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Murder and Mayhem in Victorian London? Inspector of the Dead: David Morrell’s Thrilling Thomas De Quincey Sequel

02_Inspector of the Dead CoverReview~

What can you really say of David Morrell that isn’t great? He’s a master at all types of suspense and thriller books that he writes, including his newest foray into Victorian England with his Thomas De Quincey historical mysteries. First publishing Murder as a Fine Art in 2013 (you can read my review of that HERE and an interview I had with him there HERE), he’s now back with a sequel called Inspector of the Dead.

Morrell features his mysteries around Thomas De Quincey, known as the Opium-Eater, a man who wrote essays during this era where the dark, cobbled streets of London were ripe with addiction, lust, and murder. It’s said that he inspired Edgar Allan Poe, who in turn inspired Arthur Conan Doyle in his creation of Sherlock Holmes. He also struggled with opium addiction (it was legal in Britain at this time, but most people kept their use a secret), which caused him much strife in his life with dreams and nightmares. Morrell obviously has painstakingly researched the man and the time period, both in the fact that is historical revelations of this man and the creation of his character seem so vivid and authentic, as well as, his time period descriptions are atmospheric and captivating.

He seemed to have a lot of Victorian Era and Thomas De Quincey scholars and educators read through his book prior to publishing, which shows that he cares very much about getting it right for readers, whether its actually fiction or not. It’s historical fiction, and he doesn’t like to take many liberties with the man himself, but creates an accurate character based on his findings, set on a case that also surrounds real historical events that entertains and absorbs the reader into the book.

This time, a murderer is killing people and leaving notes on their bodies of those who have attempted to assassinate or overthrow Queen Victoria and evidence points that Queen Elizabeth might be the final target! It’s 1855 and the English government is already weakened by war, so the murderer must be stopped. De Quincey, who’s become quite the professional sleuth, his daughter Emily, and Scotland Yard detectives are on the move in order to stop this threat.

Morrell unravels the mystery of the murder with seamless ease, giving us clues and snippets, but leaving us hanging till the end. His pace, plotting, and placement of scenes and dialogue are intricately linked, making the readability of this novel very high and quite enjoyable. We see a portrait of a criminal consumed with jealously, rage, and hurt. Through Morrell’s writing, even though we don’t know the murderer, we can feel the depth of his heart on fire with the wrong type of passion. It’s ominous and ethereal in all the right ways for a novel in this fog-laden mystery.

As always, Morrell layers within his novel the social issue of class structure, as those being murdered are from upper society, while the criminal moves around into circles of higher class victims by wearing disguises. Don’t we all sometimes put on  a “disguise” in order to fit in? Doesn’t our anger at not being included sometimes create anger or rage within us? De Quincey even tries to breaks the ideal norm by admitting his addiction publicly, as well as speaking to the point that he can do what he does better based on being in a better social station.

Morrell writes this novel from various view points of De Quincey, the suspect, Emily, and the Scotland Yard gents, Ryan and Becker. Sometimes this can catch readers off guard, but I think he constructed the novel in this vein flawlessly. He allowed us to feel better connected to the secondary characters, and sets up Emily to be a very independent heroine. As De Quincey is a bit Holmes like, Emily seems to be his Watson. She’s fierce, intelligent, and wholly my favorite character within the book.

Inspector of the Dead can be read stand alone, as Morrell does a nice joy of getting readers caught up with must know details, but reading Murder as a Fine Art will give you a more compelling view of Victorian London, where he really fleshes out the descriptions and presents the setting to us so vividly we feel as if we ourselves are hiding in the shadows. Though there are also amazing period details in the sequel, and vignettes of other new locations, such as homes of the weathly, prisons, asylums, and such. He’s also moved further past our surroundings and helped us to delve more into the characters and their relationships with each other and within society. The murders are gritty, grisly, and reminiscent of any within all those Jack the Ripper tales. Something about Victorian London is dark, grim, and creepy and Morrell doesn’t sway from that “lonely boot tap on stone street sound behind you”-type of affectation.

Overall, Inspector of the Dead’s action, details, and pace are likened to a screen script, which will leave you playing this out in your head with a clear picture. It will seep into you, making you feel frightened, quite possibly losing sleep, yet you’ll also feel part of the mystery-solving team. Have you heard of 3-D books? No? Well, David Morrell’s writing is as close as you’ll ever get.

Morrell once again mixes a recipe of authentic history, vaporous setting, refined plot, and fluid, steady action with on-point elemental social structure apportion. Highly recommended for those who like Victorian era murder mysteries like Sherlock Holmes, or possibly reminiscent Poe’s Dupin mysteries, a tad of Wilkie Collins, and the social intricacies and period details work of Charles Dickens, and yet with Morrell’s signature thriller action pacing and visual effects.

02_Inspector of the Dead CoverInspector of the Dead, Synopsis~

Publication Date: March 24, 2015
Mulholland Books
Hardcover; 342p
ISBN: 9780316323932

Genre: Historical Mystery


David Morrell’s MURDER AS A FINE ART was a publishing event. Acclaimed by critics, it made readers feel that they were actually on the fogbound streets of Victorian London. Now the harrowing journey continues in INSPECTOR OF THE DEAD.

Thomas De Quincey, infamous for his Confessions of an Opium-Eater,confronts London’s harrowing streets to thwart the assassination of Queen Victoria.
The year is 1855. The Crimean War is raging. The incompetence of British commanders causes the fall of the English government. The Empire teeters.

Amid this crisis comes opium-eater Thomas De Quincey, one of the most notorious and brilliant personalities of Victorian England. Along with his irrepressible daughter, Emily, and their Scotland Yard companions, Ryan and Becker, De Quincey finds himself confronted by an adversary who threatens the heart of the nation.

This killer targets members of the upper echelons of British society, leaving with each corpse the name of someone who previously attempted to kill Queen Victoria. The evidence indicates that the ultimate victim will be Victoria herself. As De Quincey and Emily race to protect the queen, they uncover long-buried secrets and the heartbreaking past of a man whose lust for revenge has destroyed his soul.

Brilliantly merging historical fact with fiction, Inspector of the Dead is based on actual attempts to assassinate Queen Victoria.

Praise for Inspector of the Dead~

“Riveting! I literally thought I was in 1855 London. With this mesmerizing series, David Morrell doesn’t just delve into the world of Victorian England—he delves into the heart of evil, pitting one man’s opium-skewed brilliance against a society where appearances are everything, and the most vicious killers lurk closer than anyone thinks.” —Lisa Gardner, New York Times bestselling author of Crash & Burn and The Perfect Husband

What the Victorian Experts Say:

“Even better than Murder as a Fine Art. A truly atmospheric and dynamic thriller. I was fascinated by how Morrell seamlessly blended elements from Thomas De Quincey’s life and work. The solution is a complete surprise.” —Grevel Lindop, The Opium-Eater: A Life of Thomas De Quincey

“The scope is remarkable. Florence Nightingale, the Crimean War, regicide, the railways, opium, the violence and despair of the London rookeries, medical and scientific innovations, arsenic in the food and clothing—all this makes the Victorian world vivid. The way Morrell depicts Thomas De Quincey places him in front of us, living and breathing. But his daughter Emily is in many ways the real star of the book.” —Robert Morrison, The English Opium-Eater: A Biography of Thomas De Quincey

“I absolutely raced through it and couldn’t bear to put it down. I particularly liked how the very horrible crimes are contrasted with the developing, fascinating relationship between Thomas De Quincey and his daughter, Emily, who come across as extremely real. It was altogether a pleasure.” —Judith Flanders, The Invention of Murder: How the Victorians Reveled in Death and Detection and Created Modern Crime

Buy the Book~

Amazon US
Amazon UK
Barnes & Noble

Murder as a Fine Art, Synopsis, First Thomas De Quincey Novel~

Murder as a Fine ArtGaslit London is brought to its knees in David Morrell’s brilliant historical thriller.

Thomas De Quincey, infamous for his memoir Confessions of an English Opium-Eater, is the major suspect in a series of ferocious mass murders identical to ones that terrorized London forty-three years earlier.

The blueprint for the killings seems to be De Quincey’s essay “On Murder Considered as One of the Fine Arts.” Desperate to clear his name but crippled by opium addiction, De Quincey is aided by his devoted daughter Emily and a pair of determined Scotland Yard detectives.

In Murder as a Fine Art, David Morrell plucks De Quincey, Victorian London, and the Ratcliffe Highway murders from history. Fogbound streets become a battleground between a literary star and a brilliant murderer, whose lives are linked by secrets long buried but never forgotten.

David Morrell, Biography~

03_David Morell ©_Jennifer_EsperanzaDavid Morrell is an Edgar, Nero, Anthony, and Macavity nominee as well as a recipient of the prestigious career-achievement ThrillerMaster award from the International Thriller Writers.

His numerous New York Times bestsellers include the classic espionage novel, The Brotherhood of the Rose, the basis for the only television mini-series to be broadcast after a Super Bowl.

A former literature professor at the University of Iowa, Morrell has a PhD from Pennsylvania State University.

His latest novel is INSPECTOR OF THE DEAD, a sequel to his highly acclaimed Victorian mystery/thriller, Murder as a Fine Art, which Publishers Weekly called ”one of the top ten mystery/thrillers of 2013.”

For more information visit David Morrell’s website. You can also connect with him on Facebook and Twitter.

Tour Schedule: http://hfvirtualbooktours.com/inspectorofthedeadblogtour/

Hashtags: #InspectoroftheDeadBlogTour #HistoricalMystery

Twitter Tags: @hfvbt @_DavidMorrell

04_Inspector of the Dead_Blog Tour Banner_FINAL

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Terror Lurks in the German Woods: Guest Post by the Amazing Horror Author Brian Moreland

Hi, Erin, thanks so much for having me back as a guest on your blog. Today, I’m sharing some background of my novel, Shadows in the Mist, a historical horror thriller that explores the dark side of World War II and the Nazis’ fascination with the Occult.

The main characters are U.S. infantry soldiers: Lt. Jack Chambers and his ragtag platoon known as “the Lucky Seven.” During the first weeks of October 1944, Lt. Chambers and his platoon have been fighting the German army tooth-and-nail in the bloody Hürtgen Forest that borders Belgium and Germany. All Lt. Chambers wants to do is get his few surviving men out of the war in one piece and return to London to find the English Red Cross nurse he fell in love with. But Fate has a different agenda for the Lucky Seven, and especially Jack Chambers who has ties to a top-secret war he didn’t even know was taking place.

The Lucky Seven are chosen to lead a rogue commando team behind German lines. The mission: infiltrate a Nazi weapons camp. As Lt. Chambers and his men venture into the thick and foggy woods, they discover something evil is hunting them and it won’t rest until every soldier is dead.

To make this novel as compelling and authentic as I could, I interviewed WWII veteran soldiers, both American and German, who fought in the famous Battle of the Hürtgen Forest. I traveled across Germany with historians and personally walked the battlefields, graveyards, and toured a private museum. You can see the photos here.

273_Shadows_Master_Front_cover_for_Samhain300Shadows in the Mist weaves together war-time adventure, horror, and historical facts based on my research of the Nazis and the Occult. The Indiana Jones movies Raiders of the Lost Ark and The Last Crusade depicted the Nazis on quests for the Ark of the Covenant and the Holy Grail. There is plenty of evidence the Nazis went on such quests in search of mystical ways to gain more world power. In fact, they formed an entire division called the Ahnenerbe-SS. While the supernatural mystery I have created is a work of fiction, the inspiration behind it is terrifyingly real. Had the Nazis used their research to pull this off, we might have had a different outcome to the war.

I hope you enjoy reading Shadows in the Mist as much as I enjoyed researching and writing it. You can read a sample of the book at www.BrianMoreland.wordpress.com 

All the best,

Brian Moreland


Because Brian is the nicest horror writer I’ve even met (though most are pretty nice and normal people), he’s doing a giveaway that you DON’T WANT TO MISS!!

He’s giving away a free e-book copy of SHADOWS IN THE MIST and also a FREE SIGNED PAPERBACK COPY OF SHADOWS IN THE MIST!!

What an amazing deal. Try to win it for yourself or have him sign it to whom you’d like and you can give it as a Holiday gift!


*Signed paperback mailed to U.S. only.
*Must leave a comment after the post with email or
email me to hookofabook@hotmail.com with entries completed.
*Must enter to win by 11:59 p.m. EST on Dec. 12th.
*One entry for comment/leaving email.
*Email used for communication with winner.
*Will be randomly drawn on Dec. 13 and notified.


+1 additional entry each (you can any you wish, one or all) for; just email which ones you did to me for credit.:

Follow my blog

Following @ErinAlMehairi on Twitter

Following @BrianMoreland on Twitter

Following Brian on Facebook (see below)

Liking Brian’s books on Amazon.

Author Bio, Brian Moreland~


Brian Moreland writes novels and short stories of horror and supernatural suspense. His first two novels, Dead of Winter and Shadows in the Mist, are now available. His upcoming novella, The Witching House, will release August 2013, and novel The Devil’s Woods will release December 2013. He loves hiking, kayaking, watching sports, dancing, and eating cookies. Brian lives in Dallas, Texas where he is diligently writing his next horror novel. You can communicate with him online at http://www.brianmoreland.com/

 Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/HorrorAuthorBrianMoreland

Twitter: @BrianMoreland

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1150022.Brian_Moreland

Brian’s Horror Fiction blog: http://www.brianmoreland.blogspot.com

Coaching for Writers blog:  http://www.coachingforwriters.blogspot.com

You can purchase Shadows in the Mist at Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Shadows-Mist-Brian-Moreland/dp/1619210665/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1354766751&sr=8-2&keywords=brian+moreland, Samhain Publishing: http://store.samhainpublishing.com/shadows-mist-p-6933.html, and many other places nationwide.


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Christian Author Terri Blackstock Pens Shadow of Serenity, a Stand Alone Romance

I just finished up Terri Blackstock’s new book, Shadow in Serenity, a novel published by Zondervan this October (2011).  This New York Times Bestselling author certainly didn’t disappoint in this stand-alone novel. The characters were believable, easy to friend, and well-crafted. The book was an amazing tale of redemption and God’s miraculous love, fit eloquently amid her story set in a small town where a scheme from a man who grew up a con-artist put the town in financial and emotional jeopardy.

Carny, a strong independent woman and mother with a tempered impulsive streak, comes from a less than desirable “carnival” background (hence, the name) and knows something about con-artists.  Fleeing her parents and their lying lifestyle, she settles in a small town full of caring, God-fearing people and she finally feels at home.

 When a good-looking, smooth talking drifter, Logan, wanders into town promising something so amazing no one  wants to be left out, she is speculative of his motives. Yet, she feels a strange attraction to him also.  Will she be able to show everyone else that his motives aren’t pure? Is her instinct right?

Terri Blackstock is an author of Christian suspense novels (usually packaged in a series) that have rougher life and death themes,while Shadow of Serenity is a lighter and brighter book, as well as inspiring.  It’s wonderfully airy in its drama and can be read in a day or two.  The story is told so well that it flows smoothly through your mind and you’ll be done in no time, yet the characters will be etched on your heart. 

Though it carries an important warning for readers as to the influx of cons floating around these days, and how Christian people with big hearts can fall prey, it also shows how some people who delve into this criminal activity can be restored in the Lord.

It’s a romance without the steamy scenes. I actually prefer romances that give you more subtle hints as to the characters possibly opening their heart to one another.  Being able as a reader to watch the characters slowly fall in love creates more suspense and this book certainly unfolds a relationship that is charming and captivating. I don’t need all the explicit sex scenes for me to find the romance endearing.  Terri does a wonderful job of juxtaposing suspense, drama, and romance.

The suspense in her book and the emotions emitted from both Carny and Logan’s characters was at a pace just slow enough, or quick enough, to make you want to keep reading to find out if redemption was possible for Logan. You’ll want to know if love is enough to win out over the power of temptation.  The book has a Christian message of how the least of us can be redeemed through the love of Christ, which sometimes can come from the love of another Christian, or a group of Christians.  However, the book was not preachy or scripture focused. It was about how other Christians, with pure hearts, can help to quietly lead a person without faith into the light of God’s goodness with their consistent faith and love.

To learn more about the book, please keep reading below for an interview with Terri. I think you’ll be enlightened!

Read an Excerpt of the Book

You can read an excerpt here: http://www.terriblackstock.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/08/ShadowinSerenitySC.pdf

Q & A with Terri Blackstock

Q: Your latest book, Shadow in Serenity, is a slight departure from your thrillers. It has more romance than usual, and is a bit lighter. What made you write it?

A: I actually wrote this book about seventeen years ago for the secular market. HarperCollins published the original version (under a different title), and it was the last book I wrote in that market before switching to Christian suspense. It’s always been one of my favorites because I
loved the colorful characters in the book, and I thought the story so illustrated redemption. When I got the rights back, Zondervan agreed to publish it again. I did an extensive rewrite on it, because I’ve grown so much as a writer and a Christian since that first version.

My latest series, the Intervention Series, is about some heavy topics that are very personal to me. I felt a passion to write the books in that series, but it was like opening a vein, since I was dealing with issues straight out of my own family. Before I wrote the last book in that series (Downfall, which will be out in March of 2012), I needed a break from that. It was fun to work on this book, because it’s full of humor and is more uplifting. It was a good way to clean my palate before going back to a more serious topic. Shadow in Serenity has more romance than most of my books, and the suspense element isn’t quite as life-or-death as my other books.

Q: You’ve said that Shadow in Serenity is about a “loveable con artist.” Are you glorifying crime in this book?

A: Absolutely not, but when you’re telling a story about redemption, you have to show the “before” picture, otherwise there’s no real story. In Shadow in Serenity, Logan Brisco comes to the town of Serenity, Texas to con the people out of their life savings. But one of the citizens, a motorcycle-riding widowed mom, stands in his way. Carny Sullivan knows a con artist when she sees one, because she was raised to be one. She grew up in the carnival and was taught to pick
pockets and create diversions for her parents’ scams. But when she found Christ in this small town, and learned of His love through the people who loved her, everything in her life changed.

There’s no way she’s going to let Brisco hurt the people she loves.  But Brisco is not just a criminal. His background was sad and lonely, and the only one in his life who ever invested time in him was a con artist. He learned everything he knows from his mentor who’s now dead. Though he’s served time in prison for his crimes and made an effort to clean up his life, he couldn’t do it on his own. Finally defaulting back to his life as a fraud, he concocts this elaborate scheme to get rich. But he never expected to find such love and acceptance in this town, and he never expected to fall in love with a spitfire who sees right through him.

Q: Did you model your con artist, Logan Brisco, after anyone?

A: Years ago I read the book Catch Me If You Can, by Frank Abagnale, and that was what inspired me to write about a con artist. Frank was a con artist for years, and the things he did were creative and amazing. But eventually he got caught and served several years in prison.  When he got out, he went to work for the FBI, helping them learn how to crack fraud cases. The  book was later turned into a movie, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, and it’s now a Broadway play. I didn’t model the character exactly after Abagnale, but his life story was a good launching point for what I wanted to do.

Q: What about Carny Sullivan? She grew up in traveling carnivals, and was bred to be a
con artist, herself. How did you learn so much about the carnival life-style?

A: Amazingly, there are several good books out there written by carnies about that lifestyle.  I used those books for research, I learned the language of the carnival lifestyle, and the inner workings of state fairs and the people who work them. It gave me a good back story for Carny Sullivan. I just pictured this little lonely girl who grew up with the smell of cotton candy and the thrill of roller coasters, but all she ever really wanted was a real home and a normal family.

Q:  Shadow in Serenity had echoes of the old musical, Music Man, except Carny is nothing like Marian the Librarian. Did you mean to make that connection?

A: Yes, that connection was deliberate, though Shadow in Serenity is a contemporary story.  When I was a junior in high school, I was in the musical Music Man. As I was working on these characters, I began to notice the similarities, so I embraced that, then tried to put my own twist on the story. Carny is a thrill-seeker, nothing like the librarian in the musical. But she loves the home she’s made with her son, and the stability that she’s wanted all her life. That contradiction–being a thrill-seeker yet loving stability, makes her a much more complex character than Marian the Librarian.

