#BookReview “Hunter’s Secret (The Edinburgh Crime Mysteries #5)” by Val Penny

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Two young boys stumble over a body while bike-riding home. When they return to the site with their parents and the police, the body is gone. The boys are thought pranksters at first, but blood evidence proves there was a body. It is never found.

Thirty years later, two coworkers out for morning exercise stumble upon a body at a muddy river’s edge. With a dead cellphone in an isolated area, the men leave the body to contact authorities. When they return, the body is gone.

At first glance, the only connection is WHO found the bodies. The first body was found by fifteen-year-old Hunter Wilson and his younger brother, Fraser.  The second body three decades later is found by DCs Tim Myerscough and Bear Zewedu, and their boss is… DI Hunter Wilson.

With the holidays fast approaching, Hunter wanted to clear as many cases as possible, but this newest case may not be one of them. His team will have to search through thirty years of missing person cases as he deals with thirty years of nightmares.

This is my first read by Val Penny and I enjoyed it! What seemed like a simple plot in the beginning took enough twists and turns to keep me guessing almost to the end.

I loved the characters… well, except for Arthur and his jerk brother. And Jamie was annoying, but everyone had distinct personalities and played off each other well.

Gender reassignment, the LGBTQ community, and racial issues are dealt with realistically without being preachy or heavy-handed. Family issues are a big part of the story and they’re honestly portrayed and at times, humorous.

Don’t know when I’ll get time to read the first four books in this series, but I’m definitely on board for the next case!

Enjoy!

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SYNOPSIS

Detective Inspector Hunter Wilson is called to the scene of a murder. DCs Tim Myerscough and Bear Zewedu found a corpse, but when Hunter arrives it has disappeared, and all is not as it seems.

Hunter recalls the disappearance of a dead body thirty years earlier. The Major Incident Team is called in but sees no connection – it is too long ago. Hunter is determined to investigate the past and the present with the benefit of modern DNA testing.

Tim has other problems in his life. His father, Sir Peter Myerscough, is released from jail. He, too, remembers the earlier murder. There is no love lost between Hunter and Sir Peter. Will Hunter accept help from his nemesis to catch a killer?

Hunter’s own secret is exciting and crucial to his future. Will it change his life? And can he keep Edinburgh safe?

Purchase Link myBook.to/hunterssecret

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G I V E A W A Y

Win a .mobi of Hunter’s Secret  by Val Penny

(Open INTERNATIONALLY)

hunters secret

E N T E R

*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 passed to the giveaway organizer and used only for fulfillment 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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#BookReview “Hunter’s Secret (The Edinburgh Crime Mysteries #5)” by Val Penny

cover

~~~

Two young boys stumble over a body while bike-riding home. When they return to the site with their parents and the police, the body is gone. The boys are thought pranksters at first, but blood evidence proves there was a body. It is never found.

Thirty years later, two coworkers out for morning exercise stumble upon a body at a muddy river’s edge. With a dead cellphone in an isolated area, the men leave the body to contact authorities. When they return, the body is gone.

At first glance, the only connection is WHO found the bodies. The first body was found by fifteen-year-old Hunter Wilson and his younger brother, Fraser.  The second body three decades later is found by DCs Tim Myerscough and Bear Zewedu, and their boss is… DI Hunter Wilson.

With the holidays fast approaching, Hunter wanted to clear as many cases as possible, but this newest case may not be one of them. His team will have to search through thirty years of missing person cases as he deals with thirty years of nightmares.

This is my first read by Val Penny and I enjoyed it! What seemed like a simple plot in the beginning took enough twists and turns to keep me guessing almost to the end.

I loved the characters… well, except for Arthur and his jerk brother. And Jamie was annoying, but everyone had distinct personalities and played off each other well.

Gender reassignment, the LGBTQ community, and racial issues are dealt with realistically without being preachy or heavy-handed. Family issues are a big part of the story and they’re honestly portrayed and at times, humorous.

Don’t know when I’ll get time to read the first four books in this series, but I’m definitely on board for the next case!

Enjoy!

~~~

SYNOPSIS

Detective Inspector Hunter Wilson is called to the scene of a murder. DCs Tim Myerscough and Bear Zewedu found a corpse, but when Hunter arrives it has disappeared, and all is not as it seems.

Hunter recalls the disappearance of a dead body thirty years earlier. The Major Incident Team is called in but sees no connection – it is too long ago. Hunter is determined to investigate the past and the present with the benefit of modern DNA testing.

Tim has other problems in his life. His father, Sir Peter Myerscough, is released from jail. He, too, remembers the earlier murder. There is no love lost between Hunter and Sir Peter. Will Hunter accept help from his nemesis to catch a killer?

Hunter’s own secret is exciting and crucial to his future. Will it change his life? And can he keep Edinburgh safe?

