Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Book Review of THE DEVIL'S BAIT by Jeffrey J. Mariotte

The Devil’s Bait was written by Jeffrey J. Mariotte and published in 2011. It may be purchased at www.amazon.com and you can visit the author at http://jeffmariotte.com/main.htm

Jessica Cutler is a “Relationship Manager” with MetroBank on the way up when she watches her most important client, Richard Steele, and another man murder four others in a garage (it started off as self-defense but Steele went to each wounded man and shot them through the head). Unseen by Steele, Jessica flees the scene, and begins to question whether the transactions she has been making for Steele have in fact been money laundering.

After a sleepless night, Jessica brings her suspicions to a higher-up at the bank, a friend who has been her mentor. He listens to her story— she does not mention the murders— and assures her that, while there is probably nothing to her fears, he will look into her concerns. Jessica leaves the office relieved until someone tries to push her in front of a subway train. When she finally returns home, she finds that her apartment has been riffled. She throws some clothes into a bag and “goes on the run.”

Narrowly escaping danger, she makes her way across the country to Clark’s Grove, Iowa to take refuge with her long estranged sister, Joan. Once there and realizing that Steele’s people would continue to search for her no matter how far she ran, she decides to seek protection and hires Morgan Byrd, an ex-Special Forces mercenary as a bodyguard.

Once she explains the situation to Byrd, he convinces her that the best way to protect herself and those close to her would be to go on the offensive and this offensive takes them from Iowa to Paris to Geneva to the Grand Caymans, back to Iowa, and then back to New York City where it all started.

The action is fast-paced with many twists and turns and Mariotte has obviously done much research on the intricacies of banking transactions.

The Devil’s Bait is an intriguing tale with loads of action and well written characters and I’m giving it 41/2 spiders

johnmac

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Blog Tour Stop for Kara Lennex and OUTSIDE THE LAW

WebbWeaver is today's stop on Kara Lennox's Blog Tour to promote her newest release, OUTSIDE THE LAW, a Harlequin Super Romance. We are thrilled to present this short synopsis and excerpt for OUTSIDE THE LAW, Book #4 of Project Justice for Harlequin Super Romance, release date March 6, 2012

Mitch Delacroix is everything Beth McClelland likes in a man. Smart, good-looking and so very safe. She's this close to making her intentions known.

Then Mitch is accused of murdering his best friend years ago. Suddenly his rebel past—including the criminal record—is revealed to everyone.

But something doesn't fit—the Mitch she knows couldn't possibly kill anyone. She's determined to find the truth. As a forensics expert, she's used to uncovering people's secrets. Yet she never expected Mitch could be hiding so many. Despite rising doubts, she'll help clear his name. Even if what she discovers could threaten their relationship…and their lives.
Here is an excerpt:

© Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

"Ask him now."

Beth McClelland shrank back into the hallway, her mind screaming Chicken! "He looks busy."

"He's probably just surfing the web. Computer geeks can always look busy." Raleigh Shinn, Beth's best friend, stood behind her with a hand on her shoulder, ready to push if necessary.

But Beth planted her feet firmly. It had seemed like a good idea yesterday, buying tickets to a zydeco concert, then casually telling Mitch Delacroix she had an extra if he wanted to come with her. She knew he liked that kind of music because he often played it as background noise while he hunted online for elusive data or missing witnesses.

"What if he says no?" Beth knew she sounded like a teenager, but she wasn't ready for rejection. Since her last relationship had been so disastrous, she wanted to ease back into the dating world. Shouldn't her first foray be with someone easier? Someone less complicated? Someone she didn't care about?

She and Mitch had become friends. They had an easy working relationship and she genuinely enjoyed hanging out with him. Taking it to the next level might be a logical choice—or a disaster.

"He won't say no," Raleigh insisted. "I've seen the way he looks at you, and you said he isn't dating anyone seriously."

"Then why hasn't he asked me out?" He certainly flirted enough.

"Stop stalling and get this over with, please. I'm tired of watching you make cow eyes at him. If he says no—which he won't—you can at least move on."

Raleigh was a compassionate friend, but she never minced words. Her legal training had taught her to get to the heart of the matter in the most direct way possible.

"Can I help you ladies with something?"

Beth stifled a gasp and took a step back. While she'd been arguing with Raleigh, Mitch Delacroix had come out of his chair and walked over. He now stood less than two feet away, his thumbs hooked into the pockets of his faded jeans.

She tried to say something, but her tongue had grown twice its normal size and her brain felt as though it just went through a blender. She had no trouble testifying in court about DnA molecules and ion exchange chromatography, and normally she could hold her own with men, professionally or socially. But just the thought of asking Mitch Delacroix out on a date—a real date—twisted her up inside. She'd never been interested in someone she worked with before, so maybe her instincts were trying to tell her this was a bad idea.

To hell with instincts. She wanted Mitch and she wasn't going to let anything stop her.

Raleigh leaned in and whispered, "Don't screw this up. I'm out of here." She walked away, leaving Beth and Mitch standing in the doorway.

He looked at her expectantly, a smile playing on his sexy mouth.

