Category Archives: Mystery Books

Murder Mystery Book Spotlight: Gallows Field by Brendan Gerad O’Brien @obgowan

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gallows field

A Murder Mystery set in Ireland during World War Two.
War is raging in Europe. Ireland is struggling with the consequences – the blockade of vital resources, the rationing of food and fuel, the influx of refugees, the shortage of jobs are causing unrest.
Eamon Foley is in a crowded pub. The music is loud. The singing is louder. His brother-in-law Joe McCarthy is shot dead.
In the chaos Foley sees a big man rushing through the door. A face from his past?
Is this a message? Have they caught up with him at last?
Or is it as the local Gardaí suspect – Joe was killed by a jealous husband, given his reputation as a notorious womaniser?
They dismiss Foley’s concerns. With dreadful results.
The next day Foley’s sister Mary is found dead in the town park.
And his son is taken away by a nun in a car.

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Foley would have to pass right by him if he wanted to go out that way but he hoped Joe would be too drunk to notice. So he moved as quickly as the crowd would let him and he kept his head down.

‘Eamon!’ A hand grabbed his jacket.

Foley tried to pull away but the hand held its grip.

‘Eamon, have a drink…’

‘No thank you, Joe.’

‘Ah, go on. I’ll buy you…’

‘Joe, let go of me!’ Foley gave a violent shrug and Joe lost his grip.

‘Well, feck you so …’

The rest was lost in a tremendous cheer as Kath Flaherty reached the climax of her dance. The music screeched and the noise exploded around them.

Something hit Foley on the shoulder and spun him around. And Joe McCarthy flew past him and slammed his head into the face of a young woman who was coming in the door.

At the same time the light bulb above the fireplace popped and showered everyone with a spray of broken glass. The music stopped dead. But only for a moment. Kath Flaherty looked up at the broken bulb swinging on a piece of flex. ‘Now that’s what I call hitting a high note.’

She gave an exaggerated bow and was engulfed by another wave of roaring and cheering and prolonged wolf-whistles. Mike Hurley bowed too and wiped his face with a grubby handkerchief.

Joe McCarthy lay still on the floor.

Foley dropped to his knees beside him. Paddy Quinn knelt down too and started loosening Joe’s tie, and he pressed his hand against Joe’s forehead. Blood was flowing from above his hairline and pouring down into his eyes.

The cheering was fading and the crowd was turning towards the bar. Someone shuffled the young girl onto a chair and the handkerchief they were holding to her nose was saturated with blood.

‘What the hell happened, Eamon?’

‘I don’t know, Paddy. I think he was trying to throw a punch at me or something. Anyway, he missed. He must have lost his balance and banged into that young girl.’

‘She’s one of the Sullivans.’ Paddy glanced over at them. ‘I saw them collide. There was a hell of a wallop. I think her nose is broken.’

‘Joe!’ Foley patted his face. ‘Wake up, you big eejit. C’mon, I’ll take you home before someone tears you to pieces.’

Joe didn’t move.

John Joe Delaney was out from behind the bar and was fussing around the young girl. ‘Who has a car? We have to take her to the hospital. We need someone with a car to take her to the hospital.’

‘Joe McCarthy.’ Delaney’s wife Patsy stooped down beside Joe and shouted in his ear. ‘I warned you about this. I’m telling you now, I don’t want you coming in here again until you learn how to behave yourself.’

She put her hand behind his head and tried to lift him up. Then she turned to Foley with a stunned look on her face. When she took her hand away it was covered in blood.

‘Oh my God. I think he’s dead.’


About the Author:

brandan gerald obrien

I was born in Tralee, Ireland and now live in Newport, South Wales, United Kingdom. As a child I spent his summer holidays in Listowel, Co Kerry where my uncle Moss Scanlon had a Harness Maker’s shop. It was a magnet for all sorts of colourful characters, and it was there that my love of storytelling was kindled by the likes of John B. Keane and Bryan MacMahon, who often wandered in for a chat and bit of jovial banter. The numerous short stories I’ve written based on those characters have been published in various anthologies and eMags over the years. I have self-published twenty of them in a collection called Dreamin’ Dreams and also as stand-alone stories with My first novel, a thriller set in Wales during WW2, is called

Dark September and is published by Tirgearr Publishing.

Gallows Field is my second thriller and is also set in WW2, only this time in Ireland.

