Resorting to Murder: Holiday Mysteries

Resorting to Murder

Editor: Martin Edwards

Paperback: 286 pages

Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press (June 2, 2015)amurder


Holidays offer us the luxury of getting away from it all. So, in a different way, do detective stories. This collection of vintage mysteries combines both those pleasures. From a golf course at the English seaside to a pension in Paris, and from a Swiss mountain resort to the cliffs of Normandy, this new selection shows the enjoyable and unexpected ways in which crime writers have used summer holidays as a theme. These fourteen stories range widely across the golden age of British crime fiction. Stellar names from the past are well represented – Arthur Conan Doyle and G. K. Chesterton, for instance – with classic stories that have won acclaim over the decades. The collection also uncovers a wide range of hidden gems: Anthony Berkeley – whose brilliance with plot had even Agatha Christie in raptures – is represented by a story so (undeservedly) obscure that even the British Library seems not to own a copy. The stories by Phyllis Bentley and Helen Simpson are almost equally rare, despite the success which both writers achieved, while those by H. C. Bailey, Leo Bruce and the little-known Gerald Findler have seldom been reprinted.


I enjoyed the author biographies and publication history that precluded each story just as much as the stories themselves. Some authors were mysterious creatures that little is known except their names, others are well-known names from the Golden Age of Murder, and almost all find their lives and literary works intertwined. The 14 stories run the gamut from “Fabulous!” to “I know who did it!” to “Eh?” but too be perfectly honest there was only one that had me wondering why the editors included it. It was interesting to see that, although most of the authors wrote with their usual detectives in their usual style a few departed from the usual…took a holiday, if you’ll excuse the pun. It was enjoyable to see them stretch their literary muscles.

If you want this for a mystery lover, ensure that they are a lover of the mysteries of the 30s not (or in addition to) mysteries of the present day. Because, for the most part these mysteries are an exercise in logic — not given to blood pumping excitement or the threat of death. But for those who love logic puzzles, I can think of no better way to spend a summer vacation.


Interview with David Berner

David Berner has had a life of telling stories. And now he’s on a WOW Blog Tour with his third book: There’s a Hamster in the Dashboard. David’s doing 5Ws today and you can read my review of There’s a Hamster in myhamsterindashboard Dashboard here. You can also enter to win a copy at Hott Books.

I have been fascinated with stories since my days delivering The Pittsburgh Press newspaper as a young boy. Many early Sunday mornings, when I was supposed to be dropping off the latest edition on the doorsteps of my customers, I instead sat on the curb and read about the world. The habit kept me from making newspaper deliveries on time, and needless to say, not everyone was pleased.

I began telling my own stories and the stories of others as a reporter for numerous radio stations, including freelance work at National Public Radio and more recently for CBS in Chicago and the CBS Radio Network. I have also produced a number of audio documentaries, including BRACELETS OF GRACE: The Vietnam War Story of Major Stanley Horne, and FINDING MY KEROUAC, both of which have been broadcast on public radio stations across the country and can be downloaded by clicking on the names above.

In 2011, I was awarded the position of Writer-in-Residence for the Jack Kerouac Project in Orlando. I was privileged to live and work at the Kerouac House in Orlando for two-and-a-half months. It was there that I completed the manuscript for Any Road Will Take You There. It was one of the most incredible times of my writing life.

Today, I am an associate professor at Columbia College Chicago, a journalist, writer, and broadcaster. I am humbled by the awards my books and broadcast work have received, and thrilled my writing has been published in wonderful journals and magazines: Under the Gum Tree, Epiphany Magazine, Perigee (Publication for the Arts) , Tiny Lights Journal, The Write Magazine, Rivulets, Clef Notes Journal, and in a number of other publications–online and in print. And to all the readers who have somehow found my stories relevant to their lives, I am forever grateful.

davidWho has been the most influential person (or animal) in your life?

Person — my mother. No question. She loved books, encouraged me to write, and was my best supporter when I was finding my way. My father would be right up there; he showed me how to be a man. Animal? My first dog was a collie, purchased for me by my grandfather. It was my most honest companion when I was growing up. We did everything together — walks in the woods, tossing the ball in the backyard. That dog taught me how to consider the needs of others and how to love unconditionally.

