Win the March ’19 bookshelf of signed thrillers!

March 1, 2019

Welcome to the March bookshelf of signed thrillers!

This month the International Thriller Writers have provided some superb thrillers for you to win. There are a couple of incredible debuts, lots of bestselling authors, true crime, romantic suspense, unreliable narrators and more! To enter, go to the Win Books page. More books may be added throughout the month, so check back often.

Best of luck!

THE BLACK ASCOT by Charles Todd: An unexpected tip lands Inspector Ian Rutledge on the trail of a suspect behind a royal horse-race murder, only to find his own sanity brought into question by shocking events.

A LETHAL LEGACY by Heather Graham: Summoned to a New York island by his father’s mysterious death, an FBI agent teams up with a compelling local to investigate a present-day killer.

MY LOVELY WIFE by Samantha Downing: A seemingly typical suburban husband discloses the secret ways that his wife of 15 years and he keep their marriage alive and chase away domestic boredom by orchestrating creative ways to get away with murder. A first novel.

THE FIFTH DOCTRINE by Karen Robards: Offered her freedom in exchange for a dangerous undercover assignment, master manipulator Bianca St. Ives poses as an elite hacker to feed strategic misinformation to North Korea’s tyrannical regime.

BLOOD OATH by Linda Fairstein: A key witness’ revelation about a sexual assault at the hands of a prominent official is complicated by rumors about a colleague’s abusive conduct and another associate’s violent, mysterious collapse.

THE PERFECT ALIBI by Phillip Margolin: Two rape cases at the same bar are complicated by a prominent athlete’s threats, baffling DNA evidence, suspicious attacks on case lawyers and a D.A.’s resolve to prosecute a killing in self-defense.

AND EVERY WORD IS TRUE by Gary McAvoy: Sixty years after news of the 1959 Clutter murders took the world stage, “And Every Word Is True” pulls back the curtain for a suspenseful encore to the true story of “In Cold Blood.”

HOUSE ON FIRE by Bonnie Kistler: Believing in the strength of their blended family, a couple is horrified when the son of one is charged in the drunk-driving death of the other’s daughter, triggering a manslaughter trial that is rocked by conflicting accounts.

BLOOD ORANGE by Harriet Tyce: A young lawyer’s idyllic family life and blossoming career is upended by a murder case involving a questionable confession and the lawyer’s toxic affair with a manipulative senior partner. A first novel.

YOU OWE ME A MURDER by Eileen Cook: Stuck on a class trip to London with her unfaithful ex and his new girlfriend, 17-year-old Kim imparts her woes to a good-humored stranger only to find herself set up for her ex’s murder and blackmailed into committing another.

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 you to enter this month’s contest.

Thanks for reading, and good luck!

FINDING KATARINA M. by Elisabeth Elo

March 21, 2019

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Elo has written a riveting and complex novel about a young doctor living and working in Washington D.C. traveling to Russia and encountering the very worse of conditions that country throws at it’s citizens.

Natalie March is a successful surgeon practicing in the United States. She enjoys the benefits of her work including a better than average life style. the reputation that her skill brings and a social life that is good, although can be better. Natalie is the daughter of Vera March, a woman that has emigrated from Russia but leaving with the guilt that she left her family on the way to the Gulag for crimes unmentioned.

Vera is in the throes of illness that Natalie cannot cure and she would do anything to help her mother survive her sickness. Natalie is suddenly visited by a young dancer working with a Russian Ballet company and performing in New York. The girl provides Natalie with details of the family still in Russia that only someone knowing them would be aware of. This includes Vera’s mother and her sister still living in a section of Siberia. The girl’s motives for visiting Natalie soon become clear. The family need help in defecting from Russia since they are in grave danger from the Putin regime. Natalie speaks to her mother and agrees to travel to New York where Saldana, who is the girl that is her cousin is performing.

Going to New York Natalie finds that Saldana has been murdered in what looks like a bad breaking and entering crime. Galvanized into action Natalie decides to travel to Russia and break the news to her family. Her findings and the events surrounding the meetings form a major part of the novel. Elo doing a major job of researching and investigating, paints a picture of a vast land, basically undeveloped and living under the totalitarian hand of absolute dictatorship. The weather in the areas visited is horrendous with normal almost year round temperatures below zero Fahrenheit.

In almost understated tones, Elo brings to life Natalie’s adventures in an alien land while looking for her grandmother and other relatives. A fascinating novel and one which cannot be picked up to read without finishing it.

3/19 Paul Lane

FINDING KATARINA M. by Elisabeth Elo. Polis Books (March 19, 2019). ISBN 978-1947993433. 352p.



Guest Blogger: Tally Adams

March 20, 2019

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I am excited to introduce new author Tally Adams to the blog! If you love romantic suspense and paranormal titles, read on!

