Category Archives: Police Drama

Festive in Death by J.D. Robb


ORDER A COPY: Festive in Death

Publisher: Putnam Adult
Publishing Date: September 2, 2014
Hardcover: 400 pages

Rating: 5 stars


Personal trainer Trey Ziegler was in peak physical condition. If you didn’t count the kitchen knife in his well-toned chest.

Lieutenant Eve Dallas soon discovers a lineup of women who’d been loved and left by the narcissistic gym rat. While Dallas sorts through the list of Ziegler’s enemies, she’s also dealing with her Christmas shopping list—plus the guest list for her and her billionaire husband’s upcoming holiday bash.

Feeling less than festive, Dallas tries to put aside her distaste for the victim and solve the mystery of his death. There are just a few investigating days left before Christmas, and as New Year’s 2061 approaches, this homicide cop is resolved to stop a cold-blooded killer.


This year Eve and Roarke are celebrating the holidays as they do each year with a party, good friends and murder.

Trina and her friend Sima are going to play a prank on Sima’s ex. The dirty bastard used her to pay his rent and his bills for months before he tossed her out for a new bimbo. But they’re just a little too late. Someone has already given Trey Zeigler his Christmas present early, a knife to the chest and a “Ho, Ho, Ho!” Trey Zeigler was an award-winning personal trainer. He was also a user, a blackmailer and a rapist. Eve would rather have put Trey in a cage, but since he’s on his way to the morgue, it is up to Eve to figure out who killed him. Unfortunately, the list of suspects includes his award competition for this year, all the woman Trey used or raped and their respective boyfriends and/or husbands.

With barely any time to holiday shop between interviews, Eve makes a deal with the devil, or some people call him Summerset. If he wraps her presents, she’ll help with the party preparation. Maybe she’ll get lucky and catch her killer and be too busy with interviews to help. It’s a long shot, but a cop can hope.

In between sifting through the life of the dirtbag known as Trey, and avoiding getting vomited on by Drunk Santa, Eve is trying to make time for just her and Roarke to enjoy the holidays and the life that they have created for each other.

THOUGHTS:
I can’t rate an In Death book at less the 5 stars. Even a bad In Death book is better than most books out there. I love the characters that she has developed and how they have grown and bonded over the years.

This story had nice balance between the investigation and the personal. As we know, after 39 books, there are some stories more focused on either the murder or Eve’s personal life. I generally enjoy the personal in these stories more than the investigation and this was no exception. We have the big holiday party which brings together people who we haven’t seen in a while like Louise and Charles. We also have a few touching moments with Peabody and even Summerset. The relationship between Eve and Roarke continues to expand and bond them closer.

The murder of Trey Zeigler wasn’t the most exciting story she has written, but with so many suspects it did keep you guessing throughout the entire story.

I am looking forward to Book #40 which comes out in February. It sounds like she is going all out for the next chapter as we step into 2061.

Received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.


Favorite Scene:

“So I can open it now? I love when I can open it now. The paper’s so pretty.”

She picked at it delicately, carefully breaking seals.

“Jesus, Peabody, rip the damn thing open. I don’t have all night.”

“I can use it again. I haven’t wrapped everything yet.”

She slid the box free, carefully folded the paper, preserved the ribbon and bow. And finally opened the box.

“Oh!” She pulled out the gift, stared at it, eyes and mouth wide. “It’s a magic coat. It’s my own magic coat. It’s pink! It’s a pink magic coat. Holy shit! Holy pink magic shit, Dallas.”

“The pink was Roarke’s doing. You can’t hang that on me. I said brown.”

“I have to sit down. No, I have to try it on, then I have to sit down. Holy shit, you got me a pink magic coat.”

“Don’t blubber! Why is there so much blubbering today?”

“Thank God I used all waterproof, sweatproof, smudge-proof face enhancers, because I’m going to blubber. Dallas, wow. Just wow, it’s leather. It’s pink leather.”

“The pink’s not on me. Ever.”

“Holy, holy, holy shit. I can’t stop saying it.” She swung the coat on over the frothy dress. It looked silly with it, Eve thought, the military style of it over the party dress. But apparently Peabody didn’t think so. She twirled in it so the knee-length pink leather billowed and swirled.

“Oh my God, it’s beyond. Just beyond. It feels like leather. It is leather. It has pockets and pretty buttons. And it’s magic and it’s pink.”

“I can’t go around wearing coats with internal body armor when my partner’s not.”

Peabody stopped twirling. She didn’t blubber, but a couple tears trickled down. “It means so much to me, that you’d have it made for me. For my safety. That all by itself means everything. But the rest? It didn’t have to be leather, it didn’t have to be pink. But you did that because you knew it would make me happy.”

“You get stunned or stuck or blasted, it’s pretty damned inconvenient for me.” On Peabody’s water laugh, Eve sighed. “You’re…family. That’s it.”

Peabody grabbed her, squeezed. “Okay, okay.” Eve tapped her on the back. “Okay, okay.”

“I love you. People don’t say that to people enough, so I’m saying it. I really love you, and I’m going to let go in a second because I know it weirds you. But thanks. Thank you so much.”

“Okay.”

“I have to go thank Roarke.” Peabody pulled back. “And show McNab. Then I need to put it away safe. Is there someplace I can put it?”

“Give it to Summerset. He’ll stow it.”

“Right. Oh, wow. Just wow. I’m thanking you again right now by not hugging you again and kissing you on the lips.”

“And I’m saying you’re welcome by not putting my boot up your ass.”

Board Stiff by Annelise Ryan

Board Stiff


ORDER A COPY: Board Stiff (Mattie Winston Mysteries)

Publisher: Kensington Books
Publishing Date: March 4, 2013
Paperback: 368 pages

Rating: 4 stars


Sorenson, Wisconsin’s deputy coroner Mattie Winston is back on the job. . .in a nursing home examining the body of Bernie Chase–the now former president of the Twilight Home’s board of directors–who is covered in a powder used to turn liquids to solids. The home’s residents are certain Bernie was offing the patients who cost him too much. . .and the patient that found him can’t remember a thing.


Mattie Winston has returned to her job as the Deputy coroner. Mattie had quit to fan the flames of a relationship with her investigative partner, Det. Steve Hurley a few months ago, but after they finally got to create a bonfire, the flames were doused when Hurley’s ex-wife—wife—soon-to-be ex-wife…whatever, showed up with a fifteen-year-old kid which she claimed was Hurley’s. Thankfully, Mattie’s replacement at the coroner’s office turned out to be allergic to formaldehyde allowing Mattie to return to work while Hurley figures out how to handle his new fatherhood.

But returning to the job means, Mattie is available to be dragged by Irene Keller over to the Twilight Retirement Home to check out the suddenly dead body of the owner, Bernard Chase. Nothing about the body screams accidental death and Mattie has a whole building full of suspects. Rumor has it that Bernie was killing off the bedridden clients once their care started becoming too costly so none of the residents are too sad to see Bernie kick off.

As if the list of those wanting to see Bernie go bye-bye isn’t long enough, there is a soon to be ex-wife and a secret mistress, as well as an unknown silent partner to find and add to the list of suspects.

Meanwhile, Mattie is getting dragged into her sister’s marital problems when her inappropriate and annoying brother-in-law is tossed out of the house after he made bad investments and lost all the family’s money without mentioning it to Mattie’s sister. So he pleads with Mattie to help get his family back, all without making one boob reference. He must be desperate.

Hurley and Mattie might have cooled things off for now “officially” due to Mattie returning as Hurley’s partner, but it seems no one informed their hormones and they find themselves squeezing in quickies whenever an opportunity or two or three presents itself.

Mattie needs to catch the killer while not getting caught with her pants down by her boss and friend, Izzy, or she’ll risk losing her job permanently this time.

THOUGHTS (w/ spoilers of previous books):
I like the humor mixed with the mystery which is presented in these Mattie Winston stories. You can’t help by like Mattie who is your average, everyday woman. She needs to get to the gym and lose weight but her addiction to all things calorically challenged gets in her way. Although she is not perfect, Hurley still very much in love/lust with Mattie.

