Tuesday, May 31, 2016

High Season Launch Day Blitz

I’m delighted to be a part of Forever’s Launch Day Blitz for HIGH SEASON, the first book in the brand-new Polo Season series presented by Nacho Figueras. As the global face of Ralph Lauren’s Polo Brand and captain of Argentina’s Black Watch polo team, Nacho is a regular in the U.S. media as well as the international society pages.  

In addition to playing polo, Nacho’s driving passion is to promote the sport around the world and make it accessible to all — no matter where they live or how much money they have.  Through his modeling campaigns with Ralph Lauren, co-hosting the annual Veuve Clicquot Polo Classics, and his work as an ambassador for Sentebale, the charity founded by Britain’s Prince Harry, Nacho has been quite successful at sharing his love for all things polo.     

His latest project is Nacho Figueras Presents, a line of romance novels set in Wellington, FL, amid the polo social scene.  Nacho and his wife, Delfina, have been involved in every step of the development of High Season, Wild One, and Ride Free — known collectively as The Polo Season Series and written by New York based novelist Jessica Whitman — ensuring authenticity in every aspect.  

At the series’ heart is the wealthy Del Campo polo family, led by brothers Alejandro and Sebastian, who are trying desperately to keep alive the winning polo dynasty founded by their recently deceased father. Between the high-stakes matches, hard riding, and even harder partying, hearts are bound to get broken. 

 NACHO FIGURERAS PRESENTS: HIGH SEASON by Jessica Whitman (May 31, 2016; Forever Trade Paperback, Mass Market, eBook; The Polo Season Series #1)

World-renowned polo player and global face of Ralph Lauren, Nacho Figueras dives into the world of scandal and seduction with a new fiction series set in the glamorous, treacherous world of high-stakes polo competition.
          Georgia never wanted to be a jetsetter. A plain old country vet was fine for her. But one distress call from her best friend and the next thing she knows she's neck deep in the world of polo's most elite international players--complete with designer dresses, fine champagne and some of the most gorgeous thoroughbreds she's ever seen. Some of the most gorgeous men too...
          Alejandro Del Campo needs his team to win the season's biggest polo tournament or else he's not sure how much longer they're going to be in business. What he doesn't need is some sassy new vet telling him how to run his business--and distracting him at every turn. But as they come closer and closer to the championship match, it soon becomes clear that Alejandro wants to win Georgia just as much as the tourney trophy. But can he ever convince her his world is where she truly belongs?

HIGH SEASON is available at the following sites: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, iBooks, Google, Kobo, and IndieBound.

Here’s an excerpt from HIGH SEASON for your reading pleasure.

