Sunday, August 30, 2015

Review of Organized Grime by Christy Barritt

Organized Grime is book three in Christy Barritt's Squeaky Clean Mysteries.

Back cover copy: 
Gabby St. Claire knows how to clean up scum. She can get blood out of carpet, pick shattered bones from plaster, and clean up other less-than-enticing fluids from nearly any surface. St. Claire also knows how to clean up another kind of scum— the scum of the earth. 

Crime scene cleaner and wannabe forensic investigator Gabby St. Claire knows her best friend, Sierra, isn’t guilty of killing three people in what appears to be an ecoterrorist attack. But Sierra has disappeared, her only contact a frantic phone call. 

Crime scene evidence Gabby discovers while cleaning ties seemingly random murders together—and points to Sierra as the guilty party. Just what has her animal-loving friend gotten herself into? 

If that’s not disturbing enough, who’s the person following Gabby? A federal agent who hopes Gabby will lead him to Sierra? Or someone with more sinister plans? 

To find Sierra and prove her innocence, Gabby will have to rely on all of her training and abilities, plus the help of a man she loves and the protection of a God she’s only recently begun to believe in. 

When, Gabby St. Claire's best friend,  Sierra Nakamura disappears and is implicated in ecoterrorism that resulted in multiple deaths, the crime scene cleaner is determined to clear her friend's name. No matter the cost.

A stalker follows her and crime scenes reveal evidence tying them to Sierra increasing the danger to Gabby's life as she continues to search for the truth.

While investigating the circumstances surrounding Sierra's disappearance, Gabby must also deal with her alcoholic father, an ex-boyfriend cop with a pregnant girlfriend, and her handsome neighbor, Riley Thomas.

Riley struggles to keep Gabby safe even to the extent of accompanying her to crime scenes. Gabby can't deny her growing feelings for Riley with him ever-present even though she knows their backgrounds are far too different for a relationship to work.

Organized Grime is a clean read with well-developed characters and an intriguing storyline. However, there were a few issues.

When the FBI has evidence that Sierra was involved in the terror attack, they don't obtain a search warrant and go through her apartment. I found this to be a little unrealistic. Then, Gabby, who is studying to be a forensic tech, sneaks into her friend's apartment, finds evidence that points toward Sierra and conceals it for a time.

The book had a few typos, but I've not read many that don't.

Also, I counted a form of "gaze" over fifty times. Sometimes the word was used multiple times on a single page. This is a trend I've noticed in Christian fiction as I've read books for contests and for pleasure, but it's a very distracting trend. When a word is repeated over and over, it throws me out of the book. The writer could have used any number of words to convey the same concept.

Here are just a few of the times that "gaze" dumped me right out of the story:

“His gaze began roaming again.”
“…his gaze flicked behind me to the kitchen…”
“His gaze ran up and down the length of me.”

“His gaze searched mine…”

I give Organized Grime three stars for the pacing, characters, and storyline. Had the author found other ways to communicate they were looking somewhere or at each other, I would have given the story four stars.

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Sunday, August 23, 2015

Interview with Hope Callaghan

Image result for hope callaghan

Deb: Tell us a little about yourself.
Hope:  I was born and raised in a small town in West Michigan. I lived there until early 2003 when I finally grew weary of the long, dreary winters. A job transfer to Central Florida came up and I was the first in line to apply for the job and leave the Mitten State.

I still live in Central Florida with my husband, my daughter, step-son and step-daughter. (All of the kids are currently in college!) When I'm not writing books, I love to read books, travel and take day trips to the beach.

Deb:  Tell us about your most recent book.
Hope:  I recently started a new cozy mystery series, Cruise Ship Cozy Mysteries and just published book number two, Port Side Peril.

Deb:  Whey did you choose this particular genre?
Hope:  I love the mystery genre, especially cozy mysteries! The setting for my most popular series, the Garden Girls, is in a small town, quite like the one I grew up in so I write about my own personal experiences, although all of the characters in my book are purely fictitious.

Deb:  What was your journey to publication like?
Hope:  I started writing non-fiction (travel books) and published my first book in 2013. I wrote several more and then switched to fiction in 2014, and haven't looked back since.

Deb:  What are a couple of your favorite books and what are you reading now?
Hope:  One of my favorite authors is Cynthia Hickey. She cracks me up. Jogging is Bad for Your Health, is next on my list. I also like to read Amanda Tru's time travel series. The idea of time travel is fascinating.

Deb:  What are you working on now and can you give us a little peek inside?
Hope:  I'm working on book number seven in the Garden Girls Series, which should be published the first week in August.

Deb:  What advice would you give authors who are on their own journey to publication?
Hope:  Write fiction.  I waited two years to publish my first fiction piece and I regret not starting sooner. Start with a short story to "get your feet wet." Write in a series. Readers love to get to know the characters and if they care about the characters, they will want to read your books.

Deb:  Do you have any books or websites that have helped you with your writing that you could share with us?
Hope:  I highly recommend Techniques of the Selling Writer by Dwight V. Swain. Although published in the early 80's this book has so much good information inside, it is worth the read. Some of the topics are a bit out dated but for the most part, it contains nuggets of pure gold for the writer.

Deb: Please let us know where we can find you on the web.

Image result for hope callaghan

Image result for deborah MaloneDeborah Malone has worked as a freelance writer and photographer, since 2001, for the historical magazine "Georgia Backroads." Her writing is featured in "Tales of the Rails" edited by Olin Jackson. She is a member of Georgia Writers Association, American Christian Fiction Writers and Advanced Writers and Speakers Association.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Lillian Duncan: Deadly Communication

By Kelly Bridgewater

Back Cover Copy:

Improving communication skills is never easy. In this case, it could be murder!

Maven Morris is a speech-language pathologist on medical leave–or as she likes to put it: out to pasture. When she’s offered a lucrative position by one of the community’s most powerful men to help his traumatic-brain-injured daughter improve her communication skills, Maven discovers deadly secrets behind the iron gates of the mansion.

Now, she must find the courage to seek justice no matter who gets hurt–even if it’s her.

My Review:

I, personally, had never read anything by Lillian Duncan before, but when Pelican group offered all their e-books for free during Lent, I jumped on the chance and downloaded twenty books for free. I downloaded all of the books by Lillian Duncan because there covers drew me in. I was excited to jump into these suspense books.

The main character in Deadly Communications is Maven, an elder lady who is on medical leave from being a speech pathologist from the local school. While it is very common to make the lead heroine or hero in a mystery book young, Duncan goes against the norm and makes Maven more mature. I enjoyed that aspect of her character because she has more life experience, and right away, I trusted what Maven would say or do.

As for the faith in the book, Duncan does a good job at allowing Maven to wrestle with the idea of God. Duncan does not jump right in with the mature Maven, fully trusting God with her life. She has doubts and isn’t afraid to share those struggles with her friends. The tone isn’t preachy. It allowed me to question and empathizes with Maven. I believe all believers have been down the same track some time in their lives.

While all the conflict occurs in Ella’s head, I still wondered if the incident in the first chapter would make an appearance in the story. Did someone threaten Ella if she told what she saw? It kept me wondering, tugging me along for the entire book.

Duncan was a Speech Pathologist herself, so she used her area of experience to create a character in Maven. From the research and the skills Maven tried to get Ella to talk, it rang true with the character. Duncan introduced me to the inner workings of a speech pathologist without too much jargon. I followed along and wasn’t confused by the plot line. 

Overall, I will be trying more of Lillian Duncan's books as I find time to read them. 

Lillian Duncan
From Duncan's Amazon's Author Page
Lillian Duncan’s Writing Bio:

Lillian Duncan lives in Ohio with her husband, four parrots, one Jack Russell, and a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel that she's thinking about renaming Clifford since he keeps growing and growing and....

Her website ( her books as Stories of Faith mingled with...murder and mayhem. She writes the type of books she loves to read--suspense with a touch of romance. Depending on her mood, some books have more romance than others.

She's been a Speech Pathologist for over thirty years. Whether as an educator, a writer, or a speech pathologist, she believes in the power of words to transform lives, especially God's Word.

Where to connect with Lillian Duncan:

Where to purchase Deadly Communication:

What is your opinion on a suspense novella?