The first few books teased about the sexual tension between Mattie and Hurley and an almost adolescent Mattie is constantly give us the “does he or doesn’t he like me.” At the end of book 4, Mattie gives up her job and finally jumps in bed with the very happy Hurley. Except, once the deed was done, there is a knock on the door and Steve’s wife (who he thought was his ex-wife but she never filed the papers) shows up with a daughter who she claimed was Steve’s and told him they had no place to live and could they stay with him for now. At that point I despaired that the next book would be all back and forth with Hurley and what to do about the wife, and Mattie and what to do about her job, anything to keep the two apart, and ending with Hurley ready to commit just as Mattie gets her job back. I was pleasantly surprised that Annelise Ryan didn’t torment us with such a bad plotline.

In Board Stiff, Mattie has just returned to her job while Steve sorts out his life. This is her first case back and she hasn’t seen Steve for a few months. She keeps indicating to Hurley that they need to keep their relationship professionally — although she keeps doing this while putting her clothes back on. So between quickies which are keeping us all entertained, we get an interesting investigation into the murder at the retirement home.

The Mattie Winston Mysteries are fun, lighthearted and not overly complicated murder plots, but they will keep you guessing and investigating. There are more changes in the future for Mattie and Hurley at the end of this story, and it will be interesting to see where they go in the next story.

Received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.


Favorite Scene:

I venture over toward the group and ask Hurley if I can speak to him a moment. This earns me several looks of contempt, and one of the women goes so far as to voice her objection.

“Hey, wait your turn, missy!” she says. The woman is well built and attractive for her age with carefully coiffed, snow-white hair, hooker-red fingernails, and a carefully made up face. She is dressed in tight black slacks, a low-cut red blouse, and shiny red pumps, which strike me as inappropriate for a women her age until I see that she is sitting in a motorized wheelchair. Hell, the woman could wear six-inch stilettos if she wanted to because she doesn’t have to walk anywhere in them.

“I’ll give him back to you,” I say. “We work together and I just need to speak to him for a minute.”

Clearly she is not satisfied with my answer because she motors toward me, grabs my arm, and pulls me aside. “You need to make it quick, darling, because I’m working my best magic on this guy and right now he’s the only man in this facility who looks like he’s capable of sustaining a stiffy for any length of time. Hell, half these guys can’t even get a stiff, much less maintain one. I once tried to talk Bernie Chase into salting the food with Viagra, arguing that it would help with is safety record because it would keep some of these old fools from rolling out of bed. But he wouldn’t go for it and now I’m stuck with a bunch of limp noodles. Don’t let this wheelchair fool you. I’m not dead in that part of my body yet, and while I’m not saying it’s been a longtime since I last had sex, I do vaguely recall seeing a T-Rex thunder by during my post-coital haze, so I’m in need here, understand?”

“And you think you can score with the detective?” I say, barely suppressing a smile.

She then does something so shocking it makes me back up a step. First, she turns her wheelchair away from the others so that only I can see her face. She contorts her lips and pops both an upper and lower denture loose, letting them stick part way out of her mouth for a second before she sucks them back in. Then she leans in closer to me and wiggles her carefully drawn eyebrows. “Play a skin flute once without the teeth and you got ‘em for life,” she whispers.

It takes a lot to shock me. If you work as a nurse in an ER for any length of time you see and hear things that would mortify most people. Despite that, Snow White’s comment makes me gasp and clamp a hand over my mouth.

Hurley hears it and looks over at us. “Did Gwen just confess?” he asks with half a grin.

“Not to murder,” I say.

Gwen gives me a smug smile and motors back over to Hurley. “I’ll share everything I know with you,” she says, stroking his arm. “You come back and find me when you’re done talking to the big-boned blonde.”

I see Hurley’s mouth twitch and know he’s trying to suppress a smile.

To Catch a Vampire by Jennifer Harlow

To Catch A Vampire (A F.R.E.A.K.S. Squad Investigation, #2)


ORDER A COPY: To Catch a Vampire (A F.R.E.A.K.S. Squad Investigation)

Publisher: Midnight Ink
Publishing Date: September 8, 2012
Paperback: 288 pages

Rating: 5 stars


Mission #2 brings sizzling kisses and deadly vengeance.

Beatrice Alexander is still adjusting to life as a secret special agent, wiping out zombies and other supernatural threats. Now, a new case requires partnership with her annoying and gorgeous vampire co-worker Oliver. To infiltrate the goth vamp scene in Dallas, Texas, they must go undercover as a married couple and, Oliver’s convincing public affection has Bea swooning in her bustier and fishnets. Clubbing with the undead turns bloody when Oliver’s old enemy, the vampire lord of Dallas, turns up.


Beatrice has been working for F.R.E.A.K.S. for a few months and she’s enjoying learning investigation from her fellow agents…ok, she likes spending time with hot, sexy Team Leader/werewolf Will Price. But Will is on vacation spending time with the some werewolf alphas doing who know what: marking trees, killing deer…hmmm, let’s not think to much about that. Bea misses him and although he calls her to get updates, it’s just not the same.

When the boss, Dr. George Black, calls her into his office to tell her she’s being sent on a special assignment…just her and the annoyingly flirty, vampire pain-in-the-butt Oliver Montrose, Bea isn’t too certain she is ready for undercover work, especially being alone with Oliver. She is really starting to wonder when she is told they are going undercover as husband and wife and the bustier and fishnet stockings which make her look like an Elvira reject are part of her disguise. Not only is the hotel one that caters exclusively to vampires and their friends, and which is run by a gorgeous (of course) vampire Marianna, an old friend of Oliver’s, but she’s getting really suspicious of his motives and his need for Beatrice to be the one to accompany him when she sees the four poster bed they will have to share.

She agrees to stay on the mission because she wants to help find out if there really is a vampire cabal who are responsible for all the missing people, and put a stop to them. At least she thought the cabal was her biggest concern until she finds out Will knows she’s missing from the mansion and she’ll soon have to face an angry, jealous werewolf who thinks she snuck off for a vampire tryst with her co-worker. She’s just not sure who’s fangs she needs to be more concerned about: Marianna, the cabal, Oliver or Will’s.

And just when they think the danger is past, the local Lord is holding a centuries old grudge against Oliver and thinks Beatrice is the perfect lure for his trap.

THOUGHTS:
These characters are so much fun. I love the fact that every time Beatrice calls the mansion with an update on the case, the others are saying odd things like “do us all a favor and be careful.” We find out this because Will has found out Beatrice was on a mission with Oliver and no one will tell him where they are and he is furious. He gives a dozen excuses for why he’s unhappy, but you know it boils down to jealousy since Will and Oliver don’t get along and both want Beatrice.

This is also the mission where Oliver and Beatrice eventually bond and Oliver goes from being an annoyance to Beatrice to their being best friends (which also annoys the hell out of Will).

It also shows that although Oliver is sexy and flirty with Beatrice, Beatrice does finally get a look at true vampire nature which is cold and brutal although Beatrice does hold her own.

I do so hope there will be a Book 4.


Favorite Scene:

“What do you want, Freddy?”

“You seem a clever woman. I believe you already know the answer to that.”

I do. “He’s not that stupid. It’s obviously a trap. He won’t come.”

“You do not think he cares enough for you to risk his life?”

I don’t know. “He’ll know what you have planned. He’ll send someone else, most likely one of my fellow federal agents. If you let me go right now, maybe the men with guns won’t storm this place and shoot you on sight.”

“I am well aware of your affiliation with the F.R.E.A.K.S., Agent Alexander,” he says with another smile. “However, if you recall your vampiric law, by assaulting me last night during a legally sanctioned duel, I can by all accounts shoot you on sight and your organization could not lay a finger on me. I have no desire to harm you, mind you, but I will if your lover does not show his cowardly hide here this evening, Once again, I ask: Do you think he will?”

The exhaustion isn’t strong enough to mask the fear anymore. My heart rate doubles. “I really don’t know.”

He’s satisfied with the answer, giving me a half smile. “He was always selfish. Never gave any thought to others, your lover.”

“For the nine hundredth time, he isn’t my lover,” I say through gritted teeth. “We’ve never even really kissed, okay?”

