#GuestBlogger The Making of… “In Another World – A Paranormal Mystery/Romance (Part 2)” by Kelli A. Wilkins

Hi everyone,

This is part two of my two-part blog about the making of my paranormal/mystery romance, In Another World. In my previous blog, I talked about the origins of the story idea and the overall theme of the book. In this blog, I’ll share some insights into the “cop stuff” I needed to know for the story, the paranormal elements of the book, and how I finally got the title.

Before I get started, here is the book summary and links:

guest blogger

IN ANOTHER WORLD

A Paranormal Mystery/Romance Novel

Disgraced psychic medium Julie Kershaw has finally met her soul mate. The problem is he’s dead… and his spirit haunts the car she just bought.

The spirit of Detective Eddie Mahoney is determined to find his killer and needs Julie’s help. At first, she refuses. She’s tired of being called crazy and swore she’d never use her abilities to speak to the dead again—even if Eddie is handsome and charming.

Eddie persuades Julie to contact his former partner, Lou Kaplonski, to ask him to reopen his case. Skeptical, Lou dismisses Julie as a fake—until she proves she can communicate with the dead—and he finds out Eddie has a lot to say.

Julie channels Eddie’s spirit and together with Lou, the unusual trio tracks down leads and follows clues to solve Eddie’s murder. The case takes them down a dark and dangerous path filled with secrets, where nobody can be trusted.

As they work to find his killer, Julie falls for Eddie. Funny, smart, and sexy, Eddie is the guy of her dreams—and he doesn’t look or act the least bit dead. To her surprise, Eddie discovers a clever way they can be together, and they begin an ethereal romance.

When Lou’s investigation brings him too close to the killer, his life and Julie’s are put in danger—and Eddie may be the only one who can save them.

Order your copy here:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09R11STRN

All other platforms: https://books2read.com/u/bpw16g

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In Another World is a mystery/romance, and although I’ve written dozens of romances, I never wrote a full-fledged mystery before. Some of my short stories and novels have mystery elements where an amateur sleuth investigates something, but this was different. The book borders on being a police procedural, and I knew I had to get the details of the “cop stuff” right. For that, I turned to an expert—Uncle Rich.

My uncle Rich was a retired police captain and had pretty much seen everything in his 20+ years on the force. Several years ago we were at a wedding and he asked me, “What’s new?” I told him, “I’ve got this idea for a story…”

From there, I gave him the rundown of the plot and started asking him lots of questions. When I told him I had “jurisdiction issues” about the location of Eddie’s body, he said, “Location, location, location. Jurisdiction follows the body; it doesn’t matter where you’re from, or where you work. If you’re from Los Angeles and your body is found in Memphis, it’s a Memphis case.”

I asked Rich a million questions and I learned a lot. His advice was excellent and I incorporated some of our actual conversations into the book as dialogue, usually when Lou or Eddie explains something to Julie.

Rich also pointed out that Eddie and Lou wouldn’t have to explain how to solve a murder to each other. For them, it’s their job, it’s routine, something they do all the time. That made things a little easier, because I didn’t want to make the book too “police” heavy and bore the reader or bog down the story. I included just enough “cop” details to make Eddie and Lou’s investigation authentic while keeping the reader hooked.

It saddens me to report that Uncle Rich passed away unexpectedly several months before the book was finished. He never got to read the final version, but I’m sure he’s proud of the book, and me. Thanks again, Rich. I couldn’t have done it without you.

As much as I tried to be “real world” accurate with the police procedural aspects of the book, I let my imagination run wild with the paranormal parts, especially Julie and Eddie’s relationship.

I’ve met dozens of mediums, psychics, and intuitives over the years (at workshops, in classes, on ghost tours, etc.) and I always ask them questions about what they see, how they receive messages, and how they discovered they have these abilities.

The answers vary from person to person. Some mediums see the dead as clear as a living person, others see them in their mind’s eye or feel their energy and sense things about them. Several mediums I talked to were born with the ability to contact the dead, some learned how, and others only were able to communicate with the other side after a near-death experience. I used this information to explain why Julie can do what she does, and how she “sees” Eddie.

When I was writing the book, I knew I needed to make Eddie as “real” as possible for the sake of the story. I had him appear in full form (as a living person) to Julie, and gave them a clever (and easy) way to communicate. Eddie’s ability to connect to Julie helps him become a full-fledged character. He’s as “real” as any other hero in a romance—complete with a backstory, flaws, and other issues—but he just happens to be dead. Eddie’s and Julie’s relationship becomes so solid (in a sense), that readers forget Eddie isn’t alive.

In the book, Julie says their situation is unique and she’s not even 100% sure how this is all possible, but she goes with it, and so do readers. This bit of creative license with the paranormal worked for the story, although it’s not how mediums interact with spirits in the real world.

And speaking of the real world, the title was a bit of a challenge. I had been working on the book for years (see part one of the blog for more on that) and I never had a clue about the title. I just called it the “ghost cop” book. Well, when I was in the final proofreading stage, I figured I’d better start thinking about a title.

I wanted the title to convey the mystery/paranormal/romance aspects of the book. I spent hours brainstorming on the title. (As some readers may know, titles don’t come easy to me. I’ll be writing a separate blog about that soon). I played around with different combinations of words, annoyed everyone I knew for suggestions… And what did I get? Nothing. So I gave up for a while.

Then one day, my husband and I were driving to my friend’s house and listening to music when Dwight Yoakam’s song, “In Another World” came on. I didn’t pay it much attention at first, then I started listening to the lyrics with my book in mind, from Eddie’s and Julie’s point of view—and it clicked. I played the song again and then declared, “There’s the title!”

“In Another World” works on many levels: Julie is living part of her life in guest bloggeranother world/realm, Eddie takes Julie into/exists in another world of his own, and poor Lou is dropped into another world he never knew existed. Of course, Dwight’s song isn’t about psychics or spirits, but the lines; “Bound by love that never strays/In another world/We’ll be okay” really reminded me of Eddie and Julie at the end of the book.

And while I’m talking about the music in the book, I want to mention my use of Roy Orbison’s “In Dreams” toward the end. My mother LOVED Roy and I was raised on his music. It seemed only fitting that I borrow a few lines from Roy, as an homage to my mother. (She also passed away before the book was finished.)

 

When Lou is really down in the dumps, he hears the song and it connects him to Eddie. I’ve always loved the lines “In dreams/I walk with you/In dreams/I talk to you” —because as Julie says in the book (and this is a real quote from a psychic) the dead can (and do) communicate with the living in dreams. I believe that to be true, and maybe Roy knew it too, when he wrote the song.  (And yes, “Blue Angel” appearing in the book is no accident, either.)

This concludes my second blog about In Another World. I hope you’ll read the book and get drawn into this mysterious “other world” filled with drama, humor, and incredibly interesting characters

Until next time, happy reading!

Kelli A. Wilkins

~~~

 ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kelli A Wilkins

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

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

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

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

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

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

#ReleaseBlitz “A Wrinkle in the Mind” by Bruce M. Perrin

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The Mind Sleuth Series

 

Mystery, Suspense, Thriller

Date Published: May 18, 2022

Publisher: Mind Sleuth Publications

 

photo add-to-goodreads-button_zpsc7b3c634.png

 

When Violet Cruz accused U.S. Representative Alan Barclay of being “the spawn of a Martian whore” and took a shot at him, everyone
agreed that she was delusional. It was just another conspiracy theory in Washington, DC, where such bizarre claims had become all too common.

Tiring of the media harassing the family, however, Cruz’s cousin brought the case to Private Investigator Rebecca Marte. She figured that the public was probably right. Rebecca was, however, willing to give the case another look as Cruz’s sudden, total break from reality without any apparent cause was almost as strange as her beliefs.

With his background in psychology, working with Sam “Doc” Price made sense to Rebecca and she welcomed him as a consultant. But soon, the two, who had worked so well in the past, found themselves at each other’s throats. She dropped him from the investigation, but with his “dog with a bone” determination, Doc went on alone.

Unfortunately, the now-divided team was going after an adversary more cunning and more ruthless than any they’ve faced before. If they’d realized the odds of their survival apart, they would have found a way to put their differences aside before it was too late.

~~~

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Excerpt

Chapter 1

 

There are some people who live in a dream world, and there are some who
face reality;

and then there are those who turn one into the other.

Desiderius Erasmus

Dutch philosopher

 Wednesday, April 6

Morning, The National Mall, Washington, DC

“At least you didn’t have to take a bullet for the
guy.”

Renee Portnell heard the words but made no attempt to find their meaning in
the fog of pain that filled her mind. Rather, she watched in numbed
disbelief as a trickle of blood inched closer to a Washington Senators
baseball cap that sat on the sidewalk. She had to be ten yards away sitting
on a park bench and the sun was just beginning to crest the buildings
ringing the National Mall, but with a half-dozen Washington DC Metropolitan
Police Department cars now parked on the grass, all with their headlights
blazing, she could move another ten and the horror of the scene
wouldn’t fade.

“Government, right?”

Portnell slowly turned toward the sound of the voice beside her, an MPD
officer, his name already forgotten. “What?”

“The guy? I heard he was a senator or something. Figured you’d
have to take a bullet for him if it came to that.”

“U.S. Representative Alan Barclay,” said Portnell, every word
drawn out like she was from the deep south rather than Connecticut.
“Although, that’s Secret Service, not private protection
services.”

Portnell shook her head to clear it, each of her senses slowly returning to
the here and now, each becoming preternaturally acute for an instant before
succumbing to the next. She heard the murmur of voices filled with urgency
and authority all around. She registered the acrid smell of car exhaust
mixing with the sickly-sweet of cherry blossoms that had reached their peak
the week before. She tasted gunpowder on her tongue, her saliva no match for
its bitterness. But when her gaze fell on the woman lying on the sidewalk,
the round-robin of sensations ended. She couldn’t pull her eyes away.
And all the while she wondered, how could Barclay’s ball cap have
landed so close to the woman and so far from him?

The police and paramedics had already moved away from the female. Portnell
wasn’t surprised. She’d always been an excellent shot and any of
the four rounds she’d squeezed off could have been fatal. The only
difference between them and the thousand she’d fired before today was
that the previous ones had only penetrated paper. These last four had found
flesh and bone, blood and muscle. As she watched, the woman’s blood
inched ever closer to the cap.

It wasn’t supposed to be like this, Portnell knew. In her eight years
with the military police, she had never fired her sidearm in the line of
duty. And when she had retired, her recruitment into the private sector had
emphasized the fact that female body guards were often instrumental in
de-escalating violence. But when the threat is shooting at your client,
gender is not going to stop the onslaught. Only a bullet could.

“Renee, look at me.” The drop in his volume pulled
Portnell’s eyes to the officer’s face. “From what I hear,
you got nothing to worry about. The shooting was righteous. She shot first
and you have the right to protect yourself and others from deadly force.
Only question seems to be, she get off two shots or three?”

Portnell thought it could have been more. Hadn’t she stared in
disbelief for seconds? Hadn’t she fumbled with her firearm when
drawing it from her shoulder holster? The only thing that had gone smoothly
was the Weaver stance-aim-fire sequence, a routine that was burned into her
muscle memory from those thousand practice shots at targets that she
couldn’t harm.

“Not that you need insurance, but she was obviously a wacko,”
said the officer. “I mean, what the hell was it she said?”

Portnell stared at the man’s face, wondering how many times she was
going to have to repeat those words? Of course, it wasn’t like
she’d ever forget them. “When she first approached, she said,
‘You must find it hard to represent the folks back
home.’”

There was nothing particularly memorable in that part of her statement, but
her voice was so melodic, almost childlike. Perhaps that was why, when
Portnell started forward to ask the woman to move on, Barclay had given her
“the signal”—a hand held low at his side, palm facing
backward. Of course, the woman’s physical appearance may have played a
part in his decision as well. Although Barclay had a reputation as a family
man, even he could dream and the woman was the stuff of men’s
dreams—a dark, exotic beauty in a pure white dress.

“Then, she said, ‘I mean, it’s gotta be tough for the
spawn of a Martian whore like you.’”

“Spawn of a Martian whore,” said the MPD officer, chuckling and
shaking his head. “Where the heck do these kooks get this crap? I
mean, you knew the guy better than me. There’s no truth to her words,
right?” The officer laughed again like it was the funniest thing
he’d ever heard. Portnell just stared.

She suspected that it was the incongruity of the hate in the woman’s
words and the lilting tone that had carried them to her ears that had caused
her hesitation. She remembered thinking, could this be real? She knew, of
course, that this might happen one day. But in her mind’s eye, it was
always the silhouette of a crazed man. It was the practice target of the
firing range given life.

But while her response had been hesitant, the woman hadn’t
vacillated. A gun materialized in her hand where moments before there had
been none. The crack of her first shot brought Portnell out of her trance.
She reached for her handgun, but it caught for an instant on her jacket. The
woman fired again. Portnell saw Barclay spin to the ground out of the corner
of her eye, perhaps as a defensive reaction, but probably from the impact of
the round. His cap flew from his head, which now explained where it had
landed on the sidewalk.

Her handgun came free and from that instant on, she no longer needed to
think. Each of her four shots produced a new bloom of red on the
woman’s simple white dress. But unlike Barclay, she stayed upright, as
if she was one of the paper targets hung from the carrier at the firing
range. Finally, the woman crumpled to the ground.

“Two,” said Portnell, the words indistinct in her ears.

“What?”

“She fired twice.”

The officer didn’t say anything, but Portnell could hear him moving.
After a moment, the man crouched down in her line of sight. Her vision
dimmed and she collapsed to her back on the bench. The officer yelled,
“Get a paramedic over here. She’s going into shock.” It
sounded like he was twenty yards away, not standing over her.

Lying down helped, and Portnell’s vision and hearing cleared a bit.
She rolled to her side, watching as the trickle of crimson reached the bill
of the baseball cap. Now, the darkening fabric marked the slow march of the
woman’s blood. She stared at the woman’s face. Once, it had
reflected an energy to match her voice, but now, it looked more like frozen
stone, her naturally dark complexion faded from the loss of blood. Only her
eyes seemed to show signs of the person she had been; they twinkled with an
inner light, although Portnell knew that was impossible.

Another man appeared in her line of sight. “Stay with me,
ma’am.” He turned away. “Get that stretcher over here.
Now!”

It was help, and Portnell thought she should feel relieved. She
didn’t. She knew no one could help her with what she needed
most—getting the image of the beautiful woman in white with the
melodic voice out of her mind forever.

~~~

  About the Author

Bruce Perrin has been writing for more than 25 years, although you will find much of that work in professional technical journals or conference proceedings. But after completing a PhD in Industrial/Organization
Psychology and spending a number of years in the research and development of advanced learning technology with a major aerospace company, he’s now
applying his background to writing. Not surprisingly, most of his work falls in the techno-thriller, mystery, and hard science fiction genres, examining where technology and psychology meet, now and in the future.

In addition to pounding the keyboard, Bruce likes to tinker with home automation and is an avid hiker, logging nearly 2,500 miles a year in the first eight years of Fitbit ownership. When he is not on the trails, he lives with his wife in Aurora, CO. For a closer look at his writing life, book reviews, and progress on his upcoming works, please join him at
brucemperrin.com.

Contact Links

Website

Twitter

Facebook

Instagram

BookBuzz

~~~

Purchase Link

Amazon

 

RABT Book Tours & PR

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#BookReview “The Orientation of Dylan Woodger: A Central New York Crime Story” by Chiuba E Obele

April 18 – May 13, 2022 Virtual Book Tour

book cover

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4/5 Stars!

Unflinching and unnerving, The Orientation of Dylan Woodger holds nothing back as the college student tries to recall three missing years of his life during torture sessions by dark characters who want the three million dollars they say he owes them.

Despite a slow, overly detailed beginning, this read becomes a page-turner as Dylan pieces together his past not knowing what to believe or who to trust. Determined to find out who betrayed him, Dylan convinces his captors to work with him to find their money.

Family dysfunction, politics, feminism, racism, and crime are just some of the themes covered in this read, but considering the current climate surrounding Roe vs Wade, it’s the subject of rape, male and female, that stands out.

Realistic and raw, the focus isn’t on so much what victims went through, but how they survive it and move on despite an assault that forever changed their lives. Strong writing and fully developed characters pulled me into their stories and had me invested in the good and the bad.

There are several turns and a few twists before an extraordinary ending. A satisfying read, Dylan’s story isn’t about orientation to college but to life… and it’s dark ugliness.

Twenty-five percent of proceeds from this book are being donated to Rainn, an organization that support survivors of sexual assault and works to prevent it.

Enjoy!

~~~

Synopsis:

Solving mysteries is never easy. Dealing with an infuriated mob boss and acute amnesia only makes it worse.

Dylan Woodger is a college student who is captured and tortured by the mafia. After amnesia obscures the last three years of his life, Dylan learns that he has stolen three million dollars from a ruthless mafia boss. When, how, and why – he doesn’t remember. But someone betrayed him and gave him a drug that erased his memory. He was then given over to be tortured.

Determined to recover his memory, Dylan begins delving into the events of the past. As he struggles to put the pieces of his past back together, Dylan finds himself wrapped up in a path of vengeance made even more perilous by the presence of assassins, gangsters, and detectives. But as each new piece of the puzzle falls into place, Dylan realizes that no one is who they seem, especially himself. He now has links to rapists, white supremacists, and murders. People who claim to be his friends are hiding secrets from him. And his girlfriend is beautiful, but that’s all he knows about her. Who are these people? And who is Dylan? Even he doesn’t know!

The Orientation of Dylan Woodger is the story of a young man who is torn between his capacity to do evil and his desire to do what’s right. This book explores racism and feminism, and addresses controversial topics such as male rape, hate crimes, and misogyny toward women. The characters are disturbing, but the book aspires to be hopeful, as these characters ultimately succeed in finding some measure of humanity.

There are so many unanswered questions . . . But first, Dylan must survive the torture.

Book Details:

Genre: Mystery

Published by: Fischer House Publications

Publication Date: April 19, 2022

Number of Pages: 377

ISBN: 9798985146400

Purchase Links: Amazon | Goodreads

~~~

Tour Participants:

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

~~~

ENTER TO WIN

This is a giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Tours for CHIUBA EUGENE OBELE. See the widget for entry terms and conditions. Void where prohibited.

