Showing posts with label thriller. Show all posts
Showing posts with label thriller. Show all posts

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.

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Monday, November 5, 2018

"Beyond the Truth" by Bruce Robert Coffin

EXCERPT and GIVEAWAY
Beyond the Truth
(Detective Byron Mystery Book 3)
by Bruce Robert Coffin

Beyond the Truth (Detective Byron Mystery Book 3) by Bruce Robert Coffin

Beyond the Truth is the third book in the Detective Byron Mystery series by Bruce Robert Coffin. Also available: Among the Shadows (read my blog post) and Beneath the Depths.

Among the Shadows by Bruce Robert CoffinBeneath the Depths by Bruce Robert Coffin


Beyond the Truth is currently on tour with Partners in Crime Virtual 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
In this latest enthralling mystery from #1 bestselling author Bruce Robert Coffin, Detective Sergeant John Byron faces the greatest challenge of his career.
When a popular high school senior is shot by police following a late night robbery, chaos ensues. The actions of the officer are immediately called into question. Amid community protests, political grandstanding, department leaks, and reluctant witnesses, Byron and his team must work quickly to find the missing pieces.
And when an attempt is made on the officer’s life, Byron shifts into overdrive, putting everything on the line. Was the attack merely retribution or something more sinister? The search for the truth may come at a price not even Byron can afford.

Excerpt
Veteran Portland police officer Sean Haggerty trudged across the deserted parking lot beneath the bright sodium arc lights of the 7-Eleven. His breath condensed into small white clouds before drifting away on the frigid night air. The thin layer of ice and snow covering the pavement crunched under his highly polished jump-boots as he approached the idling black and white. Only two more hours until the end of his overtime. After four months in his new assignment as School Resource Officer for Portland High School, it felt good to be back in a patrol car, even if it was only one shift. Balancing a large styrofoam coffee cup atop his clipboard, he was reaching for the cruiser keys on his belt when static crackled from his radio mic.
“Any unit in the area of Washington Avenue near the Bubble Up Laundromat please respond,” the dispatcher said.
The Bubble Up was in Haggerty’s assigned area, less than a half mile up the street, but Dispatch still listed him as busy taking a shoplifting report. Someone had snatched a twelve pack of beer.
Haggerty unlocked the door to the cruiser then keyed the mic.
“402, I'm clear the 10-92 at 27 Washington. I can cover that.”
“Ten four, 402,” the dispatcher said. “Standby. 401.”
“401, go.”
“And 421.”
“Go ahead.”
Haggerty knew whatever this was, it was a priority. Dispatch did not send two line units and a supervisor for just any call.
“402, 401, and 421, all three units respond to the Bubble Up Laundry at 214 Washington Avenue for an armed 10-90 that just occurred.”
As Haggerty scrambled into the cruiser, the styrofoam cup tumbled to the pavement, spilling its contents. The coffee froze almost instantly.
“Dammit,” Haggerty said.
He tossed his clipboard onto the passenger seat, then climbed in. Allowing for the possibility of a quick exit, he ignored the seatbelt requirement and threw the shift lever into Drive. He powered down his portable radio and reached for the microphone clipped to the dashboard. “402, en route.”
“421 and 401 responding from the west end,” the sergeant said, acknowledging the call for both backup units.
Haggerty pulled out of the lot onto Washington Avenue, and headed outbound toward Tukey’s Bridge. He drove without lights or siren, in hopes of catching the suspects by surprise.
“402,” Haggerty said, his eyes scanning the dark sidewalks and alleys. “Any description or direction of travel?”
“Ten four, 402. We have the victim on the phone. Suspects are described as two masked males. Suspect number one was wearing a black hoodie and blue jeans, carrying a dark colored backpack. Suspect two was dressed in dark pants and a red hoodie, with some kind of emblem on it. Unknown direction of travel.”
“Is the victim injured?” Haggerty asked, trying to decide whether to go directly to the scene, securing the laundromat, or take a quick spin around the area first to try and locate the suspects.
“Negative, 402,” the dispatcher said. “Just shaken up.”
“What was the weapon used?”
“Standby, 402.”
Haggerty caught a flash of red up ahead in the beam of the cruiser’s headlights as two figures darted from his right across Washington Avenue down Madison Street. He accelerated, flicked on the emergency lights and siren, and keyed the dash mic again.
“402, I have a visual on the two suspects near Washington and Madison. They just rabbited into Kennedy Park.”
“Ten four. 401 and 421, copy?” the dispatcher said.
“Copy.”
Braking hard, Haggerty spun the steering wheel left, making the turn onto Madison. He knew if he didn’t stay right on them that he would lose them among the project’s many apartments and row houses. The hooded figures sprinting down the hill were already several hundred feet ahead. He punched the gas and the cruiser shot after them. He was beginning to close the gap when they cut left in front of an oncoming car onto Greenleaf Street.
“Greenleaf toward East Oxford,” he shouted into the mic, trying to be heard above the wail of his cruiser’s siren as he raced through the built-up residential neighborhood.
The Ford skidded wide as he turned onto Greenleaf. Haggerty fought the urge to over-steer, waiting until the cruiser’s front tires found purchase on a bare patch of pavement and it straightened out.
The two figures were clearer now, about fifty feet ahead. He was nearly on top of them when they turned again, west, running between rows of apartment buildings.
“They just cut over toward Monroe Court,” Haggerty said.
“Ten four,” the dispatcher said. “421 and 401, copy?”
“Copy,” 421 acknowledged.
Haggerty accelerated past the alley the suspects had taken, hoping to cut them off by circling the block and coming out ahead of them on East Oxford Street. He turned right onto Oxford just in time to see them run across the road and duck between yet another set of row houses.
He rode the brake, and the pulse of the anti-lock mechanism pushed back against his foot. The black and white felt as if it were speeding up. Ice. Shit. The rear end started to swing to the right toward a line of parked cars. He eased off the brake and the Ford straightened out but was now headed directly toward a snowbank in front of the alley—an ice bank, really. Still traveling about five miles per hour, the black and white smashed into it with a crunch. Haggerty jumped from the car and gave chase, the door still open, the siren still blaring. He would have to answer for a mangled squad car later, but there was no time to think of that now. The snow piled against the apartment building walls seemed to dance in the flickering blue light of his cruiser’s strobes, making the alley look like a disco.
Haggerty could just make out the two hooded figures in the bobbing beam of his mini MagLite as he ran.
“Police! Stop!” he yelled. They didn’t.
He was gaining on them when his boot struck something buried beneath the snow, and he sprawled headfirst to the ground. Scrambling to regain his feet, he stood and quickly scanned the area for his flashlight, but it was gone. He turned and hurried down the dark alley, keying his shoulder mic as he went.
“402, 10-50,” he said, referring to his cruiser accident. “I’m now in foot pursuit of the 10-90 suspects. Toward Cumberland from East Oxford.”
“Ten-four, 402,” the female dispatcher acknowledged. “1 and 21, copy.”
Haggerty heard the distorted transmissions as both units responded simultaneously, causing the radio to squeal in protest. He rounded the rear corner of a three-story unit just in time to see the suspect wearing the red hoodie stuck near the top of a six-foot chain-link fence. The other figure had already made it over and stopped to assist.
“Freeze,” Haggerty yelled as he drew his weapon.
Neither suspect heeded his warning. Haggerty was at full stride, gun at the low ready position, about fifteen feet from the fence, when the first suspect finally pulled the second one loose. Up and over they went leaving Haggerty on the wrong side of the barrier.
Damn! Haggerty holstered his Glock, then backed far enough away from the fence to give himself a running start. He hit the fence, left foot out in front, reaching for the top with his gloved hands, and then vaulted up and over it with ease. The suspect in the dark-colored hoodie turned and looked back, giving Haggerty a glimpse of what seemed to be a ski mask made to look like a skull. Thirty feet now. He was closing the distance again.
If they don’t split up I’ll have a chance, he thought. He heard a dog barking frantically nearby, and the distant wail of approaching sirens. The combination of the cold air into his lungs and the adrenaline surge were beginning to take their toll, sapping his strength. His arms and legs were slowing, despite his efforts.
“What’s your twenty, 402?” the dispatcher asked. His location.
“Fuck if I know,” he said out loud and breathless. He keyed the mic on his shoulder. “Back yards. Headed west. Toward Anderson.”
“Ten-four.” The dispatcher said. “Units copy?”
“1 copies.”
“21, I copy,” the sergeant said. “The call came in as an armed 10-90. What was the weapon?”
“Standby, 21.”
Haggerty lost them again as they rounded another building. He slowed to a jog and drew his sidearm again. The alley was pitch back and he didn’t want to risk running into an ambush.
“Units be advised, the original caller was a customer who walked in on the robbery. I have the victim on the phone now. He says the male in the dark-colored hoodie displayed a silver colored 10-32 handgun.”
“21, give us a signal,” the sergeant said.
“10-4,” the dispatcher said. The familiar high-pitched tone sounded twice over the radio before the dispatcher spoke again. “All units, a signal one thousand is now in effect. Hold all air traffic or switch to channel 2. 401, 402, and 421 have priority.”
Haggerty stepped forward carefully, not wanting to trip again. His lungs were burning. He attempted to slow his breathing while waiting for his eyes to adjust to the darkness. He froze in place as he heard a banging sound, as if someone were striking a solid object with a bat. The sound was followed by shouting, but he couldn’t make out what was being said.
Peeking quickly around the corner of the building, he saw the figure in the red hoodie kicking at the stuck gate of a wooden stockade fence, while the other had scrambled onto the roof of a junk car and was attempting to climb over the barrier.
“Freeze,” Haggerty yelled, aiming his Glock at the dark hooded figure standing atop the car. Red Hoodie stopped kicking, but didn’t turn back toward Haggerty. The suspect on the car, also facing away from him, didn't move.
Haggerty approached the fence cautiously, making sure of his footing as he planted one foot in front of the other. His eyes shifted between the two figures, but he kept his gun trained on the suspect who was reportedly armed. “Let me see your hands. Both of you.”
Red hoodie raised his hands high above his head.
The dark figure on top of the car began to turn. His hands were hidden from sight.
“I said freeze.” Haggerty sidestepped to his left looking to regain some cover. “Goddammit, freeze!”
The dark figure spun toward him, bringing his right arm up in a pointing gesture.
Haggerty saw a familiar flash of light an instant before he pulled the trigger on his Glock.

Praise for the Book
“A gripping atmospheric thriller that finds the dark side of Portland, Maine. The Detective Byron mystery series is one of the finest to arrive in a long time.” ~ #1 New York Times bestselling author Douglas Preston
“A superbly realistic, tense, and exciting novel.” ~ Reed Farrel Coleman, New York Times bestselling author
“Love this series especially since it's my favorite genre and the author manages to present a terrific read without the use of graphic sex and foul language ... Kudos. Coffin is an excellent writer and his story lines are based on current topics.” ~ D. Wooten
“Bruce Robert Coffin hits the mark with this John Byron mystery set in Portland, Maine. He knows the territory well from his years on the Portland Police Force and it shows in the development of his story and characters. Mr. Coffin is well on his way to becoming a legend among Maine writers.” ~ C. F. Clemons
“The author, Bruce Robert Coffin, is a retired police Detective Sargeant. He is able to provide an inside view of policing, their policies and procedures, the irksome political issues, and, at the same time the positive impact a good police force can make. The writing is deft and forceful, welcoming us into this world, dark at times, but for the readers, always enjoyable.” ~ prisrob


About the Author
Bruce Robert Coffin
Bruce Robert Coffin is a former detective sergeant with more than twenty-seven years in law enforcement. At the time of his retirement, from the Portland, Maine police department, he supervised all homicide and violent crime investigations for Maine’s largest city. Following the terror attacks of September 11, Bruce spent four years working counter-terrorism with the FBI, earning the Director’s Award, the highest honor a non-agent can receive. His first two books, Among the Shadows and Beneath the Depths, were both Maine Sunday Telegram #1 bestsellers. He lives and writes in Maine.



Giveaway
Enter the tour-wide giveaway for a chance to win one of three print copies of Beneath the Depths by Bruce Robert Coffin (US only).

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