#BookSale “Seriously?: A Lou Fleener Mystery (Lou Fleener Mysteries Book 2)” by Duane Lindsay

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1960s CHICAGO: THREE PIs AGAINST
AN ENTIRE ARMY 0F NAZIS

Private Investigator Lou Fleener’s second surprising period thriller explores an explosively dangerous conundrum: how can Lou prevent a huge Nazi terrorist attack when every cop in Chicago thinks we wiped out all the Nazis in the war?

It’s early 1960’s Chicago and Lou’s back in business. After his last harrowing heist adventure, he took some time off…and ended up bored out of his skull. Now he’s scouring the city for clients. His fiery wife Cassidy and his painfully awkward yet brilliant best friend Monk are standing by, ready to serve as the crack team that recently bested the mob. But their first customer has a doozy of a problem. She’s an elderly Holocaust survivor who needs Lou to investigate her new neighbor, a Nazi fugitive from justice she recognizes from the camps. Lou’s client is hellbent on getting the Nazi arrested and tried for his brutal crimes.

Immediately, Lou’s at her service…until she disappears under mysterious circumstances. All signs point towards her being kidnapped and murdered by the Nazi neighbor. When Lou, Cassidy, and Monk manage to get on the Nazi’s tail, they figure out some unfortunate news: there isn’t just one rogue American Nazi plotting misdeeds. There are a lot of Nazis. And they’re planning something big.

Lou Fleener’s action-packed adventures will appeal to every kind of mystery reader–he’s got the edge for hard-boiled fans, and the witty, fun banter and likeable characters required by cozy lovers. Like Donald Westlake, Lindsay’s prose is humorous and humanizing. Fans of James M. Cain, Raymond Chandler, and Lawrence Block will also discover a new favorite sleuth.

FREE at time of posting!

Kindle Unlimited

Amazon

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#ReleaseBlitz “High Treason at the Grand Hotel” by Kelly Oliver

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A Fiona Figg Mystery

 

Mystery, Historical Mystery

 

Release Date: January 5, 2021

 

Publisher: Level Best Books

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Paris. 1917. Never underestimate the power of a good hat… or a sharp hatpin.

Sent by the War Office to follow the notorious Black Panther, file clerk turned secret agent Fiona Figg is under strict orders not to get too close and not to wear any of her usual “get-ups.” But what self-respecting British spy can resist a good disguise? Within hours of her arrival in Paris, Fiona is up to her fake eyebrows in missing maids, jewel thieves, double agents, and high treason. When Fiona is found dressed as a bellboy holding a bloody paperknife over the body of a dead countess, it’s not just her career that’s on the block.

Her next date might be with Madame Guillotine.

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About the Author

Kelly Oliver is the award winning and bestselling author of three mystery series, including The Jessica James Mysteries, the Pet Detective Mysteries, and the Fiona Figg Mysteries. When she’s not writing mysteries, she is a philosophy professor at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN.

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RABT Book Tours & PR

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#ReleaseBlitz “I Shot the Sheriff” by Regina Jeffers

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A Tragic Characters in Classic Lit Series Novel

Historical Mystery

Date Published: November 30, 2020

William de Wendenal, the infamous Sheriff of Nottingham, has come to London, finally having wormed his way back into the good graces of the Royal family. Yet, not all of Society is prepared to forgive his former “supposed” transgressions, especially the Earl of Sherwood.

However, when de Wendenal is wounded in an attempt to protect Prince George from an assassin, he becomes caught up in a plot involving stolen artwork, kidnapping, murder, and seduction that brings him to Cheshire where he must willingly face a gun pointed directly at his chest and held by the one woman who stirs his soul, Miss Patience Busnick, the daughter of a man de Wendenal once escorted to prison.


About the Author

Regina Jeffers, an award-winning author of historical cozy mysteries, Austenesque sequels and retellings, as well as Regency era romances, has worn many hats over her lifetime: daughter, student, military brat, wife, mother, grandmother, teacher, tax preparer, journalist, choreographer, Broadway dancer, theatre director, history buff, grant writer, media literacy consultant, and author. Living outside of Charlotte, NC, Jeffers writes novels that take the ordinary and adds a bit of mayhem, while mastering tension in her own life with a bit of gardening and the exuberance of her “grand joys.”

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#BookSale “So Says the Ratcatcher: A Rice Channon Paranormal Mystery” by Dennis Anthony

It was a murder so casually brutal that no one believes it actually happened.

