the Staging of the Bodies
Dance with the Devils starts with a gruesome murder which sets of a series of events that brings detective Nate Burns out of retirement. What did you want to be different about this novel from your other murder mystery works?
Nate has been medically retired from the department and has not adjusted well to the forced inactivity. I wanted the murders to be complex enough that they would serve as an enticement to get Nate off the couch, so to speak. The gruesomeness of the killings is evidence of the mindset of the killer, which is the reason for Nate decides to become involved. The staging of the bodies, as there is more than one killing, also becomes an attractant for Nate.
I thought you did a fantastic job with the setting and descriptions. How do you balance story telling with setting and character development?
The initial setting was determined by previous novels and Las Vegas is where Nate’s friend Jack resides. It is also the money source as an investigation as I describe would require funding in large amounts of money. There had to be a tie in there. The other locations were chosen for various reasons, the last one in Ohio is the hometown of the narrator of my books for audio. I wanted to give him a nod of “thanks.”
Character development is the most important part of the writing process for me. With interesting and engaging characters a story can be set in a shoebox. Every character I include in the story has a developed backstory and the possibility of a continuing story, if need be. More than one of my minor characters have grown into larger roles, and continued in the next book in the series.
I felt like Gabe Monet was one character that had to grow on me, and continued to develop throughout the novel. What was the inspiration for that character?
Gabe was the personification of the story. She is another version of Nate, she, like him is the overachiever with baggage. Where Nate uses his surliness to distance people, Gabe uses her outlandish behavior and sexuality. Readers of the series will remember Nate has an attraction to women like Gabe, and I also wanted her to serve as a temptation to him. She develops and with Nate’s help can depend more on her abilities as a detective and therefor lower her defensive actions. I wanted Gabe to be Nate’s reflection and I think I accomplished that
It seems like this book leaves the door open for a follow up novel. Will there be another story in this series?
Oh, most certainly. Dance with the Devils is the third book in the Nate and Clare series. Much is happening to the characters in the stories. Nate is struggling to find new direction. Clare (his wife) is finishing law school. The older daughter Lizzie is graduating high school with the stated desire to follow her dad into law enforcement. The Las Vegas side of the team has Jack growing bored with what he does. His wife Terri is not doing well after being shot. Jack’s friend and bodyguard “Snake” is still in a coma and “Gunny” is growing restless. There are many more stories yet to be told.
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The murder was brutal. The scene resembled a slaughterhouse. “We need Nate Burns,” Jack Mill said and set about getting the medically retired detective to Vegas. Such a simple request will lead Nate not only on a manhunt across the country but also back in time thirty years where he will struggle to understand the implications of the Cold War.
Book three, in the Nate and Clare series, finds Nate trying to come to terms with being medically retired from the department. Unsure who he is any longer, he hesitates to accept the challenge. For the first time, he afraid he might fail.
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Dance with the Devils: Revenge: Best served bloody
When Nick Jenkins is murdered in the most heinous of fashions, Roger Devine vows to stop at nothing and spare no expense in order to find the killer. He enlists the help of hacker, Jack Mill, who in turn succeeds in dragging former detective, Nate Burns, out of retirement to solve the crime. Nate is paired, quite unwillingly, with one Detective Gabe Monet, and a week of lavish living, harrowing investigative work, and favor-calling ensues. Together Nate and Gabe begin to connect the dots between the murder of Nick Jenkins in Las Vegas and a rash of similar murders across the country.
Kwen Griffeth’s Dance with the Devils: Revenge: Best served bloody has everything I want to see in a murder mystery. It is one of those rare read-in-one-sitting novels. I hate to use the phrase, “I couldn’t put it down,” but the term, without question, applies in this case. Griffeth’s writing has a seamless flow that sucks the reader in from the first page. The visuals provided by the author are amazing. I am not one who balks at having to use my own imagination to visualize the setting, but reading is made infinitely more pleasurable when vivid details abound–at this technique Griffeth is a master.
Griffeth’s Nate Burns, is one of those main characters readers will love from his first appearance. There is nothing more endearing than a family man facing inner turmoil and coming out on top. Nate is the perfect picture of both. Watching the efficiency with which he is able to jump back into the saddle after leaving the police department, the reader can see Nate as the incredible force he once was before being shot and put out of commission. His mannerisms, vulnerability, and tendency to second guess himself make him that much more endearing. On the other hand, when Nate is on the job, he is respected, makes himself known, and is determined not to be defeated despite his obvious physical limitations. That being said, Nate Burns has joined the ranks of my favorite characters across genres.
