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VBT – THE WRONG KIND

TourBanner_The Wrong Kind

The Wrong Kind

by Austin S. Camacho

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GENRE: Mystery

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BLURB:

A distraught woman hires private investigator Hannibal Jones to track down her daughter who has run away, trying to escape the homeless shelter life her mother has come to accept. When Hannibal finds Connie Blanco she is entwined in a gang war and somehow connected to a murder. The corpse is barely cold before a second murder follows and Hannibal finds himself entangled in a complex plot revolving around stolen drugs…but who is the mastermind of this twisted scheme?

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Cover_The Wrong Kind

EXCERPT

As Chico’s foot hit the first step he noticed Sophia for the first time. Just as his eyes met hers, Hannibal’s right foot thumped into Chico’s chest, slamming him back into the man whose jacket said he was Dave. Then Hannibal leaped from the porch, smashing his right fist across Billy’s jaw. A side stamp dislocated Jimmy’s right knee. Dave swung past Chico and clipped Hannibal’s cheek. Sophia gasped at the flesh-on-flesh sound of the blow.

Hannibal blocked the follow-up punch and snapped two crisp jabs into Dave’s face, staggering him into the tree growing up out of the sidewalk. Chico tried to slip past Hannibal, still driving for the door.

Not tonight,” Hannibal said through clenched teeth. Sophia didn’t think Chico ever even saw the three punches, left-left-right that put him on his back, barely conscious.

With no standing attackers, Hannibal stepped back up onto the porch. “That was fun, but now I’m running out of patience with you boys.” Hannibal reached inside his suit coat, under his right arm, and pulled out a pistol. He pointed its muzzle down at Chico’s face.

There is nothing lower than a man who beats his woman, although anybody helping him is mighty close. I’d beat your asses some more, just for fun, but I don’t feel like answering questions at a hospital. Now, all of y’all, drag your sorry asses out of here. And if I ever hear you came back here, or if you tell anybody where this shelter is, I will hunt you down and end you.

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AUTHOR Bio and Links

Authorpicture

Austin S. Camacho is the author of seven novels about Washington DC-based private eye Hannibal Jones, five in the Stark and O’Brien international adventure-thriller series, and the detective novel, Beyond Blue. His short stories have been featured in several anthologies including Dying in a Winter Wonderland – an Independent Mystery Booksellers Association Top Ten Bestseller for 2008. He is featured in the Edgar nominated African American Mystery Writers: A Historical and Thematic Study by Frankie Y. Bailey. Camacho is also editorial director for Intrigue Publishing, a Maryland small press.

https://www.facebook.com/austin.camacho.author/

https://www.amazon.com/Wrong-Kind-Hannibal-Jones-Mystery/dp/1940758971/

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RAFFLECOPTER GIVEAWAY

Austin S. Camacho will be awarding a $25 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

Enter to win a $25 Amazon/BN GC – a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Austin, thanks for being my guest today. Tell us about you as a person.
I was a cold war baby, an only child born in New York City, although we moved upstate to Saratoga Springs, NY when I was in 5th grade. First in my family to ever attend college, I ran out of money after my junior year. That led to a career in the Army as a broadcast journalist. I spent two weeks in Israel during Operation Desert Storm shooting video of incoming Scud missiles and watching Patriot Missiles shoot them out of the sky.

My second career was as a communications specialist for the Defense Department, but I was also writing mystery and thriller novels that whole time. Now I write full time but I don’t seem to be any more productive.

I believe that the best of us are honorable, and that character is the most important trait a person can have. I don’t meet enough people who meet that test, and fail as often as I succeed myself, but I can at least create those people in my novels.

If you could hang out with one famous person for one day, who would it be and why?
Stephen King. He is our greatest living writer and I’d treasure a day just talking with him about how we do this.

What’s the story behind your latest book?
There are actually two stories. I’ve written a previous novel that started with a missing person’s case (Blood and Bone) but I wanted to do something very different from that same starting point. While I was building that plot line I attended a conference at which I learned of a unique murder method that struck me as so cool I just had to use it in a book. The two ideas came together nicely!

What is your writing process?
I write best in the early morning, at my desk that has been handed down to me through the past two generations. Coffee is a requirement and yes, music. I change the mix in my iPod every day. It’s heavily slanted toward classic rock and old R&B, but just about every genre gets folded into the mix (except country.) As I type this Aerosmith just faded out, to be replaced by Bruce Springsteen.)

I always work to a fairly detailed outline, and I charge forward from the first chapter to the end without any kind of editing or re-thinking. All the rewriting happens after I have that first entire manuscript. I find it easier to fix a rough draft than to write a great book the first time.

Tell us about your main character.
Hannibal Jones in an African American private investigator in Washington DC. His card says he’s a Troubleshooter and he takes jobs to get people out of whatever kind of trouble they might be in. He has what might be called a Galahad complex – he wants to save anyone who needs help. He is also very stubborn – he never gives up – and obsessed with finding the truth, even when others think it doesn’t matter.

Also, Hannibal is mixed race, which makes him an outsider almost everywhere. And he is not a violent person, but he has a gift for violence when it’s needed.

If your book was to be turned into a movie, who would play the lead role and why.
Physically, the character was patterned after Shemar Moore and he’s still my first choice. He’s the right skin tone, height, weight, and handsome enough. Also, in Criminal Minds Shemar showed just the right attitude for Hannibal Jones. If you have a connected, please tell him to stop ignoring my calls and letters. 😉

What are you working on next?
My work in progress is about a female assassin in Washington DC named Skye. She has taken a contract to kill a major crime boss. It’s more thriller than mystery, although it will have my typical twist ending.

What advice do you have for other writers who want to get the word out about their book?

  1. Do a blog tour. 😊
  2. Stay active on social media. Comment on posts, answer questions and let readers get to know you.
  3. Get face to face with readers. Call up bookstores and ask to do a reading or book signing

What is your favorite book on your shelf right now?

My all-time favorite book is The Lady in the Lake by Raymond Chandler. But for contemporary authors, it’s hard to choose. Favorite new thriller would be The Goodbye Man by Jeffery Deaver. Favorite new mystery is surely The Bitterest Pill by Reed Fardel Coleman.

Do you have any special/extraordinary talents?

I’m very proud of my abilities as an interviewer and broadcaster, but perhaps a more “extraordinary talent” is my ability to recall song lyrics. People frequently ask me for the words to various old tunes because, for some unknown reason, I remember them all.

You are given the choice of one super power. What super power would you have and why?

I would choose the ability to heal illness and injuries. It might not help much against super villains, but it would really enrich my real life. Of course, I’d have to keep it secret, so I didn’t get mobbed by sick strangers or dissected by the bad guys trying to replicate my abilities.

List 5 things on your bucket list:

I don’t really have any such list. So, five things I’d like to do at some point:

Have my Hannibal Jones mysteries turned into a Netflix series.

