Charles Stross, "Overtime"


Sunday, June 17, 2018


Cribbins: A Modern Ghost StoryCribbins: A Modern Ghost Story by R. H. Dixon
My rating: 4 of 5 stars


A novel of subtle, creeping-in-on-cat-feet, psychological and supernatural horror, as only the British can manage. Understated but massively implacable, much like a silent juggernaut bearing inevitably down on one, sight unseen, sound unheard. It's Cribbins--Cribbins. Fifteen years in his grave, but you think that stops him? Absolutely not. Might as well think Candyman doesn't hold a grudge. Cribbins is personified evil, and it doesn't matter which side of the boneyard he is on. Cribbins is determined to make Sophie pay, and Cribbins is unstoppable. This novel reminded me of Henry James' "Turn of the Screw," of the supernatural novels of Shari Struthers, and of the crime noir of Rachel Abbott.

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Friday, June 15, 2018

Review: South By Southwest Wales

South By Southwest Wales South By Southwest Wales by David Owain Hughes
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Review: SOUTH BY SOUTHWEST WALES by David Owain Hughes

Not often do I envision a book as film, but SOUTH BY SOUTHWEST WALES is too precious and perfect not to. Every moment I read, while simultaneously marveling at the author's talent, suspensefully hanging on the cliff edge (or knife edge) of the sharp plot, I visualized the film, starring Barbara Stanwyck as the wealthy but enigmatic and mysterious Mrs. Barnes, and Jimmy Stewart as the sometimes bumbling, sometimes swiftly efficient, private investigator Samson Valentine. Ronald Colman was offstage as the supposedly suave con artist, Mr. Barnes. And the always elusive criminal mastermind Xray? Played by the Wizard of Oz, of course. This engrossing scenario was brought to us by prolific author David Owain Hughes, channeling pulp noir author Dashiell Hammett.

Lest you find my casting too outre, I should point out that Samson Valentine, former military, former police detective, is an alcoholic, twice-widowed private detective in contemporary Cardiff, Wales. However, by an extraordinary ability, Samson also believes himself to be a P.I. in 1940's Chicago, a veteran of the era of gangsters, mob sway, and Tommy guns. He doesn't just long for it, he lives it; and he had this reader living it too.

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Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Review: Behind the Door

Behind the Door Behind the Door by Mary SanGiovanni
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Review: BEHIND THE DOOR by Mary SanGiovanni
(Kathy Ryan Series)

Mary SanGiovanni is an estimable talent indeed. BEHIND THE DOOR takes my beloved Lovecraft Mythos and squeezes it till it squeaks--or in this case, hums. She does so while interweaving some of the worst instances humanity can fall prey to, both as prey and as predator. Portions of this novel made me want to weep, close my eyes, and rage--all simultaneously. I also screamed to see justice wrought. There is extreme horror here, frequently, and I don't recommend to read at night, alone (as did I). There is implacability, maximally. But guard your sensitivity, fire up your empathy, and jump in. Ms. SanGiovanni is about to carry you on an out-of-this-world ride.

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Monday, June 11, 2018

Review: Jar of Hearts

Jar of Hearts Jar of Hearts by Jennifer Hillier
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Review: JAR OF HEARTS by Jennifer Hillier

JAR OF HEARTS is a complicated and complex mystery thriller, a feat of psychological horror, in which nothing is as it seems and the frequent twists and revelations carry the impact of knockout punches. I readily admit that more than once, I caught my breath, stunned. It takes an extensive imagination to create a novel this convoluted.

A psychological treatise, as it were, on guilt and wrong decisions, on self-righteousness developed to extremes, on forgiveness and the refusal to forgive, JAR OF HEARTS peels the layers off many characters, primary and secondary, rips off the masks to reveal the secret sides we don't show the world, and propels the reader through breathtaking suspense throughout.

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Thursday, June 7, 2018

Tour_DANGEROUS PLACES by Susan Hunter

Dangerous Places by Susan Hunter

Dangerous Places

by Susan Hunter

on Tour June 4 - 15, 2018


Dangerous Places by Susan Hunter

When teenager Heather Young disappeared from the small town of Himmel, Wisconsin everyone believed her boyfriend had killed her—though her body was never found. Twenty years later, his little sister Sammy returns to town. She begs her old friend, true crime writer Leah Nash, to prove her brother Eric isn’t a murderer.

But Sammy has no new evidence, and her brother doesn’t want Leah’s help. Leah says no—but she can’t help feeling guilty about it. That feeling gets much worse when Sammy is killed in a suspicious car accident. That’s when the independent, irreverent, unstoppable Leah takes up her cause. Her investigation takes her to some dark and dangerous places, and the truth she finds has an unexpected and shattering impact on her own life.

Book Details:

Genre: Mystery
Published by: Himmel River Press
Publication Date: November 2016
Number of Pages: 348
ISBN: 1540356477 (ISBN13: 9781540356475)
Series: Leah Nash Mysteries #3 (Each is a Stand Alone Mystery)
Purchase Links: Amazon 🔗 | Barnes & Noble 🔗 | Google Play 🔗 | Goodreads 🔗

Read an excerpt:

Chapter 1

So, Leah, good to see you. I almost missed your book readin’ there. But what I heard, you did real good. I’m late because the stop ’n’ go light on Main is on the blink, caused a little fender-bender. But that’s OK, eh? Because we put the—”

“I know, Marty, you ‘put the sure in inSUREance.’ ”

Marty Angstrom beamed, thrilled at the evidence that his painstakingly-crafted slogan for the A-1 Independent Insurance Agency had achieved market penetration.

“Noreen was gonna come too, but she’s at her mother’s over to Waukesha tonight. But she bought your book anyway. Gonna give it to her sister for her birthday. I got it right here. Could you sign somethin’ personal? You know, make it special for her to give to Arlene?”

“Sure.” I took the book he handed to me and sat down to autograph it.

Unholy Alliances is the true story of the death of my younger sister Lacey at a residential school run by Catholic nuns. Years after the fact, I got a tip that her death wasn’t accidental as we’d all believed. The investigation I did for my small-town paper, The Himmel Times Weekly, brought the truth to light and also generated some national interest. I wound up with a book deal and a career switch from reporter to true crime writer.

My book reading at the annual Himmel Public Library Wine and Cheese Fundraiser was my first official “celebrity” appearance in town. Although I’d spent the past few months promoting my book across the country on every radio show, television interview program, and podcast that would have me, I’d been a little nervous no one would show up on my home turf. But there was a respectable crowd.

As I signed the book, Marty kept talking.

“So, you’re a big deal now, aren’t you? I saw you on the TV the other day, everybody at McClain’s was watchin’. Gettin’ real famous and all. Leah Nash, big-time author, eh? But I can still say I knew you when.” He smiled with the kind of hometown pride that was usually reserved for a Packers player. I was very touched. He really is a nice man.

“I don’t know about that. The book’s doing well, but that promotional tour stuff is pretty wearing. I’m glad to be home.”

“Speakin’ of home there, Leah, how you set for insurance on that new loft apartment you moved into? Renters need insurance too.”

“I hadn’t really thought about it, Marty. I’ll call your office and—” As I handed him the book, my response was cut off by a jolt to my arm from a woman carrying a full glass of burgundy. The slosh from it instantly made my pale-yellow blazer look as though I’d been a casualty in a shootout.

“Oh! I’m so sorry. I’m sorry.” She began dabbing ineffectively with her hand at the spreading deep red stain on the front of my blazer.

“It’s OK, don’t worry about it.” I stood and stepped away from the table, slipping out of my jacket. Fortunately, the wine hadn’t penetrated through to my shirt. I snagged a bottle of water and a napkin from a circulating waiter. As I liberally doused the front of my jacket, the woman apologized again, her voice high and tense.

“Hey, c’mon. It’s not a big deal,” I said. Several people began to glance our way. “I’ll just run to the bathroom and run some cold water on it.” I smiled to ease her embarrassment and hurried off to the restroom. I pushed through the door and narrowly missed slamming it into the bent head of a man who had just started to rise from kneeling under the sink. Startled, I took a half-step back to check the sign on the door. “Ladies.” Nope, I hadn’t barged into the men’s room by mistake.

As he stood I realized he was wearing workman’s clothes and held a wrench in his hand.

“Had a leaky pipe emergency. All done except the moppin’ up.” He indicated a puddle of water that nearly reached the two stalls on the opposite wall.

“Oh, well, sorry to bang in here. Is it OK if I just run some water on this stain so it doesn’t set?”

“Sure, sure. Workin’ fine now. I got to say, Leah, your daddy would sure be proud of you tonight.”

I stopped cold. Nothing brings me up short like mention of the father who abandoned us. “Excuse me?”

“Now, don’t get all huffy, there. You ’member me, don’t ya? It’s Dorsey. Dorsey Cowdrey. I knowed your dad. Knowed you too. We both did a little work for Anthony Dunn, back when he wasn’t so hoity-toity and his name was Tony. Likes to be called Anthony now. Mr. Dunn is even better.” He started a laugh that ended in a smoker’s cough before he went on. “I’m still Tony’s go-to guy. What my daddy used to call a jack-of-all-trades. Little plumbin’, little carpentry, little electrical, little this ‘n’ that. Not much I can’t handle.”

I stared at him without recognition. He had a foxy face, long and sharp-featured with weathered skin. His build was lean, his hair ginger-colored and streaked with gray. Even his ears were fox-like, high and almost pointed. I guessed him to be in his late fifties or early sixties.

“I’m sorry, I don’t remember you, Mr. Cowdrey.” I had turned my back and was running water over the spot on my blazer.

“Oh now, darlin’, don’t say that. You can’t forget the man what used to give you them Baby Ruth candy bars you was so crazy about. I used to call you ‘little Ruthie’ ’cause you liked ’em so much.”

As I squeezed the excess water from my jacket, I closed my eyes and saw my five-year-old-self and a much younger version of this man leaning toward me. “Here you go, little Ruthie. You sit right there on your swing and chew on this. I’m goin’ in to talk to your daddy fer a minute.” I hadn’t liked him very well—he smelled like stale sweat and tobacco—but I had indeed been crazy about the Baby Ruths, and at five, I was easily won over. Actually, even now, the right candy bar can take you pretty far with me. I faced him and said, “Yes, you’re right. I do remember you, Mr. Cowdrey.”

He smiled, revealing small, sharp yellow teeth that made him look more vulpine than ever. “I heard your little presentation there. You did a real nice job. I’m not much of a reader myself. My boy Cole, though, seems like he read your whole book. I guess he likes bein’ famous, even if he don’t come out lookin’ too good.”

Again I was puzzled. “Cole Granger? He’s your son?”

Cole had been a low-level drug dealer involved with my youngest sister Lacey in her lost days. The last time I saw him, he was a pretty scared loser, on the run out of town from some criminals who were a lot more dangerous than he was.

“By marriage, yeah. He’s my stepson. We don’t get along too good. Still, kin is kin, right?”

The door swung inward then as two laughing women came through. They stopped at the unexpected duo who greeted them. I gave them that funny little half-smile you offer to strangers, and I stepped to their left.

“Excuse me, please. Bye, Mr. Cowdrey.” I didn’t say it was nice seeing him, because it really hadn’t been. Something about that guy gave me the willies. He was picking up his tools as I left.

I hurried back to the reception room, lest Dorsey Cowdrey decide to escort me, and found an empty chair to drape my damp blazer on. As I did so, someone tapped me on the shoulder. I turned and saw the woman who’d spilled my drink. My expression must have conveyed a not-very-friendly “Enough, all ready. Let it go,” because she started talking quickly.

“No, but wait, please. What an idiot I am. I’m just nervous, I guess. You know, you think something through in your head, and you imagine what you’ll say and how it will go, and then it doesn’t.” She was speaking so quickly that it was hard to follow her, and what I did catch I didn’t understand. Her obvious nervousness was all out of proportion to the slight accident she’d caused.

“I have to talk to you. I need you to—please.” She gulped, emitting a sound between a gasp and a hiccup. She continued a little desperately, “Leah, don’t you remember me?”

Two in one night. What were the odds? I had no idea who she was, and she saw the lack of recognition on my face.

“It’s me, Samantha. Sammy. You have to remember. You were my best friend!” Her voice was stronger now, but still pleading. And then I saw it, as I looked straight into her face. I flashed back to a big, sunny room, with two little girls sitting on a bed, repeating in unison: “We’re best friends. We’ll always be, ’cause I’m for you, and you’re for me.” Then high fives and waves of laughter.

“Sam? Sammy.” I repeated the name with growing certainty. The eyes had it. They were Samantha’s—big and wide set, a little wary now, as though the world were an unfriendly place, but still an amazing shade of aquamarine. Her fine flaxen hair was darker, and instead of hanging like a shining curtain down her back, was cut short and blunt-edged. But it was Sam.


Excerpt from Dangerous Places by Susan Hunter. Copyright © 2018 by Susan Hunter. Reproduced with permission from Susan Hunter. All rights reserved.

Author Bio:

Susan Hunter

Susan Hunter is a charter member of Introverts International (which meets the 12th of Never at an undisclosed location). She has worked as a reporter and managing editor, during which time she received a first-place UPI award for investigative reporting and a Michigan Press Association first place award for enterprise/feature reporting.

Susan has also taught composition at the college level, written advertising copy, newsletters, press releases, speeches, web copy, academic papers and memos. Lots and lots of memos. She lives in rural Michigan with her husband Gary, who is a man of action, not words.

During certain times of the day, she can be found wandering the mean streets of small-town Himmel, Wisconsin, dropping off a story lead at the Himmel Times Weekly, or meeting friends for a drink at McClain's Bar and Grill.

Catch Up With Susan Hunter On: Website, Goodreads, Twitter, & Facebook!


Tour Participants:

Visit the other great hosts on this tour for more great reviews, interviews, guest posts, and giveaways!  


This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Susan Hunter. There will be 1 winner of one (1) Amazon.com gift Card. The giveaway begins on June 4 and runs through June 17, 2018. Void where prohibited.
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Dangerous Places (Leah Nash Mysteries #3)Dangerous Places by Susan Hunter
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Review: DANGEROUS PLACES by Susan Hunter
(Leah Nash Mysteries Book 3)

The excitement and intrigue in this series never let up, and I hope the series goes on forever. Each and every novel in this series is heart-wrenching and heartwarming, and contains a truly complex and convoluted mystery which our feisty, sarcastic, dedicated protagonist feels compelled to solve. Those who have read Book 2, DANGEROUS MISTAKES, will remember that the story concluded with a cliffhanger hint that everything was about to upend, and we learn why now. Much of the backstory from Book 1 unrolls here, and the sad history of the Nashes becomes even sadder. We can only hope Truth eventually brings closure. Certainly, Leah has no shortage of cases to fuel her new career writing true crime nonfiction.

Monday, June 4, 2018

Matt Betts Guest Post (author of THE BOOGEYMAN'S INTERN)

What got you started in Writing?

Many people ask me what made me want to write, or how did I know I wanted to be a writer. Short answer? Stephen King.

No. It wasn’t because he wrote stories that knocked me out, or haunted my dreams, or made me so scared that I wanted to have the same effect on readers. No. For me, I read King’s easy prose, wound my way through his short stories and novels and when I got to the end, I said “I can do that.”

I was wrong.

Seriously. That was what got me started. For me, King’s plots and dialogue flowed so easily that I mistook it for something anyone could do. It wasn’t arrogance, I don’t think. It was stupidity more than anything. I really hadn’t written much before that, and I certainly hadn’t tried to tackle anything like a horror short story.

With my weird little electric typewriter/word processor hybrid, I sat down to quickly write an awesome story that everyone would love. I did not.

Oh, I wrote stories. Two, maybe three (not all in one sitting) horror/weird stories. I thought they were pretty good. They were not.

See, what I hadn’t yet learned as a writer is that it takes skill to make a story have the desired effect. It takes careful revision and a selection of very precise words to make a work of short fiction seem entirely effortless. A good read is rarely, if ever, an accident. So to look at King’s simple stories and relatively basic language and say it must have been easy is a terrible new writer mistake.

Why did I think these elements of King’s work were a sign that it had to be easy to do? Well, at the time, I was also reading a lot of technothrillers - Tom Clancy, Dale Brown and the like - and I found they were constantly throwing in technical jargon, military terms, and other five-dollar words. To me, the comparison between the language and styles of these writers somehow measured the difficulty of the writing. Not so.

Every writer must find his or her style eventually. They have to look at their genre and decide on the tropes, clich├ęs, and other elements, and that includes the length and feel of the genre. After they get those down, the writer can start striking out on their own and trying new things and bending the rules that they’ve learned. It took me a while, but I figured that out.

Those stories I wrote? Looking back on them I see that they are very much like Stephen King’s work. VERY much. Because I was imitating him. I’d read so much of his work that his was the only voice in my head. After that, I wrote a lot more. Read a lot more. Both of those things gave me a wider understanding of what sort of writer I was, and what everyone else did before me, which hopefully cut out the copycat element eventually.

I learned that if I don’t read widely, I can’t strike out on my own and develop that style I mentioned, and that has made all the difference to my confidence as a writer.

Review: The Workers of Iniquity: A C.T. Ferguson Private Investigator Mystery

The Workers of Iniquity: A C.T. Ferguson Private Investigator Mystery The Workers of Iniquity: A C.T. Ferguson Private Investigator Mystery by Tom Fowler
My rating: 5 of 5 stars


I really enjoy this heartfelt and endearing series starring a very special kind of private investigator, a man with a good heart, wise intellect, and the financial stability to be able to perform investigations pro bono.

C. T. Ferguson is the product of Baltimore wealth and society. He is also a gifted hacker, with a brief interment in a Hong Kong jail. In THE WORKERS OF INIQUITY he takes on the case of a failed businessman' s sudden death, which the police insist is suicide. C. T. traces threads of events leading to a sneaky usurper, and eventually uncovers a pattern of ongoing evil, destroying many lives.

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Sunday, June 3, 2018

Review: The Boogeyman's Intern

The Boogeyman's Intern The Boogeyman's Intern by Matt Betts
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Review: THE BOOGEYMAN' S INTERN by Matt Betts

I think this book will be very appealing to readers of fantasy or traditional fairy tales, if you like tradition turned on its head and knocked for a loop. This is NOT your grandfather's fairy tale. I was reminded of Sir Terry Pratchett' s SMALL GODS, as THE BOOGEYMAN' S INTERN deals quite a bit with lack of belief and how that affects deities and other non-worldly entities, including Imaginary Friends, the category into which our feckless protagonist Abe falls. Rather, formerly fell, because Abe has become not only feckless, but failing. So no one is more vastly surprised than he when he is tapped by the Hill' s Council (Father Time, Mother Nature, and Death) to investigate and solve an impossible mystery: the very first ever death on the Hill.

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Friday, June 1, 2018

Review: The Last Outpost

The Last Outpost The Last Outpost by Hannah Ross
My rating: 5 of 5 stars


I totally loved this exciting and fascinating novel. True, it'd be difficult not to love any story set in Antarctica, but THE LAST OUTPOST is just too good not to totally admire! Feeling "as if I was there," I immediately became wrapped in the story: the setting, the human involvement, the imminent worldwide chaos. And the SECRETS! Yes, in this novel Antarctica has a plethora of secrets, and some rival Star Trek First Contact episodes. There's a lot of anthropological philosophy, social commentary, and really well-written heroes and villains.

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Thursday, May 31, 2018

Review: From Twisted Roots: Thriller, Horror, and Mystery Short Stories

From Twisted Roots: Thriller, Horror, and Mystery Short Stories From Twisted Roots: Thriller, Horror, and Mystery Short Stories by S.H. Cooper
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Review: FROM TWISTED ROOTS by S. H. Cooper

SO SCARY!! This fine collection, varied but always with impact, will likely keep you awake at night, and will definitely burrow into your memories to recur when you least expect (such as middle of the night or in dreams). If you enjoy the short fiction of Sheri White, I predict you will also enjoy S. H. Cooper' s personal brand of horror.

Caution: Many of these stories include trauma to children, and women in danger or distress. If you are of an extraordinarily sensitive nature, take note before proceeding.

I read this collection straight through, but I recommend taking one story at a time (maybe at bedtime) and savor it.

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Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Release Review_THE SURVIVING GIRLS by Katee Robert

The Surviving Girls by Katee Robert
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Review: THE SURVIVING GIRLS by Katee Robert

Describing a thriller or suspense mystery as gripping, unputdownable, won't let you sleep, twist you couldn't predict, is not uncommon. Sometimes it's all true. With THE SURVIVING GIRLS (HIDDEN SINS Book 3), all of these are true. Immediately thus novel wrapped me in, stopped breath, made the outside world fall away, then shocked with an immense unpredictable twist that blew me away. Wow! What a roller coaster! Leavened with deeply held emotions, friendships, romance, a couple of kicking "take no prisoners" female characters, and dogs (!), THE SURVIVING GIRLS is truly a "I never saw that coming but I'm so glad I read it" suspense thriller.

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Monday, May 28, 2018

Review: The Moore House

The Moore House The Moore House by Tony Tremblay
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Review: THE MOORE HOUSE by Tony Tremblay
(Release July 2018)

I adored this horror novel, in every sense. Author Tony Tremblay vivifies the New England small-town scene and its environs, so much that it seemed I walked there, observing. He also knows his characters from the inside, delineating each to the core. Additionally, he knows how to terrorize his characters and his readers. I read this over two evenings/nights, which was really brave of me, since THE MOORE HOUSE is super scary. I won't be forgetting this novel for quite a long time. Nor will I be forgetting a few of the characters whom I came (with good reasons) to despise. I especially won't forget the explosively terrifying opening scenes involving a homeless, feckless, drifter--and THE MOORE HOUSE.

I don't know if the author has considered a sequel; but I fervently hope he will. THE MOORE HOUSE rocks!!

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Friday, May 25, 2018


A venture of Goodreads Group 75 Books, May 25-28 (Friday-Sunday), 2018!

Follow my progress Goodreads shelf.

My Tentative Goals and Progress

I'd like to spend the four days reading cozy mysteries (especially NetGalley acquisitions).

But because overloaded with 23 Release Reviews and Tour Reviews and reviews I've requested through GR groups, between May 29 and June 26, I'll read as many cozies as possible, interspersed around upcoming due reviews.

First goals:

1) Finish The Surviving Girls (Hidden Sins, #3) by Katee Robert (i read 46% May 24), for Tuesday's release review.

2) Cozies: Pasta Mortem (Supper Club Mysteries Book 7) by Ellery Adams and Black Beans & Vice (Supper Club Mysteries Book 6) by Ellery Adams, both of which i fortunately acquired yesterday at NetGalley (my favorite author of cozy)

Pick and Chews (Barkery & Biscuits Mystery #4) by Linda O. Johnston , Tour Review June 1.

3) The Outsider by Stephen King (received it May 22 on pre-order, read 20% that date. Also a 75 Books Group Buddy Read)

4) More Cozy? Way more Reviews!

COMPLETED: 1) THE SURVIVING GIRLS. May 25. 5 stars (review upcoming)


3) EDEN WAKES by C. S Harte (EDEN FACTIONS BOOK 1) May 26-27

4) THE MOORE HOUSE by Tony Tremblay (July 2018 release) May 26-27 Horror

5) THE OUTSIDER by Stephen King

Thursday, May 24, 2018


Have you Pre-ordered THE SURVIVING GIRLS by Katee Robert yet?



This is a must read summer read!” —Book Him Danno


Robert takes the story to an unexpected revelation of who the real killer is and the trip there is highly entertaining in a hang on to your chair kind of way. Every Robert book I’ve read has been filled with well defined, gritty characters and a well-paced plot. The women aren’t Cinderallas and the Princes Charming have an edge to them. Just the way I like it. —Jeep Diva


Pre-order THE SURVIVING GIRLS and add it to your TBR pile on Goodreads! Then keep reading to get a sneak peek and your chance to enter the giveaway for a $25 Amazon gift card or books from KateeRobert!



Title: The Surviving Girls

Author: Katee Robert

Series: Hidden Sins #3

Genre: Romantic Suspense

Release Date: May 29, 2018

Publisher: Montlake Romance

Print Length:  282 pages

Format: Digital and Paperback

ISBN: 978-1503902442





A fierce survivor and a fearless FBI agent battle a copycat serial killer in a gripping thriller from New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Katee Robert.


Twelve years ago, Lei Zhang and her friend Emma Nilsson miraculously lived through the notorious Sorority Row Murders that left twenty-one of their sisters dead. Still wrestling with the trauma but finally out of the limelight, Lei and Emma are now devoted to helping other victims find closure. But most disturbing for Lei—beyond the gut-wrenching survivor guilt—is that the killer was her boyfriend. He’s behind bars, but she’ll never lower her guard again.


When a copycat killer targets Lei and Emma, FBI Agent Dante Young is put in charge of anticipating the sociopath’s every move. But what he doesn’t expect is his immediate and overpowering attraction to Lei. The closer they get to each other, the more desperate and terrifying the questions become: Who wants to finish what the killer started—and why?


Now Agent Young vows to protect Lei at all costs. If they have any chance of a future together, first they have to stay alive…


On sale May 29th!

Amazon:  http://bit.ly/TheSurvivingGIrlsAmazon

B&N: http://bit.ly/2HcOsUZ


Enter to win a grand prize of a $25 Amazon Gift Card or three (3) runner-up copies of a backlist eBook from Katee Robert!




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The Surviving Girls Excerpt

Copyright © 2018 Katee Robert


Watching the women interact was fascinating on a level Dante wasn’t prepared for. He’d known Lei and Emma lived together, but he hadn’t had the opportunity to take a step back and consider the implications of that arrangement. Emma teetered on the edge of a breakdown and used Lei to pull herself back from the ledge . . . everything made a lot more sense.

They’d formed a symbiotic relationship, of sorts.

There wasn’t much data concerning situations like this one, mostly because they rarely arose, and each case was too individual to tie together in nice, easy studies. It stood to reason, though, that coming out of that sorority house as the only two survivors would send these women into one of two futures. In one, they never saw each other and pretended the other didn’t exist rather than be faced with the perpetual reminder of what they’d gone through.

In the other, they realized that no one would ever know what they went through as intimately as the other person who survived—and leaned on each other as result.

Lei was the one who finally met his gaze, and hell if her inky-dark eyes didn’t take his breath away despite the circumstances. Clarke had pulled both women’s photos on the way over there, but they were old—from their sorority days. Both beautiful in their own way, though they were a study in opposites. Emma had the sweet southern thing going for her, all blonde hair, big innocent blue eyes, and curves that suggested southern cooking. He couldn’t tell if her soft tone was practiced or natural, but it pricked at him every time she spoke.

Lei . . . She was something else altogether. She was petite in a way that should have read frail but reminded him of a blade waiting to be unsheathed. There were muscles beneath her light-brown skin, and he guessed that she’d have no problem keeping up with the monster dog at her feet during a search. Her straight black hair was pulled back into a no-nonsense ponytail, which left her features in stark relief. Beautiful, but doesn’t like to draw attention to it. Might as well have tried to hide the sky.

Fuck, get it together. You’re here to interview them, not to lose your damn mind over Lei Zhang.

Yes, she was beautiful, but he’d dealt with beautiful women before without jeopardizing his professional persona. Dante didn’t know what it was about this woman that called to something in him, but he had to shelve it.

He couldn’t afford to be distracted.

She clasped Emma’s hand but turned her body to face him more fully. “The night of the murders, I let Travis Berkley into the Omega Delta Lambda house. We’d been dating four months and he told me he had a surprise.” Her lips twisted. “It was against the rules, but girls broke the rules all the time.”

He noted her knuckles whitening where she held Emma’s hand, but her voice maintained its steady tone. “We had sex. Approximately an hour later, something changed. I still have problems putting it into words. Travis just . . . shifted. It was like he’d taken off a mask and I didn’t recognize the man beneath. He hit me. A few times.” She absentmindedly touched the little hooked scar on her cheekbone. From Travis’s ring. “I passed out. When I woke up, he’d barricaded my door shut and I could hear their screams.”

Lei’s breath hitched, and it was almost as if she inhaled and Emma exhaled. The blonde lifted her chin. “I was in the basement studying when it started. Finals were coming up, and I was struggling in history and needed the extra study time. The first sign of something wrong was Travis hauling Sarah—” She cut herself off and flinched. “I’m sorry. It’s hard to say their names, even now.”

Clarke huffed out a breath. “You don’t have to name every single girl he killed. We know their names. We know their stories. We just want to hear how it all went down from your perspective.”

They wouldn’t find anything new here. Dante knew it, and he suspected Clarke knew it, too. These two women had told their stories countless times over the years, and if there was information they hadn’t shared before now, he highly doubted this would be the time it’d magically come out.

Hearing the story through their own voices was a whole hell of a lot more jarring than reading it in the file, however.

Emma took them through it. How Travis Berkley brought the entire house of girls into that basement, how he was charming and terrifying and told them that he’d let them go one by one . . . if they did exactly as he asked. It wasn’t until the night was over and no one had come to save them that the remaining girls realized what was happening, and even then, they were too afraid to try to overpower him.

Herd mentality. Travis had to have known he could manipulate the whole group as long as he got them scared and in a single place. They believed the pretty lie because the truth was impossible to wrap their minds around.

Emma’s voice shook. “There were still . . . ten of us left when I realized I wasn’t getting out of that house alive—that none of the girls had gotten out alive like he’d promised. When he took the next girl, I hid under the couch.”

“None of those girls saw you hide?” Clarke frowned. “I find that hard to believe.”

“I don’t know. I don’t . . .” She dropped her gaze as if she couldn’t bear to hold her head up any longer. “We were in shock at that point—just sitting there, lost in ourselves. We didn’t talk. We didn’t even look at each other. We just sat there and . . . contemplated the fact we were going to die. I don’t know if they even noticed I was gone. I hid until every single one of them was gone. And he just . . . walked out.”

“He came for me. I guess it was then.” Lei didn’t shrink in on herself. She seemed to grow taller, sit straighter. “I heard him removing the barricade and I panicked. After listening to that all night . . .” She shook her head. “I knew what would happen if he got back into my room, so I climbed out the window.”

Clarke went still. “I saw the list of your injuries. You had a broken arm, your knee was so fucking swollen you shouldn’t have been able to walk, and you had several head wounds and a handful of broken ribs on top of that. How the hell did you climb out a window?”

Lei shrugged on shoulder. “He would kill me if I didn’t. I figured falling to my death was preferable to letting Travis have me, so I took my chances.”

It was only sheer dumb luck that it was late enough in the morning that a student jogging past saw Lei. By the time he’d come back with help, Lei was unconscious in the flower bed and Travis was gone.

Dante sat back, going over the story again in his head. As he suspected, there was no new information, but they’d have been remiss if they didn’t go over it one more time. He exchanged a look with Clarke. The killings in Seattle held some key differences. He didn’t think any of the girls had willingly let the unsub in, and he had carved his message into their bodies when he was through.

A message that might or might not have been meant for Travis Berkley. Hard to believe that someone who’d gone through the trouble of researching the murders would get the killer’s name wrong, but the alternative was that the girls’ deaths were meant as tribute to someone else. Both possibilities stretched the realm of belief and didn’t make a damn bit of sense.

The tension in the room grew like it was a living thing, coiling and snapping between the four of them. Once Dante and Clarke left, things would move quickly. They had to talk to Berkley. They had to head back to Seattle to go over things again with Detective Smith and the ME. They had to track down this bastard before he continued with whatever plan he’d begun with those girls’ deaths.

Dante, at least, would have the comfort of motion to keep him distracted from the scenes that he’d witnessed. Lei and Emma wouldn’t have even that. He leaned forward, catching Lei’s attention. “We can assign a protection detail. I don’t think you’re in any immediate danger, but if it would help ease your mind, I’ll make some calls.”

Lei’s lips quirked up at the edges, but the smile never came close to reaching her eyes. “Dante—Agent Young—we were in immediate danger the second that asshole singled Travis out as someone he wanted to emulate. We’re more than capable of taking care of ourselves.”

Praise for The Hidden Sins Series


“…a captivating read, made all the more rewarding when good triumphs.” —Washington Post on The Devil’s Daughter


“Robert shows off her impressive versatility in this fast-paced and inventive new Hidden Sins series. The small-town setting is a masterful blend of quaint and oppressive, which ratchets the menace and thrill factor. The protagonists carry the full weight of their pasts with them, making their growing relationship as compelling as the mystery element in The Devil’s Daughter. With plenty of twists and betrayals, this is a book that is sure to earn Robert a wealth of new fans.” RT Book Reviews on The Devil’s Daughter


"Katee Robert has definitely picked up the romantic suspense genre and made it her bitch. I can’t wait to see what we get next. Given some of the books I see she’s been using for research, I know it’s going to be frightening and amazing at the same time." —Goodreads Review


“Every bit as complex as book one but with a totally different storyline, The Hunting Grounds once again proved Katee Robert is more than capable of spinning a thrilling romantic suspense tale that will keep readers on their toes.” Harlequin Junkie on The Hunting Grounds (recommended read)


“Filled with suspense and lot of unpredictable twists and turns…Gripping.” Life at 17on The Hunting Grounds



Other Books in the Hidden Sin Series



Get more information at:  Goodreads  | Amazon | Barnes & Noble



Get more information at: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble



About Katee Robert

New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author Katee Robert learned to tell her stories at her grandpa’s knee. Her 2015 title, The Marriage Contract, was a RITA finalist, and RT Book Reviews named it 'a compulsively readable book with just the right amount of suspense and tension."  When not writing sexy contemporary and romantic suspense, she spends her time playing imaginary games with her children, driving her husband batty with what-if questions, and planning for the inevitable zombie apocalypse. 

Connect with Katee at: Website | Facebook | TwitterGoodReads | Instagram