Tag Archives: mystery

Blood of the Dragonfly: The Moccasin Hollow Mystery Series, Book V by Hawk MacKinney (Book Spotlight)

Adult Fiction (18+), 227 pages

 
While dangling a fishing hook from his flat bottom skiff before dawn, former SEAL-turned-PI Craige Ingram spots grey-black smoke coiling above the treetops across the river in the direction of the Georgia bayous and Corpsewood Manor. Bayou or bogs, fire in the uncut cypress and pines bodes a sense that the river is no barrier to the fire that threatens his ancestral home, Moccasin Hollow. Neither are the bodies later found in the burned mansion of Corpsewood Manor. Craige wastes no time in helping his ex-SEAL buddy Lt. Graysen MacGerald who is now Head of Buckingham Homicide Investigations by unofficially investigating the bodies and an exquisite dragonfly brooch found in the mansion with a reputation for evil, hauntings, and mystery.
 
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Excerpt

Craige had known Mattie to flip-flop a few times between past and present about things and happenin’s. Mix details of what and when and turned backside forward. Her seein’s coming in jumbled threads were often hard to make sense of. She frequently had no idea what the seein’s meant, but she never wavered about describing what she was sensing. Craige unhurriedly placed his cup into its saucer and carefully unfolded the inner wrappings of the jeweler’s box, and opened the box. Crisp sunbeams slanting through the lace of the window curtains glinted across the brooch, flashing shards gleamed along the truly diaphanous lifelike wings. He hadn’t told Mattie anything about where he’d found it or about Gray’s investigation. The hovering intaglio shimmered as though hoarding its secrets, beckoning with an unreal seduction, as he laid the brooch in her palm.

Her cup delicately paused in mid-air. “How lovely.” Mild ripples trilled across the smile lines of her face. She squinted for a closer look, “There’s something carved into the shiny black jewel.”

“A dragonfly.”

“How fanciful. I’ve seen butterflies, crickets, frogs, all manner of doodads for lapel pins and lavalieres but never a dragonfly such as this. Its wings even look see-through. I’m sure—” Her words stopped.

Her pleasant expression crumpled into clouded bemused bewilderment. The sunny room seemed to feel smothered. Her teacup quivered. Ever so carefully, she placed her cup just so in its saucer. Her eyes grew wide in a pinched strained expression. She pulled back, as though some shapeless trepidation hovered about her, ready to seize her. Her hand moved up to the starched bleached, crocheted collar of her navy-blue paisley print dress. She clutched her throat, then gingerly rested her hand aside the unsettled quiver at her cheek, “How dreadful.” She stared at the brooch in her palm. As if the brooch was blistering hot with blazing embers, Mattie tentatively placed it into Craige’s outreached hand, “Such beauty to be so wicked.” In a shaded whisper, “Mister Craige, take this vile thing with its temptations.”

Craige had seen her upset by her visions, but never so abrupt. “Mattie, let’s not go any further with this if it bothers you.” He placed it back in its box.

“Ugliness and cruelty always hover about those what are vulnerable. Such occurrences do bother me, but too shy from it implies acceptance. Good people must be watchful. Malice feeds on fear; drives good folks from facing it. The poor dead creature was being burned, burning away her name so she will be forever forgotten, so no one will ever know what happened to the poor unfortunate woman. There are others. I can’t see their faces. Someone was with her—another woman either with or perhaps following her.” Mattie caught a quick, shallow breath, “You must have nothing more to do with such a bloodstained harbinger. It didn’t belong to her. She took it,” Mattie frowned, “And now she’s dead.”

“Took it from whom?”

“Evil wanted it. It is a bringer of trouble.” Mattie winced, “Someone wanted it from—” Her face puzzled, “Flames were too hot for the hand that reached for the brooch. That awful fire couldn’t wipe clean where she died.”

“She died in the flames?”

“Perhaps somewhere near? Or perhaps somewhere else. I get no feeling of where.”

Mattie’s words didn’t surprise Craige so much as stirred a thing deep inside him, somewhere in those secret whispers between sleep and awake and an unfinished nightmare. From Frannie at PDK to Mattie’s forewarnings, Craige no longer discarded happenstances as coincidence, especially Mattie’s bit about “another woman.” He wrapped the brooch. Closed the box lid tight. “Can you see how the fire started?”

She shook her head slightly. Her expression one less of fear than trepidation, “Only the faces watching you, watching your friend.”

“Who’s watching Gray?”

