Books are food for my soul! Pull up a beach chair and stick your toes in the sand as the Jersey surf rolls in and out, now open your book and let your imagination take you away.

Friday, April 20, 2018

Dead Air by Cliff Protzman (VBT: Book Review / Contest Giveaway)

In association with Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours, Jersey Girl Book Reviews is pleased to host the virtual book tour event for Dead Air by author Cliff Protzman!






Book Review



Dead Air by Cliff Protzman
Book 1: Glenn Beckert Mystery Series
Publisher: Mill City Press
Publication Date: PB - Sept 26, 2017 / eBook - Oct 4, 2017
Format: Paperback - 321 pages
               Kindle - 484 KB
               Nook - 400 KB
ISBN: 978-1545607145
ASIN: B0765VNM1K
BNID: 2940158623318
Genre:Mystery / Suspense / Thriller 


Purchase Links:


Disclaimer: I received a copy of the book from the author/publisher in exchange for my honest review and participation in a virtual book tour event hosted by Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours.


Book Description:

Dead Air signals trouble at the radio station. Glenn Beckert discovers his high school best friend is shot in the head while on the air. Beck, the owner of Blue Water Security, is employed to provide security for the station.

He becomes willingly embroiled in the investigation by the not-so-innocent widow. The list of potential suspects is long, gleaned from the numerous extramarital affairs of the victim and widow. The pending sale of the radio station has created friction between his now dead friend, Richie Zito and the major stockholders. Motives for murder becomes increasingly murky after the search reveals an encrypted file on Zito’s laptop.

Beck enlists the help of a friend from college, Irene Schade, to break the code, revealing a money laundering network leading to the financial and political powers of his beloved city of Pittsburgh. Their collaboration ignites the flames of passion each had considered extinguished.


A former college teammate, police Lieutenant Paglironi delivers a message to back off. Arrogantly, he ignores his friend’s advice. The threats from less friendly sources are more ominous, forcing Beck to move in an unfamiliar world. A startling revelation from his client forces Beck to deal with his inner conviction of right and wrong, challenging the gray areas of his ethical principles. Betraying his client’s confidence could expose the killer. The alternative is to confront the suspect and take matters into his own hands. Either way his life is in jeopardy.


Book Excerpt:



Dead Air. It was the most unforgivable of sins. I was standing at the bar in Jergel’s Rhythm Grille in Warrendale, PA when the overhead sound system finished blaring “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida,” the seventeen-minute, two-second version, then dove into silence… and stayed there.
Minutes crawled past while WZOC, better known as Z-Rock to Pittsburgh-area listeners, remained silent. The long version of the Iron Butterfly song was played when DJs need extended bathroom time. Apparently, it was not enough time.
The seventeen-thousand-square-foot bar and restaurant was beginning to fill up. The stage hands scrambled over the stage in a well-orchestrated dance as they prepared the stage at the rear of the building. I was at the front bar, one of six serving the customers. The crowd noise increased due to the silent overhead system. The bartenders and service personnel went about their jobs, oblivious to the lack of music. I appeared to be the only person who noticed it. The dead air was an unexpected lapse for a normally proficient staff at Z-Rock. The station owned by my high school best friend, had been my first client, so I was always glad when the bar staff piped it in to provide background noise.
A Pittsburgh favorite, The Clarks, were scheduled to take the stage in forty-five minutes. Their classic rock style was often compared to Tom Petty. Z-Rock had introduced The Clarks to the Pittsburgh market, and it remained a strong supporter of the band. They had parlayed the station’s promotion into a broader following along the Southern Atlantic states. The quartet was almost as well-known in the city as the Pittsburgh Steelers’ starting lineup. I had had the great fortune to see many of their local performances.
Before heading to the front door, I finished my IC Light, a low- calorie brew from Pittsburgh Brewing. The bartender grabbed my empty bottle and asked, “Another one, Beck?”
“No thanks; probably later.” I headed toward the entrance, featuring solid wood double doors, the left side closed to restrain the incoming crowd. The line stretched outside beyond my view.
My firm was in charge of crowd control for the event. Even though I was on duty tonight, my plan was to be more of a spectator.
In my earpiece, I heard my site manager of Jergel’s security, Lance Parisi. “Beck, we have a problem at the front door. This patron is drunk and belligerent. He may be armed. I’m trying to get him to leave.”
I replied, “On my way.” As the owner of Blue Water Security, I was always glad to help with situations like these. I tried to hire only the best, so backing them with my support was always a pleasure.
An obviously intoxicated man was pointing a finger at Lance who had to be at least six inches taller than the swaying man. “You fucking asshole! I have a ticket! You can’t keep me out!” I heard the word motherfucker and that was that. This wasn’t going to end well for the drunken ticket holder.
In my mouthpiece, I said, “Stay cool, Lance. He’s all talk,” but before I could arrive, the man took a swing at Lance. So much for my expert analysis. In one quick movement, Lance had the man’s right arm twisted behind his back, Lance’s left arm firmly around his neck in a choke hold.
I rushed to Lance’s side. The man’s open coat displayed the butt of a gun in his waistband. I jerked the .38 Special from his belt holster and turned to look him in the eyes. The combined stink of beer and whiskey oozed from him.
Adrenaline was pumping through my body as if facing a 3-2 pitch. I regained my composure before speaking in a calm, determined voice. “Sir, even with a concealed carry permit, it is illegal to bring a gun into a bar, especially when you are intoxicated.” The other patrons waiting to enter had backed away when they saw the gun. “The man with his arm around your neck is going to escort you to the office. The police will be called. I hope you have your permit with you. You can walk to the office quietly. If not, I’m certain Lance will find a way to get you there. Is that clear?”
The man nodded as best he could with Lance’s muscular arm wrapped around his neck. Lance released his stranglehold, keeping a firm grip on the man’s arm. I handed the gun to my employee. The drunk remained calm and allowed Lance to lead him away. Using my mic, I paged Jason Weaver, who had been assigned to dance floor security for the night, to come to the front door.
I remained at the door, checking tickets for the anxious concert fans, until Jason appeared. It was then I realized there was still silence coming from the sound system. The normal professionalism of Z-Rock’s staff made me wonder about the cause of the extended silence. I could imagine engineers scrambling to locate and repair whatever technical problems had occurred.
Jason arrived, assuming Lance’s position at the door. I turned back to the bar as my cell phone rang. “Glenn Beckert,” I answered.
“This is John Waner at Z-Rock.” He paused and I wondered if I was truly surprised to be hearing from my security guard at the station. His voice was high-pitched, his words rushed as he said, “There’s a big problem here.”
“John, what’s the problem?”
“Beck… H-He’s… I don’t know what to do. R-Richie’s been murdered.”
***
Excerpt from Dead Air by Cliff Protzman. Copyright © 2018 by Cliff Protzman. Reproduced with permission from Cliff Protzman. All rights reserved.




My Book Review:

In his debut novel, Dead Air, author Cliff Protzman weaves a fast-paced gritty mystery suspense thriller set in Pittsburgh that follows Blue Water Security owner Glenn "Beck" Beckert as he investigates the murder of his best friend, Richie Zito, owner of Open Air Communications and its crown jewel, radio station WZOC, Z-Rock.

