Book Review: Eye For Eye by J.K. Franko

 

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Book 1 of the Talion Series

 

 

 

 

“NEW TWIST ON STRANGERS ON A TRAIN” – THE SUNDAY TIMES 

When I first met Susie, she appeared to be a normal, happily-married woman dealing with tragedy.

Then, I uncovered her secrets. While I could understand everything that she’d done, I could never approve.

But, knowing what she was capable of, it became clear that if I was going to survive her, I had to play by her rules.

And, the first and most important rule is… leave no singing bones.

 

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A gripping crime, nail biting suspense, stellar plot twists…

 

 

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This book kept getting better and better as I kept reading. A couple with an interesting past, to say the least, gets caught up in a GRIPPING crime. A mother, father consumed by grief. The thirst for revenge grows stronger, the lies run deeper, and the deception even more sinister. Great suspense with major plot twists! Author J.K. Franko does an excellent job detailing each character with dark, twisted motivations. Realistic and chilling, Eye for Eye kept me on the edge of my seat!

 

 

 

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J.K. Franko was born and raised in Texas at a time when what he really wanted to do in life – writing and film – were not considered legitimate jobs. His Cuban-American parents believed there were only three acceptable career paths for a male child: doctor, lawyer, and architect.

After a disastrous first year of college pre-Med, he ended up getting a BA in philosophy (not acceptable), then he went to law school (salvaging the family name).

Franko was on law journal. His work was cited by courts, and he was recognized on the National Law Journal’s “Worth Reading” list – which for law is the equivalent to a top review in the New York Times.

While moving up the big law firm ladder, Franko also published a non-fiction book and a number of articles.

After ten years as a lawyer, he decided that law and family life weren’t compatible. He decided to go back to school where he got an MBA, and later pursued a PhD, crossing the line from well-educated to over-educated around the turn of the century.

He left law for corporate America, with long stints working in Europe and Asia.

It was his wife who pushed him to write novels. And, after thousands of hours writing, and seven or eight literary miscarriages over the course of eighteen years, he completed his first book, finally launching his career as a writer of fiction.

Ironically, although he started writing fiction before any of his three children were born, they were all old enough to see and remember their father’s first book launch.

J.K. Franko now lives with his wife and children in South Florida with their four dogs and one cat.

 

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Interview with Christine Carbo Author of the Glacier Park Mysteries

 

 

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A SHARP SOLITUDE – A GLACIER PARK MYSTERY

Interview for Benjamin Thomas


 

What’s your creative approach to writing a book?

I usually get my ideas from small things that spark my interest: an interesting article, a unique person, a story I’ve heard in the past that sticks with me, a line from a poem or a song…. If that thing of interest stays with me, I know I have the seed of an idea I’m willing sit with during the time it takes to write a novel. Once I have that idea, I will take some notes and brainstorm more ideas around the topic or character, but I’m not much of an outliner. I often simply end up diving in and writing as far as the headlights. Sometimes I’m at a loss for what should come next, get frustrated, and force myself to outline, but I rarely end up writing what I outline anyway, so it always comes out differently than I imagine it will. I also have no set writing schedule. I fit it in whenever it makes sense, sometimes in the morning, sometimes over the weekends, sometimes later in the day after my other job. I realize this is different from many other authors, but it has worked for me so far. I always think, someday I will create and stick to a writing schedule, but so far it hasn’t happened. Ha, I’m reminded of the saying: someday is no day.


 

Creativity

 

 

 

You write great characters in the Glacier Park mysteries. What’s the first thing you begin with? How do you develop them and bring out their flaws?

I often begin by thinking about a character’s childhood. So much of a character’s makeup depends on their upbringing: some important family dynamic (or even the lack of a family), a relationship with a parent, a traumatic event that may have happened. Our upbringings so often shape how we deal with circumstances that pop up later in life. Sometimes they prepare us well or sometimes our pasts leave us ill-equipped to deal with various situations and we end up making them so much worse than we want because of our own baggage. I find it interesting when a certain case or criminal situation that my detective or sleuth finds themselves embroiled in brings up unexpected emotions that have not been fully dealt with because of things that have occurred in their pasts.

For example, in my my first book, The Wild Inside, my main character is a lead detective – a Series 1811 – for the Department of the Interior who is called to the federal land of Glacier National Park to investigate a murder that occurs there. However, Glacier is the last place he wants to be because when he was young, something very traumatic occurred while he was camping there with his father. Right from the get-go, I know my character will be haunted by not only the place but by the crime he’s investigating. In my fourth book, A Sharp Solitude, my main character is a local, resident FBI agent in northwest Montana. She is also a single mom of a daughter she fiercely wants to protect and shield from having the type of childhood she had because when she was young, her father was not present and was even in prison for some time. She does not want her daughter to experience the lack of a father and makes sure she is able to spend plenty of time with her dad. However, he ends being a prime suspect in a local case, and my main character gets tangled up professionally because she is driven to protect her daughter. She gets involved in the case in spite of the professional conflict of interest. So, essentially, the things we throw at our characters can often resonate more deeply if they somehow brush up against past experiences of their lives.