Crap. She struggled to come up with a credible excuse for why she'd walked into the bull pen.
Mitch's desk phone chose that moment to buzz. He ignored it at first, but it buzzed again. "Mitch, pick up." The voice of Celeste Boggs, office manager for Project Justice, boomed over the intercom, sounding bossy even for Celeste. No, not just bossy. Tense and worried.

"You better get that," Beth said, pleased she could string words together.

Mitch rolled his eyes. "What now? You think she's mad because I took the last doughnut?" But he returned to his desk and grabbed the phone. "Yo, Celeste, what's up?"

Beth stared greedily as his attention moved to the phone call. His light brown hair, streaked with blond from the sun, was well past his collar and unruly—the kind of hair that was hard to tame so he didn't bother trying. Her perusal moved to his body; his typical geek's ratty T-shirt revealed biceps and a nicely muscled chest that were decidedly atypical, and his tanned skin meant he did not spend every minute staring at a screen.

How was it that he looked so sexy even talking on the phone? He had this quiet confidence that was so appealing—not like the macho guys she'd been attracted to in the past, the ones with swagger and swelled muscles. But she was so over macho guys. A cute geek with a touch of bad boy might be exactly what she needed in her life—and in her bed.

"I'll be right up," he said, looking serious as he hung up the phone.

"Is something wrong?"

"Celeste says there's a Louisiana cop asking to see me."

That couldn't be good news. Had there been an accident? Mitch was from a small town in Louisiana, so he was bound to have some family there.

"Walk with me up to the front desk. You wanted to talk to me about something?"

She didn't want to ask him out on a date if he was about to get bad news. Then again, if she didn't do it now, she never would.

Just do it. This was Mitch, her friend.

"Uh, I have two tickets to see Dirty Rice next Friday and I thought you might like to go."

There. She'd at least said the words, though with far less charm than she'd envisioned. She held her breath, bracing for the blow.

"Oh, hell, Beth, I can't Friday night. I have something planned already. Maybe Billy would take the extra ticket off your hands."

"Yeah, maybe. I'll ask him." Dammit. She was going to kill Raleigh—this was all her fault. Of course Mitch had said no. He probably already had a date for Friday night. Guys like Mitch didn't sit around waiting for women to ask them out. They made plans. They did the asking.

What had she been thinking?

She wanted to run for the safety of her lab, where she could hide behind a microscope. But Mitch would know something was wrong if she suddenly took off like her tail was on fire. So she kept walking with him down the hall to the lobby, pretending she hadn't just had her heart body-slammed.

"Celeste didn't say what the cop wanted?" she asked, desperate to fill the silence. A Louisiana cop wouldn't drive all the way to Houston on a whim; chances were good he was here on official business, and that usually meant bad news.

"The guy wouldn't say." Mitch sounded unconcerned, but Beth wasn't fooled. When he flashed his playful smile at her, she could tell he was forcing it. "So, Dirty Rice, huh? I didn't know you were a zydeco fan."

"I'm not. I mean, I like it okay."

"So you bought tickets because…" He seemed genuinely curious, not judgmental.

She couldn't admit she'd bought them because he liked zydeco. Then, inspiration struck. "I won them from a radio station."

"Oh." He seemed to be digesting that. She wasn't the type to call in to radio stations trying to win stuff.

They passed through a door in a frosted glass partition that led into the lobby of Project Justice, the Houston nonprofit where they both worked. The lobby was a large space with cold marble floors and wood-paneled walls, rather stark, Beth had always thought. It was intended to impress, but not to be inviting. Daniel Logan, CEO of Project Justice, didn't want just anyone wandering in off the street and feeling at home. So the only visitor seating was a couple of hard chairs.

The cop had elected to stand, his back to Celeste, studying an arrangement of framed press clippings on the wall. He was a beefy guy, his muscular shoulders straining against his khaki uniform. His dark brown hair was cut very short, revealing a tan line at the margins.
Celeste made a big show of ignoring him, her nose buried in a Soldier of Fortune magazine, a large knife out on her desk—just in case.

Mitch picked up his pace, striding confidently into the lobby while Beth hung back. "You wanted to see me?" His voice contained a touch of arrogance.

The stranger turned, and Mitch skidded to a halt. "Dwayne?"

"Mitch. Been a while."

"Yeah. A while."

So, they knew each other. Maybe this was a personal visit, not an official one. An old friend, looking him up… No, that wasn't right. Whatever their relationship, it wasn't warm and fuzzy. The two men sized each other up, radiating tension.

"Why the big mystery?" Mitch asked. "Why didn't you tell Celeste your name?"

"I didn't want you to get the wrong idea. This isn't exactly a social call."

Mitch looked confused. "Did someone die?"

The cop named Dwayne looked faintly amused. "Funny you should ask that. I'm here in regards to an incident that happened twelve years ago. A Monte Carlo was stolen from the parking lot of a Piggly Wiggly. Ring any bells?"

"Yeah, I believe I do recall that incident," Mitch said with an exaggerated Southern accent. "But the charges were dropped. Buried, in fact."

