Tag Archives: thriller

A Day in the Life with Sabrina Vaughn by Maegan Beaumont

Blood of SaintsI don’t sleep well.

Maybe it’s a holdover from my old life as a homicide inspector. Maybe it’s the remnants of paranoia that cling to me, shaking me awake in the middle of the night to listen to the quiet for a whispering voice. . .

Hey there, darlin’, Did you miss me?

There’s no voice. Hasn’t been for nearly a year now. Nothing in my head but my own thoughts and maybe that’s what wakes me. The silence. It’s big. Too big sometimes. During the day, there’s activity. Kids and dogs. Meals to prepare. Dishes to wash. Routine. Noise. Things to do. Life to hide behind.

The silence feels different in the dark. It feels like waiting.

I feel the press of Avasa’s nose against my knee and I open my eyes to find her sitting on the floor next to my side of the bed. As soon as I open my eyes she whines softly and stands, her paws mincing impatiently as if to say, come on, you’re wasting time.

I don’t want to wake Michael but as soon as I shift toward the edge of the bed, I feel his arm snake around my waist, pulling me close. “Sabrina,” he murmurs, eyes still closed.

“Avasa needs to go out,” I say, turning to press a kiss to his sleep-softened mouth. “I’ll be right back.”

“Want me to take her?” he offers, sounding more alert.

“Nope.” I kiss him again and the arm around my waist loosens. I ease out of bed and Avasa dances backwards to make room for me. I pull on a pair of pajama pants and Michael’s discarded T-shirt while she watches me, tail twitching, not so much excited as she is impatient. “Keep your pants on,” I hiss at her and she chuffs at me in response, making me laugh.

She leads me down the hall, into the kitchen. Moonlight streams in through the window and I can see her clearly as she sits down in front of the backdoor, tail swishing. I reach past her and flip the lock as I look at the clock mounted on the wall. It’s 3AM.

“I really have to teach you how to let yourself out,” I tell her, pulling the door open and she bolts ahead of me. Instead of heading into the yard she stops short, dropping her rump on the top tread of the steps, planting herself between me and yard. “Hurry up, knucklehead. I’ve got another couple hours to sleep and I don’t want to waste it on—”

Avasa growls, low and deep in the back of her throat, the sound of it tightening the skin on the back of my neck.

Something’s out here.

I think of the antique larder a few feet behind me. There are guns in there. It would take me less than a minute to unlock it and arm myself. Instead, I leave the safety of the doorway, pulling it shut firmly behind me to join my dog on the porch. “Shhh,” I say, smoothing my hand over her sleek head while I scan the yard. As soon as I touch her, she settles, pressing her head against the top of my thigh.

The moon is full, washing the yard in bright, silvery light. About fifty yards ahead is the river. Beyond it more land—we’re surrounded by nearly five-hundred acres. Beyond that, the steep cliffs that encircle our valley and keep us safe. There is nothing out here that doesn’t belong. It’s impossible.

Still, I feel naked. Exposed, and I lace my fingers around Avasa’s collar, getting ready to yank her into the house if I have to. . . and then I see him.

He’s sitting on the opposite bank of the river, watching us. Seeing him, my fingers relax and I sink down to sit on the top step next to Avasa. “Your boyfriend’s back,” I say and she answers me with another growl, this one softer than the first.

The wolf is big. His massive head held high, steel gray fur glowing blue in the moonlight. He’s a frequent late-night visitor, usually accompanied by the small pack he leads. This time he’s alone.

“I think he likes you,” I tell her. I swear she rolls her eyes at me.

About a hundred yards from where he’s sitting is a bridge. If he wanted to, he’d have little trouble finding his way across and into our yard but he doesn’t. As usual, he stays on his side of the river. He just sits there, watching us. Watching me.

It happens again—the skin on the back of my neck goes tight. A warning and I instantly aim my gaze as the narrow dirt road beyond the bridge, half expecting to see someone traveling its narrow width but it’s empty. We’re still alone here—still safe—but I have the feeling that’s about to change.

When I swing my gaze back toward the river, the wolf is gone.

I stand. “Come on,” I say to my dog and she reluctantly follows me inside.

Blood of Saints is the fifth book in the Sabrina Vaughn thriller series, published by Midnight Ink, August 2016.

