Blog Archives

Unseen

Unseen: Evil Lurks Among Us by [Jeffrey James Higgins]

Unseen, Evil Lurks Among Us, is a gripping thriller written by Jeffery James Higgins. The novel has a strong line up of characters, an interesting plot and enough action to keep the reader glued to the book.

There are two main characters in this story, Malachi and Austin; the traditional hero and villain. Rookie Homicide Detective Malachi is a former economics academic, turned detective after the death of his father in the Boston Marathon bombing. Austin is a man hell-bent on revenge after he lost his girlfriend at the hands of an Islamist infiltrator. An ex-solider, he plots his revenge whilst keeping up his appearance as an innocent bachelor who lives with his beloved dog Sophie. These are complex characters, as both show that they have both good characteristics and traits, as well as more disturbing aspects to their personalities. At times both fight their own inner demons. These two characters are well developed and are supported by a range of minor characters including a girlfriend, children, an ex-wife and friends and colleagues. Although they aren’t as well developed, all the minor characters are an integral part of the story.

Unseen, Evil Lurks Among Us is set in present day Washington. Higgins draws the readers into the story by describing the setting in detail. Opening the story with a scene in a bar, the action moves quickly to the outdoors, where even the oppressive humidity is described. Numerous sounds, sights and smells are described throughout the novel, as the story unfolds across various parts of Washington.

This is a fast-paced thriller that follows the typical structure, but the story is told from two points of view (Malachi and Austin’s). It starts with an action packed first chapter, with numerous clues and red herrings. Jam packed full of adventure; it keeps the readers guessing right until the end!

Unseen, Evil Lurks Among Us is a fast paced and enthralling novel. The characters are well developed and interesting, and the storyline, while complex, is still easy to follow. But most importantly for this genre, the plot just keeps you guessing with many twists and turns along the way.

Pages: 377 | ASIN: B09BLN26MG

Buy Now From B&N.com

Dark and Emotional

Joseph D'Aquisto
Joseph D’Aquisto Author Interview

Left for Death follows a seasoned detective on his last case that turns out to be connected to a child trafficking with connections to the police department. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

I wanted to create a story that was dark and emotional. I’ve read many cozy light-hearted Murder She Wrote kind of mysteries, but that’s not my writing style. I wanted it to be something that would hit the reader hard and make them wince a bit. Some reviewers have stated they felt the story was a bit too dark, and too much like real life, but that’s exactly what I was aiming for.

Detective John Sandes is an intriguing character. What were some driving ideals behind his character’s development?

He is loosely based on my late father Joseph D’Aquisto Sr. who died in 2002. Much of his back story is similar minus his career as a police detective. Both of their personal experiences with family members draw certain parallels. He had always talked about moving to Seattle when he was alive. That never happened for him. Funny enough, it was actually me who ended up living in the Pacific Northwest for several years in Vancouver, B.C. and spending lots of time in Seattle as well.

I kind of created this character using my father as a base. As I write a follow-up to Left For Death, I have to remind myself that John Sandes is not my father, and there are differences between the two. Sometimes I think to myself “Would my father really do something like this?”, well maybe not, but that’s okay because this character isn’t actually my father. I’m become more accepting of the fact that the characters are splitting a bit. The character of John Sandes will become more of his own in future books.

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

I think child trafficking is a huge problem today, and has been for a very long time. It was important for me to look at a serious crime. I didn’t want a reader to pick up my story to read about something petty.

Another theme that was important to me was family issues. I think many people assume that people have relatively normal upbringings. One of the most important lessons is not assuming everyone has similar upbringings and home-life situations

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

I am working on a sequel to this book. John Sandes will once again be the main character. It takes place a few years after.

Author Links: GoodReads | Amazon

Seattle Police Detective John Sandes is involved in one of the toughest cases in his career. What starts out to be a routine homicide case turns out to be much more. He constantly struggles with past mistakes in his personal life and that drives him to solve this case. At sixty-five, fighting physical health problems and emotional distress from his past, he knows his career days are numbered.

Sandes receives a missing person report for Leo Johnson. He finds Johnson dead in the bathtub from a gunshot wound to the head. While investigating the scene, Sandes discovers a photo of an eleven-year-old girl on Johnson’s bed. Sandes’ investigation finds him butting heads with a child sex trafficking ring. Sandes knows it is his very last case and that he must do whatever it takes to solve it before his retirement which is soon approaching.

