Blog Archives

The Scented Bones: The Svabodina Case Files

Angel Svabodina is a rookie forensic anthropologist, enjoying the beginning of her new career. That joy comes crashing down when she figures out the skeleton she’s working on is not human and then it vanishes.

She throws herself fully into the case without thinking about the parties involved, a psychopomp associate, and paranormal mafia families made up of vampires and werewolves—or the consequences.

When she sees there’s no avoiding the inevitable, Angel has to suck it up and work with the werewolves to solve the case but can she trust them?

Werewolves and witches are in a centuries-old feud, but that doesn’t stop the shivers running down her spine from one wolf in particular. Rights and wrongs become blurred, as she is tormented by her past and accepting who she truly is while searching for the skeleton. What’s more, nothing comes for free, including information. To get what she needs from the werewolf don, Angel has to meet with the fae queen. Can she meet her without repercussions and solve the case?

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Search for Answers

J.L. Phelan Author Interview

J.L. Phelan Author Interview

The Lethal Legacy follows Samantha and her husband as they embark on a dangerous adventure to uncover the family legacy. What was the inspiration for the setup to this thrilling novel?

The Lethal Legacy is the third book of a trilogy (The Purloined Legacy and The Perilous Legacy are the first two). Although all three books are stand-alone books, The Lethal Legacy is a continuation of Samantha’s search for answers to solve the additional mysteries of murder, deceit and theft that occurred to her ancestors.  The inspiration for the first book came from some aspects of my husband’s ancestors who started out in Cork, Ireland, and migrated to Bordeaux, France, and later to New York and Sacramento during the late 1800’s. Likewise, The Lethal Legacy loosely uses another facet of my husband’s ancestors that had ties to the cacao industry in South America in the 19th century. All three books required extensive research from a historical perspective which was great fun to weave into the plots.

The story takes place in various exotic locations. What was your favorite location to write for and how did you research these places to get it right?

I had a great time writing about the different cities in Europe and Latin America where Samantha and Brett traveled to solve the mysteries of what happened to her ancestors and their immense wealth. While I have personally been to a number of those places, there are also a fair number of places that are in the storyline that I have never been to so I used the internet many times to explore each country’s culture, topography, and special sites unique to their cities. One of my favorite locations was Cork, Ireland, where the roots of the Delaney family began. While I have never been there, by using the internet (including you tube), it was fairly easy to vicariously experience the locations so that I could use that information and incorporate it into the storyline.

Your characters were always detailed and interesting. What do you find is important in creating believable characters?

I think that it is important for a writer to step into the shoes of each character to determine whether conversations, concepts or plots are accurately portrayed to create a sensation for readers to lose themselves in the story, and hopefully have a desire to keep turning the pages. It is also important for each character to have unique traits such as diction, disposition, or mannerisms that are distinct from other characters. Sometimes, I actually act out the dialogue to see if it is believable so that hopefully the reader is connected and wants to find out what happens next!

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

I don’t have a title for the next book yet, but it is a spin-off of one of the characters in the Legacy Series. I am just in the process of writing the first draft so it will likely be available early 2019—and it will definitely be a murder mystery with a little bit of history, a little bit of romance and lots of twists and turns.

Author Links: GoodReads | Amazon

Six months have passed since Dr. Samantha Delaney faced deadly encounters with a man who had sworn to destroy her and take the $60 million she had received as the last remaining heir to the Delaney legacy—a legacy that had been stolen many decades before. Given the demise of her enemy, Samantha thinks the danger is over. But but she is wrong. When a distant relative sends her a newspaper clipping reporting the 1914 murder of Samantha’s great-great-grandmother in Costa Rica, Samantha and her husband, Dr. Brett Perry, decide to do some preliminary research, never dreaming that their investigation would imperil Samantha once again. Beginning their research in Costa Rica, Samantha and Brett hope to learn about the murder of her ancestor and the loss of the family cacao plantation. What they find is a picturesque country with clear ocean water, pristine beaches—and more danger than they had ever anticipated. Their investigation quickly catapults them into the middle of a very calculated, lucrative, and illegal gold mining operation where the stakes are high enough to make murder a necessity for anyone who gets in the way. Samantha quickly learns that as a beneficiary to her great-great-grandmother’s company, she will most certainly be in the way.

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“Is That Your Aunt in the Attic?”: Another Edna and Edith Adventure

“Is That Your Aunt in the Attic?”: Another Edna and Edith Adventure by [Fletcher, Barbara, Gauthier, Cheryl]

Is That Your Aunt in the Attic? is a creative fiction novel that focuses on the characters of Edna and Edith, two sisters that are private investigators. The sisters have traveled across the country to get away from the wrath of an escaped convict whose plans to murder were foiled by the sisters. The ladies travel to San Francisco to get away and visit family, but they still find themselves as a target for the mobster’s hitman. What comes out of it is a strange sequence of events that proves how resourceful the sisters are in solving problems and getting answers to their questions.

One of the aspects of this story that I enjoyed was the whimsical situations that Edna and Edith seem to get themselves into. The authors, Barbara Fletcher and Cheryl Gauthier, are mother and daughter, and at the beginning of the novel, they mention that some of the events that take place in the novel are somewhat true and have happened to them in real life. I liked that disclaimer, because as I was reading the novel I could more easily picture some of the silly events that were happening to the sisters actually happening to someone like me and my sister. Some parts of the novel induced a good chuckle as I read them.

The only thing that I thought took away from the novel was the small talk that Edith and Edna made with each other. For instance, they would bring up a memory of a saying from their father or mention something weird or funny that they did a long time ago. In a way, the small talk adds a more realistic value to the novel; however, it seemed out of place and took away from the overall plot and momentum of the story.

Overall, this was a fun book and I would love to read another novel in this series.

Pages: 262 | ASIN: B0794PB8FR

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The Cold Trail

The Cold Trail (The Sean Kruger Series Book 4) by [Fields, J.C.]

J.C. Fields has brought back our favorite FBI special agent Sean Kruger in The Cold Trail. Without missing a beat, we pick up where we left off: Kruger is retired, teaching at a university and things are moving along for him. However, when an incident that reminds him of an unsolved set of cases from his past pops up, Kruger goes back to where he’s most comfortable: to the FBI. Kruger is truly in his prime as he works to apprehend a malicious murderer who has haunted him all these years. It’s an emotional roller coaster that involves international intrigue and understanding of the human soul. Fields does not disappoint in this installment in the saga that is Sean Kruger’s life.

There’s no denying that Kruger’s retirement from the FBI in the last installment of the series may have left fans wanting more. Whether it was planned or not, Fields has given us more time with Kruger. The chilling case that Kruger couldn’t solve in the nineties has come back in full force as he attempts to settle in at the university. We know Kruger isn’t made for this and he soon returns to the FBI, hot on the trail of the elusive perpetrator of heinous acts. The emotion is raw as Fields uses his skill to describe a very disturbing chain of events that left several college athletes missing. The best part about a book by Fields is that while it is not lacking in action and intrigue, there is also compassion and an excellent unveiling of the human heart and mind.

There are moments when the reader will hold their breath, waiting in anticipation of what will happen next. Fields keeps all of us guessing who the true criminal is while pulling out all the stops along the way. Characters we know and love from earlier installments in the series make their appearance and Fields has clearly crafted a spectacular world. Characters don’t suddenly act contrary to how they were portrayed in earlier books which can be hard to do when you’ve been spanning four full length novels. While it might seem unrealistic to develop four full novels in less than five years, Fields does it and he does it well.

The best part about reading a Fields book, aside from wonderfully crafted characters, is the fact that he makes his genres easy to read for those who may not be familiar with them. Mysteries and thrillers set in a law enforcement atmosphere run the risk of inundating readers with terminology and actions that will be alien to them unless they have worked in that field or have been aggressively reading books in that setting for a long time. Fields knows this and uses just enough vernacular to make it believable while also catering to all types of readers.

Anyone who is looking for an excellent read about the human condition and what we are all capable of needs to pick up a copy of J.C. Fields’ The Cold Trail as soon as possible. Readers will no doubt come to love Sean Kruger and his band of merry agents as they traverse the country in their quest to quell the darkness of the human soul.

Pages: 357 | ASIN: B07DTJN5X2

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A u 7 9: A Tracker Novel

A u 7 9: A Tracker Novel by [Dickason, Anita]

Stuart Dyson of the Laredo ATF is missing, and his girlfriend, Tracy, an officer with the Laredo police department, just may know more than she is willing to share with the men and women dedicated to finding Stuart. When the FBI Trackers are assigned Stuart’s case, Tracy cooperates while running her own investigation on the side. The Trackers are a specialized unit within in the FBI and have a stunning track record of successes. They are Stuart’s best hope, but they can barely do their job for keeping Tracy in check. When the entire investigation hinges on determining the significance of a note scrap reading “27.43 pounds”, the Trackers find themselves fighting against the clock to rescue not only Stuart but Tracy as well.

Anita Dickason’s A u 7 9 is a unique brand of thriller. The FBI Trackers embody all of the mind-blowing aspects of the FBI, and Nicki Allison stands out among the members of the team. Her dedication to each investigation knows no boundaries, including sleep. Dickason paints a vivid picture of Nicki as she manipulates her way through staggering amounts of data to pinpoint needed evidence. She is a character to be admired.

Eddie Owens, the young reporter receiving anonymous tips as to Stuart’s possible involvement in his own disappearance, plays a key role throughout the book. Not one of the characters readers might put a lot of stock in at the outset of the book, Eddie becomes more and more colorful as the chapters pass. Eddie easily stands as my favorite character from A u 7 9.

I appreciate the way Dickason stretches out each discovery and keeps readers guessing regarding the meaning of the “27.43 pounds.” As each character ponders the meaning and subsequent research is conducted by the Trackers, the reader becomes increasingly invested in finding out how something so seemingly insignificant could impact Stuart and the fight to find him before his time runs out.

I am not sure I can remember the last thriller I read that has such a satisfying way of slowly revealing the connection between the title and the book’s plot. I kept trying to guess the significance of A u 7 9 to the sequence of events and was pleasantly surprised at the ultimate reveal. Dickason pulls together the plot and title in a unique and refreshing way.

Dickason’s writing is engaging to say the least. Many times, books of this genre can be heavy on narrative. Dickason, however, provides the perfect blend of dialogue and narrative adding to the overall depth of her characters.

As far as crime thrillers go, Dickason has hit it out of the park. The team of Trackers who serve as her main characters do not disappoint, consistently provide suspense, drama, and humor. Any fan of crime dramas/mysteries will be drawn to both the writing style and the engaging plot of A u 7 9. Dickason’s own background in law enforcement plays heavily into her writing and makes for a book no fan of crime thrillers will be able to forget.

Pages: 315 | ASIN: B07CWG4DD5

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Further Down the Rabbit Hole

Zack Scott Author Interview

Zack Scott Author Interview

Spare No One is a thrilling mystery novel that details a bloody trail leading to a ruthless killer. What was the initial idea behind this story and how did that transform as you were writing the novel?

I came up with the initial idea for Spare No One after my criminal law class in which we learned about one’s duty to act (or lack thereof). I’d always wanted to write a murder-mystery, and I felt what l learned in my class was a great way to start the story. I also wanted to write a tale of revenge, which came naturally after I wrote the first chapter. Idea after idea kept popping up as I wrote, and further down the rabbit hole we went. I definitely had a lot of fun writing this story!

What were some themes that you felt were important to highlight in this story?

Selfishness is a big theme. Taking someone else’s life is one of the most selfish things someone can do. Unfortunately, as in real life, a lot of the unselfish characters suffer in the story.

Love is another theme, and what it means to truly love someone. What would you do for them? How far would you go? Do we sometimes create an illusion of love in our minds?

I felt that there were a lot of great twists and turns throughout the novel. Did you plan this before writing the novel, or did the twists develop organically writing?

After I wrote the first chapter, I had a general idea of how I wanted it to end. Right away I thought of one of the bigger twists, which happens toward the end of the story, so I knew where I wanted to go but not exactly how I’d get there. The middle of the book had the most planning and brainstorming. After that, everything came together.

Will this novel be the start of a series or are you working on a different story?

I have ideas for a few different stories that involve some of the surviving characters from Spare No One. I’ve started writing one of those ideas, but it’s lower on my list of priorities behind a sequel to Stalker, My Love, a legal thriller/romance, and a young adult survival story. I would love to write another book in the Spare No One universe. I’ll get there eventually!

Author Links: GoodReadsTwitterFacebookWebsite

Spare No One by [Scott, Zack]On her way home from studying for college finals, hardworking Ashley Mercer is attacked and killed outside her apartment complex. Thirteen witnesses to the murder do nothing to save her. Days later, one of the witnesses is found dead .

Detectives Alex Mercer and Samantha Stoll search for the truth behind the witness’s death. However, Alex is Ashley’s brother, and his personal struggles may jeopardize the investigation, while Samantha’s own demons plague her. 

As the body count rises, the detectives travel down a path of violence and betrayal, leading them to a killer who will spare no one.

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Tainted Evidence: A Lieutenant Beaudry Novel


Imagine just having gotten back from vacation only to find out your best friend’s cousin has been murdered.

This is what greeted Lieutenant Beaudry, a renowned but controversial officer who isn’t particular in living by the police handbook. He is known to solve cases by his own rules. Will he make sure not to ruin it this time after his recent dispute? Or will he tamper the evidence just like his close friend Nico did after seeing his cousin motionless in his car.

Tainted Evidence by Michael Kent could seem like your typical murder novel except that in this story the professional assassin knows the art of prosthetics, perfectly disguising himself and surpassing immigration officers. He also makes his murders seem accidental. Nobody is suspicious until an officer was present in court when the judge suddenly lost consciousness, and later on, his life.

I liked the plot, as it stayed close enough to reality to be believable and there weren’t too many tangled lies and deceit to unravel. The descriptions of scenes are so detailed that even my imagination played it in my head with vivid clarity. Michael Kent is able to offer picture perfect scenes for his superb characters to inhabit.

My favorite character in Tainted Evidence has to be Pat. The book depicted her as an independent woman who successfully came out from an undesirable marriage. She had a struggle with her ex-husband but managed to break free, started over, recovered until becoming fully independent. I admired how she took charge of her own new life, not being discouraged by her

past, and being able to live alone and even choosing the house she and Beaudry would live in. She is a perfect epitome of a strong woman in this day and age. As fierce as her character seems, she did maintain her soft side by being as understanding as possible to Beaudry’s hectic schedule.

I also appreciated the inclusion of Jimmy, an autistic boy with exceptional photographic memory and drawing skills. I applaud the fact that his talent has been highlighted instead of his lack of social skills. I think this is a good example of Michael Kent writing, he always plays to a characters strengths.

Interesting characters and a fascinating murder mystery will give any fan of the mystery crime genre plenty to enjoy.

Pages: 220 | ISBN: 0993713165

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Finding AJ: Apocalypse Journeys 2

Finding AJ (Apocalypse Journeys Book 2) by [Melrose, Russ]We meet the protagonist of Russ Melrose’s Finding A.J.: Apocalypse Journeys 2 as she sits on the side of a gravel road in the Mojave Desert, head in her hands. Jules is not the crying kind, but that’s exactly what she’s doing. The tough FBI agent pulls it together despite the crumbling world around her to work on a case that she can’t let go. A tough case for this tough agent is made tougher by the apocalyptic state the world is now in. The dead, also known as “grays” or the “infected”, walk the streets hunting for their next meal while Jules goes from town to town hunting for a serial killer whose case she hasn’t been able to solve.

Finding A.J. stands alone as a book even though it is part of a series. You do not need to know anything more than this book provides to understand the plot of this book. (But, I’d like to go back and read part 1 now!)

Jules is an independent, no-nonsense kind of girl. She is more than self-sufficient. She seems like she could be a loner and wouldn’t mind keeping it that way. However, she doesn’t stay alone for long. She finds a teenage girl in desperate need of her help and rescues her from her captor. Addy, the girl she rescues, then becomes sort of a foster daughter to Jules despite Jules’s objections. Addy would likely have been a loner too, but with the world falling apart and her recent captivity and abuse she needs to cling to someone. She needs someone to trust. That someone will be Jules.

Jules and Addy make an eventful trek to the town of Gideon. That is where most of the story plays out. Gideon is a town that is still hanging on, even if by a thread. There is still a mayor and policemen, which is more than can be said for many post-apocalyptic towns. A large chunk of the population has been infected and died, but anarchy hasn’t quite reached Gideon yet. The townspeople cling to any semblance of normalcy they can even while they are uprooted. Readers will get to know many of the people in the town. They will also be suspicious of everyone they meet. The townspeople all have jobs and duties to perform for the sake of self-preservation. The dead are walking, there is a killer among them, and all they have is each other.

Parts of the book reminded me of scenes from The Walking Dead. Tasks as simple as grocery shopping become major undertakings with the “grays” wandering around. Supply runs put many characters in danger. Every seemingly menial task becomes exceedingly difficult. You will breathe sighs of relief as plans come together, and hold your breath when they don’t.

The book is very well written. It is not hard to follow, and the plot flows well. Characters are well developed and enough backstory is given to assist with that development. As the events of the story play out, you will question each character.  No one can be trusted. You will hang onto the edge of your seat waiting to find out who the serial killer is and if Jules can catch them.

Pages: 336 | ASIN: B07CZ4VS2R

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Spare No One

Spare No One by [Scott, Zack]Ashley Mercer, a college student in San Dino, is brutally murdered in the middle of the night, outside her apartment. Alex, her homicide detective brother, and his partner, Stoll, follow a web of death and deceit to find her killer unofficially. An underground cult starts to show its face, taking justice into their own hands, murdering all the people who did not help Ashely the night she was murdered outside her apartment building.

Rose, a new homicide detective takes over Ashley`s case, but what the department does not know is that he is more involved in the case than anyone could have ever imagined. Not only was Rose involved with Ashley but also has close ties with the cult that is involved with all the murders surrounding Ashley`s death. Trying to avenge the fact that no one helped his love, things in San Dino get messy, complicated, and no one knows who to trust or who to work with.

Spare No One is a psychological thriller that captures you from the beginning. From beginning to end the story takes so many twists and turns that at times you think you have it all figured out, and then a new event, perspective, or character is tossed into the story and it completely debunks what you thought you had figured out. The list of characters at the beginning of the book helped as a clarification as to what character fits where in the story. Over all the intricacy of the characters stories was well written and it was clear what role each character played in the story. The end was my favorite part especially because I did not see the story turning out the way that it did. How the past and the present were written together was well executed with little confusion when the switch happened.

There are very few things I would change about this story. Even though the switches in time periods throughout the story were over all well executed I would have liked if the title of the chapters were a little more distinct. There were times where I was so engrossed in the story and then a change in the time line would happen and I would have to pause and go back. The other thing was I would have liked a little more of was why the tenants of Ashley`s building didn’t help her. What was a little more of their back story the night Ashley was murdered.

Over all it was a great story that captivates the reader from the beginning and keeps you on the edge of your seat the entire book. I would advise anyone who likes psychological thrillers, dramas, and books of the like to read this. It will be worth your time.

Pages: 322 | ASIN: B07CYNN4NZ

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Designs on Ivy’s Locket

Historian-for-hire Wrenn Grayson takes on a difficult client in Kerry St. John. Kerry seeks justice for his great-grandfather’s lifelong heartache. Wrenn meets the renowned jeweler through words recorded in his tattered journal. The year is 1946. He writes from the tiny crossroads of Wyatt, Ohio, about the theft of a treasured locket and the identity of three possible suspects.

The cold case heats up when Lori Hammond arrives. The stolen locket was discovered among her mother’s possessions after her death. Lori refuses to return it to the St. John family, so Wrenn sets out to follow the locket’s path through history. Next, Lori is attacked and Kerry accused. If Kerry’s not guilty, then who is? That question sends cold whispers from the past down Wrenn’s spine.

In Designs on Ivy’s Locket, Connie Chappell focuses on the theme of parents and children, separated by death, by theft, and by design.

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