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The Murderer Who Doesn’t Exist

Sahlan Diver Author Interview

Sahlan Diver Author Interview

For The Love of Alison follows David who is a witness, and eventual suspect, of a murder who must rush to clear his name. What was the inspiration for the setup to this thrilling novel?

In my first novel, The Secret Resort Of Nostalgia, I had a clear idea from the outset what the big mystery was and how the surprise reveal at the end would be done, so I only had to fill in the detail. This second novel, For The Love of Alison, was written the other way round. I started with a few details, like the unconventional college friend who marries a respectable solicitor, and the weird guy breaking into a house in a clown suit to perform a scene from a play, but I had no plot other than a vague idea about a murder which comes back to haunt the murderers. In fact, looking back, the material was so thin, it’s surprising that I thought it worth continuing. Only after I got the opening idea of “the murderer who doesn’t exist” did all the other ideas come thick and fast.

David is a London newspaper columnist, and I found his character to be interesting and well developed. What were some themes that were important for you to capture in his character?

I always create my central character as “man-in-the-street” and deliberately write my novels as first person narrative. Basically, I am saying to the reader: if you were put in this extraordinary situation that the protagonist finds himself trapped in, how would you try to get out of it? So, it’s important the reader can empathise with the character. He needs to be resourceful, persistent, basically a good guy at heart, whatever problems he might be experiencing in his life. And in this novel there is the initial element of uncertainty – has David fully recovered from his mental illness; how much can we trust what he is telling us?

I enjoyed the mystery embedded in this story, and the twists that came sudden and often. Were these planned or did they develop organically?

A mixture of both. For example, there is a startling twist about ten chapters in that sets up the fundamental mystery. I suddenly realised I could do something with the Alison character that would raise it above the level of a mundane, missing person story. The problem then was to come up with a resolution that readers would find convincing. I remember telling a friend I’d dug myself a very big hole and didn’t know how to get out of it. That’s where the organic plot development comes in, devising connections between people and events that make the apparently unfathomable all seem simple and obvious after the fact. However, it’s no pleasure for the reader if they guess too early, so I constantly misdirect, making it look like a situation is like this, or a character is like this, only to end chapters with a twist that effectively says “you weren’t expecting that, were you?”

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

I have started on a third novel, which is more ambitious than the first two. It will have a central mystery and a central character who tries to unravel it, but there will also be a number of parallel plots involving political opportunism, environmental emergency, religious fanaticism, even a semi-erotic situation between the 20-something protagonist and his 50 year old boss. The setting will in the future, the year 2050, at an inland lakeside town in Ireland that has become a booming European tourist destination due to climate change. Optimistically I might finish by December 2019, but the following summer is a more likely time-scale.

Author Links: Website

For The Love Of Alison by [Diver, Sahlan]

Journalist, David Buckley witnesses a murder. Only one problem – the murderer doesn’t exist, so now Buckley’s the chief suspect, and he’s on the run. Can he prove his innocence – and his sanity?

Student David Buckley’s obsession with fellow student, Alison Tindell, led to hospitalisation for mental illness. Thirty years on, Buckley, now a successful journalist, receives a surprise phone call from Alison, inviting him to visit. That same evening, a murder occurs; Buckley is accused, and Alison, his only alibi, vanishes. The police don’t believe she ever existed. Buckley escapes, travelling the country in a desperate search to find her before the law catches up. But someone else intends to find Buckley first, a person he fears more than anyone.

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STAGED!: A HOLLYWOOD HUSTLE – Trailer

Mismatched amateur detectives Casey Alton and (former biker gang leader) Smitty have solved some tough mysteries before. But this one may push them to do some truly creative actions on the edge of what’s legal. Casey & Smitty have a dilemma they have to solve… A longtime good friend of Smitty’s has been conned out of $2,000,000 dollars. The perpetrator’s a known ruthless and murderous crook. The friend has been beaten within an inch of his life to keep him quiet.How can they get the friend’s money back without being killed or worse? Run a racket on a racketeer? Run a hustle on a hustler? Out con a con artist? How do the movies fit into their plan? For the answers to these questions and more, read STAGED!

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Terrifying and Frustrating

Dawn Brotherton Author Interview

Dawn Brotherton Author Interview

The Obsession is a thrilling crime novel that follows Jackie as she finds that she’s being stalked by a serial killer. What were some ideas that drove the development of this story?

Many of the stalker scenes really happened to me. It seems surreal at this point in my life, but it was terrifying and frustrating at the time. Thankfully, the murders were not true.

Jackie is a missilier in the Air Force. Why did you choose this profession as Jackie’s career?

I was one of the first female missiliers. At the time, it was the only combat role a woman could hold. The Air Force has come a long way since then. Many writers start by writing what they know. This experience was very close to home.

There is a lot of good red herrings in the book and it makes you see everyone as a suspect. Was this planned or did this happen organically while writing?

A little of both. In real life, figuring out the stalker did take a while. There were many options, and technology simply wasn’t as it is today. A phone trace was extremely complicated. There was no caller id. Some of the red herrings were added in after I got the initial draft on paper.

This is book one in the Jackie Austin Mysteries series. Where will book two find Jackie and when will it be available?

Wind the Clock is out now. In it, Jackie goes to Germany where she is working for the inspector general’s office. There is a plane crash, and the situation looks very similar to a scenario she wrote for an exercise so she gets blamed for it. She has to figure out the real culprit to get OSI off her back. (The books do not have to be read in order.)

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At first, Jackie Austin tried ignoring the phone calls in the dead of the night. Fresh out of Air Force missile training and no stranger to harassment, she shrugged them off as a prank. But when the calls didn’t stop, unsigned love letters started arriving, and things in her house seemed out of place, Jackie started to worry. Were the men on base playing a trick on her or did they not realize that she wasn’t interested? And just how far would this harasser go?

In the neighboring town of Sedalia, a more ominous situation was brewing. Yet another young, single woman had been mysteriously killed in an ongoing series of grim murders. With the police on alert but without any leads, it was only a matter of time before the killer found his next victim.

Could Jackie be his next target?

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Mafia and the Dark Net Combine

Leo James Author Interview

Leo James Author Interview

Layers of Deception is a thrilling crime novel that delves into cyber-security, the dark web and criminal gangs in the Far East. What served as your inspiration while writing this novel?

Basically I wanted to write the type of book (and movie) that I enjoy myself. As for where the actual story came from, I started writing about situations I experienced over the years and the plot emerged as I built it out. I found that when I’m in the zone and typing away the story just unfolded quite naturally.

I wanted a main character that readers would really empathise with, so while he’s a very successful businessman on one level, I think there’s also a real vulnerability to him, mentally at least. I think it’s this side of him that makes him stand out and draws the reader into his life and problems.

I began writing during my recovery from a serious fall into a storm drain whilst on business in Singapore. Stuck in hospital I found it cathartic to write. It helped with my recovery, both mentally and physically. That was the start. Once back to work, and traveling internationally, I would write everywhere: on planes, trains, staying at hotels, at any given opportunity.

What is your professional experience and how has that helped you write this novel?

I worked for over 25 years in the technology sector – mainly internet security and international fraud detection. I wanted to bring my experiences of business deals and Internet security in the heart of banking systems, where you’d never expect everything to go very wrong very quickly, combining this as a thriller where modern-day mafia and the dark net combine to corrupt the heart of the international banking system.

I think it would really appeal to people who understand the techie stuff, but my aim was to make it perfectly accessible for non technical people too.

Whilst my time in the IT industry, international travel and experiences, equipped me with many stories over the years, my subsequent work as a therapist has enabled me to study all aspects of human behavior. I specialize in treating people with issues around anxiety, phobias and trauma. We are all fallible human beings. One of the main things that therapy gives me is empathy – helping me to understand and get into the mind of the characters in my writing

Kuala Lumpur is a detailed and fascinating backdrop to your story. Why did you choose this location for the setting to you novel?

The thriller draws on my many years experience of doing business in Kuala Lumpur as an IT business entrepreneur in the computer security sector trying to land contracts in Kuala Lumpur.

Despite its challenges, Kuala Lumpur is easily my favorite city in Asia. The city is always on the move, spurred by high technology, a strong knowledge-base and capital-intensive industries. The difference between rich and poor is very stark and there are issues with crime. Traffic is a nightmare as well. All of that aside, the food is fantastic and there are very few cities that are so inherently culturally diverse.

What is the next book that you are writing and when will it be available?​

I’m working on my second novel, a thriller set in Kuala Lumpur. It’s about a Malaysian family who illegally buy a Vietnamese child – a boy – the result of a turbulent relationship between a UK businessman and a Vietnamese woman living in Kuala Lumpur. The boy thrived in his new loving family unit, but his life and all those around him were about to be devastated when his real mother, who had since married a rich American businessman – wants him back.

