Saturday, May 18, 2019

The Inn at Hidden Run by Olivia Newport Blog Tour and Giveaway


About the Book


A Father-Daughter Genealogy Team Link Present to Past on Family Tree
 
Meri flunks out of medical school—and runs from her parents. Genealogist Jillian Parisi-Duffy’s digging traces the family long tradition of doctors to an ancestor saved during a yellow fever outbreak in Memphis in 1878. As Meri’s family closes in, Jillian gets the final puzzle pieces in place just in time for them all to learn the truth. The Inn at Hidden Run is the first book in the Tree of Life series. Readers will come back to backdrop of a lovely mountain town of Canyon Mines again and again to explore and celebrate unforgettable family stories that inspire them to connect with their own family histories and unique faith journeys.

Click here to purchase your copy!

My Review

I enjoyed this entertaining and informative novel. The narrative includes a contemporary story and a background one from 1878. The historical part of the novel is very informative, based on actual events during the yellow fever outbreak in Memphis.

The contemporary part of the novel is interesting, with a genealogical researcher, Jillian, as a main character. Jillian's father is a mediating lawyer at a law firm and it is interesting to see how he uses his skills in the family disagreement at the heart of the contemporary story.

One aspect of the novel I found lacking is descriptions of the characters. Newport does well describing houses and rooms but is so sparse on people I had difficulty picturing them. Meri is described as having “warm bronze skin” and I didn't know she was African-American until well into the book. And except for Jillian's frizzy hair, I can't tell you what she looks like. I do appreciate Jillian's obsession with finding just the right coffee mug with the right feel, however. I'm the same way.

Newport includes a number of issues in the plot. The most serious one is family expectations. What is a young woman to do when parents are overbearing in their demand she go into a certain profession, even though her heart is not in it?

My rating: 4/5 stars.

About the Author


Olivia Newport’s novels twist through time to find where faith and passions meet. Her husband and twentysomething children provide welcome distraction from the people stomping through her head on their way into her books. She chases joy in stunning Colorado at the foot of the Rockies, where daylilies grow as tall as she is.

More from Olivia


Of Family Lines and Family Lore 
 I suppose it all started in a cemetery. 
Once, while a group of relatives were visiting a cemetery, one of my cousins and I wandered off and looked at all sorts of graves, speculating about the names we read and the lives they represented. We were duly scolded both for separating from our families, which caused some consternation, and for being disrespectful—though I think the second accusation was a false one! 
Just because we were young children didn’t mean we were disrespecting the dead. Quite the opposite. We were respecting lives long forgotten with our curiosity about who they were and what legacies they left. 
These days a lot of people are interested in genealogy. Entire TV series spin around the theme, and DNA kits show up in Christmas stockings. Lost branches of family trees find the main trunk—sometimes with big surprises. 
My new Tree of Life series is set in the backdrop of a lovely Colorado mountain town I hope you’ll want to visit often, where a father-daughter genealogy team link present to past on family trees and characters learn about who they are, where they come from, and their unique faith journeys as they discover their own Tree of Life. It all starts with The Inn at Hidden Run. When Meri arrives in Canyon Mines because she wants to run away from her family, true answers come from understanding the past that generations have forgotten—the accounts from another time and place no longer handed down but that still form the backbone of the family’s story. 
What’s the backbone of your family’s history? How is it shaping your own future?

Blog Stops

Hallie Reads, May 22
Bigreadersite, May 23
By The Book, May 23
Mary Hake, May 28
Quiet Quilter, May 29
Remembrancy, May 30
Moments, May 31

Giveaway


 
To celebrate her tour, Olivia is giving away a grand prize of a $25 Amazon gift card and a copy of The Inn at Hidden Run!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.


I received a complimentary digital copy of this book through Celebrate Lit. My comments are an independent and honest review. The rest of the copy of this post was provided by Celebrate Lit.

