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Notable Quotable & Giveaway: The Widow’s Watcher by Eliza Maxwell

 
THE WIDOW’S WATCHER
by
ELIZA MAXWELL
Genre: Literary Fiction
Publisher: Lake Union Press
Date of Publication: March 29, 2018
Number of Pages: 286Scroll down for the giveaway!

From Eliza Maxwell, the bestselling author of The Unremembered Girl, comes a gripping novel about the mysteries that haunt us and the twists of fate that can unravel them…
Living in the shadow of a decades-old crime that stole his children from him, reclusive Lars Jorgensen is an unlikely savior. But when a stranger walks onto the ice of a frozen Minnesota lake, her intentions are brutally clear, and the old man isn’t about to let her follow through.
Jenna Shaw didn’t ask for Lars’s help, nor does she want it. After he pulls her from the brink, however, Jenna finds her desire to give up challenged by their unlikely friendship. In Jenna, Lars recognizes his last chance for redemption. And in her quest to solve the mysteries of Lars’s past and bring him closure, Jenna may find the way out of her own darkness. 
But the truth that waits threatens to shatter it all. When secrets are surrendered and lies are laid bare, Jenna and Lars may find that accepting the past isn’t their greatest challenge. Can they afford the heartbreaking price of forgiveness?
PRAISE FOR THE WIDOW’S WATCHER:
“There was a moment I had to tell myself that this is just a book…”
Goodreads reviewer
“A well-paced story of healing, forgiveness and tragedy, with enough unexpected twists to keep readers guessing.”
— Amber Cowie, author of Rapid Falls

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Eliza Maxwell lives in Texas with her ever-patient husband and two kids. She’s an artist and writer, an introvert and a British cop drama addict. She loves nothing more than to hear from readers.
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MAY 22-31, 2018
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5/22/18
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5/23/18
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Author Interview
5/26/18
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Book Blitz: Tangible Spirits by Becki Willis

 
TANGIBLE SPIRITS 
BOOK BLITZ 
by
BECKI WILLIS
Genre: Paranormal / Thriller / Suspense 
Publisher: Clear Creek Publishing
Date of Publication: May 13, 2017
Number of Pages: 316

Reporter Gera Stapleton has a difficult choice to make: write the story of a lifetime or save the legacy of a town—and a man—she has come to love. Assigned to a piece in Jerome, Arizona about a once-friendly ghost gone on a crime spree, Gera stumbles upon an amazing tale of greed, deception, and family honor—and murder. When the killer targets her as the next victim, an unlikely savior comes to her rescue. Smart dialogue, plenty of action, and a touch of the supernatural make this a must-read novel.

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2018 Best Paranormal Fiction
by The Association of Texas Authors 
2018 RONE Award Nominee for Paranormal Long
Crowned Heart Recipient from InD’Tale Magazine


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ABOUT THE RONE AWARDS:
Each year InD’tale Magazine honors the very best books in the Indie and Small publishing industry by awarding the prestigious RONE award (Reward of Novel Excellence). To achieve this award, a book must go through the most comprehensive process in the industry today, with three distinct areas of focus— highly rated and reviewed, loved by fans, and critiqued by qualified judges. No other award system today compares, making the RONE award the very highest of honors bestowed on a novel in the publishing industry.

 The first round of voting (happening May 7-13, 2018 for TANGIBLE SPIRITS) allows the reading public to choose their favorites. Books with the most votes proceed as finalists. The books chosen as finalists will then be read by a group of industry professionals and will be judged based on a specific list of requirements. Those scores will then be tallied by a professional company unrelated to InD’tale or its employees to determine the winner of the coveted RONE award.

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FOR TANGIBLE SPIRITS! 
Please register now at www.indtale.com and cast your vote for TANGIBLE SPIRITS by Becki Willis. http://indtale.com/2018-rone-awards-week-four *Please Note* To maintain honesty and fairness in the voting process, only registered InD’Tale website subscribers can vote. Registering is completely FREE and does not require any commitments whatsoever.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: To the delight of readers around the world, Becki Willis writes memorable characters in believable situations. Best known for Forgotten Boxes and The Sisters, Texas Mystery Series, Becki has won numerous awards, but says her biggest achievement is her family and her loyal reader base.