I learned at a young age my imaginary friends weren’t like everyone else’s. Mine didn’t go away as I got older, for example, and they were always running around in the back of my mind in ‘what if’ scenarios. In my preteens, I learned to channel them into words and gave them delightful tales to get them out of my head for a while. By the time I was 11, I’d begun to enter adult writing competitions and managed to win a few. Stories of adventure and overcoming all odds held my attention, and I started reading about heroes in mythology. (How can a person ever go wrong with Hercules?) Before long, I couldn’t get enough! I spent the next few years reading everything I could find on mythology from all over the world.

Then, sometime in my teen years, I discovered Johanna Lindsey and her Fabio-laden book covers. For a while, mythology was all but forgotten as I disappeared into romance. It didn’t take long to realize different writers had very different takes on what makes a good romance. Some of them had the classic wilting-flower heroine, while others portrayed women who were adventurous and daring. Eventually, I found Laurell Hamilton and realized both of my passions could exist in a single story. From there, Shadow Pact was off and running.

I would soon learn, however, that finding a publisher who was willing to tackle a new no-name writer was far more challenging than writing. Since my imaginary friends were already stirring and the next book was coming together in my head, I decided to self-publish Shadow Pact and move on in the series.

Before I knew it, Amazon wasn’t able to keep up with the orders and I found myself needing to produce faster than the print-on-demand model could offer. After a little thought (okay, a lot of thought), I decided to find a small print press in Dallas and have a number of copies made. Brown Books came up on my search for phone numbers and I called them to place an order for distribution. I explained what I needed and why and was told by the receptionist there was someone I needed to talk to. That’s when Tom Reale (President of Brown Books) got on the phone. I rattled off my situation and asked for a price on a print run. He started to laugh and said, “I’m not a print press. I’m a publisher, and I want to see this book.” The next thing I knew, Brown Books had taken me under their wing and Shadow Pact was released nationally, reaching far more readers than I’d ever dared to hope. Now, with the backing of a terrific team, Shadow Pact is gaining in popularity and starting to carve a place for the rest of the Immortal Romance Series. For anyone who loves adventure, a dab of magic and a dose of romance, check out Shadow Pact!

Shadow Pact (Immortal Romance)

On a quest to find her missing sister Amber, Emily finds herself in the middle of an age-old conflict between vampires and werewolves.  When she runs into trouble, Emily is rescued by an anomaly of the supernatural realm: the handsome vampire-werewolf hybrid, William. Now caught between two worlds, they must navigate the vampire and werewolf courts to try and save Amber, themselves, and whatever peace that remains between the feuding species.

With countless dangers at every turn a twisted vampire queen, a bloodthirsty Coven, and a power-hungry werewolf king who will stop at nothing to dominate the magical world Emily’s courage will be tested. She must become a part of a world she never knew existed to thwart plans of uprooting the reality she holds dear.


About the Author


Tally Adams

Tally Adams lives in Texas with her husband and four children (and one big, fat English bulldog). She’s been writing all her life, realizing at a young age the characters just swirl around maddeningly in her head if she doesn’t put them on paper. She began participating in adult writing competitions before she even hit her teens. Years later, she worked as a nurse and continued to write. Finally, she decided to move forward into the world of publication and share her imaginary friends with the world.


March 20, 2019

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 Cotton Malone, Book 14

The nicest touch about many of Berry’s novels is the close attention paid to the historical setting of the book. He and his wife founded the group “History Matters” and are very involved in bringing to light the actual events occurring in world history.

“The Malta Exchange” features Cotton Malone and what is looking more and more like his protege, Luke Daniels, working on an assignment for the Magellan Billet a secret U.S. government organization. Luke is a new employee with the Billet while Cotton is retired after years of service with them. Cotton is on paid temporary assignment with them in the book The two are sent to Italy to search for papers missing since World War II which delineate an attempt by Winston Churchill to arrange a peace with Mussolini, the than Italian dictator, and which could very well rewrite history if brought to light,

The action in this story takes place during a time when the current Pope has died and a conclave of Cardinals of the Catholic Church has been called to the Vatican to decide upon a new Pope. Mr Berry includes a history of both the Church as well as the island of Malta as background to his novel. These sidebars have been setup as part and parcel of the search for the Churchill papers and, I believe, that they make a good story even better. The Church’s history as depicted, goes back to it’s beginnings and includes events during the reign of Constantine during the fourth century A.D. in which that king became instrumental in making the Church the world wide organization that it currently is. Malta’s history includes centuries of being the territory of one nation after another and beginning at least 5000 years ago as cave drawings show humans living there at that point in the past.

Two brothers have been plotting for years to elevate one of them to the Papacy at the appropriate time. Their scheming and the actual attempt at getting elected to the position via clandestine activities comprise much of the investigative activity of Malone and Daniels. By itself this attempt will draw in readers and with the addition of the well documented historical background make for a great novel.

