Friday, April 5, 2024

Book Review: Jim’s Pterodactyl is an intriguing novel by Andrew R. Williams.

Amazon / Goodreads  / LibraryThing / Reedsy 

Book Blurb:

In this egg-straordinary tale, Jim Godwin has an unexpected delivery that takes a hilariously unexpected turn. 

Imagine a world where ancient creatures collide with everyday life, and you’ll find yourself in the midst of this dark comedy.

The story revolves around Jim Godwin, who finds himself with an unexpected and ancient guest—a pterodactyl!

As the plot unfolds, mishaps, humour, and perhaps a touch of cheese await readers. 

So let’s meet Ollie!  The cheese-eating Pterodactyl.

Caldwell Ellis commissions a 'find and retrieve' mission in Papua New Guinea to locate Ropen eggs and prove to the world that Pterodactyls still exist. (Ropen is the local name for Pterodactyls).

An egg is stolen from a Pterodactyl’s nest and sent back to the UK but is delivered to Jim Godwin by mistake.

Jim is advised to dump the egg in a waste bin, but he is too kind-hearted to do that to a living creature. 

Then the egg hatches and Jim and Moira call the new-born baby “Ollie”.

But Jim is filled with trepidation. 

Will Ollie grow into a monster with a 30-foot wingspan? 

Will Ollie become the second Tipham Vampire? 

Then there’s the food issue. Ollie develops a liking for cheese.

 Is she going to eat them out of house-and- home?

But most of their fears are groundless.

 It turns out that Ollie is a clever soul, who bonds with Jim and Moira and communicates telepathically and verbally.

However, Ollie’s existence creates all kinds of trouble and adventures for the Tipham crew! 


Secrets, greed, and old pals are all back in this tongue in the cheek fantasy story from the author Andrew Williams.

Jim and Moira’s story really captures the imagination of any reader. I have learned about them in Jim’s Revenge, a heartfelt and interesting plot with lots of mayhem and unsavoury characters. In Jim’s Revenge, Moira was the victim of a conniving blackmailer, and Jim helped her in a very nifty way. Teaching us that there is still room for old school heroism.

In Jim’s Pterodactyl, the two are at it again. Some of the old characters are back and new ones are introduced with the author’s typical English humour style and good plotline.

This time we are taken to a cottage in the countryside where all kinds of interesting and crazy things happen when Moira inherits this place. Upon investigation of the cottage, Jim realizes early on that something is up to this place. Especially when they receive a package from Papua New Genia with a very sinister message attached to it. A package that will keep them on their toes and defy all scientific logic.

The Tipham vampire and the ghost of Cunningham added to the adventurous plotline as the pair delves into the many clues, and secrets left by Caldwell Ellis.

Ollie’s antics and understanding of human behaviour added another layer of intrigue and adventure as you get to know the people and their motives.

A fun read that every reader will enjoy.



“Snakes!” Sam said.

“What type of snakes?”

Jim smiled at his youngest grandson and shrugged, “I don’t know. A man is coming to take them away shortly.”

“Will they bite him,” Sam said.

Jim’s smile increased, “I hope not. Besides, he’s used to handling snakes.”

Ian cut in, “Can we see the snakes before they go, Grandpa Godwin?”

Tommy Godwin, the boy’s father, stuck his oar in, “I don’t think that’s a good idea. Snakes can be dangerous.”

“They’re in tanks with lids on top,” Jim replied. “The snakes can’t get out and harm anyone.”

Tommy deliberately changed the subject, “So, is Moira moving out then?”

The question annoyed Jim. Ever since Moira had come to stay with him, Tommy had been sniping and making unsubtle suggestions that she was a gold digger, only interested in his money. Worse, Tommy’s comments lacked subtlety, leaving Moira with little doubt that he wanted her to leave Jim’s apartment. Not wishing to start another argument, Jim didn’t lock horns with his son. Instead, he pointed out the obvious, “We’ve got to clear Cunningham Cottage out first, and that could take some time. That’s why Moira’s gone there today to start sorting things out.”