A Pale Moon Was Rising is a follow up thriller involving Eamon Foley again.

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Psychological Thriller Spotlight: Portrait of Death by Greg Ryan @GregRyan24

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portrait of death jpg

Nathan Pearson defines emotional scars – a former Chicago detective who is against becoming an FBI agent and used to date a psychotic serial killer, an art teacher fixated on painting portraits of her victims. But when new murders make a connection between him and Mona, he will be forced to go visit her at the mental hospital for information.

With Mona committed to a mental hospital, a mysterious group are striking back at her and Nathan. Though Mona claims she knows nothing about it, the murders are committed in a similar fashion as hers.

But every time there is another murder, a threatening note is left specifically for Mona—and Nathan begins to wonder why he has been named in all of this. Nathan will do whatever is necessary to get the information he needs from Mona—or wait until the mysterious group catches up to him and Mona. One thing is clear: Mona’s obsession with art goes far deeper than anyone knows. This all leads to a twisted and shocking turn of events that will make Mona Pruitt the next deadly famous artist.

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Linda gave in and turned the portrait around to show Mona. Mona took it in her hands to get a real look at it. It was a portrait of a young guy at a library, standing near a bookshelf, picking out a book to read.

“I followed him to the campus library,” Linda said. “I knew there was something about him that had a story to tell. His eyes had so much promise of a wise man. I couldn’t let him go.”

“How did you kill him?”

“Stabbed a pencil in the back of his head. Then I used some string to make him stay standing, appearing to be looking for a book to read. What do you think?”

“I think this is wonderful, Linda. It shows you have a true understanding of art and where it comes from. I like the color you used for his face.”

“Thank you so much, Mona!” All of Linda’s dreams just came true. She was waiting with so much anticipation to find out what Mona Pruitt would think of her portraits. Her face filled with the acceptance that she may never have gotten before, and Mona handed the portrait back to her.

About the Author:

greg ryan

I have been fascinated with stories ever since I was a kid and my passion for it grew as I got older. Focusing on TV shows and movies has really helped shaped the kind of vision I need to be a good writer. Stories are told differently between shows, movies, and books and by getting very familiar with all three it has only enhanced my skill as a writer. Watching stories unfold one episode at a time has a very specific structure that has to be followed and that has allowed me to write better stories. Learning different structures for movies or shows has been a great combination to allow me to tell the best and most exciting story. I promise you won’t be bored.

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Paranormal Mystery Book Spotlight: Under the Gibbous Moon by Rebus Scott

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Paranormal Mystery

under the gibbous moon png

The Secret Gods Book 1

Something strange and grotesque has happened in normally cheery Port Gevaar. A man has been found murdered, with horrific wounds forming an occult symbol carved into his body. The only clue to the crime is an ancient stone artifact, dredged from the ocean basin months earlier, leaving authorities stumped. Enter Dr. Nathan Temple: gifted investigator, dedicated curmudgeon, reluctant professor, and relentless chaser of esoteric mysteries.

Hannah Demetras is a bright, young grad student trying to escape her own tragic mystery, but upon taking a job with the mercurial Dr. Temple, she is dragged into the dangerous investigation, where the day-lit world of civilization meets a much older, darker realm. Not yet ready to trust each other, Hannah and Temple must square off against strange visions, shadowy figures, and even the police themselves as they race to solve the case before the answers, and the artifact, disappear into the moonlit sea forever. And all while keeping their own secrets under wraps.

See the beginning of Temple and Hannah’s adventures in Under the Gibbous Moon, as it takes the reader to the edge of civilization, and even beyond, and begins to explore the darker corners of the world humanity has inherited.

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Thriller Book Spotlight: His First His Second by A.D. Davies @authoraddavies

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Mystery, Thriller, Crime

his first his second a d davies

Meet Detective Sergeant Alicia Friend. She’s nice. Too nice to be a police officer, if she’s honest.

She is also one of the most respected criminal analysts in the country, and finds herself in a cold northern town assigned to Donald Murphy’s team, investigating the kidnap-murders of two young women—both strikingly similar in appearance. Now a third has been taken, and they have less than a week to chip away the secrets of a high-society family, and uncover the killer’s objective.

But Richard—the father of the latest victim—believes the police are not moving quickly enough, so launches a parallel investigation, utilising skills honed in a dark past that is about to catch up with him.

