A MelanieM Review: Killer Reunion (Donald Strachey Mystery #16) by Richard Stevenson

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Rating: 4.75 stars out of 5

It’s a family reunion in the era of American tribal politics, and what could go wrong? Plenty, including murder, when the Callahan clan convenes at a New England country inn and one of the most politically outspoken relatives is the victim of a bizarre poisoning.

Timothy Callahan and his long-time spouse, Albany PI Don Strachey, contend not just with dampened spirits but with injustice when a misguided local cop zeroes in on an innocent Callahan. PI Strachey has to unearth a complicated family’s hidden history, nail the real killer, and expose an act of long-contained violent rage in this disturbing tale of the way we live now.

Richard Stevenson is now on his sixteenth novel in his Donald Strachey Mystery series and he has this character, his husband, and the series that revolves about them down to a fine or make that slightly gritty, occasionally comical, and always delectable piece of art!

I’ve been a huge fan of this author and series from the beginning and in multiple formats.  From the first novel, Death Trick, to the four movies made for here! tv from four of the series stories (which were incredible btw), I watched the character of Donald Strachey grow with the times, his personality mature, find love with Timothy Callahan, marry and settle with said Timothy into a happy established couple.  What an absolute joy it’s been!  All while solving some stuplying and some downright horrific mystery cases.

In Killer Reunion (Donald Strachey Mystery #16), author  Richard Stevenson has given Timothy and cousin Beth the daunting task of assembling the Callahan clan for a family reunion.in a picturesque, read old, inn in the country.  Half the family is rabid Trumpites with their MAGA hats, the other half rabid liberals with their Bernie pins.  One rule of the gathering?  No politics!  There’s also a funeral, broken promises, an ex con, and more twists and turns then you can imagine when a dead body (a relative shows up and Donald is enlisted to help solve the mystery.

Killer Reunion is a good old fashioned page turner in the very best way,  The police thought they knew who done it, Donald knew better but  had to find the real murderer. And in between?  Some honest to God chortling, huge surprises, great twists and plot turns, and more of the layered, marvelous characters I have come to love and expect from this series and author.  The non-judgemental quality that shines from Donald is one of the nicest elements in the series and something I have always enjoyed about this character.  Here it has never been on display more.

If you are a fan of mysteries , grab this one up and start reading immediately.  You will love it.  No real romance.  For that return to the previous stories and see how Donald and Timothy met and fell in love.  Killer Reunion is all mystery and a great one at that.  Enjoy!  I highly recommend it.

Cover art:  Very fitting for the story and location.

Sales Links:  MLR Press Amazon

Book Details:

ebook
Published April 25th 2019 by MLR Books
Series Donald Strachey #16

Check out the Goodreads link to the entire series:

Donald Strachey (16 books)
by Richard Stevenson

Review Tour – A Body In A Bathhouse (A Mitch O’Reilly Mystery) by Brad Shreve (excerpt and giveaway)

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Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK | Universal LinkExclusive to Amazon and Available to Borrow with Kindle Unlimited
 
Length: 65,000 words approx.
 
Cover Design: UmeWorks
 
Blurb
 

On the verge of bankruptcy, private investigator, Mitch O’Reilly takes any gig that comes his way, while running his Eye Spy Supply shop in a forgotten Los Angeles strip mall. After two tours in Afghanistan, Mitch’s life amounts to operating his store, coping with his fun-loving sister, Josie, and scoring with anonymous men he meets online. That changes when he gets a break. A beloved comedy scriptwriter is murdered at a bathhouse, and Mitch is hired to prove the innocence of the club custodian. Adapting from a two-bit gumshoe to a high-profile sleuth proves more challenging than he expected.

As if Mitch didn’t have enough to deal with, charismatic bathhouse operator, Trent Nakos, enters his life. After a heartbreaking past, the manager is the definition of a man the brooding P.I. actively avoids.

Following leads from sprawling mansions to sketchy hoods is demanding but becomes more troublesome when deadly threats jeopardize the biggest opportunity of his career.

 
Excerpt

“This case will be good for both of us,” Eve said. “If we get my client off, we look like heroes. If we don’t, he’s just another Mexican in prison who’ll be forgotten.”

“You’re one cold-hearted bitch.”

“Just honest, Mitch.”

Attorney Eve Aiken and I had worked together twice before. Once, I took pictures of a drug-abusing father in a custody battle. The second case involved a Pomeranian and suspicious bite marks.

“He’s probably an illegal. That’ll make it harder for us.” She pulled her gray suit jacket off, revealing a low-cut, black shell top. The skin above her breasts and down her arms was rough, wrinkled, and splotchy, making her look far beyond her fifty years. “I’ll give you the quick and dirty.”

I cocked my head and smirked. “Quick and dirty is the way I like it.”

She glared. “You probably know about the murder at that gay bathhouse yesterday.”

“It may surprise you to know there is no gay underground to disseminate information.”

