson is investigating the disappearance of a local rough sleeper. The only trace of her is the rumour that she's gone 'underground'. This might be a figure of speech, but with the discovery of the bones and the rumours both Ruth and the police have heard of a vast network of old chalk-mining tunnels under King's Lynn, home to a vast community of rough sleepers, the clues point in only one direction. Local academic Martin Kellerman knows all about the tunnels and their history - but can his assertions of cannibalism and ritual killing possibly be true?

As the weather gets hotter, tensions rise. A local woman goes missing and the police are under attack. Ruth and Nelson must unravel the dark secrets of The Underground and discover just what gruesome secrets lurk at its heart - before it claims another victim.

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The Trapped Girl (Tracy Crosswhite #4) by Robert Dugoni 

When a woman’s body is discovered submerged in a crab pot in the chilly waters of Puget Sound, Detective Tracy Crosswhite finds herself with a tough case to untangle. Before they can identify the killer, Tracy and her colleagues on the Seattle PD’s Violent Crimes Section must figure out who the victim is. Her autopsy, however, reveals she may have gone to great lengths to conceal her identity. So who was she running from? 

After evidence surfaces that their Jane Doe may be a woman who suspiciously disappeared months earlier, Tracy is once again haunted by the memory of her sister’s unsolved murder. Dredging up details from the woman’s past leads to conflicting clues that only seem to muddy the investigation. As Tracy begins to uncover a twisted tale of brutal betrayal and desperate greed, she’ll find herself risking everything to confront a killer who won’t go down without a deadly fight. 

Once again, New York Times bestselling author Robert Dugoni delivers a taut, riveting thriller in the fourth installment of his acclaimed Tracy Crosswhite series.

Check out my friends October Wishlists:

Stephanie @ Layered Pages

Colleen @ A Literary Vacation 

Heather @ The Maiden's Court


Night Watch by Iris Johansen

Quinn Night Watch by Iris Johansen
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Born blind, Kendra Michaels spent the first twenty years of her life living in the darkness. Then, thanks to a revolutionary medical procedure developed by England’s Night Watch Project, she was given the gift of sight. Her highly-developed senses (honed during her years in the dark), combined with her new found vision, have made her a remarkable investigator, sought after by law-enforcement agencies all over the country. But her newest case finds her uncovering a deadly truth about the shadowy organization that has given her so much.

Kendra is surprised when she is visited by Dr. Charles Waldridge, the researcher who gave her sight. But all is not well with the brilliant surgeon; he’s troubled by something he can’t discuss with Kendra. When Waldridge disappears that very night, Kendra is on the case, recruiting government agent-for-hire Adam Lynch to join her on a trail that leads to the snow-packed California mountains. There they make a gruesome discovery: the corpse of one of Dr. Waldridge’s associates, brutally murdered in the freezing snow. But it’s only the first casualty in a white-knuckle confrontation with a deadly enemy who will push Kendra to the limits of her abilities. Soon she must fight for her very survival as she tries to stop the killing… and unearth the deadly secret of Night Watch.


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Night Watch is book four in the Kendra Michaels series, and this is the first book I have read from the series. However, I have read several other Iris Johansen books from her Eve Duncan series. So, I was looking forward to reading Night Watch to see if I would fancy the series as much as I love the Eve Duncan series.

Kendra Michaels is an interesting character, she was born blind, but got her sight back nine years prior to this book thanks to an operation. And, she's a bit like Sherlock Holmes when it comes to noticing things, thanks to her years of focusing on other senses than sight when she was blind and then when she got her sight back did she unlike the rest of us that are used to it, train herself to see "everything". So, she makes a hell of an investigator.    

The story in this book started off interesting with Kendra being visited by Charles Waldridge the doctor who gave her the sight back. However, she can feel that something is wrong that he's not telling her everything. And, when he goes missing is she determent to find him. She even calls in an old friend Adam Lynch to help her find him.

The book is interesting, I like Kendra, and I liked Jessie a private detective that she meets in the book and I really liked Waldridge and I was worried that he would end up dead. It's interesting how you can care for a character that hardly in the book. However, there was something that just didn't work for me or rather a person, and that was Lynch, he feels like a carbon copy of Quinn from the Eve Duncan series, and I'm not even always that fond of Quinn so having a Quinn copy in this book just felt, well not that interesting. I think the whole, "I'm a badass guy, and a walking one person army kind of dude" just doesn't always work for me. And, when they started to do the whole "will they, or won't they dance" in the book did I feel my interest in the story cooled down. Seriously, I was thinking through the book that there are several interesting guys in this book, and she goes for the typical one? It just ruined the book a little bit for me.

Now, I don't say that the book was totally bad, I liked the story, but I felt I lost focus whenever Lynch showed up. Kendra is a smart cookie, and I liked reading about her past with Waldridge and her Sherlock Holmes tendency amused me. So, the book was in a way good, and in a way...less good than I had hoped it would be. I think that fans of this series will like this book, especially if they are fond of the idea of Kendra and Lynch together. Also, it was an easy book to get into so any newbies would probably enjoy the book as well.

I want to thank the S:t Martins Press for providing me with a free copy through NetGalley for an honest review!

The Lost Ones by Ben Cheetham

The Lost Ones by Ben Cheetham
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Some secrets are better left undiscovered.

When a nine-year-old girl goes missing in Harwood Forest, the search for her brings back memories of an unsolved double murder some forty years earlier. Could the key to Erin Jackson’s disappearance lie in the bloody fate of Elijah and Joanna Ingham, bludgeoned to death while their young daughters slept? Were the Inghams really the victims of opportunistic burglars—or a more sinister fate?

The woods are combed for signs of the child, but Erin’s brother, Jake, mounts his own investigation, uncovering evidence that puts the Inghams’ daughters—vanished Rachel and ‘crazy’ Mary—in the frame. Meanwhile, Erin’s father suspects that the ragtag army of eco-warriors besieging his quarry development may have something to hide.

As devastating secrets and betrayals are revealed, the Jackson family is brought to a breaking point. But time is running out. Erin is still missing and Jake’s unorthodox enquiries have left him dangerously exposed. They must find Erin and lay the past to rest—before they become its latest victims.


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The Lost Ones instantly caught my eyes with its wonderful cover and I thought the description of the book sounded very exciting. And, luckily, the book proved to be a real gem. I had never read anything by Ben Cheetham before I read this book, but now I must add his name to the list of authors to keep an eye out for.

The story is engrossing, a young girl goes missing, and since her father has a lot of enemies is there plenty of suspects. The town has once before been through an ordeal. Forty years before, Elijah and Joanna Ingham was brutally murdered in their house only their daughters survived. But, surely this murder of Elijah and Joanna Ingham couldn't have anything to do with the missing girl?

The Lost Ones is intense and heartbreaking to read. Little Erin is missing, and her parents are desperate to have her back, but has someone taken her or is she just lost? As the hours pass the situation becomes more and more desperate and secrets are revealed. The book is very good and I must admit that I was a bit surprised by the ending. I liked how Cheetham really demonstrated throughout story how devastating this is for the family and the toll it takes on them. You know from the beginning that Erin's mom has a secret, but what is she hiding? The murder at the Ingham house forty years ago, and the legend that the place is haunted gave the story an extras feeling of darkness.

I want to thank Thomas & Mercer for providing me with a free copy through NetGalley for an honest review!  

Monday, 24 October 2016

A Song for the Dying by Stuart MacBride (SWE/ENG)

A Song for the Dying by Stuart MacBride
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

SWEDISH REVIEW

Åtta år har gått sedan den brutala mördaren satte skräck i Oldcastles befolkning. Fyra kvinnor kidnappades, lemlästades och lämnades att dö – alla med plastdockor insydda i sina magar. Sedan, utan någon förklaring, upphörde morden tvärt.

Då var det ​kriminalinspektör Ash Henderson som höll i utredningen. Nu är hans familj splittrad, karriären i spillror och han riskerar att få tillbringa resten av sitt liv i fängelse. Men när ytterligare en kvinna hittas död ser Ash äntligen en chans till återupprättelse. En chans att bli fri. En chans att hämnas.

En sång för de döda är andra boken om Ash Henderson. Den första, Hälsning från de döda, kom ut 2015.


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Om det är en bok som jag har väntat på att få läsa i några månader så är det En sång för de döda. Jag läste första boken i serien i våras och älskade den. Tja, på det sätt som jag gillar att läsa brutala, hemska berättelser med fantastiska karaktärer. Jag hoppades att denna bok skulle vara lika bra som den föregående och speciellt hoppades jag på att Alice skulle vara med i denna bok också. Jag fullständigt älskade henne i den första boken. Hon var ljusstrålen i en annars mörk och dyster berättelse. Jag är glad att kunna säga att hon har även en stor roll i denna bok och att hon är lika knepig som i första boken. Ash är givetvis också tillbaka, men han är fortfarande i fängelse även om han har blivit frikänd från mordanklagelsen. Dock har Mrs. Kerrigan fixat så han är kvar där tills hon säger något annat. Men så fixas Ash ut från fängelset tack vare höga chefer som vill att han ska hjälpa till att fånga en mördare som han misslyckades med att fånga för åtta år sedan, en mördare som nu är tillbaka. Och visst, han hjälper gärna till med det, men hans huvudsakliga mål är att döda Mrs. Kerrigan, gärna väldigt sakta...