Beck receives a call from his security officer at Z-Rock stating that after finishing rounds, he heard dead air from the studio, so he went to investigate and found Richie, the Saturday night on-air DJ slumped over in his chair with a gunshot to the head. Beck partners with Pittsburgh Police Lieutenant James "Pags" Paglironi in the murder investigation, determined to find the killer and get justice for his best friend.

Dead Air is a riveting story that is full of intrigue, action, drama, suspense, greed, and murder that easily draws the reader in and keeps them captivated. The murder investigation is filled with a growing list of suspects and motives, shady dealings and greed, money and power, and a multitude of clues, plot twists, and surprising turns that will keep them guessing what will happen next. Beck takes the reader on a wild ride when his dangerous investigative adventure takes him into the upscale areas and seedy neighborhoods of various Pittsburgh locales.

With a multidimensional cast of characters who leap off the pages; gritty dialogue and vivid interactions; richly detailed description of Pittsburgh history and landmarks; and a no-holds-barred storyline that keeps the reader sitting on the edge of their seats as the dangerous investigation leads up to an explosive climax; Dead Air is one hell of a thrilling story that will leave you wanting more!


RATING: 5 STARS 
                                    




About The Author




Cliff Protzman was born and raised in Pittsburgh, PA. Cliff's family relocated to Northeast Ohio when he was in high school. Immediately after graduation, he returned to his hometown to attend the University of Pittsburgh.

Cliff planned to major in journalism and write the great American novel. Instead, he switched to Business Administration and began a 30-year career in accounting and finance. Cliff rekindled his passion for writing acquired as a reporter for his school newspaper. He published his first novel, DEAD AIR: A Glenn Beckert Mystery in September 2017. Cliff also writes short stories. He was a winner in the Unfinished Chapters anthology in 2015. Cliff is a member of the Mystery Writers of America and Pennwriters.


Author Website
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Contest Giveaway

Win A $20 Amazon Gift Card




This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Cliff Protzman. There will be 1 winner of one (1) Amazon.com. The giveaway begins on April 1 and runs through May 2, 2018. Void where prohibited.

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Virtual Book Tour



Tour Schedule:

04/01 Review @ The World As I See It

04/02 Review @ Cheryl's Book Nook

04/03 Showcase @ Bound 2 Escape

04/05 Interview @ Quiet Fury Books

04/06 Review @ Book Reviews From an Avid Reader

04/09 Review @ Lauras Interests

04/10 Interview @ Books Chatter

04/11 Showcase @ The Pulp and Mystery Shelf

04/12 Guest post @ Writers and Authors

04/13 Excerpt @ Suspense Magazine

04/17 Guest post @ Loris Reading Corner

04/18 Review @ From the TBR Pile

04/20 Review @ Jersey Girl Book Reviews

04/23 Showcase @ rabid readers book blog

04/24 Review @ sunny island breezes

04/25 Interview/Showcase @ CMash Reads

04/26 Review @ Cassidy's Bookshelves

04/27 Review @ Just Reviews

04/28 Showcase @ Mythical Books

04/29 Review @ A Room Without Books is Empty

05/14 Blog Talk Radio w/Fran Lewis




Friday, March 30, 2018

Beach Bliss by Joanne DeMaio (Book Review)




Book Review





Beach Bliss by Joanne DeMaio
Book 6: The Seaside Saga Series
Publisher: Independent Self Publishing
Publication Date: March 3, 2018
Format: Paperback - 370 pages
               Kindle - 3436 KB
               Nook - 626 KB
ISBN: 978-1984227119
ASIN: B079DCBL7X
BNID: 2940158552021
Genre: Women's Fiction


Buy The Book:



Book Description:

Have a seaside seat with the beach friends in this irresistible novel from New York Times bestselling author Joanne DeMaio.

Blue skies and smooth seas return to the coastal community of Stony Point. Until a new arrival in this little New England beach town sets forth a competition like no other. As the temperature rises beneath the summer sun, so do the antics and good-natured fun.

Join Jason Barlow, Maris, Kyle, Elsa and the rest of the gang for another unforgettable season at the shore. The sound of gulls and lapping waves are calling you to the page ... for a summer read that's purely Beach Bliss.



My Book Review:

It's the middle of June and another summer season is beginning at the seashore town of Stony Point, Connecticut. So grab your beach towel, chair, and umbrella and soak up some sun-filled beach bliss as you catch up with the town locals.

In Beach Bliss, author Joanne DeMaio transports the reader back to the tranquil seashore town of Stony Point, Connecticut, where the reader catches up with the lives of friends: Maris, Eva, Matt, Jason, Kyle, Lauren, Elsa, Cliff, Nick, Paige, Vinny, and Celia.

Just like the ebb and flow of the tide, life brings issues and changes to one's life, but the bonds of friendship, sea air, and salt water are cleansing, they cure what ails you. For this group of old friends, the heart-wrenching sudden death of Elsa's son Sal DeLuca a year ago has brought the friends closer than ever. As time heals all wounds, so does the sea air, and this group of friends lives by the credo: "salt air, not a care" and "cast away your troubles straight into the sea."  And the shimmering denim blue sea with its calming effect will offer them another summer season of hope, love, family, friendship, forgiveness, redemption, and blissful new beginnings.

The reader will catch up with the friends as many changes have been occurring since their last visit: Elsa's newly renovated beach inn, Ocean Star Inn, is getting ready for the grand opening in September. Since Sal's death, peace has gradually swept back into her days like the turning tide, and she makes plans to give her guests "happiness jars," where they can fill them with tokens from their visit (sand, seashells, driftwood, etc) as a keepsake memory. Then there's Celia, who returned to Stony Point and gave birth to her and Sal's little girl Aria. Celia and Aria live in a little cottage behind Elsa's inn, and Celia is planning Aria's christening for later in the summer with all the guys vying for the coveted title of Godfather in a series of hilarious competitions. Meanwhile, Maris continues to complete her late brother-in-law Neil's manuscript, while husband Jason is busy preparing for his new cottage renovation program on the local public television station. Finally, there is Kyle and Lauren, who purchased a cottage in Stony Point and have moved in with the promise of making new beach memories.

So drive under the railroad trestle and enter the enchanting beach town of Stony Point ... pull up a beach chair ... and visit with the close-knit longtime friends in author Joanne DeMaio's delightful novel, Beach Bliss.

Beach Bliss is a heartwarming story of friendship and family. Author Joanne DeMaio weaves a wonderful tale written in the third person narrative, that is set in the present with flashbacks to the past. The reader is transported to the tranquil seashore town of Stony Point, Connecticut, where they follow along with Celia, Maris, Eva, Matt, Jason, Kyle, Lauren, Nick, Elsa, and Cliff as a new summer season dawns on their little tranquil coastal town.

Author Joanne DeMaio easily captivates her readers' attention with this beautifully written tale through a seamless and flowing storyline, and with a wonderful description of a tranquil beach setting that wraps itself around the reader like a sun-warmed beach towel. The characters draw you into their lives with a strong emotional pull, their complexities and flaws are true-to-life, it is easy to relate to them with compassion, empathy, and hope. With a mixture of intrigue, suspense, drama, humor, heartache, hidden secrets, romance, and a strong bond of friendship, this story takes you on a fun-filled roller coaster ride that will keep you smiling as you turn the pages. I would be remiss if I didn't mention how much I look forward to catching up with this special group of close-knit friends. It's like you're a summer visitor, and the beach friends envelop you in a warm hug and offer up enough smiles, laughter, and fun-filled beach bliss as their summer adventures unfold.

