Win the March ’18 bookshelf of signed thrillers!

March 1, 2018

Welcome to the March bookshelf of signed thrillers! These are terrific titties from bestselling authors and maybe some that are new to you. Best of all, one lucky reader is going to win all these books, signed by the authors. More books may be added throughout the month, so check back often. To enter, go to the Win Books page.

Best of luck!

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THE BISHOP’S PAWN by Steve Berry: Former Justice Department agent Cotton Malone uncovers a disturbing link between a case from his past and the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. that risks innocent lives and threatens the legacy of the Civil Rights movement’s iconic martyr.

THE CUBAN AFFAIR by Nelson DeMille: Nelson DeMille’s #1 New York Times bestseller featuring DeMille’s newest character—U.S. Army combat veteran Daniel “Mac” MacCormick, a charter boat captain setting sail on his most dangerous cruise yet. When his shaky finances compel him to accept a lucrative job for a 10-day fishing tournament to Cuba, Mac learns that one of his clients is seeking to claim millions hidden by her grandfather, who was forced to flee Castro’s revolution years earlier.

HOUSE WITNESS by Mike Lawson, A Joe DeMarco Thriller: The new novel in Mike Lawson’s acclaimed series takes political fixer Joe DeMarco to New York for behind-the-scenes work on a high-stakes murder case. Investigating the murder of his employer’s illegitimate son, DeMarco begins to question the guilt of a chief suspect when he realizes that someone has been interfering with the case’s witnesses.

THE THIRD VICTIM by Phillip Margolin: When a series of abductions, tortures and murders are traced to the home of a prominent attorney in rural Oregon, a rookie lawyer becomes a second chair to a legendary criminal defense attorney who holds a dangerous secret.

LET ME LIE by Clare Mackintosh: Struggling to come to terms with her parents’ double suicide, new mother Anna commits herself to uncovering what really happened only to be confronted by a mysterious adversary who would keep the past hidden.

DEAD CALM by Annelise Ryan, A Mattie Winston Mystery: The honeymoon will have to wait for newlyweds deputy medical examiner Mattie Winston and homicide detective Steve Hurley when a man and woman are found dead next to each other in bed in what initially appears to be a grim but straightforward murder-suicide. 

SHALLOW GRAVE by Karen Harper:  While volunteering with a support group for children affected by domestic violence, forensic psychologist Claire Britten, aided by her partner Nick Markwood, investigates a suspicious death at a wildlife sanctuary.

SPEED THE DAWN by Philip Donlay, A Donovan Nash Thriller: In the style of Clive Cussler, best-selling author Philip Donlay climbs to a new height of terror in his 8th Donovan Nash thriller. 

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

Don’t forget, if you subscribe to the newsletter or follow this blog, you get an extra entry into every contest you enter. Check out the Win Books page for more information on all these books and how to enter this month’s contest.

Thanks for reading, and good luck!

THE BIG GET-EVEN by Paul Di Filippo

March 17, 2018
A very well told story about a scam – not just any scam but one for the sum of twenty million dollars. There are two main characters plotting this masterpiece. There is Glen, a disbarred lawyer and a man just out of prison who narrates the story. By chance and certainly not planned, he saves Stan’s life.
Stan is an arsonist who has a grudge against Barnaby Nancarrow, a major real estate developer, a rather crooked one, and sort of Stan’s former partner. Nancarrow hired Stan to burn properties owned by him in order to collect on the insurance. Nancarrow, was shall we say, not very honest with Stan in terms of paying him for the work and keeping him out of trouble with the law.
Stan and a woman named Vee, who is also somewhat miffed with Nancarrow, manage to convince Glen that they are aware of several factors that can be used in a scam. The scam that could net the group twenty million dollars in a relatively short period of time and for not much work.
There are more members of the team gathered for the venture including a very talented computer geek. He lives with Vee and his part will be to set up certain documents to aid in getting Nancarrow’s interest piqued. While all are in it for the money at first they do get to liking their fellow schemers making the novel a bit of a comedy.
The writing is certainly entertaining and will appeal to any reader looking for a good read. No deep dark messages nor hidden meanings to divert the reader’s attention from a well done novel.3/18 Paul Lane

THE BIG GET-EVEN by Paul Di Filippo. Blackstone Publishing (March 6, 2018).  ISBN 978-1504783910. 352p.


