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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

The Monk

Billy has only ever wanted to liberate the oppressed. He worked as a cop for ten years only to leave that behind and join the priesthood. About half a decade since he left the force and last spoke to his ‘brother’, he is called upon to help with the murder of his goddaughter Julia. He can feel the heavy presence of the devil in Capitol Hill Denver. He is determined to fight with prayer. William Yeats Butler is no weak person. He is a worthy opponent. He is a warrior. Will the killers of Julia be brought to justice? Can Billy and Laskey ever get overcome the past?

Set in the 1980’s this book is the first in a two book series. It’s an account of suspenseful mysteries with a bit of a narrative on spirituality weaved in. Written by a cop, you really can feel the intensity of a police investigation. The pain of knowing the victims on a personal level. The valor required just to get out of bed each day and prepare for this job. One can also clearly see the sheer sacrifice that comes with the job. Timony McKeever is a brilliant storyteller who has mastered the art of setting the scene using simple language.

There are so many characters to love. Moving away from the obvious, Billy, one cannot help but admire the double edged sword that is McDuff. MLM can be tough and mean but she can also be sweet and charming. It is so strange yet so compelling to experience. Laskey on the other hand is a faulty human being. He is great at his job and has better fashion sense now but the cracks in his personality make for some comedic relief. The author, it seems, has developed each character for the sole reason of building a rapport with the reader. To invite the reader into Capitol Hill as opposed to just watching events unfold from the sidelines.

The prose is succinct, and the dialogue is engaging because things are kept short. It is especially fun to see Laskey and Billy fall into their old relations so quick after they are reunited.

Be warned, there is quite a bit of profanity. However, it serves to set the tone of the book and is yet another thing that paints an accurate picture of interactions between brothers in arms. This is a book worth reading. If nothing else you will appreciate what it takes for criminals to be brought to justice.

Pages: 330 | ISBN: 1513648349

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The Obsession

Dawn Brotherton’s new mystery novel, The Obsession, tells two intertwining stories. Jackie Austin, a young woman in the Air Force, has recently bought a new home, although her career means she can’t spend too much time there. Jackie is the first female missilier, and her job takes her away from home a lot. Weird things start happening in her house, and she doesn’t know if she’s just being absent-minded, if someone’s pranking her, or if it’s more sinister.

Meanwhile, someone is murdering young women nearby. The police are doing their best, but the killer is crafty. It seems like a serial killer is targeting young single women, who are a lot like Jackie herself.

The novel is told in alternating, third-person sections, bringing both story lines together for an exciting finish. The author blends factual details of Air Force work to create a realistic setting for this mystery novel. Some of the subplots really rely on everyday details about Air Force life, like the “slam book” where bored workers can leave useful notes for the next shift, chat by pen with off-duty coworkers, or start nasty rumors.  Jackie’s friendships and relationships were clearly shaped by military life and scheduling, and the experience of being a woman in such a male-dominated area. This makes Jackie an interesting and easily relatable protagonist, which in turn makes readers worry about her safety as the drama unfolds.

I particularly enjoyed the hints, because there was a great mix of foreshadowing and red herrings, and it was fun to try to figure it out along with Jackie. As the reader grows to care about Jackie, it’s hard not to view everyone around her with suspicion. When strange things start to happen, there are just so many possibilities! Is one of the guys at work joking around, trying to play a silly prank on a teammate? Is a male coworker jealous of her success and deliberately trying to frighten and unsettle her? Or is she the target of a killer?

Without revealing too many spoilers, I will say that I enjoyed Jackie’s good sense under pressure. Even when in danger, Jackie’s no damsel in distress. The novel blends some of the unique challenges of being a women in the Air Force with a murder mystery.

This is the first in a planned trilogy of Jackie Austin mysteries.

Pages: 213 | ASIN: B004J8HTH6

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Art Theft and Forgery

Vincent Panettiere Author Interview

Vincent Panettiere Author Interview

The Scopas Factor follows Mike Hegan as he finds himself in the middle of a double homicide and a kidnapping which sets him frantically searching for answers. What was the inspiration for the setup to this thrilling novel?

I can’t point to any one source for inspiration. There were many and I’m pleased they all managed to combine for The Scopas Factor. I’ve always been interested in art theft and forgery and I’ve been aware of the conflict in Laos as well as the looting of antiquities. I’d also read about Hmong women in the Minneapolis area creating story cloths. I bought one and framed it. Perhaps that moved me forward because when I saw the Mud Woman in my head all started to come together. I added Hegan from my first Hegan book A Woman to Blame*, started asking myself “what if?” questions, etc. The Gadsden flag, which in 1775 was the early motto flag of the Continental Marines, came into the story as a symbol of evil.

