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Archive for March 3rd, 2017

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Porcelain: Flesh of Innocents by Lee Cockburn

Detective Sergeant Taylor Nicks is back and in charge of tracking down a sadistic vigilante, with a penchant for torturing paedophiles, in this unsettling crime thriller by a real-life police sergeant.

High-powered businessmen are turning up tortured around the city of Edinburgh with one specific thing in common — a sinister double life involving pedophilia. Leaving his ‘victims’ in a disturbing state, the individual responsible calls the police and lays bare the evidence of their targets’ twisted misdemeanours to discover, along with a special memento of their own troubled past — a chilling calling card. Once again heading the investigation team is Detective Sergeant Taylor Nicks, along with her partner Detective Constable Marcus Black, who are tasked not only with tracking the perpetrator down but also dealing with the unusual scenario of having to arrest the victims for their own barbarous crimes. But with the wounded piling up the predator’s thirst for revenge intensifies and soon Nicks discovers that she is no longer chasing down a sinister attacker but a deadly serial killer.

Vivid, dark and deeply unsettling Porcelain: Flesh of Innocents is the perfect next read for serious crime and police thriller fans.

Amazon     Amazon UK     Barnes and Noble     Goodreads

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Author’s Bio

Lee Cockburn has worked for Police Scotland for sixteen years including as a police sergeant in Edinburgh for seven years and also as a public order officer. Before joining the force, she played for Scotland Women’s rugby team for fifteen years, earning over eighty caps for the Scottish ladies and British Lionesses teams. She also swam competitively for twelve years, successfully representing Edinburgh at the age of fifteen in the youth Olympics in Denmark in 1984. Lee lives in Edinburgh with her civil partner Emily and their two young sons Jamie and Harry. Her first book Devil’s Demise was published by Clink Street Publishing November 2014.

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My Review

5 stars

We start this story 22 years prior with twins Nathan and Amy. They are horribly abused physically, mentally, and sexually by their step father as their mother stands by and does nothing. Nathan does everything he can to protect his sister but there is only so much a 5 year old can do.

Zip ahead to present day and there is a vigilante on the hunt for pedophiles. They are paying back those that have abused and killed the young. He marks them in a noticeable way and leaves a creepy calling card behind. The police are trying to stop him but he is covering his tracts well until one slip up. The vigilante seems to have become a serial killer, but it’s hard to be too hard on him since his victims are getting what they deserve.

This is one book that will get your attention. We start with horribly detailed child abuse. Then we are exposed to the vigilante that graphically gets their revenge on his victims. You will also be reading about a lot of sex. I warn you of that first off because this will put a lot of people off this book. For me, it make the book even better, it makes this book very realistic and makes you pay attention to the facts that this stuff happens in real life.

I really liked Taylor and Marcus. They have different approaches but they work well together to catch the vigilante. And speaking of him, it’s kind of hard to want to stop him when he is essentially cleaning up the crap on the streets.

This is a great, graphic thriller that drew me in quickly and left me guessing at who the vigilante was. I will be putting Porcelain on my keep shelf and will be purchasing Devil’s Demise shortly.

I received Porcelain: Flesh of Innocents from Authoright for free. This has in no way influenced my opinion of this book.

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Authors that have inspired me to write.

My favourite author is Tess Gerritson, I have read all of her novels and I especially enjoy her Rizolli and Isles series.  I feel her books are gripping and brutal, in the nature of the crimes portrayed, they are well written and the balance between the crime, the investigation and the lives of the characters involved is spot on, although I think there could be a little more passion between Rizolli and Gabriel.  There is always a good story line, which builds to finale and I just find them enjoyable to read and look forward to her next, and to me that is a winning formula.

I read lots of different books, I have read all of the Harry Potter series and enjoyed them all, and I can see why they are enjoyed by so many adults and children.  I am lucky enough to share a lovely city with JK Rowling and pass her home regularly, always checking that everything is alright, I can’t help it, it is just the police officer in me.

In relation to other books that I have really enjoyed, I loved Schindler’s list by Thomas Keneally, it was heart wrenchingly absorbing, utterly disgraceful that the Holocaust actually happened, the disbelief that people suffered like this and others wanted it to and made this happen.   The book was an intense and such a graphic portrayal of the suffering and abuse of those Hitler chose as unacceptable in his society, not just the Jewish people, gays, disabled, gypsy travellers, and many others, tortured and made to suffer prior to their ultimate and brutal death.

I also loved the De Vinci Code by Dan Brown, I couldn’t read this book quick enough, short chapters and a story that just made you want to read on as quickly as I could, and I regret not reading any others, I barely have time to eat, working full time 24/7 shifts, two 6 year old boys and writing, reading takes fourth place, and I regret this.

The true inspiration for writing was actually reading a dull book, it made me want to write one that would be intense and gripping from the start, one not filled with too much unnecessary over description and a plotline that you have to re-read ,understand what is going on, although I still need to work on my writing, I still need to find a happy medium, as I feel my novels are a little too graphic and erotic, so I need to find the right balance.

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Mystery, Suspense, Thriller
Date Published:  February 5, 2017
Publisher: Carrick Publishing
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An environmental activist is murdered on a street in Manhattan after a protest. NYPD homicide Detectives Chen and Castilblanco get the case. While pursuing the clues to find those responsible, they discover the activist’s boyfriend is in danger because he has key information that will expose an international conspiracy involving Europe, Russia, and the U.S. As the tangled web unravels, an old nemesis of the detectives makes his appearance.
Other Books in the Detectives Chen & Castilblanco Mystery Series
Published: October 2015
NYPD detectives Chen and Castilblanco continue their adventures in this sixth novel in the series. Castilblanco’s relative Teresa and Nasir are an item, but Nasir kills Teresa’s taunting and jealous ex-boyfriend in a fight. When they look to Nasir’s friends for help, those friends kidnap the two fugitives who become involved in a terrorist plot.
While the two detectives try to find Teresa and prove her innocence, a case in a different precinct involving a different Castilblanco relative surfaces. The cop’s uncle, other detectives, and the Coast Guard help sort things out, including the connection to an old mafia family.
Published: 2010
The murders of a Wall Street broker and a Navy SEAL in Manhattan only miles and minutes apart seem unrelated, but two homicide detectives discover a connection. As the strange cases merge and they chase down the killers, even with federal stonewalling, they uncover a terrorist plan to destroy two American icons and generate a financial crisis bigger than the Wall Street implosion of 2008. Hiding in the background are webs of international intrigue taken from today’s post-9/11 world.
Published: March 2012
Steve Moore gives a new meaning to “narco-terrorism” in this new thriller that has your favorite NYPD homicide detectives Rolando Castilblanco and Dao-Ming Chen thwarting another terrorist plot, as they did in The Midas Bomb. Castilblanco uses his old Navy SEAL skills to good effect and Chen takes on a new sexy and independent role against the combined forces of al Qaeda, a Mexican cartel, and neo-Nazi militia members.
Published: May 2013
With Teeter-Totter between Lust and Murder, Steve Moore continues the “Detectives Chen and Castilblanco Series.” The sleuths of The Midas Bomb and Angels Need Not Apply will embroil you in action and suspense yet again.
As a mystery novel, it is a dark probing into the nexus the crime underworld sometimes enjoys with the rich and powerful. Chen is arrested for the murder of a senator in circumstances that seem to leave no doubt of her guilt, but Castilblanco helps prove her innocence.
With this new crime novel, Steve continues the saga of your two favorite detectives as they and their companions fight the corrupting influence of the illegal weapons trade.
Published: March 2014
Aristocrats and Assassins continues the “Detectives Chen and Castilblanco Series.”
NYPD detectives Chen and Castilblanco leave their comfort zones once again. Chen goes to China where she helps the DEA track down a money laundering scheme. Castilblanco is in Europe on vacation with his wife. They meet up to thwart a terrorist who’s kidnapping members of the European royal family. What relation does he have to the money laundering scheme? Why does he have a vendetta for Castilblanco? What’s his real agenda? Join Chen and Castilblanco on a tour of Europe you won’t find in Frommer’s.
Published: November 2014
Chen and Castilblanco are back in the Big Apple.  They begin to investigate the murder of a SOHO art dealer, delve into the shadowy world of art thieves, and discover that stolen artworks can be used as collateral to finance some dark entrepreneurship.  The Collector is book five in the Detectives Chen and Castilblanco series.
Excerpt

 

Excerpt from Steven M. Moore’s Gaia and the Goliaths, #7 in the “Detectives Chen and Castilblanco Series”, Carrick Publishing, 2017:
Chapter One
Dr. Guillermo Sanchez ran with EMTs as they guided the gurney through the halls on the way to one of Bellevue’s ORs.  His job was to stabilize the shooting victim for the surgeon, but stabilize wasn’t the right word in this case.  The young woman flat-lined twice before the surgeon arrived.
“Wash up, Guillermo,” said Dr. Wilson. “I’m going to need your steady hands.”
Guillermo Pedro Sanchez was ending his first year as ER intern.  He had already informed Wilson where the gunshot wounds were.  The most serious ones were around her left breast.  Had they done damage to the heart?  The flat-lining indicated that they had.
He was in the seventh hour of his first shift.  Unruly black hair and a need for a shave combined with a blood-stained smock made him look like an old-fashioned Italian butcher from an old ethnic neighborhood of New York City, but he had grown up in a rich family in Marblehead, Massachusetts.  A brother and sister had attended Harvard all the way through to MBAs and now worked in the corporate world.  He was the youngest and had attended Tufts; he’d always wanted to work in an ER.  Now he was an intern in one of the busiest.
They were soon embroiled in the operation.  The abdominal cavity was filled with blood—a massive leak somewhere threatened this woman’s life.
“Let’s do a transfusion,” said Wilson, “and patch tears if we can.”
“Is it her heart?” said Sanchez.
“I can’t see a damn thing.  Suction!”
They worked feverishly.  Desperate minutes became intense hours.
***
Gaia Papadakis’s last memories were about a dark street near NYU.  She had been a bit tipsy.  After the protest march, they went to a bar to celebrate.  No one was arrested during the protest, but all the same they made the news on all local TV channels.
People were now interested in global warming despite naysayers in big corporations and the nation’s capital.  Many were also asking questions about oil spills, fracking, and pollution from power plants.  Her group Clean World tried to guide and coordinate the dialog.
Many conservatives supported companies Clean World was protesting against, while progressives were more on the side of protesters when not beholden to corporate donors.  Many energy companies were owned by one huge energy conglomerate, Wilson-Myers Energy Corporation.  Emotions ran high during the protest, but she gave the cops more credit than some co-marchers—the former kept the march peaceful and seemed impartial about whom they hauled away when tempers flared and violence ensued.
She had recognized some opposition leaders and activists trying to appeal to spectators; they played on people’s fears, focusing on loss of livelihood if the conglomerate’s companies went under.  She knew their argument was specious—she had written white papers that proved the conglomerate could, in a period of ten years or so, improve their environmental record without losing revenue.  Other white papers showed what would happen to the Earth if conglomerates like Wilson-Myers didn’t change their polluting ways.
Most in the crowd, though, ignored the opposition and were friendly to protesters.  She knew Wilson-Myers hated that and the progress environmentalists were making.  The conglomerate was spending money right and left to stop them and writing most of it off to advertising.  That same money, probably even less, could be used to change its bad environmental record.  It was a question of priorities.  Companies spent tons of money trying to “educate the population”—translation: attack science and deny global warming.  And they had sycophants in Washington to push that agenda.
At the bar, they had toasted their better-than-average success with the protest.  She left around 2 a.m.  Her small apartment wasn’t far away, so she walked.  She was city and street smart, but her shooter was more efficient than your average gang member or mugger.  An SUV sped by and a shooter sprayed her body with an automatic weapon, leaving her sprawled on the sidewalk and her mind fading into darkness as she still wondered why.
***
“We’re in trouble,” said Wilson, glancing at monitors.  “We need to give her an artificial heart, but there’s no time!”
            “No repair’s possible?” said Sanchez.
            “Let’s try to pull her through,” said Wilson.  “We’re heading for a train wreck here!  Full replacement, ladies and gentlemen!”
            More hours of painstaking, mind numbing surgery.  Another cardiac surgeon joined Wilson, and another intern arrived to help Sanchez clamp, suck out fluids, sew stitches, and keep an eye on instruments, although OR nurses also helped in that too.  The team grew; it was a team effort.  Wilson was the quarterback marching his offense down the field with time running out.
After nine hours of surgery, they had the victim on an artificial heart.  That would only be the start of her odyssey.  She would now go on a list of patients who needed a heart transplant.  That was another race against time.
            “Good work,” Wilson told Sanchez as they were cleaning up.  “You have a fast and sure suture technique.  Maybe you should change to surgery.  By the way, I’m sorry I ignored your questions in there.  I’m afraid I become less professorial when I’m saving someone’s life.”
            “No need to apologize,” said Sanchez.  “They were stupid questions.  Her heart was beyond repair.  What chance does she have now?”
            Wilson glanced at him, raising a bushy eyebrow.  “Don’t become emotionally involved, Guillermo.  You need to maintain a professional detachment.  There’s only a ten percent chance she’ll make it.  She’s likely to throw a clot, for example, considering circumstances.  And we might not find a donor in time.”
            “It seems so unfair.  What is she, mid-twenties?”
            “If she’s more than thirty, I’d be surprised.  She pissed someone off enough she might as well have been a grunt in the Middle East invading a terrorist camp without a gun or body armor.  Yeah, it’s unfair.  You can be a recluse most of your life but still have a truck mow you down crossing a street in Manhattan.  What about a surgery internship, if I can change the subject?”
            “I can help more in the ER.”  Sanchez smiled.  “I’ll have lots of practice in Manhattan.”
            “Are you just afraid of overspecialization?  You’d be an ER surgeon soon enough.  You can help sicker people as a cardiac surgeon on ER call.”
            “I’ll think about it.  But you can’t determine my skills just from one session.  I didn’t do very much.”
            “Often enough you provided a skilled third pair of hands when I needed them.”  Wilson looked around and lowered his voice.  “That other intern was all thumbs.  Between you and me, he’s not going to last long in this intense environment.”  He raised his hands and flexed his fingers, watching water drip off.  “I’ll take these any day over a robot’s.”
            Sanchez thought that was a bit egotistical but said nothing.
***
“You’re too young to be a doctor,” Gaia Papadakis said, her voice a raspy whisper.  Sanchez had just removed the tube from her throat.
“You’re awake.  You’ve been through a lot.”  He took her pulse again the old-fashioned way.  “A bit weak.”  His thick eyebrows arched.  “How do you feel?”
“I feel like I was run over by a subway train.”
“Something comparable on the street and right here in the ER.  You’re lucky to be alive.  You were in good shape, though, and that helped.”
“I work out when I can.  Gym and jogging.  Do you work out?”
“When I can.  Don’t talk too much.”  He showed her the call button.  “If you have a problem, use that.  Someone will come running.  Don’t be timid with the morphine pump either.  Control your pain.”  He waved toward the door.  “I have some other patients to see.  It was a busy night in the ER apparently.”
“What happened?”
“Other than your being shot, I don’t know.  About that: when you’re up to it, NYPD will want to interview you.  Don’t worry about it, though.  They have to go through me first.”
Nice smile, she thought.  God, he’s young and handsome.  Where’s he been all my life?  He had beautiful curly locks like her Zorba.  She wanted Alessandro by her side holding her hand now that the doctor had reminded her of him.
“Did you participate in my surgery?”  He nodded.  “Say, can you hand me my purse?  I’d like to check my smart phone.”  He handed her the purse, watched her rummage around, but turned to the PA system’s speaker over the door when his name was called.
“I have to go.”  She nodded, flashing a tired smile.
She watched him leave, deciding it might be worth being shot in order to meet him.  Sorry, Alessandro, you’re thousands of miles away.
            Hours later in midafternoon, she woke from a deep sleep feeling panic.  She knew something was wrong.  She took her last gasp as she fought her descent into sweet oblivion.
About the Author

Steve Moore is an ex-scientist who has lived abroad and seen a lot of the world. His fiction reflects his interest in the human condition and how good people everywhere react and fight evil. He is now a full-time author who lives with his wife in New Jersey, but he has resided in Colombia and Massachusetts and other states in the U.S. He’s a native Californian. He loves to hear from readers and authors.
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Cat in the Flock

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A BOXED SET OF THE AWARD-WINNING NOVELS IN THE DREAMSLIPPERS SERIES + A BONUS STORY!

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Dreamslippers Series Boxed Set

By Lisa Brunette

Genre: Mystery, Female Sleuths, Romantic Suspense

5-STAR REVIEWS FOR BOOKS IN THE SERIES…

“This might possibly be a ‘great book.’” – Sharon E. Leighton, a reader in Canada, on CAT IN THE FLOCK

“Lisa Brunette’s FRAMED AND BURNING is a brilliant, suspenseful whodunit…” – Anthony Award-winning writer of the Inspector Chen series, Qui Xiaolong

“The plot runs deep, and the characters are both quirky and interesting. This is a total whodunit mystery that will keep you on edge until the very end!” – Sage Adderley, on BOUND TO THE TRUTH

SERIES OVERVIEW

What if you could ‘slip’ into the dreams of a killer? This family of PIs can. They use their psychic dream ability to solve crimes, and that isn’t easy.

In Cat in the Flock…
Following a mother and girl on the run, apprentice dreamslipper Cat McCormick goes undercover inside a fundamentalist church. Is its enigmatic leader guilty of domestic violence? Did his right-hand man really commit suicide?

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My Review

5 stars

Cathedral “Cat” McCormick has just graduated with a degree in criminal justice. Her grandmother, Granny Grace runs a private investigative firm in Seattle and offers Cat a job. But Granny Grace has a special ability called dreamslipping. She has practiced her skills and uses this to help solve her case. Now she is going to train Cat to follow in her footsteps.

Cat meets a woman and her daughter while they are hiding from her husband, a leader of a church in Seattle. While investigating him she learns this church is more of a cult and has ties to a megachurch in St. Louis. Cat heads to St. Louis to investigate and take care of business to protect the woman and her daughter.

I have read the second and third books in the Dreamslippers’s series so I was excited to review the first book to see how it all started. I love Granny Grace and Cat. They are a couple of strong but realistic women. I love how they step up and help those that need it. But they are flawed like any real person. All you can do is the best you can.

This probably sounds creepy, but I loved the cult. Talk about some of the worst people you can find. They get what they deserve but not until some have lost their innocence and lives. Perfect bad guys for this story.

This is a great series and one that I strongly recommend. I loved all three books and can’t wait to see what happens next.

I received Cat in the Flock from Sage’s Blog Tours for free. This has not influenced my opinion of this book in any way.

In Framed and Burning…
It was supposed to be a much-needed vacation in Miami, meant to snap Cat out of a persistent depression. But when her great uncle’s studio goes up in flames, killing his assistant, Cat must find out who’s really to blame.

Check out my review here.

In Bound to the Truth…
The dreamslippers don’t quite trust their client. Did Nina Howell really fall under the spell of a domineering, conservative talk show host—as her wife claims?

PLUS explore Amazing Grace’s back story in the bonus story found ONLY in this boxed set!

Check out my review here.

For readers who enjoy strong female leads, quirky, well-developed characters, and a dash of dating drama with their mystery. Fans of J.A. Jance, Mary Daheim, and Jayne Ann Krentz will love Cat and “Amazing” Grace!

Amazon

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About the Author

Lisa was born in Santa Rosa, California, but that was only home for a year. A so-called “military brat,” she lived in nine different houses and attended nine different schools by the time she was 14. Through all of the moves, her one constant was books. She read everything, from the entire Nancy Drew and Trixie Belden mystery series to her mother’s books by Daphne du Maurier and Taylor Caldwell.

A widely published author, game writer, and journalist, Lisa has interviewed homeless women, the designer of the Batmobile, and a sex expert, to name just a few colorful characters. This experience, not to mention her own large, quirky family, led her to create some truly memorable characters in her Dreamslippers Series and other works, whether books or games.

Always a vivid dreamer, not to mention a wannabe psychic, Lisa feels perfectly at home slipping into suspects’ dreams, at least in her imagination. Her husband isn’t so sure she can’t pick up his dreams in real life, though.

With a hefty list of awards and publications to her name, Lisa now lives in a small town in Washington State, but who knows how long that will last…

Follow Lisa online:

Website     Facebook     Twitter

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The author is hosting a HUGE giveaway:

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Thank you to Sage’s Blog Tours for the opportunity to review this series and be part of this tour.

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