#BookReview “Vice & Virtue: A Parker City Mystery” by Justin M. Kiska

February 14 – March 11, 2022 Virtual Book Tour

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4/5 Stars!

Told in dual timelines in the fifties/sixties and the eighties, this engaging police procedural begins as two investigations that morph into one.

Detectives Ben Winters and Tommy Mason are called to the scene when a skull is found beneath a building about to be demolished. However, before they can make any headway, it’s all hands on deck and they’re called away when a fellow officer is murdered.

And another cop is murdered.

Then another.

The skull investigation sits idle as Winters and Mason work to track down a serial cop killer before he claims any more victims.

I didn’t realize this was a book two, and didn’t read the first book, but the author did a good job of including just enough detail that I don’t feel there were “holes” or “gaps” in the story.

Ben and Tommy are a good pairing with great partner banter, and not too much personal drama to take away from the main plot.

Though writing in two distinct eras in history, the author does a good job of capturing the noir feel of the fifties/sixties and the frenetic pace of the eighties.

The book opens with an excellent prologue where a grumpy construction worker is making his way to work. For me, the tight, detailed writing created an eerie feel that had me looking for a serial killer to leap out in paragraph!

Readers of police procedurals, crime fiction, and suspense won’t want to miss this read.

Enjoy!

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Synopsis:

 

Parker City, 1984…

Three years after the Spring Strangler case rocked the historic Western Maryland city nestled at the foot of the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains, life has returned to normal for Detective Ben Winters and his partner, Tommy Mason. With a new chief now leading the department and the city slowly crawling out of its economic distress, everything seems to be moving in the right direction.

Until one sweltering summer day, a killer begins targeting police officers. Ben and Tommy find themselves once again leading an investigation the likes of which Parker City has never seen. The detectives quickly come to realize that until the shooter is found, everyone wearing a badge is in danger. To complicate matters even further, when a recently unearthed skeleton mysteriously connects to the string of police homicides, Ben and Tommy begin to think their current case may be tied to events twenty years earlier.

But how could a skeleton buried two decades ago hold the key to solving their current case?

Book Details:

Genre: Mystery

Published by: Level Best Books

Publication Date: February 15, 2022

Number of Pages: 288

ISBN: 978-1-68512-069-6

Series:Parker City Mysteries, #2 || Each book is a stand alone novel.

Purchase Links: Amazon | Goodreads

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Tour Participants:

Visit these other great hosts on this tour for more great reviews, interviews, guest posts, and giveaways!

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Get More Great Reads at Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours

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#GuestBlogger Behind the Scenes: “Dangerous Indenture (A Historical Mystery-Romance)” by Kelli A. Wilkins

This “Behind the Scenes” blog is part of a series examining my romance novels. In each blog, I’ll talk about why I wrote the book, share my thoughts on the plot and/or characters, and reveal what I loved most (or least) about writing the book. Warning: Blogs may contain spoilers.

Hi everyone,

Imagine this scenario: a young woman moves to a new town to work for a family. She is on her own and has to adjust to her employer’s rules while adapting to life in a new environment. After she arrives, she discovers the job isn’t exactly what she thought it would be and realizes she has gotten herself into a troubling situation. All seems lost until she meets a handsome young man…

This premise could be the basis of any number of romances: a Victorian-era story about a governess moving to a remote estate, a contemporary tale about a physical therapist or teacher relocating across the country, or, in the case of my historical romance, Dangerous Indenture, an Irish indentured servant leaving everything behind to start a new life.

Dangerous Indenture

Dangerous Indenture is set in Pennsylvania Colony and blends a sensual romance with mystery and suspense. Right from the start, readers (and the heroine, Shauna) are warned about Stewart House: “It’s got more haunts than the Tower of London.”

Here’s the book summary and links:

DANGEROUS INDENTURE

Indentured for five years… how long can Shauna resist her master’s son?

Desperate to escape her past in Ireland, Shauna Farrow signs on to become an indentured servant to Joshua Stewart, a wealthy man in Pennsylvania Colony. But a life of servitude quickly turns to drudgery, and Shauna’s hopes for starting over and creating a better life for herself are waning—until she meets her master’s roguish son, Ashton.

Ashton needs to redeem himself in his father’s eyes and earn the respect he has always longed for. Meeting Shauna turns his life around, and he sets out to win her heart. Torn between propriety and passion, Shauna struggles against her growing attraction to Ashton as long as she can.

But amidst their flirting, something dark stirs. Shauna soon discovers why no other servants wanted to work for the strange Stewart family.

Stewart House has an unsavory reputation: a previous servant died there under mysterious circumstances. When another servant goes missing in the middle of the night, Shauna is convinced that a member of the family is responsible.

Shauna’s investigation leads her close to the truth, and yet, she’s not sure who she can trust. Events take a deadly turn when she confronts the murderer and discovers the mystery of the Stewart family.

Will Shauna be rescued before time runs out, or will she meet with the same fate as the other servants?

 Available here:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07PJVQ7XJ

All other platforms: https://books2read.com/u/3JyROP

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When I wrote the book, I wanted to evoke a sense of danger and mystery around every corner. This wasn’t going to be a typical romance with the hero and heroine from different classes falling in love and having a forbidden affair. Nope.

The romance is almost a sub-plot of the book, and when the story begins, finding love is the last thing on Shauna’s mind. She’s more concerned about doing a good job than getting involved with Ashton (even if he is handsome).

I liked creating the incredibly dysfunctional members of the Stewart family. They all have secrets and practically have dual personalities. Joshua (the patriarch) is a big bear of a man who comes across as gruff and insensitive, yet at times can be caring. Colin (Joshua’s son) appears to be a respectable married businessman, but underneath his proper exterior lurks a dark and dangerous manipulator (among other things).

Colin’s beleaguered wife, Minerva, is mentally unstable and trapped in a terrible marriage. Readers and the other characters in the story aren’t sure if she’s truly mad or not. And she might be a murderess…

Our hero, Ashton Bailey, is flawed and has a lot of problems to overcome. For starters, he’s the black sheep of the family and has been sent home in disgrace. He drinks too much, womanizes too much, and has nearly given up on life. He’s a failure in his father’s eyes and wants to redeem himself, but isn’t sure how. Ashton knows that Stewart House is a terrible place and vows to protect Shauna while she’s working there.

This cast of characters and their interactions (fighting, name-calling, secrets, and lies) carry the plot. Everyone has an agenda, and readers learn that not everyone is telling the truth… or is exactly what they seem. Ashton wants to become respectable, Colin wants him disowned, Minerva wants Shauna gone, Shauna wants to stay out of trouble, and Joshua just wants some peace.

Writing the twists and turns of the mystery was a lot of fun. When the new servant, Lila, goes missing in the middle of the night, Shauna is convinced someone in the house killed her. But who? Shauna is a clever amateur sleuth, and when she starts to solve the mystery, she realizes that she’s in danger.

The book has a “Dark Shadows” feel to it. A mysterious house, a strange family, everyone has secrets… In fact, several of the character names in the book (Colin, Joshua, and Minerva) appeared in the original “Dark Shadows” series.

Like many of my historical heroines, Shauna is ahead of her time. She’s intelligent, independent, has a strong sense of self, and is not afraid to start a new life on her own. But she wasn’t always this way.

The original version of the book was 120,000 words (more of a mini-series than a novel), and very different. The plot was drawn-out and had several backstories. Shauna was a virgin, less self-confident, and suffered harsh treatment at the hands of Joshua Stewart.

Ashton had even more emotional baggage and bad habits, and I explored his difficult relationship with Joshua. I even wrote a long backstory about Ashton’s mother, her paintings, and the garden.

I’m happy to say I changed all that. Major cutting, revising, and rewriting tightened the story and made it a much better book. Readers loved it, too. Here are a few kind words:

“5 stars! This novel will keep you riveted from start to finish! I was hooked from page one and did not put it down until I finished it. I cannot say enough wonderful things about this novel. If you love romance with mystery then pick up a copy of this one today and get lost in the story. I certainly did. It’s perfectly written to keep you turning page after page, and I promise, you won’t be able to guess the ending! If you’re looking for a great romance story with a whole lot of action, drama, and mystery then this is your book!!! Definitely a MUST READ!” – April P., Reviewer, My Book Addiction & More

“Combining mystery with romance, this novel keeps the pages turning. Shauna and Ashton are well-developed characters readers can root for. Overall, a great beach read.” – Emily Thompson, SUNY-Oswego, Library Journal

“Kelli A. Wilkins delivers a colonial-era mystery that will appeal to mystery and romance readers alike.” – Lisa Marie Wilkinson, author.

“4 stars! This book was a thrill a minute! No leisurely stroll through the gardens in this romance, but non-stop danger and drama. A flawed hero and heroine fight for their lives and their relationship to get to their HEA.” – Paula, Amazon Reviewer

I can’t add anything to that! I hope you enjoyed this look at the making of Dangerous Indenture. I welcome comments and questions from readers. Be sure to follow my blog for the latest updates and visit me on social media. I also made a Facebook page for my historical romances: https://www.facebook.com/Historical-Romances-by-Kelli-A-Wilkins-1703805359922371/

Happy Reading,

Kelli A. Wilkins

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kelli A. Wilkins is an award-winning author who has published more than 100 short stories, 20+ romance novels, 7 non-fiction books, and 5 horror ebooks. Her romances span many genres and settings, and she likes to scare readers with her horror stories.