He wants a miracle

And he won’t stop killing until he gets one

Deep in the mountains of Montana, former Homicide inspector Sabrina Vaughn has found the kind of peace she’s always dreamed of. And with Michael O’Shea, she’s found the kind of love she never thought possible. Together, even under the constant threat of faraway adversaries, they’ve managed to build the kind of idyllic life they’ve both longed for.

But a life this safe was never meant to last. When twenty-year-old forensic evidence connects her to a string of recent murders, Sabrina must leave her new life behind and return to the place she was brutally raped and tortured in order to search for a killer who’s as cunning as any she’s ever encountered.

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Meet the author
Maegan Beaumont is the award-winning author of the Sabrina Vaughn thriller series. Her debut novel, Carved In Darkness was awarded the 2014 gold medal from Independent Publishers for outstanding thriller as well as being named a Foreword, book of the year finalist and Debut Novel of the Year by Suspense Magazine. When she isn’t locked in her office, torturing her protagonists, she’s busy chasing chickens (and kids), hanging laundry and burning dinner. Either way, she almost always in to company of her six dogs, her truest and most faithful companions and her almost as faithful husband, Joe. Look for the fifth novel in her series, BLOOD OF SAINTS, released by Midnight Ink in August 2016. Connect with Maegan at maeganbeaumont.com.

All comments are welcomed.

Giveaway: Leave a comment below for your chance to win the complete 5-book series set (Carved in Darkness, Sacrificial Muse, Promises to Keep, Waiting in Darkness and Blood of Saints). U.S. residents only, please. The giveaway will end August 18, 2016 at 12 AM (midnight) EST. Good luck everyone!

My Musing ~ Among The Wicked by Linda Castillo

Among The Wicked by Linda Castillo is the 8th book in the “Kate Burkholder” thriller series. Publisher: Minotaur Books, July 2016

Among The WickedChief of Police Kate Burkholder is called upon by the sheriff’s department in rural, upstate New York to assist on a developing situation that involves a reclusive Amish settlement and the death of a young girl. Unable to penetrate the wall of silence between the Amish and “English” communities, the sheriff asks Kate to travel to New York, pose as an Amish woman, and infiltrate the community.

Kate’s long time love interest, State Agent John Tomasetti, is dead set against her taking on such an unorthodox assignment, knowing she’ll have limited communication – and even less in the way of backup. But Kate can’t turn her back, especially when the rumor mill boils with disturbing accounts of children in danger. She travels to New York where she’s briefed and assumes her new identity as a lone widow seeking a new life.

Kate infiltrates the community and goes deep under cover. In the coming days, she unearths a world built on secrets, a series of shocking crimes, and herself, alone… trapped in a fight for her life.

All it took was one sitting with a couple of breaks to finished this fast-paced and action-packed drama that had me engrossed in all that was happening from the moment Kate went up North. From the narrative of the author, I could feel the tension and apprehension that Kate felt as she dived into a dangerous situation with some unexpected developments. Who should she trust? Was she truly alone? Who is the mastermind? How will this end? The frenetic pulse of this intensifying and gripping story reached a crescendo that when it was all said and done, everything fell into place and the aftermath was worthy of the outcome. The author knows how to spin a brilliantly-written tale where the dialogue, the character’s role and the setting are pivotal to how well this story is told. This is a one of the best book in this compellingly riveting series and I’m looking forward to more exploits with Kate, John and the gang in Painters Mill, Ohio.

My Musing ~ Little Girl Gone by Gerry Schmitt

Little Girl Gone by Gerry Schmitt is the first book in the NEW “Afton Tangler” thriller series. Publisher: Penguin Random House, July 2016

Little Girl GoneIn the first Afton Tangler thriller, the unforgiving cold of a Minnesota winter hides the truth behind an even more chilling crime…

On a frozen night in an affluent neighborhood of Minneapolis, a baby is abducted from her home after her teenage babysitter is violently assaulted. The parents are frantic, the police are baffled, and, with the perpetrator already in the wind, the trail is getting colder by the second.

As family liaison officer with the Minneapolis P.D., it’s Afton Tangler’s job to deal with the emotional aftermath of terrible crimes—but she’s never faced a case quite as brutal as this. Each development is more heartbreaking than the last and the only lead is a collection of seemingly unrelated clues.