Beach Bliss is an intricate story of interweaving friendships and life events. It is a wonderful story that demonstrates the power of the magical sweet salt air that will cure what ails you, and it will resonate with you long after the last word has been read.


RATING: 5 STARS 




About The Author




Joanne DeMaio is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of contemporary fiction. She enjoys writing about friendship, family, love and choices, while setting her stories in New England towns or by the sea. The Beach Inn is her ninth novel. Currently at work on her next book, Joanne lives with her family in Connecticut.


Author Website
Amazon Author Page
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A Wolf In The Woods by Nancy Allen (VBT: Book Review)

In association with Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours, Jersey Girl Book Reviews is pleased to host the virtual book tour event for A Wolf In The Woods by author Nancy Allen!





A Wolf In The Woods by Nancy Allen
Book 4: Ozarks Mysteries Series
Publisher: Witness Impulse / HarperCollins
Publication Date: eBook - February 20, 2018 / Paperback - April 17, 2018
Format: Paperback - 320 pages
               Kindle - 1065 KB
               Nook - 891 KB
ISBN: 978-0062438799
ASIN: B01EFLYKGY
BNID: 978-0062438782
Genre: Legal Thriller / Mystery / Suspense


Buy The Book:


Buy The Series: Ozarks Mysteries Series
Book 1: The Code Of The Hills
Book 2: A Killing At The Creek
Book 3: The Wages Of Sin
Book 4: A Wolf In The Woods


Disclaimer: I received a copy of the book from the author/publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for my honest review and participation in a virtual book tour event hosted by Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours.


Book Description:

McCown County assistant prosecutor Elsie Arnold is prepping an assault case when a girl is found beaten and bloodied at a roadside no-tell motel. Elsie tries to convince the teen to reveal who attacked her, but Mandy is too scared—and stubborn—to cooperate… and then she disappears. Elsie’s positive a predator is targeting the Ozark hills, yet the authorities refuse to believe their small town could be plagued by sex trafficking.

Then middle school student Desiree Wickham goes missing, but only Elsie suspects it could be connected to Mandy’s assault. As she digs deeper into the events leading up to Desiree’s disappearance, she stumbles upon an alarming discovery: local girls are falling prey to a dubious online modeling agency, and never seen again. Elsie shares her concerns with Detective Ashlock and the FBI, but they shut her out.

She takes matters into her own hands and lands an interview with the head of the modeling agency. But when she meets him face-to-face, she discovers the fate of Desiree and Mandy… and becomes his newest captive. Elsie’s desperate to free the girls—and save herself—before the unspeakable happens. And she’s in for the fight of her life.



Book Excerpt:


Prologue

A dark haired man lounged behind a battered desk in a second floor room at an EconoMo motel that sat on the highway in flyover country, Missouri. He pulled up Skype on his laptop and studied his own image on the computer screen, rubbing the tattoo that covered his neck. Behind him, the unmade bed was visible on the screen. A thin cotton sheet covered the form of a young girl.
He adjusted the angle to cut her from the shot. The bed disappeared, replaced by beige curtains at the window, hanging askew on the rod.
The place was a dump. He could afford better accommodations, without a doubt. It was business, and business was booming. His greatest challenge was procuring sufficient supply to meet the constant demand.
On the desktop, bottles were scattered near the computer. Alprazolam. Oxycodone. Rohypnol. Diazepam. Three value packs of Benadryl: cherry flavored. A plastic bottle of Aristocrat vodka sat beside a jumbo container of Hawaiian Punch.
As he pushed them aside, the bottle of roofies rolled off the desktop and onto the dirty carpet. He caught it just before it rolled under the dresser.
A ding notified him: his Skype appointment was ready. Right on time. He liked the girls to be punctual.
He hit the button on the mouse and fixed a smile on his face. “Lola! How you doing, baby!”
A giggling girl with a mane of curly blonde hair greeted him onscreen. “Tony, you’re so funny. I’m not Lola, I’ve told you a zillion times.”
“But you look like a Lola. If you want to make it in the modeling trade, you’ll have to project glamour. Drama.” He stretched his arms over his head, displaying muscled biceps covered in ink, and locked his hands behind his neck.
“Cool.” Her eyes shone.
“Leave that country girl persona behind in Podunk. Where are you from again?”
“Barton. Barton, Missouri. Where’s Podunk?”
He laughed, running his hand over his thick hair. “Podunk is where you’re sitting right now. What you’re itching to ditch. How’s life?”
Desiree shrugged, pulling a face.
“They still giving you shit at school, baby?”
She rolled her head back onto her neck. “All. The. Time.”
“And how’s living at home?”
“Lame.”
“Wish you could leave it all behind?”
“Totally.”
The girl turned her head; he heard a whisper from someone off-screen. Sharply, he asked: “Are you alone?”
A second head appeared over Lola’s shoulder. He saw a mixed race girl. She was taller than Lola, but he pegged her at the same age: an adolescent, around fourteen.
And she was a diamond in the rough—a black diamond. Unblemished skin, full lips, high cheekbones. Lola said, “You asked if I had any friends who wanted to meet you.”
He smiled, tapping his hand on the counter. “Who’s this?”
The tall girl looked at her friend, then into the computer. “I’m Taylor Johnson.”
“And you’re interested in modeling?”
She blinked. A nervous twitch. He shot a grin, to reassure her. “You’ve got the bone structure for it.”
The tall girl pinched her lips together. “Maybe. I think so.”
“We’ll need to conduct some auditions by video, maybe an interview, before you can qualify for a live shoot at the agency.”
She looked skittish. He wouldn’t get anything from her today.
“Let’s just get acquainted, okay?” He was about to launch into his patter: find out her story, gain her trust.
But a moan sounded from the bed behind him. The girl was coming around. He glanced over, fearful that she might raise a ruckus that could scare off his new prospects.
Tony picked up his phone. “Aw shit. Call’s coming in from one of our clients. I gotta take it.” He winked and shut off Skype just in time.
In a weak voice, she said, “Tony. Help me. Please, take off the cuffs.”
He sighed. Picking up a dirty plastic cup, he poured a measure of vodka and Benadryl, and topped it off with the red punch.
The girl spoke again, in a pleading tone. “Don’t make me do it, Tony. It hurts.”
He stirred the drink with his finger and walked toward the bed. “Mandy, Mandy. You look like you could use a magic drink, baby. This will fix you right up.”
The girl tried to sit up as he extended the red plastic cup. Tony stared down at her, shaking his head. “What’s that saying? ‘The customer is always right.’ You know what you got to do.”
The girl began to thrash against the mattress. But she was handcuffed to the metal bed frame.
***
Excerpt from A Wolf in the Woods by Nancy Allen. Copyright © 2018 by Nancy Allen. Reproduced with permission from Witness Impulse. All rights reserved.




My Book Review:

In A Wolf In The Woods, the fourth book in the Ozarks Mysteries Series, author Nancy Allen once again draws upon her professional legal experience to weave a riveting legal thriller that captivates the reader's attention from beginning to end. Set in the small town of Barton, Missouri, in the heart of the Ozarks, the reader follows Assistant Prosecutor Elsie Arnold as she aggressively pursues a predator who targets the town's teenage girls with a ruse of an online modeling agency that is really a front for human sex trafficking.

