Tag Archives: DiAnn Mills

If You Liked Smoke Screen

31 Jan

Although Smoke Screen was a bit of a departure from the usual Terri Blackstock mystery/suspense offering, the majority of my book club liked it. The focus on alcoholism and assumed guilt made this book an interesting read. If you liked Smoke Screen too, here are a few more reading recommendations.

 

By Your Side by Candace Calvert

ER nurse Macy Wynn learned essential, gritty lessons in the California foster care system: land on your feet and trust no one. She’s finally located the fellow foster child she loves like a sister, but the girl’s in deep trouble. Macy’s determined to help, no matter what it takes. Her motto is to “make it happen” in any situation life throws at her—even when she butts heads with an idealistic cop.

Deputy Fletcher Holt believes in a higher plan, the fair outcome—and his ability to handle that by himself if necessary. Now he’s been yanked from Houston, his mother is battling cancer, and he’s attracted to a strong-willed nurse who could be the target of a brutal sniper.

When everything goes wrong, where do they put their trust?

 

Double Cross by DiAnn Mills

FBI Agent Laurel Evertson’s investigation into a scam targeting the elderly takes an unexpected twist when key evidence leads her to Morton Wilmington, a felon she arrested five years ago on her first undercover assignment. That case has haunted her since, and though she’s vowed to forget Wilmington―and what she sacrificed to put him away―he is now her best lead.

Houston Police Officer Daniel Hilton fears his grandparents may be the scammer’s next targets, and he’ll do anything to protect his family―even force interagency cooperation. But he’s quickly drawn to Laurel’s empathy and zeal and agrees to follow her lead . . . even if it means teaming up with a felon.

As the unlikely trio uncovers evidence suggesting the scam is more extensive and deadly than they imagined, both Laurel and Daniel find themselves in the crosshairs of a killer. Together they must decide if they can trust Wilmington’s claims of redemption, or if he’s leading them straight into a double cross.

 

Medical Judgment by Richard Mabry, MD

Someone is after Dr. Sarah Gordon. It’s been tough trying to recover from the traumatic deaths of her husband and infant daughter, but now someone is stalking her and has even set fire to her home. Her late husband’s best friend and a recovering alcoholic detective assigned to the case are both trying to solve the mystery, but both are also vying for her affections. No wonder she continues to live in fear and distrust with her only help coming from unreliable suitors. As the threats on her life continue to escalate, so do the questions: Who is doing this? And why? And how will her faith help her through this time in her life?

 

Book Review and Giveaway — Fatal Strike

26 Sep

Fatal Strike

by DiAnn Mills

on Tour September 1-30, 2019

 

About The Book

There’s a killer on the loose in Galveston, targeting law enforcement officials and using a fatal injection of snake venom to take them down. Authorities have reasons to believe the Veneno gang is behind the hits, and FBI Agents Leah Riesel and Jon Colbert team up to track down those responsible. Their best lead is an eyewitness who identifies a young man dumping the third body on a church doorstep. But their suspect has gone into hiding, and those closest to him are reluctant to reveal anything that might help investigators find him.

As Leah and Jon check connections among the victims and dig deeper into motives, they discover appearances may be deceiving. Someone is desperate to keep their secrets hidden, and Leah and Jon must face their greatest fears in order to stop the next fatal strike.

Book Details:

Genre: Romantic Suspense
Published by: Tyndale House Publishers
Publication Date: September 3rd 2019
Number of Pages: 400
ISBN: 1496427106 (ISBN13: 9781496427106)
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | IndieBound | Goodreads

 

Excerpt

SPECIAL AGENT LEAH RIESEL scanned the headlines on her phone. A prosecutor from Galveston had been found murdered behind a construction site, the second apparent victim of gang violence in two days. Both deaths were caused by rattlesnake venom injections to the heart. Before she could pull up additional reports on the woman’s untimely death, Leah’s phone rang.

“Riesel, hostage situation in Galveston,” the SWAT commander said. “Grab your gear. The chopper takes off in five.”

“On it.” She took a last lingering look at the half-eaten blueberry donut and coffee on her cubicle’s desk.

Could this have anything to do with the two murders in Galveston?

Before most of the city began the workday, Leah boarded a Little Bird helicopter beneath whirling blades and the pressure of a critical operation. Dressed in full camo and shouldering her sniper gear, she inhaled the rising temps. Feverish Houston.  With the familiar air transport sounds ushering in memories of past missions, her adrenaline kicked in.

A pilot from the tactical helicopter unit lifted the chopper into the air for the twenty-minute ride to Galveston. She recognized him from previous assignments involving aircraft used to deliver SWAT and the elite hostage rescue teams to crisis incidents. This morning her focus eliminated any chitchat.

Leah grabbed sound-canceling headphones and contacted the SWAT commander already on the ground. “Riesel here. Special Agent in Charge Thomas briefed me on a home invasion that’s turned violent.”

The SAC would be watching the operation at the Crisis Management Operations Center.

“Negotiations have gotten us nowhere.” The SWAT commander’s voice rose above the chopper’s blade-snap. “Two unidentified men are holding two women and three children at gunpoint. Galveston PD estimates they’ve been inside the home for at least an hour. Demanding we leave the area after giving them five hundred grand and a gassed-up speedboat.

Clock is ticking with forty minutes max. We’ve backed off as far as they know.”

Leah swiped through pics taken with telephoto lenses and sent to her phone. Each ski-masked man held a child as a shield. Leah detested the savagery and the horrific emotions the hostages must be feeling.

“We’re located on San Luis Pass Road on the western section of the island. Nearest house is five hundred yards away. Owners are in Europe. We’re in contact with the agency managing it.”

She didn’t need a key to access the home.

The SWAT commander continued. “One of the hostages is the owner of the home, Amanda Barton.”

“Is there a Mr. Barton in the picture?”

“Divorced. Lives in California.”

Unlikely the ex-husband was behind this.

“Agent Jon Colbert will be on scene shortly,” the commander said. “He had a deposition early this morning in Texas City and drove on to Galveston. Over the weekend, his SWAT partner had emergency knee surgery. Out for six weeks.”

And Leah’s partner had left the city yesterday on vacation.

The luck of the draw meant she and Jon would be working together. “I’ll contact you as soon as we land.”

Jon Colbert, a sniper who had excellent marksmanship and a stellar reputation, also worked organized crime. But she and Jon had never worked together. The idea of teaming up with an agent she barely knew made her uneasy. If a sniper mission required a partner, she preferred an established relationship where she would know how the person processed information.

Shoving aside her doubts, she narrowed her thoughts on what lay ahead. The precarious situation and local law enforcement’s inability to negotiate added up to why she and Jon had been assigned to the case.

She grasped her backpack, lighter than usual with only a spotting scope, ammo, water, communication equipment, extra batteries, granola bar, and a handheld radio. Her Glock, as comfortable in her right hand as a toothbrush, found its spot in her back waistband. She touched her H-S Precision heavy tactical rifle.

The sooner she got to Galveston, the sooner she could provide intelligence and help neutralize the circumstances. Her priority was seeing the women and children freed from these ruthless men.

***

Jon received a text from Special Agent in Charge Thomas that Leah Riesel had left the Houston FBI office and was en route to Galveston. He’d met her a few times, and they’d qualified together. Attractive woman—dark-brown hair, light-olive skin, New Yorker with the accent to prove it. Her professionalism in the violent crime division wavered between exceptional and extraordinary. A touch of toughness. Jon had heard not to make her mad—she had earned the nickname Panther for a reason.  He remembered her stats—number three in the US for distance shots. Good thing he wasn’t easily intimidated.

Once the chopper landed, Leah would be transported in an unmarked car to a vacant house more than a quarter of a mile away from the Barton home. No point in making the two men more trigger-happy when they’d warned law enforcement to back off.

The SWAT commander spoke through Jon’s radio attached to his collar. “Thermal imaging confirms four adults and three children inside the Barton home. The men claim they’ll kill the children first. We have fifteen minutes.”

In Galveston, Jon stopped at Broadway and Sixty-First Street. Tourists persisted in the middle of the thoroughfare, pushing strollers, riding surrey bikes, and enjoying the day.  Some were dressed for the beach and others clutched what they needed for their excursion. All hindered his turn. Obstacles in his mission. If they knew the situation not far from them, they’d grab their loved ones and speed home. Each moment delayed his shot and shoved the hostages closer to death. A chilling composure took over his emotional, mental, and physical reactions.  The busy street finally cleared. Jon turned west onto Seawall Boulevard and drove on to San Luis Pass. The hostage site was four and a half miles beyond there.

Were the two men inside the Barton home wannabes looking to make a name for themselves? Strung out on drugs? Was this a personal vendetta? No matter how this ended—either a surrender or he’d be instructed to take a shot— their moment in history would likely be the lead story on tonight’s news.  His phone alerted him to an incoming call. He responded before the first ring ended. “Colbert.” The chopper’s rhythmic whir reverberated through his phone.

“Riesel here. Landing in five at Galveston Island State Park.  SWAT commander has given me a location on the west side of the Barton home.”

“I’ll be on foot by then. Taking a position on the east, beach side.”

“I’ll need seven minutes to get into place,” she said.

“Okay.” No need to remind her of the ticking clock.

He touched End and whipped his truck onto a beach-access road where police officers had instructed residents to shelter in place. He switched off the engine. Grabbing his gear, he bolted down the beach. A Galveston police officer stopped him, and Jon handed him his ID. Seconds later, he moved toward his site.

A sultry breeze blew across the water, and he recalculated his shot.

Crouching low, he moved past police SWAT standing guard.

FBI SWAT held the position Riesel was headed for. They were racing against time, a commodity that stopped for nothing or no one. At any moment, one of the armed men could pull the trigger on those inside the Barton home.

Restraint.

Control.

Tense muscles relaxed.  His heartbeat slowed.

A clear head laid out the steps before the kill shot.

No mistakes.

Precision.

Accuracy.

A chance for the women and children to live another day.

Near a sand dune, he tuned out the occasional seagull and the waves rushing against the shore. After wiping the sweat from his hands on his pants, Jon set up his rifle and scope, activated his radio, and spoke to the SWAT commander and Leah Riesel.

 

My Impressions:

I have been on a bit of a suspense reading-kick lately. I love the twists and turns and hold your breath action that the genre provides. Fatal Strike by DiAnn Mills was another fast-paced, action packed read that kept me guessing. Gang activity, shootouts, hot pursuits, and some particularly slithery characters are all part of what keeps this book’s pages turning late into the night. I could not get enough! The mystery surrounding three law enforcement-related deaths on Galveston Island kept me guessing — I had my doubts about so many of the suspicious characters. And I loved FBI investigators/snipers Leah Riesel and Jon Colbert. Dedicated to justice and highly competent and expert in their field, these two mains were perfect in portraying the professionals that they are. I really liked the methodical investigation that slowly, but surely uncovered clues and the many secrets surrounding the crimes and their victims. That was a great balance to the dangerous situations that seemed to come out of nowhere. I also liked that the attraction between the two was kept low-key. So often romantic suspense is all about the sparks with the plot being just a vehicle for romance. But Fatal Strike has just the right balance that kept the events believable. The faith journeys of the two characters — one a seeker and one a non-believer — was naturally developed as well. Family issues, fears, and past mistakes were overcome with the help of God.

