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The Decision to Kill

When a crime is committed, numerous questions are asked. But if that crime rips apart the very core of a family, the only question to ask is why? When everything about who you are and who you love is torn apart, what have you got left to stand for? And would you overcome all the pain and sorrow to see justice prevail? Would you fight for your family? Is blood thicker than water? And in the end, could you say that you still love after so long of feeling nothing but hate?

The Decision to Kill: A True Crime Story of a Teenage Killer and the Mother Who Loved Him is brought to us by Leslie Ghiglieri. It is a memoir and true crime book that documents the investigation and murder trial of Dwayne Weir, a 16-year-old boy accused of murdering his father. The author shares all the gruesome details surrounding the case but does so in as respectful a manner as she can. The story is told from the perspective of his mother, Cherie. She talks us through the whole story, their lives, the events leading up to the murder, and what happens after.

The author has included real courtroom accounts and expert testimony on not just the actual murder but the mental state of Dwayne. What I really enjoyed about it was the use of actual letters written by Dwayne. This really gave an insight into his mental state and showed how far he retreated into the dark corners of his mind. But this tale is as much about his mother if anything. Her quest for the truth and her battle to understand is almost too hard to bare. Her struggle to move forward and reconcile her feelings for her son after what he did is heartwrenching. This is a story no mother ever wants to be a part of.

The Decision to Kill is an emotionally charged biography and true crime story. This gripping story will engage readers as they follow the tragedy and follow along as the family searches for the answer to why. A must-read for any fans of true crime.

Pages: 340 | ASIN : B09ZNKF28B

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Contracts For Sale

The disappearance of a wealthy CEO, corporate murder, and a ‘stealth’ company Eradication Inc. that operates below the radar providing a sophisticated hitman service: all of this forms the crux of Edward Izzi’s latest crime novel Contracts for Sale. This story begins with a chillingly efficient disposal of a well-dressed corpse in a vat of hydrofluoric acid—the perfect crime that leaves no body, no witnesses, no DNA. Paul Crawford, a journalist, along with the Chicago P.D and a news anchor Chaz Rizzo, work in a friends-and-enemies dynamic to solve the cases of Eradication Inc.’s ‘Houdini Victims’ with no discernible links to each other disappearing throughout the city of Chicago.

The irresistible lure that power and money has, coupled with the desire for revenge and control, is made very clear and is brought out well in this gritty story. Despite the millions that each of the seven shareholders of Eradication Inc. receive every year from the company’s nefarious activities, personal motives compel some of them to put out contracts against their personal enemies—something that the company strictly forbids.

The author does a good job of holding the reader’s attention with his account of the company’s workings, proven in the fact that the reader knows Eradication Inc. to be responsible for the murders within the first few chapters and is still engrossed in the story. The worlds of reporting and policing are de-glamorized in this book, with Crawford and Detective Dorian working to deadlines, reporting to superiors, and playing by the rules, something that is rarely shown in most police thrillers.

Contracts for Sale by Edwrad Izzi expertly combines strong characters, knowledgeable descriptions of Chicago’s geography and its environment, with the various fields of journalism, detectives, the mob underworld, and upscale society to tell a grounded and realistic police procedural story that is thrilling and compelling.

Pages: 334 | ASIN: B0BK4VQ21V

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If Trees Could Testify

If Trees Could Testify is an exciting crime novel about a cold case involving the murders of two well-off, elderly siblings. After police received a tip of dubious origins, a father and two sons are arrested for the murders. The story follows Alex Reynolds and his legal team in rural North Carolina and the surrounding areas as they try to untangle the details of the decades-old case. We meet quite a colorful cast of characters ranging from a biker with hooks for arms to an overeager, over-green public defender to an old Sheriff who may not have been all that he seemed.

The author, William D. Auman, just so happens to be the defense attorney who worked on the actual case on which If Trees Could Testify is based. The tale is laid out extremely well, giving the reader a period of discovery through flashbacks and pithy legal banter. The author also adds a nice bit of history for the locations, such as Madison County, Asheville, and the French Broad River, really bringing them to life.

The dialog is snappy but sometimes falls into the trap of having too much legal-ese. Auman blunts these moments with the author’s notes, which some may find helpful, but it breaks up the flow for me. The dialog seems a little too idealized at times, where the good guys are overly good, and the bad guys are really bad. Sometimes I felt like the author may be too close to the material. However, he is very passionate about the law and adequately defending people who are innocent until proven guilty.

If Trees Could Testify is an intriguing legal drama that offers readers suspense and some surprising moments. Actual crime readers will enjoy this thrilling novel as they follow along with Alex and his team to get to the bottom of this mysterious murder.

Pages: 286 | ASIN : B099KT1PBR

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An Old Shrew, A tortured Soul, and Everyday Angels

Olga is an eighty-year-old woman who lives by herself in her beautiful home. She prides herself in her pure lineage and her independence, always pushing forward in life by herself. After World War II, Olga’s community had an influx of Polish immigrants who were displaced by the war and whom Olga possessed no sympathy for.

To Olga, these immigrants were unwanted guests. However, Olga decides to make the most of the situation by using them to her advantage, making different people think they will be her heir. In reality, she’s leaving everything to an animal charity.

Agnes is a fifty-something-year-old mother of three who is feisty and has no problem calling out whomever she considers a hypocrite. She feels as if she has enough trouble with her teenagers at home to put up with other people’s businesses. So when Olga and Agnes meet, it’s like two opposite worlds collide, and each seems to have met her match.

When three murders are committed, fingers are pointed, and claims are made, everyone seems to have a connection. Will they figure it out? or will they let their personal feelings get in the way of the investigation?

