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Sutherland’s Crossing – A Beau Crenshaw Detective Novel: A Sinister and Twisted Murder Mystery by Gwen Kelly (Book Spotlight)

Set in steamy Charleston, South Carolina, the mysterious disappearance of a twin daughter to wealthy socialites has the town ablaze with rumor and conspiracy.

What began as a missing person’s case now has Detective Beau Crenshaw heading in a different direction when a body turns up at a swamp. The pattern of death is eerily similar to Mary’s, an unsolved murder from years earlier.

The collision of similarities too great to be a coincidence makes him suspect he is chasing the same person, but how can this be possible? Has this person been lying dormant all these years, waiting for the right opportunity to erupt, or is this a copycat?

Beau goes on the hunt for a killer. He can’t mess up this time. He’s given a second chance to get a madman off the streets.

What follows is a dark web of intrigue and deception that will push Detective Beau Crenshaw to his limits.

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Chapter 1

Sunday, June 18, 1995


A slight breeze caressed the Spanish moss draped over the limbs of the live oak trees—majestic portraits of southern charm—holding secrets of the past tightly embedded in every vein of their massive frames. Oh, the stories they could tell. A voice echoed brazenly through the forest walls.

“Come out, come out wherever you are.”

The salty air was oddly silent, yet noticeably dense. As the late-afternoon sky set in motion its dark descent, the billowy softness of the pure white clouds shifted against the backdrop of the periwinkle-blue sky, causing fragmented glimpses of the sun poking through the clouds. Staring long enough, the mind could take hold and contort the images into characters as if watching a movie, but in a flash these clouds contorted the mind into a new scene, forever in motion and constantly twisting the narrative. Audra knew her narrative was about to become twisted.

“I know you’re here.”

The screech of cicadas came from every direction as they started up their early-evening songs of the South, intermittent with katydids in a much higher staccato-style pitch, frogs croaking to the beat. As if silently orchestrated, birds harmonized their ballads to make magic. It was a classic June afternoon in Charleston, South Carolina, known for its relentlessly humid subtropical climate, and yet for Audra, this day would be anything but typical. She had to carry forward, somehow. Think, Audra, think, she told herself, and breathe, for God’s sake! Every second counted. From here on, every decision would have a life-altering effect. As an introvert, acting impulsively was as uncomfortable to her as orbiting the moon.

Today all her senses were elevated, her nose first detecting the rotting flesh of a dead animal nearby, its odious stink compounding by the potent smell of jasmine, which by itself is a beautiful aroma, unless commingling with the foul stench of death. Her eyes feasted on the scene before her to force the scent from her mind, but Audra’s nostrils couldn’t escape the wicked unpleasantness.

“Come on. This is ridiculous. Where are you?”

She shuffled forward and grabbed onto the weathered porch railing, stumbling with each step. Sweat beaded on her brow, and her drenched clothes stuck to her body, the material creasing and pinching her skin when she moved, its restriction only adding to her sensation of constraint. Droplets of briny sweat would land on her upper lip unnoticed. Every so often, a piece of the paint flaked off the porch railing and stuck itself to her wet skin. Pieces of her thick, shoulder-length brunette hair glued itself to her face, and when she raised a hand to swipe the stray strands from her skin, the saturated hair resisted leaving the flawless complexion.

The cawing from a trio of black crows jerked Audra back to reality as they flew past her, their tone first eerily piercing but eventually softening as they glided into the periphery, then disappeared entirely from view. Their departure left behind the sound of her heart beating madly in her chest. Each thump sent a chilling echo throughout her.

Why did everything have a sensation of being so exaggerated? She wanted to scream. And yet . . . there was still a drive in her pushing her forward . . . to get to the finish line. Like the sensation on a roller coaster as it creeps ever so slowly to the top . . . click clack . . . click clack . . . click clack. Finally, it reaches the top, and for a moment, is suspended in an odd weightlessness, with no way of turning back. You are now relying on the metal bar lying across your lap to keep you tucked in place, preventing an escape, forcing on, and providing a false sense of security. And as it crosses the threshold, the coaster picks up momentum, and that sinking feeling in your stomach begins an uncomfortable dance. The weightlessness is amplified until everything catches up. Then the nervous laughter begins, and you embrace the triumph of conquering the beast. The lines become blurred between normal excitement and what is deep-seated agony.

