Blog Archives

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!

Author Links: Website | Facebook | Amazon | GoodReads | BookBub

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.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

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

Buy Now From Amazon

The Feathered Nest 

Alexandra Thornton goes on an expedition with her family to Norfolk Island to research the island’s birds with a particular focus on the green parrot. Little does she know what she has walked into, a web of a puzzling mystery that has to be unraveled before it threatens her.

The Feathered Nest by Ellen Read gives readers a captivating look into the mystery of Norfolk Island and its inhabitants. The story gains momentum as an intriguing chain of events unfold which endangers members of the expedition. As the story progresses readers get to unveil the motive behind the multitudes of murders.

Ellen Read is the quintessential historical mystery romance author who effortlessly blends elements of novelistic fiction with curious bits of history. The author creates characters with surprising depth and realistic emotions, which reminds me of how Agatha Christie creates her characters. Moreover, Ellen has strategically placed humor, wit, and alluring intimacy to mitigate the simmering tension of the reader. Readers will find themselves yearning to turn the page to decipher the fate of the characters. By the end of the novel, all the dilemmas that pique the reader are seamlessly resolved.

The Feathered Nest by Ellen Read is a cozy mystery novel that has a similar atmosphere as one of a period drama. With its descriptive prose, it delivers outstanding soulfulness with unmatched intricacy. Holistically, this mystery thriller prescribes hints throughout but is better comprehended as all the elements gradually fit into place. Overall, this book would appeal to readers that seek a compelling mystery with a touch of tender romance.

Pages: 374 | ASIN: B09T3T1CJQ

Buy Now From Amazon

The Die Back – Book Trailer

Ritual death. Young life. Can the one woman from the outside curb the bloodletting liturgy?

Dakota Jones lives and breathes the strange. Unorthodox and willing to follow clues no matter where they lead, the forthright private eye is relentless in her pursuit of the truth. So when a member of a remote society off Tasmania’s coast washes ashore dead under suspicious circumstances, the determined detective goes undercover to bring the victim justice.

Delving deep into the isolated culture only to find it more of an unwelcoming cult, Dakota discovers the body belonged to an intended sacrifice who tried to get away. And when she learns the rebellious teen next in line for the murderous ceremony is planning a daring escape, she’s in a race against the clock to uncover a dark revelation.

Can the driven detective save the girl and herself before they’re sucked into a zealot’s maw?

The Die Back is the eerie first book in the Detective Dakota mystery series. If you like powerful female characters, bizarre societies, and heart-stopping surprises, then you’ll love Grayson Steele’s edge-of-your-seat investigation.

Brushed Off 

Brushed Off by M. Lee Musgrave is a page-turner murder mystery set in Los Angeles, California. The story starts when artist James notices an out-of-place mauve Mercedes S550 creeping around his neighborhood late one night. When a string of murders suddenly rock the art community of Los Angeles, it’s up to James and his detective friend, Cisco, to investigate and find the connection between them. Working undercover, James questions the community using his connections as an artist. But, as they get closer to the truth, the stranger the circumstances surrounding the crimes become. People James once considered a suspect turn out to be innocent, while another turns up dead. Will James and Cisco solve the mystery before another victim, or will James become the next target? Only time will tell, and time is not on their side.

Musgrave writes in a way that sucks the reader in from the first page. Readers will find themselves immediately wanting to know just what the person in the mauve S550 was up to. Shortly after, the first murder victim was discovered. After that, it’s a fast-paced fight to find who is behind the killings in a community where everyone seems to know everyone. All of the circumstances appear to be tied to the art collection of the late Harriet Wagner.

I really enjoyed the character development within Brushed Off. There were two characters that I misjudged early on, Nicole and Camille. Both started off seeming shallow and like they were only out to use the people around them. Throughout the novel, readers will realize that there is more to them than met the eye. They were each stuck in their own less-than-ideal situation but wanted more in their lives.

This fast-paced novel kind of has a Criminal Minds, or CSI feels as the murders are happening. While James and Cisco worked together to figure out who the killer was, seeing all bits and pieces come together was fascinating. Readers will be shocked as the story starts to come to a close and new information is revealed. It was interesting to see how art was worked into the crimes in an unusual way, which wasn’t discovered until the book was wrapping up.

Brushed Off is a riveting mystery crime novel that will keep readers guessing till the last pages. This is a contemporary sleuth book with strong women characters.

Pages: 197 | ASIN : B08VC27S2D

Buy Now From Amazon
%d bloggers like this: