Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Monday, November 29, 2021

Today's Prompt: PORCH


Thanks to these Litsy folks for today’s prompt:






Today’s Prompt:  PORCH


Leave the light on for me.


PORCH LIGHTS was a book about caring, family, healing, and a book that will steal your heart in more ways than one…REVIEW HERE

Sunday, November 28, 2021

Saturday, November 27, 2021

Three $10 Amazon Gift Card Giveaways and Spotlight of The Counsel of the Cunning by Steven C. Harms

The Counsel of the Cunning

by Steven C. Harms

November 8 - December 3, 2021 Virtual Book Tour


The Counsel of the Cunning by Steven C. Harms

Roger Viceroy faces a return to the FBI and a life he vacated long ago, until a knock on his front door announces the presence of billionaire and former U.S. Senator, Jürgen Sandt.

The past has come back to rear its ugly head. Sandt stands on his threshold for a reason: a decade prior the senator’s only son disappeared into the jungles of Guatemala, and Sandt has come to convince Viceroy that further investigation is now necessary. A package left mysteriously outside the family estate, opens the door to the possibility that his son is still very much alive.

Viceroy and his team agree to take on the hunt. Their search steers them from the back streets of Milwaukee to the stealthy corridors of Washington, D.C.—an eerie trek that will ultimately lead to an ancient site that supposedly doesn’t exist.

As Viceroy closes in on the truth, a parallel plot emerges. Not only could it point to the reason behind the cryptic disappearance of Bertram Sandt, but it could also launch a deadly battle that will put millions of lives at stake. On pure instinct, Viceroy knows nothing is adding up. Somehow, somewhere they missed a clue, and if it’s not discovered soon…it may be too late.

Book Details:

Genre: Mystery
Published by: Suspense Publishing
Publication Date: November 9th 2021
Number of Pages: 268
ISBN: 978-0-578-93379-5
Series:Roger Viceroy Series, #2
Purchase Links: Amazon | Goodreads

Read an excerpt:


A howler monkey screeched, its shrill pitch adding to the endless cacophony.

Dr. Catarina Amador watched the animal move through the trees until it vanished in the dense canopy below, then drew a last puff on her cigarette, crushing the butt with the heel of her worn-out tennis shoe. Her eyes shifted to the ancient ruins sprawling in every direction; eroded, gray slabs of rock covered with vines, others crumbled beyond recognition.

Her prison.

Atop the temple mount, the slight breeze and mid-morning sunlight provided a respite from the enclave of stone ruins and paths that weaved through the jungle of whatever country she was in. To the east, the sun reflected off the lone glimpse of the river, catching her eye. The faint sparkles shimmering off the surface forever calling her home. Six years and counting. But each passing moment chipped away at her will, replacing those pieces with an ever-increasing hopelessness. She had become mostly devoid of thought save for the world-class talents she employed for her captor.

The youngest daughter of a large family from the slums of Mexico City, her intellect and scientific acumen made her a prodigy. World-renowned in academic circles by the age of fourteen. At fifteen she began her studies at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore; flying through, she graduated just five years later with a PhD in biomedical engineering. Her human molecular manipulation thesis elevated her into the scientific world’s stratosphere. Upon graduation, blank check offers from a hundred different companies and research labs spanning the globe filled her mailbox. All she had to do was pick one. Her parents had come to Baltimore for the graduation and to help with the decision. Over dinner, the list was pared down to four opportunities in the western hemisphere. When the evening came to a close, they parted company—her parents back to the hotel and Catarina to a local establishment to celebrate graduation with her peers. She was never seen again.

Sighing, she took a few steps forward to look out over the plaza area, resting her arms at chest height on the massive stone wall encircling the space. Standing just over five feet, her stature matched her frame. A lithe body and long, black hair kept in a ponytail most days accentuated her stunning facial features. A foot taller and she would have graced magazine covers instead of medical journals.

