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

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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
ASINB07HD1BH75
Edition Language English

SERIES BLAST : Hunter Dane and Camden Snow Series by Adira August (excerpts and giveaway)

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BOOK 1 

On His Knees (#1 Cam & Hunter 4Ever)

Author: Adira August

Publisher: RedDeer

Length:  13k words/76 Kindle pages

Genres: Contemporary gay, BDSM, erotica

Blurb:

Sometimes it’s the cop who needs to hit the floor…

As a homicide cop, every blood-soaked crime scene settled in my bones and snaked around my spine. There was only one way to exorcise the images from my soul …

Inside the club, I stopped to scan the room. He was here, Camden Snow. A Norse sex god in the guise of unpretentious youth. Only his ice-blue eyes gave evidence of the Dom who took whomever he wished, whatever way he wanted, with a look and a nod. Merciless.

Cam found me watching him and fixed me with his arctic gaze. This time, I didn’t walk away. He cocked an eyebrow. Well?

The last thing I needed was mercy.

I dropped to my knees.

A frank exploration of the D/s dynamic between two powerful men. Consensual. Adult. Intense.

Buy Links

Amazon US  

Amazon UK  

Free on Instafreebie until Nov 24th

Excerpt

It was an early summer evening, the sun half set. I was making my way to the door with one of the club’s boozeless Bloody Marys to find a deck chair and keep an eye on whoever came up the stairs. Decide what I wanted after sunset.

The door opened before I could touch it. He paused, backlit by the setting sun. Golden. Glowing. Idealized male beauty wrapped in an invisible cloak of incredible power. He was so careless of it. He scanned me and grinned. As if the sight of me delighted him. No one grinned here. Not with genuine pleasure.

He passed close to me, still scanning. It was the kind of moment that called for locked gazes and hardening cocks. Instead, he happily looked me over like I was a pastry display and he was deciding which succulent treat to select.

Cam was fresh from deep powder and Olympic triumph. Exuding health and vitality and bonhomie and danger.

I wanted to give him everything, simply because he existed. And looked at me.

He reached out and put a hand on the side of my neck, his thumb skating lightly along my jawline and down, across my larynx. My insides turned to water.

Don’t pick me. Please.

His eyes narrowed a little as if he’d heard. His hand tightened – scarcely, definitely – and withdrew.

“Kneel for me when you’re ready,” he said. And was gone.

BOOK 2

Matchstick Men: Hunter Dane Investigation 1

(Book 2 of 3 in the HuntandCan4ever series)

Author: Adira August

Publisher: RedDeer

Genre/s: Police Procedural, Murder Mystery, Contemporary Gay Erotica, BDSM

Length:  48k words/ 274 pages

Blurb:

SEX, GAMES & MURDER Want to play?

It was munch night at the most elite underground BDSM club in the Rockies. Relaxed and informal, highlighted by the weekly Matchstick Challenge game. Detective Sergeant Hunter Dane, reigning champion, looked forward to a relaxing evening to start his 3 days off. A few beers on the deck. An interlude with a sweet sub. Stumping a challenger with a new puzzle. Home early for a decent night’s sleep.

Some people are SO deadly serious about their games.

Now Hunt has a fresh body and a new puzzle to solve in twenty-four hours if he wants to find a killer.

A 48k police procedural with a liberal dose of M/M hotness. Which means our fave full-metal Dom shows up to collect on Hunter’s offer of his … coffer. So to speak.

There are puzzles for the reader and mysteries to be solved. Based on characters introduced in the short story On His Knees. 

Buy Links

Amazon US

Amazon UK 

Excerpt

Cam looked out the window, leaving me to myself  while I drove us through the quiet dark of the Capitol Hill streets. I wondered why this killer wasn’t perfectly obvious to me. I wondered if it was impossible for me to see them, being so close that everything blurred at the edges and melded together.

“Did anyone ever tell you, you think too much?” Cam asked.

“Did anyone ever not?”

“Take the next alley,” he told me.

“What? Why?”

“You need to stop thinking.”

“Cam,” I put a warning in my voice. “There’s not much time-“

The bastard grabbed the wheel and cranked it hard right.

“Shit!”

“Steer!”

I lifted my foot off the gas, or tried to. He had his left hand on my thigh just above my knee, digging in, pressing down.

“Stop it, goddamn it!”

Pull into that parking lot.”

“Alright! Just let go, for Christ’s sake!”

He released me instantly and sat back. I managed to miss the light pole and the dumpster and slide into a parking space behind a converted Victorian housing psychologists’ offices. An appropriate place to stop when riding with a no limits lunatic.

The offices were dark, now, but the mosquito bulb over the back door and the security lights at the rear of the building illuminated the lot. And the car’s interior. Anyone walking by could see us. If they saw us in flagrante delicto, they’d call the cops.

Cam had gone too far. I shut off the engine but before I could turn and bust his ass, his fingers found my seat belt release and he launched himself up and over the console into my space, his big hands slid down my arms toward my wrists. I twisted sideways and we wrestled for control of my hands.

I was at a distinct disadvantage under the steering wheel. He bent me toward him and my head was on his thigh.

“Stop it, Cam! Not now, we are not playing!”

He fell back into his seat, taking me with him and manacled me with one hand. But we were sweaty from the struggle and I managed to break his grip, freeing my hands.

He didn’t try to regain them. He simply raised himself and laid his body over mine. My head pressed into his crotch, his weight forced me onto the hard lump of the console.

“You can always safeword you know,” he said. I heard the challenge. The taunting. He was having fun.

“Fuck you,” I grunted underneath him.

I’d never safe worded in my life. Not to “red,” anyway. “Yellow” a few times when I had a cramp or was on call and my cell went off with a dispatch tone.

Safewording might have been an option for me now, if his power and the idea of being at his mercy, of which he possessed none, hadn’t given me a blazing erection.

He’d been betting I wouldn’t go there—confident I wouldn’t safeword. He really was good at this.

I felt his hand at my belt in back. Handcuffs. A thrill of fear and excitement made me choke on air. I struggled again, just enough to feel my inability to stop him from doing exactly what he intended. Jesus, I was hard, weeping against my thigh, trapped by the elastic briefs.

My legs were twisted and caught under the steering wheel. His body locked my right arm against the seatback. He deftly handcuffed my left wrist and calmly found my right and ratcheted the other cuff around it.

This was not the infamous Dom of the club, calculatedly giving me what I needed. Not the sexual virtuoso of last night, expertly bringing me everything I never knew I wanted. Pleasures I never thought existed.

This was the sadist in his element. Loving what he did to me because of what it did for him.

Then, suddenly, I knew who the killer was.

 

BOOK 3

Book Title: Dancing Men: Hunter Dane Investigation 2

(Book 3 of 3—and counting—in the HuntandCam4ever series)

Author: Adira August

Publisher: RedDeer

Genre/s: Police Procedural, Murder Mystery, Gay erotica, BDSM

Length:  70k words/385 pages

Blurb:

You have to bury the past, or the past will bury you.

An ancient burial urn, empty for millennia, is suddenly not so empty.

When Detective Lieutenant Hunter Dane probes the murder at Natural History Museum, it’s his own past that haunts him. To solve the complex case, Hunter needs the talents of Camden Snow, the brilliant, beautiful, “no limits” Dom who’d helped him unravel a very peculiar, and very personal, murder.

But Cam’s ready to kill Hunt, himself! Their high-intensity D/s relationship that began in a playroom, ended in an emergency room.

“If you want to be with me, you’ll have to do more make some big re-entry gesture,” Cam said. “That’s just more drama. You’ll have to work for this, Hunter.”

“All right. What work would that be?” Hunter asked, eager to perform any penance Cam gave him.

“You’re the champion puzzle-solver and ace detective. Unravel a mystery.”

Hunter’s brows pulled together. “What mystery?”

“Me.”

For adults who love some mystery with their men. A 70k police procedural with a liberal dose of M/M heat. The 2nd of the Hunter Dane Investigations. Matchstick Men, their 1st case, also available on Amazon. Their next case, Psychic Men, will be out in spring of 2018

Excerpt

The Mystery

“You are familiar with the Tamil burial jars case I’m hearing?” the judge asked as she led him into her chambers.

“Enough to know the case exists,” he said, putting his professional face on. Why would they need a homicide investigator for an international property dispute? “I should mention I’m acquainted with Doctor St Clair who was appointed head of the research team.”

“I see,” she said, taking her chair but not inviting him to sit. “Do I have to go over confidentiality? I was informed with you it wouldn’t be necessary.”

“It isn’t,” he said.

“Good.” She sat forward and clasped her hands on the desk. “Expert testimony the Court finds to be compelling establishes the impossibility of determining the geographic origin of the jars or when they were created and sealed without extensive testing. There will be a problem of international relations if I award the urns to the Denver museum and later testing reveals clearly that the plaintiff did have standing.”

Hunter nodded. The judge cocked a skeptical eyebrow at him. “You understand the issue?”

“It will look as if we must have known all along and used a technicality in the law to keep the jars here. I imagine they have more than scientific value?” he said.

A slow and very small smile appeared. “Have a seat,” she told him. He did.

“At my request, Doctor St Clare sent a doctoral fellow to take air samples from the jars to determine how long ago they were sealed. That was ten days ago. I received the results on Friday. So did the attorneys. After which, I issued a gag order.”

Hunter waited for her to get to the point.

“I’m curious, detective, what you would guess the tests showed?”

“At least one of the air samples had a much higher level of carbon dioxide than would be present when the jars were made. And traces of methane, ammonia, hydrogen sulphide and nitrogen. Decomp gases.”

Her Honor nodded.

“There’s flesh rotting in one of those jars and it wasn’t put there a thousand years ago,” Hunter said.

Buy Links

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GIVEAWAY

November Rafflecopter Prize 1 x $25 Amazon gift card 

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SERIES BLAST AND REVIEW TOUR SCHEDULE

NOVEMBER

 

November 13

Millsy Loves Books    

Gay Book Promotions 

November 16  

Lily G Blunt   

November 21

Bayou Book Junkie 

Men & Men Midnightcafe.uk  

November 24

Gay Book Reviews 

November 30  

The Blogger Girls

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words 

Stories That Make You Smile      

MORE POSTS TO FOLLOW IN DECEMBER

 

 

About the Author

TYPOS ARE MY TRADEMEARK

I write mostly BDSM EROTICA because I love exploring the power dynamics in terms of the love relationships. The work is explicit. It’s always consensual. If you have triggers about certain kinds of practices, use discretion. I do not make kink lists for my titles.

I went to school interminably, it seemed like. I studied anthropology and paleontology and genetics and literature and theology and ancient Greek. I chased down bad guys, raised children, climbed mountains, played poker, searched for dinosaurs and have had a rather large number of lovers. (I’m not giving up any numbers because TMI) Through it all, I wrote.

