Monday, July 31, 2023

Virtual Book Tour & Giveaway: Hidden Pieces (Misty Pines Mystery, #1) by Mary Keliikoa

Hidden Pieces by Mary Keliikoa Banner

Hidden Pieces

by Mary Keliikoa

July 17 - August 11, 2023 Virtual Book Tour


Hidden Pieces by Mary Keliikoa

Sheriff Jax Turner is staring down the barrel of his broken past. On the brink of ending it all, he feels like a failure following his daughter’s tragic passing and his subsequent divorce. But when a schoolgirl vanishes and her backpack is found in a sex offender’s backseat, the weary lawman drags himself into action and vows to nail one last sociopath.

Shocked to discover the teen’s aunt had lost her life in an abduction years prior, the devastating outcome that he’s taken personally, Jax believes the killer has returned with a vengeance. But as the desperate cop frantically hunts down a mysterious relative in search of a suspect, the girl’s time keeps ticking away…

Can the jaded sheriff take down the culprit in time to bring the young girl home alive?

Praise for Hidden Pieces:

"A multilayered psychological thriller...that is both poignant and engrossing."
~ Kirkus Reviews

"Hidden Pieces is an intense novel offering hair-raising twists and turns and differing plots making it difficult for the reader to discern the culprit. Surprises arise to give the story more power and excitement. A page-turner up to the conclusion this is an exhilarating and spine-tingling read."
~ New York Journal of Books

"Moody, evocative, yet propulsive."
~ Matt Coyle, Bestselling Author of the Rick Cahill crime series

"Wow! What a novel. It crackles with realism, a page turner that sucks you in and won't let you go till the last page... Domestic thriller and mystery fans will get their money's worth."
~ David Putnam, Bestselling Author of the Bruno Johnson seies

Book Details:

Genre: Police Procedural + Mystery & Psychological Suspense
Published by:Level Best Books
Publication Date: October 2022
Number of Pages: 282
ISBN: 9781685121563 (ISBN10: 168512156X)
Series: Misty Pines Mystery, #1
Book Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | | Goodreads

Read an excerpt:



Sheriff Jax Turner swerved his patrol car off Highway 101 and took a sharp right onto an unmarked dirt road leading to the beach. Tourists didn’t come to Misty Pines for the summer to swim in the ocean or the lakes. Too much mist; too much murkiness. The few outdoorsmen drawn to the area for fishing off the ragged ocean jetties had long gone for the season.

His Glock 22 rested on the seat next to him, along with a miniature wooden chair. He’d finished carving it during another sleepless night for a dollhouse he’d never complete, for a tea party that would never happen.

Jax followed the smooth road as it transitioned into rock, his upper body swaying and bouncing with the uneven terrain. When it leveled, he floored it, the tires spinning before they found their footing on the sandy flat.

Aimed toward the sea, he parked on a stretch of solid pack a few yards from the surf. The foamy fingers of the ocean reached for his cruiser, coming up short. The weather report called for ninety degrees in the city located eighty miles east, which meant an inversion for everyone on the coastline. His future, or lack of one, floated in the horizon, where gray ocean met gray clouds, both soon to be indiscernible in the impending fog. Damn, he was tired of being tired.

The window down, he sucked in the brackish scent of the seaweed-littered shores. Seagulls swarmed overhead. Their plaintive cries sent a wave of grief through him.

Misty Pines should have been a fresh start, a place to heal the wounds of the past. Instead, the salty air had entrenched itself in the ten years since he’d arrived. The torture would never end on its own. An hour spent unloading his ammunition at the shooting range into a silhouette target hadn’t helped this time.

Except he hadn’t unloaded all of it.

He leaned over the passenger seat to retrieve two sealed envelopes from the glovebox. A dragonfly drawing done with blue-green Crayola and glitter slid out. He fumbled and then caught it before it floated to the floor. His finger trembled as he traced the wings, remembering Lulu’s soft pink cheeks. He laid his daughter’s gift on his lap and propped the envelopes on the dash right before picturing them splattered in his blood. They’d accuse him of many things when they discovered his body. He wouldn’t let heartless be one of them. He placed the items back, securing the latch.

At least when they were found, the people who’d cared about him once would know why. One letter was for his former partner, Detective Jameson. He would understand if no one else did. The other to Abby. Ten years married, and their only child lost to cancer.

Lulu’s brave smile flashed in his mind, making the lump in his throat swell. Abby said she didn’t blame him, but he blamed himself enough for them both. And despite what she said, the light had dimmed in Abby’s eyes the night their little girl passed. Their marriage died that day too. They just hadn’t properly buried it until last year.

He balanced the gun on his lap and held the miniature chair in his hand, letting the gulls’ cries and the roaring surf fill his mind one last time. The rearview mirror reflected his weary eyes and the bags that had taken up residence under them. He ran his broad hand over his graying sandy hair and back around to the stubble on his chin.

Time to get to it.

He lifted the gun, holding the barrel in his mouth. The cold, metallic weight pushed against his bottom teeth. His throat closed, and he forced a swallow. Quit stalling. Eyes squeezed shut, sadness flooded his chest. Regret shoved him. Don’t think. He drew in the cool air through his nostrils one more time. Held it. Waited. Was this what he really wanted?

“Jax,” his radio crackled to life. “Sheriff…please….”

His eyes flew open, and he withdrew the gun from his mouth. Trudy. Had he heard something in her tone? Hard to tell with her voice coming in and out. He wouldn’t miss the shoddy technology in this godforsaken place. No. He was imagining it. He shook his head. Raised the gun.

“Sheriff Turner, we have a Code Ten-Fifty-Four. Urgent. Response needed.”

Lost child or runaway. Could be either. He’d been equally useless in both instances in the past.

“Sherriff Turner. Answer your damn radio.” Trudy’s voice blared that time.

He bristled and lifted the receiver off the hook. “What’re you talking about, Trudy?”

“There you are. It’s Emily Krueger’s kid. She didn’t get on the school bus.”

Allison. The little girl with the gap-toothed smile who used to wave when he walked past the bookstore. Not so little now, right? A teenager?

“Emily check with her friends?”

“No one’s seen her, hon.”

“Have Chapman handle it. I’m a little—”

“Gone this week,” Trudy said. “Alaska fishing trip. Remember?”


He scrubbed the exhaustion from his eyes. “On my way.”

He dropped the mic into its holder and secured his gun. Hopefully, this wouldn’t take long, and he’d be back in an hour to contemplate finishing the job.


Excerpt from Hidden Pieces by Mary Keliikoa. Copyright 2023 by Mary Keliikoa. Reproduced with permission from Mary Keliikoa. All rights reserved.



5 stars!

Tense psychological thriller and a desperate search for a missing girl.

Hidden Pieces marks the debut of a new series, Misty Pines Mysteries, from the creative mind of veteran author Mary Keliikoa. Readers are introduced to the sheriff of Misty Pines, Oregon, Jax Turner, a man on the verge of succumbing to his grief from the loss of his only child and the subsequent collapse of his marriage. But just as he’s decided to throw in the towel, the disappearance of a local teenager, under circumstances very similar to a previous case that still haunts him to this day, kicks him into action to prevent the same tragic ending from occurring. The suspenseful tale hits the ground running, and the tense action doesn’t let up until the final resolution is revealed.

The story unfolds from two points of view: that of the damaged sheriff and from the perspective of the missing girl’s former stepmother. Elena Massey, a victim of an abduction twenty-five years earlier, was ten when she was taken along with her older sister. The only one to survive, Elena was found wandering in a rural area, unable to remember what happened or who attacked them. Sheriff Turner and his partner had been the lead detectives in Portland trying to recover the girls and find the murderer. 

Allison Krueger’s disappearance is baffling: no one saw anything helpful, and the clues are meager. Despite being a small town where everyone knows everyone else, the few individuals in a position to have seen something are singularly unwilling to help. Buts hints of what may have happened eventually surface, and Jax begins to identify possible scenarios and suspects. There are more than a couple of great red herrings, but surprising plot twists seem to knock everyone out of consideration. The answers are there for readers to pick up on, but I was in the dark until almost the very end. 

Misty Pines is a quiet community until the kidnapping. News traveled quickly, and no one believed that any of their neighbors could be the perpetrator. Its seaside location abuts large forested areas, making searches for the missing girl difficult and time-consuming, but the combination created a unique and atmospheric setting. 

With its complex characters and intricate plot, I recommend HIDDEN PIECES to readers who enjoy psychological suspense, thrillers, police procedurals, or mysteries set in the Pacific Northwest.

Author Bio:

Mary Keliikoa

Mary Keliikoa is the author of Hidden Pieces and the upcoming Deadly Tides in the Misty Pines mystery series, the PI Kelly Pruett mystery series which includes the Shamus, Lefty, Agatha and Anthony nominated Derailed for best debut, and the upcoming Don’t Ask, Don’t Follow out Summer of 2024. Her short stories have appeared in Woman's World and in the anthology Peace, Love and Crime.

A Pacific NW native, she admits to being that person who gets excited when called for jury duty. When not in Washington, you can find Mary with toes in the sand on a Hawaiian beach. But even under the palm trees and blazing sun, she’s plotting her next murder—novel that is.