The author transports the reader into the small Ozark town of Barton with its close-knit townspeople and its many dark secrets. Assistant Prosecutor Elsie Arnold views an online modeling agency's website and the selfie of the agent, a dark-haired man with a tattoo on his neck, has alarm bells ringing in her head, that goes into overdrive when she stumbles upon the discovery that local teenage girls are disappearing. When Elsie's boyfriend Detective Bob Ashlock and the FBI dismiss her concerns, Elsie embarks on her own investigation even though danger lurks around the corner, especially when she finds her own life at risk!

A Wolf In The Woods is a fast-paced, multi-layered, gripping, and complex story that has a great mixture of intrigue, romance, violence, suspenseful twists and turns, and enough drama that will leave the reader breathless. The reader is taken on one hell of an emotional roller coaster ride as they follow Elsie on her latest investigation, as she is determined to seek justice in a convincing and brutally honest style where no one is left unscathed.

If you are a fan of legal thrillers, then I would highly recommend reading the Ozarks Mysteries Series!


RATING: 5 STARS 
                                 




About The Author



Nancy Allen practiced law for 15 years as Assistant Missouri Attorney General and Assistant Prosecutor in her native Ozarks. She has tried over 30 jury trials, including murder and sexual offenses, and is now a law instructor at Missouri State University.


Author Website
Author Amazon Page
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Virtual Book Tour Event



Tour Schedule:

03/01 Showcase @ The Book Divas Reads

03/01 Showcase @ The Reading Frenzy

03/02 Showcase @ 411 on Books, Authors, and Publishing News

03/03 Review @ Buried Under Books

03/04 Review @ Book Reviews From an Avid Reader

03/05 Showcase @ Books Chatter

03/07 Excerpt @ Suspense Magazine

03/08 showcase @ CMash Reads

03/08 Showcase @ The Bookworm Lodge

03/09 Showcase @ Writers and Authors

03/12 Showcase @ rabid readers book blog

03/13 Showcase @ Aurora Bs Book Blog

03/14 Showcase @ The Pulp and Mystery Shelf

03/17 Showcase @ Loris Reading Corner

03/19 Showcase @ Quiet Fury Books

03/20 Showcase @ Mrs. Robinsons Library

03/22 Review @ fundinmental

03/23 showcase @ Stacking My Book Shelves!

03/27 Review @ Beth's Book-Nook Blog

03/28 Review @ JBronder Book Reviews

03/29 Review/Showcase @ A Bookaholic Swede

03/30 Review @ Jersey Girl Book Reviews

03/31 Review @ Bound 4 Escape

05/17 Blog Talk Radio w/Fran Lewis

05/17 Review @ Just Reviews




Monday, March 26, 2018

The Beach Inn by Joanne DeMaio (Book Review)






Book Review





The Beach Inn by Joanne DeMaio
Book 5: Seaside Saga Series
Publisher: Independent Self Publishing
Publication Date: May 16, 2017
Format: Paperback - 305 pages
               Kindle - 1775 KB
               Nook - 600 KB
ISBN: 978-1544762814
ASIN: B06XRHJCX9
BNID: 2940157534936
Genre: Women's Fiction


Buy The Book:



Book Description:

From the New York Times bestselling author of Beach Breeze comes a novel as sweet as the salt air by the sea.

It was going to be exquisite: a rambling, shingled New England cottage converted into a grand beach inn. Nestled among hydrangeas and swaying dune grasses, this seaside haven would welcome guests on the Connecticut shore. Except the little beach town of Stony Point is no longer feeling like a haven to its residents. Residents including a brooding Jason Barlow, the esteemed architect in charge of the inn's renovation--until a stubborn, grief-induced For Sale sign puts an end to that.

But with a little help from the beach friends, anything is possible. In an effort to save the inn and convince its cherished owner to stay, the friends band together to stage an inn-tervention, shaking up their own lives in the process.

A new season of love, adventure, and heart-healing awaits in the quaint seaside village of Stony Point. So pull up a sand chair and book your stay for a page-turning getaway in The Beach Inn.



My Book Review:

Every once in a while an author comes along who weaves stories that simply pulls at the heartstrings and stirs the soul, for me, this author is Joanne DeMaio.

In The Beach Inn, author Joanne DeMaio transports the reader back to the tranquil seashore town of Stony Point, Connecticut, where the reader catches up with the lives of friends: Maris, Eva, Matt, Jason, Kyle, Lauren, Elsa, Cliff, Nick, and Celia after the sudden death of Elsa's son and Celia's fiance, Salvatore DeLuca.

Just like the ebb and flow of the tide, life brings issues and changes to one's life, but the bonds of friendship, sea air, and salt water are cleansing, they cure what ails you. For this group of old friends, the heart-wrenching sudden death of Sal brings a sadness to this tight-knit group of beach friends, especially for Elsa and Jason. Elsa's grief over the loss of her son leads her to decide to put up for sale the old Foley cottage instead of renovating it as a beachside inn. As for Jason, Sal's loss has him going into a downward spiral as he revisits the past when his brother Neil died nine years ago, and he can't seem to shake it. The group decides that an inn-intervention is needed with Operation Make Elsa Smile in order to get her to reconsider selling the cottage. Their efforts to help Elsa and Jason cope with their grief will bring the group together and strengthen their bonds of friendship and personal relationships, as the shimmering denim blue sea with its calming effect will offer them another chance of hope, love, family, friendship, forgiveness, and redemption.

So drive under the railroad trestle and enter the enchanting beach town of Stony Point ... pull up a beach chair ... and visit with the close-knit longtime friends in author Joanne DeMaio's delightful novel, The Beach Inn.

The Beach Inn is a poignant story of friendship and family, dealing with heartbreak, death, grief, life's experiences and personal issues that will tug at your heartstrings. Author Joanne DeMaio weaves an emotional tale written in the third person narrative, that is set in the present with flashbacks to the past. The reader is transported to the tranquil seashore town of Stony Point, Connecticut, where they follow along with Celia, Maris, Eva, Matt, Jason, Kyle, Lauren, Nick, Elsa, and Cliff as they each deal with challenges of real life, loss, love, heartbreak, secrets, and personal demons.

Author Joanne DeMaio easily captivates her readers' attention with this beautifully written and emotional tale through a seamless and flowing storyline, and with a wonderful description of a tranquil beach setting that wraps itself around the reader like a sun-warmed beach towel. The characters draw you into their lives with a strong emotional pull, their complexities and flaws are true-to-life, it is easy to relate to them with compassion, empathy, and hope. With a mixture of intrigue, suspense, drama, humor, heartache, hidden secrets, romance, and a strong bond of friendship, this story takes you on an emotional roller coaster ride that will keep you turning the pages until the satisfying conclusion.

The Beach Inn is an intricate story of interweaving friendships and facing real-life challenges that are both heart-wrenching and inspirational. It is a powerful and compelling story that will have you feeling the full gamut of emotions while soothing your soul. It is a wonderful story that demonstrates the power of the magical sweet salt air that will cure what ails you, and it will resonate with you long after the last word has been read.


RATING: 5 STARS 




About The Author




Joanne DeMaio is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of contemporary fiction. She enjoys writing about friendship, family, love and choices, while setting her stories in New England towns or by the sea. The Beach Inn is her ninth novel. Currently at work on her next book, Joanne lives with her family in Connecticut.


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Friday, March 23, 2018

The Fourth Gunman by John Lansing (VBT: Book Review / Contest Giveaway)

In association with Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours, Jersey Girl Book Reviews is pleased to host the virtual book tour event for The Fourth Gunman by John Lansing!






Book Review




The Fourth Gunman by John Lansing
Book 4: Jack Bertolino Series
Publisher: Gallery Books / Karen Hunter Publishing
Publication Date: March 5, 2018
Format: Paperback - 352 pages
               Kindle - 2889 KB
               Nook - 3 MB
ISBN: 978-1501189531
ASIN: B0769YRTMR
BNID: 978-1501189524
Genre: Crime / Mystery / Suspense / Thriller


Buy The Book:


Buy The Series: Jack Bertolino Series
Book 1: The Devil's Necklace
Book 2: Blond Cargo
Book 3: Dead Is Dead
Book 4: The Fourth Gunman


Disclaimer: I received a copy of the book from the author/publisher via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review and participation in a virtual book tour event hosted by Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours.


Book Description:

From the bestselling author of The Devil’s Necktie, and Blond Cargo comes the latest title in the Jack Bertolino series.

Retired inspector Jack Bertolino straddles two perilous worlds. Known for his impeccable police work, Jack has also done a priceless favor for an infamous Mafia Don: he saved the gangster’s kidnapped daughter from being sold into the sex trade and brought her safely home.

In Jack’s line of work, he can’t help but have friends—and enemies—on both sides of the law.

So when FBI agent Luke Hunter goes missing after a deep undercover assignment with that same mob boss, the FBI calls Jack in, looking for a favor. With his connections and skills, Jack’s the only man for the job: find Luke Hunter, dead or alive.

The Mobster operates an illegal gambling yacht in international waters off of Southern California, and when Luke went missing, so did half a million dollars of the mob's money. As Jack dives into the case, he’ll learn the true mystery isn’t the agent’s disappearance, but something far more ominous…

The Fourth Gunman is a sizzling action-packed thriller that will keep you turning pages until the explosive finale.


Book Excerpt:


