A Shot of Murder

Today it is my pleasure to welcome author Brenda Gayle and her historical mystery novel, A Shot of Murder.

Author’s description

In 1948, Charley Hall resents giving up her job as city reporter for the Kingston Tribune to a returning soldier. But her demotion to the women’s pages is the least of her worries since Gran is organizing a surprise birthday party for Charley’s older brother, Freddie. Trouble is, Freddie hasn’t come back from his latest bender. When Charley goes looking for him, she discovers the dead body of a woman, last seen with her brother. Beside the murdered woman is a torn newspaper article about local politician Dan Cannon, who also happens to be Charley’s best friend. To make matters worse, a police detective from Toronto shows up and begins nosing around. Charley is not about to stand by and let her brother nor her friend take a fall for a murder based on circumstantial evidence. Not by a long shot.

My Review

I’m a longtime fan of crime novels and continue to be amazed at the creative ways authors find to put their protagonists into murder investigations. One of the most compelling has got to be having a family member involved and author Brenda Gayle plays this approach like a fine violin.

I appreciate a novel of any genre that also manages to capture a piece of history, and A Shot of Murder does just that with its interesting view of the soldiers of WWII returning home. Both the soldiers’ trauma and the required adjustments of the women who’ve held down the fort in their absence, are examined with sensitivity.

And, I’m also a sucker for stories involving women who just want a chance to use their talents and pursue their dreams. So clearly A Shot of Murder was tailor made for me.

All in all it is an enjoyable and easy to read book. The writing is smooth and the pace is quick. Too often I get annoyed at amateur sleuths who come across as annoying busybodies but Charley is both likable and competent as a trained investigative reporter. I enjoyed walking in her shoes and I won’t hesitate to read more books in this series.

About the Author

Life is messy and I try to reflect that in my stories while still leaving readers with a feeling of hope. I want them to see themselves and people they know in my characters.

You could say writing is in my genes. My paternal grandmother was a formidable diarist; my father was a journalist and poet; my sister and cousin are both published authors; even my son has shown a talent for putting pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) to tell awesome stories. So, it came as no surprise to anyone when I returned to my love of fiction after more than 20 years in the world of corporate communications–although some might argue there was plenty of opportunity for fiction-writing there, too.

A fan of many genres, I find it hard to stay within the publishing industry’s prescribed boxes. Whether it’s mystery, romantic suspense or women’s fiction—my greatest joy is creating deeply emotional books with memorable characters and compelling stories.

Find the Author

I love hearing from readers. You can connect with me via my website at BrendaGayle.com (https://brendagayle.com/)
Follow me on Amazon (https://www.amazon.com/Brenda-Gayle/e/B005V2FKDY)
Follow me on BookBub (https://www.bookbub.com/authors/brenda-gayle)
Sign up for my newsletter (https://www.subscribepage.com/l2u6i9)
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/brendagaylebooks
Twitter: https://twitter.com/brenda_gayle

Buy the Book 

The book is on sale for only $0.99. Find it on Amazon.

Yes, there is a giveaway

The author will be awarding a $30 Amazon/BN gift card to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

Enter here to win.

This post is part of a tour sponsored by Goddess Fish. Check out all the other tour stops. If you drop by each of these and comment, you will greatly increase your chances of winning.

 

My Favorite Excerpt

Charley watched the pale liquid trickle into the fine china teacup. She’d have preferred a black coffee—or something stronger—but this afternoon ritual seemed to mean a lot to her grandmother, and despite their differences, her grandmother meant the world to her. When Gran had taken her first sip, Charley went on the offensive. “You fought for a woman’s right to vote. You marched in the streets. You were arrested. You taught me to be strong and independent. How can you not see the injustice in this?”

“You are not being fired from the paper. You are merely being reassigned to a position more suitable to your sex and social standing.”

“I’m not going to take it. I don’t want to get dressed up and go to all these hoity-toity social events—”

Gran had begun to giggle, quietly behind her teacup at first, but now her laughter shook her whole body and she had to put the cup down on the table or risk spilling its contents.

“What is so funny?”

“You.” Bessie sobered. “As a Stormont, you already get dressed up and go to ‘all these hoity-toity social events.’ John is giving you the opportunity to do more than simply look pretty at them. You can write about who was there and who were the big contributors to whatever charitable cause was being celebrated. You will wield far more clout with the power brokers of Kingston on the women’s pages than you ever could on the city ones.”