Purchase Link myBook.to/hunterssecret

~~~

 

G I V E A W A Y

Win a .mobi of Hunter’s Secret  by Val Penny

(Open INTERNATIONALLY)

hunters secret

E N T E R

*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 passed to the giveaway organizer and used only for fulfillment 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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#BlogTour “Hunter’s Secret (The Edinburgh Crime Mysteries #5)” by Val Penny

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cover

Detective Inspector Hunter Wilson is called to the scene of a murder. DCs Tim Myerscough and Bear Zewedu found a corpse, but when Hunter arrives it has disappeared, and all is not as it seems.

Hunter recalls the disappearance of a dead body thirty years earlier. The Major Incident Team is called in but sees no connection – it is too long ago. Hunter is determined to investigate the past and the present with the benefit of modern DNA testing.

Tim has other problems in his life. His father, Sir Peter Myerscough, is released from jail. He, too, remembers the earlier murder. There is no love lost between Hunter and Sir Peter. Will Hunter accept help from his nemesis to catch a killer?

Hunter’s own secret is exciting and crucial to his future. Will it change his life? And can he keep Edinburgh safe?

Purchase Link myBook.to/hunterssecret

~~~

 

G I V E A W A Y

Win a .mobi of Hunter’s Secret  by Val Penny

(Open INTERNATIONALLY)

hunters secret

E N T E R

*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 passed to the giveaway organizer and used only for fulfillment 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.

~~~

Author Bio val penny

Val Penny is an American author living in SW Scotland. She has two adult daughters of whom she is justly proud and lives with her husband and two cats. She has a Law degree from Edinburgh University and her MSc from Napier University. She has had many jobs including hairdresser, waitress, lawyer, banker, azalea farmer and lecturer. However she has not yet achieved either of her childhood dreams of being a ballet dancer or owning a candy store. Until those dreams come true, she has turned her hand to writing poetry, short stories and novels.

Her crime novels, Hunter’s Chase, Hunter’s Revenge, Hunter’s Force and Hunter’s Blood form the bestselling series The Edinburgh Crime Mysteries. They are set in Edinburgh, Scotland, published by Crooked Cat Books. The fifth novel in the series, Hunter’s Secret, is published by darkstroke. Her first non-fiction book, Let’s Get Published is available now.

Social Media Links

Twitter     |     Website     |     Facebook     | Facebook

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#BookTour “Eating the Forbidden Fruit” by Roland Sato Page

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Crime Fiction / Family Drama / Women’s Fiction
Date Published: March 30, 2020
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Eating the Forbidden Fruit is a gritty fiction novel loosely based on true events in author Roland Sato Page’s life. The newcomer author delivers a personal journey into his rise and demise as a St. Louis City Police Officer. He takes the readers on a roller coaster ride of good ole family memories to the nightmarish reality of being a police officer indicted on federal drug charges. During his trial, he wrote memoirs as a testimonial of redemption. Roland’s case stems from the conflict of his childhood affiliation and his oath to uphold the law. What is certain is one can’t run from sin for karma is much faster.

Purchase Link

Amazon

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About the Author

Roland Sato Page was born in Brooklyn New York in a military household with a mother from Osaka Japan and a combat trainer father with three war tours under his belt. He grew up in a well-disciplined home with five other siblings. As he got older his family relocated to St. Louis where the author planted his roots and also pursued a military life in the Army Reserves.

Roland married his high school sweetheart and started a family of four. Roland joined the St. Louis police department were his career was cut short when he was convicted of federal crimes due to his childhood affiliation.
After enduring his demise he rebounded becoming a famed a tattoo artist opening Pearl Gallery Tattoos in downtown St. Louis Mo. The company grew into a family business yet another unfortunate incident tested his fate. He was diagnosed with Lupus which halted his body art career. However, with tragedy comes blessings. Roland’s sons took over the business and propelled the shop to a higher level. Roland consumed with depression began writing to occupy the time. With a newfound passion, he traded visual art for literary art. 
Contact Links

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RABT Book Tours & PR

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#BookBlitz “Eating the Forbidden Fruit” by Roland Sato Page

 

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coverCrime Fiction / Family Drama / Women’s Fiction
Date Published: March 30, 2020
Goodreads Button
Eating the Forbidden Fruit is a gritty fiction novel loosely based on true events in author Roland Sato Page’s life. The newcomer author delivers a personal journey into his rise and demise as a St. Louis City Police Officer. He takes the readers on a roller coaster ride of good ole family memories to the nightmarish reality of being a police officer indicted on federal drug charges. During his trial, he wrote memoirs as a testimonial of redemption. Roland’s case stems from the conflict of his childhood affiliation and his oath to uphold the law. What is certain is one can’t run from sin for karma is much faster.

Purchase Link

Amazon

~~~

About the Author

Roland Sato Page was born in Brooklyn New York in a military household with a mother from Osaka Japan and a combat trainer father with three war tours under his belt. He grew up in a well-disciplined home with five other siblings. As he got older his family relocated to St. Louis where the author planted his roots and also pursued a military life in the Army Reserves.

