Gyspy Escape by Florida Author Bobbie Altschul

November 18, 2009 at 5:53 pm (Crime Novels, mystery, Suspense Novels) (, , , , , , , )

About the Book

Beth and Alex Frey both leave their jobs in Michigan on a sabbatical to travel around the United States for an undetermined time.  They try to pretend that they left their jobs for the fun of adventure but the underlying reason was that Beth had been stalked by a mad man and Alex wanted to get her away from the threat.

Leaving their jobs and family behind does not eliminate their problems or fears.  The stalker seems to be following them on their travels.  How does he know where they are?  Why does he think he has to pursue his harassment of Beth now that she is no longer involved with his case?

Each time the couple thinks the past is behind them and they get involved in their travels, something happens to shake their peace of mind.

As if they didn’t have enough to worry about, their best friends, Joyce and Kevin, seem to be bringing their own problems into the Frey’s life.  There is also an underlying secret that Alex and Joyce share that could rock the foundation of his and Beth’s relationship.

The threats start escalating and where there were just innuendoes before, now the threats are getting physical and deadly.  Putting the pieces together it finally dawns on Alex that the stalker is not who they were so sure it was.  By the time he figures this out he knows that Beth is alone in a remote place with the stalker who he now knows intends to be a killer.  Can he get to her in time?

About the Author

Bobbie Altschul has published short stories in the past but Gypsy Escape is her first published novel.  She has traveled extensively in order to research the locations in the novel.  As well as all of the travel to give her book credibility she was also involved with the Michigan Circuit Courts for over fifteen years and was herself harassed by a mad man as was Beth in Gypsy Escape

After experiencing the 2004 Hurricanes in Florida, Bobbie and her husband, Hank, have been living and traveling in their motor home with their animals:  a dog, a cat and a parrot.

Bobbie is presently preparing a second novel, Delusional, for publication as well as being in the midst of writing the second novel in the Gypsy series.

Bobbie has dedicated this novel to her beloved Jacques Cousteau, the inspiration for the Hootmaan character.  We love you and miss you.


Gypsy queen: Adventure everywhere for traveling


By Peg McNichol

Holland Sentinel contributor

Posted Aug 18, 2009 @ 08:58 PM

Bobbie Altschul sees stories everywhere

she looks. No surprise, given the adventures she’s had

over the last decade traveling to 41 states in a recreational


But Altschul, 60, did more than have experiences. She kept

journals and sent lively notes to friends. Some of those

notes went into Altschul’s first book, “Gypsy Escape.” The

new novelist is hoping to convince area book shops to host

events where she can read, sign, and most importantly, sell

her first book.

“Gypsy” tells the story of a couple, Beth and Alex Frey, who

embark on their own RV adventure — but they are running

away from trouble: Beth’s dangerous stalker. Altschul

thought of the story 10 years ago. She worked

intermittently to craft the tale, struggling over dialogue.

“They can’t talk like me,” she said. But the Freys visited

many of the RV campgrounds the Altschuls did.

A voracious reader (at 14, she devoured “Gone with the

Wind”), Altschul tried her hand at writing decades ago,

when she wasn’t busy raising her three daughters.

“In high school, whenever there was a contest, I entered,”

she said, smiling and shaking her head.

In 1986, the Christian teen magazine “Alive!” published her

first short story. In 2001, she had a second short story

published in “True Love” magazine.

Her then-husband wasn’t impressed. The couple divorced.

She married second husband Hank Altschul nearly 20

years ago. He’s a former truck driver, and beams when he talks about his wife’s foray into the publishing world.

“She’s always on the computer,” said Hank Altschul, grinning. “I wake up and hear the ticking of her computer keys.”

She kept the novel under wraps at first, but let him read the final draft. He encouraged her to find a publisher, so

Bobbie mailed the manuscript out, again and again. Sometimes the rejection arrived within weeks; others took as

much as six months.

“Hank got more upset about it than I did,” Bobbie Altschul said. “He’s the one who said I should publish it myself.”

They paid “around $1,000,” Bobbie said, to AuthorHouse, an online publishing company. That basic package did not

include editing or marketing.

“All the typos are mine,” Bobbie said, laughing.

She has worked hard promoting “Gypsy Escape,” its sequel, and “Delusional,” which Bobbie Altschul wrote while

working on “Gypsy.”