She spotted her twin sister, Abby, now, less than a 100 yards away, but Abby couldn’t see her. She was fiercely looking for her, though, and now mad as a rabid dog, screaming out into the swamp to an audience of no one.

“I know you’re there, Audra. Come out, and let’s talk about this. Grow up and face me for once in your life. Come on, Audra. Stop this.”

Audra felt conflicted. How was she going to protect herself? Everything was rushing forward like a dam that had broken. She needed to settle down, to think clearly. But the panic wouldn’t let go. The horrible panic. Oh, how she hated that word. She was sick of its grip on her, of its being in charge of her life knowing that panic held the cards for what the day would bring. She was so sick of it all. What a strange existence. Maybe death was the best end.

At only thirty-three years old, Audra didn’t want to deal with this, to experience this kind of torment. A ripple of strength overcame her, and Audra knew what she needed to do. She needed to finish the ride. She turned around and gasped as a voice broke against her stillness so close she could feel the warmth of the breath.

“Hello, sister. It’s been awhile.”


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Lovely Leo ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐: I am a once avid reader who in the last few years has not done much reading that is not on a device. I have to say that reading this book has rekindled my love of reading books! This is an amazing author who we need to be following and telling everyone about! I had a hard time putting this book down because every time I wanted to, a new twist happened that I didn’t see coming and I needed to keep reading to find out what was going to happen. I can’t wait to read the next book to see the story continue. I love it when a series wraps up the main event but leaves some unanswered questions on the backstories so they carry forward in the next book. I’ll be watching for Ms. Kelly’s next installment in the series.
Lee Austin ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐:  Love this book! I couldn’t put it down. It’s a great read and I highly recommend to anyone that loves a good mystery thriller. I don’t want to say too much and spoil anything but what a great twist that I didn’t see coming! This book would make a great gift as well.
Kelly ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐:   This book was fast paced with extremely interesting characters! I enjoyed the story and it had me on the edge of my seat until the very last page! The character development was fascinating and the story was fresh and utterly unpredictable. I truly enjoyed reading every page!

Meet the Author

I am an award winning author who’s passionate about writing. I love to share stories. I’m always evolving to become the best fun version of myself. As I follow my path, I will continue to write stories, help shelter dogs find beautiful loving homes and aid individuals needing financial assistance to spay and neuter their pets.

My ultimate goal is to one day have a small farm called Sutherland’s Crossing Sanctuary for animals needing a place to be loved, to feel at peace and eventually die with dignity.

I have many stories still brewing in my head and will continue to write books in many genres – murder mystery, children’s book, historical true story, comedy book and whatever else formulates.

Please join me on my journey as I produce more books for you to enjoy and so together, we can continue to get lost in the world of words all while helping the animals!

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The Scalp Collector by Suzanne Smith (Book Review)

Detective Sammy Stone stared at the blood soaked corpse tied to the La-Z-Boy recliner. The body was that of twenty one year old Marci Levelle. Like Barbara Tony in Lake County last month and Abigail May in DuPage County the month before, Marci has been scalped and gutted. Sammy’s sixth sense tells him that this sadistic killer, aptly named the Scalp Collector by the press, hasn’t finished his murderous rampage yet. It’s just a matter of time before he takes the life of another innocent girl. Determined to put an end to the senseless slaughter as quickly as possible, Sammy relentlessly follows the bizarre pattern of clues that begin to emerge in the aftermath of the crime. It isn’t long before he realizes that the prime suspect in his murder investigation is an intimate acquaintance of his. Will Sammy act on his suspicions in time to save the next victim, and himself?

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I received a complimentary copy of this book from Reedsy Discovery. I voluntarily chose to read and post an honest review.


Do you love watching crime shows? Do you scrutinize every piece of evidence, attempting to solve the case before the fictional cops do? Have you ever doubted your sleuthing instincts? Have you ever flip-flopped whether a character is guilty because the evidence was so overwhelming, which made them the obvious choice? If you answered yes to even one of these questions, you must read The Scalp Collector by Suzanne Smith.

