Danger lurks around every corner!
Courageous cops, adventurous agents, and daring detectives hunt for the answers to stop crimes by vicious killers.
But what if the damage is already done?
Inside these pages you’ll find 24 adventures full of captivating conundrums, hair-raising homicides, and suspenseful secrets from today’s USA Today & Wall Street Journal bestselling and award-winning authors.
Become a private investigator yourself. Inspect plots of deadly assassins, cold-blooded killers, and bone-chilling suspense inside the pages of DEATH AND DAMAGES, an enthralling mystery and thriller boxed set.
Fans of Lee Child, James Patterson, Gillian Flynn, Paula Hawkins, and John Grisham will devour these puzzling mysteries and gripping thrillers.
Karen M. Bryson;
Lisa B. Thomas;
Kerry J. Donovan;
Maria Grazia Swan
He hadn’t noticed her carrying the package. He chided himself. He’d been so taken with her baby blues, wavy blonde hair, and pouty scarlet mouth, she could have brought a suitcase into his office and he wouldn’t have seen it. He hesitated. Based on her frantic demeanor, the innocuous brown paper bag could contain anything from a body part to a gun.
Pausing to take a quick breath, he unfolded the top and peered inside. “Why am I looking at a shoe?” “A red stiletto to be exact.” “You need to explain,” he said, lifting his gaze. “Why did you bring me a shoe?” “I didn’t know what else to do. I didn’t know where to go.” “Mrs. Rose—” “Ruby,” she said hastily, cutting him off. “Call me Ruby.”
“What’s so special about this shoe? And please, as simply as you can, tell me why you need my help?” “Take it out. Take it out and look at it.” Her voice was growing shrill, and hoping she wasn’t on the verge of hysteria he reached in and pulled it out. The shoe was glossy patent leather with an unusually high narrow heel. “I don’t think I’ve ever laid eyes on a shoe like this. How can you walk?” “Look! Look! Don’t you see it?” “See what? It’s a red shoe with a very narrow, very high heel that’s clearly expensive, and—” “Blood! It’s covered in blood!” she exclaimed cutting him off a second time. “It was sitting next to my husband when I found him.”
A sudden chill rippled down his spine.
Suicide Blonde Karen M. Bryson
When I left Florida as a wide-eyed twenty-year-old, I vowed never to set foot in the Sunshine State again. I was determined to do whatever it took to make it in Hollywood. I wanted to be better than where I came from.
Now here I am right back where I started twenty-five years ago.
Apparently that old saying is true: you can take the girl out of the south, but you can’t take the south out of the girl.
As I pull my rental car into the Swamp Angel Trailer Park all kinds of memories flash through my head. None of them positive. This is the place where my sister, Layla, and I grew up. The place where she apparently still lived. The place I couldn’t wait to escape from.
I rented a Jeep for one week. I don’t plan on extending the rental. My plan is to get my sister’s affairs in order and get the hell out of Florida for good.
While most of this booming bayside city has experienced a major revitalization, entering the trailer park is like stepping back in time. It’s barely changed in the last quarter century.
It’s still a festering sore in the armpit of the city.
Swamp Angel Trailer Park is right in the heart of Suitcase City. It’s a seedy part of town a few blocks west of Big State University. The rundown section of town was so named because many of its residents are so transient, they never bother to unpack their bags. It’s the kind of place where nobody knows your name and people like it that way.
When Layla’s father died, she inherited the trailer we grew up in. I’d be surprised if it’s worth forty thousand. I can make that in a month renting out my beach house in Malibu.
As I pull the Jeep up to the front of the trailer, I notice there aren’t any other vehicles parked outside. Layla was a graduate student at Big State University. We’re a few miles from campus, not really close enough to walk. I wonder how she got to class without a car.
Seeing the crime tape over the front door feels surreal. You’d think after playing a detective on television for twenty years I’d be used to it. But when it’s stuck across the door of your childhood home it feels a lot different.
I don’t have a key to her place, but I do remember where the spare keys were hidden. One was underneath a garden gnome in a patch of weeds that was supposed to be the front yard. The other was under the upper left corner of the tacky straw welcome mat outside the front door.
The straw welcome mat must have bitten the dust because it’s been replaced with an even cheaper looking Wipe Your Paws fake grass mat.
With no spare key underneath.
Fortunately, the sun-cracked garden gnome produces the goods. The key is old and a little rusty, but it still manages to unlock the trailer door.