Left for Death: A Noir Detective Novella

Left for Death: A Noir Detective Novella by [Joseph D'Aquisto]

Left for Death: A Noir Detective Novella by Joseph D’Aquisto is a compelling crime fiction novella told from the perspective of Detective John Sandes. He details the riveting series of events that lead up to a gruesome crime, which happens right before he retired from the Seattle Police Department. It all started when he’d found a dead body at a crime scene and discovered a shocking connection to a little girl’s disappearance from a year ago. What soon followed was a tangled web of deception that led to a child trafficking ring and police corruption in his own department.

D’Aquisto knows how to tell a gripping crime tale with fast-paced action and lots of drama that colors every page. The events of the story are rich with intricate details of real-life ripped-from-the-headlines stories, like an episode from the television show Law & Order.

What I enjoyed about this crime mystery is that we get to learn about Detective Sandes’ life as well. He’s a veteran that reflects on his past mistakes while grappling with his physical and mental health. This makes Sandes both grounded and relatable, but still a very intriguing character.

The novella creates some vivid imagery of the locations and setting for the story which really brings to life Seattle and New York City and allows the characters to inhabit these spaces and makes the scene a part of the story rather than just the background. The story is very detailed as well, giving readers a great visual of the crime scene, the evidence, and the wild goose chase we’re taken on that goes in some unexpected directions, all the while relying on the skills of Detective Sandes to reveal the mystery to the reader.

While I enjoyed the mystery at the heart of this story, and the methodical unraveling of that mystery, I felt that the momentum of the story is sometimes slowed by a wealth of backstory and various moments where we’re told things rather than shown things. John Sandes is an interesting character and I think getting more of the story from his point of view would have been fascinating.

Left for Death is a gripping crime novel which summons the best elements of the noir genre that puts a stirring character in the midst of an enthralling mystery with thought-provoking repercussions.

Pages: 165 | ASIN: B093LLWTBJ

Buy Now From B&N.com

Indy Perro – Author Interview

Indy Perro
Indy Perro

Your book Central City is a noir mystery with a gangster helping a detective solve a case after a gang war erupts in this fictional Midwestern city. In the past, the detective put this gangster in prison. Yet they work together to stop a serial killer. It’s a unique match-up. Where did the idea for these characters come from? 

I wanted to blur the lines between good and evil, kind and corrupt. Developing two protagonists with different goals, I was able to come at the core ideas of the novel through contradiction, which, to me, creates an interesting and volatile story.  

Mysteries naturally contain an idea at their center: if the detective could only see the situation in its totality, they would find the solution. That’s what drew me to this type of story. One thing that drives me crazy, however, is the bland sense of right and wrong so often perpetuated in police procedurals. In reality, at least in my experience, no criminal believes they’re a villain. They rationalize their behavior like the rest of us, like the police who need to decisions about where protection begins and civil liberties end. We slowly become the people we’re going to become, one choice at a time. Often, we don’t realize who we are until we see ourselves in the reactions of another, the criminal in the cop’s eyes or the law that restricts liberty. 

That’s the story I worked to tell. Pairing Kane and Bayonne gave me both sides, and Central City gave me the story’s center. 

The city in Central City is like a character itself, struggling for identity. A brilliant setting with cops protecting criminal enterprise and criminals doing good deeds. It’s noir world building at its finest. Tell us about the creation of this setting, and will there be a sequel? A series?

The sequel, Journeyman, comes out in the Spring of 2021, and I’m planning six more novels, a total of eight books in the series, that follow Kane Kulpa, Detective Vincent Bayonne, and Central City from 1992 into the twenty-first century. 

I grew up and spent most of my early life in and around Midwestern cities. When I moved west, I discovered (to my surprise) that I’d come of age in an unusual environment and that many people had strange ideas and fears concerning cities, particularly the working-class neighborhoods I’d always called home. I chose this setting in order to develop my memories and experiences, to explore how cities, particularly the cities of my youth, have changed, and to subvert expectations pushed through television and cinema, expectations I find silly and occasionally offensive.  

How can interested readers find out more about you and your work?

I have two websites where readers can engage my work. At https://centralcitybooks.com readers can explore the characters and setting of Central City and find short stories that explore the histories and exploits of Detective Vincent Bayonne, Kane Kulpa, and the rest of the antiheroes and villains of Central City. 

Those interested in what I’m doing beyond Central City may visit https://www.indyperro.com. Readers can learn more about me, the novels that have influenced my work, other artists who are doing interesting things, and events where I’ll be participating. Everyone is welcome to check out these sites, join my newsletter, and follow me on Facebook @authorindyperro and twitter @IndyPerro. 

Interview by HenryRoiPR

A noir mystery set in a fictional midwestern city. As a gang war erupts, a gangster and the detective who sent him to prison work together to stop a serial killer and bury the past.