Q: Logan Brisco kind of traps himself into a corner in this book. On one hand he’s succeeding at what he came to do (to rob the town blind), but on the other hand, he’s found something in the town of Serenity that he’s longed for all his life.

A: I love characters who long for something, but don’t realize it. The reader, when they discover Brisco’s background, will realize what the void in Brisco is, and how desperately he needs to fill it. But Brisco doesn’t realize that until he comes to Serenity. Always before, he’s swept into a town, set up his scam, collected as much money as he could squeeze out of his victims, then disappeared. But this time he falls in love with the town. But once he realizes that living here can fulfill the dreams he didn’t even know he had, it’s too late. He’s already started his scam, and he’s in way too deep.

Q: Carny’s background in the carnival has made her something of a thrill-seeker, yet Christianity has settled her down. Was it hard to find that balance in the character that allowed her to be a Christian, yet still fulfill her craving for excitement?

A: It wasn’t really, because I saw her so vividly in my mind. I thought that someone who grew up moving every couple of weeks and riding roller coasters every single day, might actually be addicted to those adrenaline rushes. What if she found the stability she longed for? Would she stop craving that excitement? No, she’d simply find ways to satisfy that without losing that important stability. So Carny becomes a pilot and rides a motorcycle and bungee jumps, but she has that secure home base where she’s built a wonderful life for her little boy.

Q: Jason, Carny’s eight-year-old son, believes in Brisco no matter what his mother says. How does that trust influence Brisco?

A: Brisco’s always cultivated trust in his victims, but there’s something about little Jason’s trust that makes him want to be a better person. He begins to realize that, after his scam is done and he skips town with the money, Jason won’t be so innocent anymore. He’ll be crushed. He likes the idea that this little boy looks up to him and wants to be like him. And as Brisco falls for Carny, Jason’s mom, he doesn’t want Carny to hurt, either.

Q: Do you think there’s a prevalence of these kinds of white-collar crimes in the world today?

A: It’s worse today than ever before. Technology has made it so easy to be a criminal these days. Identity theft is huge, but so are hoaxes and scams across the internet. How many times have you gotten that email, supposedly from someone you know, that says they’re in some foreign country and their wallet was stolen, and they need you to wire them money immediately? If I didn’t know that was a hoax, I’d probably have fallen for that one at least once. Lots of people do.

There are people in this world who don’t care who they hurt in order to make a buck, and I think it helps for readers to see how con artists think, so they can protect themselves from these scams. But it’s also important to remember that those people can be redeemed, too. Christ died for the ungodly, for those who need a savior.

Q: What are some signs that readers can familiarize themselves with, to keep them from being conned? Are there other common tricks that scam artists use to trick their victims into giving them money?

A: Well, we’ve all been lured with the Nigerian scam, where someone emails you and says that they’ve inherited millions of dollars if they can just get it out of the country, and if you help them move that money, they’ll give you a couple hundred thousand as a commission. Believe it or not, tons of people fall for that scam. Social networking has also provided lots of new venues for criminals. There’s so much opportunity for identity theft in social networking, because people are way too trusting and too free with their information. I wrote about that in more depth in my book Predator.

Q: Your books often have valuable lessons woven into the plots. Predator warned of the dangers of social networking, Intervention dealt with the problems facing families of drug addicts. Shadow in Serenity highlights these scams that trap naive victims. Do you set out to teach a lesson when you write a book?

A: I really don’t. I start with the plot, and usually the Christian theme emerges when God deals with me in some way during that time. I usually think that God wants me to pass that lesson along to my readers, so that message becomes intertwined with the plot. The Intervention Series was a little different, because in that series I really wanted to show the impact that drug addiction has on families, and I knew that from the beginning. But I was extremely passionate about that subject because of how addiction had hurt my family. And that became a therapeutic way for me to work through what we’d been through, and give hope to other families.

Q: What do you hope will linger with readers after they’ve finished Shadow in Serenity?

A: That no matter what they’ve done, no matter how dark their past is, they can be redeemed. Some of the greatest people in the Bible committed heinous crimes. David and Paul were both murderers. Even worse, Paul murdered Christians. And David murdered the husband of his mistress, because she was pregnant with his child. In 1 Corinthians 6, we’re told who will not inherit the kingdom of heaven, but then it says, “Such were some of you. But you were washed clean …” I love that. He’s talking to the redeemed, people who were once criminals and sinners, but they didn’t have to stay that way.

Q: What books can we look forward to after this one?

A: In March, the third book in the Intervention Series will release. It’s called Downfall, and it’s the last book in that series. Both of the previous books, Intervention and Vicious Cycle, were New York Times best-sellers, so hopefully readers will be looking for this book. Right now, I’m working on a new series, but I don’t have a title yet. I’m also collaborating on a novel with my long-time editor David Lambert, which I hope will be out in the fall of 2012.

Book Trailer

If you want to check out the book trailer promo for Shadow of Serenity on YouTube:  http://youtu.be/1ulTDVZrcLE

I was happy to be asked by the author of this book to write a review in exchange for a copy of the book. However, all the opinions expressed are my own.

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The Fate of Humanity is Taken On in “The Final Summit” by Andy Andrews

Andy Andrews’ newest book, “The Final Summit,” took on “a quest to find the one principle that will save humanity,” but it ended up taking me on an adventure that would teach me many more principals, not just one. 

People felt his inspiring so much  in the first book about David Ponder, “The Traveler’s Gift” that it was a best seller, and now, readers are taught much more about what it means to truly live in the way God wants us to in order for humanity to survive. He expertly crafts mystery, history, logic, and motivation into one inspirational-packed fiction read. 

If you hadn’t read the first book in which Ponder discovered the Seven Decisions to life success, they are reviewed again throughout the prose in the first half of this book. I was glad, since I hadn’t read the first book! Amazing decisions that everyone should hang on their refrigerator and by their desk to stay consistently motivated to do good and find success from that good. I was entranced in this book and almost read it in one sitting. I was intrigued by his use of God’s principles intertwined with famous historical people such as Lincoln, Churchill, Joan of Ark and more. These famous former Travelers were shown to have been vessels of God for his messages to society. Now that it seems society has not been listening, Ponder is tasked with being chairmen of a summit that must come up with the principle for saving humanity.

After being escorted by Archangel Gabriel to a room with Winston Churchill, they call upon several other famous Travelers and discuss possible alternatives for what humanity must do to stay on the right path.  All principles, or values, handed up as “the” principle are incorrect, yet very good components of what we need to do in our every day lives. When it seems that all is lost and humanity will not survive, they finally come up with the great principle and you won’t want to miss it.

For more information on Andy Andrews go online to www.andyandrews.com and check out his amazing God-driven books. He obviously is a writer for any reader and will truly motivate your life.

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One of My TOP books: A review of “The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane” by Katherine Howe

I just finished “The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane” by Katherine Howe and it is officially one of my top new favorite books! What an amazing read surrounding the historical time period of the Salem witch trials.

Main character Connie Goodwin, while doing research for her doctoral dissertation and trying to clean-up (at the request of her mother) her grandmother’s ancient-looking, overgrown abandoned house near Salem, discovers much more than she ever bargained for in regards to both historical evidence on the Salem witch trials and her own family history.

This book flips back and forth with effortless ease between characters of the 169os in Salem and nearby towns and Connie in the modern era of 1991. As a reader you’ll never feel lost, only more and more intrigued by the mystery that Connie is uncovering. In fact, the book will drawn you in so far, you’ll feel as if you are in the book too. 

When she finds a key and a little piece of paper in a dust-covered family heirloom Bible with the name Deliverance Dane on it, she starts to unravel a story of a woman you’ll never forget. I guarantee you’ll never think of the Salem witch trials, or the women accused, the same ever again. Connie’s dissertation work depends on finding a Physick (or recipe) book, but it becomes so much more than that to Connie. It is a story of redemption for the character, Deliverance Dane and all her descendants, as many who were accused and killed during the witch trails were unjustly sentenced.

I was always intrigued by the Salem witch trials. Maybe it is just because I am interested in all things history. But I always felt there was more to the story than just that these women were accused of being witches. Evidence, as the book follows, points to the fact that these women were God-fearing women who happened to have the medicinal gift of using various herb concoctions and prayers to promote healing. Since it was before the time of medical doctors, these women took care of the people in their communities.  

I think that Howe did a superb job in educating the reader about the history of this time period through the eyes of the accused. She gives us an historical look at the stereotypical descriptions of witches and why they came about, but also reminds us that they were regular Puritan-garbed women.  I mentioned to Howe that I was curious about how many of these women seemed so religious and used prayer along with their concoctions. It seemed that their gifts of healing were God sent. Many women and their husbands were respected members of their Puritan communities.

Howe replied to me on Facebook, when I mentioned my curiosity about the accused being contradictorily Christian: “I address that question a bit in this talk given at Google last year (careful, it’s about 30 minutes long) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z5L36OrxM-c.”  For more video on the book and why and how she wrote it, view here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d_OBQ3QSb4g&feature=related.  She has some great interviews on YouTube.

 The author, Katherine Howe, is in fact a descendant of both Elizabeth Proctor(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elizabeth_Proctor), who you might know because her character was fictiously dramatized for The Crucible, and Elizabeth Howe (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elizabeth_How), the latter who did not survive the Salem witch trials.

Not only was the story good and the plot tight, it was great writing overall. Her vocabulary is phenomenal and her voice is so strong and poignant. The characters are firmly formed, detailed, and delightful.  You will leave this book with an emotional attachment to the characters and to the souls of the women who endured the Salem witch trials. She could very well become one of the best known American historical fiction writers ever.  In fact, she recently told me via Facebook that another book is on the way this year, not a direct sequel though, and I can’t wait to read it. However, I did hear that a sequel including Connie will come at some point.

I don’t often read books over again, but this is one I would even though I’ve discovered the mystery already along with main character Connie. It is completely spellbinding and mystical (and no, I’m not even trying to make a play on words with “spell”). Her story and her writing truly do amaze me and I hope to continue to read much more of her in years to come.

If you’d like more information on the author Katherine Howe go online to www.katherinehowe.com and view her awesome website, and for the book http://www.physickbook.com.  Here’s a trailer for the book as well: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hcJxKLw8-M8&NR=1.


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A 2010 Thriller, Eight Days to Live, by Iris Johansen is Reviewed

I have to admit, I hadn’t read any novels of the bestselling author Iris Johansen before. Her well-known forensic character, Eve Duncan, just hadn’t come my way. I read two book jackets by her and bought them both not knowing even where they fell in line with other books surrounding her recurring characters. 

I chose to read her book, Eight Days to Live (came out in 2010) purely on the premise that the character in this book (which happened to be the adopted daughter of Eve Duncan) was an artist who gets embroiled in a mystery of monumental proportions.  Eight Days to Live was definitely a book I couldn’t put down and read through it quickly because of that. It was very suspenseful~full of intrigue, thrilling villains, heroes, paranormal and romance all rolled into one!

When Jane, the main character for this particular novel, is pinpointed by vicious killers to die on April 1 (8 days from the start of the book), she didn’t know why. All she realized was that she had painted a portrait of a man she saw in a dream and then named it Guilt.  When she has a gallery debut, an unknown business man makes an absurd monetary offer on it and the same night the gallery owner, and her friend, is violently murdered. 

As powerful men start killing those around her and come after her, she starts on a mission to find out why. She even pulls in Caleb, a “hunter” that Eve had used on a previous forensic case to find a serial killer. His known tracking instincts prove helpful, as well as his paranormal gift of being able to mentally penetrate the minds of others to get them to do exactly what he wants them to do. However, with his power comes a real desire to hunt to kill bad men and this scares all that are around him. Even with knowing this, Jane feels connected to him somehow and ultimately he helps her to see that her dreams are visions of the past. He helps her to embrace this side of her and even assists in her dream states when they are needed to find out further information. The subtle dance of romance between them in the book is very intriguing.

As Jane, Caleb, and team pursue these powerful men closer, they uncover a type of religious cult worshiping one of the most well-known betrayers in history.  The mystery surrounding the cult and Jane’s dreams are thrilling and suspenseful. This is definitely a plot you won’t want to miss.  This book is for anyone loving historical fiction, secret society mysteries, paranormal gifts, action and suspense!

To learn about the book, or more on Iris Johansen, go to www.irisjohansen.com where book excerpts are available.

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