Freddy pulls up a chair to sit beside me. He crosses his legs and holds his hand on his knee. “And yet he showed such devotion last night.”

“We’re friends. That’s what friends do for each other. You should get some.”

“I learned the heart-wrenching way what closeness with others brings,” he said coldly. “Misery. Contempt. Even those we hold above all others, whom we never thought could harm us, are not above betrayal. I choose mine carefully now. And as this current situation shows, you should have as well.”

“They really hurt you. Oliver and Jules.”

“Oh, yes,” he says, eyes haunted. “More than words can express.”

“Oliver told me a little about it. They ran off together?”

“Yes. He swanned in and seduced the love of my life in less than a fortnight. I thought I could trust them, my blood brother and lover.” He wrings his hands. “Jules paid for that betrayal at the hands of executioners, and now two hundred years later, so will Oliver.”

“It was forever ago,” I say. “How can you still be—“

“If you knew the first thing about true love, you would not make such an asinine statement. I ache for Jules every day. Part of my soul died when Jules did,” Freddy says, as if each word physically hurts.

“I’m sorry,” I say, meaning it.

“Thank you,” he says, patting my bound hand. “I would have understood if they were truly in love, but Oliver just used him as he does all. Poisoned him against me. He—“

Huh? What? Did he just… “Wait,” I say, holding up my hands as high as they would go, being tied down and all. “Whoa. Did you just say him? Who is him?”

“Jules. Julian.”

If this were a cartoon, my head would spin around with steam coming out of my ears. “Jules is a dude?” I ask, flabbergasted. “Oliver stole your boyfriend? A man? With a…” Holy heck.

“You seem surprised,” Freddy says, puzzled.

“Um, yeah! He hits on anything with boobs! I’ve never seen him even look at another man that way Women, yeah, like…all the time. Non-stop. It’s just…huh.” Oliver’s bisexual. Didn’t see that one coming, and I’m from Southern California.

“He always favored women over men. That was why I thought nothing of a minor flirtation between them. The many times I have looked back on it, I suppose I should have suspected, especially after the night we were all in bed together. He and Jules–“

“Wait! Whoa. You two slept together? All three of you? At the same time? How does that even work? Where does everything go? Who—“

Freddy chuckles. “How innocent you are, Agent Alexander.”

“Stop laughing! I just found out one of my good friends is bi and into threesomes! It’s a lot to take in!”

Freddy continues chuckling. “You know, I finally do believe you and Oliver have not made love. Quite a shame. I will say one thing in his favor, he was quite a lover. Tender, yet rough all at once. I am sorry you will not have a change to experience it before I gut him.”

Freddy stops smiling, as do I. Vivisection is a terrific mood killer.

Concealed in Death by J.D. Robb

Concealed in Death (In Death, #38)


I’m giving away my uncorrected proof copy of Concealed in Death. Tell us one of your favorite stories in the In Death series.

Giveaway ends Monday, February 24th. Open to U.S. residents, 18 years and older please.


ORDER A COPY: Concealed in Death

Publisher: Putnam Adult
Publishing Date: February 18, 2014
Hardcover: 416 pages

Rating: 4 stars


In a decrepit, long-empty New York building, Lieutenant Eve Dallas’s husband begins the demolition process by swinging a sledgehammer into a wall. When the dust clears, there are two skeletons wrapped in plastic behind it. He summons his wife immediately—and by the time she’s done with the crime scene, there are twelve murders to be solved.

The place once housed a makeshift shelter for troubled teenagers, back in the mid-2040s, and Eve tracks down the people who ran it. Between their recollections and the work of the force’s new forensic anthropologist, Eve begins to put names and faces to the remains. They are all young girls. A tattooed tough girl who dealt in illegal drugs. The runaway daughter of a pair of well-to-do doctors. They all had their stories. And they all lost their chance for a better life.

Then Eve discovers a connection between the victims and someone she knows. And she grows even more determined to reveal the secrets of the place that was called The Sanctuary—and the evil concealed in one human heart.


Lt. Eve Dallas and her husband, Roarke, are once again drawn into a case which brushes too close to their own tortured childhood.

Roarke has purchased a rundown building which he is planning on gutting and creating a new safe haven. Like Duchas, his shelter for women, this place would be for kids who have been forced into the system and are in need a safe place away from the people who are supposed to care for them; just like he and Eve once were.

While taking down a wall, he finds bodies wrapped neatly in plastic, or more particularly the bones of young girls. Roarke calls in his wife to investigate what happened to them. It doesn’t take much searching to determine that the last use the property had was fifteen years ago as another shelter for troubled and runaway kids.

Eve has to follow a cold trail back to a killer but first she needs to put faces to these young girls.  Dr. Garnet DeWinter is brought in as a forensic anthropologist to work with Dr. Morris, the M.E., to determine who they were and what killed them.

When the lives of these girls brushes too close to home, Eve realizes that the difference between herself and these young girls is simply dumb luck. While Eve and Roarke grew up and made their own way out of the gutter of their own childhood, someone took away the chance for these girls. There is no statute of limitations on murder and Eve is determine to find their killer.

THOUGHTS:
Although this is not one of the most thrilling stories in the series, it was another interesting investigation for Eve Dallas. There was more time spent determining who these girls were, talking to their families and putting together the whys and wherefores of what happened 15 years ago, than there was chasing down the killer.  The investigation was mostly handled by Eve and Peabody, so there was little interaction with the rest of the team.

There were some sweet moments between Eve and Roarke, but again nothing absolutely exciting. Move of a settling into married life.

Any fan of the series will, of course, read this story and enjoy the investigation, but if I was trying to intrigue someone into giving the series a try, there are much more exciting stories that I would suggest.

I will say for a happily married woman, Eve does not like when some woman gets to close to Dr. Morris. Interesting.

Received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest opinion.


Favorite Scene:

Then she picked up her coffee, put her boots up, and let her mind clear.

Because it was clear, the first thing that popped in when Roarke stepped inside was: He’s so pretty.

“You couldn’t have been more right or more succinct about the traffic. It was bloody vicious.”

“We won. We’re home.”

“You’re right. That calls for a drink.”

“I guess maybe.”

He came over to her first put his hands on the arms of her chair, leaned down to kiss her.

She surprised him, undid him, by rising up, wrapping her arms tight around him, and making it much more than a welcome home kiss.

“Well now, I might arrange for bloody vicious traffic daily.”

“You don’t have to. We live in New York.”

“What’s all this then?”

“I don’t know.” She’d surprised herself as much as him. “I guess…The Miras this morning, then this couple later. It…” Her mind, she realized, wasn’t as clear as she’d thought. “I’ll have that drink, and tell you.”

“All right. Let’s have it downstairs. You can come up with Mira if you feel you must,” he added, anticipating her protest, “but we should go down, greet them first, as friends.”

“You’re right.” She wrapped around him again, just to hold. “We’ll go downstairs.”

He tipped her head back, looked into her eyes. “You’re not sad.”

“No, I’m not sad.”

Thoughtful then, he decided, taking her hand as they went back down.

Summerset had lit the fire, and the tree. The parlor looked, well, amazing, she thought. It looked like home—her home— despite its elegance, its exceptional taste and style, the gleam of antiques, the art, the color, the lovely blending of old and new.

“What is it, Eve?”

She shook her head, sat on the arm of a chair because you could do that at home.

“I was in the Miras’ house this morning, and thinking how pretty it is there, how calm and pretty and easy to be in. This is, too. Isn’t that funny that this is, too? They have a tree. We have a tree. Well, I don’t know how many trees we have in here because who could count?”

“Twenty.”

“Okay. We have twenty trees.” It struck her suddenly. Twenty trees. “Seriously?”

“Yes.” He smiled, as much at his own need to fill the house with Christmas as with her reaction. “We’ll go around and have a look at all of them sometime.”

“It’ll take a while. Anyway, they had a fire, and we have one. But it’s not that, do you know what I mean? It’s the feeling. I used to envy that feeling. I could recognize it. You’d go into somebody’s place to interview the, notify them, even arrest them, and you’d recognize the feeling of home when it was there.”

