Monthly Archives: April 2016

Chapter reveal: CAPTCHA Thief, by Rosie Claverton

CaptchaThief-Cover-HighResTitle:  CAPTCHA Thief

Genre: Mystery/Suspense/Thriller

Author: Rosie Claverton

Websitewww.rosieclaverton.com

www.amylanemysteries.com

Publisher: Crime Scene Books

Purchase on Amazon

About the Book:

Agoraphobic hacker Amy Lane and her sidekick Jason Carr are swept up in a tortuous and increasingly dangerous adventure following the murder of a security guard at the National Museum of Wales and the theft of a priceless Impressionist painting. As Amy seeks to help track an art thief and Jason seeks to impress the National Crime Agency investigator Frieda Haas sent to recover the missing painting – and its abductor—Jason and Amy become entangled in a perilous web.   As the evidence leads Amy and the police in circles, Jason finds himself taking more and more risks in his hunt for the thief. Nothing is as it seems. Are Amy and Jason merely playthings for a vicious murderer? Can they survive the game? The stakes are high, and this game is serious. Dead serious….

About the Author:

Rosie Claverton grew up in Devon, daughter to a Sri Lankan father and a Norfolk mother, surrounded by folk mythology and surly sheep. She moved to Cardiff to study Medicine and adopted Wales as her home. She then moved to London to specialize in psychiatry. Her first short film Dragon Chasers aired on BBC Wales in Autumn 2012. She co-wrote the ground-breaking series of short films The Underwater Realm.  Between writing and practicing medicine, she blogs about psychiatry and psychology for writers in her Freudian Script series.

Links: www.rosieclaverton.com

https://twitter.com/rosieclaverton

https://www.facebook.com/rosie.claverton

https://www.pinterest.com/rosieclaverton

https://www.instagram.com/rosieclaverton/http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8119549.Rosie_Claverton

www.amylanemysteries.com

Chapter 1: A Mere Impression

Night after night, he returned to that one place.

If he listened very carefully, he could hear the water lapping against the gondola. His body seemed to sway with the gentle motion of the little boat, and the air held the cloying mist of a Venice evening, the rich aroma of ripe, roasting tomatoes drifting across the canals. The last rays of sunlight played warm across his face, before the great orb finally dipped below the horizon.

In that beautiful half-light, the vivid pinks and oranges of a Mediterranean sunset, the glorious San Giorgio monastery loomed before him. With the sun behind the tower, he couldn’t see the detail of it, only shadows in grey and greyer and black. It was breathtaking. It was priceless.

But the real beauty lay in the reflection. The building stretched out over the water, rippling with every wave, the boat moving with the monastery. No clear, still reflecting pool this. The ever-shifting waters tossed the light this way and that, until the magnificent tower was no more than an uncertain shadow on the water. An absence of colour.

Chink!

The sharp noise broke his reverie and Paul Roberts was back in Cardiff.

Angry at the disturbance, he moved his flashlight towards the sound. It was probably just the old building settling, shifting some of the workmen’s tools. The museum renovations were taking bloody months—Mike from the day shift said the builders were more often holding mugs of tea than hammers and saws.

Paul returned to the picture, but Venice was gone, the illusion faded with that rude awakening. He was alone in the chilled gallery, his ill-fitting uniform chafing against his skin. He itched at the reddened skin where the waistband of his trousers dug into flesh. He had put on weight again.

He lumbered across the gallery, the last vestiges of Italy falling away behind him, as he headed for the pokey little security office and his instant noodles. He might stream the NFL kickoff game—working night shifts had given him a taste for American sport. As a Welshman, his first loyalty was to the rugby, but American football had its charms. Even if those boys were sissies for needing all that padding just to run about a field.

Shhhhhck!

The ripping sound cut right through him and Paul turned on his heel, flashlight raised like a baton. “Who’s there?”

Between the little puddles of light around the artworks, the black was absolute, only made deeper by the brightness of the lights. Paul squinted into the black spaces, his head beating up into his throat as the seconds stretched into millennia in his panic. Who was lurking in the darkness and what did they want? His boss was never going to forgive him—neglecting his duties, mooning at paintings. If something was lost, could he forgive himself?

He heard a whisper of movement to his right. Despite the screaming of his nerves, Paul ran through the archway into the adjacent gallery, looking left and right for the intruder.

Then he saw her.

