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Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Review - The Prisoner in the Castle

I have followed and reviewed each of the books in the Maggie Hope series since the beginning:  #1 Mr. Churchill's Secretary (click here), #2 Princess Elizabeth's Spy (click here), #3 His Majesty's Hope (click here), #4 The Prime Minister's Secret Agent (click here), #5 Mrs Roosevelt's Confidante (click here), #6 The Queen's Accomplice (click here), #7 The Paris Spy (click here), and a wonderful interview with Ms. MacNeal (click here).  Today I review the newest addition to the series, which can be read as a stand alone, if you haven't read the seven prior books.

Author: Susan Elia MacNeal

Copyright: August 2018 (Random House-Bantam) 400 pgs

Series: 8th in Maggie Hope Mystery series

Sensuality: n/a

Mystery Sub-genre: historical Suspense

Main Characters: Maggie Hope, a spy who started as Churchill's secretary 

Setting: 1942 London and Scottish Island during WWII

Obtained Through: Netgalley

"A series of baffling murders among a group of imprisoned agents threatens the outcome of World War II in this chilling mystery from the New York Times bestselling author of Mr. Churchill’s Secretary.

World War II is raging, and former spy Maggie Hope knows too much.

She knows what the British government is willing to do to keep its secrets.

She knows the real location of the planned invasion of France.

She knows who’s lying. She knows who the double-crossers are. She knows exactly who is sending agents to their deaths.

These are the reasons Maggie is isolated on a remote Scottish island, in a prison known as Killoch Castle, out of contact with friends and family.

Then one of her fellow inmates drops dead in the middle of his after-dinner drink—and he’s only the first. As victims fall one by one, Maggie will have to call upon all her wits and skills to escape—not just certain death . . . but certain murder.

For what’s the most important thing Maggie Hope knows?  
She must survive."

Maggie, who originally started out as Churchill's Secretary and is now a Major and has completed some harrowing missions but now is under house arrest of sorts because she knows who is willing to sacrifice British agents to keep a secret.  Detective Chief Inspector James Durgin who was introduced in the Queen's Accomplice, is the only one asking where Maggie has disappeared to under the guise of needing her to testify in the Blackout Beast serial killer trial.  David Greene, Maggie's good friend and Churchill's personal assistant teams up with Detective Duggan in asking what happened to Maggie.  The house full of detainees is complex and they each have their issues. Then there is the household staff who who have their own secrets.  

The setting of a remote Scottish island is pure Gothic gold.  It provides the chilling atmospheric backdrop for multiple murders. The most important part is that the author knows how to maximize the setting for a Hitchcock-like ratcheting of suspense.

The plot uses the framework of Agatha Christie's "And Then There Were None" with the added tension of WWII and each resident is a trained British Agent under house arrest for any number of reasons, plus one may be a double agent.  There have been many re-creations of Christie's classic, but this novel took the concept to a whole new level.

The killer reveal/confrontation is nail biting thrills and chills.  The author has made such gripping reveals a trade mark and she never fails to have me at the edge of my seat.  Well played, yet again.  The pacing is a little slow at the beginning to setup the conditions on the island and introduce the house full of incarcerated guests.  But the first murder is soon discovered and the pace doesn't let up from there.

For the eighth book in the series, Ms. MacNeal knocked this out of the ball park.  I can see this as a blockbuster movie easily.

Rating: Near Perfect - Buy two copies: one for you and one for a friend. 



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Thursday, December 13, 2018

Spiked-Resort to Murder III Spotlight

SPIKED: RESORT TO MURDER III RELEASED
The exciting third book in the series went on sale today!  

Julienne needs only three things: successfully pull of a last minute wedding relocated to her resort, work out things with her stubborn ex- boyfriend, and solve the murder of a private investigator found with her business card on his dead body. The wedding she can handle, but it comes with a flirtatious brother of the bride who manages to give Mason the idea she has moved on, and the dead PI was playing with fire before he was poisoned leaving a myriad of suspects. Two suspects are part of a scandal waiting to explode and nobody wants to be in the middle of the fallout.

Can Julienne wade through the various suspects while coordinating the wedding and dealing with a handsome amorous guest before her rival on the local paper exposes her connection and thus damages the resort’s reputation? Will she and Mason find their way to each other?

Kindle $1.99 (click here)

Wider distribution and print edition coming soon.


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Monday, December 10, 2018

Final Notice Blog Tour


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Van Fleisher will be awarding a $50 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.
The year is the very near future. A brilliant young doctor and mathematician, Vijay Patel, has invented a new health/sport watch that monitors blood chemistry so accurately, it can actually predict when someone will die – within 10, 20, or 30 days. The intention of this “Final Notice,” as it is called, is to allow people to get their affairs in order and reach out to loved ones before it’s too late. But when those notified have easy access to a gun, the result is sometimes lethal for more than just the watch-owner.

