All the Missing Girls

img_2938Here we go with a another new thriller with “girl” in the title.  Released on June 28 2016, All the Missing Girls  is pegged as the next thriller to be loved by those fans of The Girl on the Train and Gone Girl.   That should have been a clue for me to abstain but I was game to read another thriller this summer.

Nicolette Farrell left her small hometown in Cooley Ridge ten years earlier after the mysterious disappearance of her best friend Corinne.  She started a new life in Philadelphia after finishing her studies, with great job and rich lawyer boyfriend coming after.  It’s ten years later and Nicolette, alias Nic is enticed into returning to her hometown to help organize the family home, which will go up for sale to help take care of her ailing father. After only being there for a few days, Annaleise disappears and the mystery continues.  The key to this novel is its structure since the author, Megan Miranda decided to tell the story backward from Day 15 to Day 1.

Essentially I was intrigued by this book mostly because of the structure, but as I started  I quickly realized it wasn’t for me.  Firstly, all of the characters are unlikely and untrustworthy.  As the reader I was thrown into a setting that I was trying to figure out the entire time but there weren’t any clues.  The story is told from Nic’s point of view and she basically tells the reader everything.  Nothing is being shown.  The development is very natural so I just read to see what was happening next with no real desire.  I feel like the structure of the novel really impeded any real mystery in the story.  Not to mention, I didn’t care about the characters, what they went through ten years ago or what they were going through in the present.  They seemed to be two dimensional at best.  There was even one character who served no real purpose to the story.

As for the good stuff, Megan Miranda does have an easy to read writing style.  It flows very well.  Some of the best passages were those that conjured up atmosphere and a bit of spookiness and particularly for the scenes mentioning the woods, which are a very crucial part of the story.  She also had a clever idea of changing up the structure by telling the story backward, however it wasn’t enough to keep me intrigued. I was bored and couldn’t wait for it to be over.

Meghan Miranda is the author of four YA novels called Soulprint, Vengeance, Hysteria, and Fracture. She has also released another YA novel called The Safest Lies on May 24th of this year.  All the Missing Girls was Miranda’s first attempt at writing a novel for adults.

My Copy:  All the Missing Girls, ARC paperback, 368 pages

Rating: **

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The Passenger

What would you do if the identity you’ve embraced for some time has fallen through and the passengeryour only option is to leave town precipitously and try to get another one?  This is the beginning of the newly released thriller, The Passenger by Lisa Lutz.  This story follows the chaotic journey of “Tanya DuBois” to her final truthful destination.

The story is told from Tanya’s point of view. She has a steady unsure voice, slightly naive and gladly not the bitchy deranged voice as the main character in The Girl on the Train.  Compared to The Girl on the Train, The Passenger takes a more realistic view of what can happen when one is all alone and must try to make the right decisions.  Often Tanya surprised me with her decisions but things become a lot clearer during the last thirty percent of the book.

I’d say there is quite a lot of suspense, however a few predictable parts.  I think it’s hard to event the wheel these days with thrillers.  All in all a good read. The chapters weren’t too long and a few of them are cut with emails to add to the suspense.  It was a page turner and not dragged out any longer than it really needed to be.  The only disservice to this book is to compare it to two other successful thrillers with irascible crazy lead female characters, which was done on the inside flap.  It didn’t need that comparison.  The Passenger is capable of enticing readers on its own.  Definitely check it out if you’re looking for a fast pace thriller, with a clever title.

My Copy:  The Passenger – Lisa Lutz (hardcover) 304 pages

Rating:  ***

I’m an affiliate for The Book Depository. It would be much appreciated to click the link below if you’re interested in picking up any of my recommendations. It will help fund my incessant book buying.

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Author Interview: Dwayne Alexander Smith talks about Forty Acres

I picked up IMG_0494Forty Acres by Dwayne Alexander Smith, while browsing on Amazon.  After reading the premise of the novel I was immediately intrigued and wanted to know more about it.  So September started with a bang!

I definitely made the right decision.  Forty Acres, is about a young upcoming African-American Civil Rights lawyer who gets involved with a secret organisation of affluent African-American businessmen.  Little does he know, they are resolute in the idea of  preserving slavery where they are the masters and white people are their slaves.

The novel is extremely engrossing, a real page turner, and very difficult to put down.  Smith’s writing is fully descriptive and his clever way of telling the story explains the legacy of slavery in details that the average person may not be ready to read, but tells the cold hard history that is never told in history class.  Martin Grey, the main character, is intelligent and a bit of an idealist and at times does things that we as the reader know are a bit reckless but we can’t help but like him and root for him, all the same.

