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Under Her Skin (Shifter Shield Book 1)

“Some sons-a-bitches just need killing.” – Detective Daniel Moreland, Under Her Skin (Shifter Shield Book 1)

 

Lindi Parker couldn’t agree more. Some sons-a-bitches absolutely, positively needed killing. Like the father who kept coming into his little girl’s room at night – “He hurts me.” So, finally, she killed him. A ten-year-old girl killed her scum sucking pedophile father. Of course, as a counselor for the Child Advocacy and Protection Center, Lindi has seen horrific crime scenes, the horrors visited upon the most fragile, the most helpless among us. But this one? This one rocks her all the way to her core.

She isn’t alone.

“Solitude, isolation, are painful things and beyond human endurance.” – Jules Verne

Not that she hasn’t known love in her own life. Her adoptive family loves her with all their heart and soul. But understanding someone as ‘special’ as Lindi hasn’t always been easy. Especially when they thought that she was the only one of her kind. Now, not only has she found that others exist – they apparently all want her dead.

Well. That bites.

And hey! Look at that! They even have special people whose whole point in life is to track her down and murder her. Score!

Lucky her, huh?

Yes, this is a shapeshifter tale, with many of the same tropes as you would find in any other. But Margo Bond Collins steps outside the box in this one in ways both horrible and fascinating. And in doing so she writes a paranormal that leans heavily toward a blend of mystery and suspense that raises the bar to something beyond ‘just another paranormal.’

I enjoyed the book very much, and highly recommend it.

 

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The Huntress is BACK! Alexandra Sokoloff’s Bitter Moon In Preorder!

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NEW HUNTRESS BOOK!

Bitter Moon, Book 4 of the Huntress/FBI Thrillers, is now available for pre-order.

From Alexandra’s email this morning:

Bitter Moon is in some ways the most mystical of the books, parallel storylines set in the California desert, as Special Agent Matthew Roarke and fourteen-year old Cara must join forces to stop a horrific series of rapes and murders — separated by sixteen years in time.

The first three books are absolutely stunning, and I am sure the fourth will be the same. Click the photos below to go to Alexandra’s page on Amazon and grab them to read before Bitter Moon comes out, and check out her other books as well.

 [cover: Huntress Moon]  [cover: Blood Moon] [cover: Cold Moon]

JUNE SALE — $1.99!!

The first three books of the Thriller Award-nominated Huntress Moon series are on sale for just $1.99 each on Amazon US in June! If you haven’t caught up with the series, here’s your chance to get a great deal.

To get the deal, go here and use the code: READJUNE16.

Prior to making your purchase, click the Enter the Code button, enter READJUNE16, and click the “Apply” button.

And! (Drum roll Please!!!) As you will know if you are familiar with Alexandra’s work, she is an incredible screenwriter as well as a novelist. And NOW!

HUNTRESS TV SERIES!

It’s back to film writing for me — I just finished the pilot for the Huntress TV series, currently in development. Next we go out to directors and actors, so if you have any casting wishes, I’d love to hear who you’d like to see play Roarke, Cara, Epps, Singh, Rachel, Snyder, Jade, Mills, et al. More news to come….

OK, yes, I am squeeeeing like a Fan Girl! I will have to start thinking about who should play the characters. They need to be actors with gravitas . . . do they make those any more?!?!

Review: Blind by Sidney Bristol #RomanticSuspense #SerialKiller

Blind: Killer Instincts“Human nature is evil, and goodness is caused by intentional activity.” — Zun Zi

“As human beings we have the most extraordinary capacity for evil. We can perpetrate some of the most horrendous atrocities.” — Desmond Tutu

Plato, bless him, was wrong. No matter how intelligent he was. He said, To prefer evil to good is not in human nature.” Possibly it was simply a blind spot. Or a “if wishes were horses” sort of thing. Because people, no matter who they are, or what they believe in, are balanced on a knife’s edge of savagery. Some more than others, of course. But for some? For some, there is no other choice but the darkness. Twisted, rotting souls, aching for the pleasure of blood and agony. Needing the death, the pain they bring to others. Then there are the soulless ones – the ones born with no conscience, no light. Those who live only for the game of death. A game. Simply a game.

Emma know about the game. Her grandparents were pawns, many years ago, when the TBK Killer took their lives. As if “took their lives” could possibly portray the horror of their deaths. Torture. Blind. Kill. Only, the truly cruel part? They left her father alive. Her father, who never recovered. Who lives in hiding, drunk and brutal and broken. So, Emma tries to understand. She gathered all of the monster’s letters to his victims she could find. Created files. Notes. Timelines. She learned everything she could about the monster who destroyed her family. She isn’t educated, she likes big trucks and dirt bikes, and she has only a single friend. But she is holding it together, working as a mechanic and sculpting in left-over metal and junk parts. She is alive. Sort of.

Jacob. Jacob is different from Emma, but in many ways the same. His father was the cop who brought down Mitchell Land, the TBK Killer. Mitchell Land, who killed himself in prison. Jacob’s father was never the same after that case. Bitter, silent, he never recovered. His father treated Emma’s horribly – hounding the child until he broke from the pressure. Until Emma’s father collapsed under the weight of not only what he saw, but the brutality of the police who were so determined to catch the killer, they destroyed the child’s soul. So. Much. Pain.

Now, years later, Jacob is a cop himself. And one day, he receives a letter. Then another. Letters which, while not exactly the same, reflect those of the TBK Killer. When his politician lieutenant refuses to listen, blowing off the letters as the work of kids or a creep with a personal grudge and knowledge of Jacob’s history, Jacob turns to Emma, hoping her collection will help him to discover if what he thinks is true. There is another serial killer out there – and his next target is Jacob.

Now, the bodies are piling up. And all of them have a connection to Emma. The two of them will have to work together to save one another. And with the FBI shutting them out, can they protect one another from a monster? Oh, but there is more to it than that. A lot more. A type of sick savagery that is both horrific – and yet totally believable. A truth that surely has Plato rolling in his grave.

This is one twisted tale, delving into the darkest depths of what is so lightly called the ‘human soul.’ Or rather, the very fact that, realistically? There are a lot of people out there who simply don’t have what we so blithely call a soul. Homo sapiens so dark, so evil, that even giving them the name isn’t truly realistic.

Homo pravissimus.*

This is a dark and bloody tale, and totally, completely compelling. Well, I can say that with a proviso of sorts. Sidney Bristol is a romance author who happens to write “romantic suspense.” So, there is a lot of sex in the book. I found it disappointing, actually. I am fine with romantic suspense. I like it in fact. But it is when an author like Bristol, who is such an exceptional suspense writer, puts so much sex into a book that it overshadows the suspense, well, I am disappointed. Of course, others will find the sex part to be exactly why they like the book, so to each their own. Be that as it may, I am glad I was offered the opportunity to read the book.

I received Blind from the publisher in exchange for a realistic review. All thoughts are my own and are based upon personal literary tastes. The cover gets a D for being boring and common. I wouldn’t have picked the book up on my own based on the cover.

  • prāvissimus(Latin) Adjective – ‎(superlative of prāvus) 1. most or very deformed; 2. most or very depraved

 

 

 

 

Review: The Juan Doe Murders by Noreen Ayres

“In my dreams I hear again the crash of guns, the rattle of musketry, the strange, mournful mutter of the battlefield.” – Douglas MacArthur

The battlefield. Blood and fear, hatred and death. But it isn’t only the battlefield where these things lie. Even here, in the arms of the supposed “Land of the Free, Home of the Brave” the roar of the battlefield shrieks aloud – carrying blood and fear, hatred and death to the innocent, the child, the weak wishing only for food, shelter, a new life.

As a Forensic Specialist, Smokey Brandon knows all about the horrors visited on those who can’t protect themselves. The children, the immigrants, the women and men who are lost and hidden. And California’s newest serial killer is the latest to prey upon the hidden and the vulnerable. Of course, in Orange County the whole Ideal is ‘cover it up, because it couldn’t ever happen in our perfect little rich-man’s world”. But the horrific mutilation of the first victim sets all Smokey’s warning signals flaring. And as the bodies of Hispanics pile up, it is a race to find the perpetrator.

Ayres is brutally realistic in her portrayals of the crimes, the characters, and the attitudes that make up the undercurrents of a deeper story – the immigration, sometimes illegal, of Hispanics across the borders from Mexico to the US. You are dropped right in on the first scene from the beginning, no build-up, no easing in. Just a mutilated young girl, left to rot in a filthy bedroom, in a filthy house.

This was my first Smokey Brandon. Her third book, after “Carcass Trade” and “A World the Color of Salt”. I fully intend to go back and read the first two in order to “catch up” as it were. Smokey is a very well rounded character, even jumping in in what could be called ‘the middle of the tale’ and I enjoyed not only her, but the other characters as well. The forensics and police procedure is believable as is the character of OC. If you are interested in a good forensic/police procedure with solid characters and storyline, this is a series to put on your reading list.

I received this book from the publisher in exchange for a realistic review. All thoughts are my own.

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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Review: Skewed by Anne Mcaneny

24982697Since narcissism is fueled by a greater need to be admired than to be liked, psychologists might use that fact as a therapeutic lever – stressing to patients that being known as a narcissist will actually cause them to lose the respect and social status they crave. – Jeffrey Kluger

Jack and Jane Perkins never had a chance at privacy, even before they were born. The story itself has been described before, in the blurb and in the reviews. What is most interesting to me are the personalities involved. While Jane prefers to put the past behind her, dreaming of the sort of quiet life she has always wanted, Jack, her twin, becomes a politician – the perfect life for a totally self-obsessed narcissist who has lived his life in the limelight.

McAneny has a deft hand with characters. From the twins themselves to Grady, the man who went to prison for their mother’s murder to Jane’s beloved grandfather (I really don’t see Jack as caring about anyone other than himself, as he proves over and over again . . . though he does show the occasional thought for his sister – when he isn’t ridiculing her), The fact that my brother now worshipped that phony murderer-cum-jail hero was the sharpest edge of the wedge driven between us. There is a level of ‘quirky’ that drew me into the story. I could see many of the police officers and crime scene analysts I used to know in the qualities of the characters.

Wexler rubbed his chin. “Who were the Haiku Killer’s Other victims?”

”A priest, a philosophy professor, and a doctor,” I said.

“Religion, philosophy, and medicine,” Wexler said. “Renaissance killer.”

What is just as interesting to me is how McAneny explores the phenomenon of Hybristophilia, blending it with the types of political paraphilia inherent in the mindset of the public. It slides beneath the storyline, twisting and turning through and across a story of madness, murder and skewed social truths.

The serial killer story is well written overall, though I did find some glitches that made me scratch my head a bit. But overall, the story is tight. Sophia is probably my favorite character – her personality and particular thought process makes me want to read a book about her!

I received the book from the publisher in return for a realistic review. All thoughts are my own.

Review: Swamp Ghosts by Marcia Meara

22072877Lie on the bridge and watch the water flowing past. Or run, or wade through the swamp in your red boots. Or roll yourself up and listen to the rain falling on the roof. It’s very easy to enjoy yourself. – Tove Jansson

If you come down to the river
Bet you gonna find some people who live
You don’t have to worry ’cause you have [if you got] no money
People on the river are happy to give

Big wheel keep on turnin’
Proud Mary keep on burnin’
Rollin’, rollin’, rollin’ on the river
Rollin’, rollin’, rollin’ on the river – Creedence Clearwater Revival – Proud Mary

 Mary Margaret Devlin, Maggie to her friends, has had to be tough in her life. A horrendous marriage, the loss of her family, all have left her alone, and terrified to open herself up to others. But with her boat, the Undine, a good friend in Willow, the owner of Candle Thyme, a potpourri shop, and the home left to her by her beloved father, she live a quiet, peaceful, if isolated, life. Well, as peaceful as it can get when bill collectors are breathing down your neck. With young Billy as her first mate, mechanic and general helper, the Undine keeps her afloat, and her home makes her feel safe.

Gunnar Wolfe might be able to fix part of Maggie’s problems. Well, at least the financial woes. For he wants to canoe out into the streams and rivers of the Florida swamp, to photograph the amazing wildlife and plants. And to possibly find, and photograph, that most rare of creatures. The ivory-billed woodpecker. Though many believe the bird extinct over 100 years ago, tales still abound of swift and silent visions, there and gone. And if he can get the only nonfuzzy photo, well, National Geographic time for Gunner. A personal and professional coup of immense proportions. But to get that photo, Gunner needs a guide. Enter Maggie. Much against her will, as Gunner is scary as hell. Huge, muscled and beautifully Norwegian blond, Maggie’s blood runs fast – which scares her silly. Men are terrifying – and men who look like Gunner even more so. Wow. Soo pretty!

So. Money good. Hauling huge Gunner around the swamps in a tiny canoe when he has never even been on the water? Hum. . . So, training time. And against Maggie’s hopes and wishes (even though she really needs the money) Gunner does well. But a single discovery in a hidden stream turns their world upside down. Terror and death becomes part of their lives – lives which could be cut short at the hands of a monster.

There is so much to like about Swamp Ghosts that I really don’t know where to start. Well, actually I do. Marcia pulls you into the ambiance and beauty of her beloved Florida swamps. You can almost smell that sharp, almost bitter tang of the swamp, taste the humidity on your tongue, feel the heat against your skin. I could close my eyes and smell the hyacinth and hear the calls of the birds, the grunt of gators in the night, the cries of the creatures who call the swamps their home.

Then, there are her characters. Maggie, strong and yet so hurt. Friendly giant Gunner, with a heart as big as his body. And you can’t have a really good book (well, in my opinion) without the quirky characters who populate the best stories, the ones who fit so well into the landscape you can’t imagine the story without their presence. The cast of characters drew me in, wrapped themselves around my mind and made me laugh, cry and cheer – and yes, my heart definitely raced at times.

This is a wonderful thriller, not overwhelmed by the romances which also exist within the story. Marcia loves Florida, and you can feel it in every word. If you are looking for a book which will draw you in, making you yearn to see all the things that Marcia sees, I highly recommend Swamp Ghosts! Oh, and the next book will be out before long – she says she is working on Chapter 11, so keep an eye out – I know I am!

I received Swamp Ghosts from Marcia in exchange for a realistic review. And yes, Marcia is a friend, but this is still a marvelous book!

Please let me know if you like my review by clicking “yes” on Amazon. It helps my author friends! Thanks.

Marcia Meara

Marcia Meara

Marcia Meara is a native Floridian, living in the Orlando area with her husband of 29 years, two silly little dachshunds and four big, lazy cats. She’s fond of reading, gardening, hiking, canoeing, painting, and writing, not necessarily in that order. But her favorite thing in the world is spending time with her two grandchildren, ten-year-old Tabitha Faye, and twenty-month-old Kaelen Lake.At age 69, Marcia wrote “Wake-Robin Ridge,” her first novel, and “Summer Magic: Poems of Life and Love.” Her second novel, “Swamp Ghosts,” set alongside the wild and scenic rivers of central Florida, was released in spring of 2014. “A Boy Named Rabbit,” the sequel to “Wake-Robin Ridge,” will be available on Kindle by January 26, 2015. And “Hunter,” the sequel to “Swamp Ghosts,” is scheduled for release in late summer, 2015.

In the past year, Marcia has also had her poetry appear in four Silver Birch Press anthologies: “Silver,” “Green,” and “Summer,” all Eclectic Anthologies of Poetry and Prose, and “Noir Erasure Poetry Anthology,” which features a unique form of creating poems from prose.

Her philosophy? It’s never too late to follow your dream. Just take that first step, and never look back.

You can reach Marcia through her blogs and other social media:

The Write Stuff: http://marciamearawrites.com/
Bookin’ It: http://marciameara.wordpress.com
Who’s Your Granny: http://mmeara.wordpress.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/marcia.meara.writer
Twitter: @marciameara
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/marciameara/

A note from Marcia:

I’m going out on the river today with two tours on the Naiad, with

Captain Jeanne Bell & her husband, Doug Little. They are the real life counterparts of Maggie & Gunn, and where I got the idea for Maggie to be an Eco tour boat owner. Perfect for allowing me to really dig into the habitat and wildlife of this part of my state. (The REAL Florida, if you ask me.) They’ve got a large group of folks coming (over 40) and have split the group into two tours to accommodate everyone on the boat, and I’ve been invited to go along and talk for a bit about my book, and do a signing afterward.

Doug has been incorporating Swamp Ghosts into every tour lately, and sells the book from their ticket booth. It’s been a lot of fun for him to read the blur on back and then tell everyone that Gunnar Wolfe is his alter-ego. This is my inspiration for Gunn, of course!

(Chris Hemsworth a/k/a Thor)
Friends are the BEST!

Review: Heart Collector By Jacques Vandroux

23387402One of my weaknesses in literature is reading books by non-American authors. They bring a different outlook, a different landscape to my reading. I also love the language differences – it adds a richness that is often missing in the more mundane voice of ‘American English’.

Heart Collector is translated from the French, and I was looking forward to the ‘quirks’ of French to add to the writing. Add in the police procedural and mystery, along with a slight undertone of supernatural, and I settled in for a highly enjoyable read.

The problem is, it really wasn’t all that enjoyable, for several reasons. I don’t know if it is because the translator couldn’t resist “Americanizing” the language, but the uniqueness of the French language was literally “lost in translation”. Disappointing.

The next thing that bothered me was Jacques Vandroux’s apparent lack of respect for his female characters. Calling a dedicated 30+ year old police officer a “young woman” (ad nauseum) is demeaning to the character. Again, translation issue, or does Vandroux really not feel his character is worthy of respect?

The overall story, a serial killer who takes human hearts, is actually quite clever. I just didn’t feel that the writer was truly involved in his story. You can tell when a writer likes his characters, when they wake up every morning excited to write once more. I didn’t get that feeling from this book. It was more as if it were a slog rather than a joy. Again – boredom of the writer, or just a really poor translation?

Three stars because I don’t want to blame the writer, but at the same time, control of the translation could have been better managed if that is the true issue and not poor writing on Mr. Vandroux’s part.

I received this book from the publisher in exchange for a realistic review. All thoughts are my own. With a better translation, I may be able to give it a better review.

Review: O’Henry by t.g. Brown

20451886The psychotic mind sees the world through its own prism and bends that world to its choosing . . . tell me, was the head close to the body? – Oliver Wilson, Psychiatrist – O’Henry

That’s when he hit her, when he saw how scared she was. He couldn’t bear it that she was frightened and asking for help. Asking for help is wrong. Because there isn’t any such thing as help in this world. ― Ryū Murakami, Piercing

 

The call comes at the most inopportune time. Well, not really a call so much as the rooster tail of dust that precedes a country Sheriff bringing bad news. And for Josh Ingram, long past his life as an FBI’s Profiling Division, catfish noodling, pulling drafts at his marina bar, and writing his next best selling novel now has to go on hold, as he and FBI Agent Rachael Tanner struggle to find the serial killer known as O’Henry, who has come roaring back after a seven-year absence in a wave of blood and publicity. When Josh’s best friend, a mild mannered bookseller is killed by a retired mafia mechanic, Josh is drawn deep into a story of murder, madness and political intrigue that could cost him more than he ever expected.

This first entry in the Josh Ingram series by Terry Brown shows great potential for this new author. Tight characterizations, deep emotional world building and beautifully developed storylines woven together into a tale of murder, madness and political intrigue makes Terry Brown a new author to watch.

I received the book from Mr. Brown in return for a realistic review. All thoughts are my own.

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