Andrew Michael Hurley: Devil’s Day Sunday, Nov 4 2018 


Andrew Michael Hurley’s mines the Lancashire landscape when he brings John Pentecost an his young wife back to the Endlands in Devil’s Day.

Unsettling from the outset, John brings his newly pregnant wife, Katherine, home for the funeral of his grandfather, known as the Gaffer.

Dadda, John’s father, has his own agenda, and the funeral is the backdrop to the local legends and tales that are told and retold as preparations for the ritual to keep the Devil away from the sheep begin. Everything has a superstition behind it, and everyone on the moors is affected. But it’s all just tales and nonsense, isn’t it?

The unsettled landscape comes alive under Hurley’s talented pen, as the gripping tale shows Nature at her finest and her cruelest. The eerie feel to the entire tale had the Daily Mail note: “This impeccably written novel tightens like a clammy hand around your throat.”

With Katherine’s growing apprehension, is John merely failing to see the menace she sees, or does he know something more?

An accomplished followup to Hurley’s award-winning first novel, The Loney.

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Alyssa Palombo: The Spellbook of Katrina Van Tassel Wednesday, Oct 31 2018 

Happy Hallowe’en! And what better book to present than Alyssa Palombo’s retelling of the classic legend of Sleepy Hollow in The Spellbook of Katrina Van Tassel.

Palombo’s previous historicals,The Violinist of Venice and The Most Beautiful Woman in Florence, were both hailed for their accurate period details woven into an intriguing story. Spellbook continues in that vein, and as a New Yorker who grew up on Washington Irving’s story The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, this retelling of that story combines aspects of a sweeping romance with a gothic thriller that are delight to read.

Katrina Van Tassel is heiress to her father’s extensive farms along the Hudson River Valley, and a suitable husband must soon be found for the attractive girl. When the new schoolmaster arrives and begins music lessons, Ichabod Crane and Katrina are immediately drawn to each other.

So begins their love story, one that is threatened by the courting of Brom Van Brunt, son of a neighboring farmer. Katrina’s father is convinced the melding of the two farms would be a boon and is in favor of this union, which Katrina is definitely not.

Growing up with her best friend, Charlotte, daughter of the local midwife and herbalist, Charlotte was called a witch by Brom when the three were young, and Katrina has never forgiven him. Indeed, the friendship between Charlotte Jansen, supposed ‘white witch’ and the heiress Katrina are at the heart of the novel.

As Ichabod and Katrina begin their love affair, the ghost of the local legends surround them, until Ichabod suddenly disappears on All Hallows Eve. While locals whisper the Headless Horseman has claimed Ichabod, Katrina fears a more human element. Than how to explain the visions she sees when staring into a candle’s flame?

At the heart of the bool is the story told through the eyes of Katrina. Readers see the time period spool out before them with its customs and mores, as well as the lovers secret life.

Set against the backdrop of the country as its first President is searching for a replacement, the novel gives a feminist version of the haunting legend and its consequences as they revolve around Katrina. An intriguing and new way to look at an old legend.

Ellison Cooper: Caged Sunday, Sep 9 2018 

Welcome to the world of FBI neuroscientist Sayer Altair, coming to grips iwth a personal tragedy even as she delves into her research into the minds of serial killers.

Then an horrific crime scene in Washington DC becomes Sayers newest investigation. A young girl had been slowly starved to death, held in a cage like an animal.

That the victim is the daughter of a US senator means Sayer is suddenly in everyone’s crosshairs.

Then a second girl is taken and Sayer must up her game to find the obsessed killer behind these kidnappings and deaths. Partnered with agent Vik Devereaux of Crimes Against Children, they find little evidence but a video that is as graphic as it is strange.

It’s a public relations nightmare once the senator gets involved, too, as the team races to find the second girl. The action heats up and the tension rises with each page. Readers who like their forensics and what lurks in the mind of a serial killer will keep flipping pages.

A strong debut.

Daniel Cole: Hangman Sunday, Aug 12 2018 


After the success of his debut Ragdoll, Daniel Cole returns with Detective Emily Baxter in Hangman.

The acerbic British Baxter travels to New York City as part of an investigation into copycat murders that echo the Ragdoll killings.

The serial killer case left Baxter reeling and this time she doesn’t have the help of missing colleague Wolf Fawkes. She’s trying to move on at work and in her personal life until she’s seconded to assist the FBI and CIA in these new cases.

With “BAIT” carved into the chest of victims, and soon, “PUPPET” in the chest of others, the killings escalate to both shores of the Atlantic, adding a fierce depravity to the killings.

Tense and conflicting personalities within the task force don’t make Baxter’s job any easier, not does her tendency to piss people off.

This is a dark, distrubng read of increasing suspense as Baxter realizes she doesn’t know whom she can trust. And that bottom of it all is a twisted killer who knows no bounds.

Todd Merer: The Extraditionist Wednesday, Nov 1 2017 

Lawyer Todd Merer spent the bulk of his career defending drug crime bosses and brings that experience to his thriller The Extraditionist. It’s a strong debut with that insider’s knowledge, one that Auntie M bets will soon be on the Big Screen due the violent and yet seductive world it describes.

Lawyer Benn Bluestone has a name for getting results, and then basking in the glory as he represents cartel bosses and feeds their secrets to the Justice Department in return for reduced sentences for his grateful clients.

He’s a man who flirts with danger and walks on the edge, and decides to walk away after three final cases that will represent his biggest challenges and biggest thrill. Could one of his clients in reality be a Colombian drug king? That case could fund a very nice retirement for Benn. Only he doesn’t contemplate the cost.

It will be a race for Benn to escape with his life as he juggles the cases, beautiful women, hit men and corrupt cops and how they merge and threaten his own life. There will be shootouts, hidden videos, and druggings as things spiral out of control. And all along, Benn feels he’s being played.

Brief snippets from the head villain that the reader knows but Benn doesn’t intersect the action and add to the tension, with the villain counting on Benn’s greed to get him what he wants, while Benn’s life hangs in the balance. This world of drugs, DEA agents, unscrupulous women and drug-war funding will make the reader’s head spin trying to figure out who is clean and who isn’t.

A startling and dark debut.

Jeffrey B Burton: The Eulogist Wednesday, Oct 11 2017 

FBI Special Agent Drew Cady is in Minneapolis in a boriing but safe job for him in The Eulogist. Sent to Washington DC to testify on more boring stuff, he is seconded to the investigation into the stabbing death of Senator Taylor Brockman.

He will be assisted by Special Agent Elizabeth Preston, whose black belt and smarts make Liz an able partner.

They quickly establish a link between this murder and a similar stabbing death, that of a privileged youth-turned-drug trafficker whom Brockman pardoned when serving as Governor of Virginia.

Burton has added a most unusual premise: what happens when a murderer leaves eulogies with each body? These two deaths are just the beginning of the killings of a man known as The Canadian. Scenes in Toronto and Minneapolis add to the frenetic pacing.

There will be hackers and those eulogy notes from what turns out to be a hired assasin before Cady and Preston unravel the complex plot. With difficulty obtaining evidence from the families, it soon appears the Eulogist’s notes may offer the best clues they have.

A thriller with action scenes, Cady is a hero with old-fashioned sensibiities thrust into a thoroughly modern world. An exciting read.

Bill Schutt & JR Finch: The Himalayan Codex Wednesday, Jul 5 2017 

Action, adventure and science wrapped up together prove an explosive read in the second outing from this duo of Bill Schutt and JR Finch in The Himalayan Codex, the second book featuring zoologist RJ MacCready.

This time the adventure captain finds himself on searching the plateaus of Tibet for the legendary Yeti. For the post WWII era, 1946 is a time of rebuilding. MacCready heads to Tibet to examine mammoth bones that were recently discovered in the Himalayas.

Yeti may not exist, but a codex purportedly written by Pliny the Elder certainly does, giving rise to the theory of a new race of ancestral humans, whose presence gave rise to the stories of the Yetis, yet with one startling aspect–their ability to speed up evolution.

It’s a process that would bring with it benefits but also potential for devastation with no limits. Is this the truth? And if not, why would Communist Chinese among others be hunting him and his team?

There’s enough plausible science here with technical research to allow readers to suspend disbelief to enjoy the action-packed ride. A thorough author’s note gives a complete explanation on what is fictional, what is not, and just what might be possible.

Kristen Lepionka: The Last Place You Look Wednesday, Jun 21 2017 

Kristen Lepionka’s debut mystery, The Last Place You Look, introduces PI Roxanne Weary, daughter of a police detective who’s inherited her father’s keen instincts along with his affinity for alcohol.

This is not your typical, sweet protagonist, but a hard-drinking, sexually active woman who’s learning to deal with her grief after her father’s death on duty. When her brother Matt sends her a new client, she finds herself drawn to look for Sarah Cook, a young woman who vanished the same day her parents were murdered.

The man accused of those murders languishes in jail, and with his execution scheduled for two months down the road, time is of the essence to find the young woman who would know who really killed her parents. Brad Stockton has always claimed he’s innocent and refused to put any blame on Sarah.

Then Brad’s sister swears she sees Sarah at a local gas station, although police have long maintained Sarah was also one of Brad’s victims when something went wrong between the two young lovers. This prompts her to hire Roxanne in a last-ditch effort to prove her brother’s innocence.

It seems like a cold case destined to go nowhere, until Roxanne links Sarah’s disappearance to another of her father’s cold cases. And then a third body is found, and Roxanne is scrambling to get ahead of a serial killer, while the local police thwart her every move.

Readers will feel Roxanne’s frustration and her grief as she tries to sort out her own tumbled emotions at the same time as she solves a decades-old crime. Readers will look forward to a sequel featuring the gritty PI.

A tense and suspenseful thriller, Lori Rader-Day says of Lepionka: “A talented new voice and a character worth following anywhere she trespasses.”

Sandra Brown: Sting Sunday, Jun 11 2017 

Sandra Brown’s latest thriller, Sting, has all the hallmarks that made Brown a NY Times bestselling author: fast pacing; a story that twists and turns; and a hint of chemistry between the two protagonists.

But in this case, that chemistry between Jordie Bennet and Shaw Kinnard has a huge mountain to cross: he’s been sent to the backwater bayou in Louisiana to kill her.

All is not what it seems when Kinnard kidnaps Jordie. She has the unfortunate luck to have a psychopath for a brother, and since he has stolen 30 million dollars, there are a lot of people who’d like to get their hands on the money–including the person it was stolen from.

With realistic characters and a plausible setup, readers will still be surprised at some of the turns the plot takes, especially when they can’t see how the ending can possibly turn out well.

Another terrific summer read from a master thriller writer~

William Christie: A Single Spy Sunday, May 7 2017 

William Christie’s newest thriller will be a hit with readers who enjoy spy novels, espionage plots, or are World War II aficionados. A Single Spy brings to life a young thief who catches the eye of the Soviet secret police, and is given a no-choice ultimatum: he can choose to be trained as a spy and infiltrate Nazi Germany under the identity of his best friend, no less, or he can be consigned to be lost forever.

What makes it even tougher is that Alexsi’s new identity is also the lost nephew of a Nazi leader, making it even harder as he assumes the mantel of this young man and pretends to be enamored of the Nazi ethos.

When Alexsi is promoted to an intelligence agent for a German spymaster, he lives to avoid the Gestapo finding out he’s sending reports back to the Soviets. Talk about being trapped between two bad choices. Yet Alexsi knows he must remain loyal to neither Stalin nor Hitler, but to one person: himself–if he is to survive.

Filled to the brim with accurate history, the Tehran conference between Churchill, Roosevelt and Stalin becomes the focal point for Alexsi in this fascinating novel that takes readers behind the scenes of what really happened during this period.

In Alexsi, Christie has the smarts to create a man readers can’t help but admire as he fights to survive on his wits. There’s something here for everyone, from action scenes to the history to the charming Aleksi, as Christie brings this period in our history to life.

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