She peered down at a bird-faced stone sentry near one of the plaza’s entryways and the eyeless human statue set a few yards to its left. A variety of bizarre figures were sprinkled throughout the ruins. She felt the strangest ones were the two tall snakes, standing erect at twice her height with human feet, holding large blackish orbs of polished rock in their massive jaws. Positioned on either side of “Main Street,” as she had nicknamed it, they guarded a small but steady waterfall spilling in front of a steep rock wall. The falls travelled over the rock above creating a wall of water ten feet high, cutting off the path with no way forward. A five-foot-wide chasm stood between the path’s end and the water wall. She once had peered into it. No splash sound, the rushing water just disappeared into an eternal abyss. Beyond the water wall was the forbidden canyon and the treasure of the ancient ruins.

She closed her eyes tight and bowed her head, reflecting on the moment she first penetrated the water wall, not knowing what was on the other side.

Two men had tossed her over the chasm where she landed on hard ground and found herself in a dank cave, lit only by a torch on each wall. Soaking, she followed the orders she was given and took ten steps forward to a turn in the cave, which led to the opening on the other side. About sixty feet ahead was the jagged mouth of the exit, perfectly outlined by the sunshine stabbing through on the other side. Picking her way carefully towards it, the temperature warmed until she was standing at the cave’s exit. She took the final step, ducking slightly into the beyond, and took in the wonderment of her surroundings.

It was a smallish canyon with sheer, steep sides and thick vines growing in bunches among the rocks. Clinging in arbitrary clumps was a fruit she had never seen before, displayed in a spectrum of light green to black and every variation in-between. Above the canyon the jungle had formed a natural ceiling of branches; not overly dense, but enough to provide a protective layer yet still allow the sun to push through to the polished, black-stained stone floor in various spots.

And there, in the middle of it all, stood a man of some years with his hands clasped behind his back. Wearing a panama hat, unassuming slacks and a floral print button-down, the hat’s shadow cut across his face making his mouth the only discernible feature.

He gestured to her to come and sit at a small wooden table to his left. She had walked with slow, unsure steps towards him. What would he do? Was this the end? As she neared, his persona became clear. A man of Hispanic descent, well-manicured, with an air of self-assurance that clung to him like an invisible but tangible layer.

Once she sat, the man took his own seat and lit a cigar, drew a few puffs, and spoke.

“Good afternoon, Dr. Amador,” he had said. “Welcome to my kingdom,” he added, with a sweeping hand gesture.

“Where am I?” she remembered asking, as if in a dream.

“Where you were born to be.”

“Who…who are you?” she asked.

Her mind’s eye recalled the memory of his response at this particular moment. A smile. Cryptic.

“My name you will never know. But take heart. You are here to lead a significant advancement in a little science project I have a vested interest in. You, Dr. Amador, will be its shining star.” Then came his explanation for her kidnapping and what he wanted.

He began with a cloaked apology for his men taking her off the streets of Baltimore and blindfolding her for two days.

Her memory replayed the horrible experience. Someone coming from behind as she passed an alley. A hood suddenly coming down over her face. A vice-grip hand that quickly covered her mouth. The man whispering something in her ear—a throaty, aged timbre—before hustling her into a vehicle. Once inside, he let go but ordered her to be silent as she felt the unmistakable hardness of the barrel of a gun being pressed against her temple. She recalled the vehicle speeding up, taking a number of tight turns before zooming along a straight path, then slowing to a stop and taking a final turn. The last slice of recollection was a breeze touching her arms as she was pulled out of the vehicle, being carried up a flight of stairs and into an enclosed space, as the sound of an airplane’s engine roared to life. For a brief moment the hood was removed, but an instant later, a man she assumed was her captor, sprayed something in her face. That was it. Her recollection of a hazy, in-and-out consciousness was the only vestige of the bridge between boarding that plane and coming off it some amount of time later. Once again hooded and placed back in a vehicle for a short ride, she was then in a helicopter—the sound of its rotors were unmistakable. She remembered the flight being incredibly long. Upon landing, the same throaty voice said something she couldn’t understand and then her hood was removed.

The bright stab of lush greenery walling in a sunlight-splashed landing pad pierced her vision. She recalled squinting, trying to discern the environment. The warmth of the climate immediately registered. Baltimore and her parents were the first thought that came to mind and then the understanding that they and the city were now thousands of miles away.

Two different men, not so gently, had taken her arms and steered her to a pathway that directly led into what she then was able to realize was a tropical forest, and finally to the waterfall and the eventual meeting with the man in the panama hat.

With another puff of the cigar, he then presented her with the whole tale of what lay ahead.

She was to develop a new drug, and he had stated that her opportunity to use her intellect and talent when it came to molecular manipulation was going to be unfettered. “Anything and everything is at your disposal,” he had said with firmness and a hint of delight.

Next was a tour of the compound and her new living quarters—a luxurious penthouse adjacent to the ancient temple featuring a grand view. It was stocked with a closet full of clothes, toiletries, a hot tub on the small balcony, a desk, books for reading, and a computer to be used for her research. Following that came an introduction to the world-class lab with five qualified scientists, also prisoners. Her operation to run. Her scientists to lead. A deadline of three years.

Included in the “tour” was a modern, plain brick building housing more prisoners, each given a simple cell. Haggard-looking people. Further on came the trails, the statues, the ruins. Another cement block building looking completely out of place, with a large “F” scratched into the door, and behind it the three men and one woman chained to the wall. Final stop, a spherical hut off the southwest corner of the plaza, secured by barbed wire and an armed guard.

“Sometime in the coming weeks I will escort you here again,” the man had said in a different, almost reverential tone. “The treasure inside is truly priceless. Perhaps the single greatest discovery in the long, brutal history of this ancient empire.”

His final comment echoed in her mind, reverberating, before she eased her eyes back open, fluttering them as they adjusted to the bright sunlight atop the mount. The present day resumed its rightful place in her awareness, which she reluctantly gave into.

It was an off day from the lab. No scrubs. Worn-out gray cargo shorts and an equally frayed white halter top draped her body. Utility and comfort for the task ahead. Eleven harvesters with large baskets strapped to their midsections came up beside her: seven adult women, three men, and one five-year-old girl. She looked down and winked at the child, giving her a soft pat on the head.

“Hello Isabella,” she said. The girl giggled as she always did and hugged her leg.

Dr. Amador savored the indulgent moment before a cocked rifle cracked the air behind the group, making them all spin around. Atop a small, three-walled structure on the back edge of the temple mount, stood an enforcer, and next to him, the man with the unknown name. The king of the ancient empire. Panama hat and all.

“Time for the harvest,” he said in his now familiar deep voice. “Thank you for your continued service. Business is prospering as planned.” He tipped the hat before disappearing. The group stared back; prisoner slaves in the heart of ancient ruins whom the outside world didn’t even know existed.

“Let’s move,” the enforcer screamed. “The Tat,” as they had come to call him, had markings covering his skin, save for his face. As the group moved, Dr. Amador loitered just enough to ensure she was the last one in line down the familiar steps. Three more enforcers stood ready at the bottom to escort them to the canyon—two positioned twenty paces away on the plaza and one at the base of the steps. When her foot touched the plaza, she shot a sideways glance to the enforcer who stood there. He was a relatively short man, fortyish, with half his right ear missing and raven black hair fashioned in a bowl-cut. Her pet name for him was “Mrs. Lobe,” a play on words that he found amusing. He caught her glance, blinking both eyes simultaneously before grabbing her elbow and shoving her forward to pick up her pace. The Tat joined him as they crossed the plaza.

The trail to the canyon was directly across. Wide at the start, it narrowed to single file after the first bend near a statue of a half-man, half-bird figure. Two enforcers led the group down the path, with The Tat and Mrs. Lobe bringing up the rear.

As Dr. Amador passed the statue she stumbled, taking her over the path’s edge and down a steep incline into a heavy cluster of ferns; landing awkwardly, she yelled in pain. The Tat screamed at her, sending down Mrs. Lobe. Once there, he roughly lifted her upright and then hoisted her up the hillside, pushing her in the small of her back while she used her hand in his as a leverage point to climb. When she reached the trail, The Tat grabbed her neck and moved her quickly to catch up with the group.

They were out of sight around another bend when Mrs. Lobe reached the path from his climb back up. He looked around for a moment before opening his palm to look at the flash drive Amador had given him. One more glance around, he then pulled out a satellite phone and punched in a message before heading down the path to rejoin the work party.

At the receiving end, a man in cowboy boots stared at the words.



Excerpt from The Counsel of the Cunning by Steven C. Harms. Copyright 2021 by Steven C. Harms. Reproduced with permission from Steven C. Harms. All rights reserved.

Author Bio:

Steven C. Harms

Steven C. Harms is a professional sports, sponsorship, broadcast sales, and digital media executive with a career spanning over thirty years across the NBA, NFL, and MLB. He's dealt with Fortune 500 companies, major consumer brands, professional athletes, and multi-platform integrated sports partnerships and media advertising campaigns. He's an accomplished playwright having written and produced a wildly successful theatrical production which led him to tackle his debut novel, Give Place to Wrath, released November 9, 2021 from Suspense Publishing. Harms is a native of Wisconsin, a graduate of the University of Wisconsin - La Crosse. He now resides in the greater Milwaukee area as a sponsorship executive.

Catch Up With Steven C. Harms:
BookBub - @StevenCHarms
Instagram - @stevencharms
Twitter - @steven_c_harms
Facebook - @authorstevencharms

Tour Participants:

Visit these other great hosts on this tour for more great reviews, interviews, guest posts, and giveaways!


Enter to Win:

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Steven C. Harms. 
There will be THREE (3) winners for this tour. 
Each of the THREE (3) winners will receive a $10 Amazon.com gift card (US Only). 
The giveaway runs November 8 through December 5, 2021. Void where prohibited.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Get More Great Reads at Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours

Friday, November 26, 2021

Today's Prompt: SILENCE

Thanks to these Litsy folks for today’s prompt:






Today’s Prompt:  SILENCE


Three children...and then there were two.  All was hush, hush about how that happened…REVIEW HERE.


As if losing your hearing because of a hit-and-run driver wasn't enough trauma, Amelia found a dead body on the beach…REVIEW HERE.


A body under the floorboards, a body in a freezer, a drugged niece in a graveyard. Those things were the start of it…REVIEW HERE.

Thursday, November 25, 2021

The French Gift by Kirsty Manning

A missing, unpublished manuscript by the infamous Josephine Murant who was a resistance fighter and imprisoned, a maid at a party who is tricked into carrying out a real murder and meets Josephine in Fresnes Prison, and a woman who hosted parties with grand events that got Margot arrested.

The event at one of her parties which was faking a murder that turned out to become a real murder had her maid, Margot Bisset, arrested.

We then meet and follow Josephine's niece and a museum curator, Clement, as they try to find the missing manuscript in hopes that it will give information about Josephine's life during the war and insight about her books for his exhibition.

They also are on a quest to find out who really murdered Peggy Schramsburg at the notorious woman, Tilly Munro’s, party.

We get to enjoy the French villa as they look for the book and go back and forth between present day and the days Josephine was in the war, her friendship with Margot, and her writing career. 

We also learn of the Phrix Rayon Factory where the women had horrible working conditions with chemicals that caused blindness and burned their skin.

THE FRENCH GIFT is another marvelous book by Ms. Manning with a mystery within.

This book is for fans of WWII, those who enjoy discovering hidden facts about someone’s life, those who love rare books, as well as for those readers who enjoy seeing friendships blossom even in times of war.

Excellent!!  Enjoy when you read it.  5/5

This book was given to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Spotlight of Just Thieves by Gregory Galloway


Just Thieves, Galloway's third novel, was included in WBUR's Fall Books Guide, praising it for its “unreliable narrator [who] makes this thriller all the more gripping," and in this week's new books alert from Crime Reads.



"Stellar...Galloway is as good at characterizations as he is at tight, and surprising, plotting. Michael Kardos fans will be eager for more from Galloway."—Publishers Weekly, starred review

“[A] spot-on throwback….Like the best noir, Just Thieves places the same value on plot and characterization….[and] wears its indebtedness to classic film noir on its sleeve--and it's all the better for it.”—Shelf Awareness

”Just Thieves happens in a wonderful space where digression and story-telling ride out together. There’s room here for much of the world and for reminders that life itself is a digression. I enjoyed and admired this novel.”—James Sallis

”A sucker punch noir that is also a powerful and haunting allegory of work, debt, and power.”—Richard Price



Just Thieves is a down and dirty gem of a tale, a twisty and twisted crime novel that evokes the worlds of George V. Higgins, Patricia Highsmith, and David Mamet.

