Tag Archives: Kathy Herman

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?

 

 

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Top 10 Tuesday: Series I Need to Finish!

20 Jun

The folks at The Broke And The Bookish want to know what book series bloggers want to start. Well, before I can start a new series, I need to complete some first. Oh, who am I kidding? Having uncompleted series won’t keep me from starting new ones, but they will weigh heavily on my mind. LOL! To find out what book series other bloggers long to begin, click HERE.

 

Because I have many books on my shelves that regularly whisper (or shout) Read Me!, I thought I would share those series I began in earnest, but have been a slacker in completing. I share these partly to find out from you which one I should be reading and partly to shame myself into reading those long neglected books. So here they are.

Top Book Series I Need to Finish

 

The Darkwater Saga by Patrick Carr

 

Drew Farthering Mystery series by Juliana Deering

 

The Martyr’s Song series by Ted Dekker

 

 

Sophie Trace Trilogy by Kathy Herman

 

 

Secrets of The Shetlands series by Michael Phillips

 

Which series would you finish first?

 

 

 

Top Ten Tuesday — Suspense-Filled Audiobooks

20 Sep

This week the folks at The Broke And Bookish are talking all things Audio! I featured some of my favorite audiobooks in June for a Freebie Week. So today I will concentrate on my favorite genre — suspense. To find out what other bloggers are listening to, click HERE.

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I started listening to audiobooks several years ago as I traveled twice a week to see my daughter’s college soccer games. Even home games were a 3 1/2 hour drive for me. Suspense novels helped to make the miles and hours go by more quickly, not least of all keeping me awake! Now that she’s graduated, I listen to audiobooks on my daily walks. It’s a great way to make me look forward to exercise! Here are 10 of my favorites.

Top 10 Favorite Suspense-Filled Audiobooks

 

Dubiosity by Christy Barritt

Double Blind by Brandilyn Collins

Trapped by Irene Hannon

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Vanished by Irene Hannon

The Real Enemy by Kathy Herman

Fear Has A Name by Creston Mapes

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Double Cross by DiAnn Mills

The Survivor by DiAnn Mills

A Cry from The Dust by Carrie Stuart Parks

A Matter of Trust by Lis Wiehl

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What have you been listening to?

 

Top 10 Tuesday — Small Town Reads

1 Mar

This week the folks over at The Broke And The Bookish are hosting The Top 10 Tuesday theme, What to Read if You Are in The Mood for X. To find out all the great book recommendations bloggers are making, click HERE.

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I am a small town girl. I was born and raised in the city, but I got out as soon as I could! I have lived in small towns for the past 30 years. Although I’ll read just about any genre with any setting, I do enjoy a small town read. The slow pace, the intimate feel, the close-knit relationships, and, yes, the quirky personalities appeal to me. So here are some Small Town Reads that I recommend when you get in that mood too.

Top Small Town Reads

The Quintessential Small Town

Charlene Baumbich has created the quintessential small town in her Welcome to Partonville series. Eighty-something Dorothy Jean Wetstra rides around Partonville, Illinois in her 1976 Lincoln bringing readers fun, laughter and touching moments. There are 6 books in the series, so plenty of reading enjoyment! Dearest Dorothy, Are We There Yet is book 1.

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Small Town Romance

Cathleen Armstrong creates contemporary romance novels with a small town setting in her Place to Call Home series. Set in the small New Mexico town of Last Chance, this series features real life situations with a strong faith message. Welcome to Last Chance is book one in this 4-book series.

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The Dear Daphne series by Melody Carlson follows the up and down love life of Daphne Ballinger. Daphne moves back to her hometown following her Aunt Dee’s death. Finding out that she will inherit all of her aunt’s estate, if she marries within a year, creates a bit of havoc in Daphne’s life. This is a fun series that has a serious side too as Daphne comes to understand Aunt Dee and herself. The concluding book in the series is due out in April. I can’t wait! Lock, Stock And over A Barrel is book 1.

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Small Town Suspense

Kathy Herman has several wonderful series that feature small towns, but her Baxter series is my favorite and great place to start with this talented author. A lot of mystery and mayhem happens in this small Tennessee town. Recurring characters, such as newspaper editor Ellen Jones, create a cohesive and continuing story line. This is a five book series. Tested by Fire is book 1.

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Small Town Cozy Mysteries

Nancy Mehl has a long list of mystery/suspense novels set in small towns. All are excellent, but if you are looking for a cozy mystery, check out The Ivy Towers Mystery series. Featuring a small town bookstore owner, this series is often laugh out loud funny. In the Dead of Winter is the first book in the 4-book series.

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Mary Conneally is known for her historical romance novels featuring hunky cowboys, but under the name of Mary Nealy she writes mysteries. In the Historical Society Murders series, Carrie Evans is back in her hometown editing the town’s paper and dodging dead bodies and a stuffed mouse. This series is also LOL funny. Book 1 is Bury The Lead.

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Small Town Quirky

While all of the novels listed above have their fair share of quirky characters, it’s hard to find normal within the pages of Joyce Magnin’s Bright’s Pond series. Joyce’s mostly off-kilter world is fun to visit and perfect for those who want a funny and unique small town read. Five books make up this series. Book 1 is The Prayers of Agnes Sparrow.

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So there you have my recommendations for small town reads?

What are some of your favorites?

 

 

Audiobook Review: The Real Enemy

12 Sep

767860_w185Brill 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.

 

kathy-laptopSuspense novelist Kathy Herman is widely-recognized in the Christian book industry, having worked five years on staff at the Christian Booksellers Association (CBA) in Colorado Springs, eleven years at Better Books Christian Center in Tyler, Texas as product buyer/manager for the children’s department, and eventually as director of human resources.

