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Missing: A Finn Delaney New York City Mystery

Missing: A Finn Delaney New York City Mystery Book 1 by [Bryan, Robert L.]

Mystery readers who love New York: this book is for you. Missing: A Finn Delaney New York City Mystery introduces 25-year-old Finn, a fifth-generation police officer from a family that reveres the NYPD. When an unlucky accident ends his NYPD career, Finn becomes the next best thing: a Private Eye. Finn’s new career is off to a rocky start, complete with threadbare office and octogenarian assistant. Luckily, Finn quickly moves beyond the so-called “cavalcade of crazies” and stumbles into his first serious case. Follow Finn as he searches for a missing person who NYPD claims is not missing at all.

In Missing, Robert L. Bryan explores duty, loyalty, and friendship. He also plumbs the depths of vice that simmer in the city: corruption, greed, and crime. Bryan hits his storytelling stride as the details of the case unfurl. The plot moves quickly with confounding clues, hints of danger, and a parade of compelling characters.

Bryan has a knack for provocative characters. Finn’s apparent lack of self-determination can be frustrating—he seemingly rode a conveyer belt from booties to NYPD blues—but he develops into a likable main character. Early client stories, like the time Finn tailed a cat, are charming but lose something in bullet point format. The reader groans when Finn’s most pressing professional dilemma involves a desk chair and cheers when he finally lands a case.

Still, Finn is inscrutable. Other characters respond to him with generosity and affection when he shows none. I think the women in Finn’s world would benefit from added nuance; they are often one-dimensional. Finn’s father is a bright spot: unwavering in his support and helpful when Finn needs it most. We should all be so lucky.

Fans of the boroughs will enjoy devoted descriptions of Queen’s minutiae. Every intersection is noted, every landmark observed. Do I see a Finn Delaney walking tour of Queens in my future? Yes, please.

The book doubles back at times with Finn uncovering clues already revealed; in one notable situation, Finn hits upon the lynchpin of the case twice in seven pages. The book is lightly sprinkled with errors in grammar and punctuation. Despite these minor distractions, Missing is a satisfying mystery and a good read.

Pages: 197 | ASIN: B07L9DBXDN

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The Truth Won’t Help Them Now – Trailer

It is 1939 when the bullet-riddled body of an accounting clerk from a gambling ship washes up under the Santa Monica pier. As city homicide detectives tenaciously chase down their only clue—a fast, expensive, and very exclusive Bugatti—their investigation leads them into a tangle of competing gangsters all looking to muscle their way to a bigger share of illegal gambling.

Meanwhile, Los Angeles County deputy district attorney Cliff Thoms is leading a special squad searching for a pair of serial killers who have already killed four young women and are on the hunt for more. Thoms, with the help of a self-proclaimed psychic he doesn’t quite trust, risks lives and careers in a desperate gamble to catch his elusive quarry. As the two investigations collide and rush to a deadly conclusion, dirty cops, DAs on the take, mobsters, grieving families, and reformer politicians must attempt to distinguish lies from the truth. Unfortunately, they are all about to discover that even the truth won’t help them now.

In this fast-paced tale of murder and gangland intrigue, a gritty district attorney and a band of detectives set out on a quest to solve two separate crimes amid a corrupted 1939 Los Angeles.

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An Intriguing Tapestry

Paul Scopel Author Interview

Paul Scopel Author Interview

Tarnished Tiara is a fascinating story about the mysterious death of an innocent young woman. What was the inspiration behind this book?

I attempted to weave an intriguing tapestry which pulled from three key inspirations. First, the untimely deaths of close family members who left little direction as to their end of life plans remained heavy on my mind. Subsequently, I obsessed over the importance for such planning in our life and issues of elder care. The remedy found itself in receiving professional advice. Next, I pulled from common themes in today’s media centering on vain beauty queens with fragile egos, multiple marriages, and mysterious deaths. It is not an uncommon event. Just before writing the book, I realized at least seven title holders of various beauty pageants, all of them influential people including a former Miss America, had actually been present in my younger years. Finally, I wanted to expose the disease of animal hoarding. From the moment I left the scene of a house in a hazmat situation destroyed by multiple cats, similar to the one in my book, I wanted to express my shock and fury over this real condition. Entering that house was the worst day of my life.

Cece and Liz are interesting characters that shared a deep bond. What were some themes you wanted to capture in their characters?

How deep loyalty and trust of certain family members is rooted

Parenting provides the roots of self-esteem

Dealing with elder care legal and mental health issues

This story takes us through many phases of the girl’s lives. What were some ideas you wanted to explore in this book?

The central idea is that some family members earn the enduring love which leads to trust, while other relatives provoke strained and broken ties. These pleasant and sour attitudes lead to choices which matter, in the end. Choices such as spouses, careers, where to live, and even pets. Hoarding, specifically the destructive effects of animal hoarding on health and property is a key idea I pursued. Further, untreated mental health illnesses and prescription drug abuse affects families and institutions across the country in real, tangible ways. Finally, as our population ages, there is a need to recognize that end of life decisions should be made proactively instead of burdening our loved ones.

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

I am starting to write two books currently.

“Richie and Crazy Joe”, a fictional sequel to Tarnished Tiara, examines the symbiotic relationship of two cousins, a quirky male and supportive female. The male falls under the influence of shady dealings of cousins on the “other side” of his family. Expected: Fall 2020.

“Dirt Court”, fiction based loosely on a female “All-State” basketball player in Texas in 1930, who also was my mother. It is about the life of an immigrant who succeeds despite abject poverty, language barriers, and girls playing basketball when it was not cool for women to be in a sport dominated by males. The high school girls’ team became known as the Legends of Texas and were undefeated in their senior year. Expected: Fall 2021.

Author Links: Amazon

Two women grow in surprising ways to ultimately switch roles as the idol falls from grace
To the outside world, Liz Perkins had it all – beauty, charm, poise, talent and many adoring men. One wonders, how could it all have gone so shockingly wrong?
When the flirtatious beauty queen, Liz, entered a room with her enigmatic flair, no one sensed her fragility – a result of the badgering of a demanding stage mother.
Over the years, the lives of two close girl cousins took dramatically different turns. Cece found long-term fulfillment in her rock, Ross Turner. But contrary to expectations, Liz’s legacy unfolded much differently than imagined. When happiness eluded her through multiple abusive marriages and dubious companions,she was left with the only company that offered her unconditional love – her many cats.
To the casual observer, Liz achieved success and fame. Though attaining celebrity through television, advertising, and public speaking, her search for happiness ended one mysterious and tragic night when everything changed…

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Brownout – 666

Brownout - 666: OR THE REAL MEANING OF THE SWASTIKA by [Spencer, Mr John Richard]

Rick Daly is in the midst of multiple battles–the least of which is the struggle to finally find a way to be happy, settled, and live a normal life. Working and trying to establish a business of his own in the Philippines, Rick Daly meets and unwittingly falls head over heels in love with the young woman he hires to be his secretary and sidekick. When he realizes he loves Marilyn and wants to change his wild ways, he finds that his past is looming closely and threatens his relationship as it tests his loyalty to Marilyn and their, now uncertain, future.

John Spencer, author of Brownout, is clearly a fan of world history. His novel featuring Rick Daly is woven intricately in and out of historical truths. In addition, Spencer even tackles the controversial issue of the Holocaust and the doubt surrounding its existence. Spencer covers a broad range of events and drops his characters and their various subplots strategically into these events from the book’s beginning to its surprising finale.

Brownout incorporates numerous storylines which are, at times, difficult to follow. The bulk of the novel is based on Rick Daly’s life in the Philippines and his relationship with Marilyn, a woman who strives to remain true to herself and her beliefs but sends Rick many a mixed message during the course of their relationship. Spencer’s writing relies heavily on the reader’s penchant for sexual situations as these scenes are prevalent throughout the book, giving the overall book as much the feel of a romance novel as a work of historical fiction.

I feel it’s worth mentioning that the intimate aspect of the relationship portrayed between Rick and Marilyn is complicated at best. As much as Marilyn maintains that she will remain a virgin until she is married, she feels torn between keeping her word and satisfying Rick. I was quite taken aback at Rick taking advantage of Marilyn and violating her trust.

The parallel storyline involving Chris, Rick’s uncle, and his children is a tragic one and is more engaging and engrossing than Rick’s plot. I found that my attention was held much more readily while reading of Chris’s heart-wrenching loss and the immense struggle he faces with each of his children. As I read, I continued to anticipate that Chris would be a more prominent part of the book’s overarching plot and was disappointed that his family’s drama was not more fully explored.

While Brownout is exceptionally well-written, I felt that the subplots were somewhat disjointed. Each of Rick’s subsequent and fleeting relationships added depth to the story but simultaneously added an air of confusion. While all of Spencer’s characters are rich and well-developed, the connections between them seem lacking. The historical accuracies are spot-on and related via Spencer’s characters in a way that makes them conversational and engaging. Readers who appreciate historical fiction and seek an element of romance will find Brownout to their liking.

