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Cloudy with a Chance of Answers

Cloudy with a Chance of Answers by Carolyn Summer Quinn is a mystery thriller and the second one in her “unsolved crimes against children” series. Bethany Barrows finds herself in the town of New Jersey in the early stages of Covid-19 when her uncle Ryan passes away and she has to settle his estate. In Bethany’s half-hearted search through her uncle’s belongings, she discovers that her detective uncle dedicated his entire life to finding his daughter Ashley’s abductor. Bethany gets “cloudy with a chance of answers” when she finds a very clear lead. Will she finally solve the mystery her uncle couldn’t solve before his death? To unravel Ashley Barrows’ abduction mystery from 1988, is Bethany willing to sacrifice her own life?

Cloudy with a Chance of Answers is a riveting piece of storytelling. The book is set in March of 2020, right when coronavirus was spreading globally and Quinn’s ability to recreate that environment is applause-worthy. Her attention to detail was spectacular and I felt as though I was transported back into that time. As the story forges ahead and Bethany comes across all types of hints, readers will find themselves trying to solve the mystery as well. This book is a true page-turner and it radiated nail-biting suspense.

Bethany’s character was as realistic as it gets and her naturally curious personality was a great character trait. Her devotion to her cousin’s closed abduction case and her need to solve it was amazing to read about. The sheer possibility of getting the long-anticipated answers not only compelled Bethany but readers as well.

Unlike most thriller novels, Quinn’s writing style takes on a conversational tone which made this book a fast read. I found it very hard to put this book down and I can’t wait for the next one in this series. As for the story, it was near perfect, at no point did I feel like it was being stretched out, and then as the mystery unfolded itself, I too got cloudy with a chance of answers.

Pages: 283 | ASIN: B0BGJNQSHR

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Salt Island

Marissa Ellwyn has spent the better part of the last two years wondering where her father might be. His secretive lifestyle and cryptic postcards have shaped her into the woman she is today–one incredibly determined woman. When she plans a secretive getaway of her own with her sights set on finally discovering her father’s whereabouts, she can’t possibly imagine what awaits her. Will she find her father in paradise? Or will he continue to outwit everyone, including his own daughter? Marissa’s journey to discover his truths is really just beginning.

Salt Island, the second book in the E&A Investigations Series by Lisa Towles, follows private detective Marissa Ellwyn as she sets out to find her missing father. For two years, she has received periodic postcards from him, and enough is enough–she has to know the wheres, whys, and hows of his disappearance. Towles does a phenomenal job of setting up Marissa’s adventure and integrating elements and characters from Book 1. Readers will quickly feel caught up and while this is a second installment, it can easily be read as a stand-alone novel. The introduction of an additional storyline centered around her detective business gives this incredible novel an added layer of mystery and suspense.

Towles’s books are consistently thrilling. It is difficult to find well-written mysteries or thrillers that combine an engaging storyline with excellent character development, but Towles manages to do just that in one neat package. The rapport shown between Marissa and her partner Derek is unmatched. I love reading their interactions and watching them try to outthink one another. It’s a relatable match and one that is both fitting for the plot and believable as a pairing.

Towles is a master when it comes to parallel storylines. Following two simultaneously evolving storylines can be tricky and, if they are not well-thought-out and well-written, readers can quickly lose interest and trust in the author’s ability to pull it all together. I have to say, I was curious from the beginning and truly wondered how Towles would follow the targeting of Jack Darcy and his company while at the same time keeping readers engaged in the plot point focused on her missing father. She does it, however, and does it with ease.

The E&A Investigations Series by Lisa Towles, are always winning choices when it comes to selecting mysteries. Readers will find the quick pace and snappy dialogue in Salt Island refreshing. Above all else, Marissa Ellwyn is a character who jumps off the pages and into readers’ hearts. Her earnest search for truth will grab readers and make them instant fans of Towles’s work.

After The First Two Murders Happen

Carolyn Summer Quinn Author Interview

The Final Comeuppance follows an author who has put the abuse she suffered at a private school behind her, until the headmaster winds up dead, and she needs to help find the killer. What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?

Amanda has done a stellar job of attempting to move on from the hideous school she once attended, but can’t fully do that simply because she never knew the full story of all that was happening there. After the first two murders happen, her cousin the cop finds evidence they were connected to the now-defunct school then asks for her assistance with the case, and she finally has an opportunity to not only help him but to get a more complete picture of all that happened. In a way this case isn’t just about the murders. It’s Amanda’s own mystery, too. It’s what really propels her to help.