Catch Up With Mary Keliikoa:
BookBub - @Mary_Keliikoa
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Twitter - @mary_keliikoa
Facebook - @Mary.Keliikoa.Author



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Sunday, July 30, 2023

Far Out by Khaled Talib

Far OutFar Out by Khaled Talib
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The story is unique, strong, and compelling, with twists coming when you least expect them.

Far Out by author Khaled Talib is an intriguing modern mystery that will delight readers with surprising and fun glimpses into the past when one of the main characters mistakenly believes she's a 1960s hippie private eye after suffering a head injury in a car accident. As movie star Goldie Saint Helen randomly lapses into her free-spirited and anti-CIA alter-ego, Gypsy Star, her husband Blake Deco goes along with her delusion, hoping she'll soon overcome this temporary condition. However, he soon discovers unscrupulous forces behind the scenes are trying to take advantage of his wealthy wife's vulnerable state, and they are not above murder to get what they want.

Goldie has made a name for herself as an actress and is riding the wave of her talent, fame, and fortune. Despite her immense success, I liked that she's remained humble, kind, and generous. Goldie's lapses into the persona of Gypsy Star, the 60s hippie detective character she is to play in her upcoming film, come randomly as the "medication" Blake has discovered keeps her present in the real world wears off. Gypsy is bullheaded, blunt, and crude compared to Goldie but was so much fun to "watch." I loved how anything incongruous in Gypsy's eyes was altered in her mind to be consistent with the 1960s' time frame or deemed CIA technology to spy on the people.

Blake Deco loves and supports his wife in her career and has earned himself a reputation as a screenwriter. But it is his skills from his previous life in the military and Homeland Security and an old friend from those days that will help him the most to get to the bottom of their current dilemma. I loved the idea of the restaurant Mama Tacos and the secrets hidden within.

The underlying plot against Goldie cleverly unfolds bit by bit. The characters travel to diverse neighborhoods and even out of the country at one point. I particularly enjoyed the author's descriptions of Hollywood, Los Angeles, and the surrounding areas, especially those of actual locations. Blake and Jack's trip to Koreatown was wild and entertaining. The author's storytelling is strong and compelling, with twists coming when you least expect them. I was floored by what the bad guys had dreamed up to frame Goldie and Blake and couldn't put the book down from then on.

With its clever plot, unique twists, and engaging characters, I recommend FAR OUT to mystery readers, especially those who enjoy stories set in Hollywood with a fun bit of celebrity name-dropping.

I voluntarily reviewed this after receiving an Advanced Review Copy from Reedsy Discovery.

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Saturday, July 29, 2023

Book Blitz: Phoenix Rising by Mark T. Wellington


Action, Adventure, Techno-Thriller, Suspense, Sci-Fi, Military Thriller, Conspiracy

Date Published: May 2023


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Unveiling the latest sensation in the world of Short Form Novels: Phoenix Rising by Mark T. Wellington!


This high-octane, adrenaline-pumping thriller will transport you to the year 2035, where mind-controlled space-age drones reign supreme, and one man's quest to save the world takes an intensely personal turn.

Immerse yourself in the gripping story of Tony Simmons, a fearless Air Force major with the extraordinary ability to control three of the most powerful drones ever created - the Devastators. When his family is kidnapped, and he finds himself betrayed and hunted, Tony is forced to push his powers to the limit in a desperate race against time.

Phoenix Rising is the perfect embodiment of the Short Form Novel, delivering a relentless, fast-paced narrative that will keep you on the edge of your seat from start to finish. Mark T. Wellington masterfully weaves a tale of suspense, intrigue, and heart-stopping action, combining futuristic technology and geopolitical complexities with raw, human emotions.

In this compact literary masterpiece, every page is packed with tension, danger, and unexpected twists, as Tony navigates the treacherous world of betrayal, espionage, and simmering romantic tension with his colleague, Adrianne. As the line between reality and fabrication blurs, Tony must unravel the shocking truth behind the conspiracy that threatens his life and the safety of his family.

Don't miss out on this exhilarating new addition to the Short Form Novel revolution! Grab your copy of Phoenix Rising today and join Tony Simmons as he battles insurmountable odds to save his family and uncover the sinister truth that lies beneath the surface. Are you ready for the ride of your life?


About the Author

Mark T. Wellington is a US Air Force Veteran with the Electronic Security Command who held an SCI/SBI Top Secret clearance—his experience in the military has given him the tools to tell exciting stories. His expertise in cyber and electronic warfare, as well as his practices in Krav Maga and kickboxing, inspired his turbulent and exciting novel, Phoenix Rising.

