Category Archives: Mysteries & Thrillers

Historical Crime Fiction: The Tender Herb: A Murder in Mughal India by Lexie Conyngham


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Genres: Historical Crime Fiction, Scottish, Georgian, Early 19th. Century

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1812 – Recovering in Naples from the intrigues of Scottish politics, Charles Murray is drawn further afield by urgent news of an old servant in distant Mughal India. Going to the aid of one woman, he finds another and is pursued by a third. But that is no recipe for an easy life, and with imperial spies on the streets of Delhi, Murray must investigate the murder that brought him to the East, and redeem himself in his own eyes.

The Tender Herb is the sixth in the Murray of Letho series.


Excerpt:

Mary was in trouble.

The words, echoing like gunshots, had been bouncing around Henry Robbins’ head since the letter had arrived in Edinburgh – well, since it had reached him in Queen Street, a few days later. Mary was in trouble, and everything since had been a scramble, a rush, as near a panic as Robbins ever came, to think of and prepare for the best way of extracting her.

Part of the problem, even with hurrying, was that the letter had taken ten months to arrive. That was not a bad time for letters from inland India, but it still mocked his urgency. Then, even when the ship had arrived in Leith, he had not been there to collect the letter, had not even been expecting it. Patie, the groom next door, had happened to be at Leith waiting for a horse and had picked up the letter from a shilpit manservant who was trying to see the contents against a watery sun. He had delivered it triumphantly to Robbins and had then hung around for nearly an hour, clearly wearing to find out what was in it. Robbins, however, was impervious to Patie’s hint-dropping blather, and Patie eventually left unrewarded, except by a tankard of very good ale.

Robbins did not touch the ale. Instead, he waited until he had heard the mews gate close behind Patie, and then, alone in the big blue-green kitchen, he broke the seal and drew a breath.

Mary’s handwriting, as sharp and black as her extraordinary triangular eyebrows, strode forcefully across the cover, undeterred by whatever horrors the letter had seen on its travels through the Presidencies of the Honourable East India Company. She had left Edinburgh for India with her new husband, Aeneas Maclachlan, in the autumn of 1810, so this must have been written almost as soon as she had arrived. Robbins, losing in the one woman a fellow servant and a friend, had done his best to forget all about her: he had not expected a correspondence. Now that it was here, he was almost reluctant to open it.

Since he had, and had read the determined lines inside, he had scarcely paused to eat or sleep. In the course of a day or two, he had visited Simpson, his master’s man of business; he had written to his master’s estate in Letho to summon a servant to replace him in the Edinburgh house, and he had called on his master’s oldest friend in the Old Town, seeking information and advice, and receiving it. Finally, he walked down the hill to Leith, and purchased himself a passage – not to India, but to Italy. Then he went back to Queen Street, to pack.

II

‘I don’t care if you have to turn Hindoo, Daniel: you’ll still marry the girl.’

Daniel, his usual confidence somewhat diminished in the face of his master’s anger, stood looking sheepish in a pool of hot July sunlight. Murray had opened one of the tall wooden shutters, hoping for a breath of air to drift in from the rose-pink Neapolitan piazza, but even in his shirtsleeves he felt stifled. Daniel was wearing his usual thick coat and, irritatingly, did not even seem to be sweating. Daniel had adapted to the Neapolitan life very well – perhaps a little too well, to judge by the present situation.

‘When is the child due?’ Murray asked reluctantly.

‘In October, she reckons, sir.’

‘Then you haven’t much time, have you? You’d better find an accommodating priest.’ Murray rose and stalked over to the window, wishing Daniel had announced his unplanned breeding in a colder season. He stood with his back to the hot light, and studied his manservant. The room about them was solid, spare and a little severe, old white walls, stone floor and wooden furniture anciently dark. Daniel was a contrast, though: young, cheerful and daft. The trouble was – well, there were several troubles, for the girl so inconveniently expecting Daniel’s child was also Murray’s cook – the trouble was that you could not help liking Daniel. He was even becoming quite a competent servant, and given a few decades might make a reasonable husband and father. ‘Do you love the girl?’ he asked in the end.

