#BookSale “No Justice: The Complete Series: A Dark Vigilante Thriller Series” by David W. Wright, Nolan King

cover

~~~

From the bestselling authors of Yesterday’s Gone and Pretty Killer comes the unforgettable thriller series that blends mystery and suspense into pulse-pounding revenge-seeking, serial-killing action.

Where her law ends, his justice is only beginning …

Detective Mallory Black’s world was shredded when her daughter, Ashley, was murdered by a serial killer with an unspeakable fetish and the truly twisted desire to carry it out.

Jasper Parish is a vigilante who punishes killers that have escaped traditional justice. Relying on the psychic visions of his daughter, he wages war from the shadows, doing what the police can’t — or won’t — do.

Hero, killer, and vigilante are on a collision course in a world where there is no justice … unless you’re willing to risk everything in the pursuit of your own.

This collection pulls together all 6 books in the completed No Justice series, a pulse-pounding new series for fans of Dexter, Silence of the Lambs, and Seven.

1.99 for a limited time!

KINDLE UNLIMITED

AMAZON US

~~~

#BookReview “The Things That Last Forever: A Vic Lenoski Mystery” by Peter W. J. Hayes

On Tour: January 1 – February 28, 2021

~~~

Hayes cover

~~~

4/5 Stars!

Vic Lenoski’s life nose-dived when his teenage daughter, Dannie, was taken. Clues to her whereabouts led him nowhere. He lost himself inside a bottle, and his wife, Anne, moved out.

As the seasoned detective fights to reclaim his life, new information leads him to the woman who may know where his daughter is. But it was a setup and Vic arrives in time to catch the woman, Cora Stills, or save his partner, Liz, trapped inside a burning house.

As he recuperates from the injuries he sustained saving Liz, Vic has too many questions and no answers. Who tipped Cora off? Why isn’t there a major investigation into the attempted murder of a cop? Why is the DA trying to dial down the murder of a crooked public defender? Will he ever catch up to Cora again and find Dannie?

A cop who believes in the letter of the law, Vic will skirt the fringes of what’s ethically and morally right to find his daughter. Following leads and his instincts, he will travel from Pittsburgh to North Dakota and find out the depths of the human trafficking ring, and the truth about his daughter.

As much a character study as it is a suspenseful mystery, The Things That Last Forever is a page-turner from the beginning. With the deck stacked purposely against him, Vic must do the wrong things for the right reasons… not just to bring his daughter home, but to find the truth. He knows his life will never go back to the way it was before, but he needs to heal his soul.

The ending is bittersweet and satisfying, and realistic, and helps to make this a read that will stay with you long after the last page.

Enjoy!

~~~

Synopsis:

 

After a house fire hospitalizes his partner and forces him onto medical leave, Pittsburgh Bureau of Police detective Vic Lenoski starts a desperate search for the woman who set the blaze. She is the one person who knows what happened to his missing teenage daughter, but as a fugitive, she’s disappeared so thoroughly no one can find her.

Risking his job and the wrath of the district attorney, Vic resorts to bargaining with criminal suspects for new leads, many of which point to North Dakota. He flies there, only to discover he is far from everything he knows, and his long-cherished definitions of good and bad are fading as quickly as his leads. His only chance is one last audacious roll of the dice. Can he stay alive long enough to discover the whereabouts of his daughter and rebuild his life? Or is everything from his past lost forever?

“The mystery plot itself is riveting…a captivating and emotionally intelligent crime drama.” — Kirkus Reviews

Book Details:

Genre: Mystery: Police Procedural

Published by: Level Best Books

Publication Date: August 1, 2020

Number of Pages: 294

ISBN: 978-1-947915-56-5

Series: A Vic Lenoski Mystery; Pittsburgh Trilogy #3 || Each is a Stand Alone Mystery

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads


Tour Participants:

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 Peter W.J. Hayes. There will be 4 winners for this giveaway. Two (2) winners will each receive one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card and two (2) winners will each receive one (1) physical copy of The Things That Last Forever by Peter W.J. Hayes (US Only). The giveaway begins on January 1, 2021 and runs through March 2, 2021. Void where prohibited.

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

~~~

Get More Great Reads at Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours

~~~

#GuestPost Writing Through the Apocalypse by Peter W. J. Hayes, author of “The Things That Last Forever”

The Things That Last Forever by Peter W.J. Hayes Banner

On Tour: January 1 – February 28, 2021

~~~

Writing Through the Apocalypse

Stay at home, they said. Only go out for essential reasons, they said. For the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and us in Pittsburgh, those pandemic directives were effective April Fool’s Day, 2020. You can’t make this stuff up. I was left parsing the meaning of ‘essential.’ I wrote three novels—including The Things That Last Forever—and more than a dozen short stories while sitting in a well-known coffee chain. To me, the commute and concentration I needed to block out the coffee-shop hub-bub was ‘essential’ to my writing. But now I had the same problem as everyone else.

How to reinvent my work habits?

I did have advantages. I have a workable home office with a door (which my spouse closes with glee after I enter). I was already in the right profession, because the first draft of any story is up to me alone. And thanks to the loss of my commute, I had more time to write.

But home offices have disadvantages. The main one is that the first draft is up to me alone. The rest can be summed up as the refrigerator, the desperate requirement to keep the bird feeder topped up, and the immediate need to investigate any household noise. In short, distractions, any distractions, real or imagined.

Needless to say, for several months, I didn’t complete a lot of work. It wasn’t for lack of trying. Or, as my father used to say (as I sat in my bedroom doing my homework), “Oh, I see you’re trying. Very trying.” He would then close my bedroom door. Gleefully, I think.

See how that happened? Distractions don’t even require a refrigerator or bird feeder.

By the time August rolled around, I knew needed help. I did an intervention on myself and reviewed everything I was doing, starting in the most logical place.

My playlist.

What I found was disturbing. I listen to my playlist when commuting or taking walks, and I delete and add songs to keep it fresh. My review found lots of new songs from Smile Empty Soul and Death Cab for Cutie. I’m not saying it was depressing. The word isn’t quite strong enough. I started deleting, although I did add one song that made me smile every time I heard it.

I also rethought my original commute to the coffee shop. I read, about that time, of people so desperate for normalcy they drove their pre-pandemic work commute round-trip every morning before they started their work-day from home. They said it got them in the right frame of mind.

I decided I needed a new commute as well.

I chose to walk from my office to the dining room. The first thing I did when I arrived was to close the dining room door. Myself. With glee. At the dining room table, I fired up the same IPad and detachable keyboard I used at the coffee shop to write my first three books.

Amazingly, it worked.

By December I had the first draft of my fourth book. A couple of short stories in my pocket.

I’m not going to say it was easy, but I’m still at it. And who knows, perhaps by the end of the year I can revisit the coffee shop every day.

In the meantime, I’ll keep listening to that one song I added to my playlist. Perhaps you should, too. It’s called Somewhere Over the Rainbow, the cover sung by Israel Kamakawiwo’ole.

It’s winter. We could all use a little sunshine.

~~~

Synopsis:

The Things That Last Forever by Peter W. J. Hayes

After a house fire hospitalizes his partner and forces him onto medical leave, Pittsburgh Bureau of Police detective Vic Lenoski starts a desperate search for the woman who set the blaze. She is the one person who knows what happened to his missing teenage daughter, but as a fugitive, she’s disappeared so thoroughly no one can find her.

Risking his job and the wrath of the district attorney, Vic resorts to bargaining with criminal suspects for new leads, many of which point to North Dakota. He flies there, only to discover he is far from everything he knows, and his long-cherished definitions of good and bad are fading as quickly as his leads. His only chance is one last audacious roll of the dice. Can he stay alive long enough to discover the whereabouts of his daughter and rebuild his life? Or is everything from his past lost forever?

“The mystery plot itself is riveting…a captivating and emotionally intelligent crime drama.” — Kirkus Reviews

Book Details:

Genre: Mystery: Police Procedural

Published by: Level Best Books

Publication Date: August 1, 2020

Number of Pages: 294

ISBN: 978-1-947915-56-5

Series: A Vic Lenoski Mystery; Pittsburgh Trilogy #3 || Each is a Stand Alone Mystery

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads


Read an excerpt:

Chapter 1

Sometimes you walk into a room and what’s inside changes your life forever. That sense stopped Vic just inside the doorway. A woman with skin the color of dark amber lay on the only bed, her bandaged arms shockingly white among the shadows. She was reflected in a large window in the far wall, the outside sky as black and still as the inside of a tomb. He smelled disinfectant and blood. Numbers and graph lines flared on grey-eyed medical monitors. Somewhere in the vast empty spaces of the hospital a voice echoed.

He’d never visited a burn ward.

Never had a partner so close to death.

Never thought a room could seem as hollow as he felt inside.

The feeling was so disembodying that when he reached the bed and looked into the woman’s face, he half expected to see himself. But it was Liz, her forehead and knobby cheekbones smeared with ointment, eyebrows and eyelashes burned away. A bandage covered her left earlobe where her favorite earring, a small gold star, usually sat. It seemed like every breath she took pained her.

He wanted to take her hand but the bandages made it impossible. “Liz,” he said softly, her name almost lost among the beeps and clicks of the monitors. Liquid dripped into a tangle of IV tubes at the back of her fist.

Her eyelids fluttered.

“Liz. Doctor told me I could talk to you.”

Her eyes opened. He watched her pupils widen and narrow as they absorbed the distance to the ceiling and distinguished shadows from feeble light.

“Vic?” A hoarse whisper.

“I’m here.”

She turned her face to him. “You got me out.”

Relief rose in Vic’s throat. “Yeah. But the house didn’t make it.”

“Cora Stills?”

Vic squeezed his eyelids shut and rocked on his heels. He didn’t know where to start. Cora Stills. The one person who knew something—anything—about his missing teenage daughter. Liz on her way to arrest her. Instead, Liz, handcuffed to a radiator pipe as flames lathered and stormed through Cora’s house. Cora’s burned-out car found two days later on a crumbling stone dock next to a deserted warehouse, the Allegheny River emptying westward.

Cora, alive and moving through that tomb of darkness outside the window. Free.

“Vic…” Liz said something more but he couldn’t make it out.

He bent closer.

She forced her words from somewhere deep inside, and as she spoke, he knew this was what she saved through all the fear and pain to tell him. “Someone told Cora I was coming.”

***

Excerpt from The Things That Last Forever by Peter W. J. Hayes. Copyright 2020 by Peter W. J. Hayes. Reproduced with permission from Peter W. J. Hayes. All rights reserved.

 

Author Bio:

Peter W. J. Hayes

Peter W. J. Hayes worked as a journalist, advertising copywriter and marketing executive before turning to mystery and crime writing. He is the author of the Silver Falchion-nominated Pittsburgh trilogy, a police procedural series, and is a Derringer-nominated author of more than a dozen short stories. His work has appeared in Black Cat Mystery Magazine, Mystery Weekly, Pulp Modern and various anthologies, including two Malice Domestic collections and The Best New England Crime Stories. He is also a past nominee for the Crime Writers Association (CWA) Debut Dagger Award.

Peter can be found at:

www.peterwjhayes.com
Goodreads
BookBub
Instagram
Twitter
Facebook

~~~

Tour Participants:

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 Peter W.J. Hayes. There will be 4 winners for this giveaway. Two (2) winners will each receive one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card and two (2) winners will each receive one (1) physical copy of The Things That Last Forever by Peter W.J. Hayes (US Only). The giveaway begins on January 1, 2021 and runs through March 2, 2021. Void where prohibited.

