Friday, August 31, 2012

Deranged by Lonni Lees, a review

I had the good fortune to meet Lonni Lees at this past PSWA conference. When I saw she'd written Deranged, described as a novel of horror, I was curious and bought it.

This is a tale of true horror with an intriguing twist--one I don't dare giveaway.

Charlie Blackhawk is a sick, unbalanced serial killer created by his horrific childhood. The reader is allowed into Charlie's psyche as many of the chapters are from his point-of-view.

The story is also about Amy a disturbed twelve-year-old who has frightening dreams and visions that seem all to real.

Sabrina, also twelve, attracts the attention of Charlie Blackhawk who fantasizes about her and begins to stalk her.

A sometimes brutal tale, author Lees has managed to create a multi-layered story that comes together in a most surprising and satisfying ending.

Recommend to those who aren't put off by explicit violence.  Frankly, I couldn't put it down once I got started.


Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The Inspiration for Killed in Kruger by Denise Hartman

I had a job with a nature photographer doing writing and graphics. He was a college president before he retired to do photography and loved challenging me to expand my horizons. When he went to do a photo safari for 16 weeks all over the southern tip of Africa, he challenged me to come during some part of that trip.

I did a ton of research for the trip setting up self-safari camping sites for him and reserving rondavels in National Parks in three countries. I signed up for some email reports from some of the sites and started receiving all kinds on things relating to the Southern tip of Africa. I became intrigued by odd animal behavior and strange news from the parks. 

A couple in South Africans befriended my boss and let him stay in their home. When I was in Johannesburg I stayed there too. They were like a pair from a SWAT team when it came to getting in and out of their home compound. They’d both been robbed numerous times. He had worked in the police force at one time. They planned who would go for the gate and who would open the garage and how it would all go before they approached the house so that there was no lingering in the street. Their fear was palpable. It was 1998 and tensions were still running high and crime was rampant.

We photo safaried Kruger National Park in South Africa and Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe. It was a wonderful experience. Later after my boss came back from Africa, I would do research identifying the animals in the slides and finding information that might fit into stories to sell the slides. 

In my research I came across a website that was stories from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission that was a post-Apartheid attempt at cleansing the collective conscious of the traumas that had occurred. People could testify of wrong doings that had occurred to them or a loved one and others could confess things they had done and ask for amnesty.  Most of the stories were heart breaking and while the commission has been criticized, it was fascinating for me as an outsider to look into their world.

Out of all that research, looking at my boss’s slides of Africa, and our traveling came this book. Unlike some of the characters in my book, my photographer boss and I both made it back from Africa alive. 

I chose in Killed in Kruger to have an outsider’s perspective on South Africa.  My protagonist, Tabitha Krans, is an aspiring travel writer from the U.S. with a bend toward sarcasm to help the book keep from being too dark. I didn’t want to presume to speak from the point of view of an insider. All the locals in the book that share information about the country express something I saw in my research in one way or another, so I do not try to judge what they are. 

I also limit the scope of the Killed in Kruger to basically the Park and one other town to make it simpler and hopefully more accurate. I hope it’s clear from the novel that South Africa is a beautiful place with a complicated past that is worth a visit. 

Killed in Kruger Book Blurb:

Tabitha Krans arrives to discover the veldt of South Africa’s Kruger Park seems to have swallowed up Uncle Phillip. Tabitha’s afraid her writing career has disappeared along with him and dire things lie in wait for her as her mother had predicted. Uncle Phillip’s connections are her only link to travel writing and his photos are crucial. When he turns up dead, she wants the truth. Dead men don’t speak but photos Phillip took evoke strange reactions in park authorities. Her nosing around turns up suspicions of human trafficking, poaching and covert investigations but not many answers. South Africa holds dark secrets and deep beauty but it doesn’t want to give Tabitha the truth. She keeps prying until someone believes she’s a threat in need of elimination.