No wonder I’m so tired.

AUTHOR’S NOTE

You can read all my books stand-alone. There’s plenty of information about what happened previously in Hunt and Cam’s story for you to easily follow their relationship arc. The mysteries are always complete within the stories.

BUT if you’re a romance lover, the relationship story is not a romance. It is a love story. But it’s also the story of two independent Alpha males: one gay and one bisexual, one Dom and one switch with a preference for BDSM. And they aren’t simple, take it from someone who shares headspace with them.

I love these guys. They surprise me and challenge me and break my heart, sometimes. They inspire me.

(Just some FYI for the new readers. Hi. Welcome.)

Addi

Social Media Links

Blog/Website

Facebook Author Page

Addi’s Facebook Spoiler Group

Twitter

 

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An Alisa Review: Loose Ends by Jeff Erno

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Rating:  3 stars out of 5

 

Homicide detective Tucker Brown hasn’t always made the right decisions, but one thing about his life he’ll never regret is his son Jaydin. While at the hospital for his four-year-old’s tonsillectomy, he encounters Jaydin’s nurse, Ivan Ramsey. Tucker is taken aback, however, when he discovers he’s been assigned to investigate the potential murder of Ivan’s mother.

 

Ivan Ramsey is a pediatric nurse, and he loves his job more than life. Raised in a devoutly religious family, he’s not yet out to a lot of people, but on the very night he chooses to come out to his mother, she dies tragically in a house fire. Devastated by the news, Ivan all but falls to pieces, and to make matters worse, a cocky, know-it-all police detective shows up asking nosy questions. The cop implies his mother’s death might not have been an accident and even infers a family member might be responsible.

 

Tucker and Ivan at first clash. Their strikingly different personalities are oil and water, but soon they begin to work together to determine the real cause of Ivan’s mother’s death. In the process, sparks begin to fly and a romance ignites. Ivan falls hard, not only for the sexy detective but also his adorable son.Tucker, equally smitten, has made some discoveries he can’t yet reveal to his lover. There are so many loose ends and unanswered questions for both of them, and when the truth finally comes out, it just might tear them apart.

 

This was a sweet story about family and love.  Ivan loves kids and working in the pediatrics unit in the hospital is the perfect place for him.  Tucker can’t help but think about his son’s nurse even though he knows he should keep his distance especially because of his job.

 

Ivan makes some assumptions about Tucker and his life that he soon learns are not quite valid.  Tucker is trying to solve the murder of Ivan’s mother and keep Ivan in his personal life.  Ivan needs something stable in his life when everything seems to go wrong at once and Tucker seems to be that person.

 

I felt so bad for Ivan when he got the news about his mother’s murderer and feeling what he portrayed as Tucker’s betrayal.  I loved that Tucker has an endless amount of patience with his son and with Ivan.  While I really liked the story the further I got into it the more name mix ups and misspellings that kept coming up and it unfortunately took away from my enjoyment of the story a bit.

 

Cover art by Louca Matheo is nice and gives nice visuals of Ivan, Tucker and Jaydin.

 

Sales Links: Amazon | B&N | Google | Kobo

 

Book Details:

ebook, 183 pages

Published: August 28, 2017 by Ai Press

Edition Language: English

A MelanieM Review: Sinner’s Gin (Sinners #1) by Rhys Ford

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Rating:  4.5 stars out of 5

Sinner's Gin coverThere’s a dead man in Miki St. John’s vintage Pontiac GTO, and he has no idea how it got there.

After Miki survives the tragic accident that killed his best friend and the other members of their band, Sinner’s Gin, all he wants is to hide from the world in the refurbished warehouse he bought before their last tour. But when the man who sexually abused him as a boy is killed and his remains are dumped in Miki’s car, Miki fears Death isn’t done with him yet.

Kane Morgan, the SFPD inspector renting space in the art co-op next door, initially suspects Miki had a hand in the man’s murder, but Kane soon realizes Miki is as much a victim as the man splattered inside the GTO. As the murderer’s body count rises, the attraction between Miki and Kane heats up. Neither man knows if they can make a relationship work, but despite Miki’s emotional damage, Kane is determined to teach him how to love and be loved — provided, of course, Kane can catch the killer before Miki becomes the murderer’s final victim.

I  arrived late at the Rhys Ford doorstep and am now reaping the benefits of being able to binge read through Ford’s amazing series starting with Sinners. What a rich tapestry Rhys Ford weaves with this first tale in the series, Sinner’s Gin.  A  musician, wounded in body and soul, a modern Gaelic warrior, read that police officer, who sees the treasure buried beneath the scabs and scars and a murderer bringing the past back with him makes this a story I couldn’t put down from the moment I started it. And did I mention a dog so entreatingly, believably scruffy and well, terrier true that he stole my heart as well?  I wolfed down Sinner’s Gin the way Dude would a fine piece of steak, ok, any piece of steak.  With groans of appreciation and a longing for more.

Sinner’s Gin, a band destroyed by a drunken driver which left one member alive to mourn the loss of not just the band but its members he called family, and the man Damien that Miki thought of as his brother.  After a tramatic prologue, Ford drops us into what’s left of Miki St. John’s life and its depressed and ugly.  Subsisting on booze and junk food, the only thing keeping Miki from death is the thought that Damie’s hateful parents would inherent  his music rights (and other things) and use them in ways Damien opposed.  That fight keeps him alive, just barely.  Ford brings this despondent man alive, from his caustic thoughts to his life at the stripped down warehouse which we see through his eyes.    It will take several grisly events and a scruffy terrier to get Miki moving again, the foremost is a eviscerated body dumped on the GTO Damien bought him.  That brings his past back and Kane Morgan into his life.

