THE BABYSITTER: My Summers With A Serial Killer by Liza Rodman and Jennifer Jordan – A True Crime Memoir Unlike Any Other

Title: THE BABYSITTER

Subtitle: MY SUMMERS WITH A SERIAL KILLER

Authors: LIZA RODMAN and JENNIFER JORDAN

Genre: NON-FICTION, TRUE CRIME

Length: 352 PAGES

Publisher: ATRIA BOOKS – A DIVISION OF SIMON AND SCHUSTER CANADA

Received From: NETGALLEY

Release Date: MARCH 2, 2021

ISBN: 9781982129491 (eBook)

Price: $17.99 CDN (eBook)

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

DESCRIPTION:

A chilling true story—part memoir, part crime investigation—reminiscent of Ann Rule’s classic The Stranger Beside Me, about a little girl longing for love and how she found friendship with her charismatic babysitter—who was also a vicious serial killer.

Growing up on Cape Cod in the 1960s, Liza Rodman was a lonely little girl. During the summers, while her mother worked days in a local motel and danced most nights in the Provincetown bars, her babysitter—the kind, handsome handyman at the motel where her mother worked—took her and her sister on adventures in his truck. He bought them popsicles and together, they visited his “secret garden” in the Truro woods. To Liza, he was one of the few kind and understanding adults in her life. Everyone thought he was just a “great guy.”

But there was one thing she didn’t know; their babysitter was a serial killer.

Some of his victims were buried—in pieces—right there, in his garden in the woods. Though Tony Costa’s gruesome case made screaming headlines in 1969 and beyond, Liza never made the connection between her friendly babysitter and the infamous killer of numerous women, including four in Massachusetts, until decades later.

Haunted by nightmares and horrified by what she learned, Liza became obsessed with the case. Now, she and cowriter Jennifer Jordan reveal the chilling and unforgettable true story of a charming but brutal psychopath through the eyes of a young girl who once called him her friend.

TONY COSTA – Picture Obtained from Wikipedia

MY REVIEW:

Chilling. Horrifying. Almost Unbelievable. Terrifying.

I cannot imagine how the author must have felt when she learned that the man who babysat her and her sister when they were young was actually a notorious serial killer. YIKES!!!

Now, as an adult, Liza is obsessed with learning all the details she was unaware of as a child. It is little wonder she was plagued by nightmares for years.

The point of view makes this true crime tale unlike any other and readers will be unable to put the book down.

Not only does this book delve into the crimes and Liza’s tie to them – including a trip to what turned out later to be his personal secret graveyard, it also explores how a child neglected by her family needed someone to pay attention to her. It also highlights just how different life was in the 1960s and how innocent people were back then.

A five out of five star rating is well deserved. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Releasing on March 2nd, 2021 THE BABYSITTER can be pre-ordered now.

*** Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with a free copy of this book. ***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Photograph by Joel Benjamin

ARTICLE ABOUT SERIAL KILLER TONY COSTA – Written by Kurt Vonnegut

SMITHY by Indie Author AMANDA DESIREE is a triumph. This exceptional book is one of the best “horror” titles I have read in years and is truly unique – DESTINED TO BE THE SLEEPER HIT OF 2021

Title: SMITHY

Author: AMANDA DESIREE 

Genre: FICTION, HORROR, MYSTERY, THRILLER

Length: 500 PAGES

Publisher: INKSHARES

Received From: NETGALLEY

Release Date: APRIL 13, 2021

ISBN: 9781950301218 (Paperback)

Price: $18.99 USD (Paperback)

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Photo By: Erik Müller

DESCRIPTION:

In 1972, renowned researcher Dr. Piers Preis-Herald brought together a group of collegiate researchers to study the inner lives of man’s closest relative—primates. His team would undertake their study by raising a young chimpanzee and teaching him American Sign Language.

The primate selected was born chimpanzee #710642 at the Kohlberg Center for Primate Research. He would eventually be known to the world as Smithy.

Photo By: Francesco Ungaro

Nearly fifty years after the Smithy Project ended in tragedy at Trevor Hall, the question remains: Was Smithy a hoax? A clever mimic? A Rorschach projection of humanity’s greatest hopes and fears? Or was he indeed what devotees of metaphysics have claimed for so long: a link between our world and the next?

Written in epistolary format, this novel powerfully evokes time and place, recalling not only the controversial psychology of the early ‘70s, carried out in projects like the CIA’s MKUltra and the Stanford Prison Experiment, but also the budding of the horror genre itself. Steeped in a decade that gave us Amityville and The Exorcist, Smithy blends the mundane and the supernatural to earn its place beside such classics.

************

MY REVIEW:

One of the most unique and we’ll executed horror novels I have ever had the pleasure of reading.

Set in the early to mid 1970s, the story follows a study in which a chimpanzee is taught sign language. The chimp is nicknamed “Smithy” based on the fact that he is a wordsmith.

The setting is an aging mansion in Newport, Rhode Island.

The Gatehouse

The author tells the story through excerpts of letters, diary entries and descriptions of research video clips. This format was the perfect choice for this tale and readers will be pulled into the story.

Photo By: @felipepelaquim

At 500 pages, this is a lengthy book, but the action is so consistent and the story so engrossing that readers will feel it is all too short and will yearn for more.

This is an Indie Author who has an extremely bright future ahead of her. I will be adding her to my list of favorite authors.

Although this book is considered “horror” I feel that it is important to let potential readers know that it is NOT a blood and gore slasher book, nor is it anything like other horror titles. In my opinion, “SMITHY” could just as easily fit into the Mystery, or Thriller genres. If you are not usually a fan of horror, you should give this book a chance. It would be a terrible shame to overlook this incredibly fascinating story just based on its supposed genre.