If you like puzzling out a mystery, the breath-holding of suspense, and the beginnings of romance, then Fatal Strike is the book for you. It is definitely a recommended read!

Recommended.

Audience: adults.

(Thanks to Tyndale for a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

About The Author

DiAnn Mills is a bestselling author who believes her readers should expect an adventure. She weaves memorable characters with unpredictable plots to create action-packed, suspense-filled novels. DiAnn believes every breath of life is someone’s story, so why not capture those moments and create a thrilling adventure?

Her titles have appeared on the CBA and ECPA bestseller lists; won two Christy Awards; and been finalists for the RITA, Daphne Du Maurier, Inspirational Readers’ Choice, and Carol award contests.

DiAnn is a founding board member of the American Christian Fiction Writers, a member of Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, and International Thriller Writers. She is co-director of The Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference, Mountainside Marketing Conference, and the Mountainside Novelist Retreat with social media specialist Edie Melson where she continues her passion of helping other writers be successful. She speaks to various groups and teaches writing workshops around the country.

DiAnn has been termed a coffee snob and roasts her own coffee beans. She’s an avid reader, loves to cook, and believes her grandchildren are the smartest kids in the universe. She and her husband live in sunny Houston, Texas.

DiAnn is very active online and would love to connect with readers on:
diannmills.com, Goodreads, BookBub, Twitter, & Facebook!

Tour Participants:

09/01 Showcase @ Rockspringscrafts
09/02 Interview @ BooksChatter
09/03 Review @ Book Reviews From an Avid Reader
09/04 Showcase @ The Pulp and Mystery Shelf
09/05 Guest post/showcase @ CMash Reads
09/06 Showcase @ Stacking My Book Shelves!
09/09 Showcase @ Celticladys Reviews
09/10 Showcase @ The Bookworm Lodge
09/11 Showcase@ Eclectic Moods
09/12 Interview @ Reading A Page Turner
09/13 Guest post @ A Blue Million Books
09/15 Review @ Forever the Wanderer
09/15 Review @ Shalinis Books & Reviews
09/16 Showcase @ EienCafe
09/18 Interview @ Nesies Place
09/19 Showcase @ Book Reviews & More by Kathy
09/24 Review @ Quiet Fury Books
09/26 Review @ Brooke Blogs
09/26 Review @ By The Book
09/27 Review @ Lynchburg Mama
09/28 Review/showcase @ Cy Wyss — Author and Artist
09/29 Review @ The World As I See It
09/30 Review @ Jersey Girl Book Reviews

 

Enter To Win!

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for DiAnn Mills. There will be 2 winners each winning one (1) Gift Card (choice of Amazon or B&N). The giveaway begins on September 1, 2019 and runs through October 2, 2019. Void where prohibited.

To Enter Giveaway Click HERE.

 

First Line Friday — Fatal Strike

30 Aug

Happy Friday! Can you believe that September is right around the corner? We are kicking off the fall season with a college football game. That means a road trip and plenty of book time in the car. What are you doing for Labor Day weekend? One last vacation, a reading marathon, football and more football? I’d love to hear about your plans.

Today I am featuring a book that releases in September — Fatal Strike by DiAnn Mills. I love a good suspense, and Mills always delivers. Can’t wait to dig into this book.

 

Leave a comment with the first sentence of the closest book to hand and how you plan to spend the holiday weekend, then head over to Hoarding Books for more first line fun!

 

 

There’s a killer on the loose in Galveston, targeting law enforcement officials and using a fatal injection of snake venom to take them down. Authorities have reasons to believe the Veneno gang is behind the hits, and FBI Agents Leah Riesel and Jon Colbert team up to track down those responsible. Their best lead is an eyewitness who identifies a young man dumping the third body on a church doorstep. But their suspect has gone into hiding, and those closest to him are reluctant to reveal anything that might help investigators find him.

As Leah and Jon check connections among the victims and dig deeper into motives, they discover appearances may be deceiving. Someone is desperate to keep their secrets hidden, and Leah and Jon must face their greatest fears in order to stop the next fatal strike.

DiAnn Mills is a bestselling author who believes her readers should expect an adventure. She is a storyteller and creates action-packed, suspense-filled novels to thrill readers. Her titles have appeared on the CBA and ECPA bestseller lists; won two Christy Awards; and been finalists for the RITA, Daphne Du Maurier, Inspirational Readers’ Choice, and Carol award contests.

DiAnn is a founding board member of the American Christian Fiction Writers, a member of Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, and International Thriller Writers. She is Director of The Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference, Mountainside Marketing Conference, and Mountainside Novelist Retreat with social media specialist Edie Melson where she continues her passion of helping other writers be successful. She speaks to various groups and teaches writing workshops around the country.

Connect with DiAnn here: diannmills.com

Top 10 Tuesday — Suspense Novels I Can’t Wait For!

