Archive for May 2016

Giveaway: Pigeon-Blood Red by Ed Duncan

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Pigeon-Blood Red is a fast-paced and suspenseful crime thriller by Ed Duncan. It was released in March 2016, published by Zharmae and is available for sale on Amazon.

Duncan says, "It's always been said that you should write what you know. I am a lawyer - as is a pivotal character in the novel who is being pursued by a hit man - and I'm excited to be able to use my legal training creatively as well as professionally."

For underworld enforcer Richard "Rico" Sanders, it seemed like an ordinary job. Retrieve his gangster boss's priceless pigeon-blood red ruby necklace and teach the double-dealing cheat who stole it a lesson. A job like a hundred before it. But the chase quickly goes sideways. It takes Rico from the mean streets of Chicago to the sunny Honolulu. The hardened hit man finds himself in uncharted territory when a couple of innocent bystanders are accidentally embroiled in the crime.

As Rico pursues his new targets, the hunter and his prey develop an unlikely respect for one another. Rico is faced with a momentous decision: follow his orders to kill the couple whose courage and character have won his admiration, or refuse and endanger the life of the woman he loves.

About Ed Duncan
Ed Duncan is a graduate of Oberlin College and Northwestern University Law School. He was partner at a national law firm in Cleveland, Ohio for many years. He currently lives outside of Cleveland and is at work on the second installment in the Pigeon-Blood Red trilogy. To learn more, go to

Enter to win a kindle copy of this book by using the widget below. Contest is open to US residents only. No P.O. Boxes please. Contest will run to 6/3. Winner will have 48 hours to respond after being contacted.

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The Grownup by Gillian Flynn


"She defines and eliminates problems. She's practical in an evil way."

Gillian Flynn, author of the bestselling Gone Girl, returns with The Grownup, a novella that features her signature suspense with a dark flair. The story centers around a young woman who has spent her whole life conning people out of their money. She spent her formative years on the street with her mother. Over time, she learned how to read people and to devise the perfect sob story to convince them to hand over some cash. As soon as she was old enough, the woman ventured out on her own and began to make a comfortable living off of her various crimes.

Now our unnamed narrator finds herself "servicing" men in the back room of a bogus fortune teller establishment. When carpal tunnel prevents her from effectively executing her job, she uses her natural intuition to earn a spot at the front of the building as a psychic. Susan Burke seems like an easy target for the narrator. She instantly gives the impression of a woman who is unhappy with her marriage and life at home. On her first visit to cleanse Susan's Victorian mansion of whatever is plaguing it, the narrator soon discovers that there may actually be some truth to Susan's claims of an evil presence. For the first time in her life, the narrator may be the one who is blindsided by the reality of the situation.

At less that a hundred pages, The Grownup is a quick read that easily held my interest. There is a genuine sense of dread that permeates the pages of the work, even when the story gets a little too overblown to be taken seriously. Flynn really plays up the genre to the point where it becomes unclear if she is intentionally making the situation outrageous or not. Just when I thought I had her end game figured out, Flynn turned the story on its head with an ending that completely caught me off guard. There is clearly a larger moral to the work that pertains to the narrator's special ability, but the short length doesn't allow this lesson to come to a convincing fruition. Ultimately, The Grownup is an enjoyable distraction that should whet appetite of Flynn's fans while paling in comparison to her other novels.

For more information, visit the author's website, Amazon, and Goodreads.

(2016, 16)

Wilde Lake by Laura Lippman


"We always want our heroes to be better than their times, to hold the enlightened views we have achieved one hundred, fifty, ten years later."

Luisa "Lu" Brandt's childhood is one of both tragedy and triumph. Her mother died one day after giving birth to Lu, leaving Andrew Jackson Brandt to raise her and her older brother AJ. Mr. Brandt never adapted to the domesticity that being a single father demands, but he did fiercely love his children. Never having a true female role model, other than the family housekeeper Teensy, Lu struggled to find her place in the world. Even in the idealistic community of Columbia, teachers and students were hesitant to accept Lu for the individual free spirit that she was. Throughout the tribulations of adolescence, Lu learned that family was the only thing in life that would never waver. This lesson was cemented into her being on the night that AJ killed a local townsman while defending a friend. Her father used his influence as the State's Attorney to see that the incident was swiftly resolved and didn't cause any unneeded trauma to his son.

Years later, Lu finds her life coming full circle. After her husband's untimely death, she relocated herself and her twin children back to her childhood home. Not long after the move, she was elected to hold the very same office her father held years ago. With the shadow of her father's highly revered career looming over her, Lu hits the ground running by taking on a murder case. The incident of a mentally unstable drifter killing a local young woman seems like the perfect way for Lu to assert the power of her new job. But new revelations force Lu to face inconsistencies in her own past and call into question the memories that she holds dear.

Readers of Laura Lippman's novels have come to expect intricate mysteries that keep the pages turning and our imaginations working. While Wilde Lake certainly does its part to keep this tradition alive, it is much more a family drama than a conventional thriller. As the story unfolds, the relationship between Lu and her father and brother takes center stage. Yes, there is a mystery that will keep you guessing to the very end, but this mystery is not the central focus of the novel. Rather, the murder case is used to advance the development of the the true nature of the family's narrative.

The novel alternates between past and present. The present day sections read like many of Lippman's past efforts. Lu is a flawed character who we can't help but connect with and root for. It is in the sections about Lu's childhood where Lippman offers something refreshingly different. Echoes of Harper Lee's To Kill A Mockingbird permeate the story of a young girl being raised by her lawyer father. The childlike innocence of these portions only add to the suspense of the present day mystery. As past and present collide, Lippman weaves a poignant tale that comments on family loyalty and the vulnerability of memory. Wilde Lake is a stirring work that proves that Lippman is a master of her craft.

To enter to win one of two copies of this novel, use the RaffleCopter widget below. Open to US residents. No P.O. boxes please. Ends 5/17. After being contacted, winner will have 48 hours to respond.

For more information, visit the author's website, Amazon, and Goodreads.

(2016, 15)

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