The horse let out a whinny, and Alejandro swore softly in Spanish. The last thing he wanted to do was wake the entire barn. He slipped a halter on MacKenzie, the favorite in his current string of ponies, and led her out of the stables. The moon was bright in the sky as he swung onto the pony’s bare back. With a snort, she broke into a trot.
Approaching the gatehouse, Alejandro gave the guard a curt nod. He was determined not to seem furtive riding his own horse on his own time, but the guard’s professional discretion didn’t disguise his surprise that Alejandro was taking a pony out at night without a saddle. The Del Campo family team, La Victoria, had a match tomorrow, and with the odds already stacked against them, Alejandro knew he should be home in bed, not tiring out his best pony with a hard-riding midnight outing.
He couldn’t sleep, though. Not yet. It was one of those nights when the darkness weighed down and his mind raced on. He felt particularly caged in Wellington. Every last inch of the landscape was tamed. For all its luxury, he felt trapped by the gated community—his guards and staff and fleets of grooms—when what he needed was a solitary ride in the wilderness. That’s why he rode at night, willing to risk the hidden dangers on the dimly lit paths—the possibility of a shadowed dip in the earth where a hoof could catch, a nocturnal animal suddenly darting out in front of them and spooking his pony—in exchange for having the roads to himself. He needed to gallop, skin to skin, even if only for a short stretch, to lose himself in the strength and speed of his horse. To reach that soaring, unifying moment that felt less like riding and more like flying, when he and the horse joined together to become one seamless beast.
Alejandro turned onto the canal road, leaned forward, and tightened his thighs—clicking his tongue and murmuring in Spanish until the pony’s gait smoothed out into a fluid gallop.
MacKenzie picked up speed, responding to his movements as if she could read his mind. Alejandro smiled. This pony loved to run. She was one of the few horses who could sustain this kind of pace and still be in world-class form the next morning. MacKenzie was such a fighter that she seemed to gain more fire, more heart, with every step she took. He’d find a role for her in the match tomorrow. She needed the game as much as he did.
He pressed his legs harder, driving the horse faster, determined to calm his buzzing mind and push his body until he could collapse, exhausted. It was practically the only way he could get any sleep these days.
It didn’t use to be so hard, he thought, slowing to a canter. He’d always slept like a baby after they won a match, but Lord knows, those wins were few and far between these days. A few glasses of wine occasionally worked, but he’d stopped drinking as part of his training, knowing that even if the alcohol initially brought him relief, he’d be wide awake a few hours later, eyes on the ceiling, while ghosts and shadows chased through his brain . . .
He shook his head, wishing for other ways to exhaust himself.
A string of images flashed through his mind. The sweet, silken curve of an inner thigh. The beckoning swell between waist and hip. A flirtatious smile thrown over a naked shoulder, inviting him to take what he wanted . . .
He swore to himself and rode harder, violently shutting down this train of thought and replacing it with the simple conviction he had come to focus on since the death of his wife—he had to win. And in particular, he had to qualify for and win the biggest game of the season, the upcoming Carlos Del Campo Memorial Cup, named after his own late father.
In determined pursuit of this goal, Alejandro had turned to abstinence in this last year, in every sense of the word. He had given up most earthly pleasures—drinking, women, unnecessary socializing, anything that could distract him from the game—and channeled all his restless feelings of grief and anger directly into his training. Spending every spare moment in the saddle, mercilessly pushing his already hard and athletic body as close to perfection as he could get, riding until he could barely walk. And yet, despite his absolute focus on the field, La Victoria had already lost more games than they had won this season, making a mockery of their name.
Alejandro wanted to blame his other teammates. If only they would train harder, pay better attention, be willing to sacrifice more. His younger brother, Sebastian, for example, could barely bother to turn up for practice most days, much more interested in taking advantage of the endless parade of polo groupies that were at his beck and call. Rory, the other young pro on the field, was talented but suggestible, and only too eager to follow Seb’s party-happy lead. Lord Henderson, the patrón, had once been a formidable athlete, but a lifetime of hard playing had taken its toll on the older man, and these days, like many patróns, it was more his ability to bankroll half of the team’s expenses that secured his place on the field. Really, when Alejandro thought about it, it was a miracle they ever won a game.
Still, deep down, he knew that, as team captain, the responsibility for their losses ultimately lay upon his own shoulders. And that, despite his absolute personal focus and relentless pursuit of the cup, he was somehow failing them all.
Alejandro kicked his pony on, trying to shake loose his feelings of uncertainty and loss, to shed them like scales in his wake. The heavy sound of MacKenzie’s hoofbeats, the dull thump of his own heart pounding, all resounded as one. Behind them, motes of sand kicked up by MacKenzie’s hooves briefly danced in the moonlight and sparked a glimmering silver trail.
He rode until his body felt leaden, his muscles ached, and the sultry Florida air had soaked his shirt all the way through. Finally, turning for home, he felt the pull of his bed and knew that now he’d rest and get at least a few hours of sleep before he was up and ready to show the world his game face again.

About Nacho Figueras:
Figureras Nacho byClaudio Marinesco
Argentine polo player Ignacio “Nacho” Figueras has become one of the most recognizable and talented polo players in the world. He is currently the captain and co-owner of the Black Watch polo team. 

In addition to playing polo, Nacho has been featured as a face of Ralph Lauren and its Black Watch clothing and watch collection since 2000. In June 2009, he was voted the second most handsome man in the world by the readers of Vanity Fair and has appeared on numerous television shows, such as Oprah and Chelsea Handler.

Nacho currently splits his time between Miami and Argentina with his wife, Delfina and their four children, Hilario, Aurora, Artemio, and Alba.

For more on Nacho, connect with him on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

Thanks so much for stopping by today during Forever’s Launch Day Blitz for HIGH SEASON. Are you a fan of polo? Have you ever played or wanted to play? Doesn’t it make an intriguing backdrop for a romance?