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

~~~

Get More Great Reads at Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours

~~~

#NewRelease “Love Me Tender: An unflinching, twisty and jaw-dropping thriller (Book Five, DI Sterling Series)” by Lorraine Mace

cover

~~~

IF HE WANTS YOU . . . THERE”S NO ESCAPE.

A brutal murder . . .

Responding to a tip-off, newly promoted Detective Chief Inspector Paolo Sterling arrives at an apartment block to find the dismembered body of a young woman. And with no indication of a break-in, all signs suggest the killer was known to her.

An abduction in plain sight . . .
Then the victim”s friend is snatched with no witnesses and the unanswered questions mount up.

At the same time, Sterling”s team are leading the surveillance of a local club, thought to be involved in a drug operation. But when one of his colleagues ends up in hospital close to death, Paolo begins to lose his grip.

A detective on the edge . . .
With the odds stacked against him, and time running out, can DCI Sterling uncover the truth before it”s too late? Or will this case finally tip him over the edge?

Lorraine Mace returns with the fifth instalment in her dark, gritty and unflinching DI Sterling series. Perfect for fans of Jane Casey, Karin Slaughter and M. J. Arlidge.

Readers LOVE the D.I. Sterling thrillers:

”I. Am. Not. Okay. That ending – mind blown!!!! Rage and Retribution deserves ALL the stars! It is AMAZING!” *****

Wow, just wow is all I can say. The whole series is just too good to miss.” *****

”Keeps you guessing and hooked with plenty of twists too. As for that ending – well!!!” *****

”I am an absolutely massive fan of this series . . . the books are just getting better and better” *****

AMAZON US

AMAZON UK