Rick and Frank are recovering addicts and accomplished house thieves whose partnership extends beyond their professional lives. They do not steal randomly—they steal according to order, hired by a mysterious handler. The jobs run routinely until they’re tasked with taking a seemingly worthless trophy: an object that generates interest and obsession out of proportion to its apparent value.

Just as the robbery is completed, the two are involved in a freak car accident that sets off a chain of events and Frank disappears with the trophy. As Rick tries to find Frank, he is forced to confront his past, upending both his livelihood and his sense of reality. The narrative builds steadily into a powerful and shocking climax.  Reveling in its con-artistry and double-crosses, Just Thieves is a nail-biting, noirish exploration of the working lives of two unforgettable crooks and the hidden forces that rule and ruin their lives.



Gregory Galloway is the author of the novels The 39 Deaths of Adam Strand and the Alex Award-winning As Simple As Snow.
His short stories have appeared in the Rush Hour and Taking Aim anthologies.
He is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and currently resides in NW Connecticut.

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Spotlight of Nanny Dearest by Flora Collins




Compulsively readable domestic suspense, perfect for fans of THE TURN OF THE KEY and THE PERFECT NANNY, about a woman who takes comfort in reconnecting with her childhood nanny after her father’s death, until she starts to uncover dark secrets the nanny has been holding for twenty years.


On Sale Date: November 30, 2021



Set in New York city and upstate New York, NANNY DEAREST is the story of twenty-five year-old Sue Keller, a young woman reeling from the recent death of her father, a particularly painful loss given that Sue’s mother died of cancer when she was only three. At just this moment of vulnerability comes Anneliese Whitaker, Sue’s former nanny from her childhood days in upstate New York.

Sue, craving connection and mothering, is only too eager to welcome Annie back into her life; but as they become inseparable once again, Sue begins to uncover the truth about Annie’s unsettling time in the Keller house all those years ago, particularly the manner of her departure – or dismissal. At the same time, she begins to grow increasingly alarmed for the safety of the two new charges currently in Annie’s care.

Told in alternating points of views, switching between Annie in the mid-90s and Sue in the present day, this is a taut novel of suspense with a shocking ending.



Flora Collins was born and raised in New York City and has never left, except for a four-year stint at Vassar College. 

When she's not writing, she can be found watching reality shows that were canceled after one season or attempting to eat soft-serve ice cream in bed (sometimes simultaneously).

Nanny Dearest is her first novel, and draws upon personal experiences from her own family history.




Barnes & Noble


Books a Million



Instagram: @floracollins_author



Monday, November 22, 2021

The New Wife by Sue Watson

Childhood sweethearts finally married, and then three months later the bride was dead.

At first they thought it was an accident, but then it was ruled a homicide.

Who could have killed her?  The husband is always the first to suspect, and since he found her, who else would be a likely suspect? They did live in a remote area, but why would anyone want her dead?

There were quite a few people I had in mind.  Ms. Watson kept me guessing until the end. Her writing style and story line will keep you turning the pages.

The characters were perfect and well developed and the suspense and buildup will keep any psychological thriller reader happy.

Secrets abound along with a GREAT story line.

This is an oh so good, do not miss read.
Will you guess correctly?  5/5

This book was given to me by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.


Saturday, November 20, 2021

The Unheard by Nicci French

What goes on at her ex’s house? 

When their daughter comes back from visiting, Poppy is always tired, violent, wets the bed, is clingy, and says words Tess has never uttered.

When Tess confronts Jason, he blames her over protectiveness on Poppy’s mood change and says he sees nothing at his place that could have caused any change.

Regardless, Tess is suspicious and spies on Jason and his new family, does research, finds out he was having an affair the past two years they were together, and just doesn’t trust him.

Tess realizes she needs some help, but doesn’t know where to turn.

She turns to the police and tells her the story of how her daughter acts, about a picture her daughter drew of a woman falling off a tower, and connects the story to a person in the news who did fall off a tower and to a woman she didn't know that confronted her. 

The police had to investigate, and this gets everyone in Tess's life involved in the investigation even though it might be a wild goose chase.

The tension is subtle, but evident.  I mistrusted Jason and a few other characters, and really didn't know what to make of Tess.

Quite a few folks to suspect, but I kept bouncing back and forth between two characters.  

Tess became more obsessed as the book continued, the tension ramped up, and you won’t be able to put this book down.

ENJOY if you are a domestic thriller fan. 5/5

This book was given to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Friday, November 19, 2021

Spotlight of The Way We Weren't by Phoebe Fox


An unlikely friendship between an elderly man and a younger woman becomes a story of broken trust, lost love, and the unexpected blooming of hope against the longest odds in the newest novel by author Phoebe Fox.
After penning the highly acclaimed Breakup Doctor series, Fox returns to the page with THE WAY WE WERENT (Berkley Trade Paperback Original; November 9, 2021), a compelling, thoughtful women’s fiction novel that touches on deep topics.
An uplifting and emotionally powerful story, THE WAY WE WERENT is a book that is sure to have a lasting effect on all who read it.
Fox has injected her personal experiences into her newest novel, providing a poignancy and beauty that you’ll have to read for yourself.



"You trying to kill yourself, or are you just stupid?"
Marcie Malone didn't think she was either, but when she drives from Georgia to the southwestern shore of Florida without a plan and wakes up in a stranger's home, she doesn't seem to know anymore. 


Despondent and heartbroken over an unexpected loss and the man she thought she could count on, Marcie leaves him behind, along with her job and her whole life, and finds she has nowhere to go.
Herman Flint has seen just about everything in his seventy years living in a fading, blue-collar Florida town, but the body collapsed on the beach outside his window is something new.


The woman is clearly in some kind of trouble and Flint wants no part of it—he's learned to live on his own just fine, without the hassle of worrying about others. But against his better judgment he takes Marcie in and lets her stay until she's on her feet on the condition she keeps out of his way.
As the unlikely pair slowly copes with the damage life has wrought, Marcie and Flint have to decide whether to face up to the past they’ve each been running from, and find a way to move forward with the people they care about most.


Phoebe Fox is the author of the Breakup Doctor series (The Breakup Doctor, Bedside Manners, Heart Conditions, Out of Practice) and has been a contributor or regular columnist for a number of national, regional, and local publications, including the Huffington Post, Elite Daily, and SheKnows.
A former actor on stage and screen, Phoebe has been dangled from wires as a mall fairy; was accidentally concussed by a blank gun; and hosted a short-lived game show.
She has been a relationship columnist; a movie, theater, and book reviewer; and a radio personality, and currently lives in Austin, Texas, with her husband and two excellent dogs.


Thursday, November 18, 2021

The London House by Katherine Reay


Twin Sisters, WWII, letters left in the attic of their London House, and letters that Caroline needed to find to see if a secret about her aunt held for many years was true.

Caroline, who was named after her Aunt Caroline, was shocked one day when her friend Mat she knew from college told her that her Aunt Caroline had been a Nazi collaborator and had a German lover.  He had found a letter that  convinced him it was true. 

Caroline couldn’t believe that about her aunt…no one had ever said anything about that fact.  She was told her aunt had died of Polio when she was 8.

Caroline had to find out so she made the trip back to London and thankfully her mother had the letters, but she found other information that she needed Mat to see before he wrote his article.

Could she convince him to come to London and read the letters?

Will they find out this was true or will they find out something else?

Will it be worse news or better news?

THE LONDON HOUSE is very well written and the story line is excellent, but the book seemed a bit too long and my interest waned, I wasn't anxious to get back to reading, and I was lost at times. 

This was my first book by this author so perhaps I wasn't used to her writing style.

Those readers who enjoy historical fiction, finding diaries and letters from the past, gorgeous mansions, a gorgeous book cover, uncovering secrets, and a bit of romance will enjoy this book.  4/5

This book was given to me by the author in exchange for an honest review.