Monday, May 30, 2016

Assassin’s Silence … Better Dead {+ Giveaways}

Hello everyone, I hope you’re enjoying a wonderful and safe Memorial Day! Boy do I have an interesting post for you today. Fun authors, thriller mysteries and an awesome giveaway.

I have the pleasure of welcoming not one, but two acclaimed mystery/thriller writers here to talk about their latest releases. Both are answering questions about their books. In addition, thanks to the lovely Emily and the great folks at Tor/Forge, I have three print copies of each of these books to giveaway. Please see the end of the post for more details.

Visiting today are Ward Larsen with his release ASSASSIN’S SILENCE and Max Allan Collins with BETTER DEAD. This post will be a bit longer than the usual post, but oh so worth the read.

Ward Larsen has experienced war firsthand as a former U.S. Air Force fighter pilot who flew more than twenty missions in Operation Desert Storm. An award-winning author whose true gift for storytelling and the superb quality of his writing led to his breakout success with his assassin David Slaton series (The Perfect Assassin and Assassin's Game). Slaton returns for another breathless adventure in Assassin's Silence (5/3/16), the latest installment in the assassin series. 

Max Allan Collins, award-winning author of the critically acclaimed Nathan Heller series (Bye Bye, Baby, Target Lancer, and Ask Not) as well as The Road to Perdition, returns with Better Dead, a taut mystery-thriller featuring controversial figures Senator Joe McCarthy and Roy Cohn and the aftermath of the trial of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg. Publishers Weekly calls Max Allan Collins “a new breed of writer,” and Andrew Vacchss says that "Collins combines the historical and the hard-boiled thriller into a new genre—uniquely American, and uniquely his own."
Forge Books, an imprint of Tom Doherty Associates, LLC, is thrilled to announce the on-sale availability of a thrilling new hardcover and eBook title, ASSASSIN’S SILENCE (ISBN 978-0-7653-8577-2; $25.99; May 3, 2016), by USA TODAY bestselling author WARD LARSEN. In this new David Slaton novel, a terrorism plot unfolds that threatens to throw the entire world into chaos.
          When it comes to disappearing, David Slaton has few equals. After all, he is a former kidon, the most lethal Israeli assassin ever created. Police in three countries have written off trying to find him. His old employer, Mossad, keeps no forwarding address. Even his wife and son are convinced he is dead. So when an assault team strikes, Slaton is taken by surprise. He kills one man and manages to escape, going on the run.
          Half a world away, in the baleful heat of the Amazon, an obscure air cargo company purchases a derelict airliner. Teams of mechanics work feverishly to make the craft airworthy. On the first flight, the jet plunges toward the ocean.
          The CIA assesses the two spectacles: a practiced killer leaving a trail of bodies across Europe, and a large airplane disappearing without a trace. The two affairs are increasingly seen to be intertwined. Langley realizes the killer is a man long thought to be dead, and the lost airliner has been highly modified into a tool of unimaginable terror and destruction. When their worst fears are realized, Langley must trust the one man who can save them: David Slaton, the perfect assassin.
          While ASSASSIN’S SILENCE is the third in the David Slaton series, it can also be enjoyed by new readers as a standalone. Larsen takes readers across oceans and continents from Malta to the Middle East, to Europe, to the United States, and to South America on a wild and thrilling race against time.      
Forge Hardcover | 978-0-7653-8577-2| $25.99 | 400 pages
EBook | 978-0-7653-8579-6 | $12.99

Please welcome Ward as he answers the age-old question. Welcome, Ward.

How did you come up with that (referring to the story)?

It’s undoubtedly the most common question authors are asked: Where do you get the ideas for your stories? Others writers might answer differently, but for me there is one clear answer: I get them from the real world.

It is often said that there’s nothing stranger than the truth, and as a thriller writer I subscribe to a corollary of that idea—there is nothing more thrilling than the truth. We live in a world where fanatical terrorists create videos of beheadings, and where nations build sandbars in oceans so that they can claim sovereign territory. Cameras seem to record everything in our daily lives, and corruption is rampant in many quarters of the world. Not a day goes by without a headline that lends itself to a story. The inspiration for my most recent book, Assassin’s Silence, is a bit of recent history involving a decades-old radiological accident.

The small city in Brazil named Goiânia is virtually unknown outside that country, but any health physicist knows it well. Of all the world’s nuclear accidents, what occurred in Goiânia ranks sixth in terms of released radiation. But the tragedy is unique in one way—among the top ten most damaging radiological events, it is the only one to not involve either the generation of nuclear power or the weaponization of fissile materials.