18 Jun

This week Top 10 Tuesday bloggers are listing their most anticipated releases of the rest of 2019. This is a list I always love to compile, because it reminds me of the great reading that is coming my way. I have been on an all things suspense kick, so my list features the suspense-filled reads I hope to experience in the near future. Let me know what you think! 🙂

Be sure to head over to That Artsy Reader Girl for more great upcoming reads.

A Dozen Most Anticipated Suspense Novels

 

Always Look Twice by Elizabeth Goddard

Dark Ambitions by Irene Hannon

Deadly Intentions by Lisa Harris

Echoes among The Stones by Jaime Jo Wright

Fatal Strike by DiAnn Mills

Fire Storm by Nancy Mehl

Fragments of Fear by Carrie Stuart Parks

The Killing Tide by Dani Pettrey

One Final Breath by Lynn Blackburn

Protecting Tanner Hollow by Lynette Eason

Smoke Screen by Terri Blackstock

Strands of Truth by Colleen Coble

 

 

What books are you anticipating?

Book Review And Author Interview — Burden of Proof

8 Oct

Reeling from a negotiation gone wrong, FBI Special Agent April Ramos is caught off guard when a frazzled young woman shoves a crying baby into her arms, then disappears. Worry for the child’s safety quickly turns to fear when a man claiming to be the girl’s father abducts them at gunpoint. April puts her hostage negotiation skills to use to learn more about who she’s dealing with: Jason Snyder, a fugitive accused of murder.

As Jason spins a tall tale about being framed for the killing of his business partner, April must sort through his claims to find the truth. A truth that becomes all the more evident after April overhears a conversation between Jason and the local sheriff and realizes something more sinister may be happening in their small town of Sweet Briar, Texas. But aligning herself with a known fugitive to uncover the burden of proof could cost April her job . . . or worse, her life and the lives of other innocent people.

 

DiAnn Mills is a bestselling author who believes her readers should expect an adventure. She combines unforgettable characters with unpredictable plots to create action-packed, suspense-filled novels.

Her titles have appeared on the CBA and ECPA bestseller lists; won two Christy Awards; and been finalists for the RITA, Daphne du Maurier, Inspirational Reader’s Choice, and Carol Award contests. Firewall, the first book in her Houston: FBI series, was listed by Library Journal as one of the best Christian fiction books of 2014.

DiAnn has been termed a coffee snob and roasts her own coffee beans. She’s an avid reader, loves to cook, and believes her grandchildren are the smartest kids in the universe.

DiAnn is very active online and would love to connect with readers on any of the following social media platforms or others listed at diannmills.com.

facebook.com/diannmills
twitter.com/diannmills
instagram.com/diannmillsauthor

My Impressions:

Burden of Proof, DiAnn Mills’ latest romantic suspense novel, begins with action and continues to give the reader a twisting reading ride throughout. A kidnappings lead an unjustly accused businessman and an FBI hostage negotiator to join forces to uncover the truth of corrupt officials in a small eastern Texas town. Likable characters, a puzzling mystery, and fast-paced plotting make this one a recommended read.

While I always love the suspenseful stories that Mills creates, with Burden of Proof being no exception, the characterization in this novel is its strongest element. Main characters April Ramos and Jason Snyder are believable in their reactions to the situation they find themselves in and interactions with each other. They make a great team in more ways than one. Secondary characters, both the good guys and bad, are interesting and add depth to the small town feel of the novel. There’s an FBI connection, but April and Jason often find themselves on their own in their quest for truth and justice. The two characters’ relationship develops amidst the car crashes, explosions, and danger that seems to lurk around every corner. As stated, April is a hostage negotiator, and I think Mills got that part of the story spot-on. There’s great insight into the dynamics of managing difficult situations and exploration of the motives and thinking of criminals and victims. The spiritual journeys of both Jason and April are intriguing as well, and I found they unfolded naturally. Jason must come to grips with the anger that has accompanied his life and April discovers relationship rather than religion.

For fans of romantic suspense, this novel is a must-read. I really liked Burden of Proof. It kept me guessing and turning the pages!

Recommended.

Audience: adults.

To purchase, click HERE.

(Thanks to the author for a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

 

Q&A With DiAnn Mills 

 

1. What is the most rewarding part of being a writer?

Entertaining others with story. My goal is for the reader to slip into the shoes of the point of view character and live vicariously through the character. I love the entire process. It’s hard work but incredibly satisfying. 

2. What is the most challenging aspect of being a writer?

The same process as what rewards me about being a writer. Each book must be stronger, deeper than the previous one. Characters must be more unique with a credible inner world that touches readers emotionally. Plot is drawn from the character’s fears and weaknesses. Dialogue has the ability to share conflict while the setting works against the character’s goals. 

3. Why romantic suspense?

We live in a scary and unpredictable world. Most of us don’t want to dwell on the real danger and the violence that exists, and I want to show trained men and women who are dedicated to preventing and stopping crime. Those characters want to find someone to love too, and romantic suspense allows me to create both. 

4. What is a little-known fact about you?

I’m a very private person when not teaching and speaking, an introvert who thrives on alone time. Those who view me at conferences see a friendly woman (I hope) but once home I’m exhausted and it takes a few days to recover.  

5. How many words do you write a day? 

Depends on my goal for the book. When I receive a contract, I back up two to three months from when the book is due then divide the number of days in which I’ll be home writing, excluding holidays, vacations, weekends, and conference. Next I take the number of words in the manuscript and divide it by the writing days. Always write more than the goal amount and it’s approximately 1750 to 2500 words.

6. What is your favorite dessert?

Anything apple. Has to be warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and a cup of freshly brewed hot coffee.

7. Do you read when you write?

Yes. How can I compete if I don’t know what’s selling, specifically bestsellers. Other writers challenge me with their techniques, characterization, and plot twists to make my stories stronger. 

8. What is your least favorite food?

Red meat, potatoes, white rice, white bread

9. What is one thing quirky about you?

What isn’t? LOL  I’d say that I can’t wear a watch, too much electricity in my body. I’ve been known to de-magnetize room keys at hotels. Guess I’m electrifying. 

10.  What’s one thing you would like to impart to your readers about your books and being an author?

Writing isn’t for the faint-hearted. A writer must be disciplined, able to work alone, accept constructive criticism, edit and edit again, hustle like it was up to him/her while relying on God as the Boss, and have a solid relationship with God. Then repeat.

First Line Friday — Burden of Proof

5 Oct

Happy Friday! Today I am featuring the first line from DiAnn Mill‘s newest romantic suspense novel, Burden of Proof. I received an ARC of this action-packed book and will share my review and and interview with Mills in a few days. For now, here is the first line to pique your interest.

 

Please leave a comment with the first line from the book nearest you then head over to Hoarding Books for more fabulous first lines!

 

Reeling from a negotiation gone wrong, FBI Special Agent April Ramos is caught off guard when a frazzled young woman shoves a crying baby into her arms, then disappears. Worry for the child’s safety quickly turns to fear when a man claiming to be the girl’s father abducts them at gunpoint. April puts her hostage negotiation skills to use to learn more about who she’s dealing with: Jason Snyder, a fugitive accused of murder.

As Jason spins a tall tale about being framed for the killing of his business partner, April must sort through his claims to find the truth. A truth that becomes all the more evident after April overhears a conversation between Jason and the local sheriff and realizes something more sinister may be happening in their small town of Sweet Briar, Texas. But aligning herself with a known fugitive to uncover the burden of proof could cost April her job . . . or worse, her life and the lives of other innocent people.

Pre-order HERE.

 

DiAnn Mills is a bestselling author who believes her readers should expect an adventure. She combines unforgettable characters with unpredictable plots to create action-packed, suspense-filled novels.

Her titles have appeared on the CBA and ECPA bestseller lists; won two Christy Awards; and been finalists for the RITA, Daphne du Maurier, Inspirational Reader’s Choice, and Carol Award contests. Firewall, the first book in her Houston: FBI series, was listed by Library Journal as one of the best Christian fiction books of 2014.

DiAnn has been termed a coffee snob and roasts her own coffee beans. She’s an avid reader, loves to cook, and believes her grandchildren are the smartest kids in the universe.

DiAnn is very active online and would love to connect with readers on any of the following social media platforms or others listed at diannmills.com.

facebook.com/diannmills
twitter.com/diannmills
instagram.com/diannmillsauthor

Top 10 Tuesday — Fall TBR

18 Sep

Fall may be around the corner, but here in middle Georgia the forecast is definitely all-Summer!  😦  With temps in the mid-90s it’s hard to get into the whole changing leaves/pumpkin spice/snuggly sweater frame of mind. But I can always dream and read! That’s where my Fall TBR comes into play. Check out That Artsy Reader Girl for more bloggers’ Fall reading lists.

 

Top 10 Fall TBR List

 

Burden of Proof by DiAnn Mills

Cost of Betrayal by Dee Henderson/Lynette Eason/Dani Pettrey

Delayed Justice by Cara Putman

Freedom’s Kiss by Sarah Monzon

 Lady of A Thousand Treasures by Sandra Byrd

Miles from Where We Started by Cynthia Ruchti

A Secret to Die For by Lisa Harris

Surrounded by Darkness by Rachel Dylan

A Tale of Two Hearts by Michelle Griep

When You Look at Me by Pepper Basham

Top 10 Tuesday — Mystery And Suspense Made In The South

11 Jul

I have lived my entire life in the American South (Florida, Georgia, and Mississippi), and I love a story set here. I also love mystery and suspense and have found a lot of  wonderful books in that genre set in the South. I don’t know if it’s the heat, humidity, or gnats that inspires the murder and mayhem! LOL! Whatever the reason, I am featuring one book per state. Oh yes, there are many more, but my list would be way too long for one post. Some of the authors featured base all their books in the South. Others spread villainy across the country. And . . .  to stave off any rebellion, I’ve included those states that some consider the South as well (although not Delaware, because I don’t know of a book set there 😉 ). I hope one of them will make it onto your TBR list.

Top Mystery/Suspense Made in The South

Annabel Lee by Mike Nappa

Fourteen miles east of Peachtree, Alabama, a secret is hidden. That secret’s name is Annabel Lee Truckson, and even she doesn’t know why her mysterious uncle has stowed her deep underground in a military-style bunker. He’s left her with a few German words, a barely-controlled guard dog, and a single command: “Don’t open that door for anybody, you got it? Not even me.”

Above ground, a former Army sniper called The Mute and an enigmatic “Dr. Smith” know about the girl. As the race begins to find her, the tension builds. Who wants to set her free? Why does the other want to keep her captive forever? Who will reach her first?

