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Psychological Thriller

Review: Duty, Honor, Love (Toronto’s Elite Book 1)

Duty, Honor, LoveAs iron is eaten away by rust, so the envious are consumed by their own passion. Antisthenes

“That’s why crazy people are so dangerous. You think they’re nice until they’re chaining you up in the garage.” Michael Buckley, The Fairy-Tale Detectives

A new audit of the California foster care system has revealed that over 1,000 foster home addresses match those of registered sex offenders, according to the Los Angeles Times. It seems that child welfare official failed to compare the addresses even after they were told to do so in 2008. According to the Sacramento Bee, about 600 of the highlighted offenders were considered high risk.” — The Huffington Post – By Dean Praetorius, 1,000 California Foster Care Homes Match Sex Offender Addresses: Report

 

Her name is Marissa Preston. Nine years old. Blond and blue. Her mother is frantic to find her, and Detectives Jaden Black and Cameron Olsen know that, if they don’t find her soon, the worst will happen. But the worst quickly becomes even more horrific. For Marissa isn’t alone in her dark and painful place. There is another little girl with her, in a dark and terrifying basement. Emily Knight looks enough like Marissa to be her twin, and she too is missing. Finding these little girls is urgent if they are to live.

Of course, Cameron and Jaden have a secret weapon – Jaden is the most powerful telepath in the Toronto PD. She may be the most power telepath anywhere – and she has just found Emily Knight’s mind.

““She’s being held captive by a man. She thinks a new girl who joined her looks like Marissa. So there’s a chance she might be alive. The girl also said there were others, but they’ve all gone.”

There. Were. Others. Those words hit Cameron like a sledgehammer to the heart. This isn’t just a single kidnapping, or even two. There. Were. Others. And as Jayden and Cameron begin to dig, the picture becomes darker and darker, until the sheer evil of the tale reveals itself in a horrifying miasma that stretches long into the past.

“Missing and unsolved, all in the last three-and-a-half years. Six girls, including Emily. Why the heck has no one noticed?”

Easily explained, with a bit of research. Six little girls, all six to nine, all blond haired, pretty and fragile. All, in one way or the other, have been involved in the foster system. A foster system broken and criminally mismanaged, a system which ignores repeated reports of sexual and physical abuse – of the deaths of children in their care.

According to a report published in 2005 by Rick Toma, “A Critical Look At The Foster Care System”:

“. . . in nearly half the states (studied), cases take years to come to completion as agencies repeatedly fail to investigate abuse reports in a timely fashion, find permanent homes for children, or even keep track of those children under their care and custody.” — Fred Bayles and Sharon Cohen, “Chaos Often the Only Parent for Abused or Neglected Children,” Associated Press as reported in Los Angeles Times, (April 30, 1995)

Just one case of thousands:

“. . . case involved a nine-year-old boy who weighed only 28 lbs., and who could hardly speak after the suicides of his parents. County social workers failed to visit him in his foster home for four months. During that time, he was beaten, sodomized, burned on his genitals and nearly drowned by his foster parents. He became a spastic paraplegic.” Margot Hornblower, “Fixing the System,” TIME Magazine, (December 11, 1995).

I used to think this sort of abuse was more prevalent in the US. Surely those nice Canadians didn’t wallow in the kind of monstrous mismanagement we suffer here? Apparently, this isn’t the case. You see, three of these little girls had been moved through a single foster placement – and all six had, at one point or the other, been shuffled through other homes in the system. And the terrors these children suffered . . .

Duty, Honor, Love” is a brutal tale of the kind of sadistic treatment children are routinely subjected to in the foster system told through a story of psychopaths, pedophiles, and the people who are left to clean up the mess. This is a fast paced tale of suspense that kept me turning pages on my reader so fast I nearly set my fingers on fire. But Marissa and Emily’s story isn’t the only tragedy involved in this narration – for there are other monsters trolling the darkness – and one of them is after Jaden.

Parts of this book I absolutely adored. There is the truly excellent tale of pedophiles and stalkers, of the police who work tirelessly to capture them, and a foster system that allows the horrors to occur over and over again, ignoring report after report of child abuse in foster homes. But there is also a very heavy sexual storyline that, in my opinion, lowered the overall tone of the storyline. There is M/M, M/F, and M/M/F action in the book, which is perfectly fine in the right setting. Hey, I can get into erotica just as well as the next person. Here, however, it ate up too much of the storyline and detracted from the very important writing that the author accomplished, leaving me dissatisfied with the overall tone of the book. The sex scenes could have been paired down to a couple and been an enhancement to the overall story. Spending more time on character development and background for the characters would have been a more efficacious use of word count. However, a good third of the book was down to sex. I like spicy – but not so much that it debases the narrative.

I still highly recommend the book. As I said, it kept me turning pages at a blistering pace to see what happened next. It will stay on my reader, and I will be looking forward to more from Angela S. Stone. I just hope she can find the line between writing erotica and writing a solid novel with an important story line.

“Duty, Honor, Love” came to me from the publisher in exchange for a realistic review. All thoughts are my own. If you enjoy my reviews, please click here and click “Like”. It helps my authors to draw attention to their books through my reviews. Thank you!

About The Author

Angela S. StoneAngela S. Stone is a twenty something Registered Nurse living in Ottawa, Canada. Her first novel, Sometimes It’s Fate, was published by Phaze books in 2011. Angela finds inspiration in real life personal events for her books, often writing about issues she’s experience in her life. She is a proud Canadian and an even prouder girl from back east. She thoroughly enjoys writing novels featuring character that live in or are from the Maritimes. She’s recently met Mr. Right and when she’s not occupied with him she can be found hanging out at her local Bridgehead writing. She spends her free time advocating for minorities and persons with disabilities.

Angela has a severe learning disability called Dysgraphia. Despite this she has written several novels, graduated from university, and will, eventually, be starting her Master’s degree in nursing. All things she was told she would never be able to do.

Angela has never met a challenge that she couldn’t overcome. She believes strongly in the philosophy of saying “I can’t” means “I won’t” and advocating for yourself. She has spoken about these topics on provincial, regional and national levels.

Review: Blood Moon – Book 2 – The Huntress/FBI Thrillers by Alexandra Sokoloff

This is a gift it comes with a price
Who is the lamb and who is the knife
– Florence and the Machine – Rabbit Heart

 “The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference. The opposite of art is not ugliness, it’s indifference. The opposite of faith is not heresy, it’s indifference. And the opposite of life is not death, it’s indifference.” – ― Elie Wiesel

 I find the idea of vigilante justice very attractive. I like the idea that the murderer decides that this person has gone too far, and nothing will happen to him unless she does something to stop him. – Donna Leon

 This series should carry a sign.

 OK? Do we have that out of the way now? Whew. Good. Because you won’t find “Fifty Shades of Horrible Writing” or “The “Twilight” of the Modern Mind” between these pages. What you will find is Outstanding psychological suspense.

Sokoloff’s work reminds me, in her writing style and story lines, of Fyodor Dostoyevsky. If there is no God, everything is permitted. Mass murder. Child sex slavery. Or a small girl, throat slashed, left to lie in the blood of her slaughtered family.

This is the story of Cara Lindstrom, a five-year-old little girl whose family is slaughtered by a serial killer. Now, twenty-five years later, Cara is an Avenging Angel – Santa Muerte – an Angel who brings death to the evil of the world. Her specialty? Child sex traffickers. Find them. Kill them. Release the children they exploit.

Of course, the FBI can’t have that. In Huntress Moon, after Cara killed the members of a child sex slavery ring in the desert of California, and to be fair, an undercover FBI agent (who happened to be “sampling the wares”) it is Matt Roarke’s job to capture her, bring her in, and put her away for the rest of her life for doing what the FBI can’t, or more importantly, won’t do.

“You can never kill them all,” she whispered. “They keep coming back.”

 And Cara should know. She sees the monsters in men’s souls. And while the monster who took her family and two others twenty-five years ago disappeared, now he is back. Back to slaughter. Back to kill the one who got away. And he isn’t the only one. For there is another killer, perhaps more savage than the first, who is walking death across the country – The Reaper. And finding Cara may be the only way Roarke can stop the past from becoming the present – even if capturing Cara means her complete and total destruction.

Twenty-five girls to a block, locked in the rooms and drugged to the gills, servicing twenty-five to forty men a day, twelve hours a day, seven days a week.

The monsters live amongst us. And Santa Muerte, the Lady Death, walks amongst them, nibbling away at a $33 billion a year industry of rape, torture and abuse – she saves with death – unless the FBI, and Matt Roarke, can stop her. After all, you could only sell a drug or a gun once, but you could sell a girl to the walking vermin known as johns twenty-five times a night.

Terry Pratchett said it, and Blood Moon reflects it:

“This is Art holding a Mirror up to Life. That’s why everything is exactly the wrong way around.”Wyrd Sisters

 Roarke seeks “Justice” – but is it justice, truly, to capture Santa Muerte?

I received this book from the publisher in exchange for a realistic review. Ms. Sokoloff is an amazing storyteller, and her works are now high on my “automatic buy” list. I hope you enjoy her work as much as I do.

Coming May 5, 2015

Cold Moon

Cold Moon

Book Three in the Thriller Award-nominated
Huntress/FBI series

It is strongly recommended that you read Huntress Moon and Blood Moon first.

The hunt for mass murderer Cara Lindstrom is over. FBI Special Agent Matthew Roarke has been working for this moment: the capture of a killer who savagely hunts the worst of humanity. But Roarke remains traumatized by his own near-death at the hands of the serial killer who slaughtered Cara’s family…and haunted by the enigmatic woman who saved his life.

Then the sixteen-year-old prostitute who witnessed Cara’s most recent murder goes missing, and suddenly pimps are turning up dead on the streets of San Francisco, killed with an MO eerily similar to Cara’s handiwork.

Is a new killer on the loose with a mission even more deadly than hers? In the pulse-pounding third Huntress/FBI Thrillers book, Roarke will have to go on the hunt…and every woman he meets, even those closest to him, may prove deadly.

About the Author:

Alexandra SokoloffAlexandra Sokoloff is the Thriller Award-winning and Bram Stoker, Anthony, and Black Quill Award-nominated author of the supernatural thrillers THE HARROWING, THE PRICE, THE UNSEEN, BOOK OF SHADOWS, THE SHIFTERS, and THE SPACE BETWEEN, and the Thriller Award-nominated, Amazon bestselling Huntress/FBI series (HUNTRESS MOON, BLOOD MOON, COLD MOON). The New York Times Book Review called her a “daughter of Mary Shelley,” and her books “Some of the most original and freshly unnerving work in the genre.”

As a screenwriter she has sold original horror and thriller scripts and adapted novels for numerous Hollywood studios. She has also written two non-fiction workbooks: SCREENWRITING TRICKS FOR AUTHORS and WRITING LOVE, based on her internationally acclaimed workshops and blog (www.ScreenwritingTricks.com), and has served on the Board of Directors of the WGA, west and the Board of the Mystery Writers of America.

 

Learn more at http://alexandrasokoloff.com

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The Best Compliment Marilyn Horowitz Author of The Book of Zev Has Ever Received

Book_of_Zev_cover_10-1-14[1] The best compliment a writer can receive is often not from the public arena, but rather when someone in your intimate circle genuinely likes what you have written. How can you know when it’s genuine? It’s the palpable feeling of relief expressed in his or her voice.

So far, the best compliment I have received on The Book of Zev is from my brother, who put off reading it until after the advanced review copy was released. He had promised to read it, but somehow a month passed. I pressed him, and again he agreed. Then he delayed again, citing his workload as an excuse. Then he broke his glasses. Then there was a leak in the shower. I finally had a mini-meltdown, and he agreed to read the book immediately.

A week went by, and I hadn’t heard from him. Finally, at midnight on the eighth day, I got a text from him saying, “I am halfway through and I can’t put it down.” The next morning I got another text: “You really wrote a good book.”

“Thanks,” I replied, and was very relieved that he’d liked it. He is a lot like our late father, and I felt that my brother’s approval was somehow an affirmation that somewhere in the Great Beyond, my father was somehow reading the book and giving his approval as well.

My brother called me and congratulated me. When I went to see him in the suburbs of Connecticut, a cold bottle of champagne was waiting for me, and there he stood beaming. After a hug and a toast, he said, “Dad would be proud.” (267 words)

Can a New York City cab driver and a beautiful private chef prevent a fanatical Middle Eastern dignitary from blowing up the United Nations and launching a nuclear attack on Israel in less time than it took God to create the world?

“Sometimes a woman’s gotta do what a woman’s gotta do. A Sharp psychological thriller of high intellect about a woman making some hard choices for the right reasons to stop an international catastrophe.”

–Omar Tyree, New York Times Bestselling author of The Traveler: Welcome to Dubai

The Book of Zev Synopsis

The Book of Zev is a psychological thriller that tells the story of two gentle people who change the course of history. Zev Bronfman, a strapping 32-year old-virgin, angry atheist, refugee from a religious Jewish life, and former engineer for the U.S. Patent Office in Alexandria, Virginia, drives a cab and sleeps around in New York City. After a bitter divorce, Sarah Hirshbaum, a beautiful, redheaded, depressed, God-hating kosher chef, seesaws between yoga and too much red wine. Independently, the two consult the same psychic who inadvertently sends Sarah Zev’s session tape. When Sarah contacts Zev to pick up the recording, a series of events forces them to connect with a powerful terrorist in order to thwart his plans to destroy the UN and Israel.

Click here to read an Excerpt of The Book of Zev

Pre-order from Amazon

About the Book

Paperback: 298 pages

Publisher: Koehler Books (December 1, 2014)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 1940192781

ISBN-13: 978-1940192789

Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 0.5 inches

MarilynHorowitzBoZpic-small[1]About Marilyn Horowitz

Marilyn Ida Horowitz is a producer, writing coach, and award-winning professor of screenwriting at New York University. From her books on her trademarked writing system—now standard reading at NYU—to her appearances at Screenwriters World and The Great American Screenwriting Conference & PitchFest, Marilyn has guided the careers of literally hundreds of writers. She is currently featured in the Now Write! Screenwriting Anthology (Tarcher/Penguin) and in the upcoming The Expert Success Solution (Morgan James). Her production credits include And Then Came Love (2007), starring Vanessa Williams.

Follow Marilyn at her website, www.marilynhorowitz.com

@marilynhorowitz

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