A citizen of the world, Mark's passport is a mosaic of global experiences. He has journeyed from the bustling streets of Istanbul to the steep inclines of Mount Everest, and from the historic heart of Berlin to the vibrant culture of Barcelona. Having resided in six different countries, he has absorbed diverse cultures, engaged with intricate art forms, and navigated awe-inspiring landscapes.

Despite his technological acumen and AI engineering expertise, he is never one to be confined within the digital realm. His creativity spills over into his passion for scuba diving, rock climbing, and racing, each providing unique inspirations for his storytelling. Moreover, his interests in cooking, gardening, and painting reveal an individual who fully embraces the blend of art and science, making his work as varied and colorful as his life.

With his extensive world travels, deep technical expertise, and unbounded creativity, Mark is a true renaissance man, promising many more exciting stories to come.


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Friday, July 28, 2023

Book Blitz & Giveaway: A Vampire's Fate (The Order of the Black Oak Vampires, #1) by Marie-Claude Bourque

A Vampire’s Fate
Marie-Claude Bourque

(The Order of the Black Oak – Vampires, #4)
Publication date: June 27th 2023
Genres: Adult, Paranormal, Romance

When wolf shifter and dedicated nurse Rosalie Gauthier returns to her town to take on the leadership of her pack after her father’s illness, her birthright is challenged a tyrannic rival, and marriage to a powerful vampire is her only option to save her family’s legacy.

Bound by honor to his lifetime oath to protect the alpha of the Domaine-Lassalle pack, Mount-Royal Immortal Renaud St-Amand’s duty turns out a whole lot more complicated when he is hit with love at first sight for the future female leader on the day of their arranged marriage.

If you love loyal tough guys with hearts, satisfying slow-burn paranormal romance and safe Happily Ever Afters, the Black Oak World is for you.

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So, you’ll let her fight?” His brother Griff asked.

Calvaire! No.” Ren jolted with dread at the idea of Rosalie facing that brute Bouchard in combat. “I’m the one who should fight this trial. I’m the Gauthiers’ protector, not just her husband.”

“Shit, man,” Cass suddenly lifted a concerned brow as he set his drink aside. “This is your wedding night. Shouldn’t you be with her right now?”

“I’m sleeping on the couch.”

“Dude.” Cass shot him a pained expression.

“Yeah,” he rasped as longing took hold of him.

His breathing deepened and he imagined how he could slide between his sheets next to her enticing body and explore every curve he should be calling his. Take her as she cried his name in the depth of passion.

“So, you haven’t…” Griff started. “Never?”

“No.” He cleared his throat and dug his nails into his palm, not wanting to discuss the matter further.

“Don’t you want to, though,” Griff said. “She’s quite attractive.”

“Dude, she’s his wife.”

“Well, apparently not,” Griff retorted.

“Not in that sense, no,” Ren huffed.

“Why the hell not?” Griff picked the crushed can from the deck and passed it to Cass who had started to pick up the empty drinks.

“Well,” Ren started, “first I barely know her. And second, she has a boyfriend.”

“Ex,” Cass corrected, dropping the dead beer cans into the brown paper bag marked with the logo of the Fortins’ grocery store.

“Whatever,” Ren said.

“So, you two will just like, live together. But…nothing?” Griff asked.

“That’s the plan,” Ren acknowledged. “This is a fake marriage. We’ll just divorce in a couple of years.”

“Fucking messed-up plan,” Griff smirked.

“Yeah.” Ren shrugged hopelessly. “Some honeymoon.”

Author Bio:

I have always been - and likely always will be - a writer.
I have led a very long life in a less-than-imagined amount of years.
From childhood abuse to earning my blackbelt; from living in my car to living at the Four Seasons; from having 4 jobs at once to being unemployed with two college degrees; to losing my loved ones and winning my life.

One of Life's greatest joys for me is my dog (or any dog really). My beast's name is Asher and he's a gorgeous 100lb lap dog.

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Thursday, July 27, 2023

Book Tour: Heaven's Ghosts (Heaven, Maine Mysteries, #1) by Anneke Barnard

Heaven Maine Mysteries, Book One


YA Mystery; Coming of age; YA fiction

Date Published: August 21, 2021


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A young boy's apparent accidental drowning, a mysterious drifter, the town recluse, a deaf boy who can hear the voices of spirits, and the mystery that connects them all.

Samson Roe comes from a family of fake psychics his mother being the most recent perpetrator of the con. However, Sam has a secret that he has not revealed to anyone, he can speak with ghosts. The only problem is that Sam is deaf, so though he can hear the voices of the dead the living are silent to him. When a boy named Kip Green drowns in the picturesque town of Heaven Maine nobody suspects anything sinister; that is until Kip makes a visit to Samson and reveals that he believes his death to be anything but an accident. Together they begin to investigate what really happened and in the process begin to unravel a thirty-seven year old mystery.


About the Author

Anneke Barnard was born and raised in Portland, Maine. She graduated from Portland High School in 2017 and the University of Southern Maine in 2021. She lives with her three brothers, mom and dad, and dog Fenway. For updates on her writing follow her on twitter @barnard_anneke.


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Wednesday, July 26, 2023

Book Blitz & Giveaway: Watch Your Back by Stacy Clafin

Watch Your Back
Stacy Claflin
(Ariana Jones, #1)
Publication date: May 22nd 2022
Genres: Adult, Thriller

Even perfect neighborhoods have deadly secrets.

Ariana and Damon moved to the gated neighborhood of Rosy Hills to leave behind their traumatic pasts. Now they have their dream jobs and are part of a tight group of friends. All of that crumbles when their neighbor Rita disappears without a trace.

Now it looks like one of their own could be a killer. Ariana and Damon must figure out who it is, or they risk never finding Rita alive. If they don’t reach her in time, they could all end up dead…

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“Rita, where are you?” he called.

She readied herself to run again.

His footsteps sounded close. “Ready or not, here I come.”

She held her breath. Waited.

Had to get the shoes off.


A shiver shot down her spine.

“You can’t hide forever,” he said, now sounding farther away.

Stomach lurching, she peeked around the corner.

He neared the swings, his back to her.

She loosened the buckle on her right pump. It stuck. Resisted.

Footsteps grew closer.

Now he was heading her way.

She froze. Tried to fix her buckle. Fumbled.

“There you are!”

Heart nearly giving out, she turned.

He stood halfway between the playground and her.

Rita leaped to her feet and ran. Her right shoe clung to her foot loosely, the buckle not fully undone. Made it hard to remain steady. She kicked, trying to free herself from it.

Finally lost it as she darted between bushes. Rough bark dug into her bare foot. Then concrete as she reached the sidewalk. Her hips protested the three-inch difference between her two feet, one shoed and the other not.

“Gotcha!” His arms wrapped around her middle. He squeezed.

She struggled and kicked, barely able to breathe. “Help! I’m being—”

He covered her mouth.

She bit his finger.

He swore at her. Didn’t let go. Pulled her back toward the park.

Rita squirmed and flailed. Scratched at him.

She wasn’t going down without a fight.

They flew to the ground.

She landed with a hard thud.

He crashed on top of her.

She pushed and strained to get out from under him.

“This could’ve all been avoided,” he grunted. “I only wanted to talk.”

“Could’ve fooled me.” She tried to push him off.

“Don’t you see we’re meant for each other?”

Rita almost laughed at the irony of his words. “This is your way of winning me back?”

“You have to see the obvious.”

The truth was clearer now than before. But pointing that out wouldn’t do any good. Just needed to get away. Get her phone back and call the cops.

Had to think fast.

“You think we can work things out?” she asked, and stopped resisting.

“If you’re willing to change.” He loosened his hold.

She bit back a sarcastic retort. Needed to get him to move off her. “What do you want me to do?”

“You have to stop flirting with guys at the bar, for starters,” he said, giving her more space.

Not enough to run.

“Let’s talk about that,” she said.

He rolled off her and started to say something.

Rita jumped up and ran.

He called after her.

She raced to the park. Through it.

He screamed profanities at her, getting closer.

She yelled for help. For all the good that would do.

Her restaurant came into view.

All she needed was to get to her car. Her fingerprint would start it. Thank God for technology. She’d lost her keys and purse somewhere along the way. Hadn’t even noticed when.

She reached her property.

Something hard struck the back of her head.

Rita flew forward. Landed hard on the ground, her car just out of reach.

Another hit to the head.

Everything went black.

Author Bio:

Stacy Claflin is a USA Today bestselling thriller author who has published more than 75 novels, including Girl in Trouble and The Perfect Death. She has always been curious about the human mind, and in her quest to learn more, she earned a degree in Psychology. Her favorite course was Abnormal Behavior, which has been useful in writing fiction.

Her love for thrillers goes back to her early childhood when she fell in love with Unsolved Mysteries and America’s Most Wanted. When Stacy was five, she got mad at a babysitter who wouldn’t let her watch the evening news. These days, she spends her free time listening to true crime podcasts or watching documentaries on the subject.

