Archive for July, 2013

Giveaway – Black Caesar – Ron Chepesiuk

Tuesday, July 30th, 2013

Thanks to Gina at Partners in Crime I”m able to offer my readers 1 ebook copy of this book. To enter, follow these simple rules:

1) One Entry if you’re a follower [You can follow through Google Friend connect to the right, you can also sign up to follow through Twitter or Facebook].
2) An Additonal Entry if you blog about this contest.
3) An Additonal Entry if you’re a new follower.
4) One entry each for posting on facebook and/or twitter.
5) Must leave a comment letting me know how you follow me, blog link to this post, facebook/twitter link, etc.
6) Contest will continue until August 5th 2013.
7) This giveaway is open to residents of US and Canada. No PO Box addresses (street mailing only).

See our review here.

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Review: A Case of Redemption – Adam Mitzner

Tuesday, July 23rd, 2013
Hardcover: 336 pages
Publisher: Gallery Books (May 14, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1451674791
ISBN-13: 978-1451674798
Order book here:


Order E-book here:


Dan Sorenson – A down on his luck Lawyer recovering from the death of his wife and daughter.
Nina Harrington – A young law student who is trying to get Dan to take the case of Legally Dead.
Benjamin Ethan – Former Law partner to Dan Sorenson
Legally Dead – A rapper being charged for the murder of a pop star.


A rapper named Legally Dead records a song that people thing is about killing a pop star with a baseball bat. Shortly afterwards, his girlfriend, a pop singer is killed with a baseball bat. Dan Sorenson meet Nina Harrington at a party and she talks to him about taking on Legally Dead’s case. Did Legally Dead Kill the pop star? If he didn’t, who did? To find out, read A Case of Redemption.


This was a great summer read. The characters were well developed. The plot was filled with Twists and turns, and when it gets to the ending, well, I’ll let you find that out yourself. The main character arc is Dan Sorenson and about how he begins learning to live again after the death of his wife and daughter.

There is a wide case of characters such as Legally Dead, former Law partners to Dan, An Agent. Through the whole story Dan must unravel all the clues, determine who is lying, why and who really killed the Pop star.

If you like legal thrillers from writers such as John Grisham, you should definitely check out Adam Mitzner. This is my second novel of his, and I’ve enjoyed them both and look forward to the next one. Check out A Case of Redemption, and be sure to stop back by and let us know what you thought.

About the Author

Adam Mitzner graduated from Brandeis University with a B.A. and M.A. in politics, and from the University of Virginia School of Law.

He is currently the head of the litigation department of Pavia & Harcourt LLP, which is located in midtown Manhattan.

He lives in New York City.

A Conflict of Interest is his first novel.

*Disclaimer* A special thanks goes out to Leyane at FSB Associates for a review copy of this book. It in no way influenced my review. You can discuss it here or join my facebook page and discuss it there.

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Blog Tour: Cerulean Dreams – Dan O’Brien

Thursday, July 18th, 2013
Welcome to the second day of the Cerulean Dreams blog tour. It will run until July 24th and will feature excerpts, new author interviews each day, and a video blog by the author. But first, here is the obligatory blurb about the novel to settle you into this dystopian world:
Orion, the last city of men. Deep within the desert, a secret lay waiting. Young women found dead in the street. A corporation that controls the sleep of a populace that never sees the light of day. Alexander Marlowe seeks to unravel the mysteries of Orion as he helps a young girl, Dana, flee the city. The closer they come to the truth, the greater the danger that hunts them. Follow them as they search beyond the boundaries of everything they have ever known for answers. 

A few questions for the author:
What are you ashamed of? 
Probably by the fact that I slip into a place where I am ashamed of anything. I find that shame, guilt, and the like are not conducive to a happy life. Actions have consequences.
What’s the loveliest thing you have ever seen? 
Too numerous to count. There was an overcast and cold day on the Mendocino coast that stands apart. Something about the waves and the desolation and beauty of the sea was breathtaking.
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself? 
I write little bits here and there. I’ve been known to dance poorly when people are looking. I am a Whovian. I love to watch foreign films and I have been known to publish a book now and again.
What do you do when you are not writing? 
Editing, and when I am not editing, publishing. There are down times between bouts of being a pen monkey when I like to train and spend time with my wife, but writing (and all that goes with it) is a powerful force in my life.
Here be an excerpt for your enjoyment:
Chapter II
The night was a sweltering one. Marlowe sauntered across Messiah, which ran parallel to 48th. He watched the street trash as they dodged in and out of public housing.
Dark deals made in the false utopia.
The need for recreational pharmaceuticals survived the Water Rights War. Humanity had so many problems and seemingly such little time to deal with them; a chemical intervention seemed inevitable.
Messiah Avenue was a mosaic of shattered dreams and rundown buildings. They climbed into the heavens as well. Thick smog hung above their peaks, threatening disease and malnutrition to those who dared ascend them. The visor whirred angrily. Giving in, Marlowe activated it with a press of his finger to his temple.
The imaging module crackled, red lines inhabiting corners of his vision. The pixels spread quickly, forming a singular picture. Mountains far in the distance, the night air hung with stars and a brilliant mammoth moon that seemed to smile. Grassy fields as far as the eye could see and in azure letters, the words CERULEAN DREAMS.
“Map. Messiah District,” barked Marlowe.
The Messiah district was the grid name for what was lovingly referred to as the Hole. The image of the city shifted from overhead to a blueprint cast in a broad section of colors.
The voice was no longer feminine, but instead a middle-aged man. “Messiah District map incomplete, loading closest match.”
Marlowe sighed. The Messiah District was one of many districts that were scheduled for renovation through the Orion Improvement Program.
“Load thermal imagery and voice/facial recognition modules for Messiah District,” spoke Marlowe clearly, each word enunciated so as not to confuse the software.
A red dot in the corner throbbed angrily as the network was processing. All information was transferred directly from a feed at the Cerulean Dreams compound at the center of the city, but sometimes the signal was much slower in the peripheral districts. “7.93 million registered citizens, 7,930,001 thermal signatures collected.”
Marlowe smiled at the discrepancy.
There was no denying the efficiency of the network.
Every citizen of Orion was implanted in their temple with a motherboard chip from Cerulean Dreams as a way to monitor their wants and needs, cataloguing all information within the city.
Marlowe felt for the bulge along the left side of his trench. He drew his weapon methodically, the steel cold to the touch. His fingers were sweaty, his grip greasy as he flexed his hand a few times to get a grip he liked.
“Location of unknown thermal signature,” spoke Marlowe quietly, aware that there were other humans standing all around him, moving about their business. Had one of them had their visor down, his words would have sailed to their ears.
The software whirred again, the voice crackled this time. “Location is corner of 48th and Messiah, edge of Messiah district.” The voice paused and then resumed. “Upgrade immediately, network connection weak.”
Gripping the weapon low in one hand, he crossed into one of the back alleys on Messiah, moving past transients and shifters who held their hands out for charity. Even those on the lowest ring of society retained access to the main network.
However, their ability to function was still powered by economics. The visor controlled the monetary system, the pleasure system, nearly every function of being; sometimes even governing thought if one was not careful to step away from its thrall on occasion.
Marlowe considered disengaging the visor, but stopped suddenly as the screen filled angrily in row after row of crawling red script. Upgrade was repeated over and over again.
“System failure imminent,” crooned the fading voice.
Marlowe shook his head, wiping at the air.
“Command overridden. Upgrade immediately. Voice protocol required.” Had the visor been an animate creature, he would have struck it, perhaps even fired a round into it. He reminded himself that it was little more than an automated voice and a network of images.
“Fine. Upgrade approved. Could we please carry on?” he asked, knowing that his sarcasm would be lost on the programmed entity.
The red script dissolved back into a street map occupied by throbbing yellow dots that represented the people around him. He moved carefully across the alley until he came to the building marked on the imaging map.
“Deactivate. Upgrade in the background,” he ordered.
The visor dissipated and returned to a bobbing sphere. Within the sphere, a green light shone brightly, announcing the status of the upgrade. When it changed from green to blue, the upgrade would be complete.
48th Street looked eerily similar to Messiah, which was not entirely surprising. Lights were on in a scattered pattern across the buildings. Some citizens stood staring upward. Mouths moving, their visors donned.
Cedars Tower: that was the location of the anomaly.
There was nothing remarkable about the building; same black steel construction and tinted gray windows that climbed into the dusty atmosphere. Marlowe approached the steps. Taking each one deliberately, the thick grip of his boots found sure footing.
A man sat to the side of the double-door entrance.
His visor was down and his voice was a high cackle as he talked to himself. The words he spoke were alarmingly similar to what Marlowe was doing. “I told her that he was coming, but that girl never wants to listen.”
Marlowe couldn’t see his face.
The visors had a way of dehumanizing people, reducing them to a voice and a body covered in similar monotonous clothing; everyone analogous in their creature comforts. He hesitated for a moment, looking down at the man. Marlowe held his weapon tight in his hand, wondering if it was only paranoia.
“You talking to me?” he croaked at the seated citizen.
The man continued, as if Marlowe had not spoken. “Then he showed up and she wasn’t there.” A pause. “Yeah, I know, she doesn’t ever listen. Even her mama told me not to marry her. Yeah, she was too much trouble.”
Marlowe’s grip slackened on his weapon.
He moved past the man through the swinging double doors and into the darkened interior. The everlasting gloom that seemed to permeate from Orion was due in part to the draw of electricity to billboards and signs, as well as the amount of energy required to keep the network active. That coupled with most citizens being logged in the majority of their lives made the necessity for lighting in housing seem something of a waste of energy and time.
A few flickering lights cast shadows across the antiquated furniture in the lobby. Twin elevators lay at the far end of the empty room. No light resonated from them, convincing Marlowe that they were indeed out of commission.
The left side of the room was occupied by a large wraparound desk that probably had been used to welcome guests to the tower. There was no sound except the scratching of rodents moving about. Messiah district was by far the poorest of the city, and the most populated; almost eight million crammed into a few city blocks.
Many lived below ground, in the warmth of the sewers as they could not get heat in the winter. Food trucks no longer came into the district. Thus, they created a diet rich in rodents and other creatures that crawled or slithered deep beneath the city.
He moved forward through the lobby.
Chairs and couches were scattered around. Some were overturned. Others had the cushions and padding ripped from them, no doubt for shelter or clothing. Marlowe backed against the wall, the rhythmic hum of runner lights following him as he peered into the stairwell. The bleached stairs were covered with muddy prints; footsteps covered, and then covered again over time. Using his free hand to push open the door, he sucked his breath in: nothing, no sounds.
He moved through the doorway and closed the thick door behind him. Looking up at the flights of stairs, he sighed. The building was easily a hundred flights high.
“Activate.” The clear blue wrapped around his face once more. The emerald bar had nearly reached half, a little script above it scrawled out that it was 54 percent complete. “Site location of thermal anomaly.”
The visor whirred and the progress minimized, finding a place in a distant corner of his vision. “49th Floor, Room 4918,” responded the voice. Marlowe nodded as he looked up the endless flights of stairs and began his slow ascent.
Bio: A psychologist, author, editor, philosopher, martial artist, and skeptic, he has published several novels and currently has many in print, including: The End of the World Playlist, Bitten, The Journey, The Ocean and the Hourglass, The Path of the Fallen, The Portent, and Cerulean Dreams. Follow him on Twitter (@AuthorDanOBrien) or visit his blog He recently started a consultation business. You can find more information about it here:



Would you like to win a copy of Cerulean Dreams?

All you have to do is comment on a post during the tour. Two randomly drawn commenters will be awarded either a physical or digital copy of Cerulean Dreams.

Visit and follow the blog for a chance to win a Kindle Fire!

Review: The Power of Myth – Joseph Campbell

Monday, July 15th, 2013
Paperback: 293 pages
Publisher: Anchor (June 1, 1991)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0385418868
ISBN-13: 978-978-0385418867
Order book here:


Order E-book here:


If I had a list of top 10 Authors Joseph Campbell would be right up there. He’s always amazed me with his grasp of human history and how it all ties together. In this book, based on the Video Series, we are treated to He and Bill Moyers talking about Mythology in general and the various cultures and how different myths seem to tie together.

One example is when he talks about rituals. I discovered why reading it, what I think is behind one of the big controversies of today. People say our morality went down hill because we quit saying the pledge of allegiance or praying in school. I don’t think that’s the case. Mr. Campbell makes the argument, and a sound argument I think, that we have quit having rituals. Those things were merely rituals and taught people how to behave, many of those rituals in American culture at least have been done away with for right or wrong, but not replaced.

I found myself thinking quite a bit while reading this book. It raises many questions, and causes a lot of introspective thinking on the different belief systems and the similarities in the many stories they have to tell. For fans of Mythology who haven’t experienced Mr. Campbell’s writing, I encourage you to pick this up. For those who have, this is a definite must have for your bookshelf. It is definitely one I’ll find myself reading again.

About the Author

Joseph Campbell was an American author and teacher best known for his work in the field of comparative mythology. He was born in New York City in 1904, and from early childhood he became interested in mythology. He loved to read books about American Indian cultures, and frequently visited the American Museum of Natural History in New York, where he was fascinated by the museum’s collection of totem poles. Campbell was educated at Columbia University, where he specialized in medieval literature, and continued his studies at universities in Paris and Munich. While abroad he was influenced by the art of Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse, the novels of James Joyce and Thomas Mann, and the psychological studies of Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung. These encounters led to Campbell’s theory that all myths and epics are linked in the human psyche, and that they are cultural manifestations of the universal need to explain social, cosmological, and spiritual realities.