Roland married his high school sweetheart and started a family of four. Roland joined the St. Louis police department where his career was cut short when he was convicted of federal crimes due to his childhood affiliation.
After enduring his career’s demise, he rebounded, becoming a famed a tattoo artist opening Pearl Gallery Tattoos in downtown St. Louis Mo. The company grew into a family business, yet another unfortunate incident tested his fate. He was diagnosed with Lupus which halted his body art career. However, with tragedy comes blessings. Roland’s sons took over the business and propelled the shop to a higher level. Roland consumed with depression began writing to occupy the time. With a newfound passion, he traded visual art for literary art. 
Contact Links

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RABT Book Tours & PR

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#GuestPost “Dirty Old Town” by Gabriel Valjan

Dirty Old Town by Gabriel Valjan Banneron Tour March 1 – April 30, 2020

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Crime in Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood

 1968, the year I was born, was an apocalyptic year, according to my high Gabriel Valjanschool English teacher. We had a half-hour class one day before lunch, which was too little time to do much, so we shot the breeze with her. Most of my classmates in the Eighties were born within a year or two, give or take, of each other. We were born during the time she was a graduate student at Columbia studying the poetry of William Blake. If you read Thomas Harris’s Red Dragon, then you know William Blake didn’t paint sunflowers and wheat fields. The way she spoke, the serious tone in her voice is something I’ll never forget. She said 1968 was the one year in her life that she thought the world would end. Assassinations. Vietnam. A pallor of cynicism and despair clung to everything, she told us.

She did say, however, that when Walter Cronkite, the legendary journalist for CBS Evening News and an outspoken war-hawk, questioned political and military leaders about American involvement in Vietnam, there was a short-lived sliver of hope that even the venerable Cronkite was willing to admit that the government had lied to the public. People, she said, thought there might be a change. There wasn’t. Her comments that day haunted me for years.

The Eighties never spoke to me. Yes, like some of my peers, I enjoyed the films of John Hughes, and I can appreciate the soundtrack to the film and musical Rock of Ages, but the Seventies offered more to my imagination as a writer. The film Three Days of the Condor shows the dirty and gritty Manhattan I knew as a child. Times Square then was surreal, and not for the porn theatres but the street life, the ‘characters’ who walked the sidewalk. Fort Apache, The Bronx wasn’t just a movie with Paul Newman, but as real a place and as vivid as graffiti spray-painted on subway cars, while they were still moving and packed with people. I remember when SNL first aired. I remember the Summer of ’77, the heat wave and blackout, and how the Son of Sam terrorized New York City. I remember the day Etan Patz disappeared.

Readers of my Shane Cleary series will revisit the Seventies, but experience a different city. Boston. My choice of city is a bold one since I’m walking in the shadows of literary heavyweights such as George V. Higgins, Robert B. Parker, and Dennis Lehane, but I think I can offer something new and different to fans of crime fiction. I offer readers a principled main character, a person you would want to have your back. I’ll also take readers into parts of Boston that the authors I’ve named did not write about. I will show readers how the 1970s were fascinating and that Boston was every bit as corrupt and tough as any other urban city in America; in fact, many of the social issues then are still with us today.

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Synopsis:

Dirty Old Town by Gabriel Valjan

“Robert B. Parker would stand and cheer, and George V. Higgins would join the ovation. This is a terrific book–tough, smart, spare, and authentic. Gabriel Valjan is a true talent–impressive and skilled–providing knock-out prose, a fine-tuned sense of place and sleekly wry style.”– Hank Phillippi Ryan, nationally bestselling author of The Murder List

Shane Cleary, a PI in a city where the cops want him dead, is tough, honest and broke. When he’s asked to look into a case of blackmail, the money is too good for him to refuse, even though the client is a snake and his wife is the woman who stomped on Shane’s heart years before. When a fellow vet and Boston cop with a secret asks Shane to find a missing person, the paying gig and the favor for a friend lead Shane to an arsonist, mobsters, a shady sports agent, and Boston’s deadliest hitman, the Barbarian. With both criminals and cops out to get him, the pressure is on for Shane to put all the pieces together before time runs out.

