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Review & Giveaway: Out and In by Pat Dunlap Evans

a mystery-thriller
Genre: Fiction / Romantic Suspense
Publisher: A.M. Chai Literary
Date of Publication: April 27, 2016
Number of Pages: 316
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Stunning beauty and amateur cellist Marie Donovan finds herself in deep trouble after her pro-quarterback husband dives off a Dallas high rise—many say in shame after his shady investments go sour. Just months later, the grieving Marie faces capital murder charges for the death of a lecherous opera maestro. When hard evidence points squarely at her, only her best friend and defense lawyer believe her.
Marie is no stranger to struggle. During her six years as an NFL Football wife, she fends off groupies eager to take her man, all the while feeling lost in her husband’s macho culture. Studying the cello becomes Marie’s solace until her hard-drinking husband retires after an injury. Returning to Dallas, he plays with high society’s money in an investment scheme until winning at all costs leaves Marie and her twin sons on the hook for millions.
Scorned by society friends, charged with murder, Marie pins her hopes on hunky defense lawyer Ryan Ingles, one of Cole’s college football pals. After Ryan’s legal team discovers some of the maestro’s dark secrets, Marie and Ryan’s investigative troupe travel to exotic islands in search of clues Cole left behind. As the tropics weave a romantic spell, a corrupt offshore banker dashes Marie’s hopes. She wonders if she’ll ever be free of blame…and able to claim her own place in this world.


Out and In is the perfect mystery-thriller for the beach, a long flight, or to savor before bed…an exciting but heartfelt story about a beautiful woman who struggles to prove her innocence … As for the ending, I am still stunned.” — Lara Reznik, Amazon best-selling author of The Girl from Long Guyland and Bagels and Salsa.
“Could not put it down, once I started reading. Definitely a must-read. Look forward to reading more books from Pat Dunlap Evans. ” — five-star Amazon review by reader “Mimi”
“Awesome…flowed nicely … definitely kept you on your toes to who actually committed the murder. The lead character was a perfect blend of hard and soft. A great read.” — five-star Amazon review by reader “Tiffany”
I have never felt such mixed emotions about a book before. I think that almost every element of this book – the setting, the plot, the characters – evoked feelings from opposite poles within myself. Take the setting: I hate Dallas; but I love the fine arts scene. Like Marie, I play the cello and love the human voice quality of it. Unlike Marie, I couldn’t imagine playing my instrument naked. I don’t love it that much. The plot: I really liked the mystery side of this book. Some authors hit you over the head with key details, thus ruining the surprise. Evans knows how to write a mystery and keep things mysterious. But the romance side of things, some details came down hard and bopped you on the nose. The characters: I felt compassion for Marie and her predicament but felt zero sympathy for her with regard to her spoiled “boys”. I guess I found it hard to believe that a go-getter like Cole wouldn’t have taught his sons how to succeed – even if that meant teaching them the wrong way to do things. 
The book cover is clever and sensual with a man (is that supposed to be Luca?) drawing a bow across the back of a woman with cello strings and f holes tattooed or drawn on her back. I’m not a fan of the font used and the decision to put “a women’s mystery-thriller” on the cover too. Bop! Right on the nose with that one. It’s nitpicky, but I think that bass clef signs should have been used instead of treble clef signs at the beginning of each chapter since that is the clef that cellos mostly play in. Speaking of the chapters, I didn’t mind the changes in point of view, but it sometimes took me a while to figure out who was talking. To be fair, there were a few chapters where Evans didn’t want us to know who was talking. I really liked those chapters where the killer(s) would talk about what they have done and how they got away with it.
The book could have used another pass on the editing table, but it was an entertaining read. I had a hunch about who the killer was and was surprised when it seemed like someone else murdered Luca. But then I got another helping of surprise when I realized that the story had not yet quite ended and then we finally get to find out whodunnit. I was hoping that Marie would have a drama free life from here on out, but I’m happy to see that this book is the beginning of a series. I recommend this book to anyone who thinks they can solve mysteries easily (yes, this is a challenge to you).
Pat Dunlap Evans was born in Michigan but “got to Texas as soon as I could,” she says. Her family lived in San Antonio and later Dallas, where she attended South Oak Cliff High School and Southern Methodist University. Pat eventually completed her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in English at University of Missouri, Kansas City, with emphasis on creative writing. She also taught freshman writing courses as a part-time lecturer.After a divorce, Pat stressed her way as a single mom through twenty-five years of high-stress advertising and marketing roles before retiring to write fiction and screenplays. She lives in the Lake Travis area with her second husband Dr. Bill Evans and enjoys travel, golf, volunteer work, sailing, and the chaos of the couple’s combined five adult children, five grandchildren, and two cockalier dogs.

