Showing posts with label suspense. Show all posts
Showing posts with label suspense. Show all posts

Thursday, January 10, 2019

"Triplicity" by J. Mercer


EXCERPT and GIVEAWAY
Triplicity
by J. Mercer

Triplicity  by J. Mercer

Triplicity by J. Mercer is currently on tour with YA Bound Book Tours. The tour stops here today for an excerpt and a giveaway. Please be sure to visit the other tour stops as well.


For another book by this author, please check out my blog post on Dark and Stormy.

Description
One week on an Alaskan cruise, three teens, and an endless trail of lies.
Enter a series of thefts on board and they all fall under scrutiny. Though Navy acts a proper preacher’s daughter, she did end up with someone else’s purse in her hands, and Jesse knows way more than he should about what’s gone missing. Isaiah, however, is the one with motive - enough money and he could get back to his ranch. Each holds a piece of the truth, but exposing the thief could damn them all. They must navigate through the lies they’ve told, choose between standing together or saving themselves, and decide if innocence is worth facing their ugliest secrets.


Excerpt
Navy
Masses of people stood in line to board the incubator in front of me. Sorry, cruise ship. But honestly, the thought of so many bodily fluids in such a confined space made my stomach churn.
Double-checking that my hand sanitizer was still in place, I bumped my backpack higher on my shoulder and stepped away from my mom's fiancé, who was chatting up a blue-haired old lady. Facing my mom, I decided it was as good a time as any to start up our fight again. She couldn't get away from me here.
“If we keep moving like this,” I started, “I'll never be kissed.” There'd been one guy in Houston I'd had hopes for, but after this vacation we were headed to Kansas City. I might only be sixteen and five-sixths, but at this point it felt like I'd be voting first.
“You do the kissing then, Navy.” My mom caught the eye of an officer at the next checkpoint and smiled, smoothing her hands down the front of her black jumpsuit. She was always worried about her first impression and always deferential to those in uniform.
I reached behind her and tightened her halter top, thankful at least she hadn’t picked the leopard print. It was a good thing we were getting out of Texas before its fashion sense could get too many claws in her.
My mom's normal go-to attire—conservative diamond studs, fitted sweaters with pencil skirts, and sleek suits—would curl a lip at sharing suitcase space with a glorified onesie in leopard print.
Her attention hopped from the officer to Guy, my soon-to-be stepdad. “Solve your own problems, dear. Before they can solve you.”
“No, Mom. Just, no.” She would never get it; everyone wanted to kiss her. Somehow, she pulled off rich and cultured while still approachable, where my resting face was icy at best.
A girl couldn't help her resting face, and it took a long time for people to get past that. Plus, I was too picky, or so my mother said. I wanted real emotion, not just chemistry, and I definitely didn't want to get it over with, which is what she kept telling me to do.
“Anyway, this move,”—always moving, I should add—“it’s about stability too.”
Guy let out a huge laugh, and the old lady's hat bobbled in the air as her shoulders shook. My mom and I shuffled forward, neither of us bothering to notify him he was holding up the line. It didn't matter; this was the Godzilla of lines. Take any ride at Disney on the busiest day of the year, and it wouldn't top this one: through a vast building (stand here, punch that, sign this, rude hands gesturing you impatiently over there like you'd done this before and had any idea what they wanted with you), out into a human holding tank, up and back and up and forth inside a humongous steel cage, until finally we reached the deck that wrapped around the massive boat.
We were cattle. And we were being herded into an incubator.
Shaking my head of it, I begged her, “Please, please, please don't make me switch high schools again. This is the last one, okay? Can you manage two years in Kansas City?”
“If you insist, love.” My mom patted the back of my head, then dropped her hand to my shoulder and kneaded it. With her attention focused elsewhere, it was her usual absent-minded pep talk. “If you don’t want to see more of the world.”
Shaking her off, I took a few steps forward. Guy was still flirting with the old lady and people were starting to grumble behind them, so I went back for his stuff and tapped him on the shoulder. His black turtleneck made him look even more pompous than he was, but this lady was eating it up same as my mom had. When I was back at her side, I whispered, “If you get sick of Guy, we stay in Kansas City anyway. Got it?”
She extended her diamond-studded right hand to shake mine. “Got it.”
Wrapping my bare fingers around her chilled palm and the collection of old rings resting along her knuckles, I wondered if she actually loved this one.
[Want more? Click below to read a longer excerpt.]


Praise for the Book
“... the dynamic relationships and interactions between the characters felt real - the ups and downs, lies, and secrets had me intrigued all the way to the end.” ~ onlinebookclub.org
“From its elements of intrigue to its daily exposés and challenges, Triplicity is an engrossing chronicle that is recommended for mystery and thriller enthusiasts as well as those who enjoy strong, proactive, often rebellious teen protagonists more than capable of taking matters into their own hands. It should also be noted that although the main characters are teens, Triplicity should not be limited to young adult audiences. The depth of characterization, flavors of romance, adult confidences, and alternating viewpoints keep this story lively and involving for all ages.” ~ D. Donovan, Senior Reviewer, Midwest Book Review
“The writing and storytelling kept me on the edge of my seat, needing to know what happens next. Each teen was likable in their own way. However, the majority of the adults didn't have any redeeming qualities. For some people, that may be a drawback, but it drew me in. It intrigued me to see how the teens would navigate the seven days at sea. It was my first book by J. Mercer, and definitely not my last!” ~ Shakera @audiobookobsession
Triplicity had me hooked from the very first chapter. The description of the characters and differences in their tone and expression made me excited to keep reading. I wanted to find out more about each person and how their time on the cruise would overlap. This was a fast read and had many interleaving plot points to keep you turning those pages. I found myself feeling sad it was over near the last few pages.” ~ anonymous
“I've enjoyed all of J Mercer's books, and Triplicity did not let me down! With characters who are both flawed and likeable and a setting that feels like you're right there, this is a book worth taking the plunge for. Enjoy!” ~ Amazon Customer


About the Author
J. Mercer
J. Mercer grew up in Wisconsin where she walked home from school with her head in a book, filled notebooks with stories in junior high, then went to UW Madison for accounting and psychology only to open a dog daycare. She wishes she were an expert linguist, is pretty much a professional with regards to competitive dance hair (bunhawk, anyone?), and enjoys exploring with her husband - though as much as she loves to travel, she’s also an accomplished hermit. Perfect days include cancelled plans, rain, and endless hours to do with what she pleases.




Giveaway
Enter the tour-wide giveaway for a chance to win one a $25 Amazon gift card.

Links


Tuesday, January 8, 2019

"Las Vegas Crime" by Leslie Wolfe


EXCERPT and GIVEAWAY
Las Vegas Crime
(Baxter and Holt Book 3)
by Leslie Wolfe

Las Vegas Crime (Baxter and Holt Book 3) by Leslie Wolfe

Las Vegas Crime is the third book in the Baxter and Holt series by Leslie Wolfe. Also available: Las Vegas Girl and Casino Girl (read my blog post).

Las Vegas Girl by Leslie WolfeCasino Girl by Leslie Wolfe


Las Vegas Crime is currently on tour with Silver Dagger Book Tours. The tour stops here today for an excerpt and a giveaway. Please be sure to visit the other tour stops as well.


Description
Detectives Laura Baxter and Jack Holt are members of the elite: Las Vegas Metro PD, one of the toughest and most respected law enforcement agencies in the United States. In the middle of a city with two million residents and 43 million annual visitors, they’re searching for a missing girl and the ruthless killers who snatched her.
The girl: gone.
When a teenage girl is daringly kidnapped from her school, minutes after being dropped off, a frenzied search begins, involving the entire police force of a city that never sleeps. But for Detectives Baxter and Holt this isn’t a crime like any other; it is personal.
The crimes: terrifying.
A bold and merciless serial killer preys on young girls and leaves them out to die in the cold and dreadful expanse of the Mojave Desert, unable to move, to scream, to fight for their lives.
The choice: impossible.
Now Detective Holt is faced with an agonizing decision: he can sacrifice all that he holds dear or jeopardize the life of an innocent girl, his own flesh and blood. The man holding all the cards in this game of life and death isn’t willing to negotiate; he’s only willing to kill.
In Las Vegas, few things end well.
Two mavericks form an intriguing team. Baxter and Holt trust each other with their lives, just not with their secret plans.