TANGIBLE SPIRITS
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Review & Giveaway: Searching for Pilar by Patricia Hunt Holmes

 

SEARCHING FOR PILAR
by
PATRICIA HUNT HOLMES
Genre: Contemporary Suspense / Thriller
Publisher: River Grove Books
Publication Date: April 10, 2018
Number of Pages: 320 pages

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Pilar, an innocent young wife and mother, is abducted during a fake job interview in Mexico City and forced into sex slavery in Houston. Can she survive the horrors of a world—one which many good Americans don’t see or ignore—long enough for her brother Diego to find her?

Searching for Pilar breaks open the secretive and dangerous world of sex trafficking, while exploring human nature and our connections to each another. Diego’s guilt transforms him from a rudderless youth into a man of purpose, and courage. While he searches, Pilar finds a strength that could save herself and a young girl who needs her. The themes of family, love, faith and the law intertwine in this action-packed tale of the Bayou City.

PRAISE FOR SEARCHING FOR PILAR:

“Patricia Holmes fictionalizes the heartbreaking reality of cross-border sex trafficking in her novel, Searching for Pilar. This cautionary tale should be required reading for high school classes to foster awareness, understanding, and ultimately solutions to this horrific epidemic.”  —Joanne F. Phillips, author of Revenge of the Cube Dweller.

“In Searching for Pilar, Patricia Hunt Holmes makes us aware of the terrible nature of sex trafficking in the context of a fast-paced, exciting Houston story that moves from affluence and glitz to barrio cantinas and the federal courthouse. The charitable, can-do nature of Houston is reflected in the wide cast of residents who help a young man on an extremely dangerous mission to find his kidnapped sister.  This book will be an added weapon in our fight against sex trafficking.” –Sylvester Turner, Mayor, City of Houston

I have never been one of those “H-town represent” type of people, but I am a happy resident of a small suburb of Houston. Searching for Pilar digs deep into the one thing I am ashamed of that happens not only in the seedy parts of the city, but even down the street from my idyllic neighborhood. When a local “massage” parlor is busted and the mugshots of spent women with vacant eyes are plastered all over social media, people (mostly men) will often ridicule their looks and say disgusting, degrading things. Very rarely have I seen anyone come to their defense, explaining that perhaps these women had no choice because they are essentially slaves. While there are women who are voluntary sex workers in this country, I think that many people are unaware of how many women and even children are abducted from their countries and sold into sex slavery. I think that these same people would be even more shocked to realize that this sort of thing happens to U.S. citizens as well. Sometimes their financial situation is so dire that they are tricked and trapped into working as prostitutes. Even our children and teenagers can be lured by promises of modeling contracts or movie stardom, only to be taken to another city or even shipped outside of the U.S.
Holmes was shocked to find that many of her friends were unaware of the fact that Houston is the hub of human trafficking in the U.S. She started writing this book about five years ago, before human trafficking was covered in the media regularly. Despite the lapse in time, this story is still relevant and disturbing. Women and children from all over the world continue to be exploited and it makes my stomach hurt to know that so much of these terrible activities are filtered through my city. It disgusts me that predators from all around visit the city under the guise of watching professional sports.
Although a little farfetched, it is the sports tie which allows Diego, Pilar’s big brother, the luxury to come to Houston to find his sister. The fact that rich and powerful men, including sports stars, have access to underground men’s clubs, makes it plausible that Diego could find clues about his sister’s whereabouts. And while I like the clues used to find Pilar, I thought that Holmes sometimes hit the readers on the nose to make sure they don’t miss anything. I would have liked a little more subtlety in the descriptive passages and less exposition in the dialogue.
Holmes’ knowledge of the city of Houston is intricate and the description of the area is vivid. In fact, her description of the places in Mexico are so well written, it made me wonder if she traveled to any of them for inspiration. I could imagine myself in Pilar’s small village and felt myself tense up as she entered Mexico City. It was in those moments of great writing that I completely forgot that Holmes was a lawyer before becoming a writer. Oftentimes, lawyers turned writers tend to write dry, almost clinical novels, but Holmes’ ear for dialogue and eye for description sets her apart from those writers.
Thankfully, for a book about sex trafficking, the gory details are not in every chapter. I appreciated that Holmes seemed to keep the disturbing descriptions to one chapter. It was difficult to read and probably even more difficult to write. But I believe the chapter serves a purpose and Holmes executes it as tastefully as possible. It gives readers a peek at the horrors that these women and girls go through. One chapter was enough for my eyes, so I couldn’t begin to imagine living that life all day, every day for years.
I don’t want to give anything away because this story really was an exciting thriller. Much like the debates that some of the novel’s characters have, I hope that this book starts a dialogue among people who have hard opinions about topics like illegal aliens and prostitution. I hope that people will see that bad guys won’t have a business if “good” guys would just stop buying the product.
I recommend this book to just about any adult reader, but I especially want the people who mock the mugshots of busted sex workers to open their world up a little bit. Maybe a little awareness will lead to actions that result in big changes.