Dense Hartman’s Bio: Denise's background in journalism and television production has influenced her writing style and habits, while living overseas for several years, currently in Madrid, Spain, gives Denise's imagination new sites and sounds for her mysteries on a day in and out basis. She is a member of Sisters In Crime, including having been the president of her hometown Kansas City Partners in Crime chapter. Denise has a passion for reading, books, travel, dogs, tea, and teapots not necessarily in that order.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The Mysterious Life of an Author

This is my workspace, fortunately you can't see how truly messy it is and can be. I'm fortunate to have a big room with cupboards and bookcases and a long table that I pile projects I'm working on and object that I want to remember to take with me for the next place I'm going. This where I actually write, edit, and do email and Facebook and promote online, etc.

Since I'm going to write about my life as an author, you're going to find out I'm not mysterious at all. Because I'm a wife and homemaker I do all the things connected with those two identities too. Though I must confess, I no longer do major housework. I pay one of my daughters to do it. I still do the laundry, cook and grocery shop.

On the writing side, lately I've been working on the promotion for Raging Water the latest in the Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery series. It is available now from the publisher, in all different formats and of course from Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

My copies of the books are scheduled to arrive tomorrow, then I'll be busy sending out review copies. My actual physical book launches (yes, I'm having two) won't be until near the end of October, but my blog tour begins September 2. More about that in coming cays.

While all this planning is going on, I'm going over the manuscript for the next Rocky Bluff P.D. crime novel. My critique group has heard it all and with their help, I've finally come up with a title.

And I've finished the next Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery, but now my critique group will have to hear it chapter by chapter.

While all this is going on, I am the editor for two newsletters, one is for the Public Safety Writers Association which comes out in quarterly and the other is a monthly newsletter for California Residential Services Association--a group I've been involved with when I owned, operated and lived in a licensed facility for 6 developmentally disabled women. (Hubby and I did that for 22 years, a most rewarding profession.)

I have huge family--4 living children, 18 grandchildren, 12 greats with one on the way any minute. I love being with them, enjoying them, and hearing about them.

I probably left something out--but that's what my mysterious author life is all about.


Monday, August 27, 2012

Don't Turn Around by Michelle Gagnon, a review

When I read Don't Turn Around,  I had no idea it was categorized as a YA. I loved it from beginning to end.

I suppose I should have realized it was a YA because of the lack of bad language and explicit sex scenes. What it did have was a unique and believable plot and characters that gripped me from the very beginning.

The heroine, sixteen year-old Noa, wakes up on an operating table in an empty warehouse with an IV in her arm with no idea what’s going on. Her escape is heart-pounding—and it doesn’t take long for her to realize she is being relentlessly pursued. Her computer skills help keep her alive. She teams up with another computer genius, Peter, whose life is also being  threatened.

Continually on the run, they begin to unravel a most horrendous secret that involves medical experimentation and foster kids. The action is totally non-stop and I couldn’t put it down.

Highly recommended for all ages--and anyone who loves a good mystery.

Review by Marilyn Meredith, author of the Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery series.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

The Last Temptation by Gerrie Ferris Finger, a review

The heroine, Moriah Dru, who is called Dru throughout the book, is called upon to find Eileen Cameron and her daughter, Linley Whitney, who have vanished from their home in Palm Springs. 

The investigation take Dru from her home in Atlanta to the places the mother and daughter were last seen in and around Palm Springs. Immediately, Dru realizes nothing and no one is quite what it or they claim to be from Dartagnan LeRoi, a police officer, hairdresser, the husband, a French chef and an Indian Princess.

Dru’s life is threatened by a snake bite, monsoon and a flash flood and she seems no closer to solving the mystery. She returns to Atlanta to find out more from the girl’s father, only to find out no one here is quite what they seem or appear to be. All the turmoil takes a toll on her romance with her love, Lieutenant Lake. Lake disappears and Dru puts everything on hold when she determines to find him.

When the truth about everyone and everything start to come out, Dru and Lake face imminent death.
The author has created a page turning mystery full of unusual characters and the kind of complex plot with so many surprises you can’t stop reading until you’re done.