~~~

full cover

~~~

#BookTour “The Things That Last Forever” by Peter W. J. Hayes

The Things That Last Forever by Peter W.J. Hayes Banner

On Tour: January 1 – February 28, 2021

 

Synopsis:

The Things That Last Forever by Peter W. J. Hayes

After a house fire hospitalizes his partner and forces him onto medical leave, Pittsburgh Bureau of Police detective Vic Lenoski starts a desperate search for the woman who set the blaze. She is the one person who knows what happened to his missing teenage daughter, but as a fugitive, she’s disappeared so thoroughly no one can find her.

Risking his job and the wrath of the district attorney, Vic resorts to bargaining with criminal suspects for new leads, many of which point to North Dakota. He flies there, only to discover he is far from everything he knows, and his long-cherished definitions of good and bad are fading as quickly as his leads. His only chance is one last audacious roll of the dice. Can he stay alive long enough to discover the whereabouts of his daughter and rebuild his life? Or is everything from his past lost forever?

“The mystery plot itself is riveting…a captivating and emotionally intelligent crime drama.” — Kirkus Reviews

Book Details:

Genre: Mystery: Police Procedural

Published by: Level Best Books

Publication Date: August 1, 2020

Number of Pages: 294

ISBN: 978-1-947915-56-5

Series: A Vic Lenoski Mystery; Pittsburgh Trilogy #3 || Each is a Stand Alone Mystery

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads


Read an excerpt:

Chapter 1

Sometimes you walk into a room and what’s inside changes your life forever. That sense stopped Vic just inside the doorway. A woman with skin the color of dark amber lay on the only bed, her bandaged arms shockingly white among the shadows. She was reflected in a large window in the far wall, the outside sky as black and still as the inside of a tomb. He smelled disinfectant and blood. Numbers and graph lines flared on grey-eyed medical monitors. Somewhere in the vast empty spaces of the hospital a voice echoed.

He’d never visited a burn ward.

Never had a partner so close to death.

Never thought a room could seem as hollow as he felt inside.

The feeling was so disembodying that when he reached the bed and looked into the woman’s face, he half expected to see himself. But it was Liz, her forehead and knobby cheekbones smeared with ointment, eyebrows and eyelashes burned away. A bandage covered her left earlobe where her favorite earring, a small gold star, usually sat. It seemed like every breath she took pained her.

He wanted to take her hand but the bandages made it impossible. “Liz,” he said softly, her name almost lost among the beeps and clicks of the monitors. Liquid dripped into a tangle of IV tubes at the back of her fist.

Her eyelids fluttered.

“Liz. Doctor told me I could talk to you.”

Her eyes opened. He watched her pupils widen and narrow as they absorbed the distance to the ceiling and distinguished shadows from feeble light.

“Vic?” A hoarse whisper.

“I’m here.”

She turned her face to him. “You got me out.”

Relief rose in Vic’s throat. “Yeah. But the house didn’t make it.”

“Cora Stills?”

Vic squeezed his eyelids shut and rocked on his heels. He didn’t know where to start. Cora Stills. The one person who knew something—anything—about his missing teenage daughter. Liz on her way to arrest her. Instead, Liz, handcuffed to a radiator pipe as flames lathered and stormed through Cora’s house. Cora’s burned-out car found two days later on a crumbling stone dock next to a deserted warehouse, the Allegheny River emptying westward.

Cora, alive and moving through that tomb of darkness outside the window. Free.

“Vic…” Liz said something more but he couldn’t make it out.

He bent closer.

She forced her words from somewhere deep inside, and as she spoke, he knew this was what she saved through all the fear and pain to tell him. “Someone told Cora I was coming.”

***

Excerpt from The Things That Last Forever by Peter W. J. Hayes. Copyright 2020 by Peter W. J. Hayes. Reproduced with permission from Peter W. J. Hayes. All rights reserved.

 

 

Author Bio:

Peter W. J. Hayes

Peter W. J. Hayes worked as a journalist, advertising copywriter and marketing executive before turning to mystery and crime writing. He is the author of the Silver Falchion-nominated Pittsburgh trilogy, a police procedural series, and is a Derringer-nominated author of more than a dozen short stories. His work has appeared in Black Cat Mystery Magazine, Mystery Weekly, Pulp Modern and various anthologies, including two Malice Domestic collections and The Best New England Crime Stories. He is also a past nominee for the Crime Writers Association (CWA) Debut Dagger Award.

Peter can be found at:


www.peterwjhayes.com
Goodreads
BookBub
Instagram
Twitter
Facebook

 

Tour Participants:

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 Peter W.J. Hayes. There will be 4 winners for this giveaway. Two (2) winners will each receive one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card and two (2) winners will each receive one (1) physical copy of The Things That Last Forever by Peter W.J. Hayes (US Only). The giveaway begins on January 1, 2021 and runs through March 2, 2021. Void where prohibited.

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

 

Get More Great Reads at Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours

 


#BookReview “Shadow Ridge (A Jo Wyatt Mystery)” by M.E. Browning

December 1-31, 2020 Tour

Shadow Ridge by M.E. Browning

5/5 Stars

Tenacious and unpretentious, Jo Wyatt lives in Echo Valley, Colorado… her hometown. The town where her mother died of cancer, and where her retired cop father never approved of her. She’s a detective on the police force that just passed her over for promotion, bestowing the sergeant’s position on the less-qualified man she’s divorcing.

If that isn’t enough to qualify for a long rest in a quiet place, Jo’s latest case is a suicide that feels “off” to her. Why would a young video game designer with a bright future kill himself? Though her suspicions are brushed off by Cameron, her soon-to-be-ex… and just about everyone else, Jo can’t let go, especially when she locks horns with Quinn, a foul-mouthed classmate of the victim with a chip on her shoulder, and the person who found his body.

This well-written, slow-burn mystery was character-driven for me with each one well-developed even if they only appeared for a scene or two. Backstories unfold throughout the story and everyone carries scars from the past. Quinn’s just took my breath away. I cannot even imagine.

Jo Wyatt is a protagonist to get behind. Despite the barbs and obstacles thrown in her way and a ton of emotional baggage, she pieces together a psychotic plot of murder and revenge just as another life is about to be taken. Go, Jo, go!

Can’t wait for Jo’s next case! Hope to see more of Squint, her boss, and Aiden, her “friend.” Can live without Cameron (jerk face), and Everett, the nosy reporter.

If it sounds like I’m already invested in these characters, good!

Enjoy!


SYNOPSIS

Death is one click away when a string of murders rocks a small Colorado town in the first mesmerizing novel in M. E. Browning’s A Jo Wyatt Mystery series.

Echo Valley, Colorado, is a place where the natural beauty of a stunning river valley meets a budding hipster urbanity. But when an internet stalker is revealed to be a cold-blooded killer in real life the peaceful community is rocked to its core.

It should have been an open-and-shut case: the suicide of Tye Horton, the designer of a cutting-edge video game. But Detective Jo Wyatt is immediately suspicious of Quinn Kirkwood, who reported the death. When Quinn reveals an internet stalker is terrorizing her, Jo is skeptical. Doubts aside, she delves into the claim and uncovers a link that ties Quinn to a small group of beta-testers who had worked with Horton. When a second member of the group dies in a car accident, Jo’s investigation leads her to the father of a young man who had killed himself a year earlier. But there’s more to this case than a suicide, and as Jo unearths the layers, a more sinister pattern begins to emerge–one driven by desperation, shame, and a single-minded drive for revenge.

