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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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A Cool Motivation For A Serial Killer

Daniel McKay Author Interview

The Black Swan Killer follows a philosophical detective who is hired by the police to consult on a serial killer trying to prove humanity is selfish and thus deserves to die. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

The Black Swan Killer was my attempt at writing what I know. I’ve done some fantasy books before but I thought I’d have a go at something I have some more expertise in and I’m a philosopher for my day job, so it seemed like a natural fit. Then it was just about making a story that was fun. I had been marking essays on psychological egoism (the idea that everyone is ultimately self-interested) and the idea of falsification at the time and together they seemed like a cool motivation for a serial killer.  

John Consequent is a unique detective unlike any I have read about before. What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?

To hear my friends (and wife whose name is Sophia) tell it, I just put myself in the book. That isn’t true, but it isn’t entirely untrue either. I feel like I took elements of my personality and magnified them in order to make John, though I’m borrowing a little from House and a few other similar characters.

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

I mean there’s a few obvious ones with self-interest, the meaning of life, and arrogance being chief among them. But the value of the impractical (or, maybe the non-instrumental) and what people are entitled to in a relationship and in the breakdown of a relationship come up too. 

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

The second book “The Heavens Fall” just came out a few days ago. It has John trying to defend two people for murder charges amongst other legal shennanigans. I’ve started the third book, but that could be a way off at this point.

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John Consequent is the world’s only philosophical detective. He can’t tell you whether your wife has been cheating or find the Maltese Falcon but if you need someone to convince you that your wife exists or find the true nature of consciousness, he’s your man.

So, when the police hire him to consult on a serial killer that’s trying to prove that humanity is ultimately selfish, it’s not his usual sort of case. To make matters worse, a group of nihilists are out to kill him for explaining the meaning of life to one of their buddies.

John’s going to need more than a clever argument and a comfy armchair to get out of this one.

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?

The Beauty About Being A Wordsmith

Miguel Angel Hernandez Jr. Author Interview

Do Nothing follows a detective who has to investigate the murder of someone he knows and determine if they have a serial killer on their hands. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

Law Abiding Citizen, Death Wish, and Judge Dredd.

Griffin Knight is a homicide detective in New York. What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?

I could see the characters in my head. I chose not to include a backstory for Griffin Knight in this novella because it would slow down the thrilling aspect of my book. My aim was to have the book lover focus on following Griffin in this fast-paced adventure, and discover who the killer is before someone else gets murdered.

When you meet someone for the first time in real life, you do not find out about their past right away. It takes time getting to know that person, before they start to open up about their past. A lot of authors choose to include a backstory right away, but in my opinion it is unrealistic (unless they’re using flashbacks). One thing you will notice about my book, is how practical, and unique it is. The beauty about being a wordsmith is that I can include bits and pieces later on about Griffin’s past in future books. Ultimately, it leaves the reader thirsting for more, as Griffin himself is somewhat of a mystery.

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

Revenge, hatred, indignation, and courage.

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

The sequel to ‘Do Nothing‘ will be available soon. I am just waiting for the book cover to be completed before I publish it.

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A killer is on the loose in New York City.

When I woke up this morning, I hadn’t counted on this. I mean, sure, the life of a homicide detective will never be unicorns and rainbows, but any time where I’m called to a scene where the crime techs know the victim, it’s going to rank up there with some of the seriously bad days.
Someone in New York has a vendetta and they have all the hallmarks of a long silent serial killer.
But where does this serial killer cross over with our victims? How are they related? How many more names are on his list?
If I can’t cut through the questions this guy is throwing my way, it’s only going to be a matter of time before someone else ends up murdered.

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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Amid The Worst Crimes In History

Craig W. Fisher Author Interview

Baker Street Irregular follows an intelligence agent that in the course of an investigation, becomes a murder suspect, now, he has to clear his name and find the killer. What was your inspiration for the mystery that must be unraveled?

I have always loved a good mystery story. So I had the idea of taking the best elements of the classic noir detective and applying them to my main character in the historical setting of a spy novel. A good mystery, of course, also needs a crime. So, with a backdrop of war and in the bloody shadow of the Nazis, I set this novel’s stage to play out amid the worst crimes in history. I have spent my life intrigued by that dark period, and as a keen historian, I wanted to try to do at least some justice to the sacrifices service personnel and civilians made. The story is very much centred around the events and predicaments Bill, the main character, finds himself in, but the related real-life history is always present.

What kind of research did you do for this novel to ensure you captured the essence of the stories theme?

