#Review “Shadow in the Smoke (Audio)” by Jo A. Hiestand

Audiobook Blog Tour: Shadow in the Smoke by Jo A. Hiestand

Author: Jo A. Hiestand

Narrator: Steve Hart

Length: 8 hours 32 minutes

Series: The McLaren Mysteries, Book 3

Publisher: The Wild Rose Press

Released: Nov. 30, 2019

Genre: Mystery

Janet Ennis tragically died five years ago in what the police labeled an accidental fire. But Janet’s mother, Nora, believes it to be murder and arson. And she’s hoping ex-cop Michael McLaren can prove it quickly, for she’s losing her memory to dementia.

As McLaren pokes through the case details, he becomes emotionally involved with the dead woman. Yet, Janet isn’t the only person who threatens his mental well-being. A series of arsons on his own property hint that he’s upset someone connected with this case.

Motives for Janet’s murder rise like the smoky tendrils of a fire. And motive aside, the murder scene seems a bit too pat: a drought-stricken landscape eager to lap up flames and a conveniently locked door barring Janet’s escape.

Will McLaren solve the case while Nora can still comprehend the resolution, or will Harvester’s plans see McLaren’s career go up in smoke?

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Jo A. Hiestand can usually be found at her computer, which is good, since she writes three mystery series. It seems a natural progression from her job as a graphic artist – crafting word images on a sheet of paper instead of creating graphics on the computer screen. Between the two computer stints, she lived in Britain for her semi-pro folk singing career and became friends with several English police detectives. The latter relationship was not a consequence of the former calling, however, but all these UK aspects find their way into her books. When not tapping on the keyboard, Jo enjoys reading, baking, and photography. She lives in the St Louis area with her cat, Tennyson, and way too many kilts.

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Narrator Bio

After a number of years with commercial radio covering two continents, Steve Hart moved toward narration after being asked to perform his first novel in 2005. As it turned out, his story telling ability became stronger as each book and year passed. Steve considers narration an on-going study that even requires constant focus and the mindset of ‘always be willing to learn and grow.’

“Many people have an opinion on ‘how to read’ a book, but I believe there is only one way—you have to be in it! Immersed in the story and being the character(s) as they move through it. Projecting the emotion and bringing the whole story to life, while making it easy to consume for the listener.”

 

 

4/5 Stars!

Unable to accept her daughter’s death was accidental five years ago, a grieving mother pleads with former cop, Michael McLaren, to investigate the circumstances around the fire that took Janet Ennis’ life.

McLaren is wary for several reasons, like he isn’t a licensed private investigator, but he’s touched by the mother’s desperation and the fact she’s sinking into dementia and wants answers while she can still remember her daughter.

Mike finds red flags from the beginning of his investigation, and his former cop status hinders as much as helps him. His best friend is still on the force, a great sounding board, and able to help Mike find some answers. But the closed Ennis investigation belongs to the very man connected to Mike’s reason for resigning.

Retracing the steps of the first investigation, Michael McLaren finds himself surrounded by suspects, and with a growing obsession for the dead woman.

As the pieces of the puzzle come together, Mike struggles to stay focused as someone keeps setting fires at his home and is tracking his every move. He also isn’t aware an old nemesis is plotting revenge.

It’s easy to see McLaren was a good cop because he is a good investigator. He’s also befuddled by his infatuation with Janet Ennis, even though it does nothing to lessen the love he has for girlfriend, Dena.

Well-written, Shadow in the Smoke kept me guessing until the reveal, which was nicely done.

I stumbled early in the story with the narration. The narrator did a great job, in my opinion, with all the characters except Michael McLaren. It took me a few chapters to accept Mike’s “voice,” but the character’s laid-back, but driven personality helped.

Enjoy!

I volunteered to review this audiobook as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. The tour is being sponsored by Jo A. Hiestand. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.

 

Giveaway

Prize: $30 Amazon Gift Card

Shadow in the Smoke Giveaway: $30 Amazon Gift Card

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#BlogTour “Barnabas Tew and the Case of the Enlightened Cow” by Columbkill Noonan

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Rama, the Hindu god who maintains dharma, or the balance of all things, is in terrible trouble, and only Barnabas and Wilfred can save him!