The Altschuls understand business and printing. They co-owned Litho-Tech Printing in Holland, but sold it 10 years

ago. They’d planned on boating through the river systems to the Atlantic ocean, then to the inlet separating Port

Charlotte and Punta Gorda in Florida. They planned to live on the boat for about two years, buy a business and

eventually buy a home. Some plans didn’t work out.

The boat sold just days after they put it on the market. The Altschuls quickly bought a home and a shop specializing

in interior design and silk flowers.

In 2004, just after they’d expanded the shop inventory, along came three major storms: Hurricane Charley, which

destroyed their shop; then Hurricanes Francis and Jeanne.

The Altschuls bought a used Winnebago, sold their house and moved what furniture they wanted to keep to Bobbie’s

parents’ Florida home. In 2005, the couple hit the road with a talking Quaker parrot named Chickadee Charlie for

company and a red 2004 Saturn in tow. Along the way, they rescued a small dog, named Scuba; domesticated a feral

cat, which may be part bobcat, named Snorkel. The Altschuls visited 54 national monuments in 41 states. Bobbie

wrote her observations about each one.

“Every campground has its own personality. You meet a lot of interesting people at an RV campground,” she said. “I

wish we could have done this with the kids, when they were little.”

She jotted down some memories of her 15 years as a deputy Friend of the Court in three West Michigan counties,

Branch, Ottawa and Allegan. She saw the best and worst in human behavior while helping sort out divorce and

custody issues. From time to time, she’ll get a phone call or note from someone who wants to thank her. One

unhappy client, however, expressed his displeasure by stalking and threatening her. He landed in jail. Altschul said

some of her court experiences helped add authentic drama to “Gypsy” but the story is not based on any specific

people or situations.

“The character in the book is not that person. No. Some of the minor things have happened,” she said. “Obviously it’s

not him.”

But every spot the Freys stop is a place the Altschuls visited.

For the next two or three weeks, the Altschuls will be camping in West Michigan, hoping to sell a few more books —

the Winnebago sports a poster-sized version of the “Gypsy” book cover. When they return to the road, taking turns at

the wheel, they’ll head west. Maybe Utah. Maybe Oklahoma. Bonnie Altschul can’t wait to write about wherever she

goes, weaving each location into her characters’ adventures.

“Gypsy Escape” is available in electronic, paperback and hardcover versions from Authorhouse, Amazon, Barnes and

Noble and other booksellers, or can be purchased directly from the Altschuls by e-mailing or

by calling (941) 286-1203. Prices range from $3.95 to $13.70.

An excerpt from “Gypsy Escape” in which

Beth and her dog, Hootmaan, confront a stranger

The rustling in the trees sounded closer with each passing minute. Sweat broke out on

Beth’s brow as she rounded a bend that she thought was not too far from the

campground but was closer to the tree line. Her heart skipped several beats when from

around a huge tree a shadow emerged and a large deer leaped in front of her and

plunged into the river and began to swim across. Beth had to laugh out loud as she put

her hands on her knees and tried to catch her breath.

She had calmed herself, slipped (her gun) back into her waistband and her heart rate

was back to normal when she felt a huge rough hand on her shoulder. Hootmaan let

out a yelp as she spun around to be face to face with the largest man she had ever

seen. He was taller than Alex so he was over six feet tall. She looked into the

menacing grey eyes and the thick beard and seemed to be frozen in place. She had

forgotten for a moment that she had the gun behind her back and she spun around

and away from the hand that rested on her shoulder, her hand searching for the


Almost tripping on Hootmaan’s leash she brought the gun up and pointed it at the

man. “Back off,” she yelled.




Permalink 2 Comments

The Fall of Augustus – Sarah Wisseman, Author

November 17, 2009 at 11:09 pm (Crime Novels, mystery, Suspense Novels) (, , , , , , , , , , , )

The Fall of Augustus – Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat

‘Victor stepped into the elevator shaft and looked up. “This should make a good shot,” he said motioning to the video tech. The elevator light gleamed on his distinguished sweep of dark hair touched with gray. The cameraman, standing just outside the shaft for a better angle, pointed his camcorder up. Ellen moved closer and craned her neck.’

‘The Emperor Augustus hurtled down, crashing against the side of the shaft as he went. Victor, Susan, and Ellen vanished in the maelstrom of smashed plaster. There was a bone-jarring thud… then an awful silence.’

‘Victor’s crumpled upper body was partially hidden under the wreck of the cable car and chunks of plaster. One dead museum director.’

Lisa Donahue is the Senior Curator at Wigglesworth Hall. The museum is in the process of being moved to a new facility and with the death of Museum Director Victor Fitzgerald she now finds herself in complete charge of the move. But, what Lisa and police Sergeant Bruce McEwan want to know, ‘was the breaking of the cable used to lower the statue of Augustus through the elevator shaft an accident or murder?’

Lisa’s problems with the move are increased when a former boss Valerie Albrecht is hired to replace Victor. Valerie is a vicious woman who steps on anyone and everyone to make herself look good. She enjoys inflicting fear in her employees and is known by those who have dealt with her in the past, to make last minute changes to exhibits knowing it will be almost impossible to accomplished. And she is happiest when she can belittle those who failed her orders, especially if there is an audience present to hear her raving.

But Valerie isn’t the end of Lisa’s problems. Artifacts are starting to disappear and Lisa believes they are being taken by someone in-house. But who and how are they getting them out of the museum?

I’ve enjoyed following Lisa as she solves the mystery of Victor’s death and as she discovers the identity of the museum thief. The Fall of Augustus turned out to be a real page turner that I very much enjoyed.

And oh yeah, did I mention that Lisa is also faced with determining who has been taking bodies and attempting to turn them into mummies?

Permalink Leave a Comment

Dispel the Mist – Marilyn Meredith, Author

October 24, 2009 at 9:10 pm (historical, mystery, superstitions, Suspense Novels) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Dispel The Mist
Dispel The Mist – Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat

‘Her next dream was a nightmare. Tempe knew she was on the reservation, but it was different looking as familiar places often are in dreams. The buildings all seemed dilapidated and badly in need of repair through she couldn’t see them clearly because of a swirling grayish-yellow mist surrounded everything. Jagged black mountain peaks poked through the clouds. Though she was alone a feeling of menace was so prevalent, she could almost smell it.

Without warning, a large man who resembled Cruz Murphy stepped out of the fog. He held up a hand, palm out. “Stop. Danger ahead.”‘

Lilia Quintera is a Tulare County Supervisor who won her election due to her being a descendant of both Mexican and Native American. She was a big help in bringing a casino to the reservation, allowing jobs and a better life for those living on the reservation as well as the city. But when she is put into a position to support the proposal of a new hotel with a golf course and all the amenities that go with it, she refuses to conform to their plans without more research on it’s effect on the community. So when Lilia Quintera dies from what seems to be natural causes, Tempe Crabtree is brought in to help gather clues and evidence pending the autopsy.

Who would want Lilia dead? Her husband Wade, who is several years younger as well as a ladies man and may gain from her death through inheritance is a suspect. Her sister Connie, who’s daughter Suzy at the advice of Lilia, will be moving to a residential facility called Shadow Hills, Shadow Hills will house young ladies who are mentally challenged. Plus, feelings of jealousy for all of the decisions as to the welfare of Suzy might make Connie want to see Lilia dead, making her a suspect. There is Duane Whitney who lives in the neighborhood where Shadow Hill will open. He feels it will bring down the value of his property, so with Lilia publicly supporting the facility may make him want her dead, making him another suspect. And then there are the Native Americans who feel that Lilia should support the building of the Hotel, feeling it will bring more opportunities for the reservation. Many of them can be considered suspects.

Follow Tempe as she sorts through the facts and gossip, as she encounters the hostility of those on her on her list of suspects, as she sorts through the clues hidden in her own dreams and as she tries to understand the role that Hairy Man plays into it all . Is he real or just a fable?

I’ve enjoyed this book so much, with it’s mystery as well as history, that I find myself wanting to learn even more about the myths and fables of the American Indians.

