Daniel Palmer: Desperate Sunday, May 25 2014 

Desperate
Just when you think there can’t be a new twist to a story, along comes Daniel Palmer, who surprises readers yet again with his newest thriller, Desperate.

Told strongly in first person from the point of view of Gage Dekker, he and his second wife Anna Miller are desperate to adopt. Both have survived the loss of a child, and for Gage, the added loss of his first wife, Karen, compounds his despair when he meets Anna in a grief survivor’s group. After a whirlwind courtship, a meeting of the minds and hearts, the two are married six months when they decide to adopt after Anna experiences a miscarriage.

A chance meeting with unwed mother Lily turns their anticipated long wait to adopt into a sudden rush when Lily asks them to adopt her baby. With their upstairs tenant gone, Lily is installed over their heads to await the blessed event.

And then things start to horribly go wrong for Gage in several areas of his life, and Lily seems to be at the bottom of it all.

But Anna refuses to believe Gage when he insists Lily is sabotaging his life. The two women have bonded and Anna is desperate for this child to complete their family; she blames Gage for the seemingly innocuous incidents that have him believing Lily is not who she seems to be.

As the stakes are raised, Gage will find himself embroiled in a fantastical plot he can’t find a way out of, one that leads to murder, and he’s stuck at the heart of it.

This compelling thriller will appear to leave Gage no way out, and then the complicated plot takes yet another twist until it careens around a sharp curve and readers will be left breathless and amazed at the audacity Palmer infuses into his novel.

Compelling and intelligently written, Palmer will hook readers and draw you in, in this inventive thriller with its surprising events. Unexpected and original.

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Linda Barnes: The Perfect Ghost Sunday, May 18 2014 

Linda Barnes is best known for her award-winning Carlotta Carlyle novels. Now she returns with an intriguing premise for a crime novel in The Perfect Ghost. perfectghost
Em Moore is the quieter, writing half of the ghost-writing “autobiography” team of T E Blakmore. Her partner, Teddy Blake, the face of the team with his charismatic personality and winning way during interviews of their subjects, has perished in a car accident.

Despite panic attacks and agoraphobia, Em pursues finishing their most recent contract with the actor, director and filmmaker Garrett Malcolm, and travels to his lavish compound on Cape Cod. The son of a family with theatrical ties, Malcolm is known for his attention to detail and his way with women. A widower with an only daughter, Malcolm wins over the impressionable Em.

It’s hard for Em to come out of her shell but she persists, using learned coping mechanisms, and soon winning Malcolm’s interest and finally his respect. She feverishly pursues their remaining interviews while composing the book, all the while distracted by the persistent questions of a local police detective who suspects Teddy’s accident was not quite so accidental.

Along the way she finds herself reluctantly introduced to a local gossip-monger and tries to decipher the clues he’s collected that point to a dark secret Malcolm is hiding.

Told in Em’s narrative to Teddy, we see the action through her eyes and the unfolding of a story that will leave readers with raised eyebrows, and in a final unseen twist, shocked at the ending.

Barnes just a great job folding readers into Em’s world, who will be caught up in her story. She uses devices like police reports, newspaper clippings and the transcripts of some of Teddy’s interviews to weave a compelling story that will leave readers totally unprepared for its surprising climax.

A Bag of Goodies: Robertson, Entwistle, Parks, Sigurdartdottir, & Hawley Sunday, May 11 2014 

Auntie M wishes all the mothers reading this a very Happy Mother’s Day.
Today she’s going to give you a really mixed bag of goodies to choose from for your reading pleasure.MoriarityReturnsLetter

First up is Moriarty Returns a Letter by Michael Robertson, the continuing saga of brothers Nigel and Reggie Heath, whose law firm is located at 221B Baker Street. Its rental comes with the added burden of herding the mail that arrives addressed to Sherlock Holmes.

This innovative series is pure delight, and opens with an exhibition of vintage letters to Sherlock Holmes going on display at the Marylebone Hotel. Reggie and his fiancee Laura are set to leave on an engagement trip, a precursor to their long-anticipated wedding.

Then Darla Rennie turns up, a troubled young woman convinced Reggie is Sherlock Holmes and that she is the descendent of Moriarty. With the single-minded determination and cunning abilities of the evil Professor, Darla manages to turn up at unexpected times and places and generally throws a substantive monkey wrench into the proceedings.

The history of her gripe has its seeds in the death of an 1890’s Pinkerton officer from America working undercover in England. His story and one from the 1940’s add to the storyline as the contemporary 1990’s events unfold.

Nigel and Reggie prove an interesting pair of protagonists in the series, not quite Holmes nor Watson, but certainly with shades of each in their makeup. A fine addition to the series.