After a period in California, where he encountered John Steinbeck and the biologist Ed Ricketts, he taught at the Canterbury School, and then, in 1934, joined the literature department at Sarah Lawrence College, a post he retained for many years. During the 40s and ’50s, he helped Swami Nikhilananda to translate the Upanishads and The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna. He also edited works by the German scholar Heinrich Zimmer on Indian art, myths, and philosophy. In 1944, with Henry Morton Robinson, Campbell published A Skeleton Key to Finnegans Wake. His first original work, The Hero with a Thousand Faces, came out in 1949 and was immediately well received; in time, it became acclaimed as a classic. In this study of the “myth of the hero,” Campbell asserted that there is a single pattern of heroic journey and that all cultures share this essential pattern in their various heroic myths. In his book he also outlined the basic conditions, stages, and results of the archetypal hero’s journey.

Throughout his life, he traveled extensively and wrote prolifically, authoring many books, including the four-volume series The Masks of God, Myths to Live By, The Inner Reaches of Outer Space and The Historical Atlas of World Mythology. Joseph Campbell died in 1987. In 1988, a series of television interviews with Bill Moyers, The Power of Myth, introduced Campbell’s views to millions of people.

You can discuss it here or join my facebook page and discuss it there.

Review: Black Caesar – Ron Chepesiuk

Monday, July 15th, 2013
Paperback: 210 pages
Publisher: Strategic Media Books (June 1, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0985244011
ISBN-13: 978-0985244019
Order book here:


Order E-book here:


In the late 1960s and early 1970s, Frank Marshall was one of the biggest drug Kingpins in the United States. After being arrested, he jumped bail and was never seen again. This novel details his rise to power, and all those involved in trying to bring him to justice.


I found this book to be very interesting. The author went into a lot of major details on how Frank Marshall made his climb up the ladder of the drug world. There is also a lot of information provided on the investigation of Mr. Marshall and the search for him after he disappeared.

It’s quite obvious the writer spent many hours into researching this, and it shows in the detail. If I had one issue with it, it was that it seemed a bit slow at times. One would think a book about a drug kingpin, a police search, etc. would be action packed. I think that only tends to occur though in the movies. An actual investigation would be slow, and I think that’s reflected in this book. That doesn’t make it a bad book, in fact, it is very informative.

If you are interested in 60s/70s culture, true crime, or black history, then definitely pick this up. I think you’d find it an enjoyable book.


Jumping Bail
“Mr. Deary, am I going to get that life count they’ve been talking about?”
Frank Matthews

JULY 2, 1973—a typical hot, muggy day in New York City. Frank Matthews, alleged drug kingpin, is scheduled to appear in a federal court in Brooklyn, New York. He is already facing six charges of drug trafficking and conspiracy, but the new indictment will add charges and supersede the first one. On December 20, 1972, federal prosecutors swore out a warrant for Matthews’ arrest, accusing him of possessing 15 kilos of cocaine worth an estimated $3.6 million at street prices. About two weeks later, the authorities finally arrested Matthews in Las Vegas, one of his favorite haunts, as he prepared to leave the city and fly to Los Angeles for the Super Bowl VII game between the Miami Dolphins and Washington Redskins.

After being extradited from Las Vegas to New York City, Matthews had managed to secure bail despite the claim of the federal government that he is the U.S.’s biggest drug trafficker. Federal prosecutors and law enforcement officials who investigated the Matthews organization considered the bail of $325,000 a bad joke, and they worried that Matthews would skip town. After all, investigators had evidence that Matthews may be been quietly stashing $1 million a month for the past several months. So why, they wondered, would the drug kingpin be doing that unless he was preparing for his imminent flight? All Matthews had to do to meet the bond requirements was to report regularly to the U.S. Attorney’s office and stay within the jurisdiction of the Eastern District of New York. Being short of manpower, law enforcement had no way of keeping tabs on Matthews.

The suspect’s attitude and demeanor reinforced the authorities concern. The charismatic and handsome Matthews swaggered into the federal courthouse and greeting everyone he met with a broad smile and a friendly nod, while flirting with the ladies. Law enforcement officials could only look on and marvel. “Frank looked and acted like the King of New York City,“ said Ray Deary, the Assistant United States Attorney for the Eastern District who had served in the Appeals Division since 1971. “He walked around our turf like he owned it.”

Deary was right. Frank Matthews is no ordinary criminal. On the mean streets of the urban jungles of America Matthews’ exploits have earned him the moniker of “Black Caesar.” He is charismatic as well as dangerous and even his adversaries, the authorities, have a grudging respect for him.

Matthews seemingly unconcern about the serious charges that could put him in jail for several decades baffled the authorities. They could not tail him, but they had received reports that Matthews has been conducting business with his associates even before securing bail. Sources within the West Street Detention Center, where Matthews had been detained after his arrest, observed that top lieutenants of his organization, as well as his lawyer, Gino Gallina, were visiting him frequently, and it seemed to the sources that Matthews was giving instructions and orders.

After his release on bond, Black Caesar was seen in the company of several leading drug dealers and gamblers. Moreover, Matthews was in the constant company of Cheryl Denise Brown, a beautiful light skinned black woman who turned heads wherever she went. It should have been an embarrassment to the alleged drug kingpin since he had a common law wife, Barbara Hinton, and three kids waiting for him at home. But Hinton, herself an attractive woman, did not seem to be bothered or embarrassed by Matthews’ apparent public infidelity, even after the family was forced to leave their luxurious surroundings for a more modest apartment at 2785 Ocean Parkway in Brooklyn. In better days, Matthews had used the Ocean Parkway apartment as a getaway and a place to stash his many paramours. In their effort to nail Matthews, prosecutors hauled Hinton before a grand jury, offering her immunity if she would cooperate with their case against her husband. Hinton refused, even though she faced a possible conspiracy charge herself.

Then a few days before his scheduled court appearance, Matthews arrived in the Brooklyn federal court building with his lawyer, Gino Gallina when he bumped into Federal Prosecutor Raymond Deary as Deary was leaving a room. Matthews said to Deary, “Mr. Deary, am I gonna get that life count they been talking about?” Matthews was referring to part of section 848 of the Controlled Substances Act of 1970: “Any person who engages in a continuing criminal enterprise shall be sentenced to a term of imprisonment which may not be less than 20 years and which may be up to life imprisonment.” The thought of Section 848 terrified many traffickers because they feared that, if convicted under the statue, they would spend the rest of their lives in prison.