Jam with Aerosmith.

VBT – GOOD COP BAD COP

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Good Cop Bad Cop

by Sallie Moppert

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GENRE: Mystery

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BLURB:

When his mother is beaten to death by his alcoholic stepfather, fourteen-year-old Samuel Marlowe is rescued from seeking revenge against him by a chance meeting with Officer Edwin Hill. The veteran policeman takes Sam under his wing and even becomes the boy’s foster father.

Sam becomes a cop and works alongside his beloved mentor until Edwin is killed in a shooting. Hailed as a hero for his actions in the case, Sam feels like anything but. He begins a dark descent away from the stand-up policeman he once was, turning to drugs and alcohol to numb his pain and his PTSD.

The police captain assigns Sam a partner hoping to salvage what is left of him by forcing him to become a good role model for the young recruit. Needless to say, Sam is not pleased with the arrangement, protesting it up until the moment Junior Detective Dahlia Bennett enters his life.

Will he try to shake her loose? Does her by-the-book ideals and strong moral code rub off on him? Will his relaxed attitude and views on true justice start to influence her?  What will ultimately lead to the two becoming a solid team? When Dahlia declares she wants to reopen some cases believing that the wrong person was sent to prison, Sam tells her straight out that in doing so, she would be putting her life at risk. As Dahlia persists, Sam is faced with the ultimate decision: let Dahlia reopen the cases and discover his crimes, or kill her to keep her from learning the truth.

Cover_GoodCopBadCop

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EXCERPT

Brian stepped forward, opening the massive doors with ease, and walked straight into the sea of microphones, camera flashes, and video recorders. Roderick followed a few steps behind his loyal attorney and stood at his side as he waited for the onslaught of the inevitable media coverage that was a result of the trial’s conclusion.

People, please,” Brian started to speak, holding his hands up to halt the millions of questions that were being voiced to him all at once.

Once the media crowd quieted down, Brian addressed them: 


I am pleased to announce that my client, Mr. Roderick Morgan, was found not guilty for the deaths of his parents, Walter and Cassidy Morgan. Mr. and Mrs. Morgan adopted Roderick and raised him as if he was their own flesh and blood. There was no way that he would repay their love and kindness by brutally murdering them as they lay sleeping in their beds.”

Roderick nudged Brian, who turned to look at him.

May I?” he asked.

Of course,” Brian said.

Roderick stepped in front of Brian to better face the endless crowd of media before him.

I would like to extend my gratitude to everyone who supported me throughout this dreadful ordeal,” he said, speaking in the sweet and innocent tone that had helped him to win over the jury a short time ago.

Roderick’s gentle eyes and sincere expression then suddenly transformed to that of smugness accompanied by a sneer. “But that proves that you are all stupid as hell,” he said with a wink. “Because I got away with murder. Adios!”

Roderick pulled his designer sunglasses out of his designer suit coat pocket and put them on as his personal driver pulled up in front of the courthouse with his golden Maserati. The media watched in stunned silence as Roderick descended the concrete steps to his car, not a care in the world. Brian followed solemnly behind him, his head lowered in shame at the admission of guilt by his client.

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AUTHOR Bio and Links:

A New York native, Sallie has a Master’s degree in Criminal Justice, with a Specialization in Forensic Science. A lifelong mystery fan, she has combined her love and passion for writing with her interests in criminal justice, law, and forensic science.

Sallie currently resides in New York with her family and her “zoo,” which includes two dogs, two guinea pigs, a betta fish and a leopard gecko. She works as a freelance writer/editor and a legal assistant.

WEBSITE: https://salliemoppert.wixsite.com/mysite

AMAZON: https://www.amazon.com/Good-Cop-Bad-Sallie-Moppert

ZIMBELL HOUSE: http://zimbellhousepublishing.com/product/good-cop-bad-cop/

FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/GoodCopBadCopNovel

GOODREADS: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/66482800-sallie

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GIVEAWAY INFORMATION and RAFFLECOPTER CODE:

Sallie Moppert will be awarding one commenter with a $15 Amazon/BN GC+ 3 commenters will receive a prize pack consisting of pen, key chain, and magnet (US/Canada only) to randomly drawn winners via rafflecopter during the tour.

Enter to win a $15 Amazon/BN GC or a prize pack – a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Sallie, thanks for being here today. Tell our readers about you.
I am a very eclectic person – my interests are all over the place! I am an animal lover (my family has two dogs, two guinea pigs, two dwarf hamsters, two betta fish and a leopard gecko), a martial artist (I have a second degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do and am working toward my black belt in Isshinryu Karate), and I am a self-taught crafter (crochet, knitting, sewing, embroidery). I love rock music, pizza and sports, especially hockey, as well as video games. I am also in the process of teaching myself to read Japanese. 

If you could hang out with one famous person for one day, who would it be and why?
Agatha Christie, hands down. She is my favorite author by far. As both a fan and a mystery writer, it would have been amazing to learn directly from her. I am currently in the process of collecting and reading all of her works, so I still am learning from her in a roundabout way. Out of the last 10 or so books I’ve read, I think I figured out whodunit before the reveal maybe once. That’s unbelievably impressive and I would love to be able to harness even a fraction of that talent into my own works.

What’s the story behind your latest book?
Good Cop Bad Cop is a series of short stories, each with its own mystery, that follows the life of Samuel Marlowe from his first days as a cop to his rise to become the top detective in the department and the pressures he faces to uphold the law or to take matters of justice into his own hands. Sam learns that justice isn’t always black and white and has to decide whether to use his position as the lead detective at the department to stay on the straight and narrow as a good cop or venture off as a bad cop. Of course, the road he takes for either path is full of obstacles and challenges-such as the shooting death of his mentor, breaking up a kidnapping and prostitution ring across the country, or having his high school reunion held up by a former bully out for revenge-along the way, enough to make him reconsider his choices before he is too far down a dark path with no return (dun-dun-dun! *insert dramatic music here*).

What is your writing process?
My writing process usually starts with some sort of prompt or idea. From there, I figure out a few characters and give them names. I give myself a brief sequence of events so I have a basic idea of how the story is going to progress and then my muse takes me by the hand (or pen) and leads me on a fun journey! I like to allow my stories to develop on their own and let the writing take me where it wills, sometimes to unexpected developments and plot twists. I love when that happens; no matter how long or how much I write, there is always something new that can be created or discovered, which is awesome.

Tell us about your main character:
Samuel Marlowe is the main character. I love being able to write his dialogue, especially later on in the book when he really becomes snarky and he and his partner banter like an old married couple. He’s the one character that I still find myself rooting for even when he gets himself in trouble; Sam’s not the typical character that if he does something wrong, I want him to get caught or to get his comeuppance. I still want him to be able to come out on top, no matter what it takes, and overcome all of the things that he has gone through. It’s interesting to be kind of cheering on the “bad guy,” if you want to call him that, since he’s definitely not a squeaky-clean run-of-the-mill hero guy (but I love him anyway). I think the best way I found to describe him was that Sam was the last person you’d want to deal with as a criminal, but the first person you’d want on your side if you were a victim.

