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Code Blood Tour

Code Blood

by Kurt Kamm

on Tour April 1 – May 31, 2017

Synopsis:

Code Blood by Kurt Kamm

Colt Lewis, a rookie fire paramedic, is obsessed with finding the severed foot of his first victim after she dies in his arms. His search takes him into the connected lives of a graduate research student, with the rarest blood in the world and the vampire fetishist who is stalking her. Within the corridors of high-stakes medical research laboratories, the shadow world of body parts dealers, and the underground Goth clubs of Los Angeles, Lewis uncovers a tangled maze of needles, drugs and maniacal ritual, all of which lead to death. But whose death? An unusual and fast-paced LA Noir thriller.

Book Details:

Genre: Suspense, Vampire
Published by: MCM Publishing
Publication Date: October 2012
Number of Pages: 233
ISBN: 0979855136 (ISBN13: 9780979855139)
Series: Code Blood is a Stand Alone Novel
Purchase Links: Amazon 🔗 | Barnes & Noble 🔗 | Goodreads 🔗

Code Blood Literary Awards:

  • Writer’s Type – First Chapter Competition. January 2011- First Place
  • 2012 International Book Awards – Fiction: Cross Genre Category – First Place
  • National Indie Excellence Book Awards – Faction (fiction based on fact) – Winner of the 2012 Award
  • The 2012 USA Best Book Awards – Fiction: Horror – Winner
  • LuckyCinda Publishing Contest 2013 First Place – Thriller
  • Reader’s Favorite 2013– Finalist – Horror Fiction
  • Knoxville Writer’s Guild – 2011 Novella or Novel Excerpt – 2nd Place

 

Read an excerpt:

Colt heard a small chopper. It sounded like a lawnmower. He knew it couldn’t be the AirSquad and looked up. A news helicopter circled overhead. He saw another coming up the coast from Los Angeles. In minutes, news crews in vans would arrive, extend their satellite transmission poles, broadcast pictures of the accident and fan out to find people to interview. In the process, several spectators would have a moment of fame on Los Angeles network television. The accident would be a good lead-in on the 11:00 p.m. Sunday night news, but the anchors would be disappointed that a Malibu celebrity wasn’t involved.

Moose joined them with the backboard and laid it down next to the girl’s body.

Brian checked the C-spine. “Ready guys? On my count.”

The men prepared to roll the girl on her side.

“Be careful,” Colt said.

Brian gave Colt a quick look and said, “One, two, three.”

In unison, they rolled her onto her side, Moose pushed the board in toward her and the men laid her back onto it.

Colt thought he heard her utter a faint moan. While Brian secured the head brace and straps across her body and prepared her for transport across the beach, he looked at her bloodied leg again. “Where’s the foot?” he shouted. “Does someone have her foot?” She still wore one delicate leather sandal.

“We can’t find the sucker,” one of the deputies told Colt.

“Can’t find it? How’s that possible?” Colt said. The girl needed her foot. They had to ice it down before the tissue started to die. It might be reattached. “It has to be here somewhere.” He went over to the damaged pickup.

The driver of the truck sat with his head down, behind the metal screen in the back seat of a black and white. A sheriff’s deputy stood outside, questioning him through the window and writing on his notepad. Colt interrupted. “Where’s the foot?” He was met with a shrug and a blank stare from the deputy. Colt looked at the driver of the pickup, a man about his own age, and hated him.

Colt walked around the pickup. Glass shards from a headlight and pieces of plastic lay on the ground. He knelt in a pool of green coolant dripping from the smashed radiator and looked under the front of the truck. The foot wasn’t there. He stood up and looked around.

Thirty or forty people stood in the parking lot watching the activity.

Excerpt from Code Blood by Kurt Kamm. Copyright © 2012 by Kurt Kamm. Reproduced with permission from Kurt Kamm. All rights reserved.

Author Bio:

Kurt KammMalibu, California resident Kurt Kamm has written a series of firefighter mystery novels which have won several literary awards. He is also the author of The Lizard’s Tale, which provides a unique look inside the activities of the Mexican drug cartels and the men dedicated to stopping them.

Kurt has used his contacts with several California fire departments, as well as with the ATF and DEA to write fact-based (“faction”) novels.

In his chilling and suspenseful multi-award winning novel, Code Blood, Kurt takes the reader into the connected lives of a fire paramedic, a Chinese research student with the rarest blood type in the world, and the blood-obsessed killer who stalks her.

Colt Lewis, a young Los Angeles County fire paramedic responds to a fatal accident. The victim dies in his arms. Her foot has been severed but is nowhere to be found. Who is the woman, and what happened to her foot? During a weeklong search, Colt risks his career to find the victim’s identity and her missing foot. His search leads him to a dark and disturbing side of Los Angeles…an underworld of body part dealers and underground Goth clubs. He uncovers a tangled maze of drugs, needles, and rituals.

Emergency medicine, high-tech medical research, and the unsettling world of blood fetishism and body parts make for an edgy L.A. Noir thriller.

Kurt has built an avid fan base among first responders and other readers. A graduate of Brown University and Columbia Law School, Kurt was previously a financial executive and semi-professional bicycle racer. He was also Chairman of the UCLA/Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center Foundation for several years.

Visit his author website at kurtkamm.com 🔗 & on Facebook!

My Review

4 stars

Colt Lewis is a paramedic in Los Angeles. He truly cares about people but you can tell that his job does get to him. He continually thinks about his first run with a young lady that was a hit and run victim that died in Colt’s arms. Cold thinks about her foot that was severed and disappeared. He really wants to find out what happened to it.

Then there is Markus, his is an albino and believes his is a vampire. He obsession with blood is almost sexual in nature and when he finds someone with very rare blood he thinks he has a way to make some quick cash.

This is an interesting story to say the least. Colt is a genuine good guy and wants to help. I can see how different incidents would be hard for him. Heck just reading about them is hard. I can see why he becomes obsessed with finding her foot. Markus is just beyond creepy but then again there are weird people out there. I couldn’t help but feel for poor A Li struggling in America. But the icing on this weird cake is the Russian thugs selling body parts.

This story was a little slow to get rolling but once you did it was a good little read. It could easily be read in one day. You get a firsthand feel of being a paramedic and the creepiness of a body parts trade. I also didn’t expect the ending which was really well done. Kurt Kamm is definitely one author to watch out for.

I received Code Blood from Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for free. This has in no way influenced my opinion of this book.

Tour Participants:

The Partners in Crime Blogging Team is loving the Code Blood Tour! Check out the other interviews, guest posts, reviews, and Giveaways!

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Giveaway:

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Kurt Kamm. There will be 1 winner of one (1) $20 Amazon.com Gift Card. The giveaway begins on March 30 and runs through May 1, 2017.

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 The Lizard’s Tale

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The Lizard’s Tale by Kurt Kamm

A Wild Ride Through the Drug Cartel World!

Alejandro, a middle class Guatemalan, wants his share, and makes a deal with the cartel. Now he’s risking his life to deliver the goods.

El Dedo, a brilliant financier, is the Sinaloa Cartel’s banker. He worries about what to do with the billions of dollars collecting dust in his underground vault.

Ryan, a DEA Special Agent, needs to make a high profile case to get a promotion. Is the big yacht headed for California carrying a Mexican drug shipment?

Kate, a wildlife officer on Catalina Island, smells smoke. When she heads out in the middle of the night to investigate a fire, she makes an astonishing discovery.

Jorge, an orphan from the streets of Mexico, is abandoned in the United States. Will he find his way back home and track down his mother’s killer?

These are some of the characters who inhabit the gripping world of The Lizard’s Tale. Award-winning author Kurt Kamm takes the reader on a riveting journey.

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My Review

5 stars

This is the story of a very rare lizard, a Motagua Valley beaded lizard in fact. There is a myth that anyone that acquires it will be cursed with disaster or death. This lizard is going to cross paths with poor people, drug cartels, DEA agents, and many others. Although you will meet all kinds of people in different situations, the theme stays the same, what do people want the most and what are they willing to do to achieve that.

This is an interesting journey with all the people you will meet. Poor people that are willing to do anything for a little money. Drug cartel members that have a fancy for exotic animals and so much money they have no value for it. DEA agents that want promotions. And a little boy that lost his mother years earlier and is just trying to survive, this one brought a tear to my eye.

I find it fascinating the different people the lizard meets in this story. It’s amazing how one animal or items can come into contact with so many people. But the main thing to take away from the story is that everything we do always effects someone. Everyone has tough decisions to make and the end results are not always what they wanted. Although we may desire something that doesn’t mean we need it or that it will be easy to obtain.

This is a wonderful story and one that I thing everyone should like. This is a book that you should check out.

I received The Lizard’s Tale from the author for free. This has in no way influenced my opinion of this book.

Brick

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Brick by Conrad Jones

When a teenager is the victim of an unprovoked attack while walking his dog, a murder investigation begins. A cruel twist of fate makes his innocent family the targets of a vicious campaign of terror.

As the detectives of Liverpool’s Major Investigation Team try to contain the violence, several key members of an organised crime family begin to topple, causing shockwaves across the world.

Why was the teenager attacked?

And will the villains be brought to justice?

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Author’s Bio

 I am Conrad Jones a 50-year-old Author, originally from a sleepy green-belt called Tarbock Green, which is situated on the outskirts of Liverpool. I spent a number of years living in Holyhead, Anglesey, which I class as my home, before starting a career as a trainee manger with McDonalds Restaurants in 1989. I worked in management at McDonalds Restaurants Ltd from 1989-2002, working my way up to Business Consultant (area manager) working in the corporate and franchised departments.

In March 1993 I was managing the Restaurant in Warrington`s Bridge St when two Irish Republican Army bombs exploded directly outside the store, resulting in the death of two young boys and many casualties. Along with hundreds of other people there that day I was deeply affected by the attack, which led to a long-term interest in the motivation and mind set of criminal gangs. I began to read anything crime related that I could get my hands on.

I link this experience with the desire to write books on the subject, which came much later on due to an unusual set of circumstances. Because of that experience my early novels follow the adventures of an elite counter terrorist unit, The Terrorist Task Force, and their leader, John Tankersley, or `Tank`and they are the Soft Target Series, which have been described by a reviewer as ‘Reacher on steroids’.

I had no intentions of writing until 2007, when I set off on an 11-week tour of the USA. The Day before I boarded the plane, Madeleine Mcann disappeared and all through the holiday I followed the American news reports which had little or no information about her. I didn’t realise it at the time, but the terrible kidnap would inspire my book, The Child Taker years later. During that trip, I received news that my house had been burgled and my work van and equipment were stolen. That summer was the year when York and Tewksbury were flooded by a deluge and insurance companies were swamped with claims. They informed me that they couldn’t do anything for weeks and that returning home would be a wasted journey. Rendered unemployed on a beach in Clearwater, Florida, I decided to begin my first book, Soft Target. I have never stopped writing since. I have recently completed my 17th novel, SHADOWS, something that never would have happened but for that burglary and my experiences in Warrington.

As far as my favourite series ever, it has to be James Herbert’s, The Rats trilogy. The first book did for me what school books couldn’t. It fascinated me, triggered my imagination and gave me the hunger to want to read more. I waited years for the second book, The Lair, and Domain, the third book to come out and they were amazing. Domain

I had no intentions of writing until 2007, when I set off on an 11-week tour of the USA. The Day before I boarded the plane, Madeleine Mcann disappeared and all through the holiday I followed the American news reports which had little or no information about her. I didn’t realise it at the time, but the terrible kidnap would inspire my book, The Child Taker years later. During that trip, I received news that my house had been burgled and my work van and equipment were stolen. That summer was the year when York and Tewksbury were flooded by a deluge and insurance companies were swamped with claims. They informed me that they couldn’t do anything for weeks and that returning home would be a wasted journey. Rendered unemployed on a beach in Clearwater, Florida, I decided to begin my first book, Soft Target. I have never stopped writing since. I have recently completed my 17th novel, SHADOWS, something that never would have happened but for that burglary and my experiences in Warrington.

As far as my favourite series ever, it has to be James Herbert’s, The Rats trilogy. The first book did for me what school books couldn’t. It fascinated me, triggered my imagination and gave me the hunger to want to read more. I waited years for the second book, The Lair, and Domain, the third book to come out and they were amazing. Domain is one of the best books I have ever read. In later years, Lee Child, especially the early books, has kept me hypnotised on my sunbed on holiday as has Michael Connelley and his Harry Bosch Series.

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My Review

5 stars

Bryn Evans is your typical 14 year old boy. He keeps his nose clean just like his older brothers. His parents are useless but they are all he has. One day while walking his dog he comes across the wrong person. Words are exchanged and Bryn finds himself on the wrong side of a beating. Trying to find some way to get out of this he picks up a brick and uses it. This puts Bryn’s family on the radar of some serious criminals. Detective Inspector Marcus Braddick is the one who gets this case and his own reasons to stop those at the top of this chain. It’s going to be a fast paced race to catch the killer before he takes care of Bryn and his family.

This is a great, dark and gritty crime thriller. It’s pretty gory but that is what you experience with gang violence and the upper level criminals. It broke my heart that poor Bryn got the crap beat out of him; of course he is the innocent that is in the wrong place at the wrong time. But I admire him for doing what needed to be done to get out of the situations he was in. Marcus had his hands full stopping the gang but he was the perfect person for this role.

This is my first book from author Conrad Jones but it will NOT be my last. The story flowed well and it was easy to get drawn into it. This is a great crime thriller and one that I strongly recommend.

I received Brick from Bloodhound Books for free. This has in no way influenced my opinion of this book.

Seeing Double

Seeing Double by Nancy J Alexander

Seeing Double: An Elizabeth Reinhardt Thriller (Olive Branch – 1) by Nancy Alexander

“A chill ran up her spine, triggering an alarm that spread through her system. Her eyes studied him as his eyes studied her. In the recesses of her mind, a fragment of a memory tingled…a tiny blip from long ago. An image spiraled, then vanished. There was something about this young man, this Ari Ben Aviv. There was something about him she couldn’t pinpoint.”

On the heels of her last mystery, Elisabeth’s new patient is more than meets the eye, and unraveling his secrets will throw her team into a desert storm of double agents and religious extremists. All that stands between love and war are two families, two brothers, and two conflicting versions of the truth.

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 Nancy J Alexander

Author’s Bio

Love of the mystery/thriller genre combines with psychotherapy training and experience to produce an emotionally supercharged dramatic novel. Nancy Alexander has devoted much of her professional life to helping survivors of childhood trauma; their distress has been ingrained and works to create characters who give voice to their plight. To analyze the evil minds that prey on others and the intricacies of law enforcers who pursue them seemed a natural interlacing of professional, literary and creative interests.

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My Review

4 Stars

Five friends made a promise years ago to keep the hatred between their countries from ruining the world. They decided to do what they could to stop the wars. Years earlier one of the women attended college in America and needed help from Elisabeth. Now her son and daughter are going to need her help. Then back at home, two of the other friends has made a life on an olive farm but their daughter was in the wrong place at the wrong time and has been kidnapped. It’s going to be up to the friends, Elisabeth Reinhardt, and the Chevra Hatzollah to help save Jamila and to stop the radicals from creating a bomb to destroy everything and start the holy war.

This book has a lot of characters and events happening at once. It took me a little bit to get into the story because of all the characters. But once I figured out what was happening it was easier to follow along. But I will admit that I really enjoyed the portions with Elisabeth in them and no so much the other subplots. Don’t get me wrong, they are well written well and do make the story flow.

I liked Relentless and was eager to see how Seeing Double was going to play out. I did enjoy it although there was more substance to it compared to Relentless. It is also the start to a new series so there are some things that are left unresolved. I’m eager to see what happens to the in the future books.

I received Seeing Double from iRead Book Tours for free. This has in no way influenced my opinion of this book.

Nancy J Alexander

Guest Post 
 
Authenticity is the Key by Nancy J Alexander
I am who I am. That identity is reflected in everything I say and do, in the words I write and the stories I create.

First and foremost, I am a woman. I think and feel, see the world and understand its people from a woman’s point of view.

Secondly, I am a Jew. I see and understand the world from the perspective of a member of a religious group who has suffered death, violence, rejection and persecution at the hands of others.

Third, I am handicapped. I had polio at 10 months of age and carry residual effects from that disease. As a result, my empathetic connection with others is greatly enhanced; I can see what they see and feel what they feel.

Lastly, I am a therapist. My profession is part of my identity; it’s not what I do, but who I am; a culmination life experiences that made me who I am.

In everything I do, from social advocacy, to political engagement, to legislative activism, to being a therapist, to being a writer, I am always coming from the same place. I am a sum total of the factors that made me the person I am and as such I am always working to make the world a better place. I am always working to communicate something meaningful, to raise people’s consciousness, to effect change.

I come to my life’s work from a place of hope and confidence. I believe that people can change; I see good in the world. I see the potential for life, people, countries, governments to be better. At the same time, I’m realistic. I see the problems that exist and know the obstacles are there but at the same time I am determined to work toward opening peoples’ minds and offering new creative ways of seeing, understanding and working toward solutions.

Win a signed copy of SEEING DOUBLE by Nancy J Alexander

2 winners will also get a $15 Amazon gift card (open to USA & CAN)

5 winners total

Ends June 3

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The Killing Room

The Killing Room

by Richard Montanari

on Tour May 15-26, 2017

Synopsis:

The Killing Room by Richard Montanari

Nothing will ever be the same again…

In the heart of Philadelphia’s badlands, Homicide Detectives Byrne and Balzano are called out to a particularly chilling crime scene. Once the pillar of the neighborhood, an abandoned church has become a killing room. At first it looks like a random act of violence. But then a second body is found, and a third. Each crime scene more disturbing than the last, each murder more brutal. And it soon becomes horrifyingly clear that a cold, calculating and terrifyingly precise mind is at work. With very few leads, and a mastermind who always seems to be one step ahead, Byrne and Balzano are faced with challenges they could never have imagined as they race against time to hunt down their killer, before it’s too late…

Discover what readers around the world already know: Richard Montanari’s novels are “relentlessly suspenseful” (Tess Gerritsen)

Book Details:

Genre: Mystery/Thriller
Published by: Witness Impulse
Publication Date: May 9th 2017
Number of Pages: 328
ISBN: 0062467441 (ISBN13: 9780062467447)
Series: Jessica Balzano & Kevin Byrne #6
Purchase Links: Amazon  | Barnes & Noble  | Goodreads

Read an excerpt:

When she was a young girl, before the night embraced her with its great black wings, and blood became her sacramental wine, she was, in every way, a child of light. To those who knew her in those years she seemed a studious girl, quiet and polite, given to watching clouds for hours on end, oblivious, as only the very young can be, to the crushing poverty that surrounded her, the chains that had enslaved her kind for five generations.

She was six years old before she wore a pair of shoes she did not share. She was eight before she buttoned a dress someone had not stained before her.

For the longest time she lived inside the high stone walls of her mind, a place where there were no shadows, no demons.

In her thirteenth year, on a night when the candles fell cold and the moon was not to be found, she met the darkness for the first time. Not the darkness that follows day, descending upon the earth in a deep violet blush, but rather that which dwells within men, men who travel the hardpan roads, gathering to them the mad, the fallen, the corrupt of heart, their deeds the silt of backwater lore. On that night a seed was sown in her body, her spirit.

Now, these many years later, in this place of misery and wretchedness, in this house of seven churches, she knows she belongs.

There are no angels here.

The devil walks these streets. She knows him well – his face, his touch, his scent – because in her thirteenth year, when God turned his head, it was to the devil she was given.

She had watched the young man for more than a week, having first spotted him on Market Street near the Eleventh Street station, a gaunt figure etched on a granite wall. He was not an aggressive panhandler – indeed, his nearly skeletal body and spectral presence would not have presented much of a threat to anyone – but was instead a man reduced to mumbling incoherently to passersby, commuters rushing to and from the station. Twice he had been moved along by police officers, offering no resistance or response. His spirit, it seemed, had long ago been purloined by his addictions, the siren call of the streets.

On most nights, after the evening rush hour, he would walk Market Street toward the Delaware River, toward Old City, stopping those who looked like an easy mark, cadging the occasional handful of coins, grubbing the infrequent cigarette.

She always followed him at a safe distance. Like most of his breed he went unnoticed, except to those like him, or those who would use him. On those rare occasions when he found a homeless shelter with room, he would stay the night, but would always take up position outside the Eleventh Street station by 6:30 a.m., beginning his cycle of despair and degradation all over again.

Once she followed him into a convenience store on Third Street, and watched as he pocketed high-sugar foods – honey buns, Ding Dongs, TastyKakes – all with one yellowed eye on the convex mirrors at the end of the aisle. She watched him wolf down the food in a nearby alley, only to throw it all up moments later.

On this day, when temperatures are predicted to drop below zero, she knows it is time.

Bundled in four thin sweaters and a pea coat ripped at both shoulder seams, the young man stands shivering in a doorway on Eighth Street near Walnut.

She approaches him, stopping a few feet away, still mostly in shadow. He looks up. In his watery eyes she sees herself, and knows the spirit is stirring.

‘Spare change?’ he asks.

It is as if she can hear the bones clattering in his chest.

He is in his twenties, but the skin around his eyes is purplish and sallow, the stubble on his face already gray. His hair is greasy beneath his watch cap. His fingernails are bitten raw. Blisters bubble on the back of his hands.

She remains in shadow, holds out a gloved hand. At first the young man is skeptical, but when she steps into the light, and he sees her eyes for the first time, he knows. He takes her hand as a hungry man would accept a crust of bread.

‘Do you remember your promise?’ she asks.

He hesitates before answering. They always do. In this moment she can all but hear the wheels turning, the fevered reasoning in his mind. In the end they remember, because this is the one vow they all know will one day be recalled. A single tear rivers down his scalded cheek.

‘Yes.’

She glances down, notices a dark stain blossoming on the front of his trousers. He is wetting himself. She has seen this before, too. The release.

‘Come with me,’ she says. ‘I will show you what you need to do.’

The young man steps forward on unsteady legs. She helps him. He seems to possess no weight at all, as if he were sculpted of steam.

At the mouth of the alley she stops, turns the young man to face her fully. ‘He will need to hear your words. Your exact words.’

His lips begin to tremble. ‘Can’t I tell just you instead?’

‘No,’ she says. ‘Your contract was with him, not me.’

The young man wipes his eyes with the back of his hand. ‘Then he is real after all.’

‘Oh, my, yes.’ She points to the dark niche at the end of the alley. ‘Would you meet him now?

***

Excerpt from The Killing Room by Richard Montanari. Copyright © 2017 by Richard Montanari. Reproduced with permission from WitnessImpulse. All rights reserved.

Richard Montanari

Author Bio:

Richard Montanari is the internationally bestselling author of numerous novels, including the nine titles in the Byrne & Balzano series.

He lives in Cleveland, Ohio.

Catch Up With Richard Montanari On:
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My Review

4 stars

An ex-cop man is found, wrapped in barb wire, kept alive for ten days then left to be discovered hanging in a church. Then another man is found frozen in ice and another that had been forced to swallow stones. The only clue Balzano and Byrne have to go on is: 7 Churches One God. It’s going to be a race against time to link everything together, keep a nosy reporter out of their way, and stop the serial killer.

This is my second book from Richard Montanari and I have to say that I liked it. The murders and killer are dark and switching between him and Balzano and Byrnes kept the tension of the story high. I like when you are in the head of the killer, it’s a great way to see how well an author can crate damaged and deranged.

Balzano and Byrnes have been together for a while and you get this feeling as they proceed with the investigation. They work well together and have many beautiful areas of Philadelphia to explore to stop this killer. I admit that some of the story seemed to take a little bit to get rolling and lag in the police procedure but for the most part it was really good.

I enjoyed The Killing Room. I would be willing to go back to The Rosary Girls and start this series from the beginning.

I received The Killing Room from Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for free. This has in no way influenced my opinion of this book.

Tour Participants:


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When the Sky Falls

Thriller / Espionage / Conspiracy / Historical
Date Published: March 24, 2017
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“What makes you believe a lie? I’m not asking how you know someone is lying. What makes you believe? Because if you don’t understand how that works, then you won’t know when you’re being manipulated.”
In 1938 the War of the Worlds hoax panicked millions of Americans, then in 1988 another fictional media broadcast convinced nearly half of Portugal that sea monsters had risen from the ocean to destroy their cities. A team of CIA agents was sent to study the aftermath of this 6th Skyfall Event in the hope that they could turn it into a weapon of war. When the team consultant turns up dead, everyone scrambles to be the last man standing: the one who will decide if or when the sky falls.

 

Excerpt
 “What makes you believe a lie? I’m not asking how you know someone is lying. What makes you believe? Because if you don’t understand how that works, then you won’t know when you’re being manipulated.”
William Stephenson, The Nature of Sky Fall Events
Porto, Portugal. October 30, 1988. 8:13 p.m.
            The lights flickered and went dark, that’s when it started. Luis reached up and adjusted the bulb with his fingers. The hot glass burned his skin. He gritted his teeth as the sensation grew stronger. He doubted the bulb was the problem. The TV, fan and even the street light outside the apartment all died in the same moment. “Is this normal for an earthquake?”
            Car headlights flashed through the windows reflecting off Renata’s long, dark hair. “It’s not an earthquake. They already said that.”
            Luis let go of the bulb. Only a moment ago, the emergency broadcast system had come on the air. It’s strobing red light, and high pitched siren blared through every apartment. It was followed by men in lab coats being interviewed. They warned everyone that something was coming, and before they could finish the power cut out, the one thing they had said was, “it’s not an earthquake.”
            The street outside the window was still lightless, and Luis went to check the fuse box. It wouldn’t do much good. If the entire neighborhood lost power, it clearly wasn’t a fuse, but at least it was something to do.
            Renata took his hand. Her fingers trembled. “It’s not the fuses; it’s not our lights. Let it go.” Behind her, the old cement walls were spidered with cracks. They had been like that when they moved in.
“I don’t know what else to do.” He pressed his lips together and looked out the window. Outside, a family loaded into a car; the trunk overflowed as the father kicked at it until the latch held. They piled in, each with a pack on their lap. The mother sat in the passenger seat. In her hands, she held a pistol. Her husband got in, and the car roared to life. A few people emerged onto the street carrying packs, or bags. They all headed east, away from the coast. That’s where the scientist said it would start, on the coast.
“The phone lines,” Renata’s voice wavered, “They use a different power source than the electrical grid, right?” She wiped at beads of sweat forming on her forehead. “For emergencies, right?” She swallowed hard. “I’ll try and call my mom,” She picked up the receiver and held it to her ear. The lines in her face deepened the longer she held the phone. She frowned and jabbed at the disconnect lever several times. “The phones are dead.” Her skin paled. “The phones,” she licked her dry lips, “are dead.”
Luis was still for a long time. Strange muscles deep in his stomach twisted. Something terrible was happening, and he couldn’t do anything to stop it. He didn’t even know what it was. There was a worry in her soft brown eyes; he wanted to protect her, keep her from feeling this way. He walked over and put his hand on Renata’s cheek then kissed her. “We’re leaving.”
She nodded towards the bags they’d started to prepare midway through the broadcast. “Do you think this will be enough?” She rested her head on his chest.
The electricity surged back, lights blazing to life. The TV flashed it’s red warning again. After a moment, it changed to a camera feed from inside a helicopter. A reporter bobbed in and out of the frame. “We’re flying over the city of Vila de Conde, only a few kilometers from Porto.” He pointed to something off camera. “While it seems a much weaker force is headed this way, it will strike here first. That should give us some idea of what to prepare for.” The wind whipped his hair wildly and drowned his voice out. The camera focused in over the ocean. White edges of curling waves shifted as they crashed against the shore. City lights reflected on the water; then the whole city blinked out. “What the hell?” The camera jerked up over the blackened city. A loud guttural cry screeched through the TV speakers, and the reporter’s voice shouted, “What in God’s nam—” The image on the TV shook and rotated like someone dropped the camera, then the screen cut to static.
Every beat of Luis’ heart pounded in his chest, teeth, and fingers. He waited for the static to end, for someone to come back, to tell them what happened.
Renata grabbed his hand; her pulse was rapid; throbbing in the vein on her neck. When she spoke, the words sounded strange like her mouth was dry after hanging open for too long. “What’s happening?”
Through the window, they saw a car slam into the small market across the street. Glass shards toppled down and shattered on the hood. Two men got out and kicked at the remaining jagged edges. With sacks in their hands, they hustled inside and filled the bags with food and supplies. They tossed them into the backseat and doubled back for more. A box of spaghetti fell out of the passenger side and burst open. Noodles splayed out on the pavement, breaking under the boots of the men as they hurried back and forth.
“I need to get something.” Luis rushed to the bedroom and pulled a pistol from under the bed. He loaded it and placed several ammo boxes in a bag before returning to his pack in the living room.
The static on the screen finally ended. A news anchor sat at a desk; sweat dripped down his face. He wiped at his brow. “It’s clear now, from this footage.” A small image on the side of the screen grew larger. It was a distant shot of the city of Vila de Conde. The entire coastal edge was gone. The hotels, resorts, beach houses. All gone. Some bits of rubble smoldered in the darkness. “This has been some sort of attack.” He stopped, and his face became stern. He sprayed saliva as he shouted at someone, “I can’t … God damn it … I can’t say that on TV. No one will believe it!” He shoved the desk over and stood; then turned and walked a few steps towards the back of the set.
A husky male voice came from off screen. “Do you believe it?” There was a pause, but the anchor kept walking. The husky voice spoke again, pleading this time, “Someone has to tell them. They have to know.” He yelled with urgency in his voice, “We saw them!”
The newscaster stopped and looked over his shoulder at the camera. “Tell them to run.” He disappeared off camera, and the screen went to static.
The lights flickered a second time, then went dark. Luis held his hand over his mouth. He stopped breathing for a moment and counted his heartbeats. He waited, but the lights didn’t come back.
With heavy packs strapped to their backs, Luis and Renata staggered into the street towards their car. A traffic jam built up behind the vehicle that had crashed into the market. People dashed inside, stealing food. The narrow European street swelled with a growing mob as they disembarked their cars to investigate the problem.
A man got into the obstructing car and attempted to reverse out. The center of the frame teetered on the curb, and the wheels spun over the slick cobblestones.
A massive man with a thick beard exited his truck. “What’s wrong with you?” He thrust crude gestures with his hands, then stopped and summoned the other stalled drivers to the stranded car. He pantomimed his intention.
Seven men gathered around the small European car and tipped it onto its side, but the vehicle still blocked the road. They shoved and kicked, but the road wouldn’t clear. Thick-beard threw up his hands, gathered his gear from his car and started walking.
Luis’s eyes widened. “I don’t understand it.”
“Do you need to?” Renata gripped his shoulder, the tips of her nails bit into his skin. “They told us to run.”
Abandoning their car, Luis and Renata joined the panicked herd. They ran, shoved and bumped into each other as they maneuvered around the empty cars. The weight of the pack made Luis unstable as people jostled against him. As each person collided into him or reached out to stabilize themselves, his balance wavered. The straps dug deep into his shoulders. The heavy load labored his run. People were constantly pressing past. He made Renata go first so he could keep an eye on her.
A tall man with wide shoulders shoved Luis into the side of a car. He stumbled and grabbed the mirror to keep from falling. Renata screamed. He turned as she plummeted to the ground a few feet away, disappearing into the mad swarm of human bodies.
Luis surged forward ramming people until he found her. He tried to help her stand, but the mob kept pressing forward, and Luis fell on top of her. A foot crunched down on his hand; then a knee jabbed into his ribs. Droves of people crashed against his body. His hair got caught on something, and it ripped a patch from his skull. A trickle of blood dripped from his scalp onto Renata’s face.
Luis pressed his lips to her ear. “The gun is in my pack. Fire the gun.” He didn’t feel her searching the bag, too many hands, knees, and elbows jabbed and thrust into him, but he heard the gunshot, next to his ear. It thundered, and his whole body tensed. The thundering didn’t end. His ear rang, and it felt like someone was trying to hammer a nail into his brain. He saw Renata’s face, she was shouting, but he couldn’t hear her anymore, couldn’t hear the crowd, the waves of pounding feet on stone, just a high-pitched pierce in his ears.
The crowd stopped pressing down on him. They’d backed away. He got to his feet. Renata still lay on the ground. Luis dragged her into the bed of a truck. She cried and kept trying to say something, but he couldn’t hear it. Her face flexed in pain. He scanned her body and saw the ankle. Human bodies, human feet don’t bend like that. The tibia seemed to be jabbing down through the foot, forming a large bulb at the bottom, and the ankle swelled thicker than her leg.
The crowd swarmed back. Luis slumped down beside her. His eyes lingered on her face, her eyes. She couldn’t walk, not on her own. Whatever was coming would catch them. How will you take care of her? Luis took the gun from her hands. He studied the pistol for a long time, its dark oily finish, the weight of it in his hand, a weapon. If he couldn’t run, then he would fight. He crawled out of the truck bed to the car just behind. He rested the pistol on the hood and stared out into the darkness. Luis saw the white curling waves. Whatever it was, came from the ocean, he knew that. He waited a moment, watching the water, trying to see it. Nothing, just darkness. He pulled the trigger then looked at Renata. Broken. Helpless. His eyes welled up with tears. Fight. Even if you can’t see it. Fight. He fired again, fired until the gun was empty.
——
            Pedro stood on a grassy hill overlooking the city of Porto. His eyes were bloodshot and puffy. Flashlights bobbed in the dark like swiveling dots, spreading away from the coast and into the countryside. He wiped the back of his hand across his forehead. It came away with a mixture of dirt, sweat, and mud. He’d marched his family through the dust cloud of the exodus. He and his wife, Beatriz, had fought with sticks to protect their young children as they ran through the streets. The blood streaks on Pedro’s knuckles were only partly his. He reached for the canteen around his neck and poured out a small handful of water to wash his hands.
            Beatriz slipped her fingers through Pedro’s gray-streaked hair. “Can I have a drink?” In her arms their two-year-old slumbered, dirt crusted snot clung to his nose. One arm hung loosely away from his body.
            Pedro lifted the canteen to his wife. “Anything new on radio?”
            She finished her drink. “Still just static.” She kissed her son on his forehead, and her wet lips came away powdered with dust. “I turned it off an hour ago. We should check again.”
            “Yeah.” Pedro nodded and headed towards the tents and campfire. His two older children were sprawled out next to the flames. On a tree stump sat a battery powered radio, its antenna tilted toward the city. He could make out the larger buildings by moonlight, but nothing electrical brightened the horizon. He flipped the radio on. Static buzzed through the speakers.
            “You have to help it.” Beatriz approached and placed her hand on the antenna. The static cleared, and a voice filled the camp.
            Pedro’s entire body stiffened at the familiar voice. The reporter who had refused to say what he had seen, the news anchor that had walked off the camera. The man who told everyone to run. His voice was heavy with emotion. He admitted he was an actor, and the entire scare had been a hoax. He took a deep breath and repeated the message.
            “Holy mother of God.” Pedro dropped his head into his hands. “It wasn’t real. None of it was real.” His voice trembled. “We left everything.”
            Beatriz stumbled and then lowered herself to the ground. Her eyes welled up. “We’re safe.” She kissed her son repeatedly. “We’re safe.”
            Pedro jerked up. “Safe?” He raised his voice, the tone sharp, “Safe?” He thrust his arm towards the city and pointed. “They lied to us.” He picked up a rock and lunged to his feet, running towards the distant city. He hurled the stone into the open plain below. “Why!”
            After a long moment, Beatriz pulled him close. “The power is still out. That was real. Something happened.”
            Pedro stared down at the city. The flashlight dots had changed direction, but the city remained dark. His body numb, he slumped down, never taking his eyes from the city. The message on the radio continued to repeat. It had been a hoax, a lie. The radio cut to static and a single light sparked in the city. It grew into a massive flame taller than any building. The fire burned brighter throughout the night but never spread. Something had happened, not the lie they told, but something.
——
The Old CIA Building, Langley Virginia. 10:09p.m.
Silas Cooper sat behind his desk reviewing surveillance reports. His black hair slicked with a heavy gel that reflected the light. He ran his hand through it and some collected along the edge of his finger. He rubbed it aggressively into his skin until only a sheen remained. Someone knocked at the door but opened it before Silas could respond.
Costly, in a vested suit, entered holding a stack of Portuguese Escudo bills bound with a rubber band. He swaggered over to Cooper’s desk and tossed the money down. “Guess what?”
“I don’t have time for your bullshit. What do you want?” Silas’ lips curled downward, and his chin tightened.
Costly flashed a crooked, toothy grin. “There’s been a Sky Fall Event in Portugal.”
The room went still and Silas chuckled. “Finally.” He let out a contented sigh. “How big?”
“Half the coast. Multiple cities.”
“Jesus.” Silas’ smile faded. “Where’s Stephenson?”
 “Shit, you’re not going to like it.” Costly hung his head. “As far as we know he’s in London —“
Silas cocked his head to one side, then back to the other. He pointed at his colleague with the file in his hand. “Now, I know you’re full of shit. I ought to break your teeth for this.”
Costly held up his hand apologetically. “No jokes. It happened, and he is that close, but,” he directed Silas to wait with an index finger. “He doesn’t have his plane with him. He’ll have to take the trains, and that should buy you some time.”
“Not enough.” Silas pocketed the money. “Get me Stephenson’s list. Cross out anyone not fluent in Portuguese or Spanish.”
“Already done.” Costly pulled a file from his briefcase. There were two columns of names; all but one were crossed out.
“Jay Nichols,” Silas read. “What’s his experience?”
“Two weeks here in Langley.”
“Are you God damn kidding me? You want to feed a puppy to the lion?”

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Goodreads Book Giveaway

When the Sky Falls by Joseph Bendoski

When the Sky Falls

by Joseph Bendoski

Giveaway ends May 31, 2017.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

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About the Author
Joe Bendoski study psychology in college and was fascinated by all the insights it provided into human behavior, only to realize most the information never reach people, and when it did, rarely was it in a form that allowed for practical application. He started writing non-fiction, but soon came to understand how few people read that genre and began the difficult transition into fiction writing. His non-fiction works include; the Chemistry of Attraction and the Language of Emotion.
He worked as the head writer for the television show ‘Saved by Grace.’ After being frustrated with comments like “make this scene cheaper,” “What’s my motivation?”, and “Do we need this scene?” he deiced to go in to literature.
Contact Links
Twitter: @JBendoski
Purchase Link
Reading Addiction Blog Tours

Girl on Point

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Girl on Point by Cheryl Guerriero

Alexandra Campbell’s life comes to a crashing halt the night her younger sister is killed during a convenience store robbery. Shattered by guilt, Alex distances herself from her friends and family. Months later, with the police investigation stalled, she fears justice may never be served.

Determined to avenge her sister’s murder, Alex disguises herself and joins the gang responsible for the shooting. To identify the one who pulled the trigger, Alex must put her own life at risk in a world of dangerous criminals. But the longer she plays her new game, the more the lines blur between loyalty and betrayal.

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 Cheryl Guerriero

Author’s Bio

Cheryl Guerriero was born and raised in New Jersey and currently lives in Los Angeles. Cheryl, an athlete since the age of 7, went on to college where she became a National Lacrosse Champion. Upon graduating, her mother insisted she get a job at Prudential Insurance Company which was a five-minute drive from their home and get married. Guerriero promptly moved to New York City and became a writer.

After Cheryl received her first check for writing, her parents got off her back about getting a real job. She began her career as a screenwriter and has won numerous awards, but her proudest moment to date was when she was sitting in a Chicago movie theater watching her first produced film, National Lampoon’s Pledge This!, when one fine moviegoer yelled out, “This movie sucks!” Making it even more special was the fact that Cheryl, voted “funniest” in high school, had written the screenplay with a best friend who had been voted “most likely to succeed.” The movie was neither funny, nor successful.

Cheryl continued on her way with writing and saw her next original screenplay Hunting Season, a mystery thriller, make it from the page to the screen. Hunting Season has aired on HBO/Cinemax, Lifetime and numerous TV channels around the globe.

In addition to writing, Cheryl also directed and produced the documentary short My Best Kept Secret and was invited onto the Oprah Winfrey show as a featured guest to discuss the documentary.

Girl on Point is Cheryl’s debut novel and she hopes you enjoy reading it as much as she enjoyed writing it!

My Review

5 stars

Alex Campbell is a teenager that gets good grades and plays basketball. One night after a game at Cantor East High, a rough school in a rough neighborhood, Jenny goes to a convenience to get a drink for Alex and is killed in a robbery gone wrong. Alex is wracked with guilt over the death of Jenny, her mother blames her for Jenny’s death and has turned to alcohol, and her father doesn’t know how to deal with any of this mess. The police think that a local gang called the Black Diamonds may have done the shooting but their investigation stalls. Alex decides to join the gang to find out who pulled the trigger and to get her revenge for the loss of her sister.

This is an incredible story. My heart was broken along with Alex when her sister dies. Then to have her home life broken does not help. I could completely understand why Alex decides to go on the hunt for Jenny’s killer. But there is so much more to gangs than what we see on the outside.

Many don’t realize that a gang essentially becomes a family for most of those that join. Because of that, as Alex digs deeper you find it harder to want to hurt anyone of the women even if they were the one that pulled the trigger.

I loved this book. It is an amazing and touching story. I almost didn’t want it to end so I could deny that one of these women killed Jenny.

I received Girl on Point from the author and Red Adept Publishing for free. This has in no way influenced my opinion of this book.

I have the pleasure of reviewing Karen Tjebben’s newest series Savage Security. Both books are filled with lots of action, suspense, and romance.

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Blood Kiss (Savage Security – 1) by Karen Tjebben

Alisha Woods knew she was in trouble. The situation was progressing. The harmless flirtation had long past intriguing and now bordered on terrifying. She had to take action, go on the offensive against her stalker. And as she opened the door of Young Guns, she promised herself that she’d be ready when he came for her. She would survive.
Mike Lewis lived each day knowing that life could evaporate in a moment. Ghosts followed him, haunting his soul. He craved redemption, a chance to right the wrongs of his past. And when Alisha walked in, he recognized his chance at redemption. He would save her.

After everything Mike had done to prepare her, she thought she was ready. But as the blood spilled from her lips, Alisha’s mind raced for what she could have done differently…
She should have listened to Mike.

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My Review

5 stars

We start this book with Alisha Woods buying herself a gun to feel safe. Alisha has a stalker and has come to the conclusion that this will help keep her safe from him. While in the store Alisha meets Mike Lewis. Mike works in security and finds himself drawn to Alisha and offers to help her learn how to shoot. Then he learns her story and wants to help her. The two of them are attracted to each other and try to deny the feelings a first. But her stalker is not going to let her live without him.

This is an amazing story. You instantly get sucked in as Alisha is having a hard time just walking into the gun store let alone buying one. Learning about her stalking was the moment I was hooked and didn’t care if I was up reading into the wee hours then having to go to work the next day. I loved Mike. He has his own personal drama that made him protective of Alisha, almost over bearing but with a reason.

I take self-defense classes and help teach them. I am a strong advocate of learning how to protect yourself with hands or weapons, especially guns and knives. My heart broke for Alisha but I was so proud of her for learning how to protect herself. As for the stalker, you know what he is up to but there were several guys it could have been. I liked the reveal because I had an idea of who it could be but I was wrong.

I have read Karen Tjebben’s Scintillate series and was very eager to read the Savage Security. Karen did a great job with this story and now I’m very eager to read Avenging Kiss.

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Avenging Kiss (Savage Security – 2) by Karen Tjebben

Some sins cannot be forgiven. Those must be avenged.

When Aditya Chopra stumbled upon the decimated camp, she vowed to hunt down the men who killed her sister. The stench of burnt flesh and the taste of death in the air haunt her dreams and power her lust for vengeance. She will show no mercy.

The men of Savage Security served their country. They’d done their time in the sandbox and now enjoy their peaceful lives in the States, far from the death and mayhem of war. Will living in peace blind them to the dangerous threat that’s poised to strike?

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My Review

5 stars

The men of Savage Security have done their time in the big sand box and are now doing their best to adjust to civilian life. Thankfully they have each other. But things they left behind are about to come back to finish the job they thought was done. Aditya Chopra plans to finish the people that killed her sister and she has found a man that is looking for the same people. Will the guys stop them?

This is a great story filled with lots of action and a lot of romantic tension. We start with Hazeem, he lost his village and he blames himself for not trying to fight back like others that died. He is determined to find the men and kill them. Aditya lost her sister and wants to kill the same men as Hazeem. The only difference is she is a lot smarter and plans on blaming Hazeem, especially since he played a part in the loss of her sister too.

I had to laugh at Jake and Belle. Jake is your typical manly man and has the hots for Belle although he’s been told she is off limits. I loved the whole researching Eric thing. And poor Belle, her she is surrounded by all of these handsome men and no one seems to really want her, you can’t blame her for looking at Eric.

This book has everything. Action, mystery, revenge, and romance. It’s a great follow up to Blood Kiss and I can’t wait to see what happens next.

I received Avenging Kiss from the author for free. This has in no way influenced my opinion of this book.

Karen Tjebben

Author’s Bio

Karen Tjebben lives in central North Carolina with her wonderful husband, twin daughters, and two hamsters. When her girls left for kindergarten, Karen discovered that she needed to fill her days with something, and that was the beginning of her new career in writing. She loves to create worlds filled with unique creatures that she hopes will delight and raise goose bumps on her readers. In her free time, she enjoys traveling with her husband and seeing the world through her daughters’ eyes.

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