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Of Bread And Wine – Book Trailer

Chicago criminal attorney Michael Prescott is in Rome, visiting his best friend, Monsignor Robert Cavalieri, a Special Diplomat to the Vatican. He is informed that Giovanni Cardinal Masellis, the “Mafia Cardinal”, who was once the most evil cardinal in his day, has made a deathbed confession regarding the details of the poisoning murder of Pope John Paul I. His confession is secretly recorded by the Italian newspaper “La Repubblica” and their ambitious editor, Max Gianforte, who is desperately trying to confirm the Cardinal’s deathbed revelations. The dying Cardinal also reveals specific details regarding the circumstances of the Pope’s death, and the missing “Coins of Gregorio” which was a priceless gift donated by the influential Italian mobster, Don Giancarlo Cesario on the night before his murder. This gift was an attempt to bribe and influence His Holiness in the Vatican investigation of the Banco Ambrosiano scandal, his family was involved. Meanwhile, wine master Marco DiVito, the former Vatican Head of Security in 1978, now oversees his vineyard near the foothills of Rome. He meets his long lost daughter, Sienna, an investigative journalist with the Washington Post, whom he abandoned as a little girl in Boston. The Post has asked her to investigate “one of the biggest stories to come out of the Vatican in decades.” Michael Prescott meets Sienna at a local café, and originally tries to temper her investigative efforts before falling in love. As rumors swirl around Rome after the death of Cardinal Masellis, Italian crime boss Calogero “Don Charlie” Cesario believes that DiVito, who may be the actual murderer, also possesses these missing, priceless coins. He is unhappy with the implication of his family in this Vatican Confession Scandal, revealing total corruption and instability of the Vatican Church. His search will only end with the return of these rare coins or DiVito’s slow, painful death.

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The Case Of The Golden Helmet

Tom Thomas is nothing if not dedicated to his job with the Canada Revenue Agency. He devotes most of his life to ensuring taxes are paid, laws are obeyed, and citizens hold up their part of the bargain as tax-payers. When he is given a case that would have stumped any lesser investigator, Tom vows to bring the perpetrator to justice no matter how long it takes or how much groundwork he must put into the case. As he begins to follow the trail, Tom finds his way thwarted at almost every turn. Not one to give in, he digs in and applies every principle and resource to which he has access and sets out to pin one Harold Gerber.

The Case of the Golden Helmet, by Ted Ballantyne, is the story of one man’s investigation into a quite complicated case of tax evasion that spanned two countries and required the resources of multiple offices. To complicate matters, the perpetrator, Harold Gerber, engaged in a well-thought out money laundering scheme in order to avoid paying taxes. Gerber, the mastermind behind the complicated string of events, has his own simple reasons for refusing to pay taxes. His reasons are quite simple and straightforward, but they aren’t enough to keep him from paying his dues.

I was truly amazed at all of the background knowledge that went into the construction of what could have been a very basic plot. From cover to cover, Ballantyne details every phone call, connection, and favor called in in order to bring Gerber down. The author writes in a style that is technical and specific to the profession of tax investigation but manages to keep the dialogue from becoming bogged down in verbiage above the reader’s head.

This is quite a different style of realistic fiction and isn’t for all readers. I can’t say the book is anticlimactic, but readers who are looking for a book with drama or action will not find his particular style up their alley. Ballantyne has put a lot of work into creating a very specific type of read, and he has succeeded in creating a book for fans of technical writing–not drama.

Ballantyne’s characters are well written, his plot engaging, and the technical way in which he writes about tax laws is thoughtful and shows an unmatched dedication. The Case of the Golden Helmet is a compelling crime novel with a unique mystery that will hook fans of crime procedurals.

Pages: 143 | ASIN: B08KHCYTBP

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Betrayed – Book Trailer

Integrity is protecting someone who betrayed you. Courage is keeping a promise even though it might mean death.

A late-night phone call turns what was to be a fun hunting trip into a deadly showdown. Fifteen-year-old brothers George Tokay, Brian Evans and Brett McGovern face death on top of a mesa on the Navajo Nation Reservation in Arizona. They have no idea why men are intent on killing them.

Betrayed is a contemporary psychological thriller and an exploration of the heart and of a blended family of adopted kids, their relationships to each other and their parents woven into a tight mystery-thriller.

