Audiobook Blog Tour: Emma Griffin #1: The Girl In Cabin 13 by A.J. Rivers



About Audiobook #1

Author: A.J. Rivers

Narrator: Claire Duncan

Length: 7 hours 32 minutes

Publisher: Altered Path⎮2020

Genre:  Thriller

Series: Emma Griffin FBI, Book 1

Release date: Aug. 15, 2020

Synopsis: Knock…knock…

 

 

When Emma finds a dead body on her porch with her name written on the dead man’s hand, she uncovers a sinister clue to the mystery that has haunted her since childhood.

FBI Agent Emma Griffin is sent undercover to the small sleepy town of Feathered Nest to uncover the truth behind the strings of disappearances that has left the town terrified.

To Emma, there is nothing that can lay buried forever. Even though her own childhood has been plagued by deaths and disappearances. Her mother’s death, her father’s disappearance, and her boyfriend’s disappearance. The only cases that she hasn’t solved. Her obsession with finding out the truth behind her past was what led her to join the FBI.

Now, she must face what may be her biggest case. In cabin 13, there lies an uneasy feeling. The feeling of her movements being watched. When a knock on her door revealed a body on her porch and her name written on a piece of paper in the dead man’s hand. Suddenly, her worlds collide.

With the past still haunting her, Emma must fight past her own demons to stop the body count from rising.

The woods have secrets. And this idyllic town has dark and murderous ones. Either, she reveals them or risk them claiming her, too.

In Feathered Nest, nothing is what it seems. 

The girl in cabin 13 is about to find out that the dead may have secrets of their own.

 

Buy Links for Audiobook #1

Buy on Audible

I’m always a sucker for FBI books. Insert The Girl in Cabin 13! It’s a good mystery with great suspense that’ll keep you turning the pages to find out what happens next. Told in first person point of view, author A.J. Rivers takes you deep into the mindset of embattled FBI Agent Emma Griffin. Good plot, characters that jump off the page, and a narrator that delivers a solid audiobook. Recommended! 

AUTHOR INTERVIEW

 

How did you celebrate after finishing this novel? 

I am a major coffee lover, so I really enjoy celebrating wrapping up a book by getting out of my writing room and relaxing with a good cup of flavored coffee. I drink my coffee black all the time, and I’m usually drinking very dark, robust blends. My favorite is actually called Death Wish. So when it’s time to relax and “indulge” a little, it’s with a cup of still black, but flavored coffee. My current choice is S’mores, but we’re getting close to pumpkin season. Since the end of books is always the most intense when it comes to writing, I also love to let off steam when I’m done by bringing my dog Daisy out for a long walk and enjoying the fresh air. 

 

In your opinion, what are the pros and cons of writing a stand-alone novel vs. writing a series? 

There is definitely a time and place for both. A stand-alone novel is a great opportunity to tell one focused, explosive story that doesn’t have to rely on any previous world-building or leave room for other books. It’s a shooting star situation. One bright moment that is contained within itself. Stand-alone is also great for much longer works. A series is all about creating a world for readers to live in. They get to know the characters like friends and family, and go on these adventures with them. It’s a blast to be able to revisit the same places, get to know the people, businesses, and little quirks, and keep up with them as time passes. It makes you want to keep coming back, so you keep reading the books. A series lets you explore big story arcs and delve deeper into the characters. But it also requires organization and attention to detail. You have to be able to come up with layered people and realistic places that readers will care about, as well as complex stories that can unfold a little at a time. 

 

What’s your favorite:

  • Food

I don’t have one set favorite, but I love Indian food. Chana masala is my go-to. I am always in the mood for raw vegetables or fruit salad.

  •  Song

Thriller, by Michael Jackson. 

  •  Book

Dream Boy, by Jim Grimsley 

  • Television show 

Murder investigation shows, Matlock, Murder, She Wrote, Golden Girls, and in the spirit of full disclosure, my guilty pleasure shows include Catfish and anything having to do with Halloween through holiday cooking or baking

  • Movie

The Ghost and Mr. Chicken, Dirty Dancing, Ghostbusters, Nightmare Before Christmas

  •  Band

Beatles. Michael Jackson is my favorite musician, I love girl groups from the 50s and 60s, disco, and 80s music

  •  Sports team

Chicago Cubs

  • City

Richmond, Virginia

 

Are any of those things referenced in appearance in your work? 

All the time. Because I have some pretty obscure tastes in some ways, I sometimes find myself having my characters reference things or make jokes and cultural references I then wonder if the readers will even get, so I have to go back and replace them with something easier to recognize. Especially when it comes to music and movies. I’m not a huge movie person and the ones I particularly love are pretty old school, so when I whip out references to Luther Heggs, I have to remind myself that probably isn’t going to ring a ton of bells. 

 

What bits of advice would you give to aspiring authors?

I’ll repeat the same thing that’s been said over and over, but that is so true. Write. Write. Write. Write all the time. Don’t just rely on your computer. Bring a notebook and pen around with you and write things down. You never know when you’re going to hear a phrase that inspires you, or get an idea, or even just hear a name that you like. Write it down. I also highly recommend talking through dialogue out loud. It can feel awkward at first, but the natural, believable conversations and thoughts are key to really enjoyable books. They make the characters more relatable and the action smoother. The best way to make that happen is to carry on the conversation. If you have a voice-to-text program on your computer, put it on and just talk through the conversation like you are the characters. Don’t worry about the spelling, punctuation, or accuracy at this point. Just talk it through as naturally as you can and let it come out. You can then take what you said and write it out in your draft with proper tags and action. 

I’d also tell aspiring authors to take their writing seriously. There can be a lot of pressure to only seeing writing as art and something that can only be done in the right mood or situation. There is definitely art to good writing and crafting a book, and it’s always easier when the mood and inspiration are right, but if you are going to consistently create strong, enjoyable books, you have to see it as work. You have to work hard, get the words out even when they aren’t flowing smoothly, and be willing to edit mercilessly. The best advice I ever got was from my college professor who told me to kill my darlings. You have to be willing to not see every word you write as precious, but also fight for your voice and your vision when it’s important. 

 

 

About the Author: A.J. Rivers

 

A.J. Rivers loves all things mystery and thriller. Growing up in a sleepy small town, A.J. spent her days enthralled in crime solving novels and movies. She started creating stories at a young age to escape and create adventures for herself. As a child she dreamed of solving crimes and becoming a crime fighter. She dreamed of being as great as her favorite crime solving character Sherlock Holmes. While in college she realized that leading a crime fighting life might be more gruesome than she could stomach. She decided that the best course of action would be to fuse her love of writing with her love of thrilling mysteries together.

She finds inspiration from researching true crimes and is passionate about writing suspenseful novels with crazy twists. Twists that you’ll never see coming. The inspiration for her first novel came when she read a news article about a missing young woman in a small town that was never found. Her question on who, what, and why brought her to her journal to discovering the dark twisted story behind the disappearance and to seek justice for the victim through her writing.

Her thriller novels have elements of mystery, suspense, and romance.

When she’s not absorbed in a novel or working on her next thriller mystery, her favorite past time is spent with her husky. She finds great inspiration while going on hikes with her dog.

 

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About the Narrator: Claire Duncan

 

Claire Duncan is a multi-award winning actress living in NYC.  She has performed Off-Broadway, regionally, and in national tours, and appeared in the Drama Desk nominated revival of The Threepenny Opera. She has played the lead in a dozen films, and received a Best Actress Award for her work as Rosetta in the dark comedy Rosetta’s Blues, which debuted at Cannes. As a singer, she had the honor of performing at Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center, and toured the country as a travel host with Visit The USA.

Claire’s broad career has shaped her into an exceptional and flexible voice artist. You can hear her on Nickelodeon and Comedy Central, in hundreds of national commercials, and in over thirty audiobooks. 

“Claire Duncan was a dynamo”  – New York Stage Review

 “Simply side-splitting… a terrific comedic actress” – Show Business Weekly

Proud member of SAG-AFTRA and AEA.

 

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Book Review: Assassin’s Code Joe Ledger #4 by Jonathan Maberry



In ASSASSIN’S CODE, the fourth book in New York Times bestselling author Jonathan Maberry’s Joe Ledger series, Joe Ledger and the DMS go on a relentless chase to stop an ancient order of killers from plunging the entire world into Holy War.

When Joe Ledger and Echo Team rescue a group of American college kids held hostage in Iran,the Iranian government then asks them to help find six nuclear bombs planted in the Mideast oil fields. These stolen WMDs will lead Joe and Echo Team into hidden vaults of forbidden knowledge, mass-murder, betrayal, and a brotherhood of genetically-engineered killers with a thirst for blood.

Accompanied by the beautiful assassin called Violin, Joe follows a series of clues to find the Book of Shadows, which contains a horrifying truth that threatens to shatter his entire worldview.

They say the truth will set you free…
Not this time.

The secrets of the Assassin’s Code will set the world ablaze.

Amazon |Goodreads |Audible


Book Review

An ancient holy war. A hostage rescue in Iran. Vampires with weapons of mass destruction. Genetically engineered assassin’s. An undeciphered age old text with all the answers. Sound pretty wacky? You bet! Unless you’re Jonathan Maberry. It sounds really off the wall, but once the story unravels it’s not only plausible, IT’S COMPELLING. You combine Maberry’s writing style and add narrator Ray Porter into the mix….and you have a masterpiece! An absolute masterpiece. Captain Joe Ledger and the Echo Team from the Department of Military Sciences (DMS) are one of my favorites!! There’s simply nothing else like it. 

ABSOLUTE MASTERPIECE.


JONATHAN MABERRY is a New York Times best-selling and five-time Bram Stoker Award-winning author, anthology editor, comic book writer, magazine feature writer, playwright, content creator and writing teacher/lecturer. He was named one of the Today’s Top Ten Horror Writers. His books have been sold to more than two-dozen countries.

He writes in several genres. His young adult fiction includes ROT & RUIN (2011; was named in Booklist’s Ten Best Horror Novels for Young Adults, an American Library Association Top Pick, a Bram Stoker and Pennsylvania Keystone to Reading winner; winner of several state Teen Book Awards including the Cricket, Nutmeg and MASL; winner of the Cybils Award, the Eva Perry Mock Printz medal, Dead Letter Best Novel Award, and four Melinda Awards); DUST & DECAY (winner of the 2011 Bram Stoker Award; FLESH & BONE (winner of the Bram Stoker Award; 2012; and FIRE & ASH (August 2013). BROKEN LANDS, the first of a new spin-off series, debuts in 2018.

His thrillers include The Joe Ledger Thrillers from St. Martin’s Griffin (PATIENT ZERO, 2009, winner of the Black Quill and a Bram Stoker Award finalist for Best Novel; EXTINCTION MACHINE, (2013; now in development for TV by SONY); PREDATOR ONE, and others. His first middle grade novel, THE NIGHTSIDERS BOOK 1: THE ORPHAN ARMY, was named one the 100 Best Books for Children 2015, with a sequel, VAULT OF SHADOWS debuting this year from Simon & Schuster. His standalone teen science fiction novel, MARS ONE, is in development for film by Zucker Productions and Lone Tree Entertainment. His upcoming standalone suspense novel, GLIMPSE, has gotten advance praise from Clive Barker, Scott Smith, James Rollins, Heather Graham and Charlaine Harris.

 

www.JonathanMaberry.com

Flame Tree Live Fall 2020 Programming Debut Crime Writers’ Association VINTAGE CRIME Virtual Launch 

 

 

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FLAME TREE PRESS presents… Flame Tree Live Fall 2020 Programming Debut Crime Writers’ Association VINTAGE CRIME Virtual Launch 

Sunday August 16, 2020 

1pm Eastern Daylight Time / 

6pm British Daylight Time 

Facebook Live @FlameTreePress

 

RSVP Here

 

 

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Vintage Crimes will be a CWA anthology with a difference, celebrating members’ work over the years. The book will gather stories from the mid-1950s until the twenty-first century by great names of the past, great names of the present together with a few hidden treasures by less familiar writers. The first CWA anthology, Butcher’s Dozen, appeared in 1956, and was co-edited by Julian Symons, Michael Gilbert, and Josephine Bell. The anthology has been edited by Martin Edwards since 1996, and has yielded many award-winning and nominated stories in the UK and overseas.

 

Amazon | Goodreads

 

 

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Panelists 

★ Martin Edwards – chair of the CWA and Edgar, Agatha,

Macavity, and Poirot award-winning author ★ Dea Parkin – secretary of the CWA & editorial consultant

★ Kate Ellis-Bullock – author & Vintage Crime contributor

★ Andrew Taylor – Diamond Dagger award-winning author &

Vintage Crime contributor

 

About the Event 

Flame Tree Live: CWA and Vintage Crime. A special online panel to launch the new collection, Vintage Crime, and engage in a lively discussion about crime writing, writers, stories and themes. Topics will range from “Working in Isolation – that’s what writers do!”, “Good stories never die, even in crime fiction”, “Stories from the past that resonate today” and “How does the CWA encourage new writers?” Selected questions from readers and fans will also be featured.

 

 

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About the Panelists 

MARTIN EDWARDS is the previous past Chair of the CWA, now the Archivist, He has won the Edgar, Agatha, Macavity, and Poirot awards in the USA, and the CWA Short Story Dagger, CWA Margery Allingham Prize, and the H.R.F. Keating award in the UK. He is the author of eighteen novels, including the Lake District Mysteries, and the Harry Devlin series, as well as the ground-breaking genre study The Golden Age of Murder. He has edited twenty eight crime anthologies, has won the CWA Short Story Dagger and the CWA Margery Allingham Prize, and is series consultant for the British Library’s Crime Classics.

 

DEA PARKIN, a writer and a poet, has been Secretary of the CWA since 2016. She owns and manages Fiction Feedback, an editorial consultancy service that provides constructive critiques on novels and short stories from professional editors, authors, writing specialists and literary agents.

 

KATE ELLIS’ first novel, The Merchant House, launched the long-running DI Wesley Peterson series set in Devon. She has also written five crime novels featuring another cop, Joe Plantagenet, set in a fictionalised version of York, and a trilogy set in the immediate aftermath of the First World War, as well as many short stories. She won the CWA Dagger in the Library in 2019. The Devil’s Priest is a stand-alone historical mystery set in Liverpool.

 

ANDREW TAYLOR’s crime novels include a series about William Dougal, starting with Caroline Miniscule, which won the John Creasey Memorial Dagger, the Roth Trilogy, which was televised as Fallen Angel, the Lydmouth series, stand-alone novels such as The American Boy, and much else besides. He has won the Historical Dagger three times and in 2009 won the Diamond Dagger, as well as earning awards in Sweden and the US.

 

 

About Vintage Crime and CWA 

VINTAGE CRIME [ISBN 978-1-78758-548-5, released August 11, 2020 in hardcover, paperback and ebook editions] is a CWA anthology with a difference, celebrating members’ work over the years. Gathering stories from the mid-1950s until the twenty-first century with great names of the past and present, together with a few hidden treasures by less familiar writers. The aim is to present a wide range of stories which are entertaining in their own right and also demonstrate the evolution of the crime short story during the CWA’s existence, from the Fifties until the early twenty-first century

The first CWA anthology, Butcher’s Dozen, appeared in 1956, and was co-edited by Julian Symons, Michael Gilbert, and Josephine Bell. The anthology has been edited by Martin Edwards since 1996, and has yielded many award-winning and nominated stories in the UK and overseas. This new edition includes an array of incredible and award-winning authors including Robert Barnard, Simon Brett, Liza Cody, Mat Coward, John Dickson Carr, Marjorie Eccles, Martin Edwards, Kate Ellis, Anthea Fraser, Celia Fremlin, Frances Fyfield, Michael Gilbert, Paula Gosling, Lesley Grant-Adamson, HRF Keating, Bill Knox, Peter Lovesey, Mick Herron, Michael Z. Lewin, Susan Moody, Julian Symons and Andrew Taylor.

The CWA was founded in 1953 by John Creasey – that’s over sixty-five years of support, promotion and celebration of this most durable, adaptable and successful of genres. The CWA runs the prestigious Dagger Awards, which celebrate the best in crime writing, and is proud to be a thriving, growing community with a membership encompassing authors at all stages of their careers. It is UK-based, yet attracts many members from across the world.

 

 

About Flame Tree Press 

FLAME TREE PRESS is the original fiction imprint of Flame Tree Publishing (est. 1992). Led by the Flame Tree publisher Nick Wells in London and executive editor Don D’Auria in NYC, Flame Tree Press was launched in 2018 with the goal of bringing together new authors and the more established; the award winners, and exciting, original voices in horror, suspense, science fiction & fantasy, as well as crime, mystery, and thriller fiction. Learn more about Flame Tree Press at http://www.flametreepress.com and connect on social media @FlameTreePress 

REVIEW COPIES of VINTAGE CRIME & INTERVIEWS AVAILABLE UPON REQUEST 

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Audiobook Blog Tour: It Is Las Vegas After All by Howard Weiner

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Cover Art

 

 

About the Audiobook

Author: Howard Weiner

Narrator: Laura Copland

Length: 7 hours 51 minutes

Publisher: Howard D. Weiner⎮20

Genre: Technothriller

Release date: Jun. 38, 2017

 

Audio Sample

 

 

 

Synopsis: Two physicists are in a race with federal authorities and three former CIA agents to detonate a dirty bomb in Las Vegas. The physicists deploy several explosive devices, hidden in plain sight, that can be detonated at any time. Federal authorities realize too late that their best technologies, people, and staff cannot detect the existence and movement of small bombs. The safety of Las Vegas depends on three former CIA agents brought together by an employer with ill intent and strong ties to venture capitalists funding the latest crop of entrepreneurs. Who will win? Will Las Vegas be saved?