An Old Shrew, A tortured Soul, and Everyday Angels is a historical fiction murder mystery by author Anderson Rosina. Set in West Germany, post World War II, it follows the story of three murders committed within a refugee camp where many displaced families live as a community.

The characters are extremely well written, with in-depth reasoning behind their behavior and complex relationships between them. The ending of the book is foreshadowed throughout and can be seen if carefully analyzing these interactions; everything comes full circle.

The story is evenly-paced, with plenty of details and events that lead up to a great reveal. Every single storyline connects to this grand reveal that will leave the reader absolutely flabbergasted. This murder mystery will rope you in from the start and keep you hooked until the end. I´d rate it five stars for its masterful narration and intriguing storyline, which I highly recommend.

Pages: 186 | ASIN : B08NFLZRQP

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Cause For Elimination

Cause For Elimination by Marla A. White tells the story of Emily Conners, a horse lover. Emily’s boss, Pamela Yates, has been viciously murdered, and Emily is determined to prove it. Justin Butler is a detective that happens to be handsome and wealthy. He wants to solve the Pamela Yates case, but things aren’t easy, and his interest in Emily isn’t helping.

The characters in the story are wonderfully written and have the reader questioning their motives and wondering just what they might do next. Emily’s character has depth and an engaging storyline that has you wondering about the things people get up to when you are not looking. The secondary characters are superb. Lottie, Emily’s best friend, easily makes the story more light and fun. Dennis, Justin’s colleague, and friend is the perfect voice of reason and usually brings Justin to his senses. The characters provide enough entertainment to keep you turning the pages.

The story’s setting is set in such a way that it’s a stunning backdrop for mystery and adventure. Emily’s love for horses brings a lovely element to the story. Horse lovers will cheer and gasp at the interesting way horses are woven into the story. Those new to all things horses might find themselves curious about these magnificent animals. The story also has another case, besides Pamela Yates’s murder, that brings friction and mayhem, which is interesting and keeps the reader glued to the story. Marla A. White has created a story that explores the lengths people will go to hide things. She’s written a tale many readers will enjoy and remember after closing the book.

Cause for Elimination by Marla A. White is a wonderful and entertaining read and perfect for those who love a riveting murder mystery with a dash of romance.

Pages: 323 | ASIN : B0B6SZ8Q7C

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Public Opinion

Public Opinion’s goal is clear. Pettijohn wishes to write an expose on the seedier aspects of the Hollywood elite whilst also writing an entertaining novel. He is one hundred percent successful.

The protagonist, Melvin (or is it Herbert?) is a modern-day chameleon and con man. He claims to be an IT consultant to the Hollywood elite but in reality, he is a grifter and con-man. His specialty is acting as a go-between for blackmail, where he likes to play both sides. He is also a public opinion hit man for hire. Give him a target and he will troll anyone’s good reputation into the dirt. For enough money, he’ll get you sent straight to jail.

Despite his moral reprehensibility, Melvin is a likable protagonist, even if in any other book he would be the villain. He is charming and witty with a worldview that makes a certain amount of twisted sense. He has dirt on everyone and he’s only scamming bad people who deserve it, so what’s the harm? He is also arrogant and selfish. Totally destructive to those he claims to love. Everyone has it coming.

As Melvin’s reputation as a modern-day Mr. Fixit improves he is pulled deeper and deeper into the seedy underbelly of Hollywood. Soon he’s no longer just a petty con-man but someone who helps cover up the worst kinds of crime imaginable. Soon Melvin’s already shaky moral compass is completely lost. Maybe he’s not as good as he thinks he is.

The villains in the book are too many to count but are obviously inspired by modern-day monsters like Weinstein and Epstein. The book is an expose on the ways these powerful men stay in power and those who help them.

Public Opinion is an excellent book but it’s not for the faint of heart. It is salacious and graphic. Pettijohn pulls no punches and certain scenes may upset some readers.

I spent the entire book rooting for Melvin to succeed whilst also rooting for him to fail. He is a protagonist who appeals to our baser urges. When the ending comes, it isn’t really a surprise, but it feels well earned. Any other ending to such a story would have felt false. I enjoyed Public Opinion immensely. Pettijohn knows his stuff and makes a good guide and an even better storyteller.

Pages: 264 | ASIN : B0B1PFWP9X

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Kick Ball Slay

Evann Myrick is an aging, widowed detective with a special gift for solving crimes. When he begins to investigate a string of murders that has been plaguing the world of West Coast swing dancing, he finds himself thrown into a hostile environment full of treachery, deceit, and murder. Myrick finds himself locked in a dangerous game of cat and mouse with a vicious killer that is closer than he thinks. As the body count rises and his investigation deepens, the killer’s attention turns to Myrick. With no witnesses, a long list of suspects and a world totally unknown to him, he must rely on all his skills as a detective to stop this murderer–before they stop him.

Kick Ball Slay, by Doug Dorsey, is a riveting murder mystery, set in the competitive world of West Coast swing Dancing. The story focuses on Evann Myrick, a brilliant detective that is tasked with solving these murders. Dorsey does a wonderful job of keeping readers in suspense and making it hard for us to guess the identity of the killer.

I enjoyed following Evann throughout the investigation as readers will be trying to put the pieces together with him. I am a fan of Dorsey’s style of writing. His language is descriptive and engaging. The author’s characters are well-developed and diverse, adding to the world of swing dancing. Dorsey has also done a great job of making all of the characters in the book seem like suspects, making it hard for the reader to pinpoint one person.

Kick Ball Slay is a fascinating whodunit crime thriller with a unique setting and a compelling cast of characters. With a compelling mystery at its core readers will be wrapped up in solving this spellbinding case.

Pages: 329 | ASIN: ‎ B09W921HLJ

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Lure of The Praying Mantis

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

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

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

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

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

Pages: 205

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