#BadMoonRising Betrayed by Joseph Lewis #psychologicalthriller #TuesdayBookBlog

Today’s author has made several appearances on this blog, and he’s a publisher sibling of mine. He’s featuring a backlist title, but also has a preorder link for an upcoming release. Haunted house or haunted graveyard? He’s visited both. Haunted high school? Uh, yeah – he attended one. Just imagine those class reunions. Welcome Joseph Lewis!

Would you rather visit a haunted house or a haunted graveyard?

I’ve done both, but I have to tell you, I attended a haunted high school. It was a co-ed boarding school, and there is a history, well before my time there, of odd and strange occurrences. Stories of screams in the night. The founder back in the 1800s had a history of practicing occult and witchcraft. Seldom did you see students by themselves. Unsettling and creepy!

Which Stephen King novel unsettled you the most?

It was The Stand that did it for me. “The walking dude” was a figure I couldn’t get out of my head for a long time. The image and what he stood for stuck with me. Still does. The book’s concept of good vs evil intrigues me, as it did in Golding’s book, Lord of the Flies. The idea in both books that civilization won’t hold up if there isn’t structure and those willing to fight for the good of the whole is a theme in my writing. Another great spooky book is Peter Straub’s Ghost Story. Fenny Bate still gives me chills. I couldn’t read it at night.

Would you buy a doll that you knew was haunted?

Oh, heck no! Any doll, any clown – haunted or not- are just creepy to me. Pennywise is an awesome character, but scary as all get out. My daughters never played with dolls- their choice, not mine. My oldest daughter cannot sleep in a room if it has a doll in it.

Do you believe in any ‘mythical’ monsters like chupacabras or shadow people?

Yes, I do. I believe in the spirit world- both the good (angels, saints) and the bad (Satan, ghosts). I use the supernatural in my own writing. One of my characters, George, is a full-blooded Navajo boy of seventeen. He was raised by his grandfather and practices the traditional Navajo beliefs of the spirit world. I believe there are forces- good and bad- at play in our world and in our minds. Can be both scary and comforting.

How do you use social media as an author? 

Mostly for promotion. I will post reviews, snippets, and blurbs to sell books. I have an author website where I introduce authors to the public, talk about writing and give examples, introduce my characters and my books. I find it both fun and overwhelming. I’d rather just write, honestly, and have someone else do the promotion.

What books did you grow up reading?

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Sherlock Holmes; The Seminole (I don’t even know if it is in print any longer; Stephen King and Peter Straub. Now, I read James Patterson, John Sandford, and David Baldacci. I prefer mystery and crime to read, which is what I write. I like the suspense and the “keep them guessing” aspect to mystery and suspense. I try to do that in my own writing, though I blend a fair amount of coming-of-age threads in my books, since my main characters are a patchwork group of adopted boys.

If you could be mentored by a famous author, who would it be? 

I would love an after dinner conversation with James Patterson, Stephen King, and John Sandford. Each are unique. I tend to write most like Patterson – short chapters, interesting characters, and a crime to solve. But King, because of his detail in setting and atmosphere, his ability to bring a “place” to life, intrigues me and I would want to understand how he goes about developing it. Lastly, Sandford, because of his journalism background, doesn’t waste words. I struggle with that.

What are you working on now?

My newest book, Fan Mail, is currently available for preorder. It is different from any book I’ve written, though it still is in the thriller-crime genre, and it still uses the same characters as my other books. However, there is a strong coming-of-age theme to it that readers will identify with and love. The brief synopsis for Fan Mail is:

A barrage of threatening letters, a car bomb, and a heart attack rip apart what was once a close-knit family of adopted brothers.

Randy and Bobby, along with fellow band member and best friend, Danny, receive fan mail that turns menacing. They ignore it, but to their detriment. The sender turns up the heat. Violence upends their world. It rocks the relationship between the boys and ripples through their family, nearly killing their dad.

As these boys turn on each other, adopted brother Brian flashes back to that event in Arizona where he nearly lost his life saving his brothers. The scars on his face and arms healed, but not his heart. Would he once again have to put himself in harm’s way to save them? And if faced with that choice, will he?

Fan Mail can be preordered at https://www.blackrosewriting.com/thrillers/fanmail. If readers purchase the book prior to the publication date of March 30, 2023, you may use the promo code: PREORDER2023 to receive a 15% Discount!

Integrity is protecting someone who betrayed you. Courage is keeping a promise even though it might mean death.

A late-night phone call turns what was to be a fun hunting trip into a deadly showdown. Fifteen-year-old brothers George Tokay, Brian Evans and Brett McGovern face death on top of a mesa on the Navajo Nation Reservation in Arizona. They have no idea why men are intent on killing them.

Betrayed is a contemporary psychological thriller and an exploration of the heart and of a blended family of adopted kids, their relationships to each other and their parents woven into a tight mystery-thriller.

Purchase Links

Amazon

Black Rose Writing

Author Bio and Social Media

After having been in education for forty-six years as a teacher, coach, counselor and administrator, Joseph Lewis has semi-retired and now works part-time as an online learning facilitator. He uses his psychology and counseling background to craft thriller/crime/detective mysteries, and has taken creative writing and screen writing courses at UCLA and USC.

Lewis has published eight books, all available on Amazon and each to excellent reviews: Taking Lives (May 2021) the prequel to the Lives Trilogy; Stolen Lives (May 2021) Book One of the Lives Trilogy is a BestThrillers 1st Place Award Winner for Crime Fiction, and a Literary Titan Gold Book Award Winner; Shattered Lives (May 2021) Book Two of the Trilogy; and Splintered Lives (May 2021) Book Three of the Trilogy (May 2021); Caught in a Web (April 2018), which was a PenCraft Literary Award Winner for Crime Fiction and named “One of the Best Crime Fiction Thrillers of 2018!” by Best Thrillers; Spiral Into Darkness (January 2019), which was named a Recommended Read by Author’s Favorites; Betrayed November 2020 is a Top Shelf Award 1st Place Fiction-Mystery; Top Shelf Award Runner-Up Fiction-Crime; PenCraft Award 1st Place Winner, Maxy Award Runner-Up for Mystery-Suspense, a Literary Titan Silver Book Award Winner, and a Reader’s Favorite 5 Star Rating Winner; Blaze In, Blaze Out January 2022 has already won a Literary Titan Gold Book Award, A Reader’s Favorite Recommended Read, and was an Editor’s Pick by BestThrillers.com . Lewis has another thriller-crime-mystery, Fan Mail hitting the market March 30, 2023.

Born and raised in Wisconsin, Lewis has been happily married to his wife, Kim. Together they have three wonderful children: Wil (deceased July 2014), Hannah, and Emily. He and his wife now reside in Virginia.

Social Media Contact:

Author Website at https://www.jrlewisauthor.blog

Twitter at https://www.twitter.com/jrlewisauthor

Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/Joseph.Lewis.Author

Amazon at: http://www.amazon.com/Joseph-Lewis/e/B01FWB9AOI /

Blog at: https://www.simplethoughtsfromacomplicatedmindsortof.com  

Daughter by Kate McLaughlin #bookreview #YA #psychologicalthriller #TuesdayBookBlog

Scarlet’s life is pretty average. Overly protective mom. Great friends. Cute boy she’s interested in. And a father she’s never known – until she does.

When the FBI show up at Scarlet’s door, she is shocked to learn her father is infamous serial killer Jeffrey Robert Lake. And now, he’s dying and will only give the names and locations of his remaining victims to the one person, the daughter he hasn’t seen since she was a baby.

Scarlet’s mother has tried to protect her from Lake’s horrifying legacy, but there’s no way they can escape the media firestorm that erupts when they come out of hiding. Or the people who blame Scarlet for her father’s choices. When trying to do the right thing puts her life in danger, Scarlet is faced with a choice – go back into hiding or make the world see her as more than a monster’s daughter.

Kate McLaughlin’s Daughter is a novel about trying right deadly choices that were never yours to begin with.