Friday, May 17, 2019

The Tribalization of Politics by Ian Reifowitz

I had no idea. I quit listening to talk radio decades ago, after the elimination of the Fairness Doctrine in 1987. I knew that commentators could speak without concern for political balance but I had no idea how ugly it had gotten. Reading this book about Rush Limbaugh opened my eyes.

Rush has been very important in defining conservative thought and ideology. According to Reifowitz, this was done by race baiting, twisting facts, telling outright lies, editorializing, and similar behavior. He came to this conclusion be reviewing the transcripts of Rush's shows during the eight years of the Obama administration. Rush helped set the stage for Trump and his appeal to racially resentful and alienated whites.

I was shocked at the statements Limbaugh made, documented by Reifowitz and compared with facts. At one point Reifowitz says Limbaugh has an “impressive” level of dishonesty. (2295/3082) Rush certainly created the atmosphere of repeatedly telling lies, a role model for the current administration.

I read this book as part of my ongoing attempt to understand the 2016 presidential election. It gave me more insights into how conservatives felt going into the election and how they got there.

My rating: 4/5 stars.

Ian Reifowitz is a professor of history at Empire State College of the Sate University of New York. He has a PhD in history from Georgetown University. He is a contributing editor to the Daily Kos and his articles have appeared in a number of publications. You can find out more at http://ianreifowitz.com/ .

Ig Publishing, 280 pages.

I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher. My comments are an independent and honest review.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Act of Valor by Dana Mentink Blog Tour and Giveaway


About the Book


Book: Act of Valor  
Author: Dana Mentink  
Genre: Inspirational romantic suspense  
Release Date: June 1, 2019

A True Blue K-9 story …When airline employee Violet Griffin encounters several suspicious passengers, she’s thrust into the crosshairs of a drug smuggling operation. NYPD officer Zach Jameson and his drug detection beagle, Eddie, can tell this is no small-time threat. Someone’s gunning for Violet, and after recently losing his brother, Zach refuses to lose her, too…especially now that she’s gone from friend to the woman he’s falling for.

Click here to purchase your copy.

My Review


I enjoyed this Christian romantic suspense novel. Mentink provides a good balance of character engagement and plot movement. I liked the lead female character, Violet. She is New York tough, uh, stubborn. Stubborn or not, when the situation is tense, she comes through with strength. She also has a strong faith, something the male hero, Zach, needs. His brother was killed in a previous novel and Zach is having a difficult time in his relationship with God. The novel is a good one with much about the ongoing relationship between Zach and Violet, a hint of humor, lots of action, and a satisfying element of romance.

My rating: 4/5 stars.

About the Author


Dana Mentink is a two time American Christian Fiction Writers Carol Award winner, a Romantic Times Reviewer’s Choice Award and a Holt Medallion winner. She is a national bestselling author of over forty titles in the suspense and lighthearted romance genres. She is pleased to write for Harlequin’s Love Inspired Suspense, Barbour, and Harvest House. Dana was thrilled to be a semi-finalist in the Jeanne Robertson Comedy With Class Competition. Besides writing, she busies herself teaching third grade. Mostly, she loves to be home with Papa Bear, teen bear cubs affectionately nicknamed Yogi and Boo Boo, Junie, the nutty terrier, and a chubby box turtle. You can connect with Dana via her website at www.danamentink.com, on Facebook, YouTube (Author Dana Mentink) and Instagram (dana_mentink.)

More from Dana


Cops and killers and beagles, oh my! It was a ton of fun writing the second book in the new True Blue K-9 Continuity series. First of all, I had the honor of working with some AMAZING authors. (It’s challenging creating a world together and keeping all those details straight!) I had the privilege of following the amazing Lynette Eason, so that’s always a plus! Second, I learned all about the astonishing world of beagles! Those critters are just amazing. For instance, the original beagles were tiny, only 8 inches tall and could be carried in a pocket, which is why they called them Pocket Beagles. I need one of those! The name beagle comes from the French, which is translated “wide throat” or “loudmouth.” This is well earned by Eddie in my story, who will occasionally let loose with the trademark baying. The beagles small size, general friendliness, and ferocious scent drive, make it the perfect dog to sniff around airports and get into compact spaces. Eddie enjoys doing just that with Zach, his handler and best friend. He earns those gourmet treats that Zach bakes up for him. Best of all, Eddie was rescued from death before he became a canine cop star! It’s just awesome when you can twine fact with fiction to come up with a tail wagging suspense story! I hope you enjoy the second installment in the series!