I had a difficult time liking Gabe Monet at the outset. I felt as though she tried far too hard to overcompensate for her shortcomings and her questionable reputation. Frankly, I think Nate and his family stole my heart so quickly and completely that I had almost no room left for Gabe and her shenanigans. The author, however, does a fabulous job of slowly making Gabe Monet a more likable character, and I was left feeling much more at ease with her manner and her commentary.
I am giving Kwen Griffeth’s Dance with the Devils: Revenge: Best served bloody an emphatic 5 out of 5 stars and would give it more given the option. You don’t often find a novel of this genre that isn’t riddled with profanity and sexual situations. Griffeth has more than managed to create an engaging and gripping plot without inundating readers with uncomfortable scenes and unnecessary language. I look forward to reading more of Griffeth’s work and hope beyond hope to see a sequel to Dance with the Devils as the ending leaves the door wide open for more from Nate Burns.
Pages: 318 | ASIN: B07BV6822S
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A Top of the Line Predator
Shadow of the Moon follows Special Agent Trakes and Detective Meeker who are sent to a shocking crime scene where a faceless man sparks the beginning of a thrilling investigation. What interested you the most about writing this novel?
This is, at its core, a werewolf story and we all know the werewolf can be extremely violent. I started the story with the vicious crime to establish that part of the werewolf character. A few years ago, I read a novel and I was really disappointed by how the werewolves were described. The story bothered me and I kept thinking, “I can write a better story than that.” Shadow of the Moon is the result of that process and I hope I accomplished what I set out to do. I wanted to tell a story that held true to the idea of the werewolf being a top of the line predator, but I also wanted the wolf to be caring for the family and have a deeper character than is usually portrayed.
This story provides a lot of really great lore and information about werewolves. What kind of research did you do for this book?
Thank heavens for the internet. I did several searches in an effort to build as complete a history for the animal as I could. I wanted the reader to have a little fun and wonder if they just might be out there.
The story takes place in New York. Why choose this place and time for the setting of the story?
Special Agent Trakes is a throwback to the “G-men” of the 30’s and 40’s. She cares nothing about political ramifications and only focuses on getting the “bad guy.” I wanted her to be placed in a situation where she was handicapped and had to develop other strengths. I also wanted the contrast between the city and the country, where the Lloyds live. I wanted Trakes, who is tough and sure of herself to be off-balance.
What is the next story that you are working on and when will it be available?
“Shadow” will be a trilogy at minimum and book two, “Reflection of the Moon,” is planned to be out early next spring.
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Shadow of the Moon
Shadow of the Moon, written by Kwen Griffeth, follows Special Agent Adaline “Andee” Trakes and Detective Gerald Meeker who are sent to a shocking crime scene in Central Park. Here, a faceless man sparks the beginning of a thrilling investigation into the life and death of a diplomat’s son.
Together they work on the case where they uncover an unusual aspect of the murder. Werewolves, or more importantly, a werewolf executioner, seems to be on the loose. Baffled by the case, Trakes is sent to meet with a history professor, Alwyn Lloyd, who specializes in myths and legends. Andee Trakes will soon learn that there may be some truth behind the notion of werewolves as she delves deep into a world of hierarchy and crime. Who is the killer behind these gruesome attacks?
Shadow of the Moon is a crime novel with a dash of supernatural mystery that will have you fixed to the edge of your seat. Prepare to be taken on a wild ride as you uncover gruesome secrets involving werewolves, FBI agents, and killers. There’s a taste of everything in this novel, from crime to romance, to action and mystery.
The first scene is gruesome, with a man who has been shot with what appears to be a canon to his face. Even the tracker dogs are avoiding the scene like the plague, leaving the agents baffled by the scene. Andee Trakes takes on the case, determined to get the bottom of the killer’s intentions, even if she stumbles across more than what she bargained for. Arthur Hubbard, the Special Agent in Charge of the case, is wary of her and how much she has been shifted around. Trakes takes it in her stride and proves that she is more than just a pretty face. She’s confident, smart and understands the motives of killers better than most.