Farraday Road by Ace Collins

A quiet evening ends in murder on a muddy mountain road. Local attorney Lije Evans and his beautiful wife, Kaitlyn, are gunned down. But the killers don’t expect one of their victims to live. After burying Kaitlyn, Lije is on a mission to find her killer ― and solve a mystery that has more twists and turns than an Ozark-mountain back road. When the trail of evidence goes cold, complicated by the disappearance of the deputy who found Kaitlyn’s body at the scene of the crime, Lije is driven to find out why he and his wife were hunted down and left for dead along Farraday Road. He begins his dangerous investigation with no clues and little help from the police. As he struggles to uncover evidence, will he learn the truth before the killers strike again?

The Night Watchman by Mark Mynheir

Eleven months ago, Ray Quinn was a tough, quick-witted Orlando homicide detective at the top of his game — until a barrage of bullets ended his career . . . and his partner’ s life.

Now medically retired with a painful handicap, Ray battles the haunting guilt for his partner’s death. Numbing the pain with alcohol and attitude, Ray takes a job as a night watchman at a swanky Orlando condo.

But when a pastor and an exotic dancer are found dead in one of the condos in an apparent murder-suicide, Ray can no longer linger in the shadows. The pastor’s sister is convinced her brother was framed and begs Ray to take on an impossible case–to challenge the evidence and clear her brother’s name.

Ray reluctantly pulls the threads of this supposedly dead-end case only to unravel a murder investigation so deep that it threatens to turn the Orlando political landscape upside down and transform old friends into new enemies. As Ray chases down leads and interrogates suspects, someone is watching his every move, someone determined to keep him from ever finding out the truth — at any cost.

Dangerous Passage by Lisa Harris

When two Jane Does are killed on the outskirts of Atlanta, Georgia, detective and behavioral specialist Avery North discovers they share something in common — a tattoo of a magnolia on their shoulders. Suspecting a serial killer, Avery joins forces with medical examiner Jackson Bryant to solve the crimes and prevent another murder. But it doesn’t take long for them to realize that there is much more to the case than meets the eye. As they venture deep into the sinister world of human trafficking, Avery and Jackson are taken to the very edge of their abilities — and their hearts.

When Death Draws Near by Carrie Stuart Parks

Forensic artist Gwen Marcey is between jobs when she accepts temporary work in Pikeville, Kentucky — a small town facing big-city crime. But before Gwen can finish her first drawing of the serial rapist who is on the loose, the latest witness vanishes. Just like all the others.

Gwen suspects a connection between the rapist and the “accidental” deaths that are happening around town, but the local sheriff has little interest in her theories. When her digitally-obsessed teenage daughter joins her, Gwen turns her attention to a second assignment: going undercover in a serpent-handling church. She could get a handsome reward for uncovering illegal activity — a reward she desperately needs, as it seems her breast cancer has returned. But snakes aren’t the only ones ready to kill. Can Gwen uncover the truth—and convince anyone to believe her — before she becomes a victim herself?

In a thrilling race against time, When Death Draws Near plunges us into cold-case murders, shady politics, and a den of venomous suspects.

Whispers of The Bayou by Mindy Starns Clark

Miranda Miller wasn’t looking for the news the day the letter came. But, trying to survive in troubled circumstances, she welcomes the chance to change her location for a period of time. The letter informs her that her grandparents’ estate is finally about to become hers. She immediately heads down to Louisiana and the old house by the bayou. There Miranda finds secrets that lead to life–changing revelations.

This suspenseful story reminiscent of old Gothic tales has a complex mystery and a vivid sense of the Deep South. It shows how God can take the darkest circumstances and use them to light a bright path leading to the future.

Still Life by Dani Pettrey

Blacklisted in the photography business over a controversial shot, Avery Tate answered an ad for a crime scene photographer. She expected to be laughed at, but crime scene analyst Parker Mitchell hired her outright–and changed her life. But six months ago, when her feelings for Parker became too strong, she left his employ to sort out her heart.

Now, for the first time, Avery is facing the world that rejected her to attend the gallery opening of a photography exhibit and support her best friend, who modeled for the show. But the only image of her friend is a chilling photo of her posing as if dead–and the photographer insists he didn’t take the shot. Worse, her friend can’t be found. She immediately calls Parker for help. As Avery, Parker, and his friends in law enforcement dig into the mystery, they find themselves face-to-face with a relentless and deadly threat.

Buried Secrets by Irene Hannon

After seven years as a Chicago homicide detective, Lisa Grant has hit a wall. Ready for a kinder, gentler life, she takes a job as a small-town police chief. But the discovery of a human skeleton by a construction crew at the edge of town taxes the resources of her department. A call for assistance brings detective Mac McGregor, an ex-Navy SEAL, to her doorstep. As they work to solve the mystery behind the unmarked grave, danger begins to shadow them. Someone doesn’t want this dead person telling any tales–and will stop at nothing to make certain a life-shattering secret stays buried.

A Promise to Protect by Patricia Bradley

Acting Sheriff Ben Logan hasn’t heard from Leigh Somerall in a very long time, but it doesn’t mean he can get her–or their whirlwind romance of ten years ago — out of his head. When she calls out of the blue, it is with a strange request to protect her brother, Tony. When Tony dies just days later, Ben is charged with a different task — protecting Leigh and her nine-year-old son, TJ, from the killers. But how can Ben keep an eye on Leigh if she’s doing everything in her power to avoid him? And could the secret that Leigh is keeping change Ben’s life forever?

Suspense, intrigue, and a touch of romance make A Promise to Protect perfect for readers who like their stories with a hearty dose of mystery.

The Pawn by Steven James

Special Agent Patrick Bowers had only met one man who made him truly afraid. Until now. When he’s called to North Carolina to consult on the case of an area serial killer, he finds himself in a deadly game. Cunning and lethal, the killer is always one step ahead of the law, and he’s about to strike again. 

It will take all of Bowers’s instincts and training to stop this man who calls himself the Illusionist. And just when the pieces start to come together, Bowers realizes they’re not quite adding up. Can he unravel the pattern and save the next victim? Or will the Illusionist win the game by taking one of his opponent’s pieces? 

 

The Real Enemy by Kathy Herman

Brill Jessup would rather work than deal with the bitterness she feels about her husband Kurt’s infidelity. They’ve made a fresh start with Brill taking a job as the new police chief in a small East Tennessee town. Kurt is genuinely contrite and making every effort to show his commitment to Brill. Meanwhile Emily, their nine-year-old, is being the perfect little girl, as if she can make everything okay again. So why can’t Brill get over this anger? Work presents the perfect distraction as rumors and superstition are running rampant in the wake of the disappearances of seven people in seven days. As fear rises in the community, Brill works desperately to solve the mystery… until it threatens her family and she is forced to confront the real enemy.

Firewall by DiAnn Mills

After a whirlwind romance, Taryn Young is preparing to board a plane at Houston International Airport, bound for a dream honeymoon, when a bomb decimates the terminal. Injured but still alive, she awakens to discover her husband is missing and they’re both considered prime suspects in the attack. Further, the FBI is convinced her husband isn’t who he appears to be.

Agent Grayson Hall’s number-one priority is to catch those responsible for the day’s act of terror. All evidence is pointing to Taryn and her new husband. But his instinct tells him her pleas of innocence are genuine. Is her naiveté just for show, or could she truly be another victim of a master scheme, possibly linked to the software she recently developed for her company?

With both their lives and reputations on the line, and the media outcry for justice increasing with each passing minute, Taryn and Grayson have no choice but to trust one another . . . and pray they can uncover the truth before they become two more casualties.

Always Watching by Lynette Eason

The bodyguards of Elite Guardians Agency have more than just skill and prowess in common–they’re also all women. When it becomes clear that popular psychiatrist and radio personality Wade Savage has a stalker, his father secretly hires Elite Guardians in order to protect his son.

But when Wade’s bodyguard is attacked and nearly killed, agency owner Olivia Edwards must step in and fill the gap. Olivia’s skills are about to be tested to the limit as Wade’s stalker moves from leaving innocent gifts at his door to threatening those closest to him. Olivia has the feeling that she’s next on the list. And to complicate things even further, she realizes that her heart may be in as much danger as her client.

The Stones Cry Out by Sibella Giorello

When nobody talks, the stones cry out.

In the searing heat of a Virginia summer, two men plummet from a roof top to their deaths on the sidewalk below. One of them was a white police officer. The other, a black man with a murky past. Hundreds of people stood on the sidewalk below, yet nobody will say what happened.

The FBI wants a quick verdict — with or without the truth — and sends in rookie agent Raleigh Harmon.

Between the tight-lipped witnesses and the secrets hidden among the city’s most powerful families, Raleigh’s forced to use her forensic geology skills to uncover the truth.  But can she solve this case before the city’s simmering rage burns out of control?

And will her choices bring down everyone involved — including Raleigh herself?

Miranda Warning by Heather Day Gilbert

Child of the Appalachian mountains, Tess Spencer has experienced more than her share of heartache. The Glock-wielding, knife-carrying housewife knows how to survive whatever life throws at her. But when an anonymous warning note shows up in her best friend Miranda’s mailbox — a note written in a dead woman’s handwriting — Tess quickly discovers that ghosts are alive and well in Buckneck, West Virginia. Hot on a cold trail, she must use limited clues and her keen insight into human nature to unmask the killer . . . or the next victim might be Tess herself. Tinged with the supernatural and overshadowed by the mountains’ lush, protective presence, this twisting psychological mystery is the first in A Murder in the Mountains series.

 

How about you?

What state or region is your favorite?

 

 

Audiobook Review: Deadly Encounter

10 Jul

Airport Ranger volunteer Stacy Broussard expected a peaceful Saturday morning ride around the perimeter of Houston’s airport. What she encounters instead is a brutal homicide and a baffling mystery. Next to the body is an injured dog, the dead man’s motorcycle, and a drone armed with a laser capable of taking down a 747.

Though FBI Special Agent Alex LeBlanc sees a clear-cut case of terrorism, his past has taught him to be suspicious of everyone, even witnesses. Even bleeding-heart veterinarians like Stacy. But when her gruesome discovery is only the first in a string of incidences that throw her life into a tailspin, Alex begins to wonder if Stacy was targeted. As a health emergency endangers Stacy’s community, and the task force pulls in leads from all directions, Alex and Stacy must work together to prevent another deadly encounter.

 

DiAnn Mills is a bestselling author who believes her readers should expect an adventure. She combines unforgettable characters with unpredictable plots to create action-packed, suspense-filled novels.

Her titles have appeared on the CBA and ECPA bestseller lists; won two Christy Awards; and been finalists for the RITA, Daphne Du Maurier, Inspirational Readers’ Choice, and Carol award contests. Library Journal presented her with a Best Books 2014: Genre Fiction award in the Christian Fiction category for Firewall.

DiAnn is a founding board member of the American Christian Fiction Writers; a member of Advanced Writers and Speakers Association; International Thriller Writers, and the Faith, Hope, and Love chapter of Romance Writers of America. She is co-director of Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference with social media specialist Edie Melson where she continues her passion of helping other writers be successful. She speaks to various groups and teaches writing workshops around the country.

