A MelanieM Review:Tallowwood by N.R. Walker


Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Cold cases, murder, lies, and an unimaginable truth.

Sydney detective August Shaw has spent the last decade of work solving cold cases. Since the death of his boyfriend eight years ago, August works alone, lives alone, is alone — and that’s exactly how he likes it. His work is his entire life, and he’s convinced a string of unsolved cold-case suicides are linked to what could be Australia’s worst ever serial killer. Problem is, no one believes him.

Senior Constable Jacob Porter loves his life in the small town of Tallowwood in the middle of the rainforests in northern New South Wales. He runs summer camps for the local Indigenous kids, plays rugby with his mates, has a close family, and he’s the local LGBTQIA+ Liaison and the Indigenous Liaison Officer.

When human remains are found in the camping grounds at Tallowwood Reserve, Jake’s new case turns out to be linked to August’s cold cases, and Jake agrees they’re not suicides at all. With Jacob now firmly in August’s corner, they face one hurdle after another, even when more remains are found, they still can’t seem to gain ground.

But when the body of a fellow police officer turns up under the same MO, it can’t be ignored anymore. August and Jake must trace the untraceable before the killer takes his next victim or before he stops one of them, permanently.

I am a huge fan of NR Walker’s, finding her through her contemporary romances like her Red Dirt Heart series (still my all time  go to fav), Imago series, and Spencer Cohen (new fav) to name just a few.    But here she comes with a murder mystery and I have to say, I was just as enthralled with the characters and plot as I was with her other tropes.  I really shouldn’t be surprised.

Her gift of characterization  doesn’t stop at story trope or have specific plot requirements they need to fit into.  Walker writes people that have situations happen to them.  Sometimes good, sometimes great, and sometimes, as in Tallowwood, horrifically, tragic things occur that forever change someone’s life.

Here it’s Detective August Shaw whose life has been derailed by tragedy.  Maybe derailed momentarily and then shifted onto another track.  That of solving cold cases and becoming a closed off person, dedicated to his job and the victims of the crimes he’s investigating.  Initially, August Shaw is something of an enigma himself, but as the case he is working on enlarges, he meets young Constable Jacob Porter, and starts to emersh himself into the smalltown life of Tallowwood, the reader watches the man change and start to live again.  Reluctantly, ever so slowly, August Shaw returns to life.  And, oh my, it’s so wonderful.  Because you are with him every emotional step of the way.

A huge part of that is the joyful, intelligent, highly engaging character of Jacob “Jake” Porter and his town or village of Tallowwood.  How I wish it was real.  I would be heading there myself to get a feel for the warmth and smalltown dynamics that Walker pulls you into and makes the reader a daily part of.  It’s magnetic and you easily understand it’s pull on Shaw.

You also understand his attraction to Jake and their relationship, based as it is on chemistry, intelligence, and the feeling of equals.  I love them!

The murder plot.  What can I say?  No spoilers here. But it has so many nice twists and turns and a hell of a suspense race to the finish that’s a white knuckle, stomach churner to leave everyone happy.  Especially about the outcome.  Such a evil air about it all, the reader’s skin will be prickling trying to guess who exactly is the killer here!

I would actually love to see a Tallowwood series with both August Shaw and Jake Porter investigating more murders or other crimes in the area.  I would find that fascinating.  Plus all the wonderful aboriginal culture insights and elements the author added were amazing.    More please, much , much more.

Cover art is eye catching but that’s not my idea of either mc.

Sales Links:  Amazon

Book Details:

Buy for $3.99 or try Kindle Unlimited to read over a million titles
Kindle Edition, 375 pages
Published September 23rd 2019 by Amazon Digital Services LLC
Original Title Tallowwood
Edition Language English

A MelanieM Review:The Ghost Had an Early Check-Out (The Ghost Wore Yellow Socks #2) by Josh Lanyon


Rating: 4 stars out of 5

To live and draw in L.A.

Now living in Los Angeles with former navy SEAL Nick Reno, artist Perry Foster comes to the rescue of elderly and eccentric Horace Daly, the legendary film star of such horror classics as Why Won’t You Die, My Darling?

Horace owns the famous, but now run-down, Hollywood hotel Angels Rest, rumored to be haunted. But as far as Perry can tell, the scariest thing about Angels Rest is the cast of crazy tenants–one of whom seems determined to bring down the final curtain on Horace–and anyone else who gets in the way.

The second in The Ghost Wore Yellow Socks mystery series, The Ghost Had An Early Check-Out  by Josh Lanyon continues with our newly established couple Nick Reno and Perry Foster now living in LA and working on the dynamics of their relationship and living together.  I love how Josh Lanyon writes relationships…relationships of all kinds and then threads them through her stories.  In this case a mystery story.

Nick is sketching an eerie old Hollywood hotel, an architectural wonder or horror depending upon reviewpoint, when he hears screams coming from the hilltop. That begins Nick’s introduction to Horace Daly, wildly eccentric and on the ancient side, it’s his scream that Nick hears and it’s his mystery that Perry (bringing a reluctant Nick) tumbles into.

It starts with Horace, that crazy hotel and its inhabitants, along with all those old horror movie props.  Lovingly if not gleefully described by the author through her characters. If you have ever watched an old Vincent Price or any other horror movie it that ilk, then you will have no problem imagining the movies, the props, and even Horiace in his heyday.  Perry, inhaler in hand, wants to help Horace who is convinced someone is trying to kill him.  Nick wants to watch over Perry on his time home, not happy its at a dusty old hotel with a quirky old actor asking for his boyfriend’s help.

As usual, there is a whole wonderful cast of secondary characters, even a pet alligator named Wally to help or thwart our heroes in their investigation at the hotel and the danger to Horace.   As the plot twists and turns, our couple also continues to work on their own relationship and love affair, the narrative spotlight turning from the mystery to the couple and back again.  It all intermingles effortlessly and the story moves forward quickly.

The Ghost Had an Early Check-Out (The Ghost Wore Yellow Socks #2) by Josh Lanyon is a wonderful mystery romance, full of terrific characters and a complex storyline.  I love this couple and can’t wait to see what ghostly romp they will fall into next.

Cover art works for the type of mystery the novel is about and sets the tone.

Sales Links:  Amazon | Josh Lanyon Website

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 180 pages
Published December 18th 2018 by JustJoshin Publishing, Inc.
Original TitleThe Ghost Had an Early Check-Out
Edition Language English
Series The Ghost Wore Yellow Socks #2
setting Los Angeles, California (United States)

A MelanieM Review : What Lies Beneath (Lancaster Falls Trilogy #1) by R.J. Scott


Rating: 4.75 stars out of 5

In the hottest summer on record, Iron Lake reservoir is emptying, revealing secrets that were intended to stay hidden beneath the water. The tragic story of a missing man is a media sensation, and abruptly the writer and the cop falling in love is just a postscript to horrors neither could have imagined.

Best Selling Horror writer Chris Lassiter struggles for inspiration and he’s close to never writing again. His life has become an endless loop of nothing but empty pages, personal appearances, and a marketing machine that is systematically destroying his muse. In a desperate attempt to force Chris to complete unfinished manuscripts his agent buys a remote cabin. All Chris has to do is hide away and write, but he’s lost his muse, and not even he can make stories appear from thin air.

Sawyer Wiseman left town for Chicago, chasing the excitement and potential of being a big city cop, rising the ranks, and making his mark. A case gone horribly wrong draws him back to Lancaster Falls. Working for the tiny police department in the town he’d been running from, digging into cold cases and police corruption, he spends his day’s healing, and his nights hoping the nightmares of his last case leave him alone.

What Lies Beneath (Lancaster Falls Trilogy #1) by R.J. Scott is a delicious dive into the first installment in a three part murder mystery series.  Told from two points of view and grounded so thoroughly in small town politics and “in your pocket” interpersonal relationships that you feel both the charm and the suffocation of the  Lancaster Falls atmosphere immediately.

RJ Scott builds a very accurate picture  of small town life, all the good and the bad, from the perspectives of two men, Chris and Sawyer, who have both grown up in such circumstances, albeit in different towns. It has left an indelible mark on both men, and it’s not exactly all great one.  But ironically it’s where both men have been drawn back to after the lowest moments in their lives. Chris, after a horrendous breakup now has the writer’s block to end all writer’s block and a contract deadline to meet.  Sawyer?  Well, he has his own multiple demons that haunt him. All from this past.  And it brought both men to Lancaster Falls.

How they meet, how RJ Scott builds this creepy mystery or mysteries,all while folding in the history of the town and  the reservoir that’s draining from the drought, its mud caked bottom being slowly exposed…it’s masterful!  It has the effect of sending chills up your body while making you lean forward towards your Kindle wanting to know, full of anticipation, what is going to happen next.

There’s the horror and empathy you feel towards the family and friends of the missing man.  The terror that starts to build as a clearer picture forms for the overall arc Scott is creating for  the trilogy.  Plus the intense connection  to the romance of Chris and Sawyer, one they fall into fast, lust to love but somehow it works with these two.

The descriptions set the tone, worthy of the horror writer that Chris is himself.  The pace RJ Scott sets for her characters and plot brisk and often heartstopping.  This is going to be one addictive trilogy and I’m almost, I said almost sorry I didn’t wait until they were all done, so I could binge read all the way through.  Now I have to wait until fall because where this stopped? Argh!  Perfect…if you love frustration.  Yes, I need that next story!

Yes, I love this story.  And the characters and now I want to pound on something because I want the next story.  But oh well.  Until I get it, I’m highly recommending this one to all who love M/M murder/mystery romances and of course, the writings of R.J. Scott.


Sales Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK | KOBO | B&N | Apple Books | Smashwords  | Universal Link

Book Details:

ebook, 254 pages
Published July 16th 2019 by Love Lane Books (first published July 12th 2019)
Original Title What Lies Beneath
ISBN1 39781785641749
Edition Language English
Series Lancaster Falls Trilogy #1


A MelanieM Review:The Monuments Men Murders (The Art of Murder #4) by Josh Lanyon


Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Someone is watching. Someone is waiting.

Despite having attracted the attention of a dangerous stalker, Special Agent Jason West is doing his best to keep his mind on his job and off his own troubles.

But his latest case implicates one of the original Monuments Men in the theft and perhaps destruction of part of the world’s cultural heritage–a lost painting by Vermeer. Naval Reserve Lieutenant Commander Emerson Harley wasn’t just a World War 2 hero, he was the grandfather Jason grew up idolizing. In fact, Grandpa Harley was a large part of what inspired Jason to join the FBI’s Art Crime Team.

Learning that his legendary grandfather might have turned a blind eye to American GIs “liberating” priceless art treasures at the end of the war is more than disturbing. It’s devastating.

Jason is determined to clear his grandfather’s name, even if that means breaking a few rules and regulations himself–putting him on a collision course with romantic partner BAU Chief Sam Kennedy.

Meanwhile, someone in the shadows is biding his time…

When it comes to men and their romances, Josh Lanyon has managed to write some incredibly complex and psychologically convoluted relationships.   Whether it’s the brilliance of The Adrien English Mysteries and the long twisted road that Adrian English and Jake Riordan took to happiness or perhaps her Holmes & Moriarity  series with its deep levels of mixed ties professional  of authorship and personal relationships intertwined to confuse and befuddle its two main protagonists, you can count on a story that is both haunting and gripping to the end.

So it continues to be with The Art of Murder series and the tortured relationship between Special Agent Jason West and BAU Chief Sam Kennedy.  Always strained by their own past histories and by the long distance between their offices, the latest attack by Jason’s stalker has put additional pressures on Jason’s mentally and emotionally.  He’s missing his partner’s support although he won’t admit it.  The constant threat to his safety is imperiling his health, he’s not sleeping.  And Lanyon makes us feel every second, every minute of West’s anxiety and fear.

For me this series runs neck and neck with Adrian English with its couple and labyrinthine path to any sort of happiness.  And we are only at book four.  Lanyon just demonstrates a consistent excellence in character development, depth of storyline, and overall arc that showcases her prowess as an author.  These are not easy men but hard, articulate, intelligent men in demanding jobs that take them around the country or all over the world in some cases.  It puts them in danger, and has cost them highly in emotional terms. Especially one.    They have hugely different (and by now well known to the readers) back histories that contribute sometimes to their difficulties in their relationship.  Everything they argue about, try to work through is grounded in something authentic and real. So we as readers bleed emotionally with them when they hurt in these times.  And they are many considering who they are and what they are going through.

Which is a series theme with a truly evil stalker for West.  This is one thread that is chilling in more ways than one.  As it’s been playing out, its psychologically physically, and emotionally scary.  After that is a mystery/murder per novel that is enthralling.  Often involving artwork which brings in Jason, then a murder which will involve Sam.  Somewhere all will overlap in a mentally challenging narrative that will have you glued to the page until it’s all done.

Like it did here.  Where it looked to tear my heart out right up to the last sentence.

Where it teetered on the brink of despair and barely brought it back again.  Just barely.  Oh these men.

Stories and series like this are one of the reasons I read   They aren’t easy but they keep you thinking, your mind and heart are always alert for what’s coming next.  And you never see it when it hits you.

So amazing.  Lanyon can’t write them fast enough for me.  I need the next one now.

If you aren’t familiar with this series.  I have listed them all for you below.  Read them in the order they were written.  Then this amazing novel next.  I highly recommend them all for those looking for contemporary romances with adult long paths to happiness and mysteries too.  Trust me, just brilliant.

Cover art works for the storyline and to draw your eye to the book. Great job.

Sales Links:  Amazon | GooglePlay | Kobo

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 199 pages
Published June 30th 2019 by JustJoshin Publishing, Inc.
Edition Language English
Series The Art of Murder #4

The Art of Murder Series

The Mermaid Murders

The Monet Murders

The Magician Murders

The Monuments Men Murders

The Movie-Town Murders winter 2020 smh!

Love Romance with a Murder Mystery Involved? Check out Murder Most Lovely (Lacetown Murder Mysteries #1) by Hank Edwards and Deanna Wadsworth (guest author interviews and giveaway)


Murder Most Lovely (Lacetown Murder Mysteries #1) by Hank Edwards and Deanna Wadsworth

Dreamspinner Press

Published April 30th 2019
Cover Artist: Bree Archer

Sales Links:


Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host Hank Edwards and Deanna Wadsworth here today on tour for their new novel,Murder Most Lovely. The first in a new series, Lacetown Murder Mysteries.  Welcome both of you.

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Interviews Hank Edwards and Deanna Wadsworth….



Does research play a role into choosing which genre you write?  Do you enjoy research or prefer making up your worlds and cultures?

DEANNA: Research is a HUGE part of all writing. Fortunately for Hank, with our book MURDER MOST LOVELY, he got to skip all the research on Jazz’s hairstylist profession because I’ve been in the beauty biz since 1992. While we had that ace in the hole, however, both of us had to do a lot of research on funeral parlors, and the Michigan laws on coroner work for Michael’s character.

For a while, Google thought I wanted to be a mortician and I saw ads for Cadillac coach packages (that’s what they call the upgrade from sedan to hearse) everywhere I looked LOL.

Hank and I keep a series bible for our Lacetown Mysteries too, because when you create a fictional world you need to keep track of many tiny details

Who do you think is your major influence as a writer?  Now and growing up?

HANK: I would definitely have to say Stephen King is a major influence. I love how he creates a sense of place and believable characters with flaws and heroic moments and, sometimes, really bad luck. I keep working on my craft because of his example. I also love John Sanford’s Lucas Davenport in the Prey series, and really enjoyed Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series. There are way too many great writers in the gay romance genre to pick names, but reading and enjoying their stories keeps me striving to make mine better.

Has your choice of childhood or teenage reading genres carried into your own choices for writing?

DEANNA: Well, if I wasn’t reading a historical bodice ripper, I was reading mystery, fantasy, and horror as a teen. So yes, definitely the romantic part has carried over to all of my books. In THE BOYFRIEND CRUISE I got to dabble with dragons and mermaids—which was awesome—and hopefully future books will feature those paranormal beings front and center. And I finally got to play with writing a real mystery with our book MURDER MOST LOVELY, which was much different than writing romance

HANK:  Most definitely! I read a lot of fantasy adventure in my pre-teen and teen years. Stuff from C. S. Lewis and Tolkien and some sci-fi. I read a lot of movie novelizations and suspense/thriller/mysteries. When Stephen King started publishing, I read everything he wrote. Still do, actually. Much of my writing leans toward paranormal or horror, like my CRITTER CATCHERS series in which two best friends find themselves chasing paranormal creatures, or my VENOM VALLEY series with evil vampires and zombies in the American Old West, all with a gay romance at the heart. I also wrote a YA fantasy series, THE TOWN OF SUPERSTITION, under the pen name R. G. Thomas, with wizards and other magical creatures like garden gnomes and a dragon. I’ve written a mystery or two already, my humorous REPOSSESSION IS 9/10THS OF THE LAW and the suspenseful UP TO TROUBLE series are mysteries, but I have to admit I had a great time writing MURDER MOST LOVELY with Deanna. We had a blast!

Have you ever had to put an ‘in progress’ story aside because of the emotional ties with it?  You were hurting with the characters or didn’t know how to proceed?

DEANNA: Yes, I have. I also write YA/NA romance under the pen name KD Worth. My GRIM LIFE series about teen suicide and Christian faith was highly emotional for me to write. It has taken me much longer to complete the trilogy than planned, almost two years between each one. The final book THE LOST SOULS will be out this winter and I’m really excited to share Max and Kody’s well-earned HEA!

HANK: Yes, I have. I’ve been working on a very angst-heavy book for a few years now that deals with one character’s alcoholism and another’s work rescuing feral cats. It’s a very different type of story for me, and it’s really touching on some personal buttons, but I’m determined to work on it at some point in the near future. Fingers crossed!

Have you ever put a story away, thinking it just didn’t work?  Then years/months/whatever later inspiration struck and you loved it?  Is there a title we would recognize if that happened?

DEANNA: Yes, several books in fact. My 1850’s Key West historical romance WRECKED was originally m/f and I could never quite finish it. Then I realized my wrecker Rief’s grief/angst was a longing for a man to love him, which was sadly forbidden in that era. I didn’t just do a pronoun swap, rather, I created an entirely new character Mathew while relegating the original heroine Maggie to Mathew’s fiancé. I’m pretty happy with the end result. ❤

LA FAMIGLIA was the first m/m novel I ever completed but it was rejected when I sought publication. It went through so many rebirths after that because I just loved Forrester and Kyle so much. When I decided to focus on Forrester’s family and made Kyle deaf, everything just fell into place.

How do you feel about the ebook format and where do you see it going?

HANK: I was an early adopter of ebooks. I bought the first version of the Kindle and really loved the reading experience. It’s been amazing to see how it’s changed the reading experience. I could have never imagined the ability for authors to get their stories into reader’s hands so easily. I have no idea where this is all going, but I can’t wait to see what it looks like.

What’s the wildest scene you’ve imagined and did it make it into a story?

DEANNA: The opening scene of THE RHUBARB PATCH when Phineas runs out of his house wearing nothing but his skivvies and a pair of orange rubber boots because his new neighbor—city boy Scott—is weed-wacking his rhubarb patch. It’s still one of my favorites!


HANK: Oh yes! When I first started writing, I published a funny and erotic series called FLUFFERS, INC. Believe me when I say that it’s a very, very filthy and funny book series. In the first book, our hero, Charlie, the sweetest and most clumsy fluffer-for-hire who ever knelt before a porn star, is at a wild party in California. There’s a man in a leather sling, a lot of lube, and clumsy Charlie. That’s about all I’ll say about it here. Still makes me chuckle when I think about it.

Ever drunk written a chapter and then read it the next day and still been happy with it? Trust me there’s a whole world of us drunk writers dying to know.

DEANNA: Honestly, no I haven’t written much while drinking, but I do a TON of brainstorming while I’m having cocktails. There are scrap papers all over my basement bar where I jot down an epiphany for a plot twist or a great line. Sometimes I even message my favorite author friends and tell them we should write a book together… isn’t that right, Hank? LOL

MURDER MOST LOVELY is a complete product of cocktails inspiring great books. I was imbibing and crocheting a baby blanket while listening to vinyl records (hey, I like to keep myself busy) when I sent this FB message to Hank


Lacetown Murder Mysteries: Case One Giveaway!

Enter to win 2 FREE ebooks from Hank and Deanna!

HERE: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/e33c45758/?


A killer at a small-town literary festival. Bumbling drug dealers. A kidnapped cat. Starting a romance among all this chaos might be the death of them.

Michael Fleishman is excited to meet his favorite mystery writer, Russell Withingham, at Lacetown’s Literary Fest. He is not expecting to cross paths with sexy hairdresser Jasper “Jazz” Dilworth—or become embroiled in a real-life mystery. As Lacetown’s only mortician and the county coroner, Michael is called to his first murder scene and is shocked to recognize the victim—Russell’s young lover.

Jazz only wanted to confront his ex, Russell, over his cheating. Instead, he meets the adorably awkward Michael and becomes a murder suspect. Soon Jazz is teaming up with Michael to clear his name. Along the way, they are helped and hindered by Michael’s sassy assistant, Kitty, the grumpy Sheriff Musgrave, Russell’s creepy PR rep, Norbert, and Michael’s lothario grandfather, who likes his manhattans strong and his women saucy. And of course, Mr. Pickles Furryton the Third….


About the Authors

Hank Edwards has been writing gay fiction for more than twenty years. He has published over thirty novels and dozens of short stories. His writing crosses many sub-genres, including romance, rom-com, contemporary, paranormal, suspense, mystery, and wacky comedy. He has written a number of series such as the suspenseful Up to Trouble, funny and spooky Critter Catchers, Old West historical horror of Venom Valley, and erotic and funny Fluffers, Inc. No matter what genre he writes, Hank likes to keep things steamy and heartfelt. He was born and still lives in a northwest suburb of the Motor City, Detroit, Michigan, where he shares a home with his partner of over 20 years and their two cats.

Join Hank’s Newsletter HERE


Read about the Town of Superstition, Hank’s YA series written as R.G. Thomas on Amazon

Deanna Wadsworth might be a bestselling erotica author, but she leads a pretty vanilla life in Ohio with her wonderful husband and adorable cocker spaniels. She has been penning stories since childhood, and her first erotic novella was published in 2010 and served multiple as President of the Rainbow Romance Writers in 2017. When she isn’t writing books or brainstorming with friends, you can find her making people gorgeous in a beauty salon. An avid reader, she also loves gardening, cooking, music, and dancing. Often she can be seen hanging out on the sandbar in the muddy Maumee River or chilling with her hubby and a cocktail in their basement bar. In between all that fun, Deanna cherishes the quiet times when she can let her wildly active imagination have the full run of her mind. Her fascination with people and the interworkings of their relationships have always inspired her to write romance with spice and love without boundaries.

Join Deanna’s newsletter HERE

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Check out Deanna’s young adult alter ego, K.D. Worth AmazonTwitterBookBub


Lacetown Murder Mysteries: Case One


Enter to win 2 FREE ebooks from Hank and Deanna!

HERE: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/e33c45758/?

An Alisa Release Day Review: Murder Most Lovely (Lacetown Murder Mysteries #1) by Hank Edwards and Deanna Wadsworth


Rating:  4 stars out of 5

A killer at a small-town literary festival. Bumbling drug dealers. A kidnapped cat. Starting a romance among all this chaos might be the death of them.

Michael Fleishman is excited to meet his favorite mystery writer, Russell Withingham, at Lacetown’s Literary Fest. He is not expecting to cross paths with sexy hairdresser Jasper “Jazz” Dilworth—or become embroiled in a real-life mystery. As Lacetown’s only mortician and the county coroner, Michael is called to his first murder scene and is shocked to recognize the victim—Russell’s young lover.

Jazz only wanted to confront his ex, Russell, over his cheating. Instead, he meets the adorably awkward Michael and becomes a murder suspect. Soon Jazz is teaming up with Michael to clear his name. Along the way, they are helped and hindered by Michael’s sassy assistant, Kitty, the grumpy Sheriff Musgrave, Russell’s creepy PR rep, Norbert, and Michael’s lothario grandfather, who likes his manhattans strong and his women saucy. And of course, Mr. Pickles Furryton the Third….

There was so much going on in this story dramawise that I was actually surprised when the murderer was revealed, which was a nice surprise as I think a lot of what I read lately has been predictable.  Michael likes his quiet life in his hometown though really wishes for companionship.  Jazz has rebuilt his life in this new quiet town but still dealing with drama from his future ex-husband.

I hated that Michael didn’t feel like he has any friends.  So many people avoid him since he is the town mortician but he still doesn’t feel that those he interacts with on a daily basis are friends.  Jazz bumps into his world and makes his quiet calm life not so quiet and calm.

Now Jazz, I liked him though I thought the non-divorce split he has agreed to with Russell was stupid and would be prone to causing more problems than not.  I felt bad when he found out what his ex was really like.  Michael and Jazz are great together and Jazz really brings Michael out of his shell.  I look forward to other books in this series.

The cover art by Bree Archer is nice and I like the visual of Michael.

Sales Links: Dreamspinner Press | Amazon | B&N

Book Details:

ebook, 239 pages

Published: April 30, 2019 by Dreamspinner Press

ISBN-13: 978-1-64405-201-3

Edition Language: English

Series: Lacetown Murder Mysteries: Case One

A MelanieM Review: The Hunt by J.M. Dabney & Davidson King


Rating: 4.5 stars out of  5

Disgraced detective turned private investigator, Ray Clancy, left the force with a case unsolved. Finding the killer was no longer his problem, but it still haunted him. How long would he survive the frustration of not knowing before he gave into the compulsion of his nature to solve the crime?

Server, Andrew Shay, existed where he didn’t feel he belonged, living behind the guise of a costume. Yet it paid the bills, and he refused to complain about the little things in life. One night he returned home from work to find his roommate dead and the killer still there. Afraid and alone, his life spiraled and he didn’t know what to do. Could a detective at his core and a scared young man join forces to bring down the killer in their midst?

When I think of those memorable noir detectives I grew up with (of paper novels and of course film), they have that distinct voice, that precise background that marks them as one of the most complex and compelling characters ever to draw a reader in.  That noir private investigator who usually was once a cop.  Or in this case a Detective.  They are bitter about their fall from the brotherhood in blue, cynical, and just scraping by on the worst of P.I. jobs.  And yes, often haunted by past case or cases.

They are our Sam Spades, Philip Marlowe’s, Mike Hammer’s and more recently Jack Reacher.  They started in novels and spread out into film and other media because they captured something deep in us.  The cynical, partly broken man who still rises up to fight again for an innocent against an evil, or what they perceive to be an innocent against what they perceive to be an evil.  It sometimes gets very messy in noir.  Another reason to love them so.

But those dark, gritty growly voices?  Once heard, they can’t be forgotten.  Those narrators of crimes both mundane and horrendous get under your skin.  They make you want to stay close, fascinated and drawn to them.

Ray Clancy,  framed ex cop joins their ranks, standing out only by his sexuality, something still unacceptable on the force. Here Ray was especially bitter as it had never affected his job, all those years on the force. It wasn’t his sexuality but his iffy background with some suspect criminal ties as kid he had to fight against.

Older, bitter, trying to adjust to his new stature when an innocent seeks his help from a killer of young gay men, a case of his from his days as a Detective.  And with one acceptance, The Hunt is alive!

Authors Dabney and King work several threads here.  One, of course, is the serial killer of all the young gay men and trying to catch him before he strikes again.  There is a revelation here mid story that nicely shakes things up.  Another is the issue of who framed Clancy to get him off the force, and another still of the slowly forming relationship between Ray and Andrew, and what it might mean to them, if they make it through the  case alive.  Always questionable with bodies falling around them.

The writing was wonderfully succinct, sparse in that noir detective way when necessary.  Great twists and turns in the plot, the suspense was a killer, and those scenes towards the end?  Absolutely white knuckle all the way.  I adored it.

I hope to see Ray Clancy hang up his shingle and more cases come his way.  His is a voice you could definitely get addicted to.



Cover Art:  Morningstar Ashley.  I love this cover.  Dark and mysterious.  Perfect for the story.

Sales LInks:  Amazon  |

Global link: mybook.to/JMDKHunt 

Goodreads:  https://bit.ly/2p7qwug

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 218 pages
Published September 15th 2018 by Hostile Whispers Press, LLC
Edition Language English

A MelanieM Review: Murder Takes the High Road by Josh Lanyon


Rating: 5 stars out of 5

From award-winning male/male author Josh Lanyon: a librarian finds himself in a plot right out of one of his favorite mystery novels

Librarian Carter Matheson is determined to enjoy himself on a Scottish bus tour for fans of mystery author Dame Vanessa Rayburn. Sure, his ex, Trevor, will also be on the trip with his new boyfriend, leaving Carter to share a room with a stranger, but he can’t pass up a chance to meet his favorite author.

Carter’s roommate turns out to be John Knight, a figure as mysterious as any character from Vanessa’s books. His strange affect and nighttime wanderings make Carter suspicious. When a fellow traveler’s death sparks rumors of foul play, Carter is left wondering if there’s anyone on the tour he can trust.

Drawn into the intrigue, Carter searches for answers, trying to fend off his growing attraction toward John. As unexplained tragedies continue, the whole tour must face the fact that there may be a murderer in their midst—but who?

Nothing better than diving into a Josh Lanyon murder mystery!  But I have to admit I have a fondness for librarians going back to my childhood and the endless hours I spent with them and their libraries, no matter what state I was living in at the time.  And of course, there’s that certain librarian  (The Mummy) who stood up and announced with utter confidence in her abilities to handle anything “I am a librarian!”.  As well she should.   As does Josh Lanyon’s intrepid librarian Carter Matheson deal with everything that comes at him, from the expected to the shocking, in this marvelous tale of murder and romance in Murder Takes the High Road.

Carter, you see, is on a trip of a sort I’ve always wanted to take for myself.  So it was easy to slide in next to him, along with the other author and series devotees visiting places important in books written by this author they adored.  However, there’s another huge element here.  Carter’s recent ex, the one he was supposed to be taking the trip with, is also on the tour with the new boyfriend.  The one he wanted Carter’s ticket for, the one that Carter refused to give up and is using now.  So many emotions in turmoil to go along with a long awaited tour that    Carter had been looking forward to.

Of course, Lanyon pours us into Carter’s soul and the  awkwardness and pain of the situation.  She let’s no small agony go passed by and soon we are deeply connected to Carter and the story (and everyone on the tour as well).  Before you can blink, there’s a murder..and mysteries, and a delightful handsome guy for Carter to share room, clues, and maybe just more with.

Yes, I ate this all up.

And at the end, when all the revelations were laid out, all the murderers exposed…I was totally satisfied.  Except that of course as with all of Josh Lanyon’s couples…I wanted more. Of them and more stories.  Can’t be helped.  It’s just the way of her stories.

So yes, I absolutely recommend Murder Takes the High Road by Josh Lanyon.  I loved it.  If you are a fan of murder mystery romances, I will you will too.  If you are a fan of this author, you’ve already read and know what I’m talking about.

Cover art is spectacular.  I just love it.

Sales Links:  Carina Press | Amazon

Book Details: 

Expected publication: April 23rd 2018 by Carina Press
Original TitleMurder Takes the High Road
Edition LanguageEnglish

Release Blitz for CLOSER by F.E. Feeley Jr. (excerpt and giveaway)



Book Title: Closer

Author:  F.E. Feeley Jr

Publisher:  Beaten Track Publishing

Cover Artist: Emma Bonath

Genre/s:  Gay Fiction, Horror, Urban Fantasy

Length:  118,000 words/346 pages

Release Date: March 1st, 2018


Maplewood, Vermont is a picturesque town filled with unique shops, unique homes, and a quaint familiarity all centered around a lake with an unusual history.

Legends, old as well as Urban, float around like the mist that hovers above the lake at break of dawn.

But they’re just stories, right?

Hayden Moore’s life was destroyed when his husband, Malcolm, was murdered. Giving up his job as an assistant district attorney in Boston, Hayden moved to the little burg of Maplewood to recover.

A new life.

A fresh start.

However, something underneath the water is stirring. Something rotten. A deadly secret wakes underneath the black waters of Lake Veronica so disturbing it haunts the nightmares of the local residents.

It’s coming closer…

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She had fallen asleep at the side of his bed, her head resting on the back of her chair, and her feet propped up on an ottoman. She awoke to the sound of water running. Audrey let her eyes open slowly, her fatigue surprising her a little. Her son was still asleep in the bed and she checked her watch, it said six thirty. The little bedside lamp was still on and she watched as her son’s chest rise and fall in medicine induced slumber. The water running in the bathroom stirred her and forced her to get up; she noticed steam coming in from under the bathroom door.

Sleep vanished from her mind as she crept slowly to the bathroom door, the hair on the back of her neck and on her arms stood straight up. The door was slightly ajar, and she heard movement inside the bathroom, she stopped. Looking around the bedroom she found her son’s baseball bat in the corner along with a mitt and baseball. Tanner, a friend of Jake’s and a few other guys were on an after-work baseball team, The Hornets. She picked up the bat and held it tight in her hands, she was going to walk straight into the bathroom and beat to death whoever was in the house. She used the bat to push the door open; the mirror over the sink was fogged up with steam. Her heart thudded in her ears as she rounded the corner towards the shower; someone was standing behind the shower curtain, the silhouette of a man. With an unsteady hand she reached for the curtain and jerked it back, raising the bat high above her head. The man, having heard the curtain slide jerked around, soap in his face and screamed, sliding backwards.

“Jesus Christ Audrey!” her ex-husband bellowed, trying to catch his balance.

“Daniel!” she cried out, slumping backwards and settling her behind down on the toilet, breathing hard. She looked up from where she sat, at her naked husband who had lost the extra twenty-five or so pounds that he had gained during their marriage. He was rubbing the soap out of his eyes and rinsing his face cursing and carrying out. She started to laugh and laughed so hard she almost fell off the toilet. She clutched at her midsection as tears rolled down her face.

Daniel stopped cursing and given the awkwardness of the situation chuckled himself.

“If you wanted to see me naked Audrey, all you had to do is ask,” he said, sliding the curtain back closed.

“Oh… Oh, Daniel. You wouldn’t believe the day I’ve had. I thought you were a ghost,” she said. He pulled the curtain back and looked at her strangely. His handsome face lit up in a quizzical way, a few more lines around his eyes than she remembered. His grey hair plastered to his head, but his eyes were as blue as she remembered. She felt a tug deep inside her heart for the slightest second, remembering what could have been, what should have been.

“A ghost huh?” Daniel asked, grabbing for the towel.

“Yeah. Never mind. When did you get here?” she asked as he stepped out of the shower. He had been working out, his shoulders broader and his chest tighter. She kept her back to him as he towel dried off.

“About thirty minutes. The front door was unlocked and Jake and you both were sound asleep. I tried calling on the phone, but you didn’t answer. I was worried something had happened,” he said.

“Yeah. I gave him a Xanax, so he could sleep. You should have seen him Daniel, he was so sick and besides himself. I was afraid he was going to die from grief,” she explained, handing him his underwear and t-shirt from the sink, her back still turned to him.

“Did the police say anything else?” he asked as he slipped into his underwear. He talked to his ex-wife’s back, frowning. She looked great; she always had, if it hadn’t been for that last miscarriage they wouldn’t be apart like this. He wasn’t surprised that she came in at him with a bat; she loved and protected her Jake with fierceness. He wouldn’t ever accuse her of being a bad mother.

“You can turn around now,” he said as he buckled his blue jeans.

She did just that, looking up at him.

“Daniel, you should have seen him,” she said, putting her head in her hands.

“That bad huh?” he asked buttoning a short sleeve golf shirt that his friends bought for him.

“Yeah. I didn’t know he was having an affair with…that woman. I knew he was staying out late, and I knew that he was seen out, but, with her?” She exhaled sharply. Jessica had a bad reputation in town for being a heart-breaker, and then she married the single wealthiest man, a lead accountant for a computer firm, she was labeled a gold digger. Now she was dead, and the law was looking at her son.

“We will take care of this. How about you? How you feeling?” he asked, concern in his voice. She had dark circles under her eyes, and her face looked strained.

“I’m hanging in there. Daniel, how bad can this get?” she asked.

“That depends really. I mean, if he didn’t do it, he didn’t do it. We just must make sure that we can account for where he was and when he left. You said they were at a motel? Good. That means he had to check out at some point,” he said, the gears in his head turning.

“Daniel, there has been some other stuff happening in this area. This makes the third drowning in the past week,” she said, standing up. “He’ll be glad to see you.”

He walked over to her and wrapped his arms around her shoulders and she leaned into him letting him hold her. He let her go and stepped out of the bathroom, taking the baseball bat with him as he went. His son’s light was on above his bed and Daniel stopped dead in his tracks. Standing two feet away from the sleeping boy was a scantily clad woman. She was wearing nothing more than a t-shirt and a pair of panties, but something was wrong, her color was all wrong. Her bare legs were almost blue they were so pale.

“HEY! Get away from him!” he screamed, raising the bat up. The woman spun around, one of her eyeballs had exploded and hung limp on her face, her matted wet hair stuck to her head. Behind him he heard his ex-wife scream.

Daniels muscles bunched up and he leapt forward, bringing the bat up, his instincts taking control. The woman screamed, a gargled disjointed sound, and when the bat hit her square in the head, she exploded. Water sprayed him, soaking the front of his shirt, and their sleeping son, who woke with a start.

“What the fu…Dad?” The bleary eyed and confused son watched in astonishment as he wiped the water off his face. Audrey rounded the side of Daniel and reached for Jake to get up. Daniel turned his head to the open door and saw wet footprints. His body shook, his breathing was labored, and his curiosity piqued. While he left his son and Audrey waiting in the bedroom he followed the trail to its source.

About the Author

Author Bio: F.E.Feeley Jr is a poet and the author of six published works – four full length novels, two short stories featured in anthologies, and a good deal of poetry.

Married to the love of his life, John, he came to the writing world about four years ago where he fell in love, again, with the written word.

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A Lila Release Day Review: Southernmost Murder by C.S. Poe


Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

Aubrey Grant lives in the tropical paradise of Old Town, Key West, has a cute cottage, a sweet moped, and a great job managing the historical property of a former sea captain. With his soon-to-be-boyfriend, hotshot FBI agent Jun Tanaka, visiting for a little R&R, not even Aubrey’s narcolepsy can put a damper on their vacation plans.

But a skeleton in a closet of the Smith Family Historical Home throws a wrench into the works. Despite Aubrey and Jun’s attempts to enjoy some time together, the skeleton’s identity drags them into a mystery with origins over a century in the past. They uncover a tale of long-lost treasure, the pirate king it belonged to, and a modern-day murderer who will stop at nothing to find the hidden riches. If a killer on the loose isn’t enough to keep Aubrey out of the mess, it seems even the restless spirit of Captain Smith is warning him away.

The unlikely partnership of a special agent and historian may be exactly what it takes to crack this mystery wide-open and finally put an old Key West tragedy to rest. But while Aubrey tracks down the X that marks the spot, one wrong move could be his last.

Southernmost Murder is a perfect mix of mystery, quirky characters, and romance. I was captivated by Aubrey since the very beginning. I remember him from the Snow and Winter series, just like Jun, and I’m glad the author took the time to give these two their own story. It’s not necessary to read the other two books though.

I loved how Aubrey’s narcolepsy was part of him and not a prompt to make him more interesting or create conflict. It’s an integral part of the story and it’s relevant to the plot and the relationship. We get to know all the characters through their actions and each of them had their personalities and backstories.

The book has a solid ‘whodunnit’ plot with many twists and turns. Yes, Aubrey makes several dumb decisions during the story but those don’t take from it. I enjoyed the way the author brings the reader into the setting and the different locations. Together with all the historical facts, items, and side characters.

I was pleasantly surprised to see the romance arc take a central part of the story. Jun’s and Aubrey’s chemistry was intense but their friendship really added to it. I wish we could have seen them together during their courtship, but we get little glances of it. Jun’s POV would have been nice too. The secondary romance is heartbreaking.

Overall, this is a great mystery and love story. I hope to see more about these two and some of the other characters. Perhaps the detective? Adam?

The cover by Reese Dante shows Aubrey and Jun together with some of the elements of the story.

Sale Links: DSPAmazon | NOOK

ebook, 200 pages
Published: January 9, 2018, by DSP Publications
ISBN: 9781640800779
Edition Language: English