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Sometimes Truth and Justice Can Seem Irrelevant

Brian O’Hare Author Interview

The Dark Web Murders follows a detective who is chasing down a serial killer that thinks he is performing social justice on those above the law. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

Rather strangely, the man who cleans my car said one day, “Why don’t you write a book about a killer who writes about his murders?” I was immediately drawn to the idea and spent a time pondering the type of killer who would do this. I figured he’d have to be a narcissistic psychopath. It was an easy step from there to writing the book.

Did you create an outline for the characters in the story before you started writing or did the character’s personalities grow organically as you were writing?

This is the fourth book in a series, so the key characters have all been around for a while. I have been living a long time and have always been a keen observer of people and their idiosyncrasies. When I need a new character, he or she pops into my head, already fully developed with their own general personality. For some reason I immediately know them intimately. I don’t know why. It has always been like that for me since I started writing fiction.

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

I have often been struck by the extent to which trial outcomes can depend on the skills of barristers. Sometimes truth and justice can seem irrelevant. Insane as my killer is, I allowed him to play around with that theme in his blogs.

I have also been constantly conscious of the arrogance of people with money and power, how they can be impervious to the needs of others, and indeed, how corrosive to the spirit power can be. The ‘Club’ allowed me to explore that theme as well.

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

The next book in The Inspector Sheehan Mysteries series is called The Trafficking Murders. It has recently been published and is currently available from Amazon and other outlets.

I AM NEMEIN. I AM EMOTIONALLY DETACHED FROM MY KILLINGS. I AM NOT, THEREFORE, A MURDERER. I AM AN INSTRUMENT OF NEMESIS, A PUNISHER.


This is a theme running through a number of blogs on the Dark Web, written by a serial killer. He is highly intelligent and employs philosophical argument to justify a series of gruesome murders.  However, he describes the killings in lurid detail, and with such gloating relish, that he utterly negates his delusion of detachment and reveals himself to be a cold-blooded, narcissistic psychopath.

Sheehan and his team rush headlong down a series of blind alleys in the pursuit of the psychopath, who continues to murder his victims with impunity. He is fiendishly clever, utterly ruthless, and tests Sheehan’s famed intuition to the limit.  Indeed, Sheehan only learns the truth during a horrific climax when some members of his team experience a most harrowing ‘laceration of the soul’ that they will never be able to forget. It is unlikely that the reader will either.

The Dark Web Murders

As Judge Neeson holds a party with well-established millionaires, other judges, and famous revelers, his judge’s judicial assistant is said to have been tasked with meeting someone claiming to carry incriminating files on him. The following day the assistant finds the judge’s house vacant with only Neeson’s dead body left on the floor. Head bashed in and body assaulted beyond belief, Detective Chief Inspector Sheehan is put to the task of solving the murder of Judge Neeson.

Over the following weeks, Sheehan discovers that they are dealing with a provenly deranged serial killer as more bodies are uncovered. And as fate would have it, each murder is documented and justified by the killer on a blog posted to the Dark Web called “Niemen,” which launched the same day Judge Neeson was discovered. Each post proceeds with decoding the meaning of old philosophies surrounding vigilante work and justice of the people and the fate of the victim the author decided to unleash these philosophies on.

Author Brian O’Hare’s gripping book The Dark Web Murders is filled with impressive realism and has been well researched. Rarely seen these days in a lot of fictional crime, the attention to detail truly makes this enthralling book stand out against the crowd. Using a slow-burn approach, the author introduces small details about the setting and crime scenes to the reader. This attention to detail continues throughout, creating a complex plotline. In the style of a hard-boiled mystery, O’Hare gives extensive and often gruesome details to his murder scenes. This reminded me of Dan Brown’s works, which would leave readers with no doubt about the suffering the victims endured.

One characteristic that makes this unique novel stand out is the character development. Each character is distinct and memorable. The side characters are lovable and realistic, giving readers someone to relate to as they progress through some of the darker moments. The crimes have a poetic justice feel to them with the killer’s use of philosophical ideas that presents a calculated series of killings.

The Dark Web Murders is a riveting crime thriller that will have readers on edge till the end. The mystery behind the murders is engrossing as clues will lead readers down false trails and keep them guessing until the reveal.

Pages: 322 | ASIN : B07NYH1FK4

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Demons, the Great White North and the Blind Detective 

Demons, The Great White North and the Blind Detective, is an intriguing novel about a blind detective and a near-future world of enhanced dogs, chimps, and flying cars. The story primarily takes place in northern Alaska and Canada and follows Peter Shaw and his assistant, Watson, an intelligently-augmented talking golden retriever. With the help of the Canadian Mounties, they investigated a series of gruesome crimes committed against the native Inuit people of the region. Intertwined with this story are the happenings of the Integrated North American Space Force, where a seemingly unconnected tragedy has a far-reaching impact on the Inuit people and the world itself.