Pat has published two novels, To Leave a Memory and Out and In, with a third novel Those Who Try due out soon.

Signed Copy of Out and In + $10 Amazon Gift Card
Signed Copy of Out and In + $5 Amazon Gift Card
$5 Amazon Gift Card
September 12-21, 2018


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Excerpt 1 & Giveaway: Justice Betrayed by Patricia Bradley


Genre: Fiction / Romantic Suspense
Publisher: Revell
Date of Publication: June 5, 2018
Number of Pages: 352
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It’s Elvis Week in Memphis, and homicide detective Rachel Sloan isn’t sure her day could get any stranger when aging Elvis impersonator Vic Vegas asks to see her. But when he produces a photo of her murdered mother with four Elvis impersonators—one of whom had also been murdered soon after the photo was taken—she’s forced to reevaluate. Is there some connection between the two unsolved cases? And could the recent break-in at Vic’s home be tied to his obsession with finding his friend’s killer?
When yet another person in the photo is murdered, Rachel suddenly has her hands full investigating three cases. Lieutenant Boone Callahan offers his help, but their checkered romantic past threatens to get in the way. Can they solve the cases before the murderer makes Rachel victim number four?
The third installment of Bradley’s Memphis Cold Case series focuses on a cold case related to a homicide detective’s past…Bradley includes the unique character of Erin who seems as if she is a real person and takes great care to portray her respectfully.”
RT Book Reviews
(used with permission)
June 1980
Shirley traced her finger over her mother’s image in the photo, then shoved the picture into the backpack with her other possessions. Every night, she promised herself she’d leave as soon as her father parked himself in front of All in the Family and fell asleep. A band squeezed her lungs, making it impossible to breathe.
You do it tonight.
She clenched her jaw. It wasn’t that she wanted to stay. But what if he came after her and found her? Or what if the law found her? She was only fifteen, and they would drag her back to him.
After all, they’d bought her father’s story that her mom had fallen down the basement steps as she’d carried a basket of clothes to the washer. If the sheriff suspected her father had pushed his wife, he’d kept it to himself. No one wanted to get on the bad side of Big Al in their small community, not even the law.
She flinched as the back screen slapped against the doorframe. “Shir-lee! Shirley Irene, I’m hungry. Get supper on the table.”
Shirley shoved the backpack under her bed and hurried to the
kitchen, stopping at the doorway to take a deep breath. “Evening,” she mumbled.
He ignored her and turned on the television. The actor Ronald Reagan filled the screen in one of his election ads, and he snapped the set off.
“Washington’s never going to stop spending our money,” her father muttered, then he turned and laid his John Deere cap on the red Formica table.
Shirley wanted to snatch the dirty thing off the table her mother had been so proud to get from a neighbor after she updated her kitchen. She sidestepped past him to the avocado-green refrigerator to take out a package of pork chops. The sour odor of beer and sweat made her want to gag.
“Where were you this afternoon?”
She averted her eyes. “The teacher asked me to stay and help with cleaning up.”
“Look at me when I ask you a question.”
Shirley pulled her gaze past the beer gut hanging over his belt to his ruddy face and dead brown eyes.
“That’s better. You aren’t worth anything to me helping somebody else. I needed you to help load logs. Next time you tell her you have other jobs to do.”
“Yes, sir,” she said, rubbing her thumbs over the calluses on her fingers. He worked her like a mule.
“Now get supper on the table.”
Shirley grabbed an apron and tied it around her waist. At the sink, she scrubbed her hands with the pumice soap until they were almost raw. Green sink, green stove, green refrigerator. She hated green. Her heart leaped into her throat as her gaze settled on the straight razor on the counter and then traveled to the leather strap hanging on the wall. She’d forgotten to sharpen his razor. That meant another beating if she didn’t get it done before morning.