Patricia Hunt Holmes spent 30 years as a public finance attorney with the international law firm of Vinson & Elkins LLP.   She was consistently listed in Best Lawyers in America, Texas Super Lawyers, Top Lawyers in Houston, and awarded the highest degree by her peers in Martindale Hubbell. She was a frequent speaker at national public finance and healthcare conferences.  Patricia has also served on the faculty of the University of Missouri-Columbia, University of Tennessee, and University of Texas Health Science Center Houston. She has written and published in the fields of intellectual history and law.

Patricia has been a member and board member of social service organizations in Houston that focus on helping women, including the United Way of the Texas Gulf Coast Women’s Initiative, Dress for Success Houston, and the American Heart Association’s Circle of Red.  She was a founding member and first board chair of Houston Justice for Our Neighbors, which provides free and low cost legal services to immigrants.  For the past five years, she has been taking writing workshops with Inprint, associated with the outstanding University of Houston Creative Writing Program.  She began to write Searching for Pilar in a workshop after learning that Houston is one of the biggest hubs for sex trafficking in the country.

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Deadlock by DiAnn Mills

DEADLOCK
by
DiAnn Mills
 
Two murders have rocked the city of Houston. Are they the work of a serial killer, or is a copycat trying to get away with murder?
That is the question facing Special Agent Bethany Sanchez, who is eager for her new assignment in violent crimes but anxious about meeting her new partner. Special Agent Thatcher Graves once arrested her brother, and he has a reputation for being a maverick. Plus, their investigative styles couldn’t be more opposite: he operates on instinct, while she goes by the book.
When hot leads soon fizzle out, their differences threaten to leave them deadlocked. But an attempt on their lives turns up the heat and brings them closer together, and a third victim might yield the clue that will help them zero in on a killer. This could be the case of their careers . . . if they can survive long enough to solve it.
Praise for the FBI: Houston series
“[A] fast-moving, intricately plotted thriller.” Publishers Weekly
“As romantic as it is exciting, Firewall will appeal to fans of Dee Henderson’s romantic suspense stories.” Booklist
“The tension level rises as layers of lies are peeled away in multiple plot twists.” Library Journal, starred review
 
Read Chapter 1 of DEADLOCK HERE
 
Review
While I can hardly call myself an expert on what makes a great suspense novel, I think that Mills’ third book of the series is a great specimen since it makes me wish that I read the other two books. But don’t worry. You’re not reading blind since the book stands on itself very well. From the first page, I was gripped by the tension of Bethany’s apprehension towards her new partner. And as you take in the surroundings with her, the quick pace of the writing pushes you forward to solving the crime while interspersing events from the past seamlessly. Mills is a master of dialogue, which makes the characters all the more believable and interesting. I have to say that I won’t be driving around Houston the same way ever again after seeing this version of the city in my mind with such detail.
DiAnn Mills is a bestselling author who believes her readers should expect an adventure. She combines unforgettable characters with unpredictable plots to create action-packed, suspense-filled novels.
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. Library Journal presented her with a Best Books 2014: Genre Fiction award in the Christian Fiction category for Firewall.
DiAnn is a founding board member of the American Christian Fiction Writers; the 2015 president of the Romance Writers of America’s Faith, Hope, & Love chapter; a member of Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, and International Thriller Writers. She speaks to various groups and teaches writing workshops around the country. She and her husband live in sunny Houston, Texas.



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Stillwater by Melissa Lenhardt

STILLWATER

by
Melissa Lenhardt
 

Big Secrets Run Deep.

Former FBI agent Jack McBride took the job as Chief of Police for Stillwater, Texas, to start a new life with his teenage son, Ethan, away from the suspicions that surrounded his wife’s disappearance a year earlier.
 
With a low crime rate and a five-man police force, he expected it to be a nice, easy gig; hot checks, traffic violations, some drugs, occasional domestic disturbances, and petty theft. Instead, within a week he is investigating a staged murder-suicide, uncovering a decades’ old skeleton buried in the woods, and managing the first crime wave in thirty years.
 
For help navigating his unfamiliar, small-town surroundings, Jack turns to Ellie Martin, one of the most respected women in town—her scandal-filled past notwithstanding. Despite Jack’s murky marriage status and the disapproval of Ethan and the town, they are immediately drawn to each other.
 
As Jack and Ellie struggle with their budding relationship, they unearth shattering secrets long buried and discover the two cases Jack is working, though fifty years apart, share a surprising connection that will rattle the town to its core.
 
BUY LINKS:
 
ADVANCE PRAISE FOR STILLWATER:
 
“Secrets, lies, and betrayals run through STILLWATER like irrigation through dry land. Melissa Lenhardt’s writing drips with detail to create a story that rushes like a wave toward an ever-twisting ending. Don’t let the name fool you; STILLWATER’s threats lie right below the surface.” —Diane Vallere, bestselling author of the Material Witness, Madison Night, and Style & Error Mysteries
 
“Dangerous things lurk beneath the placid surface in Stillwater, Texas. Secrets shunning the light of day, decades-old betrayals, lies that have taken on a life of their own.  Moody and atmospheric, utterly compelling, you don’t want to miss Melissa Lenhardt’s marvelous debut novel, STILLWATER.” —Harry Hunsicker, former Executive Vice President of the Mystery Writers of America, author of THE GRID
 
“Crisp and pacy writing pulls you in deep from page one, when Jack McBride strides into a crime scene and a world of trouble. STILLWATER is the perfect combination of a tightly plotted tale peopled by rich, complex characters (plus one or two deliciously hateful true baddies). Slashed budgets, racial tensions, messy pasts – this small town is anything but cozy. The mystery itself is a classic puzzle, though: clever and convincing. Roll on Jack #2!” —Catriona McPherson, Agatha, Anthony, and Macavity–winning author of the Edgar-nominated The Day She Died
 
Small-town loyalties and long-simmering secrets combine for  a compelling page-turner!  A fish-out-of-water lawman and his adolescent son try to escape the past in not-so-cozy Stillwater, Texas –but soon they’re battling corruption, revenge, and murder. Fast-paced dialogue, an authentic setting, and engaging characters–Stillwater is a one-sitting read.
Hank Phillippi Ryan – Agatha, Anthony, Macavity, Daphne and Mary Higgins Clark award winning author
 
STILLWATER runs deep with intrigue, passion, and long-buried secrets. Melissa Lenhardt weaves a rich tale of suspense as hot as the east Texas town in which it’s set.
Annette Dashofy, USA Today best-selling author of the Zoe Chambers mysteries
 
With a twisting plot, nonstop action and a sexy, complex protagonist you’ll root for from page one, Lenhardt brings the town of Stillwater, Texas (pop. 2,436), and all its long-buried secrets, to life. Fast-paced and tightly-written, STILLWATER is a must-read for anyone who loves great crime fiction. Book two can’t come soon enough!
Wendy Tyson, author of Killer Image and Deadly Assets.
 
