Not Dead starts with the abduction of a little girl but slowly builds into something more ominous. How did this idea for the novel start and change while writing?
The doll on the cover exists. It’s sold as a prop for Halloween houses. Several years ago, the picture of the doll standing in a decrepit, ramshackle room was the subject for a short story contest. Intrigued by the image, I entered the contest. While the doll was designed to frighten, I wanted a different twist. That’s how NOT DEAD got started. The original story was 500 words, and the title was Not Dead, Not Dead. I won third place. And, that’s all it took to get me hooked on writing.
I have always wanted to go back to that first story and turn it into a full-length novel. With the foundation of the plot in place, it was perfect for the expansion of the characters, location, and the dolls.
I felt that the mystery and intrigue was built exceptionally well in this novel. What were some goals you set for yourself as a writer for this book?
I enjoy creating a plot with twists and turns that keep the reader guessing, right up to the last page.
This novel highlights how difficult it can be to lose someone. What were some themes you wanted to explore in this novel?
I’m not certain there were any themes. It’s more my law enforcement experience and knowledge that add realism to my plots and characters. As a cop, children were the best and worst of my experiences.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
NOT DEAD is a deviation from my FBI Tracker novels. For the next book, I am back with the Tracker team in high gear as they deal with espionage and murder. I don’t have a title yet as my titles are inspired by a phrase or idea in the plot. So far, inspiration hasn’t struck, and the file is still titled—no name. My goal is to have it ready to publish by late spring/2020.
A small-town Texas cop who is haunted by his past.
A reporter who risks it all, even her life.
A kidnapping that crosses into an unearthly realm.
Focused on the abduction of four-year-old Mandy Norton, Chad Bishop, Meridian’s Police Chief, ignores the twinges of foreboding triggered by an eerie fog that shrouds his town. What he can’t ignore is the editor of the Tribune.
When Ashley Logan becomes embroiled in the search, nothing stops the hard-hitting, investigative reporter, including Chad’s threats to throw her in jail. She’s Mandy’s aunt.
As the mystery of Mandy’s disappearance deepens, unnerving details emerge. Chad refuses to believe they’re connected to his past until the case turns deadly. He’s forced to face the terror that haunts him. It’s waiting in the shadowy depths of the unearthly fog.
This time, it could cost Chad more than his sanity.
Posted in Interviews
Tags: anita dickason, author, author interview, book, book review, bookblogger, crime, ebook, fantasy, fiction, goodreads, horror, kindle, kobo, literature, mystery, nook, not dead, novel, paranormal, read, reader, reading, story, supernatural, suspense, thriller, writer, writing
Mike Slavin has written a roller-coaster of a novel in Kill Crime. The story goes from 0 to 100 when Jeff Case, an oil company businessman from Texas, finally catches a pedophile that he’d been chasing ever since his niece had been victimized. Jeff finds himself getting closer to becoming a vigilante, as criminals hurt his friends and the people he loves. The choices only get tougher, and the villains he chases only get more dangerous. Will he survive?
Kill Crime is an exceptionally thrilling novel. The book starts with the main character catching a man about to molest a young child, I thought this was pretty extreme for the first 30 pages, but things only escalate for Jeff Case. This acceleration, and the realism with which it happens, is where Slavin’s writing excels. He makes Jeff’s decisions seem probable and reasonable through his amazing descriptions of grief, pain and anger.
There are many times in the book when I felt angry alongside Jeff, almost to the point of being blinded by it. Some will want him to exact his revenge and go for the kill, but maybe some will be begging him to move on. It’s a thrilling read from cover to cover because of this struggle that the reader faces with the main character, and it will keep the pages turning. If the internal conflict doesn’t entice readers, then the action sequences certainly will. The tense, violent moments are written excellently and play out like some of the best big screen movies.
If there is one weakness in the story, it’s that some of the elements border on cliché, such as Case jamming out to “Danger Zone” on his way home from work. However, Slavin only flirts with this line and never seriously crosses it, which he manages by keeping the story believable and emotionally raw.