“I don’t want to do it,” Charley said.

“Then don’t.” She shrugged and picked up her teacup. “There are many ways to be useful. The Imperial Order Daughters of the Empire is always looking for intelligent young women to join our ranks and aid in service to our country.”

Wired by the FBI

Today it is my pleasure to welcome author Glenn Painter and Wired by the FBI, his suspense/thriller based on a true story.

Author’s description:

Christian Romano lives his life as a con-artist, burglar, drug dealer, and a ladies’ man, using his good looks to con wealthy women out of jewels and money. When he is arrested and jailed in one of the most violent jails in the U.S. (Cook County in Chicago), a steamy affair begins with a nympho female jail guard. When he loses control of the romance, Christian must end the affair by reporting her to Internal Affairs. It turns out that she is already under suspicion for supplying drugs to various gang members inside the jail. He has to decide if he is “”rogue”” enough to help set her up for arrest. Meanwhile, the FBI wants to recruit Christian to gather information against a sadist ex-cop, Scott Mason, who has been arrested for murder. The risk? Christian must wear a wire and testify. The reward? Witness protection for Christian and his girlfriend and a modification of his prison sentence. Will Christian risk his life for a chance at freedom? Will the female sheriff “”get even”” with him? Or will his life end at the hands of the jail’s drug lords or a lunatic former cop?

My Review:

In Wired by the FBI the Author Glenn Painter has written a captivating tale taking the reader into the mind and heart of a notorious criminal. Christian Romano is just bad enough you can’t like him, but he has enough compassion and sense of moral code that you can’t hate him either. You end up watching the story of his life with an obsessed fascination, unsure of what constitutes justice or a happy ending.

What I enjoyed:

Glenn Painter does an excellent job of channeling the thoughts and feelings of a man most of us would be hard-pressed to understand. At its best, this tale provides those little details that make Christian human. His sorrow at his brother dying of aids. His love of Chicago. His bold willingness to take down a sadist, and his inability to comprehend cruelty for cruelty’s sake. Even his honesty about his own opportunism and his inability to resist seduction no matter how much he loves his current flame has something endearing about it. You don’t want to see the system squash him like a bug, because the author makes it clear how human he is.

What I struggled with:

Occasionally, the book seemed as if it was name dropping notorious criminals. Sometimes I got tired of the depressing descriptions of life in jail, and got frustrated with the main characters penchant for finding new trouble, or getting himself back into old trouble. I found the second half of the book more difficult than the first.

As the novel concluded, I realized the biggest problem it faced is that even though it is written like a work of fiction, the author is not writing a suspense thriller. He is giving a slightly fictionalized first person account of a real person’s life. He can’t bend reality into a story arc with redemption and a happy ending. Or with a hero’s tragic demise. Or with a bad guy getting his just desserts. Christian’s reality is far more complex than what we expect from fiction, and Glenn Painter is stuck with how it really happened. It isn’t particularly pretty.

To me, the books’ ending isn’t satisfying and at first I was baffled by why the author would invest so much time and energy into telling this story. Then I read his biography (which appears below) and it made more sense.

“He is an advocate for incarcerated individuals who have had their rights violated.”

Indeed, this is a story of such an individual. By the end of the book the reader knows the many ways a sometimes corrupt and often heartless system abused this man for its own often inconsistent ends. Sometimes, by his own admission, he got treated better than he deserved. More often, his freedom and his life were no more than a tool for law enforcement to use. Justice, fairness and even simple honesty were seldom part of the equation.

Every part of Christian Romano’s life may not be fun to read about, but I agree with the author that such stories need to be told.

About the Author:

Glenn Painter is single and lives in Central Florida.  He became interested in writing at an early age but did not make it his career until 2014 when he published his first book, Beyond the Sentence.

Glenn has written this story from the notes by the man who actually lived it.  However, extensive research was also require in order to make the story factual.

Glenn has also founded a company, ‘Prisoner Civil Right Services.’  He is an advocate for incarcerated individuals who have had their rights violated.  He is in constant contact with these individuals, their families and the council.  Most of his stories are inspired by ‘factual events’ that have happened to these individuals.  This makes his stories both fiction and non-fiction.

