#BookTour “The Pine Barrens Stratagem: From the Case Files of Steve Rockfish” by Ken Harris

February 1-28, 2022 Virtual Book Tour

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Synopsis:

 

Private Investigator Steve Rockfish needs cash, like yesterday. The bad news is that yesterday, a global pandemic raged, and Maryland was headed toward a lockdown that would ultimately lead to cheating spouses no longer “working late,” and hence a lack of new clients.

Rockfish’s luck changes when a Hollywood producer reaches out, but the job is two states away and involves digging up information on a child trafficking ring from the 1940s. What he uncovers will be used to support the launch of a true crime docuseries. He grabs a mask, hand sanitizer and heads for South Jersey.

On-site, Rockfish meets Jawnie McGee, the great granddaughter of a local policeman gone missing while investigating the original crimes. As the duo uncover more clues, they learn the same criminal alliance has reformed to use the pandemic as a conduit to defraud the Federal Government of that sweet, sweet, stimulus money.

It’s not long before the investigation turns up some key intel on a myriad of illicit activity over the last eighty years and Rockfish rockets toward a showdown with the mafia, local archdiocese and dirty cops. COVID-19 isn’t the only threat to his health.

Book Details:

Genre: Crime Thriller

Published by: Black Rose Writing

Publication Date: January 27th 2022

Number of Pages: 250

ISBN: 1684338719 (ISBN13: 9781684338719)

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

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Read an excerpt:

Rockfish sat in the Scion’s passenger seat while Jawnie drove. He wasn’t thrilled with the decision, but she was adamant that some of the dirt roads, deep within the Pine Barrens, were no place for a Dodge Challenger. Plus, she didn’t feel like playing navigator. In the end, Rockfish decided not to put up much of a fight, considering Jawnie was more than a little familiar with where they were headed, although he had second thoughts with the four cases of whiplash he had suffered before even reaching the highway.

“Do you drive with two feet,” he asked. “Because my head can’t keep jerking forward and slamming back much more. Unless you’re running an insurance scam, and if so, what would be my take?”

“Enough with the backseat driving, and can you put your visor back up? That late afternoon glare off the mirror is killing me.”

“Make a deal with you. You drive how you want. I’ll keep an eye on our surroundings the way I want. Speaking of which, can you move this right-side passenger mirror a little more to the right, all I’m seeing is the rear fender.”

“You got it,” Jawnie said, and she played with the mirror control until Rockfish let her know it was right where he needed it. He could monitor anyone approaching from behind without having to turn around.

“I do want to fill you in on something I learned before we left,” Rockfish said. “When you went into the house to fix those sandwiches, I reached out to a guy I know in the Baltimore PD, Dan Decker. He’s an old friend and helps me out when he can. He’s going to have one of their academy cadets do some research for us and see if there is anything more than a current history between the Marini and Provolone families. The Marini’s have run Baltimore as long as the Provolone’s have this area. If Edward’s notation of the two factions working together has anything to it, Decker will let us know. He said currently both families have worked together when it was profitable to do so. Sound familiar?”

“Yeah, same M.O. as our knuckle draggers and kid touchers,” Jawnie replied.

Rockfish was happy to learn Jawnie’s disdain for organized religion matched his own. “Well put. But if there is a history there, what are the odds that some wealthy, non-fertile Baltimore Catholics would be willing to pony up some cash to right the situation. And Edward was witness to it all?”

They drove in silence over the next twenty minutes, Rockfish trying to figure out exactly what he expected to find in a fifty-four-year-old decrepit building in the middle of the woods. He hadn’t arrived at a conclusion yet when something very familiar came into focus.

“Remember when you asked me about knowing when you’re being followed?” Rockfish said.

“Yeah, I just chalked it up to anxiety and paranoia. It comes standard on the Millennial base model.”

“Guess what? We are,” Rockfish deadpanned. “Don’t do a damn thing different and let me think for a second. There’s a Jeep Grand Cherokee, right now, two cars back that’s been with us since we pulled off the highway when I was telling you what Decker said.”

Rockfish pulled out a scrap of paper and jotted down the license plate.

“I’ll ask Decker to run this, if they end up sticking on our ass the whole way. I could be a tad paranoid, but I’d rather err on the side of caution. Just keep doing what you’re doing, and I’ll tell you if evasive actions become necessary. We’ll start you slow and work our way up to the infamous private eye J-turn.”

