Category Archives: New Release Mondays

New Release Mondays: The Church of the Holy Child by Patricia Hale

Author Name: Patricia Hale

Book Title: The Church of the Holy Child

Book Genre: Mystery/Suspense

Release Date: August 15, 2017

Synopsis: When a missing woman is found dead, her husband is charged, but when a second body appears showing the same wounds questions arise and what looked like a slam-dunk becomes anyone’s guess. The bodies are piling up, and one person knows where the killer is. Father Francis, a priest at The Church of the Holy Child, listens to the killer’s disturbed account of each murder and wrestles with the vows that bind him to secrecy.

Excerpt: His breath was warm on my neck, his lips hot and dry. His tongue searched the delicate skin below my ear. Heart quickening, back arching, I rose to meet him.

The phone on the nightstand vibrated.

“Shit,” Griff whispered, peeling away from me, our clammy skin reluctant to let go.  He swung his feet over the edge of the bed and flashed me his bad-boy, half-smile. “Cole,” he said into the phone.

At times like this, cell phones rate right alongside other necessary evils like cod liver oil and flu shots. I leaned against his back and caressed his stomach, damp dunes of sculpted muscle. Not bad for a guy north of forty. Griff still measured himself against the hotshots in the field. But in my book he had nothing to worry about; I’d take the stable, wise, worn-in model over a wet behind the ear, swagger every time.

He pried my fingers from his skin and walked toward the bathroom still grunting into the phone.

I slipped into my bathrobe and headed for the kitchen. I have my morning priorities and since the first one was interrupted by Griff’s phone, coffee comes in a close second.

Twenty minutes later he joined me dressed in his usual attire, jeans, boots, tee shirt and sport jacket. Coming up behind me, he nuzzled my neck as I poured Breakfast Blend into a travel mug. Coffee splashed onto the counter top.

“Gotta run,” he said taking the cup from my hand.

“What’s up?”

“Not sure yet. That was John. He said he could use a hand.”

“Sobering up?

Griff flinched like I’d landed one to his gut.

“Sorry,” I said. “Cheap shot.”

“Woman found dead early this morning.”

About the author: Patricia Hale received her MFA degree from Goddard College. Her essays have appeared in literary magazines and the anthology, My Heart’s First Steps. Her debut novel, In the Shadow of Revenge, was published in 2013. The Church of the Holy Child is the first book in her PI series featuring the team of Griff Cole and Britt Callahan. Patricia is a member of Sister’s in Crime, Mystery Writer’s of America, NH Writer’s Project and Maine Writer’s and Publisher’s Alliance. She lives in New Hampshire with her husband and two dogs. Find her at  www.patriciahale.org

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New Release Mondays: Ruined Stones by Eric Reed

Eric Reed is the not-so-secret pen name of Mary Reed and Eric Mayer, adopted to distinguish their new WW2 mysteries from their long-running John, Lord Chamberlain Byzantine mystery series, the eleventh entry in which, Murder In Megara, appeared in 2015. They have been writing together since 1992 and also co-author short stories. The most recent, Time’s Revenge, was published in March 2017 in Bound By Mystery, a collection of over thirty stories by Poisoned Pen Press authors celebrating the publishers’ 20th anniversary.

Author Name: Eric Reed

Book Title: Ruined Stones

Book Genre: World War Two mystery

Release Date: July 4, 2017

Synopsis: Women’s Police Auxilliary Corps Constable Grace Baxter moves to Newcastle-on-Tyne in 1941. The city’s bone-numbing cold, fogs, and constant threat of bombing, as well as the peculiar behavior of some residents, test her resolve to be an effective officer. What role do ancient rituals play in murder and what follows? Her investigation must continue despite the blackout, fear, and the hostility of her male colleagues. Will it also endanger her life?

Excerpt: She tried to put doubts out of her mind. She crossed her arms and hunched her shoulders, attempting to keep warm. A chill drizzle, not quite fog, not quite rain, flled the grey metallic air. She might have been back in Noddweir, standing in the middle of the stone circle on the summit of Guardians Hill. The remains of the temple walls, half hidden by tall grass, were like the smaller, overgrown boulders in the circle. The pair of four foot or so high altars resembled the larger stones.

The place gave her the same shivery sensation she received from Noddweir’s stone circle. The ancient rocks still breathed out the past and caught within their compass, like a wasp in amber, was something unthinkably old and powerful. Did everyone feel this? The Romans who built the temple must have. Or was it simply her overactive imagination? As she turned to look around, a cold droplet fell from the brim of her hat and hit the back of her hand, startling her out of her musings. Surely it was only coincidence that her first official investigation should, like her frst unofficial one, involve an ancient pagan ruin. She needed to be concentrating on her new job, not daydreaming about the countryside and her old life. By contrast, fogs here were sulfurous, thick and oppressive, not the white, gentle blankets common to the countryside.

She could imagine the fog was smoke from the fires of a Roman encampment on the furthest border of the empire. Here civilization took its stand against the savagery beyond. Even as today the line was drawn here, Britain standing almost alone against Nazi savagery. For an instant ghostly walls rose around her and she sensed murmurous words she could not understand. She shook herself free of the illusion. Certainly it was nothing but an illusion. She needed to examine the site of what Baines had described as “the incident.”

Mary and Eric’s website is at http://home.earthlink.net/~maywrite/

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New Release Mondays: The Walls by Hollie Overton

Hollie Overton is a TV writer, producer and novelist. She has written for Shadowhunters, Cold Case, and The Client List, Hollie’s debut thriller, BABY DOLL was an international bestseller and published in eleven countries. Hollie lives in Hollywood with her husband and rescue dog.

Book Title: The Walls

Book Genre: Thriller

Release Date: 8/08/2017

Excerpt: Kristy regarded the sign posted at the entrance to the cellblock: NOTE. NO HOSTAGES WILL EXIT THROUGH THIS GATE. This sign served as a reminder that on death row these inmates were not to be trusted, that in here, your life hung in a delicate balance. For some reason, right Kristy glanced over at one of the cells, inexplicably drawn to it. Through the tiny sliver of glass, she spotted an inmate, his body splayed out on the floor beside his state-issued cot. Baby Killer Harris. That’s what the press and some of the guards called him. Kristy knew him as Clifton Harris. He had been sentenced eight years ago for killing his two young children.

Jesus Christ, he’s bleeding,” Kristy said, turning toward the warden. She hated how shrill and high-pitched her voice sounded, like this man had a paper cut and not wrists that were flayed open. The warden stepped forward, looking through the window to confirm that what Kristy was saying was true.

“Get some more officers down here. Now!” Warden Solomon shouted to Bruce, who pressed a button on his radio, the squawking sound echoing down the halls.

“Get back,” the warden yelled at Kristy. The buzzer sounded and the cell door’s lock opened. Unable to wrench her gaze from Clifton’s pale face, his blue lips, his eyes rolling back in his head, Kristy rushed past the warden and pushed the door open, kneeling beside Clifton, touching his neck and searching for a pulse.

“Hold on, Clifton. Just hold on.”

Clifton’s eyes fluttered open, haunted, life slipping from them. A bloodstained hand reached out, grasping Kristy’s wrist.

“Ms. Tucker, I can’t do this no more. I can’t,” he begged, that same hand now reaching up to grab Kristy’s collarbone. “Just let me go,” Clifton begged, his hand starting to squeeze.

In this moment Kristy’s wondered if Ryan had been right all along, that by staying in this job, by accepting what they did here, she had made a fatal mistake.

 

For more about Hollie visit www.hollieoverton.com

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New Release Mondays: Look the Other Way by Kristina Stanley

Author Name: Kristina Stanley

Book Title: Look the Other Way

Genre: Romantic Suspense

Release Date: August 1, 2017

Excerpt: CHAPTER ONE

Shannon

Kingston, Ontario

“We’re letting you go.”

Shannon Payne inhaled deeply, but the breath didn’t ease the tightness gripping her throat.

“I thought I was getting a raise today.”

Veronica Smythe slid an envelope across the surface of her desk.

“I’m not sure why you’d think that.”

The dreaded envelope of doom sat inches from Shannon. Did she dare flick it back at her boss?

“Because that was part of my contract. I accepted the lower wage with the understanding I’d be given a bump in pay at the end of three months.”

Veronica reached across the desk and tapped her acrylic fingernails on Shannon’s name written in sloppy cursive across the center of the unsealed envelope.

“It’s all explained in there.”

“You can’t just let me go because my three-month probationary period ends tomorrow.” Shannon fidgeted with the jacket of her favorite pantsuit, pulling the front seams tight over her blouse. She jammed her stiletto heels into the plush carpet, subduing the tremor that had taken hold of her legs.

“Did I do something wrong?”

“We don’t have the budget to keep you on. It’s nothing personal.”

“Of course it’s personal. I quit a good job and took a risk on this upstart newspaper. You persuaded me to do that.” Shannon’s heart hammered in her chest, and she tried to focus her attention on Veronica, but there was Lance to think about, too. What the heck was she going to tell him? Hi honey, how was your day? By the way, we can’t afford the house we looked at last night.

“I didn’t persuade you to do anything.” Veronica walked to the window and rested her backside on the ledge. The skirt she wore was an inch too short and pinched her thighs. She crossed her arms and looked down her long nose at Shannon.

“When is this effective?”

“Immediately.” Veronica twisted a gold bracelet around her wrist, playing with the sculpted butterfly that connected the chain together. “Obviously, you knew about the probationary period.”

Shannon shoved her own bracelet underneath her sleeve. She’d rather hide the bracelet than let Veronica know they had the same taste in jewelry. On her last birthday, Lance had left the gift on her pillow, and knowing Veronica had an identical one diminished its sentimental value.

“How long have you known this?”

“I’m not sure how that’s relevant.”

Rain pelted the windows framing the corner office. The waves frothing across Lake Ontario matched the motion in Shannon’s stomach.

“You could have given me more time to find another job.”

“I suggest you start looking now for somewhere else to work.”

“Do I get a reference?”

“Yes.” Veronica nodded at the envelope. “It’s in there.”

Shannon didn’t understand the coldness of Veronica’s tone. The change in her behavior had started a month ago, but she couldn’t figure out what she’d done to offend the woman. Female competition in the workplace? Not likely. Otherwise, Veronica wouldn’t have hired her.

“Kingston is a small town. There aren’t many jobs available in our industry.”

“You’re a reporter. Do some investigating, and you’ll find something.”

Shannon dropped her gaze to The Kernel’s competing newspapers. The Whig Standard and The Herald were strewn across Veronica’s desk, highlighted and written on. Three months ago, Shannon left a secure job at The Whig to join The Kingston Kernel, thinking working for a new paper would be exciting. The Kingston Kernel targeted the online market, and Shannon mistakenly believed her career would soar if she was part of a company that embraced new technology. Now she needed to find a new job and fast.

Veronica twirled a pen between her thumb and forefinger, examining it as if it might do something interesting.

“You could move to a bigger city. That might be easier for you.”

What? Leaving the company wasn’t good enough. Veronica wanted her to leave Kingston, too.

“I can’t. My fiancé is doing his residency at the hospital.”

Synopsis: SUBMERGED BENEATH THE DEPTHS IS A SEA OF SECRETS…

A year after her Uncle Bobby mysteriously disappears in the turquoise waters surrounding the Bahamas, Shannon Payne joins her grieving aunt to trace Bobby’s last voyage. Shannon hopes the serenity of the sea might help her recover from a devastating breakup with her fiancé.

Sailing the 38-foot catamaran, A Dog’s Cat, is Captain Jake Hunter, a disillusioned cop who has sworn off women. While Shannon tries to resist her growing attraction to the rugged captain, she uncovers dark truths about her uncle’s death that might send them all to the depths.

