Expected Publication Date: January 12, 2021 Genre: Supernatural Thriller
An unsolved murder. Disturbing dreams. A missing child.
Caitlin Walker hasn’t had a dream in nine years. But now nightmares torture her son Adam and awaken in Caitlin buried memories and a dark secret. Her husband Lance has a secret of his own, one that his son’s nightmares threaten to reveal.
In Culver Creek newly hired detective Sage Dorian works to unravel the small town’s notorious cold case, the grisly murder of a young girl.
How are Caitlin and Lance connected to the horrific crime? And how far will they go to make sure their secrets stay hidden? Find out in this riveting thriller.
Being the first book for an upcoming series, Up the Creek sets a good foundation. Up The Creek is well-paced and executes the story back and forth between its characters. In this case, it involves 3 main characters: Caitlin Walker, her husband Lance Walker and the new detective in Culver Creek Sage Dorian, who has been hired to take a look at the cold case. As a thriller, it also is executed quite well to slowly give the reveal of what is the secret with Caitlin and Lance that links them to the disappearance of their child and the cold case. It also sets up the story so that the finale delivers a question that makes you think whether all this could have been avoided if one person’s decision had been different and whether some secrets are best exposed.
One of the best elements of Up The Creek is the character design/development. The three characters each have their own connection to the past that brings up some flashbacks and through various conversations with the new situation that comes up reveals their secrets little by little. With that said, the characters are fairly complexed and suitably so for a thriller. Caitlin’s secret is probably the easiest to piece together: the reason that she takes medication for her dreams and the quick reveal of her tendency for nightmares pieces together easily to see her deal. However, this ends up connecting to her young son Adam that eventually goes missing and no one truly knows who took him and what happened. Lance Walker is probably the character with the most secrets from what seems like every day habits to slowly see that he has a much stronger connection to the case. His character is actually rather fascinating as he unveils and everything comes into place. That leaves Sage Dorian which probably starts to feel like the balance for his part is a little smaller however he is a key part as he pulls the cold case with the new missing child case together. At a certain point at the end, it is fairly clear how it all pieces together however, there isn’t an issue for this character to draw the conclusions clearly. As a side note, while this isn’t mentioned but there seems to be one connection that probably will come into play at the end in future books as it may connect to Sage Dorian that wasn’t addressed.
As a first book of a series, Up The Creek leaves a lot to look forward to for future books set in Culver Creek. Already by the end, there still is the issue of Sage Dorian’s own family mystery that hasn’t been addressed yet and only mentioned that gives his character some foundation. Writing good thrillers are very difficult and something that I mention quite a bit. Up The Creek does a great job to make it both gripping and thrilling to watch from beginning to end with decent pacing and execution. Up The Creek is a great thriller and well worth a read.
Alissa Grosso is the author of several books for adults and teens. Originally from New Jersey, she now resides in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. You can find out more about her and her books at AlissaGrosso.com.
We are thrilled to share this amazing new novel by K.T. Rose! The Haunting of Gallagher Hotel just proves that ghost stories are perfect any time of the year!
Read on for an exclusive peek and an amazing giveaway to enter!
The Haunting of Gallagher Hotel By: K.T. Rose
Publication Date: November 5th, 2020 Genre: Supernatural Horror/Paranormal
Pride and greed infect the soul, anchoring the dead to Gallagher Hotel.
When Chris, a master thief, and Riley, a contract waitress, get mysterious invites to an exclusive party at the haunted Gallagher Hotel, they discover that there is more at play than simple celebrations.
Hidden truths are revealed, and all hell breaks loose. But the “party” has just begun.
Now, Chris and Riley face their demons as they fight to survive a hellish nightmare full of spoiled secrets, carnage, and vengeful spirits lost to the hotel dating back to the turn of the 20th century.
Will they survive the night? Or will their souls be devoured by the most haunted building in Michigan?
Torches lit up the town square, illuminating scowling and shouting faces. The townspeople launched stones and spit, pegging Trudy’s arms and face as she trudged through the abhorrent mob. She cringed when a pebble struck her cheek. Pain erupted, shooting through her face like lightning striking the earth.
Deputy Hill yanked her arm, leading her through the narrow path the townspeople created. Fists balled, Trudy groaned as the rope around her wrists dug into her skin. Her bare feet picked up glass shards and debris from the cobblestone path as she shuffled along.
She glared around at the angry faces and recognized the men, women, and children of Holloway. She’d done more for them than any God before her. Many of those people owned the very businesses that lined the stone slab she marched across that night. Building and financing the rows of wooden businesses lining the town’s square accounted for half the things she’d done for Holloway. She fed the hungry, made clothes for cold children, and taught woman’s independence. The ever-growing list of the townspeople’s wants was endless. At one point, she didn’t mind the busy work. Fulfilling dreams of the once poor town kept her boisterous and distracted from her bitter reality. Trudy was Holloway’s personal shepherd, making the people her needy sheep.
Hands snagged at her lavender tea gown, adding dirty prints to the blood drops and grime from the beatings in that putrid cell. She glared at the bare-faced man towering over her. The brim of his deputy hat cast a thick shadow, hiding his dark eyes and pale face.
Deputy would miss her. She was sure of it. He got off on the assaults that bruised her face. His heavy fists pounded her bones and scraped her skin until she confessed. And even after her confession, he continued with his evening visits, slamming her body into cinder block walls and passing off open-handed blows to her nose, cheeks, and eyes.