If your book was to be turned into a movie, who would play the lead role and why.
I would definitely love for Peter Scanavino (Detective Carisi from Law & Order: SVU) to play Sam. When I was working on the first story ever to feature Sam, that’s what he ended up looking like as I visualized the story unfolding. After that, the image just kind of stuck. To see Sam played out by Peter Scanavino would be pretty surreal and amazing.

What are you working on next?
I have several additional stories featuring Sam and his partners that I am putting into another collection. Beyond that, I have two more characters from other stories that I will be revising so that their tales are structured more like Sam’s – I like being able to write multiple stories with the same characters. I get to learn a lot about them myself as I write and I enjoy seeing my characters take shape and develop. The next two characters are a private investigator and a police-officer-turned-wrongfully-convicted-felon.

What advice do you have for other writers who want to get the word out about their book?
The internet is your friend! I am in no way a social or outgoing person, so I have little interest in social media. However, it is a key factor in getting the word out about your book. Networking is also crucial. If you come into contact with people in the business or have similar interests, keep them in mind. I worked at a newspaper for a while and, after I published my work, I was able to reach out to someone I formerly worked with at the paper and she was kind enough to have an article about my book published. Also, get involved with writing groups and clubs. There is a lot of good information out there that might be able to help you either succeed or show you what not to do in a situation. I think my last bit of advice would be to do your research – marketing takes planning and a lot of effort.

What is your favorite book on your shelf right now?
One of my favorite books of all time is And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie. I read it for the first time as a freshman in high school and have read it a few times since. I also played the PC version of the book. Even having read it multiple times, the storyline still captivates me and I am intrigued by the characters, as well as the question of justice put forth by the killer. Such an excellent read!

Do you have any special/extraordinary talents?
I can mimic the voice of Jigglypuff and/or Ditto from Pokemon – does that count? I think it should count 🙂

You are given the choice of one super power. What super power would you have and why?
The power to control time would be amazing and extremely helpful (especially when my alarm goes off in the morning – I could freeze time and then hit snooze for quite a few extra minutes!). Plus, it would be great to be able to go back in time or go forward in time. I can only imagine the possibilities!

List 5 things on your bucket list:

  • Travel to Japan
  • Travel to England and visit the Agatha Christie house and take the Jack the Ripper tour
  • See my favorite hockey team win a Stanley Cup
  • Become fluent/be able to read in another language (specifically Japanese)
  • Visit all 50 states

Where can readers find you on the web?

There’s a few places where readers can find me. 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GoodCopBadCopNovel

Website: https://salliemoppert.wixsite.com/mysite

I’m also on Fanfiction.net and Archive of Our Own and write stories for video games, television shows, etc. and readers can come check out my stories there too!

Any final thoughts? 
Just to say thank you for letting me share my work and also that I sincerely hope you enjoy the book 🙂

VBT – THE BLACK HAND

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The Black Hand

by Jonathan Dunne

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GENRE: Crime/Mystery

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BLURB:

In the aftermath of Ireland’s most deadly gang war, Dublin’s ruling family has scattered to the wind.

Into the void steps a criminal genius known only as The Black Hand. His organisation’s powerful grip is ruthless, bloody and barbaric.

With Europe’s biggest crime in play, The Devil needs a distraction. And The Black Hand needs Jacob Boylan to return to Irish shores. He will stop at nothing to provoke Dublin’s most lethal criminal out of hiding.

But has the wily genius misstepped? As all eyes are on Jacob, the Dublin exile carefully plans a gangland wipeout, for he is nobody’s pawn.

Cover The Black Hand (1)

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EXCERPT

The Glock was steady in his grasp as he rested it gently under the security guard’s chin. Unloaded, the Glock weighed 660 grams, however this wasn’t empty. A trickle of sweat rolled down the man’s brow as Jacob spoke calmly.

Think of your loved ones. It’s only money. It’s replaceable. Take a deep breath and calm yourself.’

The guard’s eyes were wide with fear. His breathing was shallow. He began to urinate down his left leg.

Jacob watched the last bag of cash disappear into the vehicle. ‘Turn around and face the wall,’ he ordered. The guard obeyed without question. Jacob calmly sat in the back seat as they drove away.

The escape route had been planned. The surveillance was disabled. Nobody spoke as they drove. There was no speeding. The getaway was planned and smooth.

Jacob removed the balaclava and ran a hand through his sandy-blond hair. The two passengers in the front seat were giddy with excitement, but they concealed it well; Jacob had no time for juvenile behaviour. Only the passage of time would offer a definite escape, and even then, he wasn’t sure.

For twenty minutes, they drove in silence. The abandoned industrial estate was rare for London, otherwise it was perfect. They stepped from the vehicle, removed their overalls, and placed the weapons on the backseat. They were clean, but Jacob didn’t care; they were to be destroyed. A canister of petrol was removed from the trunk, with a small detonator attached. Jacob flicked the switch and didn’t look back as the car exploded.

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AUTHOR Bio and Links

Jonathan Dunne is a native of Dublin’s north inner city. The Black Hand is his second novel in the crime genre. The Takeover – his first crime novel went on to wide acclaim and regularly featured in Amazon’s bestseller lists.


He is also an avid MMA journalist who has penned articles for some of Ireland’s biggest publications. He holds a Degree from the Dublin Institute of Technology and is a strong advocate of lifelong learning and education. After returning to complete his leaving certificate as an adult in Jonathan has went on to have four novels published.

Social Media Links:

https://www.facebook.com/dublinauthor/

https://www.amazon.com/Jonathan-Dunne/e/B00BEFKHVC%3Fref=dbs_a_mng_rwt_scns_share

http://jonathanwdunne.wordpress.com/

The book is on sale for $0.99.

author photo
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RAFFLECOPTER GIVEAWAY

Jonathan Dunne will be awarding a $20 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.
Enter to win a $20 Amazon/BN GC – a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Johnathon, thanks for being my guest. Tell us about you as a person.

In these interviews you always try to hold a part of yourself private. But I’ll tell you a story…since you asked. My background is fairly well known at this stage, so I try to avoid the obvious clichés. A person once told me that my back story is a selling point; I should have ignored that advice.

My background may have given me content, but it won’t produce talent. Grit does not emanate from illiteracy and my past owes nothing to my future. I’m an average person with above average productivity. I’ve learned that heartache can offer you gold, provided you put that gold to use. Even in suffering there are lessons. It is hard, especially for men, to face our inner demons and publicly unmask them.