“So she’s down there now, eh!” Tommy said.

“Yes,” Jim replied, avoiding the real truth. Although the cottage needed sorting out, Moira had decided to go shopping when she knew Tommy was calling. She’d high-tailed it to avoid another confrontation.

Sam repeated his request, “Can we see the snakes before the man takes them away, Grandpa?”

Jim said, “If your Dad says it’s okay. Then, yes.” When Tommy finally gave in, Jim glanced at Ian and said, “Would you and your mates like to earn a bit of money?”

 Ian was suspicious, “Doing what?”

“Helping us get stuff out of the loft at the cottage,” Jim said, “Moira doesn’t want me to go up there. She thinks I’m too old. She thinks I’ll fall out of the loft hatch. It won’t take long, and I will pay for your time.”

When Tommy opened his mouth, wanting to throw in his six pennies worth, Jim quickly added, “It’s only moving boxes of books and things like that. Nothing heavy.”

Ian asked, “Can Gerry Fulstrum and Mick Ormrod help, too, if they want to?”

“That’s why I said you and your mates,” Jim replied and began negotiating pay rates. Once Ian had telephoned his friends and the helper’s rates were agreed upon, Ian said, “When we come around to help, can we look at the snakes?”

“As long as they haven’t gone before you get there,” Jim replied. Sensing he might miss out, Ian said, “Can we come down on Saturday?”

Jim smiled, “I’m sure that would be fine.”


Cunningham Cottage Tipham Tommy Steals a Key

When they arrived at Cunningham Cottage on Saturday, Moira ignored the drive and pulled up at the kerb because she wanted to be away before Tommy, Jim’s son, turned up.

Jim matched her thoughts by glancing at his watch and saying, “Tommy said he would drop the boys off at eleven o’clock. Are you going to go shopping as I suggested?”

At the mention of Tommy’s name, Moira reacted like a gazelle picking up the scent of a lion on the wind. She said, “That’s what we agreed.”

Jim’s mind flashed back to the last confrontation between Moira and Tommy. It had been most unpleasant in the extreme. It had been so bad that Jim thought Moira might move out to avoid the constant sniping. But amazingly, she hadn’t.

She added, “Just one thing. While I’m away, don’t let the boys run wild.”

“Don’t worry. I won’t let the boys interfere with anything,” Jim promised. “I’ll set the tables up in the garage and label them as agreed. Then we will just bring everything downstairs and put them in the garage for sorting, as discussed.”

Satisfied that Jim would follow her instructions, Moira waited for Jim to unload the portable tables they’d borrowed from work. Once the car was unloaded, Jim glanced at his watch again, “It’s nearly half ten. Knowing Tommy, he’ll probably turn up early. I bet he’ll be wanting to look around.”

“Okay,” Moira said, “I’ll go, but if anything is damaged, I’ll hold you responsible. And make sure that no one falls through the ceiling. Some of the floorboards in the loft are very flimsy.”

Jim walked towards the cottage, key in hand and shouted back, “Stop fussing, woman; we’ll be fine, and I’ll call you when Tommy leaves, and you can come back.”

Once Moira had driven off, Jim let himself in and noted a letter on the hall floor. The name on the envelope was Ellis Parkinson, and it had been sent from Papua New Guinea. After wondering if he should open it, Jim changed his mind. As the letter looked as if it had been wrongly delivered, he tossed it on top of the meter cupboard.

He carried the tables into the garage and labelled them. He then went to the kitchen. Feeling a draught, Jim let his senses guide him. Finding the brick with the message attached, Jim knew who was behind the attack. Although the note on the brick didn’t provide a full name, only someone like Paul Tupal would continue a vendetta even though he was banged up in the clink. He considered what he should say to Moira if she asked questions. As Paul Tupal had made Moira’s life hell when they’d worked in the same office and had tried to rape her, Jim decided the least said the better. Wanting to remove the evidence, he took the brick outside and dropped it into the dustbin, cleared the broken glass and blocked the window internally with a sheet of stout cardboard; he then called Jamie Berry, an odd job man he knew and arranged to replace the glass.


