#AmReading – The Crooked Staircase by Dean Koontz

#AmReading The Crooked Staircase by Dean Koontz

Welcome to my #AmReading feature! I am highlighting an author and their book currently visible in the “Fair Weather” widget celebrating blue skies, following seas, and my Goodreads (currently reading) list.

This week I am presenting Dean Koontz and his book The Crooked Staircase: A Jane Hawk Novel (this is the third in the series). I received a digital download via Random House Publishing-Ballantine and NetGalley. The book will be released on May 8, 2018. Amazon classifies the novel as a mystery, thriller & suspense, and is 512 mostly hair-raising pages.

I will be presenting my review on Tuesday, April 24, 2018.

Book Blurb:

Jane Hawk knows she may be living on borrowed time. But as long as she’s breathing, she’ll never cease her one-woman war against the terrifying conspiracy that threatens the freedom—and free will—of millions. Battling the strange epidemic of murder-suicides that claimed Jane’s husband, and is escalating across the country, has made the rogue FBI agent a wanted fugitive, relentlessly hunted not only by the government but by the secret cabal behind the plot. Deploying every resource their malign nexus of power and technology commands, Jane’s enemies are determined to see her dead . . . or make her wish she was.

Jane’s ruthless pursuers can’t stop her from drawing a bead on her prey: a cunning man with connections in high places, a twisted soul of unspeakable depths with an army of professional killers on call. Propelled by her righteous fury and implacable insistence on justice, Jane will make her way from southern Southern California to the snow-swept slopes of Lake Tahoe to confront head-on the lethal forces arrayed against her. But nothing can prepare her for the chilling truth that awaits when she descends the crooked staircase to the dark and dreadful place where her long nightmare was born.

Add to Goodreads

About the Author

(From Amazon Author page, but there is much more on Goodreads)

Dean Koontz - authorDean Koontz, the author of many #1 New York Times bestsellers, lives in Southern California with his wife, Gerda, their golden retriever, Elsa, and the enduring spirits of their goldens, Trixie and Anna. ©2018 V Williams V Williams

Advertisements

#ThrowbackThursday – Sign Off – Patricia McLinn

#ThrowbackThursday

Renee began the Throwback Thursday meme on her blog, It’s Book Talk to share some of her old favorites including books published over a year ago. Sounded like a good reason to join! Hopefully, you’ll find either a story or author that interests you and you’ll check them out. (And, if you’d like to join the fun, you’re welcome to use Renee’s pic from her website. Just provide the link back to her please).

Sign Off - Caught Dead in Wyoming Book 1 by Patricia McLinnThis week I am highlighting Patricia McLinn, another terrific, prolific author who wrote Sign Off, which I reviewed on Goodreads. She has actually written six in this series. This novel was published by Craig Place Books on July 3, 2015. She consistently runs approximately 4+ stars for any of her books sold on Amazon.

Originally posted March 6, 2016.

Book Blurb:

Divorce a husband, lose a career … grapple with a murder. TV journalist Elizabeth “E.M.” Danniher will tell you she committed two sins — she didn’t stay young, and she made an enemy of a powerful news executive — her ex. She used to break national news. Now her top story as the Helping Out! reporter at dinky KWMT-TV in Sherman, Wyoming is getting a refund for a defective toaster. Tough, funny and determined, Elizabeth wrestles with isolation, keeping a professional edge, and an evolving self-image. Is Wyoming — the land of cattle, cowboys and tumbleweeds — her new home or a road to permanent obscurity? Soon she’s in a battle of wills with ex-football player turned journalist Mike Paycik, who sees her as a handy rung on his career ladder. And there’s the matter of a deputy sheriff—missing or murdered? Elizabeth finds herself investigating at the insistence of a girl who’s set on proving her father’s innocence. Not that enigmatic rancher Tom Burrell makes investigating easy. But Elizabeth won’t fade to black without a fight, no matter how final some might want to make her Sign Off.

My Review:

Sign Off, the first in the Caught Dead in Wyoming series by Patricia McLinn involves E. M. (Elizabeth) Danniher, who is a well-known news reporter from the east. She has been banished by a bitter ex who is a powerful NY TV producer to a small town in Wyoming to be their “Helping Out” reporter for the duration of her contract.

Few at her new station are thrilled she has been plunked into the middle of them and become guarded of their own positions. Feeling impotent to do more than report on defective toasters, she is confronted by a little girl regarding her dad, unfairly accused of murder in the disappearance of a deputy, and inadvertently becomes involves in the investigation.