One

Luke Hunter sat hunched over a tight built-in desk in the cabin of a weathered thirty-six-foot catamaran docked in Marina del Rey. His fingers flew over the keyboard of a MacBook Pro. There had been one amber sconce illuminating the cabin before he broke in to the vessel, but now the laptop computer was throwing more light than he was comfortable with. At two a.m., all was quiet on the dock, but Luke was running late and still had another stop to make before he could call it a night.
Luke’s hair was short, brown, and unruly, his Italian eyes smoky, his beard dark and in need of a shave. His angular face was set with determination as he slipped a flash drive into the computer, tapped a few keys, and hit Copy, hoping to make short work of his theft.
The cabin was teak, and brass, and well worn. Rolled navigational charts littered the cramped workspace but didn’t intrude on the comfortable living quarters and the bunk that occupied the bow of the catamaran.
Luke spun in the chair, unraveled specific charts on the bed, snapped photos with his iPhone, and stowed the maps back where he’d found them. He had a theory as to why so many of the charts were focused on the waters in and around the Farallon Islands, off the coast of San Francisco, and hoped the computer files would corroborate his suspicions.
He took pictures of the scuba tanks, masks, flippers, speargun, and weight belts that were stowed aft. The galley was diminutive but efficient. A few potted succulents and fresh herbs on a shelf above the sink lent a feminine touch to the nautical surroundings. Nothing of interest there.
Luke heard the screech of the rusted security gate that led from the parking lot to the yachts and immediately shut down the computer, pocketed the flash drive, and closed the lid, tamping out the light.
He hoped it was just another liveaboard moored at the same dock, returning home after a night on the town. But he spun in place, laced his hands behind his head, and stretched out his legs, facing the teak steps that led from the stern into the cabin, ready to talk his way out of a dicey spot if necessary. It would be uncomfortable but doable. He set his face into a gotcha grin, ready to go on the offensive. It wouldn’t be the first time he’d been caught with his hand in the cookie jar.
The boat rocked slightly, the slippered footfalls nearly silent as a woman made her descent into the body of the vessel. Silk drawstring pants hugged her willowy frame as she stepped off the wooden stairway and seemed to suck all the air out of the cabin.
Roxy Donnelly had straight red hair that kissed her collarbone and parted in the middle, and a light feathering of freckles on her cheeks and chest. Her hazel eyes bore in to Luke’s, assessing the situation. She came to a conclusion and—without speaking—told him everything a man wanted to hear from a woman.
Roxy was backlit, her figure silhouetted in a diaphanous white blouse. Luke could see she was braless, and his heart quickened. Her nipples rippled the fabric, and sparks spread to Luke’s chest and down to his groin. As he became aroused, he found himself at a loss for words. No mafioso cracking wise, only deep breathing trying to hide his visceral reaction to the danger of her unexpected arrival. The cabin seemed to become tighter still, if that was possible, until Roxy broke the silence.
“I knew you were smarter than you looked.” If she was aware that Luke had raided her computer, she gave no indication or surprise at his presence. “You saw the schedule, Trent’s on call.”
She stepped closer and Luke found himself on his feet. “I made the schedule,” he said.
Roxy stepped so close their noses touched. He could feel her breath. The light scent of perfume was intoxicating. She reached down and touched his erection, stoking the fire. “I know what you drink, but I don’t know how you like it.”
“Any way you serve it,” Luke said, his voice deep, throaty, and bedroom. He knew he should hit the road but stood transfixed.
Roxy took his hand, squeezed it, and led him to the queen-size bunk in the rear of the cabin. “Get comfortable.”
She stepped into the galley, poured two glasses of Scotch, neat, kicked off her slipper shoes, and glided barefoot to the bed, handing Luke his drink. They clinked and each took a deep sip, never breaking eye contact.
Roxy set her glass down, slowly unbuttoned her blouse, and shrugged out of it, revealing sheer perfection. A dancer’s body. Compact upright breasts, a narrow sculpted waist, and a sapphire-pierced belly button. She tossed the blouse onto the chair Luke had been sitting in, leaned over him, and unbuckled his belt more roughly than he would have expected.
Luke might have received a reality check, but by the time his cell phone buzzed in his pants pocket, they were hanging over the chair.
“You’re not upset?” he said, a statement of fact.
“You should’ve called first, but it was inevitable. It was perfect the first time. We work too hard for no pleasure. Roll over, I’m good with my hands.”
No argument from Luke, who pulled off his gray crewneck and tossed it on the chair. He eased onto his stomach carefully because he was sporting a blazing hard-on.
Roxy was fully engaged. She lit a candle, then raked his back with her fingernails, the brief contact from her nipples as she leaned over him burning a trail from his neck down to his waist. As she straddled Luke, he felt her heat and let out a husky groan.
Roxy started on his lower back and slowly worked her way up his spine, compressing with thumbs and forefingers every third vertebrae until she reached his neck.
“You are good,” he murmured.
By the time Luke realized cold steel was pressed against the back of his head and not her thumbs, he was dead.
The explosion of the hammer striking the .22 round in her derringer created a blinding electric flash behind Luke’s eyes. The bullet rattled around his skull, tearing up brain matter, until his world turned pitch-black.
Roxy jumped off the bed, grabbed a plastic garbage bag out of the galley, pulled it over Luke’s head, and cinched it around his neck to catch any blood evidence. She picked up her cell and hit Speed Dial.
“Trent. We’ve got a situation,” and Roxy gave him the rapid-fire shorthand version while she rifled through Luke’s pants and billfold, her voice devoid of emotion. Her body vibrated uncontrollably as adrenaline coursed through her nervous system. She dropped Luke’s keys and willed her hands to stop shaking as she placed his cell phone and the flash drive next to her laptop. “I’ll clean things up on the home front, you keep your ears open and get a feel for the play at your end. Stay on shift—Shut the fuck up and let me talk!” And then in a tight whisper, “I killed a man, okay? I’ve had better nights. Okay, okay, but only text if you sense movement in our direction.” Roxy was unraveling. “You won’t hear from me again until, until, shit, Trent, until I call you.”
Roxy snapped out the light and walked over to the door and tried to still her breathing as she sucked in the thick sea air and listened for any movement on the dock. Water lapping against hulls and nylon lines clanking on aluminum masts were the only early-morning sounds. If not for the dead body lying on her bunk, it would almost be peaceful.
Roxy got down on her hands and knees and scrabbled around until she came up with the keys she’d dropped. She sat on the edge of the bed and made a mental list of what she had to accomplish. Sucked in a breath, nodded, and went into action.
Roxy pulled the duvet cover over Luke’s body and changed into jeans and black T-shirt and black running shoes. She grabbed a pair of thin cotton gloves and shrugged into Trent’s oversize black hoodie.
She rifled through the junk drawer and pulled out a roll of blue painter’s tape, took a credit card and the cash out of Luke’s wallet and added it to her own, and ran out of the catamaran, locking the door behind her.
*****
Roxy pulled the hood over her red hair and slipped on the gloves as she ran up the dock and out through the chain-link security gate.
There was a smattering of cars in the lot, and Roxy started hitting the button on the remote-entry key for Luke’s car but got no response. She knew Luke drove a black Camaro but was at a loss. She spun in place and felt like she was going to explode. She turned off the emotion, knowing that if she didn’t fly right, she was as good as dead.
She jogged over to the next lot that was half full and tried the key again. Nothing. Roxy fought to suck down the bile and panic that threatened to overwhelm her. She ran up and down three rows of cars. Still nothing. She pounded toward the apartment complex across the street.
Roxy heard the ding before she found the car.
Luke had parked in the open lot that serviced the channel on the other side of the road. Mercury-vapor security lamps provided ambient light. Roxy checked the license plate and went to work.
She pulled out the tape and ripped off a small strip, turning a 1 into a 7. She tore off two smaller strips and changed a second 1 to a 4. She repeated the task on the front plate and dove, flattening herself on the rocky macadam surface, as a car drove up the street.
A black-and-white rolled onto the lot, its tires crackling over the uneven surface. The cop car did a silent drive past her aisle, slowed, then moved up to the far end of the lot, turned left, and back out onto the street.
Time seemed to stand still, but the pounding of Roxy’s heart reminded her that the clock was ticking and daylight would be her enemy. She grabbed a handful of dirt from the ground and wiped it onto the license plate with one eye peeled for the cop car. She did the same with the rear plate, obscuring some of her handiwork. After the cop car made his final pass down the street and disappeared onto the main drag, Roxy jumped behind the wheel of the Camaro, adjusted the seat and mirror, put on a pair of dark glasses, and rumbled out of the parking lot.
*****
It took sixteen minutes to get from the marina to long-term parking at LAX. The black Camaro had black-tinted windows, and when Roxy pulled into the lot, hit the button, grabbed a ticket, and waited for the electronic arm to rise, she had her hood pulled tight, her dark sunglasses in place, and her head tilted down. If there had been a security camera at play, all it would’ve recorded was the top of a dark hoodie.
The lot was huge. Roxy motored to the far end and parked between two large SUVs that all but swallowed Luke’s low-slung muscle car. She checked the glove compartment to see if there was anything worth taking, or revealing as to Luke’s true purpose, snooping in the wrong place at the wrong time. She found the car’s registration and proof of insurance and pocketed the documents in the hope that it might slow the inquiry sure to follow. She hit the button that opened the trunk, readjusted the driver’s seat, locked the doors, and exited the vehicle.
A salmon glow pulsed above the horizon, a warm-up for the main event. The adrenaline had worn off, and Roxy was so tired she could have slept standing up. What she saw when she looked in the trunk got her heart pounding and her head spinning again. A large leather satchel on wheels, filled with cash. More cash than Roxy had ever seen in her twenty-seven years on God’s planet. It was Mafia money. The weekend’s take from the illegal gambling yacht where she bartended. She zippered the bag and slammed the trunk shut. She didn’t need any more heat than she’d already generated.
Roxy took a few steps away, spun back, opened the trunk, grabbed the satchel, and started wheeling it down the long row of cars toward the shuttle that arrived every fifteen minutes. She’d take the short ride to Tom Bradley International Terminal, where she planned on using Luke’s credit card at a McDonald’s to create a paper trail.
Inherent problems were created by taking the Mafia’s money, but leaving it would have been a major fuckup. A man on the run would never leave without the cash.
*****
Two black stretch limos roared into the parking lot at Long Beach Shoreline Marina, adjacent to the Bella Fortuna. Doors flew open, and eight men exited the vehicles, ran across the lot, and pounded up the yacht’s gangplank, disappearing into the body of the luxury craft.
A somber Tony-the-Man stood at the railing on the main deck and looked down as Vincent Cardona stepped out of the lead car and walked slowly up the gangplank. The two men locked eyes for what seemed to Tony like an eternity before Cardona boarded the ship.
Heads would roll, and Tony instinctively rubbed his neck— his was at the top of the list.
*****
The yellow cab let Roxy off at the Admiralty Club in Marina del Rey. She paid the driver with cash and waited until he was gone before walking next door to the Killer Shrimp Diner, where she was a regular and knew the kitchen was open twenty-four/seven. She peeled off her sunglasses, pulled the hood back, and shook out her startling red hair.
Roxy forced herself to eat scrambled eggs, bacon, and buttered toast, generating an alibi with her own credit card receipt. She paid up and rolled the satchel, laden with cash, down the sidewalk and the half-mile trek to her catamaran as the sun breached the Santa Monica Mountains behind her.

Two

Twenty-four hours had passed since the death of Luke Hunter, and the weather had turned nasty. The sea was whitecapped, the crescent moon blanketed by a thick marine layer. A perfect night for what Roxy and Trent had to accomplish.
A perfect night to dump a body.
Trent was piloting the catamaran, heading south toward the San Pedro Channel and powered by the auxiliary engine. He knew the depth of the basin was good for at least 2,250 feet. He’d studied the charts, set the GPS, and they were just a few minutes from their destination.
Trent looked right at home, almost regal, standing behind the wheel of the craft that bucked, rolled, and cut through the waves, never veering off course. He was a Saudi national and a U.S. citizen, raised in the States from the age of eight, so he had no discernible accent. He was twenty-eight years old, with a boyish open face, a buffed physique, a swarthy complexion, buzz-cut brown hair, and gray eyes that could set Roxy’s heart thrumming. A finely inked tiger ran the length of one muscled forearm, the tattooed claws drawing red blood.
Roxy stepped out of the cabin and carefully made her way behind him, wrapped her arms around his six-pack, and leaned her cheek against his back, trying to still the beating of her heart.
Trent gave her hand a firm squeeze before grabbing the wheel with both hands. “You’re a brave woman, Roxy,” he shouted over his shoulder, fighting the howling wind. “A warrior.”
The moment he announced they were approaching their destination, the GPS system gave off a shrill cry. The night was black; there were no other boats in the area, no container ships navigating the channel. It was time to get to work. He shut off the engine, locked the wheel, and lowered himself into the cabin, followed by Roxy.
Luke, head still covered with the plastic garbage bag, was dressed in nothing but his briefs. He’d been rolled onto the cabin floor; his body lay on top of the duvet cover.
Trent grabbed two fifty-pound diving belts from their scuba gear and carried them up to the main deck. Roxy handed a twenty-five-pounder through the hatch. Trent ran back down, wrapped Luke’s body tightly in the blanket, and, with Roxy’s help, dragged his deadweight up the stairs and onto the aft deck behind the wheelhouse.
Trent pulled back the duvet and fastened one belt, cinched it tight around Luke’s waist, and then made short work of the second. He grabbed the twenty-five-pound belt, wrapped it twice around Luke’s neck, and secured it. Postmortem lividity had turned Luke’s back, buttocks, and legs a blackish-purple where the blood had settled.
Trent pulled the duvet taut, rolling Luke’s body over, and ripped a cut from top to bottom on the garbage bag so it would disengage after splashdown and be dragged out to sea. He worried it might fill with air as the corpse decomposed, and drag the body to the surface.
Roxy steeled herself as she looked down at Luke. His face was bone-white, his eyes devoid of color, just a thick opaque film. If there was one life lesson she had learned from her father, it was to meet trouble head-on. Never roll over, never look back, and never run. She swallowed her rising bile and choked, “Do it.”
Trent grabbed both ends of the blanket and muscled Luke’s body with 125 pounds of lead weights off the stern of the catamaran, tossing the duvet into the chop behind him.
Roxy and Trent stood shoulder to shoulder as they watched Luke float for a second and then slip below the water’s surface; they were confident he was permanently buried at sea and they could move forward with their plan.

Three

Day One
Retired Inspector Jack Bertolino was sitting in the nosebleed seats at Klein Field at Sunken Diamond, Stanford University’s baseball stadium, in Northern California. The sun was blinding, the sky ultra-blue, the wisp of cirrus clouds as white as cotton. The old-growth pepper trees surrounding the field swayed in the light breeze carrying the scent of eucalyptus and fresh-mowed grass, taking some of the heat off the early-September afternoon.
Jack had his eyes closed behind his Ray-Bans, taking in the sounds of the college baseball game, now in the eighth inning, being played in the stadium below. His hair was dark brown verging on black, with strands of silver feathering the temples, and worn long enough to threaten his collar. His angular face was weathered from years doing undercover narcotics work on the streets of NYC, and his tan only served to accentuate the scars from hard-fought battles. A bump on his otherwise straight Roman nose, a gift from a crack dealer, buffered some of Jack’s innate intensity. At six-two and big-boned, Jack had a tight fit in the stadium seating, but the sound of the hard ball slamming into leather, the crack of the bat, the umpire’s barked calls, and the emotion of the crowd made it a perfect day. Took him back to his youth playing the game on Staten Island, where he had raised his son, Chris.
There was a chance Chris was going to pitch for the first time since the attempt on his life that had shattered his throwing arm nine months earlier. Jack wouldn’t have missed seeing his son in action again for the world. It hadn’t been an easy recovery for the young man, physically or mentally, and Jack tried to keep his own emotions in check. He didn’t want his heavy feelings to pull Chris down.
Jack was jolted out of his reverie as a trim man wearing a light-weight gray suit and dark aviator sunglasses, with zero body fat and white brush-cut hair, banged against his knees as he moved down the aisle, finally dropping into the seat directly to Jack’s right.
An attractive, serious woman wearing an equally professional gray pantsuit, with a jacket cut large enough to accommodate her shoulder rig and 9mm, made her way up his aisle. There was something about a woman and a gun that was a turn-on for Jack. Or maybe it was her shoulder-length auburn hair that shone as bright as her mirrored sunglasses. She head-tossed her hair off her face as she took the seat to Jack’s left, feigning interest in the game.
Jack wasn’t surprised by the untimely visit; he had made the feds on his flight from LAX and been waiting for them to play their hand.
“To what do I deserve the honor?” he said, his eyes lasered on the game as the Ohio State Buckeyes headed for the bench and the Stanford Cardinals ran onto the field. Chris had been in the bullpen warming up for the past twenty minutes but remained sidelined; the game was tied three to three at the top of the ninth, and it seemed unlikely he’d be called to play.
“I couldn’t do it,” the female FBI agent said, her eyes never leaving the field. Jack didn’t respond, so she continued, “Come to the game if it were my kid. Too much pressure.” Her voice carried an easy strength, and she wasn’t going to be deterred by his silence. “Especially with all your boy has been through,” letting Jack know he had no secrets from the FBI.
Ohio pounded a ball toward the left-field fence. The batter shot by first and was held up on second by the third-base coach.
It never surprised Jack how much the government knew about civilians’ lives, but his son was sacrosanct. And he knew if he spoke right away, he might not be able to control his growing anger at the personal violation.
The male agent, picking up on Jack’s energy, took off his glasses and proffered his hand. “Special Agent Ted Flannery.” He looked to be pushing fifty but had the body and vigor of a thirty-year-old. “Sorry for the intrusion, Jack, but we’ve come to ask for your help.” Flannery’s hand hung in midair until it became clear Jack wasn’t going to respond. Undaunted, the agent went on, “You’ve had a good relationship with the FBI throughout your career, Jack, and beyond. It’s been duly noted and appreciated, and because of your recent history, you’re in a unique position to be of service.”
“What do you need?” Jack asked, giving away nothing.
“Vincent Cardona,” the female agent said, answering his question. “You visited his home in Beverly Hills on the seventh of May. You were on Cardona’s payroll, hired to find his daughter, Angelica Marie, who’d been kidnapped. An altercation occurred. You slammed Cardona up against the wall, Peter Maniacci drew down on you, and Cardona’s cousin Frankie, with two other gunmen on his heels, ran out of the kitchen, ready to shoot you dead if ordered.”
“You wired the house?” Jack asked.
“Cardona’s too smart for that. He does a sweep once a week. No . . .” She paused for effect. “The fourth gunman was an FBI agent.”
The level of intensity in her tone wasn’t lost on Jack. She had referred to her agent in the past tense, but there was something more. Something unspoken, Jack thought.
Ohio thundered a ball over the fence for a two-run homer. Jack’s body tensed as the coach walked onto the field, huddled with the pitcher and catcher, and signaled toward the sidelines.
Chris Bertolino, number 11, ran out onto the mound and tossed a few back and forth with the catcher as the field was cleared and the game resumed. At six-two, Chris was as tall as Jack, but lean and rangy with sandy brown hair, a gift from his mother’s side of the family.
Jack raised his hand to his lips, and the feds let him concentrate on the game. They knew Bertolino wasn’t a man who could be pressured, and understood the personal significance of this moment.
Chris sucked in a deep breath, nodded to the catcher, and unloaded. His first pitch flew high on the outside. Ball one.
His second pitch went wide. Ball two.
The third pitch was hit. A sizzling line drive caught by the shortstop. First out.
The catcher walked out to the mound, whispered a few words to Chris, and resumed his position behind home plate.
Chris nodded, his game face on. If nerves were at play, he showed nothing to his opponent. He wound up and fired a fast-ball. Strike one. He denied the first two signals from the catcher and threw a second blistering pitch. Strike two. The crowd in the stands started to get loud. Chris tossed a slider, wide. The batter reached, fanned for the ball, and came up empty. Strike three.
The stadium erupted as the second batter stepped into the dugout and tossed his helmet in disgust.
The crowd started chanting and Jack’s stomach tightened. The lanky Buckeye leadoff batter made a big show of whipping his bat to loosen up before flashing a dead eye toward Chris, hocking a loogie onto the red clay, and stepping up to the plate.
Chris smoked a fastball.
The batter swung and made contact. The ball took a short hop and was plucked up by the second baseman, who threw Ohio out at first.
The crowd leaped to its feet as Chris led the team off the field, having stopped the flow of blood.
Jack let out a long, even breath, trying to slow his beating heart.
Chris never made it to bat. The first three Stanford starters were struck out in succession.
Stanford lost the game five to three, but it was a personal triumph for Chris, and Jack wished he were alone to savor the moment.
“I’ve got to get down to my boy,” he said to the female agent, who seemed to be in charge.
“Our agent disappeared three weeks ago,” she said, clearly un-willing to relinquish the moment. “He was deep undercover, and we believe he was on to something major. He never checked in, never filed a final report.”
“You should call in the cops.”
“We won’t jeopardize the case we’ve built against Vincent Cardona.”
“I’ve been down that rabbit hole,” Jack said, ending their impromptu meeting. “Don’t want anything to do with the man.” He stepped past the woman.
“Jack,” she said. The undercurrent in her voice, a sadness, struck a chord and turned him in place. She reached out with her card and looked up to lock eyes with him. “Liz Hunter. Think about it, Jack, and call me. Any time.” And then, “We could use your help.” Agent Hunter wore light makeup on her clear tanned skin. She couldn’t have been over thirty, but her wide forehead was etched with fine worry lines. The hazards of the job, Jack decided. Her cheekbones were high and strong, her figure athletic, her slender, elegant neck tilted slightly to make her point. Jack found himself wondering what her eyes looked like.
“Why should I get involved?”
“The missing agent is my brother.”
Jack nodded, took the card, turned, and made his way down the steep concrete steps toward the Cardinals locker room.
***
Excerpt from The Fourth Gunman by John Lansing. Copyright © 2017 by John Lansing. Reproduced with permission from John Lansing. All rights reserved.



My Book Review:

In The Fourth Gunman, the fourth book in the Jack Bertolino Series, the reader is transported back into the seedy underworld of crime as they follow private investigator Jack Bertolino on his latest investigative adventure.

Author John Lansing weaves a fast-paced crime thriller set in Los Angeles and written in the third person narrative, that follows the dangerous quest of retired NYPD narcotics detective now private investigator Jack Bertolino as he takes on the investigation of a missing person case requested by the FBI. FBI Agent Liz Hunter requests Jack to find her brother Luke Hunter, a fellow FBI Agent who had infiltrated Mob Boss Vincent Cardona's group for the past eighteen months under the name of Luke Donato. Luke had been trying to set Cardona up for money laundering from his illegal gambling operation on the luxury yacht, Bella Fortuna, but he suddenly disappeared. And to make matters worse, Cardona's group is looking for a satchel of money that also disappeared at the same time. Jack has worked for Cardona in the past, and this investigation will once again lead him into the seedy Mafia underworld, where he will find himself caught up in a dangerous and deadly game of cat and mouse.

The Fourth Gunman is a riveting and realistic story that is full of intrigue, action, drama, suspense, murder, and dark humor. Jack's latest investigative adventure easily draws the reader in and keeps them captivated and turning the pages. As the reader follows Jack and his associates Mateo and Cruz into the shady Mafia underworld, the multitude of plot twists and turns will keep them guessing what will happen next. Jack takes the reader on a wild ride when his dangerous adventure takes him into the upscale areas and seedy neighborhoods of various California locales. It is a shady and dark world of Mafia illegal operations, money laundering, and murder ... all in the pursuit of solving the case of the missing FBI agent.

With a multidimensional cast of characters who leap off the pages; gritty dialogue and vivid interactions; richly detailed description of various California locales; and a no-holds-barred storyline that keeps the reader sitting on the edge of their seats and holding their breath as the chilling trail of dangerous Mafia illegal operations and murders leads up to an explosive climax.

The Fourth Gunman is one hell of a thrilling story that you won't be able to put down, and it will leave you wanting to follow Jack on more of his investigative adventures!


RATING: 5 STARS 
                                    




About The Author




John Lansing, started his career as an actor in New York City. He spent a year at the Royale Theatre performing the lead in the Broadway production of “Grease,” before putting together a rock ‘n’ roll band and playing the iconic club CBGB.

John closed up his Tribeca loft and headed for the West coast where he landed a co-starring role in George Lucas’ “More American Graffiti,” and guest-starred on numerous television shows.

During his fifteen-year writing career, Lansing wrote and produced “Walker Texas Ranger,” co-wrote two CBS Movies of the Week, and co-executive produced the ABC series “Scoundrels.”

John’s first book was Good Cop Bad Money, a true crime tome he co-wrote with former NYPD Inspector Glen Morisano.

The Devil’s Necktie, his first Jack Bertolino novel, became a best seller on Barnes & Noble and hit #1 in Amazon’s Kindle store in the Crime Fiction genre. 

Jack Bertolino returns in John’s latest novel, The Fourth Gunman, the fourth book in his detective series.

A native of Long Island, John now resides in Los Angeles.





Contest Giveaway

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This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for John Lansing. There will be 1 winner of one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card. The giveaway begins on February 19 and ends on March 25, 2018.


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Virtual Book Tour




Tour Schedule:

02/19 Showcase @ Books Direct

02/20 Review @ sunny island breezes

02/21 Interview @ BooksChatter

02/22 Showcase @ 3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, & Sissy, Too!

02/24 Review @ A Bookaholic Swede

02/25 Review @ Booklove

02/26 Guest post @ Writers and Authors

02/27 Showcase @ The Pulp and Mystery Shelf

02/28 Review @ Bookishly me

02/28 Showcase @ The Reading Frenzy

03/01 Review @ Just Reviews

03/02 Showcase @ Bound 2 Escape

03/05 Review @ Christa Reads and Writes

03/06 Interview @ Quiet Fury Books

03/07 Showcase @ Buried Under Books

03/08 Showcase @ Sapphyrias Books

03/12 Showcase @ Stacking My Book Shelves!

03/13 Showcase @ 411 on Books, Authors, and Publishing News

03/14 Review @ CMash Reads

03/15 Guest Post @ CMash Reads

03/16 Guest post @ Loris Reading Corner

03/16 Review @ JBronder Book Reviews

03/18 Interview @ A Blue Million Books

03/19 Excerpt @ Suspense Magazine

03/23 Review @ Jersey Girl Book Reviews

03/23 Review @ Tome Tender

03/24 Review @ Mrs Mommy Booknerds Book Reviews

03/24 Review @ Brooke Blogs

04/09 Blog Talk Radio w/Fran Lewis