Impending Love and Promise

Impending Love and Promise by Laura Freeman

Published Dec. 17, 2018 by The Wild Rose Press and available at  http://goo.gl/0fBnFq or Amazon at https://goo.gl/B7lKMs

The Civil War is over, but a chance encounter between Jules Beecher and a man from her past turns a simple trip to find her orphaned cousins into a dangerous journey. Determined to keep a promise to her father,she puts her life at risk but finds a reluctant hero in Dr. Roe Greystone. Can Jules heal the “broken doll” of the battlefield or will the past destroy any future?   

Roe abandoned the profession of medicine, exhaustedfrom the suffering and butchering of the Civil War. Co-owner of a sternwheeler,Roe knew Jules was trouble the moment the kindhearted innocent boarded the Jenny Lee. He is determined to protectJules from a madman, but will this Romeo risk all to rescue his Juliet?

Excerpt:

Roe Greystone stood firm but felt sorry for the women who left in silence, their faces drawn and downcast. They had given up. Soldiers hadn’t been the only casualty of the war.

He asked names, noting if they had the majority of their teeth when they spoke. He looked for sores beneath the powder and rouge. Up close he could see bloodshot eyes and smell the odor of cheap liquor on their breath when they answered his questions. He allowed those to remain who appeared healthy and had a spark of life still glimmering in their desperate eyes. The work wasn’t easy, and they’d earn their passage.

He reached the end of the line and stopped in front of a girl. He glanced at the other women who were older, dressed in garish mismatched outfits, or had lacked any signs of education, grace, or manners when they had spoken.

This one didn’t belong. The young woman wore a tailored jacket and simple skirt that emphasized her trim figure. Her face startled him by the resemblance to another woman he knew. He’d been thinking of Miss Jessie yesterday. He had admired her for her beauty and courage, but she had been married, and with a husband like Major Morgan Mackinnon, entertaining thoughts of seduction would have been suicidal. He glanced at the girl’s bare hand. No ring.

Her features were similar yet differences existed between the two women. They could have been sisters. This one had large blue eyes that met his gaze. She smiled, and he was captivated. “You have all your teeth.”

Her eyebrows arched above a look of surprise. “Are you buying a horse or hiring a waitress?”

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Impending Love and Madness

Impending Love and Madness published May 30, 2018

Print or ebook historic romance novel “Impending Love and Madness” by Laura Freeman at http://goo.gl/0fBnFq and @wildrosepress or shop Amazon at https://goo.gl/B7lKMs

Blurb of Impending Love and MadnessBest_ImpendingLoveandMadness_w12429_750

Cass Beecher hopes Sergeant Zach Ravenswood will fall in love with her on an outing to Ford’s Theater, only to have their world turned upside down with President Lincoln’s assassination. Her romantic plans continue to be thwarted by family, friends, and a mysterious stranger. Can she save the man she loves from the enemies that plot to ruin him?

Zach thought with the war over, he could turn his attention to wooing the lovely Cassandra, but a fortune teller’s dire predictions begin to come true when a fire disfigures him, a nun poisons him, his uncle steals his inheritance, and he’s shot. Is he going mad or is everything not as it appears?

Excerpt:

“Mister Ravenswood is ill and isn’t receiving guests.”

“But we traveled all this way,” Cass said. “Isn’t there going to be a sale?”

“A gale?” The old woman looked at the sky and pointed at a dark cloud. “It looks like rain.”

“We were asking about the horse sale!” Ethan shouted.

“The sale is on Saturday. You should return then.” She pushed the door closed. The clank of a bolt locking the entrance echoed from inside.

“Well, I never.” Cass stared at the wooden barrier, willing it to open. “We’re here to see Zach! If he’s ill, I can help!” Her shouts were unanswered.

“Come on.” Ethan pulled her away and helped her into the buggy.

She turned. A curtain moved. Someone was watching them.

Harry took the reins and glanced at the sky. “She was right about a storm. We better hurry to the village. We can try again tomorrow.”

Ethan relaxed against the back seat. “Any of you buying that fairytale the old witch was telling?”

“No, but what can we do?” Harry asked. “We’ve been thrown out of the castle.”

“Old witch,” Cass repeated Ethan’s description.

Harry slowed the horse. “Are you all right, Miss Cassie? You look pale.”

“Don’t you remember the fortune teller’s prediction? I think Zach is in trouble, and he needs our help.”

Ethan leaned forward. “How do you propose we sneak past the crazy doorkeeper?”

Edgar Allan Poe mysteries

I have mentioned works of literature in my stories to set the time period – what were people reading like my characters? So in honor of Edgar Allan Poe’s birthday in January and because his writings were mentioned in another book I was reading, I read some of Poe’s works, which I haven’t read since high school.

The Murders in the Rue Morgue by Edgar Allan Poe published in 1841

I read this because Poe is credited as the first modern detective story write because of this story. He does establish a format. I found the killer in this story a bit unbelievable. An ape would have bitten the victims and torn their flesh and would not have tried to hide the body. That aside, let’s focus on the elements of the mystery story.

The narrator is the sidekick. He tells the story but is not the detective. Think Dr. Watson and Sherlock Holmes.

The story in this book was 23 pages long and Poe spends the first full two pages describing the analytical mind and the power of observation and inference and noticing details others overlook. I would not recommend starting any mystery novel this way.

On page 3 the narrator introduces us to Monsieur C. Auguste Dupin, a poor gentleman who enjoys books. The two meet at a library interested in the same rare book, and the narrator invites Dupin to live with him in Paris. They enjoy strolling around at night. Dupin proves his powers of observation by telling the narrator what he is thinking about and then explaining how he came to that conclusion.

It is page 6 when the murder is introduced. The crime is described in the paper with a great deal of detail. The clues are revealed to the reader in random order and description. The furniture is broken and thrown about, a bloody razor in on a chair, long, thick tresses of gray hair are on the hearth, jewelry, silver spoons and gold are on the floor but not taken, a safe is open with the keys in the door, a corpse found in the chimney with scratches on the face and bruises on the neck and another mutilated corpse of an old lady in the back alley with her throat cut so deeply her head fell off.

Today’s newspapers would not have the details while the murder was under investigation, but writers find ways to place the amateur sleuth at the crime scene.

More information is revealed in a second newspaper article and cover interviews by the police. A French man is heard and another voice screaming. Another fact is revealed about 4000 francs being delivered to the home. Also the doors and windows were all locked after the crime. The bodies are described as being bruised and broken.

 Interviewing suspects fills most of a mystery novel. A big part of making a mystery work is the detective. Is it a hard-nosed detective who is reluctant to take the case? Or is it a nosy neighbor who was friends with the victim? The detective has to win the reader’s interest and confidence.

The narrator and Dupin obtain permission to visit the crime scene. The police have no motive for the violent murder where no valuables were taken. Also how did the murderers, since two voices heard, escape?

Dupin rules out murder suicide by the old woman because of her lack of strength to shove the young woman up the chimney.

Mystery writers eliminate the obvious or explanations that don’t fit the crime. This allows the writer to focus on the details of the actual crime.

Dupin focuses on the voices and the fact no one could name the language of the shrieking voice. Dupin eliminates the door and windows in the front of the apartment as the way of escape and focuses on the back where he discovers a window with a broken nail or latch that closes automatically. Dupin spends several pages describing the mechanism of the window and the shutters outside to explain the escape.

Mystery writers need to explain how the killer committed the crime.  Dupin focuses on the strength of the killer and the violence inflicted on the victims. He notes the size of the hand needed to inflict the bruises, much larger than an ordinary man. He uses science to explain the clues and when the narrator thinks the killer is an escaped madman, Dupin in a detective’s patience with the ordinary man, explains the killer wasn’t human. A piece of ribbon identifies the Frenchman in the room as a sailor.

Dupin shows the narrator and advertisement in the newspaper written by Dupin describing the capture of an Ourang-Outang which can be claimed by its owner to lure the Frenchman sailor to their apartment and tell them his role in the crime.

The sailor obtained the Ourang-Outang from a fellow sailor who died. He locked the ape in a room but upon returning to the room, the animal had a razor in his hand trying to shave his lathered face (this image is rather comical). The sailor used a whip to calm the animal (this seems counterproductive) and the ape flees. The sailor follows the ape to the apartment of the victims who are putting papers in the open safe. The ape pulls the old woman’s hair and cuts her throat. The sight of blood drove the ape into a frenzy and he chokes the young girl, who is laying still on the floor.

Upon seeing the sailor, the ape is remorseful and hides the evidence shoving the girl up the chimney and throwing the old woman out the window.

Dupin and the sailor confront the police with the truth, embarrassing the police Prefect because he could not solve the crime. The amateur sleuth is wiser than the professional.

The Purloined Letter by Edgar Allan Poe

The Purloined Letter is a sequel to the Murder in The Murders in the Rue Morgue and has C. Auguste Dupin and the narrator smoking in the dark in their shared apartment when the Prefect of the Parisian Police arrives with a problem. A letter delivered to a woman of importance was stolen by a minister who is blackmailing her. The Prefect searched the minister’s home for the letter and had police search the minster but they have been unable to find it.

After a month the Prefect returns and writes a check to Dupin for the letter which he recovered. Dupin then tells the narrator how the Prefect did not put himself in the position of the minister to figure out where he was hiding the letter. The minister had altered the letter’s appearance with tears, dirt and different initials on it but it was placed in a bag on the mantle in plain sight. Dupin hired a man to fire a shot in the street to distract the minister and Dupin took the letter, replacing it with a similar looking letter. The lady is no longer in fear of the minister revealing her secret and leaves a clue for the minister to realize he was the one who took the letter.

What does Poe teach us about mystery writing? The police have routines and do not deviate from them so they overlook clues or do not see the obvious such as any detective created by a writer. Also it is quite all right for a detective to take reward money or offer his services to the police. In addition, the detective likes the villain to know he’s been outwitted.

The Gold-bug 1843 is a treasure hunt story. A man finds a gold bug and wraps it in parchment that turns out to have invisible writing on it. When his friend holds the parchment near fire, a skull appears and he discovers a cipher that leads him to Captain Kidd’s buried treasure.  Poe spends a lot of time explaining the invisible letters and how he solved the cipher.

The two poems I read were The Raven 1845 and Eldorado 1849 which are my favorite of his poems.

Hardecore Twenty-Four by Janet Evanovich

HARDCORE TWENTY-FOUR by Janet Evanovich 2017

Diesel is added to Stephanie’s list of men making her heart flutter in this book which has her babysitting a boa, fighting zombies, and breaking gnomes. Stephanie also ruins two cars, one with a dead raccoon as the agent of destruction. Not for anyone with a full stomach. Morelli is kept busy trying to find heads missing from corpses, Ranger makes a bet with Stephanie and wins, and Grandma Mazur gets a puppy to mend a broken heart. Par for a Stephanie Plum novel. This book is pure escapism and only has the reader worried for one page at the end. Fans will enjoy the ride and the book is a fast read. 

The Husband List

THE HUSBAND LIST 2012 by Janet Evanovich and Dorien Kelly

Set in the gilded age heiress Caroline Maxwell is being groomed to marry an English titled aristocrat only her heart is set on Jack Culhane. Although the story set up begins slow it picks up pace and runs to the ending. Caroline and Jack first deny their feelings. Jack is a confirmed bachelor but when they admit their love, they see no future with her mother’s unwavering plans to see her wed to Bremerton, a man in need of a fortune but a heart as cold as ice. When her mother leaves her alone in Bremerton’s ravished estate and, she discovers he most likely murdered his first wife, who had lied about having a fortune, she takes matters in her own hands. The story has colorful characters like the heiress chasing Jack; the maids and governesses helping Caroline; and Caroline’s family, reminiscent of Elizabeth Bennett’s.

Mysteries by Les Roberts

The Cleveland Local by Les Roberts 1997

Milan Jacovich is a private investigator whose police buddy, Marki, dumps a murder case on him because attorney Joel Kerner Jr. is killed on a Caribbean Island. His sister wants answers. Jacovich begins to ask questions and a lot of people want the case ignored. The Cleveland setting allows for unions, mobsters, and real estate deals and almost everyone is a suspect and yet no one seems likely.

Jacovich is an old time detective who meets and talks with his suspects face to face. He gets roughed up more than once and his life is threatened in the end with a struggle with the bad guy. Roberts gives Jacovich plenty of heart by revealing his personal life in exposed pictures as he solves the case. Cleveland is front and center and anyone who loves the city, will love this series.

Whisky Island by Les Roberts 2012     Gray and Co. Publishers in Cleveland

Milan Jacovich is private investigator training ex juvenile delinquent and veteran Kevin O’Brannion KO. They both acquire new girlfriends during story. Convicted corrupt councilman Bert Loftus claims someone is trying to kill him. He is just trying to gain sympathy for sentencing but they take his case. It leads to corrupt landlords, a lot of political corruption and a call girl, who was taping her clients to blackmail the County Prosecuting Attorney. She is murdered bringing in the police and KO is kidnapped. Jacovich puts his life in peril to solve the case. Cleveland, its landmarks, and the different cultures add to the story. Roberts uses internal dialogue to reveal true feelings and add personality to his hard-nosed detective.

Full Blast by Janet Evanovich

FULL BLAST 2004 Janet Evanovich with Charlotte Hughes

In this follow-up to the previous Full story, Jamie Swift is missing Max Holt, who hasn’t called in three weeks. She is trying to protect her heart from falling in love with him because he has made it clear his first wife turned him off to marriage – possibly forever. Jamie has her hands full with her hometown of Beaumont where the heat has everyone acting strange, even Vera, her surrogate mother and assistant editor. Psychic Destiny, who can see ghost, arrives looking for a job as a love columnist, and Jamie’s Personals section is linked to a murder. Jamie calls Max and they try to solve the murder before Destiny’s prediction of another death comes true.

This book is a blend of Evanovich’s crazy characters, hot for each other couples, and murder. It reminds me of J.D. Robb’s Eve and Roarke, especially since Max is rich and into high technology. The crimes are more light-hearted but the ending builds to a life-threatening situation that keeps the pages turning. This “Full” series is one of Evanovich’s best efforts.

Dark in Death by J.D. Robb

The best book about fan obsession, in my opinion, is Stephen King’s “Misery,” but J.D. Robb takes a fan’s obsession to a new level when she doesn’t like the eighth book in a series and decides to copycat each crime, ending with the writer’s death. Eve is determined to stop her and uses all her friends and Roarke’s library to beat the killer to the next victim.

Eve is all about standing for the victim and the cop being the hero, much like the written novels being copied, but the killer wants to be the hero and the psychology of that behavior could have been interesting. Robb touches on it, but writes the killer off as crazy. But was she? The killer’s dream of becoming a writer like her idol was crushed. When dreams die, how does that impact the dreamer? This book could give other writers ideas about taking on the psychology of murder. Why do people kill if not for money, jealousy, or revenge?

Secrets in Death by J.D. Robb

Eve is having lunch with Dr. DeWinter at one of Roarke’s fancy Du Vin bars when gossip writer Larinda Mars staggers upstairs and into Eve’s arms, dead. Mars had the scoop on everyone and was blackmailing the vulnerable for money or information. Eve feels for the victims more than Mars but does her duty, especially when an innocent is murdered to cover up the how of the crime.

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This story seemed sluggish because there were so many interviews and paperwork. It was probably closer to the truth of investigations than most police stories. I had an idea who the villain was early on, but Eve had to wait until he killed again to nail him. Peabody provided some comic relief, and a lot of minor characters made guest appearances. A few personal secrets were revealed, but anyone who has read the series already knew about them.

With a series with this many books, some are not going to interest the reader as much as others. This is one I don’t  plan on reading again. I think the series needs jump started with Eve and Roarke having a baby. What do you think?

Full Speed by Janet Evanovich and Charlotte Hughes

FULL SPEED 2004 by Janet Evanovich and Charlotte Hughes

Jamie Swift and Max Holt are back from Full Tilt (which I haven’t read yet, and I hate to read out of sequence) running from a mob hit in the previous book and tracking down a preacher Harlin Rawlins to find the mob leader who wants them dead. Max is super rich and into technology. His car has a computer named Muffin.

This is a lot like the J.D. Robb series with super rich Roarke and cop Eve battling crime. Does the hero always have to be super rich?

Max tries to send Jamie home, but she gets out of his car and goes out on her own. She ends up buying an old truck with a dog Fleas that goes with it. She goes to Rawlins’ church in disguise of hooker and tells him she’s a sex addict. It works to get his attention, but Max and his partner Dave, who are also in disguise, are there to spy on Harlin too. Max takes her to his cabin and says she’s to pretend to be his wife in his new plan.

Unknown to them, gangster Nick Santoni/MichaelJuliano follows her to the cabin and realizes who she is. He pretends to be Michael and asks her on date. Jamie doesn’t tell Max about Michael which would have ended the story because he knows his alias, and the reader realizes she’s in danger before she does.

There’s a lot of heat between Max and Jamie, but she knows he isn’t ready to commit to marriage after a previous one failed, and she doesn’t want her heart broken even though she’s falling in love with him in spite of her determination not to. The action is intense and fast paced. The romance is simmering and interesting enough to read the next book in the series.

Echoes in Death

Echoes in Death by J.D. Robb published February 2017

Eve and Roarke are driving home from a party and see a naked woman, Daphne, stumble in front of them. They rush her to the hospital and discover her husband has been killed and she was tied up and raped several times by someone dressed as the devil. Eve discovers similar crimes and pieces together the history of the killer’s crime spree, which escalates to a double homicide. Eve knows who the killer is and builds her case and brings him in. Ina new twist, Peabody plays bad cop to Eve’s good cop.

Daphne represents Eve and throughout the book Eve has to deal with the memory of murdering her father who brutalized her. Eve’s past helps her deal with the victims like Daphne and help them overcome their trauma. Her past and Roarke’s is what binds them together and provided a lot of the backstory in the earlier novels. This book has a lot of rapes in it, and some may not want to read about the violence.