En sång för de döda är precis lika bra som den första boken i serien. Ash Henderson och Alice McDonald är tillbaka och arbetar för att stoppa Insidern, men Ash är också väldigt sugen på att stoppa Mrs. Kerrigan för gott. Men varken Insider fallet eller Mrs. Kerrigan bortgång kommer att bli enkla utmaningar. En sång för de döda är en bok där jag inte ville att berättelsen skulle ta slut, men på samma sätt så ville jag få reda på vad som skulle hända härnäst. Det var väldigt svårt att lägga ifrån sig boken då berättelsen hade några intressanta vändningar mellan varven. Jag var lite oroad att MacBride hade valt den mest logiska kandidaten för att vara bokens mördare, men jag hade inte alls behövt oro mig då MacBride hade helt andra planer än att göra det enkelt för Ash (och läsaren). Jag älskade slutet, det var väldigt tillfredsställande och det var skönt att det inte slutade med en cliffhanger som föregående boken gjorde. Men jag hoppas verkligen att detta inte är den sista Ash och Alice boken. Jag vill ha flera!

Tack till HarperCollins Nordic för recensionexemplaret!

ENGLISH REVIEW

He’s back...

Eight years ago, ‘The Inside Man’ murdered four women and left three more in critical condition—all of them with their stomachs slit open and a plastic doll stitched inside.

And then the killer just... disappeared.

Ash Henderson was a Detective Inspector on the initial investigation, but a lot can change in eight years. His family has been destroyed, his career is in tatters, and one of Oldcastle’s most vicious criminals is making sure he spends the rest of his life in prison.

Now a nurse has turned up dead on a patch of waste ground, a plastic doll buried beneath her skin, and it looks as if Ash might finally get a shot at redemption. At earning his freedom.

At revenge.


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If there is one book that I've been waiting to read this year is it A Song for the Dying. I read the first book in the series this spring and I loved it. In the way, I love reading a brutal, horrifying story with great characters. I hoped that this book would be just as good and I really hoped that Alice would be back in this book. I loved her in the first book, she was the one thing that made a pretty dark and depressing story a bit brighter. And, I'm happy to say that she is in this book just as quirky as in the previous book. As for Ash himself, well, he is in prison, though, he has been cleared of the murder charge, but Mrs. Kerrigan is the one that has fixed it so that he will stay there until she says otherwise. However, now the powers to be has managed to get him out, to help with the investigation of a killer that he failed to catch eight years ago that is now back. And, sure he will do that, but his main plan is to kill Mrs. Kerrigan, preferably very slow... 

This book was just as good as the first book in the series. Ash Henderson and Alice McDonald are back together working and yes Ash wants to get the Insider caught, but he is also quite eager to kill Mrs. Kerrigan. However, neither catching the Insider or killing Mrs. Kerrigan will turn out to be so easy. A Song for the Dying is the kind of book when one just doesn't want the story to finish at the same time you want to know what will happen next. And, it was pretty hard to put the book down when I started to read it. There were some interesting twists to the story, I was a bit worried when it looked like MacBride had picked the most logical candidate to be the killer. However, it made sure to twist the story around. I loved the ending. It's the kind of ending that felt very satisfying, not the cliffhanger kind of ending that the last book had. However, I do hope this is not the last Ash and Alice book. I want more!

Thanks to HarperCollins Nordic for the review copy!

Thursday, 20 October 2016

Cover Crush: Gwendolen by Diana Souhami




Erin over at Flashlight Commentary is the one that came up with the cover crush idea and I loved it so much that I decided that every Thursday would I post a cover that I really love. 

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This week's Cover Crush is Gwendolen by Diana Souhami. I find the cover delightful and it's just the kind that makes me curious to read what the book is all about. I like how Gwendolen is the sole person on the cover and I love how she stands there ready to shot that arrow.It's just so striking and intruging! 




Description:

In an astonishing unsent love letter, a 19th-century Englishwoman looks back at her formative years, when she fell in love with one man but married another

Gwendolen Harleth, an exceptionally beautiful upper-class Englishwoman, is gambling boldly at a resort when she catches the eye of a handsome, pensive gentleman. His gaze unnerves her, and she loses her winnings. The next day, she learns that her widowed mother and younger sisters, for whom she is financially responsible, have lost their family's fortune. As a young woman in the 1860s with only her looks to serve her, Gwendolen's options are few, so when Henleigh Grandcourt, a wealthy aristocrat, proposes to her, she accepts, despite her discovery of an alarming secret about his past.

This novel is Gwendolen's passionate later-life letter to the handsome man who caught her eye at the gambling tables-the man she did not marry-and reveals what happened across the brutal and transformative years of her early twenties, after she married Grandcourt. That Gwendolen is also the heroine of George Eliot's novel Daniel Deronda (and is writing to Deronda) will intrigue and delight legions of Eliot fans, but debut novelist and award-winning biographer Souhami has brilliantly and movingly breathed fresh life into a classic story in ways that will appeal to readers entirely unfamiliar with Eliot's fictions.

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Check out this week's cover crushes over at my friend's blogs:

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena (SWE/ENG)

The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

SWEDISH REVIEW

Anne och Marco Conti är ett par som tycks ha allt: ett kärleksfullt förhållande, ett vackert hem och en underbar bebis, Cora.

Nu säger deras granne att hon inte vill ha med deras sex månader gamla dotter på sin middagsbjudning. Inget personligt, hon står bara inte ut med gråten. Marco säger att det är okej. De bor ju trots allt bara i huset bredvid. De kommer att ha babyalarmet med sig och turas om att gå hem en gång i halvtimmen.

När Anne tittade till Cora för bara en stund sedan sov barnet djupt. Men nu, efter att hon rusat upp för trapporna i deras dödligt tysta hus, besannas hennes djupaste rädsla. Cora är borta!

Anne och Marco har aldrig tidigare behövt ringa polisen. Men nu är polisen i deras hem, i deras liv. Och vem vet vad de kommer att upptäcka där?


På andra sidan väggen är en psykologisk thriller som håller läsaren i ett järngrepp fram till sista sidan. En roman om svek, manipulation och dubbelspel – och om vad människor är kapabla till när de pressas till bristningsgränsen.


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Wow, vilken bok. Jag måste erkänna att jag inte trodde att boken skulle fängsla mig så mycket att jag i slutändan skulle ge den en 5:a. Jag hoppas att den den skulle vara underhållande, men jag trodde aldrig att den skulle vara så underhållande att den skulle vara svår at lägga ifrån sig på kvällen. En riktig blandvändare med andra ord! Jag svär, om jag inte hade haft jobb dagen efter jag började läsa boken så skulle jag nog läst klart den troligtvis samma kväll. 

Vad jag verkligen älskade med boken var känslan av att alla dolde något, och det visade sig vara korrekt. Även när händelser avslöjades som kanske inte alls var så överraskande så kände jag aldrig att det var för lätt, utan det var snarare så att jag hade en misstanke och när den visade sig vara rätt så var det med belåtenhet jag insåg att jag hade gissat rätt. Självklart var det händelser som jag absolut inte hade räknat med. Som det briljanta slutet. Wow!

Jag vill inte avslöja något av handlingen, men jag måste bara få säga att jag är verkligen imponerad över hur mänskliga karaktärerna i boken är. Lapena har verkligen lyckats med att skapa karaktärer som jag kunde känna sympati för (tja de flesta människor, de fanns några vidriga som jag inte gillade speciellt mycket eller kände sympati för). Genom att karaktärerna blev så levande så kändes handlingen verkligen levande. Jag drog in i berättelsen och sedan släppte den inte taget om mig.

På andra sidan väggen var en fantastisk läsupplevelse. Shari Lapena är ett namn jag bara måste lägga på minnet och jag ser fram emot att läsa framtida böcker av henne!

Tack till Modernista och Louise Bäckelin Förlag för recensionsexemplaret!

ENGLISH REVIEW

You never know what's happening on the other side of the wall.

Your neighbour told you that she didn't want your six-month-old daughter at the dinner party. Nothing personal, she just couldn't stand her crying.

Your husband said it would be fine. After all, you only live next door. You'll have the baby monitor and you'll take it in turns to go back every half hour.

Your daughter was sleeping when you checked on her last. But now, as you race up the stairs in your deathly quiet house, your worst fears are realized. She's gone.

You've never had to call the police before. But now they're in your home, and who knows what they'll find there.

What would you be capable of, when pushed past your limit?


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Wow, what a book. I have to admit that I did not think I would love it as much as I did. I was hoping to be entertained, but I never thought that I would find it so engrossing that it would be hard to put it down. I swear, if I hadn't had work the day after I started the book would I probably have read most of the book that evening that I started it.

What I really loved about the book was the sense that everyone is hiding something, and sure they did and even when things were revealed that perhaps was not so surprising did I never feel that it was too easy, it was more of a getting right when you are getting suspicious about something. Of course, there were events that I didn't expect at all. Like the brilliant ending. Wow.

I don't want to give the story away, all I want to say that I'm very impressed how Lapena managed to make the characters so real that I really could feel for them (well most of the people, some I did not like because they were quite frankly awful human beings). By making the characters feel alive did this story come alive. I was pulled into the story and it didn't let go for a minute.

The Couple Next Door was a fantastic reading experience. Shari Lapena is definitely a name that I need to keep track of for future books!

Thanks to Modernista and Louise Bäckelin Förlag for the review copy!

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Blog Tour: For Sale by Owner by Marlene Bateman


Blurb
Stressed by a year of intense, ongoing problems, McKenzie Forsberg decides to quit her high-powered job and move back to her hometown. Determined to rebuild her life, Kenzie desperately needs the peace and security she is sure will come from buying the home she grew up in. But when she arrives in town, Kenzie discovers that a handsome widower, Jared Rawlins, has already put an offer on the house.  However, he can only close the deal if he sells his own house by Christmas Eve.  

When Kenzie unexpectedly runs into a couple who are considering buying Jared’s house, she unthinkingly gives them information that changes their mind. Jared, who had been more than a little interested in Kenzie, has second thoughts when he begins to believe Kenzie may have deliberately tried to sabotage the sale of his home. Feeling bad, Kenzie apologizes but the damage may be too much for their relationship to overcome.

