ACTS OF MALICE ~ Release Day!!!

AOM Release pngIt’s here! Release Day for ACTS OF MALICE. It was on Pre-Order, but now, TODAY, it is officially released!!!

Detective Story, murder mystery, national security

Lavender Raines and Mac “Mackey” Mackenzie are polar opposites. Thought not a holiday novel, per se, ACTS OF MALICE has Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s scenes that will touch your heart, make you gasp, have you laughing, or all three.

ACTS OF MALICE IN A NUT SHELL…

ACTS OF MALICE:  A taut and compelling classic murder mystery with a national security underlying theme. Interpersonal relationships, greed, dry humor. Unrequited Love. Uplifting.

Lavender Raines gets the ‘doorbell ring’ no wife ever wants to get. Her husband has been brutally murdered, and the FBI is more secretive than helpful. The problem is, his body was found in Caracas when she thought his business trip had taken him to New Orleans.

Mackenzie just opened a second beach resort-town restaurant, this one in Ribault Beach, Florida…but now the clandestine security organization that from-time-to-time sends him on covert missions wants him to find Lavender’s husband’s killers.

Forces from within the “Deep State” have shaped circumstances that will alter the course of both their lives. Then a local man is murdered. Mackey is emotionally shut down about his life, but protective of others. Lavender is a pillar of strength in her family, but distrusting of Mackey and guarded around him. Can they find common ground amidst this treachery and turmoil?GreenStar Burst

Excerpt:

Chapter Five

Lavender Raines

Yawning, my mother entered the kitchen with a lazy, graceful sway. She tightened her fuchsia kimono-style bathrobe and headed for the coffee maker. “I didn’t sleep well at all last night.”

I placed my coffee mug on the kitchen table and swiveled in my chair to face her. “Was the guestroom bed uncomfortable?”

“Well … no, Darling, not really.” She waved, limp-wristed, as if she were shushing me. “I need to get some coffee in me.”

“On the counter. Help yourself.”

She poured coffee into a mug. “I simply can’t understand why George’s parents didn’t fly in to attend his memorial service.”

If I cared for hard liquor, which I didn’t, I might want a shot in my coffee before long. “Mother, you know Marianne has early onset dementia. Henry doesn’t want her to be told George is gone. Besides they recently moved into an assisted living apartment in Seattle and are still settling in.” The fact was neither of his parents had any idea their son’s death certificate and funeral papers had been falsified to make it appear he’d died while visiting them. I went along with this charade because I had no idea who was behind George’s murder, or why. I was afraid for Kendall’s safety, as well as my own and my mother’s.

“Yes, yes, of course.” She added two percent milk and artificial sweetener to her mug and stirred.

“What a pretty bathrobe.” I hoped to change the topic of conversation.

She brought her mug to the table and sat opposite me. “This old thing? I got it several years ago at this marvelous little shop when your father and I were in Santa Barbara. Now he’s gone, and George is gone. It’s just us three girls.” She tilted her head and slid her fingers through her highlighted, chin length hair.

Hard liquor was looking better and better. I slipped my hand behind my neck and scooped my hair out from under my knit robe that had seen better days. “Mother, we’ll be fine. You’ll see. We girls will pull through.”

She ran her French manicured index finger around the rim of her mug. “I want more for you and Kendall than pulling through. Really, dear, this house is not in good shape. You should sell it and come live with me in Virginia Beach.”

I stifled a gasp at the same time that Kendall lurched into the kitchen. “Sell the house? No, never. This is Dad’s house. We have to keep it.”

I stood and hurried over to her. “Honey, Grandma was just thinking out loud.”

“Kendall, darling, it isn’t ladylike to eavesdrop.” My mother’s sing-song rhythm was light, with a softness to it.

Kendall pouted. “I wasn’t eavesdropping. I was coming into the kitchen to get coffee.”

I sat down at the table and kept to myself that I’d also been unable to sleep. In the wee hours, selling the house had very briefly crossed my mind. “The house does have a few projects still left to be done. George finished the living room, dining room, and kitchen. Only the bedrooms need a little cosmetic touch-up.”

