Uncle Si’s Secret – M. M. Gornell, Author

August 14, 2009 at 9:57 pm (Suspense Novels) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Uncle Si’s Secret – Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat

Creating Cedar Valley Residence was a dream come true for Belinda Jones and her brother Bernard. They had spent five years making sure each room and suite was perfectly decorated to create a feeling of comfort and welcome. Now it was time to add a new addition, which would create space for more residents and allow Belinda and Bernard to start turning a profit in the near future.

Cedar Valley residents were a hodgepodge of ages and personalities that had all become family to Belinda and Bernard. One special resident was Miss Shirley, who had appeared a year before with a bewildered look on her face, broken glasses perched on her nose, no identification and a pile of cash in her purse. Even after putting ads in the newspaper, talking to the police and tacking fliers on telephone poles, no one knew who she was nor where she had come from. The doctors assured Belinda that Miss Shirley had temporary amnesia and that she would probably come out of it at some point in time. So when Miss Shirley asked for a meeting with Belinda to inform her that her money had run out and she would be moving, Belinda was rightfully concerned. Miss Shirley also told Belinda that she was missing her favorite Chinese print scarf, which Belinda felt had probably been misplaced and would turn up later. But as more residents informed Belinda that they too have missing items, her concern started to grows. Does she really know her residents? Could one of them be a thief? She had to get to the bottom of this thief mystery before it really started hurting business.

Belinda had always thought she would enjoy becoming a detective and had actually helped solve a few minor crimes in the past. So to add to her task of catching the person responsible for items missing from Cedar Valley, she’s approached by Olive Norris. Mrs. Norris comes in hope that Belinda will find enough evidence to free her son Kirby who was arrested for the murder of his wife. The case against Kirby appeared to be an open and shut case. Items of clothing and the gun used to kill Lana Norris were found in Kirby’s car. After meeting with Kirby and hearing his story, Belinda believes in his innocence and decides to take the case. But after another murder is committed, plus an attempt on the life of someone dear to Kirby, Belinda begins to wonder if she has taken on more than she can handle and can she solve this case before anyone else has to die.

Uncle Si’s Secret is full of secrets. M. M. Gornell kept me guessing throughout the whole book. Every time I thought I knew the identity of the thief and the murder, Gornell would surprise me with a new twist proving my theory to be wrong. I thoroughly enjoyed reading Uncle Si’s Secret and I think you will too. I will give you a small clue. The thief will really surprise you.  It sure did me.

Uncle Si's Secret

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Up and Coming Author PJ Grondin is releasing some wonderful new books

August 14, 2009 at 8:48 pm (mystery, Suspense Novels) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

A Lifetime of Exposure


Advance copies are available now, official release date is October 23
Book cover text – Jillian and Nelson Rockledge have it all.  They’re
young, successful, and beautiful.  Jody and Charlie Williams strike it
rich with Charlie’s invention that makes submarines virtually
undetectable.  Both couples are living a life of luxury in their dream
built by one of the most prestigious builders in Eastern Virginia.
The homes come with the latest in technology and comforts that money can
buy.  And they’re equipped with more than these young couples bargained
for.  Do they know the true cost of their lavish homes?    Pat and Joe
McKinney join a child pornography investigation in Orange County, Florida.
The investigation spreads out across the country leading the team into
the lives of the young and affluent near the nation’s capital.  Family
, greed, sex, perversion, and murder; Who are the real victims in
A Lifetime of Exposure


a lifetiem of deception corrected copy
 Becky Lippert and Bobby Garrett devised a plan to rip
off young soldiers and sailors of their life savings.  The plan included
embezzling life insurance premiums from the Federal Government.  The plan
looked good on paper.  It worked even better in practice.  No one was
supposed to get hurt.  But when theft turns to murder the military brass
must act fast to stop the abuses.  Pat and Joe McKinney are drawn into an
investigation that starts near the Grand Forks Air Force Base.  It quickly
turns into a manhunt near military bases along the Southeastern United
.  Will the McKinneys stop these vicious perpetrators or will they
continue A Lifetime of Deception?




A Lifetime of Vengeance
Back cover text – While still in their teens the McKinney brothers enter
the world of illicit drug trade.  Just as their business appears to be
running on auto-pilot, events turn their charmed lives into a living hell.
Their friends turn against them and commit an act so heinous that the
brothers are forced to leave their home in central Florida.  They vow to
come back and exact revenge on their friends-turned-enemies.  After 6
years of military training they return to Florida to carry out their plan
but their plan takes on a life of its own.  But their enemies have a new,
powerful friend.  He’s a big player in the central Florida drug trade and
he has help from inside the sheriff’s vice squad.  Will the brothers
survive this new threat?  Will they carry out their plan and succeed in
eliminating their adversaries, or will they forever harbor A Lifetime of

All three books are available from my website www.pjgrondin.com,
Amazon.com, Amazon Kindle Store, and a number of on-line sites.


A Lifetime of Deception Reviews


By  Sabrina Sumsion “www.sabrinareviews.com” (Lincoln, Nebraska) – See all my reviews

Our service men put their very lives on the stake for the United States. All those who live here owe them a debt of gratitude. Unfortunately, there are predators preying on their vulnerability and they must be stopped.

Pat and Joe are brothers with a past. due to poor choices, a dear sister-in-law dies and she takes the will to live from Pat and Joe’s brother Mike. While Pat and Joe do everything they can to serve justice to those responsible for their sister-in-law’s murder, Mike slips into depression and eventually kills himself. Pat and Joe’s family is never the same.

Joe and Pat both have military training and Joe is still in the reserves. When the predators kill a serviceman, Joe is called to investigate the deaths. Unfortunately, it is a bad time for his family. Pat and Joe’s father has a heart attack and is in critical condition. Joe leaves for duty and then is informed that his girlfriend’s father died. Joe focuses on his investigation and risks alienating the woman he loves.

The stakes keep getting higher as the body count increases with every serviceman targeted. Joe enlists Pat’s help and calls up old friends along the way.

Fast paced and intelligent, adult readers should enjoy A Life Time of Deception.


By  Lila L. Pinord “Author of Min’s Monster and o… (Port Angeles, WA) – See all my reviews

If ever we are in need of someone to track down the “bad guys”, we would definitely want the McKinney brothers around! P.J. Grondin’s first book “A Lifetime of Vengeance” was a winner all the way,and this one is even better, if possible!
Joe and Pat McKinney are ex-military men who are called upon to help solve the mystery of who is taking advantage of our boys in uniform, enticing and robbing them of all their worldly belongings. But when it involves murder, they must step up the pace and catch them before more dead bodies show up.
It’s a fast-paced thriller and the characters are so well-drawn, we find ourselves becoming sympathetic with the main perpetrator because of her mean upbringing. You are in for one heck of a ride and a surprise ending that you never see coming! This is the book for readers who love edge-of-your-seat suspense thrillers. Highly reccommended.


By  L.C. Evans “Author” (North Carolina, USA) – See all my reviews

P.J. Grondin, formerly a Navy serviceman aboard a nuclear submarine, has written a fast-paced thriller packed with real details about life in the military. Main characters Joe and Pat McKinney put their military training to the test tracking down a couple of sociopaths who have dreamed up an ingenious scheme to defraud American servicemen. The stakes get higher when fraud leads to murder. Then another pair of schemers with ties to the first two get involved. With no regard for human life, the criminals murder anyone who might get in their way. For a while Joe and Pat seem to be one step behind the killers at every turn. Then they and their team of law enforcement officials get a break and finally unravel the vicious scheme. A twist at the end suggests more to come.


By  Todd A. Fonseca (Minneapolis, MN) – See all my reviews

Unwanted and given up at birth, Becky Lippert moved from foster family to foster family suffering verbal, physical, and sexual abuse until she decided to take matters into her own hands. Blessed with a keen mind and killer looks, Becky finds she has a talent for quickly putting any man under her seductive spell. With these assets, she leaves “home” in her mid teens and begins life as a grifter, conning young military servicemen out of their life savings. She had the perfect crime and what she thought was the perfect payoff and Becky was sure she could forever lead a life of deception.

Unfortunately, dead bodies begin to pile up in her wake and Becky begins to search for a way out. Meanwhile the government quickly finds a pattern of crime against it’s own and calls up Joe McKinney to active service to help solve the crime. A battle tested marine, Joe works with his brother Pat to piece together the clues to the identity and whereabouts of the mystery woman conning these men and those responsible for their murders. But will they find Becky before the trail gets cold or will they fall victim to her and her accomplices’ plans?

P.J. Grondin’s A Lifetime of Deception is an intriguing military murder mystery thriller. Grondin’s own experience as a former submariner aboard the USS John Adams clearly comes through as he describes the duties, assignments, recreational activities, dress, hygiene, and habits our nations servicemen and women. I especially appreciated getting a glimpse into the emotional balancing act one must manage regarding one’s duty to country and one’s family responsibilities. For someone to target and take advantage of these heroes is a travesty. All Americans should ensure that as our nations’ heroes protect us oversees we should likewise protect them against any individual or group that would stand to gain by exploiting them while deployed.

A Lifetime of Deception is the second novel featuring Joe and Pat McKinney. In these brothers, Grondin has created characters we all can related to. They are flawed human beings with questionable pasts and occasionally struggling relationships but who, none-the-less wake up each morning committed to improving their and their loved ones’ lives. I look forward to reading the first novel in the series A Lifetime of Vengeance.


By  Jacamo Peterson “Blademan” (Portland Or.) – See all my reviews

Becky and Bobby are not what you could call normal. And their scam system is, to them anyway, foolproof and easy. Lure unsuspecting sailors into a relationship, which at the very least will cost them all their worldly goods. But turns into murder and mayhem with a mystery guest included!! An outstanding thriller novel. Pete Grondin’s personal knowledge of the submariners life and the locations in the book make the story read that much better. The good guys in the story Pat and Joe McKinney have their hands full cracking this case. And that makes this a cracking good murder mystery. Good reading for a dark moonless night. Jacamo The Blademan


By Don Crouch.  Michigan 

I truly enjoyed A Lifetime of Deception.  The story line pulled me in right away and the characters were well developed and likable.  I am thinking you can quit your day job. 

A Lifetime of Vengeance Reviews


By  NWOhio Mom “Dot” (Ohio, USA) – See all my reviews

I got my “crave on” for more McKinney! Looking forward to book 2! A Lifetime of Vengeance was one of those books that read fast, you keep reading to know what happens next. Grisham and McGuire are my favorite authors and Grondin didn’t disappoint me! I recommend this book!


By  K. Nesser (Marblehead, Ohio United States) – See all my reviews

A Lifetime of Vengeance was a thriller that kept me wanting more.
Grondin’s ability to paint vivid images of the characters made me feel as
though I was part of the story rather than a reader. Many times, A
Lifetime of Vengeance made me think, “What would I do?” This is a story
that you won’t want to end!


By  Debra Purdy Kong “mystery writer” (Port Moody, BC) – See all my reviews

Brothers Pat, Joe, and Mike McKinney are making big bucks through their marijuana grow-op business. Greed gets the better of them, though, and because of this the brothers are eventually betrayed by friends. When Mike’s young wife is brutally raped and murdered by these same friends, Mike is all but destroyed. Obsessed with the need for vengeance, Pat and Joe concoct a long range plan. When payback time finally arrives, a twist in events triggers an increasingly dangerous cat and mouse game.

A Lifetime of Vengeance is an intense story that kicks the concept of revenge up to a disturbing level. When it comes to mystery and suspense, I love to know why people do the things they do and author P.J. Grondin does an excellent job of answering this question. In fact, motives are brought out in painstaking detail that vividly shows the brothers’ anguish.

At times, the back story is a little long and hindered by unnecessary details. Also, introductions to new characters always start with physical descriptions that are tough to remember. Still, kudos to Grondin for telling an interesting tale of brothers who are neither good or bad, but submerged in murky, ethically questionable shades of gray. In this book, making the right decision doesn’t come easily and the suspense ramps up to a satisfying ending.


By  Dennis Batchelder (Bellevue, WA USA) – See all my reviews

Pete Grondin’s “Lifetime of Vengeance” is the first in the series of the adventures of the McKinney brothers.

