#Throwback Thursday ~The Snow Killer by Ross Greenwood #Review #hard-boiled mystery @greenwoodross

‘Fear the north wind. Because no one will hear you scream…’

A family is gunned down in the snow but one of the children survives. Three years on, that child takes revenge and the Snow Killer is born. But then, nothing – no further crimes are committed, and the case goes cold.

Fifty years later, has the urge to kill been reawakened? As murder follows murder, the detective team tasked with solving the crimes struggle with the lack of leads. It’s a race against time and the weather – each time it snows another person dies.

As an exhausted and grizzled DI Barton and his team scramble to put the pieces of the puzzle together, the killer is hiding in plain sight. Meanwhile, the murders continue…

The first in a new series, Ross Greenwood has written a cracking, crackling crime story with a twist in its tale which will surprise even the most hardened thriller readers. Perfect for fans of Mark Billingham and Stuart MacBride.

Praise for The Snow Killer:

Move over Rebus and Morse; a new entry has joined the list of great crime investigators in the form of Detective Inspector John Barton. A rich cast of characters and an explosive plot kept me turning the pages until the final dramatic twist.’ author Richard Burke

‘With The Snow Killer, master of the psychological thriller genre Ross Greenwood once again proves his talent for creating engrossing and gritty novels that draw you right in and won’t let go until you’ve reached the shocking ending.’ Caroline Vincent at Bitsaboutbooks blog

‘Ross Greenwood doesn’t write clichés. What he has written here is a fast-paced, action-filled puzzle with believable characters that are spiced with a lot of humour.’ author Kath Middleton


Our Review

Detective John Barton is overworked and overweight, but one of the most likeable characters I have met in a long while. We discover that he is a happily married family man, most unusual in his line of work. His relationship with his family and colleagues is a delight to read about and a lovely contrast to the job he does.

The opening chapters are set fifty years ago in a snowstorm and sets a serious tone for the story, as a child watches in silent horror as his family is brutally slaughtered. Fifty years later, people begin to die every time it snows. But who is the Snow Killer?

The Snow Killer is a brilliantly written detective story with perfect pace and just the right amount of tension. Although, saying that, the end of the story will have you gasping for breath as the drama goes through the roof with such a twisting finale that I really didn’t see coming!

This is a story that will chill you to the bone and not just because the drama intensifies every time it snows.

I will be eagerly watching for the next story in the DI Barton series…

WIP Wednesday…

Where is my walk in the park?

There have been days in the last six months when I have had trouble doing anything writing-related. Days when I rely on autopilot to get me through the day.

What with all the worry about my sister’s health, my primary job as a carer has pretty much removed all hopes of my writing anything. Consequently, the current WIP, Ghost of a Chance, has become static. On a good day, I sit and look at it, hoping inspiration or something similar will turn up, but then duty or a problem calls, and I must walk away again.

Stubborn is as stubborn does though, and I have a new plan.

Ghost of a Chance has become a complicated mess with storyline plot holes big enough to swallow my desk and only two-thirds finished. I have realised that to keep writing, hoping it will make better sense as I go on, would be disastrous, eventually making the problem worse.

So, and I’m getting quite fond of that word, I have a new plan.

I have created a blank storyboard for all my characters, and I am slowly reading each chapter and placing them in what I hope will be the right places. This system should highlight the missing parts too, I hope.

Now I am no longer concentrating on the concluding chapters, I think I will be able to sort everything out, thereby making finishing it a real walk in the park. (Or at least something similar!)

Anita is home from the hospital, but far from well. We are taking good care of her and hoping for the best. And good news in two weeks at her check-up would be lovely too…

The Last Dragon in London by Widdershins ~ #Historical Fantasy ~ Review

In the second decade of the Twentieth Century, Mildred Norman, Mildy to her friends, not many of whom are left alive, is broken in body and spirit after a long hard war.
An old friend suggests that she might like, as a bit of a distraction, to spend some time doing a bit of a ‘grand tour’ of all the places named ‘London’ throughout the world.
What begins as a whim, ends with a discovery that challenges everything she believes is possible.
Arriving in the last ‘London’, on her list, a tiny village tucked away in a remote valley, she meets up with a few of the locals and shenanigans ensue.
With the help of a child hunting mythical beasts, the child’s grandmother, and a cast of quirky villagers, Mildy shows how dangerous a stout woman with a lethal arsenal in her pockets can be.
She uncovers a plot to alter the course of history, begun so long ago that no records of the conspirators remain, except for one place, the place she now calls home.
To protect those she has come to love from certain destruction at the hands of a cruel and loathsome cabal, she must battle threats both near and far, and confront the mysterious force guiding it all.
And then, of course, there’s the question of dragons …

About the Author

Widdershins

I was born in England on a crisp autumn eve in 1958, emigrated to Australia at the tender age of two, and moved to Canada in 2004 where I married the love of my life. I left school when I was fourteen, and thereafter continued my education via libraries, books, and whatever Life decided to throw my way.

I was born in England, grew up in Australia, moved to Canada in 2004 and married the love of my life the same year. I’m a lesbian, a writer of Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Fiction.

I’ve tried many things in my time on this little planet we call Earth, and I’m sure that before I leave this mortal coil I shall joust with many others.

I’ve ridden a bicycle down a hill so steep all I could do was hold on and scream with sheer exhilaration. (and terror) I’ve sweated under a burning sun to plant seedlings in dusty fields. I have a long-standing relationship with sewing machines, starting with an old Singer treadle machine when I was barely tall enough to reach the pedal. Once upon a time I went to university and studied Architecture … it didn’t take. I had a dream of athletic superstardom, but a motorcycle accident stopped that rather abruptly.

Above all, writing is my passion and my profession, novels specifically, short stories occasionally, and always with lesbian characters.

I adopted ‘Widdershins’ as a pseudonym in the early days of the interwebz, and it stuck … because I am, if nothing else, contrariwise.

Our Review

The minute I started reading The Last Dragon and realised I was travelling on a train with someone called Mildred Norman, or Mildy as she preferred to be called, I felt at home. I love trains almost as much as I love dragons, so had the feeling I was in good company.

For several precious hours, the world outside my door went away and for the first time in a very long time, I remembered dragons again. All in the company of some lovely and very real people.

This story gives a totally new and interesting way of thinking about dragons, but personally, I have always believed they exist, somehow, somewhere.

Romantic, exciting, magical and intriguing, this story will delight you, as you suspend any doubts you may have had about magic and dragons.

Ice by James Pyles ~ #Alternative History #Review @jamespyles

Ice

In aeons past, the armies of Surtur the fire goddess and Ymir the frost giant waged an unceasing battle for dominance over the Earth. For all those ages, they maintained an uneasy but enduring balance. Then humanity rose from the mud, and with the passage of time, came to fear fire more than ice, devoting their own meagre forces to the conflict. Not to be denied, Surtur beat back both mortals and giants, consigning the planet to unrelenting heat and the ice lords to seeming oblivion. Before leaving the material realm, in jest, she gave humanity the gift of magic and the curse of the return of dragons.

For thousands of years thereafter, the race of people knew nothing but a world without ice. Spanning the globe in sailing ships, the humans continued to thrive and remembered not the distant past. Then Captain Ki-Moon Yong of the Oceanic Trading Company vessel the Star of Jindo is assigned the task of solving the most profound mystery ever encountered. Another ship has gone missing and her only remaining crewman suddenly commits suicide after visiting the sunken continent of Antarctica. All of the dinosaur species of the south have gone mad, invading the guarded towns and cities on their way north, as if to escape some monstrous terror.

The answers to these enigmas all lie on the continent at the bottom of the world, and Captain Moon must take the Star to a strange research facility to discover them. But once there, he is confronted with a truth so profound and so nightmarish that it will change the very nature of reality. Can the Star of Jindo escape the inevitable in time to warn an unbelieving world of that truth, or will they be consumed in frozen horror?

Our Review

Centuries before this story was written, a battle between fire and ice was waged. Humankind endured a world of fire after the fire Goddess Surtur, defeated the frost giant Ymir and for a long time the earth had no ice, for Antarctica lay at the bottom of the ocean.

But is the ice returning?

This is an exciting adventure like no other, with dramatic scenery and gripping personalities. Intricately plotted, gritty and well written with distinctive movie quality.

Despite involving goddesses, giants and mythical beings, this version of our own world seems all too real…

The Author

James Pyles is a published science fiction and fantasy writer. He is also an Information Technology textbook author and editor, and technical writer for the IT department of a multi-state corporation. Forty of his short stories have been published in anthologies and since 2019 and he sold his first novella in 2021. James won the 2021 Helicon Short Story Award for his science fiction tale “The Three Billion Year Love” which appears in the Tuscany Bay Press Planetary Anthology “Mars.” “Ice” his first self-published science fiction novella, was published at the end of 2021. You can find him at https://poweredbyrobots.com/ or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/jamespylesauthor/

WWW.Wednesday ~ What are you Reading this Week?

This should be a peaceful, happy time.

Three days until Christmas, and all I should be thinking of, is the timing of defrosting the turkey and the making of mince pies. Unfortunately, there is an awful lot more on our plate right now, and has been for a while. (More about that later, when we make it to the other side!)

Unable to concentrate on anything, especially the WIP, I reached for a book to stop all those unwanted thoughts from swimming around in my head. The book I chose, The Last Dragon in London, by our good friend Widdershins, may have saved my sanity. From the very first page, I felt the magic on the pages travel up my arms and into my heart. Somehow, I had been made welcome and felt at home, as if I had been there before and already knew these people.

The mince pies will be cooked, and the turkey defrosted, but my mind will be inside this book…

Book Description

In the second decade of the Twentieth Century, Mildred Norman, Mildy to her friends, not many of whom are left alive, is broken in body and spirit after a long hard war.
An old friend suggests that she might like, as a bit of a distraction, to spend some time doing a bit of a ‘grand tour’ of all the places named ‘London’ throughout the world.
What begins as a whim, ends with a discovery that challenges everything she believes is possible.
Arriving in the last ‘London’, on her list, a tiny village tucked away in a remote valley, she meets up with a few of the locals and shenanigans ensue.
With the help of a child hunting mythical beasts, the child’s grandmother, and a cast of quirky villagers, Mildy shows how dangerous a stout woman with a lethal arsenal in her pockets can be.
She uncovers a plot to alter the course of history, begun so long ago that no records of the conspirators remain, except for one place, the place she now calls home.
To protect those she has come to love from certain destruction at the hands of a cruel and loathsome cabal, she must battle threats both near and far, and confront the mysterious force guiding it all.
And then, of course, there’s the question of dragons …

Dead of Winter ~ Journey 11 ~ The Sumelazon Escarpment ~ #EpicFantasy ~ @teagangeneviene

Meet a new character in this Journey of Dead of Winter. She is a Deae Matres whose encounter with Gethin Gwilym has an unexpected result. Next in Pergesca, we get better acquainted with a noblewoman or “HaDritak,” who is an old friend of Zasha. She has a few tricks up her sleeves.
.
Emlyn sees and experiences places, customs, and foods that are foreign to her. One of her gifts is growing.
.
As the conclusion of Emlyn’s “Journeys” draws near, we see that our heroes are underdogs. They are out-manned, “out-spirited,” and under-powered — physically, magically, and politically. With no other recourse, they make use of deception and manipulation. Although, how can that possibly be enough?

Our Review

You tend to forget that Emlyn is so young and that this complicated and confusing journey must have terrified her at times.

So far, she has managed to face every crisis head-on, calmly, with a wisdom far beyond her years. Secret inner knowledge has guided her every step of the way.

A knowledge that I sincerely hope will stay with her until the end of the story, as I have a feeling it will become far more powerful as it draws to a close.

Powerful in ways only Emlyn will be able to control, and I hope she finds peace and happiness when the dust finally settles…

A Haunted WIP Wednesday?

Have you ever been haunted by a book?

One you are actually trying to write.

After struggling to finish this story for what seems like an awfully long time, I just seem to be digging myself a bigger hole to hide in.

I have made so many mistakes with Ghost of a Chance, and I don’t think it has much to do with the state of the world or the health problems we are still dealing with. Although to be fair, it might…

This is the first time I have ever created the cover before ever picking up a pen, and when I look at it now, it sends icy shivers all down my back. That evil face glares at me, and I swear he wants me to crawl away somewhere and die.

This, of course, is silly.

I created that cover and the antagonist on it, so why am I having so much trouble writing every page he appears on?

Ghost of a Chance is Book Four of the DI Snow Series, the one that follows the story of Snow’s awful ordeal of being shot with a crossbow in CrossFire.

Detective mysteries are my thing, writing a haunted mystery was nowhere in my head, and if writing them means I get haunted by the ghosts involved, I think I will give them a miss in the future.

This new story is supposed to be about Snow going back to work (or not?) Mending his marriage (or not?) Pastures new and new cases to solve, all those things. How a ghost found its way into the mix still baffles me, but I owe it to Snow to solve the puzzle.

Never one to walk (or run) away from a challenge, I need to lay this ghost, if that’s what he is, and hopefully before the end of the year, for we have plans for 2022…

Have I finally lost my marbles? I would love to know what you think…

#Throwback Thursday ~ The Beast Within by Jacquie Biggar ~ Mended Souls – Book 2 # Women’s Adventure Fiction @JacquieBiggar

Book Description


When Julie Crenshaw is offered a news reporter’s job on beautiful Vancouver Island she didn’t expect to land in the crosshairs of a serial killer.
Connor O’Rourke has seen his share of human depravities during his fourteen years as a homicide detective, but is still sickened by the murderer terrorizing his island shores.
And threatening his key witness.
As the stakes rise, can two people get a second chance at love?
Or will a killer become the winner?

From USA Today Bestselling Author Jacquie Biggar, Can two displaced angels save a woman from the clutches of a vicious psychopath?

The twists and turns in this story are amazing. Just when you think you know where the adventure is going, it switches to the unexpected. Definitely kept me entertained and on my toes!
Jacqui Nelson





Our Review

I found the opening paragraph of The Beast Within painful to read, but it did set the tone for the rest of the book very well.

I love a good mystery thriller, and the premise for this book promised to tick all of my boxes. It has a strong emotional  and romantic element, warring guardian angels and an evil serial killer, all combining into one of the best suspense novels I have read in a while.

Add to all of that, an unrelenting pace, beautifully descriptive writing and multiple storylines, in short, a book that will not allow you to stop reading.

The Beast Within is the first of Jacquie Biggar’s books I have read, and it didn’t take me long to realise I would have benefitted from reading the first book in the Mended Souls trilogy. The story itself stands alone, I just felt the need to know the characters a little better.

I will be reading the first book in this trilogy while I await the conclusion to this amazing series…

Excerpt from The Beast Within

Mike sank into the chair his wife had recently vacated in the conference room at the police station. He stared at the door and pictured the cop holding Jules pressed up against its smooth surface while he locked lips with her like she was in need of CPR.

And she’d let him.

His head fell back, and he closed his eyes, desperately trying to erase the preceding minutes from existence. Moisture leaked down his cheeks and into his ears. The heart that he’d thought was frozen in time, cracked. Great fissures of agony and sorrow spilled into his chest, filling his soul with darkness and rage. Why was this happening to him? Why was he being tortured this way? Wasn’t it enough that he’d lost his family and then was given the task of teaching his enemy repentance? How was he supposed to stand by and watch the love of his life move on with another man? Maybe even raise his children?

No.

Mike erupted from his seat, and the chair flew against the wall before bouncing to the floor. He strode for the door, determined to bust the cop’s face and then grab his wife, throw her over his shoulder, and head for home where she belonged. Then the memory of what he was drew him up short. A freaking angel. It didn’t matter how much he ached to stake his claim, it wouldn’t do any good, would it? Unless they were going to re-enact that sappy chick flick Jules used to pick every other month for their date night, it wasn’t going to work. He was a ghost—and she wasn’t.

His stomach sank. That meant he was going to have to learn to accept other men entering her life, and maybe even staying.

She deserved happiness.

About the Author

JACQUIE BIGGAR is a USA Today bestselling author of Romantic Suspense who loves to write about tough, alpha males who know what they want, that is until they’re gob-smacked by heroines who are strong, contemporary women willing to show them what they really need is love. She is the author of the popular Wounded Hearts series and has just started a new series in paranormal suspense, Mended Souls. She has been blessed with a long, happy marriage and enjoys writing romance novels that end with happily-ever-afters. Jacquie lives in paradise along the west coast of Canada with her family and loves reading, writing, and flower gardening. She swears she can’t function without coffee, preferably at the beach with her sweetheart. 🙂

Tuesday Teaser ~ His Ladyship by Stevie Turner ~ #Family Life Fiction @StevieTurner6

This extraordinary story is my book of choice this week. (and I’m loving every minute!)

Book Description

Norman Wicks is 57, overweight, and has diabetes. He is sick of his life. He has never left home, had a girlfriend, or held down any kind of job. The only friends he has are online, as he prefers to stay in the comfort zone of his bedroom. His devoted 92 year old mother Agnes waits on him hand and foot.

Norman has a secret he has kept hidden from the world for the majority of his life, but now he is desperate to bring it out into the open. He is terrified of how his family will react. However, for his own happiness and peace of mind, Norman must find a way to tell his mother and siblings exactly what they do not want to hear.

HIS LADYSHIP reached the finals and the Longlist of the 2021 Page Turner Awards.

Stevie Turner

Stevie Turner is a British author of romantic suspense, humour, paranormal stories, and women’s fiction family dramas. She is a cancer survivor, and still lives in the same picturesque Suffolk village that she and husband Sam moved to in 1991 with their two boys. Those two boys have now grown, and she and Sam have 5 lovely grandchildren.

One of her short stories, ‘Lifting the Black Dog’, was published in ‘1000 Words or Less Flash Fiction Collection’ (2016). Her screenplay ‘For the Sake of a Child’ won a silver award in the Spring 2017 Depth of Field International Film Festival, and her novel ‘A House Without Windows’ gained interest in 2017 from De Coder Media, an independent film production company based in New York. ‘Finding David’ reached the quarter-finals of the 2019 ScreenCraft Cinematic Short Story Competition. https://writers.coverfly.com/profile/writer-d3b3affc7-6104#accolades

To quote reader Roberta Baden-Powell, ‘I’m looking forward to reading your new book, and find your books the best so far. The style you write in has given me a new perspective and a renewed inspiration in reading once again.’

You can find out more about Stevie from her website http://www.stevie-turner-author.co.uk or by reading her WordPress blog http://www.steviet3.wordpress.com

Stevie can be contacted at the following email address: stevie@stevie-turner-author.co.uk

Review to follow…





Tuesday Teaser… Ghostly Interference by Jan Sikes #Ghost Horror @JanSikes3

This week I am reading a book that has been slowly climbing to the top of my reading list, a story of ghosts and romance and I cannot wait to get started!

Book Description

Jag Peters has one goal in his quiet comfortable life—to keep his karma slate wiped clean. A near-miss crash with a candy apple red Harley threatens to upend his safe world. He tracks down the rider to apologize properly. Slipping into a seedy biker bar, he discovers the rider isn’t a “he”, it’s a “she”, a dark-haired beauty.

Rena Jett is a troubled soul, who lives in a rough world. She wants no part of Jag’s apology, but even while she pushes him away, she is attracted to him. When he claims to see a ghost—her brother—can she trust him? And could her brother’s final gift, a magical rune stone with the symbol for “happily ever after” have the power to heal her wounds and allow opposites to find common ground—perhaps even love?

About the Author ~ Jan Sikes

I’ve been an avid reader all my life. I can still remember the excitement that surged through me the first time I realized I could decipher words. Many summers, I won the highest award possible from the Hobbs, NM Public Library for reading the most books.

There’s nothing I love more than losing myself in a story.

Oddly enough, I never had any ambition to be a writer. But I wound up in mid-life with a story that begged to be told. Not just any story, but a true story that rivalled any fiction creation. Through fictitious characters, the tale came to life in an intricately woven tale that encompasses four books. Not satisfied to stop with the books, I released music CDs of original music to match the time period of each story segment.

In conclusion, to bring the story full circle, I published a book of poetry and art. I was done.

Wrong!

The story ideas keep coming, and I don’t intend to turn off the creative fountain.

I am a member of the Author’s Marketing Guild, The Writer’s League of Texas, Romance Writers of America, and the Paranormal Writer’s Guild. I am an avid fan of Texas music and grandmother of five beautiful souls. I reside in North Texas.

Connect through Jan’s website: http://www.jansikes.com

Follow Jan on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/AuthorJanSikesBooks

Follow Jan on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/JanSikes3

Follow Jan’s Blog: http://www.jansikesblog.com

Excerpt

Rena leaned back against the faded red leather covering the worn booth and stared at the stranger seated across from her. Her sharp instincts honed from years of practice told her this man was different. She guessed him to be in his mid-twenties, maybe a year or two older than her. Something in her gut said he was sincere, that he didn’t have an ulterior motive. The waitress set their coffees on the table and Rena reached for hers. “I’m not a big fan of karma,” she admitted. “I’ve never seen the bad guys get what they have coming to them.”

Jag set his cup down. “That’s because the timing for karma isn’t determined by us. We can do things to help it along, like me coming to find you and apologize for spacing out and nearly running you down.”

She interrupted him with a harrumph. “You can save your breath if you’re about to tell me there is a God up there somewhere in the ethers who gives a shit about people getting what they deserve.”

She twirled a silver band on her right finger. “I’ve seen too much to ever believe that.” “That wasn’t what I was going to say. It’s much more basic than that, but we can talk about something else. All I know is that I made a commitment to myself years ago to try and keep my karma slate clean. I can’t speak for anyone else.”

Silence grew thick between them.

Jag’s cell phone buzzed in his pocket. He pulled it out and gave it a quick glance. “Let me guess.” Sarcasm dripped off Rena’s tongue. “It’s your girlfriend wondering where you are.”

She might have known a handsome man like him would have a girlfriend. All the good ones did. He expertly hit the delete button for the second time in less than thirty minutes.

“No. Actually, it’s my boss.” “A hard drive has crashed and they need you pronto to get things running again so they don’t lose precious dollars?” “How do you know I’m a computer geek?” Jag met her stare. “What if I’m a schoolteacher or librarian?”

She laughed. “I told you, I live by instincts, and they’re never wrong. You’re a computer guy. It’s written all over you. Besides, you have the Granite Technology logo on your shirt pocket.”

“Very observant.” Jag reached for his coffee. “So, the next thing you’re going to tell me is that you have to go. Don’t worry, I’m not keeping you.”

She sized him up from hooded eyelids. With his slightly wavy brown hair, six-foot frame, and bluish-gray eyes that sparkled when he smiled, he could have been a model out of a classy men’s magazine, except for his lack of self-confidence.

He cleared his throat. “I have a few more minutes, but then I will have to go.”