Tag Archives: Thomas & Mercer

A day in the life of Special Agent Antara Singh by Alexandra Sokoloff

Singh sits in her cubicle and looks around the empty FBI office. It is early, some time before business hours.

So she turns away from her Bureau computer and removes her personal laptop from a drawer. She boots up and logs in. Using an alias, on an encrypted connection, she enters the Darknet and logs on to a forum titled “Rape Cara Lindstrom.”

It is the hateful brainchild of Riverside County Sheriff’s Detective Gilbert Ortiz.

Singh has been following Ortiz online for some weeks now. At first on a legal warrant, when he was a suspect for the rapes of more than a dozen teenage girls. Roarke had closed the case. But Singh has continued to track Ortiz, unofficially. And illegally.

Because of this forum.

It is a place where men who choose to do so can share their most despicable fantasies.

Singh has lived all her life with the knowledge that a random group of men can turn into a monstrous, ravening beast, with no thought, no morality, no consciousness. That any moment she herself could be seized, brutalized, left for dead or worse than dead.

So many relatives, friends, colleagues have been broken by the vile thing that slithers through the streets of her home country. The thing that terrorizes women, holds them in Its grasp. The thing she has always known is here in this country, too, but at least somewhat deeper in the shadows.

But It has free rein in these forums.

She knows Ortiz’s aliases. She knows his habits. When he tends to access the secret forums. The order that he checks in on all of the forums he does haunt.

She has created her own identities and posted by copying the grotesque, almost invariably ungrammatical writing style of the forums’ inhabitants. With her aliases, she has gained access to secret subforums on the Darknet.

There are extreme porn videos and forums with titles like “Top Ten Ways to Get Away with Rape.”

Here also is where professional trolls recruit like-minded men to attack women who dare to post their opinions online. Scientists, actresses, journalists, politicians, game designers—anyone female is vulnerable to trolling. Online trolling has been rising in an alarming wave. Singh has seen hundreds of female celebrities and ordinary women deluged with rape threats—not only against themselves, but against their children, their mothers, their sisters. A target is posted in the forums and a harassment campaign is begun. A coordinated attempt to silence female voices.

These trolls have only been emboldened by the ascension of the ultimate troll, a sexual predator now determining national policy.

Singh left her own country in part to be free of the pervasive underlying belief that rape is normal, part of a woman’s fate. In India the attitude is that the victim asks for it and the male is nowhere in sight of blame.

She does not see these forums or postings as innocent. From attitude comes action.

So she is collecting files on the posters. Trawling for crimes. She is hopeful that the task force that Roarke is spearheading will give her a platform to go after these monsters in some way.

In the meantime, she watches.

She searches all the forums she knows Ortiz frequents. She only skims the threads. Reading closely is unbearable.

But Ortiz has not posted today. And it is not long before she has to sign off in revulsion.

She puts the computer away, sits back in her chair. She feels agitation prickling under her skin, and takes a moment to close her eyes.

She lets her workplace cubicle slip away and focuses on her breathing, identifying the sensations in her body.

They are too familiar.

Her temperature is elevated, her face flaming. She is burning up, shaking from this toxic overflow of misogyny and racism and hatred.

Not just in the forums, but in the news, everywhere.

She feels often that she is losing her grip on anything rational. And as so often happens, in this moment she has literally stopped breathing.

She makes herself inhale deeply, exhale slowly.

Then she centers, visualizes the sun, the rays warming and surrounding her, and silently recites a prayer, the ritual of light.

Light before me.
Light behind me.
Light at my left.
Light at my right.
Light above me.
Light below me.
Light around me.
Light to all.
Light to the Universe.

She sits in the visualization. And it helps, of course it helps. But her prayers do less and less to calm her.

She spends her days in a haze of anxiety. By night her dreams are ominous: of a dark force settling over the country. Paroxysms of malice. The constant sense of being hunted.

Nowhere to run. No place that is safe.

And a terrible, inescapable reality.

There is no end in sight.

You can read more about Antara in Hunger Moon, the fifth book in the “Huntress/FBI” thriller series.

Revenge has no limits.

Special Agent Matthew Roarke has abandoned his rogue search for serial killer Cara Lindstrom. He’s returned to the FBI to head a task force with one mission: to rid society of its worst predators. But as the skeletal symbols of Santa Muerte, “Lady Death,” mysteriously appear at universities nationwide, threatening death to rapists, Roarke’s team is pressured to investigate. When a frat boy goes missing in Santa Barbara, Roarke realizes a bloodbath is coming—desperate teenagers are about to mete out personal, cold-blooded justice.

Hiding from the law, avenging angel Cara Lindstrom is on her own ruthless quest. She plans to stay as far away from Roarke as possible—until an old enemy comes after both her and the FBI, forcing her back into Roarke’s orbit. This time, the huntress has become the hunted . . .

Also, the series really should be read in order, starting with Huntress Moon, which is free to Amazon Prime readers. And all four books in the series are currently on sale on Kindle for 1.99 US, 99p UK, and 1.49 AU.

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Click here to enter tour-wide giveaway of $50 Amazon gift card.
You can find the schedule here of other stops on the Xpresso Book Tour for Alexandra Sokoloff.

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About the author
Alexandra Sokoloff is the Thriller Award-winning, Bram Stoker and Anthony Award-nominated author of twelve bestselling supernatural and crime thrillers. The New York Times has called her “a daughter of Mary Shelley” and her books “Some of the most original and freshly unnerving work in the genre.” As a screenwriter she has sold original suspense and horror scripts and written novel adaptations for numerous Hollywood studios (Sony, Fox, Disney, Miramax), for producers such as Michael Bay, David Heyman, Laura Ziskin and Neal Moritz. She is also the author of the internationally acclaimed Screenwriting Tricks for Authors workbooks, based on her workshops and blog. Her Thriller Award-nominated Huntress Moon series follows a haunted FBI agent on the hunt for a female serial killer, smashing genre clichés and combatting the rise of violence against women on the page and screen. The series is in active development for television with Sokoloff as writer/producer. Visit Alexandra at AlexandraSokoloff.com.

All comments are welcomed.

My Musing ~ Hunger Moon by Alexandra Sokoloff

Hunger Moon by Alexandra Sokoloff is the 5th book in the “The Huntress/FBI” thriller series. Publisher: Thomas & Mercer, coming October 24, 2017

Revenge has no limits.

Special Agent Matthew Roarke has abandoned his rogue search for serial killer Cara Lindstrom. He’s returned to the FBI to head a task force with one mission: to rid society of its worst predators. But as the skeletal symbols of Santa Muerte, “Lady Death,” mysteriously appear at universities nationwide, threatening death to rapists, Roarke’s team is pressured to investigate. When a frat boy goes missing in Santa Barbara, Roarke realizes a bloodbath is coming—desperate teenagers are about to mete out personal, cold-blooded justice.

Hiding from the law, avenging angel Cara Lindstrom is on her own ruthless quest. She plans to stay as far away from Roarke as possible—until an old enemy comes after both her and the FBI, forcing her back into Roarke’s orbit. This time, the huntress has become the hunted . . .

This is a complex and all-encompassing read that pulls you in and never lets go, not even at the conclusion. Darkness abounds throughout the telling of this story where the narrative is pitch-perfect striking a cord that had me intensely rooted in all that was happening with a take on societal woes that is prevalent with only one thing left to do. . .put an end to it. And in this hard-hitting drama, a group is determined to rid this behavior and it is that action that propels this drama in the manner that I could not put this book down until I knew how this ended and the author did not disappoint me as I knew that she would leave it in such a way.

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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 of Death Investigator Angela Richman by Elaine Viets

Detective Ray Greiman called me at midnight. “Luther Ridley Delor’s house is on fire. One body so far. They’re bringing it out. Get over there now.”