About the author: Kristina Stanley is the co-founder and Chief Creative Officer of Feedback Innovations: a company created to help writers rewrite better fiction. She is the best-selling author of the Stone Mountain Mystery Series. Her first two novels garnered the attention of prestigious crime writing organizations in Canada and England. DESCENT, BLAZE, and AVALANCE are published by Imajin Books. THE AUTHOR’S GUIDE TO SELLING BOOKS TO NON-BOOKSTORES is her first non-fiction book.

New Release Mondays: Too Many Women in the Room by Joanne Guidoccio

TIP: Be sure to read to the end! There’s a giveaway!!

Author Name: Joanne Guidoccio

Book Title: Too Many Women in the Room

Book Genre: Cozy Mystery

Release Date: May 19, 2017

Synopsis: Gilda Greco’s life is awash with complications as she wrestles with a certain detective’s commitment issues and growing doubts about her risky investment in Xenia, an innovative Greek restaurant near Sudbury, Ontario. Frustrated, Gilda launches her own investigation and uncovers decades-old secrets and resentments that have festered until they explode into untimely death. Can Gilda outwit a killer bent on killing again?

Excerpt: Carlo’s hand caressed my thigh. More sex. The man could be insatiable. And it had been almost two weeks since our last romp. We started to kiss and then his cell phone vibrated.

Carlo groaned as he leaned over and picked up the phone. He sat up, his back to me. “What’s happened?” he barked. Carlo’s shoulders tensed. A long sigh and then his terse words. “Clear the perimeter, stat.”

Clear the perimeter. My heart beat faster as I recalled the last time I had heard those dreaded words. It could mean only one thing. Another murder. Two murders in less than twenty-hours. What were the chances of that happening in Sudbury? At the Christmas party, the police chief had bragged about one of the lowest murder rates in Canada during the past twelve months.

I swallowed hard. “What’s wrong?”

Carlo turned and gave me a long glance. “Andrew Frattini was found dead in the alleyway behind the ReCareering office.”

The nightmare couldn’t be starting again. This time with different players but still with the same intent. To pin the murder on me. But that strategy wouldn’t work. I had an iron-clad alibi no one could refute.

Carlo dressed quickly. He picked up his phone and then turned toward me. “Stay clear of this, Gilda.”

“How can I ignore it?” I said as I felt myself tearing up. “Someone’s trying to frame me again.”

He leaned over and kissed me. “Well, they didn’t succeed, did they?”

About the Author: In 2008, Joanne Guidoccio retired from a 31-year teaching career and launched a second act that tapped into her creative side and utilized her well-honed organizational skills. Slowly, a writing practice emerged. Her articles and book reviews were published in newspapers, magazines, and online. When she tried her hand at fiction, she made reinvention a recurring theme in her novels and short stories. A member of Crime Writers of Canada, Sisters in Crime, and Romance Writers of America, Joanne writes cozy mysteries, paranormal romance, and inspirational literature from her home base of Guelph, Ontario.  Find Joanne on her website.

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New Release Mondays: Parent Teacher Association by Jennifer Soosar

Author Name: Jennifer Soosar

Book Title: Parent Teacher Association

Book Genre: Psychological suspense

Release Date:  June 24, 2017

Synopsis: Fresh out of a mental hospital, Lizanne Demeter is thrilled when she’s hired as a schoolteacher in a backwater town.

But hopes for a peaceful life are ruined when ‘helicopter mom’ Naomi pushes Lizanne to the brink.

As Lizanne unravels the secret behind Naomi’s agenda, deadly clues emerge.

With her life teetering on chaos, Lizanne risks everything to expose the truth. But first, she must prove herself a more dedicated teacher than anyone dared imagine—the kind who makes ALL the difference.

Excerpt: There hadn’t been a letter back from Clint in a while. The window of time between previous back-and-forth letters had passed. And then some.