Jim shook his head, “Edmundo J. Cunningham was a wealthy man; he built Cunningham Hall. Why would his ghost be here?” Moira pointed to another formal picture showing Cunningham with two children and a younger woman dressed in old-fashioned clothes.

She said, “I’m guessing, but I think Cunningham had a mistress who lived here.”

“In those days,” Jim said, “Living over the brush was frowned upon.”

“This cottage is in the middle of nowhere,” Moira replied icily. “In those days, the road probably wouldn’t have even been macadamized. It would just have been a farm track. Besides, people like Edmundo J. Cunningham wrote their own rules.”

“It still doesn’t answer why Cunningham’s ghost may be haunting this place,” Jim replied.

Moira tugged his arm again and pointed, “Look at this.” Jim glanced at the next frame. Inside, there was the reproduction of an old newspaper cutting.

The headline said, “The Tipham Vampire Strikes Again!” Underneath was an artist’s sketch and a lurid tale of a large, winged creature chasing a man through the woods. According to the report, the beast eventually caught his victim and attacked him.

The article concluded with the note that the victim might have been killed if a local farmer armed with a shotgun hadn’t scared the winged attacker away.

While they were still staring at the sketch, Ian walked into the room with an old laptop computer in one hand and said, “We found this in the loft.”

Jim took it off him and said, “I wonder if it works?”

“You’ll have to charge it up and see.” 

Monday, January 29, 2024

Book Review: Juror Number Ten by Caroline Taylor

Genre: Thriller/romantic suspense


Caroline Taylor is a novelist and short-story writer who grew up in the mountain west and traveled widely, including a brief stint in the Foreign Service. A former editor of Humanities magazine, she is the author of several mysteries, one short-story collection, and a nonfiction book. Two of her novels won the Firebird Book award, and a third was a finalist for the Freddie Award. A member of Mystery Writers of America and Sisters in Crime, she lives in North Carolina.



Forgive their trespasses? One has committed murder. Two have committed adultery, and the third has stooped to petty spying. When Sophie Dickson becomes the reluctant tenth juror in a DC murder trial, she encounters the man whose marriage she destroyed through a drunken act of adultery. The prosecutor knows he will lose the case, which is what his boss wants. The plaintiff, Nona Pierce, refuses to plead guilty, even while owning up to the murder. She just wants her day in court. Instead, she’s kidnapped, the prosecutor is fired, and Juror Number Ten finds herself in the middle of a situation far less appealing than jury duty—and much more dangerous. How could a murder prompted by a lawsuit over real estate grow into a war between an alleged crime boss and a gang of scary Russians willing to murder to get what they want?


Website  / AmazonBarnes & Noble / Kobo


Cody made his report as brief as he could. When he finished, Gordon said, “I’m not hopeful they’ll find her. There must be three hundred black SUVs in the DC area—and that’s if the kidnappers aren’t halfway to Baltimore by now. I suppose the police have put out a BOLO to the airports and train stations.”

“Bolo?” Sophie had been quietly sitting there, legs crossed, one nicely shaped foot bouncing nervously back and forth. Clearly she didn’t understand the term. Gordon smiled at her.

“It’s shorthand for ‘be on the lookout.’ Of course, the FBI will get involved since it’s a kidnapping. Which will help.” The look he bestowed on Sophie reminded Cody of the way Professor Abercrombie dealt with his students at Georgetown.

“Would you care to add to Cody’s account, Ms. Dickson?” “I’m afraid not. If you don’t mind, sir, I’ll be on my way.”

“Yes, of course. But first, I want to show you some photos.”

“I never saw his face.”

“Bear with me. Are you hungry? I could have sandwiches brought in.” He stood and went to a filing cabinet where he started rummaging through one of the drawers. This was a rarity for a man who hated to be caught standing anywhere near anybody as tall as Cody happened to be.

Cody plopped down on the sofa beside her. “I’m partial to the tuna melt, but they also have burgers.”

“I’m not hungry.”