Book Details:

Genre: Crime Fiction, Mystery, Procedural, Historical Fiction

Published by: Level Best Books

Publication Date: January 14th 2020

Number of Pages: 162

ISBN: 1087857325 (ISBN13: 9781087857329)

Series: A Shane Cleary Mystery

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

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Read an excerpt:

The phone rang. Not that I heard it at first, but Delilah, who was lying next to me, kicked me in the ribs. Good thing she did because a call, no matter what the hour, meant business, and my cat had a better sense of finances than I did. Rent was overdue on the apartment, and we were living out of my office in downtown Boston to avoid my landlord in the South End. The phone trilled. Again, and again, it rang. I staggered through the darkness to the desk and picked up the receiver. Out of spite I didn’t say a word. I’d let the caller who’d ruined my sleep start the conversation. “Mr. Shane Cleary?” a gruff voice asked. “Maybe.” The obnoxious noise in my ear indicated the phone had been handed to someone else. The crusty voice was playing operator for the real boss. “Shane, old pal. It’s BB.” Dread as ancient as the schoolyard blues spread through me. Those familiar initials also made me think of monogrammed towels and cufflinks. I checked the clock. “Brayton Braddock. Remember me?” “It’s two in the morning, Bray. What do you want?” Calling him Bray was intended as a jab, to remind him his name was one syllable away from the sound of a jackass. BB was what he’d called himself when we were kids, because he thought it was cool. It wasn’t. He thought it made him one of the guys. It didn’t, but that didn’t stop him. Money creates delusions. Old money guarantees them. “I need your help.” “At this hour?” “Don’t be like that.” “What’s this about, Bray?” Delilah meowed at my feet and did figure eights around my legs. My gal was telling me I was dealing with a snake, and she preferred I didn’t take the assignment, no matter how much it paid us. But how could I not listen to Brayton Braddock III? I needed the money. Delilah and I were both on a first-name basis with Charlie the Tuna, given the number of cans of Starkist around the office. Anyone who told you poverty was noble is a damn fool. “I’d rather talk about this in person, Shane.” I fumbled for pen and paper. “When and where?” “Beacon Hill. My driver is on his way.” “But—” I heard the click. I could’ve walked from my office to the Hill. I turned on the desk light and answered the worried eyes and mew. “Looks like we both might have some high-end kibble in our future, Dee.” She understood what I’d said. Her body bumped the side of my leg. She issued plaintive yelps of disapproval. The one opinion I wanted, from the female I trusted most, and she couldn’t speak human. I scraped my face smooth with a tired razor and threw on a clean dress shirt, blue, and slacks, dark and pressed. I might be poor, but my mother and then the military had taught me dignity and decency at all times. I dressed conservatively, never hip or loud. Another thing the Army taught me was not to stand out. Be the gray man in any group. It wasn’t like Braddock and his milieu understood contemporary fashion, widespread collars, leisure suits, or platform shoes. I choose not to wear a tie, just to offend his Brahmin sensibilities. Beacon Hill was where the Elites, the Movers and Shakers in Boston lived, as far back to the days of John Winthrop. At this hour, I expected Braddock in nothing less than bespoke Parisian couture. I gave thought as to whether I should carry or not. I had enemies, and a .38 snub-nose under my left armpit was both insurance and deodorant. Not knowing how long I’d be gone, I fortified Delilah with the canned stuff. She kept time better than any of the Bruins referees and there was always a present outside the penalty box when I ran overtime with her meals. I meted out extra portions of tuna and the last of the dry food for her. I checked the window. A sleek Continental slid into place across the street. I admired the chauffeur’s skill at mooring the leviathan. He flashed the headlights to announce his arrival. Impressed that he knew that I knew he was there, I said goodbye, locked and deadbolted the door for the walk down to Washington Street and the car. Outside the air, severe and cold as the city’s forefathers, slapped my cheeks numb. Stupid me had forgotten gloves. My fingers were almost blue. Good thing the car was yards away, idling, the exhaust rising behind it. I cupped my hands and blew hot air into them and crossed the street. I wouldn’t dignify poor planning on my part with a sprint. Minimal traffic. Not a word from him or me during the ride. Boston goes to sleep at 12:30 a.m. Public transit does its last call at that hour. Checkered hacks scavenge the streets for fares in the small hours before sunrise. The other side of the city comes alive then, before the rest of the town awakes, before whatever time Mr. Coffee hits the filter and grounds. While men and women who slept until an alarm clock sprung them forward into another day, another repeat of their daily routine, the sitcom of their lives, all for the hallelujah of a paycheck, another set of people moved, with their ties yanked down, shirts and skirts unbuttoned, and tails pulled up and out. The night life, the good life was on. The distinguished set in search of young flesh migrated to the Chess Room on the corner of Tremont and Boylston Streets, and a certain crowd shifted down to the Playland on Essex, where drag queens, truck drivers, and curious college boys mixed more than drinks. The car was warmer than my office and the radio dialed to stultifying mood music. Light from one of the streetlamps revealed a business card on the seat next to me. I reviewed it: Braddock’s card, the usual details on the front, a phone number in ink. A man’s handwriting on the back when I turned it over. I pocketed it. All I saw in front of me from my angle in the backseat was a