Author Shawn Adair Johnston uses shifting points of view as he flows through his narrative. We experience this new futuristic world through the eyes of many characters, including the naive and innocent Watson, the truly detestable Lt. Colonel Rex Trantor, and the slow-rolling existential crisis that is Sergeant Aristotle Jones (an intelligent chimp who works for the Mounties). We see them through shifting inner monologues and consciousnesses, where many characters explore what it is to “be,” including their ideas of right from wrong and even their pondering on whether on not they have a soul.

I feel that this narrative structure is a bit jarring at first. The point of view changes abruptly from man to man, dog, chimp, antagonist, and possible new antagonist. However, seeing the points of view of particular characters really enhances the suspense at times and providers some much-needed information to follow the clues of the mystery.

Much of the story is told and not shown, as actions and events are expressed to the reader through the characters listing a series of things that happened or will happen. I feel that more dialog between characters would have enhanced the storyline more than reading their own thoughts on what they were experiencing and what that meant to them. However, the internal dialog of the characters did provide a unique perspective given the diversity of the characters in this story.

Demons, The Great White North and the Blind Detective, is a captivating story that is not too overpowered by the technological marvels of the sci-fi setting while incorporating humor from the characters. In addition, the fantasy elements brought in add an intriguing aspect to the plot that blends the two genres into a fantastic read.

Pages: 290 | ASIN : B09QD6SVNG

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The Dance Towards Death 

The Dance Towards Death, by Tejas Desai, is the third volume of The Brotherhood Chronicle. It narrates the story of some of the survivors in a criminal world. Among them, there’s the former private investigator Niral that is involved in drug affairs, and policeman Nat who’s looking for his son after having abandoned him and trying to understand what’s behind his parents’ death. Even being the third book in the series, it stands alone, and readers are given enough background in the opening chapters to not feel lost in this action-packed conclusion to the series.

Desai writes in a descriptive manner, taking readers to Thailand, India, Chiang Mai, and Queens, New York. Readers will experience the dramatically different cultures and ways of life from the images that Desai creates with his words. While experiencing the diverse cultures of the world, readers are given plot twists and suspense as the characters go through their thrilling adventures seeking to solve their own mysteries that have caused their lives to intertwine.

I really appreciated the insight into different cultures and religions, primarily focusing on different characters and their backgrounds from chapter to chapter. There are different stories that take place in different parts of the world, but they’re all interconnected. The respectful nature that Desai treated the different cultures and religions that he writes about is commendable.

The character’s backgrounds, such as Hinduism, Buddhism, and Islamism, are integrated into the storyline rather than just thrown out as information that may otherwise feel out of place. This is important to show a clash of cultures. We also get to see significant social problems such as racism and homophobia. In addition to that, many Indian, Thai, Australian and American terms are frequently used, making it feel more authentic. Still, readers won’t be lost in translation as at the end of the book, there’s a glossary with all the necessary terms.

This action-filled novel will take some time to experience all the characters’ journeys and follow them on their search for freedom or for relatives. However, in my opinion, the most meaningful point of this novel is the focus on what the characters find along their path, not necessarily what they’re looking for.

The Dance Towards Death is a riveting novel that will have readers in suspense as the characters navigate the thrilling adventures around the world. Readers looking for an authentic experience with different religions and cultures will find this crime thriller the perfect escape.

Pages: 417 | ASIN : B08BBGKHJX

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My Own Growth and Inner Conflicts

Glenville Ashby Author Interview

Glenville Ashby Author Interview

In your book In Search of Truth: A Course in Spiritual Psychology you provide insight into death, the afterlife and the purpose of life itself using your knowledge. Why was this an important book for you to put together?

For close to a decade my column on religion, philosophy and culture has enjoyed tremendous success. Over the years my views have changed, a refection I believe, of my own growth and inner conflicts pertaining to life, God and spirituality. The book conveys this conflict and what I refer to as, the evolution of spirit. I selected some insightful articles that are sure to evoke strong reactions in support of, and against my beliefs. Scores of articles have been left out but I do feel that this work, despite its paradoxical tenor is systemized and thematic.

Given the growing spirit of individualism in the face of excesses by the so called religious, I think the book is very timely and in many ways, a product of the cultural zeitgeist.

This book was about faith, but wasn’t directed at any one faith, and I appreciated that. Was this intentional or is this where your understanding leads?

Spirituality, religion, faith in something bigger than self, or faith in one’s own strengths, are part of our constitution. It is important for us to recognize and respect the divers opinions out there. Uniformity of thought in any discipline or pursuit, is counterproductive and an enslavement of the human spirit. More than ever, with the revolution in communication, we have a unique opportunity to learn from each other.

This is a collection of selected writings. What was the process like in selecting and putting this book together?

Great question. I could have looked at readers’ response to articles when they were first published and selected those that were most popular. I guess the result would have been an anthology or compilation of best articles based on ostensible appeal. However, I featured the most thought-provoking writings, those that buck the trend and allow for critical thinking and introspection. This is where I am at in my evolution, and I wanted to share my inner turmoil as I wrestled with life’s mysteries. At the same time, I was able to convey moments of self-assurance and the joy of self-discovery.

What do you hope readers take away from this book?

The book raises soul searching questions on so many subjects that we have grappled with since the dawn of time. What is truth? Is there an afterlife? Is suicide ever justified? Is reincarnation possible? Are there limits to human potential? I also delved into transpersonal psychology and consciousness studies…and of course, eastern spirituality. This is an eclectic offering that will definitely stir debate.

Author Links: GoodReadsTwitterFacebookWebsite

In Search of Truth: A Course in Spiritual Psychology: Selected Writings 2013 - 2018 by [Ashby, Glenville]In Search of Truth: A Course in Spiritual Psychology by Glenville Ashby is an anthology of the author’s work. Ashby is a scholar in Philosophy and New Age Thought who first became involved in finding answers to the mysteries of spiritual life when his mother passed away in 1980. The culmination of his search resulted in a collection of writings with the latest, In Search of Truth, being something of a magnum opus that spans from 2003 – 2018. Ashby offers insight into a host of common questions from enlightenment and reincarnation to suicide and the hour of death, covering a plethora of topics in between, from the evil eye, to the third eye, to keeping an eye on the spiritual world (including a section on Ouija boards). 

This is a fascinating collection offering something different than your usual books on spiritual psychology. It is fully accessible for those who may want to refer to it time and time again for spiritual guidance. If you are looking for an intellectual and stimulating read, with an openness to many different outcomes, look no further than In Search of Truth.

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Derailed

Derailed (Clayton Falls, #1)4 StarsThe Clayton Falls series by Alyssa Rose Ivy is a collection of three romantic books: Derailed, Veer, and Wrecked. All three books are set in the town of Clayton Falls, North Carolina, rooted in the lives of 20-something adults, most of whom grew up together. The first book, Derailed, introduces Molly Sander, a first-year law student who is struggling with the recent death of her fiancée, Adam. She leaves school to return to Clayton Falls for the summer, hoping to give herself time to heal. Her ex-boyfriend, Ben, is thrilled to see her, but her best friend Kelly is determined to set her up with Gavin, a police officer who works with Kelly’s husband. Molly wants to confront her fears and heal, but does she need the comfort of an old love or the excitement of someone new?

Veer focuses on Becca, Molly’s best friend from college. When Becca doesn’t get the summer internship at the Boston DA’s office, Molly helps her get a job with a local lawyer, and Becca comes to Clayton Falls for the summer. Molly is eager to introduce her to everyone and the single men begin to circle like sharks. Becca has more potential suitors than she wants, but one of the men from Clayton Falls turns out to be more than she expected, and they set out to pursue their dreams and lives together.

Wrecked picks up with Jake, Ben’s brother, drunk and fighting at a party. A DUI accident lands him in the hospital, and Emily, an ICU nurse, is attracted to him. He gets her number and asks her out, but when he discovers that she has a son, the date falls apart. Emily doesn’t want to see him again. While visiting her parents, her brother’s best friend Austen admits his longtime crush on her. Jake’s past and his drinking problem make her wary. Dating with a toddler in tow is going to be difficult, and Emily has a lot of choices to make.

Having all three of these novels in one volume is a great chance to immerse yourself in the lives of the characters. The Clayton Falls series is driven by the personalities and relationships of these lifelong friends, so following them through several years of their lives is a real treat. I’m sure you’ve heard of “cozy mysteries” but is “cozy romance” a thing? It should be, and this is a great example of that. Part of the appeal here is the small-town feel where almost everyone knows each other, and while they may move away, no one loses touch. This is both a safe harbor for some and a launching pad for others, and you’ll enjoy your visit there.

The author doesn’t shy away from real-life situations that everyone faces. The characters deal with tragic deaths, grief, and real-world situations like assault, addiction, and single motherhood. Since most of the main characters are just starting out in life, high-school crushes, loyalties, and disputes are still fresh, sometimes violently so. Since people are all up in everyone else’s business, keeping secrets is almost impossible, which can cause conflicts of its own. The author gives us a cast of unique, fully-realized characters with their own fears, hopes, and goals. She has a talent for dialogue, and by the end of the series, you’ll feel like you’ve known these people for years.

 Though I’ve tried to avoid spoilers, my one criticism of the series is that it’s far too easy to see how these young romantics are going to pair off. The love triangle doesn’t quite connect on all three points, and sometimes feels forced. There are plenty of obstacles, though, with jealousy, behavior that seems stalker-ish, borderline sexual harassment, or actively trying to sabotage a relationship. The characters learn and grow throughout the books, using their high school and college experiences to emerge as adults ready to start lives, careers, and families of their own.

If you’re a fan of romantic stories with characters who feel so real that you’ll see yourself and your friends in them, you’ll enjoy the Clayton Falls series. Don’t miss the bonus chapter of an upcoming book at the end.

Pages: 260 | ISBN: 1479209139

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