On September 13, 1987, two men broke into a closed and partially demolished hospital whose ownership had been tied up in court. Knowing security on the site had fallen lax, the pair of opportunists raided the building and came upon an abandoned radiotherapy machine. They had no idea what they’d found, but thinking the heavy source assembly might be valuable as scrap, they separated it and hauled it in a wheelbarrow to one of their homes.

There the men began to disassemble a containment vessel holding 93 grams of radioactive cesium-137. Over the course of the next two days, they hammered away at the metal container until it finally surrendered what looked like glowing blue grains of rice. It was on the second day that one of the scrap-hounds began feeling poorly. Suffering from diarrhea and dizziness, he went to a local clinic, only to be told he was likely suffering the effects of something he’d eaten.

His undeterred partner kept working. Thinking the glowing material might be some kind of gunpowder, he tried unsuccessfully to ignite it. Frustrated, and not sure what to do with his find, the man began sharing the material with family and friends. They were every bit as intrigued. The lustrous blue grains were soon turned into jewelry, deemed to be mystical, and heralded as having medicinal powers. For two weeks the cesium was ingested as a cure-all, rubbed on aching joints, and it leached into the kitchens of a number of homes. With radiation being spread unwittingly across the city, a steady stream of people began arriving at clinics with curiously similar, but unexplainable symptoms. Finally, a visiting medical physicist with a scintillation counter recognized what was happening and raised the alarm.

In the weeks after the story broke, over 130,000 people presented themselves to overwhelmed hospitals. Two hundred and fifty people were eventually found to have suffered radiation poisoning. Of those, four died. Contamination was found on three buses, fourteen cars, and inside forty-two homes. Among other oddities, fifty thousand rolls of toilet paper had to be destroyed. In the subsequent cleanup effort, tons of topsoil were scraped away from affected sites. Even so, pockets of radiation continued to be discovered for years afterward.

When I read about Goiânia, I recognized the makings of a story. Unlike the more serious accidents at Chernobyl and Fukushima, it did not involve a nuclear power plant, but a far more common and often ignored radioactive source material. Cesium-137 is used across the world for medical and industrial purposes, as are a vast array of equally hazardous isotopes. Some countries do a good job of tracking and regulating these materials. Others do not. I also found it intriguing that the individuals who precipitated the Goiânia tragedy were not rogue governments or elite soldiers, but ordinary people trying to scrape out a living, in concert with a typical bungling bureaucracy. So I did what writers do—I began with a real life scenario, and built a tale around it.

My version of Goiânia is titled Assassin’s Silence.

Author Ward Larsen, photo credit Rose Larsen
WARD LARSEN is a two-time winner of the Florida Book Award. His work has been nominated for both the Edgar and Macavity Awards. A former US Air Force fighter pilot, Larsen flew more than twenty missions in Operation Desert Storm. He has also served as a federal law enforcement officer and is a trained aircraft accident investigator.

His first thriller, The Perfect Assassin, is currently being adapted into a major motion picture by Amber Entertainment. For more information, visit http://www.wardlarsen.com/.

Forge Books is proud to announce the newest addition to the Nate Heller mysteries, BETTER DEAD (ISBN 978-0-7653-7828-6; $26.99; May 3, 2016) by Max Allan Collins. He is the author of the acclaimed graphic novel Road to Perdition and recipient of “The Eye” award from the Private Eye Writers of America in recognition of his lifetime achievements. 

It’s the early 1950's, and the fear of communism runs rampant. At the heart of this is Senator Joe McCarthy who campaigns to rid America of the Red Menace. Working for McCarthy is our hero, Nate Heller, though he is disheartened by McCarthy's witch-hunting tactics.
Along the way, he makes friends with a young staffer, a certain Bobby Kennedy, and also trades barbs with a potential but certainly powerful enemy, the attorney Roy Cohn. The clock is ticking for Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, as Cohn successfully prosecutes the so-called Atomic Bomb spies. Heller is then embroiled in a last-minute attempt to save them, a plot involving famous mystery writer Dashiell Hammett and a group of showbiz and literary leftists.
Known for his taut mystery-thrillers, Max Allan Collins has done it again. Tackling issues of government surveillance and national safety versus personal freedom, BETTER DEAD is a shock to the system as readers are reminded of today’s resonant political issues. An intelligent and suspenseful exploration into the Second Red Scare, BETTER DEAD is also a detective novel at heart and true to the genre.