As Jo closes in, she edges ever closer to the shattering truth–and a deadly showdown that will put her to the ultimate test.

Book Details:

Genre: Mystery (Police Procedural)
Published by: Crooked Lane Books
Publication Date: October 6th 2020
Number of Pages: 296
ISBN: 1643855352 (ISBN13: 9781643855356)
Series: A Jo Wyatt Mystery, #1
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Penguin Random House | 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 rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for M.E. Browning. There will be 1 winner of one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card and there will be 2 winners of one (1) physical copy of Shadow Ridge by M.E. Browning (US and Canada ONLY). The giveaway begins on December 1, 2020 and runs through January 2, 2021. Void where prohibited.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Get More Great Reads at Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours

 


#BookTour “Shadow Ridge (A Jo Wyatt Mystery)” by M.E. Browning

Shadow Ridge by M.E. Browning Banner

December 1-31, 2020 Tour

Synopsis:

Shadow Ridge by M.E. Browning

Death is one click away when a string of murders rocks a small Colorado town in the first mesmerizing novel in M. E. Browning’s A Jo Wyatt Mystery series.

Echo Valley, Colorado, is a place where the natural beauty of a stunning river valley meets a budding hipster urbanity. But when an internet stalker is revealed to be a cold-blooded killer in real life the peaceful community is rocked to its core.

It should have been an open-and-shut case: the suicide of Tye Horton, the designer of a cutting-edge video game. But Detective Jo Wyatt is immediately suspicious of Quinn Kirkwood, who reported the death. When Quinn reveals an internet stalker is terrorizing her, Jo is skeptical. Doubts aside, she delves into the claim and uncovers a link that ties Quinn to a small group of beta-testers who had worked with Horton. When a second member of the group dies in a car accident, Jo’s investigation leads her to the father of a young man who had killed himself a year earlier. But there’s more to this case than a suicide, and as Jo unearths the layers, a more sinister pattern begins to emerge–one driven by desperation, shame, and a single-minded drive for revenge.

As Jo closes in, she edges ever closer to the shattering truth–and a deadly showdown that will put her to the ultimate test.

Book Details:

Genre: Mystery (Police Procedural)
Published by: Crooked Lane Books
Publication Date: October 6th 2020
Number of Pages: 296
ISBN: 1643855352 (ISBN13: 9781643855356)
Series: A Jo Wyatt Mystery, #1
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Penguin Random House | Goodreads

Read an excerpt:

Chapter One

Detective Jo Wyatt stood at the edge of the doorway of the converted garage and scanned the scene for threats. She’d have the chance to absorb the details later, but even at a glance, it was obvious the occupant of the chair in front of the flickering television wouldn’t benefit from her first-aid training. The stains on the ceiling from the gun blast confirmed that.

Officer Cameron Finch stood on the other side of the sorry concrete slab that served as an entrance. “Ready?”

The only place hidden from view was the bathroom, and the chance of someone hiding there was infinitesimal, but someone always won the lottery. Today wasn’t the day to test the odds. Not when she was dressed for court and without her vest.

She pushed the door open wider. Her eyes and handgun moved in tandem as she swept the room.

A mattress on the floor served as a bed. Stacks of clothes took the place of a real closet. A dorm-sized fridge with a hot plate on top of it made up the kitchen.

Jo avoided the well-worn paths in the carpet and silently approached the bathroom. Its door stood slightly ajar, creating enough space for her to peer through the crack. Never lowering her gun, she used her foot to widen the gap.

No intruder. Just a water-spotted shower stall and a stained toilet with the seat up. A stick propped open the narrow ventilation window above the shower. Too small for even the tiniest child, but an open invitation to heat-seeking raccoons.

“Bathroom’s clear.” She holstered her gun. The cut of her wool blazer fell forward and did its best to hide the bulge of her Glock, but an observant person could tell she was armed. One of the drawbacks of having a waist.

She picked her way across the main room, staying close to the walls to avoid trampling any evidence. A flame licked the edges of the television screen—one of those mood DVDs of a fireplace but devoid of sound. It filled the space with an eerie flicker that did little to lighten the gathering dusk.

Sidestepping a cat bowl filled with water, she stopped in front of the body and pulled a set of latex gloves from her trouser pocket.

“Really?” Cameron asked.

Jo snapped them into place, then pressed two fingers against the victim’s neck in a futile search for a pulse—a completely unnecessary act that became an issue only if a defense attorney wanted to make an officer look like an idiot on the stand for not checking.

The dead man reclined in a high-backed gray chair that appeared to have built-in speakers. In the vee of his legs, a Remington 870 shotgun rested against his right thigh, the stock’s butt buried in the dirty shag carpet. On the far side, a toppled bottle of whiskey and a tumbler sat on a metal TV tray next to a long-stemmed pipe.

“Who called it in?” Jo asked.

“Quinn Kirkwood. I told her to stay in her car until we figured out what was going on.”

Jo retraced her steps to the threshold, seeking a respite from the stench of death.

A petite woman stood at the edge of the driveway, pointedly looking away from the door. “Is he okay?”

So much for staying in the car. “Let’s talk over here.” Not giving the other woman the opportunity to resist, Jo grabbed her elbow and guided her to the illuminated porch of the main house, where the overhang would protect them from the softly falling snow.

“He’s inside, isn’t he?” Quinn pulled the drawstring of her sweat shirt until the hood puckered around her neck. “He’s dead.” It should have been a question, but wasn’t. Jo’s radar pinged.

“I’m sorry.” Jo brushed errant flakes from a dilapidated wicker chair and moved it forward for her. “Is there someone I can call for you?”

She shook her head.

“How well did you know—”

“Tye. His name is—was—Tye Horton.” Quinn played with the tab of her hood string, picking at the plastic that kept the ends from fraying.

Jo remained quiet, digesting the younger woman’s unease. She was all angles: sharp shoulders, high cheekbones, blunt-cut dark hair, and canted eyes that looked blue in the open but faded to grey here in the shadows.

A pile of snow slid from a bowed cottonwood branch and landed with a dull plop. The silence broken, Quinn continued to fill it. “We have a couple classes together up at the college. He missed class. I came over to see why.”

“Does he often cut class?”

“He didn’t cut class,” she said sharply. “He missed it.” She pulled out her cellphone. “The project was due today. I should tell the others.”

What would she tell them? She hadn’t asked any questions. The pinging in Jo’s head grew louder. “Did you go inside before the officer got here?” She looked at the woman’s shoes. Converse high-tops. Distinctive tread.

Quinn launched out of her seat, sending it crashing into the porch rail. “I called you guys, remember?”

“It’s a simple yes or no.”

The smaller woman advanced and Jo fought the impulse to shove her back. “No, Officer—”

“Detective Wyatt.”

The top of Quinn’s head barely reached Jo’s chin. “Tye and I were classmates with a project due, Detective. I called him, he didn’t answer. I texted him, he didn’t respond. He didn’t show up for the game last night, which meant something was wrong. He never missed a game.”