Pat, Joe, and Mike McKinney were happily running their small-town businesses of an orange grove, nursery, and a marijuana distributorship. They got a bit greedy and ticked off the down channels, and Mike’s new wife ended up paying the price in a brutal rape and slaying.

Fast forward seven years, and Pat and Joe, fresh from service in the armed forces, are all set to get their revenge on the six guys who helped kill Mike’s wife. They stake out the targets, build their alibis, get in position, and guess what: somebody else seems to be beating them to the punch and following their meticulous plans. The bullets are flying, the bodies are stacking up, and the reader honestly doesn’t know who’s gonna make it all the way to the end of the book.

Grondin’s story shows us central Florida in all its backwoods glory, complete with aligators, orange groves, up-and-coming rock stars, bales and bales of pot, corrupt sherrifs, and small-town gangsters.

I liked how Grondin fleshed out his characters, both the good guys and the bad. He paid attention to their backstories, and made the read that much more interesting and exciting for me. Nice job, Pete!


By  Angela M. Hooper “Angela M. Hooper” (USA) – See all my reviews

I would have liked to see more suspense in this novel since a horrific crime is committed in this book. Also, this book was a little too detailed in certain areas, but overall, it is a good read.

Three brothers – Pat, Joe, and Mike run a drug business. Dear, close friends of the brothers decide to get payback on them after they kick them out of the business. They take matters too far. They rape and kill Mike’s wife. Mike, cannot deal with this tragedy and practically loses his mind. Pat and Joe seek revenge, but Mike wants no part of it.

Then, the book takes on a different route. Years pass, but the 2 brothers made a promise to one another to get the revenge they so desire to inflict upon their long lost friends. This is where the suspense loses its power because we learn about both brothers joining the military and how their lives have changed. Both worry over their younger brother Mike who seems to have withered away to almost nothing.

The brothers join back up in their hometown for their final revenge and the suspense comes back into play. However, as they start to enact on their first plan for revenge – something happens to throw them off. Someone else is actually taking out their revenge. Who is this other person? Is it Mike? They are unsure. As the story unfolds, the twist is quite compelling.


By  ellen “ellen in atlanta” (Atlanta, Georgia USA) – See all my reviews

The McKinney brothers were bright, handsome, and they didn’t have good sense.
They got involved in illicit drugs and start making a fortune…intoxicated by the money coming in, they think they can get away with putting filler in the drugs they sell – to their ‘friends’ – but it backfires eventually –
The ‘friends’ get even with the brothers by raping and killing brother Mike’s wife of 2 weeks.
The McKinney brothers straighten up their acts and join the military and become good citizens…although the brother Mike has never gotten over that tragic event.
The brothers have planned their vengeance on the men that committed the murder…but something starts happening – after the 1st killing, the others who committed the crimes are systematically being killed off and it looks like it is done by a professional –
Who is doing this? How did they get the McKinney brothers’ plans?
A Lifetime of Vengeance lays the foundation for a series, establishing the journey of the McKinneys from drug distributors to upstanding citizens. We come to like the brothers and root them on as they fight to maintain their lives in the face of great tragedy.
Plenty of action, mystery and romance to satisfy every thriller fan, Pete Grondin deftly fulfills every facet to create an excellent thriller.


By  David L. Dallas (Genoa, Ohio) – See all my reviews

This first book from Pete Grondin is fast paced and captivating to the point that I could not put it down until I finished it. The McKinney brothers confront the dark side of there past and manage to come out on top. This is a great beginning to a new series of books that grabs you from page one and keeps you hooked until the finish. Grondin has the ability to produce some of the most evil characters you will find anywhere. I hope his imagination doesn’t run dry. This book has lots of action, great characters and a fast paced story line. If you are a fan of this genre, I doubt you will be disappointed.



PJ Grondin

     When I was a little boy living in Sandusky, Ohio I was scared to death of alligators.  I used to imagine that the gators were under and around my bed, waiting for me to make a wrong move.  Maybe I watched too many Tarzan or Jungle Larry movies.  But that fear must have been a premonition.  My parents first moved our family, all twelve of us kids to Bay City, Michigan, then to Maitland, Florida.  Our stay in Maitland was short-lived and we ended up in rural Zellwood, Florida, a half hour north of Orlando and pretty much in the deep south.  Now my fear of alligators turned to fascination.  In junior high and high school, my friends and I used to swim and canoe at Wekiva Springs State Park.  The lake beyond the springs had a number of good sized alligators.  As we swam in the lake the gators kept a healthy distance.  I’m not sure I’d swim with the gators now that I’m older

Growing up in Zellwood had its advantages for a budding writer from north of the Mason Dixon line.  I met so many different characters in my junior high school and high school years.  Many of their personality traits have made their way into some of my fictional characters. 

It’s been a great education having lived in the north and the south, particularly in the rural south where feelings about the War Between the States run strong.  The war may be over but the scars are still there for some.

I graduated from Apopka Memorial High School and worked in the indoor foliage business.  I started my own nursery business while in high school and also worked for others in the nursery business.  It was hard work in very hot, humid conditions, working with fungicides, pesticides, and other ‘cides, some of which are now banned.  We used to handle Mirex, the fire ant poison (which was banned by the EPA), with our bare hands.  I’m still here so it must not have been that bad.

My travels continued after my stint in the south.  After selling the nursery business I moved back to Sandusky, Ohio and started working in retail stores.  It was at the May Company (now Macy’s) that I met my wife, Debbie.  After realizing that I had little future in retail, I joined the US Navy in the Nuclear Power Program, stationed on the USS John Adams in Charleston, South Carolina.  I again encountered a mix of the south and the north.  The locals in Charleston were a great mix of personalities, while my shipmates were an odd mix of intellectuals and grunt workers, all with their own personality traits.  Again this is great fodder for the budding writer.  It was while living in Goose Creek, South Carolina that Debbie and I were married. 

After an eight year stint in the Navy, I again returned to Sandusky and started my civilian career at the Davis-Besse Nuclear Power Station. I work in the Information Technology Department as a Process Mapping Specialist.

The political climate in Sandusky is always charged with small city politics.  In 1993, I ran for the City Commission and was elected to a four year term.  My time on the commission was charged with drama as we had a new city manager who ruffled the feathers of County Commissioners and nearby Township Trustees.  During my tenure, I worked with corporate CEOs, city, county, and state officials, and citizens with all sorts of agendas.  There was never a dull moment.  My one claim to fame was being satirized by our local cartoonist in the Sandusky Register over a comment that I made regarding our sewage treatment plant. 

I only served a single term on the Commission and opted to start my writing career.  I didn’t get far into the project when my wife and I decided to build a house.  We did the general contracting, carpentry, electric and plumbing, floor tile and roofing.  It was a real adventure.  Our marriage actually survived the stress and strain of the adventure. 

Debbie and I celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary in January 2009.  We have two children, both in college studying business.  We also have a Calico cat named Jasmine.  My son has a Bull Terrier named Capone and my daughter has a cat named Grady.  I have eleven brothers and sisters.  Debbie has a brother and a sister.  We have a load of nieces and nephews.  They are concentrated in Florida and Ohio, though a few are in other states. 

I started writing my first novel about the McKinney brothers in the early 1990s.  I finally finished A Lifetime of Vengeance in 2005.  It took over twelve years to get the first half finished.  It took about six months to finish the second half.  My second novel, A Lifetime of Deception, was written in twelve months.  I guess there’s something to those Idiot Guides.  Advance copies of the third McKinney Brothers Novel, A Lifetime of Exposure, are available now, though the official release is not until October 2009.  The next novel, A Lifetime of Terror is outlined.  I expect the book to be completed and ready for release in the summer of 2010.   I know you’re going to enjoy the continuing adventures of the McKinney Brothers.

Peter J. Grondin

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Crossing The Lines By Richard Doster a Review By Author Fran Lewis

August 14, 2009 at 12:39 pm (Suspense Novels) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Crossing the Line

Never judge a man by the color of his skin, the way he wears his hair or the clothes on his back, but by his soul. Words to live by as stated by the late Dr. Martin Luther King. We need to build an air of trust and understanding in order to live together. This brings me to my review of Crossing the Line by Richard Doster.




As the book opens we meet sports reporter Jack Hall who uproots his family and moves to Atlanta taking a job writing for the Atlanta Constitution and moves his family south. This is the first step to many life changing experiences and new friendships that would forever create a history of their own. Starting out as a sportswriter, the editor of his paper asks him to do a piece about an incident that happened in Montgomery, Alabama. Little does he know that this was not just any incident but one that would change the way people throughout the state of Alabama and the United States would view people of other races. Rosa Parks, a seamstress by one simple act, of refusing to give up her seat to a white person in the front of the bus, and sit in the back, started a chain of events that not only rocked Montgomery but the entire nation.  Jack Hall, asked by his boss, to go to Montgomery and meet with Martin King a young pastor, to find out more about what happened and to bring back a story.


Book review for bookpleasures.com 


Taking that story and expanding it into more than just a newspaper piece was Jack Hall’s dream. Dalton Dorsey, another member of the Atlanta Constitution staff had the same dream. Together, they met with Martin King, the senior Martin Luther King and members of their churches and congregations and wrote an article so powerful and so compelling that Life Magazine printed it and the world learned of what was happening not only in Montgomery, Alabama but also to all people of other races in many walks of life.




As Jack Hall interviewed and met with Martin King I could hear his voice resonating in my head the words he spoke came to life. Rosa Parks helped start a movement so great that everyone respects and remembers the bus boycott and the impact it made not only in Montgomery but also everywhere in our country.




But, Jack Hall did not stop there. He had a vision just like Dr. King. With the aide of his new neighbors, who were predominantly white, and his friend Dalton Dorsey, they would create their own magazine with their own brand of journalism.




When Martin King met with Jack Hall when the courts decided in their favor, they both took a ride with many others in the buses for the first time and wherever they wanted. A great start but only the beginning for the people of Montgomery and the end of segregation. Not only would they eliminate it on buses but in the schools and other places too. One woman standing for her right to sit where she wanted, one day, December 5, 1955, and the entire world would see and hear what we should have known all along. Segregation is wrong.




But, the fight just started and more homes would be burned and more lives would be lost before this was over. From Little Rock Arkansas and the fight for integration in the schools, to the riots in the streets and the bombings of homes this book leads us through a difficult time for everyone. Change is hard and often comes at a price.




Martin Luther King Jr., Sam Phillips the founder and creator of Sam’s Records and the man who introduced us to the Blues, Rock n’ Roll and Elvis. The man who realized who Elvis really was and where he came from. This book Describes the day the first Negro students were supposed to come to Central High and start the process of integration. The nightmare when 17young children were supposed enter Little Rock Central High and the protests, angry mobs that and courts that would prevent them from getting what is so rightfully theirs: an education.




Jack Hall, Dalton Dorsey, Alan Emerson, Flannery O’Connor, Percy Sutton, Chris Hall and Ansley and so many others who believed in what Dr. King did and what Rosa Parks had started.




Three men-one-goal-one changes to create change: You can’t force people to change as the author states, you can only try to inspire it and they will love you forever. That is what Hall and Dorsey did to change the thinking of their wives, children and their community. What Sam Phillips did for music, what Harper Lee and Flannery O’Connor did for literature and so many more- makes us remember that this is America and we are all Americans and we did not get there by the color of our skin. Dr. King had a dream that all people of every race and creed would have the same freedoms and live together in peace. He believed in non-violence and reason. If we could translate his dreams and what Hall and Dorsey and so many more succeeded in doing to those in the countries that are presently at war and create a World of Beauty Magazine geared to showing how great this planet it, maybe they would appreciate the land where they live and embrace it, not destroy it.


Crossing the line opened the lines of communication and helped filter out misconceptions about people, and started a dialogue of hope and understanding between Blacks and Whites and all people. Although we are not completely there as we can tell by the situation throughout the world, perhaps in the future we will not have to deal with hate and hate crimes and we will learn tolerance and understanding try to embrace our differences and cultures.




This book should be on the shelf of every college, high school, elementary and public library. It should be the required reading of children in every school. I learned so much about what happened during a time that I grew up that I did not know about. I would highly recommend this book as a must read.

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