Win the August 2020 bookshelf of signed thrillers!

August 1, 2020

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Hello, my lovely readers! 

I am so happy to be back with another contest! August brings some great reads, and twice the thrills from one of my favorite authors, Allison Brennan! Is there anything better to help you escape the nightmare we are living in than spending some time in someone else’s nightmare? It will make your life seem positively idyllic!

Please check back, you never know when more titles might show up…

TOO FAR GONE by Allison Brennan: Lucy Kincaid Novels, Book 14. Lucy Kincaid is assigned to investigate the death of a mentally unstable man during a hostage situation who used to be an upstanding citizen, and whose story proves more complicated and dangerous than she initially imagines.

ABANDONED by Allison Brennan: Max Revere Novels, Book 5. Max Revere investigates the disappearance of her own mother several years earlier, tracing her activities in a small Chesapeake Bay community where witnesses are keeping dark secrets.

CREDIBLE THREAT by J.A. Jance: Ali Reynolds Series, Book 15. Ali Reynolds and her team at High Noon Enterprises must race against the clock to save an archbishop who faces mysterious death threats in yet another &;incredible&; (Suspense Magazine) installment of J.A. Jance&;s New York Times bestselling series.

RIVIERA GOLD by Laurie R. King: Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes, Book 16. Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes turn the Riviera upside down to crack their most captivating case yet in the New York Times bestselling series that Lee Child called “the most sustained feat of imagination in mystery fiction today.”

ONE LAST LIE by Paul Doiron: Mike Bowditch Mysteries, Book 11. When his beloved mentor disappears amid the discovery of an antique badge, Mike Bowditch investigates the presumed death of an undercover warden before the cold case is upended by dangerous secrets and a daughter’s return.

THE GIRL FROM WIDOW HILLS by Megan Miranda: From the New York Times bestselling author of “The Last House Guest”-a Reese’s Book Club pick-comes a riveting new novel of psychological suspense about a young woman plagued by night terrors after a childhood trauma who wakes one evening to find a corpse at her feet.

HOME BEFORE DARK by Riley Sager: Twenty-five years after her father published a wildly popular nonfiction book based on her family’s rushed exit from a haunted Victorian estate, naysayer Maggie inherits the house and begins renovations, only to make a number of disturbing discoveries.


You can win autographed copies of these books! If you are new to the site, each month I run a contest in conjunction with the International Thriller Writers organization. We put together a list of books from debut authors to bestsellers, so you can win some of your favorites and find some new favorites.

What makes this contest really special is that all of the books (except eBooks) are signed by the author! Books with multiple authors will be signed by at least one of the authors.

Penguin Random House books for giveaway were provided by the publisher. #PRHpartner

Game the system – just a bit. All subscribers to the newsletter get an extra entry into every contest. All followers of this blog get an extra entry into every contest. Why not do both and get TWO extra entries into every contest!

Check out the Win Books page for more information on all these books and authors, and how you can enter this month’s contest.

Thanks for reading, and good luck!


YOU HAD ME AT HOLA by Alexis Daria

August 11, 2020

YOU HAD ME AT HOLA by Alexis Daria. Avon (August 4, 2020). ISBN 978-0062959928. 384 pages.

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THE SILENT WIFE by Karin Slaughter

August 10, 2020

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Will Trent, Book 10

From the publisher:

He watches. He waits. He takes. Who will be next . . .

THE SILENT WIFE

The New York Times bestselling author of Pieces of Her and The Last Widow returns with another electrifying thriller.

Investigating the killing of a prisoner during a riot inside a state penitentiary, GBI investigator Will Trent is confronted with disturbing information. One of the inmates claims that he is innocent of a brutal attack for which he has always been the prime suspect. The man insists that he was framed by a corrupt law enforcement team led by Jeffrey Tolliver and that the real culprit is still out there—a serial killer who has systematically been preying on women across the state for years. If Will reopens the investigation and implicates the dead police officer with a hero’s reputation of wrongdoing, the opportunistic convict is willing to provide the information GBI needs about the riot murder.

