Newsletter for September 2012


Book Giveaways for September

lowpressure.jpgOne random winner will be chosen to receive a copy of Low Pressure by Sandra Brown. Click on book cover for more information and to enter.

breed1.jpgOne random winner will be chosen to receive a copy of Breed by Chase Novak. Click on book cover for more information and to enter.



Several other book giveaways are posted on the home page of  Be sure to enter.

Book Giveaway Winners for August

Winner of The Black Isle

Heather C. - FL

Winner of Shake Off

Winner has been notified - We are waiting for confirmation.

Winners of Criminal

Renee Grandinetti - WA

One more winner has been notified.  We are waiting for confirmation.

Winners of Strong Vengeance

Terry Vanderpool - IN

Martha Book - TX

Debbie Whittemore - SC

Barbara Semeraro - NJ

One more winner has been notified.  We are waiting for confirmation.

Featured Book - Snafu:  A Tale of Presidential Election and a Girl by Simon Plaster

snafu.jpgAn upcoming Presidential Election may depend on the vote outcome in Oklahoma,which in turn may hinge on local issues of County Commissioner contests, specifically including one in rural Okmulgee County. There, in a Republican Party stronghold, a door-to-door pots and pans salesman, Virgil Carter, runs as a Democrat.

Also hanging in the balance in Oklahoma is ratification of a constitutional amendment to abolish the Electoral College in favor of popular vote. With the state legislature deadlocked ---- and the dysfunctional U.S. Supreme Court otherwise engaged ---- the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals adopts the slogan "Everybody Counts" as a strict rule of constitutional law. And so, with the issue not conclusively resolved, the Presidential Election proceeds on parallel ---- electoral vote and popular vote ---- tracks.

With both national political parties playing it especially close to the vest, news media declare Virgil Carter to be the new darling of the Democratic Party, and effectively "nationalize" the Okmulgee County Commissioner Election as a contest of proxies for the Presidential Election. Virgil becomes a household name, and is picked by the incumbent President to be his Vice-Presidential running mate.

Oklahoma's popular vote ends in a politically unbreakable tie, its electoral votes remain undetermined, the Electoral College is deadlocked. An ever-shifting margin in the national popular vote is a tiny fraction of the .005 difference in the 2000 Bush-Gore Election, and . . . Only then do proponents for doing away with the Electoral College fully realize that every single one of the 150 million votes cast in the Presidential Election must be re-counted, and after a multitude of legal challenges, re-counted again, and again.

Fortunately, it seems, an obscure provision of a new federal Everybody Counts Voter Enfranchisement Statute addresses the situation, but . . . well, it's not for nothing that this story is titled SNAFU.

A young, small town newspaper reporter, Henryetta Hebert, tells most of this epic tale, and in the end comes up with a resolution to it and a national crisis.

Featured Book - Murder Takes Time:  Friendship & Honor Series, Book I,  (Volume 1)  by Giacomo Giammatteo

murdertakestime.jpgA string of brutal murders has bodies piling up in Brooklyn, and Detective Frankie Donovan knows what is going on. Clues left at the crime scenes point to someone from the old neighborhood, and that isn't good.

Frankie has taken two oaths in his life—the one he took to uphold the law when he became a cop, and the one he took with his two best friends when they were eight years old and inseparable.

Those relationships have forced Frankie to make many tough decisions, but now he faces the toughest one of his life; he has five murders to solve and one of those two friends is responsible. If Frankie lets him go, he breaks the oath he took as a cop and risks losing his job. But if he tries to bring him in, he breaks the oath he kept for twenty-five years—and risks losing his life.

In the neighborhood where Frankie Donovan grew up, you never broke an oath.

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Featured Book - Hitler's Priest by S.J. Tagliareni

hitlerspriest.jpgHitler's Priest offers a rare glimpse into the moral conflicts raised by Nazi Germany and the Catholic Church's role in the Holocaust,Hans Keller the main character is invited to become a Catholic priest by Josef Goebbels with the intent to prevent the Vatican's involvement against the "Final Solution". Hans is highly intelligent and ambitious and perceives that there is a bright future for him in the bourgeoning Nazi party.As his thoughts become more clouded and his morals crumble,he finds himself immersed in a shadowy role of manipulation and deceit: he becomes Hitler's Priest and pawn.