Breathtaking at times, surprising at others, The Last Temptation is a compelling mystery throughout.


An ARC of this book was sent to me by P.J.Nunn Promotions.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Happy Birthday to Me!

Yep, it is my birthday. I'm at the age where I'd just as soon forget them. I've had way too many. The first birthday party I can remember, was when I was 5.  I'd just been a flower girl for auntie's wedding so I wore the same dress. I'm not sure if it was this one or not, but I'm about the same age here.
For that party I got to be a fairy princess and I know that my aunts and mom worked really hard to make the whole affair like a fairytale.

This was my wedding day, I was just 18.

Me, now 19, and first child, Dana. We had four more kids, eighteen grandkids, and 12 great grands with another due anyday.

 Me at last year's birthday celebration. I've had a great life with many, many blessings.


Thursday, August 23, 2012

Ongoing Characters in the RBPD series by F. M. Meredith

On DorothyL, a great mystery list with both readers and writers, a big discussion has been going on about whether or not to have a list of characters in the front of a book. Some thought it absolutely necessary. Others pointed out that in a mystery series it might give away s surprise. I talked to my publisher and she said it would be an added expenses--especially if she had to go back and do it in previous books in the series.

Instead of doing that, I thought I would list some of the ongoing characters here: (Some I'm leaving out because they would ruin a plot surprise.)

Doug Milligan, a RBPD police office who is upgraded to detective.

Ryan Strickland, another officer with a reputation of a womanizer who undergoes a major change through the series.

Stacey Wilbur, one of only a few female officers in the series. She was widowed and has one child. Major events happen to her over the series.

Abel Navarro, another officer, who has a big extended family that often affects his job.

Felix Zachary, an officer who undergoes trauma, life and family drama.

Wendy Zachary, Felix's school teacher wife.

Gordon Butler, by-the-book officer who faces lots of turmoil on the job and disappointments in his private life.

Chief McKenzie, RBPD police chief.

There are many others: family members, wives and ex-wives, new and lost loves, law breakers, bad guys and gals, philanderers, child molesters, pedophiles, murderers, witnesses, strange crimes, and of course, murderers.

Nope, a list of characters really wouldn't work in the Rocky Bluff P.D. series.

 All these books are available in the usual places:

 Listed in the order they appeared:

Final Respects
Bad Tidings
Fringe Benefits
Smell of Death
No Sanctuary
An Axe to Grind
Angel Lost
No Bells

Each one is written as a stand-alone, because when I wrote Final Respects I had no idea I would write another, but I wanted to know what happened next. I hope you'll start reading them and also want to know what happened next.

F. M. Meredith aka Marilyn Meredith

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The Case of the Deadly Butter Chicken, A Review

The Case of the Deadly Butter Chicken by Tarquin Hall is absolutely delightful. I know that's an odd word to use for a mystery, but I was delighted by so many aspects of this book.

The detective, Vish Puri, is most unusual. To give a bit of insight into his personality, he's called Chubby by his wife and relatives. Though supposedly trying to lose weight, he absolutely loves food which is described each time he is tempted. The setting is India and along with the mystery, the reader is given insight into Puri's view of the customs of his world.

His first mystery is to find the scoundrel who crept into the room of the man withe the longest mustache and snipped one half of it off before almost being caught. But it isn't long before he is involved in a murder case where he was present when the victim died while eating butter chicken.

Despite the light moments of the tale, Puri find himself in dangerous territory as his investigation leads him into the path of organized crime, gangster racketeering, diamond smuggling and even a trip into Pakistan. There is a high speed chase like nothing you've ever read before. And to top it all off, Puri's mother does some clandestine investigation on her own, much to his dismay.

I loved, loved, loved this book.


Tuesday, August 21, 2012

No Bells, by F. M. Meredith, #8 in the RBPD series is the direct link to get this book at a bargain price.

