Sunday, March 25, 2018

Book Review - DI Kayli Bright Trilogy by M. A. Comley

I've always loved series, and this is actually my first trilogy. My enjoyment of the characters was definitely increased by the fact all three books were released close in time to each other. A long time fan of the best selling Justice series, and the DI Sally Parker series I couldn't wait to dive into a new character and see if she could measure up to DI Lorne and DI Sally.  DI Kayli did not disappoint.

Book 1 - The Missing Children

 When we think of missing children, we naturally think of the parents and the nightmares they must be going through. I loved the fact that in this book we also peeked into the nightmares the law enforcement investigating these crimes have to go through. Our first introduction to DI Kayli Bright and her team. As an officer investigating these crimes, they have to look at all suspects and not worry about stepping on toes, even the toes of the parents. Heartbreaking but true.

TMC starts with the discovery of a body of a child and quickly leads to the discovery that more children are missing. The subject matter of this one is quite horrifying, and not for the faint-hearted, but those of us who live in the real world, we know it isn't an uncommon thing anywhere in the world. I love the fact that the author treats this with respect for the reader, and doesn't include a lot of sensationalism. I also love the fact we get to share the family lives of Kayli and Dave, making them more real. The book wraps up in a way that is totally satisfying for crime lovers, making it in my opinion a definite 5* read.

Book 2 - Killer on the Run


A brilliant story that also incorporates more of Kayli's family life, giving the reader an opportunity to know her intimately, both professionally and personally.

I have to warn you that this one ends on a cliffhanger, which is why the early release of Book 3 was so important to me as a reader. I'm not a fan of cliffhangers when I have to wait months, or sometimes years to read the next book.

Killer starts with an automobile accident, and the death of a lovely young woman and the child she's carrying. Most law enforcement officers have a gut instinct they have to listen to, and Kayli is no different. She immediately suspects there was more to this than a car going off the road in a natural accident. Her fears are validated when another accident happens on the same stretch of road. A confusing matter for Kayli and her team, as their prime suspect in the first murder appears to have no connection to the second death. But our killer gets braver, no longer caring if it looks like an accident as more deaths occur. A serial killer, or is there some underlying issue that ties the deaths together?

Kayli and her team do an excellent job of flushing this one out, and tying up loose ends. Another definite 5* read for those who love crime thrillers and police procedurals.

Book 3 - Hidden Agenda


It's difficult to review this one without including spoilers from the first two. I try to never include spoilers in my reviews, so I'll home in on the crime portion and leave most of the family matters for the reader, who like me was waiting for this heartwarming conclusion to Book 2.

Kayli becomes even more real in this book, as her personal life is shattered, and yet she struggles on to solve the horrendous murder of a young woman. Sarah was well like, and the clues are almost non-existent--or does Kayli really have her mind and heart on the task at hand? The dedication of her team helps her overcome her self-doubts, and the pieces slowly begin to fall in place. With the conclusion of her case, Kayli is forced to take a long look at what is important in her life. Does she continue to struggle with her fears and emotions, or does she leave the force and go after the man she loves?

An emotional roller coaster with this one, and a definite 5* read for DI Kayli Bright fans. I hope this isn't the last time we see her.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:




New York Times, USA Today, Amazon Top 20 bestselling author, iBooks top 5 bestselling and #2 bestselling author on Barnes and Noble. Over one million copies sold world wide. I am a British author who moved to France in 2002, and that's when I turned my hobby into a career. 

When I'm not writing crime novels I'm either reading them or going on long walks with my rescue Labrador, Dex.


Love series with strong female characters, crime that reads like true-life, and character driven fiction?  Visit Mel's Amazon Page and check out these thrillers!

Amazon

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Book Review - Kindred Killers by Graham Smith

This was actually my first book by Graham Smith, and although it can be read as a standalone, I truly wished I'd read the first book before this one. Having read the reviews that talk about character development I feel I missed some things so will take care of that very soon, as I liked Jake Boulder. One of the crucial things for me in book enjoyment is to like the main character. Although extremely flawed in many ways, Jake is also loyal to the people he cares about. That makes him somewhat of a hero in my mind. And he doesn't give up or back down even when his own life is at risk.

Blurb:

Jake Boulder's help is requested by his best friend, Alfonse, when his cousin is crucified and burned alive along with his wife and children.

As Boulder tries to track the heinous killer, a young woman is abducted. Soon her body is discovered and Boulder realizes both murders have something unusual in common.

With virtually no leads for Boulder to follow, he strives to find a way to get a clue as to the killer's identity. But is he hunting for one killer or more?

After a young couple are snatched in the middle of the night the case takes a brutal turn. When the FBI is invited to help with the case, Boulder finds himself warned off the investigation.

When gruesome, and incendiary, footage from a mobile phone is sent to all major US News outlets the pressure to find those responsible for the crimes mounts. But with the authorities against him, can Boulder catch the killer before it's too late?

Five Stars

Well written with enough twists and turns to keep you entertained. Although the crimes are gruesome, I did not find the details given over-done for shock and awe purposes. Mr. Smith gives the facts of the murders, and enough details to show just how gruesome they were, without the need for excessive brutal descriptions. I like that in an author. It gives you enough to allow your imagination to finish the pictures.

I will definitely be reading more of the Jake Boulder series and can recommend this to readers who enjoy crime thrillers as well as mysteries.

Want to start at the beginning, or look for more books by Graham Smith?  Visit his Amazon Author Page for a full list of fast-paced crime thrillers.


Amazon Author Page

Friday, March 16, 2018

Book Review - My Gift To You by Tracie Delaney
















I haven't read a romance novel in years, but after months of crime thrillers and psychological thrillers I needed a change. When Tracie offered this as an ARC I jumped at the chance to crawl out of the darkness and into the light.  I am so glad I did.

It's really difficult to review a great book without giving spoilers that to me would dampen a reader's enjoyment, and I want every reader to enjoy this book as I did.

For heartbroken Livvy Hayes, the world went dark two years ago when tragedy struck.

With her life in tatters, she flees to California where an unexpected meeting brings handsome businessman Gabe Mitchell into her life.

Gabe loves a challenge and Livvy is his newest endeavor. Her broken spirit calls to him, begging to be healed. And who knows, she might be the one to heal him too.

Can he persuade her to take a chance on him--and convince her that together they have a future?

Or will fate intervene and destroy them both?

This is a highly emotional read that will make you laugh, but will also pull at your heartstrings and have you crying, so I suggest a huge box of Kleenex be on hand and within easy reach.

I totally enjoyed following Livvy and Gabe's romance, as he introduced her to a life she'd never known before. The characters are well developed, witty at times, and the descriptions of the trips he takes her on fascinating. I loved seeing the world through Livvy's eyes.

If you're a romance fan and not into they have a fight, get back together, have sex and live happily every after--then this book is for you.  A compelling drama that will lift your spirits and break your heart at times.  I highly recommend it.

OTHER BOOKS BY TRACIE DELANEY



Tracie has a large selection of wonderful reads. For more visit her Amazon Author Page.

Amazon Author Page

Thursday, March 1, 2018

If I Were A Teacher In Today's World

I've heard several teachers talk about quitting or retiring when the laws pass that allow guns in schools. I don't often comment on politics or the gun issues as such comments usually set off volatile reactions among even friends and families. It doesn't seem anyone can agree on a solution, although I think we all would agree there has to be something done. Children have enough to worry about in today's world without having to worry about being killed just to achieve an education. Parents have enough to worry about without having to worry that as they watch their child head off to school it may be the last time they see them. How do we work and function with those ideas planted inside our head?  How do children knuckle down, study and learn when every loud noise inside the school causes anxiety?

That leads me to teachers. How do they function as they watch their classes, trying to determine if one or more of the students is having a bad day? Do their eyes constantly scan the room envisioning places to hide or things they can do to lessen the body count if someone does come in and start shooting? Mine would. And they must worry about their own families, and what would happen to their wives, husbands and children if they had to give up their life to protect their students. I know I would.

A lot of the teachers I know went into teaching for two reasons--they loved sharing knowledge, and helping to mold young minds for future success. They're good, hard-working, dedicated people. They buy supplies out of their own pockets to make sure their students have what they need. Their hours aren't 9 to 5 or 8 to four. They aren't paid overtime when they have to stay late, or come in early. Not all, but most go out of their way to help a child who may need help with a certain subject, and they encourage, smile, and make sure that child knows he or she is appreciated and they are there to help. A good teacher knows what it takes years for many children to understand--little Johnny doesn't smile often because his teeth are bad, and his home life isn't like the rest of the class. The bruises on his arm didn't come from playing football, and yes, he's angry. A good teacher spots this early, and does his or her best to intervene and make sure little Johnny's time at school at least is filled with encouragement to help him achieve the same goals as those more fortunate.