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Read an Excerpt

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Featured Book - The Farm by Charles C. Anderson


Lieutenant Commander Andrew Carlson is a U.S. Navy SEAL-emergency physician who is part of a helicopter mission to investigate possible terrorist weapons at a prince’s palace in the Saudi Arabian desert during a sand storm. He is the first one down the rope when the helicopter engines suck in too much sand, causing the chopper to lose power and crash. Andy rolls out from under the fiery hulk of metal but has no significant injuries. His best friend never makes it out of the chopper. This kind of personal loss has dogged Andy throughout his career. Although he’s an experienced warrior and trauma physician, one of the SEAL’s elite, he’s also a binge drinker, never comfortable around women when he's not drinking, and scarred by his personal losses and survivor’s guilt.

Despite being thirty-six hours by foot from his destination, Andy makes his way across the desert by dead reckoning. After he shoots out the electrical transformer to the palace with his sniper rifle, the occupants flee in vehicles. The palace is empty except for a teenage girl, Sahar, who had been kidnapped and routinely raped by the men who fled. Andy had orders not to leave anyone alive, but the girl turned out to have a wealth of information about the sale of terrorist weapons from the palace and spoke English. For the first time in his career, Andy was unable to pull the trigger as ordered. The girl was incredibly bright for age sixteen and had already suffered enough. Besides, he was attracted by her spunk.

Sahar directs him to a truck in the compound, where Andy finds two 40-year old Soviet tactical nuclear warheads, each the size of a generator. Both had recently been recharged with new neutron reservoirs. Sahar informed him that it was Andy’s CIA contact, Harrison, who wanted to buy the weapons from a Russian black market arms dealer named Boris, formerly a member of the KGB. Andy knew that the U.S. had plenty of warheads of its own and didn’t need to buy any. And the U.S. had been helping Russia disarm its gigantic nuclear arsenal since the Cold War ended. Harrison had specifically told Andy not to disarm warheads if he found any. Because Harrison had visited the palace often to buy and sell weapons, and Sahar’s captives did not know that she understood English, she had learned that the CIA wanted the warheads because they were untraceable. The plutonium in the warheads did not come from a known Russian source. They were not on any list to be disarmed and Boris had destroyed the records that they ever existed.

Sahar explains that Harrison and the U.S. President have cooked up a scheme to blame a nuclear terrorist incident on the Saudis, allowing the U.S. to invade Saudi Arabia and confiscate its oil, now at $200 per barrel. Andy believes Sahar, partly because he has never trusted his CIA contact, partly because he knows the American president is desperate for cheap oil, and partly because the teenager arouses feelings in him that he is ashamed of. Instead of calling Harrison on the palace satellite phone Andy chooses to call his Saudi royal family contact, who he advises to remove the weapons before Harrison can send a team to pick them up. As Andy leads Sahar across the desert to his extraction point, he realizes that his life as a SEAL was over. He will not dishonor his dead SEAL buddies by participating in whatever Harrison has in mind. He delays his report to Harrison long enough for the Saudis to remove the truck and tells Harrison that he found the girl in the desert. He resigns his commission from the Navy and Sahar enrolls in college in Norfolk, Virginia, close to the hospital where Andy gets a job as an emergency physician.

Fast forward eighteen months and Andy is fighting off his urges for Sahar, who encourages his attention every day. Out of nowhere a beautiful new emergency department nurse comes into his life, Lindsey Baker. Lindsey is a CIA operative. Harrison has found out what Andy had done in the desert and Lindsey tells him that Sahar is the same girl from the palace in the Saudi desert. Both Andy and Sahar are not just expendable, they threaten both the CIA and the president himself. Andy and Lindsey go for a weekend drive to Andy’s farm in central Virginia, near Farmville. The farm is a 3400 acre 1743 land grant from King George II to Andy’s ancestor. The president wants to use Andy to confirm that the Saudis have armed nuclear weapons so that he can complete his original plan to set up the Saudi royal family as nuclear terrorists who are trying to destroy Hampton Roads, the largest U.S. Naval Base. Because the Saudis have a reputation extending back to 9-11 for supporting terrorists, the president only needs a credible witness to confirm that the Saudis indeed have at least two nuclear warheads. Andy is the only American to actually see those warheads. Lindsey intends to seduce Andy on the farm, where the CIA will kill him. Then they will kill Sahar.

But the CIA is still under the impression that Andy is a closet drunk who can be manipulated easily by Lindsey. And no one but Andy knows the secrets of his huge antebellum plantation, where he grew up and learned its network of limestone caves and its natural defenses. The caves on the Carlson plantation had served as an arsenal for both the Revolutionary War and the Civil War. Just before the Confederate surrender at Appomattox, only twenty-five miles away, the gold bars from the Confederate treasury had been hidden in the caves under the plantation. The Carlsons had always collected weapons, considering themselves to be true patriots, and Andy had continued this role all of his life. All of his skill and experience will be required to fend off multiple attacks on the farm, including being stabbed in the chest by Lindsey.

No one in Washington understands what one motivated SEAL can do against an army of invaders who don’t know the ground they are fighting on. After killing every CIA agent and mercenary sent to kill him, Andy confronts Lindsey and spares her life. In return, she allows him to escape and warn Sahar.

Andy’s wound heals as he hides out and is helped by the Saudi royal family. Andy has again warned the Saudis of the president’s treachery, making it possible for the Saudis to foil the nuclear terrorist plot. The Saudis now have the president in a pickle, warning him that if something happens to Andy Carlson, the price of oil will skyrocket. The president must postpone his plans to kill Andy and Sahar, while Lindsey returns to her job as a nuclear threats analyst at the CIA.

The Saudis warn Andy that Boris is trying to sell more reconditioned cold-war era nuclear warheads in America. Boris comes to the farm and Andy mesmerizes him with the Confederate gold and buys several warheads from him. These go into the caves. Eventually the president wants Andy and Sahar dead so badly that he sends several helicopters of mercenaries. Boris wants the gold so badly that he brings a truckload of soldiers. Re-enter Lindsey, now pregnant and near term, determined to convince Andy that he will soon be a father, but unable to figure out how to tell him. Andy is quite uncomfortable around Lindsey, who claims to have switched sides. He is hurt by the fact that she is pregnant, and blind to his obvious paternity. In addition to Lindsey, who can barely walk, Andy enlists a descendant of a former slave on the Carlson plantation, Ben Carlson, who shares an ancestor with Andy. They are few in number, but Andy uses the caves to move unseen on the battlefield and lures the invaders into one trap after another.

A final battle shapes up on the farm with everything at stake. Boris is there. Harrison is there. Andy succeeds in turning these two enemies against each other. The president waits anxiously in the White House for a call from Harrison as he watches satellite images of the battle. Lindsey is severely injured by a grenade. Twins are delivered in the cave in the middle of a war overhead. Ben is hit by a .50 cal round in the chest. Andy Carlson M.D., ex-Navy SEAL, ex-drunk, is a man you won’t forget.

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See Our Review #2

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Featured Book - The First to Say No by Charles C. Anderson

thefirsttosayno.jpgThe First to Say No opens with a gritty, realistic rape scene as one of Parkview Hospital’s ED doctors, Elita Romanov, regains consciousness to find herself tied to a table and being assaulted by a member of the Plagues gang. Because of her specialized military training in her native Chechnya, she is able to kill her assailant and his partners, escape and blow up a gang house as several other Plagues walk in.

The Plagues have terrorized the citizens of Watertown and especially the ED staff for years, but attacks were now coming daily. The hospital administration refuses to protect or support its emergency staff, fearing that the presence of armed officers and metal detectors would frighten the public. The local police are corrupt, taking money from the Plagues to ignore their drug enterprises. Elita is the latest in a string of ED staff who have become assault victims, but her experience galvanizes the female staff to fight back.

Elita and her friend, Dr. Kate Taylor, discuss ways of dealing with the Plagues and decide that killing them is the only solution. How to go about ridding Watertown of these violent drug abusers/pushers is the next issue they must decide. Whatever they do must be undertaken with caution, so that none of their co-workers, friends or family members are implicated in the plot.

As Kate debates methods of killing the Plagues, she is stunned to discover that her mother killed her abusive stepfather with continued overdoses of a blood thinner prescribed for her mother. A chance encounter in the ED with an alcoholic who had accidently killed himself with acetaminophen gives Kate the idea to use acetaminophen to kill the Plagues. But how to overdose them without getting caught?

It is Kate’s mother who solves this conundrum by suggesting that the common painkiller be hidden in homemade chocolate bars and moonshine. Slowly, Kate’s mother, one of her mother’s friends, a sympathetic neighbor, and several members of the ED staff become complicit in the plot to kill the Plagues and document the police corruption.

Within a matter of weeks, the gang is decimated by a lethal combination of acetaminophen-laced chocolate and moonshine and a mystery sniper who takes out the survivors one and two at a time. Ridding Watertown of its “Plague” does not come without cost, however, as Kate’s mother and her neighbor, both suffering from terminal illnesses, take their own lives after implicating themselves in the string of homicides to cover for the younger doctors, nurses and EMTS actually responsible. The climax of the book is Dr. Kate Taylor’s fight to the death in a water fountain with her chief nemesis, the last of the Plagues.

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Featured Book - Absolom Rex by K.L. Coones

absolomrex.jpgRoman prefect, Pontius Pilate, is sent on an unwilling errand for Caesar; subdue the Judean province and establish undisputed roman rule. But dangers from religious zealots and political
scheming are nothing. A nightmare being; only whispered of in the ancient tales of the Greeks, reveals itself. As the world he once knew shatters, Pontius must decide; do battle with the malevolence, or flee.

Absolom Rex is a unique work in the world of the horror genre. When most books depend on the shock value of a beheading or use of insanity as a primary character trait, Absolom Rex, draws inspiration from the roots of the genre, where the environment sets the mood of a story, dialogue drives the characters and their development forward, and proper description puts the reader into the scene for maximum emotional impact.

Absolom Rex also draws inspiration from actual historical accounts, providing a believable setting for otherwise supernatural occurrences and characters. What makes Absolom Rex truly unique is the subtle warping of historical fact into riveting and entertaining fiction.

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Featured Book - The New Boy by Harley Tat

thenewboy.jpgIt's the early 1980s and college freshman Andy Martin has a lot more on his mind than sex and term papers. He is a murder suspect, and at the same time embroiled in the chaotic world of college rugby—a world of rabid rituals, sadistic hazing, and heroic, non-stop parties. While this “New Boy” earns his stripes on the team, he uncovers a sordid family secret that undermines his beliefs. His existence becomes a series of mistruths and misfires ... to the point where even he begins to wonder if he might be a killer. This is a story of the rite of passage between boy and man, and man and marauding beast.

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Recent Interviews

Interview with Charles C. Anderson, author of The Farm.

Interview with Charles C. Anderson, author of The First to Say No.

Interview with Giacomo Giammatteo, author of Murder Takes Time.

Interview with Karin Slaughter, author of Criminal.


Recent Reviews

Absolom Rex by K.L. Coones
And When She Was Good by Laura Lippman (Review #2)
Artifact by Gigi Pandian
Breed by Chase Novak
Cheeseland by Randy Richardson
Conspiracy of Wolves by Ernie Hasler
Criminal by Karin Slaughter
Deadly Little Secrets by Kathryn Casey
Dismantling Disvictiveness by Lillian R. Melendez
Dying for Justice by L.J. Sellers
Fatal Induction by Bernadette Pajer
Hitchers by Will McIntosh
Hitler's Priest by S.J. Tagliareni
Judgment Call by J.A. Jance
Judgment Call by J.A. Jance (Review #2)
More Than Sorrow by Vicki Delany
Murder Takes Time:  Friendship & Honor Series, Book 1 (Volume 1) by Giacomo Giammatteo
Nightwatcher by Wendy Corsi Staub
Provenance by Laney Salisbury & Ali Sujo
Robert B. Parker's Lullaby by Ace Atkins
Scorpion Winter by Andrew Kaplan
Shake Off by Mischa Hiller
Shards by Ismet Prcic
Shunning Sarah by Julie Kramer
Stay Close by Harlan Coben
The Boob Girls II by Joy Johnson
The Chiefs of Council Bluffs by Gail Geo. Holmes
The Farm by Charles C. Anderson (Review #2)
The First to Say No by Charles C. Anderson
The Girl She Used to Be by David Cristofano (Review #3)
The Last Israelis by Noah Beck
The New Boy by Harley Tat
The Prophet by Michael Koryta
The Rendition by Albert Ashforth
The Skeleton Picnic by Michael Norman
The Wurst is Yet to Come by Mary Daheim
True Medical Detective Stories by Clifton K. Meador, M.D.
Vampire Disaster by Phoebe Matthews

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