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Underground in Tinseltown

Jay steps off a bus and into 1980s Hollywood. Based on a true story, a homeless young man with only a few dollars in his pocket becomes attached to the first people to provide him with the basics that he needs; a roof over his head, some food, and a stiff drink. Discovering just how wild and unkind the city can be, the friends quickly turn to a life of crime in order to fund their basic desires. Hollywood’s large parties, celebrities, and excitement were not enough to disguise the dark and disturbing occurrences of everyday life in Tinseltown.

Underground in Tinseltown, by John F. Wilkie, features a fascinating cast of characters that quickly make the reader feel as if they are part of the group. The author follows a young homeless man, Jay, as he desperately tries to become the next great name in Hollywood. The scene is set perfectly, painting a crystal clear image of what the city was like in the 1980s, transporting the reader to a new and intriguing world while spilling the darkest secrets that happen behind the scenes, in the shadow of the glitz and glamor that we know as Hollywood, Los Angeles.

The author has brilliant character and scene descriptions and the book naturally flows. The story progresses quickly, which I enjoyed because there is no unnecessary fluff. It is an intense story that could have easily been told across multiple books, allowing the reader to feel fully invested in the events of Jay’s life. Once I got to the end I found myself wanting more of Jay’s life and backstory and was left unfulfilled.

Underground in Tinseltown is a thrilling action-filled novel with crime and suspense. The author immerses readers into the glamorous world of Hollywood filled with fascinating characters, and the reality of what 1980’s Hollywood really is like.

Pages: 455 | ASIN : B09ZQD3HGG

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Frankie, by Bruce Deitrick Price, is the story of how one AI changed the lives of all those who reside in a small New Jersey town. Raymond Mason brings home his creation, Frankie, and by morning the entire town is in a tailspin.

The story begins with a simple dinner. Ray shows Frankie to his wife, Julia, who is intrigued and jealous of the gorgeous AI in her home. After showing Julia what his invention has learned, he races upstairs and, in his haste, to come back down he falls. Julia tells Frankie to “go to hell” and then passes out from too much wine.

After waking, Mrs. Mason sees her husband limp at the foot of the stairs and Frankie is nowhere to be found. This tragedy causes Mrs. Mason to go crazy and begin a search for Frankie. The same morning, the Chief of Police is getting reports of strange deaths. As Mrs. Mason searches for Frankie the death toll rises, Mr. Mason is reported missing and a person of interest, and the town discovers what Frankie really is. As the story progresses readers learn that Frankie is a different kind of robot, one that is harmless.

The writing style and tone of this book are blended perfectly to create a thrill. Every character introduced has development and puts together a piece of the puzzle that the other characters have yet to discover. Everything in this story is connected in a strange way and there is some comedy in how the plot unfolds. I enjoyed reading this book, however, some character plots were more interesting to read than others. The way each character had a part to play in how the entire picture comes together was great, but some of the scenes felt like filler material.

Frankie, by Bruce Deitrick Price is like a comedic puzzle that keeps you entertained and wanting more. I would recommend this story to anyone who loves future technology, comedy, and a thrill.

Pages: 285 | ASIN : B0B18V1GB9

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Promise Of The Visitor

A pair of police officers are called to the residence of Jacob, Amy, and their artificial intelligence alien that resides in a golden sphere called “Arcon.” They all have to muster up the courage to explain why Jack Markham is unconscious on their floor. They discover he is an international criminal. In a battle of self-defense, Jack was rendered unconscious.

After the ordeal, this novel skips ahead. Readers are taken to a cold night in November, where all three stand on the beach awaiting a space shuttle. The shuttle is operated by an alien woman who comes to them for rescue after her own home is destroyed by enemy forces. However, she didn’t just bring new technology to earth in her escape but also managed to get the enemy to their doorstep. So it is now their job to save their world from a similar fate to the alien woman’s home planet.

Author David Gittlin’s world-building skills are excellent and bring the readers right into the action, experiencing everything the characters do. With under 200 pages, this is a short quick read filled with thrilling action. Since this is book 3 of the series, I recommend readers have read books one and two as the author dives right into the action of book three, assuming that the reader knows of the character’s history. Gittlin expertly develops the characters in the story, and I grew fond of the AI that assists Jacob and Amy. The back and forth banter and the humor sprinkled into the dialogue made this book hard to put down.

Promise of the Visitor is a fast-paced, exciting novella that will have you hooked from the turn of the first page. I highly recommend this quick read to those who are looking to go on an entertaining journey through space.

Pages: 142 | ASIN : B09Y2FHL5R

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Lure of The Praying Mantis

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Lure Of The Praying Mantis by David Gaston is a crime novel that pits devious minds against the police of one small town. One such mind is Anne-Marie De Wynter, who uses her wiles to get men to do what she wants, even if it involves murder.

It’s a murder done by one of Mynter’s enamored men that puts Detective Inspector James Buchan and Detective Sergeant Daye Durham on the trail. Also on their understaffed police force’s plate is a four-year-old cold case that has been reopened when it appears the perpetrator is back in business. So can our detectives handle these cunning criminals before more people fall victim to them?

We have some excellent villains to give our heroes a run for their money. Anne-Marie is a woman you can’t help but hate but want to know more about her. We also have a mystery culprit whose heinous acts have you loathing but curious about them. Both these people really have you rooting for the detectives. The detectives are a true tag team. Despite one being the superior officer, they are both equals. They use their logic to develop theories and solutions in these cases. They equally contribute to this partnership.

There’s even a little hint of romance, not a significant element, but enough that you hope it blooms into something, maybe in another book. I enjoyed the author’s descriptions in the story as you really feel the monotony of the detective’s lives. I feel that there was an overusing of full names at the beginning when you could just use a first or last name after their initial introduction. This was also the case with titles. It felt like they were used too much early in the book when just the name could do. There are some parts where the scenes switch, and there is no indication that it will happen; some readers may find this momentarily confusing. However, the plotline is strong, and the author’s writing style is engaging.

Lure of the Praying Mantis is an exhilarating mystery novel. Readers who love crime-solving thrillers will not be disappointed. The suspense and action keep the story moving, and the strong character personalities keep readers entertained.

Pages: 205

I Wanted To Write About A “Real” Heroine

Author Interview Kate Darroch

Death in Paris follows a school teacher that sets off for a new job in Istanbul and while on the way gets entangled in a murder mystery. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

This is a Cozy, which follows all the Cozy conventions and the complex 15-point Cozy plotline.

Many Cozies feature women who unexpectedly become business owners or have exotic jobs.

I wanted to write about a “real” heroine who had a normal job. I wanted her to be a salt-of-the-earth type that anyone could relate to.

To use talents that she really had in order to solve crazy mysteries in a real way. Not to always know better than the police or to stumble on answers. To be a real sleuth, because she needed to be. “Cometh the hour, cometh the (wo)man.”

I wanted her to be a person, someone that people could feel for, and feel with.

The most relatable place and time for me is Glasgow in the 1970s. It was a time and place full of real-life heroines.

I wanted the reader to meet the women Màiri loves and understand why she loves them, maybe even to love them too.

Màiri Maguire struggles at the start of the novel with her situation and becomes a strong character as the novel progresses. What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?

Màiri is a real person to me. She wrote herself. She is a strong person with a strong voice but she is also soft and gentle, loving and caring, kind and compassionate. And she’s nobody’s fool, despite always seeing the best in people to the point, sometimes, of seeming gullibility.

Put a person like that into a situation like the one in Death in Paris and she cannot help but become even stronger.

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

The massive global change in attitudes that began in the 1970s. In Britain, the 1970s were a period when almost all thinking people thought that almost all the world’s problems could be solved by education. Give the working classes a university education, a degree, and they’ll become just like us, thought the upper class intelligentsia. Get the upper classes down the mines for a day, and they’ll soon learn what it means to be a worker, thought the thinking workers.

And everyone loved The Beatles and Carnaby Street; and we really truly believed that we ourselves could be agents of massive global change for the common good.

The meeting of polar opposites on common ground and finding friendship inspired the introduction of Major Peverel, who has been a popular character.

The courage under fire of the Brits living through what was effectively an undeclared war, their everyday lives a battlefield.

I myself lived in frequently-bombed London, I was within seconds of gory death twice. Once if I had arrived at the tubestation 20 seconds earlier. Once if I had walked down The Strand 30 seconds later.

Many people did die. Many were horribly maimed. But we still lived our everyday lives in an everyday way and had a lot of fun.

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

Death on the Istanbul Express

Book 2 in the series. It will be available at the end of May 2022.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

Màiri Maguire teaches in top schools all over the world, but on days like today she wishes she had never left Glasgow!

8:10 a.m. on 15th August 1970. They’ve been in Paris only 12 hours. Lianna, Màiri’s closest friend, is locked up in jail, charged with murder. Màiri is being hunted by murderous criminals. She never dreamt that travelling outside Scotland would be so dangerous. Will Màiri ever again see her comfy home in Merrylea, her loving sisters Morag and Katriona, her schoolboy nephew Niall?

Major Ellis Peverel seldom leaves Màiri’s side. Respected by the Paris police, shrouded in secrets, who is this man? Is he a true friend to Màiri, or does he have an agenda of his own?

Who really killed the corrupt taxman for whose death Lianna has been framed? Màiri has only 6 days to find the murderer. Can she free Lianna in time? Or must she choose between her friend’s freedom and her own livelihood… if she’s still alive.

Death in Paris

Death in Paris by Kate Darroch, (Màiri Maguire Cozy Murder Mysteries Book One) follows a school teacher, Màiri Maguire. She starts the summer holiday with her boyfriend of twelve years, breaking up with her when he returns to Glasgow with a new girlfriend he met while working overseas. Màiri takes a job as the Head of English Studies at the Nautical High School in Istanbul to escape the embarrassment and convinces her friend Lianna to travel with her to work as her assistant. During the train trip across Europe, they book a City Break (a package holiday tour) in Paris. When Lianna becomes the chief suspect in a murder, the school teacher turned amateur detective begins her own investigation to clear her friend’s name.

