Review: The Not So Perfect Mother by Kerry Fisher @KerryFSwayne @bookouture

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Release date: June 6, 2018

Publisher: Bookouture

Genre: Romantic Comedy

Blurb:

From Amazon chart bestseller Kerry Fisher comes a hilarious and straight-talking read for anyone who has ever despaired at the politics of the school playground…

Maia is a cleaner for ladies who lunch. With mops and buckets in tow, she spends her days dashing from house to house clearing up after them, as they rush from one exhausting pilates class to the next.

But an unusual inheritance changes the lives of Maia and her children, as they join the highly exclusive world of Stirling Hall School – a place where no child can survive without organic apricots and no woman goes a week without a manicure.

As Maia and her children try to settle into their new life, Maia is gradually drawn to the one man who can help her family fit in: Mr. Peters, a teacher at Stirling Hall School. But is his interest in her purely professional? And will it win her any favors at the school gate?

The Not So Perfect Mother is a laugh-out-loud-funny and romantic Cinderella story with a twist. Perfect for fans of Emily Giffin, Jennifer Weiner and Sophie Kinsella.

Review:

Oh how I adored this book, it was laugh out loud funny but also had some poignant, emotional moments as well, it really had a little something for everyone and Maia was the perfect heroine for this delightful little read.

We’ve all been down on our luck at some point I imagine, but Maia is having a really difficult time and there’s no end in sight. When one of the women she cleans for passes away and offers her children a scholarship to a posh school that is miles away (social class wise at least) she takes it despite her reservations. Maia doesn’t fit it with the mother’s at Stirling Hall, and she doesn’t actually want to, these women are mostly awful, but she grits her teeth and smiles because she wants what’s best for her kids. That’s one of the qualities I admired about her, she is a fantastic mother who does her best by her children despite getting kicked in the teeth repeatedly. I really liked her character and even though I was shaking my head at some of her decisions, Fisher did create a believable person who makes mistakes and bad choices just like the rest of us.

I said before this was funny but I have to reiterate it again, there were some seriously hilarious scenes that had me rolling. This was a feel good read with heart and soul and had a wonderful ending with some surprises I didn’t predict.

The Not So Perfect Mother in three words: Funny, Relatable and Entertaining.

Overall rating: 4/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.

About the Author:

Born in Peterborough, UK, Kerry Fisher studied French and Italian at Bath University, followed by several years working as an English teacher in Corsica and Spain before topping the dizzying heights of holiday rep and grape picker in Tuscany. She eventually succumbed to ‘getting a proper job’ and returned to England to study Periodical Journalism at City University. After two years working at Essentials magazine in London, love carried her off to the wilds of the West Pennine moors near Bolton. She now lives in Surrey with her husband (of whisking off to Bolton fame) and two teenagers. She has a very naughty lab/schnauzer called Poppy, which leads to many mortifying moments of whistling and waving pieces of chicken while the dog practises her ‘talk to the tail’.

Kerry spent half her life talking about writing a novel, then several years at Candis magazine reviewing other people’s but it wasn’t until she took some online courses with the UCLA that the dream started to morph into reality when her debut, The School Gate Survival Guide, was picked up by HarperCollins.

https://www.facebook.com/kerryfisherauthor/

https://twitter.com/KerryFSwayne

Review: When the Waters Recede by Graham Smith @GrahamSmith1972 @Rararesources

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Release date:

Publisher: Caffeine Nights

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

Blurb:

When a car is pulled from raging floodwaters with a dead man in the front and the decapitated body of an evil woman in the boot, Cumbria’s Major Crimes Team are handed the investigation.

The woman is soon recognised, but the man cannot be identified and this leads the team and their former leader, Harry Evans, into areas none of them want to visit.

Before they know it, they’re dealing with protection scams and looking for answers to questions they didn’t know needed to be asked.

I’m so pleased to be one of the stops on the blog blitz for When the Waters Recede today!

Review:

While I’m a big fan of Smith’s other series (Jake Boulder) I hadn’t read any of the previous books in this series until now. I didn’t have any problem starting at this point though, there was enough pertinent background information shared that I caught on fairly fast. I will say that the cast of characters history does seem rather interesting though so reading them in order seems like it would be fantastic.

Evans is exactly the type of lead character that I love in a police procedural, he’s reckless and sarcastic, but best of all he’s unpredictable and nothing keeps the reader on their toes more than a loose cannon. There are a lot of moving parts and various sub plots going on here for Evans and team, though I guess technically it’s not exactly his team anymore as he’s now retired and working as a consultant to the police. This was an interesting angle, he’s still working alongside his old colleagues but he’s a bit wrong footed and his team is as well. They’re not used to reporting to someone other than him and often find themselves deferring to him subconsciously. Lauren is a member of said team and I loved her character. There’s a personal story at play here that allowed me to really get to know her in a short period of time and I really liked what I saw.

This was just such an interesting read with so many various angles to follow, I fear saying more but it was exciting and extremely well plotted. I’m a firm fan of Smith’s work and will now continue to follow this series as closely as his JB one, definitely give this a try if you’re looking for a unique crime thriller from a writer with a very strong voice.

When the Waters Recede in three words: Controlled, Gritty and Solid.

Overall rating: 4/5

Thanks to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Reasources and the author for my review copy.

About the Author:

Graham Smith is a time served joiner who has built bridges, houses, dug drains and slated roofs to make ends meet. Since Christmas 2000, he has been manager of a busy hotel and wedding venue near Gretna Green, Scotland.

He is an internationally best-selling Kindle author and has four books featuring DI Harry Evans and the Cumbrian Major Crimes Team, and three novels, featuring Utah doorman, Jake Boulder.

An avid fan of crime fiction since being given one of Enid Blyton’s Famous Five books at the age of eight, he has also been a regular reviewer and interviewer for the well-respected website Crimesquad.com since 2009

Graham is the founder of Crime and Publishment, a weekend of crime-writing classes which includes the chance for attendees to pitch their novels to agents and publishers. Since the first weekend in 2013, eight attendees have gone on to sign publishing contracts.

Graham can be found at

Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/grahamnsmithauthor

Twitter

https://twitter.com/GrahamSmith1972

Website

www.grahamsmithauthor.com

GIVEAWAY:

iveaway

To celebrate the release of When the Waters Recede, Graham Smith is offering one lucky reader the chance to win all six books in the Harry Evans series.

To enter, simply sign up for his newsletter via the link provided before the 5th of June 2018 and you’ll be entered into not just this competition, but all competitions that he runs. Entrants from the whole world are welcome.

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Review: The Old You by Louise Voss @LouiseVoss1 @Orendabooks #TheOldYou

Goodreads|Amazon

Release date: May 8, 2018

Publisher: Orenda

Genre: Psychological Thriller

Blurb:

Nail-bitingly modern domestic noir

A tense, Hitchcockian psychological thriller

Louise Voss returns with her darkest, most chilling, novel yet…

Lynn Naismith gave up the job she loved when she married Ed, the love of her life, but it was worth it for the happy years they enjoyed together. Now, ten years on, Ed has been diagnosed with early-onset dementia, and things start to happen; things more sinister than missing keys and lost words. As some memories are forgotten, others, long buried, begin to surface… and Lynn’s perfect world begins to crumble.

But is it Ed s mind playing tricks, or hers…?

I’m so pleased to be one of the stops on the blog tour for The Old You today.

Review:

It should come as no surprise to me that once again, Orenda has published a book that is unlike anything I’ve ever read before, but this book was chock full of surprises and even better than I could have imagined. The Old You was my first Louise Voss book, I had no idea what to expect but the brief synopsis grabbed my attention instantly. Dementia is a horrible disease, I’ve seen it’s effects firsthand and it’s devastating and totally frightening. Imagine being worried sick about your spouse after such an awful diagnosis, then take it a step further and give it a sinister feeling lurking besides the disease. That’s what Lynn is facing, the loss of her once brilliant husband’s mind and the idea that something isn’t quite right, something even worse than his illness.

I’m not going to dive any further into the plot because there were so many delicious twists and turns in store that elaborating further would only ruin your future reading experience. (I’m assuming this will be going straight onto your TBR because this was an outstanding read.) Well executed domestic suspense/noir is not as easy to find as you would think, but let me assure you this is incredibly well done and stands out from the crowd. Voss is a skilled writer, she has that uncanny ability to slowly draw the reader into a dark web of secrets and lies, she slowly and intoxicatingly gives you details that keep you engrossed and desperate to know what will happen next. The simmering tension and uneasiness was palpable, the air was thick with tension and fear throughout the entire book, words can’t convey just how perfectly paced this was. Keeping a slower paced book exciting is no easy feat, there has to be something to hold your attention and let me tell you, Voss had me hanging off of every single word. I was waiting on pins and needles because I just knew bad things were bound to happen and secrets would be revealed, and when they were I was completely satisfied AND stupefied. Highly recommended by me for fans of crime fiction in general but also for anyone looking for an excellent example of domestic noir/suspense. This is a must read and will most definitely be on my list of favorites for the year.

The Old You in three words: Unnerving, Innovative and Ingenious.

Overall rating: 5/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.

Blog Tour: Hard Prejudice by Dave Stanton @DanRenoNovels @Bloodhoundbook

Goodreads|Amazon

Release date: May 3, 2018

Publisher: Bloodhound Books

Genre: Thriller

Blurb:

After evidence disappears from a police locker, a man who is accused of brutally raping a popular actor’s daughter, walks free.

Hired by the actor, private detective Dan Reno’s job seemed simple enough: discover who took the DNA, and why. Problem is, from the beginning of the investigation, neither Reno, the South Lake Tahoe police, nor anyone else have any idea what the motivation could be that see the thug, Duante Tucker, get away with the crime. Not even Reno’s best friend, fellow investigator Cody Gibbons, has a clue.

When Reno and Gibbons tail Tucker, they learn the rapist is linked to various criminals and a deserter from the U.S. Marine Corps. But they still can’t tell who would want him set free, and for what reason.

Things get murkier when Tucker visits an Arabic restaurant whose owners are suspected terrorists. Then Cody’s ex-boss, a San Jose police captain, is found to with Tucker’s sister.

The clues continue to build until Reno and Cody find themselves targeted, which tells Reno he’s getting close.

The forces of evil are running out of time, and the action reaches a boiling point before an explosive conclusion that reveals a sinister plot and motivations that Reno could never have imagined.

Hey guys, I’m so pleased to be a stop on the blog tour for Hard Prejudice today! I have an extract from the book to share.

Extract:

1

By all accounts, Alex Newman’s life began in unfortunate circumstances and went downhill from there. Raised in lower-middle class white suburbia, he had dropped out of high school after his alcoholic parents divorced and embarked on a career as a small-time crook. His record was littered with shoplifting and petty theft collars, and along the way, he’d developed a particular fondness for rock cocaine. Now, at age thirty-four, he was a full-time addict. I’d learned of Alex Newman when his bail bondsman contacted me. Newman had skipped on a breaking and entering charge after his mother scraped together a five-thousand-dollar bond. Good son that he was, Newman flew the coop the minute he was released from lockup.

It didn’t take long to find him. He lived in an oversized camper shell bolted to the bed of a rust-bucket Toyota pickup. A dealer he’d burned for fifty bucks put me onto him, said he’d probably be parked in one of a few out-of-the-way places.

I spotted his rickety contraption sitting on the dirt shoulder of a dead-end road under a cluster of oak trees that partially hid the camper. Beyond the trees, the terrain dropped into a rock-strewn gully that led into the forest. Five thousand feet up, the pine-studded peaks of the Sierra Nevadas were resplendent in the midday sun.

The camper’s windows were taped over with cardboard. I got out of my rig and walked around the vehicle. No one was in the cab, but I could hear a faint tinkling of music from the camper. I went to the back door and jerked the handle. It was locked.

“Alex Newman, open up,” I said. When nothing happened, I pounded the door with the meat of my fist. “Open up, or I’ll bust it in.” I waited for a minute in the pleasant shade, until it became clear he hoped I’d just go away. It was a bad strategy but probably the best option he had.

As I returned to my truck for a crowbar, I heard scuffling and turned to see a man climbing from the gulley. Dirt coated the fronts of his blue jeans, his hollow cheeks were two weeks unshaven, and his long black hair looked stiff with grease. About six feet and a bony 160.

I ignored him and started back to the Toyota with the crowbar.

“What you think you’re doing?” he asked, his eyes wide and dilated. No doubt whacked on meth or coke.

“You friends with Alex Newman?”

“Damn right I am.”

“Stand back, please.” I swung the weighted end of the bar and punched a big crease in the aluminum door.

“Hey, you can’t–” he started, then the words became strangled in his throat. He froze for a moment, and I could almost hear his brain synapses misfiring. In his condition, any decision would likely be the wrong one. He confirmed it by coming up behind me and launching a roundhouse punch that was both ill-timed and weak.

I blocked it and cracked him in the nose with my elbow. His eyes went dull, and he sat down hard and held his dirt-caked fingers to his face. I pulled a plastic tie from my pocket, shoved him facedown into the ground, and cinched his hands behind him.

“You prick, you lousy bastard,” he moaned.

I left him lying in the dirt and swung the crowbar into the door again.

“Last chance, Alex. Open the goddamned door.” I waited a few seconds, then jammed the bar into the slot along the frame and jerked hard. The lock mechanism snapped, and the door flew open.

“Fuck you!” a shirtless man rasped, his head big over his scrawny white torso. Crouching, he thrust a lit blowtorch at my face.

I dodged the blue flame and swung the crowbar. It banged into the canister with a loud ping, and the torch fell from Newman’s hands. He scrambled back, but I reached forward, snatched him by his greasy hair, and yanked him out of the camper. His knees hit the ground hard, and he tried to get up and run, but before he could, I kicked him in the ribs, the blow just enough to take his wind. He fell on his side and stared up at me with pleading eyes.

“Party’s over,” I said, and slapped a pair of cuffs on his wrists. I looked into the camper, where his crack pipe lay smoldering amid a slew of beer bottles, porno magazines, and dirty ashtrays. Propped against one of the bottles was a syringe.

“Let’s go,” I said. I pulled Alex Newman to his feet and pushed him toward my truck. When we got there, I sat him in the front seat and chained his wrists to a D-link installed in the passenger seat floor.

Hunched over, he looked up at me. “I was gonna clean up. I was gonna get a job.”

“Tell it to the judge,” I said, watching the skinny, long-haired dude stagger to his feet and jog off, his hands cinched behind him. I shut my truck door, called 911, and asked South Lake Tahoe PD to send a tow truck. Then, I called the bail bondsman and told him I’d recovered his fugitive. Alex Newman didn’t have much to say after that. I supposed he knew the routine.

***

The parking lot was packed when we arrived at the police complex. I parked in a red zone and led Newman to the side door for booking. While I waited for the jailer, my eyes wandered out the window to the courthouse across the street, where there was some sort of commotion. At least a hundred people were assembled on the lawn, holding signs, their voices a low rumble.

Once I’d signed the prerequisite paperwork and they took Newman away, I walked out toward the courthouse. A van from the local television station had pulled up, and a woman with a shoulder-mounted camera was filming the gathering. I stopped on the sidewalk at the edge of the throng. The crowd included men and women of mixed ages. In front of me, a group of younger guys wore deck shoes and polo shirts tucked in their jeans, and two who were probably related had tan faces framed by tousled blond hair. One turned, and his profile made me think of country clubs and sports cars.

How bizarre, I thought.

South Lake Tahoe is not a large town – and not a place where I’d ever seen an organized protest. People visited here for the casinos and to ski or hike or go boating on the lake. The permanent residents made a living catering to tourism, for the most part. The most controversial local issues usually involved nature preservation, which rarely resulted in serious debate.

The front doors to the courthouse building swung open, and two lawyer types in dark suits stepped out, followed by a young black man flanked by a pair of uniformed officers. The volume rose to a shouting level as the crowd pressed forward, their signs thrust in the air.

“You’re a rapist!” a woman’s voice near the front of the pack yelled, and everyone began screaming and waving their fists and signs.

And then, a loud male voice shouted, “We’re gonna take you down!”

I felt the remark reverberate through the crowd, and the hostile energy shifted to high gear. The mob began closing in on the five men, who were trying to follow a path to two squad cars waiting at the curb.

The young black man was tall, his hair razor cut close to the scalp, his dark face shiny in the sunlight. He wore a red necktie, and a blue tattoo crawled up from beneath the collar of his dress shirt. His eyes were half-lidded, and his gait was jaunty, and though his face was an island of black in a sea of white, he surveyed the threatening horde with seeming indifference. No doubt he was from an inner-city ghetto, I surmised. Probably split his time between dealing drugs and performing gymnastics on a basketball court. Sure, it was a racial stereotype. But being politically correct isn’t a big priority in my job.

A balding man in slacks rushed at the suspect but was intercepted by a cop. The black man smirked and widened his eyes in mock fear. In a second, three more guys from the crowd leaped forward, and the cops pulled their billy clubs. In a panic, the lawyers tried to run, but one was shoved to the ground. A young man from the crowd took a billy club to the head, and blood streamed into his eyes. He swung wildly and hit one of the cops flush in the mouth.

From the courthouse entrance, Sheriff Marcus Grier and two deputies burst from the doors and sprinted into the melee. They started pulling and pushing their way through the mass of humanity, but, as if by plan, a cluster of about forty people surrounded the cops and closed in until the officers could no longer move. I saw Grier’s face one moment, his mouth wide in a silent shout, and then, he was gone.

“Shit,” I said. Grier was my friend and a decent guy. Of course, he sometimes was an asshole, but what cop isn’t? I fought my way to where the crowd had pinned the policemen down and started throwing people aside. A woman clawed at my face, and someone punched me in the kidneys. I saw Grier again and made eye contact, and I’d almost reached him when five helmeted officers stormed into the mob. Within a minute, the protesters disbursed, and I saw the tall suspect duck into a squad car along with the suits. The car took off with a screech, and the cops scanned the remaining people, uncertain whom, if anyone, to arrest.

Grier put his smashed cap back on his head and blew out his breath. “I know people are pissed, but I didn’t expect this,” he huffed. “What the hell are you doing here?”

“Not much, besides coming to your rescue.”

“Don’t overrate yourself.”

“I’m good at that, I’m told.”

“Go help her,” Grier said to one of his deputies, pointing to an overweight woman with mussed makeup sitting on the grass and holding her ankle. As soon as the deputy left, a pretty, fortyish lady in tight jeans and jogging shoes walked to where we stood and pointed a red fingernail in Grier’s face.

“Where’s the justice?” she said. “That’s what I want to know.” She stomped her foot like a petulant child, her large breasts bouncing under her top. “Where’s the goddamned justice?”

Grier straightened his collar and crossed his arms below where a button had been torn from his shirt. Behind his back, fellow cops sometimes referred to him as a black Pillsbury Doughboy. Grier battled his weight on a daily basis, but his natural physique would not be denied its puffiness. His arms were too thick for his shirt and looked ready to blow out the seams, and his gun belt rested on a thick paunch that rose from his crotch. His ass was like a medicine ball, and his cap sat high on his jumbo-sized head. We weighed about the same, and I was five inches taller than him.

“Yeah, I know, you’re just like all the other dipshits running our fucked-up court system,” the lady went on, her eyes ablaze. She waved her arm, and the large diamonds on her fingers flashed like glittery weapons.

“I’m sorry you feel that way, ma’am,” Grier said.

She pulled her blonde hair away from her face. “I’ll convey that to Lindsey Addison. I’ll let her know the whole South Lake Tahoe Police Department is really sorry.”

“Blame the courts, not the police,” I said, and instantly wished I hadn’t.

“Who are you?” she snapped.

“Dan Reno, private investigations.” I tried for a smile and handed her a business card.

She looked at my card for a brief moment, then folded it lengthwise and thrust it at me. “Tell you what, Dan. Stick it up your ass.”

***

The next morning, I woke late to an empty house. I had driven Candi, my live-in girlfriend, to the airport in Reno the night before. She was off to visit her folks in Texas for two weeks. I walked to my kitchen in sweats and a T-shirt and started a pot of coffee. Candi had moved in almost a year ago, and people were starting to ask if we planned to get married.

When the coffee was ready, I poured a cup and went out to my deck to read the paper. Candi had given my modest home a makeover – new furniture, paintings, and such – but I preferred the scenery outdoors, especially on a warm, sunny morning. I pulled my picnic table out of the shade cast by the huge pine tree in my yard. The grass surrounding the tree glistened silver in the early sun, which was already high over the mountains that rose from the alpine meadow behind my back fence.

Before I could take a sip, I heard my cell ring in the house. I set my cup down with a sigh and went back inside. “Investigations.”

“Yes, Dan Reno, please,” a woman’s voice said.

“You got him.”

“My name’s Cassie Longfellow. I work for Ryan Addison.” She paused for a long moment, long enough for me to sense she anticipated a certain type of response. Like, Oh my God, you mean the Ryan Addison?

Instead, I said, “Who?”

“Ryan Addison. The actor.”

“Oh, right,” I said. Grier had mentioned him the day before. “Wasn’t he in some movies?”

“Mr. Addison’s been in many movies, as well as a leading TV series.”

“He was in one of those reality shows, right?”

She gave a little gasp. “Absolutely not,” she said, frost edging her voice.

“Sorry, I don’t watch a lot of TV.”

“Apparently not,” she sneered, as if it was an insult. “Mr. Addison would like to meet with you this morning. Can you be here in an hour?”

“What for?”

“He’d like to discuss hiring you.”

I walked back outside into the warmth of the sun and brushed my foot at a scattering of pine needles on the deck. “Where?”

She gave me a local address. “Don’t be late,” she said.

***

The internet hasn’t revolutionized detective work by any stretch, but it’s a convenient way to find information on people, especially those with a public persona. Sitting at the metal army surplus desk in my spare bedroom office, I Googled Ryan Addison, and the first hit provided a complete summary of his career, and then some.

He had spent his early acting years in supporting roles and B-class movies. Ten years ago, he had played his first leading part in a film about a man struggling through a divorce, when his daughter is kidnapped for ransom. The movie was a minor success and led to a role as an FBI agent breaking up a Wall Street Ponzi scheme. That role resulted in an Oscar nomination for best actor. After that, he was in a sitcom I’d never heard of and also starred in a string of films, none of which I recognized, except for a pretty decent cowboy flick. I’d seen the movie and thought Addison played a convincing tough guy.

The summary also contained a long paragraph about Addison’s personal life. He’d had three wives, and his divorces were scandalous messes, complete with public accusations of infidelity and sexual peccadilloes. Addison had apparently also developed a booze problem, which culminated in two drunk driving busts, the second photographed by paparazzi who had followed him from a bar. The pictures of Addison grabbing his crotch and waving his middle finger during the arrest were published in leading gossip magazines. Rather than hurting his career, the incident gained him a cult-like notoriety. In his last two movies, he had played quirky, counterculture characters, and the critics had reacted favorably.

As for his family, Addison had a son and a daughter from his past marriages. His daughter, Lindsey, was the alleged victim in the rape trial that had resulted in the protest at the courthouse. Also notable was Ryan Addison’s father, Troy Addison. He was an old-school actor who had made the transition to politics in the 1990s. Now seventy-five, the senior Addison was a senator in Arizona.

I would have read more, but I still had to shower and shave. I did so in a hurry and put on a fresh pair of jeans and a blue, wrinkle-free shirt I favored because I hated ironing. Before leaving, I opened a can of food for Smokey, the fuzzball cat Candi had brought home last winter. Then, I backed out of my driveway and drove through the neighborhood out to Highway 50, the main drag of South Lake Tahoe. I turned right, toward the California-Nevada state line, two miles east.

Ten minutes later, I accelerated up a steep, curvy road, past a number of expensive vacation homes. At the end of a cul-de-sac was the most impressive of the bunch – a modern Tudor in dark wood, probably five thousand square feet, with a massive river-rock chimney presiding over its peaked roofs. I drove down a long driveway columned by fifty-foot Italian cypress and parked near a stone walkway leading to the front door.

As I walked toward the tiered porch, I paused to take in the expansive view from the top of the hill. The entirety of Lake Tahoe dominated the valley – twenty-two miles north to south and twelve miles wide – the water a deep, sparkling blue. There were only a few wispy clouds in the sky, and I could see clear across the lake to Tahoe City, where streaks of snow still clung to the granite peaks above the town.

“Ahem,” a voice said.

I turned to see a young woman standing in the doorway. “I’m here to see Ryan Addison,” I said.

The woman wrinkled her nose. She was slender and wore her dark hair up. “Yes, I know. I called you.”

I climbed the porch steps.

“You don’t look the part,” she said.

“What part is that?” I asked.

“I thought detectives wore suits.”

“You ever try chasing a guy in a suit?”

“Is that what you do? Chase guys?”

“Sometimes.”

She glanced away with a bored roll of the eyes and a curled lip, as if I’d said something stupid or mundane. Her expression looked practiced and was probably something she’d developed to let the non-celebrity class know their place. I guessed she thought that was an important part of her job.

“Follow me, please,” she said.

I did so without comment. She wore a dress and heels and had no ass to speak of. We walked down a marble floor hallway to a tall, paneled door. She knocked twice and pushed the door open just enough to stick her head in.

“The private investigator,” she said.

“Well, let him in, goddammit.”

She gave me a final, dubious glance, then opened the door wider.

“Dan Reno?” the man said. He sat on the edge of an elaborate hardwood desk, his hands crossed in his lap, as if posing for a photographer. One leg was straight and the other was bent at the knee to reveal an ankle-high suede boot. His beige pants were of a thin material, bunched tight around his crotch.

“It’s Reno, as in no problemo.”

“No problemo, huh? All right, Dan! I like you already.” He hopped off the desk, grabbed a chair on wheels, and pushed it in my direction. The room was lined with bookshelves, and a large window offered a view of a forested canyon. He walked behind me to where Cassie was still standing and watching us. “Thanks, dear,” he said, and closed the door on her. Then, he turned and offered his hand.

“I’m Ryan Addison.” He was a shade under six feet and wore an untucked denim shirt that didn’t hide the barrel-like thickness of his torso. His blond hair was without a hint of gray and fell over his ears onto his tanned neck. Around his blue eyes, the skin was taut and smooth, but elsewhere, it was grainy, as if his square features had been blasted with sand. I had not checked his date of birth, but I’m pretty good at guessing age. I pegged Addison at fifty-five.

We shook, and his hand was rough and dry and almost as big as mine. He gave a good squeeze and held his eyes on mine for a long moment, then he squeezed harder. I didn’t quite know what to make of that, other than to guess he wanted to impress me with his physical strength, even if he was nearly twenty years my senior.

I sat, and he went behind his desk and scooted forward in a leather executive’s chair.

“My daughter’s name is Lindsey. I take it you’ve heard about the results of her trial,” he said.

“I was at the courthouse yesterday. I heard the man accused of raping her was found not guilty.”

His eyes flashed and locked onto mine. “It was a travesty of justice,” he said, his upper lip raised to show his teeth. “The evidence was overwhelming. I’d like to hire you to look into it.”

“What’s there to look into? The jury declared the man innocent.”

“I don’t give a shit what the jury said. My daughter was brutally raped.” He stood and peered down at me. “Listen to this,” he said. “There were three things that happened during the trial. First, an eyewitness changed her mind on stand and said she didn’t see a thing. Then, a second witness disappeared and is still missing. And third, the DNA test results, which proved the son of a bitch was guilty, vanished. The DNA was in police custody, then it was gone. What do you think of that?”

“It sounds like the witnesses were coerced, and someone was paid off to lose the DNA,” I said.

Addison threw up his arms as if pleading to the heavens. “Thank you. Thank you!” He came out from behind the desk, his face dark with a crazed intensity. “I want you to find out who is protecting this rapist – and why. I want you to bust it wide open, and I want to see justice done.”

I looked past him at the rows of books covering the wall behind the desk. They looked like collector’s sets, probably unread. “Mr. Addison, no matter what I uncover, it’s unlikely the defendant would be made to stand trial again. I’m not sure–”

I stopped in midsentence when the door flew open, and a young woman burst into the room. She had a freckled nose, round eyes, and a mouth smudged with lipstick. Black stretch pants clung tightly to the curve of her hips, and under her pink T-shirt, a sports bra flattened her breasts into a band of flesh around her chest.

“I was raped!” she shrieked. “That fucking gorilla did it and laughed at me!”

“Lindsey, honey,” Addison said, rushing to the woman. “Please, you mustn’t–”

“It was like getting fucked by an ape! I can’t wash the stink off of me. His thing was black as wet rubber and like something on a horse!”

His face pooled with color, Addison tried pushing his daughter out the door, but she grabbed the frame. “Rudy!” Addison yelled.

“He fucked my ass and tore up my insides, and I can’t even go to the goddamn bathroom anymore!” Her face was flushed red, and her voice had hit a hysterical pitch.

“Rudy, get over here!” Addison dropped his shoulder and tried to push his daughter through the door, but she held fast.

“Give me a gun, and I’ll kill him! I swear I’ll shoot his dick off!”

A young fellow, one I thought I’d seen at the courthouse, came from behind Lindsey, peeled her fingers from the doorframe, and pulled her out of the room. Before Addison shut the door, I caught a glimpse of his lady assistant, her smug demeanor gone, replaced with an astonished and mortified expression.

Fumbling with the doorknob, Addison locked it, then walked with slumped shoulders back behind his desk. We listened to Lindsey’s screams and sobs become faint. Addison sat and placed his hands on his temples. After a long pause, he said, “I’m sorry you had to see that.”

“I can come back later, if you like.”

When he looked up, his face was slack beneath his fallen eyes. “No, that’s okay,” he mumbled. “We have her in therapy. The shrink said she’s suffering from an unusual form of posttraumatic disorder. She has a compulsion to shout out in public, as if publicizing her experience will help her deal with it. It’s like a temporary case of Tourette’s syndrome.”

“I see.”

“It’s quite awkward, you understand.” He paused and then sighed. “I didn’t raise my daughter to be a racist. I’ve never heard language out of her like that. But I can understand her anger at that black man. Can you?”

“Yes. But there’s plenty of assholes of every race, white included.”

His face jumped, and his lips tightened over his teeth. “You know that from experience, huh?”

“That’s right.”

“I believe you. But somehow, it’s not much of a comfort.” His expression shifted again, and his eyes looked brittle as puddles of thin ice.

“How long ago did the attack happen?” I asked.

“Two months, now.” He straightened in his chair and blew out his breath. “Let’s talk specifics. I want to hire you, effective today.”

“You’re asking me to look into something that could involve police corruption. I’m not sure what I can do for you. It’s a damn uncertain thing.”

“I know it is. Uncover what’s going on and bring me justice, and I’ll double your pay.”

I raised my eyebrows.

“Bend the law, break it, I don’t care. I’ll pay you to do whatever it takes.”

“Breaking the law is not part of what I do,” I said.

Addison smiled. “You’re a lousy liar.”

“Excuse me?”

“I’ve seen your résumé, Dan, and you have a hell of a track record.”

“Says who?”

“I’m connected in Washington.”

“Your father the senator, huh?”

“He’s very unhappy about what happened to his granddaughter. I’ll leave it at that. Anyway, I read your FBI file last night. Impressive stuff.”

I shifted my weight in the chair and rubbed a spot on my jaw. I was aware the FBI had compiled a dossier on me. But I’d never seen it.

“You’ve killed nine men.”

I was silent for a moment before I said, “Self-defense is no crime.”

“It beats the alternative, right?”

“That’s true.”

“You’ll take the job?” he asked.

I stared at Addison, who seemed to have fully recovered from the embarrassment of his daughter’s outburst. I stood and walked over to the single window in the room. My relationship with the South Lake Tahoe PD was something I managed carefully. Marcus Grier was the top cop in town, and he cut me a fair amount of slack. This dated back to three years ago, when I’d been responsible for the demise of a corrupt elected official who’d fired him. After Grier was rehired, he knew he owed me. But I didn’t take his latitude for granted. Our relationship had a certain balance to it. An attempt by me to uncover corruption in his department could easily screw up a good thing. It would be much more difficult to make a living in Tahoe if I put myself on Grier’s shit list.

Still, though, it was hard to pass on the offer of a double rate. Especially given that my phone wasn’t exactly ringing off the hook with work offers. South Lake Tahoe is not a big city, and if I passed on this job, I might wait a month or two before my next shot at a payday.

“Let me sweeten the pot for you,” Addison said. He pushed his chair back from the desk and sat with his legs crossed. “Duante Tucker is the name of the scumbag who raped Lindsey.” He pulled open a drawer and set a four-inch thick folder on the desk. “These are the trial transcripts, complete with all the prosecution’s interviews and so on.”

I came back to Addison’s desk. “How’d you get this?”

“It was brought to me by courier this morning. Tim Cook, the DA, was plenty pissed about giving it up, but pressure was applied.”

“Your old man?”

Addison nodded, then uncrossed his legs and fixed me with a deliberate stare. “Take this case. And if Duante Tucker ends up dead, I’ll pay you a hundred grand.” He reached into the same drawer from which he’d produced the trial folder and placed four bundles of fresh bills on the desk. “Cash,” he said.

“You think I’m a hit man?”

“Not at all, Dan. You’re a licensed private investigator and bounty hunter. But criminals have a tendency to wind up dead when you’re involved. Your record speaks for itself. It’s simple as that.”

I shook my head. “We need to get something straight. I provide a legitimate service. I don’t operate outside the law. If you think I’m some kind of rogue agent, you’re wrong.”

Addison raised his hands in a placating gesture. “I understand completely. I’m simply offering to hire you for the purposes we discussed. Legit and aboveboard.”

“Then put your cash away.”

“As you like.” He returned the packets of crisp notes inside his desk.

“I accept your offer, then,” I said, watching him shut the drawer. “Excluding the part about killing anyone. I’ll bring a contract back this afternoon. I expect to be paid weekly for my time, including expenses.”

“Excellent.” He rose and shook my hand. “By the way, this home belongs to Sam Aldon, who produced my last film. He’s been gracious enough to offer it to my family and me for the summer. I’ll be either here or at my home in Beverly Hills for the next two months. In early October, I’m leaving for Europe to begin a new film.”

“And?”

“I hope to have this matter resolved well before then.”

“I understand.”

“Good.” We began walking toward the door, then he stopped. “Oh, there’s one more thing I forgot to mention. I’ve also hired another person to work on this. Because Duante Tucker lives in San Jose, I felt it would help to have an investigator based there involved. I understand he’s someone you know.”

“Who’s that?”

“Cody Gibbons.”

I tried to keep my face blank, but I felt my brow crease.

Review: The Craftsman by Sharon Bolton #HeWillComeForYou

Goodreads|Amazon US|Amazon UK

Release date: May 3, 2018

Publisher: Trapeze

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

Blurb:

Catching him will make her career – and change her forever.

August, 1999

On the hottest day of the year, Assistant Commissioner Florence Lovelady attends the funeral of Larry Glassbrook, the convicted murderer she arrested thirty years earlier. A master carpenter and funeral director, Larry imprisoned his victims, alive, in the caskets he made himself. Clay effigies found entombed with their bodies suggested a motive beyond the worst human depravity.

June, 1969

13-year- old Patsy Wood has been missing for two days, the third teenager to disappear in as many months. New to the Lancashire police force and struggling to fit in, WPC Lovelady is sent to investigate an unlikely report from school children claiming to have heard a voice calling for help. A voice from deep within a recent grave.

August, 1999

As she tries to lay her ghosts to rest, Florence is drawn back to the Glassbrooks’ old house, in the shadow of Pendle Hill, where she once lodged with the family. She is chilled by the discovery of another effigy – one bearing a remarkable resemblance to herself. Is the killer still at large? Is Florence once again in terrible danger? Or, this time, could the fate in store be worse than even her darkest imaginings?

I couldn’t be more thrilled to be one of the stops on the blog tour for The Craftsman today!

Review:

Last year Sharon Bolton had me raving about a book containing hot air balloons, nuns, human trafficking and peacocks, yes Dead Woman Walking took all of those elements and delivered a thriller the likes of which I’d never seen before. Until now. The Craftsman delves into witchcraft and clay effigies (think voodoo dolls) and has a supernatural undercurrent that normally wouldn’t work so well for me, but this? This was genius.

It’s starts in 1999 and Florence is attending the funeral of a killer she helped to catch back in 1969. It immediately jumps back to that time period and remains there until almost the end. Florence was exceptionally well developed, I loved seeing how she grew and matured between the late sixties and late nineties, she was such an interesting woman and the way she was mistreated as a female police officer at the start of her career was appalling but fascinating.

This was so immersive, the atmosphere was chilling and eerie and full of tension, both because of the missing teenagers and also because of the hostility that Florence experiences all because she’s a woman. The case was complex and kept me on my toes and the ending was outstanding, I never saw it coming! Bolton is at the top of her game, I can’t recommend this book and her work more, she’s a truly gifted author.

The Craftsman in three words: Intricate, Chilling and Dark.

Overall rating: 5/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.

Review: Good Neighbors by Joanne Serling

Goodreads|Amazon

Release date: February 6, 2018

Publisher: Twelve

Genre: Contemporary Fiction

Blurb:

A searing portrait of suburbia, friendship, and family strained by a devotion to false appearances.

In an idyllic suburb, four young families quickly form a neighborhood clique, their friendships based on little more than the ages of their children and a shared sense of camaraderie. When one of the couples, Paige and Gene Edwards, adopt a four-year-old girl from Russia, the group’s loyalty and morality is soon called into question. Are the Edwards unkind to their new daughter? Or is she a difficult child with hidden destructive tendencies?

As the seams of the group friendship slowly unravel, neighbor Nicole Westerhof finds herself drawn further into the life of the adopted girl, forcing Nicole to re-examine the deceptive nature of her own family ties, and her complicity in the events unfolding around her.

Review:

Are you guys sick of my obsession with books with neighbors in the title yet?! I hope not because I have at least one more in my immediate TBR pile, so stick with me. I’ve said it before, but there is something so interesting about the secret lives of the people you live next door to, they may look like the ideal, happy little family but oftentimes that’s just what is presented to the world. Good Neighbors follows four couples who’s only true connection is their proximity and the age of their children. Oddly enough, when one of the couples adopts a Russian little girl things start to splinter and their idyllic little world begins to crumble.

This is told from Nicole’s point of view and it’s written in a peculiar way, the writing style was almost staccato, there was an abruptness at times, the sentences were often short and sparse but strangely enough I liked it. There was a simplicity about it that I liked and it read differently than your average book, it had a style all of it’s own. Nicole was well drawn for the most part, but there were some loose ends surrounding her extended family that I wish would’ve been more resolved in the end. Actually, the ending in general was left very open and I tend to like things that are resolved more.

This was a slow building, character driven domestic drama that’s light on the suspense but intriguing in it’s own way. It almost had a literary fiction type of feeling, it was smart and smooth and there would be much to discuss with a book club. I can’t really think of any other book or author to compare it to and sometimes that’s actually great.

Good Neighbors in three words: Intelligent, Steady and Interesting.

Overall rating: 3/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.

About the Author:

Joanne Serling’s fiction has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and has appeared in New Ohio Review and North American Review. She is a graduate of Cornell University and studied and taught fiction at The Writers Studio in New York City. She lives outside of New York with her husband and children and is at work on her second book.

Connect with Joanne

Website | Facebook | Twitter

Review: One Way or Another by Colleen Coleman @CollColemanAuth @Bookouture

Goodreads

Release date: April 26, 2018

Publisher: Bookouture

Genre: Romantic Comedy

Blurb:

Twenty-nine-year-old Katie Kelly is at an all-time low. The love of her life, gorgeous Ben Cole, took a job abroad and broke her heart, the restaurant she’d put her all into went bust, and now she works in a retirement home, cooking beige mush for the residents.

Not exactly the life Katie had dreamed of…

So when the opportunity comes up to work for one of the best chefs in the country – Katie’s idol – she is determined to get the job, no matter what. But then she discovers who she’s competing against: Ben.

As the competition heats up, Katie and Ben spend more and more time together, and it’s clear the old spark is still there… But only one person can win their perfect job, and Katie is going to make sure it’s her. She knows she can’t let Ben back in – or can she find a way to have it all?

A hilarious, heart-warming story about romance, good food, and following your dreams, for fans of Lindsey Kelk, Marian Keyes and Cate Woods.

I’m so thrilled to be one of the stops on the blog tour for One Way or Another today!

Review:

Colleen Coleman is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors for several reasons, but one of the things that I enjoy the most about every single one of her books is that she writes stories about female empowerment with such positive messages, you can’t help but feel ready to conquer the world by the time you finish one of her books! Her books are so well rounded, you get the hopeful messages but you also get some romance and humor and this time around you get food, how does it get any better?!

Katie is such a likable person, she’s totally relatable, she has moments where she’s kick ass and fearless and then others where she’s down in the dumps and hard on herself. We all have highs and lows of course so it’s extremely easy to empathize with Katie’s woes. I’m such a foodie so naturally I adored that aspect of this book, although it did make me super hungry! Add in some amazing secondary characters who ranged from the hilarious and inspiring to the nasty and rude and you have a fantastic, emotionally charged plot that made for such an enjoyable read.

Grab this one when you’re in the mood for a super fun read that offers lovely messages of hope but not in a pushy way, Coleman gets her point across in an easy and non confrontational manner that leaves you happy, smiling and wanting to make your own mark on the world.

One Way or Another in three words: Encouraging, Delightful and Positive.

Overall rating: 5/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.

About the Author:

Colleen was born in Canada and raised in Ireland. She is the winner of the much-coveted Novelicious Undiscovered People’s Choice Award launched to find the next ‘chick-lit star’.

She spent years teaching English and Philosophy before finally taking a deep breath, scrunching both eyes shut, putting her pen to paper and vowing not to lift it again until she wrote the words ‘the end’. As a result, her first novel, Don’t Stop Me Now was born.

Colleen lives between London, Ireland and Cyprus with her very patient husband and very,very chatty twin daughters.

For chat, pics and updates visit www.colleencolemanbooks.com

https://twitter.com/CollColemanAuth

Review: A Home at Honeysuckle Farm by ChristieBarlow @ChristieJBarlow @rararesources

Goodreads|Amazon

Release date: April 6, 2018

Publisher: HarperImpulse

Genre: Women’s Fiction

Blurb:

A family secret

One shocking argument and ten-year-old Alice Parker’s world was turned upside down. Her peaceful life at Honeysuckle Farm in the quiet rural village of Brook Bridge swapped for the bustling metropolis of New York City. Alice’s life was changed forever…

A second chance

Now, thirteen years later, Alice’s American dream is over. With her life in tatters, there is only one place Alice wants to be… home at Honeysuckle Farm. So, when Alice learns her beloved Grandie is ill, she knows this is her last chance to heal the family rift.

A forever home?

But secrets still swirl in Brook Bridge, and Alice is no closer to discovering the truth. And for some reason her new friendship with local heartthrob Sam Reid seems to be making the locals tense.

Sick of the lies Alice knows it’s time to lay the past to rest once and for all. But could the truth ruin her hopes of ever calling Honeysuckle Farm home again?

I’m so pleased to be helping close down the blog tour for A Home at Honeysuckle Farm today!

Review:

When I curl up with a new Christie Barlow book I just know I’m about to have an enjoyable read, every single time she nails the perfect combination of elements that I crave in lighthearted fiction; a relatable and fun protagonist, a pretty setting, an interesting storyline and a hint of a mystery and A Home at Honeysuckle Farm delivered on all fronts.

Alice was they type of character that I wish was my own friend, she’s sweet and funny with a huge heart and an endearing personality. Her mom and grandfather have a very strained relationship for reasons unknown to her and this is where the secretive, mysterious aspect comes into play. Often times in women’s fiction I feel like attempts at plot twists are super obvious, but Barlow always manages to surprise me. Besides Alice, the village of Brook Bridge was chock full of amazing secondary characters, a truly charming and delightful group of people.

I’m such a huge fan of Christie Barlow and I could gush over this book all the live long day, but I’ll spare you and just say that if you want a read that will make you smile and keep you entertained, look no further.

A Home at Honeysuckle Farm in three words: Warm, Sweet and Happy.

Overall rating: 5/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.

About the Author:

Christie Barlow is the author of A Year in the Life of a Playground Mother, The Misadventures of a Playground Mother, Kitty’s Countryside Dream, Lizzie’s Christmas Escape, Evie’s Year of Taking Chances, The Cosy Canal Boat Dream and A Home at Honeysuckle Farm. Her writing career came as somewhat a surprise when she decided to write a book to teach her children a valuable life lesson and show them that they are capable of achieving their dreams. The book she wrote to prove a point is now a #1 bestseller in the UK, USA & Australia.

Christie is an ambassador for @ZuriProject raising money/awareness and engaging with impoverished people in Uganda through organisations to improve their well-being as well as Literary Editor for www.mamalifemagazine.co.uk bringing you all the latest news and reviews from the book world.

She loves to hear from her readers and you can get in touch via her website www.christiebarlow.com Twitter @ChristieJBarlow and Facebook page Christie Barlow author

Review: Baby Teeth by Zoje Stage

Goodreads|Amazon

Release date: July 17, 2018

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

Blurb:

Sweetness can be deceptive.

Meet Hanna.

She’s the sweet-but-silent angel in the adoring eyes of her Daddy. He’s the only person who understands her, and all Hanna wants is to live happily ever after with him. But Mommy stands in her way, and she’ll try any trick she can think of to get rid of her. Ideally for good.

Meet Suzette.

She loves her daughter, really, but after years of expulsions and strained home schooling, her precarious health and sanity are weakening day by day. As Hanna’s tricks become increasingly sophisticated, and Suzette’s husband remains blind to the failing family dynamics, Suzette starts to fear that there’s something seriously wrong, and that maybe home isn’t the best place for their baby girl after all.

Review:

I want to start by saying that I think this book will be extremely divisive, it’s uncomfortable, bold and full of shocking scenarios, and very over the top. BUT, it worked really well for me and there was an originality to it, I really haven’t read anything like it before and it’s not a book I’ll soon forget.

This alternates between a mother, Suzette, a woman who desperately wants to connect to her daughter, and Hanna, a seven year old girl. While obviously I could relate more to Suzette, Hanna’s point of view was far more compelling to me. She’s a creepy little girl and I wasn’t quite sure if she was a super clever little actress, skilled in sophisticated manipulation or a child with some serious mental issues who needed professional help in the worst way. Many of her chapters were chilling, a glimpse inside the mind of a child who behaves in abhorrent ways is the type of stuff nightmares are made of!

While this was definitely a thriller it almost read like a horror novel at some points, Stage created a really creepy atmosphere in the Jensen home, one full of uneasiness and dread and undercurrents of a dark danger. She’s a gifted writer and her ability to write two distinct narratives was excellent, if you’ve read this I would LOVE to discuss it!

Baby Teeth in three words: Controversial, Twisted and Wicked.

Overall rating: 4/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.