“Not Lieutenant MacGerald. Your other friend, the one visiting you, the one who swims in the ocean and jumps out of airplanes and hunts with a bow and arrows.”

Her words jarred Craige. Only Gray, Fred, Mabel, and Terri knew Spinner was here. He hadn’t mentioned Spinner to Mattie or that he even had a visitor at Moccasin Hollow.

“Mister Craige, you must take extra care. That pretty bauble in its velvet box belongs to some kind of devil. Washed in blood with terrible long-dead secrets, crawling from their long-dead places. Don’t keep it near you. There is smoke and fire over your home, over that bauble from where she burned.” Mattie’s hands trembled as she reached for her cup of tea and took a long slow sip to calm herself. Her tremulous cup rattled into its saucer, “I will feel so much better once that pretty thing is rid away from you.”

He stood, “I want to let Gray know what you’ve told me.”

A bit calmer, Mattie insisted, “You must promise to not keep that thing inside your home.”

“I will take care.”

Mattie’s face strained, “I most truly enjoy the tea.”

Her hand still lingering at her throat, as Mattie stood in the doorway and waved as Mister Craige drove away. She hadn’t wanted him to know how upset it had truly made her.

* * *

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Meet the Author:
Author Hawk MacKinney
Hawk MacKinney began writing mysteries for his school newspaper, served in the US Navy for over 20 years, earned two postgraduate degrees with studies in languages and history, taught postgraduate courses in the United States and Jerusalem, authored professional articles and chordate embryology texts on fetal and adult anatomy, and is well known for his works of fiction. Moccasin Trace, a historical novel, was nominated for the prestigious Michael Shaara Award for Excellence in Civil War Fiction and the Writers Notes Book Award. Both his CAIRNS OF SANCTUARIE science fiction series and the MOCCASIN HOLLOW MYSTERY series have received worldwide recognition.
 
Connect with the Author:  website  
 
 

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The Nucleus of Reality: or the Recollections of Thomas P— by L. A. Davenport (Book Review)

The truth is all around you

Thomas P— is exhausted. He’s been travelling for work so much he barely knows where he is. And then, while waiting for a table at a restaurant, he sees someone from his past. Exactly as she was twenty years ago, when they first knew each other. Deeply shaken, he tries to carry on as if nothing happened.

But when it happens again, in a different restaurant, in a different city, Thomas’s world begins to unravel. Haunted by a magnificent black parrot and a past he wants to forget, he becomes paranoid, unsure whether he can trust himself and the world around him.

After he sees another friend he thought he had forgotten, he realises he is lost and alone, and afraid of his own mind. Then an enigmatic woman tells him he is not seeing things but rather his memory has been mined to create life-like androids that are replacing the human race one by one.

And then he is arrested.

Will Thomas resist the mysterious woman and get his life back? Or will he join her cult and take up arms in the fight to save us all?

The Nucleus of Reality, or the Recollections of Thomas P—, is the story of a man trying to remember why he ended up losing everything but himself.

 
 
 

(review request submitted by the author for an honest critique)

 
I decided to write my review in the format of an acrostic poem using only the first four words of the book’s title, The Nucleus of Reality. I hope the snippets pique your interest and you purchase The Nucleus of Reality: or the Recollections of Thomas P— to figure out how everything below ties together. Trust me, you’re in for a mind-bending ride. 
 
These are not the droids you are looking for…
Hero?
Electrons
 
Neutrons
Unsure how to proceed
Conference audience goes “baa.” 
Let me look inside your mind.
Eyes are always watching you, Thomas P.
Under arrest
Save the world! 
 
Old Testament
Face the truth
 
Round-faced bald man
Eww, grey food.
Androids
Lucy?
I want to scan you. 
Typewriter
You are having the weirdest, most vivid dreams, Thomas P.

 

As I stated in my opening paragraph, The Nucleus of Reality: or the Recollections of Thomas P— will twist your mind up like a pretzel. I had no idea how it would end. That’s what I look for in a book — unpredictability. The Nucleus of Reality: or the Recollections of Thomas P— was far from predictable. 
 
Well done, L. A. Davenport. Well done indeed! 
 

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

 
 

 

 

L. A. Davenport is an Anglo-Irish author.

He sometimes lives in the countryside, far away from urban distraction, but mostly he lives in the city. He enjoys long walks, typewriters and strong black coffee.

L. A. Davenport is the author of the novels The Nucleus of Reality and Escape, the collections No Way Home and Dear Lucifer and Other Stories, and the memoir My Life as a Dog.