 

 

Welcome to Glacier National Park

 

 

 

What’s the relationship like between Reeve Landon and FBI investigator Ali Paige?

Reeve is someone Ali actually respects. She admires his steady, persistent drive to go into the woods and do the work he does, which is part of the University of Montana’s canine detection program in which dogs are trained to help find the scat of certain wild animals for biologists to study. She does not view him as a deadbeat dad, like she saw her own father, yet, she does get irritated with him for putting his work first at times. Plus, in general, she does not understand how they can make a relationship work because, in fact, she sees him as being a little too much like herself. At one point, she thinks: “We both seemed to be followed by a certain darkness like a stray dog you can’t convince to go away. It was if we were always reminding each other that people never rid themselves of lonesomeness even in the company of a partner.” And of course, they both feel this way because of things that occurred in their lives when they were younger.



 

“We both seemed to be followed by a certain darkness like a stray dog you can’t convince to go away. It was if we were always reminding each other that people never rid themselves of lonesomeness even in the company of a partner.”

 

 

 

The settings are woven perfectly into your books. How important is it in your writing?

Setting is very important to me, but I like to point out that setting does not always have to be an entire area or town, or even nature. A strong setting can be a well-described trailer park, a busy, concrete-laden city, a popular bar, an old Victorian home, a cold cell in a jail, a small house not far from a refinery where the windows need to be shut when the wind is blowing in the wrong direction….

So, for me, the question is less about a particular setting, and more about the entire place that is the larger backdrop, or locale, for my stories which are made up of specific scenes in specific places. I don’t dwell on how to weave it in because I think that occurs naturally for the most part, but I do believe describing place is essential to creating good characters and stories because people are shaped by the places they reside, just as they are by their past experiences. And even past experiences took place somewhere, and that area will often inform how that experience played out and the character’s memories of what happened.

Because I reside in northwest Montana – where the landscape is such a huge part of our lives, where its grandness is obvious, I tend to weave geography and nature into my stories. I think many writers from the northwest and the west in general are well-aware of the area’s exceptionalism and therefore, incorporate it into their stories. I’m only about a half-hour drive from Glacier National Park, and at my house, where I usually write, I often see deer, elk, bear and sometimes a stray moose meander through my yard. Already this spring, I’ve seen a herd of up to seventy or eighty elk pass through about three times a week. It tends to inform our existence when every time we look out a window, we see something wild or dramatic, even if it’s simply the jutting mountains in the distance. When we drive to the store, we see fields with eagles perched on telephone poles looking for prey, reminding us that we’re never far from the wilderness. When I walk my dogs, I wouldn’t think of going into the woods without bear spray when the grizzlies are out of hibernation since I live close enough to fairly undeveloped areas, and even the developed ones have bears that meander through.

Also, Glacier brings millions of tourists to see its grandness, and I love Glacier, so it’s fun to set some of my stories in it or near it. I try not to preach in any of my novels, but I do keep in mind that nature is not something separate from us. And although Glacier is, in essence, an island of undeveloped, unmined, unlogged land – a place of unfettered beauty which is sometimes experienced by people like it’s an amusement park to be enjoyed briefly and then departed to return home where nature is not so obvious – I know that we are all a part of nature, even if we’re surrounded by concrete. I’m thrilled that we have conserved certain areas as we have, and I hope that people understand that these places should not simply be islands for enjoyment for a few weeks out of their lives and then left for their homes that might be viewed as less natural. No matter where we live, we are not separate from nature, and although concrete can create the illusion that we are, it’s important to understand how we are a part of it, even when we’re in the center of a city.

Because I carry these personal beliefs about the natural world, and because I’ve mainly written about characters living in northwest Montana, I tend to make characters that are acutely aware of their natural surroundings. I believe I would do this no matter where my book was taking place, even if not among the wilderness of my state. Over-description can definitely bore a reader, but a little attention to the clouds above and the trees on the sidewalk –even if they’re dying – and how characters notice these things or even the lack of them and how they treat them goes a long way to seat a story in geography, in place, and thereby create atmosphere. I do think that’s essential to a good story with deep characters.


 

 

Grunge state of Montana flag map

 

 

 

Have you been to a lot of sites you write about?

Yes, I’ve been to most of them, but every once in a while I make a place up: a landmark, a restaurant or a bar, a house, a campground….  In A Sharp Solitude, I have a scene about a shooting range near Tallahassee, Florida, and I made it up entirely because I have not been to a shooting range in Florida. Of course, even when making up a place, I still try to pay attention to the details that I imagine make that place unique.

 

In A Sharp Solitude, who is officially on the case of Anne Marie Johnson?

The county sheriff’s office has jurisdiction over the case since her body was found on county land, not far from Glacier National Park. She wasn’t found within the park; if she had been, the case would fall primarily under federal jurisdiction. Nor was she discovered in the city limits, so the police department is not involved either. In some instances, the county might ask for help from the city police department or from the resident FBI agents. However, I did not have my county characters corroborating with other agencies in A Sharp Solitude. The county runs the investigation on their own with two Flathead County deputies working for the detective division who are leading the investigation. The police department and the local FBI resident agents, however, would be well-aware of the crime and have access to its developments, which allowed me to have Ali, a resident agent, nudge up closely – too closely – to the investigation in spite of having a conflict of interest. When I was doing my research for the novel, I had called the lead detective from the county, and I asked her, would it be plausible for one of the local resident agents to just pop in to the county building while a detective from the county is interrogating a person of interest for a local crime without any reason other than to see how things are going? I had thought I was stretching things a little too far, but to my delight, she said that it happens all the time and that they all work closely together – that’s it’s not uncommon for the local resident agents to check in and see what’s going on and that they wouldn’t think twice of it. Sometimes, she said, the county asks for their opinion, their advice or for their help.

 

 

 

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What has helped your writing craft over the years?

Lots of reading, hanging around with other writers, going to workshops and learning to trust my own intuitions about my work. At times, especially when I first began writing, I have been insecure – as all writers tend to be at one point or another – and I have learned that insecurities can be helpful. So often, we think of the feelings of insecurity as awful and unwanted, but insecurities can actually provide fuel to get it right. They helped to keep me wanting to learn more, to never quit trying to do better, and to take advice.

On the other hand, I’m a little bull-headed too, which is also a useful trait in the world of writing. If you’re always taking advice from readers and critique groups, you can revise forever, especially if you can’t parse the good from the bad. It’s important to trust when you think you have it right and to stick to your guns when you do. Knowing when to listen to the critiques and when to shut them out can be a tricky balance. In other words, you need to know when it’s time to fully go with your story and trust in it, and that does take a certain amount of confidence. So, in other words, I’ve learned to use both my insecurities and my bull-headedness to my advantage, which has ultimately led me to be more confident in the process. But, it’s definitely a fluctuating process and some projects go more easily than others.


 

What are you working on next?

I am working on my fifth novel – one that has been a bit of a challenge for me (speaking of projects that go more easily than others). I have heard that sometimes a manuscript will resist us, no matter how much we love a subject, and this is my first experience with that. It doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be written. Quite the contrary – it means we’re onto something that is worth working harder on to get right. It just means we struggle a little more. In this novel, the main character has a very unusual job that not many people are aware of. She is a death-row mitigation specialist, which means she helps research, understand and interpret the dark case histories of criminals destined for death row to present recommendations to judges and jurors with the goal of mitigating their sentence. Only, she is currently taking a break from that job because she has had a crisis of conviction that has compelled her to retreat to a cabin in northwest Montana. A crime occurs in her neck of the woods that draws her back into that world which now haunts her, and she is forced to reckon with who she believes she is as a person.

 

Thanks so much, Benjamin, for asking such great questions!

All best, Christine

 

 

 

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Christine Carbo is the author of The Wild Inside, Mortal Fall, The Weight of Night, and A Sharp Solitude (all from Atria Books/Simon and Schuster) and a recipient of the Womens’ National Book Association Pinckley Prize, the Silver Falchion Award and the High Plains Book Award. After earning a pilot’s license, pursuing various adventures in Norway, and working a brief stint as a flight attendant, she got an MA in English and linguistics and taught college-level courses. She still teaches, in a vastly different realm, as the owner of a Pilates studio. A Florida native, she and her family live in Whitefish, Montana. Find out more at ChristineCarbo.com.

 

 

www.ChristineCarbo.com

 

 

 

 

Book Review: What I’ve Done by Melinda Leigh

What I've Done

 

 

Morgan Dane’s new client has blood on her hands—and no recollection of what happened—as the #1 Amazon Charts bestselling series continues.

 

Haley Powell wakes up covered in blood, with no memory of the night before. When she sees a man lying in the backyard, stabbed to death, she has only one terrified thought: What have I done?

Agreeing to take the case as a favor to her PI friend Lincoln Sharp, Morgan must scale a mountain of damning circumstantial and forensic evidence to prove her client innocent. Haley couldn’t appear more guilty: her bloodstained fingerprints are on the murder weapon, and she has no alibi. But Morgan can’t shake the feeling that this shocked young woman has been framed.

Someone out there is hell-bent on sabotaging her defense, targeting Morgan, her partner, and especially Haley. Someone who will stop at nothing—and whose next move will be deadly.

 

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Morgan Dane rocks. I always enjoy reading this series.
Criminal defense attorney Morgan Dane’s new client Haley Powell will prove to be an extremely challenging case. Private investigators Lincoln Sharpe and Lance will have their hands full with this one. Melinda Leigh deliver’s once again with a great story full of twists and turns. Never a dull moment, action packed, full of suspense, and keeps you on your toes. Great series and I’d recommend it to anyone.

 

 

 

 

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Morgan Dane book #5 is now available!

 

 

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The #1 Amazon Charts bestselling series continues as Morgan Dane and PI Lance Kruger fight for the innocence of a young murder suspect—if only they could find him.

When a retired sheriff’s deputy is shot to death in his home, his troubled teenage stepson, Evan, becomes the prime suspect. Even more incriminating, the boy disappeared from the scene of the crime.

Desperate to find her son, Evan’s mother begs PI Lance Kruger for help. She knows her son is innocent. Kruger and defense attorney Morgan Dane want to believe that too, but the evidence against the boy is damning. Just as the trail goes cold, another deputy vanishes. His shocking connection to Evan’s stepfather throws the investigation into chaos as Lance and Morgan fear the worst…that Evan is the killer’s new target.

With so many secrets to unravel, will Lance and Morgan find him before it’s too late?

 

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Blog Tour Blast: The Scent of Death by Simon Beckett

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It has been a good summer for forensics expert Dr David Hunter. His relationship is going well and he’s in demand again as a police consultant. His life seems to be on an even keel.

But not for long. The call comes from an old associate: a body has been found, and she’d like Hunter to take a look . . .

St Jude’s Hospital now stands empty. Slowly rotting and silently awaiting demolition, the vast, oppressive building’s only visitors have been society’s outcasts, addicts and dealers. And it’s here that the partially mummified corpse has been discovered. Hunter is not sure how long the body has been hidden in the hospital’s cavernous loft, but he’s seen enough to know it’s a young woman. And that she was pregnant.

As the remains are removed for closer examination, a floor collapses revealing a previously sealed off part of a ward. Bricked up inside this hidden chamber are three beds. Two of them are occupied . . .
What other grisly secrets will St Jude’s reveal? The local community is alarmed and the police need answers. For David Hunter, what began as a challenging if straightforward case is about to become a twisted nightmare threatening him and those around him.

Featuring his trademark authentic forensics, claustrophobic sense of place and nerve-shredding tension, Simon Beckett’s new thriller will leave you gasping.

 

 

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Enjoy the Tour with these beautiful book blogs

 

2/18 – @Karen55555 – Go Buy The Book Blog

 

2/19 – @sephine – Live to Read. Read to Live Blog

 

2/20 – @clairsharpe – Always Need More Books

 

2/21 – @annebonnybook – Anne Bonny Book Reviews

 

2/22 – @rae_reads1 – Rae Reads

 

2/23 – @kaishajayneh –  The Writing Gamet

 

2/24 – @Lizzy11268 – Liz Loves Books

 

2/25 – @polesofie – Romantics, Rebels, and Reviews

 

2/26 – @ClaireKreads – A Knight’s Reads

 

2/27 – @AmandaDuncan12 – My Bookish Blogspot

 

2/28 – @dmmaguire391 – Donna’s Book Blog

 

3/1 – @JoannaLouisePar – Over the Rainbow Book Blog

 

3/2 – @Agi_mybookshelf – On My bookshelf

 

3/3 – @Shazsbookblog – Shaz’s Book Blog

 

3/4 – @vinsbookcase – Vincent’s Bookcase

 

 

 

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After an MA in English, Simon Beckett spent several years as a property repairer before a stint teaching in Spain. Back in the UK, he played percussion in several bands. He has been a freelance journalist since 1992, writing for The Times, The Independent on Sunday Review, The Daily Telegraph, The Observer and other major British publications. In 2002, as part of an article on the National Forensic Academy, he visited the Body Farm in Tennessee. This last commission was the inspiration behind the internationally bestselling The Chemistry of Death, which was shortlisted for the CWA’s Duncan Lawrie Dagger and has been translated into 21 languages. Simon Beckett is married and lives in Sheffield. The author of six novels, his second David Hunter thriller, Written in Bone, is published as a Bantam paperback in April 2008.

 

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John David Bethel Discusses His Writing Process With No Immaculate Conceptions

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One month after his college graduation, Dean Eaton is writing speeches for presumptive presidential candidate, U.S. Senator Peter Dottier. Two months later, he is being pursued by a psychopath.

Dean Eaton is determined to make his own way after college. He wants to break away from the life paved for him by his parents. His first step is a week or so camping to clear his head and rejuvenate his spirit. What begins well ends with him witnessing the assassination of an undercover FBI agent. This brings Eaton into the orbit of Special Agent Steven Blanchard who convinces Dean to join him to bring down the deadly arms dealer who had the agent murdered. This partnership calls for Eaton to be placed on the staff of Senator Peter Dottier in order to track down a contact of the murdered FBI agent who, according to Blanchard, is a member of the senator’s staff.

As he struggles to learn and fit in to the confusing and often devious world of politics and public policy, Dean finds a mentor in his landlord, Ambassador Belmont Towbin, a respected eminence grise in Washington.

Throughout his learning process, Dean is also dealing with the dangers of his role identifying the contact. It soon becomes obvious that all is not as Blanchard has represented. Not even close. As Dean’s suspicions grow, Reisa Winston, Blanchard’s partner, reveals that he is the contact, and things go south from there.

No Immaculate Conceptions is a novel of politics and a study of the deadly ambitions of significant players in Washington who often use their power and positions for personal ends.

 

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Meet author John David Bethel a writer of fiction and non-fiction. He has been published in popular consumer magazines and respected political journals. He is the author of Evil Town, a novel of political intrigue, and Blood Moon, a psychological crime thriller inspired by a true story of kidnapping, torture, extortion and murder.

 

 

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Did you outline this book or was it more intuitive?

I don’t work from an outline.  I begin with a kernel of an idea and build on that foundation.  In the case of No Immaculate Conceptions that kernel was the main character’s camping trip during which he discovers a wounded, and soon to be dead, federal agent.  From there it’s off to Washington, where – one month after his college graduation – Dean Eaton is writing speeches for presumptive presidential candidate, U.S. Senator Peter Dottier.  Two months later, he is being pursued by a psychopath.

 

*Is your writing approach to every book the same?

Yes, and in the case of No Immaculate Conceptions, I set Dean down in Washington with Senator Dottier in order to track down a contact of the murdered FBI agent who, according to Dean’s FBI handler, is a member of the senator’s staff.

 

Washington DC National Mall, including Washington Monument and Thomas Jefferson Memorial with mirror reflections on water

 

 

*Where did the kernel of the idea for No Immaculate Conceptions begin?

From a daydream.  I was wondering how I would react in a situation where outside forces put my life in danger and I hadn’t a clue what they wanted.  That evolved into the initial plot-line for the novel whereby Dean is wandering around a lovely, pristine environment and realizes he is being followed, and then shot at.  This brings him into the orbit of FBI Special Agent Steven Blanchard who convinces Dean to join him to bring down the deadly arms dealer who had the agent murdered.

 

*Who is Dean Eaton and what motivates him?

Eaton is a child of privilege who has had all the advantages of life and wants to find his own way.  This has created in him not only a drive toward independence, but also the willingness to take chances, go out on a limb to gain new experiences.  In the novel, he goes so far out on that limb there is a high likelihood it will break off.

 

 

3D rendering of a compass with a Motivation icon.

 

 

 

*How do you create characters for your books?

There are authors who create back stories for their characters to understand how they will react as the plot advances.  My technique is to place the characters in the action and let that dictate the development of their personalities. It fits with the intuitive way I develop my novels.

 

*Name some struggles you had writing this book.  

Fortunately, I’ve not had struggles with writing any of my novels.  It sounds overly simplistic but I begin at the beginning and stop at the end.  The editing process often takes a good bit longer than does writing the original draft.  

 

 

 

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*No Immaculate Conceptions is lengthy book. Had you been writing this for a while, or did it just flow naturally?  

Once the kernel of the plot line was on paper (on the screen), things advanced naturally and fairly swiftly.  

There is the advice given to all writers to “write what you know.”  I know politics and I write about it. Perhaps that is one of the reasons I find the going easy when I put it all down.  I mine my experiences in Washington as a speechwriter and communications strategist – adding drama – and it all seems to work out.  

 

 

*Describe your mindset when you begin to write.

My wife tells me I go into a zone and it takes some prodding to get back into the present.  A “fugue state” perhaps describes it best.

 

 

*What kind of advice would you give to new writers?

Write because you enjoy the creative process, and believe in yourself.   

I’m often asked why I write and my answer is because I have to.  The urge to create has to be satisfied…as presumptuous as that sounds.

 

 

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Mr. Bethel spent 35 years in politics and government. He served in the Senior Executive Service as a political appointee where he was Senior Adviser/Director of Speechwriting for the Secretary of Commerce; directed speechwriting offices for other Cabinet officials, serving as Chief Speechwriter to the Secretary of Education; and lead speechwriter in the Department of Transportation’s Office of Policy and International Affairs. He also served as press secretary/speechwriter to members of U.S. Congress.

Mr. Bethel works as a media consultant for a number of prominent communications management firms. He writes speeches, opinion editorials and Congressional testimony for CEOs of the nation’s largest corporations, including the Hilton Hotels Corporation, and Royal Caribbean Lines. His op-ed pieces have appeared in The Washington Post and other prominent newspapers around the country.

David Bethel graduated with Phi Beta Kappa honors from Tulane University and lives in Miami, Florida.

 

David Bethel is a writer of fiction and non-fiction.  He is the author of Evil Town and Blood Moon. www.johndavidbethel.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blog Tour: Next Victim by Helen H. Durrant

Escape

 

 

 

NEXT VICTIM by Helen H. Durrant

 

 

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MEET DETECTIVE RACHEL KING IN THIS BRILLIANT NEW CRIME SERIES.

DISCOVER A BRAND NEW MYSTERY FROM #1 BEST-SELLING AUTHOR HELEN H. DURRANT THAT WILL HAVE YOU GRIPPED FROM START TO NERVE-SHREDDING FINISH.

A young man’s body is found burnt and tortured by a Manchester canal.

Detective Rachel King investigates. But she has a secret, the love of her life is a well-known villain. He has recently come back on the scene. But what does he really want?

A brutal serial killer with a taste for good-looking young blonde men.

A student who believes she has a lost brother. But even her own father doesn’t believe her. She was involved with the first victim.

As the murders continue, can Rachel keep her family together and stop the killer?

 

 

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THE DETECTIVE

DCI Rachel King. Thirty-nine year-old mother of two teenage daughters. Divorced from Alan.  She lives in the Cheshire village of Poynton – about ten miles from central Manchester. She is good at her job, gets results but does make mistakes. One of them was getting involved with a budding villain in her teens. No one, family, friends or colleagues know anything about this.

Amazon U.S. | Amazon UK | Amazon AU | Goodreads | Joffe Books

 

 

Book Review - Wooden 3d rendered letters/message

 

 

This is just great crime fiction. The victim. The body. The killer. The ensuing investigation. The demonstration of his M.O. and motivation for his work. I always enjoy when there’s a formidable antagonist in the mix. I prefer stories when the killer’s point of view is used early on versus later in the book. That, with detective Rachel King’s life creates a more powerful story. In other words, Helen Durrant knows how to deliver! I’m definitely  recommending this series.

 

 

Premium quality sign on black leather

 

 

ALSO BY HELEN H. DURRANT

THE CALLADINE & BAYLISS MYSTERY SERIES

Book 1: DEAD WRONG

Book 2: DEAD SILENT

Book 3: DEAD LIST

Book 4: DEAD LOST

Book 5: DEAD & BURIED

Book 6: DEAD NASTY

Book 7: DEAD JEALOUS

 

THE DCI GRECO BOOKS

Book 1: DARK MURDER

Book 2: DARK HOUSES

Book 3: DARK TRADE

 

 

helen durrant

 

 

HELEN H. DURRANT

OVER 700,000 books sold of her Calladine & Bayliss and DI Greco Series

I’m one of the ‘baby boomer’ generation. I was born in Edinburgh to an English father and Scottish mother. My father was from the North West of England and this was where the family settled.

I know the area well, both the good and the bad, and so I set my books here. Sitting between two counties, Lancashire and Yorkshire, and between the city and the hills, it offers a rich mix of the industrial and the countryside and all the character therein. I always planned to write crime novels — to create the characters in my books. Since my retirement from a busy teaching job in FE, this is what I’ve done — almost to exclusion of anything else!

I have a grown-up family and five grandchildren. They see me as something of an eccentric — always on my laptop writing away. Writing is something of a second career and, despite having a bus pass, keeps me busy, young and tuned in the world as it currently is.

 

 

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Blog Tour: Fat Chance by A.B. Morgan

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A missing barrister, a severed thumb and fat chance of finding out the truth.

Ella Fitzwilliam’s world is about to spiral out of control. She’s not cut out to be a private investigator. With little or no aptitude for the job, she’s been sent undercover to expose the hidden lives of two men who meet nearly every week at Buxham’s – a private members’ club where portions are large and secrets are held in strictest confidence.

One of those men is Harry Drysdale, a defence barrister, and the other is Marcus Carver, an eminent surgeon with a tarnished past and much to lose. Ella knows he has unhealthy appetites, she’s sure he’s feeding his perverted habits and putting his female patients at risk but she has to prove it.

When Harry Drysdale goes missing, Konrad Neale TV journalist tries to reveal the truth behind the lies, but some of the secrets start to reveal themselves… and they are big.

 

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I like A.B. Morgan’s writing style. Right away, she places you in the mindset of the character within the scene. Well established point of view characters make this an easy and entertaining read. Great suspense, mystery, intrigue, and well balanced writing.

 

 

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Alison Morgan author bio

 

Alison Morgan lives in rural Bedfordshire, UK, with her engineer husband and bonkers dog. Life is never boring and they are usually planning the next adventure. Alison spent several decades working on the front line of mental health services as a specialist nurse and latterly as manager of an early intervention service for first episode psychosis. However, when a heart problem brought her career to a juddering halt, she had to find a way of managing her own sanity, so she sat down to write some useful clinical guidelines for student nurses. Instead, a story that had been lurking in her mind came spewing forth onto the pages of what became her first novel. Since then she has been unable to stem the flow of ideas and writes full-time from a luxurious shack at the top of the garden. Alison writes under the name A B Morgan and. within her storylines, she continues to make good use of her years of experience in mental health services, where the truth is often much stranger than fiction.

 

www.abmorgan.co.uk

 

 

 

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Mystery & thriller fans, bloggers, authors don’t miss out on MTW 2019 May 13-24. 

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Book Review: Hard Road by J.B. Turner

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Jon Reznick is a “ghost”: a black-ops specialist who takes his orders from shadowy handlers, and his salary from the US government. Still mourning the loss of his beloved wife on 9/11, he’s dispatched to carry out a high-level hit. Reznick knows only that it must look like suicide. It’s textbook.

But the target is not the man Reznick expected. The whole setup is wrong. In an instant the operation is compromised, and Reznick is on the run with the man he was sent to kill. A man wanted by the FBI, and by a mysterious terrorist organization hell-bent on bringing the United States to its knees. FBI Assistant Director Martha Meyerstein is determined to track him down, and to intercept whatever it is Reznick was sent to do.

When Reznick’s young daughter becomes a pawn in the game, he has to use more than his military training to stay one step ahead of those responsible. Meanwhile, he is the only person who knows the true extent of the threat to national security—and has the stealth and determination to stop it.

 

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J.B. Turner introduces us to Jon Reznick in this blockbuster series beginning with Hard Road. Reznick, a black ops specialist assassin is sent on a hit but nothing feels right. He soon realizes his handler sent him to the wrong target. But why? I’m completely enthralled by this series on every level. J.B. Turner writes a tight thriller that doesn’t let up from page one. The action, level of tension, intrigue, characters are off the charts good. I love this kind of thriller!

 

 

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J.B. Turner is a former journalist and now #1 international bestselling author. He is best known for the Jon Reznick® series of action thrillers. His latest book, Reckoning (Thomas & Mercer), was published on 2 August 2018. His influences and favorite authors include: James Ellroy, Richard Stark, Hunter S. Thompson, James Lee Burke, George Orwell, Jack Kerouac, Henry James, Harlan Coben, Thomas H. Cook, John Grisham, James Patterson, John Buchan, John Grisham, and Michael Connelly.

His latest book is the second in the American Ghost® series of action thrillers. The new series features protagonist Nathan Stone, a former CIA covert operative who had been critically wounded, and everyone thought was dead. But behind closed doors, he was rehabilitated by a highly secretive government organization known as the Commission, given a new identity and appearance, and remoulded into a lethal assassin. His brief: to execute kill orders drawn up by the Commission, all in the name of national security. The Commission owns him, but Stone knows one wrong move could turn him from loyal asset to hunted man.

He wrote the Jon Reznick novella, Gone Bad (No Way Back Press), and the Deborah Jones crime thrillers, Miami Requiem (No Way Back Press) and Dark Waters (No Way Back Press).

His books have conspiratorial elements and themes throughout them. His work can often be described as thrillers; his books cover sub-genre categories including assassination thriller, suspense thriller, political thriller, crime fiction, military thriller, and, in the case of the Deborah Jones books, mysteries.

He has a keen interest in geo-politics.