Pages: 503 | ASIN: B07GGYBJY1

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A Most Diabolical Plot

A Most Diabolical Plot: Six Compelling Sherlock Holmes Stories by [Symonds, Tim]

A Most Diabolical Plot, by Tim Symonds & Lesley Abdela, is a modern addition to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s infamous Sherlock Holmes series which feels as authentic as the original. The authors of this intriguing collection do very well in telling new stories while remaining true to Conan Doyle’s style and approach – not an easy thing to do. A Most Diabolical Plot is a collection of six stories featuring both new and classic themes, as well as characters that fans of the genre are sure to fall in love with. Each of the stories is unique and each story feels fresh as the reader progresses through the adventures.

If we were able to take Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and place him in this century and then tell him to write as though he were living in an earlier era, he very well might come up with lines such as the ones found in A Most Diabolical Plot. Language-wise, Tim Symonds and Lesley Abdela hit the mark of the late 19th Century style employed by Doyle, but it is in the modern approach and conversations between characters where things begin to get interesting. The authors easily succeed in making the reader feel at home in a world long past, while not sacrificing the tone required to make the genre work.

The use of backstory which comes about in the mind of the narrator, Dr Watson, is also cleverly carried out. There is just enough information injected into the stories to both inform the reader and connect the new stories to classics that Holmes’ fans will already be familiar with. The first story in the series is a perfect example. It is a continuation of The Empty House which was part of famous book, The Return of Sherlock Holmes. Colonel Sebastian Moran is back to battle wits with everyone’s favorite detective!

Apart from the convincing language conventions used in A Most Diabolical Plot, the clever connections to the original series, and the wealth of complex imagery help in setting the scene, Symonds and Abdela did well to replicate the story arcs found in the originals as well. The beginnings of each of the six stories, go into great detail to set up the cases and atmosphere. Then, when the reader is situated securely within the story, Sherlock and Watson work their magic as only they can.

A Most Diabolical Plot is an easy book to recommend. It checks all the boxes that a good detective novel styled after 19th Century entertainment should. There is mystery, excitement, intrigue, and even a bit of reverence for the clever Mr Holmes. All in all, it is a riveting read which deserves a five star rating. The authors are sensitive to the needs of their fans, both new and those familiar with the famous series, and it seems they had a lot of fun putting these stories together.

Pages” 148 | ASIN: B07L8JH61K

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Hoodie Black Trailer

A dark otherworld exists alongside ours, because the true meaning of our convictions lie in the rhythm of time. What we believe is time, may find its answer in our greatest fears.

I am ancient evil. A malignant, vile creature older than humanity. Legion is my name and my power originates deep inside the primitive core of your fears. I exist because you live between the spaces of Light and Darkness. You are here, steeped in half light and shadows, but at the same time, somewhere else living in denial . . . Hoodie Black

Crystal creek isn’t like any other house. Victor Garland, built it for his mad son Harrison.

It all started long before 1835 when Harrison disappeared and no one could find him. However, eight days later, he returned home, a little starved, a little dirty and a little mad. . . and he didn’t come alone.
It’s 2015 when Alex Hunter, a private detective, still grieving the loss of his wife and only daughter, buys the long abandoned Crystal creek. And it isn’t long before he meets the former owner, Victors` great grandson, Arthur Garland. Arthur leads Alex into an incredible story about the house, a family curse, a murderous ancestor, and a past that won’t let go.

While murders are piling up, and Alex’s former convictions about the house are crumbling. Two immortals come to his aid. One is an Assassin, the other an Angel. When the Assassin offers Alex a deal, and if he succeeds, he will have the chance to turn back time and save his wife and daughter from the accident. He accepts the challenge. However, as we all know. Everything comes at a price.

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The Misplaced Man

The Misplaced Man: Who is in charge of his destiny? by [James, Nick]

Sam Blades is not your ordinary twenty-something. He has a girlfriend whose abuse he relishes, a job with company whose name could and should be attributed to that of a lingerie label, and an almost absurd fixation with The Matrix. Sam is, on the other hand, a curiosity to more than one person of interest. His job with Shimmering Dreams has made him a target, and poor Sam is none the wiser. Shimmering Dreams capitalizes on the technology that makes it possible to download one’s dreams and store them on mobile devices. Sam, caught in the middle of the “greatest invention its age” and the conspiracy surrounding its misuse, is about to meet face to face with those who want him out of the picture once and for all.