But, most disturbing of all, Afton begins to suspect that this case is not isolated. Whoever did this has taken babies before—and if Afton doesn’t solve this crime soon, more children are sure to go missing . . .

The author got me good by delivering a well-written drama that completely captured my attention from beginning to an ending worthy of the all the pages that preceded It. From the start we know who did it but what we see is how this case is investigated and solved and that is what makes this tale so enticingly intriguing. Afton is one determined and gutsy protagonist and I like how she thinks in this fast-paced and intensifying thriller that kept me riveted to all that was happening with anticipated action and reaction. The multiple point of views enhanced the telling of this tale which gave me a great perspective on the various players in this story. The narrative kept me immersed in all that was transpiring giving me that heart-pounding moment when I knew everything was going to be as it should. A great read and I’m looking forward to the next book in this exciting new series.

FTC Full Disclosure – I received an Advanced Reader Copy (ARC) book from the author.

A Day in the Life of Afton Tangler by Gerry Schmitt

Little Girl GoneI’m sitting here in police headquarters shivering like a Chihuahua in a snowstorm. But not because of the brutal cold. It’s because Chief Thacker called me in to help deal with a baby that’s been kidnapped. A three month-old by the name of Elizabeth Ann who was stolen from her crib in an affluent Minneapolis neighborhood. Her teenaged babysitter was also violently assaulted and is over at Hennepin County Medical Center right now with rope burns and a broken nose.

The parents are frantic and the detectives I work with seemed stunned when they viewed the grainy baby cam footage that was salvaged. It looks as if the perpetrator might be a woman! Maybe even a woman they’re tentatively calling the doll lady – a woman who creates “reborn” dolls that look and feel like they’re alive. There’s a crazy cult-like following of these dolls, and doll enthusiasts, as well as childless couples, actually sign adoption papers and pay high fees just to get their hands on these dolls.

Is that crazy or what?

Still, the trail for Elizabeth Ann and her abductor is getting colder and not much is being done. There just aren’t a lot of clues.

I’m not a police detective, although I’d like to be. I’m Afton Tangler, a family liaison officer who’s tasked with dealing with victims and victims’ families in the messy aftermath of violent crimes. I’m also a mom, so I understand the heartbreak that Elizabeth Ann’s mom and dad are suffering right now.

My friend, Detective Max Montgomery, just told me that the dead body of another child had been discovered at the bottom of wooded ravine and a young man with a camera phone has been seen snapping pictures of newborns at nearby Memorial Hospital. And, lucky girl that I am, one of the FBI agents on the case just made a pass at me.

When I finally got home tonight and saw my own kids, Poppy and Tess, I knew I had a big decision to make. I’m thirty-four years old, have never drunk a Cosmopolitan, never worn a Wonderbra, never vacationed at Club Med. If I know what’s good for me, what’s smart for my career, I’ll keep my nose clean, stay the hell out of this investigation, and maybe even get around to pursuing my frivolous “want list” some day.

Or I can bulldog my way into this investigation, find that missing baby, and nail the son-of-a-bitch kidnapper’s ass to the wall.

It isn’t a difficult decision.

Little Girl Gone is the first book in the NEW Afton Tangler thriller series, published by Berkley Publishing Group, July 2016.

In the first Afton Tangler thriller, the unforgiving cold of a Minnesota winter hides the truth behind an even more chilling crime. . .

On a frozen night in an affluent neighborhood of Minneapolis, a baby is abducted from her home after her teenage babysitter is violently assaulted. The parents are frantic, the police are baffled, and, with the perpetrator already in the wind, the trail is getting colder by the second.

As family liaison officer with the Minneapolis P.D., it’s Afton Tangler’s job to deal with the emotional aftermath of terrible crimes—but she’s never faced a case quite as brutal as this. Each development is more heartbreaking than the last and the only lead is a collection of seemingly unrelated clues.

But, most disturbing of all, Afton begins to suspect that this case is not isolated. Whoever did this has taken babies before—and if Afton doesn’t solve this crime soon, more children are sure to go missing.