Despite his misgivings, and Kenzie’s own concerns, sparks of attraction between Jared and Kenzie grow into something more. Then, Kenzie makes a stunning discovery about her past. In that moment, everything changes. Will the power of love be enough to bring Jared and Kenzie together and allow them to find their happily ever after?

Links
For Sale by Owner is available at Deseret Book and Seagull Book and can also be purchased online at:
Seagull Book; https://goo.gl/yQboNh

GoodReads;  https://goo.gl/ksPihN

Bio
Marlene Bateman Sullivan was born in Salt Lake City, Utah and grew up in Sandy, Utah.  She graduated from the University of Utah with a Bachelor's degree in English. She is married to Kelly R. Sullivan and they live in North Salt Lake, Utah with their two dogs and four cats. Marlene has been published extensively in magazines and newspapers and wrote the best-selling romance/suspense novel, Light on Fire Island. She has written three other mysteries; Motive for Murder, A Death in the Family, and Crooked House.

Marlene has also written a number of LDS, non-fiction books:  Latter-day Saint Heroes and Heroines, And There Were Angels Among Them, Visit’s from Beyond the Veil, By the Ministering of Angels, Brigham’s Boys, Heroes of Faith, Gaze into Heaven; Near-death Experiences in Early Church History, and The Magnificent World of Spirits; Eyewitness Accounts of Where We Go When We Die.
Excerpt

“What made you decide to move to Lake Forest?” Kenzie asked.
“I’ve always loved it here,” Jared said. “It’s a beautiful area, and there’s a special atmosphere here. People are so friendly. I guess part of the reason I came is because I needed to go someplace new and kind of start over, you know?”
                      Kenzie did know. That was exactly what she was doing now. She’d gotten over Larry, but she needed to go someplace new and reinvent herself and her life.
“Now let me ask you,” Jared said. “What made you decide to come back?”
                      “A lot of reasons. I need a fresh start too. I’m tired of the hectic pace in Chicago.” Impulsively she added, “Also, I had to get away from my job at Midwest. A guy was causing some real problems for me—” She stopped. Their eyes met and lingered. Jared’s compassion was evident and the expression on his face kind. She felt so comfortable talking with him—as if they were kindred spirits. Something in her heart softened into a spreading pool, and she smiled at him.
Tearing open his packet of Oreo cookies., Jared took one and dunked it in his hot chocolate.
Kenzie frowned. “Figures. You’re a dunker.”
“And I bet you’re a twister.”
Snatching up a cookie, Kenzie twisted it open and took a bite of the creamy middle. “Ummm.”
Jared shuddered. “That’s wrong in so many ways.”
Picking up her mug and warming her fingers, Kenzie sipped her hot chocolate. “This is wonderful!”
“It’s a secret recipe—been in my family for generations.”
                      “Really?”
                      “No, but it sounds good, doesn’t it?”



Blog Tour: Strong Cold Dead by Jon Land

Strong Cold Dead by Jon Land
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Strong Cold Dead

by Jon Land

on Tour October 2016

Synopsis:

In her storied career as a Texas Ranger, Caitlin has confronted all manner of villains, but nothing that’s prepared her for the terrorist group ISIS’s pursuit of a devastating weapon on Lone Star State soil. The land in question lies on an Indian reservation where a drilling operation steeped in mystery and controversy is about to commence under the auspices of shadowy billionaire Cray Rawls.

But Rawls is only one of Caitlin’s problems. Her surrogate son Dylan, the oldest boy of her reformed outlaw lover Cort Wesley Masters, has joined the tribe to protest Rawls’ desecration of the sacred Indian lands. The same desecration that has unearthed an ancient evil Caitlin’s own great-great-grandfather fought nearly 150 years before. There’s also a twisted genius who’s uncovered the true nature of that evil, a young man with whom Caitlin shares a past now poised to deliver Armageddon from Texas’ canyonlands.

To save millions from a horrible fate at the hands of ISIS, Caitlin and Cort Wesley must sort through a web of death and deceit as tangled as the blood-soaked grounds of the reservation that hold a deadly secret. A secret that’s the source of a battle rooted in the past and now destined to determine the shape of the future.

Book Details:
Genre: Thriller
Publisher: Forge Books
Publication Date: October 4th 2016
Number of Pages: 352
ISBN: 0765335131 (ISBN13: 9780765335135)
Series: Caitlin Strong Novel #8


Get Your Copy of Strong Cold Dead by Jon Land on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or add it to your list at Goodreads

Review

Strong Cold Dead is the first book Caitlin Strong book I have read, but I'm pretty sure it will not be my last. I'm actually quite sure about that since the first thing I did after finishing this book was ordering the first book. Lucky me that have seven unread Caitlin Strong books to read.