Deary looked at Matthews and said, “It’s very possible Frank….very possible.” Later, Deary said he was joking, but for Matthews, spending his life in jail was no joking matter. “Frank knew what the 848 could do to him,” recalled Liddy Jones, a former drug kingpin and an associate of Matthews. “No way was he going to spend the rest of his life in jail.”

Inside the steamy courthouse on this sweltering July day in 1973, the electric fans whirred as the judge, federal prosecutors and the defense team waited patiently for Frank Matthews to appear. But he never did. Instead, he became a fugitive from justice. In the coming weeks, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the lead agency in the investigation of Frank Matthews, is confident they will apprehend the fugitive. After all, don’t law enforcement officials always get their man? The weeks turned into months and the months into years, and law enforcement did not catch him. The U.S. Marshal Service took over the hunt for Matthews from the DEA. There were alleged sightings of Matthews in more than 50 countries. Cheryl Brown, Matthews’ mistress disappeared the same time he did, and her whereabouts were just as mysterious. No informant stepped forward. No bodies were ever found. No fingerprints were discovered. No solid leads appeared. Nothing.

With time, law enforcement moved on to other priorities. New generations of law enforcement officials replace the old guard and they knew little about Matthews. Periodically, Matthews’ story appeared briefly in the press and rekindled speculation. Is he alive or is he dead? The public wondered. But then the reports faded from public consciousness and people focused on other crime stories.

What follows is the remarkable story of the legendary Frank Matthews, one of organized crime’s most original gangsters. It is the story of the biggest gangster mystery of all time. It is a story with an improbable beginning and a story with no conclusive ending.

About the Author

Ron Chepesiuk is an award-winning author and a publisher, screenwriter and documentary producer and director. He’s a two-time Fulbright Scholar to Bangladesh and Indonesia and a consultant to the History Channel’s Gangland TV series.

His books include Sergeant Smack, Gangsters of Harlem, Gangsters of Miami, among others. He is also Executive Producer and co-host of the popular radio show Crime Beat (

For other books by Ron Chepesiuk go to

*Disclaimer* A special thanks goes out to Gina at Partners in Crime for a review copy of this book. It in no way influenced my review. You can discuss it here or join my facebook page and discuss it there.

Blog Tour: Bitten – Dan O’Brien

Thursday, July 11th, 2013
Welcome to the third day of the Bitten blog tour. It will run until July 16th and will feature excerpts, new author interviews each day, character interviews, and a casting call by the author. But first, here is the obligatory blurb about the novel to settle you into this dark world
A predator stalks a cold northern Minnesotan town. There is talk of wolves walking on two legs and attacking people in the deep woods. Lauren Westlake, resourceful and determined F.B.I Agent, has found a connection between the strange murders in the north and a case file almost a hundred years old. Traveling to the cold north, she begins an investigation that spirals deep into the darkness of mythology and nightmares. Filled with creatures of the night and an ancient romance, the revelation of who hunts beneath the moon is more grisly than anyone could have imagined.
A few questions for the author:
Do you ever write naked? 
I have never sat down and thought, “Man, it would be great to work on this novel naked.” That being said: yes.
Who would play you in a film of your life? 
I would love to say John Cusack, but he is older than me and it would be weird. Jack Black would make for a funny version, though he would suddenly have to decide he wanted to do triathlons.
What are the most important attributes to remaining sane as a writer? 
Knowing why you got into writing in the first place. Sometimes expectations are what drag you down. If you are writing because you want people to read your books and you love to write, then you will never be disappointed. If you expect to make a living wage right out of the gate, you might find that the fruit has soured. I have been at this for a little over a decade now and it finally feels like I am hitting some kind of stride.
Have you ever read or seen yourself as a character in a book or a movie? 
There is always a character in a movie who resonates me, though it is often the cunning villains and the loner-type characters. Perhaps getting into writing was the right profession? Californication on Showtime might be the closest thing to really connecting with a character, minus all of the character defects….


Here be an excerpt for your enjoyment:
Chapter III
Sheriff Montgomery looked at the frozen, mangled body of Madeline Leftwich and could not seem to conjure up remorse. Two grisly murders in the span of two days were enough to plunge the emotions of a small town into a nexus, a black hole of sorts. The woods seemed harmless during the day, better resembling a Robert Frost poem than a horrific murder scene.
Tufts of thick brown hair escaped from the wool cap he wore. A heavy face that was accented with a thick beard made him appear a lumberjack or dock worker as opposed to a civil servant. Pale brown eyes surveyed the scene with a kind of absent criticism. He knelt down, the heavy material of his pants cracking as if they were frozen solid, which was not far from the truth.
Reaching out with a gloved hand, he touched the ghastly face. Locke experienced a murder once a decade and often it was someone not from Minnesota, but some vacationer. Maybe they were from California or some damned warm place that didn’t have the decency to just appreciate the tall green trees that clouded the distance and the gripping cold that took the breath from you even in July. Shaking his head, he stood again. His heavy frame had begun to thicken in the middle with age.
“Sheriff, we got some tracks over here,” called out the young deputy, a thin reed of a boy. Everyone was a boy to Montgomery since the big five-zero had rolled around last spring. The young deputy’s hazel eyes were the kind about which women dreamed. Though what was behind them was little more than a vapid afterthought.
Montgomery walked over the frozen earth, making sure to walk around the partially covered remains of Ms. Leftwich, or rather what remained. The tall pines watched the sheriff pass, branches swaying slightly in the morning breeze.
The deputy was standing over heavy indentions in the earth. Matthews was the consummate northerner. Heavy Nordic brow and cheekbones made him look like a Viking warrior displaced. The sloppy grin across his face belied the gruesome scene he and the sheriff overlooked. “Looks like they might be from an animal, hey,” he mumbled, pointing down at the ground.
Squatting down, Montgomery touched the firm earth with his gloved hands. Already the soil was cold again despite the horror that had no doubt transpired hours before. “Looks like it could be bear tracks, but the narrow arch could be human. No claws, just heavy prints. Not definitive.”
“Could it be a monster, hey?”
Montgomery looked at him with a grim look.
“You making a joke, deputy?”
“Sorry, sir.”
Looking past the marks, there was damage to the brush as well. Pushing past hard spiny branches, the sheriff saw where Madeline Leftwich had hid before her assailant got the better of her. Part of her coat rested on the crawling, thorny brush that was located only a few feet from the murder scene.
“Looks like this is where the victim was hiding.”
“Hiding, Sherriff?”
Montgomery stood, surveying the scene with a critical eye. Pointing down at the brush, he began. “I believe Ms. Leftwich was out in the woods here for some reason. Walking home from the train station, I suppose.”
“She was a bit batty, hey.”
Montgomery did not bother to chastise his deputy with words. Instead, he directed a dark glare his way. It was sufficient. Walking forward, pointing farther down the trail, the sheriff continued. “For whatever reason, she felt compelled to enter these woods at night. Wild animals aside, this trail has proven dangerous in the past. Something or someone was waiting for her. Maybe she saw it coming, maybe it chased her.”
The deputy watched quietly.
“Either way she hid in this bush until whatever got her, dragged her free.”
Ms. Collins, local medical examiner, in all her burlesque glory on the cold bitter morning, walked over to the sheriff and deputy. Her hands were covered in black gloves. Bright orange lipstick accented her face; the bee hive she wore so proudly was streaked with black and white.
“I think your assumption might be correct, sheriff.”
Montgomery looked at her with a stone face. “Is that so? What makes you so agreeable this morning?”
Collins stiffened her back and walked toward the body. They followed, the three of them soon overlooking Madeline’s frozen corpse. “There are bruises along her upper arms, and if I am not mistaken, there is tendon and muscle damage consistent with a dragging scenario. We won’t know more until I get her on the table, but I think it is a reasonable assumption.”
The sheriff knelt again, this time inspecting the wound carefully. Tracing a finger over the gashes, he grimaced. “Strange wounds,” he began and then making hooks with his fingers. “Looks like a claw or some kind of garden tool.”
“So we’re looking for a gardener?”
Montgomery shook his head. “Perhaps his tools, deputy,” answered the sheriff sarcastically. Looking into the distance, he continued. “You think this is related?”
Collins raised a painted eyebrow.
“To the woman at the lake?”
The sheriff nodded.
Watching the still forest around them, he listened for an abnormality like a druid of the old world. “Two murders in the span of two days, similar conditions. Women alone attacked and left in the cold. Certainly something to think about.”
The deputy scratched his head in confusion.
“But the two crime scenes are miles apart.”
“Mile, maybe mile and a half.”
“Seems bit far for collusion between the two acts,” offered the deputy, looking away as the sheriff took note of his word choice. Even Collins in all her macabre glory looked at him with a skeptical eye. “What? I can evolve.”
Montgomery did not even bother commenting. “There are marks along her chest very similar to those of our Jane Doe in the morgue. What’s this?” Collins leaned in, the powerful grip of her perfume rankled the sheriff. “You mind taking a step back, Ms. Collins. For posterity, of course.”
She looked at him over dark-rimmed glasses and smirked. “Some men find me intoxicating, sheriff.”
“Not one of ‘em,” he replied. Pulling back the tarp, he continued. “She is missing a patch of skin.”
The deputy leaned in, his eyes wide.
The remains of Madeline Leftwich were indeed missing a large piece of skin, the size of two hands just above her hips. Collins, despite the weight of her massive hair arrangement, ducked into see what the sheriff was referring to. The cold air embraced their collective breath, a strange orgy of evacuated clouds.
“Looks like it was ripped clean,” spoke the deputy in revulsion.
Collins reached down with a gloved hand, pushing in the skin and inspecting the wound with a critical eye. “Looks post-mortem. Could be unrelated, scavengers or another assailant perhaps?”
Montgomery shook his head.
The deputy stood up.
He looked pale.
This was the first time in his limited service to the city of Locke when he had witnessed such heinous acts. The urge to vomit rose to the surface, stifled with tight lips and wide eyes. “There wasn’t anything like this on the Jane Doe,” he managed through clenched teeth.
Montgomery nodded absently. “We didn’t see anything, that’s true. Doesn’t mean there wasn’t anything there though.” He turned to Collins. “You notice anything like this on the other victim?”
“I wasn’t really looking for that. We still have her on ice. Toxicology is still out and swabs from the wounds were sent down south for processing. Gonna still be a little while yet, hey.”
The sheriff nodded, his mouth twisting.
“What do you think happened?” asked the deputy, taking a few steps back as the bag was re-zipped once more. The crime scene crew, which is to say Collins and an awkward intern, carried away Leftwich.
Montgomery stared at the wilderness again: stillness.
The bitter lethargy of winter was in full bloom: gray skies, salt and pepper earth. “I think whoever or whatever did this isn’t done.”
“And I think maybe things are going to get worse before they get better.”
Lauren opened her eyes slowly.
The night before had been a blur, drinks led to more drinks. She remembered Dominic, but not the events that led to her lying on her back as she was. White walls were marred slightly with yellowish stains from smokers past.
What did I do?
Her thoughts drifted as she rose, pushing back the stiff, yet warm covers that enveloped her torso. Looking to the other side of the bed, it was undisturbed. He had not come home with her.
It walked through the shambles of the shed that served as its home. Rusted implements of maim and death hung about it like ghoulish trophies of a world forgotten. The gray day lent little luminance in its shack.
The smell should have been acerbic, overpowering. Were it summer, the stench of the flesh would have overpowered the air for miles. Yet in winter there were no smells, locked up in a prison of the mind. Boards erected overtop one another in meaningless patterns; scattered holes that revealed the cold and gray outside.
It no longer felt the cold.
Its mind, as its body, was numb.
A table was at the center of the room, of its home. It reached out, grasping the two hands of flesh torn from Madeline Leftwich.
Not always had it been like this: the curse, the bite.
It was an animal.
Now it was forced to hunt, driven by the moon to kill.
A dead wolf hung in the cabin; the head was still intact. The body had been torn to pieces, fur and foot missing from the torso.
It walked past a gap in the walls, its arms revealed.
Wolf fur sewn into flesh. A piece of human flesh pulled and stretched like it wished to make leather, teasing the elasticity of it, testing it. Needles scattered about, bound already in flesh and blood.
Its face was shadowed, hidden from the world.
It had begun to fear men, fear their scent and judgment. Werewolf: the word floated through its mind like downed branches in a raging stream. Though there was little life left in its mind: madness, hatred, the hunt. That is what remained.
Wild hair pulled back from its scalp, long fingers; nails dirty and broken. It stretched the skin down on the table, pressing its dirty hand along the flesh; blood on the hand of the seamster and on the fabric. Its hand reached out and grasped the needle.
There was no noise in the morning air.
The trees remained silent in fear of what haunted the shack. It placed the skin on top of its arm. The first time through the blood oozed as the needle attached its trophy to its skin. It used wolf fur, drawn thin like fishing line to seal the wound, to make a quilt of its body: to become a monster. Each time through the flesh drew taut, becoming a part of the map of its descent into madness.