DiAnn has been termed a coffee snob and roasts her own coffee beans. She’s an avid reader, loves to cook, and believes her grandchildren are the smartest kids in the universe. She and her husband live in sunny Houston, Texas.

DiAnn is very active online and would love to connect with readers on any of the social media platforms listed at www.diannmills.com.

My Impressions:

I recently read Deep Extraction, book 2 in DiAnn Mills FBI Task Force series and really liked it. So when I was looking for an audiobook to accompany me on my morning walks, I was glad to choose book 1 in the series, Deadly Encounter. While I liked book 2 much more, Deadly Encounter was a good choice for the daily workout — easy to listen to, quick-paced with plenty of action, and endearing characters. I did find it stretched the limits of credibility, but I chose to suspense my disbelief and join in on the rollercoaster ride.

Stacy Broussard, a Houston veterinarian, is swept into a conspiracy of deceit, danger and murder when she discovers a body on her morning ride around Houston’s airport. Due to past betrayals, FBI agent Alex LeBlanc is suspicious of her involvement, but soon learns to trust her. Their chemistry is unmistakable, but will they live long enough to explore a future together?

Characterization is the strongest element of Deadly Encounter. I found Stacy, Alex, and 12 year old prodigy, Whit engaging and and endearing. Whit especially stole this reader’s heart. The three all struggle with relationship issues which impact how they view themselves, others, and most importantly God. The plot is full of twists and turns and slightly over-the-top threats from unknown bad guys. As I said, some of the plot threads didn’t seem plausible, but I found them interesting anyway. One thing I did have a problem with — Stacy’s veterinary practice. She had no employees (tech/receptionist/kennel worker) and relied solely on Whit’s help in the day-to-day operations. My husband is a vet, and even when he was starting out he had several employees. With the type of business she had, it seems almost impossible for Stacy to do everything in the practice — answer the phone, run lab work, treat patients, take X-rays, perform surgery , etc. — with only a 12 year old’s after school and weekend help. But again, I enjoyed the book so I chose to overlook it.

DiAnn Mills is a great storyteller, and Deadly Encounter kept me listening. I have to confess to some marathon time with this audiobook.

Recommended.

Audience: adults.

To purchase, click HERE.

(I purchased the audiobook from Audible. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

Book Review: Deep Extraction

26 Jun

A pacemaker should have saved oil and gas magnate Nathan Moore’s life. Instead, it provided his killer with a seemingly perfect means of execution.

A bombing at one of Nathan’s oil rigs days earlier indicates his death could be part of a bigger conspiracy, a web Special Agent Tori Templeton must untangle. But her first order of business is separating the personal from the professional―the victim’s wife, her best friend, is one of the FBI’s prime suspects.

Clearing Sally’s name may be the biggest challenge of her career, but Tori finds an unexpected ally in the newest member of the task force, recently reinstated Deputy US Marshal Cole Jeffers. As Tori and Cole dig deeper into Nathan’s personal and business affairs, they uncover more than they bargained for. And the closer they get to finding the real killer ― and to each other ― the more intent someone is on silencing them for good.

 

DiAnn Mills is a bestselling author who believes her readers should expect an adventure. She combines unforgettable characters with unpredictable plots to create action-packed, suspense-filled novels.

Her titles have appeared on the CBA and ECPA bestseller lists; won two Christy Awards; and been finalists for the RITA, Daphne Du Maurier, Inspirational Readers’ Choice, and Carol award contests. Library Journal presented her with a Best Books 2014: Genre Fiction award in the Christian Fiction category for Firewall.

DiAnn has been termed a coffee snob and roasts her own coffee beans. She’s an avid reader, loves to cook, and believes her grandchildren are the smartest kids in the universe. She and her husband live in sunny Houston, Texas.

DiAnn is very active online and would love to connect with readers on any of the social media platforms listed at http://www.diannmills.com.

 

My Impressions:

For fast-paced romantic suspense it is hard to beat a novel by DiAnn Mills. Deep Extraction, the second installment in her FBI Task Force series, is no exception. With characters you’ll love, an action-packed plot, and a spiritual theme that touches the heart, Deep Extraction will appeal to fans of this genre. Take this book along on your next weekend getaway.

FBI agent Tori Templeton and US Marshall Cole Jeffers are called to solve their friend Nathan Moore’s death. Not only faced with the shock of the murder of someone close to them, they also have to come to grips with the fact that they really didn’t know him. But they are determined to uncover the layers of deception to find the guilty party, no matter who that might be.

Deep Extraction is filled with tension and surprise twists and turns. The main characters are challenged with finding truth, even if it implicates those closest to them. I found Tori and Cole’s struggle with maintaining professionalism and objectivity in the face of personal feelings a great addition to the book. Can anyone ever really know someone? That’s what they battle as they investigate a case that gets more personal day by day. Readers who like plenty of action will appreciate the dangers Tori and Cole encounter — snipers, explosions, to name just a few. Along with dealing with the sense of betrayal, they must also overcome ingrained fears from past experiences. Trust in God is part of that struggle and is a theme woven naturally throughout the novel. The reader gets a glimpse into the actions of the bad guys before the main characters and I loved that, but I didn’t see the big surprise twist coming either!

Although book 2 in a series, Deep Extraction can be read as a standalone. A page-turner that I just could not put down, this one gets a recommended rating from me.

Recommended.

Audience: adults.

To purchase, click HERE.

(Thanks to the author for a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)