This description reminded me a bit of the TV show Prodigal Son (still bitter about the whole cancellation thing). The serial killer’s son in that show was an adult, so I was interested to see how the scenario would play out with a teenage girl who didn’t know who her father was.

Scarlet’s family has only consisted of herself and her uber overprotective mother. No extended family and no father in the picture. Her friends and boyfriends are vetted by her mom, and Scarlet only goes on school trips if her mother is a chaperone. She assumes her mother has an extreme case of helicopter parenting, so imagine her shock when she learns (rather abruptly) that her father, Jeff, is an infamous serial killer. He’s dying in prison and will only release the other names of his victims and locations of their bodies to Scarlet. Talk about pressure and stressful situations.

Wanting to bring peace to the families of the victims and because she’s genuinely good person, Scarlet agrees to see him. The meetings between them are intense and dripping with tension – I was on the edge of my seat wondering if Jeff was playing her. You can’t help but think about the scenes with Anthony Hopkins and and Jodie Foster in The Silence of the Lambs. The snippets of articles in between chapters that explain the inner workings of sociopaths’ minds and how they differ from most peoples’ are fascinating and enabled me to understand Jeff’s conversations and reactions to Scarlet.

Something I especially liked about this book is that it brings to light how our society focuses more on the serial killer instead of the victims. This story shows how the lives of Jeff’s family and the victims’ families are affected by his actions.

Daughter isn’t for the faint of heart. Although the murders take place off page, Jeff does go into disturbing detail occasionally about the killings during his conversations with Scarlet. Compelling, chilling, and certainly dark, I’d recommend this novel to fans of psychological thrillers and true crime stories.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

Sundial by Catriona Ward #bookreview #horror #suspense

You can’t escape what’s in your blood…

All Rob wanted was a normal life. She almost got it, too: a husband, two kids, a nice house in the suburbs. But Rob fears for her oldest daughter, Callie, who collects tiny bones and whispers to imaginary friends. Rob sees a darkness in Callie, one that reminds her too much of the family she left behind.

She decides to take Callie back to her childhood home, to Sundial, deep in the Mojave Desert. And there she will have to make a terrible choice.

Callie is worried about her mother. Rob has begun to look at her strangely, and speaks of past secrets. And Callie fears that only one of them will leave Sundial alive…

The mother and daughter embark on a dark, desert journey to the past in the hopes of redeeming their future.

The Last House on Needless Street blew me away, so requesting Ward’s next release on NetGalley was a no-brainer.

Right away you know this is a dysfunctional family – a husband with anger problems who’s had numerous affairs, an unhappy wife who clearly has issues of her own, a daughter obsessed with nearly anything involving death. I felt bad for the daughters who had to witness the toxic, abusive relationship between their parents. Rob has always found it difficult to connect with her oldest daughter, Callie. At times, she even struggles to like her. She feels like Callie is more her husband’s daughter, while Rob’s strongest bond is with her youngest daughter. After a jarring event, Rob knows she has to take Callie away to her childhood home, Sundial. And what a twisted place it was to grow up.

The gradual reveal of Rob’s past sent icy fingers inching their way up my spine. It’s no surprise her greatest desire is to have a normal life. Shocking, horrifying secrets some to light, and you’ll never see them coming. The ending is difficult to describe. Just trust me when I say you’ll need uninterrupted time to finish those pages and then more time to think about it.

There’s no doubt the psychological suspense is well-crafted, but I struggled with this novel due to the many mentions of animal death and cruelty and had to skim through several pages. If there was any hint of this in the description or a content warning, I probably wouldn’t have requested it. If that topic is a trigger, you might want to skip this one.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

The Last House on Needless Street by Catriona Ward #bookreview #psychologicalthriller #suspense #TuesdayBookBlog

Catriona Ward’s The Last House on Needless Street is a shocking and immersive read perfect for fans of Gone Girl and The Haunting of Hill House.

In a boarded-up house on a dead-end street at the edge of the wild Washington woods lives a family of three.