Only days ago, another young woman was viciously murdered in a state park in northern Georgia. Is it a fluke, or could there be a serial killer on the loose?

As Will Trent digs into both crimes it becomes clear that he must solve the cold case in order to find the answer. Yet nearly a decade has passed—time for memories to fade, witnesses to vanish, evidence to disappear, and lies to become truth. But Will can’t crack either mystery without the help of the one person he doesn’t want involved: his girlfriend and Jeffrey Tolliver’s widow, medical examiner Sara Linton.

When the past and present begin to collide, Will realizes that everything he values is at stake . . .


A brilliantly conceived story about a psychopath and one that is a complete one. A fiend that preys upon young women, capturing them, torturing them, and then raping their bodies after he has killed them. The author has used Will Trent, a detective with a police department in The Atlanta Georgia area, and his girlfriend Doctor Sara Linton, who is the medical examiner for the same police force. This is the 10th book featuring the two in the series, and I must comment that I like Slaughter’s treatment of them. They are normal police personnel, not super-beings pulling solutions miraculously out of the air. Both are dedicated to solving cases and bringing criminals to justice by slowly, but surely obtaining evidence in solving the crime.

In the book’s opening, Will is visiting a prison to interview a prisoner when he is pulled into talking to another man that claims he is innocent of a murder of a young woman and should not be jailed. Will, in thinking over what the second man told him, brings the situation to his department head and they decide to look into the matter. Their investigations unearth a series of murders in an area around Atlanta going back several years.

Karin Slaughter describes what has happened to the girls in great detail and it is not light reading. The descriptions describe the torture inflicted on them and the reader needs to understand that it is not gratuitous horror but the author’s need to bring out what women can go through when sick men decide to “punish” them. In an afterward, Slaughter does indicate that it was one of her intentions to bring out this situation.

Will and Sara’s group begin unearthing similar crimes that occurred in areas to the north of Atlanta and judicious study uncovers similar physical damages to the women inflicted by the murderer and which betray a knowledge of anatomy. Sara rereads accounts of the previous murders and skillfully sets up a profile of the killer. In two cases the victim has survived but will never completely recover mentally.

Slaughter describes the attempts to interview them, with both Will and Sara devastated by the accounts. The book is absolutely one that must be finished in one mesmerizing period after which some relaxation is necessary and time out awaiting the author’s next novel.

8/2020 Paul Lane

THE SILENT WIFE by Karin Slaughter. William Morrow (August 4, 2020). ISBN: 978-0062858108. 496 pages.

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THE FRIENDSHIP LIST by Susan Mallery

August 9, 2020

THE FRIENDSHIP LIST by Susan Mallery. HQN; Original edition (August 4, 2020). ISBN 978-1335136961. 384 pages.

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THE HOLLOW ONES by Guillermo Del Toro & Chuck Hogan

August 8, 2020

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Blackwood Tapes, Book 1

From the publisher:

A horrific crime that defies explanation, a rookie FBI agent in uncharted territory, and an extraordinary hero for the ages: an investigation spirals out of control in this heart-pounding thriller.

Odessa Hardwicke’s life is derailed when she’s forced to turn her gun on her partner, Walt Leppo, a decorated FBI agent who turns suddenly, inexplicably violent while apprehending a rampaging murderer. The shooting, justified by self-defense, shakes the young FBI agent to her core. Devastated, Odessa is placed on desk leave pending a full investigation. But what most troubles Odessa isn’t the tragedy itself — it’s the shadowy presence she thought she saw fleeing the deceased agent’s body after his death.

Questioning her future with the FBI and her sanity, Hardwicke accepts a low-level assignment to clear out the belongings of a retired agent in the New York office. What she finds there will put her on the trail of a mysterious figure named Hugo Blackwood, a man of enormous means who claims to have been alive for centuries, and who is either an unhinged lunatic, or humanity’s best and only defense against unspeakable evil.

From the authors who brought you The Strain Trilogy comes a strange, terrifying, and darkly wondrous world of suspense, mystery, and literary horror. The Hollow Ones is a chilling, spell-binding tale, a hauntingly original new fable from Academy Award-winning director Guillermo del Toro and bestselling author Chuck Hogan featuring their most fascinating character yet.


A novel diving deeply into an occult scenario and immersing the reader into various intellectual exercises throughout the book. The story involves two leading individuals; the first is Odessa Hardwicke a new FBI agent and the other is John Silence a man that comes when he is called upon for help. The calling upon him for help must be done by leaving a letter for him in a mailbox that doesn’t exist in a building in Manhattan, New York. How the mailbox is found is only if someone tells you about it.

The action begins when Odessa shoots her partner to death due to his becoming inexplicably violent and presenting a danger to her. Upon shooting him she sees an emanation leaving his body which is not explainable. Odessa is placed on Desk leave by her department while the shooting is investigated and to keep her busy is given the assignment to clean out a retiring agent’s effects. This brings her to learning about John via information in Agent Solomon’s (the retiree) belongings and eventually sending for him to help her.

We are taken to three different time zones and places by the authors during the course of the story. The first, of course, Newark, New Jersey the scene of the shooting by Odessa, back many years to the southern United States where Earl Solomon as a new FBI agent is investigating the lynching of a white man and also 450 years ago when John Silence, happily married runs into the evil that requires his presence through the centuries while losing his wife to the Hollow people. The Hollow Ones is the title of the book and are entities that are the epitome of evil and best left to the authors to explain during the course of the novel.

The writing stays on the dark side throughout the book and remains an adventure into the occult for the reader. My own feeling is that it strains the patience of the author’s fans and does become more than a little over-intellectualized. Nothing should stop their fans from picking up their next book but this one leaves something to be desired and is, in my opinion, not their normal five-star novel.

8/2020 Paul Lane

THE HOLLOW ONES by Guillermo Del Toro & Chuck Hogan. Grand Central Publishing (August 4, 2020). ISBN: 978-1538761748. 336 pages

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TAKE A HINT, DANI BROWN by Talia Hibbert

August 7, 2020

TAKE A HINT, DANI BROWN by Talia Hibbert. Berkley (July 7, 2020). ISBN 978-1984804044. 320 pages.

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CORONAVIRUS DIARY: August 6, 2020

August 6, 2020

It’s Ariel’s birthday!

Ariel is my baby girl who has the nerve to turn 28 today! I don’t know how these things happen. I swear it was only last week that she was skipping off to kindergarten. When I was a kid, I thought it took forever for a new year to come. I remember my mom saying that the older she got, the faster the years flew by. I didn’t understand that back then, but I sure do now.

I feel so fortunate that she lives at home with us, especially now. If you have to be quarantined, it’s wonderful to have company, especially company that you love. Ariel is smart and funny and has such a big heart. I feel like I’ve learned to be more empathetic because of her example. She is also creative, a gifted musician, photographer, and writer, and she is a contributor to an award-winning website.

Ariel was my miracle baby after seven years of trying, and I am grateful every single day for her. I wish her a joyous birthday and a lifetime of love and happiness!

Me and my girl…

I asked Ariel what she wanted to do for her birthday. Seeing how cases have skyrocketed in South Florida (except for the “declining numbers” over the weekend due to the state being shut down because of Hurricane Isaias so no testing or reporting was done!) we were limited. She requested that I make her breakfast burritos and chocolate chip cookies. Then she asked if we could get takeout from one of our favorite restaurants, Big Bear Brewing Company. I was relieved to see that they have survived the pandemic, and now we are all excited about getting some great food that I didn’t cook! Okay, so maybe I’m the only one excited about not cooking.

I am gearing up to go back to campus as classes are set to begin on August 24. I am in the process of hiring several new student workers and trying to figure out how to train them from a distance. Because I have the world’s best boss, we are going to be staffed by only 1 or 2 librarians on campus at any time. That means that my students are going to be on the front line alone. I will be there a few mornings a week, and working from home the rest of the time. At least that is the plan. I may have to be there considerably more to get them all up to speed. I’m just wondering after wearing flip flops for five months, how am I going to wear shoes again??

My dental woes continue. I had another broken tooth and after the x-ray found the tooth behind it had what appeared to have some sort of issue. Off to the endodontist who did two root canals. Lucky me. Then back to the dentist so he can prepare the teeth for two new crowns. That will happen in a couple of weeks. On the bright side, I had a follow-up visit with the oral surgeon who said my bone graft took and looks good. He is ready to put in the implant but I am out of $$$ so we are putting it off until 2021 when my insurance starts back up again. Fun times.

Finally, I am getting more frightened by all the insanity that has already begun around the general election in November. It’s still going to be in November despite what the murderer-in-chief wants. My family already has our absentee ballots for the August primary, and we will be voting absentee in the general. This article in the Atlantic just freaked me out though:

How the 2020 Election Could Go Wrong: Where the System May Break
A war-game exercise simulating the 2020 election unmasked some key vulnerabilities.
https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2020/07/how-2020-election-could-go-wrong/614842/?fbclid=IwAR2ItPgyauc8ZViuFY_BPqtqPSiiTABydwHjaKGG_NKmuPswFFwwErC-grk

The fact that we need war games to prepare for an election just sends chills down my spine. Please, please vote this November, however you can. If you’re not sure if you are registered or even if you are, double-check! People are mysteriously being removed from the voting rolls. You can find out for sure here: Vote Save America.

As always, thanks for reading and stay safe!


THE PANDORA PRESCRIPTION by James Sheridan

August 5, 2020

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From the publisher:

The pharmaceutical giants have a big skeleton in their closet and will fight tooth and nail to keep it there. Author Dan Travis, notorious unsolved mystery specialist, is on another book tour when a cryptic message from a desperate stranger blows his life apart. He is sucked into a silent war which hinges on an incriminating data file. Finding it is Travis’s only hope for surviving a deadly chase across America. But to find its location, Travis must discover the link between the biggest medical cover-up in history and the greatest assassination conspiracy of the twentieth century. The key lies within a secret underground of doctors sworn to an ancient oath. When the solution is the problem, which side will YOU be on? The facts behind the fiction will blow you away.


James Sheridan’s book is a fascinating look at certain scenarios existing in the world at the current time. The dialog he utilizes supports underlying beliefs that (a) the assassination of ex U.S. president John Kennedy involved an international conspiracy, not the approach that Lee Harvey Oswald was the lone assassin, and (b) the Pharmaceutical industry is rife with schemes to prevent known cures for diseases like cancer to become accredited. The industry promotes the sale of medicines that might even harm the patient in place of cures solely in the interest of making more money than a cure might bring in.

Dan Travis, an expert on several unsolved mysteries, is on a book promotion tour when a message unexpectedly received moves him into a secret war based upon a data file. He knows the person sending him the message and is also immediately galvanized into action when he is met by a lady purporting to be that man’s sister. She tells him that she is a government agent and will help him get the file and publicize it.

The action immediately accelerates with a man named Mr. Green, an agent of the U.S. government, and backed by many of his own people, begins to chase Dan and the girl now working with him. While moving forward in their search for the data file Dan learns about the reality of both the killing of John F Kennedy and the truth about big Pharma’s conspiracy to crush many cures in order to continue to rake in money. The key to the plot by the Pharmaceutical companies lies with another secret organization this time with doctors sworn to bring out the truth.

Whether Sheridan is exposing extremely high-level conspiracies or not does not detract from the sheer force of the author’s descriptions. The book quickly mesmerizes the reader and does not allow it to be put down until finished. Moreover, readers of the novel will not only be looking for future works by the author but also spending some time on the internet in attempts to ascertain the possibility or not of the conspiracies described being rooted in fact. I did spend some time searching for the possibility or not of the book is correct in its allegations but I leave my findings for readers to investigate on their own.

8/2020 Paul Lane

THE PANDORA PRESCRIPTION by James Sheridan. Sterling & Ross, Cambridge House Press; 1stedition (September 28, 2007). ISBN: 978-0978721350. 432 pages.

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THE PALACE by Christopher Reich

August 4, 2020

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Simon Riske, Book 3

From the publisher:

In his greatest challenge yet, international spy Simon Riske must face a ring of ruthless masterminds and foil a plot with global implications as he becomes the world’s most wanted man.

Life is good for Rafael de Bourbon. The forty-year-old Spaniard recently married to a wealthy English beauty, and is days away from opening a luxury boutique hotel off the southern coast of Thailand. But when the Royal Thai Police storm the hotel and arrest him for blackmail and extortion, “Rafa” is thrown into Bangkok’s most notorious jail. In desperation, he reaches out to the one man who can prove his innocence.

Simon Riske, ex-con and now “private spy,” owes Rafa his life. Once he and De Bourbon were the closest of friends, until a woman came between them. Riske rushes to Bangkok to secure his friend’s release and overnight, finds himself caught up in a web of intrigue larger and more dangerous than he could imagine. In hours, it is Riske who finds himself the wanted man.

On the run in a foreign country, pursued by powerful unseen forces who will stop at nothing until he is killed, Riske must stay alive long enough to uncover the truth behind an international conspiracy that threatens to wreak carnage across the glittering capitals of Europe. From Bangkok to Singapore and ultimately to Cannes, Riske enlists the help of a daring investigative reporter, a rogue Mossad agent, and his own band of home-grown specialists, to thwart the cabal behind the plot, only to learn its very origins are frighteningly close to his past.

Frighteningly timely, diabolically clever, and ever so stylish, The Palace is Christopher Reich’s sharpest and most exciting book yet.


This is a novel that has all the ingredients to keep the reader glued to the pages. It is high adventure played out in exotic parts of the world and by people with titanic fortunes at their disposal and greedy to add to their wealth.

This is Christopher Reich’s third book featuring Simon Riske, now a private spy, formerly ex-convict, and a man that takes on problem-solving wherever and whenever the mood strikes him. He has the wealth to do so and to also ensure that the ability of a client to pay him has nothing to do with taking on any challenge.

Rafael de Bourbon is a friend of Riske’s and had once literally saved his life. He is also married to a woman that Riske was once in love with. He is in Thailand and in the process of opening up a luxury boutique hotel. While working at finishing up the work on his proposed hotel he is subjected to a raid by Royal Thai police and charged with blackmail and extortion. With no evidence produced, Rafael is thrown into Bangkok’s worse jail. In desperation, he manages to contact Simon Riske who feels obligated to travel to Thailand and work on getting his friend freed.

Simon quickly discovers that Rafael is somehow mixed up in a plot of immense magnitude and incidentally finds himself mixed up in the problem. In working on the solution, the Israeli Mossad, a world-famous financial lady author, and more friends of his join in the proceedings with Simon to come to grips with joining into the search for answers.

The format of the book is continued action, action, and more action with trips undertaken to various countries that have a place in the scheme of things. Needless to say, there is no rest on this one. Another all-nighter for readers of the book, and of course awaiting the next novel by the author.

8/2020 Paul Lane

THE PALACE by Christopher Reich. Mulholland Books (August 4, 2020). ISBN: 978-0316456012. 416 pages.

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A GOOD DUKE IS HARD TO FIND by Christina Britton

August 3, 2020

8/2020 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch

A GOOD DUKE IS HARD TO FIND by Christina Britton. Forever (June 30, 2020). ISBN 978-1538717493. 384p.

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NOT LIKE THE MOVIES by Kerry Winfrey

August 2, 2020

NOT LIKE THE MOVIES by Kerry Winfrey. Berkley (July 7, 2020). ISBN 978-1984804044. 320 pages.

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