Monday, October 14, 2019

Angela Smith's Dark Justice Blog Tour with a Spotlight and Excerpt


I am so excited to have Angela Smith here at Mystery Thrillers and Romantic Suspense Reviews with a Spotlight and Excerpt.

Thanks Angela and Pump Up Your Book Promotions for allowing me to join your Dark Justice Blog Tour!

Please take it away, Angela! 

About the Author

Angela Smith is a Texas native who, years ago, was dubbed most likely to write a novel during her senior year in high school. She always had her nose stuck in a book, even hiding them behind her textbooks during school study time. Her dream began at a young age when her sister started reciting ‘Brer Rabbit’ after their mom read it to them so often. She told her mom she’d write a story one day and never gave up on that dream even though her mom was never able to see it come to fruition. By day, she works as a certified paralegal and office manager at her local District Attorney’s office and spends her free time with her husband, their pets, and their many hobbies. Although life in general keeps her very busy, her passion for writing and getting the stories out of her head tends to make her restless if she isn’t following what some people call her destiny.


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About the Book

Author: Angela Smith
Publisher: Independent
Pages: 249
Genre: Romantic Suspense


She’s in love with her sister’s killer

Lauren has loved Luke since first grade. They planned to marry — until he murdered her sister. The moment he was sentenced to prison, Lauren fled with her secret baby and made a new life. Now she’ll do anything to keep their daughter safe. But her hard won peace shatters when Luke is exonerated, and it sets her on a path of mixed emotions to discover the truth. Letting a killer into their tightly knit family is out of the question. Or is it?

She almost destroys her life by threatening his

Prison stole his future with Lauren and twelve years of Luke’s life, so the last thing he needs from her is a knife in the back or a gun in his face. Lauren believes he killed her sister, and he has no plans to pick up where they left off. Luke can’t afford to trust her, but he wants nothing more than to convince her he’s worth fighting for.

Their daughter is in danger

Luke is heartbroken when he learns they had a child together. Now his daughter is in danger. Lauren trusted the wrong person for far too long, but he hopes she’ll now trust him. Luke will risk everything to keep them safe. And Lauren will risk everything if she lets him into her heart.

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Luke — Twelve Years Ago

“All rise for the jury.”

I stand, my legs unsteady. The jurors filter in, one by one, their eyes downcast. Those who look, only glance at the prosecutor. Not me or my defense attorney.

Wayne’s breath hitches. It’s a whispery whoosh, a sound he likely doesn’t realize he’s made, but it tells me everything I need to know. I almost collapse in defeat.

He thinks they found me guilty. And by their expressions, I agree.

I size up the crowd gathering in the courtroom. Most of them sit on the prosecutor’s side. Clint is there. Once my best friend, but now I’m convinced he’s a killer. He’s next to Lauren. The love of my life and the one I presumed would stand by my side forever. But since she believes I killed her sister, I guess I can’t blame her for turning her back on me.

But Clint? Fear curls my spine. He’s charming, I’ll give him that, but he’s an absolute psycho. Nobody in Lauren’s family will listen, especially Lauren. And before all this, I wouldn’t have believed Clint is the killer. He killed her sister. How do I know she won’t be next? How can I protect her if I’m locked in prison for the rest of my life?

The judge drones on about the charge, then asks the jury if they’ve reached a decision. Wayne shifts and gives me a blink that tells me he wants to make sure I’m aware of what’s going on. I’m eighteen, for God’s sake. How could anyone my age understand criminal justice?

He’s warned me of how you can never predict a jury, but this group of fourteen holds their heads high as if they’ve never been surer in their lives. Two of them are alternate jurors, so it’s up to five men and seven women to decide my fate.

An older gentleman hands the bailiff the verdict. I hold my breath, and the judge reads. “We the jury find the defendant, Lucas Donovan Fuller, guilty of murder.”

Gasps fill the room. Chaos erupts, at least in my bones. More like a commotion, nothing too disastrous to alert the judge, and something he’s probably accustomed to. He only regards the crowd. A lot of loud talking, crying, and my mother’s wails. He’s way more patient than me and waits for everyone’s reaction to subside.

My muscles grow weak. I badly want to sit and wonder when I’m allowed. I want to reach out to Lauren. Tell her I’m sorry this happened, I didn’t do it, she has to trust me, and please, please don’t trust Clint. I open my mouth to say these things, but my attorney stations his hand on my shoulder, as if his one palm is going to keep me silent.

He warned me over and over not to react. I’m not allowed to speak. I am barely allowed to move, and I can’t look her way, although I shift to do so. The bailiff puffs out his chest and walks closer, as if I’m going to bolt.

“Calm down,” Wayne says. “We still have punishment. Don’t make a scene.”

Why shouldn’t I react? This is life changing. My life is over. I’m going to prison. The judge hasn’t declared a final sentence but after everyone’s testimony, I’ve started to believe my own guilt. I’m likely going to prison for the rest of my life.