I believe this book is going to be the sleeper hit of 2021.

SMITHY would make an incredible movie and would likely be a Blockbuster Hit.

I rate SMITHY as 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ and I will be spreading the word about this book as far and wide as possible because I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it and was loathe to stop reading it, even to go to sleep.

In short, READ THIS BOOK. You will not be disappointed.

*** Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with a free copy of this book. ***

Another one of the magnificent mansions in Newport

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Amanda has had a lifelong fascination for real ghost stories and once aspired to be a parapsychologist but settled for being a psychology major in college.

She currently lives in the Los Angeles area.

To learn more about this author, visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

GOODREADS

GOOGLE BOOKS 

BOOKSHOP.ORG 

FANTASTIC FICTION

AMAZON   

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ABOUT THE PUBLISHER:

Recently called “the future of publishing” by The Wall Street Journal, Inkshares is a book publisher that uses reader engagement instead of agents and acquisitions editors to decide what to publish.

Their community of readers can read sample chapters, share, and pre-order a book project on Inkshares.com to help determine what gets published, Inkshares brings the book to life by providing editorial services, design, production, national distribution, and marketing.

To learn more about this Publisher visit the following links:

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GOODREADS

FACEBOOK  

TUMBLR

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Newport, Rhode Island

THE ART OF DYING – A multiple award winning Horror novel that will have you sleeping with the lights on for a very long time ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Five Stars out of Five

Title: THE ART OF DYING

Series: A RAY HANLEY CRIME THRILLER BOOK 1

Author: DERIK CAVIGNANO

Genre: FICTION, THRILLERS & MYSTERIES, HORROR

Length:  322 PAGES

Publisher: DARK CORNERS PRESS

Received From: NETGALLEY

Release Date: SEPTEMBER 20, 2019

ISBN: 9781733873307 (Paperback)

Price: $12.99 USD (Paperback)

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

DESCRIPTION:

A CRIME THRILLER REMINISCENT OF THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS AND THE DEPARTED.

When the bizarre death of a mob foot soldier sparks an escalating war between Boston’s Irish and Italian mafia, Detective Ray Hanley’s relentless search for the truth uncovers evidence of a serial killer obsessed with the art of human suffering.

As the body count rises, Detective Hanley must navigate a minefield of crime families, dirty politicians, and crooked cops, while matching wits with a deranged serial killer.

But temptation, betrayal, and death threaten to derail the investigation… and justice doesn’t come without a price.

MY REVIEW:

The Granite Rail Quarries hadn’t been used to mine granite since the ’60s. Since then, the sheer cliffs and onyx waters made it a favorite dumping ground for stolen cars, shipping carts and, of course, the occasional body.”

THE ART OF DYING begs to be made into a movie. When and if a movie is made based on this book, it will be an instant Blockbuster. With the visual aspect of the killer’s crimes, and the book’s exceptional detail, it almost seems as if this book was written with a future movie script in mind.

I tried to think of books or other authors that I might be able to compare to THE ART OF DYING and the book that instantly came to mind was “Silence of the Lambs” by Thomas Harris. That bestselling book has a creepiness factor that is often missing in contemporary horror novels. That “creepiness factor” is amped way up in THE ART OF DYING which makes it an unforgettable reading experience.

In fact, in trying to think of  additional comparisons, I was transported back to the first time I read “CARRIE” by Stephen King. The unexpected element of “Carrie” was probably the most haunting. In this, “The Art of Dying” actually surpasses “Carrie.”

THE ART OF DYING is not just a scary book. It is much more than that. Horror is definitely the appropriate genre for this book. However, I do not want to mislead potential readers. This is NOT a Gore-Fest. (Although there are some extremely grisly details where the story demands them.) It is a meticulously plotted thriller and mystery and is a study in the intricacies of the depravity that can exist within the human mind.

The plot is fast-paced and will keep your heart racing throughout. The characters are dynamic and terrifying in equal measure and readers will be happy to know that they have not seen the last of Detective Ray Hanley.

This is a book that readers will remember for a very long time. However, if you are at all squeamish, you should probably pass on reading this book.

Scroll to the bottom of this post for an exclusive look at one of the scenes of the book.

Once I started reading “The Art of Dying” I was unable to put it down. It hooked me instantaneously and, even more importantly, it held my fascination right to the final page.

I recently discovered that Author Derik Cavignano is hard at work on the next book starring Detective Ray Hanley and I am hoping to snag an early copy.

I rate this book as 5+ OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

*** Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with a free copy of this book. ***

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Derik Cavignano is an award-winning author who writes character-driven stories in a variety of genres, including horror, sci-fi, and crime.

His novel, Colony of the Lost, was a 2016 Silver Falchion Award Finalist for best horror, and The Art of Dying: A Ray Hanley Crime Thriller was the 2019 American Fiction Awards Winner in the Horror: General category.

A native of Boston, Derik currently lives in Florida with his wife, two children, and an angry cat who won’t stop biting him.

The Art of Dying was released on September 20, 2019.

To learn more about this author, visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

GOODREADS

FACEBOOK – THE AUTHOR

FACEBOOK – JKS COMMUNICATIONS  

TWITTER    

AMAZON

TURNING POINT by Jeffrey Deaver releases one week from today. Find out more here.

