Thursday, 15 March 2018

#CoverCrush Another Side of Paradise by Sally Koslow Harper

For new visitors do I want to explain that Cover Crush is something that my friend Erin over at Flashlight Commentary came up with and I adopted the idea together with some other friends. And, now we try to put up a Cover Crush every week. You can check below my pick of the week for their choices this week!

The author of the acclaimed international bestseller The Late, Lamented Molly Marx imaginatively brings to life the shocking affair of F. Scott Fitzgerald and his longtime lover, Sheilah Graham, in this dazzling novel of romance, celebrity, and Gatsby-esque self-creation in 1930s Hollywood

In 1937 Hollywood, gossip columnist Sheilah Graham’s star is on the rise, while literary wonder boy F. Scott Fitzgerald’s career is slowly drowning in booze. But the once-famous author, desperate to make money penning scripts for the silver screen, is charismatic enough to attract the gorgeous Miss Graham, a woman who exposes the secrets of others while carefully guarding her own. Like Scott’s hero Jay Gatsby, Graham has meticulously constructed a life far removed from the poverty of her childhood in London’s slums. And like Gatsby, the onetime guttersnipe learned early how to use her charms to become a hardworking success feted and feared by both the movie studios and their luminaries.

A notorious drunk famously married to the doomed “crazy Zelda,” Fitzgerald fell hard for his “Shielah” (he never learned to spell her name), a shrewd yet soft-hearted woman—both a fool for love and nobody’s fool—who would stay with him and help revive his career until his tragic death three years later. Working from diaries and other primary sources from the time, Sally Koslow revisits their scandalous love affair, bringing Graham and Scott gloriously alive in this compelling page-turner saturated with the color, glitter, magic, and passion of 1930s Hollywood and Sheilah’s dramatic transformation in London.


I'm absolutely thrilled about reading the book just for the story alone. However, the cover does help. Love the black and white photo with the couple cuddling and the fabulous border around the cover. 

Check out what my friends have picked for Cover Crush's this week:

Stephanie @ Layered Pages

#BlogTour Daughters of the Night Sky by Aimie K. Runyan @aimiekrunyan @NEBookPromotion

Paperback, 316 pages
Published January 1st 2018 by Lake Union Publishing

A novel—inspired by the most celebrated regiment in the Red Army—about a woman’s sacrifice, courage, and love in a time of war.

Russia, 1941. Katya Ivanova is a young pilot in a far-flung military academy in the Ural Mountains. From childhood, she’s dreamed of taking to the skies to escape her bleak mountain life. With the Nazis on the march across Europe, she is called on to use her wings to serve her country in its darkest hour. Not even the entreaties of her new husband—a sensitive artist who fears for her safety—can dissuade her from doing her part as a proud daughter of Russia.

After years of arduous training, Katya is assigned to the 588th Night Bomber Regiment—one of the only Soviet air units comprised entirely of women. The Germans quickly learn to fear nocturnal raids by the daring fliers they call “Night Witches.” But the brutal campaign will exact a bitter toll on Katya and her sisters-in-arms. When the smoke of war clears, nothing will ever be the same—and one of Russia’s most decorated military heroines will face the most agonizing choice of all.


Chapter 1

1931, Miass, Chelyabinsk Oblast, the Gateway to Siberia

I stared as the rainbow-hued blooms danced in the breeze, imagining them ballerinas on the Moscow stage. The expansive steel-blue mountains, always capped with a hood of ice, were so different from the narrow streets and towering buildings of the city where I had spent my earliest years. My memories of the capital were garish with color. On bleak days, I could see in my mind Saint Basil’s with its earthy, sienna-colored body and onion-shaped spires swathed in rich tones of emerald, ruby, sapphire, and topaz, always set against a flurry of snow. The white swirl of frost made the colors reverberate even more, the memory refusing to be erased from the brilliant palette of my youth. The people—happy or cross, handsome or plain—were more colorful, too. Miass was gray, and the people with it. They mined in the hills, tended their shops, managed their farms. Mama worked in the laundry, day after day in a fog of gray.

But for two weeks in July, the muddy hills along the riverbank outside Miass were a riot of color. The summer of my tenth year was a particularly magnificent display. The splashes of lavender, crimson, and indigo against the sea of grass were the closest thing I could imagine to heaven. It was as though the Ural Mountains had been given an annual allotment of color by the new regime and they had chosen to use it up during those two glorious weeks.

I should have been at home in the cabin, doing the mending or preparing supper for Mama. She would be too tired to attend to these things when she came home, but to waste any of that color seemed inexcusable. So I left the chores undone, reveling in the light of summer.

When the hulking, olive-green airplane scarred the sky with its white trail, I thought perhaps my mother’s worst fears had been realized, that my imagination had run wild and I had finally gone mad. She would be so disappointed, but there was always a satisfaction in being proved right, I supposed.

But then I saw the neighbor, a squat old farmer with a face like a weathered beet, emerge from his cabin and follow the winding white exhaust from the sputtering engines with his dull, black eyes until the green speck was low on the horizon. It was real, and it was landing in the field outside the town square.

I knew I was running the risk of making Mama angry. I had no school that day, or marketing, or any other errand that would call me into town. She didn’t want me there more than I had to be, but she could hardly blame me for my curiosity. Papa used to talk about the airplanes he had flown in the European War—the war that had made him a hero—and Mama had to know the lure of seeing an aircraft for myself would be too great to resist.

I ran the two kilometers into Miass, and by the time I reached it, the townspeople had abandoned their work and gathered in the field to the east of town to see the remarkable machine and its pilot. He was a tall man with dark hair and a bristling black mustache that gleamed in the afternoon sun. He spoke to the crowd with a strong voice, and they stood captivated, as though Stalin himself had come to speak. I had seen Stalin once when he addressed the people of Moscow, and was far more impressed with this new visitor with the leather helmet and goggles atop his head.

Mama, who had been straining to take a peek, spotted me as I approached the crowd, and wove her way through the throng to my side, clasping my hand when I was within reach. Her power for worry was a formidable monster, and I had learned it was easier to placate it than to fight it.

“I thought this would bring you in, Katya. I wish you’d stayed home.” Annoyance or sheer exhaustion lined her face. “I can’t afford to leave early to see you home.”

“I made it here, Mama. I can make it home,” I answered, careful to keep any hint of cheek from my tone.

“Very well,” she said. “But I won’t tolerate this again.”

I laced my fingers in hers and kissed the back of her hand, hoping to soften her mood. I wouldn’t enjoy this if she were angry with me. “What has he told everyone, Mama?”

“He’s flying across the whole country,” she said, absently stroking my hair with her free hand. “He says there is a problem with his engine and he had to land for repairs.”

She strained her neck and stood on the tips of her toes to get a better view of the aircraft, but it was useless for me. I was a tall girl but still could not hope to see over the heads of the swarm that encircled the astounding contraption. I broke free from Mama’s grip and squeezed myself through the cracks until I was standing only a few centimeterss from the metal casing. It was not smooth, as it appeared from a distance, but dimpled by the rivets that attached the sheets of metal to the frame beneath.

The pilot answered the townspeople’s questions with patience.

“How does it stay up?” one of the town’s mechanics called out.

“Aren’t you afraid to crash?” a young woman with a squawking toddler asked.

They didn’t seem like interesting questions to me, but all the same he didn’t answer the mechanic with a sarcastic “Fairy dust” or the young mother with a “No, I wouldn’t feel a thing if I did,” as others might have done. He gave a very simple explanation and spoke as if each question was the most important matter in his world. No one chattered when he offered his explanations; no one muttered about men forgetting that their place was on the ground.

Emboldened, I placed my hand on the metal of the plane’s body, warmed by the summer sun, but not too hot to touch for a few seconds. I removed my hand before the pilot could chastise me. Though I longed to run my hands along the wings that spread outward [CE3] forever, I wouldn’t have the stolen caress ruined by a reprimand. Papa’s descriptions had not come close to doing the machine justice. My mind could only begin to understand the freedom this aircraft gave its pilot. He could go anywhere he pleased: If he could fly from the western border of Russia to the farthest reaches of Siberia, there was nothing stopping him from continuing on to see the wonders of China. Better still, he could go back west to see Geneva, Madrid, Florence, and all the cities Mama had dreamed of seeing but no longer spoke of.

About the Author:

Aimie K. Runyan writes to celebrate history’s unsung heroines. She is the author of two previous historical novels: Promised to the Crown and Duty to the Crown, and hard at work on novel #4. She is active as an educator and a speaker in the writing community and beyond. She lives in Colorado with her wonderful husband and two (usually) adorable children. To learn more about Aimie and her work, please visit her

Social Media links:

Author Website
Twitter: @aimiekrunyan

Tour Schedule: Blog Stops

March 12th 

Book Review – 2 Kids and Tired Books


March 13th

Guest Post – Let Them Read Books

Book Review – Locks, Hooks and Books

March 14th

Book Spotlight – The Writing Desk

Book Review – The Maiden’s Court

March 15th

Book Excerpt – A Bookaholic Swede

March 16th

Interview – Just One More Chapter

Book Excerpt – A Literary Vacation

Book Review – before the second sleep

#BlogTour The Revolutionist by Robert M. Tucker @hfvbt @AuthorR_Tucker

The Revolutionist by Robert M. Tucker

Publication Date: December 3, 2017
Wise Words Publishing
Hardcover, Paperback & eBook; 600 Pages
Genre: Historical/Action Adventure

Two different families escape from the political tyranny of their respective homelands, the Josephsons from Sweden and Matias and Kurt Bauman, brothers from Germany and Austria Hungary, with the aid of a Viennese opera diva, Sophie Augusta Rose, and Jean Guenoc, a former Jesuit priest, family friend and protector and partisan of the French underground.

Their journey brings them to America in the throes of the industrial revolution during the 1890s and early 1900s. Ingrid and Olaf Josephson settle on a small wheat farm in North Central Minnesota to raise their children, Newt and Julie.

Among the Jewish entrepreneurs forced to leave Germany and Austria-Hungary, Matias and Kurt Bauman re-establish their transportation company in Chicago, Illinois.

In search of a secret list of insurgent social democrats, the bounty hunter assassin, Luther Baggot, tracks his victims to the American heartland. Following the murder of their mother and father, Newt, Julie, and their friends, Aaron and Beth Peet, hide from the killer in a Northern Minnesota logging camp. Believing the children have taken possession of the list, Luther tracks them down.

Fleeing to a central Minnesota town, the four young people come across a remote business location of Bauman Enterprises and meet Matias Bauman, who had been a friend and former political collaborator with Newt’s and Julie’s parents. He takes them all to Chicago where a different world opens up to them as they are thrust into the turmoil and violence of an urban society and economy careening into the new century.

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | IndieBound

About the Author

Rob is a graduate of the University of California, Santa Barbara and received his graduate degree in communications from the University of California, Los Angeles.

Rob worked as a business and management consultant to advertising, corporate communications, and media production companies as well as many others. Now retired, he resides with his wife in Southern California where he devotes much of his time to writing.

He is a recipient of the Samuel Goldwyn and Donald Davis Literary Awards. An affinity for family and the astute observation of generational interaction pervade his novels.

His works are literary and genre upmarket fiction that address the nature and importance of personal integrity. For more information, please visit Robert Tucker's website. You can also find him on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

Blog Tour Schedule

Thursday, March 1 

Monday, March 5 

Wednesday, March 7 
Feature at WS Momma Readers Nook 

Sunday, March 11 
Interview & Excerpt at T's Stuff 

Thursday, March 15 
Feature at A Bookaholic Swede 

Monday, March 19 
Guest Post at Passages to the Past 

Friday, March 23 
Interview at Dianne Ascroft's Blog 

Monday, March 26 
Review & Excerpt at Locks, Hooks and Books 

Tuesday, March 27 
Feature at A Literary Vacation 

Wednesday, March 28 
Interview at Donna's Book Blog 

Thursday, March 29 


During the Blog Tour we will be giving away two eBooks of The Revolutionist! To enter, please enter via the Gleam form below.

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on March 8th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open INTERNATIONALLY.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.
The Revolutionist

#BlogTour The Darling Dahlias and the Unlucky Clover by Susan Wittig Albert @SusanWAlbert @hfvbt

The Darling Dahlias and the Unlucky Clover by Susan Wittig Albert

Publication Date: March 6, 2018
Presevero Press
Hardcover; ISBN-13: 978-0996904032
eBook; ISBN 978-0-9969040-5-6
Series: The Darling Dahlias, Book 7
Genre: Historical Mystery
NYT bestselling author Susan Wittig Albert returns to Depression-era Darling, Alabama... where the ladies of the Dahlias, the local garden club, are happy to dig a little dirt! 

In the seventh book of this popular series, it looks like the music has ended for Darling’s favorite barbershop uiquartet, the Lucky Four Clovers—just days before the Dixie Regional Barbershop Competition. Another unlucky break: a serious foul-up in Darling’s telephone system—and not a penny for repairs. And while liquor is legal again, moonshine isn’t. Sheriff Buddy Norris needs a little luck when he goes into Briar Swamp to confront Cypress County’s most notorious bootlegger. What he finds upends his sense of justice. 

Once again, Susan Wittig Albert has told a charming story filled with richly human characters who face the Great Depression with courage and grace. She reminds us that friends offer the best of themselves to each other, community is what holds us together, and luck is what you make it. 

Bonus features: Liz Lacy’s Garden Gate column on “lucky” plants, plus the Dahlias’ collection of traditional Southern pie recipes and a dash of cookery history. Reading group questions, more recipes, and Depression-era info at

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | IndieBound

Book Review

After reading a couple of other books by Susan Wittig Albert (A Wilder Rose, Loving Eleanor and The General's Women) was I curious about her works. So, I was thrilled when I the chance to read The Darling Dahlias and the Unlucky Clover, book seven in The Darling Dahlias series.

As a new reader to this series can I conclude that I besotted in this series. Yes, utterly charmed and in need of the previous books. From the very first page was I intrigued by the story and engrossed in the mystery of one the missing man, a member of the Lucky Four Clover quartet. To be honest, I would have read this book without the mystery, I was so charmed by all the characters, their lives in the little town during the depression with bootleggers and a struggling telephone system. And then we have The Darling Dahlias, the garden club, the heart of this book and their digging into the mystery of the missing man and what happened to him.

I found that Susan Wittig Albert has really captured the 30s. The book is atmospheric and the characters are, despite being new to me, easy to remember and I found myself quite enjoying their everyday plight with money and relationship problems. The 30s is such a fascinating period and it's interesting to read about ordinary people's lives in a little town during the depression. Of course, with the addition of some mysterious events.

Praise for The Darling Dahlias Series

"This sweet book captures the true tone of a small town." —Times-Picayune, New Orleans

"Cozy fans will be delighted to learn that the prolific Albert—known for her clever puzzles, engaging characters, love of nature, and outstanding historic research—is debuting yet another exceptional series." —Booklist Starred Review

"Albert does a beautiful job of blending a whodunit with a vivid portrait of an idyllic Depression-era Southern town." —Publishers Weekly

"Excellent timely regional Depression Era amateur sleuth that brings to life the atmosphere of a period in which people are concerned over the economy that has left no chicken in almost any pot." —Follow The Clue

"The author of the popular China Bayles mysteries brings a small Southern town to life and vividly captures an era and culture—the Depression, segregation, class differences, the role of women in the South—with authentic period details. Her book fairly sizzles with the strength of the women of Darling." —Library Journal Starred Review

About the Author

Susan Wittig Albert is the NYT bestselling author of over 100 books. Her work includes four mystery series: China Bayles, the Darling Dahlias, the Cottage Tales of Beatrix Potter, and the Robin Paige Victorian mysteries. She has published three award-winning historical novels, as well as YA fiction, memoirs, and nonfiction. Susan currently serves as an editor of StoryCircleBookReviews and helps to coordinate SCN's online class program. She and her husband Bill live in the Texas Hill Country, where she writes, gardens, and raises a varying assortment of barnyard creatures.

For more information please visit Susan Wittig Albert's website. Visit the Darling Dahlias Facebook Page. You can also find Susan on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Google+, Instagram, and Pinterest.

Blog Tour Schedule

Wednesday, February 28 
Review at Back Porchervations 

Thursday, March 1 
Review at A Chick Who Reads 

Friday, March 2 
Review at Trisha Jenn Reads 
Interview at Dianne Ascroft's Blog 

Saturday, March 3 
Review at Cup of Sensibility 

Monday, March 5 
Review at Peppermint Ph.D. 

Tuesday, March 6 
Feature at A Literary Vacation 

Wednesday, March 7 

Thursday, March 8 
Interview at Jorie Loves a Story 

Monday, March 12 
Feature at Susan Heim on Writing 

Tuesday, March 13 
Review at The Lit Bitch 

Wednesday, March 14 
Interview at Passages to the Past 

Thursday, March 15 
Review at A Bookaholic Swede 

Friday, March 16 
Interview at Donna's Book Blog


During the Blog Tour we will be giving away one paperback copy of The Darling Dahlias and the Unlucky Clover to one lucky winner! To enter, please enter via the Gleam form below.

Giveaway Rules
– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on March 16th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open to US residents only.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen. Darling Dahlias

Wednesday, 14 March 2018

#Spotlight The Renewal by Mike Torreano @mike_torreano @lapitmarketing

Ike McAlister has finally put the ghosts of his past to rest. He’s found new joy with a spirited wife, a young daughter, and a mountain valley ranch where a man can make something of himself. But a coming railroad through the South Park valley threatens to take his land and tear his hard-won peace apart. 

Discovering that the railroad could easily bypass his ranch, he organizes opposition and earns the animus of the formidable foreman. When Ike’s brother Rob, the sheriff, is bushwhacked, Ike sets out on a high stakes quest to get the killer before the killer gets him.

Layered Pages Interview with Mike Torreano HERE

Pre-order The Renewal at Amazon  

About the Author:

Mike Torreano has a military background and is a student of history and the American West.

His western mystery, The Reckoning, was released September 2016 by The Wild Rose Press and the sequel, The Renewal, is due to be released soon. He’s working on the next western now and he also has a coming-of-age Civil War novel looking for a publisher.

Mike’s written for magazines and newspapers. An experienced editor, he’s taught University English and Journalism. He’s a member of the Historical Novel Society, Pikes Peak Writers, Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers, Western Writers of America and several other western writing groups. He brings his readers back in time with him as he recreates life in 19th century America.

Author Website

The Renewal is available on Amazon for Pre-Order.

Monday, 12 March 2018

#BookReview Dead Man's Blues by Ray Celestin @Pegasus_Books @FreshFiction #FFreview

Dead Man's Blues: A Novel by Ray Celestin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Set in Chicago in 1928 and featuring Pinkerton detectives, a murdered heiress, shadowy gangsters—and even Louis Armstrong—this is the bluesy, atmospheric sequel to the award-winning The Axeman.
Chicago, 1928. In the stifling summer heat three disturbing events take place. A clique of city leaders is poisoned in a fancy hotel. A white gangster is found mutilated in an alleyway in the Blackbelt. And a famous heiress vanishes without a trace.

Pinkerton detectives Michael Talbot and Ida Davis are hired to find the missing heiress by the girl's troubled mother. But it proves harder than expected to find a face that is known across the city, and Ida must elicit the help of her friend Louis Armstrong.

While the police take little interest in the Blackbelt murder, Jacob Russo—crime scene photographer—can't get the dead man's image out of his head, and so he embarks on his own investigation.

And Dante Sanfelippo—rum-runner and fixer—is back in Chicago on the orders of Al Capone, who suspects there's a traitor in the ranks and wants Dante to investigate. But Dante is struggling with his own problems, as he is forced to return to the city he thought he'd never see again . . .

As the three parties edge closer to the truth, their paths cross and their lives are threatened. But will any of them find the answers they need in the capital of jazz, fast liquor, and corruption?