“I know that envy, very well.” Which, he understood, explained all the trees, among other things.

“I thought when I moved in here it would always be a house, and always be yours. I don’t even know when that changed, not exactly, and it became mine. Ours. That’s pretty amazing.”

“It was a house, one I enjoyed very much. But it wasn’t a home until you.” He looked around the parlor as she had. Candles and firelight, tree glowing, colors rich, wood gleaming.

“What I put in it was for comfort, for show, or because I could. It mattered to have it, this place. My place. But I could never quite reach that feeling, until you.”

“I get that,” she realized. “It matters that you mean it, and that I get it.” She took a breath while he opened a bottle of wine. “You know how they are, the Miras. So connected, so just right. I swear if I didn’t love you, if it wasn’t for her, I’d really go for him.”

At Roarke’s laugh, she shook her head again, took the wine he offered.

“I think I could take him,” Roarke considered.

“I don’t know. He might surprise you. Anyway, it’s not like that really. There’s just…he’s just…There’s something about him that hits all my soft spots. I didn’t know I had some of them.”

“I think that’s lovely.”

“He brought me those silly gloves and that stupid hat, and put them on me like I was a kid. I ended up wearing them because he can’t button his sweater right half the time but he hunted up a cap and gloves for me because it’s cold out. He’s so kind, and they have this amazing connection between them.”

She had to take a steadying breath, amazed at how sloppy she felt about…all of it.

“I want that. I mean when we’ve been together like them a couple decades, I want that with us.”

“Darling Eve.” This time he pressed his lips to the top of her head. “There’s more every day.”

“It feels like it. Sometimes I don’t know how I got through not feeling it. And later, this couple. I need to talk to Mira about her. DeLonna.”

“Ah.” He sat now. “Sebastian came through. I thought he must have when you didn’t ask me to dig him up.”

“She goes by Lonna, Sebastian neglected to tell me he’d helped her change her name off the books. Lonna Moon. She and her guy own this swank little club. The Purple Moon.”

“I know it.”

“You don’t own the building, do you?”

“I don’t, but I’ve heard of the club. It has a good rep.” His hand glided gently along her thigh. Affection. Connection. “We should go there.”

“We should. Yeah, we should. I’ll get into the whole thing, but what I wanted to say to you was listening to her, seeing them together, it struck close to home. She’s solid, no washout, but he worries about her because of what she went through. She has nightmares.”

Those eyes, those wild blue eyes met hers. He didn’t have to say a thing to say everything.

“Looking at them, seeing them, I could see some of us. And it was really good, what I saw. I don’t know his story, but there’s something there. Slick, he’s slick, and looks like he can and has handled himself. But they were connected.”

“So.” She let out another breath. “I want to let you know if the day comes when you forget how to button your sweater—when you start wearing those button-sweater deals—I’ll fix it.”

“Every day there’s more,” he murmured. Swamped with love, he drew her off the arm of the chair into his lap.

Twisted by Laura K. Curtis

Twisted


ORDER A COPY: Kindle -or- AllRomanceEBooks

Publisher: Intermix
Publishing Date: November 19, 2013
eBook: 309 pages

Rating: 3 stars


Lucy Sadler Caldwell is a successful true-crime writer. But the one story she’s never been able to come to terms with is the murder of her own mother–until now. She’s returned to Dobbs Hollow, Texas, the hometown she fled seventeen years ago, to finally expose the real killer.

After a bullet took out his knee in Houston, Detective Ethan Donovan found himself without a lot of options, which is how he ended up as Chief of Police in Dobbs Hollow. Lucy sure isn’t asking for his help–she’s not big on trust–but he can’t help feeling a strong desire to come to her aid.

And though Lucy is armed to the teeth, she will need all the help she can get. When she starts digging into the past, she unearths a psychotic killer who will stop at nothing to silence her forever.


Lucy Caldwell has written several books about true crimes. She has learned much over the years from working with the police and the FBI. Now it is time for her to write the most important story of all. The one about her own mother’s murder seventeen years ago. To do this, she is going to have to go back to the small town of Dobbs Hollow, Texas. The same Town where she grabbed her little brother and ran from after walking into the grizzly discovery in her living room.

No one wept for the death of the small town’s local prostitute, and no one broke a sweat investigating her death. Lucy is going to use all the investigation skills that she learned to try to find her mother’s killer. Her mother might not have been a good woman in the eyes of the Town’s people, but she tried to give Lucy and her brother a good life and tried to keep that part of her life away from her children. But since everyone in small towns knows everyone else’s business, the kids in school made sure Lucy knew what they thought of the daughter of the local whole. She doesn’t know what will be harder, looking through her mother’s murder file or facing the locals who still look at her with hatred in their eyes.

What she doesn’t count on in the cooperation of the new Chief of Police, Ethan Donovan. Ethan isn’t local. He was from Houston PD until he was let go on disability. Lucy doesn’t know if she can trust him or why the all powerful Mayor Dobbs would appoint an outsider to the position unless he had some control over Ethan.  Can she trust him or is he is a pawn of the Mayor?

While Lucy and Ethan work together to solve an almost twenty-year old murder, they start to notice a pattern of more recent raped and missing women in the outlying counties and when bodies start showing up, they have to try and figure out if Cecile’s murder and the missing women are connected and why.

But someone isn’t going to wait for Lucy to figure this out and if they can’t scare her away before she does, it just might be time to take Lucy out of the equation forever.

THOUGHTS:
There was a lot going on in this thriller so there was plenty of action and killing, and it was quite twisted, but there was so much going on that the ending was pretty complex for a small town.

I was left a little confused about why Lucy herself was so hated and why so many people were so desperate to get Lucy out of town.  I understand why her mother’s killer wants her gone, but why were so many others so focused on her? Maybe it is small town life, but most of the town seemed to judge Lucy on what her mother did. There was a reference to how many boys in high school used Lucy as leverage to get their girlfriends into bed, in a “I can go to the daughter of the local whore for sex if you don’t give it up” threat, but Lucy wasn’t portrayed as acting like someone with loose morals.  She wasn’t overly flirty or dressed provocatively. She seemed like the type to keep to herself.  So why would everyone assume she too was fast and loose?

As far as the romance aspect, you watched Ethan and Lucy work together and build trust and finally confess all their hidden secrets, but all-in-all the romance wasn’t built up enough to make it a really passionate love affair.

As far as a thriller it certainly kept me guessing and I certainly didn’t catch the killer before they did, but in the end there was just too much going on and too many bad guys for one small town.

Received an ARC courtesy of the publisher in exchange for an honest review.


Favorite Scene:

“Hey, boss,” she said when he picked up. “I’m parked outside the Sadler place. I stopped by to bring them muffins this morning. Thing is, someone beat me here.”

Ethan paused, unable to speak as he pulled his T-shirt over his head. “What happened?”

“A couple hours ago, someone tossed a couple bricks through the front window, wrapped in paper with explicit instructions to get out of town.”

“They okay?”

“Yeah. Pissed off, but not hurt. According to Lucy, she swept up the glass, reboarded the window and went back to bed.”

“Why the hell didn’t they call it in?”

TJ’s silence answered for her, and he blew out a deep breath to ease his frustration. Okay, so Lucy’s distrust of the Dobbs Hollow residents included him. He’d led plenty of investigations where suspects, witnesses and even victims didn’t trust him. “Fine. Ill be there in a couple minutes.”

Ethan elected to forgo the lights and siren, not wanting to draw attention, but he drove as if using them, ignoring most of the stops signs, as he was alone on the road.

When he skidded to a stop, he saw Lucy–standing on the porch with TJ, surveying the damage–jump. TJ put her arm over her friend’s shoulders, and Lucy relaxed a bit.

Ethan, on the other hand, found every muscle in his body frozen into place. He’d seen Lucy in a business suit, and he’d seen her in shorts, but this morning she appeared to be wearing nothing but an oversized Cowboys football jersey. Her hair fell about her shoulders in a golden tangle, shimmering in the morning sun. Christ on a crutch. How as he supposed to concentrate on a crime scene with her looking like she’d just crawled out of bed? Which, come to think of it, she probably had. He hadn’t had such an immediate physical reaction to the sight of a woman since…well…since Betty Ramsey had invited him into her room while her parents were away when they were in high school.

