Favorite Quotes on Books and Reading

"A book is a gift you can open again and again." Garrison Keillor

Literature is a textually transmitted disease, normally contracted in childhood.” Jane Yolen

"It is what you read when you don't have to that determines what you will be when you can't help it." Oscar Wilde

"Books have furnished, burnished, and enabled my life." Julia Keller

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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Book Blitz: LOSING THE GIRLS and THE ROAD PAVED IN PINK










Non Fiction - Memoir - Self Help - Breast Cancer
Date Published: August 2013


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Readers can delve into the breast cancer journey and beyond in Losing the Girls, a unique memoir differentiated by the author’s cutting-edge nipple-sparing mastectomy (NSM)—a little-known breast cancer surgery technique that leaves the breast completely whole.  Shirley Alarie shares her story to boost awareness of this specialized procedure, which is only offered at select hospitals.  She believes that women facing mastectomies deserve to know all of their options. 



Shirley found that the biggest challenge of her life began with a convoluted breast cancer diagnosis; and then there was the overwhelming array of surgery options.  Mastectomy or lumpectomy?  Single mastectomy or double?  Reconstruction or no reconstruction?  She worried about making the right choice and how her decision would affect her both in the short and long term.  How would it affect her marriage? W as it crazy to choose a hospital three hours from home?



After the surgery, Shirley’s determination to beat the cancer triggered a lifestyle transformation that resulted in a stronger, more empowered woman.  Her deep faith in God and her peace with the afterlife helped shape her response to this life-changing ordeal with cancer—and the love and support of an amazing posse of family and friends, along with a liberal dose of humor and hope, pulled her through the darkness and back into the warm, sunny light.



Losing the Girls is a powerful and uplifting book for every woman—and the people who love them—to read.



What others have said:



As I read 'Losing the Girls- My Journey Through Nipple Sparring Mastectomy and Beyond', I was touched by Ms. Alarie's honesty, humor and spirit that shone through her written words. I cried, laughed and at times held my breath as she took the necessary steps to face her fears and come out the other side of the journey, strong and healthy. Ms. Alarie faced the gut wrenching reality of hearing - you have breast cancer, and now she is a survivor sharing her story with the world. A must read. Lucinda Race



What a fantastic read! From the very first pages Shirley opens up and gives honest glimpses of her life to her readers. Knowing she has a family history does little to take the sting out of her diagnosis. The way she deals with her tests, results, doctor visits and eventual surgery is truly an inspiration for any woman dealing with this disease. Along with writing about her emotional journey, Shirley shares with her readers all the information she has gained from researching breast cancer and what she has learned through her support system of Drs., nurses and the like. Great knowledge for anyone who many deal with breast cancer themselves or have a family member go through it. I found her reliance on God through her ordeal comforting and inspiring. Any reader will feel that they've gained a friend by the end. P Walker





 






Non Fiction - Memoir - Self Help - Breast Cancer
Date Published: July 2014


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Lovey’s nightmare has begun. She’s been thrust into a terrifying and confusing journey, joining the nearly 250,000 women who will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year. If Lovey is fortunate, she has an excellent support team, also known as Angels. The Road Paved in Pink: A Practical and Personal Guide for Breast Cancer Patients and Their Loved Ones offers Lovey and her Angels the comprehensive guidance needed to withstand the challenges ahead.



Readers will be empowered by the love and support of the many others who have already traveled the same bumpy road.



The Road Paved in Pink is offered with a unique “Pay it Forward” program designed to reach as many people in need as possible. By request via her website, Shirley Alarie will provide a free book to people recently affected by breast cancer, with the stipulation that they forward it to someone else in need when they are finished with it, and so on.



If someone agrees to take a booklet from the Pay it Forward program, they will be asked to sign in to the website and log their first name and location, so we can watch the books travel around the country - and hopefully, the world!



Request a copy of The Road Paved in Pink - Pay it Forward Program at the following link: http://shirleyalarie.com/2014/08/road-paved-pink-pay-forward-program/



What others have said:



This is a very worthwhile read. The author does an excellent job of giving useful information that is very understandable, which doesn't always happen in the medical field. She is able to tell her story as well as provide the reader with an understanding of the many choices available for their own journey. Also a great guide for families and friends to help them be helpful in what can be a truly difficult time. P Walker



A moving and to the point awesome guide. If you don't know someone with breast cancer odds are in your lifetime you will. Have this book on hand, everyone involved will need it, as will you. Twenty seven years ago my mother had her first breast removed only to have the other one worked on seven years later. I was there, so wish I had this guide. I have it now and have already highlighted my "talking points", when I'm faced with being an angel for someone. Marion Brenan











About the Author



I spent the first twenty years of my career in an industrial manufacturing environment, running around the hamster wheel as fast as my legs would carry me. My breast cancer diagnosis jammed on the brakes and forced me to put life in perspective. My journey since breast cancer has been focused on making a positive difference in the world. Stepping off the hamster wheel has brought greater harmony to me and my home. My husband and furry baby appreciate that the "Crazy Lady" of the house is gone and a more "Mellow Mama" has taken her place.



My writing adventure began with Losing the Girls: My Journey Through Nipple-Sparing Mastectomy and Beyond, my memoir, written with the intention to entertain as well as spread awareness of nipple-sparing mastectomy (NSM). My website identifies some of the hospitals that perform this surgery, through the “What is NSM?” and “Where is NSM?” links.



My follow-up, The Road Paved in Pink: A Practical and Personal Guide for Breast Cancer Patients and Their Loved Ones serves to heighten awareness of reconstruction options, among other key topics specific to a breast cancer challenge. I am thrilled to offer the “Pay it Forward” program in conjunction with this book promotion.



Another tool I’ve created to help further the awareness of breast cancer surgery options is a free 11-minute video that describes and shows the various options. Since studies have shown women undergoing treatment for breast cancer aren’t always informed of all of their options, I’m striving to ensure women facing this challenge are able to make fully informed choices. I invite all women to become educated on this topic, as this information might make a huge difference for someone they love. The video can be found on my website: http://shirleyalarie.com/2014/08/breast-cancer-surgery-options-video/



I’d love to have you join me in my journey to making a positive difference in the world!





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Sunday, October 26, 2014

Book 362: WEB OF BETRAYAL Review

Web of Betrayal by Clare F. Price
ISBN: 9780990372301 (paperback)
ISBN: 9780990372318 (ebook)
ASIN: B00LDZFRHC (Kindle edition)
Publication date: June 28, 2014
Publisher: CFP Media Group, LLC.



There's No Hiding in Cyberspace
The year is 1994, the dawn of the Internet Age, when companies from Silicon Valley to London are fighting to claim the billions to be made on the new information highway. 
Peter Ellis, an aggressive investigative reporter struggling to repair his damaged reputation after being framed for rigging a story, attends the Consumer Electronics Show and learns that a skilled programmer known for cracking secure computer code has mysteriously disappeared. 
Peter's quest to find the missing programmer unwittingly pits him against a brilliant hacker and deranged killer with an agenda of his own: taking revenge on the man who ruined his life—computer industry luminary David Lockwood—who is now poised to introduce a product that will change the Internet forever. 
As Peter is drawn into the deadly game of betrayal and murder, he is faced with losing everything he holds dear: his career, his one true love, even his own life. Can he find the programmer's encoded disk—which the holds the key to the killer's identity—before his luck runs out?



It's 1994 and the race is on to build a set-top box that will stream digital cable, multimedia, and the internet. Two companies are on the brink of delivering the information highway to the masses, but only one will be the first and reap the rewards. Enter Peter Ellis, an investigative journalist focusing on business and technology. Peter hopes that his stories on this quest to be first will help solidify his career in journalism. Little does Peter know that his investigation into these two companies will put his life at risk. The high-stakes world of technology and corporate sabotage are the background for Web of Betrayal by Claire F. Price.

Web of Betrayal is a tech-thriller that is truly a blast from the past. It doesn't seem real to read about a world without high speed internet, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google, or Amazon. But 1994 is a world with brick-style cell phones, limited online bulletin board systems, and little interest in email for mainstream America. Peter Ellis, an intrepid young journalist, is onto a story that starts out with competing rival tech businesses striving to be first to produce a set-top digital converter box, and quickly becomes a tale of disappearances, murders, corporate sabotage, drug cartels, money laundering, and more. 

I wasn't quite sure what to expect from Web of Betrayal and initially felt that this wasn't going to be a book I'd like. The first few chapters were a little slow and I wasn't quite sure where the story was going. However, the pace of the story picked up quite a bit when it began to focus more on Peter Ellis and his investigations than on Toby Eastman, the antagonist in the story. Peter is young, hardworking,  and from a wealthy and privileged background. However, he was also neglected by his parents, abused by his older sister, and cutoff from the family when he went into journalism rather than becoming a lawyer. When we meet Peter, he is still smarting from an article that was rushed to publication with flawed research. The story is retracted and his reputation is in ruins, and his relationship with his girlfriend quickly follows. His search for the truth behind the digital set-top box is his ticket to salvation. Web of Betrayal has a lot of action: corporate sabotage, family betrayal, murder, mayhem, and even rape (male-on-male rape, something that is still not openly discussed). Most of the action in the story takes place over the first few months of 1994, but there are flashbacks to events in preceding years. Once the story pace picked up I was pulled in and couldn't wait to find out what was going to happen next. I found the characters to be realistic and the action to be quite plausible. Web of Betrayal may not be a fast-paced, action-packed thriller, but it is a well-written, intellectually stimulating thriller that combines technology, intrigue, and even a bit of romance. If you like reading thrillers, then you may want to put Web of Betrayal on your TBR list. I found it to be a perfect read for a lazy fall afternoon and evening. I look forward to reading more from Ms. Price in the future.



Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book free for review purposes from the publisher via Partners In Crime Tours. I was not paid, required or otherwise obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."









Enter for a signed copy of Web of Betrayal and a $25 Amazon Gift Card. Giveaway ends November 23, 2014. Winners will be chosen by Partners In Crime Tours.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Book 356: FIVE DAYS LEFT Review

Five Days Left by Julie Lawson Timmer
ISBN: 9780399167348 (hardcover)
ISBN: 9780698140868 (ebook)
ASIN: B00INIQUNW (Kindle edition)
Publication date: September 9, 2014
Publisher: Putnam Adult



"A beautifully drawn study of what is at risk when you lose control of your own life.  Unique, gripping, and viscerally moving -- this impressive debut novel heralds the arrival of an extremely talented writer." —Jodi Picoult, New York Times bestselling author of The Storyteller and Lone Wolf



Destined to be a book club favorite, a heart-wrenching debut about two people who must decide how much they're willing to sacrifice for love.

Mara Nichols, a successful lawyer, and devoted wife and adoptive mother, has recently been diagnosed with a terminal disease. Scott Coffman, a middle school teacher, has been fostering an eight-year-old boy while the boy's mother serves a jail sentence. Scott and Mara both have five days left until they must say good-bye to the ones they love the most. Through their stories, Julie Lawson Timmer explores the individual limits of human endurance, the power of relationships, and that sometimes loving someone means holding on, and sometimes it means letting go.


Imagine you only have five days left to say goodbye to a loved one and you're literally counting down the days to goodbye. Now imagine two different families in this situation. One family resides in Michigan and includes two foster-parents and a young boy about to be returned to his biological mother after a year. The other family resides in Texas and consists of an adoptive couple, their adopted daughter, and the adoptive mother's adoptive parents. The Texas family is dealing with a progressive and degenerative neurological disorder and the mother, although only 42 years of age, is contemplating suicide rather than giving into this horrible disease process. These two scenarios provide the foundation of the story Five Days Left by Julie Lawson Timmer.

Mara Nichols is a young, urban professional residing in Texas. She's at the peak of her career as an attorney. Her husband, Tom, is a physician with a thriving practice. Tom and Mara have been together for more than twenty years. They adopted their daughter, Lakshmi, as an infant from India and are now the proud parents of a kindergartner. Regrettably their lives were given a major twist when Mara was diagnosed with Huntington's Disease or HD four years ago. Since that initial diagnosis, Mara has suffered from a host of HD symptoms, including short term memory loss, balance and gait issues, bladder control, mood swings, and more. She has been forced to take early retirement from her beloved career as an attorney and partner in a law firm, can no longer drive due to motor control issues, and is scared beyond belief that she is unwittingly forcing her family to suffer along with her as HD destroys who she is as a person. Mara's one saving grace is her online link to a forum for adoptive, foster, and step parents. It is in this forum that she can voice her parenting issues without question or judgment.  It is here that she finds friendship with MotorCity, also known as Scott Coffman.

Scott Coffman is an English teacher at an inner city Detroit middle school. Scott also coaches basketball at his school and considers himself fortunate to have met some outstanding talent, including Brayden Jackson, his foster-son's older brother. He and his wife have been trying to get pregnant for years through IVF. Now that their lives are focused on a slightly hyperactive, mild behaviorally challenged seven-year-old boy, there's less stress about getting pregnant so of course they actually get pregnant with their last round of IVF. Scott's wife isn't exactly eager for their year of fostering to be over, but she is eager to have some time alone with her husband before their biological child is born. Scott is torn between wanting what is best for his son Curtis (when did he stop thinking of him as a foster child but as his child) and wanting to keep him to ensure he has everything a child deserves: a clean home, three meals a day, clean clothes, and involved parents.

I've got to admit that I put off reading Five Days Left simply because I thought the story was going to be depressing and morbid. It isn't. Don't get me wrong, it is sad. I don't think you can read about someone with a degenerative life-threatening disease and a child being raised in filth without basic amenities like running water by a drug-addicted mother without it being sad. But Ms. Timmer has also provided glimpses of hope amidst the sadness. Mara's story is sad and heart-wrenching, but the love her family and friends have for her and one another is uplifting. It was incredibly disturbing to read about Mara's decline due to HD (there's one incident in the grocery store and another in the elementary school that had me taking a break just to dry my eyes). I was just as torn as Scott when Curtis's biological mother decides to take him back days before he was scheduled to leave the Coffmans. What made it worse was he wasn't even given the opportunity to say goodbye. 

Five Days Left is told in alternating voices of Mara and Scott. Although the action takes place over the course of five days, there's a lot jammed into those days. Yes, you'll probably need to have a box of tissues handy when you read this story, but sadness isn't the only thing you'll remember about this story. Five Days Left focuses on love and the families we make as a result of that love. Some of those families are built with blood ties, and others are built through adoption, fostering, step-parenting, and friendship. I found Five Days Left to be a remarkable story with realistic characters and scenarios. Five Days Left is simply an amazing story and I know this review probably doesn't do it justice, so if you're going to take anything away from my thoughts take this . . . you should definitely read Five Days Left.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book free for review purposes from the publisher via NetGalley. I was not paid, required or otherwise obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."


Friday, October 17, 2014

Book 351: DECEIVED Review

Deceived (Private Justice #3) by Irene Hannon
ISBN: 9780800721251 (paperback)
ISBN: 9781441245137 (ebook)
ASIN: B00KDN8646 (Kindle edition)
Publication date: October 07, 2014
Publisher: Fleming H. Revell Company


For three years, Kate Marshall has been grieving the loss of her husband and their four-year-old son in a boating accident. But when she spots a familiar-looking child on an escalator in the mall, she is convinced it is the son she thought was dead. With police skeptical of her story, she turns to private investigator Connor Sullivan. The former Secret Service agent is dubious but agrees to investigate. Digging into the case he discovers that the incident may have been no accident at all. But if Kate's son is alive, someone is intent on keeping him hidden--and may be willing to go to lethal lengths to protect a sinister secret. 
As Irene Hannon's many fans have come to expect, Deceived is filled with complex characters, unexpected twists, and a riveting plot line that accelerates to an explosive finish.


Three years ago Kate Marshall's life was turned upside down. A routine father-son fishing trip turned into a nightmare when Kate's husband was found dead and her four-year-old son was presumed to have drowned. Kate left upstate New York for St. Louis, Missouri. She has begun to build a new life until a chance encounter in the mall has her questioning everything. Kate is sure the young boy she saw on an escalator at a local mall is her son. The police don't find her story plausible so she hires a private investigator. Although Connor Sullivan isn't quite sure what to believe, he agrees to take the case on a provisional basis. What he finds out is even more shocking than the original incident that claimed the life of Kate's husband. Can Connor find the truth and return Kate's son before more tragedy occurs?

Deceived is the third book in the Private Justice series by Irene Hannon. I found this to be a fast paced and thoroughly enjoyable read. Deceived is a clean, inspirational, romantic-suspense read. As with previous books in this series, we get the opportunity to read about ordinary people of faith in extraordinary circumstances. Connor Sullivan is a great investigator, but he doesn't have the faith that his co-workers have until he is able to truly see faith in action through Kate's life. It is always uplifting to read about characters that place their belief at the forefront of their lives versus the backburner . . . at least it is for this reader. I enjoyed the interaction between Connor and Kate. It was fascinating to read about a woman overcoming her grief and building a life where she goes out of her way to help others overcome their problems. Ms. Hannon provides the reader with strong men and strong women that become even stronger when they work together. Yes you know when you start reading this book that it is going to be a HEA (happy-ever-after), but not in the more traditional sense because these characters still have issues to work out and through but they do so together. Ms. Hannon's stories are crafted with the just the right amount of suspense and romance to make for a wholly enjoyable and intriguing read from beginning to end. If you enjoy inspirational fiction, romantic suspense, or are just looking for a good read, then I can definitely recommend Deceived. (If you haven't read the previous books in this series, then you'll want to add Vanished and Trapped to your list as well.)

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book free for review purposes from the publisher via NetGalley. I was not paid, required or otherwise obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."


Monday, October 13, 2014

Book 352: FAIL by Rick Skwiot Review and Giveaway

Fail by Rick Skwiot
ISBN: 9780985808686 (paperback)
Publication date: October 27, 2014
Publisher: Blank Slate Press


Disgraced African American St. Louis Police Lieutenant Carlo Gabriel wants fiercely to return to the headquarters hierarchy from which he has been exiled to the city's tough North Side. All he needs do is track down the missing husband of the mayor's vivacious press secretary. Instead he unwittingly and unwillingly unearths a morass of corruption, educational malpractice and greed that consigns thousands of at-risk youths to the mean streets of America's erstwhile murder capital. Worse, it's the kind of information that could get a cop killed.
Fighting for life and his honor, Gabriel makes chilling discoveries that ultimately lead to a life-threatening and life-changing decision-a choice that could affect not only his own future but also that of the city and its top leaders.


Carlo Gabriel doesn't dress like anyone's idea of a typical detective. He wears Italian leather shoes (Ferragamo), a cashmere overcoat, and has a silk scarf thrown around his coat lapels. However, looks can be deceiving because Lieutenant Carlo Gabriel is all cop, albeit one in disgrace. Gabriel hopes that a case with ties to the mayor will be his ticket back to the inside and the upwardly mobile track within the police department. This seems like a simple case of a missing husband, but the more Gabriel digs the more he realizes this case is anything but simple. Fail by Rick Skwiot is a story that could be ripped from current headlines as Gabriel discovers a mess that adversely impacts the lives and welfare of large numbers of at-risk youth in the toughest and poorest sections of town. 

When we first meet Lieutenant Carlo Gabriel, he is waiting to meet the mayor's press secretary. Ms. Cantrell needs to report her missing husband but wants the matter dealt with in a quiet manner. Gabriel is a little suspicious that this woman's husband has been missing for three days, but he's tired of being in disgrace with the powers-that-be; if this case is what it takes to get back in, he's more than willing to handle it as discretely as requested. Gabriel quickly learns the Ms. Cantrell's husband was a doctoral student, an adjunct professor, and that he was fired. As Gabriel continues his investigation, he unearths information that will disturb the powers-that-be. This information could end not only his career but his life.

I found Fail to be a quick and enjoyable read. There were times the story seemed to drag a bit, but this never adversely impacted on the likeability of the story. Mr. Skwiot has captured the political side of being a police officer. He also provides a fascinating glimpse into the poorer and neglected sides of a great city. Although Gabriel is being "punished" due to charges of excessive force, he also knows that he is lucky to still be on the force. He might not like being on the North Side of town, since it means he is no longer in the thick of things at police headquarters, but he isn't willing to do shoddy work to please or appease anyone (even his erstwhile friend, the mayor). Fail is much more than a story about the haves and the have-nots; it is a story about good triumphing over evil, greed, and corruption. Gabriel may not appear heroic, but he definitely performs heroic feats to ensure truth and justice prevail. If you enjoy reading suspense thrillers then you'll definitely want to add Fail to your TBR list.






Use the Rafflecopter form below to enter the giveaway for one print copy of Fail by Rick Skwiot. Winner will be chosen at the conclusion of this tour.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book free for review purposes via Partners in Crime Tours. I was not paid, required or otherwise obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."


Tour courtesy of Partners In Crime Tours  

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Book Showcase & Giveaway: BLOND CARGO by John Lansing


Blond Cargo
by John Lansing

Book Blast on October 7th

on Tour at October 8 - November 30, 2014



Blond Cargo by John Lansing | Coming Soon  


Book Details:



Genre: Mystery/Thriller


Series: Jack Bertolino, 2nd


* Blond Cargo does include some graphic violence.


Published by: Karen Hunter


Publication Date:  10/20/2014


Number of Pages:  320


ISBN: 9781476795515 


Purchase Links:    




Synopsis:


"A pulse-pounding thriller with a charming protagonist" (Kirkus Reviews), this gripping ebook continues the story that began in The Devil's Necktie.
Jack Bertolino's son, Chris, was the victim of a brutal murder attempt and Vincent Cardona, a mafia boss, provided information that helped Jack take down the perpetrator of the crime. Jack accepted the favor knowing there'd be blowback. In Blond Cargo the mobster's daughter has gone missing and Cardona turned in his chit. Jack discovers that the young, blond, mafia princess has been kidnapped and imprisoned while rich, politically connected men negotiate her value as a sex slave.
A sizzling whodunit for fans of James Patterson and Patricia Cornwell, Blond Cargo taps into the real-life crime world to deliver a thrilling, action-packed story that will keep you on the edge of your seat until the explosive, unprecedented finale.


Read an excerpt: (NOTE: Excerpt contains some profane language)



4

Jack carried a Subway turkey sandwich, a tall unsweetened iced coffee, a bottle of water, and a smile as he keyed the security gate that led to the dock in Marina del Rey where his boat was moored. The marina was always quiet during the week. Just the way he liked it.

He stopped to admire his twenty-eight feet of heaven before stepping onto his boat's transom and then. . .

"Yo, Mr. B."

Jack never forgot a voice, which explained his reluctance to turn around.
"Yo, yo, Mr. B."

Miserably persistent, Jack thought. He turned to face Peter Maniacci, who was dressed head-to-toe in black. With his outstretched arms draped over the chain-link fence, Peter looked like an Italian scarecrow. The black circles under his eyes belied his youth. The sharp points of his sideburns, his boots, and the .38 hanging lazily from a shoulder holster added menace to his goofy grin.

So close, Jack thought. His only worry that day had been whether to eat his sandwich dockside or out on the Pacific with a view of the Santa Monica Pier.

"How you doing, Peter?"

"How you doin'?"

Jack let out a labored sigh. "We could do this all day. What's up?"

"That's funny, Mr. B. How's the boy? How's his pitching arm?"

Jack's face tightened. He wasn't happy that Peter knew any of his son's particulars. When he didn't answer, Peter continued.

"Hey, nice boat. I used to fish for fluke off the north shore. Long Island. I think I must be in the wrong business."

"Count on it," Jack said. "What can I do for you?"

"My boss was wondering if you could spare a few minutes of your time."

As if on cue, a black Town Car materialized behind Peter and came to a smooth, silent stop. The car rose visibly when Peter's boss, a thick, broad-shouldered man, stepped out of the rear seat.

Vincent Cardona. Expensive suit, the body of a defensive linebacker—fleshy but muscled. Dark, penetrating eyes. Cardona looked in both directions before leveling his feral gaze on Jack. An attempt at a smile fell short of the mark. A thick manila envelope was tucked under one beefy arm.

Jack had been aware there would be some form of payback due for information Cardona had provided on Arturo Delgado, the man responsible for the attempted murder of his son. He just didn't think it would come due this quickly. He opened the locked gate and let the big man follow him down the dock toward his used Cutwater cabin cruiser.

As Peter stood sentry in front of the Lincoln Town Car, Jack allowed the devil entry to his little piece of paradise.

"How's your boy? How's the pitching arm?" Vincent asked bluntly. Just a reminder of why he was there.

"On the mend." Jack gestured to one of two canvas deck chairs in the open cockpit of the boat. Both men sat in silence as Jack waited for Cardona to explain the reason for his visit.

Jack wasn't comfortable with Cardona’s talking about Chris, but the big man had taken it upon himself to station Peter outside Saint John's Health Center while his son was drifting between life and death. Cardona's enforcer had scared off Delgado, and that might have saved his son's life. The unsolicited good deed was greatly appreciated by Jack. The debt weighed heavily.

"It rips your heart out when your children have problems and you can't do nothing to help," Cardona said with the raspy wheeze of a man who had abused cigars, drugs, booze, and fatty sausage for most of his life.

"What can I do for you?" Jack asked, not wanting to prolong the impromptu meeting.

Cardona, unfazed by Jack's brusqueness, answered by pulling out a picture and handing it to Jack.

"Angelica Marie Cardona. She's my girl. My only. My angel. Her mother died giving birth. I didn't have the heart to re-up. I raised her by myself."

Mobster with a heart of gold. Right, Jack thought. But Cardona's wife must have been a stunner because Angelica, blond, early twenties, with flawless skin and gray-green eyes, didn't get her good looks from her father. Cardona's gift was her self-assured attitude, which all but leaped off the photograph.

"Beautiful."

Jack Bertolino, master of the understatement, he thought.

"And doesn't she know it. Too much so for her own good. You make mistakes, my line of business. Whatever."

"What can I do for you, Vincent?" Jack said, dialing back the attitude.

Cardona tracked a seagull soaring overhead with his heavy-lidded eyes and rubbed the stubble on his jaw.

Jack would have paid good money to change places with the gull.

"I shoulda never moved out here. L.A. I'm a black-socks- on-the-beach kinda guy. East Coast all the way. Never fit in. But I'm a good earner and the powers that be decided they were happy with the arrangement. Everyone was happy except Angelica and me."

"She turned thirteen, didn't wanna have nothing to do with her old man. Turned iceberg cold. I tried everything— private schools, horses, ballet, therapy, live-in help; nothin' worked. She closed up tighter than a drum. I finally threatened to send her to the nuns."

"How did that work out?"

"I'm fuckin' sitting here, aren't I? On this fuckin' dinghy . . . no offense meant," he said, trying to cover, but the flash of anger told the real story. "I hear you're an independent contractor now."

It was Tommy Aronsohn, his old friend and ex–district attorney, who had set him up with his PI’s license and first client, Lawrence Weller and NCI Corp. But Jack Bertolino and Associates, Private Investigation, still didn't come trippingly off his tongue.

And thinking of the disaster up north, he said, "We'll see how that goes."

"This is the point. I haven't seen my daughter in close to a month. Haven't heard word one since around the time your son was laid up in Saint John's," he said. Reminder number two. "It's killing me," he continued. "I'm getting a fuckin' ulcer. Then this."

Cardona pulled out the L.A. Times with the front-page spread reporting on the woman who had died when her boat crashed on the rocks at Paradise Cove. As it turned out, a second woman down in Orange County had washed up on the beach a few weeks earlier at the Terranea resort, scaring the joy out of newlyweds taking photos at sunset. Talk about twisted memories, Jack thought. As if marriage wasn't tough enough. He'd already read both articles with his morning coffee and hadn't bought into the pattern the reporter inferred.

"And the connection?"

"I got a bad feeling is all. She's never disappeared like this before—not for this long anyway," he said, amending his statement. "And then. . ." Cardona said, waving the newspaper like it was on fire. "It says here they were both blonds. Both about Angelica's age. They could be fuckin' cousins. Could be nothing."

"Did you file a missing-persons report?"

Cardona gave him a hard side eye. "Jack, don't fuck with me. We take care of our own."

Jack thought before he spoke. "I'm not one of yours."

"Semantics."

"What about your crew?"

Cardona flopped open his meaty hands. "I get angina, I don't call my cousin Frankie, who has a certain skill set but stinks when it comes to open-heart surgery. Look, I get it. You were on the other team. But this is straight-up business. One man to another. One father to another. I need you to find my girl. You got my number. Use it, Jack. Money's no object. Find my baby."

Strike three.

Jack didn't answer. He stared out at the navy-blue water of the marina, past row upon row of beautiful yachts, symbols of dreams fulfilled, and knew they were empty notions compared to family.

Cardona hadn't actually spoken the words you owe me, but they filled the subtext of everything he'd said. He was not subtle. The big man had reached out when Jack was in need, and Jack had accepted the offer. Now Vincent Cardona wanted his pound of flesh.

"This is everything I know. Last address, phone numbers, phone bills, e-mail accounts, bank, credit cards, friends and whatnot. The whole shot," Cardona said, holding the manila envelope out in Jack's direction.

"I have other commitments," Jack stated.

"You look real fuckin' busy, Jack, if you don't mind my sayin'." His eyes crinkled into a sarcastic grin. Vincent Cardona does charm.

Jack accepted the overstuffed envelope with a sigh.

 "If she don't want to come back, fine. No funny business, no strong-arm bullshit from my end. You got my word. I just need to know that my blood is alive. I’m fuckin' worried and I don't do worry too good. Sleep on it, Jack. But do the right thing."

Cardona's eyes locked on to Jack's. Jack remained silent. He'd take a look. No promises, not yet.

Vincent's knees cracked and the canvas chair squeaked like it was in pain as he stood up. He covered a belch behind his fist and rubbed his gut as he moved stiffly past Jack. The boat rocked when Cardona stepped off and walked heavily away, his Italian leather shoes echoing on the wooden dock.

The weight of the world. Jack could relate.

Peter Maniacci opened the gate for his boss and then the door to the Lincoln Town Car, which plunged to curb level as the big man slid in. Peter ran around to the other side of the car and tossed Jack a wave like the queen mum. He jumped into the Lincoln, which lurched forward before Peter could slam the door shut.

Jack walked into the boat's deckhouse, grabbed a bottle of water, and downed two more Excedrin. He stretched his back, which was going into a spasm from yesterday's violence, and chased the pills with a Vicodin to stay one step ahead of the pain that he knew was headed his way.

Jack had already decided to take the case.




Author Bio:



John Lansing started his career as an actor in New York City. He spent a year at the Royale Theatre playing the lead in the Broadway production of "Grease." He then landed a co-starring role in George Lucas' "More American Graffiti," and guest-starred on numerous television shows. During his fifteen-year writing career, Lansing wrote and produced "Walker Texas Ranger," co-wrote two CBS Movies of the Week, and he also co-executive produced the ABC series "Scoundrels." John's first book was "Good Cop, Bad Money," a true crime tome with former NYPD Inspector Glen Morisano. "The Devil’s Necktie" was his first novel. "Blond Cargo" is the next book in the Jack Bertolino series. A native of Long Island, John now resides in Los Angeles.


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Sunday, October 5, 2014

Book 340: DEAD SIMPLE Review

Dead Simple (Roy Grace #1) by Peter James
ISBN: 9781250063854 (paperback)
ISBN: 9781429958721 (ebook)
ASIN: B0042JSSSG (Kindle edition)
Publication date: October 7, 2014
Publisher: Minotaur Books (St. Martin's Press)


If there is one place Michael Harrison never expected to die, it's in his own grave. 
When Michael Harrison's four best friends leave him buried alive on the night of his bachelor party, it seems like the perfect payback for his own bachelor party pranks. But moments later the four are killed in a car crash, and suddenly their harmless joke is no laughing matter. With only three days to the wedding, Detective Superintendent Grace—a man haunted by the shadow of his own missing wife—is contacted by Michael's beautiful, distraught fiancée, Ashley Harper. Grace discovers that the one man who ought to know Michael Harrison's whereabouts is saying nothing. But then he has a lot to gain—more than anyone realizes. For one man's disaster is another man's fortune. Dead simple.


It's Michael Harrison's stag night. He and four of his friends are on a pub crawl. Although Michael has promised his fiancée not to get too drunk, he's having a good time and feeling virtually no pain. The only thing missing is his best friend, Mark, but Mark was out of town on business and his plane back home to Brighton has been grounded by fog. Just when things are really starting to heat up, Michael's friends take their revenge on him for all of his stag night pranks against him and put him in a coffin in a grave. Their intention is to make him sweat a little and come back in a few hours and dig him up. As they're driving off they are in a horrible car accident. Three die on impact and the fourth has suffered severe injuries and is comatose. Enter Detective Superintendent Roy Grace. Grace has been asked by a friend and co-worker to help out on Michael’s disappearance. Can they find Michael before his upcoming nuptials or before he dies of lack of oxygen or worse?

Dead Simple is the first in the Roy Grace series by Peter James. Grace is not your average police officer. He is relatively young to be a detective superintendent and was on a fast track until a defense attorney mocks him for his belief in the paranormal, specifically the use of psychics on his cases. Grace is thirty-nine years old and has been grieving the disappearance of his wife Sandy for nine years. He refuses to have her legally declared dead because he still holds out hope that she'll be found. Grace's abilities as an outstanding police officer are admired by most and it is precisely due to this admiration that his friend and co-worker Glenn Branson that he is called in on Michael Harrison's disappearance. Roy doesn't quite believe Michael's best-friend and best man Mark Warren when he says he had no idea what his friends were up to on that night, he had only planned a pub crawl. Although Michael's fiancée Ashley appears to be distraught over his disappearance, there's something about her manner that has Roy wondering about her as well.

Dead Simple is part thriller, part suspense, part police procedural, and a great read. Roy Grace is a quirky but likeable character and wholly believable as a police officer. His interaction with friends and coworkers adds to his likeability quotient and adds to the reader's understanding of Grace the man and Grace the police officer. This seemingly simple case of a missing man becomes anything but simple as the story evolves. Just when you think you know who is doing what and why, Mr. James throws in a nice plot twist and you're off in a completely new direction. There are bad guys and even worse guys in this story and they provide the perfect foil for Grace and his abilities. All of the action in the story takes place over a span of five days, a fast-paced, suspense-filled five days. Does Grace find the bad guy(s) in the end? Is Michael still alive? What was the motive behind Michael's "abduction?” You know I'm not going to reveal those types of details; you have to read this delightfully twisted story for yourself to find out. One thing I can tell you is that I'll be reading more of the Roy Grace series by Mr. James because I'm totally hooked.


Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book free for review purposes from the publisher via NetGalley. I was not paid, required or otherwise obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."


Saturday, October 4, 2014

Book Showcase: STRONG DARKNESS by Jon Land




Strong Darkness



by Jon Land



on Tour at Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours October 1-31, 2014



 



Book Details:



Genre: Thriller


Published by: Forge 


Publication Date: Sept 30, 2014 


Number of Pages: 368 


ISBN: 978-0765335111 


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Synopsis:




1883: Texas Ranger William Ray Strong teams up with Judge Roy Bean to track down the Old West's first serial killer who's stitching a trail of death along the railroad lines slicing their way through Texas.
The Present: Fifth Generation Texas Ranger Caitlin Strong finds herself pursuing another serial killer whose methods are eerily similar to the one pursued by her great-grandfather almost a century-and-a-half before. But that's just the beginning of the problems confronting Caitlin in her biggest and most dangerous adventure yet, starting off when the son of her reformed outlaw boyfriend Cort Wesley Masters is nearly beaten to death while at college.
The trail of that attack at Brown University leads all the way back to Texas and a Chinese high-tech company recently awarded the contract to build the nation's Fifth Generation wireless network. Li Zhen, a rare self-made man in China and the company's founder, counts that as the greatest achievement of his career. But it's an achievement that hides the true motivations behind a rise fueled by events dating back to the time of Caitlin's great-grandfather. Because the same era that spawned a serial killer who has impossibly resurfaced today also hides the secrets behind Li's thirst for nothing less than China's total domination of the United States.
His fiendishly clever plan is backed by all-powerful elements of the Chinese underworld that will stop at nothing to insure its success. Up against an army at Li's disposal, Caitlin and Cort Wesley blaze a violent trail across country and continent in search of secrets hidden in the past, but it’s a secret from the present that holds the means to stop their adversary's plot in its tracks, even as a climactic battle dawns with nothing less than the fate of the U.S. at stake. Because there's a darkness coming, and only Caitlin Strong can find the light before it's too late.





Read an excerpt:

CHAPTER 1

San Antonio, Texas

"Sinners repent or more will die! Sinners repent or more will die! Sinners repent or more will die!"

Caitlin Strong listened to the chant repeated over and over again by the Beacon of Light Church members who'd decided to picket a young soldier's funeral here in San Antonio in pointless protest. The words were harder to make out across the street beyond the thousand-foot buffer the protestors were required to keep, but clear enough to disturb the parents of an army hero who just wanted to bury their son in peace.

"What are you going to do about this, Ranger?" Bud Chauncey, the young man's father, asked her.

"I've requested that they vacate the premises, sir," Caitlin told the man. "My orders are to do no more than that as long as they keep their distance. It's the law."

Chauncey, who owned several car dealerships in the area, turned toward the Beacon of Light Church members gathered on a patch of fresh land up a slight rise across the road Mission Burial Park had purchased in order to expand. His eyes looked bloodshot and weary, his face held in an angry glare that captured the frustration over being able to do no more about their presence here than he could for the son he was about to lay to rest. He stretched a hand through stringy gray hair to smooth it back down, but the breeze quickly blew it out of place again. Chauncey always looked so strong, vital and happy on his television commercials, leaving Caitlin to wonder if this was even the same man. His neck was thin and marred by discolored patches of skin that looked to have come from radiation treatments. His hands were thin and knobby and she noticed them trembling once he moved them from his pockets. She caught a glimpse of tobacco stains on the tips of his fingers and nails and thought of those radiation treatments again.

"Thousand feet away?" Chauncey questioned.

"Legislature passed a law restricting protests to that distance to funerals held in the state."

Chauncey gazed back at the mourners gathered by his son's gravesite waiting for the service to begin. He and Caitlin stood off to the side of the building funeral cortege at Mission Burial Park, the cemetery located on the San Antonio River where her father and grandfather were buried in clear view of the historic Espada Mission.

"Why don't you explain that to my boy, Ranger?"

It sounded more like a plea than a question, a grieving father looking for a way to reconcile his son's death in the face of picketing strangers paying him the ultimate disrespect. Blaming gays and their lifestyle for the landmine that had taken a young man's life when he threw himself on two other soldiers to save them.

"The world might be full of shit," Chauncey resumed with his gaze fixed across the road, electricity seeming to radiate out of his pores with the sweat to the point where Caitlin figured she’d get a shock if she stretched a hand out to comfort him. "But that doesn't mean we ever get used to stepping in it."

"I'll be right back, sir," she told Bud Chauncey and headed toward the street.



CHAPTER 2

San Antonio, Texas

It seemed like too nice a day to bury somebody as gifted as Bud Chauncey's son Junior. An All-District athlete in three sports, Homecoming King and senior class president who’d joined the Army's ROTC program. He went to Afghanistan already a hero and came back in a box after his platoon was hit by a Taliban ambush while on patrol. It was bad enough when good boys died for no good reason Caitlin could see. It was even worse when it happened while a war was winding down and most back home had stopped paying attention.

Caitlin was thinking of Dylan Torres, the eighteen-year-old son of the man she considered, well, her boy friend, as she walked toward the road and grassy field across it in the process of being dug out to make room for Mission Burial Park's expansion. Bud Chauncey's son Junior had been barely a year older when he died and she couldn't help picturing Dylan patrolling a desert wasteland with M-16 held in the ready position before him. Still a boy, no matter how much he’d been through or how many monsters with whom he’d come into contact. Currently in Providence, Rhode Island where he was in the midst of his freshman football season for Brown University.

Caitlin had read that Junior Chauncey had been accepted for admission at the University of Texas at Austin where he hoped to do the same. Dylan had a junior varsity game next weekend, if she remembered correctly. Junior would never don helmet and pads again.

That thought pushed a spring into her step as she strode across the road now crammed with cars, both parked along the side and inching along in search of a space. The funeral was being delayed to account for that, giving Bud Chauncey more time to suffer and the Beacon of Light Church more time to make their presence known. Alerted to their coming, television crews from five local stations and at least two national ones she could see had arrived first, their cameras covering all that was transpiring on both sides of the road.

Crossing the street, Caitlin thought she felt a blast of heat flushed by a furnace slam into her. It seemed to radiate off the protesters turning the air hot and prickly as they continued to chant. The sky was cloudless, the heat building in the fall day under a sun more like summer’s from the burn Caitlin felt on her cheeks.

Caitlin recognized the leader, William Bryant Tripp, from his wet-down hair, skin flushed red and handlebar mustache, and angled herself straight for him across the edge of the field that gave way to a drainage trench the width of a massive John Deere wheel loader's shovel. The trench created a natural barricade between the Beacon of Light Church members and what might as well have been the rest of the world, while the big Deere sat idle between towering mounds of earth set further back in the field.

"Sinners repent or more will die! Sinners repent or more will die! Sinners repent or more will die!"

"Mr. Tripp," she called to the leader over the chants. He'd stepped out of the procession at her approach, smirking and twirling the ends of his mustache.

"It's Reverend Tripp," he reminded.

Caitlin nodded, trying to look respectful. "There's people grieving a tragic death across the way, Reverend, and I'd ask you again as a man and a Christian to vacate the premises so they might do so in peace. You've made your point already and I believe you should leave things at that."

The smirk remained. "Peace is what this church is all about, Ranger, a peace that can only be achieved if those who debauch and deface the values of good honest people like us repent and are called out for their sins."

"Gays had nothing to do with putting that brave boy in a coffin, sir. That was the work of a bunch of cowardly religious fanatics like the ones serving you here today."

The smirk slipped from Tripp's expression, replaced by a look that brushed Caitlin off and sized her up at the same time. "We're breaking no laws here. So I'm going to ask you to leave us in peace."

Caitlin felt her muscles tightening, her mouth going dry. "You have every right to be here and I'm here to protect your rights to peaceful assembly as well as the rights of the Chauncey family to bury their son without a sideshow. The problem is that presents a contradiction it's my duty to resolve. And the best way to do that is to ask you and your people to simply leave in a timely fashion."

Tripp shifted his shoulders. He seemed to relish the threat Caitlin's words presented. "And if we choose not to?"

"You've made your point for the cameras already, sir. There's nothing more for you to prove. So do the holy thing by packing up your pickets and heading on." Caitlin gazed toward the protestors thrusting their signs into the air in perfect rhythm with their chanting. "Use the time to paint over those signs, so you're ready to terrorize the next family that loses a son in battle, Mr. Tripp."

Tripp measured her words, running his tongue around the inside of his mouth. It made a sound like crushing a grape underfoot. Caitlin could feel the sun's heat between them now, serving as an invisible barrier neither wanted to breach.

"It's Reverend Tripp," he reminded again.

"I believe that title needs to be earned," Caitlin told him, feeling her words start to race ahead of her thoughts. 

Tripp stiffened. "This church has been serving Him and His word since the very founding of this great nation, Ranger. Even here in the great state of Texas itself."

"Those other military funerals you've been picketing from Lubbock to Amarillo don't count toward that, sir."

"I was speaking of our missionary work back in the times of the frontier; the railroads and the oil booms. How this church tried to convert the Chinese heathen hordes to Christianity."

"Heathen hordes?"

"It was a fool's errand," Tripp said, bitterness turning his expression even more hateful. "The Chinese made for an unholy, hateful people not deserving of our Lord's good graces."

"But you believe you are, thanks to hurting those good folks across the way, is that right? Problem is you're not serving God, sir, you're serving yourself. And I'm giving you a chance to square things the easy way instead of the hard."

Tripp sneered at her. "Such threats didn't work in Lubbock or Amarillo and they won't work here either."

"I wasn't the one who made them in those cities, Mr. Tripp. You'd be well advised to listen this time."

"And what if I don’t?"

"Sinners repent or more will die! Sinners repent or more will die! Sinners repent or more will die!"

The chanting had picked up in cadence, seeming to reach a crescendo as the funeral goers squeezed themselves around Junior Chauncey’s gravesite across the road so the ceremony could begin. Caitlin watched the members of the Beacon of Light Church thrusting their picket signs into the air as if they were trying to make rain, the image of their feet teetering on the edge of recently dug drainage trench holding in her mind.

"I guess I'll have to think of something," she told Tripp and started away.



CHAPTER 3

San Antonio, Texas

Caitlin looped around the perimeter of the protesters, her presence likely forgotten by the time she reached the John Deere wheel loader parked between matching piles of excavated earth. She recognized it as a 644K hybrid model boasting twenty tons of power that could probably level a skyscraper. Caitlin had learned to drive earlier, more brutish versions while helping to rebuild a Mexican family's home after they'd been burned out by drunken kids for a pot deal gone wrong. Trouble was the drug dealer who'd screwed the kids actually lived across the street. Caitlin's father had arrested the boys two days later. Considering them dangerous criminals, Jim Strong made them strip to their underwear and left them to roast in the sun while he waited for back-up to assist him in a cavity search. Jim had organized the rebuilding effort, financed ultimately by the restitution paid by the accused boys' parents to keep them out of jail. Caitlin's father had brokered that deal as well.

The hybrid engine of the 644K sounded a hundred times quieter than the roar coughed by the older version and handled as easy as a subcompact, when Caitlin started it forward.

"Sinners repent or more will die! Sinners repent or more will die! Sinners repent or more will die!"

She couldn't hear the chanting anymore, imagining it in her mind with each thrust of the picket signs into the air. It was loud enough to keep the protestors from detecting her approach, even when she lowered the shovel into position and let its teeth dig maybe a foot down into the ground.

Caitlin plowed the growing pile of dirt forward as if it were snow after a rare Texas blizzard. The back row of the protesters turned just as the wall of gathered earth crested over the shovel. Caitlin imagined the panic widen their eyes, heard screams and shouts as they tried desperately to warn the others what was coming.

Too late.

The massive power of the John Deere pushed the earthen wall straight into the center of the pack fronted by William Bryant Tripp himself, driving the mass forward without even a sputter. The last thing Caitlin glimpsed were picket signs closer to the front stubbornly clinging to the air before those holding them were gobbled up and shoved forward.

Down into the drainage trench.

Caitlin pictured Reverend Tripp toppling in first, imagined the trench as a mass grave or, better yet, the week's deposit zone in the local landfill. Because that's where the members of the Beacon of Light Church belonged in her mind, dumped in along with the other stench-riddled trash.

Some of the protesters managed to peel off to the side to escape the John Deere’s force and wrath, and Caitlin didn't brake the big machine until the earthen wall she was dragging stopped on the edge of the trench. Portions of it sifted downward, forestalling the efforts of Tripp and his minions to climb out. So she gave the Deere just a little more gas to trap them a bit longer.

Caitlin cut off the engine at that point. Her gaze drifted across the street to the funeral ceremony for Junior Chauncey where to a man and woman everyone had turned around to face the other side of the road. They saw the members of the Beacon of Light Church visible only as hands desperately clawing for purchase to pull themselves from the trench into which Caitlin had forced them. She hopped down out of the cab and walked around the wall of dirt and grass the John Deere had helped her lay.

Then, to a man and woman led by Bud Chauncey himself, the funeral goers started to clap their hands, applauding her. It got louder and louder, reaching a crescendo just as the television cameras began rotating feverishly between both sides of the road and reporters rushed toward Caitlin with microphones in hand.

She leaped across the trench, brushing the microphones and cameras aside, the sun hot against her flesh.

"You're going to pay for this, Caitlin Strong!" she heard Tripp scream at her, as he finally managed to hoist himself from the ditch. "The Lord does not forget!"

"Neither do I, sir," Caitlin said calmly, regarding the dirt clinging to him no amount of shaking or brushing could remove. It turned his ash gray hair a dark brown, making him look as if he was wearing a vegetable garden atop his head. "And you'd be wise to remember that."





Author Bio:


Hailed as "the greatest thriller writer alive today" by Bookviews and called "a creative genius" by Romantic Times, Jon Land is the author of 36 books, twenty-one of which have been national bestsellers, Jon is published in over fifty countries and six different languages, including German and Japanese. There are currently almost 7 million copies of his books in print. RT Book Reviews honored him with a special achievement award for being a Pioneer in Genre Fiction.

Jon's latest series features female Texas Ranger Caitlin Strong who debuted in STRONG ENOUGH TO DIE (May '09, Forge Books). The Associated Press wrote "The book is a page-turner, the pace blistering, the characters well-drawn and the action hot. Caitlin Strong is a female version of John McClane from Die Hard." That was followed by STRONG JUSTICE (June '10, Forge) which Publisher's Weekly lauded with a starred review calling it, "Intense and skillfully plotted." The San Jose Mercury News added that, "I've always wondered why there isn't an estrogen driven, sometimes skirt wearing female competitor to James Bond, Jack Reacher, Mike Hammer, Spenser … Well ladies and gentlemen, now there is and her name is Caitlin Strong." STRONG JUSTICE was named a Top Thriller of the Year by Library Journal and was named runner-up for Best Novel of the Year by the New England Book Festival. The third Caitlin Strong novel, STRONG AT THE BREAK (June '11, Forge) was called "the best book I've read this year" by the San Jose Mercury News. "A terrific plot, vivid characters, suspense, a fast pace, all the ingredients of a great thriller," adds Strand Magazine which included the book on their Best Books of the Year list as did Library Journal which named it, again, as a Top Thriller of Year. The next book in the series, STRONG VENGEANCE (July '12, Forge) garnered the highest praise in series so far, including from the Huffington Post which proclaimed it, "a rare combination of meticulous research and good old-fashioned shoot-em-up action." STRONG RAIN FALLING (August '13, Forge) Caitlin's latest adventure, won the 2013 USA Best Books Award and 2014 International Book Award in the Mystery/Suspense category. STRONG DARKNESS, the next in the series, was published in September of 2014.

Meanwhile, BETRAYAL (January '12, Forge), Jon's first nonfiction effort that reached as high as #5 on the Boston Globe bestseller list, was optioned by Fox as a vehicle for Denis Leary, and named Best True Crime Book of the Year by Suspense Magazine as well as winning the 2013 International Book Award for Best True Crime. Most recently, Jon has resurrected his longtime series hero Blaine McCracken in THE TENTH CIRCLE (December '13, Open Road Media) and PANDORA'S TEMPLE (November '12, Open Road Media) which was nominated for a 2013 Thriller Award in the Best E-Book Original category and won the 2013 International Book Award for Best Adventure Thriller.

No stranger to the world of the film, Jon's first film, a teen caper-comedy called DIRTY DEEDS, was released theatrically in the summer of 2005 and in DVD in January of 2006. Among numerous others, his current film projects include CHALK (Handpicked Films and Millennium) and STRANDED (Milk & Media Productions).

Jon graduated Brown University in 1979 Phi Beta Kappa and Magna cum Laude. He continues his association with Brown as alumni advisor to the Greek System, and vice-president of the Brown Football Association. He bases his novels and scripts on extensive travel and research, as well as a twenty-year career in the martial arts. He is an associate member of the United States Special Forces, has volunteered frequently in schools to help young people learn to enjoy the process of writing and chairs the Marketing Committee of International Thriller Writers. He lives in Providence, RI and can be found on the web at:





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