I seemed to spend more time with my head in reference books than I did writing! I did my best to get the details correct, as I feel it’s necessary when writing historical fiction. I’m sure some minor errors slipped through, and I consciously made some changes in the interests of narrative interest, but on the whole, I aimed for accuracy. My idea for the Berlin scenes was to make the city come alive, almost as a character in its own right, with all its post-war destruction and underlying political and social decay becoming almost palpable.

What was the hardest part about writing a mystery story; where you constantly have to give just enough to keep the mystery alive until the big reveal?

I struggled to see the complete picture in the early stages of writing. I don’t think planning and structure work well for my creative flow, and I preferred to start getting scenes written and see where the narrative took me next. Ending the chapters with a revelation that kept the story pushing forward to the next stage was an organic way of leading the reader onward, keeping them connected with the investigation Bill was undertaking. Other than the main protagonists, the other characters appeared and evolved naturally, as required by the developing story. I really did fly by the seat of my pants, going as far as drafting a few different endings on paper, involving different characters each time. I figured if even I didn’t know who the culprit was, the reader would struggle to guess too!

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

I have already started writing the next adventure for Bill. By the time I have finished with the final draft, and it has been edited and proofread, I anticipate it will be published sometime in the latter half of next year. It will once again involve political intrigue and will jump ahead to later in Bill’s career with British Intelligence. He will again find himself involved with difficult situations and characters inspired by history, and do his utmost to annoy his superiors and adversaries with his usual sardonic wit.

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The allies have carved up the former empire of the short-lived, thousand-year Reich. Fractured post-war Berlin is a city crawling with spies and foreign agents. The police department is being run like a corrupt puppet of its Soviet masters. Decorated intelligence agent Bill Hoffmann is investigating the whereabouts and activities of an ex-Gestapo officer wanted by the British government for war crimes.
Suddenly a fellow agent ends up dead, surrounded by incriminating evidence that all points to Bill. A previous mission undercover in occupied Paris in 1944 appears to be somehow linked. Under threat from all sides, including his own, if he can solve the case and wrap up the investigation, he might also clear his name. He can trust no one.
All he has are his wits, questionable smoking habit and his trusty commando fighting knife.
Things are about to get even bloodier, but in Berlin, they’ve seen it all before.

Or have they?


Baker Street Irregular is an investigative spy thriller for fans of both espionage stories and classic hardboiled detective noir.

Adult Themes: Due to the historical setting and genre, the story includes, but is not limited to, misogyny, racism, graphic violence and death, as well as briefly addressing issues such as sex, torture, suicide, rape and the Holocaust.



WHO WERE THE BAKER STREET IRREGULARS?

One of many nicknames given to the World War Two British spy networks of the Special Operations Executive due to their unconventional tactics and location of the headquarters on Baker Street in Central London.

Greed Trickles Down

Michael Pronko Author Interview

Azabu Getaway follows a detective in Japan who investigates a murder and kidnapping. This case takes the detective into a dark world of greed, and he must find the girls before more violence occurs. What was the inspiration for the mystery in your story?

I was reading all these articles about how wealthy businesses and individuals were moving their money overseas to avoid taxes, and it really irritated me. Most people stumble around, complain, and pay their taxes, but some feel the need to avoid paying any tax at all. They really got away with it, so it all seemed so simple and so unfair. I wanted to look at how that system affects ordinary people, and what it means. I don’t believe in any economic trickle-down theories, but I’m sure that greed trickles down. I also wanted to look at how non-Japanese live in Tokyo, and how they integrate into life or fail to. That’s a topic close to home for me. So, all of that mixed together into this mystery about marriage and crime.

With five books (so far) for Detective Hiroshi, he has faced a number of unique and creative adversaries. Where do you get your inspiration for the villains in your novels?

I’d like to say the inspiration is outside of me, but I think all of us have some degree of villainy lurking inside of us. One of the problems of the media is they don’t go into the motivations of criminals, so that’s why novels are so important, to give us a more rounded and complex view of why crime happens. I don’t think it’s about taking a crime and putting that into a character. It goes both ways. Usually, I start by wondering what kind of person would do these terrible things and then think about why. In that sense, Detective Hiroshi is not fighting crime but fighting individuals. The adversaries are very good at what they do, even though they do horrible things. So, I imagine how that kind of person would think or act, and then I ratchet it up a level or two.

What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?