The short story begins with a crime scene that would turn anyone’s stomach. Marci Levelle, twenty-one, was discovered tied to her La-Z-Boy: gagged, gutted, and scalped. I can’t imagine being a police officer or coroner working on this case; worse, she’s not the first victim. Three women dead. Three different jurisdictions. Will Detective Sammy Stone stop the serial killer before he or she targets victim number 4?

The evidence was overwhelming, pointing at one character. Sammy didn’t want to believe someone close to him was a murderer; however, he had an obligation to follow the evidence. Sammy didn’t follow police procedures, which came back to haunt him. He should’ve contacted his partner (Will) and the other precinct detectives about his suspicions or the frantic help me phone call.

His investigation did reveal painful memories and brought to light scars that someone would’ve preferred to stay hidden. (I’m staying vague to avoid spoilers.)

When the investigation leads to one suspect, you must ask yourself, Is it too obvious? Are they the killer, or are they being setup quite beautifully? That was the case with this case. (No pun intended) I had the nagging feeling it was all too easy, but then again, I wondered if the author played it that way. 

When Sammy and the serial killer come face-to-face, he realizes they do not fit the profile. Their reasoning for these horrific acts proved the villain required psychiatric care for many years. 

Did Sammy catch the killer before their blade took scalp number 4?

Did the scalp collector escape? 

Read the book and find out! 


Heart Rating System:
1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 

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Meet the Author

I grew up in Bucktown, a bustling community on the northwest side of Chicago. From an early age, I was attracted to the dark side of human nature, truly fascinated by what motivated good people to behave in bad ways. My books touch on both the grace and brutality of life.

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Paw and Order: A Detective Whiskers Cat Cozy Mystery (The Detective Whiskers Cozy Mystery Series) by Chris Abernathy (Book Review)

What’s better than a K-9 cop? A feline detective. Detective Whiskers is out to prove himself, and keep his human from being framed for murder, or worse. He’ll need the help of his new animal friends and Sheila’s group of female sleuths. This cozy mystery set in a small town in Old Florida is purrfect for cat lovers and anyone who enjoys a fun beach read.


Who is really catching killers in Paradise Cove? It’s not the local police. The Paradise Cove Murder Society is getting the job done, with more help than they realize from a furry detective named Whiskers.

Sheila and her cat Whiskers are starting a new life in the perfect little Florida beach town that managed to avoid the big crowds, condos and chain stores. But as soon as they arrive the town has its first ever murder. Good thing Whiskers is a trained detective! Fred, Sheila’s husband of forty years, was a police detective who recently passed away, right before they were supposed to retire to the beach. After forty years of devoting herself entirely to being a good wife and mother she’s now left to put her life back together, but what kind of life will it be? In a fresh setting, and with some quirky new friends, she slowly begins to remember all of the dreams she had as a young woman. She has a second chance to chase those dreams, if she can stay alive and out of prison. When her next door neighbor is killed and the evidence points to Sheila, it’s time for Whiskers to step up.

Whiskers was Fred’s loyal assistant and he’ll need to remember everything he learned from his mentor to keep Sheila safe as she rediscovers herself. With the help of some unexpected new friends of his own Detective Whiskers sets out to prove to the world, and himself, that he is worthy of the shiny badge on his collar. If you love humorous cozy mysteries where pets take the lead and eccentric friends come together to solve crimes with just the right amount of suspense then the Detective Whiskers Cozy Mystery Series is exactly what you’re looking for.


This book does not contain profanity or graphic descriptions of violence and bedroom scenes.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Great Escapes Book Tours.  I voluntarily chose to read and post an honest review.

I’ve read numerous detective stories. Watch my fair share of crime shows too. I’ve seen a case played out through the eyes of the victim, lawyers, plaintiff, and (human) cops. However, Paw and Order is the first mystery novel where a cat runs the show. Where the storyline is shown through their eyes. 

Detective Whiskers talks to eyewitnesses, aka fellow animals, as they hunt for clues. The feline detective has many attributes that make him a hot ticket investigator. One, he can speak to eyewitnesses that humans can’t. You know, since humans can’t converse with animals in an actual conversation. Two, Whiskers can sniff out clues better than a dog. True. I  learned that cats have two organs that work together to help them detects scents. In fact, they can detect a smell from across a football field. AMAZING! Three, he doesn’t require cash payment. Belly scratch and donuts, yes. Moolah? Nope, no need. 

