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Archive for the ‘4 Star Books’ Category

The Book of Eadie

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The Book of Eadie

Vol. 1 of the SEVENTEEN Trilogy

By Mark D. Diehl

Genre: Science Fiction, Dystopia, Post-Objectivist, Evolutionary Anthropology – fiction

Corporations control all of Earth’s diminishing resources and all of its governments, dividing the world into two types of people: those who unquestioningly obey, and those who die.

Most of the seventeen billion humans on the planet are unconscious, perpetually serving their employers as part of massive brain trusts. The ecosystem has collapsed, naturally growing plants have been declared illegal, and everything from food to housing to medicines must be synthesized from secretions of genetically modified bacteria. Only corporate ambulatory workers can afford patented synthetic food, and non-corporates fight for survival in the city’s sprawling, grotesquely violent ghetto known only as the Zone.

Nineteen year-old waitress Eadie challenges the hierarchy when she assists a bedraggled alcoholic known as the Prophet, drawing massive social-control machinery into play against her. The Prophet predicts she’s the general who will lead a revolution, and a few desperate souls start listening. How can she and her followers possibly prevail when she’s being hunted by a giant corporation and the Federal Angels it directs?

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Author’s Bio

Mark D. Diehl writes novels about power dynamics and the way people and organizations influence each other. He believes that obedience and conformity are becoming humanity’s most important survival skills, and that we are thus evolving into a corporate species.

Diehl has: been homeless in Japan, practiced law with a major multinational firm in Chicago, studied in Singapore, fled South Korea as a fugitive, and been stranded in Hong Kong.

After spending most of his youth running around with hoods and thugs, he eventually earned his doctorate in law at the University of Iowa and did graduate work in creative writing at the University of Chicago. He currently lives and writes in Cape Elizabeth, Maine.

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My Review

4 Stars

In this world, animals and plants has gone extinct and the people must survive off engineered products from food to medicine. This divides people into those that are willing to serve the corporation, the more service the higher ranking and more benefits. Those unwilling to serve are herded into the Zone and left to scavenge for survival.

The story revolves around several people but the book is about Eadie, a nineteen year old waitress that steps up and helps someone in trouble called the Prophet. He tells her that she is supposed to lead a revolution against the corporations.

This is the first book in the series and I think it did a great job starting everything off. You have a bleak world and those that choose to serve or fight. We all know that I’m a sucker for dystopian stories. But then the story went a little sideways.

There were so many points of views that I got a little lost and spread thin. Although the book is about Eadie I think more time could have been spent on her. Because of being all over the place I had a harder time getting into this story or really caring about many of the characters.

Having said that, this is a good story and a good start to the trilogy. I am curious to see where it is going to go from here. I think this is one that dystopian readers would like.

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

I would like to thank Sage’s Blog Tours for the opportunity to read and share this book.

EXCERPT:

“Mutation is the hand of God.”

— The Prophet

“Sometimes nature switches the order a little; that’s called a mutation.”

— Dok Murray, Herbalist

XVII

VIXI

(Latin)

“I have lived”

Outside the building where Lawrence had last seen Eadie:

A Federal truck sat parked in the street in front of the building, the shape obscured by its electric camouflage and the deepening darkness. The Feds must have captured Eadie by now. They would bring her out any minute.

Lawrence had no weapon. Gene-spliced Federal Angels were three times his size, and there might be two or three of them with her. He would attack them anyway.

That was just how it was with Eadie.

Lightning flashed and thunder shook the ground.

His brain felt so tiny and insignificant with the EI shut down. For the first time in his life, Lawrence was completely cut off from everything and everyone, but he had brought those Feds to Eadie and he had to find a way to help her, even by himself, with his own minuscule, disconnected brain.

A woman emerged from the building, heading straight for Lawrence. He ducked back around the corner, pressing himself flat against the wall.

She came around to stand in front of him. Her frizzy brown hair spilled over a bright blue patch on the shoulder of her beige overcoat. Her pale face was wrinkled and haggard but her jaw was set and her eyes were steely.

“You’re that student who was with the General!” she said.

Lawrence looked past her, trying to appear disinterested. “What makes you say that?”

She gestured at his uniform. “Not many like you around here. And you better learn to look around corners right, or you’re gonna get killed.”

“What? I don’t –”

She tilted her head to the side, holding her fingers in front of her face as if they were gripping the vertical edge of a wall. “You can’t just poke your head around the wall.” She imitated him, moving her head around her hands. “That’s gonna get you hurt. Way to do it is stand back from the wall and scoot your body out so you can look.” She did it with the real wall this time, peeking at the Federal truck from a couple of steps back from the corner. She turned back to him. “That way, nobody sees your big ol’ head poking around the side.”

“Okay,” Lawrence said. He gave a tiny shrug. “Thanks.”

“You’re gonna need to know that stuff, serving General Eadie,” she said. “She’s fightin’ for all of us, and for God! Gotta know what you’re doing if you’re fighting for God.”

“What?”

The woman nodded. “The General. That Prophet, he told me. She’ll set us all free. Sent to us by God, he said, and when you look at her, you can see it. She’s the solution, and I’m tellin’ everybody. Gonna get a piece a charcoal and write it all over.” The woman traced a shape on the wall with her fingers, boxing in an imaginary letter. “E,” she said. She moved her hands, boxing another imaginary letter. “D.” The woman smiled at Lawrence. “You should do it, too. She’ll end all the misery in this world, and I’m gonna help her. Just like you.”

…   …   …

Fiend territory:

Brian pressed his back against the wall and slowly swung his head to the left, facing the way he had come, squinting and opening his eyes, trying to make out his surroundings. Only a dim silhouette of another half-crumbled building stood out from the darkened sky. He turned back to the right, peering ahead in the same way, but there was nothing visible at all.

“Ready to meet the Unity?”

It was not his own internal voice, not even the strange new voice that sometimes shouted from inside his head. This voice had definitely been spoken. Brian had felt the breath on his left ear.

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Star Jumpers: The Lion Roars by Zoe Baxter

Four Teens: One Quest: A World of Magic and Adventure

It was no ordinary zipwire flight. Thrust into the magical world of Hadrixia, flame-haired Zara Bulmer and her three teenage companions must thwart the Dark Ruler of Hadrixia in their quest to locate the Stone of Exerith. The fate of the Empire depends on their success…and safe return to Star Camp.

On their journey, the foursome must tangle with vicious creatures like the horn-headed Warnoks and the venomous web-tailed Tarquids. Will they succumb to the persuasive chants of the fire-loving Brozigs or be mauled to death by the tree-swinging Harnts?

The friends join forces with Hadrixian teenager, Quinn, and encounter the kindness of Semyon, an aged wizard potionmaker.

Will Zara fulfil the destiny bestowed upon her before the sun sets on the last day of July? Or will the Portwall to the Outside remain sealed, imprisoning the four intrepid teenagers in Hadrixia, consigning them to a future of chaos, destruction, or even death?

There’s only one way to find out:
Welcome to the perilous world of Hadrixia…

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Author Bio

Zoe Baxter is the author of the Star Jumpers series, a fast-paced urban fantasy adventure set in the Dark Sky Park of Northumbria. An avid scribbler, she lives in a world filled with vicious and venomous creatures breathing down her neck, and has even been known to take the odd zip wire flight in the name of research.

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My Review

4 Stars

While on a zipwire flight, four teens are transported to the magical world of Hadrixia. Hadrixia is under the control of a Dark Lord and it is up to Zara, Oscar, Fergus and Aimie to stop him. The former emperor and his eldest son, Max and Rufus, have chosen the teens and are not initially impressed when they first meet them. None of the teens really knows the other and are filled with their own self-doubt but as they progress along in their quest they learn of their own strengths and how to work together.

This is a great story for teens and even middle grade readers. You have four very different teens that are thrown into an adventure with fierce creatures and trying to save the world. I love how no one is really impressed with Zara yet she rises to her duty as a leader in all aspects.

If you like a great YA fantasy you need to check this book out. There is a little bit of everything from magical worlds, creatures, and the darkness that wants to rule. I think this is a great start to the series and I can’t wait to see what happens in the next book.

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

I would like to thank Rachel’s Random Resources for the opportunity to read and share this book.

 

Giveaway

Win Star Jumpers paperback, bookmark and postcard (UK Only)

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*Terms and Conditions –UK entries only welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then I reserve the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time I will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

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A Demon in Silver (War of Archons – 1) by RS Ford

In a world where magic has disappeared, rival nations vie for power in a continent devastated by war.

When a young farm girl, Livia, demonstrates magical powers for the first time in a century there are many across the land that will kill to obtain her power. The Duke of Gothelm’s tallymen, the blood-soaked Qeltine Brotherhood, and cynical mercenary Josten Cade: all are searching for Livia and the power she wields.

But Livia finds that guardians can come from the most unlikely places… and that the old gods are returning to a world they abandoned.

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Author’s Bio

R.S. Ford originally hails from Leeds in the heartland of Yorkshire but now resides in the wild fens of Cambridgeshire. His previous works include the raucous steampunk adventure, Kultus, and the grimdark fantasy trilogy, Steelhaven.

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My Review

4 stars

Many years prior the Archons left and took magic with them. People have survived without the gods and magic for about one hundred years. But now things are starting to happen. Livia is a young farm girl that is starting to show magical abilities. Once word gets out everyone is after her so they can use her magic to their own gains. But she is not the only player in this new world. Others have their own roles to play as the magic and the Archons return.

We follow along with four characters as they navigate this world and the changes happening. This world is beautifully crafted and had great characters that made you care for them and hope that they make it through this dark world. I loved following between the four narrators as they circled around and eventually came together.

This is a wonderful start to a new fantasy series. There is a ton of action and some gruesome parts that just amped everything up. I can’t wait to read the next book and recommend this for anyone that loves fantasy.

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

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

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The Night Visitor by Lucy Atkins

Professor Olivia Sweetman has worked hard to achieve the life she loves, with a high-flying career as a TV presenter and historian, three children and a talented husband. But as she stands before a crowd at the launch of her new bestseller she can barely pretend to smile. Her life has spiralled into deceit and if the truth comes out, she will lose everything.

Only one person knows what Olivia has done. Vivian Tester is the socially awkward sixty-year-old housekeeper of a Sussex manor who found the Victorian diary on which Olivia’s book is based. She has now become Olivia’s unofficial research assistant. And Vivian has secrets of her own.

As events move between London, Sussex and the idyllic South of France, the relationship between these two women grows more entangled and complex. Then a bizarre act of violence changes everything.

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Praise for The Night Visitor

“Meticulously plotted suspense…Evocative writing heightens the sense of impending doom created by the tale’s structure…Harrowing.” Publishers Weekly

“[A] sense of unease keeps pushing all the way to the last, intense pages. A reckoning is coming, but why?…With shades of Rebecca and The Secret History, Atkins has produced an eerie page-turner that will have readers guessing from the first.”—Kirkus Reviews

“Brilliant…a ‘cannot turn yourself away’ novel.” —Kate Hamer

‘Put me in mind of Misery, and Rebecca. Splendid.’ —Sarah Hilary

“Creepy, tense and unnerving.”—Sharon Bolton

Lucy Atkins

Author’s Bio

Lucy Atkins is an award-winning author, book critic and features journalist. Her new novel, The Night Visitor, is about celebrity, ambition and lies (Quercus 1 May 2017). Lucy is also the author of the novels The Other Child and The Missing One.

Lucy lives with her husband and three teenaged children in Oxford, UK and has also lived in Philadelphia, Seattle, and Boston. She reviews books for The Sunday Times, and has written features for newspapers such as The Guardian, The Times, The Telegraph and magazines such as Red, Woman & Home, Psychologies and Grazia. Lucy has also written several non fiction books, including the Amazon #1 parenting bestseller, First-Time Parent (Collins, 2008).

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My Review

4 stars

Olivia Sweetman has a successful career as a historian and a beautiful husband and three children. But when she sees a flier for the unveiling of the private diary of Anabel Burley, she knows she wants to write a book about Anabel. Vivian Tester is the housekeeper of Anabel’s mansion and agrees to work with Olivia to write the book.

Vivian ends up being the one that does all the work finding everything she can about Anabel. Both women have some deep secrets that the publishing of the book is going to bring to light. All mixed in with the confession of the first woman surgeon that confesses to killing her own husband.

This was a good read that kept me entertained the entire time. I loved the main story of Anabel, that in itself was wonderful. But that can’t be the only thing happening. Especially when you have a socially awkward woman who basically wrote a book that a younger, more open women is receiving all the praise for. Plus who doesn’t have their own secrets that they want to keep close that could hurt them.

This is one book that I recommend checking out. I admit it was not one that I initially would have picked to review but it was a great read.

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

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

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Yes, I’m bad and have let this tour slip by today. Sorry about that everyone. I’m in the middle of an unexpected move and everything has gone haywire. I’m hoping to be done tomorrow except for the unpacking and back on track shortly.

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… Preceded by Chaos Vol -1
by M. Wheeler

Release Date: 26th June 2018

Genre: Graphic Novel

Publisher: Clink Street Publishing

Format: Paperback

…Preceded by Chaos is a graphic illustrated series, charting the dramatic past, present and future of a young emergency room doctor, as the stress of saving lives threatens to overwhelm him. Mitchell Weaver is a troubled young Emergency Medicine doctor, orbiting a world of high-stress, intense pressure. It’s a distinguished profession with the burden of a variety of particularly disturbing personal demons that he must battle in order to maintain the façade of sanity and control. The third instalment of the series, Volume -1, takes place before the first book in the series, Volume 0, before Mitchell’s attempt at sobriety and self-awareness. During this chapter Mitchell travels to Spain in an attempt to find a part of himself that his been lost. But ultimately, Mitchell’s trip to Barcelona may be an escape more than journey.

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Author’s Bio

Wheeler has  held  an  eclectic  array  of  jobs  –  including  working  as  a  studio  engineer  and  a  teacher  —  before  he  entered  medical  school  in  his  thirties.  During  his  residency  in  New  York  City,  he  wrote  the  first  three  books  which  would  eventually  become  the …Preceded  by  Chaos  series.  Wheeler  travels  extensively  for  his  job  but  currently  calls  Miami,  Florida,  home.

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My Review

4 stars

Dr. Wheeler is back and working in an emergency room. He is trying to keep on the straight and narrow but is finding it continuing to be difficult. But he is planning a trip to Barcelona with his co-worker, Oaki. There he is looking for inspiration and finds another adventure.

This is a great combination of written story and graphic novel, which highlights the different parts of the story. Wheeler is struggling to be inspired and is looking in all the wrong places. But with Oaki along for the trip it is no wonder why he finds himself in several situations.

This is a good series that catches the attention and keeps you reading to see what is going to happen next. I admit that I was completely lost at the very beginning of this series but have warmed to Dr. Wheeler.

It’s an interesting read and one that I think should be checked out.

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

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

 

Tour Schedule

Wednesday 20th June – Abookitasia

Thursday 21st June – Carry on Beautiful

Friday 22nd June – An Ocean Glimmer

Monday 25th June – Portable Magic

Tuesday 26th June – A Daydreamer’s Thoughts

Thursday 28th June – Big Book Little Book

Friday 29th June – JBronder Book Reviews

Saturday 30th June – Kirstyes

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Yesterday’s News

Yesterday’s News by R.G. Belsky Tour Banner

Yesterday’s News

by R.G. Belsky

on Tour June 1-30, 2018

Synopsis:

Yesterday's News by R.G. Belsky

A classic cold case reopened—along with Pandora’s box

When eleven-year-old Lucy Devlin disappeared on her way to school more than a decade ago, it became one of the most famous missing child cases in history.

The story turned reporter Clare Carlson into a media superstar overnight. Clare broke exclusive after exclusive. She had unprecedented access to the Devlin family as she wrote about the heartbreaking search for their young daughter. She later won a Pulitzer Prize for her extraordinary coverage of the case.

Now Clare once again plunges back into this sensational story. With new evidence, new victims and new suspects – too many suspects. Everyone from members of a motorcycle gang to a prominent politician running for a US Senate seat seem to have secrets they’re hiding about what might have happened to Lucy Devlin. But Clare has her own secrets too. And, in order to untangle the truth about Lucy Devlin, she must finally confront her own tortuous past.

Book Details:

Genre: Mystery
Published by: Oceanview Publishing
Publication Date: May 1st 2018
Number of Pages: 343
ISBN: 160809281X (ISBN13: 9781608092819)
Series: A CLARE CARLSON MYSTERY
Learn More about Yesterday’s News & Get Your Copy From: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Oceanview Publishing | Goodreads

Read an excerpt:

PROLOGUE

School was always special to her.

Some children hated to go to school. But she always looked for- ward to going back to school each morning. She loved her friends. She loved her teachers. And most of all, she loved to learn.

For her, it was a time of excitement, a time of adventure, a time of new beginnings each day she sat in the classroom—like a butterfly emerging from a cocoon in a field of flowers underneath a blue, cloudless sky.

And so, on this sunny morning, like so many others, the mother and daughter leave their house and walk together toward the school bus that will pick up the little girl.

“What about your lunch?” the mother asks.

“I’m buying it at school today, remember?”

“Do you have enough money?”

“Yes, you gave it to me last night.”

“Right,” she says. The mother knows that, but she’s forgotten. “And remember to come home right after school.”

“You worry too much, Mom. I’m not a baby anymore.” That’s all too true, of course. She is growing up. Just like they all do.

But today she is still her little girl.

The mother hugs her and puts her on the school bus, watching her in the window until the bus disappears from sight.

A little girl who has everything in the world ahead of her. A lifetime of memories to come. And all the time in the world to enjoy it.

OPENING CREDITS

THE RULES ACCORDING TO CLARE

I always tell the same story to the new reporters on their first day.

It goes like this: Two guys are sitting in a bar bragging about their sexual exploits. As they get drunker and drunker, the conversation becomes more outrageous about how far they’d be willing to go. Would you ever have sex with an animal, one of them asks? Of course not, the other guy replies angrily. What if someone paid you $50 to do it with a dog? That’s ridiculous, he says. How about $500? Same answer. Okay, the first guy says to him, would you have sex with a dog for $5,000? The other guy thinks about that for a while, then asks: “What breed?”

The point here is that once you ask the question “what breed?” you’ve already crossed over a very important line and can never go back.

It’s based, I suppose, on the famous old Winston Churchill story. They say Churchill was seated at a dinner party next to a very elegant and beautiful lady. During the meal, he turned to her and asked if she’d be willing to have sex with him if he gave her $1,000,000. The woman laughed and said sure. Then he asked if she’d have sex with him for $25. “Of course not, what do you think I am?” the indignant woman replied. To which Churchill told her, “Madame, we’ve already established what you are. Now we’re just haggling over the price.”

This is a crucial concept in the news business where I work. Because there is no gray area for a journalist when it comes to honesty and integrity and moral standards. You can’t be just a little bit immoral or a little bit dishonest or a little bit corrupt. There is no compromise possible here.

Sometimes I tell a variation of the dog story. I call it the Woodstein Maneuver. The idea is to come up with a new scenario for the Watergate scandal. To speculate on what might have happened if Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein (“Woodstein!” in the Robert Redford–Dustin Hoffman movie) had not written their stories that led to Richard Nixon’s ouster, but instead gotten hush money to cover up the scandal. What if Nixon had paid them to make it all go away?

I ask a new reporter to put themselves in Woodward and Bernstein’s place and think about what they would do if offered such a bribe.

Most of them immediately say they would never take money under any circumstances to compromise a story. I’m not sure if they say it because they really mean it or simply because they believe it’s the answer I want to hear. A few laughingly say they’d go for the money, but I’m not sure I believe them either. I figure they’re just trying to be outrageous or different. Only a few reporters ask the key question. The “what breed?” question. “How much money?” they want to know. Those are the ones I worry about the most.

PART I

LUCY

CHAPTER 1

“It’s the fifteenth anniversary of the Lucy Devlin disappear- ance next week,” Maggie Lang said. “Little eleven-year-old girl leaves for school and just vanishes into thin air. It’s a legendary missing kid cold case. We should do a story for the anniversary.”

“Lucy Devlin is old news,” I told her. “The girl’s never been found, Clare.” “And after a while people just stopped caring about her.” “Well, you sure did all right with it. You won a damn Pulitzer.” Maggie Lang was my assignment editor at the TV station where I work as a news executive these days. She was a bundle of media energy—young, smart, ambitious, outspoken, and sometimes a bit reckless. I liked Maggie, but she scared me, too. Maybe because she reminded me of someone I used to know. Myself when I was her age.

Back then, I was Clare Carlson, award-winning reporter for a New York City newspaper that doesn’t exist anymore. When the paper went out of business, I moved on to a new career as a TV reporter. I wasn’t so successful at that. They said I came across as too intense on the air, too grating, too unlikeable to the viewers. So, they offered me a job in management. I was never quite sure I followed the logic of that, but I just went with the flow. I started out as an assignment editor, moved up to producer, and then was named news director for Channel 10 News here in New York City. It turned out that I really like telling other people what to do instead of doing it myself. I’ve always been a bitch. I guess now I just get paid for being one.

Maggie looked over at the Pulitzer Prize certificate I keep prominently on my desk at Channel 10. Hey, you win a Pulitzer—you flaunt it.

“You helped make Lucy Devlin one of the most famous missing child stories ever in New York City fifteen years ago, Clare,” she said. “Imagine if we could somehow find her alive after all this time . . .”

“Lucy is dead,” I told her. “How can you be so sure of that?” “C’mon, you know she’s dead as well as I do. Why else would she never have turned up anywhere?”

“Okay, you’re probably right. She is dead. And we’ll never find the body or catch who did it or know anything for sure about what happened to her.”

“So, what’s our story then?” “There’s a new angle.” “Believe me, I covered all the angles on this story a long time ago.”

“Anne Devlin, Lucy’s mother, is telling people she has some new evidence about the case,” Maggie said.

“Anne Devlin always claims she has some evidence. The poor woman has been obsessed with finding answers about her daughter for years. I mean, it’s understandable, I guess, given all the pain and anguish and uncertainty she’s gone through. But none of her so-called evidence ever goes anywhere.”

“Doesn’t matter. We go to the mother and say we want to hear about whatever new evidence she thinks she’s come up with. I tell her we want to interview her about the case for the anniversary. That maybe someone will see it and give cops some new information. It’ll be great TV. And that video—the heartbroken mom still pleading for someone to help her find out what happened to her daughter fifteen years ago—would go viral on social media.”

She was right. It was a good idea. A good TV gimmick. A good social media gimmick.

And that was my job now, whether I liked it or not. I was a long way from winning Pulitzer Prizes or writing thoughtful in-depth journalism. In television, it was all about capturing the moment. And an emotional interview like that with Lucy’s mother on the anniversary of her disappearance would definitely be a big media moment.

I looked out the window next to my desk. It was early April, and spring had finally broken in New York City. I was wearing a pale-pink spring pantsuit to celebrate the onset of the season. I’d bought it at Saks one bitterly cold day during the depths of winter to cheer myself up. But right now, I didn’t feel very cheerful.

“Okay,” I finally said reluctantly to Maggie, “you can reach out to Anne Devlin and see if she’ll sit down for an interview with us.”

“I already did.” Of course. Knowing Maggie, I should have figured she’d already set it in motion before checking with me.

“And?” I asked her. “She said yes.” “Good.” “Under one condition. She wants you to be the person who does the interview with her.”

“Me?” “She said she’d feel more comfortable talking to you than some reporter she didn’t know.”

“C’mon, I don’t go on air anymore, Maggie.” “She insisted on talking to you. She said you owed her. She said you would understand what that meant.”

I sighed. Oh, I understood. Anne Devlin was holding me to a promise I made a long time ago.

It was maybe a few months after Lucy was gone. Anne had become depressed as people stopped talking about the case. The newspapers, the TV stations, even the police—they seemed to have given up and moved on to other things. She felt so alone, she said. I told her that she wasn’t alone. I told her I’d always be there for her. I made her a lot of promises that I couldn’t keep.

“Let’s make a pact,” she said, squeezing my hand on that long- ago night. “If I ever find out anything, you’ll help me track Lucy down, won’t you, Clare?”

“I promise,” I said. “No matter what happens or how long it takes, you can’t let people forget about her.”

“No one will ever forget about Lucy.” I thought about that long-ago conversation now as I sat in my office looking at the Pulitzer that had come out of my coverage of the Lucy Devlin story in what seemed like another lifetime ago. That story had been my ticket to fame as a journalist. It made me a front-page star; it catapulted me into the top of the New York City media world; and it was eventually responsible for the big TV executive job that I held today.

“She said you owed it to her,” Maggie said again. Anne Devlin was right. I did owe her.

CHAPTER 2

Lucy Devlin disappeared on a sunny April morning.

She was eleven years old, and she lived on a quiet street in the Gramercy Park section of Manhattan with her parents, Anne and Patrick Devlin. That last day her mother had helped her get dressed for school, packed her books in a knapsack that hung over her back, and then kissed her goodbye before putting her on the school bus.

As far as anyone knew, she was with the other students on the bus when they went into the school. The first indication that something was wrong came when Lucy didn’t show up in her classroom for the morning attendance. The teacher thought she was either late or sick, reporting it at first to the principal’s office as a routine absence. It wasn’t until later that police began a massive search for the missing eleven-year-old girl.

The disappearance of Lucy Devlin exploded in the media when the New York Tribune, the newspaper I wrote for, ran a front-page story about her. The headline simply said: “MISSING!” Below that was a picture of Lucy. Big brown eyes, her hair in a ponytail, a gap between her two front teeth.

The story told how she was wearing a blue denim skirt, a white blouse, and cork sandals when she was last seen. It said she loved reading; playing basketball and soccer; and, most of all, animals. She petted every dog in the neighborhood and begged her parents to get her one. “She was my little angel,” Anne Devlin said in the article. “How could anyone want to hurt an angel?”

The whole city fell in love with her after that. The Tribune story spared no emotion in talking about the anguish of her parents as they waited for some kind of word. It talked about their hopes, their despair, and their confusion over everything that had happened.

I know because I was the reporter who wrote it. With my help, Lucy Devlin—just like Maggie had said— became one of the most famous missing person stories in New York City history. Posters soon appeared all over the city. Announcements were made in schools and churches asking people to look for her. The family offered a reward. First it was $10,000. Then $20,000 and $50,000 and as much as $100,000 as people and civic groups pitched in to help the Devlin family. For many it brought back memories of the tragic Etan Patz case—a six-year-old boy who had disappeared from the streets of New York City a quarter century earlier. Little Etan became the face of the missing child crisis all over the country when his picture was the first to appear on a milk carton in the desperate search for answers about his fate. In that case, the family had finally achieved some closure when a man was eventually arrested and convicted for their son’s murder. But there was no closure for Anne and Patrick Devlin.

I sat in the Devlins’ apartment—crying with them, praying with them, and hoping against hope that little Lucy would one day walk in that door.

I’ve never worked a story before or after where I identified so much with the people I was writing about. My access to the parents gave me the opportunity to see things no one else did, and I put every bit of that into my stories. Everyone was picking up my stuff—the other papers, TV news, and even the network news magazines like Dateline and 60 Minutes.

Yes, I did win a Pulitzer for my coverage of this story. The Pulitzer judges called it “dramatic, haunting, and extraordinarily compassionate coverage of a breaking deadline news story” in giving me the award. That was nice, but they were all just words to me. I wasn’t thinking about a Pulitzer or acclaim or my career when I covered the Lucy Devlin disappearance. I just reported and wrote the hell out of the story, day after day.

Eventually, of course, other stories came along to knock this one off the front page.

All the reporters moved on to cover them. In the end, I did, too. It wasn’t that easy for Anne and Patrick Devlin. The police told them that Lucy was probably dead. That the most likely scenario was she’d been kidnapped outside the school that day, her abductor had become violent and murdered her. He then must have dumped her body somewhere. It was just a matter of time before it turned up, they said.

Anne Devlin refused to believe them. “I can’t just forget about my daughter,” she said. “I know she’s still alive. I know she’s out there somewhere. I can feel her. A mother knows. I’ll never rest until I find her.”

Her obsession carried her down many paths over the next few years. Every time a little girl turned up murdered or police found a girl without a home, Anne checked it out. Not just in New York City either. She traveled around the country, tracking down every lead—no matter how slim or remote it seemed.

There were moments of hope, but many more moments of despair.

A woman who’d seen the story on TV said she’d seen a little girl that looked like Lucy at an amusement park in Sandusky, Ohio. She was standing with a man holding her by the hand near the roller coaster, looking confused and scared. At one point, she tried to break away, but the man wouldn’t let her go. The woman told one of the security guards that there was something suspicious about the man and the little girl, but never found out what happened. Anne went to Ohio and talked to everyone she could find at the amusement park. She eventually tracked down the security guard and finally the little girl herself. It turned out that the man was her father, and she looked scared and tried to run away because she was afraid to ride the roller coaster.

Another time a group of college coeds thought they spotted her in Florida during spring break. Some fraternity guys who tried to hit on them had a young girl in the back seat of their car, and she seemed out of place amid the beer swilling Neanderthals par- tying up a storm in Fort Lauderdale. The coeds told Anne they were convinced it was her missing daughter. That lead turned out to be a dead end, too. She was the daughter of a woman the fraternity guys had picked up the night before. The woman had passed out back in their hotel room, and they were just driving around with the girl because they didn’t want to leave her alone.

And then there was the time the body of a young girl about Lucy’s age and description was found alongside a highway in Pennsylvania. The state troopers found Lucy’s name on a list of missing children and contacted Anne. She drove ten hours through a blinding snowstorm to a morgue outside Pittsburgh, where the body had been taken. The entire time she had visions of her daughter lying on a coroner’s slab. But it wasn’t Lucy. It turned out to be a runaway from Utah. A truck driver had picked her up hitchhiking, raped and killed her, then dumped the body alongside the road. Anne said afterward she felt relief it wasn’t Lucy, but sadness for the family in Utah who would soon endure the same ordeal as she did.

Once a psychic came to Anne and said she’d seen a vision of Lucy. Lucy was living somewhere near the water, the psychic told her. Lucy was alright, but lonely. Lucy wanted to get back to her family, but she didn’t know how. Eventually, the psychic said she saw a sign in the vision that said La Jolla. La Jolla is a town in Southern California, just north of San Diego. The psychic offered to travel with Anne there and help search for her. They spent two weeks in La Jolla, staying in the best hotels and running up big bills at fancy restaurants. The psychic found nothing. Later, it turned out she just wanted a free trip to the West Coast and some free publicity for her psychic business.

Worst of all were the harassing phone calls. From all the twisted, perverted people in this world. Some of them were opportunists looking for extortion money by claiming they had Lucy. Others were just sickos who got off on harassing a grieving mother. “I have your daughter,” they would say and then talk about the terrible things they were doing to her. One man called Anne maybe two dozen times, day and night, over a period of six months. He taunted her mercilessly about how he had turned Lucy into his sex slave. He said he kept her in a cage in the basement of his house, feeding her only dog food and water. He described unspeakable tortures and sexual acts he carried out on her. He told Anne that when he finally got bored, he’d either kill her or sell her to a harem in the Middle East. When the FBI finally traced the caller’s number and caught him, he turned out to be one of the police officers who had been investigating the case. He confessed that he got a strange sexual pleasure from the phone calls. None of the others turned out to be the real abductor either. But Anne would sometimes cry for days after she got one of these cruel calls, imagining all of the nightmarish things that might be happening to Lucy.

All this took a real toll on Anne and Patrick Devlin. Patrick was a contractor who ran his own successful construction firm; Anne, an executive with an advertising agency. They lived in a spacious townhouse in the heart of Manhattan. Patrick had spent long hours renovating it into a beautiful home for him, Anne, and Lucy. There was even a backyard with an impressively large garden that was Anne’s pride and joy. The Devlins seemed to have the perfect house, the perfect family, the perfect life.

But that all changed after Lucy disappeared. Anne eventually lost her job because she was away so much searching for answers about her daughter. Patrick’s construction business fell off dramatically, too. They had trouble meeting the payments on their town house and moved to a cheaper rental downtown. Their marriage began to fall apart, too, just like the rest of their lives. They divorced a few years after Lucy’s disappearance. Patrick moved to Boston and started a new construction company. He remarried a few years later and now had two children, a boy and a girl, with his new wife. Anne still lived in New York City, where she never stopped searching for her daughter.

Every once in a while, at an anniversary or when another child disappeared, one of the newspapers or TV stations would tell the Lucy Devlin story again.

About the little girl who went off to school one day, just like any other day, and was never seen again. But mostly, no one had time to think about Lucy Devlin anymore.

Everyone had forgotten about Lucy. Except her mother.

***

Excerpt from Yesterday’s News by R.G. Belsky. Copyright © 2018 by R.G. Belsky. Reproduced with permission from R.G. Belsky. All rights reserved.

Author Bio:

R.G. Belsky

R.G. Belsky is an author of crime fiction and a journalist in New York City. Belsky’s crime novels reflect his extensive media background as a top editor at the New York Post, New York Daily News, Star magazine and NBC News. His previous novels include the award-winning Gil Malloy mystery series. YESTERDAY’S NEWS is the first in a new series featuring Clare Carlson, the hard-driving and tenacious news director of an NYC TV station.

Catch Up With R.G. Belsky On:
rgbelsky.com, Goodreads, Twitter, & Facebook!

My Review

4 stars

Eleven year old Lucy Devlin disappears and there is no trace of where she goes. Clare Carlson is a reporter that seems to get all the exclusives from the family. She wins a Pulitzer for her work but little Lucy is never found. Clare’s life moves on and it is now fifteen years later as she manages television news. Lucy’s mother comes out with more information on Lucy’s disappearance but she will only talk to Clare and then reveals that she is dying of cancer.

The new leads take Clare to a motor cycle gang that Lucy’s father was part of at the time of her disappearance. She also finds a potential connection to a man running for the US Senate. But then some of Clare’s own secrets are going to be coming out too.

This story has lots of twists and turns and things happening that will keep you guessing about what really happened to Lucy. Just when I would think I had an idea of where the story was going to go then something happens and you are off in another direction.

This is a great story that will suck you in and leave you wanting to know more. There are a lot of things happening and it will keep you on the edge of your seat.

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

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In the Grip of It

HTML | Excerpt | In the Grip Of It by Sheena Kamal

In the Grip Of It

by Sheena Kamal

on Tour June 1 – June 30, 2018

Synopsis:

In the Grip Of It by Sheena Kamal

On a surveillance assignment for a child custody case, PI-in-training Nora Watts finds herself ensconced in a small farming community on a beautiful hippie island in the Pacific Northwest, a place with a reputation for being welcoming to outsiders. But when she arrives there, she discovers her welcome quickly wears thin. Perhaps too quickly.

Salt Spring Island, with a history as a refuge for African Americans fleeing the bonds of slavery, is not a place of refuge for her—and, she suspects, may not be for the people who live there, either.

As she investigates, nothing about this remote community seems to add up. It gets personal as Nora confronts her own complicated feelings toward her estranged daughter and becomes increasingly concerned about the child she’s been tasked to surveil. She discovers that small, idyllic communities can hide very big secrets.

Book Details:

Genre: Thriller
Published by: Witness Impulse
Publication Date: May 15th 2018
Number of Pages: 96
ISBN: 0062879324 (ISBN13: 9780062879325)
Series: Nora Watts #1.5
Grab Your Copy of In the Grip Of It: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

 

Read an excerpt:

Last week a man came into our PI office, looked around the shabby interior, frowned, and said, “I must have gotten the address wrong.”

“Depends,” I replied. “What are you looking for?”

“An investigator.”

“Nope, you’re in the right place,” I said, looking at his nice suit, shiny shoes, and expensive watch.

“Are you sure? Maybe I should come back later.”

He was clearly trying to make a graceful exit. Before the man could leave, I got up from behind my desk and opened the door to Leo Krushnik’s office. “Leo, there’s someone here to see you.”

“Well,” said the man, who was hesitating behind me, “I’m not really sure that this is the right fit for me.” He was trying to be diplomatic about the condition of our office and what it might say about his own level of desperation that he was here, but we weren’t about to let a potential client go without a fight. His level of desperation was no match for ours.

Leo Krushnik, the head of our little operation, walked around his desk and beamed at the man. “We’re the right fit for anybody,” he said, grasping the man’s hand and giving it a firm shake. “We prefer to keep our overhead low so that we can offer competitive rates to people who need our services, regardless of their personal incomes. Please, have a seat.”

The man sat, a little overwhelmed by Leo’s charm, which is considerable. That day Leo was dressed in linen pants and a simple cotton shirt, as a nod to the heat wave the city was experiencing. He could pull off this look as easily as he pulled off the lie about our rates. We keep our overhead low because this dump on Hastings Street, in the derelict Downtown Eastside of Vancouver, is all we can afford, but clients didn’t need to know that. And even I could admit that the “competitive rates” line sounded good—even true—coming from Leo.

“How can I help you?” Leo asked.

“My name is Ken Barnes, and I’m concerned about my son, Trevor. My ex-wife Cheyenne moved to Salt Spring last year with Trevor and I think she’s gotten into some kind of trouble there. She won’t bring him back to Vancouver and visitation has been difficult.”

Leo frowned. “Because they’re on an island?” Salt Spring wouldn’t be easy to ferry to and from on a regular basis.

“Yes, but that’s not the only reason. She keeps putting off my visits and it’s been difficult to arrange for Trevor to come into Vancouver. I think . . . I think she’s in some kind of cult, to be honest. They call it a commune, but you know those stories about Bountiful?”

“Yes,” said Leo. Everyone knew the stories about Bountiful, British Columbia, where fundamentalist polygamous communities live and proliferate seemingly freely.

“Well, I think it’s something like that. Cheyenne wants to be in some kind of crazy sex cult, sure. She’s not my wife anymore and I really don’t care what she does. But I’m fighting for custody of Trevor. I want him out of there.”

“And you need some ammo.” Leo looks up from his pad, where he’s been taking notes. “You’ve come to the right place, Ken. We’ve done surveillance work for many child-custody cases.” Another lie, but Ken didn’t notice. We’d only done a handful of those, but “many” is relative. “You understand that this won’t be cheap? We’ll have to get out to the island and spend some time gathering information.”

“That’s fine. There’s nothing I won’t pay to get my son out of there. Cheyenne, she . . . well, she struggled with depression and anxiety for years and she let a lot of toxic people into her life who fed on her struggles. It was like a sick downward spiral. When she started doing yoga and got certified as a teacher, I thought she’d changed. But I’m not sure anymore. I know this sounds terrible—I know it does—but I don’t trust her judgment about the people she lets into her life. Especially men.”

“She married you,” Leo said.

“I know, but this is the thing: it’s not about me and her anymore. We’re done. This is about Trevor—and me doing my part as a father, making sure he’s safe. That he has a good life. I just want results.”

“We can’t guarantee results.” This is the first time I’d spoken since the initial exchange. Ken Barnes’s startled gaze meets mine. He’d clearly forgotten I was there, which was not unusual. “Maybe it is a sex cult, maybe it isn’t. All we can do is take a look and document what we find.”

“I know that nothing is certain, but I know my son deserves a healthy, normal life. Whatever they’re doing on that island is not normal. It just isn’t. It’s one step away from homeschooling, and who’s to say they’re not making him do hard labor?”

What is normal, anyway? I didn’t ask Barnes for clarification. I just kept silent as Leo agreed to take his money in exchange for the work. Before he let Barnes go, he pulled him aside. “Nora’s right, Ken, about any sort of guarantee. But what I can say is that if there’s something to find, chances are we will get a sense of it.”

In the next few days, I started the file on Cheyenne Barnes and looked through the information Ken had provided us. “Cheyenne scrubbed her social-media profiles last year,” he explained to me, over the phone. “I thought she was punishing me by erasing the memories and keeping me away from what’s happening with my son, but now that I think about it, there’s something fishy about this whole thing.” So he kept saying.

Cheyenne is smiling in all the photos, and in every single one there is something wistful about her, a faraway look in her eyes. Something that suggests a romantic nature. She’s an instructor for hot yoga, which I thought was stretching for attractive people but later discovered is actually sweaty stretching. Who knew. She’d gone to Salt Spring Island two years ago to work at a yoga retreat and, according to Ken, never came back. She met a man there, a fellow yoga enthusiast, and rebuffed all of Ken’s attempts at reconciliation.
There is very little to be found on Cheyenne Barnes’s new man. He has no social-media profiles of his own, but I did find a picture of him on the Spring Love website. Some people are so attractive it’s almost surreal, and Vikram Sharma is one of them.

***

Excerpt from In the Grip Of It by Sheena Kamal. Copyright © 2018 by Sheena Kamal. Reproduced with permission from Witness Impulse. All rights reserved.

 

Author Bio:

Sheena Kamal

SHEENA KAMAL holds an HBA in Political Science from the University of Toronto, and was awarded a TD Canada Trust scholarship for community leadership and activism around the issue of homelessness. Her debut novel, The Lost Ones was inspired by this and by Kamal’s most recent work as a researcher into crime and investigative journalism for the film and television industry.

Catch Up With Our Author On:
sheenakamal.com, Goodreads, & Facebook!

My Review

4 stars

Nora Watt is working as an intern in a PI office when Ken Barnes wants someone to look into his ex-wife and her taking his son to a farming community called Spring Love. Ken believes this is a cult. Salt Spring Island has its own history as a refuge for African American escaping slavery. Nora tries to infiltrate the group but the leaders are on to her and are trying to prove that she is a fake.

Nora has put herself in a little trouble trying to find out the truth about Spring Love. But this case reminds herself about her own estranged daughter. She feels a connection and wants to make sure everything is what it seems.

This was a great short story that gave me a great taste of Sheena Kamal’s work. Nora was a great, flawed character but I couldn’t hope that she find out the truth. Of course there are a lot of points for this short story but it all kept me enthralled.

This was the first book that I have read from Sheena Kamal. It was an interesting read and I am curious to learn more about Nora Watts.

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

Tour Participants:

Visit these other great hosts on this tour for more great reviews and features!
https://www.linkytools.com/basic_linky_include.aspx?id=286060

Giveaway:

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Sheena Kamal and WitnessImpulse. There will be 10 winners of one (1) print copy of Sheena Kamal’s THE LOST ONES. The giveaway begins on June 1, 2018 and runs through July 1, 2018.
Open to U.S. addresses only. Void where prohibited.

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