A teenage girl who isn’t allowed outside, not after last time.
A man who drinks alone in front of his TV, trying to ignore the gaps in his memory.
And a house cat who loves napping and reading the Bible.

An unspeakable secret binds them together, but when a new neighbor moves in next door, what is buried out among the birch trees may come back to haunt them all.

With this book blurbed by heavy hitters Stephen King, Joe Hill, and Sarah Pinborough, I doubt many readers passed on requesting it from NetGalley. And what an eerie cover!

It’s difficult to review this without giving away spoilers, but let’s give it a shot. A layered story, a gradual reveal, a slow unraveling of the truth – all are apt descriptions of this novel. You’ll form and discard plenty of theories. Some of them may actually be half correct – or not. Told primarily from the viewpoints of Ted, his daughter Lauren, and Olivia the cat (as a servant to many feline overlords over the years, I can say the author totally nailed a cat’s internal thoughts), it’s clear early on something isn’t right in this house. Sometimes their viewpoints contradicted each other, and I questioned if they were even reliable narrators.

This is a dark, dark novel that may make you uncomfortable at times with its subject matter. You may not even like the story and characters, but it grabs you in a way that makes it nearly impossible to stop turning the pages so you can discover exactly what’s going on in this boarded up house.

Intriguing, disorienting, heart-breaking, and horrific at times, this isn’t a story for the faint of heart, but it’s one I’d highly recommend to fans of dark psychological suspense/thrillers bordering on horror. Make sure to read the author’s note at the end of the story.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley.  Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

#BadMoonRising: The Beast Within by Jacquie Biggar #paranormal #thriller

If you’re not superstitious, this featured author may change your mind.  She also confirms why basements in haunted houses aren’t a place you want to hang out.  Welcome Jacquie Biggar!

You’re in a horror movie.  Are you the final person, the first to die, the comic relief, the skeptic, the smart one, or the killer?

I would be the skeptic saying, “Yeah, sure that’s a real chainsaw with blood dripping all over my clean floor. When you’re done goofing off, I hope you plan on cleaning that mess up!”

Creepiest thing that’s ever happened while you were alone?

We lived in a haunted house when I was growing up. My bedroom was in the basement and normally the streetlight would shine through the three windows and provide plenty of light. But, once in a while I’d wake up and literally not be able to see my hand in front of my face. There’d also be a strong, malevolent presence (or maybe that was because I was scared witless!). I’d bang against walls and furniture to get upstairs, my heart drumming right out of my chest, and the light would be on outside. I could see it through the bay window and its glow lit up the kitchen.

Most scared I’ve ever been.

Are you superstitious?

Isn’t everyone? J I won’t walk under a ladder. If a black cat crosses my path, I’ll figure a way around it (tricky since we owned black cats!). If I spill salt, I don’t just throw some from the shaker over my shoulder, I scoop up the spill and throw it too. (Sorry, guy in the next booth!) Friday the 13th is the worst. I’m always waiting for something bad to happen. Some events from history include: Buckingham Palace bombed Sept 13th, 1940, a thirteen-year-old was struck by lightning Friday the 13th at 13:13, a cruise ship ran aground off the coast of Italy, and Flight 571 crashed in the Andes leaving its survivors to commit cannibalism.

What is the hardest part of writing?

Focusing!

No really, between social media, my pets needing attention (I have a calico and a German Shepherd), watering my plants because we’re under drought conditions and I can’t stand to see them die, visiting my mom each day, cleaning the house (if I have to J), making DH dinner and packing his lunch, and watching my favorite TV shows (There’s at least one each night) I have to force myself to sit down and concentrate on the book. And that’s not counting promo stuff.

Writing IS a full-time job and it’s important to slot out a timeframe that works- for you. Just because Betty-Lou has great success writing at 5 am (Oh, my gosh!) it doesn’t mean that will be your productive time. Heck, I don’t even function until I’ve downed three or four cups of coffee. Some write every day, and others only on the weekend. It’s all about finding the lane that works for you, and then sticking to it because you’re the only one who can create the magic.

Who or what has influenced your writing, and in what way?