Not the police. Not the editor of the local newspaper.

The paperboy who saw the crime tells the only person he trusts: Reporter Rice Channon, known to the police as the Ratcatcher.

The cops and Channon’s boss think the boy’s claim is nothing but a case of simple hero worship. Rice isn’t so sure. His intuition and his faith in the boy’s story convince him something happened. That and his visions of spirits and angelic beings that follow the boy’s claim.

The time is 1972 and society is in turmoil. Gender roles are in flux. The hippie culture is winding down. Madness may be creeping into Rice Channon’s life. Close friends are betrayed. Others die. Now an innocent woman and her son are at risk.

And the Ratcatcher, tricked and sidelined, is unable to save them.

KINDLE UNLIMITED

99c for a limited time!

AMAZON US


#Featured “Die On Your Feet: A Lola Starke Novel” by SG Wong

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Lola Starke is a PI with a trust find. Not that she gets everything she wants—or doesn’t want. Like being rid of her Ghost, Aubrey O’Connell, for instance. But in Crescent City, Ghosts are commonplace and Hosts are supposed to be happy about it. So Lola’s learned to bide her time. It’s served her well as a gwai girl raised in a Chinese city.

When two disparate clients won’t take no for an answer, Lola reluctantly agrees to both. She and Aubrey are quickly entangled in a murky puzzle of government officials, drug addicts, angry cops, and the gossamer threads of a dangerous plot. Soon enough, the past comes calling with bad news and worse enemies.

This is the ’30s and this is Crescent City, where mah-jongg parlours and film studios hold sway. Where the City’s highest official is a Ghost with unimpeachable power and a history with Lola’s mother. Where secrets last only as long as it takes for money to change hands—or a gun to pry them loose.

Amazon

#BookReview “Enemies of Doves” by Shanessa Gluhm

on Tour June 1-14, 2020

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5/5 Stars!

I’ve read some amazing thriller and suspense stories this year, but the historical mystery, Enemies of Doves, takes the mid-year prize!

After losing his parents to tragedy in 1991, Garrison Stark finds himself on the journey of a lifetime after trying to piece together the ramblings of his grandmother. He’s losing her dementia so he must find his own answers.

Tom Fitchett may be a prominent dentist in his small Texas town in 1941, but to his sons, Joel and Clancy, he’s an overbearing tyrant who’s never satisfied with anything they do. Older by almost two years, Joel is the responsible one always charged with looking out for his brother.

Being the responsible one will lead to life-changing trauma for Joel, just as serving in WWII will change the carefree, self-serving Clancy.

Loved Joel. He was a sympathetic character who took on burdens that weren’t his to shoulder, most by choice because it was his nature, and others forced upon him by his father and brother. I didn’t care for Clancy for much of the story. He was the golden boy trouble always eluded.

Or so it appeared.

Lorraine Applewhite? She too was too self-centered for far too long. It’s easy to say she was caught between two brothers, but to me, Lorraine put herself there. Joel didn’t deserve that.

I’m not one for dual timelines, but this one was perfection with the fifty-year time-span moving forward in tandem. Garrison’s search will cause time to collide, unlocking a lifetime of secrets, and THE PLOT TWIST OF 2020!

Stellar writing and well-developed characters make this read one to not be missed. Because… that plot twist and the doves!

Download this one today!

Enjoy!

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Synopsis:

Enemies of Doves by Shanessa Gluhm

On a summer night in 1932, twelve-year-old Joel Fitchett wanders into an East Texas diner badly beaten and carrying his unconscious brother, Clancy. Though both boys claim they have no memory of what happened, the horrific details are etched into their minds as deep as the scar left across Joel’s face.

Thirteen years later, both men still struggle with the aftershocks of that long-ago night and the pact they made to hide the truth. When they find themselves at the center of a murder investigation, they make a decision that will change everything. A second lie, a second pact and for a time, a second chance.

In 1991 college student, Garrison Stark, travels to Texas chasing a rumor that Clancy Fitchett is his biological grandfather. Clancy has been missing since 1946 and Garrison hopes to find him, and in doing so, find a family. What he doesn’t expect to discover is a tangle of secrets spanning sixty years involving Clancy, Joel and the woman they both loved, Lorraine.

Told in alternating timelines from World War II to 1992, Enemies of Doves is a tale of family secrets, jealousy and deception perfect for fans of Kate Morton and Allen Eskens.