The reverse racism is presented as a way for these African-American men to “even the score” as they put it.  Smith incorporates many important themes in this novel that make it a thriller with substance, although some critics may have felt that he could have and should have gone deeper.  I was surprised at the length and depth Smith’s story went to exposing the problems of race in the United States.  He covers the details of slavery but most of all he delves into the way African-Americans feel at times in society today.    We haven’t had many contemporary novels of late get into the details of race the way  it’s dealt with in Forty Acres.  It’s a novel that will make you reflect, question your ideas of race and racism, and at times cringe.  After I finished Forty Acres I kept asking myself,  “Could this happen today?”

I had the great pleasure of interviewing Dwayne Alexander Smith. Check out the interview below to learn more about this budding novelist.

1.  I really enjoyed reading Forty Acres. Could you tell us how you came up with the idea for this story?

Forty Acres started out as a sci-fi story, believe it or not. A black astronaut crash lands on earth, but in the past, during the period of American slavery. Unable to speak due to an injury, he is captured an held captive on a plantation with African slaves. I loved the idea for this story because it would give us a modern black man’s view of slavery. Unfortunately I couldn’t make the story work the way I wanted. After lots of rethinking Forty Acres took on the form it has now.

2.  With all that’s been going on racially in the United States at the moment, how has your book been received?

I think that the book has been received well considering the tough and uncomfortable subject matter. Slavery is a touchy subject in the United States. Many readers who are looking for something entertaining to read, won’t easily select a thriller centered around such a sensitive topic. Surprisingly, the book has been better received in Europe.

3.  I can say being a black American that I was very proud to see your book placed on the new releases wall at WH Smith in Paris. How have you been accepting the attention?

The attention from readers around the world has been the best part of having Forty Acres published. Right before sitting down to answer these questions I read an email from a gentleman in the UK who loved the book and just wanted to let me know that. Also, a week ago I found out that I have been nominated for a NAACP Image Award. I was blown away by this news. The attention is great and very addictive.

4.  I heard that Forty Acres started as a movie script. Could you tell us a bit about the process of adapting a movie script to a novel?

Well, Forty Acres was never actually a script, it was an idea for a script. I’ve never actually adapted a book into a screenplay, but I hope to have that problem if and when the Forty Acres movie rights are acquired.

5.  Martin Grey is an interesting character, but most of all Dr. Kasim, who is one hell of a villain. Will there be a sequel to 40 Acres or other novels with Martin Grey as the central character?

Yes there will be a sequel. Will that sequel be published by a major publisher or self-published by me is the only unknown. Book sales will be the deciding factor. Regardless of how it reaches the public I do plan to write a sequeI. I have the story figured out and yes Martin will play a central role. Also, I think a lot of women will be happy to know that Martin’s wife Anna will have a much larger role.

6.  Forty Acres is centralized primarily around black men. What were you trying to accomplish with that dynamic?

From the very beginning, when Forty Acres was a sci-fi tale, I just wanted to find a new way to tell a story that involved American slavery. It’s amazing that more movies aren’t made about slavery, considering its lasting impact on American culture.

7.  Are there plans for Forty Acres to be adapted to film?

No plans as of yet but there’s a small army of people in my corner, agents, managers, and lawyers, trying to make that happen. The truth is that Forty Acres scares a lot of producers. It’s controversial and very in your face and that projects like that tend to make the powers that be in Hollywood queasy. It’s going to take a producer with vision and courage to bring Forty Acres to the screen. It will happen, it’s just a matter of when.

8.  Are you working on a second novel? If so when will it be released?

I am working on another thriller called White Widow. No one has seen it yet so there’s no publishing deal or release date in place. Right now I’m just laser focused on making it as good as possible. Forty Acres has a lot of fans, many of which have stated in reviews that they are eager to read my next book. The last thing I want to do is let my newly found fan base down. For that reason I’m working really hard to get White Widow right.

9.  What advice can you give to other black writers that are trying to write, to get published, and recognised?

I get this question a lot. The advice I give doesn’t just apply to black writers but to all writers who are trying to break into a writing career. I firmly believe that the best way to grab the attention of publishers and readers is to have an amazing idea for a book. Dozens of thrillers about cops chasing bad guys cross the desks of editors everyday. What’s going to make yours stand out? I’ve wanted to write a novel for a very long time but I knew that when I did I had to have a killer idea, an idea that would demand attention and interest. When I came up with the idea for Forty Acres I had a great time telling people because I loved to see their stunned expressions. That’s how I knew I had a solid concept. So my advice to writers is simple. Before you sit down to write, spend as long as it takes dreaming up an idea that will set mouths agape and widen eyes. When you nail that you’ll know that you’re on the right track.