“Don’t you watch the news?”

Before I could answer, a bell on the main door handle jingled. I rolled my desk chair to see the front of my store, Eye Spy Supplies. My twin sister, Josie, was showing up for work an hour late.

My desk, tucked in the corner of the cramped storeroom, is one of those heavy-as-hell, gray metal types the government used for decades after World War II. I placed my arm back on it, bumping a pile of paperwork to the floor where it mingled with more papers sorted in no particular order.

Eve scowled as she combed my shabby storeroom office with its dimmed fluorescent lighting and dark wood paneling. Stacked boxes slanted, ready to fall at any moment. A stool next to the desk barely balanced a mountain of bills on top, all stamped “past due.” I casually took a book off my desk and placed it on the pile. I had opened the store to be my own boss and get out of detective work. My plan was failing miserably. I still didn’t make enough from the store to stop being a private investigator, and I didn’t make enough as an investigator to close the store.

“You were saying?” I urged Eve on.

“A man was killed yesterday morning at the Club Silver Lake bathhouse,” she said. “Familiar with it?”

Familiar? It had been almost five years since I’d been inside, but I would never shake the lure of sheer self-indulgence that consumed my life after I left the army.

“I’ve heard of it. What happened?”

“A man by the name of Victor Verboom had his throat slashed while in a steam room. They have a suspect in custody—Ernesto Torres, a jilted lover who swears he didn’t do it. I’m defending him. That’s why I need your help.”

“Given your feelings towards ‘the gays,’ it’s surprising you took the case.”

“I work with you, don’t I? Anyway, it doesn’t matter which way the wind blows, as long as the cash is green.” She slid forward on my turquoise thrift-store couch and leaned toward me.

“They found Verboom’s body at 3:00 a.m. Apparently, he has a huge house in the hills, but he was known to sleep at the bathhouse several nights a week. Can you imagine

I could but didn’t say so. “What’s his story?”

“He was a staff writer for some TV comedy I don’t watch. It’s in the file.” She opened a manila folder that was in her lap. “Let’s see, it’s a show called Don’t do That! You ever see it?”

“I don’t watch much TV, but I can’t imagine you watching sitcoms. Is it even possible for you to crack a smile?”

Eve’s lips turned down, and she furrowed her brow. In an attempt to lean back, she forgot she was seated too far forward, which caused her to slump on the couch flailing her raised hands. Grunting and clearly embarrassed, she scooched up in her seat and straightened her gray, stained skirt. I was forced to grit my teeth and look away to maintain self-control.

She brushed aside a strand of her thin, black hair and crossed her arms. “Do you want this job, O’Reilly?”

“I’ll quit with the witty banter.”

“Witty? Don’t flatter yourself.”

 
About The Author
 

After growing up in Michigan and North Carolina, Brad Shreve criss-crossed the country while working in the hotel industry. In addition to working in hotels as a bellman, front desk clerk, and reservation call center director, he’s managed coffee houses, waited tables, sold potato chips off a truck and even hocked pre-burial funeral plans.


He credits Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak for developing his interest in art and storytelling. He’d spend hours on the floor sketching and painting and writing stories. My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George gave him his first inklings that he’d like to be a novelist someday.


In addition to perpetually thinking of how to kill people, he’s a proud dad, a beach bum, and coffee house squatter.


He currently lives in the Los Angeles South Bay with his husband, Maurice.


Website/Newsletter Sign Up: www.bradshreve.com
Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/bradshreve
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/bradshreveauthor

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A MelanieM Release Day Review: No Tears for Darcy by Vicki Reese

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Letting love pass them by would be a crime.

Former forensic accountant Cameron has lost nearly everyone he’s ever loved, and now his vintage clothing shop has been broken into and trashed. When town police chief Will Carson asks an out-of-town cop friend of his for help, Cam takes one look at the dark-haired, blue-eyed detective and knows he’s in real trouble—and it has nothing to do with vandalism or murder.

Pete Minchelli is on leave from his job in Philadelphia due to a gunshot wound, but he figures he can help an academy buddy with some light police work. Plus, he’ll have a chance to experience small-town life. He’s tired of the big city and all its corruption. But he quickly discovers that not all the bad stuff happens in cities. What he doesn’t expect to find is death, treachery—or love.

No Tears for Darcy by Vicki Reese is a solid terrific MM mystery romance, my first from this author.  I really enjoyed it on many levels, not just the slow building attraction between Cameron and Pete that happens over the course of the story and the investigation but the investigation itself.  That mystery has some very nice twists to it, made all the more suspenseful by the format that includes the pov from the killer as well.

Yes there are multiple povs here but it works, the flow of the plot is even and fast paced, and the bodies pile up nicely.  I can say that while admitting the author still makes you care only for a portion of the characters here, not a broad spectrum of townspeople, so when certain people fall you don’t feel nary a twinge.