These are the stories of several people who receive their Final Notice and their very different reactions ... including a desire to get revenge with impunity. They range from an 89-year-old resident in a retirement home to a U.S. Senator...from a benevolent widow to a crass tycoon to a noted climate change scientist.

But in this fresh, fast-paced page-turner, their stories are all set against the all-too-recognizable backdrop of a guns-gone-wild America, and the relentless push by the NRA and their surrogate politicians to make guns even easier to acquire.

There is plenty of dark humor and political satire in FINAL NOTICE, as well as touching scenes and outright suspense. So expect to laugh out loud, dry some tears, and bite your nails (not necessarily in that order).
Read an Excerpt:
Taking a deep breath, he charged into the small clearing and faced the two guys across the flickering fire, aiming the gun at them. The guy holding the pipe dropped it behind them. In a voice as menacing as possible, Vince demanded, “Where’s Rambo?”


About the Author:
“After 21 years with an airline, and 30 years in management consulting, I retired and found that my phone didn’t ring and the only emails I got were asking for money. So, since I was at my computer, I decided to write a novel.”

This is only half the story. (Van is notoriously modest.) The author was Director of International Marketing with TWA, and an International Management Consultant – taking him behind the closed doors of boardrooms and executive offices around the world. He knows how business works, which gives the slightly “sci-fi” premise of Final Notice a realistic feel. Moreover, his two careers led him to live abroad for much of his life. After growing up in New Jersey and Florida, where he never thought much further than the length of a football field, and going to college in New Mexico, he wound up living in England, Scotland and France, travelling frequently to the Middle East and Asia. He even spent a year living in India. And his first-hand experience with – and respect for – other cultures is apparent in this book.

http://www.finalnoticebook.com

https://www.facebook.com/finalnoticebook

https://twitter.com/vanf44

https://www.amazon.com/FINAL-NOTICE-What-would-certain-ebook/dp/B0798XNY6P



a Rafflecopter giveaway



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Friday, October 26, 2018

Amazon Gift Card & Mutli-Author Event


We have a great opportunity for you to discover a select few new cozy authors and enter to win a $60 Amazon gift card.

Go to this link and follow these authors on BookBub, Facebook, or Twitter for your chance to win!  (click here).

Here is a great link (click here) for Halloween ideas from party 
refreshments to decor that are inexpensive and easy.  You will find:  
Frankenstein Pudding, 
Pumpkin Punch Bowl, 
Spooky Fun Fruit Tray, 
Glowing Beverages, 
Mummy Jars (pictured), 
Pretzel Mallow Skeletons, 
Candy Corn Jello Shots, 
Garbage Bag Spider Webs, 
Creepy Beakers, 
Pumpkin Ice Bucket, 
Batty Lampshade, 
Festive Door Hanging, 
Candy Corn Nails, 
Pretzel Pumpkins, 
Mini Doughnut Spiders, 
Fireball Cider Cocktail, 
Creepy Smiles, 
Dead as a Doormat, and 
Ghosts in the Graveyard Cupcakes.

Enjoy!


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Friday, October 19, 2018

Cozy Mystery 99 Cent Ebook Sale


Thirty-three books on sale for Kindle.

Including my book and:


  • Halloween Candy with a Side of Murder
  • Pain in the Neck
  • Heaven to Betsy
  • Halloween Witch Cozy Boxed Set
  • The Long Paw of the Law 4
  • The Deadly Restaurant Affair
  • Wisteria Witches
  • Organized for Murder
  • State of the Art Heist
  • Love Under Fire
  • The Wedding Crasher
  • Kiss and Makeup
  • The Case of the Missing Hero
  • A Sticky Inheritance
  • ICED
  • Murder in Whistler
  • Hazelnuts and Halloween
  • Forever Mine
  • Ghostly Fright
  • Filigrees, Fortune, and Foul Play
  • Weeping Moon
  • Once Upon a Crime
  • All Hallows Eve Heist
  • Whispered Voices
  • Christmas Heartwarmers & Holiday Smiles (10 Novellas)
  • Along Came a Ghost
  • Cherish
  • 15 Minutes
  • The Stone House Secret
  • Spell Maven from Spell Haven
  • A MacKenzie Witch Collection


To find out more please check out the promotion page (click here).


Here is a Halloween Hack that is fun. 
Buy vinyl gloves non-powdered and fill them with candies, use Tootsie rolls or Smarties for the fingers.  You can add an inexpensive Halloween themed ring on a finger too.  








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