Chapter One
Thursday
 
A line of flashing blue and red lights led the way to a pale green single- wide trailer. Firemen, sheriff deputies, and EMTs huddled in front of the house, talking, looking around, and laughing. All eyes turned to Jack McBride’s car as it pulled into the dirt-packed front yard, which doubled as the driveway.
Jack set the alarm on his phone. “Stay in the car,” he told his thirteen- year-old son, Ethan. He opened the door, got out, and leaned back in. “I mean it.”
 
“I know, Dad.”
 
Neighbors grouped behind yellow crime-scene tape. Some wore paja- mas, others wore work clothes. Women held babies, children craned their necks to see better, eager for information to share at school. A young officer guarded them—Officer Nathan Starling.
 
It was his file that had fallen from Jack’s lap when he was startled awake by the early morning call. If Jack hadn’t read Starling was the youngest and newest member of the force, he would have guessed it from his role as crowd control. Starling shifted on his feet and looked over his shoulder at the crowd, as if debating whether he should leave his post to introduce himself or stay put. Jack waved an acknowledgment to him and moved toward the trailer.
 
Jack nodded at the group of first responders as he walked by and received a couple of muttered hellos in return. Some looked from Jack to Ethan and then back. Jack climbed the uneven concrete steps, stopped at the door, and put on paper booties and gloves. Behind him, he heard a low conversation start back up, the words alone, wife, and no one knows carrying across the yard as if announced through a bullhorn. The screen door slapped shut behind him, cutting off the rest of the conversation.
 
The smell of chili, paprika, and cumin hung in the air of the trailer. Flimsy wooden cabinets topped with a chipped orange Formica counter were wedged against the back wall of the main room by a strip of ugly, peeling linoleum. Brown shag carpet, flattened by years of traffic, marked off the living area of the room. Left of the door, under a loud window unit dripping condensation, sat a couch of indeterminate color too large for the room. A black-haired man with bloodshot eyes and a green tinge underneath his dark skin sat on the couch, chewing his nails. He looked up at Jack and stopped chewing—a signal for his leg to start bouncing. A bull-necked police officer, his thumbs crooked underneath his gun belt, stood guard over the man.
 
“Officer Freeman,” Jack said.
 
If Michael Freeman was surprised Jack knew who he was, he didn’t show it. His face remained expressionless.
 
“Chief McBride.”
 
A third officer stood at the mouth of the hallway to the right with a portly, elderly man. Relief washed over the officer’s face. He moved for- ward, hand outstretched. “Chief McBride,” he said. “Miner Jesson. This here is Doc Poole.”
 
Jack shook their hands.“Sorry to meet you under these circumstances, Dr. Poole.”
 
“Helluva case to get on your first day, eh?” the doctor said.
 
Jack nodded and gave a brief smile. He pulled gloves and more paper booties from his coat pocket and handed them to Jesson and the doctor. Jack walked down the hall and entered the room. Jesson stopped at the door.
 
“Gilberto and Rosa Ramos,” Jesson said. “Found dead this morning by Diego Vasquez.” He jerked his thumb in the direction of the man sitting on the couch. “Says he’s Rosa’s brother. He don’t speak much English, but from what I gathered, he came to pick Gilberto up for work and heard the baby screaming. When no one answered, he let himself in. Door was open. Found them just like that.”
 
They were both nude. The woman lay face down, covering half of the man’s body. The right side of the man’s head was blown across the pillow. Blood and brain matter were sprayed across the bed, under the woman and onto the floor. A clump of long dark hair was stuck to the window with blood. Her right arm extended across the man’s chest, a gun held lightly in her grip.
 
Jack walked around the bed.
 
Doc Poole stood next to Officer Jesson. “It takes a special kind of anger to kill someone you are in the middle of fucking, doncha think?” Doc Poole said. “Ever see that in the F-B-I?” Derision dripped from every letter.
 
Jack ignored him. “Where’s the baby?”
 
Jack hoped the revulsion on Jesson’s face meant scenes like this were rare in Stillwater. If he had wanted to deal with shit like this on a regular basis, he would have taken a better-paying job in a larger town.
 
“Officer Jesson?” Jack said. “Where’s the baby?” “Oh. It’s with a neighbor.”
 
“Has anyone called CPS?”
 
“Why?”
 
“To take care of the baby.”
 
“The neighbor offered.”
 
“And what do we know about this neighbor?”
 
He shrugged. “She didn’t speak much English.”
 
“So, she could be in the next county by now?”
 
“Oh, I doubt that,” Jesson said. “She seemed like a nice sort. Very
motherly.”
 
Jack cocked his head and puzzled over whether his most senior officer
was ignorant, naive, or an amazing judge of character.
 
He turned his attention to Doc Poole. “What’s the time of death?” “Sometime last night.”
 
“Can you be more specific?”
 
“Didn’t see the need. Seems pretty obvious what happened.”
 
“Oh, are you a detective?”
 
“No. I’m a general practitioner.”
 
“You’re the JP, aren’t you?”
 
“No. I used to be.” He chuckled. “Too old for this now.”
 
“Yet, here you are.”
 
“JP is on the way, Chief,” Jesson said.
 
Jack kept his focus on Doctor Poole. “So you heard this over the radio
and decided to come? Or did someone call you?”
 
“Well,I—”
 
“Do you have the instruments necessary to establish a time of death?” “Not with me, but—”
 
“Then get off my crime scene.”
 
The little man straightened his shoulders and lifted his chin. “I can
see why Jane Maxwell liked you.” He started to leave but turned back. “We do things different here in Stillwater.”
 
“Not anymore we don’t,” Jack said.
 
 
Melissa Lenhardt writes mystery, historical fiction, and women’s fiction. Her short fiction has appeared in Heater Mystery Magazine, The Western Online, and Christmas Nookies, a holiday romance anthology. Her debut novel, Stillwater, was a finalist for the 2014 Whidbey Writers’ MFA Alumni Emerging Writers Contest. She is a board member of the DFW Writers’ Workshop and vice president of the Sisters in Crime North Dallas Chapter. Melissa lives in Texas, with her husband and two sons.


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Ransom Canyon by Jodi Thomas

From New York Times bestselling author Jodi Thomas comes the first book in a compelling, emotionally resonant series set in a remote west Texas town—where family can be made by blood or by choice.
Rancher Staten Kirkland, the last descendant of Ransom Canyon’s founding father, is rugged and practical to the last. No one knows that when his troubling memories threaten to overwhelm him, he runs to lovely, reclusive Quinn O’Grady…or that she has her own secret that no one living knows.
Young Lucas Reyes has his eye on the prize—college, and the chance to become something more than a ranch hand’s son. But one night, one wrong decision, will set his life on a course even he hadn’t imagined.
Yancy Grey is running hard from his troubled past. He doesn’t plan to stick around Ransom Canyon, just long enough to learn the town’s weaknesses and how to use them for personal gain. Only Yancy, a common criminal since he was old enough to reach a car’s pedals, isn’t prepared for what he encounters.
In this dramatic new series, the lives, loves and ambitions of four families will converge, set against a landscape that can be as unforgiving as it is beautiful, where passion, property and pride are worth fighting—and even dying—for.
 

