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The Doom Murders

The Doom Murders (The Inspector Sheehan Mysteries Book 1) by [Brian O'Hare]

The Doom Murder’s book by Brian O’Hare is a novel that is engaging from the beginning to the end, with a lot of suspense. This book amazed me with all that was tightly packed in a murder mystery, police drama, a little love story, and ending with a redemption. In this book, Mr. O’Hare’s writing is engaging and on point, helping to keep the reader engaged in the story. O’ Hare puts a vivid picture in the readers’ minds about the detectives who are working on the cases to help the reader understand the senseless murders’ that have taken place.

The Doom Murder’s is an interesting novel about a serial killer, who had a religious motive. This story is based in Ireland and follows a series of gruesome murders’ involving the Catholic  church. The author does well to ensure the murders’ are sensational, even detailing the killer’s habit of numbering the bodies. These types of chilling details, coupled with religious undertones, gives the story a uniquely horrifying perspective.

The novel begins to unfold as the main character (DCI Jim Sheehan) discovers new clues and information from witnesses. The story for the most part is told from his point of view. This allows the reader to learn new things and uncover shocking truths right along side him. As the suspense continues, a Catholic Bishop was found beaten, naked, and even oddly posed in his Belfast study.

All of the victims are Catholic, hold different positions of leadership and all seem to have not followed the killers’ notion of what God wants in those entrusted to uphold the faith. Each victim is killed and posed in ways that reflect their sins. The exceptional story telling and and dark mystery remind me of the first season of the TV show True Detective. Another aspect that adds to the enjoyment of the book for me is the budding romance of the cathedral organist Margret Sands and Inspector Sheehan. This happy relationship, provides a needed counterpoint to the ugliness of the murders in this novel. The main characters are generally well written and realistic, though I did feel like there was an excessive amount of characters, especially when it came to Sheehan’s immediate team of detectives.

I enjoyed this book as a whole, from the Police procedural, Northern Ireland, the Murder, and the mystery at the heart of this story all came together to deliver and unique and gripping story. I found that the investigations, interviews, the characters, and the scenes all played a significant role in this book, and I found I was just as desperate to find the killer as the detectives were. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes detailed murder mysteries that are grounded but thrilling. Fast paced and intriguing, The Doom Murders is consistently entertaining.

Pages: 374 | ASIN: B0176IW9B6

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Sorcerers Prayer: Precious Blood

Kawika has just lost his wife of many years to cancer. He looks to live through the gut-wrenching pain and move on with life. But little does he know that he’d soon be running to preserve his own life. It all begins with the murder of a financial expert on the Hawaiian island where he stays. The unfortunate victim appears to have died in the strangest of ways. Joe Adams, the lead detective investigating the case then opts to bring in a Hawaiian anthropology expert to make sense of the ritualistic elements littering the crime scene. Kawika – a professor of Hawaiian anthropology – takes up the task and begins to uncover shocking truths alongside the detective. They find evidence suggesting that the murderer would kill again and Kawika and his relations are among his potential victims. But who is the mysterious killer and why is he on a mission to take out the descendants of the members of an ancient Hawaiian cult?

Luigi N. Spring does something special with Sorcerer’s Prayer. It’s a gripping Hawaiian tale dripping with suspense. A real page-turner that had me channelling my inner Sherlock Holmes in an attempt to solve the story’s mysteries. Written in an immersive style, Luigi was able to pull me into the story. On more than one occasion, I found myself muttering warnings to characters who were about to meet their doom.

Luigi sets the stage of the story on the captivating Islands of Hawaii. This allows him to weave thrilling bits of the Hawaiian culture into his tale and this adds so much color to the story. From the society’s history to the people’s language and practices, Luigi gives us a good descriptions of Hawaiian culture without appearing to take me through a history lesson.

Apart from making the cultural details of his setting fun, Luigi also includes them smartly. He sprinkles these facts in a way that they wouldn’t distract you from the book’s plot and themes. He ensures that his thoughts on the human mind, retribution, inclusion and love aren’t drowned out by the noise of too many details. This also allows the personalities of his characters to shine through. Kawika was particularly fascinating – a typical example of a seemingly weak protagonist who ends up rising to the occasion.

The author is a fan of mystery thrillers and claims to have been inspired by the works of Dan Brown and James Rollins. There’s no doubt he chose good models and didn’t do too badly with this book. If you have enjoyed the works of Luigi’s mentors, his style isn’t a far cry from theirs.

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Friends on Both Sides of the Law

Charlene Johnson

Charlene Johnson Author Interview

Blown Away follows a homicide detective tasked with solving a murder at his friends hotel when things quickly go awry. What were some sources that influenced this thrilling crime story?

Blown Away is part of a multi-author book series. The series was to take place in Las Vegas and the theme was to include casinos and/or crime/organized crime and four male friends. Each book was to focus on one friend and incorporate one or more of the other friends from the series.

Zack is a compelling character that I enjoyed watching develop as the novel progressed. What were some themes that were important to capture in his character?

One of the character suggestions for the series was someone in law enforcement. I chose a police detective with some personal baggage, a strong sense of justice and friends on both sides of the law.

What were some challenges you set for yourself as a writer with this book?

The action scenes were a challenge. I wanted it to be fast-paced and for the action to flow effectively. I had to do research on weapons and security systems to ensure those scenes were realistic.

This is book two in The Crimes of Passion Series. What can readers expect in book three?

True Lies, Book 3 by Stephanie Nicole has been released.

I plan on writing another book in the series in 2021. The main character will be Sasha Petrov. Even before finishing Blown Away, I knew I wanted to write Sasha’s story.

Author Links: GoodReadsTwitterFacebookFacebook GroupFacebook PageInstagramWebsite | Sterling Woods Series

Zack Daniels grew up in a rundown apartment complex off the Las Vegas Strip. At an early age, he learned to protect and support his mother and sister with determination and grit. After his sister is raped by the son of a local Russian mobster and commits suicide, he joins the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police to seek justice for her and to protect the public.

When a high-profile executive is murdered in his best friend’s hotel, Zack is assigned to track down the killer. The sole witness to the murder is a beautiful high-priced escort. He must let go of his vendetta against his sister’s rapist to work the case.

Sonnet Banks goes to the wrong hotel room and witnesses a murder. She is stunned. She knows the killer. He’s someone from her past. Someone she hoped to never see again.

During her police interview, Sonnet tells Zack she doesn’t recognize the killer, but Zack is convinced she’s lying. Zack needs the lovely, evasive woman to tell him what she knows and is willing to use seduction to get it. Yet, was it still seduction when all he could do was think about her?

Zack Daniels is so hot he makes Sonnet’s knees weak. He checks every box for her. Every box. But even if he wasn’t her protector, she can’t risk getting close to him or anyone. And she can’t tell him the truth.

After a bold attempt on Sonnet’s life, Zack enlists the help of two close friends and someone completely unexpected to protect her. The countdown to an all-out war looms before them. Would they all survive? Time was running out.

Celtic Knot: A Clara Swift Tale

Celtic Knot: A Clara Swift Tale by [Ann Shortell]

Celtic Knot: A Clara Swift Tale is a thrilling murder mystery story that combines true facts with fiction in a compelling historical fantasy novel. The book follows the story of a young housekeeper, Clara Swift, who is sought by Prime Minister John A Macdonald to help find out who assassinated his master, Mr. McGee. Clara’s tenacity and abilities get her embroiled in a plot with national consequences.

Ann Shortell has creatively used a well known historical moment to tell a riveting mystery. Clara is an intriguing character right from the start. She’s smart and quick-witted and was someone that I empathized with along the nail biting journey she’s thrust on. Her perseverance and determination to seek the truth was something that kept me flipping pages. The story takes places in Ottawa Canada during the 1800’s and the time period is captured in striking detail.

Alluring characters in a memorable setting pulled me into the story, but the one thing that I think elevated this story above genre fiction was the theatrical mystery driving this dramatic novel. Ann Shortell is able to give readers just enough to keep them guessing, just enough to root for characters, and contine to feed you those bread crumbs until the finale. I am not familiar with the historical events discussed in the book, but still found the book to be entertaining. I will say that a reader may need a good respect for history and willingness to absorb the history and time period to be able to truly enjoy this novel as Ann Shortell really dives into the era. Like Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander, it’s still entertaining, but you’ll be engrossed if you know about, or at least enjoy, the history discussed in the book.

Celtic Knot: A Clara Swift Tale is an enthralling historical fiction novel that places an unassuming but sharp girl at the heart of a spellbinding mystery.

Pages: 332 | ASIN: B07BN2TNQ3

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Miss Morris Must Die

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Miss Morris Must Die by Val Wilson is a mystery novel set in 1957 in Milford, England. Lady Felicity and Major Reginald Manners-Gore live in a large manor called Fig Tree Hall and they invite several guests for a murder mystery weekend. Their servants are required to take part in the fictional murder and give clues to help identify the killer. Six guests arrive, but shortly afterward, only five guests remain when one of them dies after suffering an unfortunate accident. Was it really and accident? Or was it murder?

I enjoyed the mystery and intrigue in this book. There were several hints that I picked up throughout the story which led me to suspect the answers to various aspects of the mystery before the truth was revealed, but there was enough misdirection that it kept me guessing until the end. All of this made me feel like one of the guests trying to figure out what was going on. The fictional murder mystery was intriguing although the clues sometimes lacked clear connections. However I doubt I would have solved any of the clues if I had been one of the guests, although I didn’t quite understand how the clues were supposed to lead the characters to the ‘killer’ if the weekend had gone as planned.

I liked the characters of Becca and Peter, and the way they interacted together. Several of the women especially were self-centered and cruel. I’m glad that the story ended happily for Becca and Peter.

I enjoyed the overall tension and mystery building throughout the novel. Trying to crack the clues as they came is always a fun logic puzzle. However, it seemed odd that the murder mystery weekend continued as though nothing had happened after one of the guests died. Most of the characters showed little reaction to the death except to worry that it might ruin their fun. And then a murder attempt of one of the other guests was brushed aside.

But these oddities aside, this book is a perfect fit for any mystery aficionado looking for something in the vain of an Agatha Christie novel. This is one intriguing murder mystery I would easily recommend.

Pages: 220

Giving the Ugly a Sense of Humor

Timony McKeever Author Interview

Timony McKeever Author Interview

The Gumdrop House Affair is a genre-crossing novel with elements of mystery, thriller, and crime drama as well. Did you start writing with this in mind or did this happen organically as you were writing?

I never considered what genre anyone would label or put The Gumdrop House Affair in when I began writing it. The character of Father William Yeats Butler also known as “The Monk”, is so multi-faceted both physically and spiritually and I have known him so intimately, he doesn’t fit just one genre. However, as the book developed from my initial outline it became its own entity. The characters, including the Monk became deeper and, in some cases, more complicated. Empathy, cynicism, anger, spiritual beliefs and violence at all levels came from unexpected sources.

An outline is a good start, but I feel you should never be a slave to it. As I write, my ideas seem to expand because I am more open to the flow of the work. This may sound odd, but often my characters surprise me. They tell me things or remind me of things that I never considered or have forgotten about in their development. The organic part of writing and character development is too important to dismiss because it wasn’t in your outline. It’s what makes it the writing the most fun and rewarding. Sometimes the most beautiful things appear that were never in any outline.

The characters in this novel, I felt, were intriguing and well developed. Who was your favorite character to write for?

The Ugly in all his forms and his confrontations with the Monk directly or indirectly. There are a surprising number of Christians who don’t believe in Satan because they don’t want to think about there being a Hell as a possible destination after they die. Every religious belief I’ve read about has some form or entity like the Ugly.

Even those who profess no faith question the seemingly senseless acts of cruelty and violence that man does to his fellow man. What motivates a timid Florist to go home one night, beat his family to death, then kill himself. Someone or something moved this man to commit such an unspeakable crime.

Being the Irish Catholic that I am, expressing how I feel the Ugly works and giving him human forms, a conversational voice and intellect gives the reader an awareness of the Ugly in a way they may not have had before reading any of the Monk Mysteries. He can appear as the 14-foot-tall winged purple creature with a long tail and scale like skin or a handsome man in an Armani suit, what ever works best at the time. If the Devil was at your party, he would be the most popular and attractive person in the room. Plus, he would be able to tell you everything you ever wanted to hear about yourself to make you feel special and superior.

Giving the Ugly a sense of humor, a temper, a social presence and a fantastic awareness of the nature of man made the Ugly a compelling character. His surprisingly humorous shenanigans with the Monk could not hide the true malevolence of his presence. This was intended to make the reader aware who the real enemy in our culture is.

The novel touched on many social issues prevalent today like crime and corruption. What were the themes you wanted to explore in this novel?

Thousands of men and women takes vows and oaths everyday and promise to live up to those vows and oaths as to their jobs as Priests, Nuns, Policemen, Doctors and Politicians. Those who live up to those oaths and vows seldom receive any press. Those who don’t live up to those oaths get more press than they deserve. However, the coverups by the Church, payoffs and ignoring all types of crimes has become culturally systemic in the Church and needs to be addressed.

Having been a Criminal Investigator most of my life I know firsthand these men and women are also human with stresses and problems like everyone else. Everyone has character defects, but too often society expects Priests and those who are in Law Enforcement and positions of trust to be faultless. When you spend so much of your day dealing with people as their worst or as victims it is easy to become extremely cynical.

As in The Gumdrop House Affair, everyone reaches their breaking point and responds one way or the other. Stress, both physical and mental are often internalized in the name of being a “Tough Cop”. What this does to personal relationships and your spiritually is something I wanted the Reader to understand and be aware of. These men and women are just as susceptible to the tricks of the Ugly as anyone else, badge notwithstanding. Often the badge can make it worse.

This is the second book in your Monk Mysteries series. What will book 3 be about and when will it be available?

In Vol 1 The Monk, Father William must deal with his personal epiphany as to his calling to the Priesthood and leave the Police Department. All the while dealing with Jack Laskey’s feeling of betrayal and assisting Laskey with one of the most high-profile murders in years.

In The Gumdrop House Affair the Monk gets to deal with the Ugly head to head and is put on notice the Ugly will be giving him special attention. The first two books take place in Denver. Vol. 3 Death by Kachina takes place in Sedona Arizona and Monument Valley on the Navajo Reservation. “Thou shalt not murder” is the original Aramaic quote for the 6th Commandment. The King James version says “Thou shalt not kill” which has always caused confusion to Christians and non-Christians alike. It is because most people think the definition of kill and murder are the same. Nothing could be farther from the truth.

If you are commanded not to kill why does the Church pray for victories in wars that are won by killing the other people. The Monk is dealing with spiritual burnout and takes a sabbatical in Sedona with old friends. It is not long before spiritual forces have the Monk in Monument Valley dealing with powers and principalities seen and unseen. He will have to struggle with both translations of the 6th Commandment. Due to be published in July 2018.

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The Gumdrop House Affair (The Monk Mysteries Book 2) by [McKeever, Timony]

A Jewish Accountant chokes on a Polish Sausage in a City Park. A young Catholic Priest is found wearing only his collar with a dead “Gay Hooker” hanging from the Ceiling. The body of Mafia “Construction Baron” is found in the parking lot of the Diocese of Denver.

It’s obvious how Denver Homicide Detectives, Sargent Jack Laskey and his partner Detective Mai Li McDuff would become involved with these events. But how does Father William Yeats Butler of the Franciscan Order become totally involved in every one of these events and more with his ex-Partner Jack Laskey.

An African American standing 6’5″and weighing 315 pounds of muscle, Father William Butler was an imposing figure in the robes of a Franciscan Priest. Father William was always known as “The Monk” because of his devout Catholic faith when he was an All American Linebacker at Notre Dame or a Narcotics and Homicide Detective for the ten years that he and Laskey were Partners.

In the tenth year of his police career the Monk felt a calling to the Priesthood. He felt as a Police Officer he was only dealing with the spiritual symptoms of humanity’s illness not the real cause of the illness, the Devil’s influence on common man. The Monk had an acute and powerful awareness of the Devil’s presence. Not a “6th Sense”, but a powerful gift from God.

The Devil, who the Monk calls “The Ugly” is now and always has been active on Capitol Hill. In The Gumdrop House Affair many of his deceptions and ploys are revealed as the Monk and his faith stand against the “Wickedness and the snares of the Devil.” Written by a Veteran Cop the pace is fast, violent, profane, humorous and honest.

A tribute to the men and women who give all to stay true to their Vows and Oaths as they protect a cynical public and a decaying culture.

You will fall in love with Father Augustus O’Shea, Aunt Rhoda, Popcan Charlie, Paisley Bob Lewis, Frank the English Bulldog and all the people who visit St. Benedict the Moor Catholic Church.

The Gumdrop House Affair”deals with the recent Sex Scandals in the Catholic Church and the effects in an honest Blue Collar Layman’s fashion.

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Love, Greed, or to Cover up a Crime

Cliff Protzman Author Interview

Cliff Protzman Author Interview

Dead Air follows Glenn, a security guard investigating the murder of his friend who was shot while on the air at a radio station. What was the inspiration for the setup to this thrilling novel?

Like Beck, my high school best friend owned a radio station. He sold out before being shot, however. The only constant we have is change. Commercial radio exemplifies that change.

Radio was born to play the music that record companies were trying to sell. It soon become the primary form of entertainment for Americans broadcasting the early soap operas. Then came rock and roll. Talk radio attracts a wide range of demographics. Interestingly, I graduated from the same school as Alan Freed, who coined the iconic term Rock and Roll.

Beck struggles to put the past behind him and move forward. The murder at the station was a perfect analogy of transformation as Beck seeks the killer.

Beck is investigating the murder of his friend Zito, who we slowly learn is not who Beck thought. Did you plan this slow reveal of Zito’s backstory or did it happen organically while writing?

Beck and Zito’s friendship started as teenagers. In the decades since school, they have drifted apart. Life leads people down many paths. We become more guarded, reluctant to share the many secrets with those we depended on in youth.

The victim is an important character in a story. Murderers rarely plan to kill without a motive. There must be a reason to want that person dead. All mystery plots boil down to one of three motives, love, greed, or to cover up a crime.

The investigation of any murder, real or fiction, is a slow process. Investigators don’t know the full story immediately. People conceal secrets, they lie. The search is a painstaking pursuit to reveal the skeletons in the closet.

I think of this novel as a whodunit story that puts fascinating characters in interesting situations. Are there any scenes in your story that you had fun writing?

Beck and Irene, his romantic interest/partner, track his missing client to a hunting cabin where she is being held. Nothing in his white-collar career has prepared him for this confrontation. They are fighting through thick woods and underbrush to reach the cabin while carrying guns.

In order to survive, he must physically subdue a hired enforcer and be prepared to kill if necessary. Beck has become a hard ass with a chip on his shoulder. He comes to the epiphany that Irene is the love of his life and he must protect her at all costs.

This is the scene where he recognizes the past is behind him. What the future holds he doesn’t know.

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

I am writing the second in the Glenn Beckert series, Dead Secrets. In this tale, Beck mistakenly dismisses a missing person case until the body is found on the river bank. Beck endeavors to track the missing time of the deceased’s final hours and find the killer. He is quickly immersed onto the dark web where the secrets of artificial intelligent are a commodity. As a further distraction, Beck’s perplexed by a startling revelation by Irene, creating further conflict for him. He’s searching for a killer in a world where secrets stay secret or you die. Dead Secrets will be available in late 2018.
I have just completed a short story, Who Swiped Bobby Bucco Bear, a Christmas mystery featuring Glenn Beckert. I plan to have this available next year.

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DEAD AIR: A Glenn Beckert Mystery by [Protzman, Cliff]Dead Air signals trouble at the radio station. Glenn Beckert discovers his high school best friend is shot in the head while on the air. Beck, the owner of Blue Water Security, is employed to provide security for the station.

He becomes willingly embroiled in the investigation by the not-so-innocent widow. The list of potential suspects is long, gleaned from the numerous extramarital affairs of the victim and widow. The pending sale of the radio station has created friction between his now dead friend, Richie Zito and the major stockholders. Motives for murder becomes increasingly murky after the search reveals an encrypted file on Zito’s laptop. 

Beck enlists the help of an old flame, Irene Schade, to break the code, revealing a money laundering network leading to the financial and political powers of his beloved city of Pittsburgh. Their collaboration ignites the flames of passion each had considered extinguished.

A former college teammate, police Lieutenant Paglironi delivers a message to back off. Arrogantly, he ignores his friend’s advice. The threats from less friendly sources are more ominous, forcing Beck to move in an unfamiliar world. A startling revelation from his client forces Beck to deal with his inner conviction of right and wrong, challenging the gray areas of his ethical principles. Betraying his client’s confidence could expose the killer. The alternative is to confront the suspect and take matters into his own hands. Either way his life is in jeopardy. 

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Dead Air

Dead Air

Dead Air: A Glenn Beckert Mystery by Cliff Protzman is a thrilling mystery story. Glenn “Beck” Beckert runs the security for a radio station where his friend, Zito, from high school works. While this friend is working, he is shot in the head. Beck finds himself involved in the investigation and it turns out that the list of suspects is fairly complicated. Far more people had motive to murder his friend than he anticipated. The widow and the victim were both unfaithful, giving plenty of motive. He was also on the outs with the radio station stockholders that were looking to sell. Then Zito’s laptop uncovers a mystery all of it’s own.

Beck finds Irene, an old love, to help him unlock the mystery of Zito’s laptop. The laptop reveals even more than they both could have expected. Meanwhile, they start to realize there is still chemistry between them. Add in both mysterious and not so mysterious threats on Beck’s life, and you have the premise of this thrilling novel.

I felt like this novel did a fantastic job of utilizing a standard mystery format to deliver a thrilling and engaging story. A ‘whodunit’ novel that develops fascinating characters and puts them in some interesting situations.

I enjoyed the depth of each character, which is important in building suspense in a mystery novel. Cliff Protzman has fully realized characters with their own personal quandaries about right and wrong, which is refreshing. So many writers create characters that don’t adapt and flow through the story. It’s nice to see someone really put some thought and love into their character development.

What has really made this novel enjoyable is the way the mystery unfolds. It felt like the murder victim had many layers that Beck was slowly peeling off, one by one, only to find that the person at the core wasn’t who he appeared to be. In a way, many of the characters were that way. Each having their individual things they wanted the world to see, but as the story line and the investigation continued, we get to see the real person underneath the facade. Some of those people were nothing like what they wanted everyone else to believe they were.

Dead Air: A Glenn Beckert Mystery by Cliff Protzman is a well written dark murder mystery novel. The story was easy to follow with twists that I could follow. Get yourself ready for this novel; it was a fun read.

Pages: 321 | ASIN: B0765VNM1K

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