Tag Archives: suspense

A day in the life of Seamus Carmichael by Amy M. Reade

If only I’d known what I was getting into when I bought that painting from the junk dealer in Edinburgh, I would have left it lying there on the floor where I found it.

After all, it wasn’t even in good shape. I recognized it as a painting by an old Scottish master, so I snapped it up before the junk shop owner knew what he had.

Och, that painting has brought no end of trouble for me and my wife, Sylvie.

Life in the village of Cauld Loch in the Scottish Highlands is good, or at least it was until Florian McDermott died under bizarre circumstances. He was a strange wee man and it’s downright eerie to think Sylvie and I may have been the last ones to see him alive.

Life for the two of us has spiraled downward since Florian’s death. We’ve gotten strange phone calls, an unexpected houseguest, and a very disturbing visit from a person who remains anonymous. It’s got to have something to do with that painting, but we don’t know what’s so special about it.

But we’ll find out, of that I’m sure.

The one bright spot since Florian’s death has been the invitation for me to show my paintings in a posh London gallery. Sylvie and I have made a vacation out of it and are staying in London for two weeks. She’s seeing the sights of one of the world’s most beautiful and storied cities while I work, but I don’t mind.

Come to think of it, Sylvie hasn’t been too specific about the places she’s visited while I’ve been working, but I’m sure she’s hitting all the high points. Och, she’ll show me the pictures when we get back to Cauld Loch. She’s a cracking photographer; she’ll choose the best photos and make prints of them to sell in our gallery.

Our time in London has been a once-in-a-lifetime experience for Sylvie and me, but I think we’re both ready to head back to our home in the Highlands. We miss the quiet of the village, the mountains and the loch, and our friends and family.

If only the authorities could catch the person responsible for Florian’s death, our lives could return to normal. We’re both under a lot of stress and I know Sylvie’s scared. But there’s something I need to talk to her about and if she’s not able to listen to me calmly and with an open heart, things may never be the same between us.

So much for life returning to “normal.”

You can read more about Seamus in Highland Peril, the second book in the “Malice” suspense series.

Trading the urban pace of Edinburgh for a tiny village overlooking a breathtaking blue loch was a great move for budding photographer Sylvie Carmichael and her artist husband, Seamus—until a dangerous crime obscures the view.

Sylvie’s bucolic life along the heather-covered moors of the Highlands is a world away from the hectic energy of the city. But then a London buyer is killed after purchasing a long-lost Scottish masterpiece from Seamus’s gallery—and the painting vanishes. As suspicion clouds their new life, and their relationship, Sylvie’s search for answers plunges her into an unsolved mystery dating back to Cromwellian Scotland through World War I and beyond. And as she moves closer to the truth, Sylvie is targeted by a murderer who’s after a treasure within a treasure that could rewrite history . . . and her own future.

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About the author
Amy M. Reade is the USA Today bestselling author of The Malice Series, consisting thus far of The House on Candlewick Lane, Highland Peril, and Murder in Thistlecross. She has also written three standalone novels of gothic suspense: Secrets of Hallstead House, The Ghosts of Peppernell Manor, and House of the Hanging Jade.

Amy is a recovering attorney living in Southern New Jersey. She is active in community organizations and loves reading, cooking, and traveling when she’s not writing. She is currently working on three mystery novels.

Connect with Amy at amymreade.com and on Facebook.

All comments are welcomed.

My Musing ~ House. Tree. Person. by Catriona McPherson

House. Tree. Person. by Catriona McPherson is a novel of suspense. Publisher: Midnight Ink, coming September 8, 2017

A year ago, she was happily married, running her beauty salon, raising her son, living in her dream house. Now Ali McGovern’s dreams are slipping away and all her old ghosts are rising.

A job at Howell Hall, the private psychiatric facility nearby, seems too good to be true. Why have they employed her? How can they afford her? And what are they hiding? When a body is discovered in a shallow grave on Ali’s first day at work, it feels like one last horror. But it’s just the beginning of her descent into a nightmare world she never imagined existed, far too close to home.

With a well-defined plot, this riveting drama had me engrossed in all the minute details in a book that I could not put down. The angst, the intrigue, and the suspense all came together in the visually descriptive narrative that placed me in the center of all the action. The tightly deep twists that you know is coming but don’t see until it hits you is what I liked about this story, where every factor, every character, every movement is pivotal in how well this tome was told. The palpitation of my heart couldn’t control the gripping desire I had to see how this would end and boy did it ever. The author has a way with bringing complex characters, engaging dialogue and trepidation in a psychological state of being where nothing is as it seems, but when it is all said and done, you have an intensifying thriller that leaves you wanting more. And the title of the book, well-played, well-played indeed.

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FTC Full Disclosure – I received a digital ARC of this book from the publisher via NetGalley.

A day in the life with Tom Green by Mark Pryor

So, my buddy Hugo Marston was here last year talking about a day in his life, and if I know him it was the usual mix of self-deprecating charm dosed with plenty of boy-scout adventures. That’s right, I haven’t read it because I get to see him every day doing his thing—saving injured puppies, rescuing nuns, and knitting wooly socks for bunnies with cold tootsies.

Oh, I should probably introduce myself, since everything is always about Hugo and he doesn’t normally get around to giving me my due. My name is Tom Green and I’m Hugo’s best friend. Have been since we met at the FBI Academy, when I helped him shoot and study. In fact, I think he’d admit that he wouldn’t have come top of his class if it weren’t for me.

My day normally begins at around ten, more often than not with a headache and a taste in my mouth that matches the newspaper lining in a parrot’s cage. Hugo will have been at work for several hours already, sipping lattes and hand-writing thank-you notes to guests of the US embassy where he works. Assuming he’s restocked the kitchen, I’ll make some coffee for myself and check out the news online. A couple of times a week I’ll wake up and find someone snoring next to me. If she’s pretty and I didn’t have to pay for her, I might be generous and spring for breakfast. If she’s not and I did, I’ll give her some cash purloined from Hugo’s wallet and end the transaction.

I can’t really talk about my job. It’s no secret that I work for the CIA on a contract basis, but the specifics I don’t share with anyone, even Hugo. He wouldn’t approve of most of what I do, he’s more of a by-the-book lawman. My focus is on results more than method, which is why the CIA have been good to me, kept me working despite a few issues with single malt and married women.

Hugo jokes about me mooching a room from him, which I do because of lunch. I’ve been to most places in the world and I can promise you that a long lunch at Les Deux Magots on Place Saint-German des Prés is unmatchable. It’s the kind of place you can sit by yourself for three hours and no one will hurry you. I can take a book and read while they bring their delicious tomato and goat’s cheese mille-feuilles, followed by the hand-chopped steak tartare. Thursday is my favorite day, when they do a roasted saddle of lamb. Succulent.

If I’m not working I’ll usually hook up with Hugo for an afternoon coffee. If he’s working on a fun case I’ll try and help him. He acts the Boy Scout but when he’s muddling around in the dark and isn’t sure which way to turn, he doesn’t mind me breaking a few windows to let in the light, if you know what I mean. It’s all good, we complement each other and haven’t failed on one of his cases yet.

I do worry about him, though. As much as I rib him, the guy has gone out on a limb for me in the past, put himself in a tough spot for me. There’s a chance that’s coming back to bite him now, more than a decade later. There’s this guy who I saw in Paris. Hugo didn’t believe me but I know I saw him. He’s trouble, in the worst way. If you want the details they’re covered pretty well in Hugo’s latest adventure, The Sorbonne Affair.

Anyway, although we’ve not really talked about it much I feel like I’ve put Hugo in harm’s way and so, if you really want to know what a day in the life of Tom Green is like, what I’ll be doing for the next few weeks anyway, it won’t be the usual roll of pretty ladies and fancy lunches. It’ll revolve around keeping my best friend safe.

And I’ll do it any way I have to.

Well, maybe just one bottle of wine per evening, and a scotch or two late at night. And, come to think of it, Hugo would know something’s up if I behave too well, so I suppose I’ll have to charm the occasional lady into the apartment. After all, if we change the way we live for the bad guys, then they win, right? And we can’t have that. No sirree, not on my watch.

You can read more about Tom in The Sorbonne Affair, the seventh book in the “Hugo Marston” mystery series.

Someone is spying on American author Helen Hancock. While in Paris to conduct research and teach a small class of writers, she discovers a spy camera hidden in her room at the Sorbonne Hotel. She notifies the US Embassy, and former FBI profiler Hugo Marston is dispatched to investigate.

Almost immediately, the stakes are raised from surveillance to murder when the hotel employee who appears to be responsible for bugging Hancock’s suite is found dead. The next day, a salacious video clip explodes across the Internet, showing the author in the embrace of one of her writing students—both are naked, and nothing is left to the imagination.

As more bodies pile up, the list of suspects narrows; but everyone at the Sorbonne Hotel has something to hide, and no one is being fully honest with Hugo. He teams up with Lieutenant Camille Lerens to solve the case, but a close call on the streets of Paris proves that he could be the killer’s next target.

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About the author
Mark Pryor is the author of the Hugo Marston novels The Bookseller, The Crypt Thief, The Blood Promise, The Button Man, The Reluctant Matador, and The Paris Librarian, as well as the novels Hollow Man and Dominic. He has also published the true-crime book As She Lay Sleeping. A native of Hertfordshire, England, he is an assistant district attorney in Austin, Texas, where he lives with his wife and three children. Connect with Mark at markpryorbooks.com

All comments are welcomed.

My Musing ~ Blessed are the Peacemakers by Kristi Belcamino

Blessed are the Peacemakers by Kristi Belcamino is the fifth book in the “Gabriella Giovanni” mystery series. August 2017

Gabriella Giovanni has it all. A stunning penthouse in San Francisco. An exciting job on the crime beat. A doting and movie-star handsome husband and a beautiful little girl. So, when she complains about all the travel her husband’s new DEA job requires, she know she has good problems.

But when her husband’s plane goes down in the jungles of Mexico and she is told he is dead, Gabriella thinks things could not possibly get any worse.

She is wrong.

Despite the U.S. government’s attempt to find the wreckage, they come up empty-handed. Gabriella heads to Mexico to trace Donovan’s path to find some answers, and hopefully, some healing.

In the deepest jungles of Mexico, it doesn’t take long for Gabriella to realize she’s in over her head and is putting what remains of the life, including her precious daughter, and her ill mother, at risk.

The fifth book in the acclaimed and Anthony, Barry and Macavity-nominated Gabriella Giovanni Mystery series.

All I can say is WOW! This grippingly enticing read kept me glued to the pages, even venturing into another borough because I just could not stop reading the visually descriptive narrative that had me on the sideline watching in as the events of the moment played out with the characters. The complexity of the various scenes was staged perfectly as both Donovan and Gabriella struggle to stay alive, not knowing the whereabouts of one another. The determination and the pivotal role that they must make to accomplish their goal is so agonizingly fraught, that my heart broke for them, even though Donovan pissed me off. Riveting emotions exude throughout this fast-paced drama that left me wanting more and I applaud the author for delivering a well-executed story that catered to what I love in a suspenseful novel. This is one of the best book in this terrific series and I can’t wait to see where we go next with Gabriella, Donovan and the rest of the gang.

My Musing ~ Death Warmed Over by Kate Flora

Death Warmed Over by Kate Flora is the eighth book in the “Thea Kozak” mystery series. Publisher: ePublishing Works!, August 2017

Arriving to view what will hopefully be her dream home, Thea Kozak finds her real estate agent, Ginger Stevens, tied to a chair, surrounded by fiery space heaters. Just before the woman dies, she utters the indistinct words: Bobby. So long. Safe. Sorry.

Then a stranger, claiming to be Ginger’s boyfriend, corners Thea, demanding a package that Ginger gave to her, a package Thea never received.

Determined to get justice for Ginger, Thea begins her own investigation. Ginger’s colleagues know little about her, her apartment has been professionally sanitized, Ginger Stevens is the name of a child who died many years ago, and the Maine police have no idea who real-estate agent Ginger Stevens really is.

But Thea is sure the two men following her know Ginger’s true identity, and will stop at nothing to keep her from uncovering the truth behind the woman’s dying words.

When Thea discovers the nearly dead body of her realtor, the emotion entanglement envelopes her and her only recourse is to try to find the person responsible for the heinous act.

This fast-paced and grippingly engaging drama pulled me in immediately, quickly becoming a page-turner as I could not put this book down until it was all said and done. The author does a great job with the visually descriptive narrative creating a film-like scenario that I could see and follow along with the dialogue. The mystery was pulsating with enough intrigue and suspense that I had to know what was going to happen next. The constant flow of information provided, kept me delving into the various challenges Thea faced as each clue disseminated in a manner with a few twists and turns that enhanced the telling of this tale. I’m so happy that Thea is back in a drama tinged in trepidation that enraptured me from beginning to a finale befitting Thea. I can’t wait to read the next book in this terrific series.

A day in the life of Reginald Proctor by Carolyn Haines

When I found myself working with Madam Petalungra, world famous medium, in the cosmopolitan Louisiana city of New Orleans, I discovered a world hidden to most people. And I began to realize many things about my chosen line of work. The first is that I have no real ability to see spirits. Madam, who is a true talent in the spirit world, said I might eventually learn sensitivity to the specters trapped between realms, but that nonetheless I was her ablest assistant because while I could not see the dead, I do have an ability to read the living. Madam, who is a true talent in the spirit world, said I might eventually learn sensitivity to the specters trapped between realms. Nonetheless I was her ablest assistant because, while I could not see the dead, I have an uncanny ability to read the living. My years of working with Madam were the beginning of a very strange path.

Not so long ago, I was attending Madam at one of her regular séances. Her New Orleans home is a frequent stopping place for the famous and wealthy, including Mr. Doyle, the English writer of the Sherlock Holmes mysteries. But on this particular night, it was a young female writer who caught my eye. Raissa James was in the company of her uncle and two friends and they’d arranged to attend Madame’s session. The rest, as they say, is history.

I returned to Mobile, Alabama with Raissa and her uncle to investigate a series of unexplained incidents in the magnificent Caoin House. The mystery we uncovered was far more complex and devious than I’d ever anticipated. But I also discovered in Raissa a young woman who doesn’t judge my lifestyle and who also keeps my secrets. Now we’re business partners in the gumshoe agency, Pluto’s Snitch. Our specialty is solving mysteries with a supernatural influence. And in our second case, we’re working for none other than the most modern woman in America, Zelda Fitzgerald.

Our adventure will take us to Montgomery, Alabama where Mrs. Fitzgerald’s childhood friend is suffering from what she calls a possession. Camilla Granger has been institutionalized in the state mental hospital, a voluntary commitment. Described as a sweet, meek young woman, Camilla has twice tried to kill her fiancé, a man she claims to love. She is either mentally ill, in which case we won’t be able to help, or some entity is deviling her. If her erratic and dangerous behavior is the result of some kind of haunting, perhaps Raissa and I can intervene.

We’ll travel up the Alabama river on one of her uncle’s steamboats. I hope to get some gambling in along the journey and replenish my threadbare finances. As I mentioned, I’m pretty good at reading people and in my past life, I’ve learned how to survive. Gambling is generally easy money. Raissa has never traveled by river, and the trip will give her time to work on the stories she wants to write and publish. She is quite talented. This slow pace traveling up-river will allow us time to put the finishing touches on our approach to this case.

If we complete this case successfully, then I see a bright future for Pluto’s Snitch. For those who aren’t familiar with the slang of the day, snitch mean private investigator, and for those who enjoy mythology, Pluto was the god who ruled the land of the dead. Hence our clever name!

Madam has a number of clients who will hire us to resolve hauntings, strange phenomena, and resolve crimes that have no apparent explanation. Raissa and I are both single. She is widowed and my lifestyle doesn’t allow for a marriage, so we are free to travel to various locations. Resolving hauntings requires that we be on-scene. I may not see spirits but I am sensitive to gut feelings, and I believe Pluto’s Snitch will be a service much in demand.

Come and share the mystery of the haunting of Camilla Granger with us in The House of Memory, the second book in the “Pluto’s Snitch” mystery series, coming June 27, 2017.

Raissa James not only sees the dead but she’s caught the ears of the living—especially now that she’s solved her first case. Word of Pluto’s Snitch, her private-investigation agency specializing in the occult, has spread far and wide. It’s even come to the notice of Zelda Fitzgerald, the nation’s most celebrated flapper. And Zelda’s in need of its services.

Along with Reginald Proctor, her partner in detection, Raissa travels to Montgomery, Alabama, where Zelda’s friend Camilla has suddenly become prone to violent fits and delusions. Has Camilla gone mad. . .or has she been possessed?

Raissa and Reginald soon discover that Camilla’s not the only young lady in the area to fall victim to something unnatural. Now it’s up to the Snitches to follow the clues and save Camilla, locked away behind the walls of the formidable Bryce Hospital asylum. But the key to her rescue might not lie among the living at all. Because Raissa knows that the dead have their secrets, too.

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About the author
Carolyn Haines is the USA Today bestselling author of The Pluto’s Snitch mystery series set in 1920. The Book of Beloved is the first book in the series. Haines is also the author of the Sarah Booth Delaney humorous mystery series and the Familiar, black cat detective series. She does see ghosts—but runs away because she’s afraid. And she operates an animal rescue on her Alabama farm. You can learn more about her at the following links. Connect with Carolyn at carolynhaines.com, on Twitter, on Instagram, on her Amazon Author page, on BookBub, and on Facebook.

All comments are welcomed.

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My Musing ~ You’ll Never Know, Dear by Hallie Ephron

You’ll Never Know, Dear by Hallie Ephron is a novel of suspense. Publisher: William Morrow, June 6, 2017

Lissie Woodham was only seven years old when her little sister Janey disappeared. They had been in the front yard, playing with their dolls, custom creations made for them by their mother Miss Sorrel, a famous dollmaker. Lissie wandered off for a moment. When she returned to the yard, Janey was gone, and so was her doll.

Now an adult with a college-aged daughter of her own, Lis has never stopped blaming herself for what happened, and it continues to haunt her. Every year on the anniversary of Janey’s disappearance, Miss Sorrel places a classified ad in the local papers with a picture of Janey’s one-of-a-kind doll, offering a cash reward for its return. Never, in all these years, has anyone brought her a doll that could be Janey’s—until now. Four decades after Janey went missing, a woman responds to the ad with a broken porcelain doll.

What begins as a small clue in a tragic cold case turns into something far more sinister. The women in Miss Sorrel’s family may be in danger, because whoever knows the truth about what happened all those years ago will do anything to keep it hidden.

This was a hauntingly exquisite tale of suspense that had me immediately immersed in this well-written drama that I could not put down until I knew how this was going to end. A missing daughter. A missing sister. And when by chance a doll is brought into their presence, the pieces of the past fall apart and secrets are exposed to tell a story of betrayal and deceit. The narrative was visually descriptive putting the imagery of the words in my mind as a film as I clutch at every word said and acted out among this cast of characters who all played pivotal roles that enhanced the telling of this tale. The anticipation, the awareness, the discovery, the coming to terms and the final betrayal, all created a wonderfully executed page-turner that consumed me from beginning to end. A terrific read by one of the gifted authors in this genre.

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

My Musing ~ Golden Prey by John Sandford

Golden Prey by John Sandford is the 27th book in the “Prey” suspense series. Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, April 25, 2017

The man was smart and he didn’t mind killing people. Welcome to the big leagues, Davenport. Lucas Davenport’s first case as a U.S. Marshal sends him into uncharted territory, in the thrilling new novel in the #1 New York Times-bestselling series.

Thanks to some very influential people whose lives he saved, Lucas is no longer working for the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, but for the U.S. Marshals Service, and with unusual scope. He gets to pick his own cases, whatever they are, wherever they lead him.

And where they’ve led him this time is into real trouble. A Biloxi, Mississippi, drug-cartel counting house gets robbed, and suitcases full of cash disappear, leaving behind five bodies, including that of a six-year-old girl. Davenport takes the case, which quickly spirals out of control, as cartel assassins, including a torturer known as the “Queen of home-improvement tools” compete with Davenport to find the Dixie Hicks shooters who knocked over the counting house. Things get ugly real fast, and neither the cartel killers nor the holdup men give a damn about whose lives Davenport might have saved; to them, he’s just another large target.

John Sandford knows how to keep me occupied while reading the latest exploits of Lucas Davenport by taking him out of his usual situation and expanding his world in his new job as a U.S. Marshal. This story pulled me in immediately and I fell in love once again with Lucas as he took on this new role with doing what he does best and that is “hunt.” There’s a little give and take in his new assignment and the author does a great job of letting it percolate with narrative that had me sitting closely by the bodies and calamity rears its ugly head. The fast-paced, action-packed, and riveting drama kept me involved in all that was happening and the warning at the end. . .pure Lucas influenced. Love this book and look forward to more good times with Lucas and his associates.

FTC Full Disclosure – I received a digital ARC of this book from the publisher via NetGalley.

My Musing ~ Day of Secrets by Daryl Gerber Wood

Day of Secrets by Daryl Gerber Wood is the author’s second suspense novel. Publisher: Chucklin Inc, April 28, 2017

Can Chase Day discover why his family is a target before an unknown enemy destroys him?

At the age of five, Chase Day became an orphan. For thirty-one years, after a rebellious youth, he did his best to build a normal life—first as a Naval Officer and then as a history professor at a boutique Bay Area college. But now all that changes when he finds his mother, whom he thought had died in a fire, dying from a gunshot wound. In her last breath, she urges him to locate and protect the father he never knew. Where has his father been? Why has he never made contact? And, most critically, why does he need protection? In his search for the truth, Chase will learn the meaning of friendship and family and suffer the heart-wrenching pain of betrayal.

This is a suspense driven, non-stop action from beginning to end. The frenetic pacing kept me enthralled in all facets as the narrative gently ripped how well each scene took me to another plane where I couldn’t put this book down until I knew who was doing what to whom. With strategically placed twists and turns, this nail biter of a plot all came to screeching junction when the facts played out and our hero was granted his answers. This is a roller coaster of a ride that had my heart palpitating with each turn bringing me to a complete stop that I didn’t want to get off.

FTC Full Disclosure – I received a digital ARC of this book from the author.