Category Archives: Crime Scene

Book Case #86 – Elysium Dreams

Elysium Dreams

Book and Author Details:
Elysium Dreams on Good Reads
Elysium Dreams on Amazon
Hadena James’ Website
Hadena James Facebook

Description from Author:

In the cold, dark nights of Alaska, a hunter is stalking his prey. Once found, he takes them into the woods and skins them alive, prolonging the experience as much as he can, but the satisfaction always wanes.

Aislinn Cain and the Serial Crimes Unit head for the north to find this brutal and cruel killer. The climate is harsh, the locals are hostile, and each day the unsub moves closer to claiming his next trophy – Aislinn.

My Review:
I have to admit, I am a new fangirl of Hadena James’ Dreams and Reality series. I was sent book two after reviewing book one, and fell even more in love with the characters within the pages. I am addicted to the character development. I am drawn in and eager to know more. 

Aislinn “Ace” Cain and the SCTU head to Alaska to track a methodical serial killer. With her misfit team members and a new team lead, Ace digs deep into the mind of this Hunter styled serial killer. He takes his victims and mutilates them in a fascinating method. But the more they dig, the more they feel it could be one of their very own.

Again, as readers we are left with asking ourselves, “Will he get too close to Ace?

I loved this book so much more than the first one. I’ve been completely pulled into this series. I’m connected to the team, and Ace. I want to know more about their history, what made them this way, and so much more. I am super glad the end we found out about the new Team Lead a bit more.

One more thing that I thoroughly enjoy about these books by author Hadena James, is that she makes me think. She writes about things I am uneducated about, which leads me to the internet researching. I have learned quite a bit between the first and second book on subjects like sociopaths vs. psychopaths, medieval torture devices, and various medications. Anyone who can write a book that leaves me to reach out and search for further answers is outstanding to me.

I cannot wait for book two, “Mercurial Dreams”

 

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Book Case #85 – Tortured Dreams

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Book and Author Details:
Tortured Dreams – Good Reads
Tortured Dreams – Amazon —- FREE ON AMAZON KINDLE
Hadena James’ Website
Hadena James Facebook

Description from Author:

When the US Marshals Serial Crimes Tracking Unit comes knocking at Aislinn Cain’s door, she is given a chance to use her past to save other people’s futures. She has survived attacks by two different serial killers and devoted her life to studying the darker side of human history.

A new killer is using medieval torture methods to slay his victims. She can give them a glimpse into his twisted world, but not without a cost. If she opens herself, she risks falling into the depths of her own darkness. Can she afford to help, knowing that the cost could be her own humanity?

Aislinn Cain’s life is a horror story.

My Review:
I received this book from author Hadena James as an ARC copy. I genuinely enjoyed this book.

The protagonist is Aislinn. She’s a bit “off”, and by that I mean she’s a sociopath. Her whole life she’s attracted very unsavory individuals. She’s a lot like Dexter. She is aware of her mental disorder, so she harnesses her sociopath tendencies towards serial killers. She has few true friends, one being her cousin, one being her “mom” and one being Malachi, a psychopath who works for the government.

Aislinn is headhunted by an elite group of detectives from the US Marshals. They need her insight and expertise to help them track down a cryptic serial killer that uses medieval torture devices to kill their prey. Will Aislinn and the team that newly recruited her be able to catch the killer before another set of ten are found tortured to death?

Overall, I have to say, I love this book. I can see a few minor errors in grammar and spelling. My biggest complaint I had with the book was that I  found quite a bit of of redundancy with Aislinn, her team, and the description of the torture devices. Literally, she would describe the device with a completed description, a team member would ask a question, and she would answer the question exactly the same as she had described two sentences prior.. But overall, I was really into this book.

I can only thank the author for giving me something great to read that was not zombie based. This book is one of 7 in the series so far. I loved the idea behind Aislinn and her social dysfunction, her focus and her team.

I am really glad what happened to their team leader, Alejandro, took place when it did. He made a great antagonist in the story. Good, quick read of a novel. Enticing and entertaining. 

Book Case #84 – Cut

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Book and Author Details:
Cut on Good Reads
Cut on Amazon
Rob Bliss’ Author Page Good Reads
Rob Bliss on Facebook
Necro Publications

Description from Author:

Dear Diary,

I am a star. I’ve finally found the yellow brick road to fame. I could teach anyone. As long as they are willing to die for it.
———————
A bomb goes off in Buffalo, N.Y. That same day FBI agent, Daryll Peltier, receives the first of many correspondences from a serial killer calling themselves, Sam-I-Am.

The gruesome torture and murders of the killer’s victims are filmed and broadcast on live television. Creating a puzzling masterpiece of blood and torture which the FBI can’t unravel.

Daryll and her partner, Frank Zepano, began a hunt for the killer across the continental United States and into the Caribbean. The hunt involves cryptic messages, a strange and powerful cult, an unstoppable nano virus, the International Space Station, a trailer park psychic, a tabloid newspaper journalist, a computer hacker, the Oscars…and a body count of one victim per state

My Review:
I received this book from Necro Publications/Bedlam Press as an ARC. This was a complete book series from Rob Bliss called, “Necro Psycho Series.” This is a remarkable book for any crime/mystery/cop thriller book lover. Rob Bliss, the author, really knows how to spin a crime story. 

The story opens on an elderly man walking through the streets of New York. He’s going about his daily business, as fast as his old body will allow him; with ice and snow too boot. As he finishes up his morning chores, he crosses a street, and a bomb goes off.

Agents, police entities, paramedics, injured and the dead are spilled out amongst the wreckage, blood and damage after the bomb. As the investigations begin, Agent Daryll Peltier receives her first message from a twisted, horrific serial killer. As the novel plays out, more correspondences cross Daryll’s desk. Victims are mutilated, tortured, and eventually killed.

CONS: 
Although the book was well written and entertaining, it was long and wordy as well. Even in the author’s description, “Daryll and her partner, Frank Zepano, began a hunt for the killer across the continental United States and into the Caribbean. The hunt involves cryptic messages, a strange and powerful cult, an unstoppable nano virus, the International Space Station, a trailer park psychic, a tabloid newspaper journalist, a computer hacker, the Oscars…and a body count of one victim per state” you can see that there is an over abundance of plot lines and information taking place. I think a huge portion of the story could be cut out to make it a more precise, attention grabbing novel. It could easily be cut down. 

The only other aspect of the novel I didn’t enjoy was the gory, bloody descriptions. The gore factor was a bit over the top and I found myself skipping pages just to get through the novel(s). 

All in all, this is a thrill pleasing crime novel for any enthusiast of this genre’. 

Book Case #76 – Blazing Obsession

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Book and Author Details:
Blazing Obsession – Amazon
Blazing Obsession – Good Reads
Blazing Obsession – Matadour Publishing
Dai Henley Website

Description from Author (Shortened to fit blog):

How would you react if your wife, stepson and baby daughter were murdered in an arson attack and the arsonist was tried and acquitted on a technicality? How would you feel if DNA evidence proved the arsonist’s guilt, but the 800-year-old laws of double jeopardy meant that he couldn’t be retried?….

Blazing Obsession shows how powerful the emotions of revenge and obsession are, and how they can result in fatal consequences. The novel, which combines police procedural, legal drama and amateur sleuth genres, will appeal primarily to crime fans.

My Review:
This is a great book to pump blood back into my review blog. I was contacted by Matadour/Troubador  Publishing to read and review Blazing Obsession by Dai Henley. I am really glad I agreed to. This book had my heart pumping, hands trembling and mind reeling.  There’s just so much to take in with this book, and I’m so excited to have finished it, I don’t even know where to begin. I can tell you that my mind was active all night after finishing it. 

Blazing Obsession is broken into three parts. In the first part, we learn about James, the main character, and the courtship he pursues with Lynne. James is a successful, wealthy businessman who falls for the simple woman with a charming smile. Lynne brings to the relationship a child, Georgie, from a previous marriage. We learn about the struggles Lynne has with her ex-husband; the abusive, demanding, controlling Nick Burrows; father of Georgie.

Nick is obsessed with Lynne, determined that they will forever be together. He cannot handle the idea of Lynne dating anyone else. Hell breaks loose after Nick finds out Lynne is pregnant with James’ child. A kidnapping happens. A marriage happens. A birth of a beautiful baby girl happens….. and then the arson happens.

James’ whole family is taken out by an arson at their vacation home. The arsonist is left off on a technicality that sends James into a revengeful spiral. James, with the assistance of a Private Investigator and his wife’s best friend, Alisha, the begin to unravel the reality behind double jeopardy, a broken court system and the truth behind who murdered his family. 

There is such a HUGE TWIST in this book, that I did NOT see coming. Once the literary bomb hit, I could not put the book down. I was totally blindsided, I did not see it coming. But once it was released, and I was reading through the aftermath, so much more that was written in the book began to make sense. There’s a strong story within the story.

The strongest line, for me, in this whole book was near the end. “I realized all three of the men involved in relationships with Lynne were shaped by their attitude to revenge.” Ka-POW!! Right there people, is the book, story and review. Revengeful relationships.

The story is easy to read, and not overly complex. It flows incredibly well and the author did a fantastic job of keeping the reader’s attention. It’s a strong story with a fantastic road map full of rest stops called,  “Revenge”, “Obsession”, “Mystery”, “Anger and frustration”…. Such a fantastic story. 

Published: 28/11/2014
ISBN: 9781784620516
eISBN: 9781784627560
Format: Paperback/eBook

Book Case #71 – Better Left Buried

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*HONORABLE MENTION WINNER NEW YORK BOOK FESTIVAL 2014

Book and Author Details:
Better Left Buried on Good Reads
Better Left Buried on Amazon
Better Left Buried on Create Space
Belinda Frisch on Good Reads
Belinda Frisch’s Website

My Review:
I read Belinda Frisch’s, Strandville Zombie Series. I fell in love with her writing abilities in, “The Cure” and it’s been a great relationship since. She sent me a copy of, “Better Left Buried” and again I was not disappointed.

Harmony Wolcott could very well have been written after my childhood, teenage self. I really, maybe overly, related to her character. Jaded, burned by the system, uncaring mother, all of it. Her life starts to unravel after a suicide attempt. Her best friend, Brea, is trying to help her piece together the fragments of a memory that’s come forth in the form of a spirit energy trying to harm her.  With each thread of time that becomes untangled, Harmony’s security falls out from beneath her.

Bad boyfriend(s), waffling best friend, and a spirit that is trying to hurt her, and Harmony is cracking more and falling into a deeper dark abyss. Her mother abandoned her 14 yrs ago, when her father walked out of their life. Brea is trying hard to help Harmony with these struggles.

I recommend this book for anyone YA to Adult. Anyone who is into paranormal and main characters with attitude would love this book. Belinda is a fantastic, strong writer who does a kick ass job at pulling you in as a reader.

Any author that make me throw my book down and say, “SCREW YOU BELINDA!!!” at certain scenes within the book, and can evoke that emotion in a person, has a strong ability in their craft. I am looking forward to more from this book.

Description from Author:

It’s not just the house that’s haunted.

Harmony Wolcott has lived her entire life on the fringe, wishing more often than not that she could end it all. After a failed suicide attempt heightens her visibility in the Child Protective Services system, she has no choice but to hide the details about the home life she’s run from.

Adam, Harmony’s formerly homeless boyfriend, has learned to fend for himself. Despite a past he’s reluctant to talk about, Adam has risen above his circumstances and is trying to get Harmony to do the same.

Only loving someone so damaged isn’t easy.

A recurring nightmare chips away at Harmony’s facade of normalcy, reminding her of a time hidden so deep in her memory that it blurs the line between dream and reality. Convinced the nightmares are an otherworldly attempt at telling her something, Harmony employs the help of a spirit board and her best friend, Brea, to uncover a secret she’s kept, even from herself.

Brea, who is trying to piece together the mystery of why her father walked out on their family fourteen years earlier, knows it’s something to do with Harmony’s mother and a night no one is willing to talk about.

A tragic discovery threatens to unravel Harmony’s patched together life, dragging both Brea and Adam down with her and proving, with devastating consequences, that sometimes the past is better left buried.

 

Book Case #68 – Fear Alone

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Book and Author Details:
Author Jim Martin
Fear Alone on GoodReads
Fear Alone on Amazon

Description from Author:

After having been brutally attacked and left for dead by an abusive husband, Gillian Adams has made a full recovery and is only days away from moving across the country in search of a brighter future. In the sleepy town of Shadow Lake, however, things are not always what they seem, and an unexpected radio announcement reignites all of her darkest fears. Gillian knows her only chance for survival is to get out of town before it is too late. But outside, a storm is brewing, bringing with it a series of strange occurrences which threaten to unravel both her plans for the future and her very sanity as well. Shadow Lake, it would seem, has its own plans for Gillian, and she is about to discover that this day may not only be the most terrifying of her life, but also the deadliest.

My Review: *trigger warnings for domestic violence victims*
This is my second written work by Jim Martin that I have had a chance to read and review. As you recall from Book Case #18, “A Madman’s Song” I thoroughly enjoyed his work.

Fear Alone is a novella that is packed with so much intensity I feel like I held my breath from cover to cover.  I have to admit, it was somewhat hard to get through on a personal level. If you are, or have been, a victim of domestic violence, this may be a hard book to get through. Despite my personal reactions to some of the more intense scenes, this book is very well written.

Gillian, a survivor of a horrific event that almost took her life, discovers that the very person who did this to her has escaped prison. Knowing she was set to flee, she now felt the push to make it happen quicker. As her predator chases her, she chases time; eventually, someone is going to give up the chase.

What struck me the hardest was how poetically weaved the abuse, the build up and the ending creating a well written story. The battle within the few hours we tracked Gillian’s life was easy to relate too,  and believable.

For a quick, powerful read, check out Jim Martin’s “Fear Alone”. 

Blessed are the Dead – Excerpt Offer

BlessedAretheDead

Blessed are the Dead Excerpt Download:
BLESSED ARE THE DEAD is out from Witness Impulse on 6/1/2014 in ebook format. Click here for Free 2 Chapters Except.

Description:

Kristi Belcamino relies on her knowledge gained from working as a crime reporter at newspapers in California, specifically in her experience with a serial killer who police and FBI agents liked to several kidnappings and murders. Belcamino’s personal past colors this smart, thrilling novel with a unique new voice.

BLESSED ARE THE DEAD offers chilling, authentic glimpses into the mind of a psychopath while also mining the psyche of an extremely likeable protagonist. The novel sets up a new series featuring Gabriella Giovanni, an Italian-American Bay Area crime reporter. BLESSED ARE THE MEEK, the second book in the series will be published in July.

 

Book Case #61 – Spirits Among Us

Author, Book &/or Publisher:
Author’s Website
Author’s Facebook Page
Author’s Good Reads Page

S.A.U. on Good Reads
S.A.U. on Amazon

Description:

Jon-Luc Boudreaux is in Paris hunting a serial killer. That’s nothing new, neither is being haunted by the victims, but watching the murders through the killers eyes, now that’s something new entirely

After she’s blacklisted by the fashion industry in New York, Angela Henderson moves to Paris, France. Designing clothes is in her blood and she’ll stop at nothing to realize her dream.