Luke — Present Day

Luke Fuller’s pen scribbled across the page. His heart hammered while he wrote the words, ears filling with the deep drum of his heartbeat as if he was re-experiencing the event. Tired of writing, he shut the notebook and tossed it on the wrought-iron table beside him, along with his cap and shades. He stood and opened the grill to check the ribeye.

Food would be ready in a few minutes, and all he needed was right here. A little salt and pepper, paper plates and plastic forks to eat with, and a cooler full of drinks. Even a hundred feet from the river, the bullfrogs’ croaking put him at ease.

A sound he never expected to hear again.

He closed the grill, grabbed a beer from the ice chest, and lounged on the patio chair. It took a while for his heartbeat to settle. Writing these memories was difficult, harder than he expected, and his body ached from the flashbacks.

The sun descended, a showcase of gold fueled by rain clouds and humidity. He loved the open porch and didn’t want a screen to filter him and the outdoors. With bug spray, sleeping out here at night was a dream come true, despite the oppressive mugginess. Lightning flashed in the south, implying the much-needed shower was near. Nothing better than the clatter of rain on the roof.

Even the mosquitoes avoided the Texas July heat, but he’d take heat over the prison cell where he’d spent the past twelve years of his life. He’d take it over that any damn day.

LED lights strung across the porch offered a soft glow to ease him come sundown. He hated the darkness. Too many reminders of prison and the things he wanted to forget. But this darkness out in the country was peaceful, welcoming, different. Almost bearable.

A car drove up, the headlights zipping through the trees. His muscles tensed. He studied the nearby monitor attached to the front security camera. The car parked, the lights shut off. His lungs tightened, burned, then disintegrated when the woman stepped out and sauntered to the back.

She remembered. Friends always came to the back door. But she was no friend.

He blinked, his gut churning. Was he dreaming? Hallucinating after writing those memories? Lauren shone bright in his mind, even the seductive scent of honey and berries he once loved to sample behind her ear.

Her footsteps echoed up the stairs, and she came into view. She was no illusion. He remained sitting, nonchalant and drinking his beer as if he had no care in the world.

His mouth dried. The beer a sour tang. Her presence meant nothing good.

She thought he’d killed her sister. The entire community deemed him guilty before a jury of his peers sentenced him to life in prison. His sisters never stopped fighting to prove his innocence. He was released two months ago thanks to Adrienne and Charlotte and the team of defense attorneys who fought for him.

But he favored prison over the look of revulsion on Lauren’s face. A flowing skirt skimmed her knees, the imprinted flowers rivaling the charm of the countryside. Her slender body was as gorgeous as ever, heating him in ways better left ignored. She wore open-toed sandals. He never understood why she chose those shoes while hiking. They had to stop many times during their treks to pluck out grass burrs.

At one time, they didn’t mind the interruption.

Her dirty blonde hair was darker, accented by rich caramel, and the image of her ocean blue eyes burned in his memory. Despite the similarities, she wasn’t the same woman who once loved him.

He didn’t flinch when she pointed the pistol his direction. He continued to sip his beer, his ears tingling with the chatter of June bugs and crickets. If she wanted to shoot him, so be it.

Although he hadn’t killed her sister, he was just as much to blame. He had been selfish in spending his time with Lauren and didn’t mind leaving her sister alone. He trusted his best friend, had known him since grade school, but ignored his recent questionable tendencies. The town of Terrence was quick to point fingers while the real killer roamed free.

Lauren — Present Day

Lauren Cooper pointed the pistol at Luke, knees knocking and thighs quaking. She was proud of herself for keeping a steady grip despite her sweaty palms.

She’d practiced plenty, eyeing her target, strengthening her resolve. Today, Luke Fuller was her target. Maybe her first moving target—although he didn’t move, didn’t even flinch—and definitely her first human target. Still, she’d often imagined him on the other end of her gun.

What was she thinking? She risked losing her job over this, even facing jail time, for threatening with a firearm. Was it worth it to lose everything she’d worked so hard for? Even worse, to risk her daughter’s wellbeing?

Luke had murdered Elizabeth, was released, and now another man accused. But not just any man. Clint Merkel. A close friend. Almost family.

Thousands of times she’d confronted Luke in her dreams. Robbed him of life as brutally as he had robbed her twelve-year-old sister’s. More like nightmares. The man she once loved with all her heart. The jury had convicted him, but now he was exonerated. Doubts still clouded her mind. The newest facts couldn’t obliterate twelve years of certainty, no matter how credible.

Her spine clenched. She had tossed and turned and cried herself to sleep for years. Her emotions skyrocketed all over the place. Suppressed memories jumbled out of her. Memories of his kiss, his embrace, their shared lives, their plans. In high school, they’d been dubbed Luke and Lauren. She didn’t want to plan college without questioning where he’d go. They were a team, a couple and everybody—including her—presumed they’d stay together after high school.