Or maybe not. She wouldn’t be here by then. She would be gone.
With her spirits lighter, she lit the fire under the pot of beans and set a skillet on another burner and fried the pork chops, not even minding when the grease popped out, burning her arm. In twenty minutes, she had supper on the table and held her breath as he tasted the food.
“Girl, can’t you do anything right? You got the beans too salty.” He shoved away from the table and stood.
Her heart plummeted. But this time she wasn’t going to take it. “You’re not going to beat me again.”
“I wouldn’t have to if you didn’t mess up all the time.” He yanked the leather strap from the wall and marched toward her. “Any fifteen-year-old should be able to cook a simple meal without ruining it.”
“I won’t do it again.” She backed up against the sink.
“This is to make sure you don’t.”
She screamed as the strap came down and barely turned in time to protect her face as the strap stung her back.
“I told you not to scream. Now you’ve gone and done it, and I have to correct you again. Turn around and face me.”
“No!” The straight razor lay on the counter waiting for her to sharpen it. She grabbed it.
“You always say that.” His fingers closed on her shoulder, and he yanked her back.
She came around swinging the knife at his throat. Blood spurted from his neck.
He grabbed his throat and staggered back. “What have you done, girl? Call an ambulance!”
With every heartbeat came more blood.
“No.” He’d beat her for sure if he lived. Shirley sucked in air. “You shouldn’t have made me do it.”
“Girl, I’m sorry.” His breath came shorter. “I won’t do it again. Now call that ambulance.”
She pressed her fingers against her mouth. He couldn’t die here. The law might not believe her. “I’ll drive you to the hospital.”
“You . . . better . . . hope I don’ . . . die.” His voice grew weaker. “Haunt you . . . never get away from me.”
Can he do that? No. When you’re dead, you’re dead.
He grasped her wrist. “Help me!”
Blood dripped onto her hair as she half supported and half dragged him through the door. “You’ve got to help me,” she said through gritted teeth. Shirley didn’t know if he heard her or not. Then he got his feet under him, barely lightening her load. “Good,” she said with a grunt.
For once she was glad of the man’s work he’d forced her to do. They stumbled once in the pitch dark of the moonless night but finally made it to the old pickup. Once she had him inside the cab, he leaned against the door, and Shirley drove toward town. They’d just reached the tavern he’d just come from when death rattled in his chest.
A quarter of a mile past the tavern, she pulled over on the shoulder of the road and stopped. The dim light of the dashboard revealed his chest no longer rose and fell as his breathing became shallower. When he took his last breath, she rested her head against the back of the seat. He was beyond hurting her ever again.
This wasn’t her fault.
“You shouldn’t have made me do it,” she said softly.
She couldn’t leave him here like this, though.
Shirley angled the pickup toward the deep ravine on the side of the road. Then she pulled his body into the driver’s seat.
After wiping the steering wheel clean, she put the truck in neutral. Then she climbed out of the pickup. Slowly, it inched toward the ravine, picking up speed until it shot down the steep grade. Shirley ran like the hound of the Pit was after her.
The explosion happened just as she got past the tavern. She looked over her shoulder as a ball of fire rose from the trees.
For the first time in her life, she drew a free breath.
Click to read Chapter 1, Part 1, coming tomorrow on the Lone Star Book Blog Tours 8/16 stop!
Patricia Bradley is the award-winning author of Justice Delayed and Justice Buried, as well as the Logan Point series. She is cofounder of Aiming for Healthy Families, Inc., and a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Romance Writers of America. She lives in Mississippi.
GRAND PRIZE: All Three Books in the Memphis Cold Case Series + Elvis Umbrella + $10 Starbucks Gift Card
2ND PRIZE: All Three Books in the Memphis Cold Case Series
+ $15 Barnes & Noble Gift Card
3RD PRIZE: All Three Books in the Memphis Cold Case Series
+ $10 Starbucks Gift Card
August 15-24, 2018
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Blitz: The Hope of Azure Springs by Rachel Fordham