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Meet the author
Gerry Schmitt is the author of Little Girl Gone, an Afton Tangler Thriller was released July 5, 2016. Writing Gerry Schmittunder her pen name Laura Childs, she is the New York Times bestselling author of more than thirty-six mysteries, including the Scrapbooking Mysteries, Tea Shop Mysteries, and Cackleberry Club Mysteries. Gerry is the former CEO of her own marketing firm, has won dozens of TV and radio awards, and produced two reality TV shows. She and her professor husband enjoy travel and their two Shar-Pei dogs.

Giveaway: Leave a comment below for your chance to win a hardcover copy of Little Girl Gone. US entries only, please. The giveaway will end July 13, 2016 at 12 AM EST. Good luck everyone!

All comments are welcomed.


weekly update

Coming up on dru’s book musings (7/4 – 7/9)
July 4: Lena London by Julia Buckley (Writer’s Apprentice)
July 5: J.J. Tanner by Linda Wiken (Dinner Club)
July 6: Liz Talbot by Susan M. Boyer (Liz Talbot)
July 7: Afton Tangler by Gerry Schmitt (Afton Tangler)
July 8: Isobel Avery by Chelsea Field (Eat, Pray, Die)
July 9: TJ Sweeney by Susan Van Kirk (Endurance)

“Oliver Twisted” by Cindy Brown – Grace K.
Mackenzie & Mackenzie P.I. swag pack from Jennifer L. Hart – Linda H.
“Caught Bread Handed” by Ellie Alexander – Kim D.
“Cracked to Death” by Cheryl Hollon + cheese tray – Lesley P.
“The Last Time She Saw Him” by Jane Haseldine – Sally G.

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Six months. Six months into 2016 and it seems it came at a fast and fury pace. I did a lot this year with attending two reader/fan conventions (Phoenix and Bethesda), several book launches, mostly held at the Mysterious Bookshop. I’ve seen several Broadway shows and was disappointed to hear that one of the ones I wanted to see was closed already. Now I’m gearing up for the second half of the year with two more reader/fan conventions.

For the period of January to June 2016, I’ve read 116 books.  I hope to read at least 220 books and I’m on pace to achieve that goal.

Several bloggers put up their First Half Favorites for 2016 and after sorting through the books, here’s what I’ve selected:

Cozy Mysteries

  • Breach of Crust by Ellery Adams
  • Gone With The Witch by Heather Blake
  • A Churn for the Worse by Laura Bradford
  • An Unhappy Medium by Dawn Eastman
  • Rock-A Bye-Bones by Carolyn Haines

Traditional Mysteries

  • Double Knot by Gretchen Archer
  • Lowcountry Book Club by Susan M. Boyer
  • The Saints of the Lost and Found by T.M. Causey
  • Goodbye To The Dead by Brian Freeman
  • Reckoning and Ruin by Tina Whittle

Ink and BoneInk and Bone by Lisa Unger is published by Touchstone, June 2016. Genre: Thriller

“Ink and Bone” is a riveting and mesmerizing tale of suspense that pulled me in while succumbing to the narrative that kept me reading like there was no tomorrow. Excellent Read! Good job Lisa.

A Day in the Life of Lexi Jakobson by Michael Wiley

Black HammockMy name is Lexi Jakobson and I’m nineteen years old and I live on Black Hammock which is a barrier island south of the Florida-Georgia border. Don’t believe what they say about me. I have been off the island. To go to high school when I went. And church when Walter got on that kick.

Black Hammock Island. One square mile. One bridge. Population 172 and dropping fast. As flies.

I like to read and who can blame me?

You should know my mother but if you do I’m sorry. You certainly have heard her name which is Kay Jakobson. You probably have seen her paintings. Self-portraits that a gallery in Atlanta sells to suckers. Not that you’re necessarily one.

Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “The Birthmark.” Stephen Crane’s “A Dark-Brown Dog.” My favorite is anything by Edgar Allan Poe.

You want my story? I’ll trade you. Your story for mine. I like stories.

I’ve been called outlandish. My story has been.

Outlandish describes me very well.