Stupid to give her life away to a man, to halt her ambitions and plans. And then one fateful night the truth had been discovered, and the cops had placed the cuffs on his wrists.

He was still the most handsome man she had ever seen. Still captivated her. The sting of attraction needled through her muscles, her bones, her heartbeat. Her pulsed thrummed into her toes. She fought to stand her ground and reveal nothing about his effect on her.

Thunder boomed. She jumped. The rain began a harsh and fast hammering on the roof.

He sipped his beer, body relaxing as if knowing she wasn’t about to pull the trigger. He remained unaffected by the thunder, by the deluge, and by her presence.

“You going to shoot me or not?” He shrugged one shoulder, his drawl tightening the shivers in her stomach. Heat flared under her skin, the familiar anger — the reason she came here — blazed to her core. Him all casual, enjoying a beer while smoke billowed from his fire pit. The spices of the steak tore knots in her throat.

But she wasn’t only angry at him. She was angry at herself for letting him charm her.

The storm doused the dusk, but miniature lights lined the porch. She saw every inch of him and the way his gaze slid over her. They had studied each other for hours when they were younger, in love and carefree. The green of his eyes soaked up the earth and emitted the colors of eternity. They were harder, his face bearing a few scars only she might notice.

He dropped his beer to the table beside him. “What are you doing, Lauren? Just shoot me already. I’ve practically been dead these past years, anyway.”

Her throat closed. She refused to imagine what he experienced these last few years.

Luke shifted forward and frowned, let out a rickety cough, then perched his elbows on his knees. He swiped a hand over his face, then continued. “Look. I’m sorry about everything. Sorry you had to go through the loss of your sister and you believed I did it. Sorry I couldn’t comfort you. I’m… just sorry.”

His wobbly voice shattered her reserves. His movements broadcasted an unexpected nervousness. She let out a whoosh of breath, every fiber of her being sinking into a black hole of misery. Tears rolled out of her, hot and choking. Her grip on the gun wavered but remained clasped in her fingers.

He stood and swaggered toward her. His heavy-booted steps on the wooden planks thudded in her ears. She wanted to back away, but her butt rested against the porch railing and an invisible anchor rooted her to the ground.

She swayed.

Her hands shook, and her best interest was to put down the gun before somebody got hurt. Most likely her.

She lowered the pistol. He stopped in front of her and took it. She was too weak, too helpless to fight. His presence suctioned every bit of her power.

He set the gun on the ground. She jumped as another round of thunder boomed. Rain pounded the roof. Droplets hit her skin, but not enough to matter. She craved the cool refreshment. He stood facing her, his eyes boring into hers. She licked her lips as if drawing sustenance from that one small move, a move that drew his gaze to her mouth.

She swayed again, about to fall. He grabbed her and pulled her into his arms.

“Careful.” His words wisped across her ear and trailed down her spine to spool into a reservoir of lust in her loins.

She planted the top of her head against his chest and sobbed as he held her. Her shoulders shook, the tears escaping in violent torrents. She couldn’t stop no matter how hard she wanted to.

He smelled like mesquite smoke and musk, along with crisp grass cuttings under Texas sunshine. Stupid, stupid to imagine such things.

The tears were a release. A goodbye she never had a chance to say.

Had she believed he was capable of murder? She refused to listen to his sister when she begged. All the evidence pointed to him. The police, the prosecutor, even the city mayor had convinced her.

How could they all be wrong? Her mind churned with questions. Questions she should have asked before she’d threatened him with a gun.

His fingers skated up her hair, and he tucked a piece behind her ear. She straightened her spine and lifted her head, willing her body to fight the attraction as her tears dried.

“I don’t know if I believe it,” she finally said.

“What? That I didn’t do it?”

She nodded, her limbs weak and trembling.

“Well, if Clint didn’t do it, why did he run?”

She wondered the same thing, but Clint being a killer was terrifying, even more so than Luke, considering she’d entrusted her daughter with him.

She lowered her head and sniffled. He placed his fingers under her chin and forced her to look at him.

Not a force but a slow, gentle move. He had always been gentle. Clint had been the edgy one, the one who tested her nerves. And yet after Luke had been accused of murdering her sister, she had turned to Clint as a friend and let him take part in her life. How had he manipulated her? How had she allowed it? Her belly flopped, the drying tears searing her throat.

She’d always felt safe with Luke. Safe, yet vulnerable, because her heart was at risk.

He dropped his hand from her chin and finger brushed her hair. Her neck tingled. She longed to savor his mouth on hers after all these years.

“I’ve imagined being in front of you, begging you to listen.” His voice was a slow deep penetration to the core of her being. Something impossible to pull away from. “I did not kill your sister, and as much pain as I knew you were in, it broke my heart you never gave me a chance.”

She lifted her chin higher and stared straight into his eyes. “And I imagined having the chance to stand in front of you and kill you.”

A strangled sob escaped him. His eyes flickered. Her body grew warm with regret. Regret for her words, regret for refusing to hear him out so many years ago, and regret for wanting him so much she hurt.

“You’ve got that chance now. Why don’t you take it?”

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Cozy, Mystery Thriller and Romantic Suspense Reads (Oct 14)

 Weekly Cozy, Mystery Thriller and Romantic Suspense Reads

Weekly Cozy, Mystery Thriller and Romantic Suspense Reads is a weekly Monday Meme that is hosted by Mystery Thrillers and Romantic Suspense Reviews:

Post the books you read last week and books being read this week.

Read Last Week:

1.  None

Weekly Read:

1.  The Stalking - Heather Graham
2.  Mumbo Gumbo - Laura Childs

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Library Haul 2019 (Oct 13 - 19)

Here's the list of books I picked up from the library this week:


1.  The Stalking - Heather Graham
2.  Mumbo Gumbo Murder - Laura Childs
3.  Be Our Ghost - Kate Kingsbury
4.  Murder in the Corn Maze - G.A. McKevette

Saturday, October 12, 2019

Cozy, Mystery Thriller and Romantic Suspense Mail (Oct 12)

Cozy, Mystery Thriller and Romantic Suspense Mail is hosted every Saturday at Mystery Thrillers and Romantic Suspense Reviews.

I received this in the mail this week.       

Lieutenant Eve Dallas must keep the predator from becoming the prey in Vendetta in Death, the newest thriller from the #1 New York Times bestselling author J.D. Robb.

She calls herself Lady Justice. And once she has chosen a man as her target, she turns herself into a tall blonde or a curvaceous redhead, makes herself as alluring and seductive as possible to them. Once they are in her grasp, they are powerless.

The first victim is wealthy businessman Nigel McEnroy. His company’s human resources department has already paid out settlements to a couple of his young victims ― but they don’t know that his crimes go far beyond workplace harassment. Lady Justice knows. And in one shocking night of brutality, she makes him pay a much steeper price.

Now Eve Dallas and her husband, Roarke, are combing through the evidence of McEnroy’s secret life. His compulsive need to record his misdeeds provides them with a wide range of suspects, but the true identity of Lady Justice remains elusive. It’s a challenging case, made even more difficult by McEnroy’s widow, who reacts to the investigation with fury, denial, and threats. Meanwhile, Lady Justice’s criminal crusade is escalating rapidly, and if Eve can’t stop this vigilante, there’s no telling how much blood may be spilled.

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Eva Gates's Read and Buried Blog Tour with a Spotlight and Giveaway


I am so excited to have Eva Gates here at Mystery Thrillers and Romantic Suspense Reviews with a Spotlight and Giveaway.

Thanks Eva and Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours for allowing me to join your Read and Buried Blog Tour!

Please take it away, Eva!

Read and Buried: A Lighthouse Library Mystery
Cozy Mystery
6th in Series
Crooked Lane Books (October 15, 2019)
Hardcover: 325 Pages
ISBN-10: 1643852337
ISBN-13: 978-1643852331
Digital ASIN: B07P9MQV3F

Librarian Lucy Richardson unearths a mysterious map dating back to the Civil War. But if she can’t crack its code, she may end up read and buried.

The Bodie Island Lighthouse Library Classic Novel Book Club is reading Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne while workers dig into the earth to repair the Lighthouse Library’s foundations. The digging halts when Lucy pulls a battered tin box containing a Civil War-era diary from the pit. Tucked inside is a hand-drawn map of the Outer Banks accompanied by a page written in an indecipherable code.

The library is overrun by people clamoring to see the artifact. Later that night, Lucy and Connor McNeil find the body of historical society member Jeremy Hughes inside the library. Clearly Jeremy was not the only one who broke into the library – the map and the coded page are missing.

Lucy’s nemesis, Louise Jane McKaughnan, confesses to entering the library after closing to sneak a peek but denies seeing Jeremy – or his killer. When Lucy discovers that fellow-librarian Charlene had a past with Jeremy, she’s forced to do what she vowed not to do – get involved in the case. Meanwhile, the entire library staff and community become obsessed with trying to decode the page. But when the library has a second break in, it becomes clear that someone is determined to solve that code.

About Eva Gates

Made with Repix (

Vicki Delany is one of Canada’s most prolific and varied crime writers and a national bestseller in the U.S. She has written more than thirty books: clever cozies to Gothic thrillers to gritty police procedurals, to historical fiction and novellas for adult literacy. She is currently writing four cozy mystery series: the Tea By The Sea mysteries for Kensington, the Year Round Christmas mysteries for Penguin Random House, the Sherlock Holmes Bookshop series and, as Eva Gates, the Lighthouse Library books for Crooked Lane.

Vicki is a past president of the Crime Writers of Canada and co-founder and organizer of the Women Killing It crime writing festival. She lives in Prince Edward County, Ontario.

Author Links 

Twitter: @vickidelany @evagatesauthor
Instagram: vickidelany
Purchase Links – Amazon B and N Kobo


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Sunday, October 6, 2019

Laura Childs and Terrie Farley Moran's Mumbo Gumbo Murder Blog Tour with a Spotlight, Giveaway and Guest Post


I am so excited to have Laura Childs and Terrie Farley Moran here at Mystery Thrillers and Romantic Suspense Reviews with a Spotlight, Giveaway and Guest Post.

Thanks Laura and Terrie and Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours for allowing me to join your Mumbo Gumbo Murder Blog Tour!

Please take it away, Laura and Terrie!

Character Guest Post by Carmela Bertrand,
main character in Mumbo Gumbo Murder
by Laura Childs and Terrie Farley Moran

Well, it’s Jazz Fest again in New Orleans. That means all sorts of jazz concerts, parades, parties, and delicious food. And, lucky me, most of the festivities take place just a few blocks from my cute little scrapbooking shop in the French Quarter.

But there’s a problem. (There always is, isn’t there?)

The other night my BFF Ava Grieux and I went to watch a parade put on by the folks who run the Beastmaster Theater. It was a strange and spooky parade, populated by masked ninja-like people wearing oversized puppet costumes of skeletons, wolves, and vampires.

Now Ava is the proprietor of a voodoo shop (think tarot cards, amulets, and saint candles), so she’s kind of used to things that go bump in the night. But I have to confess I was a little freaked out. That’s why we cut over to Royal Street where all sorts of food vendors had set up booths. I’m always up for a po-boy sandwich, beignets, or a bag of kettle corn, but this night we decided to quench our thirst with amaretto daiquiris served in plastic geaux cups. We ambled along, enjoying the food vendors, fortune tellers, musicians, street artists, and bead and t-shirt sellers until we came to Dulcimer Antiques, the quaint little antiques shop that our friend Devon Dowling owns. As we approached, we heard a horrifically loud crash, as if the front window had just exploded!

I dashed over, screaming for help, pleading with someone to call 911. And then I made the mistake of peeking inside. As dark as the interior was, I could tell the place had been utterly trashed. Thousands of dollars of precious antiques were smashed to smithereens. And then when Devon’s little pug Mimi started barking hysterically, I crawled in through the broken window and found poor Devon, laying lifeless on a Persian rug.

I didn’t know if he’d been shot, stabbed, or clubbed. Or if he was still alive. Anyway, the police arrived along with the EMTs. And as they worked on him, they finally gave Ava and I the very sad news that Devon was dead – that he’d been stabbed in the ear with an ice pick!

Since Mimi the pug was the only witness, I decided to take her home with me and see if she could possibly identity or sniff out Devon’s killer. That meant carrying Mimi to Devon’s memorial service and sneaking her into a few other places.

But it’s been tough. Because by running my own shadow investigation, I’ve uncovered a whole lot of potential suspects. There’s Devon’s greedy landlord who wanted him to vacate so he could take the building condo, Devon’s young assistant, a fat cat art collector, and the mysterious (but strangely attractive) president of the Vampire Society.

So right now I’m a bundle of nerves as I try to sift through all the clues, interview all sorts of people who definitely don’t want to talk to me, and try to find a new home for Mimi. Sound impossible? Well, it’s the toughest murder mystery I’ve ever tried to solve. And, believe me, I’m been pulled into more than a few. This is New Orleans, after all, where strange things happen on a routine basis!

All my best,

Carmela Bertrand

Mumbo Gumbo Murder (A Scrapbooking Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
16th in Series
Berkley (October 1, 2019)
Hardcover: 320 pages
ISBN-10: 0451489578
ISBN-13: 978-0451489579
Digital ASIN: B07M75KVSB

A shocking murder strikes a sour note during Jazz Fest in the latest New Orleans Scrapbooking Mystery from New York Times bestselling author Laura Childs.

It’s Jazz Fest in New Orleans, and the giant puppets from the Beastmaster Puppet Theatre are parading through the French Quarter. Some are very spooky and veiled, others are tall and gangly, like strange aliens.

As the parade proceeds, Carmela Bertrand and her best friend, Ava, follow behind, down Royal Street and past the food booths. Suddenly, they hear a terrible crash from Devon Dowling’s antiques shop. They rush inside to find Devon collapsed with blood streaming down the side of his face. Has he been shot? Stabbed? 911 is hastily called, and the police and EMTs show up. After the police examine Devon’s body, they tell Carmela and Ava that their friend was murdered with an icepick. They’re shocked beyond belief — and now Mimi, Devon’s little pug, is left homeless.

Carmela and Ava are determined to catch the murderer, but the list of suspects is long. How long do they have before they find themselves on the killer’s list? 

About The Authors

Laura Childs is the New York Times bestselling author of the Tea Shop Mysteries, Scrapbook Mysteries, and Cackleberry Club Mysteries. In her previous life she was CEO/Creative Director of her own marketing firm and authored several screenplays. She is married to a professor of Chinese art history, loves to travel, rides horses, enjoys fundraising for various non-profits, and has two Chinese Shar-Pei dogs.

Laura specializes in cozy mysteries that have the pace of a thriller (a thrillzy!) Her three series are:

The Tea Shop Mysteries – set in the historic district of Charleston and featuring Theodosia Browning, owner of the Indigo Tea Shop. Theodosia is a savvy entrepreneur, and pet mom to service dog Earl Grey. She’s also an intelligent, focused amateur sleuth who doesn’t rely on coincidences or inept police work to solve crimes. This charming series is highly atmospheric and rife with the history and mystery that is Charleston.

The Scrapbooking Mysteries – a slightly edgier series that take place in New Orleans. The main character, Carmela, owns Memory Mine scrapbooking shop in the French Quarter and is forever getting into trouble with her friend, Ava, who owns the Juju Voodoo shop. New Orleans’ spooky above-ground cemeteries, jazz clubs, bayous, and Mardi Gras madness make their presence known here!

The Cackleberry Club Mysteries – set in Kindred, a fictional town in the Midwest. In a rehabbed Spur station, Suzanne, Toni, and Petra, three semi-desperate, forty-plus women have launched the Cackleberry Club. Eggs are the morning specialty here and this cozy cafe even offers a book nook and yarn shop. Business is good but murder could lead to the cafe’s undoing! This series offers recipes, knitting, cake decorating, and a dash of spirituality.

Laura’s Links

Webpage –

Facebook –

Recipient of both the Agatha and the Derringer awards, Terrie Farley Moran is the author of the beachside Read ‘Em and Eat cozy mystery series; co-author of Laura Childs’ New Orleans scrapbooking mystery series; and has published numerous short stories in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine, Mystery Weekly Magazine and numerous anthologies.

The only thing Terrie enjoys more than wrangling mystery plots into submission is hanging out with any or all of her seven grandchildren who reside in New York and Florida.

Terrie’s Links





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Friday, October 4, 2019

Kelly Watt's Mad Dog Blog Tour with a Spotlight and Q and A


I am so excited to have Kelly Watt here at Mystery Thrillers and Romantic Suspense Reviews with a Spotlight and Q and A.

Thanks Kelly and PR by the Book for allowing me to join your Mad Dog Blog Tour!

Please take it away, Kelly!

Author Q&A
Mad Dog
By Kelly Watt

1. Mad Dog tells the story of a young girl experiencing very traumatic events. What inspired you to write this story?

In my late-twenties and early thirties, I went into therapy after years of struggling with insomnia, depression, and anxiety. I ended up spending six years experiencing terrible flashbacks of abuse I’d suffered as a child while living in various boarding and foster homes. One of the ways I kept sane was to journal. I felt that if I could write one sentence a day then I would be okay. I began journaling, and the writing started spiralling off into stories. Mad Dog started as a story, but it just kept getting longer and longer until I had to admit I was writing a novel.

While in therapy, I had a flashback that really haunted me about a troubled young man. I was trying to figure out why this teenager voluntarily hung around this abusive group of men. He was being sexually abused by one of the men and they were taking pornographic photographs of him.

I posed myself a question: why would a boy be lured by these men? What would be the appeal? What would he be fleeing, what were his vulnerabilities and how would the perpetrator convince him to stay? I wrote the book to answer those questions for myself.

There wasn’t much known about grooming or the tactics of predators or pedophiles in those days, so I just posed the question, “why?” And wrote a book about it. I was trying to come to terms with my own violent childhood, much of which remained opaque and inexplicable to me at first. I was trying to understand what kind of people would behave in such a predatory way and why.

2. Are any of the experiences of the main character pulled from your own life?

Yes, some of the experiences in the book have been pulled from my own life. Others are fictionalized. A book becomes its own creature after a while.

Sheryl-Anne’s whole desire in life is to reunite with her mother, and that was mine too. I lived apart from my mother off and on from age 2-11. I spent my early days feeling abandoned and longing to be united with her. I was also abused and manipulated in some of the ways Sheryl is in the book and had total amnesia about it for many years, as Sheryl does.

3. What other personal experiences did you want to explore in this novel?

I wanted to write about dissociation, denial and amnesia – that process of burying what’s painful. Of being half alive or sleepwalking through life, because of trauma and fear. Due to my own trauma, I felt that I was awakening from a deep drug-induced sleep or hypnosis.

All my life I had felt tormented, and I hadn’t known why. I would say to my therapist over and over that there was something I wasn’t remembering…but I couldn’t finish the sentence. Then the truth of my childhood came to the surface. And it was horrific. It was a huge shock that led me to question everything. Suddenly I was aware of the unfairness in the world, the way certain powerful men got away with abusing their power, how secrets are held and enforced.

My awakening was at a much later age, but I wanted my character, Sheryl-Anne, to have her awakening as a young woman, so that she could know and escape.

4. This novel was originally published in 2001. Why release a revised edition now?

Mad Dog was originally launched on September 13, 2001. My beloved stepfather died on September 4, and of course then there was 9/11. So, what I anticipated as being one of the greatest times of my life, became the worst.

I also felt that it was too soon. People were still uncomfortable with the subject matter at that time. I had people say to me that child pornography was just a rumour and grossly exaggerated. The internet wasn’t flourishing yet, so people were still very naïve about child sexual abuse and human trafficking, etc. I got involved with an independent press in the U.S., Hamilton Stone Editions, and they asked me to publish the book with them. I kept saying no, there were just too many painful memories around it. But as the #MeToo movement began and I realized people were more open to this topic now than 20 years ago, I relented.

5. How does this story resonate in the current #MeToo era?

Society is finally accepting that sexual harassment and assault takes place, and in unprecedented numbers, and the public is finally supporting women who come forward. So, I think now people will finally understand that these same things happen to young girls and children, as in my novel.

6. Mad Dog takes place in 1964. How different was that era for women and children who experienced sexual assault compared to today?

I picked that year because it was the pivotal year before the 50s became the 60s. When we talk of the 1960s, we are usually referring to that groovy time from 1965 onwards. Before that the staid, post-war 1950s were still the status quo. I wanted that conservatism, and the old boys club atmosphere that was rife in small towns at that time, as a backdrop to Sheryl’s discoveries.

When it came to my own research into the justice system, I found out that crimes committed are tried by the law of the time, no matter when you come forward. And in the 1960s there were no trafficking laws in Canada, no child pornography laws, only an obscenity law, and even that required a witness. I was told someone would have had to witness my rape for me to win in court. So you can imagine the likelihood of that. In most cases of rape the only other person present is the perpetrator, so you can surmise how many of those cases were ever solved in favour of the victim.

Basically, women and children were not protected under the law when it came to sexual violence. It didn’t exist in Canada. And still doesn’t in many places around the world.

Fortunately, #MeToo has kicked the door open. Whether the door stays open and women get to pass through it and receive justice and healing is another thing. Public opinion tends to swing like a pendulum and there can be a backlash.

7. What kind of research did you do for this book?

I did quite a bit of research for the book. I didn’t grow up on an apple farm, for instance. I was a city kid who had spent time in a small town in the country, so I had to do a lot of research when it came to rural farming life. I liked the allegorical nature of apples, and so set the book on an apple orchard. I asked some very nice fruit farmers outside a northern town for their help, and I interviewed them and hung out and worked with them for a while during harvest season so that I could get a sense of rural life. I always felt a bit badly that the farmer characters in the book are such bad actors, because the people who let me hang out and learn about apples from them were truly wonderful people.

I also spoke with many other survivors of what we call ritualized abuse and torture, or intergenerational sex rings, and so I had a sense of the dynamics that occur in these sick pedophilic family groups, and their gang-like behaviour.

8. Ultimately, what do you hope readers take away from your novel?

I want to raise awareness about these issues – about the prevalence of child sexual abuse and its long-term effects, and particularly the tactics that predators use to lure their victims. Although the book takes place many years ago, the techniques pedophiles and traffickers use then and now are essentially the same – the flattery, the stringing along, the promises, the offers of gifts, free drugs and alcohol and sex, all that is typical grooming behaviour. As parents we need to be aware of them.

One of the things that the recent case around Jeffrey Epstein has highlighted is how a predator can use other victims to lure new victims. Sadly, predators take advantage of our innocent assumptions, including that a woman wouldn’t help a predator, and yet there are many instances where that is not true. Predators often work in pairs. Even Weinstein had helpers. So did Epstein. That other woman in the car or the woman who invites you to the party, may also be a victim, may be programmed and manipulated, or just plain innocent of what’s about to take place. It’s so tragic.

So, the first step is to share and discuss these issues to get the information out there. I’ve added a reader’s discussion page at the back of my book, and I’ve been offering to do book clubs so that people can get together and discuss these issues, in a safe setting, either in person or by webinar, so that they have a forum to share their experiences.

I’ve also created a resource page with places to get help in the U.S. and Canada, as well as a list of social justice organizations like the one I used to volunteer for so people can access them. There are a lot of amazing resources out there now, but people need to be aware of them. I’ve started a weekly blog on some of these issues for the purposes of sharing info and related news events. You can find all this information on

It’s secrecy that allows these crimes to flourish. If we want to keep our children safe from pedophiles and traffickers, then we need to be open and get the information out there.

9. How where can readers purchase Mad Dog?

The new book is available on, both in paperback and Kindle and Smashwords.

10. Is there anything else you’d like to tell us about your journey?

First, I think that it’s important to be kind when people divulge their experiences of trauma and violence to you. It takes a lot of courage to come forward and it’s important that we allow people to speak their truth.

The second thing is that it takes years to heal, sometimes many, many years. I look like a normal person, but the truth is I have spent almost 30 years in therapy. I consider myself a fully recovered survivor, not a victim.

Lastly, no matter what has happened to you, you can heal. What the people of my generation did was learn and develop new modalities of healing, and they are available now. No matter how dark the present, there is hope for the future. The world is changing.

What happens behind closed doors comes into the light

A young woman’s coming-of-age story set against a backdrop of mystery and fanaticism

It's the summer of 1964 and the Supremes are the reigning queens of radio. Sheryl-Anne MacRae dreams of running away from her home on an apple orchard in southwestern Ontario to find her missing mother. But the teenager's plans are put on hold when her uncle and guardian, Fergus, the local pharmacist and an amateur photographer, brings home a handsome young hitchhiker.

When Sheryl-Anne meets the guitar-toting Peter Lucas Angelo, she falls in love. But life in Eden Valley is not as idyllic as it seems. As the summer progresses, Peter is pulled deeper into Fergus' dangerous underworld – a world of sex, drugs, pornography and apocalyptic visions.

Through the naïve eyes of the ethereal 14-year old Sheryl-Anne, Kelly Watt explores themes of child abuse and sexual deviance, and the secrets, dissociation and denial that allow it to flourish.

A gothic tale told in vivid, often hallucinogenic prose, Mad Dog was a 2001 Globe and Mail notable book and Watt's first novel. The book has been republished with a U.S. publisher (an updated edition).


● How this story originally released in Canada in 2001 resonates strongly in the current #MeToo era

● Why the author felt 2019 was the right time to release the U.S. and e-book editions of her 2001 novel

● Issues surrounding child abuse and child trafficking

● Sexual abuse cases coming to light that used to be hidden (e.g. Jeffrey Epstein)

● The issue of child luring and why it happens

● Author is an advocate for victims of sexual abuse and involved in several nonprofits that are mission-driven


Kelly Watt’s award-winning short stories have been anthologized, published internationally and longlisted for the prestigious CBC Radio’s Short Fiction Contest twice (2017/2015). She is the author of two books — the travel companion Camino Meditations (2014), and the gothic novel Mad Dog (2019). Watt lives in the Ontario countryside with her husband, a miniature schnauzer and three diligent chickens.


“The strangest coming-of-age story you ever did read.” – The National Post

“To call this a first-love/coming-of-age story would belie the suspense and mystery that Watt so adeptly creates.” – The Globe and Mail

“At the heart of Watt's startling new novel is a look at fanaticism that dangerously blurs good and evil for the perceived fulfillment of a prophesy." -- Jenivieve DeVries, Highly Recommended, The Book Shelf, Guelph, ON

Book Details:

Publisher: Hamilton Stone Editions
Release Date: September 2, 2019 (revised edition; first U.S. edition)
Format: Paperback
ISBN-13: 9780990376705

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BOOKING INFO: Nicole Ballengee,


 ABOUT THE BOOK: It's the summer of 1964 and the Supremes are the reigning queens of radio. Sheryl-Anne MacRae dreams of running away from her home on an apple orchard in southwestern Ontario to find her missing mother. But the teenager's plans are put on hold when her uncle and guardian, Fergus, the local pharmacist and an amateur photographer, brings home a handsome young hitchhiker.

When Sheryl-Anne meets the guitar-toting Peter Lucas Angelo, she falls in love. But life in Eden Valley is not as idyllic as it seems. As the summer progresses, Peter is pulled deeper into Fergus' dangerous underworld – a world of sex, drugs, pornography and apocalyptic visions.

Through the naïve eyes of the ethereal 14-year old Sheryl-Anne, Kelly Watt explores themes of child abuse and sexual deviance, and the secrets, dissociation and denial that allow it to flourish.

A gothic tale told in vivid, often hallucinogenic prose, Mad Dog was a 2001 Globe and Mail notable book and Watt's first novel. The book has been republished with a U.S. publisher (an updated edition).


Kelly Watt’s award-winning short stories have been anthologized, published internationally and longlisted for the prestigious CBC Radio’s Short Fiction Contest twice (2017/2015). She is the author of two books—the travel companion Camino Meditations (2014), and the gothic novel Mad Dog (2019). Watt lives in the Ontario countryside with her husband, a miniature schnauzer and three diligent chickens.

Book Details: Publisher: Hamilton Stone Editions Release Date: September 2, 2019 (revised edition; first U.S. edition) Format: Paperback ISBN-13: 9780990376705