Books & fairytales - TUESDAY EXCERPTS

Welcome to another Tuesday celebrating bookish events, First Chapter/Intros, hosted by Bibliophile by the Sea; and Teaser Tuesdays hosted by Books & a Beat.

Today I’m sharing excerpts from a book written by a favorite author, Catherine McKenzie:  the book, The Murder Game, she wrote as “Julie Apple,” the character in her novel Fractured.





Intro:  (Prologue, March, 2008)

It was Laura who called to tell me the news.

“Meredith?”  Her voice echoed down the bad connection, repeating itself like a rock skipping across the water.  “It’s about Julian…”

I gripped the phone tightly as his name echoed through the receiver.  Julian.  Julian.  Julian.

“Have you seen Lily?”  I said through the lump in my throat.

“N0.  She’s not seeing anyone.  Not even Jonathan.”

My heart constricted again as this second name bounced across the world to me.


Teaser:  Headline News (June 11, 2007)

I woke shivering from the cold night air that had seeped in through the open window.  Chris lay next to me, snoring softly with the covers tucked up under his chin.  I looked at the clock.  It was a quarter to seven. (1%).


Synopsis:  For fans of The Secret History and How to Get Away With Murder comes an exciting new voice in suspense fiction.

Ten years working as a prosecutor have left Meredith Delay jaded and unsure of what she wants out of life. She’s good at her job, but it haunts her. Her boyfriend wants her to commit, but she keeps him at arm’s length. Then Meredith is assigned to a high-profile prosecution involving the violent murder of a fallen hockey star. At first, it appears to be just another case to work. But when her old friend Julian is accused of the murder, it takes on a whole new dimension.

Meredith, Julian, Jonathan, and Lily were a tight-knit group in law school. But now, Jonathan’s defending Julian, and Lily’s loyalties aren’t clear. And when Julian invokes a rare—and risky—defense, Meredith is forced to confront their past.

Has something they played at as students finally been brought to death?


What do you think?  Does this one tempt you?  Would you keep reading?



Books & fairytales - TUESDAY EXCERPTS

Welcome to another Tuesday celebrating bookish events, First Chapter/Intros, hosted by Bibliophile by the Sea; and Teaser Tuesdays hosted by Books & a Beat.

Today’s feature is “a thriller that’s part True Detective, part The Girl On The Train. All parts gripping.”  The Kept Woman, by Karin Slaughter, is about:

Husbands and wives. Mothers and daughters. The past and the future.

Secrets bind them. And secrets can destroy them.




Intro:  (Prologue)

For the first time in her life, she cradled her daughter in her arms.

All those years ago, the nurse at the hospital had asked if she wanted to hold her baby, but she had refused.  Refused to name the girl.  Refused to sign the legal papers to let her go.  Hedging her bets, because that’s what she always did.  She could remember tugging on her jeans before she left the hospital.  They were still damp from her water breaking.  The waist was baggy where it had been tight, and she had gripped the extra material in her fist as she walked down the back stairs and ran outside to meet the boy waiting in the car around the corner.


Teaser:  Sara leaned her head back against the wall.  She stared at the dark sky outside the windows.  She’d seen death too many times to believe that there was such a thing as angels, but if there were demons in the afterlife, Angie Polaski was out there cackling like a witch. (p. 199).


Synopsis: The author of Pretty Girls returns with an electrifying, emotionally complex thriller that plunges its fascinating protagonist into the darkest depths of a mystery that just might destroy him.

With the discovery of a murder at an abandoned construction site, Will Trent of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation is brought in on a case that becomes much more dangerous when the dead man is identified as an ex-cop.

Studying the body, Sara Linton—the GBI’s newest medical examiner and Will’s lover—realizes that the extensive blood loss didn’t belong to the corpse. Sure enough, bloody footprints leading away from the scene indicate there is another victim—a woman—who has vanished . . . and who will die soon if she isn’t found.