Katherine Reay is the national bestselling and award-winning author of Dear Mr. Knightley, Lizzy and Jane, The Brontë Plot, A Portrait of Emily Price, The Austen Escape, and The Printed Letter Bookshop.

All Katherine’s novels are contemporary stories with a bit of classical flair.

Katherine holds a BA and MS from Northwestern University, graduating Phi Beta Kappa, and is a wife, mother, former marketer, and avid chocolate consumer.

After living all across the country and a few stops in Europe, Katherine now happily resides outside Chicago, IL.


Wednesday, November 17, 2021

Spotlight of The Red Grouse Tales by Leslie Garland


Told in The Red Grouse Inn, the universal appeal of these four charming, very different, adult, speculative, spiritual and philosophical tales will intrigue and entertain.
With beautiful and atmospheric imagery, surreal and paranormal concepts of angels, ghosts and devils, these modern fables will have you guessing, turning the pages and looking forward to the next one.





Red Grouse Tales by Leslie Garland is a compelling set of short stories that explore topics both spiritual and worldly while uncovering universal truths for the reader. In true Leslie Garland style, each story within the book is written to spark new thought and contemplation for the reader. The author brings up social and religious issues and sets the framework for the reader to determine what they believe is right, or wrong. The book is divided into four short stories, each with a different set of adventures and a different theme. The chapters explore topics and ideas such as the impact of death, how we view others and why we view them in certain ways, the influence communities have upon their residents, and many other thought-provoking subjects. In each short story the author weaves together interesting characters, plots, and details, making for an enjoyable read."-5 star review by Sheena Monnin, Stellar Media Club

I enjoyed this collection of stories and would recommend them. One of my favorite parts of these short stories were the fable-like feeling. They each told a story with a surprising lesson attached to each. I also greatly enjoyed the way the stories were written. Each had a way of telling a story through another person, which made the reading interesting and fun for me. I think it was a nice, added detail that gave it a more authentic feeling of sitting around and hearing a tale as well as making it seem more like a fable. -Literary Titan review.

"The four stories in the Red Grouse tales were as entertaining as they were charming, and overall a really fun read. The different narrators of the stories I felt gave each tale a unique nature, and they felt quite different to each other but still just a fun. I read this through once myself and then read over a number of sitting to a (reasonably) young relative and he enjoyed it just as much as I had. This would also make a good candidate for a book club as many issues for discussion are thrown up in each of the four stories."-5 star review by Honeybee

The Red Grouse Tales: The Little Dog and Other Stories by Leslie Garland is a unique collection of four spiritual, philosophical, and mysterious novellas tinged with an element of the supernatural. With just a hint of the paranormal, they explore the various vices of humans. All the stories implore the reader to think about what is right and wrong. Biblical knowledge would help readers appreciate the stories more. I recommend The Red Grouse Tales to fans of speculative fiction. People seeking something different from their usual dose of thrillers/crime fiction can also pick it up.-Reviewed By Debjani Ghosh for Readers’ Favorite

"I have read all books by this author and they are all wonderful. If you are looking for a great storyteller that insightful and thought provoking this I highly recommend Leslie Garland. All of the stories in this book will make you take pause."-5 star review by Wanda B

"It was such a treat to read “The Red Grouse Tales” by Leslie Garland. The four short stories within this novel are thoroughly engaging contemporary allegories. I love John Milton’s “Paradise Lost,” thus I was delighted by how deftly Garland interweaves the well-known archangels into these modern-day tales. “The Red Grouse Tales” consists of the most well-done and effective frame narratives I have come across in contemporary pieces of literature. Even more to Garland’s credit, I never considered the frame narrative to be overused across the four stories. The method seemed to be the perfect fit for each story. One of my favorite aspects of this collection of short stories is that the allegories never seemed heavy-handed or forced. I believe that the personalities of each story’s narrators were key to how engaging and relatable the allegories were. I loved the authenticity and likeability of each narrator and the glimpses into their sense of humor and personality quirks as they told their tale. I also appreciated the range of personalities and voices amongst the narrators. Overall, I highly recommend “The Red Grouse Tales” to readers who are interested in contemporary allegories, literature that references religious/religion-related narratives (particularly “Paradise Lost” and other works that involve the archangels), and well-written and effective frame narratives."-5 star review by Courtney Thomas

