Thursday, April 28, 2022

BLOG TOUR - The Wrong Victim


A bomb explodes on a sunset charter cruise out of Friday Harbor at the height of tourist season and kills everyone on board. Now this fishing and boating community is in shock and asking who would commit such a heinous crime—the largest act of mass murder in the history of the San Juan Islands.

Was the explosion an act of domestic terrorism, or was one of the dead the primary target? That is the first question Special Agent Matt Costa, Detective Kara Quinn, and the rest of the FBI team need to answer, but they have few clues and no witnesses.

Accused of putting profits before people after leaking fuel endangered an environmentally sensitive preserve, the West End Charter company may itself have been the target. As Matt and his team get closer to answers, they find one of their own caught in the crosshairs of a determined killer.


Title:   The Wrong Victim
Author:  Allison Brennan
Publisher:  MIRA
Genre:  Mystery & Thrillers 
Format:  Kindle ARC
No. of Pages:   453
Date of Publication:   April 26, 2022
My Rating:   5 Stars

Domestic terrorism or a very specific target? Kara Quinn and Matt Costa, along with his recently formed mobile FBI team, are definitely on the case when an explosion on a charter cruise ship claims nine lives. This happened at the San Juan Friday Harbor and has rocked the community. 

Matt is the Special Agent in Charge and Kara is on loan from the LA police Department. Due to a previous case, Kara has a target on her back and if it weren’t for Matt and his team she would not even have the opportunity to work. Kara and Matt have much more than their current case, they are involved. Very involved. However, for now he is Kara’s boss so they do their beast to keep their relationship private. 

What a thrilling third book in this remarkable series by Allison Brennan. The first two books are The Third to Die and Tell No Lies. Those books were both excellent five star reads and this one here, The Wrong Victim, is right on par. It is a thrilling and exciting story that shows the balance of mystery and romance. Considering the drama with at least one other member of the team, I can’t wait to see what will be next for Kara and Matt. 

Many thanks to MIRA and to NetGalley for this ARC for review. This is my honest opinion.

Please enjoy the following excerpt:

A killer walked among the peaceful community of Friday Harbor and retired FBI Agent Neil Devereaux couldn’t do one damn thing about it because he had no evidence.

Most cops had at least one case that haunted them long after the day they turned in their badge and retired. For Neil, that obsession was a cold case that his former law enforcement colleagues believed was closed. Not only closed, but not a double homicide at all—simply a tragic accident.

Neil knew they’d got it wrong; he just couldn’t prove it. He hadn’t been able to prove it thirteen years ago, and he couldn’t prove it now.

But he was close.

He knew that the two college boys didn’t drown “by accident;” they were murdered. He had a suspect and he’d even figured out why the boys had been targeted.

Knowing who and why meant nothing. He needed hard evidence. Hell, he’d settle for any evidence. All his theory got him was the FBI file on the deaths sent by an old friend, and the ear of a detective on the mainland who would be willing to investigate if Neil found more.

“I can’t open a closed death investigation without evidence, buddy.”

He would have said the same thing if he was in the same position.

Confronting the suspected killer would be dangerous, even for an experienced investigator like him. This wasn’t an Agatha Christie novel like his mother used to read, where he could bring the suspect and others into a room and run through the facts—only to have the killer jump up and confess.

Neil couldn’t stand to think that anyone might get away with such a brazen murder spree, sparked by revenge and deep bitterness. It’s why he couldn’t let it go, and why he felt for the first time that he was close…close to hard evidence that would compel a new investigation.

He was tired of being placated by the people he used to work with.

He’d spent so long following dead ends that he’d lost valuable time—and with time, the detailed memories of those who might still remember something about that fateful weekend. It was only the last year that Neil had turned his attention to other students at the university and realized the most likely suspect was living here, on San Juan Island, right under his nose.

All this was on his mind when he boarded the Water Lily, his favorite yacht in the West End Charter fleet. He went through his safety checklist, wondering why Cal McKinnon, the deckhand assigned to this sunset cruise, wasn’t already there.

If he wasn’t preoccupied with murder and irritated at Cal, Neil may have noticed the small hole in the bow of the ship, right above the water line, with fishing line coming out of it, taut in the water.


“I’m sorry. It’s last minute, I know,” Cal said to Kyle Richards in the clubhouse of West End Charter. “But I really need to talk to Jamie right away.”

“It’s that serious?” asked his longtime friend Kyle.

“I cannot lose her over this. I just can’t. I love her. We’re getting married.”

At least he hoped they were still getting married. Two months ago Jamie finally set a wedding date for the last Saturday in September—the fifth anniversary of their first date. And now this whole thing was a mess, and if Cal didn’t fix it now, he’d never be able to fix it.

You already blew it. You blew it five years ago. You should have told her the truth then!

“Alright then, go,” Kyle said. “I’ll take the cruise. I need the extra money, anyway. But you owe me—it’s Friday night. I had a date.”

Cal clapped Kyle on the back. “I definitely owe you, I’ll take your next crappy shift.”

“Better, give me your next corporate party boat.” Corporate parties on the largest yacht in their fleet had automatic eighteen percent tips added to the bill, which was split between a typical four-man crew in addition to salary. Plus, high-end parties often paid extra. Drunk rich people could become very generous with their pocket cash.

“You got it—it’s next Saturday night, the Fourth of July—so we good?”

Kyle gave him a high five, then left for the dock.

Cal clocked out and started for home. He passed a group of sign-carrying protesters and rolled his eyes.

West End Charter: Profit Over Protection

Protect Fish Not Profits!

Hey Hey Ho Ho Ted Colfax has to go!

Jeez, when would these people just stop? West End Charter had done nearly everything they wanted over the last two years—and then some—but it was never good enough.

Fortunately, the large crowds of protesters that started after the West End accident had dwindled over the last two years from hundreds to a half dozen. Maybe because they got bored, or maybe because West End fixed the problem with their older fleet, Cal didn’t know. But these few remaining were truly radical, and Cal hoped they didn’t cause any problems for the company over the lucrative Fourth of July holiday weekend.

He drove around them and headed home. He had more important things to deal with than this group of misfits.

Cal lived just outside of Friday Harbor with Jamie and their daughter. It was a small house, but all his, his savings covering the down payment after he left the Coast Guard six years ago. But it was Jamie who made the two-bedroom cottage a real home. She’d made curtains for the windows; put up cheery pictures that brightened even the grayest Washington day; and most recently, she’d framed some of Hazel’s colorful artwork for the kitchen nook he’d added on with Kyle’s help last summer.

He’d wanted to put Jamie on the deed when she moved in with him, but she wanted to go slower than that. He wanted to marry her, but she’d had a bad breakup with her longtime boyfriend before they met and was still struggling with the mind games her ex used to play on her. If that bastard ever set foot back on the island, Cal would beat him senseless.

But the ex was far out of the picture, living down in California, and Cal loved Jamie, so he respected her wishes not to pressure her into marriage. When she found out she was pregnant, he asked her to marry him again—she said yes but wanted to wait.

“There’s no rush. I love you, Cal, but I don’t want to get married just because I’m pregnant.”

He would move heaven and earth for Jamie and Hazel—why didn’t she know that?

That’s why when she finally settled on a date, confirmed it with invitations and an announcement in the San Juan Island newspaper, that he thought it would be smooth sailing.

And then she left.

As soon as he got home, he packed an overnight bag while trying to reach Jamie. She didn’t answer her cell phone. More than likely, there was no reception. Service was sketchy on the west side of the island.

He left another message.

“Jamie, we need to talk. I’m sorry, believe me I’m sorry. I love you. I love Hazel. I just want to talk and work this out. I’m coming to see you tonight, okay? Please call me.”

He was so frustrated. Not at Jamie—well, maybe a little because she’d taken off this morning for her dad’s place without even telling him. Just left him a note on the bathroom mirror.


I need time to think. Give me a couple days, okay? I love you, but right now I just need a little perspective.


Cal didn’t like the “but” part. What was there to think about? He loved her. They had a life together. Jamie and their little girl Hazel meant everything to him. They were getting married in three months!

He’d given her all day to think and now they needed to talk. Jamie had a bad habit of remaining silent when she was upset, thanks to that prick she’d dated before Cal. Cal much preferred her to get angry, to yell at him, to say exactly how she felt, then they could move on.

He jumped in his old pickup truck and headed west, praying he could salvage his family, the only thing he truly cared about. Failure was not an option.


That night Kyle clocked in and told the staff supervisor, Gloria, that Cal was sick, and he was taking the sunset cruise for him.

“Are you lying to me?” Gloria asked, looking over the top of her glasses at him.

“No, well, I mean, he’s not sick sick.” Dammit, Kyle had always been a piss-poor liar. “But he and Jamie had a fight, I guess, and he wants to fix it.”

“Alright, I’ll talk to Cal tomorrow. Don’t you go lying for him.”

“Don’t get him in trouble, Gloria.”

She sighed, took off her large glasses and cleaned them on her cotton shirt. “I like Cal as much as everyone, I’m not going to jam him up, but he should have come to me. I’ll bet he gave you his slot on the Fourth, didn’t he?”

Kyle grinned. Gloria had worked for West End longer than Kyle had been alive. They couldn’t operate without her.

“Eight people total. A party of four and two parties of two.” Gloria handed him the clipboard with the information of those who had registered for tonight’s sunset cruise. “Four bottles of champagne, a case of water, and cheese and fruit trays are onboard. You have one minute.”

“Thanks Gloria!” He ran down the dock to the Water Lily. He texted his boyfriend as he ran.

Hey, taking Cal’s shift, docking at 10—want to meet up then?

He sent the message and almost ran into a group who were already standing at the docks. Two men, two women, drinks in hand from the West End Club bar, in to-go cups.

“Can we board?” the tallest of the four asked.

“Give me one minute. What group are you with?”

“Nava Software.”

Kyle looked at his watch. Technically boarding started in five minutes; they’d be pushing off in twenty.

“I need to get approval from the captain.” He smiled and jumped over the gate. He found Neil Devereaux on the bridge, reading weather reports.

“You’re late,” Neil said without looking up.

“Sorry, Skipper. Cal called in sick.”

Neil looked at him. “Oh, Kyle, I didn’t know it was you. I was expecting Cal.”

“He called out. Everything okay?” Neil didn’t look like his usual chipper self.

“I had a rough day.”