My plan is to sell anything that’s worth selling. Donate what’s still usable to a thrift store. Then toss whatever remains into the trash.
Armed with heavy duty plastic bags and a pair of rubber gloves, I charge into the trailer ready for action.
Forbidden Distraction Siera London
“Where did I go wrong?” Jared whispered. He felt the muscles along Vivianne’s back tense. “Have I hurt or offended you in some way?”
He couldn’t stop himself from massaging the tension from her lower back. Maybe, she thought he slept with the women who’d accompanied him to SCMC fundraisers. Jared thought of his parent’s marriage. He grew up watching how his father’s betrayals chipped away at his mother’s adoration. Johnson Pierce thought his money would cover his sins. That trinkets and trips could sustain his wife’s love and his only son’s respect—he’d been wrong. His father’s infidelity was one of the reasons that Jared had waited until the right woman had come along before he gave his heart. Vivianne was smart, funny, and giving. She was it for him and he could never be unfaithful to the woman he loved.
“No,” came her soft reply, a slight moan escaping on the tail end. “Of course not.”
Yet, she was leaving him.
They’d reached his corner office. With a touch of added pressure, she walked through the door he held open. Once she was inside, he engaged the lock. She jumped when the ‘click’ sounded in the room. In a flash, he had her back pressed against the closed door, his big body trapping her.
“Then why try to leave without my knowing?” She let her head fall back against the door. For the first time, he could see the mental anguish she was under. She was suffering, too. “You want another man?”
He had to hear her say the words. After more than a year of torturing himself to stay away from her, he needed to understand her reasoning. Before Vivianne, he’d been with women who only wanted sex. He’d felt deep in his soul that Vivianne wanted more from him. The way she’d touched him, caressed his face during their lovemaking like she was imprinting his every nuance into her memory. She’d tempted him beyond sanity with her slow and thorough exploration of his body. Dark hair to match his own, dark eyes that flamed higher with each touch, skin so rich, he’d be the wealthiest man in the world if he possessed her.
“It’s purely for therapeutic reasons…”
So, she would share her body, a body that occupied his dreams, with another man for medicinal purposes?
Love Thy Sister Maria Grazia Swan
Crawling away from the pain. She had to get up from the floor. Her mouth foamed. She felt like her chest was exploding.
“One big explosion, followed by a smaller one. Just as pleasurable but not as powerful,” the man had said last night in the bonding anonymity of the dark motel room, his voice an oily whisper.
What was that smell? Maybe decaying food the other girls left behind. She concentrated on the noises from below. A door slammed somewhere in the building. She didn’t care who saw her, she needed help.
Air, she had to get some air. She grasped the front of her smock until it ripped. Her long black hair fell over her breasts.
“One big explosion….”
Was it last night or just a few hours ago?
VENGEANCE John Ling
Maya Raines hated the idea of walking into a trap, but she decided to do it anyway.
She was dressed in a Muslim robe — long and loose and rustling in the wind. Her face was covered by a veil. She carried a grocery bag as she moved along the sidewalk, being careful not to trip on the pockmarked concrete and scattered rubble.
All around her, ominous black flags hung from the shopfronts and soared from the rooftops, declaring the rise of an Islamist caliphate. And just ahead, a roadblock had been set up, manned by jihadi fighters. A modified pickup truck — a technical — was parked on the intersection, with a machine gun mounted on its rear bed.
Maya could hear Arabic being spoken in the distance. It sounded harsh and strident; completely different to the gentle melodic rhythm of the Malay language that she was used to. These men were foreign Sunnis. They had come from as far afield as Egypt and Libya, drawn to Malaysia by the promise of killing local Shiites.
Maya felt the slow burn of anxiety in her stomach…
Facing the Past Alexa Padgett
“Hank. Thirteen hours. At dawn, Jonathan, gone for thirteen hours.”
Hank turned toward Nancy, his look hollow. Nothing moved across his face, through his eyes. He tilted his head, marginally interested as she swallowed then gasped for air. Hank closed his eyes. “I can’t see any better in the dark than they can,” he said. “You heard the detective say they brought in the dogs. A helicopter from Fort Worth. It’s a full-scale search, almost everyone in town was out looking till it got too dark.”
A faint hum. Louder, a thwap, thwap overhead, a blinding spotlight. Again.
“They could miss him from up there.”
“We’ve already missed him,” Hank shot back, eyes glinting in the semi-darkness.