Blog Stops

Genesis 5020, May 16
Multifarious, May 17
EmpowerMoms, May 20
Remembrancy, May 21
Simple Harvest Reads, May 22 (Guest post from Mindy Houng)
Hallie Reads, May 22
Moments, May 23
Bigreadersite, May 27

Giveaway


 
To celebrate her tour, Dana is giving away a grand prize of a print copy of the book, a beagle coloring book, and an Amazon gift card!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter. 

I received a complimentary digital copy of this book through Celebrate Lit. My comments are an independent and honest review. The rest of the copy of this post was provided by Celebrate Lit.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

The Heart Hopes by Lyn Cote

I enjoyed this Christian romance. The main character is a first year teacher. Patience has a heart concern for her first grade students. I liked the way she dealt with a potential trouble maker, Jackson, showing a great deal of wisdom. A stint of jury duty takes her away from her classroom but points her in the direction of romance.

I liked that Patience is a woman of principle. She maintains her opinion when others on the jury want to make a decision on prejudice rather than evidence. She is even willing to endure the scorn of the townspeople and challenge the ego of the prosecutor. Her life gets a little complicated when the prosecutor, Jackson's dad, finds himself attracted to her.

Both Patience and Gil, the prosecutor, have issues that must be overcome before romance can blossom. Misunderstandings abound and almost sabotage their relationship. Both struggle with forgiving those who hurt them in the past. Their Christianity is essential to being free to trust and love another. Cote has crafted an enjoyable story that is entertaining and contains good lessons on life.

Note: this book was originally published in 2004 as Testing His Patience.

My rating: 4/5 stars.

Lyn Cote is a USA Today bestselling author and has written over 45 books. She is a Romance Writer of America RITA finalist and an American Christian Fiction Writers Carol Award winner. She writes contemporary romance, romantic suspense and historical novels. You can find out more at www.LynCote.com.

Lyn Cote, 215 pages.

I received a complimentary digital copy of this book from the author. My comments are an independent and honest review.

The Kremlin Strike by Dale Brown

I continue to enjoy this series featuring future political intrigue and conflict. The year is 2021. Brown imagines technological advances like space planes capable of innovative warfare, specialized bots, advanced laser pulse rockets, hybrid engines and more. He gives readers a good idea of what might happen when a rogue enemy leader implements a secret and deadly plan to dominate space. Thank goodness the Iron Wolf Squadron and SkyMasters are one step ahead of him with their advanced technology. They battle against seemingly impossible odds. Only quick thinking and dare devil action will enable them to survive.

Brown includes a good balance of character development and space war suspense. Most of the plot revolves around saving the world and the space above it from evil domination, however. I think some of the vehicles and warfare implements could have had a little more description to help visualize them. Perhaps readers who enjoy military novels will do better than I did picturing the battles.

A good novel for readers who enjoy action packed futuristic warfare.

You can read a sample here.

My rating: 4/5 stars.

Dale Brown is a New York Times best-selling author and a former U S Air Force captain.

Harper Collins Publishers, 464 pages.

I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher. My comments are an independent and honest review.

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Blackquest 40 by Jeff Bond Blog Tour and Giveaway

Blackquest 40

by Jeff Bond

on Tour May 13 - July 13, 2019

Synopsis:


Deb Bollinger has no time for corporate training.

Her company's top engineer at just twenty-seven, Deb has blocked off her day for the one project she truly cares about: the launch of Carebnb, an app that finds spare beds for the homeless. When she's told all employees must drop everything for some busywork exercise called Blackquest 40, it's an easy no.