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

I wanted to explore the theme of how childhood trauma can impact the rest of a child’s life, especially when it leaves unanswered questions. Even after Amanda has transferred away from the wretched private school where she was treated abominably, the bad memories go right along with her. She doesn’t know the motivations of the sick adults who ran the place and is left with endless speculations of why she was targeted by these terrible people. She only really knows half of her own story at the beginning.

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

I work on more than one book at a time, so I’m thrilled to report that the next one is already available. It’s another mystery, and it’s a cold case about a child from a rather wacky family who goes missing in a Jersey Shore town in 1988. It opens in March 2020, and the last remaining family member, Bethany, still doesn’t know whodunit. It’s called CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF ANSWERS. I had a wonderful time writing it!

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A bad private school.  The boomerang of corruption!  Amanda Conway has been haunted for twenty-one years by the emotional abuse she endured as a child at an “exclusive” but unscrupulously run private school.  One scandal ultimately led to the school’s demise, but more went uncovered, and now a killer is exacting retribution on the adults who once made certain children’s lives almost unbearable.  When Amanda’s cousin, Detective Pablo Conway, enlists her help in understanding the now-defunct school’s past, she reluctantly agrees to become a special consultant to the police, even though she thinks if any homicides could ever be called justifiable, these could.  As the bodies pile up, they try to figure out what happened in the past to cause murders in the present.  Who is behind this series of murders?  What was going on way back when?  And where so many irresponsible adults were once never caught doing wrong, can anything ever be set right?

Retribution – Book Trailer

Once a vigilante, she’s now a cop … but she still plays by her own rules. A fast-paced, suspenseful thriller for readers of Candice Fox and Sarah Bailey.

Ace hacker, ex-prostitute, Jack Daniels drinker and part-time vigilante Lexi Winter returns, now working with the police – mostly – with a new enemy in the target and an old foe at the back of her mind.

Most probationary constables would baulk at chasing a drug dealer into a train tunnel in the dead of night. Not Lexi Winter. She emerges injured but alive, to face the wrath of her boss. Lexi may now be in uniform, but she has as much trouble with authority as ever, and is quietly using her hacking skills to investigate a notorious drug-dealing Sydney crime family with links to her old prey, the paedophile Damon Vaughn.

Meanwhile, Detective Sergeant Finn Carson investigates a death on a Sydney building site … which oddly enough, leads him to the picturesque Wondabyne station on the Hawkesbury River, and Inspector Rachael Langley oversees an investigation that could tie it all together. Lexi holds the key … if only she’ll toe the line …

‘Phenomenal. Lexi Winter is the gritty hero I didn’t know I needed … I’m now desperate for more’ – bestselling Australian author Nicola Moriarty on Unforgiven

Beyond A Drug-smuggling Story

David Rabin Author Interview

In Danger of Judgment follows two Chicago police detectives that are investigating a series of heroin deaths and stumble into an assassination plot. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

I’ve been interested in the so-called “Golden Triangle” and its role in heroin production and smuggling ever since I watched the Miami Vice series in the 80s, which featured it in a couple of episodes. The history behind it is fascinating, and I delve into it in the book. But I wanted to go beyond a drug-smuggling story by wrapping it into a larger conspiracy. The Vietnam War provided the perfect context for that larger story, both geographically and in terms of the era, so events in Vietnam became the spark for the plot.

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

I thought about the characters and the plot for 20+ years before I started writing the story. It’s not a very efficient way to create a book, but it did give me an opportunity to think about the characters for a good long while. By the time I started typing, the characters were fully formed, and I was so familiar with them that in any given situation, I knew what they’d say and how they’d act. Sometimes, I felt like the dialogue wrote itself.

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

For me, the principal theme is the importance of friendship. The secondary theme is: when is it morally justifiable to kill someone?

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

I’m working on a sequel to In Danger of Judgment. It will be set in Chicago and, perhaps, elsewhere. I can’t predict when it’ll be finished because I won’t release it until I’m sure it’s as good as I can make it, but I’ll try to produce it a lot faster than I did with my first book!

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When a covert operation during the Vietnam War ends in tragedy, one of its members resolves to kill the man who betrayed it to the enemy. Now, fifteen years later, he’ll finally get his chance.

Chicago, 1987. Home of mediocre baseball teams, gangs that rule the streets, and a Mexican drug cartel that supplies the city with heroin. Chicago Police Detective Marcelle DeSantis and her partner, Bernie Bernardelli, are working a series of heroin-related murders, and their job just got more complicated. The man who sabotaged the Vietnam operation, Robert Thornton, is now the chief enforcer for a Southeast Asian heroin cartel, and after fifteen years overseas he’s arrived in Chicago to eliminate the reigning cartel and seize control of the city’s heroin trade.