Kane Kulpa learned which laws could be bent and which broken after a short stint in prison courtesy of Detective Vincent Bayonne. Bound by time, integrity, and the reality of life in Central City, Bayonne and Kane made peace with the past. Now, gang tension spirals from corrupt to deadly, and a series of murders stresses Kane and Bayonne’s uneasy alliance. Kane balances on a razor’s edge to protect his bar, power, life, and family, and Bayonne hustles to keep another lonely man from being strangled.

Central City is a city struggling for identity. The cops protect the rackets, and the criminals shelter the injured. Innocence is only an appearance, and rage finds a voice.

Noir

Noir: [Or, When the Night Comes] by [Derek R. King]

Noir is the French word for “dark,” and in his first poetry book, Derek R. King takes us on a chilling and deeply emotional journey through the different forms of darkness. Using the French term as a metaphor for the less desirable but unavoidable elements of life, King paints a picture of what it feels like to be plagued by these entities. He explores the depths of depression, loneliness, grief, heartbreak, and despair.

King communicates his themes using a mixture of verve and solemnity. This combination strikes several emotional chords and ensures his words reverberate in your mind long after hearing them. It’s the sort of feeling you want to get from poems that touch on the aspects of life that are shrouded in darkness. This feeling helps us acknowledge that these dark elements exist. And instead of running from them or repressing them, we challenge them.

The beauty of King’s work also lies in the simplicity with which he writes. His words are not only vivid and piercing; they are also easy to grasp. King obviously paid attention to Hemingway’s reply to Faulkner’s criticism: “poor Faulkner, does he really think big emotions come from big words?”

Apart from King’s apt choice of words, he applies thoughtful figurative expressions that add color to his dark themed poems. He brings the concepts to life by pulling the emotions out of the dark corners of the mind and into the light where they can be properly felt and understood.

The authenticity with which King writes is also worth mentioning. He supplies an honest appraisal of the emotions which lurk in the crevices of our hearts. He’s raw, direct, and brutally candid, as he makes us feel what we feel but cannot acknowledge. There’s a dark side. It’s not pretty, but it exists, and King isn’t afraid to point it out.

I believe King’s book helps us come to terms with several unpleasant emotions. His work is an interesting read if you want to take a deep dive into the sea of self-awareness that few venture into.

Pages: 154 | ASIN: B08HSKJLGX

Buy Now From B&N.com

The Secret Angels

The Secret Angels (Darya Nandkarni's Misadventures Book 2) by [Smita Bhattacharya]

The Secret Angels (Darya Nandkarni’s Misadventures Book Two) by Smita Bhattacharya is a sensational mystery story set in the Bandra neighborhood of Mumbai. Over the past five years, three girls have disappeared from Chapel Road in the months of June and July. Although no bodies have been found, the locals believe it is the work of a serial killer that the media has dubbed the Angel Killer. After Darya moves to Chapel Road, she hears about the stories. Then women start disappearing from the villa where she and her friend Veda are staying. When Veda goes missing too, Darya is determined to find out what happened to her and the others. Will Darya end up being the next victim?

I enjoyed the mystery aspect of the book and I liked following the clues as more and more information was slowly revealed. The descriptions of the neighborhood and businesses and homes were detailed and helped me to create a clear picture of the setting. I wanted to know what would happen next and it kept me interested in reading the story. The ending was not at all what I had suspected. Several of my initial conclusions turned out to be incorrect, and I liked that I was not able to guess the truth early in the story. The lingering questions at the end of the book left me looking forward to reading the next book in the series, Who Threw Draco Down the Chimney? (Darya Nandkarni’s Misadventures Book Three).

While I did enjoy reading this novel, I felt that there was a lot of backstory and description of secondary characters at the start of the book that slowed the pace and made it hard for me to get into the story at the beginning. Darya, in the end, is an interesting character, but I felt that there were aspects of her character that were revealed part way through the book that felt as though they didn’t fit with the image of her that was created in the beginning.

The Secret Angels is still a riveting crime story that has a compelling mystery at its core that will easily draw in fans of noir crime novels.

Pages: 295 | ASIN : B07ZMR9MB4

Buy Now From B&N.com

El Camino Drive

John Valentino isn’t going anywhere fast. The middle aged, Detroit-based Detective has just been suspended from work after beating a colleague to a pulp, his marriage has fallen to pieces, and his drinking has spiraled out of control. Haunted by the events surrounding his father’s murder almost forty years before, John is self-destructive, bubbling over with rage and guilt, making him the prime suspect when his father’s killers start turning up dead. But is John really capable of putting an end to his family’s decades old vendetta, or is there someone else moving through the city undetected, enacting their long-awaited revenge?

