Katey Hawthorne’s Release Day Blog for THE TAKEDOWN (Superpowered Love #8) (vid excerpt and giveaway package)

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The Takedown (Superpowered Love #8) by Katey Hawthorne
Publisher: Loose Id
Publication Date: June 6, 2017
Cover by P.L. Nunn

Buy Links:    Loose id LLC |    KateyHawthorne.com  
Amazon

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Katey Hawthorne here today with a new book from her Superpowered Love series. Katey has a great giveaway package for the readers to enter to win and a wonderful vid excerpt to watch.  Welcome, Katey!

🔥

The Takedown Excerpt

(https://youtu.be/qOh-tx4hfgg)

About The Takedown

Jody Aguirre’s family was kidnapped and tortured by witch hunters, and after a few days of captivity, he’s all that’s left. Using his frosty awakened superpowers, Jody manages to escape—and is rescued from the side of the road by Bren Faulkner’s stretch Town Car. Bren, a hot-thermal awakened with government connections, promises to help find the witch hunters who destroyed Jody’s life.

While navigating his trauma and pain, Jody comes to rely on Bren for more than just food, his house, and his superpowered connections. Brendan is all that reminds Jody what’s left to live for, and a strong advocate for justice vs. vengeance, like the proverbial knight in shining armor he is. As their affection for one another deepens and their attraction becomes impossible to deny, Bren wonders if acting on their feelings would be taking advantage. Jody, meanwhile, struggles to claw his way back to something like normality, knowing that Bren’s part of the solution, not the problem.

But none of it matters if they don’t take down those witch hunters.

About The Superpowered Love Series

The “Superpowered Love” books feature stories of the awakened, people with either thermal or electrical superpowers. While they share a world, there is little to no character crossover, and they can be read in any order. For more info: http://www.kateyhawthorne.com/p/superpowered-love.html

Giveaway:
http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/3105535d7/?

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About the Author

Katey Hawthorne is an avid reader and writer of superpowered and paranormal romance, even though the only degree she holds is in the history of art. (Or, possibly, because the only degree she holds is in the history of art.) Originally from the Appalachian foothills of West Virginia, she currently lives in Ohio with her family, two cats, and one very large puppy. In her spare time she enjoys travel, comic books, B-movies, loud music, video games, Epiphones, and Bushmills. Her favorite causes include animal rescue and bisexual representation in media. She is an unashamed fangirl and collects nerdy tattoos like she’s trying to prove it.

Social Media:
Twitter – https://twitter.com/hawthornetaylor
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/katey.hawthorne.33
Tumblr – http://hawthornetaylor.tumblr.com/
Blog – http://www.kateyhawthorne.com/

Review of With or Without Series by JL Langley

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ating: 5 stars for the series

My first introduction to JL’s shifters came when I picked up the Hearts From The Ashes anthology and read With Love, the first in Langley’s shifter series.  It featured a young clutzy Omega wolf named Laine Campbell who was perpetually in hot water over things he said or creating chaos with the things he did.  Everything about Laine was adorable, from his hair to his manner of speech and I fell in love immediately.  So did Dev, the Alpha wolf moving to Ashton with his betas and business partners.  He was hooked on Laine and I was hooked on Dev.  I could not believe it when the story was over. I wanted more shifters, specifically I wanted JL’s shifters and I wanted them now. This is a reoccurring theme with JL Langley’s books so be prepared.

Then came Without Reservations in 2007 and my addiction was official.  Without Reservations is the story of Chayton Winston, a veterinarian living in New Mexico.  He is also a shifter and all his life he has been dreaming of a fair haired mate, much to his Native American  parents chagrin.  His entire life Chay has considered himself heterosexual until an injured wolf is brought into his office.  The wolf is a gorgeous male shifter and his mate.  He is also Caucasian something he is sure his mother will never accept.