Football. Last night Jo had pulled on her uniform and worked an overtime shift at the Sunday night game. Despite the plunging temperatures, the small college stadium had been filled to capacity.

“Did you check on him afterward?” Jo asked.

“No.” Color brightened Quinn’s pale cheeks. “By the time the game ended, it was too late. After he missed class today, I came straight over. Called the police. Here we are. Now, can I go?”

“Was Tye having any problems lately?”

“Problems?”

“With school? Friends?”

“I shared a class with him.”

Another dodge. “You knew he wasn’t at the game.”

“I figured he was finishing up his end of the project. Are we done? I’ve got class tonight.”

“I need to see your identification before you leave.”

“Un-fucking-believable.” Quinn jammed her hand into her jacket pocket and removed an old-fashioned leather coin purse. Pinching the top, she drew out her driver’s license and practically threw it at Jo.

“I’m sure you understand. Whenever there is a death, we have to treat it as a crime until we determine otherwise.”

The air left Quinn in a huff of frost. “I’m sorry. I’m just…” She dipped her face but not before Jo saw the glint of tears. “I’m just going to miss him. He was nice. I don’t have a lot of friends in Echo Valley.”

“Were the two of you dating?”

The sharpness returned to her features. “Not my type.”

“Do you know if he was in a relationship?”

“Not that I know of.”

“Would you know?”

Cameron joined the women on the porch and extended his hand to Quinn. “I’m Sergeant Finch.”

Jo sucked in her breath, and covered it with a cough. The promotional memo hadn’t been posted even a day yet.

“I’m sorry about your friend,” Cameron added.

Quinn crossed her arms, whether for warmth or for comfort, Jo couldn’t tell. “Your badge says Officer. Aren’t sergeants supposed to have stripes or something?”

“It’s official next week.”

“So. Really just an officer.”

Jo bit the inside of her cheek to keep from smiling. Served him right for acting like an ass.

“I wouldn’t say just.” Cameron hooked his thumb in his gun belt.

“Of course you wouldn’t.” Quinn drew a deep breath and let it out as if she feared it might be her last. “What happened?” she finally asked.

Jo spoke before Cameron could answer. “That’s what we’re here to find out.” She opened her notebook.

Quinn sized up the two officers like a child trying to decide which parent to ask, and settled on Cameron. “Will you get me the laptop that’s inside? It’s got our school project on it.”

“I’m sorry,” Jo answered. “But until we process the scene, everything needs to stay put.”

Quinn sought confirmation from Cameron. “Really?”

Jo shot him a look she hoped conveyed the slow torturous death he’d suffer if he contradicted her and compromised the scene.

Cameron placed his hand on Quinn’s forearm. “I’m certain it won’t take long and I’ll personally deliver it to you as soon as I can.”

“Thanks.” She shook off his hand and addressed Jo. “Am I free to go?”

Prickly thing. Jo handed Quinn’s license back to her. “I’m truly sorry about your friend. May I call you later if I have any questions?”

Cameron stepped closer, all earnestness and concern. “It would be very helpful to the investigation when she realizes she forgot to ask you something.”

The coin purse snapped shut. “Sure. Whatever.”

“Thank you,” Jo said, then added, “Be careful.”

Quinn jerked. “What?”

The wind had picked up, and waves of snow blew across the walkway. Jo pointed toward the street. “The temperature drops any lower and it’ll start to ice up. Be careful. The roads are going to be slick.”

Quinn bobbed her head. Hunched against the cold, she climbed into her bright yellow Mini Cooper.

Snow had collected on the bumper and Jo noted the plate. She’d seen the car around town, its brilliant color and tiny chassis a contrast to the trucks and four-wheel-drive SUVs most locals drove.

The car crunched down the driveway. Jo returned to the task at hand, ignoring Cameron as he followed her.

Two buildings—the main residence and the converted garage—stood at the center of the property. The driveway dumped out onto an alley and the hum of downtown carried across the crisp air. Dogs barked. Cars slowed and accelerated at the nearby stop sign, their engines straining and tires chewing into the slushed snow. A sagging chain-link fence ringed the property, pushed and pulled by a scraggly hedge.

Built in the days when a garage housed only a car and not the detritus of life, the building was barely larger than a tack room. A small walkway separated the dwellings. She followed the path around the exterior of the garage.

Eaves kept snow off the paint-glued windowsill on the far side of the outbuilding. Rambling rosebushes in need of pruning stretched skeletal fingers along the wall. Jo swept the bony branches aside. A thorn snagged the shoulder of her blazer.

She studied the ground. Snow both helped and hindered officers. In foot pursuits, it revealed a suspect’s path. But the more time separated an incident from its investigation, the more it hid tracks. Destroyed clues. This latest snow had started in the early hours of the morning, gently erasing the valley’s grime and secrets and creating a clean slate. Tye could have been dead for hours. The snow told her nothing.

As she stood again at the door, not even the cold at her back could erase the smell of blood. The last of the evening’s light battled its way through the dirty window, failing to brighten the dark scene in front of her.

She tried not to let the body distract her from cataloging the room. Echo Valley didn’t have violent deaths often. In her twelve years on the department, she’d investigated only two homicides, one as an officer, the second as a detective. Fatal crashes, hunting accidents, Darwin Award-worthy stupidity, sure, but murder? That was the leap year of crimes and only happened once every four years or so.

Cameron joined her on the threshold and they stood shoulder to shoulder. He had a shock of thick brown hair that begged to be touched, and eyes that said he’d let you. “Why so quiet, Jo-elle?”

The use of her nickname surprised her. Only two people had ever called her that and Cameron hadn’t used it in a long time. “I don’t want to miss anything.”

“What’s to miss? Guy blew his brains out.”

“It’s rarely that simple.”

“Not everything needs to be complicated.” He laughed. The boyishness of it had always charmed her with its enthusiasm. Now it simply sounded dismissive. Perhaps it always had been, but she’d been too in love to notice. “Hey, you got plans tonight?” He tried to sound innocent. She had learned that voice.

“Other than this? I don’t see as that’s any of your business.”

“Of course it’s my business. You’re still my wife.” He stared into the distance as he said it. A splinter of sun pierced the dark clouds and bled across his unguarded expression.

Yearning.

Jo stood as if on ice, afraid to move lest she lose her balance.

He seemed to wake up, and after a deep breath, he surveyed the room. “The landlord is going to be looking for a new tenant. You should give him your name. It’s got to be better than living with your old man.”

Fissures formed beneath her and it took her two blinks before she recovered her footing.

“I need to get my camera. I’ll be right back.”

She left him at the door. The December chill wormed through her wool dress slacks as she trudged the half block to her car. She drew breath after breath of the searing chill deep into her lungs to replace the hurt, the anger, the self-recriminations that burned her. She sat in the passenger seat and picked up the radio mic. She wasn’t ready to face Cameron. Not yet.

To buy herself some time, she ran a local warrant check on Quinn. Something wasn’t quite right about the woman. A warrant might explain things.

Dispatch confirmed Quinn’s address, but had nothing to add.

Jo grabbed her camera bag and crime scene kit and schlepped back to the scene, prioritizing her actions as she went. She’d need to snag another detective. Interrupt a judge’s dinner to get a search warrant. Swab the victim’s hands for gunshot residue. Try to confirm his identification. Hopefully, the person in the front house would return soon so Jo could start collecting background on the deceased. Take overview photos of the exterior first. Inside there’d be lights. Then evidence. Identify it. Bag it. Book it.