My critique groups have changed my way of writing. I belong to two fantastic groups. A local one where we share our work via email and meet once a month for an exchange of ideas, industry information, and gossip. J And an online group through the Kiss of Death RWA Chapter called Lethal Ladies. I’ve been the coordinator there for two years and value their insights immeasurably.

I feel critique groups and beta readers together make for stronger, cleaner storylines. After all, you want your book baby to be all that it can be, right?

What’s your work schedule like when you’re writing?

I’m lucky enough to be able to work full-time towards a successful writing career, which means I can spread my jobs throughout the day. I start by reading and commenting on my blog and those that I follow (don’t take this lightly, the blogging community is huge and they can help you if you’re willing to put in some effort), then I move on to Facebook, Twitter and my emails. After that, I take a break for family and pet-time.

The bulk of my writing takes place in the evening. The house is quiet and I can concentrate on my work. It drives me nuts to have the television on while I’m writing. I guess I’m an all or nothing kind of gal, lol.

Now on #Audiobook https://www.amazon.com/Beast-Within-Mended-Souls-Book/dp/B07BX446YX

 Haven’t joined the latest craze yet? Join here and get a free book- https://www.audible.com/pd/B07BWTYQK2/?source_code=AUDFPWS0223189MWT-BK-ACX0-112815&ref=acx_bty_BK_ACX0_112815_rh_us

And check out my other #audiobooks here: https://www.audible.com/author/Jacquie-Biggar/B00MSIJQBG

The Beast Within

Book 2 Mended Souls Series

She didn’t expect to land in the crosshairs of a serial killer.

Can two displaced angels save a woman from the clutches of a vicious psychopath?

 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 be the winner?

Excerpt

Julie pulled into the paved driveway and parked in front of the single car garage just as the school bus stopped down the street and let off a rag-tag bunch of laughing, talking kids. All except her boys, last to step down from the vehicle. They barely glanced up from their inspection of the sidewalk when the doors slid closed and the bus signaled away from the curb.

She sighed and waited while they trudged the half block to their front gate. There were no waves or yelled plans to join the other kids in a game of street hockey after their dinner. No suggestions of an impromptu basketball match using the hoop above the garage door, or a bike ride to the nearby park. Nothing at all. In fact, Dustin looked like he had another of his perpetual mad-ons happening, with hunched shoulders and downcast expression. Meanwhile, Freddie tagged along behind, casting envious glances at the neighbor boy running down the street toward the others setting up for the hockey game.

“Why can’t we, Dusty?” Freddie tugged on his older brother’s jacket, barely slowing him down. “I want to play.”

Dustin stopped short, glaring at the laughing kids down the block. “They’re a big bunch of dummies.” He kicked at a stray pebble, sending it skittering down the walk.

Julie hiked her satchel higher on her shoulder and closed the car door. Dustin glanced her way, then trudged into the house without a word.

Julie’s welcoming smile flat-lined, her son’s continuing anger creating a hard ball of tension in her gut. She’d taken him to counselling after his father’s death, but it hadn’t done much to alleviate the guilt he carried. He felt the accident was his fault and nothing Julie could say would change his mind.

“Mom, can I go play?” Freddie giggled as the neighbor’s dog dropped a beat up ball glove at his feet.

She forced a cheerful expression and held out her arms. “Do I get a cuddle first?”

Young enough not to care who might be watching, he ran into her embrace, his chubby arms wrapping her waist in a bear hug. She held on a moment too long, reluctant to give up the scent of bubblegum and sun that clung to his soft skin.

“Mom, you’re squeezing me to death,” he laughed into her chest.

She gave one last clench, half teasing, half desperation, and let him go. “Be back in an hour, and watch out for traffic.”

“Okay, love you, Mom,” he said, grabbing the glove and heading for the street, his attention already half a block away.

“Love you, son,” she answered, and he was gone. Leaving her alone. Deflated.

She turned for the house, coming to a halt when she noticed Dustin standing on the other side of the screen. There was that knot again. Much as she loved her eldest son, Julie hated the undercurrents that ran between them like a tide of noxious gas. He’d been daddy’s boy, had followed Mike wherever he went, questions flying a-mile-a-minute. They’d often joked that the only time Dusty was quiet was when he was asleep.

Mike.

She missed her husband every day.

 

 Amazon- https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01MQEVI55

Goodreads- https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/32879778-the-beast-within

International linkhttp://books2read.com/TheBeastWithin

Author Bio

JACQUIE BIGGAR  is a USA Today bestselling author of Romantic Suspense who loves to write about tough, alpha males and strong, contemporary women willing to show their men that true power comes from love.

Free reads, excerpts, author news, and contests can be found on her web site:

http://jacqbiggar.com

You can follow her on at http://Facebook.com/jacqbiggar, http://Twitter.com/jacqbiggar

Or email her via her web site. Jacquie lives on Vancouver Island with her husband and loves to hear from readers all over the world!

You can also join her street team on Facebook: Biggar’s Book Buddies

Or her exclusive Review Crew: https://jacqbiggar.com/join-my-review-crew/

And sign up for her newsletter-

http://www.subscribepage.com/jacqbiggar

Ghosts of Manor House by Matt Powers #bookreview #RBRT #horror #TuesdayBookBlog

Edmund and Mary Wilder are very much in love. But the death of their young son, Tommy, has shattered their family. Edmund is determined to bring them back together, drawing on the only bit of strength he has left—his love for Mary and their daughter, Stephanie. But Mary sinks deeper into depression while little Stephanie’s anger grows. Edmund flounders in his attempts to rescue his family from the brink of collapse and doesn’t know where to turn.

Then Mary receives an invitation for the family to become guests at Manor House, a seemingly quaint Bed and Breakfast. This, she assures her husband, is the answer to all their troubles.

Edmund arrives ahead of his family to spend a couple days working on his long-delayed novel. But his growing curiosity about the old house leads Edmund to an encounter that will change him forever.

What will you sacrifice for love?

An old fashioned psychological thriller with a nod to Stephen King, Manor House will keep you guessing and compel you to turn the page to the very end.

A mother will sacrifice anything for her children. A husband will risk everything to save his wife. Manor House will take them all. – Goodreads.com

Give me a book featuring an eerie house and I’m a happy reader.  Ghosts of Manor House appealed to me based on the title alone.

The author does a wonderful job at conveying the emotions of grieving parents who’ve lost a child – my heart broke for them.  I also liked how the gruesome history of the tree was established in the prologue and gives a foundation for the mysterious happenings.  Once the family arrives at the house, you just know nothing good is going to happen.

After the first few chapters, there’s a sudden shift and for a while, it allows the reader to feel disoriented along with Edmund.  It’s easy to predict the path this story will take, but there are some tense, chilling moments along the way.

The book contains some formatting errors here and there, with two different characters speaking and the dialogue on the same line (which can be a little confusing), and sentences split between paragraphs.  Occasionally, the dialogue is somewhat repetitious.

This book doesn’t contain gore – it’s more atmospheric, with almost a gothic feel, so if you’re not a horror fan, don’t let that deter you from reading.  Although a quick read, Ghosts of Manor House contains powerful, heavy emotions and is a haunting, grim tale.

I received a copy of this book through Rosie’s Book Review Team.

This Darkness Mine by Mindy McGinnis #bookreview #YA #thriller

Sasha Stone knows her place—first-chair clarinet, top of her class, and at the side of her oxford-wearing boyfriend. She’s worked her entire life to ensure that her path to Oberlin Conservatory as a star musician is perfectly paved.

But suddenly there’s a fork in the road, in the shape of Isaac Harver. Her body shifts toward him when he walks by, her skin misses his touch even though she’s never known it, and she relishes the smell of him—smoke, beer, and trouble—all the things she’s avoided to get where she is. Even worse, every time he’s near Sasha, her heart stops, literally. Why does he know her so well—too well—and she doesn’t know him at all?