Rough day? Neil was a retired federal agent and got to pick any shift he wanted. Everyone liked him. If he didn’t want to work, he didn’t. He had a pension and didn’t even have to work but said once that he’d be bored if he didn’t have something to do. He spent most of his free time fishing or hanging out at the Fish & Brew. Kyle thought he was pretty cool for a Boomer.

“Your kids okay?” he asked.

Neil looked surprised at the question. “Yes, of course. Why?”

“You said you had a rough day—I just remember you talking about how one of your kids was deployed or something.”

He nodded with a half smile. “Good memory. Jill is doing great. She’s on base in Japan, a mechanic. She loves it. And Eric is good, just works too much at the hospital. Thanks for asking.”

“Four guests are waiting to board—is it okay?”

“There’s always someone early, isn’t there?”

“Better early than late,” Kyle said, parroting something that Neil often said to the crew.

Neil laughed, and Kyle was glad he was able to take the skipper’s mind off whatever was bothering him.

“Go ahead, let them on—rear deck only. Check the lines, supplies, and emergency gear, okay? No food or drink until we pass the marker.”

“Got it.”

Kyle slid down the ladder as his phone vibrated. It was Adam.

F&B only place open that late—meet at the club and we’ll walk over, k?

He responded with a thumbs-up emoji and a heart, then smiled at the group of four. “Come aboard!”


Madelyn Jeffries sat on the toilet—not because she had to pee, but because she didn’t want to go on this cruise, not even for only three hours. She didn’t want to smile and play nice with Tina Marshall just because Pierce wanted to discuss business with Tina’s husband Vince.

She hated Tina. That woman would do anything to make her miserable. All because Pierce had fallen in love with her, Madelyn Cordell, a smart girl from the wrong side of the tracks in Tacoma.

Pierce didn’t understand. He tried, God bless him, but he didn’t. He was from another generation. He understood sex and chivalry and generosity and respect. He was the sweetest man she’d ever met. But he didn’t understand female interactions.

“I know you and Tina had somewhat of a rivalry when we met. But sweetheart, I fell in love with you. There’s no reason for you to be insecure.”

She wasn’t insecure. She and Pierce had something special, something that no one else could understand. Even she didn’t completely understand how she fell so head over heels for a man older than her deadbeat father. Oh, there was probably some psychologist out there who had any number of theories, but all Madelyn knew was that she and Pierce were right.

But Tina made her see red.

Tina, on top of this pregnancy—a pregnancy Madelyn had wanted to keep quiet, between her and Pierce, until she was showing. But somehow Pierce’s kids had found out last week, and they went ballistic.

They were the reason she and Pierce decided to get away for a long weekend. Last night had been wonderful and romantic and exactly what she needed. Then at brunch this morning they ran into Tina and Vince who were on a “vacation” after their honeymoon.

Madelyn didn’t doubt that Tina had found out she was here and planned this. There was no doubt in her mind that Tina had come to put a wedge between her and Pierce. After five years, why couldn’t she just leave her alone?

Just seeing Tina brought back the fearful, insecure girl Madelyn used to be, and she didn’t want that. She loved her life, she loved her husband, and above all she loved the baby inside her.

She flushed the toilet and stepped out of the stall.

Tina stood there by the sink, lips freshly coated with bloodred.

Madelyn stepped around her and washed her hands.

“Vince took me to Paris for our honeymoon for two glorious weeks,” said Tina.

Madelyn didn’t respond.

“I heard that you went to Montana.” Tina giggled a fake, frivolous laugh.

It was true. They’d spent a month in the Centennial Valley for their honeymoon, in a beautiful lodge owned by Pierce. They went horseback riding, hiking, had picnics, and she even learned how to fish—Pierce wanted to teach her, and she found that she enjoyed it. Fishing was relaxing and wholesome, something she’d never considered before. It had been the best month of her life.

But she wasn’t sharing that with Madelyn. Her time with Pierce was private. It was sacred.

She dried her hands and said, “Excuse me.”

“You think you’ve changed, but you haven’t. You’re still the little bug-eyed girl who followed me around for years. I taught you how to walk, I taught you how to attract men, I taught you how to dress and talk and act like you were somebody. If it wasn’t for me, you would never have met Pierce Jeffries. And you took him from me.”

“The boat leaves in five minutes.” Madelyn desperately wanted to get away from Tina.

“Vince and Pierce are going into business together. We’ll be spending a lot of time together, you and me. You would do well to drop the holier-than-thou act and accept the fact that I am back in your life and I’m not going anywhere.”

Madelyn stared at Tina. Once she’d been in awe of the girl, a year older than she was, who always seemed to get what she wanted. Tina was bold, she was beautiful, she was driven.

But she would never be satisfied. Did she even love Vince Marshall? Or had she married him because of the money and status he could give her?

Madelyn hated that when she first met Pierce she had thought he was her ticket out of poverty and menial jobs. She hated that she had followed Tina’s advice on how to seduce an older man.

Madelyn had fallen in love with Pierce, not because he was rich or powerful or for what he could give her. She loved him because he was kind and compassionate. She loved him because he saw her as she was and loved her anyway. But when he proposed to her, she’d fallen apart. She’d told him that she loved him, but she could never marry him because everything she was had been built on a lie—how she got her job at the country club, now they first met, how she had targeted him because he was wealthy and single. She would never forgive herself; how could he? His marriage proposal had been romantic and beautiful—he’d taken her to the bench where they first had a conversation, along the water of Puget Sound. But she ran away, ashamed.

He’d found her, she’d told him everything, the entire truth about who she was—a poor girl from a poor neighborhood who pretended to be worldly and sophisticated to attract men.

He said he loved her even more.

“I knew, Madelyn, from the beginning. But more, I see you, inside and out, and that’s the woman I love.”

Madelyn stared at her onetime friend. “Tina, you would do well to mind your p’s and q’s, because if I tell Pierce to back off, he’ll back off.”

She sounded a lot more confident than she felt. When it came to business, Pierce would listen to her, but he deferred to his oldest son, who worked closely with him. And Madelyn had never given him an ultimatum. She’d never told him what to do about business. She’d never have considered it, except for Tina.

Tina scowled.

Madelyn passed by her, then snipped, “By the way, nice boob job.”

She left, the confrontation draining her. She didn’t want to do this cruise. She didn’t want to go head-to-head with Tina for the next three hours.

She didn’t want to use the baby as an excuse…but desperate times and all that.

Pierce was waiting for her on the dock, talking to Vince Marshall.

“Would you excuse us for one moment, Vince?” she said politely.

“Of course, I’ll catch up with Tina and meet you on the boat.”

She smiled and nodded as he walked back to the harbormaster’s building.

“What is it, love?” Concerned, worried, about her.

“I thought morning sickness was only in the morning. I’m sorry—I fear if I get on that boat, I’ll be ill again. I don’t want to embarrass you.”

“Nonsense,” he said. He took her hand, kissed it. “You will never embarrass me.” He put their joined hands on her stomach. The warmth and affection in his eyes made her fall in love with him again. She felt like she loved Pierce a little more every day. “I can meet with Vince tomorrow. I’ll go back to the house with you.”

“This business meeting is important to you, isn’t it?”

“It might be.”

“Then go. Enjoy it. I can get home myself. Isn’t that what Ubers are for?”

“A sunset is not as pretty without the woman I love holding my hand.”

She wanted him home with her, but this was best. They had separate lives, at least in business; she didn’t want to pressure him in any way, just because she detested Tina. “I will wait up for you.”

He leaned over and kissed her. Gently. As if she would break. “Take good care of the woman I love, Bump,” he said to her stomach.

She melted, kissed him again, then turned and walked back down the dock, fighting an overwhelming urge to go back and ask Pierce to come home with her.

But she wouldn’t do it. It was silly and childish. Instead, she would go home, read a good book, and prepare a light meal for when Pierce came home. Then she would make love to her husband and put her past—and that hideous leech Tina Marshall—firmly out of her mind.


Jamie already regretted leaving Friday Harbor.

She listened to Cal’s message twice, then deleted it and cleaned up after dinner. Hazel was watching her half hour of PAW Patrol before bath, books, and bed.

Her dad’s remote house near Rogue Harbor was on the opposite side of the island from where they lived. Peaceful, quiet, what she thought she needed, especially since her dad wasn’t here. He was an airline pilot and had a condo in Seattle that he lived in more often than not, coming up here only when he had more than two days off in a row.

She left because she was hurt. She had every right to be hurt, dammit! But now that she was here, she wondered if she’d made a mistake.

Cal hadn’t technically cheated on her. But he also hadn’t told her that his ex-girlfriend was living on the island, not until the woman befriended her. She wouldn’t have thought twice about it except for the fact that Cal had hidden it from her.

She had a bad habit of running away from any hint of approaching drama. She hated conflict and would avoid it at all costs. Her mother was drama personified. How many times had young Jamie run to her dad’s house to get away from her mother’s bullshit? Finally when she was fifteen she permanently moved in with her dad, changed schools, and her mother didn’t say squat.

“You should have stayed and talked it out,” she mumbled to herself as she dried the dishes. The only bad thing about her dad’s place was that there was no dishwasher.

But Cal was coming to see her tonight. He didn’t run away from conflict. She wanted to fix this but didn’t know how because she was hurt. But he had to work, so she figured she had a few hours to think everything through. To know the right thing to do.

“Just tell him. Tell him how you feel.”

Her phone buzzed and at first she thought it was an Amber Alert, because it was an odd sound.

Instead, it was an emergency alert from the San Juan Island Sheriff’s Office.


Her stomach flipped and she grabbed the counter when a wave of dizziness washed over her.

She turned on the small television in the kitchen and switched to the local news. She watched in horror as the news anchor reported that a West End Charter yacht had exploded after leaving for a sunset cruise. He confirmed that it was the Water Lily and did not know at this time if there were survivors. Search and rescue crews were already out on the water, and authorities advised all vessels to dock immediately.

Cal had been scheduled to work the Water Lily tonight.

Hazel laughed at something silly on PAW Patrol. Jamie caught her breath, then suddenly tears fell. How could—? No. Not Cal. She loved him and even if they had problems, he loved Hazel more than anything in the world. He was the best father she could have hoped for. Hazel wasn’t planned, but she was loved so much, and Cal had made it clear that he was sticking, from the very beginning. How could she forget that? How could she have forgotten that Cal had never made her feel inadequate, he’d never hurt her, he always told her she could do anything she wanted? He was always there for her…when she was bedridden with Hazel for two months. When she broke her wrist and Hazel was still nursing, he held the baby to her breast every four hours. Changed every diaper. He sang to Hazel, read her books, giggled with her in makeshift blanket forts when thunder scared her.

And now he was gone.

There could be survivors. You have to go.

She couldn’t bring Hazel to the dock. The search, the sirens, the fear that filled the town. It would terrify the three-year-old.

But she couldn’t stay here. Cal needed her—injured or not, he needed her and she loved him. It was as simple as that. Rena would watch Hazel so Jamie could find Cal, make sure he was okay.

“Hazel, we’re going home.”

“I wanna sleep at Grandpa’s!”

“I forgot to feed Tabby.” Tabby was a stray cat who had adopted their carport on cold or rainy nights. He wouldn’t come into the house, and only on rare occasions would let Jamie pet him, but she’d started feeding him. Hazel had of course named him after a cat on her favorite show.

“Oh, Mommy! We gotta go rescue Tabby!”

And just like that, Hazel was ready.

Please, God, please please please please make Cal okay.


Ashley Dunlap didn’t like lying to her sister, but Whitney couldn’t keep a secret to save her life, and if Whitney said one word to their dad about Ashley’s involvement with Island Protectors, she’d be grounded until she graduated—and maybe even longer.

“We’re going to be late,” Whitney said.

“Dad will understand,” Ashley said, looking through the long lens of her camera at the West End Charter boat leaving port. She snapped a couple pictures, though they were too far away to see anything.

She was just one of several monitors who were keeping close tabs on West End boats in the hopes that they would catch them breaking the law. West End may have been able to convince most people in town that they had cleaned up their act, and some even believed their claims that the leakage two years ago was an accident, but as the founder of IP Donna Bell said time and time again, companies always put profit over people. And just because they hadn’t caught them breaking the law didn’t mean that they weren’t breaking the law. It was IP who documented the faulty fuel tanks two years ago that leaked their nasty fuel all over the coast. Who knows how many fish died because of their crimes? How long it would take the ecosystem to recover?

“Ash, Dad said not a minute past eight, and it’s already seven thirty. It’s going to take us thirty minutes just to dock and secure the boat.”

“It’s a beautiful evening,” Ashley said, turning her camera away from the Water Lily and toward the shore. Another boat was preparing to leave, but the largest yacht in the fleet—The Tempest—was already out with a group of fifty whale watching west of the island in the Haro Strait. Bobby and his brother were out that way, monitoring The Tempest.

Ashley was frustrated. They just didn’t have people who cared enough to take the time to monitor West End. There were only about eight or nine of them who were willing to spend all their free time standing up to West End, tracking their boats, making sure they were obeying the rules.

Everyone else just took West End’s word for it.

Whitney sighed. “I could tell Dad the sail snagged.”

“You can’t lie to save your life, sis,” Ashley said. “We’ll just tell him the truth. It’s a beautiful night and we got distracted by the beauty of the islands.”

Whitney laughed, then smiled. “It is pretty, isn’t it? Think those pictures are going to turn out? It’s getting a little choppy.”

“Some of them might,” she said.

Ashley turned her camera back to the Water Lily. The charter was still going only five knots as they left the harbor. She snapped a few pictures, saw that Neil Devereaux was piloting today. She liked Neil—he spent a lot of time at the Fish & Brew talking to her dad and anyone else who came in. He’d only lived here for a couple years, but he seemed like a native of the small community. She’d talked to him about the pollution problem from West End, and he kept saying that West End fixed the problem with the old tanks and he’d seen nothing to suggest that they had other problems or cut corners on the repairs. He told her he would look around, and if anything was wrong, he’d bring it to the Colfax family’s attention.

But could she believe him? Did he really care or was he just trying to get her to go away and leave West End alone?

Neil looked over at their sailboat, and both she and Whitney waved. He blew the horn and waved back.

A breeze rattled the sail, and Whitney grabbed the beam. “Shit!” she said.

Ashley put her camera back in its case and caught the rope dangling from the mast. “You good, Whit?”

“Yeah, it just slipped. Beautiful scenery is distracting. I got it.”

Whitney bent down to secure the line, and Ashley turned back toward the Water Lily as it passed the one-mile marker and picked up speed.

The bow shook so hard she thought they might have hit something, then a fireball erupted, shot into the air along with wood and—oh, God, people!—bright orange, then black smoke billowed from the Water Lily. The stern kept moving forward, the boat in two pieces—the front destroyed, the back collapsing.

Whitney screamed and Ashley stared. She saw a body in the water among the debris. The flames went out almost immediately, but the smoke filled the area.

“We have to help them,” Ashley said. “Whitney—”

Then a second explosion sent a shock wave toward their sailboat and it was all they could do to keep from going under themselves. Sirens on the shore sounded the alarm, and Ashley and Whitney headed back to the harbor as the sheriff’s rescue boats went toward the disaster.

Taking a final look back, Ashley pulled out her camera and took more pictures. If West End was to blame for this, Ashley would make sure they paid. Neil was a friend, a good man, like a grandfather to her. He…he couldn’t have survived. Could he?

She stared at the smoking boat, split in two.

No. She didn’t see how anyone survived that.

Tears streamed down her face and as soon as she and Whitney were docked, she hugged her sister tight.

I’ll get them, Neil. I promise you, I’ll prove that West End cut corners and killed you and everyone else.

