Our 5* Review for Double Blind by Dan Alatorre#FastPacedMurderMystery @savvystories

Two detectives hunt a serial killer. The killer is hunting them.

 

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A lone trucker is ambushed, shot, and brutally stabbed. A tourist meets the same fate while out for a jog. Facing two crime scenes that could have come from a horror movie, Detectives Carly Sanderson and Sergio Martin search for the crazed serial killer.

Five more attacks happen in a week, launching the entire city into a panic and causing the mayor to throw all of the city’s resources into stopping the rampage. But while the detectives work around the clock, they don’t know the killer has upped the game—by making them his next targets.

 

Our Review

At first, the killings seem random, just the actions of a deranged mind.

I found the descriptive powers of the author, combined with the smell of blood quite stomach churning as I searched for clues. I knew it would be a bit gruesome going in, but wasn’t quite prepared for the intensity of the murder scenes. The author has a very powerful imagination!

I loved the easy relationship between the two main characters, detectives Carly and Sergio. A most unusual pair, but real people, warts and all!

The casual dropping into the story half way through of a major clue as to the killer’s identity almost ruined the story for me, but it was cleverly done and hard to spot.

If I have one criticism about this book, it has to be about the killer. I can normally empathise or sometimes even admire most killers. I mean, they are usually damaged in some way, driving them to murder. Try as I might, I could find no redeeming feature in this man.

Here’s hoping the sequel finds Carly and Sergio with a far more interesting antagonist…

 

Excerpt

The wind gusted, sending the trash into the street in a tiny tornado. Lifting and dropping a McDonald’s hamburger wrapper, the little vortex danced and raged; then, as quickly as it had come, it was gone. The pieces of trash twitched and were still. The chill in the air remained, though. That wasn’t going anywhere tonight.

He glanced down the street. In the darkness, a shadow moved. Sergio held his breath. Opposite side of the street. The motion indicated walking. Tall. Probably a male.

This is our pedestrian.

Moving his gaze back to the sidewalk before anyone could tell him to, Sergio watched the stranger while keeping his face pointed at the ground. The man walked with his hands in the front pockets of his hoodie. The stride was long but not fast. The pedestrian seemed to intentionally sway his shoulders, as if he was walking up a steep hill.

When he’s closer, let him see you see him, then immediately look away. Head down, submissive.

The stranger kept coming. Sergio kept walking, his heart pounding.

What if this is our guy?

If it’s our guy, he will approach you. Keep walking. Casual.

The stranger got closer. He was larger than Sergio had originally estimated. Thicker, and taller.

Maybe six foot two, maybe a little more.

Eyes down. Don’t act like a cop.

He’d have to be big to do all that stabbing, to overcome a big guy like Leo.

But he used a gun to help.

Sergio glanced at the hands in the hoodie pockets. Could that conceal a .38? The man looked Sergio’s way.

Eyes down!

He didn’t think eye contact was made, but if the man had seen Sergio looking, maybe that was the time to walk faster.

Maybe we’ll speed up a little anyway.

On opposite sides of the street, the two men neared each other. Forty feet away, then thirty.

Sergio’s head was humming. This is how he did the jogger. Right on the street. A shot to the chest and then he started stabbing.

The bulletproof vest will protect you from both for a while. Long enough for the teams to get here…

Sergio forced himself to take a long, slow breath and walk slower without appearing to be trying. Sweat gathered on his forehead.

The man had heavy movements, a clumping kind of stride like someone might do when they were wearing new construction boots that don’t quite fit. The stranger stayed on one side of the street; Sergio stayed on the other. The sidewalk turned to gravel and then to mud. Sergio stepped around a big puddle and into the street.

“Hey, bro.”

The stranger’s voice cut the quiet night like a knife. Sergio didn’t look up. He kept his head down and kept walking.

“I got fives and tens, my man. If you lookin’ to party.”

Drug talk. Could be a street seller and nothing more. And if the killer was watching, what would he expect Sergio to do? Or if it’s the killer, what would work best?

Sergio halted.

The sergeant was loud in his ear. “Do not engage, Walking Boss. If it’s our guy he’s not trying to sell you drugs. Keep walking.”

Sergio did not move.

“Walking Boss, do you copy? Please respond.”

Sergio turned toward the stranger, keeping his head low and peering upward. He took a step toward the big man.

“Walking Boss, we are not receiving your signal. Please respond.”

His eyes. I want to see his eyes.