Sasha discovers that her by-the-book life began by ending another’s: the twin sister she absorbed in the womb. But that doesn’t explain the gaps of missing time in her practice schedule or the memories she has of things she certainly never did with Isaac. As Sasha loses her much-cherished control, her life—and heart—become more entangled with Isaac. Armed with the knowledge that her heart might not be hers alone, Sasha must decide what she’s willing to do—and who she’s willing to hurt—to take it back.

Edgar Award–winning author Mindy McGinnis delivers a dark and gripping psychological thriller about a girl at war with herself, and what it really means to be good or bad. – Goodreads.com

In another review of one of this author’s books, I mentioned I’d read anything she wrote, because she’s just that good.  After reading This Darkness Mine, I firmly, concretely, couldn’t move me with a wrecking ball, stand by that statement.  This is one of those reviews where I can’t say much in order to avoid spoilers – pretty sure you’ll understand how I felt about it.

This novel is fabulously dark and disturbing, wonderfully twisted, and entirely unpredictable – it’s impossible to look away.  Sasha is blunt, manipulative, ambitious, cunning – and a highly unreliable narrator.  Or is she?  The supporting characters are incredible and the dialogue between them is clever and amusing – I’m such a fan of McGinnis’s writing style.

Block out a chunk of time to read this – then leave yourself some time upon completion to deal with the aftereffects.  You’ll need it.  This Darkness Mine takes complex psychological thrillers to a whole new level – and I’d love to sit down with this author and ask her how such an original concept was born.  This book is scheduled for publication October 10th, 2017.

Thanks to the publisher and Edelweiss for the digital ARC.

#BadMoonRising Day 2 Cristina by Jake Parent #IndieAuthor #Thriller

bmr

Welcome Jake Parent to Day 2 of Bad Moon Rising!  The description of his psychological thriller, Cristina, brings to mind the phrase “If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.”

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Driven by a desperate need to escape her past, Cristina Rodriguez moves into a picturesque hilltop home with an ocean view. The same place where, four years earlier, a young girl was kidnapped and murdered.

At first, both the house and the scenic California beach town seem perfect. Fresh air. Fresh faces. And the ocean is just ten minutes away. But as Cristina and her daughter set about rebuilding their lives, they soon discover that the past is not about to let go so easily.

A gripping psychological thriller by a #1 Amazon bestselling author, Cristina will grab you from the first page and keep you guessing until the very end.

What’s the first story you ever wrote?

The first story I ever wrote was called “The Ball.” A fantasy tale about a glowing gold ball that floated in front of the story’s hero and led him on a quest to save a princess. I was six.

Which fictional character would you most like to meet and have a drink with?

Definitely “The Hound” (AKA Sandor Clegane) from George R.R. Martin’s “A Song of Ice and Fire” series. He would probably end up stabbing me in the face or something, but it’s hard to imagine a cooler way to go!

In the spirit of Halloween, what scares you?

Man’s inhumanity toward man.

Favorite hero and villain in a book/movie?

My favorite hero is probably Winston Smith from George Orwell’s 1984. It takes real guts for a person to question things that every other person accepts as “the way the world is.”

And favorite villain has to be Darth Vader. I don’t think a bad guy could be any more perfect.

What do you consider the hardest part of writing?

Having faith in the process. It’s so easy to sit there with a rough draft of a great story and start comparing the cleanness of the writing to a finished product. You have to constantly remind yourself that what you’ve got will be just as clean once it has gone through as much polishing.

What are you working on now?

I’ve got another book done, which is in the editing process. And I’m just getting started on my first series – a detective story starring a female cop set in a gritty agricultural city not far from where Cristina takes place.