So, in essence, I’m essentially the same as everyone else, I’m truthful about it…I hope that makes my bio a little different😊

If you could hang out with one famous person for one day, who would it be and why?

I’m drawn to broken people. They have depth, colour and insights that teach us invaluable lessons. The easy answer would be, to spend that time with someone I like, so I’d like to do a full 360-degree turn. Donald Trump would be my choice.

We’d be at polar opposites of the political spectrum yet he is fascinating. He enraged me at first, until I realised he is running on pure emotion. The people who voted for him were clearly in contempt of the political system and I’d deeply love to know where they found the common ground with him – of all people. For all his flaws (and there are many) he is an outlier like no other.

What’s the story behind your latest book?

At its heart, it’s a mystery. The Black Hand is a good old fashioned whodunnit.

My protagonist is Jacob Boylan and he’s a broken gangster who has lost his daughter during a gang feud. He has settled abroad with a master plan to escape the life of crime. Into the mix steps two billionaire financiers who have drawn the attention of Ireland’s biggest crime boss, the Black Hand. The plan is a heist worth hundreds of millions and Jacob is the distraction to keep the police busy.

The Black Hand runs into an adversary every bit his equal and we have the mother of all wars played out on the streets of Dublin. The book is fast, the action is loud and the suspense is deep. So, enjoy!

What is your writing process?

Morning time is a must for me. I’ll write on public transport, at home, in a café, before the gym…anywhere as long as it’s early. My inner hard drive is wiped every night and fresh every morning.

Tell us about your main character:

Jacob Boylan is a broken vessel. He is utterly shattered subsequent to the death of his young daughter. After a period of adjustment, Jacob rises from the gutters of London to salvage the semblance of a life. When the Black Hand provokes him from hiding, by targeting his family, Jacob resists. The provocation becomes terrifying and It is only when the choices are systematically taken from him, does he return.

Jacob has two terrifying traits: one, he is a master tactician, two, he is prepared to die. What follows is an immovable object in front of an unstoppable force.

What are you working on next?

The Florist is my next project.  It is the first time I have written in the first person.  My protagonist is a moving character with sorrow, treachery and gangsters dogging his life.  It is also the study of a man with no choice but to embrace the darkest parts of himself.  Ultimately, it’s the examination of a rise to power and the events that conspired to make this happen.

What advice do you have for other writers who want to get the word out about their book?

Become adept with social media. Build up following on Instagram, Twitter etc. Talk to younger people about social media, they are amazing when it comes to the digital age we live in. Use agencies that run promotions. Talk to your publisher and listen to their advice. Remember it’s a business and you have to hustle. What’s the point in having talent if nobody knows about it? You’re in the space – get seen.

What is your favorite book on your shelf right now?

John Connolly’s Every Dead Thing. Wonderful writer. The story is macabre as it is beautiful. It’s also signed by John, so that’s a bonus.

Do you have any special/extraordinary talents?

Yes, writing😊

You are given the choice of one super power. What super power would you have and why?

Invisibility. Definitely. And it would have to be a seasonal superpower, Ireland in the winter is too cold. But wait…I’d have to have invisible clothes…Oh maybe invisibility is a bad idea. You see how bad I am with a superpower! Probably best to offer it to someone else😊

List 5 things on your bucket list:

  • Dance
  • Love
  • Laugh
  • Cry
  • Dance again…with a smile.

Where can readers find you on the web?

https://www.facebook.com/dublinauthor/

https://www.instagram.com/jonathandunneauthor/

https://www.amazon.com/Black-Hand-Jonathan-Dunne-ebook/dp/B07CCZW6N5

Any final thoughts?

Please, please, please if you like an author’s work, review it online…social media…anywhere. We live and die by word of mouth.

VBT – Tail of the Dragon

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Tail of the Dragon
by Connie di Marco

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GENRE: Mystery

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BLURB:

San Francisco astrologer Julia Bonatti never thought murder would be part of her practice, but now, Julia’s former boss and current client has asked for help. He has serious problems at his law firm. Three people have received death threats and the only common denominator between them is a case long settled — the infamous Bank of San Francisco fire. Julia’s convinced a woman is behind the threats, perhaps even the widow of the man who died in that same fire, but no one wants to believe that astrology could provide a clue. Before Julia can help her client, two lawyers are dead and her own life is threatened. Can she unmask the killer before he (or she) takes another life?

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BookCover_Tail of the Dragon

EXCERPT

I followed the curve from Sutro Heights down to the Great Highway. Here, the road runs parallel to Ocean Beach. Sheets of sand had blown across the highway and formed dunes every so often high enough to block the ocean view. Waves crashed against the concrete abutment sending salt water spray across my windshield. I turned east on Ulloa away from the roiling Pacific and spotted Sarah Larkin’s address on the opposite side of the street. The wind off the ocean picked up, blowing east. Particles of dust and beach sand hit my face as I climbed out of the car. Keeping my head down for protection, I hurried across the street.

I climbed the long stairway to the front doors where a sign indicated 3102-3104. At least here, in the shelter of the entryway, there was respite from the wind. I pressed the buzzer to the door on the right. After a moment, a woman called out. “Who is it?”

“Hi. My name is Julia Bonatti. I’ve come from Meyers Dade & Schultz.”

The door was quickly yanked open by a woman in her late forties. Her face was round and slightly puffy. She wore no makeup and was dressed in a nondescript brown jumper over a black sweatshirt. Her long hair, streaked with gray, was combed back behind her ears.

She peered at me. “For God’s sake. What now? I told him I didn’t want anything from him or his damn law firm.” Her eyes were thin puffy slits.

“I . . . I’d just like to talk to you about your brother. I was hoping maybe you could help us in finding his murderer.”

“His murderer . . . I’d give his murderer a prize if I knew who he was,” she sneered. She looked me up and down and finally decided she’d talk to me even if it was only because I offered a sounding board for her bitterness. “Come on in,” she said resignedly.

“I gather you and your brother weren’t close, but I am sorry for your loss.”

“Don’t be. Wasn’t a loss. Believe me. I haven’t talked to Jack for years. Since my son died.”

“Oh, I’m so sorry. I didn’t know.” A familiar pain flickered in my chest. My loss seemed small in comparison.

“Nicky was sixteen when he died. He had a drug problem. He got mixed up with the wrong kids and they were into some heavy stuff. I was sure if he had one more chance . . . a good chance, he might make it.” Her voice trailed off. “I begged Jack for the money. I never asked him for a thing in my life. Never. But I begged for that.”

“He refused?”

“Said he didn’t see why he should pay for rehab or counseling. The other places hadn’t done Nick any good, so what difference did it make?” She looked at me, her eyes betraying a deep well of pain. “Jack never really loved anyone in his life. How could he possibly understand what it’s like to love a child? I didn’t have anyone else to ask. My husband was killed in a car accident when Nick was seven. Our parents are dead, and Jack had plenty of money. Big, successful lawyer . . . but he didn’t give a damn about me or Nick. Yeah, I hated him. I still hate his guts. I don’t care if he’s dead, I only wish he had suffered more.”