Just then, Lucy noticed his gaze. She glanced down, and a hot blush swept up from her ankles all the way up to her face. In a flash, she disappeared inside the house, freeing Ethan to climb from his car.

The front window, from which Lucy and Tim had removed the plywood only the day before, was once again boarded up. In addition, two red paint bombs had been tossed at the house, exploding against the wall and dripping down the white siding like blood. Lucy couldn’t have missed the similarity.

Ethan walked over to check out the source of the paint, expecting paintball shells or balloons. Instead, two broken condoms rested below the red streaks. Lucy couldn’t have missed that either.

“I’m sure it was just kids,” she said, coming back out to the porch. She’d donned jeans along with a T-shirt, and pulled her thick, honey-colored hair up into a high ponytail. Her feet were still bare, however, her toenails polished a pale pink.

Ethan dragged his gaze form the fascinating glimpse of feminine softness provided by those touches of pink back up to her face. “No, ma’am, I don’t think so. Kids, they might TP you house, or spray random slogans, or even go for the shock value of an inverted pentagram or two, but he kids around here don’t know you. They’ve got no reason to bust out your windows and sent notes telling you to go home.”

Thankless in Death by J.D. Robb

Thankless in Death (In Death, #37)


Congratulations to our giveaway winner: Katie.


ORDER A COPY: Thankless in Death

Publisher: Putnam Adult
Publishing Date: September 17, 2013
Hardcover: 402 pages

Rating: 4 stars


Lieutenant Eve Dallas has plenty to be grateful for this season. Hosting Roarke’s big Irish family for the holiday may be challenging, but it’s a joyful improvement on her own dark childhood.

Other couples aren’t as lucky as Eve and Roarke. The Reinholds, for example, are lying in their home stabbed and bludgeoned almost beyond recognition. Those who knew them are stunned—and heartbroken by the evidence that they were murdered by their own son. Twenty-six-year-old Jerry hadn’t made a great impression on the bosses who fired him or the girlfriend who dumped him—but they didn’t think he was capable of this.

Turns out Jerry is not only capable of brutality but taking a liking to it. With the money he’s stolen from his parents and a long list of grievances, he intends to finally make his mark on the world. Eve and her team already know the who, how, and why of this murder. What they need to pinpoint is where Jerry’s going to strike next.


Lt. Eve Dallas is thankful to be ending year with a few quiet days. Time to catch up on some paperwork and get ready for the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday. Roarke’s family from Ireland is on their way in and with some of Eve and Roarke’s friends, there will be a full house this holiday.

Eve is very thankful for those friends and family since it was not too long ago that her work was all that she had at the end of the day.

She is thankful to have a partner who she would go through any door with and know that she always has Eve’s back. Eve found Peabody as a green officer at a crime scene and saw the potential in her to make a good murder cop. Taking Delia Peabody under her wing was one of the best decisions Eve ever made. Now a Detective and Eve’s partner, Peabody has a soft touch with witnesses and the families of the deceased and even though she hates always being good cop to Eve’s bad cop, together they take down the bad guys.

Eve is thankful that she was given that same opportunity by her trainer and mentor Capt. Ryan Feeney and that Eve has the support of Commander Whitney to trust Eve to do her job and lead her team in the Homicide Division.

Eve is especially thankful to go home each night to the loving arms of her husband Roarke. She lucked out to find a man who could understand her so well and who always has time for her even while buying up everything in the known universe. It is his love and attention that keeps NYPSD’s top cop eating and sleeping and able to focus on the hard job of keeping NYC safe.

But not everyone is thankful this holiday season. Jerry Reinhold has finally snapped. He has had enough of everyone telling him what to do; his parents, his girlfriend, his bosses. They never treat him with the respect that he deserves. They always want him to do things, work harder, hold a job, nag, nag, nag. When his parents threaten to toss him on the street, just like his girlfriend did, if he doesn’t go find a job, that was the last straw. Now, Jerry’s making a list of everyone who has crossed him and they’re going to learn that he is a man to be respected and they will respect him, at least until he kills them.

Luck has been on Jerry’s side so far and he has been able to stay one step ahead of Eve and Peabody. This time they know who they are looking for and what he looks like, but with a hit list a mile long, they don’t who Jerry is going to go for next.

THOUGHTS:
I am a big fan of the In Death series and love all the characters and the dynamics. I also love watching some of J.D. Robb’s futuristic gadgets become commonplace in today’s work, like the PPC is today smartphone, etc.

This was a good story. At No. 37 in the series, it won’t go up on my top 10 list of In Death books, but it was an interesting investigation and the personal relationships were featured in this story. There was a definite underlining of “be grateful for what you have” featured here.

As long as Nora Robert’s want to write about Eve and Roarke, I will definitely be reading them.

Received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Thank you.


Favorite Scene:

To save time, steps, and to be sure, he stepped to the in-house board. “Where is Eve?”

EVE IS CURRENTLY ON THE ROOF TERRACE, EAST SECTOR.

Odd, he thought. It wasn’t the last place he’d expect,but it ranked high. Curious, he crossed to the elevator. “Roof terrace, east,” he ordered.

He doubted she’d gone up there to take in the view or the fresh air. His wife did little without specific purpose—especially when a case was hot. Just how did all this play into her case? he wondered. Something to do with height perhaps, or the view did play in and she needed that perspective and the scope to find something. Or…

He stepped out into the flowers, candlelight, the soft warmth and sparkle of crystal, and his mind went momentarily and uncharacteristically blank.

“Hey.” she shot him a distracted look. “I’ve just about got it.”

“Do you?” Bemused, and rapidly flipping through his mental calendar, he walked to her. “And what’s all this?”

“It’s dinner.”

She’d surprised him like this once before, he recalled, and had been wearing a red dress meant to be peeled off. A little different, this, he thought if his sense of things was on target. but just as lovely.

“Are we celebrating?”

“No. Well, maybe sort of.”

“You closed the case? The double homicide you caught this morning?”

“No. It’s…there’s stuff, but when I was thinking about the stuff, and how I wanted to bounce it all off you, I got this Peabody date night stuck in my brain.”

“We’re having a date with Peabody? I get two alluring women? Lucky me.”

She spared him one quick glance through narrowed eyes. “You got me, and that’s it, pal.”

“Thank God for it.” He cupped her face, leaned in for a soft, sweet kiss. “We’re having a date?”

“Not exactly. I can’t do the big D date thing where you shove all the stuff outside, but I thought I could pay you back a little for all the stuff. Nicer than pizza in my office.”

He looked at her for such a long, still moment, she feared she’d screwed something up. Then he pulled her in, wrapped around her, held tight. Tight.

“Thank you.”

“It’s not that big a thing.”

“It is to me, and especially tonight.”

“What’s tonight?” Shit, did she forget something? She pulled back, focused fully on his face. No, something else. “Did you have a thing mess up in the Universe of Roarke?”

He smiled at her, tapped the dent in her chin. “You could say.”

“What?”

“Not important, especially since I see we have champagne.”

“No.” She shifted before he could walk past her. “You take my stuff. I’ll take yours.”

He trailed a hand down her arm, over the soft sleeve of her sweater. “Marriage Rules?”

“That’s right.”

Tall, Dark and Vampire by Sara Humphreys

Tall, Dark, and Vampire (Dead in the City, #1)


ORDER A COPY: Tall, Dark, and Vampire

Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Publishing Date: August 6, 2013
Paperback: 320 pages

Rating: 4 Stars


We’re talking today with author Sara Humphreys about her new series, Dead in the City, her new Demon serials, and saying goodbye to the Amoveo Legend. Check it out.


The last person Olivia Hollingsworth expected to see at her Greenwich Village vampire club was her one true love, Doug Paxton—whom she believed to be dead for centuries. Olivia thought she had moved on, but when Doug reappears, her heart knows she’d rather die than lose him again.

Ever since Doug can remember, a red-haired siren has haunted his dreams. He never thought she could be real until he goes to investigate a murder at Olivia’s night club. However, as the bodies keep piling up at her feet, he must fight to prove her innocence—even if it costs him his life.


