Friday, January 18, 2019

Flash Fiction Friday, Week 3 - The Best-Laid Plans...


The prompt this week was to incorporate a random location and a thing into our story. There were six choices for each, so I rolled the dice to get my prompt. I decided to give it a try with whatever came up the first time. For the location, I got parking garage, and for the thing, I got plastic fork. What a combination! This was quite the challenge, but I ended up having so much fun with it. I hope you enjoy.

The Best-Laid Plans…

“Joey’s a dead man! Who does he think he is, stealing from me? Wait until I get my hands on that ungrateful little punk.”

When he woke up that morning, Joey decided he had had enough. Thousands of dollars in cash passed through his hands each Friday, but none of it ended up in his pocket. He was one of Big Jim’s bag men. At the start, it seemed like a good deal. Ma needed an operation, and Pop had run off with some woman he’d met at the ballpark. When Big Jim offered him $100 a week to do pickups, it seemed like the answer to their prayers. Ma didn’t like it, but she was able to have her operation, so it all worked out.  

Joey’s first stop was the Hotel Royale. The bag was heavy this morning. Gambling there was popular and Big Jim’s cut was hefty. Joey decided this would be enough to set him up in a new life somewhere else. Normally, he, as did all Big Jim’s bag men, would go immediately to the bus depot and put the cash into the storage locker, but not today. Big Jim collected all the bags after dinner. It was then he’d notice Joey’s was missing; but, by that time, Joey would be gone.

“Where would Joey go, Big Jim?”

“Joey doesn’t know I did my count early, so he thinks he’s got time to spare. He’s predictable, Ralph. He’ll eat at his favorite diner one last time. Always does after a pickup. That’s where we’ll start.”

There was no need to rush. Joey went home and transferred the money into a suitcase along with some clean clothes. He walked the few blocks to Danny’s Diner and ordered the special. After he’d finished, he left Danny a sizeable tip. He’d miss this place, but it was time to move on. On his way out, he grabbed a handful of plastic forks and shoved them in his back pocket. It was a habit he’d had since childhood. When he and Ma would eat out, she’d tell him to grab a bunch of forks. They had a drawer full of them at home, but she always wanted more. He didn’t question it. Some folks grabbed packets of ketchup; Ma wanted forks. What’s the harm…

He left Danny’s and walked to the corner to catch a cab to the dock, where he could join the crew of one of the ships. When he looked to his left, he saw Big Jim and three of his goons crossing the street heading for Danny’s. What the hell… There were no taxis coming, and Joey knew he had to make himself scarce, so he ran into the parking garage across the street. It would be the perfect place to hide. And wait. He didn’t wait long.

“I know you’re in here, Joey. You’re like those fairy tale characters leaving a trail of breadcrumbs; only, you leave plastic forks. Come out and bring my money.”

Damn, Joey thought, and reached into his right back pocket. There were only two left of the five forks he’d taken. Big Jim would have his goons at all the exits, so driving out wouldn’t be smart. Wait. There was a way Joey could get out. All he had to do was hide in someone’s trunk. He wouldn’t have to sit in there long since this garage was short-term parking only. He moved quietly trying to find the right car – one with out of town plates.

“Joey, come out, come out, wherever you are.” Big Jim was close now.

Joey saw a car with Jersey plates, and knew that would be his ticket out. It was an older model and the alarm was easy to bypass. He climbed in, put his suitcase in his lap, and quietly closed the trunk until it latched. He didn’t have to wait long. About ten minutes later, someone got in, started the car, and drove out of the garage. I made it, he thought. Big Jim will never find me.

The sounds of city traffic had ceased long ago, and Joey believed they were on one of the county roads. Joey knew out here the houses were few and far between. As soon as the car stopped, he’d exit the trunk, pull the driver out, hop in the driver’s seat, and be on his way to the dock. The sound of the car on gravel brought Joey to full alert. I’ll bet it’s a driveway, he thought, get ready. He grabbed the lever to release the trunk lock and waited. Voices. What the hell…

“You got here fast, Harry. I can’t thank you enough.”