What is one non-traditional pet you’d like to have if money, space and neighbors were not issues?

I’ve always been partial to dogs, but I’ve had my share — as a kid — of more exotic companions. My father always wanted a monkey — a chimp — but that wasn’t really going to happen. My mother would never have permitted that. I think a Koala would be great, but then again, I wouldn’t want to take a wild animal out of its habitat, and they’re probably protected, right? I had a girlfriend in high school that had a rabbit, one of those big floppy-eared ones. It was terrific. It had a personality, was affectionate, and was even house trained. I’d probably go with what is known as a cinnamon rabbit. They’re about as big as a large cat and have tremendous coloring. Plus, they’re soft and fluffy. Can’t beat that.

Why do you think pets are so important in our lives?

Pets are our link to the natural world and at the same time they remind us of how human we are. As humans, we tend to assume we rule the world, we own it, we have say over it all. Pets remind us that we are partners on this planet. I know this might sound terribly cliché, but we are in this life together, we share the Earth, and we need to be true companions. Plus, pets allow us to fall in love. The unconditional love of a dog can teach us how to be caring, non-judgmental, and affectionate. What’s better than that?

Where do you do your writing? Are you surrounded by animals? (I wrote my book with two dogs using my feet as their pillows.)

I wrote There’s a Hamster in the Dashboard with my dog, Mike at my feet. I sat at my circular black desk, computer in front of me, and Mike sleeping near by. But I do a lot of my writing at coffee shops. There’s something about the whir of espresso machines and the quiet conversations all around. I need a little noise when I write, silence allows my mind too much room. Plus, at a coffee shop you can take a break, grab an Americano, and talk to the barista when the writing stalls.

When did you begin writing and what’s up next for you?

My very first book was in 3rd grade, if I remember correctly. It was a class project. We made our own individual books out of paper mache. Mine was entitled The Cyclops and was about a Jacque Cousteau character chasing a sea monster. But my serious writing came when I began my journalism career. I wrote radio copy and print and online stories. Accidental Lessonswas my first book, a memoir of a year teaching in a troubled school district just outside Chicago. It was a life-changing year. Working on my second book, Any Road Will Take You There turned me into a writer who simply couldn’t function without writing. I became a daily writer. I was always a storyteller in some way, but Any Road Will Take You There fueled me and helped me believe in my writing.

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Method 15/33

Method 15/33

by Shannon Kirk

on Tour July 2015




Kidnapped, pregnant teen turns the tables. Who is the victim and who is the aggressor?

Imagine a helpless, pregnant 16-year-old who’s just been yanked from the serenity of her home and shoved into a dirty van. Kidnapped…


Now forget her…

Picture instead a pregnant, 16-year-old, manipulative prodigy. She is shoved into a dirty van and, from the first moment of her kidnapping, feels a calm desire for two things: to save her unborn child and to exact merciless revenge.

She is methodical—calculating— scientific in her plotting. A clinical sociopath? Leaving nothing to chance, secure in her timing and practice, she waits—for the perfect moment to strike. Method 15/33 is what happens when the victim is just as cold as her abductors.

The agents searching for a kidnapped girl have their own frustrations and desires wrapped into this chilling drama. In the twists of intersecting stories, one is left to ponder. Who is the victim? Who is the aggressor?


Book Details:

Genre: Psychological Thriller

Published by: Oceanview Publishing

Publication Date: May 5, 2015

Number of Pages: 258

ISBN: 1608091457 (ISBN13: 9781608091454)

Purchase Links: Amazon Barnes & Noble Goodreads



If I had to use one word to describe Method 15/33, it would be “tension”. Author Shannon Kirk manages to keep you always guessing, always wondering, always feeling a little bit out of control. She’s also keeps you ambivalent. You feel sorry for the kidnapped girl and a bit horrified by what may happen but on the other hand she’s so…off…you wonder could she in some twisted way be the evil person in this story.

This is a book you will find yourself reading at 2 a.m. just because you needed one more page, one more page, one more page. You’ll get whiplash from the changing emotions you feel for various characters. Method 15/33 will have you wondering how much of a person’s action are choice and how much are some inevitable road they’re on because of the experiences that shaped their childhoods or some odd quirk of their genes. This book will make you wonder.


Author Bio:

authorShannon Kirk is a practicing attorney and a law professor. She attended West Virginia Wesleyan and St. John’s Universities, is a graduate of Suffolk Law School, and was a trial lawyer in Chicago prior to moving to Massachusetts. She has been honored three times by the Faulkner Society in the William Faulkner-William Wisdom Creative Writing Competition. She lives in Massachusetts with her husband, a physicist, and their son. Method 15/33 is her first novel.

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Review: Cross Examinations

Cross Examinations: Crime in ColumbusCROSSEXAMCOVERmEDIUM-188x300

Author: John Hegenberger

Ebook: 81 pages

Publisher: Amazon Digital Services (May 16, 2015)


A series of serious crimes: Kidnapping. Murder. Art Thief. Blackmail. Comic Books. “…fast-moving, atmospheric, and consistently surprising…”

Private Investigator Eliot Cross faces heartache, headache, backache, and a royal pain in the neck in these rollicking noir stores from the heart of the Heartland. Never before published, CROSS EXAMINATIONS sets the stage for an exciting new novel that will join pop-culture author, John Hegenberger’s soon-to-be-published Tripleye trilogy and his upcoming Stan Wade, L.A.P.I. series.


If you enjoy the hardboiled detectives of the 30s and 40s you’ll love Eliot Cross. He’s a man who has a life that seems to revolve around crimes and unraveling them. When he isn’t hired as a private  detective, he just seems to stumble over odd situations that demand looking into. This isn’t one long novel but a collection of vignettes — snapshots into Cross’s life. I breezed through this book and enjoyed all the different situation Eliot got into (and out of although he did have a few close calls). There was a lot of variety which made the book interesting and it’s a great way to get introduced to a new writer.

My only complaint was a few typos and misspellings that distracted me as I read. But I don’t want to make too big a deal of that — occassionally my e-reader does some kaflooey things with formatting.

Download for FREE on July 14 and July 15. Don’t miss a peek at this new author with a classic style.


5Ws with Barbara Barth

Today Barbara Barth, an utterly charming and (I say this is as aBarbaraBookCover compliment) wacky author is visiting for 5Ws. I never know what’s going to come next from this lady who is so full of imagination and inspiration that every time I turn around she has a new book to tell me about! Her latest is A Dog Dreams of Paris a picture book for “dreamers of all ages”. You can read my review of it here.

annabelleBarbara Barth likes a lot of things: turquoise jewelry, surfing the ‘net, and margaritas, to name a few. Then there are the dogs. As many as her house can hold! After her husband died she recorded the year that followed in a series of essays that became her memoir The Unfaithful Widow. She also wrote a suspense-romance called Danger in her Words. When she isn’t writing you can find her at the local thrift shops or pounding another nail into the wall to hang the paintings she can’t resist. You can learn more about Barbara and the upcoming dates (and book giveaways!) on her WOW Blog Tour here.

Who is your favorite author? Who is your favorite canine literary character?

I don’t really have a favorite author that I follow. I have books that I read and love and the author is my favorite at that moment. Sometimes I will dearly love one book by an author, but not the next one that is written.Bertha It’s hard to tell what will strike my fancy, it depends on my mood. I am not a huge fiction fan, more essays and memoirs on life, and houses, gardens, and of course, dogs. At the beginning of this year I read Around the House and in the Garden: A Memoir of Heartbreak, Healing, and Home Improvement by Dominique Browning. At the time of writing her memoir, Browning was editor in chief of House & Garden magazine. Her story is about the way a house can express loss, and then bereavement, and then, finally, the rebuilding of a life. I was in a reflective mood at the time, worrying about my need for hip replacement surgery. Her words on finding comfort in her home resonated with me. For a complete turn about, my favorite fiction read this year was Mary Kay Andrews Save The Date. A wonderfully entertaining story of a floral designer, a big wedding, romance, a dog, and one of my dream cities, Savannah. I wanted to move to Savannah and open my own florist shop after reading the book. It was light and fun and the description of the city, the apartment, her shop, and all the brides coming in with their Pinterest boards on their iPads was so in the moment my head spun in joy. Both books played on my own house fantasies!

BrayMy favorite dog story, a children’s book by Hans Wilhelm, I’ll Always Love You, is dear to my heart for many reasons. It is the story of a young boy and his puppy, Elfie, a dachshund, as they grow up together. As Elfie ages she can no longer romp and play, and her health goes downhill, until one morning she does not wake up. As grim as that sounds, it is so beautifully written with a life message for all of us. The boy takes solace in the fact he told Elfie how much he loved her every day. While he is not ready for a new dog, he knows he will one day and will always remember to say “I love you”. I am almost in tears again as I write this. What a beautiful message to everyone. Let those around you know you love them. The illustrations are charming and naïve. It is classic for me.

What charity is benefiting from your latest book, A Dog Dreams of Paris?

The month of May, the launch month for my picture book, Friends of Dekalb Animals (FODA), a local group I am very familiar with, received the royalties. It was not a large sum, Chloebut with any rescue group everything and anything is needed. I also sent a packet of books to Atlanta Canine Adoption Project (ACAP) the group that brought Miss April in Paris and her buddy Rascal to me! Most of May I was in the hospital with hip replacement surgery and inpatient physical therapy. So I got off to a slow start with my marketing. The book is available to rescue groups at my wholesale cost if they are interested in using it for fund raising. They can contact me directly for details. In the fall I plan to set up at festivals, and doggie events, signing my books, with the profits going to animal shelters. My goal is to use any profits for my animal rescue folks. The book is my way of giving back to the folks who work so hard to help our dogs find their forever homes.

Where would you visit if you could go anywhere in the world? Will Miss April be visiting anywhere else?

While I was writing the book my mind was humming the tune to Somewhere Over The Rainbow, but the words in my head were, A dog dreams of Paris, why, oh why can’t I? I tell you why I can’t. I have SIX dogs at home! It’s hard to go anywhere. My pet sitter fees are crazy. Luckily, I am a nester and travel is not high on my wish list. I like to take day trips to see places, usually to work off my farmhouse fantasy, by going to rural towns around Atlanta. But I rarely am gone overnight. I dream of Paris, too. I’d love to visit it. I did make it to London years ago, and it was wonderful. But at that time I had only one dog and a husband who stayed with the dog and I traveled with my mother! My biggest problem about traveling, is that wherever I go, I look at real estate ads. I want to live every place, but in reality, just like April in her book, there is no place like home, my forever home with my six dogs!

April’s travels are over for the time being, unless of course she becomes famous and has to make TV appearances! I have five other dogs with their dreams. You may see some action with them in the future!

When did you decide to become a writer? When did you decide to become a publisher?

I started writing right after my husband died in 2008. I found myself sending odd e-mails to friends at 2am thenwriting them back saying, “never mind!” I finally decided to channel my grief and anxiety into writing. TheApril with Rascal more I put words down, the more I found I enjoyed the process. It was a huge help to me in dealing with pain. I did not go to grief counseling and only looked at one widow book that freaked me out with the advice it gave. I decided to write my own widow story, essays over the course of the first year, quirky stories on finding peace and happiness with the help of a vintage Corvette, girlfriends, bad dates leading to good things, signs from the universe, and a bevy of dogs to fill my heart and bed. The Unfaithful Widow was the end result and I am proud that it placed as a finalist in the women’s issues category in the 2011 USA Best Book Awards. I also love that it has connected me to other widows who have read my story and contacted me. For me, writing is about connection. Connection to what is going on in my head, and connection to other people. My essays have a way of reaching people and I hear back. I can write about my rose bush blooming, my silly dogs, a life adventure, that touches someone and they comment. My fiction is lost in a sea of books, and while enjoyable, it seems more impersonal.

As I was researching how to publish my memoir, I took a class on self-publishing and print on demand. I liked the idea I could do this myself. And, quite frankly, I needed to release my widow book to move forward. I didn’t want the angst of waiting for an agent, a publisher. I also had a fixed image of how I wanted the book to look. Self-publishing was my answer. My memoir, while self-published, went through a company that used their ISBN and imprint for my book. I later learned I could do the same myself, even with a book designer, by buying my own ISBN. My company Gilbert Street Press came into being. My book designer is my sister, her company is PD King Design. While she handles all my books, she does work with other authors, too. She is amazing and can understand the look and feel I want and makes it happen.

selfieofauthorandaprilWhy do you have so many dogs?

Because I am a crazy dog lady!

Review: When the Devil’s Idle

When the Devil’s Idle: Greek Islands Mystery

Author: Leta Serafimdevil

Paperback: 192 pages

Publisher: Coffeetown Press (September 1, 2015)


In the Book of Revelation, written by St. John on the Greek island of Patmos, it was said a pale horse would appear whose rider was death, others would cry out for vengeance, and the stars of heaven would fall to the earth.

Death does indeed come to Patmos when a German tourist is found murdered in the garden of one of the island’s fabled estates. Yiannis Patronas, Chief Officer of the Chios police, is called in to investigate. He summons his top detective, Giorgos Tembelos, and his friend and amateur sleuth, Papa Michalis, to assist him.

What the policemen discover will disturb them long after the conclusion of the case. Only six people were at the house at the time of the murder–the gardener and housekeeper, the victim’s son and his wife and their two children, a boy of seven and a teenage girl of sixteen. All appear to be innocent. But access to the isolated estate is severely restricted. Surrounded by high walls, it has only one entrance: a metal gate that was bolted at the time of the crime. Patronas can only conclude that one of the six is a killer. He continues to probe, uncovering the family’s many secrets. Some are very old, others more recent. All are horrifying.

But which of these secrets led to murder?


With Greece so prominent in the news, When the Devil’s Idle seemed the perfect book to read. It is available yet, but you can pre-order it now and receive it in September, just when summer vacations are coming to an end and you need a literary vacation.

I admire the way author Leta Serafim started out with a modern day murder and draws the investigators (and the reader) all the way to its roots (possibly) in World War II. It was quite a long way to go but I was willing to suspend belief a bit by choosing to believe that people in Greece live very long lives. Of course that was part of the appeal…how could anyone hold a grudge that long?

When the Devil’s Idle has a great way of throwing unexpected twists at you but keeping you hanging as to whether the new information has anything to do with the murder or is just a random (and usually quite horrible) new fact. This is Book 2 in the series but I believe you could jump into it without reading Book 1. The policemen in this series (as well as the priest Papa Michalis, a sort of honorary detective) are quite a sad and moody bunch. Perhaps it’s a Greek personality trait? Anyway, since they are so often brooding when they get happy (drunk) it is especially hysterical.

Review of Suspense Magazine

I feel like this week is all Suspense Magazine, all week! You can enter a giveaway for Suspense Magazine and a few books here and read a guest post by John Raab of Suspense Magazine here. And now a few thoughts on Suspense Magazine from me, a lover of suspense, thrills and mysteries!

First let me tell you the cycle that I’ve fallen into. Since I review books, especially thriller/mystery/suspense on Words by Webb I get contacted all the time by authors, publicists and blog tour organizers touting their latest. Did I mention I LOVE this type of book? So, naturally I can’t say no. I accept almost every book I’m sent…for a while. Then I realize I have so much to read I literally stop opening emails. Just click – trashed. Because I know I’m just a gal who can’t say no to a book that sounds good (and they all sound good).

Maybe if I had been reading Suspense Magazine I would be a little more discerning because they do a great job of introducing you to all types of writers and their work. I thought Suspense Magazine would be a collection of short suspense stories but it is so much more than that. Let’s see what I found in the issue I read:

  • essays on nonfiction topics (in this instance a cemetery with some spooky aspects)
  • short stories
  • additions to already published books (not fan fiction, but something added by the original author)
  • author interviews
  • essay and interviews giving advice to writers of the genre
  • book and movie reviews
  • even the ads and sneak peeks were fabulous
  • great photos and illustrations

This magazine is amazing! They cover everything: courtroom dramas, romance suspense, paranormal, fantasy, horror, true crime, cozies…have I missed anything? If you enjoy any parts of the genre, you have to add Suspense Magazine to your reading list. And this is coming from a girl who has NO ROOM on her reading list.

Battle Against Sock-Puppeting and other Publishing Offenses

Today, John Raab of Suspense Magazine has stopped by to write a little bit about sock-puppeting and other publishing offenses. If you’d like to check out his magazine, there’s a giveaway happening and you can enter here. And I just can’t seem to get enough of Suspense Magazine because tomorrow I’ll be giving you the lowdown on what I found when I checked out Suspense Magazine. Thanks to John and Partners in Crime Tours for the copy!

We all know that writing a book is very difficult, but marketing and getting it sold to readers is an even more Suspense_Magazine_May_2015_Cover_with_outline_1_-446x591treacherous road to travel. With that said, I’m sure you have seen in the news the last couple of months, that some authors—and I won’t name names here—have decided that shortcuts are the way to go. Well, it has worked to make some very mediocre authors a lot of money, along with some companies.

The term that has been thrown around is sock-puppeting. Now I don’t know about you, but when I he-ar sockpuppeting, I think of a young child putting a sock on his hand, drawing a couple of eyes and using his hand to make the puppet talk. But in this case, sock-puppeting is when someone creates a fake account or accounts, and begins to use that account to either talk back and forth to oneself, or simply put out fake reviews under a false name. Now, in my book, that is simply fraud. On our radio show we were going to have one of those authors, but they got caught in this fraud and we cancelled them because I simply don’t think they should get any media time.

Readers and fans need to know that when they go on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, etc. to buy books and look at reviews, they should feel confident they are getting accurate ones and not fake ones. What is worse than that however, is hiring people to write bad reviews against other authors, simply so they won’t sell books. This to me should be a criminal offense. It is no different than slander or liable and those authors should be sued, exposed, and basically raked over the coals for trying to sabotage someone else’s hard work.

Our readers that have been with us for a while should notice that our magazine will never publish a negative review. I’ve never explained this stance, but I will now. Suspense Magazine is in the business of being positive and not trashing someone’s work simply because one of our reviewers didn’t care for it. That being said, all reviews in the magazine are true with every word. We receive over seven thousand books each year and simply can’t review them all because of time and just not having enough eyes to read them. We do get books that our reviewers do not like for whatever reason. If that is the case, we might send it over to another reviewer to see their opinion, or simply stop reading it and move along. We tell the author and the publisher that we simply can’t review the book and give our reasons.

Giveaway of Suspense Magazine

Today you can learn a little more about a magazine I think everyone who reads my Tuesday mystery/thriller reviews will love. But don’t forget to stop by tomorrow for a guest post by editor John Raab on sock puppeting. Admit it, you’re curious!

And don’t forget to enter the giveaway. You only have until Friday!

Suspense Magazine

by John Raab

on Tour June 2015

coverSuspense Magazine is an all digital magazine that was founded in 2007. We publish short stories, interviews, exclusive excerpts, articles and more. We have also in the past published alternate endings to very popular books, IE: Sara Paretsky’s book “Critical Mass”.

“Suspense Magazine is chock full of stunning artwork, intriguing fiction, and interviews It’s a winner!”
—Tess Gerritsen, International Bestselling Author

Get Your Subscription: Buy Now!

More About John:

John Raab founded Suspense Magazine in 2007. Also the host of three radio shows on Suspense Radio Network (Inside Edition, One on One and Beyond The Cover) also the producer for two more shows, Crime and Science Radio and The Story Blender.

The CEO / Publisher of Suspense Publishing a book publisher that publishes #1 NY Times Bestselling Author Paul Kemprecos, along with several other authors.

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Still on the Fence? Enter to Win:

This is a giveaway hosted by Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours for John Raab & Suspense Magazine. There will be 1 ebook winner of Cornerstone by JM Leduc, 1 ebook winner of The Lone Wolf by Joseph Badal, and 1 winner of the next e-release of Suspense Magazine. The giveaway begins on June 1st, 2015 and runs through July 3rd, 2015.
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The Last Witness

The Last Witness

by Jerry Amernic

on Tour May 2015


The year is 2039, and Jack Fisher is the last living survivor of the Holocaust. Set in a world that is abysmally complacent about events of the last century, Jack is a 100-year-old man whose worst memories took place before he was 5. His story hearkens back to the Jewish ghetto of his birth and to Auschwitz where, as a little boy, he had to fend for himself to survive after losing his family. Jack becomes the central figure in a missing-person investigation when his granddaughter suddenly disappears. While assisting police, he finds himself in danger and must reach into the darkest corners of his memory to come out alive.

Book Details:

Genre: Historical Thriller

Published by: Story Merchant Books

Publication Date: October 29th 2014

Number of Pages: 334

ISBN: 9780990421658

Purchase Links: Amazon Barnes & Noble Goodreads


Read an excerpt:

Chapter 1

New York City, 2035


He was a tough sort. Ninety-five years old with elastic skin stretched across his bones like taut canvas, he was supposed to be an easy mark. Fragile and weak. A pushover. Albert Freedman lived by himself in a flat on the upper East Side, and when they came for him they didn’t expect any trouble. Albert knew something wasn’t right when the second one walked in, but the voice was soft and reassuring.

“We’re here to change your palm reader,” he said through the door. We’re doing all the apartments on your floor today and you’re the first. It won’t take five minutes.”

“You’re here to change my what?”

“Your palm reader.”

“I donno what yer talkin’ about. Go away!”

“You don’t understand. There’s a problem with the sensor. You know, the thing that opens your door when you put your hand in front of it? The palm reader?”


“It scans your hand. Your print. Then it lets you in.”


“Look,” the man said, more softly now. “Mr. Freedman? You are Albert Freedman, aren’t you?”


“I realize you don’t want to be bothered but this is for your security. It’s like putting a new lock on the door.”

“A new lock?”

“That’s right. The sensor in your palm reader is ten years old.”

“It is?”

“The year’s inscribed on the side of the door. It says 2025. See for yourself.”

Albert looked, but he didn’t see anything. His eyes weren’t good. “Where does it say that?” he said.

“On the side of the door. It might be hard to read. The numbers are small.”

“Where are they?”

“Trust me. The thing is ten years old and it’s not working right. But we have new ones now that are much better. But it’s not only that. You see there was a break-in last week and they want everyone’s palm reader changed. That’s why we’re here. You’re the first one on our list, Mr. Freedman. We’ll be done in five minutes. Can we come in?”

“Five minutes you say?”

“That’s all it takes.”

He started jiggling the latch from the inside and then he stopped. “Wait a minute. Why am I the first one? This isn’t the first flat on the floor. You should be down at the end of the hall. Unless you’re doing it alphabetically and then you wouldn’t be starting with me. Why am I the first one?”

He was ninety-five years old. He wasn’t supposed to be asking questions like that. He was just supposed to open the door so they could kill him and make it look like a robbery.

There was an audible sigh from outside the door. “Look Mr. Freedman. It’s like this. Doing all these sensors isn’t going to be much fun for us but the landlord said you’re a nice guy and we thought we’d start with you.”

At first nothing and then the jiggling from inside the door started again.

“All right. Come in. But make it fast.”

Albert released the latch that was linked to a sensor that had nothing wrong with it in a building where there had been no break-ins the past week, the past month or the past year. The first man through the door was short and slight, thirtyish with close-cropped hair and a soothing voice. He had a tattoo on his arm that looked like a snake, and if Albert had seen that he wouldn’t have opened the door. But then it was too late.

“Thank you,” the man said with a disarming smile.

The one behind him, younger and bigger with straggly hair and brown skin, burst through the door and pushed Albert out of the way. Old Albert fell against the wall and managed to brace himself with his hand, but the sudden impact jarred his wrist. The arthritis. Then the girl appeared, tall and skinny, dressed in black. Albert never got a good look at their faces, but it didn’t matter. He would be dead before they left.

“Where do you keep the money?” the girl screamed at him. “Tell us!

The small slim man with the snake on his arm turned, retreated into the hallway and closed the door behind him. In his hand was a little gadget with a screen on it. He touched the screen and a list of names came up. He ran his fingertip over the last name – Albert Freedman’s name – and it disappeared. Then he was gone.

The girl began riffling through Albert’s cupboards and drawers. Albert was confused. He didn’t get many visitors.

“Where do you keep the money?” the girl said again.

“What do you want?”

“Your money!”

The man who was now inside Albert’s flat didn’t waste any time. He came for him with his fists clenched. He hit him in the face and knocked him to the floor. Albert fell on his side, his hip, but was close enough to the door so he could reach behind it for his cane. The one with the heavy metal handle. He always kept it there.

Blood dripping from his nose, he scrambled to his knees, brought the cane back over his head, and with every ounce of strength he had walloped the intruder or thief or whatever he was across the ankles. There was a loud cry, but Albert wasn’t finished. He got to his feet, straightened up, and brought his cane back a second time. Now he turned on the girl and landed that metal handle square on the back of her shoulders.

“I’ll kill you both!” he said.

But Albert was old and the man was enraged now. He tore the cane from Albert’s hands and started hitting him with it. He hit him on the head. He hit him on the chest. He hit him on the arms. Albert tried to shield himself with his flailing hands, but the blows were relentless. They kept coming and coming and coming. The girl was going through his drawers, throwing everything she found on the floor. Albert always kept his place neat and he didn’t like that, but he could barely see through his eyes now.

“Here’s his wallet,” she said. “Get it over with.”

The beating took less than a minute. Albert, barely conscious, lay on the floor, bloodied and battered to a pulp, a near corpse of broken bones. He couldn’t move and the only thing to feel was pain. The man with the brown skin and straggly hair turned him over so he was face down and all there was to see was the cold dusty floor. It was the last thing Albert would see in his ninety-five years. He sniffed at the acrid air as a knee went deep into his back and the cane came up under his chin. Albert gurgled a few times, there was a crack, and his body went limp.




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Jerry Amernic’s next novel QUMRAN is a biblical-historical thriller about an archeologist who makes a dramatic discovery in the Holy Land. It’s something that could set the world on its edge. He is both an atheist and an expert on the Romans, but this find more than upsets his logical theory of the universe, leading to a struggle between science and religion. Indeed, this intersection where science meets religion is the theme of the novel.

In historical flashbacks, we see him as a young archeology student who helps discover the Dead Sea Scrolls at Qumran, just off the Dead Sea, and it happens when the State of Israel is being created. Later, he gets involved with investigating the legends of the Holy Grail and Holy Shroud of Turin, and each time out another Arab-Israeli war is tearing the Middle East apart. Throw in his close friend who is a brilliant Egyptian pathologist, along with his Israeli research assistant and his wife who is an authority on ancient languages and you have a foursome standing against the world. But the new discovery must be studied in secret. Or all Hell will break loose.


Author Bio:

authorJerry Amernic is a Toronto writer who has been a newspaper reporter and correspondent, newspaper columnist, feature writer for magazines, teacher of journalism, and media consultant. His first book ‘Victims: The Orphans of Justice’ was a true story about a former police officer whose eldest daughter was murdered and who became a leading advocate for crime victims. This resulted in Jerry’s column about the justice system for The Toronto Sun. More recently Jerry co-authored ‘Duty – The Life of a Cop’ with Julian Fantino, the highest-profile police officer Canada has ever produced and now a member of the Canadian Cabinet. In fiction, Jerry’s first novel ‘Gift of the Bambino’ was praised by The Wall Street Journal in the U.S., The Globe and Mail in Canada, and others. His latest novel is the historical thriller ‘The Last Witness’. Just released is the biblical-historical thriller ‘Qumran’.

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So what exactly was the Holocaust and D-Day?