Among the many characters interacting with her at the station are Mike, a sportscaster, and Diane, camera lady. Elizabeth Danniher butts up against the sheriff almost immediately and manages to lose more support than she gains as she interviews elected officials of the rural town and Mike’s inside contact. Warned off the case by the accused himself, the missing person turns up dead in his truck following the spring thaw obviously the victim of foul play. As events turn deadly, Elizabeth studies the clues and uncovers motives.

There are some interesting insights into the inner workings of a small town TV station, local colorful characters, and small town western US flavor. The antagonist is not one you suspect, and Mike becomes quite the (possibly romantic) attractive ally. The dialogue is clean and believable. The plot moves along at a fairly good clip and I enjoyed the little sub-storyline involving Shadow. All in all, it is engaging and will hold your interest. I received this download from BookBub as a free offering and greatly appreciated the opportunity to read and review.

Add to Goodreads

About the Author

Patricia McLinn - authorPatricia McLinn’s books have put her name on bestseller lists and her journalism career took her to the Washington Post for 20-mumble-mumble years. But it all started with secrets.

She learned to read at a tender age as a matter of self-preservation because older siblings spelled words to keep secrets from her. Once Patricia discovered that the magic of written words allowed her to know people she hadn’t met and experience places she hadn’t visited, she was hooked.

She wanted to be a novelist from then on, though there was a detour. She received a BA in English Composition from Northwestern University. (Have you ever seen a job posting for an English Composition major? No. And you never will.) With her parents holding out for more practical pursuits, she added a masters in journalism from Northwestern’s Medill School of Journalism in her fourth year. (Two degrees for the price of one! It was the precursor of a career in coupon-clipping.)

(From Goodreads author page) USA Today bestselling author Patricia McLinn’s novels—cited by reviewers for warmth, wit, and vivid characterization – have won numerous regional and national awards and been on national bestseller lists.

In addition to her romance and women’s fiction books, Patricia is the author of the Caught Dead in Wyoming mystery series, which adds a touch of humor and romance to figuring out whodunit.

Patricia received BA and MSJ degrees from Northwestern University. She was a sports writer (Rockford, Ill.), assistant sports editor (Charlotte, N.C.) and—for 20-plus years—an editor at the Washington Post.

She has spoken about writing from Melbourne, Australia to Washington, D.C., including being a guest speaker at the Smithsonian Institution. She is now living in northern Kentucky and writing full-time. Patricia loves to hear from readers through her website, Facebook, Goodreads, and Twitter.

More Throwback Thursday Blogs

Renee at Its Book Talk

Jill at Jill’s Book Cafe

Rebecca at The Book Whisperer

Lynne at Fictionophile

Sam at Clues and Reviews

Holly B at Dressedtoread

Deanna at DeesRadReads and Reviews

Amanda at Literary Weaponry

Annie at The Misstery

Mischenko at Read Rant Rock and Roll

Laurie at Cozy Nook Books

Ann Marie at LItWitWineDine

©2018 V Williams V Williams

The Advice Column Murders – a #BookReview

The Advice Column Murders by Leslie NagelTitle: The Advice Column Murders: The Oakwood Mystery Series by Leslie Nagel

Genre: Currently # 235 on Amazon Best Sellers Rank in Kindle eBooks, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Mystery, Traditional Detectives

Publisher: Alibi

Publication Date: To be released April 3, 2018 – Happy Publication Day! Clink cocktail glasses

Source: Random House Publishing Group-Alibi and NetGalley

Title and Cover: The Advice Column Murders – Attractive, compelling cozy mystery cover

My first introduction to this series, I found the novel on the more serious side of a cozy mystery. As the third in the series, the protagonist is Charley Carpenter who is the owner of a vintage shop she calls Old Hat Vintage Fashions. This is apparently meant to be a standalone, though characters are brought forward from the first two in the series, including the situation with her shop which is now undergoing a major renovation that she will call Old Hat New Beginnings. (This is also my third book in a row in which the female protagonist is a Charley, Charlie, or Charlee–it must be getting popular to call a female protagonist Charley!) Continue reading “The Advice Column Murders – a #BookReview”

Hatshepsut: The Pharaoh Queen of Egypt – a #BookReview

Hatshepsut: The Pharaoh-Queen of Egypt by in60LearningTitle: Hatshepsut: The Pharaoh Queen of Egypt

Genre: Currently #22 on Amazon Best Sellers Rank in Kindle eBooks, Biographies & Memoirs, Historical, Middle East (One hour, 58 pages)

Publisher: in60Learning

Publication Date: February 3, 2018

Source: Amazon Digital Services and Direct Request by Tyler of in60Learning

Title and Cover: Hatshepsut: The Pharaoh Queen of Egypt – Cover conveys non-fiction material

We were contacted by Tyler of in60Learning with an inquiry regarding reading and reviewing their new concept non-fiction short stories in a quick and easy read 60-minute format. On their “title listing” page, they appear to have twenty-four titles, three of which are audio, the balance in a mix of Kindle and paperbook format. The titles run from biographies to histories with titles releasing from the middle of January 2018 through March. Many more are expected.