Trouble is, her bosses aren't really asking.

Blackquest 40 is the mother of all corporate trainings. A near-impossible project to be completed in forty straight hours. No phones. No internet. Sleeping on cots. Nobody in, nobody out. Deb finds the whole setup creepy and authoritarian. When a Carebnb issue necessitates her leaving the office, she heads for the door. What's the worst that could happen?

Armed commandos, HVAC-duct chases, a catastrophic master plan that gets darker by the hour - Blackquest 40 is a fresh take on the Die Hard formula, layering smart-drones and a modern heroine onto the classic action tale.

Praise for Blackquest 40:

"Deb's first-person narrative is brisk, gleefully snarky, and filled with indelible metaphors... A clever, spirited tale with a brainy, nimble heroine at the helm."
~ Kirkus Review

"Bond weaves an entertaining story filled with deceit, robots, Russians, and tech entrepreneurs that all combine to give the reader a reason to flip pages furiously to find out what might happen next... BLACKQUEST 40 sparkles with imagination. Code flies from keyboards, setting off ingenious flying devices, hatching plots and subplots and, ultimately, giving heroes the chance to help the good guys win. This book is a delight, and one readers should download right away."
~ IndieReader's 5 star review

My Review:


This is a book for tech savvy lovers of suspense. Readers are immediately immersed in the world of coding and elite programming. This senior citizen was lost in a menagerie of terms and actions unfamiliar to me and I am not sure I ever caught up. There was plenty of suspense, however, and it kept me reading. The heroine, super smart coding whiz Deb, is a gutsy woman. She attempts to use all of her technological expertise and her amazing tech gizmos to thwart her foes. People are not who she thought, even those with whom she closely worked. And the corporate training exercise is only a facade for a much more serious and nefarious attack on, well, you'll just have to read the book with its twist near the end.

Bond's writing style sets a fast pace for the plot. I would have liked more background information for the tech world into which we plunge. I was lost at times in the coding language references and the dialogue about it. Younger readers might feel right at home there. I did enjoy the intense action and building suspense.

My rating: 4/5 stars.

Book Details:

Genre: Thriller
Published by: Jeff Bond books
Publication Date: May 15th, 2019
Number of Pages: 348
ISBN:9781732255227
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

Read an excerpt:

I am in the middle of solving homelessness when my boss raps his knuckles on my cubicle border. I know it's Paul - my eyes stay on the computer monitor, what with an intractable social ill hanging in the balance - by the timid tap... tap-tap pattern. Also the smell. Paul eats McDonald's every morning for breakfast. He's a Sausage McGriddle man.
"Deb, we're heading up to the meeting - "
"Busy." I squint around the San Francisco street map on-screen, mousing over a blinking dot labeled Wanda. She isn't moving. None of them are moving.
Paul sighs. "We're all busy. But it's a Company-All, so if you - "
"Is it a Susan meeting?"
"No. It's the kickoff for Blackquest 40."
"Means nothing to me." I click Wanda. Why aren't they moving? Database problem?
Paul says the meeting invite should have explained everything. Blackquest 40 is a training exercise, mandatory for every employee in the company.
I look up and see that, indeed, he has the whole team in tow. Jared in his My Code Can't Fix Your Stupid trucker hat. Minosh fingering his spiral-bound notebook, peeking at a clock. They are watching me - all 5'2" if you count the platinum spikes, and a decade younger than them - like zoo visitors wondering if the glass is thick enough around this freak-colored poison frog.
"Susan hired me," I say, invoking our rockstar CEO again. "Susan said I don't have to participate in anything I don't believe in."
"Look, this project - "
"Is corporate training. High on my list of things to not believe in."
With that, I pop over to the log file, which confirms my worst fear: the Carebnb database isn't refreshing. The last GPS coordinates are from eight minutes ago, meaning Wanda and every other unhoused person on that map is misplaced.
Ugh.
The timing is brutal. Today is my launch, the day I am supposed to start demonstrating to all the venture capitalists not funding my side project that a little technology plus basic human decency can equal disruptive positive change.
Across the city, 137 unhoused San Franciscans are wearing 137 smart wristbands, produced at great expense by a local micro-manufacture co-op, in the hopes of connecting with a beta host. I signed up 344 hosts, but that number is dicey because many I bullied into joining. Some will have uninstalled the Carebnb app, not anticipating that I'll soon be combing my list for chicken-outs and visiting their apartments to measure, then post on social media, just how many square feet of covered living space they waste nightly.
My brain races for solutions, but Paul's voice and eau de McGriddle distract me. He's explaining that Susan is out of pocket tying up loose ends in Davos, that Carter Kotanchek has the ball until -
"Okay Paul, honestly?" I click over to the T server, the probable source of my issue. "There is no combination of words or faux-words you can say that will get me off this workstation."
"You're the principal software architect, Deb," he says. "We need you. I'm still in the dark myself, but I'm hearing Blackquest 40 is enormous."
My mouth twists. "Getting colder."
Paul hates managing me. I'm sure he goes home every night to Li Wei, his former-secretary-now-wife, and curses Susan for poaching me away from Google.
Now, as his eyes roam my workspace - hemp satchel, bin of droid Hot Wheels, Polarity of the Universe toggle currently set to Amoral, my toes in their sandals (he has a pervy thing for my feet) - his face drops another shade closer to dough.
He looks at my screen. "How much time are you spending on Carebnb?"
"Twenty-five percent, just like my contract says." I manage to keep a straight face.
It's a required Company-All. You don't badge in, you lose network privileges. It would set you back."
"You can void that."
"I can." Paul taps his ample jowls, thoughtfully paternal. "But I won't."
I've been working throughout our exchange, deciphering error messages, rebooting, tweaking this and that... nothing is helping.
I grit my teeth. Resetting my network privileges would be a big, sticky wad of red tape.
"Fine," I say, "I'll do the meeting. But I am still not participating in this Blockquest deal."
"Blackquest."
"Whatever." I can bring my laptop and troubleshoot from the conference room. "Our queue is about ten miles long - whose bright idea was some lame time-suck training?"
Paul grimaces. "Carter is driving it."
Carter Kotanchek, our chief financial officer, is warring with Paul about the makeup of the Codewise Solutions workforce. Paul favors programmers in keeping with our reputation as the leading machine-learning and optimization company on the planet.
Carter wants more salespeople and has a knack for finding third-party vendors who sport the same Gatsby slickback he does. Inexplicably, Carter is winning.
The engineers behind Paul knock in place like pens in a mug, waiting.
I flop my wrist toward the elevators. "Go, go - I'll catch up. Two minutes."
They go. Paul lowers his gaze in a final I know you will choose wisely appeal.
I focus on my screen with a wonderfully McGriddle-free breath, then try refreshing the database.
DENIED: CONNECTIVITY ERROR 612.
I rejigger a script and try again.
DENIED: CONNECTIVITY ERROR 612.
Same error every time.
This is infuriating. Have I been found out? I never officially informed Paul about routing Carebnb's unhoused-person GPS data through T, Codewise's least busy server. Did he shut me down without telling me? Coincidentally on my most important day of the year?