I enjoyed these stories! I hate to spoil anything so I will just say that you should read this book, you will love the paranormal.-Review by TDC Book Reviews

Move over Aesop...Modern Fables Do Exist
Garland's Red Grouse Tales are so very thought provoking. The stories in and of themselves, presented as records of stories told among friends, are compelling and kept me turning pages well into the wee hours when I should have been sleeping instead of reading. Garland masterfully weaves social commentary into tales of the uncanny without being heavy-handed or overbearing.
Thoroughly utilizing the story-as-lesson trope, Garland presents readers with gorgeously crafted stories which are excellent on the surface and yet also address larger concerns such as the nature of good and evil, heartbreak and betrayal, redemption, vengeance, gender equality, and simple pleasures versus material strife. Several times in each short story, I was drawn up short to re-read and thoughtfully consider what I'd just read - even though I desperately wanted to forge ahead and find out what happened next!
I'll be continuing my journey through the other Red Grouse Tales not included in this collection. I'll also be recommending these to educator friends and colleagues as discussion prompts.-5 star review by Whitney Reinhart




Told in The Red Grouse Inn, the universal appeal of these four charming, very different, adult, speculative, spiritual and philosophical tales will intrigue and entertain.


With beautiful and atmospheric imagery, surreal and paranormal concepts of angels, ghosts and devils, these modern fables will have you guessing, turning the pages and looking forward to the next one.


The Little Dog – a story of good and evil and retribution.

Bill, a retired forester, recounts a week in his early working life when he was paired with an unsavoury workmate. This commences with them finding a little domestic dog sitting beside a forest haul-road way out in a remote part of the forest, but what is a little dog doing in such an unlikely location? As the week goes on it becomes increasingly uncomfortable, the little dog disappears, events take an unexpected turn and our young troubled and naive Bill starts to learn some awful truths.


The Golden Tup - a dreadful tale of paradise being cruelly taken by latent evil.

This tale opens with the shocking news that a nice young couple have killed their new born baby. How could they have done such a dreadful thing? Our narrator, Verity, recalls how the pair bought an old derelict farmhouse and commenced renovating it; creating their own paradise. However, their felling an old tree changed everything.


The Crow - a poignant tale of misunderstanding, dying, bitterness and blame.

As a child, David, is taken to a hospice by his mother where he finds himself listening to an increasingly mad tale told by a dying and embittered old Irish priest. But why do the old priest’s recollections of the school days and subsequent rise of a local councillor become so increasingly bizarre and bitter?


The White Hart - a happy ghost story, if there can be such a thing!

What might connect a chance encounter with a little albino deer, an equally unexpected meeting with a beautiful, but somewhat enigmatic young girl in a remote chapel, and a third, just as strange an incident, on a windswept hillside? Pete Montague, relates a redemptive, adult, speculative, spiritual and philosophical happy ghost story - if there can be such a thing!


(Warning to sensitive readers; some tales do contain a tiny bit of bad language and references to sex)



I didn't start out in a career in writing; I qualified as a Chartered Civil Engineer.
In this capacity I worked for several years on projects in the UK, the Far East and Africa. During this period I won the Institution of Civil Engineers 'Miller Prize' for a paper on tunnelling.
Perhaps my first foray into writing? It was a pretty dry technical piece. However my experience in tunneling has given me an exciting idea for a story which I hope will be a lot more fun than my engineering paper and I have just recently made a start on this.
Changing times resulted in a change in direction and after qualifying as an Associate Member of both the British Institute of Professional Photography and the Royal Photographic Society, started my own stock photograph library (the first in N.E.England) and wrote for the trade press.
The Internet was new in those days and not very reliable. So an unexpected break in my Internet connection fortuitously presented the time to make a start on a long cherished project of a series of novella length stories, and the first story of The Red Grouse Tales, was drafted. 
Three more 'Tales' followed. Since then I have completed a further two novellas (The Bat and The Blue Horse) and a novel (The Ghost Moth). Right now I am trying to complete a second batch of 'Tales' and am writing a trilogy.
More information on my website

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