Excerpted from The Wrong Victim by Allison Brennan, Copyright © 2022 by Allison Brennan. Published by MIRA Books.

Please also enjoy my YouTube video review - 


ALLISON BRENNAN is the New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author of over thirty novels. She has been nominated for Best Paperback Original Thriller by International Thriller Writers and the Daphne du Maurier Award. A former consultant in the California State Legislature, Allison lives in Arizona with her husband, five kids and assorted pets.

Social Links:
Author website:
Facebook: @AllisonBrennan
Twitter: @Allison_Brennan
Instagram: @abwrites

Wednesday, April 27, 2022

BLOG TOUR - The Lighthouse Girls


The girl shivers in the boat, trying to hold back her sobs as the man silently rows them towards the lighthouse under a dark sky. She thinks desperately of her big sister, how they’d laughed just a few hours before as they rode the Ferris wheel at the funfair. Will she ever see her again?

When the body of a teenage girl is found abandoned on a beach by a lighthouse in North Carolina’s Outer Banks, Detective Casey White is first on the scene. Breaking the news to the heartbroken parents, Casey is distraught to learn of a second tragedy: the girl’s eight-year-old little sister Shawna is missing too.

Searching the lighthouse building, Casey soon finds traces that Shawna was kept there: her clothes, a teddy bear. Someone has been keeping her alive, but where have they taken her?

When she learns that the girls were together at a visiting funfair the night they were taken, Casey races to interview the workers, but is only met with silence and turned backs. Digging into old cases, Casey’s blood runs cold as she realises there’s been a murder in the same location as the travelling fair going back years.

Now the funfair has disappeared without trace. Thinking back to a shadowy figure she noticed by the hall of mirrors, Casey is certain when they find the fair, they will find the killer hiding in plain sight. But with the whole town terrified for their daughters, can Casey hunt them down before it’s too late for little Shawna?

An absolutely unputdownable thriller that will have you gasping at the twists and turns. Fans of Karin Slaughter, Lisa Gardner and Robert Dugoni will be completely addicted.



Title:   The Lighthouse Girls
Author:  B.R. Spangler
Series:  Detective Casey White
Publisher:  Bookouture 
Genre:   Mystery & Thrillers
Format:  Kindle ARC
No. of Pages:   283
Date of Publication:   April 22, 2022
My Rating:   4 Stars 

Detective Casey White it’s not only trying to find the murderer of a teenage girl but she also is desperate to find the girls eight-year-old sister Shawna. No doubt notifying a family when they lose a child is devastating, Casey’s job was that much harder when they realize that Shawna is missing. At the scene of the crime, a lighthouse near a beach, items are located that show that Shawna was likely kept at the location where the body was found. Casey can’t help but ponder as to why Shawna is missing. Furthermore, if Shawna is still alive, will they get to her in time?

As the search intensifies Casey discovers that the girls attended a funfair in the village. Talking to as many people as possible, turning over every clue, alerts Casey that something similar has happened before and that rests in cold cases that go back years. Casey uses her skills and rugged determination to connect past events to what is going on now with sincere hopes of finding Shawna alive.  

Although the suspect pool is quite large, solving this case proves to be quite challenging because the members of the community appear to be keeping secrets, and this undoubtedly makes Casey’s job that much harder. This is a remarkable series that I have been thoroughly enjoying. Although The Lighthouse Girls is the sixth book in a riveting series, it is a series that is written quite well to the point it can very easily be read as a standalone. However, for the sake of continuity and understanding a bit more about the dynamic between Casey and her team, reading the books in order might be very enjoyable. Don’t miss this thrilling book, one that will keep you turning pages late into the night. 

Many thanks to Bookouture and to NetGalley for this ARC for review. This is my honest opinion.

Please also enjoy my YouTube video review - 


B.R. Spangler is a USA TODAY Bestselling Author of Mysteries and Crime Thrillers.

A resident of Virginia with a wonderful family, including five cats, two birds and a lizard. During the day, the hours are filled with engineering work. Off hours, time is spent writing, editing, and thinking up the next great story.

With too many stories to write, books are split across pen names, writing crime thrillers, science fiction, horrors, paranormal and contemporary fiction.

To keep up to date, sign up for the B.R. Spanglernewsletter sign up here: No spam will ever get sent, just some random musings or a heads up on when the next book is published


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Monday, April 25, 2022

BLOG TOUR - The Widow’s Husband


For seven years I believed my husband was dead – until the note arrived this morning…

The day her husband Tom disappeared, Rachel’s life fell apart. Childhood sweethearts with two young children, they’d done everything together. And then, suddenly, Tom was gone. Without a word, without a note, without a single sign of where he might be, leaving Rachel to survive alone.

Now, nearly seven years later, Rachel has come to terms with life as a single mother, caring for their children who still secretly long for their father’s miraculous return.

But in his absence, Tom’s hidden life started to emerge, and Rachel has discovered things a wife should never have to. A secret life that betrayed everything Rachel thought she knew. Not knowing where he’d gone was no longer the main worry keeping her awake at night – it seemed much more likely he’d been silenced. Forever.

Until today, when – with just one month until Tom is to be declared legally dead – Rachel receives a note in handwriting she recognises with dread:

My darling, I’ve missed you so much. Give me a chance to explain. I’m coming home.

The husband she’d lost is alive.