March 16, 2018

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A Thriller of Russian Cyber Warfare, Fake News, and Modern Espionage

Spy vs Spy grown up fashion: a novel about a new and different manner to wage war against your opponent; no guns, no bombs, no mass charges of soldiers. Simply setting up an attack via the use of disinformation. And one such scenario is brilliantly set up by Max Karpov.

The CIA learns that a propaganda attack is about to be launched against the United States by Russia, masterminded by a former FSB officer, Andrei Turov. He is now a millionaire and good friend of Vladimir Putin. It is termed “the children’s game,” a chess stratagem geared to a checkmate in four moves. It will be launched by a single breaking event and than continue using a sustained campaign of both disinformation and cyber attacks. The single breaking event is the shooting down of a plane that Putin is on, killing all aboard and putting the blame on the United States.

Christopher Niles, a former CIA information officer who knows Turov and his close relationship with Putin, is assigned to break open the plot and begins his attempt along with a small team. Karpov has set up a plausible action versus reaction plot which is beyond any doubt a brilliant description of the events described.

The reader will be pulled in many different ways during the course of the book. It is very much a novel that cannot be put down until the ending is reached. And it could be prophetic in it’s depiction of how future conflicts between nations could be fought with results behind the scenes and public opinion being manipulated as a means of victory or defeat.

Max Karpov delineates that the United States is very much behind Russia in it’s ability to wage the “new” war. The book may be a wake up call but first and foremost it is brilliant plot showcasing a major literary talent.

3/18 Paul Lane

THE CHILDREN’S GAME by Max Karpov. Arcade Publishing (March 13, 2018).  ISBN 978-1510734814. 384p.


March 15, 2018

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Montana Heat Series, Book 2

Cara Potter runs a half-way house of sorts for ex-cons who need a helping hand. She gives them a job in her diner, and place to live while they get back on their feet. Her father is a notorious drug lord, and she wants nothing to do with him. Instead, she helps those who have gotten into trouble but want to turn their lives around.

Dawson King is so deep undercover that he just got out of prison on drug charges. While there, he befriended and saved the life of his roommate, who sends him to Cara. King is there to take down her father but he quickly learns that Cara has nothing to do with that business. She finds herself attracted to him, but is leery, with good reason. Nonetheless, they fall in love, only she doesn’t even know his real name.

Lots of suspense and action, both the violent kind and the sexual kind, make this a real page turner. This is the second book of a terrific series.

3/18 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

MONTANA HEAT: TRUE TO YOU by Jennifer Ryan.  Avon (February 27, 2018).  ISBN  978-0062804242. 320p.



March 14, 2018

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The Duke’s Daughters Series, Book 2

Lady Olivia Howett is determined not to make the same mistake her sisters have made. She loves helping those less fortunate than herself, and thinks she ought to marry the man her sister threw over, Lord Carson. He works hard in Parliament to help make England a better place, and Olivia thinks that together, they would be the perfect couple. So she proposes. Really.

Shockingly, he says no and in a scene straight out of Gone With the Wind, the man lying on the couch overhearing said proposal and the flinging of china after the rejection finds Olivia most interesting. He is Edward Wolcott, a bastard. Really. His father won’t claim him and polite society cuts him with some regularity, but he decides to help Olivia grow up. And she does, with growing self awareness and eventually, she sees that Lord Carson isn’t the one for her.

This was a fun romance and has a few hot sex scenes as well. If that opening wasn’t such a blatant ripoff of GWTW, I would have liked it more.

3/18 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

THE DUKE’S DAUGHTERS: LADY BE RECKLESS by Megan Frampton. Avon (February 27, 2018). ISBN 978-0062666642.  384p.


Tamora Pierce: How I Started Writing Female Heroes

March 13, 2018

Fantasy author Tamora Pierce on how she started writing female heroes


March 13, 2018

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A portrait of a woman at the very bottom of feeling self loathing about herself. Cassandra Bowden is a flight attendant with about 20 years working in the profession. She has reached the point that she can bid on and work flights to most exotic destinations in the world.
Unfortunately, she has found the life of always being in different cities completely unsatisfying and empty. She has become a binge drinker often arriving at her destination, getting drunk and picking up a strange man to have sex with little memory of what has happened.
The novel begins with Cassie awakening in Dubai in a hotel room that is not the room nor the hotel that the rest of her flight crew are staying at.  And as many times before, she gets up with a pounding headache and just attempts to find out if she can still make a shuttle at the crew’s hotel to take her to the airport for her assignment on the plane back to the states.
This time there is a vast difference from other times. The man laying next to her has a wide gash in his neck. His blood is all over the bed and he is quite dead, obviously a murder victim.  Cassie begins a series of lies to her fellow flight crew members, to her sister and her family back in the states, and to the FBI waiting for her at the gate in New York. Her thinking is that she will be accused of  murder and doesn’t know how to hide her being in the same room with a murdered man.
As with his other novels, Bohjalian has researched the variables of careers spent going from one exotic place to another at 35,000 feet and always being away from home. Cassie has visited most of the  world, has no family ties except for a younger sister, her husband and children who she rarely sees, and no friends outside of the acquaintances among her fellow crew members. Her life is spent drinking and moving from one one night stand to another with no permanent ties to speak of.
The book moves from the murder to one complication after another for Cassie. Her thoughts and feelings are well described as are those of other key individuals taking part in the story. It is a novel that brings the reader unerringly into its permutations and combinations. A fascinating adventure into what is an environment far beyond the normal one of people whose jobs are within commuting distances from their homes and families and spend evenings with their loved ones.

3/18 Paul Lane

THE FLIGHT ATTENDANT by Chris Bohjalian. Doubleday (March 13, 2018).  ISBN 978-0385542418. 368p.


March 12, 2018

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The Survivors, Book 2

Lady Juliana is the daughter of an Earl but doesn’t quite fit into the usual society mold. Having lost her mother at a young age, and then her sister, her priorities have shifted. Her father is so wrapped up in hiding his grief in work that he barely pays her any attention, so when she decides to help out at an orphanage, he gives her some money and doesn’t think much of it. Until she actually moves into the orphanage.

At that point, the Earl sends his best friend’s son, a by-blow, Major Neil Wraxall, who heroically served in the army, to fetch his daughter home. But when he gets there, he realizes that while he may have faced down many an enemy, dealing with Lady Juliana is not going to be quite as easy.

Juliana refuses to leave and after a cursory inspection, Wraxall realizes the foundling home is in serious disrepair, not to mention the orphans, a dozen boys, are running roughshod over Lady Juliana. He quickly puts the boys to work, despite her objections, and within days everyone in the house is besotted with the Major, especially Juliana. Unfortunately, the leader of the local mob is trying to blackmail her into either paying him a huge fortune or moving into his bed. Wraxall to the rescue, of course, especially as things heat up with the Lady Juliana.

It was refreshing to just skim over the usual balls and social activities of the ton and focusing more on what happened to orphans in the early 1800’s and how soldiers of the time dealt with PTSD. This was a good read with likable characters, an interesting storyline and some pretty hot sex. A one night read for me.

3/18 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

NO EARLS ALLOWED by Shana Galen. Sourcebooks Casablanca (March 6, 2018). ISBN 978-1492639015.  384p.


THE CLOISTER by James Carroll

March 11, 2018

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Carroll’s new book is an extremely powerful adventure into human emotions experienced by two members of the Catholic clergy. They are separated by 1000 years but are subject to similar doubts about their vocations and their stories tied together.

The first to enter the narrative is Father Michael Kavanagh,the Priest presiding over a congregation in Inwood New York, part of the borough of Manhattan. The time frame for Father Kavanagh is shortly after World War II. During a Sunday service he sees an old classmate of his, “Runner” Malloy, come into the church. It has been years since they saw each other but strangely Malloy doesn’t stay and wanders away.

Perplexed by his old friend’s conduct, Father Kavanagh begins thinking and almost subconsciously wanders into the “Cloisters,” a museum which was a gift to New York by the Rockefellers. There he bumps into a beautiful guide and without much thought begins to talk to her. Rachel Vedette is a French Jew and cames to the United States after surviving the horrors of a concentration camp during the war.

Rachel is by education and interest a medieval scholar and is attempting to continue her late father’s academic study of Peter Abelard, a great teacher and thinker living in the 11th century. Abelard was also a Priest and famous for his logical approach to everything, never accepting something as given without subjecting it to logical scrutiny. There was an historical connection between him and Jewish scholars which ran against than current doctrine of the Church.

For some reason, Rachel feels instinctively that Father Kavanagh might share her interest in Abelard and freely starts to talk with him about the subject. One of the factors important in this novel is that Peter Abelard, contrary to the rules of celibacy enforced by the church, fell in love with a woman named Heloise, cohabiting with her through his life. Some historians indicate that he actually married her although the novel indicates that they only pledged their vows. What he did do was set her up as the Mother Superior in a convent close to where he was based.

Father Kavanagh is aware of Abelard and allows Rachel to lend him the manuscript she has been working on. Possibly due to reading the manuscript, conversations with her, and the subsequent finding of his old friend Malloy and learning why he left the church prompt Father Kavanagh to begin to question his place as a Priest, and if he would be better off leaving the Priesthood.

The research done to allow Peter Abelard to come to life in the book is incredible. The actions and supposed conversations could be the actual ones experienced by this important scholar. In addition, Heloise is threshed out as the intellectual equal of Peter and a helpmate and councilor to him even without living together as man and wife. What Father Kavanagh eventually decides is discussed and analyzed and a logical decision for the man.

3/18 Paul Lane

THE CLOISTER by James Carroll. Nan A. Talese (March 6, 2018).  ISBN 978-0385541275. 384p.

BY THE BOOK by Julia Sonneborn

March 10, 2018

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Anne Corey is a struggling English professor. She has a huge pile of student loans to pay off and finally has a job that she loves, teaching English literature at a small, private college in California.

Then her dream job becomes a bit of a nightmare.  Unfortunately, this school really lives by “publish or perish” and Anne’s time is running out. If she can’t get a book published, she’s out. There is a new college president, Adam Martinez, who happens to be the man who dumped her on their graduation day from college – shortly after proposing to her.

The only bright spot is visiting professor Rick Chasen, an award winning author who is also really hot. They hit it off and start a casual relationship, and he even offers to help Anne get her book published. Anne is also dealing with her father, who appears to be suffering from dementia.

Seeing Adam on a regular basis is proving to be more difficult than she thought it would be, especially because he and Rick seem to be at odds. Then things go from bad to worse, and Anne is moving up and down the highs and lows of her life – until she reaches her happy ending.

This is a modern day retelling of Jane Austen’s classic Persuasion. You don’t have to have read it to appreciate this book, and it is so well done that even if you are a fan of Austen, you will still enjoy this contemporary story.

3/18 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

BY THE BOOK by Julia Sonneborn. Gallery Books (February 6, 2018).  ISBN 978-1501175183. 384p.


Conspiracy Revealed: The Random House Home Video Logo

March 9, 2018

The Random House Home Video division has been closed for almost 20 years, yet somehow its logo lives on. Take a deeper dive into the conspiracies surrounding this 80’s animation.