She reached the door before she ticked through all the tasks. Cameron was circling the chair.

Jo stopped on the threshold, stunned.

“No wonder they didn’t promote you.” Cameron peered into the exposed cranium. “If you can’t tell this is a suicide, you got no business being a cop—let alone a detective.”

“Get out.”

“We’re not home, sweetie. You can’t order me out here.”

“Actually, I can. Detective, remember? This is my scene and you’re contaminating it.”

He laughed. “Sergeant outranks detective.”

“I think it’s already been established that you’re not sporting stripes.”

“Yet. Couple more days.”

Three. Three days until he started wearing the stripes that should have been hers. Three days until he outranked her. Three. Damn. Days. “And until then, Officer Finch.” With exaggerated care, she took out her notebook and started writing.

“What are you doing?”

“Making a note of the path you’ve taken. Try to retrace your steps. I’d hate to have to say how badly you mucked things up.” She paused for effect. “You getting promoted and all.”

“You’re such a bitch.”

“Is that how you talk to your wife?”

He picked up the overturned bottle on the TV tray. “Johnnie Walker Gold.” He sniffed the premium Scotch whisky. “And here I would have pegged him for a Jack fan, at best.” Cameron tipped the bottle back into place and retraced his steps.

The latex gloves did nothing to warm her fingers, and Jo shoved her hands in her pockets. Had he changed or had she? “When did you become such an ass?”

“When’d we get married?” He shouldered past her, swinging his keys around his finger. Outside, the streetlamps flickered to life. “I’ll leave you to it. Even you can see it’s a slam dunk.”

She didn’t want to agree with him. “It’s only a suicide when the coroner says so.”

“Oh, Jo-elle.”

There was that laugh again, and she hated herself for warming to him.

“You’ve got to learn to choose your battles.”

***

Excerpt from Shadow Ridge by M.E. Browning. Copyright 2020 by M.E. Browning. Reproduced with permission from M.E. Browning. All rights reserved.

 

 

Author Bio:

M.E. Browning

M.E. BROWNING served twenty-two years in law enforcement and retired as a captain before turning to a life of crime fiction. Writing as Micki Browning, she penned the Agatha-nominated and award-winning Mer Cavallo mysteries, and her short stories and nonfiction have appeared in anthologies, mystery and diving magazines, and textbooks. As M.E. Browning, she recently began a new series of Jo Wyatt mysteries with Shadow Ridge (October 2020).

Micki is a member of Mystery Writers of America, International Thriller Writers, and Sisters in Crime—where she served as a former president of the Guppy Chapter. A professional divemaster, she resides in Florida with her partner in crime and a vast array of scuba equipment she uses for “research.”

Catch Up With M.E. Browning On:
MEBrowning.com, Goodreads, BookBub, Instagram, Twitter, & Facebook!

 

 

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 rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for M.E. Browning. There will be 1 winner of one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card and there will be 2 winners of one (1) physical copy of Shadow Ridge by M.E. Browning (US and Canada ONLY). The giveaway begins on December 1, 2020 and runs through January 2, 2021. Void where prohibited.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


 

 

Get More Great Reads at Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours

 

#NewRelease “Don’t You Want Me?” by Richard Easter

London, 1981. As race riots erupt, Prince Charles and Lady Diana prepare to marry & New Romantics dance, an identity-shifting serial killer is operating in plain sight. But no-one has realised except Detective Inspector Anna Leeding, who has secrets of her own…

Don’t You Want Me? is a novel for fans of twists, thrillers, history, music, and popular culture.

Richard Easter, author of The General Theory Of Haunting & The Gentle Art Of Forgetting turns his perspective-and-time-bending literary style to the serial killer genre with Don’t You Want Me?

Amid the cultural and social upheaval of 1981, D.I. Leeding suspects apparent accidents and suicides could be subtle acts of revenge, and strange blue charcoal messages may be the key to something bigger and deadlier.
But in this cat-and-mouse story of vengeance, no-one is quite what they seem, and in 1981, when the New Romantics played with image, first appearances can be deceptive.

1981 was not so removed from today, with a highly divisive celebrity President, and race protests filling the streets. A time when gender and sexual identity were openly questioned, and the far right clashed with the far left. There was an existential threat; today, climate change and Covid-19, in 1981, we hoarded food and prepared for when either the U.S or Russian leader pushed the nuclear button.

So to everyone who was there and those for whom this is their first time, Don’t You Want Me? welcomes you to 1981. It was a hell of a year. (Don’t You Want Me? was released 27th November 2020, the same day The Human League’s hit of the same name was released in ’81.)

99c at time of posting!

KINDLE UNLIMITED

AMAZON US

AMAZON UK

AMAZON CA

AMAZON AU


#FREE “Before He Kills (A MacKenzie White Mystery Book 1)” by Blake Pierce

cover

There is no way out but to find him before he kills again…

Book #1 in the bestselling Blake Pierce mystery/thriller series, with over 400 five star reviews!

In the cornfields of Nebraska a woman is found murdered, strung up on a pole, the victim of a deranged killer. It doesn’t take long for the police to realize a serial killer is on the loose—and that his spree has just begun.

Detective Mackenzie White, young, tough, smarter than the aging, chauvinistic men on her local force, finds herself called in grudgingly to help solve it. As much as the other officers hate to admit it, they need her young, brilliant mind, which has already helped crack cold cases that had left them stumped. Yet even for Mackenzie this new case proves an impossible riddle, something the likes of which she—and the local force—have ever seen.

With the FBI called in, together, an intense manhunt ensues. Mackenzie, reeling from her own dark past, her failed relationships, and her undeniable attraction to the new FBI agent, finds herself battling her own demons as her hunt for the killer takes her to the darkest places of her mind. As she delves into the killer’s mind, obsessing over his twisted psychology, she finds that evil truly does exist. She only hopes it will not be too late to extricate herself from it, as her entire life collapses around her.

As more bodies turn up dead and a frantic race against time ensues, there is no way out but to find him before he kills again.

A dark psychological thriller with heart-pounding suspense, BEFORE HE KILLS marks the debut of a riveting new series—and a beloved new character—that will leave you turning pages late into the night.

Books #2–#8 in the Mackenzie White Mystery series is also now available!

Also available by Blake Pierce is ONCE GONE (A Riley Paige mystery—Book #1), a #1 bestseller with over 1,000 five star reviews on Amazon—and a free download!

Read what people are saying about Blake Pierce’s novels

“A dynamic story line that grips from the first chapter and doesn’t let go.”
–Midwest Book Review, Diane Donovan (regarding Once Gone)

“A masterpiece of thriller and mystery! The author did a magnificent job developing characters with a psychological side that is so well described that we feel inside their minds, follow their fears and cheer for their success. The plot is very intelligent and will keep you entertained throughout the book. Full of twists, this book will keep you awake until the turn of the last page.”
–Books and Movie Reviews, Roberto Mattos (re Once Gone)

FREE at time of posting!

AMAZON


#BookReview “Bird in Hand” by Nikki Stern

on Tour November 1-14, 2020

cover