Genre: Inspirational Historical Romance 
Date of Publication: July 3, 2018
Publisher: Revell

Number of Pages: 336

ABOUT THE BOOK: Seven years ago, orphaned and alone, Em finally arrived at a new home in Iowa after riding the orphan train. But secrets from her past haunt her, and her new life in the Western wilderness is a rough one. When her guardian is shot and killed, Em, now nineteen, finally has the chance to search for her long-lost sister, but she won’t be able to do it alone.

For Azure Springs Sheriff Caleb Reynolds, securing justice for the waifish and injured Em is just part of his job. He’s determined to solve every case put before him in order to impress his parents and make a name for himself. Caleb expects to succeed. What he doesn’t expect is the hold this strange young woman will have on his heart.
Welcome to the charming town of Azure Springs, Iowa, where people care deeply for one another and, sometimes, even fall in love.
PRAISE FOR THE HOPE OF AZURE SPRINGS: “In her promising first novel, Fordham assembles an endearing cast of characters in the rugged Midwest plains for a tale about surviving and thriving. . . .Fordham depicts heartbreaking emotional and physical suffering, while beautifully illustrating the power in simple acts of kindness to foster healing, hope, and happiness.”


Iowa, 1881

     She dead?”
     Em heard a man’s voice from somewhere above her. A strange thumping pulsed through her with each word he spoke. Her throat burned, screaming for water, but she could not cry out.
     “There’s life in her. Not much of it though,” a second, raspier voice answered. She felt a hand press against her throat and then move over her body, gently probing. “She’s bleeding pretty bad.”
     “Gunshot?” the first voice asked.
     If only her eyes would open, and she could see them. Straining, she struggled to pull her heavy eyelids open. Finally, bits of light darted in front of her eyes, but she could not focus. The faces above her were fuzzy and indiscernible.
     Fear swept through her, suddenly waking her battered body. Afraid the men from before had returned, she opened her eyes wide, finding strength that only moments before she had lacked. With thrashing arms, she flailed at the men. Her arms flopped about but offered little defense—she was too weak from blood loss. And then they moved no longer, subdued by large, strong hands.
     “Easy, girl. We aren’t going to hurt you. We just want to help. Take you into town, that’s all. There’s a good doctor there.” The man’s deep voice sounded gentle, but still she did not trust him. Voices could be deceiving. Arms could hurt as well as help. She knew these things well.
     Soon she felt her body being raised above the ground, and moments later the hard planks of a wagon became the resting place for her injured frame. Too weak to move, she lay looking at the sky, wishing there were a way to end the agony, but knowing that for Lucy she would fight on.
     Once the wagon lurched forward, she lost track of everything again. The wheels bouncing over ruts made her pain so intense that everything closed around her and then faded to black.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Rachel Fordham started writing when her children began begging her for stories at night. She’d pull a book from the shelf, but they’d insist she make one up. She hasn’t stopped since. She lives with her husband and children on an island in the state of Washington.

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Review & Giveaway: Cinco de Murder by Rebecca Adler


A Taste of Texas Mystery, #3
Rebecca Adler
Genre:  Texas Cozy Mystery
Date of Publication: April 3, 2018
Publisher: Berkley
Number of Pages: 304

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Tex-Mex waitress and part-time reporter Josie Callahan serves up more Lone Star justice in this spicy mystery from the author of The Good, the Bad, and the Guacamole.It’s fiesta time in Broken Boot, Texas, and tourists are pouring into town faster than free beer at a bull roping for the mouthwatering Cinco de Mayo festivities. Tex-Mex waitress Josie Callahan, her feisty abuela, and even her spunky Chihuahua Lenny are polishing their folklórico dances for Saturday’s big parade, while Uncle Eddie is adding his own spicy event to the fiesta menu: Broken Boot’s First Annual Charity Chili Cook-off.