I reiterate that I find the historical facts brought into Berry’s novels fascinating and bring out the the truism that the events of the past are not cut and dried. They are open to analysis and can be shown to influence events much more than normally thought. Readers can interpret these background explanations as helping to solve a mystery even if they do not enjoy the interjection of new facts in history as part of the book. I, personally, always await the next Steve Berry novel with a great deal of anticipation.

3/19 Paul Lane

THE MALTA EXCHANGE by Steve Berry. Minotaur Books (March 5, 2019). ISBN 978-1250140265. 416p.



INSPECTION by Josh Malerman

March 19, 2019

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Malerman has the wonderful ability to deliver exciting books with “different” plots for his readers. Inspection is no exception to this rule.

At the beginning the reader will fully be invested in the idea that it is a situation existing in a future when “Big Brother” is watching every move made by the residents of their country. This is not the case. It is set in a present time when a radical deviation from the norm has been set up by wealthy people interested in proving a point they are sure of.

Two separate schools have been built in a forest location very far from prying eyes. One is an institution populated only by boys with no females around, and the other by girls with no males around. Each has existed for years with no contact with the outside world. The children, as they are, have no nouns in their language that lead to the realization that there is an opposite sex. They have been given the names only of the letters of the alphabet and told that they developed on special trees and taken off when ready to survive on their own.

The head of the boys unit is known as D.A.D. with the girls’ supervisor M.O.M. The children are being trained with advanced courses in the arts and sciences with the thinking that left without the distraction of sex they will not be subjected to the strains that normally exist with the interaction between men and women. They will, therefore develop into geniuses and make contributions to mankind beyond the normality of other groups growing up in regular circumstances.

The story moves between the boy “J” and the girl “K” as they both independently begin questioning their supervision and the constraints of their sheltered existences. The ending is a completely logical one given the circumstances as developed and complete an extremely engrossing novel. Several sleepless, but rewarding, nights are in store for the reader as they are drawn into the world created by the author. Very well done.

3/19 Paul Lane

INSPECTION by Josh Malerman. Del Rey (March 19, 2019). ISBN 978-1524796990 400p.



RUN AWAY by Harlan Coben

March 19, 2019

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There is a truism involved in reading any of Harlan Coben’s books. I have found it so over the years that I have had the pleasure of reading them. And that is one has to begin to read his latest novel early on an otherwise free day. And that is because the author captures you quickly and it is impossible to put it down before finishing it. “Run Away” is no exception although it does involve a stretch of the imagination to accept the plot closely adhering to what might be real life. But that is the author’s job: telling a good story in a way that captures his or her reader’s interest and attention. And that is what Coben does and does well with this novel being no exception.

Ingrid and Simon, husband and wife, live in Manhattan with their three children. They are both successful in their individual careers; Ingrid a pediatrician and Simon a partner in a lucrative counselling service advising others how to invest their money. Due to their professions an upscale life style is attained. It would be perfect except for a conflict with their eldest child: Paige. She has had many strong arguments with her parents and the opening of the book is at a point where Paige has run away from home. She has not returned nor even called during that period. Simon misses her very much and has taken to sitting in a section of the nearby Central Park at a spot that his daughter loved thinking of her.

About six months after Paige disappeared and while Simon is sitting in that spot he sees his daughter playing the violin for money from the onlookers there. He attempts to talk to her, but she runs from him. The remainder of the book sets up Simon and his wife’s search for Paige. They run into drug dealers, a cult, DNA testing and it’s consequences, two murderers and the killing done by these people. Yes. a search such as is being described would most likely not have all the depicted events occur in real life. But in the hands of Harlan Coben these become a necessary part of the plot and termed the author’s literary license to tell his story. Well done and engrossing novel.

3/19 Paul Lane

RUN AWAY by Harlan Coben. Grand Central Publishing (March 19, 2019). ISBN 978-1538748466. 384p.



THE CHANCE by Robyn Carr

March 18, 2019

3/19 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch

THE CHANCE by Robyn Carr. MIRA; 1st edition (February 25, 2014). ISBN 978-0778315995. 360p.




March 17, 2019

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The novel opens with the sudden appearance in the Timber logging town of Carverville by a middle aged man calling himself JP. Carverville is an area of the U.S. that has seen better days and the consequent relocation of many of it’s young people looking for a better future.

JP is one of these and has returned after an absence of 40 years. He finds work at a run down motel basically trying to tidy the place in return for food and room to park the RV that he has arrived in.

Events involve in James, as his name is, discovering that shadows envelope the town and corruption runs rampant. As more and more facts emerge about what is going on in Carverville the author makes his personal position clear. He indicates through his characters that the downfall of many areas n the country are being adversely affected by the actions of the government. While this opinion may not be held by the reader the story is still an interesting one.