Excerpt
1
Silent Screams
She struggled to control her sobs but failed miserably. With every mile the man drove into the dark desert, her fear grew, panic overtaking her sense of reason, making it impossible for her to sit still and be quiet like the man had ordered.
“No, please,” she whimpered, “I’ll disappear. I won’t say a word to anyone. I swear,” she added in a high-pitched plea, her voice trembling badly.
She stared through a blur of tears at the man’s intense eyes, reflected in the rearview mirror. He rarely looked at her, not even when he spoke to her, but when he did, his eyes were ice cold, feral.
She couldn’t tell how long they’d been on the road, or how far away from the city they’d traveled. Far enough for darkness to engulf the dazzling lights of Las Vegas, left behind at their brightest and now gone from view. Far enough to know that no matter how loud she’d scream, no one would hear her desperate cries for help. She sat silently, petrified, unable to fight anymore, knowing what Homeboy did to those who disobeyed him.
They had entered the desolate vastness of the Mojave Desert, cold and bleak at night.
Her breath shattered as raw memories swirled in her head, repeating over and over like a broken record.
“Get rid of her,” that terrible man had said, “this bitch ain’t good for nothin’.” The one they called Snowman had curled his lip in disgust and ran his fingers across his throat in a clear gesture, sealing her fate.
She was to be killed.
She remembered how her knees gave and she folded onto the cold, grimy floor, half-naked and barefoot, shaking, sobbing uncontrollably, while the other man, a brute she got to know only as Homeboy, smiled and licked his lips. Then he’d grabbed her arm and dragged her out of that place, mumbling, “Sure, boss, whatever you say.”
She’d seen that look on Homeboy’s face before.
Maybe she was better off dead than having that animal’s hands on her again. Her body still ached from the hours she’d endured at his pleasure. The thought of peace soon to be found, even if in death, calmed her taut nerves. Soon she’d be free, one way or another.
No one dared defy Snowman’s orders.
Her mind wandered, numb and absent for a while, as Homeboy drove fast into the night, mile after mile, without saying a word.
A slight chime came from the GPS and he braked, although there was no intersecting road crossing the highway, no available turn to take, just desert dunes, covered in shrubs and cacti, and trolled by scorpions, snakes, and coyotes.
He turned off-road and drove carefully into the desert, climbing over a hill then descending behind it. He didn’t immediately stop; he kept on going, putting more and more distance between them and the road, eliminating any chances that someone could see her, could hear her screams.
She felt her heart thumping against her chest, the sound of its terrified beats deafening against the deathly silence of the desert. Fresh tears started rolling down her cheeks and her pleas were left unanswered.
She gasped when he cut the engine, bringing the SUV to a stop. Trembling, she didn’t fight back when he grabbed her arm and pulled her out of the vehicle.
“Please,” she mumbled, “I’ll do whatever you want. Please let me go.”
“Can’t do that,” he replied, his lips stretched in an evil smile that exposed crooked, yellow teeth. “You heard the boss man.”
He let go of her arm and reached inside his pocket. Panicked, she bolted in a desperate attempt to save herself. She ran toward the highway, now hidden behind a hill, not feeling the cactus thorns tearing at her flesh, not minding the sharp edges of the desert stones bloodying the soles of her feet.
She’d run a few yards and he hadn’t caught up with her yet; hope gave her wings, and she sprung uphill clawing at the stones with her bare hands, desperate to put more distance between the two of them.
She was almost at the top of the hill when his steeled grip bore into her arm, stopping her in place so abruptly that her bleeding feet sent pebbles and sand in the air. Angered, he dragged her back to the SUV and slammed her against the cold metal.
“Nice try, bitch. There’s nowhere to go.”
She was starting to understand that, to accept it, although every fiber in her body screamed its fear, urged her to fight, to run, to survive. She drew breath hastily and let out a blood-curdling shriek.
Homeboy laughed. “Sure, go ahead, scream. You’re giving me a hard-on.”
Her scream died, stifled by a sob.
He dug into his pocket and pulled out a small bottle fitted with an eyedropper. With a lewd, sickening smile, he took his time unscrewing the cap and carefully extracted two drops of the clear liquid. Then he grabbed her jaw and forced her lips open.
“No, no,” she whimpered, fighting desperately to free herself.
Homeboy just smirked, ignoring her feeble kicks, and squeezed the eyedropper, releasing the liquid into her mouth. Then he held her lips sealed under his heavy hand, forcing her to swallow.
She couldn’t detect any strange taste; he’d barely used a drop or two. It couldn’t be too bad, she thought, gasping desperately for air as soon as he released his grip.
She felt her tongue becoming numb, then her lips. Panic opened her eyes widely and made her lungs scream for more air. She gasped, feeling an evil numbness taking over her body, reaching her extremities, weakening her knees. A strange sense of dizziness overtook her, making her reach for support, finding none until her body hit the ground. No matter how much she willed herself to move, she lay still on the cold desert dirt, feeling every stab of pain where sharp-edged rocks cut into her flesh.
Homeboy crouched near her body with a satisfied grin. He pushed aside a few locks of her hair, clearing her face, touching her frozen lips.
“You won’t die,” he said, while his hand fumbled with his belt buckle. “Not now, anyway. Not until I’m bored with you.”
She forced her lungs to draw air and screamed, then drew another raspy breath and screamed again.
She listened but couldn’t hear her own screams. The desert was completely silent, except for the brute’s rhythmic grunts.
[Want more? Click below to read a longer excerpt.]


