22 September, 2019

#SpecialFeature :: #GuestPost - My Top Four Self-Published Indian Novels


*** Special Feature - September 2019 ***


About the Book:
When TV actress Shagun Seth mysteriously dies in a beauty parlour in Mumbai, her mother slams murder charges on Shagun’s banker husband Chetan Seth. Chetan’s family suspects that he is being framed and requests private detective Mili Ray to investigate. As Mili and her lawyer-associate Gatha start work, Chetan is released on bail. Soon after, Shagun’s mother is killed! Is Chetan responsible for these murders?
Mili probes deeper and unravels shocking secrets buried beneath Shagun’s world of glitz that leave her baffled. An insecure boyfriend, an estranged husband, an opportunist colleague, a cunning TV producer – Shagun was surrounded by haters. Even her 12-year-old son didn’t want to see her alive. Why did everyone hate Shagun?
While meandering through dysfunctional family upheavals and dark showbiz sagas, ex-super cop Mili also struggles to tame her own internal demons. Will she be able to solve her second case as private detective or succumb to pressure and hang up her boots?
Who Killed the Murderer? is a gripping psychological thriller that will hook you right from the first page.

Book Links:
Amazon * Goodreads


My Top Four Self-Published Indian Novels

In the recent past, I read several fabulous books that were self-published. In this post, instead of discussing my books, I would like to share my list of top 4 self-published books by Indian authors. I highly recommend these books to all book lovers.

1. Bastard Hearts – Ambarish Ray (2017)

I was intrigued by the title of Ambarish Ray’s classy debut novella. When I started reading it, half-expecting a love story, I was in for a big surprise. The gripping prologue and the Goa setting pulled me in and the story that followed established just how appropriate the title was.

As the author says, “Bastard Hearts has three people in it. And the third one is you”. Ray succeeds in building an uncanny bond between his reader and the two key characters in the book through his persuasive writing and brilliant storytelling. The reference to ‘ticker tape eyes’, quirky names like ‘ASAP’, and love for Harold Robbins are just a few examples that made visualizing the characters a delightful experience.

I sailed along with ASAP, the protagonist, empathizing with his internal conflicts and enjoying his impromptu conversations with Donna (while trying to resist my seafood cravings!). But when I tried to guess what they would do next, I was stumped! The twists and surprises make for a refreshing, riveting read. The finer nuances in Ray’s writing reminded me of Kahlil Gibran and Albert Camus.
My favorite quote from the book: “His thoughts drifted back to thinking about his thoughts. The alien ones that came without being called for and refused to leave even when asked to.”


2. Some Hearts Run Wild – Jeevan Gaikwad (2018)

Jeevan Gaikwad’s absorbing debut novel ‘Some Hearts Run Wild’ is a compelling tale of love, friendship, dreams, and self-discovery that will tug at your heartstrings and keep you glued till the last page.

At the heart of this novel is an intense love story that is fresh and appealing. However, this is not a munching-on-a-quick-burger kind of speed-read romance. It is more like a leisurely three-course meal where you savor each bite and look forward to the next. The author’s writing style is elegant and powerful. At some places, the emotional subtleties brought back memories of Amitav Ghosh’s ‘The Glass Palace’ and Rohinton Mistry’s ‘The Family Matters’.

While there are several key characters to keep you engaged in this brilliantly written book, the one person I cannot get off my mind is Urvashi Dutta, the protagonist. Urvashi is spontaneous and fiercely loyal. Youngsters at the crossroads of life will find her character very empowering.

All the other characters are relatable and their stories have been beautifully interwoven in this novel. They evoke a sea of emotions – joy, hope, love, anger, abhorrence, fulfilment. The author’s choice of metaphors to depict situations throughout the book is commendable. There is poetry too, and the conversations between some of the characters is worth reading multiple times. Overall, a great debut!


3. No Regrets – Shreya Upadhyaya (2018)

I loved reading 'No Regrets'. I bought this amazing book as part of a combo deal of two books by the same author. This is Shreya Upadhyaya’s second novel, but the first one that she self-published.
The story revolves round Arjun, a simple young man with unique dreams. After all, how many of us dream of becoming a truck driver? The hyperactive, good-natured Arjun did, in his childhood! He would tiptoe out of his house at night to sleep in a truck and often plead with truck drivers to hitch a ride. A concerned father, worried about his son’s choices in life, sent him to a hostel. But the prankster Arjun made his hostel life colorful and entertaining too! Reading about Arjun’s mischiefs, romance, and fun times in the hostel was a real treat!

The author beautifully builds the story to show how Arjun handles his failures and transforms his frivolities as he was growing up, while maintaining his trademark childlike cheer.

As Arjun shares his story with Akira, the love of his life, the reader can visualize the myriad of experiences that helped Arjun evolve with time. The book takes the reader through many beautiful, lesser-known places and I enjoyed learning about them. The highlights of the book are its unique characterization and captivating storytelling.


4. The Magician – Sonia Rao (2019)

Sonia Rao’s engrossing debut novel about love, lust, loss, and longing is a complete page-turner. I was glued to this ‘magical’ book right from the first page!

The book follows Sasha, Shantha, and Nilima as they meander through a series of unnerving challenges that life throws at them when they are least expecting it. There is an element of mystery built in the narrative which makes the book even more interesting. I would like to applaud the author for handling three protagonists and weaving in complex subplots in the story so effortlessly and making each of them relevant to the central plot. The writing style is lucid and builds an instant connect with the reader. I almost forgot that this is the author’s first novel.

The Tarot card readings and Shantha’s character add a whole new dimension to the book. Fashion designer Sasha’s mechanisms to cope with a loveless marriage and her quest for true love have been portrayed beautifully. Nilima’s character reminded me of a friend who suffered a similar loss and so I found her very relatable.