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Anarchy Zone Time Yarns (Time Yarns Anthologies Book 2) by Erin Lale, Plus 4 More Contributing Authors (Anthology Review)

Print length : 52 pages

Contents:

Streamliners by Gordon Yaswen
The Anarchy Zone by Erin Lale
1400 Hours by Ian Miller
An Etonean Dilemma by Humberto Sachs
Host by Giampietro Stocco

Art Contents:

Hope by Alex Storer
At All Goes Away by Lisa Yount

Kindle Purchase Link

 

 


(review request submitted by Erin Lale, contributing author/editor, for an honest critique) 

 

(Story One) Do you love poetry? Do you love science?

If you said yes to both, you must check out Streamliners by Gordon Yaswen because, as you can probably surmise, Yaswen combines both. 

 

(Story Two) The Anarchy Zone by Erin Lale:  Since I love comic books, talk of mutants made me think of that world. I didn’t like people targeting them, but that’s a shared endeavor in stories with mutants – whether they have four arms or some other oddity. 

 

(Story Three) 1400 Hours by Ian Miller discusses Schrödinger’s cat – a hypothetical cat that can and can not exist at the same time depending on one more thing, opening a box to find out the answer. 

In 1400 hours, a man suffers this conundrum. He exists in one universe but is hidden in another. Linked together but also separated by an impenetrable wall.

Two universes divided by mere 1400 hours—a small amount of time to one person- an eternity to another. 

 Oh yeah, this is a scientific mind-bender, and I loved it! 

 

(Story Four) An Etonean Dilemma by Humberto Sachs: While there were some science fiction aspects to An Eternal Dilemma, this story felt more politically driven than anything else. While I can feel and appreciate how passionate the author is about the tension between two particular countries (names withheld on purpose), I wish he would’ve focused more on science and less on the political drama we face every day on the nightly news. 

 

(Story Five) Host by Giampietro Stocco mixed sci-fi with some horror-style imagery to create a brilliant short story. Plus, it spoke of events that could possibly happen in the future.

Comets could hit and destroy most of Earth.
New diseases could erupt because of it.
New weather and weather patterns would emerge.
Humans would go to any length to survive.

Science fiction meets plausible reality — oh yeah, Giampietro Stocco, I like your style!

 

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

Kindle Purchase Link

 

 

Gordon Yaswen, poet and college professor in California.

Erin Lale, Native American, inventor of technical processes in iDEN and CDMA wireless communications technology.

Ian Miller, New Zealander, inventor of algae based products and owner of Carina Chemical Laboratories Ltd.

Humberto Sachs, from Brazil, co-designer of the International Space Station.

Giampietro Stocco, of Italy, winner of the Premio Alien per la fantascienza 2006 for his story L’Ospite (The Host) which appears in this anthology for the first time in English.

Alex Storer, science fiction and fantasy artist in the UK.

Lisa Yount, artist and jeweller in California.

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Cassandra’s Time Yarns (Time Yarns Anthologies Book 1) by Erin Lale, Plus 4 More Contributing Authors (Anthology Review)

Print length: 92 pages

Contents:

The End of History by Gordon Yaswen
Choice by Ralph Ewig
Noble Northern Spirit by Erin Lale
Testing Time by Tony Thorne MBE
The Artist Formerly Known as G-d by Erin Lale
The Beginning by J.L. Toscano

Art Contents:

Paradise Lost by Maria Arango
Mandalas by Lisa Yount

Kindle Purchase Link



(review request submitted by Erin Lale, contributing author/editor, for an honest critique) 

 


(Story One) The End of History by Gordon Yaswen explored TIME in the manners of science and philosophy. In doing so, Yaswen reached a broader audience. The more individuals who can debate/explore a topic = more readers, more press. That is the goal of most writers. To get people talking about their work! 

 

(Story Two) Space is majestic, but it also comes with obstacles and fears. Every time a person explores space and the unknown, they are essentially gambling with their life. If something life-threatening happens in space, there is no 9-1-1. You and your comrades only have yourselves to rely on and no one else. All of this was emphasized in Choice by Ralph Ewig.

 

(Story Three) Noble Northern Spirit by Erin Lale was vastly different from its predecessors in this anthology. Erin Lale did not venture out into space. Her adventures took place on Earth. Hers centered almost entirely around magic.

Through the fourteen chapters, Erin Lale mentioned witches, the mob, drug smuggling, Jesus, Satan, and (deep breath) THOR!

There were several mythical beings discussed, in-depth or in passing. She really threw everything into the story except the kitchen sink. 😀

Speaking of kitchen sink, if I had magical powers, I’d used them to tackle the dishes in my sink. 😛

 

(Story Four) Testing Time by Tony Thorne MBE could be plausible in one aspect. If any citizen created a working time machine or force field, the military would be all over them. They’d confiscate the tech and the person. 

The interesting part of Testing Time came millions of (Earth) years later. I wished this section was explored more. Yes, I want about another 10-20 more pages. Why? Because there was so much more Tony Thorne could’ve said. Testing Time felt like it was just getting started when the story was (technically) wrapping up. 

Tony, I would love for you to expand this tale. I’d read it if you did. 🙂

 

(Story Five) The Artist Formerly Known as G-d by Erin Lale discussion of time travel, disruption of events, changing history, and warnings about when/where not to travel got me thinking. If I could travel to any period, where would I blast off to first?

I don’t know about Aunti Cassie and her opinion of her time spent with da Vinci. It might be an unforgettable experience to witness the creation of one of his genius inventions.

The only thing I know for sure…I would limit my time in any place which didn’t have indoor plumbing. I’m a bit spoiled in that way. 😀

 

(Story Six) The Beginning by J.L. Toscano would appeal to anyone who works in the sciences or is fascinated by science as a hobby. My hubby and his friends regularly discuss, and debate topics brought up in The BeginningThere’s also a theory that we (Earthlings) are merely puppets, and someone is pulling our strings. After reading The Beginning, you’ll wonder if this theory could be plausible. I’m sure many will debate this question. 🙂

 

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

Kindle Purchase Link

 

 

Gordon Yaswen, a college professor in California.

Ralph Ewig, from Western Europe, a rocket scientist at SpaceX.

Tony Thorne MBE, awarded a chivalric order by the Queen of England for advances in cryosurgery tools and carbon fiber furnaces, resides in the Canary Islands.

J.L. Toscano, a teacher at the Scarsdale Schools in New York.

Maria Arango, from Cuba, a woodcut artist.

Lisa Yount, from California, an artist and jeweller.

 

Erin Lale

Erin Lale, invented technical processes in iDEN and CDMA wireless communications technology.

Erin Lale writes fiction, nonfiction, poetry, etc. She published Berserkrgangr Magazine, owned The Science Fiction Store in Las Vegas, was Acquisitions Editor at Eternal Press / Damnation Books, reviews books for Eternal Haunted Summer Magazine, writes an official blog for Witches and Pagans Magazine, and is the originator of the Time Yarns shared world universe. She lives in Nevada with her black cat, Happy.


Author website:  

https://www.erinlaleauthor.com/  

 

Author social media links:  

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/erin.lale  

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/erinlale/  

MeWe: https://mewe.com/i-front/erinlale  

Minds: https://www.minds.com/erinlale/  

Twitter: https://twitter.com/erinlale  

 

 

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Memory Reborn by Steven M Nedeau (Book Review)

At his new job at the memory storage facility, Darien Mamon is stunned to discover that he is the intended storage device, and has been all along.

Darien thought MemorSingular hired him for his brain. They did. They just don’t need what’s in it. After finding details of a century old knowledge retention program, Darien learns the company has been grooming the minds of new hires to be overwritten with the personas of their most valued employees.

An old classmate, Nancy, could be Darien’s only chance to escape MemorSingular before his mind is overwritten. Unfortunately, Nancy hates his guts, and if she doesn’t change her mind the company will change his.

Kindle Purchase Link
Print Purchase Link

 

 

(review request submitted by the author for an honest critique)

 

Memory Reborn twisted my mind up like a pretzel. Real – fake – it was hard to decipher what the heck was going on. Memory Reborn was a real thinker. It made me question everything and everybody. 

This book was a science fiction lover’s wet dream; however, I believe it will appeal to readers who enjoy mystery novels. Hacking, murder mystery, extreme VR, and a few other elements will capture and hold your interest until the final page. You might even find yourself going back and reexamining the clues, wondering if you could’ve predicted what’s happening in the silo before it’s unveiled for us. 

I had my suspicions. I was correct on a few essential items/people, but not on everything and everyone. Plot twists and surprise developments were the name of the game, and Memory Reborn had both! 

 

 

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

Kindle Purchase Link
Print Purchase Link

 

 

My website http://www.StevenMNedeau.com has a contact section that I pay attention to, but I can often be found playing on twitter (@StevenMNedeau), and a little less often at Instagram (@theleastinterestingmanalive). I almost always respond to my fans. You’re the people I write for.

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