Praise for the Book
“I enjoyed the story, character development, and dialogue. There were plenty of plot twists that I didn’t see coming and that added to the book's mystique. When I stopped reading to work, I found myself wondering what happened in the book, and replaying parts of the novel in my head to see if I could figure more out. It has been a while since I enjoyed a book this much. A first-class thriller with perfect pacing. Not much is as it appears here, which is just the way fans of mystery, thriller and suspense will want it.” ~ Piaras
“An excellent thriller that keeps you turning pages, a book I will go back in a week and read again it was that good. […] This is a book everyone should read to learn that Cops are only human. Highly recommend this book!” ~ J. T. F.
“I have read all of Leslie's books, she is without a doubt at the forefront of authors. Each book seems to get better than the last one, which is nearly impossible to do. Las Vegas Crime captured all the excitement I've come to expect from Leslie. However, she has that unique ability to express the emotions of the individuals and make you feel what they are going through. All I can say is Las Vegas Crime is absolutely a MUST READ.” ~ Dick Fasching
“Blasted right through this ‘gritty’ thriller in no time. Yes, it was that compelling of a read. I'm not gonna say any more about it than that. I'm totally hooked on these Baxter and Holt adventures. Leslie Wolfe certainly knows how to get your attention and then some. Give it a try. You'll see. Cheers and happy reading!” ~ JIM in MT
“Fast paced, suspensful and filled with twists and turns. Only this time, Holt's family is traumatized by the kidnapping of his teen daughter. Some brutal rape scenes are hard to deal with so this is not for the squeamish. Baxter and Holt make a great and creative team and I want more books about them. Love this series.” ~ Astrida M.

About the Author
Leslie Wolfe
Leslie Wolfe is a bestselling author whose novels break the mold of traditional thrillers. She creates unforgettable, brilliant, strong women heroes who deliver fast-paced, satisfying suspense, backed up by extensive background research in technology and psychology.
Leslie released the first novel, Executive, in October 2011. It was very well received, including inquiries from Hollywood. Since then, Leslie published numerous novels and enjoyed growing success and recognition in the marketplace. Among Leslie’s most notable works, The Watson Girl (2017) was recognized for offering a unique insight into the mind of a serial killer and a rarely seen first person account of his actions, in a dramatic and intense procedural thriller.
Leslie enjoys engaging with readers every day and would love to hear from you.

Giveaway
Enter the tour-wide giveaway for a chance to win a $100 Amazon gift card.


Links

Monday, November 12, 2018

"A Light in the Desert" by Anne Montgomery


REVIEW and INTERVIEW
A Light in the Desert
by Anne Montgomery

A Light in the Desert by Anne Montgomery

Author Anne Montgomery stops by for an interview and to share an excerpt from her latest novel, A Light in the Desert. You can also read my review.
For another book by this author, please check out my blog post on The Scent of Rain.

