Thursday, 23 February 2017

Cover Crush: Cold Hearted River by Keith McCafferty


For new visitors do I want to explain that Cover Crush is something that my friend Erin over at Flashlight Commentary came up with and I adopted the idea together with some other friends. And, now we try to put up a Cover Crush every week. You can check below my pick of the week for their choices this week!


Viking (Penguin Publishing Group)
FRONTLIST | On Sale Date: July 4, 2017
ISBN 9780525429609, 0525429603
Hardcover | 320 pages
Fiction / Mystery & Detective / Police Procedural

The sixth novel in the acclaimed Sean Stranahan mystery series

Sheriff Martha Ettinger reunites with once-again lover and sometime private detective Sean Stranahan to investigate the death of a woman who was stranded in a spring snowstorm. When a fly wallet is found in a pannier on the saddle of the woman’s horse, the leather engraved with the initials EH, Stranahan shows the wallet to Patrick Willoughby, the president of the Madison River Liars and Fly Tiers Club. Only a few days before, Willoughby was approached by a man selling fishing gear that had belonged to a famous outdoorsman and writer. All the clues point to an obsession with Ernest Hemingway, and Sean soon finds himself on the trail of a missing steamer trunk rumored to contain not only the writer’s valuable fly fishing gear, but perhaps even priceless samples of his unpublished work.

The investigation leads Sean into the salacious world of Chinese traditional medicines, and through one extraordinary chapter in Hemingway’s life to another. From a trout river in Michigan where a woman grapples with the cold in her hands and heart, to the ruins of Havana, and finally, to a cabin in Wyoming under the Froze To Death Plateau, Keith McCafferty’s latest novel in the Sean Stranahan mystery series is a thrilling tale.

Some thoughts about the cover:

This cover follows the same trail as the previous books, and I love the strong colors and the artwork. 

Check out what my friends have picked for Cover Crush's this week:

Flashlight Commentary
A Literary Vacation

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Revealing Nicola by Sam Cheever Book Blast

Revealing Nicola

by Sam Cheever

February 21, 2017 Book Blast

Revealing Nicola by Sam Cheever

Synopsis:

She has to overcome a lifetime of secrets…the shock of discovery.

He must protect a treasure that has turned passion to hate… reason to incoherence.
Poisoned by danger, intrigue, lust, and greed…their very survival is in the balance.
Can they endure the conspiracy and find love? And if they do…will it be enough?

Book Details:

Genre:Romantic Suspense, Thriller
Published by: Electric Prose Publications
Publication Date: February 7, 2017
Number of Pages: 183
ISBN: 978-1-63587-971-1
Series: La Fortuna DeVitis #1
Purchase Links: Amazon  | Barnes & Noble  | iTunes  | Goodreads 

Read an excerpt:

A coughing sound engaged Franco’s training and he had her on the ground beneath him before the second shot was fired.
The roast chicken exploded, sending shredded meat across the table and raining over them.
Nici’s eyes were wide with fear. “What?”
“Stay down. Don’t move.”
He crawled off her, reaching for his piece as he positioned himself between the car and the table. From the trajectory of the shots, Franco figured the shooter had gone high, probably sitting in a tree to the south of their position. If Nic stayed down on the ground between the table and the Jeep she should be out of his range. But he had no intention of leaving her there.
He needed to get her into the car and out of that park as fast as he could.
Another shot sighed past, hitting the side of the car. Behind him, Nic yelped and he was afraid she’d been hit. “You all right?”
“Other than peeing myself? I’m just dandy. You need to get down, Franco. You’re going to get shot.”
He couldn’t help smiling as his gaze slid slowly along the perimeter. “I’m the bodyguard, remember? I’m the one who’s supposed to get shot.”
“Don’t even joke about that.”
There! A dark form shifted between the branches of a tree, seventy-five yards away. Franco dived to the ground as three rounds peppered the table, spewing food in a messy arc around them. “Damn! This guy’s good.”
“Well yeah, I can see he’s really pissed off at that potato salad.”
Franco barked out a laugh. “Keep it down back there. I’m trying to concentrate.”
“Well can you hurry? I really do have to pee and I’m thinking you don’t want me to squat right here.”
The words were light but her voice quavered with fear. He nodded. “You’re right. Let’s quit screwing around with these jerks. When I say ‘go’, I want you to roll over to the car and slide underneath it. Move as quickly as you can to the other side and climb in. Keep your head down.”
“What about you?”
“I’ll be right behind you.”
“Okay.”
Franco lifted his head so he could see the guy in the tree. He hadn’t moved. He scanned the roads around the park and saw they were empty. Then he checked his magazine and found it half full. Hopefully it would be enough because his spare ammo was in the canvas bag in the back of the Jeep. He’d beat himself up for his carelessness later. At the moment he had bigger problems.
The SUV he’d seen driving past had pulled into position on the opposite side of the park, pinning them in.
“Franco?”
He slid back down, assessing his options. “No good. They’ve got the other side of the car covered now.”
She sighed so long and hard he glanced her way. She was glaring at him. “I told you I needed my gun.”
He shook his head, thinking fast. There had to be some way… Franco shoved at the picnic table but it was bolted down. Too bad, he thought, it would have made a good shield while they climbed into the car. His gaze caught on the trash can beside the table. It was metal, hopefully filled with a nice depth of neutralizing trash. It wasn’t much but it was the best chance they had. “Okay, new plan. I’m going to lay down cover fire while you climb into the Jeep on this side. Lie down on the floor in the back.”
“Then how are you going to get in?”
“I’m going to use that trash can as a shield.”
Silence met his statement. “While shooting, opening the car door, and driving away?”
“I didn’t say it was a good plan.”
“Here’s a better one. Give me the gun. I’ll provide cover while you grab the can and we can both use it to get into the car.”
“Not a chance.”
“Dammit, Franco! What’s the point in my having all this self-defense training if nobody will let me use it?”
“That’s a last ditch plan.”
“This is about as last ditch as it gets, homey.”
He scrubbed a hand over his face. “I just gained new respect for your brother. If I was him I’d have introduced you to the nuclear wedgie at an early age.”
“Give me the gun, Franco.”
He would have liked to blow a hole in her plan. Unfortunately it was better than his. Dammit! “Okay. But try not to shoot me with it.”
She took the gun, ejected the mag like an expert, checked the rounds and slammed it back home. Then she sat up and slid across the grass to the table, peering over it. “That’s the shooter up there?”
“Yeah. You won’t be able to hit him but…”
Nic settled the muzzle of the gun onto the table and closed one eye.
“You shouldn’t close your eye…”
“Shut up, this works for me.”
“Okay, whatever, shoot the bad guy in the tree. Not the good guy sprinting toward the can. Got it?”
“Shoot the mouthy bodynapper with the can and gain myself some peace and quiet. Got it.”
“Lord help me.”
“Just go already, before these guys get restless.”
Right on cue, the Jeep jerked under a fresh round of bullets from the SUV. Franco glanced over the hood and saw that they were on the move. “The SUV’s coming on. We’ve got to do this now.”
“That’s what I said,” Nic murmured. She fired into the tree and Franco took off running.
Several more rounds sizzled through the air as he threw himself to the ground behind the can, some of them heading for him.
The can jerked under a couple of rounds, one of which went in high and passed straight through. There was a yelp behind him. Panic flared. “Nic?”
“I’m fine. He just stomped on my last nerve.”
Franco grabbed the can and hunkered behind it as a fresh round of bullets slammed through the air toward the shooter in the tree. There was a yelp and a rifle pinwheeled through the air to the ground, followed by the darkly clad shooter.
“Well, damn.”
“Lose the can, Martin. Here come the bad guys.”
She opened the door and threw herself inside as the SUV barreled toward them, a gun sticking out of the front passenger side window. Franco flung himself into the Jeep, trying to keep low as he clambered into the driver’s seat, and turned the key, gunning it forward as soon as the engine caught. Bullets continued to ping off the metal sides and back. A back window shattered and glass sprayed over them.
Franco headed for a copse of massive evergreens, figuring the guys in the SUV would have a harder time hitting them with a bunch of trees around. They slipped under the drooping branches and the shower of bullets stopped as they barreled across a thick carpet of dried needles. The sharp tang of evergreen filled the car as he took a turn on two wheels and headed toward the back of the park, keeping sight of the SUV driving alongside the thicket. The big car was managing to stay even with them and the occasional tree trunk exploded under a wayward bullet.
Nici’s head popped up.
“Stay down.”
“Hit the street, there’s a delivery truck backing out of that driveway there.”
She was right. If they could tuck in behind the truck…
“Hold on!” He jerked the wheel hard right and the passenger side door squealed as it scraped along a row of trunks with prickly branches. They emerged from the evergreen copse and hit a sidewalk, heading straight for a hydrant.
“Franco!”
He jumped as she squealed. “Stop that! You scared the crap out of me.” He jerked the wheel and the car missed the hydrant by inches, heading for a fat gray squirrel holding an acorn, its shiny brown eyes wide.
“Franco!”
“Oh for god sakes!” He jerked the wheel again, barely missing the stupid rodent, and they dropped with a bang of tortured suspension into the street just as the boxy white truck started toward the intersection. Franco tucked the Jeep in on the opposite side of it, blocking them from the SUV’s view, and took the first turn into a large subdivision as the truck lumbered on down the street.
A few quick turns later brought them out of the subdivision and Franco headed for the highway, the SUV nowhere in sight.

