Book Review: A Wolf in the Woods by Nancy Allen

A Wolf in the Woods

by Nancy Allen

on Tour March 1-31, 2018

A Wolf in the Woods by Nancy Allen

Genre: Mystery
Published by: Witness Impulse
Publication Date: February 20, 2018
Number of Pages: 320
ISBN: 0062438786 (ISBN13: 9780062438782)
Series: Ozarks Mysteries #4 | Each is a Stand Alone Mystery
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads | HarperCollins


McCown County assistant prosecutor Elsie Arnold is prepping an assault case when a girl is found beaten and bloodied at a roadside no-tell motel. Elsie tries to convince the teen to reveal who attacked her, but Mandy is too scared—and stubborn—to cooperate… and then she disappears. Elsie’s positive a predator is targeting the Ozark hills, yet the authorities refuse to believe their small town could be plagued by sex trafficking.

Then middle school student Desiree Wickham goes missing, but only Elsie suspects it could be connected to Mandy’s assault. As she digs deeper into the events leading up to Desiree’s disappearance, she stumbles upon an alarming discovery: local girls are falling prey to a dubious online modeling agency, and never seen again. Elsie shares her concerns with Detective Ashlock and the FBI, but they shut her out.

She takes matters into her own hands and lands an interview with the head of the modeling agency. But when she meets him face-to-face, she discovers the fate of Desiree and Mandy… and becomes his newest captive. Elsie’s desperate to free the girls—and save herself—before the unspeakable happens. And she’s in for the fight of her life.



My Review

I chose to read this book after receiving a free e-copy. All opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased. I wanted to read A Wolf in the Woods when I saw that it takes place in southwest Missouri because I’ve lived there most of my life.

Desiree and Taylor are typical teens who don’t recognize danger signs when they have a goal in mind. When they have a chance to become models, they don’t think it’s strange that they’re meeting at Denny’s or even when they end up at a seedy motel, they’re nervous but don’t sense danger. Taylor is smart enough to realize something is wrong and doesn’t go back, but Desiree isn’t as lucky.

Elsie is convinced that Desiree’s disappearance is connected to another case. Mandy was found in a motel beaten up but she won’t talk to the police. Elsie gets enough information out of Mandy to put two and two together, but her boyfriend and cop, Ashlock, won’t listen to her. 

The characters are well developed. Elsie is smart as far as her job as an assistant prosecutor and would make a good detective. She’s not so smart when it comes to men. I didn’t care for Ashlock and the way handles confrontation, or lack of confrontation. 

I like Nancy Allen’s writing style. It’s easy to follow and flows well. A Wolf in the Woods is full of mystery, suspense, and a realistic view of small town America. I definitely recommend A Wolf in the Woods and look forward to reading more of Nancy Allen’s books.




Read an excerpt:


A dark haired man lounged behind a battered desk in a second floor room at an EconoMo motel that sat on the highway in flyover country, Missouri. He pulled up Skype on his laptop and studied his own image on the computer screen, rubbing the tattoo that covered his neck. Behind him, the unmade bed was visible on the screen. A thin cotton sheet covered the form of a young girl.

He adjusted the angle to cut her from the shot. The bed disappeared, replaced by beige curtains at the window, hanging askew on the rod.

The place was a dump. He could afford better accommodations, without a doubt. It was business, and business was booming. His greatest challenge was procuring sufficient supply to meet the constant demand.

On the desktop, bottles were scattered near the computer. Alprazolam. Oxycodone. Rohypnol. Diazepam. Three value packs of Benadryl: cherry flavored. A plastic bottle of Aristocrat vodka sat beside a jumbo container of Hawaiian Punch.

As he pushed them aside, the bottle of roofies rolled off the desktop and onto the dirty carpet. He caught it just before it rolled under the dresser.

A ding notified him: his Skype appointment was ready. Right on time. He liked the girls to be punctual.

He hit the button on the mouse and fixed a smile on his face. “Lola! How you doing, baby!”

A giggling girl with a mane of curly blonde hair greeted him onscreen. “Tony, you’re so funny. I’m not Lola, I’ve told you a zillion times.”

“But you look like a Lola. If you want to make it in the modeling trade, you’ll have to project glamour. Drama.” He stretched his arms over his head, displaying muscled biceps covered in ink, and locked his hands behind his neck.

“Cool.” Her eyes shone.

“Leave that country girl persona behind in Podunk. Where are you from again?”

“Barton. Barton, Missouri. Where’s Podunk?”

He laughed, running his hand over his thick hair. “Podunk is where you’re sitting right now. What you’re itching to ditch. How’s life?”

Desiree shrugged, pulling a face.

“They still giving you shit at school, baby?”

She rolled her head back onto her neck. “All. The. Time.”

“And how’s living at home?”


“Wish you could leave it all behind?”


The girl turned her head; he heard a whisper from someone off-screen. Sharply, he asked: “Are you alone?”

A second head appeared over Lola’s shoulder. He saw a mixed race girl. She was taller than Lola, but he pegged her at the same age: an adolescent, around fourteen.

And she was a diamond in the rough—a black diamond. Unblemished skin, full lips, high cheekbones. Lola said, “You asked if I had any friends who wanted to meet you.”

He smiled, tapping his hand on the counter. “Who’s this?”

The tall girl looked at her friend, then into the computer. “I’m Taylor Johnson.”

“And you’re interested in modeling?”

She blinked. A nervous twitch. He shot a grin, to reassure her. “You’ve got the bone structure for it.”

The tall girl pinched her lips together. “Maybe. I think so.”

“We’ll need to conduct some auditions by video, maybe an interview, before you can qualify for a live shoot at the agency.”

She looked skittish. He wouldn’t get anything from her today.

“Let’s just get acquainted, okay?” He was about to launch into his patter: find out her story, gain her trust.

But a moan sounded from the bed behind him. The girl was coming around. He glanced over, fearful that she might raise a ruckus that could scare off his new prospects.

Tony picked up his phone. “Aw shit. Call’s coming in from one of our clients. I gotta take it.” He winked and shut off Skype just in time.

In a weak voice, she said, “Tony. Help me. Please, take off the cuffs.”

He sighed. Picking up a dirty plastic cup, he poured a measure of vodka and Benadryl, and topped it off with the red punch.

The girl spoke again, in a pleading tone. “Don’t make me do it, Tony. It hurts.”

He stirred the drink with his finger and walked toward the bed. “Mandy, Mandy. You look like you could use a magic drink, baby. This will fix you right up.”

The girl tried to sit up as he extended the red plastic cup. Tony stared down at her, shaking his head. “What’s that saying? ‘The customer is always right.’ You know what you got to do.”

The girl began to thrash against the mattress. But she was handcuffed to the metal bed frame.


Excerpt from A Wolf in the Woods by Nancy Allen. Copyright © 2018 by Nancy Allen. Reproduced with permission from Witness Impulse. All rights reserved.




Author Bio:

Nancy AllenNancy Allen practiced law for 15 years as Assistant Missouri Attorney

Catch Up With Ms. Allen On:
Goodreads – Nancy Allen
Twitter – @TheNancyAllen
& Facebook – NancyAllenAuthor





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Book Review: I Met a Goat on the Road by Denele Pitts Campbell


A visiting guinea? Opossum in the dining room? What strange and wondrous occurrences can one expect while living on an Ozark mountaintop for thirty-five years?

These lyrical adventure stories feature chickens, raccoons, bugs, dogs, cats, and natural critters of this woodland home. Throw in a few neighbors who shoot copperheads or remodel the dirt road. Ponder the passage of time through a philosophical lens of wonder and delight. The seasons bring summer heat, winter snow, pouring rain, the power of fire. Lessons learned, questions posed–who has lived and died on this land? What is our responsibility to this place, its creatures, each other?

Come meet the goat on the road.

Author Denele Campbell can’t imagine living anywhere else. I Met A Goat On The Road is her second work extolling the mysteries and quirks of life in the Boston Mountains region of the Ozarks. Her watercolor illustrations add a whimsical flavor to the work.

Available on Amazon.


My Review

I chose to read this e-book after receiving a free copy from the author. All opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased.

I Met a Goat on the Road is a collection of stories about life in the Ozarks. Some of the stories are about people and places but most of them are about animals, which are my favorites.

Whether it’s battling roosters, a possum under the house, or a guinea who adopted the author, the stories are both humorous and heartwarming.

I definitely recommend I Met a Goat on the Road especially for readers who enjoy stories about animals or life on a mountain in the Ozarks.


Review: Becoming by R.M. Gilmore

   Dirty 30 Blog Tour

15734953Title: Becoming (Lynne Russell Trilogy Book 1)

Author: R.M. Gilmore

Genre:  Young Adult/Paranormal

Publisher:  Mac Gille Mhur Publishing

Publication Date:  July 10, 2012

Description“I’m Sharlene Carolynn Diamond Russell, but most folks around Havana call me Lynnie. I want to tell you about the day a chance encounter changed my life forever. From a few sweet smooches to gut churning transformations, this is the story of the events that led to my Becoming.”
Country girl paranormal novella from author R.M. Gilmore (author of the Dylan Hart Odyssey of The Occult series). A new twist on an old classic. Havana, Arkansas isn’t exactly the picture of mystics and magic, but Lynnie Russell learns quickly you can’t judge a book by it’s cover. She discovers myths and legends are alive and well in her tiny little town and she is at the center of it.


I chose to read this book because I’d read Endless Night and The Scene by R.M. Gilmore and I enjoy her style of writing and her sense of humor.

I like to read books without reading the synopsis or any reviews beforehand so that I can read them with no preconceived expectations. Because of that, and because I’ve read books by this author before, Becoming took me by surprise. First, I was a reading a cute romance novella hoping for something more to happen and BAM! Something more definitely happened and it took a complete turn.

You are right there with Lynnie as she struggles to deal with who or what she has become. I could imagine her heartache and confusion. There’s not much of the R.M. Gilmore humor in this book but it is still a good read. The only thing that bothered me was the distraction caused by grammar/typos but I believe she has taken care of that in subsequent novels by using Hot Tree Editing. 

I recommend Becoming to anyone who likes Young Adult and/or paranormal novels. Available on Amazon or Barnes and Noble.
Continue reading

Review: Kansas City Southern Railway (Images of Rail)



Title: Kansas City Southern Railway (Images of Rail)

Author: Thad Hillis Carter

Genre: History

Publisher: Arcadia Publishing

Publication Date: 2009

Description: The Kansas City Southern Railway initially offered freight service to the immediate Kansas City area south. As the line expanded toward Texas, each tiny community had its own railway station with access to daily passenger service and less-than-carload lot freight services. No one could have foreseen that the road would eventually haul international import and export goods or that its line would reach into Mexico. Photographs in this book include the railway’s involvement in operating steam engines over its lines as well as pictures from the files of esteemed rail photographers Harold K. Vollrath and Gary Coates. 


This is an interesting book for those interested in history and/or the history of trains. It has a LOT of photos of trains, mostly steam engines and some diesel engines. There are a few photos of train stations such as Union Station in Kansas City which has been renovated since the photos in this book. There are also photos of the train station in Joplin, Mo., which is now abandoned and run down.  You can order this new book from Sleepygirl’s Used Books here.

Review: Ozark Pioneers (Voices of America)


ozarkpioneers (142x200)

Title: Ozark Pioneers (Voices of America)

Author: Vickie Layton Cobb

Genre: History

Publisher: Arcadia Publishing

Publication Date: 2001

Description: In the early 1800s, rugged and self-sufficient pioneers left their native homelands to tame the wild Ozark territory. These early settlers left their mark on history, as they settled Taney Count, and became Missouri’s first families.

With family stories and photographs passed down from generation to generation, Ozark Pioneers shares the experiences of the first residents of the area. Family names such as Allen, Coggburn, Smith, Whorton, Layton, Bollinger, Brittain, and Rittenhouse appear throughout the history of Taney County, demonstrating the roots and growth of the wild Ozark territory. From the bloody days of battle in the Civil War, to the continuous fight against the outlaws in the Bald Knobber era, these pages detail the courage, hardships, and strength of these founding families in an untamed land.


These are the specific stories of the families who originally settled in the Ozarks in the Missouri-Arkansas wilderness. Along with the stories are photos of some of the family members. A great book for history buffs, those interested in the history of the Ozarks, or descendants of the families in the book.

You can order this new book from Sleepygirl’s Used Books here.

Review: Route 66 in the Missouri Ozarks (Images of America)



Title: Route 66 in the Missouri Ozarks (Images of America)

Author: Joe Sonderman

Genre: History

Publisher: Arcadia Publishing

Publication Date: 2009

Description: Route 66 in the Missouri Ozarks picks up the journey west where its companion book, Route 66 in St. Louis, leaves off. As Bobby Troup’s song says, Route 66 travels “more than 2,000 miles all the way.” But one would be hard-pressed to “Show Me” a more scenic and historic segment than the Missouri Ozarks. The highway is lined with buildings covered with distinctive Ozark rock. It winds through a region of deep forests, sparkling streams, hidden caves, and spectacular bluffs. This book will take the traveler from Crawford County to the Kansas line. Along the way, there are small towns and urban centers, hotels and motels, cafes and souvenir stands. Take the time to explore Missouri’s Route 66–it is waiting at the next exit.

Joe Sonderman is a St. Louis radio personality and traffic reporter. He fell in love with the Ozarks and with Route 66 during childhood vacations to Missouri’s Lake of the Ozarks. His Web site includes over 5,000 vintage images of Route 66. Sonderman has assembled hundreds of postcard views from his collection and archival images, some never before published. Together they show what a journey through the heartland was like when getting there was half the fun.


Joe Sonderman follows Route 66 from Crawford County to the state line with vintage photos. Each photo has a detailed description, many stating when the photos were taken anywhere from the 1920’s to the 1950’s, when the buildings were built, and some even have when the buildings were demolished. This would be a fun book to take on a trip on Route 66 to see how many of the places are still there. I looked for places I recognized in the Jasper county section and I did see the Route 66 Drive-in which my family still goes to on occasion but many of the other places in that county are long gone.

You can order this new book from Sleepygirl’s Used Books here.

Review: The Front Bench Regulars by Larry Dablemont


mediumTitle: The Front Bench Regulars

 Author:  Larry Dablemont

 Illustrator:  Tom Goldsmith

 Genre:  Stories

 Publisher:  Lightnin’ Ridge Books

 Publication Date:  2003

Description: They were old men with overalls and dirty flannel shirts, leathery faces bristling with a three or four day growth of whiskers. Old men with tobacco pouches and faded caps to cover bald spots. Old men who were hunters, trappers, fishermen–rivermen and farmers who had the answers to the world’s problems if only someone would have listened. Larry Dablemont listened!


I was working today, trying to get caught up, going through books that I’ve purchased but haven’t put online and wouldn’t you know that I’d come across this book. I had to stop working and read it. Luckily, it just took a couple hours to read but I’m glad I took the time. The author is from Houston, Missouri, in the Ozarks, and the stories are ones he heard when he was growing up and working in his father’s pool hall. He makes it easy to imagine the oldtimers telling their stories and his writing is enjoyable to read.

I sold my copy but it’s available on Barnes & Noble or Amazon.