Tag: Suspense

Blog Tour: The Scent of Murder by Kylie Logan

Posted May 8, 2019 by Holly in Promotions | 1 Comment

THE SCENT OF MURDER (May 7, 2019) by Kylie Logan is the start of a new series featuring Jazz Ramsey, a cadaver dog handler. When she and her newest trainee, Luther, find a body during a routine training exercise, things get complicated.

Blog Tour: The Scent of Murder by Kylie LoganThe Scent of Murder by Kylie Logan
Series: Jazz Ramsey #1
Publisher: Minotaur
Publication Date: May 7, 2019
Genres: Suspense
Pages: 320
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First in a new series from national bestselling author Kylie Logan, The Scent of Murder is a riveting mystery following Jazz Ramsey as she trains cadaver dogs.

The way Jazz Ramsey figures it, life is pretty good. She’s thirty-five years old and owns her own home in one of Cleveland’s most diverse, artsy, and interesting neighborhoods. She has a job she likes as an administrative assistant at an all-girls school, and a volunteer interest she’s passionate about—Jazz is a cadaver dog handler.

Jazz is working with Luther, a cadaver dog in training. Luther is still learning cadaver work, so Jazz is putting him through his paces at an abandoned building that will soon be turned into pricey condos. When Luther signals a find, Jazz is stunned to see the body of a young woman who is dressed in black and wearing the kind of make-up and jewelry that Jazz used to see on the Goth kids back in high school.

She’s even more shocked when she realizes that beneath the tattoos and the piercings and all that pale make up is a familiar face.

The lead detective on the case is an old lover, and the murdered woman is an old student. Jazz finds herself sucked into the case, obsessed with learning the truth.

Excerpt

CHAPTER 1

It had rained that afternoon and the sidewalks were still wet. When the last of the evening light hit them, the slate squares reflected Jazz Ramsey’s neighborhood—streetlights, and the neon signs that flashed from the windows of the trendy pubs, and a watery rendering of St. John Cantius church, an urban Monet masterpiece, its tan brick walls and bell tower blurred.

Even though it was officially spring, the wind off Lake Erie was wicked. Jazz bundled her shoulder-length brown hair into a loose ponytail and pulled up the hood of her sweatshirt, then hunched further into her North Face jacket. She stopped at a corner, waiting for the light to change, and was pleased when Luther sat down at her side even without a command.

“Good dog,” she was sure to tell him at the same time she breathed in the combined smell of damp earth and the discarded bag from Taco Bell crumpled near the curb.

To Luther’s credit, he ignored whatever bits and bites of Mexican cuisine might still be in the bag. But then, he’d been trained to follow dif­ferent scents. When the light changed, he trotted along when Jazz crossed the street, his pace as brisk as hers, and the way he pricked his ears and cocked his head, she knew he sensed the exhilaration that vibrated from her hand through his leash. Luther knew it was almost time to get down to business.

Here, College Avenue started its downhill trek into the Cleveland Flats, the city’s once-booming industrial heart. These days, Clevelanders were more likely to work in health care or IT than in foundries and factories, but one hundred years ago, this was the route thousands of workers took each
day from their homes in blue-collar Tremont—it was simply called the South Side then—to the fiery furnaces that produced America’s steel.

“We’re not going far,” Jazz assured Luther at the same time she noticed the couple who stumbled out of the Treehouse just up ahead made sure to give the massive German shepherd a wide berth. “Just over here,” she told him once they’d passed the open door to the bar and the blaring music that seeped onto the street wasn’t quite so loud. “Over to the new condos.”

They stopped outside a sturdy brick building nearly ninety years old with solid walls and a slate roof. By the end of summer, Jazz imagined there would be gleaming glass in the window frames where there was plywood now, and window boxes, too, no doubt, and cars parked outside that reflected the status-conscious success of the young professionals she’d heard were already lined up to buy.

But not tonight.

Tonight the building was empty and dark and she had it all to herself.

It was the perfect place to put Luther through his paces.

Still hanging on to the dog’s leash with one hand, Jazz fished the key from her pocket with the other and silently thanked Ken Zelinsky, the site supervisor, who’d agreed to give her an hour’s time inside the building.

It wasn’t easy to find urban training sites for a human remains detection dog.

She swung open the door and slanted Luther a look. “So what do you think?”

Luther sat, his tail thumping out a rhythm of excitement on the front stoop, and before she unhooked his leash, Jazz did a quick run-through of what she’d learned from his owner.

Luther was a little over two years old, good-natured. He could be as playful as any pup, but he had a serious side, too. Like now, when he had to work.

“He’s a smart dog,” Greg Johnson had insisted when he begged Jazz to help with the final stages of Luther’s training. “He just needs some reinforcement from a really good handler. That’s you, Jazz.”

It was.

Or at least it used to be.

These days, Jazz was feeling a little rusty. She was out of practice, not in the mood. It was one of the reasons that, after hemming and hawing and finding excuse after excuse, she’d finally agreed to Greg’s request. She needed to shake herself out of her funk, and to her way of thinking, there was no better way to do that than with a dog.

She stepped into the long, narrow entryway of the building with its rows of broken mailboxes along one wall, and shut the front door behind her. The eerie quiet of years of neglect closed around her along with the smell of dampness and decay, rotted wiring and musty tiles carried by an errant breeze. Feeling her way, she unsnapped the leash from Luther’s collar and gave him the command she’d devised for all the dogs she worked with because it was less ghoulish than saying “Find the dead guy!”

“Find Henry!” she told him, and she stepped back and out of Luther’s way.

Like all HRD dogs, Luther was that rare combination— independent enough to go off on his own and loyal enough to owner and handler to need praise. But he didn’t know Jazz well, and smart dog that he was, he wanted to be certain. He glanced over his shoulder at her.

“You know what to do, Luther. You don’t need Greg here to tell you.” She swept a hand along her side. “Find Henry!”

In fact, what Jazz hoped the dog would do was clear both the first and second floors in record time and head up to the third floor where that afternoon she’d hidden a human tooth (a donation from her mother, Claire, who, at the age of fifty-two, had decided she wanted the kind of sparkling smile she’d seen on so many models and had begun to see an orthodontist). Human teeth contained enough scent to attract a properly trained dog’s attention. If Luther was on his game—and she hoped he was because she hated the thought of telling Greg his dog wasn’t ready for the grueling volunteer work done by dogs and handlers—he would locate the tooth, signal by barking three times, and chomp on the treat she would use as a reward while she secured the scene and made a simulated call to the cops, just as she would do if they made a real find.

“You gonna get a move on or what?” she asked Luther, her voice falling flat against the pitted plaster. “Find Henry!”

In a flash of black and sable, the dog took off down the darkened hallway.

After nearly ten years training and handling cadaver dogs, Jazz knew the ropes. She couldn’t give Luther a hint about where to go or what he was looking for so she kept back, letting him work, refusing to influence him by her demeanor or her movements. She heard his claws scramble on the tile floor somewhere in the dark up ahead, flicked on her high-powered flashlight, and followed.

Some dogs, like pointers, are air sniffers. Some, like bloodhounds, keep their noses to the ground. No matter their breed, cadaver dogs, by virtue of their work, have to be proficient at both. They are trained as trailing dogs to pick up the scent that has fallen from decomposing bodies onto the ground, and as air-scenting dogs as well, so they can detect any smell of decomposition that’s carried on the breeze. By the time she located him in a back room of what had once been a four-room working-class apartment, Luther was hard at work.

His eyes focused and every inch of his muscular body at the ready, he drew in a breath then hurried back and forth, side to side, through what had once been a kitchen, in an attempt to catch the strongest scent.

Not here. On the third floor.

Jazz knew better than to say it. Part of an HRD dog’s gift was to eliminate one area so dog and handler could move on to the next. Luther was doing his job, and he was doing it well.

She had to remember to compliment Greg on his training methods.

Nose to the floor, his ears pricked, Luther cleared the kitchen and headed into the back bedrooms. Jazz kicked a piece of fallen tile out of the way, but she kept her place. She would wait quietly until the dog emerged from the back rooms and when he headed out into the hallway, she would follow.

At least that was her plan.

Until Luther barked.

Once.

Twice.

Three times.

Blog Tour

About Kylie Logan

Photo of author Kylie Logan in a purple shirt

KYLIE LOGAN is the national bestselling author of The League of Literary Ladies Mysteries, the Button Box Mysteries, the Chili Cook-Off Mysteries, and the Ethnic Eats Mysteries. The Scent of Murder is the first in a new series.


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Guest Review: The Au Pair by Emma Rous

Posted April 3, 2019 by Ames in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: The Au Pair by Emma RousReviewer: Ames
The Au Pair by Emma Rous
Publisher: Penguin, Berkley
Publication Date: January 8, 2019
Format: Print
Source: Library
Genres: Suspense, Thriller
Pages: 379
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two-half-stars

A grand estate, terrible secrets, and a young woman who bears witness to it all. If V. C. Andrews and Kate Morton had a literary love child, Emma Rous’ The Au Pair would be it.

Seraphine Mayes and her twin brother Danny were born in the middle of summer at their family’s estate on the Norfolk coast. Within hours of their birth, their mother threw herself from the cliffs, the au pair fled, and the village thrilled with whispers of dark cloaks, changelings, and the aloof couple who drew a young nanny into their inner circle.

Now an adult, Seraphine mourns the recent death of her father. While going through his belongings, she uncovers a family photograph that raises dangerous questions. It was taken on the day the twins were born, and in the photo, their mother, surrounded by her husband and her young son, is beautifully dressed, smiling serenely, and holding just one baby.

Who is the child and what really happened that day?

One person knows the truth, if only Seraphine can find her.

This book caught my eye when it was appearing on lists of books to look forward to in 2019 so I requested it from my local library. Knowing it was about a nanny I had a few predictions about what would happen and I wasn’t wrong but oh man I wasn’t right either!

The Au Pair begins with Seraphine going through her father’s things after he’s passed away. She finds a photograph that was taken on the day she was born, which also happens to be the day her mom died (suicide), which shows her mother holding one baby but also looking really happy. Seraphine is a twin so she’s consumed by the question why there’s only one baby in the picture and why her mom looks so happy when only hours later she took her own life. This mystery has Seraphine tracking down Laura, the nanny her parents used that summer before her and her brother were born. Immediately after talking to Laura, who requests that she be left alone, Seraphine starts getting threatening messages left around her house.

Between this modern day search for the truth, the Au Pair also flashes back to that summer from Laura’s point of view. I thought Laura’s story was more interesting than Seraphine’s although not a lot happens. She’s a student who’s hired to nanny for a couple who already have a little boy. The mother has some mental health issues that her mother and husband keep asking Laura how she’s doing. The husband is away all week working in London and comes home on the weekends to be with his family. The only excitement is when Laura develops a crush on Alex, a friend to the family who comes to visit from time to time.

I have to say, I was somewhat enjoying this book for a good two-thirds of the story but then once the mystery started to be revealed to the reader I was not impressed. Laura’s feelings about things that were happening were very flat and there was no depth to her. I was right about something I predicted happening but then the train went completely off the rails and started flying around the moon. LOL That’s honestly how crazy the plot became. Also, for a book taking place in 2017, why didn’t Seraphine take pictures with her freaking cell phone of the threatening messages that were being left for her? I have to admit that really annoyed me. The danger was weak in the end and the mystery was crazy pants and not in a good way. In the end I’m only going to give the Au Pair

Grade: 2.75 out of 5

two-half-stars


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Guest Review: Wired by Julie Garwood

Posted July 3, 2017 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: Wired by Julie GarwoodReviewer: Tracy
Wired by Julie Garwood
Series: Buchanan-Renard Series #13
Also in this series: Wired, Wired
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: July 4th 2017
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Pages: 336
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three-half-stars
Series Rating: three-stars

A beautiful computer hacker and a bad-boy FBI agent must collaborate—in more ways than one—in the sizzling new novel from #1 New York Times bestselling author Julie Garwood.

Allison Trent doesn’t look like a hacker. In fact, when she’s not in college working on her degree, she models on the side. But behind her gorgeous face is a brilliant mind for computers and her real love is writing—and hacking—code. Her dream is to write a new security program that could revolutionize the tech industry.

Hotshot FBI agent Liam Scott has a problem: a leak deep within his own department. He needs the skills of a top-notch hacker to work on a highly sensitive project: to secretly break into the FBI servers and find out who the traitor is. But he can’t use one of his own. He finds the perfect candidate in Allison. Only, there’s one problem—she wants nothing to do with his job and turns him down flat.

What Liam doesn’t know is that Allison is hiding secrets that she doesn’t want the FBI to uncover. But Liam will do nearly anything to persuade her to join his team, even break a few rules if that’s what it takes. A temptation that could put his job—and both of their futures—on the line…and longing for more . . .

Allison is in college and is a brilliant computer hacker.  She’s feels that everything she does she does for the good of the people, but technically it’s still illegal.  When she is invited to explore a new FBI facility, that houses their cyber task force, with a friend of hers, she quickly accepts. Once at the facility Allison and her friend are separate and Allison is questioned.  She is freaking out thinking that they know about her hacking but they end up offering her a job – which she turns down.

When push comes to shove Allison accepts the job after the lead in a particular case, Liam Scott, agrees to get her cousin out of trouble – which will keep him out of prison.  While Allison is working on the job she gets closer with Liam and soon they’re inseparable.  Unfortunately Allison has no idea what’s in store for her future and since Liam is on the road 90% of his life she knows that it doesn’t lie with him.  Love, however, has a funny way of changing things around so Allison may get the future she truly wants.

This was a good book.  It’s been about six years since I’ve read a Garwood novel so I was looking forward to this one.  I can’t say that I loved it and I did have some issues with it but overall I enjoyed the story.

My issues : while I liked Liam and Allison I didn’t truly ever connect with either one of them.  They were pretty down to earth – although Garwood did make them seem, at times, that they were too good for me to read about.  Because I didn’t really connect with either character it was hard for me to get too into their romance.  I think THEY had a problem getting into their romance.  It was like they were together, but not.  Then Allison would think that Liam was out of her life and bam! He’d show up again and stay with her like nothing ever happened.  And she allowed it.  Why?  IDK.  I didn’t see the love growing so when it happened it was puzzling.

The hacking part of the story was decent.  I’m not a hacker so I have no idea if anything that was written was accurate or not but it sounded good to me. Lol

I liked Allison’s friends as well.  I hadn’t read any other books in this series but I didn’t feel like I needed to in order to read this one – it was a good standalone.

Overall a decent read.

Rating: 3/3.5 out of 5

three-half-stars


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Guest Review: Find Her by Elisabeth Rose

Posted May 18, 2017 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: Find Her by Elisabeth RoseReviewer: Tracy
Find Her by Elisabeth Rose
Publisher: Escape Publishing
Publication Date: May 15th 2017
Format: eARC
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Romantic Suspense
Pages: 140
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three-half-stars

A chance sighting leads to second chances – for hope, for family, and for love.

Five years ago, teenager Antonia disappeared. With no compelling evidence, the police eventually called her a run-away, and dropped the case. Her teacher, Jax, has always regretted not speaking up about the rumours she heard circling the school that day, but a random sighting at a train station raises the possibility that Antonia is still alive – and not too far away.

Antonia’s father, Connor has never given up hope that his daughter will be found and returned to her family. When her old teacher, Jax, calls him with a small spark of a lead, he seizes it with both hands, determined to chase it down.

But there’s more at play than simple teenage rebellion and the path Jax and Connor travel rapidly becomes more dangerous than either could have imagined, and opens up new possibilities that neither could have expected.

Jax is a teacher at a school in a town where Antonia, a student of hers, disappeared 5 years ago.  There wee rumors at the time with a couple of her friends but Jax didn’t pay much attention to them at the time.  When she’s on her way back from a vacation she happens to look across the train platform and she sees Antonia.  She’s so sure it’s actually the missing girl that she contacts Antonia’s father, Connor and tells him what she saw.

Connor never believed that his daughter was dead and never stopped looking for her.  He and his wife separated and then divorced as their lives changed after Antonia disappeared.  He’s so excited to hear of her sighting that he heads to the train stops and hands out flyers with his daughter’s picture on it asking questions.  He finds someone who recognizes her but can’t find her after that.

Jax decides to finally follow up on the rumors she heard about Antonia and finds out that Antonia was pregnant and looking to terminate the pregnancy – because of this they find a lead and eventually figure out what happened.  Getting Antonia back from her abductor, however, will threaten everyone’s lives.

This was a lovely story with a pretty darned good suspense story.  I have to say I was pretty much on the edge of my seat waiting to find out what happened to Antonia.  The way that the author crafted the story was creative and I really liked the different ins and outs of the story.

This was also a romance  with  Jax and Connor becoming closer while searching for Antonia and falling in love.  I wish I could say that it was sweet and romantic but the circumstances just didn’t call for that.  Connor was a bit of a stubborn ass at times but both he and Jax worked out well together.  It wasn’t that strong of a romance, unfortunately.  I almost wish that it had been a suspense story only but that’s just my humble opinion.

Overall it was a good suspense story and one I enjoyed.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

three-half-stars


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Review: The Winter Over by Matthew Iden

Posted February 6, 2017 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: The Winter Over by Matthew IdenReviewer: Holly
The Winter Over by Matthew Iden

Publication Date: February 1st 2017
Genres: Horror, Suspense
Pages: 352
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three-stars

Each winter the crew at the Shackleton South Pole Research Facility faces nine months of isolation, round-the-clock darkness, and one of the most extreme climates on the planet. For thirty-something mechanical engineer Cass Jennings, Antarctica offers an opportunity to finally escape the guilt of her troubled past and to rebuild her life.

But the death of a colleague triggers a series of mysterious incidents that push Cass and the rest of the forty-four-person crew to the limits of their sanity and endurance. Confined and cut off from the outside world, will they work together or turn against one another? As the tension escalates, Cass must find the strength to survive not only a punishing landscape but also an unrelenting menace determined to destroy the station—and everyone in it.

The Winter Over was a Kindle First pick for January. I was in the mood for some creepy suspense, and I figured a novel set in Antarctica was just what the doctor ordered. Though the novel showed flashes of brilliance, in the end I felt like it tried too hard to be too many things: Thriller, Mystery and Horror. Up until about the 80% mark I was really enjoying it, but then it went off the rails.

Cass is doing her first winter-over at the Shackleton Research Facility in the South Pole. During the summer months the station is filled with scientists and staff, but during the long winter months a skeleton crew of 40-ish hunker down and keep the station going. 9 months is a long time to be cutoff from everyone and everything you know, but Cass needs some distance from her life after a major tragedy.

When a colleague is found dead just before the station shuts down for the winter, the crew is shaken. But then a series of mysterious events happen that make Cass question herself and her remaining fellow colleagues.

Iden’s writing is very engaging. It was easy to fall into the barren, stark world of the Antarctic research station. This is where the novel excels. The creepy, dark station was fascinating. Cass, the protagonist, was interesting; complex and a bit maudlin at times. She had a down-to-earth approach to puzzling things out that made even the most ridiculous plots and schemes seem easily overcome. I was rooting for her from the beginning. I wish some of the other characters had been fleshed out more. Cass’s main friend, Biddie, and a couple of the scientists were touched on. I’d have liked to have more from them.

The suspense didn’t work as well. I pegged the villain early on, as well as the circumstances behind all the mysterious incidents that kept cropping up. The author did a fair amount of foreshadowing. The story truly lost me around the 75%-80% mark. Up until that point I was interested in seeing where things were headed, but it really went off the rails and too many over-the-top things happened in too short a time. It ended abruptly. The conflict was resolved, but I wish there had been a bit of follow-up. The way things were left at the station made me highly curious about its future.

Despite my issues with the last 1/4 of the book, I would definitely try the author again.

3.5/5

three-stars


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