Keaton Reynolds wakes up in a veterinarian ‘s office to find himself injured and being treated by his mate.  He should be overjoyed except he just got out of a relationship from a shifter who had a girlfriend on the side but also said he was Keaton’ mate.  Keaton is not one to repeat his mistakes and a hetero shifter is not someone he wants to take a chance on, no matter what his body and even his heart may think.  But Chay won’t give up on Keaton and finally Keaton agrees to get to know Chay better.  And slowly they start to build a relationship together.  But there is Chay’s mother’s disapproval to overcome and a power struggle in Keaton’s Georgia pack that threatens them both.  How will they overcome the odds to find the happiness they both deserve?

I reread this book all the time.  Chayton Winston and Keaton Reynolds are such wonderful creations that I return to their story time and again.  Chayton is one of the nicest people you will meet in the author’s novels.  He is both elementally patient and rock solid in his beliefs so that when presented with a man as a mate, he accepts it.  If it switches his sexuality over to gay, ok as long as he gets his mate, something no wolf shifter would ever turn down.  And you believe this paradigm shift absolutely as being in character for Chayton because he is so real from the moment we meet him.  Keaton also engages our hearts and affections with his prickly nature  and forceful personality packed into a slight build.  A small white wolf, he has the personality and power of an Alpha without needing to lead. Keaton would rather teach and help educate so the fact that his mate would be a healer, a veterinarian makes complete sense.  JL Langley surrounds these two with people as authentic and believable as they are and gives us a mystery to boot.  Just an outstanding novel.

With Caution came next.  It remains my favorite of the series and again one I read over and over again.  With the characters of Remington Lassiter and Jake Romero, JL brings a level of complexity and depth to her characterizations that I had not seen before.  And added to our main characters, she introduces us to the rest of the men who will become their pack.  Each man is a unique unforgettable creation as they sit astride their motorcycles and roar into our hearts.  Remy is a shifter we meet in Without Reservations and he makes a rather disastrous first impression upon us in that story.  But here we discover the dark background that surrounds him in shocking detail as well as the reasons for his actions.

There are parts of this novel so bleak and despairing your hearts will bleed for Remy and his brother Sterling  even as our hero bleeds out from the abuse.  Remy’s sexuality and his acceptance of a male mate is a huge part of this story and his past as well.  I cannot give Langley enough credit for the sensitive way she deals with child abuse and recovery as an adult.  There is also a murder mystery to be solved, and the exploration of a naturally submissive nature.  There is some mild bdsm that works beautifully within the plot of the story and the glimpses of new couples, mates, for future stories.  One couple in particular has had the fans clamoring for their story since this book was published.  This story has depth, multi-layered characters and a multitude of themes running through it, not the least of which is how Reservaton law can also isolate the members it is supposed to protect, control issues and child abuse.  Heavy themes indeed but this book is also packed with love and redemption.  With Caution is an incredible read you won’t want to put down.

Next comes a series of free stories that can be found on the Fiction With Friction website until JL Langley’s site is back up and running.  These are in order:

A Lot To Be Thankful For (With or Without Series 3.1) Sterling Lassister and Rhys Waya (the fans just wouldn’t shut up for their story)

A Sterling New Year (With or Without Series 3.2)  with Sterling Lassister and Rhys Waya (love, love these two and so will you, get on the bus)

With Abandon (With or Without #4) brings back Aubrey Reynolds and the rest of the Georgia pack that we met in Without Reservation.  Aubrey is Keaton’s brother and our introduction to him in Without Reservation was not exactly a positive one.  Matt Mahihkan, one of Gadget’s sons from With Caution is back and going to college in Georgia. Matt was a quirky young man who we got to know only superficially but JL Langley brings him together with  Aubrey Reynolds and that combination sparks all sorts of problems not the leasts of which is that Aubrey is not out to his family or the pack. And Matt is not only out and proud but turns out he is Aubrey’s mate. It took me a while to like Aubrey, perhaps some of that was left over emotions from Without Reservation.  But his reluctance to accept Matt officially as his mate made him hard to like.  He has to grow on you, something none of the other characters has had to do.  Matt, of course, is absolutely adorable and we entrust our affections with him from the get go.  And with Matt, comes some of the members of the New Mexico pack we have come to love as well.