Book Details:

Genre: Historical Mystery

Published by: Touchpoint Press

Publication Date: March 20, 2020

Number of Pages: 328

ISBN: 1946920916 (ISBN13: 9781946920911)

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

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Enemies Of Doves Trailer:

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Tour Participants:

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

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Giveaway!:

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Shanessa Gluhm. There will be 2 winners of one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card each. The giveaway begins on June 1, 2020 and runs through June 16, 2020. Void where prohibited.

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Get More Great Reads at Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours

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#BlogTour “Enemies of Doves” by Shanessa Gluhm

on Tour June 1-14, 2020

Synopsis:

Enemies of Doves by Shanessa Gluhm On a summer night in 1932, twelve-year-old Joel Fitchett wanders into an East Texas diner badly beaten and carrying his unconscious brother, Clancy. Though both boys claim they have no memory of what happened, the horrific details are etched into their minds as deep as the scar left across Joel’s face. Thirteen years later, both men still struggle with the aftershocks of that long-ago night and the pact they made to hide the truth. When they find themselves at the center of a murder investigation, they make a decision that will change everything. A second lie, a second pact and for a time, a second chance. In 1991 college student, Garrison Stark, travels to Texas chasing a rumor that Clancy Fitchett is his biological grandfather. Clancy has been missing since 1946 and Garrison hopes to find him, and in doing so, find a family. What he doesn’t expect to discover is a tangle of secrets spanning sixty years involving Clancy, Joel and the woman they both loved, Lorraine. Told in alternating timelines from World War II to 1992, Enemies of Doves is a tale of family secrets, jealousy and deception perfect for fans of Kate Morton and Allen Eskens.

Book Details:

Genre: Historical Mystery

Published by: Touchpoint Press

Publication Date: March 20, 2020

Number of Pages: 328

ISBN: 1946920916 (ISBN13: 9781946920911)

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

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Enemies Of Doves Trailer:

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Read an excerpt:

Joel woke up to a white world: white walls, white sheets, a white pitcher of water, and a stranger wearing white. White like Mama’s favorite flowers, white like the coat Daddy wore to work, white like the doves that… No, don’t think about doves. Don’t think about doves ever again. The white was better than his last memory: black. Ravenous black. It had swallowed everything. Harsh light speared into the room, painting sharp rectangles on the linoleum floor. Joel blinked involuntarily. The lady in the white uniform noticed. “He’s awake!” she called. “Mrs. Fitchett, he’s awake!” Mama and Daddy charged in, talking at the same time, asking the same questions. “I’m okay,” Joel said. Mama’s hands hovered a few seconds before settling on his arm. “I’m sorry we weren’t here. I told your daddy we shouldn’t both leave but—” “Are you in pain, son?” Daddy rarely let Mama finish a sentence. “My stomach hurts.” Joel didn’t recognize the sound of his own voice, so small and croaky. “Nurse! Bring this boy something for the pain,” Daddy yelled. “A magnesia tablet.” Mama put her freezing hand on his forehead. “He might have a fever too.” The nurse let out a noisy breath. She didn’t bother with his temperature, but the two bone-white pills she handed Joel appeased his parents, got them quiet at least. Joel raised his head, sweat-soaked hair sticking to his forehead. Or was it blood? He touched the bandage covering his face and winced. The details of the night before seeped into his mind. He could think of nothing that wasn’t contaminated by this memory. The pills tasted like chalk and made his throat burn. “Can I have some water?” Before anyone responded, two taps at the door drew their attention away from him, away from that perfect pitcher of water. Mama rubbed her forehead. “Can’t we go ten minutes without a knock on the damn door?” Joel knew Mama must be upset to use a word like that. Nancy Fitchett taught Sunday School and had taken soap to Joel’s mouth for less. “Oh, for god’s sake!” Daddy threw up his hands. “He just woke up. Give us a minute with our boy.” Two figures stepped through the door. A cigarette hung immobile in the mouth of the stubby police officer in front. “I understand, Mr. Fitchett, but the more time that goes by, the more victims forget. It’s vital we speak now.” Forget? Joel knew better. He couldn’t forget, not till heaven anyway, and at twelve, heaven was a long wait. The other officer stepped from the shadows. Like Dick Tracy, he wore a black suit and fedora instead of a uniform. He looked at Joel like he already knew the truth or could figure it out in the same effortless way Detective Tracy did in the comics. “Truth is,” —he reached into the hallway and pulled Clancy into the room — “we can’t get any information from this one. We hope your other boy will be more cooperative.” Joel’s head sank into the pillow. So, Clancy hadn’t told. Even now, he only wanted to protect his little brother. Poor kid looked scared out of his skin. “You all right, Joel?” Clancy’s voice shook. “Don’t you worry about me, Clancy. I’m as right as rain, good as gold.” “Nice as nectarines,” Clancy said. They often played this game, but Joel couldn’t think of another simile, so he offered a smile instead. It hurt like hell, but he wanted to assure Clancy he was okay. Joel was only a year and a half older, but the gap felt wider. Joel had always been mature for his age; everybody said so. “I have nothing to say, sir,” Joel told Dick Tracy. His voice was still high pitched, but he tried to make it boom like Daddy’s. Tom Fitchett had a way of making people listen when he talked. “And why’s that?” The tiny officer lit his cigarette. “I don’t remember what happened.” The bed gave a muffled creek as he adjusted his position. The detective looked at his partner. “Get Clancy out of here, will you? And the folks too.” “We won’t leave.” Daddy pushed his shoulders back. “Have it your way. Look here, Joel; we know who did this to you.” The words made Joel forget his stinging face and terrible thirst. He watched a cockroach scuttle into a floor crack. Did they know? No one was around for miles. He was bluffing. “Then go arrest the bastard,” his father said. “Don’t waste time traumatizing injured and frightened boys.” Had Joel heard Daddy right? Had he demanded these important men, lawmen, stop traumatizing his boys? Something he did for sport? How strange to have Daddy in his corner for once. “You may reconsider your statement when you learn who hurt the boy.” “Impossible!” Daddy slammed his hand on Joel’s tray and knocked over the pitcher of water. Mama grabbed a towel and sopped it up. Even in crisis, her instinct to clean up Daddy’s messes took over. “Who did this?!” Daddy yelled. Joel cringed, but at least this time Daddy’s fury flew at somebody else. Joel took a few deep breaths. Maybe if he stayed calm, everyone else would calm down too. “It was him.” The officer stuck his finger in Clancy’s face. Mama clutched him tighter, her arms a shield against the accusation. The detective knelt in front of Clancy. “You did this. The only question I have is why?” The room spun again. Joel looked for an anchor, but the patterns on the linoleum played leapfrog, and the walls closed in. His parent’s gasps faded into the white surrounding him, and once again, the world went black. *** Excerpt from Enemies of Doves by Shanessa Gluhm. Copyright 2020 by Shanessa Gluhm. Reproduced with permission from Shanessa Gluhm. All rights reserved.

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Author Bio:

Shanessa Gluhm Shanessa Gluhm works as a librarian at an elementary school in New Mexico where she lives with her husband and children. It was during her own elementary days when a teacher encouraged Shanessa to write and share stories with the class. She hasn’t stopped writing since. Enemies of Doves is her debut novel.

Catch Up With Shanessa On: ShanessaGluhm.wordpress.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! Visit these other great hosts on this tour for more great reviews, interviews, guest posts, and giveaways!

~~~

Giveaway!:

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Shanessa Gluhm. There will be 2 winners of one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card each. The giveaway begins on June 1, 2020 and runs through June 16, 2020. Void where prohibited.

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~~~

Get More Great Reads at Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours

~~~

#GuestPost by Chris Karlsen, author of “A Venomous Love”

A Venomous Love by Chris Karlsen Banneron Tour April 1-30, 2020

~ GUEST POST ~

by Chris Karlsen

Writing a series

I was recently asked my thoughts on writing a series. I like reading a series and writing a story with the idea that the main characters will come back. Depending on the type of series, they may or may not be the protagonist again but return in a supporting role.

Multiple stories with the same characters give me the opportunity to continue to develop their personalities. In A Venomous Love, the latest book in my Bloodstone series, I have my running protagonist, Detective Rudyard Bloodstone. He and his partner are investigating multiple murder-robbery cases where the suspect uses a poisonous snake as the weapon. Over the course of the series I’ve been able to show the men he works with and the differences in them. Rudyard has various occasions to respond to each in his own way. In creating a more detailed professional world I’m able to add interest and color to him as a character and the setting.

Over time with each story I’ve added more to his personal life. In Snifter of Death, book two, I introduced a romantic interest for him and I introduced his brother. Both have become popular with readers. Including the addition of his brother to the series was especially fun as the brothers are close, similar yet different. I knew when writing Will Bloodstone, Rudyard’s brother, that I’d give him more page time in a later book, which I have in A Venomous Love. If he remains as popular with readers in this new book as he was in the past, and as much as he is with my critique partners, I’ll seriously consider giving him a story where he’s the protagonist.