Charges? Mitch had been arrested and charged with a crime? Her throat tightened as she recalled the last guy she'd dated, who'd also had a criminal past. Vince had explained away the assault charges, claiming it was all a misunderstanding, and she'd been stupid enough to fall for it. Until he'd broken her jaw.

She gave her head a quick, involuntary shake. No way was Mitch in the same boat as Vince. He'd freely admitted he'd been a "wild kid," but Beth had pictured him pulling pranks, maybe spray-painting a bridge or decorating trees with toilet paper. She'd known nothing about car theft, but that wasn't violent. Still, it was bad.

"I'm not here about the theft per se," Dwayne said. "You had a friend with you that night. Robby Racine. That right?"

Abruptly Celeste came out of her chair, proving she'd been listening keenly despite her show of disinterest. She was well into her seventies, with wild gray curls and a spare, wiry body that she stuffed into the most improbable outfits. Today it was a zebra-striped, bat-wing shirt, black leggings and red boots. But anyone who knew her was scared of her. "Mitch, don’t say another word without a lawyer present.”


Kara Lennox/Karen Leabo Bio

Kara Lennox, a.k.a. Karen Leabo, is the award-winning, bestselling author of more than sixty novels of romance and romantic suspense for Harlequin and Random House. Currently she is working on the next installment of her romantic suspense series, Project Justice, published by Harlequin Super Romance. Also, several of her classic Bantam Loveswept novels (writing as Karen Leabo) are soon to be re-released in e-book form by Random House. Her novels have finaled in several contests including the Rita, the Reader’s Choice award and the Holt Medallion. Romantic Times awarded her a Reviewers Choice Award.

Prior to writing romance, Karen was a freelance writer with hundreds of magazine articles published, as well as brochures, press releases, advertisements and business plans. Her former clients include Working Woman Magazine, Hallmark Cards and Marion Merrill Dow.

Karen has written ten screenplays, three of which have been optioned by Hollywood, New York and overseas producers. She lives with her writer/publisher husband and several pets in a shabby-chic (heavy on the shabby) Victorian fixer-upper in Southern California. When not writing or sanding floors, she loves bicycling, bird-watching, hunting for flea-market treasures, painting and making mosaics.
Thanks to Kara for letting WebbWeaver Reviews participate in her fabulous Blog Tour!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Book Review of IN THE BLEAK MIDWINTER by M.R. Sellars

In The Bleak Midwinter was written by M.R. Sellars and published by WillowTree Press, L.L.C., in November, 2011. You may purchase this novel at www.smashwords.com
and you may read more about M.R. Sellars at
www.goodreads.com

The small, Midwest town of Hulis, Missouri is in for another very cold winter and another very strange Christmas season, as Special Agent Constance Mandalay is assigned to solve a cold case murder that keeps repeating itself every Christmas Eve.

For the last seven years, the town of Hulis has been the scene of a horrific murder on Christmas Eve, but no one knows how or why it’s happening. Every year, Skip Carmichael, the town sheriff receives a blank Christmas card with no evidence he can use. Every year a dismembered body is found in a basement with no evidence as to the killer’s identity. The only thing that never changes is the yearly murder’s similarity to a murder that took place thirty-five years ago in Hulis, when a young girl was kidnapped and molested by the local department store’s hired ‘Santa’.

Now, Special Agent Mandalay must figure out how these crimes are happening, even though a long line of Special Agents have been sent each year to solve the murders, but none have.

M.R. Sellars has penned a superbly frightening story that will make the reader a little apprehensive about the joyous Holiday Season. His characters are true-to-life and the reader can feel the ‘creepy’ setting in from the very first page. That feeling builds to a hair-raising crescendo and the ending will leave you breathless and afraid to turn out the lights… for a long time.

In The Bleak Midwinter is a supernatural thriller with an edge and M.R. Sellars has earned a 5 spider rating from me. I will be looking forward to more from this fabulous author.

DJ Weaver

Monday, March 5, 2012

Book Review of FULL BLACK by Brad Thor

Full Black was written by Brad Thor and published by Atria Books in 2011. You may purchase this novel at www.amazon.com and you may find out more about Brad at http://www.bradthor.com/


The ultimate terrorist plot is on the move and it will bring down, not only the United States, but inevitably, every nation in the world. Where did this plot originate? Is the threat from the Middle East, the Western Republics or right here in the United State? This is the question Scot Harvath has to find out as he travels across the globe, hunting for the root of the largest take-over plot ever devised. He will have to put together the frightening clues and strange occurrences and figure out who is behind the most devastating plot ever devised.


New York Times bestselling author Brad Thor has written an intense novel of power gone mad. The scenario is so ominously realistic that the reader can feel every bit of the life-threatening urgency and pulse-pounding fear portrayed in the story. The players range from heads of state to prominent movie producers to Russian Special Forces and they all have a part in a deadly power move with the highest stakes ever.


This addition to Brad Thor’s ‘Scot Harvath’ series will put you in fear for your way of life and make you think about what’s really going on in the world, one terrifying page at a time. A fabulously intriguing tale from beginning to end and another absolute must-read for thriller fans. 5 spiders for this one… do not miss it!

DJ Weaver