Description
As a Vietnam veteran and former Special Forces sniper descends into the throes of mental illness, he latches onto a lonely pregnant teenager and a group of Pentecostal zealots - the Children of Light - who have been waiting over thirty years in the Arizona desert for Armageddon. When the Amtrak Sunset Limited, a passenger train en route to Los Angeles, is derailed in their midst in a deadly act of sabotage, their lives are thrown into turmoil as local and state police, FBI investigators, and a horde of reporters arrive on the scene. As the search for the saboteurs heats up and the authorities question members of the cult, they uncover more questions than answers. And then the girl vanishes. As the sniper struggles to maintain his sanity, a child is about to be born deep in the wilderness.

Excerpt
1
Kelly Garcia sat cross-legged before the dusty grave, a cluster of blood-red bougainvillea in her lap. She finished the last orange wedge and, remembering the compost heap, stuffed the peel inside the front pocket of her faded sundress, the fabric of which strained to cover her bulging belly.
It wasn’t the first time Kelly had visited the graves of the tiny ones. The metal crosses, which had finally replaced the crumbling wooden ones, marked the graves of Maria and Gregorita Amabisca, infants born in the Gila River Valley not long after the turn of the century, neither of whom had survived even one month in the living world. Where were the infants’ little spirits now? Had they gone? Or did they spend their days here, hiding behind the old gravestones and scattered creosote bushes? Were they tiny, elf-like creatures, darting about like butterflies but always just out of sight? Or had they, as the Children explained, been lifted off to Paradise?
She felt the baby move. Would her child live long enough to grow up or would God take the baby to heaven instead? If the child was born with a face like hers, perhaps floating in the clouds with the angels would be better. Angels, she knew, must certainly be kinder than people.
She reached over and touched the polished pink granite stone covering her father’s grave. Money was scarce, but when the uniformed men showed up, they said her father had been a war hero. They handed her mother a folded American flag and made sure Bryan Kelly received a proper burial and a proper grave marker. Now his tarnished Silver Star, attached to its red, white and blue ribbon, rested in a velvet box under her bed.
She traced the letters spelling out her father’s surname. Her last name was no longer Kelly. His quirky sense of humor had rendered her Kelly Kelly, but after he stuck the gun in his mouth, her mother had insisted that Kelly Kelly was not a proper name, blaming the appellation on her father’s Irishness, and demanding she take the name of her stepfather.
A hot breeze from the flat, sparsely cultivated land south of the cemetery lifted dust and grit, blowing Kelly’s ink-black hair away from her damaged face. Her father always smiled when saying her name. Kelly Kelly made a happy sound, he said, like bird song or a cricket’s chirp. All she had left of him now were the medal, the grave, and the odd blue eyes that struggled against her dark features. The long straight hair, which she wore in a thick braid, was a gift from her mother’s Maricopa ancestors. Her face? No one was sure where that had come from.
Kelly looked up. The sun was sinking down behind the mountains, shooting streaks of color across the Sonoran Desert sky and dying the clouds pink and purple like Easter eggs.
Suddenly, she realized she was late for dinner. The Children of the Light did everything on schedule, so she had to hurry. She picked up the bougainvillea branches that would grace the communal dining table and pushed herself off the ground. Momentarily losing her balance, she clutched the branches tightly and felt a thorn prick her finger. She wished the baby would come soon. She was tired of feeling awkward. So as not to stain her dress, she quickly sucked on the blood that oozed from the wound, then turned and walked up the dirt road that wound back to the compound.
[Want more? Click below to read a longer excerpt.]


Praise for the Book
“There is a lot going on throughout the book; never a dull moment. As a result, when I picked up this book the pages just flew by and before I knew it, I was turning the last page. The characters in the book present a wide variety to its reader. They are mostly well developed, though I would have liked to see a little more depth to Billy & Kelly.” ~ Bookish Indulgenges with b00k r3vi3ws
“This is a very emotional tale that explores a variety of social issues ranging from mental illness to child abuse. It is very well done, well developed characters and scenery as well as a fast moving plot.” ~ Margaret Millmore
“... each character is well developed and the story eventually will find a point where all the plot lines seem to join and converge on the right track. I have one final note and that is be sure to read the Dedication as the struggles Ramm has may be more real for the reader.” ~ Shawn
A Light in the Desert is a fictional story based on the true event of the derailing of the Amtrak Sunset Limited, a train that travels between New Orleans, Louisiana and Los Angles, California, on October 9, 1995 in Hyder, Arizona. [It is] a character driven novel imbued with social commentary. A Light in the Desert is a great read. If you’re looking for a great story about human nature, pick A Light in the Desert up today.” ~ Rabid Readers Reviews
“Overall I enjoyed the novel and would recommend people interested in emotionally driven tales that doesn't require romantic undertones to read it!” ~ Dylan Hiler

My Review
I received this book in return for an honest review.


