Tag: Debra Webb

Guest Review: Bridal Armor by Debra Webb

Posted August 30, 2013 by Judith in Reviews | 0 Comments

17570277Judith’s review of Bridal Armor by Debra Webb

Someone was out to get Thomas Casey. His profession had taught him to trust no one. So when Johara di Rossi abducted him on his way to his beloved niece’s wedding, Thomas assumed the worst—despite their intimate history.  

Though attachments made him vulnerable, Thomas was haunted by regret for walking away from Jo years ago. No other woman had stirred such intense desire in him. Now, snowbound in an isolated cabin, with a determined enemy from his past closing in, suspicion begins to melt away as the embers of their passion reignite.

Wow!  This is a really complicated novel that will keep lovers of espionage and mystery on the edge of their seats.  The director of a government agency that is a branch of the CIA that isn’t supposed to exist is on the way to his niece’s wedding to give the bride away.  But what starts out as a bit of family leave time turns into a witch hunt by those who are trying to end not only Thomas Casey’s career but his life as well.  Intercepted by a woman who was his lover five years previously, Thomas begins to understand the extent to which his enemy has gone to do him great harm, and possibly those he loves.  What he doesn’t plan on is the renewal–the resurgence of his gut-deep attraction to Jo Rossi in spite of the fact that she is the governmental equivalent to Internal Affairs and may well be a part of the conspiracy.

This novel is layer upon layer of trouble, so much so that the reader will have a hard time deciding who the bad guys are. The sexual tension between Jo and Thomas keeps on building throughout the novel and the relentless nature of the enemy’s action against Thomas never lets up.  Ms Webb has written a story that literally leaps off the page continually and it was one of those that I started and didn’t put it down except for bathroom breaks.

This series of novels have been wonderful reading and it is always fun to re-visit characters that have figured prominently in past stories.  That all this murder and mayhem is set against the backdrop of a family wedding is sheer genius on the part of the author.  It is certainly a study in contrasts and yet it seems to ramp up the tension even more.  There’s not a lot of erotic action in this novel.  Yet it is deeply erotic in that the intent is there, the tension is palpable, and the sense that it was going to happen eventually–but we just don’t know when.   Just goes to show that the sexiest novels are sometimes those were the sex is implied or delayed.  That is certainly the case here.

Harlequin’s “Intrigue” imprint has come out with some wonderful stories.  This one is no exception.  And if you have been reading Ms Webb’s books in this particular series you will love this one as well.

I give the novel a rating of 4.25 out of 5.

You can read more from Judith at Dr J’s Book Place.

 

This book is available from Harlequin Intrigue.  You can buy it here or here in e-format.

Debra Webb Excerpt (+a Giveaway!): Rage – Book 4 in the Faces of Evil series

Posted April 29, 2013 by Tracy in Giveaways | 12 Comments

Here’s an excerpt from Debra Webb on her newest book in the Faces of Evil series called Rage that releases tomorrow April 30th!

Disturbing echoes of a Charles Manson massacre disrupt a quiet Birmingham suburb…and a missing child is the only witness. Deputy Chief Jess Harris puts everything on the line when her key suspect is one of Birmingham’s finest. With a killer now focused on her, she must find the missing witness and the truth before it’s too late for them both.

RAGE EXCERPT TWO

There was so much blood.

Words were scrawled in blood around the walls.

Pig. Whore. Kill the bitch. Kill the pigs. One by one.

The chilly air seemed to freeze in Jess’s lungs as she stared at the other word written in large, sweeping strokes.

Rage.

She blinked away the images from her motel room that attempted to transpose themselves over those currently burning her retinas. Shaking off the eerie sensation of déjà vu, she visually inventoried the rest of the room.

A massive flat panel television hung over the stacked-stone fireplace. A local morning talk show filled the screen but the sound had been muted. Beefy, well-worn leather sofas stood like sentinels on either side of the fireplace waiting for the family to gather. Windows, blinds tightly closed, spanned the walls. The only natural light breaching the space was from the broken sliding door, its two panels of glass lying in pieces on the tile floor.

Jess shivered again. “What’s going on with the air-conditioning, Sergeant?”

“The thermostat was adjusted as low as it would go,” he explained. “It’s about sixty-two degrees in here.”

“Seems our killer took the time to think things through before taking his leave.” And he or she obviously knew a little something about skewing attempts at determining time of death. Just another reason to hate all those CSI shows.

“I believe the murder was carried out right here,” Harper said as they moved across the room. “The child, a six-month-old boy, was left in his crib in a bedroom. Nothing in the house, as far as we can tell, was disturbed beyond the damaged patio doors.”

After fishing for her glasses, Jess shoved them into place and moved closer to study the placement of the body. The victim lay supine on the tile floor, a pool of coagulated blood around her, her head severed from her body but left right next to the stump of her neck. Tissue was torn in a jagged manner as if the perp had had a hard time getting started with a sawtooth-type tool. Multiple stab wounds along the torso dotted the victim’s pale yellow gown with ugly rusty spots. Her arms were outstretched at her sides, crucifixion style. Legs were straight and together.

Across the victim’s forehead, written in what appeared to be her own blood, were the words PIG WHORE.

Jess stepped nearer and eased into a crouch. She pointed to the victim’s upper arms. “Looks like our killer had a good grip on her at some point.” There was bruising on the chest, just above her breasts. Jess passed a gloved hand over the area. “He held her down while he committed this final atrocity. Judging by the bruise pattern I’d say he was right-handed.”

Harper nodded. “I counted ten stabs to her torso. All postmortem, like the beheading.”

There wasn’t nearly enough blood for the visible damage to have been inflicted while her heart was still beating. No arterial spray from the decapitation. A little castoff from the saw, but that was about it, other than the blood that gravity drained out of the body. In fact, seemed as if the killer waited until livor mortis was well under way before bothering to play psycho surgeon.

Harper pointed to the victim’s hands. “No defensive wounds on her hands or forearms to indicate she fought her attacker. No ligature marks to suggest she was restrained.”

Very strange. Lividity indicated she had been in this position since her death or very quickly thereafter. But why here and like this?

“Could be damage to the back of the head,” Jess suggested. There didn’t appear to be any to the temple areas or the forehead.

“I don’t see any blood matted in her hair close to the skull.” Harper pointed to the long hair fanned around her head.

That was true. Jess rubbed at the wrinkle furrowing her brow with the back of a gloved hand. “Once he’d killed her, what distracted him for so long before he did the rest?” She glanced around the room. Had someone come to the door and interrupted his work? Had the baby started crying and thrown him off balance? The latter wasn’t likely, since the baby was still alive.

“Reminds me of the Manson murders,” Harper said. “I watched a documentary the other night. The anniversary is coming up this weekend.”

Jess had noted that similarity, too, but she wasn’t about to say it out loud. All they needed was the media bringing that kind of connection into this. This case was going to be complicated enough all on its own.

About the author: Born in Alabama, Debra Webb wrote her first story at age nine and her first romance at thirteen. It wasn’t until she spent three years working for the military behind the Iron Curtain—and a five-year stint with NASA—that she realized her true calling. A collision course between suspense and romance was set. Since then she has penned nearly 100 novels including her internationally bestselling Colby Agency series. Her debut romantic thriller series, Faces of Evil, propelled Debra to the top of the bestselling charts, including USA Today, for an unparalleled twenty-four weeks and garnered critical acclaim from reviewers and readers alike. Don’t miss a single installment of this fascinating and chilling series!

Giveaway: We are giving away the entire series!  That’s right –  2 lucky winner will get all 4 books in the series!  Just leave a comment on this post, along with your email address to enter to win. (US/Canada only)

Guest Review: Power by Debra Webb

Posted October 16, 2012 by Book Binge Guest Blogger in Reviews | 0 Comments

Judith’s review of Power (Faces of Evil, #3) by Debra Webb 

Agent Jess Harris is back in another thrilling installment of Debra Webb’s Faces of Evil series.

Jess is ready to start the next chapter in her life as the new deputy chief of Birmingham’s major crimes division. But with her first love, Chief of Police Dan Burnett, acting as her new boss, it looks like Jess won’t be able to put the past behind her that easily.

Jess has decided to focus all of her attention on work when a celebrated ballet instructor is found dead by one of her students. Though Jess’s instincts tell her otherwise, the death is ruled an accident, and the case is assigned to another division. Still, Jess can’t shake the feeling that there’s more to the story, and her investigation leads her into the worlds of Birmingham’s gang culture and its powerful elite.  Now Jess’s investigation has dug a little too deep, and there’s a target painted on her own forehead. Will she be able to solve the crime before her own life is in jeopardy?