This book starts slowly, methodically introducing the characters and the background to why Màiri is traveling to Istanbul. However, the story picks up the pace once Màiri and Lianna set off on their journey. I especially enjoyed it once the intrigue element was introduced after they arrived in Paris.

With so many characters making an appearance on the train to Paris, it might have been difficult for readers to keep them all straight. However, the author included portions of Màiri’s notebook as she worked on figuring out the clues; which helps readers remember all the details and keep track of who is who. It also makes readers feel like part of the story, working to solve the mystery alongside Màiri.

There were a lot of threads connecting various characters, and I enjoyed trying to figure out how everything fits together. I had an idea of who I thought was the killer, but the story gives so many red herrings that I was not certain, and it kept me guessing until the end of the story. There were a few unexpected surprises revealed when the mystery was finally solved. I liked that the story ended with a new mystery to solve, leading to the next book of the Màiri Maguire Cozy Murder Mysteries series, Death on the Istanbul Express.

Death in Paris is the first in a new cozy murder series that will put mystery readers on the hunt for a killer. This international crime story is reminiscent of Agatha Christie’s novels and is filled with details about Paris that will allow readers to fully immerse themselves in the mystery.

Pages: 189 | ASIN : B09PMP4J6Y

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Northwoods Pulp Reloaded

Northwoods Pulp Reloaded by T.K. O’Neill is a collection of fantastic short stories, each one filled with suspense and intrigue. Hole in the World, Snowmobile Stick-up, The Devil You Say, and My Ship Comes In make up this ensemble. Don Enrico is owed a large sum of money by Ginny and Stuart, but when Stuart gets arrested, their plans go awry. The Whiteout Gang robs a bank and escapes on snowmobiles. Elton Kirby investigates satanic rituals and puts his own life in danger. Keith is on the run and finds himself burdened with a boatload of cocaine, beginning a long and complicated journey.

Author T.K. O’Neill certainly has a captivating writing style, creating a feeling of suspense and excitement. Northwoods Pulp Reloaded is an extraordinary collection of short stories that are filled with twists, turns, and surprises that will keep readers guessing. Thanks to O’Neill’s strong character-building technique, the wide assortment of characters are all well-defined and easy to relate to. Readers will get to know gang members, law enforcement officers, criminals, and ordinary people that make you feel like you have known them for years. In addition, each scene is described in detail, making it easy for the reader to form a mental picture, such as the reuniting of long-lost family members and criminal activities.

O’Neill’s uses of different settings add depth to these short stories, giving each one a unique feel and the opportunity to take readers on a new journey. The stories are set in different towns and cities across the United States with an array of exciting locations – a cabin in the woods, boats on the water, houses and buildings. Crime, murder, and mystery are the constant themes throughout the book.

My personal favorite aspect of the book is definitely the author’s fast-paced and succinct writing and the way the locations are described. In addition, the dialogue is splendidly written and carries each story forward from beginning to end.

Northwoods Pulp Reloaded is a riveting short story collection, superbly written to keep readers engaged. A suspenseful and thrilling read where the bad guys are the focus, and the action keeps coming. Due to profanities and erotic scenes, this book is best for mature readers.

Pages: 293 | ASIN : B09GP1ZT1P

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Burning Without Knowing

Burning Without Knowing by Mike Mallow is a thrilling crime novel following a twisting chase with enough turns to keep you on the edge of your seat. Shawna finds herself sucked into a darkness that she never wished for. She wanted a normal life and a job as a journalist, but her family led her on a blind chase. Not only did she find a job as a journalist, but she uncovered many secrets that were the veil used by the illegal mafia lords.

Author Mike Mallow’s writing style is gripping, and the plot is fast-paced with interconnected narratives connecting the characters. The events are exciting, and the near misses in the book will excite readers. It was a thrilling chase, and the uncertainty of the events made this book an edge-of-your-seat read.

The characters in the book are furnished with equally interesting backgrounds. Female leads are strong-willed and self-sufficient in handling all the situations even though the force opposite them outnumber them. The male leads are few, but they also are well-constructed. I relished the action scenes where the skirmishes between the parties are explored in detail. The near misses of the protagonist gave my heart a chase as I was highly engaged in their actions.

The plot and the writing style capture the readers’ attention from the beginning. All the characters were well-explored, and the protagonist gains surprising depth as we delve deeper into the story. This slow understanding and adaptation, in reality, made this book feel fresh in a saturated genre. Even while explaining the background story of the characters, the descriptions were never stretched or boring.

Burning Without Knowing has an intriguing mystery at its core and compelling characters that take readers headlong through a suspenseful crime fiction story. Readers will experience fast-paced action and get to know strong female leads in this gripping mystery thriller.

Pages: 321 | ASIN : B09VH6LRYQ

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