In an effort to determine his next course of action, Jon-Luc heads to Paris to visit an old friend. The moment he arrives, he’s asked to assist with a case. It’s Fashion Week and the bodies of mutilated models are being discovered all over the city. Now Jon-Luc is on the hunt for the most diabolical killer he’s ever encountered and Angie’s next on his list.

My Review:
I actually really liked this book. I found it advertised in a Paranormal Book Group on facebook: FB Group. I asked for an ARC copy and was sent one. I thought, “Hey serial killer, psychic abilities, murders.. Right on!” I was pleasantly surprised. I read the book quickly as it kept my interest from jump.

Jon-Luc, Cajun FBI Agent, recently retired from the FBI and is heading out to search for his next step in life. He decides to travel to Paris to visit a friend. Claude, his French Police Detective, is involved in a series of murders. It is apparent that the serial killers is not only increasing in victims, but in the horrific manner of killing them. His time span between victims is closing in. Claude asks  Jon to help him. Jon, a clairvoyant, has a unique tie with this killer. He can see through his eyes and the victims.

While in Paris, he also quickly falls for a stubborn, mouthy fashion designer…. who is next on the serial killer’s list.

The story line was good and engaging. The characters were enticing. The romantic aspect, and sexual interludes, were not over done. I really enjoyed the twists and turns the author took with this novel. Since this is book #2 in a trilogy, I will be asking for book #1. I would love to read more from this author.

Questions/Dislikes: *** spoiler alert ***
1. Demonic Aspect. The book and the flow of the story was done well enough that the added aspect of demonic activity truly wasn’t needed. Jon-Luc really didn’t need the additional aspect of fighting a demon. I get that it makes an interesting twist, but I think with him fighting the killer alone, and whom the killer turned out to be, it was an unneeded additional story line. 

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Book Case #56 – Ghost Music

Patrick Linder's Ghost Music cover

Sample a bit of the novel by clicking this link:
piq_36734_400x400Preview 1st Chapter

Author & Publisher Information:
Author Website
Author’s Facebook
Ghost Music on Good Reads
Ghost Music on Amazon
Publisher’s Website

Description:

Seattle Detective Marcus Brace is falling apart, both professionally and personally. But a brutal murder and a phone call from family long-forgotten force Marcus to face everything he’s been running from and consider how sins from the past haunt those in the present. With those closest to him targeted, Marcus is on a race to find not just a killer but also pieces of a family mystery that no one wants to acknowledge.

My Review:
So many great thing about this book, but the one I want to lead off with is the fact that it is based in Seattle. I love anything that can bring me mentally back to where my heart resides. I can envision everything from the damp, dank, dark Seattle days to the trip Detective Brace takes to Puyallup. Thank you, Mr. Linder, for gifting me an ARC copy that held a greater gift within.

Broken.. from youth to adulthood, and constantly left abandoned, Det. Brace finds himself  in a whirlwind of raw sexual attraction to another Detective in his precinct, battling “Right-Way” a straight as an arrow partner who does everything by the books, and neck deep in a murder investigation that seems to have him targeted in the eye of this storm brewing.

His fostered/surrogate family is targeted. His ex-wife is targeted. He is targeted. Hell, even his dog is targeted. He has to figure out how to make work and personal life mesh to solve this serial killer’s spree. Hopefully, by the end of the case, not only will he prove himself worthy again, but gain back is feeling of worthiness. This case finds him digging into his past, his family’s past, in hopes to regain his future.

Everything about this book, from the aesthetically pleasing cover to how well written the novel itself was, makes it the perfect crime novel. If I was working on a 5 star rating system here at Haunted Book Case, I’d give this novel 50. I definitely look forward to anything further this author puts out. He’s a fantastic writer.Very impressive with how he structures the story around you.

The next I want to cover are the stark, aching pains Det. Brace endures. I related so much to his character it hurt. My soul ached, truly and painstakingly, ached. Here are some of the quotes within the book that resonated within, even at this moment a day after finishing the book.