I also figured out who exactly the killer was but by then I wanted to know how it was  all going to play out.  Reese did a good job in the action scenes and in making the reader care in the outcome.  Plus I have to admit I loved the Minchelli family, all of them.  Having them as a support for Cameron and Pete’s relationship gave it depth it needed.

This was a first story for me by this author and it was really entertaining.  It is certainly going to send me seeking out more to see what else they have written.  If you enjoy contemporary romance with more than a dash of action and suspense, pick up No Tears for Darcy.  I recommend it for everyone looking for new authors and a story to add to their TBR pile.

Cover Artist: Tiferet Design.  I like this cover.  It’s certainly eye catching and has all the right elements.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 200 pages
Expected publication: April 3rd 2018 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN139781640803787
Edition LanguageEnglish

Love Murder Mysteries? Second Chance at Love? Check Out Hell and Back by Dirk Greyson (excerpt)

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Hell and Back by Dirk Greyson
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Art: L.C. Chase

Release Date: Oct 27 2017

Book Links: AmazonBarnes and NobleDreamspinner Press

Blurb/Synopsis:

Seventeen years ago, Forge Reynolds fell in love… and had his heart broken.  When Gage Livingston was brought into Forge’s Army field hospital, temporarily paralyzed, Forge sat with him, read his letters, answered his mail, and formed a connection he thought would last. But Gage was sent home, Forge transferred to a new post, and Forge’s letters to Gage went unanswered.

Now, in the middle of a bitter divorce, Forge is sick and tired of his husband’s manipulation and is almost ready to make any sacrifice to get closure, and then he finds Granger murdered execution-style in their home. Forge had no idea about Granger’s illicit activities, but the killers don’t believe that. They think Forge has something they want, and they’re coming after him.

When Forge’s lawyer arranges for professional protection, the last face Forge expects to see is Gage’s. Can he even contemplate a second chance for them after almost two decades or will hoping only lead to more heartache? Before they can explore the possibilities, they must figure out what information Granger had—and others are willing to kill for—or that possible heartache could become a certainty

Genre: M/M, Paranormal Romance, Shifters
Edition/Formats Available In: eBook & Print

Excerpt 

Gage went through the house to turn out the interior lights before settling in the family room in front of the television with the volume on low, listening for anything out of the ordinary. One thing the Army had done a good job of training into him was patience. He could sit in a mostly empty house and listen for nothing for hours.

A lot of his jobs were hurry up and wait. This one had seemed like it would be more active. When the call had come in to the office, he’d been about to go off duty. Margie, his receptionist, had relayed who was calling and what they needed.  That woman never seemed to sleep and had forwarded the office phone to her cell..  There had been no one else available, so he’d sprung into action and hurried home to get a bag together. It wasn’t until he’d been driving and Margie called to give him the particulars that he’d heard the name and nearly run off the road.

After all these years, to run into Forge again, and under these circumstances….

He turned toward the stairs and got up to make a round through the house, then checked outside just to ensure everything was quiet.

Forge Reynolds. Gage sat down, turned off the television, and retrieved his bag to pull out his iPad so he could read for a while. After a few minutes of reading the same page over and over, he set it aside, leaned back, and closed his eyes. Concentration wasn’t something he had at the moment.

Almost instantly he was lying in a hospital bed.

He’d been hit with shrapnel, a ton of it if what he’d been told was true, and a piece had nicked his upper spine. He couldn’t walk or use his arms at first. And he’d never forget the day a man, about his own age, sat in the chair next to his bed and picked up the pile of letters on his tray. They hadn’t wanted to transport him in case it caused more damage, and his family couldn’t visit him where he was, so old-fashioned communication was the best way.

“Would you like me to read them to you?” The man’s voice had been mellow and gentle, at odds with most things in the Army.

“Please,” he’d said softly. At least he’d been able to talk.

Forge had opened the first envelope and read Gage the letter from his mother, then a second one. The third envelope contained one from his mother and one from his dad, and Forge read both. Gage had been tired and fallen asleep, but when he woke, the man was still there. He picked up a pen and paper and asked if he wanted to write a letter. “My name’s Specialist Forge Reynolds, by the way. I never did tell you.”

“Gage Staff Sergeant Livingston. Gage,” he’d croaked, hating the way his voice sounded. He remembered feeling useless, helpless, and wanting to die. And when he’d dictated that first letter, all of it had come out in a burst of self-pity and loathing that Forge had faithfully written down, showed to him, and then ripped to shreds.

About the Author

Dirk is very much an outside kind of man.  He loves travel and seeing new things.  Dirk worked in corporate America for way too long and now spends his days writing, gardening, and taking care of the home he shares with his partner of more than two decades.  He has a Master’s Degree and all the other accessories that go with a corporate job.  But he is most proud of the stories he tells and the life he’s built.  Dirk lives in Pennsylvania in a century old home and is blessed with an amazing circle of friends. 

