Ryder: Bird of Prey

Ryder: Bird of Prey: An Aeysha Ryder NovelbookcoverBIRD

Author: Nick Pengelley

E Book: 243 pages

Publisher: Alibi (May 5, 2015)

Synposis: Fans of Steve Berry and James Rollins will devour Ryder: Bird of Prey, the latest white-knuckle thriller featuring Palestinian-born, British-educated adventurer Ayesha Ryder. She’s one of fiction’s boldest heroines—and now she’s rewriting royal history.

According to the last words of a dying man, the Maltese Falcon was no mere legend: The fabulously jeweled golden bird really existed—still exists, in fact. And Ayesha Ryder is hot on its trail. Rumor says the Falcon conceals clues to the burial place of Harold II, the conquered Anglo-Saxon King of England—and to an artifact of astonishing significance that few besides Ryder would understand.

Hunted by Scotland Yard, MI5, and those who seek the Falcon to break up the United Kingdom, Ryder joins forces with Joram Tate, a mysterious librarian with a reputation for turning up things that don’t want to be found. Soon Ryder and her handsome, erudite new companion are venturing through lost tombs and ancient abbeys, following a trail left ages ago by the Knights Templar.

Ryder knows she’s close to a game-changing secret, hidden for a thousand years beneath an English castle. But with ruthless killers waiting in the wings, Ryder must go medieval—to defend her life, her country, and the world as we know it.


Too often when I read a series it becomes predictable — a formula — as the books continue. Nick Pengelley manages to avoid this trap with Ryder: Bird of Prey. Although several characters from past books make an appearance in this book, two new major characters (which I have a feeling we’ll be seeing more of) were introduced. One new character had me sitting there with my mouth hanging open, wondering “How the heck did that happen?” Perhaps the best (and worst) part was that you only got a taste of the explanation leaving much of it (I hope) for book four in the Aeysha Ryder series.

Pengelley did retain all the addictive qualities of his first two books: fast paced action, historical puzzles and surprise u-turns. I admire Pengelley’s gift of creating characters that are mysterious — no, they don’t disappear into the fog — but rather they have ambiguous motives and backgrounds. There are no clear cut good guys and bad guys which makes the outcome of the book even more intriguing. You will find yourself swept along with Ryder: Bird of Prey not able to stop reading until you reach page 243.

Ryder: Bird of Prey is Nick Pengelley’s third book in the series. You can read my review of Ryder: American Treasure here.

The Sussex Downs Murder

The Sussex Downs Murder (British Library Crime Classics)

Author: John Bude

Hardcover: 288 pages (also available in e-books and audio)

Publisher: The British Library Publishing Division (January 15, 2015)


Already it looked as if the police were up against a carefully planned and cleverly executed murder, and, what was more, a murder without a corpse! Two brothers, John and William Rother, live together at Chalklands Farm in the beautiful Sussex Downs. Their peaceful rural life is shattered when John Rother disappears and his abandoned car is found. Has he been kidnapped? Or is his disappearance more sinister – connected, perhaps, to his growing rather too friendly with his brother’s wife? Superintendent Meredith is called to investigate – and begins to suspect the worst when human bones are discovered on Chalklands farmland. His patient, careful detective method begins slowly to untangle the clues as suspicion shifts from one character to the next. This classic detective novel from the 1930s is now republished for the first time, with an introduction by the award-winning crime writer Martin Edwards.


My new friend Martin Edwards is back, this time with an introduction for The Sussex Downs Murder. Have you ever wished there was one more Agatha Christie or Ellery Queen or Dorothy Sayer book out there for you to devour? Well, it turns out there are plenty of well-written detective novels from the Golden Age that have long been out of print but are coming back, with the help of The British Library Publishing Division.

Oh, John Bude you crafty writer. At first I was oh so smug…I knew who did it and it was SO obvious. Turns out it is SO obvious that I am not adept at unraveling the trials left by Bude, his murderers and his detectives. Perhaps the best part is Superintendent Meredith, a stubborn detective who is like a dog with a bone, might not have had a murder to investigate if not for a chance discovery. Meredith seems to solve the murder and everyone is happy — everyone except Meredith. To the community’s dismay he wants to tie up a few loose ends and only manages to uncover more and more things that don’t add up. The higher-ups want to wrap this up…if only they could get Meredith to STOP INVESTIGATING. This is a fun book full of possibilities and flawlessly crafted to keep you guessing.

The Golden Age of Murder

The Golden Age of Murder

Author: Martin Edwards            Print

Hardcover: 528 pages (also available in e-books and audio)

Publisher: HarperCollins (May 1, 2015)


A real-life detective story, investigating how Agatha Christie and colleagues in a mysterious literary club transformed crime fiction, writing books casting new light on unsolved murders whilst hiding clues to their authors’ darkest secrets.

This is the first book about the Detection Club, the world’s most famous and most mysterious social network of crime writers. Drawing on years of in-depth research, it reveals the astonishing story of how members such as Agatha Christie and Dorothy L. Sayers reinvented detective fiction.

Detective stories from the so-called “Golden Age” between the wars are often dismissed as cosily conventional. Nothing could be further from the truth: some explore forensic pathology and shocking serial murders, others delve into police brutality and miscarriages of justice; occasionally the innocent are hanged, or murderers get away scot-free. Their authors faced up to the Slump and the rise of Hitler during years of economic misery and political upheaval, and wrote books agonising over guilt and innocence, good and evil, and explored whether killing a fellow human being was ever justified. Though the stories included no graphic sex scenes, sexual passions of all kinds seethed just beneath the surface.

Attracting feminists, gay and lesbian writers, Socialists and Marxist sympathisers, the Detection Club authors were young, ambitious and at the cutting edge of popular culture – some had sex lives as bizarre as their mystery plots. Fascinated by real life crimes, they cracked unsolved cases and threw down challenges to Scotland Yard, using their fiction to take revenge on people who hurt them, to conduct covert relationships, and even as an outlet for homicidal fantasy. Their books anticipated not only CSI, Jack Reacher and Gone Girl, but also Lord of the Flies. The Club occupies a unique place in Britain’s cultural history, and its influence on storytelling in fiction, film and television throughout the world continues to this day.

The Golden Age of Murder rewrites the story of crime fiction with unique authority, transforming our understanding of detective stories and the brilliant but tormented men and women who wrote them.



Martin, you’re killing me! I’ve always been one of those people with a stack of books to read but after reading the Golden Age of Murder I’ve been introduced to so many authors. I fear if I get all the books that I was introduced to in The Golden Age of Murder some day the pile will topple over and I will be the first reader officially killed by her TBR pile!

If you enjoy murder mysteries to any degree you will find The Golden Age of Murder eye opening. Reading this book feels like taking a college course in the Golden Age of Murder. I even enjoyed reading the chapter footnotes. Not only does Edwards dissect various titles and types of mysteries but he also takes on the authors’ personal lives, writing weaknesses, competitiveness, unrealized talent. I feel as if I will appreciate the writings of the authors mentioned in The Golden Age of Murder because I know so much about the authors as well as how other books and authors influenced them.

Up next for Edwards is compiling some anthologies of Golden Age detective fiction for the British Library, one of which I’m reading: Resorting to Murder. I just finished a Golden Age detective novel that is being republished by the British Library Crime Classics series: The Sussex Downs Murder. Watch for the review next week!



Author: G.M. Ford            threshlod

Paperback: 254 pages (also available in e-books and audio)

Publisher: Thomas + Mercer (April 21, 2015)


Between the end of his marriage and the excessive force complaints against him, Detective Sergeant Mickey Dolan is running out of chances. When a powerful and connected city councilman reports that his wife and two daughters have disappeared, Dolan is assigned the case—knowing full well that his career is riding on the outcome.

While investigating, Dolan meets Eve Pressman and her remarkable daughter, Grace. Gifted with the ability to bring people out of comas, Grace is reluctant to be thrust into the public eye but determined to help those in need. Eve and Grace may know where Councilman Royster’s family is and the terrible truth that sent the three of them into hiding in the first place. Now, Dolan faces the toughest choice of his career: is he still a good cop if he has to do the wrong thing?


If you like tough guys who are just barely hanging on to their shield you’ll love Mickey Dolan. Threshold is a book that truly blurs the lines — upright citizens are anything but, crime bosses are the invisible force behind good works and the people changing the world…are they changing it for money? But G.M. Ford gives the hardboiled cop story an unusual twist by adding a touch of paranormal to it.

Threshold has all the predictable characters: crime boss, rogue cop, dumb low level criminals, criminal with a heart of gold but add to the mix Grace, an albino women who can bring people out of comas and this novel is anything but predictable. Wishing that a lost Dashiell Hammett book would be discovered? Well, while you’re waiting try G.M. Ford’s Threshold.


Category: Book Reviews  2 Comments

Goldeneye: Where James Bond Was Born: Ian Fleming’s Jamaica

Goldeneye: Where James Bond Was Born: Ian Fleming’s JamaicaGE-us-cover

Author: Matthew Parker

Hardcover: 264 pages (also available in e-books and audio)

Publisher: Pegasus (March 11, 2015)


Amid the lush beauty of Jamaica’s northern coast lies the true story of Ian Fleming’s iconic creation: James Bond. For two months every year, from 1946 to his death eighteen years later, Ian Fleming lived at Goldeneye, the house he built on a point of high land overlooking a small white sand beach on Jamaica’s stunning north coast. All the James Bond novels and stories were written here.

This book explores the huge influence of Jamaica on the creation of Fleming’s iconic post-war hero. The island was for Fleming part retreat from the world, part tangible representation of his own values, and part exotic fantasy. It will examine his Jamaican friendships—his extraordinary circle included Errol Flynn, the Oliviers, international politicians and British royalty, as well as his close neighbor Noel Coward—and trace his changing relationship with Ann Charteris (and hers with Jamaica) and the emergence of Blanche Blackwell as his Jamaican soulmate.

Goldeneye also compares the real Jamaica of the 1950s during the build-up to independence with the island’s portrayal in the Bond books, to shine a light on the attitude of the likes of Fleming and Coward to the dramatic end of the British Empire.


So who’s your favorite Bond? Mine is Sean Connery. But this books isn’t really about Bond. This is about  his creator, Ian Fleming, primarily about the time he spent in Jamaica writing the Bond books. Fleming’s life portrayed in Goldeneye seems almost like a novel: the love affairs, the political intrigue, the celebrity guest stars. I believe writers and readers alike (even those with just a passing knowledge of the Bond world) will enjoy this peek at an author and how his surroundings and personal life influenced his fictional world. It was fascinating as author Matthew Parker would mention characters and plot lines and reveal how they were connected to Jamaica and the people Fleming knew there.

Thanks to the blockbuster movies it seems impossible that there is anyone who isn’t familiar with James Bond. It was eye opening to learn about the attitudes toward Bond during Fleming’s life. Parker isn’t a Bond enthusiast who plays cheerleader for every word Fleming wrote.  He honestly critiques the books, explaining the weaknesses in several of them and revealing that in the 1950s for many readers Bond wasn’t a sensation, in fact for the people in Fleming’s social circle Bond was a bit of a joke.

This was a detail filled book that reflected the enthusiasm of Parker and, although I had never heard of him until reading Goldeneye, now I want to read some of Parker’s other books.

Review of The Test

Sometimes I wonder where my head is. Well, lots of times actually. I remember doing things but in reality, not so testmuch done. That was the case with a review of John Lansing’s The Test. Last week I received an email from the lovely Lance Wright at Partners in Crime Tours (have no idea what Lance is like in the real world but his emails are so charming and polite I always think of him as “lovely”). Lance was wondering what had happened to the review. Reading the email, I was all “Lance is having a break with reality. I distinctly remember writing that review, I even said XXX.” Checked the post I did on The Test — apparently I was the one having a break with reality! Found the review, stuck in a file but never actually making it to Words by Webb. Sorry Lance! Sorry John!

The Test

Author: John Lansing

Publisher: Tatra Press (November 1, 2014)

E-format: 29 pages


A coming-of-age story set in 1950s, small-town Long Island, at time when suburban America is about to undergo  seismic societal changes. With this backdrop, a teenage boy falls in love with one of the town’s few black girls, a relationship that has repercussions leading to permanent transformations for the couple–and for the town.


We’ve all had that relationship where the couple didn’t quite match: rich and poor, jock and bookworm, fashionista and computer geek, introvert and extrovert and of course the ultimate couple that doesn’t “match” Montague and Capulet. That’s why John Lansing’s latest work will resonate with anyone who reads it. We all know (or were) that mismatched couple and we all remember the all-encompassing love that only teenagers can feel.

The Test is what I like to call a long short story (29 pages) and is just a snapshot in the life of a teenager that takes places mainly during a high school dance. Lansing captures the rituals to pump yourself up the night of a dance, the nerve wracking feelings during the dance and the dizzying way teenagers fall in love in a moment. The Test is a wonderful way to find yourself back in that heady time, no matter what your age. Lansing does a good job of surprising the reader, events that were viewed in one light on first reading are revealed to be completely different as the story continues.

Read The Test, if only to remember those days when love was spelled  L-O-V-E and every other word lived in its shadow.

You can read a review at Words by Webb with John here and a guest post by him at my other blog Building Bookshelves here. And the silver lining to my delayed review: The Test is now on sale! That Lanceis, it was on sale as of April 12 and you never know how long an Amazon sale will last so pick it up now.

Couldn’t resist digging up a photo of the lovely Lance Wright! Lance, you look like you should be a Hemingway’s house in the Keys. Or are you? Do I see palm trees in the background?


Category: Book Reviews  4 Comments

5Ws with John Lansing

John Lansing started his career as an actor in New York City. He spent a year at the Royale Theatre playing the lead role in the Broadway production of “Grease.” He then landed a co-starring role in George Lucas’ “More American Graffiti,” and guest-starred on numerous television shows. During his fifteen-year writing career, Lansing wrote and produced “Walker Texas Ranger,” co-wrote two CBS Movies of the Week, and he also co-executive produced the ABC series “Scoundrels.”

John’s first book was “Good Cop, Bad Money,” a true crime tome with former NYPD Inspector Glen Morisano. The Devil’s Necktie, his first novel, became a best seller on Barnes & Noble. Jack Bertolino returned in Lansing’s latest novel “Blond Cargo. His newest release is the short story The Test, a coming of age short story set on Long Island in 1963 that deals with race, violence, social politics, and young love.

A native of Long Island, John now resides in Los Angeles.

Who is The Test are you most like? Yes, we’re all dying to know if you are Jack!

Guilty as charged. Although The Test is a work of fiction and not an autobiography, I did pull heavily from my personal life growing up on Long Island. I wrote about people I knew, places I frequented as a teenager, and social and political issues that were prevalent on Long Island in 1963.

What is the most difficult thing about writing a novel? Is there anything easier or more difficult about The Test as compared to The Devil’s Necktie and Blond Cargo?

The most difficult thing about writing a novel is finishing a novel. And the only way to make the process easier is to write every day. When my personal life interferes with sitting down and banging out pages, it get’s harder to get back in the groove and into my characters’ minds.

Why did you choose to offer your books solely in ebook format?

I didn’t choose to offer my books solely in an eBook format; it was the deal I was offered from Simon & Schuster at the time. With the success of The Devil’s Necktie, my first novel, and Blond Cargo, the second book in the series, my publisher is now printing a paperback version of both titles. And I’m very pleased.

Where do you get the ideas for your novels? It’s difficult to believe that the same mind created Blond Cargo and The Test!

The Devil’s Necktie started with a very simple premise. How could Jack Bertolino, a retired NYPD Inspector who had spent 25-years as an undercover narcotics detective taking down drug dealers, money launderers and killers, retire without suffering blowback. The short answer is he couldn’t, and exploring that struggle became the basis of my first novel.

I also keep files of articles, stories, and ideas that capture my interest, from newspapers, magazines and interesting conversations. When I’m ready to start a new project, I rummage through the file to see if anything sparks mlansingy imagination. I’m always on the lookout for a case or a story that’s rife with conflict and forces my protagonist to operate out of his comfort zone.

I’m glad that I was able to surprise you with The Test, after writing Blond Cargo. I approached character development the same way in both books. It was the history and life choices the characters made that dictated the change in structure and style of the two pieces.

When will we see another book from you and what genre will it be?

I am presently writing the third book in the Jack Bertolino series, and hope to deliver a first draft to my editor in the next few months. Thank you for asking.

Nantucket Five-spot

Author Steven Axxelrod, Poisoned Pen Press and Partners in Crime blog Tours have been incredibly generous. In addition to a copy of Nantucket Five-Spot in exchange for a review I’m able to offer you a giveaway of a BOX of Poisoned Pen Press books through the Rafflecopter below. Also, leave a comment on this post and you’ll be entered to win a copy of Nantucket Five-Spot. TWO giveaways in one day. It doesn’t get any better than that!

Nantucket Five-Spot

by Steven Axelrod

on Tour March 1-31, 2015

Book Details:

Genre: Mystery

Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press

Publication Date: Jan 6, 2015

Number of Pages: 296

ISBN: 9781464203428

Purchase Links:


Henry Kennis, Nantucket island’s poetry-writing police chief who will remind readers of Robert B. Parker’s Jesse Stone and Spenser, works a second challenging case in Nantucket Five-Spot.
At the height of the summer tourist season, a threat to bomb the annual Boston Pops Concert could destroy the island’s economy, along with its cachet as a safe, if mostly summer-time, haven for America’s ruling class. The threat of terrorism brings The Department of Homeland Security to the island, along with prospects for a rekindled love affair –Henry’s lost love works for the DHS now.
The “terrorism” aspects of the attack prove to be a red herring. The truth lies much closer to home. At first suspicion falls on local carpenter Billy Delavane, but Henry investigates the case and proves that Billy is being framed. Then it turns out that Henry’s new suspect is also being framed –for the bizarre and almost undetectable crime of framing someone else. Every piece of evidence works three ways in the investigation of a crime rooted in betrayed friendship, infidelity, and the quiet poisonous feuds of small town life. Henry traces the origin of the attacks back almost twenty years and uncovers an obsessive revenge conspiracy that he must unravel –now alone, discredited and on the run –before further disaster strikes.

Read an excerpt:

Chapter One
Finally, I was having dinner alone with Franny Tate. It was a mild summer night, we were dining at Cru, overlooking Nantucket harbor. I was leaning across the table to kiss her when the first bomb went off.
A hole punched into the air, a muffled thump that bypassed my ears and smacked straight into my stomach, like those ominous fireworks that flash once and leave no sparks. The blast wave hit a second later, shaking tables and knocking over glasses, rattling windows in their frames. Franny mouthed the word ‘bomb,’ her lips parting in silence and pressing together again, not wanting to say the word aloud, or thinking I couldn’t hear her through the veil of trembling air.
I pushed my chair back, pointing toward the Steamboat Wharf. We ran out into a night tattered by running feet and sirens.
Our romantic evening lay across the stained tablecloth behind us, tipped over and shattered with the restaurant stemware.
Something bad had arrived on my little island, an evil alert, a violation and a threat like a dog with its throat cut dropped on a front parlor rug. It was up to me and my officers to answer that threat, to make sense of it and set things right. I didn’t explain this to Franny. I didn’t need to. She was running right beside me.
At that point, I thought it all began with the first bomb threat, two weeks earlier, but I wasn’t even close. It takes a long time to make a bomb from scratch. Lighting the fuse is the quick part.
I can tell you the exact moment when the match touched the cord, though.
It was a bright humid morning in June. An eleven-year-old girl named Deborah Garrison stepped off the boat from Hyannis and skipped ahead of her mother down into the crowded seaside streets. As it happened, I was at the Steamship Authority that morning, picking up my assistant chief, Haden Krakauer. We actually saw Debbie in her pony tails and Justin Bieber t-shirt.
She didn’t seem special, just another adorable little girl on a holiday island crowded with them.
And Debbie didn’t actually do anything. Nothing that happened later was her fault. The simple, irreducible fact of her presence was enough. Even years later, the consequences and implications of Debbie’s arrival seem bizarre and implausible, far too weighty to balance on those thin sunburned shoulders.
It was like setting off an avalanche with a sigh.
The next time I saw Debbie, it was a week later and she was holding hands with my friend Billy Delavane when he came to the station to report a stolen wallet. She’d been tagging along with him everywhere, since the day she came to Nantucket. They had met in the surf at Madaket when he pulled her out of the white water after a bad wipeout.
“She’d launch on anything, but she kept slipping,” Billy told me later. “She couldn’t figure it out. No one told her she had to wax the board.”
She was happy to let Billy get everything organized and push her into some smaller waves and even happier to share a cup of hot chocolate with a few other kids at Billy’s beach shack when hypothermia set in.
They’d been inseparable ever since.
Barnaby Toll took Billy’s stolen property report and then buzzed my office. He knew I’d be pleased that Billy had shown up at “Valhalla” as he liked to call it. Billy had been one of the more vocal opponents of the new police station, dragging himself to several Town Meetings and fidgeting through all the boring warrant articles to take his stand against the giant new facility on Fairgrounds Road.
I understood his point. I had been against the construction myself, initially. But, like driving in a luxury car or eating at good restaurants, I adapted to the change shockingly fast. Now I couldn’t imagine working in the cramped crumbling building on South Water Street.
I found the two downstairs in the administration conference room.
Billy tilted his head as I walked in. “Nice place. Lots of parking.
In America, where nothing else matters.”
I ignored him, looking down. “Who’s this?”
Debbie spoke up without waiting for him. I liked that.
“Debbie Garrison.” She extended her hand and I tipped down a little to shake it.
“Police Chief Henry Kennis.”
“Glad to meet you, Chief Kennis. Can I have a tour? I think this place is awesome.”
“Absolutely. How old are you?”
“Eleven,” Billy volunteered.
“I’ll be twelve in September,” Debbie corrected him.
“That’s my son’s age,” I said. “You should meet him.”
“Most eleven-year-old boys are extremely immature.”
I let that one go and offered Debbie my arm. “Shall we?”
“Yay!” She grabbed my hand and led me into the corridor.
“Can we see the jail cells?”
The place was buzzing on a June morning. We had Girl Scouts gathering in the selectman’s meeting room and people milling in the front lobby, complaining about the neighbors’ noise violations and picking up over-sand stickers. Last night’s DUIs, the unlicensed, uninsured, or unregistered drivers (a couple of them always hit the trifecta).
On the way down to the booking room I asked Debbie what she thought so far.
“Well, the upstairs where we came in reminds me of a mall. That hole in the ceiling where you can see up to the second floor? I was like—is there a GAP store up there? This part is more like my school. But nicer.”
“Well, it’s new.”
“New is good,” she announced decisively and I thought,you’ve come to the right place.
“So are you spending a lot of time with Billy?” We pushed through into the booking room. It was crowded, phones were ringing. A bald geezer who looked like he was constructed out of sinew and tattoo ink was being hustled inside from the garage. Debbie stared at him. He was obviously sloshed out of his mind at ten in the morning.
I took her hand and led her around the big horseshoe-shaped desk toward the holding cells. “Debbie?”
“Billy? You’re spending a lot of time with him?”
“That guy is creepy.”
“He’s sad. His kid was killed in Afghanistan. He drinks a lot, that’s all.”
“Ugh. Those tattoos.”
“They’re bad.” She’d probably have one herself by the time she was sixteen, but you can always hope.
She moved on. “Billy’s great.” Then, “What’s behind that door?”
I followed her gaze to the corner. “That’s our padded cell.”
“For crazy people?”
“Well…for people who might try to hurt themselves.”
“Cool! Can I see it?”
We went inside. “Padded” is a slight exaggeration—the beige walls and floor have the consistency of a pencil eraser. “Billy’s not like I expected.” She pushed the walls, bouncing tentatively on the balls of her feet. “I mean, he’s not crazy or dangerous or anything.”
“Who told you he was dangerous?”
“Oh, I don’t know…just—people.”
“They were probably talking about his brother, Ed, who actually is crazy. And dangerous. But he’s going to be in jail for a long, long time. So I wouldn’t worry about him.”
“Billy is so the opposite of that. He wouldn’t hurt anyone. I mean, he’s sad about all the changes here, but he knows he can’t stop them. He’s not like some kind of terrorist or anything.”
I put a hand on her shoulder to stop the bouncing. “Debbie.”
She looked up at me. “Someone’s been calling Billy Delavane a terrorist?”
“I don’t know. I guess so. It’s just—people talk. People say stupid stuff all the time. Gossip and stuff.”
“I guess. But you’ve only been here a week, and you’re already hearing hardcore gossip about Billy Delavane? I don’t see how that’s possible. Are the kids talking about him?”
“The kids love him.”
“Then who? Your mother? Your mother’s friends?”
“Yeah, right.”
The idea of her talking to her mother’s friends was obviously so crazy only a clueless grown-up could entertain it.
We went to the jail cells next, three for the women and six for the men, simple rooms with built-in stainless steel sinks and toilets and a blue cement slab bed. The men’s side was full, so I walked her into the women’s block which was empty for the moment.
Debbie pointed at one of the slabs. “How can anyone sleep on that?”
“We have special bedding, but people don’t usually stay here overnight.”
“What’s that for?” She was looking at the stainless steel rail than ran along the length of the slab, eight inches off the floor.
“That’s called a Murphy bar—it’s for handcuffing people.”
“Oooo.” She shuddered

Author Bio:

Steven Axelrod holds an MFA in writing from Vermont College of the Fine Arts and remains a member of the WGA despite a long absence from Hollywood. His work has been featured on various websites, including the literary e-zine Numéro Cinq, where he is on the masthead. His work has also appeared at Salon.com and The GoodMen Project, as well as the magazines PulpModern and BigPulp. A father of two, he lives on Nantucket Island, Massachusetts, where he paints houses and writes, often at the same time, much to the annoyance of his customers.

Catch Up:


At first, I was not enjoying the timeline for Nantucket Five-Spot. Parts of it were in the present, parts of it were ten weeks ago, five years ago, two hours ago. Happily all the jumps to the past were clearly labeled so you weren’t flailing around wondering what time period you were in. As I continued to read I realized that this jumping from time to time, although confusing, was a great way to mirror the confusion Police Chief Henry Kennis felt during the investigation. Just like Henry, you the reader are getting bits of information here, there, from different time periods and trying to slide everything into the right spot.

This was book two in the series and it wasn’t difficult to jump into Book 2 but you may find yourself wanting to read Book 1 also. Although the first section of the book is heavy on investigation/stand-offs by competing law enforcement agencies (locals vs. state police vs. Homeland Security vs. FBI), once the action starts it doesn’t let up. I love that these guys that seem like they are barely capable of patrolling the 4th of July parade really step up to the plate and finally begin working together once they have a common enemy.

The setting details are great, making the book more memorable, funny and occasionally beautiful.

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How I Became a Writer

Becoming a writer is a mysterious process — how did it begin, when did you decide to write a book, where do your ideas come from? Debut children’s author Janice Wills Kingsbury shares a bit about her journey to writer here.

Lexi Goes on Vacation to the Outer Banks Author

Janice and a furry pal chill at the beach.

How I Became a Writer

I started writing in first grade.  I wrote so many stories that my teacher told the class that I didn’t have to write at story time.  This same teacher always encouraged me to write, sent one of my stories in for publication, and told me one day I would become a writer.  That was many years ago.  I haven’t had the confidence to go public until recently.

For many years I wrote reports for my job and papers for graduate school, but my personal writing was for my eyes only.  I loved to write down all of the thoughts and found it cathartic to do so.   When I left my public school job, I had many thoughts and feelings to sort out.  The last few years had been difficult for me.  Lots of pressure in school, long hours, demands at home, loss of a parent and 3 pets. I began to write about these things.  The more I wrote the easier it became.

I started to think about writing for others, but I wanted to enjoy myself. I love children’s books and the entire process of writing, choosing a cover, and planning the illustrations is exciting and fun for me.  I spend a lot of time refining details and editing trying to get everything just right.

I spend part of my time in the Outer Banks, North Carolina, and its here that I feel most creative.  I love the area and it’s always been my escape from the fast pace of the north. I’m relaxed, on the beach with my dogs, and talking to hundreds of people.  Vacationers come up to us all the time, and our walks span into hours.  I guess it’s not a common sight to see 6 dogs running freely on the beach, unleashed, chasing birds and Frisbees, or just hanging out.  They all come to a whistle if needed. People will stop me and ask questions, play with the dogs, take pictures and have fun.  Some people will come year after year and look for us on the beach. So many people tell us that watching the dogs running free on the beach and chasing birds is the highlight of their vacation.  Ideas would come to me often from the conversations I’ve had there.  My book, “Lexi Goes on Vacation,” is a culmination of telling the story so many times at the beach.

I’ve since written four other books.  My favorite of the four will be out soon. I’ve also started my own publishing company. It’s amazing that since I started writing it has become my passion and career.  I work everyday on writing, marketing, reading, and book signings. I couldn’t be happier.

More About Janice:

Janice Wills Kingsbury grew up in New Jersey. She worked as a teacher and later as a School Psychologist for 18 years. Janice also taught reading and has a love of children’s literature. Janice is also involved in animal rescue. Her children’s books are written from the heart and portray her love of and knowledge about children and animals. The stories will capture children’s interest and imagination.

Website: http://www.outerbooks.comLexi Goes on Vacation to the Outer Banks

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jwillskingsbury

Twitter: https://twitter.com/janicekingsbury

More About Lexi Goes on Vacation:

Ms. Janice and Mr. Rob have vacationed in the seashore town of Duck in North Carolina for 10 years. Duck is a friendly place with sandy beaches where children and dogs romp to their hearts content. This year Lexi, a new addition to their dog family, will come too. But the vacation will be like no other and as the sun sets on the beach it promises to be a long night, one the family will never forget!

Full color illustrations appeal to children and make the book come alive. The action and adventure encourage children to read to the end and learn new vocabulary. Even reluctant readers will want to finish the story.Age 6-12, but suitable for all ages, even adults.

Lexi Goes on Vacation can be purchased at Amazon, Barnes & Noble or Outer Books.


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Due for Discard

due_for_discard_300-640x1024Due for Discard (Aimee Machado Mystery)

Author:Sharon St. George

Paperback: 340 pages (also available in e-format)

Publisher: Camel Press (March 1, 2015)


Aimee Machado is thrilled to be starting her first job as a forensic librarian at the medical center in the town of Timbergate, north of Sacramento, California. Her ebullient mood is somewhat dampened by her recent breakup with her former live-in boyfriend, Nick Alexander. And then there’s a little matter of murder: on Aimee’s first day on the job, a body is found in the hospital Dumpster, soon identified as her supervisor’s wife, Bonnie Beardsley. Aimee’s heartbreaker of a brother and best friend, Harry, just happens to be one of the last people to see Bonnie alive, but he is hardly the only suspect. Bonnie was notorious for her wild partying and man-stealing ways, and she has left a trail of broken hearts and bitterness. Aimee is determined to get her brother off the suspect list. Aimee’s snooping quickly makes her a target. Isolated on her grandparents’ llama farm where she fled post-breakup, she realizes exactly how vulnerable she is. Three men have pledged to protect her: her brother Harry, her ex, Nick, and the dashing hospital administrator with a reputation for womanizing, Jared Quinn. But they can’t be on the alert every minute, not when Aimee is so bent on cracking the case with or without their help. Book 1 of a new series featuring amateur sleuth Aimee Machado.


If you enjoy starting a new mystery series try Due for Discard, the first book in the Aimee Machado mystery series. Author Sharon St. George does a great job of sneaking some humor into this mystery with the help of a few quirky animals: spitting llamas, tough guy birds, attack cats and loud turkeys to name a few. I feel there will be a lot of potential if St. George chooses to develop some interesting characters like Aimee’s grandparents, Lola the retired librarian/hospital volunteer and the fill-in security guard. The community itself also seems interesting as it includes everything from farms complete with ranch hands to country clubs to cutting edge hospitals — and hospital librarian Aimee is a part of all these worlds.

My only issue was that their is so much back story thrown in, enough so that I began thinking I was reading book #2 and had already missed a book. I wish it could have given us a bit of back story in a more light handed manner.