Excerpt from Revealing Nicola by Sam Cheever. Copyright © 2017 by Sam Cheever. Reproduced with permission from Sam Cheever. All rights reserved.

Author Bio:

Sam CheeverUSA Today Bestselling Author Sam Cheever writes romantic paranormal/fantasy and mystery/suspense, creating stories that celebrate the joy of love in all its forms. Known for writing great characters, snappy dialogue, and unique and exhilarating stories, Sam is the award-winning author of 50+ books and has been writing for over a decade under several noms de plume.

If you haven't already connected, Sam would love it if you Liked/Followed her wherever you enjoy hanging out online. Here are her online haunts:

Newsletter: http://www.samcheever.com/newsletter.html Subscribe to Sam’s newsletter and win a free copy of the fun and sexy Honeybun Fever Box Set
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Website: www.SamCheever.com
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This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Sam Cheever. There will be 1 winners of one (1) $20 Amazon.com Giftcard. The giveaway begins on February 19th and runs through February 27th, 2017.
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Death of a Ghost by M.C. Beaton

Death of a Ghost by M.C. Beaton
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

There are many ruined castles in Scotland. One such lies outside the village of Drim. Hamish begins to hear reports that this castle is haunted and lights have been seen there at night, but he assumes it's some children or maybe the local lads going there to smoke pot, or, worse, inject themselves with drugs. Hamish says to his policeman, Charlie 'Clumsy' Carson, that they will both spend a night there.

The keening wind explains the ghostly noises, but when Charlie falls through the floor, Hamish finds the body of a dead man propped up in a corner of the cellar. After Charlie is airlifted to the hospital, Chief Detective Inspector Blair arrives to investigate the body, but there is none to be found. Dismissed as a drunk making up stories, Hamish has to find and identify the body and its killer before the "ghost" can strike again.


**********

I have only read one book previous in this series and to be honest was I not so impressed with it. However, I thought I would give the series on more chance. The story seemed interesting and I love reading books set in Scotland.

Death of a Ghost starts off with a haunted castle, but then it quickly turns into a murder mystery when Hamish and Charlie find a body in the castle. Who killed the man and why? This is only the beginning as more the killer goes after more people. And, it's up to Hamish to put a stop to it all.

I have some problems with this book, and one major problem is the way the book is written. It's pretty much just dialog and not much description. And, the dialog feels very terse and lacks fluency. This could be just me, but I find it very hard to get into the story because of that. The characters never come to life and for instance, Hamish problem with women, is that suppose to be funny? I actually don't know because it never is funny. It's just annoying. And Charlie being clumsy is another thing that is just not working for me. Not to mention when Charlie fell for Olivia, the books female fatal. That was just cringeworthy. The only things that kept me going were that I wanted to know who the murderer was.

Death of a Ghost is my last attempt reading this series. I just can't see what's so awesome with the books. The storyline, especially towards the end of the book was just so baffling. I mean everything concerning Chief Detective Inspector Blair felt like a parody. Without being funny.

I want to thank the publisher for providing me with a free copy for an honest review!    
   
Death of a Ghost by M.C. Beaton

Monday, 20 February 2017

Spotlight: There Is Always More To Say by Lynda Young Spiro


BOOK DESCRIPTION

Soho 1984: Two people meet and their worlds are changed forever. An unexpected meeting – a look that means their lives will never be the same again. In “There Is Always More To Say”, Lynda Young Spiro chronicles the lives of the couple through friendships, marriage, fleeting moments and snatched time. It is a passionate account about a connection between two people that never dies even when tested by distance and when life throws the unexpected at their feet.

“The meeting of two personalities is like the contact of two chemical substances. If there is any reaction both are transformed.” C G Jung



HOW I WAS INSPIRED TO START WRITING

Thanks so much Magdalena and The Bookaholic Swede for having asked what inspired me to start writing. I’d love to tell you. Apparently I did tell a friend thirty years ago that one day I was going to write a novel and include them in it. I actually don’t remember having said that. But they do!

But for me the experience all started nearly three years ago when I began to channel my creative energies into writing. The end result being my recently published first novel, a never-ending story about an everlasting friendship called ‘There Is Always More To Say’. Because as we know there is always more to say!

I’m a mixed media artist who mainly works with fabrics, colours and recyclable bits and pieces which are all incorporated into my work. My passion for colour, my fascination with texture and my love of recycling have all found expression in a large body of work that includes textile design, latch-hooked rugs, needlepoint cushions, mosaics, painting and sculpture..

In April 2013 I saw an advert in the local paper the Ham&High for a part time examination invigilator. When I saw the advert, I don’t know why, but it appealed to me. And I applied for the job. It was nothing like anything I had ever done before. Both of my children were then at University and I was interested to know what they had gone through as students whilst taking exams. I knew that times had changed since I had been examined! What I didn’t know was in which direction this part time job would lead me. I didn’t know that the invigilating would lead me to expressing myself through a new and different media. I didn’t realise that whilst watching the candidates writing their papers so enthusiastically that it would get my own imagination going. And that it would be during these periods of silence whilst the exams were being written that I would be able to think and reflect about so many different things.