She also conducted numerous educational seminars on children’s books at CBA Conventions in the U.S. and Canada, served a preliminary judge for the Evangelical Christian Publishers Gold Medallion Book Awards (now known as ECPA Christian Book Awards), and worked as an independent product/marketing consultant to the CBA market.

Since her first novel, Tested by Fire, debuted in 2001 as a CBA national bestseller, she’s added nineteen more titles to her credit, including eight additional bestsellers: All Things Hidden, The Real Enemy, The Last Word, The Right Call, False Pretenses, Dangerous Mercy, Relentless Pursuit, and Not by Sight.

Kathy’s husband Paul is her manager and most ardent supporter, and the former manager of the LifeWay Christian Store in Tyler, Texas. They have three grown children, five almost-perfect grandchildren, and a rescue cat named Samantha. The couple also shares a mutual interest in identifying birds and butterflies, a hobby that goes hand-in-hand with Kathy’s passion for photography.

 

My Impressions:

Kathy Herman has been a long time favorite of mine. She combines great characters with real life struggles and page-turning mysteries to produce great novels. She always includes a faith message that speaks to readers as well. The Real Enemy is the first book in her Sophie Trace Trilogy. I enjoyed it and am looking forward to more with the Jessup family in the quaint town set in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee.

Brill Jessup is the new police chief of Sophie Trace. Her family is attempting a new start, but past regrets, betrayals and bitterness keep them from truly moving on. Brill’s husband, Kurt, was unfaithful and it is this that has impacted the whole family. Unwilling to forgive, Brill immerses herself in her work, which following mysterious abductions and increased gang activity, has gotten harder and more complicated.

Herman does a good job of balancing the family drama with a good mystery. Both story lines kept this reader interested. Herman explores the damage that is done to the whole family when just one strays from God’s law. The mystery of the missing people makes way for the town legend of the Red Shadows adding an interesting look into the history of the early settlers and Native Americans of the Smokies. I also liked that Herman introduces supporting characters that add color to the small community. Nick’s restaurant is the hub for town gossip and serves as a means for the main characters and the reader to gauge the pulse of the town.

I listened to The Real Enemy on my morning walks. The reading was well done — a great pace that made my exercise fly by. So if you are looking for a mystery with some depth and spiritual truth in the mix, check out The Real Enemy.

Recommended

Audience: Adults

(I purchased the audio version of this book. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

To purchase this book, click on the image below.

Book Review: Not By Sight

20 Nov

408045_w185Her Sister Couldn’t Be Alive … Could She?


It had to be Riley Jo. She was certain .  .  . wasn’t she? But when Abby Cummings tells her mother she thought she saw her sister at the store, her mother quickly dismisses the idea. After all, Riley Jo and their father had been missing for years. Presumably dead. Yet Abby cannot ignore her intuition. Telling her friend J. D., they investigate. But J. D. may know more about the disappearance than he’s telling, or even realizes. And as they work to uncover what happened, all they have to go on is blind faith. Will it be enough. . .especially considering what the truth might be?

kathy_12-07Suspense novelist Kathy Herman is very much at home in the Christian book industry, having worked five years on staff at the Christian Booksellers Association (CBA) in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and eleven years at Better Books Christian Center in Tyler, Texas, as product buyer/manager for the children’s department, and eventually as director of human resources.

She has conducted numerous educational seminars on children’s books at CBA Conventions in the U.S. and Canada, served a preliminary judge for the Gold Medallion Book Awards of the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association, and worked as an independent product/marketing consultant to the CBA market.

Since her first novel, Tested by Fire, debuted in 2001 as a CBA national bestseller, she’s added nineteen more titles to her credit, including seven additional bestsellers: All Things Hidden, The Real Enemy, The Last Word, The Right Call, False Pretenses,Dangerous Mercy, and Relentless Pursuit.

Kathy’s husband Paul is her manager and most ardent supporter, and the former manager of the LifeWay Christian Store in Tyler, Texas. They have three grown children, five almost-perfect grandchildren, a cat named Samantha. They enjoy cruising, deep sea fishing, and birdwatching—sometimes incorporating these hobbies into one big adventure.

My Impressions:

Kathy Herman is a favorite author among many of the members of By The Book. She creates a suspenseful and realistic story with characters the reader comes to care about. Not By Sight is another winner from this talented author.

Abby was a young girl when her father and sister go missing. After five years she is still looking for them even though the rest of her family have given up hope of ever uncovering the mystery of their disappearance. Her dogged determination to uncover the truth and her faith in a miracle drive her and her friend Jaye into danger.

With a unanimous thumbs up, my group recommends Not By Sight for those who love suspense. There are lots of twists to this story and the reader is often aware of things before the characters. This actually adds to the tension for the reader. We had a great discussion of characters’ motivations, the heart break of missing family members and just what it means to live by faith.

Recommended.

Great For Book Clubs.

(I purchased this book for my Kindle. All opinions are mine alone.)

To purchase a copy of this book, click on the image below.

BTB November Book Selection — Not By Sight

29 Oct
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It had to be Riley Jo. She was certain. . .wasn’t she? But when Abby Cummings tells her mother she thought she saw her sister at the store, her mother quickly dismisses the idea. After all, Riley Jo and their father had been missing for years. Presumably dead. Yet Abby cannot ignore her intuition. Telling her friend J. D., they investigate. But J. D. may know more about the disappearance than he’s telling, or even realizes. And as they work to uncover what happened, all they have to go on is blind faith. Will it be enough. . .especially considering what the truth might be?