So, what was it that got me so enthralled that I just had to buy myself the first book? When it comes to book so are some so good that I feel right from the start that this is a 5-star book. And, this one felt like that. And, not for a moment did I waver from that thought. Strong Cold Dead has several fascinated characters, and of course, Caitlin is one of them, but also just loved to read Caitlin's great-great-grandfather Steeldust Jack Strong's POV in the book, who like Caitlin was a Texas Ranger. I was fascinated with the mystery of what it was on the Indian reservation that was so special and what secret the people living there are hiding from the outside world. And, to top it all, suddenly we have ISIS also involved in the story. There is a lot of jumping between characters, but that never really bothered me and this is one book were both parallel storylines (the one in the present and the one 150 years before) were equally interesting to read. The addition of a mystery from the 1930s added some extra intrigue to the story. 

Strong Cold Dead was a fantastic book, well-written, and I've taken to my heart both Caitlin and Steeldust Jack Strong. They are so well-developed and fascinating that I just can't wait to read more about them. There is a lot of action, but also some very poignant moments. In short, this book has all the ingredients I love, humor, action, mystery, and tragedy. And, I wish to God that I had the first book right now! I'm even tempted to order book two in the series, I'm hooked!

I want to thank Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours for providing me with a free copy for an honest review! 

Read an excerpt:

CHAPTER 1
East San Antonio, Texas
“Nobody goes beyond this point, ma’am,” the tall, burly San Antonio policeman, outfitted in full riot gear, told Caitlin Strong.
“That include Texas Rangers . . .” She hesitated long enough to read the name plate over his badge. “. . . Officer Salazar?”
“That’s Sergeant Salazar, Ranger. And the answer is, yes, it includes everyone. Especially Texas Rangers.”
“Well, Sergeant, maybe we wouldn’t need to be here if a couple of your patrolmen hadn’t gunned down a ten-year-old boy.”
Salazar looked at Caitlin, scowling as he backed away from her Explorer. A few blocks beyond the checkpoint, a grayish mist seemed to hover in the air, residue of the tear gas she expected would be unleashed again soon. That is, unless the youthful crowd currently packed into the small commercial district at the near end of Hackberry Avenue dispersed, which they were showing no signs of doing. The third night of trouble had brought the National Guard to the scene in full battle attire that included M4 rifles and flak jackets. Caitlin could see more floodlights had been brought in to keep the street bathed in day-glow brightness, casting a strange hue in the air that reminded her of movie kliegs, as if this were a scene concocted from fiction rather than one that had arisen out of random tragedy.
Sergeant Salazar came right up to her open window, close enough for Caitlin to smell spearmint on his breath, as he worked a wad of gum from one side of his mouth to the other. “Those patrolmen found themselves in the crossfire of a gunfight between a neighborhood watch leader and gang bangers he thought were robbing a convenience store where most pay with their EFD cards. The clerk who chased them down the street just wanted to return the change they’d left on the counter for their ice cream, but the watch leader, Alfonzo Martinez, saw the scene otherwise and ordered the bangers to stop and put their hands in the air.”
Neighborhood watch leader Martinez, a lifelong resident of J Street who’d managed to steer clear of violence all his life, started firing his heirloom Springfield 1911 model .45 as soon as the gang bangers yanked pistols from the droopy waistbands of their trousers. The only thing his shots hit was a passing San Antonio police car, the uniformed officers inside mistaking the fire as the gang bangers’ and opened up on them so indiscriminately that the lone victim of their fire was a ten-year-old boy who’d emerged from the same convenience store.
It was almost dawn before everything got sorted out and the investigative team comprised of San Antonio and Highway Patrol detectives thought they’d managed to get control of the situation. Then relatively peaceful protests by day gave way to an eruption of violence at night, spearheaded by rival gangs who abandoned their turf wars to join forces against an enemy both of them loathed. Violence and looting reined, only to get worse by the second night when eight officers ended up hospitalized, one from what was later identified as a bullet instead of a rock. And now the third night found the National Guard on the scene in force and armored police vehicles from as far away as Houston barricading the streets to basically shut off the neighborhoods of East San Antonio’s northern periphery from the rest of the city.
“You’re still here, Ranger,” Sergeant Salazar noted.
“Just considering my options.”
“Only option you have is turn your vehicle around and leave the area, ma’am. You’re not needed or welcome here.”
“On whose orders exactly?” Caitlin wondered.
“Mine,” a female voice boomed, a moment before Caitlin heard a loud pop!, like a shotgun blast, crackle through the air.
CHAPTER 2
East San Antonio, Texas
A few blocks beyond the checkpoint, one of the spotlights fizzled and died, victim of a well-thrown rock more likely than a bullet. Caitlin was out of her Explorer by then, hand instinctively straying to her holstered SIG Sauer P-225 in anticipation of more shots to follow. “Get back in your vehicle, Ranger,” said Consuelo Alonzo, deputy chief of the San Antonio police department, as she strode forward, red-faced from the exertion of rushing to the scene from the police line upon learning of Caitlin’s arrival.
“You got a problem with getting some more back-up?” Caitlin asked her.
“I do when it comes from you.”
“Why don’t you catch your breath and hear me out?”
“Because there’s nothing you have to say that can possibly interest me right now. In case you haven’t noticed, we’re sitting on a powder keg one spark away from blowing San Antonio to hell. We don’t need you providing that spark, Ranger. No way.”
Instead of settling down, Alonzo’s agitation continued to increase. Her face had grown redder, her words emerging through breaths becoming more and more rapid. She had risen quickly through the ranks of the department, becoming the youngest woman ever to make captain three years prior to her recent promotion to deputy chief. And she had been rumored to be in line for the job of Public Safety Commissioner that came with a plush Austin office and a job that would place her, among other things, as chief overseer of the Texas Rangers. Alonzo no doubt relished that particular perk of a job certain to be hers, until the death of a Chinese diplomat, exacerbated by Caitlin’s solving the murder while Alonzo was dealing with more politically oriented ramifications, led to her being passed over.
Alonzo had overcome an appearance often referred to as “masculine” by even her supporters and much worse than that by her detractors, who seemed to put no stock in the fact that she was happily raising three young children with her husband who was a professional boxing referee. This was Texas, after all, where a woman needed to work twice as hard, and be twice as good, in a profession ruggedly and stubbornly perceived to be for men only. Caitlin and Alonzo had had their differences over the years, but had mostly maintained a mutual respect defined by their professionalism, and the sense that their own squabbles only further emboldened those who sought their demise.
At least until Alonzo cast Caitlin with all the blame for her losing out on a job that was likely never going to be hers now. Since then, she’d used her position as deputy chief to wage subtle war on the Rangers’ San Antonio-based Company F whenever possible, seizing upon any bureaucratic conflict or jurisdictional dispute she could in a hapless attempt to make Caitlin’s life miserable.
Alonzo ran a hand through her spiky hair. She was heavyset and had once set the woman’s record for the bench press in her weight class. She’d also done some boxing and was reputed to be the best target shooter with a pistol in the entire department. But Caitlin had beaten her three times running when they’d gone up against each other in state-sponsored contests, winning the overall title in two of those instead of just the woman’s division. She’d stop entering after her most recent victory, figuring the last thing she needed was to draw more attention to herself than her exploits already had.
“You’re not moving, Ranger,” Alonzo told her.
Caitlin gestured toward a figure pressed tight against the waist-high concrete barrier erected to close off the street to unauthorized vehicles. “See that woman there? That’s the mother of the boy who was killed by the fire of those SAPD officers. She’s the one who called me, asked me to see what I could do about the violence being done in her boy’s name. She doesn’t want the city to burn on his account. She wants this resolved peacefully.”
“And you think I don’t?”
“No, ma’am. It’s question about how you’re going about things.”
“And how’s that?” Alonso asked, not sounding as if she was really interested in Caitlin’s answer. “We got a full-scale riot brewing back there. What exactly do you think you can do about it that we can’t?”
“I’ve got an idea or two.”
“Care to share them?”
“Ever hear of Diego Ramon Alcantara?”
“Can’t say that I have.”
“He goes by the nickname ‘Diablo.’ Leader of a gang running drugs for a Mexican cartel that sees the riots as their opportunity to solidify their hold on the business throughout the state. And Diablo Alcantara has united the city’s normally warring gangs toward that purpose on the cartel’s behalf. I take him off the board, all this goes away.”
Alonzo shook her head, her expression a mix of resentment and disbelief. “You alone?”
“That’s right. Just give me a chance. What have you got to lose, Deputy Chief?”
“How about this city?”
Caitlin turned her gaze in the direction of the rioting. “Seems to me it’s already lost. Thing at this point is to get it back.” Alonzo’s lower lip crawled over her upper one, puckering her cheeks until she blew out some breath that hit Caitlin like a blast wave from a just opened oven. “We’ve got five hundred personnel on scene who haven’t been able to manage that.”
“Would it really hurt to listen to what I’ve got to say?”
“It hurts me standing here right now instead of commanding the front line. The governor just approved an assault. We move inside the next hour, if the crowd doesn’t disperse as ordered.”
“Just give me a chance.”
This time Alonzo finished her chuckle. “You know the saying ‘stone cold dead,’ Ranger?”
“I do.”
“Maybe you haven’t heard that among Texas law enforcement types it’s called ‘strong cold dead’ now.”
Caitlin smiled slightly. “Is that a fact?”
Alonzo was left shaking her head. “Tell me, when you look in the mirror, how big’s the army that looks back?”
“Well, you know how the saying goes, Deputy Chief,” Caitlin said, backpedaling toward her SUV. “’One riot, one Ranger.’”
CHAPTER 3
East San Antonio, Texas
Caitlin skulked about the outskirts of the neighborhoods just outside the riot zone. Through windows not boarded up or covered in grates, she spied more than one family following the simmering violence just a few blocks away on their televisions while huddled against a wall.
According to the information she’d obtained from a trio of informants, “Diablo” Alcantara was running the show from his sister’s home near J Street two blocks from the brewing riot’s front lines. The cartels had trained Alcantara well, taught him the tricks of their own trade to inspire everyday people to turn to violence to the point that it came to define them. A road a person was often too far down by the time he found himself on it at all. So it was here in East San Antonio, where closing the schools for the day had turned hundreds of teenagers into virtual anarchists, looting and destroying for its own sake. Right now Caitlin could still smell the smoke from a Laundromat that had burned to the ground when local firefighters and their trucks were chased back by crowds hurling bottles and rocks. Three had been hospitalized and one of the engines had been abandoned at the head of the street where it too had been set ablaze.
The Laundromat had chemicals and detergents stored in a back room that turned the air noxious for a time, the strange combination of lavender soap powder mixing with the corrosive bleaches to form the perfect metaphor for the city of San Antonio. Watching those white curtains of mist wafting through the flames to chase the rioters away more effectively than any efforts the authorities had mounted, though, had given Caitlin the idea to which Deputy Chief Alonzo had refused to listen.
Holding her position against a house in view of the main drag, Caitlin checked her watch, then the sky, and finally her cell phone to make sure she had a strong signal. Since word was the gangs were communicating via text message, there was talk of shutting down the grid, lasting until nobody could figure out a way to do it quickly—something she was glad for now.
Above the fire smoke and tear gas residue staining the air in patches, the night sky was clear and she made out a bevy of news choppers with navigation lights flashing like the stars millions of miles beyond them. Creeping closer to J Street and the home of Diablo Alcantara’s sister, Caitlin froze just beyond the spray of a streetlight showcasing a block packed with gang members proudly and openly displaying their colors. Amid the gang bangers unified in this unholy alliance, she spotted a stocky figure more bulk than muscle holding court near the rear. Diablo Alcantara had gotten into a knife fight while in high school and ended up losing an eye to a slice that split the left side of his face right down the middle. Even in pictures, it was hard to look at the jagged scar and translucent orb visible through the narrow slit Alcantara had for a socket without feeling a flutter in her stomach from the sight.
Caitlin knew the stocky figure was Alcantara the moment he turned enough toward the streetlight for its spray to reflect off the marble-like thing wedged into his skull in place of an eye. She counted fifty bangers in the vicinity armed with assault rifles and submachine guns no intelligence report had made mention of, meaning such firepower must’ve only just reached the scene courtesy the cartels.
The bangers, under Diablo Alcantara’s leadership, looked ready to launch their assault that would push the rioting from this neighborhood into the city proper, intent on turning San Antonio into Juarez. Caitlin’s plan hadn’t accounted for going up against heavy weaponry, but the reality made its implementation all the more necessary. Giving the matter no further consideration, she lifted the cell phone closer and pressed out three words in a text message:
COME ON IN
Caitlin figured she had three, maybe four minutes to wait, spending the first of them following the gang members’ antics in preparation for what was to come. Some of them wore military-grade flak jackets, in odd counterpoint to the pungent scent of marijuana smoke gradually claiming the air. She watched beer bottles drained and smashed, a few stray shots fired into the air to cheering by the most chemically altered in the bunch.
Caitlin checked her watch one last time before she stepped out from the darkness onto the street, light glinting off her badge and holstered pistol in plain view, as she continued toward the center of the block.
“I’m a Texas Ranger,” she called out to the gang members, whose gazes fixed on her in disbelief. “All of you, stay right where you are.”