The gripping new novel by renowned crime author, Edward Izzi, El Camino Drive, is an easily-accessible thriller, which delivers its readers jolt after jolt. Cleverly constructed twists and turns will keep most crime fiction fans guessing until the very end, with a range of secondary characters weaving in and out of different decades and narratives. John’s troubled present is interwoven with his father’s own checkered history, and Izzi is more than capable of handling the slips in time to probe family ties, trauma, addiction, justice, and redemption. 

You can’t help but like the book’s flawed protagonist, with his blatant disregard for authority and often misplaced good intentions, however little time is spent with female characters, who are all too often rated on their physical appearance and little else. 

Police procedurals play a relatively minor role in El Camino Drive, which is carried along more by the strong dialogue than by the usual detective work you would expect of a whodunit. Due to his suspension from the force, John is instead left to negotiate a minefield of long-standing vendettas, long-lost familial connections, as well as the contemporary dating scene. The premise is unique enough to engross most thriller, mystery, and crime fiction readers, however tweaks to the prose in order to create a more vivid, atmospheric read, would help attract a wider audience.

El Camino Drive is an immersive and enjoyable follow-up to Izzi’s earlier work. A modern take on American pulp fiction, El Camino Drive can alternate between fast, furious, and sleazy, almost like a video game plot turned novel.

Pages: 463 | ASIN: B08F4DPNMN

Buy Now From B&N.com

They Had a Common Enemy

Kathryn Gauci Author Interview

Kathryn Gauci Author Interview

The Poseidon Network follows SOE agent Hadley who must root out a traitor in the network before their cover is blown. What was the inspiration for the setup to this exciting novel?

I wanted to show that for SOE agents working on behalf of the Allies, the situation in Greece was not easy. The political situation in Europe prior to and during WWII was very much one of division, and nowhere more so than Greece which had experienced great upheavals in their country in the early 20th century. However the Greek Resistance did pull together while they had a common enemy and their part in defeating first the Italians and then the Germans was to be admired. Women also played an important role too, as they had done in every war since The Greek War of Independence in 1821.

I also wanted to write the novel that was more a thriller in the style of Film Noir and the old classics, rather than another resistance story. The melting pot that Cairo was at that time was an ideal starting point. Characters in Rick’s Bar in “Casablanca” along with Harry Lime and his Viennese Nazi sympathizers in “The Third Man” were an inspiration too.

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

Again taking inspiration from Film Noir I wanted Larry to be a larger than life figure; a man’s man who loved women, yet was caught off-guard when he met Alexis. I tried to imagine the physiology behind such a man. He was, first and foremost, an adventurer, but all of us have a vulnerable human side – a soft spot. Alexis was his. I also wanted to show how he respected the men he worked with. The classic thriller writers and such authors as Steinbeck were a great influence for developing his character.

I enjoyed the historic details used throughout the book. What kind of research did you undertake to get things right?

I always try to get to know the places I write about. In this case, I lived in Greece for six years and heard stories from those who experienced the war firsthand. I have also visited Turkey and Egypt several time. I think this is vital as the atmosphere of a place gets into your blood. It is the sights, sounds and smells that touch the senses and give the novel light and shade.

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

My current WIP is another WWII story set in the Jura/Franche-Comté region of France in 1944. I was there for two and a half months 2019-2020, researching the Maquis, Resistance, and smuggler routes into Switzerland. It is a beautiful area of lakes, forests and mountains, and rich with stories of heroes and heroines in almost every village. Unfortunately, the Germans – particularly the Gestapo – could not have infiltrated the area so successfully had not been for the many collaborators, who were paid a huge sum of money for denouncing someone, particularly the head of a network. This time the protagonist is a woman. I expect to have it out by September this year.

Author Links: GoodReadsTwitter | FacebookWebsite

The Poseidon Network by [Kathryn Gauci]

1943. SOE agent Larry Hadley leaves Cairo for German and Italian occupied Greece. His mission is to liaise with the Poseidon network under the leadership of the White Rose.

It’s not long before he finds himself involved with a beautiful and intriguing woman whose past is shrouded in mystery.
In a country where hardship, destruction and political instability threaten to split the Resistance, and terror and moral ambiguity live side by side, Larry’s instincts tell him something is wrong.

After the devastating massacre in a small mountain village by the Wehrmacht, combined with new intelligence concerning the escape networks, he is forced to confront the likelihood of a traitor in their midst. But who is it?

Time is running out and he must act before the network is blown. The stakes are high.

From the shadowy souks and cocktail parties of Cairo’s elite to the mountains of Greece, Athens, the Aegean Islands, and Turkey, The Poseidon Network, is an unforgettable cat-and-mouse portrait of wartime that you will not want to put down.

Buy Now From B&N.com

%d bloggers like this: