Book Review: The Coast-to-Coast Murders by James Patterson and J.D. Barker

I reviewed this book in June. It’s now available!

There’s a killer on the road, and nobody is safe.

Michael and Megan Fitzgerald are siblings who share a terrifying past. Both adopted, and now grown — Michael is a long-haul truck driver, Megan a college student majoring in psychology — they trust each other before anyone else. They’ve had to.


In Los Angeles, Detective Garrett Hobbs and FBI Agent Jessica Gimble have joined forces to work a murder that seems like a dead cinch. Their chief suspect is quickly identified and apprehended –but then there’s another killing just like the one they’ve been investigating. And another. And not just in Los Angeles — the spree spreads across the country. The Fitzgerald family comes to the investigators’ attention, but Dobbs and Gimble are at a loss — if one of the four is involved, which Fitzgerald might it be?


From coastal California to upstate New York, Dobbs and Gimble race against time and across state lines to stop an ingenious and deeply deranged killer — one whose dark and twisted appetites put them outside the range of logic or experience.

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My Review

I chose to read this book after receiving a free e-copy from J.D. Barker through NetGalley. All opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased.

J.D. Barker is one of my favorite authors. I’ve read most of his books, and when I have the chance to read another one, I get so excited! I haven’t read any James Patterson books in a few years, but I was happy to see them team up. I’m hoping J.D. Barker gets more exposure, which he richly deserves.

The Coast-to-Coast Murders is like being on a roller coaster, and at the end, I was dumbfounded. There are so many twists and so much going on, it is one of those books I kept telling myself, “One more chapter… One more chapter.” There are times I can just ignore everything in my life and read a book from beginning to end; unfortunately, I have too many deadlines at the moment. I couldn’t wait to get back to my book!

The characters all appear to be normal people until you look behind the façade. There’s all kinds of crazy there. Detective Garrett Hobbs and FBI Agent Jessica Gimble have their hands full figuring out who is committing these murders and if they’re random killings or if they’re connected somehow. How many more murders will there be before they figure it out?

If you liked The Fourth Monkey or just like page turners with suspense and twists, I definitely recommend The Coast-to-Coast Murders.

About the Authors

James Patterson is the world’s bestselling author and most trusted storyteller. He has created more enduring fictional characters than any other novelist writing today, with his Alex Cross, Michael Bennett, Women’s Murder Club, Private, NYPD Red, Daniel X, Maximum Ride, and Middle School series. He has sold over 380 million books worldwide and currently holds the Guinness World Record for the most #1 New York Times bestsellers. In addition to writing the thriller novels for which he is best known, among them The President Is Missing with President Bill Clinton, Patterson also writes fiction for young readers of all ages, including the Max Einstein series, produced in partnership with the Albert Einstein Estate. He is also the first author to have #1 new titles simultaneously on the New York Times adult and children’s bestseller lists.

Website http://www.jamespatterson.com/
Twitter JP_Books

J.D. Barker (Jonathan Dylan Barker) is an international bestselling American author whose work has been broadly described as suspense thrillers, often incorporating elements of horror, crime, mystery, science fiction, and the supernatural.

Website: https://jdbarker.com/books/the-coast-to-coast-murders/

Book Review & Giveaway: The Vampire Next Door: The True Story of the Vampire Rapist by JT Hunter

The Vampire Next Door: The True Story of the Vampire Rapist by JT Hunter

Genre: True Crime
Published by: RJ Parker Publishing
Publication Date: October 11th 2014
Number of Pages: 365
ISBN: 1500909491 (ISBN13: 9781500909499)
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

While he stalked the streets hunting his unsuspecting victims, the residents of a quiet Florida town slept soundly, oblivious to the dark creature in their midst, unaware of the vampire next door.

John Crutchley seemed to be living the American Dream. Good-looking and blessed with a genius level IQ, he had a prestigious, white-collar job at a prominent government defense contractor, where he held top secret security clearance and handled projects for NASA and the Pentagon. To all outward appearances, he was a hard-working, successful family man with a lavish new house, a devoted wife, and a healthy young son.

But he concealed a hidden side of his personality, a dark secret tied to a hunger for blood and the overriding need to kill. As one of the most prolific serial killers in American history, Crutchley committed at least twelve murders, and possibly nearly three dozen. His IQ eclipsed that of Ted Bundy, and his body count may have as well.

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 don’t read too many true crime books from cover to cover. If I come across them to sell, I’ll often skim through them, but since I had never heard of the Vampire Rapist, this one intrigued me. After reading this book, I’m not sure why I’d never heard of him. Maybe because I was working full time and going to college full time in the 1980s.

The facts of John Crutchley’s crimes are horrific, and I could feel the frustration of the men in law enforcement who were trying to find any piece of evidence that would keep him behind bars. I like how the information was presented except that there was a lot of repetition. There were facts about other events such as the Challenger explosion and the Ted Bundy case which helped with the timeline but were also distracting. If they’d just been mentioned without the extra explanation, it wouldn’t have been distracting.

Overall, I found The Vampire Next Door: The True Story of the Vampire Rapist very interesting and well written. It’s obvious that the author did a lot of investigation for this book. I recommend it to anyone who likes true crime.

Excerpt

Chapter 2: You were a vampire…

Nineteen-year-old Christina Almah was still a virgin, and a bit naïve when it came to matters of sex, but like most teenaged girls on the verge of womanhood, she enjoyed receiving attention from good-looking, romantically inclined men. Yet, even she was surprised when, after a handsome, slightly older man took an interest in her, she found herself traveling all the way across the country to see him again.

Christina first met twenty-two-year-old Carl Von Bane several months earlier while he was visiting a friend near her hometown of Westminster, California. She immediately noticed him when he walked into the Drug Emporium where she had been working for the past year as a clerk, and they had quickly hit it off. His rugged, bad-boy looks and confident disposition combined to render her fully smitten. But the budding romance had barely begun before “Von” returned home to Florida. Their brief time together had passed much too quickly for the love-struck Miss Almah.

Since Von’s departure, they had continued their blossoming relationship by telephone racking up steep long distance bills. All the while, Christina had meticulously saved her meager Drug Emporium pay so that she could afford to purchase a plane ticket to visit him. When Von had called her a few weeks ago, Christina hinted at wanting to see him again by casually mentioning that she had some vacation time that needed to be used. When he suggested that she catch a flight to Florida to visit him, she had immediately agreed. After all, this was not some fly by night infatuation. She thought that she might be in love.

Christina had been counting the days until this trip—a weeklong vacation certain to be a memorable one if for no other reason than the fact that it would be the first time she had ever traveled alone. She booked a direct flight on Eastern Airlines from Los Angeles to Orlando International Airport, and Von had picked her up there nearly a week ago. Since then, she had been staying with Von in his mother’s mobile home at Lot 12 of the Enchanted Lakes Mobile Home Park on Malabar Road, near the eastern edge of the City of Palm Bay in southern Brevard County.

Named for the lush palm trees that lined the bay at the mouth of Turkey Creek, the nearly 100-square-mile Palm Bay had experienced a period of rapid growth in recent years fueled by an influx of retirees, northern transplants, and space industry workers. As part of the “Space Coast,” Palm Bay benefited from its proximity to Cape Canaveral, home to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s space shuttle program. To the west of Palm Bay, just past Interstate 95, a vast expanse of swamps and marsh grass stretched beyond the horizon, home to an endless assortment of flora and fauna. Under the blinding gaze of the eternal Florida sun, cold-blooded creatures swam silent and unseen as they had for ages past, ancient predators stalking their unsuspecting prey.

Immediately to the east of Palm Bay sits the Town of Malabar, a small, quiet community only thirteen square miles in size. Its eastern edge meets the Intracoastal Waterway in a subtropical paradise of palm trees, sailboats, and spectacular sunsets. The area’s abundant seafood, perennial sunshine, and constant sea breeze reminded Christina of her favorite parts of California. That familiarity was reassuring. It felt comfortable. She felt safe.

A petite girl standing about five feet, four inches tall and weighing a little less than 110 pounds, Christina was not a beauty queen, but she was not unattractive either. Indeed, her green eyes and brown hair combined in an inviting way that most men found sensual and appealing, and she had enjoyed her fair share of suitors. Although she had shared a few intimate moments with boys in high school, she had never found one with whom she felt comfortable enough to sacrifice her virtue. Still sexually inexperienced, she had the classic Libra traits of compassion, innate gentleness, and a genuine caring for others, traits that were sometimes misconstrued by men. Still, it never dawned on her that Von’s testosterone-driven brain would expect something more than a kiss hello, or that he would interpret her willingness to fly across the country to visit him as a green light for sleeping together. Von had tried to take that next step during her first night in Florida, and when she told him that she was not ready, he had reluctantly played the part of the understanding boyfriend, but he could not wholly hide his irritation and mounting frustration.

Von worked at Gator Chrysler in nearby Melbourne, and he had to leave Christina alone for much of the day. That had been the routine for most of the week, and the excitement of staying with someone in another state had long-since faded away. On this particular morning, she passed some time by listening to a worn down cassette tape of Madonna’s “Like a Virgin” album, popping it into the cherry red Sony Walkman that Von had given her. She played several songs, rewound the tape, and played them again, but after a while she tired of listening to the provocative singer purr about being “touched for the very first time.” She tried watching television after that, but quickly lost interest in the mindless game shows and melodramatic soap operas that dominated the channels. Growing bored, she decided to walk to Melbourne a few miles away to visit several friends that she had met through Von. She would be flying back to California the next morning and wanted to say her good-byes and make the most of her final day of vacation. Wearing blue jeans, sandals, and a black t-shirt with a Harley-Davidson insignia splashed across the front, she left the trailer shorty after 1:00 p.m. It was the twenty-first day of November, 1985.

As she walked out of the entrance of the mobile home park, a light rain began to fall. She could see dark clouds gathering in the distance and a westerly wind promised that they would soon be present. Somewhere beyond the visible horizon, thunder rumbled ominous and angry, its source hidden behind an approaching wall of grey and black clouds.

Christina turned left and started walking faster as the rain increased, heading east on Malabar Road toward U.S. 1 and the Intracoastal. She planned to stop at the Jiffy Mart at the corner of Malabar Road and U.S. 1 to buy a pack of cigarettes before walking north into Melbourne. She had not gone far when a small, light-colored car pulled up beside her.

Behind the wheel of the two-door automobile sat a clean-shaven man wearing a stylish, navy-blue sports coat, a black-and-white striped tie, and a nice pair of dress slacks, not the cheap K-Mart kind, but the higher quality cloth and cut of a more fashionable men’s store. The man looked to be in his late twenties or early thirties. He had loafer style shoes, but he was not wearing them while he drove. Christine thought it slightly odd that the well-dressed man’s bare foot operated the gas and brake pedals, but she gave it no more than a fleeting thought. She had certainly seen much stranger things during her time in Florida. The man’s eyes were concealed behind darkly tinted sunglasses and his face was framed by a mane of medium-length, dirty blonde hair. He had a thin build, and though slightly pale in complexion, his handsome facial features held an undeniable allure. She could not help feeling an attraction to him.

Flashing a broad, inviting smile, he leaned over, rolled down the passenger door window, and greeted her in a friendly, reassuring voice.

“It’s a bit wet today for a walk, isn’t it?” he asked with a wry, disarming smile. “Can I give you a lift?”

Although Christina was initially wary of his invitation, he looked harmless enough and it was the middle of the day in broad daylight in a public place, so she did not wait long before responding.

“Well,” she said, deliberately drawing out her reply as she decided how much to trust the seemingly friendly stranger. “I’m on my way to Melbourne to meet some friends. Are you going anywhere near there?”

“Sure, I have to go that way to get to my office. I just need to stop by my house real quick to pick up a notebook for work, but it’ll only take a minute or two. Go ahead and hop in.”

She hesitated for just a moment, studied her Good Samaritan one last time, and then grabbed the passenger side door handle of the car. As she opened the door, she heard Sting’s new song, “Russians,” playing on the car’s radio.

The country had long since fallen into the depths of the Cold War, and the perpetual threat of nuclear holocaust loomed in the back of most people’s minds like some amorphous boogieman lurking in the shadows. As Christine pulled the door closed, Sting’s voice flowed out of the car’s speakers, echoing what seemed to be the universal mood in America and Western Europe, the growing fear of a nuclear attack by the Russian-controlled Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. The song sought to appeal to the good in what President Reagan dubbed the “Evil Empire,” expressing a desperate hope that the Russian leaders loved their children enough to avoid the horror of a nuclear holocaust.

Suffering from the same state of uneasiness expressed in the song, Christina found herself captivated by the sense of calm that seemed to radiate from the man behind the wheel. They drove for a little while making small talk. While they chatted, she caught a glimpse of the man’s eyes behind his sunglasses. Their azure shade of blue added to the aura of assuredness he projected, and it seemed to Christina that the man’s eyes had the power to peer into her very soul, not in any unsettling way, but in an understanding, comforting manner that disarmed her naturally cautious disposition. He seemed genuinely interested in learning about her, and she was impressed with how articulately he expressed himself. He was charming, witty, and exuded self-confidence, and Christine felt relieved that he seemed to be normal. Some of Von’s friends that she had met were more than a little on the odd side.

After about five minutes, the man turned his car onto a bumpy, dirt road, and then continued on for a few minutes more before exiting onto a gravel driveway obscured by a tall row of hedges. Planted across the inner edge of the yard, the hedges had grown high enough to block a clear view of whatever was behind them. As the car continued down the driveway, a well-kept lawn, dotted sporadically with pine and oak trees, came into view. At the far end of the lawn stood a redbrick, Colonial style house with four white columns framing a large front door painted the same shade of white as the columns. The gravel driveway ended at a double-length carport on the left side of the house. The man pulled into the carport and parked. Two motorcycles stood at the opposite end of the parking area.

“I’ll be right back,” the man told her as he took the key out of the ignition and slipped on his shoes.

He stepped out of the car and walked to the side door of the house, where he paused and glanced back at her.

“Hey, you want to come inside for a drink?”

She smiled politely.

“Oh, no thanks, my friends are expecting me and I don’t want them to worry.”

“Suit yourself,” he said, before unlocking the door and disappearing into the building.

After a few minutes, the man emerged and announced with an embarrassed laugh that the notebook was not in the house after all.

“It must be in the back of the car,” he said, an amused smile spreading across his face as if he had just remembered an irresistibly funny joke.

He walked to the passenger side of the car and opened the door, flashing her the same smug alligator smile. He crawled into the back seat and began looking around, grinning all the while.

Suddenly, the back of Christina’s seat shot forward, slamming her violently against the dashboard. Stunned by the force of the impact and shocked by the unexpected attack, she was barely able to register the sound of something rustling behind her.

Then something brushed against her forehead. Before she could react, her neck jerked back painfully, and she began to choke. Frantically, she reached for her purse, attempting to grab something – anything – to try to defend herself. Her fingers brushed against the top of a can of OFF insect repellant. Desperate, she thought that if she could spray her attacker in his eyes, she might be able to blind him long enough to get away.

But as her fingers closed around the spray can, the man’s voice, angry and powerful, startled her into submission.

Stop it or I’ll kill you!”

As her initial impulse of self-defense gave way to a paralyzing feeling of despair, her hand retreated out of her purse and her arm fell numbly to her side.

Then the rope tightened and everything went black.

***

Excerpt from The Vampire Next Door: The True Story of the Vampire Rapist by JT Hunter. Copyright 2014 by JT Hunter. Reproduced with permission from JT Hunter. All rights reserved.

 

J.T. Hunter

J.T. Hunter is an attorney with over fourteen years of experience practicing law, including criminal law and appeals, and he has significant training in criminal investigation techniques. He is also a college professor in Florida where his teaching interests focus on the intersection of criminal psychology, law, and literature.

Catch Up With J.T. Hunter On:
jthunter.org, Goodreads, BookBub, Twitter, Instagram, & Facebook!

Tour Participants:

Visit these other great hosts on this tour for more great reviews, interviews, guest posts, and giveaways!

02/01 Review @ Books with Bircky
02/02 Review @ The World As I See It
02/03 Guest post @ Nesies Place
02/04 Guest post @ Books with Bircky
02/05 Review @ fundinmental
02/06 Showcase @ Our Town Book Reviews
02/07 Showcase @ Read and Review
02/09 Showcase @ Buried Under Books
02/10 Showcase @ Eclectic Moods
02/11 Review @ Cheryls Book Nook
02/12 Showcase @ Lisa-Queen of Random
02/13 Review/showcase @ Avonna Loves Genres
02/14 Interview @ Books Chatter
02/17 Showcase @ Im All About Books
02/18 Review @ Quiet Fury Books
02/18 Showcase @ Im All About Books
02/20 Showcase @ CMash Reads
02/26 Review @ JBronder Book Reviews
02/27 Review @ Bound 4 Escape
02/28 Review @ Celticladys Reviews
02/29 Review @ Erica Robyn Reads
02/29 Review @ Forever the Wanderer
02/29 Showcase @ Teatime and Books

Giveaway

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for JT Hunter. There will be 2 winners of one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card each. The giveaway begins on February 1, 2020 and runs through March 2, 2020. Void where prohibited.

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Get More Great Reads at Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours

 

Book Review: Past Deeds by Carolyn Arnold

Author: Carolyn Arnold
Series: Brandon Fisher FBI Series, Book 8
Genres: Hard-Boiled, Mystery, Police Procedural, Thriller
Publisher: Hibbert & Stiles Publishing Inc.
Year: 2020

A prosecuting attorney is murdered in a sniping that takes place in Arlington, Virginia, less than fifteen minutes from Washington. FBI Agent Brandon Fisher and his team with the Behavioral Analysis Unit are called in to investigate the threat level and to determine if the lawyer was targeted. The FBI hadn’t anticipated previous victims stretching from coast to coast.

The team splits up across the country, but more than jet lag is getting to Brandon. As their profile on the shooter takes shape, their one theory on motive strikes too close to home and has him battling with regret over a past decision. He comes to discover some choices not only haunt us but can have long- and far-reaching repercussions we couldn’t even begin to imagine. Will Brandon be able to set aside his personal issues for long enough to stop a serial killing spree before there’s another victim?

Past Deeds is a gripping psychological crime thriller that will have you flipping the pages as you try to put the clues together faster than the FBI. To stand a chance, you’ll need to unravel the psyche of a killer. This mystery will also make you think and reflect—and you just might wonder if any past decisions you’ve made are stalking you, ready to strike.

Become addicted to an international bestselling series that will take you into the minds of the most heinous and disturbing serial killers the world could ever imagine.

Available from these popular retailers on February 18, 2020:

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My Review

I chose to read this book after receiving a free e-copy from the author. All opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased. I have read several of Carolyn Arnold’s books, and they never disappoint.

Brandon Fisher works for the BAU with the FBI. When a prosecuting attorney is assassinated, his team is called in, and they soon realize that this may be the work of a serial killer. As more evidence comes to light, the team analyzes and theorizes until they figure out who the killer is and why they are killing.

Along with the excitement of chasing a killer, the agents have their own problems. Brandon is a good guy and he’s likable but he has made his mistakes and he’s having trouble right now dealing with one of those. I find it interesting that he and Paige work for the BAU but are unable to communicate very well or “read” each other. There’s also a new agent who is working with their supervisory agent, Jack Harper. The poor woman questions herself at every turn. I like how Carolyn Arnold makes these people seem so real.

I like Carolyn Arnold’s writing whether it’s a cozy mystery or an FBI thriller or something in between. Her writing flows well and her characters are realistic. If you like murder mysteries, serial killers, and/or the TV show Criminal Minds, you will like the Brandon Fisher series.

About the Author

CAROLYN ARNOLD is an international best-selling and award-winning author, as well as a speaker, teacher, and inspirational mentor. She has four continuing fiction series—Detective Madison Knight, Brandon Fisher FBI, McKinley Mysteries, and Matthew Connor Adventures—and has written nearly thirty books. Her genre diversity offers her readers everything from cozy to hard-boiled mysteries, and thrillers to action adventures.

Both her female detective and FBI profiler series have been praised by those in law enforcement as being accurate and entertaining, leading her to adopt the trademark: POLICE PROCEDURALS RESPECTED BY LAW ENFORCEMENT™. Carolyn was born in a small town and enjoys spending time outdoors, but she also loves the lights of a big city. Grounded by her roots and lifted by her dreams, her overactive imagination insists that she tell her stories. Her intention is to touch the hearts of millions with her books, to entertain, inspire, and empower.

She currently lives just west of Toronto with her husband and beagle and is a member of Crime Writers of Canada.

Find the author on the following sites…
Website  Facebook  Twitter  Google+  Pinterest  Goodreads  Amazon Author Page

Book Review: The Sixth Wicked Child by J.D. Barker

Hear No Evil
For Detective Sam Porter, the words “Father, forgive me” conjure memories long forgotten; a past intentionally buried. For Anson Bishop, these three words connect a childhood to the present as he unleashes a truth concealed for decades.


See No Evil
Found written on cardboard near each body, these words link multiple victims to a single killer—discovered within minutes of each other in both Chicago and South Carolina—clearly connected yet separated by impossible miles.


Speak No Evil
Chicago Metro and the FBI find themselves caught in chaos—a hospital on lockdown, a rogue officer, and corruption at the highest levels. When Anson Bishop, the prime suspect in the notorious 4MK serial murders turns himself in, he reveals a story completely unexpected, one that not only upends the current investigation, but one that will change the lives of all involved.


Do No Evil
With unrelenting tension and pulse-pounding suspense, the past unravels at breakneck speed as the truth behind the Four Monkey Killer’s motive is finally revealed in this masterfully crafted finale.

My Review

I received an ARC of this novel from the author. All opinions in this review are entirely my own and completely unbiased. Over the past couple of years, I read The Fourth Monkey and The Fifth to Die when they were published. They were so good that I made the time to read them again before reading The Sixth Wicked Child which is the final book in the trilogy.

I read about 25% of The Sixth Wicked Child and then I had to stay up last night and read the rest of it. I was SO tired that I’d put the book down and close my eyes and…I had to read more. That’s not something I do very often but I literally couldn’t put this book down.

Sam Porter is obsessed with finding the suspected serial killer Anson Bishop even though he’s been told to stay away from the case. The deeper Sam goes, the more confused and frustrated he gets. After being shot in the back of the head years ago, he has amnesia for different periods in his life. When he really needs to remember his time as a rookie, he can’t remember much of anything except actually getting shot.

Agent Poole with the FBI has been on the 4MK case for a few months, and he knows that something is going on with Sam. He understands Sam wanting to catch Bishop, but he doesn’t understand the obsession, and he begins to suspect Sam is more involved than he’s letting on.

There is a stack of diaries supposedly written by Bishop that need to be read, and as Sam reads them, Bishop’s past unfolds. If it’s true. They know that Bishop is a liar so everything in the diaries could be fiction. At the same time, the bodies are piling up. I lost count of how many people are killed, and it is obvious that Bishop has help or there’s a copycat.

There are a lot of characters and many twists but, amazingly, I was able to keep up with it all. J.D. Barker has a remarkable ability to have a lot going on in the past and the present while making it easy for the reader to follow. Yes, I was confused, but only as confused as Sam was.

The Sixth Wicked Child can be read as a standalone but this is such a good trilogy, I recommend reading all three books to get the most out of them. Each book has so much information! You won’t be disappointed.

The ending was brilliant. The trilogy is incredible. I’m looking forward to reading more by J.D. Barker.

About the Author

J.D. Barker is the international best-selling author of numerous novels, including FORSAKEN and THE FOURTH MONKEY. His latest novel, DRACUL, co-authored with Dacre Stoker, released October 2018. His novel, THE SIXTH WICKED CHILD, released in August. He is currently collaborating with James Patterson. His novels have been translated into two dozen languages and optioned for both film and television. Barker resides in coastal New Hampshire with his wife, Dayna, and their daughter, Ember.

A note from J.D.
As a child I was always told the dark could not hurt me, that the shadows creeping in the corners of my room were nothing more than just that, shadows. The sounds nothing more than the settling of our old home, creaking as it found comfort in the earth only to move again when it became restless, if ever so slightly. I would never sleep without closing the closet door, oh no; the door had to be shut tight. The darkness lurking inside needed to be held at bay, the whispers silenced. Rest would only come after I checked under the bed at least twice and quickly wrapped myself in the safety of the sheets (which no monster could penetrate), pulling them tight over my head.

I would never go down to the basement.

Never.

I had seen enough movies to know better, I had read enough stories to know what happens to little boys who wandered off into dark, dismal places alone. And there were stories, so many stories.

Reading was my sanctuary, a place where I could disappear for hours at a time, lost in the pages of a good book. It didn’t take long before I felt the urge to create my own.

I first began to write as a child, spinning tales of ghosts and gremlins, mystical places and people. For most of us, that’s where it begins—as children we have such wonderful imaginations, some of us have simply found it hard to grow up. I’ve spent countless hours trying to explain to friends and family why I enjoy it, why I would rather lock myself in a quiet little room and put pen to paper for hours at a time than throw around a baseball or simply watch television. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes I want to do just that, sometimes I wish for it, but even then the need to write is always there in the back of my mind, the characters are impatiently tapping their feet, waiting their turn, wanting to be heard. I wake in the middle of the night and reach for the pad beside my bed, sometimes scrawling page after page of their words, their lives. Then they’re quiet, if only for a little while. To stop would mean madness, or even worse—the calm, numbing sanity I see in others as they slip through the day without purpose. They don’t know what it’s like, they don’t understand. Something as simple as a pencil can open the door to a new world, can create life or experience death. Writing can take you to places you’ve never been, introduce you to people you’ve never met, take you back to when you first saw those shadows in your room, when you first heard the sounds mumbling ever so softly from your closet, and it can show you what uttered them. It can scare the hell out of you, and that’s when you know it’s good.

Websitehttp://jdbarker.com/books/the-sixth-wicked-child/

Book Review & Giveaway: A Monster Of All Time by JT Hunter

Genre: True Crime
Published by: RJ Parker Publishing
Publication Date: September 4th 2018
Number of Pages: 304
ISBN: 1987902521 (ISBN13: 9781987902525)
Purchase Links: Amazon | Goodreads

Description

Ambitious, attractive, and full of potential, five young college students prepared for the new semester. They dreamed of beginning careers and starting families. They had a lifetime of experiences in front of them. But death came without warning in the dark of the night.

Brutally ending five promising lives, leaving behind three gruesome crime scenes, the Gainesville Ripper terrorized the University of Florida, casting an ominous shadow across a frightened college town.

What evil lurked inside him?

What demons drove him to kill?

What made him A Monster of All Time?

My Book Review

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

I like true crime, but I didn’t remember this story. I was young and busy with college and a young child, so I didn’t keep up with the news on a regular basis. So I was happy to read this book when I had the opportunity.

The information about the first prime suspect and how the media affected his and his family’s lives was good information to include. People don’t often realize how horribly innocents can be affected by the media. I also appreciated knowing that he was able to overcome that negative publicity.

Although Danny Rolling’s childhood wasn’t a good one and he had a below-normal IQ, that’s not an excuse for being a peeping Tom or committing robberies, rape, murder and more. He deserved the sentence he got.

I did find the information in A Monster of All Time interesting but I found it repetitive and difficult to follow.

About the Author

J.T. Hunter is an attorney with over fourteen years of experience practicing law, including criminal law and appeals, and he has significant training in criminal investigation techniques. He is also a college professor in Florida where his teaching interests focus on the intersection of criminal psychology, law, and literature.

JT’s bestselling true crime books include:Devil in The Darkness: True Story of Serial Killer ISRAEL KEYESThe Country Boy Killer: The True Story of Serial Killer Cody LegebokoffIn Colder Blood: True Story of the Walker Family Murder as depicted in Truman Capote’s, In Cold BloodDeadly Deception: True Story of Tampa Serial Killer, Bobby Joe LongDeath Row Romeo: The True Story of Serial Killer Oscar Ray BolinThe Vampire Next Door: True Story of the Vampire Rapist and Serial Killer

Catch Up With J.T. Hunter On:
jthunter.orgGoodreadsBookBub, & Facebook!

Giveaway

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for JT Hunter. There will be two (2) giveaway winners. Each winner will receive one (1) Amazon Gift Card. The giveaway begins on July 1, 2019 and runs through August 2, 2019. Void where prohibited.
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Click here to view the A Monster Of All Time by JT Hunter Participants

Book Review: On the Count of Three by Carolyn Arnold

Author: Carolyn Arnold
SeriesBrandon Fisher FBI Series, Book 7
Genres: Hard-Boiled, Mystery, Police Procedural, Thriller
Publisher: Hibbert & Stiles Publishing Inc.
Year: 2018
Length: 430 pages
Released today!

 

Drinking and driving may be deadly in more ways than one…

When a woman’s disappearance ticks off all the same boxes as two unsolved murders, Miami homicide detective Kelly Marsh is convinced there’s about to be a third. If she’s right and the killer sticks to their previous MO, she only has three days before Jenna Kelter’s decapitated head will show up somewhere in the city. With no time to waste, Kelly reaches out to the one person she knows can help: her former mentor and family friend Jack Harper, who just happens to lead a team with the FBI’s Behavioral Analysis Unit.

BAU special agent and profiler Brandon Fisher easily sees the similarities between Detective Marsh’s missing person case and the two cold cases: all three victims served time for DUI vehicular homicide and disappeared three days after being released from prison. But is that enough to assume Kelter has been abducted by a serial killer? Brandon’s not so sure and fears his boss may have let his personal connection to Marsh cloud his judgment. Surely there isn’t any other explanation for why they jumped into an investigation less than twenty-four hours after Kelter was reported missing. Then again, maybe Brandon is letting his own differences with the detective affect his perspective. He’ll need to move past it, though—and quickly.

After all, this killer has evaded capture for the past six years, and they may be looking at a lot more victims than originally suspected. This serial killer is calling the shots and pulling them into a macabre game of cat and mouse. While the team has no choice but to play, if they don’t make the right moves, one of them may not make it out of Miami alive.

https://carolynarnold.net/on-the-count-of-three/

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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’ve read quite a few of Carolyn Arnold’s books including Remnants, one of the books in the Brandon Fisher series. I like Carolyn Arnold’s characters but I think Brandon Fisher is one of my favorites and I’m hoping to find the time to read the rest of the books in her series in order. Each book is a standalone but I like to read a series in order when I can.

Brandon Fisher works for the BAU with the FBI and his team goes to Miami, Florida, to find a serial killer. Someone fitting the profile of the victims is missing, but will they be able to save her in time? Throughout the investigation, one of the members of the team is struggling with leaving the BAU for a desk job because he’s going to be a father. Not only would he be away from his child often, but he’s seen some horrific things.

The team has a lot of clues to follow and they meet up often to keep each other up-to-date and to theorize about the killer as well as what circumstances may have occurred to make him/her a serial killer. There are a few suspects, a lot of twists, and an exciting ending.

I like Carolyn Arnold’s writing whether it’s a cozy mystery or a grizzly FBI thriller or something in between. Her writing flows well and her characters are realistic. If you like murder mysteries and/or if you like the TV show Criminal Minds, you should like On the Count of Three.

Amazon

 

 

 

 

About the Author

CAROLYN ARNOLD is an international bestselling and award-winning author, as well as a speaker, teacher, and inspirational mentor. She has four continuing fiction series—Detective Madison Knight, Brandon Fisher FBI, McKinley Mysteries, and Matthew Connor Adventures—and has written nearly thirty books. Her genre diversity offers her readers everything from cozy to hard-boiled mysteries, and thrillers to action adventures.

Both her female detective and FBI profiler series have been praised by those in law enforcement as being accurate and entertaining, leading her to adopt the trademark: POLICE PROCEDURALS RESPECTED BY LAW ENFORCEMENT™.

Carolyn was born in a small town and enjoys spending time outdoors, but she also loves the lights of a big city. Grounded by her roots and lifted by her dreams, her overactive imagination insists that she tell her stories. Her intention is to touch the hearts of millions with her books, to entertain, inspire, and empower.

She currently lives in London Ontario with her husband and beagle and is a member of Crime Writers of Canada and Sisters in Crime.

 

Connect with CAROLYN ARNOLD Online:

Website – http://carolynarnold.net/

Twitter – https://twitter.com/Carolyn_Arnold

Facebook –https://www.facebook.com/AuthorCarolynArnold

 

And don’t forget to sign up for her newsletter for up-to-date information on release and special offers at http://carolynarnold.net/newsletters.

Audiobook Review & Giveaway: Deadly Shadow by Kim Cresswell

 

 

Author: Kim Cresswell

Narrator: Robin Siegerman

Length: 6 hours and 17 minutes

Series: The Assassin Chronicles, Book 1

Publisher: Kim Cresswell

Released: Aug. 7, 2018

Genre: Thriller; Paranormal

 

 

The Assassin Chronicles TV series is in development with Council Tree Productions.

Two recent murders. Two serial killers. A conspiracy that reaches beyond the physical world.

Consumed with grief over the tragic death of her husband, FBI agent Victory McClane is obsessed with finding Ohio’s serial killer, “The Wrapper”.

When another young woman turns up dead and the victim is linked to Derrick Lynn, son of the Secretary of Defense, Victory finds Derrick has all the right answers and is a little too helpful.

Derrick has a secret: He’s a government assassin who uses his unusual paranormal skills to eliminate targets. Determined to keep his own secrets buried, he offers to help find The Wrapper.

But can Victory trust him?

As the body count rises, Victory must cross a dangerous line—into a world of government cover-ups, murder, and betrayal—a decision that will test her limits. And everything she believes in.

 

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Kim Cresswell resides in Ontario, Canada and is the bestselling and award-winning author of the action-packed WHITNEY STEEL series. Kim recently signed a 3-book German translation deal with LUZIFER Verlag for the first three books in the series: Reflection, Retribution and Resurrect. The popular series will be published in German beginning in 2018/2019.

Her romantic thriller, Reflection (A Whitney Steel Novel – Book One), has won numerous awards: RomCon®’s 2014 Readers’ Crown Finalist (Romantic Suspense), InD’tale Magazine 2014 Rone Award Finalist (Suspense/Thriller), UP Authors Fiction Challenge Winner (2013), Silicon Valley’s Romance Writers of America (RWA) “Gotcha!” Romantic Suspense Winner (2004), Honourable Mention in Calgary’s (RWA) The Writer’s Voice Contest (2006).

Lethal Jouney won RomCon®’s 2014 Readers’ Crown (Thriller) and was a finalist in From the Heart Romance Writers (FTHRW) Golden Gate Contest.

The Assassin Chronicles TV series is in development with Council Tree Productions, a feature film and TV production company located in Los Angeles, California. The TV series: THE ASSASSIN CHRONICLES is based on Kim’s upcoming 4-book paranormal/supernatural suspense thriller series: Deadly Shadow (published May 2018), Invisible Truth, Assassin’s Prophecy, and Vision of Fire.

WebsiteTwitterFacebookGoodreadsAmazon

 

 

Narrator Bio

Robin Siegerman was trained as an actor by the acclaimed William Esper in New York, vocally trained by Albert Hague, a Tony award-winning, Broadway composer, and trained in speech and dialects by dialect coach to the stars, Timothy Monich.

Robin has a wide range of voices, accents, dialects and characters to give voice work color. Noteably, in the spring of 2018, she was nominated for the narration of the WWII documentary Harry’s Story in the Best International Performance category at the One Voice Awards in England.

Robin also has extensive on-camera experience as a spokes-person for a series of corporate training videos; a decor expert on various TV and radio broadcasts; a frequently requested keynote speaker at home and consumer trade shows, libraries and private industry events; has hosted her own internet radio show; wrote and voiced a daily home renovation information series for radio; and wrote and voiced a regular feature on green living radio.

Currently Robin writes & produce promo videos with VO for small to medium size businesses, along with narrating audiobooks from her broadcast-quality home studio.

WebsiteTwitterFacebook

 

 

 

I received this audiobook as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. The tour is being sponsored by Kim Cresswell. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.

I can’t believe I haven’t read anything by Kim Cresswell before. Deadly Shadow is nonstop emotion and action. The FBI is dealing with two serial killers at once. Victory McClane is on both cases at the same time. One is The Shadow and the other The Wrapper (because he wraps his victims in bubble wrap). Poor Victory is still grieving over the loss of her husband and is throwing herself into her work. But two serial killers is a lot for any FBI agent to deal with!

I like the author’s writing style, it flows well and is easy to follow. The narrator had good timing and inflection. 

The characters are portrayed well. Victoria is a strong woman and is a good FBI agent. I haven’t quite decided how much I like her yet. The other agents seem to respect her and care for her. Although Derrick is an assassin for the government and has done his job well for decades, the more I got to know of him, the more I liked him. 

I was unable to stop listening to Deadly Shadow once I got into it which was chapter 2. 

 

 

 

Continue reading

Book Review & Giveaway: The Mind’s Eye by Perry Prete

Book Title: The Mind’s Eye by Perry Prete
Category:  Adult Fiction;  243 pages
Genre:  Thriller
Publisher:   Sands Press
Release date:  March 7, 2018
Format available for review:  print & ebook (mobi, PDF, ePub)
Will send print books to: USA & Canada
Tour dates: Sept 3 to 21, 2018
Content Rating: R (Violence towards women based on real life events, language, graphic violence)
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Book Description: 

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​Nicole Baker is a quiet girl – the type of person who is seldom noticed by anyone. That is until one day she discovers she has the unique ability to see images move on photographs. At first, she uses her ability to entertain friends at parties and work. Then senior detective Paul Hammond learns of her ability and enlists her help in a case of unsolved murders that he has not been able to make any headway on.

Carl Kadner, a rookie reporter with the local paper is investigating the murders as well. And he learns what it takes to be the kind of reporter he wants to be when he puts himself in danger for the sake of the story. It is only when Carl, Nicole and Detective Hammond pool their resources that things start making sense.

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My Review

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

Paul is a detective and is given the lead on a possible homicide case but all they have is a woman’s arm. There are no leads until another woman is killed, and a woman named Nicole suddenly has a gift with which she can look at a picture and see what happened when it was taken. She’s able to give some clues to the police.

As the serial killer continues to search for women who fit his criteria, Paul and Nicole fall into a relationship that seems to be good for both of them. The killer ends up in a relationship with a girl named Katy. It’s a strange relationship but it works for them.

Carl is a rookie reporter who is also on the case. He does some investigating on his own and always seems to be right there with the police investigation if not a little ahead of them.

I thought Mind’s Eye was good from the beginning. It kept my interest and was not only suspenseful and cringe-worthy but funny. All of the characters were well-developed and unique. There were a couple of unanswered questions which was a little frustrating but it still had a good ending. It would have been a faster and even better read if the dialogue had been edited. It was often difficult to know who was talking which slowed me down quite a bit. Despite the dialogue, I recommend Mind’s Eye.

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About the Author

Perry Prete is a Canadian crime writer and paramedic. His first novel, All Good Things, introduced us to Ethan Tennant, a City of Ottawa paramedic who looks at crimes from the medical perspective.

Perry continues to work full-time as a paramedic and uses his thirty plus years of life changing and sometimes dramatic experiences to bring realism to his gripping medical novels. His other works include, The Things That Matter Most and All Good Things.

He is also a business owner, specializing in the pre-hospital care field. His company sells medical equipment across North America, primarily to EMS agencies.

A native of Sudbury, Ontario, Perry, graduated from Fanshawe College in London but now lives and works in Brockville, Ontario.

Connect with the author: Website ~ Twitter ~ Facebook

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BOOK TOUR SCHEDULE:

Sept 3   – TFaulc Book Reviews – book spotlight / guest post / giveaway
Sept 3   – fundinmental – review / giveaway
Sept 4   – FLY HIGH! – book spotlight / guest post / giveaway
Sept 4   – Mystery Suspense Reviews – review / giveaway
Sept 5   – My Reading Journey – review / giveaway
Sept 5   – 100 Pages A Day – review / giveaway
Sept 6   – The World As I See It – review / giveaway
Sept 6   – Laurie’s Thoughts and Reviews – book spotlight / guest post / giveaway
Sept 7   – Celticlady’s Reviews – book spotlight / giveaway
Sept 10 – Locks, Hooks and Books – review / giveaway
Sept 10 – Cheryl’s Book Nook – review / giveaway
Sept 11 – Rainy Day Reviews – review / author interview / giveaway
Sept 11 – Books for Books – review
Sept 13 – A Mama’s Corner of the World – review
Sept 13 – Truly Trendy – review
Sept 14 – It’s All About the Book – review
Sept 14 – Library of Clean Reads – review / giveaway
Sept 14 – Fantastic Feathers – review
Sept 17 – T’s Stuff – review / author interview / giveaway
Sept 17 – Bound 4 Escape – review / giveaway
Sept 18 – A Page Before Bedtime – review / giveaway
Sept 18 – Two Points of Interest – review / giveaway
Sept 19 – Fantasticando sui libri – review / guest post
Sept 20 – Just Reviews – review
Sept 21 – Jessica Cassidy – review / giveaway

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Enter the Giveaway!
Ends Sept 29, 2018

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Book Review: Killer Within by Jeff Gunhus

 

 

 

24700947Title: KILLER WITHIN
Author: Jeff Gunhus
Pages: 272
Genre: Thriller

Serial killer Arnie Milhouse may be ready to end his thirteen-year killing spree, but he wants one last victim before leaving Annapolis—and the sexy new photographer in town promises to be his most satisfying score yet. He develops plans to seduce the mysterious Allison by luring her out to sea aboard his luxury catamaran for a secluded weekend he won’t forget…and one she won’t survive.

But Arnie’s latest mark is more than just another pretty face. Allison McNeil has her own secret agenda, and enough insider information to connect Arnie’s long string of seemingly unrelated murders. But hunting down serial killers is more than just a hobby for Allison: she’s ready to face down her personal demons and take down this vicious predator once and for all.

Available on Amazon.

 

My Review

I received a free ecopy of this book from the author a while back and hadn’t had time to read it but when I received a copy of Killer Pursuit, the 2nd book in the series, I knew I’d have to make time for this one too because I like to read series in order if possible.

This is the first book in the Allison McNeil Series. Allison works for the FBI as a behavioral analyst and her specialty is serial killers. She’s undercover trying to prove her hunch that Arnie Milhouse is a serial killer. Allison is smart when it comes to analyzing others but she has her own deep dark secrets that give her frequent nightmares. She also doesn’t do well at taking orders (not a good thing when working for the FBI) and frequently puts herself and others in danger. Despite her flaws, I like Allison’s character. She’s independent and stubborn.  

Killer Within is a thriller that is difficult to put down. It also has some twists that took me by surprise which I always like. I started reading Jeff’s books with his first book, Jack Templar Monster Hunter, and I like his writing whether it’s Jack Templar, horror, or thrillers. I look forward to reading more of his books.

 

About the Author

jeff-gunhusJeff Gunhus is the USA TODAY bestselling author of thriller and horror novels for adults and the middle grade/YA series, The Templar Chronicles. The first book, Jack Templar Monster Hunter, was written in an effort to get his reluctant reader eleven-year-old son excited about reading. It worked and a new series was born. His books for adults have reached the Top 30 on Amazon, have been recognized as Foreword Reviews Book of the Year Finalists and reached the USA TODAY bestseller list.

After his experience with his son, he is passionate about helping parents reach young reluctant readers and is active in child literacy issues. As a father of five, he leads an active life in Maryland with his wife Nicole by trying to constantly keep up with their kids. In rare moments of quiet, he can be found in the back of the City Dock Cafe in Annapolis working on his next novel or on JeffGunhus.com.

 

For More Information

 

Book Review & Giveaway: Killer Pursuit by Jeff Gunhus

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Title: KILLER PURSUIT
Author: Jeff Gunhus
Publisher: Seven Guns Press
Pages: 352
Genre: Thriller

When a high-society call girl is murdered in her Georgetown home, investigators find two cameras hidden in the walls of her bedroom. One has its memory erased, presumably by the murderer. The second is connected to the Internet through an encrypted connection…and no-one knows who’s on the other end.

Special Agent Allison McNeil is asked by beleaguered FBI Director Clarence Mason to run an off-the-record investigation of the murder because of the murder’s similarity to a case she worked a year earlier. Allison knows the most direct path to apprehending the killer is to find the videos, but the rumors that the victim’s client list may have included Mason’s political enemies has her worried about the director’s motives. As she starts her investigation, she quickly discovers that she’s not the only one pursuing the videos. In fact, the most aggressive person racing against her might be the murderer himself.

 

For More Information

Killer Pursuit is available at Amazon.

Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.

 

My Review

Jeff Gunhus is one of my favorite authors so I was thrilled to read and review Killer Pursuit. I already had Killer Within, the first book in the Allison McNeil series, on my TBR list so, of course, I had to read it first (review will be posted tomorrow). I’ve also read his Jack Templar books which are great middle school/young adult books.

Killer Pursuit is one of those books that is difficult to put down. Allison McNeil is great at what she does as a behavioral analyst for the FBI, but she doesn’t put up with anyone’s crap or men’s inappropriate advances, so she’s been labeled as someone who doesn’t work well with others. She’s too good to let go, though, so the Director of the FBI gives her a special, secret assignment. 

Allison’s specialty is serial killers. Since she doesn’t seem to care about putting herself in danger and she’s dealing with serial killers, she tends to get into trouble on a regular basis. I like her character. She’s a complex woman and in some ways she is so accomplished but she’s got a lot on her plate including dealing with a father with Alzheimer’s and grief over a lost love. And she knows that she can’t trust anyone, even the Director of the FBI, so she’s pretty much on her own. 

Killer Pursuit is a great murder mystery. It’s full of suspense, corruption, mystery, and best of all, it has a couple twists. I definitely recommend it.

I received a free copy of this book and was not compensated in any way. All of the opinions in this review are 100% my own.

 

About the Author

jeff-gunhusJeff Gunhus is the USA TODAY bestselling author of thriller and horror novels for adults and the middle grade/YA series, The Templar Chronicles. The first book, Jack Templar Monster Hunter, was written in an effort to get his reluctant reader eleven-year-old son excited about reading. It worked and a new series was born. His books for adults have reached the Top 30 on Amazon, have been recognized as Foreword Reviews Book of the Year Finalists and reached the USA TODAY bestseller list.

After his experience with his son, he is passionate about helping parents reach young reluctant readers and is active in child literacy issues. As a father of five, he leads an active life in Maryland with his wife Nicole by trying to constantly keep up with their kids. In rare moments of quiet, he can be found in the back of the City Dock Cafe in Annapolis working on his next novel or on JeffGunhus.com.

 

For More Information

 

Giveaway

Jeff Gunhus is giving away a grand prize of $25 Amazon Gift Card plus one autographed copy of his book and 4 runner ups will receive an autographed copy his book as well!

Terms & Conditions:

  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • Five winners will be chosen via Rafflecopter to receive either the grand prize of a $25 Amazon Gift Card plus one autographed copy of his book or one of 4 autographed copies of his book
  • This giveaway ends midnight October 28.
  • Winner will be contacted via email on October 29.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.

Good luck everyone!

ENTER TO WIN!

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