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Pre-Pub Blast – Darkest Before the Dawn

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About the Author

Mike Martin

Mike Martin was born in Newfoundland on the East Coast of Canada and now lives and works in Ottawa, Ontario. He is a long-time freelance writer and his articles and essays have appeared in newspapers, magazines and online across Canada as well as in the United States and New Zealand. He is the author of Change the Things You Can: Dealing with Difficult People and has written a number of short stories that have published in various publications including Canadian Stories and Downhome magazine.

The Walker on the Cape was his first full fiction book and the premiere of the Sgt. Windflower Mystery Series. Other books in the series include The Body on the T, Beneath the Surface, A Twist of Fortune and A Long Ways from Home, which was shortlisted for the Bony Blithe Light Mystery Award as the best light mystery of the year. A Tangled Web was released in 2017 and the newest book in the series.is Darkest Before the Dawn.

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About the Book:

Title: DARKEST BEFORE THE DAWN
Author: Mike Martin
Publisher: Ottawa Press and Publishing
Pages: TBA
Genre: Mystery

Darkest Before the Dawn

BOOK BLURB:

Darkest Before the Dawn is the latest adventure of Sgt. Winston Windflower, a Mountie who finds himself surrounded by a new family and a new life in tiny Grand Bank, Newfoundland. There are signs of trouble that may disturb his pleasant life, including a series of unsolved break-ins and the lack of supports for young people in the most trying time of their lives. But there are always good friends, good food and the sense that if we all pull together, we can find a way to get through even the darkest days.

Ghosts, mysterious deaths, and a new character enliven the pages as Windflower and Tizzard and the other police officers awaken the secrets that have been lying dormant in this sleepy little town. The deeper they dig the more they find as the criminals they seek dive deeper behind the curtains of anonymity and technology. But more than anything, this is a story of love and loss, of growing up and learning how to grow old gracefully. It is also about family and community and looking after each other. Of not giving up hope just before the dawn.

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Book Blast – A Tangled Web

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About the Author

Mike Martin

Mike Martin was born in Newfoundland on the East Coast of Canada and now lives and works in Ottawa, Ontario. He is a longtime freelance writer and his articles and essays have appeared in newspapers, magazines and online across Canada as well as in the United States and New Zealand. He is the author of Change the Things You Can: Dealing with Difficult People and has written a number of short stories that have published in various publications including Canadian Stories and Downhome magazine.

The Walker on the Cape was his first full fiction book and the premiere of the Sgt. Windflower Mystery Series. Other books in the series include The Body on the T, Beneath the Surface, A Twist of Fortune and A Long Ways from Home.

A Long Ways from Home was shortlisted for the 2017 Bony Blithe Light Mystery Award as the best light mystery of the year. A Tangled Web is the newest book in the series.

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About the Book

A Tangled Web

Title: A TANGLED WEB
Author: Mike Martin
Publisher: Booklocker
Pages: 338
Genre: Mystery

BOOK BLURB

Life is good for Sgt. Wind­flower in Grand Bank, Newfoundland. But something’s missing from the Mountie’s life. Actually, a lot of things go missing, including a little girl and supplies from the new factory. It’s Windflower’s job to unravel the tangled web of murder, deceit and an accidental kidnapping that threatens to engulf this sleepy little town and destroy those closest to him. But there’s always good food, good friends and the love of a great woman to make everything better in the end.

 

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Book Excerpt

“Life doesn’t get much better than this,” said Winston Windflower. The Mountie looked over at his collie, Lady, who wagged her tail at the sound of his voice. If dogs could smile, she smiled back. His world was almost perfect. He had the love of a great woman and a good job as a Sergeant in the Royal Canadian Mounted Police patrolling one of the lowest crime regions in the country. Plus, the weather had been mild so far, at least for Newfoundland in early December, and that meant no snowstorms with forced overnighters at the detachment. Life was very good indeed.

He had good friends, including Lady, who was amongst the best of them. And he had a child on the way. His wife, Sheila Hillier, was pregnant and at the clinic for her three-month checkup. He was waiting to hear how both Sheila and the baby were doing. His Auntie Marie had told him the baby was a girl, and if anyone knew about these things, it was his Auntie. She was a dream weaver, an interpreter of not just dreams but of messages from the spirit world. Windflower had recently spent a week with her and his Uncle Frank, another dream weaver, to learn more about the dream world.