The language that Slavin utilizes is fantastic. His writing is never boring, and the sentences he composes are fluid and natural, which makes for a smooth read. He may have gone a little overboard with the text breaks, but it doesn’t hamper the writing. I’ll definitely be looking forward to the next installment. This is especially true, thanks to the couple of nice little hints at where the Jeff Case story might be heading in the sequel.
Pages: 358 | ASIN: B07WQNQWXR
Murder on Spirit Island by Jim Riley is a thrilling murder mystery novel set in Louisiana, following Niki Dupre as she attempts to solve the disappearance of a wealthy businessman, Henry Welker. Gunmen, alligators, and a bigger conspiracy is afoot, Niki uses every bit of her impressive skill and experience to get to the bottom of the situation, all without ending up at the bottom of the Mississippi River. With all of the danger surrounding her, she still makes time for John, a high school flame from many years ago, who gives her the Welker case to start her perilous journey.
Murder on Spirit Island is a very well constructed story, as it kept me guessing at every turn. The chapters are short, and many of them enticed me to keep going. The characters were colorful and easily recognizable, although there was a bit of confusion when initially learning of the group of men that often met on Spirit Island. Other than that, each one has their own personality and style, and each one could be the murderer on the loose.
Niki’s character is one that the reader will want to succeed. She is trying to prove herself in an industry where men typically rule the roost, but she doesn’t let it get in her way. The reader will move through the story with baited breath to see the decisions she makes and how she might manage to escape the next source of danger, no matter who it is. She’ll even flirt with a police officer, if she has to.
The story even has some good comedic aspects. Mr. Riley is certainly a quick-witted individual, and he does well to bring in some lighter points. An early example involves some yoga stretches and an unexpected guest entering Niki’s apartment to an… interesting view.
With these fun moments mixed in, this is a mystery adventure that manages to be entertaining in every aspect. With twists and mis-directions sprinkled throughout, the reader will be itching to learn the truth behind each murder.
Are we defined by the ones who were before us, or do our actions define us? Do the actions of one individual condemn their future descendants to a dire future?
The Progeny is a thrilling adventure story, echoing the suspense of Robert Ludlum’s Jason Bourne series. The beginning of the story is a little slow but the story picks up and is quickly entertaining. Things keep on rolling as our lead character, Audra and her small group of people find themselves in situations that quickly turn sour. Despite the frailty shown, the characters rise up to the challenges that face them, which made me emotionally invested in the well drawn characters. I frowned when I read about the zealots who were hunting descendants of the most infamous female serial killer in history. Why? They are not the killers. Why harm them? But then people do tend to carry grouses for years, maybe some are crazy to carry ones that pass on from generation to generation. These thought provoking themes kept me hooked. I especially loved Luka character, who loves Audra without any motives or benefits. The author describes the revelation in layers which is all the more warming to my heart.
There are many more layers to the story than initially appears. It shows the depth with which Tosca Lee has crafted her narrative. Overall the story is well written and continues at a good pace. We get a glimpse into the past of the characters, but thankfully the story does not dedicate too much time on it. The one thing that I did find odd was the persuasion power that every descendant of Elizabeth Bathory (mainly females) seems to have. Why it appears, or what is the reason for it is not explained. Even more curious is that it goes away after a certain age. Why? I need to know! Needless to say, I am invested in this enthralling and thoroughly entertaining novel.
Pages: 337 | ASIN: B010MH9YUW
Pale Face and the Raven by Stacey Dighton is a terrifying murder mystery meets a horror story. It starts with a string of rape cases and murders taking place in the town of Westhampton. Luke Raven, a detective inspector and long-time alcoholic is assigned to the case. Unable to cope with his alcoholism and an inability to form long-lasting connections with other people, he is dragged down by the weight of his own past and present. On the other hand, there is a struggling author, Tony Richards. His life isn’t turning out as he had planned, and his flailing desperation leads him down a dark path. His own sordid past and tattered familial relationships are slowly unraveled throughout the story. It is a race against time and personal struggles as these men and the people in their lives are dragged into the horrific events taking place.
Throughout the novel, I was surprised to find myself sympathetic to the murderer’s motives. Not supportive of them, of course, but Stacey Dighton managed to build his character in a manner such that his motives and actions were entirely believable.
It would seem that the alcoholic detective and struggling author are overdone cliches. But that did not make the story any less compelling. They were well-fleshed out and so human that they managed to escape the common murder mystery tropes. Similarly, all of the other characters were plagued with their own flaws. Addiction, cowardice, dependency, all these traits were laid out realistically.
The interlinking of all the characters added depth and complexity to the narrative, but was myopic at times. It was as if the five to six main characters were the only people who lived in
Westhampton and the other people clearly lacked dimension. Although this aspect did intensify the plot, it turned it into a bit of a guessing game. Sort of like Big Little Lies. However, it was without a doubt a thrilling read, kind of like a Jack Reacher novel but with more interesting characters. Perfect reading for a long weekend.
Pages: 373 | ASIN: B07ZBPFBWK
It all started with a nice man in a café. A man so nice he stirred sugar into her beverage. What followed was a series of lies and deceptions that led to the loss of her son. Lilly Reynolds finds herself trapped in a secret underground cell with a pool of water and an unlikely ‘friend’. She finds herself having to develop a weird friendship with a bigfoot Ox. Is there a hope of escape for Lilly? Does she suffer Stockholm syndrome? Is her perception of prison influenced by her ‘friend’?
White Harvest is thought-provoking and deeply disturbing. Everything from the strange sex and Lilly’s desire to be comforted by Ox are disconcerting to say the least. However, this is what makes the story good. Your flabbergast button will remain perpetually pressed. It is imaginative and creative. The author’s masterful portrayal of this warped world is a testament to author’s literary prowess. The author weaves a sufficiently graphic and well detailed account of Lilly’s experience.
Lilly is a likable woman. To some extent you will understand her strangely welcoming reception of Ox so soon after meeting. Then there is Ox, whose motivation I barely understood and who always seems like he could be genuine despite the mildly manipulative undertone. An undertone that could very well be imagined. It is so hard to decipher whether his is a façade or not. These are just examples of the author’s ability to create wonderfully appealing characters that have depth and dimension. The characters do as much for the book as the complex plot does.
White Harvest has a comedic nature with an element of darkness. It is all conspiracy theories with some truths too. The reader will enjoy all the references and lessons from Ox. I found myself engrossed in this strange tale of human nature. It is a tale about choices that human beings face from time to time. It is about the impact of situations versus the nature of the choices taken.
This is a book you take your time with. Consume every page in its entirety and enjoy looking at the world through Lilly’s eyes.
Pages: 345 | ASIN: B07YKBQZGC
Mobb City 2 is an authentic collection of street tales that project the money,sex, & violence that floods the streets of Tidewater!Scarface & Platinum are partners in the murder game,and they have pledged to be the sole rulers of Norfolk’s underworld.Nice is a local white rapper chasing her dreams of stardom, as her childhood love Gasoline battles for ownership of the Virginia Beach drug trade.Murder Mack is back with his cut throat ways,and he won’t stop until he’s crowned the King of all Kings!!Only the strong survives in MOBB CITY!!
I’m a Romance Scam IT Detective aims to explain psychology of the crime, technical aspects of cybercrime and legal matters. This book is about Selina’s attempt to hack criminal’s machine, legal limitation she faced, misconduct of banks, and money recovery analysis. Jason remains Selina’s love of the life. Selina never actually loved Frederick but still fall victim into the scam due to fake passports and fake banking documents
Pages: 224 | ASIN: B07XPCPRQT
Jade is a sassy, sexy, and steady woman leading a double life. By day, she is a member of high society, basking in the pampering that only wealth can afford while associating with the upper echelons of prosperity. By night, she surrounds herself with unsavory crowds of miscreants, whore-mongers, and infidels. It is in debauchery that she makes her living, participating in deplorable sex acts. Jade must work tirelessly to keep her two worlds from colliding as she continues to run from her past. However, a new development threatens to destroy her picture-perfect life. Enter, multimillionaire bachelors, alluring playboy Christopher, and risqué haughty Malachi. Both seem hopelessly smitten with Jade and seek to know more about her. She has only two options; retain this exhausting facade, or expose everything to her friends and suitors, all of whom know nothing about her past or present. Just Add Pepper is a drama-packed prolific erotic romance with a perfect combination of naughty and nice. It’s the first in “The Pepper” Trilogy. Will Jade be able to overcome the slow but inevitable collision of both her worlds or will the ruin be too much for everyone to bear?