I’ve also brought back many of the regular friends and characters of Rudyard’s outside of the police world. How those characters view him and the people he chooses as friends tells the reader a lot about him. That is another luxury a series allows. Rudyard is a war veteran who fought in a horrendous battle and received the Victoria Cross for his actions. His good friend, Morris, is a veteran who now owns a pub that caters to non-commissioned military men. Both men have little respect for high ranking officers.

His romantic interest, Honeysuckle Flowers, has been a delight to create. She’s a music hall star in London and having been raised by theatre people has a propensity to spurn much of society’s views on women and how they should behave. She is as candid as a woman can be given the Victorian age restrictions. That candor lets me add a lot of humor into her dialogue and a lot of honest observations.

Unlike Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes, I don’t use the same villains. Professor Moriarty is a brilliant foil for Holmes and makes for a wonderful series bad guy. I choose to write different villains as I prefer to give them a variety of weapons and motives.

In my historical romance series, Knights in Time, all the English knights were friends who fought in the Battle of Poitiers. I didn’t start the series with the idea in mind of giving each knight his own book. I’d just proceed to write a story with a chosen hero and let the characters reveal their personalities as I went along. As I wrote each story and the individual knights came on the scene, one of the friends would begin to stand out. I knew in the process of drawing out the scene, I had the protagonist/hero for the next book. That is another advantage to series writing.

I am currently working on a novella that will be book two in a World War Two romance series. Instead of connecting the stories through characters, I wanted to use setting and timeframe. In the first story, Moonlight Serenade, an American Marine is on leave for three days in Melbourne, Australia and falls in love with a big band singer. My work-in-progress is set in England during the blitz and is centered on a young woman who is part of a team that operates anti-aircraft systems and an RAF pilot. It is called The Ack-Ack Girl. I hope to have it released in December.

For me, for all the reasons in this article, I prefer writing and reading series stories. Some of my favorites are: The Saxon Tales by Bernard Cornwell, The Pennyroyal Green series by Julie Anne Long, and Hollywood Station by Joe Wambaugh.

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Synopsis:

A Venomous Love by Chris KarlsenThe killer whispered-“A pretty damsel…worth a pretty risk.”

A veteran, Detective Rudyard Bloodstone has fought a brutal battle and witnessed war horrors that haunt his nightmares. Now one of those horrors has followed him home from Africa.

A vicious predator, the Cape cobra, can kill a man in thirty minutes. A suspect using the snake as a weapon in robberies is terrorizing London.

When the crimes escalate into murder, a victim’s daughter, Honoria Underhill, becomes the focus of the killer. After several attempts on her life, Scotland Yard threatens to take over the high profile case. With few leads to follow, Bloodstone and his partner must now fight department politics and catch the killer before Underhill becomes another murder victim.

Book Details:

Genre: Historical Suspense

Published by: Books to Go Now

Publication Date: February 28, 2020

Number of Pages: TBD

ISBN: 979-8600864139

Series: Bloodstone Series, #3

Purchase Links:

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Read an excerpt:

Puzzled, Ruddy asked, “You say the body is still in the chapel? Couldn’t the nurse bring an exam table to put him on and start treatment?” “She did. Young and I attempted to help but he suffered violent convulsions. Because the hospital is for children, they don’t have restraints. The head nurse instructed us to leave him back on the floor. She was afraid he’d fall off the table.” “Makes sense.” The timeframe of Underhill’s death didn’t make sense. At minimum it usually took an hour and more often, hours for the venom to kill. A horrible thought occurred to Ruddy. What if it was a different suspect with a different lethal snake? “But he died while you were still here?” “Yes. He convulsed brutally hard a few more times and an excessive amount of drool came out his mouth. Then he lost consciousness. A nurse put a blanket over him and a pillow under his head. He died as she was making him comfortable.” “Strange. This is abnormally fast even for cobra venom.” Flanders stepped up on Ruddy’s right. “What is it, constable?” “Shall I leave you to start my search?” Flanders asked. “Yes. Collect anything, and I mean anything, you find that looks out of the ordinary,” Archie told him. “This case is so unusual we can’t be sure what is important and what isn’t.” The nurse led them to the curtained-off bed. Honoria Underhill lay on her side softly sobbing. Her legs were curled up so she fit on the short bed meant for a child. The nurses had covered her with a blanket. When she saw Ruddy and Archie, she sat up and swung her legs down to the side of the bed. “Yes. We know this is traumatic for you but we need to ask you to repeat what happened with as much detail as you can recall,” Ruddy told her. “I understand.” Her shoulders trembled. She buried her fists in her skirt and kept her head down as she fought to control her emotions. Ruddy brought the conversation back to the crime. “Did the suspect say anything when he attacked?” “’A pretty little damsel, worth a pretty risk,’ he said as he rushed toward us. Then he leapt at me with the snake in hand inches from my face. Father pushed me out of the man’s reach and stepped between us. My father tried to knock the man’s hand away and swatted at the animal.” She dabbed at her nose again and then offered the handkerchief back to Archie who waved off the return. “It happened so fast,” Honoria continued. “In the time it took me to blink, the snake’s throat blew outward, like a fan opening.” She demonstrated the action with her hands. “A second later it lunged and struck.” *** Excerpt from A Venomous Love by Chris Karlsen. Copyright 2020 by Chris Karlsen. Reproduced with permission from Chris Karlsen. All rights reserved.