Interpreting dreams was part of his family’s tradition. But it was an imperfect tool that gave information, not always answers. Perhaps the most important thing he learned was that dreams do not predict the future. Instead, as his Auntie told him, “Dreams tell us about our past, what has already happened. They also point to actions we should take if we want to get the right result in the future and to the signs all around us that we need to follow.”

Windflower was contemplating that piece of wisdom when he noticed a very distraught woman get out of her car outside the RCMP detachment in Grand Bank. She ran towards the front door. He walked out to meet her, but the administrative assistant, Betsy Molloy, beat him to it.

“There, there now, Molly. What’s goin’ on?” asked Betsy as she put her arms around the other woman and guided her to a seat in the reception area.

“It’s Sarah, she’s gone,” said the other woman between sobs. “I told her to stay close by the house where I could see her. I went out back to put the wash on the line. When I came in, she was gone.”

“Okay, Mrs. Quinlan,” said Windflower as he knelt down beside the two women. “How old is Sarah?” He didn’t really need to know how old the girl was. He wanted to help the mother calm down so she could give them as much information as possible.

“She’s going to be six next month,” said Molly Quinlan. “She’s growing up so fast. But she’s still such a little girl. And now I’ve lost her. Brent is going to kill me.” She started sobbing again.

“What was she wearing so that we can help find her?” asked Windflower, trying to get information but also trying to help Molly Quinlan feel useful.

The woman stopped crying and said her daughter was wearing jeans and a favourite t-shirt. “It was pink and had sparkles. She said it made her feel like she was a princess. And she had her light blue jacket on with a hood.”

Windflower smiled. “I’m sure she’ll show up soon. But let’s go over to where you last saw her, and we’ll start looking. She can’t have gone far. Leave your car here, and come with me. I’ll drive you over.” The woman smiled weakly at Windflower through her tears and allowed him to take her arm and guide her to his Jeep outside the door.

He returned inside to give directions to Betsy. “Get Constable Smithson in here. I’ll call Frost and get him to come in from his rounds.”

Betsy nodded her agreement, and Windflower went outside to drive Molly Quinlan home.

Meanwhile, it turns out, Sarah Quinlan was fine, perfectly fine. She had wandered a little way from home in the centre of town. She was going to go down to the nearby brook to feed the ducks. She knew better than to go into the water, but she couldn’t see any reason why she couldn’t just look. She’d done it before, and nobody seemed to mind. As long as she didn’t stay away too long, everything was okay.

Sarah had that great fearless attitude of a child who grew up in a small and very safe community. She knew most of her neighbours, and they all watched out for her. She also had the natural curiosity of little children, especially when she saw something new. The truck parked on the roadway above the brook was new, so Sarah went to take a closer look. Even better, the back door of the truck was open, and there was a ramp leading inside. This was certainly worth a closer inspection.

Sarah Quinlan was having fun exploring the back of the large truck when she heard a loud, rumbling noise. She didn’t know it, but the driver had started the engine. It was so loud, and Sarah was so frightened by it, she froze. The next thing she remembered was everything going almost completely black and the back door of the truck slamming shut. She cried out, but by then it was too late. Seconds later she, the truck and the unsuspecting driver were barrelling out of town and onto the highway.

Windflower drove Molly Quinlan to her house and got her to show him where Sarah had been playing. Together they walked through the house to see if the little girl had come home and hidden there. But no such luck. While they were searching the house, they were joined by two of Quinlan’s neighbours who took over Molly’s care and made her a cup of tea. Soon afterwards Constable Harry Frost arrived from his highway patrol.

Windflower gave him a quick update and directed him to go to one end of town to start the search. He would begin the house-to-house search through the neighbourhood when Smithson showed up.

He first checked out back and looked in the storage shed, a favourite hiding place of every little kid and probably where Windflower himself would have taken refuge. But Sarah was not there. As he went to the front of the house, Constable Rick Smithson showed up.

“Afternoon, Boss,” said Smithson. “Any sign of her yet?”

Windflower shook his head. “Frost is doing the big circle search. You and I will start the door-to-door. Ask them if they saw the girl this afternoon. I’ll start from here. You go down to the brook, and work your way up.”

Smithson returned to his cruiser and sped off. Windflower wasn’t worried. Yet. But he knew that the first few hours were crucial in finding a missing child. If they didn’t, then it was almost always something more serious. Not time to panic, but no time to waste. He walked up to the first door and knocked.

 

Book Blast – A Long Ways From Home

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About the Author

 Mike Martin

Mike Martin was born in Newfoundland on the East Coast of Canada and now lives and works in Ottawa, Ontario. He is a longtime freelance writer and his articles and essays have appeared in newspapers, magazines and online across Canada as well as in the United States and New Zealand. He is the author of Change the Things You Can: Dealing with Difficult People and has written a number of short stories that have published in various publications including Canadian Stories and Downhome magazine.

The Walker on the Cape was his first full fiction book and the premiere of the Sgt. Windflower Mystery Series. Other books in the series include The Body on the T, Beneath the Surface, A Twist of Fortune and A Long Ways from Home.

A Long Ways from Home was shortlisted for the 2017 Bony Blithe Light Mystery Award as the best light mystery of the year. A Tangled Web is the newest book in the series.

 

WEBSITE & SOCIAL LINKS:

WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK

 

About the Book

 A Long Ways From Home

Title: A LONG WAYS FROM HOME
Author: Mike Martin
Publisher: Friesen Press
Pages: 364
Genre: Mystery
BOOK BLURB:

A weekend visit to picturesque Newfoundland by a large crew of outlaw bikers leaves
behind another mess for Sgt. Windflower to clean up. This time he’s facing violence, murder, mystery and intrigue. This adventure has Windflower questioning everything he thought he knew. There are troubles on the home front, cutbacks in the policing budget, old friends leaving and new ones not quite here yet. Windflower is seeking to find answers in territory that is both dangerous and unfamiliar.

A Long Ways from Home explores more than just homicides or the dirty dealings of outlaw bikers. It’s also about some old and some very new challenges and hard choices facing an uncertain future in small communities all over this part of the world.

Windflower relies on his friends and allies, sometimes four-legged ones, to help him find the answers. Sometimes those answers will find us, and like Windflower, we discover that we are never really alone, even if we are a long ways from home.

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Book Excerpt:

He drove the short distance to Sheila’s, and by the time he pulled up at her house he was certifiably starving. When he opened the door and smelled the roast beef he felt his knees go weak.

“Hi, Sheila,” he called out as he took off his hat and coat and hung them on a hook in the hallway. “That smells fabulous.”

Sheila came out of the kitchen with her apron on and went to Windflower to meet his embrace. “I’m glad you’re home.” She hugged him closely.

“Me too. Dinner smells delicious.”

“I could probably have come out here naked and you would have still talked about dinner,” said Sheila with a laugh.

“No, I might have asked for my dessert first though,” Windflower said

“Go get cleaned up. Dinner is almost ready.”

Windflower gave her another squeeze and went to the small bathroom in the hall to wash up for dinner. By the time he got back, Sheila had placed two bowls of vegetables on the table along with a small, perfectly-browned roast. She handed him the carving knife and fork and went back to the stove to pour the gravy into a serving dish.

The sharp knife slid smoothly through the peppered crust of the meat revealing a ring of growing pink towards the middle. Windflower tried to keep from drooling as the room filled with the aroma of the meat and the newly released juices. He placed a large slice on each of their plates, which Sheila had already prepared with scoops of mashed potatoes and steaming vegetables. She poured a ladle full of gravy over the meat and smiled at Windflower.

But he was long gone to meat heaven and for a few minutes all Sheila got in return was the murmured sighs of her hungry man. Finally, the muted Windflower awoke and raised his plate to Sheila for another slice of meat. “This is so good, Sheila,” he said as she handed him back his refilled plate. “What did you use for spices?”

“Nothing special. Some black and white pepper, salt, thyme, garlic powder and onion powder. Plus, my secret ingredient.”

“Secret ingredient?” mumbled Windflower with a mouth full of beef.

“If I told you, I’d have to kill you,” said Sheila. But by now Windflower had drifted back into his food, and she knew all conversation with Windflower would be one-sided and futile until he was done.