Permalink Leave a Comment

Winds of Gold by Jessa Lee Scott and Self Defense for Survival By Leslie Bowman

October 22, 2009 at 12:13 pm (historical, love, mystery, romance, Suspense Novels) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

winds_of_goldWinds of Gold by Jessa Lee Scott (pseudonym) synopsis: Kyndra Bailey inherits Faircliffe Plantation and is caught in an intricate web of secrets and deception when her brother disappears and her uncle spends her inheritance. With the loss of Faircliffe looming, Kyndra is forced to ask for help from handsome and mysterious Tyler Andrews. From antebellum Richmond to the Santa Fe Trail, Kyndra and Tyler are entangled in danger, adventure, and passion as they search for Kyndra’s brother and a fortune in gold, silver, and jewels. Knowing that Tyler must return to Texas and Kyndra will return to her beloved Faircliffe, their love seems doomed from the start. Yet as the clues draw them ever deeper into the mystery of Beale’s Treasure, their passion cannot be denied. The treasure may be lost forever but will Kyndra and Tyler be lost to each other forever or is their love strong enough to keep them together? According to legend, Thomas Jefferson Beale and twenty-nine Virginians left Lynchburg, VA, in 1817 to hunt on the Western plains. They found gold and silver north of Santa Fe, and two loads were taken back to Virginia to be buried in Bedford County. Each shipment was to be hidden until all of the treasure was transported and could be divided among the men in the party. During his second trip to Lynchburg in 1822, Beale left a letter and three coded messages with Robert Morris, an innkeeper in Lynchburg, with instructions that Morris should read the papers and act accordingly if Beale didn’t return within ten years. When Beale failed to reappear, Morris and others subsequently attempted to break the codes. One message has been deciphered and it lists the contents of the buried treasure, which would be worth millions of dollars in today’s market. The second and third messages supposedly give the names of those in Beale’s party, and the precise location of the treasure in Bedford County, Virginia. These unbroken messages have stumped both experts and amateurs; even the most sophisticated computers have failed to produce the key. Much has been written about Beale’s Treasure. For more than a hundred years people from far and wide have descended upon Bedford County to search for a lost fortune of gold, silver and jewels. Believers can find ample evidence to support the story while skeptics can find discrepancies that convince them it is a hoax. There is a national organization of people who are working on those two coded messages.


SD bookcover Self Defense for Survival: The Road to Empowerment by Leslie Bowman Synopsis Women have all sorts of excuses for not learning to defend themselves. Among them are not having enough time, not being in good shape physically, having various medical conditions, not wanting to learn martial arts, and the worst of all-IT CAN’T HAPPEN TO ME. This book includes statistics that show how easily violence can and does happen and it also teaches awareness in order to prevent violence. Sometimes people become victims of violent acts no matter how careful or aware of potential danger they may be. In cases like this, self-defense survival strategies can save a life. The prevention strategies and self-defense survival techniques in this book are suitable for women and children of all ages. With education and awareness, you can increase your self-confidence and learn to prevent and avoid potential violence attacks.



Permalink Leave a Comment

J.W. Thompson Releases His Thriller, Hidden Evil

October 13, 2009 at 1:51 am (Crime Novels, Suspense Novels) (, , , , , , )

Hidden EvilA serial killer suffers from Antisocial Personality Disorder and appears normal or charming, sometimes referred to as the “Mask of Sanity.” Sometimes there is a sexual element to the murders and they may have a commonality such as gender, occupation, appearances, race, etc. The term serial killer was coined in the 1970s because of cases such as Ted Bundy and David Berkowitz. According to an FBI Behavioral Unit study, 85% of the world’s serial killers are in America. At any given time, 20 – 50 unidentified active serial killers are at work, continuously changing their targets and methods. “Hidden Evil” is a fictional story of one of them.
Reader Reviews from Barnes and Noble


Posted September 28, 2009, 8:15 PM EST: Couldn’t wait to read this book! Once I got it I couldn’t put it down! The “monster” could be your neighbor or co-worker! I really admired Sam the detective, the way he followed the clues like a bloodhound! The plot was spine-chilling and kept you on the edge of your seat to see what would happen next! Great Book….this new author has really got it together! Can’t wait to see what he writes next! Wonderful book…read it today!


Posted September 28, 2009, 1:25 PM EST: Hidden Evil is a unique look into the life of a serial killer and how they use what is commonly seen on TV or in novels to foil being captured. The author even manages to bring in a bit of romance into the book.


Bio  JimJ.W. Thompson

Served in the Marine Corps and is a Certified Scuba Diver, and does volunteer work in his spare time.  J.W. is also a member of the Florida Writers Assoc. and has another published novel “Mysterious Lady.”  He is a former resident of North Carolina, but now resides in Florida.  All comments should be sent to his Fan Page or visit his web site at


Permalink 1 Comment

P.I. Barrington’s Soon to Be Released Crucifying Angel is A Five Star Read

October 12, 2009 at 12:18 am (Crime Novels, mystery, Suspense Novels) (, , , , , , )

CrucifyingAngelCoverArt[1]Crucifying Angel. When P.I. Barrington asked me to read her newest thriller I had no idea what I was getting into. Crucifying Angel is not your run of the mill serial killer. This book takes the reader into the future as in 2032. The criminals are still the same. They still kill, maim and generally make life miserable for the rest of the world. The method of solving those crimes is quite different. Ms. Barrington blends the future with the present and makes a spellbinding read. She gives many layers to her main characters, Payce the female American Detective and her British Counterpart Gavin. These two characters play off of each other and create a dialogue that keeps the reader turning the page not just to see “who done it” but to also see if these two conflicted people can find a middle ground for the passion they find themselves feeling for each other. Ms. Barrington plays the reader like a finely tuned piano with the twists and turns and the undercurrent of electricity of Det. Payce and Det Gavin. She then adds the timpani of the serial killer and his misguided reasons for what he does. Crucifying Angel is absolutely a must read, but beware, you will have to get the next installment. The best is yet to come. Defiantly a five star read.

Yvonne Mason, Author Silent Scream – A True Crime Novel

Permalink Leave a Comment

June Shaw Brings Killer Cousins to the Reader World

October 7, 2009 at 6:17 pm (Crime Novels, mystery, Suspense Novels) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , )


Cealie Gunther arrives in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, at the frantic urging of her semi-psychic cousin Stevie Midnight, who says she’s terrified and needs Cealie’s help. Trouble is, she won’t say why, and she and Cealie never got along well. Besides, Cealie owns a copyediting agency and can’t protect anyone. But she will try to help a family member. Cealie realizes she has made a big mistake once she arrives in Stevie’s backyard and trips over a body. Her cousin swears she doesn’t know the man. Cealie’s cousin acts stranger as she goes through withdrawals from quitting smoking. Cealie wants to leave, but police won’t let her until they learn what happened to the man she fell on.

Another major problem facing widowed Cealie is her hunky sometimes-ex lover Gil Thurman, who arrives to open his newest Cajun Delights restaurant. Cealie thinks she wants to resist Gil so she can rediscover herself, but he creates sparks and she is so bad at avoiding tempting dishes and men.

Cealie feels a need to help her cousin remain healthy and alive, and snoops into her cousin’s Stop Smoking Group, where more people die. More than chandeliers hang from rafters, and even a parish priest hides secrets.

This heartwarming blend mixes suspense and murder with love and quirky characters. 

 June Shaw




“Killer Cousins is great! In the ‘a la mode’ of Agatha Christie, Miss Marple, and onward. Grab it up when you hop on a plane–it will take you for a ride.”  New York Times Bestselling Author Heather Graham


“June Shaw’s Killer Cousins is like a bowl of spicy Gumbo, delicious until the last bite and leaves you wanting more.”  Barbara Colley, author of the Charlotte LaRue Mystery Series


“Fans of June Shaw’s first book, Relative Danger, with be delighted with this sequel, KILLER COUSINS.  Sexy Cealie is back with new and old friends. It’s a keeper!”

–Lorna Barrett, New York Times bestselling author of the Booktown Mysteries


“If you haven’t yet met Cealie Gunther and her wacky cousin Stevie, you’re in for a real treat.  Sit back, relax and enjoy June Shaw’s newest cozy KILLER COUSINS–and wait until you read that first line.  It’ll hook you right in and won’t let you go.  An amusing and intriguing read throughout.”  L. C. Hayden, author of WHEN CASEY HAD TO DIE, an Agatha Finalist for Best Novel


June Shaw back with ‘Killer Cousins’

Thibodaux La.’s June Shaw, who introduced widow Cealie Gunther in the mystery Relative Danger, brings the sleuth back, this time in Gatlinburg, Tenn., in her latest thriller Killer Cousins.

Cealie’s been trying to find herself, so to speak, which is why she’s sworn off Louisiana lover Gil Thurman and headed for Mexico. Cealie stops in Gatlinburg when her candle-burning, crystal-wearing cousin Stevie Midnight insists she is in danger and in need of her cousin’s assistance. Before Cealie can cross Stevie’s threshold and inquire as to her fear, she stumbles over a dead man’s body in the front yard.

Shaw has lots of fun with her mysteries, and you will, too. It’s a laughable romp with some eccentric characters – and a few spicy Cajun dishes thrown in, too.  –

Chere Coen – The Daily Advertiser


Cealie and her her cousin Stevie argue, while investigating group members to determine who is applying the Christie story And Then There Were None.


Relentless amateur sleuths world at solving a murder mystery, middle age dieting, and controlling the cigarette addiction.  June Shaw provides a fine Tennessee cozy.

 Harriet Klausner


“This book is a gumbo of wry wit and deadpan humor—rollicking good fun!”
-Ken Wells, author of Meely LaBauve



Cealie Gunther makes me laugh out loud!  I highly recommend this book.—

Dawn Doodle – Mystery Lovers Corner


 KILLER COUSINS is June Shaw’s second book. From the great first line (My day would have started much better if I hadn’t tripped over a body.) to the Cajun recipes and advice on stopping smoking, this book is a fun romp. The characters are kooky and the plot twists over and over again. Who was that blow-up doll I saw you hanging out with last night? To find out what that means, you’ll have to read the book.
HIGHLY RECOMMENDED – Caryl Harvey, I Love a Mystery

Review by Armchair Interviews: Killer Cousins, June Shaw’s second mystery, is a charming story. Grandmother Cealie Gunther is tricked into visiting her eccentric cousin Stevie, whom she has never really gotten along with, in Tennessee.

Killer Cousins has several interesting characters and issues that all women can easily relate to. Cealie is one of the most interesting grandmas around. With all of the main characters being in their “golden years,” I wasn’t expecting the story to have so many issues that I could relate to. I was interested to see what these ladies were dealing with–and many are the same dating and life issues a 20-something person deals with.

June Shaw,
KILLER COUSINS – “Killer Cousins is great! In the ‘a la mode` of Agatha Christie and
onward!” –  N.Y. Times Best-selling author Heather Graham
RELATIVE DANGER – “humorous…suspenseful”  Publishers Weekly

Permalink Leave a Comment

Identity Crisis by Author Debbi Mack

September 28, 2009 at 7:16 pm (Crime Novels, mystery, Suspense Novels) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Identity Crisis_ Book CoverIDENTITY CRISIS introduces attorney Stephanie Ann “Sam” McRae. A simple domestic abuse case turns deadly when the alleged abuser is killed and Sam’s client disappears. When a friend asks Sam to find Melanie Hayes, the Maryland attorney is drawn into a complex case of murder and identity theft that has her running from the Mob, breaking into a strip club and forming a shaky alliance with an offbeat private investigator to discover the truth about Melanie and her ex-boyfriend.

With her career and life on the line, Sam’s search takes her from the blue-collar Baltimore suburbs to the mansions of Gibson Island. Along the way, she learns that false identities can hide dark secrets, and those secrets can destroy lives.






Debbi Mack has worked as an attorney, a news wire reporter for Dow Jones and a reference librarian with the Federal Trade Commission. IDENTITY CRISIS is her first novel. Her short stories have appeared in the CHESAPEAKE CRIMES mystery anthology and in The Back Alley, an online publication at She will also have a short story featured in CHESAPEAKE CRIMES 4, to be published by Wildside Press in March 2010. Along with writing crime fiction, Debbi works as a freelance writer/researcher and a volunteer awareness advocate for dystonia, a rare movement disorder. A native of Queens , New York , Debbi and her husband live in Columbia , Maryland with their three cats.


From MidWest Book Review, January 2006.
“In this quick moving novel we meet Sam McRae, an attorney who is about to have her life shifted in ways she never imagined when her domestic case turns into a murder investigation and somehow she is smack in the middle of it. Attorney turns investigator in this swift moving adventurous read with curving twists and winding mystery that literally leave you scratching your head and wondering just who is the villain.

“Author, Debbi Mack, does a great job drawing you into the lives of her characters with vivid description of their physical appearance, their emotional conflicts and yet keeps you in the shadows trying to figure out what part they play in the murder and mystery set before you.

“A very good read awaits you in this work and perhaps the thought that you too could have your identity stolen and the ramifications could be deadly. This was a smart move on the author to use a problem that we all can identify with and work it so well into a top-notch mystery read. Great book, recommended.”

Shirley Johnson
Senior Reviewer
MidWest Book Review

From New Mystery Reader, September 2005.
“Samantha McRae is a young public defender whose normal cases are DUIs, petty theft or internal family discord. However, one such client takes her on a car chase, a run-in with the mob, and encounters with several branches of federal law enforcement as well as the local police.

“An ordinary seeming girl who works in a bank disappears when her ex-boyfriend is found dead. The police and feds are looking for her and after a thorough questioning by them, Sam is also on the hunt for her client.

Sam checks all the places the girl is likely to be and doesn’t find her so after a call that alerts her the girl is heading west, she sets off to follow the bus she’s on. Unfortunately, the mob and a private detective are following Sam.

“This is a story with plenty of action, a well-drawn plot and a set of interesting characters. Talented Debbi Mack lets the reader step into the shoes of an ordinary public defender and experience the excitement and danger of a case that is far from ordinary. Recommended as a fun read.


Anne K. Edwards


From Mystery Lover’s Corner, February 2006.

“Sam McRae takes on a simple domestic abuse case. But it turns out to be anything but simple.

“A friend asks Sam to find Melanie Hayes. This pulls Sam into a case with identity theft and murder. She even finds herself running from the mob. She makes an alliance with an offbeat PI in her attempt at getting the truth about Melanie and her boyfriend.

“When she finds Melanie, Sam has to convince her to trust Sam. Then Sam has to find a way to keep Melanie safe until everything can be cleared up. This isn’t always easy.

“The story is set in and around Baltimore. There are many twists and turns in the plot that will keep you guessing right up to the end. I really enjoyed this book and found it hard to put it down.

“I highly recommend you read this book. I can’t wait for the next Sam McRae mystery.”

Dawn Dowdle


From Roundtable Reviews, September 2005.

“Identity Crisis grips you from the first page. Sam is a likeable heroine–smart, feisty and determined.”

Author reviews:

“When I think identity theft, I groan. I think paperwork, phone calls to banks, boring people looking up information. Absolutely NOT the case with Debbi Mack’s Identity Crisis.

“Identity Crisis is not just about identity theft- it’s also a murder mystery and mob story, a trifecta of entertainment. The novel follows Sam McRae, a struggling private attorney handling what should be a simple domestic abuse case. When her client, the domestic violence victim, is suspected of murdering the abuser, Sam is determined to clear her name. Not such an easy thing, with a long list of suspects.

“Sam is an engaging character, flawed but with a good heart. I would have liked to have learned even more about her, and am glad to hear there are more books in the series to come.

“Just as engaging as the characters, Debbi Mack uses her settings like another character in her book. I have never been to Baltimore, but I could see the neighborhoods, the city, and even the diners as if I was there.

“With an intriguing plot that seems to be one thing and ends up being another, the book is like a treasure hunt, with clues left like bread crumbs until the surprise whodunnit is revealed. This is a good read, one to keep on your shelf to read again so you can realize what you missed the first time around.”

— Holli Castillo

Author of Gumbo Justice

“If you enjoy realistic legal thrillers—and dread the thought of ‘identity theft’ striking home—Identity Crisis will be a genuine treat. Debbi Mack has used her own experience as an attorney to craft a twisty yet completely credible plot. And her protagonist, Stephanie Ann ‘Sam’ McRae, is a perfect example of what every client should hope for in an advocate: a professional who’s willing to take risks both inside AND outside the courtroom.”

— Jeremiah Healy

Author of Rescue, Turnabout and The Only Good Lawyer

“Identity Crisis is a well-written and well-plotted mystery which introduces lawyer-sleuth Sam McRae. She’s an exciting new protagonist mystery readers will want to get to know.”

— Louise Titchener

Author of Malpractice, Burned in Baltimore and Buried in Baltimore

Identity Crisis is available for sale online, in print and as an e-book, from at Lulu often runs 10% off specials, for customers who use the proper discount code at checkout, so check Debbi’s blog at for the latest news on these specials and that month’s promotional code.