Sheila’s recently lost her husband. She nearly traded in her vacation home for prison bars. Thankfully, with her the help of her sweet, inquisitive kitty and the new gal pals, who make up the Paradise Cove Murder Society, the actual culprit was apprehended.  

Paw and Order is a cozy mystery that has many humorous moments. I laughed at the catnip discussion. And when Detective Whiskers questions Roddy, the mouse. There was some awkwardness regarding Whisker’s remarks about an attractive human. Other than that, a solid story that I recommend you read! 

Heart Rating System:
1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 

Meet the Author

Chris Abernathy has narrated more than 200 audiobooks and now he is writing his own stories. He has been a storyteller his entire life — around campfires at a summer camp as a counselor, on the radio for more than 30 years, as an actor with background roles on major motion pictures and TV series, as a producer of short films for social media and more. Chris is married with two sons and lives on the Gulf Coast in Alabama. He is a dual national with citizenship in the US and UK and visits family in the Scottish Highlands as often as possible.

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Lies at Her Door: A Psychological Thriller by A.A. Abbott (Book Review)

LIES AT HER DOOR (a psychological thriller) by A.A. Abbott

She forgot about her childhood friend… until his body is found under her garden. Can she prove she didn’t commit the decades-old murder?

Lucy Freeman struggles to find satisfaction in life. Trapped in the shadow of her rock star brother, the thirty-two-year-old craves more than her days at home caring for her terminally ill mother. But her routine takes a turn for the horrifying when a giant sinkhole collapses the earth outside their house and reveals a skeleton.

Shocked to discover the bones belong to a former member of her sibling’s band, Lucy’s worst nightmare comes alive when police suspect her of the killing. And as she turns to her dying parent’s diaries in a desperate search for vindication, she’s entangled in a dark and complicated truth.
Will unearthing long-buried wrongs prove lethal?
Lies at Her Door is a heavy-hitting psychological thriller novel. If you like strong character growth, overcoming dysfunctional relationships, and revealing unexpected secrets, then you’ll love AA Abbott’s chilling whodunnit.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from iRead Book Tours. I voluntarily chose to read and post an honest review.
Lies at Her Door: A Psychological Thriller by A.A. Abbott lived up to its name. Many people stretched the truth to serve their purposes or to protect someone close to them. 

There was also a psychopath whose evil actions stretched farther than I anticipated. There were thrilling life and death moments. Shocking truths were disclosed, and I mean SHOCKING! Family drama and loss of life. It was a story full of drama of varying degrees. 

Lies at Her Door: A Psychological Thriller pointed out cops are sometimes close-minded to other possible suspects when their mind is set on a specific individual. I think Detective Neil learned a valuable lesson after this case closed. 

I want to mention that since I live in the states, some British jargon was lost on me. I had to look up bubble and squeak and gendarmes. There were also phrases that we don’t use in America, such as we don’t end a sentence with “my lover” unless referring to someone you’re having coitus with. I looked that up and found out it’s a common term of endearment or greeting. 

Despite the random language barrier, I was able to follow the plot well. The crime and its resolution were planned and carried out beautifully. 

I encourage everyone reading this review to buy or download Lies at Her Door: A Psychological Thriller by A.A. Abbott using your kindle unlimited subscription. See if you can solve the mystery before all is revealed. FYI: I had most of the puzzle figured out, but not all. 🙂

Heart Rating System:
1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 
Meet the Author:
Author A.A. Abbott

British crime thriller writer A.A. Abbott (also known as Helen Blenkinsop) enjoys escaping with an exciting and emotional read, and that’s what she aims to write too. Based in the city of Bristol in England’s beautiful West Country, she’s shared her love for the city by writing about it in her latest psychological thriller.

Lies at Her Door is Helen’s ninth book. She’s had help from readers on subjects as varied as police procedure, philosophy and music. She’s grateful to them and to editor Katharine D’Souza for making huge improvements to the story.

Like 10% of us, many of Helen’s family are dyslexic. While she is not, she wants her books to be enjoyed by readers with dyslexia and visual impairment too. She publishes her thrillers in a Large Print dyslexia-friendly edition as well as standard paperback and ebook versions. (You can also adjust the font on your electronic device to suit your needs.)