Buy Links

Buy on AudibleAmazon

 

 

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A very informative book with a fascinating plot and form of storytelling. Two remarkable physicists are set to explode a dirty bomb in the City of Las Vegas, but what you’ll discover is what set them off in the first place.  The narrative is the dominate form of storytelling compared to character dialogue which caused more difficulty following the story. The characters were definitely intriguing with their own set of quirks and personalities.

 

 

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Las Vegas Teaser

 

 

 

Were there any real life inspirations behind your writing?

I recently finished reading John Grisham’s, The Rooster Bar. Grisham relates that he read a news story about for-profit law schools and instantly knew he had a story. It Is Las Vegas After All was born out of a similar set of circumstances. I’d read several news stories about dirty bombs and that became the straw for binding together other professional and personal experiences.

 

 

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Tell us about the process of turning your book into an audiobook.

I started the process of commissioning the audiobook while completing my second novel, Serendipity Opportunity. Working with Amazon’s Kindle publishing program was providing good feedback and results, and so it wasn’t a dramatic leap of faith to investigate Amazon’s audiobook publishing division, Audio Creation Exchange (ACX).

ACX has an efficient process for publishing a sample of the novel and soliciting auditions among interested publishers and narrators. I received a surprising number of submissions and set about listening and evaluating each audio segment.

Laura Copland’s submission was clearly the best of the bunch. We promptly agreed to the terms and conditions facilitated by ACX, and Laura began her work in earnest.

After reading the novel, Laura had a number of questions regarding the characters. I was pleasantly surprised at how well she had managed to climb into the skin of each. Her formal education and training in the theater arts clearly marked her as the consummate professional, and for that reason working with her to complete the book took about six-to-seven weeks.

For my part, working on a novel at some point is less about the story and the characters and more about issues of presentation. Getting the book into print is the point, and very quickly you transform from storyteller to scrivener. Listening to the chapters Laura submitted rekindled my joy and excitement about the story and the characters she so ably brought to life.

 

 

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Do you believe certain types of writing translate better into audiobook format?

No one appreciates a good story more than a story writer. Beyond the entertainment value of a good engaging book, listening to an audiobook is like taking a master class in writing from authors you enjoy and even envy.

I’m (an old) computer scientist by formal education and industry training. It’s difficult to imagine any of the many textbooks in computer science, mathematics, or the sciences in general, working well as an audiobook–no matter how written and enlightening they may be.

In the fiction genre, I find it easier to listen to an audiobook where the author provides the context for characters and the situations in which they find themselves rather than straight character dialog.

 

 

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Was a possible audiobook recording something you were conscious of while writing?

I’d like to say yes, but it isn’t true. It wasn’t until the publishing process came to an end that I started to contemplate turning it into an audiobook.

I’m in the midst of my fourth novel now, One for the Price of Two, and I still do not find myself designing the storyline, mapping out character development, or doing the research my books require with an audiobook in mind. But I have given the matter some thought, and for now I’ve elected to focus on the written word first, middle, and last.

 

 

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How closely did you work with your narrator before and during the recording process? Did you give them any pronunciation tips or special insight into the characters?

I knew from the moment I listened to Laura’s audition that I’d stumbled on to an extraordinarily talent. I’ve learned throughout my professional career that finding such people can too often be good fortune rather than intent, and it’s important to let someone like Laura “do her thing.” I didn’t always agree with her take on a character’s spoken dialog, but I always found her interpretation to be at least as good as what I intended when putting pen to paper.

We did have a couple, very minor, issues about pronunciation, but again, Laura made those few circumstances a breeze.

 

 

Author Howard Weiner

 

 

About the Author: Howard Weiner

Howard Weiner was born in Washington, DC, in the distant past when Congress returned home during the summers, new best friends moved in every four years, and old ones never stayed. He attended local public schools and graduated from Pennsylvania State University with a BS in computer science and a spouse.


For the next forty years, he pursued an extensive graduate education, served as a member of the professoriate, an entrepreneur, and leadership positions in information technology in the private and public sectors. He lived during his working years in the Washington DC suburbs and exurbs, Richmond, Virginia, in three locations on Long Island, New York, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and finally, the upper west side of New York City.


Weiner’s first work of published fiction, It Is Las Vegas After All, introduces three unlikely partners who stumble upon two refugees from higher education who abandon their promising academic careers to build and detonate a dirty bomb in Las Vegas. The story takes place in the U.S., U.K., and the former communist east Germany, and ends following a high stakes winter pursuit along the Appalachian Trail.


His second work, Serendipity Opportunity, tells a tale of the dark web meets mayhem, murder, and an international incident involving Russian and U.S. intelligence agencies.


His latest work, Bad Money, takes place in 1993 and features two unlikely heroes trying to escape members of Manuel Noriega’s former intelligence staff in a drugs for money story. The story begins, simply enough, with two suit cases accidentally switched at the Miami Airport. He is also working on two other manuscripts: One for the Price of Two and The Big Lowandowski.

 

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Steve Regan Undercover Cop Series by Stephen Bentley

Who the F am I

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Crime Fiction About An Undercover Cop By a Former Undercover Cop

‘Crime Fiction About An Undercover Cop By a Former Undercover Cop’ is roughly how the blurb goes on the Amazon listing for my latest book ‘Who The F*ck Am I?’

The title may be a tad controversial to some, but it is part of the very fabric of an infiltrator. Identity confusion among undercover agents is a medically recognised condition.