Will is already compromised, because the site belongs to the city’s most popular citizen: a wealthy, powerful, and politically connected athlete protected by the world’s most expensive lawyers—a man who’s already gotten away with rape, despite Will’s exhaustive efforts to put him away.

But the worst is yet to come. Evidence soon links Will’s troubled past to the case . . . and the consequences will tear through his life with the force of a tornado, wreaking havoc for Will and everyone around him, including his colleagues, family, friends—and even the suspects he pursues.


I am definitely ready to follow this story, as it promises to be a page turner.  What do you think?



Books & fairytales - TUESDAY EXCERPTS

Welcome to another Tuesday celebrating bookish events, from Tuesday/First Chapter/Intros, hosted by Bibliophile by the Sea; and Teaser Tuesdays hosted by Books & a Beat.

Today’s feature is a book I hope to start reading soon:   Blood Defense, by Marcia Clark, first in a new series from bestselling author and famed O. J. Simpson trial prosecutor Marcia Clark, a “terrific writer and storyteller” (James Patterson).







Intro:  (Prologue)


BREAKING NEWS:  Actress Chloe Monahan and Roommate Found Stabbed to Death.

Actress Chloe Monahan, a regular in the hit drama series Dark Corners, and her roommate, Paige Avner, were found stabbed to death in their Laurel Canyon apartment.  Officials say they have no suspects at this time.  We’ll post updates as more information is available.


Cops say Comeback Kid Actress Chloe Monahan and Roommate Killed by Burglar.

Reporters for The Biz have learned that Chloe Monahan’s apartment was burglarized just two months before she and her roommate were murdered.  Police Chief West Sanders says they are looking into the possibility that the burglar came back for another run and killed the girls when they unexpectedly came home….


Teaser:  After a single, irritated glance at the camera crew, the judge quickly pulled a file off the top of a depressingly big stack.  “Case of People v. Pearson.  Counsel, state your appearances for the record.”

Greta was right.  He really did want us out of there.  “Samantha Brinkman for the defendant.” (p. 70).


Synopsis:  Samantha Brinkman, an ambitious, hard-charging Los Angeles criminal defense attorney, is struggling to make a name for herself and to drag her fledgling practice into the big leagues. Sam lands a high-profile double-murder case in which one of the victims is a beloved TV star—and the defendant is a decorated veteran LAPD detective. It promises to be exactly the kind of media sensation that would establish her as a heavy hitter in the world of criminal law.

Though Sam has doubts about his innocence, she and her two associates (her closest childhood friend and a brilliant ex-con) take the case. Notorious for living by her own rules—and fearlessly breaking everyone else’s—Samantha pulls out all the stops in her quest to uncover evidence that will clear the detective. But when a shocking secret at the core of the case shatters her personal world, Sam realizes that not only has her client been playing her, he might be one of the most dangerous sociopaths she’s ever encountered.


What do you think?  Does this one grab you?  Make you want to keep reading?




Welcome to another Waiting on Wednesday event, hosted by Jill, at Breaking the Spine.

Every week, we gather around the blogosphere and search out the upcoming book releases, sharing our thoughts and blurbs.   Today’s featured book will be released on May 3, 2016, and is from one of my favorite authors, Laura Lippman.  Wilde Lake is an evocative and psychologically complex story about a long-ago death that still haunts a family.




Synopsis:  Luisa “Lu” Brant is the newly elected—and first female—state’s attorney of Howard County, Maryland, a job in which her widower father famously served. Fiercely intelligent and ambitious, she sees an opportunity to make her name by trying a mentally disturbed drifter accused of beating a woman to death in her home. It’s not the kind of case that makes headlines, but peaceful Howard county doesn’t see many homicides.

As Lu prepares for the trial, the case dredges up painful memories, reminding her small but tight-knit family of the night when her brother, AJ, saved his best friend at the cost of another man’s life. Only eighteen, AJ was cleared by a grand jury. Now, Lu wonders if the events of 1980 happened as she remembers them. What details might have been withheld from her when she was a child?

The more she learns about the case, the more questions arise. What does it mean to be a man or woman of one’s times? Why do we ask our heroes of the past to conform to the present’s standards? Is that fair? Is it right? Propelled into the past, she discovers that the legal system, the bedrock of her entire life, does not have all the answers. Lu realizes that even if she could learn the whole truth, she probably wouldn’t want to.


I stumbled upon this upcoming release while I was posting a review at Goodreads, and I am so grateful to have done so.  I always enjoy this author’s books.

What do you think?  What are you waiting for?







Welcome to another Tuesday celebrating bookish events, from Tuesday/First Chapter/Intros, hosted by Bibliophile by the Sea; and Teaser Tuesdays hosted by A Daily Rhythm.

Today’s featured book is an ARC from Amazon Vine, called The Shore, by Sara Taylor.





Intro:  (1995 – Target Practice)

When news of the murder breaks I’m in Matthew’s, buying chicken necks so my little sister Renee and I can go crabbing.  There isn’t much in the way of food in the house, but we found a dollar and sixty-three cents in change, and decided free crabs would get us the most food for that money.  Usually we use bacon rinds for bait, but we’ve eaten those already.

I’m squatting down looking at the boxes of cupcakes on a bottom shelf when a woman steps over me to get to the register.  Matthew’s is small and the shelves are crowded in; when Mama brought us with her to get food Renee and me would have contests to see who could get from the front door to the grimy meat counter at the back in the fewest hops—I could do it in seven.  She’s a big fat woman, with more of an equator than a waist; she steps heavy, all of her trembling as she does, and for a moment I’m worried she’s going to fall and squish me….


Teaser:  It’s a little house, our house, one room downstairs and two rooms upstairs and a porch for each, and according to the phone company and the electric company and the taxman it doesn’t exist. (p 4)


The Shore: a group of small islands in the Chesapeake Bay, just off the coast of Virginia. The Shore is clumps of evergreens, wild ponies, oyster-shell roads, tumble-down houses, unwanted pregnancies, murder, and dark magic in the marshes. Sanctuary to some but nightmare to others, it’s a place that generations of families both wealthy and destitute have inhabited, fled, and returned to for hundreds of years. From a half-Shawnee Indian’s bold choice to escape an abusive home only to find herself with a man who will one day try to kill her, to a brave young girl’s determination to protect her younger sister as methamphetamine ravages their family, the characters in this remarkable novel have deep connections to the land, and a resilience that only the place they call home could create.

Through a series of interconnecting narratives that recalls the work of David Mitchell and Jennifer Egan, Sara Taylor brings to life the small miracles and miseries of a community of outsiders, and the bonds of blood and fate that connect them all.

Spanning over a century, dreamlike and yet impossibly real, profound and playful, THE SHORE is a breathtakingly ambitious and accomplished work of fiction by a young writer of remarkable promise.


Does it resonate with you?  Would you keep reading?  I hope you’ll stop by and share your own excerpts.













Welcome to another Waiting on Wednesday, our special day for sharing upcoming book releases.  Hop on over to Breaking the Spine to find out what everyone else is excited about.

Today’s featured book is from Julia Heaberlin, a new favorite suspense author, whose book Playing Dead kept me riveted.  Black-Eyed Susans is an electrifying novel of psychological suspense.  Release Date:  July 28, 2015.






Blurb:  I am the star of screaming headlines and campfire ghost stories.
I am one of the four Black-Eyed Susans.
The lucky one.

As a sixteen-year-old, Tessa Cartwright was found in a Texas field, barely alive amid a scattering of bones, with only fragments of memory as to how she got there. Ever since, the press has pursued her as the lone surviving “Black-Eyed Susan,” the nickname given to the murder victims because of the yellow carpet of wildflowers that flourished above their shared grave. Tessa’s testimony about those tragic hours put a man on death row.