~~~

5/5 Stars!

When a body is found near a protected sea-life sanctuary, garroted and with burned hands, a notorious drug cartel is suspected of carrying out its ultimate punishment.

But even law enforcement can jump to the wrong conclusions.

After the death of her aunt—and solving the Wedding Crasher case—Samantha Tate gave up her position as sheriff in Tennessee and now resides in a small Maryland community on the eastern shore. A lieutenant in the local sheriff’s department, she tries not to consider the position a step down but knows it was necessary to be near her mother, who’s still a resident in a long-term care facility.

Still new to the area, Sam doesn’t know the murder victim, Arley Fitchett, but everyone else seems well-acquainted with the local treasure hunter. While drugs and cash are found in Fitchett’s home, Sam finds things not connected to drug-dealing, including sketches of a bird in a human hand. Working with a boss caught in political crosshairs and a high-handed state police detective, she has her work cut out for her to convince them their case might be connected to the infamous pirate, Blackbeard himself if she is to solve the case and catch a serial killer.

A great follow-up to The Wedding Crasher, Sam Tate is still on her game as a top-notch investigator. However, she’s still plagued with nightmares from the childhood tragedy that took her father and brother and left her mom disabled. She also mourns the lives lost of people she knew in the Wedding Crasher case. With the support of former-partner-now-boyfriend, FBI Special Agent Terry Sloan, Sam returns to counseling to work through her trauma. It doesn’t help that even though the gunman is now dead, someone is looking into the twenty-six-year-old case. Is Sam in danger?

With a slam-bang ending, Bird in Hand delivers a well-layered plot that successfully masks a killer right up to the reveal. Nikki Stern has me on the hook though, anxious for the next book!

Though a continuation, Bird in Hand does stand on its own as a complete story, but I recommend reading The Wedding Crasher first. Why settle for one five-star read when you can have two?

Enjoy!

~~~

Synopsis:

“The stuff of dreams for mystery lovers.” ~Kirkus Reviews

In the sequel to the award-winning THE WEDDING CRASHER, Sam Tate faces off against a vengeful killer, a mistrustful boss, a shadowy nemesis, and a 300-year-old pirate.

When Arley Fitchett’s body washes up onto Maryland’s Eastern Shore, Lieutenant Sam Tate, just two months into her new job, is charged with finding out who murdered the popular guide and treasure hunter. Fitchett, she discovers, was hunting a rare carving he believed had been stolen by Chesapeake Bay pirates in 1718 and hidden nearby. No one knows if the story is true, but several locals seem to share Fitchett’s interest in the wooden bird with the sapphire eye. Any one of them could be the next victim. One of them is definitely the killer.

“Stern excels at creating a satisfyingly complex, emotional undercurrent that runs through the greater murder mystery.” D. Donovan, Sn Reviewer, Midwest Book Review

Book Details

Genre: Mystery

Published by: Ruthenia Press

Publication Date: September 3, 2020

Number of Pages: 289

ISBN: 0999548743 (ISBN-13: 978-0999548745)

Series: Sam Tate Mystery, #2

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

~~~

Tour Participants:

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 Nikki Stern. There will be 2 winners of one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card each. The giveaway begins on November 1, 2020 and runs through November 16, 2020. Void where prohibited.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

~~~

Get More Great Reads at Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours

~~~