Her latest novel, In Another World, was released in January 2022. This contemporary mystery/romance is set in the world of the paranormal.

She also released two horror shorts, More Than I Bargained For and Silent Sentinel in 2021.

In 2021, Kelli published Journaling Every Week: 52 Topics to Get You Writing. This fun and innovative guide to journaling is filled with hundreds of thought-provoking prompts designed to get you writing about your feelings and emotions.

Kelli posts on her Facebook author page: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorKelliWilkins and Twitter: www.Twitter.com/KWilkinsauthor.

Visit her website/blog www.KelliWilkins.com for a full title list and to find all her social media links.

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#BookTour “Boo’s Shoes (A Rabbit And Fox Story: Learn To Tie Shoelaces)” by Sybrina Durant

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A Rabbit And Fox Story: Learn To Tie Shoelaces

Children’s Interactive Picture Book

Date Published: 11-06-2021

 

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No Laces! That’s what Boo, the bunny, always says. He doesn’t want to learn to tie them. He has plenty of shoes for every occasion and none of them have laces or strings. So, what’s the point of learning to tie? His friend, Farah Fox, convinces him that it’s a skill he can use. . . and one that might make him happier, too.

This book is meant to be a parent-child activity. Youngsters can read Boo’s story and their parents can help with the how-to-tie instruction pages. A fun shoelace-themed “I Did It” badge is included at the back of the book to give in celebration of conquering this difficult
task.

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Excerpt 3D

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About the Author

Other books in the “Learn To Tie With The Rabbit and the Fox” series are the book with that name in English, Spanish and Tagalog plus a special little book to gift to boys in a wedding party. “Nellie Knows How To Knot A Neck Scarf”, “Ned Knows How To Knot A Neck Tie” and “Cleo Can Tie A Bow” are also part of the series.

 

Contact Links

Website

Facebook

Twitter

Goodreads

Pinterest

Instagram

Amazon Author Page

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 Purchase Links

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

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RABT Book Tours & PR

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#CoverReveal “SuSTYLEability” by Lexi Rees

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suSTYLEability (noun)
The art of making small changes to the way we dress in order to make big changes in the world.

If you love fashion and want to live more sustainably, this activity book will help you create a wardrobe which reflects your personal style AND is mindful of the impact the fashion industry has on the environment and human welfare.

•              Learn the shocking facts about fashion
•              Make better choices when shopping
•              Develop your own unique style
•              Have fun with friends and family
•              Discover unique ways to upstyle and upcycle your wardrobe

  •              Give old clothes a second life with creative crafts

 

Pre-order Linkhttps://lexirees.co.uk/all-activity-books/

Out Summer 2022!

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Lexi ReesAuthor Bio

Lexi Rees was born in Scotland but now lives down south where she’s slave to carrot obsessed gelding, a frisky mare, a dog who’s convinced he’s not been fed in a month, and a house of hungry boys.

She writes action-packed adventures and fun activity books for children. She’s passionate about reducing her footprint on the planet and becoming more self-sufficient.

She has an active programme of school visits and other events, is a Book PenPal for three primary schools, and runs a free online #kidsclub and newsletter which includes book recommendations and creative writing activities.

Social Media Links 

Website: https://lexirees.co.uk

Twitter: @lexi_rees  or https://twitter.com/lexi_rees

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

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.co.uk/lexireesbooks/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/lexi.rees/

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#BookTour “Vice & Virtue: A Parker City Mystery” by Justin M. Kiska

Vice & Virtue by Justin M. Kiska BannerFebruary 14 – March 11, 2022 Virtual Book Tour

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Synopsis:

 

Parker City, 1984…

Three years after the Spring Strangler case rocked the historic Western Maryland city nestled at the foot of the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains, life has returned to normal for Detective Ben Winters and his partner, Tommy Mason. With a new chief now leading the department and the city slowly crawling out of its economic distress, everything seems to be moving in the right direction.

Until one sweltering summer day, a killer begins targeting police officers. Ben and Tommy find themselves once again leading an investigation the likes of which Parker City has never seen. The detectives quickly come to realize that until the shooter is found, everyone wearing a badge is in danger. To complicate matters even further, when a recently unearthed skeleton mysteriously connects to the string of police homicides, Ben and Tommy begin to think their current case may be tied to events twenty years earlier.

But how could a skeleton buried two decades ago hold the key to solving their current case?

Book Details:

Genre: Mystery

Published by: Level Best Books

Publication Date: February 15, 2022

Number of Pages: 288

ISBN: 978-1-68512-069-6

Series:Parker City Mysteries, #2 || Each book is a stand alone novel.

Purchase Links: Amazon | Goodreads

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Read an excerpt:

Tall and athletic, Tommy Mason always reminded Ben of Tom Selleck’s Magnum P.I. character from television. Tommy always had that whole ruggedly handsome thing going for him. Mixed with a little bit of a “bad boy” vibe and he drove the women wild.

Next to Ben’s clean-cut, buttoned-down appearance, their pairing caused many to do a doubletake. At first glance, they appeared to be complete opposites. But as one got to know them, they were very much alike. Each brought out the best in the other and at the end of the day, it was all about getting the job done. Sure, each had his own style, but that’s what made them such a formidable team.

Tommy’s apparent willingness to skirt the rules was always offset by Ben’s ability to find ways to use the rules to their benefit. Just as Ben’s refusal to play the internal politics game allowed Tommy to use his charm to keep too many feathers from getting ruffled amongst the powers-that-be. They each knew the other’s strengths and weaknesses and how to adapt them to their own, which is why they’d been so impressive in getting the PCPD’s Detective Squad off the ground.

“What are you doing here?” Ben asked, more than a little surprised to see his partner.

“Shirley from Dispatch called me. She thought I’d be interested,” Tommy explained. “And before you say anything about what I’m wearing, I just want to remind you, it is our day off, so I didn’t think I needed to get dressed up to come to a potential crime scene. Especially when we don’t actually know this is a crime scene yet.”

He was referring to the fact he had on a T-shirt and comfortable pair of jeans, as opposed to the full suit and tie Ben was wearing.

“Besides, now you don’t have to worry about getting your fancy suit muddy. I have no problems getting down there in the dirt,” Tommy smiled, pointing at the fresh mud stains on his knees. With that, he knelt back down to take another look at the exposed skeletal remains under the floorboards.

“So, tell me. What do we have?” Ben asked, crouching next to Tommy so he could get a better look.

“You can see there’s a pretty big cavity here under this part of the floor,” Tommy pointed out. “It’s got to be a good ten by ten area where the ground has been eaten away, even though it’s not too deep, less than a foot in some places. It’s definitely because of water…there’s a lot of mud down there. As the earth under the floor eroded, it uncovered the skeleton. Partway, at least. Of course, no one could see what was happening under here until our friend Mr. Haggarty had the unfortunate experience of stepping on a board that was rotted through and it snapped, sending him falling through the floor. You can see where he landed in the mud.

“And right there,” Tommy pointed, “you see the skull and top portion of the skeleton sticking out of the ground.”

“You came face-to-face with that thing, man?” Tommy looked over at the construction worker who was leaning against the wall. “Not a good way to start the day.”

“Yeah. You’re telling me,” Haggarty answered.

Turning back to the skeleton, Tommy said, “I’m no expert, but that hole in the skull right there…see it, it looks like it could be a GSW from a pretty heavy caliber gun.”

Leaning down and twisting his head so he could try and get a better look at the skull, Ben saw the hole and wondered if his partner was right. Finding a skeleton buried under the floor was one thing. Finding a skeleton buried under the floor with a bullet hole in its skull was something else. It took everything to a different level.

Standing and stretching their legs, Tommy said, “When Shirley first called me, I thought this was going to have been some kind of prank. Some kids snuck into the site on a dare and left a skeleton for the crew to find.”

“You thought kids somehow buried a skeleton under this building in the hopes someone would fall through the floor and find it?” Ben asked, raising an eyebrow. “Not to mention having to figure out how to bury the thing under the floor?”

“In my defense,” Tommy started, raising a finger and shaking it at his partner, “I didn’t know the skeleton was buried under the warehouse. I just knew they’d found a skeleton at the warehouse.”

The first thing that needed to happen was to get the skeleton out of the ground. That would be up to the crime scene techs. Even though he could easily reach in and pull the skull out to get a better look, Ben didn’t want to disturb anything more than it already had been when Lance Haggarty crashed through the floor. Thankfully, he hadn’t actually landed on the skull itself.

“So much for our day off,” Ben said, looking at his watch, wondering where the crime scene guys were.

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Excerpt from Vice & Virtue by Justin M. Kiska. Copyright 2022 by Justin M. Kiska. Reproduced with permission from Justin M. Kiska. All rights reserved.

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Author Bio:

Justin M. Kiska

When not sitting in his library devising new and clever ways to kill people (for his mysteries), Justin can usually be found at The Way Off Broadway Dinner Theatre, outside of Washington, DC, where he is one of the owners and producers. In addition to writing the Parker City Mysteries Series, he is also the mastermind behind Marquee Mysteries, a series of interactive mystery events he has been writing and producing for over fifteen years. Justin and his wife, Jessica, live along Lake Linganore outside of Frederick, Maryland.

Catch Up With Our Author:
JustinKiska.com
Goodreads
BookBub – @JMKiska
Twitter – @JustinKiska
Facebook – @JMKiska

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Tour Participants:

Visit these other great hosts on this tour for more great reviews, interviews, guest posts, and giveaways!

~~~

Get More Great Reads at Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours

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