Ten minutes later, the Scion crossed the Hammonton City line and Rockfish lost sight of the Jeep. He had Jawnie drive a couple of concentric circles around the downtown area, before heading out on County Route 542 which, according to her, would point them towards the southern part of Wharton State Forest and the abandoned orphanage.

Rockfish spotted the Jeep, only a second or two after it turned on Route 542 from a side street.

“Company’s back,” Rockfish said. “I guess when we hit these dirt roads you mentioned, we’ll see how serious they are.”

When the Scion’s tires soon left the asphalt, and began rolling down the slightly larger than single lane dirt road, the Jeep’s true intentions came to light. No longer concerned about being spotted, the Jeep’s speed increased until it was only a few feet from Jawnie’s bumper. Rockfish’s head swiveled from the Jeep and back to his pilot. He needed to stay calm, but Jawnie looked petrified, and while her hands had a death grip on the wheel, they were also visibly shaking.

“Jawnie, listen to me and we’ll be alright.”

She didn’t say a word, but Rockfish could feel the car slowing down. Screw her feelings, he thought and began giving orders.

“Put your foot back on the gas. You need to keep a constant speed.” And then a minute later. “Stay in the center, don’t give them space to get alongside of us.” Lastly, he shouted. “The center I said!” His voice gave out with that last outburst and he knew she heard the fear in it.

Rockfish swore as the Jeep slammed into their back bumper. “That a girl, keep her straight! Gas, give it some—”

The rear windshield exploded, shards of safety glass like small pellets peppered the interior of the car. Jawnie screamed and instinctively yanked the wheel to the left. Likewise, Rockfish now yelled in order to be heard.

“Foot off the gas! Steer into it!”

Rockfish wasn’t sure how he got through to Jawnie, but she listened, and the Scion straightened back up and they were rocketing straight down the dirt road once again. But before he could congratulate his pupil, the Jeep was now angling to get alongside; the Scion drifting dangerously close to the right shoulder, or lack thereof. Rockfish turned and looked out the driver’s side rear window. He could clearly see the Jeep’s front end.

In the next instant, they were sliding again, Jawnie’s foot slammed on the brake and the Jeep’s right fender nudged the Scion’s left rear. Brakes squealed, and tires howled as dirt, dust and burnt rubber filled their lungs.

“Hold on, hold on, hold on!” It was all he managed to say, but her eyes told him she was a million miles away. Rockfish closed his and braced for impact.

The car spun violently to the left, a hundred and eighty degrees, and his head whipped left and then right, slamming against the window. The seatbelt dug into his chest and he had trouble breathing. A second later, the earth beneath the car’s right side began to give way and the Scion slid into a ditch before coming to a stop.

By the time Rockfish opened his eyes and turned around, the taillights from the Jeep had disappeared into the distance.

* * * * * * * * * *

“That settles it, I’m going to the police now! They, someone, fuck I don’t know who just tried to kill us!” Jawnie said. “Look at my car! Who’s going to pay for this? Not like we’re exchanging fucking information with them!” Her mask was around her neck and Rockfish could see the tears.

Rockfish took a second before he replied. His partner was still in shock, borderline hysterical, and he didn’t want to push her over the edge, unlike the car they pulled themselves from. The Jeep had performed a textbook pit maneuver and Rockfish bet Jawnie wasn’t a big fan of Cops or Live PD. Hence, her jumping straight to attempted murder.

“Now hold on Jawnie,” Rockfish said. “You’re not hurt, right? That seatbelt and airbag did their jobs?”

“Of course, but—”

“No buts about it. Your chest might be a little sore tomorrow from that belt, your eyes swollen from the air bag, and more importantly, you’ll never forget your first chase. But seriously, no one tried to kill us. If they had wanted us dead, we’d be bleeding out from gunshot wounds. Your rear window was the victim of a warning shot. When we were in that ditch, no one walked up from behind and pumped a few slugs into the back of our heads.”

Rockfish stopped and looked at Jawnie, he needed to make sure he was getting through. Her breathing had slowed down quite a bit and that was a start.

“This was a warning, pure and simple. All this tells us is that someone thinks you might be sticking your nose somewhere it doesn’t belong. Obviously, it pertains to those boxes. I haven’t been in town long enough to piss someone off yet, at least, I hope. But if they were staking out your place, they’d have my license plate number and know who I am.”

“But I’ve only dealt with Hasty on this,” Jawnie said.

“Look. You might have worked out a deal with Hasty, but odds are he wasn’t the one that went into the very back of the evidence room and pulled those boxes for you. He’s probably recounted your conversation to a few of his ‘trusted’ senior men, and God knows who else might have been in the room when those conversations took place. Was there anything else you mentioned either to him or anyone else at the station that might cause a reaction like what just happened?”

“I d-d-did tell him I had hoped to t-t-take what I found in these boxes, scan what I could, and create a website. One that would ask the public for tips. Anonymously, of course. It would be a way to get the word out and maybe get someone’s attention who might remember something. Hasty asked his secretary to check and see if he had the authority to put the PD’s logo and tip line on this site. He was only trying to help.”

“So, he’s got a secretary. Old bird, I bet?”

“Yeah, Betty Lou Sommers. I’m guessing she’s logged more than a few years there.”

“There’s your problem. Old Betty Lou sees all Hasty’s business that comes and goes out of his office. I’d lay odds her loyalties lie with others she’s worked with or for through the years and not the guy who knocked the latest Ringle out of office.”

“I’d never thought of it that way.”

“If you’re trying to be a junior special agent, I’d advise you to think that way. Someone in that department is crooked and an off-duty cop or on-duty mafioso ran us off the road. Doesn’t matter who, I’m betting they can be one and the same. Now if you feel alright, we need to call for a tow.”

“And an Uber.”

“Do you have any bars?” Rockfish said.

“Nope.”

“We were lucky this was only a warning. We’ve got some walking ahead of us. They shouldn’t be coming back.”

I gotta reach out to Davenport, he thought. The stakes have significantly increased.

***

Excerpt from The Pine Barrens Stratagem by Ken Harris. Copyright 2022 by Ken Harris. Reproduced with permission from Ken Harris. All rights reserved.

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Author Bio:

Ken Harris

Ken Harris retired from the FBI, after thirty-two years, as a cybersecurity executive. With over three decades writing intelligence products for senior Government officials, Ken provides unique perspectives on the conventional fast-paced crime thriller. While this is his first traditionally published novel, he previously self-published two novellas and two novels. He spends days with his wife Nicolita, and two Labradors, Shady and Chalupa Batman. Evenings are spent cheering on Philadelphia sports. Ken firmly believes Pink Floyd, Irish whiskey and a Montecristo cigar are the only muses necessary. He is a native of New Jersey and currently resides in Northern Virginia.

Catch Up With Ken Harris:
www.KenHarrisFiction.com
Goodreads
BookBub – @08025writes
Twitter – @08025writes
Instagram – @KenHarrisFiction
Facebook – @kah623

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Tour Participants:

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#BookBlitz “Bishop’s War (Bishop Series, Book 1)” by Rafael Amadeus Hines

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Bishop Series, Book 1

Thriller, Action-Thriller, Military-Thriller, Crime Thriller

This fast-paced and action-packed suspense thriller introduces us to Special Forces Sergeant John Bishop, decorated war hero, and nephew of crime boss, Gonzalo Valdez.

After returning home from Afghanistan John’s hopes for a peaceful future are quickly shattered when he is catapulted back into the global war on terror through a succession of life-threatening events and corrupt intrigue. He battles against terrorist operatives in New York, a powerful Afghan warlord, and a psychopathic billionaire with powerful White House connections. When John’s uncle gets involved, he proceeds to treat John’s enemies to a bitter taste of mob vengeance. From that point on the ride speeds up and the reader will have to hold on for dear life. This is a thriller not to be matched for intensity and breathless excitement—not for the faint-hearted.

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Other Books in the Bishop Series:

Bishop’s Law

Bishop Series, Book 2

In his debut novel, Bishop’s War, author Rafael Amadeus Hines delivered a knock-out punch! The international bestselling action-thriller introduced us to former US Special Forces Sgt. John Bishop, his Spec Ops team, and John’s crime boss uncle, Gonzalo Valdez, as they united to take on terrorists, contract killers, a psychotic billionaire, and Afghan warlords. In the eagerly anticipated sequel, Bishop’s Law, the nonstop action continues with Bishop and his team battling against ISIS terror cells, a family of Pakistani assassins, and the Russian mob. Hang on for an action-packed and suspense-filled thrill ride! Once again—not for the faint-hearted.