This may be my favorite book in the series--I really love Gordon Butler--and so do some of the series' fans.

Rather than say much myself about the book here are some reviews. The first is an email from a fan who read No Bells,

Hi Marilyn:

I stayed up late last night to finish No Bells.  As to be expected, I really liked it.  It is a refreshing change to read--even if it's fiction--things from the police dept and police officers families points of views.

Thank you for another great read!


"Fans of F. M. Meredith’s long-running Rocky Bluff Police Department mysteries will be happy to learn the newest book may be the best yet. In No Bells, Gordon Butler gets his first leading role in this clever ensemble series. Butler is like Joe Btfsplk, the cartoon character in Al Capp’s Li’l Abner, a poor sap for whom things never quite work out. Meredith’s plot – her best yet – is a perfect fit for the character.

"Without giving away too much, he wins but he loses. It’s a very satisfying read, and the meaning of the title is not revealed until the end. No Bells is a tightly woven story. Just when you think you know “whodunit,” something happens to change your mind. Then you go back to your first guess. Then a different hunch arises. As always, every member of the Rocky Bluff PD and their family members has a speaking part as their personal lives and police issues give us another glimpse of a town we love to visit"

–Review by Michael Orenduff, author of The Pot Thief Who Studied Escoffier

 * * *

"A cop's life isn't all gunfire, sirens and squealing tires. In F.M. Meredith's NO BELLS, cops in a small Southern California beach community knock on doors the old-fashioned way. Investigating a murder, they suspect and question everyone who knew the victim.

"NO BELLS reminds me of "Barney Miller," a low-key but thoroughly entertaining 1970s TV series. The setting was a squad room of New York City 's fictional 12th Precinct, located in Greenwich Village, with an ensemble cast working separately and together. In that small, confined setting the viewer got to know the players.

"It's the same in NO BELLS, with an ensemble cast in a small setting that lets you get to know the players. Meredith takes her time unfolding the story, with careful attention to detail. In this community where nobody's business is really private, the answers are there for the asking. The trick is to ask the right questions. At the same time, the cops struggle to maintain some semblance of a home life.

"Even in an ensemble some characters stand out. A female cop named Stacey is brought into the case because her feminine intuition picks up on the bits and pieces of human behavior. It pays off. A witness almost everyone overlooks provides damning clues when Stacey gains his confidence.

"The most sympathetic character is Officer Gordon Butler, a hard-luck cop who gets calls ranging from an underwear thief who poops on a dining room table to a seagull who swoops into a beach bar and dive bombs the customers. Gordon's wife left him for another officer, and his new lady love is a suspect in the murder case. He's willing to risk his job, his friends and his life to prove her innocence.

"I was smiling when I closed the book, and I do love an ending that makes me smile."

* * *

Long the butt of the police department's jokes, Gordon Butler never seems to catch a break. He gets sent on the oddest calls and manages to end up in some rather strange situations. It looks like his luck might be changing, though. A routine traffic stop introduces Gordon to Benay Weiss, a local hair stylist. He thinks he's finally found the love he's been seeking. But when Benay's best friend, Geri, is reported missing and then found dead, Benay soon becomes a prime suspect. Gordon puts his job on the line to prove her innocence.

I've read all the books in the Rocky Bluff P.D. series. Gordon has been my favorite character since he was introduced. I am so thrilled No Bells spotlights this great character.

The point of this series and what F.M. Meredith has always done well, is to show how the job impacts family life and vice versa. Even though we've gotten some glimpse of Gordon's personal life in previous books--the way his marriage broke apart, his falling in love with a fellow officer, and his living with Detective Doug Milligan--the reader didn't get a chance to see a whole lot of Gordon outside of his job. This book changes all that. In addition, we get to see Gordon from his own point of view. He knows the guys laugh at his expense. He knows they don't think he's the brightest bulb in the box. You don't ever see him stick up for himself or try to change their opinions.