“You don’t have to thank me, Big Jim. You’re family. I’m not going to leave my brother-in-law in the lurch with the old man. It’s all here in $20’s. I’ll just put the squeeze on one of my clients and make up the difference with my boss. Not a big deal.”

Wait a minute. Big Jim? Brother-in-law? Joey’s Big Jim had a sister who lived in Jersey, and her husband’s name was Harry. His Big Jim had a place out in the county where he got the week’s take ready for delivery to the old man. Of all the trunks of all the cars in the whole damn city to climb into…

“Harry, one last thing. I couldn’t resist picking up a couple of things for sis and the kids. There’s also a little something extra in the box for you, just to show my appreciation. I know its heavy, but it should fit on your front seat.”

Whew…

“It would, Big Jim, but on my way home, I’m going to pick up my Aunt Cissy. She’s going to be staying with us to help with the kids after Lucy has her surgery.”

“No problem. Help me lift it up, and we’ll just put it in your trunk.”

Uh-oh…

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Flash Fiction Friday, Week 2 - Is That You, Mom?


The prompt this week was to write a story based on a random image. I decided to use the first image that popped up on Flickr, as was suggested. The challenge included: 'What's is happening in the image? What happens next? Who is there, or not there? How does it make you feel?' My image brought back an idea I had awhile back for a story. It's time has come to be told.

Is That You, Mom?


Here at last. This place has obviously seen better days, as have I. I can’t recall any of my better days, but everyone has at least a few, right? It was a long drive and took a lifetime, but I was ready. Ready, and more than willing, to make it perfectly clear to her that my life thus far has consisted of a main course of anger and a desire for revenge, along with a small side order of pity. Not for me though. For her. It wasn’t easy, but I’ve tried during all of my 31 years to put myself in her place, and to try to understand why, at two months of age, I was considered disposable.

From two months to the age of 16 years, the system was the only family I knew. I drifted from foster home to foster home until the courts decided I was not compatible. That’s what my final papers said. Not compatible. Not compatible with a mommy and a daddy who took money from the state to care for me, but used it to buy booze and dope. Not compatible with a mommy and a daddy who pimped me out to their friends, and filmed them having sex with their little girl. No. I was not compatible. I told my case worker, I fought back, and I ran away. But I was the trouble-maker. Not compatible. The system set me free at 16 and I hit the streets.

The streets can be ruthless and cruel, but they can also be kind and forgiving. Long story short, I was taken in by a minister and his wife, who gave me a home and an identity. I was able to get an education, job training, and through them, I met my current husband. Compatible? Not quite. I still needed an answer to the question that haunts me still. From her. None of my case workers or any of my various mommies and daddies would tell me a thing about my biological mother. They either didn’t know or didn’t care that I needed to know. My husband cared that I needed to know, and a very expensive PI and a few months brought me here to where it all began.

The court documents showed that the mother was 17 and unmarried at the time of the female child’s birth. ‘The mother’ and ‘the female child’. Cold perhaps, but life can be that too. The documents showed that ‘the mother’ voluntarily awarded custody of the ‘female child’ who had attained the age of two months. Through this process, ‘the mother’ relinquished all her parental rights. Done and done. ‘The mother’ lion walks away clean from the kill, and ‘the female child’ is thrown to the wolves. Today, however, 31 years later, prior to strolling into the lion’s den, I wanted to find out if there really were two sides to every story. To my story. The diner in town at the bottom of hill from her house seemed a good place to start.

“Yes, sweetie, Josie Milner still lives up on that hill. Has since she was born. Her parents died in a crash on Highway 9 many years ago, and left her that house and some money to get by. You remember, don’t you, Erma? When did the Milners pass on?”

“I sure do recall, Gracie. It wasn’t too long after Josie had that baby.”

They now had my full attention.

“That’s right. Josie got herself knocked up by one of those Wilson boys. Larry, it was, I think. All of them went and joined the Army – all five of them on the same day. Whichever one it was that got Josie pregnant left her behind.”

“Yeah, and Josie’s mama and daddy made her have that baby and care for it. After they passed though, Josie signed it over to the state, didn’t she?”