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Keeping with the Sherlockian theme, the next offering is Vaughn Entwistle’s The Revenant of Thraxton Hall, which goes back in time to the days immediately after Sir Arthur Conan Doyle killed off Holmes in his story in The Strand Magazine, setting off a public frenzy that saw people sporting black arm bands in mourning and pelting the author with rotten tomatoes when they recognized him out in public.

When medium Hope Thraxton asks Conan Doyle to attend her, the young heiress informs him she needs his help to stop a murder–hers. Despite misgivings at leaving his ill wife at home, the author jumps at the chance to leave town,an dis accompanied by his good friend, Oscar Wilde. Together the two venture to Thraxton Hall for the meeting of the Society for Psychical Research, a group of supernaturalists who each have a motive for wanting young Hope’s death.

Spookiness abounds, with weird happenings and nightly seances, acts of levitation and the pronouncements of a russian mystic of the revenant, or returning spirit, who haunts Thraxton Hall. All of the action is lightened by Wilde’s breezy patter and affectations. The two men will attempt to figure out the real motives of those at the gathering before murder can occur. The first of a planned series, these feature Conan Doyle’s real-life absorption with the paranormal and promise to be filled with whimsy quirks and fantastical plots.

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Leaving England for Newark, New Jersey, brings us to Brad Park’s newest Carter Ross mystery, The Player. Told in first-person narrative with Ross’ wry humor at the forefront, this caper revolves around strange illnesses affecting the residents of a small neighborhood, a story that sets Ross’ antenna quivering.

As he uses the skills of a new intern to augment his work, Ross fends off the odd relationship he’s developed with his editor and former lover, Tina, but a new wrinkle has them revisiting their roles. The story he’s working on goes beyond a supposedly smarmy developer and equally suspicious crime boss.

But his poking around sets off alarms and he soon finds himself embroiled in the people who might benefit from a class action lawsuit and finds he’s found himself a brand new enemy.

Park’s humor keeps this series from bogging down while he tackles serious issues and gives outsiders a real perspective of life inside a newspaper and of blue collar Newark.

IRememberYou

Icelandic author Yrsa Sigurdartdottir already has a following for her mystery series featuring lawyer Thora Gudmundsdottir. She returns with a new a ghost story, I Remember You, that will wrap you up in its eeriness and leave an impact long after the last page has been turned.

Three people arrive in the isolated village of the Icelandic Westfjords, set to start work on renovating an old house. Bought by two male friends, one has died suddenly, leaving his widow to accompany the other married couple as they set to work.

The remoteness and debilitated condition of the house add to the spooky atmosphere as weird things start to happen. It soon becomes evident that some otherworldly force wants them to leave the house.

The story runs alongside the saga of a divorced physician who becomes involved in investigating the suicide of a woman–a woman he discovers had become obsessed with his own son, who disappeared and is presumed dead.

This scary thriller who have you on the edge of your sheet and looking over your shoulder. If you like stories that raise the hairs on the back of your neck, this one’s for you.

Conspiracy

Noah Hawley has created and written screenplays and television shows and several previous novels. Now he brings A Conspiracy of Tall Men to the reader in the same way controversy followed him for The Good Father.

In this offering, Linus Owen teaches conspiracy theory on the college level and follows his own ideas on the subject with two dedicated theorist friends in his off-time. He and his wife, advertising executive Claudia, have an ideal life and have decided to start their family after her return from visiting her mother in Chicago.

Then two FBI agents arrive with startling news. Claudia has been killed in a plane crash–but the plane was headed to Brazil. What she was doing on that plane and how she got there form the basis of the investigation Linus pursues.

From the get go, he sees the list of passengers he’s received is not complete. Then he learns Claudia’s fellow traveler was VP of a large pharmaceutical company. With his conspiracy radar pinging on high, Linus sets out to unravel the mystery of his wife’s death, with the help of his friends, to devastating circumstances.

Linus’ rambling thoughts and asides provide black humor for the book, but it will be the unusual reader who will not find themselves buying into his rants and ideas as the action unfolds. Entertaining and different.

Jan McCanless: The Beryl’s Cove Mysteries and More Sunday, May 4 2014 

While Auntie M is in MN enjoying her four Grands there and her 23rd wedding anniversary, please welcome author Jan McCanless, whose wit and charm delight readers.

Over Connected but Underwired

by Jan McCanless
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There was a cartoon in the paper the other day that had the born loser looking forlornly at his computer screen, and Gladys was asking him what the trouble was. He replied that there was a news story he wanted to read that would help him with his memory, and he couldn’t access it because he had forgotten his password. That, my friends, is the story of my life!!

You would think that being a newspaper columnist I would know how to do tricks on a computer, I mean, really make it sit up and spin around. Hah !!!!! I know just enough to get me by vis-a-vis my emails and sending in my work to various editors around the country.

Somebody told me recently that they were surprised I was not banging away on an old Underwood typewriter someplace. Hey, if I could find one, I would…

I have a sister-in-law who raves about her Kindle, her iPad, her tablet, her iPhones, whatever. She will begin rhapsodizing over all these electronics, while I sit there with that deer-in-the-headlights look. Just this morning, my friend emailed about a new computer he is trying to set up at his house. He raved about memory chips, hardware, motherboard, gigabites, etc, and I sat here, my eyes glazing over. I’m thinking to myself, what in the world are these people talking about??

I recall a job I once had that required me to have a cell phone so the office could get in touch with me. At that time, my daughter had given me an old one she felt was obsolete, so, there I was, riding around on the tour bus I was escorting someplace, when the phone rang. I whipped it out, pulled up the antenna, and to my horror, all 56 passengers on the bus were laughing and pointing at me. What????? It was a cell phone for heavens sake!! Not long after this, the thing simply died on me. It was, after all, a fossil from the dinosaur age. Off I went to my local wireless store. See, I did learn the terminology. Wireless, has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it? Give me the cheapest, easiest thing to operate, I told them. They did, but then the salesman started to explain all the neat things it would do: you hit this button, it turns on the camera; this over here, he said, was the speaker; on and on. Even told me how I could text. Text, me???

Putting my new toy in my handbag, I inadvertently turned the camera on. It would be a disaster, but, I did get a lot of nice shots of the interior of my handbag. The first time it rang, it scared me to death. I had forgotten how to turn it on and speak into it. Well, you can understand my predicament now, can’t you? I am definitely of the on/off switch generation, and you people have put me in this situation , and I can tell you right now I am not happy about it.

Soon after they bought me my first microwave oven, I told my children that I would never want for any other modern device. They told me I had to come into the modern age and to use a computer. “Get connected, Mom” they told me. “You can’t access the internet with a microwave oven.” How do they know, have they ever tried?

The whole world is ‘connected’ electronically, but I am underwired for such things. It’s all I can do to operate my can opener/knife sharpener, and I didn’t even realize my can opener also contained a knife sharpener until my daughter-in-law used it one day. I thought those ridges on the back of the thing were merely a nice design.

Look, I’m happy, blissful in my ignorance, and think of the time I don’t waste by being constantly on one of those electronic gizmos. Just for your information, I don’t care for vending machines, either. They always seem to take my money and stop functioning at that moment. Besides, if I learned to be really proficient on one of those things, what in the world would I write about?

Contact Jan at janet.mccanless@janmacbooks.com or via the e mail at janmccanless@aol.com She may write you back!

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Jan McCanless is a retired high school teacher and free lance columnist for several national newspapers and national publications. She’s authored 9 books, 7 in the Beryl’s Cove mystery series, and 2 compilations of funny columns, magazine articles and humor presentations around the country. A former woman of the year in Rowan County, Jan was among the nominees for International Woman of the year in 2005, for her work as a child advocate and in family violence prevention.

Listed as one of North Carolinas premier humorists, Jan often writes about her escapades trying to unravel the confusion of electronics, while maintaining her status as a member of the on/off switch generation. She takes pride in the fact she just recently learned how to use my electric knife sharpener, and braved the world of the ATM.

Married for a lifetime, she is the proud mother of 3, and grandmother of 9, who happen to feel, as I do, that I am awesome! She resides in rural Rowan County, but, you can probably catch her at one of her appearances around the country, or some regional book fair or signing. Jan says: “You can’t miss me, I am the one without the cell phone attached to my head, or using the iPad or any other gadget popular today. I’ll be doing my figuring on paper, with pencil, but I do work crossword puzzles in ink. Having been compared to Erma Bombeck, all I can say is: I am funnier and prettier, so, enjoy yourself while you read about my latest adventure.”
Murder on the Mississippi cover galley

The Beryl’s Cove Mysteries:

Beryl’s Cove and the Elvis Man

The Case of the Doomed Diplomat – a Beryl’s Cove Mystery

Great Scott -A Beryl’s Cove Mystery

The Haunted Chapel – A Beryl’s Cove Mystery

Back to Beryl’s Cove -Train Ride to Homicide

The Choir Loft Murders – A Beryl’s Cove Mystery

Murder on the Mississippi – A Brother Jerome Story and Beryl’s Cove Mystery

Compilations:

Wyatt Earp, GAP Pickles and Thoughts of Home -won the Mother Vine award for best short stories of 2013

Tire Patch Cookies are Good for the Soul -nominee for Mother Vine award for 2014

th-th-that’s all folks !!!!!