Kane Morgan is not a solitary creation.  And how I thank Rhys Ford for this.  Kane Morgan stomps into the story and our hearts carrying with him the Clan Morgan from mother Brigid who could teach the warrior queen Boadicea a thing or two to Donal, the “da”, a father so huge and elemental that he is frequently described as Ent like (a description I not only loved but could see).  It doesn’t stop there.  Conner, the oldest brother, the twins Kiki and Ryan, Braden, Riley, Ian and Quinn.  And yes I know I got the order wrong. Six boys and two girls.  A cousin, Sionn on the Finnegan side.  You take all that Irish, all that Gaelic love, heart, and  fire and when added together it become narrative magic.  One that carries over from book to book.  Oh, and except for Quinn, who in another book or alternate universe would have turned out to be a mage, they are all law enforcement officers or firefighters or something just fierce.  They are that known entity….an Irish dynasty found in police and firefighter families everywhere.

Not one of which is slighted in the character department.  Each person is rooted deeply not only in the family and story but in the authenticity of their characters.  In their very believability they carry weight within them, a depth of feeling and soul.  But each is so different from the other, even if only slightly.  And its that slight difference that makes them feel so much like family, along with a dialog and family dynamics that anyone with siblings will  recognize.

Yes, I have to mention Dude.  I have terriers.  Dude is a terrier and continuing character.  Yes, you should never give them broccoli.  The farts are catastrophic and profound.  It speaks of research or at least close proximity with terriers who are fond of greens.

The plot and killer will make you heartsick at times and adds in an element that continues through all the stories. That of musicians with wounded, abused backgrounds that will find their way into a new band with Mike St. John and into the Morgan family Clan. Music runs through this story and series, music is in lyrics at the beginning of the chapters or in mentions of favorite bands beings ticked off by Morgan sons.  It flows everywhere.

By the end of this amazing story I was  reaching for Whiskey and Wry (Sinner’s #2), hearing the beat of the Bodhrán pounding in my ears, growing louder as well as my anticipation for what I knew was coming next.  The startling ending of Sinner’s Gin had me on edge and now I’m more than ready for my journey to continue with the Clan Morgan and the musicians they love.

I highly recommend this story and the next, and well, the entire series.  Rhys Ford has quickly become a “go to” author for me  I love it when that happens.  Need a new author to love?  A new series to read?  Grab up Sinner’s Gin by Rhys Ford and get started.  Amazing people and things await you!

Cover art by Reece Notley.  I really like the covers for this book and the series, all done by the same artist.  Great job.

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

Book Details:

ebook, 260 pages
Published December 24th 2012 by Dreamspinner press
original title Sinner’s Gin
ISBN 1623802490 (ISBN13: 9781623802493)
edition language English
series Sinners #1:

 

 

 

Back from GRL, Pulp Friction Week, Book Contests and the Week Ahead in Reviews

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It’s Sunday and I have been back from GRL in Atlanta a whole week but it feels like only yesterday.  How does that happen?  I still haveGRL ATL -Atlanta-skyline one small suitcase to empty, my swag bag contents are scattered across parts of the kitchen table like so much titillating, lovely fall debris.  And I have yet to take all my books and stack them close to the bed for reading.  Sigh.  I have an awful feeling that I will open the suitcases to pack for GRL in Chicago next year only to find the remnants of GRL Atlanta still laying inside ready to be put away.

It was an outstanding conference.  So many wonderful authors, publishers, bloggers, and readers to meet and talk with.  Amy Lane, Shira Anthony, JP Barnaby, Lynn Lorenz, Venona Keyes, Marguerite Labbe, Wade Kelly, RJ Scott (making the journey from the UK), Mary Calmes, Jessica Freeley, Kaje Harper, Anne Tenino, Laura Harner, Tom Webb, Katey Hawthorne (my roomy), so many more.  I know I will kick myself when I realize who I have left out. Oops Keturah from Riptide, Dolorianne from Wilde City, Kris Jacen, editor extraordinaire from MLR, ack my brain cells are running out….My head and thoughts swirl under all the great people I got to see and meet there.  TJ Klune and Eric Arvin got engaged in a tearful and heartwarming engagement in front of a Q & A audience to our delight.  The Heaven and Hell Ball sawDSCN4099 DSCN4103so many great costumes from the sublime to the silly and everything in between while the gorgeous Atlanta city lights twinkled as our backdrop. That is Edmond Manning (King Perry)to the right and the sexy Drake Jaden, porn star and model for the cover of JP Barnaby’s Painting Fire on the Air (Survivor Stories #2). Be still my heart!  I don’t know who that funny person is in the Queen of Hearts wig and outfit! lol.  From Heidi Cullinan, Reese Dante ,Ethan Day , Teresa Emil ,Carol Lynne , and  Damon Suede , thanks for organizing a great conference.,They made GRL memorable for me and everyone else I talked to.  I can’t wait for GRL in Chicago next year!

I will probably still be packed for it.

Now I am so excited for the week ahead as I am trying something new here.  Next week is Pulp Friction Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words and a multiple book contest to go along with 4 great authors and 4 wonderful intertwined series.  The Pulp Friction group consists of Havan Fellows, Lee Brazil, LE Harner and TA Webb.  They got together (I will let them tell it in their own words) and decided to write a group of serialized stories reminiscent of pulp fiction that interconnected through a group of tightly bonded men.  I have slowly been reviewing each series at four books a piece.  Now it all culminates in a fifth book each and a guest post from each corresponding author.  A review of the fifth book follows the author’s post in the afternoon.  This is how our week shakes out.

