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Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Deadly Lies by Chris Patchell (Author Guest Post / Book Review)

In association with Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours, Jersey Girl Book Reviews is pleased to host the virtual book tour event for Deadly Lies by Author Chris Patchell!

Author Guest Post

Research for the law enforcement impaired 

I know you'll be shocked to hear this, but I'm not a cop. So when I set out to write DEADLY LIES, a suspense novel featuring police characters investigating crimes, I knew I had a lot to learn.

I don't meet a lot of law enforcement types working in hi-tech. And while I have friends whose neighborhoods are full of cops (not in the television “Cops” show kind of way) mine is not.

So how does a small-town, peace-loving Canadian girl like me learn the finer points of crime and punishment? Sure, like everyone else, I watch police shows on television, and I’ve developed what my husband considers an unhealthy addiction to Psycho TV (a.k.a. The Investigation and Discovery Network), but I knew I had to dig a little deeper. So when the going gets tough, what do we Type-A’s do? We take classes.

In that spirit, back in 2010, I applied for the spring session of Seattle's Citizen's Police Academy. Set deep down in the gritty heart of Seattle’s Sodo district, I attended an eleven-week course at one of the department’s training facilities, which covered a wide array of law enforcement topics ranging from criminal justice to arson to SWAT and more. Bar none, my favorite class was firearms night. I know what you’re thinking – a shooting range full of cops showing civilians how to become Dirty Harry overnight. Not quite. 

The class was split in half, and we were walked through a number of real-world scenarios, where you're forced to make split-second decisions about a situation with very little background. You have to figure out if the situation is dangerous or benign.

So brimming with enthusiasm, and armed with a fake Glock strapped to my hip, I step up, a willing test subject. Adrenaline buzzed pleasantly through my veins and I’m feeling good about this. Really. How hard can this be? Then the classroom lights click off.

BEGIN SECENARIO: It’s dark and I see a suspect trying to break into the backdoor of a business located in a mini-mall. I swagger up to the scene. Shine my flashlight on the suspect. Identify myself as a police officer. And, BAM! I’m shot dead in three seconds flat. I don’t know for sure, but I think that's some kind of class record.

Another favorite of mine was arson and bomb squad night - just me, a few lawyers, and a bunch of cop wannabes checking out the Bomb Squad rig. Totally cool tech. We got frisked by the bomb-sniffing dogs, goggled the all hi-tech gadgets, and watched the robot in action.

So there we are on break, standing around, excitedly chattering about what we learned, when one of my fellow classmates asked me if I had applied to the Police Academy. I slapped a hand across my mouth and only just barely stopped coffee from shooting out my nose.

"Me? A cop?” I choked, clearing my throat and blinking back tears. “Hell, no. I'm a writer."

The classes were fun and informative, taught by some really great Police Officers. Not only did I come away armed with the absolute certainty that law enforcement is not the career path for me, I developed a deep respect for the men and women of the Seattle Police Department.

In my debut novel, DEADLY LIES, Detective Alex Shannon, embodies some of the best characteristics exemplified by the officers teaching our classes, including a deep sense of duty, honor, and loyalty – characteristics that put Alex directly in conflict with his wife, Jill, and presents him with an impossible choice.

If you're interested in learning more about the inner workings of the police force and meeting some great law enforcement professionals, sign up for one of their sessions. Many cities host this kind of community outreach program.

The Seattle’s Citizen Police Academy is just one piece of the research I conducted while writing the book. I’ve listed more great resources on my website at:

About The Author

When Chris Patchell isn't hiking in the Cascade Mountains or hanging out with family and friends, she is working at her hi-tech job or writing gritty suspense novels. Writing has been a lifelong passion for Chris. She fell in love with storytelling in the third grade when her half-page creative writing assignment turned into a five-page story on vampires. Even back then Chris had a gift for writing intricate plots that were so good her father refused to believe she didn't steal them from comic books.

Years later, Chris spent long afternoons managing her own independent record store and writing romance novels. After closing the record store and going to college, Chris launched a successful career in hi-tech. She married, had kids but amid all the madness, the itch to write never really went away. So she started writing again. Not romance this time - suspense filled with drama, and angst, speckled with a little bit of blood.

Why suspense? Chris blames her obsession with the dark on two things: watching Stephen King movies as a kid and spending ridiculous amounts of time commuting in Seattle traffic. "My stories are based on scenarios I see every day, distorted through the fictional lens. And my stories come with the added bonus of not having to be restrained by socially acceptable behavior."

Author Website

Book Review

Deadly Lies by Chris Patchell
Publisher: Independent Self Publishing
Publication Date: December 15, 2013
Format: Paperback - 368 pages
               Kindle - 977 KB
ISBN: 978-1494296520
Genre: Mystery / Suspense / Thriller

Buy The Book:
Barnes & Nobles

Disclaimer: I received a copy of the book from the author in exchange for my honest review and participation in a virtual book tour event hosted by Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours.

Book Description:

"Chris Patchell's debut novel, DEADLY LIES, is a taut, fast-paced thriller that grabs you from the start and doesn't let go. Patchell is a master storyteller with a real talent for creating pulse-pounding suspense." ~ Kevin O'Brien, New York Times Bestselling Author of TELL ME YOU'RE SORRY

Husband and wife stand on opposite sides of a divide created by lies and rooted in a dark and deadly past…

As a teenager, Jill Shannon fell victim to her stepfather's cruel abuse. Now as an adult, Jill's made it - she has a successful career and a solid, if not static, marriage to Detective Alex Shannon. Together they live out what seems to be a perfect life in Seattle.

The vow she made as a teenager to never again be a victim lies dormant - until one day a reporter lures her to his hotel room under the pretense of an interview - and suddenly all of it comes rushing back. Jill seeks revenge on the reporter, triggering a series of events that leads Jill down a wormhole of retribution, forcing her to spin an ever-widening web of lies.

Meanwhile, Alex is pulled into a case of a series of murders that began as cyber relationships. There seems to be a familiar fingerprint on these crimes, but Alex refuses to believe the murderer could be someone close to him.

Book Excerpt:

Thirteen, fourteen, fifteen.
She ticked the seconds off silently in her head. Her heart hammered painfully, the desperate waves of panic making it impossible to think. Stay calm. Stay calm, she repeated as she rifled through the drawers of what once had been her mother’s dresser.
Twenty-two, twenty-three, twenty-four.
Shit. It had to be here. This is right where her mother always kept it.
She slammed the drawer closed. The clap of cheap wood echoed in the quiet house. The jarring noise was a dead giveaway.
It didn’t matter though. She was out of time.
His boots rang hallow on the stairs. He was coming. She pushed back the waves of panic and tried to focus.
Thirty-three, thirty-four, thirty-five.
It took a total of forty-five seconds for him to climb the stairs and reach her bedroom door. She should know. She’d counted it enough times, lying awake in bed listening to the heavy tread of his footsteps and dreading what would come next.
He passed the top of the landing and headed down the narrow hall. She could feel the reverberation of his boots on the bare hardwood floors as he drew closer. Maybe five more seconds, if he’s drunk. Maybe. And then he would burst through the door.
Panic overwhelmed her defenses and struck her full force. She knew hiding was futile. She knew he would find her. Unable to stop herself, she ducked into the closet.
The dark welcomed her, and she slid through the curtain of her mother’s clothes. Her back softly collided with the wall. Inch by inch, she sank down until she sat hunched on the floor. Waiting.
“Ready or not, here I come,” her stepfather, Master Sergeant Samuel Morris, called out in that creepy, singsong voice, like this was some kind of sick game.
Her hands shook, and she clasped them in a tight knot under her chin. Her mother’s scent—baby powder and cinnamon—filled the small space, enveloping her like a warm cloak, and she wished she could hide here forever. Safe. Untouched.
Tears stung her eyes. God, she missed her mother. It was bad before. His punishments had always been harsh, but since her mother’s death, everything had changed.
Hot tears poured down her cheeks. She brushed them roughly away with trembling hands and cursed herself for being weak, for giving into her fear. She had to be strong. She must not cry. If there was one thing Sam liked more than the chase-me game, it was her tears, and she had no wish to give him what he wanted. He could take, but she would not give.
She bit the inside of her cheek until the rusty tang of blood filled her mouth.
Sometimes the pain helped her focus. She couldn’t win, of course. He was too powerful, too relentless. But she refused to give up. There had to be a way out of the trap. There had to be. She just had to live long enough to find it.
Heavy footsteps stopped outside the door. The light bulb overhead clicked. Harsh yellow light filled the closet. She pulled her knees close, shriveling back into the shadows.
“Time’s up, Jill,” he said in his rumbling baritone.
Despite her steely resolve, thin tendrils of fear unfurled in the pit of her stomach, and she knew he was right. The game was over. And he had won. Again. Hatred burned in her eyes as she stared at the heavy beige boots encasing his size-twelve feet.
Sam parted the clothes. The hangers squealed against the metal rod, reminding her of fingernails on slate. The sound made her teeth ache.
She could smell his sour mash breath, and a wave of nausea rolled through the pit of her stomach. Tears threatened, and she forced them back behind a frozen wall. Like a caterpillar, she withdrew inside her icy cocoon to a place far beyond, where he couldn’t touch her.
“Were you looking for this?” he asked.
Master Sergeant Morris dangled a twenty-two caliber sub-compact pistol from a thick finger. Jill’s gaze shifted from the gun to the grotesque smile on his broad face and back again.
The gun. Yes. Every night as he opened her bedroom door, she’d thought about the gun, and pictured a bullet hole centered between his thick black brows. But as usual, he was two steps ahead.
Like Jesse James, he spun the pistol around his finger and tucked it neatly into the back of his fatigues.
“You like games, do you?” he asked.
“Not as much as you,” she said, in a voice that sounded steadier than she felt.
His cruel lips flattened into a thin line. Jill remained perfectly still, her face a stony mask. Sam hunkered down. His meaty hands snaked toward her. Hot fingers slithered around her neck. She shuddered and waited for them to constrict, squeezing off her airway. But they didn’t tighten. Goosebumps dimpled her icy skin as he caressed the long column of her slender throat. Their eyes locked, and as much as she wanted to, she refused to look away.
Never again, she promised herself. Never again would he touch her like this. He would pay. Somehow this sick game would end.
And no matter what the cost, she would win.
Chapter 1
Jill Shannon stood with her feet planted shoulder width apart and focused intently upon her mark. Target acquired. Shoulders relaxed, she squeezed the trigger of the 9 mm Glock. The acrid smell of cordite filled her head.
A cocky smile crossed her face as she stole a quick glance at her husband through the thick lenses of the protective goggles. Pressing the button to retrieve the target, she admired the tight grouping of holes that obliterated the center of the bull’s-eye. Dead-on balls accurate, as Master Sergeant Morris used to say.
Alex Shannon kept his eyes trained forward as he completed his round. His grouping was good, a little to the left of Jill’s perfect aim. He lowered his gun and cast a crooked, self-deprecating smile in her direction. “You know, you’re pretty good at keeping my ego in check,” he said as he pulled out his earplugs.
“I’m glad to hear that I serve some purpose,” she said, removing her goggles.
“Like that’s the only thing.”
“A little healthy competition is good for a marriage,” Jill said, her smile widening in appreciation of the ironic inflection in his voice. “Besides, you cant be all that bad. They still allow you to carry a badge and a gun.”
“Yeah, that helps.”
“Girl’s got a point, Alex,” a deep voice rumbled from behind.
“What are you doing here on a Sunday morning?” she asked.
Jackson Levy was a bear of a man, six foot three, and still built like the linebacker he was back in his college days. Alex was no small guy, but next to Jackson, he looked like an undernourished middle-grader.
“Thought I’d get a little shooting in while the wife is at yoga. My own Zen moment, so to speak.”
Jill masked her surprise. Last she heard, Jackson and his wife, Michelle, were separated. If Alex knew about their reconciliation, he hadn’t let on. Of course, that was unusual. They didn’t talk about work. Truth was, they didn’t talk about much at all lately.
“Sometimes I worry about you,” Alex said with a grin.
“Me? What about the two of you? If this is your idea of a date, then … With a cocked eyebrow, Jackson let the words trail off. Stepping forward, he clamped his huge hand onto Jill’s shoulder and gave it a friendly squeeze. “How are you doing, girl?”
“Keeping out of trouble.”
“Looks like you kicked your man’s butt.”
“It’s not the first time,” Alex said, giving Jackson a sidelong glance through narrowed eyes. “Jill’s stepfather was Special Forces. She learned to shoot before she could drive. I don’t need to hear any shit from you about my marksmanship.”