five-cornered hat, not unlike a policeman’s cover, and a pair of black gloves on the wheel. On the occasion of a turn, I was given a profile. No matinee idol there and yet his face looked as familiar as the character actor whose name escapes you. I’d say he was mid-thirties, about my height, which is a liar’s hair under six-foot, and the spread of his shoulders hinted at a hundred-eighty pounds, which made me feel self-conscious and underfed because I’m a hundred-sixty in shoes. He eased the car to a halt, pushed a button, and the bolt on my door shot upright. Job or no job, I never believed any man was another man’s servant. I thanked him and I watched the head nod. Outside on the pavement, the cold air knifed my lungs. A light turned on. The glow invited me to consider the flight of stairs with no railing. Even in their architecture, Boston’s aristocracy reminded everyone that any form of ascent needed assistance. A woman took my winter coat, and a butler said hello. I recognized his voice from the phone. He led and I followed. Wide shoulders and height were apparently in vogue because Braddock had chosen the best from the catalog for driver and butler. I knew the etiquette that came with class distinction. I would not be announced, but merely allowed to slip in. Logs in the fireplace crackled. Orange and red hues flickered against all the walls. Cozy and intimate for him, a room in hell for me. Braddock waited there, in his armchair, Hefner smoking jacket on. I hadn’t seen the man in almost ten years, but I’ll give credit where it’s due. His parents had done their bit after my mother’s death before foster care swallowed me up. Not so much as a birthday or Christmas card from them or their son since then, and now their prince was calling on me. Not yet thirty, Braddock manifested a decadence that came with wealth. A pronounced belly, round as a teapot, and when he stood up, I confronted an anemic face, thin lips, and a receding hairline. Middle-age, around the corner for him, suggested a bad toupee and a nubile mistress, if he didn’t have one already. He approached me and did a boxer’s bob and weave. I sparred when I was younger. The things people remembered about you always surprised me. Stuck in the past, and yet Braddock had enough presence of mind to know my occupation and drop the proverbial dime to call me. “Still got that devastating left hook?” he asked. “I might.” “I appreciate your coming on short notice.” He indicated a chair, but I declined. “I have a situation,” he said. He pointed to a decanter of brandy. “Like some…Henri IV Heritage, aged in oak for a century.” He headed for the small bar to pour me some of his precious Heritage. His drink sat on a small table next to his chair. The decanter waited for him on a liquor caddy with a glass counter and a rotary phone. I reacquainted myself with the room and décor. I had forgotten how high the ceilings were in these brownstones. The only warm thing in the room was the fire. The heating bill here alone would’ve surpassed the mortgage payment my parents used to pay on our place. The marble, white as it was, was sepulchral. Two nude caryatids for the columns in the fireplace had their eyes closed. The Axminster carpet underfoot, likely an heirloom from one of Cromwell’s cohorts in the family tree, displayed a graphic hunting scene. I took one look at the decanter, saw all the studded diamonds, and knew Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton would have done the set number of paces with a pair of hand-wrought dueling pistols to own it. Bray handed me a snifter of brandy and resumed his place in his chair. I placed my drink on the mantel. “Tell me more about this situation you have.” “Quite simple, really. Someone in my company is blackmailing me.” “And which company is that?” “Immaterial at the moment. Please do take a seat.” I declined his attempt at schmooze. This wasn’t social. This was business. “If you know who it is,” I said, “and you want something done about it, I’d recommend the chauffeur without reservation, or is it that you’re not a hundred percent sure?” I approached Bray and leaned down to talk right into his face. I did it out of spite. One of the lessons I’d learned is that the wealthy are an eccentric and paranoid crowd. Intimacy and germs rank high on their list of phobias. “I’m confident I’ve got the right man.” Brayton swallowed some of his expensive liquor. “Then go to the police and set up a sting.” “I’d like to have you handle the matter for me.” “I’m not muscle, Brayton. Let’s be clear about that. You mean to say a man of your position doesn’t have any friends on the force to do your dirty work?” “Like you have any friends there?” I threw a hand onto each of the armrests and stared into his eyes. Any talk about the case that bounced me off the police force and into the poorhouse soured my disposition. I wanted the worm to squirm. “Watch it, Bray. Old bones ought to stay buried. I can walk right out that door.” “That was uncalled for, and I’m sorry,” he said. “This is a clean job.” Unexpected. The man apologized for the foul. I had thought the word “apology” had been crossed out in his family dictionary. I backed off and let him breathe and savor his brandy. I needed the job. The money. I didn’t trust Bray as a kid, nor the man the society pages said saved New England with his business deals and largesse. “Let’s talk about this blackmail then,” I said. “Think one of your employees isn’t happy with their Christmas bonus?” He bolted upright from his armchair. “I treat my people well.” Sensitive, I thought and went to say something else, when I heard a sound behind me, and then I smelled her perfume. Jasmine, chased with the sweet burn of bourbon. I closed my eyes, and when I opened them I saw his smug face. “You remember Cat, don’t you?” “How could I not?” I said and kissed the back of the hand offered to me. Cat always took matters one step forward. She kissed me on the cheek, close enough that I could feel her against me. She withdrew and