Author Bio

Jake Parent is the author of Cristina, a new psychological suspense novel. His first book, Only the Devil Tells the unnamed-2Truth, was a #1 Amazon Bestseller. His influences include Charles Bukowski, Stephen King, Maya Angelou, John Steinbeck, Honoré de Balzac, Ella Fitzgerald, John Sanford, Jimi Hendrix, Ernest Hemingway, Greg Graffin, Pablo Picasso, Rickey Henderson, and Mac Dre. He grew up in San Jose, CA but now lives in the Washington, DC area. Sign up to receive alerts about new releases: http://eepurl.com/bXzepr

Where To Find Jake

Website: http://www.jakedparent.com
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/jakedparent
Amazon: http://amazon.com/author/jakedparent
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jakedparentwrites/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/GhostOfChinaski

Buy Links

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2bvMmTc
Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/649111

Brother by Ania Ahlborn #bookreviews @aniaahlborn

From the bestselling horror author of Within These Walls and The Bird Eater comes a 23492624brand-new novel of terror that follows a teenager determined to break from his family’s unconventional—and deeply disturbing—traditions.

Deep in the heart of Appalachia stands a crooked farmhouse miles from any road. The Morrows keep to themselves, and it’s served them well so far. When girls go missing off the side of the highway, the cops don’t knock on their door. Which is a good thing, seeing as to what’s buried in the Morrows’ backyard.

But nineteen-year-old Michael Morrow isn’t like the rest of his family. He doesn’t take pleasure in the screams that echo through the trees. Michael pines for normalcy, and he’s sure that someday he’ll see the world beyond West Virginia. When he meets Alice, a pretty girl working at a record shop in the small nearby town of Dahlia, he’s immediately smitten. For a moment, he nearly forgets about the monster he’s become. But his brother, Rebel, is all too eager to remind Michael of his place… – Goodreads.com

If any of you believe your family wins the dysfunctional crown, I invite you to meet the Morrows and reconsider your situation.  This is the second book I’ve read by Ania Ahlborn and she has earned a permanent place on my list of favorite horror authors.

Ms. Ahlborn reveals through alternating past and present chapters how Michael came to be in his hellish situation and establishes the twisted family dynamics.  Although my suspicions about where this book might be headed were confirmed, the final reveal was no less disturbing, unsettling and masterful.  I’d love to say more about this book, but don’t want to wander into spoiler territory.

Brother is an extremely dark, gruesome, and emotional read, so be warned, but I couldn’t tear myself away from it.  I strongly recommend this for horror/psychological thriller fans.

This book is scheduled for publication September 29, 2015.  This review is based on a digital ARC from the publisher through NetGalley.

Black Chalk by Christopher J. Yates

One game. Six students. Five survivors.   17316561

It was only ever meant to be a game.

A game of consequences, of silly forfeits, childish dares. A game to be played by six best friends in their first year at Oxford University. But then the game changed: the stakes grew higher and the dares more personal, more humiliating, finally evolving into a vicious struggle with unpredictable and tragic results.

Now, fourteen years later, the remaining players must meet again for the final round. – Goodreads.com

This was a difficult book for me to read.  Not because I don’t enjoy dark, psychological thrillers, but because the tone was so heavy throughout the majority of the story, it almost became a chore to finish.

The description caught my interest immediately – six best friends, implying they obviously know each other well, inventing dares that become more personal and humiliating throughout the game.  Interesting concept, although none of the characters were particularly likable, making it nearly impossible to find anyone to cheer for.  At the beginning, they seemed so young and naive, full of themselves, living in a bubble.  It was hard to watch them spiral from friendship into what they eventually became, although the group dynamics were fascinating at times.  It’s very true that those closest to you can do the most damage.

There were a couple of major twists in the book, one closer to the beginning and one near the end, that made the story more interesting, but I guessed them both ahead of time.  The writing flowed pretty well, but with the narrative switching between first person to third person and present day to past, occasionally I wondered who was talking and in what year.

I also struggled with the character development.  The students all had their own distinct personalities established early on; however, it seemed as if they suddenly turned into someone else during the game, with no natural progression.  In one paragraph they underwent an abrupt transformation into a different character.  The explanation of who the three game “moderators” really were was completely unsatisfying and I just couldn’t buy into it.

Parts of this book were enjoyable and I’m glad I read it, but I felt as if some of the story line didn’t play out as the author intended.  Black Chalk is scheduled for publication April 1, 2014.

This review is based on a digital ARC from the publisher through NetGalley.