Det. Douglas Paxton knew there was something off when he arrived at the nightclub known as The Coven and saw the redheaded beauty standing outside the club. The same beauty who has been haunting his dreams for years now. There was no possible way that she was real. But Doug also knew trouble when he saw it and this place was sending his cop-senses screaming that something was just not right. He had to get his head back into the game and stop focusing on her. People we dying and the killer’s trail was leading right to her doorstep. She might look like his dreamscape beauty, but she was also a possible suspect in the brutal slayings.

Doug wasn’t the only one reeling from their first meeting. To Doug, Olivia was simply a woman he met in vivid dreams. For Olivia, Doug looks just like her great love who she lost the night she was made vampire 300 years ago. As Olivia comes to realize that Doug doesn’t just look like her true love, he is her love reincarnated. She also comes to realize that unless she is willing to turn him, she will be forced to someday watch him die once again.

Although forcing a vampire life on Doug is the last thing she wants to do, when the killer leaves Doug for dead behind her nightclub, Olivia knows she won’t lose him again. When he wakes, Olivia finds that in fact Doug might never forgive her, especially when his turning is…off. He wakes too early from his turning, he has an older vamp’s control of his bloodlust, and his new abilities fall to him naturally…too naturally. Is there such a thing as a naturally born vampire?

As Doug tries to adjust to what is happening to him, they still have a killer to find. A killer who seems to be bringing death right to Olivia’s front door.

THOUGHTS:
A great start to a great new series. There are a few campy vampire abilities, like flying; not changing to a bat, but just flying. Overall, the story was well told and kept your attention, and the characters were well written.

Doug was a stand out character here: dedicated cop unaware of the supernatural, who drawn to the heroine through dreams. He was flawlessly turned into a vampire as if he had been turned hundreds of years ago and not just this morning. That alone kept you guessing as to what was up with Doug, let alone the whole “who is the killer” mystery.

We also met many other characters who I am sure will be the focus of future novels.

A great new paranormal series.

Received an ARC from netgalley.com, courtesy of the publisher. Thank you!


Favorite Scene:

“I need to know if you’re real, or if I’m making it all up, like that kiss in the alley.” His erection pressed against her lower back as his hands brushed down her bare arms. “Was that you, Olivia? Was it another dream or a hallucination from hitting my head?”

He didn’t know what was real and what was imaginary and probably felt like he was going insane. Olivia wanted to tell him, but where would she begin? How could she explain something she was still trying to understand?

Doug licked the hypersensitive skin along her neck as he murmured, “Even if it is all just dreams, I don’t care. It feels pretty fucking real.”

He gripped her shoulders and nuzzled her curly red hair off her neck. She arched back, lifted her hands through his short hair, bathing in the feel of his masculine hands as they massaged her breasts. A lusty moan escaped her lips as Doug trailed hot kisses along her neck, and he pinched her nipples as they peaked in response. She pressed herself further into his grasp, desperate to get closer, while he nibbled on the exposed skin.

“I feel like I’ve been looking for you forever–my whole life,” he murmured. “Every time you get closer, but no matter how much I get, it is’t enough. I want more. I want it all.”

His hands wandered to her waist and rested on the gentle curve of her hips. She pressed back and ground against him, which elicited a moan of pleasure as his lips pressed against the crook of her neck.

“Then what are you waiting for?” Olivia spun in his arms, grabbed his face with both hands, and whispered against his lips, “Take it.”

He captured her mouth with his greedily, and she opened for him, letting him plunder. Devouring her as though she might vanish from his embrace at any moment, he scooped her up and carried her toward the abandoned taxi parked at the curb. Olivia kicked off her stilettos, wrapped her arms around his neck, and deepened the kiss–licking and nipping at his firm, warm lips–all the while wishing it were more than a dream.

He sat her down on the hood of the cab and stood between her legs, which she promptly wrapped around his waist, tugging him harder against her. Heat pressed enticingly against heat. Doug cradled her head in his hands and suckled on her lower lip before breaking the kiss. He rested his forehead on hers and brushed his thumb along the skin of her cheek as her hands rested on his ass.

He pulled back abruptly and lifted her chin, forcing her to look him in the face, and when their eyes met, all the breath rushed from his lungs. Familiar turquoise eyes stared at her beneath a furrowed brow, and she watched as the pieces came together.

“It’s you,” he said under his breath. “I’m not crazy, am I, Olivia? The second I laid eyes on you tonight outside the club, I knew you were mine. I’ve dreamt of you since I can remember, but I never though you could be real.” He moved closer, brushing his lips along the corner of her mouth. “And then, there you were on a New York City sidewalk in living color.

Avenging Angel by Cynthia Eden

Avenging Angel (The Fallen, #4)


Our winner was Melissa L. Thank you to Kensington for the givewaway.


ORDER A COPY: Avenging Angel (The Fallen)

Publisher: Brava
Publishing Date: May 28, 2013
Paperback: 337 pages

Rating: 5 stars


With a messed up family background and a tendency to grow claws and fangs, Tanner Chance isn’t exactly the boy next door. But he’s a decent cop, and he keeps himself on the side of the good guys. Convenient, because when he rescues a survivor of a horrific shifter attack he finds himself instantly smitten—with an honest-to-goodness angel, as innocent as she is irresistible.

Marna may be angelic, but she’s not stupid or weak. She can take care of herself. Tanner is more temptation than protection anyway. Or so she thinks, until someone wearing her face starts taking out some of New Orleans’ more unsavory paranormals. With police and predators both gunning for her blood, Marna has no choice but to trust Tanner…even though what’s sparking between them is hotter than anything holy.


Marna was an Angel of Death. Being an Angel of Death wasn’t something that she loved to do. She hated seeing all the pain, suffering and fear associated with death, but it was all she knew. Except Heaven is closed to her now. An Angel without wings can’t fly back to Heaven and her wings were shredded off her body by a half-shifter/half-angel named Brandt. He’s dead, killed by another Fallen, but that doesn’t stop the pain that Marna suffers each day for her loss. The loss of everything that she has ever known. The unbearable pain of having her delicate wings ripped from her body. And suffering the overwhelming emotions which are plaguing her, a Fallen Angel, rage, pain…lust.

The worst part is being a Fallen Death Angel that no longer has the killing touch. Oh how she wanted to use it to kill those shifters to just watched and laughed as her life was torn from her. She tried to touch them and failed, and they laughed at her some more. Now everyone knows that the fragile, helpless little Angel has no power to protect herself. And every predator is looking for her wanting a taste of Angel’s blood, of the power that blood can boost their supernatural abilities. She No. 1 on every supernatural’s hit list whether they want a taste or just want the fortune to be had selling her blood to the highest bidder.

Detective (and shifter) Tanner Chance has been trying to protect Marna since his brother, Brandt, left her broken and bleeding in the swamp. Now that those shifters have turned up dead and eyewitnesses are pointing to the little blonde angel as the killer, Tanner has to work fast to keep Marna from being locked up in the human jail. He will do whatever he must to protect her, even go against his training, because every sense he has tells him to protect her…to protect what is his. Marna isn’t his yet, but she will be. Both the man and the beast know she is his.

THOUGHTS:

Cynthia Eden never disappoints. Although Azreal gets to keep the crown for most awesome Angel, this story kept me guessing the entire time, Who could we trust? Who is watching? Who is after them? After three stories featuring powerful, bad-ass Angels, I loved that Marna is portrayed as small and helpless. Unlike the other Fallen, Marna has not regained her Angel powers since loosing her wings. This makes her a prime target for all the vampires, demons and shifters prowling New Orleans who want to take or cash in on her powerful and very addictive angel’s blood.

There has been something between Tanner and Marna since he picked her up off the ground in the swamp in Angel In Chains and it was a great story to read. Watching Marna go from being afraid whenever she saw Tanner’s claws to her coming to trust him not to hurt her and finally their budding relationship was so enjoyable.

Another great story by Cynthia Eden!

Received a review copy from the publisher. Thank you.


Favorite Scene:

Marna swallowed and lifted her chin higher. Of course, she lifted the covers higher, too. “I want to be alone now. I don’t want–“

You.