Next come three free short stories in succession. I am convinced JL Langley thought the fans would be showing up on her doorstep if she didn’t at least throw them all several bones. I will admit to being one of them:

Christmas Dinner at Reynolds Hall (With or Without, #4.1)

Attack of the Killer Dust Bunnies (With or Without, #4.2) 

Christmas Cookies and Garland (With or Without, #4.3)

So what and who are coming next?  That would be Sterling and Rhys.  This is the story everyone has been yelling for, myself included. I believe JL Langley said it will be done in a few month from now but isn’t sure when it will be published. That will depend upon Samhain Publishing’s schedule.  Be still my heart.

Without Fear (With or Without series #5) – coming from Samhain Publishing.

So that’s JL Langley’s shifters in a nutshell.  I am not sure I did them justice.  Shifters of all species hit my buttons. Native American shifters hit them twice.  I don’t care if they are wolves, big cats or even weresloths of London (thank you, Charlie Cochrane for that memorable story).  But thinking back to the beginning, it all started with JL Langley’s wolves who come to life on the pages of the With and Without series, grabbed both my attention and my heart and have never let them go.  I have these books in paperback (prior to my Kindle) and I have them now in eBooks as well.  From their killer covers to their outstanding characters and plots, I return to them often.  To reacquaint myself with old friends and find comfort in their presence.

Some find JL Langley through her cowboys and others through her sci-Regency series.  I found her through her shifters.  If you are new to JL Langley as an author, try them all.  Start from the beginning of each series and work your way down.  You will find yourself with a new  addiction just as I did.  Write me. Let me know what you think. I will be waiting.

Review of Gregory’s Rebellion (Shifters’ Haven #6) by Lavinia Lewis

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Rating: 4.25 stars

Leopard shifter Gregory Hale has been sent by the supernatural council to pick up a young jaguar shifter in Las Vegas and bring him into Council headquarters as they have determined the young man’s loner status has made him a potential danger to the humans around him.  But Gregory has watched Hayden at a distance for days and everything about the young shifter shouts neglect and pain.  When Gregory finally contacts Hayden, he realizes that Hayden is his mate but there is no acknowledgement on Hayden’s part that the recognition is mutual.  Hayden is skinny to the point of starvation and his face is marred by a raw scar that stretches from eye to mouth on one side of his face, a scar that should have healed when Hayden shifts.  Hayden has come from a traumatized past, but he won’t confide in Gregory, not yet at least. More than ever, Gregory is determined not to let Hayden fall into the council’s hands and he pretends to his superiors that Hayden has slipped away from him, to their immediately displeasure.  Gregory is, in fact, taking Hayden to Kelan’s Crazy Horse Ranch knowing the Alpha will help him hide Hayden and keep him safe.

Gregory still has the corruption within the council to deal with and a new series of murders to investigate.  Someone is murdering the mates of council  members, as Gregory knows all too well. Now with a mate of his own to protect, Gregory needs to get to the real culprit behind the killings before its too late.

The Shifters’ Haven series is built around Wolf Creek, Texas and its pack of wolf shifters.  Wolf Creek is two thirds shifters in population, a situation that the human population is ignorant of as all shifters have worked hard to keep themselves hidden. Each book brings together a different mated pair with a continuous plot line of dissension among the Supernatural Council which is composed of shifters of all types, from hawk to cougar. From the first installment, you are made aware of the Council who governs all shifters with their rules and regulations and the possibility of corruption within that impacts Wolf Creek and beyond.  From book to book, each time a member of the Council intervenes or arrives on the scene, you become less assured as to who the “good guys” are.  Also each book widens the Wolf Creek pack with new family members and sometime new species of shifters are given haven.

