Tag Archives: DiAnn Mills

If You Liked . . . The Escape

31 Mar

My book club members are big fans of romantic suspense in general and Lisa Harris’ books in particular. Everyone liked her latest book The Escape, with one caveat. The ending left the reader with some big questions. The sequel, The Chase, releases in July — not soon enough for many of our members 😉 . If you liked the fast-paced suspense of this novel featuring a strong and competent female character in law enforcement, then I have a few recommendations for you.

U.S. Marshall Service

Seconds to Live by Susan Sleeman

When cybercriminals hack into the US Marshals’ Witness Protection database and auction off witnesses’ personal details to the highest bidders, the RED Team led by FBI Agent Sean Nichols begins a high-stakes chase to find the hacker. But before he can even get started, the first witness is targeted and barely escapes with her life. Sean believes Phantom, an obsessed hacker who previously outwitted the top minds in the field, is behind the attack, and Sean needs this witness’s help, as she’s the person who has come closest to discovering Phantom’s identity. 

Trouble is, she’s a witness under the care of US Marshal Taylor Mills, and Sean is reluctant to work with the captivating marshal who knows his deepest secrets. But Phantom claims he knows where the witness is hiding and will kill her, so to stop the hacker, Sean and Taylor must work through their personal pain and learn to trust each other . . . . The seconds are ticking down before someone dies

Strong Female Character

Network of Deceit by Tom Threadgill

After her rescue of nearly fifty kidnapped children made international headlines, Amara Alvarez gets what she’s worked for: a transfer to San Antonio’s Homicide Division. Reality sets in quickly, though, as her first case, the suspicious death of a teenager at a crowded local water park, brings chaos to her personal life.

As the investigation moves forward and she increases the pressure on the suspects, Amara finds herself under attack by cybercriminals. Her every move is being potentially watched online, and she’s forced to resort to unconventional methods to find the killer. With few leads, she fights to keep her first murder investigation from ending up in the cold case files.

Tom Threadgill is back with another riveting page-turner featuring the detective who is willing to put everything on the line to see that justice is served and lives are protected.

Edge of Seat Suspense

Fatal Strike by DiAnn Mills

There’s a killer on the loose in Galveston, targeting law enforcement officials and using a fatal injection of snake venom to take them down. Authorities have reasons to believe the Veneno gang is behind the hits, and FBI Agents Leah Riesel and Jon Colbert team up to track down those responsible. Their best lead is an eyewitness who identifies a young man dumping the third body on a church doorstep. But their suspect has gone into hiding, and those closest to him are reluctant to reveal anything that might help investigators find him.

As Leah and Jon check connections among the victims and dig deeper into motives, they discover appearances may be deceiving. Someone is desperate to keep their secrets hidden, and Leah and Jon must face their greatest fears in order to stop the next fatal strike.

If You Liked Deadly Intentions . . .

30 Nov

My book club members all loved Deadly Intentions by Lisa Harris. One of our favorite authors, Harris always delivers a highly readable twisting suspense. The added romance was a bonus! If you liked this book too, I have a few more reading recommendations for you. All three novels contain elements that made Deadly Intentions a winner.

 

Race Against Time

Airborne by DiAnn Mills

Heather Lawrence’s long-awaited vacation to Salzburg wasn’t supposed to go like this. Mere hours into the transatlantic flight, the Houston FBI agent is awakened when passengers begin exhibiting horrific symptoms of an unknown infection. As the virus quickly spreads and dozens of passengers fall ill, Heather fears she’s witnessing an epidemic similar to ones her estranged husband studies for a living ― but this airborne contagion may have been deliberately released.

While Heather remains quarantined with other survivors, she works with her FBI colleagues to identify the person behind this attack. The prime suspect? Dr. Chad Lawrence, an expert in his field . . . and Heather’s husband. The Lawrences’ marriage has been on the rocks since Chad announced his career took precedence over his wife and future family and moved out.

As more victims fall prey days after the initial outbreak, time’s running out to hunt down the killer, one who may be closer to the victims than anyone ever expected.

 

Fast-paced Action

Collateral Damage by Lynette Eason

Honorably discharged from the Army after an explosion nearly killed her, former military psychiatrist Brooke Adams has set up shop to help others — but her days of helping military personnel are over. She’s got her own battles to fight from her time overseas, and she’s not equipped to take on more. Former Army Special Ops Sergeant First Class Asher James could handle anything that war sent his way — terrorists, bombs, bullets. The only thing that scares him now is sleep. As the shadows close in, the nightmares begin.

Finally convinced that he needs help, Asher makes an appointment with a counselor, and Brooke is pressed by her boss to take him on. When he arrives at her office she isn’t there — but a dead body is. Brooke is devastated when she walks in, and Asher is a conveniently strong shoulder to cry on. But she can’t take him on as a client after sharing such an intimate and unprofessional moment, can she? And he’s not sure he can handle sharing his deepest fears with such a beautiful woman.

When it becomes clear that Brooke was the real target of the attack — and that her secrets go even deeper than his own — Asher vows to protect her no matter what.

Bestselling author Lynette Eason is back with a new series that spans the globe and will have your heart working overtime.

 

Investigative Teamwork

Dark Ambitions by Irene Hannon

Former Army Night Stalker Rick Jordan usually has his camp for foster children to himself during the winter months. But someone has visited recently–leaving a trail of blood. One of the two clues left behind tips Rick off to the identity of his visitor, who soon turns up dead. The police deem it an accident, but Rick isn’t convinced. With the help of private investigator Heather Shields, he sets out to decipher the remaining clue. Except someone doesn’t want them to succeed — and will stop at nothing to keep them from finding the truth.

With her trademark psychological suspense ratcheting up the tension on every page, bestselling and award-winning author Irene Hannon takes you on a search for a cold-blooded killer with an ambitious goal and deadly intent.

 

 

Top 10 Tuesday Halloween Edition– Outbreaks and Epidemics!

27 Oct

This week’s Top 10 Tuesday is a Halloween Freebie. If it’s not too early for you, I have a list of books that feature outbreaks and epidemics — real life scary! And because they are all Christian or clean fiction, it’s not all doom and gloom. There are a couple of historical novels that feature the Spanish Flu, some mystery and suspense that explore potential viruses/bacteria and other biological agents that get loose, and a YA dystopian that explores the aftermath of an epidemic. A couple of the authors are even doctors. If the subject isn’t too frightening for you, I hope you find a great book.

 

For more Halloween goodness, head over to That Artsy Reader Girl.

 

 

 

Top 10 Books Featuring Outbreaks and Epidemics

 

An Air That Kills by Christine Poulson

The atmosphere in the lab is toxic.

It is only a matter of time before there is a flu pandemic with the potential to kill billions. Or so wealthy entrepreneur Lyle Lynstrum believes. That is why he is funding research into transgenics – the mechanism by which viruses can jump the species barrier – at a high security lab on a tidal island off the North Devon coast.

A suspiciously rapid turnover of staff has him worried. He sends in scientist Katie Flanagan as an undercover lab technician. Something is clearly very wrong, but before Katie can get to the bottom of what is going on, a colleague is struck down by a mysterious illness.
Has the safety of the facility been compromised, allowing a deadly virus to escape? Katie begins to suspect that the scientists are as deadly as the diseases – and that her cover has been blown.

Then the island is cut off by high seas and a terrifying game of cat-and-mouse begins . . .

Airborne by DiAnn Mills

Heather Lawrence’s long-awaited vacation to Salzburg wasn’t supposed to go like this. Mere hours into the transatlantic flight, the Houston FBI agent is awakened when passengers begin exhibiting horrific symptoms of an unknown infection. As the virus quickly spreads and dozens of passengers fall ill, Heather fears she’s witnessing an epidemic similar to ones her estranged husband studies for a living ― but this airborne contagion may have been deliberately released.

While Heather remains quarantined with other survivors, she works with her FBI colleagues to identify the person behind this attack. The prime suspect? Dr. Chad Lawrence, an expert in his field . . . and Heather’s husband. The Lawrences’ marriage has been on the rocks since Chad announced his career took precedence over his wife and future family and moved out.

As more victims fall prey days after the initial outbreak, time’s running out to hunt down the killer, one who may be closer to the victims than anyone ever expected.

As Bright As Heaven by Susan Meissner

In 1918, Philadelphia was a city teeming with promise. Even as its young men went off to fight in the Great War, there were opportunities for a fresh start on its cobblestone streets. Into this bustling town, came Pauline Bright and her husband, filled with hope that they could now give their three daughters – Evelyn, Maggie, and Willa – a chance at a better life.

But just months after they arrive, the Spanish Flu reaches the shores of America. As the pandemic claims more than twelve thousand victims in their adopted city, they find their lives left with a world that looks nothing like the one they knew. But even as they lose loved ones, they take in a baby orphaned by the disease who becomes their single source of hope. Amidst the tragedy and challenges, they learn what they cannot live without–and what they are willing to do about it.

As Bright as Heaven is the compelling story of a mother and her daughters who find themselves in a harsh world not of their making, which will either crush their resolve to survive or purify it.

Captives by Jill Williamson

In a dystopian future, eighteen-year-old Levi returns from Denver City with his latest scavenged treasures and finds his village of Glenrock decimated, loved ones killed, and many – including his fiancée, Jem – taken captive. Now alone, Levi is determined to rescue what remains of his people, even if it means entering the Safe Lands, a walled city that seems anything but safe. Omar knows he betrayed his brother by sending him away, but helping the enforcers was necessary. Living off the land and clinging to an outdated religion holds his village back. The Safe Lands has protected people since the plague decimated the world generations ago … and its rulers have promised power and wealth beyond Omar’s dreams. Meanwhile, their brother Mason has been granted a position inside the Safe Lands, and may be able to use his captivity to save not only the people of his village, but also possibly find a cure for the virus that threatens everyone within the Safe Lands’ walls. Will Mason uncover the truth hidden behind the Safe Lands’ façade before it’s too late? 

The Gabon Virus by Paul McCusker and Walt Larimore

An ancient disease, a modern pandemic, and the one person who offers hope for a cure has been dead for 350 years

In 1666, a horrible disease took the lives of almost every person in Eyam (pronounced Eem), England. Helping the sick and the dying was the mysterious and ghostlike Blue Monk, whose strange appearance terrified even those who were comforted by him.

More than three centuries later the disease has returned, more virulent than before. Every day more people are infected; every hour more die.

The lives of millions rest in the hands of a bio-team — the Time Scene Investigators — that studies history to find cures for modern diseases. But the newest member of the team, Dr. Mark Carlson, has suffered a heartbreaking loss.

With every tick of the clock the world approaches a global pandemic. A race against time becomes a race across continents — to find a frightened boy who is carrying and spreading the disease wherever he goes, to thwart the machinations of corporate greed and fanatical sabotage, and to find the connection between a great tragedy of the past and a potential catastrophe of the present. Our present.

The Influenza Bomb by Paul McCusker and Walt Larimore

Masses of people are dying from a mysterious flu. While the TSI team searches for a cure, a notorious eco-terrorist group, Return to Earth, uses an influenza bomb to poison the water. It’s a race against time — with the outcome impacting the entire world.

By the time the team discovers that the terrorists are using the water supply to infect people, the sickness is spreading worldwide and no one has a cure. When Return to Earth makes off with a mysterious device called the influenza bomb with the intent to destroy all of mankind, Dr. Hutchinson must stop the contamination from being spread before it’s too late.

Lethal Remedy by Richard Mabry

An epidemic of a highly resistant bacteria, Staphylococcus luciferus, has ignited, and Dr. Sara Miles’ patient is on the threshold of death. Only an experimental antibiotic developed and administered by Sara’s ex-husband, Dr. Jack Ingersoll can save the girl’s life.

Dr. John Ramsey is seeking to put his life together after the death of his wife by joining the medical school faculty. But his decision could prove to be costly, even fatal.
Potentially lethal late effects from the experimental drug send Sara and her colleague, Dr. Rip Pearson, on a hunt for hidden critical data that will let them reverse the changes before it’s too late. What is the missing puzzle piece? And who is hiding it?

Outbreak by Davis Bunn

The waters off the West African coast are a menacing red, full of algae thick enough to stand on in places. In nearby villages, mysterious deaths start to occur — and the panic mounts. But before an alarm can be sounded, the sea currents shift, the algae vanishes, and the deaths stop. Everyone is relieved when things return to normal, and local government officials are happy to sweep the publicity nightmare under a rug.

An American biological researcher, Avery Madison, is dispatched by his employer to piece together exactly what happened, having long feared an ecological disaster just like this could occur. He’s had little evidence to go on before now, and what he finds in West Africa is rapidly disappearing. But Avery knows the danger hasn’t disappeared — it has just moved on.

Point of Origin by Lisa Harris and Lynne Gentry

When virus-infected pirates hijack a humanitarian medical ship from an African port, they trigger the threat of a global pandemic.

How do you keep hope alive in a sea of darkness?

An African fisherman.

Foreign exploitation of Africa’s natural resources has destroyed the fishing business of Dabir Omar. Hijacking oil tankers brings cash to his family in their remote village, but it doesn’t buy the medical care needed to stop the deadly sickness attacking his people. When Dabir’s son becomes ill, the desperate pirate sets sail for the Liberty, an international humanitarian medical ship ported on the coast. 

An American surgeon.

Against his better judgment, Dr. Josiah Allen agrees to work a two-week surgical stint on the Liberty, moored in Douala, Cameroon. Shortly after he arrives with his precocious six-year-old daughter, Josiah is sent ashore to investigate a mysterious illness at the ship’s post-op clinic. While he’s gone, Ebola-infected pirates hijack the medical ship where Josiah left his daughter.

The woman compelled to save them all.

When pirate negotiations fail, Mackenzie Scott’s privately-owned extraction unit comes in for the rescue. But when the medical ship where Mac had taken a wounded comrade is hijacked by pirates, the former military pararescue jumper becomes the pirate’s key hostage. 

Both fathers go to war to save their children. If Mac can’t convince them to work together, the winner of this conflict will be a deadly virus intent on destroying the world.

The Turning Tide by Melody Carlson

As the Great War rages on, Sunset Cove continues to feel its impact. Running the small town newspaper, Anna McDowell can’t escape the grim reports from the other side of the world, but home-front challenges abound as well. Dr. Daniel is serving the wounded on the front lines. And Katy, expecting her first child, with her husband in the trenches, tries to support the war effort with her Red Cross club. Even as the war winds down the costs are high— and Sunset Cove is not spared.

 

Book Review: Airborne

5 Oct

Heather Lawrence’s long-awaited vacation to Salzburg wasn’t supposed to go like this. Mere hours into the transatlantic flight, the Houston FBI agent is awakened when passengers begin exhibiting horrific symptoms of an unknown infection. As the virus quickly spreads and dozens of passengers fall ill, Heather fears she’s witnessing an epidemic similar to ones her estranged husband studies for a living ― but this airborne contagion may have been deliberately released.

While Heather remains quarantined with other survivors, she works with her FBI colleagues to identify the person behind this attack. The prime suspect? Dr. Chad Lawrence, an expert in his field . . . and Heather’s husband. The Lawrences’ marriage has been on the rocks since Chad announced his career took precedence over his wife and future family and moved out.

As more victims fall prey days after the initial outbreak, time’s running out to hunt down the killer, one who may be closer to the victims than anyone ever expected.

DiAnn Mills is a bestselling author who believes her readers should expect an adventure. She is a storyteller and creates action-packed, suspense-filled novels to thrill readers. Her titles have appeared on the CBA and ECPA bestseller lists; won two Christy Awards; and been finalists for the RITA, Daphne Du Maurier, Inspirational Readers’ Choice, and Carol award contests.

DiAnn is a founding board member of the American Christian Fiction Writers, a member of Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, and International Thriller Writers. She is Director of The Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference, Mountainside Marketing Conference, and Mountainside Novelist Retreat with social media specialist Edie Melson where she continues her passion of helping other writers be successful. She speaks to various groups and teaches writing workshops around the country.

Connect with DiAnn here: diannmills.com.

My Impressions:

Airborne by DiAnn Mills is a very timely suspense novel. Featuring a deadly flu virus targeting airplane passengers on their way to Europe, this book is chillingly real. So real in fact that it was sometimes a bit hard to read. I had to remind myself that it was fiction and not a new twist to the Covid pandemic. All that to say that it was certainly unputdownable! A recommended read if it’s not too soon for you.

Heather Lawrence, an FBI Special Agent, is on her way to Austria for more than a vacation. Her personal life is in shambles and she is endeavoring to gain control after her estrangement with her virologist husband, Chad. But soon after takeoff, people start getting sick — really sick. The terror of an unknown illness is front and center for the reader. Airborne gets a lot of things right — PPE, quarantine protocols, and the race for answers and a cure. There is also the element of social media panic, fake news, and the blame game that eerily parallels what has happened around the world since March 2020. Mills wrote this book way before that, proving what a great researcher she is. A combo of medical thriller and legal suspense, Airborne is a novel that will keep you up late turning the pages. There are lots of surprising twists and turns that keep the characters and the reader guessing. A great faith element is also woven throughout the book as Heather and Chad undergo a lot of changes. Chad is a very unlikable character, and I loved how many stuck with him even as most would have written him off.

I liked Airborne a lot, but understand that in light of all that is still going on with Covid 19, many may be put off by it. If that is you, put it on your maybe list — in a few months you may be ready for a well-written suspense that gives great perspective on what we are going through now.

Recommended.

Audience: adults.

(Thanks to the author for a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

First Line Friday — Airborne

2 Oct

Happy Friday! This week’s first line comes from a book I finished a few days ago — Airborne by DiAnn Mills. This fast-paced suspense features a deadly virus that threatens the US! Too soon? I have to admit that with our current state of pandemic it was a bit hard to read, but this book really is unputdownable! It is also amazing that it was written way before Covid 19 was a thing. I’ll post my review next week. In the meantime, here is the first line:

 

Vacations offered a distraction for those who longed to relax and rejuvenate, but FBI Special Agent Heather Lawrence wrestled with the decision to take an overseas trip alone. 

 

Heather Lawrence’s long-awaited vacation to Salzburg wasn’t supposed to go like this. Mere hours into the transatlantic flight, the Houston FBI agent is awakened when passengers begin exhibiting horrific symptoms of an unknown infection. As the virus quickly spreads and dozens of passengers fall ill, Heather fears she’s witnessing an epidemic similar to ones her estranged husband studies for a living ― but this airborne contagion may have been deliberately released.

While Heather remains quarantined with other survivors, she works with her FBI colleagues to identify the person behind this attack. The prime suspect? Dr. Chad Lawrence, an expert in his field . . . and Heather’s husband. The Lawrences’ marriage has been on the rocks since Chad announced his career took precedence over his wife and future family and moved out.

As more victims fall prey days after the initial outbreak, time’s running out to hunt down the killer, one who may be closer to the victims than anyone ever expected.

DiAnn Mills is a bestselling author who believes her readers should expect an adventure. She is a storyteller and creates action-packed, suspense-filled novels to thrill readers. Her titles have appeared on the CBA and ECPA bestseller lists; won two Christy Awards; and been finalists for the RITA, Daphne Du Maurier, Inspirational Readers’ Choice, and Carol award contests.

DiAnn is a founding board member of the American Christian Fiction Writers, a member of Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, and International Thriller Writers. She is Director of The Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference, Mountainside Marketing Conference, and Mountainside Novelist Retreat with social media specialist Edie Melson where she continues her passion of helping other writers be successful. She speaks to various groups and teaches writing workshops around the country.

Connect with DiAnn here: diannmills.com.

 

What is your first line?

 

Check out all the First Line Friday fun at Hoarding Books

 

Top Ten Tuesday — Fall TBR

22 Sep

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday challenge is to list the 10 books on your Fall TBR. I have a mix of old(ish) and new, review and book club selections, and some just because. I have a lot of reading to catch up on and not a lot of time in my schedule — my son, DIL, and grand baby have been visiting for 3 weeks and we are building a vacation home and my daughter is getting married! Squee! But books are always a great way to relax and escape. I think my list will provide just the ticket.

For more Fall TBRs, check out That Artsy Reader Girl.

Top Books on The Fall TBR

 

Airborne by Diann Mills

As Doves Fly in The Wind by Mary Lou Cheatham

Deadly Intentions by Lisa Harris

Egypt’s Sister by Angela Hunt

Mountain Laurel by Lori Benton

Point of Danger by Irene Hannon

The Red Ribbon by Pepper Basham

The Refrain Within by Liz Tolsma

Solid Ground by Danny and Wanda Pelfrey

Under a Turquoise Sky by Lisa Carter

 

What’s on your Fall TBR?

If You Liked Smoke Screen

31 Jan

Although Smoke Screen was a bit of a departure from the usual Terri Blackstock mystery/suspense offering, the majority of my book club liked it. The focus on alcoholism and assumed guilt made this book an interesting read. If you liked Smoke Screen too, here are a few more reading recommendations.

 

By Your Side by Candace Calvert

ER nurse Macy Wynn learned essential, gritty lessons in the California foster care system: land on your feet and trust no one. She’s finally located the fellow foster child she loves like a sister, but the girl’s in deep trouble. Macy’s determined to help, no matter what it takes. Her motto is to “make it happen” in any situation life throws at her—even when she butts heads with an idealistic cop.

Deputy Fletcher Holt believes in a higher plan, the fair outcome—and his ability to handle that by himself if necessary. Now he’s been yanked from Houston, his mother is battling cancer, and he’s attracted to a strong-willed nurse who could be the target of a brutal sniper.

When everything goes wrong, where do they put their trust?

 

Double Cross by DiAnn Mills

FBI Agent Laurel Evertson’s investigation into a scam targeting the elderly takes an unexpected twist when key evidence leads her to Morton Wilmington, a felon she arrested five years ago on her first undercover assignment. That case has haunted her since, and though she’s vowed to forget Wilmington―and what she sacrificed to put him away―he is now her best lead.

Houston Police Officer Daniel Hilton fears his grandparents may be the scammer’s next targets, and he’ll do anything to protect his family―even force interagency cooperation. But he’s quickly drawn to Laurel’s empathy and zeal and agrees to follow her lead . . . even if it means teaming up with a felon.

As the unlikely trio uncovers evidence suggesting the scam is more extensive and deadly than they imagined, both Laurel and Daniel find themselves in the crosshairs of a killer. Together they must decide if they can trust Wilmington’s claims of redemption, or if he’s leading them straight into a double cross.

 

Medical Judgment by Richard Mabry, MD

Someone is after Dr. Sarah Gordon. It’s been tough trying to recover from the traumatic deaths of her husband and infant daughter, but now someone is stalking her and has even set fire to her home. Her late husband’s best friend and a recovering alcoholic detective assigned to the case are both trying to solve the mystery, but both are also vying for her affections. No wonder she continues to live in fear and distrust with her only help coming from unreliable suitors. As the threats on her life continue to escalate, so do the questions: Who is doing this? And why? And how will her faith help her through this time in her life?

 

Book Review and Giveaway — Fatal Strike

26 Sep

Fatal Strike

by DiAnn Mills

on Tour September 1-30, 2019

 

About The Book

There’s a killer on the loose in Galveston, targeting law enforcement officials and using a fatal injection of snake venom to take them down. Authorities have reasons to believe the Veneno gang is behind the hits, and FBI Agents Leah Riesel and Jon Colbert team up to track down those responsible. Their best lead is an eyewitness who identifies a young man dumping the third body on a church doorstep. But their suspect has gone into hiding, and those closest to him are reluctant to reveal anything that might help investigators find him.

As Leah and Jon check connections among the victims and dig deeper into motives, they discover appearances may be deceiving. Someone is desperate to keep their secrets hidden, and Leah and Jon must face their greatest fears in order to stop the next fatal strike.

Book Details:

Genre: Romantic Suspense
Published by: Tyndale House Publishers
Publication Date: September 3rd 2019
Number of Pages: 400
ISBN: 1496427106 (ISBN13: 9781496427106)
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | IndieBound | Goodreads

 

Excerpt

SPECIAL AGENT LEAH RIESEL scanned the headlines on her phone. A prosecutor from Galveston had been found murdered behind a construction site, the second apparent victim of gang violence in two days. Both deaths were caused by rattlesnake venom injections to the heart. Before she could pull up additional reports on the woman’s untimely death, Leah’s phone rang.

“Riesel, hostage situation in Galveston,” the SWAT commander said. “Grab your gear. The chopper takes off in five.”

“On it.” She took a last lingering look at the half-eaten blueberry donut and coffee on her cubicle’s desk.

Could this have anything to do with the two murders in Galveston?

Before most of the city began the workday, Leah boarded a Little Bird helicopter beneath whirling blades and the pressure of a critical operation. Dressed in full camo and shouldering her sniper gear, she inhaled the rising temps. Feverish Houston.  With the familiar air transport sounds ushering in memories of past missions, her adrenaline kicked in.

A pilot from the tactical helicopter unit lifted the chopper into the air for the twenty-minute ride to Galveston. She recognized him from previous assignments involving aircraft used to deliver SWAT and the elite hostage rescue teams to crisis incidents. This morning her focus eliminated any chitchat.

Leah grabbed sound-canceling headphones and contacted the SWAT commander already on the ground. “Riesel here. Special Agent in Charge Thomas briefed me on a home invasion that’s turned violent.”

The SAC would be watching the operation at the Crisis Management Operations Center.

“Negotiations have gotten us nowhere.” The SWAT commander’s voice rose above the chopper’s blade-snap. “Two unidentified men are holding two women and three children at gunpoint. Galveston PD estimates they’ve been inside the home for at least an hour. Demanding we leave the area after giving them five hundred grand and a gassed-up speedboat.

Clock is ticking with forty minutes max. We’ve backed off as far as they know.”

Leah swiped through pics taken with telephoto lenses and sent to her phone. Each ski-masked man held a child as a shield. Leah detested the savagery and the horrific emotions the hostages must be feeling.

“We’re located on San Luis Pass Road on the western section of the island. Nearest house is five hundred yards away. Owners are in Europe. We’re in contact with the agency managing it.”

She didn’t need a key to access the home.

The SWAT commander continued. “One of the hostages is the owner of the home, Amanda Barton.”

“Is there a Mr. Barton in the picture?”

“Divorced. Lives in California.”

Unlikely the ex-husband was behind this.

“Agent Jon Colbert will be on scene shortly,” the commander said. “He had a deposition early this morning in Texas City and drove on to Galveston. Over the weekend, his SWAT partner had emergency knee surgery. Out for six weeks.”

And Leah’s partner had left the city yesterday on vacation.

The luck of the draw meant she and Jon would be working together. “I’ll contact you as soon as we land.”

Jon Colbert, a sniper who had excellent marksmanship and a stellar reputation, also worked organized crime. But she and Jon had never worked together. The idea of teaming up with an agent she barely knew made her uneasy. If a sniper mission required a partner, she preferred an established relationship where she would know how the person processed information.

Shoving aside her doubts, she narrowed her thoughts on what lay ahead. The precarious situation and local law enforcement’s inability to negotiate added up to why she and Jon had been assigned to the case.

She grasped her backpack, lighter than usual with only a spotting scope, ammo, water, communication equipment, extra batteries, granola bar, and a handheld radio. Her Glock, as comfortable in her right hand as a toothbrush, found its spot in her back waistband. She touched her H-S Precision heavy tactical rifle.

The sooner she got to Galveston, the sooner she could provide intelligence and help neutralize the circumstances. Her priority was seeing the women and children freed from these ruthless men.

***

Jon received a text from Special Agent in Charge Thomas that Leah Riesel had left the Houston FBI office and was en route to Galveston. He’d met her a few times, and they’d qualified together. Attractive woman—dark-brown hair, light-olive skin, New Yorker with the accent to prove it. Her professionalism in the violent crime division wavered between exceptional and extraordinary. A touch of toughness. Jon had heard not to make her mad—she had earned the nickname Panther for a reason.  He remembered her stats—number three in the US for distance shots. Good thing he wasn’t easily intimidated.

Once the chopper landed, Leah would be transported in an unmarked car to a vacant house more than a quarter of a mile away from the Barton home. No point in making the two men more trigger-happy when they’d warned law enforcement to back off.

The SWAT commander spoke through Jon’s radio attached to his collar. “Thermal imaging confirms four adults and three children inside the Barton home. The men claim they’ll kill the children first. We have fifteen minutes.”

In Galveston, Jon stopped at Broadway and Sixty-First Street. Tourists persisted in the middle of the thoroughfare, pushing strollers, riding surrey bikes, and enjoying the day.  Some were dressed for the beach and others clutched what they needed for their excursion. All hindered his turn. Obstacles in his mission. If they knew the situation not far from them, they’d grab their loved ones and speed home. Each moment delayed his shot and shoved the hostages closer to death. A chilling composure took over his emotional, mental, and physical reactions.  The busy street finally cleared. Jon turned west onto Seawall Boulevard and drove on to San Luis Pass. The hostage site was four and a half miles beyond there.

Were the two men inside the Barton home wannabes looking to make a name for themselves? Strung out on drugs? Was this a personal vendetta? No matter how this ended—either a surrender or he’d be instructed to take a shot— their moment in history would likely be the lead story on tonight’s news.  His phone alerted him to an incoming call. He responded before the first ring ended. “Colbert.” The chopper’s rhythmic whir reverberated through his phone.

“Riesel here. Landing in five at Galveston Island State Park.  SWAT commander has given me a location on the west side of the Barton home.”

“I’ll be on foot by then. Taking a position on the east, beach side.”

“I’ll need seven minutes to get into place,” she said.

“Okay.” No need to remind her of the ticking clock.

He touched End and whipped his truck onto a beach-access road where police officers had instructed residents to shelter in place. He switched off the engine. Grabbing his gear, he bolted down the beach. A Galveston police officer stopped him, and Jon handed him his ID. Seconds later, he moved toward his site.

A sultry breeze blew across the water, and he recalculated his shot.

Crouching low, he moved past police SWAT standing guard.

FBI SWAT held the position Riesel was headed for. They were racing against time, a commodity that stopped for nothing or no one. At any moment, one of the armed men could pull the trigger on those inside the Barton home.

Restraint.

Control.

Tense muscles relaxed.  His heartbeat slowed.

A clear head laid out the steps before the kill shot.

No mistakes.

Precision.

Accuracy.

A chance for the women and children to live another day.

Near a sand dune, he tuned out the occasional seagull and the waves rushing against the shore. After wiping the sweat from his hands on his pants, Jon set up his rifle and scope, activated his radio, and spoke to the SWAT commander and Leah Riesel.

 

My Impressions:

I have been on a bit of a suspense reading-kick lately. I love the twists and turns and hold your breath action that the genre provides. Fatal Strike by DiAnn Mills was another fast-paced, action packed read that kept me guessing. Gang activity, shootouts, hot pursuits, and some particularly slithery characters are all part of what keeps this book’s pages turning late into the night. I could not get enough! The mystery surrounding three law enforcement-related deaths on Galveston Island kept me guessing — I had my doubts about so many of the suspicious characters. And I loved FBI investigators/snipers Leah Riesel and Jon Colbert. Dedicated to justice and highly competent and expert in their field, these two mains were perfect in portraying the professionals that they are. I really liked the methodical investigation that slowly, but surely uncovered clues and the many secrets surrounding the crimes and their victims. That was a great balance to the dangerous situations that seemed to come out of nowhere. I also liked that the attraction between the two was kept low-key. So often romantic suspense is all about the sparks with the plot being just a vehicle for romance. But Fatal Strike has just the right balance that kept the events believable. The faith journeys of the two characters — one a seeker and one a non-believer — was naturally developed as well. Family issues, fears, and past mistakes were overcome with the help of God.

If you like puzzling out a mystery, the breath-holding of suspense, and the beginnings of romance, then Fatal Strike is the book for you. It is definitely a recommended read!

Recommended.

Audience: adults.

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

About The Author

DiAnn Mills is a bestselling author who believes her readers should expect an adventure. She weaves memorable characters with unpredictable plots to create action-packed, suspense-filled novels. DiAnn believes every breath of life is someone’s story, so why not capture those moments and create a thrilling adventure?

Her titles have appeared on the CBA and ECPA bestseller lists; won two Christy Awards; and been finalists for the RITA, Daphne Du Maurier, Inspirational Readers’ Choice, and Carol award contests.

DiAnn is a founding board member of the American Christian Fiction Writers, a member of Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, and International Thriller Writers. She is co-director of The Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference, Mountainside Marketing Conference, and the Mountainside Novelist Retreat with social media specialist Edie Melson where she continues her passion of helping other writers be successful. She speaks to various groups and teaches writing workshops around the country.

DiAnn has been termed a coffee snob and roasts her own coffee beans. She’s an avid reader, loves to cook, and believes her grandchildren are the smartest kids in the universe. She and her husband live in sunny Houston, Texas.

DiAnn is very active online and would love to connect with readers on:
diannmills.com, Goodreads, BookBub, Twitter, & Facebook!

Tour Participants:

09/01 Showcase @ Rockspringscrafts
09/02 Interview @ BooksChatter
09/03 Review @ Book Reviews From an Avid Reader
09/04 Showcase @ The Pulp and Mystery Shelf
09/05 Guest post/showcase @ CMash Reads
09/06 Showcase @ Stacking My Book Shelves!
09/09 Showcase @ Celticladys Reviews
09/10 Showcase @ The Bookworm Lodge
09/11 Showcase@ Eclectic Moods
09/12 Interview @ Reading A Page Turner
09/13 Guest post @ A Blue Million Books
09/15 Review @ Forever the Wanderer
09/15 Review @ Shalinis Books & Reviews
09/16 Showcase @ EienCafe
09/18 Interview @ Nesies Place
09/19 Showcase @ Book Reviews & More by Kathy
09/24 Review @ Quiet Fury Books
09/26 Review @ Brooke Blogs
09/26 Review @ By The Book
09/27 Review @ Lynchburg Mama
09/28 Review/showcase @ Cy Wyss — Author and Artist
09/29 Review @ The World As I See It
09/30 Review @ Jersey Girl Book Reviews

 

Enter To Win!

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for DiAnn Mills. There will be 2 winners each winning one (1) Gift Card (choice of Amazon or B&N). The giveaway begins on September 1, 2019 and runs through October 2, 2019. Void where prohibited.

To Enter Giveaway Click HERE.

 

First Line Friday — Fatal Strike

30 Aug

Happy Friday! Can you believe that September is right around the corner? We are kicking off the fall season with a college football game. That means a road trip and plenty of book time in the car. What are you doing for Labor Day weekend? One last vacation, a reading marathon, football and more football? I’d love to hear about your plans.

Today I am featuring a book that releases in September — Fatal Strike by DiAnn Mills. I love a good suspense, and Mills always delivers. Can’t wait to dig into this book.

 

Leave a comment with the first sentence of the closest book to hand and how you plan to spend the holiday weekend, then head over to Hoarding Books for more first line fun!

 

 

There’s a killer on the loose in Galveston, targeting law enforcement officials and using a fatal injection of snake venom to take them down. Authorities have reasons to believe the Veneno gang is behind the hits, and FBI Agents Leah Riesel and Jon Colbert team up to track down those responsible. Their best lead is an eyewitness who identifies a young man dumping the third body on a church doorstep. But their suspect has gone into hiding, and those closest to him are reluctant to reveal anything that might help investigators find him.

As Leah and Jon check connections among the victims and dig deeper into motives, they discover appearances may be deceiving. Someone is desperate to keep their secrets hidden, and Leah and Jon must face their greatest fears in order to stop the next fatal strike.

DiAnn Mills is a bestselling author who believes her readers should expect an adventure. She is a storyteller and creates action-packed, suspense-filled novels to thrill readers. Her titles have appeared on the CBA and ECPA bestseller lists; won two Christy Awards; and been finalists for the RITA, Daphne Du Maurier, Inspirational Readers’ Choice, and Carol award contests.

DiAnn is a founding board member of the American Christian Fiction Writers, a member of Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, and International Thriller Writers. She is Director of The Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference, Mountainside Marketing Conference, and Mountainside Novelist Retreat with social media specialist Edie Melson where she continues her passion of helping other writers be successful. She speaks to various groups and teaches writing workshops around the country.

Connect with DiAnn here: diannmills.com

Top 10 Tuesday — Suspense Novels I Can’t Wait For!

18 Jun

This week Top 10 Tuesday bloggers are listing their most anticipated releases of the rest of 2019. This is a list I always love to compile, because it reminds me of the great reading that is coming my way. I have been on an all things suspense kick, so my list features the suspense-filled reads I hope to experience in the near future. Let me know what you think! 🙂

Be sure to head over to That Artsy Reader Girl for more great upcoming reads.

A Dozen Most Anticipated Suspense Novels

 

Always Look Twice by Elizabeth Goddard

Dark Ambitions by Irene Hannon

Deadly Intentions by Lisa Harris

Echoes among The Stones by Jaime Jo Wright

Fatal Strike by DiAnn Mills

Fire Storm by Nancy Mehl

Fragments of Fear by Carrie Stuart Parks

The Killing Tide by Dani Pettrey

One Final Breath by Lynn Blackburn

Protecting Tanner Hollow by Lynette Eason

Smoke Screen by Terri Blackstock

Strands of Truth by Colleen Coble

 

 

What books are you anticipating?