In two seconds, he was on that bed with her. Marna tried to scramble back. Too late. He grabbed her hand and forced it against his bare chest.

Her breath rasped out, and she tried to jerk away from him. “Stop it!”

“Make me.” A cruel taunt, but he had to see what would happen.

Marna’s blue eyes widened as she tried to yank her hand away again. He just tightened his hold. Her palm was soft against his chest. Her splayed fingers pressed right over his racing heart.

“Let me go!”

The covers had dropped. She had on a black bra–one he’d raced out and bought for her before they’d gone to Hell. He’d picked up clothes for her, fantasizing a bit about her in the silk panties, and–

Her left hand plowed into his face.

He shook his head, barely feeling the sting of that blow as realization settled heavily in his gut. “You can’t do it.”

No wonder the vampire had been so close to her.

Her breath rushed out, far too fast, and he could see the frantic race of her pulse at the base of her neck. “Don’t push me.”  Her words were loud, rushed. “I don’t want to hurt you!”

You can’t.” Certain now. “You can’t hurt me.” She was touching him. Flesh to flesh.

Her skin was so pale. Her eyes wide. And the scent of her fear was driving him freaking insane. “You can’t kill me. You can’t use the Death Touch.” Fuck. “Why the hell didn’t you tell me? That vamp could have drained you dry!”

But, even as he asked, Tanner knew why she hadn’t told him. The lady didn’t trust him, not for one single minute.

“I could have handled him,” Marna gritted out.

He still held her hand pinned against his chest. “Oh, yeah? How? The way you’re handling me right now?”

Then she moved, so fast that he didn’t even see the motion of her body. Angels could always move so quickly. Marna just hadn’t moved that way in a while, and he’d forgotten…

She shoved him back on the bed and straddled him, and Marna shoved a knife against this throat.

Now where the hell had she gotten that little trinket?

The silver began to slice into his flesh.

“I found this back at Hell,” she told him, fingers clenched tightly around the hilt of the blade. “I had it when that vamp came at me. I could’ve used it on him.”

“A little knife wouldn’t stop him.” Or me. Silver would hurt like a bitch because the old tale about shifters and silver not mixing so well was true, but she wouldn’t have time to do any permanent damage. Permanent like cutting out his heart.

“It would have slowed him down. Vampires get weaker with blood loss. I would have been sure to make him plenty weak.”

Strange to hear such bloodthirsty plans come from her lips. He had to remember, the lady was far deadlier than she appeared.

Even if she’d somehow lost the Death Touch.

“When did you know?” Her legs straddled him. Did she feel the swelling cock shoving again her? Probably. Tanner didn’t really see how she could miss that. Not like it was a small thing.

The blade dug a bit deeper into his skin. “I went after those bastard panther shifters, LaRue and Stokes,” Marna confessed. “I went after the jerks because I wanted to kill them.”

So she had been seeking some vengeance. Tanner tried to keep his body perfectly still beneath her. He had one hell of a view, and other than the stinging pain in his neck, being beneath her was pretty damn pleasurable.

Being in her, that would be even better.

A hungry growl slipped from him.

Marna frowned down at him.

Tanner cleared his throat. “What happened?”

Her tongue swiped over her lips. His cock jerked.

“I–I tracked them in the Quarter,” she said. “I followed them for days. I waited, wanting the perfect moment.”

To strike.

Definitely a bloodthirsty angel. He’d have to remember that little tidbit about her. Marna sure wasn’t all sunshine and light, no matter how she appeared.

“I was going to walk right up to them. Look them straight in the eyes, and watch as their lives drained away.”

Cold. Vicious.

He would have done the exact same thing. He liked for his kills to be personal. Those getting payback, well, they needed to see just who was delivering the justice to them.

“They always went to the same place for drinks. I waited until the bar on Bourbon Street was almost empty, and then I went inside.”

Tanner heard the echo of pain in her voice. “What did they do to you?”

“Nothing.” A laugh, heavy with bitterness, slipped from her. “I marched up to Stokes. Put my hand on his chest and waited for him to look at me with fear in his eyes.”

Beau Stokes had always been a sadistic prick. So eager to attack weaker prey. So quick to slice with his claws and laugh when his prey begged for mercy.

“But he didn’t even know who I was,” Marna whispered. did she realized she still held the knife to his throat? “He tried to kiss me. Tried to pull me closer to him, like I was another body to screw in that dark bar.”

Tanner didn’t speak.

“I wanted to kill him. I was trying to. LaRue was coming toward us, laughing, and I wanted them both to die.” Her head dipped further forward, and the curtain of her hair hid her face.

Tanner lifted his hand and pushed back her hair. He could barely feel the sting of the knife now. “But they didn’t die.”

Her lashes slowly lifted. “Angels of death–those Fallen and those who still have their wings–all of them can kill with a touch. That’s our power. Our one, unbreakable gift. Death.”

Death was a gift?

“I ran from the shifters. They were laughing at me while I ran away.” Her breath rasped out. “When Brandt took my wings from me, he took away everything that I was. I have nothing now. Nothing.”

But fury. A rage so dark it had sent her after the panthers–ready to kill and destroy.

“Angels have magic. They can do so much–conjure, stir fire.” A bitter laugh came from her. “I can’t even make smoke.” She shook her head. “So what am I supposed to do now?” Marna asked him and then she blinked, seeming to finally realize that she still had a knife at his throat. Her hand lifted as she took the knife away from his jugular. “Just wait around for a vamp to drain me? Wait for a shifter to slice me and–“

It was his turn to have her flat on her back. Tanner crushed her into the mattress. He didn’t have to worry about a Death Touch now. She wasn’t going to lose control.

Maybe it was time he did.

Horns of the Devil by Marc Rainer


ORDER A COPY: Horns of the Devil: A Jeff Trask Legal Thriller

Publisher: Createspace
Publishing Date: December 6, 2012
Paperback: 250 Page

Rating: 5 stars


The beheaded body of an ambassador’s son is dumped on the curb in front of his father’s embassy just blocks from the White House. Federal prosecutor Jeff Trask and an FBI task force are called upon to solve the murder. Their search for the killers leads to the MS-13, a hyper-violent gang from El Salvador, but Trask and his team soon learn that someone else is also tracking their suspects, and with deadly efficiency. When Trask himself becomes a target, he realizes that he is caught in a cross-fire between two of the most ruthless organizations in the western hemisphere. Author Marc Rainer brings more than three decades of investigative and prosecutorial experience to this follow-up to his hit novel “Capital Kill.” “Horns of the Devil” provides a view into one of the most deadly organized crime threats facing the United States today, and takes the reader on a gripping ride through murder investigations complicated by Washington politics and international intrigue.


In the thrilling follow up to Capital Kill, former USDA now Officer Timothy Wisniewski is called to investigate a call about a man injured. He certain was. In fact, he has been decapitated. The body is that of the teenaged son of Juan Carlos Lopez-Portillo, the Ambassador from El Salvador. His body was dumped in front of the embassy to leave a message, but the question is what message and from whom?

Soon Det. Dixon Carter Dix, FBI Agent Barry Dorez and USDA Jeff Trask are all heading the new task force to find out who is behind the death of an Ambassador’s son.

All evidence starts pointing toward two very aggressive, rival drug gangs originating from California made up of El Salvadorians, the MS-13 and the M-18, who have each staked out territory in and around D.C. As the body count climbs for both of the gangs, some of the kills start to look too professional for gang hits and the Task Force needs to worry if they are in the middle of an open gang war or there is someone else trying to escalate the gang violence between the two factions, and the need to put a stop to it before the violence spills out into the streets of D.C.

THOUGHTS:

Another great thriller by Marc Rainer. I enjoy this group of characters and the way they work together in their respective departments to solve the case.

We are along for the ride with both the investigators and the killers but just like our investigators until there are enough pieces to put together, we can’t figure out the whys and wherefores of what is happening.

With an author who doesn’t hesitate to harm a character, either major or minor, it keeps you on your toes wondering if the killers might just win this time.

Mixed all together it was an intriguing story with great characters, in real danger and like any good thriller, it kept you guessing until the very end.

If you love a good thriller, I recommend you giving this new author a chance.

Received a review copy from the author in exchange for an honest review. Thank you.


Favorite Scene:

Lynn Trask drove south on Maryland highway 5 toward Waldorf. She hadn’t really said anything to Jeff before leaving. She had left a short message on his office voicemail, knowing that he’d probably never check it. He’d stay in the task force bullpen or in the conference room until it dawned on him that it was past time to leave. The voicemail would cover her if he bothered to ask. He’d check her cubicle an see that her purse was gone, and then he’d figure it out.

He IS a freakin’ genius, after all. That’s why he’s right 99 percent of the time, and why he was asking questions about Armando’s killer again in front of the squad, even after I’d figured it out. GOD, he pissed me off sometimes always analyzing, re-analyzing. Sometimes I think I married one of those Vulcans from Star Trek. Logic, logic, and more logic, with a memory like a damned computer. When he’s focused on something like this, I can’t break into his hard drive, even when I’m helping input data. I’m right about Armando’s murder, damn it. It all makes too much sense to be wrong. “Can’t afford to assume.” DAMMIT. He might as well have been cross-examining me on the witness stand. It’s not an assumption; it’s a solid inference based on proof.

She stopped at a shopping center when she reached the Saint Charles subdivision. Boo and Nikki were almost out of dog food. She picked up a forty-pound bag of the expensive stuff, and continued the debate with herself as she pushed the cart back to her car.

Calm down. You know he didn’t mean anything personal by asking everyone else about it. He probably agrees with you and doesn’t want it to look like he’s playing favorites. No, he’s really weighing other possibilities and letting the chips fall where they may, even with his own wife. It’s still not personal, though; he’s just doing his job, and the one he’s so good at. That concentration will stay focused until he solves this, then he’ll be human again. GOD, he pissed me off sometimes. He’ll miss dinner fore sure. He can find his own tonight.

She turned into the cul-de-sac marked Amwich Court and pulled into the driveway of the house at he end. Throwing the sack of dog food over her shoulder, she opened the door to the split-foyer entrance and headed downstairs. She filled the bowls and walked to the sliding glass doors, which opened onto the patio in back. She pulled one side open and paused at the screen door, seeing the two happy faces and wagging tails on the other side. She couldn’t help but smile and felt her mood improving.

“Hi, girls. Mama’s home. Ready for dinner?”

The low growl from Boo caught her by surprise.

“What’s the matter, Boo?”

She knew as she asked that she should turn to look behind her, but that realization came too late. A large gloved hand covered her face, and she had time for only one thought before she blacked out.

Chloroform!

Capital Kill by Marc Rainer

Capital Kill


We’re talking with author Marc Rainer about his work as a former Assistant United States Attorney, as well as where he plans to take his fictional task force in future stories.


ORDER A COPY: Capital Kill

Publisher: CreateSpace
Publishing Date: March 31, 2013
Paperback: 333 pages

Rating: 5 stars


A few short blocks from the safety of the museums and monuments on the National Mall, a ruthless killer prowls the streets of Washington DC. Federal prosecutor Jeff Trask joins a team of FBI agents and police detectives as they try and solve the series of brutal murders. As the body count rises, the investigation leads to a chilling confrontation with the leader of an international drug smuggling ring, and no one is safe, not even the police.


Jeffrey Trask decided it was time to leave the Air Force Justice Department. The work was fulfilling, but the hours and the travel successfully killed his marriage. Moving to Washington D.C. and accepting a position as an Assistant United States Attorney, meant more than just a change of location. The court system in D.C. encompasses 68 square miles of madness, with the various levels of trial courts, as well as Metro Police, FBI, CIA, DEA and the like constantly trying not to step on each other toes. But Jeff thinks he is up for the task.

His boss certainly does. Robert Lassiter, Chief of the Criminal Bureau, needs more men with a trial record and the ethics of a man like Jeff Trask and he is staking is reputation pushing Trask up the ladder straight to Federal Court level.

Trask hits his first few days on the job running — straight to Court and meeting some of D.C.’s finest, Detectives Dixon “Dix” Carter and Juan Ramirez, better known about town as The Twins, bring in a 18 year old selling PCP who might know just what happened to their snitch, Junebug. Little do they know that this bust will become a case that will change their lives forever.

In this thrilling crime drama, we follow the police, the FBI, and the US Attorney’s Office as they work together through the complex D.C. legal system to bring down a dangerous drug lord who doesn’t fear getting his hands dirty and who believes that silencing snitches permanently is just an entertaining part of his job.

THOUGHTS:

This is the best crime drama I have read in a long time. I loved the way we are introduced to the characters by just watching them go about their jobs. Just like in the real world the main storyline here is not the only case being worked on by any of these parties. By the end of the story, we don’t have to presume that Trask will win his case just because he’s a main character. We know he will because we have gotten to know that he is hard working and very knowledgeable. We have seen that Robert Lassiter has integrity and is more interested in doing right by the people of Washington D.C. than just furthering his career. We also learn that not everyone is a team player and that there are some more interested in getting ahead than getting dangerous criminals off the street.

This has a very Law and Order feel to it, but unlike L&O it isn’t split up into cops and lawyers. This story shows that to properly take down dangerous criminals you need a task force from the various agencies all working together for the same cause — keeping the people safe. It also shows that it’s not always about the star, it’s about the team, and sometimes even the new guy comes up with an important clue.

I was a big fan of the John Sanford’s Lucas Davenport and James Patterson’s Alex Cross, but I didn’t like that in both those stories the main character drifted away from their respective units and task forces, and were always working solo. They were following dangerous serial killers with no one backing them up, which would be insanity. Eventually I just lost interest.

I am looking forward to see where Book #2 takes us and if we will be meeting new characters as we investigate the next set of murders.

Here’s one I finally get to share with Dad. He’s going to love it.

Received a review copy from the author. Thank you.


Favorite Scene:

“After the thing with Roderick Greene surfaced, I spoke with out best profiler at headquarters,” Dorez continued. “He said he’d never seen anything like this before. In his experience, most serial killers who leave calling cards are actually inviting a sordid game of Catch Me if You Can. They leave a real clue here or there, even if it’s some kind of misdirection. They try to show that they’re smarter than we are—dare us to catch them. That’s why we often see them writing us—or the media—letters, and they may even attempt to get some relationship established with one of us to personalize what they see as the game.

“This guy—our killer—is not doing any of those things. In our profiler’s opinion, he’s just spitting in our faces. He’s doing nothing at all to give us a clue—misdirection or otherwise—and believes we’re really helpless to stop him. It’s not that he wants a game. He believes he’s at war with us, and has nothing but hatred for us and his victims. That’s why he’s chosen to kill them in one of the most torturous ways possible, both mentally and physically, and that’s why he wants us to know he’s doing it—to intimidate us, his enemies.”

“Reminds me of some of the things I heard from the POWs after they came back from ‘Nam,” Lassiter said. “Some of the things the guards did at the Hanoi Hilton had nothing to do with getting information out of our guys. They just wanted them to suffer, and in some cases, die.”

“Exactly,” Doroz nodded. “What we have, guys, is a sociopathic sadist. Our profiler also said that I should warn everyone here to be extremely careful. This guy’s hatred for informants and cops means he may very well want to go down fighting and to take some of us with him.”

“Let’s not give him that opportunity,” Carter spoke in a somber tone. “He’s a problem, but he’s not worth anyone in his room going down. Let’s be smart, and as careful as our target has been.”

“If I might throw something out here,” Trask offered, “We also need to start planning to rebut an insanity defense, assuming that we’re able to take this guy alive and try him.”

“Agreed,” Lassiter said, “As well as a capital prosecution. We already have the required aggravation factors in evidence to justify a death-penalty case, even if we don’t have proof of the identify of the killer. And a capital prosecution would mean that the defense would automatically consider an insanity defense, even if we didn’t already have five murders so sadistic that a layman juror would already be thinking that the killer’s nuts.”

“So this asshole might skate because he just likes to kill. What a system.” Ramirez was walking around the room shaking his head.

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