Private detectives to the gods, Barnabas Tew and Wilfred Colby, believed they’d discovered the secret to taking charge of their destinies. Unfortunately, they’re about to be taught a hard lesson: nothing is as it seems and taking control is easier said than done.

Fresh off their most challenging case to date, the two detectives step into a cenote: an otherworldly portal that connects worlds and can take them anywhere if they how to use it.  Each is hoping to be reunited with someone he left behind, but they soon realize that something has gone terribly, disastrously wrong. Instead of being reunited with their lady-loves, they find themselves in a Hindu temple, together with Kamadeva, the Hindu god of desire.

Kamadeva asks them to save his friend Rama, who is in grave danger. It seems an innocent enough request, but Barnabas and Wilfred have learned that not everything is at it seems, and the right thing to do is not always so obvious. It doesn’t take long to discover that not all the gods want Rama saved, leaving the two detectives to make a terrible choice.

The detectives have faced dangerous deities before, but the Hindu gods are different. Otherworldly, wise, and full of shadowy motivations, they all seek to manipulate the hapless detectives to suit their purposes.

Can Barnabas and Wilfred see through the illusions and the lies to uncover the truth of the matter? Or will they fail, and choose the wrong side?

Purchase Links

Amazon US

Amazon UK  

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Columbkill NoonanAuthor Bio

Columbkill Noonan is the author of the bestselling Barnabas Tew series, which features the bumbling-yet-lovable Victorian detective Barnabas and his trusty sidekick, Wilfred. Columbkill combines her love of mythology and her affinity for period fiction to craft unique cozy mysteries that will leave you guessing (and chuckling!) till the very end.

Social Media Links

Facebook     Twitter

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#ReleaseBlitz “Burn (Virtues and Lies Book 1)” by Alexandra Silva

Book: Burn (Virtues & Lies Book 1)

Author: Alexandra Silva

**LIVE NOW**

ADD TO YOUR TBR

BUY THE BOOK NOW!

Special Release Day price $1.99 & FREE on KU

($1.99 for release day and then it goes up to $2.99)
#Burn #AlexandraSilva #NewRelease #LiveNow
 
SYNOPSIS
One glance across a dim, crowded room. That’s all it took for my life to change.
One moment. One look. One touch. From him…
The man with no name. He is everywhere I go and everywhere I turn. He is in my thoughts and daydreams. He’s a constant want and need I can’t escape.
I don’t want to.
The closer he gets the more I crave him. I crave his intensity and his fire. I crave his biting words and rough touches. He’s unlike anyone I’ve ever known, and his touch is unlike anything I’ve ever felt.
He unravels me. My life. Everything I’ve ever known, until all that’s left are secrets that never seem to end.
Until all that’s left is ashes and blood.
Until we burn.
MEET THE AUTHOR
Alexandra Silva is a lover of words and romance. She blames the classics and a nutty English teacher for her obsession with books and fiction. Come rain or shine with either coffee or wine in hand you can find her with her nose stuck in a book and her head in the clouds. She lives in London outnumbered by her very loud boys, with her very own hero and their two wild cats—Jack and Jill.

#BlogTour “Chloe – Never Forget (Carl Sant Murder Mysteries Book 2)” by Dan Laughey

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An off-duty detective gunned down. A dead woman. A student missing, feared dead. And now, a former policeman in search of his past. All these people, dead or alive, have one thing in common. D.I. Carl Sant must discover what it is.

A series of cold-case enquiries leads D.I. Sant and his colleagues to investigate a botched assassination plot dating back to the 1980s. The deeper they dig into the case, the more secrets are revealed, including shocking connections to the infamous National Front.

Meanwhile, the memory of former P.C. Tanner, survivor of the assassination horror, is beginning to recover. Sant must find Tanner and find out who is behind it all – before his superiors lose their rag and more lives are lost.

Purchase Links

Amazon US

Amazon UK  

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Dan LaugheyAuthor Bio  

Dan Laughey is a lecturer at Leeds Beckett University where he teaches a course called ‘Youth, Crime and Culture’ among other things. He has written several books on the subject including Music and Youth Culture, based on his PhD in Sociology at Salford University. He also holds a BA in English from Manchester Metropolitan University and an MA in Communications Studies from the University of Leeds.