Now, almost two decades later, Tessa is an artist and single mother. In the desolate cold of February, she is shocked to discover a freshly planted patch of black-eyed susans—a summertime bloom—just outside her bedroom window. Terrified at the implications—that she sent the wrong man to prison and the real killer remains at large—Tessa turns to the lawyers working to exonerate the man awaiting execution. But the flowers alone are not proof enough, and the forensic investigation of the still-unidentified bones is progressing too slowly. An innocent life hangs in the balance. The legal team appeals to Tessa to undergo hypnosis to retrieve lost memories—and to share the drawings she produced as part of an experimental therapy shortly after her rescue.

What they don’t know is that Tessa and the scared, fragile girl she was have built a  fortress of secrets. As the clock ticks toward the execution, Tessa fears for her sanity, but even more for the safety of her teenaged daughter. Is a serial killer still roaming free, taunting Tessa with a trail of clues? She has no choice but to confront old ghosts and lingering nightmares to finally discover what really happened that night.

Shocking, intense, and utterly original, Black-Eyed Susans is a dazzling psychological thriller, seamlessly weaving past and present in a searing tale of a young woman whose harrowing memories remain in a field of flowers—as a killer makes a chilling return to his garden.


What are you excited about today?  I hope you’ll stop by and share….







Welcome to another Tuesday celebrating bookish events, from Tuesday/First Chapter/Intros, hosted by Bibliophile by the Sea; and Teaser Tuesdays hosted by Should Be Reading.

Today’s feature is a book by an author I enjoy:  Jonathan Kellerman.  Victims is another book in the Alex Delaware series.





Intro:  This one was different.

The first hint was Milo’s tight-voiced eight a.m. message, stripped of details.

Something I need you to see, Alex.  Here’s the address.

An hour later, I was showing I.D. to the uniform guarding the tape.  He winced.  “Up there, Doctor.”  Pointing to the second story of a sky-blue duplex trimmed in chocolate-brown, he dropped a hand to his Sam Browne belt, as if ready for self-defense.

Nice older building, the classic Cal-Spanish architecture, but the color was wrong.  So was the silence of the street, sawhorsed at both ends.  Three squad cars and a liver-colored LTD were parked haphazardly across the asphalt.  No crime lab vans or coroner’s vehicles had arrived, yet.


Teaser:  Two women entered the Quigg condo. First through the door was a tall buxom redhead with short, feathered hair, wearing a green sweater over a black unitard and red Chinese slippers. (p. 101)


Amazon Description:  Not since Jack the Ripper terrorized the London slums has there been such a gruesome crime scene. By all accounts, acid-tongued Vita Berlin hadn’t a friend in the world, but whom did she cross so badly as to end up arranged in such a grotesque tableau? One look at her apartment–turned–charnel house prompts hard-bitten LAPD detective Milo Sturgis to summon his go-to expert in hunting homicidal maniacs, Alex Delaware. But despite his finely honed skills, even Alex is stymied when more slayings occur in the same ghastly fashion . . . yet with no apparent connection among the victims. And the only clue left behind—a blank page bearing a question mark—seems to be both a menacing taunt and a cry for help from a killer baffled by his own lethal urges.

Under pressure to end the bloody spree and prevent a citywide panic, Milo redoubles his efforts to discover a link between the disparate victims. Meanwhile, Alex navigates the secretive world of mental health treatment, from the sleek office of a Beverly Hills therapist to a shuttered mental institution where he once honed his craft—and where an unholy alliance between the mad and the monstrous may have been sealed in blood. As each jagged piece of the puzzle fits into place, an ever more horrific portrait emerges of a sinister mind at its most unimaginable—and an evil soul at its most unspeakable. “This one was different,” Alex observes at the start of the case. This one will haunt his waking life, and his darkest dreams, long after its end.


I am a fan of Alex Delaware and his sidekick Milo, but it’s been a while since I read one of the books.  I am looking forward to it.  What do you think?  Would you keep reading?