In addition I have completed two more plots. A sequel to Layers of Deception where a child is kidnapped by Malaysian triads as a means to extort funds from a UK business based in Kuala Lumpur. The other novel is a thriller based on my fall in Singapore.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

Layers of Deception: An utterly gripping, international crime thriller. by [James, Leo]With international backers, big business deals and Internet security in the heart of banking systems, you’d never expect everything to go very wrong very quickly. And when things go wrong, they go very wrong! Layers of Deception is an international crime thriller where modern-day mafia and dark net combine to corrupt the heart of the international banking system.

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The Monk

Billy has only ever wanted to liberate the oppressed. He worked as a cop for ten years only to leave that behind and join the priesthood. About half a decade since he left the force and last spoke to his ‘brother’, he is called upon to help with the murder of his goddaughter Julia. He can feel the heavy presence of the devil in Capitol Hill Denver. He is determined to fight with prayer. William Yeats Butler is no weak person. He is a worthy opponent. He is a warrior. Will the killers of Julia be brought to justice? Can Billy and Laskey ever get overcome the past?

Set in the 1980’s this book is the first in a two book series. It’s an account of suspenseful mysteries with a bit of a narrative on spirituality weaved in. Written by a cop, you really can feel the intensity of a police investigation. The pain of knowing the victims on a personal level. The valor required just to get out of bed each day and prepare for this job. One can also clearly see the sheer sacrifice that comes with the job. Timony McKeever is a brilliant storyteller who has mastered the art of setting the scene using simple language.

There are so many characters to love. Moving away from the obvious, Billy, one cannot help but admire the double edged sword that is McDuff. MLM can be tough and mean but she can also be sweet and charming. It is so strange yet so compelling to experience. Laskey on the other hand is a faulty human being. He is great at his job and has better fashion sense now but the cracks in his personality make for some comedic relief. The author, it seems, has developed each character for the sole reason of building a rapport with the reader. To invite the reader into Capitol Hill as opposed to just watching events unfold from the sidelines.

The prose is succinct, and the dialogue is engaging because things are kept short. It is especially fun to see Laskey and Billy fall into their old relations so quick after they are reunited.

Be warned, there is quite a bit of profanity. However, it serves to set the tone of the book and is yet another thing that paints an accurate picture of interactions between brothers in arms. This is a book worth reading. If nothing else you will appreciate what it takes for criminals to be brought to justice.

Pages: 330 | ISBN: 1513648349

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Urban ISIS – Trailer

Raised on the deadly streets of New Orleans, James Johnson is displeased and disheartened by the drug game and the sickness it’s inflicting on his race. Unexpectedly, James met and has befriended, America’s most wanted and deadliest fugitive, Osama Bin Laden. Now he and Osama have joined forces in an effort to eliminate the nations drug trade.

Recently inspired by the rapid growth of ISIS; James, a legendary figure and underworld boss, has amassed enormous wealth, acquired a Harvard education, and is now poised to revolutionize the entire nation.

However, the stakes are high and many powerful people will lose fortunes if James prevails. Foreign assassins are pouring into the United States to wage war in what will become the bloodiest international war ever fought in an effort to strengthen a race.

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Family Dynamics – Trailer

A small-city newspaper publisher lies on his deathbed, unable to speak, looking at his eldest son in hate and heartbreak before he dies. A phone call commences a cross-country journey to a bloody destiny for a man who has existed in the shadows most of his life. Years in the past, a man’s desire to save his family’s legacy leads to an unthinkable deal with a devil, one that will one way or another destroy lives. And private investigator Randall Arthur must race against time to discover a long-held secret and to protect a family from utter catastrophe.

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The Obsession

Dawn Brotherton’s new mystery novel, The Obsession, tells two intertwining stories. Jackie Austin, a young woman in the Air Force, has recently bought a new home, although her career means she can’t spend too much time there. Jackie is the first female missilier, and her job takes her away from home a lot. Weird things start happening in her house, and she doesn’t know if she’s just being absent-minded, if someone’s pranking her, or if it’s more sinister.

Meanwhile, someone is murdering young women nearby. The police are doing their best, but the killer is crafty. It seems like a serial killer is targeting young single women, who are a lot like Jackie herself.