Wicked Solutions coverFifty Fifty Chances Are coverMonday, October 28:    Havan Fellows and Wicked’s Way series

Review of Wicked Truths (Wicked’s Way #5)

Tuesday, October 29:    Lee Brazil and Chances Are series

Review of Chance In Hell (Chances Are #5)

Wed., October 30:         L.E. Harner and Triple Threat series

Review of Duplicity (Triple Threat #5)

Defiance coverStarry KnightThurs., October 31:       T.A. Webb and City Knight series

Review of Darkest Knight (City Knight #5)

Friday, Nov. 1:       Pulp Friction Wrap up, Announcements, and

Winners of the book contests

Saturday, Nov. 2:          October Summary of Reviews

To be entered into the contest, just leave a comment on any post this coming week and you will automatically be entered one of four books being offered up by the authors.

Author Spotlight: Meet Lee Brazil!

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ST: Good morning, everyone.  Today’s guest author is Lee Brazil, author of the wonderful Chances Are series in the Pulp Friction offerings.   Good morning, Lee!

*pats chair and hands Lee a cup of coffee*.

“Don’t mind the terriers, they will ask their own questions later”  *shoos away dogs*

LB: Good morning! Thank you for inviting me over to talk today. For those who don’t know me, I’m Lee Brazil, author of m/m romance with Breathless Press, Silver Publishing, Evernight, and Total E Bound. I’m also a member of a writing association known as Pulp Friction.Chances Are cover

*sips coffee*

LB: Which is what Melanie invited me to discuss today. Pulp Friction came about as a mash-up of old fashioned pulp fiction writing and modern romance. Laura Harner suggested it to us, and the three of us jumped on the band wagon quickly. Originally, it was supposed to follow a strict format of 8 thousand words, and other tried and true pulp strictures.

ST: “Tell me about Chance.  How did he come about?”

LB: When Chance was born, I knew keeping it with in those bounds was going to be impossible. Telling his whole story, getting across the complexity of who he is in eight thousand words wasn’t going to happen. So it became a serial.

ST: “When we think of Pulp Fiction, we think tough, wise-guy detectives who have seen it all.”

LB: Chance is my version of the hard boiled tough guy, he’s known grief and pain, and disappointment, and that’s where we meet him, wallowing in his past. He presents a cold and unfeeling persona to the world and tells himself he’s happy with what he has.

That’s Chance in the first book, Chances Are, where that façade begins to crack. As the stories progress through small mysteries and tragedies and life happens to Chance, the cracks grow bigger and wider and eventually the walls fall down, blasted to rubble by his stalwart friends and a feeling he hadn’t been aware of growing inside.

ST: But that changes, doesn’t it?

LB: When he wasn’t looking his heart was sneaking people in, from the drunkard cop who sits at his bar every night, the cocky but dependable Gerry the bartender, the melancholic chef Blake and all Chance’s old buddies from his days on the force, Wick and Marcus and Zack the civilian. Turns out, he’s never been as alone as he thought.

And into this mix comes Rory. The golden-skinned, golden-haired open-hearted antithesis of Chance’s lost love. He finagles his way into Chance’s bed, and into his life, seeking more at times than Chance is willing to give.

Chance’s own sense of integrity eventually convinces him that his relationship with Rory is wrong, but events transpire that force him to take a deeper look into his closed off heart and make changes in his life. In the end, Chance learns to let go of the past, to embrace the possibilities of the future and to allow himself to be happy.

And the stubborn mule headed ex-cop turned my whole pre-drafted story line upside down in the second installment of the serial. Because that’s who he is. A man who has to follow his own path even when it wanders through hell.

ST:  I just love Chance and the entire series.  I can’t wait for the next book to be released.  Thanks for coming by today, Lee.

LB: *sips coffee. Thanks for joining while I blather about my sexy ex-cop. You can pick up the latest Chances Are book, Chance in Hell at ARE, Smashwords, and Amazon on September 1. In anticipation of that release, I’m offering a discount of 33% on the first four stories at ARE from August 28th until September 4th.

If you want to know more about me and my work, you can find me at the following places on the web:
Lee on FB http://www.facebook.com/lee.brazil
Lee on Twitter @leebrazil
Lee Blog http://leebrazilauthor.blogspot.com/
Pinterest http://pinterest.com/leebrazil/
You Tube http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCKmjXLWlO4c2_5ZZQigbeZg?

Books in the series to date in the order they were written and should be read to understand the characters and events within:

Chances Are (Chances Are #01)
Second Chances Are (Chances Are #02)
Fifty Fifty Chances Are (Chances Are #03)
Ghost of a Chance (Chances Are #04)

Review: Fifty Fifty Chances Are (Chances Are #3) by Lee Brazil

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Series Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Fifty Fifty Chances Are coverChance Dumont, owner of Chances Are bar and his lover, Rory, are still trying to deal with the aftermath of Rory’s attack and the return of Cannon, Chances’s former boyfriend.  It’s not going well.  Rory, a cop, has still not been declared fit for duty.  But truthfully the trauma of the attack has left Rory fearful and he may never heal enough to be a cop again.  And Chance?  He’s trying hard to be the lover Rory needs but their relationship is strained and fragile, just like Rory.