Pigs is a thrilling crime drama following an ex-con on a bloody mission to get revenge for his slain family. What was the inspiration for the setup to this suspenseful novel?
The original conception was vastly different, starting out as a supernatural horror where the deeply traumatised cardiologist Dr Jensen lures Isaac, Roach, Wyndorf and the rest of their heist gang to “test” a new security system in a private warehouse, with the promise of a substantial cash award upon completion. Shock horror, it’s all a trap, and since recovering, Jensen’s been employing a small, private firm of scientists to experiment with technology which can bring his deep-seated psychological trauma to life, using it send a bunch of unstoppable, violent, homicidal pig men to chase down Isaac and his crew within the private complex. So yeah…a few things changed, but the core ideas remained, primarily the heavy burden of guilt around Isaac’s neck for what happened with Jensen, and the hostilities between Isaac and Wyndorf. After boiling it all down to these primary constituents, I reimagined it as a much more down to Earth crime-suspense novel.
Isaac is a deeply developed and layered character. What were some ideas you wanted to capture with his character?
I hate to sound like a spiteful and vindictive individual, but I love revenge stories. And who doesn’t? That was the primary motivation behind this story, Isaac’s burning need to exact revenge and how far he is willing to go in order to achieve it. But at the same time I wanted him to be struggling internally with his hatred and his moral compass, the needle of which is being guided by his recently lost family whom he had been hoping to become a better man for.
Isaac is a man who has made some bad choices in his past, but he always had a code, and therefore, in my eyes, he isn’t beyond redemption.
I enjoyed how the criminal underworld in this book is well defined and felt natural. What were some themes you wanted to explore in this book?
Thank you. One of the major niches of the criminal underworld is that of the meth dealing doomsday preppers…and they just felt like a natural fit for Wyndorf. That guy is a complete psychopath, disowned from his more stable criminal associates and family, but he can be useful in a way so why not stick him with a network of drug-running heavily armed militants?
In terms of themes, I’d say the predominant one is definitely the internecine nature of vengeance and how it tends to destroy all involved, at least to varying extents. We see this in the characters of Isaac, Wyndorf and Jensen, all of who are primarily motivated by their need to settle the score. Cue bloodshed.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
My agent Ethan Ellenberg — along with his great team — are currently shopping my fantasy horror novel, Fable, around the publishers. It’s about a high school senior and his few outsider friends who get on the wrong side of the school’s (and the town’s) drug dealers. It’s also about a synthetic hallucinogenic drug, the eponymous Fable. As the animosity builds between our hero and the bullies and their criminal connections, he realises to his dismay that his unstable, drug-induced childhood friend has returned, and could be the only thing capable of protecting him and his friends from the violent reprisals.
I also have a first draft manuscript called Night Collar, about a female NY cab driver who is mixed up in the local black market organ harvesting business, who must try to survive the night in an Odyssean chase across the city with a young Chinese triad member — the son of the organisation’s leader — as they attempt to deliver empire-toppling evidence to an FBI handler, and all the while staying one step ahead of some colourful psychopaths.
And I’m currently tidying up the first draft of an action/fantasy manuscript called Hourglass. Ghosts, guns, secret agents, talking hoodoos, demons, the 9 kingdoms of the dead, and probably a healthy dose of existential dread.
Isaac Reid, a former professional thief, has just finished a ten-year stint in prison for a botched job turned bloodbath. Now all he wants is to go straight and make amends with his wife and young son. On his first night of freedom his loved ones are brutally slain by a bitter enemy. Surviving the encounter, Isaac struggles with his choices: do right by his late family’s wishes and abide by the law, or seek vengeance. But he’ll need to decide quickly, as another mysterious force from his past is now in play: a cold killer wearing a wolf mask, leading a band of pig-masked assassins. To Isaac, these men are strangers, but they’re prepared to kill any who get between them and him.