No way. Paul would write a huffy email or file a ticket. He won't refill our departmental stash of teabags without paperwork.
My calendar bleeps. YOU HAVE NOT BADGED INTO BLACKQUEST 40 KICKOFF (ORGANIZER: CARTER K.); NETWORK PRIVILEGES WILL RESET IN 4 MINUTES.
I stand and grab my laptop, then remember it doesn't have the software to access the T server. I won't be able to troubleshoot during the meeting after all. I'll be forced to sit there and eat an hour's worth of corporate mumbo-jumbo.
"Raven!" I call over my shoulder.
My trusty solar-powered quadcopter perks up. She hums around to my sightline, her underside dome blipping green to indicate her attention.
"Attend meeting in conference room 6-A. Badge in. Watch, back row. Record."
Raven processes each command using natural language algorithms I wrote in grad school, then lowers her claw - repurposed off a junked arcade game - to accept my keycard.
As the drone whispers up the hall, I feel a twinge of unease. She's attended meetings in my stead before but never on a different floor. She will need to push a button, read a floor indicator, possibly accommodate human riders... logic I have given her but not thoroughly stress-tested. It's asking a lot.
I work another five minutes without success.
Air blasts through my nostrils.
I need eyes on a live wristband.
I grab the phone and dial Cecil, my go-to trial user. Cecil has known me since I was a baby, when Mom would push me around in her cart, snuggled in among dumpster scraps and Styrofoam peanuts. Cecil walked me through the roughest part of the city every day of second grade, and taught me the nutcracker choke after a kid pushed a shiv through my septum in fifth.
"Lil Deb, yo," he answers in a deep baritone.
"Cec! Hey Cec, I'm seeing weirdness on my end and I need to know if you - "
"How's your mom?"
"Oh, she's cool, I talked to the orderlies and - "
"They're keeping her meds straight?"
"No no, yeah, it's all good," I say - Cecil is so unfailingly polite you have to move him along sometimes - "listen, what are you seeing with Carebnb? Is your wristband working?"
"Think so."
"Green light?"
"Yep."
"Map of available host beds showing up?"
"Yep."
"How many hosts in range? My database wonked and I gotta know if the problem is local or if peer-to-peer transfers are broken too."
A guttural breath over the line. "English, Deb. Regular English please."
I grip the keyboard tray, slow myself down. "Could we possibly meet? I think I have to see the wristband myself to diagnose this. Sorry, I hate to inconvenience you."
"I'm homeless. Where else I gotta go."
"Right. How about our usual spot, say twenty minutes?"
Before he can respond, the call drops. Bzzzzzzzzzz.
I clench my jaw and redial.
NO SERVICE.
I stand and waggle my phone outside my cube, I walk to the window, I glare at the Verizon logo and telepathically threaten to hack their transceivers to mush if they don't find me a signal.
Nada.
I plunk back down. I'm contemplating flipping my Polarity of the Universe toggle to Evil when a tinny sound announces the presence of a new window on my monitor: Raven's livestream.
She made it up to the Blackquest kickoff meeting. Atta girl. I resize the window to span my entire screen and watch as the big conference room comes into focus.
The Company-All is underway. Carter Kotanchek stands at the podium in a dapper summer-weight suit. Raven's camera won't win any TechCrunch awards, but Carter's teeth still gleam from the middle of a plastic grin.
"Like y't'meet Jim Dawson," he says, introducing a stone-faced man in chunky glasses. "Jim here runs Elite Development, the company that will be facilitating Blackquest 40. Guys are doing phenomenal stuff in a new space called Extreme Readiness. Helping organizations build capability to complete projects of extreme complexity, requiring extreme teamwork, on extreme deadlines. So far they've been working with high-leverage government agencies, paramilitary, et cetera. We, ladies and gents, are fortunate enough to be corporate client number one."
Dawson, in a bland accent - Ohio? Indiana? - thanks Carter and says he's pleased to be here today. Excited for our shared journey.
Gag. So not participating.
As my focus returns to Carebnb, I groan at the ceiling. I need to test a wristband, but if I can't meet Cecil... hmm. I have a few spares lying around, but none are initialized.
I'm figuring how long initialization would take - and how true a read I'd get from a wristband not in the field - when I hear something that stops me cold.
"... campus quarantine and data blockade will remain in place for the duration of Blackquest 40. If you absolutely require outside contact, in case of emergency or vital family obligation, a protocol exists... "
Wait, data blockade? I rewind Raven's feed and replay the last fifteen seconds. Elite Development, in the name of "improved focus and personal efficiency," is collecting every cellphone in the building and blocking all inbound-outbound internet traffic.
I feel slight queasiness at the authoritarianism of the whole setup, but mostly relief. Because now I get it. These jerks shut down T. They killed my call. Probably they're using some military-grade antenna to zap cellular signals, and a simple software block on the servers.
And that won't stop me.
***
Excerpt from Blackquest 40 by Jeff Bond. Copyright © 2019 by Bond. Reproduced with permission from Bond. All rights reserved.



Author Bio:


Jeff Bond is a Kansas native and graduate of Yale University. He lives in Michigan with his wife and two daughters, and belongs to the International Thriller Writers association.

Catch Up With Jeff Bond On:
jeffbondbooks.com | BookBub | Goodreads | Twitter | Facebook!!




Tour Participants:

Visit these other great hosts on this tour for more great reviews, interviews, guest posts, and giveaways!
Click here to view the Blackquest 40 by Jeff Bond Participants.

Enter Giveaway!:

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Jeff Bond. There will be 1 winner of one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card. The giveaway begins on May 13, 2019 and runs through July 15, 2019. Void where prohibited.
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I received a complimentary egalley of this book through Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours. My comments are an independent and honest review. The rest of the copy of this post was provided by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours.

Monday, May 13, 2019

Below the Fold by R G Belsky Blog Tour and Giveaway

Below The Fold

by R.G. Belsky

on Tour May 1-31, 2019

Synopsis:


Every human life is supposed to be important. Everyone should matter. But that’s not the case in the cutthroat TV news-rating world where Clare Carlson works. Sex, money, and power sell. Only murder victims of the right social strata are considered worth covering. Not the murder of a “nobody.”

So, when the battered body of a homeless woman named Dora Gayle is found on the streets of New York City, her murder barely gets a mention in the media. But Clare―a TV news director who still has a reporter’s instincts―decides to dig deeper into the seemingly meaningless death. She uncovers mysterious links between Gayle and a number of wealthy and influential figures. There is a prominent female defense attorney; a scandal-ridden ex-congressman; a decorated NYPD detective; and―most shocking of all―a wealthy media mogul who owns the TV station where Clare works. Soon there are more murders, more victims, more questions. As the bodies pile up, Clare realizes that her job, her career, and maybe even her life are at stake as she chases after her biggest story ever.

My Review:


I enjoyed this second novel in the series featuring an award winning journalist now TV news director. The style of the plot is police procedure but features an amateur sleuth. The construction of the plot is complex as a link must be found between the murders of a homeless woman and a high power investor. Clare, our amateur sleuth, methodically works on solving the mysteries and I was never confused as additional information was revealed. Clare is a well developed character having her own personal issues. Her dealing with those issues is woven into the plot, making for a good balance of plot and character developments. Belsky also does a good job of portraying the work of reporters and the atmosphere in the TV news structure, reflecting his own experiences in the news business.

This is a good novel for mystery lovers who enjoy working through a complex but well organized plot. There are a few twists near the end that wrap up the entire case. Belsky has also left us wanting to know what Clare's next move is as she takes a step into the past to find her future.

My rating: 4/5 stars.

Book Details:

Genre: Mystery
Published by: Oceanview Publishing
Publication Date: May 2019
Number of Pages: 357
ISBN: 978-1-60809-324-3
Series: Clare Carlson #2
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

Read an excerpt:

OPENING CREDITS
THE RULES ACCORDING TO CLARE
Every human life is supposed to be important, everyone should matter. That’s what we all tell ourselves, and it’s a helluva noble concept. But it’s not true. Not in the real world. And certainly not in the world of TV news where I work.
Especially when it comes to murder.
Murder is a numbers game for me. It operates on what is sometimes cynically known in the media as the Blonde White Female Syndrome. My goal is to find a murder with a sexy young woman victim to put on the air. Sex sells. Sex, money, and power. That translates into big ratings numbers, which translates into more advertising dollars. These are the only murder stories really worth doing.
The amazing thing to me is not that there is so much news coverage of these types of stories. It’s that there are people who actually question whether they should be big news stories. These critics dredge up the age-old argument about why some murders get so much more play in the media than all the other murders that happen every day.
I don’t understand these people.
Because the cold, hard truth—and everyone knows this, whether they want to admit it or not—is that not everybody is equal when it comes to murder.
Not in life.
And certainly not in death.
It reminds me of the ongoing debate that happens every time Sirhan Sirhan—the man who killed Robert F. Kennedy—comes up for a parole hearing. There are those who point out that he’s already served fifty years in jail. They argue that many other killers have served far less time before being paroled. Sirhan Sirhan should be treated equally, they say, because the life of Robert F. Kennedy is no more or less important than the life of any other crime victim. Me, I think Sirhan Sirhan should be kept caged up in a four-foot by six-foot cell as long as he lives—which hopefully will be to a hundred so he can suffer every minute of it. For God’s sakes, people, he killed Robert—freakin’—Kennedy!
And so, to those who think that we in the media make too big a deal out of some of these high-profile murder stories, I say that’s completely and utterly ridiculous. I reject that argument completely. I won’t even discuss it.
* *
Now let me tell you something else.
Everything I just said there is a lie.
The truth is there really is no magic formula for murder in the TV news business. No simple way to know from the beginning if a murder story is worth covering or not. No easy answer to the question of how much a human life is worth—or what the impact will be of that person’s death by a violent murder.
When I started out working at a newspaper years ago, I sat next to a veteran police reporter on the overnight shift. There was an old-fashioned wire machine that would print out police slips of murders that happened during the night. Most of them involved down-market victims in bad neighborhoods whose deaths clearly would never make the paper.
But he would dutifully call the police on each one and ask questions like: “Tell me about the body of that kid you found in the Harlem pool room—was he a MENSA candidate or what?” Or, “The woman you found dead in the alley behind the housing project—any chance she might be Julia Roberts or a member of the British Royal Family?”
I asked him once why he even bothered to make the calls since none of these murders seemed ever worth writing about in the paper.
“Hey, you never know,” he said.
It was good advice back then, and it still is today. I try to teach it to all my reporters in the TV newsroom that I run now. Check every murder out. Never assume anything about a murder story. Follow the facts and the evidence on every murder—on every crime story—because you can never be certain where that trail might take you.
Okay, I don’t always follow my own advice in the fast-paced, ratings-obsessed world of TV news where I make my living.
And usually it does turn out to be just a waste of time.
But every once in a while, well . . .
Hey, you never know.
***
Excerpt from Below The Fold by R.G. Belsky. Copyright © 2019 by R.G. Belsky. Reproduced with permission from R.G. Belsky. All rights reserved.



Author Bio:


R. G. Belsky is an author of crime fiction and a journalist in New York City. His newest mystery, Below The Fold, is being published in May 2019 by Oceanview. It is the second in a series featuring Clare Carlson, the news director for a New York City TV station. The first Clare Carlson book, YESTERDAY'S NEWS, came out in 2018. Belsky previously wrote the Gil Malloy series - THE KENNECONNECTIONION, SHOOTING FOR THE STARS AND BLONDE ICE - about a newspaper reporter at the New York Daily News. Belsky himself is a former managing editor at the Daily News and writes about the media from an extensive background in newspapers, magazines and TV/digital news. He has also been a top editor at the New York Post, Star magazine and NBC News. Belsky won the Claymore Award at Killer Nashville in 2016. He has finished as a Finalist for both the Silver Falchion and David Awards. And his first Clare Carlson book, YESTERDAY’S NEWS, was named Outstanding Crime/News Based Novel by Just Reviews in 2018 and was a Finalist for Best Mystery of 2018 in the Foreword INDIES Awards. His previous suspense/thriller novels include LOVERBOY and PLAYING DEAD. Belsky lives in New York City.

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