As Richard’s secret actions hinder the police, Alicia remains in contact with him, and even starts to fall for his charms, forcing her into choices that will impact the rest of her life.

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Katie Hague knew she was swimming. She just didn’t know why. She wasn’t a strong swimmer, even though she’d spend hours in the pool on holidays, sometimes even brave enough to dip in the sea. Always with her parents watching, though.

She’d been thirteen on her last family holiday, a self-catering deal to Turkey, not that her dad couldn’t afford somewhere more exotic. Turkey was Katie’s choice. Gobble gobble, she’d said, again and again until the day of departure; then all through the flight, her mother fighting the urge to strangle her only child, her dad smiling quietly.

Now, eight years later, Katie swam alone. Somewhere she didn’t recognise. Somewhere black.

She trod water for a moment, something she always found hard. With her feet unable to touch the bottom, or anything solid, she looked around. She was never out of her depth, not without her dad nearby, or, more recently, unless Brian was with her. And where was Brian now?

Katie remembered them arguing, then him sloping off with his mates. It had not been loud, just testy, in a late bar somewhere. She was hungry, had suggested a curry, but Brian wanted to go on, just for one more, babe, please? A taxi. That was Katie’s last thought, the last she remembered, here, now, in this pool.

Now something happened nearby, a movement she did not see because of the dark. She felt a sweeping cold, embracing her head and shoulders like an undercurrent flowing in from deeper water. But that wasn’t quite right either. All her body below the surface was numb, unfeeling, and now all above felt chilled. She hadn’t seen the event, that something, but she knew:

A shadow had fallen over her.

“Who’s there?” she said.

No echo. Nothing whatsoever. The dark ate her voice right up. She expected her words to reverberate around the walls of a municipal pool, or a private home in the middle of the country. No echo, no sound coming back at her. This meant there were no walls. So she was swimming outside. But even outside there were buildings, trees, rocks. She was treading water, outdoors, with nothing around, no lights, no people.

So why did she get the impression she was not absolutely alone? Other than the invisible shadow, she had no reason to think there was someone watching her, not here.

Whatever ‘here’ actually meant.

Outside? No light? No buildings? Was she in the middle of a lake?

Her breathing began to grate in her throat.

No, of course not. There would be light. There’s always light. The darkest of freezing British waters still drew moonlight and stars; even when hiding, their light still penetrates. There is no absolute dark.

Each breath now hurt. She needed her inhaler. Her throat was swelling within. She kicked her numb legs to no avail, and when she flapped her arms, no splashes whipped up. This can’t be, she told herself. Alone; swimming; out of her depth; an asthma attack.

Something wedged in her mouth, something hard, plastic. She gagged, tried to spit it out but it was too big, lodging itself between her teeth. A hiss. Then light. A pinprick, not in front of her but inside her head. Her shoulders grew cold now, as if she were gliding upwards, out of the … lake? The sea? The pool?

That thing, still stuck in her mouth, gave another hiss.

And Katie breathed.

The object hissed a third time and the cold spread to her chest, her back, down her stomach. Her hips. The light inside her expanded, enveloping her in cold. She wanted to use her arms to wrap around herself for warmth, but found them stuck behind her. Looking down now, struggling to free herself, she saw her thighs raised, the clothes she was wearing when she’d argued with Brian still on her, strangely dry. The odour of sweat and booze and a faint whiff of cigarette smoke made her want to undress and shower, but her hands remained bound tight. She couldn’t see behind her, could not turn at all.

Then, like a spotlight growing, her vision improved: a white-tiled floor, her bare feet bound by handcuffs, stockinged legs moving up into the little skirt that barely covered her underwear. She could not see past her chest, other than to confirm her clothing remained intact. She was sitting on a hard wooden chair.

“Hello, Katie.”

A deep voice from outside the spotlight; calm, polite even.

“Please stop struggling, Katie, I don’t want to hurt you.”

From swimming in blackness to being tied to a chair. Nothing. Nothing could explain this. She tried her voice. “Who are you?”

It hurt to speak. Now her head throbbed also. Like a hangover. She was about to be sick.

A bucket came into view within the spotlight, a glimpse of a foot which kicked it closer.

“Please use this if you need to vomit. I won’t be angry if you miss. Only if you don’t try.”

The foot peeking out of the dark into Katie’s halo of light meant something. A clear fact, a truth that really should not be.

“The spotlight’s real,” Katie said aloud.

“Of course it’s real,” came the man’s voice. “What a strange thing to say.”

“Why am I here?”

“You are my second.”

“Your… what?”

“Please don’t make me repeat myself, Katie. It annoys me. You are my second. This…”

Another spotlight cracked to life. It illuminated a girl about five feet from Katie, dressed similarly to Katie, like she was going clubbing, with long dark hair like Katie’s, about Katie’s age.

And then it all fell away from her. The swimming, the light, the dark, this disembodied voice from the blackness all around. But the girl frightened Katie the most. This girl, bound to a chair, gagged, blindfolded, looking so much like Katie they might have been sisters.

“This is your new roommate,” the man said, now behind Katie, hands on her shoulders, his breath on her neck. “She is my first. You will be my second.”

And, doing her very best to aim for the bucket, Katie vomited. She was pleased that a lot of it missed.

“Hmm,” the man said. Then footsteps. An arm flashed into the light and tossed Katie’s inhaler onto her lap. The footsteps receded. “Goodnight.”

And both lights went out, leaving nothing but pitch black.

About the Author:

A. D. Davies grew up in Leeds, West Yorkshire. In high school his ambition was to be a writer of horror novels, although in adult life he became an avid fan of crime fiction. After a long stint in an unsatisfying job, he attended the University of Leeds where he attained a degree in creative writing. Shortly after graduation, he moved to the Midlands to marry the love of his life.

He is well-travelled, his favourite destinations being New Zealand and Vietnam, which has influenced his writing immensely (as yet unreleased). For now, however, globe-trotting is taking a back-seat to raising his two children and writing, although he hopes to one day combine all three.

He now resides in Staffordshire, UK, with his wife and two children.


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Detective Fiction Book Spotlight: Model For Murder by D S Nelson @WriterDSNelson

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Detective Fiction, Mystery Series, Cozy Crime, Murder Mystery

model for murder

Blake Hetherington is back, in the first full length novel of the series, ‘Model For Murder’

When a serial killer strikes at the heart of Tuesbury, Blake is soon on the case. Aided by enthusiastic archaeologist, Delilah Delibes and her Jack Russell Bertie, Blake is once more on the path of a murderer.

In this tale of voodoo, paganism and deep-rooted traditions, fact and myth merge to blur the line between what is real and what is fiction. Can Blake solve the case or will he become the next victim?

‘…funny, endearing, charming and a little bit brutal’ – M Pettitt, Amazon Reviewer.

‘D.S. Nelson does everything a mystery writer should do: she entertains and informs. ‘ – J C Bernthal, – Amazon reviewer.

‘If you are a fan of the English mystery, add this to your want list.’ – Judith Catanzaro – Amazon reviewer.

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Ghede Nibo

The Voodoo spirit Ghede Nibo is revered as the leader of the dead. This cross-dressing loa is thought to be transsexual, gay or pansexual depending on the situation in which he is portrayed.

Harold Salter was the first to die.

The headline read:


A simple statement of truth. Cold hard fact. Murder.

The village was disturbed. Hushed coffee-shop conversations with shaking heads and slabs of consoling chocolate brownie. Children kept close to their parents, their instructions to stay here added with a little more urgency. New alarms fitted, new dogs acquired; no one was taking a chance.

Tuesbury, by today’s standards, is a close-knit community; we all know each other, whether we want to or not. It’s part of village life, the gossip that is. Malicious or well meaning, it’s a fact that we all think we know each other’s business. The event itself is obvious but in a community such as this, the aftermath of murder is insidious. Like a red wine stain on a carpet, it takes seconds to tip the glass, but much longer to rid yourself of the ugly mark.

Speculation was inevitable. Was it Mr Trent at number ten? Normally a regular in The Badger’s Holt, he hadn’t been seen in the local for a while. Last night, Miss Derby had seen him putting large black bags in someone else’s wheelie bin. Or what about Harold’s partner? There’d never been a cross word between the two of them but wasn’t it the quiet ones you had to watch? Were there clandestine dealings going on in the back office of the newsagent Harold owned? Rumour was rife. I dislike rumour.

So who am I and why am I interested?