I started to write my thoughts, feelings, reflections and emotions down. I had very recently turned fifty-five and I realised that I had been married for over half of my life. I wasn’t sure where the time had gone. It made me think about my life before I was married and after I was married. The silence was really lovely in the examination hall. Very peaceful. There was a lot of time for me to spend thinking. And when I got home I started to write my thoughts and reflections down. Over time I realised that I had begun to accumulate a significant amount of writings and thoughts on various different scraps of paper. But I had no idea what to do with them. One afternoon sometime after the end of the summer exam period I chose to read and share some of these thoughts that I had written to a very close and old friend of mine. This friend immediately suggested that I consolidate them and suggested that I should write a book based on what I had written so far. The problem was that I had no experience of writing fiction. I didn’t know how to do this. Although the challenge did appeal to me.

So in September 2014 I enrolled onto a local writing class to help put these thoughts, observations and feelings into order to make a logical and interesting story. I left the class after three terms because it was too autobiographical. I was encouraged to continue writing after having gone to the class for that short amount of time. The positive feedback I received by reading passages to the other people in the class really encouraged me to continue writing.

I didn’t write the story in order. It never came to me in order. There was never a beginning, a middle or an end. I just started writing down my thoughts, my reflections and feelings about certain subjects which I then wove together to create a story. And although I have drawn on personal experiences this is not my story. I have drawn on a combination of my own experiences as well as those of my friends. I created this story from the ideas that were running around in my head. Ideas that had materialised from my imagination.

I never thought too hard about what I was writing and how I was writing the story. I just went ahead and wrote it. It just came to me. I wrote what I wanted to write and not what I thought I should be writing. I hope my readers will enjoy reading ‘There Is Always More To Say’ as much as I enjoyed writing it. I know this sounds like a cliché but it’s absolutely true. Opening the door of my story will hopefully show my reader the mirror of their mind.

I really enjoy hearing from my readers. I can be contacted at:

My own website: www.thereisalwaysmoretosay.com

Twitter: @lyndaspiro

Instagram: @lyndaspiro

Email: lyndaspiro@yahoo.co.uk



ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Lynda Young Spiro is a mixed media artist whose love of textiles, found objects and recyclable materials are incorporated into her colourful work. Lynda was born in 1959 in Hampstead, London, where she now lives with her husband and two sons. Lynda’s previous book Latch-Hooking Rugs is published by A & C Black.

There is Always More to Say is her award-winning first novel, which has since been recognised by Chill With A Book, Shelf Unbound, and Hollywood Book Festival.

Sunday, 19 February 2017

Shadowed Souls by Jim Butcher

Shadowed Souls by Jim Butcher
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

In this dark and gritty collection—featuring short stories from Jim Butcher, Seanan McGuire, Kevin J. Anderson, and Rob Thurman—nothing is as simple as black and white, light and dark, good and evil..

Unfortunately, that’s exactly what makes it so easy to cross the line.

In #1 New York Times bestselling author Jim Butcher’s Cold Case, Molly Carpenter—Harry Dresden’s apprentice-turned-Winter Lady—must collect a tribute from a remote Fae colony and discovers that even if you’re a good girl, sometimes you have to be bad...

New York Times bestselling author Seanan McGuire’s Sleepover finds half-succubus Elsie Harrington kidnapped by a group of desperate teenage boys. Not for anything “weird.” They just need her to rescue a little girl from the boogeyman. No biggie.

In New York Times bestselling Kevin J. Anderson’s Eye of Newt, Zombie P.I. Dan Shamble’s latest client is a panicky lizard missing an eye who thinks someone wants him dead. But the truth is that someone only wants him for a very special dinner...

And New York Times bestselling author Rob Thurman’s infernally heroic Caliban Leandros takes a trip down memory lane as he deals wih some overdue—and nightmarish—vengeance involving some quite nasty Impossible Monsters.

ALSO INCLUDES STORIES BY

Tanya Huff * Kat Richardson * Jim C. Hines * Anton Strout * Lucy A. Snyder * Kristine Kathryn Rusch * Erik Scott de Bie *

**********

Shadowed Souls is one of the best collection of short stories I have ever read. Sure there were one or two that I did not fully like as much as the other ones (not bad, just not my cup of tea), but there were several stories that were quite good. I mean I even ordered the first book in Tanya Huff's Vicki Nelson series after finished her short story. That is not something I do often. 

What I really liked about the stories is that you don't have to have read anything before by the authors to get the gist of these short stories, sure there were times when I had wanted a short introduction before each story so that I had known more about what is going on. But, at the same time was it kind of nice to get to know the characters without any previous knowledge. It's like getting a chance to try out each author and see if the story and the writer's style are something for you. I mean several of the authors in this book have I never read anything of before and now I would love to read more from them.

Shadowed Souls has everything from ghost to zombies and it's a perfect book for urban fantasy fans. It's a collection that will work both for fans of the authors in this book and people that just like me loves urban fantasy and want to find new authors to read!  

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

Burntown by Jennifer McMahon

Burntown by Jennifer McMahon
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Eva grew up watching her father, Miles, invent strange and wonderful things in the small workshop behind their house on the river that runs through their old mill town. But the most important invention of all was the one that Miles claimed came from the mind of Thomas Edison himself--a machine that allowed one to speak with loved ones long passed. Smuggled out of Edison's laboratory, the blueprints were passed down to Miles, and he's been using them to protect Eva, her mother, Lily, and her brother, Errol, ever since.

Then, one night when a storm is raging and the river is threatening to flood, the machine whirrs to life on its own. Danger, it says. You're in terrible danger. The next thing Eva knows is waking up on the side of the river and seeing her mother's grim face. Eva's father and brother are dead, their house has been washed away and an evil man is searching for them both. They need to hide.

Eva changes her name to Necco--a candy she always loved--and tries to put everything in her past behind her as she adapts to her new life off the grid. But when her boyfriend is murdered and her mother disappears, she knows that the past is starting to catch up to her.

What really happened the night of the flood? As Necco searches for the truth, her journey unites her with two women who are on desperate quests of their own. And as the trio follows the clues to solving the mystery of Necco's past, they discover that sometimes it's the smallest towns that hold the strangest secrets.


**********

I read The Winter People by Jennifer McMahon last year and I loved and I was thrilled for the chance to read this book.

Burntown, in my opinion, did not have the same intense storyline as The Winter People had. What I loved about the Winter People were the dual-timeline and the paranormal aspect of the story. It was thrilling and fascinating to read. Burntown lacked that and the story about Eve (Necco) just never got that intense. At first, it felt like what Necco went through was some sort of apocalyptic event. It was fascinating, but then it kind of fizzled out and I kept on wanting the story to pick up speed again and get interesting again. What made me stick with the story was the machine that made you speak to the dead, I was curious about it and I was also curious about whom killed Milo's mother. Did the killing of Milo's mother have something to do with what happened to Necco's family? 