Lizanne knew she needed patience with the prison system, and the speed at which mail travelled within it, but she couldn’t help feel more and more anxious each day nothing arrived from him. There should have been something by now. It wasn’t unreasonable to expect something, in this long time.

All she wanted was a fresh letter from Clint to luxuriate in. Confirmation that her romance was growing—expanding—and that he still needed and loved her. Lizanne Demeter needed it now desperately.

What if he didn’t like the tattoo?

Had she gone too far with that? Had it scared him off?

Yes, it was a bit crazy, a bit impulsive. But it was romantic, too. Plus, he had wanted a gesture, had asked for one and left the door open to interpretation. No, the Clint’s Girl tattoo couldn’t be the reason he hadn’t written back yet.

What if some other woman is writing to him? What if he’s busy with her? Falling in love with her?

Then Lizanne logged onto Clint’s profile on LockUpLink.com. Mother of pearl, it was still up! Even though they were a couple, he hadn’t bothered to take his listing down. Anybody could still write to him—any woman out there in the whole world!

Maybe he has no control of it. Just ask him nicely to take it down next time he gets computer privileges. He’ll understand. He will.

But would he? The relationship was still young. What if he got offended at being told what to do? Men didn’t like that. But the profile needed to be removed. It wasn’t an unreasonable request. They were boyfriend/girlfriend—they were in love.

It was of utmost importance to Lizanne that she maintain her position of control here. Clint Hubert was a gorgeous, intelligent, decent man—a prize catch—and any dumb skank trolling the LockUpLink website would recognize that for herself.

No, no, no, no, no. This needed to be rectified immediately.

About the author: Jennifer Soosar watched too much America’s Most Wanted’ growing up and has been writing about shady characters ever since. She was born and raised in Toronto and has a degree in anthropology. Her short fiction has appeared in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine. She is a member of Crime Writers of Canada, International Thriller Writers, and Sisters in Crime. To find out more about Jennifer and her writing projects visit her website www.JenniferSoosar.com

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New Release Mondays: Fight or Die by James Hilton

Author Name:  James Hilton

Book Title: Fight Or Die

Book Genre: Thriller

Release Date:  June 14, 2017

Synopsis: When the Gunn brothers Danny and Clay answer a call to help old friends, they are plunged into a deadly situation. Larry and Pamela Duke own one of the most popular nightclubs in the Spanish resort town of Ultima, but a local gang known as the Locos are determined to take it. Danny and Clay are hired to protect the club, but new adversaries enter the game. Against such odds there are only two choices: fight or die…

Excerpt: Pamela was a strong-willed woman. A lot of army wives get that way. They have as much upheaval in their lives as the soldiers they are married to, they just need to deal with it in a different way. A single tear blossomed at the corner of her eye. Not wanting to give the intruders the satisfaction of seeing her wipe it away; she pushed her hair back into a ponytail, shedding it of the last splinters of broken glass, and wrapped it with a small elastic hair-band. The tear blended onto her sleeve as she raised her arms.

“Tell your boss to make a serious offer and maybe we’ll think about it.”

“Too late for that now Chica. That boat has sailed. Now you get only…what you get.” The sneer accompanying Ortega’s message could have curdled milk.

“All of our life savings are in this place!”

“Call it…market…ah, fluctuation.” Ortega’s smoker’s voice was sandpaper to her ears. “We’ll be back at six. Then you and the peg-leg will sign over the deeds. If you’re not here, we will burn this place down and start over with a new place of our own.”

A new, deeper voice carried from the doorway of the bar, the American accent thick and unmistakable. “Jeez, Daisy, I’d sack your contractor; he’s made a real pig’s ear of the refurb!”

The three Loco’s turned to see a large silhouette blocking doorway. Not one to waste words, Ortega spat a warning. “Get lost. The bar is closed.”

The large shadow took a step inside. “But I thought the Woo Hoo was always open for a good time. Woo Hoo!” The new arrival did that ‘jazz hands’ thing in the air.

Ortega nodded towards the stranger and the flag-ripper stalked forwards, blade at the ready.

About the author: James lives in the rugged but beautiful North of England with his wife Wendy. He is the author of the Gunn Brothers Thrillers by Titan Books. Not to be confused with the beloved author of Goodbye Mr Chips.
James trained in the martial arts since the age of 11. He is currently ranked as a 4th dan Blackbelt.
His other passions include visiting Florida and the Caribbean, reading horror, suspense and action thrillers.
He is currently working on the next book in the ‘Gunn Brothers Thriller’ series and also researching material for the first book in a new YA series. Find him at www.jimhilton.co.uk

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New Release Mondays: Lostar Street by Vinnie Hansen

Author: Vinnie Hansen

Book Title: Lostart Street, a novel of mystery, murder and moonbeams

Release Date: May 31. 2017

Synopsis: Cecile Knutsen abandons her old life in San Francisco to accept her first teaching position in a small California coast town. She rents an apartment in a newly integrated development for old and handicapped people, across from a woman she never sees. Mysterious thefts and a budding romance tug the lonely Cecile into this community of strange inhabitants. Blinded by the busyness of her new career, Cecile doesn’t see impending danger.

Excerpt:
 1982 
The Barracks

Not a soul stirred except the two of us. The mustard-colored apartment units could have been empty.

“It’s quiet,” I murmured.

“Yes, very quiet.” The manager, Bobbi Headland, was a tiny woman with tinted red hair and spiky eyelashes. Humans are already anatomical wonders, slender stalks balancing twenty-pound heads. Bobbi Headland added to this miracle with twiggy legs and large, Barbie-doll breasts. As we walked up the asphalt drive, all logic argued she should tip over, which perhaps accounted for her charged up, nervous air.

The alluring quiet of the place contrasted sharply with my life of MUNI buses rumbling past the flat I rented with my friend Imogene. Behind the three rows of apartments, birds fluttered in the ice plant covering a hill. A song sparrow on the tip of a stunted juniper threw open his beak and shattered the silent heat.

A humongous cat on the step of unit four, next to the vacant one, lazily lifted its head to acknowledge us.

“Hi ya, Buddha Belly,” Bobbi Headland chirped. “That’s Mrs. Bean’s cat and folks here call it Buddha Belly. Not in front of Mrs. Bean, of course. She’s very sensitive about her cat.”

The vacant apartment and Mrs. Bean’s stood alone, like individual houses. A nice feature.

Bobbi threw open the door. I weighed the plusses and minuses of the place: clean with new carpet and knotty pine in a minuscule kitchen. The rent was unreasonable, but affordable given my new salary. And with my first day as a high-school teacher looming in two days, I had no time to shop. I still faced the move from San Francisco.

As I peeked about, Bobbi scrutinized the place as though trying to fathom what a single, twenty‑eight-year-old would want in such a dead place. Why not choose hip downtown Santa Cruz instead of this little village? She chattered away, giving me the history of the apartments and telling me about the woman who lived across the asphalt drive in unit six. “She doesn’t come out much in the day. You might not ever see her.”

I should have paid more attention to this information, but it winged by.

Bobbi ducked into what I’d already decided was my bathroom. She stayed for a long time, but emerged seeming calmer. I should have paid more attention to that, too.

About the author: Vinnie Hansen fled the winds of the South Dakota prairie and headed for the California coast the day after high school graduation.

As a child, she read books while huddled on top the dryer. Vinnie grew up to write numerous short stories and the Carol Sabala mysteries. MURDER, HONEY is available in the bestselling e-collection: SLEUTHING WOMEN: 10 FIRST-IN-SERIES MYSTERIES.

Her story, MISCALCULATION, is forthcoming in SANTA CRUZ NOIR (Akashic Books).

Still sane after 27 years of teaching high-school English, Vinnie has retired and lives in Santa Cruz, California, with her husband and the requisite cat. Find her at http://www.vinniehansen.com.

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