Big thanks again to you Dwayne Alexander Smith for taking the time out of your extremely busy schedule to answer these questions.  Good luck with your future writing!

 

The Rainy Day Killer

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The blog tour’s official site is:
http://therainydaykiller.blogspot.com/

The Rainy Day Killer Book Summary:

A man in a business suit offers the protection of his umbrella to an unsuspecting woman, and several days later 18669147she turns up dead on a river bank, raped and strangled. The terrifying serial killer known in the press as the Rainy Day Killer is now hunting new victims in the city of Glendale … whenever it rains.Homicide Lieutenant Hank Donaghue leads the investigation as the killer begins to communicate directly to him through phone calls and grisly packages containing body parts of his victims. Assisted by FBI profiler Ed Griffin, Donaghue and Detective Karen Stainer pursue an elusive predator who leaves no physical evidence behind.The timing couldn’t be worse, however, as Karen Stainer’s attention is divided between the investigation and preparations for her upcoming wedding. Distracted and uncertain about her future, Stainer is furious when she learns that the Rainy Day Killer has followed her to Virginia, where the wedding will take place, and that he intends to make her his next victim!
 
The Review:
I don’t often pick up thrillers/detective novels because they don’t really move me, but occasionally for a bit of fast pace I do.  The Rainy Day Killer is the fourth installment in the Donaghue and Stainer crime series.  I’m not sure if that’s the problem with getting into the story, but for me I think it was.  The characters were just too one-dimensional and typical for me.  Donaghue was reflective and quiet and Stainer was a bit of a feisty hot-headed woman.  In this book we don’t learn that much about them, so I’m assuming the readers will learn more about them if they began reading with book one.
The story contained its quantity of descriptive gore and a serial killer with lots of issues that we never get explanations for.  Lots of clues and near miss searches are given that don’t help the reader solve the crime but I figured out who it was before he showed his face.  This was not a true who dunnit.  I would have liked to know more about the serial killer and maybe had some perspective from his point of view.
The Rainy Day Killer really read like any CSI show on American television.  The descriptions, settings and situations are similar to those shows.  I was hoping for a more complex thriller but that wasn’t the case.  There wasn’t all bad guys.  It was obvious that McCann had thoroughly researched to be able to write the book and that was refreshing.   Even the cop language was spot on.  At no point did I think things weren’t true to life.  On the contrary, they were very real, down to the detailed descriptions of certain aspects like using stun guns for example.  Nevertheless, I gave the Rainy Day Killer 2 stars since It wasn’t for me, but if you enjoy thrillers you just might like it.
Author photo Amazon profile copyMichael J. McCann‘s Bio: 

Michael J. McCann was born and raised in Peterborough, Ontario, Canada. He earned a B.A. (Hons.) in English from Trent University and an M.A. in English from Queen’s University. He has worked as an editor and a project and training consultant and manager with the federal government. He is an author of crime fiction and supernatural thrillers. His Donaghue and Stainer Crime Novel series includes Blood Passage, Marcie’s Murder, The Fregoli Delusion, and The Rainy Day Killer. He is also the author of the supernatural thriller The Ghost Man and is currently working on another supernatural novel.
Prices/Formats: $3.99 ebook, $19.99 paperback
Pages: 290
ISBN: 9780987708786
Publisher: Plaid Raccoon Press
Release: August 30, 2013
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Michael J. McCann‘s Web Site: 
http://www.mjmccann.com/

Michael J. McCann‘s Facebook:
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Michael-J-McCann/130617140389341

Michael J. McCann‘s Twitter:
https://twitter.com/MichaelJMcCann1

Michael J. McCann‘s Goodreads:
http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4724806.Michael_J_McCann

Michael J. McCann‘s Mystery Blog:
http://michaeljmccannsblog.blogspot.com/

Michael J. McCann‘s Paranormal Blog:
http://wallsofnightmare.blogspot.ca/

Michael J. McCann‘s Pinterest: 
http://www.pinterest.com/michaeljmccann/

The Rainy Day Killer Goodreads:
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18669147-the-rainy-day-killer