For me was this book not especially memorable. It's not so long ago that I read it, but I found it was hard to write a review for the book since the story just didn't intrigue me so much. However, I did find it got better when Necco started to search for answers together with two very unlikely allies. I would say that the first part of the book before they got together and help each other was not as interesting as when they started to search for answers. 

For me was Burntown just not as good as The Winter People. That doesn't mean that this book was not good, it just didn't live up to my expectations I guess.

I want to thank the publisher for providing me with a free copy through Edelweiss for an honest review!   

Stolen by Carey Baldwin Blog Tour

Stolen

by Carey Baldwin

on Tour February 14 - March 3, 2017

Synopsis:

Stolen by Carey Baldwin

Is she missing…or a murderer?

When Laura Chaucer, daughter of a U.S. senator, vanishes from her college campus, celebrated FBI profilers Special Agent Atticus Spenser and forensic psychiatrist Dr. Caitlin Cassidy are called in. Thirteen years ago, Laura and her nanny disappeared from her family’s Denver home. Laura was found alive, but her nanny wasn’t so lucky… and the killer was never caught. Laura could identify him—if only she didn’t have a deep, dark hole in her memory.
Now she’s missing again. Did the troubled young woman run away or has the kidnapper returned? As women who look eerily similar to Laura’s nanny begin turning up dead, the Chaucer family psychiatrist renders a disturbing opinion: Laura is unstable, a danger to herself and others. Who knows what terrible secrets lurk in the shadowy recesses of her mind? Cassidy and Spenser must solve one of the most infamous cold cases ever to uncover the answer: Is Laura a killer, or is a monster still out there, waiting to claim another victim?

Book Details:

Genre: Suspense, Thriller
Published by: Witness Impulse
Publication Date: February 14th 2017
Number of Pages: 352
ISBN: 0062495542 (ISBN13: 9780062495549)
Series: Cassidy & Spenser #4
Purchase Links: Amazon  | Barnes & Noble  | Goodreads 

Read an excerpt:

Chapter One

Twilight
Somewhere in the Rocky Mountains
Consciousness was the enemy and Laura Chaucer its captive. No matter how badly she wanted to flee into a dark, unseeing void, the menacing chill of the knife pressed against her neck forced her to keep her chin high and her eyes open. As her pulse raged, pounding against the deadly blade, she wondered, horrified, if it was possible for her throat to slit itself.
If only her mind would drop into an abyss. If only she could crawl into a black hole and escape awareness, at least then she wouldn’t suffer. Cowardice dragged her eyelids shut.
Stop running away.
From deep within, a voice demanded she bear witness to her own death. Like broken wings beating against a gale, her eyelids fluttered up. Evil had been swirling around her for as long as she could remember, but she’d never had the courage to face it. Now, in her last moments, she must find the will. Before she left this twisted world, she needed to know the truth.
Who are you?
The answer she’d been running from her entire life loomed right behind her.
But the knife prevented her from swiveling her head to confront the bastard. A defiant move like that would surely cost her whatever precious seconds she had left. His breath, warm on her cheek reeked of booze, its stench curdling in her already woozy stomach.
Careful not to move her head, she braved a glance down and noted a wood floor.
Where am I?
A candle nub flickered in the dark; its yellow light illuminating patches of dust caked on an uneven plank tabletop. Bare log walls surrounded her. Eager for more clues, she sniffed. The scent of rain and earth hung heavily in the air. He must’ve stolen her from her room and brought her to a cabin—a primitive one.
Who was he?
You know, the voice within insisted. Stop pretending you don’t.
“I-I don’t know anything,” she answered, as if he and her thoughts were one and the same. “P-please, just let me go.”
The knife slipped across her throat, leaving fire trailing in its wake. Blood, warm and sticky, dribbled down her chest. Her head became heavy. The room spun. It would be so easy to let her chin fall, to drift into blessed unconsciousness, to leave it all behind.
But that would mean dying the same way she’d lived: running from the truth.
It’s not too late. As long as you have one breath left, there’s still time to change your craven ways.
Watching the blood, already darkening from contact with the air, snake between her breasts, she took it all in, and a gasp agonized its way up her throat.
She was naked.
Bound around the waist, chest and ankles to a chair.
It all seemed so…unreal. But the scrape of splintered wood beneath her bottom, the shivers that wracked her body from the frigid air, told her this was no dream. This wasn’t another one of her ubiquitous nightmares.
If she closed her eyes now, she’d never wake up.
Her throat burned with the urge to scream. But sensing that might give him pleasure, she clamped her teeth together, stuffing her fear down deep. She inhaled a fortifying breath through her nose. Wiggled her freezing fingers. But when she tried to shift her arms into a more comfortable position, she found that they, too, were tied to the chair, just up to the elbows. He’d left her hands and lower arms free, giving her enough slack to cross her palms in her lap and cover herself. Tears of gratitude for this small kindness welled in her eyes.
Maybe he of the knife had a tiny, shriveled semblance of a heart.
He proved he did not by dragging the jagged blade across her neck again—a shallow retracing of its former path that produced exquisite pain and more hot red blood. The need to cry out shook her body so hard the legs of the chair rattled against the floor. Then he pressed the knife’s point into the hollow of her neck—that spot that ought to be reserved for a lover’s kiss. It was as if this monster could not decide whether he wanted to kill her with a long, decimating swipe or by a swift, stabbing impalement. She didn’t know whether he was deliberately prolonging her agony or working up his nerve.
A spasm of fear knotted her toes. Her vocal chords trembled from the impossible effort of restraint. Finally, she opened her mouth, releasing a hysterical noise.
He wanted to hear her scream? Let him hear her laugh instead. Her pulse bounded harder against the blade, but she no longer feared the consequence.
Whether he revealed himself to her or not, she suddenly didn’t care. It didn’t matter who he was. It only mattered who she was. Relief flooded her entire being, drenching her in joy. Her death would be a victory.
Because it answered, once and for all, the question that had haunted her since the age of eight.
She was not a murderer.
Excerpt from Stolen by Carey Baldwin. Copyright © 2017 by Carey Baldwin & WitnessImpulse. Reproduced with permission from WitnessImpulse. All rights reserved.

Kudos for Carey Baldwin:

JUDGMENT, the first book in my Cassidy & Spenser Thriller series, has been named one of the "BEST BOOKS of 2014" by SUSPENSE MAGAZINE. Both JUDGMENT & CONFESSION are BOOKSELLERS BEST AWARD Finalists JUDGMENT is a DAPHNE DU MAURIER AWARD FOR EXCELLENCE IN MYSTERY/SUSPENSE Finalist and a SILVER FALCHION finalist.

Author Bio:

Carey BaldwinCarey Baldwin is a mild-mannered doctor by day and an award-winning author of edgy suspense by night. She holds two doctoral degrees, one in medicine and one in psychology. She loves reading and writing stories that keep you off balance and on the edge of your seat. Carey lives in the southwestern United States with her amazing family. In her spare time she enjoys hiking and chasing wildflowers.

Catch Up With Ms. Baldwin On: Website , Goodreads, Twitter , & Facebook !