Without revealing more about the book, I would like to say that there is a little bit of Sasha, Nilima, and Shantha in all of us and that’s why these characters will stay etched in my memory.




Book Trailer:


About the Author
Moitrayee Bhaduri is an author, screenwriter, and content specialist. Her first book, The Sinister Silence (Srishti Publishers, 2015), is an edge-of-the-seat murder mystery that introduced the feisty private detective Mili Ray. Her second book Who Killed the Murderer? (TreeShade Books, 2019) is a fast-paced psychological thriller that revolves around the murder of a TV actress in a beauty parlour.
Moitrayee also writes screenplays for TV and freelances with IT firms as a content consultant. Before switching to a full-time writing career, she worked with organizations like IBM, Deloitte, and Oracle, among others, in various writing and people-managerial roles, for 15 years. An alumna of Loreto College and Jadavpur University, Moitrayee also has a certificate in Creative Writing from the University of Oxford.
Moitrayee enjoys conducting writing workshops for children and adults, encouraging them to cultivate a habit of reading. She is passionate about music, enjoys reviewing books and films, and loves dogs. Currently, she lives in Kolkata.

Contact the Author:
Blog * Facebook *  Twitter * Instagram * Goodreads 


Giveaway Details:
3 paperback copies of ‘Who Killed the Murderer?’ for Indian residents

a Rafflecopter giveaway



20 September, 2019

#CoverReveal :: The Call of Death by R.J. Garcia


The Call of Death
R.J. Garcia
Published by: Parliament House
Publication date: November 5th 2019
Genres: Romance, Suspense, Young Adult
Fourteen-year-old Hannah Priestly crashes into a terrifying future but wakes up in her dorm room now knowing the name of an infamous serial killer, Norman Biggs. He will attack her in the future unless she and her three male friends can change fate.
Hannah is a suntanned, obsessive-compulsive, California girl dropped off at an English boarding school by her celebrity mother. Hannah has difficulty understanding algebra let alone her increasingly dark visions. Rory Veer is Hannah’s smart, easy-going and romantically challenged friend and school crush. When Norman Biggsunexpectedly appears in Rory’s reality, terror is set in motion. It is Rory who must acknowledge a past he has denied if the mystery is to be unraveled.


Author Bio:
R.J. Garcia is a wife and proud mom. She earned her MSW and worked with foster children and as a school social worker. Writing has been her other great love. She has published several non-fiction pieces. She has been writing short-stories for as long as she can remember. To her amazement, those short stories became novels!

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17 September, 2019

#BookBlast :: Strangers She Knows by Christina Dodd

Strangers She Knows

by Christina Dodd

September 17, 2019

on Tour September 17 - October 1, 2019

Synopsis:

Strangers She Knows by Christina Dodd

Perfect for fans of Nora Roberts, Sandra Brown, Linda Howard, and Jayne Ann Krentz, New York Times bestselling author Christina Dodd returns with the chilling finale to the Cape Charade trilogy.


I have three deadly problems:
  1. I’ve seriously offended a maniacal killer.
  2. I just had a bullet removed from my brain.
  3. My new daughter is growing up too fast—and she's in the line of fire.


Living on an obscure, technology-free island off California means safety from the murderer who hunts Kellen Adams and her new family…or does it? Family time becomes terror time, until Kellen finds herself alone and facing an all-too-familiar psychopath. Only one can survive, and Kellen knows who must win…and who must die.

Be sure to also check-out the rest of the Cape Charade series, starting with DEAD GIRL RUNNING and WHAT DOESN'T KILL HER, available now wherever books are sold.

Series STARRED reviews from Booklist

"From the unforgettable heroine with a past to the incisively etched cast of secondary characters to the brilliantly imaginative plot, Dodd is at her most wildly entertaining, wickedly witty best." -Booklist STARRED review on DEAD GIRL RUNNING

"Featuring an unforgettable protagonist…who makes Jack Reacher look like a slacker when it comes to dispatching trouble, and an ingenious plot that includes plenty of white-knuckle twists and turns as well as some touching moments of mother-daughter bonding." -Booklist STARRED review on WHAT DOESN'T KILL HER

“Dodd continues her addictively readable Cape Charade series featuring Kellen Adams with another white-knuckle tale that simply begs to be inhaled in one sitting. With a fascinating island setting that includes a spooky old mansion, a secondary storyline involving World War II, and an antagonist who could give Villanelle from Killing Eve a pointer or two, this is Dodd at her brilliant best.” -Booklist STARRED review on STRANGERS SHE KNOWS

Book Details:

Genre: Mystery/Suspense
Published by: HQN Books
Publication Date: September 17, 2019
Number of Pages: 352
ISBN: 1335468331 (ISBN13: 9781335468338)
Series: Cape Charade #3
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

Read an excerpt:

Yearning Sands Resort Washington’s Pacific Coast This Spring
Rae Di Luca stacked up her Level Three lesson books, opened the piano bench and put them away. She got out the Adult Course Level 1A book, opened it to “Silver Bells,” and put it on the music rack. “Mom, you have to practice.”
Kellen didn’t look up from her book. “I know.”
“When?”
“When what?”
“When are you going to do it?”
“I’m at the good part. Let me finish this chapter.”
“No, you have to practice now. You know it helps with your finger dexterity.”
When had their roles reversed, Kellen wondered? When had ten-year-old Rae become the sensible adult and Kellen become the balky child?
Oh yeah. When she had the brain surgery, her right hand refused to regain its former abilities, and the physical therapist suggested learning the piano. But there was a reason Kellen hadn’t learned to play the piano earlier in her life. She loved music—and she had no musical talent. That, added to the terrible atrophy that afflicted her fingers, made her lessons and practices an unsurpassed agony…for everyone.
She looked up, saw Rae standing, poised between coaxing and impatience, and the Rolodex in Kellen’s punctured, operated-on and much-abused brain clicked in:
RAE DI LUCA:
FEMALE, 10YO, 5‘0", 95LBS. KELLEN’S DAUGHTER. HER MIRACLE. IN TRANSITION: GIRL TO WOMAN, BLOND HAIR TO BROWN, BROWN EYES LIGHTENING TO HAZEL. LONG LEGS; GAWKY. SKIN A COMBINATION OF HER ITALIAN HERITAGE FROM HER FATHER AND THE NATIVE AMERICAN BLOOD FROM KELLEN; FIRST PIMPLE ON HER CHIN. NEVER TEMPERAMENTAL. KIND, STRONG, INDEPENDENT.
Kellen loved this kid. The feeling was more than human. It was feral, too, and Kellen would do anything to protect Rae from threat—and had. “I know. I’m coming. It’s so much more fun to listen to you play than practice myself. You’re good and I’m…awful.”
“I’m not good. I’m just better than you.” Rae came over and wrapped her arms around Kellen’s neck, hugged and laughed. “But Luna is better than you.”
“Don’t talk to me about that dog. She howls every time I sit down at the piano. Sometimes she doesn’t even wait until I start playing. The traitor.” Kellen glared at the dog, and once again her brain—which had developed this ability after that shot to the head—sorted through the files of identity cards to read:
LUNA:
FEMALE, FULL-SIZED POODLE/AUSTRALIAN CATTLE DOG/AT LEAST ONE OTHER BREED, 50LBS, RED COAT, BROWN EYES, STRONGLY MUSCLED. RESCUED BY RAE AND MAX WHILE KELLEN RECOVERED FROM SURGERY. FAMILY MEMBER. RAE’S FRIEND, COMPANION, PROTECTOR. MUSIC LOVER.
Luna watched Kellen in return, head resting on her paws, waiting for her chance to sing a solo protest to Kellen’s inept rendition of “Silver Bells.”
“Everybody’s a critic.” Rae set the timer. “Come on. Ten minutes of scales, then you only have to practice for thirty minutes.”
“Why do I have to practice ‘Silver Bells’? Christmas isn’t for seven months.”
“So you’ll have mastered it by the time the season rolls around.”
“I used to like that song.”
“We all used to like that song.” Rae took Kellen’s left hand and tugged. “Mom, come on. You know you feel better afterward.”
Kellen allowed herself to be brought to her feet. “I’m going to do something wild and crazy. I’m going to start learning ‘When the Saints Go Marching In.’ It’s the next song in the book, and I like it.”
“You can learn anything you want after you practice your scales and work on ‘Silver Bells’ for fifteen minutes.”
No one wanted to be inside today, certainly not Rae Di Luca, certainly not Kellen Adams Di Luca, certainly not upstairs in their private quarters in the Yearning Sands Resort. Not when spring had come to the Washington state Pacific Coast. April and May’s drenching rains turned the world a soggy brown. Then, on the first of June, one day of blazing sunshine created green that spread across the coastal plain.
Kellen made her way through the ten minutes of scales—the dog remained quiescent for those—then began plunking out “Silver Bells.” 
As she struggled with the same passage, her right hand fingers responding only sporadically, Luna started with a slight whine that grew in intensity. At the first high howl, Kellen turned to the dog. 
“Look, this isn’t easy for me, either.”
Luna sat, head cocked, one ear up, one ear down, brown eyes pleading with her.
“I would love to stop,” Kellen told her and turned back to the piano. “How about a different tune? Let’s try ‘When the Saints Go Marching In.’”
She played the first few notes and out of the corner of her eye, she saw the dog subside. Then, as she worked on a tricky passage, made the same mistake, time after time, the dog sat up again, lifted her nose and howled in mourning for the slaughter of the song.
Rae giggled, and when her mother glowered, the child controlled herself. “Come on, Luna, I’ll take you outside.”
The dog didn’t budge.
“She thinks she’s helping you,” Rae explained. “Come on, Luna. Come on!” She coaxed her out the door, turned back to Kellen and said sternly, “Twenty more minutes!”
“Yeah, yeah.” Kellen struggled on, trying to make her recalcitrant fingers do her bidding. Even when she finally got the notes right, it wasn’t a piano tune so much as jack-in-the-box music. When at last the timer went off, she slumped over the keyboard and stared at the fingers of her right hand.
They were trying to atrophy, to curl in and refuse to do her bidding ever again. But the physical therapists assured her she could combat this. She had to create new nerve ways, train another part of her brain to handle the work, and since two hands were better than one and her right hand was her dominant hand, the battle was worth fighting. But every day, the forty minutes at the keyboard left her drained and discouraged. 
Behind her, Max said, “Turn around and let me rub your hands.”
She noticed he did not say, That was good. Or even, That was better.
Max didn’t tell lies.
Kellen sighed and swiveled on the piano bench. Again that Rolodex in her brain clicked in:
MAX DI LUCA:
MALE, 38YO, 6'5", 220LBS, ITALIAN-AMERICAN, FORMER FOOTBALL PLAYER. HANDSOME, TANNED, CURLY BLACK HAIR, BROWN EYES SURROUNDED BY LONG BLACK LASHES. ONCE HIGH UP IN THE DI LUCA FAMILY CORPORATION, STEPPED DOWN TO RAISE HIS DAUGHTER, NOW DIRECTOR OF THE FAMILY’S YEARNING SANDS RESORT ON THE WASHINGTON COAST. KIND, GENEROUS, RESPONSIBLE, LOVING. A STICKLER FOR DUTY. FAR TOO MUCH WILLPOWER, WHICH WAS IRRITATING TO KELLEN IN MATTERS RELATING TO THEIR MARITAL STATE.
He took her right hand gently in both of his and, starting at the wrist, he massaged her palm, her thumb, her fingers. He used a lavender-scented oil, and stretched and worked the muscles and bones while she moaned with pleasure.
He listened with a slight smile, and when she looked into his face, she realized his lips looked fuller, he had a dark flush over his cheekbones and his nostrils flared as he breathed. She looked down at his jeans, leaned close and whispered, “Max, I’m done with practice. Why don’t we wander up to our bedroom and I’ll rub your…hand, too.”
He met her eyes. He stopped his massage. Except for the rise and fall of his chest, he was frozen in that pose of incipient passion.
Then he sat back and sighed. “Doctor says no.”
“Doctor said be careful.” 
“Woman, if I could be careful, I would. As it is, nothing is best.”
“I am torn between being flattered and frustrated.” She thought about it. “Mostly frustrated.”
I’m just fine.” Max didn’t usually resort to sarcasm, so that told her a lot. Married almost two years and no sex. He was a good man, but he was coming to the end of his patience.
“If we’re refraining because we’re worried I’m going to pop a blood vessel while in the throes of passion, I’d like to point out there are solutions that you might enjoy.”
“That isn’t fair to you.”
“You’re massaging my hand. That’s pretty wonderful.”
“Not the same.” Again he took her tired hand and went to work.
Bitterly she said, “Kellen’s Brain. It’s like a bad sci-fi fantasy.”
He laughed. “It’s improving all the time.” When he had made her hand relax and Kellen relax with it, he said, “I’ve been thinking—the Di Luca family owns Isla Paraíso off the coast of Northern California. The family bought the island seventy years ago with the idea of placing a resort on the island, but now that doesn’t seem likely. Someone needs to go there, look things over, make decisions about its fate.”
Kellen nodded. “You want to go there? See what you think?”
“Actually, I thought we should all go there.”
He was still working her hand, but with a little too much forcefulness and concentration.
“Ouch,” she said softly.
He pulled away, horrified. “Did I hurt you?”
“Not at all. Except that you’re treating me like a child.”
“What do you mean?”
“You’re not telling me what’s really going on. Why do you want to go to this island?”
“I told you—”
“I don’t doubt that what you told me is the truth. But it’s not all the truth. Max, what’s wrong?”
Max sighed, an understatement of a sigh, as if he dreaded what he was about to say. “You’re not going to like it.”
“I gathered that.”
“Mitch Nyugen.”
“What about him? He’s dead.” She remembered she couldn’t always trust Kellen’s Brain. “Isn’t he?”
“Yes. He was buried in the Cape Charade cemetery.”
Was buried?” Unease stirred in her belly.
“This week, his widow arrived from Wyoming.”
“He wasn’t married.” That brain thing. “Was he?”
“No.” Max was as sure as Kellen was not. “Yet the woman who claimed to be his widow had all the necessary paperwork to have his body exhumed.”
“Oh, no.”
“She had the coffin placed in the chapel. Last night, the undertaker, Arthur Earthman, found her there, with the coffin open. She murdered him, and almost killed his wife, Cynthia. The widow escaped ahead of the sheriff, and she left her calling card.”
Kellen knew. She knew what Max was going to say. “She cut off Mitch’s hands.”
“And took them.” Max looked up at her, his brown eyes wretched with fear. “Mara Philippi is back. And she’s here.”
***
Excerpt from Strangers She Knows by Christina Dodd. Copyright 2019 by Christina Dodd. Reproduced with permission from HQN Books. All rights reserved.



Author Bio:

Christina Dodd
New York Times bestselling author Christina Dodd writes "edge-of-the-seat suspense" (Iris Johansen) with "brilliantly etched characters, polished writing, and unexpected flashes of sharp humor that are pure Dodd" (ALA Booklist). Her fifty-eight books have been called "scary, sexy, and smartly written" by Booklist and, much to her mother's delight, Dodd was once a clue in the Los Angeles Times crossword puzzle.

Enter Christina's worlds and join her mailing list at:
christinadodd.com, Goodreads, BookBub, Twitter, Instagram, & Facebook!



Book Blast Participants:







Book Blast Giveaway:

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Christina Dodd and HQN Books. There will be one (1) winner. The winner will receive an Amazon.com Gift Card. The giveaway begins on September 17, 2019 and runs through September 26, 2019. Void where prohibited.
a Rafflecopter giveaway





Get More Great Reads at Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours

 

15 September, 2019

#SpecialFeature :: #GuestPost - Planning a Crime Thriller by Moitrayee Bhaduri


*** Special Feature - September 2019 ***


About the Book:
When TV actress Shagun Seth mysteriously dies in a beauty parlour in Mumbai, her mother slams murder charges on Shagun’s banker husband Chetan Seth. Chetan’s family suspects that he is being framed and requests private detective Mili Ray to investigate. As Mili and her lawyer-associate Gatha start work, Chetan is released on bail. Soon after, Shagun’s mother is killed! Is Chetan responsible for these murders?
Mili probes deeper and unravels shocking secrets buried beneath Shagun’s world of glitz that leave her baffled. An insecure boyfriend, an estranged husband, an opportunist colleague, a cunning TV producer – Shagun was surrounded by haters. Even her 12-year-old son didn’t want to see her alive. Why did everyone hate Shagun?
While meandering through dysfunctional family upheavals and dark showbiz sagas, ex-super cop Mili also struggles to tame her own internal demons. Will she be able to solve her second case as private detective or succumb to pressure and hang up her boots?
Who Killed the Murderer? is a gripping psychological thriller that will hook you right from the first page.

Book Links:
Amazon * Goodreads


Planning a Crime Thriller


Writing a crime thriller is a lot of fun but it requires a great deal of planning. I have always admired authors who are able to churn out a book or two every year! It seems like a daunting task and those who can deliver engaging content consistently, are master storytellers. Classics penned by legends like Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Agatha Christie, Edgar Allan Poe, Patricia Highsmith, Satyajit Ray, Sharadindu Bandopadhyay, and G.K Chesterton among others, never lose their charm.

I like to plan my thrillers well and always write down an outline of each chapter, including the ending. Once I am happy with the structure, I start writing the novel. As I write and rewrite, the characters and the way they behave with one another often change and evolve into something I hadn’t imagined. As a result, the ending I had in mind changes too. For me, that’s the most exciting part of being a writer.

There are several other things to keep in mind while planning a thriller. There is no right or wrong here and every writer has their own process.

Here are a few things I keep in mind while planning my books.

The hook 

A crime writer needs to hook the readers with a fast-paced and persuasive first chapter. In today’s digital age when people have so many distractions at their fingertips, a well-written, action-packed ‘beginning’ is essential to keep the reader engaged.

Subplots 

While writing both my crime thrillers, I ensured that I have adequate subplots to make the narrative engaging and taut. Once the basic setting has been created, it is important to weave in subplots to the main story. The sub-stories should always take the main narrative forward and not be mere fillers. Subplots enable authors to build characters, establish motives for committing a crime, and engage readers.

Creating conflicts

Once the characters start talking to one another, there are conflicts. Stories help create conflicts and add intrigue. Readers often judge characters based on how they interact with each other. It is important to avoid stereotypes. Original characters stand out, even if they are weird and not likeable.
Twists and surprises

Complex story-threads allow the author to introduce twists that can add suspense and surprise the reader. Through a story twist, a character that your reader loved so long can become a villain. Once the reader starts abhorring this character, the author might add another twist justifying the character’s action. Readers sometimes end up empathizing with characters they dislike.

Show, don’t tell

When we have subplots in the story, it is easier to establish personality traits of the key characters. We don’t need to write sentences like ‘He was an angry, young man’ when the emotion can be established with a sub-story. 

Point of view

Stories help the author establish a point-of-view for the novel. The main protagonist who can be a detective or a law enforcement official usually unties the knots created through subplots using a point-of-view. Stories enable readers to deep-dive into the mind of the detective and connect the dots.

Nail-biting finish

If the stories within the main plot are edgy, the author can create a surprise ending, especially in a whodunit. Readers like me, who are addicted to crime-fiction, enjoy solving the case along with the fictional detective. Complex stories entwined with the main plot help authors avoid predictable endings.


To sum up

A thriller cannot be boring nor can it have suspense on every page. So, the build-up to the suspense must be exciting. An original plot, multi-faceted characters, and engaging conflicts make that possible.





Book Trailer:


About the Author
Moitrayee Bhaduri is an author, screenwriter, and content specialist. Her first book, The Sinister Silence (Srishti Publishers, 2015), is an edge-of-the-seat murder mystery that introduced the feisty private detective Mili Ray. Her second book Who Killed the Murderer? (TreeShade Books, 2019) is a fast-paced psychological thriller that revolves around the murder of a TV actress in a beauty parlour.
Moitrayee also writes screenplays for TV and freelances with IT firms as a content consultant. Before switching to a full-time writing career, she worked with organizations like IBM, Deloitte, and Oracle, among others, in various writing and people-managerial roles, for 15 years. An alumna of Loreto College and Jadavpur University, Moitrayee also has a certificate in Creative Writing from the University of Oxford.
Moitrayee enjoys conducting writing workshops for children and adults, encouraging them to cultivate a habit of reading. She is passionate about music, enjoys reviewing books and films, and loves dogs. Currently, she lives in Kolkata.

Contact the Author:
Blog * Facebook *  Twitter * Instagram * Goodreads 


Giveaway Details:
3 paperback copies of ‘Who Killed the Murderer?’ for Indian residents

a Rafflecopter giveaway



14 September, 2019

#BlogTour :: Fatal Strike by DiAnn Mills

Fatal Strike

by DiAnn Mills

on Tour September 1-30, 2019

Synopsis:

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

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

Book Details:

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

Read an excerpt:

SPECIAL AGENT LEAH RIESEL scanned the headlines on her phone. A prosecutor from Galveston had been found murdered behind a construction site, the second apparent victim of gang violence in two days. Both deaths were caused by rattlesnake venom injections to the heart. Before she could pull up additional reports on the woman’s untimely death, Leah’s phone
rang.
“Riesel, hostage situation in Galveston,” the SWAT commander said. “Grab your gear. The chopper takes off in five.”
“On it.” She took a last lingering look at the half-eaten blueberry donut and coffee on her cubicle’s desk.
Could this have anything to do with the two murders in Galveston?
Before most of the city began the workday, Leah boarded a Little Bird helicopter beneath whirling blades and the pressure of a critical operation. Dressed in full camo and shouldering her sniper gear, she inhaled the rising temps. Feverish Houston. With the familiar air transport sounds ushering in memories of past missions, her adrenaline kicked in.
A pilot from the tactical helicopter unit lifted the chopper into the air for the twenty-minute ride to Galveston. She recognized him from previous assignments involving aircraft used to deliver SWAT and the elite hostage rescue teams to crisis incidents. This morning her focus eliminated any chitchat.
Leah grabbed sound-canceling headphones and contacted the SWAT commander already on the ground. “Riesel here. Special Agent in Charge Thomas briefed me on a home invasion that’s turned violent.”
The SAC would be watching the operation at the Crisis Management Operations Center.
“Negotiations have gotten us nowhere.” The SWAT commander’s voice rose above the chopper’s blade-snap. “Two unidentified men are holding two women and three children at gunpoint. Galveston PD estimates they’ve been inside the home for at least an hour. Demanding we leave the area after giving them five hundred grand and a gassed-up speedboat.
Clock is ticking with forty minutes max. We’ve backed off as far as they know.”
Leah swiped through pics taken with telephoto lenses and sent to her phone. Each ski-masked man held a child as a shield. Leah detested the savagery and the horrific emotions the hostages
must be feeling.
“We’re located on San Luis Pass Road on the western section of the island. Nearest house is five hundred yards away. Owners are in Europe. We’re in contact with the agency managing it.”
She didn’t need a key to access the home.
The SWAT commander continued. “One of the hostages is the owner of the home, Amanda Barton.”
“Is there a Mr. Barton in the picture?”
“Divorced. Lives in California.”
Unlikely the ex-husband was behind this.
“Agent Jon Colbert will be on scene shortly,” the commander said. “He had a deposition early this morning in Texas City and drove on to Galveston. Over the weekend, his SWAT partner had emergency knee surgery. Out for six weeks.”
And Leah’s partner had left the city yesterday on vacation.
The luck of the draw meant she and Jon would be working together. “I’ll contact you as soon as we land.”
Jon Colbert, a sniper who had excellent marksmanship and a stellar reputation, also worked organized crime. But she and Jon had never worked together. The idea of teaming up with an agent she barely knew made her uneasy. If a sniper mission required a partner, she preferred an established relationship where she would know how the person processed information.
Shoving aside her doubts, she narrowed her thoughts on what lay ahead. The precarious situation and local law enforcement’s inability to negotiate added up to why she and Jon had
been assigned to the case.
She grasped her backpack, lighter than usual with only a spotting scope, ammo, water, communication equipment, extra batteries, granola bar, and a handheld radio. Her Glock, as comfortable in her right hand as a toothbrush, found its spot in her back waistband. She touched her H-S Precision heavy tactical rifle.
The sooner she got to Galveston, the sooner she could provide intelligence and help neutralize the circumstances. Her priority was seeing the women and children freed from these ruthless men.
* * *
Jon received a text from Special Agent in Charge Thomas that Leah Riesel had left the Houston FBI office and was en route to Galveston. He’d met her a few times, and they’d qualified
together. Attractive woman—dark-brown hair, light-olive skin, New Yorker with the accent to prove it. Her professionalism in the violent crime division wavered between exceptional and extraordinary. A touch of toughness. Jon had heard not to make her mad—she had earned the nickname Panther for a reason. He remembered her stats—number three in the US for distance shots. Good thing he wasn’t easily intimidated.
Once the chopper landed, Leah would be transported in an unmarked car to a vacant house more than a quarter of a mile away from the Barton home. No point in making the two men more trigger-happy when they’d warned law enforcement to back off.
The SWAT commander spoke through Jon’s radio attached to his collar. “Thermal imaging confirms four adults and three children inside the Barton home. The men claim they’ll kill the
children first. We have fifteen minutes.”
In Galveston, Jon stopped at Broadway and Sixty-First Street. Tourists persisted in the middle of the thoroughfare, pushing strollers, riding surrey bikes, and enjoying the day. Some were dressed for the beach and others clutched what they needed for their excursion. All hindered his turn. Obstacles in his mission. If they knew the situation not far from them, they’d grab their loved ones and speed home. Each moment delayed his shot and shoved the hostages closer to death. A chilling composure took over his emotional, mental, and physical reactions. The busy street finally cleared. Jon turned west onto Seawall Boulevard and drove on to San Luis Pass. The hostage site was four and a half miles beyond there.
Were the two men inside the Barton home wannabes looking to make a name for themselves? Strung out on drugs? Was this a personal vendetta? No matter how this ended—either a surrender or he’d be instructed to take a shot— their moment in history would likely be the lead story on tonight’s news. His phone alerted him to an incoming call. He responded
before the first ring ended. “Colbert.” The chopper’s rhythmic whir reverberated through his phone.
“Riesel here. Landing in five at Galveston Island State Park. SWAT commander has given me a location on the west side of the Barton home.”
“I’ll be on foot by then. Taking a position on the east, beach side.”
“I’ll need seven minutes to get into place,” she said.
“Okay.” No need to remind her of the ticking clock.
He touched End and whipped his truck onto a beach-access road where police officers had instructed residents to shelter in place. He switched off the engine. Grabbing his gear, he bolted
down the beach. A Galveston police officer stopped him, and Jon handed him his ID. Seconds later, he moved toward his site.
A sultry breeze blew across the water, and he recalculated his shot.
Crouching low, he moved past police SWAT standing guard.
FBI SWAT held the position Riesel was headed for. They were racing against time, a commodity that stopped for nothing or no one. At any moment, one of the armed men could pull the
trigger on those inside the Barton home.
Restraint.
Control.
Tense muscles relaxed. His heartbeat slowed.
A clear head laid out the steps before the kill shot.
No mistakes.
Precision.
Accuracy.
A chance for the women and children to live another day.
Near a sand dune, he tuned out the occasional seagull and the waves rushing against the shore. After wiping the sweat from his hands on his pants, Jon set up his rifle and scope,
activated his radio, and spoke to the SWAT commander and Leah Riesel.
***
Excerpt from Fatal Strike by DiAnn Mills. Copyright © 2019 by DiAnn Mills. Reproduced with permission from DiAnn Mills. All rights reserved.

Author Bio:

DiAnn Mills
DiAnn Mills is a bestselling author who believes her readers should expect an adventure. She weaves memorable characters with unpredictable plots to create action-packed, suspense-filled novels. DiAnn believes every breath of life is someone’s story, so why not capture those moments and create a thrilling adventure?
Her titles have appeared on the CBA and ECPA bestseller lists; won two Christy Awards; and been finalists for the RITA, Daphne Du Maurier, Inspirational Readers’ Choice, and Carol award contests.
DiAnn is a founding board member of the American Christian Fiction Writers, a member of Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, and International Thriller Writers. She is co-director of The Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference, Mountainside Marketing Conference, and the Mountainside Novelist Retreat with social media specialist Edie Melson where she continues her passion of helping other writers be successful. She speaks to various groups and teaches writing workshops around the country.
DiAnn has been termed a coffee snob and roasts her own coffee beans. She’s an avid reader, loves to cook, and believes her grandchildren are the smartest kids in the universe. She and her husband live in sunny Houston, Texas.

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

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13 September, 2019

#Spotlight :: Justice Gone by N. Lombardi Jr



About the Book:
When a homeless war veteran is beaten to death by the police, stormy protests ensue, engulfing a small New Jersey town. Soon after, three cops are gunned down.
A multi-state manhunt is underway for a cop killer on the loose. And Dr. Tessa Thorpe, a veteran's counselor, is caught up in the chase.
Donald Darfield, an African-American Iraqi war vet, war-time buddy of the beaten man, and one of Tessa's patients, is holed up in a mountain cabin. Tessa, acting on instinct, sets off to find him, but the swarm of law enforcement officers gets there first, leading to Darfield's dramatic capture.
Now, the only people separating him from the lethal needle of state justice are Tessa and ageing blind lawyer, Nathaniel Bodine. Can they untangle the web tightening around Darfield in time, when the press and the justice system are baying for revenge?

Book Links:
Goodreads * Amazon


  

Winner of Three Awards:
2019 American Fiction Award
National Indie Excellency Award - Best Legal Thriller of 2019
Silver Medal Winner 2019 - Readers' Favorites Awards
Chosen by Wiki.ezvid.com among their list of 10 Gripping and Intelligent Legal Thrillers


Reviews for Justice Gone:
The courtroom scenes are wonderfully written...the characters are well described and the author paints a picture of each in the mind of the reader...Strong plot, strong characters and a strong writing style that I really enjoyed. This one is a definite "thumbs-up." Strongly recommend! I look forward to reading additional works by N. Lombardi, Jr.
Kim M Aalaie, Author's Den

One of my favorite suspense novels of the year. It will make you question the legal system.
The Eclectic Review

The courtroom action is excellent, trimmed to the most gripping parts of the trial, with plenty of emotional impact...a fairly realistic portrayal of the way small-town US society works...a fast-moving story with plenty of dramatic moments, and a big twist in the final pages.
Crime Review 

Read an Excerpt:


Next, just as Emily had predicted, came a member of the Crime Scene Investigation Unit from the New Jersey State Patrol; however, she had been wrong about the photos because this was the time that Fiske had been planning to introduce them. They were given to the jury to pass around among themselves, and naturally the shock value was not wasted on them, most of the members displaying expressions of disgust as they looked at the graphic pictures.
The witness, a tall man in his forties with his soft brown
hair parted classically on his left side, and wearing tortoiseshell glasses, confirmed what Cavaluzzi had previously testified to regarding the evidence gathered. The prosecution took a risk by emphasizing the shoe print found in the woods outside Puente’s house, comparing it to the prints they had cast from the combat boots Darfield was wearing when he was captured. For this, the witness was allowed to get out of the witness stand and enter the “well, that empty, sacrosanct space between the bench and the jury, a space that can only be entered with permission.
As you can see, the expert said, pointing to a projected image on a screen next to the court reporters table, “If we compare the casts, were struck by the extraordinary match in patterns. They are no doubt the same type of boot, the standard issue military boots used in the Marines.”
“Thank you, Dr. Robert.”
Dr. Robert put down his pointer on the prosecution’s table and returned to his seat in the witness box.
“Cross?”
Bodine stood up, having already made the decision to go into his Stevie Wonder–Ray Charles routine of looking off into odd angles. He started by turning his head toward the upper left, rather than the expected straight ahead, a move that practically assures throwing the witness off-balance, a shady trick Bodine learned early on in his career. “Dr. Robert, do you know exactly the date and approximate time that this shoe print was made?” he asked, looking up at the left corner of the ceiling.
“No, of course not. That’s a ridiculous question.”
Bodine swiveled his head to face straight ahead and raised his eyebrows above his dark sunglasses. “Oh, is it? I thought perhaps it would be important to know when that print was made. Wouldn’t you?”
Dr. Robert remained quiet for a few seconds, regretting his rash reply.Yes, of course.”
Now Bodine aimed his head toward the right corner of the ceiling. You have any means of determining that? Chemical tests?”
“No, not exactly…we rely on…” “Radioactive dating?”
Once again the witness was lockjawed, a tightly shut angry expression on his face. Are you trying to make a mockery of forensics work, Mr. Bodine?”
Now Bodine snapped his head back to face where he knew the witness box was, his black sunglasses focused intently on Dr. Robert. I don’t think you know the rules here. I ask the questions, you answer them. Answer the question!”
“Objection!”
“Overruled. Witness will answer.” “No. No such testing exists.”
“What kind of soil was the shoe print found in?” “Clay-type soil.”
I should think it was dry at the time you examined the shoe print, yes?”
“In most places, yes.”
“But it was a good print though, wasn’t it? I mean in terms of depth into the soil and the details of the sole markings?”
Yes, it was an excellent sample.”
“Is clay a good material for holding shoe print samples for a length of time, let’s say, as opposed to sand?”
“Under most circumstances, I would say that is true, clay is an excellent preserver of prints.”
“But, of course, the clay would have to be wet when the print was made, yes?”
Yes, of course.”
“When it’s dry, it’s difficult to leave a good print, is that correct?’
“Correct.”
“So, whoever made that print, made it when the ground was wet?
“That’s a fair assumption.”
Emily handed her father a sheet of paper, which Bodine then held up in the air. Your Honor, this is a copy of Defense Exhibit 1, which the State has already received during the discovery phase. I ask permission for the witness to examine it.”
The bailiff came, took the sheet of paper, and handed it over to the witness.
Bodine, now ceasing his blind celebrity pantomime, focused his head right at Dr. Robert. “That is the record of rain days obtained from the New Jersey meteorological department. I’m sure you recall that we had a very bad drought last summer; the record you are looking at shows that the last day it rained before those men were killed was thirty-three days prior. In other words, according to the discussion we just had about wet clay, the print could only have been made about a month before those men were killed. Is that the conclusion that you would reach?”
Dr. Robert squirmed in the witness chair. “Not necessarily. If there was a constant shade it might remain moist.”
“When you say constant, you mean throughout the day, from sunrise to sunset, yes?”
Dr. Robert hesitated for a second, before admitting, Yes.” “Was that the case here?”
“When I examined the print and made the cast, there was some shade, yes.”
And what time of the day was that?” “I have to refer to my notes.”
“Just tell us approximately.” About seven o’clock.”
“That’s nearly sunset for late August, isn’t it?” “I suppose so.”
“So you can’t be sure if there’s any shade there during the heat of the day?”
“No.”
“Thank you. Now let’s talk about the pattern of the print you found. Do you know the brand name or model of the boots Mr. Darfield was wearing when he was arrested, based on the pattern?”
“Danner USMC, RAT, Hot Weather.” “RAT, rat?”
“Rugged All Terrain. The model is the most common one worn by our men and women serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. It’s a unisex boot. He smiled lamely, as if he just made a joke.
Tell me, Dr. Robert, these military boots, are they available in retail stores, say, what they call, Army-Navy shops?”
“No, I don’t think so.”
Gotcha, you silly liar! Are you sure?”
“Objection, Your Honor,Fiske shouted, “the witness has already answered the question.”
“Sustained.”
“Sorry,Bodine said in mock apology, I just want to be clear on this, and an I don’t think so is not enough. So let me put it in another way. Dr. Robert, are you telling me that I myself, an ordinary person, could not purchase these shoes at a retail outlet, even on the internet?”
I think they would be hard to find.”
Bodine turned and, right on cue, Emily handed him a pair of combat boots, his right hand instinctively receiving them, as if this were a practiced act, but then dropping them to remind the jury of his blindness, which was made more emphatic when Emily went underneath the table to retrieve them and tenderly put them in his wavering hands.
“Dr. Robert, I want you to examine these shoes. Permission to approach the witness.”
“Denied. Hand them to the bailiff.”
The bailiff took the shoes and gave them to Dr. Robert. “Tell me, are these boots similar?”
Dr. Robert took each shoe in turn, examining the soles while doing a lot of squinting. I would say, similar, yes, but not exact.”
“How similar?”
“Objection, Your Honor. He’s asking a vague question that can only have a vague reply, causing the witness to speculate.”
The judge scratched his chin. “Speculate? No, I don’t think so. Overruled. Witness, answer the question.”
Very similar.”
Bodine made a slight turn to face in a direction he intuitively knew was where the judge was perched. Your Honor, if it pleases the court, I would like to admit these as Defense Exhibit
2. I would further request that a cast be made of the soles for comparison with State’s exhibits 2A and B, so that the jury can examine for themselves. The bailiff took the shoes and placed them on the exhibit table.
“Objection! These items should have been disclosed during discovery!”
“My investigator just bought them last evening, Bodine said snidely. “I’m admitting the receipt as well, from Sullivan’s Fish and Game Shop in Scranton, with yesterday’s date recorded.”
Fiske snarled, but said nothing. In his head though, a little voice said, Sneaky bastard, he arranged the purchase weeks ago, with the understanding of picking them up today and asking for the receipt.
“No more questions, Your Honor.” “Witness, you are excused.”
Dr. Robert got out of the witness box, crossed the well, opened the little gate of the bar, and exited the courtroom with a briskness that displayed his foul mood.
The judge addressed the courtroom. “I’m going to order a recess for lunch. Court adjourns until one o’clock. He banged his gavel and everyone made a move to leave.





About the Author:
N. Lombardi Jr, the N for Nicholas, has spent over half his life in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East, working as a groundwater geologist. Nick can speak five languages: Swahili, Thai, Lao, Chinese, and Khmer (Cambodian).
In 1997, while visiting Lao People's Democratic Republic, he witnessed the remnants of a secret war that had been waged for nine years, among which were children wounded from leftover cluster bombs. Driven by what he saw, he worked on The Plain of Jars for the next eight years.
Nick maintains a website with content that spans most aspects of the novel: The Secret War, Laotian culture, Buddhism etc.
His second novel, Journey Towards a Falling Sun, is set in the wild frontier of northern Kenya.
His latest novel, Justice Gone was inspired by the fatal beating of a homeless man by police.
Nick now lives in Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Follow the Author:
Website * Goodreads * Amazon