She has been telling stories for as long as she can remember, and as child would often get into trouble for trying to convince friends her wild tales were true. Now she puts her creativity to better use by writing page-turning stories that leave readers begging for more.

Stacy occasionally dabbles in other genres, so as you peruse her library of works, you’ll find some romance and paranormal tales, all with strong suspense elements.

Join Stacy's newsletter to get three free novels:

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Tuesday, July 25, 2023

Virtual Book Tour With Excerpt: Murder Under A Western Moon (Mona Moon, #11) by Abigail Keam


Murder Under A Western Moon
A 1930s Mona Moon Historical Cozy Mystery
Abigail Keam

Historical Cozy Mystery
11th in Series
Setting - Montana
Publisher: Worker Bee Press
Publication Date: July 24, 2023
Digital page count: 280 pages



Mona is the American Phyrne Fisher!

Mona Moon and her new husband, Robert Farley, Duke of Brynelleth are about to board an ocean liner to Merry Old England for their honeymoon when Mona receives an urgent telegram from Rupert Hunt, her eyes and ears in the Moon copper mines.


Since the copper mines are the financial backbone of Moon Enterprises, Mona has no choice but to drop her plans and travel to Montana on the next train. She and Robert descend into a world of seething resentments, bitter accusations against Moon Enterprises, and bad decisions that pose a threat to Mona's world. She travels incognito to search out the truth of Rupert's allegations against the mining management. She must decide if Rupert is trying to prevent an innocent man from being hung for murder or if he is part of a grandiose plot against her. After all, Mona had been kidnapped by Rupert while searching for the Swift silver mine a year ago. Rupert is a scoundrel, but Mona hired him to be her scoundrel. Is this another of Rupert’s games? Regardless of the threat, Mona must get to the bottom of it. Thank goodness Robert is by her side . . . or could Robert have his own agenda?


    As Mona and Robert compared notes while riding back to the hotel, both of them heard a loud cracking noise that traveled through the car.
    “What was that?” Mona asked. “It sounded like the snap of a bullwhip.”   
    Robert ordered the driver, “Slow down, please.” He rolled down his window and listened.
    “There it is again,” Mona said. “Driver, stop.” She got out of the car and looked about, but it was dark with a moonless sky. Mona couldn’t see anything.
    Another crack sounded.
    The Pinkertons in the car following them also got out and looked about.
    A fourth crack pierced the air.
    “It’s gunfire! Take cover,” one of the Pinkertons shouted.
    Mona ducked down by the side of the car as Robert joined her. “Turn the car lights off!” she yelled.
    Robert threw Mona on the ground and shielded her with his body, but they both lifted their heads upon hearing a rumble.
    “AVALANCHE! AVALANCHE!” Robert yelled, as he dragged Mona to the side of the mountain and frantically covered both their heads with his arms. Their driver huddled with them. Since darkness prevented them from seeing which direction the snow was headed, there was no use in running. Some of the Pinkertons realized they were in the path of the descending wall of snow and ran. Their shrieks could be heard above the roar of the torrent as they got caught in the avalanche and were hurled down the mountainside.
    “Oh, God!” Mona murmured upon hearing the men scream.
    Robert whispered into her ear, “Don’t listen. Don’t listen.” He put his hands over her ears.
    The rumbling abruptly stopped and was replaced by a haunting silence. Robert and Mona waited a few minutes before climbing out of the snowbank which had fallen about them. Luckily, they had not been hit with any of the displaced rocks and boulders propelled by the tumbling snow. Robert cleared snow from their driver who also was unharmed.
    Shouts came from the Pinkertons who had been in a car ahead of them. They had not been involved in the avalanche. “Anyone hurt?” one guard shouted.
    Robert yelled, “Second car is fine except we are bound by snow, but the third car got the brunt of the slide. We think there are casualties, but we can’t see and no one is answering our calls.”
    “We are digging you out now. Can you get into your car?”
    Robert replied, “Negative. The doors are blocked by snow.”
    “Stay where you are. We are coming.”
    Mona, Robert, and the driver helped each other get the snow from around their collars, inside their gloves, and tops of their boots. Each gave a vigorous shake to remove snow from their coats. Both the driver and Robert dug snow away with their hands from the trunk of the car to access a shovel, emergency blankets, and a first-aid kit. Mona moved to the back passenger door and pulled snow away from the car with her hands. The work kept them all warm.
    As the Pinkertons in the first car were making headway with the fallen snow, Mona and Robert saw car lights in the distance behind them, curving the bend in the road. They heard the roar of the car engine and saw beams of flashlights.
    Robert shouted, “WE’RE HERE!”
    Mona grabbed Robert’s arm. “Robert, be careful. These could be the men who caused the avalanche.”
    Robert yelled back, “YES, DO THAT! WE’LL FREE OUR CAR AND THEN START DIGGING TOWARD YOU.” Turning, Robert asked, “Do you have your gun on you, Mona?”
    “It’s in my purse which is in the car. What about your six-shooter?” 
    “Under the snow somewhere.”
    “I’ve got one in my shoulder holster, and there’s another gun in the glove compartment if we can get to it,” the Pinkerton driver announced.
    “Good man,” Robert said. “Put your gun where you can use it in a hurry.”
    Mona, Robert, and the driver dug around their car finally clearing the snow away from the trunk. The driver took the shovel and shoveled the road while Robert put several blankets around Mona, whose hands had frozen so badly that she lost the feeling in them.
    After an hour, the Pinkertons from the first car cleared away the snow and reached Mona and Robert. They put Mona in their vehicle which was still warm. She was grateful for the warmth and rubbed her numb hands in front of the car’s heater.
    Robert worked with the Pinkertons to reach the third car, but once they broke through a wall of snow, there was no third car. It had careened down the mountain. Its blinking taillights were faintly visible beneath the snow.
    They found four men hoisting bodies through a series of ropes tied to a truck. A man wearing a Stetson and standing near the road’s edge, watched them bring the bodies up. Upon seeing his milky eye, Robert recognized the man, who worked for Margaret Daly.
    Robert walked up to the man. “Is everyone dead?” 
    “No. I have two men in the truck. They are banged up a bit, but otherwise fine. They told me that someone repeatedly fired a gun, which caused the avalanche.”
    “How did you happen upon us?” Robert asked.
    “Miss Margaret gave orders to follow. She felt you were in danger although we never expected anything like this. You’ve got to admit it was devilishly clever.”
    Not sure the Stetson man was speaking the truth, Robert gave him a long stare before stating, “Thank you. Our other two cars are working, so we’ll take the injured men into town and send help back.”
    “We’ll stay and clear the road. If the law doesn’t come soon enough, we’ll bring in the bodies and leave them at the funeral home.” The Stetson man tried to peek around Robert. “I trust Miss Moon is fine.”
    “Fit as a fiddle,” Robert replied, coldly. “I’ll collect those injured men and be off. Thank you again, and chin chin.” He nodded to the Pinkertons to gather their associates.
    The Stetson man tipped the brim of his hat.
    Robert walked back with the Pinkerton men, all the while wondering if he was going to be shot in the back. Once safely ensconced in the first car with Mona, he turned to her. “You’ll never guess who turned out to be our savior.”
    Mona pulled her blanket over Robert. “Who?”
    “Margaret Daly. She ordered the Stetson man to follow us.”
    “She could have ordered him to start the avalanche.”
    “I thought it odd myself that her man happened to arrive a short time after the avalanche. I’ll guess we’ll never know the real truth, but she did warn you of danger, Mona.” Robert lit a cigarette as his nerves were frayed. “What do you want to do now?”
    Mona didn’t chide Robert about smoking as she knew he was upset. She was disturbed as well. “We’ve got three managers to deal with. We need to stay in Montana until this mess is cleared up.”
    “We got out by the skin of our teeth tonight, Mona, and two of our men didn’t make it. We need to make changes fast, and then get the heck out of here.”
    “I don’t like putting our men and ourselves in danger, but we’ve got to see this through, Robert.”
    A Pinkerton knocked on the car window.
    Mona rolled it down.
    “Sorry, folks, but we need to put one of the injured men in this car. It’s pretty tight in the other vehicle.”
    “Assuredly, bring him here,” Robert said, before turning to his wife. “I’ll drive and we’ll put two men in the back.”
    Mona got out and stood aside as Pinkertons carried their injured comrade. They eased him into the back of the car. Mona took off her blanket, wrapping it around the injured man. She said to the non-injured Pinkerton, “You’ll stay with him?”
    “Ma’am, he can use my lap as his pillow. We’ll get him to a hospital all right.”
    Mona replied, “We shall fly to the nearest hospital like the fastest hawk.”
    “Better make it a night owl.”
    Mona gave a ghost of a smile at the Pinkerton’s jest. She slid into the front seat and turned to Robert. “We’re ready. Let’s get back to Butte.”
    Robert took off the emergency brake and depressed on the clutch, putting the car in first gear. The car began to roll downward and Robert put the car in second gear. “Here we go, ready or not.”
    But Mona didn’t hear Robert. She was deep in thought planning her next move.
    Someone was going to pay for the death of those two men as well as Piotr Wojcik and Dr. Driscoll.
    Someone indeed!