Gregory’s Rebellion picks up right where Nate’s Deputy leaves off, with Gregory on his way to Las Vegas on council  business. Gregory is still heartbroken over the events that happened back in Wolf Creek and unsettled because the real leader behind the shifter problems and crimes has  not been fully identified, at least not with proof he can use.  There has been a really nice development of Gregory’s character from book to book, from his first appearance as a council member somewhat rigid in demeanor to the compassionate person he is here.  But my focus was on Hayden, who was kicked out of his home at the age of 16 by his parents for being gay, an all too real occurrence.  Hayden has suffered since being thrown out of his home and family and has done what he had to in order to survive on the streets.  He has no self confidence, he is all shame and humiliation, his trauma written across his face in a scar he refuses to heal as a measure of his torment and degradation.  When Gregory comes into his life, he has just arrived at a modicum of security, with a boss who regards him as more family than employee and a job he likes.  Now all of that is gone in an instant, disrupted by a stranger who tells him the council is after him and wants his trust.  Lewis does a beautiful job in conveying Hayden’s confusion and fear.  I became invested in Hayden from the very beginning and stayed so to the end.  You will too.

Also carrying over is the issue of corruption in the council and the fact that someone is murdering the mates of council members, but to what end? Gregory gets caught up in trying to deal with his new mated status as well as his investigation into the problems of being part of a council he no longer trusts or believes in.  Again, all very credible and in keeping with the persona of an honorable man trying to do what’s right when confronted with the reality behind the supernatural council.  Lewis’ wonderful way with location and characterization is in top form here. It is becoming a saga of Wolf Creek versus the old order of council rule, a storyline that has intrigued me since the start of the series.

Once more, I felt the ending rushed and not as satisfactory as it might have felt to have the villain meet his comeuppance. Had the story lasted a little longer and with a more detailed exposition, then the end would feel more complete given the buildup.  Perhaps Lewis is doing this intentionally to keep the thread going in the next book up, Pete’s Persuasion (Shifters’ Haven #7).  I hope so, for it’s an interesting part of all of their stories  and it doesn’t feel finished yet.  So I am waiting impatiently for October and the next in the series.  Pick up the first book, read them all and meet me here for No. 7.  See you then.

Once again Posh Gosh is giving us lush, gorgeous covers for the entire series. Beautiful branding and great design for each and every book.

Here are the Shifter Haven series in the order they were written and should be read in order to fully appreciate the characters, relationships and plots.

Luke’s Surprise (Shifters’ Haven #1) . Luke Morgan and Mark Malone’s story

Cody’s Revelation (Shifters’ Haven #2) – Cody Morgan and Stefan Drake’s story

Kelan’s Pursuit (Shifters’ Haven #3) – Kelan Morgan and Jake Bradfield’s story

Aaron’s Awakening (Shifters’ Haven #4) – Aaron Drake and Cary Lewis

Nate’s Deputy (Shifters’ Haven #5) – Nate and Jared. Read my review here.

Gregory’s Rebellion (Shifters’ Haven #6) – Gregory and Hayden

Pete’s Persuasion (Shifters’ Haven #7) coming in October 2012

It’s Football Season and I’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling, the Week Ahead in Reviews and A Cocktail