It is Book One in a trilogy featuring Steve Regan, a fictional British undercover cop. The action takes place mainly in the United Kingdom but also takes the reader to Miami and Boston in the United States.

The book is available from October 31, 2017 in both Kindle and paperback through Amazon. It will also be available in other eBook formats through Smashwords and at most other online book stores.

The blurb also makes the claim, “This surely has to be a first! Crime fiction about an undercover cop written by a former undercover cop!

 

 

 

 

Undercover

 

 

 

From author, Stephen Bentley, comes a fictional undercover cop, Steve Regan, following on the success of his true crime undercover cop memoir ‘Undercover: Operation Julie – The Inside Story.’

Steve Regan, undercover detective, is tempted by the riches of drug smuggling so he can be free of debt, police bureaucracy, and help a loved one. He wonders whether he can go ‘rogue’ and cross the line.

Regan gets involved in one deal with a Miami-based drug lord. But is everyone who they say they are?

Short, fast-paced, high-impact entertainment, from an author who knows  how to suck you into a story.”

This novella was inspired by two gangsters I met in real life while undercover. I harboured thoughts about them for many years and felt obliged to deal with those thoughts in this fictional work. I believe I can safely say that is a first!

 

 

 

 

 

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As the author and a former undercover cop, I do not profess to know with certainty if my claim about it being a “first” is fact. I mean the claim: This surely has to be a first! Crime fiction about an undercover cop written by a former undercover cop!

I could argue, in line with another former profession of mine (lawyer), that it isn’t a claim at all – merely a hypothesis. Pedants may argue there ought to be a question mark following “has to be first.” Possibly, they are correct.

But in any event, whether claim or hypothesis, it intrigues me. So, a challenge to all readers of this blog post – tell me if I am right or wrong about it being the first fictional work about an undercover cop written by a former undercover cop. At least I ask you to leave a comment letting us know your thoughts.

There is a reward for the best comment left – one free copy of the book featured here and a free copy of my bestselling memoir ‘Undercover: Operation Julie – The Inside Story.’

Please note there can only be one winner and the prizes will be provided in any eBook format of the winner’s choice.

The winner will be judged by the author on the basis of the insight provided by the commentator, the originality of the comment, and any tendency to humour gains extra marks 

 

 

 

 

Stephen Bentley

 

 

Notes For The Blog Owner

Stephen Bentley BIO

Former UK Detective Sergeant, undercover cop, barrister (trial counsel). Now a writer, author, and blogs at HuffPost UK.

Author of ‘Undercover: Operation Julie – The Inside Story’ – an Amazon UK bestselling book about his undercover days on one of the world’s largest drug busts.

Lives in the Philippines, enjoys the beaches and a cold beer and follows “his team”, Liverpool Football Club from afar.

Amazon link: Who The F*uck Am I?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blog Tour: Murder at the University by Faith Martin

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MURDER AT THE UNIVERSITY by Faith Martin

Looking for a brilliant murder mystery with a feisty female detective?

MEET DI HILLARY GREENE, A POLICE WOMAN WITH A THIRST FOR JUSTICE AND A COMPLICATED CAREER

A pretty French student is found dead in her room at an exclusive Oxford college. Everyone thinks it is another tragic case of accidental drug overdose.

But Detective Hillary Greene has a nose for the truth. She quickly discovers that the student had been up to some very unusual activities.

With a shocking cause of death found, the case becomes a high-profile murder investigation.

Adding to the pressure, Hillary’s nemesis is transferred to work with her at the station.

Can Hillary keep her cool and get justice for the unfortunate student?

MURDER AT THE UNIVERSITY is the second in a series of page-turning crime thrillers set in Oxfordshire.

Perfect for fans of Agatha Christie, Colin Dexter, or Ruth Rendell.

 

THE LOCATION
The Oxford Canal meanders through the beautiful county of Oxfordshire, sometimes joining up with the rivers Cherwell and Thames, and flows past the world-famous university city of Oxford. Unlike many canals which are practically ruler-straight commercial waterways, built to help transport goods and heavy traffic before the advent of the railways, the Oxford Canal is a more winding and natural-looking body of water, and is a haven for wildlife and wildflowers. It has several romantically-named locks on its length (such as the Three Pigeons Lock, and Dashwood Lock) and boasts the ominously-sounding Somerton Deep Lock, which often terrifies first-time boating holiday-makers.

 

THE DETECTIVES

DI Hillary Greene
An attractive woman in her forties, Hillary Greene is a police officer of many years’ experience, and came up through the ranks. Consequently, she knows how the system works, and is fiercely loyal to the force without being blinkered to its faults. She is a long-standing friend of her immediate superior officer, ‘Mellow’ Mallow and enjoys a rather enigmatic relationship with the steely Superintendent Marcus Donleavy. Popular with the rank and file for her no-nonsense attitude and competence, she is currently under investigation on account of her recently deceased, and definitely corrupt husband (Ronnie Greene). But adversity has never stopped her from doing her job.

DCI Philip ‘Mellow’ Mallow
Mel appreciates Hillary’s first-rate ability to solve her cases, and isn’t happy about her harassment by the officers from York. Known for his sartorial elegance and laid-back manners, he has a sharp mind, and an eye for the ladies. A good friend and ally for Hillary in her recent tribulations, he’s determined to keep his best investigator focused on the problems at hand.

PLEASE NOTE THIS IS A REVISED EDITION OF A BOOK FIRST PUBLISHED AS “ON THE STRAIGHT AND NARROW.”
 
DI HILLARY GREENE SERIES

BOOK 1: MURDER ON THE OXFORD CANAL
BOOK 2: MURDER AT THE UNIVERSITY
MORE COMING SOON!