“Well, I’ve got a lot riding on your shooting ability. I’ve got to know that you have my back. Maybe I need to take Jill here along with me instead.”
“Not a chance,” Alex said. The response was fast. Automatic. Jill bristled at the proprietary note in his voice. Before she could respond, he continued.
“There’s a big difference between shooting a paper target and a perp. I haven’t let you get shot so far, and believe me, that’s no small feat given the massive target you present.”
Jackson’s wide lips parted in a good-natured smile. “Maybe a bigger target is what you need if you plan on hitting anything.”
“Don’t push your luck, or I might just shoot you myself.” Jackson laughed, and Alex cocked an eyebrow. “I’ll catch you later. I’ve got to take Dirty Harriett here to the airport.”
Alex clapped a hand on Jackson’s shoulder. Jill could still hear his deep, rumbling laugh as she handed in her gear at the desk.
She didn’t miss the appreciative glance she got from the clerk behind the counter as she signed out. If Alex noticed, he showed no outward sign. Was he used to the male attention she attracted? Did he still look at her that way? Did he still look at her at all? Over the course of their five-year marriage, they had slid into a routine. Or was it a rut, she wondered.
“What time’s your flight?” he asked.
“Why so early?”
Jill followed Alex out of the range and down the long, narrow hallway toward the locker room. Her heart pounded in double time as she considered the question, but she kept her voice light.
“I’ve got a project review first thing in the morning and I still have to work on my slides.” Alex glanced at her. He still looked like a college student, his short hair cut away from his angular face and a light growth of stubble on his cheeks. Subtle lines carved their way into the corners of his eyes and lent him an air of experience, falling just short of the war-weary look common to most detectives.
The expression in his golden brown eyes gave her pause. Was he growing suspicious of her frequent trips to the Bay Area? The recent expansion of her role at work provided a plausible excuse for all the time spent away from him. But still.
“I guess we should head straight home then. You don’t have a lot of time to get ready.”
Unaware that she had been holding her breath, she exhaled in a soft sigh. Her long strides kept pace with his as they walked side by side, hands not touching. Jill changed the subject and followed him into the locker room.
“Did you talk to Captain Lewis about the presentation he asked you to do for the conference?”
Once a year, police chiefs from across the country got together to discuss the new strategies and techniques their departments employed. This year, Alex had been asked to present his groundbreaking work on a suite of cybercrime tools. Jill glanced up. Alex’s expression was guarded.
“I thought we talked about this already.”
“Did we?” Jill asked, eyes wide, feigning ignorance.
“It’s a political bullshit assignment. I’ve got better ways to spend my time.”
Jill frowned. It was exactly the type of answer she expected. Tactical. Alex seemed maddeningly oblivious to the types of opportunities that came his way. If only he possessed an ounce or two of ambition.
“Come on, Alex. You’re a smart guy. You know there’s more to it than that. Think of the doors it could open for you.”
“For me? Are you sure it’s me we’re talking about here, because if it is, you know where I stand. All I want is to get back into homicide. Are you sure we’re not talking about what you want?”
“That’s not fair,” she said, controlling her irritation with effort. “The cybercrimes unit has been waiting for a guy with your talent. Think of all of the good you could do.”
“Great, so I can put a dent in identity theft instead of tracking down murderers. Hell of a trade-off, don’t you think?”
“Forget it,” she said, and waved a dismissive hand.
An uncomfortable silence settled between them, and Jill could feel the weight of his stare as they entered the locker room. She deliberately avoided his gaze. There was no point. At times like this, there was no talking to him. The widening gulf between them felt less like a fissure and more like the great divide.
Alex dialed the combination, then handed her a jacket before pulling on his own.
“Listen, Jill, I’m not that guy. Besides, you’ve got enough ambition for both of us.” His voice was soft, and he shot her his best boyish smile in an attempt to take the sting out of his words. “If it helps, Jackson has been pushing me, too.”
It didn’t help. She brushed past him and left the locker room. Ambitious? Hell yeah, she was ambitious. Spending her high school years dirt-poor and in foster homes was inspiration enough to excel. Alex’s Norman Rockwell upbringing didn't instill him with the same needs.
Half way to the exit, Alex’s cell phone rang, eliminating the need for further discussion. She pushed open the heavy doors and stepped out into the brisk morning air. Thick, gray clouds choked out the sun, and though it wasn’t raining yet, it soon would be. She could feel it.
Jill stayed two strides ahead, carving a path through the parked cars toward the silver Jeep Liberty. The lights flashed as Alex unlocked the door.
“When?” As he spoke into the phone, the change in his tone was instantaneous, sharp, and suddenly all business. Jill turned. The expression on Alex’s face was serious. “When was she expected home?”
What now? Here it was, a cool fall Sunday morning, and they couldn’t spend an hour alone without a call. She knew what came next. An emergency. An excuse. And she would be finding her own way to the airport while he rushed off.
Shaking her head, she opened the door and climbed inside the Jeep.
“Have you called the police yet?” Alex asked as he settled behind the steering wheel, the cell phone still pressed to his ear. With a quick flick of his wrist, he consulted his watch. “I’ll be there in twenty-five minutes.”
Hanging up, he glanced over at Jill. Concern was clearly etched into the lines around his mouth. “That was Abby Watson. I mean Nelson,” he corrected with a quick shake of his head. “She got married.”
Jill’s lips twitched in recognition. An unpleasant stab of surprise shot through her.
“Abby Watson. Your ex-girlfriend?”
“Her sister is missing.”
Technically Abby was still in the picture when she and Alex first started seeing each other. There weren’t many wives who felt comfortable with an out-of-the-blue call from a long-lost girlfriend. Fiancée, Jill amended. And she was definitely not among them.
“And so she called you?” she asked, raising her eyebrows and folding her arms across her chest.
Alex lifted a hand off the steering wheel in a shrug. “I’ve known the family a long time. I’ll drop you off at home before I head over to her parents’ place to see what I can find out.”
His hand stalled as he reached out to start the engine, and he paused, as if a new thought had suddenly occurred to him. “I won’t be able to take you to the airport.”
“I’ll call a cab.”
Jill shifted her gaze out the windshield and felt a cold knot of resignation form in her gut. Duty came first for Alex. Always had. But having him rush off to his ex-girlfriend’s rescue was somehow worse. A stab of resentment flared. She pulled in a deep breath and released it slowly.
It didn’t matter. Soon she’d be on a plane headed for California. She could forget all about the argument, the phone call, Abby Watson, and everything else. By the time she landed, this would all seem so very far away.

My Book Review:

In her debut novel, Deadly Lies, author Chris Patchell weaves a fast paced riveting psychological thriller that takes the reader on an exhilarating roller coaster ride full of drama, gripping suspense, and intriguing twists and turns that will keep the reader guessing and sitting on the edge of their seat.

As Jill Shannon's career begins to rise in the corporate world, her five year marriage to Alex Shannon a detective for the Seattle Police Department is stagnating. As Alex conducts an investigation into the murder of a local teen, Jill doesn't expect the ripple effect that could expose her hidden secrets and lies, and destroy them both.

This riveting and complex multi-layered story follows Alex's investigation of an ex-girlfriend's murdered sister, as well as his involvement in solving a series of killings that could be linked to someone he loves. As Alex digs deeper into the investigation, the reader also gets a glimpse into the victimization of Jill as a teen, and her passionate need for revenge not only against a rapist but against those involved in a sex-video ring. Jill is plagued by an abusive past, and as her world turns upside down, she gets caught up in a web of secrets, lies, and deceit that leads her to take justice into her own hands with deadly results.

Deadly Lies is one hell of a thriller that cleverly weaves together a clandestine affair, secret meetings, and cyber sex crime. With every riveting twist and turn in the story, the intensity and suspense mounts until the climax ending that will leave you completely spent.


Book Trailer

Virtual Book Tour

Click on the above link for a list of the tour participants.

From New York To The Smokies by Wayne Zurl (Book Review)

In association with Pump Up Your Book, Jersey Girl Book Reviews is pleased to host the virtual book tour event for From New York To The Smokies, a Sam Jenkins Mystery Anthology Collection by Author Wayne Zurl!


Book Review

From New York To The Smokies by Wayne Zurl 
Series: 5 Book Anthology Collection from the Sam Jenkins Mystery Series 
Publisher: Melange Books, LLC 
Publication Date: April 16, 2015 
Format: Paperback - 163 pages
               Kindle - 1816 KB
               Nook - 846 KB
ISBN: 978-1680460780
BNID: 2940151563437
Genre: Mystery / Police Procedural   

Buy The Anthology Collection:

Discuss this book in our PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads by clicking HERE

Disclaimer: I received a copy of the anthology collection from the author / publisher in exchange for my honest review and participation in a virtual book tour hosted by Pump Up Your Book.

Book Description: 

Author Wayne Zurl is back with his popular Sam Jenkins Mysteries SeriesFrom New York To The Smokies is a 5 book anthology collection from the Sam Jenkins Mysteries Series!    


Seventeen-year-old Sam Jenkins is busy fishing and falling in love with a girl named Kate. But with a father involved with the union and a divorced mother, Sam often finds himself acting like the adult of the family. During a fishing trip off Long Island, Sam overhears a conversation involving dangerous plans that can land his dad in jail. To keep his father out of prison, Sam teams up with detectives from the county’s rackets bureau and enlists the help of two friends to pull off an operation far beyond their usual high school curriculum.   


Police community Service Aide Liz Lopez should be in fine spirits—she’s in line for a promotion to police officer and a raise. But her sullen demeanor tells her boss, Lieutenant Sam Jenkins, that Liz is anything but happy. Jenkins begins an unofficial investigation to find out what’s going on. The detective learns of a bizarre home life and a dark secret Liz keeps under wraps. FAVORS is a story of how the police take care of their own—in an honest and compassionate way.   


A killer is on the loose in Prospect, Tennessee. He strikes repeatedly, each time leaving a cryptic message for the police to find. By the time a fifth body turns up, Police Chief Sam Jenkins is under pressure—either solve the murders or bring in outside help. But the chief’s ego won’t allow others to work his cases. And at the eleventh hour he tracks down a prime suspect, but death is only seconds away for the next victim.   


A misunderstanding between hunters rapidly escalates into a battle not seen in Southern Appalachia since the Hatfield and McCoy feud. As bodies pile up faster than evidence, Sam Jenkins and the officers of Prospect PD scour the remote hills and valleys of East Tennessee and North Carolina to solve a case that reads more like an old west adventure than a modern police drama.   


Prospect, Tennessee Police Chief Sam Jenkins receives two reports of UFO sightings in three days. The gritty ex-New York detective doesn’t believe in coincidence…or space aliens, but he can’t find anything to explain a glowing spaceship and little green men—until he sends Sergeant Stan Rose and Officer Junior Huskey to Campbell’s Woods. They call in a startling discovery, and the investigation begins.


Book Excerpt:


The rain never stopped. From early June through late August, it poured or drizzled almost every day. I thought if I stood still too long I might begin to mold. It reminded me of the monsoons in Southeast Asia.

Drops of rain falling from the brim of my cap were exceeded only by the young woman’s tears.

“When did you see the boy last?” I asked.

“Right after breakfast. He went into the living room to watch TV, and I started doing laundry in the basement.”

“And when you came upstairs he was gone?”

More tears rolled over her cheeks as she stood there, wringing her hands. “Yes.”

“Was your door locked?”

“Lord have mercy, no.”

“Is your son’s rain jacket here?”

She shrugged and cried a little more.

“Let’s look,” I suggested.

We walked to the mud room off the kitchen. A small hooded jacket hung on one of the five pegs over an antique wooden chair not six feet from the back door. A small pair of bright blue rubber Wellingtons sat on the floor.

“You call for him outside?”

“Of course. I ran all around.”

Without the puffy eyes and fear scarring her face, Emily Suttles would have been an attractive brunette.

“And then you called 9-1-1?”


“What was he watching?”

“I don’t know. He knows how to work the TV.”

“You turn it off?”

“One of the policemen did.”

“Let’s take a look.”

She stared at me as if I had two heads. “Why?”

“Indulge me.”

Back in the living room, Emily picked up the remote control and turned on a flat screen about the size of a stretch van. The American Movie Classics channel came on playing a scene from Halloween 4.

“Did you or the cops look through the house?” I asked.

“Yes, of course.”

“All over?”

“Every room.”

“Slowly or quick?”

“Quick. I was frantic.”

“Let’s try again. Where’s Elijah’s room?”

“Upstairs.” Emily began to look impatient. “I know he’s not there.”

We walked upstairs anyway. I looked under the bed. Nothing. The boy’s mother called his name. More nothing. I opened the closet. Huddled in the left corner, leaning against the wall, four-year-old Elijah Suttles slept peacefully, a small flashlight in his right hand. I shook his knee.

“Hey, partner, you doing okay in here?”

He opened his eyes, blinked rapidly, and looked frightened.

“Take it easy, son. I’m a policeman. Your mom couldn’t find you and asked for some help.”

“Jesus have mercy, Elijah,” his mother said, “you ‘bout scared me half ta death. You come out here right now, young man.”

“Go slow, Mrs. Suttles. He probably had a good reason to hide in here. Didn’t you, son?”

The little boy nodded, but still looked scared.

“Something happen on the TV?”

Another nod.

“Ready to come out now?”

The boy stuck out a hand, and I pulled. Once on his feet, he scrambled to his mother and locked onto her leg, mumbling an apology.

“Some of these slasher movies scare me, too,” I said. “He just ran from the killer on the screen. Wasn’t a bad idea.”

Emily Suttles hugged her son, looked at me, and said, “Thank you.”

“I’ll call the three officers and let them know your son’s safe.”

I switched on the ignition in my unmarked Crown Victoria and keyed the microphone. “Prospect-one to headquarters and all units. The missing child has been found. Resume patrol. Five-twelve, close out the call at 1015 hours.”

PO Johnny Rutledge acknowledged. “10-4, Prospect-one.”

“Five-oh-nine, I copy that,” Billy Puckett said.

After a long moment of silence, Sergeant Bettye Lambert, our desk officer, broke in. “Unit 513, five-one-three, do you copy?”

No answer.

“Anyone know 513’s 10-35?” I asked.

“Joey was goin’ house ta house, east end o’ the street,” Puckett said.

“I’m probably the closest,” I said. “I’ll check.”

Just as I shifted into reverse, PO Joey Gillespie spoke on the radio.

“513 ta Prospect-one. Boss, ya gonna need ta see this. 1175 Benny Stillwell Road, obvious 10-5.”

10-5 is our brevity code for a homicide.

* * * *

Two men lay face down on the kitchen floor. One with a shaved head made it easy to see the small caliber bullet hole at the base of his skull—a .25 perhaps or more likely a .22. Blood trickled from the wound down past his right ear, over a thick neck, and onto the Mexican tile floor. The other victim’s blood oozed to his left. Funny, the little details you notice at the scene of a murder.

“You call crime scene and the ME?” I asked.

“Yessir, had Miss Bettye do it right after I called ya.”

I nodded and looked around the kitchen of a relatively new and expensive home. “Big house.”

Joey Gillespie nodded.

“At least 4,000 square feet,” I guessed. “And quality. These guys had bucks.”

He nodded again and looked a little queasy.

“The air hasn’t come on recently. In this humidity blood tends to stink quicker. Smell bother you?”

“Yessir, I ain’t used ta this.”

“Nobody gets used to it, kid. You just learn to ignore it.”

“I guess.”

“You search the rest of the house?”

“Jest looked on the first floor ta see if there was anybody here.”


“Nosir. On a slab.”