Once Windflower’s appetite had been satiated he gave Sheila his undivided attention. She gave him an update on the latest plans for the wedding, including who had confirmed they would attend and those sending their regrets. One of the positive replies was from Guy Simard, who sent along a little note saying he and the missus would happily be attending the festivities.

“And by the way my cousin, Carol, is coming to visit,” Sheila said. “She’s a bit of an outlaw in the family. Rides a big motorcycle. Has never been married. She lives up north in Ontario now but every couple of years takes a big trip on her Harley. This year she is heading down our way. I was expecting to see her show up by now.”

“What does she look like?” asked Windflower.

“She’s tall, pretty. The last time I saw her she had long blond hair. Liked to wear it up in a ponytail.”

“That’s interesting. I might have seen her at Goobies. Or someone fitting that description anyway. But I didn’t see her on the way down. Maybe she stopped off in Marystown along the way.”

“Maybe,” said Sheila.

Then Windflower remembered the motorcycle and trailer he’d seen parked along the highway. That might have been her bike, he thought. But he didn’t want to alarm Sheila. Not yet anyway. Instead he said, “I’ll get Tizzard to start looking out for her.”

“Thanks,” said Sheila. “Any word on Eddie yet?”

“I haven’t heard anything new, but I’ll ask him about it when I see him tomorrow.”

“We’re all going to miss him,” Sheila said. Windflower just nodded at this last remark. It was still a little too painful for him to talk about. Sheila reached out and took his hand in hers.

“What’s new at the Council?” asked Windflower, trying to move the conversation to safer and less emotional grounds.

“Well, Francis Tibbo made it official today. He’s going to run for the mayor’s job again!”

“That officious little prig,” started Windflower, but Sheila cut him off.

“Stay out of the politics, Sergeant,” she cautioned. “The RCMP has to stay neutral in this race. You have to work with whoever gets elected.”

“That doesn’t mean I don’t have an opinion.”

“I appreciate the support, but I can fight my own political battles, thank you very much,” said Sheila. “I’m not worried about Francis Tibbo. I’m not even worried about getting elected again. We’ve already got things moving in the right direction.”

This time Windflower simply nodded his agreement. It was clear from the coat of fresh paint on the aging properties on the wharf to the popular new programming at the museum that things were headed in the right direction.

Sheila got up. “If you really want to help, you can do the dishes while I make us some tea.”

“Finally something I’m allowed to do.” Windflower smiled. Sheila laughed and threw a dishcloth at him while she put on the kettle to boil.

“Let’s watch a movie tonight,” she said as she went to the fridge to look for something.

“Okay.” Windflower had his hands in a sink full of soapy water and his eyes firmly fixed on her activities. When she pulled a small cardboard box out of the refrigerator he almost started to glow.

Sheila pretended to ignore him as she took their dessert out of the box, cut it into two pieces and put it along with her tea pot onto a small tray. “See you in the living room.”

Windflower finished the chore in record time and was soon sitting next to Sheila on the couch with half of his dessert, the fabulous chocolate peanut butter cheesecake from the Mug-Up Café, already gone. He barely breathed as he finished it off. “Mmmmmm,” was his only response.

Sheila laughed at his post-meal antics as she looked for a movie on T.V. “Let’s watch ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’,” she said. “I just picked up the new Harper Lee book and I’d like to see the old movie before I dig into the new story.”

“That would be great. “I love that movie. Atticus Finch has always been a hero of mine.”

“I love Scout,” said Sheila. “This was one of my favourite books growing up.”

“Me too. Although I hear the new story is a bit more revealing of the racist attitudes that existed back then.”

“That was always the reality. In some ways, the new book may be closer to the truth. I’m glad we had a kinder version of that truth when we were kids. It doesn’t make it any easier to take, just the same.”

“Let’s just enjoy the movie. It’s been a long week. We both deserve a break. And it’s good to know that at least in the movies there’s a possibility of a happy ending.”

The pair snuggled up on the couch and totally enjoyed both the classic film and their time together. When the movie was over Windflower went back to his house for the final walk of the evening with Lady. Once again she was very pleased to see him and bounded out the door when he held it open for her. They did the extended loop that led them down near the brook where Lady had a good, long drink and then they darted around the perimeter of the wharf.

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