Tag Archives: suspense ficiton

First Line Friday — The Reckoning at Gossamer Pond

13 Jul

Happy Friday! As you read this post, I am gazing out on the Gulf of Mexico (or I’m sleeping in 😉 ). Whatever, I am definitely at the beach, and I have brought along Jaime Jo Wright‘s latest novel, The Reckoning at Gossamer Pond.  There are a lot of mysterious goings on in this book — perfect to keep me occupied while my husband enjoys his continuing education.

What’s the first line of the closest book to you? Leave me a comment, then head over to Hoarding Books for more great lines from great authors!



For over a century, the town of Gossamer Grove has thrived on its charm and midwestern values, but Annalise Forsythe knows painful secrets, including her own, hover just beneath the pleasant faade. When a man is found dead in his run-down trailer home, Annalise inherits the trailer, along with the pictures, vintage obituaries, and old revival posters covering its walls. As she sorts through the collection, she’s wholly unprepared for the ramifications of the dark and deadly secrets she’ll uncover.

A century earlier, Gossamer Grove has been stirred into chaos by the arrival of controversial and charismatic twin revivalists. The chaos takes a murderous turn when Libby Sheffield, working at her father’s newspaper, receives an obituary for a reputable church deacon hours before his death. As she works with the deacon’s son to unravel the mystery behind the crime, it becomes undeniably clear that a reckoning has come to town–but it isn’t until another obituary arrives that they realize the true depths of the danger they’ve waded into.

Two women, separated by a hundred years, must uncover the secrets within the borders of their own town before it’s too late and they lose their future — or their very souls.

Professional coffee drinker & ECPA/Publisher’s Weekly best-selling author, Jaime Jo Wright resides in the hills of Wisconsin writing spirited turn-of-the-century romance stained with suspense. Coffee fuels her snarky personality. She lives in Neverland with her Cap’n Hook who stole her heart and will not give it back, their little fairy TinkerBell, and a very mischievous Peter Pan. The foursome embark on scores of adventure that only make her fall more wildly in love with romance and intrigue.

Jaime lives in dreamland, exists in reality, and invites you to join her adventures at jaimejowright.com!


Audiobook Review: The Racketeer

12 Mar

13573236In the history of the United States, only four active federal judges have been murdered. Judge Raymond Fawcett has just become number five. His body is found in his remote lakeside cabin. There is no sign of forced entry or struggle. Just two dead bodies: Judge Fawcett and his young secretary. And one large, state-of-the-art, extremely secure safe, opened and emptied.
One man, a former attorney, knows who killed Judge Fawcett, and why. But that man, Malcolm Bannister, is currently residing in the Federal Prison Camp near Frostburg, Maryland. Though serving time, Malcolm has an ace up his sleeve. He has information the FBI would love to know. Malcolm would love to tell them. But everything has a price—and the man known as the Racketeer wasn’t born yesterday.

721Long before his name became synonymous with the modern legal thriller, John Grisham was working 60-70 hours a week at a small Southaven, Mississippi law practice, squeezing in time before going to the office and during courtroom recesses to work on his hobby–writing his first novel. Born on February 8, 1955 in Jonesboro, Arkansas, to a construction worker and a homemaker, John Grisham as a child dreamed of being a professional baseball player. Realizing he didn’t have the right stuff for a pro career, he shifted gears and majored in accounting at Mississippi State University. After graduating from law school at Ole Miss in 1981, he went on to practice law for nearly a decade in Southaven, specializing in criminal defense and personal injury litigation. One day at the DeSoto County courthouse, Grisham overheard the harrowing testimony of a twelve-year-old rape victim and was inspired to start a novel exploring what would have happened if the girl’s father had murdered her assailants. Getting up at 5 a.m. every day to get in several hours of writing time before heading off to work, Grisham spent three years on A Time to Kill and finished it in 1987. Initially rejected by many publishers, it was eventually bought by Wynwood Press, who gave it a modest 5,000 copy printing and published it in June 1988.That might have put an end to Grishams hobby. However, he had already begun his next book, and it would quickly turn that hobby into a new full-time career. When he sold the film rights to The Firm to Paramount Pictures for $600,000, Grisham suddenly became a hot property among publishers, and book rights were bought by Doubleday. Spending 47 weeks on The New York Times bestseller list, The Firm became the bestselling novel of 1991.The successes of The Pelican Brief, which hit number one on the New York Times bestseller list, and The Client, which debuted at number one, confirmed Grisham’s reputation as the master of the legal thriller. Grisham’s success even renewed interest in A Time to Kill, which was republished in hardcover by Doubleday and then in paperback by Dell. This time around, it was a bestseller. Since first publishing A Time to Kill in 1988, Grisham has written one novel a year and all of them have become international bestsellers. There are currently over 225 million John Grisham books in print worldwide, which have been translated into 29 languages. Nine of his novels have been turned into films (The Firm, The Pelican Brief, The Client, A Time to Kill, The Rainmaker, The Chamber, A Painted House, The Runaway Jury, and Skipping Christmas), as was an original screenplay, The Gingerbread Man.

My Impressions:

The Racketeer is classic John Grisham. Featuring a main character who plans a long shot scheme while putting his thumb in the eye of the Federal government, it provides twists, turns and surprises galore. If you are a fan of John Grisham, you are going to love this one.

Malcolm Bannister is serving time in a federal camp for a crime he didn’t commit. A one time small town lawyer, he spends his time taking long walks, working in the camp’s library and dreaming of the day he will walk out a free man. One day he discovers the news of a murdered federal judge and his dreams start to come true. Freed under an agreement with the Attorney General, Malcolm, now Max Baldwin, begins a life in witness protection. Always looking over his shoulder, he plots and plans to truly become a free man.

The Racketeer is a puzzle. The main character, Malcolm Bannister, may or may not be a reliable narrator. There also seems to be plenty of shady characters all asserting their innocence, but in this novel there are few who can be characterized as not guilty. I listened to the audiobook version and am glad. There were so many surprises, I would have been tempted to skip to the end to find out just what was going on! The narration is also excellent, probably the best I have encountered so far in listening to audiobooks.

While there are instances of profanity and adult situations and a loose moral code (this is NOT a Christian book), I enjoyed The Racketeer. If you like legal suspense, puzzling mysteries or any John Grisham novel, I recommend The Racketeer.

(I purchased the audiobook version. All opinions are mine alone.)

To purchase this book, click on the image below.

Book Review: Critical Pursuit

22 Jan

375533Officer Brinna Caruso has built a reputation at the precinct as the cop to call when a child goes missing. For Brinna, it’s personal because she was once one of them. Brinna and her K-9 search and rescue dog, Hero, will stop at nothing to find a missing child, no matter the stakes.

Detective Jack O’Reilly isn’t ready to return to his homicide duties, after losing his wife to a drunk driver. He’s on the downside of his career, and bent on revenge, when he’s assigned as Brinna’s partner. While on patrol, Jack struggles between his quest for personal justice and his responsibility to those around him, especially his partner.

Skeptical of Jack’s motives, Brinna isn’t sure she can rely on her new partner, whose reckless abandon endangers the safety of those around him. But when a man surfaces with an MO similar to the criminal who abducted Brinna twenty years earlier, Brinna and Jack must cast aside previous judgments and combine efforts to catch the kidnapper, and finally allow Brinna the peace stolen from her as a child.

Janice-61374-200x300A retired Long Beach California police officer of 22 years (16 in uniform and 6 as a non-career officer), Janice Cantore worked a variety of assignments, patrol, administration, juvenile investigations and training. During the course of her career in uniform Janice found that faith was indispensable to every aspect of the job and published articles on faith at work, one for a quarterly newspaper called “Cop and Christ”, and another for the monthly magazine “Today’s Christian Woman”.

With retirement Janice began to write longer pieces and several novels were born. Janice is excited and honored to be a part of the Tyndale Publishing House family. AccusedAbducted and Avenged,  comprise The Pacific Coast Justice Series, a trilogy that kicked off a brand new chapter in her writing career. September 2013 saw the release of Critical Pursuit, featuring Brinna Caruso, a K-nine officer with a heart to find abducted and missing children. Visible Threat is the next installment in this series and will be released in 2014.  In addition to suspense and action, her books feature strong female leads. Janice writes suspense novels designed to keep you engrossed and leave you inspired.

Janice has bachelor’s degrees in Biology (University of California at Irvine) and Physical Education (California State University at Long Beach).  She also completed graduate coursework in Criminal Justice (University of Southern California) and is currently a member of American Christian Fiction Writer’s and Sisters in Crime.  She attends Trail Christian Fellowship in Eagle Point Oregon, having just moved to Southern Oregon with her three Labrador Retrievers, Jake, Maggie and Abbie. Janice’s hobbies are reading, cross-stitching, kayaking, hiking, walking the dogs and trying to stay fit.

My Impressions:

Suspense is one of my favorite genres and by far the one I prefer to review. I like the twists and turns, the emotional responses by the characters and that feeling of tension that permeates a good suspense novel. I found all of that in Janice Cantore’s Critical Pursuit. Cantore’s experience as a policewoman brings an authenticity to her novels that is hard to duplicate. If you like a suspense novel complete with realistic police work, relatable characters and a story that keeps the pages turning, then this one is for you.

The two main characters are cops with pasts. Jack O’Reilly has the reputation as a burnout following the death of his wife. His bitterness and desire for revenge are destroying all the good in his life. Brinna Caruso was a kidnap victim at age six. Her determination to make sure all children are safe makes her a good cop, but doesn’t really allow for anything else in her life. For them God doesn’t exist because He let them down. Forced to work together, Jack and Brinna face their demons head on.

I liked that the characters had rough edges. They were not always likable, but were very real in their questions and doubts.  There was some resolution, but mostly, Jack and Brinna still have a way to go in becoming whole. The story line was jarring — a child molester/kidnapper/murderer — and the the perpetrator’s point of view was chilling, but this added depth. Never graphic, the narrative was realistic as well. And for those who like a good dog tale, Brinna’s search and rescue dog, Hero, adds a lot to the action.

I liked Critical Pursuit. A quick read, it delivers just about everything a suspense fan could ask for.


(Thanks to Tyndale for my review copy. The opinions expressed are mine alone.)

To purchase this book, click on the image below.

Book Review: Fearless

17 Jun

362418When a nine-year-old Louisa mysteriously appears in the middle of a house fire with no memory of how she got there or where she came from, Jim and Amy Spencer agree to take her in. Wrestling with the recent loss of their own child, they soon discover Louisa has a special gift. But when the same gift unknowingly puts her in contact with a serial killer, the grieving couple must unite to face all odds and save themselves and Louisa before it’s too late.

mikedellosso180Mike Dellosso lives in Pennsylvania with his wife and four daughters. He blogs regularly about matters of faith and life at http://www.mikedellosso.wordpress.com. Keep up to date with what’s going on in his world by “liking” his Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/mikedellosso.

My Impressions:

I have read several novels by Mike Dellosso — Darkness Follows, Frantic, and A Thousand Sleepless Nights (written under the name of Michael King) — and have found all of them to be well-written, and with his suspense/thrillers, novels that had me holding my breath while they held my attention! His newest novel, Fearless, is in my opinion, the best so far. Just how do you combine stories detailing the miracles of God and the deepest evil in man? Not sure how he did it, but I am glad he did.

Fearless begins with the discovery of a mysterious child found at the scene of a house fire. Only knowing her name, Louisa is taken in by Jim and Amy, a couple still reeling from the miscarriage of their first child. It soon becomes evident to them and the rest of the town that Louisa has more mysteries than just amnesia. This child can see into the lives of people and touch them in a way that often brings healing — physical and emotional. Meanwhile a ruthless man looking to earn respect has embarked on a killing spree. Both the otherworldly nature of Louisa and the serial killings have the town on edge, and the two story lines suddenly intersect causing a wild ride for the reader.

Fearless is a complex novel examining the issue of seeing and knowing others and the need of man to truly be seen and known. Both plots are meticulously developed and seem completely separate until Dellosso brings the characters and the action together. There are a number of supernatural elements that just cannot be explained and Dellosso doesn’t try, letting the reader come to his/her own conclusions. He also created a wonderful secondary character in Clare Appleton, a woman who faces evil with a determination and  fearlessness of her own. If you like thrillers, there is also enough creepiness in the murders that will keep you watching just as you want to turn away. Not really for the faint of heart, but if you can stand the tension and the stomach clenching, you won’t be sorry. Another great book from Dellosso.

Highly Recommended.

(I received Fearless from Booketeria in exchange for a review. The opinions expressed are mine alone.)

To purchase a copy of Fearless, click on the image below.

Book Review: The Runner

30 Jan

61+zveWAQHL._SL500_AA300_The Runner is the first book in a seven-part series that follows the life of Michael Knight, a young man who is conflicted about his future and who embarks on a long journey of self-discovery. In that sense, Michael is like many of us. I don’t think anyone ever just “arrives.” We all have to go through things in life in order to learn and grow.


WebCU2-194x300When he isn’t crafting legal dramas, Wayne Gill serves as CEO and Managing Partner of Gill Law Firm, a law firm with offices in Florida and Georgia that serves some of the top companies in the world, including AT&T, Hilton Hotels Corporation, SunTrust Bank, and JM Family Enterprises.

A husband and father, Wayne is the recipient of numerous civil, professional and humanitarian awards, including Northwood University’s Arthur E. Turner Award for Outstanding Commitment to the Betterment of Mankind. He is also the co-founder of the Oasis Compassion Agency, a ministry to the disadvantaged in the community. The Runner is the first book in the Michael Knight series.

Wayne has been recognized among the 50 Most Powerful Black Professionals in South Florida and the Who’s Who in Black South Florida. He’s received Macy’s Crystal Award for Outstanding Minority Business Advocacy, and he’s received several honors from NMSDC affiliates and the local Bar Associations. In 2002, he received Northwood University’s Arthur E. Turner Excellence in Entrepreneurship Award for Outstanding Commitment to the Betterment of Mankind. He is a board member of the Black Chamber of Commerce of Palm Beach County and Secretary of the Board for The Southern Florida Minority Supplier Development Council.


My Impressions:

Sometimes I like a book; sometimes I don’t. Book reviewing can be a very subjective pursuit. What appeals to some readers is a turn off for others. Because of this,when faced with writing a negative review, I am uncomfortable. And as I state in every review I write, these are my opinions alone.

The Runner introduces us to Michael Knight and his family. A young man with a lot going for him, Michael has some very powerful gifts from God — gifts he chooses to ignore to pursue his dream of being a lawyer. Soon his dreams turn into a nightmare.

The Runner is reminiscent of many of John Grisham’s novels. A young man with ideals is corrupted by powerful men with a lot of cash to offer. However, I didn’t connect with any of the characters. I found them to be not very well-developed. I also did not like the heavy-handed spiritual message. Was any of it untrue? Not at all. I just found it to be too preachy and thought it was not handled as deftly as other novelists in the Christian suspense genre (Robert Whitlow or Randy Singer, for example). The plot dragged for me as well. I would have preferred more action from a book marketed as suspense.

Gill’s novel got some very glowing reviews on Amazon, so my problems with the book, may not be yours. Be sure to check out those reviews to get a balanced view.

(Thank you to Glass Roads Public Relations for a copy of The Runner. All opinions are mine alone.)

Book Review: The Choice

25 Aug

One young woman. Two very different roads. The choice will change everything.

Even as a pregnant, unwed teen in 1974, Sandy Lincoln wanted to do the right thing. But when an ageless woman approached her in a convenience store with a mysterious prophecy and a warning, doing the right thing became even more unclear. She made the best choice she could . . . and has lived with the consequences.

More than thirty years later, a pregnant teen has come into her life, and Sandy’s long-ago decision has come back to haunt her. The stakes rise quickly, leaving Sandy with split seconds to choose once more. But will her choice decision bring life . . . or death?

Robert Whitlow is the best-selling author of legal novels set in the South and winner of the prestigious Christy Award for Contemporary Fiction. A Furman University graduate, Whitlow received his J.D. with honors from the University of Georgia School of Law where he served on the staff of the Georgia Law Review. A practicing attorney, Whitlow and his wife, Kathy, have four children. They make their home in North Carolina.For more about Robert and his other books, visit www.robertwhitlow.com.

My Impressions:

I have been anticipating Robert Whitlow’s book, The Choice, for over a year. I had the great pleasure of meeting him and his wife at the ICRS 2011 in Atlanta. (Click HERE for my interview with him.) My book club will be discussing this book at our September meeting and my roundtable group has also picked it for our new year. Boy is Robert Whitlow popular! And for good reason. As soon as I got my copy of The Choice, my husband had to read it. Whitlow is one of his favorite writers, and he thinks The Choice is Whitlow’s best book to date. And throughout the 2 1/2 days it took me devour it, hubs kept asking me if I got to the part  . . .  yet.

So what did I think? The Choice is a well-researched and well-told story of the heartrending decisions made by thousands of women each year — should I keep the baby, opt for adoption or have an abortion?  In his afterword, Whitlow states he wanted to redeem the word choice. He has done that in a way that is sensitive and compassionate to women facing this politically charged topic. All sides of the equation are examined — the effects of an unplanned pregnancy on the mother, the father, friends and family, even the community at large and the effects of adoption on the adoptive family, child and birth mother/birth family. And while Whitlow delivers a book that is decidedly pro-life, you never have any sense of judgment or condemnation for those on the other side.

Sandy Lincoln finds herself pregnant. A high school student in 1974, she is faced with some very harsh consequences of her choice to become sexually active. Through guidance from her mother and aunt, Sandy decides to put her baby up for adoption, but is forced to move from her small town to Atlanta to finish her senior year at a school for kids with nowhere else to go. It is a tough decision and a even tougher reality she faces going forward in her pregnancy.  Thirty years pass and Sandy is again involved in the pro-choice debate when her 16 year old student becomes pregnant. Sandy has to make some more tough decisions that will again prove costly, perhaps even involving the life or death of her two now grown children.

Whitlow thoroughly explores the theme of sacrifice in The Choice. Decisions surrounding an unplanned pregnancy impact not only the birth mother, but her family, the father, and the father’s family.  The characters were very realistic, and there were times when I could feel the anguish that surrounds this highly emotional topic. And since this was a Whitlow novel, there is plenty of suspense involved.  The only negative was the ending — it seemed a little rushed.  I would have gladly welcomed another 50 or so pages.

So should you read The Choice?  Definitely!  I am really looking forward to my book club’s discussion.  We have educators, adoptive mothers, those who chose to keep a baby, etc. I anticipate  lively and perhaps emotional conversations.

Highly Recommended.

(I received The Choice from LitFuse.  The opinions expressed are mine alone.)

To reader other’s views, please click HERE.

Celebrate with Robert by entering to win a Nook Color with GlowLight!

One “choice” winner will receive:

  • A Nook Color with GlowLight
  • A four book Robert Whitlow library (winner’s choice)

Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on August 27th. Winner will be announced at the “The Choice” Author Chat Facebook Party on 8/28. Meet Robert, get a sneak peek of his next book, try your hand at a trivia contest, and more. There will also be gift certificates, books and a Book Club Prize Pack to be won (10 copies for your book club or small group.)!

So grab your copy of The Choice and join Robert on the evening of the August 27th for a chance to connect with Robert and make some new friends. (If you haven’t read the book – don’t let that stop you from coming!)

Don’t miss a moment of the RSVP todayTell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 28th!