Dan was born in Otley and bred in Ilkley, West Yorkshire, a hop and a skip away from the Leeds setting of his Chloe novels.

His crime writing was purely academic to begin with. He’s written about media violence and tackled the age-old concern about television and video games influencing patterns of antisocial behaviour in society. After years of research and theoretical scrutiny, he still hasn’t cracked that particular nut.

He’s also written about the role of CCTV and surveillance in today’s Big Brother world, the sometimes fraught relationship between rap and juvenile crime, football hooliganism, and the sociocultural legacy of Britain’s most notorious serial killer – the Yorkshire Ripper.

All in all, Dan’s work has been translated into four languages: French, Hebrew, Korean and Turkish. He has presented guest lectures at international conferences and appeared on BBC Radio and ITV News in addition to providing expert commentary for The Guardian and The Daily Telegraph.

Social Media Links  

Twitter  –  Facebook

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#BlogTour “Chloe – Lost Girl (Carl Sant Murder Mysteries Book 1)” by Dan Laughey

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A missing student. A gunned-down detective. A woman in fear for her life. All three are connected somehow.

Detective Inspector Carl Sant and his fellow officers get on the case. But what links the disappearance of a university student, the death of an off-duty police sergeant, and a professor reluctant to help them solve the case?

Their only clue is a sequence of numbers, etched by the police sergeant Dryden on a misty window moments before he breathed his last. Soon it becomes clear that Dryden’s clue has brought the past and present into a head-on collision with the very heart of Sant’s profession.

Racing against time, D.I. Sant must find out what’s behind the mysterious events – before the bodies start piling up.

Purchase Links

Amazon UK  

Amazon US  

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Dan LaugheyAuthor Bio  

Dan Laughey is a lecturer at Leeds Beckett University where he teaches a course called ‘Youth, Crime and Culture’ among other things. He has written several books on the subject including Music and Youth Culture, based on his PhD in Sociology at Salford University. He also holds a BA in English from Manchester Metropolitan University and an MA in Communications Studies from the University of Leeds.

Dan was born in Otley and bred in Ilkley, West Yorkshire, a hop and a skip away from the Leeds setting of his Chloe novels.

His crime writing was purely academic to begin with. He’s written about media violence and tackled the age-old concern about television and video games influencing patterns of antisocial behaviour in society. After years of research and theoretical scrutiny, he still hasn’t cracked that particular nut.

He’s also written about the role of CCTV and surveillance in today’s Big Brother world, the sometimes fraught relationship between rap and juvenile crime, football hooliganism, and the sociocultural legacy of Britain’s most notorious serial killer – the Yorkshire Ripper.

All in all, Dan’s work has been translated into four languages: French, Hebrew, Korean and Turkish. He has presented guest lectures at international conferences and appeared on BBC Radio and ITV News in addition to providing expert commentary for The Guardian and The Daily Telegraph.

Social Media Links  

Twitter  –  Facebook

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#BlogTour “A Heart in the Right Place” by Heide Goody, Iain Grant

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All Nick wants to do is take his dying father for a perfect father-son weekend in the Scottish coverHighlands. It’s not much to ask, is it? A log cabin, a roaring fire, a bottle of fine whisky and two days to paper over the cracks in their relationship.

However, Nick didn’t plan on making the trip with a dead neighbour in the back of his car. Or the neighbour’s dog. He really didn’t plan on being pursued by a psychotic female assassin intent on collecting body parts. And he really, really didn’t plan on encountering a platoon of heavily armed mercenaries, or some very hungry boars, or a werewolf.

A Heart in the Right Place – a horror comedy about setting out with the very best intentions and then messing everything up.

EXCERPT

A Heart in the Right Place is our new comedy horror novel. It ends up in the Scottish wilderness where Nick and his dad have to fight off evil crooks and mythical monsters. But it starts with a missed parcel and one of those “We’re Sorry We Missed You…” notes from the postman…

“Oz Bingley? Who on earth is Oz Bingley?” Nick asked of no one in particular. There was no one to ask. He was alone in his house.

Which was sort of the point. All morning he’d waited at home for the parcel to arrive. He should have been at work at the ChunkyMunky offices in Birmingham city centre but he’d taken an official duvet morning (they only got three a year) and waited for the parcel he knew was arriving.