*A Woman to Blame has been re-edited and I expect it to be re-issued later this year.

Mike Hegan is an interesting and well developed character. What were some driving ideals behind his character?

I’m pleased you’ve found Hegan to be “interesting and well developed”. Wish I could tell you how well I planned to make him interesting and well developed. But there was no master plan. However he has evolved as a smart ass, and isn’t too keen on being told what to do (who is?). Since being incapacitated in WTB and regarded as expendable, he gravitates toward
the underdog.

I enjoyed the well thought out and intricate mystery that unfolds throughout the novel. Was this planned before writing or did it develop organically?

While there are many brilliant and successful writers who swear by them, I’ve never liked writing outlines. Each book I’ve written including TSF evolved organically. Lots of “what ifs” until it came together.

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

I have lots of threads for another Hegan novel, but no story as yet. I hope to have a book by the end of the year.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Website

The Scopas Factor by [Panettiere, Vincent]

A Hmong “story cloth,” a Revolutionary War battle flag, forged Picassos and a Russian drug dealer—finding the link between these disparate elements is the challenge Mike Hegan faces in The Scopas Factor, the latest mystery from Vincent Panettiere.

After his last investigation ends tragically, Detective Mike Hegan returns to Chicago from St. Kitts, hoping to put everything behind him. But his girlfriend, Diana, has other plans, and although he has no interest in the job opportunity she presents him—in a small northern California town, no less—he wants to please her. Upon his arrival in Weedley, he’s caught up in a kidnapping and two murders. A visit to Diana’s family in San Francisco only serves to deepen the mystery, as her father might be the link to a gang of antiquities thieves that might have something to do with the crimes in Weedley. And when Diana’s father disappears, Hegan takes off for Antibes in southern France, where he discovers that the mystery has only just begun.

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War Merchant – Trailer

In a world of espionage, deception, betrayal, terrorism, and murder, Dydre uses the next assignment Zsigmond gives her—the deliverance of new technology to terrorists—to escape his merciless grip.

Dydre, a single mother, is caught up in a world she doesn’t want. Her boss Clayborne Zsigmond—a black market arms dealer—uses her six-year-old son as a pawn to keep her in line. Visitation is a reward for her obedient behavior.

Forced to deal with the worst terrorists and dictators around the world, she uses disguises and a deadly poison to give her an edge in dealing with those that want to kill her. To stay alive she has honed her skills that few could defeat.

When an opportunity occurs to break free from Zsigmond, she moves fast but the risks she takes puts her on the firing line when her plan goes deadly wrong, and success looks bleak. Those she thought she could trust betray her. Not only is her life in jeopardy but also her son’s as she finds herself pitted against Zsigmond, his mercenaries, a double-crossing businessman, terrorists, the FBI, and a man from the Department of Defense.

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Shadow Resistance

Shadow Resistance by [Cyprian, B.J.]

Dom is a computer engineering genius in her own right. Rose’s instincts when it comes to human behavior are fine-tuned. Layla has the gift of an incredible memory. All three women are true forces with which to be reckoned and phenomenally good at their jobs. When Dom, a virtual recluse, is approached for help in solving a violent death, the lives of the three women quickly become entangled. Dom, Rose, and Layla reiterate that we are all one quick internet search away from an interaction we may or may not want.

B.J. Cyprian, author of Shadow Resistance, has created a world effortlessly blends fantasy and realistic fiction. With the elements of advanced artificial intelligence looming large in Dom’s storyline, readers are treated to science fiction laced with humor and heavily layered with relevant current events. While I’m not a fan of most historical fiction novels, I more than appreciate the references Cyprian includes in her characters’ story lines. Especially effective is the way in which the author works in the black and white doll experiment into Rose’s subplot. Cyprian knows how to hit readers where it matters. This is just one of the aspects of her writing that helps make her book so worthy of praise.

The entire scenario involving SARA is quite amazing. I don’t want to call SARA a character as it were, but I would feel remiss if I didn’t mention how incredibly fascinating her contribution to the book actually is. At times, Dom almost plays second string to the artificial intelligence she herself created. The back-and-forth between the two is entertaining to say the least and simultaneously frightening. To think that SARA is Dom’s only connection with the outside world is, in many ways, sad. In introducing Dom as somewhat of a hermit, Cyprian has given a certain richness to Dom’s story line and made her views of injustice all the more fiery.