“Right quick too, as I recall. She started living the wild life then. I believe every man who passed through town spent the night in that house. So, honey, who did you say was asking after Josie?”

“A family friend.” My cover story.

“Well, you need to be careful, dear, because she’s a mean one. Ever since she got that sickness. She’s mostly blind from it and there’s not much left to her these days.”

Okay. There were two sides to my story, and they were both the same. There was no ‘I tried to take care of my baby, but couldn’t do it on my own’ or ‘my parents made me give up my baby or they’d kick me out’. There was only ‘get it away from me’. I needed a refund for my small side order of pity. 

I thanked Erma and Gracie, left my car by the diner, and walked up the hill. ‘The mother’ was outside, poking with her cane at a dried-up tomato plant in an untidy garden next to the house. I stepped on a branch and it snapped. She turned to face the sound, her cloudy eyes looking past me. I could see the disease had left her with oozing sores on her face and hands. She was so small and frail, a sneeze would have put her traction.

“Who’s there?” she said, pointing her cane in my direction. Her voice was weak and raspy. “Go away. I got a gun in my house.”

All those years I had lived to confront her, lived to make her suffer, and lived to make her regret, but I could see that she already had all the regret she could handle.

“I’m sorry,” I said softly. “I was given the wrong address. I’m sorry to have bothered you.”

She turned back to the garden and continued to jab at the plant. I returned to my car. Time to go home. Time to begin living for me.

Friday, January 4, 2019

Flash Fiction Friday, Week 1 - Murder at Midnight


The prompt this week was to pick a random song and write a story based on the title. The song that came up from my playlist was Murder at Midnight by Powerwolf, a German power metal band, who write about werewolves, vampires and various other night creatures. I also like classical piano. I hope you enjoy.

Murder at Midnight

“Murder at midnight
The enemy on the way
Murder at midnight
Will he return with the day?”


“I still can’t believe this is really happening. I’ve never won anything in my whole life, even though I enter every contest that comes in the mail.”

“Forget all those crazy cereal box prizes, Bel. Snagging a free weekend in a fully-furnished cabin on a lake, now, that’s the ultimate prize. And that’s not all. The brochure says we’ll be within walking distance of a little town that’s not even on any map. Talk about getting away from it all.”

“Rog, don’t forget, this weekend is their Founders Day Celebration too. This whole thing is like something right out of a romance novel. With all the pressure you’ve been under with the new agency, and me having to grade all those history finals, this is just what we both need. By the time this weekend is over, we’ll head back to the city ready to take on whatever comes our way.”

“Bel, who is it that we’re supposed to ask for; I mean, who do we get the house keys from?”

“We’re supposed to go to the General Store and ask for Daryl. Can you believe it? This town actually has a general store. I don’t know about you, but I’m beginning to hear Twilight Zone music in the background.”

“It is wild, isn’t it? Like going back in time. But it’s nice to know places like that still exist. Oh, listen, did you remember what contest this was? Did you run across it in one of those magazines you read at the beauty shop?”

“I still can’t place it, Rog. You’d think I’d remember something this big. I must have just filled out a form and mailed it in without really paying too much attention. Naturally, considering my track record, I never thought I’d come close to winning. Oh look, hon, there’s a sign welcoming us to Barrington. That’s the last name of the family that founded the town. Apparently, descendants of the founders still live here. When I spoke with Daryl on the phone the other day, he said they live in a huge house up on a hill that overlooks the town.”

“I’m really glad we’re almost there, Bel. Once we turned off the highway, this two-lane stretch seems to go on forever. It’s beautiful country though, with trees lining both sides of the road. But we’ve been on this road for close to two hours. Check your phone. I wonder if we’ll get any reception at all.”

“We’re down to one bar, Rog. I’m sure they have landlines at the cabin or in town, or maybe even a short-wave radio. Wouldn’t that be fun?”

“Let’s just find the General Store and this Daryl fella. I need to get out and walk around a bit. I’m getting stiff from this long drive. Once we get to the cabin though, let’s just walk to town and all around since everything’s so close. No more driving for a while, okay?”