Racing to stop a drug war, Marcelle and Bernie don’t realize they’re about to be caught in a deadly crossfire: another man is circling in the wings, one of Thornton’s soldiers from Vietnam, who’s preparing to exact his long-sought revenge against his former mentor. He’s the last person anyone would ever suspect, and when he finally makes his move, the paths of these four people will explosively converge.

The Reluctant Detective

Rima Ray Author Interview

Ruby Roy and the Murder in the Falls follows a woman professor who finds her boss dead and must discover who is behind the murder before more people die. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

The protagonist, Ruby Roy, and the story is loosely based on me and my background as an Indian American assistant professor in a university in upstate New York located near the Falls. However, I must note here that Ruby is a more exaggerated and far more exciting version of me. And of course I should clarify that thankfully there have been no such macabre deaths at my university! There are a few other similarities between me and the protagonist. My dad is a diplomat like Ruby’s. I’m married to a French-Canadian man like Cleo in the novel. And just like Ruby, I have two beautiful cats, Million and Nobel

Dr. Ruby Roy is a fun and energetic character with a strong personality. What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?

I would pitch Ruby Roy in the following way: if Miss Marple were younger, plus-size, clumsier, and risk-averse, she would be Dr. Ruby Roy, the reluctant detective of my novel. Ruby is intelligent, kind, and cheerful, yet goofy, absent-minded, and cowardly, and often finds herself in hilarious situations quite accidentally. I wanted to make Ruby relatable to most individuals who dream of being an armchair detective from the comfort of their homes but often fear the dangers associated with the actual job. She represents an imperfect individual, an educated, young adult of mixed race, struggling with her weight and anxieties, her doubts and fears, as she struggles with her own weaknesses while trying to do the right thing.

It is worth noting that over the years, there have been very few fictional female detectives—especially women of color—in the mystery genre who have been celebrated and given as much love as a Holmes or a Poirot. It is also rare to find a female sleuth who makes you laugh, not because she lacks the mental prowess to solve cases akin to a Clouseau, but due to the odd and humorous situations she finds herself in.

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

I wanted this novel to be inclusive and honest with the underlying themes of love, kindness, and empathy for all. And I believe this is at the core of what makes this story relatable for people from all walks of life. It was also important for me that this book brings joy and happiness to readers, especially after the struggles we have all seen and faced during the pandemic.

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

I’m currently working on the second book in the Ruby Roy mystery series titled “Ruby Roy and the Hawaiian Mystery” which should be ready for release sometime next year. I also have an idea ready for the third book which is tentatively titled “Ruby Roy and the Fishy Affair in Kolkata.” So, for those who have enjoyed the first Ruby Roy mystery, there’s a lot more on the way.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Instagram | YouTube | Facebook | Website

AMAZON BESTSELLER • Bridget Jones meets Miss Marple • A hilarious comedy wrapped up in a mystery with an amateur female sleuth of color you’re bound to fall in love with!

Dr. Ruby Roy is a twenty-nine-year-old, goofy, warm, and absent-minded professor in her third year at Baron University, located a few miles from the Falls. A plus-size woman of mixed Indian and Canadian roots, and cursed with an overactive imagination stemming from watching too many Bollywood and Disney films, Ruby is struggling to make her mark and stay out of trouble. It doesn’t help matters that she keeps stumbling into a series of embarrassing incidents, even as she desperately tries to keep her superiors in the College happy. Unfortunately for Ruby, things take a turn for the worse when she discovers her Chair’s dead body in his office. But who could have killed him? And why? Suddenly all the Poirot, Marple, Sherlock Holmes, and Father Brown books she loves reading seem to have come to life as she finds herself in the middle of a real-life murder mystery. And with the murderer on the loose, no one is safe. With the help of her husband, Cleo, her very own Watson, Ruby tries to solve the mystery before she is next on the killer’s list!

Weaving History Into My Story

Ellen Read Author Interview

The Feathered Nest follows Alexandra as she’s wrapped up in a murder mystery involving bird smuggling. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

Norfolk Island itself was my initial inspiration for The Feathered Nest, and because the Green Parrot is endemic to the island, it seemed obvious to revolve the story around the parrot. Also Norfolk Island is the home of the descendants of the HMS Bounty.

Without using the names of Fletcher Christian and his fellow mutineers, and by imagining a couple of extra seamen, I was able to weave the history of the island into my story. Preceding the arrivals of the Bounty descendants, Norfolk Island was a penal settlement for Australia early days. For a small island, it possesses a huge history.