By the time a person reaches that 4th decade of life–the Big 4-0, there will undoubtedly be events and relationships from the past that manage, without anyone’s help, to come back and metaphorically “bite us in the butt.”  So it is with the heroine in this new novel by Debra Webb, an author who is rapidly becoming one of my favorites.  Deputy Jess Harris is a woman who has decided to set aside any dreams of loving and begetting in order to give all her energies to being the best law enforcement officer she knows how to be.  Her one foray into marriage ended in divorce because, as her ex accuses, she was never willing to give her “all” to the relationship.  Giving that “all” was reserved for her chosen profession.  And giving her “all” meant that she crossed departmental lines, the kind that make other co-workers mad, that upset the upper chain of command, and land one in deep doo-doo.  Jess knows how that feels because she has been there, done that.

Now she has literally come home to Birmingham, Alabama, the place where she lost her parents, lost a sense of belonging, and a town she couldn’t leave fast enough in her teen years.  Jobless, in bad with her FBI bosses, needing a new start, Jess has come home to take a position in a new department that was created for her, but which doesn’t come without strings–hidden and hard to decipher, but strings nevertheless.  She is an outsider with the department insiders yet she has connections that go way back.  A very curious context both for her life as well as for her profession.

This is a novel that is skillfully written so that the reader is grabbed and held on to from page one.  It is full of suspense, departmental politics, all of which is cast against the backdrop of her old and still simmering affair with Chief of Police Dan Burnett, a man who walked away from Jess 20 years ago and a man who now knows that was a terrible personal mistake.  Now he and Jess have to find a way to navigate the dangerous waters of managing a personal relationship while maintaining professional distance and the boss-employee configuration.  Add in a murder investigation that is taken out of her hands but whose “players” continue to involve her in the tentacles of the matter, a missing-persons case that has large media attention and which involves some pretty heavy handed gangbangers, and you have a novel that is complicated and which keeps the reader on edge to manage all the characters, the situations, the emotional ups and downs in order to figure out what is really going on.  It’s a novel full of people, places, and events, yet it all works and comes together in the end like a beautifully woven tapestry.  There are surprises and teasers throughout.  What’s a good novel without those?  And those who love a rich and engaging suspense novel will appreciate the work that has gone into making this a story that readers will want to see continued on.  It’s the mark of a good series.

It would be a good thing for readers to have read the first two novels in this series–Obsession and Impulse.  However, this story is a stand alone book and can very successfully read on its own.  Suffice it to say that this is a terrific read and one that begs to be enjoyed.

I give it a rating of 4.25 out of 5

The Series:
Book Cover Book Cover Book Cover

You can read more from Judith at Dr J’s Book Place.

This book is available from Forever Yours. You can buy it here or here in e-format. This book was provided by the publisher for an honest review.

Anthology Review: A Nascar Holiday by Kimberly Raye, Roxanne St. Claire and Debra Webb

Posted May 13, 2008 by Holly in Reviews | 2 Comments

Anthology Review: A Nascar Holiday by Kimberly Raye, Roxanne St. Claire and Debra WebbReviewer: Holly
A NASCAR Holiday by Kimberly Raye, Roxanne St. Claire, Debra Webb
Published by Harlequin
Publication Date: November 15th 2012
Genres: Fiction, Romance, Contemporary
Pages: 384
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
three-half-stars

Ladies, Start Your Engines… by Kimberly Raye All Savannah Calloway wants for Christmas is a chance to prove her talent with an engine—and hot young NASCAR driver Mackenzie Briggs is ready to play Santa. But they soon find that winning the race isn't nearly as important as winning each other's hearts…
'Tis the Silly Season by Roxanne St. Claire NASCAR Busch Series racer Clay Slater needs a ready-made family—fast—to impress a potential sponsor. Lisa Mahoney can't resist the chance to give her kids the storybook Christmas she's never been able to…and if that includes a kiss under the mistletoe, so much the better!
Unbreakable by Debra Webb Although she's been hired to prove that drivers are serious athletes, Dr. Maxine Gray doesn't think much of NASCAR racing. So in the spirit of Christmas, driver Rush Jackson is determined to show the good doctor the "rush" that racing—and race car drivers—can bring.

You might be wondering why I’m reviewing a Christmas anthology in May..and you know, I’m kind of wondering the same thing. I decided to organize my bookshelves last night and I found this buried under Mt. TBR, so I figured..heck, why not. And there you go.

I’ve read each of these authors away from the Nascar gig and really enjoyed them, so when I saw this I grabbed it, thinking I’d give it a go and see how the Nascar thing played out. I really enjoyed it.