“Self-doubt and self-loathing are like tar: they’re sticky and the more you pull and try to remove them, the more you just seem to get the rest of you dirty.”
I know this feeling. I embody the depression that follows the sticky, dirty grime that is left behind by each negative word echoing inside.

“The gentlest of rain, only a touch more than mist, fell softly to the street. The tiny, cool drops pricked my skin just enough for the wetness to feel cleansing and invigorating without being sloppy or overwhelming. The silence of this particular version of Seattle precipitation always appeals to me.”
Awe, Seattle, I miss you. I crave your rain on my face like the wash of tears after a moment of weeping.

“…his soul atrophied with anxiety, terrified to act in the present because he couldn’t escape the past. I saw all of that and my own fear washed away, oozing from my body along with the blood that continued to drip from my wounds. Fright gave way to a warm tingling and my own choppy laughter, broken from the spasms of pain that each chuckle sent through my injured body.”
I don’t normally drop the F*bomb on my “professional” blog, but FUCK.. if this isn’t a powerful, moving sentiment.

“We need past and present to boomerang into each other. Their collisions fill in our gaps, complete our narratives and smooth over the jerky spots in the time-lapse movie that we all live. You don’t escape history; you don’t avenge history. You live history, every day, scars and all.”
Again, with the powerful punch to the a person’s psyche.

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Book Case #55 – Never Alone

Never Alone

Author & Publisher Information:
Author’s Website
Author’s Facebook
Never Alone on Amazon
Never Alone on Llewellyn
Publisher’s Website
Description:

If it weren’t for booze and one-night stands, NYPD detective Megan McGinn probably couldn’t deal with the losses in her life. She’s just buried her dad, a retired cop, and has to move her mother, ravaged by late-stage Alzheimer’s, into a nursing home. Solving a recent high-profile homicide has made Megan a reluctant celebrity, but the guilt of spending time away from her struggling family is too much to bear.

Overwhelmed by the pressure, Megan is ready to walk away from the police force, but a brutal murder brings her back. The victim, an attractive young woman, was strangled, groomed, posed . . . and worse. With heat coming from the press, city hall, and her boss, the danger escalates as Megan is forced to turn to a sadistic perp from a previous case for help.

My Review:

There is such a spin on the title, highly clever and I wonder if the author was intentional in doing so?

Never Alone is a book about an Irish Catholic NYC Homicide Detective by the name of Megan McGinn. She had just closed out an important case leaving her with a bit of notoriety. Having just lost her father, who is the world to her, she’s ready to just throw in her detective’s badge. Her partner, Sam, convinces her to check out one more cryptic, sadistic murder scene. Reluctantly, McGinn agrees.

This starts a whole spiral into religious undertones, faith and lack there of, murder and suspense. McGinn’s new case revolves around Irish Catholic beliefs, realy hitting home for her. From the Claddagh to Saint Brigid’s Cross to Saint Brigid herself, McGinn has to use her keen instinct in solving one of the most disturbing cases for her. What makes it so disturbing? The killer is tracking her now. Stealing personal items to leaving mementos after each kill, personally directed towards the lead detective herself.

This is where the cleverness of “Never Alone” comes in. McGinn, although feels utterly alone in this life now that her father has passed, comes to realize she is Never Alone. With a killer at her back and God at her front. The title of the this novel brought to mind a song called, “Never Alone” by Christian Rock group BarthlowGirl (Which was introduced to me by my fiance’.)

The whole pretense is that even if you’re alone, you’re truly never alone with God in your corner. Detective McGinn learns this as she works her way through this eerie, incredibly, novel.

Never Alone, is to be released later in 2014. You can order ARC copies and pre-order on the links above. This is book #1 in the author’s Detective Megan McGinn’s series. I will definitely read more by this author. C.J. Carpenter is a knack for creating believable and relateable characters. She is great with developing a sense of unease through her scenes. I foresee a wonderful career in this new author’s future.

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