The Lonely Hearts Bar #review @rabtbooktours

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Literary Fiction, New Adult
Date Published: August 14, 2007
Publisher: Editus Publishing
 
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With high hopes of conquering Hollywood, the novel’s main character goes to Los
Angeles to study directing and screenwriting. On the way, she ends up at a
roadside bar that uncannily links the destinies of the main characters, who had
given up everything to follow their dreams. What’s in store for the young
rebels in Los Angeles? Does your dream have another side, one that’s just as
enigmatic and invisible as the far side of the Moon?
About the Author

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From the age of 11 Konni has been writing books. When she came of age she moved from a small abandoned town to Moscow where she exchanged the dream of “becoming a director” for the profession “doctor.” Now at the ripe old age of 21 years old, Konni is enjoying the acclaim of The Lonely Hearts Bar and working on her next
novel.
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REVIEW: The Lonely Hearts Bar is a fast-paced read unlike any other. A story that is usually different and interesting drawing you in from the beginning. I was not sure what to except when I started reading and was in for a surprise. A lovely but odd read. **I received a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.**
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Courage to Stand #Blitz @rabtbooktours

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Non-Fiction / Law

Published: May 21st, 2019

 

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Success Through Passion and Endurance
As a leading expert in trial law, Sandra Spurgeon masterfully outlines the art and
science of case-winning strategies inside and outside the courtroom.  Having successfully litigated thousands of cases, with over 120 of them litigated to verdict in both state and federal jurisdictions, she reveals the secrets of successful litigation techniques.
You will learn her highly effective strategies for:
Case Selection
Discovery Process
Trial Preparation
Execution in the Courtroom
Spurgeon not only clearly describes these methods, but also demonstrates how to apply them – through real examples of courtroom “war” stories.  Based on her vast experience spanning nearly two decades, Courage to Stand – Mastering Your Trial Strategy, is designed to not only help the beginning attorney, but to also sharpen the skills of veteran
lawyers.
This work goes far beyond theory and reaches into the trenches to reveal how some of
the most difficult cases can be won by utilizing a proven synthesized plaintiff
and defense litigation practice which has collected millions of dollars in
settlements and verdicts for her clients.
Having successfully litigated 1000s of cases with 120+ litigated to
verdict in both state and federal jurisdictions, she reveals the secrets of
successful litigation techniques.
About the Author

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Sandra Spurgeon has been a practicing trial lawyer since 1990. In that time, she has successfully litigated in excess of 120 cases through verdict in both state andfederal jurisdictions.
Throughout her career, Sandra has synthesized a plaintiff and defense litigation practice that has afforded her great insight and a unique perspective in “getting to the heart” of the case from the beginning stages thru trial. Thru experience, she has achieved trial excellence in the courtroom.
From a defense perspective, Şandra’s includes not only the handling of commercial
litigation but also, the defense of insurance claims, healthcare professional
liability claims, coverage and extra-contractual issues and fire & casualty
claims.
In Kinney vs. Butcher, 131 S.W.3d 357 (Ky. App. 2004), her successful argument
presented to the Kentucky Court of Appeals resulted in the decision delineating
the standard for an award of punitive damages. In Pike vs. GEICO, 174 Fed.
Appx. 311 (6th Circ. 2006), she successfully litigated the prescribed time
period for filing an underinsured motorist claim in KY.
Sandra’s practice also includes the representation of victims and families who have
suffered catastrophic losses and has collected settlements and judgments in
excess of $50,000,000. In 2016 & 2017, she collected in excess of
$16,000,000 in settlements and/or judgments. In 2017, Sandra litigated a
Federal Tort Claim to judgment with the verdict in excess of $2,000,000.
Chrispen vs. United States of America, 7:16-132. Although she has always
allowed her verdicts and results to speak for themselves, she considers the
verdict in Dotson vs. Sony Electronics, 7:02-CV-35 among one of her biggest
accomplishments. Sandra successfully litigated this res ipsa loquitor products
liability claim to a multi-million-dollar judgment unanimous verdict in federal
court on behalf of a burn victim.
Through experience Sandra has developed a systematic approach for handling of complex
litigation matters beginning at case selection, through the discovery process,
trial preparation and execution in the courtroom. Additionally, she serves as
an expert witness and lectures before various organizations and clients on
trial practice, evidence and Kentucky law. Sandra is adept at handling complex
legal issues and is a skilled legal writer. Sandra is active in her community
where she currently serves on the Board of Directors for Foster Council and
Women Leading Kentucky. She has also served as parent representative for the
Fayette County School Systems. She is an advocate for children and families in
her community and was instrumental in the drafting of the Michelle P. Waiver
program for children in KY. She is the proud mother of two adult daughters,
Victoria and Elizabeth.
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Benevolent #review @rabtbooktours #giveaway @ErinAJensen