Kindle Unlimited

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About the Author

Rafael Amadeus Hines is a native New Yorker with Panamanian, Jamaican, and Irish roots, who was born and raised on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. Dipping into his early Alphabet City memories, he loosely based many of the characters in his first novel, Bishop’s War, on the gangsters, cops, and combat veterans he grew up with, and adapted many of his own experiences into the book as well.

Rafael is a former Jazz club owner and restaurateur, and has worked in the financial and energy markets for over twenty years. On 9/11 he watched his office along with all the others in the Twin Towers come crashing down and, like many New Yorkers on that day, he anticipated follow up attacks to take place throughout the city. Years later he envisioned a lone citizen soldier preventing these attacks and the hero Sgt. John Bishop appeared on paper.

Rafael is the father of three and still lives in the New York neighborhood where he grew up. A voracious reader of suspense thrillers, his writing career was inspired by legendary artist-authors Elmore Leonard, Vince Flynn, John Sandford, Stephen Hunter, Walter Mosley, James Lee Burke, and Tom Clancy. He is currently working on the third novel in the Bishop series.

Contact Links

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#BookReview “The Cold Killer” by Ross Greenwood

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5/5 Stars!

I discovered Ross Greenwood a few months ago with his prison-life crime fiction, Prisoner, and had no idea the DI Barton crime thriller series existed.

Wow! Compelling and engaging, The Cold Killer is another winner.

Though it is book four in the series, I didn’t feel as though there were blank spots or missing info from the previous books.

DI John Barton, like Jim Dalton in Prisoner, is diligent and hardworking while trying to keep a balance between work and his family.

When an aged sex offender is brutally murdered in prison, Barton and his team are called in to investigate the not-so-unusual death. When the victim’s home is burglarized, Baron realizes there’s nothing normal about the case. All too soon, they realize they’re dealing with a serial killer, and he’s escalating as crimes and the body count rise. Is the killer a vigilante or seeking a special type of justice? Is the Peterborough prison the only connections between the victims? As Barton runs out of witnesses, he finds he may also be running out of time.

This slow burn read is masterfully written with points of view from both sides of the prison bars. Characters are likeable—or deliciously unlikeable—and memorable. Even the story’s villain, though vicious and brutal, evokes a certain amount of sympathy.

I’ve already downloaded the first three books in the DI Barton series and look forward to reading more of his cases.

Enjoy!

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Synopsis

It’s hard to live when you think you deserve to die…

When a tired old inmate is found dead in his cell, the prison is obligated to investigate and so DI Barton attends. The men he interviews have been convicted of some of the worst things a human being can do, but it appears likely that the death was due to natural causes.

When the house of the dead man is burgled and that crime is followed by a suspicious fire, Barton desperately needs to speak to his widow, but she’s nowhere to be found.

In the space of twenty-four hours, everyone he wants to talk to has vanished. Then he receives some post which makes him believe he could be the next to disappear.

Barton’s investigation goes full circle, through a series of brutal murders, back to the prison, and all signs are pointing to the fact that he’s made a terrible mistake.

There’s a violent killer on the loose, who wants everyone to learn that some people deserve to die.

DI Barton is back as Ross Greenwood continues with his bestselling series, perfect for fans of Mark Billingham and Ian Rankin.

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Purchase Link – https://amzn.to/3BSESCh

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#BookTour “The Cold Killer” by Ross Greenwood

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book cover

It’s hard to live when you think you deserve to die…

When a tired old inmate is found dead in his cell, the prison is obligated to investigate and so DI Barton attends. The men he interviews have been convicted of some of the worst things a human being can do, but it appears likely that the death was due to natural causes.

When the house of the dead man is burgled and that crime is followed by a suspicious fire, Barton desperately needs to speak to his widow, but she’s nowhere to be found.

In the space of twenty-four hours, everyone he wants to talk to has vanished. Then he receives some post which makes him believe he could be the next to disappear.

Barton’s investigation goes full circle, through a series of brutal murders, back to the prison, and all signs are pointing to the fact that he’s made a terrible mistake.