DEAD MAN'S BLUES stunning cover and intriguing blurb made me eager to read the book. I have not read THE AXEMAN, the first book in this series, but that didn't concern me much since I'm used to reading books out of order. And I am pleased to say that it didn't matter that I hadn't read the first book since the story was very easy to get into.


#BlogTour White Witch by Larry D Thompson @LDTauthor @partnersincr1me

White Witch by Larry D. Thompson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

White Witch by Larry D Thompson Tour Banner
White Witch by Larry D Thompson

White Witch

by Larry D Thompson

on Tour March 5 - May 5, 2018


When a ruthless American aluminum company plans to strip mine the Jamaican rainforest, they send former Navy SEAL Will Taylor to Montego Bay to deal with local resistance. But he’s unaware that the British had signed a treaty deeding it to the Jamaican Maroons, descendants of escaped slaves, over 300 years ago. The Maroons fought and died for their land then, and are willing to do so now. Upon Will’s arrival, a series of inexplicable murders begin, some carried out with deadly snake daggers that were owned and used by Annie Palmer, a voodoo priestess better known as the White Witch. She was killed 200 years prior, but is said to still haunt the island.

Forced into the middle of it, Will is finally convinced to join the Maroons, headed by Vertise Broderick, a Maroon who resigned from the New York Times to return to Jamaica to save the rainforest. To stop the mining, they hire a Jamaican attorney to prove that the Maroon/British treaty is still valid, and they take it upon themselves to solve the White Witch murders, because the legend of the White Witch can’t possibly be true…

Book Details:

Genre: Thriller
Published by: Story Merchant Press
Publication Date: March 5, 2018
Number of Pages: 307
ISBN: 978-0-991621-5-6

Book review

I must say that White Witch is a truly interesting book that started off great with a flashback to Annie Palmer tyranny before the story turned its focus on the present time and the Maroons struggle with an American aluminum company that is after their land. For someone like with pretty little knowledge of the history of Jamaica was this book awesome to read. I love getting to know the history of the Maroons, how they fought both the Spaniards and the Englishmen for their freedom and won. Now they once again have to fight against a powerful enemy, a company after their land.

The beginning of the book really made it out to be more of a horror book than a thriller with a lot of strange things going on. I would have loved it to be more of a horror book than a thriller actually. Still, I found the plot to be interesting with murders being done with snake daggers, the same kind that is said that Annie Palmer, the White Witch, had used to kill with.

I also liked how ex-Navy SEAL Will Taylor and his team more and more realized that they are working for the wrong side and I liked this change and what it brought on as Will and Vertise Broderick, a journalist who is also a Maroon decides to hire an attorney to fight for their cause in the court. The question is will they be able to prove that the land is the Maroons?

White Witch is a book that gave me a lot in return. I got an interesting story and I also gained some insight into the history of Jamaica and the Maroons.

Don't forget to get your copy of White Witch from Amazon, Barnes & Noble & add it to your Goodreads List!!

LOVE this Trailer!!

Read an excerpt:

from Chapter 19...
When Will got to Rose Hall, he turned onto the road they had just come down the evening before. At the top of the hill he could see the mansion, now well lighted. He dodged tree limbs and utility wires and parked among several other vehicles. Police cars were positioned so that their headlights focused on the steps of the mansion where Will could see the yellow police crime scene tape. He walked up a path from the parking lot between the police cars that faced the mansion to the yellow tape where an officer stood watch. The officer came to attention as Will approached.
“Sorry, mon. I can’t let you past here. We’re investigating a murder.”
Will kept his voice even but controlling. “I know, officer. That’s why I’m here. Name’s William Taylor. I’m head of security for Global American Metals.
Here’s my identification.” Will tried to hand him an ID. The officer just shook his head. “Officer, the dead man is one of Global’s employees. Can you get someone in authority to let me up there?”
Before the officer could reply, Miles Harper, the St. James Parish Chief of Detectives, approached. Harper was a lean, fit man with a shaved head and a nononsense manner. He was dressed in a brown suit, yellow shirt, and matching tie. He looked like he just stepped out of GQ Magazine, even at three in the morning.
“Mr. Taylor, I’m Miles Harper, Chief of Detectives in this parish. I was told by your company to expect you.”
Will extended his right hand. Harper ignored it. Instead, he nodded at the officer and motioned for Will to follow him. Harper went up a dozen steps and turned to Will as he stood beside Kaven’s body, sprawled on his back with a dagger in his chest. Will bent over for a closer look and found that the handle of the dagger was in the shape of a snake. At the top of the handle was the snake’s head. The snake’s eyes were two bright rubies.
“Shit,” Will muttered, “He was almost killed because of one snake on the road today and now someone finished the job with a, what would you call this, a snake dagger?”
“That’s as good a name as any, Mr. Taylor. My officers reported what went on up in Accompong and the incident with the boa.”
Will continued to study the body. “Looks like he’s been dead a couple of hours. I last saw him about ten last night. Who found him?”
“The hotel has a security guard that roams the mansion grounds and up to the club house in a golf cart. He spotted the body.”
“Where’s your coroner?”
“He’s a local Justice of the Peace, not a medical doctor. He won’t set foot on these steps until morning. My men here won’t go past the tape either. They believe the White Witch did it.”
Will shook his head in disbelief. “Come on, Chief, this is the twenty-first century.”
“Old beliefs die hard, Mr. Taylor. Come on. Let me show you something.”
Harper stepped around the body and climbed the steps with Will behind him. Entering the ballroom, Will said, “I was just in this room yesterday evening during the storm.”
Harper turned to study Will. “Would you care to explain?”
Will covered the details of the previous day and their time in the mansion while they waited out the storm. “You know a woman named Vertise?”
Harper nodded his head. “She’s a local. Works for the paper and tends bar for the hotel. Since you were in this room a few hours ago, come over here.”
Harper led Will to a glass display against one wall with pictures of two snake daggers above it along with the history of the daggers. The glass had been broken and the daggers were gone.
“You see this case when you were up here?”
Will studied it and thought back to the day before. “Can’t say I did, Chief.
It was pretty dark in here, lit only by candles since the storm knocked out power. I wandered around the room but never glanced toward this case. And I don’t believe anyone else mentioned it. Now that I think about it, Vertise told us the legend of Annie Palmer and her using a snake dagger to kill an overseer.
Surprising that she didn’t show us these daggers when she was telling the story.”
“Interesting,” mused Harper. “You have any idea why your man would come up here in the middle of the night?”
“Not a clue. Have you checked his cell phone? He always carried it.”
“Yeah. The last calls were with you yesterday afternoon and one with Ms. Pritchard later in the evening.”
Will nodded. “He called me from Accompong, warning me of trouble up there. I should have gone with him.”
Harper shook his head. “Whether you were there or not wouldn’t have made any difference. Just would have been one more person that was in my police car that rolled, assuming, of course, you didn’t take a bullet up on the mountain.”
“How did you get in the mansion?”
“Vertise said she knew where a key was hidden and let us in.”
“Strange that she could get into the locked mansion. It was my understanding that only the manager of Rose Hall had a key. He locked it and left when the storm was hitting. The hotel spent a fortune on period pieces to recreate how it looked two hundred years ago. One of his jobs is to make sure they are not stolen.”
“Any signs of a break-in?” Will asked.
“This is not for publication, you understand, but when I got here the mansion was locked and the lights were off.”
“So, you’re saying that someone got into the mansion, stole two daggers, let themselves back out, killed Kaven, and left no trace.” Will paused to absorb all that he had just said. “Wait a minute. If someone wanted to kill Kaven, why not just use a gun? Why go to all the trouble of getting that dagger to do it?”
“I’ve been wrestling with that very question,” Harper said. “It’s illegal for a private citizen to own a gun in Jamaica, but that doesn’t mean they are not available if you know the right people. My working hypothesis is that the killer or killers wanted the public to think voodoo was involved, or maybe even the White Witch. The only other possibility that comes to mind is that the Maroons are trying to send a message to Global. They tried to kill Tillman in Accompong and failed. Maybe the message is that they finish what they start. Either way, someone is trying to make trouble for your company. I have another problem that may not be apparent.”
Will looked quizzically at the detective.
“As you can see, there were two snake daggers in this case. One’s accounted for out on the steps. The other is gone. Nearly everyone around here thinks that they are voodoo daggers with magical powers. They were found in an overseer’s grave during the restoration of the mansion thirty years ago.”
“Does ‘everyone’ include you? Looks to me like the killer or killers are just trying to mess with the minds of my co-workers, maybe keep some locals from hiring on with us.”
Harper stuck his hands in his pockets. “Not up to me to decide if they’re magic or not. I’ve got a murder with one of those daggers. My job is to solve the murder and along the way, find that other dagger before someone uses it.”
Will’s eyes searched the room in a futile effort to see any clues to the crime.
Then he focused on the chief. “Look, I’m going to need a gun. My company is obviously under attack. I’m licensed to carry back home.”
“No way, Mr. Taylor,” Harper exploded. “Foreigners are not permitted to have guns in Jamaica. For that matter, as I just told you, neither are Jamaicans.
And I want you to stay the hell out of my investigation. We don’t need your help. Understand?”
“Yeah, I understand. You know that each of our mines on this island is permitted a certain number of guns for our guards. I’ll just get one of those.”
“The hell you will. Don’t you dare go behind my back. Those guns never leave mine property. I have an officer that inventories them. If one turns up missing, I’ll confiscate every damn weapon that Global has and put you under house arrest. Clear, Mr. Taylor?”
Will clinched his fists and tried to hold back the anger that was apparent in his face. Without another word, he turned and stormed out of the mansion, pausing only to gaze at Kaven and say a prayer for him and his family. At the bottom of the steps, he got in his car and glanced toward the mansion. The lights from his car somehow caught the ruby eyes of the snake, making them appear briefly to be alive. Will shook his head, put the car in reverse, and returned to the hotel.
Excerpt from White Witch by Larry D Thompson. Copyright © 2018 by Larry D Thompson. Reproduced with permission from Larry D Thompson. All rights reserved.

Author Bio:

Larry D Thompson
After graduating from the University of Texas School of Law, Larry spent the first half of his professional life as a trial lawyer. He tried well over 300 cases and won more than 95% of them. Although he had not taken a writing class since freshman English (back when they wrote on stone tablets), he figured that he had read enough novels and knew enough about trials, lawyers, judges, and courtrooms that he could do it. Besides, his late, older brother, Thomas Thompson, was one of the best true crime writers to ever set a pen to paper; so, just maybe, there was something in the Thompson gene pool that would be guide him into this new career. He started writing his first novel about a dozen years ago and published it a couple of years thereafter. He has now written five highly acclaimed legal thrillers. White Witch is number six with many more to come.

Larry is married to his wife, Vicki. He has three children scattered from Colorado to Austin to Boca Raton, and four grandchildren. He has been trying to retire from the law practice to devote full time to writing. Hopefully, that will occur by the end of 2018. He still lives in Houston, but spends his summers in Vail CO, high on a mountain where he is inspired by the beauty of the Rocky Mountains.

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Friday, 9 March 2018

#BookReview Breaking Point by Allison Brennan @Allison_Brennan @FreshFiction @MinotaurBooks #FFreview

Breaking Point by Allison Brennan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Bella Caruso survived a nightmare of abuse and betrayal. Today, she has dedicated her life to saving other young women from the hell that almost killed her—first as an officer of the law, then by stepping outside the law and into the darkness where true evil dwells. Now, it appears that the darkness has taken her once again.

JT Caruso often worries about his sister, given her line of work. This time, when he learns that Bella is working undercover to find a missing girl involved in a dangerous prostitution ring, JT asks FBI Special Agent Lucy Kincaid for help.

Even with Lucy’s extensive experience in running down human traffickers, finding Bella will not be easy. Not only because she is in too deep. But because Bella, who will not rest until she saves the girl, doesn’t want to be found…


BREAKING POINT is the second book I have read by Allison Brennan and the first solo Lucy Kincaid book. The book I read previously was SHATTERED in the Max Revere series, but Lucy Kincaid had a big role in the book as well. And, I know after reading SHATTERED that I needed to read more books by Allison Brennan. So, I was very pleased to get the latest Lucy Kincaid book.