The cruel rend was jagged, uneven across the background—more like a lumberjack’s hack than a surgeon’s precision. The top of the canvas had flopped over like a dog-ear, obscuring face and gloves and bustle. All that remained visible were her perfect skirts, fold upon fold of cerulean, azure and sapphire, and that cheeky inch of scandalous toe protruding beneath them.

The bastard had cut The Blue Lady.

Paul could weep for her. His hand stuttered forward, to restore her beauty, but then he jerked back. He must not damage her. Talia and Soo-jin and Noah—they would know what to do for the best. They would save her.

He should call them right away, before the cops. They had to preserve her—the weight of the canvas threatened to tear her further, rip her open like one of Jack the Ripper’s whores. Split open for the vultures—

Thud!

Paul’s head collided with the painting and he slid, stunned, to the ground. He tried to get up, face his attacker, but his arms were strangely heavy, his legs uncooperative. His body was a sack of stones, beyond his control, a ghost of something like pain spreading over the back of his head.

He gasped for air that would not come and, as he looked up at the encroaching darkness, his vision was filled with the most perfect blue.

And a splatter of red.

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Chapter reveal: Dating Death, by Randy Rawls

DD Cover for MGTitle:  DATING DEATH

Genre:  Mystery

Author: Randy Rawls

Website: http://www.randyrawls.com/

Publisher: White Bird Publications

Purchase at Amazon

About the Book: 

Dating Death, the latest mystery by acclaimed novelist Randy Rawls, features South Florida PI Beth Bowman.   She’s tough, tenacious, brash, and bold, but Beth Bowman knows that when the Coral Lakes Police Chief calls, she’d better listen. So when Chief Elston invites Beth for a meeting at the Coral Lakes police headquarters, Beth agrees to hear him out. Seems Elston has a rather unseemly request…

To Beth’s surprise, the topic du jour is South Florida politician Roger Adamson.  Adamson may be loved by his constituents, but he’s for sale to the highest bidder, a fact not lost on the local police.  Elston wants Adamson not just for normal bribes and influence peddling, but for access to the crime lord who supports Adamson’s extravagant lifestyle. Adamson agrees to cooperate— at his own pace, on his terms—if Elston agrees to keep him safe.  And that’s where Beth comes in. After all, someone will have to protect Adamson during public appearances, and who better than Beth Bowman?

Beth agrees, even though accepting the assignment means temporarily upending her life, including her burgeoning romance with Dr. David Rasmussen. Unbeknownst to Beth, this dirty job with a dirty politician could take a shockingly nasty turn…

Adamson’s a sleazy, arrogant jerk, and protecting him is certainly no walk in the park. But this job is leading Beth down a dark, dangerous, and downright deadly path.  Quickly and viciously swept up into a vortex of kidnapping, multiple homicides and violence, Beth Bowman is on the edge of losing everything—including her life.  Backing down isn’t Beth’s style, but this time Beth may have met her match… 

Swiftly paced, shocking, and full of twists of turns, Dating Death is a sizzling, action-packed tale.  Brimming with edge-of-your-seat suspense and a pulse-racer of a plot, Dating Death is hotter than a South Florida summer.  Randy Rawls, who has earned a well-deserved place among the fine writers who call the Sunshine State home, delivers a solid, irresistible and entertaining tale in Dating Death.

About the Author:

Randy Rawls grew up in North Carolina, then spent a career in the Army before retiring to Florida.  After retirement, he returned to work with the Department of Defense as a civilian. Somewhere along the way, he fell in love with writing—a natural progression as he has always been an avid reader. Randy Rawls lives in Delray Beach, Florida.

DATING DEATH

By Randy Rawls

CHAPTER ONE

Beth Bowman, P.I. pulled into a visitor’s parking space and killed the engine on her nondescript Toyota Camry. She sighed and leaned back in the seat staring at the building. Not her first choice for a place to be at ten in the morning, but she felt obligated to be there. The invitation from Chief Elston to meet with him at the Coral Lakes police headquarters could have been declined, but she needed to keep a good relationship with him and his people—or stated differently, she didn’t need to make it any worse.

She stepped out of the car and felt the heat and humidity slam into her—South Florida was living up to its reputation. She knew to enjoy it while she could. Since it was the rainy season, the afternoon and evening could be filled with thunderstorms, lowering the temperature but raising the humidity.

Beth entered through the front door and saw Officer Gantry manning the desk. “Hi. The Chief called me in for a meeting. Can I go back?”

“Yep, he told me to keep an eye out for you. The meeting is in his office. You know the way, don’t you?”

Beth walked past and headed down the hallway. At the Chief’s office, she stopped and blew out a long breath before tapping on the door.

