I’m a Romance Scam IT Detective is a true story and cautionary tale written by Selina Co. The story follows Selina as she tries to move on from a lost love and toward someone new. She wants everything he says he feels and everything he claims about himself to be true. She wants to believe him and help him in many ways, including financially. They say that if something sounds too good to be true, then it probably is. Is Frederick too good to be true?
Selina seems to side-step or ignore every red flag that springs up in her path. She knows about the cat-fishing game that has become so rampant that catfish pop up on Dr. Phil regularly and even have a television show named in their honor. She knows what to watch for, but explains how she second guesses and doubts herself and her instincts. The need for true love clouds even the most clear-headed people. Love, and the prospect of love muddies the waters. Psychological games by the perpetrators also play a massive part. Selina was no exception to how people get swept up and pulled in.
One of the things that gets past Selina’s guard is the problem with language and accent. She mentions that Frederick’s accent doesn’t quite match up with his origins. People tend to take on the accent of the place in which they grow up. Also, she mentions that Frederick sometimes had perfect English, and sometimes there were missing words or his grammar was a little off. This is common for scammers. More clues were photos that didn’t always seem quite right. Addresses didn’t match up. Then, he started asking her for money. Big. Red. Flag. He managed to explain away the whys and create believable scenarios.
Co bravely peels back the layers of her story in order to warn others and teach them how to be their own detectives. She selflessly wants others to heed the signals and gut instincts that she let herself ignore. She also wants to give victims next-step procedures to do once they realize they’ve been had. She writes the book in an easily digestible way that will allow readers to see themselves in her. It could be anyone. It was her, so it could be them. As the book successfully reaches larger audiences, it will have such a huge affect on those who are targeted by such scams. Hopefully, it will help individuals to stop virtual con artists in their tracks.
I would recommend this book to anyone who has any sort of online presence. It should be required reading before even considering dating online. The scammers are rampant, and this book serves such an important purpose as a guide for things to watch for as well as what to do next if you’ve been victimized by a scammer. Selina also gives power back to people who have been scammed. It isn’t the end, and there are things you can do.
Pages: 214 | 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.
If the answer is a lie… the truth is murder
Journalist Emmeline Kirby is reeling from the recent discovery that her parents were murdered while on assignment, when she was five. She flirts with danger as she sets off on the long-cold trail to find their killer. At the same time, her probing questions about the suspicious death of Russian national Pavel Melnikov gain her a coterie of enemies. To complicate matters, her path crosses with prominent industrialist Victor Royce, who turns her world upside down.
Gregory Longdon, her dashing fiancé and jewel-thief-cum-insurance-investigator, has grave problems of his own. His past has caught up with him. Alastair Swanbeck, a ruthless entrepreneur with ties to Putin and the underworld, is alive and intent on revenge. Swanbeck’s cat-and-mouse taunts reveal that he can get to Gregory–and Emmeline–anytime he desires. When evil’s poison lurks in things that are better left alone, the quest for justice could prove fatal for Emmeline and Gregory.
A Lone Wolf by writer, J.C. Fields, follows its characters through a tense world of assassins, handlers, informants, and spies. The characters constantly have to look over their shoulders and think several steps ahead of those who would rather have them dead. We meet the characters when they are thrown into a situation that would have left them dead, had they not narrowly escaped a sniper’s bullets. They were set up. They were supposed to die in Barcelona. They escaped, albeit narrowly, and must find out who wants them dead and why.
The constant stress and danger the characters find themselves in builds drama and suspense across the chapters. I even found myself tensing up at some points. Their lives are scary, but exciting. Also interesting are the “ins” they seem to have across the world. They have people to help them change identities, acquire the most legitimate of illegitimate documentation, passports, licenses, etc. They have contacts in all sorts of networks and government agencies. There seems to be a lot of true scenarios mixed in with their fictional lives. It makes the reader wonder how many double agents there really are out there.
A part that really stuck with me and seemed ingenious was when Michael and Nadia faked their deaths in Mexico. It really makes you wonder how much of what we know about what goes on in the world is real, and how much is a façade. I’m certain popular news outlets only receive a fraction of any given story, especially stories involving people so deeply involved in circles that meshes government officials with hitmen.
I really empathized with how Nadia began to feel about living in Missouri. I could identify. It was the first place, likely in a very long time, that felt like home to her. To feel safe and autonomous couldn’t have been feelings that were familiar, but they were good. Everyone wants that. Even people in their line of work have a basic human need for safety, security, freedom, and belonging. Missouri quickly became a happy place that Nadia dreaded leaving. Her longing to stay seemed so familiar. Anyone can certainly identify with wanting to be in a place or leave a hard situation.
The book was well-written with little to no noticeable errors. Quick and intense, it was still a fairly easy read. The characters are well-developed, as usual, and the fast-paced and exciting plot flow smoothly. Fields’s writing style is on par with tv shows such as Scandal or Amazon’s Jack Ryan. Being a Scandal fan, I associated some of the characters with people I’d seen on the show. Beyond the normal Whitehouse business, there is a network of characters who are hired fixers, hitmen, and spies who work behind the scenes in conjunction with those who are the faces on television telling people what to believe. These characters reminded me a lot of them.
The characters and plot were intricately interesting. It was an exciting read with some edge-of-your-seat type scenarios.
Pages: 372 | ASIN: B07T9SDHY8
Blood on the Chesapeake is a suspenseful murder mystery that involves the civil rights movement in some unique ways. What was the inspiration for the setup to this intriguing novel?
Like many Americans, I have been concerned by the country’s still pervasive tendrils of racism, even decades after the civil rights struggles of the ‘60’s and ‘70’s. I’ve personally witnessed this discrimination in the classroom, in the school and in the community, and the harm such bigotry has wrought on young people. I decided, with this work, to illuminate this issue. The selection of the setting of the Eastern Shore of the Chesapeake Bay gave me the opportunity to capture this social tension in an unusual manner. As I have journeyed there, I was overwhelmed by the quiet, scenic beauty of the region, but also intrigued by the dichotomy of the cultures there. This region bears the hallmarks of a proud New England tradition, but also with roots still very much in the South. (The area was home to famous slave plantations and was split in loyalties during the Civil War.) In this most peaceful and beautiful of settings on the Chesapeake Bay, what if some horrific racial injustice occurred in this small town—and they tried to cover it up?
Darrell Henshaw is an interesting and well developed character. What were some driving ideals behind his character development?
Like most teachers and coaches, Darrell is driven by his deep concern for kids, concern for their learning and concern for their lives. He commits most of his life—certainly professional and sometimes, even personal—to give his kids a chance at a better life. When he stumbles upon an horrific crime against a student, even one perpetrated decades earlier, he’s moved to do something, do anything to find justice for the youth. But Darrell carries his own demons. In his teens, he had an encounter with a ghost, an encounter that left one a friend dead and his brother crippled. He still carries the scars of this encounter, a severe case of OCD. In order to help this young man he didn’t even know, Darrell has to confront his apprehension of the spirit world and deal with his condition. In the end, he finds his desire to secure justice for his student is greater than the sum of all his fears.
This novel seamlessly blends paranormal, urban fantasy and history. Was this intentional or did this happen organically while writing?
I did a great deal of research to complete this novel—research about the area, about sailing on the Chesapeake, about small town lynchings, about commonly accepted beliefs regarding the spirit world. My goal was to make the story as credible as possible within the limits of the genre. So, even though the narrative occurs in 1998, only twenty plus years earlier, I worked to make every detail authentic to the time and place. Even though it’s paranormal, the ghost sequences are closer to documented spectral occurrences that I had researched. Although the inspiration for parts of the story happened organically, the blending of these threads was carefully planned to render a tale that was fast-paced, engaging and satisfying.
This book is a part of your Haunted Shores Mysteries. What will the next novel in this series be about and when will it be available?
I’m currently completing the second installment in the Haunted Shore Mysteries series—tentatively titled Crimson at Cape May. Like Blood, Crimson is another ghost story/cold case murder mystery with even more romantic elements, this time set in the beautiful, historic resort town of Cape May, New Jersey. By the way, Cape May happens to be the most haunted seaport on the eastern coast and that doesn’t bode well for Darrell’s aversion to the ghost world or his OCD. In this second installment, not only is Darrell haunted by more ghosts, but he’s forced to confront another horror of modern life, human trafficking. Crimson at Cape May is scheduled to be released by the Wild Rose Press in September, 2020.
Wilshire, Maryland, a quaint shore town on the Chesapeake, promises Darrell Henshaw a new start in life and a second chance at love. That is, until he learns the town hides an ugly secret. A thirty-year-old murder in the high school. And a frightening ghost stalking his new office. Burned by an earlier encounter with the spirit world, Darrell doesn’t want to get involved, but when the desperate ghost hounds him, he concedes. Assisted by his new love, he follows a trail that leads to the civil rights movement, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and even the Klu Klux Klan. Then, when two locals who try to help are murdered, Darrell is forced to decide if he’s willing to risk his life—and the life of the woman he loves—to expose the killers of a young man he never knew.
Sea Scope by Debbie De Louise is a psychological mystery about an incident that happened twenty years ago with effects that stretch into the present. Sarah Collins, a children’s book illustrator, agrees to visit her aunt for the summer to escape the problems in her marriage. But returning to Sea Scope, the inn her family owned when she was child, is not the ideal place for a relaxing vacation. Because Sarah’s family closed the inn and left town after a young man died under mysterious circumstances two decades ago. Now, someone is not happy that guests are returning to Sea Scope. Sarah and her aunt begin to receive menacing notes and texts claiming to be from Sarah’s dead brother, Glen. Who is behind the attempts to scare them away from Sea Scope? And what really happened at the lighthouse all those years ago?
I enjoyed the mystery behind this story immensely. I really like books that I have to work at solving the puzzle. There were lots of clues in this story and I spent most of the book trying to figure out how the pieces fit together. I was able to guess at a few things, but there were also a number of unexpected twists that surprised me.
I liked the pictures and information about lighthouses that were included in the book and I enjoyed learning about some of the history of different lighthouses in the United States. It was interesting to that get additional insight into the character of Michael.
The story started off a bit slow for me. I felt that there was an over abundance of backstory and setup with nothing much happening for the first several chapters. I felt that there some information that was mentioned multiple times, this along with a surplus of detail made the story feel slow. I wanted the mystery element to be introduced sooner, because it’s enthralling, and that would have really pulled me into the story. It wasn’t until after Sarah arrived at Sea Scope that the story started to grab my interest.
I liked the additional details that were conveyed by the flashbacks, but they were confusing because they were not in chronological order. And switching back and forth from first person narrative in the present and third person narrative in the past was a bit jarring at first, although I got used to it.
I’m glad that the story ended happily for Sarah, especially after the tragedies she’d already suffered and all the shocking secrets that she learned about her past. Sarah was an intriguing character that I enjoyed following through a superbly developed mystery that was unraveled perfectly.
Pages: 464 | ASIN: B07PPW1D41
Pigs by Daniel James follows an ex-convict’s journey for vengeance. On the same night that he is released from prison, his wife and child are brutally murdered. Isaac Reid has to struggle with the guilt and desolation of losing his family. At the same time, he is confronted with an even more daunting challenge: a cold-blooded nemesis, the wearer of the wolf mask. We follow Isaac on his bloodthirsty path for revenge and root for him as he struggles against his internal demons.
This novel does not hold back on the bloody punches. The murders could be straight out of a Tarantino film, that’s how gruesome and well-portrayed they are. Violence and crime are treated in a matter-of-fact manner, which only serves to highlight their shock factor.
Although I am admittedly not an expert in matters regarding the criminal underworld, Daniel James manages to create a very real and believable world. Drug-abuse, petty crime, battery, theft, violence, all the terrifying aspects of a criminal life are explored here.