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It’s Labor Day weekend here in the States, a time to hunker down and celebrate the end of summer.  For some families this means a last dash to the beach or the start of school. It is also the start of football season.  It’s the start of tailgating parties, stadium crowds and team colors.  Mine used to be red and yellow, the colors of the  Washington Redskins, my family’s team.  It all started with my Dad.  He loves the Redskins.  We have been fans through thick and thin as they say.  I can even remember Dad taking me to a Redskin home game when they were coached by Vince Lombardi. That was 1969.  My dad and his friend Tom Cox had a group of season tickets and when one of “the gang” couldn’t go, Dad brought me.  What a thrill.  Redskin fans are beyond fanatical, they are legendary.  And every game, RFK shook from the ground to the rafters with their fervor.  I will never forget it as long as I live. Screaming until I was hoarse, the people towering around me as all stood to watch a play on the field and then the ride home, Dad’s either thrilled because we won or furious with a loss. Later on, the ride home included Dad listening to Sonny and Sam (that’s Sonny Jurgenson and Sam Huff) dissect the day’s game.  We had Redskin blankets, hats, and scarves.  We went through the George Allen and Jack Pardee years before we arrived at the Golden Age.  That would be owner Jack Kent Cooke, affectionately known as The Squire, Bobby Beathard the GM, and Joe Gibbs, the Winningest Coach of them all.  From 1981 to 1992, we basked in the glory that was the Redskins and quite frankly made up for all the years it took to get there.

But 10 years ago, the Squire died and Dan Snyder bought the team.  I hung in there as long as I could but the soul went out of them that day.  Dan Snyder single handedly has ruined the Redskins for me (and many others).  How can you back a team when the owner sues it’s fans? When die hard season ticket holders could no longer afford their season tickets because of the economy (some losing everything), the Redskins sued their fans to recover the costs of the passes, even a grandmother living on retirement! No other team did that. Made the headlines, they recanted, a bit.  Still did it though.  Then a small free newspaper takes Dan Snyder to task over his actions.  He sues the newspaper!  I guess free speech is not to be tolerated in Snyder territory.  On and on it goes, one man’s arrogance and bad karma wiping out half a century of fans adoration and goodwill.

And now I give up.  I won’t root for them any longer.  Some will say the very name “Redskins” is cursed.  Perhaps they are right. It’s long past the time to retire a name offensive to so many.  Maybe I will look around for another team to root for.  The Ravens don’t do it for me.  I like the Packers and the Saints.  So who knows?  In the meantime, I have the Capitals and Ted Leonsis to cheer for.  And The Washington Nationals have risen above their “Natinals” days to become an inspiration and a team worthy of cheering for and not just because they are winning, but winning in the right way!  Go, Nats!   Without football, perhaps I will have more time to knit, certainly to read.  And reflect on the past.

This coming week’s reviews are:

Monday:                      Solid As A Stone by Amylea Lyn

Tuesday:                      Gambling Men, The Novel by Amy Lane

Wednesday:                Jewel Bonds series by Megan Derr

Thursday:                    One Day At A Time by Dawn Douglas

Friday:                          Summer Sizzle by Berengaria Brown

Saturday:                      Vocabulary Gone Bad Looks at Sexy(Not) Dirty Talk or Spank Me Harder, Bunny Poo!

Our last summer cocktail to finish out the summer this Labor Day weekend for those of you in the States is the Sidecar!

The Sidecar. 

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons superfine sugar
1 lemon wedge
3 tablespoons (1 1/2 ounces) Cognac
2 tablespoons (1 ounce) Cointreau or other Triple Sec orange liqueur
1 tablespoon (1/2 ounce) fresh lemon juice
1 cup ice

Directions:

Spread superfine sugar on small plate. Rub lemon wedge halfway around rim of chilled martini or coupe glass. Dip moistened side of glass in sugar to lightly coat outside rim of glass. Set aside.
In cocktail shaker, combine Cognac, Cointreau, and lemon juice. Add ice and shake vigorously until well chilled, about 30 seconds. Strain into prepared martini or coupe glass and serve.

Review of Salad On The Side (Real Werewolves Don’t Eat Meat #1) by Karenna Colcraft

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Rating: 3.5 stars

Kyle Slidell’s company offered him a promotion.  Taking it cost him his boyfriend but offered him a fresh start in a new town with a lot more money. Once Kyle gets situated in his new apartment, his life consists of work, home to sleep and more work, making his life very dull and his days repetitive until he looks out his window into the apartment complex communal garden and spies his gorgeous neighbor naked under the full moon.  He has seen Tobias around the building but has never worked up the courage to speak to him or hardly any of his neighbors really.

Tobias Rogan has watched the new tenant with more than usual interest.  Tobias is drawn to Kyle, and because of the attraction he feels along with his past history, he has intentionally stayed away from him. But on a full moon, standing in the garden, Tobias knows that Kyle is watching him,  wants him  and he decides to act on his emotions. Tobias “accidentally” runs into Kyle in the hallway and invites Kyle over the next day under the cover of meeting all the neighbors in the building.  The pot luck will accomplish several things, first to introduce Kyle around while indicating to those at the party that Kyle is under his protection, and the other is to simply get to know Kyle better.

Kyle finds the party awkward, his new neighbors a little on the strange side, and the actions of one new acquaintance hostile until Tobias intervenes in a manner even stranger.  Kyle realizes that there are secrets being kept from him and he  doesn’t like it.  But after being attacked by a wolf in the garden, Kyle wakes up a werewolf and finds out that he managed to move into a werewolf apartment complex and Tobias is the pack alpha.  What is a vegan to do?

Karenna Colcroft had me at vegan werewolf.  I thought that was an hysterical premise and an original one at that.  This story really shines when Colcroft is letting her imagination run quirky little circles around the typical shifter tale. Colcroft’s description of the pack trying to find vegan foodstuffs for Kyle to eat after he shifts for the first time is great.  Flashes of that offbeat take on werewolves throughout the story had me waiting in anticipation as I turned page after page.  Unfortunately, sometimes it appeared and other times it was submerged under too many words, too many repetitive passages and characterizations that felt a little incomplete.

The story is told from Kyle’s POV and while I appreciated his snarky, intelligent nerdlike outlook, I also found parts of his personality hard to believe in.   This includes his reaction to the fact that Tobias and his pack have just ruined his life, which would have been more believable if it had contained more anger and less passive acceptance, especially coming from a man who hours earlier had told Tobias he wasn’t going to have a relationship with someone who was closeted and obviously hiding something from him.  That man, pre werewolf Kyle, I believed in and understood.  I cannot really say the same about werewolf Kyle.  Tobias, pack Alpha, was another problematic persona. Tobias shifted from one type of character to another so fast that I thought he might have some schizophrenic tendencies.  In one scene, he is the mind controlling Alpha, in the next he is tender lover.  Yes, you can have both  in the same character if you make a good case for the changes in attitude, but the author never really did that with Tobias’ character.  To give the author credit, some of that did smooth out towards the end of the book, but it took far to long for Tobias to get there.  In this particular case, it would have benefitted the story to have told part of it from Tobias’ POV to give the reader  greater insight into the character.

Apart from some issues with characterization, I found the wordiness a little excessive, especially towards the middle of the story.  I appreciate that Colcroft is setting the stage for future stories but the constant dialog about pack politics, rules, etc bogged down the narrative.  Other authors have  woven such details into their stories without hitting you over the head with them, and I wish this author had found a way to do that here.  I hope that now which such backstory out of the way, the next book in the series will move forward at a more sprightly pace.  I would like to see more consistency in the characters as well, so their actions match our expectations given what the author has told us about them.  My last quibble? More of the wonderful humor Karenna Colcroft is capable of.  It’s here, from the great premise to scenes found throughout the story.  It is the reason I will come back for more and read the second and third installments of Real Werewolves Don’t Eat Meat series.  The good here far outweighs my quibbles and make this book worth your while.

Great cover by Winterheart Designs.

Other books in the series available in eBook from MLR Press, Fictionwise, All Romance:

Salad On The Side (Real Werewolves Eat Meat #1)

Tofurkey and Yam (MLR Holiday Release)

Veggie Burgers To Go (Real Werewolves Eat Meat #3)

Review of The Mystery of Ruby Lode by Scotty Cade

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Warnings: Rape, mention of past sexual abuse, attempted rape, child abuse

Rating: 4.75 stars

Bowen McAlister and his partner Cyrus Curran along with their friends Duff Gentry and Lockhart Dawson are headed out to Boulder, Colorado to research and explore the Ruby Lode, an abandoned gold mine for Bowen’s outdoor adventure company.  But even before they take off, Duff gets a premonition that makes him uneasy. When Duff tells the others, they listen out of respect for their friend’s psychic abilities but continue on even as Duff’s fears grow.

They should have listened.  Because Duff is right.  Lurking deep in the mine shafts of Ruby Lode, something dark and dangerous awaits the four men, determined to protect its secrets at all costs, including death. It preys on each man’s insecurities, it visits them in their dreams turning them into nightmares.  For each man to survive, they will have to look deep within themselves for the truth about each other and secrets long hidden must come to the surface if all are to remain sane and survive the mystery of Ruby Lode.

This novel was just a cornucopia of wonderful elements that it is hard to know where to begin.  Usually I start with the characterizations and with the four men mentioned above Scotty Cade has done a great job of bringing together diverse personas with some truly heartbreaking backgrounds and meshing them together as a close knit group of friends the reader loves spending time with.  Bowen McAlister and Cyrus Curran have been together for 10 years as the story opens and their easy dialog with each other along with other touches makes that relationship and each other very believable.  Bo and Cy have the authenticity of a long term couple still very much in love. After reading the author’s bio, I could almost feel Cade bringing experiences from his own long term relationship into the portrait he paints here of Bo and Cy so grounded and real do they feel.  Next to them are their two friends, Lockhart Dawson, who seems shallow and commitment phobic, and Duff, who is psychic, shy, and hiding many secrets behind his insecurities.  Both men have background and secrets that will come out over the course of the story that will bring the reader much closer to Duff and Lockey.  Cade’s characterizations are terrific, but the ones I truly loved are the ones that will surprise you.  I won’t go into them here as I feel that is spoiler territory but let’s just say that other characters will hook you in from the beginning and,  like the mournful refrain from a mountain folksong, will haunt the pages and the reader from then on. Bravos all around for the author on characterization and character development.

The characters are thrown into the middle of a heartbreaking and deeply dangerous mystery located in the depths of Ruby Lode, an abandoned gold mine.  Cade skillfully builds the atmosphere in spine tingling detail, amping up the anxiety and dread for the characters we have come to love until it explodes in a gut wrenching finale.  Parts of this story are not for the fainthearted so please take the warnings at the beginning to heart. At first, I was tempted to think it was emotional overload on the author’s part but as the story continued I could see that Cade had a justification for its inclusion, and it all made sense in the end.  Again I am being obtuse to reduce any chance for a spoiler here.

While my expertise in gold mines is limited to Maryland’s (yes, we had a few), I can tell Cade did his research and the settings seem very authentic right down to the equipment and mine layouts.  The supernatural elements explored here are accomplished with the same expertise and deft touches displayed throughout the novel. I loved how these elements were woven into the stories, starting with mere threads in the beginning, adding one here and there until Cade has fashioned a old time storytelling quilt, colorful with basic patterns turned into designs of complexity. Parts of this book will have you in tears so have the tissues handy as you will need them.

So why not five stars?  It all comes down to one character who I absolutely disliked right to the end.  I understood him and his actions but that never translated into anything even remotely approaching “like”, especially his actions at the end.  I am sure others will not agree with me and for you this is a solid 5 stars. So 4.75 stars from me for just an outstanding read from Scotty Cade.  You will love it as I am just quibbling over another well done character.  Grab this one up.

Cover:  Another favorite cover of the month for me.  The artist is Reese Dante whose work I love and this is another example.  Beautiful haunting painting of the insides of an abandoned mine.  Perfection in tone and coloring.  I love it.