Tribute Books Blog Tours Facebook:
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Kindle ebook buy link
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Amazon paperback buy link
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iBookstore buy link
https://itunes.apple.com/ca/book/the-rainy-day-killer/id723233597?mt=11Sony buy link
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http://store.kobobooks.com/en-CA/ebook/the-rainy-day-killerSmashwords buy link
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Fishpond NZ buy link

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51. Nobody Has to Know

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Nobody Has to Know Book Summary:

Nobody Has To Know, Frank Nappi’s dark and daring new thriller, tells the story of Cameron Baldridge, a popular high school teacher whose relationship with one of his students leads him down an unfortunate and self-destructive path. Stalked through text-messages, Baldridge fights for his life against a terrifying extortion plot and the forces that threaten to expose him.Nobody Has To Know is a sobering look into a world of secrets, lies, and shocking revelations, and will leave the reader wondering many things, including whether or not you can ever really know the person you love.
Review:
Well I thoroughly enjoyed Frank Nappi’s Nobody Has to Know.  I read it in a day and could have read it in a lot less time if I hadn’t had so many other things to do.  The main character of this thriller is a high school English teacher which intrigued me since I’m an English teacher as well.  There’s nothing like a story where the main character is heading for a collision.  You know it and he knows it but he can’t help himself.  I found myself thinking, for a man that’s supposed to be so smart gosh he’s dumb.  I wonder if Nappi was trying to show how some men can be easily manipulated by beautiful, young women.  Control and common sense, that is what Cameron Baldridge was missing.  The story will definitely give you second thoughts on trying to get to know your students too closely.  Nappi does a good job depicting the descent of Cameron Baldridge, the young, attractive, well-liked, perfect teacher.  All the characters in this story have complicated, tortured lives and their backgrounds drive their actions.  They all hook up quite well together.
The writing style is smooth and entertaining, but there were some word usage problems, missing words, and changes from third to first person at inappropriate moments, but all in all the story holds together.  However, part of the ending was predictable early on.  Even though, Nappi threw in a surprise twist at the end that left me a little disappointed.  I would have preferred an ending that dealt with all the principal characters and not just Cameron.  It’s true Cameron is a piece of work, but the others shouldn’t have been left out.  Essentially, it’s a good book and I rated it 3,5 stars on Goodreads.  It’s straight forward and to the point and not too long.  Nobody Has to Know is an easy carefree read that deals with a subject we’ve heard in the news lately- teachers having love relationships with their students.  I’m looking forward to seeing what Frank Nappi has in store for his next book.  Check it out guys!  Happy New Year and Happy reading!
Frank Nappi’s Bio: frank
Frank Nappi has taught high school English and Creative Writing for over twenty years. His debut novel, Echoes From The Infantry, received national attention, including MWSA’s silver medal for outstanding fiction. His follow-up novel, The Legend of Mickey Tussler, garnered rave reviews as well, including a movie adaptation of the touching story “A Mile in His Shoes” starring Dean Cain and Luke Schroder. Frank continues to produce quality work, including Sophomore Campaign, the intriguing sequel to the much heralded original story, and is presently at work on a third installment of the unique series. Frank lives on Long Island with his wife Julia and their two sons, Nicholas and Anthony.
Price/Format: $3.99, ebook
Publisher: G Agency LLC
Release: October 16, 2012

Kindle buy link ($3.99):
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B009RF9S8E?tag=tributebooks-20
Frank Nappi’s Web Site:
http://www.franknappi.com/
Frank Nappi’s Blog:
http://www.franknappi.com/blog.htmlFrank Nappi‘s Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/authorfranknappiFrank Nappi‘s Twitter:
https://twitter.com/FrankNappi
Frank Nappi‘s Goodreads:
http://www.goodreads.com/fnap33Tribute Books Blog Tours Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Tribute-Books-Blog-Tours/242431245775186
Nobody Has to Know blog tour site:
http://nobodyhastoknowblogtour.blogspot.com/

45. Under the Eye of God

15816744Blog Tour:  Under the Eye of God by Jerome Charyn for Tribute Books

Under the Eye of God Book Summary

After decades of madness in the Bronx, Isaac Sidel visits the craziest state in the country.

 Isaac Sidel is too popular to be America’s vice president. Once the New York Police Department commissioner, he became the most beloved mayor in the city’s history—famous for his refusal to surrender his Glock, and for his habit of disappearing for months at a time to fight crime at street level. So when baseball czar J. Michael Storm asks Sidel to join him on the election’s Democratic ticket, the two wild men romp to an unprecedented landslide. But as the president-elect’s mandate goes off the rails—threatened by corruption, sex, and God knows what else—he tires of being overshadowed by Sidel, and dispatches him to a place from which tough politicians seldom return: Texas.