Author Links

Other Works by Dirk Greyson

Yellowstone Wolves Series

Challenge the Darkness

Darkness Threatening

Darkness Rising

Day and Knight Series

Day and Knight

Sun and Shadow

Dawn and Dusk

Standalone Titles

An Assassin’s Holiday

Flight or Fight

Playing With Fire

Lost Mate

Hell and Back

An Alisa Release Day Review: Dinner at the Blue Moon Cafe by Rick R. Reed

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Rating:  3.5 stars out of 5

 

A monster moves through the night, hidden by the darkness, taking men, one by one, from Seattle’s gay gathering areas.

 

Amid an atmosphere of crippling fear, Thad Matthews finds his first true love working in an Italian restaurant called the Blue Moon Café. Sam Lupino is everything Thad has ever hoped for in a man: virile, sexy as hell, kind, and… he can cook!

 

As their romance heats up, the questions pile up. Who is the killer preying on Seattle’s gay men? What secrets is Sam’s Sicilian family hiding? And more importantly, why do Sam’s unexplained disappearances always coincide with the full moon?

 

The strength of Thad and Sam’s love will face the ultimate test when horrific revelations come to light beneath the full moon.

 

Thad has been wallowing while he has been on unemployment, with pretty much only his dog for company.  When he decides to treat himself and visits the Blue Moon Café he finds much more than he was expecting.

 

Sam first pushes Thad away despite their connection, but just as Thad begins to look for other options he has to call him while volunteering.  Speaking to each other seems to reawaken Sam’s feelings and they decide that even if it isn’t the right time they can try and make it work.

 

This story is told from Thad’s point of view, so we know what he is thinking and feeling.  For the length of this book we don’t see these characters together very often, I felt that we saw his budding friendship with Jared more than we saw Sam.  We learned a lot of Thad’s thoughts an doubts, but there was a lot of information that was inferred or was easily assumed.  I don’t know when there are big gaps in time and we are only seeing one person a majority of the time it is hard to connect with the story and how their relationship is building in the background.  I liked that they were happy in the end, but wasn’t sure about how they got there or the way Sam rationalized his actions throughout the story.

 

Cover art by Aaron Anderson is wonderful and eye catching.

 

Sales Links: Dreamspinner Press | Amazon | B&N

 

Book Details:

ebook, 200 pages

Published: 2nd edition, March 13, 2017 by Dreamspinner Press

ISBN-13: 9781635332926

Edition Language: English

A VVivacious Review: No Good Deed by Michael Rupured

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5
 
No Good DeedDaniel Bradbury and James Walker have a lot in common. Both of them find themselves in dire straits after having been kicked out of their houses by their parents and both of them die within hours of each other.
 
On Christmas Eve Philip Potter comes home to be informed that his lover James killed himself. Soon after that he meets Beau Carter, a high school English teacher.
 
As Philip finds himself a suspect in Daniel’s murder, he finds himself desperate and turns to a surprising ally to clear his name and solve the mystery.
 
That is my attempt at writing a blurb for this story, but I don’t think it quite covers it. Mostly because this book has a lot going on and the blurb would turn out longer then this review if I attempted to cover everybody so I am not. But as such the official blurb of this book is a good preview for what’s in store for you.
 
I read this book in starts and stops, procrastinated a lot and then one day decided that I am not going to let up till I finish this book and that is how I finished this book. The reason for the multiple starts and stops in the beginning is the fact that I didn’t find the first half of the book very interesting. This is because the first half of the book is essentially a setup for how things go down in the latter half of the book. What this entails is basically an information dump where the author introduces a bunch of characters and fleshes them out really nicely. But there is just too much happening to hold your interest. Also a lot of things happening in the beginning are quite tragic which kind of sets an atmosphere of gloom over the book which just doesn’t let up for quite a few chapters.
 
This book is kind of like a murder mystery without much of a mystery. There is someone killing teenage boys who turn tricks for a trade and he is definitely not stopping at one. The only thing we know for sure about this murderer is that he drives a yellow Continental car. This book has a lot of characters interacting with each other in multiple ways that complicates the search for the murderer.
 
I liked Philip instantaneously seeing him being so nice and charitable. Also the author manages to get us to like Potter really easily by introducing Beau, who is quite annoying. So I guess the fact that I could see Philip in contrast to Beau really increased my liking of Philip.
 
But the characters who make this book really worth reading are Terrence, Anthony, Harold and Daniel. Terrence is this fire-cracker of a guy full of life who wants to avenge his boyfriend, Daniel. Daniel was someone I liked from the moment I started reading about him and his death was something that really set the tone for this book. Anthony is a PI hired by George Walker on the behest of Philip to find out the person who murdered Daniel. I loved Anthony a lot especially his interactions with Terrence which were awfully endearing. Harold Clarkson is a boy who likes to dress up in girl’s clothes, but he knows his father will never understand. What I liked about Harold can be summed up in the fact that I had him pegged as gay from the get go but when he himself says that despite his father’s thinking that guys who like girlish things are homosexual he definitely doesn’t think of himself as one, made me realize that even I render judgement without knowing the whole story.
 
