Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘3 Star Books’ Category

Read Me

38724955

Read Me by Leo Benedictus

Hitchcock’s Rear Window meets Messud’s The Woman Upstairs in this unnerving, superbly crafted novel which takes readers deep into the mind of a serial stalker and, through him, the lives of his unsuspecting victims.

Try it yourself. Go out, pick somebody and watch them. Take your phone and a notebook. Persist. What begins as a confluence of yours and another person’s journeys, on the train maybe or leaving a cinema, gets into an entanglement. You follow, feeling that it’s not really following because you’re going the same way, then when they at last reach their office you feel the clutch of a goodbye. It’s normal. But how many times do you think the person being followed has been you?

READ ME is a seductive, haunting novel that holds a sinister mirror up to the ways in which we observe, judge, and influence people. Benedictus’ prose commands and draws readers into the dark, manipulative mind of a serial stalker as he targets women across London, escalating his efforts until he settles on Frances — a bright young professional whose career is set to take off — whose life he proceeds to unravel from the inside, out.

A chilling rumination on power, manipulation, complicity, and anonymity, READ ME exposes just how vulnerable we are to the whims of others — people we may not even know.

Amazon     Barnes and Noble     Goodreads

Author’s Bio

Leo Benedictus was born in London and graduated from Oxford University. He worked as an advertising copywriter and as a freelance sub-editor for The Guardian. His work on immigration issues has earned him widespread recognition: his article “London: The World in One City” won the Amnesty International UK Media Award (2005) and the Race in the Media Award (2006). His work has appeared in ProspectThe Observer, The New StatesmanThe London Review of Books and The Literary Review. Leo’s debut novel The Afterparty was long-listed for the 2011 Desmond Elliott Prize. Leo is currently a freelance feature writer for The Guardian and lives with wife Sarah and his two sons in Brighton. Leo is writer-in-residence at Holland Park School, London.

My Review

3 stars

This is the story of a stalker. He writes that years prior he inherited a large sum of money and has spent his time following random people. He follows people around making notes in his journals. But he has taken a liking to Frances. He sees her crying and introduces himself to her, a conversation happens about her work situation, and their phone numbers are exchanged.

From there he starts seriously stalking her, hiding cameras and microphones in her apartment. He even hides in her apartment when she is there. Then things go from bad to worse. It seems he is the reason she had trouble at work.

When I think of stalkers I just get a chill and I was excited to see how this book was going to tackle that story line. Although the narrator and Frances has the possibility to be really good, the story started falling flat for me. He started being more obnoxious than scary and Frances didn’t really make me care what happened to her.

This could be a story that people really life but I have to say that I didn’t really think it was a fit for me. Try it, you may like it.

I received a complimentary copy of this book. I voluntarily chose to read and post an honest review.

I would like to thank Twelve Books for the opportunity to read and share this book.

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

Serpentine

36633307

Serpentine (Anita Blake – 26) by Laurell K. Hamilton

Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter, returns for her twenty-sixth adventure. Fans of Charlaine Harris and Anne Rice will delight in this series by Sunday Times and New York Times bestselling author Laurell K. Hamilton. ‘A hardcore guilty pleasure’ – The Times Anita Blake faces new, even deadlier enemies as she and the people she loves confront major changes in their lives…

Vampire hunter Anita Blake has managed to overcome everything she faces. But this time there’s a monster that even she doesn’t know how to fight…

A remote Florida island is the perfect wedding destination for the upcoming nuptials of Anita’s fellow U.S. Marshal and best friend Edward. For Anita, the vacation is a welcome break, as it’s the first trip she gets to take with just wereleopards Micah and Nathaniel. But it’s not all fun and games and bachelor parties…

In this tropical paradise, Micah discovers a horrific new form of lycanthropy, one that has afflicted a single family for generations. Believed to be the result of an ancient Greek curse, it turns human bodies into a mass of snakes.

When long-simmering resentment leads to a big blowout within the wedding party, the last thing Anita needs is more drama. But it finds her anyway when women start disappearing from the hotel, and worse–her own friends and lovers are considered the prime suspects. There’s a strange power afoot that Anita has never confronted before, a force that’s rendering those around her helpless in its thrall. Unable to face it on her own, Anita is willing to accept help from even the deadliest places. Help that she will most certainly regret–if she survives at all, that is…

Amazon     Barnes and Noble     Goodreads

 

Author’s Bio

Laurell Kaye Hamilton (born February 19, 1963) is an American multi-genre writer. She is best known as the author of two series of stories, Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter and Merry Gentry.

Her New York Times-bestselling Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter series centers on Anita Blake, a professional zombie raiser, vampire executioner and supernatural consultant for the police, which includes novels, short story collections, and comic books. Six million copies of Anita Blake novels are in print. Her New York Times-bestselling Merry Gentry series centers on Meredith Gentry, Princess of the Unseelie court of Faerie, a private detective facing repeated assassination attempts.

Both fantasy series follow their protagonists as they gain in power and deal with the dangerous “realities” of worlds in which creatures of legend live.

Laurell was born in rural Arkansas but grew up in northern Indiana with her grandmother. Her education includes degrees in English and biology from Marion College (now called Indiana Wesleyan University).

Hamilton is involved with a number of animal charities, particularly supporting dog rescue efforts and wildlife preservation.

Hamilton currently lives with her family in St. Louis, Missouri.

Website     Facebook     Twitter

My Review

3 stars

Essentially Anita is taking a little entourage with her to Florida to attend Edward’s wedding to Donna. While there they discover a family that slowly turns into snakes and some women that have disappeared. The local police believe that one of Anita’s group is the killer so she steps up to solve this mystery.

I loved this series when I first started reading it years ago. I couldn’t get enough but noticed that the further I got into the series the more the books become drama, sex, and a semi decent plot that just kept getting smaller and smaller the more books I read. So I quit reading after Incubus Dreams. But when I was approached to review Serpentine I couldn’t wait to see what I have missed.

The murders and snake curse caught my attention and I was really curious to see where these would go. But there were a couple bumps to the plot that caused me to pause in the story. I will say that when the story finally got going it was fast and kept me turning pages.

Sadly the book is filled with so much drama and porn that I was about to put the book down several times. Don’t get me wrong, I loved the first books in this series and know that there is going to be lots of sex. What got me is the feel that the plot was just the fluff parts to the next sex scene. I also hate the drama. There’s a reason that I don’t really like most romance books and that is it. If I wanted to watch daytime tv I would, I wouldn’t waste my reading time on it.

Overall I was disappointed in this book. It seems the series has continued with the things that initially turned me away from it, which is sad since I really liked it when I first started reading it. I think that I am done with any new books with Anita Blake in them unless they can get back to a decent plot that the story is based on, not the drama and pointless over done sex scenes.

I received a complimentary copy of this book. I voluntarily chose to read and post an honest review.

Penguin Random House

I would like to thank Penguin Random House for the opportunity to read and share this book.

Read Full Post »

The Favourite

35925677

The Favourite by SV Berlin

Welcome to the dark heart of the family – the secrets we keep, the memories we treasure and the relationships we feel bound to, but long to escape. Edward and Isobel haven’t spoken for years and live on opposite sides of the Atlantic. When their mother, Mary, dies unexpectedly, they are thrown together to sort through the family home. With Julie, Edward’s diffident but devoted girlfriend, making an awkward third, each stumbles through the practicalities and funeral preparations, trying to make sense of their emotions and their feelings towards one another. Then Isobel makes a disturbing discovery and her fateful decision has consequences for them all, challenging their beliefs about the past, hopes for the future, and understanding of Mary’s role in keeping them at once apart and together. This utterly immersive novel is rich with insightful and wickedly comic observations of family members behaving badly in stressful situations – of sibling rivalries, a parent torn between the two, and a grieving process that takes time to unfold. Beginning in a small coastal town during the Spring Bank Holiday, the novel moves forward through the point of view of each of the characters in turn, and culminates on Christmas Eve.

Amazon     Goodreads

 Author’s Bio

S.V. Berlin was born and raised in London. Her blog, Britical, was one of the earliest and offered a British view of the pleasures and pitfalls of social politics in and around Manhattan. As a regular guest commentator on New York’s Sirius XM radio, she delivered her own script for such culturally relevant topics as James Bond, the etiquette of texting, and the curious science and evolution of marriage. Since then she has advised readers on how to swear with confidence, dogsledded through the freezing badlands of Northern Minnesota, and camped alone with wolves, equipped with only a pot noodle and eight waterproof matches. In her spare time, Berlin has worked as a copywriter, wilderness search-and-rescue professional, facilitator, and speechwriter to the self-styled ‘titans’ of Wall Street.

Twitter

My Review

3 stars

Siblings Edward and Isobel has become estranged and live on opposite sides of the Atlantic. Isobel wanted more from life than what she had in England and moved to New York City. There she has everything she wants yet is not becoming successful like her family and friends think she would so she stands out. Edward has his own challenges and blames himself for the way things have gone wrong. But he mainly is irritated that he is going to have to see his sister after fifteen years apart.

Then there is Julie, Edward’s girlfriend. She seems like a mouse of a woman yet has her own secrets. All three are going to have their moments as the three people learn more about themselves and how their mother affected them and may have intentionally caused the estrangement.

What is it about a funeral to bring out the worst in family? It’s clear that Edward and Isobel have some issues, but where do they come from? Is one unhappy for the other’s success? Of course why be happy for someone when you can be miserable and nasty to them.

This story meanders around the death of Mary and her children coming together to deal with their separation and loss. I really thought there was going to be a big surprise ending or something that really struck out and would make this a thriller or something like that but it just was family drama.

This is not a bad book, I’m sure if this is your style you would love the book. For me it didn’t have enough thrilling reveals to keep me interested.

I received a complimentary copy of this book. I voluntarily chose to read and post an honest review.

I would like to thank MZPR for the opportunity to read and share this book.

Read Full Post »

Preordained

Preordained by David L Wallace Tour Banner

Preordained

by David L Wallace

on Tour June 1-30, 2018

Synopsis:

Preordained by David L Wallace

Art Somers is a detective in close-knit Murrell’s Inlet, S.C., a small-town, coastal community with deeply held spiritual and supernatural belief systems. A serial killer has shattered his peaceful existence by abducting multiple twelve-year-old boys within his county. Young thugs, backwater drug dealers and the occasional murderer are the most Art’s had to deal with, but now he must apprehend a predator who FBI profilers can’t find.

He discovers he has a tie by blood to the case and uncovers evidence that calls into question his long held spiritual and supernatural beliefs. Abraham, the father of faith, had to choose to either sacrifice his son or disobey a direct order from God. Art must now make a choice – sacrifice his soul to save his son.

“A riveting and intriguing read.” – Clarion Review

“Original and engaging.” – Publisher’s Weekly

“A gripping detective story.” – Kirkus Reviews

Book Details:

Genre: Paranormal Crime Thriller
Published by: David L Wallace
Publication Date: April 13th 2018
Number of Pages: 346
ISBN: 0997225726 (ISBN13: 9780997225723)
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

 

Read an excerpt:

Chapter 1

From his crouched position in the woods of rural Georgetown County, South Carolina, and under the echo of his heavy breathing in the night air, he watched his favorite family’s movements inside their small brown home.

After much thought about the impression his outfit would make, he’d decided it was festive enough for the occasion. The complete ensemble consisted of a red and black head mask, aligned perfectly to the holes for his eyes, nose, and mouth and a form-fitting, black bodysuit with white wings painted on the back.

For years, he’d contemplated a befitting name for himself and finally settled on Star of David killer. He liked the way the alias reverberated in his head. It revealed a lot. It concealed everything. It hinted at his purpose and yet – it withheld the true essence of his aspirations, keeping them covered in a shroud of secrecy. He hoped an insightful reporter would have an epiphany and bestow that nickname on him. It was far more interesting than the one his parents had given him at birth. He breathed deep and exhaled slowly, taking in the ambience of the moment. He flexed his muscles. It was time to initiate the events that would lead everyone to recognize him by his self-appointed moniker.

He clenched and released his toes on each of his hospital footie–covered feet. Through the sheer curtains of the dimly lit dwelling, he watched the boy pick up the used plates from the table, which signaled the parents and their twelve-year-old son had finished their dinner. He knew them well. He’d cased their dwelling for years, observing every nuance of their behavior. He sat flushed as he watched them for the last time, shivering from time to time from the thrill of the thought of what he was about to do.

The music of the bullfrogs kept him company, along with the thought that all he’d longed for, all that he was meant to be, was about to be on full display on the world stage in a matter of hours. Like Heinz ketchup, he’d been waiting in anticipation for a long time for this moment.

He glanced at the scavengers in the clear sky above him, each casting its shadow across the moon as it circled. They were his favorite creatures—the redheaded, black-feathered, and partially white-winged turkey vultures of the Carolina skies. His outfit mimicked theirs. The birds squawked in the sky, seeming to know his plan for that evening. They’d followed his vehicle from his home until he’d parked, and now they circled directly above him. He could feel their hunger and impatience.

The boy walked outside his home and scraped the remains of their dinner plates into a slop bucket on the back porch. He picked up the hog’s food and headed out to the pigpen, which was located near the backend of their yard.

The Star of David killer watched the boy make his evening trek on pigeon-toed feet that turned inward with each step. Ever since the infant pigs were born, the boy fed the adult male hog an extra feeding at night to prevent him from dining on his offspring. That’s right, the daddy hog actually ate his own children. What a disgusting breed of animal.

The overhead undertakers began to shriek and shrill as the boy moved across his lawn, their voices echoing in the night.

The boy jumped at their sound and looked to the skies. He stared into the woods directly below them.

The Star of David killer remained as still as a stone as the kid’s gaze seemed to linger on him for a moment. The last thing he needed was for the boy to detect his presence and yell out for his daddy. The papa of the family had an itchy twelve-gauge finger that he didn’t want to deal with that evening.

Seemingly satisfied, the boy stopped searching the woods and continued his walk.

The Star of David Killer glanced overhead at the vultures, angry with them for almost giving away his position. For their carelessness, they wouldn’t be feeding on his handiwork that evening, and if they didn’t atone for their misstep, they wouldn’t partake in any of the festivities on his planned itinerary.

This was the first night—the evening of his coming-out party and the kickoff of his personal pilgrimage. It was the acknowledgment that the presence within him, who had compelled him to plan and now execute the initial steps of his mission, had chosen the right vehicle for the job.

He felt something biting him on his lower legs. Glancing down, he saw by the light of the rear porch that ants were advancing up his calves. He remained silent and didn’t move, not wanting to sound the alarm that he was out there in the dark. A small green garden snake slithered out of the brush toward him. He stepped on it and crushed its head.

The grunting male hog reveled in the slop the boy had dumped into his pen. The female hog stood to the side with her five remaining piglets cowering under her.

The killer frowned at the stench of the hogs. It wasn’t the last smell he wanted on his mind before he began his body of work. To get past it, he closed his eyes and thought of the fragrances inside the boy’s family home, smells that he knew all too well. He’d spent many nights there while they slept, enjoying their scents, with his favorites being the individual smell of each of their worn clothing. The laundry room was a treasure trove of delights. Each of the family members left their own unique and enjoyable stains in their underwear. He’d gotten to know the other families in just as much detail, meticulously taking in their routines and schedules, getting to know every nuance of each of them.

He removed his blade from his waistband and watched Rueben, his first victim, as he rinsed out the slop bucket with a water hose attached to the rear of his home. He squeezed the black-handled blade. The paring knife felt perfect in his hand, after having gone through an exhaustive testing process to find the right cutting instrument—one with just the right shape and size for optimal carving control against a moving body. He’d practiced his skills with it for many hours, initially on cantaloupes, cucumbers, and other fruits and vegetables, until he’d graduated to successful tests on small gerbils, kittens, and puppies he’d purchased at various pet stores.

Finally, the lights went out in the shack. It was time. As usual, Rueben’s parents were more than likely already fast asleep. Rueben, on the other hand, should be wide-awake in his darkened room, surfing Internet porn sites by the light of his laptop. The little fella loved to look at online pussy, but he wouldn’t live long enough to enjoy any.

As the final step of his preparation process, he extracted a bottle of removable glue from the front waistband of his outfit and placed another coat over his hands. It was an additional layer to guard against him leaving fingerprints behind, but he knew he didn’t need to worry on that score. Over the past year, he’d used razor blades every month to remove the top layer of skin on each of his fingertips, making them as smooth as a baby’s ass.

He had no fingerprints.

He could’ve easily used gloves, but he wanted to touch them, to feel his prey with his bare hands. He blew on the glue until it dried. Satisfied, he stood, stretched his legs and approached Rueben’s home on silent feet.

He hadn’t troubled himself to brush the ants from his lower torso. The stinging sensation of their bites would serve as a reminder that before that evening, he was once human.

***

Excerpt from Preordained by David L Wallace. Copyright © 2018 by David L Wallace. Reproduced with permission from David L Wallace. All rights reserved.

 

David L Wallace

 

Author Bio:

Before publishing his debut novel in 2016, he served over 27 years as an information technology professional working initially for the US Navy, and then the Department of the Navy and various fortune companies. He’s a UCLA writing program alumnus who writes mystery thrillers and children stories. He has three wonderful kids who he enjoys immensely. Writing is his passion and his goal with each story is to capture the imagination in the opening pages and keep it engaged to the story’s riveting conclusion.

 

Catch Up With Mr Wallace On:
davidlwallace.com, Goodreads, Twitter, & Facebook!

My Review

3 stars

Art Somers is the sheriff in Murrell’s Inlet, SC that has his hands full with a serial killer that calls himself the Star of David. The killer targets 12 year-old boys and believes that his father has preordained the abductions and murders and is fulfilling a prophecy. Art himself has a 12 year-old boy and worries that he may be a target. There is way more than just a serial killer in the works. This is going to be a battle between good and evil.

Art doesn’t really believe in the local religious beliefs but is about to have his eyes opened quickly. But he does have his hands full with an ex-wife with a ton of drama and his partner/girl-friend that has a drug addiction. Of course he wants to stop the killer but it seems the killer is taunting all branches of law enforcement that are trying to catch him.

I have mixed opinions on this book. If you step back and just read the book, I liked the plot line of the story. It has a brutal killer, God and the Devil, and enough side plots to keep the story entertaining. But there is so much to this book that contradicts the story. Art can’t eat any kind of red sauce yet is fed shrimp cocktail? Art is proud of the fact that he has stuck with Angela despite her drug addiction and the fact that she is a fellow officer?

This story felt like a rough draft. With some revisions and editing and checking the continuity I think the story has a lot of potential, otherwise it falls flat.

I received a complimentary copy of this book. I voluntarily chose to read and post an honest review.

Tour Participants:

Visit the other great hosts on this tour for more great reviews, interviews, guest posts, and giveaways!https://www.linkytools.com/basic_linky_include.aspx?id=285365

Giveaway:

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for David L Wallace. There will be 1 winner of one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card. The giveaway begins on June 1, 2018 and runs through July 1, 2018.
Open to U.S. addresses only. Void where prohibited.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
https://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js

Get More Great Reads at Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours

I would like to thank Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for the opportunity to read and share this book.

Read Full Post »

The Completionist

36373248

The Completionist by Siobhan Adcock

Find her. You need to keep looking, no matter what. I’m afraid of what might’ve happened to her. You be afraid too.

A young Marine, Carter Quinn, comes home from war to his fractured family, in a near-future America in which water is artificially engineered and technology is startlingly embedded in people’s everyday lives. At the same time, a fertility crisis has terrifying implications for women, including Carter’s two beloved sisters, Fred and Gardner. Fred, accomplished but impetuous, the eldest sibling, is naturally pregnant—a rare and miraculous event that puts her independence in jeopardy. And Gardner, the idealistic younger sister who lived for her job as a Nurse Completionist, has mysteriously vanished, after months of disturbing behaviour.

Carter’s efforts to find Gard (and stay on Fred’s good side) keep leading him back home to their father, a veteran of a decades-long war just like Carter himself, who may be concealing a painful truth that could save or condemn them all.

Amazon    Barnes and Noble    Goodreads  

Siobhan Adcock

Author’s Bio

Siobhan Adcock is the author of the novels The Barter and The Completionist. She lives in Brooklyn.

Website     Facebook     Twitter

My Review

3 stars

Natural disasters have ravaged the country leaving many without water and leaving the coasts inhabitable. Water is a precious commodity and has started to be artificially engineered. The downside is that this ne w water causes infertility. This story takes place in New Chicago. Carter Quinn is a marine that has just returned from the H2.0 war.

Carter’s sister Gardner is a Completionist, one of those that help the few women that become pregnant to carry the baby to full term. Carter’s other sister; Fred has become pregnant and is preparing to get married.

I love dystopian stories and I was excited to start reading this one. It was an interesting story; although there are other ways to get clean water I suspended that idea for now. Most of the population cannot have children, ok good idea. But then those few women that do get pregnant are fined for it? I do understand the strict regiments and basically making them breeding stock.

Over all this is one of those books I think you will either like or hate. It’s not a bad read if you suspend belief in several areas. It is worth a read and I don’t feel like I would have wasted my money. But it’s not one for me that is screaming to be added to my shelves.

I received a complimentary copy of this book. I voluntarily chose to read and post an honest review.

I would like to thank Spark Point Studios for the opportunity to read and share this book.

Read Full Post »

35957687

Everything That Follows by Meg Little Reilly

CAUGHT IN THE BACKWASH, THEY HAVE LOST CONTROL OF THEIR LIVES…

For fans of Megan Abbott and Chris Bohjalian comes a novel of moral complexity about friends who must choose between self-preservation and doing the right thing in the wake of a fatal boating accident. Set in the moody off-season of Martha’s Vineyard, Everything That Follows is a plunge into the dark waters of secrets and flexible morals. The truth becomes whatever we say it is…

Around midnight, three friends take their partying from bar to boat on a misty fall evening. Just as the weather deteriorates, one of them suddenly and confusingly goes overboard. Is it an accident? The result of an unwanted advance? His body disappears quickly, silently, into the dark water. The circumstances are murky, but what is clear is that the other two need to notify the authorities. Minutes become hours become days as they hesitate, caught up in their guilt and hope that their friend has somehow made it safely to shore. As valuable time passes, they find themselves deep in a moral morass with huge implications as they struggle to move forward and live with their dark secret.

Amazon      Barnes and Noble     Goodreads

Praise for Everything That Follows

Taut with moral complexity and a subtly building tension, this is the kind of story that punishes you if you dare to put it down.”
—Kim Cross, New York Times Bestselling author of What Stands In A Storm

“When the lives of three characters slip their moorings in the wake of a single, harrowing event, Everything That Follows explores not only the ways guilt can shapeshift and grow, but how an idyllic place long considered home becomes more albatross than anchor. Smart, taut, and seductive, Reilly’s second novel immediately catches you in its grip and doesn’t let you go.”
—Michelle Hoover, author of Bottomland and The Quickening

“It is impossible to predict what will happen in EVERYTHING THAT FOLLOWS, a novel that stays surprising from beginning to end and refuses to provide easy answers for the moral quandaries at its heart.”
—Suzanne Berne, author of The Dogs of Littlefield

Meg Little Reilly

Author’s Bio

Meg Little Reilly is the author of the novels EVERYTHING THAT FOLLOWS and WE ARE UNPREPARED. She’s a public radio commentator, essayist, and outdoors enthusiast. Prior to writing novels, Meg worked in national politics and the White House. She holds a B.A. from the University of Vermont and an M.A. from the George Washington University. These days, she lives in rural Vermont with her husband and two daughters.

Website     Facebook     Twitter      Instagram

My Review

3 stars

Kat is out celebrating a large sale of her blown glass. Her friend Hunter talks her into continuing the party out on his boat. The new bartender Kyle tags along with the couple. But then a storm comes in and things get sketchy. One thing leads to another and Kyle falls over board. Kat and Hunter look for him hoping to see him surface but start to panic the more than the storm and alcohol happened. They return to shore and although they know they should report Kyle’s disappearance, Kat and Hunter keep their mouths shut hoping Kyle will return on his own.

What follows is Kat and Hunter keeping a huge secret that starts to make Kat’s boyfriend, Sean think something is going on between them. Kat is wracked with guilt and starting to think back to her own past in which she changed her name and started over fresh. Sean is also supposed to keep his nose clean for his father’s senate reelection and thinks he dodged a bullet not getting mixed up in this mess but he is going to learn that it’s still going to affect him.

This was an interesting story. A night of revelry leads to some trouble, some bad decisions, and even worse decisions. Of course you are going to have the guilt of not reporting Kyle’s disappearance. But when you learn of the different secrets, it changes the dynamics of the whole situation. Of course I was not impressed with most of the decisions made.

This is not a bad read, it just didn’t really go anywhere thrilling for me. I would say check it out. You might like it more than me.

I received a complimentary copy of this book. I voluntarily chose to read and post an honest review.

I would like to thank Harper Collins for the opportunity to read and share this book.

Read Full Post »

The Fix

The Fix

by Robert Downs

on Tour March 1 – April 30, 2018

Synopsis:

The Fix by Robert Downs

Professional gambler, Johnny Chapman, plays the hand he’s dealt, but when he’s dealt a series of losers, he decides to up the ante with more money than he can afford to lose. Just when he thinks his life can’t get any worse, it does. The loan shark he owes the money to demands that he pay up and sends his goons after him. The man offers Johnny one way out—fix a race by fatally injecting the dog most likely to win. A piece of cake, Johnny thinks, until he looks into the big brown eyes of the beautiful dog, and the price suddenly seems too great to pay. Now Johnny’s on the run and the goons are closing in…

Book Details:

Genre: Noir
Published by: Black Opal Books
Publication Date: December 2nd 2017
Number of Pages: 166
ISBN: 9781626948174
Grab your copy of The Fix on: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, & Goodreads!

Read an excerpt:

CHAPTER 1

The taste of liquor still lingered on his lips. Six months without a drink, and he had the chip to prove it. His eyes were downcast, the table was green felt, and his wooden seat jammed the lower part of his back. The overhead light was dim, and he had his hat pulled down over his eyes. Johnny Chapman had lost three hands in a row, and he didn’t want to lose a fourth.

The Indian sat across from him with his hands folded across his chest, wearing dark sunglasses in a dark room, his hair shaved close to his head, and a tooth missing near his front. He cracked his knuckles between hands and even once during. The sound bounced off the walls in the closet of a room.

“Well, what’s it gonna be?” Thomas Kincaid asked. “I ain’t got all night.” His lips formed a sneer before he took a long pull on a dark drink. His eyes flicked in every direction except straight ahead.

“Don’t rush me.”

“If you move any slower, we’ll both be looking up at the daisies,” Thomas replied. He looked at his two cards for what must have been the third time.

Johnny sucked his lip between his teeth, flashed his eyes once toward the ceiling, and flipped a chip onto the deck. The roar in his ears nearly pulled him away from the hand, but the click of the ceiling fan managed to hold his attention. The darkness helped with his focus as well.

The girl sat across from him, dark hair drifting to-ward her shoulders and even a bit beyond. Teeth as white as a bowl of rice. A drop of moisture near her upper lip entered the equation. Her T-shirt bunched out at the front, and her eyes were as cold as Alaska. She played her cards close to her chest, and her bets were even. For the most part. She managed to toss in a few extra chips when she had a hand. But she was a straight shooter and hadn’t bluffed once. Johnny knew it was coming, though. He just didn’t know when. Even if he managed to run like hell, she’d probably still clip him at the ankles. Her chip stack sat more than a third higher than his own.

She had a good smile. That one. Not too much of the pearly whites, but just enough for a man to take notice. The words on her chest accentuated her assets. Tight, clean, and turquoise—the T-shirt, not her breasts.

Johnny’s eyes flicked to his watch, and his phone buzzed in his pocket. The alarm. His leg vibrated for a second more and then it stopped.

It was almost time. The medication. It took the edge off, and stopped his mind from racing off to infinity and beyond. The man with the dark rims and the white lab coat prescribed it in a room bigger than the one he was in now. If he didn’t take his meds in the next ten minutes, the headaches would start soon after.

The ceiling fan whirred again. The backroom was stale and damp, the casino out on the edge of the reservation with nothing but tumbleweed and small trees for over a mile. Diagonally opposite from the little shithole that he called home for the past several years. The run-down piece of trash with the broken Spanish shingles, cracked stucco, and clouded windows.

Seconds turned over, one after another, and still there was no movement from the Indian to his right. Lapu Sinquah flipped his sunglasses up, and dragged them back down, but not before his eyes looked around the table. The Indian made a face and flipped two chips onto the green felt.

The girl was next. She scratched her forehead. Her expression remained neutral. When Caroline Easton flipped her head, her hair remained out of her eyes. Her look resembled cold, hard steel. She followed the Indian with a two-chip flip.

Thomas tossed his cards away, and it was back to Johnny. He felt it: an all-consuming need to win this hand…and the next one…and the one after. Desire consumed him, after all. Or maybe it didn’t.

The hand that got away. The hand that consumed him, pushed him over the edge, and had him calling out in the middle of the night. One voice. One concentrated effort before the moment passed him by. He couldn’t imagine losing, ending up with nothing. Bankrupt.

This minute reasoning had him playing cards night after night, hand after hand, reading player after player. Moment after moment. Until the moments were sick and twisted and filled with jagged edges and punctured with pain. Or left him dead and buried on the side of the road in a ditch with half of his face missing.

The winning streak wouldn’t last. It’d be gone again. Like a sound carried away by the breeze in the middle of a forgotten forest. This time, he wouldn’t fold too soon. This time, he’d play it differently.

The one that got away. The pot in the middle that would have covered three month’s rent. But he tossed his cards aside, even though he’d been staring at the winning hand for damn near three minutes.

His eyes flicked to each of the three players before he once more peeled his cards back from the table and slid the two spades to the side.

The Indian glared at him through the darkness and his dark sunglasses. “Well?” Lapu asked. “What the fuck, man?”

Johnny tossed his shoulders up in the air. “I’m out.”

“Just like that?” Caroline’s long dark hair whipped around her head.

“Sure, why not?”

The Indian rubbed his shaved head. “You’re one crazy motherfucker.”

Johnny shrugged. “I never claimed to be sane.”

The ceiling fan whirred faster, clicking every five seconds. The air was heavy and suffocating, and he yanked on his collar with his index finger. Two drinks were drunk, and a glass clinked against a tooth. One chair slid back and another moved forward.

“There’s over two grand in the pot,” Lapu said.

Johnny gave a slight tilt of his head. “And I know when to walk away.”

The Indian jerked to his feet and extended a finger away from his chest. “It was your raise that started this shitstorm.”

“True,” Johnny said. “And now I’m going to end it.”

Caroline combed her hair with her fingers. “You haven’t ended anything.”

“I’d rather have that as my downfall than lose it all to you nitwits.”

Caroline smirked. Her white teeth glinted against the light overhead. “Who made you queen of the land?”

“I’d like to think it sort of came up on me,” Johnny said. “It sort of took me by surprise. Existence is futile.”

The Indian smirked. His stained teeth were nearly the color of his skin. “Futility won’t help you now.”

The hand was between the girl and the Indian. Her assets versus his. One smirk versus another. The sun-glasses were down, and both the movements and expressions were calculated. Chips were tossed, and the last card was flipped. Caroline took the pot, and her cold expression never wavered.

A ten-minute break ensued. Johnny used the bath-room, washed his hands, shoved two pills into his mouth, cupped his hands underneath the spout, sucked water from his palms, dunked his hands underneath the liquid once more, and splashed the water on his face. He grimaced at his own reflection, the dark, sunken eyes. He sucked in air and dried his hands. His shoes clicked on the broken tile on his way out the door.

His chips hadn’t moved, and neither had the table. The stack of chips was smaller than when he started this game. As the losses mounted, his amount of breathing room decreased. His longest losing streak was thirteen hands in a row.

The blinds were doubled, and his mind numbed. Compassion was a long forgotten equation, and sympathy wasn’t far behind.

The conversation picked up again, and the Indian perfected a new glare. “I never heard so much chatting over a game of cards.”

“It’s not just a game,” Thomas said. “Now, is it?” One dark drink was replaced with another, and the man’s eyes glazed over.

The girl tapped her wrist with two fingers and flipped her hair. “I think we’re already past the point of sanity.”

“If there was ever a point, it was lost—”

“I had a few points of my own that were somehow hammered home.” Johnny flipped three chips into the pot in one smooth motion. He had a hand, and he was determined to play it, even if he had to stare down the girl and the Indian at the same time.

“The game of life succeeds where you might have failed,” Lapu said.

Thomas knocked back the remainder of yet another drink. “I don’t accept failure.”

Johnny’s eyes flicked to his wrist. “You don’t accept success either.”

“Why do you keep looking at your watch?” Thomas asked. “Are you late for a date?”

The girl called and tossed three chips into the pot with only a slight hesitation. She had a hand, or she wanted to make it appear as such. Her lips moved less and less, and her eyes moved more and more. Her features were clearly defined.

Johnny kept his expression even.

“You’re not late for anything that I’ve seen,” Caro-line said.

Both the Indian and Thomas folded.

“I’d like to take you out back and shoot you.”

“Would that somehow solve the majority of your problems?” the Indian asked.

Johnny nodded. “It might solve a few.”

“Or,” she said, “then again, it might not.”

The last card was flipped, and bets were tossed into the center of the pot. Johnny raised, and Caroline countered with a raise of her own. He called, flipped his cards over, and his straight lost to her flush. Half of his stack disappeared in one hand. He ground his teeth and chewed his bottom lip.

“I don’t like you,” Johnny said.

Her expression was colder than Anchorage. “You never liked me.”

“There might have been mutual respect, but that ship sailed out into the great beyond and smacked an iceberg.”

“Passion—”

“Does not equal acceptance,” Johnny said.

“It will keep you up most nights,” the Indian said.

Determined not to lose again, Johnny kept his eyes on the prize and his dwindling stack of chips. The girl to his right had never flashed a smile, and now her stack of chips was nearly three times the size of his own. His eyes flicked to his wrist once more, and he grimaced.

For several moments, the ceiling fan took up all the sound in the room.

His breath hiccupped in his chest, and he swayed in his chair. The wood jammed against his lower back, and the angry green felt kept an even expression. His mouth moved, but no sound escaped from between his lips.

He fell out of his chair and cracked his head on the carpet. For the next few minutes, he drifted in and out of consciousness.

< <

“Did his heart just stop?” Lapu asked.

Thomas leaned across the table. “What the hell are we talking about now?”

Lapu stood up. “I think that fucker passed out.”

“Which fucker?” Caroline’s chest pressed hard enough against her shirt to slow down her blood flow. Her eyes narrowed, but her hand was steady.

“The one that was losing.”

“That’s all you fuckers.” She tapped her tongue against her upper lip. “You’re all losing.”

Lapu shoved his chair back. “I don’t like losing.”

“But you do it so well.”

Thomas’s body shifted in his chair. “Not on purpose.”

The ceiling fan stopped, and the walls trapped all remnants of sound. One beat of silence was followed by another.

Lapu moved first. He slapped two fingers to Johnny’s wrist and checked for a pulse. The heartbeat was low and weak and arrhythmic.

“What do we do now?” Caroline asked. “Have you got a plan?”

Thomas stood up and sat back down again.

“Cayenne pepper and apple cider vinegar,” Lapu said. “Both have the potential to reduce the effects of arrhythmia.”

She pointed. “Or maybe he has pills in his pocket.”

Lapu nodded. “That is also an option. Check his pockets while I prop up his head.”

“I need another drink,” Thomas said. “I’d rather not be sober if a man is going to die.”

Caroline rolled her eyes. “Don’t be so melodramatic.”

Lapu had watched his father die with a look on his face not that far from the one Johnny wore now: the lost eyes and the still body, with his spirit on the verge of leaving this world for the next. Lapu poked through his pockets in a methodical fashion and found a prescription bottle with a half-peeled label. He popped the top, poked his finger through the slot, and removed two pills. He peeled Johnny’s lips apart, shoved the pills inside his mouth, and forced him to swallow. Minutes later, his life force had altered considerably, and color had returned to Johnny’s cheeks.

Lapu nodded his head. “There’s a purpose to every-thing.”

Thomas leaned over and slapped Johnny on the cheek. “I believe in the possibilities of a situation. Those moments that lead from one into the next, filled with passion and compassion and equality, and some other shit.”

Caroline smirked. “Which is what exactly?”

“Not losing another hand.”

Johnny inched his way to a sitting position and slapped his forehead. “Fuck me—”

“Not likely,” Caroline said. “It neither looks enjoy-able nor promising, but that’s a nice try, though.”

“Your perspective has gotten skewed,” Thomas re-plied.

“That’s certainly possible,” she said, “but I wouldn’t be so sure.”

< <

More hands were played, and more hands were lost. Johnny’s stack of chips diminished faster until he was left with two red ones and half a drink. His even expression had vanished long ago, and his feet had started tap-ping during the last three hands. The Indian had six chips to Johnny’s two, and the rest were distributed between Thomas and Caroline, with the girl staring above a tower nearly level with her chin. Her expression hadn’t changed, and neither had her methodical approach to playing cards.

The barrel of a gun dug into Johnny’s lower back-side after he expunged the last two chips he had to his name. He didn’t have time to move or breathe, and he hadn’t even noticed Thomas shift his weight and remove the pistol from somewhere on his person. But the digging did further enhance Johnny’s focus and destroy his moral support. “Cuff him.”

“What the fuck?” Johnny replied.

“It’s time you realized the full extent of your losing.”

Johnny couldn’t see Caroline’s expression, but her voice was filled with menace and hate and exhibited more force than a battering ram.

“Stand up, you piece of trash.”

The gun shifted, and Johnny rose. The room spun, and he considered passing out all over again, but he pulled himself back and inched his way toward the metal door that was a lifetime away.

The barrel against his back never moved or wavered.

< <

She hated cards. Had hated the act and aggression of gambling most of her life. The thrill of winning and the heartbreak of defeat neither moved nor motivated her. Tossing chips into a pot, calculating the odds in her head, reading players around the table, and playing the hands of the other players instead of playing her own made her head throb from the weight of the proposition. But she did it, over and over again. If she thought about it long enough and hard enough, Caroline might have called herself a professional gambler, but that was a term she hated even more than the act of taking money from unsuspecting souls who had a penchant for losing. But if her two choices were paying the rent, or living on the street, she would choose rent every time and worry about the consequences later.

She couldn’t change her fate, or her odds. All she could do was play the hand she was dealt, match it up against what the other guys and gals had around the table, and study the ticks and idiosyncrasies that made each player unique. Over-confidence and euphoria were concepts she knew well, and she could smell it coming like a New Mexican thunderstorm. Even though she understood what she needed to do, she hated her hands even more than she hated long division. With each passing second, her trepidation grew, and the calm she exuded on the surface was a thunderstorm underneath the shallow exterior. It had gotten to the point that it was totally out of control, and probably would be for the rest of her life. It wasn’t satisfying, or even mesmerizing, and yet here she was week after week, going through the motions. The same types of players sat around the table with the same types of expressions painted on their uneven faces. The voice in her mind echoed in time, and she did her best to keep the whispers at bay. But the plan backfired, just as all good plans did that were built on a foundation of lies.

“What the fuck do you think you’re doing?” Caroline asked.

“Trying to win,” Johnny said. “What does it look like I’m doing?”

“Losing,” she said. “And not even admirably. You really are one stupid bastard.”

She had been called to test him, to see if he would break and crumble beneath the weight of a bad hand or two or ten, and he had folded faster than a crumpled handbag smashed against a mugger’s face. She had chipped away steadily at his chips, until two red ones were all he had left, and a tower of multicolored circles stood in front of her.

< <

Johnny had a hand that was planted in his lap by the gods, or maybe it was Julius Caesar himself. He couldn’t remember the number of times he’d lost in a row. Six or maybe it was seven. The torment and punishment continued unabated, and he licked his lips more with each passing second. The hands played out one after another against him, and the gates of Hell had opened before him. The girl to his right was methodical, and the jabs kept on coming, one right after another.

Her hands were probably her best feature. The way her fingers slid across the table, shoving chips and poking at her cards, and prodding the weaknesses of those around her, only made him long for her even more.

But this was it. His moment. And he wasn’t about to let it pass him by. Two minutes later, though, the moment passed, his chips were gone, a gun was shoved against his backside, and he was escorted out of the building.

***

Excerpt from The Fix by Robert Downs. Copyright © 2017 by Robert Downs. Reproduced with permission from Robert Downs. All rights reserved.

Robert Downs

Author Bio:

Robert Downs aspired to be a writer before he realized how difficult the writing process was. Fortunately, he’d already fallen in love with the craft, otherwise his tales might never have seen print. Originally from West Virginia, he has lived in Virginia, Massachusetts, New Mexico, and now resides in California. When he’s not writing, Downs can be found reading, reviewing, blogging, or smiling.

To find out more about his latest projects, or to reach out to him on the Internet, visit: robertdowns.net, Goodreads Page, & Facebook Page!

My Review

3 stars

Johnny Chapman is a professional gambler. But he is on the down and decides to get some money from a loan shark, Harrison Barrymore and he just demanded Johnny to pay up. Of course Johnny can’t so the Barrymore offers him a deal, fix the next dog race and he will be good to go or die. But one look at the dog and Johnny can’t follow through.

What ensues is a mad chase where Johnny tries to get away from Barrymore but never quite makes it. He gets caught, gets beat up, escapes, and caught again. He’s not really a loveable character but you have to give him credit for continuing to fight. Granted the situations he finds himself in are caused by his own flaws.

This is a quick novella that you can read in one setting. It has a good story and was entertaining. I am curious about other books from Robert Downs and will be checking those out.

I received a complimentary copy of this book. I voluntarily chose to read and post an honest review.

Tour Participants:

Visit the other great hosts on this tour for more great reviews, interviews, guest posts, and giveaways!
https://www.linkytools.com/basic_linky_include.aspx?id=283688

Giveaway:

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Robert Downs. There will be 1 winner of one (1) Amazon.com gift Card. The giveaway begins on March 1 and runs through May 2, 2018.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
https://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js

Get More Great Reads at Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours

 I would like to thanks Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for the opportunity to read and share this book.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »