New From Leslie Marshman

The Goode Fight is Leslie Marshman’s second Crystal Creek mystery, continuing the adventures of Texas Ranger Samantha Goode, now stationed in her old home town. While Sheriff Eddie Marshall is out fishing one day, Sam catches a case too close to home: the body of a young woman, clearly laid out to satisfy some bizarre ritual, found on the hunting ranch belonging to Sam’s best friend, Army sniper Nicole Chance.

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Does this murder, or the disposal of the body on the Chance ranch, have something to do with rather heavy-handed offers to buy the property, or is it part of a string of murders scattered between San Antonio, Houston, and Victoria over the last few months? Did some vagrant killer dump the body on the Chance ranch for no reason, or is the killer closer to home?

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Marshman builds a complex mystery, layered with Sam’s personal relationships and ending with a solution I did not see coming. An excellent choice for readers who like a tough professional heroine and a gritty tale of obsession and murder.

Shadows of the Past

Shadows of the Past is a reissue of Recklessly Yours, the third in Lark Brennan’s Durand Chronicles series, and finishing it kept me up until 2 o’clock one morning (and I had to go fetch the charging cable and plug my Kindle in for the last half hour). The series might best be described as paranormal romantic suspense, although the characters are all human and the paranormal elements are all psychic. This entry involves a decidedly non-Indian artifact found on the Blackfeet reservation in Montana and two Durand Protectors (who haven’t spoken in seven years) sent to investigate and retrieve it.

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Chantal Durand has been working as an archaeologist in Australia (where she was briefly jailed for shooting an ex-lover in the butt), but she’s called back to her Protector duties when a mysterious artifact turns up in Montana. Her psychic abilities are just what’s needed to find a clue to the origin and meaning of the strange piece of tile. As if landing in the frozen north without the proper wardrobe wasn’t trouble enough, she finds herself working with Tanner Hays, the last partner she wants. The last time they worked together, Tanner’s best friend was killed, and he still blames Chantal for that disaster. The search for the more powerful artifact connected to the tile leads to suspense and more than a few plot twists as Chantal and Tanner make their way through dangerous blizzards and even more dangerous opponents equally determined to find the missing treasure.

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If you’re in the Houston area in January, you can meet Lark Brennan and two other local authors signing their books at the wonderful independent bookshop Murder By the Book, at 1 PM on January 11, 2020 (wow, 2020 already!). Lark will be signing Shadows of the Past. Leslie Marshman will be signing her debut novel, Goode Over Evil (here’s my review). And multi-published author Christie Craig will be signing her latest release, Don’t Breathe a Word.

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See you there!

Romantic Suspense Times Two

Here are two great reads mixing mystery, suspense, and romance.

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When Texas Ranger Samantha Goode, the heroine of Leslie Marshman’s Goode Over Evil, returns to her home town of Crystal Creek, she’s only expecting to stay a day or two for her grandmother’s funeral. She’s shed no tears for the old woman who made her childhood miserable, but her grandfather and her Uncle Joe deserve her support.

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She knows there’s a risk of running into her old love, rancher Clayton Barnett—it’s a small town, after all. But she can deal with that. Clay doesn’t know why Sam left town without a word to him years ago, and she doesn’t intend to tell him now. Events around them make it hard to avoid one another, but will what they once had together ever return?

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Sam’s plans to head back to El Paso as quickly as possibly change when there’s a death at her uncle’s marina. The local police chief calls it suicide, but Sam and the county sheriff know better. Whatever happened, Clay’s autistic brother, Jordan, may have witnessed it. When Sam realizes that dangers from the drug cartel she’s been fighting have followed her from El Paso to the Gulf Coast, her fears for the people she loves mount.

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Goode Over Evil is a fast-paced roller coaster ride through small town secrets, drug smuggling, and murder, and well worth reading for fans of mystery and suspense.

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Shadows in the Deep is a reissue (new title and cover) of Lark Brennan’s Dangerously Yours, and well worth picking up if you missed it the first time around. The first volume in the Durand Chronicles, Shadows in the Deep is a very entertaining read, but a bit difficult to categorize: romantic suspense, certainly; paranormal elements, definitely; even a touch of science fiction, all in a fascinating Caribbean island setting.

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To outside eyes, Lex Durand is a marine biologist studying whales and dolphins. Only her close relatives in the large and powerful Durand clan know that she is an animal telepath, and that some of her study subjects have gone mysteriously missing.

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Her brother sends Lex to ask for assistance from Bodie Flynn, a near-recluse scientist studying newly discovered forms of energy which may just hold the clue to the disappearances. But Bodie used to be someone else entirely, and he blames Lex’s family for his current situation.

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The scientific puzzles are too much for either to resist (and pretty soon they’re having trouble resisting one another, as well). Off they go, via sailboat and seaplane, to one small island after another in pursuit of missing whales, reappearing (and possibly insane) dolphins, mysterious energy, psychic powers, and the occasional explosion.

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