My heart sank. I’m Angela Richman, Chouteau County Death Investigator. That’s like a paralegal for the medical examiner: I handle homicides and unexplained deaths.

This was the third major fire in Chouteau County, a ten-square-mile preserve for the one percent and those who served them, near Saint Louis, Mo.

Seventy-year-old Luther called himself a financier to take away the sting of how his family made a trainload of money: running a nationwide chain of payday loan companies. I wondered who’d died: Luther? His 20-year-old fiancée, Kendra? A servant?

Burn victims were worse than badly decomposed bodies. When I arrived, the scene at the fiery mansion was controlled chaos. The victim was Luther, not Kendra Salvato, his Mexican-American fiancée. Detective Greiman had already decided Kendra had killed the old man. He told me Luther spent his last night at a local bar “pounding down Dos Equis and grabbing Kendra’s ass. Popped Viagra with a beer and said he and his little ‘greaser gal’ were going home to screw and we should expect to see flames. Too bad they were the wrong kind.”

Greiman’s evidence? A half-melted gasoline container found by Luther’s door. It had the logo of Kendra’s father’s lawn service. Jose mowed the lawns in Luther’s neighborhood.

“So?” I said. “The crew lost it.”

“Right before the house happens to go up in flames? I don’t believe in coincidence.”

I tried to ignore Greiman and concentrate on Luther’s body actualization – the examination. Luther seemed smaller in death – and he really was. Burn victims could lose up to 60 percent of their weight.

I slipped on four pairs of latex gloves. I’d strip off the gloves and put them in my pocket as the examination went on so I wouldn’t contaminate the investigation with fluids or fibers from other areas. I called up the “Body of a Burn Victim” form on my iPad. The routine questions soothed me, restoring order to this hellish chaos.

Were there any thermal injuries? Luther’s arms were raised in the classic “pugilistic stance” of a burn victim, as if he’d gone nine rounds with death and lost. His arm muscles had contracted in the heat. I measured the burns and blisters on his seared flesh, then carefully covered his fragile hands in paper bags secured with rubber bands. They might crumble when the body was transported to the morgue. The heat from a fire made bones brittle, and they could fracture when the body was moved. No bones jutted through his skin. I noted that, then tore my eyes away from the horror for the next question.

Hair color? Luther’s magnificent white hair had been burned away, but I knew the color and noted the absence of hair.

Eye color? I couldn’t tell. The eyes were cooked and shriveled. I fought back my nausea. Focus. You have a duty to help Luther. He was a rich, silly old fool led around by his libido, but now he needs your skill. Local gossip said the old man had given his young mistress $2,000,000 to wear his ring and another $2,000,000 when she married him. Now he was a brittle-boned mess of kindling.

Was the victim’s clothing consumed by fire? Luther wore the remnants of white silk boxer shorts: a melted elastic waistband and enough cloth to cover his genitals. I saw no sign of other clothes and didn’t remove his underpants. That would be the ME’s job.

Was there an odor of petroleum product on the clothing? I forced myself to lean in closer but couldn’t smell either oil or gasoline.

Was the victim known to drink to excess? I had no idea how much he’d drunk tonight—or rather, last night—but it had to be a lot. If his body was too cooked to do a blood alcohol test, the ME would have to use a piece of brain.

Could the victim’s medical problems have contributed to the fire or to his/her inability to exit the fire scene? “Witnesses said the victim was extremely intoxicated when last seen alive,” I wrote. Was Luther too drunk or confused to follow Kendra’s instructions? Did she even try to save him? If she abandoned Luther, she’d still have $2,000,000 – a lot of money for a manicurist.

Was the victim heard to cry out by any witnesses? That was the question. Plenty of witnesses were still watching the firefighters. I’d seen Greiman jump to conclusions before. It wasn’t my job to investigate Luther’s death—in fact, it violated the rules.

But I did have to record the facts. And I’d do everything I could to make sure Kendra was fairly treated.

You can read more about Angela in Fire and Ashes, the second book in the “Angela Richman, Death Investigator” mystery series.

In the exclusive, gated enclave of Olympia Forest Estates, death investigator Angela Richman watches a mansion go up in a fiery blaze. Seventy-year-old Luther Delor, who owns a sleazy but profitable chain of payday loan stores, dies in the fire. Luther, a drunken, bed-hopping rhinestone cowboy, scandalized the community when he left his wife for a twenty-year-old Mexican-American manicurist, Kendra Salvato. She’s accused of killing him and setting other fires in Chouteau County. Kendra is being railroaded to death row as a gold-digging killer.

All there is against Kendra is vicious gossip and anti-Mexican rage, and both are spreading like wildfire. Meanwhile, Angela is trying to douse the flames with forensic work that’s putting the Forest on edge. After all, facts could implicate one of their own. Now, sifting through the ashes of a vicious crime—and the guilty secrets of the privileged—only Angela can get to the truth, and prevent an innocent woman from getting burned.

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About the author
Award-winning author Elaine Viets has written thirty-one mysteries in four series, including the bestselling Dead-End Job series, featuring South Florida private detectives Helen Hawthorne and her husband, Phil Sagemont. She also wrote the Josie Marcus, Mystery Shopper mystery series and the dark Francesca Vierling mysteries. She has served on the national boards of the Mystery Writers of America and Sisters in Crime. She’s a frequent contributor to Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine as well as anthologies edited by Charlaine Harris and Lawrence Block. Viets has won the Anthony, Agatha, and Lefty Awards.

The Angela Richman, Death Investigator series returns the prolific author to her hard-boiled roots. Brain Storm draws on her personal experiences as a stroke survivor, as well as her studies in the Medicolegal Death Investigators Training Course at Saint Louis University’s School of Medicine. Fire and Ashes, the second novel in the series, was published July 25, 2017.

All comments are welcomed.

My Musing ~ Fire and Ashes by Elaine Viets

Fire and Ashes by Elaine Viets is the second book in the “Death Investigator Angela Richman” mystery series. Publisher: Thomas & Mercer, coming July 25, 2017

In the exclusive, gated enclave of Olympia Forest Estates, death investigator Angela Richman watches a mansion go up in a fiery blaze. With it, seventy-year-old financier Luther Delor, a drunken, bed-hopping rhinestone cowboy. Embroiled in a bitter divorce, Delor may have scandalized Chouteau Forest, but his murder has united it against the accused: Delor’s twenty-year-old girlfriend, Kendra Salvato, an “outsider.” With an engagement ring bigger than Chouteau County, she’s being railroaded straight to death row as a gold-digging killer.

All there is against Kendra is vicious gossip and anti-Mexican rage, and both are spreading like wildfire. Meanwhile, Angela is trying to douse the flames with forensic work that’s putting the Forest on edge. After all, facts could implicate one of their own. Now, sifting through the ashes of a vicious crime—and the guilty secrets of the privileged—only Angela can get to the truth, and prevent an innocent woman from getting burned.

This is one book that I could not put down, quickly becoming a page turner. Who killed Luther Delor? Everyone suspects his very young Mexican fiancee. Did she do it? Is she also the arsonist? Well, I have to tell you that Elaine wrote a well-executed intense drama that captured the essence of what was going on with the parties involved in this case. From the fire inspector to the detective, they already had the town convinced of her guilt. Enters Angela who feels there is more to this and once she gets involved, this becomes an all-around deeply insightful tale dealing with the aftermath of death and arson.

The narrative was visually descriptive letting me imagine the goriness that Angela faced as a death investigator but it’s her strength that prevails when all is said and done. The mystery was tightly woven with subplots that played off each other that helped enhance the telling of this tale. The author does a nice job in setting the stage in this hard-boiled thriller where scene by scene, eye-opening details are exposed and it’s the culmination of facts that involved the town’s own residents and their demons and a few strategically placed twists brought this story to a justifiable conclusion. This is an engagingly riveting read and I can’t wait to read the next book with in this gripping series.

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

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 ~ Executive Order by Max Allan Collins w/Matthew V. Clemens

Executive Order by Max Allan Collins w/Matthew V. Clemens is the third book in the “Reeder and Rogers” thriller. Publisher: Thomas & Mercer, April 11, 2017

A riveting novel by MWA Grand Master Award winner Max Allan Collins.

In Eastern Europe four CIA agents are dead—geopolitical pawns caught in border dispute cross fire. Why were they there? Who sent them? Not even the President knows.

Back in Washington, the Secretary of the Interior dies from an apparent allergic shock. As details emerge, so do suspicions that she was murdered.

Investigating their respective cases, ex–Secret Service agent Joe Reeder and FBI Special Situations Task Force leader Patti Rogers recognize a dangerous conspiracy is in play. When suspects and government contacts are killed off with expert precision, their worst fears are confirmed. As the country edges closer and closer to war, Reeder and Rogers must protect the President—and each other—from an unseen enemy who’s somehow always one step ahead.

The stakes have never been higher, against killers who might be anywhere, and Reeder and Rogers have no one to trust but each other.

This cornucopia of political intrigue is the latest from the team of Collins and Clemens that will knock your socks off. Something nefarious is afoot when CIA agents and a cabinet member are killed, it will take an executive order from the president for Reeder and Rogers to do what they do best. . .eliminate the enemies.

Once again, this team has delivered on its previous merit, a fast-paced, action packed and riveting drama that quickly became a page turner as this book was hard to put down. The narrative was visually descriptive making the exploits leap off the pages as the story flowed from scene to scene causing a mad adrenaline rush as I had to know how this was all going to play out. The authors did a great job in staging this multi-plot story with key maneuvers, including that one comical moment from an unlikely source, and a few strategically placed incidences that led to the heightened suspenseful nature of that final push towards an explosively climatic finale. This is the best book in this grippingly captivating thriller series and I can’t wait for the next adventures with Reeder, Rogers and their illustrious friends.

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

A day in the life of Cass Jennings by Matthew Iden

the-winter-overAfter a three hour, bone-rattling flight in sub-zero temperatures, an assessment is in order. But all I can say is that I can’t feel my feet or my hands and I’m not even sure I have a nose left, because that’s how cold it is.

From the “comfort” of the LC-130 military air transport, I squint at the blocky bus-like vehicle coming toward us, dipping and turning as it follows the contours of the ice leading to the runway—no, not runway. Skiway, they call it. Planes can’t have wheels here. Past it, in the distance, I make out tiny figures that emerge from the box of a building that will be home-sweet-home for the next year.

Thoroughly whacked out from lack of sleep, deaf from hours of engine noise, snow blind from the endless field of white in front of me, I feel disembodied. Hardly present. A spectator in my own skin. From moment to moment, I forget where I am and why I’m here. To remember, I have to trace things back from the beginning.

Still images, snapshot memories, pass through my head. Childhood. The nearby watch factory turned museum. Glass cases of gears and cogs, fine-grained spanners and compasses. Hugging the girth of the smoke stack, surely the biggest thing in the world, letting it radiate the sun’s warmth back through me.

My father, worried and confused. My mother, bedridden and wan. A young me by her side, wondering where the tools were to fix her. Tip-toeing, speaking in whispers. Up to and including the funeral.

College. A woman in a world engineered by men. Learning and loving, falling and breaking and coming together, then leaving. Graduating, moving on.

An adult, finally. A real job in the real world, with responsibilities and consequences. A catastrophe and a trial with its public acquittal but private tragedy. Then the years chasing peace, watching it skitter ahead to an oil rig out of Shreveport, a fishery in Sitka, a mining camp in Yellowknife.

Until eventually, short of leaving the planet, there was only one place left. Where people had to be crazy enough to go, but not enough to go crazy. Where nothing but skill and guts and merit got you through and you might be able to show yourself that you had what it took to be normal and helpful and wanted and—

Everyone jumps as a terrific BANG! jolts the plane. The cabin doors yawn wide and air—impossibly cold—rushes down the makeshift aisle. A man in a red parka waddles into view and takes a wide stance at the head of the aisle. He pushes back his fur-lined hood and tugs polarized goggles under his chin, revealing a jovial face.

“After that plane ride, you probably can’t hear me, so I hope you can read lips,” he says and spreads his arms wide. “Ladies and gentlemen. Welcome to the bottom of the world. Welcome to the South Pole.”

You can read more about Cass in THE WINTER OVER.

Each winter, the crew at the Shackleton South Pole Research Facility faces nine months of isolation, round-the-clock darkness, and one of the most extreme climates on the planet. For thirty-something mechanical engineer Cass Jennings, Antarctica offers an opportunity to finally escape the guilt of her troubled past and to rebuild her life.

But the death of a colleague triggers a series of mysterious incidents that push Cass and the rest of the forty-four-person crew to the limits of their sanity and endurance. Confined and cut off from the outside world, will they work together or turn against one another? As the tension escalates, Cass must find the strength to survive not only a punishing landscape but also an unrelenting menace determined to destroy the station—and everyone in it.

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Meet the author
In addition to The Winter Over, Matthew Iden is the author of the Marty Singer detective series—A Reason to Live, Blueblood, One Right Thing, The Spike, The Wicked Flee, and Once Was Lost—as well as several stand-alone novels.

Iden’s eclectic resume includes jobs with the US Postal Service, an international nonprofit, a short stint with the Forest Service in Sitka, Alaska, and time with the globe-spanning Semester at Sea program. Trips to Iceland, Patagonia, and Antarctica have given him a world of inspiration. Iden currently lives in Northern Virginia—close enough to the woods to keep his sanity, close enough to the Capital Beltway to lose it.

Get in touch: Facebook, Amazon, @CrimeRighter, or visit www.matthew-iden.com.

All comments are welcomed.

Giveaway: Leave a comment below for your chance to win copy of The Winter Over, either paperback (U.S. residents only), Kindle copy, or audiobook, winner’s choice. The giveaway will end February 6, 2017. Good luck everyone!

The Winter Over is available at online booksellers.

A Day in the Life of Jo Larsen by Susan McBride

walk-into-silenceMy life was never perfect. But whose life is anyway?

I had more than the typical Mommy Issues, although I have a pretty good excuse. Momma was never quite right after my daddy walked out. I’m not sure whether she blamed him more. . .or me. She started going out at night and leaving me alone. And when she was home, she was drinking.

Was it wrong to want my mother to see me? To be with me? But when I tried to engage her, her reaction was always the same. She’d wave her glass and tell me in a slurred voice to go outside and play, that my restlessness annoyed her.

I learned early on about being alone, about relying on myself. If I was the only one responsible, then I was the only one to blame. Things that happen early on, the loss of control, the loss of innocence, they end up shaping us, don’t they? Trying to put the past in the past is work, and it’s not easy.

I’m not good at trusting others much less leaning on them. There are just two people who’ve ever seen me let my guard down, two men who couldn’t be more different and whom I couldn’t do without.

The first is my partner, Hank Phelps, a combination of goofy big brother and overprotective dad. Hank’s a family man with a wife, two kids, and a car that reeks of French fries from weeks-old Happy Meals. He likes watching Jerry Springer in the wee hours of the night. Endlessly riding Space Mountain is his idea of a great vacation.

But I would trust him with my life.

The second man, Adam McCaffrey, is a medical examiner for the county. We met when I was with the Dallas P.D., and he had my vic on his table. I wouldn’t say it was love at first sight, but there was chemistry. It might have worked way back then if he hadn’t been married. I walked away rather than screw up his life—God knows, I didn’t need to further screw up mine—and I don’t regret it. When he showed up on my doorstep, telling me his divorce was final, I let him in. I don’t regret that either.

It helped, more than I’d like to admit, having them both watching my back when I took the lead on a case involving a missing housewife named Jenny Dielman. Her husband claimed she’d gone shopping and had never come back. She’d been married before, had lost her only child, which had led to the divorce. She’d apparently never healed, or so Patrick Dielman insisted.

