First Line Friday — Stars of Alabama

3 Sep

A friend of mine loaned me a book yesterday that has been on my radar for a while — Stars of Alabama by Sean Dietrich aka Sean of The South. I’m looking forward to reading it, though I have no idea when that will be. 😉 I’m thinking it will make a great surprise selection for my book club.

Here’s the first line:

Paul Folger listened to Louisville bark.

One child preacher traveling across the plains.

One young woman with a mysterious touch.

Two old friends, their baby, and their bloodhound.

And all the stars that shine above them.

When fifteen-year-old Marigold becomes pregnant amid the Great Depression, she is rejected by her family and forced to fend for herself. And when she loses her baby in the forest, her whole world turns upside down. She’s even more distraught upon discovering she has an inexplicable power that makes her both beautiful and terrifying—and something of a local legend.

Meanwhile, migrant workers Vern and Paul discover a violet-eyed baby and take it upon themselves to care for her. The men soon pair up with a widow and her two children, and the misfit family finds its way in fits and starts toward taking care of each other.

As survival brings one family together, a young boy finds himself with nary a friend to his name as the dust storms rage across Kansas. Fourteen-year-old Coot, a child preacher with a prodigy’s memory, is on the run with thousands of stolen dollars—and the only thing he’s sure of is that Mobile, Alabama, is his destination.

As the years pass and a world war looms, these stories intertwine in surprising ways, reminding us that when the dust clears, we can still see the stars.

Sean Dietrich is a columnist, novelist, and creator of the blog and podcast, “Sean of the South.” Known for his commentary on life in the American South, his work has appeared in Newsweek, Southern Living, Garden & Gun, the Tallahassee Democrat, the Birmingham News, Alabama Living, and he has authored thirteen books.

Blog Tour — A Second Chance

2 Sep

A Second Chance JustRead Blog Tour
Welcome to the Blog Tour for A Second
Chance
by Walt Mussell, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!

ABOUT THE
BOOK

A Second ChanceTitle: A Second Chance
Author: Walt Mussell
Release Date: August 24, 2021
Genre: Historical Fiction with Christian, romantic, and fantasy (time travel) elements

Kira Sakamichi is a career-driven woman, trying to achieve success before her mother’s constant interference sentences her to a relationship. But when a grudging drive to meet her mother’s latest “selection” ends in a lake accident, Kira wakes up lost in the past, the concubine of a 16th-century samurai, and mother to his six-year-old son. When actions in battle lead to the samurai’s condemnation, Kira learns that she and her son will share the samurai’s fate. Only by understanding the importance of duty and family in both time periods can they survive.

PURCHASE LINKS*:
Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | BookBub


ABOUT THE
AUTHOR

Walt
Mussell

Walt Mussell is an award-winning author who primarily writes historical fiction with a focus on medieval Japan, an interest he gained in the four years he lived there. You can connect with Walt via his website www.waltmussell.com
(please use the contact form to be added to the newsletter) or connect on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or YouTube.

CONNECT WITH WALT: Website | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter


TOUR
GIVEAWAY

(1) winner will receive a $25 Starbucks gift card!
If the winner is Canadian, the winner can request Tim Horton’s!

A Second Chance JustRead Blog Giveaway

Full tour schedule linked below. Giveaway began at midnight August 31, 2021 and will last through 11:59 PM EST on September 7, 2021. Winner will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or risk forfeiture of prize. US/CAN only. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.

Giveaway is subject to the policies found here.

ENTER GIVEAWAY
HERE


Follow along at JustRead Tours for a full list of stops!

JustRead Publicity Tours

*NOTE: This post contains affiliate links.

September Book Club Pick — Memories of Glass

1 Sep

I cannot pass up a book by Melanie Dobson, so I am excited to share Memories of Glass with my book club (and you 😉 ). Find out all the details below.

Reminiscent of Diane Ackerman’s The Zookeeper’s Wife, this stunning novel draws from true accounts to shine a light on a period of Holland’s darkest history and bravest heroes.