Black Hammock is outlandish. It’s an island and an outland. It’s in the Jacksonville city limits but you would hardly believe it. Ask the mayor where Black Hammock is and he’ll most likely say “uhhhh.” Imagine the corner of a city and then take the corner of that corner and another corner of the second corner. That’s Black Hammock. A snake swallowed its own tail and when it went to look for itself it was gone. That is not a metaphor. If a black hole had live oak trees and pinewoods and a white sand beach at the edges of outer space and brackish creeks where you could find oysters and crabs scientists would call it Black Hammock.

Which is why I like to read.

That and Mother’s husband Walter. You could excuse Walter by saying he’s sick but he isn’t. He’s as healthy as a chicken. He’s just evil. He has been known to beat me. He has been known to beat my brother Cristofer. He has never raised a hand against Mother. If he did she would run him off the island with a weapon or with her bare hands which are as dangerous as a weapon. Sooner than raise a hand Walter would feed her warm milk with a spoon.

I have another brother his name is Oren.

I’ve never met him.

On a bloody night eighteen years ago Oren disappeared from our house on Black Hammock. Mother and Walter think he’s dead. If they knew he was alive Walter would fret the way a grown man shouldn’t if he wants to keep the respect of his neighbors. Mother would put down her paintbrushes and scream. And scream. Cristofer doesn’t know about Oren. Cristofer’s brain will always be young.


I have an ache in that spot between the belly and the breasts that has no name. It’s like a cavity in a tooth and the ache makes no sense because a cavity is a hole and a hole shouldn’t hurt it is empty. This is not a metaphor. Either. The dentist will tell you that the hole hurts because it’s a hole. The hole will stop aching if the dentist fills it.

A policeman named Daniel Turner used to come to our house and ask about Oren. As if he was a dentist. That is a metaphor. Daniel Turner brought me candy and I was sorry when Walter chased him away and told him we no longer welcomed his questions and questions and questions. Walter says some questions have only secret answers. Where do you find secret answers? In the blood that dried between the floorboards eighteen years ago.

Walter will tell you that these answers are dangerous. He’ll fret even if the neighbors are watching. If Mother even thinks about the questions a groan comes up from her throat and out of her mouth until she puts two fingers on her lips to silence herself.

Where is Oren?

Is he buried in the pinewoods where Mother and Walter believe they put him?

Could the dried blood between the floorboards liquefy and pulse like a tell-tale?

I have the secret answer.

The answer is Oren’s coming home to Black Hammock.


Black Hammock is the third book in the Daniel Turner thriller series, published by Severn House Publishers, June 2016.

Homicide detective Daniel Turner revisits an 18-year-old unsolved case in the third of this intriguing and atmospheric crime noir series.

We had set out from Atlanta to kill my mother and her husband. A slow kill.

Oren has returned to the family home he last saw when he was eight years old. Eighteen years later, he is bent on an elaborate scheme of revenge.

Homicide detective Daniel Turner was never able to forget the unsolved case, the disappearance of Amon Jakobsen all those years ago. Convinced the man was murdered, he was never able to prove it. Now he has returned to the isolated house on Black Hammock Island following reports of a disturbance. Is this his chance to find out what really happened to Amon eighteen years before? And will he be in time to prevent history repeating itself?

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About the author
Michael Wiley is the Shamus Award-winning writer of the Joe Kozmarski mysteries, The Last Striptease, The Bad Kitty Lounge, and A Bad Night’s Sleep and, more recently, the Daniel Turner thrillers, Blue Avenue, Second Skin, and Black Hammock. Michael lives in Jacksonville, Florida, with his family and a variety of animals that walked or crawled into his house with his kids when he wasn’t looking. Michael teaches at the University of North Florida. Visit Michael at www.michaelwileyonline.com.

All comments are welcomed.

My Musing ~ Extreme Prey by John Sandford

Extreme Prey by John Sandford is the 26th book in the “Prey” thriller series. Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, April 2016

Extreme PreyShe was an Iowa woman in her fifties, busy skinning a rabbit for dinner. She wasn’t thinking about the rabbit, though. She was thinking about murder. If and when, and where and how, and with what.

She wasn’t thinking about who. She already knew who.

After a recent—and dangerous—adventure with his daughter, Lucas Davenport finds himself in a very unusual situation—no longer employed by the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension. His friend the governor has been cranking up a presidential campaign, though, and he has a job for Lucas.