And so are all his secrets…

A totally addictive and suspenseful thriller that will have you reading late into the night, perfect for fans of Shari Lapena, T.M. Logan and Lisa Jewell.

Title:   The Widow’s Husband
Author:  Lesley Sanderson 
Publisher:  Bookouture 
Genre:   Psychological Thriller 
Format:  Kindle ARC
No. of Pages:   266
Date of Publication:   April 21, 2022
My Rating:   5 Stars

Rachel’s husband Tom disappeared nearly seven years ago. Without a trace. Not a single clue. How is it that she gets a note all this time later that simply says “I want to come back to you”? She recognizes his handwriting. But how can that be?

Rachel is just about to be able to legally declare Tom dead. One more month. But, this note just might change everything. Their marriage wasn't perfect, although Rachel was more than content. Until she discovered Tom had been having an affair. He moved in with his girlfriend, leaving her to raise their two children alone.  

But then one day Tom vanished. No one heard from him again. No one knew where he was. Not Rachel. Not Heidi, Tom's other woman. Forced to learn more about Tom and his deceitfulness becomes Rachel's primary concern. Slowly, Rachel begins to unravel secrets. Secrets that will no doubt provide answers she desperately needs. All the while, Rachel must examine her feelings where Tom is concerned.

Lesley Sanderson has written a captivating story. Filled with compelling drama and intriguing characters, this engaging read culminates with a stunning conclusion. 

Many thanks to Bookouture and to NetGalley for this ARC for review. This is my honest opinion.

Please also enjoy my YouTube video review - 


Lesley attended the Curtis Brown Creative 6 month novel writing course in 2015/6, and in 2017 The Orchid Girls (then On The Edge) was shortlisted for the Lucy Cavendish fiction prize.

Lesley is the author pf three psychological thrillers: The Orchid Girls, The Woman at 46 Heath Street and The Leaving Party.

Lesley spends her days writing in coffee shops in Kings Cross where she lives and works as a librarian. She loves the atmosphere and eclectic mix of people in the area. Lesley discovered Patricia Highsmith as a teenager and has been hooked on psychological thrillers ever since.

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Sunday, April 24, 2022

BLOG TOUR - A Perilous Perspective

Title:   A Perilous Perspective 
Author:  Anna Lee Huber
Series:  Lady Darby Mystery #10
Genre:   Historical Mystery
Format:  Kindle ARC 
No. of Pages:   384
Date of Publication:   April 19, 2022
My Rating:   4 Stars


An all-new historical mystery in this USA Today bestselling series featuring beloved inquiry agents Lady Kiera Darby and her dashing husband, Sebastian Gage.

Argyll, Scotland. July 1832. After a trying few months in Edinburgh, Kiera and her husband and investigative partner, Sebastian Gage, are eager to escape to the Highlands with their three-month-old child. Kiera is overjoyed for her cousin Rye and her detractor-turned-friend Charlotte who are being wed in a private ceremony at the estate of Rye’s great-uncle, the Marquess of Barbreck, in what seems to be the perfect wedding party.

But when Kiera is invited to peruse Barbreck’s extensive art collection, she is disturbed to discover that one of his most priceless paintings seems to be a forgery. The marquess’s furious reaction when she dares to mention it leaves her shaken and the entire house shocked. For it turns out that this is not the first time the word forgery has been uttered in connection with the Barbreck household.

Matters turn more ominous when a maid from a neighboring estate is found murdered  where the forged painting hangs. Is her death connected to the forgeries, perhaps a grisly warning of what awaits those who dare to probe deeper? With unknown entities aligned against them, Kiera and Gage are forced to confront the fact that they may have underestimated their opponent. For they are swiftly made to realize that Charlotte’s and Rye’s future happiness is not the only issue at stake, and this stealthy game of cat and mouse could prove to have deadly consequences.


Set in Scotland in the 1830s, A Perilous Perspective is the tenth book in Anna Lee Huber's historical mystery series. As a series fanatic, usually I won't jump into a series this late without reading any of the previous books. However, the premise for this book intrigued me so I jumped right in. In this installment, Lady Kiera Darby and her husband Sebastian Gage are about to attend a wedding of Kiera's friend Charlotte in the Scottish Islands. They bring their three-month-old daughter Emma along with them. As the wedding will be taking place on her uncle's estate. this affords Kiera the opportunity to seek answers regarding her own past.

However, there are some definite hiccups along the way. For one thing, Charlotte's father does not approve of her soon-to-be husband Rye. Her father was quite a stickler for propriety. Charlotte of course is old enough to marry Rye without permission, but she at least wants her father's blessing. But Charlotte soldiers on, and expects her wedding to be quite lovely.

More than Charlotte's concern for her father's position regarding her upcoming wedding, far more serious things are happening. Soon there is a shocking murder, and this is right up Kiera's ally. Along with Sebastian, Kiera begins an investigation. She wants to solve the murder so that the wedding can go on. There is even more, and this involves some type of forgery scheme.

Factor in long-buried secrets that are now unraveling, Kiera and Sebastian, in their role as inquiry agents, will leave no stone unturned as they try and find the identity of the killer, all while getting behind the forgeries, lies and secrets that are casting a dark cloud over what should be a delightful occasion

Although I came into this series quite late, this book did quite well as a standalone novel. It had enough of a back story, its own conflicts and strong characters that all made this book quite easy to follow. However, I did check my online libraries and I can get the first nine books in the series and hope to read them before book eleven is released.

Many thanks to Berkley and to NetGalley for this ARC for review. This is my honest opinion.

Please enjoy the following excerpt:
I tipped my head back and breathed deeply of the Highland air thick with the scent of pine trees and the salty brine of the loch, as well as the faint aroma of old stone. The castle ruins providing us shade were little more than two stubby walls of a former tower while a number of larger stones straggled across the hillock. Lord Barbreck had explained that the rest of the rocks had long been carted away, most of them being utilized to help build the new castle in the early seventeenth century near the spot where the manor now stood. That building had been burned to the ground by Hanoverian troops following the Jacobite rising of 1745, but if I looked to the northeast over the treetops, I could just spy the decorative chimneys and crenellations of the Georgian manor which had been built to replace it some fifty years ago.

At the sound of the loud snuffle behind me, I looked over my shoulder to find Lady Bearsden blinking up at Morven.

"Rise and shine, sleepy-head," my cousin teased as she poured herself some lemonade from the pitcher she'd located.

"I wasn't sleeping," she countered, pushing herself upright, then patting her snow-white hair to be certain it was in place. "Merely resting my eyes."

Morven nodded toward her chin. "Then I suppose you'll blame that bit of drool on little Emma?"

Lady Bearsden swiped at her face but, upon seeing the smirk Morven had failed to hide behind her glass, narrowed her eyes. Morven bent forward to return the pitcher to the basket, but the older lady halted her with a thump of her gold figure-headed cane, narrowly missing my cousin's foot. "Aren't you going to offer to pour some for me? My, but isn't it warm today." She fanned her face with her hand. "And you ladies dashing about in this heat."

"I suppose you and Kiera had the right idea," Morven replied good-naturedly, handing her the glass of lemonade she'd demanded in retaliation for Morven's impertinence.

Lady Bearsden accepted it with a nod of thanks. "I told Kiera I was surprised she'd not brought her sketchbook with her, as I've scarcely seen her without it the past three days."

She had, indeed, already remarked such just before dozing off and apparently missing my answer.

"There are many interesting sights to capture at Barbreck," I replied. "But I suspected it would be much too blustery on this hill to fumble with paper and charcoals, and I was correct."

"All the same, that view must be beckoning to you," Charlotte interjected, admiring the aspect before us.

"Yes and no."

This admission was met by a quizzical glance.

"Kiera is only curious about people." A twinkle lit Morven's eyes as she sat beside me again. "Landscapes are much too dull and less prone to foibles."

I laughed. "I suppose that's partly true. But portraits are definitely where my talents lie. I wish I could paint a landscape half so well as Gainsborough or Constable," I added wistfully.

My cousin made a derisive sound at the back of her throat. "Well, I wish I could paint more than a blob with arms and legs. You happen to be one of the most gifted portrait artists in all of Britain, so don't expect me to feel sorry for you."

I smiled at her taunting tone, hearing the pride behind it. Though she had been exaggerating, at least a little. It was true that, second only to my family, my art was my greatest passion. But while my portrait paintings had recently become all the rage, that was more due to my scandalous reputation than my talent. And my decision some months past to stop accepting portrait commissions had only seen the demand for them rise. In the past three weeks alone, I had turned down two outrageous offers from one of the highest-ranking peers of the realm and a wealthy industrialist. Had money been my chief consideration, I might have been sorely tempted, but Gage's fortune was more than adequate, and I was much more interested in pursuing my own portrait projects.

"I've two Gainsboroughs up at the hall," the Marquess of Barbreck declared, shuffling over to rejoin us with the aid of his walking stick. "A few Van Dycks, Titian, Reynolds, Zoffany . . ." he continued rattling off artists' names, some of whom made my ears perk up with interest. I had already spied a pair of portraits by Thomas Lawrence and a delightful watercolor by Thomas Girtin, but I'd not yet had time to explore the rest of the manor, what with the demands of motherhood and preparations for the wedding to be completed.

"Yes, Barbreck is quite proud of his art collection," my Aunt Cait said, breaking into this litany as she herded Morven's youngest child toward his mother. As always, dressed in the first stare of fashion, my late mother's younger sister appeared elegant and unruffled even after chasing a toddler and his ball about.

"Rightfully so," Barbreck trumpeted in his deep brogue as he settled in the other chair. "'Tis one o' the finest private collections in all o' Scotland. Nay, all o' Britain!" He gestured upward with his walking stick before lowering it to point at me, his scraggly white eyebrows arching. "I'll take you for a tour myself one o' these days." He thumped the stick down between his legs, leaning against the silver filigreed head. Between his and Lady Bearsden's canes, I expected someone's head or knuckles to be rapped at any moment. "At least I ken you'll appreciate it."

Excerpted from A Perilous Perspective by Anna Lee Huber Copyright © 2022 by Anna Lee Huber. Excerpted by permission of Berkley. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

Please also enjoy my YouTube video review - 


Anna Lee Huber is the Daphne Award–winning author of the national bestselling Lady Darby Mysteries and the Verity Kent Mysteries. She is a summa cum laude graduate of Lipscomb University in Nashville, Tennessee, where she majored in music and minored in psychology. She currently resides with her family and is hard at work on her next novel.