Soon, it had patched together what had once been Madeline Leftwich’s flesh into its own flesh, a coverlet work of insanity. It sat down on the floor. It looked up at the ceiling and into the gray sky above, waiting for the embrace of night when it would hunt again.
Lauren Westlake looked out at Locke, Minnesota and grimaced. She felt the slight grip of a hangover: heavy eyes, throbbing mind. The landscape was bleak. The gray skies looked as if they were ready to bury the locals in a distant, forever sleep.
Pulling her coat around her neck tightly and gripping the edges of her wool cap, she lowered her head into the wind. She recalled the map of the small town. The inn was very close to the cross street where the police station was located.
She hoped that she was not too late.
Before, the attacks escalated in quick succession. Where there was one, suddenly there were many until it culminated in a mass murder and then nothing; the balance restored, suburbia recalled.
The streets were clean, maintained in a way she was not used to. The storefronts were as bleak as the air around her. Stone-faced people, neither smiling nor courteous, watched her with suspicion as she passed. There were few cars; most were parked, only a rundown Chevy passed by. Its sputter could be heard far off in the distance. Lauren passed a coffee shop on her right with For Lease written crudely on a piece of white-backed cardboard.
The remnants of an auto mechanic shop; an old-time bed and breakfast boarded and rundown: Locke was not a booming place. It suffered as all small towns suffered. Tourism was fickle, even more so when the majority of people were broke and holed up in their shrewd lives.
The next corner retained the only stop light in all of Locke and it merely blinked red, cautioning the limited traffic to be wary of other drivers. A wind picked up, blowing against her slender frame. She cursed her persistence, her need to understand. Once again, it had driven her to the edge.
The police station came into view, or rather a stone building devoid of marking except a grouping of black letters that spelled out Locke Police Station. A lone patrol car was parked out front, a frost-covered monstrosity that looked as if it would need to be pushed to start.
The door was tinted, a strange thing to do in a place with no sunshine. Lauren pulled on the handle hard, grumbling as it was slow to open. The cold was bitter on her face, clawing at her lips and nostrils as she entered the building. The station was a long room cut in half by a plain counter. There was a distant desk and a glass door covered in blinds.
“Hello,” she spoke with slight irritation in her voice.
There was some shuffling. For a moment, she had the strange sensation to reach for her gun.
A woman appeared.
Huge hair, clear frames, and bright red lipstick announced her. She wore a pantsuit the likes of which would have been appropriate on a femme fatale half her age and size in a soap opera much dated. “How can I help you, hey?” she spoke with what could have been considered a completely different dialect.
Lauren took a cautious step forward, following the woman as she made her way to a part of the counter equipped with a blank clipboard and a rusted iron handbell.
She removed her identification while maintaining eye contact with the visual train wreck that was the receptionist. “Agent Lauren Westlake, I am here about the murder.”
“The murders?” repeated the woman, the parroting slightly odd.
Lauren replaced her identification and looked deeper into the station. “Where is the sheriff, Ms…?” Her voice lingered, searching for the woman’s name. They had spoken on the phone the day before, albeit briefly.
“Mrs. Meadows, if you please. And Sheriff Montgomery is at the crime scene. He will be back after a while. Can I offer you some coffee, hey?”
Lauren placed her hands on the counter. “Crime scene? I thought the Jane Doe had been removed already and was in the morgue. That is why I am here, to inspect the remains.”
There seemed to be sudden recognition in the receptionist’s eyes. “Right. You are that nice city gal who called yesterday inquiring about the murder. The murder on the lake.”
Lauren nodded. “Precisely.”
The receptionist’s heavily painted lips pursed. She leaned forward as if she were telling a secret. “We did bring her in, but there was another murder. A local. Sad story really. Sheriff Montgomery and the deputy are out there right now.”
Lauren leaned back.
Pulling off her wool cap, she allowed her hair to fall free, unrestrained. Despite sleeping off a rather interesting bender, she still looked more the part of prepared city girl than overworked country gal.
And the receptionist was quick to notice. “Damn girl. You look too good for it to be this cold, hey.”
Agent Westlake looked at her with an arch of her sculpted eyebrows. Naturally sculpted of course, she was lucky that way. “You said the Sheriff is out at the crime scene?” she asked, her attention only slightly affected by the strange comment.
The receptionist had already disappeared to the back of the station, where she busied herself making coffee. Lauren followed her along the counter. Mrs. Meadows returned, a coffee mug in each hand. Placing one down in front of Lauren, she cupped hers, snuggling with it really. “Sheriff is out there alright, must have been right after dawn. Poor thing got the call at home.”
Lauren moved forward as if to speak. Mrs. Meadows looked to the coffee mug and Lauren picked it up with a sigh. “Where did this happen?”
Mrs. Meadows sat into a comfortable chair, the heavy material of her pant suit making a mockery of her femininity. “Not that far from here, in the woods just the other side of the train station.”
“I know the area.”
“Really, I though you just got here.”
Lauren took a sip of the coffee and grimaced. “Do you have any sugar?” she replied. “I got in early this morning on the train.”
Mrs. Meadows nodded and made a funny little sound. Pointing to where she had retrieved the coffee, she motioned. “Help yourself, hey. Don’t get many female law types here in Locke. Not much girl talk in the station.”
Lauren smiled weakly and moved behind the counter.
“I guess if you consider all the shenanigans of the young boys around here, then there is some discussion about women. But certainly not in the capacity I like to have.”
Lauren tore open a packet of white sugar and poured it into the mug. Sticking in a long, slender finger, she stirred the hot coffee.
“So this crime scene, the one near the train station…”
Mrs. Meadows closed her eyes. Doing so made her appear both fearsome and festive. “Another woman, like I said. This one a local, a bit of a town personality.”
“A local?”
“Crazy woman, pardon me saying so. She didn’t have all her marbles, ya know.”
Lauren searched her mind and recalled distantly the run-in she had with the woman at the train station. Could that be the same woman? Her mind swam slowly as the hangover was proving to be a greater barrier than she had anticipated. “The other woman wasn’t a local? The one from the lake?”
“No, sugar. That one was a transient, a traveler through our wonderful green, cold country.” She leaned forward. “Maybe even one of our friends to the north, hey.”
Lauren pondered that.
The chime at the station rung; every sound crawled in the north. Montgomery entered, the deputy a step behind. They both looked the part of cold, grumpy men who had just come from a gruesome crime scene. “Darlene, any calls? We get anything back on…” He stopped in his tracks as Agent Westlake walked out from behind the counter.
“Sheriff Montgomery, I presume?” she spoke.
Montgomery looked at her, his uncertainty worn on his sleeve. “Yes?”
Lauren removed her identification.
It was an act to which she had not only grown accustomed, but she had as well begun to enjoy the confused response on men’s faces when they met a female agent. It was empowering and embarrassing in one smooth motion. “I’m Agent Westlake. I called about your Jane Doe yesterday.”
Montgomery looked at her. He was not used to assertive women in positions of authority. Not confidence in general, as he had seen many women who had found their aggressive nature amidst a bender.
Lauren waited a moment, watching the sheriff carefully. “I told your receptionist, Mrs. Meadows, that the preliminary report sounded very similar to a case I have been working. I was hoping I would be able to take a look at the body and maybe shadow you and your deputy for a few days, see what I can glean.”
“Glean?” echoed the deputy, his voice cracking.
Lauren’s gaze shifted to the tall, young deputy. “To learn by casual observation. I assume you are the good sheriff’s deputy?”
He nodded, his Adam’s apple bouncing comically.
Montgomery shook his head. Clicking his tongue, he wiped at his boot absentmindedly. “Shadow? You mean interfere with my investigation. There is no federal jurisdiction on this. I have received…”
Lauren stepped forward, placing down her mug of lukewarm coffee. “Nothing like that, sheriff. I am here in a personal capacity. There is no formal federal inquiry at this time. I was given a short leash to do some of my own investigation and that is what I intend to do. I am looking simply for some professional courtesy.”
Montgomery moved back toward his desk.
The deputy mirrored the movement, an exact carbon copy of the sheriff. Leaning back into his squeaky chair, Montgomery placed his dark boots on the table and thumbed his wedding ring. “I am willing to extend courtesy your way, if you are willing to send some mine.”
Already there was bartering; already the presence of her badge and authority alone was not sufficient to warrant his respect. She would remedy that before all was said and done.
“Anything I can do, sheriff. I would like to help with the investigation any way I can.”
Matthews looked at the large eyes of Agent Westlake and could not help but let the bright, boyish smile creep through like so much oil through cracks. Montgomery watched his deputy and shook his head. “You can begin by telling us why you thought our Jane Doe was a part of a larger investigation.”
Bio: A psychologist, author, editor, philosopher, martial artist, and skeptic, he has published several novels and currently has many in print, including: The End of the World Playlist, Bitten, The Journey, The Ocean and the Hourglass, The Path of the Fallen, The Portent, and Cerulean Dreams. Follow him on Twitter (@AuthorDanOBrien) or visit his blog He recently started a consultation business. You can find more information about it here:



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Review: The Gordonston Ladies Dogwalking Club – Duncan Whitehead

Tuesday, July 9th, 2013
Paperback: 196 pages
Publisher: Dog Ear Publishing (November 14, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1457514508
ISBN-13: 978-978-1457514500
Order book here:


Order E-book here:


Cindy Mopper – Youngest of the Gordonston Members
Heidi Launer – Oldest of the Gordonston Members
Carla Zipp – Most attractive of the Gordonston Members
Elliot Miller – Husband of the Fourth Member.


A group of women from Gordonston, form a dogwalking club where they meet each day in the park to gossip, and drink cocktails.


I found this to be very entertaining. It wasn’t usually my choice of genre, but I decided to give it a chance, and as it turns out, I really enjoyed it. The book reminded me of Desperate Housewives, which while I didn’t watch the series, I understand the premise. It involves everything you’d expect. Backbiting, betrayal, women having affairs, and the whole ball of yarn. There are a lot of additional surprises thrown in.

The author deftly takes numerous plots and manages to bring them all together in what to me seems to be a very cohesive story. The characters are well developed, but are standard stock characters, the oversexed woman, the lonely housewife, the woman holding a secret hatred.

Mr. Whitehead keeps the drama moving though, and keeps the pace interesting. There seemed to be some open ends left, so I hope he revisits Gordonston in the future. If he does, I’d definitely want to go along for the ride.

About the Author

Duncan was born in England in 1967. After a successful career in the military where he served in British Embassies throughout South America and saw service in the Gulf War he joined the world of super yachts as a Purser onboard some of the world’s largest private vessels, working for many high profile individuals, being fortunate enough to visit some of the world’s most luxurious and exotic places. Eventually retiring to Savannah, Georgia, he began to partake of his greatest passion, writing. Initially writing short stories he finally put pen to paper and wrote The Gordonston Ladies Dog Walking Club, inspired by the quirky characters and eeriness of his new environment, the book, a thriller, which boasts an assortment of characters and plot twists, set in the leafy neighborhood where he lived. His passion for comedy saw submissions to The Onion and a stint performing as a stand- up comedian.

He is a former boxer, representing the Royal Navy and an English under 19 team as an amateur and is a qualified teacher of English as a foreign language as well as a former accomplished children’s soccer coach.

In 2011 Duncan returned to South America, spending six months in Brazil and a few months in Paraguay before travelling to the Middle-East and Europe before returning to the United States to settle in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. He is fluent in Spanish and Portuguese and lists his hobbies and passions as cooking, the Israeli self defense art of Krav Maga and the pressure point martial art Dim- Mak.

Duncan has written over 2,000 spoof and comedy news articles, under various aliases, for an assortment of web sites both in the US and UK.

As well as his other activities he performs volunteer work, as a hospice volunteer visitor and teaches English to refugees arriving in South Florida.

He has penned a further novel; a comedy set in Manhattan, The Reluctant Jesus, and of course the second and third books in The Gordonston Ladies Dog Walking Club triology,

*Disclaimer* A special thanks goes out to Mr. Whitehead for a review copy of this book. It in no way influenced my review. You can discuss it here or join my facebook page and discuss it there.