The governor’s been hearing strange things on the campaign trail in Iowa; nothing specific, just whispers that make him wonder if there are some crazies out there planning to do something. He’s passed it along to the appropriate people, but he’d feel much better if Lucas checked it out, too.

Lucas agrees—but he has no idea what he’s just gotten himself into. He’s seen crazies before in his career—all too many of them—but none quite like the ones he’s about to encounter now.

Filled with his trademark razor-sharp plotting and some of the best characters in suspense fiction, Extreme Prey is future proof that “John Sandford is at the top of his game” (The Washington Post).

This fast-paced and action filled drama begins like no other and ends with what’s next for Lucas. In between we are taken on a roller coaster ride as Lucas is once again on the hunt for vicious killers who’ll stop at nothing to get what they think other deserves and it will be up to Lucas to put that fire out. This was an intense read that had my heart pumping as each scene was fraught with danger the closer we got to the perpetrators as expertly written by the author. The narrative put me smack dab in the middle of all the action while the dialogue kept me engaged in all aspects in the telling of this story. This was another good story by the author and I look forward to the next chapter in the lives of Lucas and his friends.

A Day in the Life of Merit Bridges by Manning Wolfe

Dollar SignsHowdy from Austin, Texas, home of rolling hills covered in bluebonnets, great music, Tex-Mex and weird characters. I’m one of those characters, an attorney living a modern life with high rises and technology, but with one foot firmly planted on South Congress with the hippies and nonconformists eating Torchy’s Tacos and dancing at the Continental Club.

SoCo they call it now – it’s where my last client got into some serious trouble burning down a giant billboard. I’ve been trying to get him out of that mess, but things just keep getting worse for him and me. We’ve been to court, tried arbitration, and almost resorted to begging, but this Goliath corporation will not budge and now they’ve sent a monster after me named Boots King.

The police and my investigator, Ag, have been trying to find Boots, but he’s “slipperier than snail snot” as my office manager Betty likes to say. Yes, you can’t know me without knowing my office staff – we’re tight. I include my law clerk Val in that group. He keeps us all looking fashionable and stylish while we run around Austin protecting the innocent, foiling bad guys, and eating at award winning restaurants.

Just last week, we attended a lunchtime lingerie show at client Slag’s strip club. You should have seen Val’s eyes pop when he saw his first pole dance. We’re not entertaining ourselves all the time. We actually get some work done downtown in The Law Office of Merit Bridges, and make sure our clients are well served and happy – the ones who manage to stay alive that is.

My son, Ace, spices up our lives as well. He’s in Houston in a special school for dyslexic students. He’s the love of my life now that his father is gone, but I don’t want to talk about that. Ace and I get down to our beach house in Port Aransas as often as possible to heal our wounds and eat Gulf seafood.

I’d like to stay and chat longer, but I have a big trial coming up in a few days and I have to kick the boy toys out of my bed, get to work, and prepare for the fight of my life. More on that later. For now, just know that I plan to win. Not many mess with a Texas Lady Lawyer and survive to tell the tale. Next time you’re driving through town, give me a shout and I’ll brief you over a glass of wine.

Dollar Signs is the first book in the NEW Texas Lady Lawyer legal thriller series, published by Starpath Books, LLC, February 2016.

MERIT BRIDGES, an attorney and widowed mother in Austin, Texas, works hard, drinks too much wine, and sleeps with younger men. When Merit goes after a shady corporation threatening her client, she encounters hired gun Boots King. His charge is simple, “Stop her!” Merit and her team – including Betty, a mothering office manager with a bad-ass attitude – struggle to stay alive, while they navigate a labyrinth of legal issues, and prove once again that you don’t mess with a Texas lady lawyer.

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Meet the author
Manning Wolfe is an author and attorney residing in Austin, Texas. She writes cinematic-style, smart, Manning-Wolfefast-paced thrillers with a salting of Texas bullshit. The first book in her series featuring Austin Lawyer Merit Bridges, is Dollar Signs: Texas Lady Lawyer vs Boots King. A graduate of Rice University and the University of Texas School of Law, Manning’s experience has given her a voyeur’s peek into some shady characters’ lives and a front row seat to watch the good people who stand against them. Connect with Manning at manningwolfe.com, on Twitter or on Facebook.