The door swung open. “Come in, Beth. We’ve been waiting for you.” Chief Elston stood and ushered Beth to a chair at the end of his desk.

She looked around. No one there except the Chief and a man she didn’t recognize. He seemed familiar, though. VIP came to mind, but she couldn’t be sure of it. Whatever, he looked like he either had a severe case of heartburn or would prefer to be about anywhere else.

Before she could sort through her memory bank, Chief Elston performed as host. “I’m sure you know Roger Adamson, one of our city councilmen. Mr. Adamson, this is Beth Bowman, the lady I told you about.”

“I gathered that when you called her Beth. Now that introductions are behind us, I’m not sure why you’re wasting my time. Like I said before, how the hell do you expect a five foot, hundred-pound piece of fluff to keep me alive?”

Chief Elston smiled, but it appeared strained. “What I expect is for you to keep an open mind. As I told you, I know what I’m doing. You’re judging the package, not what’s in it.”

“Humph. Do I have to remind you it’s my life that’s in play, not yours? From what I see, she definitely won’t do. You’re going to have to—”

“Just a damn minute—”

“Hold it,” Beth said. “I didn’t come here so you can talk over me like a head of cabbage. Somebody better tell me what’s going on, or I’m out the door.” She scowled at Adamson. “Getting a bikini wax is more enjoyable than listening to this jerk.” She hesitated. “Also, I’m five feet, five inches tall and weigh one hundred twenty-five pounds. I can run a half-marathon, am an expert in self-defense, and trained in the use of firearms. And, just so there’s no misunderstanding, I don’t need shit from you—whatever you are.”

“Not only that,” Chief Elston said, “she can shoot the wings off a gnat, drop a six-six linebacker, and turn a hungry pack of wolverines into a passel of docile pussycats. There are folks in this town who learned the hard way not to get on her bad side. A couple of them are on my force. She kicks like a mule. Now, either you settle down and listen, or I call the Assistant State Attorney and tell her no deal. Make your choice.”

Beth looked from Elston to Adamson and back. City Councilman versus Assistant State Attorney? Good story potential. She leaned back in her chair, willing to listen.

Adamson puffed up like a blowfish, then deflated. “Alright. You’re holding the high cards. I’ll listen, but if this is the best you have, I might be better off in a white-collar lockup. In fact, right now, I’m tempted to change my mind.”

Too much. Beth stood. “I’ve heard enough. If you boys decide to get serious, give me a call. I didn’t come down here to watch two sumo wrestlers circle one another.” She started toward the door.

“Beth, please stay,” Elston said. “I’m sorry. This is not the way I intended the meeting to go. Let me start from the top.”

She stopped. “Okay, but for the record, and you can write it in permanent ink, if this character cracks on me once more, I may kick his flabby butt.”

“If he cracks on you once more, he’s on the short path to a solitary jail cell. That, I promise.”

Beth studied Adamson, her mind pulling pieces together. Roger Adamson, Coral Lakes Councilman. She’d seen an article in the Coral Lakes Post about an official under investigation for accepting bribes. No name, of course, a confidential source. Could Mr. Adamson be the person of interest? If so, where did she fit into the picture?

“Okay, Chief.” She looked at her watch. “I have a manicure in one hour—thirty minutes from here. That gives you twenty-five minutes to convince me I didn’t rush breakfast for no good reason. Let’s go.”

Chief Elston took a deep breath and laced his fingers on his desk. “Mr. Adamson is a dirty politician. By that, I mean he admitted—after we nailed him red-handed—that he takes bribes. Many of them are the standard South Florida stuff—land developers, folks wanting zone changes, unions, etc. You know, the routine leeches that make politics profitable here. However, we believe he also is the beneficiary of some really nasty people, folks who have no qualms about feeding witnesses to the fishes. Those are the people I’m interested in.”

Beth studied Adamson. “I can’t say I’m surprised. He looks the type—greasy, slicked back hair, scruffy beard, Hollywood looks. Where do I fit in? I’m not about to get involved in any kind of undercover stuff.”