But Uncle Eddie’s hopes of impressing the town council go up in smoke when cantankerous chili cook Lucky Straw is found dead in his tent. And when Josie’s beloved uncle is accused of fatal negligence, she, Lenny, and the steadfast Detective Lightfoot must uncover who ended the ambitious chilihead’s life–before another cook kicks the bucket.


“I enjoyed every minute of this high fa looting Texas escapade. The authentic Texas sayings had me rolling on the floor. I’m a Texan and boy did I relate to the towns and chili cook-off so well.”
Texas Book-aholic


“I enjoy the Texas flair and touch while all the food talk just makes me hungry. If you enjoy a good cozy mystery that features an adorable dog and a culinary touch then this is the book/series for you.”~Books a Plenty Book Reviews

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I don’t know that I would ever visit a town like Broken Boot, Texas, but I do know that I found the people and the vibe so quaint that I didn’t want to see anyone get murdered. But then those pesky tourists come in and I start thinking, “I wouldn’t miss that Lucky Straw guy at all.” I suppose that Adler felt the same way since she decided to off him as soon as she could. Well, I have to admit that I was halfway wrong about nobody missing the big lug. Surprisingly, a few of the chili cooks who have made the circuit with him shed a tear or two while others only lament that they didn’t get to steal his chili championship title before he died.
Josie Callahan, already in the thick of things since her family is in charge of the chili cook off, wades in even deeper as she tries to prove herself worthy of the criminal reporter position with the town’s newspaper. When she isn’t busy trying to please her adopted family or negotiate her way through a subtle love triangle, she is channelling Nancy Drew and coming up with theories that no one takes seriously for some reason.
Adler kept me hooked with her colorful cast and funny dialogue. There were a few times that even Josie acknowledged her use of corny cliches, while other times some slipped by without comment. It’s a little silly, but I would have liked to see Lenny the dog have a more varied vocabulary since I know that dogs can say a lot more than, “yip.”
There were a few times that I felt like Adler was hitting us over the head with details to make sure that we didn’t miss them. For example, Lightfoot’s ponytail and his various Native American accessory choices. I’m not sure why those details were so important to bring up so often, especially when there’s a whole tense conversation between Lightfoot and Josie about his ethnicity.
Overall, Adler writes a cute story with great use of misdirection to keep the reader guessing. Once you track down the other books in the series, grab a margarita and enjoy.

Rebecca Adler grew up on the sugar beaches of the Florida Gulf Coast. Drawn to the Big Apple by the sweet smell of wishful thinking, she studied acting on Broadway until a dark-eyed cowboy flung her over his saddle and hightailed it to the Southwest.
She’s currently content to pour her melodramatic tendencies into writing the Taste of Texas culinary mysteries from Berkley Prime Crime: Here Today, Gone Tamale; The Good, the Bad, and the Guacamole; and Cinco de Murder. Set in far West Texas, her humorous stories are filled with delicious suspense and scrumptious Tex-Mex recipes. Her alter ego, Gina Lee Nelson, writes contemporary romance with a sweet, Southern-fried flavor. 
A former president of North Texas Romance Writers, Rebecca is currently a member of Sisters in Crime and Romance Writers of America. When not writing, she spends a great deal of time on her other favorite pastime, directing high school theatre. 
Grand Prize: Signed Copies of the Full Taste of Texas Series + $10 Amazon Gift Card
Two Runners-Up: Signed Copies of Cinco de Murder

JUNE 20-29, 2018

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Book Blitz: Tangible Spirits 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.


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


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.

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.


