Thrillers for the Holidays Friday, Dec 21 2018 

Holiday post #3, great holiday thrillers for readers on your list!

Multiple award-winning journalist and documentarian Michael Harvey lends his talents for place and people for a second time with Pulse. 1970s Boston springs off the page with all the grit and suspense South Boston can hold.

The Fitzsimmons brothers have relied on each other when their mother drowned years ago. Older brother Harry, star of Harvard’s football team, has kept watch over younger brother, Daniel, now 16. When an opportunity arises for Daniel to move out of his cramped quarters on the floor of Harry’s room, his new landlord has a different perspective he shares.

The former Harvard physics professor, working with an early generation laptop, shares his theories of harnessing the energy of the human mind. Daniel masters this and soon calls it into action when Harry is murdered in an alley.

Bark Jones and Tommy Dillon are the detectives working Harry’s murder. They have their own history and working the case leads to surprising and heartbreaking secrets and decisions on both sides. Can’t talk about more of the plot of this twisted and compelling plot without giving a lot away. Just be assured that if your reader loves a twisted plot, this is the book to find.


Camiila Way’s The Lies We Told brings a domestic suspense thriller to readers. While Beth knows her daughter, Hannah, has an issue with being unable to express emotion, she becomes wary of her child who seems capable of hurting others.

When perfect Luke disappears, it’s his girlfriend Clara’s digging into his past that will uncover his perfect family she thought he was from includes a long-lost sister. The secrets and lies she uncovers illustrate an elaborate almost maze-like twist in history of several of the characters and the cover lives that have been created for some.

A twisted and manipulative plot means even when you think it’s over, it’s not.


Thriller writer Brian Gruley brings a stand-alone with a terrific plot in Bleak Harbor.

Set during the Dragonfly Festival in Bleak Harbor, Michigan, a mother will do anything she can to save her kidnapped son. Heiress Carey Bleak Peters has just threatened her boss with extortion for money she would use to take her son, Danny, and herself away from Bleak Harbor and start a new life away from her family and her alcoholic husband, whose own business has turned to the illegal side.

With the kidnappers demanding $5 million in ransom, Carey and Pete go against their demand and involve the police. Enter the engaging Katya Malone, recovering from a tragic family loss, who will uncover family secrets that may have led to Danny’s kidnapping.

Set as a race against time counting down, the suspense couldn’t be higher in this thriller Gillina Flynn calls “An electric bolt of suspense.”

If you have a reader on your list who enjoys political thrillers, look no farther than Goldie Taylor’s Paper Gods. Bringing money and race to the forefront, a series of assassinations being investigated could jump off the pages of today’s news.

People attached to Atlanta Mayor Victora Overstreet are being killed, with paper gods being left at the scenes. Reporter Hampton Bridges, sidelined, lost, and wheelchair-bound, should be her nemesis with their shared history. But the two soon become involved in their own investigations into who is behind these killings. Each has their own demons to handle; each cares deeply about their city in their own way.

With a strong cast of secondary characters, not to mention Bridges faithful dog, Inman, the city of Atlanta becomes another character with its history and its present well described. Taut and fast-paced.

Lisa Gabriele retells du Maurier’s classic Rebecca by bringing it across the pond to the Hamptons of Long Island in The Winters.

The story follows the same thread of the naive bride, unnamed, quickly married to the wealthy Max Winter, in this outing a state senator. Left alone as he travels, adjusting to Asherley on Long Island after her Cayman Islands home, the reminders in her new home are filled with references to Max’s first wife, Rebekah.

This time instead of a jealous servant, we have Dani Winters, Max’s teen daughter, who is the disruptive influence. But Dani is successful in causing the new bride to question how well she really knows her new husband. And that’s when this new book deliciously diverts from the former and takes on a life of its own.

Four set in England: Bolton, Cleeland, Westron, French Wednesday, Nov 21 2018 

Auntie M loves her trips to England and enjoyed being there for two weeks this summer doing setting research. Cornwall and Cambridge figured highly in the trip, so you can expect Nora Tierney to be spending time in each place in future books.

It seems appropriate then to feature several books set in the UK for your reading pleasure.

Auntie M previously reviewed Sharon Bolton’s The Craftsman when it was published in the UK, but it’s just out here in the US, so let’s revisit a snipped of what she said then:
Sharon Bolton’s novels are always original and well-crafted. Elly Griffith’s notes that her newest, The Craftsman, is ” . . . an absolutely terrific crime novel that takes your darkest fear and makes it real” in this first of a planned trilogy.

It’s 1999 and Florence Lovelady has returned to Lancashire for the burial of Larry Glassbrook, who has died in prison for burying three teens alive, thirty years before. She travels with her teen son, Ben, to Larry’s funeral, and stays on when a new piece of evidence comes to light. The case made Florence’s career, and yet she wonders now if she put the right person behind bars all those years ago.

The book swtiches to 1969, when the third of three teens has gone missing. The town is scared, and it’s down to Florence to suggest a re-enactment of the day the third, Patsy Wood, went missing. It’s a novel approach, but one her Superintendent decides to try.

When Flossie decides she must investigate a freshly-dug grave, she’s the one who finds Patsy’s body, buried on top of another corpse. It’s evident at once the teen was alive when she was put into the casket.

The horror of such a death is the stuff of nightmares for most people, and the dark and disturbing images stay with readers as the book advances and the perpetrator is caught. Or is he?

With its history of Pendle Hill witches in the area adding to the terrifying atmosphere, this is the kind of gothic novel that grips you by the back of your neck and doesn’t let go even after the last page is turned. You’ll learn the difference between caskets and coffins and why that matters. You’ll learn how the moon affects witches. And you’ll learn to be terrifed and then in awe of Florence. Highly recommended.


Anne Cleeland’s Doyle and Action series returns with Murder in Spite, and this time the action takes place in Doyle’s Irish home. What starts as a supposed holiday takes on an entirely different tenor when a priest implicated in earlier London case is found dead on the steps of the Garda station Acton visits, a knife through one eye the implement of his death.

Doyle, with her special ability to see through people, quickly susses out that there’s more to Acton’s helping out in this case, just as there’s more to be seen with an African cab driver who seems to appear at the most needed times.

Having their young son along only cramps Doyle’s sleuthing abilities a small bit. Another entertaining entry in a well-drawn series known for its complicated plots and charming protagonists.


Carol Westron’s Strangers and Angels
is a Victorian Murder Mystery of the highest kind, filled with realistic period details, backed up by a complex plot that supports intriguing characters.

She takes readers to Gosport in 1850, along England’s the southern coast. Kemal is the Turkish midshipman on a training mission, accused of murder. With feelings running high against the Turkish sailors to begin with, it seems likely Kemal will face the gallows.

That is, until he finds help from two unlikely women: widow Adelaide and lady’s maid Molly. With little power or privilege between, the women have an almost insurmountable task to try to save the young Turk.

In a nice twist, Westron brings her sleuths into contact with real people from the era. A strong start to what should be a recurring series.


It’s always sad to see a beloved series come to an end, but Frieda Klein, Nicci French’s London-walking psychologist, perhaps deserves a rest more than most. Day of the Dead brings with it the resolution of the Dean Reeve case, the psychopathic killer who has eluded Frieda and the police for more than a decade, often with disastrous results to those Frieda cared about.

Charming and likeable, Reeves has been able to disappear and reappear at will, and become obsessed over the years with Frieda. After a decade of working with the police on cases, she now finds herself in hiding to protect those she loves.

But a showdown looms, and she must step out in public once again in order to bring Reeves to justice if she can. It will take a criminology student who tracks Frieda down to make the psychologist see that she herself holds the key to stopping Reeves, despite the cost to her personally.

As Frieda plays off against Reeve and his twisted games, she finds herself running up against her most formidable opponent. It’s a chilling climax that will stay with the reader long after the last page is read. A worthy conclusion to an addictive series.

Charlotte Bingham: MI5 and Me Sunday, Aug 26 2018 

Something a bit different from author Charlotte Bingham, in the form of a delightful memoir of her time working as a secretary in the 1950s for MI5.

When her father must admit his boring and aloof parent is a spy, and the subsequent model for John LeCarre’s George Smiley, her astonishment is real.

So is her perplexing father’s idea that the series of middling jobs she’s had need to go, and something worthwhile and patriotic take its place.

Welcome to the Mayfair headquarters and the typing pool under the formidable Dragon. Used to her false eyelashes and heavy makeup, Lottie soon finds those things will be left behind her, as will swearing and nice long lunches.

Bingham had a front row seat to a time when Russian agents were around every corner, actors were recruited as spies, and her fellow debutantes found a new code of behavior to follow.

Filled with humor, where readers can see the bones of her comedy writing with her husband, Terence Brady, Bingham also writes dramas, screenplays, and multiple novels, following in her father’s footsteps, as the 7th Baron Clanmorris wrote crime novels when he wasn’t dabbling in MI5 events.

Two Historicals: Marco Vichi and Tessa Arlen Friday, Jun 15 2018 

Auntie M has two from very different eras to recommend:


The lastest Bordelli mystery from Marco Vichi, Ghosts of the Past, take readers back to Florence of 1967, a year after the flood that devastated the area and claimed Bordelli’s conscience.

The Inspector’s new case revolves around the murder of Antonio Migliorini. The wealthy businessman was loved by all who knew him–so who could have wanted him dead?

That’s the question Brodelli must answer, and it will take him to unusual places. The victim was killed with the thrust of a fencing foil to his heart. Some jewelry was stolen,, perhsaps to muddy the waters, but no other forensic evidence is on hand to help the detective.

Revisiting the victim’s past days find Bordelli crossing paths with a war friend, Colonel Arceri, whom he invites into his home. That sets off a chain of events that will lead to Bordelli finding the murderer in a most unexpected way.

The series is filled with Bordelli’s dreams, his memories and recollections, and his yearning for the beautiful Eleanora. There is humor, too, and Florence and its environs come alive under Vichi’s talented pen, set within a complex mystery.

Tessa Arlen’s Lady Montfort series takes readers to WW1 England in Death of an Unsung Hero.

Lady Montfort has convinced her husband to offer their dower house for soldiers suffering from what is now called PTSD, with her no-nonsense, practical housekeeper, Mrs. Jackson, serving as the hospital’s quartermaster.

Such a good deed comes under scrutiny when Sir Evelyn Bray is found dead in the garden from blunt force trauma to his head. Add in the local farming community’s disapproval of this easy way out for men they consider cowards, and the two women become afraid the War Office will close their hospital in an upcoming visit.

It doesn’t make sense to either woman that someone would want to murder a soldier suffering from amnesia, unless it’s to kill him before that memory fully returns. With his brother due to visit, his death is tough news to break.

When a local man is arrested, to the women’s chagrin, it adds impetus to their resolve to find the real killer. Readers also gain more knowledge of Lady Montfort’s family. With the war on, Edwardian values became more relaxed, especially for women, and this is illustrated well.

The historical details are well-researched, and eccentric characters add to the texture of the mystery. A high note is the relationship between the two women of different social stratas, and how well they work in concert, bringing their individual strengths to a murder investigation.

Kate Rhodes: Hell Bay Sunday, Mar 11 2018 

Kate Rhodes’ Alice Quentin series are a favorite, so it was with great interest that Auntie M turned to the debut of her new series, set on the Scilly Island of Bryher, Hell Bay.

Still grieving the death of his long-time undercover partner, saddled with her dog, Shadow, DI Ben Kitto returns to the remote island to rest and decide if he can continue to be a detective.

With his reclusive Uncle Ray, a boatbuilder, still on the island, and knowing the majority of the small population from his youth, Ben has a few months to decide if the resignation his boss refused goes into effect or not.

But he’s barely settled back into island life when the teenaged daughter of high school friends is found on the beach at Hell Bay, and soon he’s asked to become Senior Investigating Officer on the case.

Sixteen year-old Laura Trescothick was saving to attend drama school with her boyfriend, Danny Curnow. He soon finds out neither set of parents were happy with the youths plans or relationship.

With a two-day storm having cancelled all ferries to the island, Ben knows Laura’s killer must still be on the island. There are enough suspects to make it interesting, and enough secrets being held.

Rhodes skillfully draws the isolated locale for those who haven’t been to the area off Cornwall’s Lands End. And in Benesek Kitto, she’s drawn an interesting figure readers will want to follow. Highly Recommended.

Happy Holidays 2017 Wednesday, Dec 27 2017 

Auntie M hopes you’ll enjoy whatever holiday you celebrate!
Thanks to all the readers who enjoy the reveiws all year long.

Remember her own award-winning mysteries, The Nora Tierney English Mysteries, with the most recent, The Golden Hour, and the first Trudy Genova Manhattan Mystery, Death Unscripted, are all available on Bridle Path Press and Amazon as trade paperback, in Kindle format, and in Audible books.

She looks foward to a week of down time with family and Doc, and her two Aussie Doodles, Seamus and his little sister, Fiona.

See you next year with some whopping good reads!

Pat Hale:The Church of the Holy Child Wednesday, Oct 4 2017 

From Fearful to Fearless: The Path of Self-Promotion

The Gesture of No Fear

Okay so in truth, I haven’t quite made it to the fearless end of the path. In fact, I’m just starting out, but I’ve already learned a few things and I’ll share what I know so far.

My new book, The Church of the Holy Child, was released on September 25th. Exciting, right? Yes, very. After all the writes and re-writes, there it was in print, in my hand. The only drawback . . . with release, comes promotion.

It’s both a blessing and a curse to publish with a small press. Because my publisher is small, communication is excellent. If I have questions, I get answers within hours. I have plenty of say when it comes to editing and the cover art and the process in general. Working with a small press is like being part of a family.

The downside? I’m responsible for much of the book’s promotion. For some people, getting out in the public eye and selling yourself as well as your book is a piece of cake. But I have a hunch I’m not alone when the mere thought of self-promotion puts my heart in overdrive and my stomach simulating the twists and turns of Space Mountain.

Fast forward to the C3 Conference I attended in Maryland a couple of weeks ago where I was scheduled to take part in four panels and moderate one. (Obviously, the scheduling was out of my control.) And since my publisher, Intrigue Publishing, put on the conference, I couldn’t very well back out. It was a great opportunity to get myself and my book noticed. The panels were only forty-five minutes long. I could do anything for forty-five minutes. At least that became my mantra for the weeks prior to the conference.

But what happened when I sat on my first ever panel surprised me. My fellow panel members were all a little nervous (even the bigger names). They joked about it, were kind and supportive and I felt like one of them instead of the new kid. The most surprising thing of all was that the panel and the audience were interested in what I had to say. And I answered the moderator’s questions with ease because I knew better than anyone about my writing process and why my characters did what they did. And somewhere in the midst of it all I realized I was having fun and that my heart had settled back to its normal beat.

On the last panel of the last day, Jeff Markowitz, a wonderful writer who I can now call my friend, said to the audience. “You just have to go out there every day and be fearless.”

That’s the mantra I’ve taken away from the C3 conference along with new friends and contacts and a little more confidence than I had when I got there. Most writers are quiet people, introverts. And the idea of self-promotion can bring on overwhelming anxiety. But what you tell yourself really does matter.

Remember, you are the expert on your work. You can do anything for forty-five minutes. As my grandmother always said, “Tell ‘em who you are.” And above all, be fearless.

http://www.patriciahale.org

http://facebook.com/patricia.hale.102

https://www.bookbub.com/authors/patricia-hale

Archer Mayor: Trace Thursday, Sep 28 2017 

Archer Mayor’s long-running series with Vermont Bureau of Investigator Joe Gunther continues with the 28th installment in Trace.

This one has Gunther off scene for much of the action. He’s invovled in taking his mother to a special Missouri clinic for a scary case of Lyme Disease. So it’s left to the members of his team to sort out the latest cases.

Willy Kunkel’s case starts when a child finds three teeth–just those bloodstained teeth–on a railroad track. The team member most likely to work outside the box finds Homeland Security involved in that one, after a device destined for a military installation is discovered. This is where his rule-bending will prove necessary.

Lester Spinney, the by-the-book investigator is asked to take on a cold case of a hero state trooper, a supposed traffic stop gone bad, which may not be all it seems when new evidence skews the original investigation. He will need all of his patience and determination to figure this one out.

And Sammie Martens, the reasonable one, will need all of her usual resourcefulness to solve the case of a dead woman, by all acounts an lovely young woman, who happens to be the roommate of the daughter of the medical examiner, said ME being Gunther’s girlfriend. What was she running from?

Gunther’s absence, while being felt, allows readers to get closer to the team while the suspense rises for each detective.

This Vermont countryside comes alive under Mayor’s talented pen, as do his team and even the moments of Gunther in his mother’s rehab. The whole book glistens with reality: of the setting, of the characters and their private lives, and of the way they interact together. There are forensic details, too, of interest, but the details that hold the story together involve Gunther’s team and how they are changed by the end of the book.

A great addition to a fine series.

Jo Furness: All the Little Children Thursday, Sep 7 2017 

Jo Furniss’ debut novel will leave readers shattered, thinking long and hard after its emotional ending. All the Little Children brings them a strong female protagonist who faces horrific circumstances and choices.

It’s supposed to be a wonderful camping trip in the Shropshire woods when Marlene sets off with her sister-in-law Joni and their assorted children. With her husband moving out that same weekend, this is designed to upset her children less, instead of watching their father pack his bags.

Things rapidly deteriorate when it appears something has killed the local villagers. And the resourceful Marlene soon finds it’s not restricted to that area.

There will be a band of Wild Children, accidents, and deaths as this little troupe try to reach safety. There will be threats from within and without the woods, and those whom readers would think would be helpful turn out to be some of this group’s worst enemies for their own reasons.

It would be difficult to describe the action more without spoiling the plot, but suffice it to say that there are moments of high tension that are relieved with tender moments. Marlene and the rest of the characters spring off the page as literally drawn, very human with foibles and warts and hearts.

The ending allows for a sequel readers will assume is on the horizon as Marlene must decide if she will save her own children or save them all.

The Golden Hour: The 4th Nora Tierney English Mystery Saturday, Sep 2 2017 

Auntie M is excited to let readers know that her newest in her award-winning Nora Tierney English Mysteries, THE GOLDEN HOUR, is now available on Audible for readers who prefer to listen to their books.

The narrator for the series is the wonderful British actoress Nano Nagle, and she outdid herself with this book, which is not the usual Whodunit? but a Cantheystophim?

Readers will note the difference at once, as they are aware of the villain early on. Nora is househunting for a proposed move back to Oxford. She and Declan are cementing their relationship. But someone’s stalking Nora, just as Declan is handed a most unusual case: the death of a young art restorer that has international implications for all of England.

That means THE GOLDEN HOUR is available in trade paperback (and for signed copies, which make great gifts, please order through Bridle Path Press–www.bridlepathpress.com); in Kindle, and in Audible.

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