Tour Participants:


Giveaway:

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours for Carey Baldwin and William Morrow | WitnessImpulse. There will be 5 US winners of one (1) eBook copy of Stolen by Carey Baldwin. The giveaway begins on February 12th and runs through March 5th, 2017.
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Saturday, 18 February 2017

Harley Quinn and Her Gang of Harleys by Jimmy Palmiotti

Harley Quinn and Her Gang of Harleys by Jimmy Palmiotti
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

With mischief afoot and tricks to be had, Harley Quinn and her Gang of Harleys are loose and no one is safe! Battling villians or saving civilians, which side are they on, only the Harleys know!

The best-selling creative team of Jimmy Palmiotti and Frank Tieri comes this mini-series Harley Quinn and her Gang of Harleys!

Collecting: Harley Quinn and her Gang of Harleys 1-6


**********

Harley Quinn decides to test her Gang of Harley by pretending to be kidnapped, unfortunately, they find out that it's a test (after spending a lot of time "looking" for her), but of course, then Harley gets kidnapped for real by a real psycho. Now the Harley's have to save Harley for real...

I must admit that it has taken me some time to warm up to the Harley's, but now with this volume have I finally started to like them and I quite enjoyed reading this volume. Now, the villain, the psycho who kidnapped Harley is a bit pathetic, a rich wannabe Harley Quinn who is pissed off because she failed the audition to join the Harley's. Still, the volume was good, despite not having a cool villain to fight off, thanks to Harley and her gang.



I want to thank the publisher for providing me with a free copy through Edelweiss for an honest review!

Friday, 17 February 2017

A Room Full of Killers by Michael Wood

A Room Full of Killers by Michael Wood
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The third book in Michael Wood’s darkly compelling crime series featuring DCI Matilda Darke. Perfect for fans of Stuart MacBride, Mark Billingham and Val McDermid.

Eight killers. One house. And the almost perfect murder…

Feared by the people of Sheffield, Starling House is home to some of Britain’s deadliest teenagers, still too young for prison. Now the building’s latest arrival, Ryan Asher, has been found brutally murdered – stabbed twelve times, left in a pool of blood.

When DCI Matilda Darke and her team investigate, they uncover the secrets of a house tainted by evil. Kate Moloney, the prison’s manager, is falling apart, the security system has been sabotaged, and neither the staff nor the inmates can be trusted.

There’s only one person Matilda believes is innocent, and he’s facing prison for the rest of his life. With time running out, she must solve the unsolvable to save a young man from his fate. And find a murderer in a house full of killers…


**********

I thought before I read this book that I was quite hardened when it came to crime novel that I could deal with quite a lot (except harming of animals and children), but there were really tough parts in this book that was hard for me to get through and that were the chapters that were the POV of the children, the murderers.

A Room Full of Killers is a dark and tragic book that I devoured. It's engrossing, but at the same time is it not an easy book to get through. DCI Matilda Darke has a lot on her plate, with the release of a book concerning a kidnap case that she was in charge of that went wrong. Also, she is still not completely over her husband's death 18 months earlier. And, now this case at the Starling House. A teenager is dead, and who could have done it? The question of why someone murdered him is perhaps not hard to understand since Ryan Asher is a convicted murderer, but someone got him out of a locked room. Matilda then meets one of the inmates, Thomas, and Matilda is convinced that the young boy is innocent of the crime he is said to have done. Now she wants to find Ryan's murdered and at the same time is she trying to get Thomas free.

I found the book thrilling and intense and the last part of the book had some really great twist to the story. I was a bit surprised on how Matilda could believe someone to be innocent by just looking at him. I mean quite literary just instantly believe his innocent without knowing much about the case. I'm not a police, but appearance can be deceiving, but I guess I much more cynical. Still, it added drama to the story. The side story with the kidnap case was also interesting and I'm really curious to see the impact it will have in the next book. If the kidnapping will be solved. I'm also quite eager to get the two previous books to read!

A Room Full of Killers is an excellent thriller. The characters are well-developed and interesting to follow and the case is interesting and I love the ending!

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

Thursday, 16 February 2017

Kan man dö två gånger? (Can you die twice?) by Leif G.W. Persson (SWE/ENG)

Kan man dö två gånger? by Leif G.W. Persson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

SWEDISH REVIEW

Sjöscouten Edvin sätts i land på Ofärdsön i Mälaren för att plocka svamp. Istället hittar han en halvt begravd dödskalle.

Trots att Edvin bara är tio år har han genast situationen klar för sig. Han lägger kraniet i en plastpåse, rymmer från scoutlägret och åker raka vägen hem till sin granne - kriminalkommissarie Evert Bäckström.


*********

Med tanke på vilket stor namn Leif G.W. Persson är i Sverige och med tanke på att kriminalare är en favorit genre så känns det lite konstigt att jag innan denna bok faktiskt inte hade läst en enda bok av GW tidigare. Det har helt enkelt inte blivit av. Däremot har jag hört talas om Evert Bäckström, inget speciellt gott. Så jag såg fram emot att läsa Kan man dö två gånger? och se vad jag skulle tycka om boken.

Själva handlingen var intressant då det handlar om en besynnerlig mordgåta. En dödskalle hittas, identitet säkerställs och man upptäcker att personen i fråga har redan blivit dödförklarad en gång tidigare, och det råder inga som helst tvivel om att rätt person dödförklarades första gången. Eller? Det är i alla fall vad Bäckström och hans gäng måste klura ut. Och det är en synnerligen intressant utredning som kommer att sträcka sig utomlands.

Kan man dö två gånger? är en välskriven kriminalroman. Jag kom att tycka väldigt mycket om GWs sätt att skriva, sakligt, finurligt och mellan varven väldigt roligt. Fallet är intressant, men vid sidan om det älskar jag verkligen att läsa om hur Bäckström driver den nya åklagaren till vansinne. På sitt eget sätt. Faktum är att Bäckström må vara en man med många fördomar, men jag gillar honom ändå och lilla Edvin, grannpojken som hittade dödskallen är störtcharmig.

Allt som allt, en mycket bra bok och trots att jag inte läst en enda bok i serien innan så var handlingen lätt att hänga med i, mycket tack vare att karaktärerna var så välutvecklade och intressanta.

Tack till Albert Bonniers Förlag för recensionsexemplaret!

ENGLISH REVIEW


Boy scout Edvin is put ashore on the isle of Ofärd (misfortune) in Mälaren to pick mushrooms. Instead, he finds a half-buried skull.

He immediately knows what he has to do. He put the skull in a plastic bag, can accommodate from scout camp and go straight home to his neighbor - Inspector Evert Backstrom.


*********

Considering what big name Leif G. W. Persson is in Sweden and given that the crime novels is a favorite genre of mine, is it a bit strange that I have not read a single book of GW before I read this one. I simply haven't had time for them. However, I have heard of Evert Backstrom, nothing special good to be honest. So, I looked forward to reading Can you die twice? and see what I would think of the book.

The story was interesting because the murder mystery is quite odd. A skull is found, the identity is confirmed and then it's discovered that the person in question has already been declared dead once before, and there is no doubt that the right person was declared dead the first time. Or is it so clear? Backstrom and his gang must figure out what's going on because you can't die twice. And it's a very interesting investigation that will extend overseas

Can you die twice? is a well-written crime novel. I came to like it very much thanks to GW's writing style. It's factual, clever and now and then funny. The case is interesting, but besides that, did I really love to read about how Backstrom, in his own way, is driving the new prosecutor to madness. The fact is that Backstrom may be a man of many prejudices, but I like him anyway and little Edvin, the neighbor boy who found the skull is truly charming.

All in all is the book very good, and although I have not read a single book in the series before so was the plot easy to keep up with, thanks to the characters were well developed and interesting.

Thanks to Albert Bonniers Förlag for the review copy!

Cover Crush: Little Girls by Ronald Malfi


For new visitors do I want to explain that Cover Crush is something that my friend Erin over at Flashlight Commentary came up with and I adopted the idea together with some other friends. And, now we try to put up a Cover Crush every week. You can check below my pick of the week for their choices this week!

Pinnacle (Random House)
FRONTLIST | On Sale Date: June 27, 2017
ISBN 9780786041381, 0786041382
Mass Market | 352 pages |
Fiction / Horror

From Bram Stoker Award nominee Ronald Malfi comes a chilling novel of childhood revisited, memories resurrected, and fears reborn . . .

After years away, Laurie returns to the home where she was raised by a cold, distant father who recently exorcised his demons. But no amount of cleaning can wipe away the troubled past. She feels it lurking in the broken moldings, sees it staring from an empty picture frame, hears it laughing in the moldy greenhouse deep in the woods…

At first, Laurie thinks she’s imagining things. But when she meets her daughter’s new playmate, she notices her uncanny resemblance to another little girl who used to live next door. Who died next door. With each passing day, Laurie’s uneasiness grows stronger, her thoughts more disturbing. Like her father, is she slowly losing her mind? Or is something truly unspeakable happening?



Some thoughts about the cover:

As a horror fan, and especially haunted house fan does this cover looks absolutely gorgeous, in an ominous kind of way! Which btw is just what I'm after when it comes to horror books. The house from that angle and the birds flying over the roof. A really haunting look...

Check out what my friends have picked for Cover Crush's this week:

Flashlight Commentary
Layered Pages

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Killer Look by Linda Fairstein

Killer Look by Linda Fairstein
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

New York City is one of the fashion capitals of the world, well-known for its glamour and style. Nowhere is this more apparent than on the runway, where American haute couture continually astounds with its creativity, daring, and innovation in the name of beauty. Yet high fashion means high stakes, as Alex Cooper quickly discovers when businessman and designer Wolf Savage is found dead in an apparent suicide, mere days before the biggest show of his career. When the man's daughter insists Savage s death was murder, the case becomes more than a media sensation: It is a race to find a killer in a world created entirely out of fantasy and illusion.

With her own job at the DA's office in jeopardy, and the temptation to self-medicate her PTSD with alcohol almost too strong to resist, Alex is not anyone's first choice for help. But she is determined to uncover the grime and the possible homicide beneath the glitz. Along with detectives Mike Chapman and Mercer Wallace, Alex must penetrate the twisted roots and mixed motives among the high-profile players in the Garment District. The investigation takes the trio from the missing money in Wolf Savage's international fashion house to his own recovery from addiction; from the role of Louisiana Voodoo in his life to his excessive womanizing; and to the family secrets he kept so well-hidden, even from those closest to him just as things are about to get deadly on the catwalk.


*********

I have to admit that I was unsure that I would like this story because of the fashion angle. I have read two books previous in this series and have enjoyed them both so I hoped it would turn out to be just as good as they had been. And, yes, despite my lack of fashion interest did this book work out for me. But, then again, a killer in the fashion world doesn't seem that far-fetched when you think about it. All those egoistic, megalomaniacs that only care about earning more money would probably kill without any problems if that meant earning more money. I mean some of them already do that with poor working conditions, buildings collapsing and minimum wagers. Sorry, I got off the track... 

In Killer Look is Alex Cooper recuperating after being kidnapped in the previous book, and what better way to get back than to help an old school mate to find out the truth about her father's death. Everything points to suicide, but Alex is not so sure and together with detectives Mike Chapman and Mercer Wallace is she investigating the case. Or rather they are and she is unofficially helping. But, perhaps she should have stayed out of this and focused on getting better because there seemed to be danger lurking in the fashion world... 

I ended up quite liking the book. I especially like the fact that Alex and Mike are now official a couple, it will be interesting to read the previous books to see how that happened since they have been just friends for years. I liked the case and I liked the tidbit of fashion history that Linda Fairstein includes in the story. That's one of the best things about this series besides the cases. I just love reading books that include interesting tidbits. The case may have started off a bit slow, but it got more interesting as the story progressed and it seems that a lot of the people around Wolf Savage has secrets...

Killer Look is a superb book, although personally, I can't understand why you want to spend so much money on clothes when you can buy books instead...

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

The Wages of Sin by Bo Brennan Book Blast

The Wages of Sin by Bo Brennan

The Wages of Sin

Bo Brennan

February 14, 2017 Book Blast

Synopsis:


What's done in the dark will be brought to the light.

For overworked firefighter Gray Davies, an emergency call-out to the scene of a horrific hit-and-run is all in a day's work . . . until the terrified Asian victim disappears, leaving her blood on his hands and unanswered questions on his lips.

For his sister, Detective India Kane, it's an added complication in a far more sinister crime - a series of brutal murders the missing hit-and-run victim could hold the key to solving. With a mutilated corpse on her patch, and the dead woman's identity shrouded in secrecy, India's set on a collision course with a deadly, unknown enemy.

Her lover, Detective Chief Inspector AJ Colt, is well acquainted with the enemy - courtesy of a divisive high-profile case, he's currently public enemy #1. As cultures clash, simmering tensions explode, bringing terror and bloodshed to the streets, and placing Colt firmly in the sights of some of the country's most dangerous and deranged individuals.

When one of them brings their work home, nothing will ever be the same again - for the wages of sin . . . is death.


