“Second Story Man”–Review

61RkJrP7i9LGood evening, bloggers! I hope you were able to enjoy World Book Day. This afternoon, I finished reading another great one from Charles Salzberg, so here’s my review.

Francis Hoyt is athletic, brilliant, arrogant, manipulative, and ruthless. He cares for no one but himself. In fact, he loves talking about himself, all the while truly believing he’ll always be the best at anything. What he’s always excelled in, though, is stealing high-end silver. Somehow, he’s been able to enter homes—usually while families were eating dinner—swipe the silver, and make his escape without leaving any trace of his DNA. How was it all possible? How did he manage to avoid getting caught?

Charlie Floyd is a recently retired investigator with Connecticut’s attorney general department. For years, he’s been a stubborn, yet highly-skilled investigator, but now felt it was the time to take some time for himself. When he receives a phone call from Manny Perez—a Miami police officer who’s worked with him in the past—regarding Francis Hoyt, Charlie is a bit hesitant. It isn’t long before Manny talks him into taking on the case with him, however, and the two friends work endlessly together, determined to not rest until Hoyt is behind bars.

Each chapter alternates from the points-of-view of Hoyt, Floyd, and Perez. When Hoyt eventually learns that Floyd and Perez are gaining on him, he taunts them. There’s no way he’s backing down, no matter the situation. He’ll do whatever it takes to have them out of the picture, even if some people may have to get hurt. I really liked where the story was going and the narration and dialog was well-written. Getting to know Hoyt’s story and why he did what he did made the story even better. Even the ending had me saying, “Are you kidding me?” No spoilers, of course. The whole story was realistic, which is what I do like in a novel. I recommend this one for crime fiction enthusiasts.

Feel free to post your comments. Happy reading!

About the author: Charles Salzberg is the author of the Shamus Award-nominated Swann’s Last Song, Swann Dives In, Swann’s Lake of Despair, and Swann’s Way Out. He also is the author of Devil in the Hole, which was chosen as one of the Best Crime Novels of 2013 by Suspense Magazine. He lives in New York City and teaches writing at the Writer’s Voice and the New York Writers Workshop, where he is proud to be a Founding Member. For more info, click here. You can also find him on Twitter and Facebook.

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“Pretty Lost Dolls”–Review

411UUFkwQEL._SX311_BO1,204,203,200_Welcome home, little doll…

Detective Jade Phillips is back in the second installment of the Pretty Little Dolls series. In fact, she’s back in the same cell where her captor, Benny, held her prisoner for four years, along with her sister, Macy—who Jade had left behind during her escape over eight years ago. While she is fighting to stay strong and to overpower Benny once and for all, Jade has high hopes that she’ll make her escape again and to finally bring Macy home. But after years of Benny’s abuse, Macy has lost her mind. Will Jade still be able to save Macy?

Meanwhile, Detective Dillon Scott—Jade’s lover and partner on the police force—is doing everything in his power to find Jade and to destroy Benny. Until Benny is dead, Dillon knows Jade will never be at peace.

Honestly, I couldn’t put this book down. It definitely got better, especially because most of the chapters were from Benny’s point-of-view. If you’ve read the previous book, you know how much of a psycho he is. In this book, though, he gets worse. This installment was twice as disturbing and graphic, but it’s still worth reading. Also, the book had more of Dillon’s perspective and I liked that he was quick to act when it came to Jade. His love for her was strong and he was willing to stop at nothing to have her back.

If you haven’t read the first book, Pretty Stolen Dolls, I encourage you to do so. You just might love it. I look forward to reading the next book in the series. As I’ve mentioned regarding the previous book, the second book also contains violence, language, and adult content. Feel free to post your comments. Happy reading!

About the authors: K Webster is a USA Today Bestselling author of dozens of romance books in many different genres including dark romance, taboo romance, contemporary romance, historical romance, paranormal romance, and erotic romance. When not spending time with her supportive husband and two adorable children, she’s active on social media connecting with her readers. For more info, click here.

Ker Dukey’s books tend to be darker romance, edge-of-your-seat, angst-filled reads. Her advice to readers: “When starting one of my titles…prepare for the unexpected.”
For info on Ker Dukey, click here.

“Swann’s Way Out”–Review

51q6G4-8iKLGood evening, all! I finally had the opportunity to read the fourth Henry Swann novel. If you haven’t read the first three, I highly encourage you to do so, especially if you like some good detective fiction.

The story begins with skip tracer Henry Swann, at a poker game, who is trying to figure out what he’s supposed to do with his life. After all, he’s spent years taking on cases involving delinquents, runaways, thieves, etc. He wasn’t quite sure if being a skip tracer was actually his calling. After the game, however, Swann is offered a case which sends him to Hollywood in order to find Rusty Jacobs, the man responsible for embezzling $1,000,000 from his client. All Swann has to do is get the money back and all will be okay. Swann does find Jacobs, but learns that this wannabe film producer is convinced his movie project will make it big in the Christian market. As for the $1,000,000 that was used to make the movie trailer? It seems to have disappeared. While Swann’s client claims the money was stolen, Jacobs claims it was used as an investment. Although Swann’s motive is to just get the money back—he couldn’t really care less for the reason for the so-called investments—he can’t help wondering who’s telling the truth.

Meanwhile, Swann has another job thrown at him—thanks to his business partner, Goldblatt—where he has to help another client in the New York City art world who may have been defrauded on the purchase of a valuable painting that may or may not be a fake.

While it all seems to be one thing after another, Swann gets a call regarding his estranged teenage son who has run away from his grandparents’ home in Minnesota and has possibly joined a cult. Now a guilt-ridden Swann must take time out from his paying cases to find the son he hasn’t seen in years.

This installment is definitely worth reading. Henry Swann is the best! Like the first three books, this one also has excellent narration and dialogue. Everything just gets right to the point. I enjoyed the quirky relationship between Swann and Goldblatt. Great humor, sarcasm, and Swann doesn’t take BS from anyone.

Feel free to post your comments. Happy reading!

About the author: Charles Salzberg is the author of the Shamus Award-nominated Swann’s Last Song, as well as the sequels, Swann Dives In and Swann’s Lake of Despair. He is also the author of Devil in the Hole, which was chosen as one of the Best Crime Novels of 2013 by Suspense magazine. He lives in New York City and teaches writing at the Writer’s Voice and the New York Writers Workshop, where he is proud to be a founding member. For more info about the author, click here. You can also follow him on Twitter.

“The St. Lucia Island Club”–Review

51Mt4PPgMlL._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_This is Book 5 of the John Le Brun novels.

It is 1910, New York City, when retired sheriff-turned-detective John Le Brun and his wife, Lordis, travel to the Caribbean island of St. Lucia for a long-awaited honeymoon.  They expect to find paradise and relaxation, once they arrive.  However, they discover they’ve been lured in to solicit the island’s attributes as a vacation retreat to wealthy investors back home.  They, soon, find the land to be filled with racial, social, and economic tension.

John puts his detective skills to use when he learns of the brutal murders of a local plantation owner’s family.  He must figure out if the culprit is one of the white landowners of the exclusive St. Lucia Island Club, the descendants of former African slaves, or another person entirely.  John and Lordis race to uncover the mysteries as the body count rises.

Although I was unaware, at first, that this book is part of a series, I still gave it a chance.  After five chapters, to be honest, I couldn’t get into the story.  I like the idea behind it, but it didn’t work for me.  Perhaps I need to go back to the first book—The Jekyl Island Club—to get a better idea.  Nevertheless, if you’re a fan of John Le Brun, I encourage you to read this book, and I hope you enjoy it.  Feel free to post your comments.  Happy reading!

*I received this book from Turner Publishing, in exchange for an honest review.

About the author: Brent Monahan was born in Fukuoka, Kyushu, Japan in 1948, as a World War II occupation baby. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Rutgers University in Music and his Doctor of Musical Arts degree from Indiana University, Bloomington. He has performed, stage directed and taught music and writing professionally. He has authored fourteen published novels and a number of short stories. Two of his novels have been made into motion pictures. Brent lives in Yardley, Pennsylvania, with his wife, Bonnie.

“The Father: Made In Sweden”–Review

51IfzRnXajL._SX329_BO1,204,203,200_Based on a true story, The Father is part one of a two-novel series of three brothers who committed numerous bank robberies throughout Sweden, in the 1990s.  With no criminal records, and their being under 24 years old, these brothers would eventually be known as criminal masterminds amid the glare of the international media.

Written by the fourth brother and a television journalist who reported the crimes at that time, this story shows how a father led his sons from being innocent children to being Sweden’s most wanted criminals.

This was a great read for me and the dialogue was well-written.  Once I got toward the middle of the book, I couldn’t put it down.  Towards the end, it was even better.  In some ways, I did feel bad for the main characters, who were young boys who only wanted to be a family; however, years of dealing with their violent, overbearing father wound up leading them all to a life of crime.

I’m looking forward to the second book in the series.  In fact, my reading this book may have inspired me to learn Swedish.

As always, feel free to comment.  Happy reading!

The Father will be available in hardcover on April 5, 2016.

*I received this Advance Reader’s Copy from Quercus Books and Shelf Awareness, in a giveaway, for a honest review.

About the author: Anton Svensson is a pseudonym for Stefan Thunberg and Anders Roslund.  Stefan Thunberg is one of Scandinavia’s most celebrated screenwriters.  His work includes the TV series Henning Mankell’s Wallander and Håkan Nesser’s Van Veeteren.  While Thunberg achieved success as a screenwriter, his father and brothers were Sweden’s most notorious bank robbers, known as Militärligan (The Military League), by the media.  The Father is Thunberg’s debut novel.  Anders Roslund is an award-winning investigative journalist and one of the acclaimed Scandinavian writers of our time.  He is part of the New York Times bestselling author duo Roslund & Hellström, who are recipients of the CWA International Dagger, the Glass Key and the Swedish Academy of Crime Writers’ Award, and who boast sales exceeding five million copies.  The Father is Roslund’s seventh novel and the first time he has co-authored with Stefan Thunberg.

“Double Switch”–Review

51Zp6zShDPL._SX323_BO1,204,203,200_Blackmail.  Bullets.  Deception.  It’s time to play ball.

Johnny Adcock—the aging major-league relief pitcher who also works as a private investigator—is back in a follow-up thriller to The Setup Man.

Johnny has the bullpen as his office.  The bullpen is where he’s sitting, shelling out sunflower seeds after a game, when he is approached by Tiff Tate—the career-making stylist behind the most highly marketable looks in Major League Baseball.  Tiff needs Johnny’s help with her new client, Yonel Ruiz, a rookie phenom who had risked his life to flee his native Cuba for fame and fortune in the MLB.  Now that Ruiz has a signed contract with the League, the Venezuelan cartel that smuggled him out has sent out a ruthless assassin, known as La Loba, to collect.

Although the front office wants to shut down Johnny’s side work, Johnny takes on the case—with the corporate fixer and “director of security” keeping a close watch on him.  This new case leaves Johnny in more deadly situations that not only threaten to end his baseball career, but may be the end of him.

I was definitely satisfied with this book.  With excellent narration and dialogue, the story had one surprise and twist after another.  The ending wasn’t what I expected, either, but I liked it.  Johnny Adcock is clever and sexy, in my opinion.  I don’t know much about baseball, but I do enjoy a good mystery.  Also, Reader, this book is not for children.  Feel free to post your comments.  Double Switch is now available.

Happy reading!

*I received this copy from Doubleday for an honest review.

About the author: T.T. Monday is the pseudonym of novelist Nick Taylor, author of The Disagreement and Father Junipero’s Confessor.  Double Switch is his second novel to feature Johnny Adcock, following The Setup Man.  For more info, click here.  Follow him on Twitter.

“The Setup Man”–Review

51u8oWwsarL._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_Whether you’re a baseball fan or not, this is some good detective/mystery fiction.

In The Setup Man, Johnny Adcock is an aging pitcher for the Major Leagues, along with a perfect retirement plan: working as a private investigator.  With the brain and brawn, Johnny knows Major League Baseball is a good source of employment while, at the same time, handling the unique problems of professional athletes.  Baseball salaries have always attracted gangsters, hustlers, and predators of all types who prey on the players’ egos.  When players, coaches, agents, or wives have problems they don’t want to make public, to whom do they turn?  Johnny Adcock.

While on the bus, after a game, Johnny’s teammate, Frankie Herrera, confides in Johnny that he has a “problem with his wife.”  Johnny takes on the case, assuming it’s just another marital issue, which can be common with athletes’ spouses.  The case becomes dangerous when Frankie winds up dead in a car accident, leaving too many unanswered questions.

The case takes Johnny into dangerous territory, stumbling upon a deadly ring of murder, porn, Mexican cartels, and a conspiracy that may threaten to become the biggest scandal to hit Major League Baseball.

Ballplayers lead exciting lives, don’t they?  Once I got toward the middle of this book, I had to keep reading.  I enjoyed the narration, including the dialogue.  I like how fast-paced it was, how it all just got to the point.  Should you read this book, as always, let me know what you think.

Up next, I’ll be reading Double Switch, the follow-up to The Setup Man.  I’ll keep you updated.  Happy reading!

About the author: T.T. Monday lives in San Jose, California.  The Setup Man is his first thriller.  For more info, click here.