In No Bells, we see Gordon going against the advice of his peers when he decides to try and prove his girlfriend's innocence. The evidence against Benay is mounting, but he just can't believe she's guilty. The reader has to keep turning the pages to see if Gordon is rewarded in the end.

This book has a lighter tone than some of the other books in this series. There's action, but it's not constant. The main focus is on the murder investigation of Benay's best friend instead of there being several different cases to be solved, as in some other books in the series. We still see a lot of the regulars and their lives, but Gordon is definitely the focus.

I can't wait until the next Rocky Bluff P.D. book comes out next spring.

* * *

How about a 21-bell-salute for NO BELLS by F.M Meredith? This latest addition to the Rocky Bluff Police Department saga welcomed me back into the lives of people who have seemed like fascinating friends since I met them in the first Rocky Bluff PD story. Truth be told,I cared about these officers and their families from the beginning. Finding them tangled in knotty problems similar to those real police officers may face on a daily basis gives me the feeling I’m privy to secrets the public in general is never aware of. I’m a fly on the wall; a hidden witness to secrets previously unknown; an invisible sprite watching crime happen. And then I am the invisible ride-along as RBPD officers work their way toward the “Who/Why/How solutions.Ah,what a gift to a reader!

NO BELLS is an especially moving addition to this saga, because Officer Gordon Butler leads the story. Gordon is not a slick, macho,hard-driving cop. He’s vulnerable, sometimes bumbling, (though still a good, try-hard officer). He’s often the victim of teasing and jokes from fellow officers. At times it seems like the poor guy just can’t catch a break. And, as you may well have heard along the grapevine, this time–just when it seems he’s finally found the love of his life–she becomes a prime suspect in a murder case.
Can you guess how he reacts? Of course!  Ignoring – - – - and high water, danger,and and warnings from senior officers, Gordon leaps on his white horse (literary license here),and rides out to solve the crime and clear the name of his lady love. WOW. Grab your steed and come along for the ride!  -- Radine Trees Nehring

I am thankful for these great reviews, hope they entice you to buy the book.

Marilyn aka F. M. Meredith

Monday, August 20, 2012

ANGEL LOST #7 in the Rocky Bluff P.D. Series

is the place to get this book if you want a bargain.Scroll down through Dark Oak Mysteries, and books are in alphabetical order.

Angel Lost's idea began when the image of Jesus appeared in a carpet store window in downtown Porterville on a nightly basis. For about three weeks, crowds gathered to view the unusual sight. I happened to pass by one evening when the crowd, busily taking pictures, was so huge two policemen had been assigned to the scene to keep people out of harm's way. (The store is located on a busy street.) This went on until someone discovered the image was caused by a light from a store across the way. Some rearranging of what was in the window and the image disappeared.

In Angel Lost the image of an angel in a furniture window captivate the religious and the curious of the beach town of Rocky Bluff. In the meantime, Officer Stacey Wilbur is distracted by wedding planning. Yes, she and Detective Doug Milligan are finally going to get married--or are they?

This was a fun book to write.

Here are some reviews:

"ANGEL LOST gives readers the feeling they're living inside a real law enforcement community. The story takes us into the experiences and thoughts of members of the Rocky Bluff Police Department, including primary characters, Officer Stacy Wilbur and Detective Doug Milligan. The suspense-filled novel opens as the wedding day for Stacy and Doug is rapidly approaching, and Stacy's head is full of wedding plans. But a beach flasher, a series of robberies, trouble with an obnoxious Rocky Bluff councilman, and the hint of even more serious danger approaching, intrudes. F. M. Meredith has created a thrilling adventure that weaves together the lives and problems of several point-of-view officers, with Stacy and Doug in starring roles. "It seemed so real," and, "I couldn't put it down" certainly apply here."

--Radine Trees Nehring
Author of the Carrie McCrite and Henry King "To Die For" mystery series.  

"Angel Lost is the seventh in F. M. Meredith’s Rocky Bluff Police Department series, and fans of this series will be delighted to learn that it delivers everything we have come to expect in these books – characters that feel like neighbors and a handful and a half of subplots all neatly woven together. Detective Doug Milligan is set to marry Officer Stacey Wilbur. As their wedding day approaches he is unhappy about not getting to spend much time with her but even more unhappy about her assignment to jog the beach in hopes of catching a pervert who has been exposing himself to women.  Abel Navarro’s mother is showing signs of Alzheimer’s, the new transfer from the LAPD has a problem that won’t be solved merely by transferring to a small town, and a reflection on a plate glass window downtown is seen by some as a sign from God because it appears to be an angel. Others see it as just a quirky reflection. The Rocky Bluff PD sees it as a distraction because of the crowds that gather each night to see it. Just as these things seem to be coming to a head, a serial kidnapper and perhaps murderer who has been working his way south from Oregon shows up. Meredith wraps everything up in a most satisfactory fashion. These books are a sort of cross between The Waltons and Hill Street Blues, and I hope there are many more to come."

J. Mike Orenduff, author of The Pot Thief mysteries

This book is also available on Amazon and Kindle.

Marilyn aka F. M. Meredith

Saturday, August 18, 2012

AN AXE TO GRIND #6 in the Rocky Bluff P.D. series

Detective Doug Milligan and his partner question suspects in the murder of a stalker including the stalker’s target, her boyfriend, father and brother, as well as the stalker’s step-father. The investigation leaves little time for Doug to see his fiancée and fellow officer, Stacey Wilbur.

Stacey handles a molestation case which involves the son of a friend. She and her mother talk wedding plans, though all must wait until Doug’s renter, Officer Gordon Butler finds another place to live.

When Doug disappears while tailing a suspect, Stacey sets out to find him, hoping she can reach him time.

If you want a bargain price, you can order an Axe to Grind from the publisher's bookstore, look for Dark Oak Mystery and titles are alphabetical.

Review snippets of Axe to Grind:

Right from the start, like Meredith does with all the books in this series, the reader is instantly drawn into the world of the Rocky Bluff P.D. Gordon Butler, who is usually the butt of many jokes around the station, is flagged down by a paperboy who has just discovered one of his customers looking more than a bit worse for wear. Butler is quickly becoming one of my favorite characters in this series because you just can’t help but feel sorry for everything that he manages to step into.

Doug and Stacey’s romance, which began in the previous installment of this series, No Sanctuary, continues with great difficulty in this one. One thing I’ve always said about the Rocky Bluff P.D. series is that Meredith does an excellent job of blending the personal and professional lives of the people working in the Rocky Bluff P.D. Whether it is Doug and Stacey, Abel Navarro and his wife Maria, Ryan Strickland, the Department’s public relations officer, and his wife Barbara, or any other member of this fictional police force, the author has created characters that you easily care about, just like they were your next door neighbors.

With her masterful storytelling, Meredith includes many twists and turns to keep you guessing who the real culprit is. But what I like best about all the Rocky Bluff P.D. books is that the pace doesn’t slow down. Every new clue leads to something else, and before you know it, you’re at the end of the book and eager to read more.

I impatiently await the next book in the Rocky Bluff P.D. series by F.M. Meredith!"

(reviewed by Cheryl Malandrinos for The Book Connection)
* * *

.“I loved this book from the first few pages! Nothing like a good decapitation to get the vibes and imagination rolling! Doug and Stacey are trying to plan a wedding but between working their own individual cases, (both are cops) trying to nicely get Dougs friend Gordon to move out from his home so he and Stacey can live there when married, and her family really not all that into him they have their work cut out for them. Doug follows a lead on his own and winds up missing with Stacey desperatley trying to find him but could she be too late when his MG is found in a lagoon at the college campus?"

Very easy dialogue and interesting plot lines!”–Jen’s Book Talk

* * *
(This one is my favorite.)

"Who ever thought reading about a decapitated corpse couldn’t be funny hasn’t read, “An Axe To Grind, A Dark Oak Mystery”  by F.M. Meredith.