George Walker is James’ uncle and also a lawyer. When Philip ends up needing a lawyer on account of him being a suspect he goes to George as he is the only lawyer he knows but George and James end up sharing quite a few interests and develop an unlikely but charming friendship.
 
This book is really well written and once you pass the halfway mark it also becomes very interesting. As such the story is not much of a mystery since the murderer was narrowed down to two possibilities early on in the book, but the back forth on who is really the murderer and how he is finally caught manages to keep the story interesting till the end.
 
Cover Art by AngstyG. This book has an appropriate cover. It manages to capture the tone of this book, the yellow Continental car and Philip’s state of mind after James’ death.
Sales Links:  DSP Publications | Amazon
Book Details:
ebook, 2nd Edition, 222 pages
Published April 26th 2016 by DSP Publications (first published October 11th 2013)
ISBN13 9781634765718
Edition Language English
 

A MelanieM Review: Children of Noah (Mahu #9) by Neil S. Plakcy

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Children of Noah coverA few months after the birth of his twins, openly gay Honolulu homicide detective Kimo Kanapa’aka and begins a temporary assignment to the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force. Kimo and his HPD partner Ray Donne are quickly thrown into an investigation into threatening letters sent to a U.S. Senator. Are these screeds about racial purity related to an escalating series of attacks against mixed-race couples and families on Oahu?

When arson at a day care center on the Windward Coast brings Kimo’s partner, fire investigator Mike Riccardi, into the case, Kimo worries about the future of his and Mike’s newborn twins on an island falling prey to hate and a cult leader bent on death and destruction.

I fell under the spell of Neil S. Plakcy and his Hawaiian detective Kimo Kanapa’aka in the very first book, Mahu, hawaiian for gay.  There a very complicated and closeted young Kimo, trying to deal with his sexuality, was outed during a horrific murder case.  Its ramifications on his career, family relationships and private life would reverberate through the following stories.  Plakcy’s ability to bring not only Kimo to life but his multicultural family history and the vibrant racial mixing pot that is Hawaii to life is amazing.  From the variety of languages spoken, the nuances of levels of Hawaiian race in your background, even the language designations for north, south, east and west are different.  Yet, here they flow off the tongues of the characters with the ease of native speakers,   Very few authors have the ability to use local colloquialisms and dialects to hone their characters personas and locations the way Plakcy does and by the ninth book, its usage is so subtle and well woven into the narrative, I hardly notice any more.

Kimo and Mike have come a long with in their partnership.  Now the coparents of twins along with a lesbian couple, Kimo takes on a case that hits at the heart of his family’s safety.  Both Mike and Kimo have families from mixed racial background, and their sons parentage is equally so when their mothers backgrounds are included as well.  When each man handles a case with similar clues, all leads start to point towards a cult bent on the worship of racial  purity.

I loved this book for so many reasons, none  of which really had anything to do with the mystery.  Kimo’s parents which have figured largely in all the stories are now frail, older figures here, especially Kimo’s dad.  Their relationship, always so strong, sees a change in position here that is so realistic and painful.  Mike’s parents, once so against the relationship, now move forward into new positive roles.  So much is changing within the family  structures for them both, including that of their foster son.  Here all the relationships strain against their bonds and come back for support once more.  Its all so remarkable in its human dynamics and believable interchanges.  Sometimes angst-filled, often humorous, it will be so easy for all the readers to relate to the relationships in flux here, whether it be brother and brother, father and son, or new fathers and new babies.  This is what made this book for me.  Its all about the changes in life that we all go through.

And its even starts at the beginning with Kimo leaving the Honolulu P.D. to join FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force along with his partner.  New beginnings even at the job level.  But that brings us to the murders and the mystery.

That was my least favorite part of the story.  I figured out early on who the murderer was and where the problem was occurring.  The author all but had a giant arrow pointing the way.  That doesn’t mean there wasn’t plenty of scenes where the suspense was high, because that happened.  There was danger, and angst enough to go around, just not the usual amount of guessing I expect from this author.

However, Plakcy’s style of writing moves the story along so quickly towards the end that your mind is consumed with the safety of the main characters and the capture of the culprits.  And so much more.  I want more books.  I want to know how Dakota is doing with his new boyfriend, how Kimo’s dad’s doing, and the family in general.  They got into my heart, every single one of them.  If you give them a chance, they will get into yours too.  But why start here?   This is a fantastic series.  Go to the beginning Mahu and read your way through until you arrive here.  With each book it just gets better and better.  I highly recommend them all.

Cover art is nice but I sort of miss that primitive art work of the original covers.

Sales Links:  MLR Press |  All Romance (ARe)  | Amazon  | Buy It Here

Book Details:

ebook, 231 pages
Published August 9th 2015 by MLR Press

In The Spotlight: Drifting Sands by C. J. Baty (excerpt and giveaway)

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Drifting Sands by C. J. Baty
Release Date: June 7, 2015

STRW In The Spotlight Header

Goodreads Link
Publisher: Bottom Drawer Publications
Cover Artist: Mumson Designs

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Sales Links:  Bottom Drawer Publications  – AmazonAll Romance (ARe)

STRW Author BookSynopsis

As he approaches his fortieth birthday, Justin Warfield feels alone, drifting like the sand that blows along the beach near his family’s hotel. He has done exactly as his father wanted. Married the right girl and carried on the family tradition of running the Warfield Hotel. On paper things seem perfect, but happiness hasn’t been a part of his life for a very long time.

Marcus Drummond once spent a summer with his best friend Peter at the Warfield Hotel and fell hard for Peter’s much older brother. Five years later he’s back, and this time hopes that Justin will see him as more than his kid brother’s friend.

Sparks fly when the two meet again, but there are a few things standing in their way. The closet that Justin has himself buried in and someone on a killing spree, dumping bodies on the Warfield beach . . . victims that indicate Justin may be involved in some way.

Pages or Words: 57,000 words

Categories: Contemporary, Fiction, M/M Romance, Mystery, Romance

STRW Spotlight Book Excerpt

The night air was cool and damp as it blew off the ocean. Ian McAlister toed the sand where he stood, looking out into the darkness surrounding him. A soft glow filled the sky over the Warfield Hotel several hundred yards away. This was a public beach and closed at night, and the only sound was the soft lapping of the water against the shore.

Ian fingered the note in his pocket as he thought of the words he’d read over and over again since he’d received it.

“Ian, I need your help. Please. Come to the Warfield and meet me on the beach at 10 p.m. on Friday evening. There’s a spot on the north end of the beach, just between the public beaches and the private beach of the Warfield. There’s a sign, meet me there. Don’t tell anyone. Please, Ian, I need you.”

Ian had not heard from Justin Warfield since Justin got married. It had been too hard to see each other as only friends. They’d each gone on with their lives. But for Ian, Justin Warfield was a hard man to forget, so when the letter arrived, his decision to come had been easy.

The sound of footsteps treading through the sand caused Ian to turn around. He was surprised to find a gun aimed at him.
“What are you doing?” Ian asked, but there was no answer.

He felt the pressure as the impact of the bullet pushed him back slightly. A searing pain knifed its way into his chest. He didn’t have time to run or even scream out. Darkness took him as he crumbled to the ground.

 

STRW Author Bio and Contacts

C. J. Baty lives in southwest Ohio with her very patient husband and two encouraging children. Her heart however, lives in the mountains of Tennessee where she hopes to retire some day. The mountains have always provided her with inspiration and a soothing balm to the stresses of everyday life.

The dream of writing her own stories started in high school but was left on the back burner of life until her son introduced her to fan fiction and encouraged her to give it a try. She found that her passion for telling a story was still there and writing them down to share with others was much more thrilling than she had ever expected.

One thing she has learned from life and she is often heard to say is: “You are never too old to follow your dream even if it takes you fifty years!”

Where to find the author:
Facebook Author Page
Twitter: https://twitter.com/cbaty
Blog: http://cjbaty.blogspot.com.au/

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Tour Dates & Stops: June 7, 2015
Parker Williams, Cate Ashwood, Fangirl Moments and My Two Cents, Bayou Book Junkie, BFD Book Blog, Happily Ever Chapter, Molly Lolly, Amanda C. Stone, MM Good Book Reviews, Mikky’s World of Books, Havan Fellows, Rainbow Gold Reviews, Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words, Inked Rainbow Reads, The Hat Party, Wicked Faerie’s Tales and Reviews, Book Reviews, Rants, and Raves

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Must be 18 years of age or older to enter.  Link and prizes provided by the author and Pride Promotion. Enter to win a Rafflecopter Prize: E-copy of ‘Drifting Sands’
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Cover Reveal Time for Model Citizen by Lissa Kasey (excerpt and giveaway)

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 Model Citizen by Lissa Kasey
Release Date: June 22, 2015

It’s murder, mystery and international supermodels!  Check out the cover for Lissa Kasey’s latest novel, Model Citizen, read the excerpt and don’t forget to enter the contest at the end of the post! Happy Reading!

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Garrett Leigh

Sales Links:   Dreamspinner Press eBook & Paperback

LissaKasey_ModelCitizen_ORIG

 

Model Citizen Blurb

Oliver “Ollie” Petroskovic’s life as an international supermodel was heading in the right direction. He worked part-time for his brother at his detective agency—Petroskovic Haven Investigations—and had just bought his dream house. But all that changed when he found his brother dead, a victim of PTSD-induced suicide.