Ladies, Start Your Engines… by Kimberly Raye

All Savannah Calloway wants for Christmas is a chance to prove her talent with an engine–and hot young NASCAR driver Mackenzie Briggs is ready to play Santa. But they soon find that winning the race isn’t nearly as important as winning each other’s hearts…

I enjoyed this story, but the way Savannah’s family took advantage of her really started to bug me after awhile.

Savannah’s father owns one of the largest racing teams in the Forth Worth area, and all she wants is a chance to prove to her father she’s as good with engines as she is with cooking him and her brother meals and cleaning up their messes. When he decides she should, “Take some time off” to find herself (a man) she decides to approach Mac and see if they can help each other out. She’ll give him a number one winning car if he’ll give her the chance to prove she can do it.

Mac and Savannah are cute together, and I really liked that he listened to her and encouraged her to do what she needs to do. The sexual tension between them was believable and worked because they knew each other prior to her approaching him.

My biggest gripe is with Savannah’s family and the way she lets them walk all over her. Throughout the story they dump one thing after another on her and expect her to just “fix it”. She finally was able to stand up to them, but I think it went on a little too long for the character Savannah was.

3.5 out of 5

‘Tis the Silly Season by Roxanne St. Claire

NASCAR Busch Series racer Clay Slater needs a ready-made family–fast–to impress a potential sponsor. Lisa Mahoney can’t resist the chance to give her kids the storybook Christmas she’s never been able to…and if that includes a kiss under the mistletoe, so much the better!

I enjoyed this one, though I think the premise behind it was just a little too over the top.

Lisa is having a crap month before Christmas (not that she really likes Christmas anyway) and the icing on the cake is not being able to get the two toys she promised her two boys would be under the tree. So when she overhears Clay and what she believes to be his girlfriend discussing Kincaid Toys she thinks she might have a chance to get what she needs. And she can, only it comes with a hefty price tag. To impress the owner of Kincaid Toys, Clay wants Lisa to pretend to be his wife for a weekend. If all goes as planned, they both get what they want..Lisa gets a Christmas for her boys, and Clay gets to race the next Kincaid car.

Like I said, the plot was just a little bit too over the top. Even so, both Clay and Lisa were good characters, and I liked her boys. Clay was just like a big kid himself, and the three of them together were adorable. It was nice to see him realize his feelings for her.

4.0 out of 5

Unbreakable by Debra Webb

Although she’s been hired to prove that drivers are serious athletes, Dr. Maxine Gray doesn’t think much of NASCAR racing. So in the spirit of Christmas, driver Rush Jackson is determined to show the good doctor the “rush” that racing–and race car drivers–can bring.

I think the romance in this story is my favorite, but the hero really rode the Beta line. I’m not sure how I feel about that.

Rush is determined to prove Nascar racing is a sport, and one that should be taken seriously. They train hard and don’t get the recognition they deserve. But Dr. Max isn’t what he expected, and trying to get her to change her mind about racing could prove interesting, to say the least.

Ok, I’m shallow. I admit it. But..well, the hero still lives with his Mama. I just had a really hard time getting over that. I think it’s wonderful when men – especially Southern men – show the proper respect for their mother’s, but I think Rush living with her when he was trying to woo Dr. Max was just…well, let’s just say it didn’t quite work for me.

Max was ok, but she had some relationship hangups I felt she clung to a little too tightly. Still, the story progressed nicely and I really enjoyed the characters.

4.0 out of 5

All in all, not a bad anthology, and I’m curious enough to check out some of their other Nascar novels. Total grade:

4.25 out of 5

This book is available from Harlequin. You can buy it here or here in e-format.

three-half-stars

Traceless by Debra Webb

Posted October 10, 2007 by Casee in Reviews | 6 Comments


Book description:

She’s in search of JUSTICE.

Emily Wallace has no doubt about who killed her best friend ten years ago: Clint Austin, her then boyfriend. The key witness in his trial, Emily put Clint behind bars with her tearful testimony. But when Emily learns that Clint has been released on parole, she returns to her Alabama hometown to confront him—and make sure he never forgets the damage he has done.

He is dead-set on revenge…

After serving ten years for a crime he didn’t commit, Clint knows only the truth can set him free. Ignoring warnings from his old friend, now the chief of police, Clint will let no one stand in his way as he tries to prove his innocence—including Emily, the girl he once loved who ruined his life. Prison has made him a hard man, yet he yearns for Emily…and he can see in her eyes that, in spite of herself, she feels the same. But even if he can convince Emily to trust him, it might be too late to clear his name—before the real killer strikes again.

The town of Pine Bluff, Alabama is like Mayberry on crack. Good Gawd. The end of this book read like a soap opera.

Clint Austin has spent 10 years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit. The only crime he committed on that night was breaking into Emily Wallace’s house after hearing screaming. While he was trying to stop the blood flowing out of Heather Baker’s neck, Emily Wallace climbed back through her bedroom window. Things did not go well after that. Believing that Clint actually mean to kill her b/c she refused to go out with him (a little full of yourself?), Emily has blamed herself for years. Though Clint professed his innocence, Emily’s testimony sent him to prison for a crime he didn’t commit.

Now he’s back. And he is pissed. Going to prison for something you didn’t do will do that to a guy. When you add in that his mama died while he was in there, that makes it worse. Don’t mess w/ a man and his mama.

With the help of Police Chief Ray Hale, Clint moves back into his mother’s home and gets a job at the local auto garage where he’s not exactly met with open arms. Having been convicted of murdering a high school cheerleader and one of the town’s sweethearts, Clint is met with outright hostility and rage. Keeping a low profile isn’t in Clint’s plan. He wants to stir things up b/c he knows that Heather’s real killer is someone that lives in Pine Bluff and he is determined to clear his name. Though he hates himself for it, the 1st person he wants to prove his innocence to is Emily Wallace. He wants to find the truth and rub it in her face. A lot. Hey, the guy deserves to want a little revenge, right?

When Emily found out that Clint was paroled, she went a little loony. Coming back home to Pine Bluff is the last thing she wants, but she’s determined to get Clint sent back to jail? How you ask? Well, she’s going to follow him 24/7 so that when he does something that violates his parole, she’ll be there to turn him in. She refuses to entertain the possibility that she was mistaken about what she saw that night. Even when people start dying, she doesn’t want to believe that Clint is innocent. Of course by now, it’s more about her than about him b/c really, what kind of person is she? She sent an innocent man to jail and her best friend’s murderer is still out there. Heavy burden to bear.

This is where it gets really interesting.

It’s soon revealed that Emily’s father could have given Clint his alibi for the night of the murder. You see, Clint worked for the town loan shark. He was getting instructions for his “assignment” for the night while Emily’s dad was there getting a loan from sharky. For some reason, the loan shark didn’t want Em’s dad to give Clint his alibi and he threatened to kill his whole family if he talked. This is what didn’t work for me: Emily’s parents were “worried” about her involvement with Clint. Why? They knew he wasn’t a murderer. You’d think that they’d be, if not proud, at least supportive of Emily’s mission to find out the truth about who murdered Heather.

There is a whole slew of secondary characters. There is Troy Baker, Heather’s brother who is at first determined to run Clint out of town, then he decides he might as well kill him. There’s Keith something-or-other whose dad owns the factory in town and who was Heather’s boyfriend at the time of the murder. There’s Marv, Troy’s friend and Heather’s sometime date before she died. There’s Justine, Emily’s former Cheerleading coach. There’s Misty, Justine’s good friend and science teacher at the school. There’s Violet, Emily’s former friend and now-wife to Keith. Oh yes, there are plenty of people here to make this book have non-stop action. Almost too much action.

Someone starts to get nervous and tries to kill Clint by setting his house of fire. While staking out his house, Emily fell asleep. She awoke when she smelled smoke and rushed in and saved Clint’s life, convincing herself she would have done it for anyone. Then someone tries to kill Emily by dousing her with gas and setting her car on fire (not a very original killer). Next to get offed is Keith, former boyfriend of Heather and wife to Violet. He’s killed in a quarry where he was meeting w/ his best friend Troy. Misty, the science teacher is skulking around and following Keith for some reason. Next up is Ray Hale, the Police Chief. He gets brained with something while he’s meeting a woman at his cabin. Of course this woman is referred to as she. Of course Clint is brought in for questioning, but he has an alibi.

Here’s the soap opera part…Justine (Cheerleading Coach) liked sleeping with teenage boys. Eventually these teenage boys turned into men. After that, she liked taking pictures of them (without their knowledge of course). She also liked to slip them GHB and have them perform on each other. Good blackmail material. Oh and did I mention that Justine and Misty are lesbian lovers? Justine is also determined to be “respectable” by marrying Keith’s father, Granville, who owns the factory and is the richest man in Pine Bluff.

Eventually it comes out who the killer is and Clint is exonerated. The ending was so-so. I didn’t like that the Police Department basically got away with misconduct and putting an innocent man in jail.

This is my first book by Debra Webb. I’m planning on picking up another book by her sometime in the future.

3.5 out of 5.