Contemporary Fantasy
Date Published: February 2nd, 2019
Publisher: Dream Waters Publishing LLC
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A story about the purpose of life, the healing power of fandom, and the resilience of the human spirit.
Tormented by the in-crowd at school on a daily basis, there were two things that gave fifteen-year-old Abigail Perkins the strength to keep going—her best friend, Danny Cobb; and her favorite television show, Supernatural. But the night Danny’s mother calls to say that his battle with cancer is nearing its end, and the doctors don’t expect him to live through the night, even Supernatural can’t dull the ache in her heart.
Devastated by her impending loss and crushed that Danny’s mother won’t allow her to visit him one last time, Abigail crawls into bed and cries herself to sleep that night; and she wakes to find Supernatural’s most endearing angel standing at the foot of her bed.
Told from Abigail’s perspective as she nears the end of her long life and revisits the moments that defined it, this story was inspired by the deep connection that Supernatural fans feel with the show’s beloved characters, and the show’s miraculous ability to help its fans through troubled times.
100% of the net proceeds from this book will go to Random Acts charitable organization.
Random Acts inspires many amazing things around the world every day — from small acts of kindness, such as inspiring someone to buy a stranger a cup of coffee, to much bigger acts of kindness like building a school in San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua.
To learn more about Random Acts visit randomacts.org
About the Author

Erin Jensen is the Amazon International bestselling author of The Dream Waters Series. She was awarded the Bronze Medal for fantasy fiction in the 2018 Readers’ Favorite international book award competition. She also received Honorable Mention for fantasy fiction in the 2018 Writer’s Digest self-published e-book awards. A part-time pharmacist and a full-time daydreamer, she resides in upstate New York with her ridiculously supportive husband, two teenage sons – who are both taller than her – and a Yorkshire terrier who thinks he’s the family bodyguard.
Contact Links
Twitter: @ErinAJensen
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REVIEW: Benevolent  by Erin A. Jensen is a heartfelt story of a woman who is reflecting on her past. A story that pulls you in and hold your attention until the end. The characters are well developed, realistic, and relatable. You are sure to connect with them through their emotions or experiences. Jensen as written a wonderful story that is sure to take you on a roller coaster of emotions. Benevolent is a lovely read that I highly recommend. *I received a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.*
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Teddy and Teri #Blitz @rabtbooktours

 

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Literature, Fiction
 
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Theodore Roosevelt Crenshaw, “Best Heart-Throb” of his high school class, now
in is early thirties is looking to get what he wants out of life regardless of
what anybody thinks.
He meets Pamela White, a sharp 38-year-old business woman whose sexual hunger
cannot be drowned in bourbon. She makes him an offer he can’t refuse.
At nearly the same time he runs into Beverly Simons, a slightly neurotic, rather
plump high school classmate with whom he once had a one-night stand. She is now
widowed with a strikingly beautiful six-year-old daughter.
Enter Jerry Weinstein, Esq., a rotund, gourmand bachelor lawyer specializing in
criminal law and a very dead Bradford Vincente, the 17-year-old son of pizza
king Tony “Pan-a-Mint” Vincente of Palos Verdes…
Set in the South Bay beach communities of suburban Los Angeles some thirty years
ago, the novel is a lurid tale of murder, lust and the inevitable consequences
of ravenous appetites that can never be satisfied.
About the authorL

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I’ve been a soldier, a newspaper reporter, a high school English teacher, a day trader and a poker professional. I’ve written literally millions of words in my career as a writer, and think of myself primarily as a writer. My work has appeared in popular publications like Playboy and Smoke magazines and in
literary journals where it has won some minor awards. My novel A Perfectly Natural Act gained royalty publication from G.P. Putnam’s in 1973 and was brought out in paperback the following year by Pinnacle. First Artists was
considering an option on it when they went defunct. The novel would make a
rather good movie. (Maybe I’ll write the screenplay one of these days.)
Additionally, I’ve written over fifteen hundred reviews (over a million words
in all!) for various Web sites, most notably Amazon and the Internet Movie
Database. Some of my reviews are among the best appearing anywhere (or so I
have been told). Over the years I’ve also written about a dozen book-length
manuscripts. My project now is to present perhaps eight to ten of these
manuscripts before the public in book form. I was graduated from UCLA in 1969
with a major in Political Science and minor in English Literature.
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A Savage Kultur #Blitz @rabtbooktours @MonWriter1

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Historical Fiction
Date Published: May 1, 2019
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In Oxford, England, Ava, a Jewish art student at Oxford University, receives a
heart-wrenching letter from her grandfather after he dies. From the letter, she
learns that her grandfather has given her his London art gallery, which he says
will secure her future, as well as provide a place for her to grow her artistic
talents and follow her passion for art. The letter also describes his one last
wish—that she find a treasured Vincent van Gogh painting, The Lovers: The
Poet’s Garden IV, that belonged to her grandparents and was deemed degenerate and looted by the Nazis in 1937.
Arriving for the first time at the gallery, she discovers old photographs in a secret
room that recount the harrowing past—a Nazi propaganda parade in 1937. She
quickly becomes aware that the room and the gallery, with an empty frame for
the missing van Gogh, hold such rich memories of her grandparents. As
conversations with her family members and those connected to the painting spur
memories, the book switches back and forth between the current timeline and the
timeline during the war to tell the stories of those affected by the painting
and its fate.
On the train to her grandfather’s funeral, she meets Gordon Rose, an FBI agent,
disguised as an art restitution lawyer. He helps her track down the missing van
Gogh, while at the same time, he goes after an Neo-Nazi albino art forger named
Luther.
Ava pays several visits to her grandmother, her only living relative who lived
through the war, hoping she remembers something about the past that will be a
clue to the missing painting and their lives in Germany during the war. It is
in these hours that she sits with her grandmother that she learns about her
grandparents finding refuge on an Austrian farm after they flee Munich and of
Charlotte, a local farm girl who lives at Lake Toplitz.
Ava’s grandmother who struggles with dementia recalls Charlotte’s last name. With
this information, Ava tracks down Charlotte at her home at Lake Toplitz and
questions the old woman about what happened at the lake. On her last breath,
Charlotte speaks of the secrets hidden in the lake.
When Gordon breaks into Luther’s Austrian hideout, he believes Luther has forged the
missing van Gogh painting. Luther claims it is the real deal. To right a wrong
and under the duress of Gordon and law enforcement, Luther returns the painting
to Ava.
Ava takes the van Gogh painting to her grandmother. Still not sure if it’s the real
thing or not, Ava wants to bring her grandmother closure during her last days.
Gordon wonders if they should call an art expert to examine the painting. She
believes it was meant to be there, whether real or fake. In the end, Gordon and
Ava reveal their true feelings for one another.
 Excerpt
Ava stared at the envelope and then at her mother.
“What do you mean by ‘change my life?’”
 “Just open it, darling. I believe what’s inside will shape your life in so many amazing ways.”
The envelope was sealed close and Ava took the knife from the table and gently
passed it under the seal.
“I have not read this letter,” Vivienne said. “This was left for your eyes only.”
Ava’s heart began to pound in her chest. She pulled out a handwritten letter and a
gold key.
“A key?” Ava asked, looking up at her mother.
“Read the note, daughter.”
Hands shaking, Ava opened the letter and began to read.
My dearest Ava:
I have wanted to give you this special key to a remarkable place—my gallery—for a
long time. Do you remember eight years ago when I sold the gallery? How very
sad I was, but I stayed with that decision because, at the time, it was the right
thing to do. It was a thorn in one’s side, to a degree, too much work and
responsibility for an old man like me. Then, your grandmother became ill and so
I sold the gallery. In an extraordinary circumstance, I was walking by the
gallery many months ago and I discovered it was for sale. The current owner had
fallen ill and no one in his family wanted the gallery. I stood in front of my
old gallery as I did the day I bought it 30 years ago. Tears in my eyes and a
flutter in my heart, I always knew that showplace was my destiny. Well, dear
Ava, I had to have it and so I bought the salon that very day. Now it is yours,
and while I am not there to see you flourish and grow in the most special of
places, I know you will thrive in that gallery, as I did. You, my darling, are
the only person who can carry on this legacy. Art links us. It makes us human,
almost spiritual.
You are truly unique and gifted with a beautiful mind and an extraordinary artistic
talent. You will be finished with school one of these days and now you have a
way to make a living and I know you can make this burgeon. Daunting…yes…but
always remember that I am always with you in your heart, an angel to guide you,
and keep in mind what I always said that nature has no straight lines. A Beech
tree does not grow straight and smooth, but twists, sprawls, and bulges. I have
always believed, and more and more towards the end of my life, that the
shortest distance to somewhere, to something, is never a straight line, instead
it is a curvy one, zigzagging in the course of life amid conflicting forces. A
very complex path; indeed, and the path you take will not be easy and
straightforward. It’s twisting and bumpy, but it offers the greatest
opportunity. Keep the gallery safe and make it vibrant. Give it a boost, and
make art thrive in this ever changing, complex world. Without art, the world
would be less bright, less beautiful. N’est-ce pas?
Listen carefully now, granddaughter. I dislike speaking of the past, a grievous time I
buried deep inside the darkest cavities of my soul. The war caused your
grandmother and me a great amount of angst and suffering. I have never felt
terror like I did then, and I hope you never will. At night, I often would wake
in a cold sweat from awful, vivid dreams, and unfortunately, when I opened my
eyes, reality did not seem much better. We lived in a horrific world filled
with extreme hatred during the war. When it was all over, it was far easier to
close that part of me off and never speak of it again. These wounds don’t heal;
they are forever ingrained in my soul.
A monster of the worst kind, Hitler’s greed was unlimited, his Nazi reign of
terror horrifying. As evil spread across Europe, I saw the death of humanity
and I witnessed a world where owners of great art exchanged their treasures for
their lives—the plunder of Europe was the greatest art theft in history. The
Nazis waged a cultural war on Europe’s Jewish community, and it is quite ironic
how ardent and persistent they were about collecting and preserving art works
as they went about completely ruining the lives of their Jewish owners. Art
became a symbol of status for the Nazi regime. Hitler’s pillaging armies
snatched countless pieces of valuable art off museum walls and from private
collections across Europe. Hitler wanted to create the greatest collection of
art in the world—a Führermuseum—his mission became stealing art from the rest
of the world. Of the 600,000 works of art looted during the Nazi era, tens of
thousands are still missing and unidentified. Amazing, isn’t it? Stealing art
is like stealing someone’s soul. This is the final unfinished business of the
war, and it will take the persistence and fortitude of your generation and
future generations to continue to locate pieces adrift in the teeming and complex
art world. My hope is that every piece the Nazis stole is found and returned to
their Jewish heirs. Justice must be sought, and you and others of your
generation and even those who come after you, must help to awaken the present
to realize the wrongs of the past.
The events of the war are losing their immediacy; they are being shelved like any
other major event in the history of time. Questions about it will remain
probably forever and some will never have answers. The Jews of today have
inherited the obligation to provide future generations with information so they
can better understand the past for a better, more peaceful future. I only know
of and see the past, Ava, but you are the present. Going forward, you must help
right the wrongs of the past—a very dark and haunting time. I believe that an
understanding of the past and preserving the memory of the past, can bring an
understanding of the present and the future.
 This is my last secret, my last wish: A great family heirloom—a splendid painting by Vincent van Gogh, The Lovers: The Poet’s Garden IV— was confiscated from our family by the Nazis in 1937. It was declared “degenerate” and it has been missing ever since they took it in 1937. Your great-grandfather, Joseph, bought the piece at an auction. As you can
imagine, it cost a large sum of money even then, and today, it is worth a great
sum of money.
After the war, your grandmother and I put forth an immense effort and all of our
energy into rebuilding our lives and starting a family, rather than tracking
down lost art. We needed a break from the past and looking ahead at a brighter
future somehow helped us slowly forget the past and hide it away deep inside.
It was a time for us to heal and find peace, and a time to heal our saddened
souls. I could not speak of my experiences for a long time, and nor could your
grandmother, and until now, I did not want my experience with the past to
contaminate you in any way. Some things remain secrets because there isn’t
really a great way to tell them to the ones we love. It was meant to protect
you. Now I believe these secrets are crucial to your life and your identity.
I have searched for this painting for quite some time, and now I must turn that
extraordinary task to you, Ava. Searching for lost art is very different today
than it was when I tried. Today, the internet is filled with articles about
looted art, as well as searchable databases to locate missing and looted art. So
many resources are now available to you. Ava, you have the energy and the
determination to seek what we lost. I hope this is not a burden, but a quest to
find something of tremendous value and beauty—just one of countless cultural
treasures that vanished without a trace. This painting is part of your heritage
and is something you can pass on to your children, and so forth.
There is much to tell about this wonderful work of art—The Lovers: The Poet’s Garden
IV. I’ll begin with a letter the talented van Gogh wrote to his brother, Theo,
in October of 1888. He wrote a fabulous description: “Here is a very vague
sketch of my last canvas, a row of green cypresses against a pink sky with a
pale lemon crescent. The foreground is vague land and sand and some thistles.
Two lovers, the man in pale blue with a yellow hat, the woman with a pink
bodice and a black skirt.”
The painting was completed in 1888 as an oil on canvas. In February of that same
year, van Gogh arrived in the southern Provencal town of Arles, France. With
the financial help and support of his brother, he moved into the Yellow House.
His bedroom overlooked Place Lamartine, a small public park. This lush oasis
provided much inspiration and joy for the artist. The Poet’s Garden IV was the
fourth work in a four-painting series as a decoration of linked pictures for
the guest bedroom Paul Gauguin would occupy in the Yellow House. Unfortunately,
sweet Ava, this house no longer exists as it was destroyed by bombs in the
1940s during World War II.
I think this glorious painting expresses so many things, such as emotions of
mourning and loss and immortality. The garden’s vitality still lives somewhere
with someone who is probably undeserving of its infinite beauty and value; for
someone who steals art; therefore, steals its brilliance, its soul, its life.
Stolen art is a great theft to an individual, to society, and to the world.
Art can make us feel small in the most beautiful way, the same way that man can
make us feel insignificant in the absolute worst way.
We need more beauty in this world, Ava. Embrace this, my dear. Be determined,
courageous and steadfast in this journey and in all you do. It’s
transformative. Believe me. You are always up to a challenge, so why not this
one?
And always remember that everything goes by like a dream, Ava…life can be fleeting,
so use your beautiful eyes to capture all the most precious moments…flashes in
your memory that create heartfelt moments. I love you ‘til the end of time and
beyond.
Follow your heart and live your dreams.
Forever yours,
Your Dearest Poppy
Ava read every word through tears. “Oh, Mother,” Ava whispered, her head in her
hands. “How beautiful.”
She took deep breaths to stop herself from crying out. She would be stronger than
that, she told herself. He would want her to be stronger, to not break down.
Something in those words awakened her. With her eyes closed, she vowed from
within that with all the might and strength God could give her that she would
fight to recapture the priceless van Gogh painting her grandfather, and even
her great grandfather, admired and loved.





About the Author

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Monique’s passion for writing began as a young girl while penning stories in a journal. Now she looks forward to deepening her passion by creating many unique stories that do nothing less than intrigue her readers.
Monique holds a degree in journalism from Southern Methodist University in Dallas. She is the author of a middle-grade book Once Upon a Time in Venice, historical fiction novel Across Great Divides, and historical fiction novel A Savage Kultur.
Monique was born in Cape Town, South Africa, and her grandparents were European Jews
who fled their home as Hitler rose to power. It’s their story that inspired her
to write Across Great Divides, her first historical novel.
Historical fiction lets you escape to another time and place; and Monique likes to explore
the past so that we can potentially better understand the future.
Monique resides in Dallas, Texas, with her husband and son. She also works as a
freelance writer.
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Heaven Denied #Blitz @rabtbooktours @KenLaSalle

Contemporary Romance / Metaphysical Fiction
Date Published: 12/22/18
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For just a few, brief days on the Pacific Crest Trail, Matt Murphy fell in love and came to understand what was really important in life – until the woman he fell in love with died.
Where that left him, Matt couldn’t know. His only recourse would be to meet the man who had first married his love and understand what that love had meant to him.
The results of which could change Matt’s life forever…
Excerpt
Matt was so hungry he didn’t consider if his phone was ready. He was ready to face the music at La Blithesome Listhe if it also meant facing breakfast.
He wasn’t inside for two minutes before he noticed people looking at him, giving those sideward glances that people give when they don’t want to be seen looking. They were probably already talking about him in the kitchen. The waitress who sat them at a table did not appear to recognize Matt and he didn’t recognize her, either. Truth be told, he didn’t recognize too many people. He wasn’t particularly good with faces.
But as he perused the menu, a face he recognized very well came strolling in his direction from the farthest end of the restaurant. Annias Listhe, Diva’s old boss and owner of La Blithesome Listhe. Still dressing like she’s a burlesque dancer, Matt thought, although the days when she could pull it off were far behind her.
When Annias flashed Matt a smile, Matt smiled back at her. After all, despite her many quirks, Annias had always been good to Diva and, by extension, to Matt as well. “Mister Diva Murphy,” Annias announced, which was so typical of her Matt barely batted an eye. “How wonderful to see you back in these four walls.”
Hardly four walls, Matt thought as he said, “I’m sorry it has been so long, Annias. I just – ”
“No. No,” Annias told him. “No need for explanation. You’ve had a difficult year, Matthew. I understand. It’s just wonderful to see you again. We miss your Diva, our Diva, so very much.”
Her graciousness left Matt feeling a little like a schmuck. He stood up so they could embrace – he did his best not to breathe in her perfume bath – and Matt offered, “She made the best scones in the world. I only hope you found someone as good.”
“Well,” Annias replied, stepping out of their embrace, “our Baxwell is no Diva but he does have his charms.”
“I’m sorry. Did you say Maxwell?”
“Baxwell,” Annias corrected.
“Bax?”
“Baxwell.”
“Baxwell,” Eric repeated from his seat, speaking as though Matt was the jerk. Little did he realize that Matt was about to say “Back sweat.”
“Exactly so,” Annias complemented. “Who is your friend, Matthew?”
“Name’s Eric,” Eric offered, his hand outstretched.
Annias took it. “Charmed,” she told him. “Now, you two boys order whatever you like and don’t worry about anything. You’re like family, Matthew. You should know that.”
“Thanks, Annias,” Matt said, and he meant it. He felt like an idiot showing up after all this time but Annias was the perfect host. After she walked away, Matt sat down at the table. “That woman has always given me the creeps,” he said to Eric, leaning forward so he could speak softly. “She’s nice enough but I don’t think she’d recognize an authentic moment if it choked on her perfume.”
“She’s okay,” Eric chided. “Besides, she did offer to pick up breakfast. Let’s see what kind of damage we can do.”
Matt lifted an eyebrow as Eric dived into the menu, waiting for the moment that he was sure would come when… Wait. There it was. Eric’s face went from pleased to perplexed to downright embarrassed.
“What is all this?” Eric asked.
“High class food,” Matt confided. “Don’t worry. I’ve got this.” He called the waitress over and said, “Can we get two coffees – just coffee – with cream and sugar. Some orange juice. A couple croissant. Some melon, whatever you have that’s in season. And a couple of danishes, if you have them?”
As the waitress walked away, Matt saw the disappointment on Eric’s face. “What?” he asked. “It’s called a continental breakfast. We’ll pick you up a McMuffin later on.”
“Okay,” Eric said. “But only if you promise.”
About the Author

Author and occasional philosopher and monologist, Ken La Salle’s passion is intense humor, meaningful drama, and finding answers to the questions that define our lives. Ken La Salle grew up in Santa Ana, California and has remained in the surrounding area his entire life. He was raised with strong, blue collar roots, which have given his writing a progressive and environmentalist view. You can find a growing number of his books and performances available online. Find out more about Ken on his website at http://www.kenlasalle.com.
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Girls of Yellow #Blitz @rabtbooktours

 

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Mystery,
Thriller
Elise
De Jong/Sami Ali Book 1
Publisher:
Penwood
Published:
May 2018
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Imagine
a world where modern governments failed their citizens and long-simmering
conflicts escalated into global war. Imagine if its survivors migrated toward
those who share the same faith. Imagine the continents are ruled by religions.
When
the mysterious death of a teenage girl triggers memories of a similar childhood
event, police Detective Sami Ali becomes consumed with solving her murder.
Persecuted by the shame of his past, Ali will stop at nothing to find the
killer, even if his investigation puts his wife and daughter at risk.
As
he follows the clues, Ali collides with another lost soul – a foreign spy.
Elise De Jong’s official mission in Eurabia involves the acquisition of a
priceless item that could shift the balance of power among the theocracies. But
she also has a personal objective – to find her last living relative, the
little sister whom she hasn’t seen since her birth.
To
succeed in their missions, Elise and Ali must find common ground despite their
religious differences, for they can depend only on each other.
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Excerpt
Major
Sami Ali knew he’d been assigned the dhimmi’s murder because he was the worst
detective on the Budapest police force. And he understood exactly what his boss
expected him to do – use minimal departmental resources to conduct a basic
investigation, find no evidence of religious cleansing, and bury the case.
Ali
knew such a weak effort rendered him a fraud and he didn’t care. Pride didn’t
pay his daughter’s tuition. His job was to follow orders and provide for his
family. Also, his father had made him take an oath as a child to hate
Christians and Jews for the rest of his life. He didn’t give a damn about the
dhimmis.
The
body had been found at the Matthias Catholic Church, one of only three
remaining Christian churches in the section of the city known as Dhimmi Town.
Gothic  spires decorated with gargoyles
towered above a diamond-patterned roof, green and brown ceramic tiles
glittering in the sun. Ismael, the crime scene technician, was kneeling beside
the corpse near the altar when Ali arrived inside. His friend reminded Ali of a
mongoose – unassuming at first glance, but pity the snake who dared to test his
mettle.
“First
comes Saturday,” Ismael said.
“Then
comes Sunday,” Ali said.
The
salutation had originated in the Middle East during the early twentieth
century, long before the third world war, the collapse of governments and
economies, and the migration of survivors toward people who shared the same
faith.
First
we’ll take care of the Jews, who pray on Saturday, and then we’ll take care of
the Christians, who pray on Sunday.
The
old prophecy had been fulfilled in Arabia. Then, after Muslims flooded Europe,
Sharia law had been enacted throughout the continent. Only the dhimmis
prevented the prophecy from being true in what was now known as Eurabia, too.
And
now there were one fewer dhimmis.
Ali
couldn’t see the corpse. Ismael was hovering over it, blocking his view.
“What
are we celebrating?” Ali said.
“Death
by strangulation,” Ismael said.
“What?
No machete?”
“No
blood. He strangled her with his hands.”
“No
blood. You’ve got to be kidding … Wait. Did you say her?”
“Bruising
on both sides of the neck but no actual prints. He must have worn gloves.”
“Signs
of struggle?” Ali said.
“None
that I can see.”
Ismael
stepped back to reveal a girl’s corpse, a lithe figure with hair the color of
sun-drenched wheat. “Look, A. She can’t be more than fourteen or fifteen.”
“Ish,”
Ali said. The first syllable of his friend’s name was the only sound he could
muster because the sight of the girl had taken him to the place he hoped to
never revisit.
“What
a waste,” Ismael said.
Ali’s
childhood memories were secured in an impenetrable vault protected by imaginary
barbed wire, steel walls, and padlocks. Whenever something or someone prodded
the vault, its protective devices tightened. This time, however, its defenses
disintegrated and the locks sprang open. Out streamed the vision he loathed so
much it made him long for sudden death.
It
was all in the past, Ali tried to tell himself, but no one could detect a lie
more easily than a cop, even a lousy one. A similar-looking girl was lying
before him. And she, too, was dead.
“The
eyes,” Ismael said. He reached over and lifted the dead girl’s eyelids.  “You see the eyes?”
They
looked like aquamarine jewels.
Of
course Ali had noticed the eyes, as surely as he’d noticed the girl’s oval
face, alabaster skin, and golden locks. It wasn’t their beauty that shocked Ali
and Ismael, but rather their presence in their sockets, because the typical
religious cleansing involved their removal. Lower your head – submit to Islam –
lest your eyes be snatched.
Ismael
nodded for Ali to come closer, then glanced in both directions to make sure the
other two technicians taking pictures of the church interior couldn’t hear him.
“She
wasn’t killed here,” Ismael said. “She was brought here after the fact.”
“How
can you be sure?”
Ismail
lowered his voice further. “Because there was a witness.”
Ali
lost his breath. “A witness?” There were never any witnesses in Dhimmi Town, at
least none brave or stupid enough to come forward.
“The
caretaker who called it in. He was here when the killer brought in the body.
Point of entry, front door. Point of exit, front door.
“He
saw the killer?”
“He
was taken to headquarters to give his statement and for his own protection. But
I don’t think it’s his protection your boss will be worried about. Especially
not with the world leaders in town for that conference. Think about it. The
heads of all four kingdoms – the Buddhists, Hindus, Christians and us – all in
the same place. Can’t have religious cleansing when the religions are trying to
find a way to get along, can you?”
Ali
heard the question and understood Ismael’s point. His boss wanted the case buried
quickly. But that mattered less to Ali than Ismael’s previous implication, that
the higher-ups would do everything necessary to make sure the witness was
silenced. To Ali’s own amazement, something compelled him right there and then
to do everything in his power to make sure the witness was heard.
But
was he too late?
Ali
told Ismael he’d be in touch and rushed out of the church.  As he ran toward his car, the call to prayer
sounded. It was the second such call of the day which meant it was just past
noon. The sound of the Muezzin’s mellifluous voice always slowed Ali’s pulse,
drained him of angst and sorrow, and lifted his spirits. The thought of not
stopping whatever he was doing to contemplate the substance of his Islamic
beliefs five times a day was unthinkable.
Yet
that’s exactly what he considered doing the moment the initial call sounded.
The image of the dead girl from his youth gripped him so tightly that he wanted
– no, he needed  – to begin a thorough
investigation of this girl’s murder immediately. One death bore no relation to
the other. More than twenty-five years had past since the first girl had died.
The victims merely resembled each other.
Ali
realized this but it made no difference to him. To say that he’d failed the
first girl was a gross understatement. He couldn’t contemplate repeating the
mistake. Did he even have the skills to solve a murder? Ali wasn’t sure
himself. The other cops called him the Dhimmi Lover precisely because he had no
love for them. It was a joke well-known throughout the force. What would they
say if the worst detective in Eurabia started acting like a real police? The
Dhimmi Lover actually trying to solve the murder of a dhimmi? They’d all get a
laugh out of that one.
When
the second call came for prayer to begin, Ali didn’t stop to face Mecca.
Instead, he climbed in his car, hammered the gas pedal and raced toward the
station. Never before had he thought of the streets of Dhimmi Town as his own.
Who in his right mind would want them?
But
they were his, he realized, whether he liked them or not, just as surely as he
was among the few Muslims not prostrating themselves before Allah in the
capital city of the central region of the Eurabian Caliphate.
Ali
hoped like hell no one recognized him behind the wheel.
 
About
the Author


 photo Girls of Yellow Author Orest Stelmach_zpsuqskmcxa.jpg

Orest
Stelmach is a mystery and thriller writer and the author of the Nadia Tesla
series. His novels have been Kindle #1 bestsellers, optioned for film
development, and translated into numerous foreign languages. Prior to becoming
a full-time writer, Orest was an institutional investment portfolio manager for
twenty-five years. He is a graduate of Dartmouth College and the University of
Chicago Booth School of Business.
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