When a man is found naked and dead in the bathroom stall in the men’s room, his identity points to Chance and Rory as suspects.  Chance knows he didn’t do it but did Rory?  That’s the question and no one likes that the answer might be that its a fifty fifty chance that Rory did.

This series is just amazing.  It continues to get better with each new story.  It deepens in intensity and in emotional layering and I can’t get enough. We left Chance and Rory trying to pick up the pieces of their relationship after Rory has been attacked in Second Chances Are, and it’s not going very well.  And it can’t because the relationship started on tenuous terms and has never found a firm foundation.  The men aren’t communicating, primarily because one is traumatized and the other doesn’t want to upset him further.  It’s a realistic portrait of two men at the very first stages of recovery and they are still trying to find their way past the pain.

Lee Brazil packs a lot into 34 pages.  Great characterization, wonderful plot, and tremendous dialog and with each new story it gets better, more layered, more authentic.  Chance was a complicated man in the first two books but not always likable, something the character himself acknowledges. But here as Chance struggles to put Rory first instead of giving into his impulses for revenge, he becomes more human, more understandable.  He is so frustrated, as is the reader that we instantly relate to him.

Trust is the issue and focus here.  So many areas where trust is lacking.  There is the trust missing between Chance and Rory. Plus Chance still doesn’t trust Gerry, his bartender who stole from him and both men are struggling with that fact.  Rory can’t trust himself or anyone other than Chance, maybe.  Then Brazil shatters the tentative trust established between Chance and Rory with a murder that either man might have done.  The emotional detonation that occurs reveals to all involved just how fragile the binding was that held them all together.   It’s angry, it’s hurtful, and it’s damaging on many levels, but is it permanent?  That’s the question that Brazil gives us to answer and the answer remains elusive by the end of the story.

Again there is an element of bdsm and D/s but it absolutely works for the characters and story.  Don’t let it put you off.  And for you  romance lovers, well, it’s coming.  Romance and love is not an easy thing for Chance Dumont. Its hurt him deeply in the past and he hasn’t been able to get past that emotional trauma.  Now he is finally ready but is the man he loves?  Brazil is stringing that aspect of the series out for us and it is making it  even more enjoyable to anticipate the outcome.

It’s hard for me to believe that Fifty Fifty Chances Are is only 34 pages in length.  It has the breadth and scope of a larger book.  So does the series.   Really, the author’s work here is immaculate.  Pick it up but start at the beginning and work your way through.  There are four stories so far and I know that more are coming.  Lucky us.

Books in the series in the order they were written and should be read to understand the characters and events within:

Chances Are (Chances Are #01)
Second Chances Are (Chances Are #02)
Fifty Fifty Chances Are (Chances Are #03)
Ghost of a Chance (Chances Are #04)

Book Details:

ebook, 36 pages
Published May 1st 2013 by Lime Time Press
edition language English

Crazy Week Ahead, Ghoulish Cocktail Recipes, and This Week’s Reviews

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Sooooooo, sitting here wondering why I do things that make myself crazy.  I’m really not a masochistic sort, occasionally absent minded but truly, people,  usually I am a better planner than this.  So this week, the alarm people are coming to fix the alarm system that wants to beep, squeak, squeal, or otherwise make high pitched noises at all hours of the day, none of them actually caused by any realtime event. And all are picked up by Captain (African Grey Parrot) who finds these noises irresistible enough to mimic.  So even after they are banished , thanks to Captain’s skill at mimicry, they will always be with us. Cue the Excedrin.

Also this week?  A friend is coming to stay for the week.  I haven’t seen her in a while and I am looking forward to getting caught up on her life (outside of the computer chats) face to face.  So what else is also going on?  My wonderful book group is coming over on Sunday for lunch and togetherness, my niece and her boyfriend just flew in from CA for her birthday and my mother is making noises about a “birthday celebration” for my niece over at the Farm this weekend too.  What aligned among the stars and planets that said all this had to happen this week and weekend?  Hey! *waves hands frantically over head* Can we not do this?  Please?  This is making me crazy.  I  like to do things slowly, think the forward momentum of a sloth.  I enjoy getting ready for events and people the same way.  This is not making me happy.  Sigh.

So I plan on lots of writing today so I don’t have to do that as well.  Here is my schedule for the week if I am not carted off to Bedlam.

Monday, June 22:                    Sweet Young Thang by Anne Tenino

Tuesday, June 23:                    Parting Shot by Mary Calmes

Wednesday, June 24:              Welcome, Brother by Erica Pike

Thursday, June 25:                 Attachment Strings by Chris T. Kat

Friday, June 26:                       Vampirism and You (Guidebook #01) by Missouri Dalton

Saturday, June 27:                   Necromancy and You (Guidebook #02) by Missouri Dalton

Cocktail Recipes: In honor of Missouri Dalton’s new series which I absolutely adore, here are a couple of scary Cocktails to cool you off:

The Necromancer’s Martini:

Vampire Martini

1 part vodka
1 part strawberry liqueur
1 part lime juice
1 part cranberry juice

Pour all of the ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice and shake well. Strain into a cocktail glass to serve.

Vampire Cocktail

Bloody Vampire Cocktail

1 part rum
1 part cherry kool aid

Pour both of the ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice and shake well. Strain into a highball glass to serve.