Book Details:
Genre: Crime Thriller, Police Procedural
Published by: Bo Brennan
Publication Date: January 14th 2017
Number of Pages: 422
ASIN: B01N63XJ8V
Series: A Detective India Kane & AJ Colt Crime Thriller
Purchase Links: Amazon  | Goodreads 

The Wages of Sin by Bo Brennan is ONLY $0.99 through February 19th

Read an excerpt:

Monday, 5th March
Winchester
Her vision blurred as her gloved hands fumbled with the combination lock securing her bike. She swiped at her eyes, kidding herself it was the brightness of the morning making them run.
It wasn’t, it was self-pity.
She didn’t want to go back there, not today. The constant drunken comings and goings were becoming increasingly unnerving as more workers arrived. Naz had sympathised, but she couldn’t help. Couldn’t make it better, easier, or safer. With property prices high and funds low, she knew she should be grateful for a job and a home, but today she was struggling. Today she wanted more.
She wanted a life.
She wasn’t sure she could stand this one. Her breath caught in her throat as the emptiness and isolation she faced overwhelmed her.
The first one is the worst one,” Naz had said, hugging her as she tied the knitted scarf around her neck. “Be brave.”
She wanted to be brave, as brave as Naz, but she felt weak and lonely and lost. Discreetly dabbing her eyes with her new scarf, she took a furtive glance back at the building. Naz stood at the window, watching her. With a half-hearted smile, she dropped her backpack at her feet to fasten her bicycle helmet. Naz smiled back and pressed a hand to the glass. In the time it took to pick up her backpack and hook it over her shoulders, Naz had gone.
With a heavy, resigned sigh, she pushed her bike down the long shingle drive to the entrance gates. Once outside she propped the bike against the kerb and cautiously glanced up and down the quiet tree-lined avenue – almost jumped out of her skin when a car door slammed somewhere up ahead. Seeing a blue light poking up from the row of parked cars, she pressed herself into the shadow of a tall oak tree, heart stuttering in her chest.
Her eyes followed the police officer as he strolled across the road and let himself into a house.
he didn’t know a police officer lived there. She didn’t know she’d been holding her breath either, until it juddered from her body when the door shut behind him.
Hands trembling, she drew a deep, steadying breath, mounted her bike and set out for the short journey home.
Home. Memories stabbed at her heart and stung at her eyes.
She shook them away as she cycled onto the main road and into the safety of the crowded morning traffic, feeling her shoulders finally relax. Relaxation was dangerous. Naz said it would get her killed. The words echoed in her head, causing her body to tighten once more. Gritting her teeth, she pedalled harder. Kept her head down as she passed the last of the picturesque shop fronts adorned with nice things she’d never own, and concealing aisles she’d never browse. She hated this life. Wished so much that she could go back, back to before she knew. But now that she did know, back wasn’t an option. Her only option was forward. Her only option was to run.
At first, the angry chorus of blaring horns seemed normal background noise, the same as every Monday morning approaching the Winchester bottleneck. It was the sound of a high revving engine that had her glancing over her shoulder to glimpse a white van pushing aggressively through the traffic. Her mouth went dry.
A white van. There were probably millions of them, billions even.
It was probably nothing, just the bog standard enemy of regular road users trying to get ahead, but she never knew when or where they would come for her. And she knew what they’d done. Knew what they were capable of.
As a precaution, she bumped her bike out of the bus lane and onto the pavement, meandering slowly and carefully, wary of the pedestrians heading her way. Behind her she heard the prolonged guttural torque of an engine racing at breaking point. A split second later, a single heartbeat, her world span upside down in a silent slow motion strobe of black and white as she rotated endlessly past trees filtering sunlight.
This is it, she thought, spinning through the air. This is The End.
It wasn’t how she’d imagined it to be. And she’d imagined it a million times. Thought it would be painful. They’d promised it would be painful. They’d given her every graphic gory detail of how her end would be.
But it was nothing like they’d promised.
A serene sense of calm engulfed her as she closed her eyes and accepted her fate, her everlasting freedom.
Excerpt from The Wages of Sin by Bo Brennan. Copyright © 2017 by Bo Brennan. Reproduced with permission from Bo Brennan. All rights reserved.

Author Bio:

Bo Brennan is a 'Crime Thriller' writer who has lived and worked in various locations. None were exotic.

Bo's favourite past times are reading, writing, and eating. Unfortunately, the three combined do nothing for the waistline so moving about occasionally is a must.

Bo's debut novel, STEALING POWER, is the first in a series of chilling crime thrillers featuring British Detectives India Kane and AJ Colt.
BABY SNATCHERS is the second.
THE WAGES OF SIN is the third.

Bo’s books can be read in sequence or independently . . . but are probably best read with the lights on.

Catch Up With Bo on Goodreads, Twitter , & Facebook !

BLAST Participants:


Giveaway:

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Bo Brennan. There will be 5 winners of one (1) eBook copy of The Wages of Sin by Bo Brennan. The giveaway begins on February 12th and runs through February 22nd, 2017.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Get More Great Reads at Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours

 

Monday, 13 February 2017

Rarity from the Hollow by Robert Eggleton Spotlight

Lacy Dawn's father relives the Gulf War, her mother's teeth are rotting out, and her best friend is murdered by the meanest daddy on Earth. Life in the hollow is hard. She has one advantage -- an android was inserted into her life and is working with her to cure her parents. But, he wants something in exchange. It's up to her to save the Universe. Lacy Dawn doesn't mind saving the universe, but her family and friends come first.

Rarity from the Hollow is adult literary science fiction filled with tragedy, comedy and satire. A Children’s Story. For Adults.

“The most enjoyable science fiction novel I have read in years.” —Temple Emmet Williams, Author, former editor for Reader’s Digest

“Quirky, profane, disturbing… In the space between a few lines we go from hardscrabble realism to pure sci-fi/fantasy. It’s quite a trip.” — Evelyn Somers, The Missouri Review

. "…a hillbilly version of Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy…what I would have thought impossible; taken serious subjects like poverty, ignorance, abuse…tongue-in-cheek humor without trivializing them…profound…a funny book that most sci-fi fans will thoroughly enjoy." -- Awesome Indies (Gold Medal)

“…sneaks up you and, before you know it, you are either laughing like crazy or crying in despair, but the one thing you won’t be is unmoved…a brilliant writer.” --Readers’ Favorite (Gold Medal)
“Rarity from the Hollow is an original and interesting story of a backwoods girl who saves the Universe in her fashion. Not for the prudish.” —Piers Anthony, New York Times bestselling author

“…Good satire is hard to find and science fiction satire is even harder to find.” -- The Baryon Review

Excerpt from Chapter 13, “Mom I’d Like to Introduce You to My Fiancé”

Scene Prologue: At this point in the story, Lacy Dawn, the protagonist, is twelve years old. An android named DotCom (his name is a recurring pun throughout the novel) installed a port in her upper spine and has directly downloaded data into her brain for the last several years. His ship is hidden in a cave in the Woods behind the family’s house in the hollow. DotCom was sent to Earth to train and recruit Lacy Dawn to save the universe from an imminent threat, but was recalled due to slow performance. In this scene, DotCom has returned to Earth and Jenny, the mother, meets him for the first time.