Nancy shrank back, away from him.
He lowered his head nearly to his knees. Inhaled, exhaled. “My son.”
Cicadas hummed, pressing their bodies against the house. Nothing could hold them together. Not with Jonny missing.
A whippoorwill called. Hank stood there, between the foyer and the living room where Nancy huddled.
“What are we going to do?” she asked him.
Another pass from the helicopter. A dog barking.
Hank hesitated again before seeming to consciously lift his leg to step into the room.
He lay his hand on her shoulder, fingers against her collarbone, his face telling Nancy he was too used up to do more as darkness crowded out the faint porch light.
A chilling tale that warns you to beware of long ago friends and guests that over stay their welcome.
A story that had me hooked up until the last couple of chapters. Excellent writing and and characterisation but I felt that someone had tried out different story endings (like they do in flims sometimes), and had settled for one that could be considered happy.
It rolled up all the loose ends neatly.
Too neatly for me.
I was going to give this book 5 stars but the ending downgraded it to 4. sorry.
I debated about the stars ranking but in the end, I felt that it just didn’t enthuse me enough, and I won’t bother with book 2 in this series – when it comes out.
Please note that the author does climb and thus we can be fairly sure that the parts about climbing are (more or less, given artistic licence) correct. I thought that these climbing descriptions were the best part of the story. And would have liked more written about what it was like to make these climbs and the characters of the type of people who undertook extreme climbs,
This was another character set that didn’t feel quite rounded to me. I got the disturbed nature of the characters but …
About the Author
Dave is a guidebook writer/publisher turned novelist. He began rock climbing around 1984, which was a “logical” extension of hiking, camping and backpacking since boyhood. After his first article on climbing in San Diego’s back-country was published in Rock & Ice magazine, he created the San Diego County Climbing Guide, which proved extremely popular. Next came San Diego Adventures: Classic hiking, mountain biking and rock climbing. In 2007 he completed and published a second edition of the climbing guide, which vividly detailed over 2,000 routes.
Subsequently, he embarked on a fiction-writing odyssey, producing sci-fi novels and short stories “rather unsuccessfully” in terms of publication. He finally found his proper voice in 2017 when he wrote Ricochet, an intense modern-day thriller about a young female vigilante. Upon its completion, he learned about Acorn Publishing while attending the 2018 Southern California Writers’ Conference and was signed by them shortly thereafter.
David is also an accomplished horticulturist. He became interested in tropical plants called Bromeliads in 2010, which quickly turned into a passion. He is an active member of the San Diego Bromeliad Society, and has won “Best of Show” awards in their annual show multiple times. His Tillandsia collection is considered one of the best in the region. For many years he and his wife Debbie have been chief volunteer caretakers of the San Diego Zoo’s Kent Bromeliad Garden.
Becoming a novelist is the realization of a lifelong dream. David loves the process of storytelling, of waking up each day well before dawn and diving into the art of making words come together in a way that appeals.
So here we have a pastor who lives in a small town in the USA but whose twin died by murder. She has always been linked to her twin, in the way they often are, in that they would feel each other’s emotions and pains. And so she knew when her sister was in trouble and when she died.
And now, from the grave, her sister’s ‘ghost’ or at least its presence and some semblance of words, tries to help her when she gets involved in crimes. Because this pastor always does.
i read book 1 first to obtain the background and by the end of it,
i was wondering if there was anyone left alive in her church and the small town. For me, it was Midsummer Murders in a book form, but better written. Just too many people were killed. So I was not sure about book 2 which is the one this blog tour is for.
But it is better. As with so many authors, they learn their craft and improve their story-telling and the characters develop as the series progresses. This is what has happened here I think. but let’s not have too many murders please. One complex one per book is enough.
about the author
With a degree in international marketing and a varied career path that includes content management for a web firm, marketing direction for a high-profile sports agency, and a two-year stint with a renowned literary agency, award-winning author Alexa Padgett has returned to her first love: writing fiction.
Alexa spent a good part of her youth traveling. From Budapest to Belize, Calgary to Coober Pedy, she soaked in the myriad smells, sounds, and feels of these gorgeous places, wishing she could live in them all—at least for a while. And she does in her books.
She lives in New Mexico with her husband, children, and Great Pyrenees pup, Ash. When not writing, schlepping, or volunteering, she can be found in her tiny kitchen, channeling her inner Barefoot Contessa.