“Or salads,” said Gordon, “or ice cream.” He held a thick manila folder.

Sophie sighed. “Oh, all right. I suppose I should eat.”

“Atta girl.” Gordon patted her shoulder. Cody got to his feet. “I’ll order lunch. You want the usual, Gordon?”

“Sure, and you, Ms. Dickson?” “I guess the tuna melt.” Gordon’s assistant Martha would get the food, but Cody figured it would be best to leave the two of them to deal with the photos. After he’d talked to Martha, he checked for any messages on his phone. A request to reschedule tomorrow’s meeting with Terence O’Brien, the real estate agent whose carelessness or ignorance with respect to DC real estate law had royally screwed Nona Pierce out of her money. Fine. Let him stew. Nona hadn’t known Cody had been pursuing the now-moot civil case at Gordon’s behest. If there was an acquittal in the murder trial, Gordon had planned to sue the realtor for negligence. Apparently, the boss had a huge soft spot in his heart for his missing client.

The only other message was a text from Max Crowell wanting to know when they could hit the courts at Hains Point. So did Cody. He’d done so much walking and stair climbing and getting in and out of cars today that he wondered if he’d ever be able to move without pain again. His ankle was aching like a jilted woman’s heart. “Don’t know,” he texted back.

When he got back to Gordon’s office, Sophie was laughing. “That’s so not PC. But it really is funny.” Gordon was laughing too.

“Yeah. I have a lot of jokes in my repertoire, but I only tell them to my friends.” Jesus. Why not spread it on real thick?

“Any luck?”

“Yep,” said Gordon.

“Ms. Dickson—” “Sophie. Please.”

“Sophie here thinks the snatcher had a physique similar to this guy.”

He handed a photo to Cody, pointing to the man at the left. It was one of the photos Cody had taken at the church social where the late (courtesy of Nona Pierce) Tatiana Orlovsky and her son Grigor joined others every Sunday evening for a potluck supper of Russian comfort food, lubricated liberally with vodka. The three men appeared to be singing, their arms draped across one another’s shoulders. The bearded guy in the middle was tall and thin, a Russian Ichabod Crane. The short guy on the right had close-set eyes and a jowly face hinting of indulgence in a few too many blinis over the years. The guy on the left was huge with a weight lifter’s enormous arms and no neck. Still, it was a stretch.

“Why would guys from Orlovsky’s church go after Pierce?”

“Jesus, Cody. Think about it. We always thought Ms. Orlovsky had to be one of those embedded spies we keep hearing about, especially because of her line of business. Well, all these people are Russian émigrés, a.k.a. spies. One of their own was murdered. They want an eye for an eye.” “After three whole years?”

“It could have taken a while for them to gin up the courage—or to collect their orders from Moscow.”

“Oh, come on,” said Sophie.

“You’re talking as though this is still the Cold War.” Gordon gave her the fish eye.

“Meet the new war; same as the old war.”



This is the second book I have read of the author Caroline Taylor.

Nona and Sophie stood on the opposite sides of the law. The one was a jury member, the other the accused.

But when Nona got kidnapped, the entire game changed. Instead of being in court, we tag along as people scramble to find Nona and keep her safe. I really liked this elderly woman and can relate to her story as she try to stay alive and get some money to live from. Being close to 60 myself, I understand the turmoil of looking for ways to increase your income. It is simply a never-ending story with its own predicaments which can lead you to trouble, quickly.

The characters that the author added, really set the tone of the rest of the story and soon I was lost in the trappings and nuances of the plot.

The characters are well developed and relatable. The flow is easy to follow, and the momentum is to the point. Pointing out the different races, became a bity weary but otherwise a great story right to the end.


Tuesday, January 23, 2024

Well dressed Lies by Carrie Hayes


Well Dressed Lies

by Carrie Hayes

Black Coffee Book Tours

January 23-26

London, 1877.
are shrewd, attractive, and looking for husbands. But their backgrounds are sketchy. No one knows they've been paid - some might say bribed - a fortune to leave New York. That they've been accused of intrigue, blackmail and worse are details best left alone. But when Victoria finds the love of her life, her prospects are threatened by a striking resemblance to a character in a story by Henry James.
Frantic to whitewash their past, she seeks Tennessee's help, unaware that Tennessee is in the midst of her own struggle, consumed by an illicit affair with a Duchess who is not only married, but is also mistress to the Prince of Wales.

Universal link for the book on Amazon

About the Author

Carrie Hayes was born in New York City. She grew up around journalists, idealists and rule breaking women. Find her on, and on her upcoming podcast, Angry Dead Women.

Carrie's debut novel, Naked Truth or Equality was an Editor's Choice in the Historical Novel Review.

The Midwest Review describes her latest book, Well Dressed Lies, as "an inviting novel of intrigue, mischief, and love that invites libraries and readers to partake of a story replete in changing alliances, closely-held secrets, and social change that romps through high society relationships on both sides of the pond."


Unraveling knots and constructing ideas about this book was a genuine puzzle. It took me about two chapters just to get into the idea of the book. Which is too long when you try to capture a reader’s attention. 

“The conjugation of regular and irregular verbs in a Romance language goes a long way toward unraveling knots of anxiety in one’s mind. Remarkable, really, how one’s hesitations vanish when consumed with the construction necessary in composing ideas so that language functions not merely to communicate, but to perform. With style, as it were.” 

The three different perspectives added to the reading challenge. I think if the author had written each chapter from a different point of view, it would have been an easier read. But, since it is a rapped change within one chapter, I could not enjoy the story as I would have liked. 

I always love a good historical read with a woman finding her own voice in the mixture of plot and story. However, in Well dressed lies the plot was almost winded, and I was not sure what the purpose of the story was in the beginning. 

The synopsis suggested about these two women, Victoria Woodhull and Tennessee Claflin, have left New York under mysterious circumstances and settled in London. But this was vague, almost hidden within the voyage to Londen as people communicated with them or avoided them all together. Though they are charming, clever, and wealthy, the secrets and scandals were not clear either. 

“As a family, we rarely discussed the fallout, what would happen, how it would look, what people would choose to believe. By the time we moved to London, it almost didn’t matter. There were few people who were privy to the truth of our actual, everyday lives. Those who didn’t know us assumed we were two foolish women, who blushed at nothing, prepared to knock over anything that stood in our path. But that was false. We were not that way at all.” 

When Victoria falls in love with a man who resembles a character from a Henry James story, she fears that her identity will be exposed. She asks Tennessee for help, but Tennessee is too busy with her own troubles. She is having a forbidden affair with a married Duchess who is also involved with the Prince of Wales. 

Tennie, or Tennessee, was the more approachable, more relatable of the three. But still hard to understand. She was floating around, unsure most of the time, with no definite purpose. Waiting on a man is not a purpose. 

The third person in this book is Henry James, a man whose role within the story was unclear for quite a few chapters. He was shrouded in secrets himself and I found him an out-of-place sort of bloke. “WORDS: loquacious, garrulous, voluble, periphrastic, insidious, surreptitious IDEAS: a man bereft of ideas sets out to find the love letters of a long dead poet. She to whom the letters were written agrees to grant him access, upon one condition.” 

 This is how every section of his point of view began. A strange way of introducing an author, or was it an apt way of keeping the reader’s interest? I simply could not tell. 

Overall, not a book that I would recommend. Thanks for the opportunity to read it though.

Wednesday, November 29, 2023

A Ruby Red Christmas by Delilah Hall


Instagram | Buy link | | Website


Bio:  Delilah Hall is a young Canadian author who lives in and writes smalltown romance. Growing up Delilah had the pleasure of being able to explore, a passion that has carried on into her adult life and has inspired many stories- and future novels.

Blurb: In a Ruby Red Christmas, Delilah Hall crafts a heartfelt tale of love that defies time. In a story set in both the past and the present, the reader gets to unravel the love story of Lucy and John and what pulled them apart. 

Once deeply in love. Then separated by the twists and turns of life, each of them carries with them a lifetime of experiences. Each of them has had a family and a full life that was happy. But what about those unfulfilled dreams they'd shared so many years ago?  

When their paths cross unexpectedly, all those memories come back. We get to see how two people pulled apart can find each other again, and what that looks like in the present.

One of our hi-lo (high interest/low reading level) series for older adults. While these heart-warming tales can be enjoyed by anyone, they are specially crafted for people experiencing cognitive impairment such as dementia. Short sentences, paragraphs, and chapters make for a pleasant reading experience.  

People may enjoy these books on their own, with a loved one, or in a group setting. Each book contains illustrations throughout. After each chapter, there are general discussion questions to encourage engagement and connection.

Interview questions: 

1.    Did your environment or upbringing play a major role in your writing, and did you use it to your advantage? 

Yes! I was raised in a family full of writers and I was lucky enough to be encouraged at an early age to follow my writing. 

2.    Please introduce your genre and why you prefer to write in that genre?  

A Ruby Red Christmas is a later-in-life romance that I wrote recently, I normally write blue collar/smalltown romance but had been playing around with this idea for several months and when I found out about Lilac Arch Press’s call for submissions for their older-adult line, I thought this story would be the perfect fit! 

3.    What has been your most rewarding experience with your writing process? 

For me, the most rewarding part of the experience has been getting to meet the people who buy my book. The people who look at the cover, read the blurb and think they would enjoy the story that I wrote.  

4.    What positive piece of advice would you give to other authors?  

Take risks! You will learn more from trying things than you ever will from just studying. I’ve tried a lot of things, and failed at a lot of things, but along the way I’ve learnt so much!  
Along with that, build your connections. Talk with other writes, share your writing, get feedback, and put yourself out there! 

Website Links: 



Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Book review: Abilene by Dare DeLano

Black Coffee Book Tours

November 28 - December 01

Three strong Southern women — twelve-year-old Len, her mother Cora, and her Aunt Jean — grapple with love and loss in this poignant tale set on a hardscrabble cattle ranch in a small Texas town. Len yearns to find the father who abandoned her, and after a chance encounter with a country music star who she suspects is him, she embarks on a life-altering journey to find the truth about her past. At the same time, Cora and Jean must deal with another shocking family betrayal that complicates everything. Told in turns by these three remarkable women, Abilene explores the boundaries of love and the transformative power of self-discovery.

Link for the book on the publisher’s website

Universal link for the book on Amazon

About the author

Dare DeLano holds an MFA in creative writing from Fairfield University. Her work has been short-listed as a finalist for the Faulkner-Wisdom Creative Writing Competition, and her children’s book Odus and the Long Way Home won the San Diego Book Award. Her work has been published in “A Year in Ink Anthology, Vol. 10, San Diego Writers, Ink, and has been exhibited in the San Diego Central Library’s Local Author Exhibition. Dare lives in San Diego, but her heart remains in the south. This is her first novel.

Website / Instagram / Twitter / Facebook 


Len, Cora and Jean are three Southern women who have faced a lot of hardships in their lives. They live on a ranch in Texas, raising cattle and try to make ends meet.

Len is a curious girl with a gift who wants to know more about her father. He left when she was a baby and the only picture she has of him kept him alive in her mind. Through an impromptu meeting, she thinks she has found him in a famous singer and goes after him to learn the truth.

I liked the relationship between her and Cyclops, a reliable horse who was her confidant and friend in ways no one could be.

“And I knew in my bones she was right. For often, with the first winds of morning, I could feel how the day was gonna go. I could feel the long, strange cry of a wolf, or the glorious scream of the eagle, circling. At the beach I could hear the sailors’ words as they were carried along in cries of the seagulls.” Len.

Cora and Jean are sisters who have always been close, but they are shaken by a family secret that threatens to tear them apart. They each have their own struggles with love, loss, and forgiveness.