The man crossed into the street, dropping his hands to his sides. Sergio held his ground. Sweat dripped down the side of his head and into his ear. To wipe it free might draw attention to the earpiece. He let it go, taking a step toward the stranger. “What kind of stuff you got?”

“Walking Boss, do not engage. Do you read me?”

“Just the basics right here. Fives and tens.” The stranger pointed to the hoodie pocket. “But I can get something else if you want.”

The shadow of the hoodie kept the man’s face dark, but his features were coming visible. The man’s teeth were yellow and his eyes were red. Could be a drug addict or could be a killer.

“Walking Boss! Do you read me?”

The red eyes moved forward. “What you want, bro?”

The way he said it made the hairs on the back of Sergio’s neck stand up. The sneer, the thickness of the voice, like he dreamed it. He fought to not react, holding his breath. His racing pulse throbbed in his ears as a drop of ice cold sweat trickled down his back.

It’s not him. It’s not him. It’s not him.

#####

 

Biography

International bestselling author Dan Alatorre has 17 titles published in over a dozen languages.

From Romance in Poggibonsi to action and adventure in the sci-fi thriller The Navigators, to comedies like Night Of The Colonoscopy: A Horror Story (Sort Of) and the heart-warming and humorous anecdotes about parenting in the popular Savvy Stories series, his knack for surprising audiences and making you laugh or cry – or hang onto the edge of your seat – has been enjoyed by audiences around the world.

And you are guaranteed to get a page turner every time.

“That’s my style,” Dan says. “Grab you on page one and then send you on a roller coaster ride, regardless of the story or genre.”

Readers agree, making his string of #1 bestsellers popular across the globe.

His unique writing style can make you chuckle or shed tears—sometimes on the same page (or steam up the room if it’s one of his romances). Regardless of genre, his novels always contain unexpected twists and turns, and his endearing nonfiction stories will stay in your heart forever.

25 eBook Marketing Tips You Wish You Knew, co-authored by Dan, has been a valuable tool for upcoming writers (it’s free if you subscribe to his newsletter) and his dedication to helping new authors is evident in his wildly popular blog “Dan Alatorre – AUTHOR.”

Dan’s success is widespread and varied. In addition to being a bestselling author, he has achieved President’s Circle with two different Fortune 500 companies. You can find him blogging away almost every day on http://www.DanAlatorre.com or watch his hilarious YouTube show every week, Writers Off Task With Friends.

Dan resides in the Tampa, Florida area with his wife and daughter.

 

 

 

 

 

#TuesdayBookBlog: CrossFire by Jaye Marie #CrimeThriller #Fiction

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DI David Snow has another killer to catch, a killer as mysterious as the crimes he commits. 

Betrayal and lies come to the surface as Snow struggles to find the truth, but is he looking in all the wrong places?

Can he outwit the killer, or will the truth cost him his life?

 

Excerpt from CrossFire

‘Do you know why we have brought you here today, Ann?’

Ruth thought she would ease her way in, rather than accuse her straight off, for triggering any hostility wouldn’t get them anywhere.

The woman stared at Ruth, her pale, colourless eyes searching for clues. ‘Nah… but I ‘spect you’ll get to it pretty quick…’

Ruth indicated a brown paper bag on the table beside her. ‘We found a pair of work boots at your house, Ann. According to your husband, they’re not his. Are they yours?’

Ann Taylor glared at Ruth. She seemed to be enjoying the interview, her arrogance showing through the previous nervousness. ‘Dunno, can’t see them can I?’

Ruth undid the bag and placed the dirty boots on the table. Most of the mud had dried and fallen off, but still didn’t seem like the kind of boot a woman would wear. ‘Are these your boots, Ann?’

Without looking at the boots, she shook her head. ‘Nah, I don’t think so.’

Ruth looked at Snow, but not for confirmation. She wondered why he was choosing to stay silent. What was the point of sitting in if he wasn’t going to contribute? Not that she cared, one way or the other. She had only looked at him to signify inclusion.

She looked back at the woman. ‘Are you quite sure, Ann?’

The woman shrugged her shoulders and refused to speak.

‘For the benefit of the tape, Ann Taylor has refused to answer.’

Ruth decided to read out the coroner’s report, detailing every bruise and damage to the child’s body. When she read the part about the boot imprint on the child’s back, she slid the photograph across the table in front of the mother.

‘Did you do this, Ann?’

When the woman didn’t answer, Ruth decided it was time to play the ace card, and she looked forward to it. This cold-hearted bitch of a woman was about to be arrested, but not before Ruth had enjoyed herself. ‘Are you aware that the person who wore these boots would have left significant DNA inside them?’

Ruth paused, watching as the realisation sunk in.  ‘And are you also aware that we have tested your DNA and it has been proved that you are the owner of these boots?’

The fear and shame were beginning to show on the woman’s face, and Ruth watched, wondering what she would do now. She didn’t have to wait long to find out.

Ann Taylor’s face seemed to implode, as the terror of being found out took effect.  ‘I swear I don’t remember that part… I know I were angry, but when she fell over and banged her head, I thought she were dead…’

‘So what did you do then, Ann?’ Ruth knew what had happened next, but not which one of them had done it.  ‘Were you aware that Amy was still alive when you dropped her into the canal?’

The horror was all-encompassing, as the woman realised the enormity of what she had done. She looked around the room, just once, before she started screaming…

 

 

 

The demons are not just inside the machine…

 

 

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It’s official, I hate my laptop. I would go so far as to say that I hate all computers. The laptop is one of those touch screen ones, and apparently, I have the wrong kind of finger. And it’s not just the one, I have tried them all. The slightest touch has things flying about all over the place, and then there are those other times when I can stab at the screen like a maniac and absolutely nothing happens.

The demon that inhabits the main computer has now moved into the laptop, doing all kinds of things that are totally out of my control. If anything finally kills my dream of being a reasonably successful author, it will be a computer of some sort. My ageing brain is no longer capable of the kind of mindless patience (or insane tolerance) that is needed to use them.

I am convinced they are here to drive us all insane, starting with me.

Just when I thought life couldn’t get any worse…

It has occurred to me that it is quite possible, or more than likely probable, that the weird things my PC has been doing of late, might just mean something is dying inside that metal box. And if I am right, this could mean it will be giving up the ghost just when it is most inconvenient. With this thought firmly lodged in my by now worrying itself into a coma brain, I toddled off to Amazon to see how much a replacement would cost. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that I can get a certified refurbished Dell for literally peanuts. Windows 10, 64 bit and all the basics.

Panic over, I could handle it, whenever ‘it’ decided to reveal itself.

Now if I could just get my head around all these new improvements that are taking place at most of the sites I regularly use, there might be some danger of progress being made around here…

Once more with feeling…

For some reason that I haven’t managed to figure out yet, the muse has wandered off. I haven’t added to the word count on WIP, or written any blog posts either for what seems like a long time, but is probably only a day or two. I keep getting these blank moments and trying not to equate them to my old age or the dreaded D word. It crossed my mind that whatever is wrong with the PC might just be contagious, as I also get long periods of quiet in my head, a bit like being becalmed at sea in a boat. Not that I mind any of this weirdness, as it sure makes a change from depression…

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#Tuesday Book Blog: Secrets by A.Dawes #LiteraryFiction

 

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SOME SECRETS WILL KILL YOU…
and some are about someone who is already dead.
A mother must find the truth before the secrets destroy her family…

Excerpt

Maggie heaped three spoonsful of brown sugar into the frothy coffee, and Scott gave a gentle tut-tut as she watched it slowly slip through the bubbles.

Watching her stir the coffee for longer than was necessary, he asked, ‘Shall I fire questions at you or will you volunteer your troubles to old Scottie?’

The softening of his name was only for those he considered his true friends and he listened without interruption while she told him all about the nightmares, the mess in the kitchen, Danny’s destructiveness, burying Jack’s stuff in the garden and all the things that Danny attributed to his imaginary friend, Toby.

Scott pondered awhile, and then said, ‘You of all people shouldn’t think it so strange, where would you be without imagination, Maggie?  Pulling groceries on a check-out? Not that it’s a disgrace; someone has to do it… Danny is developing his mind, maybe he’ll be a great artist like his beautiful mother, or  write the books Jack couldn’t… then he’ll need all the power of his inner mind, much the way you do.’

She looked deep into her empty coffee cup as if it were a crystal ball. ‘Maybe I could believe all that if he were happy, Scott, but he’s not. He’s so moody and goes days without saying a word to anyone.’

She related Cathy’s story about hearing a dog in the car, and Scott looked puzzled.

‘From what you’ve told me about her, I’d say she’s prone to flights of fancy and you shouldn’t take any of it too seriously. It could have been anything, like that wretched noise when you speed past those wooden poles along the road. Maybe there was something stuck to the wheel of her car. Noises you would normally recognise have a way of sounding strange when you’re cooped up inside a tin-can on wheels.’

She didn’t believe Scott’s explanation, but it was enough to put a little doubt in her mind, she realised that she hadn’t thought the situation through as thoroughly as she might.

She didn’t tell him about the bite-marks and scratches that appeared on Danny during the nightmares until last. It wasn’t really all that bad, not enough to draw blood but marks none the less.

‘Could he have done it himself?’ asked Scott.

‘Yes, but he denied it.’

‘Someone at school, a fight? Boys get into them all the time.’

‘I don’t think so. Danny told the doctor that this Toby did it. When we asked him why he hadn’t said anything to us, he just shrugged his shoulders and clammed up. We’ve been advised not to push him too hard.’

Scott could see how worried she was, but he couldn’t really think of anything to allay her fears, real or imagined. It was high time to lighten the mood. Catching Kelly’s eye, he ordered two more coffees with hand gestures.

‘God knows what you’ve been letting your mind get up to, Maggie darling, but as far as I can tell, there are only two explanations. He either did it himself or he got into a fight and didn’t know how to tell you. There are times, darling when a young man can’t run to his mama. Losing a fight would be worse than telling you he had been in one in the first place…

‘Maybe that’s all he’s hiding from you, and as for the rest of it, it’s plain old-fashioned mischief born out of the sheer frustration of keeping things locked inside…’

~~~~~

 

Secrets

Danny’s secret goes back in time

How is this known to a child of nine?

No one believes him when he speaks

Of buried treasure the earth still keeps.

Yet stranger words are said in sleep.

His mother hears his sleeping moans

Afraid now, how can he know

Of secrets buried so long ago?

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The Importance of Backing Up!

 

 

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Yesterday, fate dealt me a nasty blow, literally knocking me for six. My stomach hit the floor with such a thump, I swear they heard it miles away.

I had finished some routine paperwork and wanted to work on my current WIP, so I slid the relevant USB (I call them sticks) into the port and tried to open the file. The message was chillingly clear. “Unable to open File”.

Undeterred, I tried again, knowing these things can happen and it would be fine this time.

Only it wasn’t.

I investigated further, unable to believe what I was seeing. Of all the 30 files on this USB, the one I wanted was apparently corrupt and gone forever. Weeks of work had just gone up in a virtual puff of smoke.

I didn’t know what to do, or if there was anything I could do. I checked everywhere I could think of, but I had no other copy. I don’t usually back up a WIP, which I had just discovered was a grave mistake. There is usually a copy saved by Word, but this turned out to be corrupt too.

I was torn between wanting to howl like a dog, losing my considerable temper or just sobbing my heart out. It was only the stubborn thought that there just had to be a copy somewhere, that kept me from losing it, big time.

Then I remembered something. I had sent copies to our beta readers.  Would I be able to retrieve a copy from one of their emails? Turns out, I could, but all the work I had done since then would have to be done again. What made it worse, I think, is that I was so close to finishing.

The lesson I learned was an important one.  I think this happened because I was getting a little complacent with my USB’s. I have quite a lot of them, and they are invaluable for backing up everything we do. They are so simple to use and hold a vast amount of data.

I hadn’t been treating them with the respect they deserve. Sometimes I would just remove them without going through the procedure. Nothing bad ever happened when I did, so I assumed (wrongly) that it didn’t matter. But apparently, this is the major cause of USB failure.

I guess I won’t be doing that again!

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#In Remembrance…

 

 

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Soldier Blue

On foreign soil a soldier falls, a poppy grows

They send them back to lie alone.

We carve their names on grey stonewalls

We sent them out to fight for freedoms call.

Few come back with wounds that heal

Inside horrors, they will not recall

Soldiers fought so we can live on English soil…

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#Jaye’s Journal: November

 

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So many empty promises!

I have posted about e-mails before. About how rewarding, interesting and useful they are. However, just lately, something has been happening to them.

Something bad.

Something that is ruining not only my enjoyment but also possibly the future of communication, as we know it too. Most days I find informative articles and valuable information, all shared by fellow bloggers. Sometimes we meet new people who have just begun to blog, wanting to join our list of subscribers. Then there are all the people we discover who we want to follow. It is a huge worldwide social club, one that has taught me almost everything I know about blogging and social networking. Some of the best hours in my day are spent reading e-mails.

That is until this new menace started appearing. Every single one of them promising a gift, a prize or some other amazing offer. All the ones from the companies you don’t have dealings with are bad enough, but at least you know for sure you haven’t qualified for any of their offers. But what about the ones from the companies you do use?

It can be quite disconcerting to read that your favourite store has singled you out (as a valued customer) for a huge discount or some other prize. Hard not to click on that one!

They are all bogus claims, trying to get you to click to register your claim, and once you do, you open the door for any malware they have at their disposal. I can no longer tell the real from the bogus, so I ignore them all. And every day there seems to be more and more.

I often wonder how many people are fooled and taken in by these claims, only to have their systems corrupted or worse.

Hopefully, this menace will die a natural death, but I know what will happen. These people will come up with yet more ways to wreak havoc, as it’s what they do. I just wish they would leave my e-mails alone!

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Dreaming…

 

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I have been told that thinking is a dangerous thing to do at my age.  It is possibly a dangerous thing to do at any age if you think about it, for who knows where it may lead?

I quite like thinking, and all the things that trigger it off. Like books and pictures for instance. What I could do with is some method of retaining said thoughts, as they usually evaporate like so much smoke, never to be seen again. I make notes on everything in a vain hope of remembering all the good stuff, and it works some of the time.

Then I am told ‘what do you expect, at your age?’

But this is the difficult part. My mind does not feel old, even though it seems to have more holes in it than my favourite cheese, and when I see or read something that stirs my imagination, I am back in my prime, having a sneaky feeling that this is not all there is for me.

Some of the time I must admit that I really don’t want any more, I am too tired to even consider the possibility. Then there are the other days– days when you forget just how old and how stiff you are. That you find it difficult just going to the shops and back.

Days when you choose to ignore the sands of time slipping through your fingers and find yourself considering the most amazing possibilities.

Of course, this may be what happens as you approach old age. I don’t know, I have no experience or knowledge of it, not having done it before.

But if you can think, you can dream. And if you can dream I believe you can do anything… at any age!

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This post was written back in 2013, but it happens to sum up my thoughts at the moment.

I have been struggling to write my fourth book in my crime/mystery series, PayBack. Although I am three quarters finished, the sneaky feeling that there is something wrong just won’t go away.

It gets worse.

I have been waking up in the early hours, thinking about the story. This has been going on for weeks now and last night I dreamed about it. In the dream, my hero and my villain changed places for some reason.

I wanted to know about temporary and easily changeable hair colourants. None of this made any sense to me, all my book needed, I think, is a substantial edit to tighten up the plot. But it did get me thinking.

Could my choice of villain be all wrong? This could be why my hero was a bit lack lustre too. The whole premise could be askew. Anita and I had a brainstorming session to try to make sense of it all, and although we came up with some interesting ideas, they all involved major rewriting. No mean feat when you are 60.000 words in already.

I should be feeling devastated, and not sure why I’m not. The problem may or not be sorted, but whatever happens, it is doable. So that old post was right after all. If you can dream, you can do anything…

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Witchcraft… #Poetry

 

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Witchcraft

On moonlit nights I walk among the tombstones

Looking for the one taken from me

Her soul trapped by heavy stone

She calls to me

Jealous minds laid her there

Pointing fingers, witchcraft they said

My sweet Annabel, no harm would she make

Her healing touch now lost to those in need

They are poorer for her passing

How is it I am still here if human she be?

Did those pointing fingers know what I could not?

Did love’s blinkers keep me blind?

Is she truly there beneath the ground

Is my mind wrapped in her spell?

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#Flights of Fancy: Run… #poetry

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Run

Do we always want more than we can have

Search for things we will never find?

Questions with no answers,

Driving mind to scream.

What then when wild thoughts show in your eyes

Do people stammer when they speak to you?

Do they hide in corners, hoping not to be seen?

Do they run from your approach

Pretending lateness is their call?

Is madness framed in garments white

Keys jingle stop you from walking out

Is life now bound within these walls of grey

Has mind forgotten how to pray for freedoms flight?

Let men say that you are crazed

To me, you are a vase that is cracked

Yet water holds the flowers still

They bloom in memory of love within your broken shell

My name you lost with a ticking clock

I sit, I watch, I wait for memories lost

Make one happy moment when time returns

To hear my name whispered upon your lips…

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