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Author Bio:

Chris Karlsen I was born and raised in Chicago. My father was a history professor and my mother was, and is, a voracious reader. I grew up with a love of history and books. My parents also love traveling, a passion they passed onto me. I wanted to see the places I read about, see the land and monuments from the time periods that fascinated me. I’ve had the good fortune to travel extensively throughout Europe, the Near East, and North Africa. I am a retired police detective. I spent twenty-five years in law enforcement with two different agencies. My desire to write came in my early teens. After I retired, I decided to pursue that dream. I write three different series. My paranormal romance series is called, Knights in Time. My romantic thriller series is Dangerous Waters. The newest is The Bloodstone Series, which is historical suspense with romantic elements. Each series has a different setting and some cross time periods, which I find fun to write. I currently live in the Pacific Northwest with my husband and four wild and crazy rescue dogs.

Catch Up With Chris Karlsen On: ChrisKarlsen.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 Now:

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Chris Karlsen. There will be Three (3) winners. One (1) winner will receive an Amazon.com Gift Card and Two (2) winners will each receive A Venomous Love by Chris Karlsen (eBook). The giveaway begins on April 1, 2020 and runs through May 2, 2020. Void where prohibited.

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#BookTour “The Company Files 2: The Naming Game” by Gabriel Valjan

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Naming Game coverielSynopsis:

Whether it’s Hollywood or DC, life and death, success or failure hinge on saying a name.

The right name.

When Charlie Loew is found murdered in a seedy flophouse with a cryptic list inside the dead script-fixer’s handkerchief, Jack Marshall sends Walker undercover as a screenwriter at a major studio and Leslie as a secretary to Dr. Phillip Ernest, shrink to the stars. J. Edgar Hoover has his own list. Blacklisted writers and studio politics. Ruthless gangsters and Chief Parker’s LAPD. Paranoia, suspicions, and divided loyalties begin to blur when the House Un-American Activities Committee insists that everyone play the naming game.

Praise for The Naming Game:

“With crackling dialogue and a page turning plot shot-through with authentic period detail, Gabriel Valjan pulls the reader into the hidden world of the 1950’s Hollywood studio scene, involving murder, McCarthyism and mayhem.” ~ James L’Etoile, author of At What Cost and Bury the Past

“Terrific historical noir as Gabriel Valjan takes us on a trip through post-war Hollywood involving scandal, McCarthyism, blacklisting, J. Edgar Hoover and, of course, murder. Compelling story, compelling characters – and all the famous name dropping is great fun. Highly recommended!” ~ R.G. Belsky, author of the Clare Carlson Mystery Series

“Brilliantly written, Gabriel Valjan’s The Naming Game whisks the reader back in time to postwar Los Angeles. Spies, Communism, and Hollywood converge in a first-rate thriller.” ~ Bruce Robert Coffin, Agatha Award nominated author of Beyond the Truth.