Alexandra Archer is an intriguing and well developed character. What were some driving ideals behind her character’s development?

In the first book of the series, and all are standalone with a new murder mystery in each, Alexandra had just finished a season in Melbourne’s society. However, she tired of endless lunches, dinner parties and other functions, and wanted to work in her family’s antique business. Set in the 1920s, Alexandra is nevertheless a modern woman.

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

In The Feathered Nest, Alexandra is made the expedition’s official photographer as they head off to Norfolk Island. I wanted to explore women’s roles in the late 1920s and I did this through fashion innovations and roles in society. Alexandra is always looking at new fashions that offer freedom of movement and style. She has clothes designed for her trip that include culottes and men’s style of boots for walking through the rainforest. I also wanted to highlight bird smuggling, which still happens today with exotic birds such as parrots. I also mention whaling, which in the 1920s was still practised on Norfolk Island. Alexandra is at first appalled until it’s explained to her that whaling was only undertaken by seamen in small boats with a harpoon. No whaling on a huge commercial scale that we know today was carried out on Norfolk Island.

What can readers expect in book 5 of your The Thornton Mysteries series?

Book 5 is set at Thornton Park where a conference is being held. Experts from around the world are going to speak about their myths and philosophies concerning immortality. No one, least of all Alexandra, expects it to become a deadly search for the secrets to eternal life. Alexandra is pregnant. Caught up in a miasma of myths and dark tales, she comes to believe that for her baby to live, she must die.

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Murder comes to Norfolk Island, but is the killer after Alexandra Archer’s Tahitian black pearl or a lost illustration of the rare green parrot?
The Thorntons mount an expedition to Norfolk Island, a small island in the South Pacific, to study the green parrot and set up research programmes to help protect it and other endangered birds. As a birthday surprise, Alexandra’s father tells her she is to be their official photographer. He also gives her a black pearl brooch that Alexandra’s great-grandfather had bought off a merchant in Hong Kong in the 1850s. The pearls are Tahitian black pearls.
Before they depart Melbourne, they learn that Norfolk Island has had its first murder. It sends ripples of unease through Alexandra. She hoped she could escape murder on this small island paradise.
Alexandra is astonished to learn that the main inhabitants of Norfolk Island are descendants of the Bounty mutineers and their Tahitian wives. Once on the island, she wonders if this is why her Tahitian black pearl brooch causes such interest.
A chain of events is set in motion, commencing with a threat on the life of one of their expedition members, followed by intrigue surrounding bird smuggling and a lost illustration of the green parrot. Then two of their team are murdered.
Alexandra is determined to find the answers and nearly loses her life in the process.

The Answers You Seek

The Answers You Seek is an intriguing mystery novel that follows Toby, a man who has just lost his job and starts to feel restless. Just when he is bored of his routine he learns of his father’s death. He must go back to his small hometown, where everyone knows each other and gossip fills the air, to attend his father’s funeral. Toby finds out his father is not exactly who he thought he was. When Toby attends his father’s funeral a mysterious woman shows up and everyone but Toby knows that the woman is his father’s mistress. Seeking answers, Toby begins to follow his father’s mistress, Linda, and gets caught in a web of murder and lies.  

Shannon Yarbrough has written a novel filled with tension that will keep you consistently wondering what could be going on. I quickly donned my detective hat and dived into this mystery because the details that crop up are intriguing. At first I thought it was odd that Toby decided to stalk Linda rather then introduce himself and ask her questions about the nature of her relationship with his father. As time passes Toby begins to uncover secrets about Linda, her neighbors and even his own father that clarify his obsession.

This is a slow-burn thriller that meticulously builds its characters and scenes with lots of details. If you are a reader that enjoys fully realized characters and worlds then this is a novel you will enjoy. Where the author’s writing excels is in the build up of the drama, tension and intrigue. Just when I thought I had solved the mystery behind Linda’s neighbor’s murder, another twist is thrown into the mix.

While this is a riveting murder mystery story I enjoyed the LGBTQ elements that are woven into the story. There are some characters in the story who are gay or transitioned from male to female. This added a unique dimension to a story that I thought was going to be a standard crime fiction story; luckily this is anything but. My favorite character in the story is Toby’s neighbor Maddie, she reminded me of Betty White and gave off a sassy no nonsense vibe.

The Answers You Seek is a provocative crime thriller that will have your mind racing as you work alongside Toby to solve the murder. I highly recommend this book to readers looking for an alluring mystery novel that is driven by a fascinating but obsessed protagonist.

Pages: 340 | ASIN: B09SNF4KBM

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