Glenn says that writing is very challenging, and you must love the trials and tribulations that come with it.  He believes that patience, perseverance and determination are required essentials to see a book through to being published.  The journey is just as important as the destination.

Find Glenn Painter on Goodreads or on Twitter. 

Check out this new trailer for Wired by the FBI.

Visit Glenn Painter on his website, or on his Amazon author page.

Wired by the FBI will be on sale during this tour. The eBook will be $2.99 everywhere and the print copy will be discounted 40% on Amazon.

Buy Wired by the FBI on Amazon.

Buy Wired by the FBI at Barnes & Nobel.

Yes, there are TWO giveaways!

The author will be awarding a $50 Amazon/BN gift card to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

Enter here to win.

Also, the author will be awarding an additional $100 Amazon gift card to a randomly drawn commenter. Please scroll to the bottom of this post to comment. If you don’t see a place to “add your thoughts” then click on the number of comments listed at the end of all the tags to add your own comment and be eligible for this prize.

This post is part of a tour sponsored by Goddess Fish. Check out all the other tour stops. If you drop by each of these and comment, you will greatly increase your chances of winning.

A Letter from the Author

Hello Readers!

Welcome to my 15-week book tour which starts on April 14th and concludes on July 30th. This tour was planned before the onset of this terrible covid-19 virus which has invaded our world.  I want to extend my deepest sympathy to everyone, especially those who have lost loved ones.

A donation from me will be going out immediately to the charity I have listed below and I will also be donating 25% of any royalties from the book which is featured on this tour, to the covid-19 Response Fund.  This fund gives support to preparedness, containment, response and recovery activities. The 25% of royalties will be donated when I receive the final notification of number of books sold. I am also encouraging all authors to make some sort of donation to help with the recovery efforts.  WE ARE ALL IN THIS FIGHT TOGETHER!

We all are wondering what the long-term impact this covid-19 virus will be to our communities and our livelihoods, Every American, as well as the companies that have worked very hard for every author have been affected, but I have faith that we will recover from this terrible pandemic if we all stick together and we all do our part – no matter how small.

I will also be donating, (over and above what Goddess/Fish is offering):

$100 Amazon Gift certificate to one randomly drawn commentator

 $100 Amazon gift certificate to one randomly drawn host.

These drawings will be done via Rafflecopter that will be created by Goddess/Fish Promotions at the end of the tour.  To all of my fellow-authors – please don’t forget our marketing representatives, book agents, reviewers,commentator’s, hosts, etc..who are probably working from home and trying to help us.

I will be posting all pertinent information on my web site www.gapainter.com once the tour is over.  The Gift Certificates will be mailed immediately after the tour is completed and the 25% will be posted once I receive royalties resulting in the sale of all electronic and print versions of WIRED By The FBI.

I wish that I could do more, however, with every-one’s support, WE WILL BEAT THIS TERRIBLE SETBACK.

Thank you, god bless all of you and the United States of America.

Glenn Painter

 

 

 

R.I.P in Reykjavik

Today it is my pleasure to welcome author A.R. Kennedy and her cozy mystery novel, R.I.P in Reykjavik.

Author’s description:

Traveling with your family can be murder.

One wedding party + one estranged mother = another vacation that goes array for Naomi.

Naomi is off on another international vacation. She thinks traveling with her mother will be the most difficult part of her trip until she meets the rest of the tour group—a wedding party. It only gets worse when she finds the groom dead. Everyone’s a suspect on her Icelandic tour of this stunning country.

My Review

In R.I.P in Reykjavik, A.R. Kennedy has taken her idea of combining arm chair travel and cozy crime stories up a notch. This is a witty, fun and easy-to-read amateur sleuth novel that will once again have you turning the pages to cheer on its rookie crime solver. This time around, you’ll be enjoying the beauty and charm of Iceland while you do it.

Naomi acts more grown-up in this novel, and her previous amateur sleuthing in Africa has made her more competent at solving murders, too. It makes her a more likable sleuth. As a bonus, the reader gets new details about her dysfunctional family and I think this knowledge makes the whole series more appealing.

One of my favorite things about her writing is the ongoing humor. Enough sly wit was scattered throughout the story to keep me smiling, but I was laughing out loud near the end as Naomi made a video for her sister of the coming and goings in the hotel hallway. It’s worth reading the book just for that scene.

Deep twists and unexpected turns regarding the murder aren’t Kennedy’s MO, but once again we get an adequately complex cast of suspects, and a satisfying ending. I’ll take that any day.

I recommend this book to anyone who likes cozy mysteries, amateur sleuth novels or travel.

Check out my review of the author’s previous book Sleuth on Safari.

The teaser at the end of R.I.P in Reykjavik says Naomi’s next adventure will be in Australia. I’m looking forward to it!

About the Author

A R Kennedy lives in Long Beach, New York, with her two pups. She works hard to put food on the floor for them. As her favorite T-shirt says, ‘I work so my dog can have a better life’. She’s an avid traveler. But don’t worry. While she’s away, her parents dote on their grand-puppies even more than she does. Her writing is a combination of her love of travel, animals, and the journey we all take to find ourselves.

Find her on Goodreads, Facebook, Instagram, Bookbub or on Twitter. 

Buy R.I.P in Reykjavik on Amazon or find it at Books2read.

Yes, there is a giveaway.

A. R. Kennedy will be awarding a $25 Amazon/BN gift certificate to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

Enter here to win.

This post is part of a tour sponsored by Goddess Fish. Check out all the other tour stops. If you drop by each of these and comment, you will greatly increase your chances of winning.

A Personal Note

I’ve haven’t yet had the good fortune to travel to Iceland, but I did get to research it for my novel Flickers of Fortune. My hero Ariel, also a tourist, did many of the same things Naomi did, including visiting the Blue Lagoon and eating at the Lava restaurant. It was extra fun for me to read these scenes!

 My Favorite Excerpt

We stopped for lunch at a local restaurant. As I sat down at one of the long benches, my cell phone rang. Charlotte’s face appeared on the screen. I ran outside to answer it.

“So I heard you had a late night,” Charlotte said.

“Not the time.” I looked over my shoulder to make sure no one had followed me out. “The police think it might not be an accident.”

Charlotte audibly sighed. “Is that why it was a long night? You were with the police?”

“No, one of Ösp’s friends is a police officer.”

“You mean Thor.”

“Please don’t encourage Mother. His name is Ösp. I don’t want her nickname to stick.”

“Her nickname? I called him that,” she corrected me. “He looks like Thor.”

I looked over my shoulder at the restaurant’s entrance. “Looks like? How do you know what he looks like? Did you cyberstalk him? Check the hotel’s website for the staff’s pictures?”

“No. Mom texted me pictures.”

Horrified, I asked, “And how did she get them?”

“She followed you to the lobby.”

“Nice.”

“Give her a break. She was excited. It was like seeing you on your first date.”

“I’ve been on dates before.” I glanced over my shoulder again for any of the suspects.

“But Mom didn’t see that. She didn’t see the first dates, the proms. That was all Dad.”

“Would you like it if Dad followed you out on a date?”

“I don’t think Dad cares about those things.”

She was probably right.

“Anyway, this police officer I met last night said the autopsy must have shown something because they hadn’t closed the case yet.”

“So you turned your date into a fact-finding mission?”

“It was a happy coincidence.” I thought I heard the door open behind me. I turned to see no one. It must have been the wind.

“Why do you keep looking behind you?” Charlotte asked.

“Just making sure none of the suspects can hear me.”

“Suspects? You’ve turned your traveling companions into suspects?” She paused before adding, “Again?”

I ignored her. “Hurry up, Charlotte. Someone is going to come out looking for me soon.”

“Fine. If he drowned, I bet they’d say it was an accident. They’d find water in his lungs if he drowned. Maybe the autopsy didn’t find water in his lungs. That doesn’t rule out a cardiac event. That may be hard to prove. Most likely they are waiting for the toxicology results. That’s going to take a few days.”

I looked at the restaurant door and wished I could run in for my backpack, so I could take notes. “And what would that show?”

“Whatever was in his system. Maybe drugs, poisons.”

“I forgot to ask. If it was poison, how long before he died would he have to be poisoned?”

“Depends on the poison. Probably an hour or two, I guess.”

“Could you get a poison through TSA?”

“In something in a bottle with less than three ounces, sure. Could have been a powder. They could have bought it locally too. Rat poison and antifreeze has been used in a lot human deaths.”

“Can you think of anything specific I should look for?”

“You should look who’s coming up behind you,” she said before hanging up.