Teachers share the same fears we as parents do today. Only in my mind theirs must be worse, as yes I worry about all children, but my first thoughts go to my own. If a teacher has children they must also worry about their own, as well as those that have been entrusted into their care. Their worry is magnified far more than mine, and it's daily now. I can only imagine the stress they're under.

And now we want them to carry guns? We want to make them responsible for shooting possibly a child or young adult they've taught, encouraged, cared about for years? Or maybe they're going to have to shoot another staff member. One who is also armed legally, and came in that morning blaming the school and children for his/her failed marriage or just the fact their life sucks today. And where do they keep these guns so that they're readily available if needed and yet out of the reach of children in the school?  Do they keep it loaded or once a problem occurs to do they have to try with trembling hands to load the gun?  Is anyone thinking about this?  Does it do any good to have a gun available if it isn't easily accessible, and if it's easy accessible couldn't a student also get that gun? We used to hear that criminals were dumb--well, they're not. Neither are children. They're going to know where that gun is, and if they wanted to, I'm sure they could find a way to get it.

I don't know if you've seen how big some of our young people are today, but I can tell you from going into the schools there are some sixth, seventh and eight graders that could easily disarm a teacher and take the gun away from them. I know how to shoot, but I've never aimed a gun at another person. With high anxiety, tears in my eyes and fear in my heart, just how badly are my hands going to shake when I raise that gun? Am I going to hit what I'm shooting at, or another student or staff member near the shooter? There's no way I could function in that type of environment.

I started this article with "If I were a teacher in today's world". I'm raising a 10 year old grandchild, and I'm facing the possibility that eventually guns may be carried by teachers in his school. I'm going to be doing a LOT of research on home schooling. So if I were a teacher in today's world I would be talking to my fellow staff members and my family about the possibility of setting up a home school where I could teach children without the necessity of carrying a gun or being around others carrying guns. I would pay to have my grandson go to one of these home schools with a qualified teacher, and I bet there are other parents out there that would be willing to do the same. Not a perfect solution to the problem, no, but it keeps my child as safe as I can possibly make him in today's world. That doesn't make him safe, because we could be sitting at McDonald's and the same thing happen. Do we arm McDonald's employees? We could be at the park and the same thing happen? Do we start carrying guns to the park? And if we do, do we carry assault rifles so we have matching firepower as the shooters?  Do we arm all parents when they drop off and pick up their students from school? Do we start carrying guns when we go to a ballgame, shopping or walk the dog? These sound like stupid questions to me, but the idea of putting guns in a school and arming school teachers is far more ludicrous, and far more dangerous.

I hope that teachers who are thinking about quitting or retiring as these new laws come closer to passing will consider the idea of home schooling which will allow them to continue in the field they love without the anxiety and stress of seeing guns toted around their place of employment. I hope our government opens their eyes and their minds and outlaws assault rifles and passes stricter laws on who can buy a handgun.  Will that solve the problem?  No, it won't completely solve the problem, but it should lower the death toll if a shooting does occur. There's no way to stop senseless violence, as the person compelled to commit it will find a way. Our problem is we make it easy for them to find that way and the weapons to do it with. And now we're going to make those weapons available in the very places we've tried so desperately hard to keep them out of. Never again will someone have to sneak a gun into school--it's already there.












Saturday, November 11, 2017

Book Review - Heroic Justice, M. A. Comley

A long-time fan of DI Lorne Warner and the Justice series, and more recently a fan of the DI Hero Nelson series I was thrilled when Mel announced she was combining the two characters for a new novel.  Both characters have strong personalities, and both are willing to step outside the boundaries when necessary. Would they be able to work together?

Due to family problems I was a little late on starting my ARC and had the advantage of reading other reviews which touted this as Ms. Comley's best book yet.  This made me even more eager to dive in with a fresh cup of coffee and bury myself in the pages. In my opinion it was going to be hard for her to top my two favorite reads--Dubious Justice and Cold Case from the DI Sally Parker series. Those two books left an emotional impact with me that kept me thinking of them long after I finished the books, and they still remain at the top of my list for favorite reads.

To coin a British phrase I did find Heroic Justice 'bloody brilliant'.  As an author myself I may notice things that I wouldn't perhaps just reading a good book. I'm not a huge fan of narrative and love character driven fiction. Heroic did not disappoint. At times I felt I was in the room with the characters listening to the conversation as Ms. Comley weaved in background for both characters so seamlessly that I was awe struck. Absolutely brilliant! Readers who have never opened a Justice book or a Hero book will still feel they know the characters intimately. Readers who have followed these characters as I have will thoroughly enjoy the revisiting of the past through conversation, not an info dump.  Can I saw 'brilliant' again?

In today's world serial killers are more the norm than the exception. Often to find them you have to understand their motives. Both Lorne and Hero do an excellent job of delving deep into the few clues the killer leaves behind. Having experienced tragedy in their own lives their compassion for the victims and their families is heart-warming. An excellent police procedural.

I would definitely tag this a five star read for lovers of crime, police procedure and fast-paced thrillers. I loved seeing Lorne and her husband, Tony, working together and hope that becomes more of the norm in future novels. I can't imagine working with my husband, but the mutual respect Tony and Lorne have for each other, and the skills each possesses makes them a perfect working couple. So often we get a one-sided few of characters and experience only their work, but Ms. Comley is delightful in her ability to show the many facets--even flaws--of each character, including the antagonist.

I recommend setting aside some time before you start, as once you get involved you're not going to want to stop reading until the very last page...and even then you may find yourself thinking about this book. Available for pre-order now.  Release date--11/13/17.

Happy Reading!

Amazon http://hyperurl.co/czvz7v
KOBO  https://goo.gl/nsMTAK
iBooks  https://goo.gl/jpM15k 
Google Play https://smarturl.it/khj328 
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Thursday, November 9, 2017

Love Mysteries, Thrillers, Suspense? Unique presents from the author?



One of my favorite things with fans and new readers is to design and offer unique prizes as keepsakes.  If you love mysteries, thrillers, suspense novels and special gifts from the author then sign up for my newsletter at: lindasprather.com

Christmas is just around the bend and I'll be choosing 10 lucky winners for keychains and necklaces of their favorite book of mine.

Newest Release!


Just $.99/99p on Amazon


Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Some people deserve to die...some are worth dying for. $.99/99p

All releases are exciting, but I’m super-excited about this one because I fell in love with the characters.  I believe every woman or even man who has been traumatized by a situation will have an empathy with Andi and her struggles to overcome the demons in her head, left by a man who kidnapped and tortured her for three days. Her belief in a young girl’s story, even against the odds, and determination to help her no matter the personal cost gives you an insight into her character. Her side kick, Shamus O’Conner is witty, loyal and the kind of true friend we all wish for in life.


Blurb:

Ten years ago, Andi Carter was abducted by her lover’s partner, Richard Thomas, and tortured for three days. Rescued by the man she believed responsible, Andi lost everything: the man she loved, her promising future as an investigative reporter and her memory of the weeks leading up to her torture.
“Tell me what I want to know and I won’t hurt you again.”

Thomas’s voice haunted her dreams, sending her into the pits of depression to seek solace in a bottle of whiskey until a young woman reaches out for help.  Twelve young girls have been brutally murdered, their bodies hidden beneath concrete structures. The thirteenth victim is fighting back the only way she knows how, and telling their story to the one person she believes will listen. “I killed a man yesterday, and today I’m going to kill another one.”

PROLOGUE

“Tell me what I want to know, and I won’t hurt you again.”

Andi Carter stared into the deep-green eyes of Richard Thomas as she tried to collect enough saliva to swallow. Pain had dulled her senses, and her throat was raw from screaming. She wasn’t sure she could speak, or if she did somehow manage to utter a few words if they would be coherent. “I don’t… I don’t know what you want… to know,” she whispered.

Thomas sighed as he followed her gaze to the door leading out of the basement. “Still think Jerry is going to barge through that door and save you, Andi? He isn’t, you know. In fact, dear old Jerry is the reason you’re here. He’s the one who told me what you were up to.”

A burning river of rage flowed through her, much like the sensation from the whiskey he kept forcing her to drink, but instead of dulling her senses, it cleared her mind. He’s going to kill me anyway. “Jerry Palano is a good cop. Scum like you would never understand that. If he told you anything it was because he was your partner and he trusted you.”

He flashed his even white teeth, but the green of his eyes darkened. “That’s my Andi, spirited and loyal to the end. Would you like a drink?” He reached for the bottle of whiskey on the table. “If you spill it, you know it’s going to hurt.” He inserted the tip of the bottle between her lips. “Drink up now, like a good girl. Then we’ll talk some more.”

Andi tilted her head back, guzzling the alcohol. Tears ran freely down her face as a tiny stream of alcohol dripped from her chin onto the raw, blistered flesh of her legs. The pain was excruciating, and she struggled not to scream as she continued to drink, praying for oblivion.

Only when the bottle was empty did Thomas pull it away and pick up the scalpel. “Tell me what I want to know, and I won’t hurt you again.”

“Gambini! Gambini was running young girls. I was going to expose him.” She began to slur her words, which sounded as if they came from a long way off. “Please. Please just kill me.”

Thomas began to laugh, his roar filling the damp, musty room. “I can’t believe that crap actually works.” He leaned in close, his breath hot on her cheek as he whispered, “I’m not going to kill you, Andi, but you’re going to wish I had.”

His threat seeped through the alcohol-induced fog as bile rose in her throat. A tiny pinpoint of satisfaction surged through her as she opened her mouth and spewed vomit on both of them.
“Son of a bitch.” Thomas leapt up, knocking over his chair. “You’ll pay for that, Carter.”

Andi tried to smile, but the acidity of the vomit had reignited the pain from her cuts and burns. She began to tremble, her breath coming in short gasps as she watched his hands clench and unclench. Three days as his captive had convinced her of one thing—Thomas was crazy. His moods swung from euphoric enjoyment of torturing her to angry depression, and occasionally to apologetic sympathy for having caused her pain. I don’t really want to die.

Thomas pushed the table bearing his torture instruments into her view and lit the blowtorch. “You shouldn’t have done that, Andi. I was going to let you go.”

“Please don’t, Richard. I told you what you wanted to know. You promised you wouldn’t hurt me again.” She struggled against the ropes binding her arms and legs.

He studied her, tilting his head to the side. “I did, didn’t I?” His lips puckered as he turned off the torch. “Perhaps I’ll give you some time to think about your apology.” He leaned in close, staring directly into her eyes. “Your punishment will depend on just how well you can beg.”

Sobs shook her body as she watched him leave, the heavy steel door slamming behind him. The alcohol had dulled the pain in her body, but not the emotional devastation of realizing Jerry wasn’t going to save her. He betrayed me.

Time passed as she drifted in and out of consciousness until a scraping noise at the door jerked her wide awake. The door slowly swung open and Stuart Gambini peered inside.

“Jesus.” He crossed the room and knelt in front of her then grabbed the scalpel on the table and quickly cut the ropes around her wrists and ankles. “I’m gonna get you out of here. Can you walk?”

“Why? You’re just going to kill me anyway. Do it here,” Andi croaked out. Her mind was still fuzzy, but she was pretty sure Gambini was the reason she was here.

Gambini frowned, took off his jacket, and lifted her from the chair. “We can talk about that later. Here, wrap this around you. Patrick is waiting for us at the top of the stairs.” He slipped her arms through the sleeves and pulled the coat up around her shoulders.

“How did you find me?” Andi leaned against him, taking a step toward the door, leaving small smears of blood on the floor from her swollen feet.

“I’ve had my girls watching Thomas. This is the only place he kept coming back to.” Stuart placed an arm around her and half lifted, half dragged her toward the door. “We don’t have a lot of time.”

She placed her right foot on the first step. Taking a deep breath, she raised her left foot and put it on the second step. “Where are you taking me?”

“Put your arm around my neck.” Stuart tightened his hold around her waist, placed an arm under her legs, and picked her up. “We’ll hide you at the boarding house for the time being.”

Andi leaned into him and placed her head on his shoulder. “I need to call the Tribune. I was on a case, and they must be going crazy wondering what happened to me.”

“You’re old news. They gave up on finding you after the first three weeks.”

“Three weeks? I’ve only been missing three days.”

Stuart grunted as he took the last step. “Honey, you’ve been missing for over a month.”
Darkness closed in around her. A month? What the hell did Thomas do to me before he tortured me?

$.99/99p or Free with KU