 
BUY LINKS
 
Praise for Ransom Canyon
 
Ransom Canyon is a tale of redemption and hope filled with authentic dialogue and characters engaging enough to chat with over a cup of coffee.” – Fort Worth Star Telegram


“Western romance legend Thomas opens her latest series in a small Texas town…. Ransom Canyon will warm readers with its huge heart and gentle souls. For all romance collections.” – Library Journal


Once again a delightful entry into a new series by a favorite of mine. Jodi Thomas has the ability to reel me in every time with her enterprising, intelligent and caring cast of characters and RANSOM CANYON has some of the best yet. ” – Fresh Fiction

Review
This book had some interesting love stories in it. If I hadn’t recently read another novel where a man left his wife to his best friend in the event of his death, I don’t know if I would have believed the idea of a man having an affair (much less falling in love) with his deceased wife’s best friend.
While I found Staten and Quinn’s relationship a bit shaky, I thought their characters were interesting. Their interactions had real weight and I was excited to see what they did next. Thomas fleshed those two characters, and those of the senior citizens in town, in a believable manner. But Yancy the ex-con and the teenager characters were a bit wooden in my ears. I think Thomas probably doesn’t interact with many ruffians or youngsters very often, and that’s why I don’t find those characters very believable. However, I thought the plot was interesting and definitely not overdone. I can honestly say that as I was reading, I never once thought, “Haven’t I read this before?” or “This reminds me of…”
In the end, I was glad that Thomas tied the three storylines together well, while setting up the series nicely. I had started out caring the least about Yancy, but ended up not minding the idea of reading another book about what happens to him next. I liked the Lucas character from the beginning but didn’t really care about where he was headed. I thought Lauren was annoying, so I guess I would be curious to see if their relationship implodes in the books that followed.
 

 
A fifth-generation Texan, New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author Jodi Thomas chooses to set the majority of her novels in her home state, where her grandmother was born in a covered wagon. A former teacher, Thomas traces the beginning of her storytelling career to the days when her twin sisters were young and impressionable.
When not working on a novel or inspiring students to pursue a writing career, Thomas enjoys traveling with her husband, renovating a historic home they bought in Amarillo and “checking up” on their two grown sons.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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Dark Places by Reavis Wortham

DARK PLACES
by Reavis Wortham
 
 
At the tail end of 1967, the Parker family once again finds it impossible to hide from a world spinning out of control. Fourteen-year-old Top still can’t fit in with their Center Springs, Texas, community or forget recent, vicious crimes. His near-twin cousin Pepper, desperate to escape her own demons, rashly joins the Flower Children flocking to California―just as two businessmen are kidnapped and murdered in the Red River bottoms on the same night a deadly hit and run kills a farmer. Constable Ned Parker wonders if these crimes are connected, but he goes after Pepper, leaving the investigation in the hands of Sheriff Cody Parker. Parker hires Deputy Anna Sloan, an investigator with an eye toward detail as everyone is eyeing her. Yet it is instinct that propels her after killers through a world nearly forgotten, the hunt’s backdrop one of continuous rain, gloomy skies, and floods. When she’s ambushed, the investigation accelerates into gunfire, chases, and hair-raising suspense. What of Pepper? Out on Route 66, the Mother Road to California, a man named Crow isn’t what he seems. Lies, deceptions, and a band of outlaw motorcyclists proves to the Parkers that no matter where you turn, no matter what you do, the world is full of such darkness that even grandmothers are capable of unspeakable deeds.
 
 
 
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As a boy, award-winning writer Reavis Z. Wortham hunted and fished the river bottoms near Chicota, Texas, the inspiration for his fictional Center Springs. Reavis Z. Wortham’s critically acclaimed debut novel, The Rock Hole, was listed in a Starred Review by Kirkus Reviews as one of their “Top Mysteries of 2011.” Burrows, the second novel in this critically acclaimed series received a Starred Review from Publishers Weekly, and The Library Journal listed it as One of Nine Historical Mysteries for the Summer of 2012. Vengeance is Mine, Book 4, was listed by True West magazine as one of their Top 5 Modern Westerns of 2015. A retired educator of 35 years, Reavis and wife Shana live in Frisco, Texas.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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