In the Lone Star state, Sidel confronts rogue astrologers, accusations of pedophilia, and a dimwitted assassin who doesn’t know when to take an easy shot. If this Bronx bomber doesn’t watch his step, he risks making vice-presidential history by getting killed on the job.

Review:
I began reading Under the Eye of God not really knowing what to expect other than another detective novel, which I don’t usually read.  What did I get?  I’m not so sure how to describe it.  I guess you could say it was a mix of various things.  This being the first novel by Charyn that I’ve read, it was in no way an easy read for me.

The story holds a plethora of characters that appear throughout the novel, making it very difficult to keep straight who is who.  Not to mention, the plot itself is highly complex and tenebrous and quite frankly difficult to get into.  It was dark and violent, but that didn’t bother me surprisingly enough.  While trying so desperately to grasp this storyline, it wasn’t until I was midway through that I realized the story was mainly turning around its main character, Isaac Sidel.  In my opinion, the plot line just became secondary and I’m not sure if it’s because I hadn’t read any other books from this series or because the unfolding character development of Isaac Sidel is so strong.  Under the Eye of God is an in-depth character analysis of him, as I suspect the other books in this series are too.  Isaac Sidel is a man who could be described as violent, strong, judgmental, revengeful, successful, and determined.  His traits portray him to be just as good as he is bad.  He’s flawed and that’s what makes the story.

Reading and learning more of the thoughts of Isaac Sidel, while following all the other complex characters, I started to enjoy the book more because of the crazy, organized underworld, along with the historical references to American history.  If you’re looking for sex scandals, accusations of pedophilia, a surprising presidential election, lots of swearing, violence,  and loads of shady characters, this is the book for you.  The writing style can take some getting used to but it’s precise, direct, and clear.  The overall plot line is the only thing which is not necessarily clear and not particularly interesting.  However, it’s the recounting of memories, incidents, and the distinct characters that make Under the Eye of God highly readable.  In essence, being introduced to Charyn’s writing has sparked my interest in checking out the first in the Isaac Sidel series called Blue Eyes.  I’m sure it will give more of a framework and understanding of the Isaac Sidel series.  I gave this book three stars on Goodreads, although I don’t think this book is for everyone.  Click the link below to follow the Tribute Books blog tour for more reviews and interviews of Jerome Charyn on Under the Eye of God.

The blog tour’s official site is:

http://undertheeyeofgod.blogspot.com/

Jerome Charyn’s Bio:

Jerome Charyn (b. 1937) is the critically acclaimed author of nearly fifty books. Born in the Bronx, he attended Columbia College, where he fell in love with the works of William Faulkner and James Joyce. After graduating, he took a job as a playground director and wrote in his spare time, producing his first novel, a Lower East Side fairytale called Once Upon a Droshky, in 1964.

In 1974 Charyn published Blue Eyes, his first Isaac Sidel mystery. Begun as a distraction while trying to finish a different book, this first in a series of Sidel novels introduced the eccentric, near-mythic detective and his bizarre cast of sidekicks. Charyn followed the character through Citizen Sidel (1999), which ends with his anti-hero making a run at the White House. Charyn, who divides his time between New York and Paris, is also accomplished at table tennis, and once ranked amongst France’s top Amazon10 percent of ping-pong players.

Jerome Charyn’s web site:

http://www.jeromecharyn.com/

 

Jerome Charyn’s Facebook:

http://www.facebook.com/#!/jerome.charyn

 

Jerome Charyn’s Twitter:

http://twitter.com/jeromecharyn

Isaac Sidel’s Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/IsaacSidel

 

Isaac Sidel’s Twitter:

https://twitter.com/#!/IsaacSidel

 

Tribute Books Blog Tours Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Tribute-Books-Blog-Tours/242431245775186

 

Under the Eye of God blog tour site:

http://undertheeyeofgod.blogspot.com/

Paperback

Price: $14.99

Release: October 30, 2012

Amazon buy link

http://www.amazon.com/dp/145327099X?tag=tributebooks-20

 

Barnes and Noble buy link

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/under-the-eye-of-god-jerome-charyn/1112412821?ean=9781453270998

I love being a writer.  What I can’t stand is the paperwork.

                                                    —— Peter DE VRIES