JUNE 27-JULY 6, 2018
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Promo: The Downfall of Galveston’s May Walker Burleson by T. Felder Dorn

Texas Society Marriage & Carolina Murder Scandal
T. Felder Dorn
Genre: True Crime
Publisher: Arcadia Publishing / The History Press
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Date of Publication: April 2, 2018
Number of Pages: 192 pages, 30 b&w images
Jennie May Walker Burleson was envied for having everything a woman of her time could want—the privileged upbringing, the dazzling good looks, the dashing war hero husband. She was admired for demonstrating that a woman could want more, from the front of the 1913 Woman Suffrage Procession to the bottom of a Mesoamerican archaeological dig. But as she stood over the body of her husband’s second wife, gun in hand, society’s envy and admiration quickly hardened into pity and scorn. T. Felder Dorn examines the complicated trajectory of her life as socialite, suffragist and shooter. 

┃  Also available  locally in Texas wherever books are sold ┃  

T. Felder Dorn graduated from Duke University in 1954 with a BS in chemistry and was awarded a PhD in that discipline in 1958 by the University of Washington. He was a member of the chemistry faculty at the University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee, in 1958–69 and then served four years on the program staff of the College Board in New York. From 1973 to 1991, he held administrative positions at Kean University in Union, New Jersey, serving as associate dean, dean and vice-president for academic affairs. His last ten years at Kean were spent as professor of chemistry. He retired in 2001. Felder Dorn and his wife, Sara Ruth, have resided in Millburn, New Jersey, since 1973. They have three children and three grandchildren. Dorn has previously published four books: Challenges on the Emmaus Road: Episcopal Bishops Confront Slavery, Civil War, and Emancipation (University of South Carolina Press, 2013); Death of a Policeman, Birth of a Baby: A Crime and Its Aftermath (Xlibris, 2012); The Guns of Meeting Street: A Southern Tragedy (University of South Carolina Press, 2001); and The Tompkins School, 1925–1953: A Community Institution (Attic Press, 1994).



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Review & Giveaway: A Target on My Back by Erleigh Wiley


A Prosecutor’s Terrifying Tale of Life on a Hit List
Erleigh Wiley
Genre: True Crime
Publisher: Skyhorse Publishing
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Date of Publication: October 3, 2017
Number of Pages: 176 with b&w photos

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Murders don’t happen in Kaufman County, Texas, a sleepy community where people raise their kids quietly and drive into Dallas for work and entertainment. In 2013, murder came to town when two professional prosecutors were slain in cold blood, simply for doing their jobs: one in broad daylight in plain view of the courthouse, and one in his home, along with his wife. Eric Williams is responsible for all the bloodshed—and he has a list of who to kill next.
A Target on My Back is the first-person true story of Erleigh Wiley, an accomplished lawyer who accepted the job as the new district attorney—after the death of her predecessors—which turned her into the next target on the killer’s hit list. This is her story of how she and her family endured the storm of the press, the array of Homeland Security agents assigned to protect them 24/7, and the weight of knowing she was someone’s prey. Though fearing for her life, she served as the prosecution’s final witness against the murderer, sealing his fate on death row. This chilling account of how she survived the hit list is a terrifying cat and mouse tale.


“A legal thriller with a twist: a crazed lawyer and his wife, believing they have been wronged, become a modern-day Bonnie and Clyde and go on a terrifying murder spree. Next on their kill list is the new DA, and her courage in confronting the killers makes this a fascinating read.”
Dennis L. Breo, coauthor of The Crime of the Century: Richard Speck and the Murders That Shocked a Nation 
“John Grisham and Scott Turow had better start looking over their shoulders. . . Wiley’s engaging, nimble style immediately draws you into the action and proves that sometimes truth really is stranger than fiction. It’s a good thing for us all that she lived to tell about it!”
David Dean, Dallas attorney, former Texas secretary of state and chair of the North Texas Crime Commission
“When murder comes to her town, Erleigh Wiley steps into the shoes of the slain district attorney and finds herself on the killer’s hit list. In A Target on My Back, Wiley tells her personal story of overcoming fear in order to carry out her duty to hold Kaufman County, Texas, together while the killer is brought to justice. Don’t miss it!”
Mike Farris, author of A Death in the Islands: The Unwritten Law and the Last Trial of Clarence Darrow
A Target on my Back is a unique first-person look into the world of crime-fighting in which the tables have been turned. The author takes the reader on an all-too-real journey into what it means to stand for justice when your very life is in danger. A must-read.
Robert Kepple, executive director of the Texas District and County Attorneys Association