Author Bio:

Jon Land is the USA Today bestselling author of 38 novels, including eight titles in the critically acclaimed Caitlin Strong series: Strong Enough to Die, Strong Justice, Strong at the Break, Strong Vengeance, Strong Rain Falling (winner of the 2014 International Book Award and 2013 USA Best Book Award for Mystery-Suspense), Strong Darkness (winner of the 2014 USA Books Best Book Award and the 2015 International Book Award for Thriller and Strong Light of Day which won the 2016 International Book Award for Best Thriller-Adventure, the 2015 Books and Author Award for Best Mystery Thriller, and the 2016 Beverly Hills Book Award for Best Mystery.

The latest title in the series is Strong Cold Dead, to be published on October 4 and about which Strand Magazine said is “certain to rank Land among a handful of our most talented thriller authors of this decade.” Land has also teamed with multiple New York Times bestselling author Heather Graham on a new sci-fi series, the first of which, The Rising, will be published by Forge in January of 2017. He is a 1979 graduate of Brown University and lives in Providence, Rhode Island.



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This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours for Jon Land to celebrate the release of his 8th Caitlin Strong thriller, Strong Cold Dead. There will be 5 winners of one (1) autographed copy of Strong Cold Dead by Jon Land. This giveaway is limited to US & Canadian residents only. The giveaway begins on September 28th and runs through November 3rd, 2016.
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