He half-expected Daniel to shrug, to look bewildered as he searched for some meaning in Murray’s words, but instead an expression of determination came over his healthy face.

‘I do, sir,’ he announced. Murray nodded.

‘Then try Father Piero at Santa Croce – I hear he is a kindly man. You’d better go now, Daniel. Wait – is the girl keeping well?’

‘Aye, sir,’ Daniel beamed suddenly. ‘She’s blooming like – like a morning glory!’

‘My, Daniel,’ Murray remarked drily. ‘Off you go before you start writing poetry.’ He turned back to the window, and his sharp intake of breath stopped Daniel in his tracks.

‘What’s the matter, sir?’

‘You’ll never believe who’s just appeared in the street,’ said Murray, a worried frown on his face. Daniel’s eyebrows asked the question for him. ‘It’s Robbins,’ announced Murray, ‘unless I’m very much mistaken, it’s Henry Robbins.’


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About The Author:

Lexie Conyngham is a historian living in North-East Scotland and has been writing stories since she knew people did. When she can escape from teaching, she divides her time between writing, gardening and knitting.

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Suspense Book: Empty Shell by Ashley Fontainne #RT @AshleyFontainne


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Genres: Suspense/Thriller/Mystery

Release Date: 9/29/14

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A pair of pink, silk underwear…

The quiet world of Melody and Jack Dickinson is about to be turned upside down. Twenty years of marriage hangs in the balance when Melody finds out about Jack’s infidelity. The betrayal is made worse when Melody discovers his lover is Serena Rowland, a young woman who works at Melody’s law firm.

A receipt from an overpriced hotel…

Harsh words are exchanged before Melody storms off to work, determined to have Serena fired. But when Melody hears Serena was murdered over the weekend, everything changes. Serena’s body is found beaten and strangled with a pair of pink, silk panties, in the same hotel that Jack had admitted staying at over the weekend. Within seconds of hearing the news, Melody’s life spins out of control when Jack calls in a panic. The police are at their home to arrest him for Serena’s murder.

Pictures of a young woman’s scantily clad torso on a cell phone…

Was she married to a monster? One who beat and strangled the young woman to death, or was Jack set up? Did Melody’s own dark secret, hidden inside her heart for years, have something to do with the nightmare they suddenly find themselves in?

Melody and Jack are about to discover that one fateful mistake will destroy many.

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Excerpt:

Chapter 1 – Saturday morning

The morning sun was bright and the humidity staggering. Both bore down on him, making the sweat run faster down his neck and back as he walked. His heart thundered in his chest, and he fought to keep his breathing normal and his gait natural. The rush of adrenaline made his hands shake as he adjusted his ball cap.
He forced his facial muscles to respond to his commands, determined to keep his expression neutral so he would blend in. His mind was racing, unaccustomed to the violent behavior it had just experienced upstairs. His shaky limbs wanted to run the remaining distance to the safety of his vehicle and away from the nightmare of what he’d just done.
A small sigh of relief left his lips when he made it to his vehicle and slid inside, removing his gloves and shoving them deep into his pants pocket. It took him three attempts to insert the key into the ignition. He took a deep breath, held it, and then released it in slow, controlled bursts. He had to get it together or he would have an accident on the way home. He gripped the key tighter in his sweaty fingers and tried again. To his relief, the engine turned over. Fighting the urge to look behind him to see if he was being followed, he eased out of the parking spot and merged into the mid-morning traffic, careful to keep his eyes on the road.
Anything to keep from looking at her sticky red blood on his clothes.
Oh God, what have I done?


About the Author:

Award-winning and International bestselling author Ashley Fontainne is an avid reader of mostly the classics. Ashley became a fan of the written word in her youth, starting with the Nancy Drew mystery series. Stories that immerse the reader deep into the human psyche and the monsters that lurk within us are her favorite reads.