I think one of the reasons why this is possible is because the author is not afraid to dive deep into the characters’ psyches. The characters do not exist only in the dimension of their backstories and connections. Instead, their minds are explored and their motivations examined. Everyone from the protagonist and antagonist to the secondary characters receive this treatment. These examinations of their emotional and psychological beings made this a much more appealing read to me. I’ve always enjoyed deeply unsettling portrayals of psychosis and rage-consumed characters.
There were a few hitches in the form of clichéd and overdone violence scenes. Although they were well-written, they seemed to serve no purpose other than adding unnecessary thrill in an already action-filled book. However, it is a crime novel and I suppose that such depictions are an inbuilt evil of the same.
The book ends on a gloomy but hopeful note. Isaac commits just as many terrible and gruesome acts as his enemy, but somehow, via masterful navigation, Daniel James still had me rooting for him till the end. Pigs is an intense and gripping read. It will take you through a dark wormhole, at the end of which there is a sense of stability, but very little light.
Pages: 204 | ASIN: B07TTVMNCQ
Michelle Reagan, alias Eden, is a CIA covert operator who conducts secret missions all over the world, and does what only a few can: take away someone’s life without getting caught. But having an undercover profession like this is not easy. Michelle works hard to be successful and gain the recognition of her boss and colleagues while trying to maintain a personal life and relationship. Every day, Michelle has to live with a burden, the moral consequences of killing innocent people. But can she handle it without going insane? And can she succeed and stay alive in this dangerous, male-dominated career?
The Confessions of Eden by Scott Shinberg is by far the best espionage thriller I have read this year: rich in action, danger, and unexpected turns. The plot is made up of Michelle’s reminiscences. This novel serves as her memoir in which she tells her story. The missions mentioned in the book are gripping and adventurous and filled with dangerous events. I liked the way the short stories and the descriptions of the missions came after each other and, despite the time gaps, there was no break in the story line, everything just falls into place to create a bigger story.
Michelle Reagan is an ambitious, hard-working agent, or assassin, who grows more confident as the story progresses. At first, she suffers from the psychological consequences of killing someone whose only fault is to be at the wrong place at the wrong time, but then, as her character develops and transforms from Michelle into Eden, she learns how to handle it. Her boss Michael and her two colleagues play an important role in Michelle’s life, and I appreciated how they supported her character development and I felt like they bring out another dimension to her character which really rounds her out. Because Michelle’s private life is built upon lies, she has difficulties finding and keeping a partner without getting exposed. This contrast between personal and private lives is something that I found intriguing and well balanced in this book.
Scott Shinberg is a talented author who can make you feel like you are in the middle of a CIA office with undercover agents. He catches the reader’s attention with the very first sentence and holds it right to the end. I look forward to reading the next Michelle Reagan novel.
Pages: 333 | ASIN: B07PTPHTXS
A threat that most readers can see as a real possibility considering how far science and technology has progressed. Coupled with down to earth characters that you feel a real connection to make this book an outstanding ‘end of world’ saga that has your heart racing right till the end. While overtly spiritual in it’s plot, even the most atheist person could come to enjoy this story because it is a masterful blend of science and religion. With horrifying villains and inspiring heroes plus a few characters who you are never quite sure of which side of the good versus evil fight they stand on, this story is well worth the read.
This book takes a little while to explain how the prologue fits into the narrative but after you see how it all comes together and with various chapters outlining the back stories of the various characters, you begin to understand why the author took time in slowly building toward the most eventful parts of the story.
Once you understand how everything fits together, it takes you on an edge of your seat ride where you wonder how things will turn out. Each character has their part to play and readers get to see both the best and worst aspects of each character, which allows you to become invested in their adventure more deeply than you usually would for a fictional story.
There are a few repeated phrases and words that could have been left out or replaced with a simplified explanation but the intensity of the plot line and anxiety inducing obstacles that are thrown in the way of the main characters do enough to make you forget these minor annoyances.
If you want a thrilling story that takes you to the depths of what an evil mind can cause in this world with the excitement of whether the heroes can triumph. This is a book for you.
My best piece of advice to any would be reader is to make sure you don’t give up on the slow build up toward the real plot because it is well worth the wait and actually helps you understand and feel more invested in the entire story.
Pages: 317 | ASIN: B078LWJ632
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