A Real Life Moonlit

Where do authors get their inspiration for characters? Many times from real life. Jadie Jones, author of the Moonlit fantasy trilogy, shares about her inspiration. Jadie Jones wrote her first book in seventh grade, filling one hundred and four pages of a black and white Mead notebook. Back then she lived for two things: horses and R.L. Stine books. Fast forward nearly twenty years, and she still work with horses. Its amazing how much changes… and how muchmoonlit stays the same.

?The dream of publishing a novel has hitch-hiked with Jadie down every other path she‘s taken (and there have been many). Waitress, farm manager, road manager, bank teller, speech writer, retail, and more. But that need to bring pen to paper refused to quiet. Finally, in 2009, she sat down, pulled out a brand new notebook, and once again let the pictures in my head become words on paper.

?Confession time: Jadie Jones is a pen name created to honor two fantastic women who didn’t get the chance to live out their professional dreams. First, Jadie’s grandmother – a mother of four during post World War II America, who wanted to be a journalist so bad that even now when she talks about it, her blue eyes mist and she lifts her chin in silent speculation. And second, a dear friend’s mother who left this world entirely too soon. To Judy Dawn and Shirley Jones, Jadie Jones is for you. It’s been a pleasure getting to know her.

Learn more about Jadie at her blog, Facebook page, or Twitter feed.

A Real-Life Moonlit: the inspiration behind Tanzy’s horse

by Jadie Jones

The Moonlit Trilogy is steeped in fantasy, but a big piece of the story: Tanzy’s beloved horse, “Moonlit,” was inspired

Jadie, aged 17 with Luna aged 4.

Jadie, aged 17 with Luna aged 4.

by a very real, very special horse: Zejaluna.

In book #1 (Moonlit), Tanzy’s mother sells Moonlit to a stranger for a dollar in a drunken rage on the anniversary of Tanzy’s father’s death, which was caused in part by a riding accident. Tanzy is devastated, as Moonlit is the last personal tie she has to her dad. With the help of a suspect new friend, Tanzy finds Moonlit by chance several years later on a farm in Kentucky, where the new owner is happy to sell her back to Tanzy for the same price he paid: one dollar. However, in book #2 (Windswept), anything Tanzy values is used as leverage against her by a supernatural force steering her toward a dark decision, and Moonlit is once again wrest from Tanzy’s grasp. It would seem Tanzy and Moonlit are not destined to belong to each other, which is the same conclusion I came to with my own horse, Zejaluna, or “Luna,” as we called her.

I bought Luna when I was 17 and she had just turned 4. I was ambitious, bold, and didn’t know what I didn’t know, and she was young, huge, well bred, very green, talented, athletic, and sassy. I had been riding about eight years by

Jadie's older daughter gives Luna a hug, 14 years after Jadie did

Jadie’s older daughter gives Luna a hug, 14 years after Jadie did

this point, but surviving the first year on that feisty horse taught me more than the first eight years combined. Luna traveled with me to college at St. Andrews Presbyterian, where we earned a spot on the show team. I was majoring in Equine Business Management, and planned to one day start my own breeding/training horse farm, using Luna and her fantastic pedigree as my first broodmare.

The summer of my freshman year, I was a counselor at a summer camp. Luna, of course, came with me. About a month in, I noticed a tiny block notch above her front left knee, about the size and shape of a pencil eraser. I had a local vet look at it, who said it was a wart, and would fall off with the first frost. It didn’t seem to bother her, and it was tiny, so I thought nothing of it.

Over the next few months, it grew rapidly, beginning to crack and bleed. Flies would cover it, irritating the wound and Luna, and she began to gnaw on it, increasing the damage and the growth. Another vet examined the “wart.” It wasn’t a wart, but a sarcoid, a kind of tumor caused by a bovine virus. We began a new, aggressive topical treatment, which only served to make it worse. The trouble with some sarcoids is the more you disrupt them, the faster they grow, and this was no exception.

By the next fall, Luna was limping. The tumor was a rare type that invades any tissue type, and had gone under the

Jadie and both her daughters have fun with Luna.

Jadie and both her daughters have fun with Luna.

skin and was warping her leg bone. Surgery was her only option. We had no money. I was running cross country at the time, and told my coach I would need to quit so I could get a job. He didn’t let me quit. Instead, he handed me a scholarship for the exact amount of her surgery. Even now typing this, I am brought to tears.

They weren’t able to get the whole tumor. It had “fingers” that wrapped around her knee joint. Chemo would be necessary. We did six round of injectable chemo. When that failed, we tried kryonic freezing. When that failed, the vet looked at me, tears in his eyes, and said we were at the end of the road. The end of her road.

I was numb. Luna’s care had taken over my life. I’d cut back on training and showing with the riding team. Somehow working on another horse didn’t feel right when she was in her stall, bandaged and depressed. I kept thinking if I pushed hard enough, sacrificed enough, threw everything possible at this monster, it would finally slink away. It didn’t.

One of my coaches encouraged me to consider “the big picture,” and another coach questioned my loyalty to the team (and rightfully so, I had pretty much stopped showing up to anything team related at this point.) The vet said it was a matter of months before the tumor would make it impossible for her to walk, and that she was likely to have more tumors over the course of her life, however long it might be. This was back in 2003, and the early years of using the internet for commerce and networking. I used a website called equine.com to post an ad for Luna, listing her pedigree, the story of her tumor, her bleak  prognosis, and this: if you can fix her, you can have her for free. And then a long checklist of what I required in a new home for my once-in-a-lifetime horse, including references, contact information for veterinarians, and video footage of the property where she would stay. In two days, I received over one hundred emails requesting to be considered.

I weeded it down to a few, but none of them felt exactly right. This is about to be TMI, but I remember this next moment so vividly that I have to describe it as it happened. It was winter, and cold in the dorms. I went to the bathroom and had on a jacket. My cell phone was in my pocket. I sat down to pee, and my phone went off. It was a number I didn’t recognize, but I answered it anyway, talking low to keep my voice from echoing. It was a man. His wife, Lisa, who owned a breeding farm in Florida, had just lost her treasured gray broodmare, and was horribly depressed. He was scanning equine.com, and came across my ad for Luna. He said he knew it sounded crazy, but would I please consider them. There was honesty and sympathy in his voice that I clung to. He hadn’t told his wife about Luna yet, because he wanted to make sure she was still available. I told him she was, and agreed to speak to his wife that night.

Lisa is a firecracker. A force of nature. A mover and a shaker. An I-will-get-it-done-come-hell-or-high-water woman. I could feel her through the speaker of my magenta flip-phone. The care of her horses came absolutely first. She knew a veterinarian who specialized in equine dermatology, and she had a plan for how to heal Luna from the inside-out. And during the Super Bowl of 2003, I called her and told her that Luna was hers.

Lisa would come to get her a week later. A couple of my good friends were there to help me say goodbye. Luna and I had a game we would play together. She would circle around me, and when I jogged in place she would trot, when I skipped she would canter, and when I spun around she would change directions. We played it one last time. What’s the harm? I thought. Then I brushed her until she shone. I braided a tiny lock of her tail and cut it out to keep. I packed up all her things. Lisa came. I told her every fact there was to know about Luna. I walked her on the trailer. Lisa shut the door. And they left. I fell to my knees and sobbed.

In April of that year, I received an email from Lisa with a picture attached. There was a hole in Luna’s leg the size of a tennis ball. The entire tumor had fallen out. Lisa said: I feel like I should give her back to you. But something inside me was still broken from not being able to fix her. I wanted to think everything we’d done to shrink the tumor had contributed, and I’ll never know. But I couldn’t stomach the idea of another tumor popping up, and going through it again. I didn’t trust myself. I had lost all my confidence. I said no, that I would honor our agreement. I didn’t tell her that I’d dropped off the team and had stopped riding all together. That I’d sold most of my gear and supplies. That I’d thrown away all the ribbons Luna and I had won together because I couldn’t bear to look at them.

I went to see Luna later that year. She was pregnant, happy, and tumor-free. Still, leaving her again ripped me apart. I felt like I couldn’t breathe until we crossed the state line back into Georgia. Over the next year I would see her twice more, once to meet her baby, and again when Luna competed at the Cosequin Championship horse show in Conyers, Georgia. Lisa let me stand with her when they called the class placing, and she won Reserve Champion. I thought it would be the last time I saw her.

Luna continued to campaign all over the east coast, winning multi-national titles. She was named ATA broodmare horse of the year, and was the dressage at Devon winner of the Joan T. Peyton Memorial Trophy. All of Luna’s foals have gone on to share in her success, and thrive in their competitive careers. Back then, I both loved and grieved her success. That probably makes me unlikeable. But it’s the truth. I had dreamed that she and I would walk a similar path. But I finally realized her path was bigger than me. I wasn’t ready for her yet, she was capable of more than me. And no, I hadn’t been the one to save her, but I found the person who could, and finally, finally I found solace in it.

Years later, Luna went to live at another farm with a friend of Lisa’s. I stayed in touch with Lisa, and Luna’s new owner, Julianna. I had also begun riding again, and had worked in the horse world in various capacities. On an impulse, I emailed Julianna, and told her that if they were ever ready to retire Luna, I would be happy to be her forever-home. She was very kind, and kept me up to date on Luna and her babies. By then, I had had a baby of my own, and was pregnant again. I decided to look for a new horse, and found Rowan, a young, quirky, pistol-of-a-horse, off-track thoroughbred to rehabilitate and retrain.

My second daughter was born. Rowan was improving and learning every day. Then, on May 2nd of this year, I received an email from Julianna: please call me as soon as possible. I was sure Luna was dying. I dialed Julianna’s number, stepped out onto my porch, and braced myself for the worst. Julianna was in tears, and had trouble speaking as she told me what was happening. While Luna hasn’t developed any more sarcoids, her skin is still extremely sensitive, and she’s susceptible to skin conditions. Her immune system is also out of whack because of the sarcoid virus. Combine these factors with Florida’s heat, humidity, and biting flies, and Luna had a problem: large wounds that wouldn’t heal. They were causing her a lot of stress, and even though she was eating, she was dropping weight. Julianna had tried everything, but the horse she loved wasn’t getting better, and she needed out of Florida. She made the selfless, gut-wrenching decision to find someone who could help. So she called me, and said it was time for Luna to go home.

The horse of a lifetime comes home.

The horse of a lifetime comes home.

I was in shock. Luna was now 19, and I hadn’t seen her in 12 years. I had regained faith in myself in all horsey-areas, except Luna. What if I can’t fix her? I asked Julianna at least half a dozen times. Then send her back, she said. In the weeks between this conversation and Luna’s arrival, I researched Luna’s condition and the various treatments. I bought ten different types of medicines, gauze, and wraps. My husband specializes in wound care, which is a huge bonus.

In June, Luna stepped off the trailer and onto the farm where I teach. Her legs wobbled from the long trip. Her eyes were dull and distant with stress. Her legs were wrapped to protect the wounds. The wound on her belly was coated in salve. She looked through me. She didn’t know who I was, not that I expected her to. I could still barely believe I was looking at her, much less that I was holding her ownership papers in my hand.

The next day, I groomed every inch of her, remembering where she liked to be scratched and where she hated it, talking quietly to her all the while. Her ears began to swivel back and forth in rhythm to my voice. Afterwards, I turned her loose in the riding ring so she could stretch. She started to circle around me, trotting, and then spinning in to look at me. Her ears pricked. Her black eyes brightened. And then I realized what she was doing: she was trying to play a game with me. Our game. She remembered.

It took about two months for the wounds to heal. She gained weight and strength. It was my turn to send pictures of progress, and we all celebrated together. And then, one day, I put a saddle on her. I got on. And I found my home. We ride a couple times a week now, and she is teaching my four year old the basics. My tiny daughter leads around my giant horse, and it’s a sight that makes my heart squeeze every time, because it’s something I never thought I’d see.

As I said, her path was in the stars, too big and far-reaching for me to guide her down by myself. She was loved and adored by many, and she inspired my path from afar, breathing life, depth, and influence into Moonlit, Tanzy’s treasured horse. I won’t tell you how Tanzy and Moonlit end up by the final page of book #3 (Wildwood,) but I will say I had decided their conclusion before learning Luna was coming home to me, but it wasn’t how I originally thought it would go. Maybe the stars had a hand in that, too.

One thing is for sure: Luna is the horse of a life-time, and not just mine.

Giveaway and 5 Reasons to Read The Translator

I have many reasons that I enjoyed The Translator and have been recommending it to friends. But, in the name ofNinaSchuyler-Translator brevity, I thought I would give you my top five reasons.

  1. Discussion– Some books you read, you enjoy, you give to your friend and say “Read this.” That isn’t the case with The Translator. Well, the first three steps are the same but it goes much further. This is a book you will want to dissect with your friends. “Why did she do that? What would you have said? Did you see that coming?” You will not be able to shut up about this book!
  2. New Worlds — I am not a world traveler, so I always enjoy a little literary traveling. And the Japanese culture is so polar opposite from my own world that this was a fascinating peek into a whole different world — not to mention the Noh Theater.
  3. Characters — Most books have a well-developed main character but occasionally are populated by two-dimensional supporting characters. Not The Translator. These are all complex characters that you will want to delve into and wonder about.
  4. Truth is stranger than fiction — Imaginations are a wonderful thing. We can create the wildest, most unbelievable situations. But when they turn out to be real it blows my mind. In The Translator, Hanne loses the ability to speak in her native language (English) and finds herself a woman living in California but only able to speak Japanese. Wild, right? But it’s something that has actually happened! Aren’t you amazed by the wonders of the human brain?
  5. The Language — You will want to read certain sentences and paragraphs over and over just to revel in the words. Author Nina Schuyler has a poetic touch with her descriptions. Beautiful!

The Translator: A Novel

Author: Nina Schuyler

Hardcover: 336 pages (also available in ebook, audio and paperback)

Publisher: Pegasus (August 15, 2014)


When renowned translator Hanne Schubert falls down a flight of stairs, she suffers an unusual condition? the loss of her native language. Speaking only Japanese, a language she learned later in life, she leaves for Japan. There, to Hanne’s shock, the Japanese novelist whose work she recently translated confronts her publicly for sabotaging his work.

Reeling, Hanne seeks out the inspiration for the author’s novel — a tortured, chimerical actor, once a master in the art of Noh Theater. Through their passionate, volatile relationship, Hanne is forced to reexamine how she has lived her life, including her estranged relationship with her daughter. In elegant prose, Nina Schuyler offers a deeply cherryblossomsmoving and mesmerizing story about language, love, and the transcendence of family.

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Tropical Depression

Tropical Depression

by Jeff Lindsay

Book Blast



NEW YORK TIMES bestselling author Jeff Lindsay mastered suspense with his wildly addictive DEXTER series. Before that, however, there was former cop and current burnout Billy Knight. When a hostage situation turns deadly, Billy loses everything—his wife, his daughter, and his career. Devastated, he heads to Key West to put down his gun and pick up a rod and reel as a fishing boat captain. But former co-worker Roscoe McAuley isn’t ready to let Billy rest.

When Roscoe tells Billy that someone murdered his son, Billy sends him away. When Roscoe himself turns up dead a few weeks later, however, Billy can’t keep from getting sucked back into Los Angeles, and the streets that took so much from him.

Billy’s investigations into the death of a former cop, and his son, will take him up to the highest echelons of the LAPD, finding corruption at every level. It puts him on a collision course with the law, with his past, with his former fellow officers, and with the dark aftermath of the Civil Rights Movement. Jeff Lindsay’s considerable storytelling gifts are on full display, drawing the reader in with a mesmerizing style and a case with more dangerous blind curves than Mulholland Drive.

Book Details:

Genre: Thriller, Suspense, Police Procedural

Published by: Diversion Books

Publication Date: August 25, 2015 (Re-Release)

Number of Pages: 256

ISBN: 2940151536677

Series: Billy Knight Thrillers, Book 1

Purchase Links: Amazon Barnes & Noble Goodreads

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Read an excerpt:

Somebody once said Los Angeles isn’t really a city but a hundred suburbs looking for a city. Every suburb has a different flavor to it, and every Angeleno thinks he knows all about you when he knows which one you live in. But that’s mostly important because of the freeways.

Life in L.A. is centered on the freeway system. Which freeway you live nearest is crucial to your whole life. It determines where you can work, eat, shop, what dentist you go to, and who you can be seen with.

I needed a freeway that could take me between the two murder sites, get me downtown fast, or up to the Hollywood substation to see Ed Beasley.

I’d been thinking about the Hollywood Freeway. It went everywhere I needed to go, and it was centrally located, which meant it connected to a lot of other freeways. Besides, I knew a hotel just a block off the freeway that was cheap and within walking distance of the World News, where Roscoe had been cut down. I wanted to look at the spot where it happened. I was pretty sure I wouldn’t learn anything, but it was a starting place.

And sometimes just looking at the place where a murder happened can give you ideas about it; cops are probably a little more levelheaded than average, but most of them will agree there’s something around a murder scene that, if they weren’t cops, they would call vibes.

So Hollywood it was. I flagged down one of the vans that take you to the rental car offices.

By the time I got fitted out with a brand new matchbox—no, thank you, I did not want a special this-week-only deal on a Cadillac convertible; that’s right, cash, I didn’t like credit cards; no, thank you, I did not want an upgrade of any kind for only a few dollars more; no, thank you, I didn’t want the extra insurance—it was dark and I was tired. I drove north on the San Diego Freeway slowly, slowly enough to have at least one maniac per mile yell obscenities at me. Imagine the nerve of me, going only sixty in a fifty-five zone.

The traffic was light. Pretty soon I made my turn east on the Santa Monica. I was getting used to being in L.A. again, getting back into the rhythm of the freeways. I felt a twinge of dread as I passed the exit for Sepulveda Boulevard, but I left it behind with the lights of Westwood.

The city always looks like quiet countryside from the Santa Monica Freeway. Once you are beyond Santa Monica and Westwood, you hit a stretch that is isolated from the areas it passes through. You could be driving through inner-city neighborhoods or country-club suburbs, but you’ll never know from the freeway.

That all changes as you approach downtown. Suddenly there is a skyline of tall buildings, and if you time it just right, there are two moons in the sky. The second one is only a round and brightly lit corporate logo on a skyscraper, but if it’s your first time through you can pass some anxious moments before you figure that out. After all, if any city in the world had two moons, wouldn’t it be L.A.?

And suddenly you are in one of the greatest driving nightmares of all recorded history. As you arc down a slow curve through the buildings and join the Harbor Freeway you are flung into the legendary Four-Level. The name is misleading, a slight understatement. It really seems like a lot more than four levels.

The closest thing to driving the Four-Level is flying a balloon through a vicious dogfight with the Red Baron’s Flying Circus. The bad guys—and they are all bad guys in the Four-Level—the bad guys come at you from all possible angles, always at speeds just slightly faster than the traffic is moving, and if you do not have every move planned out hours in advance you’ll be stuck in the wrong lane looking for a sign you’ve already missed and before you know it you will find yourself in Altadena, wondering what happened.

I got over into the right lane in plenty of time and made the swoop under several hundred tons of concrete overpass, and I was on the Hollywood Freeway. Traffic started to pick up after two or three exits, and in ten minutes I was coming off the Gower Street ramp and onto Franklin.

There’s a large hotel right there on Franklin at Gower. I’ve never figured out how they break even. They’re always at least two-thirds empty. They don’t even ask if you have a reservation. They are so stunned that you’ve found their hotel they are even polite for the first few days. There’s also a really lousy coffee shop right on the premises, which is convenient if you keep a cop’s schedule. I guessed I was probably going to do that this trip.

A young Chinese guy named Allan showed me up to my room. It was on the fifth floor and looked down into the city, onto Hollywood Boulevard just two blocks away. I left the curtain open. The room was a little bit bigger than a gas station rest room, but the decor wasn’t quite as nice.

It was way past my bedtime back home, but I couldn’t sleep. I left my bag untouched on top of the bed and went out.

The neighborhood at Franklin and Gower is schizophrenic. Two blocks up the hill, towards the famous Hollywood sign, the real estate gets pretty close to seven figures. Two blocks down the hill and it’s overpriced at three.

I walked straight down Gower, past a big brick church, and turned west. I waved hello to Manny, Moe, and Jack on the corner: it had been a while. There was still a crowd moving along the street. Most of them were dressed like they were auditioning for the role of something your mother warned you against.

Some people have this picture of Hollywood Boulevard. They think it’s glamorous. They think if they can just get off the pig farm and leave Iowa for the big city, all they have to do is get to Hollywood Boulevard and magic will happen. They’ll be discovered.

The funny thing is, they’re right. The guys that do the discovering are almost always waiting in the Greyhound station. If you’re young and alone, they’ll discover you. The magic they make happen might not be what you had in mind, but you won’t care about that for more than a week. After that you’ll be so eager to please you’ll gladly do things you’d never even had a name for until you got discovered. And a few years later when you die of disease or overdose or failure to please the magic-makers, your own mother won’t recognize you. And that’s the real magic of Hollywood. They take innocence and turn it into money and broken lives.

I stopped for a hot dog, hoping my sour mood would pass. It didn’t. I got mustard on my shirt. I watched a transvestite hooker working on a young Marine. The jarhead was drunk enough not to know better. He couldn’t believe his luck. I guess the hooker felt the same way.

The hot dog started to taste like old regrets. I threw the remaining half into the trash and walked the last two blocks to Cahuenga.

The World News is open twenty-four hours a day, and there’s always a handful of people browsing. In a town like this there’s a lot of people who can’t sleep. I don’t figure it’s their conscience bothering them.

I stood on the sidewalk in front of the place. There were racks of specialty magazines for people interested in unlikely things. There were several rows of out-of-town newspapers. Down at the far end of the newsstand was an alley. Maybe three steps this side of it there was a faint rusty brown stain spread across the sidewalk and over the curb into the gutter. I stepped over it and walked into the alley.

The alley was dark, but that was no surprise. The only surprise was that I started to feel the old cop adrenaline starting up again, just walking down a dark alley late at night. Suddenly I really wanted this guy. I wanted to find whoever had killed Roscoe and put him in a small cell with a couple of very friendly body-builders.

The night air started to feel charged. It felt good to be doing cop work again, and that made me a little mad, but I nosed around for a minute anyway. I wasn’t expecting to find anything, and I didn’t. By getting down on one knee and squinting I did find the spot where the rusty stains started. There was a large splat, and then a trickle leading back out of the alley to the stain on the sidewalk.

I followed the trickle back to the big stain and stood over it, looking down.

Blood is hard to wash out. But sooner or later the rain, the sun, and the passing feet wear away the stains. This stain was just about all that was left of Roscoe McAuley and when it was gone there would be nothing left of him at all except a piece of rock with his name on it and a couple of loose memories. What he was, what he did, what he thought and cared about—that was already gone. All that was hosed away a lot easier than blood stains—a lot quicker, too.

“I’m sorry, Roscoe,” I said to the stain. It didn’t answer. I walked back up the hill and climbed into a bed that was too soft and smelled of mothballs and cigarettes.


Author Bio:

authorJeff Lindsay is the award-winning author of the seven New York Times bestselling Dexter novels upon which the international hit TV show Dexter is based. His books appear in more than 30 languages and have sold millions of copies around the world. Jeff is a graduate of Middlebury College, Celebration Mime Clown School, and has a double MFA from Carnegie Mellon. Although a full-time writer now, he has worked as an actor, comic, director, MC, DJ, singer, songwriter, composer, musician, story analyst, script doctor, and screenwriter.


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Her Final Breath

Her Final Breath: Book 2 of the Tracy Crosswhite Series

Author: Robert Dugoniher_final_breath_cover

Paperback: 424 pages (also available as ebook, audiobook and MP3 CD)

Publisher: Thomas & Mercer (September 15, 2015)


Homicide detective Tracy Crosswhite has returned to the police force after the sensational retrial of her sister’s killer. Still scarred from that ordeal, Tracy is pulled into an investigation that threatens to end her career, if not her life.

A serial killer known as the Cowboy is killing young women in cheap motels in North Seattle. Even after a stalker leaves a menacing message for Crosswhite, suggesting the killer or a copycat could be targeting her personally, she is charged with bringing the murderer to justice. With clues scarce and more victims dying, Tracy realizes the key to solving the murders may lie in a decade-old homicide investigation that others, including her captain, Johnny Nolasco, would prefer to keep buried. With the Cowboy on the hunt, can Tracy find the evidence to stop him, or will she become his next victim?


You know it’s true…sometimes the first book in a series blows your mind but book 2…well, meh. Thankfully, Robert Dugoni didn’t fall into that trap. This doesn’t even feel like a “Book 2”. Perhaps it’s because in Her Final Breath, Tracy has returned to Seattle from Washington state, the setting for My Sister’s Grave. It feels very different. Yes, Tracy is still a rebel but she’s back on the force, not a devastated sister trying to solve her sister’s cold case.

I’m sure there is a more literary term for this but here it is: Dugoni does a great job of creating a creepy feel. Love it! I could feel the goosebumps on my arms as I read this book. Getting inside the stalker’s head will really keep you engaged in the story. If you like figuring out what makes the bad guy tick Her Final Breath is the book for you.

the_academyWant to whet your appetite for Tracy Crosswhite? The Academy is a free prequel ebook that you can download here. I haven’t read it yet but it’s on my TBR list. If you’d like to learn what I thought about the first Tracy Crosswhite book My Sister’s Grave check it out here.

The Intern

I read a lot of books. A LOT! Normally I don’t “read authors”, that is find an author I like and set out to read every book they’ve ever written. I’m making an exception for Dale Wiley after reading The Intern. Partners in Crime Blog Tours contacted me about reviewing Dale’s latest book Sabotage which I did here. They didn’t even ask me about The Intern but it was a free download (you can get it here) and I figured “Hey, free book!” I took it along on a trip to the beach and couldn’t put it down. Now I want to read everything Dale has ever written!

The Intern

Author: Dale Wileybookstack_intern

E Book: 158 pages

Publisher: Dale Wiley/Smashwords (March 16, 2015)


It’s 1995. Things are going great for new Washington, DC intern Trent Norris. But things can change in a moment in DC, and Trent finds himself the prime suspect in two murders and a slew of other crimes. Overnight he becomes the most wanted man in America.

Trent has to find a way — any way — out. He finds a way to hole up at The Watergate on a senator’s dime and enlists a comely call girl as his unwitting ally. But with the media eating him alive, he knows he doesn’t have long before they catch up with him. Can The Intern find his way out of this mess?

From tony clubs in Georgetown to Capitol Hill murders, The Intern has all the twists and turns of a classic DC thriller, with an added comic flair.


I’m not going to lie, I like most of the books I read. And even if it isn’t my cup of tea, I at least admire that a person took the time to write an entire book. This book is in a whole new category. I loved, loved, loved this book and want everyone to read it. Seriously, I am trying to turn every reader I know into a Dale Wiley convert.

The Intern is a wild story that could only happen in DC. Trent is just your average, invisible to the movers and shakers intern doing he sometimes boring, sometimes frustrating, occasionally rewarding job. Then a one sentence note to his boss leads to a massive misunderstanding that finds him mixed up in a DC scandal that includes murder.

OK, there were a few hard to believe coincidences (the call girl and the fate of the ex-boyfriend I guessed before they happened) but all in all this was such a fun read. I couldn’t wait to see how Trent, using the many connections (LOL) he made as an intern extricates himself from this impossible situation. You have to read this book. It’s fast, it’s fun and it’s unforgettable.



Dale Wiley

on Tour August 2015



Every hour explosions rock America. There is no rhyme or reason to where they appear: big cities, small towns, even rural backroads. The sinister message that suddenly appears on America’s computer screens is clear: No one is safe:

  • Not disgraced FBI agent Grant, awaiting his call back to the big time;
  • Not rapper Pal Joey, an international sensation;
  • Not savvy, stunning beauty Caitlin, the ultimate Sin City party girl;
  • Not even Naseem, the would-be martyr who helped plan the attacks and now finds himself double-crossed.
  • As an unhinged mastermind paralyzes a nation, these unlikely heroes must put aside their pasts and work together to stop him before more hours bring more disasters.

    All roads lead to Las Vegas, where the plan begins to unravel. Can four people, united only by their hatred of this singular villain, finally stop Sabotage?

    Book Details:

    Genre: Thriller

    Published by: Smashwords

    Publication Date: August 2 for Apple | August 3 everywhere else

    Number of Pages: 220

    ISBN: 9781310917455

    Purchase Links: Amazon Barnes & Noble Amazon Goodreads


    Read an excerpt:

    The money, all forty thousand dollars, was lined up all out on the counter when Seth got there.

    It might as well have been a million to Seth. He had been involved in big deals before, but that was when the economy was good and people threw money around for fun. He did that too, back then. Then everything changed and the people who had money, even in Vegas, went into their holes and stopped sharing. This was important and different and better. And it came at the right time, too.

    The deal worked like this: He got to leave with half the cash right then. Twenty thousand dollars. He had already rented a safe deposit box to keep it in; that was the first time he had been in a bank in years. Yes, what he was doing was risky, but he got to leave with that unthinkable amount of money. This morning. He would spend one hour on a plane, and then he was done. Pretty much, anyway. And the rest of the money? His before nightfall.

    He was on the 34th floor of the Trump Tower, one of the newer and more impressive addresses in Las Vegas. It was seven a.m. The sky was a warm yellow and promised heat, like almost every day in Vegas. But he didn’t get to see it much, not like this anyway. He couldn’t remember when he had last been awake at this hour of the morning. Check that: When he had woken up at this time. In a town like Vegas, you often went down when the sun came up. Normally he was either rolling in about now, or sleeping off the after-effects of a long night. But an early morning was what the job required, and Seth desperately needed this.

    He had been to this apartment several times before. He had initially been wary of his benefactor’s strange behavior, aloof and put-on, far from the passionate pawing of his other suitors, but he was beginning to understand. He felt sure that he was hired because he looked so much like the man who paid him so well to come and visit. It was uncanny. His own skin was a shade darker than his doppelganger, but both men were handsome, around six feet tall, dark complexion and dark hair. Both men had light eyes. Twice on his visits the doorman had smiled at him as if he were the building’s resident. It took some getting used to, to sit across from yourself and talk, but Seth got used to things very quickly.

    Seth was an escort, a plaything. He liked his job most of the time, but it led him into odd circumstances. Men paying you to suck his toes. Men wanting to cut his hair. He still wasn’t fully sure what to make of the quiet man who brought him here, to his apartment. Most other men desired Seth’s body, wanted to devour him, to come out of the closet in Vegas before stepping back in and heading home, or to add him to their strange Vegas menagerie. Not Yankee. He told him he just wanted companionship, conversation, just like the ad on Seth’s website said. No sex, no toe-sucking. Seth wondered if Yankee liked the idea of talking to himself, given their similarity in appearance.

    Yankee’s apartment, where they always met, was big and somewhat bland, looking and feeling more like a nice big hotel suite than a real place where someone lived. Most of the men who lived in Vegas and invited him to their place generally had expansive and well-decorated homes, with Rothkos and Hockneys and other tasteful artists. The rest had festive and overdone palaces straight out of a Fellini film. Yankee’s place felt like the junior suite at the nicest hotel in town, but nothing more. It had maid service and a kitchen that looked like no one had ever cooked there. Seth walked by the kitchen every time he walked in, and he always took a longing look inside. Seth, who was a good and thoughtful cook, hated to see such a wonderful space wasted by someone who didn’t appreciate or have time for it. He wondered how much time Yankee actually spent here.

    After the third visit, when Yankee said he knew him well enough, he asked Seth if he would be interested in a big job. Not just a thousand dollars here and there, but a score. Yankee had said he had looked into his background (or what he thought he knew of it), and felt that he could be trusted. He also knew from his profession that he had long ago lost his tendency to gag.

    Yankee looked at him seriously. Are you interested? I understand if you’re not. But of course Seth was interested. He occasionally made good money, but there were all of the craps tables and party drugs to think about. Seth wanted to have a nest egg. He nodded, and waited for what Yankee would say.

    Just swallow three condoms, filled with drugs. Take a one hour flight. Take some laxatives and release. Make twenty thousand upon swallowing, twenty thousand upon releasing the packages back to the owners. Some chance of death, some chance of prison. But, as he saw it, Seth dealt with those risks every day he sold himself in Las Vegas, and for a much smaller return.

    He was nervous. He sat on the stiff leather couch, which it seemed like no one ever sat on, knowing that Yankee would appear after what seemed like an eternity. This was his way. Seth sat and looked at the money.

    He thought about just taking the money, grabbing the first elevator and praying for ground, but he looked around and once again had the sensation he was being watched. He knew there was another entrance to this apartment, and he didn’t know whether Yankee was already here or coming through that entrance. But he knew enough to be sure he didn’t want to cross this man. Despite his kindness, Seth knew Yankee could be cruel, all without losing his quiet demeanor. There was always a chance that a condom would rupture in his stomach during his flight, or that he would get caught by officers waiting in Los Angeles, but that risk was nothing compared to dashing away with the money. He assumed that indiscretion would assure an all-but-certain death. And though he might say in a fit of boy-induced drama that sometimes he wished he would die, he really didn’t. He wanted this to go well, and he wanted to pocket the rewards.

    Seth wondered if you could see his thoughts on the surveillance screen. He didn’t want to give anything away. He didn’t want to risk Yankee pulling back. He went back to thinking like a mule. That was what this job required. And if he got paid this well, he would think like a mule, act like a mule, be a mule.

    Finally, some fifteen minutes later, give or take, in came Yankee. He kissed Seth gently on the cheek as he always did. This was their only physical contact.

    “Big day!” said Yankee in an overly fey manner. Seth knew he wasn’t gay. “Are you ready?”

    “I’m ready,” said Seth, who had been anticipating this for weeks.

    “Well, they’re in the fridge.” Yankee went and opened the refrigerator and took out a plate with three pink condoms on it. “I put some strawberry jam on them,” Yankee said. “I knew that was your fave.”

    The condoms were filled with a gelatinous substance. They were the size of small bananas, but not difficult to get down. At the last visit, they had practiced swallowing some condoms close to this size with a similar liquid. They timed how long it took them to come out: two and a half hours. Yankee paid him double for that session.

    Yankee assured him that these were double-bagged. Seth smiled, and said, Down the hatch.” He opened up the back of his throat and swallowed the three packages easily, followed by lots of water.

    “Lie down. Like last time,” Yankee said, a little hurried. “Then I’ll take you to the airport.”

    Seth did. This place made him sleepy anyway. He moved to the couch, took off his shoes, and laid down. He closed his eyes and relaxed.

    Yankee went to the kitchen. He opened the knife drawer, and took out the H&K pistol that was hidden in the back. The silencer was already on.

    Seth started to drift. And then it hit him. Why would Yankee want someone who looked like him to make this run? Why wouldn’t he want someone completely different? Why would he want connections?

    Checking one more time to make sure Seth’s eyes were closed, Yankee emerged from the kitchen. He strode stiffly across the room. Yankee bent over Seth and held his breath.

    Seth felt the weight on top of his chest and opened his eyes in terror. He realized what was happening. He tried to push Yankee away but he had no leverage. He started to yell “No” but it was too late. Yankee put the gun up to Seth’s left eye and pulled the trigger. All that was heard was a sound no louder than a handclap. Seth slumped. Yankee started to shoot again, but saw it was unnecessary. Seth the greedy escort was no more.

    Yankee flipped his body off the couch and onto the floor, where he landed face-down. Exactly as planned. Blood rolled down the leather couch where Seth’s head had been. He took the coffee table and flipped it on top of the body, enough to cause papers to scatter, but not enough to make much of a sound. He eased it on top of the remote-operated bomb that now was Seth The Escort. Yankee looked down and saw that he had gotten some blood on himself, which was not surprising. The room, normally so neat, was now oh-such-a-mess. Yankee laughed. He was still playing the fake fairy.

    It didn’t matter. Yankee was never coming back. He took off his clothes and placed them in a black garbage bag. Then, just like the condoms filled with plastic explosives that now rested in Seth’s belly, he double-bagged it. Before he got into the shower, he turned the thermostat all the way down. He wanted it to feel like a meat locker in the apartment. Then he got in the heat and the steam and took his time. Lather, rinse, repeat. Stay calm and think. He breathed deeply and fully, slowing his heart rate as best he could, and made sure he had his plan ready. He came out of the shower, put on his delivery man get-up, replete with white coveralls and a red cap, put the trash bag in one hand and a clipboard in the other, and found the service elevator. He keyed in the code and rode down, happy that no one shared the ride. He made it to the ground floor and tossed the trash bag into the back of the trash truck, which had just backed into the bay, nodding at a couple of workers as he headed for the parking lot. He walked to the other side, got in his ride, and was on his way.

    Yankee enjoyed his last minutes of anonymity, driving a red Ford pickup into history. Soon he was going to be the most hated man in America. Or at least the character he had created was.

    Author Bio:

    Dale Wiley is a Missouri attorney who has had a character named after him on CSI, owned a record label, been interviewed by Bob Edwards on NPR’s Morning Edition and made motorcycles for Merle Haggard and John Paul DeJoria. He has three awesome kids and spends his days working as a lawyer fighting the big banks.

    Catch Up:

    Tour Giveaway:

    This is a giveaway hosted by Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours for Dale Wiley. There will be THREE U.S. winners of an ebook copy of either Sabotage, Kissing Persuasive Lips or both books by Dale Wiley. The giveaway is open to US residents only. The giveaway begins on August 1st, 2015 and runs through September 31st, 2015.
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    Tour Participants:


    OK, I like most books. But I LOVED Sabotage. Author Dale Wiley starts off perfectly — rocketing from bombing to bombing. The book’s characters don’t know what is going on and neither do you. I really felt as confused as the book’s characters. Then there were hints of what was really happening and the plan was slowly revealed. And the two people that join together to “save the world”? Fabulous. I can’t say much because I don’t want to ruin the book but trust me, read this book.

    Perhaps the most frightening thing about this book is it seems so real. You could totally believe this is a real scenario. I suppose the terror in our own lives only enhances the terror we now read in thrillers. My only complaint was a couple of minor characters didn’t seemed fully fleshed out. Other than that I couldn’t put this book down. I even blurted out the plot(no spoilers) to a complete stranger while waiting in line at the DMV!

    Get More Great Reads at Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours




    Interview and Giveaway for The Lost Concerto

    The Lost Concerto

    by Helaine Mario

    on Tour August 1-31, 2015



    A woman and her young son flee to a convent on a remote island off the Breton coast of France. Generations of seafarers have named the place Ile de la Brume, or Fog Island. In a chapel high on a cliff, a tragic death occurs and a terrified child vanishes into the mist.

    The child’s godmother, Maggie O’Shea, haunted by the violent deaths of her husband and best friend, has withdrawn from her life as a classical pianist. But then a recording of unforgettable music and a grainy photograph surface, connecting her missing godson to a long-lost first love.

    The photograph will draw Maggie inexorably into a collision course with criminal forces, decades-long secrets, stolen art and musical artifacts, and deadly terrorists. Her search will take her to the Festival de Musique, Aix-en-Provence, France, where she discovers answers to the mystery surrounding her husband’s death, an unexpected love—and a musical masterpiece lost for centuries.

    A compelling blend of suspense, mystery, political intrigue, and romance, The Lost Concerto explores universal themes of loss, vengeance, courage, and love.


    Book Details:

    Genre: Mystery, Suspense

    Published by: Oceanview Publishing

    Publication Date: July 1st 2015

    Number of Pages: 443

    ISBN: 9781608091515

    Purchase Links: Amazon Barnes & Noble Goodreads

    Author Bio:

    Helaine Mario grew up in New York City and is a graduate of Boston University. She has served on many nonprofit boards while residing in both Connecticut and Maryland.

    A passionate advocate for women’s and children’s issues, she is the founder and president of The SunDial Foundation, which is connected to over 30 DC area nonprofits. Helaine and her husband, Ron, now live in Arlington, Virginia, and Sarasota, Florida. The Lost Concerto, her second novel, was inspired by her son Sean, a classical pianist.

    Catch Up:
    author's website author's twitter author's facebook


    5Ws with Helaine Mario:


    Who in your life encouraged you to begin writing?

     Two women I never met inspired me to write fiction – Helen MacInnes and Mary Stewart.  Not teachers, but writers – queens of espionage novels and romantic suspense from 1941 through the 80’s.  They taught me about suspense, courage and love, and they inspired me with their heroic women characters.  I never took a writing class, but from these writers I learned about building page-turning suspense, finding a voice, dialogue that sounds natural, creating a believable and involving romance.  Like those who went before me, my stories have international and evocative settings, political intrigue, timely plots and complex characters.  The women in my novels, especially, are strong, intelligent, funny, accomplished and brave.  Women who somehow find the courage to do the right thing no matter what.

    I read every single one of these writers’ books.  And I miss them.


    What type of musical talents do you have? You write so passionately about the music world you must be a musician or, at the very least, a music lover.

    Yes, I am passionate about music.  But I have no musical talent.  My husband and I had no musical instruments in our home when our children were young.  I cannot read music, nor can I find middle C on the piano.

    But – I do love music.  Folk, Jazz, Broadway, Opera.  Most especially, Classical.  My son, Sean, began asking for piano lessons when he was five.  We rented an old upright, convinced that he would lose interest within a few months.  The months became years, and he graduated to a new upright, and then a grand piano – competing frequently in classical competitions.  As I listened to him practice, I fell deeply, madly in love with the great pieces and composers – Mozart, Chopin, Beethoven, Tchaikovsky.

    When I decided to write this novel, I knew that my main character would have to be a classical pianist.  But because I am not a musician, that meant research.  Hours and hours and hours of research.  I talked to musicians, and I read about musical expressions, instruments, composers, and the most beautiful symphonies and concertos.  The good news is that one article on music led to lost music, and that article led to music lost during World War II, and – voila! – a plot was born.  With music as a key character.

    An anecdote about character and music – I happened to glance through a gift catalog and saw a cheap t-shirt for sale with an amusing music quote.  Aha!  From that moment on, my pianist Maggie wore a collection of music t-shirts with quotes like “don’t shoot the piano player.’  It’s this little something extra, the polishing, that rounds out your characters and gives them heart and soul, brings them to life.  And keeps the music theme up front and personal.

    Finally, you might be interested to know that in my ‘author’s notes’ at the end of The Lost Concerto I list a dozen classical pieces for the reader that play a role in this story.


    When can we look for another book from you? Can we have a sneak peek at the title or plot?

     I now am writing my third novel of suspense and hope to finish it in early 2016.  My first two novels, Firebird and The Lost Concerto, are ‘stand-alone’ novels with their own individual storylines and characters. I want this third novel to be a sequel for sure.  My problem is that I still love both stories and all my characters from each of the previous novels.  So, whose story do I continue?  Both of my main women characters, Alexandra from Firebird and Maggie from The Lost Concerto, absolutely deserve their own stories and sequels.

    As of now, my work in progress is titled Woman in Shadows.  It continues the ‘missing art’ storyline from The Lost Concerto, and includes my Lost Concerto characters Simon Sugarman and Zachary Law.  My main characters, however, will be my art curator Alexandra, Agent Garcia and the Russian Yuri Belankov, all from Firebird.  As in Firebird, Alexandra will have her own personal agenda involving a family mystery and her search for a priceless, long lost painting.

    So far the settings are New York City and Vienna.  And now I have learned that I want to have music in all my novels, so I have a new character – the cellist Hannah.  Also, because I believe several generations of characters make the relationships and plot more interesting, I’ve been surprised by a young Russian teen with a secret.  And lately a symphony conductor has been slipping into my mind, demanding to be heard.  To be continued…


    The Lost Concerto took its characters all over the world, of the many places mentioned in your novel where would you like to go?

    Boston is one of my favorite cities in the world.  I went to Boston University and fell in love with this strong, beautiful city.  I worked there, met my husband there, walked the cobbled streets when I was happy and when my heart was broken.  We still return every October, just ‘because.’  It’s no wonder that I would want to set Maggie’s music shop in Boston.

    As for my European settings…  I always will go back to Paris in a heartbeat.  My husband’s international business gave me an opportunity to visit this glorious city many times over the years, and I wandered and got to know so many of the neighborhoods – the ‘arrondisments.’  The Marais, the Left Bank, Invalides, Montmartre, Ile de la Cite…  I had the time to find the intimate and ‘out of the way’ places, and these, in turn, found their way into my novel.  The Bird Market, the cemetery of Pere Lachaise, Notre Dame’s tower walkway, the houseboats along the Seine, Musee d’Orsay.  There are scenes set in all of these evocative places, and more.

    Having said this… I would go back to the South of France in a heartbeat as well.  The lavender, the abbeys, the ocher villages, the scent of olive trees, the outdoor markets and cafes, the distant glimpse of bright sea.  There is no other place quite like it.

    And then there is my first novel, Firebird…   I am a New Yorker who loves art, and so my character Alexandra is an art curator on the Upper West side.  And because I worked at the White House, in the office of the Vice President, during the 8 years of Clinton/Gore… well, of course Firebird is rife with Washington‘s political intrigue.

    I recently returned from my first visit to Vienna, and was so taken by the Opera House and the Lipizzaner stallions that I have set several scenes in my third book there – the work in progress is Woman in Shadows.

    Finally, if I could choose a new place to visit, a place I’ve never been, I would visit big sky Montana, and Washington’s San Juan Islands.  I am absolutely certain that beautiful, complex new characters would walk toward me from the ferry, or out of the deep green forests.


    Why does grief and mourning play an important part in both your novels?

     As usual, for me there is an easy answer and a far more complicated one.

    Easy first.  As a writer, more than anything, I want people to really care about my characters.  I have learned that most readers want to like a character, invest in them, have empathy, feel for them.

    For me, the most interesting characters are those who have some difficulty, struggle or loss to overcome.  Readers will respond very strongly to a character who is conflicted, trying to deal with a loss, trying to overcome pain and sorrow, trying to find the courage to move on.  The heart of the story then becomes how they move on.  And hopefully the reader will want to take the journey with them.

    The more complicated answer is that, at my age, I am losing people I love.  We have lost many dear friends, and I am very close to several women who have suddenly become widows.  I see the grief and loss in their eyes, the confusion and distance…  I’ve learned that every person must grieve in their own way, in their own time.  Some will move on, and some will not.  And so, in creating the characters of Alexandra and Maggie, I really am trying to imagine the unimaginable – my own grief, and how I would react to loss.  In a way these scenes are my own “year of magical thinking.”

    While there are many moments in life that we cannot change or control, I know that it’s how we deal with what happens to us that matters.  This is when we learn who we truly are.  This always will be a theme in my novels.


    This is a giveaway hosted by Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours for Helaine Mario & Oceanview Publishing. There will be ONE U.S. winner of a physical book copy of The Lost Concerto by Helaine Mario. The giveaway is open to US residents only. The giveaway begins on Aug 1st, 2015 and runs through Aug 31st, 2015. Stop by our tour stops too because several of them are giving away signed print copies of The Lost Concerto by Helaine Mario! a Rafflecopter giveaway

    Check out my review of The Lost Concerto on Building Bookshelves.


    A Portrait of Love and Honor: A Novel Based on a True Story

    A Portrait of Love and Honor: A Novel Based on a True Storyhigh res_front-2

    Author: Susan G. Weidener

    Paperback: 226 pages (also available in ebook)

    Publisher: Writing Circle Press (April 10, 2015)


    Newly-divorced and on her own, 40-something Ava Stuart forges a new life. One day, at a signing in the local library for her novel, a tall, dark-haired man walks in and stands in the back of the room. Jay Scioli is a wanderer – a man who has said good-bye to innocence, the U. S. Army, and corporate America. His outlook on life having changed, his health shattered by illness, he writes a memoir. In his isolation, he searches for an editor to help him pick up the loose ends. Time may be running out. He is drawn to the striking and successful Ava. Facing one setback after another, their love embraces friendship, crisis, dignity, disillusionment. Their love story reflects a reason for living in the face of life’s unexpected events.

    Based on a true story, A Portrait of Love and Honor takes the reader from the halls of the United States Military Academy at West Point during the Vietnam War to a moving love story between two people destined to meet.


    Susan Weidener photoSusan G. Weidener is a former journalist with The Philadelphia Inquirer. She has interviewed a host of interesting people from all walks of life, including Guy Lombardo, Bob Hope, Leonard Nimoy, Rubin “Hurricane” Carter and Mary Pipher.  She left journalism in 2007 and after attending a women’s writing retreat, wrote and published her memoir, Again in a Heartbeat, a memoir of love, loss and dating again, about being widowed at a young age. Two years later, she wrote and published its sequel, Morning at Wellington Square, a woman’s search for passion and renewal in middle age. Her novel, A Portrait of Love and Honor, completes the trilogy, inspired by and dedicated to her late husband, John M. Cavalieri, on whose memoir the novel is based.  Susan earned a BA in Literature from American University and a master’s in education from the University of Pennsylvania. An editor, writing coach and teacher of writing workshops, she founded the Women’s Writing Circle, a support and critique group for writers in suburban Philadelphia. She lives in Chester Springs, PA.  Her website is: www.susanweidener.com.


    In the Company of Sherlock Holmes: Stories Inspired by the Holmes Canon

    In the Company of Sherlock Holmes

    Editor: Leslie S. Klinger and Laurie R. King

    Hardcover: 384 pages (also available in ebook, audio and paperback)sherlock

    Publisher: Pegasus (November 11, 2014)


    The Sherlock Holmes stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle were recently voted as the top mystery series of all time, and they have enthralled generations of readers and writers!

    Now, Laurie R. King, author of the New York Times-bestselling Mary Russell series (in which Holmes plays a co-starring role), and Leslie S. Klinger, editor of the New Annotated Sherlock Holmes, have assembled a stellar group of contemporary authors from a variety of genres and asked them to create new stories inspired by that canon. Readers will find Holmes in times and places previously unimagined, as well as characters who have themselves been affected by the tales of Sherlock Holmes.

    The resulting volume is an absolute delight for Holmes fans both new and old, with contributions from Michael Connelly, Jeffery Deaver, Michael Dirda, Harlan Ellison, Denise Hamilton, Nancy Holder, John Lescroart, Sara Paretsky, Michael Sims, and more. The game is afoot again!


    Lately, Sherlock Holmes has been popping up in my life everywhere. My daughter is on a Holmes kick and is reading a series of Holmes meets historical characters series, I recently saw a trailer for a movie of Holmes in his later life and a reviewed a book where Holmes travels to Japan. So when I saw this book, I took all the rest as a sign. I should read it!

    If you’re a strict Doyle-ist, In the Company of Sherlock Holmes is not for you. This book is a wild ride of Holmes related stories: some take place in the present, some true to the Doyle style, graphic novel stories, social media stories, cartoons, stories about peripheral characters or plot lines. There were no stories with science fiction or Western themes but it seems other than that, anything goes. Although I enjoy Sherlock Holmes, I haven’t delved into the books and stories for a bit so I worry that a few of the Holmes connections were lost on me…of course Holmes fanatics might be perturbed by the fantastic liberties some of the authors have taken. Personally, I enjoyed the book and rarely came across a story that didn’t keep me turning the pages.

    If you are like me, In the Company of Sherlock Holmes will reintroduce you to half-forgotten characters and encourage you to reread the original Doyle literature…just to see how close the contributors came to capturing the essence of Holmes.

    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.