her scent stuck to me. Cat was the kind of woman who did all the teaching and you were grateful for the lessons. Here we were, all these years later, the three of us in one room, in the middle of the night. “Still enjoy those film noir movies?” she asked. “Every chance I get.” “I’m glad you came at my husband’s request.” The word husband hurt. I had read about their marriage in the paper. “I think you should leave, dear, and let the men talk,” her beloved said. His choice of words amused me as much as it did her, from the look she gave me. I never would have called her “dear” in public or close quarters. You don’t dismiss her, either. “Oh please,” she told her husband. “My sensibility isn’t that delicate and it’s not like I haven’t heard business discussed. Shane understands confidentiality and discretion. You also forget a wife can’t be forced to testify against her husband. Is this yours, Shane?” she asked about the snifter on the brandy on the mantel. I nodded. “I’ll keep it warm for you.” She leaned against the mantel for warmth. She nosed the brandy and closed her eyes. When they opened, her lips parted in a sly smile, knowing her power. Firelight illuminated the length of her legs and my eyes traveled. Braddock noticed and he screwed himself into his chair and gave her a venomous look. “Why the look, darling?” she said. “You know Shane and I have history.” Understatement. She raised the glass. Her lips touched the rim and she took the slightest sip. Our eyes met again and I wanted a cigarette, but I’d quit the habit. I relished the sight until Braddock broke the spell. He said, “I’m being blackmailed over a pending business deal.” “Blackmail implies dirty laundry you don’t want aired,” I said. “What kind of deal?” “Nothing I thought was that important,” he said. “Somebody thinks otherwise.” “This acquisition does have certain aspects that, if exposed, would shift public opinion, even though it’s completely aboveboard.” Braddock sipped and stared at me while that expensive juice went down his throat. “All legit, huh,” I said. “Again, what kind of acquisition?” “Real estate.” “The kind of deal where folks in this town receive an eviction notice?” He didn’t answer that. As a kid, I’d heard how folks in the West End were tossed out and the Bullfinch Triangle was razed to create Government Center, a modern and brutal Stonehenge, complete with tiered slabs of concrete and glass. Scollay Square disappeared overnight. Gone were the restaurants and the watering holes, the theaters where the Booth brothers performed, and burlesque and vaudeville coexisted. Given short notice, a nominal sum that was more symbolic than anything else, thousands of working-class families had to move or face the police who were as pleasant and diplomatic as the cops at the Chicago Democratic National Convention. I didn’t say I’d accept the job. I wanted Braddock to simmer and knew how to spike his temperature. I reclaimed my glass from Cat. She enjoyed that. “Pardon me,” I said to her. “Not shy about sharing a glass, I hope.” “Not at all.” I let Bray Braddock cook. If he could afford to drink centennial grape juice then he could sustain my contempt. I gulped his cognac to show what a plebe I was, and handed the glass back to Cat with a wink. She walked to the bar and poured herself another splash, while I questioned my future employer. “Has this blackmailer made any demands? Asked for a sum?” “None,” Braddock answered. “But he knows details about your acquisition?” I asked. “He relayed a communication.” Braddock yelled out to his butler, who appeared faster than recruits I’d known in Basic Training. The man streamed into the room, gave Braddock two envelopes, and exited with an impressive gait. Braddock handed me one of the envelopes. I opened it. I fished out a thick wad of paperwork. Photostats. Looking them over, I saw names and figures and dates. Accounting. “Xeroxes,” Braddock said. “They arrived in the mail.” “Copies? What, carbon copies aren’t good enough for you?” “We’re beyond the days of the hand-cranked mimeograph machine, Shane. My partners and I have spared no expense to implement the latest technology in our offices.” I examined pages. “Explain to me in layman’s terms what I’m looking at, the abridged version, or I’ll be drinking more of your brandy.” The magisterial hand pointed to the decanter. “Help yourself.” “No thanks.” “Those copies are from a ledger for the proposed deal. Keep them. Knowledgeable eyes can connect names there to certain companies, to certain men, which in turn lead to friends in high places, and I think you can infer the rest. Nothing illegal, mind you, but you know how things get, if they find their way into the papers. Yellow journalism has never died out.” I pocketed the copies. “It didn’t die out, on account of your people using it to underwrite the Spanish-American War. If what you have here is fair-and-square business, then your problem is public relations—a black eye the barbershops on Madison Ave can pretty up in the morning. I don’t do PR, Mr. Braddock. What is it you think I can do for you?” “Ascertain the identity of the blackmailer.” “Then you aren’t certain of…never mind. And what do I do when I ascertain that identity?” “Nothing. I’ll do the rest.” “Coming from you, that worries me, seeing how your people have treated the peasants, historically speaking.” Brayton didn’t say a word to that. “And that other envelope in your lap?” I asked. The balding halo on the top of his head revealed itself when he looked down at the envelope. Those sickly lips parted when he faced me. I knew I would hate the answer. Cat stood behind him. She glanced at me then at the figure of a dog chasing a rabbit on the carpet. “Envelope contains the name of a lead, an address, and a generous advance. Cash.” Brayton tossed it my way. The envelope, fat as a fish, hit me. I caught it. *** Excerpt from Dirty Old Town by Gabriel Valjan. Copyright 2020 by Gabriel Valjan. Reproduced with permission from Gabriel Valjan. All rights reserved.

