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Monday, September 15, 2014

Guest Post -- Victoria Abbott

I have been following and reviewing the Book Collector Mystery Series since it began. 1st book was The Christie Curse (click here), 2nd entry was The Sayers Swindle (click here), and we were honored to get a great author interview (click here).



Are two heads better than one? Or worse?

Recently, someone asked, “Who’s the girl with the two heads?” Um, that’s Victoria Abbott, was the answer. She’s a mother daughter collaboration writing the book collector mysteries. The ‘two-headed’ question made sense in the context of the picture we found ourselves in. Luckily nobody asked about our ringlet hairstyles. Let’s just say that Photoshop was involved and the picture was pretty funny.

Funny or not, we thought the question was a good one. We may not be girls any more (not the daughter and especially not the mom), but as the collaborators for the book collector mysteries, we often feel like we have two heads. Sometimes neither head knows what the other one is doing. 

This can play out strangely in our characters. Case in point, below. Let’s take for example, our young sleuth, Jordan Bingham’s, Uncle Kev, who appears in The Wolfe Widow and in The Sayers Swindle before that. The kindest thing anyone can say about Uncle Kev is that he’s a walking disaster. No really, he is. Of course, if you met him, you’d think he was really adorable. Like the rest of the Kellys, he has all that ginger hair and those amazing, sparkling blue eyes, a gift from some Viking passing through Dublin in 965 AD. The ladies are all pretty dazzled by him, at least until there’s an explosion or something catches fire. 

Jordan’s boss and the housekeeper, Signora Panetone, think he’s perfection. But they may not be fully aware that Kev is always available as handyman, gardener and general whatever, because of a small disagreement over a large sum of money belonging to a group of somewhat dangerous gentlemen with guns and a business in Albany. Kev needs to lie low although that’s always hard for him to do.

Like all ladies, we also love Uncle Kev. We laugh our heads off at every Kev-inspired catastrophe. Kidnapping the Siamese? Causing a flash fire in a diner? That thing with the wild turkeys? Oh yes, where there’s smoke, there’s Kev.

In a recent edit, we were fixing a description of him. Have a listen in on our conversation:
“We need a change, It says here, Kev’s pudgy cheek.”
“What’s wrong with it?”
“Well, for one thing, Kev doesn’t have pudgy cheeks.”
“Of course, he does.”
“Doesn’t.”
“Does.”
“No. He has chiseled cheekbones.”
“I don’t think so. He’s pudgy.”
“He is not pudgy. He has chiseled cheekbones and a jawline you could cut paper with.”
“He’s still pudgy.”
“He looks great in his jeans and with his great unpudgy bone structure.”

Well, my friends, I think you see the difficulty. Although we both wrote about Uncle Kev and contributed to his misadventures and relationship with Jordan and our story, we each had a very different idea of what he looked like. To this day, we are fudging around with that. There’s a bit of pudginess to Kev’s chiseled features and to do him credit, the ladies still like that. If you’re reading about Uncle Kev, just be careful to sit near a fire exit, that’s all. 

So there you go, so far we’ve written three book collector mysteries together and although we have two heads and don’t always envision the same thing, no one has died, in real life that is.

What about you? Could you collaborate with a family member on a major project? Would there be fireworks?

GIVEWAY!!


Entry for this giveaway lasts until Sunday September 21st, 6:00 p.m. (MST).  U.S.  entries only please.  The publisher will ship one copy of The Wolfe Widow to the winner.

How to enter:

*** First, you must be a member (follower or email subscriber) of this blog.***

All entries are to be in the comments for this post.  Please leave your contact email address.

I will accept entries for this giveaway until Sunday September 21st, 2014.  I shall notify the winner via the email address you provide to get your physical mailing address and have the prize sent directly to you.

IF you are a member of this blog, you only need to leave a comment with your correct email.  BECOME a member of this blog if you aren't already and enjoy the celebration of all things mystery and suspense.

If you mention this and provide a link on your Facebook or Twitter to share with friends, please note that in the comments and you will get an addition entry for the giveaway!




 
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Monday, September 8, 2014

Review - No Tomorrow

I am jumping into this series that is already well underway.  Here are the preceding books in the series:  1st The Killer, 2nd The Enemy, 3rd The Game with a novella released titled Bad Luck in Berlin.  This installment is released in Australia and New Zealand as Better Off Dead.  Studiocanal is buying the rights for film and putting together a director and producer.  Pierre Morel, director of TAKEN movie starring Liam Nielson, is on board as director.  Victor the Assassin may soon be on the big screen.  

Here is what we know about Tom Wood, he was born and raised in Staffordshire and now lives in London and his real name is Tom Hinshelwood.  Before taking up writing, he was employed as a bookseller, cleaner, factory worker, laborer, supermarket cashier, and video editor.


Author: Tom Wood

Copyright: September 2014 (Signet) 512 pgs

Series: 4th in Victor the Assassin series

Sensuality: Some swearing, lots of violence with some graphic parts

Mystery Sub-genre: Thriller

Main Character: Victor (no last name) an orphan--now one of the world's best assassins

Setting: Modern day, London

Obtained Through: Publisher for honest review

Victor suspects he is being set up when a Russian mob boss he once worked for asks to meet him.  He naturally comes to the meeting and disables several of his mobster guards expecting trouble.  But rather, Norimov asks him to save his estranged daughter from what appears to be a ruthless attack by a competitor, but he isn't even sure where the danger originates.  


Victor has never been a body guard, but for the sake of the girl's mother, who Victor fondly remembers, he vows to keep the young lady safe.  In London he must find her, because she has either been taken already or is in hiding.  Thus begins a rocket fast ride.

Victor is a well-dressed man who dislikes swearing and is regimented in his safety routine because he has made many enemies.  He sleeps maybe 4 hours at a time.  His cold assassin's mind occasionally turns to such things as relationships, but he has been doing the job too long and would only put somebody else in jeopardy.  He is very detached when he kills.  Gisele is the step-daughter of a Russian mob boss, Aleksandr Norimov, whose life is in danger.  She offsets Victor's coldness with her caring for others.  She can be naive, a little spoiled, and hates her step-father for his "career choices".  The Russian mobsters are a wildcard thrown into the mix, just how loyal can they be?  The woman apparently behind everything is somewhat a mystery until further in the story when Victor and Gisele piece together what is happening.

London is portrayed with familiarity and detail.  The sense of place is finely tuned.  The pacing is rocket-fueled and lets up only occasionally for a breather.  I do have to note that towards the last fourth of the book, I was struck by how improbable a prolonged fight scene was with broken ribs and a damaged ankle, yet Victor is doing round-house kicks etc.

The plot hinged on two things, an assassin caring enough about a kind woman to risk his life to save her daughter, and the hardened assassin's humanity in the first place.  The likelihood of either in reality is slim, but that aside - Victor is a unique anti-hero who you actually end up cheering for.

The climax is appropriately intense, and even personal as Victor fights for Gisele's life after a few twists and many injuries.  The wrap-up completes the remaining story threads with a surprise there too. 

Comparisons are being made of Victor to Jason Bourne.  They have enough differences so Victor doesn't appear as an imitation of Bourne, yet both involve fast action and intense fight scenes with highly skilled killers as the main character.  The Bourne series incorporates much more internal angst while Victor's emotions are very buttoned down.  If you are wanting to read a well plotted, heart-racing thriller, then definitely give this series a try.

Rating: Excellent - Loved it! Buy it now and put this author on your watch list.



GIVEWAY!!
 

Entry for this giveaway lasts until Sunday September 14th, 6:00 p.m. (MST).  U.S.  entries only please.  The publisher will ship one copy of No Tomorrow to the winner.

How to enter:

*** First, you must be a member (follower or email subscriber) of this blog.***

All entries are to be in the comments for this post.  Please leave your contact email address.

I will accept entries for this giveaway until Sunday September 14th, 2014.  I shall notify the winner via the email address you provide to get your physical mailing address and have the prize sent directly to you.

IF you are a member of this blog, you only need to leave a comment with your correct email.  BECOME a member of this blog if you aren't already and enjoy the celebration of all things mystery and suspense.

If you mention this and provide a link on your Facebook or Twitter to share with friends, please note that in the comments and you will get an addition entry for the giveaway!






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Friday, September 5, 2014

Have you given up on a book?