“Let’s go upstairs.”

I drew my old Smith & Wesson from the holster on my right hip, and Joey pulled out his .40 caliber Glock.

“Look around, and pay attention. Don’t watch me. There’s probably no one here, but we’ll do this by the numbers.”

“Yessir. I’m right behind ya.”

We made a quick sweep of the first floor, opening all the closets before ascending the stairs. The landing above left us in a hallway with what looked like four bedrooms, two baths and two closet doors. We found nothing in the guest johns or closets. A lack of personal property in three of the bedrooms led me to believe they were set also aside for guests. We looked further in the master suite and discovered two closets holding clothing for two different people.

“I guess the two guys slept t’gether,” Joey said.


“Strange, huh?”

“Not strange, just a minority.”


Two car doors slammed out front.

“Let’s see who’s here,” I suggested.

Jackie Shuman and David Sparks, crime scene investigators from the Blount County Sheriff’s Office, had arrived and stood in the foyer holding cameras and forensic kits. Moments later, Deputy Medical Examiner Morris Rappaport and his assistant Earl Ogle pulled up in the morgue wagon.

“How’d ya find these two?” Jackie asked of no one in particular.

“I’s checkin’ the neighborhood for a missin’ child,” Joey said. “Got no answer here, but there was two cars in the driveway and the garage was closed. Figgered someone’s home, so I walked ‘round back and seen them layin’ here on the floor.”

“Nice wheels out there,” David said.

“Audi S7 and an F-Type Jag,” I said. “Pushing a hundred grand apiece.”

“And they’re relatively new, right?” Morris asked.

“The Jag’s new, and the Audi’s not far behind.”

“With these two sporty drivers, why do you suppose there’s an oil spot on the concrete driveway?”

“Good question, Mo,” I said. “Something for our ace evidence technicians to explore.”

“We’ll git’er done,” Jackie said.

“And take pictures of this table top. Someone ruined a nice antique.”

Jackie looked closer at the numbers someone crudely scratched into the mellow wood finish.

“Thirteen thirteen,” he said. “Wonder what that means?”

“Two unlucky numbers,” Morris said.

“Two unlucky guys,” I said. “Has to mean something. Finding out will keep me from playing in the traffic.”

My Book Review:

Sam Jenkins Mystery Series fans are in for a special treat with From New York To The Smokies, a five short story anthology collection that spans four decades of Sam's life and career.

Author Wayne Zurl weaves a wonderful collection of short stories that begins in 1963 with seventeen year old Sam in The Boat to Prison, where he tries to stop his father from going to jail by foiling a mobster's plot to kill a Long Island union leader. Then fast forward to 1985 in Favors, where Sam is a Lieutenant on the NYPD, and he unofficially investigates an employee's lack of enthusiasm at being promoted to a police officer, which leads to an uncovering of a history of unreported crimes, and Sam's attempt to take care of one of his own. When Sam retires from the NYPD, he and wife Kate pack up and move to the Great Smoky Mountain small town of Prospect, Tennessee. But Sam's retirement doesn't last long when he takes on the position of Chief of Police for the Prospect Police Department, and madcap adventures abound in Angels of the Lord, Massacre at Big Bear Creek, and Ode to Willie Joe. With UFO sightings, a serial killer on the loose, and longstanding feuds among the mountain folk, Sam and his motley crew of officers are bound to keep the reader in stitches as they follow their latest zany adventures of keeping the peace and law and order in Prospect.

This anthology collection is perfect for readers who have not had a chance to meet the charming main character, Sam Jenkins. Sam is a sarcastic guy who has no problem saying exactly what he's thinking: his quick wit, sense of humor, friendly banter and sweet flirty side keeps the reader laughing out loud as every story unfolds.

Author Wayne Zurl has a knack for weaving intriguing mystery / police procedural tales with a witty mixture of humor, intrigue, drama and suspense. He utilizes his prior extensive knowledge and experience of police procedure to create a series that diehard of mystery / detective fans will crave to read.

So take it from a Sam Jenkins groupie and read From New York To The Smokies. I guarantee that once you read the anthology collection, you will get hooked on all of the Sam Jenkins Mystery series. It is simply an addicting whodunit mystery series that will turn mystery fans into Sam Jenkins fans!


About The Author


Wayne Zurl grew up on Long Island and retired after twenty years with the Suffolk County Police Department, one of the largest municipal law enforcement agencies in New York and the nation. For thirteen of those years he served as a section commander supervising investigators. He is a graduate of SUNY, Empire State College and served on active duty in the US Army during the Vietnam War and later in the reserves. Zurl left New York to live in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains of Tennessee with his wife, Barbara. 

Twenty (20) of his Sam Jenkins mysteries have been published as eBooks and many produced as audio books. Zurl has won Eric Hoffer and Indie Book Awards, and was named a finalist for a Montaigne Medal and First Horizon Book Award.


The all new FROM NEW YORK TO THE SMOKIES, an anthology of five Sam Jenkins mysteries is available in print and eBook, published by Melange Books, LLC. 

For more information on Wayne’s Sam Jenkins mystery series see You may read excerpts, reviews and endorsements, interviews, coming events, and see photos of the area where the stories take place.   


Virtual Book Tour

Click on the above link for a list of the tour participants. 

Monday, June 29, 2015

Unexpected Chances by A.M. Willard (Author Interview / Book Review)

In association with Chick Lit Plus Blog Tours, Jersey Girl Book Reviews is pleased to host the virtual book tour event for Unexpected Chances by Author A.M. Willard!

CLP Blog Tours

Author Interview

Welcome to Jersey Girl Book Reviews, A.M.!

Before we get to the interview, can you tell our readers a little bit about yourself? 

This is always the part where I go, what do I say? I’m a Florida girl at heart, but have become a Georgia Peach and just celebrated my 18th wedding anniversary with my best friend. I have a 13 year old son who’s Autistic and has Aspergers. He is my number one fan and the one that has changed the way I view the world. Life is so much better through his eyes, and I love to watch him overcome obstacles. I just proves to me that no matter how big or small things are they are pretty amazing. I’m an avid reader, love to sail and be out on the water and hate winter. 

How long have you been a writer? 

I first published in April of 2014, but have been writing since I was a child.

Do you have a day job, or is being an author your career? 

I just went part-time at the day job so I can focus more on my writing. 

What inspired you to become a writer? Describe your journey as a writer. 

Oh I had this story about two years ago that I really wanted to get down on paper. So I started it, deleted the whole thing and started again. I joined a few groups on Goodreads and found a writing partner that I call my PIC (Partner in Crime). We started reviewing our work and then one day a new story came. I put down the other one and started One Night which is the first book in The One Night Series. I self-published and had no idea what to do from that point. This last year has been full of lessons, changes, and new opportunities. I just signed a few months ago with Booktrope Publishing and look forward to the next step in my career. 

Please give a brief description/storyline about Unexpected Chances. 

Tabitha is our main character and she played a small role in the One Night Series. The more I wrote the more she wanted her own story. Tabitha is your sassy red-head full of energy, but that’s the thing she’s not. She’s been hurt in the past and made a pact with her brother Seth to swear off love. Joke falls on her as she never expected to find the one, but what she doesn’t know is Carter Northwood has his own dark secrets. Some say he’s a little slacker type but he has his reasons, as he’s trying to protect her from his wife’s family. Yes, I said wife but things are never the way they seem. You also get to meet Seth her brother, Cory the best friend who’s in love with our sassy Tabitha, and a few others. 

What was the inspiration for this story? 

That came from the One Night Series, when I say Tabitha is sassy I mean it. She pretty much demanded to have a story or two. 

How did it feel to have your first book published? 

Unreal. I was so afraid to hit that button, and still after 6 books I freak out and want to hide under a sparkly rock until it’s all over with. 

Do you write books for a specific genre? 

I tend to stick to Contemporary Romance, Romantic Comedy, and love to add some suspense and spice into the mix. 

What genres are your favorite(s)? What are some of your favorite books that you have read and why? 

I love it all except for Sci-Fi, and paranormal. Haven’t been able to get into that genre yet. My fav’s and let me say we might be here all day for this list. Megan Fields, A.m. Guilliams, Addison Kline, S. Donahue, Abbi Glines, Colleen Hoover, Molly McAdams, Sylvia Day, and this list will go for another year.. 

Do you have a special spot/area where you like to do your writing? 

I have a desk that is my little writing space and everyone in the house is banned from touching it. 

How do you come up with the ideas that become the storyline for your books? 

They just pop up, it might be a little thing that festers for a bit until I can figure it all out. Sometimes it could be something that I might have witnessed, then spin it into a love story. 

When you write, do you adhere to a strict work schedule, or do you work whenever the inspiration strikes? 

It’s whenever, when I am writing I try to make sure I write daily. This could be a few hundred words, to 10,000 words. If I don’t all the information and story rolls around and then I turn grumpy. 

What aspects of storytelling do you like the best, and what aspects do you struggle with the most? 

This is funny… For anyone who has read the One Night Series they will not believe this…. But the sex scenes are a struggle. I love to create the drama and twist as the story unfolds. 

What are your favorite things to do when you are not writing? 

Reading, Sailing, and spending time with my husband and son. 

What is/was the best piece of writing advice that you have received? 

Oh I’ve been given so much that this is hard to nail down. I think the best piece was, that you can’t make everyone happy. If you are happy doing what you are doing, keep doing it. Things will always improve over time. 

What is the most gratifying thing you feel or get as a writer? 

The messages I get from the fans and readers. I still have a hard time knowing that someone has not only bought my books but read them. It seems that they always come when you need it. I might not have thousands of fans, but the ones I do I cherish them even more. 

How do you usually communicate with your readers/fans? 

I blog weekly and try to keep up with my social media daily. Email responses always come from me and not my PA… That’s one of my favorite things to do, so I will keep that up. 

Is there anything in your book based on real life experiences or are they purely all from your imagination? 

That’s a 50/50… You might just have to read them to see if you can figure that one out.. My lips are sealed. 

What authors have been your inspiration or influenced you to become a writer? 

Colleen Hoover is one of my favorite authors and one day I just hope that I can pull you into one of my stories like she does me. 

What is your definition of success as a writer? 

I think success is determined on your goals, to me I am successful but it’s because I did hit that publish button. I was able to mark something off my bucket list and do something that other dream of doing. I’m super proud of myself for being brave enough to follow through. I just hope that I can continue to grow and deliver the best books I can to the readers. 

Are you currently writing a new book? If yes, would you care to share a bit of it with us? 

I just finished that story I started years ago and freaking out as it sits with the editor. Fading Memories is a story about heartache, grief, learning to trust again, and most of all opening your heart. That’s all I can give away right now.

A.M, thank you for visiting Jersey Girl Book Reviews, and for sharing a bit about yourself and your writing career with us! 

Book Review

unexpected chances

Unexpected Chances by A.M. Willard
Book 1: The Chances Series
Publisher: Booktrope
Publication Date: April 28, 2015
Format: Paperback - 212 pages
               Kindle - 2109 KB
               Nook - 587 KB
ISBN: 978-1620158456
BNID: 2940151558600
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Buy The Book:
Barnes & Noble

Buy The Series: The Chances Series
Book 1: Unexpected Chances
Book 2: Unexpected Changes
Barnes & Noble

Disclaimer: I received a copy of the book from the author / publisher in exchange for my honest review and participation in a virtual book tour event hosted by Chick Lit Plus Blog Tours.

Book Description:

Tabitha Michaelson: the fun loving, sassy girl who loves anything that sparkles. What you might not know is, she took an oath years ago with her brother Seth, vowing to lock their hearts and throw away the key. She has spent years keeping up the happy façade and not letting anyone get close.

It's not until a chance meeting that Tabitha meets her match in Carter Northwood. Here's a man whose life has been filled with lies, threats, and tangled webs of disaster. Carter knows that if he takes this chance at true love, the world around him will tumble down like a spiral staircase.

Two hearts meld to form a single beat from the start. A test of trust, infinite love, and a longing for each other's passion.

Book Excerpt:

Leaning back, I watch as her lips move from side to side as if she tastes them. Her head bobbles while she shifts in her seat. She’s caused me to snicker. Lord it’s been forever since a woman has had this sort of effect on me. My chest is moving up and down from the laughter.

I know once she wakes, she’ll be embarrassed by her actions. Just as I think this, her eyes fly open.

They’re as green as emeralds. That’s what I see on this side of the computer screen. I can only imagine how mesmerizing they are in person. She’s startled, off her game now as she realizes I’ve been watching.

My Book Review:

There is just something about a story that has two strong characters with past secrets and enough angst when it comes to love, it just captivates the reader and takes them on an exhilarating roller coaster ride, for me that book is Unexpected Chances.

Author A.M. Willard weaves an amazing fast paced tale with a wonderful mixture of romance and suspense that follows the love story of Tabitha Michaelson and Carter Northwood. The reader can't help but get drawn into their story and empathize with the emotional angst that Tabitha and Carter share. As their unrequited love causes issues of trust, misunderstandings, and hurtles to clear; past secrets come to the surface with enough intriguing twists and turns that will provide a frenzy of suspense, the reader will experience a full gamut of emotions that will leave them spent,  but alas ... Tabitha and Carter's story has a cliff hanger ending that will leave the reader wanting more!

Unexpected Chances is the first book in The Chances Series. Tabitha and Carter's story continues in Unexpected Changes, the second book in the series.


About The Author

am willard

Author A.M. Willard is a true believer of soul mates, and happy ever after’s. She enjoys reading, sailing, and of course writing contemporary romance with some saucy scenes. Releasing her first novella of the One Night Series on April 12, 2014 has sent her on a new journey in life. A.M.’s passion for writing started at a young age, but with the love and support from her husband of eighteen years pushed her to follow her dreams. Once she hit that first publish button, she hasn’t looked back.
Publications available from A.M. Willard include the Chances Series, Love on the Screen, and everyone’s favorite the One Night Series. She’s also had an article published in the Writer’s Monthly Review Magazine. 
A.M. Willard was born and raised in the Panhandle of Florida, but resides in Savannah Ga with her husband, son, two cats, one rotten dog, and her six chickens. Yes, we said chickens… 
You can connect with A.M. Willard on her or subscribe to her newsletter for the latest releases, teasers and sale alerts; 
Author Website 
Google +

Virtual Book Tour

Tour Pages:

June 15 - Buckeye's Book Review- Review 
June 16 - A LoveThat Can’t Be Stopped – Excerpt 
June 17 - Chick LitGoddess – Excerpt 
June 18 - Sweet N SassyBookaholics – Novel Spotlight 
June 19 - ILove My Authors – Excerpt 
June 22 - Sassy Southern Books - Novel Spotlight 
June 22 - BloggingFor the Love of Authors & Their Books – Excerpt
June 25 - Samantha March - Excerpt 
June 26 - Book Groupies – Novel Spotlight 
June 26 - Book Happiness - Novel Spotlight 
June 29 - Jersey Girl Book Reviews – Review, Q&A & Excerpt 
June 29 - Books & Naughtiness – Review & Excerpt
CLP Blog Tours

Aeromancist by Charmaine Pauls (Book Cover Reveal Event)

In association with Pump Up Your Book, Jersey Girl Book Reviews is pleased to host the book cover reveal event for Aeromancist by Author Charmaine Pauls!

About The Book

Title:  Aeromancist
Book 3: Seven Forbidden Arts Series
Author: Charmaine Pauls
Genre: Paranormal Erotic Romance
Publisher:  Mélange Books
Publication Date: July 6, 2015

Preorder Book Buy Links: 

Book Description:

Passion always comes with a price.

All he could offer was thirty days of passion.

He condemned her to a terrible fate instead.

Now he’ll do everything in his power to save her.

He is known as the Weatherman. Lann Dréan is the last of his kind. A price on his head, chased for a power he should not possess, he can’t promise any woman forever. All he can offer Katherine White is thirty days of passion. But his uncontainable desire comes with an unforeseen price. Lann’s lust will cost Kat everything. Now he’ll do anything to save her from the fate he has brought upon her.

* This book contains adult content with explicit language and frequent, consummated love scenes, including light bondage, sex toys and breath play. Reader discretion is advised.


About The Author

Charmaine Pauls was born in Bloemfontein, South Africa. She obtained a degree in Communication at the University of Potchestroom, and followed a diverse career path in journalism, public relations, advertising, communications, photography, graphic design, and brand marketing. Her writing has always been an integral part of her professions.

After relocating to France with her French husband, she fulfilled her passion to write creatively full-time. Charmaine has published six novels since 2011, as well as several short stories and articles.

When she is not writing, she likes to travel, read, and rescue cats. Charmaine currently lives in Chile with her husband and children. Their household is a linguistic mélange of Afrikaans, English, French and Spanish.

Read more about Charmaine’s romance novels and psychological short stories here on

Contact Charmaine at:

Author Website 
Author Blog

Book Cover Reveal Event Page