He’d paid for next day, timed delivery. An extra twelve pounds it had cost him, but he couldn’t afford to miss this delivery. He’d been on high alert all morning, not daring to put on the radio or turn up the television in case he missed the knock at the door. He even went to the toilet in the dark so the noise of the extractor fan wouldn’t mask a particularly stealthy approach. That had been a mistake, on reflection. He’d been so worried about not wiping properly he’d been completely unable to go. He’d come out, walked past the front door on the way to the kitchen and there it was:

We have a parcel for you…

Sorry we missed you. Your item is:

There was a ticked box.

With your neighbour:
Oz Bingley, 42 Langollen Drive, Brandwood End, Birmingham

Nick fumed. Not as much as he would have done if they had ticked the box for being held at our depot, ready to collect the next working day. And at least it wouldn’t be a repeat of when the postman had left the parcel in your safe place. Said place being his bin. His actual wheelie bin rubbish bin. On bin day.

Nick still fumed.

Being forced to stay in, like a housebound oldster or a sickly child, even for a few hours had driven him near stir crazy. He could have been at work already, trying to fix the shitstorm which was the Kirkwood account. He could be at the gym, lifting weights and making a start on the New Year’s resolution he’d made five months ago. He could be in town buying an apology gift for Abigail. Or just getting drunk and leaving inappropriate and remorseful messages on her voicemail. Anything but waiting for a parcel which was apparently delivered by stealth ninjas.

How had they achieved this in complete silence? Why didn’t they knock the door or ring the bell? Nick went to the door and, looking past his beloved, imported Cadillac on the driveway, scanned the street for signs of the courier. Nothing. Maybe the slip had been there for hours.

He checked the address and crossed the street. Number forty-two was a large, detached house with a big brass knocker on the front door: a gurning lion’s face with a ring in its mouth. He banged it hard as the postman should have done at his house. It made a thunderous racket, which pleased Nick. There was nothing worse than knocking or ringing a door and being unsure whether it could be heard.

The noise set a dog barking inside. Nick listened intently. There was a low whining sound as well. No one came to the door.

He wondered what the appropriate time was to wait before knocking again. Knock too soon and it would appear rude. Wait too long and you were just waiting on someone’s doorstep doing nothing. He counted down from thirty to zero and then waited another minute before knocking again.

The barking dog set off again. He waited. Still nothing.

He looked at the card. Oz Bingley. 42 Langollen Drive.

Nick didn’t know his neighbours well. Tall fences made good neighbours and all that. He tried to recall seeing anyone coming in or out of that house. Was Oz a man’s name? He had a vague recollection an old woman lived there, but he hadn’t seen her for a while. Maybe she’d moved out.

He went back to his house and sat at the window, hoping to see Oz returning from some small task – like posting a letter. He checked the time and turned the TV on. He’d go and check again in an hour, and then he’d have to go into work.

Purchase Links

Kindle Unlimited

Amazon UK     |     Amazon US

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Goody and GrantAuthor Bio

Heide Goody is the stupid one in the writing partnership and Iain Grant is the sensible one. Together, they are the authors of over a dozen books.

The Clovenhoof series (in which Satan loses his job and has to move to Birmingham) has recently been optioned by a Hollywood production company.

Heide and Iain are both married, but not to each other.

Social Media Links:

Facebook   |   Website

Heide Goody Twitter  

Iain Grant Twitter

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G I V E A W A Y

Win a gorgeous Moleskine Passion Traveller’s Journal

(Open Internationally)

Giveaway Prize

E N T E R

“The Moleskine Traveller’s Journal” is a structured before and after record of every journey you make, from weekends away to life-changing trips and everything in between. Note down your travel plans before you leave and list all the things you hope to see and do, then add maps, photos, tickets and keepsakes when you return. The Traveller’s Journal is a place to dream, get practical and create a unique and lasting paper archive of your travels that you’ll want to revisit again and again.