One of my favorite characters was Professor Alwyn Lloyd. Lloyd is smooth, sexy and claims to be an Alpha werewolf. When Trakes goes to meet Lloyd for information, there is an instant attraction between the pair. However, there is more to Lloyd then meets the eye and Trake’s must divide her attention between her attraction to the Professor and government business. Lloyd provides deep intel into the history of werewolves, leaving the reader with the impression that they could potentially be a very real and alive.
Shadow of the Moon takes readers on a journey where they are able to visit the parks, city, and homes of the people who live in the great city of New York. Kwen Griffeth paints a picture of a busy city life and provides a stark imagery contrasted with Trakes visits to the countryside. Griffeth, as usual, provides a literary masterpiece that will capture the reader’s attention with its clever plot line and intriguing characters.
I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys being kept on their toes as they delve into crime, romance, and supernatural beings.
Pages: 336 | ASIN: B075XCD516
Posted in Book Reviews, Five Stars
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Shadow of the Moon: A Fantasy of Love, Murder and Werewolves
The grisly murder of a diplomat’s son in Central Park draw NYPD Detective Gerald Meeker and FBI Special Agent Andee Trakes into a twisted and confusing investigation. Within hours, the evidence indicates the man was executed in the manner saved for werewolves. Andee Trakes is assigned to liaison with a history professor, who is an expert on folklore and legends.
Professor Alwyn Lloyd, handsome, articulate and successful, not only agrees the method of death was indeed an execution, he claims to be a werewolf. Andee is torn between the desire to date the man and the suspicion to arrest him.
From the initial killing in the park, a bloody spree is ignited that soon has Andee and Lloyd forced to work together to protect themselves and family members.
Shadow of the Moon explores the world of werewolves and paints a picture of what is good about them, as well as bad. The story explains what is beautiful as well as ugly about the wolf.
The story is fast paced and full of interesting characters and several twists and turns to keep both the fantasy as well as the suspense and romance enthusiasts entertained.
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Dead Men Walking
There was no doubt the man was dead. A bullet through the head will do that. But, who was dead? The man had no identification, no known address, no Social Security information could be found, and the fingerprint search came up empty.
Detective Nate Burns, Albuquerque Police Department knew two things. The man was dead and he was blood type was O+. The most common type of blood in the country.
Dead Men Walking is a fast paced police drama that tells the story of Detective Nate Burns, a man haunted by his past. That haunting has suddenly appeared in the present.
His Captain wants him fired.
A friend is calling in a favor.
A convict wants to make a bargain
His wife is thinking of divorce.
It’s a good thing he’s serving a suspension. He’ll find time to work all this out.
Dead Men Walking is the follow up to the award winning first Nate and Clare novel, The Tenth Nail. The story continues with Nate being assigned to a most difficult case. At the same time, he is trying to salvage his marriage, and since his wife, Clare, has returned to college, he must make sure he is not late picking up his daughter from her summer reading class.
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The Resulting Blood Shed
In Vengeance is Mine Sam is determined to become the man he believes he was meant to be and fights for a life that leaves death and violence behind. How did you identify those things that were core to Sam’s belief and how did you set him on a path to find them?
Sam was raised like many young men, believing if he worked hard, did the right thing and believed good things would happen to him. Through the course his life took into combat and the resulting blood shed all those things were lost to him. Sam is a mix of several men I was lucky enough to meet while working as an alcohol rehabilitation counselor in the military. Many of the problems the men faced could be traced back to the horrors of war, which they were not prepared to face.
I felt that this novel took a more personal look at Sam’s character? Did you always have Sam’s character mapped out? Was there any surprises in his character development in this third book?
Originally, there was too be only one book. It was not until I got into the first book that I began to know Sam and the other characters as well. What I started as a typical western, more or less, became the story of a man finding his way back to himself, then reestablishing contact with others, and lastly making peace with his creator. It felt, at times, that Sam was telling me the story and I was to record it for him. Some people will read the story and say, “Sam and Laura got married, I knew it all along. But the real story is Sam finds his way to be worthy of marriage.
What is your writing process like? How do you set about creating such in depth characters?
I write as if I was on a land navigation course. I have a starting point, a few way points that I have to find and the ending point. To help me I have a map in my head that helps keep me on track and a mental compass that keeps me in the right direction. I allow the characters to tell the story as best I can. My characters are the backbone of my story. When asked what genre I write, my answer is I write people stories. I write and rewrite until the character becomes as real to me as my neighbor.
Is this the last book in Sam and Laura’s story? Or will there be more?
Several of the Sam and Laura fans continue to ask me to continue the series. For the couple, the story is complete, but there are several stories yet to be told with other characters. Johanna, Sam’s sister is a story rich in history and character. Hack Baskins and the other Texas cowboys, as well as G.W. Lincoln. I have other projects but I would like to round out the Sam and Laura universe.
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“The hawk was created in the image of a hawk. That means he must use violence every day of his life if he wants to eat and live another day. He can never wake up one morning and say to himself, “I no longer wish to eat mice and snakes; I want to eat seeds and nuts like the cardinal. No, he cannot do this and why? Because he was created in the image of a hawk.”
“I don’t see…”
“Sam, I know your father taught you this, but you have forgotten. The hawk was created in the image of a hawk. What image were you created in?”
Sam whispered, “God, I was created in the image of God.”
The Amish elder smiled, “Yes, you were created in the image of God and as such you were granted the ability to choose. You can choose to do right or wrong, good or bad, be peaceful or violent. You can even choose to eat mice and snakes if you like.”
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The Victim Became Human
The Ghost in the Mini Skirt takes an unexpected turn with ghosts, tortured souls and a darkness that leads Jack towards a supernatural mystery. What was the initial idea behind this story and how did that transform as you were writing the novel?
A few years ago, while late at night, I was driving across the desert in Arizona. I could see tumble weeds and sage brush along the side of the road and I started thinking that if an animal jumped out in front of me I would not have time to stop before hitting them. From wondering about an animal, my thoughts drifted to the same question except the victim became human. I chuckled when I thought, “How weird would it be if a human figure jumped in front of me, and I hit him only to drive through him?” From that mind game, the novel grew.
Jack is proud, smart and at times stubborn and the contrast between him and Terri makes for a unique pairing. What was your inspiration for creating the kind of relationship that Jack and Terri have?
Jack is a human computer, close to being devoid of the emotions the rest of us, at time, struggle with. He is successful with both status and wealth, but from the beginning of the book, we learn he is lonely. He longs for emotional companionship and doesn’t know how to go about finding it.
Terri had to be as strong willed as Jack (if for no other reason that not be intimidated by him) and attractive to the point of fantasy to attract him. Where Jack is strong in logic, Terri had to be strong in intuition. I think they make a great pair and they were fun to write about.
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 present themselves to you as you writing?
Elmore Leonard said if he knew exactly where writing a novel would take him, he didn’t write it as it would be too boring. Maybe that is not an exact quote, but the meaning is there. Anyway, when I start a book I know the beginning, the middle and the end. As I write and develop the characters, I let them tell me where the story goes. It may sound strange to non-writers, but Terri demanded I delete and rewrite 37,000 words in this novel. Her ideas were better.
Do you see a possible follow up novel to this book? Where do you think you can take the story in the next installment?
Yes, Jack and Terri are too strong of characters to not have more written about them. Jack and Terri make an appearance in The Tenth Nail, Nate and Clare Book One, as well as Dead Men Walking, Nate and Clare Book Two. I am starting book two of the Jack and Terri series and the working title is “The Ghost in the Senate Chamber.”
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Jack Mill was the king of hackers. He was a self-made man. He tested at the genius level and he had made a reputation as well as a fortune doing what he loved, hacking computers. Jack was not only in charge of his world, he ruled it.
Jack had no contemporaries and others in his field either respected him or feared him. Jack was the man in charge. Jack was the man in charge until the night he ran over a man who wasn’t there. A man, or what Jack thought was a man appeared in the traffic lane and Jack hit him, but he didn’t. There was no body, no damage to his car, and no blood. What was going on?
Suddenly, Jack’s life was out of control and he didn’t like it. One person was there to support him, an out of work show girl named Terri. As if he was given a protector, a way to stabilize his way through the mystery, Terri arrived only a few hours before the accident. Now, she helps him find his way back to stability and maybe a fuller life.
“The Ghost in the Mini Skirt” is a tale about ghosts, murder mystery and love story all rolled into one.
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