BOOK OF THE DAY: THE DARK WEB MURDERS BY BRIAN O’HARE

I AM NEMEIN. I AM EMOTIONALLY DETACHED FROM MY KILLINGS. I AM NOT, THEREFORE, A MURDERER. I AM AN INSTRUMENT OF NEMESIS, A PUNISHER.

Amazon: The Dark Web Murders

This is a theme running through a number of blogs on the Dark Web, written by a serial killer. He is highly intelligent and employs philosophical argument to justify a series of gruesome murders.  However, he describes the killings in lurid detail, and with such gloating relish, that he utterly negates his delusion of detachment and reveals himself to be a cold-blooded, narcissistic psychopath.

Sheehan and his team rush headlong down a series of blind alleys in the pursuit of the psychopath, who continues to murder his victims with impunity. He is fiendishly clever, utterly ruthless, and tests Sheehan’s famed intuition to the limit.  Indeed, Sheehan only learns the truth during a horrific climax when some members of his team experience a most harrowing ‘laceration of the soul’ that they will never be able to forget. It is unlikely that the reader will either.

 

My Review:

5 out of 5 stars

I have yet to read a novel by Brian O’Hare that I didn’t thoroughly enjoy, and The Dark Web Murders is no exception. Over the years I’ve grown to know and love Chief Inspector Sheehan and his team. I enjoy following the clues that have been so expertly laid out by O’Hare and try to figure out who the murderer is? Sheehan will be pushed to the edge in this particular story, unknowingly placing himself and his team in the crosshairs. The killer is a real piece of work, a psychopathic monster, and the other suspects involved are no better. The story touches on the dark side of humanity and will likely make you squirm as you read. I know I did. I think what makes it so horrifying, at least for me, is to know that no matter how terrible, what happens in the Dark Web is a very real part of our society. If you enjoy thrillers, if you like to follow the clues and try to figure out a murder mystery for yourself, you can’t go wrong with novels by Brian O’Hare. The Dark Web Murders is an excellent crime novel that sits right up there with the best of them.

 

 

WARRIOR BETRAYED

Warrior Betrayed– Amazon

Calem is a wolf shapeshifter from the planet Laizahlia, a loyal pack member willing to do whatever his king and elders ask of him … until the day his daughter Abriel is born. There is a legend among his kind about a pure white wolf, a female born with bright blue eyes. She is called the Ghost Warrior, and it is believed she will bring about the destruction of their people.

Throughout their history, only a few of these white females have ever been born and all were killed by their own pack shortly after birth. Calem’s daughter is born with pure white hair and bright blue eyes. The pack grows nervous as she enters adolescence, demanding Calem hand her over to them. With nowhere safe to take Abriel, Calem and his mate will have to fight to the death to protect her.

 

Excerpt:

 

CHAPTER 1

 

Calem laughed as he watched his mate and daughter play beneath the falls at Umi Creek. It had been a particularly rough winter in the mountains, bitterly cold, the snow deep, and they were all in need of a break.

Basking under the warmth of the late spring sun, Calem stretched out on the grassy bank of the creek, the back of his head resting against linked hands. Rarely did he get to take time off from his duties as an elder for his pack. With nearly a thousand people under their care, the chores were never-ending: hunting parties to oversee, gardens to be planted, bows to be restrung, hides to scrape, knives to sharpen, the elderly and young to take care of. His older brother, Tylor, had all but pushed him out that morning, telling him to enjoy a few days with his family. Even though Calem had questioned the sadness in his brother’s eyes, he didn’t argue, looking forward to spending time alone with Sarya and Abriel.

Sarya, his mate of almost twenty years, waved for him to join them. He knew they planned to push through the falls to the cave hidden behind. Abriel loved to play with the briva, tiny rodents that made their home there, their nests hidden amongst the multi-colored crystals. Calem only grinned and shook his head. It might be warm out, but he knew the water would be icy-cold, the creek fed from snow melt off the higher elevations. Sarya and Abriel would both be shivering when they finally rejoined him in the sun.

Taking a deep breath, he thanked the creator for the blessings of such a loving family. He’d met Sarya while tracking a rogue for the Hunter, Gabriel—a tracker’s life not something he’d ever missed. Hunting down their own kind, killing them when given no other choice, had weighed heavily on his mind. Abriel arrived almost eight years later. Even though their king had forced him to move his family to the outskirts of the pack after Abriel’s birth, they’d been happy together, the best years of his long life.

Superstitious idiots, he thought. Abriel had been born with thick, snow-white hair, a trait that carried over when she shifted to her wolf form, a trait most definitely frowned upon by most of those in his pack. Frowned upon by most shapeshifters of their world. It would have been better if she’d been born albino, which happened on occasion, but Abriel had bright blue eyes, not red, her skin as dark brown as his own.

It had been easier to protect Abriel from their pack’s hostile glares and gossiping when she’d still been a young pup, but it grew harder as she got older. Though Calem kept moving his family farther and farther away from the main population, as his daughter entered adolescence, it grew impossible to hide their hostility from her. Everyone knew the legend of the Ghost Warrior. Everyone feared it.

Eventually, Calem knew he might have to move his family to another part of Laizahlia, but where? None of the other packs would accept Abriel any more than his own had. They all feared the legend about the white wolf. Their only other option would be to move into one of the vampire cities, and Sarya wouldn’t care for this. She feared most of the vampires, Gabriel the only exception. Sarya hated the idea of being forced to feed one, and it would be expected if they moved to the city.

He closed his eyes and tried to put his worries behind him, at least for the next few days.

When Sarya first screamed, Calem didn’t react, thinking his mate and daughter were just playing in the cold water. But when she screamed again, he heard the panic in her voice and leapt to his feet, running to the edge of the creek.

Sarya and Abriel had swum away from the falls and were wading in the shallows a few hundred feet downstream. He assumed they’d meant to catch trout for their dinner tonight. When he reached them, Calem didn’t hesitate to jump in the water, not bothering to remove his knee-high leather boots first.

“What’s wrong?” he asked, taking in Abriel’s glassy-eyed stare. Sarya stood a couple feet away, her hand over her mouth, fear in her eyes. “Sarya, talk to me!” He started to reach out for Abriel.

“No!” Sarya cried, stumbling toward him. “Don’t touch her, Calem. Abriel said not to touch her.”

“What?” he said, confused. Why shouldn’t we touch her?”

“She said we need to move out of the water. That it wasn’t safe for you and me here.”

“Who said? Abriel?”

“Yes. We were having fun at the falls, exploring the cave behind it. Then we decided to move down here to try to catch dinner. Abriel was fine one minute, and then she just froze. Like you see her now. When I asked what was wrong, she said ‘nothing is wrong.’ She said ‘the Umi have arrived early. They need to make a connection with me.’”

A chill raced down his spine. He had never personally spoken of the Umi in front of Abriel, but it didn’t mean others in his pack hadn’t. “Are you sure she said Umi?” They were at Umi Creek. Maybe it meant nothing, though deep down inside, Calem suspected it did.

“I’m sure, Calem. We shouldn’t have come here. Why did we choose this spot?”

But he knew. Abriel had chosen the spot. She’d asked him to take them to the falls.

No, no, no, no, no, he thought. It can’t be true. The Umi were nothing more than a story, a legend made up by some of their ancestors. But another voice whispered insidiously in his mind. If it’s just a story, why is everyone in the pack afraid of Abriel? Why do I fear for her?

Taking a deep breath, Calem shook off Sarya’s hand and took a step closer to his daughter. He shivered again when he glanced down, noticing something silver building around her bare toes.

“Abriel,” he said softly. “Can you look at me, Ona. I need to know what’s happening here.”

For a few long seconds, he thought she meant to ignore him, but then she slowly turned her eyes up to meet his and smiled. “It’ll be okay, Father. I knew this would happen when I asked you to bring me here. I don’t mean to scare you, and neither do the Umi. They need me. They need us both.”

“Knew what would happen, baby?” he whispered, wanting so badly to reach out and pull his only daughter against him, to carry her in his arms to safety. Knowing deep down inside that it would be a mistake, he fought his instincts and took a step back. “What do the Umi want from you, Ona?”

“I’m the chosen one. The spirit of their queen needs to be placed inside me, but I’m too young yet. They fear our people will try to kill me before I can mature, like they’ve killed all the previous vessels, so they’ve decided to send help.”

“Send help?”

“Some of them are going to sacrifice themselves to join with me. They won’t have the strength or knowledge of their queen, but I’ll be stronger than I would be without them. Do you understand, Father? The Umi are going to try to help you and Mother keep me alive.”

Calem swallowed hard, glancing toward his weeping mate.

“What’s going to happen when they join with you?” Would his daughter still be Abriel? Would she be the young girl he’d raised and loved for almost twelve years, or would she be something altogether different? Changed.

Isn’t that what their people feared?

Were they right to fear this?

“Don’t be afraid, Father. I’m not. Once they have established a connection with me, they’ll bridge another connection to you and Mother through me. All will be made clear then. If I can survive the next five or six years, the Umi queen will become a part of me. We’ll be safe then. All of us.”

Calem glanced down when Sarya grabbed his arm, motioning toward Abriel’s feet. He shivered when he saw the silver had climbed her legs almost to the knees. “Is the silver substance Umi?” he asked.

“Yes. You need to take Mother out of the water now. It’s not safe for either of you while the Umi are gathered together.”

He swallowed again, lifting his hand toward his daughter. “Please don’t do this,” he said, not knowing if the Umi could understand him. “I’ll take Abriel higher into the mountains. I’ll protect her from our people.”

“You can’t,” Abriel whispered back. “Our people fear the Ghost Warrior. They always kill the vessel before she can mature. This is the only way we’ll have any hope.”

The vessel? he thought, feeling as if he might vomit. My Ona is not a vessel.

“Go, Father. Take Mother out of the water. I’ll join you again soon.”

 

NEW RELEASE FROM CRIMSON CLOAK PUBLISHING!! “FELINE FANCIES”

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FELINE FANCIES– AMAZON

Mark and Karn Myers

FixNation is a top-rated, Los Angeles-based nonprofit that provides free spay/neuter services to homeless cats, along with basic medical care and a generous dose of love and compassion. Their high-volume, high-quality, state-of-the-art clinic also offers low-cost spay/neutering and microchipping for pet cats, a loan program for humane traps, free hands-on education and training, free counseling on the care and management of feral colonies, and extensive community outreach.

FixNation was founded by Mark Dodge and Karn Myers, a husband-and-wife team who became animal welfare advocates after learning about the shocking number of homeless cats in Los Angeles. Currently, the city uses lethal methods in an attempt to manage the ever-increasing numbers of stray, abandoned and feral felines – the nation’s largest population of “community cats”. Yet such methods are not only ineffective and costly, they are also horribly cruel and completely unnecessary.

Compelled to take action, the couple started Catnippers in 1999, a monthly mobile spay/neuter clinic staffed entirely by volunteers. The venture was a great success – fixing more than 18,000 cats – but it soon became apparent that they needed to do much more to truly make a difference. Research showed that only viable solution for out-of-control populations of homeless cats wasn’t mass euthanasia; it was Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR), whereby cats are trapped, sterilized and returned to their place of origin to live out the rest of their days, and allowing the number of unwanted births to naturally and gradually decline.

In 2007, Karn and Mark launched FixNation, the first full-time spay-neuter facility in Los Angeles to provide a comprehensive TNR program: free spay/neuter services for homeless cats, TNR outreach and education, free training and loans of humane traps. Over time, their mission expanded to include affordable services for pet cats and partnerships with rescue organizations to facilitate adoptions.

In addition to free spay/neuter surgery, every homeless cat brought into the FixNation clinic receives vaccinations, fluids, long-lasting antibiotics, pain medication, treatments for mange, fleas, ear mites and worms, high quality care for any abscesses and/or injuries, and advanced medical care via various partner programs, if needed. Over the past twelve years, FixNation has become a model for TNR and cat population management around the world and has provided free services to more than 150,000 cats. Mark and Karn’s dream has been a huge success, raising awareness of the issues involved, proving that TNR works and inspiring other communities to develop their own programs.

Regrettably, Mark passed away in 2017 after a long battle with ALS, leaving Karn to carry on his life’s work. His desire to create a better future for homeless cats inspired all who knew him, and today FixNation’s staff and scores of devoted volunteers aspire to fulfill his vision – to have an even broader reach, to save lives and prevent suffering, and to make the world a kinder and more compassionate place for all living things.

fIX nATION

 

Get your free sample from Feline Fancies “Mad Mama” by Denna Holm

Mad Mama

Mad Mama - smaller size

A feisty mother cat punches outside her weight class to protect her kittens.

Based on a true story, Sarah Benton is already fed up with her husband and his stray cats when another feral female shows up pregnant and in trouble. Of course Sam can’t leave her out in the cold, so Sarah makes up a bed in the bathroom and soon finds the new kittens softening her heart. The first trip outside will prove disastrous for the feisty mother cat. She’ll have her paws full trying to protect her new litter from an unexpected danger.

CONTEST FROM CRIMSON CLOAK PUBLISHING

Summer is here. What is your favorite pastime? We’re gearing up for a big competition. Send a picture of the Crimson Lady (our logo) out in your world. Grand, First, second and third place pictures win a prize pack of our ebooks (winner’s choice). Feel free to share this with anyone you think might like to play.

1. Each picture must include either the head or the full body of the Crimson Lady, or a Crimson Cloak book. Get creative! I’ll update this email with the Crimson Lady pics at the appropriate time.

2. Have fun!

3. To enter, share your picture on Facebook and tag Crimson Cloak Publishing in your post.

4. Each entrant can share up to 5 different (tagged) photos. You do not have to include yourself or anyone else in the picture, if you don’t want. Just the Crimson Lady or a Crimson Cloak book.

5. By participating in this competition, you give Crimson Cloak Publishing the non-exclusive right to repost, list, and use your photo for advertising and marketing purposes. If we list your name with the picture, we’ll include first name, last initial.

Start Date: July 1, 2019
End Date: July 31st, 2019

Prizes: Grand Prize (1 winner): 15 ebooks of winner’s choosing, plus a signed paperback of winner’s choosing (restrictions apply).

1st place (3 winners): 10 ebooks of your choosing, plus a signed paperback by the author of a book of your choosing (restrictions apply).

2nd place (5 winners): 5 ebooks of your choosing.

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Restrictions: In the case of author death, Crimson Cloak owner would instead sign. Winner can pick the words used (clean language only).

 

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SCIENCE FICTION

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CHILDREN

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THRILLER/CRIME

 

 

 

CLAIMED BY NICOLAI by Denna Holm

NEW RELEASE

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Amazon– Claimed by Nicolai

 

When Abby Harris takes her faithful German shepherd out for a hike in Oregon’s beautiful mountains, getting abducted by aliens isn’t even a blip on her radar. Her trusty can of bear spray and the pocket knife isn’t much help against the seven-foot monsters who swoop in out of nowhere to transport her to a ship in space.

Nicolai Nekbet is Crown Prince for the House of Nekbet on the planet Raiden. Unable to bear healthy children with females of their own species, Raiden warriors must hunt for a bride outside their own world. Nicolai has his heart set on a human even though their planet is protected by an ancient species called Laizahlian. When he sees the tall blonde-haired beauty out in the mountains with only a dog by her side, he knows he must have her.

With Abby safely on his ship, Nicolai injects her with his shaprata, his essence. His shaprata will change her on a cellular level, making them compatible for procreation, but he must still work hard to win her heart. If she rejects their union, it could easily mean his death.

PATCH MAN By Rick Stepp-Bolling

Yedikule Fortress in Istanbul, Turkey

Patch Man– Amazon

A prophecy declares a small child will decide the victory between two countries paralyzed by war…

An old man sells magical patches on the ruined streets of Hagra-Dis when a small, one-armed girl begs him to fix her doll. An Imperial missile blast kills the little girl, Meesha, but Var patches her back to life, and they flee marauding storm troopers.

Imperial High Command unleashes Ulan, a formidable assassin and mystic who chases the Patch Man and his ragged band of followers through a labyrinth peopled with powerful beings and monsters. Both the pursued and pursuers find themselves in life or death situations when they encounter the Greeter, a mysterious being who controls the entrance to parallel worlds populating the labyrinth. It is in these domains they discover clues to end the war—with little Meesha as the secret key to ultimate victory and peace.

My Review:

Five out of Five Stars

Complex story and characters that had me sitting with anticipation on the edge of my seat from start to finish. It’s not often that I find a new author who captures my attention the way Rick Stepp-Bolling did with his Patch Man. He is now on my list of favorite authors and one to watch out for.

You won’t find perfect characters in a perfect world in this story. Meesha, the one-armed girl, is part of a prophecy involving two warring countries, and Var, the old man known as the Patch Man, is destined to help her. They are surrounded by a cast of intensely flawed but likeable characters. We get to watch them grow and step up to the many challenges facing them on a day to day basis.

The story drew me in right from the start when Meesha is almost killed and the Patch Man saves her, taking her back to his home. He has no idea where this will eventually lead or the part he must play in it. This scene and all those that follow are brought to life with vivid detail in setting and non-stop action. We have hybrid creatures, magic, and a strange labyrinth to maneuver through as individual quests are faced. To fail means to die.

I struggled to find areas to be critical of here. There are many characters to keep track of but each one is written in such a way that they become real right from the start. It was easy to move between one scene and the next, the story masterfully woven together for an exciting end. Though this is an obvious series, the story does not leave you hanging in an irritating way. We know more is to come but we’re left anticipating the next installment instead of being frustrated.

If you enjoyed Game of Thrones, I strongly suspect you’ll enjoy Patch Man too. I can’t give it high enough praise.

 

 

 

 

TATIA’S TATTOO By Linda Brendle

Tatia's Tattoo by [Brendle, Linda]

TATIA’S TATTOO– AMAZON

As a successful D.C. lawyer, Tatia’s mission in life was to destroy the sex trafficking trade in small-town America. She knew where to find it. She’d been there. With only apathetic foster parents to protect her, she fell prey to the local pimp. Trapped in the sordid underbelly of a small Texas town, she survived by sheer will. Her friendship with her fellow victim Cindy was the only light of humanity in the darkness until she saw a familiar face. Would Mrs. G, a mama bear of an attorney, still think she had strength and potential? Would Jesse, the young Christian tattoo artist and biker, still look at her with a twinkle in his eyes? Or would they both see only the mark of shame Eric had etched onto her forearm?

MY REVIEW:

FIVE OUT OF FIVE STARS

This was a bit of an emotional roller-coaster to get through. We all hear about sex trafficking, but to have it brought alive like this made for a very difficult read. Thankfully, there is no graphic detail because I’m not sure I could have handled it. Tatia is a young orphan (barely 12 years old) who becomes the target of a monster. It’s easy to see (though sad) how she could be pulled into this nightmare experience, how her pimp worked to groom her and then stole her innocence. I’m not sure I can say anything more without giving away too much. Definitely a book everyone needs to read, if for no other reason than to educate yourself. Though it has tough parts to get through, this is also a story about faith, redemption, and standing up to the monsters in the world. I highly recommend it and can easily see this being made into a movie.

House of Pain

LITERARY TITAN

House of Pain (The Forsaken Ones Book 1) by [Holm, Denna]House of Pain, by Denna Holm, is a dark, provocative and devilish book that will leave you lusting for more!  The novel opens with a brother and sister cowering before a terrifying demon to whom they have made a promise. They must deliver on this promise or spend eternity kept alive simply to be tortured by this diabolical creature. Their promise comes in the form of the beautiful Magdalena, Maggie, who is half human/half demon. Although raised in a whorehouse she is our lovely virgin full of kindness but also the ability to suck life from people through sex! Holms paints a grim story of the future and it is not one of hope but one in which humans and nature have destroyed the Earth and demons can enter the planet and are on the cusp of entering to stay.

This is a dreary story in many ways, due…

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House of Pain Nominated for Cover of the Month

 

Cover of the Month

House of Pain (The Forsaken Ones Book 1)

My book has been nominated for Book Cover of the Month on AllAuthor.com. It would be greatly appreciated if you could take a moment to vote.

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Thank you for your support,
Denna Holm

 

House of Pain Trailer

LITERARY TITAN

Maggie Shelbador is a half-breed succubus with a heart. Though raised inside one of the worst whorehouses in the world, all she wants is to find one man who will love her despite what she is. She dreams of one day being free of her nightmarish life but fears no man will ever truly trust her.

The year is 3515 and most of the world has been destroyed by a combination of natural disasters and man’s neglect. The whole human race faces extinction. To survive, the leaders of the day approach demons for help, not understanding the high price they will be forced to pay. Normally bound by the summoner’s magic, the demons know Maggie is the key to giving them free access to Earth.

Daniel is a widower with a young son. He is out hunting one day when his settlement is attacked and his son abducted. He tracks…

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