“Sounds good to me, hon. Here we are. Wow. Just look at all these little shops. A little motel on the left, stop signs, but no traffic lights, folks strolling on the sidewalks, and there’s the General Store. Hurry up and pull over. I can’t wait to get situated. Happy Ending Twilight Zone, here we come.”

***

“A car just pulled up, ole gal. Must be those folks that’s gonna stay in the cabin.”

“Belinda and Roger they’re called, sugar plum. They sure are a nice-looking young couple. They looked young in those pictures on that social site. You can’t always tell though. Some folks put up fake pictures. Belinda and Roger didn’t put up no fake pictures. They really are as young as they seemed. That’s a good thing, isn’t it? That’s a real good thing.”

“It is, ole gal. That what we told Mr. Nathaniel and he was pleased. We did good. The whole family will be pleased.”

***

“Morning, folks. You must be the ones what won our Founders Day contest. Mr. and Mrs. Harper, wasn’t it? My name is Daryl and this is my wife Sarah. We own this store and the little whatever shop next door. Welcome to Barrington. Sarah will take you over to the cabin so you can get settled and take a rest if you like. You two have a big night ahead of you.”

“We’re so pleased to meet you. Please call me Roger, and my wife’s name is Belinda, but everyone calls her Bel. We’re very excited to be here and we’re looking forward to your Founders Day activities.”

“Activities? Oh, well, there’s aren’t really any activities to speak of, son. Did you see that big house on the hill when you drove into town? That’s where the Barringtons live. They go way back, and they’re the ones who started this town up. You’re invited up there tonight for dinner with the family. That’s how they congratulate the winners of the contest. Here’s your invitation.”

“Look, Rog, it’s one of those murder mystery dinner parties. Dinner is served at 9pm and then underneath it says ‘Murder at Midnight’. I’ve always wanted to go to one of those. You said we’ll be having dinner with just the founding family? What an honor. How do they set that up? Will the other guests arrive just before midnight so they can stage the murder?”

“I’m not certain how that works, Mrs. Bel. Daryl and I haven’t been to one of those. But I’m sure you’ll have a real good time. It’s real fancy up there. They use good china and crystal, I’ve heard. Come with me now. Get your bags and I’ll take you over to the cabin. You can leave your car here. You won’t need to drive to the big house either. It’s just a short walk up the hill.”

“Thanks so much, Miss Sarah. Bel and I really appreciate your hospitality. Let’s go check out this cabin, honey. Since tonight’s going to be a late one, I really could use a nap after that long drive.”

“Good idea, Rog. Nice to meet you, Daryl.”

“Nice to meet you too, Mrs. Bel.”

“Rog and I will come by in the morning and tell you all about their murder mystery party.”

“God willing, ma’am. God willing.”

***

“What a bizarre experience that was, Bel. Daryl and his wife are, shall we say, quirky?”

“Rog, you know how these small-town people can be. Don’t you think it was peculiar though that they’ve never been to one of those parties? I wonder why.”

“It’s all part of winning their Founders Day contest, Bel. I’m sure they’ve had the townspeople up to dinner before – just not at one of their murder mystery dinners. Let’s just relax for a while. We’ve got plenty of time before we have to get dressed up for dinner. You know, the fridge is full. Let’s make a nice lunch and then take a nap. We’ll have time to take a quick walk around the lake and then head up the hill for the dinner party.”

“Sounds perfect, hon. Let me at that fridge. I wonder what goodies they’ve stocked for us.”

***

“This has been a real treat for us, Nathaniel. Are you sure neither of you will join us for anything? Dessert at least? Here Bel and I are stuffing ourselves at your table and you haven’t touched a thing.”

“As I told you, my brother and I plan to dine at a later time. Please, help yourselves to whatever you would like.”

“I have to say, you and your brother have really put out the red carpet for Bel and I with this dinner.”

“Why would you say a thing like that? Red carpet? Why red?”

“Bartholomew, calm down. It’s just an expression. You will please forgive my brother. He’s led rather a sheltered existence – private schools, you see, and he takes every statement quite literally. Would you like more dessert or more wine perhaps?”

“No, thank you. Both of you have been the most gracious hosts, but I’m afraid if I eat another bite or take another sip, I won’t be able to ever get back on my feet.”

“That would be fine if you couldn’t. When midnight comes, you’ll…”

“Bartholomew! I’m sorry Belinda, Roger. My brother so looks forward to our annual celebration that he gets a bit over anxious. Bartholomew, go and get Dominic and Seraphina. They are cousins who reside here with us and will be joining us for the murder at midnight event.”

“I’m really excited about this. I’ve never been to a murder mystery dinner before.”

“Excuse me, Miss Belinda? A murder what?”

“Murder mystery dinner, Nathaniel. It’s going to be so fun examining the clues and trying to figure out who the murderer is. Is one of your cousins going to be the victim?”

“I’m sorry, but I have no idea to what you are referring. There is no mystery about it and there will be no clues to follow. Dominic and Seraphina, gather round our guests. It is almost midnight. Bartholomew, what is Miss Belinda talking about? What did you put on the invitation? Something about a mystery?”

“No, Nathaniel. I put on the invitation what I put every year. I say that dinner will be at 9pm and then there will be murder at midnight. That’s all.”

“I don’t understand the confusion. Is this a murder mystery dinner or not?”

“It is not any kind of a mystery, Roger. You and your wife were selected to come here this evening to help us celebrate our founding of this town. We eat out all the time, but on this one day a year, the four of us prefer to dine quietly at home. You see, Roger, you and your lovely wife Belinda, will be our main course. You've eaten well and had plenty of wine. Your blood will be smooth and tasty. You'll both satisfy the four of us nicely.”

“Roger, look at them all. Look at them smiling. My God, look at the fangs. You’re all vampires, aren’t you? Oh my God. Roger! God help us!”

“By all means pray if that comforts you. It won’t change anything, but feel free.”

“You’ll never get away with this. Daryl and Sarah will report us missing and you’ll be found out.”

“How trusting you both are. Who do you think sets this up for us each year? They arrange some necessary events for us now and then and we keep the town safe from outsiders. We also don’t feed in our own backyard, if you know what I mean.

“You see, Daryl and Sarah will dispose of your automobile and then offer your clothes and personal items for sale in their shop. Tourists come through now and then and they do quite well. During our Founders Day Celebration, our motel actually fills up.”

“This can’t be happening. Get away from Bel and me. Don’t come any closer. Stop! Please, pl…”

***

“Mornin’ darlin’ I believe the rain passed over us. It’s gonna be a warm and sunny day. Folks at the motel will be out shoppin’ too. Better get the stores open and ready for business. Founders Day sure brings in some good business, don’t it?”

“Sure does. I’ll put some coffee on first – maybe make some bacon and eggs too.”

“I sure could go for that. You know, ole gal, I’m sure gonna miss that Bel and Roger. They were a real nice couple. Sure nicer than them from last year.”

“They were real nice, but better them than us, sugar plum. Better them than us.”



Friday, November 30, 2018

The Songbird Girls by Richard Parker - A Review



In Never Say Goodbye, Richard Parker introduced us to Detective Tom Fabian. Fabian is back in Book Two of the series called The Songbird Girls. Tom and his wife are still separated, but since he lived close to the home he had shared with his wife, he was able to spend time with their daughter who was still living with her mother. Recently however, his daughter had gone off to attend college and already had a young man in her life. Fabian’s personal life was changing dramatically yet again, but he could never have been prepared for the disturbing events about to unfold in his professional life.

Three years ago, Fabian had been the lead detective in a high-profile case involving a serial killer. Tom had been instrumental in his capture, conviction and imprisonment. There had been a great deal of press coverage about the case and the killer’s apprehension. The focus in the media had been primarily on Detective Fabian, much to the displeasure of Tom’s boss, DCI Metcalfe. Best to let sleeping dogs lie and move forward, right? New cases to investigate, new crimes to solve, and let the spotlight on one particular detective be turned off. As reasonable as all of that sounds, it was not going to happen, and the spotlight was about to shine more brightly than ever.

Word came down from the prison that Christopher Wisher, the killer who had murdered nine people, wanted to meet his nemesis Tom Fabian. DCI Metcalfe all but commanded Fabian to accommodate the killer’s request, and reluctantly, Tom agreed. Their meeting was unpleasant at best, but there was at least one interesting occurrence at the conclusion. Wisher presented Tom with his journal – a diary of sorts, filled with twisted cryptic statements. Were those daily entries insights into the dark memories of a sadistic sociopath, or were they clues predicting horrific events that will occur in the not too distant future? Can Fabian run the risk of an incorrect assumption?

A few days following their meeting, Wisher commits suicide in his cell, and Tom later learns the man was terminally ill. Perhaps the diary was the killer’s last attempt to get inside Fabian’s mind as revenge against his captor. This theory was quickly dismissed when bodies begin turning up with dead birds placed close to the victims. A dead songbird with its neck broken next to the victim was Christopher Wisher’s kill signature. Wisher was dead. Are these murders the work of a copycat killer? Not likely, since the presence of the dead birds was never released to the press. Could someone who dealt with Wisher during his incarceration have decided to continue the killer’s legacy, or had this deadly plan already been formulated by Wisher prior to his suicide?

Fabian knows he must investigate each one of Wisher’s contacts while he was imprisoned. It is a formidable task, but the clock is ticking. There is another killer out there, and no one knows who the potential victims are or when the killer will strike. Will Tom find the answer in time to prevent another life being taken, and should he look at those closest to the dead killer or at those closest to himself?

The Songbird Girls reads like riding on a runaway train heading toward a long dark tunnel. Is there light on the other side, or yet another longer and still darker tunnel? Richard Parker has presented us again with a crime thriller that will take your breath away from start to finish. The Songbird Girls will become available on December 19, 2018, so pre-order your copy now from one of the links below. If you haven’t read Book One of the Fabian series, Never Say Goodbye, make sure you order that too (links provided). I highly recommend both books in this series, and am anxiously awaiting Book Three.

Pre-Order The Songbird Girls here or here


Order Never Say Goodbye here or here

Friday, November 2, 2018

Bodily Harm by Charlie Gallagher - A Review




I'm really tardy to the party where this series is concerned, but in this case, better late than never for real. This is Book 1 in the series about a detective named George Elms, and includes his precinct, the areas surrounding said precinct, and those law enforcement personnel within.

This first book includes one particularly brutal case that pushes a snowball full of betrayal and lies rolling down that proverbial hill. Of course, everyone knows that hard-core criminals cannot be trusted, but you can always trust the police, and the line between them is crystal clear. Right? Unfortunately, circumstances in this particular area of the city have blurred those lines, and blindly trusting one side or the other can be a matter of life and death.

A lot of novels claim twists and turns around every corner, but some of them are still quite predictable. Bodily Harm is NOT one of those. This story takes you down paths that lead you to steep cliff edges where the ground under your feet suddenly disappears over and over again. 'Twists and turns' doesn't begin to cover Bodily Harm's storyline, but the word 'thriller' certainly does. You get to know each and every character, each and every location, and each and every event in such detail that it feels as if you are there. The fear becomes just as real to you the reader as it does to the characters.

Charlie Gallagher writes in an extremely visual style, and even with multiple characters and locations, with as much information as you are given, it never becomes difficult to follow where the writer is leading you. Before you finish the first story, you are already making sure you can get your hands on the next one. I certainly did, and as soon as I finished this one, I began reading Book 2, and just as I expected, by the second chapter, I was hooked yet again. I recommend Bodily Harm to anyone who enjoys tagging along with police detectives as they investigate crimes, but this George Elms series is so much more than that. You are taken into two worlds - the one filled with light and good and the one filled with darkness and evil. Then, you are dropped into that hazy middle and left to try to figure the right way out.

Definitely get into this series, but begin with Book 1 and go from there because you don't want to miss out on a character or an event and risk interrupting the flow. I'm going to close now - Book 2 awaits!

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Never Say Goodbye by Richard Parker - A Review



In Never Say Goodbye, Richard Parker introduces us to Detective Tom Fabian. Changes are taking place in his personal life that are presenting many challenges. He and his wife have decided to separate, and their daughter will be leaving home to attend college. His professional life is about to take a very dark turn due to a tragedy that occurred within his Department. He has been assigned the position of Lead Detective on a case involving multiple murders. There are no clues, no witnesses, no suspects, and the investigation is at a standstill.

His boss, DCI Metcalfe, expects progress, and insists Fabian stay away from the press on this one. Tom had previously been the Lead Detective, and driving force behind the apprehension of a serial killer. In that particular case, the press had been helpful with the capture. Tom became the face of the Department with the media, but Metcalfe mistrusted the press, and was determined that level of publicity for both Fabian and the Department should not occur with this case.

At the time Tom took over the lead position, there had already been four murders, with the victims being one man and three women. The murders occurred in different parts of the city, and no connection between the victims was apparent, except for the weapon and their manner of death. They were all stabbed with the same knife, and the killer inflicted post-mortem stab wounds to their faces. Was this an attempt by the killer to instill fear throughout the city? Was the killer trying to send some type of message?

Fabian eventually figures out what links the victims, and it is as disturbing as the crimes themselves. The victims’ last names are street names, and the sequence of their murders follows a particular route. Which street name will be next on the route, and without any clue as to direction, how can the police identify and protect any potential targets? What association does the killer have with these particular locations? Detective Tom Fabian is racing against a killer’s clock to an unknown destination. Who will cross the finish line first?


Never Say Goodbye pulls you in right from the very beginning. The plot is fast-paced, and filled with twists and turns, and the characters are genuine and engaging. Now that I have met Detective Tom Fabian, I can’t wait to tag along with him on his next case. This is Book #1 with this character, and it is a gem. I am really looking forward to Book #2, and then some. If you enjoy a dark crime thriller, Never Say Goodbye is definitely for you, and I recommend it very highly.

Never Say Goodbye will be available to order on August 14, 2018.

You can order it here

OR

You can order it here


Thursday, January 11, 2018

Keep Her Safe by Richard Parker - A Review



Maggie, a single mother with a young child, awakes one night to find an armed woman in her home. Maggie doesn’t know her, but she does know who sent her, and why. The young woman, Holly, has been instructed to kill Maggie in order to ensure the safe return of her baby. Maggie understands this woman’s deadly mission since she herself had been sent on an identical one. Someone who calls himself the Babysitter kidnaps the children of single mothers and instructs them to commit murder in order to get their children back unharmed. He even provides them with the names and locations of their intended targets.

Maggie’s daughter, Penny, was returned safe and sound, and she was not going to allow anyone to endanger her again. Holly’s daughter, Abigail, was now in the hands of this demented puppeteer, and she believed following his orders was the only way to get her child back. Two mothers confront each other in the middle of the night, each intent on protecting their children whatever the cost. Choices have to be made, and quickly too, because the Babysitter’s clock is ticking, and when the sun rises, time’s up. Will these two women play out his sick game, or is there any room for trust between them so together, they can confront this madman, and still save their children?

The author does not take you gently by the hand and lead you into a plot land of sunshine and roses, where together you, along with the characters, can slowly gather strength to face an upcoming crisis. No. Not this time. In this story, you are immediately set down right in the middle of a nightmare that you will share with two mothers fighting for their own lives and ultimately, the lives of their children. It is a unique format for a novel, and that is what makes this one a true thriller. Life doesn’t slowly build up with a lot of backstory – life simply happens without warning, and so do the events in Keep Her Safe.

The mothers’ journey in Keep Her Safe is one of twists and turns, with danger around each and every corner. You will understand their anger, you will sense their determination, and you will feel their fear. While it is true that you won’t be able to put this one down, you won’t want to either. Just like Maggie and Holly, you will need to know where the road leads, and in the end, who will win this deadly game.

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