 

 

 

 

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Author Bio

Faith Martin has been writing for over 25 years, in four genres and under four different pen names. She was born in Oxford and sets most of her crime novels within sight of the city of dreaming spires. A real nature lover and afficionado of the countryside, descriptions of wildlife and native flora often find their way into her manuscripts. Right now, JOFFE BOOKS are re-issuing the first eleven of the DI Hillary Greene novels in new updated editions! And the first of these, MURDER ON THE OXFORD CANAL is available now, with the others to very quickly follow.

Her romance novels, written under the name of Maxine Barry, are now available from Corazon Books. IMPOSTERS In PARADISE, and HEART OF FIRE are both out, and others will very quickly become available in the future.

Her first foray into writing ‘spooky’ crime, (and written under the pen name of Jessie Daniels) comes out in November 2017. THE LAVENDER LADY CASEFILE is published by Robert Hale, an imprint of Crowood Press.

As Joyce Cato, she writes more classically-inspired ‘proper’ whodunits. So if you like an amateur sleuth, plenty of clues and red herrings, plus a baffling murder mystery to solve, these are the books for you.

 

 

 

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Blog Tour Interview with Ben Thomas

(1) Which genre do you enjoy writing most? 

I love writing the Hillary Greene novels, as I’ve written more with her as my
main character than any other kind. I think, of all my fictional creations, I probably know her the best. However, I grew up reading Agatha Christie, and through her, the other great writers of the golden age – Crispin, Sayers, Allingham, et al. And so I love the ‘proper’ classic whodunit genre, with the larger-than- life amateur sleuth, the well-hidden clues, and the classic locked-door or other baffling mystery to solve. Not to mention the red-herrings! Which is why I wrote the Joyce Cato mysteries. But they’re very hard to plot, and they’re very nerve-wracking to write, because you’re always aware that you might disappoint a reader if they figure out the puzzle. With Hillary Greene and police procedural novels, it’s more about characterisation, setting, and the weaving of a story line around a team, doing a job of work. Both are very satisfying to write (and read, I hope!), but in different ways. (Having said all that, I started out writing romance, when I was young and dewy-eyed, and writing about handsome sexy men, in exotic settings wasn’t exactly a hardship!)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
(2) What’s the most challenging thing about writing?

I think there are several challenging things about writing. And being your own boss is definitely one of them. If you get up in the morning, and you don’t feel like writing, it’s very easy to just take the dog for a walk, or play some music and mooch around the house doing nothing in particular. Alas, that doesn’t get chapter six written! And if you don’t write that, you can’t finish the book. No finished book means no royalties, and then the electricity gets cut off! And you can’t even blame the boss…… On the other hand, there is a definite creativity involved in writing (you’re not producing bootlaces on a machine, after all) and sometimes if you’re not in the mood to write, forcing yourself to do so produces work that isn’t of the quality that makes you happy. So you have to learn the difference between just being lazy, and not having the attention of the muse! Also, you’re very much alone when you’re writing a book (I know that may sound a cliché, but it is also true.) When you type in the words ‘Chapter One’ on a blank computer screen it’s just you, your imagination and the blank screen. And nobody but you can fill it. So you have to develop a certain amount of self- belief that has to carry you through. And sometimes – especially if things aren’t going well, or you hit a rough patch, or are flirting with writer’s block, then you can feel that you’re the only person on the planet daft enough to be doing this writing thing!

 

 

 

The 3d guy got over the challenge

 

 

 

 
(3) Name your top three crime shows or movies.

I love Midsomer Murders, Poirot and Rebus.

 
(4) Who are your top detectives?

I love the golden-age sleuths – both in the UK and USA. I’m currently reading
Nero Wolfe, for instance (Rex Stout’s marvellous creation.) But in my to-be read pile I also have Patricia Wentworth’s Maud Silver books, Lee Child’s latest, and some Kate Ellis and Elly Griffiths novels. I read widely (mostly crime) but can’t hack horror (too chicken!)

 

 

 

 

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(5) What inspired you to write crime novels?

I trained as a secretary, and when I left college, worked for 5 years at Somerville College in Oxford. But my parents had a very bad car accident, which mean they needed a carer, so I left work and stayed at home. But I needed to do something creative, and decided, since I devoured crime and romance fiction as a reader, I might as well write my own novels (as you do!) After practising for 3 years or so, I plucked up the courage to send one to a literary agent who snapped it up! My first novel was published in 1993, and I’ll soon hit the 50 published novel target.

 

 

 

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(6) What’s the difference between a DI and a DCI?

Ah – what is the difference between a DI and a DCI! That’s something Inspector Morse often ruminated upon! I think DI Hillary Greene would say the difference was in the pay packet! But I think a DCI has to be more of a pen-pusher and administrator than a detective, which is why I think Hillary isn’t all that fussed that she’d doesn’t get promoted.

 

 

 

Inspector removing a white card with Inspector sign from the inn

 

 

 
(7) Who is Hillary Greene?

Hillary Greene is a local girl who grew up in Oxfordshire and got a degree in
Literature, but who joined the force and went up through the ranks. I think she is fiercely loyal to her colleagues, but doesn’t wear rose-tinted glasses and can be somewhat cynical about her job at times. She’s had a lot of experience, and taken a lot of knocks, but won’t let it get her down. She enjoys removing bad people from society and will put up with all kinds of excrement in order to carry on doing so. She has to have a sense of humour (so she does) and she has to look out for number one sometimes (so she does) but she’s a good friend to have in your corner when things get rough. She makes mistakes, but can move on from them, and doesn’t take herself too seriously. She has a somewhat odd relationship with Commander Marcus Donleavy, so is trusted by both the rank and file and –to some extent – her superiors, who she views with a somewhat jaundiced eye.

 

 
(8) Would you like to be in her shoes solving crime?

No – I wouldn’t like to be in her shoes, solving crime. I’d be scared witless! And totally incompetent. Hillary Greene is all the things I’m not!

 
(9) What’s the relationship like between Hillary and DCI Phillip Mallow?