James finds old high school friends and what has happened to them over the years. The corruption is done by people that he knew in the past and gave indications even than of what they will become later. There is no surprise in reading Downie’s novel and the ending is one that is totally logical based on events as described.

The book is not an all night grabber but is a good story written by an author who has a good many credits to his name.

3/19 Paul Lane

THE GARDENER OF EDEN by David Downie. Pegasus Books; 1 edition (March 5, 2019). ISBN 978-1643130040. 272p.


THE HERO by Robyn Carr

March 16, 2019

3/19 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch

THE HERO by Robyn Carr.  MIRA; 1st edition (August 27, 2013). ISBN 978-0778314592. 379p.




March 15, 2019

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One can say that this book is a wonderful love story, but it is a novel far above the recounting of a romance. It is a story that moves through various twists and turns granting the mesmerized reader a good deal of sleepless moments while glued to the pages.

Maddie (Madeline) and Ian’s love story begins when she is in a position overseas and visits a friend of hers in a nearby country. At a party she meets Ian who is a professional soldier in the British army. He is currently part of a detachment guarding diplomats stationed at embassies in that country. She falls for him, and he for her but it takes a period of 16 years for the two to finally marry and settle in Maddie’s home state of Kansas. Their union produces a beautiful son named Charlie loved by both in a marriage that seems very successful.

Things change when Maddie suffers an accident during a camping trip, scarring her face and causing her to begin seeing a therapist to help her come to grips with the disfigurement. It is during her visits to the analyst that the fact that Ian suffers from PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) due to his constant postings into combat areas comes out. Since it is Maddie that is used as the first person narrator we learn much about the symptoms of Ian’s PTSD as outlined by her. She is, by her own admission, living with a man with an abundance of phobias that make life for both difficult.

The ending is an incredible piece of writing which brings the reader through several complete changes of view about what has and is happening. Ward has written other novels prior to “Beautiful Bad” but she has certainly vaulted to a place right at the apex of the literary world. I can’t wait for her next book and I’m sure that this will be the reaction of anyone reading this book.

3/19 Paul Lane

BEAUTIFUL BAD by Annie Ward. Knopf (March 5, 2019). ISBN 978-0525521877. 272p.




March 14, 2019

Reinhardt (Tell Us Something True) brings two families together on a vacation at a luxurious villa in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico in this marital farce.

Jenna plans the trip for her husband Peter’s 50th birthday and invites his best friend/business partner, Solly, along with his family – his second, much younger wife, their young son and Solly’s disreputable teenage son from his first marriage. Jenna’s sullen teenage daughter is attracted to the troubled teen which makes Jenna uncomfortable, but her real problem is Peter’s beautiful, young assistant that he’s left in charge of the business, and their secretive phone conversations.

Meanwhile, Solly is the life of the party while Peter is acting the sycophant, and both of them are getting on Jenna’s last nerve. Things come to a head when political unrest in the town forces everyone to stay inside, causing feelings that have been brewing beneath the surface to explode.

Verdict: The interaction of all these characters makes for compelling reading and is often amusing, while book groups should find lots to discuss. Should appeal to fans of Jane Green and Emma Straub.

©Library Journal, 2019

3/19 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

TOMORROW THERE WILL BE SUN by Dana Reinhardt. Pamela Dorman Books (March 12, 2019). ISBN: 978-0525557968. 288p.

From Paul Lane:

Jenna and her husband Peter have been married for 20 years, have a 16 year old daughter. They are comfortable; not rich, with Peter in business with his lifelong best friend Solly. Jenna is a planner and makes the decision to plan an extraordinary vacation to best celebrate Peter becoming 50 years of age, with Solly to reach that age a few months later. After much research and deliberation Jenna sets up a dream seven day trip to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. She rents a private villa with all the trimmings right next to the ocean.

Both couples, Jenna’s daughter and Solly’s two boys are with them, all primed to have the vacation of a lifetime. Upon arrival at the villa they are greeted by their maid and butler who will do all the cooking, serve drinks, clean up the quarters and leave the vacationers nothing to do but enjoy themselves. it does start out that way, but begins to go downhill slowly but surely. Using Jenna as the first person narrator, Reinhardt keeps the reader following the changes in situation and in the thinking and feeling of the group. She shows herself to be a master in painting the personalities and characters of the adults, teenage children and a young, quite spoiled little boy.

This is indicated as being Reinhardt’s first adult novel after writing many children’s books. After spending all night panting to finish the book I certainly am hoping she follows up with more adult fiction which I’m sure will give me additional sleepless, but pleasant evenings. A very well done book with a very surprising ending becoming the capstone of an excellent read.