 

 

Categories: Mystery, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Chapter reveal: The Wrong Road Home, by Ian A. O’Connor

ianoconnor-72dpi-1500x2000-2Title: The Wrong Road Home – A story of treachery and deceit inspired by true events

Author: Ian A. O’Connor

Release Date: March 31, 2016

Publisher: Pegasus Publishing & Entertainment Group

Pages: 280

Genre: Historical Medical Crime

Format: Trade paperback and EBook

Purchase on Amazon 

Book Description

“An intimate look at a life lived as a lie.” – Kirkus Reviews

Inspired by a true story, The Wrong Road Home is the story of Desmond Donahue. Born into abject poverty in Ireland, Donahue went on to successfully practice his craft as a surgeon for 20 years—first in Ireland and then the United States.  So isn’t Donahue’s tale a classic rags-to-riches, American dream story?  Hardly.  Donahue was girded with nothing more than a Chicago School System GED and several counterfeit medical diplomas. It seems impossible—and understandably so—but it’s a story based on a Miami Herald Sunday edition front page exposé.  An Oprah producer pursued the imposter for weeks, as did Bill O’Reilly. Simply put, Desmond Donahue’s story is a story that really happened.

A gripping story that is alternately shocking, heartbreaking, and unbelievable, The Wrong Road Home will leave readers spellbound. Ian A. O’Connor, an imaginative and skillful storyteller, paints a vivid portrait of a complicated, complex character who comes alive within the story’s pages.   Reminiscent of Catch Me if You Can, The Wrong Road Homefuses elements of true crime, memoir, and drama.  Groundbreaking, inventive and innovative, The Wrong Road Home is an extraordinary story exceptionally well told.

PROLOGUE

I arrived at the law offices of Middleton and Ives, P.A., in Coral Gables, Florida, at nine o’clock on a clear November morning in 1992.  Eighteen months earlier, I had been seriously injured in an auto accident, and still wore a cumbersome neck and back brace.  Pain was my constant companion.

The task this day was to prepare me for a pre-trial deposition scheduled for midweek.  My attorneys had realized soon after filing a claim in court that things could turn dicey simply because I was a longtime friend of the car’s driver, Kathy Murray.  Indeed, her insurance carrier had remained steadfast in refusing to entertain any thoughts of a settlement, and had drawn a new line in the sand by hiring a top Miami attorney named Carl Weston.

“Relax, Desmond,” my friend, Mike Middleton, said. “Your case is a slam dunk.  Just answer all questions truthfully, and don’t volunteer any information.”

“You know this insurance company lawyer?”

Mike chuckled. “Yeah, I know Carl.  He’s no Perry Mason, but he can turn into one tough little bulldog if he smells blood.  But Carl has nothing to go after here because the facts are the facts.”  Mike led me into the conference room then headed for the gargantuan leather chair at the head of the table while motioning me to take the seat on his right.  As he reached for a yellow legal pad, his partner entered.

“Sorry I’m late,” Drew Ives said, and, with a nod, signaled for Mike to begin.

They went over the facts of the accident at least a dozen times, all the while lobbing every imaginable question at me.  They then helped polish my responses, and three hours later pronounced me ready.  “Just tell the truth,” was Mike’s last piece of advice.

Michael Middleton and Drew Ives oozed confidence from every pore.

*     *     *

We were ushered into the floor-to-ceiling book-lined conference room of the law firm of Weston, Hailey and Strunk, P.A., at three o’clock, on the afternoon of November 20, 1992.  After the requisite introductions, and going over a few technical legal housekeeping matters, the deposition started at 3:20 p.m., and lasted ninety minutes.  A court stenographer videotaped the proceeding.

Carl Weston began by guiding me through the preliminaries, those mundane, innocuous items, such as having me state my full name, age, place of birth, city of residence, and marital status.

I began to relax.  I had answered the last question by saying I was a widower these past eighteen years, and how my wife, Margaret, had died in childbirth, as did our child.

Carl Weston wore a suitably sad face as he listened to my recounting.

Then he moved on to wanting to know about my education, beginning in Chicago, where I told how I had attended college at Loyola University, followed by medical school in Cork, Ireland.

“When did you start these Irish medical studies, and when did you finish?”

“Nineteen sixty-nine until nineteen seventy-six.”

“It was a seven year course?” Carl Weston couldn’t keep the surprise out of his voice as he peered at me over the rim of his half-frames.

“Well, it’s normally five, but I did some other things while I was there.” I then went on to explain away my particular circumstances. Mike remained silent.  And why not?  The facts were facts, and he had heard me parrot them ad nauseam.

“So, from nineteen sixty-nine to nineteen seventy-six you were a student at the medical school in Ireland?”

“Yes.”

“That’s seven years?” Carl Weston was now repeating himself

“It is.”

“Did you finally get your degree?”

“Of course.”

“And what degree did you get?”

“Similar to an American M.D. degree.”

“Which is…?”

“An MB, Bch., BAO.”