BETTER DEAD | Max Allan Collins
Forge Hardcover | 978-0-7653-7828-6| $26.99 | 336 pages
EBook | 978-1-4668-6078-0 | $12.99

Please join me in welcoming Max as he talks about ‘the love life of a fictional private eye’. Welcome, Max.

          The publication of my latest novel, Better Dead, from “the memoirs of Nathan Heller,” renews a moral concern and narrative dilemma that’s been with the saga from the beginning.
          The Heller novels are noir detective novels in the tradition of Dashiell Hammett, Raymond Chandler and Mickey Spillane.  Hammett in The Maltese Falcon created the prototypical private eye with cynical Sam Spade.  Chandler in The Big Sleep and the other Phillip Marlowe novels gave his weary, quietly idealistic hero the voice of an urban poet.  Spillane in I, the Jury accelerated the sex and violence of the genre as a reaction to the loss of innocence experienced by returning WW II  G.I.’s like his vengeful detective, Mike Hammer.
          But the Heller memoirs are also historical novels in tradition of Alexandre Dumas, Samuel Shellabarger and George MacDonald Fraser.  Dumas in The Three Musketeers and its sequels used real historical figures in his cast, treating them rather cavalierly.  Samuel Shellabarger, unfairly forgotten today, in his Captain from Castille and Prince of Foxes, inserted a swashbuckling fictional hero into well-researched history.  MacDonald somewhat satirically placed his anti-hero, Flashman, into numerous famous events in “memoirs” that may reflect an untrustworthy narrator.
          Nathan Heller is a tattered modern knight in the Spade/Marlowe/Hammer mode, and all of the classic elements of tough private eye fiction – violence and sex included – are present. 
          But my M.O. has been to put Heller at the center of rigorously researched historical novels focusing on various unsolved (or controversially resolved) crimes of the 20th Century.  Among the real cases he’s tackled are the Lindbergh kidnapping (Stolen Away), the disappearance of Amelia Earhart (Flying Blind), the assassination of Huey Long (Blood and Thunder), the Roswell Incident (Majic Man), the mysterious death of Marilyn Monroe (Bye Bye, Baby), and the JFK assassination (Target Lancer and Ask Not).
          Since the Heller memoirs are at heart a mystery series, the unlikelihood of one detective being involved in so many famous cases is something of a moot point.  No mystery series – from Nero Wolfe to Hercule Poirot, from Miss Marple to Perry Mason – can be enjoyed if readers allow themselves to be crushed under the improbability of so many murders being solved by so few detectives.
          The moral concern and the narrative dilemma are tied up in my depiction of real people.  Unlike historical novelists who came before me, I am writing about relatively recent events.  In the thirty-some years I’ve been writing about Heller, I have heard from a number of relatives and friends of real people who I’ve had the temerity to write about as if they were fictional characters; often I’ve been complimented on how well I’ve done.  I even once heard from a major character in one of the novels (who liked the book).
          My approach is to research the crime/mystery in depth, preparing to write what could be the definitive work on the subject.  Then I write a private eye novel instead.  In doing so, having familiarized myself with the major historical figures at hand, and many minor ones, I treat them like fictional characters I’ve created.  Otherwise I would be intimidated – by the force of their reputations and by history itself.  First and foremost, I must entertain.
          The most controversial aspect of this approach has to do with Heller’s love life.  There are occasional fictional characters in the novels, and a fair number of composite characters, which means that some of the women my somewhat randy detective encounters are as fictional as he is.
          Let me take a moment to explain – not to defend exactly – the strong elements of sex and violence in the Heller novels.  I grew up on Hammett, Chandler and especially Spillane, who broke many taboos.  I also, at a tender age, devoured Ian Fleming’s James Bond novels.  These writers created protagonists who slept with women.  They didn’t always marry them.  Some of their affairs ended tragically.  Some did not, though the women tended to disappear between novels.  That DNA is in the Heller novels (although my protagonist does marry).
          This is not cheap pandering, in my opinion.  Sex is life and violence is death, and those are the two big topics.  If you can think of bigger, more overriding ones, let me know.  I’ve noticed that some members of the most recent couple of generations seem squeamish where “sex scenes” are concerned.  Some reviews in very recent years have complained about such content.  I would remind these folks that there’s a difference between sex and sexism. Without the former, none of us would be here.
          So if we can agree, for the sake of argument at least, that Nate Heller is free to make love to other fictional characters, what about real flesh-and-blood women?  There (so to speak) is the rub.  Nate has a number of affairs with famous women, among them Sally Rand, Amelia Earhart, Jayne Mansfield and Marilyn Monroe.  In Better Dead, which is a Red Scare 1950s novel, he gets to know Bettie Page.
          Here’s the thing.  I know this approach makes some people uncomfortable.  This practice of mine (and Heller’s) even makes some people mad.  I got more than one death threat for depicting Amelia Earhart as a bisexual as well as a Heller love interest.  Recently a reviewer found it “awkward” for Heller to have sexual relations with real-life, famous women.  On occasion, when I hear from a reader who objects to Heller making love with, say, Marilyn Monroe, I point out that he didn’t really.  Nate Heller is a fictional character.
          The women in question have all been extensively researched.  The way Bettie Page is depicted in Better Dead comes not only from the several biographies about her, but a documentary that featured extensive audio interview with the famous pin-up queen.  I would not suggest that any of these well-known women might have sex with the likes of Nathan Heller unless the research made it feel possible.  I promise Nathan Heller will leave Mother Teresa alone.
          I do understand that some people are offended by the real women who become, in my hands, my own fictional creations.  As for those who don’t like sex scenes, my suggestion is not to read them – skim and get to where you’re comfortable.  Those scenes make up a small portion of the narrative.
          Because after all, narrative is the thing.  I have one overriding principle: that a novel has its own integrity and I have to respect it.  People can be offended, if they like, but the story will go where the story wants and needs to go.    