Trudy sighed. A bath with lavender and Epsom salt sounded good for the swelling. She didn’t realize how bloated and purple her once beautiful, fairly smooth skin had become until she passed by the picture window in front of the town’s jail just before they began her walk of shame. Her dark hair matted to her forehead, washed by sweat and blood. Her plump lips were chapped and bloated with bruises.
Even then, her face pulsed with intense hurt. Pain shot through it whenever she winced.
The sea of convictions roared, growing louder as she drew closer to the opposite end of the square.
“Adulterer,” yelled a woman.
“Traitor,” screeched a boy.
“Murderer,” said a pot-bellied man.
Their accusations sent a sickening jolt through her bones. She watched the path underneath her slowing feet, fighting back the tears.
How could they turn on me like this?
The Haunting of Gallagher Hotel is a decent horror story packing in both elements of haunted house (well, in this case, its a hotel) and the ugly side of humans which is what gathers this “elite” group of invites for an overnight stay at Gallagher Hotel, a place not only known for being haunted but with a lot of history. The story itself follows some key characters, jumping between Riley, a woman specially requested to work there who has suffered quite a bit of loss; Chris, a young man who is part of a thief ring however wants to use this as his final job before leaving town and Trudy, the woman who haunts this hotel.
The story itself does pack a lot. There are a handful of characters which all have their own character build and past which determines why they were invited to the hotel. As each of their motives get revealed and perhaps their ugly side, its where the story is at its strongest especially since it reflects on how they essentially get ended. Those scenes are well-executed and in vivid description. However, the main characters do have these disjointed storylines jumping back and forth. It spends a lot of time with each of these characters separated from each other for most of the story however, its almost like a mystery as the group goes through their own visions that pop up to haunt them from their past. At the same time, Trudy’s storyline fills in the blanks with the history of what lead to her death and how she came to be haunting the hotel and how this world of evil works. The balance between executing the lore and the haunted house was where the pacing started to go off in the middle section.
With that said, the story itself blends bits and pieces from stories told mostly in movies and TV. The element of being invited in, a key book to the story, the hotel resembling that of The Shining, some haunted house elements that give off the vibe of that from the recent Haunting of Hill House. Its not a bad thing to pull certain elements and add their own twist. In fact, it has a certain level of creativity as all these elements and atmosphere do blend well together. Its more an observation than a criticism.
Overall, The Haunting of Gallagher Hotel is decent. Horror novels don’t normally scare me and this one wasn’t a pure horror novel. It has some horror elements from the death scenes and how that was described but it is mostly mild (of course, that differs to the reader but I do watch a lot of horror so my tolerance is fairly high). There are some pacing issues in the middle parts but if anything, this is a rather ambitious story as it does try to build its own lore and history to the hotel while adding in this group of characters and exploring their darker side.
K.T. Rose is a horror, thriller, and dark fiction writer from Detroit, Michigan. She posts suspense and horror flash fiction on her blog at kyrobooks.com and is the author of a suspenseful short story series titled Trinity of Horror, an erotic thriller novel titled When We Swing, and A Dark Web Horror Series. She also writes supernatural and paranormal horror novels and short stories.
Welcome to the book tour for short story Egg by Ross Victory!
Egg: A Short Story by: Ross Victory
Publication Date: October 31st, 2020 Genre: Short Story/ Horror
“Miracle baby” Nakoa Jamar discovers a mosquito bite in the center of his chest on his 12th birthday, which rapidly grows into a Siamese twin. The older Nakoa gets, the more terrorizing his twin brother, Marcus, becomes. Distressed by the changes in their family and unable to bear another scandal incited by Marcus, The Taylors, Nakoa’s parents, research doctors to separate the twins after the boys nearly destroy each other in a merciless fight. The problem is the boys are conjoined at the heart. Separation will kill them both.
Using horror, fertility issues, and Yin and Yang symbolism as the backdrop, Egg contemplates what it means for light and darkness to manifest in the body. Egg explores the limits of love and the limits of hatred while speaking to the ability we have as human beings—the ability to choose
Egg is a fairly decent story that plays with the idea of life and the good and bad sides used in comparison to the concept of yin and yang when the character ends up growing a Siamese twin from their heart. The reason for this eventually gets revealed in a unique twist that dives into the concept of consequences for getting something as everything is a fair trade reminding me a little of a Chinese book called The Pawnshop No.8 by Zita Law which uses the premise of trading with the “devil”.
Being a short story, it does allow this to be an immersive quick read especially as the story jumps through Nakoa’s birthdays before and after Marcus’ existence. It shapes his personality and who it is but most of all, it focuses on the parents as they witness on the son. Perhaps what gets lost is whether the son’s Yin and Yang situation is the focal point or the parents cause and effect of their decisions and their play in this. That part is a little fuzzy.
It is a short story so to not ruin with spoilers, I won’t say too much. Overall, Egg is a fun read. Horror wise, it has some graphic descriptions perhaps more at the beginning. The concept is unique with Yin and Yang being an angle that could be used more. There lacks a bit of depth but its more the short story length that limits it. The length also leaves the characters all feeling lightly grazed with four characters feeling key, its inevitable. Still, short stories show the author’s skill and writing style. In this case, its a pretty good one with good use of descriptions to bring to life what feels like a mesh of body horror versus psychological.
Ross Victory is an Award-Winning author and Adult Contemporary recording artist from Southern California. He is the author of the father-son themed memoir, Views from the Cockpit: The Journey of a Son and bisexual-themed Panorama: The Missing Chapter. Ross finds his unique voice by using his story to produce art in written and musical formats. He spent his early years collecting pens, notepads and interviewing himself in a tape recorder. With an acute awareness for his young age, Ross was eager to point out hypocrisies and character inconsistencies in children and adults through English assignments. If he weren’t keeping his English teachers on their toes for what he would say or write next, he was processing his world through song writing and music. After years of traveling
the world and working corporate roles, Ross has developed a special brand of entertainment, inspiration, and media to engage the public at several axis points.
Another week flew by! Only a few weeks until the end of 2020! Busy times, right? Things are doing alright the past week as everything was fairly balanced. Some new, some old! More details in each of the sections below!
Currently reading: Wayward Kindred
Reading took a little bit of a back seat as I was getting back into some gaming, mostly because of the Xbox Game Pass acquisition. I did start up Wayward Kindred and its a graphic novel so should be done soon. Still the standards that I expect of it.
Currently playing: Gnog
Seeing as I already hinted on gaming in the section above, I might as well jump straight to the chase. Right after acquisition of the Xbox Game Pass, I realized that Wandersong was one of the games leaving on December 1st so scrambled to get it started. While I didn’t end up finishing the game, it was still a rather fun experience. I don’t think it had much more to offer from where I was but seeing as I didn’t finish the game, I won’t be reviewing it just to keep things fair. Still, its a fun musical platformer. Pretty basic overall with controls but a little getting used to for the music elements with the controller’s right stick especially in one of the later puzzles.
I also started up another incredibly fun and feel-good puzzle game called Gnog that I picked up during the Autumn Steam Sale. Its worth all the $2 (or something) that it cost me and so much more. The design is so colorful and the puzzles are pretty fun. I have one more level to go and some hidden achievements to hopefully unlock to 100% the game. Its so enjoyable that I actually do want to redo the levels.
To All The Boys P.S. I Still Love You (2020 rewatch, Review)
The Christmas Chronicles: Part Two (2020)
Not super exciting on the movie front. The next week should be better as a lot more Christmas/holiday movies have been released. I did a quick rewatch of To All the Boys 2. The new watches go to newly released sequel The Christmas Chronicles: Part 2 which was pretty fun overall. That’s definitely the highlight for this week. Now, if someone could sell some of those elf plushes, I’d buy them.
The second movie is 2018’s Halloween which I’ve heard some good stuff. Honestly, I have some mixed feelings about it although its better than some of the sequels already made. I’ll talk about it later in a double feature or something in more details.
Professional Single (2020)
Detective Chinatown (2020)
Sugar Rush Christmas (Season 2, 2020)
Currently binging: Our Song S2, Meeting Mr. Right S3, You Are So Sweet, Sing or Spin S2, Detective College S3, Everybody Stand By S2, The Wolf, Forget You Remember Love
I’ve been on a quest to catch up on some TV that I missed. I might have mentioned it in the Adventures post or last week’s What’s Up. I checked out Detective Chinatown which was 8 episodes long so very quick to binge on iQiYi site. Sugar Rush Christmas’s second season also came out and its more of the same but was pretty fun as always and of course, my highlight for last week is the highlight this week as that was a super fun series. With that said, I’m changing my TV binge strategy since there’s too much backlog so I’m going to work on these TV binge in priority and work my way backwards.
Nothing new in the variety shows department however in the quest for catching up on TV drama, I started up Forget You Remember Love which is a China remake of 2005 Taiwanese series Prince Turns To Frog. I can’t remember the original anymore but I believe its on Netflix. This year has been a whole lot of 2000s Taiwanese series remakes, it would seem. I just wonder how relevant 2000s storylines work today since for myself, its already a lot of “been there done that” just longer in length.
As a side note, I’m working on how to slot in a tentative schedule for all the TV binges that I’d like to post so hopefully see some more of those posts going up.
That’s it for this What’s Up! What have you been watching/reading/playing/binging?
Publication Date: November 17th, 2020 Genre: Thriller/Suspense/Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Anthology Publisher: Suspense Magazine
The sun sets. The moon takes its place, illuminating the most evil corners of the planet. What twisted fear dwells in that blackness? What legends attach to those of sound mind and make them go crazy in the bright light of day? Only Suspense Magazine knows…
Teaming up with New York Times bestselling author Jeffery Deaver, Suspense Magazine offers up a nail-biting anthology titled: “Nothing Good Happens After Midnight.” This thrilling collection consists of thirteen original short stories representing the genres of suspense/thriller, mystery, sci-fi/fantasy, and more.
Readers’ favorites come together to explore the mystery of midnight. The ‘best of the best’ presenting these memorable tales include: Joseph Badal, Linwood Barclay, Rhys Bowen, Heather Graham, Alan Jacobson, Paul Kemprecos, Shannon Kirk, Jon Land, John Lescroart, D. P. Lyle, Kevin O’Brien, and Hank Phillippi Ryan.
Take their hands…walk into their worlds…but be prepared to leave the light on when you’re through. After all, this incredible gathering of authors, who will delight fans of all genres, not only utilized their
award-winning imaginations to answer that age-old question of why “Nothing Good Happens After Midnight”—they also made sure to pen stories that will leave you…speechless.
“NOTHING GOOD HAPPENS AFTER MIDNIGHT is a treat—dark, chilling, and delicious. Grab it.” —Meg Gardiner, Edgar Award-Winning Author of The Dark Corners of the Night
“Something very good happens after midnight…just pick up this brilliant book and be transported—and very afraid!” —Peter James, UK #1 Bestselling Author of the Detective Superintendent Roy Grace Series
Anthologies are a great way for authors to share some short stories and to show off their writing style. With any anthologies, its always a bit of a mixed bag. Nothing Good Happens After Midnight is also somewhat of a mixed bag however as a lot of the writers are much more experienced, they all showcase an array of suspenseful stories that have rather good premises. The stories offer a different set of characters that range in age and the context which gives it a different setting and spin showing off each of the author’s different approach to their writing and story ideas. Across 13 stories from 13 different authors, there is quite a lot of creative ideas. Overall, its a rather enjoyable read.
As with any anthology, there are its own standouts. This will be probably different for each reader. For myself, the standouts are the stories that are more memorable than the others whether on story structure/execution preference or decent angle or the characters itself as well as the ideas all coming together along with a good setting. The first that comes to mind is Easy Peasey by John Lescroart which structures its story in an engaging way about a home invasion plot and jumps from one point of view to the next via its different characters and their different intentions. Night Shift by Linwood Barclay is a type of story that plays on a call that turns into a “negotiation” sort of deal as the characters work with police to try to talk a man out of their killing spree plans all culminating to a fantastic ending (the type of ending that I particularly enjoy).
Midnight in the Garden of Death by Heather Graham, A Creative Defense by Jeffery Deaver and All Aboard by Hank Phillippi Ryan also craft some brilliant stories. The first one crafts a story in a great setting, the second takes a fantastic musical angle of a musical piece that has the power of hynopsis and the third is set on a train as someone overhears a phone conversation. The final story of the anthology called ATM by Jon Land is also a decent one mostly for its unique angle of taking it on a suspenseful route but having a different approach.
A rather successful compilation of short stories in this anthology. While I listed six of the thirteen stories as more memorable. The others not mentioned are also fairly decent. Perhaps the only one that didn’t appeal to myself as much was the first short story since it felt a little familiar. Overall, a fun little suspense anthology. For a fan of suspense stories, this one fulfills.
JEFFERY DEAVER is an international number-one bestselling author. His novels have appeared on bestseller lists around the world. His books are sold in 150 countries and translated into twenty-five languages. He has served two terms as president of Mystery Writers of America.
The author of forty-three novels, three collections of short stories and a nonfiction law book, and a lyricist of a country-western album, he’s received or been shortlisted for dozens of awards. His THE BODIES LEFT BEHIND was named Novel of the Year by the International Thriller Writers association, and his Lincoln Rhyme thriller THE BROKEN WINDOW and a stand-alone, EDGE, were also nominated for that prize. THE GARDEN OF BEASTS won the Steel Dagger from the Crime Writers Association in England. He’s been nominated for eight Edgar Awards.
Deaver has been honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Bouchercon World Mystery Convention, the Strand Magazine’s Lifetime Achievement Award and the Raymond Chandler Lifetime Achievement Award in Italy.
His book A MAIDEN’S GRAVE was made into an HBO movie starring James Garner and Marlee Matlin, and his novel THE BONE COLLECTOR was a feature release from Universal Pictures, starring Denzel Washington and Angelina Jolie. Lifetime aired an adaptation of his THE DEVIL’S TEARDROP. NBC television is airing the popular prime time series, Lincoln Rhyme: Hunt for the Bone Collector.
His latest novel is THE GOODBYE MAN, a Colter Shaw thriller.
JOSEPH BADAL grew up in a family where storytelling had been passed down from generation to generation.
Prior to a long business career, Joe served for six years as a commissioned officer in the U.S. Army in critical, highly classified positions in the U.S. and overseas, including tours of duty in Greece and Vietnam, and earned numerous military decorations.
Joe is an Amazon #1 bestselling author, with 16 published suspense novels. He has been recognized as “One of The 50 Best Writers You Should Be Reading.” His books have received two Tony Hillerman Awards for Best Fiction Book of the Year, been top prize winners on multiple occasions in the New Mexico/Arizona Book Awards competition, received gold medals from the Military Writers Society of America, the Eric Hoffer Award, and Finalist honors in the International Book Awards.
He writes a regular column titled “Inspired by Actual Events” in Suspense Magazine.
LINWOOD BARCLAY, a New York Times bestselling author and with nearly twenty novels to his credit, spent three decades in newspapers before turning full time to writing thrillers. His books have been translated into more than two dozen language, sold millions of copies, and he counts Stephen King among his fans. Many of his books have been optioned for film and TV, a series has been made in France, and he wrote the screenplay for the film based on his novel NEVER SAW IT COMING. Born in the US, his parents moved to Canada just as he was turning four, and he’s lived there ever since. He lives near Toronto with his wife, Neetha. They have two grown children.
RHYS BOWEN is the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and USA Today bestselling author of two historical mystery series, as well as three internationally bestselling standalone novels. Her books have won multiple awards and been translated into over twenty languages. A transplanted Brit, Rhys now divides her time between California and Arizona, where she escapes from those harsh California winters.
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, HEATHER GRAHAM, majored in theater arts at the University of South Florida. After a stint of several years in dinner theater, back-up vocals, and bartending, she stayed home after the birth of her third child and began to write. Her first book was with Dell, and since then, she has written over two hundred novels and novellas including category, suspense, historical romance, vampire fiction, time travel, occult, and Christmas family fare.
She is pleased to have been published in approximately twenty-five languages. She has written over 200 novels and has 60 million books in print. She has been honored with awards from booksellers and writers’ organizations for excellence in her work, and she is also proud to be a recipient of the Silver Bullet from Thriller Writers and was also awarded the prestigious Thriller Master in 2016. She is also a recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award from RWA. Heather has had books selected for the Doubleday Book Club and the Literary Guild, and has been quoted, interviewed, or featured in such publications as The Nation, Redbook, Mystery Book Club, People and USA Today and appeared on many newscasts including Today, Entertainment Tonight and local television.
Heather loves travel and anything that has to do with the water, and is a certified scuba diver. She also loves ballroom dancing. Each year she hosts the Vampire Ball and Dinner theater at the RT convention, raising money for the Pediatric Aids Society, and in 2006 she hosted the first Writers for New Orleans Workshop to benefit the stricken Gulf Region. She is also the founder of “The Slush Pile Players,” presenting something that’s “almost like entertainment” for various conferences and benefits. Married since high school graduation and the mother of five, her greatest love in life remains her family, but she also believes her career has been an incredible gift, and she is grateful every day to be doing something that she loves so very much for a living.
ALAN JACOBSON is the award-winning, USA Today bestselling author of fourteen thrillers, including the FBI profiler Karen Vail series and the OPSIG Team Black novels. His books have been translated internationally and several have been optioned by Hollywood. Jacobson’s debut novel, FALSE ACCUSATIONS, was adapted to film by acclaimed Czech screenwriter Jirí Hubac.
Jacobson has spent over twenty-five years working with the FBI’s Behavioral Analysis Unit, the DEA, the US Marshals Service, SWAT, the NYPD, Scotland Yard, local law enforcement, and the US military. This research and the breadth of his contacts help bring depth and realism to his characters and stories.
For video interviews and a free personal safety eBook co-authored by Alan Jacobson and FBI Profiler Mark Safarik, please visit http://www.AlanJacobson.com. You can also connect with Jacobson on Facebook (Facebook.com/AlanJacobsonFans), Instagram (alan.jacobson), Twitter (@JacobsonAlan), and Goodreads (alan-jacobson).
PAUL KEMPRECOS is the author of eight novels in the Aristotle “Soc” Socarides private detective series, including COOL BLUE TOMB, winner of a Shamus award from the Private Eye Writers of America for Best Paperback, and SHARK BAIT, nominated for a Shamus in the same category. Grandmaster of Adventure writer Clive Cussler blurbed: “There can be no better mystery writer in America than Paul Kemprecos.” Paul became the first fiction co-author to work with Cussler when they created and wrote the New York Times bestselling NUMA Files series. After collaborating with Cussler on the first eight books in the NUMA Files, Paul wrote two adventure novels including THE MINOAN CIPHER, nominated for a Thriller award by the International Thriller Writers. Paul lives on Cape Cod with his wife Christi, a financial advisor.
SHANNON KIRK is the international bestselling and award-winning author of METHOD 15/33, THE EXTRAORDINARY JOURNEY OF VIVIENNE MARSHALL, IN THE VINES, GRETCHEN, VIEBURY GROVE, and short stories in four anthologies: THE NIGHT OF THE FLOOD, NOTHING GOOD HAPPENS AFTER MIDNIGHT, and BORDER NOIR. Shannon is also a contributor to the International Thriller Writers’ Murderers’ Row. Growing up in New Hampshire, Shannon and her brothers were encouraged by their parents to pursue the arts, which instilled in her a love for writing at a young age. A graduate of Suffolk Law School in Massachusetts, Shannon is a practicing litigation attorney and former adjunct law professor, specializing in electronic-evidence law. When she isn’t writing or practicing law, Shannon spends time with her husband, son, and two cats. To learn more about her, visit http://www.shannonkirkbooks.com.
JON LAND is the USA Today bestselling author of more than 50 books, including the award-winning, critically acclaimed Caitlin Strong series, the most recent of which is STRONG FROM THE HEART. He has also penned six novels in the MURDER, SHE WROTE series and has recently taken over Margaret
Truman’s CAPITAL CRIMES series as well. He’s a 1979 graduate of Brown University, lives in Providence, Rhode Island, and can be reached at jonlandbooks.com or on Twitter @jondland.
JOHN LESCROART is the author of twenty-nine novels, nineteen of which have been New York Times bestsellers. Libraries Unlimited places him among “The 100 Most Popular Thriller and Suspense Authors.” With sales of over twelve million copies, his books have been translated into twenty-two languages in more than seventy-five countries, and his short stories appear in many anthologies.
John’s first book, SUNBURN, won the Joseph Henry Jackson Award for Best Novel by a California author. DEAD IRISH, THE 13TH JUROR, and THE KEEPER were nominees for the Shamus, Anthony, and Silver Falchion Best Mystery Novel, respectively; additionally THE 13TH JUROR is included in the International Thriller Writers publication “100 Must-Read Thrillers of All Time.” HARD EVIDENCE made “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to the Ultimate Reading List.” THE SUSPECT was the American Author’s Association 2007 Book of the Year. THE MOTIVE was an Audie Finalist of the Audio Publishers Association. THE MERCY RULE, NOTHING BUT THE TRUTH, THE SUSPECT, THE FALL, and THE RULE OF LAW have been major market Book Club selections. John’s books have been Main Selections of one or more of the Literary Guild, Mystery Guild, and Book of the Month Club.
P. LYLE is the Amazon #1 Bestselling; Macavity and Benjamin Franklin Award-winning; and Edgar(2), Agatha, Anthony, Shamus, Scribe, and USA Today Best Book(2) Award-nominated author of 22 books, both non-fiction and fiction, including the Samantha Cody, Dub Walker, Jake Longly and Cain/Harper thriller series and the Royal Pains media tie-in novels. His essay on Jules Verne’s THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND appears in THRILLERS: 100 MUST READS, his short story “Even Steven” in ITW’s anthology THRILLER 3: LOVE IS MURDER, and his short story “Bottom Line” in FOR THE SAKE OF THE GAME. He served as editor for and contributed the short story “Splash” to SCWA’s anthology IT’S ALL IN THE STORY.
He hosts the Crime Fiction Writer’s Blog and the Criminal Mischief: The Art and Science of Crime Fiction podcast series. He has worked with many novelists and with the writers of popular television shows such as Law & Order, CSI: Miami, Diagnosis Murder, Monk, Judging Amy, Peacemakers, Cold Case, House, Medium, Women’s Murder Club, 1-800-Missing, The Glades, and Pretty Little Liars.
Before his thrillers landed him on the New York Times bestseller list, KEVIN O’BRIEN was a railroad inspector. The author of 21 internationally-published thrillers, he won the Spotted Owl Award for Best Pacific Northwest Mystery, and is a core member of Seattle 7 Writers. Press & Guide said: “If Alfred Hitchcock were alive today and writing novels, his name would be Kevin O’Brien.” Kevin’s latest nail-biter is THE BAD SISTER.
HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN is on-air investigative reporter for Boston’s WHDH-TV, winning 37 EMMYs and dozens more journalism honors. A USA Today bestselling author of 12 thrillers, Ryan’s also an award-winner in her second profession—with five Agathas, three Anthonys, and the coveted Mary Higgins Clark Award. Critics call her “a master of suspense.” Her highly-acclaimed TRUST ME was an Agatha nominee and chosen for numerous prestigious “Best of 2018” lists. Hank’s book THE MURDER LIST is an Agatha, Anthony and Mary Higgins Clark Award nominee. Her newest standalone is THE FIRST TO LIE (Forge Books August 2020). The Publishers Weekly starred review calls it “Stellar.”
SUSPENSE MAGAZINE was founded in 2007 on the premise that every author in the genre needed a platform to have a voice. From that original concept, Suspense Publishing was born in 2010 to publish high quality books in the suspense/mystery/horror/thriller genre. Suspense Publishing’s goal is to be a leader in producing the highest quality books in the genre.
Another week is upon us. This past week was rather unproductive in a lot of regards since its two film festivals are going to overlap so I’m in preparation mode to try to get ahead which has proven to be a little less productive than I’d like. Let’s check it out!
Currently reading: The Girl on the Train
No progress in reading. I really wanted to but just didn’t get around to it. I’m not going to say anything for this right now since progress should be minimal for at least another week or two.
Currently playing: Double Kick Heroes
Took a little moment as a palate cleanser and to brush off some writer’s block to play Double Kick Heroes. Its been something that I’ve been meaning to do since its full release. I started back up from lower difficulty since I hadn’t played a long time plus started the game from the beginning because I realized that the progress I made in demo didn’t really translate into achievements. Its definitely more polished and I’m really enjoying it a lot (just as much as when I played it in early access phase).
Truth or Dare: Extended Director’s Cut (2018, Review)
Anything For Jackson (2020)
The Book of Vision (2020)
Technically I still have a whole 10 to 15 short films that I also watched during the weekend but its a bit intense so I left it out. Not a whole lot of difference from the last week as trying to power through Festival du Nouveau Cinema (which is still not as optimal progress as I’d like), still working through 31 Days of Horror/Halloween and started working on the Blood in the Snow Festival coverage. Its taking a little longer than usual and I’m pretty much behind but I will find some way to catch back up with everything. At least as of today, I’m only one day behind for 31 Days of Horror and that’s the most pressing.
A few movies that I wanted to highlight this week especially the Festival du Nouveau Cinema. I don’t usually highlight documentaries but Caught in the Net really shocked me a lot. At the same time, I really do need to mention coming of age film Cocoon and horror movie Anything For Jackson which both are quite impressive also. I do want to add that The Book of Vision is a beautiful movie but I will talk more about it in the review as I need a day or two extra to figure it all out in my mind about what I watched.
Unsolved Mysteries (Volume 2, 2020)
Currently binging: Perfect and Casual, Our Song 2, Professional Single, Love Signal 3, Go Newbies, The Journey Across The Night, Meeting Mr. Right: Season 2
We are big fans of Unsolved Mysteries Volume 1 on Netflix (review) so its not surprise that we got onto watching Unsolved Mysteries Volume 2 the weekend after its release. I had started watching it a little before on my own. There are some very good cases to look at. At the same time, there are always some that stand out more than the others. Actually in this case, my husband and I actually had opposite feelings about one case in particular.
Perfect and Casual and The Journey Across the Night will both be in the last week or two. Our Song 2 has been pairing up some good stuff. The B group included some powerhouse singers like Coco Lee, G.E.M.,Jordan Chan Yunlong Zheng, a few that I really do like quite a lot. Professional Single is quickly becoming a series that I love a ton. The new addition this week is the prelude episode to kick of Meeting Mr. Right: Season 3 which includes Elva Hsiao and her boyfriend which seems like an interesting one. One thing that the pandemic has done is pull a lot of these people that previously didn’t do variety/reality shows to pop up in more places.
That’s it for What’s Up! What have you been playing/watching/reading/binging?
Time is just flying by, right? I feel like I start off this segment the same way every week. I just happen to need more time in a day to get everything done (and maybe an energy boost with all the gloomy rainy weather this week). Either way, Festival du Nouveau Cinema is still going on until the end of October and I’m trying to work super hard (which is not going quite as planned) in order to start getting ready for the next festival coverage. Regardless, let’s check out the week!
Currently reading: The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
Just cracked open a new book that’s been sitting on my bookshelf for a while. The Girl On The Train is one that I’ve been wanting to read. I literally just opened the book so haven’t really gotten really far. Not much to say at this point.
I had wanted to play this game Detective S but its one of those fake free games where it gives you the first case for free and then tries to get you to unlock the rest by buying in-game stuff without any way to unlock it for free. The game is really a mystery case solved by find the difference mini-games.
Some rentals, some prep for Movies and Tea, some Halloween movie marathon picks and of course, FNC watches: There’s some pretty good movies that I had to decide between. Violation is a really good one that I liked quite a bit and the horror anthologies were pretty good as well but that double feature is coming up really soon. Jumanji: The Next Level was pretty on par to nice fun and entertainment, exactly what I needed to cut through all the more serious or horror picks this past week. However, the highlight of this week goes to My Salinger Year which was a lovely little story that played a little like The Devil Wears Prada but in the literary agent/publishing world.
Currently binging: Perfect and Casual, The Journey Across The Night, Love Signal 3, Go Newbies, Our Song 2
Nothing that wrapped up this week. I did rewatch Julie and the Phantoms quite a bit as background whenever I was writing so I didn’t add it in since that doesn’t really count. I have to get a TV binge for that one done soon.
Some new additions of the currently binging like Perfect and Casual which is my highlight this week and Our Song 2 which is also quite good since this season they found some great singers to join in like Joey Yung, Alan Tam, Kenny Bee and Jeff Chang as well as some good younger generation to pair with them that were great like recently Bonbon 303 centre Curley Gao and Tai Yi which were the two that I knew from before.
Perfect and Casual was my actual binge this week as I caught up with 3 weeks of episodes or something. I love the actor Miles Wei and he’s been mostly doing supporting or 2nd male leads but this time, he has the 1st male lead and I’m all for it. Its such a cute chemistry between the two plus I really hope this is successful and he gets more first lead roles in other TV series.
That’s it for this week’s What’s Up! I’m falling a bit behind on everything so hoping to catch up in the coming week! Fingers crossed! What have you been watching/reading/binging/playing?
Picking up from the situation of Book 2, To Reap the Spirit explores further into the Fade as more moving parts of the dangers surrounding Brenna’s Dead Dreamer side of things take on a new meaning. Much like Book 2, the Gatekeepers have called in another Dead Dreamer, Bridget to remedy and control the situation of her unsealing the doors to stop their conflicting goals. However, Bridget is a much more dangerous character that takes things further as she can cause some dire consequences with her power.
Book 3 brings in the equation of the different stances that the Guardians and Gatekeepers have as well as things that they also can’t seem to control while also giving Brenna her own further struggles with balancing life in the Fade and how far she can go before even she has her limits while also having the side of life with the living that she can’t seem to get involved with. At the same time, it explores another dimension other than the Fade called The Veil. At the same time, pulling in more characters to have bigger parts to play that were either present in previous books or at least mentioned. There’s a bigger element of action and danger throughout which does make it more engaging but at times, what made the previous 2 books stand out was the smaller scope from at least the character standpoint but to be fair, it was inevitable that it had to get bigger since we had already hints of bigger parties at play than what was happening in the college campus.
Overall, as a 3rd book of a series, its engaging because of how it manages to expand further into the story and world building on the elements from the previous books. At the same time, adding more characters expands further from just its main character Brenna while giving more room for other people to be involved like her interaction with her best friends, Aeria and Damon as well as having more roommates and new “enemies” that adds quite a bit to the story overall.
Eighteen-year-old Brenna Whit is entering college as a freshman and starting to meet new people, but she hides a dark secret. Because of an accident that happened three years ago, her spirit wanders the Fade whenever she falls asleep. It’s something she wants to keep hidden from the world, but when she sees someone watching her in spirit form, she fears the secret’s out. With new friends, possibly new enemies, school, and a new crush, Brenna has too much to worry about for just her freshman year of college.
Perfect for those who enjoy Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Supernatural
Brenna Whit teeters the line between the living and the dead. Now that she’s back for her sophomore year at Nephesburg College, she’s determined to focus on the waking world. But when her own soul is trying to kill her and a new Dead Dreamer is fighting for power, Brenna is dragged back into the world of the dead.
The Gatekeepers are doing everything they can to restore the power they once held over the town of Nephesburg. With a mysterious set of twins arriving in town to help them prepare, Brenna must decide what’s important: continuing to hide her secret or reveal herself and fight for what she believes is right. The decision could end up leading to a permanent death for Brenna so she must choose wisely.
A native of Richmond, Virginia, Sarah Lampkin is a 2015 graduate from Lynchburg College [University of Lynchburg] with a master’s degree in English. Since graduation, Sarah now lives in Northern Virginia working in the IT field as a Technical Writer while continuing her research for her graduate school thesis. When she isn’t working, Sarah continues her Celtic mythology research and Gaelic studies, while working on the Dead Dreamer series.
A bit of a late one today since I lost track of time with Thanksgiving happening on Monday and having a day off and a change in my work situation which has everything all upside down right now. Either way, I realized it just now so here we are with a rushed What’s Up piece before I run off to wrap up something else!
Currently reading: To Reap the Spirit (The Dead Dreamer Series #3)
I’ve been a little bit lazy with reading of late and it has to do with another film festival that popped up. With that said, I have a reading commitment for a blog tour that’s literally happening this week so its been a rush phase finishing up the reading last week. However, I did watch a movie that inspired me to go check out Undine which is a German fairy tale novella. Its an interesting one to say the least.
Currently playing: Cat Force, Find Out
I never got around to starting Simulacra although its definitely still on my mind but I’m going to be realistic and not tease it any further and just stick with that I’m actually having time to play and that’s Cat Force, which I believe that I’ve reached the end of that game for me although I’m also still playing Find Out and that game is still so much fun.
Between Festival du Nouveau Cinema coverage (which the writing is going incredibly slow) and October’s Halloween marathon trying to hit the 31 Days of Halloween, its been a wild ride on the movie watching front. I did watch a few really good movies though plus everything isn’t completely off track considering FNC is just a week into the festival and it runs for the rest of the month. I’d recommend a few like Mamà Mamà Mamà and Undine and of course, my highlight of this week goes to Topside which is an amazing movie!
Although, if we talk about other movies here, Raw is a very good movie and I have some upcoming double feature for Halloween marathon picks that were some great watches! Lots on the movie front in terms of writing coming up once I get things back into a certain routine this month with all the changes.
The Haunting of Bly Manor (2020)
Currently binging: Love Signal 3, The Journey Across the Night, Go Newbies
Would you look at the short list of TV happening right now? I really shaved off a lot of stuff that I was watching and didn’t start new things. Obviously the reason is because of movies but then I just couldn’t not watch The Haunting of Bly Manor right away. Plus, I was scared social media would start sharing all kinds of spoiler even if I try to avoid it. I love Mike Flanagan and The Haunting of Bly Manor is really great. It was a trip that sent shivers down my spine and had me on a edge a lot. The horror that gets me the most is anything related to ghosts and spirits so this stuff is right up my alley.
With that said, The Journey Across the Night that no one is watching sadly is a TV drama with that kind of psychological thriller twist to it that I really like. Plus, its set in Hong Kong and meshes Cantonese and Mandarin dialogue which I really appreciate. Its a ton of fun so far with some creepy moments. Hopefully more people will watch it. I would have loved to do a TV binge for it in October but the series runs into November since it only releases 3 new episodes a week.
That’s it for this What’s Up! Hopefully your week has been less of a confusing rush of stuff! What have you been reading/watching/binging/playing?
Every week is going by so fast. I don’t know if its just being really busy with work or trying to focus on getting the Halloween movie marathon going on track this past week or its just trying to make it through day by day and not think about those record high pandemic case increase every day. Either way, Week 40 means 12 weeks until the end of the year. Judging from how quickly the year has gone by, its probably going to zoom by as well. Another film festival is just around the corner and I apparently hate free time so I’m trying to get organized so that things run smoothly with the movie marathon month as well but I’ll talk about that more in the “WATCHING” section. Let’s check out how the week went!
Currently reading: To Reap the Spirit (The Dead Dreamer Series #3)
Started up the third book of The Dead Dreamer series To Reap the Spirit which has been accompanying me throughout the past year (if not less than that). Its been a fun world to dive into. I’m still very early in the book so I’m not going to say much about it yet but I went into this with high hopes so I’m hoping that it’ll live up to it!
Playing next: Simulacra
I’m not going to lie that gaming as really been in the back of my mind. Just generally running out of time when it comes to trying to start up a new game. Its a bit wild seeing as I haven’t changed my mind on what to play but really just haven’t sat down to do it. Although I do blame it on a few things. My constant replay of Julie and the Phantoms as background to work on stuff and the need to get stuff prepared for the movie marathon. I’ll get back to it but my mind is a little scattered…
Moving along with the movie marathon mostly this past week while having some picks for Movies and Tea working really well into what I need for this Halloween/Horror month. Aside from that, media accreditation for Festival du Nouveau Cinema came in and as Montreal moved into maximum alert meaning theatres are shut, they have gone completely virtual running from October 7th to 31st with an array of new age cinema that always has something interesting to discover every single year. I have a preliminary list set out to cover but the challenge is to see how on track I can be between festival coverage and the Halloween marathon!
As for highlight this week, it has to go to A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night! An incredibly unique take on a vampire film and another Spectrevision win! It’ll be part of a coming double feature and also happens to be part of production for Season 6 of Movies and Tea so I’m not going to talk too much about it here.
Julie and the Phantoms (Season 1, 2020)
Count Your Lucky Stars (2020)
Sing On! Germany (Season 1, 2020)
Ratched (Season 1, 2020)
Currently binging: Love Signal 3, Go Newbies, The Journey Across The Night, Intense Love
I just can’t decide for this week which stood out more so I decided to just forget about choosing and highlight all three! I’ve been harping on about Count Your Lucky Stars the past week or two so I finally decided that I had to let it go and watched the last 2 episodes and I still think its a great series. Top 5 of the year from what it looks like. However, I did manage to finally get back into more Netflix series and finished (then finished another 2 times) Julie and the Phantoms. It brought some High School Musical vibes and then I realized that the director of HSM is responsible for Julie and the Phantoms so it all makes sense, right? Finally, I’ve had my eye on Ratched since I’m a big fan of Sarah Paulson and it didn’t disappoint at all. I want to add this one to the Halloween marathon rundown so I’m working on the TV binge sooner rather than later.
That’s it for this week’s What’s Up! What have you been playing/watching/reading/binging?