The Misplaced Man by Nick James is a short story/novella centering around Sam Blades, a young man newly-employed and eager to please his beyond demanding girlfriend, Bunny. Nick James is a master at humor, and his main character is his chosen vessel. Not meant entirely as a work of comedy, James provides several laugh-out-loud moments as Sam struggles in his day-to-day life with Bunny. It is rare for me to find the written word comical enough to emit an audible guffaw, but James definitely delivers. Sam’s personality more than makes the book; he is a memorable character in his own right and is well-developed in first-person accounts.

James’s choice to alternate chapters with varying first-person accounts is quite effective. The story, though brief, is packed full of descriptive and revealing scenarios which serve well to differentiate each character. As the reader, I was easily able to discern which character was taking his turn at bat without having to rely on the chapter title–James is just that good at character development.

It is worth noting that The Misplaced Man is a combination of realistic fiction and science fiction but leans heavily on the realistic fiction element. The book is much more about each character’s own personal conflicts than the underlying component of groundbreaking technology. As interesting as the concept of capturing dreams is, it is explored and detailed much less than some science fiction fans will likely expect.

Sam Blades is ruthlessly humorous and has the makings of a fantastic central character for his ensuing series. I recommend Nick James’s short story to anyone looking for a quick science fiction piece with strong characters laced with humor.

Pages: 155 | ASIN: B07K3Q6QRD

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All Your Fears – Trailer

Kim Robins lives a contented life in a peaceful market town. One evening, she encounters a maniac driver who narrowly misses running her over. History teacher Jay Yeldon drives by moments later, takes her home and examines her sprained ankle. A romantic relationship soon develops, but as the weeks progress Kim is plagued by disturbing, bizarre incidents and mounting fear. Trusting nobody, she seeks spiritual help, only to be cruelly deceived. Fearful that Kim will come to harm, Jay turns detective and discovers the shattering truth about the woman who loves him. Someone is out to destroy her and will stop at nothing. Jay faces a moral dilemma and becomes isolated. Undeterred, he conceives a daring plan to expose her enemy, but nothing prepares him for the unexpected, horrifying climax that changes his outlook on life forever.

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Try to Think the Opposite

Nikki Mays Author Interview

Nikki Mays Author Interview

Addicted to You follows Michelle and Damon as they succumb to their attraction for one another, but realize there is another person that wants Michelle. What was the direction that you wanted to take this book that was different from book one?

I wanted more focus on Michelle and Damon and less on the other stalker. I feel like Damon waited so long to have Michelle, that their relationship deserved to be the main focus.

I enjoyed the shift in perspective between the two characters which gave me a deep inside view. What is your process like for capturing the thoughts of your characters?

I wouldn’t say that there is a certain process. I do try to think opposite for how a woman would think, when it comes to male characters. Men and women have such different ways of thinking. I try to get it as accurate as possible.

I enjoyed the humor that crops up throughout the book, it’s unexpected and welcome. Is this intentional or did these moments of levity arise organically while writing?

I try to make it a bit humorous but most of it comes organically. I don’t feel like everything always has to be so serious.

This is book two in the SAPD SWAT series. Where will book three pick the story up and when will it be available?

Book three will pick up with Marc’s story. His actually might be my favorite so far. I’m hoping that his book Cuffed by You will be available end of Jan or the beginning of Feb.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

Addicted to You: Book 2 (SAPD SWAT Series) by [Mays, Nikki]Michelle is my addiction. She’s sweetness and light wrapped up in a delicious package. Almost as delicious as the confections she makes. Until now, I’ve kept my distance to make sure my darkness doesn’t taint her. She’s better than a killer who sits behind a scope.

I watch her from afar. Getting dragged under her spell a little further with every sweet smile and mischievous grin. I know I’ll cave one day, give into the craving to be near her. Being in her presence is a feeling like no other, one I can’t seem to resist.

Unfortunately, I’m not the only one living under her influence. While I was watching her, someone else was watching too. But she belongs with me, no matter what anyone else wants.

Now I need to make sure she gives me my next fix of her, even if she’s too stubborn to admit she wants to. She’s my addiction, cure and redemption all rolled into one. Her soul calls out to my own. I’ll make sure she’s as addicted to me as I am to her. She’ll crave me – if it’s the last thing I do.

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Spiral into Darkness – Trailer

He blends in. He is successful, intelligent and methodical. There are no clues. There are no leads. The only thing the FBI and local police have to go on is the method of death: two bullets to the face- gruesome and meant to send a message. But it’s difficult to understand any message coming from a dark and damaged mind. Two adopted boys, struggling in their own world, have no idea they are the next targets. Neither does their family. And neither does local law enforcement.

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