~~~

Get More Great Reads at Partners In Crime Tours

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#BookTour “The Orientation of Dylan Woodger: A Central New York Crime Story” by Chiuba E Obele

The Orientation of Dylan Woodger by Chiuba E Obele BannerApril 18 – May 13, 2022 Virtual Book Tour

Synopsis:

The Orientation of Dylan Woodger by Chiuba E Obele

Solving mysteries is never easy. Dealing with an infuriated mob boss and acute amnesia only makes it worse.

Dylan Woodger is a college student who is captured and tortured by the mafia. After amnesia obscures the last three years of his life, Dylan learns that he has stolen three million dollars from a ruthless mafia boss. When, how, and why – he doesn’t remember. But someone betrayed him and gave him a drug that erased his memory. He was then given over to be tortured.

Determined to recover his memory, Dylan begins delving into the events of the past. As he struggles to put the pieces of his past back together, Dylan finds himself wrapped up in a path of vengeance made even more perilous by the presence of assassins, gangsters, and detectives. But as each new piece of the puzzle falls into place, Dylan realizes that no one is who they seem, especially himself. He now has links to rapists, white supremacists, and murders. People who claim to be his friends are hiding secrets from him. And his girlfriend is beautiful, but that’s all he knows about her. Who are these people? And who is Dylan? Even he doesn’t know!

The Orientation of Dylan Woodger is the story of a young man who is torn between his capacity to do evil and his desire to do what’s right. This book explores racism and feminism, and addresses controversial topics such as male rape, hate crimes, and misogyny toward women. The characters are disturbing, but the book aspires to be hopeful, as these characters ultimately succeed in finding some measure of humanity.

There are so many unanswered questions . . . But first, Dylan must survive the torture.

Book Details:

Genre: Mystery

Published by: Fischer House Publications

Publication Date: April 19, 2022

Number of Pages: 377

ISBN: 9798985146400

Purchase Links: Amazon | Goodreads

~~~

Read an excerpt:

CHAPTER 3

WHO WAS I? Dylan J. Woodger

Where was I? I wasn’t sure.
What time was it? I had no clue.
Why was I here? I didn’t know

What I did know, was that it was fucking cold. I could feel undergrowth beneath me. My eyes darted around. There were trees as far as the eye could see. I had a raging headache. I couldn’t move my hands or feet. I looked down at my prone body and saw rope wrapped tightly around my ankles. I couldn’t move my hands — they were tied behind my back. My wrists hurt, and whatever bound them also cut into my arms. I had a pain in my shoulder. It hurt bad. But it was nothing compared to the pain that I would suffer once I fell into the hands of the Utica Mafia.

But we’re not there yet.

In my mind, it was yesterday that my mother dropped me off at Hamilton College. I went to sleep, then woke up in the woods. It was warm and sunny when Mom left me. But now, I woke up in the freezing cold. I thought it was August and I couldn’t figure out how it could get so cold. And why was I tied up? And could the pain in my shoulder be…a bullet wound? But how could it be a bullet wound? I’d never been shot at!

I knew I had to get outta there, or else I’d freeze to death. Most people aren’t experts in rope tying. Usually, the average person without formal training doesn’t know how to do a good job. And this rope tying definitely wasn’t the work of a professional. So I felt confident I could escape. I managed to free my arms with some wriggling though it took more skin off my wrists. Then I focused on freeing my legs. I kicked off my shoes and pulled my feet out of the rope. Once my feet were free, I used my hands to pull the leg bonds down. I was now free, but still clueless. Who had done this to me? One thing I knew for sure: this was the work of an amateur who didn’t know how to properly tie someone up.

Oh, and I noticed something strange about myself. I grew facial hair and had put on some muscle. But when did that happen? I hadn’t looked in a mirror, but I doubted I was the same baby-faced boy my mom had dropped off that morning.

Just then, I heard a group of men shouting out of sync. “Hello, is anybody here? Hello?”

I felt relieved. Did the police send out a search party for me?

I was eager to get out of the cold, and my first instinct was to shout, “Over here!”

That was my first mistake.

As the men approached, their boots crunching on twigs and fallen branches, I rushed over to them. I kept my left arm still — the pain of

moving it alone caused my vision to flash white and my ears to ring. I stumbled a bit, but soon I could see them clear enough. The men wore plain clothes, just any random winter jacket and jeans someone might get at the nearest Walmart. They weren’t uniformed as you would normally expect police to be.

“Thank goodness you’re here. I thought I would freeze to death.”

The men looked at each other in confusion, until one of them finally said, “Are you here with anyone?”

“No,” I replied. “I found myself tied up and managed to escape, just before you got here.”

“This guy is lying to us,” one of them said. “This must be an ambush.”

“An ambush? What are you talking about?” I struggled to keep my voice even. “I just woke up, and I haven’t seen another person until you guys showed up. I’m glad you got here, though. Can you please take me home?”

Just at that moment, one of the men pulled out a gun and pointed it at me. My hands flew out in front of me, and my blood ran cold when I saw the barrel. “Wait, hold on! What are you doing?”

“You better tell us right now. Is this an ambush? ’Cause if bullets start flying, you’ll be the first one to die.”

“No, sir. I promise, this isn’t an ambush.”

“So where’s our money?” he demanded.

I was confused. Then I thought I had pieced it together. “Yeah, okay. You guys obviously want money for going through the trouble of finding me. That’s fair. My mother’s pretty well off, and she probably offered a reward to find me. I’ll make sure you get it. That’s how these things work, right? So can you please take me home now?”

The man kept the gun pointed at me. I heard a click and knew he had cocked it. I realized then, that this was no ordinary search party.

“What’s going on here?” I asked, with fear creeping in.

The man with the gun shouted at me. “Stop playing games and tell us where our money is!”

I furrowed my eyebrows at him. He was an olive-skinned man. I pegged his age at around forty. He was bigger than average with shaggy black hair and unkempt facial hair.

“You’ve got me confused with someone else,” I said. “I don’t have anybody’s money.”

“Nice try, kid, but I’m not a babbeo. Whatever tricks you’re trying to pull, they won’t work. Stop acting like we’re suckers and tell us where our money is! I’m not gonna ask you again.”

Babbeo? I wondered. What language is that? Could it be Italian?

“Look, I already told you that if you take me home, my mom will be glad to help you with some money. Now can we please—”

Before I could finish speaking, the man with the gun slapped me with it. I grabbed my jaw and fell backward. My head exploded with pain.

One of the men said, “Shit, Tony. This guy is useless. Let’s finish him off and get outta here.”

Another man replied, “Wait, Tony. The boss sent us to collect the money. We can’t kill him. We have to make this kid talk.”

“All right,” Tony said. “Let’s take him back to the warehouse. And then we can really start having fun.”

I knew what he meant by “fun.” They were going to torture me. “Help!” I screamed. “Somebody help me!”

A loud bang rang out. Before my ears could even begin ringing, the bullet ripped into my thigh, stopping like red hot steel somewhere inside of me. My vision flashed white, and I fell to the ground. Pain pulsed out from the wound. I wasn’t aware of myself at that moment. Maybe I cried out, or maybe it was more of a scream. What I knew, though, was that Tony had shot me in the leg.

“Shut the fuck up!” he said, waving the gun around. “I better not hear one more word outta you, or the next bullet is going straight through your head. Don’t test me!”

The men grabbed the ropes I had untied and started binding me. All the while, I felt my pants getting soaked with warm blood. My temples pounded with my racing heart as I begged for my life. “Please, you have

to believe me. I haven’t taken anyone’s money!”

One of the men said, “Well, if you didn’t rob us, then explain how you got that bullet wound in your shoulder. Huh?”

The men paused and waited for me to answer. For a moment, I forgot about the pain in my leg. I looked over my shoulder, and I could see someone had bandaged me up.

“I don’t know where I got this from,” I said.

“Don’t lie! I specifically remember shooting someone in the shoulder when the guys who robbed us were running away. You mean to tell me that’s a coincidence?”

“Look, I don’t know what you’re talking about. Please let me go.”

Tony went into a rage and began kicking me relentlessly in the gut. I tried to curl into a ball to protect my stomach which was near impossible thanks to the rope bonds. “Stop pretending to be dumb!” he said. “You’re getting on my fucking nerves!”

“Tony, relax!” one of the men said. “Remember, we gotta keep this guy alive until we know where our money is.”

The men gagged my mouth with a dry kitchen cloth and carried me into their van. Then the van drove off. The windows were tinted black. I tried kicking. I tried screaming. But none of it worked. After they placed me into the van, one of the men pulled a bag over my head. I couldn’t see a thing, but I could still hear them speak. One of them sounded like Tony—a baritone smoker. He was apparently speaking on the phone.

“Yeah, Vinny,” he said. “Tell the boss we found someone…I don’t know who it is…I already told you, I don’t know who he is! It’s just some kid who’s putting on an act.”

I heard Vinny shouting on the other end of the call. “You didn’t even ask him his for fucking name, Tony?”

Tony jerked the bag off my head and yanked the gag from my mouth. “What’s your name, kid?” he asked.

I scrambled for a plan. Should I give him a fake name? What if they catch me in a lie? That wouldn’t be so smart. I thought about whether I should cooperate. Then I simply said, “I’m not saying a damn word.”

At that point, Tony pulled a knife from his pocket and repeatedly stabbed my leg wound. White-hot pain seared through my mind. I nearly passed out from the pain and the sight of blood pouring out of me.

“Stop! Please, stop!” I cried out.

One of the men said, “You could make this a lot easier, kid, if you just tell us your name.”

“Dylan!” I screamed. “My name is Dylan!” “Dylan who?” Tony asked.

“Dylan J. Woodger!”

The pain in my leg was so bad I could barely breathe. I trembled uncontrollably. Soon, I felt lightheaded. “Can you please wrap my leg?” I

begged. “I’m bleeding badly. And I—”

Before I could finish speaking, Tony gagged me again and pulled the bag over my head. He continued talking on the phone.

“Okay, Vinny. He said his name is Dylan…Dylan Woodger…Yeah, we’re on our way to the warehouse, and—”

At that moment, I heard the shriek of a police siren. “Shit!” the driver muttered.

“What is it?” Tony asked

“It’s a cop! We’re being pulled over.”

A wave of obscenities reverberated throughout the van. “Everyone, calm the fuck down!” Tony yelled.

I felt something hard being shoved against my crotch. It was the familiar feel of a gun.

“You better not say a word, kid,” Tony said, “or I’ll shoot you in the balls.”

The van halted abruptly. A minute passed. I heard footsteps outside on the road, the glide of shoes on gravel.

“Hello, Officer,” the driver said calmly, “What seems to be the problem?”

“License and registration,” said the cop.

“Sure. Not a problem.” The driver gave the cop his license and registration.

“Do you know why you’re being stopped?” “Was I speeding?”

“No. Your van has tinted windows. Tinted windows are illegal in the state of New York.”

“I’m sorry. I didn’t know that,” the driver said. “I just bought this vehicle last week, and the car dealer failed to mention that. I’ll be sure to get the windows changed.” The driver laughed nervously. “So, I guess I’ll take that ticket and be on my way.”

“Not so fast,” the cop said. “I still have a couple of questions to ask you…Where are you coming from?”

“Oh umm…We’re just a few fellas going out hunting in the woods.

We just got finished not too long ago, and now we’re heading home.” “And where’s home?” the officer asked.

“Utica, sir.”

“Well, you’re only allowed to hunt animals between November first and December twentieth. Hunting season ended last week.”

“Yeah, sorry about that.”

“I’d like to check your vehicle.”

“Sure Officer. Go right ahead. I’ll unlock it for you.”

When I heard the rear door unlock, I nearly let out a cheer. It was as if the officer could hear my heart pounding its way through my chest. But as soon as I heard the rear door of the van creak open, a barrage of bullets tore open the air. I heard a body drop to the ground.

One of the men inside the van hissed, “Shit, he’s still moving. He’s probably got a vest on.”

Another man said, “I’ll go finish him off.”

“No! Hold on.” Tony stopped him. He pulled the bag off my head and said to me, “I want you to see what happens to those who get in our way.”

Tony stepped out of the van. Through the open door, I could see the officer on the ground, writhing in pain and begging for his life. “Please,” he said, “Don’t do this…I have three kids and a wife.”

At that point, Tony fired two gunshots straight into the officer’s head. Blood splattered onto the pavement. Tony got back into the van and said to me, “I wanted you to see that, so you know we’re capable of killing anyone. If you fuck with us, you’ll end up joining this guy here.”

***

Excerpt from The Orientation of Dylan Woodger by Chiuba E Obele. Copyright 2022 by Chiuba E Obele. Reproduced with permission from Chiuba E Obele. All rights reserved.

 