No, it’s not a comedy and the murder isn’t funny. I’m guessing F.M. Meredith didn’t write this to focus on the comic side.

However, author F.M. Meredith has found a way to write a gripping murder mystery while including enough light-hearted moments that the book isn’t dark and ominous. While working on the case, Detective Mulligan is also trying to work on wedding plans with his fiancée Stacey Wilbur, a Vice Detective. The main obstacle in the plans is Mulligan’s house guest, Officer Gordon Butler.

Herein lies the fun part of this book. The old saying, “If it wasn’t for bad luck, I won’t have any luck at all” applies to Officer Butler. The man seems to have the worst luck and it’s never his fault. Some of the situations he gets into, you can’t help but laugh ".--Mason Canyon, Thoughts in Progress

* * *
The newest addition in the Rocky Bluff P.D. series, An Axe to Grind, is a story guaranteed to draw the reader in from the beginning and keep them hooked until the very end. Though sixth in the series, An Axe to Grind can easily be read as a stand alone. I am able to state this as a fact, simply because I have yet to read any of the other books in this series, yet had absolutely no trouble following along with the characters and understanding what was going on and why... I also greatly enjoyed F.M. Meredith's writing style, the way she is able to bring the story to life and really engage the reader in every aspect and at every turn...

Author F.M. Meredith has a delightful and wonderful writing style and voice that will instantly click with readers male or female. Her writing is in-depth and really speaks of police procedure research, making her story even more authentic and enjoyable. While reading, I found myself utterly hooked and unable to place the book aside, without yearning to return. The flow of the story is smooth, believable and just plain excellent. An Axe to Grind is the perfect book to curl up with and lose yourself in for a couple of hours!

--Café of Dreams

* * *
An Axe To Grind, A Dark Oaks Mystery, has quite a clever plot filled with delightful and interesting characters and enough suspects and plot twists to keep the reader quite engaged... However, An Axe To Grind is far more than a mystery, it is a story about the families of the Rocky Bluff Police Department and how their work affects their personal lives and how their personal lives affect their work. Meredith has created an absolutely delightful cast of characters for her novel. From levelheaded to quirky and from demure to downright scary, Meredith takes the reader to Rocky Bluff and makes the reader feel as though the characters are quite real. .–Rundpenne Blog

As this was the first book my F. M. Meredith I have read, I did not know what to expect, but was eagerly anticipating a great read! I was not disappointed. As I began to read An Axe To Grind, I was immediately drawn in to the world of Detective Doug Milligan and all the rest of the great cast of characters in this book. This book is not only one about solving mysteries, but also about relationships and how work and personal lives intertwine. I realize that this book is the sixth in the Rocky Bluff P.D. Series, and yet I had no trouble reading An Axe To Grind as a stand alone novel. That said, I will definitely be looking at reading the rest of the series, as I was very impressed with the writing style of Meredith and I was very impressed that my attention was held throughout this book. I highly recommend it and give it a huge thumbs up! –A Mom After God’s Own Heart

* * *
"AN AXE TO GRIND by Marilyn Meredith (From the Rocky Bluff PD series)
One reason I love these novels is because of the unique writing design. The story is told through the experiences and thoughts of several Rocky Bluff officers. Progress toward solving
cases (this time the brutal murder and de-capitation of a stalker) happens as we learn what each is doing and thinking. It's somewhatlike putting a patchwork quilt together in a harmonious pattern..."
--by Radine Trees Nehring

"...I enjoy Meredith’s unforced prose.  Sergeant Abel Navarro is looking at a man whose head has been cut off, and he summarizes, “Including the missing head, he would be around five-foot-ten.” The arrival of Detective Frank Marshall leads to this exchange: 
“Do we know the identity of the victim?”
“Nope, haven’t touched a thing, “ Abel said, and hoped he didn’t have to.
“Know where the head is?”
“No, but I didn’t look for it either.”