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Lately, I have had the good fortune to review books at the perfect moment in my life. As I have finally caught up on all the old episodes of my favorite true crime podcast, this first person account of a would-be victim was next on my review list. That designation alone makes this book special, but the fact that Wiley is a judge makes the proceedings all the more technical and her recollection feel more trustworthy than other true crime tell-alls.
Correct me if I’m wrong, but it seems like most true crime books are either written by a court reporter or someone very interested in the case. Immediately, there is a distance between what really happened and what is written on the page. Neither writer would have a solid picture of what happened since it didn’t happen to them. Or on the other hand, some of these books are penned by victims whose stories are understandably colored by their trauma and the emotional rollercoaster of the media circus and courtroom drama. Details could be misremembered or forgotten.
When Wiley stated over and over how she did not feel like she was to be the next victim, I got the feeling that I was reading the account of a very level-headed individual. I understood her logic for distancing her part in the downward spiral of a mad man, and that was precisely what could have caused her even more harm. Crazy people don’t always have a motive that makes sense. They don’t always have clear origin stories such as an abusive upbringing or head trauma knocking their good sense loose. I love that she addresses that because psychologists are always trying to find that angle.
To be honest, I was getting antsy to read the nitty gritty about the crime. But it was awe inspiring to hear the journey of how Wiley came to be the first elected African American female district attorney in Dallas County. And as a mother, I felt inspired knowing how hard she worked in her office, but that her harder and most fulfilling work was taking care of her family and giving back to her community.
I would have liked to have more information about the murders upfront, since that seems to be more of the template for true crime books. It felt weird to finally gain a broader picture of what each victim was like and what happened to them in a few pages right before the Epilogue. I wanted more than that.
I have always thought the photo placement in these books is strange (usually right in the middle of a chapter that has nothing to do with the pictures), and this one follows suit. I like that the photos are in color, but the captions could have used some copy editing. One of my pet peeves is identifying people in the photo out of order. If there’s two people, just name them left to right!
The pacing was good but some editing could have made this book more suspenseful. The lack of copy editing and proofreading resulted in redundancies and typos. For future reprints, I would recommend revamping the cover design as well. A story that took place in 2013 shouldn’t have a cover that looks like it was printed in the ’90s.
Overall, I think this book is a nice addition to the true crime genre and that readers will appreciate the unique point of view.
Erleigh Norville Wiley was born and raised in Kaufman County. She is a graduate of Texas Tech University, Rawls College of Business; where she received a Bachelor of Business Administration Degree with a degree in Finance. She attended law school at Texas Law at The University of Texas in Austin receiving her Doctorate of Jurisprudence.
In 1990, Judge Wiley joined the Dallas County District Attorney’s Office. Her goal was to prosecute the criminals and protect innocent children and victims who have no voice. She was promoted to supervising attorney-training other new attorneys and managing fourteen different courts.
Wiley takes an active role in her community by volunteering. Some of her board work includes Chairman of the Kaufman County Juvenile Board, Trustee of Texas Health Resources- Kaufman, Kaufman County Children’s Advocacy Center and Kaufman County Children’s Shelter Board member.

Wiley has been lauded by various organizations for her work in the legal community as a Judge and as the Criminal District Attorney in Kaufman County. Some of the most notable were in 2013, from the State Bar of Texas, Outstanding Leadership-Profiles of Courage Award and Texas District & County Attorney’s Association, Lone Star Prosecutor Award; as well as the Dallas Black Police Officer’s Association with the Paved the Way Award in 2015.


Bonus Post
Author Interview
Author on Video
Author on Video
Author on Audio
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