True Crime Twofer Sunday, Sep 30 2012 

Kathryn Casey is the critically-acclaimed writer Ann Rule has called “one of the best in the true crime genre.” In Deadly Little Secrets, she’s written a meticulously researched account of a cold-blooded pastor in Texas who is convicted of killing the mother of his children. There is also lingering suspicion around the earlier death of his physically ill daughter.

After marrying Matt Baker, a charming and seemingly pious man, Kari Baker gives birth to two daughters, Kensi and Kassidy. Always upbeat and positive, Kari seems to take her husband’s frequent church relocations in stride, never questioning his stories of the reasons for their moves. Matt appears to be a devoted husband and father, but others tell stories of unwanted sexual approaches and inappropriate comments and behavior with young women that Kari refuses to believe.

When Kassidy becomes gravely ill and subsequently dies, to the surprise of her doctors, Kari falls into the very reasonable depression the death of a child would cause, but manages to pull herself up to have another child, Grace. She finishes school and begins teaching. Life was sorting itself out: until the day Kari’s parents receive the inexplicable phone call that their daughter has committed suicide. Just days later Matt is seen with a pretty blond companion who he brings into his daughter’s lives.

What happens next will unravel years of the elaborate show Matt Baker has put on for the public to cover his trail of sexual predator behavior. With only her parents to fight for justice for Kari, a relentless legal battle ensues over years, with the safety and futures of Kari’s two remaining daughters at the heart of her grandparents brave struggle.

This is the well-drawn portrait of a narcissistic individual who believes his own lies and chafes at his family responsibilities. How he is brought to justice by a dogged team of investigators prompted by Kari’s parents will show the dogged determination of a handful of people who became convinced that Kari Baker deserved the justice in death she was denied in life.

At the opposite end of the spectrum is a case of Imperfect Justice, prosecutor Jeff Ashton’s account, written with Lisa Pulizer, of the Casey Anthony trial.

With exhaustive detail, Ashton takes readers inside the evidence and trial that captured the nation’s attention when the body of missing two-year old Caylee Anthony was found.

Inside the prosecution team, evidence is sifted through and statements compared and contrasted. For most of the thirty-one days Caylee was missing, her mother partied with then-boyfriend Tony Lazzaro. Photos surface of Casey’s antics which as a parent, didn’t make any kind of sense to the prosecutor. He makes particular note that both before and after Casey’s arrest, she exhibited little behavior to suggest she was grieving for her daughter.

Detailed photos accompanying the text show the evidence and Ashton points out little things that were not public knowledge during the trial, like the closeness to the roadside of Kaylee’s remains, which indicated to him the laziness of their placement. He explains the team effort that went into building a case, at times literally sifting through garbage to counter a point made by a defense witness. He explains Casey’s conflicting testimony and contradictions. And he describes how the person he felt most sorry for was George Anthony, Casey’s father.

Everyone who could read a paper knows the stunning outcome of that trial, one that Ashton postponed his retirement for over six months to see to its end. He believes that ultimately little Caylee Anthony was lost sight of in the media circus and trial that followed. In giving this behind-the-scenes story of the complete investigation and trail, he reveals information why he remains convinced to this day of Casey Anthony’s guilt.

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Tace Baker: Speaking of Murder Sunday, Sep 30 2012 

Please welcome Tace Baker, author of Speaking of Murder:

Imagine an attractive and brilliant older undergrad.

 

 

Add in his linguistics professor, a Quaker with an ear for accents.

Complicate the story with an addictive friend and a threatening departmental chairwoman.

In Speaking of Murder, murder at a small Massachusetts college, small-town intrigues, and academic blackmail present obstacles as Professor Lauren Rousseau uses her facility with languages to track down the killer. When Lauren puts aside conflicted feelings for her boyfriend, his expertise in video forensics helps her solve the murder. Her own experience in karate enables her to escape from the killer.

Speaking of Murder was first runner up for the Linda Howard Award for Excellence in March of 2012.

One of the key tools used to solve the crimes in Speaking of Murder is video forensics.

Zac, Lauren’s boyfriend, works as a civilian video forensics expert at the local police station. The tool he uses is dTective from Ocean Systems, developed by Grant Fredericks and others. It’s used by police departments around the country to clarify surveillance video and present video evidence in court.

The dTective software works with Avid Media Composer, an award-winning video- and film-editing software for which I wrote technical documentation for 14 years. I knew I wanted to feature this software in my books. Write what you know, right? I was fortunate to be able to consult with the Raynham, Massachusetts police department, and also the Bristol County District Attorney’s office. They each use this software in their daily crime-fighting and each spent a half day with me, demonstrating the software and talking about how they use it.

It was a fascinating look into some of the inner workings of the criminal justice system. I hope I’ve done justice to their expertise. I learned how much this software can do with surveillance video. For example, you can:

* Apply a standard to see how tall someone is

* Lighten a dark image of a license plate

* Zoom in on a tattoo or other unique physical characteristic

* Compare a fingerprint left on a counter to one taken after arrest

 

It’s very cool stuff.

What about you? Do you know of other software programs that help solve crimes? Or have any questions about linguistics?

 

Tace Baker is the author of Speaking of Murder (Barking Rain Press, September 2012, ), which features Quaker linguistics professor Lauren Rousseau.

Tace Baker is a pseudonym for Edith Maxwell. Edith holds a PhD in linguistics and has been a member of Amesbury Monthly Meeting of Friends for several decades.

Edith also writes the Local Foods Mysteries.  A Tine to Live, a Tine to Die introduces organic farmer Cam Flaherty and a colorful Locavore Club (Kensington Publishing, June, 2013). Edith once owned and operated the smallest certified organic farm in Essex County, Massachusetts.

A technical writer and fourth-generation Californian, Edith also writes short crime fiction and lives north of Boston in an antique house with her beau and three cats. She’s active in Sisters in Crime and serves on the board of the New England chapter. She can be found at www.tacebaker.com, @tacebaker, and www.facebook.com/tacebaker, as well as at www.edithmaxwell.com, @edithmaxwell, and http://www.facebook.com/edithmaxwellauthor.

Susan Santangelo: Marriage Can Be Murder Sunday, Sep 23 2012 

LOCATION!         LOCATION!       LOCATION!
            It’s a major selling point when home buyers are looking at properties to buy.
            And for me, location is just as important in fiction. As an avid mystery reader, I find myself more willing to take a chance on a new author I know nothing about if I’m attracted to the locale where the book is set.
            When I started writing the Baby Boomer mysteries, I created the Connecticut town of Fairport. It’s a thinly disguised version of Fairfield, where my family and I lived for many years. And, yes, we lived in an antique house, just like the principal characters in the series, Carol and Jim Andrews.  But because Fairport is a fictional place, I was free to populate it with restaurants, churches, stores, and street names to my heart’s content, as long as they all worked into the story line, without any current Fairfield resident (or, heaven forbid, an elected town official!) contacting me to say that I hadn’t gotten the description down correctly.
            Believe me, that can happen. Don’t ask me how I know, please. Just trust me. I know.
            But when I started to write Book 3 in the series, Marriage Can be Murder, I wanted to include a destination wedding, so I had to move the location out of Fairport. Where did I decide to have the wedding take place? Somewhere I’ve always loved — the island of Nantucket.
I discovered when I started doing some research about Nantucket that the entire island is designated as a National Historic Landmark.  I never knew that before. Nantucket is affectionately referred to as The Little Grey Lady of the Sea because of its many grey-shingled buildings and frequent fog. The island is 14 miles long by 3.5 miles wide, and is 27 miles out to sea. Nantucket is 30 miles south of Cape Cod, and has a year-round population of approximately 10,000. The population increases to about 50,000 during the summer months, which is Nantucket’s peak tourist season.  There are great shopping opportunities at this time of year. Don’t ask me how I know this, either. But, trust me, I know.
Nantucket was the whaling capital of the world from the mid-1700s to the late 1830s, and was made famous by Herman Melville in his classic novel, Moby Dick. Ok, I’ll confess I’ve never read that book. But I’m sure it’s on my to-be-read pile, somewhere in my office. And I did see the movie starring Gregory Peck, so that counts, right?
 
Some atlases describe Nantucket island as crescent-shaped. To really get the picture, take your right hand and fold in all your fingers but the thumb and index finger. Then rotate your hand to the left, palm down, and voila – your own Nantucket island. Madaket is where your thumb is — a tiny community with its own harbor, gorgeous houses and beautiful beaches. Follow your thumb to the right – that’s Madaket Road, which eventually leads you into the town of Nantucket, approximately where your thumb opens as it heads toward the index finger. Picture that opening as the town, and Straight Wharf, where the ferries to and from the mainland dock.
More than 800 houses on Nantucket were built before the American Civil War, and I decided the primary site for my mystery would be one of them. I named it the Grey Gull Inn. You won’t find this inn on Nantucket, because it’s the product of my over active imagination.  And then I really had fun —  I gave  it some history. Here’s what Carol Andrews, my protagonist, finds out about it from the Grey Gull Inn website: “The inn was built in 1825 by Nathaniel Grey, a whaling captain, as a gift to his new bride, Charity.
Tragically, soon after the couple moved into the house, Charity was found dead at the bottom of the house’s circular staircase. An inquest determined her death was a tragic accident. Captain Grey never recovered from the shock of his young wife’s death, and legend has it that he continues to live in the house, searching in vain for his bride. The building was converted in the 1980s to a 10-bedroom inn. The current owners are siblings JoAnn and Skip Wallace, who are direct descendants of Captain Nate, as he was known in the family. They completely refurbished the structure in 2006, adding a new wing to the inn with six more guest room suites.”
I placed the Grey Gull Inn right in the center of Nantucket town, close to historic Main Street, Nantucket’s primary shopping district.  I gave it a full-service gourmet restaurant and one of the most notable wine lists on the island. But I didn’t give an en suite bathroom to the older part of the inn, where the Andrews family is staying.
Why? Well, I won’t tell.
Here’s the back cover blurb for the book. See if you can figure out a clue:
Book Three of the Baby Boomer mystery series, Marriage Can Be Murder, brings the Andrews family to Nantucket. Carol is thrilled when daughter Jenny announces her engagement. She’s dreamed of planning her daughter’s wedding since the day Jenny was born. But with only two months to pull together a destination wedding on Nantucket, Jenny insists on hiring Cinderella Weddings to organize the event. Father-of-the-bride Jim objects to the cost, and Carol objects to having her opinion ignored. When Carol finds the wedding planner dead at the bottom of a spiral staircase at a Nantucket inn, and the husband of Carol’s BFF Nancy is accused of her death, Carol has more to worry about than getting to the church on time!
            If you can’t figure out the clue, you’ll just have to check out Marriage Can Be Murder for yourself. The Grey Gull Inn is open and ready to receive your reservation! But be sure to call ahead for the ferry, if you want to bring a car.
An early member of the Baby Boomer generation, Susan Santangelo has been a feature writer, drama critic and editor for daily and weekly newspapers in the New York metropolitan area, including a stint at Cosmopolitan magazine. A seasoned public relations and marketing professional, she has designed and managed not-for-profit events and programs for over 25 years, and was principal of her own public relations firm, Events Unlimited, in Princeton NJ for ten years. She also served as Director of Special Events and Volunteers for Carnegie Hall during the Hall’s 1990-1991 Centennial season.
 Susan divides her time between Cape Cod MA and the Connecticut shoreline. She is a member of Sisters in Crime and the Cape Cod Writers Center, and also reviews mysteries for Suspense magazine. She shares her life with her husband Joe and one very spoiled English cocker spaniel, Boomer, who is also the cover model for the mystery books.
          A portion of the sales from the Baby Boomer Mysteries is donated to the Breast Cancer Survival Center, a non-profit organization based in Connecticut which Susan founded in 1999 after being diagnosed with cancer herself. 

Kate George: Crazy Little Thing Called Dead Sunday, Sep 16 2012 

Please welcome Daphne Du-Maurier Award-winning author Kate George:

Death Can Be Funny                                                                             

There are people in the world who think my taste is questionable and my choice of mixing humor and murder is downright wrong. But here’s the thing, I like the contrast between a lighthearted tone and a serious subject. I enjoy making people laugh.

Here’s a little background: Like most people in the world I’ve had my ups and downs. Several years in particular, while I was dealing with a family member’s health issues, were more challenging than usual. I was pretty unhappy. But during that time I discovered an author that made me laugh. It was such a relief to laugh, I decided if I was ever going to write again the writing would be driven by my sense of humor.

I am writing again, and it is driven by my slightly wacked sense of humor, but that doesn’t make it easy. It’s challenging to get the ratio of humor to danger just right. Believe it or not there are people in the world that like their murder straight up, and others who prefer their laughs not be sullied by death. Not that I will ever please everybody. In the immortal words of Fitzwilliam Darcy, “That’s not possible for anyone.”

What I can do is strive to get the balance right. Keep the pace lively. Make my protagonist a little off center, quite irreverent but strong. Create a believable plotline and crimes that are sufficiently severe.  The villain? Self-centered and unconcerned with others. Totally without conscience – a sociopath. And in the end? Our protagonist must save herself. She can have a love interest, and he can help with the take down, but it has to be clear that if our love interest wasn’t there, she’d be capable of doing the job herself – and make you laugh at the same time.

The newest Bree MacGowan, Crazy Little Thing Called Dead, is a little more serious than the first two books in the series. Bree loses almost everything, and is pushed beyond her normal boundaries. But the humor remains. Hopefully it’s a book that will let you experience a range of emotions from dark to light.

Kate George is the author of the Bree MacGowan Mysteries:  Moonlighting in Vermont (2009), California Schemin’ (2011) and Crazy Little Thing Called Dead, which will be available September 30, 2012.

Ms. George lives in the wilds of Central Vermont, coming to terms with mud roads, ice storms and occasionally moose and black bears. Find free short stories at http://www.kategeorge.com.

Judy Nichols: Sportsman’s Bet Sunday, Sep 9 2012 

Please welcome author Judy Nichols, with details of her newest e-book.
What do you do when your husband thinks your writing is just a misguided hobby and constantly drops hints about giving it all up for a nice steady job at Target?

You make him a character in your latest e-book.

The inspiration for Ian Dodge, the private investigator featured in my book Sportsman’s Bet, was inspired by my curmudgeon of a British ex-pat husband, Nigel (Yes, his name really is Nigel. I did not make that up). Even though he’s lived in the States for more than half his life, he refuses to be Americanized. He’s still a fish out of a water, the guy who’s from Some Place Foreign, and damn proud of it.

Ian Dodge lives in a small town of Tobias, somewhere in Brunswick County, North Carolina. He’s methodical and always speaks his mind, not that anyone ever listens to him. He has a passion for British sports cars and a soft spot for his border collie Shep, as well as a fondness for using Cockney rhyming slang.

What is Cockney rhyming slang you ask? Exactly what it sounds like—using a rhyming phrase to stand for another word. “Pork pies” for lies. “Trouble and strife” for wife. “Butcher’s hook” for look. The story goes that the Cockney workers created it as a kind of secret code so their upper crust bosses wouldn’t know what they were talking about.

When the body of Velma Saunders is found in the old municipal bomb shelter and the town’s good old boy of a mayor, Mike Ellis, is charged with the murder, Ian steps in to find out who else wanted her dead. Velma was the woman everyone loved to hate, but who hated her enough to kill her? In the course of his investigation, Ian discovers her connection with a shameful chapter in North Carolina’s history, and what happened to make her so mean.

I had a lot of fun with Ian Dodge, in fact, with all the characters in Sportsman’s Bet. I hope you have fun reading it. It’s available in Nook and Kindle format.

Judy Nichols grew up in a Batavia, Ohio a small town 20 miles east of Cincinnati and eventually found herself living in Aurora, Indiana, a small town 20 miles west of Cincinnati. She would be there still if GE Aircraft hadn’t made her husband Nigel an offer he couldn’t refuse– a chance to live near the ocean with GE footing the bill for moving expenses. So now the family lives in Wilmington, North Carolina.

She started her novel Caviar Dreams while her daughter was napping one day. Five years later it was finished. The biggest challenge arrived once her daughter stopped taking naps and eventually lost interest in watching the “Toy Story” video.

Judy holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Kent State University. She has been a newspaper reporter, a teacher, a temporary office worker, a customer service representative, and currently stay-at-home mom with way too much time on her hands. (And never mind that her daughter is a year away from going off to college.)

In April of 2012, Judy achieved her lifelong goal of appearing on the quiz show “Jeopardy!” She was a two day champion winning a total of $46,500 and the distinction of being officially named the smartest person in a room full of smart people.

She has earned only two awards in her lifetime. Neither of them has anything to do with writing, but she is immensely proud of them nonetheless. Adia Temporary Agency presented her with the “Temp of the Month” award for March, 1987 and The Ohio Chapter of The Nature Conservancy gave her a Volunteer Appreciation Award in 1991.

Her experience with The Nature Conservancy inspired her second novel Tree Huggers, about the deadly clash between an unscrupulous developer and a militant environmentalists, published in 2008

Sportsman’s Bet is her third book and the first in the Ian Dodge detective series. Ian is a British national, living in a small town in rural North Carolina and stubbornly hanging on to every shred of his Britishness. Any resemblance to Ian Dodge and her own prickly British husband is purely intentional.

Judy Alter: Trouble in a Big Box Sunday, Sep 9 2012 

 

An award-winning novelist, Judy Alter has written fiction for adults and young adults, primarily about women in the nineteenth-century American West. Judy’s western fiction has been recognized with awards from the Western Writers of America, the Texas Institute of Letters, and the National Cowboy Museum and Hall of Fame. She has been honored with the Owen Wister Award for Lifetime Achievement by WWA and inducted into the Texas Literary Hall of Fame at the Fort Worth Public Library.

Now she has turned her attention to contemporary cozy mysteries. Trouble in a Big Box, the third Kelly O’Connell mystery, follows Skeleton in a Dead Space and No Neighborhood for Old Women, which received good reviews and popular enthusiasm. Welcome, Judy!

 

 

In Trouble in a Big Box, Kelly O’Connell has her hands full: new husband Mike Shandy is badly injured in an automobile accident that kills a young girl, developer Tom Lattimore wants to build a big-box grocery store in Kelly’s beloved Fairmount neighborhood, and someone is stalking Kelly.

Tom Lattimore pressures her to support the big box, and when his pressure turns to threats, Kelly activates a neighborhood coalition to fight the project. She also tries to find out who is stalking her and why, and her sleuthing puts her in danger that terrifies Mike.

But he isboth powerless to stop her and physically unable to protect her and her young daughters from Lattimore’s threats or the stalker. After their house is smoke-bombed and Kelly survives an amateur attack on her life, she comes close to an unwanted trip to Mexico from which she might never return.

 

Kelly is fighting to save her neighborhood and its old-time small-town atmosphere and historic buildings, to keep from displacing a lot of mom-and-pop businesses. But she’s fighting a larger battle, though she doesn’t realize it. We’ve seen it played out across the country for years: Wal-Mart moves in and the small businesses in a town are forced to close; syndicates take over newspapers until there are only a few if any locally-owned papers in major cities; chains force independent bookstores to close. What do we value? Big business or the individual? Of course I didn’t realize all this when I wrote. I simply wanted to involve Kelly in a new adventure and tell a good story.

 

I’m reminded of Dorothy Johnson who wrote A Man Called Horse, The Hanging Tree, and The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, among many others (you have to be a bit old to remember). Dorothy once wrote me that she was astounded at all the symbolism critics—and teachers—found in her work, because she didn’t put it there. Maybe we’re all that way, even though our goal is simply to be good storytellers.

 

                                                                                                                                             

 

 


 

 

 

  Follow Judy on Facebook (at https://www.facebook.com/#!/judy.alter) or  http://www.judyalter.com or her two blogs at http://www.judys-stew.blogspot.com or http://potluckwithjudy.blogspot.com. Her mysteries are available in print or as e-books, and some of her western fiction is in e-book form.Judy lives in Fort Worth, Texas, with her two dogs and frequently sees her four children and seven grandchildren.

 

 

 

Gabriel Rheaume: The Shores We Walk Sunday, Sep 2 2012 

Auntie M believes in bringing new voices to your attention from time to time, so please welcome author
Gabriel Rheaume. Gabriel will describe his history and what led to his unusual premise for his book book, as well as sharing an excerpt.
Before I tell you a little bit about myself and my novel, I’d like to announce that my novel The Shores We Walk is on sale at Amazon
Kindle for 99 cents for the month of September!

The idea to write The Shores We Walk came from a statement I made to my
girlfriend, who is now deceased. I told her that her family was so
dysfunctional that someone should write a book about them. As time
passed, I became more interested in the idea and of pursuing it
myself.

When she took her life at the age of 19, I made a vow that
this book would transpire. I took a creative writing
class in college and it started there.

But her death led me to alcoholism and drug addiction. As my addiction
became worse, my writing style transformed into surreal and delusional
accounts of memories and life itself. As time progressed, my best
friend died of a heroin overdose in my apartment while I was sleeping,
and another one of my close friends passed away due to unexplained
causes.

All of these things continued to come out in my writing, and I
decided to write the book as a tribute to all of them, and to write it
in a way that felt like being on drugs, combined with bouts of psychosis
and visits from beyond the grave.

The book grew while I was in and out of rehab, but it wasn’t until I
got my own addictions under control that I was able to wrap up the
story, obtain an editor and self-publish The Shores We Walk.

Although it is a tragedy, there is a ray of hope. I recommend the book
to those struggling with addiction or who have a family member who is an
addict, and even to those just curious about the lifestyle of a junkie.

It is a fast-paced read, brutally honest and painful, but also
written in lyrical prose.

What is the book about?

When all of the people close to Francis end up dying, a lot of
questions are left in the air while he falls into a deep psychosis.
The story is written through a veil of drugs and visits from beyond
the grave. It is a love story and a tragedy; a struggle with faith and
some brief moments of hope. Through the darkness there is also much
beauty.

Francis, based on a postmodern St. Francis of
Assisi, narrates this story of four people as they slowly self-destruct
and battle drug addiction, homelessness and poverty. When I
attended Wayne State University, I saw such tragic things every day.

But I was inspired by the fact that even though these people had nothing,
they never lost sight of what really mattered to them. I realized
that life contains more joy than sorrow and wished more people would
recognise that simple fact. When asked about my experiences in
downtown Detroit,  I simply say, “When you see a homeless man with a
larger smile than a rich man, you have to question what’s actually
important in your life” (Sandusky Tribune).

Excerpt:

“If the weathered barns along the road did not reveal their age, it
would seem like going back in time. He had not visited her cottage
since the snow had fallen. It is off one of Michigan’s Great Lakes
with a beach that has a coast with no near end. There is no view
beyond the lake and sky. Sometimes freight ships sit near the horizon,
slowly drifting in time with the clouds. At times the sky and the lake
become indistinguishable. There is not a better easel for the sunset
than the framed sky above this vast oasis. To sit afloat in the center
of any large mass of water has an unfathomable magnificence. It is
like analyzing the one infinite living second that is recognizable as
life. The horizon can be divided by two shades, that of the water, and
of the air. There is no end to this one-second as there is seemingly
no end to the polar vision of the water and the sky.
Each season is equally enchanting. Lake Huron in winter is deep
blue with waves frozen to the white beach. The barren rolling,
snow-covered hills are like a desert. The wind forms drifts that are
small cliffs.
The spring is a time of new life. The green is so vibrant that
plants glow in the daylight. Blossoms decorate trees like white and
pink ribbons. The air is as fresh as rich, black, soil.
In the summer, the purple chicory grows in fields of grass. Queen
Anne’s Lace makes groups of wild plants flowers look like bouquets.
The breeze from the lake is cool and comforting.
The colors of the leaves in autumn are almost unnatural. A
rainbow falls from the sky and the land becomes a palette of trees.” 

Links:

E-store: http://www.createspace.com/3523749

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Shores-We-Walk-Gabriel-Rheaume/dp/145644431X/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1343859333&sr=1-1&keywords=the+shores+we+walk

Amazon Kindle: http://www.amazon.com/The-Shores-We-Walk-ebook/dp/B006GCD82I/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1343859370&sr=1-1&keywords=the+shores+we+walk

Facebook book page: www.facebook.com/theshoreswewalk

Simon Toyne: The Key Sunday, Sep 2 2012 

Simon Toyne, author of the first in the Ruin trilogy Sanctus, returns with book two in the series and The Key is every bit as compelling as the first.

A vertical mountain of carved rock, The Citadel of Ruin is the oldest continually inhabited edifice known to Man, and the seat of the Catholic Church.

After the events detailed in Sanctus, an explosion has left three people with intimate knowledge of the secret of the Sacrament, previously only known to a handful of elevated Santi monks.

One of those three is New Jersey journalist Liv Adamsen, who traveled to Ruin to find the truth surrounding the death of her Sancti brother. As The Key opens, Liv lies in a hospital bed, suffering the effects of post-traumatic amnesia. Four doors away, survivor number two, Kathryn Mann, nearly deaf from the explosion, ponders her fate and that of her only son, Gabriel, survivor number three.

In the Vatican City, The Group, composed of three world financial heads, hastily meet with their fourth member, Cardinal Secretary Clementi. Clementi holds his own key: to the Vatican’s Bank. He’s used the Church’s independence and secrecy for the past years to hide the practices of past centuries that have left the Church rich in priceless arts and property but virtually without cash.

For The Group, Liv and the others represent ticking time bombs, threatening to destroy their carefully crafted plan. While inside The Citadel, with the abbot and prelate both dead from the explosion, elections must take place to secure The Citadels’ hierarchy. But their centuries-old secrets are slowly unraveling, as disease spreads and with it, unrest inside the compound.

The Key sucks you in, with its detailed settings and complex sense of history and traditions. The Globe and Mail says:  This is a gripping read, as fast-paced as any action movie and covering Rome to Ruin, and New York to the Middle East deserts, as Toyne fits together his complicated plot until it all makes horrible and terrific sense.

 

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"Tell me and I forget-Show me and I remember-Involve me and I learn"

Past Offences: Classic crime, thrillers and mystery book reviews

The best mystery and crime fiction (up to 1987): Book and movie reviews

forensics4fiction

Forensics demystified for the fiction writer

milliewonka

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