Cyprian does a beautiful job of weaving history into every aspect of her plot. Page after page, she seamlessly meshes mentions of countless historical figures into the dialogue between characters. From impromptu history lessons given by Rose to the background revealed by Rose and Robert’s visit to Larry’s apartment, the book feels less like a lesson in history than a conversation on the front stoop of an elderly neighbor.

This unique work of fiction is a must read for anyone seeking technologically-based crime dramas. In addition, Cyprian’s work holds a special appeal for those who appreciate historical accuracies and current events woven throughout their fiction. The more I read, the more I found Shadow Resistance qualifies as a mystery. It’s impossible to fit Cyprian’s work into one slot–and I’m not sure I want to. It deserves a category of its own. Kudos to Cyprian on an outstanding first novel.

PagesL 648 | ASIN: B07NQKYGVP

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Murder/Mystery

Dave Frolick Author Interview

Dave Frolick Author Interview

The Cabin: A Murder Mystery is a twisting murder mystery that follows a homicide detective trying to solve a case in his hometown. What was the inspiration for the setup to this intriguing novel?

Buck Woods was a character I originally created as a back woods trapper when I attempted to write a story when I was 14 years old. I liked the name so I made Buck an NYPD Homicide Detective. Since I’m a fan of James Patterson and Stuart Woods, I decided to attempt a murder/mystery novel as my first book. I choose Orono, Maine for Buck’s home town just from looking at a map of the United States.

Before publishing the book, my wife and I took a trip to Orono to check out the location. By personally checking out the setting it helped me get the facts straight, and make the story more authentic.

Buck is an interesting character that I thought was well developed. What were some driving ideals behind his character?

I tried to develop Buck into a strong caring character that people can identify with. However, I gave him obstacles he had to deal with on a daily basis. PTSD from his Gulf War days, self-blame and feelings of guilt from the death of his teenage girlfriend, Doreen Warren and the murder of his NYPD partner, Cheryl Jenkins were a few of the challenges Buck had to work through.

I enjoyed the mystery that unfolded. Was this planned or did it develop organically while writing?

The Cabin: A Murder Mystery started as a rough idea. Once I determined what the story would be about, I sat down at my computer and began to write the first chapter. I walk every day for almost two hours.

This gives me time to think and plot my story and develop characters. I find this is the best way for me to write. I don’t sit down and plot every scene on paper like other writers do.

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

My next novel is now completed and will be edited this April. The book is called New York City Murders. Homicide Detective Buck Woods returns to New York City and teams up with a new partner, a beautiful woman named Kristie Karlsson. The novel is a stand-alone sequel to The Cabin: A Murder Mystery.

Author Links: Twitter | LinkedIn | Facebook

The Cabin: A Murder Mystery by [Frolick, W.D.]

Buck Woods, a stressed-out NYPD homicide detective and former Marine Scout sniper on sabbatical, returns home to Orono, Maine.

Upon arriving back in town, Buck meets up with his old high school friend, Detective Jim Barkowsky of the Orono PD. Jim invites Buck to stay with him, his wife, and their two children.

The next morning Buck and Jim go to check out Buck’s new home, an old run-down log cabin he inherited from his grandfather on two acres of land on Punshaw Lake. Upon entering the cabin, they discover the decomposing body of an unidentified man. The victim died from a single gunshot wound. It is obvious that he was murdered.

Buck and Jim set out to solve the murder by putting together the pieces of the puzzle. Unexpected twists, turns, and obstacles abound, leading to a climax that puts Buck’s life on the line.

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A Little Murder – Trailer

When ER nurse Angie Deacon buys a day of fishing on NH’s Lake Winnipesaukee for her husband’s fiftieth birthday, she has no idea they’ll wind up suspects in the boat owner’s death. Besides his wife Valerie, why would any of the five strangers on board want gruff, insensitive Nolan Little dead?

None of them knew her before today. Or did they?

As police storm the boat, Angie comforts the distraught widow, who quickly becomes the chief suspect. She was seen having an altercation with him earlier that day.

ut then…so did handsome Jamaican Montez Clarke, who by day is a computer geek. He even went so far as to pop Nolan in the nose.

Valerie begs Angie to help find the killer. If she refuses, Val swears she’ll ask Montez’s friend Sonny who is a bit on the shady side.

Will Angie regret her decision to aid Valerie once she learns the woman’s dark secret?