  • premium box with themed graphics related to your passion
  • hard cover with themed debossing, rounded corners, elastic closure
  • 2 ribbon bookmarks
  • double expandable inner pocket
  • front endpaper with ‘in case of loss’ notice
  • ivory-coloured 70 g/m² acid-free paper
  • tabbed sections to guide your note-taking
  • themed introductory pages
  • 400 pages
  • themed stickers to customize your journal
  • Moleskine S.r.l. creates and sells FSC®-certified products”

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days, then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will be passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for dispatch or delivery of the prize.

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“The Narrative of Benjamin White” by Aaron Brinker

Benjamin White cover

The Narrative of Benjamin White

by Aaron Brinker

Genre: Historical Fiction/African/British/Short Stories

FREE at time of posting! (Thru 12/29/18) Kindle Unlimited!

Legends are born with every war. The name Benjamin White was no exception to this fact. After the battle of Tel El Kebir in 1882, White went missing. The last evidence of him, were footprints leading away from a body in the desert.

Twenty years later, a soldier returns to find answers. Rumors lead him to an oasis, and to a man who may hold the answers to the ever growing mystery that is Benjamin White.

Amazon KU

 

“Where the Dead Walk: A Supernatural Suspense Thriller” by John Bowen

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Where the Dead Walk: A Supernatural Suspense Thriller

by John Bowen

Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense/Supernatural/Occult/British

99¢ at time of posting! Kindle Unlimited!

A TV ghost-hunting crew. A haunted house. An unimaginable crime. A past buried deep…

For some, ghosts are no more than the wounds loved ones leave in their wake, haunting the living only with their absence. Others take a more literal view…

Kate Bennett, presenter of paranormal investigation cable TV show, ‘Where the Dead Walk’, isn’t sure what she believes, other than she seems cursed to lose all those closest to her.

After investigating a neglected cliff-top house, empty for a decade because it’s ‘haunted’, Kate is convinced a spirit within holds the answers to a childhood she can’t remember and an unimaginable crime.

What she can’t know is that the house’s owner, Sebastian Dahl, is searching for something too, and he intends to get it, whatever the cost.

 

Amazon KU

“Embellished Deception: The Cold Case Files – Book 1 (The Crime Files)” by Netta Newbound

Embellished Deception cover

Embellished Deception: The Cold Case Files – Book 1 (The Crime Files)

by Netta Newbound

Genre: Contemporary Fiction/British

99¢ at time of posting! Kindle Unlimited!

A Gripping and Incredibly Moving Psychological Suspense Novel

Perfect for fans of Gone Girl and Girl on a Train.

When Geraldine MacIntyre’s marriage falls apart, she returns to her childhood home expecting her mother to welcome her with open arms. Instead, she finds all is not as it should be with her parents.

James Dunn, a successful private investigator and crime writer, is also back in his hometown, to help solve a recent spate of vicious rapes. He is thrilled to discover his ex-classmate, and love of his life, Geraldine, is back, minus the hubby, and sets out to get the girl. However, he isn’t the only interested bachelor in the quaint, country village. Has he left it too late?

Embellished Deception is a thrilling, heart-wrenching and thought provoking story of love, loss and deceit.

Warning – Graphic Rape Scene

All Netta’s books are British and use spellings from the British Oxford Dictionary.

Amazon KU

“Brand New Friend” by Kate Vane

Brand new Friend cover

Brand New Friend

by Kate Vane

Genre: Thriller & Suspense/Contemporary/Crime Fiction/Urban/British

99¢ at time posting! KINDLE COUNTDOWN!

What if the friendship that made you was based on a lie?

Wherever he went, Claire had got there first. Parties, protests, benefit gigs. He would never have joined the group if it hadn’t been for Claire. And if he hadn’t joined the group, maybe no one would have died.

Journalist Paolo Bennett gets a call from Mark, a friend and activist from his student days in the 80s. Mark has been exposed as a former undercover cop. And his police handler is lying dead in his garden.

Paolo isn’t sure if Mark’s a suspect or the intended victim. He walked away from the police to live among the people he once spied on. Who doesn’t want him dead?

Mark asks for his help but he isn’t making it easy, disappearing just as everyone wants answers. As Paolo investigates his own past, he has to ask himself some tough questions.

Why does he want to believe Mark, despite all his lies? Was their group linked to an unexplained death on campus?

And why does Paolo suspect, even now, that Claire knows more than he does?

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