Friday, March 29, 2019

March's Book Reviews and Previews

This month, I had some great reads playing on my kindle including Dark Matter by Blake Crouch, Gene Born: Awakening by Lilly Griffin, Hear Me by Virginia Babcock, and The Escape Artist by Brad Meltzer.  Admittedly, I had some trouble getting into that last one.

Happy reading,

Dark Matter by Blake Crouch

Mind-Bending Paradoxes in a Tale of What It Means to be Human

The plot of Dark Matter is driven by the concept of alternate worlds.  Jason Dessen wakes up in one after being abducted at gunpoint – one in which he isn’t married, doesn’t have a son.  And with the reference to Jason’s occupation in physics, you might guess there is an underlying scientific explanation (of sorts).  But whether the synopsis evoked thoughts of Schrodinger’s cat or only seemed an interesting science-fiction MacGuffin, one thing is certain – the concept enables nonstop action as you explore strange realities.  It also creates mind-bending paradoxes; what does it even mean to meet yourself in an alternate world?  But lest these references to science cause you to hesitate, let me say that Crouch does an admirable job of making the theory accessible.  Find the complete review or get more information from Amazon here:

Gene Born: Awakening (The Koci Hybrid Series Book 1) by Lilly Griffin

A Front-Row Seat to Humankind’s Capacity for Cruelty

Do you know what happens when you modify the genes of a human, mix in some DNA from a couple of animal species and some from an alien race (the Koci), and then let an Artificial Intelligence (AI) control the body’s muscles?  Well, me either.  But then, neither did the scientists in Gene Born: Awakening, a story that takes place on a dying earth circa 2054.  And if experimenting on humans without the foggiest about the outcome seems heartless, that’s just the tip of the inhumanity iceberg for these men.  They kill and maim and torture their test subjects, their only concern being to leave enough of them to be slaves in whatever new world they find in outer space.  It’s a tale well deserving of the author’s warning in the synopsis:  this story contains content that may trigger readers sensitive to violence and references to sexual assault.  Potential reader, be advised.  Find the complete review or get more information from Amazon here: 

Hear Me by Virginia Babcock

Action-Laden Story that Could Use More Credible Threats to Life and Love

Madeline (Maddy) Quincy, the heroine of Hear Me, gets visions from her departed ancestors, a group she calls her ‘grannies’.  Sometimes they take control of her body and reveal hard-truths that Maddy would rather avoid, like announcing a bride’s pregnancy with the best man in the midst of her wedding ceremony.  Sometimes, the visions are just helpful.  She’d straightened her hair that morning so the images were warning her that a shampoo was necessary.”  But often, the grannies warned of impending danger, visions that drove the story.  There are both good and bad aspects of this plot mechanism.  It was always a bit startling when, in the midst of an otherwise tranquil scene, Maddy would suddenly say, ‘Jacob, the bad guys are coming.  Get your gun.’  But the downside is that this foreshadowing of both the threat and the solution reduced the drama.  Then, in the aftermath, the events leading up to the incident are described as a flashback, e.g., the police “… informed him that eleven staff members had been shot, and four had died.”  Letting the reader experience the threat as it unfolds would make Maddy’s pronouncements less startling, but overall, it would also render the situations more gut-wrenching.  Find the complete review or get more information from Amazon here:

The Escape Artist by Brad Meltzer

A Questionable Plot Bogs Down in Repetitive Trips Down Memory Lane

The Escape Artist has Jim "Zig" Zigarowski, a mortician at Dover Air Force Base, sticking steadfastly to his creed to help the families of our fallen military – a truly honorable calling.  Part of his pledge to them is to verify the identity of every victim.  So, when he’s expecting the body of Nola Smith, a person he knows, but someone else is in the casket, Zig ignores the advice of all his friends and the orders of his superiors in order to investigate.  It’s a premise that promises tense action and unexpected twists, which it delivers.  Unfortunately, the story also gets bogged down in prolonged bouts with angst and lengthy trips down memory lane.  Find the complete review or get more information from Amazon here:

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Garrison Keillor once said ...

"March is the month God created to show people who don't drink what a hangover is like."

I can't change the weather, but with these limited time, Kindle Countdown deals on puzzling mysteries and edge-of-your-seat thrillers, maybe you won't notice.

Start Date: NOW  End Date: 3/18
Of Half a Mind
By Bruce M. Perrin
Techno-thriller, Suspense
Usual Price: 2.99  Sale: 0.99

When a young psychologist uncovers the dark side of a brilliant neuroscientist's radical research, will he survive the brutal truth?

"Top-notch technothriller"
"... an intriguing, compelling story that gave me goosebumps!"
"… a fresh, original take on psychological horror."

And now, a 2018 Wishing Shelf Book Award Finalist! 

UK (99p):

Start Date: NOW  End Date: 3/17
Murder at Bray Manor: a cozy historical mystery (A Ginger Gold Mystery Book 3)
By Lee Strauss
Historical Mystery
Usual Price: 4.99  Sale: 0.99

Ginger Gold receives a letter from her sister-in-law, Felicia, requesting she come straightaway to her late husband's family home, Bray Manor. Dowager Lady Gold, Ginger's nervous grandmother through marriage, believes the old manor is haunted.

Bray Manor hosts a dance to raise money for maimed soldiers who struggle with peacetime after the Great War. Felicia invites her flapper friends and her new beau, Captain Smithwick, a man Ginger has met before and definitely doesn't like.  When the dance ends with the discovery of a body, Feicia is certain a poltergeist is to blame, but Ginger is quite sure the murderer is made of flesh and blood.

NOTE:  Several other books in this series are also on sale, so check the links from this page if you're interested.