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Hot Ice, Cold Blood – Book Trailer

For Victor Sykes, business is good. His illegal diamond importing business is thriving, and circumstances require that he bring more people to his team. His niece and nephew, Rubi Lee and Zeke, are as dangerous as they are desperate, and they follow orders to make sure everything goes right. But when the shipment of diamonds-sewn into the inner lining of a sweatshirt-is mistakenly confiscated, the entire operation is put at risk.

Ever since she moved to the heart of Washington, DC, Daisy’s life has been fabulous. While in graduate school, she enjoys tending bar at the Black LaSalle, one of DC’s most popular bars. After a chance encounter with her childhood friend NT-now called Nick-her future is bright. But one cold night when Daisy wears a left-behind sweatshirt home from the bar, she sets in motion a domino effect that leaves some of her friends in danger and others dead.

Soon, Daisy and her friends are thrust into an elaborate heist involving the higher echelons of government-and when they come face to face with the criminals, not everyone will survive.

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The Cowboy

Don’t judge a book by its cover–or its title either. ‘The Cowboy’ immediately makes me think of a Western, but it is most definitely not. Manuel A. Melendez weaves a frightening tale. He brings to life a shadowy character known as The Cowboy who is killing nurses and doctors. Detectives Jon Delgado and Bill Crocitto realize there is a link between the victims. They must solve the case and get The Cowboy off the streets. Initially they only have the word of a drunk who says he knows who The Cowboy is. More clues start to lead to the Cowboy, that’s when things start getting really interesting.

This story is set in New York, I felt like I didn’t get a proper sense of the setting itself, but that didn’t detract from the book because this was all about the characters for me. The Cowboy is a frightening character, a true bogeyman. Initially, when we read a little about his background and how he was breathed into life, I had some sympathy for him, for everything he had to go through. As we learn more about his upbringing, the reasons he kills doctors and nurses, I gave some thought to the nature/nurture theme. I know which side of the fence I fall on with that debate, but the author did a superb job of making me think.

The two detectives were, in some ways, portrayed as a comedy duo, but they had a serious side. I loved the relationship they had with each other, seeing how they balanced each other out. Sometimes I felt the outcome of their arguments with their superior was a little contrived but overall it didn’t detract from my enjoyment of the book.

The last character was Rebecca. Her description and how she deals with The Cowboy made me think of the phrase ‘though she be but little she is fierce’. That I think is an appropriate description of Rebecca. She was my favorite character, perhaps because I’d like to think I’d behave as she does in the face of fear.

The Cowboy is riveting hard-boiled mystery with a haunting antagonist. If you’re looking for a Western, this isn’t the book for you. If you want something gritty, with a blood-curdling crime, then don’t wait. Pick this up today.

Pages: 393 | ASIN: B084QLMVPB

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Crimson Dreams

Rose has not lived the easiest of lives and doesn’t exactly have too many people who will miss her when she’s gone. When she is presented with the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to travel to England to restore a Victorian era home, she doesn’t immediately jump at the chance due to her own plethora of misgivings and fears. Vaughn, the homeowner, is a convincing individual, indeed, and coerces Rose into making the trip. His motives, however, aren’t what Rose assumes, though his intentions may just have a far-reaching impact on Rose’s life. Once the two reach Vaughn’s home, Rose’s life is no longer her own, and the world as she thought she knew it is forever changed.

Crimson Dreams, by Georgiana Fields, is the story of one woman’s introduction to the world of the Dhampir. The time-traveling Vaughn plays an important role in Rose’s transformation from unsuspecting designer to Dhampir sidekick and part-time detective. The two make a perfect team, and the sexual tension between them is both palpable and handled tastefully by the author.

Vampire stories are among my favorites, and I am always more than critical of details and plot holes. Fields, however, is one author to be commended and followed closely. She has set up quite the scenario with Rose’s leap from modern day to the year 1900. The inclusion of Jack the Ripper and the current onslaught of killings in modern day Atlanta is timely and keeps the two dimensions flawlessly linked. Rose makes the ideal partner for Vaughn as he goes about assisting Scotland Yard in finding the killer.