I often rewrite while I’m commuting. I try to find a not-too-scrunched space on the train or at least with enough room to move my right hand, which isn’t easy on Tokyo trains. And then I pull out a pen and work over a few printed pages. Fairly old school, but the paper printout seems to give space to the words and makes them special. Writing on the train helps me see the flow of words differently. I have to finish the chapter before the last stop. When I get home, or to my office, I type the changes in and print them out for the next commute. It seems to help me focus.

Will you be continuing the Detective Hiroshi series, or do you have any new series planned? 

I have several more in the series outlined, so I’ll finish those. There is a new detective, Ishii, and Hiroshi will have some changes in his home life. I do have another new series planned, one written in the first person, and also set in Tokyo, but it’s still in the planning stages. I’ll probably work on two historical standalone mysteries I’ve been researching before I start that new series, though. I’ll squeeze in another collection of non-fiction essays about Tokyo life, too. Lots more to write!

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Money isn’t the only thing. It’s the deadly thing.

After the murder of a high-flying executive in one of Tokyo’s wealth management firms, Detective Hiroshi finds himself investigating the financial schemes that secure the money of Tokyo’s elite investors. His forensic accounting gets sidetracked, though, by a second murder and the abduction of two girls from the home of a hotshot wealth manager.

The abducted girls are the daughters of an international couple who seemed to have it all—a large apartment in the high-end Azabu district, top schools for the children, and a life of happy affluence. Their life falls apart and they are swept up in threats and pursuits for reasons they cannot fathom.

Tracking the money and tracking the two daughters leads Hiroshi into Tokyo’s murky financial past and outside Japan’s borders as he discovers how overseas investments and tax shelters are really managed.

Hiroshi works with Sakaguchi and Takamatsu and others on the homicide team, including an assertive new detective, as they confront greed and violence in one of the wealthiest cities in the world.

Azabu Getaway is the fifth novel in the award-winning Detective Hiroshi series.

“A series that’s only getting better.” Kirkus Reviews

“If there’s a better crime series set in Japan, I’ve not yet read it.” Crime Thriller Hound.

“Hiroshi is one of the most distinctive and intrepid detectives in contemporary crime fiction.” Best Thrillers.

“Fans of quality police procedurals will welcome more of Hiroshi.” Publishers Weekly

What Makes a Hero

Ken Macqueen Author Interview

Hero Haters follows a man who has his dream job recognizing civilian heroes until he becomes the suspect in their disappearances. He must now risk himself to solve the mystery of what is happening. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

I’m intrigued by what makes a hero. There are soldiers and first responders, of course, but I mean everyday heroes. Someone who, without a second thought, risks their lives to rescue a stranger. There are a surprising number of such people, folks who didn’t know how they would respond in such energies until they come upon a fire, a robbery, a drowning. They act putting their lives at risk, the very definition of selfless courage. But for the purposes of my novel, I asked: What if not everyone loves a hero? Worse, what if they hate heroes?

Jake battles his past demons in this novel and has to face his fears to save those he admires, creating dramatic internal conflict. What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?

By most definitions, Jake would have the right to define himself as a hero, having rescued a boy from a housefire, badly burning his hands. But he’s haunted by the boy’s mother who he failed to save. Still the idea of courage intrigues him when he’s recruited to be an investigator for the prestigious Sedgewick Sacrifice Medallion. Quite simply, he’d rather find heroes, than be one, until circumstances force him to act.

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

Love, courage selflessness. And this unanswerable question. Everyone is a hero in their imagination, but how would I react in the moment?

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

Give me a break! I’ve just got Hero Haters out the door. Actually, I’m several chapters into my next Jake Ockham/Erik Demidov adventure. I prefer not to talk about a work in progress during this delicate embryonic stage. I haven’t even shared the idea with my wife, and she’s always my first reader. So, I offer my most Canadian of responses: sorry.

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Jake Ockham had a dream job, vetting nominees for the Sedgewick Medallion—the nation’s highest civilian award for heroism. His own scarred hands are an indelible reminder of the single mother he failed to pull from a raging house fire; her face haunts him still. Obligations drag him back to his hometown to edit the family newspaper but attempts to embrace small-town life, and the hot new doctor, are thwarted by unknown forces. The heroes Jake vetted go missing and he becomes the prime suspect in the disappearances. Aided by resourceful friends, Jake follows a twisted trail to the Dark Web, where a shadowy group is forcing the kidnapped medalists to perform deadly acts of valor to amuse twisted subscribers to its website. To save his heroes, Jake must swallow his fears and become one himself…or die in the attempt.
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