Tag Archives: suspense

Book Review: THE AMBITIOUS CARD by John Gaspard

Publisher: Henery Press

Published: August 20, 2013

Format: Paperback (288 pages)

ISBN: 9780988657137  

Origin: Publisher through NetGalley (egalley)

***Though the publisher provides the free book, I offer the opinion.***


My Look:

Eli Marks is a bachelor, a debunker, and a magician, but now, he can add a new title to that list.  A murder suspect.

He is a well-known in the circle of magicians, psychics, and sensitives, but Eli is not usually liked much among this crowd, for good reason really.  He performs, but he’s also known to expose the frauds and enjoy it too.

When he’s not making the magic world mad, he and his uncle, Harry, make customers happy.  They run Chicago Magic (which is far from that location) and sell to those who really want to learn their craft.  In fact, Uncle Harry will not sell the next trick to some of his customers until the customer proves the mastery of the one they owned previously.  

This store has been in his family for years and was Eli’s home during his childhood.  With Halloween closing in on them, his uncle is already in preparation mode and everything seems to be going according to plan until Eli picks the wrong fraud to expose.  This man who was publicly shown off, and didn’t take it well, is murdered.  He dies with the same card that Eli used to expose him, exposing Eli to his ex-wife’s police detective husband before becoming a thorn in his ex-wife’s side.  

On the good side of luck, he’s finding that his new love interest seems interested in him too. 

However, once more murders happen to the people Eli knows, he is aware that even his prosecutor ex-wife can only do so much, as this frame couldn’t fit any better around Eli’s neck.  And by the time Eli thinks he knows who is doing this, he founds out that not only is he wrong, but he is about to die too.

My Take:

John Gaspard’s AMBITIOUS CARD will introduce you to the world of magic and it’s history, but this book will leave you falling into murder along the way.

I really enjoyed getting to know Eli Marks, and I loved Uncle Harry too.  These two show that old school and new age come from the same cloth and both men have the utmost respect for the craft.  To each, trickery is not magic but true magic is a time-honored tradition, and it’s one that today is still very interesting.  You’ll find yourself rooting for Eli and his love interest, while enjoying Uncle Harry’s assortment of friends.  

THE AMBITIOUS CARD by John Gaspard is a must read!




Book Review: IMPULSE (FACES OF EVIL) by Debra Webb

Publisher: Forever (Grand Central Publishing imprint of Hachette Book Group)

Published: March 26, 2013

Format: Paperback (268 pages)

Series: Faces of Evil Series

Origin: Publisher through NetGalley, (eGalley) 

***Though the publisher provides the free ebook, I offer the opinion.***

My Look:

FBI Profile Agent Jess Harris is returning to Birmingham, although she’s coming back with her tail between her legs.  

In her last case, she was disgraced, played a fool, and more doubts about the motive behind her mistakes are about to surface.  Unfortunately, the good rapport she had with supervisor, Gant seems strained beyond repair in the FBI, and a new relationship with an old flame, soon to be new boss, might mix business with pleasure only to create more career decreasing issues.  

However, Jess Harris and her problems are really just only beginning.

One of the main suspects of her last case, Eric Spears, has been cleared and is considering filing charges against her.  His claims are coming up startling true when nothing is the truth. And no matter how many times the FBI insists Eric Spears is not the sadistic murderer known as the Player, Jess knows that he is exactly that, until the murders begin here in Birmingham and Spears whereabouts is confirmed to be miles and miles away.  

Now, everything Jess knew she is calling into to question, and she chooses to not get fired by the FBI.  Instead, she resigns, accepts her former lover’s proffered position in the Birmingham Police Department—despite the eye stares the rest of the BPD is throwing her way. This department needs her profiling skills, and a new friend from the force needs her help. The Player has taken Detective Lori Wells, and the investigation has grown to include a joint task force of the FBI and other law enforcement agencies, complicating the already complicated relationships further.  

Once another woman is discovered tortured and barely alive, Jess knows exactly what will happen to her friend, Detective Wells.  