“Jenny had problems dealing with Finn’s death. It was hard for her to accept, especially since she couldn’t have any more children.”

“Why’s that?”

“They did a hysterectomy after Finn was born because of bleeding. She said it didn’t matter because no child could replace her son.” He squirmed. “Sometimes she acted like she’d lost—” He stopped himself.

“Lost what?”

“Everything,” he said and shook his head. “I don’t know. She’d been acting upset and confused lately. She complained that things weren’t where she’d left them, that stuff was missing.”

“Like what?”

“Her keys, a photograph, even the scarf I gave her for her birthday. Sometimes she’d swear she’d locked the door, but it was left open.” He pinched the bridge of his nose. “I told her she was being paranoid.”

I wondered if Jenny had just run away for a while, to find breathing room apart from her current spouse who struck me as smothering. But Patrick Dielman rejected that idea. When I asked him if Jenny could have been involved with someone else, he bristled and denied it. When I asked the same about him, Mr. Dielman got up and walked out.

Where are you, Jenny? I found myself asking, itching to know more about her: who she was and if the death of her son had driven her to do something bad, like harming herself, perhaps. Or had something bad happened to her?

With Hank’s help—and Adam’s as well—that’s exactly what I aimed to find out.

Walk Into Silence is the first book in the Jo Larsen mystery series, published by Thomas & Mercer, December 2016.

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About the author
Susan McBride is the USA Today bestselling author of the Debutante Dropout Mysteries and the River Road Mysteries. She has won a Lefty Award, been twice nominated for the Anthony Award, and received the RT Reviewers’ Choice Award for Best Amateur Sleuth. She lives in St. Louis with her husband and daughter. Walk Into Silence is her first mystery with Thomas & Mercer. It was a November Kindle First Pick in the US, UK, and Australia. For more on Susan, visit SusanMcBride.com.

All comments are welcomed.

Giveaway: Two people (US entries only, please) selected at random will receive a signed copy of Walk Into Silence. Leave a comment below for your chance to win. The giveaway ends December 3, 2016 at 11:59 AM EST. Good luck everyone!

My Musing ~ Walk Into Silence by Susan McBride

Walk Into Silence by Susan McBride is the first book in the NEW “Jo Larsen” mystery series. Publisher: Thomas & Mercer, December 2016

walk-into-silenceA woman vanishes from a Texas town. Did she simply run off, or is something darker at play?

When Patrick Dielman shows up at Detective Jo Larsen’s desk insisting that his wife, Jenny, is missing, Jo wonders if it’s a case of a bored housewife running away.

But as she digs deeper into Jenny’s life, Jo learns that Dielman keeps a stranglehold on the family finances, down to the last nickel, and that Jenny’s first marriage dissolved following the death of her young son. By all accounts—including her doctor’s—she never recovered from the loss. Between a controlling husband, a tragic past, and a callous ex-husband, Jo can’t be sure if she should suspect foul play or accept that the woman may have wanted to disappear.

For Jo, whose own demons are shadowing her every step, finding Jenny becomes more than the typical protect-and-serve.

We are introduced to Jo Larsen whose past haunts her, particularly in this case that she is working, where the past is breaking to be free for both Jo and the victim. What an excellent and well-written plot that bridged two worlds to a conclusion that is worth the wait. This action-packed drama had me immersed in all that was happening from the words written by the victim, from Jo’s internal thoughts and from the supporting players who played a vital part in the telling of this captivating story. The mystery was staged perfectly to pull you in where the deviousness of the suspect was told in the victim’s words. Amid a kaleidoscope of dogged determination and police work, the case took on an interesting twist that truly enhanced the telling of this tale and the culmination exposed a killer with fallout from other contributing factors. Boasting a great cast of characters with engaging dialogue, this grippingly entertaining debut was a fantastic read and I look forward to more adventures with Jo and her friends.