Title: TURNING POINT

Author:  JEFFREY DEAVER 

Genre: FICTION, THRILLER

Length: 66 PAGES

Publisher: AMAZON ORIGINAL STORIES

Received From: NETGALLEY

Release Date: JANUARY 19, 2021

ISBN: 9781542021739

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS  ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

DESCRIPTION:

International bestselling author Jeffery Deaver delivers surprise after alarming surprise in an ingenious story about a serial killer, a detective, and a twisting duel of wits.

A serial killer is trolling a midwestern suburb. His tools: a hammer, a screwdriver, floral wire, a kitchen knife and, to complete his errand, a Russian nesting doll left behind as a calling card. From one grisly crime scene to the next, Detective Ernest Neville and his Russian Doll Killer task force follow. With few leads and his career on the line, Neville is driven to desperate measures to get to the core of this diabolical puzzle. Layer by layer, he’s getting closer to the final piece. Yet the only thing that’s certain in this game is the unexpected, and as citizens are targeted by one of the most reprehensible characters the idyllic town has ever seen, Neville can only wonder if his efforts will end in disaster—for himself, for his family and for the people he’s sworn to protect.

MY REVIEW:

RDK – The Russian Doll Killer has struck for the fourth time. It’s confirmed, a serial killer is loose on the streets of Handleman County for their first ever. With this latest murder occurring only two weeks after the last one, it is clear that the killer is escalating.

RDK received his moniker based on the fact that a set of Russian Nesting Dolls were found at the scene of each of the murders.

Hunting RDK is Detective Ernest Neville who is determined to catch the killer and put him behind bars for the rest of his life.

When RDK strikes a little too close to home, Neville takes it personally. This solidifies the detective’s determination to stop the killer once and for all. But, just who will outsmart who is anything but a foregone conclusion.

I loved the scene at the beginning of the book where reporters are asking the detective questions. When one reporter asks if the police had considered the possibility of the killer being Russian because of the dolls he leaves behind. This is the Detective’s response to the question: “He ignored that , though the answer, had it been given by his six-year-old daughter, would be: ‘Duh.'”

Although this is a work of short fiction, it is action packed and contains it a twist that readers will not see coming.

TURNING POINT is fast paced and due to it’s length, can be read in a single weekend. I rate this book as 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ 

*** Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with a free copy of this book. ***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

A former journalist, folksinger and attorney, Jeffery Deaver is an international number-one bestselling author.

His novels have appeared on bestseller lists around the world, including the New York Times, the Times of London, Italy’s Corriere della Sera, the Sydney Morning Herald and the Los Angeles Times.

His books are sold in 150 countries and have been translated into over twenty-five languages. He has sold 50 million books worldwide.

To learn more about this author, visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

GOODREADS

FACEBOOK

INSTAGRAM

TWITTER

AMAZON  

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<iframe width=”300″ height=”300″ src=”https://www.youtube.com/embed/kOcYwL_27X4&#8243; frameborder=”0″ allow=”accelerometer; autoplay; clipboard-write; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture” allowfullscreen></iframe>

To learn more about these fascinating dolls, go to:
https://nestingdolls.co/blogs/posts/meaning-symbolism-nesting-dolls

THE SAVAGE INSTINCT by M.M. DeLUCA is Historical Fiction at it’s Best. See why here…

Title: THE SAVAGE INSTINCT  

Author: MARJORIE DeLUCA

Genre: FICTIONAL, HISTORICAL FICTION, MYSTERIES AND THRILLERS, CANADIAN AUTHOR

Length: 300 PAGES

Publisher: INKSHARES

Received From: NETGALLEY

Release Date: MARCH 16, 2021

ISBN: 9781947848672

Price: $18.99 USD

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Learn more about Mary Ann Cotton on the Murderpedia site.

DESCRIPTION:

In the lineage of Margaret Atwood’s Alias Grace, The Savage Instinct is the chilling story of one woman’s struggle for her sanity, set against the backdrop of the arrest and trial of Mary Ann Cotton, England’s first female serial killer.

England, 1873.

Clara Blackstone has just been released after one year in a private asylum for the insane. Clara has two goals: to reunite with her husband, Henry, and to never—ever—return to the asylum. As she enters Durham, Clara finds her carriage surrounded by a mob gathered to witness the imprisonment of Mary Ann Cotton—England’s first female serial killer—accused of poisoning nearly twenty people, including her husbands and children.

Clara soon finds the oppressive confinement of her marriage no less terrifying than the white-tiled walls of Hoxton. And as she grows increasingly suspicious of Henry’s intentions, her fascination with Cotton grows. Soon, Cotton is not just a notorious figure from the headlines, but an unlikely confidante, mentor—and perhaps accomplice—in Clara’s struggle to protect her money, her freedom and her life.

MY REVIEW:

“I became acquainted with madness at the age of twenty-six. During that same year, I met the accused murderer Mary Ann Cotton and learned that the evil ones amongst us are not confined to the filthy alleyways of the poor. They mingle freely in the polished parlours of the middle classes and the gilded ballrooms of the wealthy.”

If that first paragraph did not grab your attention, well, maybe you are just a bit mad yourself. 

Set in England in the year 1873, readers learn that Clara Blackstone has spent the past year in one of the many insane asylums that operated in England during those years.

My baby was limp. I’d strained to pull myself up from the fog of ether to hear its cry above the doctor’s mumbling. Silence… They told me it was a stillbirth, but I barely heard them beneath the sound of my own screams.”

Clara’s mental illness? Well, today we know it as postpartum depression exacerbated by the fact that her baby was stillborn, but in 1873, she was simply labeled as “insane.” 

During her year of torturous treatment in the asylum, her husband moved them from London to the city of Durham. It was on her way from the asylum to their new home that their carriage was caught up in a crowd.