By Lynda Dickson
We follow the stories of three people running away from their lives: Kelly suffers from Moebius syndrome, is pregnant with her stepfather’s child, and is taken in by the Children of Light, a cult headed by Elect Sun; Jason is haunted by demons from his past as is fast heading for a breakdown; Billy is running from his abusive father Buck and plans to derail a train to gain notoriety. This action will set in motion a series of events no one could have foreseen. And we will be introduced to two new characters, the sheriff and a reporter, both out to seek the truth.
The book on partially based on real events and is told from the points of view of numerous characters. As all of their stories are slowly revealed, we come to learn more about them and how their lives intertwine. By the end, all of the plotlines are cleverly tied together. The author is adept at bringing the sights, sounds, and smells of the Arizona desert to life with her words. There are a number of religious references in the book. I especially enjoyed the chapter in which an old drifter comes across the Madonna in the desert. This ties in nicely with the title of the book, with Jesus also making an appearance.
An engaging and thought-provoking read.
Warnings: coarse language, sexual references, rape, violence, mental illness.

Interview With the Author
Author Anne Montgomery stops by today to discuss her latest novel, A Light in the Desert.
What inspired you to write a crime novel?
I write about subjects in the news that interest me. (I’m a news junkie.) In the case of A Light in the Desert, the cold-case sabotage of the Amtrak Sunset Limited in the Arizona desert was big news nationwide. But it’s the people impacted by crimes and unusual circumstances that interest me most. For example, Jason Ramm, the protagonist, is suffering from a rare form of mental illness called the Jerusalem Syndrome. The Children of Light live off the land and were waiting for the end times, when the crime occurred in their backyard. In both cases, I read about these subjects in the news and was inspired to tell their stories.
Were any of the characters or events inspired by your own life?
Jason Ramm’s character is modeled on a dear deceased friend of mine who did two tours in Vietnam as a Green Beret. While he was not a sniper, many of Ramm’s memories are taken from stories he told me about his time in the service. Also, my friend struggled mightily with Post Traumatic Stress and guilt from events that occurred during the war. Like Ramm, he desperately searched for peace and forgiveness. The character of Kate Butler is clearly me. I was a TV sports reporter and anchor for five stations at both the local and national levels, until, one day, when I was pushing 40, I suddenly became unemployable in that field. Like Kate, I had a shelf-life stamped on my forehead. I was no longer pretty enough to be in front of a camera. It was a difficult transition.
What would you like readers to take away from reading your book?
While my books are fiction, they are based in fact. I work very hard to make sure I get the factual parts right. For example, my most recent book, The Scent of Rain, details the life of a teenage girl fleeing the horrors of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, a cult of polygamists who believe it’s OK for old men to marry young girls. I interviewed a woman who twice escaped from the FLDS, and a doctor who worked with the cultists, and I went to Colorado City, Arizona to observe them. So, I’d like my readers to know that, even though they are reading a fictional story, they will learn things along the way.
Thanks so much for stopping by today and giving us a further insight into you book.

About the Author
Anne Montgomery
Anne Butler Montgomery has worked as a television sportscaster, newspaper and magazine writer, teacher, amateur baseball umpire, and high school football referee. Her first TV job came at WRBL-TV in Columbus, Georgia, and led to positions at WROC-TV in Rochester, New York, KTSP-TV in Phoenix, Arizona, and ESPN in Bristol, Connecticut, where she anchored the Emmy and ACE award winning SportsCenter. She finished her on camera broadcasting career with a two-year stint as the studio host for the NBA’s Phoenix Suns. Montgomery was a freelance and/or staff reporter for six publications, writing sports, features, movie reviews, and archeological pieces. Her novels include: The Scent of Rain, Nothing But Echoes, and A Light in the Desert. Montgomery teaches journalism at South Mountain High School in Phoenix, is a foster mom to three sons, and is an Arizona Interscholastic Association football referee and crew chief. When she can, she indulges in her passions: rock collecting, football officiating, scuba diving, and playing her guitar.

Links