There’s a violent killer on the loose, who wants everyone to learn that some people deserve to die.

DI Barton is back as Ross Greenwood continues with his bestselling series, perfect for fans of Mark Billingham and Ian Rankin.

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Purchase Link – https://amzn.to/3BSESCh

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Ross GreenwoodAuthor Bio

Ross Greenwood is the bestselling author of eight crime thrillers. Before becoming a full-time writer he was most recently a prison officer and so worked every day with murderers, rapists and thieves for four years. He lives in Peterborough.

 

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#FREE “12” by Nolon King and David Wright

12 cover

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What Would You Do With the Last 12 Hours of Your Life?

At 6 p.m. on a Wednesday in October, a gunman will enter Goldman’s Diner and commit one of the worst massacres the small coastal town of Palm Isles, Florida has ever seen.

Twelve hours earlier: twelve lives are on borrowed time, unaware that death is coming, or that their paths will collide in one tragic moment.

A young waitress and mother fights to protect her daughter from her violent estranged husband. Little does she know that a greater threat looms under her nose.

A cop is forced to decide between his job and his marriage.

A bullied teen with an abusive father is down to one friend when his world suddenly crumbles around him.

An old man struggles to hold onto his memories and do one last thing to honor his wife. But in doing so, he will have to reveal his darkest secret.

A cook with a shady past attempts to stay on the straight and narrow, until he gets a call which forces him to choose — his family or his honor?

A woman attempts to meet her father’s expectations, clinging to a struggling diner even as her relationship with her son falls apart.

TWELVE HOURS
TWELVE LIVES
WHO LIVES?
WHO DIES?

FREE at all online digital retailers at time of posting!

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#Featured “MoonShadow Murder (Manny Rivera Mystery Series Book 4)” by Rich Curtin

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A nineteen-year-old girl named Sunshine disappears one evening from the back-country commune where she lives. She’s found the next day about a mile away, dead by strangulation.

The other residents of the commune, an unusual collection of dropouts from society, are all potential suspects as Deputy Sheriff Manny Rivera tries to make sense of an odd collection of clues. In the end, the deputy’s own life is endangered as he gets closer to understanding the motive for Sunshine’s murder.

Kindle Unlimited

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(Promo ended. No longer free.)

#FREE “The Final Girl” by Kenneth Preston

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Five teens went camping. One survived.

Seventeen-year-old Jill Turner is the final girl, the lone survivor of a campsite massacre. Now, a killer is on the loose, and Jill holds the key to catching him. But this killer is no ordinary man. He is a monster, both alive and dead, and Jill knows this all too well. She knows what the monster is. She knows where he comes from. And she knows that he will kill again.

For veteran homicide detective Darlene Moore, this case is personal. Having lost her daughter two years ago, she finds herself drawn to Jill, and she will stop at nothing to protect her. But there is something strange about Jill’s story, something that leads Darlene to wonder if the girl knows more about the killer than she is letting on.

Jill is keeping a secret, one that has cost the lives of four of her friends. As Jill struggles with her past and the knowledge that her actions may have created a monster, Darlene races against time to stop a killer before he strikes again.

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FREE for a limited time!

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#KindleCountdown “A Dana Hargrove Double: THURSDAY’S LIST and HOMICIDE CHART (Dana Hargrove Legal Mysteries, Novels 1 and 2)” by V.S. Kemanis

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Buy two and save! Thursday’s List and Homicide Chart, the first two standalone novels in the popular Dana Hargrove series: mystery, thriller, and suspense.

Prosecutor Dana Hargrove strives for justice in every case she investigates, juggling the demands of a high-powered legal career with her loyalties to friends and family. Each novel pits Dana against tough criminals and dilemmas of ethics and conscience.

Thursday’s List

In 1988, Dana Hargrove is a rookie prosecutor, the junior member of a team investigating money laundering by a Colombian narcotics cartel. When she stumbles upon shocking evidence implicating her close friends, Dana is thrust into a living nightmare of cartel greed, blood, and retribution.

“A true page-turner” (Kirkus Reviews). “Keeps you guessing…” (Amazon customer 5-star review). “This book really sucked me in.” (Amazon customer 5-star review).