I am Blake Hetherington and I have been involved in the solving of four murders to date.

Am I a police officer?


A newly qualified pathologist perhaps?

No. I prefer people alive.

A serial killer then?

Not yet.

I am not any of these things. In fact I am a fifth generation milliner: a hat maker. Retired to be precise. I now spend my days completing bespoke hat orders in a shed on my allotment in the quixotic village of Tuesbury. Hats? Yes, hats. You could say people-watching is a hobby of mine. Observing their behaviour fascinates me. A choice of hat, in particular, will tell you everything you need to know about a person.

I, of course, have a partner in crime. Don’t all the best detectives? Poirot has his Hastings, Miss Marple has her Luke and Sherlock his Watson. I have Miss Delilah Delibes.

About the Author:

d s nelson

Hi, I’m D S Nelson, writer of murder, mystery and intrigue. I live in a quixotic village in the South Downs, UK, surrounded by plenty of inspiration for my novels.

My introduction to murder came from Agatha Christie. Her inquisitive Miss Marple, of St Mary Mead, and very Belgian Poirot, with his ‘little grey cells’, captured my imagination from a young age.With a passion for the crime genre, in particular detective fiction, my writing includes cosy crime novels, novelettes and short stories.

I am currently working on the Blake Hetherington mystery series, the first five of which are now available on Kindle and in paperback.

My influences include, Agatha Christie, Josephine Tey, Arthur Conan Doyle, Peter Robinson, Simon Brett and Terry Pratchett’s, Vimes.

You can contact me by e-mail at, via my website, on Twitter @WriterDSNelson or at


Gothic Mystery Feature: This Madness of the Heart by C. L. Francisco @blair_yeatts

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Gothic Mystery/Thriller


The Miranda Lamden Mysteries Book 1

Bad religion can be deadly. So Miranda Lamden, small-town religion professor, discovers in This Madness of the Heart. The dark hollers of Eastern Kentucky offer fertile soil for shady evangelist Jasper Jarboe, new president of Grace and Glory Bible College, as he beguiles the small mining town of Canaan Wells with his snake-oil charm.

When Miranda isn’t teaching at Obadiah Durham College, she’s investigating paranormal phenomena—or enjoying a turbulent romantic relationship with backwoods artist Jack Crispen. JJ’s inquisition-style gospel has alienated her long since, but when he announces his plan to transform her forest home into an evangelical Mecca, complete with neon cross and 40-foot Jesus, Miranda girds her loins for war. But JJ isn’t finished: he goes on to launch an attack on her friend and fellow faculty member Djinn Baude with an avalanche of vicious rumors. Not only does he accuse her of demonic communion with the old Voudon witch whose curse killed the college’s founding family, but he also smears her with insinuations of lechery and vice.

With JJ’s urging, hate boils over into violence and tragedy, sweeping Miranda up in its flood. One death follows another as a miasma of evil overwhelms the tiny community, and only Miranda can see clearly enough to halt its spread.

This Madness of the Heart is the first in a new series of Gothic mystery-thrillers featuring Professor Miranda Lamden, whose spiritual gifts have drawn her beyond university walls to explore the mysteries of other world beliefs. Her unique vision brings her into repeated confrontations with evil, where too often she finds herself standing alone between oblivious onlookers and impending disaster.

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About the Author:


Blair Yeatts grew up in the midst of a large southern Virginia family, much like her main character, Miranda Lamden. Following a family tradition, she taught at the college level for many years, much of that time in Kentucky. Her areas of special expertise are psychology and Earth-based religions.

From childhood, Blair has been a fan of mystery fiction, starting with Nancy Drew and moving through Agatha Christie to masters like Dorothy L. Sayers, P.D. James, and Nevada Barr. Today she is fulfilling a life’s dream in writing her own mysteries.

Blair shares her home with her photographer husband, two cats, a dog, and a seasonal parade of wildlife. She has a lifelong love of wild nature, and prefers to set her stories in rural areas, where threads of old spiritual realities may still be felt.

Blair Yeatts’ first mystery-thriller, This Madness of the Heart, introduces a series featuring Miranda Lamden, professor of religion in a small Appalachian college. The second in the series, Blood on Holy Ground, is scheduled for release in autumn of 2016. The first three books in the Miranda Lamden series take place in or near the Appalachian Mountains in Kentucky and Tennessee.