The crowd was trying to lay eyes on a woman being led from the courthouse to her transport to the jail. A chant arose:

Mary Ann Cotton, Mary Ann Cotton.
The rope will break yer neck.
And yer’ll be dead and buried and   rotten.”

Clara and her husband eventually arrive at their new home and Clara vows to herself that she will never do anything that could result in her being returned to the hell of the asylum.

That day should have been the start of a new life for Clara, but as readers learn, there are things about her husband that arouse Clara’s suspicions.

When Clara begins doing charity work at the woman’s prison, she is set on a trajectory she could never have seen coming. Readers will not want to put this book down and will find themselves rooting for Clara and possibly even beginning to view multiple murderess Mary Ann Cotton with a dose of sympathy and maybe even a hint of respect.

Along with this wonderful work of historical fiction is a look at the barbaric treatment of “patients” in asylums during that period in history. The author has clearly done her research and exposes many of the horrific “treatments” women were forced to endure. She also includes the fact that many women were shipped off to insane asylums based solely on the testimony of their husbands. So, if a man wanted to take up with a younger woman, all he had to do was say that his wife was hysterical and off the wife went to a life filled with torture and despair. Unfortunately, it is now well known that this happened far too frequently. 

THE SAVAGE INSTINCT is a superb work of historical fiction intertwined with historic facts. Author, Marjorie DeLuca seamlessly weaves her story around the enigmatic figure of the all too real, female serial killer Mary Ann Cotton. I thoroughly enjoyed her take on this historic figure.

Also, the story’s protagonist is 100% believable. Clara Blackstone could easily have been a real person. Her imprisonment in two separate insane asylums proved lifealtering (and not in a positive way.) How her husband treats her once she is released shows the attitudes of the time. Mental illness was seen as a personal failing and not an “illness” at all. Unfortunately, many people still view mental health issues that way today.

At a couple places in the story, I thought I knew exactly what was going to happen next. Both times I discovered (to my delight) that I was wrong. I love it when a plot does not become predictable.

I rate THE SAVAGE INSTINCT as a solid 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ and I will be keeping an eye on this author’s future endeavors.

*** Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with a free copy of #TheSavageInstinct ***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Marjorie DeLuca spent her childhood in the ancient cathedral city of Durham in North-Eastern England.

She attended the University of London, became a teacher, and then immigrated to Canada where she lives with her husband, two children and a crazy dog named Bella. There she also studied writing under her mentor, Pulitzer Prize winning author, Carol Shields.

Though she loves writing sci-fi for teens, she’s also just completed two historical novels due out in the next few months.

To learn more about this author, visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

BLOG

GOODREADS

FACEBOOK

INSTAGRAM

TWITTER

AMAZON

CHAPTERS

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ABOUT THE PUBLISHER:

Recently called “the future of publishing” by The Wall Street Journal, Inkshares is a book publisher that uses a crowdfunding model instead of agents and acquisitions editors to decide what to publish.

Their community of readers can pre-order a book project on Inkshares.com, and if the project hits its funding limit, Inkshares brings the book to life by providing editorial services, design, production, national distribution, and marketing.

To learn more about this Publisher visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE
https://www.inkshares.com

GOODREADS

TWITTER

FACEBOOK

TUMBLR

INSTAGRAM

**************************

MORE BOOKS BY M.M. DeLUCA:

MARY ANN COTTON
Another newspaper photo of Serial Poisoner Mary Ann Cotton

REALER by David Hewson and Narrated by Gemma Whelan – An Audiobook Review of a Speculative/Dystopian Near Future that could easily become our post-pandemic reality. 5 Terrified Stars

Title: REALER

Author: DAVID HEWSON

Narrator: GEMMA WHELAN

Genre: FICTION, SCIENCE FICTION, SPECULATIVE FICTION, DYSTOPIAN FICTION

Length: 8 HOURS and 35 MINUTES

Publisher: W.F. HOWES LTD. 

Type of Book: AUDIOBOOK

Received From: NETGALLEY

Release Date: OCTOBER 29, 2020

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS  ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

The Audiobook is narrated by Game of Thrones
star Gemma Whelan

DESCRIPTION:

AN AUDIOBOOK EXCLUSIVE, PERFORMED BY GAME OF THRONES STAR GEMMA WHELAN.

‘Life is real…but this is Realer…’

Realer promises a new virtual reality, a safe and sanitised window into a virtual existence without the risks of the real, crumbling, post-pandemic society beyond the door. Sixteen year old Charlotte ‘Charlie’ Mackintosh is a loner whose father works for the company. He gives her Realer for her birthday – only to be murdered as she watches through her high-tech hood at home. Alone in a tense, post-lockdown world, Charlie has to turn to Realer to find his killers. She’s soon trapped in a murderous conspiracy behind a system that’s steadily beginning to take over people’s lives. Charlie comes to understand that she can only hide from outside dangers for so long. In the end, the only way to defeat them is face-to-face, in the real world. A place she fears more than any.

Audie award-winning author David Hewson’s edgy dystopian, near-future thriller gives us a chilling glimpse into what our post-pandemic world could become.

LISTEN TO THIS AUDIBLE INTERVIEW WITH AUTHOR DAVID HEWSON FOR FREE.
Click on the photograph to get this free Audible interview.
David Hewson joins Robin Morgan in the Audible Studios to discuss Romeo and Juliet: A Novel, the latest in the series of original audiobook adaptations of Shakespeare plays, narrated by Richard Armitage. The audiobooks are imaginative reworkings of the original plays using contemporary language but retaining the original historical settings.
©2016 Audible Ltd (P)2016 Audible Ltd

MY REVIEW:

Not your typical Dystopian fiction tale.