Her muse for penning the Eviscerating the Snake series was The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas. Ashley’s love for this book is what sparked her desire to write her debut novel, Accountable to None, the first book in the trilogy. With a modern setting to the tale, Ashley delves into just what lengths a person is willing to go when they seek personal justice for heinous acts perpetrated upon them. The second novel in the series, Zero Balance focuses on the cost and reciprocal cycle that obtaining revenge has on the seeker. For once the cycle starts, where does it end? How far will the tendrils of revenge expand? Adjusting Journal Entries answered that question: far and wide.

Her short thriller entitled Number Seventy-Five, touches upon the sometimes dangerous world of online dating. Number Seventy-Five took home the BRONZE medal in fiction/suspense at the 2013 Readers’ Favorite International Book Awards contest and is currently in production for a feature film.

Her latest novel, a paranormal thriller entitled The Lie, won the GOLD medal in the 2013 Illumination Book Awards for fiction/suspense.

Look for the suspenseful mystery Empty Shell, in the Fall of 2014.

Ashley also hosts The WriteStuff, a popular BlogTalk Radio show, each Friday night at 10 p.m. CST.

 

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Romantic Suspense Spotlight: Heartbreaker by Marcia Carrington @MarCarring


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Mystery/Thriller & Suspense, Romance, Psychological Thriller


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Ethan Wainwright is a specialist in affairs of the heart – he has made a habit of loving beautiful young women, bringing them to soaring heights of happiness, and just when they believe they are in heaven, leaving them in a state of utter dismay. He has a left a string of broken hearts in his wake, but an unexpected incident brings him crashing back to earth, making him question his acts. The sister of one of his love victims seeks revenge for the wrongs Ethan committed upon her sister, but will this young woman extract her retaliation upon Ethan, or fall prey to his irresistible charm?

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Excerpt:

“You’re a very beautiful woman Cally, I’ve never met anyone so gorgeous before,” Ethan said, blue eyes full of life, smiling at Cally. Cally looked away from his intense gaze, bowing her head.
“Thank you, Ethan,” Cally said, face flush with happiness.
Ethan and Cally were at Edgar’s, the large roadhouse restaurant, each devouring a big, juicy hamburger. He took his burger back into his hands, eyes fixed upon Cally when a large slice of lettuce fell from the hamburger onto the plate, and Ethan laughed.
“See what you do to me – not even my burger can resist you,” Ethan said, as Cally giggled.
“I could say the same about you,” Cally said, as Ethan threw her a cheeky grin.
A waitress in a white uniform came around at this time, watching Ethan with grave reservations.
“Is there anything else you need?” she said, her blue eyes foisted coldly upon Ethan.
“Nah, it’s fine, I think. Want anything else Cally?” Ethan said, turning to her.
“No thanks, Ethan,” Cally said, enjoying the last piece of her burger, as did Ethan. The waitress had her arms folded in front of her, and glowered at Ethan. Ignoring her, Ethan grabbed the napkin, wiping his mouth, then cleaned his hands with the moist serviette. Opening his wallet, Ethan took out a crisp fifty dollar note.
“Keep the change,” Ethan said, as the woman took the note from his hands sharply, and moved away like a block of ice. Cally noticed her behavior towards Ethan, viewing her until she went to check on some other customers.
“Do you know her or something?” Cally asked.
Ethan shrugged his shoulders, and puffed his lips.
“Never seen her before in my life…must be a weirdo or something,” Ethan said, eyes shining brightly at Cally. Dipping his hand into his jacket pocket, Ethan took out his cell phone, and smiled at Cally. “Let’s take a photo of us here together,” Ethan said, placing his finger on the button. “Ready…set…cheese!” Ethan chuckled, pressing the button, and showed the screen to Cally as they checked out the image. “Great stuff, we look so good together.”
“I agree,” Cally said, as she presented her cell phone. “Let me take one of us too.”
“Sure thing sweetie pie,” Ethan said, as he played up to the camera, puckering his lips, as did Cally.
“Smile please,” Cally said, as she took a photo, the couple quickly inspecting her handiwork.
“Brilliant shot, we’re like two peas in a pod,” Ethan said, giving Cally a look of lust, to which she responded with a shy smile.
The waitress walked back behind the roadhouse kitchen, and observed Ethan, eyes frosty. She slammed her hands on the stainless steel serving table, as Edgar the cook came around close to her.
“What is it Lisa?”
Lisa grunted, looking in Ethan’s direction with contempt.
“He’s back again,” Lisa said.