The people of Rocky Bluff are as real as your neighbors.  Meredith is the American version of England’s Barbara Pym, a writer known for characterization and sketches of village life.  Of course Pym’s books are comedies of manners and Meredith’s are murder mysteries, but good characters and good stories are what make any genre work..

The Rocky Bluff PD books are police procedurals given depth by attention to how the officers’ personal lives are affected by their work.  Over the course of the series, there are deaths, divorces, and weddings.  Friendships are made then, in the next book, frayed..." –Reviewer, J. Michael Orenduff

I do hope you'll try my Rocky Bluff P.D. series.

Marilyn aka F. M. Meredith

Friday, August 17, 2012

DON'T TURN AROUND by Michelle Gagnon, a review.

When I read the book I had no idea it was categorized as a YA. I loved it from beginning to end. I supposed I should have realized it was a YA because of the lack of bad language and explicit sex scenes. What it did have was a unique and believable plot that gripped me from the very beginning.

The heroine, sixteen year-old-Noa, wakes up on an operating table in an empty warehouse with an IV in her arm with no idea what’s going on. Her escape is heart-pounding—and it doesn’t take long for her to realize she is being relentlessly pursued. Her computer skills help keep her alive. She teams up with another computer genius, Peter, whose life is also being  threatened.

Continually on the run, these two begin to unravel a most horrendous secret that involves medical experimentation and foster kids. The action is totally non-stop and I couldn’t put it down.

Highly recommended for all ages.

(In the back of the book, Ms. Gagnon talks about how poor our foster care system is. I've definitely seen that in action. We have a foster home for boys near us and when they are 18 they are turned out whether they have some place to go or not. One of the boys who is a bit slow has ended up living with our preacher first and now is with the associate pastor's family.)

I was given this book by Break Through Promotions with no expectations as to whether or not I would review it. I must say, I had no idea whether I'd like it or not and was immediately captivated by Noa, the heroine, and her spirit of survival..


Thursday, August 16, 2012


Chris Redding

 Yes, I live in New Jersey. I’m not from here, but I’ve lived here long enough to have some Jersey Girl tendencies. (For the record, I am perfectly capable of pumping my own gas.) Jersey Girls are tough. Tougher than almost anywhere. Not physically tough, or rugged, but you don’t want to mess with them.

And none of those ladies on The Real Housewives of New Jersey are anything like my friends.
None of us live in houses that big. I don’t begrudge anyone a big house. Anyone can spend their money on what they want.

I’ve been in a book club for more than ten years and in that time there has been far less drama then in one episode of RHofNJ.

We don’t have alliances or change friends like we do our underwear. You watch a series of reunion shows and the ladies who hated each other last year and bff’s this year. Next year who knows.

Nope, for us it’s been the same core 4 people. We have different political views and different views on raising our children. Despite this we all get along.

Do you have a core of friends that have always been there?


Chris Redding lives in New Jersey with her husband, two sons, one dog and three rabbits. She graduated from  Penn State with a degree in journalism. She teaches online writing workshops and a creative writing course for a local continuing education organization. When she isn’t writing or teaching, she works part time for her local hospital.

Buy Links to Blonde Demolition:

You just can't hide from the past...

Mallory Sage lives in a small, idyllic town where nothing ever happens. Just the kind of life she has always wanted. No one, not even her fellow volunteer firefighters, knows about her past life as an agent for Homeland Security.

Former partner and lover, Trey McCrane, comes back into Mallory's life. He believes they made a great team once, and that they can do so again. Besides, they don't have much choice. Paul Stanley, a twisted killer and their old nemesis, is back.

Framed for a bombing and drawn together by necessity, Mallory and Trey go on the run and must learn to trust each other again―if they hope to survive. But Mallory has been hiding another secret, one that could destroy their relationship. And time is running out.

Amazon in print:

Chris Redding Links:

(A P.S. from Marilyn, be sure and answer her question about whether or not you have a core pf friends you can count on.)