*****

            …..…Jenny (the mother) walked up the hill to Roundabend. She called Lacy Dawn's name every few yards. Her muddy tennis shoes slipped and slid.
            I hear her voice. Why won't she answer me? 
            “Sounds like she’s talking to someone,” Jenny said to the Woods. 
            Nobody responded. The trees weren't supposed to since Jenny was no longer a child. Her former best friends had made no long-term commitment beyond childhood victimization. They had not agreed to help her deal with domestic violence in adulthood. She hugged the closest tree.
            I will always love you guys. 
Jenny quickened her pace, stopped, and listened for human voices. A few yards later, she stopped again.   
            Now it sounds like she’s behind me instead of in front. 
            Jenny looked to the left of the path.
            There ain't no cave Roundabend, but there it is. 
            She walked toward the entrance. The voices grew louder and she looked inside. Lacy Dawn sat on a bright orange recliner. Tears streamed down her face.  Jenny ran to her daughter through a cave that didn't exit and into a blue light that did.
            “All right, you mother f**ker!”
            “Mom!” Lacy Dawn yelled. “You didn’t say, ‘It’s me’ like you're supposed to (a traditional announcement mentioned earlier in the story)."
            DotCom (the android) sat naked in a lotus position on the floor in front of the recliner.  Jenny covered Lacy Dawn with her body and glared at him.   
            "Grrrrr," emanated from Jenny.  It was a sound similar to the one that Brownie (Lacy Dawn's dog) made the entire time the food stamp woman was at their house.  It was a sound that filled the atmosphere with hate.  No one moved.  The spaceship’s door slid shut.
            “Mommmmmy, I can’t breathe. Get up.”
            “You make one move you sonofabitch and I’ll tear your heart out,” Jenny repositioned to take her weight off Lacy Dawn.
            Stay between them.
            “Mommy, he’s my friend. More than my friend, we’re going to get married when I'm old enough -- like when I turn fourteen. He’s my boyfriend -- what you call it -- my fiancé.” 
            “You been messin’ with my little girl you pervert!” Jenny readied to pounce. 
            “MOM!  Take a chill pill! He ain’t been messing with me. He’s a good person, or whatever. Anyway, he’s not a pervert. You need to just calm down and get off me.”
            Jenny stood up. DotCom stood up. Jenny’s jaw dropped.
            He ain't got no private parts, not even a little bump.   
            “DotCom, I’d like to introduce you to my mommy, Mrs. Jenny Hickman. Mommy, I’d like to introduce you to my fiancé, DotCom.”
            Jenny sat down on the recliner. Her face was less than a foot from DotCom’s crotch and she stared straight at it. It was smooth, hairless, and odor free.  
            “Mrs. Hickman, I apologize for any inconvenience that this misunderstanding has caused. It is very nice to meet you after having heard so much. You arrived earlier than expected. I did not have time to properly prepare and receive. Again, I apologize.” 
            I will need much more training if I'm ever assigned to a more formal setting than a cave, such as to the United Nations.
            “Come on, Mommy. Give him a hug or something.”      
            Jenny's left eye twitched. 
            DotCom put on clothing that Lacy Dawn had bought him at Goodwill. It hung a little loose until he modified his body. Lacy Dawn hugged her mother…    
            …(scene of Dwayne, the father, overheard by those in the spaceship while talking to himself)… “Besides, the transmitter was part of Daddy’s treatment. There're a lot of other things that he did to help fix Daddy. DotCom is like a doctor. You can see that Daddy has gotten better every day. And no, there ain’t no transmitter in you. DotCom figured you out like a good doctor and the only things wrong are a lack of opportunity and rotten teeth that poison your body. You don’t need no transmitter. He just gave you a few shots of ego boost. I don’t know what medicine that is, but I trust him. You ain't complained since the shots started -- not even with an upset stomach.”
            "He's a doctor?" Jenny asked.
            “What's your problem anyway?” Lacy Dawn asked. “I know.  You’re prejudiced. You told me that people have much more in common than they do that's different -- even if someone is a different color or religion, or from a different state than us. You told me to try to become friends because sometimes that person may need a good friend. Now, here you are acting like a butt hole about my boyfriend. You’re prejudiced because he’s different than us.”
            “Honey, he’s not even a person – that’s about as different as a boyfriend can get,” Jenny said.
            “So?”
            Mommy's right. Maybe I need a different argument.
            A fast clicking sound, a blur of motion, and a familiar smell assaulted them.
            "What's that?" Jenny asked. 
            She moved to protect her daughter from whatever threat loomed. Brownie, who had been granted 27 / 7 access to the ship, bounded over the orange recliner, knocked DotCom to the floor, licked DotCom’s face, and rubbed his head on Jenny’s leg. He then jumped onto the recliner and lay down. His tail wagged throughout. Jenny sat down on the recliner beside Brownie and looked at Lacy Dawn.
            “But, you were crying when I first came in. That thing was hurting you.” Jenny shook her finger at DotCom to emphasize a different argument against him.
            “Mommy, I'm so happy that I couldn’t help but cry. My man just came home from an out-of-state job. I didn't talk to him for a whole year. Before he left, he told me that he wasn’t even sure if he'd be able to come home. I still don’t know what happened while he was gone. We ain't had no chance to talk. All I know is that he's home and I'm sooooo happy.”
            “Your man came home from an out-of-state job?” Jenny patted Brownie on his head, some more and some more…. 
            It's unusual for a man to promise to come back home and ever be seen again. Brownie likes him and that's a good sign. Maybe she's right about him helping Dwayne. Something sure did and it wasn’t me. It is a nice living room. They've been together for a while and I ain't seen a mark on her. That's unusual too. He ain't got no private parts and that's another good thing. Hell, if I get in the middle, she’d just run off with him anyway. I'd better play it smart. I don't want to lose my baby. 
            “What about his stupid name?” Jenny asked.
            “I’ve got a stupid name, too. All the kids at school call me hick because my last name is Hickman.”
            “My name was given to me by my manager a very long time ago. It represents a respected tradition -- the persistent marketing of that which is not necessarily the most needed. I spam…,” DotCom said. 
            They both glared at him. 
            "Dwayne is sure to be home. I don’t want him to worry. Let’s go,” Jenny said. 
            “Okay, Mommy.”
            “I love you, DotCom,” Lacy Dawn stepped out the ship’s door, which had slid open. Brownie and Jenny were right behind her. 
            “I love you too,” DotCom said.
            Lacy Dawn and Jenny held hands and walked down the path toward home. The trees didn’t smile -- at least not so Jenny would notice. On the other hand, no living thing obstructed, intruded, or interfered with the rite.   
            Jenny sang to the Woods, “My little girl’s going to marry a doctor when she grows up, marry a doctor when she grows up, when she grows up.  My little girl’s going to marry a doctor when she grows up, marry a doctor when she grows up, when she grows up….” 

About the author:

Robert Eggleton has served as a children's advocate in an impoverished state for over forty years. He is best known for his investigative reports about children’s programs, most of which were published by the West Virginia Supreme Court where he worked from 1982 through 1997, and which also included publication of models of serving disadvantaged and homeless children in the community instead of in large institutions, research into foster care drift involving children bouncing from one home to the next -- never finding a permanent loving family, and statistical reports on the occurrence and correlates of child abuse and delinquency.
                                                                                    
Today, he is a recently retired children's psychotherapist from the mental health center in Charleston, West Virginia, where he specialized in helping victims cope with and overcome physical and sexual abuse, and other mental health concerns. Rarity from the Hollow is his debut novel. Its release followed publication of three short Lacy Dawn Adventures in magazines: Wingspan Quarterly, Beyond Centauri, and Atomjack Science Fiction. The second edition of Rarity from the Hollow was release on November 3, 2016. Author proceeds have been donated to a child abuse prevention program operated by Children’s Home Society of West Virginia. http://www.childhswv.org/ Robert continues to write fiction with new adventures based on a protagonist that is a composite character of children that he met when delivering group therapy services. The overall theme of his stories remains victimization to empowerment.




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