The novel is told in alternating, third-person sections, bringing both story lines together for an exciting finish. The author blends factual details of Air Force work to create a realistic setting for this mystery novel. Some of the subplots really rely on everyday details about Air Force life, like the “slam book” where bored workers can leave useful notes for the next shift, chat by pen with off-duty coworkers, or start nasty rumors.  Jackie’s friendships and relationships were clearly shaped by military life and scheduling, and the experience of being a woman in such a male-dominated area. This makes Jackie an interesting and easily relatable protagonist, which in turn makes readers worry about her safety as the drama unfolds.

I particularly enjoyed the hints, because there was a great mix of foreshadowing and red herrings, and it was fun to try to figure it out along with Jackie. As the reader grows to care about Jackie, it’s hard not to view everyone around her with suspicion. When strange things start to happen, there are just so many possibilities! Is one of the guys at work joking around, trying to play a silly prank on a teammate? Is a male coworker jealous of her success and deliberately trying to frighten and unsettle her? Or is she the target of a killer?

Without revealing too many spoilers, I will say that I enjoyed Jackie’s good sense under pressure. Even when in danger, Jackie’s no damsel in distress. The novel blends some of the unique challenges of being a women in the Air Force with a murder mystery.

This is the first in a planned trilogy of Jackie Austin mysteries.

Pages: 213 | ASIN: B004J8HTH6

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The Friday Edition – Trailer

Snow isn’t all that’s falling in Denver, Colorado on Christmas Eve.

A beautiful, young district attorney tumbles from her balcony to her death.

Police suspect suicide, but the DA’s sister, newspaper reporter Samantha Church, isn’t buying it.
Samantha discovers evidence linking her sister to a drug smuggling case and quickly learns she has stumbled onto a major news story. She must summon the courage to not only face a cartel of criminals, but her own fears and shortcomings when she is confronted by the inescapable specter of a far greater enemy—her addiction to alcohol. Samantha’s dependency has not only cost her job at a major metropolitan daily, but, worse, custody of her daughter, April.

Samantha pursues her sister’s killers, maneuvering through a minefield of intrigue deliberately set out to divert her from the truth. Despite being betrayed, physically beaten and facing the possibility of sharing her sister’s fate, Samantha refuses to stop her investigation. However, when the killers threaten to harm April, Samantha realizes that, for her daughter’s sake, she can no longer continue the investigation on her own. She knows she must swallow her pride and turn to her ex-husband and police detective, Jonathan Church, for help.

Can Samantha ultimately prevail—find her sister’s killer, write the story of her career, confront her drinking problem, and finally begin to change her life, or will she and April become the killer’s next victims?

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Layers of Deception

Layers of Deception: An utterly gripping, international crime thriller. by [James, Leo]

An international crime thriller guaranteed to keep you reading to the last page. Layers of Deception chronicles the life of Steve Roussos as he struggles to land a business deal for his IT company all while pressured with the financial hardships at home. With the company based in England Steve and his team fly out to Malaysia in hopes of securing a contract with a high-profile company in Asia. The authors’ knowledge of Kuala Lumpur with its modern skylines, expensive taste, seedy underground dealings, and masked corruption makes a perfect backdrop to this edge of your seat adventure.

One of the biggest draws for the book was its setting. Having spent some time in Kuala Lumpur it is not unfathomable that something of this story would happen there. Even a reader who hasn’t a clue about the city can easily illustrate a picture from James’ writing. Unlike the solid set up of the stories location, the characters had their lackluster moments. It took a while to distinguish the different personalities between each character. With so many people popping in and out it was hard to keep track of who was who, but the main character Steve is likable. I enjoyed the mystery and intrigue behind the villains, and enjoyed trying to piece together who was who.

In the first half of the book, my eyes were glued to the page wondering what would happen next. Despite the initial disorder of characters, the author writes a fluid sequence of events which gives the reader enough time to process the information and keep the story moving. It was only towards the latter half of the book that I thought there was too much repetition of dialog, with over explanations, and random facts. However, where the authors’ descriptions do shine are that of the technology and software mechanics within the story. As someone who is so far outside the realm of understanding cyber-security, I never felt lost or confused. In fact, I was frequently intrigued and curious for more information on the topic.

I love a good crime thriller and this story met all the requirements. Layers of Deceptions is an enthralling escapade full of danger, crooked characters and criminal activity on a worldwide scale. A book I suggest any reader with a taste for modern crime novels to pick up.

Pages: 341 | ASIN: B07JYBKDJN

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