Hillary and DCI Phillip Mallow are good friends. They’ve known each other for years and like each other (most of the time.) They’ve never had romantic feeling for each other. Hillary sees him as her boss, too, and can sometimes keep him at arm’s length, when she needs to. For his part, Mellow Mallow knows that she’s his best investigator, and uses her as such, but also cares about her as a friend, and will do his best to protect her, when necessary. But her perspicacity can sometimes get on his wick, as he can’t pool the wool over her eyes, when he’d sometimes like to.

 
(10) What are you working on next?

I’m currently working on a Joyce Cato novel, whereby my sleuth, travelling cook Jenny Starling, is staying at an Inn in a Cotswold town, and solving the murder of how an actress was drowned and murdered in a local pond, in front of over 50 witnesses – with nobody having seen how it could be done!

 

 

Connect with Faith Martin

Amazon | Twitter | Goodreads

 

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Don’t miss the rest of the blog tour!

 

BLOG TOUR BANNER - Murder at the University

 

 

 

Benjamin Thomas

@MTW_2018

www.mysterythrillerweek.com

Into the Dark Frontier with Author John Mangan

Into a Dark Frontier

 

 

Only 0.99 on Amazon!

 

 

Editorial Reviews

 

“John Mangan’s Into a Dark Frontier is cut from same cloth as the best of Vince Flynn and Brad Thor, a story written with authority and military authenticity. It’s a harsh look at a continent-wide battlefield, waged not only for land but also for the heart of freedom. Timely and exciting.” ―James RollinsNew York Times best-selling author

“John Mangan’s Into a Dark Frontier is a powerful, realistic, and daringly unique international thriller. Its near-future plotline is as brilliantly crafted as it is dark and foreboding, and the action scenes are visceral and utterly thrilling. Tormented but able Slade Crawford is a perfect anti-hero to root for, and Into a Dark Frontier is a surefire winner of a debut.” ―Mark Greaney, #1 New York Times best-selling author

“A riveting imagined what-if so real you wonder if it might even be possible. Tense, intelligent, harsh, and surprising, this thrill ride is drum tight in its execution.” ―Steve BerryNew York Times best-selling author

Into a Dark Frontier is an international thriller of rare depth and complexity that would make the likes of John Le Carre and Robert Ludlum proud. But John Mangan goes both of them one better by injecting into the mix a loner hero with a gunfighter mentality fit for taming continents as well as frontiers, with Africa subbing for the Old West. A vision splendidly realized and tale wondrously executed.” ―Jon LandUSA Today bestselling author

“Mangan’s debut reads like he couldn’t get the words out and onto the page fast enough, which translates into a…blazingly fast and fun action thriller.” ―Publishers Weekly

“John Mangan’s Into a Dark Frontier plunges the reader into the chaos of an African continent where anarchy reigns. A near-futuristic scenario, one that could really emerge. Expect an overdose of action and danger that careens off the scales.” ―Robert K. TanenbaumNew York Times best-selling author

“Its relentless opening chase sets the tone for Into a Dark Frontier, a winner for fans of techno-action novels. After eight deployments as a combat rescue pilot, its author knows what he’s writing about and does so with speed and insider details.” ―David MorrellNew York Timesbest-selling author

Into a Dark Frontier is a hell of a debut novel with a terrifying plot and relentless action that made sure the only time I wasn’t turning pages was when I was looking over my shoulder.” ―Joshua Hood, author of Clear by Fire and Warning Order

 

 

 

LET THE GAMES BEGIN…

 

 

What made you venture into writing?

Initially, it was simply a love of story telling, but as my novel
developed it was the feeling that came from creating complex
characters and the environment that drives them. I think that the only
way to create an authentic story is to study yourself, your
relationships, and the human condition in general. People are what
drive a good story, and so you have to become an observer of
people. The pleasure of writing doesn’t just occur while sitting behind
a keyboard, it also comes from watching the world around you,
grabbing little tidbits of dialogue, vignettes, or interesting human
interactions.

 

 

 

 

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Do you have any favorite books or authors that influenced you
early on?

As a boy I loved the Jack London stories where life has been
distilled down to its most base, uncivilized components, where a
man’s fate is decided by fire, food and fang. In Jack’s world, that’s
where you find out who you are.
My novel starts off with our protagonist living squarely in the
modern world, surrounded by gadgets, technology and civilized
mores. But by the ending he has descended into a world that has
more in common with the bronze age than any other, a place where
the day is won by the strength of a man’s will and his willingness to
harness medieval savagery. Perhaps Mr. London would approve…

 

 

How long did it take you to finish Into the Dark Frontier?

The creation of the story wasn’t linear, with a precise beginning
and ending. Imagine dozens of seeds scattered across a garden, and
over several years the sprouting seedlings are gradually bound
together, trimmed away, uprooted and replanted until 6 years later
they have been woven into some semblance of a story. Then spend 4
more years pitching that mess to agents, re-writing, editing and
eventually hacking out 60K words. So to answer your question, it was
about 10 years.

 

 

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Describe some challenges writing your first book.

One of the biggest problems was settling on a point-of- view.
Initially, I chose Third Person Omniscient and the narrator rotated
between the intertwined, converging stories of the Hero, the Sidekick,
and the Villain. This seems to be the most popular format in modern
thrillers but I couldn’t get it to work. The story always kept collapsing
back down to Slade and the peripheral stories always became
lackluster and fell apart. Eventually I realized that this was because
the story belonged to Slade and Slade alone, it was about his
journey. I started over and confined the narrator to Slade’s head and
his immediate surroundings, so the reader lives the story entirely
through his eyes. The advantage of this technique is that it makes it
very easy to generate a sense of mystery and spring surprises on the reader.