Blog Tour: Path Of The Fallen – Dan O’Brien

Thursday, July 4th, 2013
Welcome to the fourth day of The Path of the Fallen blog tour. It will run until July 8th and will feature excerpts, new author interviews each day, character interviews, and a casting call by the author. But first, here is the obligatory blurb about the novel to settle you into this sprawling fantasy world:
Set against the backdrop of the tundra and a world desperate for hope, the journey of a young man, E’Malkai, will come to define a realm that has been broken by an evil that does not sleep. A bitter betrayal, and the inception of a war that will consume the world, forces E’Malkai to confront the past and undertake a pilgrimage that is his birthright. Follow him on his journey and be transformed. 
A few questions for the author:
Are the names of the characters in your novels important? 
Depends on the book really. Sometimes they are very important, sometimes I pull them out of thin air. Once a character has a name though, I can very rarely change it. A character’s name becomes quite real once it is assigned.
What about the titles of your novels? 
They can be important, though they are usually just pithy one-liners or the usage of one word to describe an entire feeling.
Are there any occupational hazards to being a novelist? 
Yelling at a computer screen, excessive coffee, lack of sleep: that’s what comes to mind immediately.
What’s your favorite fruit? 
Alas, it was once a tie between bananas and mangoes, but I am now allergic to both of those. It would probably be blackberries or blueberries at this point. Perhaps even a melon of some kind. Let me get back to you on that.
Here be an excerpt for your enjoyment:
The Shaman
Deep beneath the sands of the Desert of the Forgotten there was a cavern. This crevice was one of thousands upon thousands that burrowed deep below the surface of Terra. Within this place lay the domain of the entity known to the humans as the Shaman.
His true name was Ti’ere’yuernen.
An old word that meant, in as close a translation as was possible, the beginning without an end and the end that was born of the beginning in the tongue of those that claimed Terra when it was still covered in shadow, and the Light had not yet graced the surface.
In the first of times, during the Last Age of the Shadow and the First Coming of the Light, the Believer had not yet come to walk the world. There were not yet humans, only the legions of the dark that reveled in every corner of Terra.
Since the Coming of the Light there had been nine Creators, each held the power of the Believer and was imbued with the essence of creation. Yet, of those nine, only two had been successful in wielding the power for longer than a moment. One such being had been Malkai Armen, a child born of the tundra. He had no mother, no father, and no childhood. As a child he walked from the cold into the arms of the Fallen, as if it were providence.
As he matured and aged, it was obvious that he was no more a mortal man than the tundra a beach. So he searched for the power of the earth, the energy harnessed from the very essence of the Light––the gift of Terra.
This was long after the coming of the Intelligence and the creation of Culouth, though Malkai knew of neither. He used his power to seal away a home for the Fallen, create a sanctuary beneath the ice.
And he did so, harnessing the power of the Believer for the length of five hundred and forty-seven days to the minute before it engulfed him. The energy was returned to the earth, and his life was taken with it. Two generations later, his grandson Ryan walked away with the very same power. It corrupted him as no other before him, and this taint allowed him to walk with the power of the shadow for the past seventeen years.
An orb rested at the center of the cave. The iridescent flowing energies faded to black as the man who sat cross-legged before it opened his calm gray eyes. His eyelids fluttered as he breathed out. He pushed himself to his feet, throwing a damp fabric over the orb with a snap of his wrist.
“Incorrigible human,” muttered the Shaman.
As he stretched his arms out, the ornate beads on both wrists knocked against each other in a rhythmic pattern. There were walls of shimmering energy all around him. He walked through one, his voice carrying as he did.
His words were like a song. “You shall not long use the powers of the Believer in service of the shadow. There is another who will take your place, the true heir to the throne of the Light.”
He continued to mumble as the energy consumed him. His words were drowned out, leaving the cavern silent and empty. There was no one left to perceive the solitude of the keeper of the power of the Believer.
Bio: A psychologist, author, editor, philosopher, martial artist, and skeptic, he has published several novels and currently has many in print, including: The End of the World Playlist, Bitten, The Journey, The Ocean and the Hourglass, The Path of the Fallen, The Portent, and Cerulean Dreams. Follow him on Twitter (@AuthorDanOBrien) or visit his blog He recently started a consultation business. You can find more information about it here:



Would you like to win a copy of The Path of the Fallen?

All you have to do is comment on a post during the tour. Two randomly drawn commenters will be awarded either a physical or digital copy of The Path of the Fallen.

Visit and follow the blog for a chance to win a Kindle Fire!

Giveaway – The Condor Song – Darryl Nyznyk

Tuesday, July 2nd, 2013

Thanks to Elaine at PR By The Book and the Author, I”m able to offer my readers 1 copy of this book. To enter, follow these simple rules:

1) One Entry if you’re a follower [You can follow through Google Friend connect to the right, you can also sign up to follow through Twitter or Facebook].
2) An Additonal Entry if you blog about this contest.
3) An Additonal Entry if you’re a new follower.
4) One entry each for posting on facebook and/or twitter.
5) Must leave a comment letting me know how you follow me, blog link to this post, facebook/twitter link, etc.
6) Contest will continue until 7/23/2013.
7) This giveaway is open to residents of US and Canada. No PO Box addresses (street mailing only).

See our review here.

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Review: Dark Legacy of Shannara: Witch Wraith – Terry Brooks

Tuesday, July 2nd, 2013
Hardcover: 432 pages
Publisher: Del Rey (July 16, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0345523539
ISBN-13: 978-978-0345523532
Order book here:


Order E-book here:


Arlingant Elessedil – Elf Chosen, picked by the Ellcrys to carry her seed.
Aphenglow Elessedil – Elf Druid.
Redden Ohmsford – One half of a set of twins with the power of the Wishsong.
Railing Ohmsford – The other twin.


The Dark Legacy of Shannara comes to its exciting conclusion in the third novel by Terry Brooks. Arlingfant Ellesedil and her sister Aphenglow are on a quest to quicken the Ellcrys seed. Railing Ohmsford is on his own quest to find Grianne Ohmsford. Redden Ohmsford is being held prisoner by the Straken Lord while Oriantha and Tesla Dart try to come up with a plan to free him. Will the heros succeed before the evil from the forbidding is released on the world. Find out on July 16th, when Witch Wraith comes to a bookstore near you.


I really loved this book, but I might be a bit biased. I’ve loved Terry Brooks writing since I first picked up Sword of Shannara at the urge of a family friend. From that time I was hooked. While I was uncertain about this particular trilogy at first, when the story got into it’s full swing, I couldn’t wait for the next entry. I think part of my reluctance was that many of the storylines seemed at first they were going to be mere repeats of former stories. I wondered if maybe Mr. Brooks had ran out of storylines. Then I realized the theme overall was history repeats itself.

While two different characters may face many of the same challenges, they arrive at their solutions or conclusions in different manners. While the Ellcrys seed featured prominently in past stories, it was how Arlingfant dealth with her duty, and all the events surrounding them that brought the fresh perspective to the story.

The action, pacing, and character development were very well crafted. I truly felt for these characters, and as often happens, when some of them died, I missed them and what their potential could have been, not to mention what their passing meant to the other characters.

If you are a fantasy fan, then you should definitely grab the Dark Legacy of Shannara Trilogy. You will definitey need to read the first two before you dive into this one, but luckily this time around all three were released within a one year time span. In all prior novels, I’d often have to wait a year between stories, so this time around it was quite a joy to be able to read the whole story in a year.

For age, I’d say teens or older due to some dark imagery and violence. But it’s one I’d definitely recommend you pick up and read and if you do, stop back by and tell us what you thought.

About the Author

Terry Brooks is the New York Times bestselling author of more than thirty books, including the Dark Legacy of Shannara adventure Wards of Faerie; the Legends of Shannara novels Bearers of the Black Staff and The Measure of the Magic; the Genesis of Shannara trilogy: Armageddon’s Children, The Elves of Cintra, and The Gypsy Morph; The Sword of Shannara; the Voyage of the Jerle Shannara trilogy: Ilse Witch, Antrax, and Morgawr; the High Druid of Shannara trilogy: Jarka Ruus, Tanequil, and Straken; the nonfiction book Sometimes the Magic Works: Lessons from a Writing Life; and the novel based upon the screenplay and story by George Lucas, Star Wars:® Episode I The Phantom Menace.™

His novels Running with the Demon and A Knight of the Word were selected by the Rocky Mountain News as two of the best science fiction/fantasy novels of the twentieth century. The author was a practicing attorney for many years but now writes full-time. He lives with his wife, Judine, in the Pacific Northwest.

You can discuss it here or join my facebook page and discuss it there.