~~~

Author Bio:

Chiuba E Obele

CHIUBA EUGENE OBELE is a poet, writer, and author of The Orientation of Dylan Woodger: A Central New York Crime Story. He can usually be found reading a book, and that book will more likely than not be a crime fiction novel. Chiuba lives and works out of his home in Boston, Massachusetts. When not absorbed in the latest page-turner, Chiuba enjoys spending his summers vacationing with his parents, siblings, and nieces and nephews.

Catch Up With Chiuba E Obele:
ChiubaObele.com
Goodreads
Twitter – @ChiubaE
Facebook – @chiubaobele7

~~~

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#BookTour ‘n’ #Interview “A Message in Poison” by BJ Magnani

A Message in Poison by BJ Magnani BannerMay 9 – June 3, 2022 Virtual Book Tour

book cover

I’m excited to have an interview with author BJ Magnani during my stop on the book blog tour. Read on and meet a true queen of all poisons!

Thank you for spending a little time with us here on Nesie’s Place today, BJ! Do you prefer BJ,  Barbarajean, or Dr. Magnani?

I choose the name depending on the setting: BJ ( informal and fun), Barbarajean (serious and elegant), and Dr. Magnani (full-on work mode)! Or sometimes, “The Queen of All Poisons.”

Tell us about yourself… where you’re from, your profession, family, hobbies, guilty pleasures.

I am the mother of two grown children, an equestrian, guitar player, rock climber, and lover of all things nature and science.

I’m originally from New York but came to Boston for my medical training. I’m a board-certified clinical pathologist with a specialty in toxicology. I was the former Chair of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at Tufts University School of Medicine (Tufts Medical Center) and Chair of the College of American Pathologists Toxicology Committee.

I’ve had a blessed life and believe in giving back. Therefore, part of the proceeds from my novels helps support the College of American Pathologists Foundation See Test & Treat program, which provides education and free cervical and breast cancer screening for women in need. Everyone should have equal health care opportunities.

Your books deal with death by poisoning. Why poison? What inspired you?

You write what you know, and I know poisons! I worked with some formidable toxins as a scientist, and my clinical work focused on poisons and drug overdoses. How better to educate the public than through a rich story. I always thought that Michael Crichton provided some education through his novels. Each of my novels contains information at the back of the book for science lovers: book 1 in the Dr. Lily Robinson series, The Queen of All Poisons, has a poison ‘appendix’ at the back of the book,  book 2,  The Power of Poison, contains some information on molecular weights, and my new book, A Message in Poison, has information about the periodic table. I’m a science nerd.

I also write a monthly poison blog which you can find on my website

The Poison Blog | BJ Magnani

Are you self-published, traditional, or hybrid?

I am traditionally published through a small independent press (Encircle Publications) located in Farmington, Maine.

How long have you been a writer?

I started writing short stories as a high school student, then stopped to pursue a career in science (MS, PhD, MD.) So for most of my life,  I have been writing scientific articles related to my work. However, it wasn’t until 2009 that I started writing fiction again at the urging of the editor-in-chief of a scientific journal who was interested in educating scientists through a fictional character, and that was the birth of Dr. Lily Robinson. Dr. Robinson is the brilliant toxicologist exploited by the government for her knowledge of poisons as she is recruited as an assassin to eliminate terrorists from the world.

Pantser or Plotter?

I am more of a pantser than a plotter, although I have a general idea of where I want to go. I’m always surprised when I end up in a place I hadn’t anticipated.

What’s your favorite genre to read?

I read a variety of genres and non-fiction too.

What are you reading now?

Currently, I’m reading a memoir and a romance novel, but I mostly like medical or science thrillers.

Where do you get the most writing done?

Here is a picture from my back deck. The beauty of nature inspires me.

bj magnani cloud pic

What’s your next project or release?

A Message in Poison (book 3 in the Dr. Lily Robinson series) was just released on April 20th, 2022—book 1, The Queen of All Poisons, is the start of Lily’s story, which continues into book 2, The Power of Poison) and I’ve just started the 4th book in the series. I also recently finished writing a romance novel—I believe in stretching as a writer.

Do you have any advice for new authors?

It’s never too late to start writing (this is my 4th career—teacher, scientist, pathologist, fiction author) and write what you love. And keep writing.

Many thanks to BJ Magnani for spending time with us today!

Read on for an excerpt, and learn more about her latest release, A Message in Poison. Grab a copy and enter the giveaway!

Be sure to stop by on June 3rd for my review of this medical thriller mystery!

~~~

Synopsis:

 
Sparks fly as Dr. Lily Robinson-the brilliant academic pathologist and covert assassin for the U.S. Government-investigates two seemingly unrelated deaths alongside her lover, Agent Jean Paul Marchand, and D.C. Medical Examiner Dr. Logan Pelletier.

A U.S. Senator and the president of a developing nation are found dead in their beds. As governments thousands of miles apart react to the fallout and begin their investigations, no one claims responsibility, and no motives are clear. Yet, the cause of death implies a link between the two—one that only a mind versed in poisons and politics can decipher. With her personal relationships teetering on the brink and her loved ones facing foreign threats, Lily must unravel the mystery and uncover a plot more calculating than anyone could imagine—but it may be too late.