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Book Details:

Genre: Historical Mystery, Crime Fiction

Published by: Winter Goose Publishing

Publication Date: May 4, 2019

Number of Pages: 210

ISBN: 978-1-941058-86-2

Series: The Company Files: 2

Purchase Links: Amazon | Goodreads

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Read an excerpt:

At seven minutes past the hour while reviewing the classified documents at his desk, one of the two colored phones, the beige one, rang. He placed the receiver next to his ear, closed the folder, and waited for the caller’s voice to speak first. “Is this Jack Marshall?” “It is.” “This is William Parker. Is the line secure?” “It is,” Jack replied, his hand opening a desk cabinet and flipping the ON switch to start recording the conversation. “I don’t know you Mr. Marshall and I presume you don’t know me.” A pause. “I know of you, Chief Parker.” “Were you expecting my call?” “No and it doesn’t matter.” Jack lied. “Fact of the matter, Mr. Marshall, is an individual, whom I need not name, has suggested I contact you about a sensitive matter. He said matter of security so I listened.” “Of course. I’m listening.” “I was instructed to give you an address and have my man at the scene allow you to do whatever it is that you need to do when you arrive there.” “Pencil and paper are ready. The address, please.” Jack wrote out the address; it was in town, low rent section with the usual rooming houses, cheap bars, about a fifteen-minute drive on Highway 1 without traffic. “Ask for Detective Brown. You won’t miss him. Don’t like it that someone steps in and tells me how to mind my own city, but I have no choice in the matter.” Jack ignored the man’s defensive tone. He knew Detective Brown was a dummy name, like Jones or Smith on a hotel ledger. Plain, unimaginative, but it would do. Most policemen, he conceded, were neither bright nor fully screwed into the socket. A chief was no different except he had more current in him. The chief of police who ruled Los Angeles by day with his cop-syndicate the way Mickey Cohen owned the night must’ve swallowed his pride when he dropped that nickel to make this call. “Thank you, Chief Parker.” Jack hung up and flipped the switch to OFF. Whatever it was at the scene waiting for Jack was sufficient cause to pull back a man like Bill Parker and his boys for twelve hours. Whoever gave this order had enough juice to rein in the LAPD. Jack took the folder he was reviewing and walked it across the room. He opened the folder once more and reread the phrases ‘malicious international spy’ and, in Ronald Reagan’s own choice of words, ‘Asia’s Mata Hari’, before closing the cover and placing it inside the safe. His review will have to wait. He put on his holster and grabbed a jacket. Betty came out on the porch as he was putting the key into the car door. “I won’t be long. Please kiss the children good night for me.” “Can’t this wait, Jack? The children were expecting you to read to them tonight. Jack Junior set aside the book and you know Elizabeth will be crushed.” “It can’t wait. I’m sorry. Tell them I’ll make it up to them.” “You need to look them in the face when you tell them sorry.” He opened the door as his decision. She understood she dealt him the low card. “Want something for the road?” “No thanks. I’ll see you soon.” He closed the door with finesse. He couldn’t help it if the children heard the car. He checked the mirror and saw her on the porch, still standing there, still disappointed and patient, as he drove off. Detective Brown, sole man on the scene, walked him over to the body without introducing himself. Jack didn’t give his name. At six-fifteen the vet renting a room down the hall discovered the body. Detective Brown said the veteran was probably a hired hound doing a bag job – break-ins, surveillance, and the like. Recent veterans made the best candidates for that kind of work for Hoover, Jack thought. Worked cheap and they went the extra mile without Hoover’s agents having to worry about technicalities like a citizen’s rights going to law. “What makes you think he was hired out?” Jack asked. Brown, a man of few words, handed Jack his notebook, flipped over to the open page he marked Witness Statement and said politely, “Please read it. Words and writing are from the witness himself.” “The man was a no good ‘commonist’.” “Nice spelling. A suspect?” “No, sir. The coroner places the death around early afternoon, about 2ish. Our patriot was across the street drinking his lunch. I verified it.” Jack viewed the body. The man was fully dressed wearing a light weave gabardine suit costing at least twenty-five. The hardly scuffed oxfords had to cost as much as the suit, and the shirt and tie, both silk, put the entire ensemble near a hundred. Hardly class consciousness for an alleged Communist, Jack thought. The corpse lying on his side reminded Jack of the children sleeping, minus the red pool seeping into the rug under the right ear. The dead man wore a small sapphire ring on his small finger, left hand. No wedding band. Nice watch on the wrist, face turned in. An odd way to read time. Breast pocket contained a cigarette case with expensive cigarettes, Egyptian. Jack recognized the brand from his work in the Far East. Ten cents a cigarette is nice discretionary income. Wallet in other breast