Blog Tour: The Last Friend by Harvey Church @HarveyChurch1 @CarolineBookBit #TheLastFriend

Goodreads|Amazon

Release date: January 9, 2018

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

Blurb:

The Knock on his Door…That Changed his Life

Fifteen years after Donovan’s daughter is abducted, Monica Russell knocks on his door. She claims she knew his daughter while in captivity and says she made a promise to tell him about their friendship.

The Last Friend to hold His Daughter’s Hand

When Monica claims to know where his daughter’s remains are buried, Donovan is immediately committed to doing whatever this last friend needs from him, regardless of the warnings from his family and friends.

The Friend Who Can Help Him Seek Vengeance

And when Monica claims to know where he can find the man who abducted, assaulted, and murdered his princess, Donovan knows he will stop at nothing to get his vengeance.

What Cost Will He Ultimately Pay?

Monica claims she can show Donovan a lot of things about his daughter, but what price will Donovan ultimately pay the young lady who claims to be the last friend to know his daughter?

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for The Last Friend! I read and really liked this book late last year and am so pleased to be sharing some more with you guys today.

The Last Friend – Harvey Church
Character Spotlight
– Special Agent Mike Klein –

| Who is Special Agent Mike Klein

Klein is an old-school investigator. He began his career investigating missing people, kidnappings, abductions, ransoms, etc.. But with funding constraints, his unit has shrunk. He’s now overworked, hitting the mid-point in fifties and eyeing retirement.

He believes in the justice system, the rule of law, and that makes things difficult for him in the case of Elizabeth Glass and the many other young girls who have gone missing in The Last Friend.

| The Inspiration for Klein’s Character

Once, while I was out of town with my family, I dined out at a restaurant. Nothing fancy, just a regular place, and it was packed. At the next table, there was a trio of older men. One of them was the most handsome older man I’d ever seen – strong jaw, penetrating eyes, the kind of tan and weathered look that belongs in a Western Romance. At this man’s worst, he’d look better than me at my best. As we all do, I started wondering what this man did for a living. In my mind, he was an investigator. The only reason he was dining at this restaurant was because the owners had kidnapped kids from across the country and forced them into working for them, and this special agent was going to lock the place down once his crème brûlée arrived. (Okay, I might have had wine, on an empty stomach, but that was honestly how Klein’s character came to me).

| The Creation of Klein

Er, see above?

I’ll add that bringing the old guy from the restaurant into my novel involved giving him traits that—oh, wait, I get to talk about that next…

| About Klein’s Character

So, as I was saying, adapting the good-looking old man to the novel wasn’t as easy as I thought. Was he married? What’s his past? What does his office look like? And, most importantly, how do these things reveal themselves when Klein is a secondary character to the grieving father (Donovan) and his missing daughter’s last friend (Monica)?

To compensate for Klein’s secondary role in the Last Friend he is the secondary character of another novel I’ve written (The Last Night) as well as one in development for a summer 2018 publication. The summer 2018 novel gets more into Klein’s head as he tidies up some loose ends from The Last Friend, particularly that opening chapter…

| Does he have any similarities with anyone ‘real’?
If so .. tell us more!

If anyone ever asked me what Klein and I have in common, the answer would be: nothing. We are polar opposites in terms of our nicotine addictions, our calm and collected way of dealing with injustice, our beliefs in the ‘system,’ our views on politics, how we dress, and what’s important to us. That’s not to say or suggest that special agent Mike Klein is an idiot (because it’s probably the other way around), but we’d probably not cheer for the same football team. And if we were ever seated at a bar together—okay, we share an appreciation for single malts, which is a start, I suppose—we’d probably disagree about things like fiscal policy, which Netflix show to watch next, and whether David Hasselhoff is going to make a comeback as Michael Knight.

| What do you like most about your character?

He’s fearless and certain about everything he does. Klein doesn’t make mistakes. Plus, he’s the type of guy that offers hope that a better world exists outside of all of the horrible things that happen around us.

| What do you dislike about your protagonist’s character?

Klein’s inflexibility doesn’t allow him to see shades of grey. For Klein, everything is a black and white problem. In The Last Friend, that’s not a big problem—a young girl was kidnapped and her captor should suffer. But in The Last Night, things aren’t so black and white, and that causes issues for Klein.

| Would you and Klein be friends ‘in real life’?

I think it’s good and smart to be friends with people who can save your life, and Klein could definitely do that. But he probably wouldn’t cheer for my favourite teams, and he’d likely try to stiff me for the tab if we went out for drinks. Plus, I bet he enjoys golfing, and I can swear and throw things out of frustration in the comfort of my own home, without having to pay inflated green fees, thank you very much. So, no, Klein and I likely wouldn’t be friends.

| What’s Next?

Up next for Klein is the novel, The Last Night. In this one, Ethan Vernon’s wife was taken away from her home in an ambulance in the middle the night. Except she never made it to the emergency room. When Ethan starts doubting himself, he searches the other hospitals, always with the same result: your wife’s not here. At his wits’ end, he calls emergency services and learns that no ambulance was ever dispatched to his house in the first place. In fact, Ethan himself becomes a suspect in what he believes is a massive cover-up, only to come face-to-face with a truth he might rather never know. Guess who is in the middle of this mess? Yup, special agent Mike Klein.

About the Author:

Harvey Church has a background in finance, which is how he found himself writing about the people and ridiculousness (sometimes the same thing) of that field in his Edwin Burrows light mystery series. Although he considers himself retired from that field (aka not working), he’s planning another three Edwin Burrows novels for 2018.

His first “serious” novel, The Last Friend, is a Kindle Scout writing competition winner and was published by Kindle Press on January 9, 2018. The BookLife Prize called it “an entertaining read for mystery and thriller fans alike,” and said it is “an unexpected and exciting series of events that will grab readers.” Harvey plans two sister novels to The Last Friend in 2018, one titled The Last Night (Spring 2018) and the other tentatively titled The Last Survivor.

For fun, Harvey likes to practice street magic and spends hours engineering tricks to wow his audiences. He is also an avid hockey fan (Go Leafs Go). He has a wife and two kids. His favorite color is blue, but he drives a black car because he read somewhere, back in the 90’s, that radar detectors have a tough time seeing them. Interestingly, he never speeds because he’s too busy singing like nobody’s watching, or maybe it’s that everybody is deaf.

He’s a supporter of double-chins, double-dates, and double-dipping (though never on double-dates), and obviously enjoys writing about himself in the third person, in the voice of the narrator from The Royal Tenenbaums.

Connect with Harvey Church by searching Harvey Church Mysteries on Facebook, at @hashtag_harv on Instagram, and @harveychurch1 on Twitter. You can also find him wandering the streets of Chicago, Toronto, Montreal or the Lido deck of a Princess Cruise ship. If you ever meet Harv, ask to see a magic trick!

Don’t forget to sign up for his email list at AListHarvey.com

Harvey Church Online:

Website:harveychurchmysteries.com
Twitter:
twitter.com/HarveyChurch1
Instagram:www.instagram.com/hashtag_harv/