However, the next victim could have been Jess’s sister or her niece, and she can’t get them to leave town even after another woman’s dead body is discovered.   Jess is becoming increasingly fearful the Player will kill all the people in her life.  

Should she leave to keep them safe?  Or should she stay to help bring down this sicko?


My Take:

IMPULSE (Faces of Evil series) by Debra Webb is a thrilling read!

Debra Webb has created characters you’d love to get to know, combined them into a story that don’t quit, but adds more twists than the reader will ever think of.   I did enjoy getting to know Jess Harris and her old flame, Police Chief Dan Burnett.  These two go through periods of pulling away and betraying their logic by getting closer, but it’s the ending where they maybe figure out a logical way together.  Maybe.

However, I must give a warning.  This read contains much graphic, gratuitous violence perpetrated by the most perverse, sadomasochistic killer.

Debra Webb’s IMPULSE (FACES of Evil series) is a standalone novel that will keep you up late nights and have you wonder about the person standing beside you on the bus the very next day.  Meanwhile, you will hurry to get the other books in the Faces of Evil Series including OBSESSION (Forever 2013), POWER (Forever 2013) until the new series books are published later this year titled RAGE (Forever 2013), REVENGE (Forever 2013), and RUTHLESS (Forever 2013).  


by: Mark Gilleo              

Publisher: The Story Plant

Published: March 27, 2012       

Format: Paperback (438 pages)      

ISBN: 9781611880342            

Origin: Publisher through NetGalley (egalley)

***Though the publisher provides the free ebook, I offer the opinion.***

My Look:

In LOVE THY NEIGHBOR, those who help you can be the most deadly.

Clark Hayden is moving back home to help his forgetful mother, after her husband’s death. However, Clark’s dad has been gone for sometime, but Maria Hayden’s mental state has become increasingly worrisome.  

Clarke was a late in life child, descending from parents who had been told they could not have a child, and they believed that to be true, until his mother’s pregnancy with him. 

Nothing unusual really happens until Maria Hayden gets late night visitors.  Although, Clark was home when the knocks exploded on her front door, he was in the basement and didn’t hear a thing. Middle Eastern men spoke words she didn’t understand, but she did not open the door.

Immediately, she telephones the CIA and reports these men, whom to her, seem to be terrorists.

The FBI investigates, somewhat, and determines this caller isn’t well.  They weren’t wrong. Maria is not well, and she takes many medications.  Even Clark doubts her suspicions.

Eventually, Clark’s neighbors call asking if he could keep an eye out on their house and water their plants.  A sick relative passed in a foreign country, and they left immediately.  Ariana and Nazim have helped his mother often enough, especially with him being away from home.  He does as asked.  A telephone call, at this residence, grabs his attention.

However, he gets himself in over his head, once he uses a voice recorder and this is captured on hidden cameras being monitored by the family who owns the home.

My Take:

Mark Gilleo provides a political suspense tale, in a suburbia setting (pre and post 9/11), where some people are not who and what they seem to be.

Although many people know something about their neighbors, in LOVE THY NEIGHBOR, Mark Gilleo shows nobody knows everything.  The many point-of-view characters flesh out the means, the motives, and the opportunities of this plotting foursome. Terrorism. Kill as many as possible and die while doing it.  

However, this former sleeper cell with one phone call becomes an active cell, and they don’t even trust each other.   


by: Marcia Muller              

Publisher: Grand Central Publishing (imprint of Hachette Book Group)

Published: October 26, 2011       

Format: Hardcover (272 pages)      

ISBN: 9780446573337            

Origin: Publisher through NetGalley (egalley)

***Though the publisher provides the free book, I offer the opinion.***

My Look:

In CITY OF WHISPERS, Marcia Muller provides Investigator Sharon McCone a mystery blending her broken family with the murder of the heiress, Gabriella DeLucci.

Darcy Blackhawk’s exploits are known to his family and documented by police in several states and many counties, but his email for help puts his half-sister, a private detective, on alert. She’s helped him out of a few scrapes and his drugging, wandering, lifestyle only guarantees more to come.

Nevertheless, he is family.

Darcy is the half-brother to Sharon McCone. Sharon knows his lifestyle choices are a mixed bag from Darcy’s mental illnesses. In fact, maybe she relates to him more now, after her recovery from a bullet to the head.

She is not the person she used to be, and she has her issues too.

He’s a transient and is using public Internet cafes to contact her. His email is a simple one. “Need help.” Help from what? However, whatever Darcy has gotten himself into, she cannot help until she finds him, and finding one homeless person in San Francisco isn’t gonna be easy. Sharon McCone puts herself and her team on finding Darcy, knowing that her nephew, Mick Savage doesn’t really understand the urgency to find Darcy.

Mick believes Darcy has been nothing but a problem, weighing down the family, but he’s doing what is asked and trying hard too. Mick develops a lead that brings a puzzle trapped in a maze of homeless folks, which somehow connects the murder of an heiress to Darcy.

Darcy’s latest email is more urgent and finding that link to an old murder of a wealthy, young woman who’s buried in a pauper’s grave might save his life.

My Take:

Marcia Muller’s CITY OF WHISPERS is a suspenseful read—spotlighting the plight of the homeless, the need for mental services, and a mystery where rich and poor collide.

This author spins real life issues into a daring plot that will keep you reading to the shocking end.

Although this novel stands alone, you’ll want to read the other Sharon McCone mysteries, COMING BACK (October 2010) and LOCKED IN (October 2009).

The voting hours have ended. I thank you for all of your votes! 

http ://www.goodreads.com/book_blogger_award/entry/156


by Brandilynn Collins

Publisher: B&H Publishing

Published: March 12, 2012

Format: Paperback (352 pages)

ISBN: 9781433671630

ORIGIN: netGalley – E-GALLEY

***Though the publisher provides the free ebook, I offer the opinion.***

My Look:

If you believe a spouse, relative, employer, or friend committed a crime, would you report them? Could you? Even if the crime was murder?  Could your silence be leaving someone else to die? Would faith help in your choice?

These questions faced a few of the residents in the town of Amaryllis, Mississippi.  Some of the women suspect the men in their lives capable of murder, and a few of them seem to have proof of something foul with good reasons to keep quiet about it all.

Six months usually go by before the next murder.

Leaving the victim’s body in a closet, this serial killer plagues the small town, and the latest victim just may pinpoint the killer’s identity.  

However, one of these suspicious women has a special needs brother, and she is almost sure he was somehow involved.  The police zero in on him. Moreover, when the other ladies make a decision to go to the police with their suspicions, their trouble increases double-time.  

In the end, you have few residents giving the police more than they can handle and a small-time reporter trying to get the story straight for a big-time career.

My Take:

I recommend GONE TO GROUND by Brandilynn Collins.  She has developed a new twist into amateur sleuthing, while giving easily understood snippets of forensics and delving the reader deeper into the lives of each character and their faith. Her suspense will keep you reading late into the night as you’re wondering could these woman have it right and fearing they may have it all wrong.

You can find more of Brandilynn Collins “Seatbelt Suspense®” novels through most book outlets.  She writes both standalone novels and series titles.

KILL SWITCH Giveaway + KILL SWITCH GAME link + KILL SWITCH link to apps + book review = A GREAT READ!

by: Neal Baer and Jonathan Greene Publisher: Kensington                 Published: December 31, 2011         Format: Hardcover (288 pages)     ISBN: 9780758266866                   Origin: Publisher

***Though the publisher provides the free book, I offer the opinion.***

Click here to go to the KILL SWITCH GAME!

My Look:

Doctor Claire Waters is part of a fellowship doing forensic psychiatry work on Rikers Island’s sickest inmates, but she’s already been told that she might not stay with the program. Moreover, they would be right to get rid of her.

She’d messed up with a client, letting her personal failure follow her inside the treatment room.

On that day, with the approaching storm, all Claire could see was herself watching her friend get abducted, and although everyone had told Claire she wasn’t at fault, Claire knew she was to blame. While with a patient, she hit a wall during treatment one day because Dr. Claire Water’s has her own issues needing treatment, but that remedy she never sought.

Much later, Todd Quimby, her assigned patient and a former resident of the penal colony, telephones Claire. He’s in need of emergency care, but after meeting with him at the hospital, Claire decides she can catch a killer and prove her “out-of-the-box” capabilities to the fellowship.

But in just minutes, Claire comes undone.

Todd Quimby attacks Claire, and her boyfriend contacts the head of the fellowship program. The fellowship head then contacts the police.

Meanwhile, at the police station, Claire meets Detective Nick Lawler, and within minutes, he’s dismissing her as a shrink and as a victim. Nick is back on the job, after being exiled in Central Booking, and the last thing he needs is a shrink.

After his wife’s death, everyone believed he killed her; he didn’t.

However, he feels as guilty as if he did, but his nightmare of that blinding flash of light is still as fresh as the day it happened. But that’s not this detective’s only problem; he is hiding a secret that will end his career, for good.

Upon reading two crime reports, one he had investigated—before his departure from the detectives—and one he is just now investigating, Nick is certain the man who assaulted the shrink is the man he’s hunting.

However, his public dressing down of Dr. Waters cost him strange looks at his new-old job, but it could cost him even more.

It could cost another life.

Catching Claire Waters before her cab takes off, the detective gets Todd Quimby ‘s information, but when his partner and Lawlor arrive at the address, the perp’s mother is stalls them. Now, her son goes on the run, out the window and into the subway.

The chase ends with one officer down and their man getting away, but soon, another woman will die.

Click the cover above to download the app for Android and iTunes from Kensington Books.

My Take:

I give my highest recommendation to KILL SWITCH by Neal Baer and Jonathan Greene!

As the former executive producer and co-executive producer of LAW & ORDER: SPECIAL VICTIM’S UNIT, these authors already know exactly how to ramp up the suspense, while twisting the plot and bringing the reader down many false trails. However, with KILL SWITCH, they honed their skills even higher.

KILL SWITCH will have you keep reading late into the night. However, how it all ends will shock you.

Just as these authors’ names are synonymous with great television, I know you will watch Neal Baer and Jonathan Greene have a long and renowned novel-writing career.


For readers of this blog, throughout the United States and Canada, you can enter a random drawing for a free physical book of  KILL SWITCH just by leaving a comment!  

The comment form will require an email address.  However, your email address will not be published.

I will announce the winner on a future blog post.

So, you stay tuned and check back often!  I just may have more giveaways coming to you in the future.


by: Janice Cantore

Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers

Published: January 20, 2012

Format: Paperback (416 pages)

ISBN: 9781414358475

SERIES: Pacific Coast Justice Series

Origin: Publisher

***Though the publisher provides the free book, I offer the opinion.***

My Look:

An officer-involved-shooting puts Officer Carly Edwards of the Las Playas, California police department on a desk assignment, but she is still there long after the investigation is complete.

The press sensationalism and a comment taken out of context have long reaching and forever lasting effects on her career. From the death of her father to a career in a perpetual standstill and a divorce final from a cheating husband, Carly rejects faith.

However, her career situation changes due to a telephone call, when the mayor is found dead in the trunk of a car, and in an instant, Carly sees her chance to get back into action at the job she loves.  The juvenile suspect requests to speak to Carly because he knows her mother, personally. However, when Carly hears his name, she has nothing on her mind but getting his confession.

Hadn’t she told her mother that faith wouldn’t change that kid—or any other—for even a minute? This murder proves how right she was about faith and about him.

Carly wants to tell the juvenile that he’s playing the faith card with the wrong cop, but she is listening to get him to talk.  As the police tactic goes, get him to feel you will understand, and you might walk out with a confession.

Nevertheless, a confession doesn’t come.

However, something else happens that Carly doesn’t expect.  She believes him. Positive he or his “accomplice” did not kill the mayor, Carly’s left with many niggling questions.

Now, she needs the one person that she can trust, in police matters. But going to Nick will cause many other problems in her personal life; her former husband actually expects that one day Carly will believe that’s he’s a changed man.  He’s not.  She knows it.  However, she does need help.

Suspecting a cover-up with this kid as fall guy leads Carly to set out on her own, and soon she’s the one running from the law.

My Take:

Janice Cantori writes from a fascinating perspective.  As a former law enforcement professional, she uses her knowledge and skills to add police procedure then blend it with fiction and faith to provide a compelling read in ACCUSED.

She portrays real-to-life characters carrying heavy burdens with nothing to guide their way, but just like people, her characters change, grow, and find faith in the most tension filled circumstances.

The next title in the Pacific Justice Series Book 2, ABDUCTED, will release August 2012.

From the Tyndale Blog Network, I received this book free in exchange for my honest review.

The voting hours have ended. I thank you for all of your votes! 

http ://www.goodreads.com/book_blogger_award/entry/156


by: Daniel Palmer              

Publisher: Kensington  

Published: January 31, 2012        

Format: Hardcover (416 pages)      

ISBN: 9780758246653 

Origin: Publisher

***Though the publisher provides the free book, I offer the opinion.***

My Look:

Sexting, child porn, and murder intrudes into Tom Hawkins life, and that’s not all.

A former Navy SEAL, Tom Hawkins is high school coach whose ex-wife is murdered, and the police have him pegged as prime suspect. Before her death, Tom had a blustery relationship with Kelly, and Kelly is the main reason his relationship with his daughter, Jill, is a distant one.

But when the FBI comes calling, Tom’s career, his daughter, and his life are all hitting the losing it fast category, and he’s helpless to stop it. Soon, a story paints him in the lover role with a teenage student, and everyone believes it. In addition, once the FBI finds child porn on his computer, they put him as their kingpin in a child porn investigation.

Could this all be the work of a local cop who isn’t his best fan? Is everything somehow tied to his ex-wife’s murder? Tom does not know what side anyone is playing on, but he does know that somebody’s framing him. But who. And why?

He cannot trust local law enforcement, but he needs help. FBI help.

FBI Agent Rainy’s budding attraction to Tom isn’t the only reason she believes him, but she crossed a line with their kiss.

Involvement with a target is a career killer in her FBI, but she was sure that one day, he’d no longer be their target. In fact, she was sure that he should not have ever been.

She has one problem. Rainy has no proof to clear him.

My Take:

HELPLESS is a timely tale of today’s cyberspace, where pictures and stories can go viral and where online meets infinity.

Daniel Palmer traps you in his credible character’s lives and into their stories. Bringing you into a complicated plot, he leaves the reader guessing at not only the whom but at the how as things keep happening to Tom Hawkins, and you’ll be hoping he can get out of this mess.

You’ll want to read Daniel Palmer’s DELIRIOUS (Kensington February 2011) until his next book releases!

BEFORE SHE DIES Review and Author Video

by: Mary Burton              

Publisher: Zebra (Kensington)

Published: January 31, 2012        

Format: Paperback (416 pages)       

ISBN: 9781420110217

Origin: Publisher 

***Though the publisher provides the free book, I offer the opinion.***

My Look:

Defense attorney Charlotte (Grace) Wellington is not who everyone thinks she is, but her secrets are safe until the past comes bounding up to her present day door.

Eighteen years ago, when she was a teen, Grace’s mother died, and her sister was murdered by a ritualistic nightmare. Grace fled leaving her mother’s infant and her baby sister, Sooner, to be adopted.

Now, Charlotte has managed to turn her life into a picture of what it never was.

She is a highbrow attorney who travels in all the right circles with all the right connections. Nevertheless, when her stepdad shows up at her expensive office, all bets are off on keeping her life the pristine image it has become. Emotions overwhelm her as memories flood from all directions, and the news he brings leaves her hollow.

The problem was Charlotte has always had a hole inside anyway, but she thought she did the right think by her baby sister, Sooner. She pacified herself believing Sooner had a real family and was growing up far away from the carnival. But that didn’t happen.

Her stepfather raised Sooner, and now’s she’s been arrested. He’s threatening to expose Charlotte’s past, but Charlotte’s problems are only just beginning.

Meanwhile, Detective Daniel Rokov discovers the ice goddess isn’t the queen of cold; in fact, she’s hot, sexy, and sultry. Moreover, their no strings attached, clandestine relationship suited him fine, for a while, but now he wants more. Though they are burning up the sheets, she has her heart locked in an ice chest, and she will not change the no attachment part of their relationship. Daniel Rokov wants to know her secrets, and he wants to understand why she lives without emotional entanglements.

Fresh from a hotel tryst, he’s arriving on scene.

A young girl has been murdered. Not news, really. Everyday something like this happens, and maybe some think he’s cold at heart due to indifference. He isn’t. Emotions will hinder his job.

However, even a seasoned detective isn’t ready for this crime scene.

The young woman had been killed elsewhere, but her body had been brought to an abandoned building and staged in the most ritualistic way. The salt outline only confirms what he already knows to be true. Investigating this death leads him straight to the carnies in town, as death and this group seem to come as a package deal.

However, he’s not at all expecting what he unearths.

My Take:

BEFORE SHE DIES by Mary Burton is a read I recommend!

Mary Barton lets us meet her killer on the first page, and you’ll learn this will be his first kill of many more to come. In this read, you are in for a suspense filled ride through a romantic suspense tale where secrets are deadly but distrust can save a life.

Her main characters are flawed but redeemable, and you’ll be rooting for them to live long enough to come together.

While this is a stand-alone title, you will want to read Mary Burton’s other suspenseful reads such as MERCILESS (Zebra January 2011), SENSELESS (Zebra December 2010), and DYING SCREAM (Zebra December 2009).


by: Cathy Perkins              

Publisher: Carina Press

Published: January 23, 2012        

Format: ebook       

Origin: Publisher through netGalley – eGalley

***Though the publisher provides the free ebook, I offer the opinion.***

My Look:

A serial killer claims his third victim, and SLED Agent “Mick” O’Shaughnessy is trying to piece together clues to stop the murders. This sick predator stalks his prey, college-aged women from well-to-do families, and Mick, his team, and the local police department  must uncover his pattern before he strikes again.

A possible assault at a local college pulls him off the investigation; Mick hates the kind of political pandering that expropriated the police force, but he must deal with it.  Although the assault was not that at all, Mick meets graduate student, Meg Connelly.

Like a schoolboy with a crush, he makes up a reason to see her.

Meg Connelly wasn’t ready for the lovesick feelings she’d get for the agent, but romance isn’t on her agenda.  Been there.  Done that.  Moreover, she had the pain to prove it.  Meg needs to keep her focus, move forward, and gain a career that will actually allow her creature comforts, like a cell phone.  However, she really wasn’t prepared for his kiss, and she’s going to avoid agent Mick O’Shaughnessy like a bad cold.

Meanwhile, the professor watches his victims, and he’s been watching Meg.  He notices the way she dresses and the confidence she exudes, but a woman like her needs to regain a subservient posture.  Just like his other victims.   He has also been watching the news reports of his deeds, and he laughs.  The police are too stupid to put it together, but soon his hide and seek with the police becomes personal.  That SLED agent is cocky and arrogant.  Look at that superior body language; he would like to teach him just how superior he isn’t.  Soon the professor dashes off an email to the agent, and his email won’t be traceable.

My Take:

I recommend THE PROFESSOR by Cathy Perkins!

From that first paragraph to the last page the suspense endures, the mystery grows deeper, and the police procedures stay a mainstay in this story line.  The author shows how the police investigation progresses, as if she’s done one herself. In Mick, she paints a lovable guy whose job is intense, but he’s looking for more than just his career and his empty condo from life.   Her other police officers are just as true to life, each with their own story.

Cathy Perkins is a debut author who will keep you in a perpetual state of suspense while you are awaiting her next book.