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AuthorPhoto_Tail of the Dragon

AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Connie di Marco is the author of the Zodiac Mysteries from Midnight Ink featuring San Francisco astrologer Julia Bonatti. The Tail of the Dragon, third in the series, will be released on August 8, 2018. You can visit her at conniedimarco.com, at Facebook.com/Connie di Marco Author or Twitter @askzodia.

Writing as Connie Archer, she is also the author of the national bestselling Soup Lover’s Mysteries from Berkley Prime Crime. You can find her excerpts and recipes in The Cozy Cookbook and The Mystery Writers of America Cookbook. Connie is a member of MWA, Sisters in Crime and International Thriller Writers.

Tail of the Dragon

Amazon:
https://www.amazon.com/Dragon-Zodiac-Mystery-Connie-Marco/dp/0738751065/

Barnes & Noble:
https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/tail-of-the-dragon-connie-di-marco/1127149243

IndieBound:
https://www.indiebound.org/book/9780738751061

Mysterious Galaxy:
https://www.mystgalaxy.com/book/9780738751061

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RAFFLECOPTER GIVEAWAY

Connie di Marco will be awarding a $20 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

Enter to win a $20 Amazon/BN GC – a Rafflecopter giveaway

VBT – Last Puffs

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About the Author

Harley Mazuk

Harley Mazuk was born in Cleveland, the last year that the Indians won the World Series. He majored in English literature at Hiram College in Ohio, and Elphinstone College, Bombay, India. Harley worked as a record salesman (vinyl) and later served the U.S. Government in Information Technology and in communications, where he honed his writing style as an editor and content provider for official web sites.

Retired now, he likes to write pulp fiction, mostly private eye stories, several of which have appeared in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine. His first full length novel, White with Fish, Red with Murder, was released in 2017, and his newest, Last Puffs, just came out in January 2018.

Harley’s other passions are his wife Anastasia, their two children, reading, running, Italian cars, California wine and peace.

WEBSITE & SOCIAL LINKS:

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About the Book

Last Puffs

Title: LAST PUFFS
Author: Harley Mazuk
Publisher: New Pulp Press
Pages: 293
Genre: Mystery/Crime/Private Eye

BOOK BLURB

Frank Swiver and his college pal, Max Rabinowitz, both fall in love with Amanda Zingaro, courageous Republican guerilla, in the Spanish civil war. But the local fascists murder her and her father.

Eleven years later in San Francisco in 1949, Frank, traumatized by the violence in Spain, has become a pacifist and makes a marginal living as a private eye. Max who lost an eye in Spain but owes his life to Frank, has pledged Frank eternal loyalty. He’s a loyal communist party member and successful criminal attorney.

Frank takes on a case for Joan Spring, half-Chinese wife of a wealthy banker. Joan seduces Frank to ensure his loyalty. But Frank busts up a prostitution/white slavery ring at the Lotus House a brothel in Chinatown, where Joan was keeping refugees from Nanking prisoners.

Then Max sees a woman working in a Fresno cigar factory, who is a dead ringer for Amanda, and brings in Frank, who learns it is Amanda. She has tracked the fascists who killed her father and left her for dead from her village in Spain to California. Amanda wants Frank to help her take revenge. And by the way, she says the ten-year-old boy with her is Frank’s son.

Joan Spring turns out to be a Red Chinese secret agent, and she’s drawn a line through Max’s name with a pencil. Can Frank save Max again? Can he help Amanda avenge her father when he’s sworn off violence? Can he protect her from her target’s daughter, the sadistic Veronica Rios-Ortega? Join Frank Swiver in the swift-moving story, Last Puffs.

Praise

.5 out of 5 stars Wonderful Read – Easy and Fun

February 10, 2018

Format: Kindle Edition| Verified Purchase

Frank Swiver is a detective. Murder investigations are his specialty. He likes wine, loose women and fast cars. Not necessarily in that order. Swiver inhabits an earlier world that is archaic and, without doubt, politically incorrect by today’s standards. Harley Mazuk recreates in Swiver a character from another era whose story is fun and entertaining. Mazuk has an impressive knowledge of wines and cars which permeate his narrative. As to his knowledge of women, I am not competent to judge. I do know that the geography and time period portrayed is well researched. There are many twists and turns to the plot as well as an injection of espionage that keeps the reader guessing. Fans of old fashion detective novels will enjoy this book. I know, I did.

— Amazon Reviewer

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Book Excerpt:

Aragón, Spain, March 1938

There’d been a dusting of fresh snow in the high ground during the night, and the captain wanted our squad, which was nine men, to relieve an outpost on the crest of a hill, just up above the tree line. Max Rabinowitz took point, and I followed, climbing steadily. It was a cold, quiet morning, and we talked between ourselves about the ’38 baseball season, and whether we’d be back in the States to see any games.

“I would like to see Hank Greenberg and the Tigers play DiMaggio and the Yanks,” said Max. Max was dark-haired and rangy, and I always thought he looked a bit like Cary Grant, though now after a year in the field, there was nothing suave nor dapper in his appearance.

“How about Ted Williams?” I said. “We’ve already seen DiMaggio play in San Francisco with the Seals.”

“We saw Williams play with the Padres. Besides, he isn’t in the big leagues yet,” said Max.

“Yeah, but the Red Sox signed him.” I walked along just off Max’s shoulder. I was about the same height as Max, six feet, six-one, a little thinner, and looked at least as scruffy that morning. I wore a burgundy scarf around my head and ears, under a dirty and battered grey fedora. I scanned the virgin snow ahead of us with heavy-lidded eyes. The wind was faint, just enough to pick up a feathery wisp of snow in spots and spin it around.  

“He’s only about 19. I think they’ll keep him down on the farm for ’38.”

“I would like to see Bob Feller pitch to your boy Greenberg,” I told Max.

Smitty came up between us. “Feller throws 100 miles an hour, and he strikes out more than one per inning.”

“They say,” said Max, “he walks almost one an inning,”

“Keeps ‘em loose up there,” said Smitty, who was from Cleveland. “Hundred mile an hour heat and nobody knows where it’s going.”

As the three of us stepped out of the cover of the tree line, Smitty kind of hopped up on one leg and threw his arms out. I wondered what sort of a weird little dance that was; then I heard the automatic weapons fire coming down at us off the hill. It was a mechanical chatter, rather than gunpowder explosions, and the wind had blown the sound around the hills so that the bullets cut Smitty down before it had reached us. Branches near us started to snap off and tumble earthwards. Max hit the snow on his belly and rolled downhill to his right to get to cover behind a rock. I motioned for the others to get back into the trees, and dove into a low spot in the ground.

When we could look up, we saw that the fascists had overrun the outpost we’d been climbing up to the ridge to relieve, and the firing was coming from there. We returned fire. I heard cries in Spanish from behind me, a curse in a low voice, then a high-pitched prayer.

A potato-masher grenade came flipping end-over-end down the hill toward me. It seemed like slow motion. It hit a rock and bounced up. I could say a Hail Mary in about four seconds flat in those days, and I said one then. The grenade sailed over my head; I heard it explode, and felt a shower of dirt on my back. In front of me, Max was popping up and firing one round with his Springfield, then dropping behind the rock. I popped up and fired when he dropped down. I thought we were doing pretty well taking turns, but grenades kept arcing over our heads and bullets pinged into Max’s rock and raked the dirt beside me. Max tried lobbing one of his grenades towards the machine gun, but his throw was uphill, and he didn’t have an arm like DiMaggio.

After a few minutes of this, I tried to aim and squeeze the trigger instead of popping off quick shots. Then I didn’t hear anyone behind us firing anymore. I looked around and saw Rocco and Pete sprawled in the grass. I called to a couple of the others.

“Comrades…anyone…sound off.” Nada.

“Frank, this is bad,” Max yelled to me.

“I’d rather be facing Feller’s fastballs,” I told him. “Maybe it’s time for us to dust.” Then we heard an airplane motor. It grew louder, and the first plane, a Heinkel, zoomed over the ridge seconds later. Max had risen to his feet and was scrambling down the slope. He looked back over his shoulder at the plane just as a cannon shot from the aircraft hit the rock he’d been behind. The explosion flipped Max in mid-air and tossed him towards me. The ground under him ripped up and clods of dirt flew towards us.

The scene faded to black, but for how long, I don’t know. When I opened my eyes, I was facing the sky but I smelled the forest floor, earth and leaves. Truffles, perhaps? Max was on top of me, limp, and it was quiet. No planes, no shooting. “Max,” I said, “we gotta get up. Get off me.” I felt my voice in my head, but couldn’t hear it in my ears. Max didn’t get up. I rolled him over next to me, and saw that his hat was gone.  The top of his head and the right side of his face were a collage of blood and dirt. I shook him, and he gasped for breath, earth falling out of his nostrils. He was still alive.

“Frank, Frank. I can’t see. I can’t see.” It didn’t sound like Max, but there was no one else there.

“Easy, Max.” I tried to rinse some of the dirt, debris and blood off Max’s head with my canteen, then I ripped open a compress from my pack and put it over his forehead and eyes. I wrapped more dressing around his head to keep the bandage in place “Hold this on your face, man. Don’t try to open your eyes.” I was afraid his right eyeball was going to fall out. “Hold it tight.” Using the slope, I maneuvered him across my shoulder, head down in front of me, and struggled to my feet. I took off at a trot along the tree line.

Our lines were behind us to the east but it looked like the whole damned fascist army was charging down from the outpost, headed that way, so I ran south. It was downhill and my momentum carried us. The going was easy, but I felt panic building in my gut so I tried to slow down. I slid on the snow, fell on my butt, and slammed into a tree and dropped Max.

“Frank, where are you? Am I dyin’?”

“I got you, Max. You caught some shrapnel in the head from that plane. Say an act of contrition or something.”

“I’m a Jew, you idiot.”

“Say it anyway.” I lifted the gauze off his forehead and looked under it. His wound didn’t appear to be deep, but the right eye was very bad, all blood and pulp, and the bone around it may have been shattered. “Press on this, Max.” I pressed the bandage back against his face and put his hand on it.  

I hoisted him over my shoulder again, and stepped off, forcing myself to keep my pace steady and not too fast. We went on till the sun was high in the sky. I didn’t fall again, but my ankles were burning, and my toes were pinched in my boots from going downhill. I stopped twice, and opened our bota. I washed my mouth out with the wine, a rustic red from Calatayud, then I cradled Max’s head and opened his mouth. I squirted the wine in, squeezing the leather skin, the way I’d squeezed the trigger of my rifle. Max coughed. He seemed only half-conscious.

I carried Max down the hill and to the south, parallel to our lines, until we were deep in some woods. I was scared and it wasn’t easy, but I would have done anything for Max. We had been roommates and run around together at Berkeley. We fell out of touch when he went to law school, and I started drinking, trying to forget Cicilia. When Max re-connected with me in ’36, he tried to help me sober up and get back on my feet. I’d come around for a while, but always, I’d slip back into the abyss.

Max was a red, even back in our student days. I hadn’t been serious about my politics then. One evening to keep me from drowning my demons, Max took me to a meeting about the Spanish Civil War and the Abraham Lincoln Brigade. Before the night was over, we’d signed up to fight in Spain. Max didn’t have to. I think he did it to save me. Now I was going to save him.

When the sun dropped behind the hills, the woods quickly grew dark. There was a smell of pines, and the footing was better—no snow or ice on the ground, which was hard and covered with dry pine needles. Under the background din of war, the roar of artillery and airplanes, I heard water down to my left. I turned towards it and a few minutes later, came to a stream, probably flowing south to the Ebro. It wasn’t night yet, but it was so dark under the tall trees, I would have walked into the stream without seeing it if not for the sound of the water rushing over the rocks. I put Max down on his back, head and shoulders downhill toward the stream. The blood had dried; the gauze was stuck to his head. I scooped up water with my hat and poured it on his face. The icy cold shocked him into consciousness—and panic and pain.

“Morphine, Frank,” he moaned. “Gimme the morphine.” But I had used our morphine one night weeks ago on guard duty on a cold hillside. We did have a flask of Cardenal Mendoza Spanish Brandy, and I gave him some, then I drank. I rinsed his wound good and put a new bandage on it using Max’s kit this time. My legs felt weak and started to shake with cold or exhaustion. I don’t know if I could have stood up then if the Generalissimo had come down the hill waving his pistoles. We were down low, and there were some bare shrubs and young trees sheltering us on the uphill slope. I fought my exhaustion and tried to keep watch as long as I could. I had another swallow of brandy and pulled close to Max. My eyes closed, and I fell asleep.

 

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VBT – Abuse of Discretion

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About the Author

Pamela Samuels Young has always abided by the philosophy that you create the change you want to see. She set giant-sized goals and used her talent, tenacity and positive outlook to accomplish them. Pamela consequently achieved success in both the corporate arena and literary world simultaneously.

An author, attorney and motivational speaker, Pamela spent fifteen years as Managing Counsel for Toyota, specializing in labor and employment law. While still practicing law, Pamela began moonlighting as a mystery writer because of the absence of women and people of color depicted in the legal thrillers she read. She is now an award-winning author of multiple legal thrillers, including Anybody’s Daughter, which won the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Fiction, and her new release, Abuse of Discretion, a shocking look at the juvenile justice system in the context of a troubling teen sexting case.

Prior to her legal career, spent several years as a television news writer and associate producer. She received a bachelor’s degree in journalism from USC and earned a master’s degree in broadcasting from Northwestern University and a law degree from UC Berkeley School of Law. She is a frequent speaker on the topics of teen sexting, child sex trafficking, self-empowerment and fiction writing.

Pamela Samuels Young

WEBSITE & SOCIAL LINKS:

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About the Book

Title: ABUSE OF DISCRETION
Author: Pamela Samuels Young
Publisher: Goldman House Publishing
Pages: 352
Genre: Mystery

Abuse of Discretion

BOOK BLURB:

A Kid’s Curiosity … A Parent’s Nightmare

The award-winning author of “Anybody’s Daughter” is back with an addictive courtroom drama that gives readers a shocking look inside the juvenile criminal justice system.

Graylin Alexander is a model fourteen-year-old. When his adolescent curiosity gets the best of him, Graylin finds himself embroiled in a sexting scandal that threatens to ruin his life. Jenny Ungerman, the attorney hired to defend Graylin, is smart, confident and committed. She isn’t thrilled, however, when ex-prosecutor Angela Evans joins Graylin’s defense team. The two women instantly butt heads. Can they put aside their differences long enough to ensure Graylin gets justice?

Unbeknownst to Angela, her boyfriend Dre is wrestling with his own drama. Someone from his past wants him dead. For Dre, his response is simple—kill or be killed.

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Book Excerpt

Graylin

“What’s the matter, Mrs. Singletary? Why do I have to go to the principal’s office?”

I’m walking side-by-side down the hallway with my second-period teacher. Students are huddled together staring and pointing at us like we’re zoo animals. When a teacher at Marcus Preparatory Academy escorts you to the principal’s office, it’s a big deal. Nothing like this has ever happened to me before. I’m a good student. I never get in trouble.

Mrs. Singletary won’t answer my questions or even look at me. I hope she knows she’s only making me more nervous.

“Mrs. Singletary, please tell me what’s wrong?”

“Just follow me. You’ll find out in a minute.”

I’m about to ask her another question when it hits me. Something happened to my mama!

My mama has been on and off drugs for as long as I can remember. I haven’t seen her in months and I don’t even know where she lives. No one does. I act like it doesn’t bother me, but it does. I’ve prayed to God a million times to get her off drugs. Even though my granny says God answers prayers, He hasn’t answered mine, so I stopped asking.

I jump in front of my teacher, forcing her to stop. “Was there a death in my family, Mrs. Singletary? Did something happen to my mama?”

“No, there wasn’t a death.”

She swerves around me and keeps going. I have to take giant steps to keep up with her.

Once we’re inside the main office, Mrs. Singletary points at a wooden chair outside Principal Keller’s office. “Have a seat and don’t move.”

She goes into the principal’s office and closes the door. My head begins to throb like somebody’s banging on it from the inside. I close my eyes and try to calm down. I didn’t do anything wrong. It’s probably just—Oh snap! The picture!

I slide down in the chair and pull my iPhone from my right pocket. My hands are trembling so bad I have to concentrate to keep from dropping it. I open the photos app and delete the last picture on my camera roll. If anyone saw that picture, I’d be screwed.

Loud voices seep through the closed door. I lean forward, straining to hear. It almost sounds like Mrs. Singletary and Principal Keller are arguing.

“It’s only an allegation. We don’t even know if it’s true.”

“I don’t care. We have to follow protocol.”

“Can’t you at least check his phone first?”

“I’m not putting myself in the middle of this mess. I’ve already made the call.”

The call? I can’t believe Principal Keller called my dad without even giving me a chance to defend myself. How’d she even find out about the picture?  

The door swings open and I almost jump out of my skin. The principal crooks her finger at me. “Come in here, son.”

Trudging into her office, I sit down on a red cloth chair that’s way more comfortable than the hard one outside. My heart is beating so fast it feels like it might jump out of my chest.

The only time I’ve ever been in Principal Keller’s office was the day my dad enrolled me in school. Mrs. Singletary is standing in front of the principal’s desk with her arms folded. I hope she’s going to stay here with me, but a second later, she walks out and closes the door.

Principal Keller sits on the edge of her desk, looking down at me. “Graylin, do you have any inappropriate pictures on your cell phone?”

“Huh?” I try to keep a straight face. “No, ma’am.”

“It’s been brought to my attention that you have an inappropriate picture—a naked picture—of Kennedy Carlyle on your phone. Is that true?”

“No…uh…No, ma’am.” Thank God I deleted it!

“This is a very serious matter, young man. So, I need you to tell me the truth.”

“No, ma’am.” I shake my head so hard my cheeks vibrate. “I don’t have anything like that on my phone.”

“I pray to God you’re telling me the truth.”

I don’t want to ask this next question, but I have to know. “Um, so you called my dad?”

“Yes, I did. He’s on his way down here now.”

I hug myself and start rocking back and forth. Even though I deleted the picture, my dad is still going to kill me for having to leave work in the middle of the day.

“I also made another call.”

At first I’m confused. Then I realize Mrs. Keller must’ve called my granny too. At least she’ll keep my dad from going ballistic.

“So you called my granny?”

“No.” The principal’s cheeks puff up like she’s about to blow something away. “I called the police.”

VBT – Penchant for Vengeance

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About the Book

Title: Penchant for Vengeance
Author: Robert Downs
Genre: Mystery

front cover

Charlottesville, Virginia, Police Detective Luke McGinty has a closet filled with demons, along with a few skeletons; a steady job, but no steady partner or girlfriend; and is still married to his wife Sallie, even though she’s been dead for three years. Then his detective work takes a turn for the worse when a body is discovered at the downtown mall. One dead body isn’t enough, though, and another one turns up. When ties to a cold murder case in another county present themselves, Luke realizes that, if he doesn’t tread carefully, he could end up short more than just a few answers…

Author Bio

Robert Downs LCC

Robert Downs aspired to be a writer before he realized how difficult the writing process was. Fortunately, he’d already fallen in love with the craft, otherwise his stories might never have seen print. Originally from West Virginia, he has lived in Virginia, Massachusetts, New Mexico, and now resides in California. When he’s not writing, Downs can be found reviewing, blogging, or smiling. To find out more about his latest projects, or to reach out to him on the Internet, visit the author’s website: www.RobertDowns.net. PENCHANT FOR VENGEANCE is his fifth novel.

Links

Author website http://www.RobertDowns.net

Facebook http://www.facebook.com/RobertDownsBooks

Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4821934.Robert_Downs

Giveaway

Giveaway for 2 paperbacks and 2 eBook copies of “Penchant for Vengeance” during the book tour.

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Book Excerpts

Excerpt #1

Traffic was light—Charlottesville, Virginia, despite being a college town, had a curfew—the morning was dark, and a light mist filled the air, adding drops of water to my bright yellow 1974 Camaro. I took the back roads, rather than using US 250 to reach the downtown mall, with Regal Cinema located near the center, off Main Street. I reached the scene in less than ten minutes, including parking, without using a siren, or running a single red light. The body, however, wasn’t nearly as successful as I was.

“Can’t you guys pick a more reasonable hour?” I asked. “Crime should wait until at least nine o’clock.”

“Why don’t you get your butt out of bed like everyone else?” a cop said.

The man didn’t look familiar, nor did his crew cut, wide shoulders, and pressed uniform. His face lacked wrinkles, and his scowl provided more menace than a rabbit with a semi-automatic weapon.

“I did. I’m here, aren’t I?”

I’d flashed my shield to get in, and now I wanted to flash my nine-millimeter. The early hour meant a yawn preceded one hand wrapped around the thick neck of my competition. I preferred reasonable solutions since reasonableness was all I had left. “What do we know?” I asked.

“We know you don’t belong here,” Nelson Rivers said.

Like his name implied, he preferred headlocks to handshakes and shaved heads over full-haired ones. He and I had respectfully disagreed on multiple occasions, so often I couldn’t remember the last time we’d ever agreed on anything other than the day of the week. He had hands the size of pencil sharpeners, and he pushed more buttons than he allowed pushed in return. What he needed was a little less mouth and a lot more action.

I ignored his comment. Ignorance was a hard emotion to pin down, but it seemed to rear its ugly head quicker than the other ones. And crime scenes brought out a special kind of ignorance. I had a few emotions left in my system, despite the hour, and I wanted to save them for the victim, who appeared about my age.

Excerpt #2

The body was bent like a pretzel. Wounds that were possibly from a knife or a whip slathered the body from the neck to the pubic region, deep enough to resemble tattoos. Some were spaced closely enough to disfigure the top half of the body, rendering an exact age nearly impossible. A crime of passion entered the forefront of my mind, and it clung to the roof of my mouth. The victim probably knew his killer intimately, or was, at the very least, an acquaintance.

The wounds stood out for me: a multitude of lacerations that made me unable to look away. When I scanned below the belt, I noticed the mutilated genitalia, rendering the man much less of one. I didn’t like the look of the scene, with the body splayed at an obscene angle, dropped right outside the glass front doors of Regal Cinema to render two of the doors nearly impassable. It resembled something. I just wasn’t sure what. I’d probably blocked it out of my mind, being that I frequented this particular cinema and watched more movies than I cared to admit.

I hoped it never came back, the thought I had blocked. It always did in the end. That was what hurt the most: Movies exacerbated the oddities of life.

Killers were usually born not made, but sometimes, it was the other way around.

The victim’s hands were positioned above his head, forming a triangle, as if he prayed in death to some higher power. Positioned that way by the killer, his hands rubbed up against each other, his head tilted slightly upward. The wounds to the victim’s hands told me he had put up a struggle, knowing that death was inevitable, yet he had wanted to live all the way to the end. But it wasn’t enough. It often never was.

The lack of blood told me the victim wasn’t killed here, and other than a nude body covered in wounds and dried blood, like strokes from a brush, with his hands pointed toward the sky, there were no other obvious signatures. His head was shaved with only a small area of stubble on his chin. His height and weight fell in the average region, his eyes were black, and his lips formed a permanent grimace. He had defensive wounds on both his wrists and the back of his hands, and his skin was as white as a first-floor apartment.

“Who’s the victim?” I asked.

“Victim’s name is unknown, until we run some tests,” the ME said. “Other than being male, and probably between thirty-five and forty years old, I’m out of guesses.”

Addie Ferguson, the ME, had a knack for guessing ages, along with her serious attention to detail. A short woman, with a few extra pounds she could never seem to get rid of, she preferred ankle-length skirts, black boots, and blue blouses.

“Have we got a time of death?”

Cover Reveal – CIRCUMVENT

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About the Author

 S.K. Derban

Born in the United States, S.K. Derban moved to London within the first three months, and remained in England until the age of five. Her mother was involved with the London Royal Ballet Company, and a great fan of the arts. Even after returning to the United States, S.K. Derban’s life was filled with a love of the theatre and a passion for British murder mysteries.

Her personal travel and missionary adventures also help to transport readers virtually across the globe. S.K. Derban has smuggled Bibles into China, and has been to Israel on seven missionary trips. When writing, she relies on all aspects of her life, from a strong faith in the Lord, to her unique combination of professional experience. The many personal adventures of S.K. Derban are readily apparent as they shine through into her characters. Circumvent is the third mystery novel for writer S.K. Derban.

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About the Book

Title: CIRCUMVENT
Author: S.K. Derban
Publisher: Touchpoint Press
Genre: Mystery

BOOK BLURB

Imagine living in a quaint, beach front cottage on the Hawaiian island of Maui. You have an amazing job, combined with the pleasure of working from home. Lunch breaks become a daily picnic on the sand. Dessert is always included because of your marriage to a famous pastry chef. Life could not be any better. Or so it seems… When French born, Nikki Sabine Moueix travels to Hawaii for a special work assignment, her job of writing an article about a famous Swiss pastry chef generates more than a magazine piece. They fall in love, get married, and Nikki becomes Mrs. Ruggiero Delémont.

When another assignment calls for Nikki to spend three weeks in France, Ruggiero’s schedule prevents him from joining her. She travels alone, advancing straight into danger. After a threatening confrontation, Nikki wakes up in a French hospital with no knowledge of her past. When she fails to check in, Ruggiero panics and pushes for an immediate investigation. But as he closes in, Nikki’s new found friend moves her to another city. It becomes a game of hide and seek with Nikki as the prize.

CIRCUMVENT allows readers to form a bond with Nikki as they yearn for her to remember. They will cheer for Ruggiero and his relentless determination to locate his beloved wife. This is a story about two people who never lose their faith in God, and find amazing friends to help them along the way.

Not An Ordinary Woman

 

Book Excerpt

When the plane leveled at a cruising altitude, Nikki reclined her seat back and reopened her novel. Her seat mate appeared to be napping, and Peter Safin was busy preparing his work area. Nikki’s curiosity flourished when she realized her reclining position provided a clear view of his laptop screen. But, as his fingers danced along the keyboard nothing on the illuminated display made sense. She was reading a combination of letters and numbers that appeared to be some sort of code. Maybe he’s a spy, Nikki amused herself in thought. A Russian spy. No, wait! Her mind raced. Maybe he’s a mole, or even a double agent.

Nikki almost laughed aloud as she refocused on the book within her hands. It was the latest spy novel, written by one of her favorite authors. Maybe I should switch to romance.

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