Fields writes some of the most memorable and relatable secondary characters. It is easy for such characters to get lost in a plot so involved, but she has managed to involve Sara and Aileen in parallel plots that both hold readers’ interest and keep them invested in their stories. Good writers know how to do this; excellent writers actually get it done. Fields has mastered it.

One element that always seems to lack in many vampire stories is that of emotion. Fields’s book, however, is brimming with second-guessing, empathetic moments, and remorse and regret. Vaughn is unlike any other character in this genre. He is somehow more human in his emotions than most I know. Fields has blended a vast array of powerful emotions into a fictional character and succeeded in creating a story for the ages.

It is not often that I want to immediately reread a book, but Fields has grabbed my attention, focused it with laser-like accuracy on her characters, and hypnotized me with her unique and engaging plot. An absolute must-read for anyone who even thinks they enjoy a good vampire story.

Pages: 452 | ASIN: B07GQBW359

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Death of a Bully (Polish Dragon P. I.)

Death of a Bully (Polish Dragon P. I.) by [Steve Zimcosky]

A reunion is supposed to be fun, right? A lovely time to speak with friends you haven’t seen in far too long. Not this time. In Death Of A Bully, a reunion turns deadly, and everyone is wondering who did it. John is a well-respected attorney and philanthropist who gets murdered. An investigation starts and the search for the killer is on. While trying to locate the real killer, we learn that John was the high school bully. Everyone has a motive so the reader is left wondering who, out of all the possible suspects, could it have been!

Steve Zimcosky has written a page-turner with an unexpected twist that I was not prepared for. Just when I thought I had it all figured out, I was wrong. I felt sorry for certain characters, particularly Mark and Tom. I felt sorry for Mark because he was wrongly accused of something he didn’t do. I felt sorry for Tom because I liked his character and I empathized with him in certain parts of the book. I was a little surprised that Jack forgave his mother as quickly as he did. It was still an interesting twist added to the story, and I couldn’t put the book down because I was eager to see what would happen next. In the end, I didn’t agree with the reasoning that Emily had, but I know that everyone has their own way that they feel about things, and it didn’t stop me from finishing the book.

Death of a Bully is a short, but thrilling read. The writing style is engaging and the book is easy to follow and alluring. This is more of a suspenseful whodunit novella, Steve Zimcosky is able to deliver a riveting tale in under 100 pages. If you are new to Steve Zimcosky’s work than this is a good starter book for you that will introduce you to his literary style.

Pages: 87 | ASIN: B08DSL6GK8

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Demons of Divine Wrath

Demons of Divine Wrath by [Edward Izzi]

Demons of Divine Wrath by Edward Izzi is a fiction thriller about two murders tied to works of art stolen from the Uffizi Museum in Florence 75 years ago by the Nazis during World War II. Hermman Kalkschmidt dies in his apartment in Munich of an apparent gas leak. But the police detective soon suspects that things are not as they seem. Then six months later, another man is found dead in a hotel suite in Chicago. It is clear from the start that Don Carlo Marchese’s assassination is not a contracted mob hit. When newspaper reporter Paul Crawford begins to dig into the matter, he discovers an unexpected Vatican connection. Can Paul uncover why the mobster was killed, and what happened to the stolen artwork?

This book had a complex story line with many different threads that all tied back to the discovery of the stolen artwork. It was interesting to read the part that took place in 1943 Florence. I liked learning how all the pieces of the story fit together and how the mobster’s assassination in Chicago was connected to the murder of an eighty year old man in Germany. I was surprised by who had ordered the hit on Hermann Kalkschmidt when that person’s identity was revealed. I was intrigued to find out what happened to the hidden artwork after it went missing again. The ending of the book had a surprise twist that I didn’t expect.

The story started out a bit slow with a lot of description of settings and characters. For the first couple of chapters we’re introduced to new characters but no connections are yet made between the characters making it feel a bit disjointed. I felt that there were a lot of unnecessary detail throughout the book; such as airline flight number, seat assignment number, and street addresses.

Otherwise, I thought Demons of Divine Wrath is a riveting crime thriller with an engrossing plot that is propelled by captivating characters. This is yet another suspenseful whodunit novel by Edward Izzi.

Pages: 405 | ASIN: B07VMZJHM9

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