“Both bathrooms need a complete renovation. The master bath is very outdated. Really, Darling, there’s not even a hint of open concept. With your talent in home décor, you should know that.” My mother wriggled her nose.

“Grandma, you make it sound like Daddy didn’t provide a good place for us to live.”

“Kendall, darling, I’m expressing my feelings. Would you like me to be dishonest with you and your mother?”

Kendall smacked her mug on the countertop, and liquid sloshed over its brim. She ignored it. “Daddy’s memorial service was only yesterday. So, Grandma, I don’t mean to be rude, but if you can’t put him in a good light, don’t say anything.”

She rushed out of the room, her eyes brimming with tears.

Lavender Raines, Afternoon 

A walk along the waterfront might calm my jangled nerves. I’d been a walking enthusiast for years and had been known to go for miles. Sunrise Boulevard wasn’t that far away and was a lovely stroll along the beach.

I slipped into and tied my running shoes. Did I need a sweater? I checked my phone for the weather report. High seventies. No sweater. I’d be exerting myself, and that would keep me warm enough. I slipped the phone into the diminutive leather bag slung across my body.

After a slow trot to the end of our driveway, I turned and inspected the house. A white concrete ranch on residential Catalina Street with a large picture window, a dark-blue front door, and a couple of palm trees in front. We lived in a respectable neighborhood. George had wanted the house. After growing up in the sizable two-story colonial with a pool I thought of as the house my father bought for my mother, I would’ve preferred a three-bedroom townhouse. Still, George, Kendall, and I had been happy here. So, why had I felt so defensive during my mother’s manipulative harangue, feeling almost as if our house was a hovel?

While walking along Sunrise Boulevard at a leisurely pace, the blahs of self-recrimination had set in and settled. When I pulled my gaze up from the sidewalk, I realized I’d turned the corner onto Mystic Drive. I found myself standing before Funky Boutiking and immediately felt a bit better. The quaint shop sat behind the graceful yet casual Blue Dolphin Boutique Hotel.

Ribault Beach benefited from naturally occurring, softly rolling dunes which somewhat protected the city during fierce storms. Sunrise Boulevard, one of the city’s major thoroughfares ran north and south along the beach. At its southernmost end, a small concrete and steel bridge crossed a short expanse of ocean to Cannoner Island.

“Such a funny shape.” I placed my flattened hand over my sunglasses to block out the hot sun and stepped to the side, trying to get a better view of the small island. Not used to talking to myself, a giggle bubbled up. Then I giggled again. “Looks like my feet brought me here for a reason.”

Recalling the often-told tale charmed me. French Huguenot settlers in the mid-1500s gave the island that name because its seaward end rose higher out of the ocean than its landward end. They thought it resembled a cannon. Of course, the name had long since lost its French spelling and pronunciation– and Ribault Beach had also lost its French pronunciation.

I turned toward the pale yellow 1950s bungalow that was Funky Boutiking and placed my foot on the first step. Should I go in? “I don’t want to be a burden.” This talking to myself was weird.

The house rested on a foundation of concrete blocks two-feet-high with spaces between them which would allow a rushing storm surge to pass underneath. The bungalow sported a craftsman-style stone porch with concrete steps and blue painted wooden pillars. It was a sturdy little structure.

I held onto the railing and walked up the steps and onto the porch which displayed outdoor and indoor pieces of furniture for sale. I continued into the store.

Abigail Hunter stood at the front counter, behind the register, worry reflected in her eyes.

A well-dressed, thirty-something man on the opposite side of the wooden counter faced her. Randall Creston, another of George’s distant relatives. He hadn’t come to the memorial service. He and his family lived in Crescent Beach, just north of our city. We hadn’t seen him or heard from him for so long, all memory of him had escaped me, until now.

He slapped his hand on the counter. “You and your sister are two stubborn old ladies.”

Abigail winced but still managed a thin smile. “It’s probably true we’re set in our ways.”

“I’ll be back again, and we’ll continue this conversation. I have an appointment in less than twenty minutes.” He turned on his heel and stalked off.

His shoulder nearly brushed against mine as he left. He grunted and nodded. “Good day.”

“Good … day.” I turned and watched him rush out the door, not sure if he recognized me.

When I turned back, Abigail clasped and unclasped her hands.

I walked up to the register. “Are you all right? Wasn’t that Randall Creston?”

“Our cousin Randall, the lawyer. He helps with our finances, such as they are.”

Olivia peeked out from the behind a display toward the back of the store. The sizable bungalow accommodated a small two-bedroom apartment in the back and sat on a half-acre lot. “Is he gone?” She noticed me and rushed over. “Lavender, I’m so glad to see you. I just put on water for tea. Would you like to join us?”

“Thank you, that would make my day.”

The kettle whistled, and the petite woman spun around and hurried to the back.

I returned my attention to Abigail, wondering if I’d just witnessed elder abuse, or perhaps intimidation. “This is none of my business, but it seemed as if Olivia was trying to avoid ‘cousin’ Randall’. I made quotation marks in the air with my fingers.

“Lavender, honey, you have your own troubles. Come sit and have tea with us.” Abigail walked toward an alcove to the side of the front counter.

I sat on the cushioned bench built into the alcove. “Abigail, you and Olivia are my husband’s family. If you’re having any problems, you can come to me.”

Abigail settled her long frame into the seat of an upholstered chair. It was positioned to one side of a small coffee table. “You’re sweet, just like Georgie.”

Olivia bustled in carrying a tray which she placed on the coffee table. “You’ll have to add milk and sugar to your taste. Please help yourself to home-baked oatmeal cookies.” She sat in an upholstered chair on the other side of the coffee table in front of the alcove.

I added a splash of milk to my tea, and then took a cookie which I rested in a napkin on my lap. “Olivia, Randall Creston nearly collided with me as he rushed out.”

She rolled her eyes and mixed two heaping spoons of sugar into her tea. “He’s a very busy man. His clients are the cream of the crop in Ribault Beach. He wouldn’t even come here otherwise, except for this business deal he’s all worked up about.”

“You and Abigail are also his clients?” I sipped my tea.

Olivia shifted in her seat. “We’re his poor church-mouse relatives. His charity account.”

 

ACTS OF MALICE IS NOW ON PRE-ORDER ON AMAZON

NIKE N. CHILLEMI’S AUTHOR PAGE ON AMAZON

 

Shadows of the Past by Patricia Bradley ~ tackling my ‘to read list’

Shadows of the Past

Intense feelings of failure pervaded profiler Taylor Martin’s life. She couldn’t prevent a young man from murdering his stepfather. Her former fiance left her a ‘dear Jane’ letter. In her present case, she failed professionally, and the local sheriff was badly injured.

The author constructed strong main characters in Taylor Martin and best selling mystery writer Nick Sinclair. The development of these characters’ inner vulnerabilities as well as the tension between them was deftly done. There is tremendous suspense as the plot thickens and it becomes obvious the stalker/killer in the case she’s come to Memphis to solve is someone Taylor knew…and the reader knows him too…but who?

However, there’s another case to solve. Taylor’s father has been missing for over twenty years. Her family strongly prefers she not dredge up old wounds, but Taylor has nightmares involving his disappearance and she wants answers.

The novel delves into faith in God and questions people have, such as does God care? However, it’s never preachy. Some of the characters are Christian, some are seekers, many are neither. Just like in real life. I recommend this novel for ages 17 to 117.

Double Barrel Mysteries by Barbara Ellen Brink ~ an intriguing series

I was intrigued by the intelligence of the DOUBLE BARREL MYSTERIES so I asked its author, Barbara Ellen Brink to share with my readers how this well-constructed series came about and evolved. This is one that has everything I love in mysteries suspense, plenty of twists and turns, laughs, and quirky characters.

Let’s turn it over to Barbara…

Blake and Shelby Gunner ARE Double Barrel Investigations

My husband and I took a road trip along Lake Superior to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula about three years back. It was a beautiful fall weekend and the changing colors were amazing. Soon after, I woke from a dream and started writing Double Barrel Mysteries. Rather than an actual storyline, my dream consisted of characters and setting.

The Double Barrel team of Blake and Shelby Gunner was in my head as clear as bold font. Blake is a cop. Shelby’s an actress who speaks Shakespeare as a second language. Together they make the perfect team. He’s got the experience of a seasoned detective and she can act like one.

Now all I needed was a murder for them to solve.

Roadkill

 

 

In ROADKILL, the Gunners consider moving from Minneapolis to the safe, small-town environment of Blake’s hometown. They take a road trip to Port Scuttlebutt in order to check out an old bed & breakfast on the market, and soon get pulled into the cold case of an unsolved hit-and-run. Surprisingly, Port Scuttlebutt isn’t as innocent as it appears on the surface. Their investigation stirs up danger as easily as a Lake Superior storm churns up waves.

I always begin one of my Double Barrel Mysteries by writing the murder scene. Once I’ve killed off someone, I start making up the story about how it came to be. Funny thing is, I don’t usually know who the killer is until at least the middle. In fact, sometimes it’s almost the end of the book before I know whodunit. If the author is surprised, I’m pretty sure the reader will be too.

Much Ado About Murder

 

In MUCH ADO ABOUT MURDER, Blake and Shelby have just begun renovating the old boathouse into offices for Double Barrel Investigations when they get sidetracked with a case of murder. Someone buried Pete’s ex-wife under his woodpile, making Pete look as guilty as a cocker spaniel surrounded by chicken feathers. Being the talk of the town after solving their last case, Blake and Shelby feel the pressure to find the killer and keep their newly hired construction foreman out of jail. After all, winter is coming on and the doors and windows have yet to be installed.

 

Midsummer Madness

The third book in the Double Barrel Mysteries was released this past weekend. In MIDSUMMER MADNESS, Blake and Shelby have a surprise announcement that everyone seems to know before they tell them. Shelby is working to get the new Port Playhouse ready for its grand opening when a local business owner asks the Gunners to look for his stolen fishing boat. A stranger’s body turns up in the Lake near the Drunken Sailor Bed & Breakfast and a missing boat quickly morphs into a case of murder. With new friends under suspicion and a killer still unidentified, the Gunners have to work quickly to solve the case before someone else is pulled into the madness.

Barbara’s Bio:

Barbara Ellen Brink

Barbara Ellen Brink is a multi-published author, wife of one long-suffering husband, mother to two adult children, walker to one very spoiled mutt, lover of funny baby-goat videos, and a black licorice connoisseur. She grew up on a small fruit farm in Washington State, but now lives in the mean “burbs” of Minnesota. In her spare time – when she’s not reading – she likes to take her motorcycle for a spin, hang out with friends, or catch up on the latest movies.

She is the author of the best-selling Fredrickson Winery Novels; young adult series, The Amish Bloodsuckers Trilogy; inspirational suspense series, Second Chances; and the Double Barrel Mysteries. Her speculative/thriller, Split Sense, won the 2012 Grace Award, and Much Ado About Murder won this year’s Grace Award in mystery/suspense/thriller.

handgun

Purchase Links:

ROADKILL

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00VN0A3QC

B&N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/roadkill-barbara-e-brink/1121462059;jsessionid=E5F3028898CB93BC29D756AFF133EDA0.prodny_store01-atgap01?ean=2940154967577

iBookstore: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/roadkill/id1311166714?mt=11

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/roadkill-21

 

MUCH ADO ABOUT MURDER

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01FN1YIJ4

B&N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/much-ado-about-murder-barbara-e-brink/1123747711;jsessionid=E5F3028898CB93BC29D756AFF133EDA0.prodny_store01-atgap01?ean=2940154996850

iBookstore: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/much-ado-about-murder/id1311168692?mt=11

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/much-ado-about-murder-4

 

MIDSUMMER MADNESS

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07798B882

B&N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/midsummer-madness-barbara-ellen-brink/1127329433;jsessionid=E5F3028898CB93BC29D756AFF133EDA0.prodny_store01-atgap01?ean=2940154990186

iBookstore: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/midsummer-madness/id1311176460?mt=11

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/midsummer-madness-9

 

How To Commit The Perfect Muder ~ on paper

Kristin Durfee
Kristin Durfee

Florida romantic suspense author and my good friend Lynn Rix brought me to the Ponte Vedra Beach Library this morning to hear a lecture designed for mystery writers.