Titles include Marilyn Monroe: The Defiant Broad Disguised as a Dumb Blond (BiographyIn60, six reviews at 4.5 average stars) to Alexander the Great: Student of Aristotle, Descendent of Heroes (BiographyIn60 nineteen reviews at 4.5 average stars). The C.E. chose this one as well as Illinois Native Americans: A 9,000 Year Civilization. See that review here.

In60Learning introduces themselves thusly:

“Get Smarter in just 60  minutes with in60Learning. Concise and elegantly written non-fiction books and audiobooks help you learn the core subject matter in 20% of the time that it takes to read a typical book. Life is short, so explore a multitude of fascinating historical, biographical, scientific, political, and financial topics in only an hour each.”

Book Blurb:

When Pharaoh Thutmose II died, he left an heir far too young to rule Egypt. His widow Hatshepsut stepped up to take his place. For at least the next 20 years, Hatshepsut ruled as Pharaoh King of Egypt in an era of prosperous growth and peace. When she died, her nephew Thutmose III attempted to smear her good name and wipe her memory from history. However, despite his efforts, his aunt Hatshepsut holds the title of most famous native Egyptian woman to ever rule as pharaoh; she also retains a legacy as one of the most successful female leaders in early history. Continue reading “Hatshepsut: The Pharaoh Queen of Egypt – a #BookReview”

Dark Territory – a #BookReview

Dark Territory by Leo J MaloneyTitle: Dark Territory (a Dan Morgan Thriller–#6.5) by Leo J. Maloney

Genre: Currently #80 on Amazon Best Sellers Rank in Kindle Singles, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense and #425 Military

 Publisher: Penguin Random House Publishing Services

Publication Date: April 24, 2018

Source: Penguin Random House Publishing Services and NetGalley

Title and Cover: Dark Territory – Cover depicts military ops

Alex Morgan, the daughter of black ops specialist Dan Morgan, has just come off a sniper hit that took out a North Korean officer in Russia. Now the problem is to exit the country safely and that is determined to be the Trans-Siberian Railway. She is, however, Dan’s daughter, and knows she cannot let down her guard until she is well out of there. But she is not the only one aboard with specialized talents.

Nothing like a thriller that grabs you by the collar and pulls you in and this short story will do just that. Then you better hang on because this plot barrels along and doesn’t give you a chance to catch your breath until the protagonist makes the world safe again. I must admit to reading this black ops veteran author for the first time, although he apparently has a large volume of successful novels to his credit. Continue reading “Dark Territory – a #BookReview”

Last Night – a #BookReview

Last Night by Kerry WilkinsonTitle: Last Night by Kerry Wilkinson

Genre: Currently #806 on Amazon Best Sellers Rank in Kindle eBooks, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Suspense, Psychological

Publisher: Bookouture

Publication Date: March 28, 2018

Source: Bookouture and NetGalley

Title and Cover: Last NightCover hints at remote field

Apparently not an English author new on the scene, my first read in one of his standalone books due out the end of this month. Rose Denton wakes behind the wheel, it’s two-something and she is apparently in the middle of a field with blood on her windshield and hood. She is confused, has no memory for how she might have gotten there, and after an inspection of her own body (nothing sore or broken), then around the car can find no apparent victim, animal or human. She has no explanation for her careen through the hedge or why she is here. Continue reading “Last Night – a #BookReview”

The Tortilla Curtain by T. C. Boyle – a #BookReview

The Tortilla Curtain by T C Boyle-eBook coverTitle: The Tortilla Curtain by T. C. Boyle

Genre: Currently #27 on Amazon Best Sellers Rank in Kindle eBooks, Literature & Fiction, Literary Fiction, Satire, and #62 in Contemporary Fiction, Urban

Publisher: Penguin Books

Publication Date: September 1, 1996

Source: Free download BookBub

Title and Cover: The Tortilla CurtaineBook cover attracted my attention (prefer it to the paperback version below)–thought it would interest hubby–this is his review.

This book has been around more than twenty years and certainly long enough that there are more than sufficient synopses. So at this point, I must assume the literary crowd is familiar with the setting in the beautiful but fragile ecology of the Topanga Canyon of Southern California. This scenario situates two couples on a course designed to slap your senses into a new mindset. The classic style Greek pathos novel grasps the very soul of society and squeezes so tightly I came close to declaring a DNF more than once. No getting around it–this is a very difficult book. Continue reading “The Tortilla Curtain by T. C. Boyle – a #BookReview”