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Author Bio:

Gabriel Valjan Gabriel is the author of two series, Roma and Company Files, with Winter Goose Publishing. Dirty Old Town is the first in the Shane Cleary series for Level Best Books. His short stories have appeared online, in journals, and in several anthologies. He has been a finalist for the Fish Prize, shortlisted for the Bridport Prize, and received an Honorable Mention for the Nero Wolfe Black Orchid Novella Contest in 2018. You can find him on Twitter (@GValjan) and Instagram (gabrielvaljan). He lurks the hallways at crime fiction conferences, such as Bouchercon, Malice Domestic, and New England Crime Bake. Gabriel is a lifetime member of Sisters in Crime.

Catch Up With Gabriel Valjan On: GabrielValjan.com, Goodreads, BookBub, Instagram, Twitter, & Facebook

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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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Enter To Win!

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Gabriel Valjan. There will be 1 winner of one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card. The giveaway begins on March 1, 2020 and runs through May 2, 2020. Void where prohibited.

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#BookSale “Vegas Lies (“Lies” Mystery Thriller Series Book 3)” by Andrew Cunningham

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**For a limited time, get ALL LIES, VEGAS LIES and SECRETS & LIES for 2.99 each**

Five teenage girls from a small town in Oregon disappear without a trace.

Were they kidnapped, or have the five friends perpetrated a massive hoax? Nine hundred miles away in Las Vegas, a woman with a dark secret vanishes on her way to meet friends for dinner.

Those friends are Del Honeycutt and bestselling mystery author Sabrina Spencer, in Las Vegas for a book convention. As Del and Sabrina investigate their friend’s disappearance, they are convinced that she has been abducted, and they begin to uncover the secrets that might have triggered her abduction, secrets that now put Del and Sabrina’s lives in jeopardy.

When clues indicate that the five missing girls might also be in Las Vegas, the situation takes a new turn, directly into the unthinkable.

Once again, Del and Sabrina find themselves in deep trouble and marked for death, and they only have a few hours to solve the case or their friend and the five young girls will be gone forever.

KINDLE UNLIMITED

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#Review “Geraldine” by John Mead

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4/5 Stars!

Hate crimes or serial killer? Is there a difference?

I went back and forth in the beginning as much as Matthew Merry and Julie Lukula.

But then the cracks start forming.

A body washes up on-shore, acid attacks, shot gun blasts… that’s a lot of hate.

We are the sum of our experiences—or lack of, and when betrayal and ridicule come into play, the curtain is lifted on the ugly grittiness of a world most see simply as entertainment, and it’s those experiences that will turn someone into a killer.

Geraldine is a solid read with good characters and a strong plot, but I enjoyed getting to know the team as the story played out. These are not perfect Bond-type investigators. Life is chaotic and intrusive but you still have to do your job.

As if gender identity and sexual orientation weren’t enough, another timely and relevant issue runs as a sub-plot in Geraldine and is handled well and realistically. No tidy endings in a pretty bow. Life is messy. Kudos to the author.

Crime fiction readers will enjoy this quick read and I recommend it.

Enjoy!

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Hatred is such a nasty thing – we all deplore it in others but do not necessarily recognise it in ourselves. At what point does resentment, jealousy, betrayal or humiliation turn into anger and then grow to an all-consuming hatred? Hatred can be slow, taking years to fester, or can explode in seconds – it can linger for a lifetime or wither in seconds of its conception.

Inspector Matthew Merry and Sergeant Julie Lukula have to deal with the consequences of violence and murder on a daily basis and in the case of Gerry Driver they both see that hatred is the prime motive. But is it, as Julie thinks, one of a series of hate crimes that has led to this killing? Or, is Matthew right in saying, ‘Driver’s death is undoubtedly a hate filled crime, but I’m just not convinced that there are sufficient links to suggest it is part of a pattern of hate crimes.’

Only time and their investigation, which takes as many twists and turns as the Thames does along it course through London and past Wapping Old Stairs, will tell.