Why did Sonny bring two duffel bags aboard? They don’t appear to contain fishing gear. First they’re at the bow of the boat, then they are gone… And Sonny won’t talk about them.

Untruths aren’t the only cause for alarm as the pieces of the puzzle fall into place, leaving Angie wondering just exactly how her husband fit into the deadly equation… and if she is next on the killer’s list.

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An Intriguing Tapestry

Paul Scopel Author Interview

Paul Scopel Author Interview

Tarnished Tiara is a fascinating story about the mysterious death of an innocent young woman. What was the inspiration behind this book?

I attempted to weave an intriguing tapestry which pulled from three key inspirations. First, the untimely deaths of close family members who left little direction as to their end of life plans remained heavy on my mind. Subsequently, I obsessed over the importance for such planning in our life and issues of elder care. The remedy found itself in receiving professional advice. Next, I pulled from common themes in today’s media centering on vain beauty queens with fragile egos, multiple marriages, and mysterious deaths. It is not an uncommon event. Just before writing the book, I realized at least seven title holders of various beauty pageants, all of them influential people including a former Miss America, had actually been present in my younger years. Finally, I wanted to expose the disease of animal hoarding. From the moment I left the scene of a house in a hazmat situation destroyed by multiple cats, similar to the one in my book, I wanted to express my shock and fury over this real condition. Entering that house was the worst day of my life.

Cece and Liz are interesting characters that shared a deep bond. What were some themes you wanted to capture in their characters?

How deep loyalty and trust of certain family members is rooted

Parenting provides the roots of self-esteem

Dealing with elder care legal and mental health issues

This story takes us through many phases of the girl’s lives. What were some ideas you wanted to explore in this book?

The central idea is that some family members earn the enduring love which leads to trust, while other relatives provoke strained and broken ties. These pleasant and sour attitudes lead to choices which matter, in the end. Choices such as spouses, careers, where to live, and even pets. Hoarding, specifically the destructive effects of animal hoarding on health and property is a key idea I pursued. Further, untreated mental health illnesses and prescription drug abuse affects families and institutions across the country in real, tangible ways. Finally, as our population ages, there is a need to recognize that end of life decisions should be made proactively instead of burdening our loved ones.

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

I am starting to write two books currently.

“Richie and Crazy Joe”, a fictional sequel to Tarnished Tiara, examines the symbiotic relationship of two cousins, a quirky male and supportive female. The male falls under the influence of shady dealings of cousins on the “other side” of his family. Expected: Fall 2020.

“Dirt Court”, fiction based loosely on a female “All-State” basketball player in Texas in 1930, who also was my mother. It is about the life of an immigrant who succeeds despite abject poverty, language barriers, and girls playing basketball when it was not cool for women to be in a sport dominated by males. The high school girls’ team became known as the Legends of Texas and were undefeated in their senior year. Expected: Fall 2021.

Author Links: Amazon

Two women grow in surprising ways to ultimately switch roles as the idol falls from grace
To the outside world, Liz Perkins had it all – beauty, charm, poise, talent and many adoring men. One wonders, how could it all have gone so shockingly wrong?
When the flirtatious beauty queen, Liz, entered a room with her enigmatic flair, no one sensed her fragility – a result of the badgering of a demanding stage mother.
Over the years, the lives of two close girl cousins took dramatically different turns. Cece found long-term fulfillment in her rock, Ross Turner. But contrary to expectations, Liz’s legacy unfolded much differently than imagined. When happiness eluded her through multiple abusive marriages and dubious companions,she was left with the only company that offered her unconditional love – her many cats.
To the casual observer, Liz achieved success and fame. Though attaining celebrity through television, advertising, and public speaking, her search for happiness ended one mysterious and tragic night when everything changed…

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The Cabin: A Murder Mystery Trailer

Buck Woods, a stressed-out NYPD homicide detective and former Marine Scout sniper on sabbatical, returns home to Orono, Maine.

Upon arriving back in town, Buck meets up with his old high school friend, Detective Jim Barkowsky of the Orono PD. Jim invites Buck to stay with him, his wife, and their two children.

The next morning Buck and Jim go to check out Buck’s new home, an old run-down log cabin he inherited from his grandfather on two acres of land on Punshaw Lake. Upon entering the cabin, they discover the decomposing body of an unidentified man. The victim died from a single gunshot wound. It is obvious that he was murdered.

Buck and Jim set out to solve the murder by putting together the pieces of the puzzle. Unexpected twists, turns, and obstacles abound, leading to a climax that puts Buck’s life on the line.

Buy Now From Amazon.com

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