Giveaway: Leave comment below for your chance to win a print copy of Dollar Signs. US entries only, please. The giveaway will end May 27, 2016 at 12 AM EST. Good luck everyone!

All comments are welcomed.

My Musing ~ Lie in Plain Sight by Maggie Barbieri

Lie in Plain Sight by Maggie Barbieri is the third book in the “Maeve Conlon” thriller series. Publisher: Minotaur Books, March 2016.

Lie in Plain SightIt’s a busy day at the bakery Maeve Conlon owns when she receives a phone call from the high school saying Maeve’s employee’s daughter, Taylor Dvorak, is ill. Taylor’s mom is out on a delivery and Taylor has her own car, so harried Maeve gives the school nurse permission to send Taylor home on her own. But Taylor never makes it: Somewhere between the school and her house, she just vanishes.

Not only does Maeve feel responsible, but she can’t shake the feeling that there’s more to Taylor’s disappearance than meets the eye. So Maeve decides to take matters into her own capable hands. She finds that Farringville has a lot more to hide than most small towns, from the secretive high school girls’ soccer coach to Taylor’s estranged father and her troubled mother, and she gets to work shining a light on all these mysteries.

Balancing this dark undertaking and her relationship with a local policeman, Maeve will have to walk the fine line between justice and revenge carefully if she hopes to prevail in the next suspenseful novel from Maggie Barbieri.

Secrets! Left hidden can open up a can of worms which threatens the life of those it touches. When a child is missing, feeling the cops are not doing enough, Maeve does it again and what’s left untold created a riveting and captivating drama that I could not put down. The author did a great job in setting this well-written and executed plot where anything that could happen, happens with enough intrigue and suspense that had me quickly turning each page and devouring the content as I had to know how this was going to all end and boy was I surprised with the twists and turns that this drama took in the telling of this tale. The emotional toll of the heroine is a major factor in the flow and pacing in this narrative and I felt it as well as the story moved to a conclusion worthy of the characters portrayed in this series. This is a grippingly engaging read and I’m glad that I got a chance to know and understand Maeve Conlon.

My Musing ~ Goodbye to the Dead by Brian Freeman

Goodbye to the Dead by Brian Freeman is the 9th book in the “Jonathan Stride” thriller series. Publisher: Quercus, March 2016

Goodbye to the DeadDetective Jonathan Stride’s first wife, Cindy, died of cancer eight years ago, but her ghost hangs over Stride’s relationship with current lover, and fellow detective, Serena Dial. When Serena witnesses a brutal murder outside a Duluth bar, she stumbles onto a case with roots that go all the way back to the last year of Cindy Stride’s life.

At the time, Cindy and Stride were on opposite sides of a domestic murder investigation. Gorgeous, brilliant Janine Snow–a surgeon transplanted to Duluth from Texas–was the prime suspect in the shooting death of her husband. Cindy believed her friend Janine was innocent, but Stride thought all the evidence pointed to the surgeon–even though the gun was never found. Despite Cindy’s attempts to help Janine, the case led to a high-profile murder trial in which Janine was convicted and sent to prison.

During the current investigation, Serena finds a gun used in the murder of a woman connected to an organized crime syndicate–a gun that turns out to be the same weapon used to kill Janine Snow’s husband. Two unrelated cases years apart suddenly have a mysterious connection. As Stride investigates the possibility that human traffickers are targeting women in the Duluth port, he begins to question whether he made a terrible mistake eight years ago by putting an innocent woman in prison. And whether he will ever be able to make peace with the memory of his beloved wife and give his heart to Serena.

Convergence. A fast-paced, riveting drama that converged on my soul as this page-turning thriller pulled me in and didn’t let go until my emotions were spent in the manner that has become the reading of a Brian Freeman novel. The pacing, the tone, the dialogue, the action, the mystery- all meshed together in this character-driven narrative where the past meets the present and the consequences of one’s action becomes the story. The author did an excellent job in crafting a dynamic story where I watched and waited for the culmination of how this would all play out knowing what I suspect will be the key to an ending worthy of a journey that was meant to happen. This is by far the best book in this terrific series and I cannot wait to see where we go next with Stride, Serena and Maggie.

FTC Full Disclosure – I received an Advanced Reader Copy (ARC) of this book from Quercus