Her Web site is and her blog is

Permalink 4 Comments

And on the Surface Die – Lou Allin, Author

September 20, 2009 at 11:29 pm (Crime Novels, mystery, Suspense Novels, Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , )

And on the Surface Die

And on the Surface Die – Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat

‘”Don’t discount petty-ante crime,” Ben Rodgers, her mentor in The Pas, had told her. “Sometimes they’re part of a bigger picture, and it usually involves drugs. Why steal a CD player you can sell for only a twenty unless you need another fix?” But Ben had made his own fatal error. Their last month together, checking out a stolen car seen at a trailer park, he hadn’t expected the twelve-year-old deaf boy to be holding a rifle instead of an air gun.’

These words were remembered by Holly Martin as she took charge of her first post as a Corporal in Fossil Bay. Fossil Bay, located on the south coast of Vancouver Island, had its fair share of drunk drivers, speeders, theft and as Holly found out on her 1st day of command, an occasional drowning.

Angie Didrickson’s body had been found by a diver while taking underwater photos. Angie, a student of Notre Dame and one of their star swimmers, was on a senior trip. The trip was supervised by teachers in hopes of keeping the drinking and substance abuse to a minimum. But that didn’t seem to stop some of them from slipping out of their tents at night in hopes of a little enjoyment.

And on the Surface Die turned out to be a very enjoyable book. It kept me in suspense, as I tried to determine what really happened to Angie and why. Author Lou Allin added another mystery to the story with the disappearance of Holly’s own mother. She is drawn between her loyalty to her father and the man her mother was apparently seeing behind his back.

One thing that really impressed me with Allin’s style of writing was the way she took one mystery, added another and kept the lines open for a continuation of the story. And I, for one, can’t wait to read what happens next.

Permalink Leave a Comment

Fatal Encryption by Debra Purdy Kong Gives A Whole New Meaning to the Term Kermit The Frog

September 20, 2009 at 12:43 am (Crime Novels, mystery, Suspense Novels) (, , , , , , , , , , )



Dressed as Kermit the Frog on Halloween night, an unemployed Alex Bellamy wonders where his life went wrong. It could be worse. A few miles away, Coquitlam resident, Zachary Ternoway, is stabbed at his front door. In need of cash, Alex agrees to help catch a computer prankster at McKinleys’ Department Store. But things turn serious when someone vows to permanently encrypt the store’s data and torch the building unless ten million dollars is handed over in two weeks. Alex knows there’s a connection between the murder and the extortion threat, yet time’s running out. People are questioning his competency, and a killer’s threatening his life.


FATAL ENCRYPTION is a corporate caper with plenty of twists and turns, and an assortment of appealing characters to keep you guessing. Debra Purdy Kong’s newest novel offers a well-plotted mystery reminiscent of the classic whodunits. A great beach read!” – Cheryl Kaye Tardif, bestselling author




“A riveting mystery, FATAL ENCRYPTION is highly recommended.” Midwest Book Review


“This is the type of book that makes you long for the next in the series as you approach the end – a page turner with more depth than most.” Julie Ferguson, Author of Book Magic


“Debra Purdy Kong writes with a flair for technology. This is an entertaining read and mystery readers will love it.” Debra Gaynor for


“Recommended as a fun read offering a different plot and fun characters.”


Fatal Encryption is available in print at

Kindle version is available at


Check out the most in-depth review I’ve ever had at



Debra175gifAUTHOR’S BIO


Award-winning writer, Debra Purdy Kong, is a long-time resident of Port Moody, British Columbia. After earning a diploma in criminology, she began writing short stories while working at various clerical positions. Eventually, she left day-jobs for full-time parenting, some volunteering, and more writing. Once her children were older, she worked in retail while continuing to write. She now works part-time as a communications officer for a security company.


Debra has completed four novels and published more than eighty short stories, essays, and articles for publications that include Chicken Soup for the Bride’s Soul, B.C. Parent Magazine, The Vancouver Sun, Lynx Eye, Orchard Press Mysteries, Crimestalker Casebook, Futures Magazine, and Shred of Evidence. She also writes reviews of books in all genres and posts them on and other locations.


In 2007, she won honorable mention at the Surrey International Writers’ Conference for her short story, “Some Mother’s Child”, and had the great pleasure of receiving her award from Diana Gabaldon and Jack Whyte.


For more information about Debra and her work visit,, or visit her blogs at or

Permalink Leave a Comment

« Previous page · Next page »

%d bloggers like this: