Latest Books

15 Minutes by Larissa Reinhart

#10days #findthewoman #getthejob #doNOTfallinlove

When ex-teen star Maizie Albright returns to her Southern hometown of Black Pine, Georgia, she hoped to rid herself of Hollywood tabloid and reality show hell for a new career as a private investigator. Instead, Hollyweird follows her home. Maizie’s costar is crushing, but now for her gumshoe boss. Her stage-monster mother still demands screen time. Her latest rival wants her kicked off the set, preferably back to a California prison.

By entangling herself in a missing person’s case, she must reprise her most famous role. The job will demand a performance of a lifetime. But this time, the stakes are real and may prove deadly.

Author Larissa Reinhart recently took some time to sit down with The Big Thrill and discuss her new novel:

What do you hope readers will take away from this book?

15 MINUTES introduces the Maize Albright Star Detective series. The heroine, Maizie Albright, is an ex-teen and reality star who’s trying a career makeover as a detective. Unfortunately, her sleuthing background comes from starring in the TV show Julia Pinkerton, Teen Detective. Maizie has a big learning curve and her chosen mentor, Wyatt Nash of Nash Security Solutions, is not a willing teacher.
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The Housewife Assassin’s Terrorist TV Guide by Josie Brown

Housewife assassin Donna Stone must be more than just ready for her close-up if she’s to stop a terrorist cell intent on exposing the United States’ vulnerability to an attack on American soil. The only intel provided to Donna, Jack, and their mission team at Acme Industries is that it will take place during a live broadcast of a reality TV show. And wouldn’t you know it: each of the other housewife contestants has dirty little secrets that make them and their husbands very probable Persons of Interest. So, who is the terrorist who wants to hold these celebrity housewives hostage—and worse yet, kill them off in front of their adoring fans?

Author Josie Brown recently took time out of her busy schedule to discuss her 14th book in the Housewife Assassin series with The Big Thrill:

What do you hope readers will take away from this book?

Those who take on the profession of covert ops have real lives, and complex personal dilemmas. Despite this, they are driven by a true sense of mission.
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Envy the Dead by Robert J. Randisi

Sangster doesn’t seem to be able to escape his past as a hit man, no matter how hard he tries. And now it’s his friend, Father Patrick, dragging him back into the life. When the head of a faded Mafia Family in Philadelphia sends the top hit man in the business, Frankie Trigger, to New Orleans to kill Patrick, the priest goes to the only person he can think of for help … Sangster.

Can the former #1 hit man overcome the present #1 hit man and save his friend, while continuing to hold on to his newfound soul?

The Big Thrill recently had the opportunity to interview Robert J. Randisi about his latest novel, ENVY THE DEAD:

What do you hope readers will take away from this book?

I hope that beyond simply enjoying the story they may come away with some thoughts about their own souls.
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Prayer for the Dead by James Oswald

The search for a missing journalist is called off as a body is found at the scene of a carefully staged murder.

In a sealed chamber, deep in the heart of Gilmerton Cove, a mysterious network of caves and passages sprawling beneath Edinburgh, the victim has undergone a macabre ritual of purification.

Inspector Tony McLean knew the dead man, and can’t shake off the suspicion that there is far more to this case than meets the eye. The baffling lack of forensics at the crime scene seems impossible. But it is not the only thing about this case that McLean will find beyond belief.

Teamed with the most unlikely and unwelcome of allies, he must track down a killer driven by the darkest compulsions, who will answer only to a higher power . . .

Author James Oswald recently took some time to discuss his latest novel, PRAYER FOR THE DEAD, with The Big Thrill:

How does this book make a contribution to the genre?

I would hope that it widens the idea of what is possible in the genre. All my books suggest at other-worldly forces at play, without specifically acknowledging them. PRAYER FOR THE DEAD examines belief and the extremes people will go to in justifying theirs.
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The Logan Triad by Nathan Walpow

By Dan Levy

Admittedly, novellas are an unfamiliar storytelling platform for me. Positioned somewhere between the plot-driven short story and character-driven novel, novellas can run between 20,000 and 40,000 words (depending on your preferred literary resource). What seems to be common among sources researched for this story is the definition of novella: A work of fiction that is longer than a short story but shorter than a novel.

Armed with that deep insight, I jumped at the chance to talk to Nathan Walpow. His latest collection of three novellas, THE LOGAN TRIAD is scheduled for release in March. When asked why he favored the novella form, Walpow explained, “What I have found is that with novellas, the time commitment is not proportional to the length of the work. I can kick out a novella in about two weeks once I get started on it.”

For Walpow, the commitment to the novella runs deeper than mere efficiency, “If you’re built to write one kind of thing, and you try another, you may be successful if you’re that rare kind of writer. Otherwise, you’re better off writing what you can do well.”

Though published and promoted like a full-length novel, THE LOGAN TRIAD is a compilation of three novellas:

  • Logan’s Young Guns—Readers meet Logan and watch as a talented brood of sidekicks form around the chance meeting of a woman in an emergency room, and the mystery that unfolds around the hunt for the man who put her there. The novella is written in a third-person narrative style.
  • Logan Shoots First—Told in first person, the second novella takes readers inside Logan’s head and into a mystery that explores the world of human trafficking and forced-prostitution.
  • They Got Logan—Walpow returns to a third-person narrative, as a woman from Logan’s past reappears asking for his help in solving her mother’s murder.

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No Darker Place by Debra Webb

By Karen Harper

I was excited to be able to interview Debra Webb for her new novel NO DARKER PLACE.  We both write suspense for Mira Books, and I am impressed with her own backstory which is one of courage and tenacity.  “Never give up” shouts from her heroine’s lives—and her own.

This month, she took time out of her schedule to chat with The Big Thrill about her new release, winning awards, the pros and cons of writing series characters, and her sage advice for aspiring scribes.

Please tell us what NO DARKER PLACE is about.

Detective Bobbie Gentry has one objective: to stop the serial killer who robbed her of her husband, her child, and her life. Nick Shade understands Bobbie’s pain—and her desire for vengeance. He’s on a mission of his own, and the murderer known as the Storyteller is next on his list. Nick knows that the best way to find his target is to stick close to Bobbie. But as she becomes more and more reckless in her attempts to lure the Storyteller out of hiding, he has to make a choice: will he protect her from herself even if it means passing up the chance to take out one more monster? As for Bobbie, she’s forced to decide just how much she can trust this stranger who knows so much about her. And both of them are about to learn whether or not two broken people can save each other.
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Shadows and Echoes by James Cabot

The first book in the RISING SUN triptych, a science fiction historical thriller. An unearthly / mysterious / sinister and beautiful time traveler crosses paths and clashes with an American secret agent in the days before the sneak attack on Pearl Harbor. A tale of intrigue, romance, deception, and betrayal. An epic journey revealing great secrets both international and intimate. The RISING SUN trilogy is three complete novels, almost three hundred thousand words, and took thirty-five years to complete. The RISING SUN trilogy might have an R-rating. Sexual situations and sexual language abound. Readers should be aware that most characters have a casual adult attitude to sex and therefore the depiction of their myriad odd practices can be troublesome & problematic for some.

James Cabot recently took some time to discuss Shadows and Echoes with the Big Thrill:
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Child’s Play by Merry Jones

By Jaden Terrell

Like many authors, if Merry Jones goes too long without writing, she becomes agitated and irritable. That creative energy needs an outlet, and for Jones, writing is the only way to release it. She writes across the spectrum, from light humor to serious nonfiction to edge-of-your-seat crime novels.

Her Zoe Hayes mystery series, which includes The Nanny Murders, The River Killings, and The Deadly Neighbors, is popular with fans, but her latest novel, CHILD’S PLAY introduces a new protagonist. Elle Harrison is a second-grade teacher still mourning the death of her husband when a series of murders is linked to a former student recently released from juvenile detention after serving time for killing his abusive father.

As a former special education teacher, I was intrigued from page one. The story is engaging and the language evocative, but beyond that, it spoke to that part of me that every teacher knows—the guilty awareness that, no matter how hard we try, there will be students we fail. That’s powerful stuff.

Please join me in welcoming Merry Jones to The Big Thrill.
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Into the Firestorm by Kat Martin

By E.M. Powell

I’m sure we’ve all come across the ‘Why I Write’ statements. They come in as many forms and in as wide a variety as there are writers. Yet few can beat Kat Martin’s “I write simply to entertain” in its succinctness—and its modesty. Martin has written more than sixty-five novels, with sixteen million copies of her books in print in more than twenty countries. She’s a regular on the prestigious New York Times bestseller list, with her most recent releases, the romantic suspense BOSS Inc novels Into the Fury and Into the Whirlwind both taking top ten spots. By anyone’s reckoning, that’s a heck of a lot of people entertained. Those legions of readers are about to be joined by more with the release of Martin’s third BOSS Inc. title, INTO THE FIRESTORM.

For those who don’t know, BOSS stands for Brodie Operations Security Services, an operation headed up by ex-cop Ethan Brodie. INTO THE FIRESTORM has Ethan’s bounty hunter brother as its hero. Luke Brodie is chasing international criminal, Rudy Vance and $600,000 fee he’ll collect if he brings in Vance. Trouble is, there’s another bounty hunter in pursuit of the despicable Vance, too. And this one is a young female who’s new to the job: Emma Cassidy, less than five feet tall and with the most intensely personal reasons for wanting to get Vance. As this is a Kat Martin novel, the sexual tension between Luke and Emma is there from the start. Add the gritty realism of the world of the bounty hunter that Martin brings to life so well, and you have another high-octane, page-turning read.

Real life has provided some help for Martin’s fiction. She says she based elements of the courageous, likeable Emma on a very well respected bail enforcement agent in Texas. She also had a trusted advisor. “A close friend of mine, Bob Burton, was at one time the #1 Bounty Hunter in the US.  I modelled Emma’s mentor, Booth Childers, after my friend.  He was also a bodyguard.  Bob was enormously helpful in providing info for several of my books.”
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Undercover Protector by Elizabeth Goddard

By Renee James

Elizabeth Goddard began writing novels when she retired from a career in software sales to home school her children. Fast forward to last month, when her 25th romance, UNDERCOVER PROTECTOR, hit the shelves.

The book follows Special Agent Grayson Wilde who is undercover at a tiger sanctuary, where he believes the owner is involved in a wildlife trafficking ring—until she is almost killed. Now, the two of them must work together not only to save a generation old tiger oasis, but to survive.

Goddard’s previous works have garnered conspicuous success, including bestseller status and literary awards. Her romantic mystery, The Camera Never Lies was a 2011 Carol Award winner. She’s a double finalist in the 2016 Daphne Du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery/Suspense for her books Buried and Backfire in the Mountain Cove series, and a 2016 Carol Award finalist for Submerged.

In this interview for The Big Thrill, Goddard talks more about her new release, and what fans of her work can look forward to next.

Your new novel, UNDERCOVER PROTECTOR, is set on a tiger sanctuary. This isn’t a setting one runs across every day, even in fiction-writing circles. How did you come up with that?

I run across a lot of different settings in the stories I read and that makes it hard to come up with something original. I’ve trained myself to constantly be aware of my surroundings and things that interest me or I’m passionate about, and I put those ideas into a file for when I’m ready to start a new proposal or story. When I lived in Oregon there was a big cat sanctuary we visited and I always wanted to write about them—they’re magnificent creatures. When I came up with my wildlife special agent hero, I knew that was the perfect time to include the tigers.
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Ocean of Storms by Christopher Mari and Jeremy K. Brown

In the not-so-distant future, an explosion on the moon generates a world-crippling electromagnetic pulse. Tensions between the US and China mount to an all-time high, as the two countries begin a renewed space race to discover what tore a huge gash into the moon’s surface. Renegade archeologist Dr. Elias Zell and his protégé, Alan Donovan, join NASA astronauts and train for the trip that could finally answer the question of whether we are alone in the universe. International conspiracy and intrigue force cooperation between the superpowers to give the mission any shot at success. For Donovan, completing the mission will give him closure with his father, a disgraced former astronaut from the Apollo program, as well allowing him to be first on an earth-shattering discovery that will change mankind forever. This fast-paced read will keep readers engaged to the final twist and turns as the conspiracy unfolds. Mari and Brown’s first SF collaboration is a good pick for those new to the genre as well as more seasoned readers.

Authors Christopher Mari and Jeremy K. Brown recently spent some with The Big Thrill discussing their novel, OCEAN OF STORMS:

What do you hope readers will take away from this book?

Christopher Mari: The fact that people have in the past and can in the future work together to successfully complete ambitious projects. We did it before—in abolishing slavery, in World War II, in curing polio, during the Civil Rights movement, landing on the Moon. And I genuinely believe we can do great things again if we set clear goals and apply ourselves.

Jeremy K. Brown: I second what Chris said and would add that the book is a reminder that we are all in this together. From coming together to return humans to the Moon to facing the future together with hope, optimism and a better plan for humanity, the book illustrates that we are all united and this little ball of mud and rock is all we’ve got. So we’d better make our stand here and make it count.
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Murdered in the Gourmet Kitchen and Serial Killers and Prostitutes by R. Barri Flowers

By Austin S. Camacho

Award winning criminologist R. Barri Flowers is a bestselling author of both fiction and nonfiction. This month he makes all his fans happy with the release of two new books: a true crime volume called SERIAL KILLERS AND PROSTITUTES, and a cozy mystery — MURDERED IN THE GOURMET KITCHEN.

In MURDERED IN THE GOURMET KITCHEN, Riley Reed is the suspect in a murder because the victim was beaten to death with Riley’s casserole dish. Protagonist Riley Reed is a single, spunky and humorous interior designer who somehow finds herself in the middle of murder investigations.

“Riley would be a hit at a cocktail party,” Flowers says, “as she is the type of person one gravitates toward for her affable nature, perkiness, and willingness to engage on a seemingly endless variety of topics. Riley is definitely a heroine in the true sense of the word, as she is more than willing to step out on a limb to catch a killer.”

Of course, Riley doesn’t see herself as a heroine, just a proud citizen of Cozy Pines, Oregon, who does her best to help others any way she can — including the police when they fall short in the pursuit of a culprit.”
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Leon’s Legacy by Lono Waiwaiole

By L. E. Fitzpatrick

Lono Waiwaiole is the author of the successful Wiley series. Set in his adopted city of Portland, each book has been inspired by an actual event: the murder of a stripper launched Wiley’s Lament, the murder of an upper-class executive by a pimp became Wiley’s Shuffle, the murder of a Portland blues musician turned into Wiley’s Refrain, and the biggest drug bust in the history of the Big Island of Hawai`i was spun into Dark Paradise. But when it came to his latest instalment, the prequel LEON’S LEGACY, Waiwaiole draws on his personal experience as a teacher and coach to pay tribute to another tragic Portland crime.

LEON’S LEGACY addresses what must have happened to Wiley and Leon after their high-school collaboration to put them in their respective places twenty years later. Waiwaiole talks to me about his characters, the inspiration behind the series, and the places that motivate him.

LEON’S LEGACY is the prequel to your award-winning Wiley series. When writing the series did you always intend to go back in time?

The fact that the two protagonists met as hoopers during high school is referred to in all three books, so I guess it was natural to wonder what that meeting was like. At the same time, I started wondering if it would be possible to introduce the series to younger readers by putting the characters in high school.

How have Leon and Wiley developed from LEON’S LEGACY to the later entries in the Wiley series?

Wiley came first, and the idea for his character was sparked from a story in the Portland newspaper. The report said the nude body of a young woman was found in the dumpster behind a strip club during the night. I immediately saw her as somebody’s daughter, probably because I was the father of a young woman myself at the time. I began to wonder what kinds of things must have happened to put her in a strip club dumpster, and what it would be like to be her father and to get this kind of news.
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A Short Time to Die by Susan Alice Bickford

By Jaden Terrell

Born in Boston, Susan Alice Bickford grew up in Central New York, then moved to Silicon Valley to live a high-tech life. Not the background one might expect from a novelist, but then, Susan Bickford is full of surprises.

Her debut novel, A SHORT TIME TO DIE, is rooted in a rural community and, unlike many suspense novels, it centers on the perspective of the victim looking out, rather than that of an outsider looking in. The story starts strong, with a young woman fighting for her life against an opponent who should have been her protector. It’s one of the most intense openings I’ve read in quite a while, and the rest of the book didn’t disappoint.

Asked how she managed to pull off such a powerful beginning, Susan says, “I wanted to grab the reader by the throat right away with the initial confrontation and built up layers of action around it. The final touch was to make the physical setting vivid on every page.”

She writes almost every day, usually in the evening, and warms up with “some mental pencil sharpening to get the juices flowing.” Sometimes that means critiquing a short story or outlining her scene points. Waiting for inspiration, though, is not on the menu. She says, “When my mind is full of junk, I set the timer and do free writing without stopping. This pops the nonsense off the stack and good ideas start bubbling up.”
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Unpunished by Lisa Black

By Wendy Tyson

UNPUNISHED is New York Times bestselling author Lisa Black’s second novel in the popular Gardiner and Renner series. In this latest installment, forensic expert Maggie Gardiner investigates an apparent suicide in the newspaper industry. When evidence suggests foul play, Maggie must join forces with vigilante killer and homicide detective Jack Renner in order to catch a murderer. In anticipation of the release of UNPUNISHED, The Big Thrill sat down with Lisa to talk about her latest novel, her background in forensics, and her advice about the craft of storytelling.

What can you tell us about your book that we won’t find in the jacket copy or the PR material?

This book is really about Maggie coming to terms with what she has done, with what Jack has done, and how she is to move forward in this new reality.

Please tell us a little about Maggie. What events from Maggie’s past have helped make her the woman—and forensic investigator—she is today?

Maggie is a well-rounded and “normal” person, comfortable in her own skin, but a bit of a loner. She lost both her parents while in college but is close to her ever-traveling musician brother. She had a brief, unhappy marriage to a homicide detective but they are on amicable terms, so it seems that all is well. Without the distractions of a personal life she has indulged her workaholic tendencies until her job is everything.
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Moving Target by Lynette Eason

When Maddy McKay and Quinn Holcombe don’t show up for Quinn’s surprise birthday party, his friends know that something is very wrong. Their search turns up little beyond evidence that Quinn and Maddy just decided to take off for a long overdue vacation. But it soon becomes apparent that they did not leave of their own accord.

Maddy awakens in a cement room with no idea where she is. But it’s not long before she realizes she’s in the clutches of a madman exacting revenge by hunting. His prey of choice? Humans. Now Maddy and Quinn must run for their lives, hoping to find their killer before the next game begins. Because if they don’t win this game, they die.

Author Lynette Eason took time to discuss her latest thriller with The Big Thrill:

What do you hope readers will take away from this book?

First, I hope readers are thoroughly entertained by the story. I hope they also realize that true love is worth pursuing and not giving up on. I hope they come away better people for having read the book.
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The Year of the Dog by John Wayne Falbey

It’s the Year of the Dog and China is on the offensive, solidifying its dominion throughout Asia and setting its sights on the rest of the planet. The Russian president intensifies his threat against the free peoples of Europe and beyond. Islamic terrorists continue to fan the flames of hatred and discord across the globe. The world’s baddest actors are ramping up their malevolent ambitions.

Time is running out, but the hunter/killer Black Ops unit known as the Sleeping Dogs is back. But not all dogs make good pets—and the Hounds of Hell are about to be unleashed!

Here, John Wayne Falbey answers a few questions about his latest novel for The Big Thrill:

What do you hope readers will take away from this book?

My goal as a writer is always to entertain my readers as well as fascinate them with bits of the arcane gleaned from my research.

How does this book make a contribution to the genre?

It pulls no punches in a discussion of current global affairs.
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Winterlong by Mason Cross

It’s been five years since Carter Blake parted ways with the top-secret government operation Winterlong. They brokered a deal at the time: he’d keep quiet about what they were doing, and in return he’d be left alone.

But news that one of Blake’s old allies, a man who agreed to the same deal, is dead means only one thing: something has changed and Winterlong is coming for him.

Emma Faraday, newly appointed head of the secret unit, is determined to tie up loose ends. And Blake is a very loose end. He’s been evading them for years, but finally they’ve picked up his trace. Blake may be the best there is at tracking down people who don’t want to be found, but Winterlong taught him everything he knows. If there’s anyone who can find him—and kill him—it’s them.

Mason Cross recently visited with The Big Thrill to discuss WINTERLONG:

What do you hope readers will take away from this book?

Primarily, the experience of reading a fun, fast-paced chase thriller that makes them want to read the next one immediately.
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What You Break by Reed Farrel Coleman

Gus Murphy and his girlfriend, Magdalena, are put in harm’s way when Gus is caught up in the distant aftershocks of heinous crimes committed decades ago in Vietnam and Russia. Gus’s ex-priest pal, Bill Kilkenny, introduces him to a wealthy businessman anxious to have someone look more deeply into the brutal murder of his granddaughter. Though the police already have the girl’s murderer in custody, they have been unable to provide a reason for the killing. The businessman, Spears, offers big incentives if Gus can supply him with what the cops cannot—a motive.

Later that same day, Gus witnesses the execution of a man who has just met with his friend, Slava. As Gus looks into the girl’s murder and tries to protect Slava from the executioner’s bullet, he must navigate a minefield populated by hostile cops, street gangs, and a Russian mercenary who will stop at nothing to do his master’s bidding. But in trying to solve the girl’s murder and save his friend, Gus may be opening a door into a past that was best left forgotten. Can he fix the damage done, or is it true that what you break you own . . . forever?

Author Reed Farrel Coleman recently spoke with The Big Thrill about his latest thriller, WHAT YOU BREAK:

What do you hope readers will take away from this book?

A sense that they’ve read a realistic and exciting crime novel that makes them think about the weight of grief and the price we all pay for violent crime.
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No Safe Place by Matt Hilton

Who does Andrew Clayton turn to for help when his wife has been murdered, his child is in danger, and the police think he is responsible?

Despite his mistrust of Clayton, Joe Hunter accepts the job of protecting young Cole. But who is he protecting the boy from? And why?

It’s clear Clayton knows more about his wife’s killer, but he isn’t saying. And when his silence places Cole in the killer’s sights there’s…no safe place.

Author Matt Hilton recently shared some insight into his latest novel, NO SAFE PLACE, with The Big Thrill:

What do you hope readers will take away from this book?

I hope readers will enjoy a more thoughtful and logical Joe Hunter than the reckless vigilante he was in previous books, to enjoy the lengths he goes to in solving the mystery of Ella Clayton’s murder, and how far he’ll go to protect a vulnerable child.
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Ready Set Rogue by Manda Collins

WHO WILL WRITE THE BOOK OF LOVE?

When scholarly Miss Ivy Wareham receives word that she’s one of four young ladies who have inherited Lady Celeste Beauchamp’s estate with a magnificent private library, she packs her trunks straightaway. Unfortunately, Lady Celeste’s nephew, the rakish Quill Beauchamp, Marquess of Kerr, is determined to interrupt her studies one way or another…

Bequeathing Beauchamp House to four bluestockings―no matter how lovely they are to look at―is a travesty, and Quill simply won’t have it. But Lady Celeste’s death is not quite as straightforward as it first seemed…and if Quill hopes to solve the mystery behind her demise, he’ll need Ivy’s help. Along the way, he is surprised to learn that bookish Ivy stirs a passion and longing that he has never known. This rogue believes he’s finally met his match―but can Quill convince clever, skeptical Ivy that his love is no fiction?

Author Manda Collins recently discussed her novel, READY SET ROGUE, with The Big Thrill:

How does this book make a contribution to the genre?

I think this story has a place in both the tradition of the Agatha Christie English Village murder mystery, as well as in the vein of historical romantic suspense such as that of Amanda Quick and Stephanie Laurens. Because I cut my reading teeth on both mysteries and romances, my favorite novels combine the two and the very best have a bantering couple working together to solve a murder. I hope READY SET ROGUE compares favorably to other books in this vein.
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Rise, How a House Built a Family by Cara Brookins

By Terri Nolan

Cara Brookins’ memoir has three sentences alone on a front page. They read: “Our task was both extreme and simple. My family needed sanctuary. So we built it.” And build it they did.

The family needed to escape domestic violence. They required a new place to live. Cara had to keep her four children safe. Give them peace. During a Thanksgiving holiday they retreated to a cabin in the woods. While there, they entertained themselves by building a model house of twigs held together with sewing thread. By the time the weekend was over they began to think they could build a real house. One that was theirs. A safe haven in which to heal.

RISE, HOW A HOUSE BUILT A FAMILY is the story of that build and the strength they found along the way.

How did you come to write this book?

When we were building I never had any intention of writing about it. We were embarrassed to be in the financial and emotional state we were in so we told very few people what we were doing. My coworkers didn’t even know that I was building the house myself and my kids didn’t tell most of their friends. Domestic violence isolates women and children. Most victims have been pulled away from family and friends and are very much alone in the world.

After we finished the house, people who heard about the project always told me I had to write about it. A top agent with William Morris called me after one of his authors (who I met at a conference) told him the story. He had a tough job selling me on the idea though. I really didn’t want to write about my biggest mistakes and worst fears. They were tough memories to revisit and I’ve never been one to dwell on the past. At that time we were still afraid, too. We weren’t sure what would happen if my ex read the story.
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Sins of the Father by Winter Austin

By Cathy Perkins

Winter Austin has translated her ability to verbally spin a vivid and detailed story into writing deadly romantic thrillers. SINS OF THE FATHER spotlights newly pinned deputy Jolie Murdoch, whose first big job as a McIntire County deputy is to locate a missing girl. What Jolie doesn’t expect is to stumble upon a corpse—the girl’s father—with a prime suspect hanging around the crime scene. But why would local bartender Xavier Hartmann go off the deep end and bludgeon a man to death? A former Marine, barely coping with a traumatic brain injury, Xavier has no memory of what happened at the crime scene.

Will Jolie do her sworn duty or buck the status quo to give her and Xavier’s newfound passion a chance?

SINS OF THE FATHER is the third book in the McIntire County series. What can you tell The Big Thrill readers about the series and how your characters have evolved?

I started the series out with one book, not knowing for certain if it would become a series. When secondary characters came onto the page, sort of creating their own stories in the process, it was a foregone conclusion to continue. PTSD in its many forms seems to be the driving factor behind the books, but it’s mostly the murder plots and how the characters react to them. And as in SINS OF THE FATHER, how the villain has a personal connection to the main character.

At their core, the books in the McIntire County series are romances. I’m not an “insta-love” kind of writer. The relationship with Jolie Murdoch and Xavier Hartmann in this book was slower yet, because they barely know each other, and well, Xavier’s being looked at as a suspect. A huge conflict of interest there for Deputy Murdoch.
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The Excoms by Brett Battles

By Terry DiDomenico

Award-winning author Brett Battles is at it again. With several series under his belt, Battles is giving fans a spin-off from his highly successful Jonathan Quinn series with THE EXCOMS.

In THE EXCOMS we are reintroduced to Ananke, who debuted as an assassin in The Buried, and those who become her team: Rosario the obtainer, Dylan the courier, Liesel the bodyguard, and Ricky, the pain-in-the-ass/hunter. The five find themselves “saved” by a mysterious organization called the Committee. The Committee needs their help and expertise in solving a problem. In return, the Committee promises to reverse their excommunication from the secret world they inhabit.

Of course, nothing good ever comes without strings attached.

According to Battles, “THE EXCOMS brings together a set of fun, diverse characters who together are much greater—and better—than they are as individuals.” He goes on to say, “I loved how the relationships between the five (well, six, if you count Shinji) developed as I wrote the story.”

Battles knew that if he ever did a spin-off from his Quinn series, it would feature Ananke. “I knew she was someone special from the moment she made her initial appearance.” He wasn’t sure where the scene was going, but he knew he needed someone to carry out a quiet assassination. Ananke grew from that.  “She took over the page. She’s smart, talented, and not above making a few bad decisions, Ricky being one.

“I started thinking she’d be great in her own series, but then had an idea to bring together a team, and then thought I would make her the leader of the team. So basically THE EXCOMS grew organically.”

As for Ananke’s unusual name, Battles said he wanted his assassin to have a “cool name.” So he “did a little research and discovered one of the ancient Greek gods was a woman named Ananke, who, in a nutshell, was the dictator of fate and circumstance. That sounded perfect for an assassin to me.
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Hardway by Hector Acosta

By Rick Reed

Hector Acosta was born in Mexico City and moved to the United States. He spent time in El Paso and Dallas before moving with his understanding wife and dog to New York. His time living on the border left an impression on him, and much of his writing revolves around that area and its people. In his free time he enjoys watching wrestling and satisfying a crippling Lego addiction.

Hector Acosta is a spinner of tales that will take your breath. His short stories have appeared in Weird Noir, Thuglit, and in three volumes of Shotgun Honey Anthologies.

HARDWAY is the story of fifteen-year old Spencer who loves professional wrestling. He and his brother Billy start their own wrestling promotion operation in their Dallas apartment complex. Soon after a rival promotion outfit run by Eddie Tornado opens in a nearby apartment complex. Eddie is an unhinged teenager with a connection to Billy’s girlfriend, and an axe to grind. The feud between teenagers heats up and Spencer finds the world of professional wrestling is more real and dangerous than depicted on television.

What was your first experience with being a published writer?  How did that experience influence your future writing?

It happened during my first year of college while taking an English class. One of the first assignments was to write a personal essay about an unusually strong memory. I wrote about the time my dad took my brother and I across the U.S border into Mexico to see a lucha show. Lucha is the Spanish word for fight. Lucha libre shows are underground wrestling entertainment events.

I thought my first essay was decent, and the teacher apparently thought so too, because a few days after I submitted it, she took me aside and asked me if it could be reprinted in the college newspaper. She was the editor.
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The Origins of Benjamin Hackett by Gerald M. O’Connor

All families have secrets. Most go untold. Only the worst seem fated to return…

Benjamin Hackett has come of age, technically. And in the midst of the celebratory hangover, his world is whipped out from under his feet. His parents have finally shared their lifelong secret with him; he’s adopted.

At the age of eighteen, the boy still has some growing up to do, and with the help of J.J., his loquacious consigliere and bodyguard, he embarks on an adventure that’ll put to bed a lifetime of lies.

Over the course of five days, they find themselves caught up in the darker side of Cork. But when they sweep through the misfits blocking their way and finally discover the truth of it… now that’s the greatest shock of all.

THE ORIGINS OF BENJAMIN HACKETT is a tender tale of heartache and displacement told through a wry and courageous voice. Set in Ireland in the summer of 1996, it’s a timely reminder that the world hasn’t moved on just as fast as we fancy. Now, in this emotionally charged story, Gerald O’Connor explores conditioned guilt and its consequences in a country still hiding from the sins of its past.
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Coast to Coast: Private Eyes from Sea to Shining Sea by Andrew McAleer and Paul D. Marks

Hardboiled. Softboiled. Noir. East Coast. West Coast. And all points in between.

Whatever you call them, gumshoe, shamus, Pinkerton, detective, private eye, P.I., shadow, tail, investigator, and wherever you need them, from East to West, North to South. They’re all here.

From the hard pavement of Brooklyn, New York, to the mean dusty streets of Carson City. Down to sultry New Orleans and the freak show that’s Venice, CA. From the flim-flammers of Waco, Texas to DC, Las Vegas to San Berdoo and LA. And from Iowa City to San Diego and small town North Carolina—not to mention the low-life drug dealers in a little place called King’s Quarter, Maine. No one is safe in this impressive collection featuring fifteen original private eye stories. Crime fiction connoisseurs will visit one major crime scene after another with some of today’s best-of-the-best crime writers serving as tour guides. Poisoned-pen masters like: Joe Abramo, Eric Beetner, Michael Bracken, Meredith Cole, Matt Coyle, Tom Donohue, John Floyd, Gay Kinman, Terrill Lee Lankford, Janice Law, Paul D. Marks, Andrew McAleer, O’Neil DeNoux, Robert J. Randisi, and Art Taylor.
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Under the Knife by Kelly Parsons

Biotechnology tycoon Morgan Finney is highly intelligent but shy and emotionally fragile. When his beloved wife Jenny dies of complications during a surgery led by Dr. Rita Wu, Finney’s grief turns to rage. He vows to kill Rita just as he believes she killed his wife.

But first he will systematically destroy her life. He will take what is precious to her just as she did to him. Aided by a mysterious man, Finney uses advanced medical technology to ruin Rita’s reputation and bring her to the brink of madness. Alone, fighting for her sanity and life, Rita reaches out to her to former lover, Dr. Spencer Cameron, for help. Together they must fight to uncover Finney’s horrific intentions and race to stop him before it’s too late.

Terrifying and captivating, Kelly Parsons’ UNDER THE KNIFE is a heart-pounding thriller that will have readers on the edge of their seats up to the very last page.

Parsons recently took some time out of his busy schedule to discuss UNDER THE KNIFE with The Big Thrill:

What do you hope readers will take away from this book?

I simply hope readers will enjoy themselves and savor this story of what happens when a good doctor makes a bad mistake. Some of my most satisfying moments as an author occur when readers tell me they couldn’t put my book down.
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Co-Co-Caleevio by David Alexander

Dominick “Dee” de Venise’s textile warehouse has been in the family for generations, but he’ll have to torch it for the insurance money. De Venise has no other choice. The Mezzatesta family is into him for boo-koo bucks and if he doesn’t pay off, he’s history.

The only other option de Venise has is to stage a big-money heist planned by his crooked lawyer friend Arnie, but he’s already turned down that particular deal. Arnie’s plan is too risky, and besides, de Venise knows Arnie long enough and well enough not to trust him. De Venise doesn’t trust anyone to torch the business either. Wanting it done right, he plans to do it himself, then set up an ironclad alibi.

Everything goes like clockwork until the insurance company refuses to pay off on de Venise’s policy, leaving him with no business to run and no money to buy off his wise guy creditors.

With no more cards to play at this point, de Venise agrees to do the European heist. If nothing else, it will get him out of the country, and if de Venise is really lucky and really smart, there’s even an outside chance of him scoring the bucks he needs to get him straight with the mob and put him back in action.

Just like when he was a kid, the name of the game is CO—CO—CALEEVIO—single, double, triple. Catch the ball to win. Fumble the ball and … forget about it.
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The Last Collar by Lawrence Kelter & Frank Zafiro

The demons that drive John “Mocha” Moccia to obsess, to put absolutely everyone under a microscope, and scratch away at every last clue, make him the best hardnosed detective in Brooklyn homicide. But these same demons may very well write the final chapter in his career.

He isn’t the kind of detective to take no for an answer, but in his most recent case answers are damn hard to come by. Partnered with the conscientious Detective Matt Winslow, Mocha endeavors to solve the murder of the wealthy and beautiful Jessica Shannon, a woman who had every reason to live.

As Mocha and Winslow strive to push forward the hands of time and solve the murder, their imposing lieutenant breathes down their necks, suspects are scarce, and all of the evidence seems to be a dead end.

With the last precious grains of sand falling through the hourglass, Mocha pushes ever forward, determined to make an arrest, even if it means this collar will be his last.

Authors Lawrence Kelter and Frank Zafiro recently discussed their novel, THE LAST COLLAR, with The Big Thrill:

What do you hope readers will take away from this book?

More than anything, we hope that they will be engrossed in a different world for a few hours, and care about the people in that world. If the idea that we have to live each day to its fullest lingers afterward, that’d be even better.
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Deadly Spirits: A Mac McClellan Mystery by E. Michael Helms

When private eye Mac McClellan joins a local paranormal society at his girlfriend’s request, he finds himself embroiled in a real whodunnit.

During Mac’s first paranormal investigation, the group’s leader is found dead at the bottom of a staircase, his neck broken. On the next outing, another group member falls to her death from the observation deck of a “haunted” lighthouse. Mac suspects there might be more to these deaths than a vengeful spirit. His launches an investigation that takes him for a true hair-raising ride.

Author E. Michael Helms recently sat down with The Big Thrill to discuss DEADLY SPIRITS:

What do you hope readers will take away from this book?

The satisfaction of taking part in an exciting adventure, knowing the time invested was well-spent.

How does this book make a contribution to the genre?

By living up to the standards set by many predecessors: hooking the reader and keeping him/her guessing; and by book’s end, leaving the reader satisfied yet wanting to spend more time with the main characters.
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In Defiance by John W. Mefford

A volatile hostage situation at a foster home reaches a bitter end: shots are fired, some die, some live to tell a sordid tale. In the midst of the anguish and confusion is one child who will bear the scars of this unbelievable turmoil.

As a special investigator for Child Protective Services, Ivy Nash lives by one rule: she’ll do anything to fight for the wellbeing of children. Something that was never done for her. As a “system” kid, she spent time in seventeen foster homes.

Very quickly, the facts of the case are blurred…accusations of sibling abuse, connections to drugs. Nothing lines up, and authorities want it all to go away. Their target? A ten-year-old boy. Unrelenting in her pursuit to find the truth, Ivy and her new friend Cristina uncover alarming new information to pinpoint who is at the root of the crime.

But evil knows no boundaries. Shockwaves of her most horrific childhood memories erupt into the present, and Ivy knows that she’s in the fight for her life.
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Black Moon Rising by Ann Simas

Sunshine Fyfe’s dealt with the death of her Navy SEAL husband, the birth of two kids, and life’s general ups-and-downs, but five visions in five days, each showing a different version of a disturbing event? What’s that all about?

From the moment Sunny stops to help a bicyclist down on the side of the road, her calm, sane life becomes hell on earth.

Detective Luca Amorosi doesn’t start out beholden to Sunny for helping his sister. How could he, when he’s been led to believe she’s the hit-and-run driver? With the truth comes another realization—he’s falling for Sunshine Fyfe in ways he never imagined possible.

From her dead husband’s letters, Sunny gleans information that sends her spiraling into a living nightmare. Cults. Blue moons. Sacrificial lambs. She does the only thing she can to prevent the dire future her visions foretell.

Will her efforts be too little, too late, or can Sunny save her children, her family, and the man she’s come to love?

Author Ann Simas recently took time out of her busy schedule to discuss her latest thriller with The Big Thrill:
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Dark Asset by Adrian Magson

It’s back to Somalia (see The Watchman) for deep cover specialist Marc Portman. Hired this time by a French intelligence agency, he’s sent in undercover to provide back-up for one of their officers trying to recover a hard drive from one of the most dangerous cities on the planet – Mogadishu.

What they haven’t told Portman is that the device holds a record of top-secret negotiations for oil drilling worth billions, talks held between two leading western nations… and a hard-line terrorist organisation responsible for killing thousands of innocent people. If the recordings should get into the public domain, they’re capable of toppling two governments and ruining many reputations and careers, which is why it’s vital for the hard drive to be retrieved at all costs.

But while Portman and his French protectee are working hard to complete their task in already extreme circumstances, the decision is made to abandon the negotiations and close down all contacts with the terrorist organisation as if the talks never took place.

To reinforce this decision, an international team of former Foreign Legionnaires and ex-US special forces operatives is despatched to make sure that all records of the talks are buried for good. And that includes wiping out any non-affiliated ‘assets’ on the ground in Somalia.

Which puts Portman at the very top of the hit list.

Unfortunately for them, Portman doesn’t silence easily, and does what he does best, which is to fight back.
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Kill Without Shame by Alexandra Ivy

Lucas St. Clair’s prestigious family had a political future neatly planned out for him—one that didn’t include his high school sweetheart, Mia Ramon. Under their pressure, Lucas gave her up. But since surviving captivity, he’s a changed man—and a crucial member of ARES Security. When he discovers a dead man clutching a picture of Mia that bears a threatening message, his fiercest protective instincts kick in, and he knows he must go to her.

Mia has never forgiven Lucas for breaking her heart, and she’s convinced her feelings for him are in the past. But it’s soon clear that isn’t true for either of them. Now, determined to solve the crime and keep Mia safe, with his ARES buddies backing him up, Lucas will have to reconstruct the murder victim’s last days—and follow a lethal trail that leads right back to the fate of the woman he still loves.

The Big Thrill recently had the opportunity to chat with Alexandra Ivy about her latest novel, KILL WITHOUT SHAME.

What do you hope readers will take away from this book?  

The power of friendship.  I have created a group of ex-soldiers who have survived the hell of being prisoners of war, to come home and offer their skills to those in need. InKILL WITHOUT SHAME, I also added in a layer of friendship with Mia and the man who turns up dead in the first chapter.  I’m fascinated with the idea of people willing to sacrifice everything for those who they love.
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Midnight Obsession by Melinda Leigh

When a mysterious package lands on Louisa Hancock’s doorstep, the Philadelphia museum curator can hardly anticipate the nightmare that’s about to envelop her. The package is addressed to her father—an expert in Viking culture—and inside is a ninth-century sword, a chilling thank-you note, and photos of two dead bodies in a tableau evoking a Nordic funeral. The gruesome images match a recent crime scene. But before the police can investigate the killer’s connection to Louisa’s father, Ward Hancock vanishes.

Sports bar owner Conor Sullivan wants nothing more than to spend his life with Louisa. Devoted and protective, he refuses to leave her side after her father’s disappearance. When a troubled young boxer he’s been coaching is suspected of the murders, Conor is pulled in even deeper. Desperate, Louisa and Conor take it upon themselves to find her father, but soon another ritualistic slaying makes it clear there’s a Viking-obsessed serial killer on the loose. And he has a new target: Louisa.

Melinda Leigh recently spent some time discussing her latest novel, MIDNIGHT OBSESSION, with The Big Thrill.

 What do you hope readers will take away from this book?    

MIDNIGHT OBSESSION explores the darkness in humanity and how one person’s choices can spiral out of control and have tragic consequences far beyond their expectations.

How does this book make a contribution to the genre?

I love to cross genres.MIDNIGHT OBSESSION brings elements of thriller, romance, drama, and even horror  together into one package.
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The Ashes by Vincent Zandri

“Don’t go down into the cellar, Mommy…”

From Thriller Award winner and New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, Vincent Zandri, comes the long awaited sequel to the No. 1 Overall Amazon Bestselling suspense thriller, THE REMAINS.

HORROR IN THE DARK WOODS
It’s been eight years since artist and single mom, Rebecca Underhill, was abducted and left to die in an old broken down house located in the middle of the dark woods. But even if her abductor, Joseph William Whalen, has since been killed, another more insidious evil is once more out to get her in the form of the Skinner. The son of an abusive butcher, Skinner intends on finishing the job Whalen started.

How will he get to Rebecca?

He’s going to do it through her children, by luring them into the cornfield behind the old farmhouse they live in.

HORROR IN THE DEPTHS
Now, armed with the knowledge that the Skinner has escaped incarceration at a downstate facility for the criminally insane, Rebecca must face the most horrifying challenge of her adult life: Rescuing the children not from a house in the woods, but from the abandoned tunnels that run underneath her property.

But the Skinner is watching Rebecca’s every move.

Horrifying question is: will she live long enough to save the children?

Vincent Zandri recently sat down with The Big Thrill to discuss his latest novel, THE ASHES.
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Stalked by Elizabeth Heiter

If you’re reading this, I’m already dead… 

That’s the note seventeen-year-old Haley Cooke leaves behind when she disappears from inside her high school. FBI profiler Evelyn Baine is called in to figure out who had reason to hurt her. On the surface, the popular cheerleader has no enemies, but as Evelyn digs deeper, she discovers that everyone close to Haley has something to hide. Everyone from estranged parents, to an older boyfriend with questionable connections, to a best friend who envies Haley’s life.

Secrets can be deadly… 

One of those secrets may have gotten Haley killed. If she’s still alive, Evelyn knows that the more the investigation ramps up, the more pressure they could be putting on Haley’s kidnapper to make her disappear for good. It’s also possible the teenager isn’t in danger at all, but has skillfully manipulated everyone and staged her own disappearance. Only one thing is certain: uncovering Haley’s fate could be dangerous—even deadly—to Evelyn herself.

Author Elizabeth Heiter recently sat down with The Big Thrill to discuss her latest novel, STALKED.
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Where I Can See You by Larry D. Sweazy

Haunted by the disappearance of his mother when he was eight years old, detective Hud Matthews begins his own investigation to find out what really happened so many years before. When a rare murder occurs in the lakeside community, Hud’s veteran skills are called upon to capture the killer. Pulled deep into the threads of the community with ties to the past, Hud quickly becomes a target, not only of the killer, but of those who wish the past to be left alone. As Hud gets closer to discovering the truth about the crimes, he has to face a choice of enforcing the law, or stepping outside of it to make sure that his version of justice is served.

Larry D. Sweazy recently discussed WHERE I CAN SEE YOU with The Big Thrill.

What do you hope readers will take away from this book? 

Detective Hud Matthew’s mother disappeared when he was eight years old and was never heard from again.  That loss not only changed his life in a deep, inexplicable way, it also taught him how to ask questions and to look differently at the world from a very young age. He had no choice but to grow up to become a detective. So, I hope readers will root for Hud and see a little of themselves in his story. The experiences of our entire lives puts us where we are now.
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Witness by Caroline Mitchell

To Rebecca it was a brave decision that led to her freedom from domestic abuse. To Solomon it was the ultimate betrayal.

It’s been ten years since Rebecca’s testimony saw Solomon locked away. Enough time for the nightmares to recede, the nerves to relax; enough time to rebuild her life and put the past behind her.

Then one day a phone rings in her bedroom—but it’s not her phone. Solomon has been in her home, and has a very simple message for her: for each of the ten years he has spent in jail, Rebecca must witness a crime. And, to make matters worse, she has to choose the victims.

As the crimes grow more severe, the victims closer to home, Rebecca is forced to confront a past she had hoped was gone forever.

Author Caroline Mitchell recently discussed her new novel with The Big Thrill.

What do you hope readers will take away from this book?

I’d like readers to be shocked, thrilled, and moved by this story, and take away a new understanding of domestic abuse and the ripple effect it has on the victims and their family.
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