This tale could (and probably should) be taken as a warning.

The story begins not long after a full year of lockdowns because of the Covid19 pandemic. (Although Covid19 is never specifically named.)

A corporation that is eerily similar to the Amazon corporation of today is at the center of this speculative fiction tale.

A new technological gadget has begun to take the world by storm. It is called a “Realer.” The company tagline is:

‘Life is real…but this is Realer…’

This piece of technology allows the user to visit anywhere in the world through a sort-of virtual reality.

Instead of being themselves, users create avatars and when in “Realer World,” it is those avatars that people see and interact with – meaning you could be talking to anyone, from anywhere and their real identity remains secret.

Fears of the Virus coming back have been a boon for the Realer Corporation. Why actually go on holiday and chance catching the virus when you can “visit” anywhere – from the comfort of your own home?

Charlie (short for Charlotte) is attacked while sketching at a nearby lake. After the attack she is terrified to leave her home. She receives a Realer from her father as a birthday present as a way to coax her back outside and to prove it is safe.

Her father goes for a walk in the nearby woods while wearing Realer glasses. Charlie is able to tag along from her Realer in the safety of her home. She starts to enjoy herself and even begins to think her father is right and that there is nothing to be afraid of.

Suddenly, three cartoon devil monsters appear in her father’s path. He is brutally murdered while she could do nothing except watch it happen.

So begins this unique Dystopian/Speculative Fiction story.

Charlie may be only sixteen, but she is determined to find out who killed her Dad.

With the dogged determination of the youthful, Charlie finds herself not only caught up in a murder investigation, but also in what might prove to be life-altering events not only for herself, but for the entire planet.

With non-stop intrigue, believable technological innovations, a pandemic causing long term lockdowns and the detrimental mental health issues it caused, this story could easily be our near future.

There are a variety of social issues tackled in REALER, along with a mystery that will keep readers guessing until the very end.

David Hewson has created  characters that readers will recognize as either similar to themselves or to others they know.

If you want to take a look at one of our society’s potential futures, this Audiobook is a must listen.

I will be looking for more audiobooks narrated by GEMMA WHELAN. She is a professional actress and was a member of the award-winning cast of Game of Thrones. Her acting experience shines through in her narration as she knows exactly what intonation to use for each chapter. Her narration deserves a 5 Star review of its own. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

It is the combination of great writing, exceptional narration and professional production that combine to make REALER an audiobook not to miss.

A 5 Star rating is exactly what this Audiobook deserves.

5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

*** Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with a free copy of this audiobook. ***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

David Hewson is a contemporary British author of mystery and thriller novels. His work includes the Nic Costa series and Romeo and Juliet, an expansive and rich retelling of the Shakespeare classic which was awarded Best Original Work at the Audie awards.

To learn more about this author, visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

AUDIBLE

GOODREADS

INSTAGRAM

TWITTER   

AMAZON  

ABOUT THE NARRATOR:

Gemma Whelan is an actress and comedian, best known for playing Yara Greyjoy in the HBO fantasy-drama series Game of Thrones.

She plays detective Eunice Noon in The End of the F***ing World on Netflix.

To learn more about this Narrator, visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

AUDIBLE

INSTAGRAM

TWITTER  

AMAZON

………….

To learn more about this Publisher visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

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https://www.instagram.com/wfhowes

https://m.facebook.com/WFHowes

https://mobile.twitter.com/WFHowes

LITTLE BONES – by N.V. Peacock releases this Halloween. An addictive and eerie tale that could easily have been torn from today’s headlines is your Must Have Halloween read!!!

Title: LITTLE BONES

Author: N.V. PEACOCK

Genre: FICTION, MYSTERIES AND THRILLERS

Length: 402 PAGES

Publisher: AVON BOOKS UK – A Division of HARPER COLLINS

Received From: NETGALLEY

Release Date: OCTOBER 31, 2020

ISBN: 9780008436360 (eBook)

Price: $9.99 AUD (eBook)

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

DESCRIPTION:

I have three names: I was born Leigh-Ann. I became Cherrie. When I was a child, they called me Little Bones…

My father was Mr Bones – the notorious serial killer of 25 years ago.

As a child I witnessed his crimes.

Everything is different now. I have a new identity. I’m a mother. I am finally free.

Until that podcast. I should never have listened.

They’re linking a recent disappearance to the crimes of the past.

They know who I am. They’re calling me Little Bones again.

They say I’m a villain but I’m not. I’m a victim.

You believe me, don’t you?

MY REVIEW:

I began this book with no experience of reading other N.V. Peacock books. (Many of her previous books were published with Nicky Peacock as the author, but, before reading LITTLE BONES, I had yet to read any books written under either name.) I was unsure of what to expect since my research showed that the author’s usual genre is Young Adult. However, reading LITTLE BONES with a completely open mind ended up being a pleasantly rewarding experience and I am very pleased that I did so.

There are two interwoven plots in LITTLE BONES; they are fascinating both separately as well as together.

Cherrie is a grown woman with a child of her own. She lives a comfortable life even though she doesn’t make much money at her job at the deli counter of a local independent grocery store. The father of her child lives with them and Cherrie feels lucky. The only thing marring her perfect suburban existence is the knowledge that she harbors a secret.

She knows she should be honest with her boyfriend and with her close friends, but the terror and ostracism she experienced as a child has never been forgotten and she is afraid history will repeat itself.

As a child her name had been Leigh-Ann and her father was the notorious artist and serial killer MR. BONES. (Wait until you read about his crimes, you will be surprised at their uniqueness.) When he was arrested, Cherrie’s entire world fell apart. Kids who knew about her father and what he had done began calling her LITTLE BONES, the media followed suit and the horrible nickname followed her until she was old enough to legally change her name.

But, all that happened twenty-five years ago. Noone in her present-day life knew about her past and she planned to keep it that way… FOREVER.

BUT, life has a way of throwing curveballs into the best laid plans…

When a local child goes missing and ends up dead, one podcast is all it takes to place Cherrie right in the middle of her worst nightmare.

She needs to keep her son safe, and she may just have to channel her inner “Little Bones” to do so.

The fast pace of this story left me unable to put the book down. I just had to know what would happen next.

Kidnapping, murder, stalking, grief, and shame are just a few of the many themes addressed in LITTLE BONES.

I am a mother, so I empathize with Cherrie and her desire to keep her child safe no matter what the cost. There are several incidents during which she crossed the line between legal and illegal, and between moral and immoral. Readers will have to answer for themselves just how far they would be willing to go to keep their family safe. I think the answer might surprise you.

Creepy, yet relatable, this story is one that readers will continue thinking about long after reading the final page. In fact, this book is perfect for Book Clubs and is sure to invite vigorous discussion.

I rate LITTLE BONES as 5 OUT OF 5 STARS. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

*** Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with a free copy of this book. ***


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

N V Peacock also writes YA and Horror as Nicky Peacock. She lives in lovely Northamptonshire, She has spent over 20 years in sales and writes in her spare time. Nine years ago she discovered the anthology market, and it wasn’t long before her first short story was published. With over 30 stories in horror, thriller and paranormal anthologies for publishers all over the world, including stories in the Mammoth Book of Jack the Ripper and a Women in Horror Anthology, she’s no stranger to the dark side. After writing 5 YA supernatural novels, she turned her hand to an adult thriller.

With her love of true crime podcasts, the plot of Little Bones came together quickly and after several drafts, developed into a fully-fledged book with a killer twist and a strong female protagonist with a wicked sense of humour.

Nicky has a degree in creative writing and runs a local writers’ group. With 20 members, it’s grown into a wonderful place for novice and established writers to gather and share thoughts, discuss their work and above all motivate them to keep writing. While running the group, Nicky has found that spending time with like-minded people, who enjoy writing as much as she does, is crucial to maintain the motivation and devotion that writing needs.

About her writing, Nicky says, ‘Entertaining readers is the best feeling in the world. Times are tough at the moment, so to be able to transport readers into someone else’s life and take them on a twisty journey makes all the time and effort I put into my books worthwhile.’

Nicky appreciates every review she receives and thanks all her readers in advance for taking the time to put fingers to keyboard and share their thoughts with other readers.

To learn more about this author, visit the following links:

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THE GHOST TREE by CHRISTINA HENRY is now available everywhere Spooky books are sold.

Title: THE GHOST TREE

Author: CHRISTINA HENRY 

Genre: FICTION, HORROR

Length:  432 PAGES

Publisher: BERKLEY PUBLISHING GROUP – A Division of PENGUIN RANDOM HOUSE

Received From: NETGALLEY

Release Date: SEPTEMBER 8, 2020

ISBN: 9780451492302

Price: $16.00 (USD)

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

DESCRIPTION:

When people go missing in the sleepy town of Smith’s Hollow, the only clue to their fate comes when a teenager starts having terrifying visions, in a chilling horror novel from national bestselling author Christina Henry.

When the bodies of two girls are found torn apart in the town of Smiths Hollow, Lauren is surprised, but she also expects that the police won’t find the killer. After all, the year before her father’s body was found with his heart missing, and since then everyone has moved on. Even her best friend, Miranda, has become more interested in boys than in spending time at the old ghost tree, the way they used to when they were kids.

So when Lauren has a vision of a monster dragging the remains of the girls through the woods, she knows she can’t just do nothing. Not like the rest of her town. But as she draws closer to answers, she realizes that the foundation of her seemingly normal town might be rotten at the center. And that if nobody else stands for the missing, she will.

MY REVIEW:

“Lauren knew Mom didn’t want her and Miranda meeting in the woods. Especially after last year. Especially after Lauren’s dad was found near that old cabin. Mom thought Lauren was macabre for going anywhere near the place where her father was murdered.”

“She and Lauren always met under the ghost tree. They’d done so since they were very small, for so long that Lauren couldn’t remember who’d thought of the idea first.”

So begins the novel THE GHOST TREE.

Something is very wrong in Smiths Hollow.

The story begins a year after Lauren’s father was murdered.

Now the torn-apart bodies of two teen girls have been found in a backyard that connects with the very same forest.

Alex Lopez and his family have only recently moved to Smiths Hollow after he was hired on to the miniscule local police force. It was Alex and his partner who were the first to be called to the scene of the murdered teenagers. He was both shocked and appalled at the horrific violence. 

The first order of business was to try to identify the girls. Next up, they needed to determine who murdered and mutilated them, and WHY?

As the story unfolds, secrets are revealed and a secret and widespread conspiracy seems to be taking place in Smiths Hollow.

The bodycount continues to rise, and it becomes more and more apparent that something very sinister is taking place in the small town.

This is the perfect book to pick up today since it is Halloween and spooky stories are the order of the day.

In addition to the main plot, there are several subplots including one that speaks to a major problem facing the current populace of the United States – that of racism – both overt, and systemic.

I enjoyed reading THE GHOST TREE and I recommend it to those who like a bit of spookiness alongside their mysteries. Like I said, this a perfect book to begin reading on this Halloween night.

I rate THE GHOST TREE as 4 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐.

*** Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with a free copy of this book.***

FAVORITE QUOTES:

“She hesitated, because she felt that to say what she was thinking out loud would be like crossing the Rubicon. Her sixth-grade social studies teacher, Mr. Connolly, had used that phrase once and when she asked what he meant, he told her it was a way of saying a step that you couldn’t take back.”

“Alejandro Lopez – he preferred to be called Alex rather than Alejandro, because the Americanized name made white folks feel like he was one of them…

“There is something wrong with this town, Alex thought.” 

“Yes, there was something very wrong in Smiths Hollow. And Alex needed to find out what it was before it disappeared from his memory, too. Before he forgot about the girls who’d called to him in dead voices. Before whoever – or whatever – cut those girls to pieces did it again.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

CHRISTINA HENRY  is the author of the CHRONICLES OF ALICE series – ALICE, RED QUEEN, and LOOKING GLASS – a dark and twisted take on Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, as well as THE GIRL IN RED, a post-apocalyptic Red Riding Hood novel, and LOST BOY: THE TRUE STORY OF CAPTAIN HOOK, an origin story of Captain Hook from Peter Pan.

She is also the author of the national bestselling BLACK WINGS series (BLACK WINGS, BLACK NIGHT, BLACK HOWL, BLACK LAMENT, BLACK CITY, BLACK HEART and BLACK SPRING) featuring Agent of Death Madeline Black and her popcorn-loving gargoyle Beezle.

She enjoys running long distances, reading anything she can get her hands on and watching movies with samurai, zombies and/or subtitles in her spare time. She lives in Chicago with her husband and son.

To learn more about this author, visit the following links:

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CHAPTERS  

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More Books by Christina Henry:

Polish Book Cover of ALICE

MISSING FROM THE VILLAGE by Investigative Reporter JUSTIN LING is available for pre-order NOW. This 5 STAR Read is destined for the National Bestseller list.

Title: MISSING FROM THE VILLAGE

Subtitle: The Story of Serial Killer Bruce McArthur, the Search for Justice, and the System That Failed Toronto’s Queer Community

Author: JUSTIN LING

Genre: NON-FICTION, LGBTQIA2+, LGBTQQ, QUEER NON-FICTION, TRUE CRIME, DIVERSITY, MULTICULTURAL INTEREST, SERIAL KILLERS, TORONTO, ONTARIO, CANADA,  CANADIAN AUTHOR

Length: 304 PAGES

Publisher: MCCLELLAND AND STEWART – A DIVISION OF PENGUIN RANDOM HOUSE CANADA

Received From: NETGALLEY

Release Date: SEPTEMBER 29, 2020

ISBN: 9780771048647

Price: $32.95 CDN

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Bruce McArthur pleaded guilty to killing these eight men.
Top row, from left to right: Skandaraj Navaratnam, Andrew Kinsman, Selim Esen and Abdulbasir Faizi.
Bottom row, from left to right: Kirushna Kumar Kanagaratnam, Dean Lisowick, Soroush Mahmudi and Majeed Kayhan.
(John Fraser/CBC)

DESCRIPTION:

The tragic and resonant story of the disappearance of eight men — the victims of serial killer Bruce McArthur — from Toronto’s queer community.

In 2013, the Toronto Police Service announced that the disappearances of three men–Skandaraj Navaratnam, Abdulbasir Faizi, and Majeed Kayhan — from Toronto’s gay village were, perhaps, linked. When the leads ran dry, the investigation was shut down, on paper classified as “open but suspended.”

By 2015, investigative journalist Justin Ling had begun to retrace investigators’ steps, convinced there was evidence of a serial killer.

Meanwhile, more men would go missing, and police would continue to deny that there was a threat to the community. On January 18, 2018, Bruce McArthur, a landscaper, would be arrested on suspicion of first-degree murder. In February 2019, he was sentenced to life in prison for the murders of eight men.

Canadian Serial Killer
Bruce McArthur
Ho / THE CANADIAN PRESS

This extraordinary book tells the complete story of the McArthur murders. Based on more than five years of in-depth reporting, this is also a story of police failure, of how the queer community responded, and the story of the eight men who went missing and the lives they left behind. In telling that story, Justin Ling uncovers the latent homophobia and racism that kept this case unsolved and unseen. This gripping book reveals how police agencies across the country fail to treat missing persons cases seriously, and how policies and laws, written at every level of government, pushed McArthur’s victims out of the light and into the shadows.

MY REVIEW:

MISSING FROM THE VILLAGE is destined to become a National Bestseller.

Investigative Reporter Justin Ling, himself a member of Toronto’s LGBTQ community – the very same community from which McArthur chose his victims – is uniquely qualified to author this book.

I say this, NOT based on his sexuality, I say this because he seems to have been the only person, and definitely the only reporter, who was interested in finding out what was happening in Toronto’s Gay Village YEARS before the police even considered the men’s disappearances to be connected. Not only that, but because Justin knows the area, and is a reporter with a heart who cares (sometimes too much) about each victim as a person, not as just another face in the lineup of victims. Justin is the only person who could tell this story without sensationalism getting in the way.

I have read numerous true crime books over the span of many years, but MISSING FROM THE VILLAGE is unique. It is superbly told so that the focus is not on the gruesome crimes themselves, but is on the story as a whole. I love that the author was so wrapped up in the story that, at times, he had to fight back tears.

Canada has its fair share of crimes, including murder, but Canadian serial killers are rare. These killers seem to focus on marginalized populations, seeing those victims as disposable. The problem is that they seem to be right. It took way too long for the police to catch this POS.