pocket held fifty dollars, various denominations. Ruled out robbery or staging it. Identification card said Charles Loew, Warner Brothers. Another card: Screen Writers Guild, signed by Mary McCall, Jr. President. Back of card presented a pencil scrawl. “Find a lighter or book of matches?” Detective Brown shook his head. Jack patted the breast pockets again and the man’s jacket’s side-pockets. Some loose change, but nothing else. The man was unarmed, except for a nice pen. Much as he disliked the idea Jack put his hands into the man’s front pockets. Nothing. He found a book of matches in the left rear pocket, black with gold telltale lettering, Trocadero on Sunset. Jack flipped the matchbook open and as he suspected, found a telephone number written in silver ink; different ink than the man’s own pen. Other back pocket contained a handkerchief square Jack found interesting, as did Detective Brown. “What’s that?” he asked, head peering over for a better look. “Not sure,” answered Jack, unfolding the several-times folded piece of paper hidden inside the hanky. The unfolded paper revealed a bunch of typewritten names that had bled out onto other parts of the paper. It must have been folded while the ink was still wet. It didn’t help someone spilt something on the paper. Smelled faintly of recent whiskey. Jack reviewed what he thought were names when he realized the letters were nonsense words. “Might be a Commie membership list. Looks like code.” But Brown zipped it when Jack folded the paper back up and put it into his pocket. “The paper and the matches stay with me. We clear?” “Uh, yes sir. The Chief told me himself to do whatever you said and not ask questions.” “Good. Other than the coroner – who else was here? Photographers, fingerprints?” “Nobody else. Medical pronounced him dead, but nothing more. Chief had them called off to another scene – a multiple homicide, few blocks away. We’re short-staffed tonight. The Chief said he’d send Homicide after you leave. They’ll process the scene however you leave it. They won’t know about the matches or the paper. Chief’s orders.” Jack checked his watch. Man down, found at six fifteen. Chief called a little after seven. He arrived not much later than seven forty. The busy bodies would get the stiff by eight or eight thirty, the latest. Perfectly reasonable Jack thought. He squatted down to see the man’s watch, noticing light bruising on the wrist and the throw rug bunched into a small hill near the man’s time hand. Intriguing. “Thank you, Detective. I’ll be going now. If I speak to the chief I’ll let him know you’ve done your job to the letter.” “You’re welcome. Night.” Jack knew he and the chief would be speaking again. Outside on the street, Jack pulled out his handkerchief and wiped both hands for any traces of dead man as he headed for the parked car. Compulsive habit. He pulled up the collar on his jacket. It was cold for late May. The street sign said he was not far from Broadway. In this part of town thousands lived crowded in on themselves as lodgers in dilapidated Gothic mansions or residence hotels, working the downtown stores, factories, and offices, riding public transit and the other funicular railway in the area, Court Flight, a two-track railway climb towards Hill Street. Los Angeles changed with the world. The war was over and there was a new war, possibly domestic, definitely foreign. Court Flight is gone, ceased operations. Its owner and his faithful cat had passed on. His good widow tried. In ’43 a careless brush fire destroyed the tracks and the Board of Public Utilities signed the death warrant; and now Jack was hearing whispers Mayor Bowron planned to revitalize the area International Style, which meant dotting the desert city with skyscrapers. Jack opened the door and sat behind the wheel a moment. He took the family once to nearby Angels Flight. Junior wondered why there was no apostrophe on the sign. Betty tolerated the excursion, indifferent to Los Angeles because she preferred their home in DC. He released the clutch. Betty disliked LA because it changed too much without reason. She might have had a point. He shifted gear. Pueblo city would level whole blocks of thriving masses just to create a parking lot. He pulled the car from the curb. *** Excerpt from The Naming Game by Gabriel Valjan. Copyright 2019 by Gabriel Valjan. Reproduced with permission from Gabriel Valjan. All rights reserved.

 

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Author Bio:

Gabriel Valjan is the author of two series, The Roma Series and The Company Files, available from Winter Goose Publishing. His short stories have appeared in Level Best anthologies and other publications. Twice shortlisted for the Fish Prize in Ireland, once for the Bridport Prize in England, and an Honorable Mention for the Nero Wolfe Black Orchid Novella Contest, he is a lifetime member of Sisters in Crime National, a local member of Sisters in Crime New England, and an attendee of Bouchercon, Crime Bake, and Malice Domestic conferences.

Catch Up With Gabriel On: gabrielvaljan.com, Goodreads, BookBub, Twitter, & Facebook!

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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 April 22, 2019 and runs through June 24, 2019. Void where prohibited.

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