I have had a few books in a row that just didn't grab me and I was struggling to read them. I am a slow reader, so time invested plodding along can be excruciating. I gave up on the book I started, and grabbed another. This happened three times until the book I am finally engrossed in now. Those books may have just hit me at the wrong time, but I just couldn't get interested and was forcing myself. Naturally, I finally started a book that I can't put down...and it is nearly 500 pages!

This is my way of explaining why I didn't have a review on Thursday. But, it raises a good question. Have you given up on a book? What is your line in the sand before you put the book down and move on? I had kept trying on the first one through about four chapters.






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Monday, September 1, 2014

Mystery & Crime Fiction Blog Carnival - September 2014

It is the first Monday of the month and time for another highly anticipated Blog Carnival. 

Please help the newsletter for the blog carnival to get more subscribers.  If a blog reviews mystery/suspense/thrillers (even occasionally) then I would like to feature those reviews.  I send the newsletter out once a month announcing the deadline for submitting to this blog carnival.  Multiple entries from a blog are welcome. 

Subscribe to our carnival reminder mailing
list






Now on to this month's blog carnival.  Click on the title or author's name to go to that link.


Police Procedural / PI Book Review / Legal

Mysteries and My Musings reviewed Counterfeit Lady by Kate Parker 

Carstairs Considers reviewed The Monkey's Raincoat by Robert Crais

How Mysterious! reviewed The Bellingham Bloodbath by Gregory Harris, a historical PI mystery set in Victorian London.


How Mysterious! reviewed Rain Girl by Gabi Kreslehner


Amateur Sleuth / Cozy book Review

Mysteries and My Musings reviewed Queen of Hearts by Rhys Bowen


Thoughts in Progress reviewed Clam Wake by Mary Daheim

Reactions to Reading reviewed Elizabeth Is Missing by Emma Healey

Carstairs Considers reviewed Death of a Crabby Cook by Penny Pike



Carstairs Considers reviewed Queen of Hearts by Rhys Bowen

Kings River Life reviewed Taken In By Elizabeth Lynn Casey

Carstairs Considers reviewed Kneading to Die by Liz Mugavero

Reactions to Reading reviewed Footprints on the Ceiling by Clayton Rawson



Thriller/Suspense Fiction Book Review

Mysteries and My Musings reviewed Canyon Sacrifice by Scott Graham

Thoughts in Progress reviewed The Perfect Stranger by Wendy Corsi Staub

Burried Under Books reviewed Choke Point by Ridley Pearson

Teatime with Marcie reviewed Before You Die by Samantha Hayes

Kings River Life reviewed Ruin Falls by Jenny Mischman

Booking Mama reviewed Phantom Instinct by Meg Gardiner


Author Interview

Thoughts in Progress shares a guest post from author Terrie Farley Moran titled "From short stories to cozy murder mysteries"

Mysteries and My Musings shares a guest post from author Eileen Goudge

Burried Under Books shares a guest post from author Lauren Carr

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

A huge "THANK YOU" to all the wonderful bloggers out there who contributed to the carnival.  Keep them coming and keep this carnival going. 

Let's make next month's Carnival even better. For more information on the specifics of the Carnival and how to submit your posts go here
Spread the word far and wide!!!
 
 
 
 
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Monday, August 25, 2014

I am doing it!


I am doing it...I am writing a suspense novel.  I have had this idea for years, occasionally wrote a bit on it, but mostly it was on the back burner.  The desire to write this book gets stronger each year.  So I have joined a writer's critique group and I keep plugging away at it.  I am making progress, and as I get good feedback in the writer's group I gain more confidence.  

By making this announcement, I feel exposed.  This commits me even more to finish, edit, and get it published.  **Deep breaths**  It is a bit scary to make a post declaring my intention, and I promise not to harp on my progress (or how slow it is.)   

But if you are interested in following me in my journey, I would love to share occasionally how the process is going.  I am thinking of including you in this, as well.  I am devising some contests to allow you to participate in fun ways. 

The title at this point is "The Society" and I am roughly a third done.  The target length may grow just a little, which will still keep the book in standard suspense novel length.

 

Stay tuned for some contests, a cover reveal, a website and Facebook author page coming soon.  I am excited to share this journey with you!



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