NOTE the date on this next deal and mark your calendar!
Start Date: 3/27  End Date: 3/31
By Laurel Heidtman
Usual Price: 3.99  Sale: 0.99

Mark Fuller's world is falling apart. His marriage is on the rocks and his insurance business is on life support. To top it off, he's agreed to spend Easter weekend in a remote lake house with his overbearing business partner and his partner's alcoholic wife.

Mark thinks his life can't get any worse, but when a freak spring storm brings nearly two feet of snow, the power goes, and two escaped federal prisoners show up on their doorstep, he realizes it's not only the weather that can kill!

Start Date: NOW  End Date: 3/19
Finding Justice (A Rescue Alaska Mystery Book 1)
By Kathi Daley
Psychic Mystery
Usual Price: 4.99  Sale: 0.99

Rescue Alaska is a series by USA Today Bestselling Author Kathi Daley. It is a warm yet fast moving mystery series with a light paranormal twist.

In this first book in the series, a longtime local, Tim Maverick, sends his old friend, Harley Medford, a letter with a photo stating that if he should turn up dead at some point in the near future, the man in the photo is the one who killed him. When Tim is found dead only two weeks later, Harley comes to Rescue to find the man he is convinced killed Tim. He hears that Harmony has a reputation for finding people so he enlists her help. The journey to find the truth behind Tim's untimely death, will take Harmony on a journey of discovery she never saw coming.

Start Date: NOW  End Date: 3/17
My Wicked Valentine (Paranormal in Manhattan Mystery: A Cozy Mystery Book 18)
By Lotta Smith
Vampire Mystery
Usual Price: 2.99  Sale: 0.99

When Rick’s old friend, up-and-coming celeb psychic Brian Powers is accused of murdering an esthetician at a luxe gentlemen-only spa, Mandy’s cozy afternoon at home goes from cookie-baking to crime solving.

With baby Sophie and ghost-pal Jackie in tow, Mandy and Rick take to haunting the spa where the facials are fab and the intrigue is high-end.  Every suspect has a secret, but who’s willing to kill to keep theirs under wraps? [Seaweed wraps, that is.] Find out in this dangerously funny installment of the Manhattan Mystery series.

Start Date: NOW  End Date: 3/17
The 24th Letter (Sean O'Brien Book 2)
By Tom Lowe
Usual Price: 2.99  Sale: 0.99

A priest hears the confession of a frightened prison inmate, and he learns that a man facing lethal injection in 84 hours is innocent. The lead investigator on the high-profile case was his old friend Sean O’Brien. And now O'Brien has a chance to right a horrible wrong. But he has less than 84 hours to uncover clues to a crime that sent an innocent man to death row.

Evidence may not lie, but evil does, and when the original killer comes out of his lair, O'Brien is in a race to save two lives - the man on death row and his own.

Start Date: NOW  End Date: 3/18
SHE: A gripping serial killer detective thriller (Detective Inspector Munro murder mysteries Book 1)
By Pete Brassett
Detective Mystery
Usual Price: 2.99  Sale: 0.99

Detective Inspector Munro is a burly Scottish policeman who doesn’t suffer fools gladly. Detective Sergeant West is an intelligent young woman, new to the force, with a lot to prove.  When a missing person case lands on their desks, Munro is skeptical there is much to it. But their investigation soon comes to some strange findings, and before long, a body is found.

With a serial killer on their hands they must act fast to trace a woman placed at the scene of the crime. Yet discovering her true identity, let alone finding her, proves difficult. And as the plot thickens they realize the crime is far graver than either of them could have imagined.

Start Date: NOW  End Date: 3/18
A Fractured Winter: an addictive psychological suspense
By Alison Baillie
Women's Detective Fiction
Usual Price: 2.99  Sale: 0.99

From the outside, Olivia seems to lead an idyllic existence with her husband and children. But when she starts receiving notes, she knows her perfect life is under threat.

She thought she’d managed to put the past behind her, but someone seems determined to reveal her secret.  Meanwhile, girls are vanishing in the area and Olivia fears for her family’s safety.  Has someone discovered the real reason she left Scotland all those years ago?

When someone is out to get you, is there anywhere you can hide?

(Please verify all prices before purchase.)

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

It's Giveaway Time Again!

Enter for your chance to win 20 or more Crime/Thriller eBooks!

You could win:

Darknet by Matthew Mather, a best seller in Amazon’s techno thriller, conspiracy, and science fiction categories;

Three, Four ... Better lock your door by Rose Willow;

Of Half a Mind by Bruce Perrin;

The Advocate by Teresa Burrell;

Chained Guilt by Terry Keys;

and 15+ other titles!

Two grand prize winners get all 20+ eBooks
20+ others win individual eBooks

Enter here:

Sunday, March 3, 2019

Winners and Awards

The Winners

First, let me thank all the new and long-time subscribers who entered the giveaway for a signed, proof copy of Killer in the Retroscape.  I appreciate your interest and support.

The winners of the three copies of the book are:  Angie L., Rita R., and Terri P.

The books are ready to be shipped ... as soon as I dig out of the snow and get to the post office. 

The Awards

I am honored to announce that my last two books have both received recognition in international book competitions.

In early February, Of Half a Mind was named a finalist in the Adult Fiction category in the Wishing Shelf Book Awards.  This program is based in the United Kingdom and uses panels of readers (in the UK and Sweden).  It's always good to hear what the reading crowd has to say.

And on the first of March, I learned that Killer in the Retroscape was selected as a finalist for The Montaigne Medal from the Eric Hoffer Book Awards.  The Medal is awarded to the year's most thought-provoking books.  (I'm still pondering that news ....)