Sex, murder and secrets are the basis for this horrific true crime story that, if I didn’t know better, I would never have believed to be true, especially not here in Ontario, Canada.

MISSING FROM THE VILLAGE is a MUST READ if you want to know the entire story, not just of Bruce McArthur and his victims, but also the history of Toronto’s gay village and the fight for LGBTQIA2S rights, and why Bruce McArthur was able to go on killing over the span of several years and remain undetected.

McArthur’s victims were real people who had loved ones and friends who still miss them.

In this era of the #metoo movement and the calls to #defundthepolice and, of course, #blacklivesmatter we all need to remember that many people are still seen as unimportant. THIS NEEDS TO STOP.

For decades people who are queer, who are sex workers, who are black, who are brown, who are Indigenous, who are homeless, and many more, have been treated as if their lives do not matter. It is up to each and every one of us to make sure we see, REALLY SEE, every life as equal and as precious. This book will open people’s eyes, it is up to us to ensure our eyes stay open.

If we can do this, maybe, just maybe, we can stop the next Bruce McArthur from being able to choose victims at will.

I rate MISSING FROM THE VILLAGE as 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ and I will be watching for Justin Ling’s byline, and hopefully another book.

I just discovered that you can Pre-order the hardcover version of this book on the Chapters/Indigo website for a reduced price. It is currently 25% off, but I am not privy to when this offer ends, so I suggest you pre-order your copy ASAP.

Pre-Order NOW and Save 25%

*** Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with a free copy of this book. ***

QUOTES:

“The bar changed colour like a drag queen trying on new shades of lipstick.”

“The contrast between the bright paint and the rest of the dour building gave Zipperz the particular quality of being a portal into another world, a secret passageway.”

“The campaign to find a missing loved one sits exactly between hope and dread.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

JUSTIN LING is an investigative journalist whose reporting has focused on stories and issues undercovered and misunderstood.

His writing has appeared in Vice News, BuzzFeed, Foreign Policy, Motherboard, the Globe and Mail, the National Post, and the Guardian.

In 2019 he hosted “The Village,” the third season of the CBC podcast Uncover, which examined cold cases from the 1970s that were reopened as a result of the McArthur investigation.

To learn more about this author, visit the following links:

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A REVIEW OF THE NEWLY RELEASED PSYCHOLOGICAL THRILLER – THE SHADOW BIRD – Released on July 15th, 2020.

Title: THE SHADOW BIRD

Author: ANN GOSSLIN

Genre: FICTION, MYSTERIES & THRILLERS

Length: 272 PAGES

Publisher: LEGEND PRESS

Received From: NETGALLEY

Release Date: JULY 15, 2020

ISBN: (Paperback): 9781789551150

Price: £8.99 GBP

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

DESCRIPTION:

Three months into her new role as a psychiatrist at a clinic in New York, Erin Cartwright is asked to evaluate the case of a man who murdered his mother and sisters at the age of seventeen.

Found not guilty by reason of insanity and held in a maximum-security psychiatric facility for twenty-seven years, Timothy Stern is now eligible for release. Upon learning the crime occurred in the same village she once visited as a child, Erin is on the verge of refusing to take the case, when a startling discovery triggers memories she’d rather keep hidden, and a suspicion the wrong man is behind bars.

MY REVIEW:

It is almost impossible to believe that THE SHADOW BIRD is author Ann Gosslin’s first novel. This psychological thriller is sure to gain instant fans. I know for sure that I will be watching for her next novel and I sincerely hope she continues on with Psychiatry Specialist Erin Cartwright. 

The plot of THE SHADOW BIRD  contains twists and turns that first time authors are not usually adept at. Author Ann Gosslin handles them like a seasoned professional. The multiple plot lines could easily have become unruly, but Ann Gosslin’s talent and incredible intelligence shine through and readers will find this psychological thriller impossible to put down.

There are very few books where the conclusion surprises me, when I find such a book, I am inclined to shout it to the rooftops. THE SHADOW BIRD is worthy of my shouting.

Characters so realistic they jump off the pages and make you want to learn more about them.

This is a PERFECT book for Book Clubs around the world. I am well aware that this book is not available for a couple more weeks, but this knowledge does nothing to dampen my recommendation. You should PRE-ORDER this book from your favorite Indie Bookstore.

I rate THE SHADOW BIRD as 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

*** Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with a free ebook copy of “The Shadow Bird.” ***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
(Copied from the author’s website)

From an early age, even before I knew how to read and write, I’ve been fascinated by stories of all kinds — especially anything to do with travel and adventure.

As someone who is always gazing at the horizon, tales of unwitting characters forced to navigate unfamiliar cultures or languages, as well as the treacherous depths of their own memory, continue to fascinate.

In my own fiction, I like to explore the effects of culture (and cultural dislocation) on identity, memory, and the perception of self.

My debut novel, The Shadow Bird, was published in the UK in July 2020 by Legend Press.

To learn more about this author, visit the following links:

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ABOUT THE PUBLISHER:

Legend Press is an independent book publisher founded in 2005 by Tom Chalmers, that specialises in original fiction, crime thrillers and its Legend Classics series. Legend Press has been shortlisted for numerous awards as a company and also for individual books.

As part of its platform, London-based Legend Press has built a global sales and distribution network with the target of reaching readers in multiple formats across the world. It is also passionate about licensing its content to publishers, whether into different languages, formats such as audio and large print, or into key English language markets.

Much of its success has been due to keenness to innovate and to be a market-leader for new initiatives. And as its ultimate mission, Legend Press aims to produce books of the highest quality, provide a global platform for authors and to inspire and thrill book readers around the world.

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