“That’s quite the mouthful of alphabet soup.  Just what do all those letter mean?”

“MB, Bch., stands for Medical Bachelor, and Bachelor of Surgery.  BAO, Bachelor of Obstetrics and Gynecology.”

“So in other words, you got this MB, Bch., BAO degree in Ireland?”

“I did.” I was beginning to think this hotshot lawyer was somewhat slow in the understanding department.  And still Mike said nothing.

Weston then wanted to know what hospital I had attended for my clinical training while in Cork, and I told him there were several the students rotated through.  That answer seemed to satisfy him.  He next queried the date and the facts leading up to my marriage, then delicately probed for more details about Margaret’s demise and that of our child.

Then he led me through a recitation of events from the time I left Ireland, until my being hired by St. Anslem’s Hospital in Coral Gables, a dozen years earlier.

“And at St. Anslem’s you wear a white doctor’s coat?”

“Of course.”

“And it has Desmond Donahue, M.D. embroidered over the left breast?”

“It does.”

Weston scribbled a quick notation, rifled through some pages, selected one, and began asking about my life and duties at St. Anslem’s.  He wanted to know how much was I paid.  How long was my workday?  What exactly did I do at the hospital?  He then followed with questions regarding the general state of my health before the accident, and an in-depth asking as to my several life insurance policies, and who my beneficiary was.  Ditto for my disability coverage. Then he wanted to know about my relationship with the defendant, Kathy Murray.  I explained she was the widow of a long-time friend who had died of lymphoma three years earlier.

Finally, after many repeated questions, the discussion turned to the accident. Carl Weston led me through the mishap, minute-by-minute, blow-by-blow, my many injuries being duly noted.  He then asked for the names of all the physicians who had, and still were, treating me.

The session ended with a probing of my limited surgical work schedule since the accident, with me explaining how my injuries had curtailed most of the activities I had enjoyed prior to that fateful day.

At last, it was over.  I sank into my chair, exhausted.

Twenty minutes later, I was riding back to Coral Gables with Mike.  “Went well,” he said as we crawled along in bumper-to-bumper traffic on South Dixie Highway.  “I told you Carl’s a bulldog!  Get him fixated on a line of questioning and he will beat it to frigging death.  Hell, there were times in there I had no idea where the man was going.”  Mike let loose a whoop of delight.  “Poor old Carl went on a fishing expedition only to find there were no fish in the pond.  You handled him great, Desmond.”

*     *     *

I got a call from Mike two days before the end of the year.  “I need you in my office as soon as possible.”

“Well, I’m kind of tied up for the next…”

“You’re not listening, Desmond” he interrupted. “As soon as possible means just that.”  No ranting, no raving, just a command.

I immediately went on red alert.  Something big was up.  “Then I’ll be there this afternoon.  Care to tell me what it’s about?”

“This afternoon will be fine, I’ll see you then.”

I made my appearance shortly after two o’clock where a poker-faced Mike Middleton walked me into the conference room and shut the door.  He strode over to the table and scooped up an overstuffed manila envelope which he began waving in front of my nose.  “This was delivered by courier from Carl Weston’s office at nine o’clock this morning.  Care to guess what’s inside?”

I immediately knew the answer.  Carl Weston had dug deep into my past and had struck the mother lode of all mother lodes.  Mike Middleton’s tenacious little bulldog had done what no one else had been able to do in twenty years—he had discovered that my life was a lie, and that I was a fraud.

I hung my head in silent disgrace inside my brace and collar, too mortified to look Mike in the eye.

“Sit down, Desmond,” Mike finally said, then heeding his own advice, sank wearily into his oversized chair and began a vigorous rubbing of his face, a ritual I had witnessed many times.

“It’s time for you to come clean, Doctor Donahue,” he finally said in a voice as dry as dust, deliberately emphasizing the word doctor.  “I want the truth, but first, answer me this: Is your real name even Desmond Donahue?  Because if it isn’t, I sure as hell need to know that particular fact right up front.”

I shook my head and sighed. “Desmond Donahue is my real name.”

“Well, that’s a start, I suppose.  Forget that we’ve been friends for ten years, I want to hear only the truth from here on out.  No bullshitting, no spinning, no you deciding what to tell and what to withhold.  I need to know everything about you from the day you were born, because very soon you’re going to be facing one really pissed-off judge who could send you away for a very long time.  Do you understand what I’m saying?”

I nodded, took a deep breath, held it for what seemed like an eternity, then exhaled in one long swoosh and began to talk.

 

 

 

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