About the Author:

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Marcia Carrington writes about the human condition, exploring what makes people tick, but in an upbeat and optimistic tone. She is an interested observer of popular culture, and fan of cinema from all eras and countries, especially from the 1930-1970s. Marcia is a long-time soap opera viewer, watching daytime, and night time serials from a very young age.

Marcia is also a food connoisseur, with a particular love of chocolate, and coffee. The morning coffee has always been a staple for Marcia, and something which she cannot do without. There is just something about the fresh aroma of coffee early in the morning, and anytime for that fact, which proves irresistible to her.

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Murder in Middleton by Charlotte Gerber @CatsPajamasNote (Mystery, Paranormal)


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Genres: Mystery/Horror/Paranormal

Shannon O’Reilly is a teenager with a problem – she can see her ancestors’ ghosts, and they want her to solve their 100-year old murder mystery. Annabelle and Lily Edmonson have been waiting a long time for someone to see them so that they can tell their story of betrayal, and finally reveal their true killer.

When Shannon begins researching the murders at the local library, someone takes notice. She begins receiving threatening notes and photographs taken of her without her knowledge. An explosion at her home takes away what she holds most dear – her parents.

A secret society steps in and offers to help Shannon fine tune her psychic abilities and to assist in protecting her from those bent on eliminating her. Someone is willing to pay any price to keep the truth, as well as her ancestors, dead and buried.

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Excerpt:

Shannon held her breath for a moment and waited for her mother to join her. A loud explosion erupted from the rear of her house. She started to run around to the side of the house, but huge flames were shooting outwards and upwards from the area where her back porch had been.

“Mom, Dad!” she screamed into the night.

Shannon couldn’t see anything in the wreckage and she almost caught herself on fire trying to get back into the house when a man’s arms grabbed her from behind.

“Stop!” he yelled in her ear. “The fire truck will be here any minute!”

Shannon tried to wrestle her way out of the man’s arms, but he held on to her tight and pulled her backwards away from the house.

A crowd started to form near the Opportunity Shop and the sound of sirens could be heard from where Shannon stood. They whined louder and louder until they appeared on the street before her house. It seemed like total chaos had broken out as the firemen raced with their hoses to the rear of the house.

Another fireman ran to the front of the neighbor’s house and attached the hose to the fire hydrant. In a few moments the men had a large fountain of water pointed at her back porch and they wrestled the snake of a hose in an effort to control the blaze.

The sheriff wasn’t very far behind and he arrived with the lights on the top of his car flashing. Thankfully, he had his siren off and the growing crowd moved to allow him to park his car close to the house.

“Where’s the O’Reillys?” he yelled to the fire chief above the chaos.

Shannon stared at him and knew he would be turning to face her any moment.

“I don’t know where the other two are,” and he nodded towards Shannon.

She knew the two men were talking about her parents. Her mind started to race and she thought it just wasn’t possible that they were actually in that fire. It wasn’t possible to have this many bad things happen in rapid succession.

The chief pointed at Shannon and the sheriff made eye contact with her. He purposefully strode up to her and the man who was now holding her close.

“I’ll take it from here Fred,” the Sheriff said.

The man who had been holding her was their next-door neighbor, Mr. Bickham. He slowly let go of her and turned away with tears filling his eyes. Shannon was left standing alone in the side yard of her house staring at the blaze as if in a trance.

“Shannon, what happened here?” the fire chief demanded, not quite believing himself that their house had exploded.

Shannon could only manage to shake her head. Tears slowly began to roll down her bright pink cheeks. The sheriff got down on one knee and took her hands in his.

“I’ll find someone to help, it’ll be okay,” he said unconvincingly.

A woman forced her way through the crowd and said boldly, “I’ll see to her.”

Shannon didn’t even bother looking up to see who her champion was. Nothing mattered anymore; she felt completely alone.

Myrtle Green helped Shannon to her car and buckled her into the front passenger seat. She knew not to ask Shannon any questions; there would be plenty of time for that later. They drove back to her house having not said a word.

Myrtle got out of the car and then went around to Shannon’s side and unbuckled her from the seat like a small child. She held out her hand and helped her out of the car. Shannon stared ahead blankly and allowed herself to be led through the now familiar gate and walkway up to the house.

The smell of cookies and chocolate still hung in the air when they opened the front door. Tears started rolling down Shannon’s face again when she realized it had only been a little while since she had left a happy little party in this house with her mother. Now her parents were gone and they weren’t going to come back. Ever.


About the Author:

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Charlotte Gerber began her writing career after becoming disabled in 2004. Since then she has been a writer and editor for LoveToKnow.com, and most recently covering disability issues for the New York Times on their About.com website.

Murder in Middleton, the story of a psychic teenager trying to solve a century’s old murder mystery, was her first book. A holiday novella, A Very Merry Middleton Christmas, is scheduled for release during the holiday season this year. I Dream of Zombies, the story of Rose Lee, a zombie social worker, will be released on Halloween this year.

A third book, Curiosity Killed the Cat, is scheduled for release in early 2014.

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Medical Mystery: A Jealous God by Dee Wilbur


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a jealous god

Genres: Mystery, Cozy Mystery, Medical Mystery, Beach Read

Compellingly told from multiple points of view, A Jealous God follows Emma on her labyrinthine journey in search of the truth at all costs. A brilliant attorney with unflappable focus, she becomes consumed with learning who is responsible for several similar birth defects originating in her hometown. Her quest introduces her to a number of colorful characters. One of these is Jon, the local attorney whose largest client—Hays Chemical—is the target of Emma’s investigation. Jon embarks in pursuit of answers of his own, only to come to the realization that the suffering heaped upon these children dates back far further than he, Emma, or Hays Chemical could have ever imagined. It was, in fact, foretold in the oldest book of all.

A Jealous God … dishes up a fast-paced mix of mystery and intrigue.”
New York Times best selling author Ellen Tanner Marsh

“A thought provoking formula that will haunt your daydreams.”

Herman W. Brune, national award winning author

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Excerpt:

After a few minutes, Emma re-entered the room. She was wearing a blue negligee of the thinnest silk Jon had ever seen. Jon looked at her perfectly formed breasts through the silk. All Jon could think was Ol’ Doc Coleman certainly got his money’s worth. The negligee stopped short, leaving her long graceful legs uncovered. It was all that Jon could manage to set his beer down without dropping the bottle. He hoped that he wasn’t actually drooling. He stared and tried to remember that she was a woman with a mission, not a table dancer.

Emma whispered softly as she sat next to him on the couch, “I’ll do anything to get that information, anything! You don’t have to show me the files, just tell me. Talk to me, Jon.” She ran a beautifully manicured finger up and down his thigh. Jon’s pulse doubled, then kicked up again. He closed his eyes briefly and then turned to face her, putting his hand over hers to still it.


About Dee Wilbur:

Beatrice Dee Pipes and Charles Wilbur Yates, Jr. write under the pen name Dee Wilbur, a combination of their middle names.

Both are Texas natives and both graduated from Rice University. Ms. Pipes runs And Take Names, a company that assists other companies with marketing, project management, and other tasks. She has been married to her husband Bryan for thirty-five years. They reside in Houston. Charles Yates is retired after thirty years in the practice of radiology. He has been married to his wife Sally for fifty years with four children and eight grandchildren. He tends his garden in Richmond, Texas.

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