Purchase Links

Amazon UK

Amazon US

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Giveaway

Win one of 3 Paperback copies of Geraldine by John Mead (UK Only)

E N T E R

*Terms and Conditions –UK 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 organizer and used only for fulfillment 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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#BlogTour “Geraldine” by John Mead

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Hatred is such a nasty thing – we all deplore it in others but do not necessarily recognise it in ourselves. At what point does resentment, jealousy, betrayal or humiliation turn into anger and then grow to an all-consuming hatred? Hatred can be slow, taking years to fester, or can explode in seconds – it can linger for a lifetime or wither in seconds of its conception.

Inspector Matthew Merry and Sergeant Julie Lukula have to deal with the consequences of violence and murder on a daily basis and in the case of Gerry Driver they both see that hatred is the prime motive. But is it, as Julie thinks, one of a series of hate crimes that has led to this killing? Or, is Matthew right in saying, ‘Driver’s death is undoubtedly a hate filled crime, but I’m just not convinced that there are sufficient links to suggest it is part of a pattern of hate crimes.’

Only time and their investigation, which takes as many twists and turns as the Thames does along it course through London and past Wapping Old Stairs, will tell.

Purchase Links

Amazon UK

Amazon US

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Extracts

‘She was obviously attractive when alive,’ Matthew noted out loud. Her shoulder length, light brown hair was still wet and clung to the woman’s face, exaggerating the finely drawn cheeks and chin. Her thin lips were pulled back slightly, showing a glint of evenly spaced teeth in the residual of a smile. Not a beautiful face, he thought, but a pleasant one denoting a strong character. The body was slim, narrow hips, with long legs. Her breasts where fulsome and still filled her bodice making him wonder if they had been cosmetically enlarged, as the silicon would preserve their shape even while she was supine. Only her feet were overly large for her size and, without shoes, looked out of place. Her whole, otherwise elegant, appearance in a smart blue, knee length dress was marred by bruising around her neck, the signs of strangulation in her face and the greyish blue colouring of her glistening, wet skin.

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The inspector recalled studying Geraldine’s face at close quarters and, even after she’d been dead a few hours, there had been no sign of Gerry to give the game away. Such was the persuasiveness of Gerry’s impersonation that he had tricked death into accepting him as Geraldine.

 

John MeadAuthor Bio

John was born in the mid-fifties in East London, on part of the largest council estate ever built, and was the first pupil from his local secondary modern school to attend university. He has now taken early retirement to write, having spent the first part of his life working in education and the public sector. He was the director of a college, a senior school inspector for a local authority, and was head of a unit for young people with physical and mental health needs.

He has travelled extensively, from America to Tibet, and he enjoys visiting the theatre, reading and going to the pub. It is, perhaps, no surprise that he is an avid ‘people watcher’ and loves to find out about people, their lives, culture and history. When he is not travelling, going to the theatre or the pub; he writes.

Many of the occurrences recounted and the characters found in his novels are based on real incidents and people he has come across. Although he has allowed himself a wide degree of poetic licence in writing about the main characters, their motivations and the killings that are depicted.

John is currently working on a series of novels set in modern day London. These police procedurals examine the darker side of modern life in the East End of the city.

Social Media Links

Twitter

Amazon author profile

Goodreads profile

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Giveaway

Win one of 3 Paperback copies of Geraldine by John Mead (UK Only)

E N T E R

*Terms and Conditions –UK 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 organizer and used only for fulfillment 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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#BlogTour “Am I Guilty?” by Jackie Kabler

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A mother’s job is to protect her child…but everyone makes mistakes.

I never thought it would happen to me…

One moment I had it all – a gorgeous husband, a beautiful home, a fulfilling career and two adorable children. The next, everything came crashing down around me.

They said it was my fault. They said I’m the worst mother in the world. And even though I can’t remember what happened that day, they wouldn’t lie to me. These are my friends, my family, people I trust.

But then why do I have this creeping sensation that something is wrong? Why do I feel like people are keeping secrets? Am I really as guilty as they say? And if I’m not, what will happen when the truth comes out…?

Is your book part of a series or standalone? Standalone.

Are there any possible trigger warnings that bloggers/readers need to be aware of? The book is about a murdered child.

Purchase Links

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Jackie KablerAuthor Bio

Jackie Kabler was born in Coventry but spent much of her childhood in Ireland. She worked as a newspaper reporter and then a television news correspondent for twenty years, spending nearly a decade on GMTV followed by stints with ITN and BBC News. During that time, she covered major stories around the world including the Kosovo crisis, the impeachment of President Clinton, the Asian tsunami, famine in Ethiopia, the Soham murders and the disappearance of Madeleine McCann. Jackie now divides her time between crime writing and her job as a presenter on shopping channel QVC. She has a degree in zoology, runs long distances for fun and lives in Gloucestershire with her husband.

 Social Media Links

Twitter

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Facebook

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GIVEAWAY

Win a Signed Copy of Am I Guilty? (Open Internationally)

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E N T E R

*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 organizer and used only for fulfillment 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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