Coming soon!


Award-winning author Abigail Keam writes the Mona Moon Mystery Series—a rags-to-riches 1930s mystery series which incorporates real people and events into the story. “I am a student of history and love to insert historical information into my mysteries. My goal is to entertain my readers, but if they learn a little something along the way—well, then we are both happy." 

She has won many awards for her mysteries, and Murder Under A Western Moon is her 40th novel. 

Miss Abigail lives on the cliffs above the Kentucky River with her husband and various critters. In her spare time, Miss Abigail is a beekeeper.


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Review Tour & Giveaway: The One by Audrey J. Cole

The One
Audrey J. Cole

Publisher: Rainier Publishing
Publication Date: June 26, 2023
Hardcover page count: 298 pages



To save their marriage, Sloane must forgive her husband’s affair. Instead, she tries a more tempting option—settling the score. But will it prove to be a deadly mistake?

ER doctor Sloane Marks is shattered when she learns her husband Ethan slept with his partner at Seattle Homicide. She considers leaving him and joining The One, having gone to college with the popular dating app’s billionaire founder, Brody Carr. But at forty-two, Sloane feels she has no choice but to forgive Ethan if she wants a chance at creating the family she never had.

Months later, Sloane bumps into Brody, who’s recently returned to Seattle. In due time, Ethan worries she’s cheating. His suspicions are confirmed when he learns the rich app founder took Sloane on a freediving excursion in the San Juan Islands. When Brody’s famous wife dies in an accident, Ethan becomes the lead investigator in her death—which he suspects wasn’t an accident at all.

Caught between a distrusting husband and a powerful billionaire who protects his secrets at all costs, Sloane is in a fight for her life. And the only way out is to take matters into her own hands.



Sloane sinks beneath the surface with her hand in Brody’s, enjoying the warmth and strength of his grip as they glide through the cold water. She kicks harder this time to reach the bottom before she feels the burning urge to breathe. She takes in the colorful sea floor as they glide slowly over purple urchins and yellow sea sponges. Ignoring the increasing ache in her lungs, she points to an orange starfish. 

There is something magical about being down here, so far removed from all her worries. It’s like they’re in another world, one with just the two of them. She feels something pull her backward and turns to Brody, who is focused on a jellyfish moving above them. 

Sloane spins to see what is tugging at her and finds a large piece of bull kelp wrapped around her leg. She flips over to reach for the kelp, but instead manages to wrap it another time around her ankle. She swims for the surface, but the kelp immediately drags her down. Air escapes her mouth as she tries to call out for Brody. 

She whips around, the bubbles from her mouth clouding her vision as she frantically claws at the kelp around her leg. She feels herself sink to the uneven sea floor. She flails her arms above her head in a futile attempt to ascend while the kelp keeps her tied to the bottom. Brody swims past her in a dark blur of movement as more air leaves her mouth.

5 stars!

An affair to remember! 

The One is the new domestic thriller from the talented pen of author Audrey J. Cole, and it was so riveting I was compelled to read it in one mesmerizing session. I flew through this story, and with its vivid visuals and stunning twists and turns, I can easily see this as the basis of a terrific film. 

I was so torn at first over how I felt about the main characters: Sloane, the wronged wife, and Ethan, the husband who strayed. I wanted to love her and despise him, but they both had good points and good intentions and bad choices and worse behaviors. I liked him much more than I felt I should, and she started to feel a little less perfect and more human. The breakdown in their relationship and communication was fundamental to what was happening in their marriage and their later games playing, which led to much of the trouble. The introduction of Brody into the mix really kicked the stakes up to a higher level. Sloane and Ethan are driven, goal-oriented people working in careers hit hard by understaffing, an overwhelming workload, and burnout. Both are good people who make poor choices.

While the suspense begins early, wondering where the marriage is going to go and how Brody will figure into it, the plot takes big turns, and the tension escalates quickly. I couldn’t put this book down; I had to find out what would happen next! I was not disappointed and didn’t even try to guess the eventual outcome; I just held on for the ride. The tense plot is enhanced by its Seattle-area setting and the unusual hobby of freediving. I’d never heard of this competitive sport, and it was a fascinating angle in the story.

With its flawed and very human characters and suspenseful plot, rife with twists and turns, I recommend THE ONE to readers who enjoy domestic thrillers, especially those set in the Pacific Northwest or involving water sports.


Audrey J. Cole is a USA TODAY bestselling thriller author. She resides in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and two children. Before writing full time, she worked as a neonatal intensive care nurse for eleven years.

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Audrey J. Cole will be awarding a $10 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC, to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.