Review: Risking It All (Truth or Dare #5) by Lee Brazil

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Rating: 4 stars

Sebastian “Bastian” Grey has been asking his lover Rick Claremont for more, more time spent together, more commitment, heck, he would even settle for Rick letting him into Rick’s house but Rick has always pushed him away. But now Rick is adopting a small kitten. Can making one type of commitment mean that Rick is ready to make another?  Bastian can only hope that this might mean a new step forward in the relationship with a man he has wanted since Bastian was 16.

Rick Claremont came from an abusive childhood so trust has never come easy.  Rescued by Bastian’s older sister, he has watched Bastian grow up into a gorgeous man but one who takes risks all the time, in work and pleasure.  It doesn’t matter whether Bastian is running into burning buildings or jumping off sky jumps at mountain resorts, his life is always at jeopardy and Rick is hesitant to give his heart to someone who might not be around to make a relationship work.  Then a decision to get a kitten leads to thoughts of taking down some of the barriers that have kept the men from a deeper commitment.  Can Rick trust Bastian to stay safe and help him feel safe too?

This is the fifth book in the Truth or Dare series by Lee Brazil and the only one I have read to date.  The series seems to revolve around the Blake brothers and the people they fall in love with the exception of this one.  Risking It All is the story of Sebastian Grey, Dr. Arden Grey’s brother, and Rick Claremont, a young boy she rescued from an abusive life. Without having the foundation of the other books I was still able to enjoy Bastian and Rick’s story and get an understanding of each man’s history.  This is especially true for Rick Claremont whose past is horrific from every angle.  Father left, alcoholic mother died leaving him in the care of an abusive stepfather who was a monster.  I felt Rick had depth to his character and liked how Brazil created a character who is dealing effectively with his past abuse.  Too often we are given stories populated by characters broken by their past, it was a nice change to be given someone who has surmounted his past and we get a glimpse into how he has achieved this remarkable goal.  I found Rick believable, likable, and totally someone I become fond of immediately.

Bastian Grey was a little more problematic as his story is most likely told with his sister’s, Dr. Arden Grey, in Giving Up (Truth or Dare #4).  I would not necessarily have known he was a firefighter but I liked his “voice” and found his frustration with the status of his relationship with Rick so realistic I could almost hear his teeth grind.  You  could see how his impulsive nature could give Rick second thoughts when it came to trusting himself into Bastian’s care but his inherent “goodness” is also on display as well.  I would have liked to see more of Bastian’s story included here for those of us unfamiliar with the series.

There is an element of mystery when Rick’s stepfather is murdered and Rick finds himself  among the suspects, however temporarily.  The end of the book becomes overcrowded with characters I didn’t know or care about (perhaps from previous books) and I felt their addition obscured the relationship building between Rick and Bastian.  This is a novella in length but the characters and storyline almost cry out for a full length novel. The characters are wonderfully human displaying the full spectrum of behavior, from impulsiveness of Bastian to the wary attitude of Rick.  I would have loved much more of them and it gives me the impetus to look into how the series all started.

Cover: Victoria Miller gives us a beautifully dark cover in keeping with the dark elements of the story.  I loved the use of green in the fonts which really made the title and the author’s name stand out.

Truth or Dare Series, in the order they were written:

Keeping House, #1 – Mischa Blake and Donovan Holloway, m/m

Telling the Truth, #2 – Terry Blake and Twins Dex and Trick,  m/m/m

Giving Up, #3 – Branden Blake and Dr. Arden Grey m/f

Taking the Dare, #4 –  Dan Blake and Morgan Hawk,m/m

Risking it All, #5 – Bastian Grey and Rick Claremont  m/m

Review of The Gleams from a Remoter World by Fiona Glass

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Rating: 3.75 stars

Chris Mullens is a reporter/investigator for The Paranormal Times and he is slowly coming to the realization that the years have been piling up behind him while he has stayed relatively static.  He has remained at the same job for over 10 years, with no social life or partner to speak of.  He lives with Jo Perry, his co worker at The Paranormal Times and  has been her intermittent bedmate when she wants it.  The book he meant to write has never been started and lately all the leads he has followed for paranormal activity have not panned out, either they were hoaxes or just someone’s overactive imagination.  The one thing Chris has decided he wants is to win the coveted Moondust Award for the first journalist to prove the existence of ghosts and the next case their editor hands them just might do the trick if its authentic.

Their editor tells them that in the village of Kilveenan, off the coast of Galway in Ireland, there is a church said to be haunted by the ghost of a dead priest’s son, but the twist is that the son supposedly died in the Great War, so why is he haunting his father’s church? Chris readily accepts the assignment and is eager to be off, Jo Perry, his journalistic partner for the story, seems less so.  In fact she is starting to sound as though writing about paranormal events are the last thing she wants to do.  When the unhappy couple arrive in Kilveenan, they discover it’s not the church that is haunted, but the priest’s house next door and by a spirit so filled with rage that just for Chris to enter the cottage puts his life in jeopardy.

The more Chris investigates the cottage’s history, the more evidence he uncovers that involves, murder, murky family relationships, and a son that never returned to the battlefield.  And what little relationship he had with Jo is disintegrating the longer they stay in Ireland. When Chris and Jo meet up with Paulie and Bill, a gay couple on holiday staying at the same inn, Chris’ attraction to Paulie confuses things further for Chris, just when he needs all his attention to be focused on his investigation.  The ghost in the cottage is shaking Chris to his foundations, tearing him apart in every way.  Will he survive his ghostly encounter?

Gleams from a Remoter World has so many lovely elements to it, especially at this time of year.  The first thing that attracted me to the story is the setting.  I love Ireland and when a story is situated in a coastal village, you have my attention.  But even better is when the village and it’s inhabitants are so beautifully described that you feel a part of the place itself, then mark me down as a happy camper.  I loved Glass’ vivid portrait of life lived at the edge of the ocean, cold, wet winds whipping up the cliffs, moisture clinging to every surface.  The rain hitting you so hard it pummels you.  I loved the variety of people we meet (thank goodness, none are of that Irish leprechaun variety, twinkling eyes sort of thing), more of the brusk common sense type of folk.  Had this been a travel guide I would have been booking a flight out immediately. off to see Kilveenan.

I am unfamiliar with all those ghost hunting shows or the people who track down paranormal happenings, so I don’t know anything about the equipment they use.  I can see the running around ruins and graveyards (done that myself a time or two) and again the author’s gift for describing the Irish landscapes and buildings give the reader an immediate closeup feeling to the scenes underway.  I loved the ghost story here that incorporates all the good elements of a murder mystery, familial relationships, and a love affair that was hidden.  The author did a wonderful job of building the suspense with the ghostly apparitions, the drops in temperature that herald the appearance of the angry spirits, the change in color of the surroundings when history unfolds before Chris’ eyes.  Also realistic is the boring, tedious research that had to be done into the background of the church and the Anglican priest who presided over it and its members.   Fiona Glass made this part feel so very authentic, right down to the dusty tomes and hard to read signatures on ledgers.  Again, the author brought this element to life for the readers to the point we could almost breathe the musty air of the small town offices they had to visit for their information.

And then there are the characters of the story and my main quibbles come forward.  I can pretty much narrow down my issue with this story to two words: Jo Perry.  Chris Mullen, his interaction with the paranormal, and his interest in Paulie should be the main focus of the story.  But Jo Perry keeps interfering in almost every way possible, including my enjoyment in the book.  This is a m/f story that becomes a m/m story as Chris is clearly bisexual, which is just fine.  But the problem is with the amount of time she figures in the story, which is too predominate for my taste and the fact that she is inherently unlikable.  Jo Perry is supposedly a long time friend/partner of Chris, they graduated from the university over 20 years prior but does she act like a friend?  Not in any  way you would recognize.  She is distant, dismissive, uses Chris as a sexual partner when it is on her terms but possessive when he looks elsewhere.  She is rude, bratty to all about her, treats Chris like a doormat, and it turns out she is homophobic to boot!  All of this would have been fine if first she had taken up less of the story, and secondly, the author had the other characters around her react to her behavior in a realistic manner. That did not happen unfortunately.

Then there is the character of Chris Mullen, who I happened to like quite a lot. He is a quiet, thoughtful person whose good nature and calm demeanor seem to make it easy for Jo to take advantage of him.  Chris apparently dislikes confrontation to the point of submerging his wants almost completely in deference to other peoples needs and expectations.  While some might attribute that to a “lack of backbone”, I can see the glimmerings of a different take on his behavior altogether, such as an inclination towards depression.  Two much of this book involves conflicts between these two characters of Chris and Jo instead of centering in on Chris, Paulie, Paulie’s long term partnership with Bill who is suffering from full blown AIDS, and Bill, who I was sure realized that Chris was attracted to his partner.  What a wasted story element. This awkward triad had so many interesting elements going for it.  Apparently Bill has been suffering from AIDS for three years and this was a “last vacation” for them both. I wanted to know when was he diagnosed with HIV?  How had that effected Paulie? When you have a ghost filled with rage, how interesting would that have been to contrast that with the rage/anger of Paulie? Or even Bill?  Like I said, a missed opportunity to concentrate on people I wanted to know so much more about than Jo Perry.

We are given one or two hints to explain their behaviors.  She is bitter about a divorce, he is “depressed” but neither explanation is gone into detail, and it never redeems her behavior.  This is especially true when it turns out that she is homophobic to the point of rudeness and anger, attacking Chris for his bisexuality and the other men for their gay partnership (even one that is critically ill!). Chris’ depression is mentioned once or twice, but it is clear that he has never done anything about it.  Then there is the weight around his neck (and the readers) in the form of Jo.  Towards the end of the book when she has left (of her own accord by the way), Chris’ boss mentions how much Chris has moved forward in the last several weeks.  Does no one in the UK come right out and say  “Well, thank god, that soul sucking monster has left the building?” Is that not “done” over there?  And for one final blow, literally, to the reader and Chris, on her last appearance, she smacks Chris a hard one across the face when she takes insult over something innocuous he said that she misconstrued.   But does he finally let her have it, at least verbally?  No, she has her homophobic way one last time.  Little by little this character interaction just leached away my good feelings about this  book, leaving me with a sour taste in my mouth over abusive behavior given its own reward in a manner of speaking.

So, after all that, it does have a wonderful and wonderfully realistic ending, a HFN that is in keeping with the final two characters I think.  It also left me very conflicted over the rating.  So much of this book is deserving of a 4 rating or higher from the settings to the paranormal mystery to even the character of Chris Mullen himself.  But it is dragged down by the repellant persona of Jo Perry and her over the top involvement in the plot and her overextended presence on the page.  I cannot tell you how many times I wanted to pull up a chair next to Fiona Glass, hand her a red pencil and a glass of cabernet and talk about this book! Because really this is ¾ of a wonderful book.  Oh well, in any case I will certainly be looking forward to others Fiona Glass writes but color me divided when it comes to Gleams from a Remoter World.

Cover art by LC Chase.  I like the gray color tones and the ruins in the background, perfect if you are looking for ghostly ambience for the book cover.