 

Homicide Chart

Dana is back in 1994 as an experienced homicide prosecutor. One night on graveyard shift, Dana is pulled into the investigation of a tragic murder that hits dangerously close to home.

“A law buff’s delight, with intelligent discussions of unusual legal situations and excellent courtroom combat” (Mystery Scene Magazine). “A real page turner, keeping me with a constant need and anticipation to know what was going to happen next” (Amazon customer 5-star review).

Reviewers praise V.S. Kemanis as

“an excellent writer” (Mystery Scene Magazine),

“a writer of high caliber” (The U.S. Review of Books), and

“a talented weaver of scene and exposition” (Kirkus Reviews).

Kemanis is an attorney with years of experience in criminal justice. Her intuitive sense of the human psyche and expertise in the law imbue her writing with authentic detail and psychological depth. The “characters are well defined, very authentic, painted with a deft hand. This is Ms. Kemanis’ real talent. She makes us care for the characters.” (Online Book Club).

Kindle Unlimited

99c for a limited time! (reg. 5.99)

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#BookBlitz “Looks That Deceive (MedAir Series, Book 1)” by Braxton DeGarmo

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MedAir Series, Book 1

Thriller, Medical Thriller, Crime Thriller

 

Publisher: Christen Haus Publishing

FREE in ebook format at all online retailers.

Two prominent medical malpractice attorneys are dead.

Can you imagine the stuff flowing downhill into Detective Lynch Cully’s lap? From his lieutenant’s office. From his chief’s office. The mayor’s office. The governor. He’s already facing the toughest case of his career: a serial assailant who leaves his victims unable to testify. Are these cases related? Has the perpetrator upped his game?

Amy Gibbs, RN is a newly recruited med-evac flight nurse who left the ER, its stress, and memories of a certain detective behind. On one fateful call, she hears the deathbed confession of a man whom police are seeking as a person of interest in the attacks.

Within hours, the lives of Amy Gibbs and Lynch Cully intertwine in a story that unravels a web of identity theft, electronic eavesdropping, and stalking amid a confusion of identities. Can Lynch move one step ahead of this killer? Or is the distraction—of a girlfriend he regrets leaving—too much?

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Other Books in the MedAir Series

Rescued and Remembered

MedAir Series, Book Two

Coming back from the dead isn’t easy . . .

When you have to save the one who saved you.

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The Silenced Shooter

MedAir Series, Book Three

Tired of federal gridlock?

Can you trust the federal government anymore?

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Wrongfully Removed

MedAir Series, Book Four

What would you do to protect your family?

Would you stand up to the government?

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A Zealot’s Destiny

MedAir Series, Book Five

Who is trying to eliminate the British Royal Family? And why? After all, the monarchy is largely ceremonial and symbolic.

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Kidnapped Nation

MedAir Series, Book Six

Will the people elect the status quo?

Or is a major presidential upset in the wind?

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The Khmer Connection

MedAir Series, Book Seven

What do you do? Where do you go?

. . . when the devil is right on your heels.

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Resurrected Trouble

MedAir Series, Book Eight

Lynch Cully and Amy Gibbs have returned home, leaving the worst behind them in Southeast Asia. Or did they?

Amazon

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About the Author

Braxton DeGarmo spent over 30 years in Emergency and Family Medicine, both in and out of the military, before retiring to focus on writing in 2014. Many of the incidents in his books are based on real occurrences, people, and experiences in his own life, such as learning to escape a water crash in a helicopter. Human trafficking, medical kidnapping, government corruption, and other social injustices have become the premises used for his stories. And the technologies described in his books are all current . . . and possible.

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#FREE “Dead Tree Tales” by Rush Leaming

 

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Dead Tree Tales by Rush Leaming is about a lot more than a dead tree. It’s a mystery. It’s a crime story. It’s a thriller. It’s a powerful comment on today’s society and politics… fast-paced, full of action and intrigue… It’s a real page-turner and just a fantastic read.” – Lorraine Cobcroft, Reader’s Favorite.

Set in Charleston, SC, and the surrounding islands, detectives are called to investigate the poisoning of a much-loved 1000-year-old tree only to find evidence of a more brutal crime. From there the story explodes into a fast-paced, multi-character,thriller unlike any you’ve ever read. Not for the faint of heart…

FREE for a limited time!

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