“There was a deep-inside part of her that was at home here in the house she’d grown up in, the fields where she’d spent countless hours as a child. But there was part of her that knew she never fit quite right in this town. Everywhere Cora went, she felt a little different from the pack. In her hometown, she was smarter and more worldly, at college, she was edgier and more rebellious, and with the party crowd she hung out with she was smarter and more ambitious. She felt she was pieced together from all these different sections, and nowhere did she feel completely whole, nowhere did she feel completely understood.” Cora.

Jean is on trial for manslaughter, and as she tries to adapt to prison life, she has to face her fears and the revelation of secrets. Secrets that could tare her family apart. As one continues to read, I could feel the empathy the writer used to tell these three women’s story.

“I’m not scared. Even if no one else was around and he tried something I don’t reckon I’d be scared. I am a master at detaching from my body. I understand how to just leave and not care what is happening to the flesh and bone and skin that is lying there below me. I been doing it for years, whenever Roger wanted me. Trying to feel something – – something like I used to feel when we first were dating, back when things were sweet and I would get a little thrill when he touched me.” Jean

Abilene is a story of three women, in two different time zones, who discover themselves and each other through their journey of finding home.

The writing is beautifully crafted, and the plot has an easy flow that makes this an enjoyable read from beginning to end. 

Wednesday, November 22, 2023

Book review: The Killer's Stepsister by Caroline Taylor


For nine years, Felicity Terrebonne made her stepsister Maddy miserable, including marrying Maddy’s boyfriend Dan. Now Felicity is on trial for murder, and Maddy attends her trial. Is she there to gloat, or is it admiration that Felicity had the courage to deal with a would-be rapist?

But Felicity has her own agenda, one that enlists Maddy and her friend Pete in a frantic search for Felicity’s daughter Danielle, who was kidnapped by her father but is nowhere to be found.

She’s only ten years old and has been missing for five months. Dan promises to lead them to her only to learn that Danielle has escaped her kidnappers.

Now the hunt is on. Who will find the child first, and is she still alive?

About the Author

Born in Pasadena, CA, The United States

Genre MysteryThrillerNonfiction

Influences: Guy Noir, Stephanie Plum

Facebook / LinkedIn / Goodreads

I am the author of several mysteries, one short-story collection, and a nonfiction book. All of them are listed on my website at Two of my novels won the Firebird Book award, and a third was a finalist for the Freddie Award. Loose Ends was Goodreads “best thriller set in DC” in 2016.

I grew up in the mountain west and have traveled widely, including a brief stint in the Foreign Service. I am a member of Mystery Writers of America and Sisters in Crime.

What’s the best thing about being a writer?

Living in a world that I have totally imagined whose inhabitants mostly--but certainly not always--do what I expect them to.


A child went missing for five months, the mother faces a murder charge, and a supportive although reluctant stepsister steps in. From the opening chapter of the story, you realise the two didn’t get along.

When a child is missing, it is taken seriously by every law enforcement unit and person connected to the family. But in this case, the girl was gone for five months, and no one knew, not even the stepsister. That sounded very odd to me.

Though the two stepsisters were not close, Maddy came running when she heard about her sister’s fate. That there is not much love between is a fact, but that Maddy came says a lot about Maddy and a lot of nothing about Felicity. Only during the court case did Maddy learn about her niece’s abduction. I believe she would have been the first responder when she had received the news five months ago, and the reason I found it odd was that she wasn’t told.

With each scene, new characters were introduced that helped to develop the story, giving it a more mysterious edge. During the court case, Maddy got to see her stepmom again. Yvonne was a sickly woman, filled with regrets and unable to change the past. Maddy’s love is clear.

Detective O’Toole added the spice, making you wonder if the spark would grow between him and Maddie. The camaraderie between them a beautiful string that kept my nose in the book.

The book was written from Maddie’s point of view. As an outsider, she could explore the many reasons that led to her stepsister’s demise as she looked for Danielle.

With so many variables in the plot, you had to keep up with it all. What hindered me most about this story are the frequent back stories within each scene, slowing down the flow of the story. Getting to the story is the number one rule when writing a book. Too much back story is too much tell and not much showing.

Otherwise, it was a good book, that keeps on building on the mystery genre. With enough dialogue and sparks to keep you reading as twists unfold. The end of the book answered most of the questions, with Felicity’s fate still hanging in the air.



Friday, November 17, 2023

Book tour plus review: Black Fox One by Elyse Hoffman


Black Coffee Book Tours

November 14-17

Jonas Amsel and Avalina Keller, devoted Nazis and best friends, have a bright future in Hitler’s Third Reich. Ava, a talented gymnast, wants to serve Germany in the Olympics, and Jonas, who has loved Ava since they were children, wants nothing more than to marry her and start a family. When he is about to propose, however, Ava and her entire family vanish without a trace.

Jonas blames the Jews for Ava’s disappearance and throws himself into a career in the Nazi Party. He serves the Reich under the ruthless Chief of the Gestapo, Reinhard Heydrich. Jonas becomes particularly good at capturing members of the Black Foxes, an anti-Nazi resistance group, earning Heydrich’s respect and the moniker of “the Fox Hunter.”

Impressed by Jonas’ skills, Heydrich gives him his most difficult task yet: capture the elusive Black Fox One, the Black Foxes’ most deadly and mysterious operative. No Nazi who has pursued Black Fox One has returned alive, but Jonas is determined and confident. Capturing Black Fox One might bring him one step closer to finding Ava.

But while he is hunting Black Fox One, Jonas makes a shocking discovery, forcing him to make an agonizing decision. He must choose between his love for the Reich and his heart, torn between the lies he has been taught all his life and the new truth before him.

Black Fox One is a thrilling World War II story of lost love, bravery, and the hard road to redemption.

Book Review:

Black Fox One is an eye-opening story about Germany’s propaganda against the Jews during World War two. But it is also a love story of two people divided by war and hate.  

Lies and secrets were the foundations of this war, a war ignited and fed by ignorance and manipulation, and normal people on both sides of the coin suffered. This is the premises of Black Fox One. The author’s empathy and research can be seen on each page as the story came to life and you get to know the SS officer, the “Fuchsjager”.  

Ava and Jonas were ripped apart and found each other once more at the height of the war. The chipping down of lies came at a cost, and the questions of which side to choose remained throughout this heartfelt story.  

“They lied to me…they lied right to my face. My teachers, my comrades, they all lied to me!” Jonas Amsel said.  

Black Fox One, the moniker of a fierce leader, brings the suffering of the Jewish people's home. The entire team of black foxes was a menace in the German army and one they void to destroy at all costs. 

“You’re a loyal SS man, an Aryan. Don’t forget your nation, no matter what happens. At the end of the day, Germany must come first. Deutschland Über Alles!” Dieter Amsel. 

With two goals on his mind, the one, to find his one true love and own a “Ehrenring”, Jona, a national socialist’s mind, was set on the task at hand. Not knowing what will happen when he continues. But when Jonas was confronted with a different truth he believed, he had to make a choice.  

Since this book is written from Jonas’ perspective alone, it was difficult to know Ava’s thoughts. Yet I could summarize that she had a difficult time in the time they were apart. Though she had to be bitter, I found her endearing character relatable. She knew who she was and made no excuse for it. Her quiet and even sometimes explosive nature was a powerful beacon for Jonas’s character. If not for her gentle tutoring on a somewhat unconventional way, Jonas would have stayed lost.  

The strong bond of love is an ever-present string that holds it together.

The writing is clear and to the point. The descriptions lively as the author shows the story in apt ways. Adding additional dimensions to a very harsh time in our history.  

“I was lied to, he thought, and in the name of that lie he had killed. Murdered. Nausea took hold of him, and he almost collapsed. He was angry. Angry at his father who had lied to him, at the nation which had lied to him, at the lying system he had served.”

About the author

Elyse Hoffman is an award-winning author who strives to tell historical tales with new twists. She loves to meld WWII and Jewish history with fantasy, folklore, and the paranormal. She has written six works of Holocaust historical fiction: the five books of The Barracks of the Holocaust and The Book of Uriel.

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