Author Max Allan Collins
MAX ALLAN COLLINS is the New York Times bestselling author of crime fiction, including the acclaimed graphic novel Road to Perdition and the Perdition Saga. He is the author of the Nathan Heller mysteries, including Bye Bye, Baby, Target Lancer and Ask Not.

Collins also wrote the Dick Tracy comic strip for fifteen years, and is an independent filmmaker. For more information, visit http://www.maxallancollins.com/

Ward and Max, thank you both for visiting with us today.

As I mentioned earlier, this is an awesome giveaway. Thanks to the lovely Emily and the great folks at Tor/Forge, I have three print copies of each of these books to giveaway. The giveaway is open to residents of the U.S. and Canada only and will end at 12 a.m. (EST) on Tuesday, June 7.

To enter the giveaways, just click on the Rafflecopter widgets below and follow the instructions. The widgets may take a few seconds to load so please be patient. A winner will be selected by each of the Rafflecopter widget and I’ll send an email with the subject line “Thoughts in Progress Giveaway.” The winners will have 72 hours to reply to the email or another winner will be selected. PLEASE be sure to check your spam folder from time to time after the giveaway ends to make sure the notification email doesn’t end up there. If you win and you’ve already won the book somewhere else or you just decided for whatever reason you don’t want to win (which is fine), once again PLEASE let me know. There will be up to six winners in this giveaway. However, those entering who won a copy of each book if the Rafflecopter widget selects them.

Thanks so much for stopping by today during this holiday while these two amazing authors visit. I appreciate your time. What are your thoughts on today’s post?

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Haunted Destiny … The Obsession

HAUNTED DESTINY by Heather Graham
◊ Series: Krewe of Hunters (Book #18)
◊ Narrator: Luke Daniels
◊ Listening Length: 9 hours and 56 minutes
◊ Program Type: MP3 CD
◊ Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense, Paranormal
◊ Version: Unabridged
◊ Publisher: Brilliance Audio
◊ Release Date: May 24, 2016
◊ Language: English
◊ ISBN: 978-1491505700


Between the evil and the deep blue sea.…
A historic cruise ship, a haunted ship, the Celtic American Line's Destiny, sets sail from the Port of New Orleans―with a killer on board. He's known as the Archangel Killer because of the way he displays his victims in churches. And how he places a different saint's medallion on each body. No one knows exactly who he is or why he's doing this.
Jackson Crow―head of the FBI's Krewe of Hunters, a special unit of paranormal investigators―is assigned to the case, along with local agent Jude McCoy. Then Alexi Cromwell, who works in the ship's piano bar, is drawn into the situation when a victim's ghost appears to her―and to Jude. She and Jude share an attraction, and not just because of their mutual talent.
There are many suspects, but one by one they're ruled out.… Or are they? In the end, Jude and Alexi have to rely on each other to catch the killer and escape his evil plans for Alexi.


When it comes to things that go bump in the night, author Heather Graham has a knack for making them come alive. Graham takes elements of the paranormal and weaves them into the story in such a way they appear plausible.

Narrator Luke Daniels once again demonstrates his rich talent for providing multiple voices. His mannerisms enhances this tantalizing tale. His timing and tone are spot on.

The historic cruise ship setting is perfect for the mix of ghosts and a serial killer. With an eye for detail, Graham draws listeners/readers into the setting so clearly you can practically feel the ocean breeze on your face.

Graham’s characters are well-developed and very likable. Their interaction with the paranormal seems real. The story moves at a quick pace with a number of twists and turns to keep you guessing.

HAUNTED DESTINY is an alluring tale of murder and mystery with a good dose of romance and ghosts woven in for just the right measure of a well-balanced story. While this story is a part of the Krewe of Hunters series, it can be listened to/read on its own.

Haunted Destiny by Heather Graham, Krewe of Hunters series (Book #18), Narrated by Luke Daniels, Brilliance Audio, @2016, ISBN: 978-1491505700, Unabridged, MP3 CD, Run Time: 9 Hours and 56 Minutes

FTC Full Disclosure – A copy of this audio book was sent to me by the publisher in hopes I would review it. However, receiving the complimentary copy did not influence my review. The thoughts are completely my own and given honestly and freely.

THE OBSESSION by Nora Roberts

THE OBSESSION by Nora Roberts
◊ Narrator: Shannon McManus
◊ Listening Length: 14 hours and 19 minutes
◊ Program Type: MP3 CD
◊ Genre: Romantic Suspense
◊ Version: Unabridged
◊ Publisher: Brilliance Audio
◊ Release Date: April 12, 2016
◊ Language: English
◊ ISBN: 978-1501223822


The riveting new novel from the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Liar.
Naomi Bowes lost her innocence the night she followed her father into the woods. In freeing the girl trapped in the root cellar, Naomi revealed the horrible extent of her father’s crimes and made him infamous.
Now a successful photographer living under the name Naomi Carson, she has found a place that calls to her, thousands of miles away from everything she’s ever known. Naomi wants to embrace the solitude, but the residents of Sunrise Cove keep forcing her to open up―especially the determined Xander Keaton.
Naomi can feel her defenses failing, and knows that the connection her new life offers is something she’s always secretly craved. But as she’s learned time and again, her past is never more than a nightmare away.


Author Nora Roberts explores some of our worst nightmares I her latest thriller. What if a family member was a serial killer and what if you were the one that lead to their arrest?

Narrator Shannon McManus does an excellent job giving distinct voices to all the characters. Her vocals and timing brings out the emotions of the characters and adds to the story.

Roberts’ characters are well-rounded, likable and realistic. Her protagonist is strong and determined, but has a crack in her shell from the trauma she’s experienced. The author shares the beautiful landscape with the listeners/readers through her detailed descriptions.

The story moves at a good pace as the suspense unfolds. Even if you guess who the new killer is, the path to their reveal is worth the effort. The romance sizzles as the tension mounts. THE OBSESSION offers mystery, suspense, good chemistry, humor and forever friendships.

The Obsession by Nora Roberts, Narrated by Shannon McManus, Brilliance Audio, @2016, ISBN: 978-1501223822, Unabridged, MP3 CD, Run Time: 14 Hours and 19 Minutes

FTC Full Disclosure – A copy of this audio book was sent to me by the publisher in hopes I would review it. However, receiving the complimentary copy did not influence my review. The thoughts are completely my own and given honestly and freely.

Thanks for stopping by today. Hope you’ll check out both of these fascinating stories. If you’re not an audio fan, both books are available in print format and eBook. Do you like to mix up your reading pleasure by reading from different genres or do you prefer just one genre?

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Hitman Anders and the Meaning of It All {+ Giveaway}

◊ Translator: Rachel Willson-Broyles
◊ Narrator: Peter Kenny
Audible Audio Edition
◊ Listening Length: 8 hours and 7 minutes
◊ Program Type: Audiobook, Paperback
◊ Paperback: 312 pages
◊ Genre: Literature, Fiction, Humor
◊ Version: Unabridged
◊ Publisher: Ecco, HarperCollins Publishers and Blackstone Audio, Inc.
◊ Release Date: April 26, 2016
◊ Language: English
◊ ISBN: 10: 1504716884 (audio) 10: 0062458175 (print)
◊ ISBN: 13: 978-1504716888 (audio) 13: 978-0062458179 (print)


From the author of the international bestseller The 100-Year-Old-Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared, a brilliant satirical novel set in modern Sweden—a story of idealism and fanaticism, gangsters and entrepreneurs, sensationalism and spirituality, that explores the values that matter in contemporary life.
In a former brothel turned low-rent hotel, the lives of three unusual strangers—a former female priest, recently fired from her church; the ruined grandson of an ex-millionaire working as a receptionist; and Killer-Anders, a murderer newly released from prison—accidently collide with darkly hilarious results.
Seeing a lucrative opportunity in Killer-Anders, the unlikely trio form an unusual new business. The Priest and The Receptionist will handle strategy and public relations, and coordinate Killer-Anders’ “missions.” Using the media’s obsessive need for sensational, headline-making stories to advertise their talent’s superb “skill,” they quickly build a clientele of rich Swedish gangsters. Suddenly, they’re making an altogether different kind of killing of their own.
But when Killer-Anders begins asking deeper questions about purpose and meaning, his curiosity leads him to an unexpected discovery: he finds Jesus. Desperate to save the money machine they’ve built, The Priest and The Receptionist devise an audacious plan utilizing Killer-Anders’ newfound and decidedly fervent faith.
Mischievous yet big-hearted, filled with Jonas Jonasson’s trenchant humor and delightful twists, Hitman Anders and the Meaning of It All is a delightful comic adventure that reminds us it’s never to late to start over—and to discover what truly matters.

This is one of those zany books that makes you shake your head as you smile at the craziness that falls in place to create a delightful story.

Narrator Peter Kenny does an excellent job giving unique voices to each of the characters. His cadence and timing is spot on. His interruptions of the actions and emotions enhances this entertainment story.

The author has created eccentric characters that draw you in quickly. The characters’ madcap ways will hold you spellbound as you try to guess what’s next.

The story moves quickly with unexpected twists and turns that will keep you laughing. You’ll find yourself cheering for this little group of misfits as they take on the world in their own bizarre way.

This is an amusing story of three unlikely people who come together and create their own unique business and family. Filled with satire, lovable characters, humor, adventure and hope, it’s a story you don’t want to miss. I would highly recommend enjoying both audio and print formats of this fascinating story!

Hitman Anders and the Meaning of It All by Jonas Jonasson, Translated by Rachel Willson-Broyles, Ecco, @2016, ISBN: 978-0062458179, Paperback, 312 Pages: Narrated by Peter Kenny, HarperCollins Publishers and Blackstone Audio Inc., Audible Audio Edition, ISBN: 978-1504716888, Unabridged, Listening Time: 7.8 Hours

FTC Full Disclosure – A copy of the audio and print book were sent to me by the publishers in hopes I would review it. However, receiving the complimentary copies did not influence my review. The thoughts are completely my own and given honestly and freely.

Thanks to the lovely Stephanie and the wonderful folks at Ecco (an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers), I have a print copy of HITMAN ANDERS AND THE MEANING OF IT ALL by Jonas Jonasson to giveaway. The giveaway is open to residents of the U.S. only and will end at 12 a.m. (EST) on Sunday, June 5.

To enter the giveaway, just click on the Rafflecopter widget below and follow the instructions. The widget may take a few seconds to load so please be patient. A winner will be selected by the Rafflecopter widget and I’ll send an email with the subject line “Thoughts in Progress Giveaway.” The winner will have 72 hours to reply to the email or another winner will be selected. PLEASE be sure to check your spam folder from time to time after the giveaway ends to make sure the notification email doesn’t end up there. If you win and you’ve already won the book somewhere else or you just decided for whatever reason you don’t want to win (which is fine), once again PLEASE let me know.

Thanks so much for stopping by. Do you enjoy madcap adventures featuring the unlikely pairing of characters?