Almost a year later, Ollie is trying to keep his brother’s business afloat, but can’t get his PI license. Then his brother’s best friend, Kade Alme, shows up, fresh from the battlefield after a close brush with death. Kade is looking for a new life, in more ways than one, and with PI license in hand, he’s exactly what Ollie needs to keep PHI running.

When one of Ollie’s childhood friends gets in trouble, Ollie feels he has to help. Kade insists on investigating if only to keep Ollie safe. Neither realizes the danger they’re in as someone tries to tear them apart before they can find solid ground together.

Pages or Words: 82,000 words

Categories: Contemporary, M/M Romance, Mystery

Model Citizen Excerpt

Kade pulled up beside a building that had probably never had better days. At least I didn’t immediately recognize it as someplace I used to play. “Call him. Tell him to come down. This doesn’t look like a great place to linger.”

I snorted. Did he miss the gas station with bars on the windows and bullet holes in the side? “You want to see the bad side of Oakland? I can give you a tour later.” I dialed Bob’s number, but the phone just rang and rang. I hung up when it went to voice mail, and tried again. It was just after five.

“Okay, maybe he fell asleep or is in the shower or something? Let me run up and check.” The building looked like it had one outside entrance and no secure door. I could pick a lock if I had to but preferred not to do so in broad daylight.
Kade frowned. “I don’t think that’s a good idea.”

I pulled the Taser and pepper spray out of my bag and held them up. “I spray first, and if that doesn’t stop them, I tase, then run. I’m up on self-defense 101.”

He sighed. “Anything feels even remotely hinky, you come back down immediately.”

“Sure,” I promised as I hopped out of the car. “Who even says hinky anymore?”

I made my way to the door and searched through my phone to find the apartment number. The main door opened into a stairwell dirty enough to double as Pig-Pen’s playhouse. The stench of pot drenched the building. Bob was in 310, which meant he was on the top floor all the way to the left. I followed the brass numbers. The stink of weed made me dizzy. How could people stand it? It was like sweaty socks left in the sun too long. Maybe getting high killed the stink or made you not care about the smell, but I couldn’t imagine enjoying it either way.

I tried to breathe through my mouth, which only made it worse, forcing me to stop twice to cough. Finally arriving at the end of the hall, I knocked on Bob’s door and waited. Nothing. Just an air conditioner running somewhere, or maybe a really noisy fridge.

“Bob?” I called and knocked again. “Robert Wilcoxson?” I dialed his number and could hear the phone ringing inside the apartment, but again no one answered, either the door or the phone. What the hell?

I tried the doorknob to see if it was locked. The door snicked open and swung inward. I hesitated and debated calling Kade for a minute because the whole scenario screamed bad horror movie. But I pushed the door wide, Taser aimed like a gun, finger on the trigger while I clung to the walls, pretending I was SWAT. I had taken official classes on how to operate the Taser. I’d even experienced its sting myself, so I knew I could and would pull the trigger if someone jumped out at me. At least no one was behind the door. The apartment was dark, with all the blinds drawn to keep out the bright California sun and let the shitty air conditioner do its thing.

The counters were piled with dirty dishes and packaged foods. The carpet had seen a couple dozen years and was stained too badly to recognize the original color of the hideous shag. The walls were the dingy white of most apartments with a smoker, though all I could smell was weed. The guy needed to open a window. I was starting to feel lightheaded, but at least it appeared there was no axe murderer ready to jump out at me.

“Bob?”

Still nothing. A glance at the single bedroom proved it was empty and a petri dish of brewing bacteria. Okay, I was a bit of a slob, but crap, never like this. The stench of shit made me gag. Or maybe that was the weed. I’d probably breathed enough of that crap to give myself a buzz for a week.

The bathroom door was slightly ajar. I headed for it just as my phone rang. “What?” I answered, a little annoyed. Didn’t he trust me?

“What’s taking so long? It’s been like ten minutes,” Kade said.

The stink intensified near the bathroom. I pushed the door back, and the smell wafted over me like a living thing. It took a minute to make sense of what I was seeing. Bob—well, presumably Bob—hung from the shower rod. His face was purple, eyes bulged out, and his mouth was contorted in a silent scream, teeth bared in a grimace. He was naked from the waist down, with only a leather harness on top. His dick hung lower than any dick had a right to—past his knees—dark purple and huge, filled with blood.

“Fuck! Oh fuck!” I swore, bile rising in my throat.

I raced from the apartment, barely making it to the hallway before heaving up tea and stomach acid on the puke-green carpet. The phone dug into my palm, but I clung to it like it could somehow erase the memory of the past five minutes of my life. Muffled curses trickled over the line.

Kade appeared a moment later, huffing and out of breath, his limp heavier than normal. He was without his cane, but I couldn’t recall him bringing it with us when we left the office. He wobbled like a picture out of focus. Or maybe that was just me.

“What the fuck? Talk about giving me a heart attack. I thought you said you’d tase and then run. Fuck, Ollie.”

“He’s already dead,” I grumbled at my shoes and heaved a little more. The hallway twisted and turned around me like a multicolored circus tent on a Tilt-A-Whirl.

Kade stepped around me and disappeared into the apartment. He was back seconds later, cursing and dialing his phone. He wrapped an arm around my waist and led me toward the exit. Fresh air had never tasted so sweet as when he dropped me unceremoniously next to my illegally parked VW. Whatever he said to the cops had them arriving in a hurry. Probably a first for the residents around here. I laid my head against the front headlight and shut my eyes. Maybe the swirling would stop.

 

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About Author Lissa Kasey:

Lissa Kasey lives in St. Paul, MN, has a Bachelor’s Degree in Creative Writing, and collects Asian Ball Joint Dolls who look like her characters. She has three cats who enjoy waking her up an hour before her alarm every morning and sitting on her lap to help her write. She can often be found at Anime Conventions masquerading as random characters when she’s not writing about boy romance.

Where to find the author:

Twitter: @parisbvamp
Website: http://www.lissakasey.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lissa.kasey

Tour Dates & Stops: May 22, 2015

Multitasking Mommas, Parker Williams, Cate Ashwood, MM Good Book Reviews, Nephylim, Divine Magazine, Elisa – My Reviews and Ramblings, Love Bytes, Fangirl Moments and My Two Cents, BFD Book Blog, Inked Rainbow Reads, Bayou Book Junkie, Dawn’s Reading Nook, Wicked Faerie’s Tales and Reviews, The Fuzzy, Fluffy World of Chris T. Kat, Molly Lolly, Rainbow Gold Reviews, Mikky’s World of Books, Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words, Velvet Panic, My Fiction Nook, Book Reviews, Rants, and Raves, Vampires, Werewolves, and Fairies, Oh My, Wicked Faerie’s Tales and Reviews, It’s Raining Men, Michael Mandrake, Happily Ever Chapter

Model Citizen Giveaway

Must be 18 years of age or older to enter.  Link and prizes provided by the author and Pride Promotions. Enter to win a Rafflecopter Prize: 2 print copies of ‘Model Citizen’

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A Sammy Review: Slasherazzi by Daniel A. Kaine

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Slasherazzi coverAlex Beckman, newly promoted to detective, already has the case of his career, no, his life. The serial killer dubbed Slasherazzi is like nothing anyone’s seen before. With each murder, the killer is getting more and more daring. At first, the bodies were found his slashes all done postmortem, but now the killer is torturing them first, and takes it even a step further when he picks high-risk targets.

It seems nothing can be done to catch him. He’s too careful, too precise. To top off the theme of failure seeming to seep into Alex’s life, he’s also maybe-somewhat back on with his on-again off-again boyfriend, Vincent Fairfield, a journalist who got his first big break by breaking Alex’s trust.

With the bodies piling up and suspicion brewing, there’s no telling who the killer may be, or where he’ll strike next.

Hello, mind fuck, how are you today? Good, that’s great. Me too.

I had hunches along the way and they often went back and forth. It’s this person, no it’s this person, oh man, what if it is that person. This story got me so twisted with theories and when it finally revealed the truth, I felt like I was hit with a ton of bricks.

First of all, I have to commend Mr. Kaine on his delivery of the reveal. I’ve never seen anything like it, and it was the most perfect way to do it. I was speechless and actually had to reread that particular part a few times. My first thought was “He’s jerking my chain, right?” Nope, no chain being jerked by Mr. Kaine. Brilliant. Just brilliant.

I was literally at 92% and still had no idea what was going to happen, so when it did, yep. Stunned. I’m still cruising on that misty dafuq feeling. I feel like I’m floating, or maybe I just lost my brain for a bit.

Okay, so, the rest of the story. It was good too. I’ve never made it a mystery that I love all things dark and delirious. This hit all those buttons, and then some. As an editor or beta reader, I’ve always encouraged authors to push more, just a little more, reach that much more. Well, I think that this author reached that far and then reached some more. He truly exposed some of the most raw, fucked up imaginations I’ve read in a long time, and I ate it up. Completely, totally, ate it up. If you’ve read the book, that will probably make you throw up in your mouth a bit, but so be it.

This story is not for someone who can’t handle explicit details of mutilation and torture. When I say that, I don’t mean the kind of torture we read in BDSM. This torture is so twisted and depraved, it left even me speechless.

So, Mr. Kaine, may I have a ticket to the darkest parts of your mind? I think I rather like it there. Until then, I think I may have to reread this with new eyes.

The cover art by Wilde City Press fits the story nearly perfectly. The only exception is that I wish the knife had been made of a different material (as to resemble a certain weapon in the story). All in all, though, it represents the story quite well.

Sales Links:   Wilde City Press       Amazon    Buy It Here

Book Details:

ebook, 189 pages
Published June 11th 2014 by Wilde City Press
ISBN139781925180152
edition languageEnglish
url http://www.danielakaine.com
settingTampa, Florida (United States)