A member of the Alliance of Independent Authors, Helen likes speaking to book groups, business networks and social circles. She also has fun reading thrillers and short stories at live fiction events and on Zoom. If you’re a book blogger, litfest organiser, reviewer or simply adore books, she’d love to hear from you.

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“Candidate for Murder” and “Crimes Past” by Lauren Carr (2 Book Spotlight)

OMG! Carr is over the top and giving us an easy “10”  with her latest, Candidate for Murder!…Don’t just sit there thinking that this might be the book to try for Lauren Carr! I’m telling you right now it’s a must-read for daring, adventure, crime-busting, high-level government criminal elimination.” – reviewer by Glenda Bixler, Book Readers Heaven

“OMG!!! The best Mac Faraday…yet. Lauren Carr is a master storyteller who combines the humor of Janet Evanovich and the investigative skills of Patricia Cornwell. She is always at the top of my reading list.” – review by Sherry Fundin, Fundinmental, As Eye See It

Book Description:

It’s election time in Spencer, Maryland, and the race for mayor is not a pretty one. In recent years, the small resort town has become divided between the local year-round residents who have enjoyed their rural way of life and the city dwellers moving into their mansions, taking over the town council, and proceeding to turn Deep Creek Lake into a closed gate community—complete with a host of regulations for everything from speed limits to clothes lines.

When the political parties force-feed two unsavory mayoral nominees on the town residents, Police Chief David O’Callaghan decides to make a statement—by nominating Gnarly, Mac Faraday’s German shepherd, to run as mayor of Spencer!

What starts out as a joke turns into a disaster when overnight Gnarly becomes the front runner—at which point his political enemies take a page straight out of Politics 101. What do you do when you’re behind in a race? Dig up dirt on the front runner, of course.

Seemingly, someone is not content to rest with simply embarrassing the front runner by publicizing his dishonorable discharge from the United States Army, but to throw in a murder for good measure.

With murder on the ballot, Mac Faraday and the gang—including old friends from past cases—dive in to clear Gnarly’s name, catch a killer, and save Spencer!
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  Audible ~ Amazon
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Add to Goodreads


“With her usual panache, Lauren Carr blends the grittiness of murder(s) with a good deal of humor, the latter revolving largely around Gnarly and David’s Belgian shepherd, Storm, who would much rather be couch potato-ing than anything involving exertion.” – review by Lelia Taylor, Buried Under Books

Lauren Carr is one of the best authors I know who is able to combine humor and drama in one captivating and easy-listen story. Yes, you can listen to this one, narrated by Mike Alger. Mr. Alger has read several of Mac’s series, so he has the voices down, along with the variations and the tone.” – review by Merry Citarella, Mystery Suspense Reviews

Book Description:

It’s a bittersweet reunion for Mac Faraday when members of his former homicide squad arrive at the Spencer Inn. While it is sweet to attend the wedding of a late colleague’s daughter, it is a bitter reminder that the mother of the bride had been the victim of a double homicide.

The brutal slaying weighing heavy on his mind, Mac is anxious to explore every avenue for a break in the cold case—even a suggestion from disgraced former detective Louis Gannon that one of their former friends is the killer.

When the investigator is brutally slain, Mac Faraday rips open the cold case with a ruthless determination to reveal which of his friends is a cold-blooded murderer.

Buy the Book:   
  Audible ~ Amazon
B&N ~ BookBub
Add to Goodreads
Meet the Author:

Author Lauren Carr

Lauren Carr is the international best-selling author of the Mac Faraday, Lovers in Crime, Thorny Rose, Chris Matheson Cold Case Mysteries, and Nikki Bryant Cozy Mysteries—over twenty-five titles across five fast-paced mystery series filled with twists and turns!

Book reviewers and readers alike rave about how Lauren Carr seamlessly crosses genres to include mystery, suspense, crime fiction, police procedurals, romance, and humor. 

The owner of Acorn Book Services, Lauren is also a publishing manager, consultant, and virtual book tour coordinator for independent authors.  

Lauren is a popular speaker who has made appearances at schools, youth groups, and on author panels at conventions. 

She lives with her husband, and two spoiled rotten German shepherds on a mountain in Harpers Ferry, WV. 


connect with the author: 
website  ~  facebook  ~  instagram ~ pinterest ~ bookbub ~ goodreads






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