A Message in Poison, the third part of the Art of Secret Poisoning trilogy (The Queen of All Poisons and The Power of Poison), continues with twists and turns as Dr. Lily Robinson travels the globe, stares down death, and finds herself at “another crossroad, another choice between life real or imagined…”

The fast-paced action juxtaposes nicely with the personal dilemmas Lily faces as she uncovers a new plot that forces her to reconsider her talents and place in the world.
~ D. Donovan, Senior Reviewer, Midwest Book Review

Book Details:

Genre: Medical Mystery / Thriller

Published by: Encircle Publications

Publication Date: April 20th 2022

Number of Pages: 278

ISBN: 1645993256 (ISBN13: 9781645993254)

Series: A Dr. Lily Robinson Novel, The Art of Secret Poisoning Part 3

Book Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

~~~

Read an excerpt:

I’ve done some terrible things in my life. Big lies splash in my wake and follow me until the water creeps into my lungs. I’ve murdered many people who deserved to die. I take the phrase ‘pick your poison’ literally. My arsenal of natural toxins and poisons hidden deep within a freezer provide enough variety to mimic natural death. The cool salt air at my seaside cottage coaxes plants in my poisonous garden to yield the natural killers that I need. And I have collaborators around the world who can provide for me what my garden cannot.

Yes, it’s true that I’ve spent much of my life taking care of patients as a physician and taught a generation of medical students. But it was this very expertise in toxicology that captured the attention of our government. They seduced me and then orchestrated a transformation from consultant to assassin. Some say it’s my jewel-green eyes, raven-colored hair, and even my stiletto heels that tend to disarm my victims. They are blinded to the truth. With eyes closed to the Hippocratic Oath, I travel the world, eliminating terrorists and traitors with poison, stealth in a bottle, in the name of preventing mass destruction on a global scale. Our small covert counter-terrorism team weeds out threats at home and abroad—sanctioned killing, the price of doing business. I’m told that ‘the good of the many outweighs the good of the one.’ It’s become my guiding mantra, allowing me to rationalize this dual existence.

I hide my secret life beneath the cloak of justice, and I’ve discovered that others do too. So I ask you if you’re sure you know the truth about those around you. This last year of my life has been fraught with revelations that I didn’t see coming. For more than twenty years, I thought my baby, my little girl, had died in the Colombian jungle. Not only did I learn that she’s alive, but I discovered that she’s attending the same medical school where I have my academic appointment—a life-changing disclosure. I tremble when I think that we may have brushed by each other not only at the university, but in my fleeting past. I look back and see momentary images of familiarity etched in my mind. Was my beautiful Rose right in front of me while I wore blinders of guilt and despair?

JP, my lover, and partner in our covert government band, grasps my turmoil. Desperate to soothe my soul, he promises that life’s twists and turns can only make us more resilient and resolute. Facing the wind, my body stands tall and hard like a tree firmly rooted in the ground. Having no support on its own, a vine uses its tendrils to clutch to the broad trunk. My stories are like this vine, ever climbing, ever strangling—a complicated life that requires both brilliance and strength.

***

Excerpt from A Message in Poison by BJ Magnani. Copyright 2022 by BJ Magnani. Reproduced with permission from BJ Magnani. All rights reserved.

~~~

Author Bio:

BJ Magnani

BJ Magnani (Barbarajean Magnani, PhD, MD, FCAP) is the author of the Dr. Lily Robinson novels: The Queen of All Poisons (Encircle Publications, 2019), The Power of Poison (Encircle Publications, 2021), and A Message In Poison (Encircle Publications, 2022.) Lily Robinson and the Art of Secret Poisoning (nVision Publishing, 2011) is the original collection of short stories featuring the brilliant, yet deadly, doctor. Dr. Magnani is internationally recognized for her expertise in clinical chemistry and toxicology, has been named a “Top Doctor” in Boston magazine, and was named one of the Top 100 Most Influential Laboratory Medicine Professionals in the World by The Pathologist. She is Professor of Anatomic and Clinical Pathology (and Professor of Medicine) at Tufts University School of Medicine, Boston, MA, and the former Chair of both the College of American Pathologists (CAP) Toxicology Committee and the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at Tufts Medical Center.

Follow BJ Magnani on:
www.BJMagnani.com
Goodreads
BookBub – @bjmagnani
Twitter – @bjmagnani
Facebook – @bjmagnaniauthor

Join us for an InstaParty at #bjmagnani!!

~~~

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#BookReview “Razing Stakes (The De La Cruz Case Files Book 3)” by TG Wolff

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5/5 Stars!

When called to an accident scene in the middle of the day, Detective Jesus De La Cruz’s gut instincts tell him the jogger’s death was no simple hit and run. Proving it will lead Cruz to jealousy and betrayal in the workplace, the world of the privileged, and a close connection to his girlfriend, Aurora Williams.

Cruz is also tasked with investigating a series of attacks on employees of the city’s water department that will have consequences no one sees coming.

A likable character, Cruz doesn’t have the savvy of Joe Fontana or grumpiness of Leroy Jethro Gibbs. He does, however, have an everyman quality that keeps him balanced as he deals with his demons from his undercover days, alcoholism, taking the next step with Aurora, and realizing his widowed mother has a sex life.

Third in the De La Cruz Case Files, Razing Stakes is my first read from the series. With plenty of spins and twists, it’s  an engrossing page-turner right up to the end.

Enjoy!

~~~

April 1-30, 2022 Virtual Book Tour

Synopsis:

 

The first day of summer is the last day of a young accountant’s life. Colin McHenry is out for his regular run when an SUV crosses into his path, crushing him. Within hours of the hit-skip, Cleveland Homicide Detective Jesus De La Cruz finds the vehicle in the owner’s garage, who’s on vacation three time zones away. The setup is obvious, but not the hand behind it. The suspects read like a list out of a textbook: the jilted fiancée, the jealous coworker, the overlooked subordinate, the dirty client.

His plate already full, Cruz is assigned to a “special project,” a case needing to be solved quickly and quietly. Cleveland Water technicians are the targets of focused attacks. The crimes range from intimidation to assault. The locations swing between the east, west, and south sides of the city. This is definitely madness, but there is a method behind it.

The two cases are different and yet the same. Motives, opportunities, and alibis don’t point in a single direction. In these mysteries, Cruz has to think laterally, yanking down the curtain to expose the master minding the strings.

Book Details:

Genre: Mystery

Published by: Down & Out Books

Publication Date: February 14, 2022

Number of Pages: 294

ISBN: 978-1-64396-245-0

Series: The De La Cruz Case Files, 3rd in series

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Down & Out Books

~~~

Tour Participants:

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This is a giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Tours for TG Wolff. See the widget for entry terms and conditions. Void where prohibited.

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~~~

#BookTour “Razing Stakes” by TG Wolff

Razing Stakes by TG Wolff Banner~~~

April 1-30, 2022 Virtual Book Tour

Synopsis:

Razing Stakes by TG Wolff

The first day of summer is the last day of a young accountant’s life. Colin McHenry is out for his regular run when an SUV crosses into his path, crushing him. Within hours of the hit-skip, Cleveland Homicide Detective Jesus De La Cruz finds the vehicle in the owner’s garage, who’s on vacation three time zones away. The setup is obvious, but not the hand behind it. The suspects read like a list out of a textbook: the jilted fiancée, the jealous coworker, the overlooked subordinate, the dirty client.

His plate already full, Cruz is assigned to a “special project,” a case needing to be solved quickly and quietly. Cleveland Water technicians are the targets of focused attacks. The crimes range from intimidation to assault. The locations swing between the east, west, and south sides of the city. This is definitely madness, but there is a method behind it.

The two cases are different and yet the same. Motives, opportunities, and alibis don’t point in a single direction. In these mysteries, Cruz has to think laterally, yanking down the curtain to expose the master minding the strings.

Book Details:

Genre: Mystery

Published by: Down & Out Books

Publication Date: February 14, 2022

Number of Pages: 294

ISBN: 978-1-64396-245-0

Series: The De La Cruz Case Files, 3rd in series

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Down & Out Books

~~~

Read an excerpt:

Ten minutes dead. The sun shined brightly, no clouds on this first day of summer, the last day of John Doe’s life. Cleveland police Detective Jesus De La Cruz squatted next to the broken body. The warmth beneath his hand testified to the newness of death.

Two EMTs had worked to sustain the man’s life. One was at the ambulance now, tending to the tools of his trade. The other stood over the body, shaking his head at the victim. “He was dead before we arrived, Detective. He just didn’t know it.” The EMT peeled off his gloves, finality in a simple act. “Damn it if we didn’t fight for him. In the end, he was just too crushed.”

Cruz rose looking east and west, north and south. The crime scene was on the side of a road halfway between East 9th Street and East 55th Street. North Marginal was a two-way street carved between Lake Erie and a spur off I-90 called the Shoreway. Properties cut off by the Shoreway—the Coast Guard station, Burke Lakefront Airport, a private marina, a condominium complex—were accessed from North Marginal. Even at the busiest times of day, vehicular traffic here was scant. Middle of a workday, a steady stream of runners arced around the first responders.

“Popular place,” Cruz said, meeting the eyes of a curious runner rubbernecking as he slowed to a jog.

“It is,” the EMT said. “Few better places downtown for running. A solid two and a half miles with no cross streets. Whoever hit him came from the east. Blew him up.”

The body spoke for itself. No way it could be where it was being hit from the west. Cruz straddled the curb, which was a generous term for the inch separating the driving surface from the running path. A bicycle wouldn’t call it an obstacle. John Doe either never saw it coming or was unable to get out of the way. The impact had launched him into the airport’s tall security fence. The fence bounced him back, the one-hundred-eighty-pound body a pinball rebounding off bumpers.

John Doe had been moved, necessary and appropriate as he’d been alive when he was found.

“Medical Examiner is en route,” the EMT said. “He’s yours now.”

“I’ll take care of him.” Cruz studied the victim. The man was mostly skin. He had taken off his shirt on the warm day, one of the first to be hot. A shirt lay on the edge of the path, marked by an evidence tag. Two other shirts lay close to the body; one black, one yellow and stained with blood.

The running shorts covered hip to mid-thigh. He wore socks, shoes, and a fitness device on his wrist. Skin was scraped off his arms, legs, chest, and face, the asphalt unforgiving. An AirPod was in his left ear, the right one missing.

Squatting again, Cruz felt the side seams of the shorts, finding zippered pockets. Inside the right one was a slim, card-size piece of plastic, a security badge for a building on East 9th Street. The dead man smiled out of a poor-quality image. Beneath was the name Colin McHenry.

“Detective, we found his phone,” one of the officers securing the scene called out. “It’s in good shape. Thumb print pass coded.”

“Open it before the ME takes him. Who found him?”

“A pair of runners. I parked them under the big tree.” The officer pointed across North Marginal to a small grove on a manmade hill. The two men waited anxiously under the tree, watching the activity. Both were runners. Both were shirtless. Both came to attention as Cruz approached and introduced himself.

“I’m Landon Chartres, this is Denny Bradford. We saw him as soon as we came around the bend. He was half in the street.” The otherwise straight line of North Marginal had a large curve bumping out to make space for an exit from the Shoreway. McHenry’s body would have been screened by the fence and shrubs separating the public from the airport’s private property.

“We knew someone was ahead of us,” Bradford said. “When you turn onto the Marginal, you can you see all the way to the curve.”

Chartres nodded like a bobblehead. “We saw the vehicle that must have hit him. It was the only one that passed us before we got to him. Black SUV. Part of the license plate was LDC. Those are my initials, so it caught my attention. I didn’t catch the make or model.”

Bradford looked behind him, to East 9th Street. He repeatedly shifted his weight from foot to foot. “He was only out of our sight to a few minutes. Would you say he had a five-minute lead, Landon?”

“At most. Probably more like three or four. We called 9-1-1 and pulled him out of the road. Anyone coming around the curve would have hit him. We used our shirts to try to stop the bleeding.”

As a pair of witnesses went, these two were easy, answering questions before he could ask them. They wanted to talk, maybe even needed to talk. “Did anyone pass you from behind, coming from East 9th going east?”

The pair looked at each other, huddled like they were on a pitcher’s mound deciding on a call. It was Chartres who answered. “We don’t think so, Detective, but we couldn’t swear to it. We weren’t paying that much attention. But the one that came toward us, the one with my initials, it was flying.”

“Is he going to make it?” Bradford asked, hope in his voice. “The ambulance got here fast. We kept pressure on his wounds, like they tell you to.”

“I’m sorry, he didn’t.” As if on cue, an engine started. The ambulance pulled away without a passenger.

***

Excerpt from Razing Stakes by TG Wolff. Copyright 2022 by TG Wolff. Reproduced with permission from TG Wolff. All rights reserved.

~~~

Author Bio:

TG Wolff

TG Wolff writes thrillers and mysteries that play within the gray area between good and bad, right and wrong. Cause and effect drive the stories, drawing from 20+ years’ experience in Civil Engineering, where “cause” is more often a symptom of a bigger, more challenging problem. Diverse characters mirror the complexities of real life and real people, balanced with a healthy dose of entertainment. TG Wolff holds a Master’s Degree in Civil Engineering and is a member of Mystery Writers of America and Sisters in Crime.

Catch Up With TG Wolff:
TGWolffCom.wordpress.com
Goodreads
BookBub – @TG_Wolff
Instagram – @tg_wolff
Twitter – @tg_wolff
Facebook

~~~

Tour Participants:

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

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This is a giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Tours for TG Wolff. See the widget for entry terms and conditions. Void where prohibited.

~~~

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~~~

#BookTour “Paradise Cove” by Davin Goodwin

Paradise Cove by Davin Goodwin Banner

April 1-30, 2022 Virtual Book Tour

book cover

Synopsis:

 

Every day is paradise on Bonaire—until something unexpected washes ashore

On the laid-back island of Bonaire, every day is paradise until a seaweed-entangled human leg washes ashore. Combing the beach, retired cop Roscoe Conklin examines the scene and quickly determines that the leg belongs to the nephew of a close friend.

The island police launch an investigation, but with little evidence and no suspects, their progress comes to a frustrating halt. Then, thanks to a unique barter with the lead detective, Conklin finds himself in possession of the case file. He can now aggressively probe for his own answers.

Sifting through the scant clues, eager to bring the killer to justice, Conklin struggles to maintain forward momentum. He has all the pieces. He can feel it. But he’d better get them snapped together soon.

Otherwise, the body count will continue to rise.

 

Praise for Paradise Cove:

“An intriguingly gruesome beginning, sexy location, and a supremely satisfying ending. Paradise Cove is a terrific read.” —Marc Cameron, New York Times best-selling author

Paradise Cove is a wonderful thriller with a great story . . . what makes it special are the perfect descriptions of Bonaire and life on the island.” —Nicholas Harvey, author of the AJ Bailey Adventure Series

“Grab a beer and revisit Bonaire with Roscoe Conklin as your guide in Paradise Cove. A rich cast of characters and an intriguing plot guarantee an exciting trip you’ll long remember.” –Shawn Wilson, author of Relentless

 

Book Details:

Genre: Mystery

Published by: Oceanview Publishing

Publication Date: April 5th 2022

Number of Pages: 304

ISBN: 1608094855 (ISBN13: 9781608094851)

Series: Roscoe Conklin Mystery #2 | The novels in the Roscoe Conklin

Mystery Series stand on their own and can be read in any order.

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

~~~

Read an excerpt:

Finished with my morning swim, having pushed myself hard the last quarter mile, I sat on the end of the pier with my legs dangling over the edge. No clouds in the typical Caribbean-blue Bonaire sky and a faint hint of salt floated in the air. The wind shoved waves, larger than normal, against the shore.

An iguana lay a few feet away, basking in the sun, overweight from gorging itself on the remnants of the near-by garbage can. It sat motionless, one eye tilted in my direction, the other skewed over the edge of the pier at the water. It was a resident of the area and joined me regularly on the pier after my swims.

I had taken to calling it Charlie.

As I towel-dried my arms and hair, I noticed two teenaged boys using a stick to poke at an object near the water’s edge, a stone’s throw south of the pier. The object had washed ashore and was covered with random strands of dark seaweed.

I watched the boys take a few steps forward, jab the stick at the object, then retreat, as if expecting something to happen. Nothing did, so they repeated the process several times with the same result.

Some younger children ventured forth, staying well behind the brave teenagers. Wide-eyed, high-pitched streams of Papiamento—the native language of Bonaire—filled the air as they half-talked, half-screamed. They gawked at the object, the raced back up the beach to their mothers, sitting on beach blankets.

One mother stood, nodding her head, and, appeasing the child, walked toward the water. She stopped a few feet shy of the shore. Her eyes widened and she shuffled backward to the other women, grabbed her cell phone, and, with a shaky hand, put it to her ear. She pointed at the object and spoke, her Papiamento not as high-pitched as the child’s, but every bit as excited. Unfortunately, I didn’t understand a word they said, my Papiamento being only slightly better than my Klingon.

The base of my neck tingled.

I no longer carried a badge, but nearly three decades as a law enforcement officer, specifically with the Violent Crimes Division of the Rockford, Illinois, police department, had trained my curiosity to remain on high alert. Of the hundreds of traits, quirks, and ticks conditioned into my psyche during those years, the sense of inquisitiveness, along with a constant need to know and understand, were the most deeply engrained.

I shook my head, stood, and walked down the pier to the beach. This was something I probably needed to see.

My sudden movement startled Charlie and he darted to the other side of the pier, both eyes now pointed in my direction. I gave him a shallow wave. “Sorry, Charlie.”

The water surface on the west side—or leeward side—of the island remained consistently flat, almost glasslike, aided by a solid wind from the east. The wind also swept most of the seaweed, litter, and other debris out to sea. Few items floated ashore on the leeward coast of Bonaire.

Except during wind reversals. Over the last few days, the easterly wind had changed direction and blew in from the west, bringing with it all kinds of surface floaties.

I plodded through the sand, closing the distance to the water’s edge. Most likely, an unfortunate tuna or tarpon had met its demise. But based on the actions and behaviors of the children, and the concern of the mother, I quickly changed my mind. A fish washing ashore was too common an occurrence and wouldn’t generate the reactions I’d just witnessed.

Then I remembered the epidemic affecting the green moray eels. For some reason, a strange parasite was attacking the green morays, causing the deaths of many. The occurrence was so rare that a group of marine biologists had recently arrived on the island, and with the help of local researchers, were studying the phenomenon. The situation was declared serious, possibly affecting the entire green moray population of the local reefs. When a dead eel washed ashore, the researchers wanted to be informed so they could harvest the carcass for study.

The teenagers moved back a few steps as I worked past them and stood over the object. It wasn’t a tarpon or tuna. Or a diseased moral eel. I turned back toward the beach and scanned the area, noticing the increased crowd size. I admit, the word crowd is relative on a small island like Bonaire, but, even so, a small horde of lookie-loos had gathered. Some vied for a better view, meandering closer to the water’s edge.

But not too close.

I sighed and shook my head. Few things draw a crowd to the beach faster than a human body part washing ashore.

***

Excerpt from Paradise Cove by Davin Goodwin. Copyright 2022 by Davin Goodwin. Reproduced with permission from Davin Goodwin. All rights reserved.

~~~

Author Bio:

Davin Goodwin

Davin Goodwin is a graduate of Arkansas State University and works in the technology industry. He’s been a small business owner, a real estate investor, an aerial photographer and flight instructor, a semi-professional banjo player, and a scuba diver, often seen on the island of Bonaire. Paradise Cove is the second novel in his Roscoe Conklin Mystery Series and he intends to continue writing the Roscoe Conklin series set on Bonaire. Goodwin lives in Madison, Wisconsin, with his wife, Leslie.

Catch Up With Davin Goodwin:
DavinGoodwinAuthor.com
Goodreads
BookBub – @dgoodwin7757
Instagram – @davin_goodwin_author
Facebook – @authordavingoodwin

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#BookReview “Mouse Trap (A Clay Wolfe / Port Essex Mystery Book 3)” by Matt Cost

April 4-29, 2022 Virtual Book Tour

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book cover~~~

5/5 Stars!

I loved every page of this fasting-moving, hard-hitting mystery thriller!

Private Investigator Clay Wolfe accepts a job believing he’s looking for the person who tried to steal a mouse from a research lab.

His partner, Baylee Baker is hired by a wealthy pop singer as a bodyguard, and to do a background check on the same research lab she’s considering working with.

What neither expected was for their cases to become one and lead them to dead bodies, sadistic killers, dark money, Russians, genetic engineering, and Nazis.

A side plot with a wealthy woman wanting a child and choosing Clay to be the father is also connected to the case in ways no one saw coming.

Clay, Baylee, and their small team of friends are all more than meets the eye, and even background checks on them don’t reveal their true tenacity, skill, and commitment to the job… and each other.

I haven’t read the first two books in the Clay Wolfe series but don’t feel Mouse Trap was missing anything in character development and backstories.

An original plot with interesting characters and amazing writing make Mouse Trap a must-read! (And I will read books one and two!)

Enjoy!

~~~

Synopsis:

 

When Clay Wolfe is hired to find out who tried to steal a mouse, he thought it was akin to a fireman getting a cat out of a tree. It wasn’t.

“Sometimes bad genes need to be stamped out and good ones need to be fostered,” Bridget Engel said. “There’s really no difference between mice and human beings when it comes to genes.” She wore a gray suit, and her blonde hair was cut short in the style that Hillary Clinton had made popular.

When Clay Wolfe rekindles an old romance, the summer is looking bright. It wasn’t.

He woke in the middle of the night, gathered his things, and slipped away. After Clay left, Victoria rose from the bed and went into the bathroom, carefully removed the condom from the Kleenex it was wrapped in and put it in a plastic baggie.

Who is the mysterious man who clubs Westy with a hammer and threatens the lives of everybody Clay Wolfe holds dear?

Now, Clive Miller was a fixer. He took care of problems that arose. Once given a task, his hands weren’t tied, and he was well-paid for his troubles. There were two simple rules. Eliminate the problem. Don’t draw attention.

Book Details:

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

Published by: Encircle Publications, LLC

Publication Date: April 13, 2022

Number of Pages: 312

ISBN: 1645993299 (ISBN13: 9781645993292)

Series: A Clay Wolfe / Port Essex Mystery Book 3

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

~~~

 

Tour Participants:

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#BookTour “Mouse Trap (A Clay Wolfe / Port Essex Mystery Book 3)” by Matt Cost

Mouse Trap by Matt L Cost BannerApril 4-29, 2022 Virtual Book Tour

~~~

book cover~~~

Synopsis:

 

When Clay Wolfe is hired to find out who tried to steal a mouse, he thought it was akin to a fireman getting a cat out of a tree. It wasn’t.

“Sometimes bad genes need to be stamped out and good ones need to be fostered,” Bridget Engel said. “There’s really no difference between mice and human beings when it comes to genes.” She wore a gray suit, and her blonde hair was cut short in the style that Hillary Clinton had made popular.

When Clay Wolfe rekindles an old romance, the summer is looking bright. It wasn’t.

He woke in the middle of the night, gathered his things, and slipped away. After Clay left, Victoria rose from the bed and went into the bathroom, carefully removed the condom from the Kleenex it was wrapped in and put it in a plastic baggie.

Who is the mysterious man who clubs Westy with a hammer and threatens the lives of everybody Clay Wolfe holds dear?

Now, Clive Miller was a fixer. He took care of problems that arose. Once given a task, his hands weren’t tied, and he was well-paid for his troubles. There were two simple rules. Eliminate the problem. Don’t draw attention.

Book Details:

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

Published by: Encircle Publications, LLC

Publication Date: April 13, 2022

Number of Pages: 312

ISBN: 1645993299 (ISBN13: 9781645993292)