1942. As war rips through the heart of Holland, childhood friends Josie van Rees and Eliese Linden partner with a few daring citizens to rescue Eliese’s son and hundreds of other Jewish children who await deportation in a converted theater in Amsterdam. But amid their resistance work, Josie and Eliese’s dangerous secrets could derail their friendship and their entire mission. When the enemy finds these women, only one will escape.

Seventy-five years later, Ava Drake begins to suspect that her great-grandfather William Kingston was not the World War II hero he claimed to be. Her work as director of the prestigious Kingston Family Foundation leads her to Landon West’s Ugandan coffee plantation, and Ava and Landon soon discover a connection between their families. As Landon’s great-grandmother shares the broken pieces of her story, Ava must confront the greatest loss in her own life―and powerful members of the Kingston family who will do anything to keep the truth buried.

Illuminating the story and strength of these women, award-winning author Melanie Dobson transports readers through time and place, from World War II Holland to contemporary Uganda, in this rich and inspiring novel.

Writing fiction is Melanie Dobson‘s excuse to explore abandoned houses, travel to unique places, and spend hours reading old books and journals. The award-winning author of almost thirty books, Melanie enjoys stitching together both time-slip and historical stories including The Curator’s Daughter, Memories of Glass, and the Legacy of Love novels (legacyofloveseries.com). Five of her novels have received a Carol Award for historical fiction, Catching the Wind‘s audiobook won the 2018 Audie for Inspirational Novel, and The Black Cloister was ForeWord’s Book of the Year for Religious Fiction. Her next time-slip novel, The Winter Rose, comes out in January 2022. 

Melanie and her husband, Jon, have two daughters. After moving numerous times with Jon’s work, the Dobson family has finally settled near Portland, Oregon, and they love to travel and hike in both the mountains and the cliffs above the Pacific. When Melanie isn’t writing, she enjoys exploring ghost towns and dusty back roads, dancing, and reading stories with her girls. 

More information about Melanie and her books is available at her website (melaniedobson.com) or at the following social media platforms: 

Facebook.com/MelanieDobsonFiction
Instagram/MelBDobson
Twitter.com/MelBDobson

If You Liked . . . Surviving Savannah

31 Aug

My book club liked Surviving Savannah by Patti Callahan. Some said they liked it more than they expected. It has a good mix of historical detail and modern-day mystery and the strong female characters appealed to us. Its southern setting didn’t hurt 😉 . If you liked it too, here are a few more reading recommendations.

The Dress Shop on King Street by Ashley Clark

Harper Dupree has pinned all her hopes on a future in fashion design. But when it comes crashing down around her, she returns home to Fairhope, Alabama, and to Millie, the woman who first taught her how to sew. As Harper rethinks her own future, long-hidden secrets about Millie’s past are brought to light.

In 1946, Millie Middleton — the daughter of an Italian man and a Black woman — boarded a train and left Charleston to keep half of her heritage hidden. She carried with her two heirloom buttons and the dream of owning a dress store. She never expected to meet a charming train jumper who changed her life forever . . . and led her yet again to a heartbreaking choice about which heritage would define her future.

Now, together, Harper and Millie return to Charleston to find the man who may hold the answers they seek . . . and a chance at the dress shop they’ve both dreamed of. But it’s not until all appears lost that they see the unexpected ways to mend what frayed between the seams.

Hope Between The Pages by Pepper Basham

Uncover the Story Behind a One-Hundred-Year-Old Love Letter

Clara Blackwell helps her mother manage a struggling one-hundred-year old family bookshop in Asheville, North Carolina, but the discovery of a forgotten letter opens a mystery of a long-lost romance and undiscovered inheritance which could save its future. Forced to step outside of her predictable world, Clara embarks on an adventure with only the name Oliver as a hint of the man’s identity in her great-great-grandmother’s letter. From the nearby grand estate of the Vanderbilts, to a hamlet in Derbyshire, England, Clara seeks to uncover truth about family and love that may lead to her own unexpected romance.

The Lady in Residence by Allison Pittman

Can a Legacy of Sadness be Broken at the Menger Hotel?

Young widow Hedda Krause checks into the Menger Hotel in 1915 with a trunk full of dresses, a case full of jewels, and enough cash to pay for a two-month stay, which she hopes will be long enough to meet, charm, and attach herself to a new, rich husband. Her plans are derailed when a ghostly apparition lures her into a long, dark hallway, and Hedda returns to her room to find her precious jewelry has been stolen. She falls immediately under a cloud of suspicion with her haunting tale, but true ghost enthusiasts bring her expensive pieces of jewelry in an attempt to lure the ghost to appear again.

In 2017, Dini Blackstone is a fifth-generation magician, who performs at private parties, but she also gives ghost walk tours, narrating the more tragic historical events of San Antonio with familial affection. Above all, her favorite is the tale of Hedda Krause who, in Dini’s estimation, succeeded in perpetrating the world’s longest con, dying old and wealthy from her ghost story. But then Dini meets Quinn Carmichael, great-great-grandson of the detective who originally investigated Hedda’s case, who’s come to the Alamo City with a box full of clues that might lead to Hedda’s exoneration. Can Dini see another side of the story that is worthy of God’s grace?

Top 10 Tuesday — Hunky Heroes

31 Aug

Happy Tuesday! Today’s Top 10 topic is fictional crushes. I rarely have a crush on a character, but I can recognize a hunky hero a mile away. 😉 My definition of a hunkster may differ from yours, but generally they are brave, all in, easy on the eyes kinds of guys. They usually have a sensitive side too. As in real life, it is the heart that matters. To come up with my list I put hunky in the search bar of the blog and chose the first 10 books in which I used hunky in the review — it’s all very scientific over here! Hunky is definitely in the eye of the beholder, but you will find them in a variety of genres — romance, suspense, historical, cozy mystery — and with a variety of occupations — farmer, 19th century naval officer, author, and tech geek, to name a few. I hope you find a hunk and a book to love!

For more book crushes, check out That Artsy Reader Girl.

Top Hunky Heroes

Before I Called You Mine by Nicole Deese

The Christmas Swap by Melody Carlson

Flood Watch by Christy Barritt

The Forgotten Life of Evelyn Lewis by Jane Rubietta

The Liberty Bride by MaryLu Tyndall

Living Lies by Natalie Walters

No Safe Place by Sherri Shackleford

Prose And Cons by Amanda Flower

The Red Ribbon by Pepper Basham

Sweet on You by Becky Wade

Blog Tour + Giveaway! — Rose Among Thornes

30 Aug

Rose Among Thornes JustRead Blog Tour
Welcome to the Blog Tour for Rose Among
Thornes
by Terrie Todd, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!

ABOUT THE
BOOK

Rose
Among ThornesTitle: Rose Among Thornes
Author: Terrie Todd
Publisher: Iron Stream Media (Heritage Beacon)
Release Date: August 31, 2021
Genre: Christian Historical Fiction

Forgiveness is the deadliest force on earth.

War might be raging overseas, but Rose Onishi is on track to fulfill her lifelong goal of becoming a concert pianist. When forced by her government to leave her beloved home in Vancouver and move to the Canadian prairie to work on the Thornes’ sugar beet farm, her dream fades to match the black dirt staining her callused hands. Though the Thorne family is kind, life is unbearably lonely. In hopes that it might win her the chance to play their piano, Rose agrees to write letters to their soldier son.

When Rusty Thorne joins the Canadian Army, he never imagines becoming a Japanese prisoner of war. Inside the camp, the faith his parents instilled is tested like never before. Though he begs God to help him not hate his brutal captors, Rusty can no longer even hear the Japanese language without revulsion. Only his rare letters from home sustain him — especially the brilliant notes from his mother’s charming helper, which the girl signs simply as “Rose.”

Will Rusty survive the war only to encounter the Japanese on his own doorstep? Can Rose overcome betrayal and open her heart? Or will the truth destroy the fragile bond their letters created?

EXCERPT

Rusty stopped reading when Bert nudged him. His friend put a finger to his lips and nodded his chin toward something off to the side. A sparrow had landed a few feet away. The men were all gawking at the little bird, though it wasn’t an unusual sight. Sparrows were everywhere and viewed by the locals as pesky as rats or mosquitoes. Some of the men had unsuccessfully tried catching them for food. 

But this one was different. Fearlessly, it hopped forward between two of the men as though oblivious to the humans and made its way to the fresh mound of earth covering Eli’s body. There it stayed while the men stared. No one moved. 

In a voice just above a whisper, Bert repeated the last words Rusty had read from his Bible. “Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows.” 

Still, the bird stayed. And the men stared. What each one was thinking, Rusty could only guess. He only knew what was going on in his own heart. If God could send a bird at that exact moment, there had to be something more going on than what could be seen. He was not abandoned. He would choose to believe it, even if it killed him. 

PURCHASE LINKS*:
Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | BookDepository | IndieBound | Christianbook | BookBub


ABOUT THE
AUTHOR

Terrie Todd

Terrie Todd is the award-winning author of The Silver Suitcase, Maggie’s War, Bleak Landing,and Out of My Mind: A Decade of Faith and Humor. Her next novel, Rose Among Thornes, releases in August 2021. The Last Piece releases in November 2021. Terrie is represented by Mary DeMuth of Books & Such Literary Agency.

She lives with her husband, Jon, in Portage la Prairie, Manitoba, Canada where they raised their three children. They are grandparents to five boys. When she’s not writing, Terrie can usually be found reading, cleaning, cooking, painting, weeding, watering, or watching something. You can follow her at www.terrietodd.blogspot.com

CONNECT WITH TERRI: Website | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter


TOUR
GIVEAWAY

(1) winner will receive the winner’s choice of one print copy:
The Silver Suitcase, Maggie’s War, or Bleak Landing!

Rose Among Thornes JustRead Giveaway

Full tour schedule linked below. Giveaway began at midnight August 30, 2021 and will last through 11:59 PM EST on September 6, 2021. Winner will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or risk forfeiture of prize. US/Canada only. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.

Giveaway is subject to the policies found here.

ENTER GIVEAWAY
HERE


Follow along at JustRead Tours for a full list of stops!

JustRead Publicity Tours

*NOTE: This post contains affiliate links.

First Line Friday — Woman in Shadow

27 Aug

Happy Friday! One of my favorite authors, Carrie Stuart Parks, released a new novel this summer — Woman in Shadow. I downloaded it from NetGalley, and I really need to find time to read it. If you have read it, please let me know why I should move it to the top of the old TBR stack. It won’t take much convincing 😉 .

Here are the first two lines:

Why are those dogs barking? I pointed across the wooden picnic table toward two obviously upset canines yelping nearby.

A woman off the grid.

Darby Graham thinks she’s on a much-needed vacation in remote Idaho to relax. But before she even arrives at the ranch, an earthquake strikes. Then a barn on the edge of town is engulfed in flames and strange problems at the ranch begin to escalate, and Darby finds herself immersed in a chilling mystery.

A town on fire.

More fires erupt around town, and a serial arsonist sends taunting letters to the press after each. As a forensic linguist, this is Darby’s area of expertise . . . but the scars her work has caused her are also the reason she’s trying to escape her life.

A growing darkness.

As the shadows continue moving in, pieces of the town around her come into sharper focus. To make it out alive, Darby must decide if she can trust the one man who sees her clearly.

Carrie Stuart Parks is an award winning artist, writer, speaker, and law enforcement instructor. A Certified Forensic Artist, she met her husband, Rick, in the romantic hallways of the FBI Academy in Quantico, Virginia. Together they formed a dynamic and successful team in their fine and forensic art, working on major national and international cases and creating exquisite watercolors and stone carvings. They travel internationally, teaching forensic art to a variety of participants: from the Secret Service to the FBI, from large law enforcement agencies to the smallest two-man departments in their one-week classes. They are the largest instructors of forensic art in the world. Carrie has won numerous awards for her innovative teaching methods and general career excellence and is a signature member of the Idaho Watercolor Society.

Carrie’s Gwen Marcey series chronicles a forensic artist from Montana and is loosely based on Carrie’s forensic cases. She began her fiction writing career while battling breast cancer. Mentored by NY Times bestselling author, Frank Peretti, Carrie’s debut novel, along with her subsequent novels, have been met with critical acclaim. 

Blog Tour + Giveaway — Night Watch

26 Aug

Night Watch JustRead Blog + Review Tour

Welcome to the Blog + Review Tour for Night Watch by Susan Sleeman, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!

ABOUT THE
BOOK

Night Watch
Title: Night Watch
Series: Night Hawk Security #5
Author: Susan Sleeman
Publisher: Independently Published
Release Date: August 2021
Genre: Inspirational Romantic Suspense
Everything points to suicide or accidental death…
Underwater crime scene investigator, Kennedy Walker is shocked when her mother dies and the
police rule her death a suicide or an accidental overdose. Her scientist-mother was on the verge
of a scientific breakthrough, and Kennedy knows her mother would never end her life, but the
detective won’t listen. Kennedy moves back to her hometown and commits to finding her
mother’s killer and finishing her work.
And she must prove them wrong.
Kennedy digs deeper, garnering the killer’s focus, and he puts her in his cross-hairs. She can’t
give up on such an important project, so she swallows down her unease over the tumultuous
breakup with Erik Byrd in college and hires Nighthawk Security, not only to protect her, but to
help find her mother’s killer. It takes only one look for both of them to know their feelings for
each other haven’t gone away. With so many people counting on her to complete the project,
giving in to old feelings is a distraction neither she or Erik can afford, and they both need to keep
watch. Especially in the darkest hours of the night, when the killer comes out to play.

EXCERPT

Kennedy tried swallowing and changing her focus to stem the tears, but they came fast and furious, rolling down her cheeks.

“Aw, honey. Come here.” Erik moved closer and drew her into his arms.

She went willingly, giving Pong no choice but to move out of the way, and laid her head against that solid chest, which had once felt the imprint of her head day after day. His solid arms curling around her broke the final straw in her resolve, and she let go. Sobbing. Wetting his shirt. 

He gently ran his fingers over her back in rhythmic circles. “Tell me what to do, honey. How to help.”

Don’t call me honey. I don’t deserve it after the way I left you.

Exactly. She didn’t deserve this comfort and support from him, and that was all it took to stop her tears. She needed to push away and put some distance between them before she did something like kiss him.

She pressed her hands against his chest, and he relaxed his arms. But before she could completely lean back, he ran his thumb over the tears lingering on her cheek. Her heart took a tumble into infinity, and she realized she could easily fall in love with this man again. If she wasn’t still in love with him. This wonderful, considerate man who’d always respected her, loved and cared for her. He’d treated her like a princess, and she’d left him like an ogre. Sure, she had to do it, but he hadn’t deserved the hurt and pain she’d caused.

His hand slid into her hair, cupping the back of her head. He leaned closer, as if he were going to kiss her. 

Oh, man, what should she do? Her heart longed for the kiss. Her brain warned her to push back. She should move away. Quickly. But her heart was winning, and she couldn’t budge even an inch. 

But more than anything, she knew even if she could move, she didn’t want to. Didn’t want to at all.

PURCHASE LINKS*: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | IndieBound | BookBub

MORE BOOKS IN THIS
SERIES


ABOUT THE
AUTHOR

Susan Sleeman

Susan Sleeman is the bestselling author of over
fifty novels with more than one million books sold. She writes romantic suspense novels that are
clean with inspiring messages of faith . Readers love her series for the well-drawn characters
and edge-of-your-seat action. She graduated from the FBI and local police citizen academies,
so her research is spot-on and her characters are real.

In addition to writing, Susan also hosts TheSuspenseZone.com. She has lived in nine states but
now calls Oregon home. Her husband is a retired church music director, and they have two
beautiful daughters, two terrific sons-in-law, and two adorable grandsons.
To learn more about Susan’s books sign up for her monthly email that includes exclusive excerpts, giveaways, and other
goodies.

CONNECT WITH SUSAN: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram


TOUR
GIVEAWAY

(1) winner will receive the first four ebooks in the Nighthawk
Security series!