The downside of this technique is that it leaves a lot of unfilled
space in the story line, and readers will begin to fill that blank space
with their own preconceived ideas. Overcoming those preconceived
ideas can be extremely difficult, and if not overcome, can lead a
reader to misinterpret what the author is trying to communicate.
For example, IADF devotes only a few paragraphs of backstory
to illustrate Slade’s time in prison and subsequent decision to jump
parole. Recently, a professional review of IADF came out and they
mentioned how Slade had busted out of a “black-site” prison.
It sounds interesting, but unfortunately there was no black-site
and no thrilling jailbreak. The reviewer had filled in details that didn’t
actually exist. It’s only after you have feedback from a broad
audience that you can begin to see where you left holes for readers
to fall through. Actually, feedback like that is priceless, it shows how
much I have to learning about crafting a story.

 

 

 

The 3d guy got over the challenge

 

 

 

 

 

What did you enjoy most?

When the characters began to say and do things that surprised
me, or they took the story in an unexpected direction. Once that
happened I began to feel like it was their world and I was just a visitor
to it. After that I wasn’t creating the characters or their story, I was
just a novice painter struggling to draw them properly and my
greatest responsibility was to make sure they weren’t
misrepresented.

 

 

What motivates Slade Crawford?

Slade is a tragic character torn by competing and irreconcilable
instincts. First and foremost he is a wolf, with a wolf’s passion for the
kill. But he also has a sense of duty to his country, family and those
that depend upon him. Unfortunately, his killer instincts compel him to
return to the fight again and again, leading him to forsake the very
people that he claims he is protecting. Fighting is what he does best,
but a wife and child don’t need a fighter, they need a husband and
dad. So, he fails them, bigly.
Slade is also entering the autumn of his life and has begun to
look back on, and examine his failures. His doubts concerning his
own morality, and his need for atonement become central to the
story. In order to explore this side of his character I surrounded Slade
with a supporting cast chosen for their varying moral codes, ranging
from devoutly moral, to ambivalent, to amoral and then downright evil.
Watching Slade interact with these different people was one of the
most rewarding aspects of writing the book. I painted this facet of the
story with a very light brush as I did not want to come off as preachy.
If I was successful then I think that an attentive reader will experience
something a bit deeper than a straight action novel.

 

 

What was it like crafting a character like Slade?

It became extremely personal, as Slade is an amalgamation of
myself and several people that I know. Slade’s internal struggles are
not fiction, they come from the life stories of people that I care about.
The central tragedy that haunts Slade was taken from the real

experience of a soldier that I befriended a few years ago. I asked him
if I could use his story and he eventually gave me permission. I was
hesitant to use it, but in the end I was hoping that if my buddy could
externalize the tragedy, see it happen to somebody else, then
perhaps he could gain a healthier perspective on it.
So to answer your question, it was not easy, I felt like Slade’s
actions and responses had to be true to the real people that he
represents.

 

 

Lead us into your decision to choose Africa as a setting. 

I wanted to create a modern story in the tradition of the classic
Westerns, and a Western requires two things: #1, a lawless land that
nobody controls, and #2, a place that settlers (pioneers) would
actually want to emigrate to.
There’s lots of places in the Middle East that fit the bill for
characteristic #1, but I can’t picture anybody packing up and
emigrating to Yemen. Conversely, Africa has the right combination of
political volatility, simmering violence, fertile lands and untapped
resources in which I could create a believable story.

 

 

 

Africa map with African typography made of patchwork fabric text

 

 

 

Have you ever been there?

No, it’s one of the few places I haven’t been yet. For research I
read extensively about the Victorian explorers of the 1800’s and their
exploits in Africa. Much of the story’s sense of wilderness is based

upon what they experienced. I also spent a good bit of time doing the
ol’ Google Earth research expedition.

Describe your experience writing about action scenes versus
being out in the field.

I found that actual combat is far different from how it is depicted in
most thriller novels. Modern combat scenes are typically very detailed
and they portray combat as a series of discreet, separate events that
the subject is aware of and in control of; “He turned 45 degrees to his
left, raised the glock 9mm, aligned the sights on his targets center of
mass then squeezed trigger until…”
This technique builds a picture of what is happening, but it’s like
trying to understand sex by reading a medical textbook. Yes, you’ll
end up understanding what goes where, but you will be completely
clueless as to the human side of the experience.
The authors that I tried to emulate, and who best describe the
fear, confusion and altered-state reality of combat are James Salter,
Cormac McCarthy, James Frazier and Anthony Loyd.

 

 

Will this be a standalone or part of a series?

It’s set up to be a series. I’ve got the second book plotted out
but I am waiting on reader reactions to the first book before I make
some big decisions. I can reveal that Book 2 will focus on the
character Elizabeth and her response to what happened in Book 1,
but how I will tell her story is still in doubt. I don’t know if I’ll keep my

narrator confined to Slade’s head, share time inside Elizabeth’s head,
or shift over to her entirely. To be honest I’m terrified of trying to
represent what’s going on in her head, I’m pretty sure I’ll make a hash
of it and end up getting loads of female hate mail. We’ll see…

 

 

 

 

 

Into a Dark Frontier

 

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Mystery Thriller Week begins Feb. 12-22, 2018. Sign up HERE.

 

Don’t miss the 3rd MTW 2018 Brainstorming session this Saturday 9/9/17 11am-12pm EST. Click HERE  to attend.

 

 

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About the author:

Lt. Col. John Mangan is a decorated combat rescue pilot, novelist and coffeehouse poet. He is a graduate of the United States Air Force Academy, was an instructor at the Survival Escape Resistance & Evasion (SERE) school, and is currently an HH-60G, Pave Hawk instructor pilot. He has deployed to the Middle East eight times and has commanded the 33rd Expeditionary Rescue Squadron in Kandahar, Afghanistan. His actions in combat have been documented in the books Not a Good Day to DieNone Braver, and Zero Six Bravo. He has flown combat missions with PJs, SEALs, Delta, Rangers, and the SAS. John has been awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross with Valor twice, The Air Medal twelve times, and the 2009 Cheney Award.

 

 

 

 

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