WHO

WHO'S COMING DOWN YOUR CHIMNEY TONIGHT?




Charles Stross, "Overtime"

2018: CTHULHU FOR CHRISTMAS

Friday, June 29, 2018

Review: A Haunting in Trillium Falls

A Haunting in Trillium Falls A Haunting in Trillium Falls by Mary Vine
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Review: A HAUNTING IN TRILLIUM FALLS by Mary Vine

Teacher Taylor Glenn and her aged grandpa purchase a lovely Victorian house in tiny Trillium Falls. Well, the loveliness is potential. At least the house has good bones. For the past year, since her grandmother's demise, Grandpa Gilby has remained lethargic and depressed. Taylor intends to 're-inspire through renovation. What neither knows is the home's scary reputation, nor the existence of a non-paying "tenant." But Taylor is determined to make a home, and a successful renovation, for herself, Grandpa Gilby, and their German Shepherd, King. She'll persevere, despite tenant Calvin, neighbor "Jerry Garcia," and irritating, sexy, handyman, Dillon.


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24in48 Readathon_July 2018

July 21-22 2018


Follow my progress



24 in 48 July 2018 Reading Time:

July 21: 8 AM-10:45 PM = 14.75 hours.

July 22: 8:30 AM-12:00 AM = 15.50 hours

TOTAL Hours = 30.25 READ: TROUBLE'S CHILD by Terry Goodkind. July 21.

MALEFIC by Ambrose Ibsen. July 21.

WINNETKA ROAD by JS Sheridan. July 21-22.

THE BUCKTOWN BABIES by Janine R. Pestle. July 22.

In Progress: 50%, THE PARTY by Robyn Harding. July 22.

SHADOW LOUNGE READATHON_JULY 2018

Follow my progress

July 13-15, 6 P.M. to 6 P.M.


Shadow Lounge Facebook READ:

THE HOUSE IN THE HILLS by Rowan Hanlon. July 13

"THE HELL-HOUND OF MIST ISLAND" by Heather Graham July 14

WIDOWMAKER by Carolyn McCray July 14

"Bear Trap" by Paul Doiron. July 14.

THE CHURCH OF ACCELERATED REDEMPTION by Gareth L. Powell

AIRSHIPS, CRYPTS, AND CHOCOLATE CHIPS by Erin Johnson

.

BEGINNING OF JULY/FOURTH OF JULY READATHON_Complete



Follow my progress


75 Books Group July Readathon


READ:

RUMOR WOODS by Steve Armstrong. July 1

RED HARVEST by Patrick C. Greene. July 1-2

THE BONEYARD CHRONICLES by Cyprian Wyrmwood. July 2.

STRANGE WEATHER by Joe Hill. Audio. July 1-3.

NECROSCOPE THE MOBIUS MURDERS. Audio. July 3-4.

NECROSCOPE: THE PLAGUE BEARER by Brian Lumley. Audio. July 4.

SHADOWS OVER BAKER STREET Anthology. July 3-5.

COPYCAT by Hannah Jayne. July 5.

TIED UP WITH STRING by Madeline McEwen. British cosy. July 6.

BROKEN MONSTERS by Laurie Beukes. Audio. July 5-7. THE GENERAL THEORY OF HAUNTING by Richard Easter. July 6-8. TOTAL: 11 BOOKS (6 novels + 1 novella + 4 audio novels)

Review: Feeding Frenzy

Feeding Frenzy Feeding Frenzy by Maaja Wentz
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Review: FEEDING FRENZY by Maaja Wentz (Loon Lake Magic #1)

Delightful contemporary urban fantasy set in a small long-established Canadian community somewhere near Toronto, FEEDING FRENZY is the first in a series which promises to be quite worth reading. The centuries-old town of Loon Lake has a major-and marvelous-secret: it's a hotbed of magic, and a locus of power. Yes, magic! However, the inhabitants, and the town government, divide on whether to acknowledge this, or to conceal it from the Mundanes. Mostly the division is according to ancestry and family ties. Endearing characters make it easy to empathize, an edgy plot line maintains interest, and sufficient mystery provides both mundane and magical intrigue. I'm eagerly anticipating the next in series.

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Review: 12 Gauge: Songs from a Street Sweeper

12 Gauge: Songs from a Street Sweeper 12 Gauge: Songs from a Street Sweeper by Dustin LaValley
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Review: 12 GAUGE: SONGS FROM A STREET SWEEPER by Dustin LaValley

Three novellas of extreme Gore and gritty Noir populate this collection. "Spinner" is a matter-of-fact narrative of a psychotic escaped inmate, his equally disturbing girlfriend, and their rampage while trying to escape to Canada. "H/armed" is splatterpunk run wild, killing set to music (by the author). I was reminded of Bryan Smith's THE KILLING KIND. "The Deceived" twists the home invasion tale--and twists it, and twists it, and twists it--into a shocking and explosive ending.

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Sunday, June 24, 2018

Review: The Beast of Brenton Woods

The Beast of Brenton Woods The Beast of Brenton Woods by Jackson R. Thomas
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Review: THE BEAST OF BRENTON WOODS by Jackson R. Thomas

A finely-tuned coming of age tale ensconced in the setting of a paranormal novel, THE BEAST OF BRENTON WOODS is a deep and engrossing read. Beware the White Wolf; beware also the monsters that walk as men, who don't shapeshift but whose cores are evil (yes, more than one). Tyler and Ben are 13; Jimmy, his sister Wendy, and best friend Bryan, are 23. Yet all experience "coming of age" tribulations during the short time span of this novel, and all 5 are given opportunities, even demands, to mature, and quickly. As Ben discovers, his father Scott also endured an unexpected coming of age trial that altered his life.

THE BEAST OF BRENTON WOODS engrossed me from the very first page and never let up. It definitely provided food for pondering, and considering the conclusion (and my deep interest in the characters), I hope for a sequel.

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Review: Scarecrows

Scarecrows Scarecrows by Mav Skye
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Review: SCARECROWS by Mav Skye

This themed collection of three horror stories is, yes, scary. Especially the first two stories,"Marrow" and "Scars." {Shudders} the third story, "Spindled Souls," I found too sad and disturbing, and despite the fact that it is dark fantasy (actually a twisted retelling of a fairy tale), I found it all too realistic.

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Review: The Blood Singer: A Haden Church Supernatural Thriller

The Blood Singer: A Haden Church Supernatural Thriller The Blood Singer: A Haden Church Supernatural Thriller by Patrick McNulty
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Review: THE BLOOD SINGER by Patrick McNulty

A delightfully comic horror with an engaging protagonist, a solemn and cynical foil as the protagonist's wise ghost mentor, a premise particularly imaginative and engrossing, combines in a very fast page-turning supernatural novel. There's nothing funny about Haden Church's childhood; his mother is horrid and Haden himself is, if not one of a kind, close to it. Haden sees ghosts, they congregate to him, and his abusive mother considers that the work of Satan and believes it her God-given mission to thoroughly exorcise her son.

As an adult, Haden is in the employ of the Ministry of Wraiths, but he might as well be freelance, he is so obstinate and stubborn, following his own ethical code. When his mentor-companion Moses brings to Hayden the ghost of an elderly lady vitally (and rightly) concerned for her wayward son and her young granddaughter, Haden leaps into the fray irregardless of his personal safety, in order to rescue the child.


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Sunday, June 17, 2018

Review_CRIBBINS: A MODERN GHOST STORY

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

Review: CRIBBINS

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.

View all my reviews

2018 HIGH SUMMER READATHON

HIGH SUMMER READATHON July 1-31

Fourth of July Readathon (75 Books--Goodreads)

READ:

RUMOR WOODS by Steve Armstrong. July 1

RED HARVEST by Patrick C. Greene. July 1-2.

THE BONEYARD CHRONICLES by Cyprian Wyrmwood. July 2.

STRANGE WEATHER by Joe Hill. Audio. July 1-3.

NECROSCOPE THE MOBIUS MURDERS by Brian Lumley. Audio. July 3-4.

NECROSCOPE: THE PLAGUE BEARER by Brian Lumley. Audio. July 4.

SHADOWS OVER BAKER STREET ANTHOLOGY. July 3-5.

COPYCAT by Hannah Jayne. July 5.

TIED UP WITH STRING by Madeline McEwen. British cosy. July 6.

BROKEN MONSTERS by Lauren Beukes. Audio.

THE GENERAL THEORY OF HAUNTING by Richard Easter.

THE BOOK PUBLISHER'S SON by Dale Stevens.

THE SUPERNATURAL ENHANCEMENTS by Edgar Cantero.

LOST HIGHWAYS edited by D. Alexander Ward.

BETRAYED ANGEL by Tom Haase.

MEDDLING KIDS by Edgar Cantero.

THE HOUSE IN THE HILLS

"The Hell-Hound of Mist Island" by Heather Graham

WIDOWMAKER by Carolyn McCray

"Bear Trap" by Paul Doiron. July 14.

THE CHURCH OF ACCELERATED REDEMPTION by Gareth L. Powell

AIRSHIPS, CRYPTS, AND CHOCOLATE CHIPS by Erin Johnson

WIDOWMAKER by Paul Doiron

THE MANSION by Ezekiel Boone.

BABY TEETH by Zoje Stage.

STAY HIDDEN by Paul Doiron.

THE FORBIDDEN DOOR by Dean Koontz.

HOME FROM THE SEA by William Meikle.

TROUBLE'S CHILD by Terry Goodkind.

MALEFIC by Ambrose Ibsen.

WINNETKA ROAD by JS Sheridan

THE BUCKTOWN BABIES by Janine R. Pestle

HEARING EVIL by Jason Parent

DEATH LOGS OUT by E. J. Simon

PROFESSOR CHALLENGER: THE KEW GROWTHS AND OTHER STORIES by William Meikle

THE BROKEN GIRLS by Simone St. James

THEY WON'T BE HURT by Kevin O'Brien

LAST VOYAGE by Robin Pond

DARK VISIONS by James Byron Huggins

WELCOME TO THE SHOW ANTHOLOGY

. Audio: "All Cats Are Gray" by Andre Norton

"The Corpse Light" by Dick Donovan

"2BR02B" by Kurt Vonnegut

Audio:

"The Rose-Colored Glasses" by Thomas Kent Walker

"Horror Pond" by M.D. Vickers

"The Quest of Iranon" by H. P. Lovecraft

"The Hall Bedroom" by Mary E. Wilkins Freeman

"The Voice in the Night" by William Hope Hodgson

"Pickman's Model" by HPL. reread.

"Out of the Aeons" by HPL

"A Terribly Strange Bed" by Wilkie Collins

"The Crystal Egg" by H. G. Wells

READING: p>

PURRDER SHE WROTE

LISTENING:

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

Synopsis:

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!  

Giveaway:

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.
a Rafflecopter giveaway  

Get More Great Reads at Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours

 

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

Review: THE WORKERS OF INIQUITY by Tom Fowler

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

THE LAST OUTPOST by Hannah Ross

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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