Series: A Clay Wolfe / Port Essex Mystery Book 3

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

~~~

Read an excerpt:

Chapter 1:

Monday, July 6th

 

“Sometimes bad genes need to be stamped out and good ones need to be fostered,” Bridget Engel said. “There’s really no difference between mice and human beings when it comes to genes.” She wore a gray suit, and her blond hair was cut short in the style that Hillary Clinton had made popular.

Victoria Haas was careful to not let her fork drop to the plate and her mouth fall open in astonishment, not the expected response of ladies of power in business and society. Women who gaped did not drink the 2015 Chablis 1er Cru Fôrets for lunch in the swank private dining room of the exclusive Port Essex Harborside Hotel in the company of the CEO of Johnson Labs, one of the premier biomedical research companies in the U.S. and Maine’s third largest employer.

Victoria had been coming here since she could remember, while Engel had only moved to Port Essex some ten years earlier. Yet, she’d never known about this ornate oasis just off the main dining room. It appeared that this private room was reserved exclusively by Johnson for business functions and engagements.

What did Engel mean by stamped out, Victoria wondered? She’d brought up the subject in passing, asking how one could ensure that your baby was genetically gifted only to be somewhat taken aback by the abruptness of the answer. She bought some time taking a bit of the Cobb salad. Even though her ship had passed Engel’s at many political and official functions in the past years, this was the first time they’d met for a social engagement.

“How does one go about stamping out bad genes?” Victoria asked, taking a small sip of the chardonnay. She was also blonde, but was much more fashionably dressed, with a shirtwaist dress, dirndl skirt, Chanel slingbacks, and a string of pearls around her neck.

Engel was looking through the wall-size window into the main dining room, a window Victoria knew was mirrored on the other side. There were four tables in the room she was surveying, but only one occupied, by three men and a woman. This was the room that Victoria knew well, one that she’d eaten in countless times. It was one of the men at the table who’d caused Victoria to bring up the subject of babies. She’d known him since she was a little girl, even having had a fling with him after her senior year in high school, but she’d barely seen him since as their lives has led them in two different directions.

“It used to be easier,” Engel said, her attention drawn to the other room. “There was a time when the disabled, the poor, the inferior, and the promiscuous could be sterilized. Instead of having them grow up to be criminals filling our jails, or to let them starve out of their own imbecility, the United States used to prevent those who were manifestly unfit from continuing their kind.”

“Do you know those people?” Victoria nodded her head at the window.

“The two men with their backs to us work for my company,” Engel said.

Victoria nodded, taking another sip of the Chardonnay. She knew that Engel’s company, based nearby in East Essex, did genetic experiments on mice in an effort to eradicate disease, but she wasn’t quite sure where sterilization came in. The waiter approached and poured another scant inch of wine into their glasses.

“It seems that sterilization has long been out of favor,” Victoria said. “Perhaps there are other ways to…ensure that deficient genes are not passed on to one’s offspring?”

Engel turned from the view of the other room and focused on Victoria. “We’ve made great advances in the past few years. Soon, much disease will be a thing of the past.”

“That doesn’t take care of the slovenly or the stupid, though, now does it.”

“No, no it doesn’t.”

“You said something about fostering good genes?”

“Why are you asking?”

Victoria looked at the man facing her in the other room. He was the answer to something she’d been contemplating for some time now. She wasn’t getting any younger, and, for the past year, she had felt this emotional void, an emptiness only filled when she imagined bringing an extension of herself into this world, something larger than her work, her money, or anything she’d ever known.

“I’ve wondered about what it might be like to have a baby,” Victoria said.

“Tiresome,” Engel said, and the two women laughed.

“But truly,” Victoria said. “I have thoughts of becoming a mother.”

“I know the Haas family has impeccable genes and have had so for generations,” Engel said. “What of the father?”

“I haven’t chosen a father as of yet.”

“Does that mean you’re holding tryouts?” The two women looked at each before breaking into giggles.

“In a way, yes,” Victoria said. “I certainly don’t want my child to be average.”

“Or your husband.”

“I don’t believe I said that I was looking for a spouse.” Victoria’s tone changed from jest to business in a split second. “Just a baby.”

“Men can be a nuisance. How do you propose picking a father?”

“I have somebody in mind. I have had his background looked into—in all the usual ways. But if I wanted to do a DNA check on him, how would I go about it?”

The waiter opened the door, and Engel waved him away impatiently. “You could simply ask them to submit to a test. A swab from the inside of the cheek or a blood sample would do fine.”

“That might be a bit delicate.”

“He doesn’t know that he’s applying to be the father?” Engel asked.

Victoria blushed. “Not exactly. How about a hair?”

Engel shook her head. “You’d have to be sure to pull out the follicle and part of the scalp to be certain, and that would be noticeable.”

“How, then?”

“Are you…sexually active with him?”

“Not for nineteen years.”

Engel laughed. “I’m sure the poor dummkopf doesn’t stand a chance against a woman such as you. Tell you what? Why don’t you seduce the poor fool and bring me a sample of his semen? I can have people at the lab analyze it and let you know whether he’s worthy of being the father of your child or not.”

***

“We must first establish the need for utmost confidentiality as concerns any and all of our business dealings and any such information, trade secrets, intellectual property or any related knowledge you may be…exposed to as you go about your work for us.”

The legalese hung heavy in the air over the table in the fancy function room of the Harborside Hotel where they were eating. The clean-cut fellow with the five-thousand-dollar suit had uttered the words more as a threat than a statement, the other man, his duds no less expensive, nodding in rhythm almost as if listening to music. He must be the lawyer, Clay Wolfe thought, wishing they would get to the point, not that he was invited into Port Essex’s inner sanctum for a fine lunch every day, but still….

“Of course,” he replied. “That is a standard clause of my contract.”

“I have a, um, slightly more binding non-disclosure agreement that I’d like you to sign.”

The man had said that his name was Rex Bolton and that he was chief operating officer of Johnson Laboratories. On second glance, he was not as well manicured as Clay had originally thought. His sandy blond hair was tight on the sides but tousled on top, and lines creased his face suggesting worry rather than age.

“I don’t see why that would be a problem,” Clay said, nodding. He hadn’t recognized most of the dishes on the menu and had ordered a Cobb salad. The waiter came and went so quietly and with such self-effacing efficiency that he was almost invisible. Unlike the quite impressive Frederick Remington statue in the corner next to a large mirror that made the room seem bigger than it was.

There were two tables separating Clay and his business partner, Baylee Baker, from the two men from Johnson Laboratories. This was to provide the minimum six feet of social distancing in this time of Covid-19. Baylee was slender with legs that went on forever, a bit of bronze to her skin, and brown hair that matched her eyes. The words Real People were tattooed on the inside of her left forearm. The glass of white wine in front of her was nearly untouched, unlike the surf ’n’ turf, scallops and Angus tips, which she’d demolished, much to Clay’s amusement. The woman had an appetite.

The lawyer, with as yet no name, looked at Baylee. “Absolute confidentiality, Mr. Wolfe, is what we need and expect.”

“Miss Baker is my lead investigator and a partner in the firm,” Clay said. He took a sip of the expensive scotch that he sure hoped was going on someone else’s tab.

“Nonetheless, we must insist,” the lawyer said.

Clay leant back in his chair. His hands pressed lightly onto the elegant tablecloth. He ignored the lawyer and spoke directly to Bolton. “I could tell you that I won’t include her in the case,” he said. “But I’d be lying. If it’s a deal breaker, then I’m sorry.” He steepled his fingers under his chin, his cards played, ready to accept the outcome however it went.

“I’m sure that we can have Miss Baker sign the NDA as well,” Bolton said.

The lawyer reached down to the chair beside him, taking up two thick-stapled copies from a briefcase and sliding them across the dual tables. “Please sign where indicated.” It seems he’d been prepared for this eventuality. They didn’t appear to be men who were surprised by much.

“What do you know about Johnson Laboratories, Mr. Wolfe?” Bolton asked when they were done, the paperwork safely stashed back in the lawyer’s briefcase with copies for Clay and Baylee slipped into a thick envelope.

“They, you, employ quite a few people in the area,” Clay said. “You’ve got a complex in East Essex.” He shrugged. “Testing with mice or something like that.”

Bolton smiled, a smirk that didn’t reach his eyes. “We’re the largest employer north of BIW with over a thousand employees. This includes over two hundred men and women with doctorates or other advanced degrees who investigate the genetic bases of cancer, disease, autoimmunity, and many other disorders. JOHNS is known for biomedical research that bridges translational and clinical contexts. We integrate mouse genetics and human genomics to understand the underlying cause of human health and disease. There have been nineteen Nobel Prizes associated with our work.”

“So, you do test with mice,” Baylee said.

Clay fought back a chuckle. That was about all he’d gotten out of the mumbo jumbo that Bolton had just spouted out, too.

“Yes, Miss Baker. As a matter of fact, we are the world’s supplier for over nine thousand strains of genetically defined mice.”

“That’s where all those rodents come from,” Baylee said.

“More importantly, they are mammals,” Bolton said. “Very similar to humans in many ways. We have even created a humanized mouse.”

“A humanized mouse?” Clay asked.

“Mouse models with human immune cell engraftment represent ground-breaking platforms to evaluate compounds to treat a variety of human diseases, from cancer and infectious diseases to allergies and inflammation.”

“Oh, I see,” Clay said. But he did not see at all. He did deem it best to not be an ignoramus when trying to land a case from a man in a five-thousand-dollar suit. “How about you tell us why you’re here and what you need from us?”

“We are worried that our research has been compromised,” Bolton said.

Clay nodded. “You must have your own security. Why us?”

Bolton looked at the lawyer, who said, “You understand that breaking the NDA could possibly be a treasonous offense, and that you could be prosecuted as a traitor to the United States of America.”

“You think the Russians or the Chinese are hacking you? Like they did with the Covid-19 vaccine? Because I’m sort of under the impression we should just be sharing that stuff, you know, if it’s going to save human lives.” Clay wondered, what could possibly be hacked in regard to mice?

“It’s more sensitive and delicate than you could imagine, Mr. Wolfe.” Bolton’s voice expressed exasperation.

“Perhaps I should get my lawyer to read through the NDA before I go any further,” Clay said. His lawyer was his grandpops, eighty-four years of age, still with a keen mind.

“That might be for the best,” Bolton said.

“What can you tell us about the case?” Baylee asked. “Without possibly compromising our freedom?”

“I like your directness, Miss Baker,” Bolton said. “Quite simply, somebody has been stealing mice.”

He’s worried that it’s an inside job, Clay thought. But stealing mice? It was quite a leap from that to treason. The mice must be quite special, possessing something so sensitive, that if he, Clay Wolfe, leaked, he could be arrested as a traitor and thrown into some place like Guantanamo without charges or trial. This was serious shit.

“And you suspect your own security team of being involved?” Clay asked.

“We don’t know who to suspect,” Bolton said. “But it is concerning.”

“I think before we get into the nuts and bolts of this that we’ll have our lawyer go over the NDA,” Clay said. “It shouldn’t take long. Perhaps we can get together tomorrow and move forward?”

“Time is of the essence, Mr. Wolfe,” Bolton said.

“Of course, I understand.”

The lawyer reached into his case and retrieved the NDA and slid it back across the table.

“One of our security team disappeared over the weekend,” Bolton said. “He was on the night shift for the fourth. Showed up to work. Was last seen about 2:00 AM. Never checked out. Never went home. Gone.”

***

Excerpt from Mouse Trap by Matt L Cost. Copyright 2022 by Matt L Cost. Reproduced with permission from Matt L Cost. All rights reserved.

~~~

Author Bio:

Matt L Cost

Matt Cost is the highly acclaimed, award-winning author of the Mainely Mystery series. The first book, Mainely Power, was selected as the Maine Humanities Council Read ME fiction book of 2020. This was followed by Mainely Fear, Mainely Money, and Mainely Angst. I Am Cuba: Fidel Castro and the Cuban Revolution was his first traditionally published novel. He had another historical released in August of 2021, Love in a Time of Hate. Wolfe Trap and Mind Trap were the first two in the Clay Wolfe Port Essex Trap series. Mouse Trap is the third in this series. Cost was a history major at Trinity College. He owned a mystery bookstore, a video store, and a gym, before serving a ten-year sentence as a junior high school teacher. In 2014 he was released and began writing. And that’s what he does. He writes histories and mysteries. Cost now lives in Brunswick, Maine, with his wife, Harper. There are four grown children: Brittany, Pearson, Miranda, and Ryan. A chocolate Lab and a basset hound round out the mix. He now spends his days at the computer, writing.

Catch Up With Matt:
www.mattcost.net
Goodreads
BookBub – @matthewcost
Instagram – @mlangdoncost
Twitter – @MattCost8
Facebook

~~~

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