Kristin Durfee [firearms expert, giver of expert court testimony, author] spoke on “How to Commit the Perfect Murder”. She gave this caveat several time, “for literary purposes only.” To which the audience of local Florida writers laughed.

We learned about cartridges, magazines (not the kind you read), calibers, gauges, jackets (not the kind you wear), and full metal jackets. We also learned that $75K will buy you a cheap CSI microscope. Some go for half to three-quarters of a million dollars.

We got all kinds of technical tips for writing murder mysteries with accurate details about the use of firearms. The big tip of the day I got was to do accurate research. Don’t go to some guy who’s in PJs writing about firearms. Google the manufacturers’ website. Go to Smith & Wesson, Colt, Ruger, etc.

Kristin told us about a few weird or strange cases that would be called “unbelievable” by fiction book critics if written in a story, but which were actual criminal cases in life. She said, “Anything you can think up has already probably happened.”

You can follow Kristin on Twitter: @KristinDurfee

 

Moi, Ponte Vedra Beach Lib
Moi @ Ponte Vedra Beach Library

 

Save

Announcing: DEADLY DESIGNS Release ~ Veronica “Ronnie” Ingels/Dawson Hughes Novel, Book 2

Deadly Designs 1400

DEADLY DESIGNS: Fast paced whodunit, with dry humor. Sweet, romance, warm intimacy, sophisticated themes presented tastefully.

 

*****

 

DEADLY DESIGNS in a nut shell…
Private investigator Veronica “Ronnie” Ingels teams up with Deputy Dawson Hughes to find a geeky radio broadcaster’s missing wife and young daughter. They fear the woman and child were taken by Islamic terrorists as revenge against the husband’s pro-Israel, conspiracy theory broadcasts.

Hughe has recently been promoted to lieutenant in the Taylor County, Texas Sheriff’s Department. He’s on leave on a special assignment with Authorized Operations (AO), a clandestine, quasi-government agency operating out of a sea-side mansion in Hither Hills, NY. The only thing is, many powerful politicians, and government big-wigs claim Authorized Operations doesn’t exist.

Ronnie is furious at both Hughes and the broadcaster for waiting thirty-six hours to start the search. She knows the longer it takes, the less chance there is of finding the child alive. The problem is, radio talk-show host Ed Harper has been hoping-against-hope that his pot-smoking, model wife is on one of her esoteric experiences and has simply taken the child while she romps for a few days. He doesn’t want to seriously consider the other, more hazardous possibility… that his radio broadcasts have angered some very dangerous people.

The investigation takes Ronnie and Hughes from a manicured Connecticut estate, to interviews with an elitist A-List society crowd, and run-ins with cranky local police detectives. Then they plunge deep into the seamy, drug-riddled underbelly of the fashion world, with the specter of international terrorism hovering. All the while they know, the sooner a child is found, the better.

 

Excerpt: from Chapter Two,,,

I rang the bell and a geeky guy with squarish horn-rimmed glasses opened the door. Dawson Hughes stood several feet behind him.

A shadow passed over the man’s eyes and they narrowed. I couldn’t determine if it was confusion, or guilt and remorse. He took a faltering step back. “Um, come in, won’t you?”

I did, and marched directly to Hughes. “We’re thirty-six hours into a missing child case. Why haven’t the police been called?”

Hughes grimaced and held both hands up, palms out, in a stopping stance. “Whoa. Janus Agard notified the authorities over an hour ago.”

“I’m thrilled somebody finally decided to do something. Just who is Janus Agard, and what’s he got to do with the case?”

The nerdy guy stepped toward me, and his head bobbed. “Please, sit down in the living room and I’ll explain everything. Can I get you some coffee?”

“No, on the coffee.” I walked into a room furnished with comfortable, contemporary pieces in beige tones. A watercolor seascape, with a shimmering golden sun sinking below the horizon, hung over the couch. A large swirling, blue-glass bowl, filled with sea shells, graced the coffee table. My best guess was the missing wife had acquired the bowl. It had a feminine feel to it. This was the kind of place a young professional couple, just starting on their career paths, might have.

A man, who had been sitting in an easy chair, rose to his feet. He wore a black tee, relaxed-fit jeans, thick leather boots, and sported an eagle tattoo on his forearm. Light brown hair raised from his forehead, the back ends curling just above the tee’s collar. A leather jacket lay over the arm of the chair he’d just vacated. No doubt this was the owner of the Harley.

He stepped toward me and extended his hand. “Gary Olsen.”

I shook the biker’s hand. “I’m Veronica Ingels, private detective from Cooney Investigations.”

Hughes introduced the geek to me and brought me up to speed on the facts of the case.

“Ronnie, I only found out about Mr. Barton’s missin’ wife and child two hours ago, not two days ago.”

“So, when you say, your boss… this Janus Agard guy… phoned the authorities, that doesn’t necessarily mean he called the local police?”

Hughes nodded. “Good instincts on your part. He phoned someone, who, in turn will notify the Dunst PD.”

I paced back and forth. “How long does it take to make a few phone calls and for the cops to drive across this itsy village and get here?”

Before I could take off on another rant, a black sedan pulled into the drive and two men in suits, who had the look of detectives, got out.

Barton darted for the front door, nearly tripping over his own feet.

I looked at Hughes, then pointed at the husband. “Pretty jumpy, isn’t he?”

“Not unusual with his wife and daughter missing. He’s skittish as a gun-shy dog.” Hughes let out a long sigh.

“Well ‘Suspect 101’ in any police academy puts the husband at the top of the list.”

Hughes shrugged and we walked toward the front door.

Barton let the men into the small foyer.

The tallish, muscular one sported close-cropped hair that was nearly platinum. Not expecting that, with my usual lack of social acumen, I stared and had to tear my gaze away. He wore a black, off-the-rack suit with a white shirt and a red tie that had some kind of dots in it. Him taking an ‘at ease’ stance, gave away he’d been in the military. When he leveled his gaze to scrutinize us one-by-one, I didn’t feel so bad having gawked at him.

The older, shorter, balder one approached Barton. His suit was gray and a bit rumpled. He had a few acne pockmarks on his chin. “I’m Detective Campo. We need to get this investigation moving.” He inclined his head toward his partner. “This here is Detective Quinlan.”
Hughes introduced himself and me.

Campo’s eyes narrowed. He swung around to face Barton. “You hired PIs before you called the police?”

This was not off to a good start.

 

Cover of Book One, HARMFUL INTENT

Harmful Intent 300 P

DEADLY DESIGNS ~ cover reveal

I’m super excited!!! It’s time to reveal the cover for DEADLY DESIGNS…

Book #2 in the Veronica “Ronnie” Ingels/Dawson Hughes series

DDLg

 

The planned release date is October 4th, 2015.

Private investigator Veronica “Ronnie” Ingels teams up again with Lt. Deputy Dawson Hughes to find a geeky radio broadcaster’s missing wife and young daughter. They fear the woman and child were taken by Islamic terrorists as revenge against a pro-Israel guest host who subbed on the talk show for a week. The investigation takes Ronnie and Hughes to manicured estates, interviewing a snobbish A-List society crowd, as well as to the seamy, drug-riddled underbelly of the fashion world. All the while, the specter of international terrorism hovers.

Ronnie is furious at both Hughes and the broadcaster for waiting two days to start the search. She knows the longer it takes, the less chance there is of finding the child alive. Talk-show host Ed Barton has been hoping-against-hope his pot-smoking, model wife is on one of her esoteric experiences and has simply taken the child while she romps for a few days. He doesn’t want to consider the other, more dangerous possibility…that his radio program has angered some very dangerous people.

Hughes, recently promoted to lieutenant in the Taylor County, Texas Sheriff’s Department, is on leave on a special assignment with Authorized Operations (AO), a clandestine, quasi-government agency operating out of a sea-side mansion on Long Island, NY. The only thing is, many politicians and government big-wigs claim the organization doesn’t exist.

HI Price Reduction $1.99 PP
HARMFUL INTENT, Book One in the Veronica “Ronnie” Ingels/Dawson Hughes detective series

 

 

 

 

Amazon Author Page