He loves music and drinks dangerous levels of coffee (and a fair bit of red wine). He occasionally blogs. He listens to everything from Beethoven to The Beatles, The Cure to Bach. And everything in between. Occasionally writes. Loves films. Well, good ones. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, The Parallax View, The Conversation, Heat, The Godfather, The Offence, Goodfellas, The French Connection, Payback, It’s a Wonderful Life, Manhattan, Annie Hall, Sideways, As Good As It Gets, Wonder Boys, The Deer Hunter, All the President’s Men, Silver Linings Playbook, Babette’s Feast, and a personal fave, Animal House (what’s not to like?).

He was born in Edinburgh, Scotland. He is married with two children.

He is represented by Mark Gottlieb of Trident Media Group, New York.

 

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Book Review: Close to the Bone by Kendra Elliot

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Widow’s Island Novella book 1

 

FBI Special Agent Cate Wilde is back home on a remote Pacific Northwest island when she gets the call: a teenager’s skeletal remains have been found on a nearby island.

Together with Tessa Black, a childhood friend turned local deputy, Cate confronts dreary weather and bleak leads to make sense of the death. The complications pile up as Cate is distracted by the coroner on the case—and by nagging memories that draw her twenty years into the past. The remains suggest eerie similarities between this victim, and Cate and Tessa’s friend Samantha, who disappeared when she was fourteen.

Cate finds herself up against closemouthed locals, buried town secrets, and even her own heart. As the case unravels, will she be able to cut through the fog and find justice for the missing and the dead.

 

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Bestselling author Kendra Elliot kicks off a great beginning to the Widow’s Island series! This was so well written it didn’t really seem like a novella. It had all the necessary elements of a full novel complete with mystery, suspense, crime, character, and a touch of romance. I thought the idea for the Widow’s Island setting was genius; the culture, secrets, history of families, it made the story very appealing.

 

See my review of the Audiobook & Narrator Performance: Close to the Bone

 

 

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Kendra Elliot has sold over 5.5 million books, hit the Wall Street Journal top ten bestseller list seven times, and is a three time winner of the Daphne du Maurier award.

Her 2017 release, A MERCIFUL DEATH, was a #1 Amazon overall bestseller and has been optioned for TV by Warner Brothers Television and Ellen Degeneres’s A Very Good Production.

She is an International Thriller Writers’ finalist and a Romantic Times finalist. She grew up in the lush Pacific Northwest and still lives there with her family, three cats, and two Pomeranians. She’s always been fascinated with forensics, refuses to eat anything green, and can’t wait to wear flip flops every day.

 

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Book Review: The Advocate’s Daughter by Anthony Franze

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A Washington, D.C. lawyer and a frequent major media commentator on the Supreme Court, Anthony Franze delivers a high-stakes story of family, power, loss and revenge set within the insular world of the highest court of our country.

Among Washington D.C. power players, everyone has secrets they desperately want to keep hidden, including Sean Serrat, a Supreme Court lawyer. Sean transformed his misspent youth into a model adulthood, and now has one of the most respected legal careers in the country. But just as he learns he’s on the short list to be nominated to the U.S. Supreme Court, his daughter, Abby, a talented and dedicated law student, goes missing. Abby’s lifeless body is soon found in the library of the Supreme Court, and her boyfriend, Malik Montgomery, a law clerk at the high court, is immediately arrested. The ensuing media frenzy leads to allegations that Malik’s arrest was racially motivated, sparking a national controversy.

While the Serrat family works through their grief, Sean begins to suspect the authorities arrested the wrong person. Delving into the mysteries of his daughter’s last days, Sean stumbles over secrets within his own family as well as the lies of some of the most powerful people in the country. People who will stop at nothing to ensure that Sean never exposes the truth.

 

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I’ve been on a legal thriller kick recently.  Not sure if you’ve heard of Anthony Franze, a lawyer in the Appellate and Supreme Court practice in a Washington, D.C. law firm, but he write’s a great book. From beginning to end, I peeled the pages in great suspense to find out what happened. A Supreme Court nominee is set to make history with the “cat in the bag”…Well, until he discovers his daughter is found dead the Supreme Court library. As he sets out to find the truth behind her murder, the plot unravels along with everything else in his life. Great book!

 

 

 

Five Gold Stars

 

 

 

 

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ANTHONY FRANZE is a lawyer in the Appellate and Supreme Court practice of a prominent Washington, D.C. law firm, and a critically acclaimed thriller writer with novels set in the nation’s highest court. Franze has been a commentator on legal and Supreme Court issues for The New Republic, Bloomberg, National Law Journal, and other major media outlets. He is a board member and a Vice President of the International Thriller Writers organization. Franze lives in the Washington, D.C. area with his family. Learn more at www.anthonyfranzebooks.com

 

 

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