Night Watch JustRead Giveaway

Be sure to check out each stop on the tour for more chances to
win. Full tour schedule linked below. Giveaway began at midnight August 24, 2021 and lasts
through 11:59 PM EST on August 31, 2021. Winner will be notified within 2 weeks of close of
the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or risk forfeiture of prize. US only. Void where
prohibited by law or logistics.

Giveaway is subject to the policies found here.

ENTER GIVEAWAY
HERE


Follow along at JustRead Tours for a full list of stops!

JustRead Publicity Tours

*NOTE: This post contains affiliate links.

Blog Tour — Summer Plans (And Other Disasters)

25 Aug

About The Book

Book:  Summer Plans and Other Disasters

Author: Karin Beery

Genre: Women’s Romantic Fiction

Release date: April 2021

Elementary school music teacher Callie Stevens thinks she’s finally figured out God ’s plan for her life — she even made a list to keep her on track. Moving in with her brother and reconnecting with her ex-boyfriend are at the top of the list. What ’s not on the list is running into her childhood crush, Ryan. God wanted her to connect with Kyle, right? Trying to figure out God ’s plan is hard enough. But a dating-averse older brother, the young blonde who adores him, a pregnant best friend, and Callie ’s continual mishaps make her wonder whether her best-laid plans were truly God-inspired.

Click here to get your copy!

***********************

My Impressions:

What a great summer read! Karin Beery’s debut novel, Summer Plan And Other Disasters checked all my boxes for light, yet thoughtful, romance/women’s fiction. Even though I am of *ahem* a certain age and may not be the target audience for this book, I found it delightful. The characters are charming and easy to bring into your heart. Callie is earnest in following God’s will, but sometimes it’s easy to do what we think is God’s will. Along with great characters, I loved the setting. I have never been to Michigan, but I felt like I was right at home. Now I want to live in a lighthouse too! Although I first read the paperback of this book, I am so glad that the audiobook is available too. I often look for a fun book to listen to during my walks — Summer Plans fits the bill nicely!

So if you are looking for your next summer read, pick up Summer Plans in paper or audio. I heartily recommend it.

Recommended.

Audience: adults.

(Thanks to Celebrate Lit for a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

About The Author

Karin Beery grew up in a small, rural Michigan town where she wrote her first novel in high school. She’s still writing today, telling contemporary stories with a healthy dose of romance. When she’s not writing fiction, she’s editing or teaching it. And when she’s not doing that, she enjoys time at home with her husband and fur babies, once again living in a small, rural Michigan town.

More from Karin

I discovered audiobooks two years ago, and they have changed my life! Now I look forward to long car rides and endless hours cleaning and cooking. Well, I don’t really look forward to the cleaning and cooking, but at least the chores are tolerable because I just turn on a new book and listen to a story while I work! I know I’m not the only one who multitasks with audiobooks. I had a few friends ask me when my books would be available in audio form so they could listen—with long commutes and families at home, they prefer listening to their books in the quiet of the car.

That’s why I’m so excited to bring Summer Plans and Other Disasters to audiobook, and I’m just as excited about my narrator, Jasmine Zhwalen. Summer Plans was my first published book, and now it will be Jasmine’s first too. As soon as I heard her audition, I knew I wanted her to give Callie, Jack, Stacey, and Ryan their voices. Considering it’s the first go-round for both of us, I think it turned out pretty well!

Thanks for listening!

Blog Stops

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, August 17

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, August 17

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, August 18

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, August 19

Texas Book-aholic, August 20

Cats in the cradle blog, August 20

Inklings and notions, August 21

For Him and My Family, August 22

deb’s Book Review, August 23

Locks, Hooks and Books, August 24

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, August 24

By The Book, August 25

The Sacred Line, August 26

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, August 27

CarpeDiem, August 28

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, August 28

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, August 29

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, August 30

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Karin is giving away the grand prize of a $25 Audible gift card!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/112e5/summer-plans-and-other-disasters-celebration-tour-giveaway

Top 10 Tuesday — Firsts

24 Aug

Happy Tuesday! Again I am diverging from the Top 10 Tuesday prompt (I feel like I have done that topic a number of times) and going with great first books in mystery/suspense series. I’ve chosen a lot of great older books, so check out those backlists and get reading! 😉

For more Top 10 Tuesday fun, check out That Artsy Reader Girl.

Top First Books of Great Mystery/Suspense Series

Back on Murder by J. Mark Bertrand

Det. Roland March is a homicide cop on his way out. But when he’s the only one at a crime scene to find evidence of a missing female victim, he’s given one last chance to prove himself. Before he can crack the case, he’s transferred to a new one that has grabbed the spotlightthe disappearance of a famous Houston evangelist’s teen daughter. With the help of a youth pastor with a guilty conscience who navigates the world of church and faith, March is determined to find the missing girls while proving he’s still one of Houston’s best detectives.

Brink of Death by Brandilyn Collins

The noises, faint, fleeting, whispered into her consciousness like wraiths passing in the night. Twelve-year-old Erin Willit opened her eyes to darkness lit only by the dim green nightlight near her closet door and the faint glow of a street lamp through her front window. She felt her forehead wrinkle, the fingers of one hand curl as she tried to discern what had awakened her. Something was not right . . . Annie Kingston moves to Grove Landing for safety and quiet—and comes face to face with evil. When neighbor Lisa Willet is killed by an intruder in her home, Sheriff’s detectives are left with little evidence. Lisa’s daughter, Erin, saw the killer, but she’s too traumatized to give a description. The detectives grow desperate. Because of her background in art, Annie is asked to question Erin and draw a composite. But Annie knows little about forensic art or the sensitive interview process. A nonbeliever, she finds herself begging God for help. What if her lack of experience leads Erin astray? The detectives could end up searching for a face that doesn’t exist. Leaving the real killer free to stalk the neighborhood . . .

Cuts Like A Knife by M. K. Gilroy

Chicago has new resident, a heartless killer with a long and bloody history. When a successful young woman is found dead in her fashionable town home, a red flag lights up FBI computers in Washington, D.C. The Feds know an elusive “organized killer” is at work again. The problem is they have only one tenuous lead to assist the Chicago Police Department in the manhunt … a most unlikely place the killer hunts for his victims. Detective Kristen Conner is light as a feather but punches hard as a heavyweight. A cop’s kid, her life is built on faith, family, and catching criminals. She coaches her niece’s soccer team, the Snowflakes, when she isn’t fighting with her CPD partner or glamorous TV news reporter sister—or going undercover to find the man who is terrorizing the women of her city. She’s a good cop but she’s never faced an adversary like this. From an opening chase that leads Kristen to a back alley where a punk with a knife awaits her, to the climactic and head-spinning ending where she goes one-on-one with the hauntingly familiar man who is killing innocent women in her city, Cuts Like a Knife, is loaded with action, suspense, and humor through the voice of its irrepressible lead character.

Dangerous Passage by Lisa Harris

She’s dedicated her life to ending violence. But has she moved too deep into a treacherous world?

When two Jane Does are killed on the outskirts of Atlanta, Georgia, detective and behavioral specialist Avery North discovers they share something in common — a magnolia tattoo on their shoulders. Suspecting a serial killer, Avery joins forces with medical examiner Jackson Bryant to solve the crimes and prevent another murder. As they venture deep into a sinister criminal world, Avery and Jackson are taken to the very edge of their abilities–and their hearts.

Dangerous Passage exposes a fully realized and frightening world where every layer peeled back reveals more challenges ahead. You’ll be hooked from the start.

Deeper Water by Robert Whitlow

In the murky waters of Savannah’s shoreline, a young law student is under fire as she tries her first case at a prominent and established law firm. A complex mix of betrayal and deception quickly weaves its way through the case and her life, as she uncovers dark and confusing secrets about the man she’s defending–and the senior partners of the firm. 

How deep will the conspiracy run? Will she have to abandon her true self to fulfill a higher calling? And how far will she have to go to discover the truth behind a tragic cold case?

Fear Has A Name by Creston Mapes

A Haunting Name From the Past . . .

Granger Meade was mentally scarred as a boy by his religious zealot parents. He was bullied at school for his quiet, oafish appearance, which naturally made him a loner and outcast.

But one girl treated him differently—Pamela Wagner. Pam talked to Granger, took an interest, listened, made him feel like a human being. She cared when no one else did, and Granger loved her for it; and still does 20 years later.

So Granger goes back to their Ohio town. Back to Pamela. But she is happily married to reporter Jack Crittendon, who’s embroiled in a time-sensitive story about a pastor who’s disappeared and left a suicide note; a case swirling with suspicion and talk of scandal.

Full Disclosure by Dee Henderson

Ann Silver is a cop’s cop. As the Midwest Homicide Investigator, she is called in to help local law enforcement on the worst of cases, looking for answers to murder. Hers is one of the region’s most trusted investigative positions. 

Paul Falcon is the FBI’s top murder cop in the Midwest. If the victim carried a federal badge or had a security clearance, odds are good Paul and his team see the case file or work the murder. 

Their lives intersect when Ann arrives to pass a case off her desk and onto his. A car wreck and a suspicious death offer a lead on a hired shooter he is tracking. Paul isn’t expecting to meet someone, the kind that goes on the personal side of the ledger, but Ann Silver has his attention. 

The better he gets to know her, the more Paul realizes her job barely scratches the surface of who she is. She knows spies and soldiers and U.S. Marshals, and has written books about them. She is friends with the former Vice President. People with good reason to be cautious about who they let into their lives deeply trust her. Paul wonders just what secrets Ann is keeping, until she shows him the John Doe Killer case file, and he starts to realize just who this lady he is falling in love with really is…

Night Watchman by Mark Mynheir

Eleven months ago, Ray Quinn was a tough, quick-witted Orlando homicide detective at the top of his game — until a barrage of bullets ended his career…and his partner’ s life.

Now medically retired with a painful handicap, Ray battles the haunting guilt for his partner’s death. Numbing the pain with alcohol and attitude, Ray takes a job as a night watchman at a swanky Orlando condo.

But when a pastor and an exotic dancer are found dead in one of the condos in an apparent murder-suicide, Ray can no longer linger in the shadows. The pastor’s sister is convinced her brother was framed and begs Ray to take on an impossible case–to challenge the evidence and clear her brother’s name. 

Ray reluctantly pulls the threads of this supposedly dead-end case only to unravel a murder investigation so deep that it threatens to turn the Orlando political landscape upside down and transform old friends into new enemies. As Ray chases down leads and interrogates suspects, someone is watching his every move, someone determined to keep him from ever finding out the truth — at any cost.

A Shred of Evidence by Kathy Herman

The first book in the Seaport Suspense series

Ellen Jones, first introduced in the Baxter series, is enjoying a leisurely lunch at a Seaport restaurant when she overhears a private conversation at the table next to her — and disturbing accusations involving the husband of a woman she has recently befriended. But as Ellen digs through old newspaper articles and stumbles onto information too frightening to keep to herself, will she become enmeshed in speculation and gossip — or will she take the lead and become a catalyst for truth and healing?

Sober Justice by Mark Hilley

Life in the low country of the Gulf Coast can get pretty steamy. But life just got a lot hotter for Mike Connolly, a divorced, alcoholic, 50 something attorney. Usually content when he just makes it through another day, Mike’s life takes a dangerous and unpredictable turn when a judge appoints him to defend an indigent man accused of murdering a prominent plaintiff’s attorney. Just when he thinks that things can’t get worse, Mike stumbles onto a conspiracy and finds himself in the midst of a complicated web of intrigue that will take a miracle to survive. Trouble is–Mike’s fresh out of miracles. Or is he?

Widows And Orphans by Susan Meissner

When her ultra-ministry-minded brother, Joshua, confesses to murder, lawyer Rachael Flynn begs him to let her represent him, certain that he is innocent. But Joshua refuses her offer of counsel. 

As Rachael works on the case, she begins to suspect that Josh knows who the real killer is, but she is unable to get him to cooperate with his defense.  Why won’t he talk to her? What is Josh hiding? 

The answer is revealed in a stunning conclusion that will have readers eager for the second book in this gripping new series.